NYC stuff.

September 16th, 2019

A few select items:

1. I walked past a deli specializing in pickles and this sign was in the window.

I will now start wishing people “May The Lord of Pickles smile upon your crocks.” You don’t even have to like pickles and it still feels good to say. Bonus: Don’t tell people what you’re referencing. Just hit ’em with the good wishes, include a sweeping arm gesture and walk away. Leave ’em blessed and confused.

2. Moomins and I finally went to the Whitney Museum in the meatpacking district of New York (more on that later) and in the process we went to Chinatown to the restaurant where my father proposed to my mother, Hop Kee. The ambience is not great, think really clean 1980s office bathroom, tile and florescent lighting for days. The food is amazing though. While Moomins was attacking a steamed fish like Jack the Ripper I looked behind her head and saw a sign that tells a thousand stories.

“If ONE MORE PERSON asks me where the G****MNED BATHROOM IS I will straight up throw a piece of crockery at them. Try me. TRY. ME.”

3. Now on of the big elements of New York activity. The Moomins and I have been meaning to go to what used to be the new Whitney Museum (we put it off so long that it’s now just the Whitney). I struggle with modern art. Some of it is good, some of it is bad and all that’s fine but then some of it is straight smoke and mirrors and I am 100% done with that. I thought I would make it into the actual exhibition space before I started fuming but I was wrong. While Moomins was sorting out the ticket situation I ambled into the gift shop and started perusing the usual niceties – big coffee table books, scarves, umbrellas, etc. In a table case there was some pleasant enough jewelry and whatnot… And then I saw it. It was a not particularly well-made two hump porcelain candle holder, one hump per candle. Since there were two of them on display I could see they were made from a mold. Next to the candle holders were some basic white candles. All of this is fine. The comment next to it was you would buy this candle holder and you would get ten candles that come with it. And when you burn the candles you become part of the artwork because each one is unique. And it was selling for $900. Yeah okay here’s the thing: That’s how all candles work. You burn them, they drip all over and there’s your unique sculpture. And I would have understood this for $50. But $900? With the two zeros and everything?

Point is I checked my umbrella into coat check in a rage. I ended up being really impressed with the museum’s collection. It’s an enormous collection of American artists, predominantly painters. What I liked was each painting was made in a cross-section of time and place, x and y axis, and you get a sense of what America was like at that time. There was a portrait done of a Communist leader when this country was close to becoming Communist and in addition to the portrait itself you can see the painting style that was emerging at that time, the colors of the clothes, the tablecloth, etc. There were some paintings done in shortly before the Great Depression of the Ford factory that were like the calm before the storm (the storm being the epic unemployment to come). tt was done in a style I was unfamiliar with called Precisionism where lines are put in specific areas that span across the painting and give it the impression of a clean stained glass window. It’s like the opposite of Impressionism. Where Impressionism is soft and ethereal, Precisionism is crisp lines everywhere. Not a loose stroke to be had. The most famous piece in that style is this:

So I have no regrets in regards to the classic collection. Then there was the moderny modern section. Many years ago I had the experience where on my college campus they got sculptural elements and put all over in random spots (in front of the library, in the courtyard near the humanities building, etc.). One day I was walking past the student apartments where I saw a massive pile of wood and fabric so I did a circle around it to see if there was a placard about the artist who made it. It was at that time I realized it was a pile of garbage. It was a moment of clarity for me. “If the art is indistinguishable from trash, it’s trash.” I’ve now expanded that to “If a cleaning lady comes into the gallery and mistakes your art for trash and throws it away, it’s trash.” I’ll give you some examples.

These were very large hollow plastic shapes. They looked like enormous chrysalises, the casings that caterpillars make to turn into butterflies. Did I fully understand? Not really. Could I clearly tell this was art? Yes I could.

And then there was this.

What is that, tape and floor tile and wood or something? Yeah, that’s not gonna make the cut.

Pass…

…Fail.

I went outside because I needed a breath of fresh air and the topper on the cake was the sculpture that greeted me. When I was in Vienna last winter I was in a museum that had a whole gallery devoted to a plaster cast of a woman tweezing her mustache with a shard of broken glass and farting frankincense. I wish I was kidding. Here’s the post, complete with pictures. I thought that that chapter of my life was done. I was wrong. I wasn’t really sure what this sculpture was and I didn’t look at it for very long. There’s a figure on a dolly being pushed or pulled or something like an ox and then the smoke kicked on.

