Thursday, April 26, 2007

Totally Me

Love is like a shooting star
It don't matter who you are
If you only run for cover...

Yeah, baby. Note how he knows what's coming, and as everyone else runs away, he keeps beckoning - BRING IT! Each wave gets closer and closer until it finally knocks him down.

Then he gets up again.

There's simultaneously total surrender and yet total strength. And a knowing smile. At peace with whatever life may bring. Because whatever may knock him down... he will get back up again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Good Night My Love

Wow. Lot's of closure going on. As I've posted here before, I've been working on a tribute CD of old And Tears Fell music, re-recorded with people who knew Sam, as a sort of requiem. I can dedicate films and plays to her 'til the cows come home, but it still wouldn't close the door on our musical history together - thus the album.

We've been working on it weekends here and there for the past year and a half at Westside Studios (the digital digs of Brian "Dogfish" "Full Life Crisis" Chase), and are now at the mixing stage. It's packed with the best songs from our first three albums, and yet, I knew I wanted to write something new to kind of tie everything up in a nice bow. For the last few months, I've been playing around with a chord progression that can best be described as somewhere between this, this and this. And maybe a bit of this and this. And definitely this. But until today, whenever I thought of putting down lyrics, I only saw a blank page.

For whatever reason, today I was ready. As I was driving home from dropping the kids at school, a phrase came to me: "Two satellites in orbit", then: "Children holding hands". I started writing them down, and something just shook loose. Suddenly there was a fully-formed song staring at me from the page. Yes, it's sad. VERY sad. But it's the ultimate statement of where I'm at, and how I feel. I've composed music for Sam before - mostly instrumentals and one love song I wrote and recorded for her birthday in 1999. But I've never written a farewell like this - a farewell not only to the woman I spent twenty years with, but that entire life. It's VERY bittersweet, this saying farewell, but in order to make forward progress, one needs to make peace with the past and let it stay in the past.

My friend Conor has volunteered to record it, and if it turns out, I will include it at the end of Requiem, maybe as a "hidden" track.

Good Night My Love © 2007

We were children holding hands
Once upon a time
Two satellites in orbit
Around a love sublime

We kissed in darkness, made a pact
And held each other tight
You and me against the world
It all just felt so right

(Good night my love)
All you were to me
(Good night my love)
Is etched into my memory
(Good night my love)
And everything that was
(Good night my love)
Will always be inside of me

Your presence, it still lingers here
From night until the day
Your image smiling, voice in song
A ghostly cabaret

Lonely tears I’ve shed for you
I reach out for your touch
And take with me the memory
Of times I loved so much

(Good night my love)
All you were to me
(Good night my love)
Is etched into my memory
(Good night my love)
And everything that was
(Good night my love)
Will always be inside of me

Waking alone and gripped by hollow fear
All that I know is reduced to blur of tears
Time wasn’t on your side and I wonder - how I got here
So good night, my dear

One day we might see each other
Passing in the night
Until then I’ll draw the curtains
And put out the light

If you stop along your journey
Think of me sometime
Remember that brief shining moment
That we called a life

(Good night my love)
All you were to me
(Good night my love)
Is etched into my memory
(Good night my love)
And everything that was
(Good night my love)
Will always be inside of me

Good night my love
Good night my love

Ghosts Redux

I was going through some of the recovered computer data from the fire, and ran across the video for our old single, Ghosts. It's now on YouTube. Just a note: YouTube compression knocked the audio sync off during upload. My original file is fine, but this one has a slight audio lag.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lloyd & Diane

Kayleigh ran her first RPG tonight with a school friend and her older brother. It was heartwarming that she chose the Red Dwarf roleplaying game that Sam & I authored (with massive help, of course). The game that put our company on the map, and paid our full time salaries for a year and a half. Tyler will join next time, but tonight he was at Gavin's place, participating in a Star Wars RPG campaign.

Gotta start growing geeks from the beginning, man.

After K's guests left, she asked if we could watch a DVD together. I opened the cabinet and let her scan the shelves - and the one she chose was Say Anything. I said, "Oh, this is written and directed by Cameron Crowe." And my nine-year-old daughter replied, "he's the guy who made Singles, right?"

Stunned silence.

"Yes, honey. That's right."

