May 25, 2008

Spidey's Got a Brand New Bag

So we're driving through Middletown, Delaware the other day on our way to Lowe's to buy some home improvement items. Middletown, Delaware isn't much of a mecca, unless you happen to be in the market for some tax-free merchandise from superstores like Lowe's, Home Depot, Kohl's, or the Super Auto Mall. The point is, Middletown, Delaware is certainly no New York City. Which is why it was doubly puzzling to see this as we were cruising along at 25 miles per hour:


In case you can't really see what's going on, here's a closer look:


Yes. There he was. Spidey. In Middletown, Delaware. Waving to us. To US! Ok, in that photo he's not actually waving to us, but that's because I made matthew go around the block again so I could get a picture of him. It looks like Spidey has fled the great metropolis to battle the many hoodlums of Middletown, Delaware. Or, at least to make nice with all of us trying to save 5% on sales tax. He's so good, that Spidey. So decent, and good.

Posted by ribbu at 10:01 PM

May 01, 2008

The Sad Truth

People always tell you that you won't have the time or energy to do anything after your baby is born. I figured this was probably a lot more true for people who had to return to 9 to 5ers after a few weeks of baby time. Which, in my infinite wisdom, I think is probably still true. I get to wake up, feed the baby, and snooze until 10, whilst others only get to snooze until 8 and then head off to work. That being said, it's sure hard to get anything done with one foot rocking the baby bjorn, or while an antsy baby is strapped on to your chest (the current state of affairs).

Add to this the shenanigans of redoing office/living space (part of the reason there is so much dedicated to alden these days is that the rest of our lives are consumed with top-secret remodeling (dad thinks there are spies out to get us on the internet) and our living space is turned completely upside-down - if you live anywhere near chestertown and want to get the low-down, swing by the barn and see what we're really up to - or for the obscenely curious, just email me and I'll send you some pix) and not actually having an office at the moment (computers hidden under sheets to keep from getting congested with wallboard dust etc) and you'll see why I haven't posted in a longish time.

So, that's what's been going on. In the meantime, we are planning to totally upgrade our idiotsbooks website, step one of which is for me to learn how to do some programming. I like how this is step one, because that means that we probably won't be doing a big reveal until like 2012, when all the programming I learn becomes outdated. I'm not even really sure what I need to learn, but I'm thinking javascript and mySQL are sort of at the top of the list. We want for the website to have an easily updateable front page and store, which I think probably means it needs to be database-driven. If there are any geeks out there who can give me some advice, it would be much appreciated. Because I really have no idea what I'm talking about.

Mom and Dad are currently hiking the Inca Trail, which is totally nutso, considering they've never really hiked anything before and they're both pushing 70 (or, in once case, has already pushed 70 and is now pushing 71). I'm just hoping they manage to have fun in spite of the altitude sickness, damp socks, chafing underwear and monkey assaults. After the Inca Trail they're off whitewater rafting on class 5 rapids, which is equally nutso, considering that they've only been rafting once before on a calm and happy little riverlet in west virginia with a short spell of class 1 rapids. I'm just hoping they manage to have fun in spite of the rocky waters, wet socks, piranhas, and mom's natural inclination to fling herself from the raft if it gets tippy. All this is to say that we are still habitating chez bob and seiko, and thus am I updating from their computer, which doesn't have any of our photos on it, which is the reason for the very dry and hard-to-swallow content of this post.

Posted by ribbu at 12:04 PM

March 29, 2008

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

So, in case you haven't been keeping up over on theBarnstorming, I have been awfully busy this week. You see, Monday, along with going shopping, getting things squared away at the bank, and completing our taxes, I went into labor and had a baby girl. It turns out I needn't have worried about having a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby (3 out of 4 grandparents are super fair and nordic-looking, and I have this theory that all blonde children, no matter how funny-looking, are universally believed to be cute. And there's nothing worse than someone growing up thinking that they're really cute) - mom's genes pulled through. In a major way. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd think little Alden was full-blown chinese. There are moments when she looks like Matthew, but the prevailing opinion is that he had nothing to do with the making of this baby.

So, even though I didn't set the 5 minute 43 second labor record of my dream, I really got off pretty easy, labor-wise. After walking around all morning, we went back into the hospital around 3:00 because the contractions were getting a little too hard to handle on the streets of Chestertown, and Alden was born at 6:30. In fact, labor was so fast that at one point the nurses were all saying, "hold it, hold it! The doctor's not here yet! You just have to hold the baby right where it is" - which, if you've ever been in labor, is nearly impossible to do (or at least it seemed that way to me). It was like my uterus had its own agenda, and it certainly didn't involve waiting around for anyone. I just said, "Uh, okay" and hoped that my uterus would consider my vote along with the nurses' demands.

Anyway - it's been fun so far. Generally speaking, Alden is a good baby. There's plenty of time for her to become a troublemaker, but for now, she takes after me - she just wants to sleep and eat (in that order). I can totally dig that. No high octane activity, and screaming fits are only limited to those times when she can't get what she wants (sleep or food) - just like me. People have come out of the woodwork to offer best wishes, and it's just been really nice to be a part of humanity lately (not my usual stance, I know). So thanks to everyone for all the support - it is much appreciated.

And, the illustration/response project matthew and I had going is obviously on hold, but I hope not for long. Believe it or not, I am tiring of lying around in bed waiting for my nether regions to mend.

Also, I refrained from posting a thousand pictures of my child here, since someone else is already doing it elsewhere (matthew). If you're anxious to hear someone getting endlessly swoony about their child, go over to his blog. I mean, she's alright and all that, but jeez.

Posted by ribbu at 02:14 PM

March 19, 2008

Baby Predictions

So, in case it hasn't been mentioned anywhere else (like here, here, or here), you should all know that in a couple short weeks, I will (hopefully) be having a baby. I am big and fat and if you don't believe me, well, look here:


Okay, so now that that's established, you should also know that we didn't find out the gender of the baby, for which we have been called both crazy and great (I'm not really sure why this behavior constitutes grounds for such strong reactions, but people seem to have them regardless). I figure that if it was something like a scratch off lottery ticket, where unless I scratched everything off I would never know whether I could have won or not, then I would totally find out. But since all I have to do is wait a while, I figure I can wait. I'm in no particular rush. It's not like we have a nursery or even a small corner to decorate. This baby's going in the laundry basket.

Anyway - because we have opted not to find out the sex, everyone is ready with a guess based on old-time wives' tales. About 95% of people think it's going to be a boy (I'm carrying it all in front, like a basketball) and 3 people think it's going to be a girl (Mom, Matthew, and DunkyB, who admits that she's always wrong when she has a gut feeling about baby gender). I have no clue, but I'm going to say boy, so that either Matthew or I will be right, which will make at least one of us feel good on those dark nights when baby is crying and we're feeling like we had no idea what we were getting into ("Well, at least I figured out it was going to be a boy...")

So, at the Flower Show, Roji told me about the Chinese baby forecasting horoscope. So I looked it up online. The first one that I did asked me for my DOB, my birth time zone, and the baby's likely date of conception. This one said I was definitely having a girl. Then I found another one, that asked for my age and baby's likely date of conception. That one said I was definitely having a boy. Then I looked at baby odds for my age (31) at conception based on this ancient Chinese chart. It said I had a 50/50% chance of girl vs. boy.

So - things are all clear now. It looks like it is likely going to be either a girl or a boy, which is a real relief.

Posted by ribbu at 02:07 PM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2008

A Fistful of Oscars

So, I have this cat. He's fat. He's golden. His name is Oscar. (I also have another cat who is also fat, but who is black and pissy and not named Oscar, and therefore, not what this entry is about). He's a handsome and noble fellow, but willingly gives up the spotlight when needed.

This is Oscar.

But he's not the Oscar who this entry is about. This entry is about Oscar, the other golden one, who is handsome and noble and may not be fat, but is definitely very, very heavy, and willingly shares the spotlight with the stars on Oscar Night. Since the Academy Awards show is on the horizon, I thought I'd write about my run-in with Oscar. I've never been a big follower of the awards shows, but my mom used to be a real devotee - she would watch every year, with the commercials and everything, as the show went longer and longer into the night as the years went by. Until, one year, she accidentally set the barn on fire because of her Oscar devotion. It didn't burn down, but there was a lot of damage. In her rush to get home to watch the Oscars, she had forgotten to turn off her hotplate, thus setting her tea kettle alight, thus catching the numerous pieces of dried flora, dusty towels and other flammable detritus about on fire, thus eventually burning up a bunch of stuff in her studio (or so legend has it). Luckily, a good friend of ours was walking by because he was not at home watching the Oscars, and noticed that there was smoke pouring out of the bottom of the barn. The proper authorities were called, and now mom makes yearly donations to the volunteer fire department and gets all tense on Oscar night.

But this entry really isn't about my mom and Oscar either.

This entry is about me and Oscar. Yes, I have been fortunate enough to have a real life Oscar in my hot little hands. He was heavy but polite, and didn't seem to mind my gripping him firmly by the legs and caressing his buns.

I won this Oscar for my good work being Matthew's dialect coach in A Matter of Justice - yes, look on down the list and you'll see that he starred as "Matt". That's really him. He had to master a true Alabama accent. And, you know how I am with the accents. The Academy was so impressed with his metamorphosis from suburban Kansan to Alabama country boy in four short lines that they gave me the Oscar. It was their one shining moment of really recognizing true talent.

Ok. Actually, that's a lie. That's why you shouldn't believe anything that you read on a blog. I have no one to stop me. This particular Oscar was actually awarded to Sidney Glazier, producer of The Eleanor Roosevelt Story. I just happened to be at his daughter Karen's house, was snooping around, found it, and was wondering why they had a fake Oscar sitting around. "What's the gag?" I thought. No gag. It was real. I was humbled in his presence. So asked if I could have my picture taken with him. Karen was kind enough to let me, but just to add to the authenticity, I asked for another picture with her in it too.

Just in case you don't believe I'm friends with a swank novelist whose father won an Oscar.

FYI, you also shouldn't believe everything you see on a blog. I'm a real whiz with Photoshop.

Posted by ribbu at 12:19 PM

February 06, 2008

Some People Just Shouldn't be Allowed to Have Babies

So, yesterday I had to go in and pre-register at the hospital for delivering this big fat baby of ours. I had a bunch of paperwork I was supposed to fill out beforehand, so I diligently went ahead and started working on it. It was asking for all kinds of information, like your medical history, how often you drink alcohol, "Mother's Maiden Name" "Mother's Married Name" "Mother's Date of Birth". So I'm filling this thing out answering the questions and putting my mom's information in all the places they ask for it. The farther down the form I got, I started to wonder - why the hell do they need to know my mom's level of education? Or her social security number? Why aren't they asking anything about my dad???

Silly me. I'M the mother in question. Not MY mother. I had to scribble everything out like a moron who didn't know her own name.

