Sunday, June 29, 2008

Loot the joint

I moved out of my apartment Saturday, and due to my l'il Saturn's spacial limitations I left behind a ton of stuff. I also left the door unlocked, so if you want a souvenir of the Aaron in B'ham years, quick, drop by before Tuesday when my rental period expires and take anything you want. A lot of junk, but some good stuff too. Bring a truck and you could drive off with some furniture. Plenty of books too. Get it before Goodwill or my realtor does!

The front door is always locked but often propped open. 3903-A Clairmont ave.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Con, Man

Sorry it's been so long between posts. I'm moving, I'm trying to get a job in NC, and I'm writing this in V. Richards, which is continuing its proud tradition of neither knowing nor caring how to turn its alleged wireless on, so who knows when I'll get to post this (my omelet is yummy though). I'm back in the 'Ham as I write this, trying to sell a bed and take care of those last few details.

Anyway, the comics con involved me meeting Jaime Hernandez, Tom Spurgeon, Colleen Doran, and a slew of artcomix movers and shakers. Jaime was particularly approachable, and I am now the proud owner of a sketch of his main character, Maggie (Maybe I'll scan it later for your enjoyment. More likely I'll just take a badly lit photo of it and post that).

Here's the story of the sketch... Laurie told me that an old friend of hers was a big Jaime Hernandez/Love & Rockets fan, and always tried to do her hair like Maggie's from the comic. So we got Jaime to draw Maggie doing her hair. I
I just about busted out crying, to see Jaime Hernandez drawing for me. For a lousy $20! His sign read
(quoting from memory):

"quick sketches: free

nice pencil sketches: $20

Other people's characters: $40

Johnny Ryan's characters: We Pay You"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Exit, Stage Left Even

This is my last Blogpost from my workplace of six years. Hello to Donna in case you do manage to look this thing up!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Final Weekend

Highlights of my final weekend as a resident in Birmingham (Generously extending the Weekend to Thursday to snag The Music Man):

Spending it with my girlfriend.

Getting all my belongings packed or donated to Goodwill.

Seeing musical theatre (Center Stage's production of the aforementioned Music Man) and straight (so to speak) theatre (Torch Song Trilogy). How apropos to close out with both flavors of theatre... and both shows had plenty of my friends and acquaintances in it, so yay!

Seeing Andy and Tommy's revised digs. I have bathroom envy.

Getting to holla at several key readers of this here blog (although I was a bit out of focus for reasons which will become clear in the final item)

Cutting off a Hummer, which has the same effect on me that owning a Hummer has on people who own Hummers; a totally stupid lizard-brain affirmation of one's dubious manhood. My approach is cheaper, if more dangerous.

Getting salmonella or something, vomiting three times in eight hours, and driving my girlfriend to the airport. Wait, that was a lowlight.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mechanical elephants and sissy aprons-together at last.

The people have spoken, and they demand Sissy Apron. A few months ago I made fleeting mention of aprons and sissies, and that fleeting reference to a charmingly odd fetish has pulled in the Google searchers in a way that, say, yakking about Birmingham Alabama theatre doesn't. I feel a bit sorry that I don't really have anything to offer the sissy apron crowd. Someone suggested I write smutty stories on my blog, but since I mostly blog on the clock I suspect I'm pushing it as far as I dare already.

Speaking of Google, I recently remembered a children's book I once read about two children who drove a mechanical elephant around. I Googled "Mechanical-elephant children's book" and got a bazillion references, none of which were about the book I was looking for. Mechanical elephants would appear to be one of those topics that you could go your whole life without considering, yet which are lurking just around a lot of corners.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You say sal-mon-ay-la, I say sal-mon-al-a

I'm listening to the unfortunately-named Julie Jargon on NPR telling us about the salmonella-tomatoes outbreak. McDonald's has removed the 'maters from their burgers. Now the only nutritious part of the Big Mac is no longer part of the Big Mac. Is this a harbinger of things to come?

I had tomatoes last night and intend to buy and eat some raw locally, organically grown 'maters tonight. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Locally grown stuff is yummier than stuff that's been sitting on a truck for hours anyway.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Color Plates

I've been browsing the net for good scans of art by fave painters, and it turns out there aren't many. Lots of lousy scans, though.

I once saw a Renoir live in a museum (don't remember the title, but the subject was an outdoor lunch party) and was astonished by how alive it was in person. I'd seen reproductions that looked fine but couldn't communicate the way the light bounced off the paint in such a way as to give the image a magical appearance of life. The figures seemed to breathe. I'd always liked Renoir before, but I'd never realized how magnificent he really is. Some art loses in reproduction.

