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five things

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Looking Up

1) I just painted my toes An Affair in Red Square, which makes me think of the Pink Martini song Dosvedanya Mio Bambino

2) Water has tasted weird all week and I thought maybe I was getting a sinus infection, but it turns out that the city switched from our normal Bull Run (mountainy, wonderful) water to some weird ground water (groundy, tolerable) because of mudslides. Maybe it wasn't mudslides - I saw roiling muddy water on the news, but I wasn't really listening. ANYWAY. The important thing is that delicious Bull Run water will be back soon.

3) RAYLAN! BOYD! Justified is back on TV and I am so happy. Downton Abbey: I hate (but secretly love) that this show is making me soften my position toward evil Edith.  Also, why does everyone hate Mary? Even season 1 Mary had some redeeming features. I feel so sorry for Daisy - she got railroaded every which way for that wedding. (here endeth my cryptic manor house talk, except for one more gossipy thing: did you know that Julian Fellows -creator of Downton Abbey- is also an actor who appeared as pompous comic relief (Earl Kilwillie)  in many episodes of Monarch of the Glen?)

<--- this is what Raylan looks like when he explains things plain and simple to lowlifes and criminals, usually right before they go and do the thing he just asked them not to do. Since he also explained the consequences, I can't feel too bad for them. Crime makes you stupid.

4) earlier this week I went to the Title Wave Bookstore, which is where the library sells withdrawn items. I totally scored and got there when they were having an incredible sale on CDs. I got 2 box sets - the What it Is! Rhino collection and the Complete Stax/Volt singles 1958-1968 set for a very good  price.  They don't have the booklets, but as far as I can tell they're in good shape otherwise.
This song is on What It Is!

and both these songs are on the other:

(not this version, but I couldn't resist the live performance/ dancing studio audience.)

5) Otis the kitten is growing so fast he doesn't have the best control over his limbs or center of gravity; he's gangly and awkward like a teenager. (he's also ADORBS, so no worries that anything has changed on that front.) I'm sure the complicated parkour jumps and free running he plots in his head are flawless but his execution is a little off, which results in crashing and whining and more mad dash capering before anyone notices that he's knocked something over.

more wetlands

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Monday, January 30, 2012
Here are the rest of the pictures from my visit to the Smith and Bybee wetlands. The sun was angled just right to get all these reflections, which I thought looked pretty creepy/cool. The path ended right here, covered in water. At first I thought it was flooded, but now I think it might just be where people put their kayaks in the water.

bottom of a tree
Bottom of a tree! Overexposed, which I fixed and then unfixed. It was one of those bright but overcast days.

sun and trees
Here's the sun behind a cloud with those camera marks that I hate so much. Guess what? I finally discovered what they are! It's DUST on the inner lens. It gets sucked in there when the lens extends from the body of the camera - apparently Panasonic Lumix cameras are especially vulnerable.  I found a great tutorial on youtube for taking apart my camera and cleaning things up, which I would have done already but all my tiny screwdrivers are broken. Soon!

trains nearby
It's this great natural wetland on one side of the road, and then industrial train yard on the other. I guess the birds are probably all used to the sounds associated with the trains. I don't think the trains care at all about the sounds the birds make.

tree silhouette
The sun is eating these trees! This has fewer of the dust marks, but I can still see some on the left. Blue sky is THE WORST for these stupid marks to show up. I can't tell you how many photos they've ruined. But apart from that, I like this photo.

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

This animated short is lovely - it made me a melancholy kind of happy. I smiled many times but I also teared up twice.  It's 15 minutes long, so make sure you give yourself enough time to watch it all. I hope it wins in its Oscar category!

kingdom of moss

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Friday, January 27, 2012

My sister suggested that we go check out the Smith and Bybee wetlands which are down by Marine Drive. Since today was not raining (hallelujah!) we made a break for it. It was still cold - colder in the shade, of course, so there was a bit of frost clinging here and there.


I love the moss, and I love that this was conveniently located at an easy to photograph height. These look like moss spears, or maybe Gaudi-style moss turrets on the moss castle. I don't know - I thought they were cool.


tufted moss island connected to the rest of the moss in the archipelago by spider silk bridges.

