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October 31, 2008

Radio Free Chestertown

For those of you with absolutely nothing else to do at 12:30pm today, Robbi and I will be interviewed on Chestertown's own WCTR, 1530 AM on the subject of Animal House, Idiots'Books in general, and our reading at Bookplate this evening.

Here's the opening image of Volume 17.

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Four more days and we'll know what the next chapter looks like.

Posted by bogenamp at 09:48 AM

October 30, 2008

Open Studio this Weekend

This weekend, Robbi and I will be participating in the Artworks Studio Tour, which means we will be sitting in our studio from 9:00am-5:00pm this Saturday and Sunday (Nov 1-2) and next Saturday and Sunday (Nov 8-9) just waiting for you to come by and see us.

As this is our first studio tour, we are not entirely sure how to behave. Robbi plans to put on her overalls and make clay monoprints, thinking that some people might enjoy watching the process.

Here's a clay monoprint:

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I plan to alternate between writing words on my computer, tending to my child's various needs, and trying to maintain order among the swooning fans who are likely to clog our studio.

All of our books will be on display, as will a number of prints. We will also be running a looping slideshow of Robbi's illustrations. Perhaps there will be light snacks, but don't count on it. Mostly, we're looking forward to showing off our studio, shown here a lot cleaner than it is likely to be this weekend.

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If you have the time, please feel free to stop by.

Posted by bogenamp at 09:27 PM

October 29, 2008

Baby With Bag On Head

Alden seems to like the mundane objects that litter the barn more than the cleverly molded plastic items we purchase for her.

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Sometimes a paper bag is more than just a paper bag.

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Posted by bogenamp at 11:59 PM

October 27, 2008

Going to the Dogs

Volume 17 was sent out to the subscribership today, and at the risk of dampening the surprise of its arrival, I am happy to let you know that we will be doing a reading of the book (and several others) this coming Friday evening, Halloween, at Chestertown's Bookplate.

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As you can see, there will also be a "discussion" and "snacks". Between now and Friday we will hopefully come up with something to discuss. As for the snacks, Tom always puts out a good spread.

We hope that you can join us. And for those of you who don't live in Chestertown, keep an eye on your mailbox.

Posted by bogenamp at 10:50 PM

October 22, 2008

Back in New England

We headed north the weekend before last to attend the wedding of our friends Dahna and Sarah.

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They were married by a lake in Connecticut, and though we took I-95 north through Jersey, once across the George Washington Bridge, we veered from the loathsome Connecticut corridor of 95 onto a winding back road that felt like New England, even before we officially crossed the Connecticut line.

We caught up with old friends, including Kenny, who some of you might know.

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Kenny officiated by the lakeside.

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During the ceremony, Alden and Iris were relatively attentive.

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We headed for the reception. Fortunately, Alden and Iris were seated at our table.

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Unfortunately, so were Rich and Brian.

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We have been getting bored with being Alden's parents lately. Fortunately, Christian and Emily have been feeling the same way about Iris. And so we switched.

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At first it was great.

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And then Robbi got all pouty and decided that she wanted her baby back.

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When Alden was returned to us, I asked her to dance.

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It was, I hope, the first of many.

While in Connecticut, we drove up to southern Massachusetts to visit with my brother, who was on a short leave from his Army training. We shared our traditional breakfast: half-pound rare cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and a platter of nachos supreme.

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I love my brother.

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On our way back south, we drove through Sheffield, Massachusetts, where we pulled off to see the covered bridge.

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Since returning to the Barn, Robbi has been busy painting the illustrations for our next book.

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Alden, meanwhile, has learned how to stand up against the side of her crib and rattle the bars like a rowdy prisoner. It's too bad for her that Robbi and I find it so endearing to see her howl.

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Posted by bogenamp at 07:50 PM

October 20, 2008

Waiting for the Spring

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I post tonight to bid farewell to the Red Sox's bid to repeat as World Series champions. For those of you who do not know or do not care, they were dispatched by the Tampa Bay Rays in tonight's game 7 of the American League Champion Series, falling just short of completing yet another epic comeback from the brink of ignoble elimination. Although I am obviously disappointed at the loss (and regretful for the many long, anxious, white-knuckled hours I spent watching them play over the past seven months when I could have been reading or sleeping or otherwise living a productive life), I must admit that along with the sadness comes no small degree of relief.

Watching playoff baseball is really hard on a person who cares. I'm ready to get back to living my life again.

Yes, it's time to turn my focus on the only contest that really matters, 15 days and counting. For those of you who don't know about Five Thirty Eight, it is an outstanding blog by a statistician who provides a daily analysis of polls and really insightful analysis of trends and happenings in the presidential and congressional races.

