Monday, May 30, 2016

Swim Day in Orange County (Summer - Day 13)

Thirteen has been my lucky number ever since Mack was born on Friday the 13th. Emily was born on Halloween, the 31st -- 13 in reverse. So, it's not surprising when thirteen-centric days are met with happiness. My thirteenth day of summer was a happy one because it was so simple. No work. No school. No errands.

We drove to our Orange County friends and hung out all day. Cheri went with her friends to see a movie and have lunch/dinner. Joshua, Joel, and I watched the kids, talked shop, ate pizza, and swam in the pool. We went to Islands for dinner, so now I'm full of cheddar fries.

Duck Town still looms, waiting to be complete. But today was fun and relaxing. 

Comics Assemble! (Summer - Day 12)

I have probably created my graphic novel in the most backwards way possible...

Keep in mind, I'm not technologically savvy. I'm still in 1990s mode -- which explains why I still like to blog. I've seen Facebook and Instagram feeds of illustrators creating their works on iPads and Wacom Tablets, but here I am using good old fashioned pencil, paper, and ink. Then, phase two, was a good old computer scanner. But sometimes my drawings were so big, they didn't fit on the scanner.

But the most backwards phase so far has been trying to organize the individual images into the panels. It's been a fun challenge to say the least.

So, I was able to work on that, and finish Chapter Four. That means we still have eight more chapters to be assembled into Photoshop. I foolishly thought I would be done before June. Now the race is on to finish before July.

What else did we do today? Cheri and Mackenzie went to the second performance (sunday matinee) of Hello Dolly! Emily and I brought some goodies from Costco, as well as Stonefire Grill. She and I had an exciting psychic in the car. Emily was trying to get me to harmonize a Capella the Imagine Dragons song, Demons. I tried and failed several times, and she playfully scowled at me, then decided to turn on the radio so she didn't need to hear my out of tune crooning. GUess what song was playing on the radio? Demons. WHOA!

The cast and crew for Hello Dolly celebrated on the patio. Food was enjoyed by all, unless you arrived late. Mackenzie went out with some theater friends to see the new Alice movie. It's strange that the girls are getting old enough to go out without mom and dad.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cheri and Rena's "Hello Dolly!" (Summer Day 11)

Much of today was spent going back and forth to the Canyon Theatre Guild. Cheri and Rena (she's the co-director of the show) were busy putting the final touches on the set. Sam Novak stayed up until four in the morning finishing the backdrops, and they look marvelous. The downside was the little bit of paint splatter on the stage. So that called for more black paint! President Doug Holiday was also on hand, helping up post some diner signs to an otherwise blank wall. Things are looking good!

Mackenzie also had some last minute lighting problems. But eventually, everything was fixed -- for the most part.We even returned home for a few hours in the afternoon. We walked the dogs, and I worked in Photoshop, assembling six pages of Chapter Four.

We were back at the theater at 6:30 -- and the show began on schedule at 8pm. We had a large crowd too. Not sold out, but at least 85% full I'd say.

Everyone involved deserves many paragraphs of praise written about each of them. But since I don't yet have the time or the energy, let me just say that Cheri and Rena knocked this one out of the proverbial ballpark. The whole cast and crew did. Everyone took things up two notches and the audience was with them the whole way. Emily sat next to me during the show (we were third row center, so awesome seats) and she kept whispering things like, "That's so cute! That's so funny! I love that so much!" If you can make a musical that is beloved by senior citizens and teenagers, you've created something pretty amazing. But what else would you expect from an amazing woman like Cheri?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Phase Two Complete! (Summer - Day Ten)

The scans are finished! (With the exception of the final page. I want that image to be the last thing I illustrate/ink/scan/edit -- to give me a sense of completion. (You know, as if I'm not going to need to do multiple drafts on this baby.)

May 27th was the day I made the most progress in a single day. It started out with a bunch of other errands -- going back and forth to help with the set of Hello Dolly! -- all the while taking the girls to their classes. But once the ladies left for dress rehearsal, I got down to business. I must have scanned over a hundred images. Stayed up till 2pm, diligently walking back and forth between the keyboard and the scanner, all the while listening to the audiobook of Stephen King's 11/22/63.

Here's a sneak peek at one of the action sequences in Duck Town. Our heroes jumped into a canal to get away from a villainous gang of rats. But then Penny (the chick who thinks she's a princess) starts to float down the drain...

Well, now it's time to move to Phase Three. Operation Photoshop!

Friday, May 27, 2016

New Projects: Coach Ted and Radio Play (Summer Day Nine)

Our errands for today:

  • Took daughter to her art class (she's an assistant teacher!)
  • The Bradford Family swept and painted the stage (more Hello Dolly! stuff)
  • Family lunch at Fresh Works. 
  • Walked the dogs. 
  • Returned stuff at Home Depot.
  • Picked up some Mic tape at CVS.
  • Quick run to Trader Joe's. 
We hadn't been to fresh works for a long time. They have a new soda machine by a company I've never heard of... and I really liked it. Plus, at least according to their signage, there's no high fructose corn syrup -- so it almost seems healthy! (Seems being the operative word.) 

