Posts Tagged ‘new year

31
Dec
12

In 2013…

I will not be posting a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions are vague and half remembered and frequently destined to fail. But 2012, in most of the ways that matter, was a good year for me. And I want 2013 to be good as well. So rather than Resolutions, I’m going to tell you my goals for 2013.

• Keep writing. I have twice as many items in the ebook market today than I did on January 1, 2012. I don’t expect to double again, but by 2014 I want you to have THE PYRITE WAR, OTHER PEOPLE’S HEROES 2 (title TBD), REEL TO REEL: LUNATICS AND LAUGHTER and an undetermined number of short pieces in the market.
• Get better at marketing. Having stuff available is great, but if nobody knows who I am or what I’ve done, what does it matter? I need to get my name out there.
• Get more involved in the creator community. I’ve been really lucky to be involved with my frequent cover artist Jacob Bascle and the fine folks of the New Orleans comic scene, and I find those relationships to be satisfying personally and inspiring creatively. I love that. I want more of it.
• Along with Erin, plan a wedding that rides the line between being affordable and sane and giving her the fairy tale she deserves. Prepare myself for the inevitability that I will never again complete a meal, snack, or beverage without her stealing some unless it has nuts in it.

There are other things I would like, of course, other things I want, but these are the things over which I have the most direct control, so for now, I’ll leave it at that… And wish you all a wonderful, Happy New Year.

01
Jan
11

My New Year’s Resolution

Yeah, I know. Resolutions don’t work. They NEVER work. I know this. I also know that, generally speaking, I do better with things when I’ve got someone looking over my shoulder. There’s a lot of the procrastinator in me.

So my resolution for 2011 is something I ought to damn well do anyway. I am pledging, every single day, to either write, rewrite, or edit one of my fiction projects — The Curtain, The Pyrite War, that new idea I had on Christmas Eve that I haven’t titled yet, something I haven’t even thought of at this moment… doesn’t matter which one, but I need to get something done every day. At least a page’s worth. Yeah, a page isn’t much, but I also know that once I get myself kicked into gear, most days, I can get more than the minimum done. It’s the starting that’s the hardest part.

So if you’re reading this, do me a favor. Every so often, just hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and ask me what I worked on that day. Best to do it in the afternoon — five or six o’clockish. Late enough that I’ll be ashamed if I haven’t done it yet, early enough that I’ve still got time to do it if you’ve called me on it.

Deal? Thanks. And in return, I’ll gladly ask you how many cigarettes you smoked or German prostitutes you killed that day, or whatever help you need keeping your resolution. I think that’s fair.

05
Jan
10

The Best Way to Start the Year

Every second I spend with Erin is wonderful, but it always seems to be even better when it comes around the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmastime, New Year… even other, minor holidays (we got to spend Mardi Gras together last year) become wonderful when she’s with me. It’s actually pretty simple — when she’s with me, I’m happy. Hard to put it any simpler than that.

Erin flew in on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. Her flight was supposed to land at about noon, but as always seems to happen, there were problems. The first plane broke, the next series were trapped in Chicago by the weather, and she finally landed at about 5 p.m. A dastardly inconvenience, but it was made a little better by the fact that the airline gave her a $150 coupon for her next flight. The big problem is that she got in a bit late, as we had plans that evening. Every year, my family gets together with some of my parents’ oldest friends, usually some time in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We got home before the party, but Erin needed a bit of time to get the full day of airports off her, so she and I met up with my folks, my brother and sister, their spouses, and the Champagne family about an hour later.

This evening is always a lot of fun. We get together, we catch up, we talk for hours, and my grown brother and sister attempt desperately to beat Donna and Gill’s 6-year-old grandson, Chase, at Wii.

Spin faster! FASTER! FAAAAAASTEEEEER!

Spin faster! FASTER! FAAAAASTEEEER!

A few more assorted images of that evening:

My brother loves Christmas decorations.

My brother-in-law, Will, has had enough Christmas

Also this evening, Erin and I exchanged our Christmas gifts to one another. As always, she was very sweet to me, giving me a desk calendar and a book I’ve been wanting very much to read. But the best thing she gave me — one of my favorite things she’s ever given me — came in a tiny little box…

From my Ellie, to her Carl...

