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Dean Haspiel

History

8th March 2003

12:45pm: A week without
Woke up Monday morning to a non-stop, beautiful, Presidents Day blizzard. Looking out the window, I mistook Carroll Street for a Ski Resort. Snow banks led to entrances of Brownstones. There was 16-inches of white powder and counting. The Blizzard of 2003 was setting records over here in NYC, especially in Brooklyn. Next door, the mayor declared a 'state of emergency' in New Jersey. Folks were skiing to work. Hilarious. 19-inches of snow. A few roofs collapsed and some people died. This weather was no joke. Some neighborhood kids used garbage can lids to sled down stoops that were made into ramps by the snow. 20-inches of snow! Keep it coming.

I spoke to Harvey Pekar & Jeff Mason about the possibility of Alternative Comics publishing AMERICAN SPLENDOR. Depends on all kinds of factors, from Dark Horse to HBO. Pekar is in the thick, which means he has options, and that's ALL good. Molly Tropp called and emailed me pix of her baby daughter, Isobel. Gosh golly gee, she is adorable. Looks EXACTLY like her mother. For an English chick, she certainly betrays some Asian genes w/the most mesmerizing eyes. I inked the rest of THING 2 and SBX called a few times from Florida, which made me feel good because I know she finds calling to "check in" unnecessary when on vacation. It's a policy that was practiced previously and one in which I disagreed with. It's natural to miss people and good to tell them so. No matter how far away in whichever time zone. Courtesy for the heart. And so the TV brought me the finale of JOE MILLIONAIRE and “unmasked” MICHAEL JACKSON, again. If Saddam Hussein is the villain then Network television is the axis of evil.

Tuesday was another day for inking THING 2, and spaghetti & meatballs & salad were consumed at Mike & Marie's while watching an episode of '24' [our weekly ritual]. Spoke briefly to SBX who enjoyed a whole day at the Epcott Center w/her family. On Wednesday, I started inking the final 2-page spread to THING 2. Fiffe swang by to sweep my pages while we listened to MASSIVE ATTACK's neo-banal album. $16 I should have spent on a DVD or groceries. After lunch, I spoke to movie producer Ted Hope about the possibility of turning Pheobe Gloeckner's DIARY OF TEENAGE GIRL graphic novel into a movie and he told me he was already on that tip, hoping to snag SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS director Tamara Jenkins' interest. Ted Hope is always one step ahead. S’why he makes the big money. Went to buy comix at Jim Hanley's Universe and bumped into cartoonist Stephen DeStefano, whom I did not recognize. He'd lost SO much weight and was completely gray. He put it succinctly when he declared "I lost a whole other person." @6PM went and saw the AMERICAN SPLENDOR Movie w/Tim Hall and it was great. It was surprisingly savvy [mixing media's], metaphysical, artistic, uplifting, down & dirty, yet kept it real and faithful. @midnight, next door neighbors Cory & Lisa knocked on my door and gave me homemade oatmeal cookies. How very Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood of them. There is hope.

Thursday was easy. Finished inking the two-page spread that cliff-hangs THING #2 and put it to bed. The sun was bright and happy and starting to melt all that massive snow. The streets were drenched in slush and filthy water clogged the drains creating lakes and floods. Circuits were shorting around town sparking black outs. Some of the streets resembled frozen mazes where snow was literally carved to make thin paths for human travel. Snow Plows rumbled by every few hours creating mini-ice mountains to rule the Carroll Gardens. My father called w/a new telephone # for his East Hampton cottage and he was happy to receive my surprise Ham and Turkey Birthday gift. He seemed to be in a light and happy mood. He's been dealt such a rough hand and the winter weather [sans heat and water] nearly went 187 on him. I suppose the sunny day, the working phone line, and abundance of hot gourmet food can do wonders for an achy body. Manni was in the back, adding another plank of wood to his room.

Spoke to Harvey Pekar. Looks like HBO is stepping in and trying to wheel and deal a book situation FOR him. I told him SBX reached out to her man at Barnes & Noble and he appreciated that, big time. I then told him the politics of said reach out and that SBX didn't want to burn bridges. He understood the dilemma and wasn't sure where his book stood and told me to tell her "thanks a bunch," but that maybe it was better to see what HBO could finagle before SBX negotiated anything w/B&N. So, I wrote SBX and told her that, if the B&N guy contacted her, to query him about B&N's "interest" in graphic novels, telling him that she may have a few "leads," and nothing more for now. HBO could fumble the ball and Harvey may need her expertise. AND -- hey, I know enough cartoonists with good comix [read: back log] that could be made into graphic novels. So, a B&N query couldn't hurt in the long run. I think I must really be missing SBX, because I inadvertently bought a carton of vanilla soy milk at the corner deli.

I read NiggerKojak's ALL GOD’S CHILDREN screenplay and it's GREAT. Equal parts EVIL DEAD, THE EXCORCIST, ROSEMARY'S BABY, with a nod to LONE WOLF AND CUB on the very last page. Fresh.

