7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #127: Featuring Dave McKean

h1 August 9th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

“You hear music? / Dancers too? / I can hear them. / Well, can you? /
They play tunes / Beyond compare, / Dancing through my crazy hair.”

(Click to enlarge spread — and all others in this post.)

Jules: You want to know what I’ve noticed lately here at 7-Imp? I’ve noticed that I’ve been posting quite a bit of art from illustrators or author/illustrators whom I’ve already interviewed or in some way featured previously. Robert Neubecker. Adam Rex. Grace Lin. Jeremy Tankard. Ed Young. Dan Santat. Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Whew. The list goes on. I wouldn’t feature them in the first place if I didn’t love their work, and I always end my correspondence with them (on, say, interviews) by inviting them to stop by any time, since I like to keep up with what they’re doing (and since I also otherwise try to do what I can to feature new artists). Well, Dave McKean is no exception. You may remember that he stopped by this year in March — with quite possibly the Most Art Ever in a 7-Imp Interview, as in you can just take your time in going to get yourself a cup of coffee or pipin’ hot tea while that interview LOADS. (And his art is so beloved all over the world that the 7-Imp McKean-interview gets linked to from places like this on a pretty consistent basis. Man, I wish I could read ’em.)

Yeah, so here is Dave again. ‘Cause, you see, when he and Neil Gaiman make picture books together and invite us into their beautifully twisted worlds, it makes my heart go a-flutter. And they’ve done it again. In May of this year, they released Crazy Hair (HarperCollins), and I’ve got some art from it to share today. Actually, I’ve got some art I haven’t yet shown here at 7-Imp from the book, and I also went and pulled from the Dave interview in March the two spreads he shared from the book (back when it was a sneak-peek kind of thing to be showing us). (For the record and to be sure I cover my back-side here, I got permission to show those again along with these from today.)

I’ve never really had crazy hair of my own, but with Neil and Dave’s book, I can learn to appreciate the chaos. A young girl, Bonnie, stares in wonder at a man with some pretty whacked-out hair: “Crazy hair? / Oh me, oh my. / Crazy hair? / I thought I’d die.” The man begins to tell her about his unique suffering: “Since I was two / My hair has grown. / Birds fly down / From everywhere / Nesting in my crazy hair.” He’s not kidding about the chaos either: Gorillas leap, tigers stalk, ground sloths make themselves at home, hunters send in expeditions, and more. (Click spreads to enlarge. It’s DAVE MCKEAN. You know to not click and pore over details would be sort of a crime.)

“Huge balloons / Come down to land. / People wave. / It’s very grand. / They take off / From everywhere, / Drift across my crazy hair.”

“Twisting tangling / Trails and loops, / Treasure chests / And pirate sloops, /
These await / The ones who
dare / Navigate my crazy hair.”

This is surreal, dizzying Gaiman/McKean fun. As Publishers Weekly put it, “{e}ven the text participates in the mayhem”: The words swing around, curl, zig-zag. The font goes wild. Normal, sane rules about text size are simply disregarded. It’s a thrill is what it is. McKean seems to be using paint, collage, lots of images of hair (naturally), and line drawings. Observant readers will revel in the details. (Pay close attention to young Bonnie’s changing shirt.) Kirkus likens McKean’s work in this title to “Ralph Steadman in a Cubist phase.”

When Bonnie tries to help…

“‘Here’s my comb,’ / Young Bonnie said. / ‘Run it now / Across your head. /
That’s what I do / With great care / When I have such
crazy hair.'”

…things don’t go quite as she planned, as in one ginormous arm reaches out to pull her into the anarchy that lives on the poor man’s scalp. Never fear. Bonnie makes the most of it, even trying to bring some order to the pandemonium:

Since poring over Dave’s art is just about as good as the coffee bean itself, I just had to divide the above spread into two details so that you can see more closely here, though you can click on that spread to enlarge it:

Okay, three details, because I love “losing moons”:

While we’re on the subject of hirsute unruliness, there is also Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School (Simon & Schuster, June 2009), illustrated by Ard Hoyt, which Kirkus calls—bah-dum-ching—“a well-coiffed winner.” Zoe’s unmanageable locks also have a mind of their own (with a lower ranking on the Slightly Horrifying Scale than the Gaiman/McKean creation), but first-grader Fleefenbacher manages to make it work in her favor in the end. Hoyt’s watercolors are warm and expressive. Fans of David Small’s art work will sense a similar vibe and style, and Hoyt gets to have lots of fun—as I’m sure you can imagine—with scale in this one.

(I’ve actually always been rather jealous of those with unruly hair. When it’s straight and fine, as mine is, well….the grass is always greener, huh?)

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

CRAZY HAIR copyright © 2009 by Neil Gaiman. Illustrations © 2009 by Dave McKean. Published by HarperCollins, New York, NY. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Eisha went to Massachusetts again to see her husband’s latest show, so she asked me to pass on a “kiss them for me, I may be delayed,” à la Siouxsie and the Banshees, circa 1991. (Hey, I just read that Wikipedia link and did not know that about the Jayne Mansfield-ode’itude goin’ on in that song. “Ode’itude.” Yes, me has a Masturs dugree.)

