teeny tale: contagious

i think i’ve caught what you have, she said. really, i didn’t know i had something. what do i have? he asked. how am i suppose to know, you had it first. oh, he said. you mean the shakes & those stomach pains i told you about? yeah, i’m not sure what that is. the funny thing is, is that i thought i caught it from you. why is that? she asked. well, because i only started feeling this way after i met you. that’s strange. because i only starting feeling sick after meeting you, too, she said. hmm. so we’re sick from each other? i guess. well i’m okay with that, she said. as long as it’s not the flu. no. i don’t think that’s it, he said. good. whatever it is, at least we both have it, right? this way we don't have to avoid each other. no, he said. i like being beside you. good, she said. me, too. & the longer they sat side-by-side the better they began to feel.


i'm a roadie.

yeah, so i've been waiting for this freaking movie, The Road...waiting...waiting for quite some time now. i get excited, only to find that the release date has yet again been pushed back. what gives? and now it's set to open on thanksgiving day? seriously? the tryptophan will have me comatose on Nov. 25. i suppose it could be a great day-after-thanksgiving activity, but with everyone off for the holiday, the theaters will be packed and i'm not a fan of packed theaters. i suppose i waited this long though, what's another few weeks after the release date? i'd prefer to have some elbow space than to be one of the first to see it; however, I may end up buckling...

watch the trailer and get hooked.*
*you should only watch the following trailer if you've already read the book. if you haven't read the book...oy. do yourself a favor and pick 'er up. k? why read the book before even watching the trailer? because the book allows you to exercise your imagination; the trailer could take that all away from you. and that would just be criminal. plus, i personally enjoy creating my own characters in my mind: mentally shaping their facial features, dressing them, creating an original voice and gait, etc. the worst thing for me is seeing a movie, then reading the book and only being able to picture the faces of the actors and actresses that played said characters. ugh. it can ruin an otherwise gratifying experience. if you choose to watch it, regardless of what i've mentioned, don't say i didn't warn you...


an absurdly beautiful tiny desk concert upon my very own tiny desk.

I think this is by far the most people I've ever seen packed into the NPR Music office. It's an absurdly beautiful little show they put on. Singer Jade Castrinos just freaking made me giggle out loud, yes, at work of all places. But who cares, everyone could use a little more giggle in their day if you ask me. Take a listen. Spread the giggle. Enjoy.

Smacked in between the songs "Janglin" and "40 Day Daydream" (shouldn't there be a hyphen between "40" and "Day"?--whatever) is the ooie gooey song "Home." It's like the creamy filling found between two perfectly baked (soft, yet slightly crunchy) chocolate chip cookies: I want to eat it right up. There's no repeat button, but I'm going back in for another nibble.

Update: So I've had "Home" stuck in my head for the past day and a half, and surprisingly I haven't grown sick of it yet. Anyway, I wanted to know more about these guys and found an interesting write-up that sheds some light on the bands name. For the record, Edward Sharpe is NOT a name of a band member. Find out who's name it is here.

Side note: I find the chat about the "0" on Ebert's chest adorable.

Final addition: In the album version of "Home" the talking part at the end goes like this:

Him: Jade
Her: Alexander
Him: Do you remember that day you fell outta my window?
Her: I sure do, you came jumping out after me.
Him: Well, you fell on the concrete, nearly broke your ass, you were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you out to the hospital, you remember that?
Her: Yes I do.
Him: Well there's something I never told you about that night.
Her: What didn't you tell me?
Him: While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you, and I never told you til just now.

And of course now I'm left wanting to know if this is true...but I'm not going to try to find out if it is; I'd rather just sit and listen to this set again. (I'm seriously going to kill these songs, but I don't care, because I know when I let them go later this week, I'll pick them back up in a few months and enjoy 'em all over again.)


the warmup.

(Spinner.com has been streaming this beauty for the past week. The link I'm providing will most likely be out of commission in a few days, maybe as soon as tomorrow. Regardless, I had to share.)

