Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Last Night


The trick-or-treaters have gone home to feast.

The witches and ghouls have taken their magic and their terror and gone back into the twilight world (you know, that place you sometimes glimpse from the corner of your eye) until next Halloween, when they'll be free once again to walk around our world...

Though Halloween's ending always makes me sad, I remain eager for next year's celebrations.

My final Offering of 2012 is my favorite movie monster, who also always leaves me a bit sad:

Though I didn't get nearly as much done or posted as I wanted to this year, I feel good about the pieces I did get finished.

I hope you'll keep checking in with me, to see what I may have in store for you.

Thanks for reading my ranting,

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's The Wolf, Man...

You may notice that I didn't get back here for the weekend; the boys and I were pretty busy running around doing Halloween stuff. 

Haunted Woods, Scout bonfire and Trunk-n-Treat, a costume party at church...whew.  It was a very fun weekend, but didn't leave much time for anything else.

For today's offering, I give you a wolfman that I've been working on a bit at a time:

I hope you like him; I think he's turning out pretty nice...

Thanks for reading my ranting,


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Better (Hopefully) Late Than Never...


Life gets in the way of living, doesn't it?

I blink (while dealing with illnesses, Hunter's injury at his first middle-school dance, and just plain dealing with life), and find it's been almost three weeks since my last post...

I have been keeping busy, though, so let me go ahead and give you this:

You may notice the similarity to one of the posters for the 1988 film Fright Night, Part II; I won't deny that this image has stuck with me since I first saw it lo those many years ago, and was definitely on my mind when I drew this.

I hope you enjoy this one, and I'll see you tomorrow with something new...
Thanks for reading my ranting,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween Offering, Number Three


I've been kinda busy the past few days; taking care of Hunter while he was sick and trying to get caught up with all of the stuff that needs doing has leeched my creative time away recently.

Things are starting to get back to normal, so I'll have time to finish some more stuff for you, but in the meantime, to keep things Halloween-y, here are the pumpkins that the boys and I got for this year.

An uncarved pumpkin is nothing but potential; you don't know what's lurking inside, waiting to be released by a sharp blade...

Hopefully, we'll have something pretty cool after these are carved up, and I'll be sure to share them with you, as well as The Pumpkin King, who shows up in unusual places around my house every season...

I'll have something new for you soon!
Thanks for reading my ranting,


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Halloween Offering, Number Two

My son Hunter is home sick from school today, and while I'm waiting for the doctor's appointment, it seems to be the perfect time to present the second in this year's Halloween Offerings.

This one is the perfect example of the kind of art I like best, the kind that happens when you start to draw without any idea of what you want to produce.

I don't normally work in ball-point pen (can't erase when you goof up), but that's what I had in my hand when I started to sketch, and this time it seems to have worked:
I'm very happy with how this turned out, and I hope you will be as well.

I also hope you'll keep checking in with me; more fun is on the way! ************************************************************************
Thanks for reading my ranting,


Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Here!


It's finally October!

This is the month I wait for all year long; I love autumn, and I absolutely love Halloween.

To kick off my Halloween Offerings, Season Two, I'd like to present the currently-untitled following:

Just a bit closer...


I'm fascinated by trees and the many strange and often frightening things you can see in them. This one is another example of me having a certain idea, but my pencil taking over and producing something somewhat...different.

But kinda cool anyway.

I hope you enjoy it, and keep checking back in for more Halloween Offerings! ******************************************************************************* Thanks for reading my ranting, Brad

Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Eve

It's October Eve!

The last day of September is finally here, which means that tomorrow is the first day of my favorite month of the year, which of course leads up to Halloween.

I love Halloween (as if you didn't know that), and will again be participating in the Halloween Countdown as an official "Cryptkeeper".

Over the course of the month, I'll be posting a bunch of Halloween stuff; some art, possibly a few reviews of some of my favorite movies, definitely some photos of Halloween stuff that I think is cool, maybe even a snippet of story or two.

Several other bloggers are sharing this journey to All Hallow's Eve with me, and if you click on the snazzy new button to the top right, you'll find a list of this year's participants.  I urge you to check out a few of them; they love the season like I do, and they'll be putting on their best for you.

I hope you'll join me this month in celebrating a month-long series of Halloween Offerings.

See you tomorrow for the kick-off!

