7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #144: Featuring Neil Numberman
and Aaron Reynolds

h1 December 6th, 2009 by jules

Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, a 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.

I think it’s been a while since I’ve showcased comics or graphic-novel art here at 7-Imp, so today I’m checking in with Neil Numberman and Aaron Reynolds, who have created Creepy Crawly Crime (Henry Holt, April 2009), the first title in a new series, called Joey Fly (Private Eye), which Kirkus calls an “auspicious series kick-off” and Publishers Weekly called in their starred review “a wowser of a debut.” Pictured here is Joey, about to begin his work-day. You can click on the image to enlarge and read the text.

Numberman uses blues, sepia tones, and some yellow to illustrate this noir-tale spoof of a fly detective, living in a city of insects, and his new assistant, a rather clumsy scorpion named Sammy Stingtail. A beautiful butterfly, named Delilah, hires them to solve a crime involving a magic pencil box, friendship, and a little bit of jealousy. Booklist writes, “Young readers will be amused by this noir-type story filled with classic detective dialogue and swarms of insect humor. The plot, characters, and setting in this graphic novel are all inspired from the novels of hardboiled-detective legends Hammett and Chandler, but Reynolds expertly injects a buggy layer of hilarious high jinks. Numberman takes it one step further by using the dark color schemes most associated with film noir combined with clean, detailed art. Kids will get caught in the web of this classic mystery cleverly disguised as a simple bug’s tale.”

As I type this, I’m still reading. (Well, I’m not holding the book in one hand and typing with another, but you know what I mean.) And I’m enjoying it. And I’m thinking someone could pair this title up with this, The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy by Peter Earnest (the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum) and Suzanne Harper, which I’ve also seen a copy of and which was released in October by Abrams, and make detective wannabe-kids quite happy this holiday season. (Free tip there, if you know any children like that.)

But I digress. Back to Joey Fly…When I asked Aaron how this graphic novel came about, he said, “I love goofy mysteries (probably due to a steady diet of ‘Scooby Doo’ during my formative years), and I love bugs, so a smash-up of the two seemed natural. One day the title popped into my head, and I went from there. At that time it was called Joey Off, Private Fly and was just a grain of an idea, but it sprouted as I wrote and took off.” I also asked both Aaron and Neil about their process, as well as a couple more questions:

Aaron: I start by writing a script, rather than a traditional manuscript. It has what the characters say, “stage directions” about the action, everything you would see in a script for a play. I come from a theatre background, so when I first started writing graphic novels a few years ago with Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja, I was delighted to find out that it was something I was intimately familiar with…a script! It is this final script that I hand over to my publisher, just like any other book. From there, she hands it off to Neil.

That’s your cue to take over, Neil…

(Click to enlarge.)

Neil: Oh, hello there! Well, I’m given the final script, which I then break down into little drawings that are so poor only I can tell what’s going on. These drawings are called thumbnails, probably due to them being the size of a thumbnail! They’re artistic notes that help me decide how to pace the book, where each word balloon should end up, and a rough composition of each panel. From there, I begin the sketching stage, which is the part with the most research. I like that I get to simultaneously look up ridiculous-looking insects and film-noir-style compositions.

After the sketches are approved, I finally get to do the finishes, where I trace the sketches to get a much cleaner line and color them in the computer.

Aaron: I’ve never told Neil this, but when I first saw the sketches of Joey…I did not like them at all! The guy didn’t have any pupils in his eyeballs! How do you have a main character with NO PUPILS IN HIS EYEBALLS! But my editor and Neil assured me that it would not limit his emotional range as a character at all. In fact, at my editor’s request, to soothe any doubts I had, Neil drew twenty versions of Joey Fly in various emotional states. I was sold. Anybody who could make a character so funny and full of possibilities with no pupils and NO MOUTH had my vote. In the end, they were right, of course. Neil’s take on the characters and the world of the book was wonderful, edgy, and exciting. Neil was the perfect choice for the book. It couldn’t have been better, and I was once again reminded that there’s a reason that editors choose the illustrators, not the author. There’s a reason the process works the way it does. I’m so proud of the way the book turned out, and I can’t imagine Joey any other way.

(Click to enlarge.)

Neil: Do you remember the drawing I slipped in there of Joey with pupils? It didn’t look terrible, but he did lose a lot of his mysteriousness and personality.

