Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Vibes

Let it not be said we don't have fun here with The Boat! Inputting all the proofing from the assistant editors has to be the most tedious task for me with this publication. One has to pay very close attention to make sure not to miss anything. And so there I was, highly focused and feverishly making the corrections to this issue's articles (all 244 pages of them). So imagine me, "in the zone," inputting the proofing Mom did on my hoof article. Then...lo!...I turn the page to...that (above).

Let's just say coffee nearly came out of my nose as I bellowed out a howl of laughter.

What the diagram shows is the palmar surface of a horse's foot, with the "frog," sole, etc. But it's been given a new spin by 'ol Mom. There are few things in this Universe that may be wholly original, and I suspect Mom's take on the horse's foot is one of them. This puppy now has a place of high honor on the wall in my studio. Lesson: Never take anything too seriously!

So joy! -- this Summer 2009 issue is done! I'm sending if off to the RESS Executive Director tomorrow and members should be able to download it sometime next week. Phew. Another big job crossed off. It's been a productive week!

It's strange -- usually every time I finish an issue, I kinda don't know what to do with myself for a little bit. But not this time -- I have that paint job to woo my attentions. I'm happy to say that the other side has been a snap. It's been a pleasure. This has taken me by surprise to be honest. I was expecting a struggle. Nope. Perhaps what I needed to learn from the first side is now completely uploaded to my sub-routines. So I hope to have this guy done next week (fingers crossed). Stepping back, this piece has been an interesting "full circle" experience for me. I've attempted this exact color and pattern once before on a much older piece (I think from 10ish years ago, perhaps more), so I'm eager to compare. How has my painting evolved between then and now?

Anyway, to celebrate, I'm enjoying a feast of some Akira Kurosawa films. About every 1-2 years I revisit this director's work. I've watched Ran, and I'm currently watching Yojimbo. Yesterday, I watched The Seven Samurai, which is one of my all-time favorite films. I never get tired of watching it, and pick up new details or interpretations each time I see it. Speaking of "then and now" -- I remember watching this film over the years as I grew up, and it's interesting to contemplate my perception of the film at each stage of life. But people can keep their knights, cowboys, dirty cops, rock stars, celebrities and rebels without a cause. My heroic figures have always been samurai. A katana sword, a kimono and geta work for me just fine. Don't forget the sake!

I really enjoy foreign films, and Asian films in particular.
I was introduced to Asian films very early by my parents, since they lived a year in Japan when I was first born and brought that experience home with them (along with some amazing Japanese block prints, embroidery, silk paintings and raku pottery). And no dubbing please. Native language with English subtitles only. Too much is lost about a culture with dubbing, IMO. I heartily recommend these Asian films to get you started on that path: The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Ran, Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress, Hero, Crouching Tiger - Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, and for lots of fun, Kung Fu Hustle (it's described as Tarantino meets Bugs Bunny meets Kung Fu -- a very apt description! The landlady kills me!) and Shaolin Soccer (by the same writer/director as Kung Fu Hustle). If you want an exotic romp into the world of Japanese "wizards," try Onmyoji.

Speaking of a romp -- when my parents lived in Japan and I was but a wee grub, they rode a bullet train for the first time. But the other cars were very crowded, so the conductor placed Mom and Dad (and me) in a private train car, in the back. Then who should walk into this private train car? Toshiro Mifune, that's who! He was George Clooney, Brad Bitt, Gerard Butler, Clark Gable, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood all rolled up into one for Japan. He was IT. Still is, arguably. It was his private train car. My parents were blown away. Mom said she gave him a big smile. Mifune smiled at them, too, and then tended to business with his gigantic entourage at the front of the car. Mom said it was quite a thrill -- what a once in a lifetime chance encounter! Thank goodness I was good the entire time. Not a peep!

Anyway, back to feasting...I wonder if "imprinting" food preferences happens with babies. If so, I think I was imprinted with Asian food. Even today, my food preferences always lean towards Asian. I can tell you the location of every Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai or Mongolian BBQ restaurant (or grocery) within a five mile radius of our house! Chances are that if any dish involves the traditional use of chopsticks, I'm going to choose it. To me, my comfort food involves calrose rice, udon or stir fry noodles with something. And dim sum. And char sui bao.
And rice crackers. And sushi. And Sukiyaki. And Thai Curry. And Tori No Mizutaki. Okay okay...and my Mom's Manhattan Clam Chowder and Banana Bread. And macaroni and cheese (ha ha). Hey, speaking of which...I have to get that recipe from Sonya!...her homemade mac and cheese was da bomb!...

Wait? -- how'd I get on the subject of food again from The Boat?....

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~ Luciano Pavarotti

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