For some reason, hitting my mid-30s made me shed most all of that manufactured food crap. I still subscribe to ethnic take-out, but when I was introduced to the ORGANIC vegetable, the unhampered LETTUCE, the HANDMADE pasta [and the such] ~ suddenly Campbell’s Tomato Rice Soup tasted like copper pennies and a McDonalds hamburger smelled like balsa wood. I have to hand it to her; SBX re-introduced me to my taste buds. Suddenly, things started to smell different. I've been trying to make a connection between taste and smell for years [half the taste of wine is how you digest it through the nose, ergo, the wide/deep shape of a proper wine glass to encourage the full bodied experience], and I'm wondering if eating healthier ALSO jogged something in my nasal cavity. For the first time in my life, I could smell HEAT. The steam that rises from the radiator was overpowering. I wondered if the steam was cooking asbestos in the ceiling or something, and when I polled my pals, they dubbed me coo-coo. I smelled air burn and broil. And that was what it REALLY was: I could smell air for the first time. And it was dying.

On Friday, SBX went to Animal Kingdom w/her family and my father turned 65. He is a senior citizen [10% off everything?]. That how it goes? 65. Six-ty-five. So, I went to Marvel Comics and dropped off the rest of the art for THING 2 and bought some DVDs down the block [U-TURN, THE EXCORCIST, ROMEO & JULIET, and STRICTLY BALLROOM for SBX]. Postal Press furnished weird fan mail from a kid named “Danny Wubbin” in Illinois who wrote to my character BILLY DOGMA requesting a company catalogue. What fuck wrong people? I inked some of AIM TO DAZZLE, and I got an email from Liz Smith ghost-writer, Denis Ferrara, who wrote a MARYLIN MONROE bullet about my father moving to East Hampton and preparing for his last MM book for Monday's column.

I hooked up w/Doug Brod for pizza and we went to the Zombie Hut for drinks and rendezvoused w/Heidi MacDonald. After getting sauced up on four syllable drinks, we hopped the G-train sloth to Classon. LaBrujah hepped us to a wang-dang at the Happy Birthday Hideout where 12-yr old hipsters swarmed the premises. We managed to get as far as the waiting line on the stairwell [our second go at getting "in"] when I realized that the party was PACKED like sardines and tobacco exhaust made up 90% of oxygen. I started to get dizzy with claustrophobia and opted to split. It didn't help that I was approx. 15-YEARS OLDER than everybody standing outside. I wanted to borrow a pinch of RED MAN so I could spit rank chaw in my hand and grease the gray hairs in my beard but I was afraid of the Canker sores I would most assuredly find lining the walls of my mouth for such vanity. When the G-train finally arrived at Classon, we got in and LaBrujah jumped out. So cute. There was a hasty parlay to bring us back out to the party but our legs got the best of us and they wanted home and some sleep.

On Saturday, I rented/watched THE BOURNE IDENTITY, hoping that SWINGERS/GO director Doug Liman would hit three homeruns out of the park and, instead, he struck out. Movie was 'okay' but nothing new. Nothing special. Facile at best. Although, I was excited to recognize and remember the places I'd been to w/SBX in Paris! I drew AIM TO DAZZLE pp4, and drank whiskey. I put on some D'angelo and lifted the spirits before walking over to ex-vertigo/Marvel editor/cum writer Stuart Moore's Birthday bash at the Brooklyn Inn [he's a neighbor], where I shared a shot w/comix industry hotdogs: John Cassaday, Jimmy Palmioti, and Darick Robertson. Heidi MacDonald was there to help promote good folly. I saw Larrondo & Pivovision walk by the bar and gave them a holler. Pivo gave some lazy excuse for why they couldn't hang and I wished her good luck on her Sunday morning secret abortion. A joke. A joke. Not funny.

I rendezvoused w/Tim at a Manhattan party that Lorelei invited me to. It was the polar opposite from last nights disorganized hipster rave. Although, no argument could be made FOR this organized sock hop either. The dimly lit rental room housed a hundred desperate single people in the ides of their mid-life crisis. The BAD deejay spun the records you left BEHIND in the quarter bin. I couldn't get inside the party. I felt more like an anthropologist than a subject. After a drink, we all split for the Bulgarian Bar run by Russians and the $15 cover charge couldn't convince me to enter. Instead, we took the subway to a cheesy/frat boy bar that blasted QUIET RIOT and before I could even consider vomiting in utter disgust, I was like, splits-ville, dude. To save the night with a few familiar faces, I went solo to Wo Hop and enjoyed a hot & sour soup & steamed dumplings while catching up with the old standbys.

SUNY Purchase alum/Cobble Hill neighbor, Amy Rau came over for a coffee on Sunday and I met up with Nick Bertozzi and his baby Sabina at Ling Ling for some chinky-winky. We took it back to my place where we set Sabina up w/a TELETUBBIES video that captivated all our attention. DAMN THAT LITTLE BABY SUN. Mike & Marie came over to watch the Guy Ritchie/Madonna stomach-turner SWEPT AWAY, and that only lasted 10-minutes, if that. So, we traded self-indulgent misery for the kinetic Baz Lurhmann spin of ROMEO & JULIET, and enjoyed that before M&M called it a night. SBX rang from Florida, and was elated. Animal Kingdom, The Epcott Center, and Magic Kingdom, all lived up to their brochure promise and much more. Looking forward to seeing each other on the morrow, we rang off and I ordered some Indian food from Baluchi's and curled up to the surreal Tom Cruise freak out, VANILLA SKY.
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