I’ve had a busier-than-normal week, so I actually didn’t stop and jot down kicks, as I sometimes do. But let’s see here…

Well, without a doubt, kick #1 is that my five-year-old goes off to Kindergarten this week, and I’m super excited for her, though I’ll also be misty-eyed, I’m sure, and cautiously optimistic that she’ll get a good teacher. We parents get to meet the teachers first (tomorrow night), and I’ve got precisely SEVEN SKERJILLION questions for this woman about the care of my daughter’s mind, but fear not. I’ll sit quietly and let her talk. This education thing is a big leap ‘o’ faith, now isn’t it? Whew.

2). Dave McKean’s muse.

3). The Season Two episode of “30 Rock” where Kenneth gets addicted to coffee (as in, crazy-mad addicted) and says, “It feels like my heart is hugging my brain.”

I just realized I’ve typed “coffee” three times in this one post.

4). I picked up the ARC I have of Kaye Umansky’s Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage, illustrated by Johanna Wright. (Remember when she stopped by?) It’s pretty funny so far. The second chapter is entitled, “First Off, Are You Stupid?”

5). My three-year-old was trying to give me a spontaneous compliment and tell me that she loves me, but she grabbed me, hugged me, and said, “You’re my favorite mommy that lives with us.” Emphasis mine. My husband got all faux shifty-eyed and said, “Oh yeah. There’s that.”

6). Sorry. This is turning into the Kids Say the Darnedest Thing Edition, which I try so hard not to do, but my five-year-old has been filling up a spiral-bound notebook all week with art and poems. Some of the poems are really good for a five-year-old, if I may say so myself. (I’ll spare you the insufferably proud mom.) Some of them are like this: “Apples growing on a tree / And that is called an apple tree / Apple trees grow apples / like all apple trees / And that’s what an apple tree does.” I’m not making fun of it. Promise. The redundant ones make me happy, too. Hey, you never know anyway: It could be REALLY PROFOUND, and I just don’t get it.

7). Oh yeah. The mix CDs Eisha sent me. I think they showed up in last week’s video kicks, too, but they’re that good.

BONUS: Head on over to First Book’s “What Book Got You Hooked?” campaign. I submitted my entry and vote (Tennessee, of course) yesterday. Here’s what you do: Now through September 30, go to First Book’s campaign site to tell them about the first book that made reading fun for you. Then you vote for a state to receive 50,000 brand-new books for low-income youth. (The results of voting will be announced online shortly after the voting closes on September 30.) You can also go here to read the picks of people like Stephen Colbert. And Barry Manilow. Yes, my man, Barry. I am not even kidding.

LAST BONUS: In tribute (thanks to my husband* for the link)…

*Best John Hughes Line Ever (from the mouth of Duckie): “His name is Blane? Oh! That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!”

What are YOUR kicks this week?

34 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #127: Featuring Dave McKean”

  1. Hi Jules, just to help your readers who do not read Italian, here is the translation of the blog you were referring to at the beginning of this post:

    “Dave McKean is Neil Gaiman’s favorite artist as well as the illustrator of Sandman, of Arkham Asylum’s Batman, of Coraline that was recently brought on screens by Henry Selik, of several children’s books and graphic novels, and of the following movies: Cages, Mirrormask, Luna. He is as well a prolific author of music album covers and a musician himself. He signed more than 150 cd-covers both as illustrator and photograph, amid them: Toad The Wet Sprocket , Cemetary , The Clinton Administration, The Watchmen, Matt Molloy, Klaus Schulze, Steve Morse, Skynni Puppy, Fla, Machine Head, James Murphy, Alice Cooper , Bill Bruford Earthworks , Fear Factory, The Brotherhood, Tori Amos , Michael Nyman , Dream Theatre , Counting Crows , John Cale, Medieval Babes .
    But the relationship with music for Dave McKean is a real primary intercourse. He doesn’t just draw all kind of covers for a large number of artists and bands, he’s not just playing in his albums and with other artists, he is as well directing Feral Record company, together with the saxophonist In Ballamy .”

    Sorry if the translation is not as perfect, I just did it in this very second. Hope it helps getting an ides though!!!
    Barvo to you as usual from your biggest fan in Parma, Cristiana

  2. Wow, those hair picture books look fabulous. And they make me proud of my unruly hair. *laughs at Jules’ straight, fine hair mwahahahahahahahahahaha*

    Jules, Clover Twig looks fantastic. And I can’t wait to hear all about that first week of kindergarten!

    A couple kicks:

    1. The cover change for the US edition of Liar by Justine Larbalestier. :o)

    2. My brothers are flying to Korea today. They will be there for a month for taekwondo training and two competitions. I will miss them a lot. But I am so proud that they are representing the country as part of the national Philippine taekwondo team. JP is even the team captain!

