Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There and Back Again

The rest of our Michigan visit was fantastic....had a great time. Wednesday was a day for hanging out at the house, finding my long-lost 16mm Sorceror's Apprentice print, and a short jaunt to Lakeside Mall. Jonathan had to buy a teapot for Mom's birthday, and it had to cost $21.99. The one he saw before was no longer there, so we had to search each teapot until we found one at the right price. We stopped at the Disney Store and had a hard time getting out of there cuz they had so much cool stuff. Upon returning to the house, Yaya arrived and we had dinner (hot n' spicy tortilla soup), and then we set up the Christmas tree. Blake arrived with a dramatic entrance, knocking over a picture frame thingie which was left leaning against the door. Hung out, watched Family Guy, and that was Wednesday.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and viciously cold and snowy. We headed out to Nancy & Bill's house in Ann Arbor for dinner; it was great to see some of my cousins for the first time in 4 years! When we got back, Meighan stopped by for a visit and it was great to catch up. Gee how we've all grown!

Crazy crazy crazy man!

Friday we decorated the tree and did some window shopping in the Village. I found a farting dog toy that had me laughing so hard my eyes got puffy. I wasn't allowed to buy it. That's ok though, I went back the following day to videotape it, so I will be able to treasure it when I'm old, grey and farting. Anyway...

That night we also went to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was quite enjoyable, although I enjoyed the Prisoner of Azkaban a little bit more. When we came out, there was a real kind of magic in the sky as a vast snowfall was sailing down, looking quite amazing in the streetlights. Every night around 10:30 or 11ish we had to have Dan take us through a drive-thru for a midnight snack cuz our stomachs were still on Pacific Time and dinner was like our lunch. We got to visit the Grosse Pointe KFC which was like the Monty Python Cheese Shop because they were out of food.

Saturday we got to go to Costco and harrass Dan at Krogers. I threw a pair of panty hose at him. We also drove around town a bit, bought some flowers for Mom, shopped some more, and watched the Family Guy movie with Dan. I like the pop culture references in the show, and the surreal humor, but sometimes it seems like a big Seth MacFarlane ego trip that goes on way too long. But decent entertainment when you're in the right state of mind.

And I finally got an Ipod! It was worth the wait. Dad transferred a bunch of the Cruisin' record series to mp3s for me, and so far I've been enjoying them tremendously, appeasing my latest obsession with nostalgic radio. The music back then was so great. So much more basic. It's neat to get a glimpse into how things were before my time, and imagine what the culture must have been like for my parents.

Sunday was Mom's birthday so we brought presents over, and went out to the Henry Ford Museum for the Disneyland exhibit. It was amazing being in the presence of original artwork by John Hench, Marc Davis, Mary Blair and others. I have a special fondness for the old classic Disneyland rides and animatronics. We met Jeff & Marie and Steve & Mary there and got to catch up with them briefly too. Fun fun fun! After that we went to Memphis Smoke for birthday dinner...holy crap, best food ever.

Monday was a long day of travelling, since our first Detroit-Chicago flight was delayed we missed our connecting flight and had to wait almost 6 hours for the next one to Vancouver. By this time it was dark and a very bumpy ride. They also didn't serve any food! I had $10 in my pocket which I purposely didn't spend so we'd have money to buy those little meal boxes on the plane, and then they didn't have them! On a friggin' 4-hour flight all they gave out was friggin' pretzels! Good thing I had bought a bag of chips and some Good n' Plentys, but even that wasn't enough to keep me happy. (Note to self: Good n' Plentys are great by themselves, but don't mix with Pepsi.) I was not impressed. At least Charlie & the Chocolate Factory was mildly entertaining enough to keep my mind off things for half the flight.

Thusly, we finally arrived home cold and hungry around midnight, so now we're back.
And now for something completely different....

We told Mom, Dad and Dan at the dinner table Saturday night, and the news is now spreading further to other family and friends. August is sure to be a busy month, as Mike just got engaged and he & Jo have set a date for Aug. 26. My book also comes out around the same time the baby does, so our theme for August 2006 is Book-Baby-Brother-Bride!

...and Blessed! Pray that all goes well, for an Earthling child can only be found beyond the boundaries of Fantasia...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

US Customs: May your prize bull hate cows

Well, here we are on our first full day in my childhood homeland...yesterday was pretty much a full day of travelling. It started out with a real kicker of a comment from the asshole of a US customs officer. I presented my Canadian passport, and this guy asked to see my US one, saying in a rather scolding manner that if I ever travel into the States, I show my US passport, because that's where I'm originally from. Fair enough. But then he says, 'There are only 3 kinds of people in this world: Americans, Residents of the US, and Foreigners.' And here I am with my beautiful Canadian wife beside me...rather embarassing. So I was pretty pissed for awhile after that. Makes me angry because I am proud of where I come from, but I don't understand where this arrogance comes from. But anyway, I digress....for now.

It's cold here and starting to snow. There is a Disneyland exhibit at the Henry Ford museum I hope to check out while we are here. So far it's just been hanging out with the family, and today we'll be picking up Yaya from the airport. Yay!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Writin' and Votin'

So I got my contract and various paperworks for the final deadline for the manuscript is April 18, 2006! Pretty tight deadline, but it's managable. Today I came up with an outline for the history chapter. I'm thinking if I do the interviews first it will make the rest of the book easier. It boggles my mind that I'm doing this. I'm ecstatic!

This morning one of my 2D students showed me a tattoo design he was scheduled to carve into a client's arm later that day: a neo-Renaissance-style Christ on the cross, with people crowded around him praying. Very nice work. It was a neat witnessing experience, since he asked me for help in drawing one of the hands, so I got to explain some things about how the crucifixion happened and whatnot.

Today I also got to vote in Canada for the first time. Yay me! I have a voice. I'm special.

Just a few days and we fly out to Michigan to see family & friends...can't wait.

Jay & I saw Chicken Little last weekend and wrote a review for Hollywood Jesus. Read it and enjoy....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day

Today we are relaxing at home, and taking a moment to listen to the bagpipes outside, remembering those who fought in the trenches to preserve our freedom.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My first book

I recently got an email sent to me from work from an editor at Thomson Course Technologies publishing house, who found my bio on the VanArts website. They have written several instructional books on computer animation, filmmaking, etc. and because of the recent sucess of Corpse Bride and the Wallace & Gromit movie, thought it might be the right time to publish a book on stop-motion animation. So they asked me if I would be interested in writing it, so we started talking and I spent a few days writing up a proposal, which I sent off along with an animation reel.

Today the proposal was presented to the editorial board out in Boston, where the company is located, and they officially gave it the go-ahead, so I am now on my way to writing my first book!!! The great thing is that I've been comtemplating the whole author idea for a long time and never really knew how to get myself started, and now this just sort of fell into my lap! They want to have it finished and released by June/July 2006, so I have lots of work ahead of me, but we're both very excited about this opportunity!