Dear K of C:
Your D of D did the trick: You warmed me up. If it weren’t for you, my new name would be Mrs. Cold. I was just about to reach my breaking point; I even threatened to throw a Riot on an Empty Street the other day. And the idea was starting to sound good, being the little Renegade that I am. Right before I heard your new album I was a Second to Numb. The vulgar thoughts had begun to pile up, I was ready to fight; however, your tunes found me and asked for forgiveness. I wasn’t going to give in-- I’m more of the Peacetime Resistance type--I mean, did you really have to wait so long? It's usually easier for me to stay mad. But there’s something about the lack of percussion that really must have eased me up. Nicely done. I’ve taken on a new mantra: be your own Freedom and Its Owner. It feels good. I’m not sure what carried me to this point. I suppose the voyage isn’t as important as the fact that I’m finally here, besides My Ship Isn’t Pretty. There’s a part of me that feels the need to thank you. Your words put down a path for me to follow, like Scars on Land leading me in the right direction. Now I’m not so sure I’d go as far as to say your words Rule My World, but they do rock my world, that I’ll agree to. Will you walk ahead with me? I think we could be something great. You have to admit, you see a little of Me in You, don’t you? I’ll leave my Boat Behind and we can finish this journey out on foot. I’m not sure where I’m headed. I sort of believe in the Power of Not Knowing. Knowing too much can be dangerous. So what do you say? It’ll be fun. I promise. And I’ll even let you when in the game of your choice along the way, but maybe only by a point: 24-25. Deal? You let me know.



the relief type.

Me testing my newly acquired skills. (Photo by S.K.)

Someone's cancellation became my fun-filled Sat. afternoon. I received an e-mail notifying me of an open slot at a letterpress workshop I'd expressed interest in...months ago; it was a pleasant find in my in-box. The workshop is run by Shelly Kuzniarek, the owner of French Press, a local letterpress and design studio. I arrived, surprisingly right on time (I'm never, ever, on time for anything, ever), at the fully renovated TriMain Center, a building with an exterior that's telling of its industrial origins and an interior filled with beautifully unique spaces boasting high ceilings and the kind of natural lighting you can't help but to stop and appreciate. Letterpressed signs accented with penmanship hinting at an affable creator, directed me to suite 507. This scavenger-hunt-link start put a skip in my step as I walked through the metal doorframe.

The class reviewed two different types of presses: a platen letterpress (circa 1920s) and a Vandercook No. 4(circa 1950s). Shelly demonstrated the printing process of each, which included the use of magnesium and polymer plates; setting up the chase (the rigid frame which holds your plate or composition) and tightening it with furniture (blocks of wood) and quoins (toothed angular blocks); the amount of ink needed (about a quarter size) to get the rollers covered; the type of ink she uses (rubber based); paper stocks; and how she uses Pantone swatches to derive the makeup of a color. For example, if the breakdown says something like 52% blue to 46% red for a purple hue, she starts mixing close to equal parts blue ink with red ink with a metal putty knife on glass, stopping to do a color check on a scrap of white next to the pantone chip. I told her it looked like fun, the whole mixing colors together, so she stopped on a dime and ordered me to get myself a pair of the rubber gloves from under the table and go at it. And I was right, it was pretty fun. (Thanks Shelly!)

After our introduction to both presses we were off to lunch, a break before we were to return to put what we had learned to test...

Printed pieces for the class to check out so we could get a look and feel for letterpressing.

That, my friends, is "furniture."

And a taste of some of the letter blocks we had at the tips of our fingers.

The lighting in Shelly's space is just brilliant.

The platen press.

After digging through an antique wooden tool box, with drawers full of metal pressing trinkets (mostly of text used for setting advertisements: "Clearance," "Sale," Reduced Price!"), I resurfaced with a "Now.." (it was missing an ellipsis), and a plate set with two hands holding an open box, which I decided to fill with narrow type to spell "Click!".

I had no idea how difficult it would be to set up the "simple" piece I had put together. I decided to capture my valiant efforts at arranging furniture around my composition to lock it up for print (above left). It was seriously like some strange Jenga jig-saw puzzle. (Note to self: start doing more jig-saw puzzles.)

We made 15 prints each: a copy for Shelly, a copy for each classmate, and the rest to take home.

The finished product!

At the end of the seven-hour day, my appreciation for letterpressing went up tenfold: I had never comprehended the amount of prep time needed to set up a job. Maybe it's the thought of the more you put into something the more you'll get out of it, but I can really see how it would be more personally gratifying to produce work this way, i.e., over an offset lithographic press or flexographic press. Then again, if I had a job requiring thousands of prints...I'd probably have another opinion.

Letterpress Resources:

Shelly posted some shots she took of us hard at work, including a few of the shots I took during class: French Press blog


teeny tale: whole grains

dense slices of 7-grain bread, toasted with peanut butter & jam. it’s her favorite kind of breakfast food. she says it helps fill some part inside her that remains empty overnight. two slices. every day. even if it doesn’t quite reach the deepest, darkest pit of her stomach.


