Archive for September, 2010

A website that makes me happy.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

1. Every Day Posters Every Day. You make a poster about something you do every day. They post one every day. Some of them are very creative. It’s good to see graphic designers not wasting their time on pesky things like work.

This totally reminds me of one of my favorite things on the internet, “Missing Missy“.

Lolcats and John Kenn.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I am concerned. I just added my favorite lolcats to my wall. It’s starting to get out of control. Look for yourself.

I feel like I’m turning into the nerd version of teenage girls who plaster their walls with their latest crush. Here, a helpful example.

On a different note, I found out about a man named John Kenn from Denmark. He does illustrations for childrens’ shows. When he has a little free time, he draws on Post-It notes. I love his drawing style so so much. I want Post-It to call him right now and give him lots of money and put him in their commercials.

Addendum which has nothing to do with anything: My former co-worker Nelly has a lionhead rabbit named Rose Nyland. She is a super-cute little guy (the rabbit, although Nelly is pretty cute too). Here is a picture.

A brief distraction.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I have to work on a monster project for work that will eat my face and soul for two weeks, but I figured I would share a few things anyhoo.

1. A chart!

2. Another chart!

People ask me why I don’t call them “infographics” like I’m supposed to. The answer is simple: “Infographics” has four syllables. “Charts” has one. I am lazy. There you go.

3. I was looking on Getty for a picture of a shovel, and I found this. So very cute.

Hoarders: I want to look away… but I cannot…

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

There’s a show on A&E called Hoarders. I occasionally watch it from time to time, and sure enough, people keep stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff that breeds bugs. It can be gross. But I had never seen I house like this one before. This is… intense. Conveniently, A&E had it posted on their website, so I could take screengrabs and share it with you now.

There is the opener.

And there is the description of a hoarder.

Unsanitary? Oh, you ain’t kiddin’. Let’s meet Robin. This is Robin.

And this is Robin’s house.

Let’s stop here for a second. I understand keeping lots of things for the sentimental value or whatever, but this woman kept trash. I was screaming at the TV, “The garbage trucks come right up to the house! You don’t gotta bring it nowhere! They come to you! There’s a schedule and everything!!” Robin’s house was reported because the neighbors could smell it. They could smell it through the walls and down the street. Holy guacamole.

Robin also had an unknown number of cats, for whom the whole house was a litter box. They had been going to the bathroom all over the house for the last ten years. I had the distinct pleasure of hearing the clean-up guy say, “This is her dining room table. And this is three-and-a-half feet of cat feces on it.”

Cat feces in a pile.

Cat feces in a heap.

Cat feces on top of the washing machine with broken jar.

I feel like I could write an ode to cat feces now, I know so much about it.

Robin would have happily continued living like this for all eternity, except the city came to visit and found her house unlivable and unless she got it up to code it would be demolished and she would be fined $30,000. That’s some real deal stuff. Normally, the city complains and you get a fine or something, or they take your house away from you, something like that. Robin’s house is so foulsome they want to bulldoze it and possibly set it on fire to kill the demons that live within. You know it’s bad if people from Calcutta were to come to see it and their response would be, “Yeah, I don’t want to live there. It’s kinda grody. There’s a funk.” That’s a good standard to use. Here’s the sign in the window.

Brief diversion: Robin’s father is named Festus and her brother is named Snuffy. Festus and Snuffy.

Diversion over. During the cleaning process, the cleaning people found a myriad of horrors. Mainly extremely deceased cats.

Dead Cat #1.

Dead Cat #2.

Dead Cat #3 – now with mummification!

The worst thing of all was by far the poop closet. Oh God, the poop closet. I will not show you any pictures of the poop closet, but the backstory is her plumbing hasn’t worked in ten years, so she’s been doing her business in supermarket bags and then tossing the bags in the stairwell. Ten years’ worth of bags. Sometimes, when I’m alone, I’ll hear voices, and they’ll say, softly, “…poop…closet…”

The episode ends in a very unfinished way, the city inspector came and even though the house was very clearly rotting, he didn’t specifically say that it needed to come down. Which I think is bullcrap. I want to know if they really did demolish her house. A&E doesn’t have any further information on her. I hope they’ll do a follow-up episode or something.