Are those Mets socks? I imagine I made several art patrons uncomfortable when I semi-yelled, “Is it POSSIBLE for me to not see any more things with smoke coming out of the butthole??? Is THAT something I can opt for???” With context that is an extremely concerning statement so I understand the people that carefully moved away from me. I stared at the skyline which was very nice until I collected myself and then calmly took the elevator down to the ground floor to wait for The Moomins. I would encourage you to visit the Whitney Museum because the permanent collection is excellent. And the space is great. And the views are also great. And the restaurant looked pretty good. May The Lord of Pickles smile upon your crocks and may you not encounter any vaping anuses. I wish that for each and every one of you.

Binging on TV and I don’t feel bad about it.

August 26th, 2019

As I have mentioned before I make crafts ‘n’ art all the time as if mandated by Saint Anastasia of Sirmium, patron saint of weavers, healers, martyrs and exorcists. During the time that I am diligently creating these masterpieces I have the TV on and I consume programs like it’s my job. Let’s look at my viewing history, shall we? Rhetorical question. We shall.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 on Hulu. Ooooo, that show makes me clench my everythings. A plus this season: Bradley Whitford. That man can do no wrong. I love him. He’s adorbs, he’s a great actor, he’s funny and smart off-screen – flawless. His character is chewy and interesting and you want to watch him and see what he does next. Another plus: Chris Meloni. That man is one of the most underappreciated actors. You want funny? He can do funny. You want creepy? He can do creepy. More work for Chris Meloni. Give him all the roles.  A minus this season: June should be dead. She has pulled shenanigans that should have got her hung on the wall numerous times but she is not dead and that feels fake. Kill off her character, it’ll be okay. We can follow the nineteen other side characters’ stories, they’re all super-interesting. Remember the episode where they followed Emily and Janine in the colonies? That was great. Remember the things happening when Emily is reunited with her wife and kid? Remember when we followed the Waterfords and got to see what they’re up to (nothing good, they’re garbage people)? Also great. We don’t need June. Kiiiiiiilllllll Joooooooooooon. In addition: The Marthas are the real heroes. Those dames are phenomenal. They keep secrets, they have underground societies, they move vital contraband like medications and they clean HARD. Excellent aggressive cleaning. Team Martha forever.

The Boys on Amazon. The best review I can give on this is “Did you like Deadpool 1 & 2? The extreme humor and violence? Well, have I got a show for you!” The Boys is based on a graphic novel and the show does an excellent job of conveying that. The actors are terrific and if you don’t like one character that’s fine, there’s ten other people to like. Everyone is broken in the most engaging ways. The superheroes are gloriously atrocious. It’s only eight or nine episodes and I’m already looking forward to Season 2. Please don’t get cancelled.

Lodge 49 on AMC / Hulu. This is a weird show. I am still undecided on whether I like it or not. The plot is slow and I am not thrilled at the direction it’s going. The show is teetering on the edge of being silly and not in a good way. Some elements I do like: The characters. The lead is played by Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s son and he’s a really terrific actor. I abhor nepotism but he does a great job. I can’t stop looking at his eyes and eyebrows. I don’t know if his eyebrows are naturally like that or if he waxes / tweezes but they are well-groomed.

The additional characters I like are the lead’s sister (played by a British woman who’s American accent is impeccable) and the lead’s sponsor at the lodge. I recommend watching the first episode solely for the set design and decorating. Clearly whoever did the set design / decorating cared deeply about creating a backstory and conveying a mood. Sometimes I couldn’t concentrate on the dialogue because I was looking at each aspect of background.

Homecoming on Amazon. I decided to watch this based on nothing. I saw it got good reviews, I figured it couldn’t hurt and I watched the whole show in one long night. I don’t want you to know anything either because going in with no previous information made it engrossing in a way it would not if I had had some info beforehand. I recommend it. It unrolls slowly and beautifully and Julia Roberts did a damn fine job.

Fleabag on Amazon. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen. That’s it. Evocative story. Funny. Sad.  Great actors (I love you Olivia Coleman, thank you for being). My one complaint was that it was only two seasons. I hope they do another season later in like ten years catching up with the characters. More Fleabag! All the Fleabag!

