Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Familial Promotion

When I was in high school, I did some pretty ridiculous art projects. Some of them I thought were pretty awesome at the time, others I look back on and laugh at how bad they were (are). Most of them I set aside for good, never planning on changing or improving them.

My brother, Sean, is a little different than I. In 10th grade, he started to write a story and ended up with a couple of chapters. He set it aside for a long time, finally picking it up again in recent years. The result of his cumulative efforts (those from high school and all of the work he did more recently) is a novel. A very good novel, called The Book of Simon.

Ok, so admittedly this isn't just any old blog post. It may possibly be a post to promote my brother's book, which became available for sale last Friday at!! How cool is that?!! Imagine taking something that you started working on ~15 years ago, working and reworking it, getting advice from family and friends, haggling with the people through whom you are selling your product, then finally seeing that product for sale to the general public. What an amazing thing that would be!

The book that my brother wrote is about a man named Simon (believe it or not...) and an interesting turn of events that lead him down a path completely different from the one he'd been heading down. It's sci-fi/fantasy, but don't worry, enemies of Twilight, it's very accessible and geared toward adults! (Plus no whiny teenagers or love-sick vampires...not that I didn't like Twilight.) The characters are very relatable and fun to follow, there's humor interlaced into the plot, and the story has lots of fun twists and turns that keep you pulled in (I read it in two days!).

I realize that I might seem a bit biased, and maybe I am a little, but I know a good plot when I read one! (I also happen to have done the cover art, so I'm pretty excited about that myself.) I highly recommend this book, my faithful readers! You can find it at if you search under the name Sean Cameron, or if you click here (or on the not-so-subliminal link above). You may even see a review there from yours, truly...
Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

Friday, April 10, 2009

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out.

I came home this afternoon and felt like it was the perfect type of afternoon to take a nap. Kind of cool, a little overcast, plus I was incredibly sleepy. Perfect!

Apparently I need to check with the local wildlife before planning my afternoon naps.
I had just drifted off to sleep when I heard a tapping. An incessant tapping. It was like that Donald Duck episode where Daffy can't sleep because of the lights and the dripping, among other things. There's a part at the end of the episode where Donald goes a little bonkers, and really, that could've been me this afternoon.
I lay in bed for quite a while, half asleep, trying to figure out what the noise could be. Dad hammering in some siding? No, he was at the store. The neighbor boys being obnoxious? No, why would they be tapping on the side of my room? A ghost? If it were night, maybe, but not in the middle of the afternoon.

I decided to ignore the tapping, hoping I would drift back off to sleep. When the tapping continued, I tried ear plugs, but to no avail. This is where the hair pulling out, wrapping myself in my mattress, extreme measures to try to ignore the tapping came into play. At this point I knew what the sound must be, but was trying to ignore it, knowing that acknowledging it would mean taking some serious action.

I finally came to the conclusion I'd been fooling myself. There was no ignoring this sound, and the sound, a repeating triple-tap, had to be coming from a woodpecker. I couldn't think how a woodpecker had attached itself to the side of our house and why it was tormenting me, but knew I had to to do something about it. I got dressed, crept downstairs, and quietly opened the front door.

There it was, the demon bird:
It was perched on the side of our house, just outside of my bedroom, pecking away. Ooooooh, I was angry! I'm not a violent person, I am a nature and animal fan, and I've never liked guns. However...I have never wanted a BB gun so badly in my life than I did at that moment. Visions of triumph of woman over beast filled my head as I stared down with the foul bird. (As an artist, I also couldn't help in that moment to admire the bird's beautiful colors and was a confusing time for me.)

Being severely lacking in guns, I reached for the closest thing I could find...a cane. I figured I could knock the beasty down and show him who was boss. And if that crafty bird hadn't flown off just as I emerged with my deadly weapon, he would've been in for a world of hurt.

Having thwarted my attempts at defensive tactics, I decided to take up the offense. This came in the form of bee and wasp spray. I grabbed a ladder, opened the garage door (I felt like a real warrior, the garage door slowly opening as I stood there, ladder slung over my shoulder and bug spray in hand) and set it up near the corner where the damage had been done. I couldn't be-lieve the size of the hole!!
It doesn't look that big in this picture, but it was about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. What was that beast doing?!
I bug-bombed the area with the wasp spray as Woody watched from a nearby tree. Take that, foul fiend! I haven't heard any pecking since, but believe me, if I do...I may have to ask Santa for a certain Red Ryder BB gun.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Work Shmerk - or - Lessons From an Art Teacher

As an art teacher, I get to do all kinds of fun stuff, like order supplies. Especially cool supplies, like this awesome Elmer's Glue Dispenser Pump! I wish that you didn't think I was joking about how awesome it is. You try filling tiny glue bottles with a one gallon jug of glue and then you'll understand my excitement upon purchasing the pump!

I received an order the other day that included this box of colored pencils. I spent a considerable amount of time just looking at the pencils after I opened the box. There's just something so wonderful about brand-new art supplies that gets my blood pumping! (Glue pumping?) Another thing that gets my blood pumping is lifting 25 pound boxes of clay. I don't remember my art teachers being particularly buffed out when I was a kid, but you can't be a pansy and an art teacher. (Though really there are more reasons that that's true than just the heavy lifting thing.)

As a part-time art teacher at a charter school, I don't actually get a classroom, just a small office where I hide from the monkeys...I mean, children. I took a picture here of the wall I face while at my desk, which includes the 2 small mannequins that I ordered; the cart that I push around the school to teach art in all of the classrooms (I do NOT get paid enough...), and the magnetic Mr. Man and Little Miss mood indicator...better watch out when I'm Little Miss Scary.
What was my point again? Oh, yeah: I teach art to small children and annoying tweens, and when I get overwhelmed, I try to find little things to focus on to make me happy. Like glue pumps and mannequins and colored pencils. I don't think much about the fact that I'm an art teacher, but then, every once in a while, I think about Mrs. Walker, my elementary school art teacher. She was the best! She always seemed to have energy and great art project ideas. I remember once when a kid dropped his lunch tray in the hallway. I don't remember what food had been on the tray, but I remember specifically the spilled chocolate milk. Mrs. Walker came by just then and said, "Hey, look! It's art!" I must have been 7 or 8 years old, and that has stuck with me to this day - find art and beauty in everything you see. I wonder sometimes if my students will remember me and the lessons that I teach them.
Do you have any art class memories? Or fun memories from elementary school in general? if so, please share with the class!