  3. Oops, one more:

    3. The Korean female pop group 2NE1. They’re cute. :o) I particularly like their song “I Don’t Care.”

  4. Hello, all! My kicks:

    1. Having our first rehearsal for my current show actually in the theatre space. It went very well and I feel like “it’ll come together. It always does.” (a la Burbage in “Shakespeare in Love”)

    2. Signing paperwork (W4, I9, etc) for my assistantship. I’m going to be working with LEARN NC to align their lesson plans to the NC Standard Course of Study.

    3. Being able to check “Married” on all that paperwork.

    4. Spending two evenings with my sister.

    5. Watching Dollhouse and Futurama on DVD.

    6. Getting so good at crocheting wire and bead bracelets that I can make one in 30 minutes *while I watch TV* (which means I’d probably get it done in 20 if I were not).

    7. Having the opportunity to spend time with friends more than once this week.

    BONUS KICK: A friend of mine who was recently unemployed (she was working part-time as she went to school) found a new job very quickly. (The benefit of having 10+ years of experience in your field.)

  5. I’m with Tarie – Those hair pictures look fabulous. Is it a redhead thing? Of all the things to wish for … unruly hair? (written by a woman with insufferable naturally curly/wavy/do what it wants hair). Another good hair book is Ruthie Bon Bair Don’t Go To Bed with Wringing Wet Hair.

    Congrats, Mom … Kindergarten will be great! And you’ve got bonus poetry for Poetry Friday. Kicks …

    1. Vacation in the mountains.

    2. Jules reminding me that I was once the best mom in the whole earth/universe/undersea world in our house.

    3. Having nonstop computer time to catch up on blog reading and site admin.

    4. Tax-free shopping for back-to-school stuff.

    5. A neighborhood cookout in the park.

    6. Vacation. When Mom gets a kitchen-free vacation, it’s worth repeating.

    7. C: “What do you call a small singing cat?” Me: “I don’t know, what do you call it?” C: “An itty bitty ditty kitty.” With a nonstop 5 minutes of the cutest giggles.

  6. Cristiana, wow! Many thanks. I figured that post was about his CD covers, but that was very kind of you to translate for me.

    Go, Tarie’s brothers! Please keep us updated on the competitions, Tarie.

    Kimberly, hope married life is still treating you well…Did I read somewhere, too, that Futurama is being revived?

    Terry, OF COURSE those of us with straight, fine hair wish for the thick, unruly kind! It’s ever-so boring. …Anyway, I’m sure you’re STILL the best mom in the universe. Glad you had a great vacation. And in the mountains, no less. Yes, one of the best things about that kind of thing is NO DISHES.

    As for your wonderful kick #7, I can’t wait till the knock-knock joke phase is mastered, Terry. Right now it goes something like this:

    “Knock knock.”

    “Who’s there?”

    “Um….{looking around room}…LAMP”

    “Lamp who?”

    “Lamp tooter head!”

    {Hours of hysterical laughter.}

  7. My step-sister has this hair where it is so thick and curly, she can stick stuff in it and it just stays there. I have always wished for hair like that, but I also have hair of the thin-and-straight variety. Sigh.

    Also, “Dave’s art is just about as good as the coffee bean itself.” Just about, but let me clutch my coffee and have a sip before moving on.

    I know you are always worried about going on about your kids, Jules, but I seriously think the funnest post ever would be if you could get Piper’s permission to post some scans from her spiral notebook and do a little Pivot questionnaire with her.

    I bet Kindergarten is going to be a lot of fun.

    My kicks:
    1. Being here this week. I missed last week, which always just feels weird and wrong.
    2. Not that I wasn’t having fun when I missed the kicks: I was in Durham, NC, spending a few days with a friend.
    3. On the aforementioned trip, we ate out at a lot of good restaurants and we cooked in. Generally, there was a lot of good food.
    4. Also coffee and wine and mojitos.
    5. And I bought The Best Skirt Ever on one of our shopping excursions.
    6. When I came home, my dear friend was in town with his wife and toddler, and I got to spend a lovely entire day with them. It is hard to spend time with the toddler without hugging her and pinching her little cheeks every two minutes because she’s just that cute and cheerful.
    7. Then yesterday was just packed full of barbecues and friends. I have to go back to work on Monday after a week and a half off, but I feel like I’ve lived it up, so it’s all good.

  8. Happy Sunday!

    It’s a good day when the word “hirsute” appears in a blog post :). My follicles are buzzing with joy at the two hairy books. Actually, I’ve always envied those with fine, straighter hair. The scalp is always greener.

    Funny kicks, Jules. Wonder just how many mothers Ada has? We’ll be looking forward to reports on kindergarten adventures! And I’ve always loved that “Blane” Ducky line, too.

    *waving to Eisha*

    Thanks for the translation, Cristiana!

    Amen on your #1 kick, Tarie! And good luck to your brothers in their competitions.

    Congrats again on your marriage, Kimberly :)!

