Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Textile Center exhibit: Nothing New - Fiber Art from Recycled Materials

I went to the Textile Center today to sign up for another library shift, and to check out the new exhibit, which is just amazing. It's all fiber pieces from recycled materials, which is near and dear to my heart as an altered book artist. I've posted a few pics of the exhibit that I took because I thought they were so fun.

The weather is amazing today, just beautiful. 67 degrees and not humid. Just perfect weather, really. And what a relief after that frickin' heat wave! I heard on the news this morning that the heat index last Saturday in some parts of Minnesota was 125 degrees. Ack! So today I've got the windows open, Cocoa's had two walks already and might get another, and I drove around with the car windows open. Ah, so pleasant.

Then when I got home there was a message from Archiver's!! They got my application and want to talk to me!! Huzzah! I will be calling them back tomorrow.

Played Out by artist Abby Freeman

Lovely evening dress, no? It's made of "ex-boyfriend's cassette tapes." Brilliant. Posted by Picasa

Keeper of Identities closeup

I wonder if these are her credit cards that she cut up? What a great way to recycle the great American debt machine. Posted by Picasa

Keeper of Identities by artist Barbara Schulman

This piece has bits of credit cards, subway tokens, museum badges, and other found bits. I find this so fascinating and inspiring, I love it. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Altered Book FISH layout

More fun with background papers made with acrylic paint and tp. Posted by Picasa

ATC - Woven Harmony

Pink and purple background papers woven together and then stamped with asian chop symbols and glue glittered. Posted by Picasa

ATC - Abstract Poochie Post #2

I love this dog stamp, I never get sick of it. I used watercolor pencils and glitter glue to color the poochies. Made the background paper with acrylic paints. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Why Do Birds...

That ridiculous song is stuck in my head now, thanks to Sony Ericsson and the commercial they have in movie theatres, which I seem to see every time we go to a movie...you know the one I mean, where the Japanese guy and the Nordic dude start singing it to each other, and they're both singing in their own language and then in English and it's all about working together. Karoke makes the world go round, I think that's the message they're trying to get out. Ha.

I still have a headache, isn't that amazing? I am doing my new meditation CD and my acupuncture, and an ice pack off and on, and sleeping more. I can't sit in front of the computer for very long, so this will be short. It just won't die. The headaches, they mystify me. I have managed to get through the week, though, and accomplish a few things. I made about 30 ATCs so I'll be ready for the group meeting tomorrow, which I hope will be fun. I also managed to apply online for a job at Archiver's as a part-time instructor. I don't like this online application thing, because then you have no actual person to follow up with and you just wait to see if they ever call you in this lifetime...last night I had a terrible dream that I got hired at a bookstore and then after just a few days I was about to be fired because the manager didn't like me and it was like everything had changed and I was being too particular about doing the job right and she just wanted me to work and stop training...hmmm. I don't know what that means.

My article for the Knitters Guild that I wrote in May is still not out, and no word from the editor when the newsletter will be out, which worries me. I hope she's not about to cash it in and give up the newsletter, just when it's going so strong. I hear from various rumor mills that she is quitting her job and has been overwhelmed, but I hear nothing from her when I write. And I'm just getting cozy with the knitting publishers, too! They are sending me whatever I ask for to review, which seems like more fun than should be allowed.

Saw Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night, and really liked it. It is definitely weird, but I liked that about it. I think it will become a cult favorite. They did add this stuff on about Willie Wonka's father to create a tidy explanation for young Wonka's obsession with chocolate and candy, which was a bit odd, as in unnecessary and so very 21st-century-therapy-cure. Also saw Batman Begins earlier this week, which far outpaced the other pieces of crap with the name Batman attached to them. Good story, interesting philosophical quandaries, etc. Not heavy-handed like so many of the other comic-book-to-movie flops in the last decade.