If you saw the movie Up earlier this year, you may recognize this as a replica of the “badge” Ellie gave Carl. We saw the movie together and… well… to say it had a profound impact on me would be an understatement. And in ways I don’t know if I can even fully explain, it felt so much about us that it dug right into my soul. A lot of couples have “our song.” I’ll always think of Up as “our movie.”

The next few days alternated between being really lazy and really busy. On Sunday, we relaxed. We watched the Saints game, we played The Office Clue with my sibs and sister-in-law, then we did a little after-Christmas shopping. Erin found one of her favorite 80s movies, Night of the Creeps, which we picked up and she made me watch. I have to admit, it was a bit of cheesy fun. Monday we got together with our friends Mike and Kenny and hung out in the afternoon, hitting comic shops and bookstores as we always do. We met up with our friend Daniel and we all took in the movie Avatar together, before meeting our friends Jason and Andrea for dinner. It’s rare that we get to hang out with my friends more than once on one of these little trips, which is a shame. I know they love seeing Erin almost as much as I do.

On Tuesday, we planned to visit a special exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art, but I was given intelligence by some of my top-secret operatives (Google) that informed me that NOMA is actually closed on Tuesdays. So we instead fired up the GPS my folks gave me for Christmas and sought out another place we’ve been hoping to visit together for some time…

The National World War II Museum

The National World War II museum (formerly known as the National D-Day Museum) is located right here in New Orleans, and this was the first time either of us have had a chance to visit it. If you’ve never gone, next time you’re in New Orleans you should make it a point. The museum is a deeply moving experience. There are lots of great exhibits, lots of incredible information… more, in fact, that I anticipated. We wound up having to rush through the final section of the museum (about the war in the Pacific) when we heard the announcement that it was 15 minutes to closing time. We did, however, manage to find time to seek out the brick on the sidewalk that bears my grandfather’s name:

WALLACE P. FAUCHEUX; US MARINES 1943-1946; HUSBAND, FATHER, HERO

WALLACE P. FAUCHEUX; US MARINES 1943-1946; HUSBAND-FATHER-HERO

We also found one of my great-uncles, although I now know that those two are not the only Faucheuxs whose names adorn that sidewalk. It’s humbling, to see the names of so many people who fought, and so many who died. I was lucky that both of my grandfathers came home and I got to know them both, but even those who survived had to sacrifice. I’m incredibly proud of the fact that both of my grandfathers were a part of this effort, and going through the museum has made me prouder than ever. It’s humbling. It’s moving. And Erin and I have every intention of going back again, to see those things we missed (including some films that are an extra charge that we didn’t get to do), and to find the  names of rest of the men whose blood I share, the men whose names are on that walk.

After the museum, Erin and I went out to Landry’s Seafood on the lakefront. We usually have one really nice dinner per trip, and this was it. We’ve been to Landry’s before, but in San Antonio. The last time Erin visited this particular Landry’s was before Hurricane Katrina, when it was still a Joe’s Crab Shack. Needless to say, it’s changed a bit.

Wednesday was another busy day. My parents also like to take Erin out to a lunch or dinner whenever she comes to town, and this time we tried a new place called Frenier Landing. Like Landry’s, this restaurant is on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, but not the same part…

Welcome to Frenier Landing!

This was a very cold, very rainy day, and the directions for this restaurant include the phrase, “Drive to the middle of nowhere and turn right.” But I gotta say, the food was really good. If you’re in Laplace and you’re looking for something new, check it out.

It being Wednesday, we popped in at the comic shop, then did a little more shopping. But by now, we were basically killing time until we got to do something else Erin has wanted to do for a long time…

BEE-FENCE! (Clap clap) BEE-FENCE! (Clap clap)

Take in a Hornets game at the New Orleans Arena! This may sound unusual to those of you who know me and know I’m not exactly the world’s biggest sports fan. But Erin is a big fan, and as her native Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team, she’s always wanted to go to an NBA game. And y’know — being at the game is a lot more fun than watching it on TV. We watched the Hornets pull off a squeaker against the Miami Heat, and we had a great time.

I’m not going to become a season ticket holder any time soon, but I really did enjoy the game. I’ll go back with Erin any time she wants to.