    A vacation in the mountains, Terry, sounds divine, relaxing, and cool!

    A couple of kicks:

    More fawns! We now have a doe with THREE spotted babies hanging around our yard. SO adorable, wobbly legs and all.

    Alphabet shaped french fries. (Why didn’t anyone tell me they were out there?)

    An LJ friend sent me an Aunt Dimity mystery. Each comes with a recipe that is somehow tied to the story.

    Blog birthday last Tuesday. Two years!

    Discovering chocolate chocolate chip cookies in my freezer (surprise from a leprechan).

    Have a good week, all!

  9. Jules, I always enjoy your stories about your beautiful young daughters. I would, however, like to find out about the “mommy” who doesn’t live with them. Too funny!!!

    Jama, I didn’t know there was such a thing as alphabet-shaped french fries!


    1. Your daughter’s apple tree poem. I love the ending–“And that’s what an apple tree does.”

    2. The two-year-old grandson of one of my oldest friends had his third–and we believe final–heart surgery late last week. Everything went well. Little Luke is now off a ventilator–and has even had apple juice and milk to drink. He is a beautiful little boy. We are all hopeful that he will have a quick recovery–and be back in action soon.

    3. I have struggled to free myself from the writer’s block that’s bound me up tightly in recent months. I was asked to write a poem for a special person/occasion. I needed to finish and submit my poem by mid August. I began work on it nearly two months ago–but I just couldn’t seem to get one of the poem’s stanzas right–no matter how hard I tried. The other day I decided I had to let that poem go. I began work on another poem to submit in its place. The second poem came easily. It just flowed. It was written in less than an hour. I was so relieved! I hope I can get back to writing and blogging more often now.

  10. Eisha, I hope you are having fun.
    Jules, cannot wait to hear about the first day of kindergarten with dear daughter.
    Kimberly, congrats on getting married….can you teach me wire crochet?
    Tarie, hope your brothers do well.
    Adrienne, color of the best skirt ever?
    Jama, I want abc French Fries.
    Elaine, so glad to hear the heart suregery went well for your friend’s grandson.

    I bring greetings from Victoria, BC. Am here with college friends for our annual summer get together. This is our 8th event. Lots of luaghter as you can imagine. Today tea at a house somewhere with beautiful gardens. (Too costly at the Empress hotel) We leave tomorrow.
    My other big kickwas entering 8 photos into the county fair which opens next week. Have a great week.

  11. My pleasure, no need to thank for the translation! Wish you all a nice day!

  12. Adrienne, good travels. Good friends. Yes, you’re livin’ it up. Good luck going back to work, but something tells me you enjoy it. Oh yeah, all those blog posts about how fun your job is and how much you love it.

    You made me laugh outloud at the thought of throwing Pivot at Piper. My GOD, that would be fun. I’ll do it and send you the responses.

    Jama, happy blog anniversary again. What would we do without your posts? And more fawns in your yard? I want to be in your yard to see them.

    Elaine, thanks. I’ll send you one of Piper’s poems that was a little less redundant; it kinda blew me away. She’s got her rhythms down, that’s for sure…Good news about your friend’s grandson. And the return of your muse!

    Jone, woot! That sounds like a blast. And eight photos? Congrats. I’m not surprised. Your photography is beautiful.

    Hi again, Christiana. Thanks! And I love your name.

  13. Holy cow, those new Dave McKean illustrations… I looked at the one with all the balloons in its fully enlarged condition — 6000×3000 pixels! — and about fell out of my chair. In that prairie of hair, unless I’m mistaken, every single one of those stalks was done separately: none of the “copy a section here and paste it over there” digital-cloning stuff. (I’m hoping for his sake he did build that up from a photo, though.) And the balloons…! Each one looks like the cover of a Gaiman-McKean book, viewed through a kaleidoscope and the bottom of an old glass bottle.

    Holy cow (again).

    Cristiana, thank you for the translation. (And I love that 7-Imp has a biggest fan in Parma. :))

    Tarie: yeah, that was terrific news about the Liar cover! (Blogosphere rules!)

    Terry, your and Jules’s daughters jokes just cracked, me, UP.

    Adrienne, love that you separated out the beverages into a separate kick of their own. That’s how it always feels to me, too!

    Elaine — I don’t want to, y’know, jinx it. But… a big WHOOT to anybody who vanquishes writer’s block, no matter how long the victory lasts! WB is one evil — and tenacious — dragon!


    * The complete restoration of Internet service here at the house. (Sorry that occurred to me first, but what can I say? I’m a computer person.)

    * Somebody here (I think!) recommended the movie Synecdoche, New York a while back. Finally watched it yesterday. Whoa! (Describing writer-director Charlie Kaufmann as an eccentric genius is, I think, understating the case on two counts — rough edges and uncertainties aside.)

    * A lot of heavy-lifting type of work on the work-in-progress this week. Not much in the way of word count, but I think it’s going to make later writing go much more smoothly.