Good news! I figured out the cause and the cure to a major camera problem I've been having. Hooray! I'm going to try to fix it in the morning - I'll let you know how it goes.  If it works, I will be so happy.

edit: I just heard coyote noises out my window! I know this is not surprising in many parts of the world, but I'm sitting here in the middle of Portland. (!)

sewing challenges

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Thursday, January 26, 2012
sewing with cats
I think you know where this is headed.

sewing with cats
see the lump underneath? It moved all around, chasing its tail.

This is the quilt I'm trying to finish - my big challenge will be getting the top, the back, and the batting all pinned together with the help of my enthusiastic kitten assistant. He's very hands on.

busby is not amused
Busby often observes from above. All the better for pouncing.

dinosaur wednesday

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Oregon Rain Forest

Dinosaur wednesday was going to have a lot more pictures of dinosaurs in it, but flickr is loading sloooow and I can't wait around forever because I have already waited TOO LONG to start this. Will I ever learn? (I might learn? I will never learn? I might "learn" for a while and then backslide to a state of willful ignorance?) But let me mention what I like about this photo: 1) the angry/irritated expression on the concrete dinosaur's face 2) the blurry quality of the photo makes it look like sasquatch should come ambling into the picture from stage right. 

Are you watching anything good on Netflix streaming? I have a list! But I think I'll save that for tomorrow, which is really today since it's mothereffing 1:30 AM. I'm looking out of the rainforest of my desk with the same expression as this dinosaur. Time for bed. 

bring it on home

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
So, I was pushing buttons on the internet and followed a link from How About Orange to drinkify, where you put in the name of an artist and it recommends a drink. I put in Sam Cooke;  the drink engine brought up its recommendation (Hennessy) and played Sam Cooke for me. Yes! (the song, not the Hennessy, about which I have no opinion.) Anyway, that put Sam Cooke in mind, so here's some Sam Cooke for you.

I L-O-V-E this live version (that whole Live at the Harlem Square Club recording is amazing). There's a bit of a preamble, but hang in there - it's worth it. The performance is electric - you can hear the rasp in his famously smooth voice, the hoots and hollers of the crowd, you can practically feel the heat and smell the smoke. SAM COOKE! He has the whole room in the palm of hand.

pictures from the present

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The kitten is walking all over my desk (which includes all over my hands as I try to type) so this will be brief.  These photos are from TONIGHT as I took the garbage and recycling up to the curb. It's supposed to start dumping down rain again tomorrow, so this little window of evening-blue sky was much appreciated. 

This is the light behind the tavern on the corner. Lovely ambiance, no? I think it looks like a scene from the X-Files - like this light has been glowing suspiciously behind a house in Portland, so Mulder and Scully are dispatched to investigate.  (If only! I have been watching some X-Files on Netflix.) 

I think this blue is so pretty. 

cabin fever correction

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Saturday, January 21, 2012
I've been doing a lot of indoor projects lately I'm rapidly approaching cabin fever mode. I need to get outside. I've needed to get outside for months. The hard part is that I'm ALMOST DONE with so many of these projects so my inclination is to just stay put and work on them until they're finished, but I think I'm getting slower and slower (and crabbier and crabbier). Something must be done!

My modest Sunday ambition is to be outside for at least a half hour. Doable! even if it's pouring down rain.

rain rain blow away

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Friday, January 20, 2012
I loved these clouds

the wind is blowing, the rain is falling, and I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I think it's just basic mammal hibernation instinct since there's not really any reason I should be so sleepy.  SIGH.