Oh, and since it doesn't seem right to not mention Blake here, I'll tell you what he's decided on for his costume this year:

A doctor/monkey/vampire.

With a sword.
Thanks for reading my ranting,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lord of the Marbits

Do you know what a "marbit" is?

Never fear, I'll tell you.

A marbit is that little, crunchy, marshmallow-thing you find in certain breakfast cereals.

Why do I know this, you may wonder?

Because I love useless information.

Like this (Kaycee, I hope you're paying attention):  Washington drivers are legally required to carry an anchor to use as an emergency brake.

I delight in knowing things that make other people wonder "Why do you even want to know that?"  My response is always the same: "Because you don't...".

If you want to discuss politics, or the current world situation, you won't get much out of me.

But if you want to talk about "War Plan Red", the post-WWI plan designed in case the U.S. ever needed to invade Canada, I'm your guy.  There was even "Plan Indigo" for invading Iceland.

What does this have to do with marbits, you ask?

Never fear, I'll tell you.

Just a few days ago, Blake was outside playing with his friend from down the street.  He came into the house and asked if they could have a snack while they were playing.

I didn't have much snack food around except for an almost-empty bag of--you guessed it--Lucky Charms.

I gave the bag to Blake, and told him they could snack on handfuls of dry cereal.

He found this proposal acceptible.

As Blake was heading to the back door, he clutched the bag to his chest, huddled over it, and shuffled to a shaft of sunlight shining in through the blinds.  He reached into the bag, pulled out a yellow moon marbit, and, holding it aloft into the beam of non-marbit sun, said:

"My precioussssss...."

I have to admit that, glowing in the afternoon sunlight, the little marbit did have an almost-magical quality, a certain luminescence, like a bit of the moon mixed with sugar, puffed up and made into a sweet, crunchy piece of the sky...

Then he ate it, ending the moment.

Blake has not yet seen any of the Lord of the Rings films, but I think I know where this came see, I've been known to do the same thing with the occasional Oreo (most people don't realize that "Oreo" is actually Swahili for "Official cookie of the Gods").

Some of you may be tempted to think that I make this stuff up, especially where Blake is concerned.

Allow me to assure that every single story I've ever posted about my kids is 100 % true.

They really are that fascinating...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy an anchor for my car in case I ever get out to Washington...
Thanks for reading my ranting,


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Awakening

Wednesday morning, Blake and I dropped Hunter off at his second day of middle-school orientation, and then headed home.

It was fairly early in the morning, and Blake fell asleep mid-way through asking if he could play the Wii when we got home.

I enjoyed the rest of the ride in the all-too-rare moment of silence that I have come to cherish, and as we pulled into the driveway, told Blake it was time to wake up.

Now, here comes the interesting bit.

A normal seven-year-old would probably have answered with "Ok", or "I'm awake".  Even a snarky seven-year-old (and it should come as no surprise to you that Blake sometimes has an almost professional level of snark) would probably respond with "Okay, okay, sheesh, I'm awake".

Not my kid.

He wakes up, gets out of the car, looks at me through the open window and says--in total seriousness and without any indication that he was playing around:


This may not surprise you, but I found this both amusing, and somewhat ominous.

You may remember that Blake has admitted himself to be the devil---not a devil, mind you, but the devil--and I couldn't help but wonder what part of him had awakened, and what might happen to me if I didn't get him into the house and fix his waffles, like, now.

I sacrificed the waffles to him, my soul was spared, and we went on to have a fairly normal (for this house, anyway) day with deceptively normal conversations and lots of Wii.

It should be noted, however, that I'm not overly fond of "normal".

Which is good, 'cause I know with this kid, normal ain't comin' round much...

Thanks for reading my ranting,


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A New Normal...

We buried my mother Monday morning.

I haven't been able to post about it yet because, quite honestly, my thoughts and emotions have been rather scattered lately.

My mind has resembled nothing so much as the air over a field of dandelions after a strong wind has blown through; thousands of tiny-yet-important fluffs filling the air in every direction, scattering where they will, sometimes colliding with one another before drifting away to meet with other stray thoughts or perhaps fly away, never to return.

All of this is accompanied by a silence so profound that it is deafening.

But on this Wednesday morning, one week after her death, those seeds are beginning to take root.

Today, things are calming down, and now comes the truly difficult part, in many ways the most difficult part of dealing with any death.  Today, I have to begin--as my brother put it--trying to find a "new normal".

