Monthly Archives: July 2008

Jo awoke with a fever of 102°. I cancelled my morning appointment and curled up with her to watch Man From Plains. I can tell she’s feeling better because she wants to type something:

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Todd Mayberry and I make a decent team. He likes Power Pop enough to pour crazy time and energy into not just one title but a series dedicated to this underappreciated subgenre. I like zines enough to crank out covers and illustrations for anyone who asks nicely. I hadn’t heard of any the bands featured in his first venture, Rock Mania, but Todd’s passion for the material sold me on the concept while the mix tape he provided got me grooving on the content.

His latest project, Brain Lapse, is Rock Mania again but better (certainly in terms of my contribution), with more interviews, reviews and a more polished presentation (yet preserving the hand-rendered feel—an homage to classic fanzines). Issue 1 features an interview with Eddie Grant (what a coup!)  talking about his 60s band The Equals.

Several things had to fall into place to get me going on the cover, starting with acquiring a new scanner (our *&^%&* HP all-in-none failed me again massively), and more to the point, I had to carve out some time in our heavy summer visiting schedule. I got to work as soon as we returned from Clermont yesterday. I’m happy to report the results were worth the wait (easily topping my dashed-off Rock Mania cover). Here’s the series I’m sharing with Todd. For this hack designer, license to integrate drawing with all the digital is my best shot at something original.

The Equals – i-get-so-excited

Traces of Okiboji sunburn linger on our faces. Vacation clothes lie in a heap by the bed. The car hasn’t even been refueled. 11 days have elapsed since our last voyage to the Motherland, but now we’re heading south again. Chapter 3 in the summer event saga (Ch 1: Lebanese Cooking Days; Ch 2: Okiboji/DsM Matrimonial Cruise) is Christmas in July—a more somber gathering than it sounds. We’ll see my mom’s brother Herky Klima and his fam at their retreat near Clermont to exchange gifts in lieu of a colder, icier reunion in December. We’ll also plant a lilac bush in honor of my grandmother (the bush was Sarah’s winning idea; a way more uplifting Christmas commemoration than scattering ashes, as my mom had suggested).

I can’t deal with another weekend of crowded quarters and living all over each other, so we made two separate hotel arrangements for our two-night trip (Decorah on Friday, Elkader on Saturday), but it’ll be better that way. Since there’s no particular hurry to get ready, I’m blogging in the backyard over a Beam Rye on the rocks.

Kelly: A recent breakup left Kelly with a hotel room all to himself, ideal for how he rolls. Between parties, he passed the weekend cycling around a city he’s scarcely visited since his family moved away in 1991. He covered a lot of ground even though June’s flooding had mucked up the prime trails and bred clouds of aggressive mosquitoes. He was just one former resident I heard revise their hard opinion of Des Moines and declare life there “doable.”

Ferzana: You can find Ferzana’s business cards in most Mexican restaurants in town. At the wedding parties, this New York-born immigration attorney found an opportunity to vent about the limitations of her temporary home, observing from the roof of the Savery Hotel, “from here it almost looks like a city.”

Steve: Though it was the Fourth, it’s unlikely we would have joined hands and belted out the Star Spangled Banner at the rehearsal party if not for Steve (The Boss sing-along that followed was less contagious, but still fun).

Before it fades, here’s installment 1 of notable interactions from recent days.

Rosemary: The bride’s mother invented special assignments for me out of thin air, like decorating the bare plywood panels that guests would see on the sidewalk as they arrived at the reception hall. I admired how she was willing to say pretty much anything to get her way, even when everyone was happy to indulge her anyhow.

Bruce: Kirk’s Dad kept taunting me, rather perversely I thought, about how I dutifully rubbed lotion on my babysitter Fischer’s feet as a child. But I loved how he wore his F.O.K. button all weekend.

Ken: Without fail, summer visitors to the home of my stepfather will be treated to plentiful smoked meats (spare ribs on this occasion) and informed of their current price ($1.99/lb—a little high, Ken felt). At least six Leinenkugel Cream Ales and three bottles of red wine will be consumed no matter how few people show up.

Gabe: Talking about our professions, this old family friend of Kirk’s told me he worked until recently in toxic waste removal. But the fireworks started before he could elaborate.

June: Introducing herself to wedding guests, June would say, “maybe you know my son, TRAVIS,” arching her brow and hissing slightly as she uttered his name, finally finding pride in her notorious son after years of worry. Regarding Travis’s long-time, on-and-off girlfriend, June announced to our table that Travis should “end it,” suggesting he talk to his father who “had no trouble ending our marriage after 25 years, did he?”

Lisa: On the merits of Des Moines as a place to settle down, Lisa pointed to “the quality of life, the quality of people… the quality of meat.” I couldn’t disagree.

Dolly: It’s actually Anne, (“I wouldn’t want you to think my mother named me ‘Dolly'”), but opportunities to speak to this maid of honor were too few for it matter, even as a groomsman. She folded towels alone in the penthouse kitchen while we partied on the roof deck. I was warned, but still it surprised me when she made a wrong turn as I escorted her down the aisle.

UPDATE: A batch of excellent pics from Austin, including my favorite so far of the bride and groom (#69).

Splashed down from my week-long Iowa Odyssey yesterday. It was exceptionally full and fun, which tends to make reentry a little painful. I’ve got observations to record—one for each of the 50-or-so people I’ve spent time with in the last 6 days—but a few images will have to suffice for now.