This picture is from May, 2007 or 8 or 9. I'm sure the sky at the beach looks NOTHING like that right now due to the wind and the rain and general winter ocean bluster.  Next picture will be something from the recent past or actual present, I promise!

glass ocean

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Thursday, January 19, 2012
glass walkway
Doesn't this look like a glass candy ocean filled with glass candy creatures? I love it.

glass sea-forms
These were taken at the Glass Museum in Tacoma in 2006. The museum was closed! But there was still plenty of stuff to see, obviously. Like this glass ocean and these glass creatures, the color and the light.

ebook sales and chemical lady names

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Nothing today went the way I thought it would/should, which turned out to be FINE.  I had big plans for finishing this and doing that - all of which were sidelined by a headache and stuff that is too boring and/or complicated to go into. It was all a good reminder to grip less tightly to how I think things should be - life is a lot more enjoyable when I do.

E-BOOK SALE: Neil Gaiman's American Gods for Kindle and Nook for 1.99. For a limited time only, I would imagine. (it's even the 10 year anniversary edition which has the "author's preferred text.") I haven't read it since it came out - it'll be fun to read it again. Hooray for sales! I may continue to post about e-book sales that I find interesting, like say the Dangerous Angels collection with Bonus Materials FOR FREE. (The Weetzie Bat books! I read them for the first time this last year and loved them, loved them.) (again, I don't know how long this sale lasts.) Remember, you don't have to have a kindle to read kindle books - you can read them on a kindle app for your phone or on the computer and I'm sure there are other ways, too.

Question time: Have any of you ever heard Ammonia or possibly Amonia as a popular name for women in the 18th century? OR EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD?  This came up tonight at trivia, and I think it's bullshit. It was a complicated question about camel dung, egyptian deities and popular ladies names: we would have gotten it wrong anyway -  which I don't mind - but the question said it was "popular" which I can find no evidence to support. This, of course, makes me crazy.

And now, to round out this cornucopia of randomness - The Pistol Annies! My iTunes just played me Hell on Heels, which reminded me of this excellent video of the song I saw a couple of weeks ago. Miranda Lambert (on the right) reminds me of Dolly Parton, which is a high compliment in case you weren't sure!

snow sky

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
It's snowing! It's a brief, concentrated snowfall and may even be gone by morning, but it's so beautiful right now. The weather's been flirting with snow since yesterday, but all we'd get were a few fat flakes that melted by the time they hit the ground. Now everything is covered in white, the sky is that weird snow-sky pink that happens in the city, it's quiet and still. (cool and crisp and even.)

Well, it's quiet apart from the stereo that Otis the kitten turned on when he ran over it in his haste to get to the window looking out on falling snow.

They (meteorological cabal) say it will be gone by mid morning, replaced with rain. We shall see! In the meantime I'm going to go look out the window and read some more Dickens. One really good snow day and I could finish reading this book!

all other swindlers

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Well, that was exciting. I was typing up the Dickens quote below when Busby wanted to go outside. I was certain the kitten was in another part of the house, so I was all "sure, Busby - take your time!" while I held the door open for him. You know what happens next - the kitten bolted out of god knows where and ran outside to sweet, sweet freedom. Both Busby and I went out after him and I finally managed to chase him in the right direction and he ran back in the house. Actually, I don't think I had anything to do with it; I think he freaked himself out and found the door through sheer dumb luck. At least his little feet are white so I could keep eyes on him as he hopped around in the cold, wet, dark like a deranged kitten/rabbit.

Back to Dickens -  one of the things I'm loving about this novel (Great Expectations) is his insight into persistent human nature.  This made sense in 1861 and it makes sense in 2012: we don't always tell ourselves the truth, and we KNOW IT. Not only do we know it, we invent self-deluding fictions to pretty it up. It's one of those curious conditions of humanity.
All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretenses did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else's manufacture is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretense of compactly folding up my bank-notes for security's sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on to myself as notes! 

can you understand me

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The beginning piano part of this song was playing in my head when I opened my eyes this morning. It was perfectly timed, like a movie montage. Then the cat walked on my head and I forgot all about it until I was in the shower, which is where I remembered the rest and have been thinking of it all day. (now you can, too!)

I love these early 80s videos. They crack me up - so much archaeology and so many sand dunes! (I credit/blame Raiders of the Lost Ark.) Also - it's not even a Stevie song, but she is front and center wearing a flashy red dress and lounging around/ mysteriously carrying a painting over the dunes while Christine McVie (whose song this is) is wearing weird orange blusher, a blouse made out of a tablecloth, and singing into a broken mirror. It hardly seems fair. Maybe in 6 months when weird orange blusher and blouses made out of tablecloths are all the rage, I'll see this differently.

