3.31.2009

look what i found...

David Foster Wallace

As I read "Good People" just now, I wondered upon reaching that small black diamond whether or not this would count as my David Foster Wallace read. I enjoyed it and decided it does not. Besides it was only 3 pages (online style). This probably means I should make some guidelines for the Aimee Bender book, as it's a collection of short stories. It may come off the list all together. Either way, I still plan to pick it up, just don't know if it's "Goals for 2009" worthy.

Cheers.

3.30.2009

surprise! solitude satisfies

The journey to the West dances from side-to-side in my head. Right now, it's taking a break. As I tossed around the idea verbally to a co-worker, telling her how it would include some joint time with a best friend and some down time (maybe a day or two) solo, I was taken aback when "That sounds lonely" flew from her lips. I politely fluttered back "Actually, not really, I have a lot of things I could do with that time." People who don't enjoy their own company, who become uneasy in it, confuse the heck out of me. Why the need to be so dependent on others to gain satisfaction is prevalent among many, not all, but some, is an attribute I don't get; it's outright unfortunate. There are so many great things about solitude, or maybe I should rephrase, "self-seeking" solitude: solitude that is choosen, opposed to solitude that's the result of an unfortunate circumstance that leaves one stranded on an island or labels you as the kid that no one wants to sit with at lunch. I'm talking about planned solitude, like taking a solo roadtrip; going to the movies sans a wingman; spending a day in the park with yourself, a blanket and a good book. Is it that difficult to believe I'd have a good time alone in California?! Oh my, some people, how my heart aches for them. This life that's given to each of our waking beings is often shorthanded by a lack of vision, truncated desire and an abundance of worry. "Carpe diem" is more than a rally cry from Dead Poet's Society, it's a way of life: Pluck the flowers that bloom today before they're gone tomorrow; "Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die" (an expression derived from the Biblical book of Isaiah, but poularized by Dave Matthews); and abbreviate your hopes for the future and capture the simple pleasures of the present.


Carpe Diem

by Robert Frost
Age saw two quiet children
Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward,
He waited (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
"Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure."
The age-long theme is Age's.
'Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past. The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing—
Too present to imagine.

I think Frosty wants us to seize tomorrow because it seems the present is too much for him. I've had days like that. Either way, whether it be today or tomorrow, do something with it and don't be afraid to do something with it...alone.

3.27.2009

random thoughts, likes, dislikes and things of that nature

Entry I began this past Friday a.m.:

It's been nine minutes since I last looked at the clock. I'm trying to wait patiently for the clock to strike 10 a.m. EST only to know that it means it's 7 a.m. PST. Why? I'm waiting to call the reservation peeps at Yosemite National Park to find out whether or not it's possible to get a canvas tent with heat in April. If the answer is no, I fear my body won't be able to withstand the cool mountain evenings and my planning will have to evolve. On the other hand, this could be a really rad excuse to buy a sick sleeping bag. You know, the kind that keep you snug as a bug in a rug in 40 below temps. I'm craving the mountain air, the rustic splendor of the outdoors, the smell of campfire and most of all, hiking trails and a new environment to snap some shots in. (Maybe I'll bring the 35mm with black and white film and save the digital for color.) This trip will be a great test of my backpack packing abilities. I'm an over-packer. A goal for 2009 is not to become the opposite, but rather hone in on the logic-based thought process that will allow me to pack just enough. Once again, I'm planning a trip that hasn't had any solid progression other than some e-mails back and forth between my Callie adventure gal pal; however, that's always been enough to wet our palettes and bring things to fruition. I think what's more exciting is if it does happen, it will happen soon, like within-a-few-weeks soon, or at least with in a months time. Planning a last minute excursion gives me such an adrenaline rush; I like it, no better yet, I love it.


Recently I've been waking up to the smell of toast; I've decided it's one of my favorite smells. Other favorite smells include the following (in order of favorite to least, excluding toast of course which would be included in the top 5):

  1. Wood burning fire

  2. The aroma of a freshly cut pine

  3. A dewy morning

  4. Coffee beans

  5. A freshly laundered T-shirt--especially when on the back of my boy

  6. Fall

  7. My parents house

  8. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies

  9. The Northwest mountain air

Not the most original list....so here's another to expand upon the above (in no particular order):

  • Irish Springs soap, but not the bar, rather its residue on clean skin

  • Burnt marshmallows

  • Personal oils, not necessarily my own, but that last-day-before-you-should-shower smell--which is ironic since I also crave the smell of a freshly clean bod. Hmm.

