Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row...

I'm not a very political person but this poem has always moved me and I usually see some reference to it on various days of remembrance for our war dead, such as Memorial Day (which seems to be not much more than a day to have a picnic for most people, including myself). There is a rawness to it that grabs me even when I'm not in the mood for poetry, especially this line:

We are the dead. Short days ago

I just read an editorial in The Week magazine about how the news media in this country is not publishing photos of our war dead. The news is too negative, it seems, so editors don't want to turn away even more readers with too much realism. That is just pathetic. We're so isolationist that we're isolating ourselves from our own war dead now. Dead? What dead? Bush's new slogan about the war in Iraq should be "I don't see dead people."

I heard part of dorkboy's--I mean, the President's--speech today, and he said something about how of course he has always believed that diplomacy is the best way to solve conflict. I wanted to yak. In pink on his shoes. Just the way he said "of course" was so lame, it was like Lady Macbeth, you know, methinks the lady (dorkboy) doth protest too much??

Saturday, May 28, 2005


I regularly have apocalypse dreams. I think this is a hazard of having been a teenager when Reagan was elected president--I was sure nuclear war was imminent and the end of the world was nigh. But maybe at some point all teenagers feel like the world is going to end, for one reason or another. Then again, maybe it's just me ... In my latest dream, we're all going to live underground in sealed-off bunkers connected by a maze of tunnels, and our food supply is provided by Simon Delivers, in those friendly green tubs. My sister is part robot, if you can call having a gumball machine as a head robotic (Ian, you know where the gumball machine comes from).

Some of my favorite sci-fi stories are about apocalypse and its aftermath. Kate Wilhelm's Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang is one I just recently read, and although it was written in 1977 (and won a Hugo), it's suprisingly relevant today. It's about post-apocalyptic survival through cloning. The book is not as well known as some other Sci-Fi classics, but I'm interested in the philosophical struggle of living post-apocalypse more than the special effects of the apocalypse itself, and Wilhelm delivers on the philosophy. Robert C. O' Brien (who also wrote The Secret of NIMH, which is way better than the Disney movie) has a great apocalypse/coming-of-age book called Z for Zachariah that haunted me for years after I read it. There's also a newer YA apocalypse novel by Minnesota writer Wil Weaver that came out in 2001--Memory Boy-- that has the added geek factor of a recumbent bike that becomes a family's only vehicle. Just recently I reviewed a photography book for Rain Taxi called Waiting For the End of the World, a bizarre catalog of real post-apocalypse bunkers around the world, that was both comical and disturbing to read.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Inappropriate Yard Decor #2: Mainly, it's just too honkin' big. As in 5 feet tall on the front lawn. Real birds in the neighborhood don't seem to like it either--note the bird doo on his head. Ginormous rusted rooster: beyond tacky. Posted by Hello

Inappropriate Yard Decor #1: This creeps me out every time I walk by this house. These stones are polished on the tops and look exactly like grave markers. Like some funeral home had leftover pieces of headstone and had a sale--hey honey, these would look great edging our front lawn! Posted by Hello

Cocoa helps with the laundry: I sort it on the floor, she lays on top of it. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cookie Karma

Yesterday morning a cookie fairy left a bag of homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on my doorstep. I have yet to find out who the cookie fairy is. At first I thought I knew, because just the day before I left some cookies on a friend's doorstep. I assumed it was her playing cookie tag with me. But she denies all knowledge and so does everyone else I have thought to ask. I guess I just have good cookie karma. I sure would like to know who did it though...

The cookies I made must be shared with the world, because they are so yummy. I'm posting a pic of these Choco-Caramel delights so you can all see them and drool. They're chocolate with a Rollo in the middle. So you have to smoosh the dough around the Rollo to hide it while it's cooking. It's kind of like playing with Play Dough. Only these taste better.

These are the cookies I made. Mmmmm, yummy. See the Rollo? There is one inside every cookie. Posted by Hello


Dangit. I dreamt I found Jimmy again, only this time I was sure I was awake. I was working in a bookstore and saw his name on some order manifest. So I asked my manager about it and he called up Jimmy and asked him to come out to the store to see me. I ran up to him saying "It IS you!" and I was so thrilled...we were starting to catch up on things and I was telling him how I wasn't working at this bookstore for the pay, because the pay was really crap, but the real value in it for me was the friends I had made, and now here I'd gone and found him, which was worth gold to me...