Apparently the author of Five Thirty Eight is a baseball statistician. Not long ago (on the Colbert Report, in fact), he suggested a statistical parallel between the Tampa Bay Rays' season and Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency--dark horse to win it all at the beginning of the race/season, but coming on strong as the finish line approaches. If the Red Sox losing tonight is an integral element of some cosmic statistical scheme that also results in an Obama victory, I'll take it.

Baseball, after all, is just a game. The rest of it is for Alden.

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Posted by bogenamp at 01:06 AM

October 16, 2008

In His Defense...

I feel the need to interject, here. It's me, Robbi. Not Matthew. Yes, you haven't heard from me in a while because, well, I have better things to do with my time than twiddle my thumbs and write silly "blog" entries. But after seeing the photo in the last post, I was struck, as I often am, with how human people are. And how very sad, sometimes.

So, in defense of Senator McCain (and, to be honest, I don't often find him defensible), I would like to say that we all have moments when we don't know the cameras are clicking away, and are caught looking, well, like we feel inside. Now, Mr. McCain probably suffers this a lot more than I do, what with all the media constantly clicking away. But frankly, the media probably only takes a few hundred more photos a day than Matthew. So here are some shots that show us all at our not-so-best:

Mid-chew and mid-guitar hero:
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Mid-nap (right, so this one crops up a lot):
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Even my baby (who some people claim is cute) has her lesser moments:
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And even my dog, who has the benefit of generations of good breeding on her side:
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All this is to say, Mr. McCain, I'm sorry that that picture was taken. It makes you look less presidential, and, well, more like the rest of us. However, I think that we can all agree that you are steps ahead of this guy who will, thankfully, never be running for president:

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Posted by ribbu at 04:24 PM

Defining Moment?

Here at the Barnstorming, we are seldom accused of having much to say about the world of politics. Indeed, one might argue that we dabble almost exclusively in the unimportant.

Further, our usual approach in conceiving of our books is to comment generally on the failings and foibles of humanity at large and not to take shots at a given individual, belief, or political entity.

However, I simply could not resist taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself when a friend sent me the following photo in the wake of last night's debate.

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I must admit I missed this particular moment as the debate unfolded. But here it is, and so what else is there to do but cringe and feel human?

Please consider this post not an endorsement of either candidate but an opportunity for all of us to share a moment of pointed empathy. Cameras are cruel observers.

Posted by bogenamp at 07:44 AM

October 14, 2008

A Minor War

We were in Lake George, NY a few weeks ago, visiting with Robbi's Aunt Mimi and getting away from it all for a few days. We were walking in an open field and suddenly came upon a row of tents.

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We were intrigued, but also puzzled. We continued on. A few moments later, some Indians ran by.

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Followed by a phalanx of Redcoats.

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Puzzlement gave way to genuine concern.

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A war broke out.

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Alden was at a loss for words.

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Without warning, she was captured by the enemy.

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Who loaded her into a cannon.

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But somehow she escaped and commandeered her own canon.

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Though she seemed to lack a grasp of the fundamentals of its use.

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After the war, we stopped by Robbi's grandma's grave to say hello and introduce Alden.

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It is a beautiful cemetery.

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There was a lovely sunset over the lake that night.

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After loafing a while on my lap...

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...Alden wrestled with the bearskin rug.

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But eventually subdued it.

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The next day, we took a hike up the mountain behind Robbi's family's house to Jabe's Pond, a place Robbi used to visit as a little girl when she was a "Chippy" at the YMCA camp at Silver Bay.

Living in Maryland, I miss the forests of New England and upstate New York.

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We found some strange little pods that ejected puffs of spores when touched.

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We saw a tiny orange salamander.

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Toward which Alden made a rather unfriendly gesture.

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At the pond, we waded and had some snacks.

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Later that afternoon, we went down to Lake George and took a swim.

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Note Alden's swanky one-piece, yet another gift from our friends Jose and Luciana.

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After swimming, the ladies enjoyed the last rays of afternoon sun.

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All weekend long, we worked on assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Robbi maintains a set of draconian rules that govern the assembly of said puzzles, one if which is that one must never look at the image on the box. This makes putting the puzzle together a lot harder.

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But also, I must admit, a lot more gratifying once the thing is finally done.

If you've never been to Lake George, I recommend the trip. Just steer clear of the tourist-ridden Lake George Village at the south of the lake. Head north to Hague or Bolton Landing, or all the way to Ticonderoga, where Lake George meets Lake Champlain, and where the good people of Fort Ticonderoga occasionally stage a minor war.

Posted by bogenamp at 11:30 PM

October 13, 2008

Dancing

As someone who enjoys writing about the events of my life, I am sometimes struck with the tension between doing and recording. One must be wary of walking through the Sistine Chapel with a camcorder, for example, the risk being that one might not actually get a glimpse of the frescoes until safely returned to the TV in the living room. Sometimes, admittedly, our lives are shaped in tiny ways by the prospects of blogging. I would not likely have taken quite so many photos of my battle with the inflatable clown had not the prospect of sharing the story with you crossed my mind at the time.

