Thursday, February 15, 2007

Be Mine Blizzard®

My mom and I are both ENFPs. If you're not hip to the whole personality test culture, that means we're the same. We communicate in much the same ways, and we respond the same way to the attitudes and actions of others.

On her blog, she wrote about how she reacted to, and how her personality was moulded by, the actions of others during the Valentine's Days of her youth. The cruelty or forgetfulness of others caused her to need the romance and generosity of her husband on Valentine's Day like a tortoise need it's shell. It also caused her to become a regular and generous gift giver to the people she loves.

This is the story of one such Valentine's gift.

I wasn't much of a ladies man in high school (vis the picture above). In fact, I had a pretty serious self esteem problem. My Grandmother tells me of a time when I was a little boy and she said to me, "Oh Freddy! You're so handsome." As she recalls it, I replied, "Thank you Grandma, but that's okay. I know I'm ugly." Pretty pitiful, eh?

I desired to be liked by girls and to get the same attention from them that I perceived other boys were receiving. That's why when a bouquet of balloons, tied to a package of chocolates, and addressed to me appeared in the drive-thru window of the Dairy Queen where I worked, I thought I had finally become a ladies' man.

The note attached read:

"Dear Fred,

I love you!

Your Secret Admirer"

Oh the joy! Oh the sweet terror! Oh the flush of blood, dear reader, that filled every corpuscle in my face, neck and head! Some red-blooded (hopefully pretty) teenage girl admired me secretly! I couldn't be expected to make sundaes or mix Blizzards®! We would soon be together. We would hold our perspiring hands. Within days, even hours, of her mylar advance, we would share our first kiss!

But who is she? Is she Maya, the soccer playing cheerleader who works beside me making shakes and cones? She discovered the package. Nah. She hates me. Seriously, she does. What about Carrie from youth group? I think she might like me. But she lives in Washington. You wouldn't know her. And she doesn't have a license so she couldn't have come all the way down here for this. What about Angela? or Jenna?

Ho, but I was frustrated. My joy was turning to anger as I began to imagine that this was some kind of trick! It was probably brought by one of my buddies as a joke, or by one of mine enemies to torture and humiliate me. And the girls at the DQ kept asking, "Who is it, Fred? Who is your girlfriend?"

I was beginning to hate this bloody valentine! I dragged it home with me that night, despising the sound the balloons made as they thrashed one another in the wind. When I got home, I ripped the candy off the strings and let the balloons float to the ceiling in our split level entryway, and retreated to my bedroom to brood.

The next morning I heard my sister bubbling with excitement over the Valentine's balloons floating in the entryway. "Who are they for? Are they from a GIIIIRRRRELLLLL?" I crashed up the stairs where my mother and sister were waiting, grins grinning, waiting to hear my explanation.

I reached over the railing and grabbed the strings. I quickly pulled each balloon to my chest and clumsily burst them all. "It's just a stupid trick," I raged. "No girl likes me."

That's when I saw the look of hurt, not pity, flash across my mother's face.

To this day, I'm not very concerned with Valentine's Day. My wife isn't either. We may make a date to a restaurant during that week and one of us may pick up a card if it's convenient. We have our own little romantic events that we revere, but February 14th is just not that important to us.

But my Mom still sends Valentine's cards. She brings gifts for my kids. And each time we meet, she lets me know how much she loves me.

My mother may never again pretend to be my secret admirer. I guess that is what caused all the confusion in the first place. You see, I already knew she admired me. That was NEVER a secret.

Happy belated Valentine's Day.

The Chindo

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Scallywag Sketches

I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of 2 artists chosen to create images for the premiere pirate rock band, Captain Bogg and Salty. Below are some of the sketches that didn't quite make the cut and some that did. By the way, if you think that because we're in league with pirates, you can freely steal these images, you're wrong. We are neck deep in copyrights and lawsuit successes so don't even try it.

I love this guy. Stuck out at sea for months at a time, a pirate dreams of simple luxuries like fresh fruit. This mate found himself a quiet perch in the riggings to enjoy this most rare of delicacy. By the way, I did draw this before Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean showed Captain Barbossa longing for a juicy bite of apple. Cutting edge indeed.

When your ship is blown to smithereens by a Commodore of the Realm, it's best to make do with what you have to
help you get away. Hang peg!

This poor fellow was left to fend for himself when he broke with the pirate code. Though a cruel piece of pirate justice, being left to drift on the open sea may not be so final when they've let you take along a few necessities, like limes for the scurvy.

"Treasure maps and goldy rings will fill your heart with glee. Apple cores and limey fruits will keep you from scurvy. Powder kegs and cannon balls will save your neck mate. But what makes a pirate glad he's alive? PIECES OF 8IGHT!"

Click here to watch the hilarious video for the song that inspired this sketch. Incidentally, this one made it into the album cover.

What happens if the only pirate who knows where the treasure is buried takes his final voyage down to Davy Jones? The spit of an island it was buried on gets swallowed by the sea and the treasure is lost forever. This sorry bloke entombed with the treasure is a grim reminder of the dangers of living a pirate's life. This too made it into the sleeve.

He may greet you in the street with a smile and a bow, but behind your back he's plotting your ruin for his gain. Note the artist's sorry mistake. This greasy chap was drawn with two right hands. Oops.

Superstition guides much of a sailor's days, so when a real life sea serpant gives you a ride on her back, you drink to her health and pray never to see her again.

If you'd like to join the crew, you can buy the album below.

You can also purchase them song by song at itunes here (of course you can't see all the album art if you don't buy the cd above).
Pegleg Tango or Bedtime Stories For Pirates