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Blue Moon Crew

Concerning the doings of Blue Moon Studios and the Fricke Family: The Blue Moon Crew

MN SpringCon 2010

Had fun at the Minnesota 2-day SpringCon this past weekend. Sold Bedbugs books, sketches, buttons, etc. Heard some wonderful stories of kids who've already grown attached to the Night of the Bedbugs book. Also saw some fun folks in costumes and caught up with tons of friends and artists. Here are a couple fave pics. See more at my Convention Photo Album at Facebook.

Super Kiddie Friends Flash, Wonder Woman and The Huntress

Scott Beaderstadt (Uncle Picklehead), Emily and our new Totoro plush


Get Along, Sweet Chinaman!

The family has been listening to '70s rock the last couple weeks, especially during games of the card game, Pounce. While playing what is essentially a face-paced version of solitaire for four, there's a tendency for people to chatter, sing, whistle and make noises. If we have background music, it helps a bit towards getting everyone in sync and on the same page. Steely Dan is one of those groups we've been listening to, and one of our favorites to sing along with is their Get Along, Sweet Chinaman, which some have apparently misnamed as Kid Charlemagne. In honor of the tune, I did this sketch:

Other than my fave tune of theirs, Reelin' in the Years, I've never loved their music, finding it a bit long, rambling and esoteric, the vocals an acquired taste. But listening lately to their best, I've found I know and like most of their tunes - they must've played the heck out of these tunes on the radio in the 70's and '80s. By chance over the weekend, I saw a commercial for a Midnight Special DVD, including a quick snippet of the band doing Reelin'. Gosh, that Walter Becker was not an attractive man - a face for radio!

Walter Becker, center top; Donald Fagen, 2nd from left

He's improved with age, though, a much better look:

Fagen & Becker, circa 2007

After disbanding in 1981, they regrouped for concerts in 1993, and released two studio albums, in 2000 and 2003, respectively. I've gotta check those out, 'cause they don't seem to have missed a beat.


Cinco de Mayo: These Are a Few of My Favorite Fives

These are a few of my favorite fives - Let's Sing a Song of Fives from Sesame Street: Johnny Bench, catcher of the Big Red Machine from the 1970s Cincinnati Reds. I wore his number on my uniform on every softball team on which I played.

Ben Folds Five:

Schoolhouse Rock - Ready or Not, Here I Come (5s): The Five Fingers of my right hand, without which I couldn't draw or play piano:

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


Do Wacka Do: Roger Miller Sketch


Me & My Daughter

Laura and I messin' around with the iMac Photo Booth:


R.I.P. Joe Sarno

Joe has gone to that Big Comic Shop in the Sky.

This picture (sent to me last night by my ol' Trollords pal, Scott Beaderstadt) sums up Joe's character so well. We'll miss you, Joe. Thanks for everything.


Alive Day

I've written plenty about it here on this blog in previous posts, but it feels important to mark the day, as it's been one year since I slid sideways on a snowmobile into a tree. T'was a life changing event, and while I was aware of that fact mere moments after impact, even while I was trying to begin to breathe again, it's become clear a year later now I didn't really know the full extent of what I was in for. I'm no spring chicken at 46, so my bones are healing a lot more slowly than docs expected and I hoped. On certain days, I still experience sharp pains along my sternum and ribs below my left chest, some days my nerves are raw, feeling nearly exposed on the surface. Now, that may be because I slept in a certain position; or 'cause it's damp or due to the barometric pressure; it may be because I exerted myself during light exercise or picked up a kid when I probably shouldn't have. And sometimes it's just 'cause. At times the physical pain triggers anxiety, or vice versa. I can be panicky whether I got a good night of sleep or not. Even though I'm getting better and am on a general upwards trajectory, there are moments I wish a could take a mulligan, have a do-over. It doesn't happen often and I don't let those thoughts linger - what's the point? But it's apparent the ramifications for me and my family will be felt for a while yet, perhaps for years or the rest of my life. Knowing that, it's a blessing to be reminded by friends and family that they're glad I'm still here. One friend on Facebook pointed out to me that those in the military who've had close calls acknowledge it with what they call Alive Day. Upon reading more about it, I've discovered it extends beyond the military, so there's no reason it can't apply to me. We'll see if it helps me in future years to be that aware, or better to just let it pass and fade. Either way, I try to remember each day my good fortune and blessings. It's good to be alive.


