Home Notes

Things I found mildly disturbing during my trip home to SC:
The old lady at the Starbucks in the Ohio/Kentucky Airport. Now picture this... Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies, except without a single tooth in her head. Now imagine her ordering a Grande Caramel Machiatto with soy milk. But try to to say like she did... "Grand-ee Car Mel Mack-ee-at-oh wit so-ah meelk." It made my head hurt to see.

Things I found mildly disturbing during my trip home to SC:
Being able to walk into a convenience store and find boiled peanuts, hot or cold, available for sale.

Ahh... at least somethings don't change.

Murry Christmas Ya'll!!

Christmas 2007! I'm tempted to write something in the vein of a "family newsletter" type entry here, we've spent the day reading Kid Flash's family ones and regaling in the tales of "button bucks" that got shot and bake sales that were attended, but I don't think I could ever match the sheer brilliance of them, so I won't try.

KF let me be in charge of the Christmas tree this year, after much discussion we decided on birds and snow as the theme decor, and this was the result. It's a fetching tree don't you think? I bought new lights this year since I wanted white lights and all he had were colored ones. I got the LED kind, they are supposed to be safer, less fire hazards, brighter, and they used something like 95% less electricity. They are a little odd though, the color is bluer than incandescent bulbs, and they seem more pinpoint-y if that makes sense... less spread on the lights. Better for the environment though, and that's what matters.

This was my haul from the friends this year (1) an X-Men sticker book, (2) The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, (3) some romance manga, (4) the Marvel Comics Guide to New York, (5) a stripy pink shirt, (6) some collapsible reusable grocery bags, (7) Dagoba Chai flavored chocolate, (8) some spiffy (and cute) new drawers, (9) a Japanese miniature tea set, (10) a Sasquatch t-shirt, (11) a hand crocheted doll, (12) a Green Lantern Keychain, (13) some Sun Prints transparencies, (14) skeleton keys skull shaped rubber key caps and (15) "I Can Fly" a Mary Blair Little Golden Book.

It's not pictured here, but I also got a Podcacher geocoin from my Secret Santa at the Podcacher message boards, very fun!

I got Kid Flash an AeroGrow, he loves cooking with fresh herbs, and there's a seed kit for salad greens, which I think is the thing that sold me on it as a gift for him. He could eat salads 24 hours a day and be happy, like a rabbit.

Tomorrow I'm off to SC for the official family Christmas!

Did No One Look At This?

A sculpture called "Prodigal Son" that I spotted on the shelf of a discount store while I was in Florida. How did this make it out the door?

12 of 12: Year in Review

I thought I'd do a "Year in Review" type post, going back and looking at my favorite shots from this year. This is the first time in 2 years of participating in this project that I've managed to complete a full year's worth of photos.

I had chosen to crop everything to a landcsape style for this month as my "theme." I love the lights in this shot.

Working in Brooklyn at a puppet studio. My theme was multiples.

Back at the studio in Brooklyn, but this time building miniatures for a completely different project. My theme was the number 3.

The first of my Travel Day 12 of 12's this year. This time it was to Savannah and my theme was primary colors. This was also the day my camera screwed up and I had to reshoot part of my day.

"These are the people in my neighborhood" addition. One of my favorite shots from the whole year.

Travel Day #2, the last month I had a theme for my shots. This was an awful, awful day of airport HELL.

Working for DC Comics on the DC Legacy Sketch cards. Funny to look back at that one and see that I thought I'd only be at my current job for another week or two.

Subways are kind of a theme around here. I managed to get a subway shot every single month this year, and I considered just using those for this project, but thought that might get boring.

Another of my favorite shots from the year. I think I took about 20 shots of this trying to get the lighting right and to keep myself from shaking enough to blur the pic.

Ted joins the regular cast. He was so tiny!

Another travel day of sorts, but just trains, no planes.

Feels silly to repost a pic I just posted yesterday, but I wanted to keep it clean. I had a semi-theme of shiny metal this month.

Here's to another year!

December 12 of 12 (of 12!)

Another 12 of 12, another travel day! For the third time this year the 12th finds me on a plane on the way out of the city. It's funny how you begin noticing coincidences in your days when you begin this project. To see some of the other participants go here, but enjoy my 12 of 12!