I think it's an off-shoot of Pepsi (which I loathe), but these drinks were good. Really liked the Cream Soda. 

Wow, I just realized how suburban I am, droning on about a new carbonated beverage in the neighborhood. 

Anyway, I only scanned a few more images of Duck Town this evening. Most of my creative time was working on a new play idea. I'm tentatively calling it Coach Ted for now. It's unusual -- it gets a bit out of my comfort zone, which is good for a writer. 

Chris (from Bullshot Crummond) and I have tasked ourselves with an ambitious endeavor. We want to create a script by the end of the summer that might be performed with Randy and other CTG alum. We met at Barnes and Nobel tonight to brainstorm another idea -- one that will probably turn out to be the script we use because it has a lot of potential, and seems more mainstream/user-friendly. This one is based upon old time radio shows. That's all I'll say -- I never want to give away any spoilers on my blog. But whether or not these projects come to life, it's already fun just collaborating.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Balancing Errands and Creative Time (Summer - Day Eight)

More progress today with Duck Town. I scanned in the rest of Chapter Seven and got started on Chapter Eight. Unfortunately, I found four more pages that needed to be inked! Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

In between creative tasks, I still had a lot of errands to run. Here was my itinerary:

  • Daughter #2 to biology class.
  • Daughter #1 to assist teacher in rocket science class.
  • Walk the dogs.
  • Picked up Daughter #1 from college.
  • Took Daughters to Martial Arts. 
  • Took daughters to the theater.
  • Helped backstage during Hello Dolly rehearsal. 
Yes, as Calvin and Hobbes say, the days are packed. I do wish that I had the time and energy to finish my graphic novel before May draws to a close.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting Unstuck (Summer - Day Seven)

As you can tell, I've been blogging on a more regular basis again. So far, it feels like I'm just keeping track of mundane events. For example, today (May 24th) I spent a lot of time running errands:

  • Grocery Store Trip (for Cheri's cauliflower crumbles)
  • Picked up daughter from school
  • Took daughter to dental appointment (she scored 100% on brushing techniques!)
  • Dropped off both daughter at karate.
  • Hardware Store Trip (for a big bucket of black paint)
I probably managed to carve an hour or two of Duck Town scans. Emily and I helped backstage at Hello Dolly! The show is coming along swimmingly.

I should be working on a script scene for the Big Sandwich Theater Company -- but the words are a bit stuck. I'm hoping that journaling / blogging will get me unstuck, but so far I haven't generated anything I'm happy about.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Done with Inking? HA! (Summer - Day Six)

Did I mention last blog post that I thought I was finished with the inking process? I thought wrong.

Today, while making good progress scanning images, I stumbled upon about twenty five penciled pages without a drop of ink upon them. So, that meant scanning screeched to a halt and I went to work with my ink brush.

During my office time, when it doesn't bother anyone else, I've been listening to a book on tape: Stephen King's 11/22/63. I'm halfway through and enjoying it immensely.

I've been returning to my New Year's Resolution to take more photos. But I'm rather incompetent with technology and photography. (I'm using Emily's old iPod touch.) Haven't been able to mail the images to myself, yet, otherwise I would post some in this blog.

As the inking process simmered down, Emily suggested that we watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I couldn't resist. And since I was watching one of my favorite movies, I couldn't resist making popcorn and eating Red Vines. I had hoped to follow Cheri's lead on a healthy lifestyle -- but once ten o'clock rolls around, it's hard to listen to the nutritionist angel on your shoulder.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Set Construction by Day, Duck Town by Night (Summer 2016 - Day Five)

Started off by sleeping in until 9am -- which makes me feel like I'm wasting my summer. The best time during the summer (especially when it's scorching hot) is between 6:30 and 10:30am. So I really need to make sure I get an early start each day.

I had hoped to scan as many images of Duck Town as possible. (For the record, the drawing and inking portion is done -- now I need to scan and edit about 60% of the graphic novel.) However, Cheri needed help with a prop chicken. So, I did my best to make one for her. It looks good for a Muppet production, but I don't know if it'll work for Hello Dolly.

Once I was at the theater there was no going back. There were props to make and walls to paint. I left Kenzie and Cheri at around 6:30 -- picked up some take-out at Stonefire Grill -- and then journeyed home to feed Emily. She was productive today. She cleaned her room!

From 7:30 until midnight, I was able to focus on Duck Town. Chapter four and chapter five are now scanned.

I've been listening to a lot of Prince. Last night I listened to one of my personal favorites: Diamonds and Pearls. I miss that mad, wonderful genius.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

All Busy, No Business (Summer 2016 - Day Four)

It was one of those days. lots of stuff to do, but not much gets done. At least not much creative stuff.

