September 10, 2010

January 13, 2010

Guitar Hero

This is my friend Chris. He's a guitar dealer and lead guitarist for Mother Hubbard, a band out of Concord, NH. My friends call him Rocker Dude. So do I. That's him on the left. Hot guy playing some cool licks on his Les Paul guitar.

Back in November, Chris read an article in the Concord Monitor -- it was a story about Deanna Matthews and her family -- husband Richard, Kitana, Jessica, Dakotah -- and Deanna's brother Gerry. This is the beginning of the story by Ray Duckler in the Concord Monitor:

The old house in a working class Franklin neighborhood is electric today, with kids running and laughing and showing off their stuffed animals.

It's not always this way, but there's little sign of the rare chromosomal disorder suffered by the two middle children, or the learning disability of the youngest child, or the autism displayed by the oldest child, or the stroke that disabled their mother, or any of the other diagnoses that plague the Matthews family.

Jessica, 6, is proud of her pink backpack. Kitana, 9, loves playing with the family dog, Harley. Dakotah, the youngest at 5, has a smile he can't wipe away. Tyler, 15, isn't home from Franklin High yet.

The rest of the household includes Richard Matthews, the quiet father of the three younger kids and Tyler's stepdad, and uncle Gerard Auger, the one truly healthy person here, a blessing when it comes to assisting a family with more problems than a MASH unit and no way to get around.

And then there's Deanna Matthews, mother, spokeswoman, leader. She's the one reaching out so one day she can afford a car to drive her kids and herself to doctors' appointments.

You can read the rest of the Concord Monitor story here.

Deanna was determined to get her family the help they needed. One of her little girls was facing surgery and a ten day recovery up at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital. Besides that, the whole family was in need. When you live in New Hampshire, a car is a necessity. For Deanna's family, it's even more so.

Uno Chicago Grill hosted a fundraiser for the Matthews family, donating 20% of the proceeds, but the evening netted only $100.

Chris read about Deanna and knew he had to do something. Chris is a get-it-done kind of guy, so he placed a call to Santa. And because Santa loves to help those in need, and also happens to be a big fan of classic rock, he delivered.

As is his way, Chris called to tell me about Deanna and the car that Santa got for her only after the deal was almost done. He invited me along for the ride to see Deanna receive her new wheels -- a sweet 1999 Plymouth Voyager.

It was just so fabulous to meet Deanna, her brother Gerry, husband Richard, and her cute kids. And, it's great to know she now has her own wheels thanks to Santa and one anonymous guitar hero.

You can read a follow-up to this story here.

The middle photo is by Katie Barnes of The Monitor.

January 7, 2010

Alma: A Very Short Film by Rodrigo Blaas

This multi-award short is available for viewing for only a limited time, so be sure to check it out before it vanishes!

Best viewed on the enlarged screen.

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

December 18, 2009

Origami by Marjorie Evasco

This word unfolds, gathers up wind
to speed the crane's flight
north of my sun to you.

I am shaping this poem
out of paper, folding
distances between our seasons.

This paper is a crane.
When its wings unfold,
The paper will be pure and empty.

Why I Write

On occasions like this when I am asked to talk about my poetics the image of the Great Heron standing in the mudflats comes to mind. It is an image that brings me back to a long bus ride I once took with my parents from Tagbilaran City to the town of Ubay to visit my grandparents for the summer vacation. I hated those bus rides because invariably, too many people were crushed together, and under the seats were all sorts of odds and ends-- potatoes, bananas, dried fish, corn grits and chickens tied at the feet to be sold at a public market in some town. There were fewer buses in Bohol then and when the one we took blew one of its tires, it meant a tedious wait in the middle of nowhere while the driver walked to the nearest vulcanizing shop.

I was a hungry, hot-tempered and testy 10-yr. old from the heat and dust when our bus stopped in San Pascual, a barrio 25 kms. from our destination. But my father hoisted me down from the seat, brushed the white lime dust from my hair, and led me up a hill where the cogon grass swayed to a pungent breeze. From this lookout point, the rice in the paddies were ready for harvesting.

“Watch,” my father instructed, pointing to a pond where two carabaos were cooling off. Suddenly, my father clapped his hands, and as if by magic, a flock of white birds flew out of the water behind the clump of cogon grass. The birds circled and took my heart with them as they flew away.

“Herons,” my father named them. They were perfect in flight, and as the child I was, I must have associated beauty with motion. I must also have associated magic with the way the hands can call forth things, and the way names can fix in memory a moment of transient wonder.

Many summers hence, far from my family and away from the island of Bohol, I began to learn the language of flight, dream and memory I now call poetry.

Today's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Susan Taylor Brown. Click here to go there.

December 16, 2009

Hoedown: The Fabulous Eleanor Stewart

Hoedown from Rodeo from Eleanor Stewart on Vimeo.

Eleanor Stewart created this stop-motion animation for her final year degree in Visual Communication at the Glasgow School of Art.

The very talented Eleanor blogs here. Check it out to see more of her work.

December 15, 2009

Going West: Stop-Animation

This is a gorgeous piece of work. The book is by Maurice Gee, an important and prolific New Zealand author who writes for both kids and adults. The design is by Andersen M Studios, and was commissioned by the New Zealand Book Council.

It may take a few viewings to acclimate to the NZ accent, but it's worth a repeat or two . . . or three. Be sure to watch till the end.