It's true, I did work at a bookstore for a long time, and the pay was crap, but I still have those friends I made at that job, and we keep in touch even though we live thousands of miles away from each other now. And now I'm working in another not-super-well-paying job and I've made a couple of friends I hope to keep in touch with even after it ends, which is in a few weeks.

And I'm applying for another not-great-paying job next week that I really want, and trying to think of how best to convince the people hiring that I'm their man(woman), even though I don't have a degree in what the job is for. It's my density, to quote Crispin Glover in Back To the Future.

Friday, May 20, 2005

new gang tag: The Carpet Rollers Posted by Hello

I know it's a weed, but when you look at just one, isn't it an amazing little spaceship? Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

89.3 The Current

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And thanks to Minnesota Public Radio, there is now a public radio station with no commercials that plays something other than classical music. I don't know how you'd categorize it, maybe contemporary mix? That sounds so boring, though. Bjork and Billie Holiday on the same station. Some of it is too loud for me which makes feel old, yes, but some of it is new stuff I've never heard before that is really interesting. I stopped listening to commercial radio eons ago because the commercials made me insane, but I really missed finding out about new music and hearing what was being made locally. And now I can hear all of that. In fact, they play some local music every hour. Ahhh. Progress can be good, people.

Tonight's find on The Current: Towa Tei's Sound Museum. It's loungy but also reminded me of Meat Beat Manifesto's industrial style.


All last week and this week there have been flashing signs on Hwy 62 saying the Eastbound lanes will be closed on May 20. At first I didn't know what EB62 meant, but after seeing it ten thousand times, it finally dawned on me. Okay, so May 20, that's tomorrow, I know I need an alternate route to get home. So, tonight, which you'll note is May 19th, I come to a grinding halt behind a long line of traffic on my way home, next to signs that say EB62 ONE LANE. Hey! That's not fair! Poo poo heads.

Funny Kind of Brush with Fame?

Why is it so fun to read a novel that takes place somewhere you know? Third Person Singular is a mystery by K J Erickson that's set in Minneapolis, where I live (known as Mudville this week), and I got a big kick of out reading about places I know, like the bluffs over the Mississippi River, and this little joint famous for its juicy burgers called Matt's. I will probably never eat at Matt's because a. it's a bar and I don't do alcohol or smoke, and b. I'm a vegetarian. Wow, I sound like such a prude. But I'm not, really. Anyhow, I drive by Matt's all the time, it's nothing to look at, just a hole in the wall neighborhood bar, none of the flash of Famous Dave's or bigger chains. But now every time I go by Matt's I think of that book, and I imagine those characters meeting there for lunch like they do in the book. So it's like I know people who go there, like they're my friends. Only they're fictional. Isn't that odd?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Not Quite Wet Enough

Just went for walkies in the rain, and Cocoa decided she wasn't getting wet enough, so she lay down in a huge puddle at the curb. Nice. Dirty water, icky! But she looked so happy. Still, I am not getting her pool out in the backyard. It's already slushy enough for mud wrestling out there.


Whenever we get a new big bag of dog food, J. pours it into the plastic tub, and Cocoa watches very attentively. It's exciting to see that much doggie food all at once. She used to be a stray before we adopted her from the local Humane Society, so I wonder if having to scrounge for food gives her that look now when she sees lots of food. Or maybe all dogs are piggies. J. is sweet so he usually lets her stick her head in the bin and get a bite after he pours the bag out. This time she got a little greedy and made like a squirrel, filling her cheeks. Only she doesn't have squirrel-sized cheeks, so she had empty her mouth before she choked on it, and there on the floor she deposited a rather large soggy pile of food. Bleah! And no, we did not let her eat it. Icky.

Rain Rain Go Away

You'd think we're in Seattle here with all the rain. Oh, for a sunny day!! Haven't seen the yellow orb in several days now. How very tiresome. Makes for soggy walks. And soggy dogs.