Of course, as anyone who was a teenager in the 1980s knows, Say Anything was one of the greatest love stories/date movies John Cusack ever starred in. It depicts two Seattle high school graduates (class of '86 no less - HELLO!), Lloyd Dobbler (Cusack) and Diane Court (Ione Skye), a totally mismatched pair who fall in love under some interesting and often stressful circumstances. The late-teen angst, the dialogue, all the performances are right on. And then there's the soundtrack, which is led fearlessly by Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes. The scene where Lloyd tries to win Diane back by holding his boombox aloft and "serenading" her has become iconic.

"That's Peter Gabriel," Kayleigh remarked from the love seat.

"Yes, yes it is," I answered, eyes welling up, recalling the wedding video footage of Sam & me dancing to it. Stupid Peter Gabriel and your songwriting brilliance.

Sam & I loved that movie. Hell, Sam & I lived that movie. Switch Seattle with Palo Alto, give Lloyd a white Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and change some of the immediate family dynamics around (as far as I know, Sam's parents didn't steal from the elderly residents in their nursing home), and that could have been us. The grad party. The dates lasting until dawn. The awkward first kiss. And then there's the scene in the back seat of Lloyd's car by the ocean... I was immediately transported back to the Baylands in Palo Alto, back seat of my Cutlass at age 18.

And I had to leave the room. I was flooded with this sudden wave of grief and - more surprising - anger. WTF was that about?? I stood in the kitchen with clenched fists and cursed the fates and remembered that delicious innocent time and savored it and I let it go.

It passed in moments, but jeez, what a surprise. I think it must be somewhat like a victim of PTSD having a flashback. Kinda bizarre and awful how it sneaks up on you out of nowhere. Of course it probably didn't hurt that Sam bore more than a passing resemblance to Ione Sky when she was that age. Here I am, talking about how great I'm doing not two days ago, and then - BAM.

This meeting of the Emotional Self-Torturers of America is now adjourned.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I've Been Tagged.

Lisa tagged me with a meme, and so now it's my turn to filter this cultural nugget and perpetuate it.

Three things that scare me:
I was tempted to post some ancient Celtic motto, as I identify readily with my ancient ancestors in their ferocity. I'm reminded of this passage from the Táin Bo Cuailgne: "Heaven is above us, and earth beneath us, and the sea is round about us. Unless the sky shall fall with its showers of stars on the ground where we are camped, or unless the earth shall be rent by an earthquake, or unless the waves of the blue sea come over the forests of the living world, we shall not give ground." But for this exercise, I will keep it simple. :)
1) Unbridled greed
2) Apathy
3) Blind dogma (of any stripe)

Three people who make me laugh:
1) Hans
2) Steve
3) A host of comics from classic Steve Martin to Dane Cook, Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Silverman

Three things I love:
1) My tribe
2) The act of creation - as in art
3) The act of aesthetic appreciation

Three things I hate:
1) Cancer, and being made a widowed father of two at age 36 by it
2) Violence toward the innocent
3) Hate

Three things I don't understand:
1) Willing ignorance
2) The cancer industry
3) How we are still alive as a species

Three things on my desk:
Too much to really go into, so I randomly choose...
1) The new Sarah Shannon CD
2) A stack of papers with copious phone notes
3) A couple computers

Three things I'm doing right now:
1) Assembling all sorts of financials for our D Constructed CFO
2) Listening to 8mm
3) Typing

Three things I want to do before I die:
1) Build an artist community on the Olympic Peninsula
2) Watch my children become happy adults
3) Find out if my theory on soulmates is true

Three things I can do:
1) Write well
2) Pick up almost any instrument or artistic medium and intuitively know how to use it
3) Raise two preteens without going insane... at least not too much

Three things I can't do:
1) Bear children (thank GOD)
2) Fly without mechanical aid
3) Look at the back of my head without a mirror

Three things I think you should listen to:
1) Peter Gabriel - Security
2) Zero7 - When it Falls
3) Tina Dico - In the Red

Three things you should never listen to:
1) Political pundits (of any stripe)
2) Radio and/or TV talk show hosts
3) Government officials (at any level)

Three things I'd like to learn:
1) Scots Gaelic
2) The reason we're here
3) More history

Three favorite foods:
1) The beef ravioli at Pegasus on Alki
2) Tie: the shepherd's pie at the Celtic Swell; the Guinness ice cream at the Celtic Swell
3) Venison pie with a pint of bitter and baked cherries for dessert

Three shows I watched as a kid:
1) Star Trek
2) The Six Million Dollar Man
3) Bugs Bunny