Cheri was productive, though. She woke up at 7am, then she woke me up two hours later. I went to Costco for snacks, then to Target to get some presents for one of the karate kid's birthday party. Back at home, I straightened my office for a half hour. Then Em and I went to pick up Mackenzie from the theater (she was finishing up her lighting design).

Then I dropped them off at the birthday party, went home, delivered Cheri's ipad to Nanook (the sound designer), went back home, picked up the girls from the party, went back home, took Mackenzie back to the theater, helped her take down the scaffolding, then TimBen and Mike Smith were unloading stuff from the annex and loading up stuff to be trashed -- so I helped them for a coupke of hours. Came home, went to In-N-Out for Emily and me... Went home, consumed burgers. we started to walk the dogs but then we found a stray cat that needed help finding its home.

Em escorted the cat to its human family. Then we walked the dogs. Then I took the girls to ColdStone. Mackenzie hasn't had ice cream for about eight months, and she decided to treat herself.

So a lot of transportation and busy-body stuff, but I didn't find the time to work on Duck Town.

Still, it's not all bad. Mackenzie picked out Singin in the Rain, and so we're watching that now.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Disney Day!!! (Summer 2016 - Day Three)

We got Disneyland passes a month ago.

I have mixed feelings about this. Cheri and I used to work at Disneyland, and I have mostly good memories of my two-year stint as a cast-member (with the exception of angry dads on vacation -- they are the worst!)

I also admit that like most little kids, my 6-year old self was obsessed with getting to Disneyland. And when my parents took me there it was the fulfillment of countless childhood dreams.

That said, Disneyland has just gotten too damn busy. Too many people. Too much crowd not enough magic.

Still, I am enjoying spending time with the girls -- even if it is waiting in line. (And if it's the Indiana Jones line, who cares if you're waiting, the line itself is one of the coolest places at D-Land!)

Cheri stayed home so she could work on the show. (She's co-directing Hello Dolly!)

Before journeying to the Magic Kingdom, I took care of a few projects -- mainly registering the girls for fall semester. Speaking of college, both girls have made great strides this week. Emily earned 100% on a history essay. Mackenzie scored well on her ACT, without even prepping for the test! They definitely got their intelligence from their mother!

Summer 2016 - Day Two

Woke up at 6:30 am -- no alarm clock, just my body thinking that I need to go to work -- even though my summer break has begun.

I wrote and revised until 10am. Sent off a draft of the picture book to the agency. By 10:30am it was sent to the publisher. Things are happening fast! Which is funny, since I haven't come up with a decent picture book idea throughout the whole school year. As soon as the semester is over -- BAM! -- a good idea does a crash landing in my brain.

Cheri and I have been walking the dogs everyday for about six months now. Today was no exception.

The morning was pleasant because I didn't remember... I didn't remember I had a dental appointment today! Cheri reminded me in the afternoon -- so I got to have a filling from Dr. Brian. As luck would have it, his dental assistant knows Brendan at Vet Clinic. Go figure.

Chris Flowers and I went to a Chicago Deli. We shared our outlines of the different play ideas. Chris outlined five different projects. I had only the one. We watched the girls play dodgeball. I took them home, but was uncharacteristically cranky when I found out I was supposed to take Kenzie to rehearsal. I didn't want to be late for the world premiere.

That's right, my one-act comedy-drama... STRANGERS.

Not sure how the audience felt about it, but it worked for me. Lots of theater folks were there (probably to see Shawnee Badger -- but I felt supported by my friends, nonetheless).

I almost ran over a bunny rabbit. I came charging at the Prius! Fortunately, when I looked around the car, there wasn't a rabbit in sight. I think it was a phantom bunny.

Summer 2016 - Day One

Maybe if I keep track of these days of freedom they will last longer...

Although, the first day of summer vacation wasn't exactly free. I had a honey-do list to take care of... Took the kids to college and karate classes.

Cheri and I took the dogs to get digestible flea pills. Fun, fun, fun. Brendan -- one of the employees at TAGS scolded me because I let Chase meet another dog and, "if two dogs get caught in their leashes, no matter how friendly they are, it can turn ugly - just food for thought." He's a nice enough guy, but he shames me as a dog owner every other visit.

Oh, yesterday I finished inking Ducktown. Now it's all about scanning and photoshop.

Today was not about creative stuff. It was about the honey-do list. (Like signing Mackenzie up for her Space Camp.)

Emily had an academic triumph. 100% on her history essay (a comparative analysis of Episode Three of Roots.)

Prince has been dead for almost a month, so I've been slowing going through his catalog, honoring him in my own pathetic way, and thoroughly enjoying listening to his earlier work (I actually didn't became a fan until the early 90s).

I stopped by the theater to drop of the Hello Dolly lighting designer (Mackenzie) gave a kiss to the director (Cheri) and play a couple improv games with the improv impressario (Pat Mannion).

Around 10pm I noticed an email from my agent (who is on maternity leave). A publisher is looking for a winter themed picture book... I have a couple old drafts that might be a good match. That night, I dream of snow in the summertime.