Mindhunter Season 2 on Netflix. Everyone watched Season 1 of Mindhunter, yes? Season 2 picks up where we left off. The characters continue to interview serial killers that existed and again whoever casts the killers is a genius. The similarities in appearance is uncanny. And Ed Kemper actor is back! We love you, Ed Kemper actor! Keep on keepin’ on! The season mainly follows one real case and the fact that I knew nothing about this case is heartbreaking. It reinforces how crimes involving white people and crimes that involve people of color are treated entirely differently. Get ready to be disappointed by people.

 

ADDITION: I have only one episode left of The Boys and if Antony Starr (Homelander) doesn’t get nominated for an Emmy I will throw a fit. That guy’s acting is off the charts. Not only is he acting a very difficult role but he’s Australian so he’s doing it all in a different accent. Great, all around. I want to fling awards at him and watch him bat them out of the air.

New Orleans. I knew I’d get to it eventually.

August 8th, 2019

In February (yeah I’m aware it’s August, hush your judgmental self) I went to New Orleans to take a surface beading class where I did precisely no surface beading whatsoever. It’s where I worked on St. George. Snorth and her husband Speeb and I made a trip of it. While the class was only three days we went there for five because it’s important to see as much as possible. New Orleans continues to be one of my favorite destinations in America. I have a list.

– They have no snow. That means no slippy slidey slushy sadness. Yes, it’s oppressively hot and muggy but you know what I’m not going to do in that muggery? Get betrayed by physics and gravity and have my feet shoot out from under me, potentially damaging my body and definitely damaging my mental state. Ain’t nobody need that.

– You like making props and costumes? All year. They do it all year. There’s not only Mardi Gras, there’s also some big party at Halloween. People makes bikes with critters on them (more on that later). They make carts with musical instruments and all manner of flashing blinking whatnot and roll it around the neighborhoods for no reason. When Snorth and I went to the major float provider I found out they do sets for shows and brands and really anyone who needs something, not only Mardi Gras. They’re busy all year round. I asked what it takes to work there and I seriously considered quitting my job and going down there to live my best life but decided against it because it’s wildly reckless and very unrealistic. But I’m still thinking about it. Secretly. In the back of my mind.

– The people. The people there love their ugly folk. I don’t mean it’s a city entirely comprised of trolls and sewer-dwellers. It’s that in New York there’s a ton of high fashion and models and that’s valued and important. Chanel and Versace and Prada and Fashion Week. In New Orleans there’s no Prada and there’s no supermodels. Regular people leading regular lives. Wearing what they want. All the beautiful people I saw weren’t being pretentious, they were dressed in super-cool clothes and clearly unconcerned with people’s perception of them. It seems that your story-telling or music or art you make is more valuable than your appearance. Appearance still matters in New Orleans, it’s just not the top of the list. Quite the breath of fresh air.

I’ve been to New Orleans before and blogged about it (see here) so I’m going to do a very truncated version.

The class was offered in the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture and I learned quite a bit. For example it is not uncommon for someone participating in the parade to wear elements of their career in their costume. The woman wearing this was a nurse, hence the syringe and the stethoscope and the caduceus.

 

The museum had the nutria bike I’d seen previously, I was super-psyched to meet it in person as you can imagine. His name is Napoleon and his whiskers are zip ties.

Some of the other notable items in the museum: The Erté dress with the dog made from a lawn holiday decoration of a reindeer on wheels.

There was the mannequin with a large, concerning lump on his neck.

There was a beaded patch that caught my eye. Often these beaded elements are roughly sketched out and the creators are more concerned with conveying a message than intricate technique. This patch is a portrait and it is a very good representation of Big Freedia. Big Freedia is called the Queen of Bounce which is a style of dance music that I have difficulty listening to. But I find Big Freedia a delightful person and I love her fashion choices. She’s a killer and she works hard.

In the back was a metal skirt that women wear at giant balls and parties. The rings hold champagne glasses and the wearer glides around the floor where you can pick up champagne from her.

That was fine. What was NOT fine was what was perched on top of one of those skirts. I walked to the back of the museum only to be confronted by the most nightmarish thing ever: a papier-maché crawfish (an already rough-lookin’ critter) but gigantor and falling apart. It was broad daylight in a well-lit room and I still shrieked like it had snuck up on me. Look at the skirt for scale.

Huge. In my face. Nightmares. Greeting me. Every morning.