Three things I regret:
I have a fundamental problem with this one, as the implications are rather harsh for someone who has gone through the loss of a spouse and the survivor's guilt that goes with it. But anyway...
1) Not going public about my grandmother molesting me as a kid sooner (might have saved my brother that indignity)
2) Not having the opportunity to grow old with Samantha
3) Allowing the golden handcuffs of the videogame industry to lead me on a decade-long detour away from filmmaking

Three people I tag:
1) Beth
2) Andrew
3) Lotti

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dancing With Tears in My Eyes

Yeah, WTF?? I've been having the most surreal week. After all that numbness last week with the anniversaries of both Matt's and Sam's deaths, this week I find myself spacey and more than a little melancholy. I know what this is, but I think maybe subconsciously I don't want it to be so.

I'm letting go.

I read my entries from this time last year and I can't believe this is the same guy (because it really isn't). I look at pictures from five, ten, twenty years ago - there was Samantha, there I was with her. There we were together. But it's bloody surreal because that is SOOOO not my life anymore. It's a whole other world. I still get a daily dose of Samantha just by looking at my kids, but she's no longer there, fully physical and present in my life anymore, and as long as there are no magic wands or time travel machines, that's just The Way It Is (TM). I can't will her back or cry her into existence, and honestly at this point, those fantasies of it all being just a big hospital mistake and any moment I'll get a call to come pick her up because she misses me terribly are far behind me.

A widow friend of mine whose age, story and timeline are very similar to my own said it was like a launching pad. It's like you finally realize that there's stuff you want and need to do in life, and grief is not a great facilitator of said "stuff". So, although you will always, always, ALWAYS carry with you a piece of your spouse or other loved one in your heart and occasionally take it out to look at like an old photo, maybe have a good cry over, it's not cluttering the floor and making it impossible to move without stubbing your toe. It's okay. YOU'RE okay, and it's alright to be happy again. The good days now outnumber the bad. You can wake up (perhaps in the bed and/or home the two of you shared) and be okay to face the world with a positive attitude.

I think my friend's departure from our support group has something to do with it. We share a bizarre set of circumstances in our lives, and have a supportive, understanding friendship. And she is ready to leave the group and move forward in the best way. I think I was waiting for her to get to that point out of some big brother instinct of wanting to know she would be okay, or perhaps was kind of using her situation as a mile marker for myself (her husband died about 4 months before Samantha). In any case, I'm feeling really... what's the word... autonomous... capable... independent...


I will stay with my Gilda's group until the 2 year marker for my dad's death at the end of May, then I too will leave the nest and fly on my own (in a huge flock of other capable, independent birds).

If you were a teenager in the 1980s, you know where the title of today's post comes from. It was probably British new wave group Ultravox's biggest hit in the US. I used to have the Best of Ultravox (as well as a bunch of their regular albums) on CD before the fire. So I recently picked up another compilation reissue from EMI (it sounds GREAT, by the way), popped it in the car stereo, and proceeded to sing along at the top of my lungs. Very cathartic, let me tell you. It's a good way to exorcise all the pent up energy from another wave of skin hunger (and not wanting to jump on Craigslist for a quick hook-up - not my bag anymore, baby).

Dancing with tears in my eyes
Weeping for the memory of a life gone by
Dancing with tears in my eyes
Living out a memory of a love that died

It's five and I'm driving home again
It's hard to believe that it's my last time
The man on the wireless cries again
It's over, it's over

It's late and I'm with my love alone
We drink to forget the coming storm
We love to the sound of our favourite song
Over and over

It's time and we're in each others arms
It's time but I don't think we really care

- Ultravox

See, a year ago those words would have meant something completely different to me. Now they are much more positive. The tears don't factor as much as the dancing. It's only the pangs of forward movement and letting go. It hurts a bit, but it's okay.

It's really okay.

It's okay and I feel good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I May Already Be a Winner!

Usually I hate email spam. Well, I can't stand the canned meat variety either. But occasionally one comes along that is pretty fun to read. Imagine what this looks like to those folks (like me) with the Red Pencil Vision super power (a power shared by college lit professors and editors). There's just so much wrong with it, I wouldn't know where to begin, if I were an editor who worked for Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incorporation (WTF??). I guess I should feel free to use Mr. Mellor's email address (at bottom), if it is a legit email address, to sign up for a bunch of porn email. I'm sure whoever is running this phishing effort would be at least as amused as I was by getting this email.

* * *

Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incorporation
Baley House, Har Road
Sutton, Greater London
SM1 4te
United Kingdom.

