Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Untitled by Red1332
Untitled, a photo by Red1332 on Flickr.

**EDIT** - this is a product of the Instagram exodus and is lacking the funny comment originally included about how Target is regressing to our childhoods with the good ol' traditional "Christmas owl".

You know... that thing NOBODY HAD, but it's in so sure, let's have one in mirrored silver to put on the mantel next to the Elf on the Shelf. TRADITIONS!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Actual Convo #116 - the Strategic Use of Popcorn

me:  Are you getting good works done?
Bob Yeah, some decent code changes.  One bug I haven't figured out yet, but going well.  I have a status meeting at 2, and at 3:30 the big boss is in town and wants to talk to everyone being extended.  We're not sure if it's just a ra-ra meeting, or actual information we care about.
 me:  Oh.
Do you get popcorn at Ra-ra meetings?
Bob No, sadly.   Just an "inspirational" speech
 me:  Oh. That blows
inspiration goes better with popcorn
Cuz then he can shout over the popcorn crunching and energize the room
Bob:  It does.

I Dun Maid a Komik

I have always wanted to, and my first attempt bottomed out terribly so we're doing something I know a lot about... being ridiculous.

I'm calling it This Actually Happened, and if you wouldn't mind stopping by to read it (give it a week or 2, this one was really more of a Letter of Intent) I would be humbly grateful.

The current one is Truth in Advertising.

Thanks for looking if you do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Check out This Thing I Found - Art Edition #3

I just dig rainbows, is all...

From 2004, a temporary art installation by Chris Cobb. I'm sad this only came to my attention now, but how wonderful is the idea?
(I did this once when I was a kid, but then I couldn't find anything so it had to go back to alphabetical.)

For photos, here's an awesome Tumblr post that captures the whole thing.

The Holidays According to Helen (aka YARNUKAH IS HERE!)

My year looks a lot different than others when it comes to time off for holidays. Let me run down the calendar real quick so folks will understand.

January - New Year's Eve and Day
March (or April depending on rotation) - PAX East in Boston
May in general - Maryland Sheep and Wool, Fairy Festival, Celtic Fling
July 4th - things blow up and we barbecue
August - all the beachy things in NJ
September - a week of Anniversary shenanigans surrounding Int'l Talk like a Pirate Day, because that's when I accidentally got married
October - an entire month celebration of Halloween!!! Also, the Fiber Festival at Rhinebeck, NY
November - Spousal birthday and NaNoWriMo. Thanksgiving and family angst about get togethers.
December - continuation of family angst due to Xmas and shopping for All The Things, plus lead up to New Year's. Usual a one week period freaking out because I can't find the right shoes for dinner on New Year's.

And on top of this I have decided to create a new holiday to throw in to the mix because reasons: YARNUKAH!

What is Yarnukah?? I hear utterly no one asking. Well, you get an explanation anyway.
I decided that us knitterly/crocheterly folk have such things as the Ravelympics in the summer, but there should be something in the winter to celebrate as well! It should demonstrate the overall feeling of the season in terms of giving and building a feeling of joy and goodwill towards mankind. In addition, we should further the niftiness of knitting and the fiber arts in general as well as interest in them. It seems lofty, but I think we can do it.
What I envision is 8 days of sneaky fibering where people create beautiful yarnbombs out in the community, do quick knit-ups of ornaments to hang from trees and leave for people to find, create hats or scarves or gloves to give to the homeless or to charity, or even just to leave behind somewhere cold in case someone comes along who doesn't have something. I'm also going to try to crochet very tiny amigurumi animals to give away to kids that I see. Just knit like mad with the intent of giving it away randomly to someone and possibly making their day.
You can do something on only some or all of the days if you like, just as long as you are doing something for the community to show your awesome fiber skills to help out human- and critter-kind. The final day should culminate in a slightly bigger offering (or if you're only able to do one thing, do it on that day) and then allowing yourself to get that yarn or contraption you've been lusting for, because it will help the economy!! But also because you have done something wonderful potentially in secret and good deeds should be rewarded.
The days were chosen at random this year as December 12th to the 20th and hopefully a little more thought gets put in to the placement of it next year. I'm thinking next time earlier in December to give people a little more time to participate.

Do you think we can do this? I would love to see more people talking about this on Ravelry and deciding to truly make a thing of it. I think we need to do for one another these days, as we are growing more insular and less likely to reach out to strangers for fear of danger. I think we're becoming more lonely as a species even as we're connected to people across the planet. Sometimes one act of kindness, a moment of being thoughtful because it ~might~ help somebody else out or cheer them up can be an act that saves lives or changes them immeasurably. I'm hoping to cultivate that in the world however I can.

Happy Holidays to everyone, whatever your sparkle!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Here we go again.

I heavily debated NOT continuing with my ARG since so few people seemed to be joining in on it. Then I realized, if I did it just for me, made the scary just for me... I would enjoy the HELL out of it, and maybe somebody would stumble across it at some point and enjoy it.
And then I logged on to the blog and saw that someone from another ARG was trying to play along and talk. And that bolstered me a LOT.
Frankly I'm enjoying the story I'm building and being creative on the fly. Really need to do some more audio-visual stuff for people but that will come. Photos, I think.

Somewhere I think I missed my calling as a story-teller. I've always loved to write and draw. I need to put the two together and just keep going with this stuff.

Also, I love adjusting photographs and messing with things for this. So if for no other reason than that, and learning proper video editing and effects, I'm going to keep going.

And I think I'm going to ramp up the weird here shortly. ^_^

Thursday, November 1, 2012


So my friends/coworkers were taunting me that I hadn't been updating lately. Two things.

1.) This is true.

That last one is on the lips of everyone on the internet, ya rly I know. But it's the truth.
September, October and November are my Busy Months of the year. Always have been. I don't know why.
Let me sum up what's been going on. Spent 56 hours at our company's system office making sure I could be on staff if a major emergency happened. By the end of it I was so loopy I was "shouting" all of my texts at people and laughing hysterically. Had to take one of the narcolespy pills my doctor gave me, but I got home safely.
I was in so much psychological and psychic (they are diff, look it up) pain that I couldn't appreciate the crash in to my own bed on the first night.
Two showers, a plate of dippy eggs and a night of snuggling with the spouse later and my brain had returned to half power. I had just enough to dress up, throw the decorations back up outside, and hand out candy. I love Halloween and nothing short of that dang hurricane was going to keep me from it!!
I really felt like our first Halloween in the house was a success... and now I know that next year I need to light up the graveyard out front and add more tombstones to the front. I also want to line the walkway with hack-o-lanters to help people find their way and get more bug-eyed things that blink for the bushes.
Seriously, I have two totes of decorations for Halloween. I only have one for Xmas. Does that tell you how much I love this holiday??
There were 2 containers of glow bracelets purchased for a total of 140, but only 120 were made. Of those, 119 were given out. Because I'm that good.
After all of the children came for their loot (and some were nice enough to go crazy over my costume, recognizing me as Fionna from Adventure Time) We went downstairs in to the appropriately dimmed basement and began to play Assassin's Creed III on the new setup. The surround sound is AMAZING, and the water affects are gooooorgeous. I can't wait to play Arkham Asylum again on this thing.
A few others things done in the past little bit - knit a cabled design of my own design while stuck at work. Looks like this:

And it is already 3 times the length of that, about half the way around my throat. I came to the startling but not altogether unpleasant conclusion that I'm going to have leftover angora when this project is done. Oh DAMN.
I'm currently trying to find the perfect wooden or vintage buttons to close the thing with, and I'm trying to figure out how to add ruffles along the edges, a slightly longer one for the side nearest the collarbones, a smaller one near my chin.
Did I mention it's soft? OMG it's soft.
Another project I blasted through like a boss - my alpaca boyfriend sweater! YAY! Behold!
I am seriously proud of this thing, as it's the first full sweater I've ever made for myself, it is AMAZINGLY warm, and even with toying with the pattern it came out pretty damn well.
I was hoping to wear it to Rhinebeck this year, but alas the sheer amount of yarn defeated me. That being said, seriously, I still have about 800 yards left of this stuff and no idea what to do with it. I started to make Bob an awesome cabled scarf out of it in the hopes it would keep him warm, but it might take a while. The stitches are smaller and more fiddly on that thing.
I also managed to sew and wear a skirt for Rhinebeck! (matching skirt with my buddy Heather, aka @digitalnabi) Go me! Somehow I don't have a photo easily accessible for that, but it is an utterly adorable grey plaid skirt with lots of crazy colored stripes. I love it.
I fully intend to sew myself a pair of corduroy pants and an apron next.
Also on tap, finishing up my Tunisian crochet skirt, my Tantra crossover top, and sewing up the edges of the curtains we just bought because they trail on the floor. Too much potential to get dirty!
I'm more than thrilled to be home right now. I feel the recurrent need to just Clean Shit Up around here, which is much better than the urge I had to Just Sit On My Ass and led to the needing to clean all the things in the first place. My house is coming together fairly awesomely, I'm getting problems solved, and all those things i used to put on hold indefinitely are getting handled.
Next thing to tackel - Thanksgiving.
I should really do a post about Rhinebeck, since it was such an amazing time. I'll just be pretending I'm a part of NaBloPoMo or something. Honestly it was the most fun I've had with friends in ages and it deserves its own written hoorah.
Speaking of NaAllTheThingsMo...