Fit for parenting? You decide.

Posted by ribbu at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2008

Pleased to meet your reacquaintance

Well hello, everyone. Yes, well, once again it's been SO long since I posted that I feel guilty and ashamed. In case you've forgotten who I am, here is the basic rundown:

1. I am preggo and fat and have recently had to bid my farewells to my belly button.
2. I have been on the road for the past month tending to holiday matters and whatnot. While I haven't been on the road, I have been working manically to get ahead on Idiots'Books.
3. I currently find myself in the Berkshires in Massachusetssssttsstts (which I never spell right) to teach a class with Matthew on collaborative writing and illustration.
4. Yesterday, I napped from 10:00am to noonish, dozed from noonish to 3:30pm, when I ate an ice cream cone (cherry vanilla), slept from 4pm to 8pm, then dozed on and off until midnight, when I officially went to bed and didn't wake till 11 this morning. This isn't as great an achievement as if, say, Matthew had done it, but I salute myself for finding the time and energy to do it.
5. In spite of yesterday's great achievement, I find myself yawning whenever Matthew speaks to me. Coincidence?
6. Though I have said my farewells to my belly button, it sometimes reappears in disturbing outie fashion when I laugh. I ignore it, and cover it with my hand (which, actually, isn't really ignoring it so much at all). Perhaps this is a problem Santa Claus also has. He seems to hold his belly a lot.
7. Matthew and I have been planning a literary/music festival to happen in February. If you haven't heard about it already, check it out HERE. It's going to rock.
8. I have a dog, and sometimes she's bad. But mostly we've been lucky and she behaves herself.
9. I have two cats, and they are usually good, and always fat and really hairy. But given the fact that they are cats, we feel lucky that we even like them at all.
10. The odds of my child being bad are looking increasingly good (or is it bad?). We keep meeting very well-behaved children. We haven't met a naughty bad one yet. I worry for us being the one couple with the real terror.

My guilt is now temporarily assuaged.
Next update promises to be something more interesting. Or, maybe not.

Posted by ribbu at 01:39 PM

November 12, 2007

My Look-alikes

Okay. So, my good friend Beth sent me this ridiculous thing where you can upload your picture and see what kind of celebrities you look most like. She, of course, looked like a bunch of hotties. I decided to give it a whirl to see what kind of hotties I look like. Generally speaking, when I do these things, I just get hit with a bunch of random asians that no one has ever heard of (disappointingly, I never get Lucy Liu, who I think is a hot asian, even if she is a complete vaporhead).

THIS is what I got:

The things I want you to notice:
#1: LAURA BUSH. WTF???? Enough said.
#2: Dean Cain. Who, incidentally, looks JUST like my bro, except maybe not quite as good-looking.

#3: Kate Beckinsale. Apparently she looks like EVERYONE, because she was also the top hit for my friend Beth, who frankly doesn't look a whole hell of a lot like me. Except for maybe the fact that she's female, and has eyes and a nose and a mouth.
#4: Random Asians. There were more, but I didn't post them all because we all look the same anyway, right?
#5: DEBRA WINGER? See #1.
#6: Mylene Farmer. I had to look this one up. Apparently she is the top-selling french-language pop-of-the-worst-schlock singer. She only slightly redeems herself by being Canadian and a recluse. And, by being one of my look-alikes who is not asian.

This was too much fun. So, I also checked Matthew out to finally settle the score in the great Niles/Dwight debate of April '07. Here's what they came up with for him:

First off, I don't know who he is, but Patrick Stump wins this contest hands down. Fie Niles! Fie Dwight!! That guy is almost a dead ringer. Oh, okay. I just looked him up and revealed my own lack of hipness (I don't actually even know if these guys are hip anymore) - he's the lead singer of fall out boy. Well, whatever. I bet if Matthew could take him down with the blues harmonica.
#2: Eddie Murphy. I can't believe I married a guy who looks like Eddie Murphy. I am just the luckiest. If only I could teach him to dance like Eddie Murphy.
#3: Elvis Costello. James Spader. Moby. Holy Shit. I really snagged myself a hottie. Ok. Moby kind of looks like a worm, but I totally dug "Play".
#4. Larry King. Uh. Ok. He DOES have glasses.
#5. Janeane Garofalo. Yike.
#6. Missi Pyle. That amazon is terrifying. If I had to wake up to her every morning, I would become a recurrent bedwetter.

Enough said. Now, if you'd all like to go forth and see who your celebrity look-alikes are instead of, you know, doing all that work you're supposed to be doing (mr. Flynn), go forth by clicking HERE! And do update me on the results. I'd especially be curious to know how many other people look like Kate Beckinsale. And if anyone else happens to look like Larry King AND Eddie Murphy. My guy is just so special.

Posted by ribbu at 09:14 AM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2007

Why New York is Okay In Spite of Itself

So, this weekend we went to New York. We went for a number of reasons, including business for Matthew, which meant that we got to take the train instead of driving. The reason I mention this is because the #1 reason I dislike New York so much is the part where I have to drive there and often sit in traffic for like 8 hours to get through the @%$#! Lincoln Tunnel, and then I have to pay an arm and a leg to park once I'm there.

Yes. I am one of those philistines who just doesn't like New York. I understand the allure, I get how it could be an exciting place, but for someone who would rather eat mac & cheese and play scrabble in a comfortable and inexpensive domicile than go out for fine cuisine before going to a museum/gallery/event of some sort, then going out for drinks only to return to my tiny cramped apartment surrounded on all sides by concrete, well, you see, New York just isn't the place for me. I like to visit, but generally speaking after two days I'm totally overstimulated and have to sit in a dark room by myself for a few hours to recover.

That being said, I totally enjoyed my trip this time. Part of it involved going to a portfolio review for the Portfolio Center in Atlanta (graduating students come up to show their portfolios in NY in hopes of landing a job) - looking for designers for NCSDO. Matthew and I put on a pretty good show together - we do a lot of back and forth and remember to fill in things that the other forgot etc. There was a lot of great stuff there (I thought, anyway) so we picked up some leads. We'll see...

The other part involved going to meet some folks who will be working on an animated project that I'm doing the illustration for. These guys rocked. Check out their demo reel here. Anyway - while Matthew was talking shop, I got a quick tutorial on how animation and 3D animation works. It is AWESOME. If I could magically become smarter and more patient and go back to school for another 3 years, I would totally want to do this stuff. It's fascinating. And, I guess, tedious. But the end result is really cool.

One of the guys worked on this Sheryl Crow video - have a look, the animation is really awesome (the image quality here really doesn't do it justice, though - there are lots of beautiful washes that don't come through in the low-res) - maybe you've already seen it because it came out a couple years ago and I'm totally lame and never watch TV, but whatever. I love how they retained the illustrative quality in spite of it all being digital. Really really nice stuff. Anyway. After I become an Adobe Certified Master Guru of Adobe, I will then set my sights on 3D animation.

Actually, the trick really isn't just knowing how to make things look 3D and move, you need to know a lot about cinematography and music and timing and all that. All that stuff I'm no good at.


And, a third part was that I got to see my friend Davey in a play on Broadway, which, incidentally, was all about muscular men running around in skimpy towels.

Anyway. All that was cool. Though, it wasn't what makes New York okay in spite of itself.

What makes New York okay in spite of itself is that while we were on the subway, there were three kids sitting across from us. Probably high school age, kind of hoodlums. Certainly not fancy manhattan high school kids. Anyway, one of them is rooting through her purse looking for lipstick, and pulls out a book and waves it in front of the other two. "You ever read this?" It's "Night" by Elie Wiesel. The other two kids shrug and disaffectedly say "no". The girl shakes her head emphatically back and forth, and says, "I did NOT know Hitler tore apart kids," the other two shrug, and she puts it back in her purse, pulls out her lipstick, and applies generously.

What I love about this is that I would never hear that conversation here on the eastern shore of Maryland. I just wouldn't. But what I love even more is that for all the demonizing we do of Hitler (and justly so), it apparently isn't enough. We actually need to tell kids that not only did he try to wipe out an entire people, he ALSO tried to wipe out their kids at the same time. By TEARING THEM APART. I mean, there's not a single historical figure we hate more than Hitler and yet she was shocked that he was EVEN WORSE than she had imagined. And then, when all that's said and done, you really just want your lips to look plump and radiant, dammit.

I'm back now. And back to work. In my nearly silent, very slow-moving home town. Ah, yes. I do like it here.

Posted by ribbu at 12:02 PM

October 24, 2007

Pretty Pictures

Since nothing is happening in my life right now that doesn't require extensive pages-long blogging, I'm going to be cheap and post some recent favorite pics of mine, all from the trip up to Williamstown and Lake George.

First, see me and my aunt Mimi (short for "Meredith" not "Miriam" as Matthew once noted on some sort of official document) down at Silver Bay on the Lake. Isn't it BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL???? The whole time we were up there I kept looking over at Matthew and going "this isn't the sort of place where we Behrs vacation. This is like a real no-nonsense stunningly beautiful place! How the hell did we get to come here?" It just feels like the sort of place that I would really only see in postcards.

Okay. On second thought, in this picture it just looks like your everyday average lake. You must be thinking I'm loony for getting all excited about a reasonable-sized body of water. What you don't see in this photo is how crystal clear it is, how it's surrounded by all these beautiful mountains, and how it makes me crazy with delight whenever I'm there. I'll try to find another picture that captures THAT.

No luck.

But, there is this picture. Me and Iggy in the rearview mirror, driving the backroads of southern Vermont. Don't we look like we're having fun? Luckily, Matthew stopped here on red so I could take the photo, sans blur.

This is my artsy shot with the new camera. I have no idea what the conditions were under which I took it, but I did have to photoshop out the tip of my finger, which was supporting the stem on the right. It looks like a studio shot, doesn't it (ahem, if I do say so myself). I didn't darken the background or anything. I mean, colorwise, this was straight out of the camera. Whoo.

Okay. So that's the latest on the things that make me happy.
Oh, and then there's this:

My favorite picture from the nuptial events of this past weekend. In case you haven't gotten the full rundown on theBarnstorming already (and in that case, who are you, anyway? Stalking me and matthew is a-ok, but stalking just me is weird) have a look. It's fascinating. So fascinating that theBarnstorming's hits doubled overnight. I guess Christian and Emily have even more people stalking them than we do. Sigh.

Posted by ribbu at 11:22 PM

October 16, 2007

Why I Love My Husband

Okay. Now, I realize the title of this entry sounds like it's going to make you puke. And maybe it will. BUT - the fact remains that Matthew is awesome. And this is why: he not only allows me to make totally frivolous purchases, he encourages me to do it:

a box of 500 number 11 x-acto blades. Isn't it beautiful? Now, my last box of x-acto blades only had 40 blades in it, and it took me three years to use it up. I was being conservative, though, worried that they might eventually run out at a critical moment. Now I can use x-acto blades with total abandon for at least 30 years, probably longer. Now, I suppose that one could call this a frivolous purchase, but Matthew chooses to look on it as an investment into our future.