This ATC is from the Mother's Day set, it's called Domestic Nincompoop, because she's doing "Broom-handle Exercise." The Chinese chop means harmony. Because we all need to do our domestic chores to keep in harmony. Yak! I'm grumpy about being domestic today, vacuuming. Cocoa is trying to help by bringing me her ball so we can play fetch while I vacuum. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Two women told me today that I look younger than I am. One thought I was in my 20s, which was darling. The other is the same age, in fact exactly the same age as me, as I just found out her birthday is the same day as mine! Spooky! (I'm in my late 30's, BTW)

What a Piece of ...A Day Is

Wow, the weather really sucked big time today. It was 34 degrees! And now it's up to a whopping 37. It was windy, cold, rainy and wet. Bleah. And yet I still took my doggie for a walk (tho not very far) because she doesn't care about the weather, she just wants to play outside!! So we walked in the rain. Sometimes that's nice. Sometimes I think of Charlie Brown and see myself as him out on the pitcher's mound when it's pouring rain and everyone else has gone home and he says "Where's everybody going? It's just a little rain!" Today it wasn't pleasant, just annoying. Funny how you can develop a sense of entitlement about the weather, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Altered Book spread: birch bark (picked it up on a walk), torn paper from unused greeting card, angel image from art museum flyer scanned and altered with color filters, tiny bells on strings, star eyelets, image in corners from Penscore stamp I made, and quote from favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life: "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." --Clarence Oddbody, AS2 (angel, second class) Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

In A Perfect World

Last night I dreamed I took my dog with me to the library.

I'm not sure why but I think this is gorgeous. It's blossoms fallen from an apple tree. I like how it feels ordered (symmetrical) and messy at the same time. I used to think I liked this because it looked like snow, but now I would really be annoyed if it snowed, so I don't think that's it. I like the pure white of the blossoms. They look just perfect, but if you try to pick them up you smush them, so you have to just appreciate them there on the ground, lining your walk. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

Heckuva Deal

Got a new pair of shoes! REI had their anniversary sale over the weekend so we went to buy J. some new panniers for his bike since the last ones broke. And of course we found a few other things. I got some Keen sandals, same kind I got J. last year for his birthday. He loves them and wears them all the time. They're great for camping and hiking (and canoeing in BWCA) and just wearing wherever. So I was trying on the women's sandals, normally $95 on sale for $69, and this woman comes up to me and sort of leans over and half whispers--"Hey, what size do you wear? Cuz I got mine in the kids' section and they're like $40 cheaper." So I tried it and lo and behold, I fit in the kiddie size, so I only paid like $32 for mine. And I love them, they are soooooo comfy. I will probably wear these for walking Cocoa Puffs once we get sandal weather here.

Sent in my class for ISABA today on using Penscore foam. I hope they like it, it took a lot more work than I realized it would, and over 20 pictures!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Pretty Happy Mother's Day

So, here it is, and I'm not even crying. Thinking a lot of Miranda today, our miscarried baby of 2 years ago, but I'm not feeling like I'll drown in sadness. I had fun making that Box O' Art for my Mom, and she liked it a lot. I'm sure my Dad asked "What does it do?" being the engineer he is. Don't worry, Dad, I'm not planning on making you art for Father's Day! Unless you want it. I know, tho, it has to be functional...

Church wasn't too horrible, tho I did fear it would be a love fest for Mothers. It's not that I begrudge the mothers, the dears, I just envy them and feel a hole in my heart that I'm not one of them. Yet.

J. found out he's going to San Jose for a work conference soon, which is so bizarre. I mean, San Jose is like this mythical place in my mind now, because I haven't been back there, since, well, I think since we left when I was 10. Maybe I was back there one time since then, but it's hard to remember because I dream about being there so much that I can hardly distinguish the two. Except for maybe the flying dreams, I know those are--yeah, dreams. I have this flying dream where I'm running down the hill (through the intersection where Suzy got hit on her tricycle and had stitches across her stomach that she showed everyone) and past our house, and I lift my arms and I just take off, into the blue. There's this funny perspective I get in dreams a lot that just doesn't seem physically possible when I wake up and think about it: I'm up really high and looking down and across at the whole city below me and I can see everything close-up at the same time as far away.

The Goddess of Headache Relief. Several people including Mom have said this is their fave.  Posted by Hello

Happy Mother's Day!! This is the Box O' Art, full of Artist Trading Cards, that I made special for my Mom. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Okay, whos' the joker? It's a phone...in the middle of the park...on a little shelf nailed to a tree. The cord winds around the tree behind it and disappears into the ground. There's a sticker on one side that says "if not working properly, call ..." with a phone number to call (presumably you would call from another tree--I mean phone). I was afraid to pick it up. I thought someone might be watching and jump out from behind me with a TV camera and an award for First Doofus Who Tried to Use the Forest Phone.  Posted by Hello

isn't it lush? doesn't it look abundantly abundant? Posted by Hello

Extreme close-up! Sorry it's not scratch 'n' sniff. Posted by Hello

Some gorgeous fragrant apple trees on my walk Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Geek Returns

That guy on the dork bike with the kayak trailer just went by again! Does this mean I've been sitting at the computer all day? Well, kind of...so maybe I'm a dork too!