Jules: You guys have both worked on picture books as well as graphic novels, right? Different process?

Aaron: The writing is totally different. A graphic novel really gives you room to move and stretch out. You can develop a story, include stage directions about action, characters, descriptions that aren’t in the writing and that will never be read as part of the story. It really lets you create a VISION for the end product that the illustrator will then take and interpret. Picture books are a blast, but a much more constricting medium. You only have so many words to work with, and the story has to be lean and taut, funny and quirky, but still a story, all in those few words. You also are very limited as to how much you can show or express about the visuals, because the illustrations are totally the illustrator’s turf most of the time. That can be hard, but you learn to open your hands and let go. Even though Neil and I never spoke during the creation of Joey Fly, it felt like we were partners from the beginning, like I had an opportunity to cast a vision to him, to pitch the story to him through my script. You don’t always feel that way with a picture book. So much is up for interpretation.

Neil: Picture books, compared to graphic novels, are much less time-consuming. Not including the writing of my latest picture book, Do Not Build a Frankenstein! {Greenwillow Books, July 2009}, it only took me about a month-and-a-half to complete the artwork. In a picture book, the most art you can fit is usually thirty to forty paintings, whereas in a graphic novel like Joey Fly, there’s six or seven pieces of art per page, and ninety pages, so around six hundred different pieces of art that need composing, sketching, and coloring! It took me almost two years to complete the artwork for Joey Fly!

A lot more care must go into each page of a picture book, though, because often times you have to make one painting really speak for an entire chunk of the story.

Heh. Click to enlarge this bottom spread.

Jules: What’s next, guys?

Aaron: Well, there is more Joey on the way. Even now, Neil is illustrating the second book. I also have a new picture book in the works, called Evil Carrots, about a bunny that thinks he’s being stalked by sinister root vegetables.

Neil: Yep, I’m currently in the middle of working on Joey Fly 2! And it is, hands down, the most fun I’ve ever had being an artist. The script is solid gold!

* * * * * * *

Thanks to Aaron and Neil for stopping by. Boring But Very Necessary Copyright Info:

CREEPY CRAWLY CRIME (JOEY FLY, PRIVATE EYE). Text copyright © 2009 by Aaron Reynolds. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Neil Numberman. Published by Henry Holt, New York, NY. Reproduced by permission of the author and illustrator.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Remember this interview with the fabulous DiTerlizzis? They are so kind: They sent me a pair of the sunglasses that Angela’s wearing in that opening photo. Here I am wearing them, the closest you’ll ever see me get to a Glamour Shot. (And, since my oldest wanted to wear them, they might make it into this year’s Christmas photo. We never manage to get normal photos.)

2). Maria Tatar’s newest book, Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood. I’d just like to follow her around and learn from her. But now I sound like a stalker. And I just figured out that she blogs. I had no idea.

3). Grace Lin had me tuning into The Today Show on Friday. Love that book. Woo hoo! Seven cheers for Grace!

4). I’m reading this beautifully-illustrated version of Wind in the Willows to my girls (illustrated by Inga Moore), which was a gift to my four-year-old on her birthday this year. “Poop-poop.” (I highly recommend the above NPR link with Daniel Pinkwater: “They’re always making toast.” Love it.)

5). I must have read this twenty times this week. So good.

6). Steven Withrow and what he’ll contribute to 7-Imp. I’m excited!

7). An email message from out of the blue from British novelist Jon McGregor this week, after he had stumbled upon some posts here at 7-Imp that Eisha and I did. Just the other day, no kidding, I was thinking I might re-read one or both of his two novels, since they rock so hard and I was hankerin’ to read Something Beautiful. And I was wondering when he’s going to write another one. Then, he up and emailed us to say hi and thank us AND give the news that he has a new novel coming out in 2010. He must be psychic, as well as talented. Excellent.

BONUS: Dylan. Christmas tune. Great video. Thanks to Jama for the link:

I’m done kickin’ for now, but I have a List ‘O’ Random Things I Keep Meaning to Post About. Since this post is long enough, I put them in a separate post, if you’re so inclined to go read. It’s here. A piece of Sendak art is involved, so you just know you want to read! Whether you do or not, please do tell me:

What were YOUR kicks this week?