I didn't realize until I started laying these out, but I came close to finding a theme for this month, the way I used to! I need to get back to that... anyway... check out how many of these photos feature some sort of shiny metal.

This is in the elevator, on the way up to my office on 10.

The bell in the lobby area of our offices, look closely and you can see that this one's a self portrait.

Yes... I already replaced my iPod, and that's the box for my replacement gps that arrived with UPS this morning. I was planning on replacing the gps anyway, (can't wait to try this one out while I'm in Florida! It has the new High Sensitivity chip!) but the replacement iPod... that one cost me. I can't face a plane ride without it though.

Lunch! A smörgåsbord smattering from one of the deli hot bars down the street. The eggroll looking thing in the middle was full of wasabi mashed potatoes, and let me tell you... iyt was DELICIOUS!

I spent my day on this. AutaCAD is not my strong suiy, and frankly about the most I know about working in it is how to draw rectangles. My task today was to take this room layout and reconfigure it so that it seats 400 instead of the 900 pictured here, with a different stage, oriented a different way in the room. Normally someone else would do the CAD work, but we are sort of swamped at the moment so I had to tray and tackle it. One of my coworkers is perfectly willing to help and give me pointers, but had several meetings over the course of the day, which left me with my second officemate who is far less helpful, and really likes to lord over me when he knows something I don't. So my day ended up going like this:

Me: How do I save this file?
Officemate: Command S.
M: Yes, I know that. But I can't overwrite the old file.
O: Command shift S.
M: (Trying not to sound exasperated) Yes, I know that. But when I do that a command box comes up and asks me some questions I don't know how to answer.
O: It shouldn't do that.
M: But it does.
O: Your settings are screwed up.
M: (Getting increasingly exasperated even though I'm trying...) Well, we can fix that later, how do I save this now? (He comes over and commandeers my keyboard for a few seconds then walks away without explaining anything.) Where did you save that? What did you do?
O: Wherever the original file was.
M: (With a heavy sigh.) How do I save this file?

This was how my whole day went. Rather than helpfully answer my questions he would rather snipe at me and remind me that he is the office CAD guru. It wasn't pleasant. Sorry... I'll stop ranting.

I left the office at 5:00, on the way to JFK to catch a plane to Orlando. This is the lobby area of the AirTrain where you switch from the subway to the train that runs between terminals at JFK.

Looks like I need terminal 6!

Good bye, NYC! I love flying at night! Just look at that city! I guess JetBlue knows that people tend to take these kinds of shots since they've conveniently branded the engine outside my window. Or maybe they think I'm just so forgetful that I won't remember what carrier I'm using?

The happiest, most rosy cheeked baby I've ever seen. She was perfectly content to smile and wave at whoever would make eye contact with her, and didn't cry a bit. (Thankfully...)

The Orlando version of the AirTrain, the shuttle that takes you from the arrivals area to baggage claim.

HUGE mega-lit tree in the Orlando Airport. I really wanted to shoot to palm tree to contrast with my surroundings from this morning, but I couldn't resist the tree. When I left NYC it was in the 40's. It is 30 degrees warmer in Florida. I'll be "missing" what the Yankee weather guys jovially refer to as a "winter mix" tomorrow. They can have it!
And here we are at BFE Michelle's house in Florida. That's Princess (the dog) and Karl (the cat) who are always happy to see me.

There you go... another 12 of 12. Tomorrow I have meetings regarding the show I'll be designing down here in May, and Saturday I'll be going to visit the Ice! exhibit at Gaylord Palms, which my company designs. I'll likely be working on next year's version. Friday is probably going to be all about caching, and I'll be headed home Sunday.


I misplaced my bag last night. I don't know how really. I am usually VERY conscientious about what I do with my bag, and I've never once left it behind anywhere. First time for everything I guess... So now I have lost: My sketchbook, which though it has been neglected the past few months was 95% full, my brand new touch screen iPod, less than 3 months old, my GPS unit, my gloves, my favorite hat, and the book that I'm currently reading... not to mention my favorite Tom Bihn bag. Blah. Blah, blah, blah!!