During the class we got meet one of the premier beaders of New Orleans, Demond Melancon. He went from being a dishwasher in local hotels to having his work shown in museums and sold in galleries. Demond makes crazy complex costumes which are used for battling. Instead of battling with knives and guns, two people wearing these kinds of costumes go up to each other and display off the stories they have been working on for that year. There are all those layers so when you think you’ve seen it all the wearer pulls a panel away and paplow! Another panel. You slide an arm flap and there’s a whole different section you hadn’t noticed. If you know how heavy glass beads are you can only imagine how heavy this whole ensemble is. I think showing dominance over others in non-violent ways and using talent and storytelling skills is awesome so keep it up, everyone. One of my favorite things is the beaders brag about how small the beads they use are. The smaller the beads, the more detail, the more time invested, the more skill. The higher the number the smaller the bead. So while everybody else is using 6s and 8s, Demond is out there yelling “10s and 11s! You hear me? 10s and 11s!” Every so often I’ll talk to Snorth and I’ll say, “10s and 11s! Look at it! 10s and 11s!”

We went to Demond’s studio which is a large artist’s collective in a big warehouse. Outside his door is the studio of the people who made Napoleon the Nutria bike. I got very excited.

Since Demond (and his wife, the unsung hero of his success, she needs accolades for her work) do such large projects there’s an ingenious solution to get beading done on such a large scale. They get old dining room tables, take the tops off and staple-gun the thick cotton or linen to the table edges. That way they can draw with markers on this taut surface and see underneath when they’re beading. They had a table off to the side with only the marker drawing on it.

Here’s a video where you can see his studio and some of his work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrG8xgZCwTo

Snorth and I went back to my happy place which was Mardi Gras World where the floats are made. I’ve already covered this place (glorious bliss heaven) but there were some cool new things I thought I’d address.

Look at this excellent painting job! These coins are really great.

I’m glad someone is repairing the giant snail. The snail deserves only the best.

In order to cut down on foam carving time for non-Mardi Gras-related items (like a recent project the Chik-Fil-A cow) they have a computerized carving machine. It’s huge, it takes up a whole room. Which is why most people might not notice the Buddha off in the corner with the DJ Deadmaus’ signature head on it. But I did. I noticed.

They had the usual pile of randomness. Some I took because of the incongruity of one piece next to another. Some I took because of the excellent painting or carving. Some because their expression is hilarious.

Two other New Orleans sights that I want to address – the shoes I would have killed for at 10 years old (wouldn’t mind them now either):

And the Squirrel Carousel. It lit up. It spun. I wanted it. It was $4000. I did not buy it. I have regrets.

I have seen things, virtual things.

July 11th, 2019

1. Are you aware of this? So cool.

https://l-ile-des-confidences.tumblr.com/post/177811016113/erdal-enci-who-clones-multiple-recordings-of

 

2. This is the best art. I want to live in this place more than anything. I ache to rest my tired body in a giant cat, or a fox, or a bunny in an ice cave covered with orb-shaped blue birds. Make sure you click on Page 2 to see all of them.

https://ruinedchildhood.com/post/185958521684/illustrator-imagines-a-world-where-gentle-giant

 

3. Was this a necessity? Did the world crave this to the point it needed to be made? It’s very… specific.

4. This animation is stellar. The rotoscoping* of Cab Calloway as a ghost is particularly great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFBx3qYGxL8

 

*To rotoscope is to trace a live action film frame by frame to create an animation precise to actual movements and forms. A well-known example is the “Take On Me” video.

 

5. In the process of looking for A-Ha gifs I found this (make sure your sound is on):

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=503281129866329

Which led me to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv02k3blZZw

Which led me to THIS (which really has very little to do with the other two but is too great not to share):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDXIa8ivFEc

Now I’m following @Ghetto.Spider on Instagram. I may watch this video ten times in a row for I snort-laugh every time I see it. I want to be in that parking lot so bad.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByYaNEhh-Np/

 

ChaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaarts.

July 3rd, 2019

I am a hero.

June 18th, 2019

Did everyone have a nice Friday? I did not. I had a Mission: Impossible Friday. Let’s start at the beginning.

