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Joie de Vivre

Cupid’s Crush 5 mile race 2024

We completed the BRRC’s 5 miler around the Maryland Zoo on Sunday. It was v. cold and I am a little sore, but it was a beautiful day and fun.

This slipped away from me, but my phone just reminded me that I hit 1700 days alcohol free on Saturday. I’m very happy and grateful about that.

Finally, it’s worth noting that we ate at Paper Moon Diner twice this weekend, entirely by accident. The decor is such a marvel.

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Joie de Vivre

Ravens vs. Steelers

We attended our first NFL game! I might have been to a Commander’s game (formerly the Redskins) as a kid, but my memory on that is fuzzy.

Like most Baltimore fans, I’m interested in seeing the Ravens defeat Pittsburgh. Alas, it was not to be (17-10). Having already locked up the 1-seed and the first-round bye in the AFC, Lamar Jackson sat this game out, along with a lot of other starters. We had fun watching Tyler Huntley.

All that said, game conditions were pretty miserable. It poured rain the entire game, with the temperate around 36°. Lots of incomplete and some fumbles, not to mention freezing, soaking wet socks and jeans.

Even with the loss, I loved it, and we had a great time!

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Joie de Vivre

Ceramic Dog

We went to see Ceramic Dog at Creative Alliance last night. We saw then in 2021, too. This time, they had seating, so the atmosphere was more subdued. Marc Ribot was playing his black Gibson SG, and he broke two strings during the second to last song. Ches improved a bit before the encore, and I loved it.

I love this trio – there’s a lot of energy, and a lot of improvisation. I think that’s why they always sit facing each other.

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Joie de Vivre

2023

This year was a very full year! What blessings and adventures 2023 brought! I like to enumerate blessing at the end of the year, and in the case of 2023, I’ve written about most of what follows in previous posts.

It began with my solo show at the Hamilton Gallery, and the music release that coincided with it. It felt good to cap off the pandemic time with a show containing materials from that time.

Recorded Music

In February, I released A Chop of the Old Block. I also participated in Woolly’s random music collaborations twice. Woolly owns and operates the the Philadelphia based Champion Leccy pedal company, and has become an acquaintance. I liked the deadlines of the project, but I discovered a personal preference for making music by myself, or with my daughters and/or friends.

My interest in pedals and effects continued to burn strongly in 2023. I picked up two Boss standards: theRE-2 Space Echo Delay and the DD-8 Digital Delay. I got the Squier Bass VI working, and happened into some new affordable Ibanez gear. More with these in 2024.

I also began teaching again. In the spring, I was asked to teach an introduction to animation class at UMBC, and web design at Towson University. I agreed to both. It was a colossal amount of work, but I’m glad I did it. I then taught Web design at Towson in the fall, and loved it.

I very much enjoyed the students, and I’m so glad to be teaching at Towson. I love being back in the Fine Arts building on campus.

Portugal

We took the trip of a lifetime to Portugal. It’s the longest trip I’ve taken, and it was wonderful.

Races

We completed the St. Patty’s day 5k, the sole of the city 10k, the Charles street 12 miler, the Baltimore half marathon, and the NCR tail half marathon. That includes three 12+ mile races this past fall! Golly!

Live Music

This was an incredible year for live music. We got to see Fishbone twice, (and even sat next to Angelo’s wife and MIL), the Residents, Battles, Violent Femmes, John Scofield, Nate Smith, Nita Strauss and Wolfgang Van Halen. Best of all, I spent a day with Steve Vai.

Steve Vai and myself

Animation

The year began slowly for animation, in that I was mostly teaching it, and not doing much of it. But, toward the end of the spring, I began working on Brains a postmodern Prometheus story. I’m really proud of this one. It took over two months of really hard work. It’s screened at 9 festivals to date, starting with the Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival. Brains picked up a few awards, too.

Sweaty Eyeballs was fantastic. I got to contribute a 2 second animation for the signal film, which was a big honor for me. I spent hours with Issac King, Joanna Priestly and Paul Herrod. It was wonderful.

Following up on Brains, I made Magus Incognito. It’s based on one of my favorite reads, The Kybalion. I figured I would animate this over months in the spring, but then, as these things happen, I decided on a 77 second version of the film.

I was invited to submit a film to this years Spark exhibition, and it was able to projected across three windows at the Peale museum.

The Books of 2023

Large pile of books in a book store

Beverly and I have continued our book club, although we’ve missed some regularly scheduled meetings in favor of just talking about books all the time.