I swore to win it 5 times, and I shall do this thing. I've got a feeling! This is the year! I'MA DO THIS THING!!
Now to just figure out how to write while trying to do everything else.
For instance, I slept through all of my free time this morning. On the first day. So that bodes well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Actual Convo #116 - Appreciating what spouses bring to the table

*The spouse and I are cuddling and watching Survivorman after i've gotten off 2nd shift*

Les Stroud on TV: whoa, i just heard something big snap.
*Les leaps up and runs off a second later*
Bob: He seems concerned.
Bob: *stares*
Me: *giggling madly*
Bob: See?! This is why I need you here! Because you think of these things!
Me: I was trying to think of something large that a grown man would be afraid of.
Bob: That's what I mean. I could sit in this house all day and not think of yeti rape.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Check Out This Thing I Found -2nd Artwork Edition

I'm probably really slow to the party with this, but courtesy of Tumblr I discovered this website called Colossal that deals in visual art.
Of course, being an artist, I was all up in that. It has some amazing shit.
But I was not prepared for this...
The Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, California.

And a quick picture of the awesomeness for your edification.

I am happy that this is a thing, even if it came to be out of horrible circumstances. It's proof that accidents can create beautiful things just as much as intention can.

Another story on the site talked about an artist that created works by cutting them out of leaves. It is phenomenal, in the utmost accurate sense of the word. Please behold....

There are so many more amazing works to be seen, just clicky here for the article!

People are awesome. I love when they do stuff like this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Little Things...

Yesterday my beloved and I were eating dinner and chatting when one of the neighbor's children sent a ball flying in to the yard. It was followed a moment later by a girl I'd never seen before, probably around 9 or 10, racing in to our yard after it. If I had to guess, she was the older sister of the overzealous ball-heaver.
As she got almost up to our porch she grabbed the ball, then stopped, cocked her head and stared at the back wall of our house. It was then that I realized she was seeing my graffiti wall for the first time, which was still graced with "EMBRACE" and 2 shiny hearts.. She looked at it for a second, grinned huge, then ran back to her yard with the ball.
And that made my day, because that is all I ever wanted to do with my art.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Facebook Sangria Recipe

This is an amalgam of something like 6 different recipes I read online along with using what we had on hand.
(and it's called Facebook because I posted it to Facebook for friends before coming here. Seemed catchy. Go with it.)

~one bottle red wine (we used Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet)
~2.25 cups Orangina
~3 (or possible more. *whistles*) shots of triple sec
~1 orange, sectioned
~2 limes, sectioned
~1.5 lemons, sectioned
~2.5 tablespoons of turbinado sugar, because that's all we had.

~Pour entire bottle of red wine in to pitcher. Follow up with Orangina and Triple Sec. Stir.
~squeeze sectioned orange in to pitcher, being wary of seeds. Drop rind and pulp in to mix.
~Squeeze sectioned limes in to pitcher, same deal. Drop rind and pulp in to mix.
~Squeeze lemons.... you get the idea.
~Add the sugar and give it a thorough stir with a wooden spoon so as not to cause havoc with the acidity and a metal spoon.
~Let the entire thing sit in the fridge overnight.
(A few recommendations for what to do during this time - microwave and consume bacon. Read part of House of Leaves. Watch bad 2 am porn on Cinemax. Harass a pet. Fold laundry.)
((Just kidding, don't fold laundry.))
(Go to sleep.)
~Stir again in the morning thoroughly to mix everything up and distribute the now dissolved sugar. Then, if you're proper, let it hang out until the afternoon and give it a final stir before serving over ice. If you're normal, just throw that shit over ice and start drinking.

Hope you guys enjoy it! I'm loving it! I'll have to make it again.

And of course, if that's too sour or too sweet, adjust to your liking.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Check Out This Thing I Found - Artwork Edition

Too lazy to figure out much beyond that I am sharing this with you. It is awesome. Please enjoy, internets.

2012 Yeosu EXPO HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP - Hyper-Matrix from yangsookyun on Vimeo.

It is amazing what people can do with stuff and things, amirite??

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mono no Aware

I discovered that something that I've been feeling for hte majority of my life actually has a NAME. Like how the French have a name for everything (my favorite being l'esprit d'escalier.) except this is Japanese.
Mono no Aware.
Mono no aware (物の哀れ?), literally "the pathos of things", and also translated as "an empathy toward things", or "a sensitivity to ephemera", is a Japanese term used to describe the awareness of impermanence (無常 mujō?), or transience of things, and a gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing.

Wikipedia has a whole entry on this stuff. I stumbled across it by accident trying to be a smart ass on Facebook about Japanese poetry forms (because I'm a haughty literate dipshit that knows there actually are multiple Japanese poetry forms.)
I think it's beautiful that this is an actual "thing", and that it happens enough that it has been given a title to describe the state. I am in this at least once a day, this small sadness for the passing of things.

In other news, I rescued a baby goldfinch from the sidewalk and took him to wildlife rehab. I got to watch him eat, and he sang to the lady who was feeding him like he sang to me. I'm so happy that he'll be okay.... I didn't mean to, but in my head I named him Oscar.

 He's slightly non-photogenic in that picture, but he was so sweet and so tiny... I can't describe how small. He fell asleep in my hand and I could feel his little heart beat furiously and warmly.
And now he gets to be an adult goldfinch and the world is good for a little bit longer.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Actual Convo #115 - the inevitability of Busey-crazy.

Me: *talking to the dog* When I am a full time artist, I am going to find an excuse to be at Horrorfind Weekend. I will sell paintings of horrible things and people will come up to me and tell me that I captured their inner essence. It will be ridiculous.
*dog stares intently*
Me: And then I'll get in a staring contest with Gary Busey.
Dog: *growls long and low*
Me: That is the appropriate reaction.
Bob: You do not want to get in a staring contest with Gary Busey.
Me: True. I'll do it with Jake Busey, then.
Bob: It's only a matter of time before he turns, too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Check Out This Music I Found #7 - Black Light Dinner Party

It's like techno, but then there's a piano. And somewhere in there is stringed instruments. And in the end you end up with something that you can't just shove behind smalltalk at a party or use to clean the house. You have to actually sit down and listen to this stuff, or you have to be in a club taking in a show, or it is something you are sharing with your friends where the point of it being on is for it to be heard.
It is nearly impossible to play this song and not be focused on it. It does not do well as background music. This is why I love it.

I found 4 of their tracks for free over at SoundCloud. That made me sad, because I couldn't find a way to give them money for these noises. I'll find a way.

Watch this.

Something to Believe In, or, We Heart Nikola Fucking Tesla

There are times when the Unholy Ghost comes to sit on my chest and I can see it hovering in the doorway like that cousin you were told to include at the family gatherings... and I laugh at it and tell it to go away because I have discovered something being done by mankind that is SO awesome, I can't help but be in awe and in love with the entire human race and the Unholy Ghost can gain no footing on me that day.
This is it.
Nikola Fucking Tesla might've been batshit crazy, but he was amazing. Amazing deserves a museum. The fact that The Oatmeal put together a crowdsourced fundraiser to get this to happen was amazing enough. Behold, the effort to support Wardenclyffe at left!