Update on 9/19/2010: They tore Robin’s house down and fined her $10,000. I am pleased. Seriously, her house was like the most unsafe dwelling ever, aside from building your house on the tippity-tip of Niagara Falls.

New Cicada vs. Old Cicada.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Once I had created my original cicada (who was meant to be a test), I figured how I wanted to change it and I have finished my new ‘n’ improved cicada. For comparison purposes, here is Cicada the Elder:

And here is Cicada the Younger, propped up against an oven mitt:

It’s totally different!!! Well, not really, but some structural things that you can’t see have been worked out so that if one was to flip the cicada over, it would look like it was done by someone with some level of skill as opposed to a blind person with no fingers. These things are important to me. Pointless, but important.

A variety of things.

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Here is a poster of weird cat things that made me smile, because if you know anything about cats, you know that this is all accurate representations of their idiosyncrasies and weirdness.

Here is a poster of mustaches…but wait! They’re typefaces! Brackets, in fact. Dee-lightful.

And finally, a website called Oddly Specific. Which is exactly what it is. Here, I’ll show you.

Renaissance Fair.

Friday, September 10th, 2010

About 45 minutes from my apartment is the New York Renaissance Fair. Or the RenFair, as we called it growing up. Cricket had never been, and I hadn’t been since in a decade, so I thought, hey, let’s go pretend we all live in Ye Olden Tymes without those pesky details like complete lack of hygiene and sewage running free in the streets. Now that I have gone, I feel comfortable not going again for another decade.

Many of these photos are mine, but a bunch more are pulled from the internet. So thank you, Internet, for sharing thy bounty with me, prithy and forsooth and all that good stuff.

The RenFair takes place in a forest in upstate-ish New York. They’ve actually built a wee little Elizabethan village there.

And many people come in costume. Some are in period-appropriate costumes, but we did see one guy who was dressed as a Storm Trooper in a kilt.

As we came in, there was a cool bell apparatus on the side. A spooky guy wearing a full-body catsuit and a winged gold mask played the bells using a complicated pulley system.

Cricket was super-exited to try mead, which is a kind of wine, and a turkey leg, which is a famous RenFair food. They are advertised all over the place.

Just so you know, the food at RenFair is depressingly expensive. Turkey leg? $7.50. Funnel cake? $6.00. And this peeved me no end – pickle? $3.00. THREE DOLLARS for a cucumber soaked in salty herb-y water. What do those ingredients cost, like, seven cents, max? Oh, that really bakes my cookies.* Here’s a picture I found when they were only two dollars for a pickle, back in the good old days.

Please note the delightful skull-and-crossbones painting on the end of the barrel. There are a great many hand-painted signs all over the RenFair. Some are extremely well-painted:

Some are not well-painted:

And some are painted with totally unnecessary apostrophes.

Belly Dancer’s WHAT?!?? I feel like I’m missing something. I find it fascinating when people use punctuation where it’s absolutely not necessary at all.

There are a ton of women in costume there. I think many look forward to dressing up in interesting garb, like these women (note the peacock feather lashes which match the purse, FIERCE):

But I think the vast majority of the women just like the opportunity to dress up as the local village concubine with their corseted mammaries shoved up and out.

I’m all for hoisting your petards if you got ‘em, but sometimes it’s a bit ridiculous-looking. Like when you get armpit cleavage.

Or this lady in charge of the camel rides who had the word ” T I P S ” written across her chest. Dear Lord, woman, your cups runneth over.

