Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Barbie! Part 2

Saturday afternoon, for Barbie's birthday, we and the Richmonds went to see "Xanadu" on Broadway. Made as a spoof/homage to a really bad film from the early 80s of the same name, which is still one of Barbie's favorite movies, Xanadu has actually been getting rave reviews. Which is understandable. Sure, there were times that I was starting to doze off, just like when Barbie forced me to watch the film, but overall, it was a joy to watch. We all had a great time.

Later we met up with the Steckleys for a night out at the great Jean George's restaurant. Great food, great atmosphere, great service.... GREAT BIG bill. It may have been Barbie's birthday, but we all had such a good time, it might as well have been our birthdays as well.

Happy Birthday, baby. I love you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Can you believe my baby's 35???!!!!??? Yep, she may look 21 still, but she's three and a half decades old now. She'll always be nineteen to me, though, the age she was when we first met.

Last night, after roaming around Times Square for hours, we stopped in at world famous Sardi's restaurant. The one with all of the famous Broadway actors' caricatures from the past 75 or so years. They brought Barbie a slice of birthday cake, and we all sang to her as the clock struck midnight, officially beginning her birthday.

Next is Tom, Ed, and I posing in front of some of the caricatures.

Then, there's the pic of Barbie pointing out a poster in Sardi's of none other than our friends, Toxic Audio, from when they had THEIR Broadway run.

Happy Birthday, baby! I love you!

Friday Night Lights...NYC style

Man, is NYC's Times Square crowded on a Friday night! Here's a pic of me and my baby in the middle of a million people (that I cropped out of this photo). Yeah, we're happy and still in love... you can still see it in our eyes, can't you? We're very blessed.

Next, is a photo of us, The Richmonds, and Ed and Heather Steckley (good friends we also know from the NCS and the NCN) at Carmine's Family Style Italian restaurant. This is a composite of two photos, actually, but I did okay with it. Just couldn't figure out how to photoshop myself in it too, from the angle it's from.

Finally is a photo of Brady and Gabby and Tommy Richmond on the giant ferris wheel in the middle of Toys R Us on Times Square.

The Parhams and Richmonds go MAD!!!!

Yesterday we had a great time touring through the MAD magazine offices here in NYC. Tom Richmond, of course, works for them ALL the time, so that's how we got to do it. Plus, we know Sam Viviano, the art director for the mag, from hanging out with him at the National Cartoonist Society annual bashes. Sam gave us the "5 cent tour", as he called it, and then we all went to lunch. The first pic here is of Brady (hamming it up) and Tommy Richmond posing with a statue of Alfred E. Neuman at MAD. The second one is of Brady and "Mr. Sam", as she calls him, in his office. She even got a cool, top secret sneak peek at the cover of the next MAD.

Brady loves MAD, and especially MADKids these days. Thanks, Mr. Sam, for the tour!

Friday, July 27, 2007

GREASE on Broadway

Months ago, among the many reality shows me and the girls watch, we got hooked on "You're the One That I Want", the show where they cast the roles of Danny and Sandy in a Broadway production of GREASE. We were okay with the guy that won, but really liked the girl who won. Imagine our surprise when we found out that she lives on the very street that our friends, the Richmonds, live on in Burnsville, MN (outside Minneapolis)! She's even taught voice and drama to their kids! So, we decided we HAD to see the play on Broadway. It's Brady's first Broadway play, and we had a great time. Even saw the stars up close and got autographs. Brady has taken a few acting classes, and loves being on the stage, so anything like this to her is supercool. Almost as cool as Webkinz.

The Parhams Invade New York (finally)

Last Summer, we were supposed to come to NYC with our good friends, the Richmonds. We were gonna see the Empire State Building, do a Broadway show, and other cool stuff. We, and Brady, our only daughter at the time, were so excited. THEN, we found out that our new baby, Kaley was going to be born sometime around the time of the trip. So, we unfortunately had to cancel our trip. Brady especially was really upset, but handled it like a trooper.

This Summer, though, we had the opportunity to take the trip again with the Richmonds, and we jumped at the chance. We figured it would not only be fun, as we always have fun with them , but it would even give a sense of having come full circle. Now Brady would not only have her baby sister, but would also get the trip she was going to have last year. We certainly didn't want her to resent her sister being born.