Gift Guide

I have no idea why, but I am constantly told that I am difficult to buy gifts for. So in the spirit of making everyone's holidays a bit easier, I present:

The Cully Gift Buying Guide

Phoenix Super Hero Squad Figure
Toys R Us Exclusive Black Queen
Young Avengers Gift Pack
Marvel Girl
Marvel Girl (Chase Variant)
Marvel Select Phoenix
Black Knight

Art Books
Wayne Thibaud
James Jean
American Illustrators
J.C. Leyendecker
Joseph Cornell

Hiking/Geocaching Goodies
Windstopper Neck Gaiter
Waterproof Paper
Log Books (good stocking stuffer)
Catskills Trail Guides, Book 1 and 2
Appalachian Trail Guide, NY-NJ Edition
Catskills Trails Map Set
Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide

Clothing and Practical Stuff
Flannel Lined Jeans (34-34)
Fleece Hooded Jacket (L, Black)
Convertible Hiking Pants
Nikon d50n Camera Bag (not necessarily this one)
Professional grade hair clippers
Universal Clamp
Mini Corner Clamps
Splice Clamps
or instead of a bunch of clamps you can just get a gift certificate from Micro Mark

Random Miscellany

Bacon Scarf
Re-Sign Reclaimed Vinyl Billboard Material


Deviled Eggs
Pickle and Olive Platter
Cheese Platter
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus
Broccoli with Cashews
Green Bean Casserole
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Macaroni and Cheese
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Mushroom Nut Loaf
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Turkey and Gravy
Turkey in Mole Sauce
Turkey Saltimbocca
Homemade Yeast Rolls
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Creamy Pumpkin Pie
Apple Cranberry Nut Pie
Chocolate Mousse

That's what I had. What did you have?

November 12 of 12

It's the 12th, of course, so that means it's time for Chad Darnell's 12 of 12, 12 photos to document the 12th of each month. Go here to see the other participants.

I am working in a scene shop upstate this week, painting a set that my boss designed. I was supposed to be at Grand Central to get on the train at 7:38. Kid Flash and I woke up at 7:10. There was NO way that I was making it to Grand Central in time, instead I ran down to the street and grabbed a gypsy cab and hoofed it to the 125th St. stop on MetroNorth. The train wasn't scheduled to make it there until 7:49. I made it with about 7 minutes to spare.

On the platform waiting for my train. The 125th St. stop is an elevated platform so it provides a pretty nice city view.

An hour and a half later I'm 75 miles up the Hudson with a much different view. It's pretty overcast and dreary, but it's still pretty. The whole Hudson Valley is amazing, you can really see how it inspired a whole school of artists.

So this is what I worked on all day. The set is pretty dark, with just some washes of color the make the shapes pop, not the most challenging paint job, but still it got me out of the office and away from my computer for a day (a couple days... I'll be there all week) and that's a good thing.

The paint shop floor. This is pretty much all I saw all day, it doesn't really make for an exciting 12, but... one does what one can.

The scenery in the opposite direction as I wait for my 3:50 train back to NYC. The Hudson is behind me here.

Home again, home again. I could have gotten off at 125th, but I wanted the chance to show off one of my favorite places in the city. I hope it won't be viewed as unpatriotic or whatever... but I'll be happy when they finally decided to take that flag down and quit marring the view in Grand Central.

A little something different for my subway shot this month (I try to include subway shot every month.) The tunnels under Grand Central are some of the busiest for the subway performers. I counted 5 different sanctioned acts, and 2 unsanctioned ones. This is one of the sanctioned, you can tell by the banner behind her, provided by the city.

I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some supplies for dinner and I noticed this little guy fluttering around the frozen foods section. Why do birds come into buildings?

The beginnings of dinner. 3 ingredients, asparagus, egg noodles and Parmesan. Quick, easy and ready to go. (Well... I also add butter and salt and pepper... so 6 ingredients I guess...)

The finished product, in my favorite Fiestaware bowl.

And I'll sneak in a shot of my kitty Ted. He's recovered nicely from his snip-snip operation last Tuesday and is once again king of his tiny domain. Isn't his collar cute? He gained about 2 pounds in the month and a half since he's been here and he's getting pretty big.

Tomorrow it's bag upstate for some more painting... see you next month!

When The Revolution Comes...