Actually, he didn't even know that I bought them, but when they arrived, he oohed and ahhhed appropriately. And that's really all I care about.

In other news, Oscar is extremely pleased with his new relocation program, and would like to thank Staples for supplying his new housing.

In even more shocking news, Lily has finally managed to accept that Iggy will be living with us until one of them dies. I don't think Lily has yet accepted that she's probably going first, but she's resigned to coexisting in the meantime. For a cat who would hiss at this poor dog the minute she stepped in the room, this is real progress - though you may notice that neither one of them is actually relaxed. They're both lying there like, "Well, I think I'll lie back just for a second here, but she could go apeshit on me at any moment."

Apeshit indeed.

Posted by ribbu at 07:32 AM

October 15, 2007

A Few Good Excuses

Ok, ok.
I know this blog is turning into an I-can't-tell-you-how-many-reasons-
I-have-for-not-being-a-better-blogger blog, but hey, what can you do? Certainly you can do nothing. I have all the power. And that's just they way it is, brother.

Well, I have one gigantically good excuse for not posting for the last two weeks - I have been preparing Volume 11 which also happens to be a custom project for our friends over at BookPlate, Tom and Sarah. It was a much more highly labor-intensive project than I had previously imagined, so it took way longer than I said it would, and ultimately I was up till all hours trying to get it finished before we left for reason #2 (see below). Generally speaking, my illustration style is quick and dirty and doesn't take that much time (shh, don't tell any clients I told you that). For this project, I ended up deciding to go back to painting, and whoo doggy, I forgot how long that takes me. When I paint, I tend to be all bizarro-Pollackesque - read: hunched over my teensy tinsy "canvas" with teensy tinsy brushes for hours on end. The only part of me that moves is my wrist. When I go to bed at night, I have to ask Matthew to unfold me first so I don't inadvertently hog all the blankets.

Now, I realize I look way too happy in this picture. That's because I'm in a delirium brought on by too much exposure to Cadmium Red Medium. Notice the hellhole that is my office:

I wish I were one of those neat painters, like our friend Michael Mongue, whose studio, I swear, never looks any messier than this. Alas, I am not, so yesterday I spent half the day cleaning off my desk so that I could start my next project, which would be reason #5 or 6, but at this point, who really cares?

So, anyway, reason #1 was completed in the wee hours (6am) of Friday morning. We currently have an ad in the paper for it, because it is of local interest:

The best part about our ad is where it is placed. See the ad just above it? I mean, how often do you get nudie George Washington right next to instructions on how to become tremendously blessed (in just ONE WEEK!)? Whoever put that ad in there is probably sticking pins in our voodoo dolls as we speak.

So, anyway. Like I said, I finished up at 6am on Friday, in order to be awakened at 8 to attend reason #2: the Small Press Expo in Bethesda (MD). I did not take the news very well.

But, we ended up having a great weekend at the Expo and got some decent enthusiasm going about our books, so on the whole it was a big ego-booster, in spite of my lack of sleep. I managed to rally for the adoring masses:

It was great fun, and the bonus was that we also got to spend the weekend with my best friend from since like age 3, Stella (aka Liz). Matthew was much more detailed about it all here, I think in part because he plans to knock me off and marry Stella, who has a way with home cooking that I can only dream of. I mean, he's pretty easy to dazzle (see: me), but she's really got the goods.

And - ok, so reason #3 isn't a great reason, but I had a cute picture so I thought I'd make it a reason. I am now the daytime babysitter of Petey from down the street. He and Iggy spend all afternoon scrabbling around on our wood floors and being general maniacs. I chalk this distraction up as another reason I haven't been posting to this blog.

In this photo, they share a brief moment of stasis:

You can see that Petey is just winding up for another sneak attack.

And finally, reason #4:

No, no, it's not the freshman 15 - and yes, the rumors are true: preggo. I'm due in April, which means yesterday I finally had to break down and buy those crazy stretch maternity pants so that when I teach I look pregnant instead of just sloppy and bunched. Now, it's not really a good reason not to blog (in fact, I know way too many people who blog relentlessly about their "condition") but it's pretty much a good reason for everything else ("I'm so tired right now, I have to take a nap; I'm pregnant" and "I think I have to puke, I'd better lie down; I'm pregnant" and "I can only eat ice cream, I'm pregnant" and "You better take out the recycling now, I'm pregnant" and "I couldn't possibly do my work now, I'm pregnant") - it's really quite handy. So, I'm going to use it as an excuse for not posting more frequently. Sorry folks. Just wait till I pop this baby out - then I'll really have a good excuse.

So those are my many excuses.
As usual, I will promise to be more attentive, and then I'll disappoint you again later on. The great thing about being an artist is that people usually have really low expectations of you.

The best!

Posted by ribbu at 02:47 PM

September 18, 2007

The Camera is Dead

If you think I'm speaking abstractly, like, "Art is dead" or "Music is dead", think again. Our camera actually died this past weekend. Apparently, now once the lens opens up, you have to manually return it to the closed position if you want to turn it off. Ever since it flew off the roof of the car onto the side of the highway in Massachusetts, it has really suffered. And it looks like this is the end. This saddens me greatly, because it took some damn fine pictures (if I do say so myself).

Including these favorites:

However, I have to confess to coveting another camera (and Matthew suggests that this has led to the early demise of our current camera - he thinks I've been removing the screws one by one in hopes of making it just useless enough to warrant a new camera purchase). Yes - the new exciting camera is one that seems to already be no longer readily available - I've coveted it so long that it's already obsolete. It is the Kodak EasyShare with Dual Lens (notice the "Availability: Discontinued" note in the info panel). The thing that excites me about this camera is the "Dual Lens" bit - meaning it has one regular zoom lens, and another (gasp!) WIDE ANGLE lens. !!! And you can switch between the two in one point-and-shoot camera!!! This is VERY exciting to me. Unfortunately, since I just got my mega-kickass computer, it might be a little while before we replace the old camera. You'll just have to satisfy yourselves with old, non-wide-angle photos of matthew jumping and the like. I know everyone over at theBarnstorming is going to be very unhappy not to have documentation of every single exciting minute of our lives.

Sorry about that. Luckily, things are extremely dull right now, so you're not missing much.

Posted by ribbu at 12:16 AM

September 08, 2007

Preparing for Liftoff!!!

Thursday was a big BIG day. I was on pins and needles all morning - ALL MORNING - waiting for, waiting for, waiting for the FedEx delivery guy. Yes, he was coming to me with all my dreams and desires in that big boxy delivery truck with FedEx Ground written on it in green. I had been relentlessly tracking his progress since last Thursday (LAST THURSDAY!) from Anaheim, CA, home of the Anaheim Something-or-Others, some kind of sports team that I'm supposed to know the name of (Angels? Ducks? WTF??) on to Lewisberry, PA, home to probably nothing important other than the East Coast holding warehouse for FedEx treasures, and then on to Seaford, DE, which is pathetically the closest distribution center to here, central bumfunk, and then it was ON FEDEX VEHICLE FOR DELIVERY - OMG!!!!

Well, after waiting on pins and needles, I knew I had to leave to teach at 4pm. The nearer it got for me to leave, the more anxious I got. What if he arrived while I was gone, and took my precious dream away for another day?

Well, I needn't have worried. It arrived with enough time for me to swoon over it before I had to leave for class (2 hours).


The best part about getting my new big ass fast and beautiful computer is also THIS:

I was gifted the first big monitor in one of the most extreme cases of generosity I have ever experienced, (it still makes me cry when I think of it), and the second, from the same donor, only more recently, because he got a newer one. I am rich rich rich in computer riches and I hardly deserve it but it will not stop me from gloating.

Of course, once I unboxed everything, I found that the monitors won't plug in to the new computer, so I have to spend an ungodly amount of money for an adaptor that can only be found at the Annapolis mall. So, my computer sits, and my montiors wait. But shortly, shortly, it will be time.


Posted by ribbu at 09:40 AM

September 02, 2007

What am I up to?

Well, things have been busy around here. Busy busy busy, and yet somehow I find myself accomplishing very little. I hate when that happens. The next Idiots'Books volume is going to be of the experimental sort (even more experimental than the last 9 volumes) - I am doing the illustrations first, and then matthew is going to patch together some sort of story around it. I have a nagging feeling that it's going to be a disaster. I started out thinking that I would just draw - and whatever came out would come out. Well, it was a struggle. It continues to be a struggle. Things aren't just splendidly subconsciously coming out like they used to. And somehow I've managed to include such unrelated subjects as a tent, a bear, a king, and venetian water taxis. Subscribers: please don't fault Matthew if he can't make any sense of all this. I have no idea what I'm doing.

In other news, I made a very exciting discovery on my drive home from Baltimore last week. And the discovery is THIS:
Now, I don't know where the hell I've been, but after a quick search on the web, it seems that some of the earliest fanatical reviews were happening in 2003. So, typically, I'm four years behind the cue ball (eight ball? whatever). At any rate, can you believe this? Munchies is basically a delectable and highly addictive combination of doritos, pretzels, sun chips and cheetos. ALL IN ONE BAG.


I will never buy a different snack product again. It has everything I would ever want or need in it. It is as if someone said to me "here. take this bag of crack, heroin and beck, and all that will happen is you'll get fat." Bring it on!


Oh, in other news, St. Michael's: The Town the (Somehow) Fooled the British is now officially on sale over at Idiots'Books. It's also on sale at Artiste Locale, if you happen to be in St. Michael's proper, and don't feel like ordering online.

Oh, and, in all this time that I'm busy but not accomplishing much, I read an article in the NYTimes Magazine about some guy who won the British version of American Idol (oop, I almost just wrote American Idiot, which would be, perhaps, more appropriate) - well, actually the article was about Rick Rubin (who was not, as his picture suggested, that crazy japanese guy who did the sarin gas attack on the subways in japan and said he could levitate) going to work for Columbia records, but he mentions this guy in the interview. When we were in England on the last day we watched a bunch of bad Idol-like shows, and flipping through I had seen some of this, but not this particular guy. This is also old news, but, whatever. It's this guy who works as a phone salesman but wanted to be an opera singer. I don't know why, but I just love it when funny-looking guys rock the house. See: Matthew.

Rock on, opera guy.

Posted by ribbu at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2007

Flattered into ACTION!

I did some googling on a lark the other day - my friend David Turner disclosed to me that he had recently discovered he was actually a raving Scientologist via google, and that Matthew is actually a golf aficionado (and now goes by "Matt"). It turns out Matthew was also one of the "bigger disappointments... in 2006," which, believe it or not, I didn't even post - apparently someone ELSE thought he was a disappointment too.