In many ways, my mother's declining health has been part of my life for years.  Those who know me well know that I had been worried about her for a very long time.

After being so concerned for so long, the astounding speed with which everything has happened (she was diagnosed with cancer just a bit over a month ago, and now she's gone) has been dizzying.

But now that's not part of my life anymore.  It can't be, because she's gone.

This morning, my brother and his wife and son left for their home in Alabama.  All of the other family and seldom-seen old friends have already gone home; my brother leaving this morning means that it is now time for things to get back to normal.

The bills still need to be paid, the kids still need to eat and play and be kids, and the dishes still need to be washed.

The day-to-day trivialities and routines come back, with one major exception: my mother is no longer a part of them.

Her memory is, certainly.  But her reality is gone.

Especially with the routine being cast aside for the past month in the all-consuming whirlwind of my mother's rapid decline, I'm finding it difficult to move back into the routine.

My path is broken, and now I have to find a way to either repair it or find a new path.

This is the hardest part, the part that truly drives home the fact that my mother is gone.

I know I'll find that path again, but it's going to take time.

Things will never get back to normal.

But they'll get back to a "new normal".


Thanks for reading my ranting,


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Un-fun Things to Write About

There are a million things going through my mind right now, but I needed to make a post and explaing to you why, even having a new computer finally, I haven't been able to post much lately.

My mother has cancer.

She was diagnosed just a few weeks ago with colon cancer that has spread into her liver, and is inoperable.

She decided to try chemotherapy and fight it, but before she could even start that, she ended up in the hospital with kidney failure.

Her kidneys have been improving, which obviously is good, but the intense misery of the past three weeks have made her re-think what she wants to do.

We're meeting with Hospice in her room tonight, to get some information about what kind of things to expect if she decides to just try and be as comfortable as possible for whatever time she has left.

I'm letting you all know this just to explain my continued erratic posts; obviously, this is monopolizing my time.

I haven't had the luxury of an emotional breakdown yet (truthfully, this has all happened so quickly that I'm still kind of numb), but I know it's coming, and I'll post some of my thoughts and feelings here, as some form of therapy, I guess.

I'll try and post updates as often as I can.

Thanks for reading my ranting,


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs...

Those of you who have read this little blog-o-mine over the past couple of years know that I cherish the creativity of my children.

Even when that creativity is used for nefarious means that result in either bodily harm or sometimes merely tears for me, I love it.

Since learning to write, Blake's creativity has taken off in a few ways that don't involve pain for me, and so I encourage this.

Yesterday, Blake decided that he needed to label everything in his room.

He took a pad of miniature Post-It notes and a pen, and proceeded to label things such as "the desk", "the fan",  and "the lamp".

He and his brother share a room, and their bunk bed was identified as "the top bunk", "the botum (c'mon, he's only seven) bunk", and "a ladr".

I'm not sure why the ladder deserved the much less personal "a" rather than "the", but Blake's logic doesn't always make sense to me.

My personal favorite was the lonely little label on a blank expanse of wall labelled---you can see this one coming---"the wall".

He then went on to stick a note on my pants, identifying "Dad's butt".  Notice that on funny words like "butt", his spelling is dead-on.

After his labeling spree, he went and got a large sheet of paper, some tape, and markers and created this for himself:

In case you can't make out the lettering, here's what it says:

"Where are you going?  Wait...where are you going?  Oh, okay, you may pass."

He says that he decided to create this so that "if I'm ever outside and I meet someone who can't hear they can read this letter".

I marvel at---and sometimes fear---the places his mind goes to.

Also, he inspires me; I think I may create a sign for myself, only mine will say "You may pass...but first, you must answer me these questions three"...
Thanks for reading my ranting, 


Monday, June 4, 2012

And So It Begins...

Ah, summer break...

Working in a school has its advantages.

First and foremost, of course, is making a daily difference in children's lives...make no doubt about it, I love what I do, and cherish every day that I'm there.

That being said, breaks are good.

I love the fact that I'm off when my kids are.  I don't have to worry about finding somewhere for them to be, and I get to spend my days with them.

Plus, there aren't many jobs where you get two weeks off every Christmas, a week off during spring, and let's not forget the grand-daddy of them all, the one that kids and teachers look forward to with a holy reverance, Summer Break.