Okay,yeah, this was going to be short. So back to the ice pack I go. And nearer the AC. The heat index right now, after 9pm, is 98 frickin' degrees. Oi. I'm still walking Cocoa in the mornings before it starts boiling, but during the day when it's stinkin' hot like this I want to hide. We did go out this afternoon to check out a local Zine Fair, but it was a bit disappointing. I used to write a zine back in the day, and read a lot of them as well. My favorites were the very esoteric ones that were focused one on one thing, like there was one always about the New York subway system. And another guy that wrote the funniest poems (no, really! I know it sounds dumb, but these made me laugh my ass off)...I wish I knew how to find those again. This little fair had mostly the rant-type of zines, which I find tedious and boring, probably because I'm 30-something. So the other thing we did when we were out was go to Target to get a few things. And of course I found some stuff not on the list, like these cute monkey socks in the dollar bins. Now, I ask you, how can it not be a fine day after all when you get monkey socks?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Eye of the Dork

I have been watching TV today since my head hurts and I don't feel like doing much. I just watched this incredibly stupid movie called Eye of the Devil. It stars Deborah Kerr and David Niven, so I thought it would be quality entertainment, but alas, it was French. Or it took place in France. There were many scenes with cockeyed camera angles focusing on people who were staring at nothing. Lots of loitering. And the plot took so long to be revealed that I didn't give a crap about it when we finally learned the Big Secret, which is that this tiny French village is pagan and sacrifices people when they have a bad wine crop. Big whoop. And Deborah Kerr runs around trying to stop it all. David Niven as a pagan believer is a bit much to swallow, I must say. No pun intended with the wine...

Ow, my head. I think I'll go read some more. I'm currently reading a fascinating yet creepy novel by Neil Gaiman called American Gods, about the new American gods of consumerism trying to take over the territory of the old European gods that came over with the immigrants on the boats. Gaiman does modern quests really well. His writing is never cheesy. I have to stop now. Wish me luck with that headache thingee...

Blue Dog Binky ATC

I drew the doggie, isn't he cute? Posted by Picasa

Long Haul

Hmmm, I think I used this title already but it feels appropriate again. I'm going off my headache prevention medication so we can try to get pregnant again, and I've got a headache now. It's not killer but it's very tiring. So I don't feel like doing a whole lot. I hope we get pregnant soon and then magically I don't get anymore headaches!! Hey, it could happen.

I did manage to get through the demo of Kool-Aid dyeing yarn at the Knitters Guild meeting last night, even with this headache, and it went really well. People were very inspired to go home and try this on their own, which was exactly what we were hoping for. I gave away the yarn that I demonstrated on, and made people promise to bring it back to a future meeting to show us what they'd knitted from it.

Wacko ATC

Posted by Picasa I've had a headache for three days now and my eyeballs feel a little like this guy's.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bunnies Are Exciting

That's what Cocoa thinks, anyway. More exciting than squirrels. And yesterday morning she saw a bunny and yanked the leash right out of my hand in hot pursuit. We were by the river and of course Mr. Bunny ran right down the hill, through all the protective underbrush, as probably any smart bunny would. And so Cocoa followed, and got hopelessly tangled in the trees and bushes about 80 feet down a steep hill. So I had to go rescue her! Mostly I slid down the hill through the branches and probably poison ivy, and got a couple nice scratches on my butt, along with a sliver!! This is an experience I could have lived without--the sliver in my bum. But I did feel proud that I was a good mommy and saved my doggie.

Flowers on a Morning Walk

This is now my desktop wallpaper on my computer. I like it because it looks cool, like there must be a stream nearby. It's been in the 90's here for about a week, with no end in sight. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My first Kool-Aid dye job! Posted by Picasa

Dyeing wool yarn with Berry Blue Kool-Aid. For fun, of course! Posted by Picasa

I also added two red colors to this hank. Doesn't it look like spaghetti? Posted by Picasa

Dipping a pull skein in Kool-Aid. This method really sucked the color right into the wool. I call this the citrus skein: Orange and Lemon-Lime Kool-Aids. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 11, 2005

JoAnn Verburg's Photography

If you like the photo below of trees on glass at the train station, here's some more of her work:

at a Physics Bldg on UofM, another tree photo (go to the Artists by name link and select her name), lightplay on someone reading a paper, trees at Phalen Creek in St. Paul.

I wish I could find more!!


I just posted some pics of one of the light rail train platforms near where we live. I love this train. J. took it to work just this morning, and we rode it with our bikes this last weekend to get to the Basilica Block Party downtown.

I was sort of half-awake Thursday morning when I heard something about bombings on a train on J.'s clock radio. It didn't sound right, which may seem like an odd thing to say, but I'm so used to hearing of suicide bombers in Iraq, every day... that I have to tune it out. And this sounded different. So I tuned in. I put on my Walkman to listen to NPR while I took Cocoa for a walk before the heat of the day set in. By the time we got back to the house I felt sick. I wanted to turn on the TV to see what was going on but our TV was on the fritz. So instead I finally sat down and read the book I got for my birthday last year, Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers.