Here are some photos of our first day here. The photo of Brady beside the Statue of Liberty was outside a Times Square giftshop near our hotel. The other photos are from the observatory on the Empire State Building. Brady was thrilled to see the real Statue of Liberty from this vantage point, as well as all the other NYC landmarks. Mommy had a little bit of vertigo, so may look a little green in the photos.

Daddy was happy just to be off the airplane.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gig Pix again

Here's some more livedraws from recent gigs I've done.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Invasion of the Simpsons!

Man, there are many things I love about living in Orlando. With Disney and Universal, it's like living in Toon World. The 7-11 right down the street from me is even one of the ones that got made over into the "Kwik E Mart" to coincide with the Simpsons movie opening. Here's a pic of the store, and one of my car at the pump. Woo hoo!

I'm even drawing at a party tomorrow night where they want me to draw people AS Simpsons style characters! I'm taking my yellow markers along, to really nail the style. It should be a blast. Obviously, the style isn't my favorite, by a longshot, but it'll be fun to stretch some different artistic muscles.

I'll try to take a camera, so I can post some photos from the gig.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gig Pix

Some recent LiveDraws from events I've done....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Working Out, part 4

Finally, the last post on this subject. Where was I in the story? Oh yeah...

After being inspired by my buddy Tom Richmond's metamorphosis in the gym, I finally got back into the gym myself two years ago, just in time for my 20 year (!) high school reunion. I found you have to take it a little slower, and train smarter than when you're twenty ( a stint in rehab for 3-4 months for a torn lower back muscle taught me that), but it can be done. And it should be done. I feel younger and stronger than I did five years ago. Somedays, ten years ago. Do I look like the bodybuilding legend I dreamed of being when I was a teenager? Heck, no, as this picture from last month shows! (Notice the strategically placed baby, right over where abs USED to be). But, I'm doing okay for my age, and I intend to keep hitting the weights. The second pic is of my recently completed home gym, which should help me in these goals. No more waiting in line for sweaty benches! Woo Hoo!

In conclusion, let me state my real reasons for getting back into shape. Sure, like a lot of people, I'm fighting Father Time. And I LIKE being in better shape. But, there's so much more to it than that. I've got a beautiful wife, and two beautiful daughters who I want to be here, and be healthy, for. I like being able to bring in the groceries, put stuff in the attic, and move furniture around and around the rooms for my wife until she decides where she likes it. I do all of these everyday, normal, things and more SO much easier than I did before I got back into shape.

Also, I gotta be honest. Iif my daughters take after my wife, which I'm sure they will, they're gonna be real "lookers". Have you seen the size of teenage boys these days? I've gotta keep working out, just so I can intimidate them when they come over for dates!

I'm really not kidding.

Brady's almost nine. I only have a few more years.

Gotta go hit the iron....

Working Out, part 3

Well, our Myrtle Beach trip is winding down, and when I get back I'll have to really bust my hump getting some work done. So I figured while I had a sec, I'd better finish up the work out post I started. Being here all week with the Parham side of the family has brought a lot of this stuff back to my memory. The twin uncles who first inspired me to work out have been here (I don't think they're in any of the photos I've posted, though), and my aunt Arlene (whose pic I DID post), who later inspired me to get into modeling, has been here as well. Yep, modeling. That's what REALLY derailed my bodybuilding plans. I met a girl when I was a freshman in college, an upperclassman, who told me I should get into modeling/acting. To impress her, I decided I'd try it. My aunt had been a model, and a beauty pageant queen, so she set me up with her agency. Over the next six or so years, modeling and lifeguarding (notice this shot was taken in a pool...those are swim lanes behind me) were what I did the most. Oh I still worked out, but my metabolism was so quick, like I said, that it didn't matter for a few years.

When I transferred to art school, I really hit the gym hard. My partner was a competitive bodybuilder (regional contests), and helped me gain a bit of size finally. Then he started taking steroids, "to go to the next level", and urged me to do the same. That's when we parted ways, and the bodybuilding urge really began to leave me. By this time, quite a few big modeling agencies were interested in me, but I was too big for their clothes. So, I had to drop weight like crazy. And basically starve myself. It worked...I did pretty well for awhile as a model. But that's a different, complicated story all it's own.