I received a letter from the DMV. “You need to renew your license,” it said. “It’s going to expire. Come in so we can do the thing.” Okay. I got all the documentation. W-2 with social security number, passport, mail from ConEd sent to me with my address on it, etc. Cricket made an appointment for me at 10:45 am so I could zip past all that sadness that the DMV is famous for. I arrived at 10:45am with all my paperwork. I totally forgot that they take your photo and I didn’t have my hair done or any makeup on but whatever, I’ll get in and get out and that will be the end of that. Who cares if I have an janky license pic. The picture-taking woman handed me a number, told me to fill out a form and wait. It was B366. The screen was at B317. Not too bad. I sat down on those uncomfortable church pews and waited.

AT 2:15 IN THE AFTERNOON they got to B366. I had – foolishly, it turned out – parked at a meter that only lasted an hour because ha ha! I was only going to be there for the wink of a dog’s sphincter or whatever. So every hour I had to panhandle my way around the DMV. “Anyone got change for a dollar? Hey pal, can you spare some quarters for a sad lady who hasn’t had breakfast yet and whose phone is at 27%?” When B366 popped up on the screen I scraped the moss off of myself (there was no air conditioning, it wasn’t cobwebs, it was moss) and approached the counter. At last, my task will be complete! Hurrah! The guy looked at all my documentation and said, “Do you have a birth certificate? Or a social security card?” I was like, no but I have every other document ever issued to me in the history of forever, look at this heaping pile of documents in front of you and rejoice, sir. He said, “Well, all your documents say ‘Jessica N Rothman’ but nowhere does it say what the N stands for.” I said Nicole, it stands for Nicole. He said he needed proof that it was Nicole. I said, hey let’s look at that license y’alls issued me and the one before that and ooo here’s my learner’s permit, they all say Jessica N Rothman, clearly this office is super-cool with this so can I go now please. He said no. He said if I can get back to the DMV with my birth certificate by 4:00 that day I would not have to come in again and wait for another billion hours.

This would be the time to press play on this video and listen to it while reading the rest of this story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAYhNHhxN0A

I ran to my car, found the Port Chester Clerk’s Office on my phone (19 minutes away!) and drove there in great haste. I ran into their office (it was air-conditioned and for the duration of my time there I smelled less like an unwell donkey so that was nice) and asked for my birth certificate. I filled out the info. I gave the $10 fee. It wasn’t even 3:00. I was going to make it. And then all my dreams were shattered. The clerk that notarizes the printout wasn’t there with his punchy-punch. The clock was ticking. I told the Port Chester office people my sad tale and they called the notary and told him to stop doing what he was doing (I believe he was at Stop & Shop) and get back asap. He came back at 3:30. He signed. He punchy-punched. I now had 1/2 hour to drive about 20 minutes, not including traffic. I drove like I was powered by Satan himself. I may have honked at an elderly man to get out of the road. I pulled up to the side of the building, parked illegally and put on my hazards, tickets be damned. I ran up two flights of stairs and got inside the DMV at… 3:58.5. I did it with a minute and a half to spare. Now I had to stroll casually around the waiting area for a minute before dealing with my license because I was panting so hard and seeing black spots in my peripherals and sweating all down my back. I think the security guard thought I was going to die. Hell, I thought I was going to die. During my recovery period they indeed locked the doors and had I been late I would have had to come back.  After I collected all my organs together into a body-like shape I went up to a counter. I explained my predicament to the new guy and he said that I had all the things finally and I could get my new license. I might have wept with joy. It all was taken care of.  Then I saw my license photo and wooo it was unfortunate. I would describe it as somewhere between a walrus wearing a wig caught mid-blink and a cryptozoogical forest monster made of burrata with purple twigs where the hair should be. It’s not great. But it will forever remind me of the time I spent about six hours at the DMV and how grateful I am to not have to do it again for about a decade, praise the God of your choosing.

St. George and the Dragon: The Force Awakens.

June 7th, 2019

I went to a three-day beading intensive in New Orleans a couple months ago and I needed a project to work on. I was going to bring a board with a design on it to glue tiny beads to but an employee of mine quit. I took over her work and therefore didn’t complete as much as I wanted. So I ended up gluing teeny tiny sequins instead. Let me tell you my story with St. George and the Dragon.

A while back I went to the Neue Gallerie, the German art museum in NY, for their Weiner Werkstätte exhibit. In the entrance hall there was a mosaic (you know how I feel about mosaics) of St. George and his dragon.