23 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #144: Featuring Neil Numberman
and Aaron Reynolds”

  1. Wow. There must be someone typing as I type. I don’t think I have been first before. I think that Joey Fly Private Fly will be a huge hit at my school. It’s like a book to move to after reading all the Fly Guy books. And I can’t keep them on the shelf!. Love the glasses, Jules. And the idea of field notes? Fabulous.
    My kicks:
    1. All the Christmas music right now. I find myself humming without realizing I started humming.
    2. Babysitting gig yesterday with the two grandgirls. The almost 4 yr old and I made an orange foam Christmas card to send Santa. The 15 month did not appear to miss paretns (Mom was worried).
    3. Baked french toast this AM and Christmas tree getting with the above family.
    4.The generosity of a group I belong to in providing gifts for two families from my school.
    5. Booktalking with the public librarian about the readers choice nominations to 4th and 5th grade.
    6. A hint of snow in the forecast.
    7. Seeing all the lights and decorations up.
    Have a great week.

  2. DO NOT BUILD A FRANKENSTEIN looks hilarious. Fun hearing from Neil and Aaron! Those flamingo glasses are totally you, Jules.That’s going to be a très cool Christmas card. (But aren’t you getting tired of standing on only one leg?) ☺ Excited you’re reading WITW! Love that story and want to own the Inga Moore version (since I love her illustrations for The Secret Garden).

    Le kicks:

    1. First snow yesterday!! Magical flakes.♥

    2. Grace on the Today Show.

    3. Maira Kalman.

    4. Heard from my cousin (who’s mom, Ella, just passed away). He liked the blog post I wrote about her and to honor her memory, he’s taking up baking. So far, he’s made a New York Cheesecake (her recipe). Next, the famous rhubarb pie.

    5. Poetry Princesses Villanelles! Perhaps Liz should run for President. She can inspire anyone do anything :).

    6. Received a cute email from my nephew (12), informing me that he’s into “fashion.”

    7. Shipped off all the Hawai’i gifts yesterday! What a relief. Now I can begin to enjoy the hoidays.

    Merriness to all!

  3. Neil and Aaron, Joey Fly, Private Eye looks funny!

    Jules, that’s a fab pic of you. =D And yes, seven cheers for Grace Lin! That’s awesome re: Jon McGregor!

    Jone, honestly I want to be just like you when I am a grandmother. I mean it.

    Merriness to you, Jama! What yummy goodies are you baking this holiday season (now that you’ve sent your gifts)?


    1. The Philippine taekwondo poomsae men’s team (which includes my brothers) made it to the semi-finals (6th place) in Egypt. The women’s team (which includes my brother’s girlfriend) got a gold medal!

    2. Amazing stories from my brothers about their time in Egypt. AMAZING. Like they went to this one perfume shop where they were served tea and ice cream, and the history of perfume in Egypt (starting with the pharaohs’ wives) was explained to them.

    3. Gifts from Egypt: a scarab (!), cashmere shawl, and figs. Oh, and my youngest brother grabbed some rocks from around the pyramids. LOL. He gave me one. I have a rock! From right next to the pyramids in Egypt! But seriously, there aren’t rocks like it here in the Philippines.

    I asked for a mummy. But apparently they aren’t for sale. =P =P =P

    4. My brothers are now in Laos for another international competition. After Laos, they are off to Thailand.

    All that traveling… Man, maybe I should have been a professional athlete too.

    5. My mom.

    6. Working on Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind. =)

    7. Christmas shopping.

  4. Jone, you sound like you’re having a great December. Glad you had quality time with the grandkids. Did you actually mail the card to Santa? Doesn’t the post office do something like collect them?

    Jama, I have actually never read The Wind in the Willows, though I’ve always been familiar with the story and once performed/interpreted in a stage adaptation for children. Here I am signing, “DANGER!” to Ratty!

    My, Badger looks so worried. That’s actually YA author Alan Gratz as Badger.

    I am really, really loving the book.

    Kick #4 is so great Jama, as well as FIRST SNOW! East Tennessee got some, but we didn’t. Congrats on getting your gifts shipped off.

  5. Tarie, who was posting when I was….

    Sounds like you got some good loot from your brothers. Very kind of them to stop kicking a while, think of you, and send you stuff. Congrats to them on making it to the semi-finals! Yay for your superhero brothers!