    * I don’t normally talk about my blog here, but just in general: after a long period during which I had been posting little tidbits here and there and sometimes (as with the Internet outage) not at all for days, this week I did three big ol’ honkin’ posts that I had a lot of fun with and were also a lot of satisfying work (in retrospect!) to put together.

    (Aside: sheesh, that was all one sentence…)

    * The way our dog growls and carries her plate around the kitchen when she wants seconds. Given that this is a wee Yorkie, and the plate is about 1-1/2 times the diameter of her head, this never fails to entertain. (And of course, because The Missus and I are laughing so hard, the dog won’t actually put the plate down because then we might stop applauding. We have to pursue her around the kitchen until she drops it upside-down and can’t pick it up anymore.)

    * Geek (non-computer-style) wonderment: found out this week that most popular music is 32 bars (or measures) long. I still don’t know why 32, other than “that’s the way it’s always been done” and “that’s what we’ve been trained to hear.” Supposedly this has been going on for centuries.

    * It rained thunderously at work this week. (Well, outside the building. Municipal budget’s not hurting that much.) How hard did it rain? Let’s just say I think I saw a shark in the parking lot.

    P.S. Jules, I was never a John Hughes fan (an accident of age rather than taste: never saw the films when they were current, and caught them later only when they came fully equipped with commercials, heh). But your including that video, with that soundtrack, just really tickled me with synchronicity: because of The Who, and particularly because of that song… whose real title, like the opening credit hints, is “Baba O’Riley.” The first name comes from Baba Meher, who just happens to have been featured in a blog post yesterday.

  14. PPS: Whoops. Meher Baba, not Baba Meher. Too eager to punch the Submit Comment button.

  15. Hello All!

    Dave McKean is amazing. Seeing these almost makes me wish the illustrations for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK had been done in color.

    Here are my kicks.
    1. Saw both HP6 and (500) Days of Summer this week.
    2. (500) Days of Summer soundtrack is awesome. I’ve been playing it pretty much nonstop.
    3. Ditto to tax-free shopping this weekend. I got loads of new school clothes for me and for William.
    4. The house I grew up in finally went on the market this week. While it’s a bit sad, I’m glad things are moving forward for my mom. Her new place is so cute and accessible that it’s definitely better for her.
    5. I spent two full days cleaning out my closet at work and organizing all the materials for fall. It was a dirty job, but I’m so glad it’s done!
    6. Fresh beans and tomatoes from the farmer’s market found their way into a lovely potato salad with homemade vinaigrette. It was yummy.
    7. Tomato sandwiches every day this week for lunch.

    Have a great week everyone!

  16. Jules, I was given a mix CD (two, actually) recently, so I appreciate the joy they can bring! Good luck with the first day of Kindy this week.

    Tarie, how cool that your brothers are representing your country at Taekwondo! I hope they have a great time!

    Surprise chocolate chip cookies in the freeezer, Jama?! What a great kick!

    Adrienne your holiday sounds like everything a holiday should be.

    JES, we were endlessly entertained by a dog throwing a hoop into the air and then catching it yesterday, so I understand how much fun it must be watching your dog carry around a huge plate asking for food!

    1. A while back I collected points from Jordans museli and oats bxes and ordered a free bee friendly plant. I had forgotten about it so it was a lovely surprise when a cute Lavender Kew Red turned up this week! I had been running late so it was a fortunate I was home or else it would have been sitting in the local depot for a day.
    2. I forgot to say, when we went camping a few weeks back we saw a cute hedgehog ambling around one evening! Lovely to see one clearly in daylight.
    3. A colleague from Norfolk gave me a whole bunch of samphire, a local salt marsh plant, to try. It was interesting – quite salty so I imagine it would go well with fish!
    4. Like Tarie said – Bloomsbury changing the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s Liar
    5. There are lots of ladybirds around at the moment (a nice amount here, not a huge horde as in Norfolk, though even that is pretty exciting), which is great to see as they are native 7 spots rather than the invasive Harlequin Beetle. Plus they’re eating all the aphids, yay.
    6. Yesterday was sunny and warm (thank goodness!) so we went for a picnic on the Dunstable Downs – great views, nice grass fields (I guess the rain is worthwhile after all) and a stroll along the hill’s edge after yummy food.
    7. We popped in with our thermos of coffee to the nearby Whipsnade Tree Cathedral afterwards. Very relaxing.

  17. My family tends towards unruly hair, so I got an extra kick out of the illustrations this week. And Jules, I love “It could be REALLY PROFOUND, and I just don’t get it.” Who knows? Good luck with the first day of school. My kicks:

    1. I read a new book this week in one of my favorite grown-up series (Lee Child’s Reacher books). They’re not for everyone (pretty violent), but they include lines like “Mostly I’m a very silent person. It would be statistically very unlikely for me to die halfway through a sentence.” OK, guess you have to read the whole book. But good escapism.