We saw a whole bunch of different shows throughout the day, jugglers and jesters and gymnasts, but my favorite was (surprise!) the birds of prey. But first, the parrots. The parrots were in a huge enclosure near the birds of prey. You paid two dollars (which went to the maintenance and upkeep of the parrots, so I was totally fine with that) and you got to wander around with the parrots and there were friendly little bunnies that the parrot-owners had adopted hopping around eating grass bits. I was very happy.

Right outside that area was the falconer guy with the birds of prey. He shared four with us that day. The first one was a Harris Hawk, which I didn’t take any pictures of because I was too busy staring at Bird #3, which was a Eurasian Eagle Owl named Buddaka.

The second bird was a Black Vulture named Igor, and I managed to snap one or two shots of Igor. Still totally paying attention to the owl.

After Buddaka, there was an Andean Vulture. This particular andean vulture weighs 22 pounds and has a ten-foot wingspan. She was a monster. She looked like a demonic wild turkey. I, of course, loved her.

And that was pretty much it. We watched some jousting on horses, ate some more, and went home.

*Cookies? $5.50.

Addendum: Snorth requested an animation of the two first pictures of the owl, and I am nothing if not amenable.

Beetle Mezuzah – big hit!

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Hooray! Mom liked the beetle mezuzah! It did turn out pretty great. Still really difficult to take pictures of, though. This is sorta kinda what it looks like.

Why I like Great Britain.

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

1. In London, the museums are subsidized by the Queen, meaning no entrance fee. Do you hear me? They are free to get in. The museums in New York cost between $10 and $25 to get in, but in London, free. And these aren’t crappy museums neither. Have you been to the Victoria and Albert Museum? Here’s the info off of their website:

The V&A is the greatest museum of art and design, a world treasure house with collections of fabulous scope and diversity. The Museum holds over 3,000 years worth of artefacts from many of the world’s richest cultures. Choose one of the collections below to explore in detail, or use our award-winning search of over 1,000,000 works.

Oh, I get tingly just reading that. When I was there last they had the winners of that year’s children’s book illustrators on display. I melted into a puddle on the floor. I then considered sneaking into the basement and living there for eternity, but the lack of sushi prevented me from making that choice.

2. Dormice. They are endangered, so in South Wales they built a dormouse bridge over a busy street so they don’t get squished. By the way, “dormouse” is not a misspelling of “doormouse”. The “dor” part comes from the French word for sleep, “dormir”. These fellas go into hibernation in the winter, and are insanely cute about it while doing so. Here are some pictures I found on the web.

3. Recently I saw some BBC animations that caused me to giggle in my workplace and made my co-workers express concern for my mental health. This was my favorite one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi2kaDzGh9A

I have never been so happy to have bags of beetle corpses in my life before.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

The beetle elytra have arrived! Let me tell you, photos totally do not do them justice. They are very very metallic, a variety of greens, and they have blue iridescence. It’s really hard to take a good picture of them.

Since I had A Plan in my mind of what I wanted to do, I sorted through through them and found about eight that were a good set of colors from light-yellow-green to deep-green-blue. This is a picture during the sorting process.

Then I took the lightest green one and started cutting it up into little squares using an X-acto knife. I didn’t know how the elytra would deal with being cut up like that, whether they would tear or snap or splinter, but as long as the blade was super-fresh, they cut up pretty nicely. The only problem is that they are concave, so it is hard to cut a reasonably 90-degree angled rectangle. I got a couple of trapezoids in there, but I made them work. The piece I’m making is a mezuzah for my mother. I spoke quite a bit about mezuzahs here, if anyone needs a refresher course.

Then I started laying the squares into the brown polymer clay, progressing from the light green into the deeper colors. Here it is in process.

I love how it looks a little like a skyscraper in Manhattan, and I could not get over how reflective the pieces were. I made an animated gif to try and share the magic with you.

Here’s an interesting thing that happened after I baked it to cure the polymer. The heat caused the blue and purple tones to come out, which was really cool. I took a picture post-baking.

Now I’m going to create a small case around it to house the scroll and give it to my mom on Sunday. We’ll see how she likes it.