But then something happened that was even more amazing. The internet responded with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for flashmobs and free beer. By the time I got to a computer where I could make a donation ($100, because I believe in this and I want to see this shit happen) it was at $122,000 dollars. That was perhaps 8 hours after the initial announcement went up.
When I went back last night it was at $230,000 and jumped by $4,000 in the course of 20 minutes while I was vacillating between watching that update and wasting my time seeing faked ghost videos on YouTube. It was exciting to say the least.
At the time of this blogging, 9:30am on the 16th, it's at $323,000. In the space of time since I began typing this, it jumped by $1,500 dollars! That is ASTOUNDING to me.
In fact, I just refreshed and we're staring at the front side of $325,000 now. In the course of 10 minutes.
A friend of mine pointed out smartly that it hasn't even hit the major news outlets yet, this is all just based on word of mouth and those who subscribe to Oatmeal's fansites. When it hits CNN, it's going to EXPLODE.
Internet, you are fierce and scary and passionate, and when you love something you love it HARD. I am in awe of you and the amazing things you can do for others when you know about it and care.

(I don't think we're getting more apathetic as a society. I think there is so much going on we can't know about everything. If we did, we would care, and we would right all the wrongs.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Actual Convo #114 - The Truth Will Out, or, The Lightbulb Goes On

Helen: Oh crap... I have vinyl. And a polaroid. And I write in a Moleskin.
Helen: Oh crap.
Helen : OH CRAP
Joseph: lol'
Helen: But I don't dress like a hipster.
Joe: I've been trying to tell you for a long time
Helen: Can you be one without the ironic mustache?
Joe: yup
Helen: And the skinny jeans?
Helen: And the billion tattoos and piercings?
Joe: and you don't have to wear scarves in the summer
Joe: some hipsters look normal
Joeh: it's like all sad kids don't look sad
Helen: Okay. I guess that makes sense.
Joe: it's a lifestyle choice
Joe: not a fashion trend
Helen: It's still irritating. This just happened, I didn't decide it all at once. : /
Joe: see lifestyle choice

(Sometimes the truth hurts but this... this felt right. This felt good.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Delivery (Admittedly) Needs Work

-or, this could be an actual convo but I'll tag it later...

Me: *walking in to office while staring at news feed on iPad* Baby?
Bob: Yeah?
Me: David Rakoff?
Bob: From This American...
Me: So we saw him at the live show they did earlier this year?
Bob: Yeah. He was fighting cancer.
Me: well..... He's not anymore...
Bob: *turns in his chair to look at me, somewhat incredulous*
Bob: He's dead?
Me:...... Y....... Y... *giving up and nodding*
Bob: Is that really how you decided to tell me about that?
Me: it was on Facebook posted by This American Life and I wasn't sure, and...... Huh.
Bob: *stares* Really??

RIP David Rakoff. We enjoyed your stories. You enjoy your break.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blah. (I has an eloquence)

We are hip-deep in to August and I have done very little in the way of blogging. I am sorry, or else you are welcome, depending on the camp you're in.
Right now so much of my time and energy went in to creating the first half-dozen videos for my web series.
I suppose I should link it, were I responsible enough to consider getting it a viewership.
But it's Jessiebellespeaks on Youtube, and I'm hoping to make it a random little horror series that touches on a few weird things. Ohhhh the plans I have. *rubs hands together gleefully*
In other news, I find myself being unusually tired and cranky again. I try to get enough sleep and enough to eat and I find my mood is all over the place in spite of trying to take care of things properly. But the strange little visual hallucination bits are popping back in to my life, to the point that I am again becoming concerned. The lack of mental prowess is also asserting itself. I'm wondering if it's a cycle thing, a hormonal thing, or just a plain exhaustion thing. Maybe it's an I'm Fucking Sick of My Job Thing, because I suddenly realized I've spent 10 years answering phones and I don't want to anymore.
Speaking of which, I have checked Craigslist for artsy type jobs. Looks like photographers and graphic designers are in demand. Girls who can sketch stuff out pretty good? Not so much. I have no idea how to proceed, I just know I want ot od something that will get me off the phones and working with markers and pencils and a tablet stylus in my hand.

That's about it for now. If I don't go too crazy, I'll fill you in later about my hawt date Friday at the Orangery, and a trip to Longwood Gardens to see the light installations they have there. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Review on Amazon

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help us, you are our only hope. You are the resistance, May 7, 2012
This review is from: 12-Gauge High Performance Alerter Plus Aerial Signal Kit Alerter Kit 12 Ga Hp Mirror/Whistle (Misc.)
YEAR: 2127

The rise came after the french civil war of 2116. If you are reading this, you are the resistance. They came from the sky. Thousands of them. Slaying humanity for our resources, using us as food. We were over run in days. Supplies were scarce. Entire countries collapsed in hours. Those who survived fight with the resistance. 12-Gauge High Performance Alerter Plus Aerial Signal Kit Alerter Kit 12 Ga Hp Mirror/Whistle guides us in the night. It's safer in the dark for the creatures eyesight faults in the shadow. But there is still time. In the year 2057, humanity will come in contact with an alien race know as the Yijirtyl. Please, do not trust them. They're soldiers will drop down from the sky and consume our planet. Please, if you are reading this, there is still hope, there is still time. Humanity can live for ever. Beware of these Yirjirtyls, for they will destroy our world and our lives. Our technology Only permits us one message every three years, if you do not hear from the resistance by 2014 your time, all is lost. This is Captain R.J. Tuscaloosa of 101 Company.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Thank you for your feedback.

Not nearly so good as the 3 Wolf Moon Shirt (and grammar is questionable), but it still ranks. I love people.

Actual conversation # 113 - Ice Cream and Hate Do Not Mix

Girl at Baskin Robbins to coworker, while holding my ice cream: "Hey! Shut your Mouth!"
Me(to Bob): Hey, that girl just got hate all over my ice cream!
Bob: *handing his ice cream off to me so he can pay* AT least mine's okay.
Me: *holding his ice cream up to my mouth and whispering* Obama doesn't have an American birth certificate.
Bob: Hey!!
Me: Marriage is between a man and a woman...
Bob: Oh, now you're getting ignorance on it, too??
*ice cream on my cone then falls off, hits one boob, bounces and arcs high enough to bounce off the other boob, then lands on my wrist and stays there, somehow stuck to my rubber bracelets*
Bob: @_@
Me: @_@
Me:....this is the best trip to get ice cream EVER.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Check Out this Music I Found #6 - Walk the Moon

Just listen. I like, too sick to be prosaic beyond that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Actual Conversation #112 - double meanings take effect

Dog runs up to happily drop a dog toy in my lap, while wagging furiously.
Me: "Awww, nothing says love like cold plastic thrust between your legs!"
Husband: *quarter rotation in office chair to look at me and raise eyebrow.*
Me: ........
Zen: *tail wags harder, now chewing on toy*
Me: Accidentally awesome 3 different ways, that was....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Check out This Music I Found #5 - Gotye

I lied. I have one for you.

But only because it's going through my head non-stop thanks to a friend who sent me the youtube video.

The guy is Australian, all of his videos are similarly artistic and strange (Bronte actually made me cry at work) and he's got a soft, non-threatening voice that pre-teen girls love. Pair that with a willingness to use what sounds like a marimba and a xylophone in the music, and it's a seriously unique sound.

It's also very popular right now, which irks my pseudo-hipster sensibilities, but it's not technically pop music. I guess I can still artistically sneer at the mainstream while still listening to this.

Behold - the video that describes my first real relationship in stark detail.... like it does everybody else's one really negative relationship. Otherwise this song wouldn't be so damn popular.
I probably wouldn't love this song so much if I'd just heard it first. I think the faces he makes sell the song just as much as the lyrics.

I must admit I do like the initial pan up. Something about seeing a man's hips...... yeah.

Creating Things for Fun and (Non)Profit

Sometimes you just have to go for things.