This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of Five hundred thousand, Great Britain Pound Sterlings(£500,000.00) for this month 2007 Lottery promotion which is organized by YAHOO/MSN LOTTERY INC & WINDOWS LIVE.

YAHOO/MSN & MICROSOFT WINDOWS, collects all the email addresses of the people that are active online, among the millions that subscribed to any email providers. we only select five people every Month as our winners through electronic balloting System without the winner applying,we congratulate you for being one of the people selected.

You are to contact the events manager on or before your date of Claim, Winners Shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Centre.

Yahoo/Msn Lottery Prize must be claimed no later than 20 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize has won. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited.

These are your identification numbers:
Batch number.....................YM 09102XN Reff number.......................YM35447XN
Winning number...................YM09788

These numbers fall within your Location file, you are requested to contact the events manager, send your winning identification numbers to him,to enable him verify your claims.

Name:Mr.Brian Mellor
TEL: +44 70457 12933
Thank you and Accept my hearty congratulations once again!
Yours faithfully,
Mrs.Florina Bent
(Yahoo/Msn Lottery Games/Lottery Coordinator).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sadiversary #2

/v. trænsˈfɔrm; n. ˈtrænsfɔrm/ [v. trans-fawrm; n. trans-fawrm]
–verb (used with object)

1. to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.
2. to change in condition, nature, or character; convert.
3. to change into another substance; transmute.

Readers of this blog know that Samantha died on April 12th. That's two years ago today. I had forgotten, but Tuesday marked the 35th Anniversary of my brother Matt's death. Maybe that contributed to the numbness I felt on that day. In any case, the numbness is back today, taking care of me as I go through the process.

I think transformed would be the correct word to use, when I think about what has happened in the two years since Sam breathed her last breath in our home as I held her. The whole process was transformational - for both of us. And for the kids. It transformed our sometimes fumbling marriage into a well-oiled machine, us against the disease. It transformed Samantha from an attractive woman in her 30s into an apparition. Cadaverish from the waist up, bloated and blistered from the waist down. No wonder our children are so mature now, having lived with that every day, watching their mom disintegrate slowly in front of their eyes. To contrast, when Matt died by ingesting an entire bottle of 1-a-Day iron supplements, I saw him briefly in the ER, and that was it. He was just gone. I can remember him being the vital, busy toddler he was - there was no slow decline.

So the process transformed Samantha, it transformed me, it transformed the kids. When she took her last breath, she transformed into something completely different. Her body stopped fighting for its own survival, and her soul or whatever spark of energy that made her human became invisible as well as intangible. The moment of her death transformed me. I held my first real love in my arms, kissing her softly on the forehead, whispering consolation and words of love. By that point, she'd been mentally gone for a couple hours... still, I think she could hear me. And more importantly, the feelings were expressed.

It's no secret that I seriously considered suicide by morphine for an insane couple of minutes. Sleep and food deprivation over the prior week had combined with the trauma of helplessly watching my wife die and culminated in a malfunctioning self-preservation instinct. I was alone in the room and had access to a lot of leftover morphine. I didn't think I could face the pain. But face it I would have to, if not for me then for our children... my children. The easy option wasn't an option after all, but it sure was the closest I'd ever come to really doing it (and I'd come close in my early teens).

I wasn't really able to begin the mourning process because the wagons were being circled around my dad, who was informed of brain metastases right before Samantha's memorial party. There was no time to mourn at first, with almost daily trips to UW hospital. Cancer transformed my father from a vital, healthy, articulate, intelligent man into a pale, frail victim (a role he never voluntarily took, but by the end of his fight, after multiple surgeries and laying in the ICU with a tube in his skull to vent cranial pressure, he was made cancer's bitch - something I say with all due venom and anger).

So how does the death of one's wife and soulmate of 20 years and one's beloved father just one month later transform one? I'm sure you see similar traits in combat veterans and witnesses to violent crime. PTSD. Depression. Insomnia. Nightmares. Vocational obsessions (workaholism). Increased alcohol intake (and other forms of self-medication). Emotional breakdowns. Uncontrollable sobbing. Social withdrawal. I certainly displayed all of those. Yet, at the same time, as the cicatrix was forming over the wounds, I felt a new strength and capability grow within. A new perspective.