    2. Mheir’s parents visited last week, for the first time in several years. We took them to two of our favorite restaurants, did a small amount of entertaining, and it was all good. They even picked out a dress for me for an upcoming event, one that I would never have even taken off the rack, that looks surprisingly good.

    3. I watched Race to Witch Mountain yesterday. The original Escape to Witch Mountain from the 70’s is an all-time favorite for me (though doubtless not the same for people watching now for the first time). The new one has some fun in-jokes for fans of the old (including cameos by the original stars). So, even though it’s not a great movie on its own, it was still fun.

    4. After a long absence, the cows have returned to grazing on the hill behind our house (it’s a big hill, but they wander by at some point every day).

    5. The registration form is now available for the Kidlitosphere conference, along with a preliminary agenda. I hope that you’re all planning to attend. It’s going to be great!

    6. I kind of like Terry’s daughter’s kitty joke. And “the best mommy that lives with us.” Funny!

    And, why not stop at six for a change? Happy Sunday, all!

  18. Hurrah for McKean and Gaiman! I enjoy their collaborations. (Though I read the books upon release, I STILL haven’t seen MirrorMask!) Howdy to Laurie as well. I have to check the library for both of these hair-raising adventures.

    Recommendation for Gaiman fans: Get Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, and Stephen R. Bisette – Not only do you get information galore on every single thing Gaiman’s ever written, including all of his collaborations, but the cover was also drawn by McKean!

    Continued break-a-leg wishes to eisha’s husband and the other cast and crew members for the run of the show!

    Jules: Big hugs to your kindergarten kid, and to her anxious, supportive family. All will be well. Just wait ’til she starts bringing home all of the STORIES about the things she’s learned and the people she’s met that day. Start a journal or a scrapbook with her help to capture this time. Include the poems, the artwork, random things said, all of it. Cracking up at the ‘compliment.’ Checking out the What Book Got You Hooked? campaign now. Thanks for the link.

    I watched Ferris Bueller in honor of John Hughes on Friday night. Coincidentally, have been re-watching the first season of The Dead Zone this weekend. (If you didn’t watch it when it was on, try it out now. Anthony Michael Hall is superb as Johnny Smith.)

    I second the kick for LIAR by Justine Larbalestier getting a proper cover, Tarie. HUZZAH! Good luck to your brothers.

    Kiba: Very happy for all of your happy kicks, family, theatre, friends, and accomplishments.

    Terry: I’ve never heard that cat joke before, and I LOVE IT. Thanks for sharing!

    jules and Kiba: I saw a casting call breakdown for Futurama, but I didn’t fit any of the types. NADA. Very few female roles, and, as the breakdown was mostly the original main and supporting roles, I knew I didn’t sound like the main girl. (Also, it would have required instant access to a recording studio in order to record and submit the required demos, and I don’t have that access!)

    Adrienne: You are missed when you aren’t here!

    Jama: Hello to Bambi and friends! I’ve never seen alpha-fries. (Alphryes?) Nice leprechan. Happy blogiversary!

    Elaine: Oh, fantastic! Please tell him that I said: What a super trooper you are, Luke! Good luck with your poetry, and for that special event.

    jone: Have fun with your friends. Congrats on entering your photos in the fair.

    Cristiana: Thanks for the translation!

    JES: Kudos on the words, the work, the blogs, and the accomplishments. Yes to the 32 bars.

    Tricia: I’ve heard good things about (500) Days of Summer, mostly about the actual film itself: the storytelling technique and the cinematography techniques. I bet Joseph’s performance is good as well – Is it? Yum for the foodies.

    My kicks for the week:
    1) Preparing for two big auditions I have this week – one on Wednesday, another on Saturday – for two different musicals!
    2) Stretching
    3) Knowing that things that seem to be too good to be true probably are
    4) Checking in
    5) Rehearsing
    6) Attending a staged reading
    7) Indulging (in sleep, in time, in bread)

  19. Jen: We were typing at the same time. I’m glad that his parents were able to visit! I haven’t seen the new Race, but the cameos make me happy. That character sounds as silent as I’m not.

  20. Thanks for all the compliments… turning red now! Yes: you have the biggest fan here 😉 I am not pretending I’m the biggest fan in Italy, I’m satisfied with a smaller area… I am starting my own blog myself… wish me luck!

  21. Wow, so many great kicks, which I’ll have to respond to later, as I’m in a bit of a hurry now. Thanks, all. So good to have visitors…

    If spam snags anyone’s kicks, I apologize in advance, and I’ll release the hounds later.

    In haste & more later,

  22. Hello Everyone,

    Sorry for the late kicks, but I’ve been feeling under the weather for the last couple of days.

    I was surprised at all of the curly-headed 7-imp visitors. My own crazy hair has been both a blessing and a curse, the latter especially during the 70’s when straight hair was “in”. I’m glad that basically anything is “in” these days – much less pressure.

    Loved the spontaneous compliment by your youngest, Jules, and Blaine’s hilarious response.