Spike Jonze Knows Where the Wild's At

Where the Wild Things Are is out, directed by Spike Jonze. Get ready for the cinema by watching another vid directed by Jonze's. He's got some mad skillz. From furry 'staches to furry beasts.


streetside salvageable.

A few weeks ago I was walking through my neighborhood on my way to meet up with my girlfriend for one of our afternoon park walks. On the way, I spotted these cozy chairs advertising themselves on the curb; a "Free furniture" sign stood at the opposite corner. I left them, met up with my friend and dragged her off course to show her my find. We made a deal: If they were still there after our walk they would come home with me...with her help. And 45 mins. later, when the walk ended, we popped back down the side street, the place holding the residence that broke them in, the same one that then decided to toss them out. They were still there, so we swept them up and proceeded to walk two blocks with them to my place. Double bonus: two new chairs, a great arm workout.

Today I began giving these seats a new life, one that is bright and cheery. With a little sanding, a little priming, and a lot of white glossy spray paint they're on their way. Refinishing I can do, however, I have no idea how to reupholster chairs. I suppose I'll be learning soon enough--or at least my own version of how it's done. Stay tuned to see how that goes. I'm not making any promises...


it's back.

If you're in need of some form of consistency in your life, place yourself somewhere which offers up the four seasons for your delight. Fall is back. The leaves are turning golden and dropping in a scattered mess in the backyard. I love this season, but hate its cleanup; however, I'll take it if that means I get to enjoy the pleasures of the fine fall scents that come along with it: for one, the smell of the leaves--fresh and fallen--and then the pumpkin and spice candles, and warm apple cider--only to name a few. I want piles of leaves to magically appear like they did when I was little so I can jump into them with my worn jeans and navy blue knitted hat. I want to run a crayon (preferably Burnt Orange, Brick Red or Goldenrod) sideways over a piece of paper with a leaf beneath it to uncover the veins that give it life then suck it back. The desire to whip up stews and bake an apple pie and put maple syrup on anything possible comes on quickly, and it tends to stay for a few good months. My knitting needles are pulled from the wooden box they've sat in patiently for the past six months; they missed my touch. The ball of yarn that was left unfinished now wraps, loosely, around my neck, not as a scarf, nor as a cowl--it's not tight enough--but as the thing I finally finished, the thing that rightfully fills the purpose to warm my neck and needs no name more formal than "the thing I made." (Paragraphs are overrated.) Do you remember the smell of mud at your high school football game? Or what about the smell of the metal, chain-link fence you stood against and the cup of hot chocolate that kept you warm? (NFL games will never compare.) Layers. Sweaters. Boots. Speckled socks. Blue jeans. Corduroys. Even the wardrobe change I welcome, and fondly. To my disappointment fall always comes and goes in a blink of an eye: as soon as I finally realize it's here it's gone. It is here. I'm not too late. I've caught it, just in time to hold on to it and be in it, before it, and the entire year falls.

Hope you've done the same.
(Fall photos to come...I hope.)


going ga ga for gaga.

As some people may know, I am a sucker for SNL. Yes, I downsized my SNL fill during, what I considered, the off years, however, it's gaining momentum again and my appetite is no longer suppressed. Last Sat. I tuned in like the semi-loyal viewer that I am, and I'll be honest, I wasn't too keen on the idea of Lady Gaga as the musical guest, but I stayed up for that last half hour. You know the one I'm talking about. The one they drag out with commercial break after commercial break, only to end with five minutes left for one final song. To my surprise Gaga left be agasp. She's talented. And if you can look past the metallic rings that make her torso the nucleus of some fabricated atom, you'll see a gal with one kick ass voice. She's got something when she sits down at that grand piano, and it's worth watching.

An Atom. (Just in case you needed a refresher.)


i feel alive.

i can't get enough of these guys.

in case that version wasn't clear enough...

do me a favor and check 'em out some more. i think you'll be glad you did.



mah na mah na.


one of these puppets just doesn't belong; however, he's the star, and the disheveled look seems to work for him, or does it? because it's not strange at all to have two prim and proper school girls sing a song with a rough-around-the-edges (really rough) creepy male puppet. hmm. wasn't sesame street supposed to teach us NOT to speak with strangers? oh. okay. so that's the loophole: you can sing with strangers but you can't talk to them. whatever, i like the creepy puppet. i'm watching it again...mah na mah na...


yeah, when empanadas can talk...


Ads outside the U.S. are way cooler. When you can make an ad about Pepto seem interesting, you've done a heck of a job.