    Your mom must really rock. She shows up in your kicks a lot.

    I also want to be as kickin’ a grandmother as Jone.

  6. Squee on your being in a stage production of WITW! Now that you’re reading the book, don’t you just love Toad?

    Jone, what’s an orange foam card? Send me some baked french toast, please.

    Tarie, congrats to your brothers! They’re really doing some awesome traveling with the team. A rock from the pyramids? Hope it brings you good luck.

    I really did think it was adorable of my cousin to start baking (whose mom, not who’s mom). Sheesh.

  7. Joey Fly intrigues me, especially since I now know a little back-story. Authors and illustrators, if you ever wonder whether or not blog interviews really inspire people to read your books, let me assure you that they do.

    My kicks:

    1. Today is St. Nicholas Day. We put out our shoes last night and got treats this morning.

    2. This mishearing anecdote I heard from my daughter’s teacher.

    3. I’m NOT glad that my daughter and husband are sick, but I am grateful that thus far, I’ve been able to ward off what they have. I’ve been hand-washing profusely and resisting kisses. Resisting kisses is hard! I have to kiss my daughter on the top of her head.

    4. I had a satisfying gig at the bookstore on Friday. I’m grateful for the regulars who make a point of coming to my storytimes. I’ve had a few ego setbacks lately with performances that make me question what I really want to do with the storytelling business. I sometimes wonder if those who hire me secretly hope that I’ll be more clown-like.

    5. The mishearing incident of kick #2 reminds me of another mishearing: my daughter once heard my husband referring to a certain band that had “Hellhounds” in the name, and she asked, “What are ‘hello hands’?” They’re related to jazz hands, of course! (Yes, we’ve taken our daughter in for hearing tests. Her hearing is fine.)

    6. If I’ve not mentioned the picture-book In the Town All Year Round, I should note it here. It’s fabulous.

    7. I’m rereading Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl. It’s a lot of fun to read, but it makes me hungry when I read it. Reichl makes fried oysters sound appetizing, and that’s something.

  8. Even now, I can hear the primary-grade-laughter of a couple of my nephews, now in their 20s, had we been able to page through Joey Fly 15 years ago. What a great-looking book, and I suspect the series as a whole is a classic in the making!

    Jules, the flamingo-sunglasses photo is just… just speechless-making. Gotta love the power of crazy attire to transform its wearers. Or, mayhap, to reveal them?

    LOVE the Dylan video! (Which reminded me just now of The Klezmatics, who I’d somehow never even heard of until last night’s Prairie Home Companion.)

    Jone and Jama, the temperature here in N. Florida dipped down below freezing last night — but we had all our precipitation a couple-three days ago. In my 16+ years here, this has always been the pattern (all too often, heartbreakingly, in December): occasional freezing temperatures, much precipitation… but never simultaneously: never snow. Hardly seems fair, am I right?

    Your brothers’ ongoing international taekwondo adventures, Tarie, continue to make me envy them. Somebody needs to strap a webcam on one of them — instant world-wide YouTube reality-show hit!

    Some kicks:

    * The animated UP: oh jeez. Can’t tell you how much we loved that film; so glad we finally saw it… Kevin! Dug! the Doberman’s faulty voicebox! A house floating on freaking helium balloons!… It had jumped to the top of both our Christmas lists before we’d gotten a third of the way through it.

    * My Fair Lady (even though after a gazillion viewings the ending still annoys the bejeezus out of me). When she was a little girl (and I, a little boy) one of my sisters had the Broadway sound track album. She played it incessantly, and I came to hate it. Then we grew up, and I didn’t hear it anymore — until about 15-20 years ago. Omigod. (It probably helped that I’d since learned what doofuses guys can be, Yours Truly being the exemplar: it was a relief just to see those failings could be handled with wit.)

    * The 7-Imp Jackie Morris interview from earlier in the week. (Anybody who presumes to think they can cover a subject adequately in a blog post should be required to visit here every now and then for a nice bracing dose of healthy reality.)

    * Classical guitarist Christopher Parkening (for whom this [~6MB MP3] is a case in point)

    * Fruitcake: All the jokes are funny but, uh, well… [whispering] I like fruitcake. Always have. Dark, light, soaked in sweet-smelling fermented liquors or not, makes no difference. I saw something this past week about an annual fruitcake festival somewhere in Canada, but they don’t hold it to honor fruitcake: they have, like, fruitcake-tossing contests and fruitcake-catapulting contests. Entertaining, yes, but it sent me right out the door to buy my first one of the season, decidedly NOT for aerobatics.