[Now I've watched this thing a thousand times, and Christie McVie does get plenty of face time on the video (since she's singing) and I guess lounging around in the mystery dune chaise makes more sense for Stevie than playing tambourine on a camel or white horse or whatever. I GUESS.]

In other news, I skipped Saturday in my blog-a-day January. I'd had a lovely day and it melted into a lovely evening where I was reading my book (<3 u, chas. dickens) and didn't look at my computer again. It was an impromptu technology sabbatical, and I LIKED IT.

Natural Fashion

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Friday, January 13, 2012
These photos are pictures I took of the book Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa by Hans Silvester.

internet picture of the book cover.

I first saw it while processing holds at work - the photos were so visually striking they took my breath away. I'd never seen plant material used quite in this way, either - I had to put a hold on it for myself immediately. This was over a year ago (clearly, I have a procrastination problem).

The book is made from photos of the Surma and Mursi people of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. It's a fragile moment in time for this region - the old traditions continue (it's one of the few areas of Africa that was never colonized by the Europeans), but the Omo river is slated to be dammed in 2013 and the valley (in southern Ethiopia) is rife with guerilla warfare and in the path of arms traders from Somalia and Sudan.  And then there's this... (from National Geographic Magazine) 

Today the Omo Valley is a destination for wealthy tourists who cross vast, uncomfortable distances to witness those same rituals—vanloads of white faces, most from Europe, hoping for something of the Africa that exists in the Western imagination, all wild animals and face paint and dancing. Tourists say they have come to see the Omo before it becomes like everywhere else, as though a McDonald's might suddenly descend from the sky.
Does posting these pictures of pictures perpetuate the problem?  This has been in the back of my mind. In the end, I believe this to be a representation of astonishingly beautiful artistic expression and a celebration of the people who made it, so here they are: 

natural fashion

I LOVE the bright yellow of the squash blossom diadem, the white dots above the nose, the reverse below, the red bead in her earlobe - so many individual touches.

natural fashion

There's much to love about this, but I think my two favorite parts are the yellow fruit and the straw colored necklace.

natural fashion
These decorations are so ephemeral which makes me love them even more.  I also like that they are crafted by both men and women.

natural fashion

Love the two dots above the lip, the yellow, the smile.

natural fashion

Zinnias are one of my favorites, so of course I love this - but the dots (so many dots!) and those sweet chubby toddler cheeks take it to a whole new level.

natural fashion
Everything. Love her.

natural fashion
I love everything* about this, but especially the yellow/ white circles face paint and the sprays of blossoms that correspond to the painted stars on the body.

*I know these declarations of love are becoming redundant but I can't help it.

natural fashion

The paint! The  I love the bits on her shoulders and on his chest and arms. Once again, I just love everything about it. (the four colors of necklaces he's wearing, the flowers on her head look like some kind of clover, the different ways their faces are painted. Everything.)

natural fashion
I can't even - everything, everything.

natural fashion
best parts: the smile! The purple flowers, the necklaces.

natural fashion
So beautiful -  I just now noticed the star/flower pattern up her cheek and onto her forehead.

natural fashion
You know, I was going to say I liked the purple flower bangs the best, but it might just be the ochre circles on her forehead.

natural fashion
Yellow flower crowns (it looks kind of like my chain of gold tree, although I know it isn't) and those yellow necklaces. I love the photos with more than one person in them - it's posed like all of these are posed, but they're posing together.

natural fashion
It's pretty clear that I love dots in all their forms, but my favorite thing about this picture is his hand on her shoulder. Second favorite thing is the leaf hats - almost a cloche on her, and a beret on him.

It looks like the hardcover edition of this book is out of print, but there is a paperback edition still available.

what I read: reference

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Thursday, January 12, 2012
For me, 2011 was a good year to read. I wanted to highlight some of my favorite books, but the thought of trying to fit them all in one post is a recipe for never doing it so I'm going to divide it up a bit into categories.