I bought some flip-style handheld cameras. I am very in love with all of the slenderman video series out on the internetz (but specifically YouTube) and kept thinking "I should do one of my own". But I was a bit freaked out because I have no experience editing or shooting video. I also didn't have an idea of what to do on my own that was a different take on the whole mythos.
It popped in to my head last night, and I've been seriously excited about the idea ever since.
This is on top of my whole yarnbomb/uncommissioned art thing, sewing myself new clothes, creating a video game, keeping up with the blog, AND taping myself playing guitar. ALL of this shit is going to go down, I will make it so. Hell, I'm already making it so.
I love having multiple projects going at once, and they can all mesh together in my head, which is even better. Multi-tasking hobbies and projects are the BEST.

Trust me, I'll be posting video clips here when they are ready to go. I guess I should get another blog. I should also probably never allude to that blog again over here. Heh.

I'm excited, so is Bob. Gonna work on writing up an outline for this and the general idea for things to keep a flow going and know where to keep my focus. Will it get many views? Probably not. But it'll probably be damned fun to attempt and it's always useful to know how to do video editing.

In other news, my yarnbomb projects are going along swimmingly. I feel like I'm really accomplishing things even though they're all small. The more I clear out the creative backlog, the better I'm finding my memory getting. Some of my absolute oldest projects are almost finished, and I find now that I've cleared up the mental space, a lot more creative ideas have popped in.

I should post a band or something but right now I can't think of a band that stands out. Maybe later today when I'm less distracted by making breakfast and trying to create a web series.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Check Out this Music I Found #4 - Monoral

It took me forever to decide who to put in here next. So I'm just going with the first thing that popped in to my head. Or the second, really, because the first thing I think is just there because of aliteration (Lykke Li, for those who are curious).

I love these guys. It's just 2 guys from Japan doing their thing and making really cool music. If you're a fan of anime at all and you were in to the series Ergo Proxy, you heard their song "Kiri" being played for the opening credits.

I can't keep all of the fun facts about them straight, but one is half Moroccan and half Japanese, the other is half Japanese and half British. One of them speaks 4 languages, the other speaks 2. They both play musical instruments, and they sing in un-accented English. There's other stuff, but Wikipedia would give you far more information than I can.

I would love to see these guys live but apparently they haven't toured since 2009, and I discovered them in 2010. Sadness. :(

Two videos for you today because I'm awesome, and because I really like their stuff.

They have a far wider sound to their songs than can be encompassed here. Youtube has a LOT of their songs for putting in your ear holes. I would recommend a jaunt over there for a bigger fix if you're liking what you hear.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


This sort of goes along with overcoming fears and learning to sew all at the same time, because I am a multitasking FIEND that way. :D
I have always been made VERY nervous by wearing dresses. Something about having my legs exposed and being easily accessible to the wind and sun made me want to curl up in a little ball and hide.
Actually, I’ll be honest, I was afraid I was “advertising” if I wore skirts or dresses and that I would get in trouble with some guy who got the wrong message. Honestly. All this time. And I let it keep me from being cool in the summers or looking nice at work. It was a huge fear, obviously. So huge I wasn’t comfortable with wearing dresses for 15 years.
No more. 12 days ago I decided I was going to wear skirts and dresses and ONLY skirts and dresses, for at least a week. This didn’t include when exercising because…. well, it just seemed silly. So I started when I knew I’d have weeked workdays, allowing me to throw my casual skirts in to the mix. Then I wore my work skirts. Then I wore sundresses when I got hom and wanted to be comfortable.
And then on day 8 it was blazing hot outside and I couldn’t fathom wearing some of the wool or polyester business pats I’ve got rocking in my closet. So I grabbed another skirt. Then a dress. Then another dress. Then when I was running short of things, I discovered I fit in to a dress I’d been saving for when I lost weight, which was amazing.
Then last night I sewed my own skirt, which I’ll be wearing to work today.
The only comment I’ve gotten was from a friend at work who told me I looked really nice one day.
In hindsight it seems ridiculous, but as someone who has gotten a lot of the wrong kind of attention from members of the opposite sex it was something really scary. I’m glad that’s gone now and I can bounce around in something airy and cottony and feel the breeze on my white little Irish legs.

MIschief Managed!

I’d always thought it was utterly ridiculous to know how to knit and yet have no idea at all how to sew. So I whipped out the Hello Kitty sewing machine (ya seriously) and taught myself how to with a really easy skirt pattern.
Simplicity 2606, which I mention by name because I want to offer a caveat: the instructions are horrible on it, and the way they do the casing is just retardz-balls. It will get you with a skirt in the end, but it’ll be barely fitted.
Anyway, I’ve now been bitten by the sewing bug. Up next is an apron and what has become known as the “lobster dress”, as all of the fabric has lobster prints on it. I was actually begged to sew this by my spouse, so I can’t say no!
I love this skirt despite the pattern. When I get more knowledgeable I’ll be able to tweak it so it looks and fits better. But for now, I’m wearing this thing to work!

Gee Thanks, Sandman....

Had a dream last night where I was talking with people, smiling and laughing and having a good time. Then I turned to talk with someone else, and halfway through the conversation they broke in and said "How can you stand being so selfish all the time?"
The question stunned me so much I remember stumbling, then I actually ran away from this person who had asked the question.
Then it woke me up, because I was so upset.
I work really hard to try and be mindful of others and to help out people whenever possible. I actually went on a year-long crusade last year to do one good thing a week to help improve the world to see if it was even possible. (Spoiler: It is. Even if you're on unemployment)
I guess somewhere back in my subconscious recesses, part of me still thinks I'm too self centered. I don't even know how to go about fixing that now, because I thought I'd done a damned good job of working on it.
Maybe it won't bother me in a few hours. Meh, Thursday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Check Out This Neat Place I Found #2 - Amada Restaurant

I may be a foodie. Maybe.
When the chance comes up for me to have access to a new section of the world wherein new restaurants might lie, I do get extremely excited about it. The chance to try something I've never had before is too exciting to be passed up.
Case in point - on my day off this past weekend I managed to talk my poor, beleaguered spouse in to going in to the glorious metropolis of Philadelphia to hit up a movie theater there that only plays indie/art house films. I absolutely utterly and unequivocally had to see Safety Not Guaranteed, as it takes place in my old stomping grounds of Seattle and the surrounding environs. I needed my Pacific NW fix to cure myself of the wicked and recurring bout of homesickness I've had since April.
The upside to this was that the theater was 2 blocks away from Chestnut Street, which is basically Restaurant Row in the Old City. It was pretty much establishment after establishment of whatever you might possibly like (mostly Italian stuff and pub stuff, but hey, done Philly-style) and a lot of really nice places had gone in there.
I did an internet search beforehand and decided on one of two places to try once we were finally out of the movie and out in to the bright 95 degree sun.
That place was Amada Restaurant.

I have no idea who these people are, they just made a good shot.

