Saturday, July 30, 2005

Commenting on Comments

In my recent Round Robin entry, AOL Journaler, Sassy, left a comment asking, "What camera/lens did you use if you have time to reply?"

Sorry I haven't responded earlier.  I wasn't avoiding the question, I actually don't know the full answer.

Here's what I know.  I take all my photos with a 3.2 mega pixel Canon PowerShot SD110 Digital ELPH.  I know very little about photography and less about cameras.  I absolutely love my digicam.  I carry it everywhere.  It's pocket sized and can take a beating!

I have it set to default on the largest photo setting (2048 x 1536 pixels).  No special lenses or gadgets.  I just point and shoot.  I snap a few photos from different angles and hope I got something useful.  Then I crop and resize in Photoshop Elements 2.0

For this particular shot, I disabled the flash and enabled the macro setting by making the little flower icon appear - stuff I learned from SloMo.  No zoom.  I don't always have a steady hand for that.  On this day, I had the camera in one hand and a leash attached to a big German Shepherd in the other.

Hope that helps. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heat and No A/C

I've lived by the beach for most of my LA life.  There, it's practically unheard of to have (or need) air conditioning.  Walk a mile east and A/C is essential.

Granted, we are having record-breaking heat all over the country, but studies are showing that we should be a one-degree-hotter planet by 2015.  (sorry no linkage. do a google search on global warming.)  In some places, climate/weather could increase by more.  Glaciers are melting.  It may not exactly be "right before our very eyes" but it kinda is, you know?

Thanks to everyone for your tips and suggestions on how to keep cool.  We have three big box fans in the apartment.  One in each bedroom and one in the living room.  We leave them on at night, and it helps to circulate the cooler air.  By noon, they're basically blowing hot air around.  And the cycle begins again.

So, it's hot.

Our landlord responded to my pleas for help by informing us that a window air conditioning unit will be installed in the living room first thing Monday morning.  Yay.  Thank you.

It's going to cost us more in rent, but we can handle the increase, rather than buying an air conditioner and installing it ourselves. (could you imagine?)

Our next door neighbor (we share half a wall) was rushed to the hospital last week due to dehydration - just from sweating in his apartment for 24 hours.  The scary thing is, he's young and fit.  It happened so fast, he didn't even realize what was going on.  But he felt bad enough to call 911.  Good thing too.  They pumped fluids in him through an I.V. and brought his electrolyte levels back to normal.  He's okay now.  Shaken, but okay.

He took six showers and drank two gallons of water that day - but it wasn't enough to hydrate him.  He had already lost his essential vitamins and minerals.  Good to know. 

I was up all night, tossing and turning, fighting nausea, dizziness and nursing a headache.  I don't want to take any chances.  I've been putting Emer'gen-C packets in my water all week.  And we bought a bunch of Gatorade today.  Bananas too. 

More to come ... I'll share about the writers' blogs I've been reading.  And we'll see if I've made any progress on my list of projects.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Don't wanna jinx anything but ... I'm on a roll.  Projects here and there, keeping me busy.  I do want to mention some progress, just to keep me semi-focused.  I'm hoping this will inspire me to continue with the creative process.

Project 1 - The script I'm revisiting.  So far, I've read three old versions (i like the first - and some of the second - best) and I'm slowly inputting everything into Final Draft (screenwriting software).  If this doesn't deter me from the project, nothing will.  It's a drag.  I don't know where I'm going with it - but I need it in the software so I can play with it.  I have notes all over the place.  So, we'll see.  I'm giving this till mid-August.  If I've lost interest or if the project is a bust, I'll move on (that's when Mercury goes direct.  Shut up.  This works for me.)

Project 2 - Music.  My music.  It's about time.  I picked up my guitar more than three times since last weekend.  That's a good sign.  I've been playing old songs with a new twist.  Not on purpose.  It's just what's happening.  And I'm liking it.  I wrote some of these ten years ago.  So, I'm not forcing anything.  Just letting the mood take me to whatever songs happen. 

In the process, I've written one and a half songs - sans lyrics.  That's a little strange for me.  Usually lyrics come easily, especially when the music comes.  But I've got la-la-las and doo-dee-doos for now.  Surprise:  Mraz is totally inspiring me.  Not blocking me.

