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Dean Haspiel

History

1st January 2003

5:53pm: Sleigh Bells and Halflings
I woke up to laughter. SBX was lying in bed next to me, reading old Sunday PEANUTS strips. Snoopy was making her giggle. It was a delight to awake to her smiles. Especially ones created from classic comix. Now THAT was the way to start THIS Sunday right.

Mike & Marie called and we rode our bikes to their apartment [4-blocks over the other side of the BQE] for brunch. We brought over bagels & scones from HELEN'S Bakery and Marie whipped up a delicious breakfast feast, which included freshly sliced avocados. Yummy. We looked at over 400 snapshots of their wedding party and gagged at how many semi-nude photos there were of Mike, Cooly C, and myself, dancing about and fagging it up. If we're not way gay in THIS life, we most definitely were in a PAST life. M&M were getting a brand new couch and offered me their excellent, wooden futon, which I had openly coveted for awhile. So, SBX rode off to get domestic in Park Slope while Mike and I rolled up our sleeves and got busy with disassembling and transport. We tied the heavy frame to the top of Little Man and shoved the rest into the trunk. Mike drove slow while I kept on point from behind and followed on my bike. It took two hours of serious grunt work to disassemble my old futon and scraggly couch, take them down 3-flights of stairs, and carry up the 'new' one. Muscles turned into spaghetti. Foreheads dripped salt. Mike split to catch a flick and I finished writing the HELLBOY script and submitted it to the Dark Horse editor for consideration. Doesn't fly, then I have a 2-pager for BILLY DOGMA. No sweat.

SBX came over late afternoon for a 'cup of sugar.' She was very happy with my afternoon renovations and we watched the second half of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. I'm a big fan of movie director Peter Jackson [DEAD-ALIVE rules!], and he did a phenomenal visual job with the movie, but I just don't jive with sword & sorcery like I do with sci-fi and crime. I respect what the 'ring' means and it's narrative metaphor/s, but Hobbits weird me out and Elves are just too damn fey. Men seem to suck at being men and evil wizards will fuck up a land just to invent dumb gorillas with dreadlocks to fight big wars. Sure, this is a tale about a few good men who try their best to not let ultimate power get the best of them, but I've read that story a million times. Jack Kirby stole it for NEW GODS and George Lucas stole it for STAR WARS. Every other moral tale picks at the same thing. Maybe Tolkien's version is the best and has more gusto and pizzazz, but I never read the books and I relate more towards Uzi’s and nun-chucks than I do magic and dragon fire. So, as much as I want to love this story, I enjoy it more for its technical accomplishments and choreography. I think SBX could give two shits about Frodo. Still...

Unexpectedly, Eric Saul swang by to give us jars of homemade tomato sauce that he cooked and preserved. What a guy! He also gave me a plastic Spider-Man toy with a chest light that lit a red beam. I scared my younger cat, Miercoles with it and claimed it "God." Her eyes widened and came to know awe. SBX and I decided to open up a few Xmas gifts from my Aunt Cathy [a Pacific Trail jacket, and an American Flag], and from my Mother [socks, briefs, shirt, and gifts for Ola & The Haze]. SBX played Mrs. Claus while I spun the soundtrack to BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S [specifically for "Moon River"] to set the holiday mood. I'd never owned an American Flag before and it made me feel...fake. Dishonest. I've had issues with patriotism all my life and suddenly the tragedies of 9/11 has my aunt reminding me of my national responsibility to wave a flag? Strange. I got slick and decided to give SBX two pre-Xmas gifts: a PEANUTS TREASURY [for the simple pleasure of inducing extra morning giggles], and a 4-DVD set of the first season of TWIN PEAKS, a show SBX adored.

We rode bikes over the Brooklyn Bridge to Chinatown where Blazm and Debbie-Webbie were hosting a Xmas Cocktail Get-Together. Deb was the master of ceremonies, making sure we masticated AMAZING pizzas. Wine complimented the variations as the party got close and comfortable. Guests included: Dablo & Stacy D, Jim Burton & his pregnant wife Rachel, Jennifer Carter & fiancé Colin, Lisa Schorr & Peter [who just got engaged the night before - everybody I know is GETTING MARRIED!!!], and Larrondo & Pivovision. The night was fun as I scattered about, making small talk, keeping holiday vibes in effect, which ain't that difficult with this posse of pals. Before we split, Deb treated us to a plate of home-baked cookies! Damn, the chick won't quit! We doled out party hugs and holiday mirth and rode our bikes back to Park Slope where I was in search for my 'cup of sugar' and we snuggled under the sheets, waving sayonara to a perfect day.