Thursday was New Year’s Eve, and we kicked it off by watching Sherlock Holmes. We did a little shopping before returning home and getting ready for the annual bash at Carl and Tammy’s house. As always, the festivities were a lot of fun. We set off some fireworks, we had some great food, my sister as usual drank a bit too much and started singing Milli Vanilli songs… it was a good night.

A few random photos of the fun:

Carl and Kerry: bartenders

Heather and Mona enjoy the libations.

The WORLD'S GREATEST FIRECRACKER! (I.E. Noisy Cricket)

Alex and Heather celebrate

Will and Heather Celebrate

Chip and Kayla celebr-- oh, you get the idea.

The "Test Tube Babies"

Happiest. New Year. EVER.

On New Year’s Day, we slept late — because this is what you do on New Year’s Day. Then we fell asleep again during the second half of the LSU game, but from what I’m told, we didn’t miss much. We went to my grandmother’s for dinner, which was nice — my Uncle Wally and his family were there, including my cousin Chase and his wife Andrea, who currently live in Germany. I saw them at Christmas, but Erin hasn’t seen Chase in some time, and this was the first time she met Andrea. I think she was happy there was someone in the mix who came from farther away than she did.

Saturday was a big day.

We kicked it off by going to the New Orleans Museum of Art, our plan for earlier in the week, for an exhibit called Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales From the Walt Disney Studio. This exhibit was created to coincide with the release of The Princess and the Frog, which of course is set in New Orleans. The exhibit takes up almost the whole first floor of the museum, with several galleries dedicated to the different animated fairy tales Disney has created over the years. It begins with a short film about the history of Disney animation and a message from John Lasseter, then you’re given an audio tour guide device which you use to listen to narration about the exhibits. (The tour, incidentally, is narrated by “Big Daddy” himself, John Goodman.) Obviously, there were no photos allowed, except outside of the museum…

The New Orleans Museum of Art

Each room of the exhibit is dedicated to a different project and features examples of just about everything you can imagine: concept art, background paintings, finished cels, promotional art, maquettes… even a display of the five-plane technique that was used beginning with Sleeping Beauty. As always with Disney, story is key. The exhibit presents you — briefly — an original version of each fairy tale, then explains the changes that were made for the animated version, how the characters were developed, and so forth.

The first gallery is dedicated to the early fairy tale shorts, including The Three Little Pigs, The Ugly Duckling, The Pied Piper and Mickey and the Beanstalk. After that, there is a gallery each dedicated to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. Then there are three smaller galleries for Princess and the Frog, focusing on the heroes, the villain, and the city of New Orleans. The exhibit ends with a gallery showing the modern animation techniques and a preview image of the next Disney fairy tale, Rapunzel.

I cannot recommend this exhibit enough. If you live near enough to New Orleans to come by, or if you’ll be in town before March 14, you’ve got to come on in to NOMA and check it out. Erin and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

After the exhibit, I took Erin down to the Riverwalk mall in New Orleans, after nearly strangling my GPS for attempting to steer me on to a ferry for no apparent reason. It was nice — Erin went there when she visited New Orleans in high school — but it again was really just killing time until it got dark and we could go back to New Orleans City Park for their annual Celebration in the Oaks exhibit.

Santa Gator is WATCHING YOU!

Celebration in the Oaks is a big display of Christmas lights, decorations, music and crafts set up around the park, including the mini-amusement park, “Storyland” play area, and many, many gardens. It’s not quite as impressive as it was years ago, frankly, but it’s still a nice place to visit around Christmas. Again, we took many, many pictures. Here are a few:

Did I mention I'm scared of heights?

I have no idea what this has to do with Christmas

New Orleans's original Christmas icon: Mr. Bingle!

"The Cajun Night Before Christmas" is re-created in lights at City Park

The Cone is a decoration kids can play IN

My GPS REALLY sent me the long way around

These guys were running about a week late

The Train Ride was enough to make even my Yankee Angel cold

The Train Ride was enough to make even my Yankee Angel feel the cold

My new favorite picture of us together

Sunday was sad. Because Sunday was the day she had to go home. Not much else to say, except that this time we at least know it won’t be too long before we’re together again. We’re planning to get together during my Mardi Gras break from school, again out in Las Vegas so she can visit her father’s family. It’s not too far away, it’s entirely too long to wait, and I love her with all my heart. Even though she got here on the 26th, this was one of my greatest Christmases ever.