First I read this. The PDF linked at that site, which is the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, could have saved itself a lot of ink and paper by just printing: "We're fucked." a couple dozen times.

Then I read this, which is ostensibly about zombies but is so realistically written in regards to how the public would react to a huge pandemic outbreak and shortages and general world war type conditions that the normal people in the book scared me much more than the zombies did.
Now... I'm all worried and I have this little thread of paranoid obsession wriggling around in my head that I can't quite get rid of.

I'm useless. If (when?) the economy collapses my marketable skills are sort of negligible, and everyone knows that the arts are the first things to get cut. I'm a reasonable builder, I suppose I could pretty easily take up carpentry, and I can roll paint with the best of them but in a depression what new building is going to be occurring? I know how to draft, and I suppose I could shift that knowledge towards architecture rather than theatre with a lot of work (the drafting styles are WILDLY different...) but again, to draft what? In the current political climate I don't see much chance of a CCC, or a WPA type policy being developed. This is how agoraphobia and panic attacks and general mental disorders start, isn't it?

Split Times

Kid Flash is running the Marathon this morning. It's a beautiful day for it. The sky is clear, it is cool but not cold. I don't run, but if I did this is the kind of day I'd want to do it on. I'm trying very hard not to worry about it. He's been training for months. I was with him when he ran 22 miles, just shy of the 26.2 of the actual marathon, and he was fine. But still... I worry. It's part of my mother's legacy I guess.

So since I worry, you get to worry with me. I am going to live blog the marathon, and you can get updates as frequently as I do. I signed up to get text messages sent to my phone every time he crosses a 5K marker. (The runners wear RFID chips in their shoes that trigger every 5K.) He's not a competitive runner, he set a goal for himself of 9 minute miles, which should place his finish at just under 4 hours. The start gun was 10:10. Let's see how he does!

10:49am, First Update:
Okay... the text messages don't really tell much. I need to see if I can get a map to post with this. Regardless, he has crossed the first 5K mark and he is averaging 8:58 a mile. That means, by my math at least, that he actually crossed the start line at 10:13.

11:54 Update:
Okay... I'll admit, I freaked out a little bit. About 11:45 I realized that I hadn't gotten an alert in a while. In that amount of time he should have crossed two more. I called around to everyone else and no one seems to be getting the text alerts, so the system has failed! Argh. But... I checked the website and crossed the 10K mark after 55:40, so... doing the math he did those miles in 8:50... (I think... there's lots of minute to decimal conversion going on here...) and then he crossed 15K at 1:23:34... so that one is at 9:02, again, I think.

12:23 Update:
Right. So I suck at math. The email versions of the Athlete Alerts are still working it seems, so I am having those forwarded to me now. At 10K he was pacing at 8:57, and at 15K he was also at 8:57. My boy is consistent!!

At 20K he's dropped time a bit, and is down to 9:08 a mile. This one I get by text message as well as email. A few minutes later at exactly 2:00:00 he crossed the halfway mark! His pace was still at 9:09, so a bit slower than start, but still consistent. At the other end of the race the competitive runners are finishing about now. The best time ever for the marathon is 2:07:43, and the best finisher last year was at 2:09:58.

He's dropped time a little bit again. 9:11 this time. But then, he's run more than a half marathon at this point, total 25K. It might include stops at a port-a-john, or anything, so no way to judge until he tells me. Still, in the end it's pretty consistent and within the range of what he wanted to do accomplish. I'm so proud of him!

1:23: At 30K he has been running for 2:50:56, nearly three hours, and he's 3/4s of the way through the race and his estimated finish time. He came in at 9:10 per mile this time, so he's picking up steam again.

1:41: 35K!! He's pacing at 9:11. Until now I'd gotten 3 of the 8 updates that I SHOULD have gotten at this point. After the most recent one though I've been getting all of the backlogged messages.

Almost there... at 40K or 24.85 miles hes been running for 3:50:42 and is currently pacing at 9:16. He only has a little over a mile to go so I expect that he will finish just at his desired time of 4:00. In 4 hours he'll have run a piece of all 5 NYC Burroughs, crossed 5 bridges, and run the length of Manhattan twice.