Today's category: reference.

The Greek and Roman Myths: A Guide to the Classical Stories by Philip Matyszak -  I found this the way I find so many books these days - it passed through my hands at work. (I work in a library.) I really like how this book is organized - it starts at the beginning of the world and gives a generational overview (lots of murder, deceit, and mayhem, naturally), and then goes on to give overviews and details for every major god and goddess in the Greek and Roman pantheon.

This book lays it all out so beautifully; the relationships between the gods are presented clearly, and I love that he includes the names of major pieces of art depicting whichever god or goddess he's talking about.

I read it straight through because I wanted a general refresher, but it would serve just as well as an encyclopedia to settle Athena/ Artemis/ Aphrodite arguments or other disagreements about who got turned into a tree/ got tricked by Zeus/ gets his liver pecked out by birds/ etc.  This is definitely a book I want to add to my personal collection, so I'm keeping my eyes open for a copy.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - these stories crop up everywhere; this is such a usable guide.

Mike McGrath's Book of Compost:  I know I've mentioned this before, but it fits in the category and it was one of the best reference books I read in 2011. It is a nice big-pocket size book of Plain English explanation of how to convert food waste into beautiful compost.

I'm thrilled to report that yesterday I took my new pitchfork out to turn the compost and found EARTHWORMS! Worms are like winning the compost lottery and I'm very glad. I guess it could be that they're just hanging out amongst the egg shells, lettuce ends, and shriveled citrus as a place to stay warm, but I prefer to think it's because my compost is so delicious they just can't get enough. Anyway! If you're thinking about making compost but all the ratios and aeration requirements seem like too much trouble, do look at this book. I bet it will change your mind. RECOMMENDED, but only if you want to make compost.

A link unrelated to the above:  Ursula Le Guin on adopting a cat. She got her cat at the Oregon Humane Society, which is exactly where Kitten Otis came from. (he is back to his old frisky self after his kitten shots.) OHS is currently holding its $12 Adoption Days, so if you're in the market for an adult cat or a bunny, the price is right!

wednesday miscellaneous

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Why am I suddenly having issues posting a draft from my ipod to be fixed later on my computer? Who knows. (Why did I want to spell having "havving?" It's late, is all I can say.)

Here is young Otis, assisting me with the sewing machine. He was feeling pretty low all day today after getting some kitten shots yesterday at the vet, but by late afternoon he rallied to a reasonable facsimile of his normal running around crazy self. (Then he took another nap. By tomorrow I expect he'll be back up to full on kitten hijinx.) 

And here is the quilt I'm working on right now. This instagram processing totally distorts the color, but I think it's pretty anyway. You get the general idea. I hope to get the top all finished by Friday - maybe sooner! Who knows. 

Below is the video I've seen a bunch of places today but it's so fun I wanted to have it here too, so I can look at it whenever I want without having to remember where it is. 

Law & Order: Special Dickens Unit

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I'm reading Great Expectations and it's so much better than I thought it would be! Like all the other things I've never read or seen for reasons general cultural ubiquity, the original article is far richer and more surprising than the weak 'get a load of Miss Havisham still in her wedding dress - is she nuts or what?' stuff that has filtered down.  The whole story so far is gloriously bonkers. The quote below is from a scene about 1/4 of the way through - there has been a violent crime and nobody knows who did it. Eventually some police come and, well - I like the way he writes it.  They seem like characters who could easily support their own weekly police procedural show, and they're just in the book for one paragraph! Based on the "knowing and reserved looks" alone, I think they could give David Sunglasses Caruso on  CSI: Miami a run for his money.
The Constables and the Bow Street men from London--for, this happened in the days of the extinct red-waistcoated police--were about the house for a week or two, and did pretty much what I have heard and read of like authorities doing in other such cases. They took up several obvious wrong people, and they ran their heads very hard against wrong ideas, and persisted in trying to fit the circumstances to the ideas, instead of trying to extract ideas from the circumstances. Also, they stood about the door of the Jolly Bargeman, with knowing and reserved looks that filled the whole neighborhood with admiration; and they had a mysterious manner of taking their drink, that was almost as good as taking the culprit. But not quite, for they never did it. 