Time Travelers Convention

Been playing around on the web and found this story about a student at MIT who is having a Time Travelers Convention on May 8th, which as he points out, only needs to happen ONCE, since all time travelers from past and future can simply...yes, you've guessed it, travel in time, to this convention. There's a funny interview with the student on NPR.

Long Haul

How weird, a guy on a recumbent bicycle (as if that's not geeky enough) just pedaled past our house with a kayak in tow! It had its own special little trailer with wheels.

Squatting Marmot, Hulking Monkey

House of Flying Daggers - great movie that reminded me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (actually has the same actress) with the fighting among treetops and other physics-defying acrobatics. It's gorgeous cinematography, so green and lush and epic and you really can't tell where the leaves stop and the matte paintings begin. I can only think of a couple other films with visual artistry like this: The Scent of Green Papaya, an almost wordless Vietnamese film, and Prospero's Books, a Peter Greenaway version of Shakespeare's The Tempest starring John Gielgud. I am still hoping to see Prospero come out on DVD, but alas, not yet. It's like a moving painting of the story, a frame-by-frame tableau vivant.

Watching Daggers, I had to wonder about something...when Hollywood was still churning out westerns, people came from overseas expecting everyone in America to be dressed in cowboy hats and riding horses. Do I have the same misapprehension about Asia? Most of the films I've seen about China take place in some distant past dynastic empire. Would I be unconsciously expecting to see everyone wearing flowing silk garments like I see in the movies if I went over there? I think I would. About the only emblamatic image of China I have that's anywhere near current is of people in a city square doing Tai Chi (and I probably spelled that wrong).

Apple Blossom Time

I love this time of year, it smells so good outside. The apple trees are blossoming, and I love stopping on my walks and smelling them. Yum. I'm not much for roses, but I love the smell of apple blossoms.

Sick today so no walkies. Just woke up exhausted. Bother. Maybe I'll catch up on some reading. Yesterday I was a domestic wonder, getting the laundry, dishes and grocery shopping done. Why is grocery shopping such a pain? I like doing Simon Delivers but they don't always have everything we want, like the vegitarian meat, for instance. But they have the best produce, so there you go. Everything in life is a trade-off.

Monday was a bang-up mail day, got two ATCs, a zine I ordered about altering called The Gleaner Zine, and a photo of my dad in the local newspaper! He sings in a choir and they had a concert, so he saved the paper, concert program, and flyer for me since I couldn't be there. Wish I couldv'e heard him, I love to hear him sing, he is so happy when he sings.

Altered Book spread #2 from Angels book: this is a film still from Wings of Desire that I manipulated with photo editing software (color filters) and printed out on transparency. The pocket holds tags with verses from a poem that gets recited over and over in the film. One side is the German and the other side of the tag has the English translation. Posted by Hello

Altered Book spread from a Round Robin: theme was Angels, which I'm not terribly keen on, but one of my fave films is Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, so I used material from the film for my inspiration: glued torn scraps of patterned paper then painted in between the scraps and copied a speech one of the angels in the film makes about wanting to become human. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Day Snow

It snowed today. How ridiculous! It was also blustery and a wee bit cold, so we didn't really feel like going to the May Day Parade just to stand around and shiver. So later we went on a family walk over to the park and saw the waterfall and walked down by the creek all the way to the mighty Mississip. It felt bizarre to see the snow falling in May. Everything is green now, so beautiful. J. and I were sitting on a park bench talking and decided this was the best place either of us had ever lived for walkies. It's so nice when you can just walk out the door and get somewhere nice. I want to live here a long time.

More pictures from the Walk For Animals yesterday. You thought I was kidding about the ponies, didn't you? Well, here they are! I heard one of the women saying "This one is my daughter's. She's four." Can you imagine having a pony at four years old? I mean, what else would you ever need if you already have a pony? Later, when you grow up, you could tell people you had a pony. And they probably won't believe you. I mean, who has a pony, a real pony? Not that I want one now, it's not something you really want when you're almost 40. But you know what I mean.  Posted by Hello

J. and Cocoa on the bus to go home after the big walk. Cocoa was pretty tuckered out. Posted by Hello