    * Wild deep-sleep dreams

    * Wicked glee

  9. Farida, I’m guessing you know there’s a term for “mishearing incidents” like those wonderful examples: they’re called mondegreens. (Not showing off here; I just had to research them myself for a blog post.)

    My own favorite was that for years and years, I thought the line in Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” went: “I had some dreams, there were grounds in my coffee, grounds in my coffee.” A bitter disappointment to learn that “grounds” really was “clouds.” The latter was more, uh, poetic I guess. But in the context of the song, I always preferred the sense of “being disappointed by what should have been a nice experience” which went with “grounds.”

    (As the Wikipedia entry notes, in the words of the person who coined the term, “The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens… is that they are better than the original.”)

  10. Not feeling real kick-y today because of my never-ending head cold, but thought I should get over myself and show a little gratitude for the good things.

    Love the flamingo glasses, Jules! I had a pair of similar glasses once — they had red stop signs for the eyes. Wish I could still wear things like that out in public without people wondering about me. And the Dylan video was great! Wouldn’t you love to be at that party?!

    Jone, sounds like you have the Christmas spirit! I hope to get that as soon as this cold is over.
    Jama, snow!! How exciting. It rarely does that here. Congratulations on getting your gifts mailed already. Jealous.
    Tarie, your brothers sound awesome! They should start a travel blog.
    Farida, the “mishearing” anecdote was priceless! Thanks for the laugh. I would love to attend one of your storytimes. Happy St. Nicholas Day!

    My stuck-at-home kicks:

    1) Chicken tortellini soup
    2) Netflix
    3) The book “Speaking to the Rose” by Robert Walser, who ended up voluntarily entering an insane asylum, saying “I am not here to write, but to be mad”. For some reason, I can relate to him right now.
    4) Jules’ poetry post this week. Lovely words.
    5) Discovering this Cajun French musical group: http://www.myspace.com/feufollet Not too many musicians around who sing in Cajun French.

    Have a happy and healthy week, all!

  11. JES, I must have been flying past you in cyberspace in my Jetsons aerocar at the exact same time you were. I do tend to drive/fly too fast.

    I will also cop to liking fruitcake, especially with a glass of spiked (or not) eggnog. That would be a perfect accompaniment to a viewing of “My Fair Lady”, which I have seen multiple times.

    Thanks for the link to the beautiful Christopher Parkening song — it reminded me of Jules’ brother Donnie’s guitar playing. Just lovely.

  12. Jama, yes, I love Toad. And I’m so happy my girls are enjoying the book. Even the Very Squirmy Four-Year-Old is laughing now. And sitting still. Mostly.

    Farida, aw man, I love that mondegreen. Leave it to your sweet, sweet daughter to mishear like that. …So glad you had a good gig, and I hope your family gets to feeling better soon. …Tried to put In the Town All Year Round on hold, but it’s not at either library system. Who wrote it?

    John, I wish I could listen to classical guitar without my heart breaking a little more each time, but nonetheless that was beautiful. Very beautiful. Thank you for that.

    Speaking of wild deep-sleep dreams, I had such a long and very, very bad one the other night (one of those Every Parent’s Worst Nightmares), and the kick is that my husband, when I woke up crying, didn’t ask me what it was about. And never did. I’m sure he figured anyway it was one of those Every Parent’s Worst Nightmares.

    Thanks for the interview compliment. I always feel like my interviews have more breadth than depth, since I have to send out the same questions to everyone (or I’d never have time to do any at all). So, if one is in depth at all, it’s in thanks to the interviewee for doing as I suggested and running with the questions and telling us all about them. (There are many that have been posted in which folks didn’t do that, the more boring interviews.) I’m REALLY looking forward to Steven’s interviews, since his questions will be customized. He already sent in the first interview, to be posted next week, and it’s GREAT.

    You’ve made me want to see UP again.

    Jill, hope you get to feeling better soon. Thanks for the Feufollet music. What great musical kicks this week! Also: Will you come pick me up in your Jetsons aerocar?