excellent service, reasonable prices

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Monday, January 09, 2012
private booths for ladies

Today I got to give an 8 year old his first library card (it's a tradition in his family that when the kids turn 8, they can get their own card if they want it). That was the fun one. The less fun one was explaining to a woman that I can't just magically stop her overdue book from accruing more fines because she's 'looking for it.' Unfortunately, when 75 other people are waiting to borrow it, the options are pretty much bring it back or pay some late fines. I told her nicer than that, though. There were plenty of other transactions, but they were so neutrally pleasant none of them stand out.

The picture today was my most viewed photo on flickr for Monday - so weird what floats to the top on any given day. I took it a few years ago on a road trip to eastern Washington in (checks flickr tags) Ellensburg. I think it was on the side of a Chinese restaurant. I know I've posted that picture before - I've got to get out of my photo rerun rut.

pink moon

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

TONIGHT'S MOON STORY: Earlier this evening - right around sunset - I had to run to store for nacho supplies. On my way back to the car with jalepenos in hand, I looked east past the parking lot, the gas station, the drug store, the intersection, and saw a giant pink moon very low on the horizon. It looked like an enormous candy and I wished I could fly so I could rise up above the gas station and zoom over the parking lot to see it against Mt. Hood.  After I got home and the sky was darker, the moon turned from pink to a very warm orangey-tan (sort of like the color of a brown egg) and was rising so fast it felt like I could see it move. Now (post Downton Abbey/ Dowager Countess quip-a-thon), I know it must be gleaming white somewhere above my head but I can't see it due to fog. THE END.

familiar scene

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

I don't know how The Near-Sighted Monkey can stay so calm - there's more surprised shrieking at my house.  I love Lynda Barry's tumblr, which is full of artwork and dance parties! Check it out if you haven't already.

the kitten drank the paint water

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Friday, January 06, 2012
the steady gaze of pinata godzilla

I am so unorganized so far this year - day six went by in a fog and now here it is late at night and miles to go before I sleep, etc. This is especially dumb because I have set up these recurring tasks for myself: blog post a day (for January) and little art project a day (for the foreseeable future). I know this when I wake up in the morning! yet today I wasted time like a professional time waster about to get a performance bonus. So here I am slightly after midnight getting ready to backdate this business.

Last night at this time I had a migraine and today I don't, so there's something to be happy about. (and I'm SO HAPPY that I don't have one tonight. The weather has been whipsawing around which is a recipe for the stealth headache - the background kind that builds all day until it has enough power to send jaggy lightning bolts of pain all around my cranium.)

For my art project today I think I'm going to do a little bird drawing/painting. I'm into birds lately. The kitten drank all the gross paint water that I left on my desk, but I can pour some out from my water bottle so no worries! (Also, no worries about Otis - it was watercolor water, and the colored part had mostly sunk to the bottom. I mean, I wouldn't want to drink it, but I've seen cats drink WAAAAAAY grosser water.)  This art project a day has not been without interruption, but I really missed it when it was gone. It's like writing or anything - time away makes it harder, time at it makes it easier. Fortunately, it doesn't take too long to get up to speed as long as I don't waste the day in a post-migraine fog, or any other kind of fog. Down with fog.

Here's a crazy question: what would happen if I did this stuff IN THE MORNING? Hmmmm. The very idea of it grates against my sense of when I'm allowed to be creative, but maybe if I just get up and pretend that there's nothing weird about it, there will be nothing weird about it. Must investigate.

waterfall nebula

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

I love browsing through NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day.

picture wednesday

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

#1, a picture of the kitten in a rare moment of repose. His name is Otis, but mostly I call him "aaaaaaah! Stop climbing my jeans!" or "Get out of that plant!" which I feel guilty about because he's only a baby and he loves to climb and he loves plants. I love plants, too!  If I had claws who knows what I'd climb. 

My legs are covered in tiny red scratches, but I don't care. 