Project 3 - I've been tapped by the acting bug again, but I can't tell you about this project yet.  Actually, I can't mention much about projects 4 and 5 either.

But I can tell you I am starting to understand the drive and inspiration in having more than one project going at a time.  When I get stuck or bored with one, I have a few others to tend to.  If one falls through, the others are available.  So far, it's working for me.  No pressure.  Just going with it.

Project 6 - After Mercury goes direct, I have another story/script brewing.  Oh, wait, I have two. (geez, 7 projects)  Both of these are so young, I have no idea where they'll go.  But it's all good.  One will most likely be a tween/teenage story.  That's all I know right now.

I've been reading writers' blogs - a mix of working screen and TV writers, published novelists and some aspiring writers.  Great information.  One thing I notice a lot is the improper use of "it's" as oppose to "its".  Good to see professional writers who make simple mistakes like the rest of us.  I'll fit right in.  The pressure's off.

All this and I would like to "call in" one or two (or more) new regular dogpark clients.  One dogpark trip a day (no individual walks) will pay my bills and continue to give me the freedom I'm blessed to have created these last couple of years.  Plus, my work gets me off my ass and out in the (fresh?) air once a day.

I could easily sit at the computer all day/night without ever leaving the house when I'm in this kind of groove.

So, to quote Mr. A-Z:
La la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life is full circle

I just now realized the script I'm revisiting will probably only account for 1/4 of the final project.  I wrote it ten years ago with a former writing partner.  But we dropped the project (for whatever reasons) and now I'm sorting through the pieces I have.  Wow. epiphany. right here. right now.  The end is only the beginning of the next segment.  Ooooh, good stuff.  Gotta go...

I.D. Please

My brother Al did this funny impression of a 90-year-old woman when we were kids.  It still makes me laugh today.  He was so cute, all hunched over, with a walking cane, a shaky voice and one hand to his ear, "What's that? Eh? Speak up sonny, I can't hear ya."

That's what came to mind at Trader Joe's today.  I went there to get a few things (oh damn, forgot butter).  You know, wine, cheese, chocolate.  Okay, a salad and hummus too.  Anyway, at the checkout, the cashier asked if I had I.D. 

For a split second, I thought it was because I was paying with a credit card.  But he stopped scanning my items, waiting for something...

ME:  "eye-dee?  Like my driver's license?"

HIM: "Yeah."

ME:  "For what?"

He raised his bushy eyebrows and held up a bottle of wine, like I was trying to pull a fast one on him. 

ME:  "For that?!" 

HIM: "Yes." 

ME:  "Are you kidding?" 

He wasn't. 

ME:  "I don't have it.  I left it in the car."

HIM: "Do you wanna run out and get it real quick?"  He was dead serious.

ME:  "No, I'd like to take you over my knee and smack your puny little ass."

Okay, I'm kidding.  I didn't really say that. 

Before anyone asks, no, I was not flattered.  I felt put out.  And when he noticed how I felt, that's when he made me get my I.D. - the little punk.  Like he's got no authority anywhere else in his life so he's gotta reach for it and be all, oooh, look at me, I have the power to withhold alcohol from you.

I know I look younger than I really am, but younger than twenty-one?!  Come on.  That's really stretching it.  Especially up close, with no makeup on, in the bright sunlight.  And believe me, I look a lot older when I'm pissed off.

Wrinkles wrinkles bo-binkles, banana fanna fo-finkles meeemyyymoe minkles - wrinkles!  [sorry, too much Mraz on the brain]

It's been over ten years since I last got carded.  I expect it at the door of a nightclub but at Trader Joe's?  Never.  Not once.  OK once.  But that's because he was young and cute and hitting on me.  Then Ifelt flattered.  Today, not so much!  Not young, not cute, and definitely not hitting on me.

Next time I'm brining my cane.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Oppressive heat, indoors!

It's not just hot here.  It's not normal.  I discovered yesterday that it's at least ten degrees hotter in the living room than it is outside.  And worse, another ten degrees hotter in my bedroom.  At the risk of going all cliche on my ass, the only way to really describe it is like opening an oven door.

Granted, it's not hundreds of degrees hotter indoors.  But I'm not baking a cake in here either.  The inside heat is oppressive.  No cross breeze throughout the entire day in any part of this apartment.  It seems unlikely at first glance.  We are an end unit, with windows on three sides of the apartment.  The front room is just about all windows.