So, I thought I'd google myself, for fun, which I haven't done in a while. Now, the great thing about having a ridiculous name like "Robbi Behr" is that only some crazy canadian who's trying to do good for the world in Saskatchewan would also be named Robbi Behr. So save for a few inconsequential entries about him, there are eleven pages of ME ME ME. I'm, like, FAMOUS. Of course, we have to take into consideration that about 3/4 of the entries are either written by me or by matthew. There really is something to be said about 1. having a unique name and 2. writing about yourself all over the web.

Though, I'm a little disappointed to find out that all I'm doing in my other life is counseling families and stuff. I mean, what about golf? Or scientology? I'm so jealous.

Anyway, you might be wondering what I've been up to all this time that I've been away. OR, you might not be. Either way, I'm going to tell you. I was in England with the fam living out dad's dream of traveling the canals by longboat. You can read all about it on thebarnstorming if you haven't already. The highlight of the trip was when matthew almost fell in but saved himself by a dazzling spiderman-worthy leap onto someone else's boat. And then back again really quickly so that someone else wouldn't get mad at him for leaping onto his boat. In the process, he only dipped his feet and ankles into the hazardous blue green algae. It was a highlight because we really all spent the whole trip waiting for matthew's due disaster. It wasn't such a bad one, all told.

Since we got back, I have been suffering from a cold and the heat and have been moving like a little molasses. I have an overwhelming number of projects to do, and moving like a molasses isn't helping one bit. And yet, somehow I found time to google myself and write a long entry about it.

It's really all a part of my duty to maintain my own web presence.
To 12 pages on google and beyond!!!!!!!

Posted by ribbu at 08:28 AM

July 27, 2007

Family Reunion

I think I can argue, without much dissent from the masses, that family reunions aren't really all that interesting if you aren't related to the people reuning. So, the "details" I promised of the family reunion probably haven't been keeping anyone up nights with anticipation... and I won't bore you with a minute-by-minute accounting. (When I say that family reunions are boring, I mean to you not to me. Presumptuous? Perhaps. If I get more than 4 comments demanding the nitty-gritty on the family reunion, I will be more than happy to oblige. Let it be noted: not MY family. Not even the Swanson family. This is Grandma Swanson's family (subscribers to Idiots'Books might remember Grandma Swanson's tirade against traffic included in the last subscriber letter) - she is one of three sassy sisters, and it is to that root system that we traveled, and found ourselves in Ohio (the Buckeye State).).

However, some highlights:

The biggest highlight of the weekend was when I cracked myself up making a joke that was unrehearsed, unscripted, and right off the top of my head. This never happens (I usually rehearse all my jokes at least 4 times in front of the bathroom mirror before "outing" them to my public, the fans, etc). I am typically very dull and slow. Anway, the setup is this:

As we were saying our good-byes, Matthew asked me to take a picture of him and his dad and Grandma Swanson:

(nice picture, if I do say so myself)
"You know," he said, "the three generations."
His dad suggested, "Maybe next time we'll have a photo of four generations."
To which I responded, "Yeah, if we can ever convince anyone to adopt Grandma."

You see how few highlights I have in my life?

At any rate, I had to share because I really cracked myself up, but the joke was pretty much lost in the din of everyone saying their good-byes. It's probably the worst thing to make a joke, have no one respond to it, and then laugh to yourself about it for ten minutes afterward. Unless, perhaps, the worst thing is to then write about it on your stupid blog.

The other part of the trip I thought you might be interested in is that, apparently West Virginia is open for business:

I think this is probably good news to everyone, and thought I should broadcast the word starting here, for all you folks who haven't driven through West Virginia, and therefore did not know it was open. Please send this information to ten people you know, and ask them to send it to ten people they know, etc etc and so forth, and pretty soon people in Siberia and China and even Oklahoma will be flooding into West Virginia by the dozens.

Do your part. Spread the word.

Posted by ribbu at 11:47 PM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2007

Back in Business

Well -

Now that I looked, I realize I didn't give you all any indication that I would even be gone in the first place. I guess that's what you get for me being so harried. Anyway, I was gone. GONE. So far gone, I couldn't even check my email.

Want to know where I was?


In the bush.

Have a look. Our camp is located between the two sandy patches at the bottom of the point (Coffee Point, that is). We are so far in the bush that the one phone we had access to (our crazy neighbor Vern's) was cut off because the radio signal he had cribbed together from the town across the river (Egegik, that is) was in a friend's house, a friend who died over the winter, and whose phone got shut off because he (obviously) stopped paying his bill. So, no more phone, until Vern finds someone else across the river who will allow him to mount a huge antenna on his house.

Matthew was able to tap into an internet signal that was brought via satellite from a full-timer in Naknek (meaning, he literally brought his satellite dish from Naknek to Coffee Point for the summer) who generously allowed folks to use it when it was up and running (which was only if the all the stars were aligned). So, Matthew posted a few entries over at theBarnstorming if you'd like to see a bit of what we were up to. Posting was an arduous process, involving sitting out in the sand dunes aiming his computer at the signal tower and hoping his posts would update before the system went out again.

I, obviously, did not have the patience for that nonsense, and that is why you only find me here now, now that I've returned to civilization.

But, we're off to the wilds of Ohio for a family reunion tomorrow, so don't expect any more exciting posts like this one.

But after that, I promise to fill you in on the latest.

Posted by ribbu at 12:46 AM

June 20, 2007

Ramble on!

For the last week or so, it's really gotten down to the wire on my work-for-tooth project. It's not that my "client" has been harassing me or anything, it's just that we leave for MoCCA in two days (well, tomorrow, actually, since it's 4:30am right now) and then immediately upon returning from that, head off to Alaska for the commercial fishing season (I say commercial so you punks don't think I go up there all leisurely and casually kill a fish at a time. I kill them by the THOUSANDS, baby, and don't you forget it!). Where we live in Alaska, there is no phone, no supermarket, and only electricity by generator, which has a verkackt pull-cord on it so it's really irritating to start up when you want to do something requiring electricity, which means we do our best without it most of the time. Which also means we don't have access to a computer, or online etc. Actually, that's not entirely true - my sister's genius boyfriend put together a "cantenna" (so called, because it's made out of an old coffee can) that we hoist up on a pole while we're parked out on the tundra airstrip and aim over towards our nearest neighbor who gets satellite internet and steal his signal. So - if we're willing to start up the verkackt generator to charge the computer up (which takes HOURS) and if the weather is just right and we've got enough zip in our pants to drive out to the airstrip and hold the cantenna high over our heads with one hand while typing with the other, well, then, we could do some communicating with the outside world. But, I didn't feel like doing that, so just told my "client" that I would get her cards done before we left.

So anyway.
These cards are a real pain in the ass to make. First, and not least, is printing.

The thing is, I have to print it on double-sided card stock, but nice card stock, which means matt photo paper, which doesn't really feed very well into the printer because it's all felt-y, which means that I have to sit there and every time it chokes (which is about every other print) I have to pat it on the back, sing it songs, and help feed the piece of paper. Which takes an ungodly amount of time.

Then, after printing both sides, I have to score it where it's going to fold. The really irritating part about this step (believe me, there is an irritating part about every step of this process) is that I can't just score all the way across the card. Because of the way it's designed, I have to score for about 3 inches, then open the scorer, move the wheel farther down the bar to skip the area I don't want scored, then close it and score again. All the while maintaining my usual standards of precision.

Which basically means doing everything like a hunchback with my nose to the paper (just like how I write and draw).

Then, after that, I have to cut the certain areas out that need to be cut. Again, because this was designed the way it was, it means cutting a partial window out. But, I didn't want there to be obvious marks showing where I should cut, because all the paper still stays attached (you'll see what I mean when you see it) so I made these teensy tinsy little pink dots that I made the cuts between. They were so tiny I spent a lot of time trying to find the suckers.

And because they were pretty precise cuts, I couldn't do it with the trimming wheel, which meant I had to do it with my trusty exacto knife, which means that the cuts aren't super clean (the exacto blade drags the paper a little in the direction you're cutting, so it makes a little ridge, where the trimming wheel rolls and so it doesn't drag like that). This only matters because it makes the next step super long and tedious.

The next step is using the bone folder to fold at the scores and also to smooth out those dragged up edges. For anyone who isn't totally anal retentive, the second part of that equation is pretty much invisible, but for me (really, I'm not all that anal retentive, but when it comes to certain things like OHMYGOD dragged up exacto edges, I go CRRAAAZYY!) it means I have to go around all the cut edges with the bone folder and neaten everything up, smooth it out. Which takes a long time.

In this pic, you can see why I couldn't score all the way across, and why the cuts didn't cut out a complete window, but just a partial one.

For anyone who isn't into making stuff, this is surely a real bore. If you'd prefer to be entertained by some beautiful ladies from russia, click here instead. (I wasn't kidding). They send me emails all the time, those russian ladies.

Anyway. So once everything is scored and folded, I had to trim all four sides down, which was another pain in the butt, because I did it out of order and should have trimmed them before folding them because the trimmer couldn't handle the fold, so I had to unfold everything.

But, in the end of it all (did I tell you it's fricking HOT up here in the barn these days? No A/C + tin roof = sweaty buns!) I sent those suckers off and am glad to be rid of them. Oh, and then there was the whole fiasco with my printer eating the envelopes so matthew had to get new ones at the nearest location, which was like an hour and a half away, oy! But, this post has already gotten WAY too long, so I won't bore you with that, too. ... too late!

So, you can see the final product in action HERE, if you would like to understand why all of this was so gosh-darned complicated.

And, it seems that if I'm up to late, I tend to ramble and ramble on. Sorry about that. As you can see, I take my work-for-tooth work very seriously.

Hopefully I never ever ever get another tooth knocked out.

Posted by ribbu at 04:20 AM | Comments (1)

June 12, 2007

Did Anyone Notice?


Did anyone notice I got a comment from my new crush, Joe Garden?

I'm only writing this so that he'll find me again when he googles "Joe Garden" again.


I fooled you, Joe Garden!

Alright. I just wanted to brag. Apparently my old crush, Beck, never googles his name. That's another reason to be done with him. Where's your pride, Beck? Where's your curiousity, and love of life? Where is your unadulterated appreciation for your own fame???


And THAT'S why I like Joe Garden.

Posted by ribbu at 10:59 AM

May 07, 2007

Dinner with GW

Hello Everybody! FANTASTIC NEWS!
Idiots'Books has been invited to dinner with President George W. Bush!