I discovered Kathy Reichs in a very unorganized used book shop in Portugal (image above), and mostly began my reading journey there. I hadn’t had much time because of teaching. I really like T. Kingfisher.

Here’s my reading list for 2023.

  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
  • Edward Gorey: His Book Cover Art and Design by Steven Heller
  • The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt
  • A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene
  • The Closers (Harry Bosch, #11; Harry Bosch Universe, #14) by Michael Connelly
  • The Crossing (Harry Bosch, #18; Harry Bosch Universe, #27) by Michael Connelly
  • The Burning Room (Harry Bosch, #17; Harry Bosch Universe, #26) by Michael Connelly
  • End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3) by Stephen King
  • The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt
  • Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2) by Stephen King
  • Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1) by Stephen King
  • Heaven No Hell by Michael DeForge
  • Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher,
  • An Improvisor’s OS, v.2 by Wayne Krantz
  • Disruptions: Stories by Steven Millhauser
  • The Woman Who Killed the Fish by Clarice Lispector
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan, #3) by Kathy Reichs
  • Ten Planets: Stories by Yuri Herrera
  • Death du Jour (Temperance Brennan, #2) by Kathy Reichs
  • Déjà Dead (Temperance Brennan, #1) by Kathy Reichs
  • Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
  • Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams by Sam Kieth
  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
  • The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams
  • How to Make a Monster: Ugly Memories of Chicago from a South Side Escapee by Casanova Frankenstein
  • Dr. No by Percival Everett

Finally, I past the 1000th blog post on this site! I’m tremendously grateful for WordPress, web publishing, and this space. The web has changed enormously since I started using WordPress, and I still love using it.

Happy New Year, everyone. My you be blessed with prosperity, health and happiness.

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Joie de Vivre

The Dubious House guest

We have a lovely routine, where we have a date every weekend. We take turns choosing someplace to go, if we go out, or what to cook, if we stay in. This weekend, it was Beverly’s turn, and as we were driving on Perring Parkway, a pit bull ran through traffic, and narrowly missed being hit by several cars. I asked Beverly to park, and we set out to find the pit.

After about 10 minutes, I found her going up to the doors of row homes. I called out to her, and offered her treats. A neighbor in one of these houses asked if she was my dog, and I said “No.” He gave me some actual treats to lure her to me, and I managed to get her into our car, and back to the house. I called animal control, and they said they would send someone out. Counting my Goose, she’s the 3rd pit I’ve rescued, among quite a few other dogs that I have helped out of harm’s way. If I can’t figure out where they live, then I usually confine them in my yard, and Animal Control eventually picks them up.

It was damp out, but not very cold, so we left her in the yard and went to eat.

I put some food out for her, and clean water. She drank a little, and set out to explore the yard.

She was still there when we returned home.

I decided to bring some blankets out and wait with her for her ride. She settled down, and crawled into my lap. She fell asleep, too.

The temperature started to drop, and we decided to bring her inside.

It was a good thing we did, because Animal Control had not contacted us yet. She and I were in for a long night of blanket sharing on my stoop.

She seemed exhausted from her ordeal, and happily settled in Pi’s crate. We all turned in for the night, and luckily for all of us, Animal Control picked her up the next morning around 10:45 am.

She had a collar with both a recent rabies vaccination tag, and a tag for BARCS. She walked well on a leash, was used to both crates and treats, and seemed very well fed. She was very sweet, and we took to each other immediately. She knew how to sit, and when the Animal Control officer arrived, our dubious houseguest knew exactly how to get into the pen in the back of the truck.

One of my favorite things is to be able to help dogs, especially pitties. I shared her photo on Instagram, thanking BARCS for getting her, and Instagram suggested I do a fundraiser. So, I set a goal of $100 and so far we have raised $143.83. How about that?

It’s a cold, rainy night as I type this. I’m glad our sweet friend is safe, and hopefully reunited with her people.

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Joie de Vivre

Nate Smith at Keystone Korner

We got to see the Nate Smith Quartet (with Christian McBride, Marquis Hill and Geoffrey Keezer) at Keystone Korner in Baltimore.

I have been a fan of Nate Smith for years, he’s one of my favorite drummers. I feel so lucky that we got to see him play with these guy in such an intimate setting. It was a fantastic show, and the food was as good as when we saw John Scofield. We managed to get a high-top table for two, with a great view.

Nate played some pretty straight ahead stuff to start with, and worked his way to a super strong finish in his tight, strong style at the end. I love it. His signature snare sounded sublime, too.

It was a fantastic performance by all four.

Nate Smith Quartet
Nate Smith Quartet
Nate Smith's drums