I was like GIVE THAT TO ME I WANT IT  but shocker, they did not give it to me. So I was like FINE I’ll make it myself. And I’ll make it exactly how I want it. For example, I don’t love that dragon, but I very much love the dragon on the fountain in Antwerp.

I decided to use the head and some of the body style. Done. Then I wanted smoke to come out of the nose. And I like the way the Chinese draw clouds.

Boom. Put that in.

I decided that I wanted the piece to be matte but the suit of armor and his halo should be encrusted like a Russian icon. I’ve had a soft spot for Russian icons for a long time. The hands and face are painted and the rest is hammered metal, usually gold or silver. Here is an example.

And finally I’ve always wanted to make a drawing with red outlines instead of the usual black. I like to make my life difficult because that’s how you grow and evolve as a creative person.

SO, armed with all this everything I made a drawing.

That’s Cricket’s face which I used as a guide for the face.

I did such a good job! Hooray for me! So talented! (Get ready for a fat pile of hubris.)

I transferred the design to the board by punching little holes using a pushpin onto the lines using a soft backing, in this case I used foamcore, taping it to the board and pressing a pale-colored Sharpie on the holes thereby making wee dots on the board. I can then connect the dots and have the pattern.

And I colored in all the red. Which is when I realized I screwed up all the proportions on St. George.

His head is too big, his waist is too small and his legs are too short. But I didn’t have time to redo it so I convinced myself hey, it’s the Middle Ages, he’s a young child and he has rickets and a tapeworm. Fine, good, solution. Moving on.

Gray and silver washes as a background. And darker gray for depth.

And the beginning of the sequin-gluing process. I found some flowers and cut off the petals to make the chain-mail.

I finished all the sequins and started on the dragon’s body. I painted it a rich deep blue-green.

And then I screwed up the cloud. And scraped it off. I proceeded to screw it up three more times. And at that moment I made the decision to start over. George was the wrong size, I didn’t use a sticky enough glue for the sequins and they started coming off, and the smoke cloud was not happening. You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, etc.

First thing I did was find a photo of a tall man, chopped off chunks of my original St. George drawing in Photoshop and reassembled them over the new body so the proportions were correct.

Then I made an entirely new drawing. I wanted the cloud to balance the curve of the dragon so I moved it over.

I used the same technique of the pushpin on the soft backing material,this time apadded envelope, taping it to the board and tapping a Sharpie on the dots. This is what the paper should look like when done if it’s done correctly.

Before I got to the tail I decided I didn’t like that odd turn and redesigned it using light pencil lines. You can see Old George who is not great and New George who is really coming together.

And now I begin the painting process. Since I made a ton of mistakes on Old George I feel like I’m starting New George with a lot of good information. Let’s see if I’m right.

Treasures from the internet.

May 29th, 2019

Seriously, how much garbage-y garbage do you see on an average day whilst surfing the web? I found a example of what most of my blinking ads look like:

It’s annoying. But there’s some great nuggets to be discovered under the detritus. Let’s delve together.

1. Ask a Mortician. Have you been watching this on YouTube? I mentioned the channel back in 2013 but only now have I truly sat down and watched many many oh so many episodes. Caitlin Doughty is incredibly informative and charming and I love her and would want to be her friend if she lived in NY (sadly, her home base is LA). I love the opening credits that feature her now-deceased Siamese cat The Meow fluttering like an angel.

The episodes I liked best so far:

Closing Mouths Postmortem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8RtdsKQYZg

What is the Oldest Mummy in the World? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF4vL7p-jI0

Vultures, Forensics and Border Policy – Why Migrant Bodies Disappear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNow5soA714

Adipocere aka Corpse Wax: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi0Gi0sqXwg&t=360s

Exhumation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0cvVyIEfHI

Iconic Corpse – Eva Peron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIwj0ybenmM

Caitlyn has some books and a blog and she runs a very nice mortuary, I like her. I know I mentioned that earlier but I feel the need to reiterate.

 

2. I have a HORRENDOUS sense of direction. Before map apps if something was happening below 14th Street I refused to go because it was off the grid and I would get lost immediately. I’ve gotten lost in my hometown, the place I lived in for the first eighteen years of my life, a town that is nine miles square. It is not a cute quality. But I would venture into all the wilds if penguins would guide me on my way.

https://www.geek.com/apps/japanese-aquarium-uses-penguins-to-make-the-best-ar-app-ever-1599745/

Hey, computer inventor folk! Penguin guides for everything! I will accept not-penguins but I still want animals to lead me places. Waddling animals preferred. Get crackin’.