  13. JES: I love mondegreens! I must admit, I didn’t feel like writing mondegreen and then explaining it (and not explaining it would have been pretentious), so thank you for doing so. 🙂

    Jules: In the Town All Year ‘Round is written by Rotraut Susanne Berner. It was originally published in Germany as four books for the four seasons.

  14. Jules, they are funky glasses.

    Tarie, I didn’t realise Taekwando champions had such interesting travels! Very cool.

    JES I’ve been hearing good things about UP from all over the place – I will have to make an effort to get to the cinema to see it.

    I’ve never heard of a mondegreen before, so that is Something I Learned From You, Jules 🙂 And that was a very nice mondegreen, Farida.

    1. Yesterday I volunteered as a steward at the Wave climate march. It was great walking with tens of thousands of other people (including lots of talented musicians and cheerful children) through London!
    2. I made a yummy lemon cake for no real reason
    3. A visit from family next week has prompted some house cleaning including, gasp, oven cleaning!
    4. Christmas parcels wrapped and posted
    5. I bought some black high heeled shoes. I have been meaning to get closed-in heels (very useful for winter) for years now, especially as I cannot now borrow them off my mum for weddings etc, but finally bit the bullet and got some yesterday. They seem very comfortable which is useful as I am not a talented high heel wearer.
    6. My sister is over halfway through her pregnancy and has found out she is expecting a girl! Although none of us cared either way regarding gender this makes it seem even more real and exciting.
    7. I am feeling very drained of creative energy at the moment and even writing lists of nice things has seemed challenging. But I’m glad I made this list – I’m feeling more cheery now!

  15. Jules,

    As I wrote in a comment yesterday–I am soooooo far behind in blog reading. My extra busy schedule in late October and nearly all of November has left me little time to keep up with everything. In addition, I spent two days with my mother at the doctor’s office and hospital emergency room this week. First we were told Mom had a fractured hip–then we were told she didn’t. We got her a walker–which has been a great help for her…so too her pain medication.

    MY KICKS (Past Three Weeks)

    1. I’m thankful my mother’s feeling better and able to get around without a struggle now.

    2. I loved watching Grace on The Today Show. I thought she was wonderful!

    3. The Poetry Party for Lee Bennett Hopkins at NCTE. What a blast! All of us poets in attendence who had contributed poems to “Dear One: A Tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins” got to share our poems with everyone in the audience.

    4. I had dinner with Lee Hopkins, Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong, Kristine O’Connell George, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Jane Yolen, Sara Holbrook, and Michael Salinger on the Thursday I arrived in Philadelphia for the NCTE Convention.

    5. The Children’s Book Luncheon at NCTE at which Lee got his Poetry Award and Brian Selznick spoke.

    6. Grace Lin, Janet Wong, and I had an opportunity to get together in Philly.

    7. Had the best–and funniest–conversation with Lee Hopkins and John Stweig in the Exhibit Hall at NCTE. We couldn’t stop laughing.

    8. We had a really lovely Thanksgiving with family this year.

    9. My acupuncture treatment on Thursday has worked miracles for me. I feel so much better.

    10. Dinner with my daughter and husband at our favorite restaurant. The tuna tartare was sooooo delicious. I can’t wait to go back and get it again.

    11. I’ve got most of my Christmas shopping done–wine, chocolates (Stowaway Sweets), children’s books and cookbooks, and gorgeous pottery that I bought in Maine this past summer for my daughter, two nieces, and my sister.

    12. Connecting with J. Patrick Lewis in Philly. What a treat for me! He’s such fun.

  16. Thanks for the nice grandma comments. I love being one, had good models on how to be one. If you want to see the “orange foam card”: http://tinyurl.com/yzrbpgx

  17. Jill, oh, was that whooshing sound you? Dang. Gotta get me one o’them new-fangled flivvers, and 23 skidoo to you, too.

    Jules: All right, not to beat this into the ground or anything but… yes, I’m positive the fixed-questions format makes the interviews “easier.” But it’s obvious that you do a HECK of a lot of work in all the infrastructural stuff, especially regarding all the images. Getting permissions, cropping/scaling to fit, including links to full-scale versions when appropriate, writing captions, including little “title=’X'” notations in the underlying HTML… You must be EXHAUSTED every time you finish a big interview (I know I’d be!), even though I know it’s the good sort of exhausted. Just want you know these things kill me (and, I bet, a lot of other people).

