After six-plus years of being together, it’s always nice to step back, assess the BIG PICTURE, and come to the same conclusion: my husband is quite the catch.
Now I present the best way to cap off your work-week, a series of photos of Lance enjoying Disneyland. What better way to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth than with such an adorable guy? (Cameos by two other handsome gentlemen, Brian and Phil.)
Well, I know all those pics put me in a better mood. Happy Friday, everyone!
My lovely husband, my rock, the wind beneath my wings….well, he’s having some trouble packing. This usually results in me having to relinquish some of my luggage space to his exfoliating creams or his extra 30+ t-shirts for a ten-day trip.
So that’s it, Dear Readers: tomorrow, all that stands between us and the lush isle of Kaua’i are four planes, three layovers, 21 hours and several iced coffees.
Since I doubt we’ll be doing much (if any) posts to this blog for the next week or so, please follow us on Instagram (@lanceandjeff) and Twitter (@lanceandjeff) (and go ahead and like us on Facebook, while you’re at it) to get the most up-to-date, kitsch-ily filtered photos of pineapples and frozen cocktails and snarking comments about fat Americans on the beach (oh wait, that’s us…)
I’m just going to own up to the defunct-ness of my sketch-a-day blog, The Dapper Doodle. While originally intentioned as a way to force me to dust off my creaky drawing habit, it turned out to be an obligation more than a hobby.
I used to “draw” quite a bit as a kid but it’s dropped to the wayside as Geeky, Acne’d Loner Teenager Me changed into Geeky, Acne’d Married Adult Me + Dog. (In that first year of puppyhood, don’t expect to get anything done, like, you know, read a book or anything.)
So let’s take a trip down Memory Lane, when I was still a glimmer in Lance’s “desperate for a man” hopes and dreams, to revisit one of my latter “art projects.” Can you spot when my dream to become a Disney animator or comic book artist crashed in a fiery heap on the side of the road?
Right before Lance and I were to officially move in together, he commissioned me to create a few paintings to hang up in our new place. The theme was X-Men…or probably more accurately, X-Women. Storm, Jean Grey/Phoenix, Rogue, Psylocke, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Emma Frost, DAZZLER…the list goes on and on.
Why the women of the X-Men? I dunno. Something about Storm in particular is very appealing to gay men, as far as I’ve been able to tell during my extensive anthropological studies of gay culture.
We’d been watching a lot of the Justice League cartoon around this same time, and I love Bruce Timm’s very angular, geometric, exaggerated (enormous chin on Superman, bodacious hips on Wonder Woman) simple character designs. They may be perpetuating sexist imagery to children, but hey!, it looks cool.
A few examples:
So with this sort of style as my guide, I starting putting these together. I started with Jean Grey/Phoenix, my favorite X-man:
Next, I moved on to Storm, in classic “X-Men: The Animated Series” uniform:
And I finished with Rogue, also in her “X-Men: TAS” uniform (seriously, these characters change costumes like every six months). I originally had Rogue in a different pose than what she ended up with:
This wasn’t dynamic enough, I didn’t think, to balance out all the crazy baloney that’s going on with my Storm, so I went a different route, and based (err, stole?) the final pose from the cover of Rogue #1 by the late, super great Mike Wieringo.
Above: Wieringo’s original piece.
Below: mine, which is basically the same thing:
Together and displayed as intended, the three pieces looked like this:
These garish things hung above our sofa for two and a half years…and now occupy a snug little corner of our storage unit. Anybody who wants ’em, let me know–we’ll barter.
What sort of decorations/artwork have you created for your humble abode?
Given all the news about Detroit filing for bankruptcy, I thought it appropriate to draw some attention to some of the more wonderful parts of the Great Lakes State, and even Detroit.
I visited my parents this past weekend, who live about 40 minutes outside Detroit (though, growing up, my brother and I were trained to substitute that for “20 minutes from Ann Arbor, you know, home of the world-renowned University of Michigan. Did I mention that my mom went there? GO BLUE!”)
My quaint lil’ hometown (the photos below don’t do it justice, unfortunately, but you can find some swell pics at I Run These Towns) was hosting their annual Art in the Park, where the streets shut down and super-charming artisans attempt to sell their wares. Given that it’s the Midwest, stuff is fairly crafty and doesn’t really appeal to my senses, but strolling down street after street full of vendors and artists was like stepping back into my childhood.
We hit Art in the Park early on the Friday it opened, so crowds were sparser than they’d be just a few hours later.
We hit up Greek Islands Coney Island for lunch before we left the art fair. For those of you who’ve never been to Michigan and are perplexed by Coney Island restaurants…you’re not alone. There are probably hundreds of Coney Island restaurants in the metro Detroit-area, but they aren’t a chain, per se. While there are some franchised Coneys (like Kirby’s, which has almost 30 locations), they’re all independently owned. Coney Islands are really their own type of cuisine, a mix of Americanized Greek food (think gyros, souvlaki, spanakopita) and…chili dogs. Coneys are often owned and operated by Greek-American families, hence the unusual mix of cuisine.
I wonder if Coney Islands are the Lil’ Sebastian of Michigan. Lance didn’t seem to “get” Coney Islands when we last visited Michigan together. “It’s a hot dog with ‘meat sauce’ on it,” he said suspiciously in his best Ben Wyatt.
Of course, the Midwest doesn’t have the reputation of being a bunch of fat, shapeless people for nothing! My dad loves preparing all of my favorite foods when I visit, so by Day 3 or so I always get “tummy troubles,” but it’s worth it. Below, you’ll see my father’s Texas Toast Bacon Burger (yes, you read that right.)
On one of the last days I was home, we swung in to Detroit, which just got its first Whole Foods (which is, I’m not kidding, a seriously important thing and a sign that there’s budding hope in the revival of the city). When I was a kid, I never spent a lot of time in Detroit, a city plagued by crime, corruption, and nothingness for years. Seriously, the city’s lost more than half its population since the 1950s, so it’s understandable how the tax base dried up, leaving the city in shambles.
Now, as an adult, I’ve become more protective of “The D” (it’s not going to catch on, folks, let’s give it up). I’ve become very interested in the new urban farming initiatives in a city which so badly needs access to fresh (and cheap) produce, or the Midtown section that is being infused with a lot of young, 20-something money (hey, it’s cheap to live there and young people gravitate to city centers).
While we were downtown, we got pretty close to the sets they’re building for “Transformers 4.” A couple of the other “Transformers” movies have also filmed in Detroit, though probably because it doesn’t take a lot of money to make the place look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
On the way out of the city, we stopped by Slows-To-Go Barbecue. My parents have been raving about Slows for months, and they weren’t wrong. For those of y’all familiar with Fette Sau in Brooklyn or Fishtown in Philly, it’s a similar idea. Very good and well worth going out of your way for.
Detroit is going to turn around eventually, though it’s going to face even more growing pains as, I’m sure, city employee pensions and even more of the government workforce will be cut. There are signs of hope in the city (when did Detroit get a Starbucks??); I remain hopeful.
Oh, and of course, we also had to check on the progress on Michigan’s first CHEESECAKE FACTORY!!! Lookin’ good, CFac, lookin’ good.