On September 11, 2001, I was home. I watched it on TV. I think I saw the first tower fall live on TV. But the truth is I can't remember anymore if it was live. I watched it so many times, and it was so chaotic, it's all a blur. I remember calling J. at work and wondering if (hoping) he was going to come home early (he worked downtown at the time). I went to work at Hamline, where I was a consultant in the Writing Center, and people had set up TV's in the library to watch the news. It was eerie. I know I had the sense of something horrible and momentous happening, and as the aftermath set in, I tried to collect writing about it, because I figured I would want it later, for something. I thought I might write about it, or teach a class about it or something. That's also when I started reading The Week Magazine, when I was looking for a good source for timely news of the world. I tried reading The New York Times, but I just couldn't slog through it on a regular basis. I went to local poetry readings and I read The New Yorker, especially the poetry, for months afterward.

I did try to put together a writing class to teach last year, on writing poetry about public events, especially tragedy, but it was just too much. The Loft rejected my proposal because they thought I was trying to cover way too much in one class, and they had other concerns about it. I was annoyed but a little relieved. I haven't been reading much poetry lately, and haven't written any for even longer. I know I'll come back to it, but not just yet.

Reading In the Shadow of No Towers was really refreshing. It wasn't pretentious. Instead Spiegelman focuses on the little details of his experience, and it feels authentic. I remember feeling really worried immediately after the attacks that our government would just strike out at the first convenient target and make everything worse. Unfortunately, much of my fears seem to have been realized. When I heard of the London bombings last week, I felt really sad for Londoners, but I did not feel an accompanying rush of fear that the Brits would lose control and go bomb something back just to show how tough they were. Thank God they have more dignity and brains. Maybe I'm romanticizing... but not much.

We went to see War of the Worlds not long ago and although it's got astounding special effects, it really wasn't that interesting. There's one moment that almost got interesting, where the main character is trying to stop his teenage son from following the tanks into battle against the alien invasion. The teenager argues with his dad and says, "You need to let me go. I need to see this." It was a fascinating comment. He seemed to be saying, this is my generation's history happening, and I don't want to run and hide from it, I want to see it and be involved, even if it means risking my life. Granted, some of that was hormones. But he had a point, too, I think.

This glass panel is one of the windscreens on the train platform. JoAnn Verburg, a local artist, created these panels as well as the process of putting photos in glass like this. She does gorgeous work. It's so nice to look through these panels, especially in the middle of winter! Posted by Picasa

Train platform on 46th Ave. - our station. It's got some really nice artwork. Notice the turtle and wavy lines of water on the roof.  Posted by Picasa

Our light rail train from above the tunnel over Hiawatha Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Perfect Day

Yesterday we had the most perfect weather of summer. 72 degrees and sunny. So I took a little bike ride across the river and up Summit Ave. in St. Paul, then cut over to The Yarnery to exchange some yarn and get some more for another sock project. It was a great excuse to ride my bike and enjoy being outside. Summit Ave. is an old, wealthy St. Paul neighborhood with Victorian mansions lining both sides with a wide green thingy in the middle. I saw lots of people camped out for lunch on the green, and many other bikes as well. It's got a nice bike lane and not many stoplights, and it's mostly pretty level. Just my kind of ride. While over at the Victoria Crossing area by the yarn shop, I also went to Cafe Snotte--I mean Latte (home of the Chocolate Turtle Cake) and nabbed a raspberry scone for snack. Wow, I just looked at their website and they have an online Scone Calendar. So you can plan your visits around what kind of scones you want. Personally, my favorite is the Raspberry White Chocolate. Then of course I had to visit The Bead Monkey and control myself to buy just a few beads. I got a ring that you can attach beads to, that looked too fun to pass up. Then I munched my scone while sitting on the patio by the carved wooden bears out in front of The Red Balloon Bookshop, a great kid bookstore. They don't have a picture of the bears on their website...I'll have to take a picture next time I ride over there.