    And you can swallow that further disclaimer right now, young lady. Yes, that one. The one that your fingers are already itching to key in.

    emmaco: Please do let us know what you think of UP. One of those animations which sort of answer (for me) the skeptic’s question, Why animate ANYTHING?

    Elaine: a dizzying list of kicks there. Instant just-a-few-degrees-of-separation vicarious thrills!

  18. Farida, thanks. I’ll keep trying to find it.

    Emmaco, I think oven-cleaning would also indicate to me that I had some serious visitors coming, though, actually, it’s my dear husband who usually cleans the oven. I also think that Doing Windows would be extreme for me, as in, if I’m doing them, I’m SERIOUSLY cleaning. (With young children who like to put their paws on everything, why clean windows too hard?)

    A GIRL! Congrats! And kick #7=excellent.

    Elaine, where do I begin? I hardly can — what an exhilirating past few weeks. Go, you. And I hope your mom feels better soon.

    Jone, that’s one beautiful fir.

    John, okay. Okay. I see your point, I guess. Thank you. But sometimes it kills me when I’ve got some fabulous interviewee and send them the same ‘ol questions. But it’s the Way It Must Be. (Of course, sometimes I customize questions anyway.)

  19. Hi Aaron and Neil! JUst saying “Joey Fly, Private Eye,” is fun. I love classic film noir, so this looks like fun.

    I love that people here know what mondegreens are! YES!

    Congratulations, Grace!

    Jules: Sounds like you’ve had a kickin’ week, random and otherwise. Thanks for sharing the picture from The Wind in the Willows. Wishing you sweet dreams.

    Jone: Hi to the grands! Congrats on the booktalk.

    Jama: I love The Secret Garden. Tell that cool and fashionable boy to rock on.

    Tarie: Woo hoo to the athletes, and ooh to the Egyptian treasures!

    Happy St. Nicholas Day, Farida! Thanks for sharing the misheard anecdote. Hilarious.

    JES: I cannot stand the ending of Pygmalion nor My Fair Lady, either. Did you know that Janet Jackson has a song called Clouds in My Coffee with samples from You’re So Vain? (Don’t listen to the song with little kids in the room, though, because it has a surprise swearword in it. Yikes!)

    Jill: Feel better soon! May the music 😉 soothe you.

    emmaco: Kudos on your volunteer work. Hugs to your sister and her family.

    Elaine: Welcome back! You have been missed. Sending healthy vibes to your mother, and for you.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Webseries audition (yesterday)
    2) Film shoot (followed immediately by)
    3) Short film audition (followed immediately by)
    4) New rock musical audition
    5) Catching up with friends
    6) Canned vegetables
    7) Timing

  20. Joey Fly Private Eye looks awesome – and now its on my Christmas list for my nephew!

    Love the sunglasses, Jules!

    Jill – love that you like Walser! Have you read The Assistant?

    JES – I saw UP last weekend and loved it too! Such a sweet fun movie – and Dug was great. If my rottie could talk she’d be that ADD about squirrels too.

    My kicks:
    1. Going to the beach last Sunday with friends and all our dogs – bliss.
    2. Sunshine.
    3. Reading Lighthousekeeping, by Jeannette Winterson. I always find something to love in her books.
    4. Watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Wow. Just wow. They were both so beautiful in that movie, and so good too.
    5. Watched Stardust this weekend – very fun.
    6. New warm pajamas.
    7. The furnace stopped working tonight, but I am sitting in front of the fire with a hot chocolate, and its keeping me toasty.

    Have a great week!

  21. Little Willow, rock musical? Woo hoo! Sounds fun. If the short film and/or other film you mentioned and/or the webseries works out, let us know so that we can see you in action.

    RM, now I want to watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, ’cause guess what? I’ve never seen it. Horreurs. Must fix that. I also want to read some of Winterson’s books, so thanks for the reminder.

  22. rm: Though I loved the book, I have yet to see Stardust or read the graphic novel.

    jules: Gracias. I shall. My fingers are crossed big-time.

  23. […] finished Safran Foer’s book, but I also finished the new, not-even-out-yet Jon McGregor title I mentioned a few weeks ago. Wow. Eisha’s reading it, too. We might even co-post about […]

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