 

3. Additional item that’s not really internet-related but I want to share it anyway: When I went to Mexico for my beading class I saw some truly stellar alebrijes. Click here for explanation and examples. The most drool-worthy artists are Jacobo y Maria Angeles, a community of artists who make the most phenomenal alebrijes. If you saw the movie Coco by Pixar you may remember the alebrijes, specifically the rabbit-frog who spoke to me on a deep level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8wpoIZj9iM

Pixar got much of their inspiration from the Angeles art community.

The whole point of this recap is that I saw a piece by them and I want it. I want it bad. Three words: Gold leaf eyelids.

And the pattern. And the tail that wraps around the body. It’s all the greatest. After I spend all my money on this I will live in a cardboard box with my beloved… lizard? and it will be glorious.

I’ve watched a lot of TV. Let’s talk about it.

May 17th, 2019

Again, as I have mentioned before, I don’t actually watch seven hours of television a day. I am crafting during that time and I glance up from time to time to check what’s going on. Really good programs to watch but not watch are cartoons and true crime. It would be extremely concerning if the police are like, “What kind of programming is Jessica into?” Then they look through my recent cable choices and immediately decide that I’m the killer. Even if they’re investigating a neighborhood fiasco involving lawn maintenance. I’m still the killer. But there are a few special shows where I hunker down with a glass of water, get all comfy in my bed and pay full attention. We’re gonna discuss two of them. There might be some spoilers. Or not. Either way I’m covering my rump with this delightful animated gif.

1. Happy. Holeeeeee crap. I don’t know if I’ve talked about this show before. I don’t care. If I have, we’re going to talk about it again. It’s based on a graphic novel and it’s on the SyFy network and it’s on its second season. Brief synopsis: A former cop named Nick Sax who is basically indestructible befriends his daughter’s imaginary friend Happy who is a plump blue unicorn / pegasus hybrid with big ole buck teeth. I do not know what the standards are for cable TV but I think they’re all gone. The show drops f-bombs here there and everywhere and the violence is bananas. Really intense and dark and messy. In the pilot episode we meet Nick who is a disgraced cop who earns his living as a murder-for-hire hitman. The mob gets involved and then there’s that imaginary friend and demon password and Christmas! This show straight-up ruins Christmas. Every week I begin the episode with a quiet “Hoo boy” to myself. I really don’t want to give away too much because shock value is a huge part of the show but occasionally they’ll put in an Easter egg for the viewers. This season Nick (who is played by the glorious and dirrrrrrrty Christopher Meloni) goes to the OTB with Happy (who is voiced by my favorite comedian Patton Oswalt) where they have the horses’ names on the wall. I paused it to read the names. In honor of Patton who also voiced the lead in Ratatouille there was a horse named “Remy the Rat.” The best one was the one they made for Chris Meloni. You may remember his fine work on Law and Order: SVU so his horse was named “Especially Heinous,” it was a very thoughtful touch. Two points you should be aware of: There are many plot points made in Season 1 that are not even remotely answered by the end. Don’t worry, they’re almost all answered in Season 2. I recommend you watch Season 1 (you’ll be a bit confused), watch Season 2 (resolutions), then watch Season 1 again. I understand soooo much more. The second thing are the actors. They are all excellent but the actor who plays Sonny Shine is outstanding. He really comes into his own in Season 2. Every scene he’s in, I can’t take my eyes off of him. I hope he gets a million more roles so I can see him in stuff forever.

 

2. Game of Thrones. C’mon, you knew this was coming. It’s the last season, we have to get into it. It’s fine if you’ve never seen it, I’ll do my best to explain. The first item that needs to be discussed is how epically crappy this season is. It is boring. Really. The damn show has dragons and I’m bored. I found an image that explains how I feel.

One of the aspects of the show that is chapping the diehard fans is the destruction of character development, specifically Daenerys Targaryen, the pretty blonde lady with the eighty-twelve braids in her hair. People are absurdly enraged.