Yes, we got a phone call this morning from Congressman Cole of the Business Advisory Council. Actually, the call was from Betsy Carghill, our contact person for Congressman Cole (wow! we were even assigned our own contact person!!). Anyway, we had been asleep at 9 in the morning when they called - yes, one of the many great benefits of being a "small business owner". So, I called back at 10, when I rolled out of bed, and didn't get Betsy Carghill, but rather a cheery young man who put me through to a pre-recorded message from Congressman Cole. Apparently Congressman Cole and President Bush are dying for our input and support as small business owners, and would like to invite us to dinner on June 19 to discuss Nancy Pelosi "and her liberal colleagues" (who, incidentally, "just see [us] as greedy business people" - us? greedy?! SHAME on you Nancy Pelosi! Shame!) and their "anti-business agenda". We are, you know, the "last line of defense" against the liberal agenda of ruination. They were calling on us, or, "people like [us]", rather, "who have business sense." (us? Business sense? Aw, shucks, Congressman Cole, sign me up!!!). So, then I was returned not to my cheery young man, but to a kind of toneless young woman, who informed me that if we sign up for the Business Advisory Council at a premium of $500, we will:
1. be invited to dinner with the POTUS on June 19
2. be listed in a full page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal promoting GW's pro-business agenda
3. receive a copy of said advertisement to display in our offices
4. receive an official congressional gavel (!!!!!) to display in our offices


But then, since I didn't know what the president's pro-business agenda was, I asked. I said, "Wait, so what is the president's pro-business agenda?" and the girl said, "uh..." and then there was silence for about 30 seconds, while papers shuffled, and then she said, "It's all laid out at our website," Then she started reading from a script again about how she understood that $500 was a lot of money to pay all at once, and how they could break it down into smaller payments to support this very important cause, etc etc etc, but I wanted to ask what Nancy Pelosi's anti-business agenda was, so I interrupted and asked if she had to stick to the script or if I could ask about Nancy Pelosi's anti-business agenda, and she was like, "It's on the website too," and then started reading from the script that this phone call was paid for by the Business Advisory Council and wasn't in any way affiliated with any congresspeople or whatever, so I was like, "Wait, I thought you said this call was from Congressman Cole -" and she was like, "No, he's just the head of the committee ok BYE" and that was it. So - we didn't get to sign up.

I'm really pissed, too, because I really wanted that gavel.

Posted by ribbu at 10:18 AM

April 12, 2007


I love these ridiculous quizzes. They are a fine waste of time at 1 in the AM when I'm supposed to be finishing up a project that I'm way behind on.
I mostly love this one, because this means my friend Supi thinks I'm hot hot hot.
And I still get to be "a sexy womanizer."

Your results:

You are Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig
Roger Moore
Timothy Dalton
George Lazenby
Pierce Brosnan
Sean Connery
The sixth actor to play Bond in the movies promises to be a more realistic, down to earth and not so perfect James Bond, while still being a sexy womanizer.

Click here to take the James Bond Personality Quiz

I tell you. This quiz really has me pegged.

Even better than the political one that said I was a combination of Hilary Clinton, Ghandi, and Al Sharpton. They'll alway try to nail me to the minority cross if they can.

Posted by ribbu at 01:00 AM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2007

Easter Snowday

Woke up this morning and discovered that we haven't quite gotten out of winter yet, in spite of all the trees blossoming and flowers coming up etc. The tree across the street looked like it had gotten an extra pile of snow dumped on it, compared to the one next to it, when really it was a plum/pear(?) in full blossom and the other was some kind of decorative crabapple still warming up. It was all so pretty I had to go out with the camera asap because I was sure it would all be gone by the afternoon. I was right, but it hasn't really warmed up all that much - in fact, we have the heat on right now.



Forsythia (just for color):

It was nice to see all that color in contrast to the snow.

And, now that I'm thinking about it, how weird is snow? So weird! Wow. Right now I feel like I'm from the Serengeti and have just seen snow for the first time in my middle-class white/asian life. I mean, it just sits there, all white, fluffy and pure, until it melts, and then it's just wet, watery and gone. That's frickin' weird. Really, the only reason I don't believe in god is that nobody could just come up with this shit. The world is so bizarre that I couldn't even try to invent some of the stuff that goes on. Unless, of course, I was all-knowing and all-powerful.

wait a minute...

Posted by ribbu at 11:51 AM

March 18, 2007

Sucker for Humanity

I have these moments where I look at life and really feel in my gut how tragic and beautiful it is. They aren't the moments you would really expect - as much as I'll cry like a baby when someone tells me something wonderful (baby, wedding, lottery) or horrible (car crash, cancer, lottery) has happened to them, I think pretty much everyone can get teary-eyed over the highs and lows. I, on the other hand, get teary-eyed over the everyday. The things that reveal how vulnerable we are, how human we are, how flawed and yet full of grace we are, how we just keep going in spite of it all. Like when I see plastic slipcovers in someone's house, or a guy with bad hairplugs, or an old man mowing his lawn, or a woman in a nice dress with sweaty armpits, or kids at the library, or Castro slipping and falling (and I don't even like Castro, not even a little bit).

I am reminded of this today because I saw this Ben Kweller video (I don't know how I found it, to be honest I have no idea who Ben Kweller is) - he's got his grandmother in a leotard dancing to his song Penny on the Train Track and it was just so human it killed me. Especially at the end when he says, "That was DAMN good!" and she goes, "Can I see it?"

Sometimes we'll be walking along and I'll see or hear something like that, and matthew just goes, "Humanity?" and I'm like, "Yep. Just need a moment."

Posted by ribbu at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)

March 17, 2007

Fish Eye

I finally got the film back from my first experiment with my new fisheye camera. This whole reversion-to-film thing was a real hurdle, apparently, because at the end of every day I would go, "Oh shit! I forgot to pick up my pictures!" So, that's why it's been so long. Anyway, I discovered that #1 the film speed I used was probably too slow (all I had in the bottom of a drawer was 200, from who knows how long ago, so probably too old, too) and #2 that I probably should have read the "Tips" section to know that in order for the pictures to really come out distorted, you have to get right up in the face of whatever you're taking pictures of. Most of mine were from too far away, and the distortion isn't quite so dramatic, or, really, even all that evident. This is the only one that came out to my satisfaction, and, really, I only like it relatively speaking. It's way too dark in the foreground, light in the background.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I did some photoshopping to vignette the sky a little bit stronger and make the darks a little less grainy.

BUT - this isn't to say I'm not excited to keep shooting. I am! And next time, they will be better! Like this, or this, or - mmmm! THIS!

Posted by ribbu at 01:14 PM

February 17, 2007

Type is All Around

Well, I guess I haven't said it here, but it's been said here instead: Matthew and I have signed up for a letterpress workshop at W.C. I'm very excited about all the big mechanical equipment we will be using - things that whump and thunk in a way that my computer never will (I suppose that's actually a blessing)... as our teacher Michael says, it's a working museum. Most places, you wouldn't even get to touch this stuff, let alone print off of it. The workshop is a part of the Lit House at W.C. - an amazing resource for writers and artists alike, and I can't believe that people aren't just lining up to take advantage of it. I guess I forget what it was like to be in college. I suppose learning an antiquated reproduction process (not the rhythm method) isn't probably at the top of most students' to do lists. Anyway, we are going to learn to set type, do print runs, and maybe I'll get to carve a linoleum plate or two. Matthew and I are dreaming of doing a small/short/few pages long Idiots'Book that we can print out, zoop zoop zoop like a letterpress does, then send it to our subscribers, before we have too many of them (the hubris!).

Like I said, tres excited!

Anyway. We got to actually get our hands in the type last week:

And then wash them, of course.

I walked home, and on the way home I did some more photos at night (that's when I took the pix of the parking meter, too). I especially like this one, of the flower shop née movie theater.

I love old theater marquis, and that blocky lettering. This particular theater used to be where I could catch the 25 cent matinées on the weekends. I would go almost every weekend, usually by myself. It was right around the corner, so I didn't even have to remember to go until like 2 minutes before showtime. The floor was sticky, bats flew in and out across the screen, and the movies were year-old-crowd-pleasers, but that was fine by me. It was at that movie theater that I first recognized that my time might be more valuable than my money - I walked out of Ziggy Stardust after 10 minutes thinking "who in the world would want to see that?!". Of course, I had been under the impression that it was about Ziggy, the big-headed pasty blob of Sunday comics fame (described in wikipedia as a "small, bald, pantless, almost featureless character (save for his large nose) who seems to have no job, hobbies, or romantic partner" - and apparently, that seemed more interesting to me than Bowie). Anyway - prices went up (it was still pretty cheap), but I guess not enough to keep the place in business. It closed down for a long while, then was an art gallery, then a sometime theater venue, now a flower shop. It's been a nice transformation, but I sure do miss getting my bad movie fix. I guess that's why I've got TBS.

Posted by ribbu at 10:46 PM | Comments (3)

February 16, 2007

Watching the World Go By

Sometimes, the life of a parking meter seems kind of nice...

Posted by ribbu at 11:01 AM

February 12, 2007

The Problem

One of the biggest problems with the jobless life, as I have mentioned before, is scheduling. More specifically, it's scheduling time to eat and sleep.

For instance:
Last night I went to bed at 3AM.
This morning I woke up at 8:30AM.

I wanted to go back to bed at 8:45AM. But I got distracted by the day, and suddenly now it's 10:37 and I still haven't gone back to bed yet.

I know, I know. For those of you who have real jobs, this is a really irritating complaint. However, I'd like to point out that I retired, and this was supposed to be a newfound life of leisure. What slacker only gets five and a half hours of sleep? I'm a slacker at slacking. That's pathetic.

The other problem is this (also compounded by the fact that we don't really have a kitchen):
Today I ate:
two squares of bittersweet chocolate (thanks Josh and Amity!)
some spoonfuls of yogurt out of the big container (out of waffles to put it on)
a piece of popcorn I found on my chair (ate a bag of it for dinner last night, ugh)
an old banana (I heard that hanging a peel on your plants will kill all the aphids on it, and I found some aphids on one of my plants today)
two pieces of hard candy and a hershey's kiss (they were sitting out on the counter at Book Plate when we went by to wheel and deal) (they were in a dish with lots of others, being offered to customers, not just like sitting out on the counter belonging to someone else or something gross like that)
a 6" subway sandwich (matthew and I were both suddenly on such a tremendous sugar low we couldn't even think straight to figure out what we could make at home)

So, when you think of me living it up, remember that I'm scrounging for food between the pillows on the couch where I'm not taking a nap.

Posted by ribbu at 10:35 PM

February 11, 2007

The In-Laws

Matthew's mom and her husband Dean are in town to catch the last days of The Next Generation show. Today we take it down, say good-bye to Man Joe, and wash the walls. Matthew and Carla seem to have gotten quite attached to the mural. And, it looks like we're already pencilled in for a retrospective/prespective for January 2009 (mark your calendars!). Carla's going to try to revisit this same group of artists or some derivative thereof over the years and see where we end up. I really love the idea of that - and it gives us even more of an incentive to keep at this game (not that we needed any more incentive than the current 149 subscribers!!!!).