    My rather enervated kicks:

    1) A nice long lunch with my friend Carolyn on Tuesday – friendship is such a blessing.
    2) Watching “Calendar Girls” which I believe Jules mentioned here recently. What a wonderful, uplifting movie! Thanks for the recommendation, Jules. Helen Mirren is da bomb!
    3) Finally getting paid for work done several months ago.
    4) Making slow but steady progress on my future book-related business.
    5) Reading “The Selected Letters of Dawn Powell”, one of my favorite authors and a master satirist.

    Since this is a big week for Jules, I thought this poem was appropriate. Sorry for the length:

    First Day
    Every one has a “First Day”
    when they feel sad and all alone.
    It can be so scary
    when you’re out on your own.
    Take my hankie, dry your tears.
    You’ll find lots of things to do
    and you’ll probably make new friends.
    I promise we’ll be together
    when the school day ends.
    Here comes the teacher,
    blow your nose and be brave.
    Come on now wipe your eyes,
    this is no way to behave.
    “Well, good morning teacher.
    We really must beg your pardon.
    No, MOMMY doesn’t always act this way.
    But it’s my first day of….KINDERGARTEN!”
    Author Unknown

  23. Great poem! Good job, anonymous soul. Thanks for sharing, Jill. Hope you feel better soon.

    For the record, my hair is straight and brown, and I like it.

  24. Loving the vast amounts of hair showing up at 7-Imp today.

    Jules – good luck to Piper on her first day, but most of all to you. There were a few tears from Cy first thing in the morning, but neither of us cried in the classroom, which I am quite proud of. Tell Piper that Cy would laugh uproariously at her knock knock jokes, and tell Ada to give all of her hugs for her “other mommy” to you instead. And “Some Kind of Wonderful” is my all-time favorite John Hughes movie.

    Eisha- hope you are having fun.

    Tarie – good luck to your brothers.

    Terry – what a wonderful joke. I will have to share that one with my cat-loving friends.

    Emmaco – you are a wonderful writer and make England sound so romantic. I am so ready to go back already.

    Jen – I love Jack Reacher novels. I look forward to a new one every year.

    Jill – thanks for sharing the poem.

    My kicks this week:

    1 – Cy enjoyed his first full week at kindergarten, and is having a blast at the after school program.
    2 – Tax free weekend. We bought us a new laptop (to replace the hand-me-down that has no #1 button, doesn’t close and doesn’t like to shut down).
    3 – Waking up on Wednesday morning to discover a flock of flamingos in our front yard. The local Hands On Science Center is trying out a new fundraiser and made us smile all day long.
    4 – Starting Shannon Hale’s “Princess Academy”.
    5 – Being back at work.
    6 – Coming home from work to find parcels on our front porch. I love online shopping.
    7 – Resigning myself to the fact that the inmates (aka Cy and Ruby) are running the asylum.

    ps I have curly brown hair that can get pretty wild, but I am too lazy to bother with styling it.

  25. Kindergarten! That is excellent. And the apple poem is wonderful.

    My big kick for the week was getting some family photos taken yesterday by our friend Pam, who’s both a neighbor and awesome portrait photographer. She last did some pictures for us 5 years ago, so it was time!

  26. I’m baaaaaaack.

    John, I just knew you’d click on Dave’s images and ooh and aah. Aren’t they grand?…I’m glad your connection is back at home; selfishly, I missed your posts at RAMH.

    You and I talked about Synecdoche, New York. I’m not going to pretend I understood it well enough, but I would like to see it again. Oh, and more geek wonderment: Did you know the average picture book is 32 pages?

    Tricia, aw! Goodbye to your old childhood home, but I’m glad your mom’s all settled in a new place.

    Emmaco, WHOA. So many ladybugs there in Norfolk. That is wild. And what a good week in good environments you had. As always.

    Jen, that is a pretty great quote from Child’s book. Glad you had a great time with Mheir’s parents. I think you should post a pic of your dress and Adrienne, a pic of her new Best Skirt Ever.

    Little Willow, I remember seeing that cover when I interviewed McKean. It’s a FABULOUS cover. As always, break a leg at your two auditions this week.

    Cristiana, PLEASE send the link to your blog, once it’s up!

    Jill, HA! Thanks for that poem. I’m so sorry to read you’ve been feeling under the weather, but I’m cheering over here in TN for kick #4. And, yes, Calendar Girls is so good.

    Zoe, I’m so glad that Cy enjoys school. I know that Piper will. I love kick #3 more than I can say, and #7 made me laugh so loud that you probably heard me over where you are.

    Susan, excellent! We have yet to get one single professional family photo. Doh. Must fix that.

    I forgot to say: Adrienne, of course we missed you last week, too. Not the same without you.

    Okay, some of you have said you like the apple poem, which is sweet of you all, seeing as how it was written in the Department of Redundancy Department. Not that I don’t love it truly, madly, and deeply in its own way, too, but these two were my absolute favorites:

    Cherries, berries.
    Lots of fairies.
    I would like a rhyme.

    Sparkling shells
    And diamond wells
    Each and every time.