I don't like summer, in and of itself.  I don't like heat, and the oppressive humidity that comes with living in the Ohio valley (being a mile away from the river doesn't help much in that respect) often makes me lose the will to live while on my way to the mailbox.

Which is attached to the house.

Right by the door.

That being said, there are lots of good reasons to go outside during the summer, such as the things you can find just in your backyard:

Is this a boy ladybug, or a girl---so confusing...
Or those wonderful trips to the zoo:

Whee!!!!  I'm swimming!
See ya, Landlubber!!!

I'm looking forward to summer this year, heat or not, and I'll be sure to show up here at my poor, neglected blog, as well as Second Star to the Right, more often, since I'll have much more time over the next couple of months.

I hope you'll check back in with me; big things are in store for this year, and it all starts here.

Thanks for reading my ranting, 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Graduate (No, Not That One...)

Hunter graduated from fifth grade today.

Among the feelings of joy and pride in my first-born (he hates it when I call him that ;)) son is just a little bit of sadness.

Just a bit, mind you, but it stems from the fact that Hunter is growing up so quickly.

Here's Hunter on his first day of school, not all that long ago:

And here's today:

Look!  I's edu-mi-cated.  'N stuff...
In the fall, Hunter will attend Western Middle School, a local magnet school for visual and performing arts; he wants to be an artist/video game designer.  I have a feeling that he'll make it, and am really looking forward to watching him take that journey.

But just a little sad, because I'll always remember that little boy who stood on the front deck while his teary-eyed Dad took pictures.

From the boy you were and are, Hunter, to the man you'll be--I'll always be proud of you.

Thanks for reading my ranting, 

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memoriam

My dad was a veteran of  the Viet Nam War.  I don't know much about his time over there; he never talked much about it, and I was smart enough to not ask a lot of questions about it.

Although he was one of the lucky ones who made it home (obviously, or I wouldn't be here), he had many friends and comrades who didn't.

 Due to his service, and the ultimate sacrifice made by so many of the people he knew, he always took Memorial Day very seriously. Don't get me wrong, he was always ready to fire up the grill or enjoy a few cold beers at the lake, but he always made sure that my brother and I knew that this isn't just a day for barbecues and picnics.

 I buried my Dad eight years ago yesterday.

 But I still carry what he taught me.

 Even though I never met the men he left behind when he came home from the war, he taught me to honor them and the price they paid for my continued freedom, and to never take that freedom for granted.

 As you enjoy the day off today, remember those who fought and died so that you could enjoy your freedoms today.

 To my Dad, and to all the men and women, past and present, who serve and protect our nation, thank you.

 Thanks for reading my ranting, Brad

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Ghost of a Memory

I'm haunted.

I have a ghost...

This isn't the kind of ghost that floats down abandoned halls, or stares wistfully from lonesome windows.

It doesn't shriek, it doesn't howl, and it doesn't weep (although sometimes I do).

This is a ghost that lives inside my mind, and it is now twenty years old.

You see, twenty years ago, I drew a picture.

This, in and of itself, is not surprising; I've been drawing since long before kindergarten, and will continue to draw (and paint, and sculpt) until I die or until my hands can no longer hold a pencil, whichever comes first.

The picture itself isn't important, though I remember it clearly.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of clowns, and as a consequence, draw scary clowns very, very well.  This particular nightmare became Circus the Clown, a terrifying monster that still shows up in my stories from time to time.

No, the picture isn't important, but the memories around it are.

It was mid-spring of 1992, and I was waiting at my house for two of my friends to come over.  Most of the evenings that we were able to get together, we spent creating comics.  We had our universe filled with super-powered people, cyborgs, autumn spirits, and yes, scary clown monsters.

My friends hadn't arrived yet, and I whiled away the early evening drawing.

I was listening to Enya's Shepherd Moons (great music to draw by), sitting at my desk in my room, lit only by my desk light.  The windows were open, and the scent of the air cleaned by that afternoon's thunderstorms drifted in.

That peculiar, blue-gray color that tints the world by twilight filtered through storm clouds painted my room and everything in it, except for the newsprint paper I was drawing on, which was bright white and deepest scarlet (red is an important color for clown monsters).

I remember looking up, realizing that an hour had gone by without my knowing it.  I looked around at my twilight-painted room, then down at my half-finished picture.  The music, the smell of the evening, the color of the light, the red pencil in my hand....

I felt a moment of profound, complete peace.

