happy birthday, Oma!

31 January 1923

Mr. Big

Today Carol and Matt Dembicki's Mr. Big hit the (comic) stores. You should own this.

It's the tale of the turtle that lives in their back yard — how the other inhabitants of the pond decide they want to get rid of him, and what happens when an unexpected element is introduced. It's gorgeous and original.

We met Matt shortly before we moved out here, when they'd just been written up in the City Paper and had a few installments of the story completed. Now they've wrapped up their story,* got a publisher (heck, the publisher started an imprint so they could carry it), and their book is out in the wide world. So, am I jealous? Sure, I'll admit that. But do they deserve the recognition that's sure to come from this book? You'd better believe it.

There's only (now defunct) pre-order information at the Web site, but your local (comic) book store should be able to get a copy.

* Haven't read the end myself; everything up to the last chapter was serialized. I'm going to settle in at some point this weekend and enjoy the whole thing in one sitting.


For Our DC-area Readers

Our friends in the DCC will be holding the Second Annual Counter Culture Festival this weekend at Dr. Dremo's in Arlington. There will be, of course, self-published comics, but also all kinds of independent artists, performers, and musicians — check out the lineup. Their first one was an amazing event, and this one promises to be even better, so go support the local arts community.


Sunday In The Park With Jorge

Headed out today for some cross-country skiing with my coworker Jorge:

We were going up past the Valles Caldera, outside Los Alamos. There's been a few snow storms over the past few weeks, so we were pretty assured of good conditions.

The drive took us past the snow-covered caldera.

We headed out on one of the trailheads for the Las Conchas trails (near an earlier hike) that travel along the stream. It was an open space, some tracks that we could follow, but still powdery. Figure there's at least a foot of snow on the ground. It was good going, not a lot of gliding, but it wasn't exactly slogging through the backcountry either. We ran into three people going out, two coming back, so it was a peaceful, quiet trip.

About an hour out, the trail just kind of ends at a fence. The sudden appearance of water lent credence to the theory that we were actually skiing on the streambed.

As we were resting at the end of the trail, clouds rolled in. By the time we were underway, it was snowing.

Made it back to the truck, about two hours round trip. Had some Fluffernutters and decided to hit the trails at the west end of Bandelier. The trails are just east of the caldera, before the switchback down begins. We headed off on the orange-blazed trail, knowing it went along Frijoles Canyon and looped around somehow, but unclear of the specfics.

This was more like the skiing I'm used to (well, from 20 years ago) — more established trails through woods. The going was faster, the snow abated soon after we started.

The trail leads to a couple spots overlooking the west end of the canyon.

We started looping back, at that point feeling we'd just about skied enough. We wound up on a different route back, so were never quite clear how much further we had to go. As it turns out, it was another two-hour round trip. We later agreed that we could have sworn our skis were sticking there at the end, but flipping them over at the end of the trail, found no evidence of snow buildup.


Ranking Full Stop

At Santa Fe Brewing last night: The English Beat! Jett and Serena mentioned it when we saw them last weekend, and while we were dithering over going, they got us tickets. Good thing, too, 'cause it was sold out by Thursday.

We headed over about an hour-and-a-half early, to have some dinner and try and grab a table to be the base for the night. And we ran into Stacy and Jim, comfortably settled at a table with some extra space, so when Jett, Serena, and Will arrived later, we had a little spot staked out. Good thing too, 'cause it was packed.

Other than Dave Wakeling, there aren't any other original members, though according to Wikipedia some of them are from other Ska bands of the era.

KevLee, a local reggae band opened. And then The Beat took the stage, led through the jammed dance floor. They kicked off with some "dirty reggae" that led into "Stand Down Margaret." And from there, the show took off. They put on an energetic performance, and the floor was packed with people dancing and jumping. Raphael asked for the set list — just think of every Beat and General Public song you can remember off the top of your head, and they probably played it: "Twist And Crawl," "Save It For Later," "Tenderness," "Tears Of A Clown" (prefaced by, "it's not a party until somebody ruins a perfectly good Motown song"), and "Ranking Full Stop" into "Mirror In The Bathroom" (though "Too Nice To Talk To" was missing). The stage patter might have been standard, but the band was tight, the jams were terrific, and the energy in the room was amazing. There were a few songs I didn't recognize, but I got the impression they weren't new. At the end, rather than fight their way through the crowd and back again, they asked that we imagine they left the stage and we all cheered; a break, then "thank you for having us back!"