It's not even that the windows are attracting the heat.  It's that the heat becomes stagnant in the middle of each room.  The air doesn't circulate.  It's suffocating.  My bedroom floor, for some unknown reason, gets warm.  It starts off being cool in the morning.  By noon, it feels like there's a fire brewing below my feet.

I guess this means it'll be very cold in the winter.  Poor insulation.

I never even turned the TV on last night for fear it would make things hotter.  It didn't start cooling off in here till after midnight.  Still, I woke up at 3 AM and took Hunny out, knowing it would be cooler than daylight.  We're not cut out for this kind of heat, inside.

Inside is the key word.  Air conditioning makes all the difference.  Even just a little bit.  Just to cool the desert air in our home.

I can hardly breathe in this air.  It's only 10 AM.  I'm not looking forward to my day.

I did buy a folding chair so Hunny and I can sit outside, in the cement walkway of our building.  No yard, no patio, no sundeck, no pool, no grass.  Just cement, at the bottom of our stairs, by the laundry room.  There is a big tree against the building.  It provides for shade, which is part of what makes it cooler out there than in here.

I must be delirious.  I found myself singing a little tune in the kitchen.  As I got more into it -- cleaning the kitchen, making coffee, feeding Hunny, preparing for the heat of day -- I realized it was a snazzy, jazzy version of Roto Rooter.  You know the one, Roto Rooter, that's the name. And away goes trouble down the drain.  The snazzy-ness of it became more jazzy and romantic.  I suppose it was an unconscious cry for respite.

We need A/C but the portable-kind is expensive.  I'd rather invest in that so we can take it with us when we move out.  I left word with my landlord, asking if she'd be willing to get AC installed for us.  Doesn't hurt to ask for something.  All she can do is say no.  Maybe she'll be willing to pay for installation if we buy a window-kind.  [Geez, I don't even know the square footage of this place.]

Who knows?  I'm sure she's comfy in her place. 

I know when I had central air in my last place, I was very comfortable.  Summer heat and dogwalking was brutal but I knew I was going home to comfort.

Today, I find no comfort in fighting the heat with dogs all day and then come home to even more heat.  Nope.  I don't.  Does not make for a happy camper.

I get weak, dizzy and loopy.  I can only imagine how Hunny feels with her fur coat.

OK, enough.  I'm not really feeling that sorry for myself.  It just sucks knowing I have had, can have (and deserve) better.

On a positive note, considering my physical discomfort in here, I was productive yesterday as I revisited that old project.  I read old drafts and took a few notes that I think will serve the project.  Don't want to spoil it, so I'm going to shut up and keep at it.  So what if I have to read in the car.  Hunny sits next to me in the passenger's seat and rests with the air blowing on her face.  Hey, whatever works.  I'd sleep in there if it didn't stink like doggy.  Whew!

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mraz, Creativity & Heat

I pre-ordered Jason Mraz's new CD. [not yet in stores. nor is it in my mailbox.]  Luckily, with my order came a free download - three songs.  All three are on heavy rotation on my computer.  I don't know why but I keep waiting to be bored and disappointed.  Instead, I'm continually moved and inspired. 

open up your mind and see like me
open up your plans and damn you're free
look into your heart and you'll find love love love
listen to the music in the moment come and dance with me
a la one big family 
it's your god forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved
- jason mraz, lyrics

My crush on Mraz (or, my MrazSpaz-ness) is not like any other crush.  I finally found a way to describe it.  His voice, music, lyrics, antics, words, ideas, thoughts, expressions go right through me.  They pierce my heart.  My eyes water.  I started crying yesterday.  It's not that I want to be with him.  I want to know him - to learn from him.  He's a genius.  His music is timeless, ageless and brilliant.

Proof of his original creativity -- His off-the-cuff journal entries

I’ve been a lot busier since the temporary swing into the arm sling thanks to my near death skateboarding incident. Okay so the fall wasn’t the near death part, it’s that I would’ve died if anyone had actually seen the stumble since it was so small and ungraceful.

They read like some of his lyrics.  He's all about syllables, sounds, words, recreating language.  Everything runs together, flows and connects.