It had tapas and drinks and vaguely trendy music faintly playing and a rather austere interior like you expect in an urban environment. Dark wood with dark rush-reed placemats and chocolate brown pleather seats to sit on. All white dishes in unique and fun shapes like you see at every other upscale restaurant these days.
We ordered two beers (yours truly desperately wanted to try the Sangria but was in 2 inch platforms. That plus the heat outside didn't bode well for the whole Not Taking a Header Into the Sidewalk. Alas.) and after viewing the Sunday brunch menu with confusion, decided on the Chef's tasting on the menu. It was just a sample of a little bit of everything they made.
Now, in the past we'd done tapas but it was in a local place that brought out a plate of sliced cheddar cheese, apples and grapes. I was unimpressed and guessed they were doing their best in an area that probably wouldn't pay premium prices for the good stuff but still wanted to have the chance to say "We're going out for tapas and wine! Wheee!" Because this area is rife with yuppies.
When the first plate came out and it was borcego cheese, sliced apples and little slices of baguette, I immediately realized the degree to which our FIRST trip to a tapas place might not have been so far off in offering us fruits. But after acquiring the cheese (which I'm pretty sure I spelled wrong) and the apples and dipping them in the truffled honey.... oh my god. It didn't even compare.
Let me repeat that phrase, btw, because it is now my favorite food in the world .Truffled honey. Like it's honey, and they imparted it heavily with the essence of truffles. It was AMAZING. And it kept getting better from there!
We were presented with a second plate that was a mixture of marinated olives and hot peppers, followed by their famous ensalata verde... light, amazing, and made of chopped greens that you might not expect. I saw escarole, nasturtium leaf sprouts, haricot verts and a few other things you might expect to see in a fancy salad plate. They had dressed it with a very light vinegar and oil so it was tart, but it complimented the food. Topped with some thinly shaved provolone and herbs, and it was amazing. I probably could've taken that whole plate out on my own and asked for seconds.
That was followed by so much stuff it blurs in my head. Biscuits with chorizo sausage and a light cheese sauce, a Spanish tortilla with eggs and potatoes and topped with saffron aioli (very salty, best used sparingly but amazingly flavored nonetheless), a small fried bit of Spanish ham and some sort of cheese almost like a ham-tot -pardon my lack of verbage to describe this stuff- nested on a bed of jalapeno and red bell pepper spread piped directly on to the plate. The flavors together were amazing. Then following that was lamb meatballs and peas in a sauce, thinly sliced steak with different sauces, and grilled garlic shrimp prepared with the heads still on. A Fava bean soup rounded out the entire thing. Each one tasted drastically different than the one before it, and I can honestly say I've never had anything that tasted anything like this. It was my first truly unique food experience in a long time. I was grinning like an idiot for it.
Although each thing brought out was very small, by the time they brought the shrimp out we were quite full. Dessert wasn't even entertained as an option.
If you find yourself in downtown Philly with a yen for something unique and unusual and $40 burning a hole in your pocket, I would recommend doing the Chef's taste menu at Amada. It was expensive, but probably the first time I have truly felt the money was worth it for the food in a long, long time. If you go, as always, share your own experiences here! And enjoy!

Biscuits with chorizo sausage and cheese sauce. Delicious!

Check Out This Music I Found #3 - Ukelele Songs by Eddie Vedder

Yours truly plows through a LOT of music, to the point that sometimes I know once I've found something awesome and new that I love, I cry because I will never be able to devote a solid afternoon's attention listening to it to commit the lyrics to memory. I have 2 apps and 4 different internet stations pouring the awesome in to my ear holes, to the point I could probably do 2-3 of these a day and not run out of fodder for a good month.

To that end, I try to post those things that affect me in some fashion. There's fun background music to have going, and then there's the stuff that gets your pulse going or tears your heart out of your chest, throws it to the floor and stomps it flat. And you love it for having that affect because it's cathartic or exciting. For a second you're young again, or you remember something buried in your brain. Music is amazing for making us realize what's within us no matter where or when we encounter it.

I have been listening to Vedder ever since he came screaming across my teenage radio with "Once" waaaay back in that ancient time of the 90's when grunge was being regarded with confusion and suspicion on the music scene. It is safe to say that Pearl Jam is one of my all time favorite bands. So when I came across this batch of songs done solo by Mr. Vedder on -of all things- the lowly ukelele, I dove in to them so hard I got a red mark on my cheeks. And I'm glad I did. It's amazing, emotional, and the ukelele is the perfect accompaniment to what he sings about. His voice is almost timorous in these songs, like he's letting a secret out. Or perhaps it's so personal it's scary to speak the words. It just works, and an electric guitar or even an acoustic guitar would've stomped the nuance of that flat. One must also give props to him for using what is normally a joke prop for a serious music endeavor and still render unto the world a batch of songs that are still strong. A few of these could quite conceivably still be blasted on a radio on the strength of the vocals alone. That's why I heart this stuff so. damn. much.

My favorite song from the album, Broken Heart. The sound is a little low, apologies, but it is worth it to turn it up.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tagg'd It

And one more quick sidenote.... I finally did it. After all of the reading and thinking about it, I done tagg'd something.

...and boy do I need more practice.

Fun with Making Things Do Other Things

Having finally given this away as a gift, I can post about the creative process behind it! The friend this was meant for stops by the blog on occasion and I didn't want to ruin the surprise, so it's been kept on the downlow. I feel delightfully sneak. ^_^

I enjoy Making Stuff. I enjoy it to such a degree that sometimes I will be walking along through some place as mundane as, say, Target and suddenly I see something.....


Because when I see something that is obviously a wallet or a change purse, I don't think gosh, that would make a nifty wallet or a change purse, perhaps I should use it for that function. Oh no. No. Yours truly decides it needs to be Something Else Entirely.

So I snagged it, (snagged 2, actually) and dragged it home to see what I could make from it.

First things first, investigated the insides of it. Standard zippered pouch with an inside zippered pocket. Several tiered pockets on the other side for what normal people might use as slots for credit cards, library cards -if they still go to that- or ID, that sort of thing.
This is basically a fun night out on the town thing to carry in your tiny little bag, or just by itself..

My initial thought on seeing these things was that they would make a really neat miniature sketch kit, something you could carry around with you if you had minimal space for such things like a purse or carry-on bag.
I decided there were a few utterly necessary things to go in there for such a thing, and gathered them together.
You needed the paper for drawing, obviously, a kneaded eraser of some sort(just in case you want to do reductive sketching, not necessarily because mistakes are anticipated!) perfect for being flat AND malleable, good old fashioned graphite for drawing, and then something else to liven it up a bit so it wasn't just a boring one trick pony. I couldn't locate a cheap small package of colored pencils, so I went with the old standby of conte crayons and charcoals. Anybody who's done a handful of art classes has probably come across these things and used them for the sketchenings.

So the next step was simple. Construction.

First we added the kneaded eraser in. Because of the potential for it to moosh everywhere, it got the place of honor in the zippered pocket.

Next were some ACEO-sized sketch paper, slipped in to those handy card-slots on the side. If I'd had the time or imagination, I would've put a few different kinds in there, one for each slot. As it is, this was a good all-purpose sketch paper. If you can't locate that, and the pouch is big enough for it, one of the miniature unlined moleskines might do well. I did contemplate that for a while before going with the ACEOs. Moleskine paper isn't the greatest and that was the tipping point for me.

And then finishing this bad boy up, two very small graphite sticks in a small ziploc baggie (2B hardness, if anybody cares, since that's a good middle of the road sketching quality) and those colored sketch sticks in white, red and charcoal. It all fit very neatly in the middle. I was grinning like an idiot when I was done.

So the finished product came out to be only perhaps half an inch thick when completed, meaning that it would do really well as an unobtrusive art kit. My goal was to have something portable and thin, and this was it!

A few additional things I thought about after the fact:

~Adding all of those different types of ACEO paper to the slots. Mental note to label the slots so you know which paper you're pulling out.
~A very tiny watercolors kit, of which there are several on Amazon.com and Dick Blick. You would sacrifice some of that slimness, but if you're mostly just worried about square footage being taken up overall, then no problem. I imagine you could play tetris with everything and fit it in without too much added bulk. The Windsor and Newton set looked the most promising for this.
~if you add the watercolors, you have to have watercolor paper. Adding the watercolor paper ACEOs makes more sense now. Conversly, you could try to find a mini moleskine watercolor paper notebook. OR... you can whip up your own by cutting up good cold press stuff in to small pieces to slide on in here.
~slightly more bulky, but they do have colored pencil sets that will go in there. I couldn't do it because it offended my sense of aesthetics to have it sticking out, but it will certainly work for others who are less particular.
~willow charcoal could be snapped in to smaller sticks and stored in a small ziploc bag like the graphite.

There's other stuff. But I think I need to put this project to bed before it goes too crazy. I enjoyed making it, and the friend enjoyed receiving it. I have a matching one of my own that's nifty that I can keep playing with if I want. In the end, that's the important stuff.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Check Out This Music I Found #2 - Imagine Dragons

I just like these guys. It's a bunch of people partying in someone's art loft singing. There's a good beat, it's catchy, and the words got to me. Here's the clip of what I watched initially after hearing them on one of my crazy back-water stations:

Aaaaand of course, accoustic strings. Accoustic strings and/or violin = TAKE MY MONIEZ.

I know I should be more insightful and eloquent with these things but really, if you're here and you click it and you like it then I've done my job.

