Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy Birthday, Chris

Happy Birthday, Chris! Posted by Picasa

Portland Gallery, by Christopher Eling

Longfellow statue, Portland Maine, with presents

Portland Observatory I

Portland Observatory II

Portland Observatory III

Portland Observatory IV Posted by Picasa

Christmas Portraits


Elings and Mahoneys: L to R Christopher Michael, Daniel Patrick, Mary Linda, Cheryl Fisher, Daniel Joseph, Michael Warren, Ryan Harris, Bethany Rioux Posted by Picasa

Christmas Day in Portland

Bethany and Dad

Aunt Wenda talks with her hands as Big Poison looks on

Mom wants to learn about the whole World

Queen Mom

Cool Dan empties his cracker while Dad confers with Beth on matters cartographic

Our horrible holiday marshmallow men. (L to R Dan, Ryan, Chris, Beth, Uncle Dan, Aunt Linda)

Christmas ... with a Vengeance

Mom, filled with holiday cheer, visions of sugarplums, etc.

Chris doesn't want to wear the holiday hat. Can you guess which finger is up under the hat?

Beth doesn't fool around with Christmas

Aunt Wenda gives the hat a rakish tilt

I think he's laughing in every picture; Cool Dan

Christmas self-portrait Posted by Picasa

Christmas in Vermont

Skylight at Bixby Library in Vergennes

Bixby Library exterior, Vergennes Vermont

Mike, Mary Jane, and Ben Broughton, Dan and Chris Eling. Almost like the old days...

Laura and Gail Martin

Genevieve, Cindy, and Julianna Folino


That Old Eling Place gives me the Creeps Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Giving & Receiving

The Haul so Far; Bacon Cookbook from Jane, Camelbak from Steph, and Nathaniel's Nutmeg from Nessa. All awesome gifts.

More lights = More Christmas

Cards [clockwise from upper left: Chris Eling, Grandma & Grandpa Eling, Steph Morrison, the Boulangers, the Folinos, The Riverses (including photo in lower right), the Kruegers, the Pellegrinis, and the Dearborns (center)] Posted by Picasa

Christmas in Effect

Christmas has begun. I strung up more lights to make my place more festive, I started packing for my trip to Portland, I got this year's card from Chris, and I got my first few gifts.

This is the 10th Anniversary card from Chris, and he once again proves how clever he is. This year's cross imagery is set at a 45 degree angle, forming an X - or roman numeral for 10. As always, the artistry is of the highest quality. I also received a very cool card from Steph, featuring a picture of what I can only guess is some kind of peppermint martini, with candy-cane swizzle.

Speaking of cards, I've been getting compliments on this year's Danta Claus cards. In fact, the custom stamps seem to be garnering even stronger responses. I'll have to put more effort into both next year.

Had a really nice dinner with Steph last night. We went to Bilbo Baggins just down the street, and it was extremely good. I had chicken stuffed with andouille sausage and monterey jack cheese, while she had a salad and roast butternut squash soup. I got to try a little of the soup, and it was outstanding - there was ginger or something in it, very good. After dinner, we had some eggnog and exchanged gifts. I got an extremely cool Camelbak for biking, hiking, etc. And then, waiting when I got home, was a package from Vanessa Bittermann. Normally, I wouldn't open what is clearly a gift shipped to me before Christmas. But I had sent Nessa a gift, a copy of The Time Traveller's Wife, and she opened it and read it while she should have been working on papers for her masters. And as we all know, two wrongs make a right. I got Nathaniel's Nutmeg, which I am already looking forward to reading. Pictures of lights, gifts, and cards to follow later.

In less pleasant news, my landlord has decided to sell my house at the end of my lease. Since I cannot possibly meet the asking price, I have to move again. With just a little luck, I will be staying in the Del Ray / Old Town area. I need to be close to the custard shop, after all.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Cards

My older brother Chris is wicked clever, and for about 10 years now has been making his own Christmas cards. He makes them by hand, each individual card has a unique color fade done in colored pencil, and there is always a cross in the design, usually using the color fade as one of the axes. Most amazingly, they are all made from a single piece of paper - no cutting and taping. He cuts the shape and folds it to make what you see below. (Now with commentary from the artist)

My collection of cards from Chris

I think this was the first model; 1996

Simple, but one of my favorites: this was the year Chris picked me up at the Academy on his way home from Virginia Tech, so inside the card it says "Merry Christmas! See you in the car!" 1997

I believe this is the first of his photo cards. I can never figure out what the photo is, since it is a blurry b&w shot; trees from speeding car? 1998 ( #3 was the photopaper one (blurry photo inside is time-delay photo of sky over an abandoned Virginia quarry at midnight ).)

The other photo card; inside, printed on the paper is a photo of the Virginia Tech power plant at night, from across town. 1999 ( #4 was the card with the photo built-in - that one shows Virginia Tech at night.)
This is when I think he started experimenting more. 2000 ( #5 was the largest one, which you've tagged as "experimenting more." I actually regard that one as my least ambitious entry thus far, coming as it did the year after that VT one (which was amazingly difficult to produce. It took me three solid weeks of working it like a second full-time job to produce 40+ of those).)
Easily the most complex, this one came with instructions on how to fold the vaguely reindeer-shaped set of six squares into the cube. Note how the color fades work in three dimensions. 2001 ( #6 was the cube - after #5 I owed it to my fans to try something tough.)

Bad photo, but cool concept. The cross is now implied by the negative space defined by the triangular "wings." 2002

Chris enters an anarchistic phase, using carefully torn paper in the designs. More pastel colors. 2003

Hard to see, but this card had the cross implied by the folding elements about 2/3rds along the length. 2004

I also make my own Christmas cards, but I am not at all clever or inventive. So, below are my cards, continuing my tradition of using photos featuring "Danta Claus."

Safe card, suitable for grandparents, cousins. Wish I had made a better chart, or borrowed a projector to do a powerpoint slide.

Claus. Danta Claus. Idea better than execution.

"Dan Loves Christmas!" Another weak entry - more decoration would have helped.

I had hoped to parody the old MTV ad, with the television lighting up my face in a darkened room, but I just couldn't make it work. Oh well.

Cards for grandparents, friends of the family featured DC landmarks. Predictable, generic.

My favorite of the landmark shots

Should have gone closer to Jefferson to make this one work better, but my fingers were completely numb at this point.

This year's best card, I think. Had hoped to have one of my female friends stand in as the stripper. But how do you ask your friends "I'd like you to wear these high heels and fishnets and let me take some photos." Had to photoshop something together - not too bad. Posted by Picasa