...which makes us sound like a kaleidoscope, if a kaleidoscope made noise. Kaleidoscope is a difficult word to spell. Even if you know how to spell it, it causes a stutter on the keypad when you’re trying to punch it out. It doesn’t have a U in it.

Do you know what does have a U in it? Mr. Curiosity. Of course it does. And only one at that. But the new records came in yesterday and as we were all noodling and gushing over Jon Marro’s art design, Dennis discovered the extra U in Curiousity on the back of the album. Too funny. I can’t believe we never noticed before it went to print.No one did. Even funnier is that the song mentions spell-check in the lyrics.

He's one reason I've been inspired in the last two (plus) years.

He's also the reason I haven't written a lick of lyrics in over two years.

Why?  How can I be so inspired and moved by someone's creativity yet feel so stuck and stifled by it?  Easy answer: I pale in comparison.  Not that I want to be him or write like him.  But when I play my music, I'm not as moved as I used to be.  There's a shift happening internally -- and my external creator just hasn't caught up yet.

So, no beating myself up.  Instead of writing new music, I'm fiddling with new ways to strum and hold the guitar.  I'm singing a cappella everywhere I go.  Tunes come to me but they're in the baby stages of development. 

I know me.  It'll take a spark of one moment -- I'll pick up the guitar and a full song or two or five will come out all at once.  Those are the only ones that really work.  Meaning, the ones that I love to play and that others love to hear.  The ones I TRY to write sound flat, contrived and unmotivated.

Mercury is in retrograde (started yesterday) till mid-August.  Not the time to start new projects or sign contracts or make big purchases.  But it IS the time to revisit unfinished projects, rework former ideas, pay debts, get current on things I've been putting off.  So, I've reopened a project from 1996.  And I'm a little excited about it.  If nothing else, it's good exercise, creatively.  If it goes back in the box then next month I'll be able to start a new project that started boiling this month.

Either way, it's all good.

With no air in this apartment, and the record-breaking high temps we're having, I've had to adjust to a new schedule.  Anything that involves movement cannot be done between noon and midnight.  It's hot like I cannot describe.  Stagnant heat.  From floor to ceiling.  Breath is short.  I go to the car for respite.  Great a/c there.

Hunny was sick this morning.  I need to find a way to keep her cool too.  I bought a bag of ice and made mini-ice-packs in ziploc bags.  I wrapped a towel around it, making for a nice cool "bed".  But she's not so sure about it.  She won't lay directly on the cool towel so I place the ice on one of her favorite sleeping spots.  When I remove it, the spot is much cooler and ready for her.  While she's snoozing on one cool spot, I place the ice packs on another spot, preparing for her next shift.

As for me?  Well, I took a cold, wet shirt from the washer and put it on.  My own little wet t-shirt contest.  It was dry within the hour.  Meanwhile, the clothes I put in the actual dryer took 90 minutes to dry.  Does that mean I'd be more comfortable in the dryer?  Sick.  It's sickening how hot it is.

Okay, back to my project.  I think I can get some of this done in the car.

*mraz photo ripped off and cropped from his site.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Epilogue - Round Robin Style


Why I Journal [epilogue] - If it weren't for journaling, I never would have seen this passion flower in all its glory.  If it weren't for AOL Journals, I never would've thought to photograph it.  And thanks to the Round Robin Photo Challenge, this beauty gets a prominent display.

Round Robin Photo Challenge - Moods : PASSION

Check out the other Robins and their interpretation of Moods.

Amy - Carly - Monica - Celeste - Coy - Cheryl - Aunt Nub - Danielle - Karen - Mary - Dawn - Trish - Kimberleigh - Robin - Alan - Phinney - Steven - Duane -  Derek - Betty - Kat

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Judith Heartsong's Artsy Essay Contest

Every month, Judith Heartsong, hosts her Artsy Essay Contest for anyone willing to participate.  She posts a subject and gives us about a week to create wonders - or, in my case, ponder and lag behind, thus missing the deadline every single month.

Aside from the personal gratification of finishing an assignment on time, by submitting our entries, one (or a few) lucky participant(s) receive an original piece of artwork created by Judith.  That alone is reason enough to participate.