All this is to justify my guilt for not having posted in about a week. I have been busy doing, you see. And now that I am done with all the doing, I can turn my attention to recording for a while.

We have just returned from a weekend in Connecticut, where we witnessed the marriage of our good friends Dahna and Sarah. I'll post some pictures of the event as soon as Robbi exhumes them from the camera. Today, I want to share some photos that have been sitting on my desktop for weeks now.

I have previously posted photos of Alden in her Bungee Baby Bouncer. Usually we attach it to a beam in the living room and allow her to bounce merrily on the area rug. A few weeks ago we noticed that the large beam in our studio would also be a prime perch from which to hang one's baby. And so we gave it a try. The beam is so high that Alden, once attached to the hook, was nowhere near the floor. And so we placed a stool beneath her feet and let her dance atop it.

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The stool sits right in front of the large window that looks out onto Queen street, roughly halfway between Robbi's desk and mine. From where I sit and type, this is my view of Alden as she bobs and dances on the stool.

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Actually, that's Robbi's view. When the baby's back is to me, the window is on the right.

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The child loves to dance.

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The instructions clearly state that the Bungee Baby Bouncer is not a "babysitting alternative" and that, out of respect to baby's small, weak leg muscles, one ought not allow baby to bounce for more than 15 minutes at a stretch.

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Whoever wrote that hadn't met Alden. After fifteen minutes, she's just getting started.

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I am taking a moment to enjoy the Bungee Bouncing, because I know its days are numbered. Alden is now crawling with determination. Every day her speed and dexterity improves a bit more. I can see that soon she will protest the proposition of merely bouncing, when her arms and legs provide such compelling alternatives.

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But for this time on this day, she is my bouncing baby. I will miss these tiny, tiny feet.

Posted by bogenamp at 11:45 PM

October 06, 2008

California Coast

We have spent the weekend in Bethesda at the Small Press Expo, where we sold a bunch of books and talked to a lot of very interesting people. More on that to come.

I am headed to Baltimore early tomorrow morning, and so will just post a photo or two from our California trip before turning in. After the wedding, we spent a few days driving along the coast.

We stopped by the side of Route One along Tomales Bay, intrigued by this sign.

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Alden tried very hard to eat my barbequed oysters.

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And very much enjoyed her first dip in the Pacific.

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The day was spectacular.

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We stopped at the Point Reyes lighthouse.

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We marveled at the whale skull.

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We photographed the birds.

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And the seals.

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Apparently, the seals were hilarious.

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We stopped at La Taqueria.

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I enjoyed the burritos.

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Alden enjoyed being the center of attention.

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She was handed around for about 20 minutes.

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Which left plenty of time for enjoying my dessert.

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The next day, we drove south.

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To Pebble Beach.

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If anyone knows who created these wonderful little piles, please let me know.

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We saw that iconic tree and, in spite of ourselves, felt compelled to take a photo.

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We drove south past Monterey, where the coast gets hilly and curvy.

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And even more spectacular.

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We stopped at Pfeiffer Beach at Big Sur.

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Where Alden enjoyed the sunshine.

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On the way back through Montarey, we stopped at Point Lobos to see the cypresses.

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Robbi (Kato Behr) found a gas station very much to her liking.

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And then, miraculously, one that pleased her even more.

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We drove back toward San Francisco as the sun set.

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Of all the wonderful things we saw in California, perhaps my favorite was this, Alden's latest discovery.

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In other news, she has just begun to crawl, a development that, while most exciting, is not easy to capture in a still photo. I invite you to stop by and have a look the next time you are on Queen Street.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:06 AM

October 03, 2008

Lipstick Jungle

First of all, we are back from San Francisco. Plenty of photos will be posted as time permits, but here is one of my favorites, taken at the cliffs near the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

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We are busily at work producing inventory for this weekend's Small Press Expo, at which we will be hawking our wares on Saturday and Sunday. Any of you in the vicinity of Bethesda this weekend should come by and say hello. SPX is, after all, "North America's premiere comic and cartoon arts festival."

Also, any of you who missed it might want to check out Wednesday evening's episode of Lipstick Jungle which just happens to feature our good pal David Turner, star of the Broadway stage.

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David, who plays one of the assistants to Brooke Shields's character, describes his work for Lipstick Jungle as, "the absolute pinnacle of my acting career--after my contributions to Sock Puppet Theater Episodes One and Two, of course."

Those of you who are pressed for time will be pleased to know that David's scene takes place in the first five minutes.


Posted by bogenamp at 02:27 AM