This is it, I thought.  This is what I want my life to be...

I want to live in this blue moment, creating worlds of words and images, forever.

Longer, if I can get it...

I was twenty-one then.

I'm forty-one now.

That life hasn't come around yet.

Over the years, the usual things happened:  I worked, went to school, met a girl, got married, had kids, got got in the way.

My two friends and I don't get the chance to get together very often anymore. I'm lucky if I get to see one of them more than twice a year.  The other, I haven't seen or heard from in about three years.

I don't have the picture anymore; it was stored with a lot of others in my dad's garage, and lost when it burned down a couple of months after he died.

The dream became a memory.

The memory became a ghost.

A ghost that still haunts me.

Every now and again, when the world turns that blue-gray...when the wind moves the scent of the rain just so...when I listen to that music...and especially when I am reminded of how much I love to create, that ghost rises into the blue twilight.

I'm sitting in that same room right now, though it's a tv room instead of my old bedroom.  My ten year old son is sitting in a chair exactly where my desk once sat, and tears are biting at my eyes while the ghost stands behind me, waiting to be resurrected back into dream.

Don't get me wrong...I love life.  I love my children, and I love my job working with children with autism.

But dear Lord, I want to feel that peace again.

I still want that to be my life.

The ghost is awake all the time now, and I won't allow it to go back to ground.

I'm haunted.

And as long as I am, I know I'm still alive, still remembering.

Still creating.
Thanks for reading my ranting,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Play ball!

I love baseball.

I know, weird, right?  I don't have the time or patience to watch any other sport (with the exception of boxing and the occasional hockey game), but I truly love baseball.

This past Friday night, the boys and I had a fantastic opportunity.  It was Scouts Night at Louisville Slugger Field, and we not only got to watch a baseball game on a cool evening, we got to march in a televised parade around the diamond before the game.

That would have been cool enough by itself, but there was also the game:

I don't get to do this stuff nearly enough...

The boys enjoyed the game well enough:
Why, yes.  Yes, I am a cheeseball...

Of course, Blake had more fun pretending to be a unicorn with his empty cotton candy tube...

Wheee!!  My head is pointy!!!

After the game, there were fireworks...


Not affiliated with American Idol...
And then, the real fun...we went and pitched our tents, and turned the outfield into a one-night hobotown:

Nice digs...

Which means that I got to see the view from the other side of the grass...

I've always wanted to do this....
There was a movie shown on the jumbo "Pepsi-Vision" scoreboard, which of course nobody watched 'cause everyone was too busy running around playing frisbee, football, and--naturally--baseball.

Nobody went to sleep til about two-thirty (the stadium lights were on 'til four-thirty or so), but everyone had a great time.

Not only did I get to see a ball game, but I got to participate in one special night of my boys' lives that they will never, ever forget, and that was the best part of the night.  Whatever else may come, we had a fantastic, fun night in our own field of dreams.

And, just to be totally random, here's a pic of our lovely Starbuck, who sadly couldn't go with us because a. she's a dog, and b.  she's a big coward and wouldn't have handled the fireworks at all well...

Feed me.....
Thanks for reading my ranting, 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Heloooooooo there...

Hello, everyone in the Cyber-verse.

Once again, it's been far too long since I've been able to get anything posted; still don't have a computer of my own, and I don't get a chance to use my mother's computer very often.

Even though I don't have much time for a big post today, I thought I'd post a couple of random pics from hanging out with my kids the other day, just to show that we're all still here.


Here's Blake on his big, bad scooter...
I'm gonna run you down, Daddy...

And Hunter, preparing to slay some foam dragons...
By the power of Nerf!!!

The weather was really nice, and we all had a great time running around and acting stupid, which is, by and large, what we do.

And I got a reeeeeeeally good deal on a new camera recently ($200 camera for $25--woo-hoo!), so be expecting some more pics soon!

Thanks for reading my ranting,


Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm still here...I promise.

I've had several issues--mostly computer-related--that have kept me away, but I promise I'm still around, still laughing, crying, living and breathing.

I'll get you caught up on things when I have a chance to sit down a bit longer, but suffice to say that Hunter and Blake have kept me busy, happy, angry, joyful, frustrated, etc...

In other words, they've kept me alive, just like they always have.

I'll be around more, both here and at Second Star to the Right, so I hope you'll start checking back in with me again.

See you soon.

Thanks for reading my ranting,