Judith, along with her illustrious panel of judges, make the call each month.  What I love about it is, there are no rules regarding format and content.  So the writing is always unique.  Therefore winners are unique.  Anyone can play.  Anyone can win.

 July's topic:  Why I Keep A Journal

This month marks the 2nd Anniversary for AOL Journals.  It took me five days to do some profound journaling for this month's topic.  But it's the last five minutes of writing that truly express the essence of my journaling process.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Journaling for Life

Imagine a two-dimensional world without color.  A world where the fog never lifts and flowers never grow. A vague outline of potential.  A coloring book with only a pencil.

Now imagine a shade lifting on the morning sun.  It's a little too bright at first, but each day the shade rises just a bit more as a young woman gets used to the blinding light.

Add a little color, some glitter, a flickering candle,

a guitar, a drum beat, maybe a rattle and a flute.

She hums, strums and sings.

She starts to sway, move and dance.

Soon the shade is up, and she's out the door, with joy in her eyes and laughter in her heart.



That's what journaling has been for me, long before online journals.  A window to the soul.

I could easily say I journal for myself, because that is ultimately true.  But what fun is a party without everyone else?

Enter, AOL Journals.

Inner babble once thought too shameful to expose becomes the norm.  Freak becomes chic.  One becomes all.


The collective cry of grief 


The profound strength of forgiveness


The ripple effect of laughter


I live to journal.  I journal to live.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

For past entries, winners, and prized artwork, check out the links below.

June Artsy Essay Winner
May's Artsy Essay Winner
April's Artsy Essay Winner
March Artsy Essay Winner
February's Artsy Essay Winner(s)
January's Artsy Essay Winner(s)

Thank you Judi, for your sisterhood in this community.  And Happy Anniversary AOL-J!

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #67: Bad Movie Marathon! Share your favorite bad film of all time. Tell us why you love it so.

Extra Credit:
Your favorite quote from the aforementioned film.

This is like a nightmare, where I show up to class at the end of the year just in time to take the final exam.  I haven't done a weekend assignment since, well, since the first one I think.  I just couldn't pass this one up.

In true Freeepeace fashion, I'm making up for lost time by admitting to two (totally different) favorite really really bad movies of all time.  In no particular order...


* * * * *

CHILDREN OF THE CORN - He who walks behind the rows

I am not a fan of slasher films.  Most of us know this.  But for some reason, I chose to watch this film over and over when it was on cable in the 80s.  I'm such a closet fan that I don't even own a copy.  I wish I had it just to see how really bad it is one more time.  Because truly, it's a bad, bad film.  So bad that I love it.

What's not to love?  Young Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton.  A bunch of adorable kids with no adults to tell them what to do (uh, 'cause they're dead).  A secluded Nebraska town with more corn than anyone would ever need.  And who could forget the little weasel-leader, Isaac and his half-wit goofball sidekick, Malachai?  Plus, it's a Stephen King flick.

* * * * *

XANADU - Now we are here

Roller skates, dreams and Gene Kelly.  I love the music and the fantasy.  It makes no sense to anyone who's never stepped outside the box.  But come on, this movie, as horrible as it is, is a totally rip-roaring fun-filled psychedellic trip.  Don't we all love the soundtrack?  Olivia Newton-John?  ELO?  They still rock.

I definitely need to add these two to my DVD collection.  You know, now that I've outted myself.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


Here's my first attempt to participate in the Round Robin Photo Challenge.  I've been wanting to join the fun for a few weeks now.  It's just been so crazy around here.  I'm hoping this will give me something to shoot for.  [whaka-whaka]

Pictured is a view of the boardwalk from our patio seat at the (world famous) Sidewalk Cafe in Venice California.  This section is mobbed on weekends during the summer months.  Venice Beach is visited by tourists from all over the globe.  I do my best to avoid the boardwalk on summer weekends.  Crowds make me anxious.  And this picture is just a taste of what it's like down there.

Still, Venice is where my heart is.

See it live:  VENICE BEACH CAM


Round Robin Challenges.  Please be sure to visit all the other Robins for their SUMMER entries.