I think these guys are on my list to see live now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Check Out This Neat Place I Found #1 - the Orangery

In my more free days I had the wonderful gypsy habit of just turning down side roads on the way home or out somewhere just for the sheer joy of discovery. It's the "ronin" part in the ronin menschery that is life. It has been a seriously long time since I simply did this, though. I seem to have approached adulthood without warning, and now domresponsible things like head straight home. The other night Bob and I struck out for a bit of whimsy and decided to have ice cream for dinner. It led to a trip to Crazy Cones, which has awesome soft serve and other stuff. So we were already in a mindset of being not adults at all. As we were headed back home there was a tiny sign hanging by the side of the road in gold script that said "The Orangery". It was pretty and small and had never been there before,mso I was intrigued. After a quick talk about being able to look it up online, I decided we were rightt frickin' there, wheeled the car around and took the underpass under the traintracks in to wholly undiscovered territory. The property us beautiful, consisting of a large crumbling stone building (perhaps a barn at one point), a creek, and a beautiful house that seemed to mirror both Colonial and Victorian influences. It had urns with ferns on the front walkway like you might see at an estate. And the place is surrounded by trees and grass and ferns, so it feels secluded despite train tracks and a subdivision nuzzling up to the periphery. A check of the website - The Orangery - shows that it is Italian food, leaning toward Tuscan style. The menu sounds amazing. There is only ONE seating an evening, Thursday through Saturday which you absolutely must make reservations for. Both signs on the driveway stressed BY RESERVATION ONLY in large gold letters. So they're serious about it. The entire setup leads me to the conclusion that you dress up for this place, possibly with a tie. We'll be trying it out this summer ourselves, but if you beat us to it, let me know ifnit was as awesome as it looks?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Check Out This Music I Found #1 - Jubilants

In an effort to spruce things up and uphold my promise be a little more cheerful with the content, I am starting.... THIS! This, specificallly, is an attempt to share neat stuff I saw or listened to or just stumbled across (I'm looking at you, Boston street art). Although right at this moment, we are talking music. Now, I can tell you little factually about these guys except they have 2 cds out, and they are from Australia. In terms of my personal take on their music, i love the sound! Obviously, yes? Or I wouldn't be sharing it. They are rsther mellow, and don't bury the guitar and drums under a lot of funky synthesizer crap to sound "cute". Vocals are pretty smooth, lyrics are nothing uncommon. This stuff would work great while on a roadtrip or if you were hosting a party and needed background music. I have heard these guys refered to as "hipster music", so if that's not your thing you should steer elsewhere. If you dig The indie thing, this is probably your sound. You can enjoy more of their goodness at jubilants.bandcamp.com. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And now for something completely.... Representative of the usual around here.

This blog can swing toward unnecessary emo-ness some times. In the future I am going to try to focus more on things I'm making and cool things I've found. For instance, I'm about to try my hand at video game creation. It's on the list of creative things I want to cross off the bucket list, which is populated a great deal by things that would take a long time to complete. I'd really lost the drive to take on some of these things (and forgotten, derp) and was settling in to a rut of complacency. What can you expect to see?
 -a walk thru on constructing a few different kinds of portable sketch kits for artists that have little room or need it to be discreet
 -a song! Yes! I am going to play guitar and sing because an audience is an audience, whether the eyes be digital or organical.
 -a few attempts at video game creation along with at least one post crying about how I accidentally overwrote all of my code. Because let's face it, I am forgetful AND overzealous and those two don't mix.
 -I am determined to write a Mod for Minecraft. Not a skins pack, a MOD. It. will. happen.
-my sewing projects! It is ridiculous to not know how to sew garments on a machine when I can frikkin' make YARN from stuff stolen off an animal's back.
-public arts.... And perhaps some uncommissioned urban art after I get the gear together.
 -my graphic novel(s) becauseIi want more than anything to create these things. I have 2 ideas dancing around that haven't left me alone so obviously they need creatin'
-work on getting some short stories out there. I love to write, and want to at least try to get a few out there.
-other random nifty bits that pop up and catch my attention, as they are wont to do. I can't believe 10,000 sets of eyes have read this stuff. Thanks for reading, and I'll try to make it worth your time going forward!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Very Scary Things

I am flumoxed by things most people probably find pretty banal, for the mere fact that I do not know all of the steps in a process, and my brain likes to do this vapor-lock thing until I give it the missing information.
Given the sheer amount of uncertainty in life, you would think it would keep me from doing a lot of different things, and you would be right.
Last Saturday I'd fully intended to drive up to NJ to see my favorite "local" band (by that I mean they aren't mainstream or big time and they come from NJ which is basically next door) because I had that day off and they actually had a gig. The only problem was that it was up in Clifton, which was 2.5 hours away from us. It was even half an hour away from my Mom, who lives in northern NJ, so perhaps it gives you an idea of the length of this trek. I am happy to go to my mom's when I can. But for a band in a town I don't know late at night when I have to be home AND work the next day?
It was very scary. Which is why it didn't happen. I couldn't parse in my head how we would stay there until 2-3am listening to these guys, then make it home safely (or make it to my Mom's house and not wake her up stumbling in the door deafened and a little buzzed around 3am). If we stayed at her house and we didn't get out the door by 9am, I was going to be late for work AND fighting a massive lack of sleep. This all seemed like a huge obstacle to hurdle at the time.
In hindsight it's ridiculous, the weekend was so slow I literally DID fall asleep at my job -if for only briefly- and based on what calls came in that day I probably could've done the whole thing on 4 hours of sleep.
I think the problem is that I'm getting old and I care about being "normal". The value of integrating with the main stream is becoming apparent, and I am a decade behind in doing it while fully viewing the consequences of my tardiness. The old me would've gone, would've possibly showered and changed her shirt, then crawled to the car and driven to work. The new me, the one with a spouse and a house and a dog that needs walking in the morning at the right time (oh yeah, staying over night was a bad idea because the dog would be left alone, there's that) worries about such things and being responsible and taking care of her body. For once.
Of a different type of scary was the reformatting of my computer. Big deal, you tech types say, we do that constantly. Yes! BUT.... I was worried with all the stupid core memory dumps the machine had been doing that there might be physical damage or it had gotten too hot so sealant was messed up somewhere.... and that in trying to do the upgrade I might, in fact, render myself completely without a desktop. Which sucks, because I'm trying to do a digital arts class and I kind of need a desktop to do that with.
It turns out my fears were ~slightly~ justified, as the digital download of Win 7 I tried crashed and burned when my computer did it's famous restart-hiccup at the end of the install. It went in to a loop of restarting and failing to finish the setup which left me a little panicky. Thankfully, I'd had the presence of mind to acquire a CD with Win 7 on it as well, and forced the system to boot from the disk instead.
Installation occured smoothely and with nary a hitch after running a quick repair on the registry to fix the startup issue. And I felt really damned smart.
I vowed at the start of this year to get past my comfort zone and do things to expand my world and awareness. But when it means that doing so might impact others (dog or spouse or cats) then I have to wonder how far I push, how long, how far back in my own history do I emulate? I am famous for having driven 3,000 miles round trip to California and back by myself, and even being stuck there living out of my car for the better part of 8 months. It was miserable, but I did it. I survived that and I'm sitting in upper middle class America. I'm just wondering if this is truly a dulling of the senses as I perceive it, or evolution of some fashion occurring. Maybe caution just naturally comes with age. Maybe the understanding of mortality finally hits home and you know that you need to start being careful. I just can't get over the idea that something is being stolen with me, or that I am growing complacent in my own decent in to boringness and comfort.
Maybe that's what you do when you're in this position. You grow complacent. Really, what do I have to complain about? What do I have to fear? Maybe it's okay for my fears to finally be of small things instead of "oh god, what if I'm raped and beaten to death in my sleep out here in this parking lot?"
I kick myself for not going to NJ, but I know it was the smart decision. I also know they'll be playing more shows. They were at SXSW, for crying out loud. The world's going to want to see more of them.
Next time, though? To maintain street cred I am totally driving to the damn show.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Actual Conversation #111 - the probability of God being in our midst

Joe: R. ( a coworker) is nuts
Me: I tuned him out. what's he talking about?
Joe: starting his own religion
Me: *laugh*
Me: It's not that hard.
Me: You incorporate and then apply for clergyhood, actually.
Joe: he wants to be the diety
Me: He's in the wrong state. That calls for California.
Joe: well with all the rampet pot use
Me: Yup.
Me: I met some crazy people in cali.
Me: Including one that thought he was the second coming of Jesus.
Joe: never been
Me: he asked me to edit his manifesto
Joe: did you
Joe: I would have
Me: Briefly.
Me: But then he got a little insane on me, very pushy that I devote ALL of my time to it.
Me: And at the time I was homeless and trying to clean houses so I could eat.
Me: The second son of God didn't pay too well
Joe: yeah but he could have provide for you
Joe: turn water into wine
Me: He was not to the point of turning water in to wi.....
Me: I love that we both went there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Laughter cures all ills.

