Thanksgiving week has been pretty lively. Both of my sons are in town for the holidays; that makes me happy and my wife ecstatic. She typically begins buying and preparing all of their favorite foods and meals in anticipation of their arrival. When the boys (young men) are home, she’s at her happiest.
Earlier this week I auditioned for an on-camera role (as opposed to my usual behind-the-scenes design work) on a TV show. I felt very good about the audition, but as any actor can tell you, one never knows. Nevertheless, I heard back from the producers the following day that they loved what I did and that I should get ready to shoot the pilot in a couple of weeks. More than that I’m afraid I can’t tell you at the moment…
I also got incredibly good news about the first two volumes of a three volume book set I’m working on. More about that later…
That all put me in a great mood for Thanksgiving. It was at my brother John’s house this year. I love getting together with my mom and three brothers (although this year only John could make it).
My favorite thing is making them laugh, my goal being to get them to laugh so hard that no sound is coming out. I especially love doing this to my mom; she’s such a good sport. She is an amazing woman who, despite a very hard life, still retains the youthful spirit and optimism of a teenager.
My son Andy and his recent bride Amy made three different tubs of homemade ice cream to share at Thanksgiving. No vanilla, strawberry or chocolate for them; instead they chose to make oatmeal, honey-rosemary and white chocolate-lavender ice cream.
I had an idea after dinner that my brother John readily agreed to. We prepared a special dish of Andy’s ice cream for my mom, telling her we wanted her to be the first to taste it and report to the family how good it was. I gave her a little bowl with a fresh scoop — of mashed potatoes (I remembered that mashed potatoes are often used as stand-ins for photo shoots of ice cream — otherwise the hot lights would melt the ice cream by the time it was properly lit). My mom took a big spoonful and took a bite. Her expression was priceless. Then, her being my mom, she passed it to my son James to try.
John and I got a double bang for our practical joke buck!
My rock ‘n’ roll nephew Michael had never seen “Still Crazy” (see my previous “Pirate Radio” blog) so he and I and John’s guitar playing brother-in-law Steve all watched it while Andy and the rest of the family played some of the games that Andy had brought for the occasion. I just never get tired of that movie! Andy and James also gave their cousin Dalton tips on his college application essays. Dalton is really smart and very funny to boot; the university that accepts him will find themselves to be extremely lucky indeed!
I talked to Andy about the Robert Crumb lecture he attended at UCLA (I was in Montreal seeing the Waterhouse exhibition, otherwise I’d have been there, too). I had heard that Robert was “cranky” that night he was there to elaborate upon his most recent endeavor, illustrating the Bible’s Book of Genesis (whose original pages are currently on display next to UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum). Andy explained why: the audience, despite paying eighty bucks a head, behaved like animals (no offense to my furry friends; it’s just an expression), asking unbelievably rude and insensitive questions (“Hey, why do you think your brother killed himself?”), interrupting their fellow questioners (and Robert) by shouting out questions over what was being asked and answered. One guy even used the occasion to stand up, grab the microphone and make a pitch for his porn site!
I e-mailed Robert an apology on behalf of Los Angeles, explaining we’re not all Neanderthals in this city, despite his UCLA experience. If he never leaves France again, I’ll understand why.
Whatever happened to manners?
I still hear ignorant people smugly mock the South but I have to tell you that I’ve found the southern United States to be the last place in this country where, overall, people still have manners. It also seems to be the last place in America where people as a whole still read. Traditions are still strong in the South and the South has a very strong literary tradition. That’s why the emphasis at Dragon*Con, the biggest sci-fi/fantasy convention in the South (and perhaps the biggest nationwide except for Comic-Con International) is on the writers of those genres and not the artists (like other shows). Dragon*Con is only major convention I know of that’s like that.
Today’s Black Friday. No, I’m not going out shopping. Instead, I’m working on a commission for a wonderfully enthusiastic and loyal (and patient!) fan/colleague up in British Columbia. I’m going to put on some new music my son Andy brought me and paint away.
Last night my son James figured out how to connect an old Sega Saturn machine I picked up on Ebay. He got it working just fine. I hope to relax a little later with the Sega game Nights Into Dreams. Although I’m not really into video games and the graphics of the game are crude by today’s standards, I just love that game’s visuals, especially the psychedelic worlds of the bosses/villains.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!