He's done! He finished the whole race in 4:03:42, exactly where he wanted to finish. He should be looking for a train about now to get home and probably collapse into a hot tub, so I'm off to take care of him. How much prouder could I be?!

Derby Poster

My final derby poster for this season. The finals came down to Queens, and the Bronx. Not my ideal line up. Queens was in some ways inevitable they have been the champions for two years running now, and in fact have only been defeated twice in the history of the league, but one of those defeats was by Bronx. So Bronx is my great white hope. I had really wanted to see Brooklyn vs. Queens, but in the end if there is anyone who can take Queens down it's going to be Bronx. I just hope they can keep their emotions in check long enough to make it happen.

The concept with the poster was to make an Art Deco panel like the ones at Rockefeller Center, or any of a dozen other Deco buildings here in the city. In the end it was decided that the pure gold was a bit flat so we added some color to it. Now I think it looks more like a period Olympic poster from the 30's. But hey... it still makes the point!

Subway Sketches Part CLXXXVII

Okay... to counteract the "cat blogging." I'm putting in a more concerted effort to do more of these, I know a lot of you miss them. I do too frankly...

Ted Says "Aaaaah!"

I took young Master Ted to the vet for the first time today, to get his basic wellness check and tests, etc. The vet says he's 4 or 5 months old, which is a bit younger than I had thought, and weigh 5 and a half pounds. He doesn't have mites or worms, (though she de-wormed him just to be safe). He has now been vaccinated for rabies and... whatever else they get vaccinated for. And let me tell you... that wasn't pleasant. He was relatively tame through most of it but the shots were not a happy time. His meow is usually quite small and meek sounding, but he was hissing and yowling at being held down and poked with sharp things. Blood was drawn for lukemia and AIDS tests, which we'll find out about on Tuesday. And we made an appointment to drop him off on the 5th to have hills little harbls removed.

I also asked about the 'wool-sucking' behavior and she said that he SHOULD outgrow it. He's actually been doing it quite a bit less since he got settled in anyway, so maybe its not an issue anymore. Now that he's home and safe and happy again he's settled down and is right back into routine. Life around here is good.

October 12 of 12

Time once again for the 12 of 12, 12 photos to document my day on the 12th. This is based on an idea by Chad Darnell, and you can see other entries here.

I stayed over at Kid Flash's place last night, which of course means it was an early morning. (Not only is he an "early to bed early to rise" type of guy but he's much more responsible about about actually getting to his office by 9 instead of 9:30 which when I usually show up.)

KF's building super fancies himself a bit of a photographer and has filled the halls with large scale prints of photos from around the city, the Little Red Light House, Times Square, etc. but for some reason this one popped into the mix a few months ago. I don't get it.

My new work space. Since I went full time I got to move away from the awkward space I was working in before, (see it here, from July's 12 of 12.) Right now I'm working on a redesign of the set for a cable network in Washington DC that is about to go basic cable nation wide.

Lunchtime! This is Rainbow Falafel, one of the most famous falafel places in NYC. It is literally the size of a walk-in closet from anywhere else in America. Great falafel though.

After lunch I sort through the sample boxes looking for the right materials for my set. 3-form makes some AMAZING materials that are gonna look great on this set.

On the way home after work. The platform was abandoned but the train was packed for some reason. Bizarre.

Ted wouldn't sit still very long for me to take a decent shot of him. He's settling in very well and seems happy. He's finally stopped eating every single shred of food the second it gets put out, so I think he's finally past the street logic of finding food. It's good. He ate so much the first day he was here that he made himself sick. Twice.

I'm was hoping to get this cache placed on Saturday, but alas it wasn't to be. I found a couple good hiding spots, but it's going to take another day of work to get it placed for good.

On the way out to meet KF I finally managed to get a shot of Ted all settled in and sitting still. Isn't he the cutest kitty ever? None of these shots manage to show it but he's really a tabby, just with black on black stripes. When he is in sunlight you can suddenly see stripes all along his side.

I met KF and his best friend for some wine. That's my new iPod Touch on the counter. I LOVE it.

As part of his marathon training KF is running 22 miles on Saturday so we also stopped by a pasta place in his neighborhood to get him a high carb dinner.

Remember I told you that he was an "early to bed" type? Well... I'm off to bed too. Yes, that clock say 9:53.