Radio Silence

Hey, Mouseketeers! Sorry for not writing more lately. While school’s in session, our weeks tend to be busy but homogeneous, and our weekends totally unpredictable, neither of which is much good for the discipline of getting things down on paper (or electrons). Here’s the latest:

  • After returning from the conference in Springfield (where I had a lovely time, thanks for asking), I took all the kids off to the Texas Renaissance Festival with my trusty brother, my cousin and her husband in tow. This worked out well, as Liam was feeling rather sick in the morning, and the other kids were able to run around with the adults while Liam and I sat quietly under trees and watched people in chain mail walk past. (“Holy cow, did you see that 10 foot tall dragon?” “Really? You dressed as the Joker to go to a RenFest?” “Please, ma’am, you’re not really equipped to be wearing that!”) About midway through the afternoon, Liam’s belly stabilized, so we were able to run around to see the Mud Show, the falconry, jousting and fireworks. Great fun! If you’d care to follow along in the photo storybook, you can do so here. The Festival runs for several more weeks, so if you’re in the area, I highly recommend a visit. Tell them Sean sent you! (They’ll act like they don’t know what you’re talking about, but don’t worry, that’s just part of the security.)
  • Last weekend was Maker Faire, which is kind of like a giant support group for people like Jason Young and me who like to build large, potentially lethal do-it-yourself projects. The three younger kids and I met up with Jason and Erin, his (far) better half, for a great day viewing art cars, making shrinky dinks out of recycled plastic, riding bicycle animals, watching robots fight to the death, learning to weave on a loom, meeting the Eepybird guys, dodging huge gouts of flame shooting from fire plugs, seeing rockets launched, crocheting handbags from used plastic grocery sacks, and more. Photos are here, and I’m editing down some of the video I got for a highlight reel, to be posted soon.
  • This morning I went and laid down some pennywhistle tracks for an album some friends are putting together. Fun to get to take that into the studio, though I always forget how exacting recording can be, even in short stints. John, the audio engineer, had 7 mics on the whistle, so I’m interested to see what sort of tone he manages to extract from that daunting array. Between that at the Thursday night Irish Sessions, I’ve been enjoying keeping a foot in the musical world even during The Patio Boys’ recent hiatus.

Other than that, it’s school, school, school! The kids report cards are trickling in for the first six weeks, and they all seem to be doing fine. Kathy’s been kicking butt and taking names at the University — the former figuratively, the latter literally, as she’s heading up a couple of student organizations for which she’s been assembling T-Shirt orders. And I’m still plowing away at the day job, leading a rag-tag fleet on a lonely quest across the galaxy to find Earth, our long-lost home planet.

Doggoneit. That’s not me.

What My Friends Are Up To

One of the best things about being me is that I’m blessed with some amazing, creative, interesting friends. Here are a few things that they’ve been up to lately:

  • David Barnard has started an iPhone software company called AppCubby, and has just released their first product, TripCubby, the sine qua non of mileage tracking for the iPhone. David has worked extraordinarily hard to get this venture off the ground, and that effort shows in the quality of the work that AppCubby is doing. (I’m also excited about this because I did some of the copy writing for David — one of my first professional jobs writing prose instead of software.)
  • Misty Jones has released a song called Gasoline on iTunes. Misty’s musicianship has impressed me all the way back to high school, and I really dig this latest effort. You can check out 30 seconds for free, or get the whole thing (DRM-free, even!) for a mere $0.99. She plans to finish out the album on which this song will go soon.
  • Ross Richie continues to helm Boom Studios, an increasingly successful comic book publishing venture. One of their bolder efforts of late has been releasing some of their books for free viewing online. They’ve recently added RSS feeds, which makes it super-easy to follow the books as they’re released page-by-page. There’s some very high-quality work in their stable, so if you’re in to the medium at all, go check their stuff out!

Emily’s Latest

On Friday night, Emily disappeared into her room for about 3 hours, only emerging briefly and intermittently, looking increasingly like a chimney-sweep at the end of a hard day each time I saw her. My curiosity was, of course, piqued, but she refused to let me see what she was up to until she finished what she’d been working on. I was therefore floored when she brought this out into the living room:

Emily and Her Portrait

(click for more detail)

Detail View of Emily\'s Portrait

It’s a stunning piece. She has actually been working on for much longer than the 3 hours she was tucked away in her room. A few weeks back, she asked if I had any sheet music she could use. We dug through my music drawer together, eventually coming up with some dense piano piece with lots of black notes. She tore that up and mounted it on a large canvas, tearing off the margins and tiling the sheets as densely as she could manage. Thursday’s 3 hour marathon was just charcoaling the image on top of the sheet music base.

Kathy was so impressed with the work that she immediately bought it from Emily and mounted it over the couch in our living room — a good step up from the refrigerator where the kids’ art usually ends up!

Emily continues to impress me with her artistic skills, not only because I completely lack them, but because of the increasingly ambitious and skilled work she is taking on, and because she continues to push herself and to get better and better. Great stuff!