Sunday, January 21, 2007

Putting on the Ritz

Spent the day yesterday -- and will spending today -- at last getting my CCS office set up and functional.

First, though, I tidied up the senior's studio, which meant picking up lots of empty beverage containers; I don't drink coffee, but if I did, the cup of calcified and molded Jo I removed from the computer workstation would have done me in on that. It was like Green Acres coffee: a solid mass. Tried to dump it down a restroom sink, but no go -- fungoid solids don't flow. Into the garbage it went; the rest of the beverage containers went into recycling after I rinsed them out. I used to handle returnables in my dad's store (Bissette's Market), from age six to 21: nothing grosses me out in the returnable bottles and cans department, I've seen and handled it all. Still, new studio rule: End of every workday, guys and gals, you clean up all empties!

Though most had neatened up their work and drawing tables sufficiently, the floors in a few stations were keeping feets warm with slagheaps of paper, lost art tools, and the occasional organic matter (hmmm, is this a chewed up pretzel?). I swept that all up and out; paper, particularly with drawings, went on to the top of the respective drawing area; the rest, recycled or into the trash. Took about an hour or so, then I set up the Critique area, which was last semester a loosy-goosey set up: not this semester. The wall is clear and ready for the students's thesis work to be posted, eighteen chairs (all black) set up and ready for our first crit session. All in all, it wasn't bad. I mean, these are cartoonists, folks. Young cartoonists. Their work stations will never hold a candle to the descriptions Tom Sutton used to give me of his studio.

Then, on to my shitheap in the office. I've been pretty lenient on cleanup issues thus far because I've not set any kind of respectable example -- well, that's no longer the case.

First off, dig, throughout the move -- from the first day Marge and I decided we were moving closer to CCS -- I hauled various and sundry boxes and items to my CCS office, and did my best to keep them neatly stacked and organized. But they were, after all, boxes, full of books and very odds & ends. Many of my art tools made the pilgrimage, too, ahead of our move. And my desk became the repository for all CCS paperwork and files I'd had loosely organized in my then-pretty-new Marlboro office/studio space; in short, a moveable shitheap, shifted around on the desk as necessary to make room for each week's pressure-cooker, two-day work stint. Time to organize at last! Set it up! Get it up!

Despite the warning posted on one of two pipes running throught the far wall (Danger - Asbestos - Cancer Risk - Avoid Creating Dust -- the insulating wraps on the pipes are indeed asbestos; I give 'em wide berth, and otherwise spend minimal time in the windowless office), it is a nice work space. I've at last hung up mucho art, all my various comics industry and horror writers awards (my son Dan always wished I'd hung this stuff up in my home studio, but I never had the wall space), my graduation diploma and letter of recommendation from The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, Inc., some family items, etc.; emptied boxes of paleontology, zoology, and various photo reference books and racked them in a trio of bookcases (bringing in one more bookcase this morning, to shelf the oversized paleo, Zdenak Burian and science books); and finished placing the stacks of 'textbooks' and back issues of my work in the two metal cabinets in the office. The latter are also now homes for my bizarre and beloved magnet collection (including a batch of vintage '50s sf miniature movie posters I bought from me old pal G. Michael Dobbs from his management tenure at the Tower Theaters down in Massachusetts; Mike's concession stand sold the coolest movie collectibles and best movie popcorn ever!), and some of my fossil collection and coolest toys grace the tops of the filing cabinets.

Which leads me to today's task: filing. I've tons of CCS paper already in file folders, but it's time at last to centralize and collate the filing system, get them organized in the file cabinets, and today's the day.

One huge liability in the office, though, other than the lung-cancer-inducing asbestos: the radio doesn't pick up the local NPR stations. I shouldered through yesterday listening to local crap-rock broadcasts. Today, audio cassettes of music I love or can at least stomach: Doc Watson, Captain Beefheart, Patty Smith, Ennio Morricone, Charlie Poole, Tom Waites -- get me through the day.

It's sunny, spectacular even, outside -- I've also got some drawing to do at fellow CCS faculty Peter Money's house, for a secret assignment -- so, off to the CCS Verizon Building office now so I can savor some of today's sweet weather!

Marge said her goodbyes to our Marlboro house yesterday, en route home from a birthday lunch date with her sister Pat Lambert (who is an amazing artist and photographer; hello, Pat!). Marge and our neighbor Arlene Hanson spent a little time in the now-empty home we rebuilt (it was a gutted shell when we bought it in December 2001), were wed in (April 2002), and lived in ever since. She came home and said pretty much what I have felt for some time now: she will forever love our Marlboro house, it was good to us, but this Windsor house is our home. It feels like home, and our connection with the Marlboro digs has been severed completely. Odd feeling, but there it is. The closing is tomorrow morning, and we're both ready to see this end. Emotionally, we're already past it.

Followup to my time at Cole Odell's Middlebury College class: Hey, Cole, get some photos of your class, I'll post 'em here. I'm also going to post some CCS photos this semester; time to dress up this tired old blog with some up-and-coming students! It's their generation's world, we just get to live here.

That said, I've also begun to come across a lot of vintage photos from my old convention days/daze, and once the new computers are set up and I have a functional computer-and-scanner work station in place, I'll start posting those, too.

Followup to Dave Booz's comment yesterday: Hey, Dave, drove through Killington this week en route to Middlebury, and passed the road to your place. Hey, there's snow at last! Not a lot, but snow, baby! You guys coming up?

Have a great Sunday, one and all.

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