Monday, March 19, 2007

Pink Panther's Update

Events sometime have a way of falling in place in a surrealistic way. After I posted my nostalgia entry about our band a few days ago, and within the day, I was reconnected with Pierre Kerbage our gifted keyboard player. It seems he was living in Austin Texas all this time. The kicker is that I lived in Austin for 7 years and we never connected there!!
Now for nearly 32 years, we have not seen or heard from each other whatsoever. Over the years, I had tried hard to find my closest friend in High school, our lead guitarist Ralph Shami (AKA Chami) but without luck. My latest attempt, a few years back was an email I sent to an R. Shami who bluntly told me he was not the guy and warned me not to spam him!
Today while Pierre and I were on the phone chatting for the first time in 30 some years, we Googled Ralph and for some reason Pierre tried Chami instead of Shami. We found an email address, sent a ping and.... YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We found him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Chami, a former professor at Notre Dame and now with the IMF no less. After a quick email exchange, Ralph called Pierre promptly and we had a three way conversation. It was surreal.
The day was spent in a flurry of emails and tonight I still can't believe that all this happened.
So here is the update on the Pink Panthers:
- Pierre Kerbage (Keyboard wizard) is now president and CEO of his company Managed IT Services in Austin Texas
- Ralph Chami (Lead Guitar Magician) is a Division Chief with the IMF Institute in Washington DC
- Fawzan Barrage (me Singer/Rhythm Guitarist) is a Financial Sales Executive in Toronto
- Emile Bustani (Drummer) Is still in Beirut Lebanon and a professional musician as well.
- Jamal Hamadeh (Yes Ralph remembered his name) Our Base player is still A-wall. We have an APB on him and WILL find him sooner or later.

Ralph and Pierre are still seriously into music, I dabble but nothing like these two. We plan to reunite at least for a weekend and jam for old times sake. 30 some years later it is simply unbelievable that we could find each other like this in a few days.

The day was a double surprise for my wife Rima who went to High School with us was also friends Pierre and Ralph. She walked in from the snow storm today while I was talking to Ralph and Pierre. I handed her the phone without saying a word. You should have seen her face when she realised who she was talking to.

Yes it is a small world after all.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another Altoids Watercolour Box

The good folks at the Altoids company keep throwing challenging new boxes my way and I keep taking the bate! The last was this fabulous looking sour chewing gum box. It measures 8.5cm x 3.7cm x 2cm and is about half the size of the regular Altoids box. It also sports a lovely curved top that should serve well in holding water and colour mixes. (You can see my old, well worn, regular Altoids box on the right for comparison)

The smaller size was a real challenge. At these dimensions the box would not hold more than four standard half pans. Four pans would not really make a useful palette for me, so I looked for quarter pans. I know they used to sell those but I just can't find them anymore (If you know where I can find some please let me know). I finally decided to try using the FIMO clay that you can bake to a hard solid shape.

I placed the clay in the metal box, smoothed it and used a round flat felt pen end to press 10 holes in the clay. I then smoothed those and placed the whole thing in a toaster oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. I took it out, let it cool down and placed colours in the holes.
I still need to enamel the inner cover to use as a mixing well, but I just had to share this one right away.

The box fits easily in a Jeans pocket and with a waterpen it should be enough for impromptu sketching. Not exactly what I would take with me for a plein-air trip, but for a lunch time break outdoors when spring come? It will work just right!