A total blast.



Ouch I got the Golf Ball into a fender bender in the parking garage at work. It's, relatively speaking, pretty minor, still drivable. But I'm pretty bummed about it. Because the body shops in town are all booked up after the big snowstorm, it's another couple weeks until it gets fixed.

Now, around the car, you'll note...

Snow Nothing to compare to the big storm around New Year's but we've been getting little snow showers most every weekend. Like this morning, a dusting, maybe a touch more than an inch. But last weekend, when it didn't even accumulate in town, the mountains got about 8".

Accompanying that, however, has been unnecessarily cold weather. Single digits overnight, 20s during the day.

Patriots, Poets & Pranksters Wednesday night, we caught a talk by Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress. He was brought to town as a part of the lectures around the Lasting Impressions exhibit, and gave a passionate and entertaining talk about "his" books and the Library. It centered, like the Library itself, around Thomas Jefferson's collection that formed the basis for the Library's collection, and he shared anecdotes about the books of early America.

We learned about the talk when we were visiting James The Printer at The Palace Print Shop. There, they had still had the type set from the posters they did for the talk.

Panel Press As the next step in Building Our Comic Publishing Empire, we've launched the Panel Press site. Panel Press is now the imprint for RBS as well as the new book with Jamie Chase and some hopefully upcoming stuff.


happy birthday, Dangerous Dan!

(When are you coming to visit? We need some new embarrassing photos of you!)

18 January

happy birthday, Grammy!

18 January 1920


Foil Tournament at DCF

Competed in a little tournament yesterday at Duke City Fencing in Albuquerque. Fifteen people, I think except the four of us from NMFF, all members of that club. Started with three pools of five to get seeding, then proceeded to a direct elimination. Started off well, winning the first two in my pool. Then, the adrenaline high wore off, and I was left having to think about what I was doing and got a little lost; actually, started to happen at the end of one of the bouts I won, leaving me having to figure out how I'd gotten where I did.

Lost my first in the direct elimination to Duke City's coach, who I had beat in the first round. Made her work for it, though. I eventually figured out what I needed to do to win but my body wasn't paying attention.

Jamey, our coach, eventually finished second, and another teammate, Jake, third.

I was behind the camera so there's no photos of me, but here's my teammate Gavin. He also leads with his foot.


happy birthday Miz P! Mrs. L!!

Update: Throwing a surprise wedding at your birthday party?! You go, girl!

[photo by Amanda Jones]

5 January 1957

you betcha

Ricardo Perez, the sexy-sounding Latino DJ who hosts the Friday morning show ("Jazz a la Carta: Jazz with a seductive South American twist") on KSFR just announced that he was dedicating the next song to his Mother, who "leeves een Meeneesota."


Wrapping Up The Holidays

The doings of the past few days:

Wednesday, we met up with M+D at Museum of Indian Arts and Culture at Museum Hill.

Spent some time with the exhibits, had lunch at the café, and headed our separate ways for the afternoon. We headed off to Harry's Roadhouse for dinner and said our goodbyes. M+D were driving down to Albuquerque in the morning, would spend the day there, and catch a flight on Friday.

Thursday, I was back off to work for an abbreviated day. Snow was forecast for Thursday night into Friday, maybe an inch or two of wet snow was due to accumulate. Around noon, an impressive-looking snow shower blew in, but then passed, something that was repeated a couple times over the course of the day. By bedtime, it was steadily snowing, but lightly.

Getting up Friday for another abbreviated day, was greeted by about 8" on the ground (maybe you've seen the picture). Spent some time assembling an outfit to shovel out and then wear for the day, then the call came that the office was shut down. There were some calls to make, but was free for the day. M+D called to say that their flight had been cancelled, but they were booked on another the next day without a problem and staying at the airport hotel.

I decided to pull out the old cross-country skis and head to the Albertson's (we had enough supplies, but wanted to be snowed in in style). Found all the stuff, suited up, and headed out while Monica set about clearing off the cars.