A Year in the Blink of an Eye

Man, Earl & Mooch are right - 2009 did fly by! This seems more and more true as we get older. When I was a kid in kindergarten, I couldn't wait to grow up, to be able to do the stuff 4th-graders and 8th-graders got to do. Time seemed to move by slow as molasses, certainly not fast enough for me. Of course, now as an adult, which each passing year, time flies by. Our daughters were just babies and now, seemingly in an instant their growing into young ladies. For us aging parents, with so much to do, so many responsibilities in a face-paced world, time is here and gone. The perception of the passage of time is so subjective depending on attitudes, situations and age. The comic strip above rings especially true to our family this past year, given my snowmobile accident in March and anxiety/panic issues from May through the present. Events and trips had to be canceled, and I spent much of the Summer in a daze, trying to be positive, let the meds work their magic, get back to sleep, feel more normal and to being more productive. And due to my health issues, the whole year passed quickly and effected the whole family. It was a blur, in so many ways. So, we're hoping 2010 progresses at a more leisurely clip, that we're able to stop and take it in and enjoy it all and each other. We hope for more balance, and wish the same for you.

One more note: when I as having the most trouble sleeping, even with sleep aids, as I laid me down to sleep my mind raced with negative and frightful thoughts. Though I was encouraged by professionals to try meditative recordings to get myself ready for sleep, I couldn't break the life-long habit of reading before bed. But it became clear quickly nearly everything I was reading would trigger some anxiety. Even Peanuts was too existential for me! For many weeks, the one thing I could read before bed was Mutts. The strip is so simple, sweet, poetic and comforting, it was just what I needed, and I made my way from book one again to the latest collection. It's one of the greatest comic strips of all time, a throwback to strips of old, and it looks like McDonnell will not flame out after a decade, but continue for years to come. If you haven't read it before, or for a while, pick up one of the books, check it out in the paper, or via the Mutts site, subscribe and get it delivered to you via email every morning.

I strongly recommend it. It's good for the heart and soul.


Happy Blue Moon New Year!

Sure, 2009 was a rough tumble of a year in many respects for many people across the globe, and certainly was for us personally, the Blue Moon Crew. But for all the challenges and difficulties, we find much for which to be grateful.

Our family is healthy (or getting healthier). We have plenty of creature comforts, even as we've tightened our belt. Our Blue Moon Daughters are growing evermore to be smart, funny, talented, confident and independent individuals. Mary and I marked our twentieth wedding anniversary (even if we weren't able to celebrate or spend it as we would have liked), and during a time of crisis and hardship have become closer than ever.

We're still drawing away, doing what we love most to do, both to sustain ourselves and our family, and ourselves creatively. And as 2010 rolls out, my Night of the Bedbugs children's book arrives on the scene! So we're excited about what the New Year will bring, stepping out of the dark, even if as with baby steps, to gaze upon and steep ourselves in what we trust will be better and brighter times.

Don't forget to look for the blue moon tonight, a special rare occurrence in this case, as a New Year's Eve blue moon will not happen again for about another twenty years.

And the illustration above was done by one of the greatest American illustrators of all time, J. C. Leyendecker. A book dedicated to his work and life has finally been compiled and released, long overdue. I highly recommend you pick up a copy, and if you click the link, you can order it through our amazon/Blue Moon Store to support this blog. (Personally, I'm perusing a copy now I picked up at the library.)

So, we wish for you, our world, all peoples, peace, safety and health, contentment and happiness in the coming year. Happy Blue Moon New Year to one and all!


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, not the cheeriest holiday tune ever written was introduced by Judy Garland in 1944 before the end of World War II, from the movie Meet Me in St. Louis. Certain lyrics were replaced with those more optimistic, as requested by Frank Sinatra in 1957. My favorite version of the song is a little more sprightly & swingin', less melancholy, though Ella retains the original lyrics: Given the troubles economic and otherwise both national and global the last year (or eight), this tune is speaking to me more than ever this Christmas. But also personally, as the last 9 1/2 months have been a test and struggle for me and my family since I had a severe accident in March. And since mid-May/early June, I've been dealing with post traumatic stress. in some ways more challenging than healing physically. So, we've learned a bit, sometimes the hard way, and are trying our best to appreciate more each other and the time we have together, as well as fiends and relatives abroad. This Christmas tune tells us not everything will always necessarily be easy, we may have to face adversity and muddle through, somehow. Another fine version, this from James Taylor: We've come through all this closer than ever as a couple and family, though we're not through it all yet. And while 2010 may not bring all happiness and cheer, there is good in us and all around us. We are blessed and have so much for which to be thankful. So, have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now.