Among other craziness going on right now, I've had the unique fun of feeling my brain slowly wind down to the point of forgetting very common and long-known information. To describe it best would be to say it's the mental equivalent of walking through knee-deep mud with no stable land in sight. It's been a struggle and I watched it progressively get worse until I was forgetting what I was supposed to say each time I picked up the phone at work.... Let me stress that I answer the phone for work, several dozen times a night.
While forgetting things that make you a functional human being can be damned scary on its own, what was hardest for me was the feeling seeping in that I was no longer myself. Since the onset of this I have not had a desire to draw. The Unholy Ghost has parked in my guest bedroom and kicks its damn head out the door to check on me at least once if not several times a week. I was not my usual happy self, and I was worried that it was obvious my memory was going. What I was most concerned about was the affect it was having on my coworkers, in that I was forgetting information they had told me previously and I had appeared to remember. I was scared I was looking incompetent, but even more so I was scared that I looked like I was going crazy. For a bit I thought I might be fired once they caught on what was going on, and I kept my mouth shut.
The other side of this, when you have had ADHD all of your life, is trying to convince those that know and love you that there is truly and seriously something wrong. Appearing seriously worried because you couldn't remember what you walked in the room to do is not a thing to them, when they see you do it once a week. But when it is happening every day in every room you walk in to... the issue was the scale of things. And I got waved off by husband and family a few times before I could convey to them how scary it was.
The other side of this is that I have dealt with brain stuff before when they were initially picking my brain apart for the purpose of treatment after the ADHD was discovered, after I had a car accident that messed up my ability to recall words. I have dealt with therapists and psychologists and all manner of beasts that can prescribe magic pills, and it was not really a fun experience. I had one shrink advise me that I was far too masculine and that the only answer was to put faith in the lord and submit to those masculine figures in my life.. I had another that laughed at me an entire session because I didn't realize I had buttoned my shirt up properly and was one off. How hard is it to tell somebody to rebutton their shirt when they're meeting with you for treatment of ADHD? And yet another just wanted to talk about my feelings endlessly without resolution of any discernible sort. I am (hopefully understandably) wary of the mental health profession, as all encounters with them seemed like it was throwing darts in the dark and hoping to find something that would help.
But when I left work and sat down in my car, and could not remember why I was in my car or what parking lot I was in, I knew something had to give. This was only going to get worse, and I was really scared.
Aside from having to put up with the doctor looking at me with the kind of concern I reserve for people who have just admitted to self-harming, it was mostly painless. She was very straight forward, and her only real question for me was if I was going to be safe between now and the next meeting while they ran some tests. I advised her I was too damned busy and didn't have time for that kind of break, which seemed to relax her a bit. The rest of the visit she talked about what might be going on, advised it WAS unusual, and she had some thoughts on how to go forward.
It was nice to have it so straight forward. It was also nice to not feel like a freak, and to have confirmation that what I experience previously wasn't really proper treatment. It was more ideological experimentation with an improper dosage of Paxil thrown in for the amusement factor.
I'd had several thoughts going in to this about what might be going on, ranging on everything from exposure to high EMF in my new position on 2nd shift (I'm in front of a massive wall of monitors now) to brain lesions or tumors.
Say it with me, kids... "It's not a too-mah..."
But it might just be sleep disturbance. Used to be the cats would dance on me until I started flailing wildly to get them off, at which time the dog would then get up, and then the morning light would keep me from getting back to deep sleep even as I snoozed on and off. The cats started around 6 am, meaning I was being shorted on sleep every night. It's possible my brain just shut down to try and heal with all of that going on. The other thing is that our bedroom lets in ridiculous amounts of light, so in the evenings I am kept awake by street lights and porch lights, and the first glimmer of the morning sun usually taps me on the forehead on its way in.
So here's what we finally figured out would help fix the issue. A.) Sleep mask. I have been wearing one for the past week and while not 100% back to normal, I can see it from where I'm standing.
B.) Laughter. As in... the more I laugh, the more people I laugh with, the easier it is to remember things.
So affective has technique #2 become that I actually put out a call on Teh Intarnetz for people to make me laugh regularly. My coworkers have also been unusually and unwittingly obliging of this, too, which has done me nothing but good. It was my time with them, in fact, that made me realize I'd had one of my best nights troubleshooting in recent memory after laughing with them for a good 10 minutes. I've yet to troll the internet for information on why (....I've forgotten to do it repeatedly. Don't laugh.) but there is a noticeable "charge" to my brain after it happens.
Of course, the added side affects are being happy to be at work, having much more cheerful coworkers, and generally lighter and more productive atmosphere.
I sometimes laugh at these fad-science things that come out saying "go hang out with your girlfriends to bust depression!" or "talk with your family to feel a deeper sense of satisfaction in your life!" or god knows whatever else has come out recently. But as is frequent in my life, I was very wrong about the power of laughter. And you know I love being wrong, because that means I done learned something today.
So for now I'll be doing my best to laugh my ass off to keep my head on, and barring something serious -like it really is a too-mah- I think we may have this thing on the ropes. I look most forward to getting back my desire to draw every day, I miss it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Actual conversation #110 - wherein uncommissioned urban art is discussed

*coworker observes me with yarn and needles* Coworker: What're you knitting?
Me: *after a moment's thought* Well, it's a yarn bomb.
Coworker: It's a tri- what?
Me: Yarn bomb!
Coworker: What are yarn bombs for?
Me: Welllll.... You take it, attach it to a piece of property that is not your own, and then you run away.
Coworker: *looking puzzled* It's what now?
Me: It's graffiti.
Coworker: *understanding dawning* Coooool....
Me: And it doesn't actually destroy anyone's property, so there's that.
Coworker: Oh. Yeah. That's a lot better.

Friday, April 13, 2012


My apologies for this, but I am doing my darnedest to get chosen as an artist for the next Womanthology launch, and they needed a picture uploaded via URL.

So I'm stashing this here, and you guys can take a peek and see what I'm trying to bribe them with! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Actual Conversation #109 - Headshootz

(This actually occured in Boston a few days ago, but I was not reminded of it until a moment ago.)

Waiter (with obvious Boston accent): How you all doin' this evening? Celebrating anything tonight?
Bob: No, not really.
Me: Being alive.
Waiter: *blinks* *stares* *opens mouth then closes it for a second* That's... that's kinda deep there. I heard something like that in a rap video once! Cheers to both of you, being alive! Happy Easter!
*waiter hurries off to do waiterly things*
*Bob chuckles under his breath*
Me: What?
Bob: You verbally headshotted that guy. I have never seen that.

Actual Conversation #108 - where we talk starting the Zombie Apocalypse

(To frame this discussion, it started as a search to find sushi places that might do delivery/pickup near work.)
Joe[19:30] : teikoku is exspensive
Me [19:30] : Is it? Oh. Nevermind then
Joe[19:31] : well idk how to really read it
Joe [19:31] : http://teikokurestaurant.com/sushidinnermenu.html
Joe [19:31] : that's the menu
Me [19:31] : one sec, will look after this call
Joe [19:31] : ok
Me [19:38] : ooo... swanky websi.... holy hell, yeah, that's expensive
Me [19:39] : Okay. So no. We're not going ther.
Me [19:39] : hell, we could proabaly pick up sushi from GIANT for $6
Joe [19:39] : but that's how the zombie apocolypse starts
Me [19:39] : With discount sushi?
Joe [19:40] : gas station sushi
Me [19:40] : Well, I'm tired of waiting personally. don't you think we should just jump start this thing?
Joe [19:41] : no
Joe [19:41] : I'm good

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Still going...