While the mom and Dean were in town, we looked at some real estate with the dream that they would retire down the street. We looked at the cutest coziest loveliest house at the end of Queen Street on the park -
317 South Queen Street - click the link to seee some photos. It's a dreamy house, right on the park, with water views, so if anyone is interested in dropping 800 grand on an awesome house, go take a look. We'll be happy to housesit until you're ready to move in. Actually, the folks who own it are friends of ours, and they will be moving in to the house next door, so I can vouch for the neighbors as well. Anyway, no go on the house, I think. Retirement is still a few years away, I guess - darn it.

Instead of buying a nice house, we bought a nice breakfast at the Hotel Imperial, which is right across the street from the gallery, and, therefore, a half-block away from our barn.

My parents used to own it when it was kind of a slum apartment building, and mom had her studio in the cellar there. I remember having to come over after getting home from school to check in, and it was dark and musty and there was a gigantic hole in the floor that you had to walk across a rickety plank to get across. It was all lit by those clip-on workman's lights. Very safe, very OSHA-approved.

Too bad they sold it before it got to be worth anything, before Chestertown became the cultural mecca that it did, because it's a nice building, on a nice street. It would have made a great book factory.

Elisabeth (matthew's mom) was kind enough to purchase some work from us from the show... she bought my favorite monoprint (well done!) - Joan and Alexander, after Miro and Calder. When I was in Barcelona ages ago, I saw an exhibition at the Fundacion Joan Miro which was really cool (the best was the mercury fountain) (and, looking at Miro's blobs and lines can get a little tedious after a while, though I still love them) - the blue blobs reminded me of both Miro's minimalist paintings and Calder's big mobiles (not a euphemism). And the squiggle feels like it's rotating, like a mobile. She says it looks like a dancer, so maybe now it's "Dancer" instead of "Joan and Alexander". Whatever. I'm just glad it's in the family, so I can go visit with it when I want.

I also did some experimental photography with my new fish-eye camera from Davey. I wanted to get some shots of the wall installation before it gets painted over. The camera actually uses film (!!) which I've totally forgotten how to use, but it will be developed soon. I'll share the results. I did notice that my assimilation into the digital age made me much more reckless with the old analog, and I used up a whole roll in about 20 minutes. Oh well. Hopefully something comes of it. In the meantime, check out all the cool pictures that other people have taken with their fish-eye cameras...

And, to tide you over until I get the film developed, here's a shot of Matthew taking a picture using the new fish-eye camera from the floor.

And, to tide you over some more, here's a picture of my ridiculous dog. Wegman's real genius was not in getting his dogs to dress up and behave, it was getting them to not look totally stupid, like mine.
(And, yeah, he did some nice stuff with his camera, too.)

But, for all the shots that I have of her with her ears sticking out in weird directions and her tongue hanging out, I have a couple where she is kind of cute. I got this one as she was jumping up on me thinking the camera might be something delicious to eat, like bread. She does love her bread.

And, to tide you over some more, here's how Iggy and Oscar interact, when I try to pay Oscar some attention:

Me: "Hi guys!"
Oscar: "Who, me?"
Iggy: "What, is that bread?"

Iggy: "Hey! Look at me! Look at me!"
Oscar: "please, god, don't let her turn around and breathe on me, please, god, don't let her turn around and breathe on me..."

Iggy: "Oh wait, does he have the bread?"
Oscar: "Ohh, shit..."

Oscar: "I'm outta here."
Iggy: "Dude! Where's my bread?"

Posted by ribbu at 09:48 AM

February 04, 2007

Eternal Optimist

I'm someone who loves to make lists. Mostly lists of things to do. I try to organize my life by listing it out. If I could actually do everything that I list on my lists, I would be the most productive and balanced person in the universe. But, I seem to forget all about my lists about three days after I complete them - I spend lots of time setting up templates and deciding how I want them to work, printing them out, cutting them up, etc etc etc, and then I totally drop the ball once it comes to actually having to follow it and check things off. What is truly astonishing, though, is how I repeatedly am so optimistic and have such faith in myself, that I continue to spend lots of time making lists and then forgetting about them.

My latest is this:

I set up a little flip book that I hang by the door (so I see it all the time) with the basic housekeeping-type tasks that I always forget to do and then am frantically trying to catch up on - I've set it up by day, and I can check things off as I do them, then flip the page the next day and have a whole new list of things to do. So, today I was supposed to 1. clean the bathroom (nope) 2. blog (oh, look! I can check that off now!) 3. sketch (sort of - I'm working on Vol. 5 of Idiots'Books, so I think that counts) 4. read (um, I prematurely checked that one off, hoping that I'll read a little before bed - when I wrote this out, I was thinking that I would be sitting on the sofa with the early morning light glancing off my recently washed, dried and brushed locks, sipping a cup of hot tea reading Plutarch for at least an hour, while the dog lay quietly at my feet, occasionally stretching, looking up at me adoringly, then flopping back down in obedient servitude) and 5. really, who was I kidding, Pilates.

The kicker is that I just started with this particular list Feb. 1 (though I finished making up the list and cutting it down and setting it up and everything on Jan. 25, I thought I'd give myself an extra six days to ramp up without having the pressure of checking things off, so that was my practice run, in which I excused forgetting to do all these things by saying, "Well, the list hasn't really started yet") which was Thursday, and here it is Saturday and I've already bagged out on a few items. (Did I mention I didn't do "squash" on Friday's list? Again... who was I kidding??)

Matthew considers me a pessimist, but I've got solid proof right here. I am rampantly and recklessly optimistic, with no care for or fear of my imminent downfall.

Posted by ribbu at 12:33 AM | Comments (1)

January 31, 2007


I finally got my student critiques from last semester. Nothing totally devastating (how is that possible?) but something quite funny. One of my students wrote this and this only:

"She expects too much."

I love that. It is the best most hilarious critique someone could give. I think I'd like for that to be on my tombstone. No better way to realize your low standards than to blame other people for wanting you to be better. I certainly wasn't asking anyone to do calculus. Or long division. Or, even, basic addition. I guess it's nobody's fault that art is so vague and subjective. It's hard to even know what "too much" is.

Posted by ribbu at 05:49 PM

January 28, 2007

I am The Star!

So today I was preparing for my class, looking for something, I can't remember what, when it pulled up an image from someone's mySpace account. On the page was a link to this, and, being a quiz, I couldn't resist (I used to spend some amount of time at work doing those tickle quizzes - my celebrity look-alike was some random asian and if I were a dog, I'd be a cocker spaniel and all that - ). So I took the quiz, and guess what?


no, I mean, I'M THE STAR!

You are The Star
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.
The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

A chinese one, no less!

So then I made matthew take it.
And guess what?

He's a chinese star too! I mean, what are the odds?

So, take the test. Maybe we're all stars. THE Stars.

The funny thing is, I just was looking for "tarot quizzes" to find out where I had taken that test, and one of them was on tickle. It had a little flash animation where you shuffle the cards until you're ready and then you pick three of them, one for your past, one for your present, and one for your future. Then they blitz you with about a million weight-loss ads, then it shows you your present card and tells you that you need to spend $7 to see the past and future. So, forget that. Tickle's gotten way more scalp-happy since I last visited. Well - anyway... guess what my "present" card was?


That's ME!
I'm THE STAR!!!!

Posted by ribbu at 10:32 PM | Comments (7)

January 16, 2007

Dream What??

Oh, ps, by the way -
am I the only one who thinks that Dreamgirls was a whole lot of schlock that went on and on and on and jeez louise thank god Beyonce is easy on the eyes because I could not stand that stupid "we are a family like a big tree growing out wide out in the sky" hokeyness for another second? That movie seemed like it lasted for like 6 hours. I went with mom and dad because dad had seen an interview on Oprah about it (and he's a long-standing eddie murphy fan) and since then he's been all "Beyonce this" and "Beyonce that" which was weird and hilarious and worth taking him to the movie for. However, we all agreed that it was crippling to sit through, and though whatserface American Idol girl had a great voice and was cute and could do that whoa-whoaaah-whoaaaaah-whoaaaAAAAHHH thing all over the place with her voice, there was hardly a story there to hold onto and MAN were there some terrible lyrics. Mom's only comment was, "wow, that's neat how people can look so different with different wigs on." I hope she's not getting any ideas...


Posted by ribbu at 01:39 AM | Comments (1)

January 03, 2007


Just came up with Resolution #7, after downing two fistfuls of gummy bears in a fit of late afternoon doldrums: No more sugar. No more candy, chocolate, pie, cookies, ice cream.

HA! That one's a joke too. I'll feel better about those gummy bears sitting in there after I have some sugar-frosted "yogurt-burst" cheerios. Sugar loves company. And, didn't I just say that 5 resolutions is more than enough?

Posted by ribbu at 02:46 PM | Comments (3)

New Years Revolutions

Okay. So I'm a few days late. But I'm thinking up some resolutions as I toast my Eggo waffles this morning, because that's the sort of thing one does in the new year.

Resolution #1: Eat my waffles as soon as they come out of the toaster.
I know - you think I'm joking. I'm not. I cannot seem to remember that my food is ready when it is ready, I get distracted, and then three hours later I find my waffles in the toaster when I go to put more waffles in the toaster. Matthew needs to constantly remind me to fetch my prepared foods. This goes for tea and hot chocolate as well. And, case in point, the toaster dinged at "seem to remember" and I still haven't gotten them yet. So much for Resolution #1. (ok ok, I'm going now!)


Ok. I'm back. Mm, waffles are much tastier when they're not all crusty and hard. Resolution #1, accomplished!

Resolution #2: Whatever happened to that drawing-a-day deal? Shouldn't I get back to that? Yes, I should. And I will. This year?

Resolution #3: Continue to start a literary revolution. Or, at least, a book revolution. It might not, in the end count, prove "literary", but it will be stacks of paper stapled, glued or tied together.

Resolution #4: More fine art (my own). It's a fine way to not have to think. I know illustration is seen as the smaller, dumber stepsister of fine art, but for me it's a really taxing endeavor (especially with the idiots'books ... there's no harder mental challenge (for me, anyway) than making sense of matthew's words) compared to the clay monoprints. Making prints is a nice way to just zone out for 5-7 hours at a time. Don't tell the galleries.

Resolution #5: What happened to Netflix? Movie night? So much goddamn productivity going on around here, I haven't had time to relax except for the enforced christmas/family stuff. Get a grip! Didn't I retire for God's sake?! It's really not working out like it was supposed to. ("For which I should be eternally grateful," I say, to stave off the Gods of Jinx).

Resolution #6: Stop procrastinating.

That last one was a joke, because, see, that's what I'm doing right now. And who needs more than 5 resolutions per [solar? terrestrial?] revolution anyway?