In the evening we went to our favorite neighborhood theatre, the old Riverview, to see the most hilarious kung fu movie ever, Kung Fu Hustle. It's just so crazy, it's like Crouching Tiger and The Matrix with the physics-defying fights, but it's also like a cartoon it's so over-the-top sometimes. We laughed a lot, it was really funny. Sammo Hung was the action director, and he does a lot of the Jackie Chan films, and you could see that influence. Fun, very fun!

snake from the rock garden, sunning itself on a..rock, of course. Posted by Picasa

Ladybug from the rock garden Posted by Picasa

Rock garden creature (kitty) from a boulevard garden on my walks with Cocoa. It's so cute, I love seeing these little rocks pop out every spring from under the snow. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Celebrating Independence Day

It was a nice day, actually. The weather was perfect, partly cloudy and about 80 degrees. We went for a bike ride, to the Capitol Building in St. Paul and then down to the river to go home. Everything is so lush and green here now, I love it. It's so thick I can't imagine winter. I'm still amazed by the changing seasons here, even after living here for 10 years. I grew up in California and Arizona, and the weather is pretty consistently the same all year long in both places, with only slight variations. What I like about living here is that you don't take your surroundings for granted, because they completely transform in each season. It's why the first warm day in spring here is so crazy with people streaming outside. They just burst out of their homes and drink in the sun like they haven't seen or felt it for months...which they haven't, really.

So the Capitol Building in St. Paul is 100 years old this year, woohoo. They had a special celebration on the lawns out front, so we had a picnic lunch there before riding down to the river. We missed the all-volunteer choir singing patriotic songs but were there for some of the "talent" on stage, which seemed like amateur night. There was one duo in particular that was really awful--The Larpenteurs. The name is a play on a main street in St. Paul of the same name, and they sang songs by The Carpenters. Badly. Oi. They started with a few bars of "We've Only Just Begun" and I wished immediately they hadn't. This was followed by segues into several other songs, equally horrific. Medleys, ew. J. commented he heard A Mighty Wind blowing.

In the evening the doofus who lives next door set off bunches of stupid fireworks in the street, and it's a wonder he didn't set something on fire, like himself. He had those screaming kind, which I hate and Cocoa did not appreciate either. She hid under my desk while I was sitting at it. J. went to see the professional (legal) fireworks down by the river, and I stayed home and soothed Cocoa and watched The Closer, a new cop show on TNT with Kyra Sedgwick as a Deputy Police Chief in L.A who's just transferred from Atlanta to handle high-profile murder cases and she's none too welcome. So far it's pretty good, although a bit disheartening that most of her male colleagues are such shitheads. I tried watching the other new cop show, The Inside, but that was just too freakin' gory and dark and depressing and creepy. Serial killer stuff. And the premise is that Peter Coyote is the head of this elite FBI unit and he exploits the weaknesses of his staff to catch the killers. A bit over the top. And gory crime scenes! Jeez. We watch the series House, about a curmedgeonly brilliant doctor, and they always have these warnings at the beginning about content may not suitable, blah blah blah, and we're always left wondering at the end what the unsuitable content was...whereas The Inside is ALL unsuitable as far as I'm concerned. I think The Inside has warnings as well, but when you start watching it, you wonder if the warning shouldn't have been a lot stronger...it's the stuff of nightmares.

Another new cop show I like that's coming back for a second season on July 11 is Murder in Suburbia. Not one but TWO female leads!! And they're funny, instead of crabby like Cagney and Lacey.

Okay, enough with the TV. Time to go read some more of this weirdly fascinating book I got for the camping trip, The Egyptologist. It's all in letters so far and that's a hard thing to pull off, to not get boring. But it's mystery as yet how all the characters fit together in this strange adventure, and I do like a mystery...

Flora at one of our campsites in BWCA. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Beautiful Summer

It's gorgeous here, two breezy sunny days in a row. Yesterday I did get a headache but not before enjoying being outside. We went to the newly reopened Walker Museum, what a freaky thing it is. Had seen most of the art already from the permanent collections but it was fun to walk through the new layout. I think I would get lost in there by myself. I always like looking to see what funky books they have in their gift shop and I found a couple this time I hadn't seen before. Happy Kitty Bunny Pony was the first one, mostly pictures of "super cute" animals with some commentary that isn't quite as funny as James Lileks. There's something that draws me to these cute pictures, maybe a reminder of early childhood? So even as I mock them, there's something in me that feels happy looking at them...The other book I saw at the Walker was Fashionable Food, which looked fascinating, about fad foods decade by decade. It's a reprint so maybe I can find it at a library. I don't really like cooking all that much, but I love reading about food, especially weird food. Speaking of which, it's almost the hot dog holiday. I suppose if we were really into July 4th we'd go get some of those fake dogs (we're vegetarians) . But I never liked hot dogs that much anyway. Bleah. Tomorrow, the 4th of July, Americans will consumer 150 million hot dogs. Wowie. That's a lotta dogs. For other fascinating hot dog stats, visit the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council site.