Okay, here’s the deal for you non-watchers: For seven seasons, DT (I’m not typing out her whole name) has been all about freeing the slaves and bringing peace and harmony. Don’t get me wrong, if someone crossed her DT would have them killed in some horrific manner, but if you followed her and swore loyalty to her you were all good. Now, in the last two episodes DT has gone completely crazy and everyone is very very angry about it. Here’s my point: Last season she had three dragons that she called her children (we found out in Season 1 that DT couldn’t have children with her womby-parts so she’s called the Mother of Dragons). She had a huuuuuuge army made up of Dothraki, The Unsullied and some other peeps that I can’t remember now. She was the last Targaryen alive so the throne was hers. In, like, a month-long period two of her dragons were killed AND her bestie was beheaded in front of her AND a big chunk of her army was killed by frosty zombies AND she learned the man she’s been banging is both her nephew AND higher up on the monarchy food chain and therefore would prevent her from getting the throne AND mental illness runs in her family. Absolutely nothing is going her way. With all this it is precisely no surprise at all they she loses her damn mind. It makes complete sense to me. I’m annoyed that the series is ending on a “meh” note (remember, boring) but I don’t think the plot and character structure is destroyed. Here’s an example of dullness – Cercei is one of the biggest baddies on the show, a truly garbage person. She has done the most atrocious acts and everyone was sooo excited for how she would die. It was going to be epic. Did you know how she died? The roof caved in and she was crushed. That’s it. We didn’t even see it. A giant didn’t eat her, the frosty zombies didn’t cut her up and make some festive art with her limbs, she wasn’t hung from a window so villagers could throw moldy apples and dragon poop at her, nothing.  Zzzzzzzzzz.

Bonus show: The Good Place. I am so surprised by this show. It’s a network show so I assumed it would be pleasant and non-threatening and it was in the beginning. But shortly after it began it turns into a philosophical experiment where Emmanuel Kant and Soren Kierkegaard are regularly discussed. It’s totally worth it. I think it’s streaming on Netflix.

Addendum 5/21/19: Gosh, it feels good for professional writers to validate your comments.

San Francisco Part 8 and done.

May 10th, 2019

Birds! So, so many birds. But first, something else.

I’ve spoken about how much I love Jeremy Fish’s style. I own one of his pieces in my apartment, a signed print of a skull with wings and a bunny head riding on two dachshunds while a hand holds a carrot to motivate them. (Jeremy Fish is very surreal – it’s best not to ask questions.) I know Jeremy Fish is based in San Francisco so imagine my delight when I saw this pasted to some wooden siding.

And here’s a another bit associated with the game park. On the side of the road there was a ankole cow, the kind with the gigantor horns. It makes the difference between antlers and horns very clear. Horns are temporary, they’re used for mating rituals and then they fall off. Horns are forever and in the ankole’s case (and many other beastie’s cases) it cools the blood before it goes to the brain. That’s why it looks like a sponge.

Okay, birds. The game park not only had herbivores and the occasional carnivore, it also had birds. A lotta birds. And few of my dream birds that I never thought I’d see so I got super-excited.

These are storks of some kind. Fancy storks. The males and the females are almost exactly the same and the only way to tell them apart is one sex has yellow eyes and one sex has red eyes.

Flamingos. I don’t feel like I have to do much explaining here. They’re a bird we all are familiar with.

In a very large net-covered area was a plethora of birds. A lot of ibises (I like to call them ibii, I assume that’s wrong but I don’t care). Some different storks. A lovely medley of ducks. Something called a hammerkop. It’s related to the pelican.

The tour guide said we could go inside the enclosure as long as we stayed with him and didn’t interfere with whatever the birds were doing. That’s how I got so close to these fancy fancies.

And then… I saw them. I’ve mentioned the vulturine guineafowl before. I’m well-acquainted with helmeted guineafowl, they’re common in South Africa. They was free-range there, wandering around being stupid (which is what they do).

But there’s the bestest guineafowl in the world and that’s the vulturine kind. And there they were, two feet from where I was standing. I tried to be cool about it. I was not cool about it. I was plotting on how to steal one.

So if anyone is going to the San Francisco area and feel like picking me up a present, this would be an excellent choice. Get me the skull-faced balding blue-faced chicken asap.

There were a couple other creatures in other areas.

Cheetahs!

Servals sunning themselves!

And one of the few monkeys I like (I find monkeys and apes a bit terrifying) the De. Brazza’s Monkey.

And that’s it for the trip to San Fran. I hope you found insightful and informative.