Suffice it to say, with all of this up and down, gaining muscle, having to lose it, eating like crazy to gain size, then starving myself, I developed a pretty bad diet, and, of course, as I got older, my metabolism slowed. I had still built a good foundation early on that has somewhat stayed with me, thank God, but I've often thought that modeling destroyed my build to a degree, and have resented that. As crazy as that sounds. But, it was while in that field that I met my beautiful wife, Barbie, so I know that God led me down the right paths, ultimately. Not that there weren't a few unpleasant detours along the way...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Weird Myrtle Beach....

I grew up in South Carolina, but in Greenville, which is in the northwestern corner of the state, basically. Myrtle Beach, and where our condo is in Cherry Grove, is four or more hours away, in what we always called "The Lowcountry".
Some things here remind me of my hometown, like the polite residents, and the fact that you can get a "meat and three" at lots of restaurants . But there's always been this kind of weirdness about this area of the state to me. They play by their own, different rules, it seems.

Take the first photo here for example. Where else could you find a place named "Tar Baby's"? The sign on the door even said "De Tar Baby say "Come on in, ya'll!". When I first saw the sign, my mouth just dropped open. It's sad that racist images like this still exist. Their sweet tea was good, but I felt , I don't know, a little "dirty" eating there. The whole theme kinda gave me a queasy feeling.

The next example is the KNIFE CASE from the old boardwalk arcade. Yes, you can redeem your tickets from skee ball and the like and "win" one of these many knives.

Only in Myrtle Beach, folks.

Finally, here's a little statue I found for sale in the wonderful Gay Dolphin. There was so much weirdness in this store, that it was hard to pick just one thing to show you. But, I think that this is a fairly good example of the sheer insanity on display there. Yes, it's a little gnome. Leaning on a... FLASHLIGHT???? I have no idea why. And it's not a lampstand or anything. There's NO REASON for him to be beside a flashlight that I can tell. The sheer randomness of this really struck me. It was so cool, I almost purchased it.

Brady having fun

Here's a pic from this week here in Myrtle Beach that I didn't get to post yet. Brady with our bud, Jeremy. We've spent nearly as much time with him and his crew, as you can tell, as we have our family. Heck, they practically ARE family at this point. They've hung out at the beach with the Parhams, shopped with the Parhams, ate with the Parhams....I think we're going to adopt them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Me and the Grandparents, etc

Probably the biggest reason we wanted to come to the Beach is to see my grandparents. "Nonnie" will be eighty next month (she's still beautiful), and "Papa" will be 81 in September. We don't really know how much more time we'll have with them (Papa's really been declining lately), so this was an important trip for us.

The final pic is of Brady as a dog. We buried her in the sand, and let her pick what she wanted to be. She's dog crazy, so.....

Parhams (and Friends) at the Beach

Here's some beach pix from this week....

More Toxic...

Here's some more pix of the Toxic concert we all attended. Most of these are afterward, when we were hanging out with them. The really fuzzy one, though, is a shot of, yes, my grandmother, ON STAGE, as Jeremy and Paulie gyrated, Chippendales-like, around her. Rene of the group has his head on her lap. I was videotaping, and laughing so hard that I was crying.

More Gay, etc.

Here's a couple more pics of the Gay Dolphin, and one of the bicycle plate wall. This was really special to me as a kid. They supposedly had every name there is on the wall on one of these plates. But IF they DIDN'T, you got a FREE trip to the top of the Gay Dolphin's tower (probably a whole 75 feet up). Of course, with my name, I ALWAYS got a free trip. It was one of the only times as a kid that my name paid off for me.

We also got to go to the old arcade that still exists down on the Boardwalk here yesterday. Some of the machines in there are from the 1930s, at least. Here's a pic of Brady, Barbie, Jeremy, and his kids playing the games. Also, we went to Mad Myrtle's for ice cream. You can see all the smiling faces.

Afterward, me and my girls went to "Family Kingdom", a small amusement park. I watched them ride. And I sweated.

It means Happy...honestly

We had the chance yesterday to "make the hang" in downtown Myrtle Beach with some of our best buds in the world, the James', (Jeremy, Shalisa, Julian, and Jason) of Toxic Audio. We went to all of the old spots I remember from summers here as a kid. At least the ones that still exist (sniff sniff). I was just glad that the world's tackiest gift shop, The Gay Dolphin, was still here. Here's me and Jeremy in front of it...