He and Busby are getting along pretty well. Every now and then Busby holds him down and whaps him on the head or gives him a bath, both of which Otis loves.  On Busby's part, it's not love at first sight, but it gives me hope they'll get to a good place eventually since he's willing to teach and play with this tiny maniac. That makes it sound like they're not in a good place now - I think they are, but it will get even better when one of them is not 95% kitten insane. 

Tonight was jeopardy night at trivia - we were way ahead at the beginning - but by the time final jeopardy was over, we were out of it. Damn you, final jeopardy!

#2, I worked on my quilt for a bit today while watching Stephen Fry in America, which is streaming on Netflix. In this show he's visiting all 50 states in a London-style black taxi and having small adventures. (I'm on a horse/hot air balloon/steam engine/etc.) Now that I think of it, I wonder if he's visiting all 50 or just the continental 48? I will have to tune in tomorrow to find out! This time I learned that he prefers the deep south to Florida, and that nobody ever has much to say about Delaware except for "there's Delaware" as they drive by the sign. Poor Delaware. 

Iowa Nice

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

NSFW (language and air quotes, would be fine if you've got headphones and zen tolerance for air quotes.) I have extra affection because I immediately identified the "Ag Science" books he holds up as library books.

For what it's worth, Iowa was one of my favorite states on my road trip this past summer. I didn't know what to expect (farms?), but it was beautiful and had, hands down, the best rest areas on the whole trip.

These Iowa caucuses are WILD - Santorum?! (I thought we'd get through this Republican nomination process without Santorum floating to the front of the crazy parade like Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Paul, and Gingerich, but I guess not. Poor Hunstman, stuck in back playing the tuba.)  I would be more concerned about Santorum, but really it's only a tiny percentage of Iowa voters who participate so I'm not overly concerned. I think Romney will end up with the party nomination, but it will be interesting to see if they drive it all the way to the convention before they give it to him. I like it better that way - I hate that the nominations are all tied up so early and everything is such a bought and paid for professional package deal. The vice presidency used to be awarded to the runner up! That would liven things up, don't you think? Two vigorous rivals forced to work together for the good of the country? Stranger things have happened.

currently reading

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Monday, January 02, 2012
The Family Fang:

 The scar on his lip was less of a star and more of a wishbone or, more accurately, a horseshoe. Stars, horseshoes, wishbones. His scar was nothing but lucky symbols. Using the tube of antibiotic ointment, which would soon need to be expensively refilled, he dabbed the medicine on his cuts, which took some time and effort. When he was finished, Buster smiled at his reflection and saw that this made things worse. He returned to his seat, the aisles around him completely empty, everyone on the bus giving him a three-seat buffer in all directions. This was a kind of life he understood, a three-seat buffer whether he wanted it or not, time to think, whether he wanted it or not, traveling down the highway to someplace new, whether he wanted to or not. 

I was reading both this and Great Expectations, but the due date on T.F.F is coming quickly upon me, so I have to make it my one and only book for the time being. I'm enjoying it very much! Wes Anderson keeps coming up in reviews, but I don't think that's quite fair to either of them.  More on this when I finish. It's a strange and funny book.

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Sunday, January 01, 2012
archer hood ornament
hood ornament from a fancy automobile.  
January 1 - I don't have a lot of big fancy resolutions, but that doesn't mean I don't have PLANS and thoughts on how I'd like to conduct myself in the coming year. The main thing, I've decided, is that doing things every day is important - also, taking care of little things before they become big things. I tend to let things stack up and become overwhelming -  if I just chip away every day, everything is so much easier!  This is not a radical idea (thanks, Ben "stitch in time saves nine" Franklin), but for some reason it feels like I'm getting away with something by not making things more complicated than necessary.  Mwahahahaha! (my evil getting away with stuff laugh.) 

On the topic of books, I can tell you that I'm reading The Family Fang and Great Expectations right now and I'm enjoying them both very much. More book stuff and everything stuff soon, since I think I'm going to blog every day in January because why not?

(photo at top is from the museum's Art of the Automobile show I went to this past summer.)