Admittedly, I dated too early in the process. It's a pitfall to which many in the widowed community succumb. Fortunately I wasn't reckless - just incapable of emotional involvement. Nobody was badly hurt. I'm still friends with the first woman I dated. But when the house disasters occurred (Christmas Eve flood, Valentine's Day fire), I knew it wasn't the right time for dating or any kind of romantic relationships. I transformed again, focusing on the reconstruction of my home, the children and several creative projects. The house was transformed from a 1920s patchwork remodel to a fully renovated home with all-new everything. Out of the ashes rises the phoenix - literally.

I do get weepy if I allow myself to get caught up in the details of Samantha's death, or remember the last phone conversation with my father the day he died, or the phone call from the doctor saying he'd had an embolism and they were working on him right now... but I suppose that will always be the case. It's horrible, tragic stuff... it's life. But whereas two years ago today I stood shakily on an unknown threshold, feeling like the universe had ripped everything away from me and left me raped and bloody on the sidewalk, today I look back as a totally different man. Transformed. In charge of my life and future. Active instead of passive. Raising two amazing children, and teaching them to fearlessly embrace life. Engaged in much closer relationships with Sam's family than when she was alive. Being content in the now and looking at a bright future, despite (and perhaps due to) past trauma.

These anniversaries will always require a bit more contemplation than an ordinary day, but with patience and perspective, it is possible to emerge from the initial darkness a whole hell of a lot more awake and aware, patient, capable and strong, energized and loving.


P.S. Thanks to Jason P's friend Jeanine, who is running a Team-in-Training half-marathon in Portland this weekend and has added Sam's name to her jersey. I appreciate it immensely.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


What a weekend.

Had a bunch of out-of-state friends and family come into town over the weekend. My old Sierra cohort and screenwriting partner Mack crashed on our sofa for the weekend, and generally made his monkeyboy self useful. We had the OA wrap party/screening on Saturday, and despite some "live theater", it was a big success. And let me just say that Sally makes the best carrot sheet cake in the history of carrot sheet cake. Afterward, I picked up the kids from Norwescon (which they attended with Gav & Michelle), and we met Sam's folks for dinner at Elliott Bay. Came home and crashed out at 9:30PM.

Easter Sunday was spent at Sam's brother's house up in Kirkland with Sam's folks once again. Lovely brunch, lovely peoples, lovely home. Headed back and hosted a visit from Beth & Chris, which was really fun. Hans joined us and we took the whole group down to Pegasus for dinner. Then back to the homestead for a marathon geekfest of Amazing Screw-On Head, The Specials and Free Enterprise.

I thought Monday would be more relaxing, but no. Lots of catch-up work, followed by dinner at the Swell with Hans, Ron, Mike, Allan & Theresa. Followed by Hans arriving at the house later, and us watching Clerks II and a couple episodes of Extras.

Between the beer, the food and the running around, I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been backed over by Truckasaurus. Kayleigh was feeling under the weather as well. So it's been a sedate recovery day full of vitamin C, rest and me watching the first disc of The Shield season 5.

Not a total loss. ;)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ordinary Nitpicks

Productive day! Had a dynamite cardio workout at the gym. Finally got out to the storage unit and grabbed a few boxes of Red Dwarf RPG to send to the consolidator, paid the storage bill. Grabbed dinner at the deli and a sale copy of Flushed Away at Target. We recently got it in our Netflix batch and loved it so much I had to seek out a copy for the collection.

Because of the Aardman connection, this is easily the best Dreamworks animated film so far. Aardman can compete with Pixar characters, story and shtick. Dreamworks' efforts thus far, while some were admittedly impressive, have never been able to touch the overall quality of a Pixar animated film on the aforementioned merits of characters, story AND shtick (all at once). Plenty of adult-savvy gags too, so not just for the kids.

Received a screening copy of Natt's animated short in the mail - just in time! Dan brought over a test burn of the Ordinary Angels screening DVD, and we watched it on the projector. Looked and sounded great all big and wide on the screen, despite a few technical issues which are being addressed before the final screening burn. Also showed Dan The Amazing Screw On Head, which is brilliant, speaking of animation.

I am burning the screening DVD of the Ordinary Angels BTS Reel (behind-the-scenes = BTS) as we speak, and am looking forward to finally meeting with Jason Parker tomorrow (he had the wrong week in his planner). Checking off the to-do list... feels good.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fool, Not.

Really good day yesterday.