    Oh, and…

    Showering waves
    shall behave
    when fairies fly by.

    Water fairies
    with diamond shoes
    are all passing by.

    Rock those poems, Piper!

  27. Hi! We had guests over today, and I made vegetarian sushi, which is a great dish because it goes over with everyone (gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free) except for those who don’t like sushi to begin with. Stuffed grape-leaves is another good offering, but more labor intensive and best done several days ahead of time. I’m overdue for dolmas, so we’ll see.

    I’m glad to read everyone’s kicks. I don’t often comment on them because scrolling back and forth a lot makes me motion-sick, but I love it that people find moments of grace to report even when things are rough going.

    My kicks:
    1. This week was better than last.
    2. See number 1.
    3. I might have some good news in the writing department soon.
    4. My 6 year old daughter drew a pen and ink sketch of the nuns in The Sound of Music that startles me with evocativeness. It’s deceptively simple. I’ll have to scan it.
    5. My daughter’s current fascination with some of the Disney princesses is a little like indulging in cupcakes. I know that too much is not good for anyone, but oh, those fabulous dresses. Also, I love the use of Tchaikovsky’s music in “Sleeping Beauty.” Ariel really deserved a voice more like Briar Rose’s.
    6. It was good to hang out with musician Eric Herman and family this past Friday. We only see them about once a year when they pass through the Seattle area, and it’s about time we think about heading to the Tri-Cities area of Washington.
    7. We are weeks away from Catching Fire and only a little over a month away from Fire.

    Bonus kick: Liar’s new cover!!!

  28. Oh how I love Dave McKean’s work! So fabulous and amazing.
    But Zoe Fleefenbacher’s hair reminds me of my wild and unruly mane, and how I would cry when my mom tried to untangle it – so much so, that one hot New Orleans summer when I was about 8, she cut it all off in frustration. Oh, the tears and the trauma.

    Everyone has wonderful kicks – I was early last week, so I am late with my Congratulations to Kimberly on your wedding!

    Jules, if you do the Pivot Questionnaire with Piper, please, please, post it! Her poems are lovely.

    I loved John Hughes movies, Some Kind of Wonderful, 16 Candles, and The Breakfast Club were 3 of my faves. I was so tickled to read that he became pen pals with a teenage girl who wrote to him. Link here: http://wellknowwhenwegetthere.blogspot.com/2009/08/sincerely-john-hughes.html

    Also, have any of you ever read the article Real Men Can’t Hold a Match to Jake Ryan” ? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/06/AR2009080603039.html

    Ok, enough 80’s nostalgia, on to my kicks:
    1.Getting through an impossibly-packed work week.
    2. The BF has jury duty this week, and he’s EXCITED about it! Yay! (This means my liberal public defender self has been rubbing off on him.)
    3. We didn’t take the motorcycle last week on our trip to Mt St Helens because at the last minute we decided we wanted to bring the dogs with us. After a week of heat they deserved it. So this week we did a ride to the East Side on the bike, which was freezing cold, but fun.
    4. The incredible beauty of the ghost forest. And my pictures are not very good because we weren’t stopped in the ideal place for it. So I’ll have to go back.
    5. The view of Spirit Lake from Windy Ridge (which was VERY windy). Breathtaking and battery-recharging views.
    6.Doing Portland’s BridgePedal today, we did the 11 bridge ride. My tire burst, and the BF removed it, biked up a hill and got it replaced/fixed, then biked the long way ’round so he could bring it to me and we could ride together again. The man is my Jake Ryan. (swoon)
    7. Baked zucchini-oatmeal muffins tonight with fresh zucchini from the garden and they are heavenly.

    Its been a good ending to a full and busy week, hope everyong has a wonderful week to come!

    Jules, Congratulations to your kindergartener! Hope the first day rocks for her!

  29. OMG, Piper rocks! Those poems are beautiful! 😀

  30. Thanks all for the congrats!

    jules, Futurama is indeed being revived. At first they thought they wouldn’t be able to get the original cast due to a contract dispute, but they worked it all out.

    jone, wire crochet is like thread crochet. I recommend getting really good at yarn crochet first, then thread, and then wire. But I would not suggest skipping directly to wire, because it’s hard to undo wire if you mess up, unlike yarn or thread.

  31. Farida, ooo! Anxious to hear about #3!

    RM, what a good week. And re #6? Yes, he’s a keeper. Re #7, I’ll be over for dessert later.

    Tarie, aw, thanks.

    Kimberly, good news. I once bought my husband a Bender action figure.

  32. LW, yes, the main character is Race to Witch Mountain is quiet, and pleasantly grouchy, if you know what I mean. (As in, he’s grouchy, but you like him anyway, and you know there’s more to him.) Quite true to the spirit of the first movie.

  33. I think Piper’s fairy poem just bought tears to my eyes – such wonderful imagery from so few words. I love it.

  34. I love “Crazy Hair!” I’m having a good time reading it to my son at night!

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