  • Homemade tomato sauce

  • Peach potpourri--it reminds me of my childhood trips to Myrtle Beach

  • Coconut cream lip balm

  • Men's deodorant, applied

  • Fried dough, also homemade

  • Pine sap

  • That first hint of saltwater in the air as you approach the ocean

The start of my "To Do" list for spring/summer of '09:

  • See how long I can grow my hair before I have the urge to cut it...or dye it.

  • Get rid of old baggage

  • Rid my residence of excess (i.e., clothes, shoes, papers, random objects of no use, etc.)

  • Get more organized (i.e., as organized as is humanly possible for me, which will include a trip to IKEA for fun let's-get-organized furnishings)

  • Camp, not just get up to camp, but camp in a tent and more than once or else it doesn't count.

  • Continue exploring--a goal for life.

  • Finish the book I'm currently reading and finish three or more of the following: The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender, The Power and the Glory  by Graham Greene, and apparently a/any book by David Foster Wallace (I have his name scratched down in my little notepad, but with no title hmm).                          

3.23.2009

monday's stream of words...one by one

Blacktop welcomes
four wheels round
Drive on, pass by
connect the dots...
one by one
"I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok..."
Shadows stretch
run them over...
one by one
Silent speed bumps
shake morning from my eyes
Bring the day anew
Blue born from brown
Suck me in, push me farther
Spit me out
someplace new
Right turn;
open road
Run the red;
question the green
Off to highway 101
Cruise...
spin 'em round
shake the night into my eyes
until my tank is done

Note: Today I planned a trip down the West Coast, highway 101, plane tickets and all. I like to plan trips, regardless of whether or not they'll actually happen; they're all possible. My adventures pile up; I'll get to them...soon...one by one.

glasses.

3.16.2009

Tang.


It was the first weekend in awhile where I could step outside with ease; the sun was shining and the extra layers were shed. I really couldn't have asked for a more beautiful weekend to spend at home. Before my homeward bound trip I decided to see what events were going on in Saratoga Springs, NY, and was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the Oliver Herring exhibit at the Tang, Skidmore College's museum and art gallery. I'd never heard of Oliver Herring, but looked him up and loved what I found: a style of art that was built upon the unexpected and incorporated stop-motion video, photography, sculpting, knitting--a one man circus act of the arts (meant in the most flattering of ways.)

Bike racks screaming to be used.

No, no, thank you aluminum shopping bag.

(Shown above.)


I think the following portraits are just brilliant. I'd love to know how long it took for the coloring to shed its existence upon their skin...

Chris After Hours of Spitting Food Dye Outdoors
2004
c-print
41 1/2 x 62 1/2 inches Framed

Shane After Hours of Spitting Food Dye Indoors
2004
c-print
41 1/2 x 62 1/2 inches Framed

The following are Oliver's photo-sculptures. Herring transformed pieces of foam into life-size sculptures shown below. Taking photos of his subjects from every possible angle, he then created a collage of those images and draped them over the foam; the result is remarkably eery.

Wade
2006
c-print photographs, museum board, foam core and polystyrene with vitrine
68 x 22 1/2 x 15 inches

Polystyrene (n.): A rigid clear thermoplastic polymer that can be molded into objects or made into a foam that is used to insulate refrigerators.

Vitrine (n.): A glass-paneled cabinet or case for displaying articles such as china, objects d'art, or fine merchandise.


Gloria

2004
c-print photographs, museum board, foam core and polystyrene
72 x 40 x 40 with vitrine


Herring is also known for his knit Mylar objects. "The knitting process played a crucial role, allowing the resulting objects to act as indicators of the passage of time." (I think the piece below took something like 10 or 11 years?!)

An Age For Hands
1996
knit silver mylar, steel
117 x 156 x 5 inches

Visit the Tang's website.
More on Oliver Herring at PBS "art in the twenty-first century."

3.12.2009

roadmonkey: my future goal

volunteering meets expeditions to kilimanjaro. sign me up...
check it out: http://roadmonkey.net/

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor....Explore. Dream. Discover."

~ Mark Twain

p.s. the four grand price tag sorta squashes my excitement. i better start filling my piggy bank with $20 bills...

yeah, that'll be the day.