Monday was semi-easy. I revised and inked THING 2/pp14 while doing laundry. In-between ink drying and folding long sleeve shirts, I started working on another Marvel pitch [always worried/always hustling]. A pitch for after my proposed 'THOR vs HULK' gig. One that involves a 3rd tier character: JACK OF HEARTS. The concept is still very loose but I'm thinking of a story that is like a cross-between WUTHERING HEIGHTS and FANTASTIC VOYAGE. Ideas are percolating with writer/collaborator Neil Kleid. Foundation won't set 'til I get back from Europe. I met up with my Dad's German pal [and savior] Manfred @5PM to show him the Marvel Comics offices and drop off pages to my editor. Not much to show because 1] the cubicles are spare and cheap, and 2] most editors were shuffling off to do last minute holiday shopping, and so was I. Manny and I went to Entertainment Outlet and I scored a few cheap DVDS: STATE OF GRACE, and BARBERSHOP. I got SBX the 'best of' DIRE STRAITS, cuz she was jonesing for a song called "Romeo & Juliet" [the only Straits song I knew was "Money For Nothing,' otherwise, I have no use for there cheese and swing]. Manny gave me a gift that my brother Mike had left with him [when he visited NYC a couple of weeks ago] and it turned out to be an awesome 14" tall, vintage BOBA FETT doll - er - action figure! You could look through the back of his helmet and see what he saw, like that classic SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN doll - er - action figure. Aces! I haven't played with, uh, macho toys, since I was twelve, but this one was an action KEEPER.

I met up with SBX for an 8PM show of LOTR: TWO TOWERS at Cobble Hill Cinemas. *Phwew* Peter Jackson sure knows how to put on a war. Nice stuff. Golem is an incredible feat of animation with believable tics and skin tones. Finally, we get a character who physically expounds the torment of wielding such paramount power as the dreaded "ring." Frodo is a wimp, but I suppose, so would we be if we were better than man but less than Elf. Or, something like that. "Halflings" those Hobbits are called? Anyway, after seeing this 2nd installment, I know what movie Peter Jackson should remake after THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Two words: BEN HUR.

Tuesday morning, SBX opened up and played the "Romeo & Juliet" ditty that the DIRE STRAITS made and it appeased her jones for the lost song. Ask me? Sounded like bad Lou Reed. Since we were flying to London later that night, I wanted to drop my big Xmas gift on her this morning. SBX is paying for the travel expenses to the London/Paris trip, so I had to come correct and get her something more special than DVDS, CDs, and Books. So I scored her what I thought she could truly use for years to come. Especially, now that her kids are growing inches taller by the month, and so I gave it to her. SBX unwrapped the gift and joy filled her face. It was a COOL PIX 2000 Digital Camera! I explained to her all the fresh features and she was excited. That was one happy chick. I was much obliged.

SBX split for a half-day at work and I went home to shower and do some last minute packing before meeting up with my father and Manfred at Jim Hanley's Universe. I bought SBX, Adrian Tomine's SLEEPWALK collection, and myself Howard Chaykin's BLACK KISS collection. I chatted with Bardot for a few and she told me that she gave the comix shoppe her 2-weeks notice. Too bad. I'm going to miss her. My father, Manny, and I, went to eat Korean Dumplings, but before we did that, we bumped into SBX at Pret-a-Manger and they met and greeted. It was short and way too brief with no flairs and bottle rockets. Odd. Lunch crawled by and we didn't talk about much that had to with anything except for the occasional what-have -you. Xmas has always been a weird time for me. I suppose it is for all. I got slammed hard during my teenage years; my father smashed all my presents during an argument w/Mom on Xmas the first year I could afford to actually select and buy presents with my own monies, and then, Dad's best pal died of AIDS on my bed on Xmas Day the next year [whak stuff like that], and I've been dealing ever since. I'm actually looking forward to reinventing the holiday w/SBX.

I packed some clothes and rendezvoused w/SBX on the subway to JFK airport, where we would be flying off to Heathrow for a 3-hour drive and surprise family visit on Xmas day in Shrewsbury, England, before taking a 4-day holiday in Paris, France.
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