Let's back up. Saturday was mostly spent in Dan's editing suite working on the the audio mix for Ordinary Angels. He has the added stress of just having moved into his new apartment just last week, so it was really incredible to have his dedication on this "final" mix. We will have a test burn of the screening DVD to watch on the projector here at home on Wednesday, and any last tweaks can be done between then and Friday. Next Saturday is the wrap party & screening, and although I'm nervous as hell, I'm also VERY excited to see this finally come together... right now... over me. Sorry for the Beatles ref, but I hit the sack at 9:30 last night so I'm up with the dawn and a bit unrestrained in terms of my brainal workings.

Brainal. I'm serious. Look it up.

Aaaaanyway, Kayleigh came with me and filled her time working on her history report while Dan & I edited. Then we came home about 6PM, had just enough time to grab a bite and change clothes, and then we were off to see Muriel's production of True West at Youngstown. This did not look like a directorial debut. Brava, Muriel! Caleb and Shandalla were at the show, along with Conor and some other Twelfth Night folks, so it was cool to catch up. Soon they will be seeing a lot more of each other when they take on Oklahoma this summer.

Caleb & Shandalla came back to the house afterward, and we got to have some drinks and actually socialize. Nothing work-related, nothing businessy, just a few friends chatting - love that. And now that Caleb's off in Bellingham at WWU, I don't get to see him as often, so it was really really cool.

Sunday began as always with coffee at the bookstore with Ron. Then Gavin & Michelle arrived (in their new '06 Kia Spectra, which now means all three siblings are driving recent-model Kias), picked up the kids and the dog and whisked them away to their bi-weekly boardgame gathering at a friend's home, which left me with about 8 hours of potential alone time... of course I went to the Qwest Event Center and hung out with Steve & JD and my comic publishing buddies for the second day of Emerald City Comicon. My spies within the ECC organization didn't know I was coming, so I went ahead and bought a ticket from a very attractive brunette (what's up, attractive brunette?), rather than trying to weasel into the show with my production badge from OA. Steve, JD and Brian Beardsley were given prime table space along one of two major causeways this year, and attendance was booming (guess it's good to know the guys who run the con). All day long we sat directly across from Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew, who is a very slender, very tall man - albeit walking a bit creakily now. Margot Kidder had been there on Saturday (stationed next to Mayhew), but was absent Sunday when I was there.

Next to THEM was a booth with three of the major players from Farscape: Gigi Edgley, Wayne Pygram and Lani Tupu. Edgley is a teeny sprite of a woman (her IMDB listing says she's 5'7", but she sure doesn't look it) - and VERY cute. Like, stick her in your pocket (and while you're down there...) cute.

Had a blast hanging out with Da Bros. Chatted at length with Brian "Boom Boom" Meredith, comic book IP powerhouse and one of the founders of ECC, and made a tentative deal to shoot TWO commercial spots: one for ECC as they move into the Washington State Convention Center next year, and one for The Comic Stop, the shop Brian runs.

Mike Oeming was there, all five-foot-nothin' of him, giving his standard arm wrestle challenge. $10 buys you a sit-down with Oeming, and you throw down. If he wins, you get a signed copy of his $10 con sketchbook - so you're not out anything. If YOU win, you get a page of original comic art. So it's really a win-win for the challenger, and Oeming usually benefits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund with portions of his winnings. Well, some of you know JD is not only a comic artist but a fellow workoutaholic like Oeming, and at one point JD had one of the con staff offer to sponsor him if he'd wrestle Oeming. Sooooo glad I brought the camera!

So after Oeming beat a big Polynesian dude and made a show of getting owned by a female artist, JD got pushed through the crowd. Oeming saw him and cringed, "Awww Jeezus!", which was worth the price of the day's admission. Oeming then demanded "left!", and JD agreed, knowing that his left was his better arm for the job anyway. They squared off, and JD lasted longer than any of Oeming's other opponents. At one point, dudes behind Oeming started shouting, "SPARTA! SPARTA!", and JD took the cue to give Oeming a gutteral warcry - which only phased him for a moment. Oeming mimed turning his baseball cap around backwards, and closed the deal. It was by far the most entertaining bit of the day (and much better than when JD was accosted by Special Man at a show a few years back). Anyway, I will link to the video clip once I have it uploaded to YouTube. [UPDATE: HERE IT IS.]

Steve, JD, Beardsley (joined by his wife and stepson) and I all went to a very crowded Red Robin for dinner, and after a beer and a chicken burger, I hit the road home. Arrived just in time to do a quick CoH mission before Gavin dropped the kids home and by then it was time to head to bed.

Good weekend. Lots of fun, lots of interactions - business and friends both.