3.07.2009

book bound.


bookbinding is something i've always been curious about. how's it done? where does one start? the tri-main center here in b-lo happens to be a hop, skip and a jump away from my abode, and just also happens to house the buffalo arts studio. lucky me. through project create, courses are offered on everything from watercolor and acrylic painting to printmaking, pottery, assemblages and, yes, bookbinding. thanks to my talented and affable instructor, amy greenan, i was introduced to bookbinding, 101 style.

 
you can use anything from cotton thread or colorful embroidery thread 
to bookbinding thread. 

glue stick. check. needles. check. awl. check. straight edge. check. 
variety of material to work with. check.

book #1
first we learned a basic pamphlet stitch and then created soft covers for them.
(i used magazine ads and decorative scrapbook paper.)


using scrap, i created a fun little slip closure.



book#2
the japanese binding.
this binding is great to bind loose, single sheets.

book#3
the accordion fold.
this is an accordion with hardcover top and bottom.
i seriously can't wait to make a ton of fun little mini books this way...
among so many other things.

book#4
my own creation: a cardfolio
we learned basic hardcover assembly, as well as 
the making of portfolios. brilliant.


the end.

want to get your bind on? check these sites out:
www.keithsmithbooks.com
www.philobiblon.com/letprint.shtml


3.05.2009

V

"Every season is likeable, and wet days and fine, red wine and white, company and solitude. Even sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life, can be full of dreams; and the most common actions—a walk, a talk, solitude in one’s own orchard—can be enhanced and lit up by the association of the mind. Beauty is everywhere, and beauty is only two finger’s-breadth from goodness. So, in the name of health and sanity, let us not dwell on the end of the journey."

~Virginia Woolf

The Common Reader “Montaigne”-Ch. 6

The Common Reader is Woolf’s first and most popular volume of essays; the collection has more than twenty-five selections.

Today's question: Are you the "common reader"? Who is the common reader you ask? Well, according to Dr. Johnson, this individual is neither a critic nor a scholar. He reads for his own pleasure and (to quote Mrs. Woolf) "He is guided by an instinct to create for himself out of whatever odds or ends he can come by, some kind of whole--a portrait of a man, a sketch of an age, a theory of the art of writing." It's someone untarnished by the literary world. Someone who reads what they want because they want to, not because they were told to. Someone who reads to fulfill some part of themselves through word soaked pages; opposed to reading only to announce some freshly captured nugget of knowledge or produce a counterargument to others opinions...

Isn't the common reader who writers fill their pages for?

Side Notes: (1) I'm hoping to visit some of V. Woolf's stomping grounds in London; and (2) I think it would be really neat to have a name that starts with a "V" only because the nickname "V" seems mysterious and has a kind of I-don't-take-crap-from-people ring to it.

3.04.2009

today's randoms...

I should really stop putting my chewing gum on top of my travel coffee mug. It looks gross and I rarely stick it back in for a second teeth slamming.

The use of the serial comma in a simple series really bothers me.

I've been writing weekly nutritional and physical activity challenges for kids since September. I'm running out of ideas and ready to just post a "Choose Your Own Adventure Challenge" to cover the rest of May. I'd love to choose something like "King of the Hill" where the idea is to take over a mound of dirt or actual hill by, oh, I don't know, pushing the other children down it, but I don't think that will fly. For the nutritional challenge, I'm thinking of something like the following: "This week's challenge is to stop shoving your face with shit like candy bars, fat fries and beef patties. If you want to be a fat pudge of a kid, then fine, go right ahead. Otherwise, pick up a banana or something. What's wrong with you?"

I have to stop leaving my cell phone and gloves on my lap when riding in the car. I forget about them and then they meet the pavement when I depart my vehicle. If my cell phone could yell at me, it would scream expletives from its little speaker. It can't be pleasant to smash into concrete. Sorry celly. As for my gloves, I'm just glad they can't smack me across the face, because they would have done that by now, too, for the way I've treated them.

The use of a semicolon after "however" followed by a comma makes me smile.

I'm craving live music so badly that I'm actually going to see a band called "Deer Tick" tomorrow night. Yup. Just being at Mohawk Place with a vodka gimlet in one hand and a certain someone's hand in the other will make it a good night. So if the show is good, double bonus. I'll let you know.

It's finally happening. In 7 months time, I'll be eating biscuits and drinking tea, climbing the Eiffel tower and falling to my knees. In 7 months time, I'll be in Florence drinking wine and floating in a gondola feeling oh so fine. In 7 months time, I'll travel Europe with no fear and be downing Prague's tasty beer...

"...And there will be sun sun sun all over our bodies
And sun sun sun all down our necks
And there will be sun sun sun all over our faces
And sun sun sun so what the heck..."

3.01.2009

buffalo blooms all year long...

The buffalo botanical gardens is a culmination of the works of landscaping architect, Fredrick Law Olmsted; architects Lord & Burnham; and botanist/plant-explorer, John F. Cowell. When it was built in 1897-1899, it was one of the largest public greenhouses in the country. (Glass, wood and steel construction.) The image below illustrates its unique tri-dome design. Today there are less than a dozen large Victorian conservatories in America.


Photos by J. Lynn
2/28/09