Karen...Musings from Mavarin

Kat...From Every Angle

Betty...My Day My Interests

Duane...Sotto Voce


Steven...sometimes photoblog

Amy...Substance; or lack of

Celeste...My Day and Thoughts

Patrick...A Stop At Willoughby

Trish...Journey to Peace

Mary...Alphawoman's Blog

Robbie...Robbie's Ruminations

Sassy...Sassy's EYE

Marie...The Little Things

Aunt Nub ( Liz)...Aunt Nubs Empty Head

Derek...Picture of the Day

Kimberleigh...Life as I Live It

Midlife Matters 


Danielle...Everybody Knows 

Monday, July 4, 2005


Well, I've done some more work in the living room and kitchen.  Now I can really go "oooh, that's nice" when I'm feeling low.  There's still more to be done.  It's become my creative outlet.  Or, one of them.

I'm a recent fan of La Femme Nikita and Robert Mondavi's Private Selection Pinot Noir (2003).  What has become of me?  I've got to get this entry in quick so we can pick up where we left off last night in season two and bottle three.

My crushed fingernail fell off yesterday.  Ick.  It took five weeks for that to happen.  I have a tiny new nail growing but I don't know what will happen next.  I've never experienced this before.  This, coupled with my itchy, cracked fingers, makes things tougher to deal with.  My former cute hands are no longer cute.  I'm not contagious but I'm even afraid to touch my own hands.  They're not as cracked as they were.  The itchies start to clear up for a few days then come back in the same places.  I'm still not so sure what it is.  But that's not what I want to focus on.

I'm not really sure what I want to focus on.  I don't seem to have much focus at all.  It's time to be more physically active.  I have a permanent little inner tube around my waist and I don't plan on going swimming any time soon.  I keep saying I want to do hikes in the mornings.  Then morning comes and I don't wanna go anywhere till it's time to go to work.  If I had a scheduled hike for work, I'd have to do it.  That's what I need to plan.

OK but here's the thing with me ... I don't like to feel trapped in a schedule by specific time.  But I need a timed schedule to get me moving.  It kinda sucks no matter how I look at it.  If I know I have to be somewhere by a certain time, I am usually late.  I can try to trick myself into planning on arriving early but the inner me knows the real time and pushes to the last minute and beyond.

That's why I schedule my dogwalking in a certain time frame.  No exact numbers.  Dogpark is typically between 11 and 2.  Depends on the day, traffic, amount of dogs, and my energy level.  During summer I'd like to go on the early side.  If I schedule a walk/hike before the park, I could definitely make that happen.  Because once I'm out, I'm out.

blah blah blah

moving right along...

Andi and I went to Venice Saturday afternoon.  I mean, walked the boardwalk and along the canals.  We go to Venice like every day.  It's just part of our neighborhood/area.  Walking through the crowds though, is not something we do every day.  It's not something I've ever liked to do.  But Venice is where my heart is.  So we made our way through.  We ate at the Sidewalk Cafe.  The early margarita helped me chill out.  Crowds make me anxious.

On our walk back, we tried to hit the ocean but the wind was so strong, we were actually too cold to get on the sand.  Instead we walked by the skater boys between the bike path and the boardwalk.  Beautiful day.  Beautiful fun.

I took some action shots of one guy who kept nailing some great tricks but because of where I was standing, I kept getting a nice shot of his ass. 

Cool to see his deck in the air (calm down. read that again, slowly.  I said deck).  Anyway, by the time I changed positions to get his face, I was impressed by this other kid.

HellBoy.  He kept trying to nail one trick right near me.  I thought he was taking a break so I went to him to ask if he'd give me something to shoot.  And the games began.  All the boys wanted in.  But this kid had what I was looking for in photos.  Style, form, grace, experience.  [note to self: email photos to the boys.]

[ ... HOURS LATER ... ]

I started writing when I got up this morning (like 8:30).  I was looking through pictures trying to get the "perfect shot" to post.  But they're all so fun, I couldn't choose.  And they just need to be seen larger than I usually post in here.  So I spent my entire day editing and trying new ways to share photos.  Ultimately, AOL's You've Got Pictures is easiest for me at the moment. (be sure to view larger.  it's worth it).  It's also a great way to email the photos to the boys.

Dodger Boy was HellBoy's buddy.  I have a soft spot for the sensitive little guys who try so hard.  He really put his heart in his skating.  I asked him if he wanted his pictures too.  He answered with a big smile and a soft southern accent.  Reminded me of Fishboy.  I miss that little guy.