Over the weekend I perused a book about commercial artists, and I realized their stuff is created to be reproduced, so it usually is created with an eye towards how certain colors and textures will look after being photographed and printed, while gallery art ought to be seen live. It's not often that one gets to see great works live, depending on where one lives... before reproductions, people had to actually go to Rome or wherever to gaze upon great works... if you were an artist you had to hoof it all over the place to get a full-flavored education about your medium. Nowadays we like to think we can thumb through a few good books of reproductions to get the same education, but Renoir showed me that that we can't put too much faith in those glossy plates...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Barbs

I'm posting from the library, just like a homeless person.

Anyway, for a couple months I worked as a security guard at a Barbie warehouse. A friend of mine who worked in the same warehouse and I became interested in catalogues of older Barbies, and would stand around discussing our fave Holiday Barbies, much to the bemusement of grizzled truck drivers. One mid-Nineties Holiday Barbie design was my standout favorite. Anyway, I just perused a library book about Barbie dolls which included all the Holiday Barbies, and I couldn't recall which had been my favorite. They all look fine to me now.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Conan the Suicide

The other day I was reading Horror: 100 Best Books, a collection of short reviews by horror writers and buffs, and one of them jarred me. It was nominally about a satirical novel by James Branch Cabell, but was mostly a gonzo misogynist rant in which the author described himself as a feminine reader while scorning both women and "masculine" readers. He decries women for tying men to their apron strings, saying (paraphrasing from memory) "Thank the Adversary there is nothing about me to attract a woman."

Turns out this essay was written by Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian. According to some biographical info I found, he was a fat bookish kid in a cow-town where fat bookish kids weren't held in high regard. His primary gigs in life were:

1. taking care of his ailing mother, and

2. writing armchair-macho fantasies about brawny guys who don't get picked on by cow-town bullies or have to take care of their sick mommies, being too busy smashing evil wizards and having their way with beautiful women.

When Howard's mother fell into a coma from which the doctor said she'd never recover, Howard shot himself (he stopped by the typewriter to write a poem first). He died at the age of 30.

Another thing Howard rails on in his essay: writers whose stock in trade is ambiguity. He doesn't name names, but claims that Cabell writes clearly, while too many modern writers try to conceal their ignorance by confusing readers. Was he talking about the whole James Joyce kind of Modernist thing? Not liking James Joyce is no sin, but I get the impression that Howard wasted a lot of psychic energy on trying to stave off and deny the complexity and ambiguity of life. Maybe if he'd embraced the Modernist fascination with ambiguity and complexity, instead of constructing a worldview in which everyone's roles in life are predetermined and ambiguity is represented as evil sorcery, he would have understood how much opportunity he had to recreate and redefine his life. And he wouldn't have shot himself.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How Do You Do?

There's an old-time radio comic named Bert Gordon, better known as The Mad Russian, who would show up and say his tag line, "How do you do?," which seems like the lamest tagline in history if you only read it, but it works on the air; you can practically see his googly eyes popping wildly out of his skull as he says it. I dunno if Gordon had googly eyes, but he certainly sounds as if he did.

I have a dabbler's interest in old-time radio (or OTR as the hardcore fans call it) and I found out about the guy because The Mad Russian is a frequent guest on other comics' shows. It's obvious that he was familiar to audiences, cuz whenever they hear that "How do you do?" they go bananas, cheering and applauding. And rightly so, cuz The Mad Russian is one of the funniest comics I've ever heard. He livens up dull shows and takes good ones into the stratosphere. He's anarchic, surreal and frantic in a way many comics aspire to be.

Today he seems to be all but forgotten. He doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. Every porn star who ever lived has a Wikipedia entry, but not The Mad Russian.

Today there's a celebrity hypnotherapist who bills himself as The Mad Russian, and Google finds him all over the place, but Bert Gordon languishes. Too bad. Try to find some Mad Russian recordings; his rediscovery is overdue.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The final month

I just gave notice to my realtor that July will be my last month in the apartment I've dwelt in since the pre-Lewinsky era. I've moved most of my stuff to Laurie's lovely mill house in NC, but I look around my apartment and wonder how I'm going to get all this stuff moved or removed. I'm gonna have to give away some stuff that's useful but not worth moving. From toilet paper spools to cheap TV and a nice but replaceable chair and ottoman, gotta get rid of 'em.

Selling a bed too. I'll miss my lovely mattress, but it's too small for two and I don't wanna move it.