You’ve only seen a fraction of the pictures she and I took this week. If you’re so inclined, you can see them all at my Flickr Album.

02
Jan
10

One more day…

After a very nice week together, Erin goes back to Pittsburgh tomorrow. This means two things.

1. I will be remarkably sad and pouty for the next several days.

2. Evertime Realms will resume a more regular posting schedule starting Monday. Or at least, as regular as I get. Sometime this coming week, you can expect me to post a photoblog/memorandum about our visit together, several posts catching up on all the Blackest Night reviews I’ve been neglecting, and the usual assortment of columns and podcasts.

In the meantime, it’s only two days old but 2010 has been treating me pretty well so far. I hope you all can say the same!

And before I go, one nugget of traditional goofiness to sate your thirst:

Blake’s Universal Rule of the Universe #62

62. Over 96 percent of all newly-purchased GPS devices, on their first use, will direct the driver to a place he already knows the way to blindfolded, just to “see if it works.”

Read the rest of the rules right here!

31
Dec
09

Farewell, 2009…

And not a moment too soon.

This hasn’t been a banner year, has it? There hasn’t been much to celebrate in world or national news. Artistically there have been a few high points — Blackest Night, Star Trek, Up, and 7th Son: Descent come to mind. Despite a couple of lousy weeks here at the end of the year, my Saints have had the best season in franchise history. And personally, Erin is wonderful, I’ve finished all my classwork to finish my teaching certification, and I’ve launched a new podcast that I hope you’re enjoying.

And I’ve got a couple of other, unannounced projects in the works. While both of them have made progress during the year, that progress has been incremental.

2010? I’m hoping for much more progress on those projects. I’m hoping that other, new opportunities will present themselves. I’m hoping that things improve for this country, but it’ll be a long-fought battle to turn those problems around.

But no matter what else is happening or what else is going on, I hope you have a great — SAFE — time tonight wherever you choose to ring in the new year, and I hope that your 2010 is wonderful. Happy New Year, everybody!

28
Dec
09

Blake & Erin’s To-Do List For This Week:

Before Erin goes home on Sunday, there are several things we’re hoping we get the chance to do. We probably won’t get to them all on this visit, but here’s what’s on the docket…

  • Visit the Art of Disney exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Visit the National World War II Museum
  • Go to a Hornets game (shouldn’t be too expensive this season)
  • Go to the Riverwalk/French Quarter/points of interest in the city
  • Comic shop/bookstore visit
  • Celebration in the Oaks
  • See “Sherlock Holmes”
  • See “Nine”
  • Rivershack Tavern, Copelands, Phil’s Grill, and various other assorted eateries Erin can’t go to in Pittsburgh — she especially wants good fried catfish
  • Hang out with our friends who haven’t seen her since June
  • Discover a cure for Feline Dandruff
  • New Year’s Party, baby!
26
Dec
09

Post-Christmas Cooldown

Here in New Orleans, it’s getting a bit chillier. The next week is supposed to be a bit colder than last week, and that’s fine with me. Christmas and New Year never feel right when it’s hot.

Erin is winging her way to the Big Easy today. As I write this she’s sitting in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, waiting for a plane that functions properly, because evidently the one she was originally supposed to take did not. She’s not happy, but I intend to take care of that when she gets here. She’ll be here until January 3, and we intend to run around and do all kinds of things before she has to go home. That said, I probably won’t be posting quite as much while she’s here. Hope you guys can live with that.

And those of you waiting for more Blackest Night reviews, fear not, I’m not going to stop that. The last couple of weeks have just kept me a bit too busy to get to them all. But I’m going to catch up on all of ’em, don’t worry.

20
Dec
09

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 150: A Charlie Brown Christmas (or Four)

Heather is back this week, joining Blake for a marathon of all four Charlie Brown Christmas cartoons! Tune in for our comments on A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales, and I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown — plus a special bonus, Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! In the picks, Heather chooses the seasonal novel The Autobiography of Santa Claus. Blake gives us the graphic novel pick, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, and his pick of the week, The Muppet Show Comic Book #0! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Episode 150: A Charlie Brown Christmas (or Four)
Inside This Episode:

PLUS: After five years, Walt Disney Animation returns to its traditional style with The Princess and the Frog. But is it good enough to satisfy an old-school Disney fan like Blake?




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