Posted by ribbu at 10:04 AM

December 26, 2006

Oh Where oh Where

Where does the time go? How does this happen? My last entry was at the beginning of the month, and suddenly it is the day after Christmas. I'm stuffed with turkey, I'm basking in the afterglow of rampant consumerism (in spite of our "no presents pact" we still managed to give and receive in good form) and I haven't let you in on anything we've been doing since our brush with small-town fame. After the book signing, people have been stopping us on the street and/or dropping in to see where the magic happens. It's delightful. A few days ago, a sassy silver fox stopped us while we were on our way back from the park and asked "Are you the idiots?" - it's a good thing we were... that sure wouldn't have worked well on anyone else. Apparently she recognized us because we are known to be the parents of Iggy. (ooh, but I hate it when people call themselves the parents of their dog). The owners of Iggy. The walkers of Iggy. The suppliers of Iggy. The harborers of Iggy.

It's been great being famous.

But I'll give you a quick run-down of the latest, so you're caught up on the things that don't involve us being famous. The regular, everyday things that blogs are supposed to be all about:

1: Matthew moonlighted as a freelance insulator.

2: Oscar became fed up with life in the suburbs, and moved into a cardboard box.

3: Iggy, emboldened by Oscar and his street smarts, joined a gang in the 'hood.

4: I did some clay monoprinting while the unfinished side of the barn was still warm from mom firing the kiln.

5: We packed our recycling bin solid (SOLID) with paper trimmings for new copies of old books.

6: I painted a test patch to see how the wall drawing was going to work out at the gallery show.

7: We visited the old(er) folks down in Georgia (Matthew's grandfather "Pop" shown here) (the man can make a mean praline) (in a good way).

8: We killed a plant.

9: We went to Germany.

10: Matthew washed Iggy.

11: Frere Roji made steak for Christmas Eve dinner.

12: We posed for our first lame family portrait in 20 years.

13: We played dominos (frere Roji and frere cherie Tracy pictured).

14: We didn't really go to Germany.

Posted by ribbu at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)

November 20, 2006

Kansas City, Here I Come!

So, I'm in Kansas City. We are here to visit Papa John and Judy for Thanksgiving. Actually, we are here to visit them for pre-Thanksgiving, then on to Denver to visit cousin Katie (just back from a Peace Corps stint in Azerbaijan) for Thanksgiving. But first, while I am in KC, I am attending a training course in Dreamweaver and Fireworks at River City Solutions. Two full days of computer software-o-rama, and I can see how my students must just get technical overload after 2 and a half hours of this stuff in the evening. However, I am learning a lot from Frenetic Bryan who managed to keep things interesting for a full SEVEN HOURS. This is no small accomplishment.

After several full days of manic printing, collating, stapling and gluing to get Vol. II of Idiots'Books out before "vacation", we headed west on Saturday. As usual, we ended up making the 19-hour trip in one pathalogical go. There was a time when we thought we would stop in St. Louis to visit Davey, but once we actually came close enough to seriously consider it, we realized we only would get to see him for about 12 minutes before he had to leave for the show. So, we passed by St. Louis and waved to all the criminals. Anyway. We made it, and now we're here.

Okay - so I learned a lot about dreamweaver and fireworks and now can maybe build a website without losing all my hair. But the coolest thing I learned about was this. It's frickin' awesome. I added it to all of the Idiots'Books pages (incidentally, paypal is now available!) so we can see how many people visit, what they click on, what part of the country they're from, how many times they visit, if they're wearing underwear when they visit, etc etc etc. Now, I already have associated stats for the site bundled through our awesome hosting company but this google thing has PIE CHARTS. There's nothing that makes me feel more official than pie charts. I feel, now, that I could probably attend Harvard Business School and do pretty well. I mean, I've got the pie charts to back me up. That's all they do in business school anyway, right? Supply and demand graphs and all that. Well, actually, it's a little sad right now, because it hasn't updated yet, so I don't actually have the pie charts yet. I just have big 0s everywhere, which is probably exactly what I would see if I did go to Harvard Business School. Well, anyway. I can't wait till tomorrow, when I can check out how everyone has been looking at the site.

FYI, I couldn't figure out how to add the code to this site, so you - in and out of your underwear - are safe for now.

Posted by ribbu at 11:10 PM

November 17, 2006

Almost Famous

Well, I just got off the phone with Crystal, who is in school getting her design/illustration/communication/drawing/art degree - she was interviewing me for a class project. She is a friend of good Jim Shepard's (who, in person, looks much less like a scary badass, though is, in spirit, a scary badass), who gave her my info perhaps in an attempt to flatter me into a free Idiots'Books subscription (free subscription on its way!). We (Crystal and I, not Jim and I) had a very nice chat about being a freelance illustrator, starting your own crazy book project, and everything that comes between. She did an excellent job of making me feel like a seasoned pro, and agreed with everything I said. This made me feel 1. smart and 2. awesome. I liked that.

Crystal had lots of good questions about how to become an illustrator, and I have to say I answered them all like I knew what I was talking about. Frankly, I fell into drawing in so many different ways that it would be foolish to think I had any sound advice to offer (I'm sure this isn't what anyone really wants to hear) (especially Crystal). I have been so lucky to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that have come my way that I go through each day waiting for catastrophe to come knocking, and remind myself, on an almost bi-hourly basis, that when bad shit happens, I'll have to remember that it was because all of the stuff that is happening now is getting me back. I'm in serious karmic debt.

So - anyway. It was nice to talk to someone who so clearly is excited about what I'm doing. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Crystal! I feel like a rock star! I'm gonna buy a Corvette! I'm gonna steal candy from kids! I'm gonna rule Minnesota!

(because, you know, if Jesse the Body can do it, so can I!)

Posted by ribbu at 02:36 PM

November 10, 2006

Johnny on the Spot

So for the final project I assigned for my class, the only requirement I made was that the image contain some sort of layered texture. It can be pulled from photos or scans or whatever, but there needs to be something in there. So far a lot of the work I've had them do in Photoshop has been to make transitions and spaces believable, so I'm trying to get away from the photo manipulation and head more towards the art/collage stuff a la the Rauschenberg lithographs. We'll see what they come up with. So anyway, I thought that just for kicks I would bring the camera out this morning and see if I could find some textures. Texture is one of those things you don't really think about until you're looking for it, and then, of course, it's everywhere. The macro feature on my camera (the best point-and-shoot camera ever that I love so much) is extremely gratifying. I spent a lot of time crawling around on the ground, much to the consternation of the crew team (or some bunch of guys lurking around the boat house potentially stealing long boats on trailers). At any rate, the camera was in hand, and I always forget how much fun I have with the thing.

Here are a couple favorites (the first one is less about texture and more about my dog, but whatever) (actually, come to think of it, the second could be about my dog too - dog's best friend and all...)

But the real coup was this one. Not because it's a good photo, but because of the absolutely spectacular company slogan. I found this one on the side of the lone port-o-potty near the entrance to the park. Classic.

Posted by ribbu at 09:40 AM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2006


This weekend was "Downrigging Weekend" in C-town. A bunch of tall ships arrive en masse, tie up at the docks, and take folks on short sails and dockside tours before bundling up their sails and lines and blocks and flags and various yards and masts for the winter. The Sultana is the only one that winters here in C-town, the rest just come for the festivities and then head off to their respective ports of call. We had the family Westbrook for the day on Saturday and had a lovely time visiting and bearing witness to the fruits of good parenting. More details yonder.

This morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 8:30 (we had a 3:00am lights out last night, probably due to all the amounts of sugar that we ate with the westbrooks) - I had set up my brand new back-up hard drives last night and crossed my fingers that all the backups went well, so couldn't resist the urge to check on them. Of course, I screwed something up and the backup hadn't worked, so I had to figure it all out. By that time, Iggy was hopping up and down on one leg to get me to take her out, so I got dressed and faced the morning. At the last minute, I thought I should grab my sketchbook and see if there was anything good to draw (it's not every day that you have a tall ship tied up in your backyard to draw).

I warmed up on a bench at the park and did a sketch of the pavilion, which is owned by the college and is host to special events and regatta spectators (and, currently, some weird installation that purports to tell me which road to take in the proverbial wood - I have the feeling that the installationist is young, idealistic, and hasn't actually spent much time on any roads in any proverbial woods, but it was a nice thought anyway):

I had let Iggy off the leash and she was very patiently keeping herself busy until Kelly the Schnauzer appeared, and then I had to get up and keep her from trying to convince Kelly to tear herself off the end of her leash and go running. So, the pavilion went unfinished.

On to the docks. The most impressive boat that showed up this weekend was the Kalmar Nyckel. It is just a remarkable hulk of ship. The other night we stopped by to see it, all lit up - the sky was clear and the moon bright behind the snapping flags at the tops of the three masts, and looking at the stars through the unbelievable tangle of lines the thing made the world look like a movie set. I guess it was the nearly-full moon that gave everything that weird blue glow that they use on TV to show that it's nighttime, but life was really imitating art, and it made me feel like my eyes didn't belong to me. That used to happen to me a lot when I was little (no idea why) but it's really disconcerting when you're old enough to try to wonder about it. Anyway. It's just a beautiful ship (and I'm not the type who gets all crazy about boats, either). I started this sketch of the masthead (is that what it's called? oh no, wait, I mean figurehead. Masthead is something else. That goes at the top of a letter? No, that's letterhead. Oh, wait, masthead is the newspaper title head, right? ... checked with dictionary and yes, I've got it all straight now):

Well, it wasn't going well. Iggy was again being very patient - hanging out at the end of her leash, as close as she could to the shore end of the dock. Lots of people were coming by and, though it wasn't their fault that my sketch was sucking, I'd like to think it was. Marc Castelli showed up, which is kind of like Einstein showing up when you're trying to work out a simple multiplication problem. He's the preeminent local internationally renowned artist (you know, like mom), and does a lot of work featuring fishermen and boaters. I love how he does water, but his sketchbooks are the things I really covet. They are just beautiful. So anyway, apparently he sketched the very same figurehead three years ago. Which is like Einstein telling you, "Hey - 15.5x132? It's 2,046, and I just did that in my head." Not that Marc said it like that - he's actually a very cool and unassuming artist - I guess you have to be to have the access to watermen that he does. They don't go for that artsy-fartsy bullshit. So, Marc was going out in a boat with someone from the Sultana (I think) to get some photos of the ships from the water, and they headed off. I lamely finished off the rest of my sketch - the only part I like is that little sailboat in the background.


So then I figured the detail stuff was getting me down, so I headed back to the little boardwalk area and sketched from farther afield. Iggy trotted around at the end of her leash and got a lot of admiration from people passing by on their way to the boats. She got better and better about people petting her, so I'm guessing she still needs some socialization work. Only once did the leash go springing out from under my flank, and that was when she was trying to skitter away from an old fat basset hound who was apparently too intimidating for her. She stuck her nose in my sketchbook a couple times, leaving some muddy streaks (she likes to eat dirt) as evidence. I think it added to the whole je ne sais quoi.