I was hoping for some good packed snow under all the powder — like the plows came by a few hours ago and really smashed it down — but the road down out of our apartment complex was pretty much ice, and the road out was surprisingly well cleared and salted. Going on that was possible, but rough. And the unplowed edge of the road was just all powder, so I sank down way above the height of my boots. Plus the old skis are skinny, made for skiing in tracks, so it was slow going. After making it to the top of the hill, by the hotel, decided that this just wasn't fun. So I turned around and headed back to the apartment. This time, I took Monica's advice and went up the unpaved back road to the complex, which had some pretty good snow.

In the meantime, Monica had cleared our cars and our downstairs neighbors' and, unknown to me, gone up to the hill to try and find me. I found that out when, after waiting around the apartment for a few minutes, leaving a message, and switching to hiking gear, I set out again. I continued on, the walking was kind of slow, and stopped off at the National Cemetery before heading to the grocery store.


The grocery store was busy — maybe more busy than the usual Friday morning, but it was a holiday weekend, and there wasn't the panic that characterized trips in the snow to the store in Arlington. I had a list and assembled some foodstuffs to see us through the next few days. One of these, in addition to some other weighty foods, was a 5-pound bag of potatoes (nutritious! multipurpose!). Loading up my messenger bag and one more grocery bag, I set back out. And the novelty of it all quickly wore off. Weighed down, slogging, overheating, I became less enchanted with the snow with every step. Luckily, Monica was there to greet me with some Mexican hot chocolate, and we stayed in for the rest of the day.

Saturday morning came, and it was still snowing. I wanted to go out and tromp around some, take some pictures, maybe clear the car some more, but the snow was much, much higher than my boots — a problem I haven't had since, like, forever. Best we could do was pin some elastic to my pants to pull them over the boot tops. Helped, but the snow still poured down the back as I walked to photograph the arroyo.


Then we set about clearing the Golf:

What started off as brushing off and getting in to rescue my thermal mug soon turned into digging around it (with the management company's shovel), then to digging it out, then to pulling it out, turning it, and backing it back in. Took about an hour-and-a half and the added efforts of two passersby to push it back in, but the car was pretty freed up. Monica brushed off hers and the neighbors' again, creating piles around the cars just about as high as the hood. Our neighbor stuck her head out to thank us and to ask if we were going into town. Considered a drive, maybe a walk, but decided not today — but we'd let her know when we did go out. And that was pretty much the outdoor adventure for the day.

M+D left a message, their flight had been cancelled, and they were now on a flight on the second and back at their usual Albuquerque hotel.

The snow tapered off Saturday afternoon and had pretty much stopped by nighttime.

The Sunday paper arrived with the official report: an average of 23.5" of snow in Santa Fe, about 26" in the ski basin (odd, because they usually get much more than the town), and a record for Albuquerque for one-day snow of 15.6". But it was clear and getting sunny, and we were curious about what it was like out in the world, plus we wanted to pick up some stuff and our neighbor obviously needed something. Lottery tickets, as it turns out.

We made it out without too much effort and onto the ice-rutted streets to Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works to see about some gaiters, which had kind of become an obsession for me. Closed. Over to the comic shop. Closed. Over to another outdoor store, one that specializes more in downhill gear. Nothing. It was all ponderous driving, slick and unplowed, but there were no problems. To Albertsons for a few supplements and the Powerball tickets. Heading out, decided to take the longer, but more clear, way home. But it took us in the general direction of our earlier errands, so stopped to see if the stores were open. They were. But at SDCMW, I was told that they were sold out. "We've been open a half-hour and you're the fifth person to ask." There was more success at the comic shop, then home.

M+D called. They spent the day kicking around Abq, but wanted to come up to meet us for brunch on Monday.

After a nice salmon dinner, Caleb stopped by for a visit and to show some of the art for a project we're working on. We then headed over to Jett + Serena + Will's for a New Year's gathering. Had a good time visiting with some friends there, but headed home before midnight.

Today, brunch at Zia with M+D and a little stroll around the Plaza. We sent them on their way (again) and headed back home, where we found our neighbor with one car cleared but the other stuck halfway out of its spot. Sure, we could let it melt out, and it wasn't really blocking anything, but it was kind of a challenge to our New England upbringing. With Monica's driving and the assistance of a few other neighbors, we got it out and into a clear area. Now we're settling in for the evening and an end to the holiday whirlwind.