I actually spent the entire day out in public in a skirt! Don’t laugh, it’s really stressful for me for some reason.
We took the train to Boston today, so I spent all of my time on the train, in the stations, and walking around downtown Boston in a little jersey skirt that was incredibly soft and not too bad looking on me to boot!
Added bonus, saw people checking out my legs. I can’t remember the last time somebody did that.
On top of that, I am here without any of my usual electronic distractions OR a camera, so I can just take in the city. I am very nervous, and we are going to new parts of the city we’ve never gone before, but I will handle it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lemonade - Part Two

We come up against the problem of ideal versus reality a lot when it comes to history, our heroes, and how we want to remember things. This is why the commemorative statue of the Roosevelts in Washington has the dog next to the president.(We love our dogs). Furthermore, President Roosevelt is in his wheelchair because we also like to acknowledge the handicapped and that he managed a war on 2 wheels. Eleanor is sculpted these days sans her beloved furs, as we are also supposed to all hate and abhor the wearing of them and the uncaring individuals that still do. This is a perfect example of something that, while not quite revisionist history, is definitely cherry-picking to fit modern sensibilities.
That is not to say it's not a good monument. It's actually quite awesome, and lovely, and there is actually a monument with a DOG as an integral part of the balance and mood of the piece. I am a fan of dogs balancing out and creating mood in pieces, especially federal pieces. No bland white marble to be found on this.
But you get my point.
You also might think I'm about to be seriously bitchy, but that's not quite it either.
What brought this entire thought stream about was a visit paid to the Philadelphia Museum of Art about 2 weeks ago. They had the paintings of Van Gogh there, which I've already blogged a touch about. They were amazing. I cannot stress that enough. AMAZING. It is the only time I have walked up to a piece and actually felt the energy that the artist attempted to imbue in the very oils mashed in to the canvas. If it were to be rendered as a 3-d plaster for the blind to touch, they would have the rare treat of being able to FEEL this energy. It was amazing to see how many people half reached up to the glass. You just knew they were thinking about feeling the peaks and valleys of that dried pigment. I don't blame them, I did the same multiple times.
I've seen people at art shows before. I've never seen people physically react and move towards a piece in wonder like I have. It was amazing. The people watching was just as inspiring as the artworks themselves.
The problem that I have, and that still nags at me, is the manner in which they pussy-footed around the fact that he was mentally ill. It was most obviously and victoriously set up as a celebration of the artistic spirit, the "fire in the head" that strikes artists and drive them to paint all night without rest and collapse in satisfaction long after the sun has risen. Van Gogh had it, and he had it bad. You could tell the zeal with which he applied his paint, his strokes, the combination of colors... all had the feel of a man caught in the moment. Perhaps this is why people reacted so much, because it was a tangible example of what that moment is like. He managed to actually capture such a fleeting thing for us to study and love and recognize.
There was a vast opportunity here to help point out that the mentally ill aren't all just anti-social scab-pickers and mutterers, though. Having a problem such as that is just one facet of a larger story. It can be a beautiful although at times sad story. It could have done so much more good for the understanding of brain chemistry as it relates to creativity and artistic drive, or to mental health in general. They didn't even have to MEAN for these things to be addressed, even. It would have been understood had the message just been presented up front; "Look, Van Gogh struggled with depression all his life. He shot himself. But look what he managed to do before that, guys, is this not amazing?" No politicizing. No humping social issues behind the scenes. Just facts. That's all it needed, those facts.
Instead there was the subtle mention of "hospitals" here and there, the mention of "recurring illness". A passing reference in the audio commentary about a personal doctor and that he suffered from a "mutilation". (Yo, dude was fucking hard core and cut his own ear off. Mention that shit. People love him, they will allow for this fact!)
It was hard to leave the exhibit. The last painting was one of his most unusual, in that it was painted straight up in to the sky, just branches with flowers. They focused on how joyful it was, how it was painted at the news that his brother was now father to a baby boy... an amazing image, made all the more amazing for knowing the back story on it. He painted that when he was possibly at his most happiest.
And that's it. That and a passing comment in the audio about how he died of a gunshot wound. Not that he did it himself (yes, okay, it's not proven, but pretty assuredly assumed), but that he died. And then we filter past that happy blue painting of the sky and out in to the gift shop, and beyond that the marble of the main hall....
....and when that happened I felt cheated. Really, really damned cheated.
I have struggled with the Unholy Ghost my entire life. I have researched it, medicated it, meditated against it, exercised to exorcise it, and done everything I could. It is a more constant companion than my cat of 13 years, or my husband of 2. I know when all else goes, it will be waiting for me in the corner, biding it's time to where it can slip in and caress my cheek, whisper its withering things in my ear and take the life from me. Thankfully its visits are damned short these days. But it is there.
I'm not going to claim a lofty kinship to Van Gogh because of this. I've read enough articles talking about how creativity and depression coincide. Hell, one of my favorite web comic teams is on constant medication against this same crap. It was their comic and the news for that day that actually, for the first time, made it so I could talk with my spouse openly about it. He respected those men and now had an understanding of what such people could do. It wasn't scary. It was just a facet of a personality. Like enjoying jazz. Or having lactose intolerance. Or collecting baseball cards. You get the gist.
I'm not sure why they felt the need to take one of the most celebrated artists in history and sugar coat the hell out of him and his story. This is when making lemonade from lemons is... well, confusing for one thing. I'm wondering how many people left that exhibition thinking the man had TB. I'm wondering why the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the people who put this traveling show together did a much poorer job of addressing Van Gogh's psychological state that Doctor F'ing Who did. This was lemonade made for reasons I just don't grasp, on something that is actually made MORE beautiful for the flaws the man had. There could've been so much more depth added to it. And they didn't touch it. They just skirted around it in passing, made nice-nice, and attached a happily ever after ending on it.
Lemonade is just one small step away from white-washing when you take it that way. It's not the whole story. It's not allowing for the wonders of the mistake, the miracle of the wabi-sabi-ness in existence. And I personally think people would be a lot less stressed if they realized how much of life was born from mistakes and missteps. Perfection never occurs. Lemonade does. We need to allow ourselves these things, these flaws and moments of fail, and we need to be able to laugh at them, or empathize with them, or love them anyway.
You cheated me, PMoA. Your lemonade tastes a bit bitter.

Lemonade - Part One

There are times when it generally suits one to make lemonade from lemons. After all, we have all had those moments where everything we planned fell to ruination at our feet and there wasn't much else we could do but laugh and keep going. It makes for more interesting and fun moments, too, than the ones so carefully adjusted for.
Today I bring two kinds of lemonade because boy howdy don't we love a good dichotomy here on this blog!
The first? A personal lemonade moment, born out of Just Not Fucking Paying Attention.
Behold. My Sky Scarf as it stands this afternoon.
Now as you can see immediately I took this thing with Vignette, so it's all artsy-like and has a big damn fake light leak in the lower corner. But the details are still there ad the color is still true.
Second thing you will notice is that it looks a little funky up at the top there. That, my friends, is where the JNFPA kicked in while I was knitting. I had gone so far as to cleverly pair up the light gray yarn with the light blue yarn, as it was a lightly cloudy day with just hints of sky poking through. I was knitting along merrily (and with a bit of exhaustion) when I suddenly realized I had stopped doing garter stitch and dropped to stockinette.
Oh crap.
And this stuff is mohair.
Oh crap. You can't "unknit" mohair. You can forcibly separate it from the rest of you piece with a lot of angst and swearing, but you don't unknit/unravel/unwhatever it.
I was prepared to be very, very upset at the entire thing and even moreso at myself for being careless when something dawned on me...
1. The colors together were so delicate that you weren't going to be able tell what I'd done unless I had accidentally knit and then purled the rows.
2. It was the Spring Equinox.
And thus, I hit upon the marvelous idea that, in order to give an idea of where the seasons were, I would knit and then purl the 2 rows on the days of the solstices and equinoxes, to give the scarf a bit of a way to tell time without counting rows.
Lemons to lemonade... done!
And it actually looks rather awesome to boot.
And in this instance, deciding to take something that was not entirely as planned, not how Things Are Supposed To Be and making something rather nifty from it. Or at least ~I~ think it's nifty, and adds a dimension to the scarf that wasn't there before.
There's ways of Doing it Wrong, though, and that will be explained next.