I'm much happier with this one (saved it for last, you know) - though it's really all wrong. But it gets the general sense of things pretty well.

Posted by ribbu at 08:22 PM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2006

Beckett Bonanza

Yesterday evening we took full advantage of our status as college-town residents, and went to a much-anticipated reading of Beckett by Barry McGovern. (Had I known McGovern was in Joe vs. the Volcano, I might have thought twice.) Going to Beckett readings might make it sound like I'm a bit of an intellectual, but there's nothing like going to a Beckett reading to make you really feel like you're not. McGovern had a beautiful voice and did a fantastic performance, but after about ten minutes I noticed I was fiercely frowning and after thirty that my head had turned into a big knot.

It took so much concentration for me to get it that I couldn't just sit back and take it all in, and after 45 minutes was totally exhausted. It didn't help that for the last week and a half I've gotten like 5 hours of sleep every night (this might not be impressive to some of you, but I needs my sleeps!), and there were moments when my eyes fluttered and rolled back into my head, which has GOT to be distracting if you're trying to read Beckett and it's happening 4 rows from front and center in a wee small theater, so I have to apologize to Mr. McGovern for that. If only I were smarter, or better-rested.

But isn't that what they all say?

Posted by ribbu at 09:49 AM

September 11, 2006

Faculty Meeting

Today I had my first faculty meeting. Unlike staff meeting, it was very interesting and entertaining. I guess it goes without saying that professors are good lecturers (or ought to be, anyway) but I have to hand it to the faculty here at WC, they put on a good show. The new dean was my favorite, I could just listen to him talk numbers all day. Seriously. He's damn good at it. There were also new faculty introductions to be made, and I had to stand and wave to everyone. Not for very long, but it came at a moment when I wasn't expecting it, so I ended up waving my sketchbook instead of my hand, which, I suppose, could be seen as unprofessional. Luckily, it was a forgiving bunch.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing (to me, anyway) about entering into this circle of academia (however tenuously (or tenure-ously?) (or, rather, non-tenure-ously) it may be) is how little I was previously aware that faculty are, like, real live human beings. I thought this would be a dry, stifled, uninspiring bureaucratic event, but these people were almost downright rowdy. And funny! And loveable! Even the registrar! Perhaps this is unique to WC, but I tell you, I had some battles with the registrar when I was in school. There was a great deal of affection for everyone in the room, and though I imagine there must surely be a lot of politics that goes on that I'm not aware of, it was a really nice community to feel (marginally) a part of. To celebrate, I doodled a little bit.

Afterwards there was a great feast at the president's house, which was so yummilicious I got two heaping helpings of desserts, and embarrassed the whole art department with my gluttony. The president sat at our table and turned out to be a very nice man. After meeting him at the all-campus picnic and asking him weird questions about what it's like to live in a house that belongs to someone else, I'm glad to have re-established myself as the person who eats twelve desserts instead of the person who asks weird questions about your house.

Sometimes it's nice to be human. It's a pretty good excuse for being an idiot.

Posted by ribbu at 09:54 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2006

Where Have I Been All Your Life?

Once again, I am feeling neglectful of this blog. You might be saying to yourselves, "Why yes, that is true. You are one neglectful sonuvagun." So I'm tippedy-tapping away to ease my conscience. Classes have officially started at W.C., where I will be teaching digital imaging on wednesday nights. They are still setting up the lab and are trying to comfort me every step of the way by saying "You're breaking new ground here - there will be lots of things that go wrong, but that's because you're entering into unknown territory." I find it not comforting in the least. However, I'm not actually terribly worried (except for the minor problem that my students are going to have to draw straws for computers - we are three short at the moment) - I think the IT folks are pretty capable and so far have been very helpful and accomodating. I've certainly met much worse IT folks.

So, I've put together my syllabus, and figured out what the projects are going to be about, but haven't planned too far beyond my first class. I have to sort of see where people are, too. I find that in putting together my class plan, I am forced to take an ungodly number of screen shots. Perhaps I should have just taught from Classroom in a Book.

Anyway. The most drawing I've done recently was this:

...which I put as a header on my syllabus and various handouts. And, I mostly only drew it because my brain was going all woggly from trying to think about what kinds of projects I would be assigning, and I decided to kill some time playing with illustrator. It doesn't particularly make my handouts any more exciting.

We went to the all-campus picnic yesterday and hung out with the other folks in the department. It was nice. It's actually sort of funny and gratifying to realize that professors are just people. They get nervous before their first classes, they feel bad for not remembering people's names, they don't always know what they're doing, they have to go to the bathroom sometimes, etc. I remember once being in high school and seeing a teacher come out of a stall in the bathroom, and being like, "What are you doing here?" It hadn't occurred to me that they sometimes can't make it all the way down to the faculty lounge because they've really gotta go. So, that'll be me. If you see me coming out of the bathroom, yep, I did it. I'm not superhuman after all.

Posted by ribbu at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

August 17, 2006

Miz Tracy

Today I went to the doctor. I hadn't been in a while, but my real-world health insurance is running out, so I thought I'd better make the most of it before the joys of freelancing and skimping on health care. The nurse who tended to me was named Miz Tracy. In the course of our whirlwind 5-minutes-at-most interaction, she called me all of the following: Miz Robbi, sweetie, sweetheart, lovebug, darlin', baby, baby girl, sugar, and - best of all - littlebutt.

I love Miz Tracy.

Posted by ribbu at 08:25 PM

July 24, 2006

I'm Back!

Well, Hello again, everyone! I'm back!
Here's the deali-o:
Returned from the annual fish kill on Thursday.
Packed on Friday.
Moving, phase one on Saturday (weather: hot)
Moving, phase two on Sunday (weather: hot)
Moving, phase three on Monday (weather: damn hot)
Moving, phase four on Tuesday (weather: crazy frickin hot)
Remembering that I have to go to a wedding and wear clothes late Tuesday night and realizing that I packed all of my clothes in Moving, Phases 1-4.
Running around like mad through TJMaxx and Target at 9:30PM. It was much like my favorite gameshow, Supermarket Sweep.
Clothes purchased in record time as store doors close, lights flicker off.
Packing last bits on Wednesday.
House settlement Wednesday 3PM.
Drive to western Massachusetts Wednesday 4PM.
Early-morning wedding hike, Thursday 8:30AM (this is what happens when people get married in western Massachusetts, they get all nature-nutty).
Wedding & etc, Thursday 4PM.
Post-wedding brunch Friday 9AM.
Drive to Lake George Friday noon.
Hike to Jabe's Pond Saturday morning.
Iggy learns how to swim Saturday noon.
Torrential rain and thunderstorms Saturday 12:01PM.
Return hike in torrential rain and thunderstorms.
Torrential rain and thunderstorms become good cause to sit around watching Shackelton and House while solving interminable jigsaw puzzle.
Rise early to return to western Mass. for "board meeting" Sunday morning.
Board meeting for matthew becomes bored meeting for robbi (4 hours).
Drive to new sublet in Baltimore (stopping at Home Depot in Wilkes-Barre on the way to purchase paint for barn interior renovations).
Receive email requesting illustration services for new NYTimes article.
(also about airplane travel - it must be my new genre)
Leave for c-town monday morning.
Car keeps stalling.
Trade cars with matthew to make it over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge without getting rear-ended.
Set up computer in c-town.
Write long blog entry.
Start painting barn interior.

So, that's the whashizzle for the time being. And, according to this, I should already be over at the barn painting, so I will go do that.

Roughs for NYT are due wednesday. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by ribbu at 02:04 PM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2006

Get a [Garbage]Load of This!

So, I'm driving home from work and for some reason get stuck behind a garbage truck. Don't ask me why they were collecting garbage at 6:30pm, but clearly this guy wasn't a professional. Because, guess what - he's pulling out from the curb and chucks a piece of trash out the window. He's sitting inside a ten-ton truck FULL of garbage and throws it out the window. Maybe it's my communist sensibilities, but that just seems like shooting yourself (or your comrade) in the foot. I couldn't believe it.

If the garbage guy doesn't care about littering, then who really does???

Not me, that's for sure. I followed suit by throwing all my clothes out the window. Vive la resistance!

Posted by ribbu at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2006



This is the best. If you read it somewhere, it must be true.

Posted by ribbu at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)

March 30, 2006


In case any of you thought that I might be one of those crafty illustrator types, then I'd like to disabuse you of the notion before you start imagining me in my sewing studio making aprons or whatever. I am not crafty. I wish I were. I really, really wish I were. But I don't have the patience. I don't like to plan. So, this is the sort of "sewing" I do:



Iggy's well-loved blanket has gotten so torn up from her early chewing days (hopefully on their way out) that we haven't been able to wash it for a long (too long) time, for fear that all the stuffing will come out, get wadded in the drain of the washing machine, flood the basement, cause an electrical meltdown, and burn down the house. Tonight, it finally became necessary to patch the darn thing up so we could throw it in the wash.

I got into a fit of hysterics, because I accidentally got a bunch of fabric from a different part of the blanket stuck in the machine and ended up sewing a gigantic wad of the blanket together. In the picture below, see how blanket does not hang nicely as it should, but instead looks like it's tied in a big knot. Also, notice how vile it smells (Matthew) and yet how delicious (Iggy):


Posted by ribbu at 11:10 PM

March 26, 2006


Posted by ribbu at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2006


That stupid ass who ran into our car has the nerve to not only claim that it was our fault, but also that he wasn't in a turn only lane, that we ran into him, and that he is now INJURED. What a load of crap. I'm so mad that we didn't get his passenger's statement or contact info or anything. You just think that people are going to tell the truth. Or at least not totally lie like a mother. Bastard. See why I hate people?

And I can't even move to f-ing south dakota now, on principle. Where the hell else is there to avoid humanity???

Kingman Reef
, here I come.

Posted by ribbu at 04:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2006

The Real Artist in the Family

So, a couple weeks ago Mom had a flower arrangement installation in a gallery in C-town. It looked fantastic - these pix don't really do it justice. It was in conjunction with Anne Massoni's Fairytale Princess series - nice stuff, I love how she hung it (hanged it?).
Anyway, the gallery looked great - the arrangements were simple branch arrangements, but the effect of moving through the trees to look at the photos was really magical. I felt like a Fairytale Princess (but really, what's new).

Oh, and BTW...

Is my mom not the cutest?

Pop-in-law, Big Bob and Mama-san with me and the Iggler on the C-town dock. Matthew's lurking presence below.

Posted by ribbu at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2006

Snow Day






Posted by ribbu at 08:21 PM

January 11, 2006

Where he's at


This is where the man's at.

He's on his way home, though, thank Jehovah.

Posted by ribbu at 03:05 PM | Comments (2)