Archive for May, 2015

Music.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

I work on some complicated documents at work. When I’m simply aligning text or doing an image search I can listen to podcasts or stand-up comedians, but when I need to concentrate and words are involved I need to listen to music. One of my favorite types of music is the mashup. A mashup, in case you don’t know, is when one song from one genre of music is magically smooshed together with music from another genre of music. If you know both songs it feels really cool to hear them come together and evoke a totally different set of emotions. A perfect example is this one, the theme song to Ghostbusters and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

https://youtu.be/jiH1wNmZTII

Or Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” paired with House of Pain’s “On Point.”

https://youtu.be/AW9BRFnAIZs

See? Like brie cheese and warm figs, two flavors coming together to form a new flavor profile. The one I’m listening to on a loop right now is Taylor Swift and Korn. Excellent work putting those two in the same room.

https://youtu.be/bNmWt91n-QM

Everyone always harps on about a DJ named Girl Talk and his mashups but I myself am partial to Go Home Productions (a man named Mark Vidler). Really cool choices. Like Missy Elliot protege Tweet and XTC.

https://youtu.be/FUp9AD2pLvI

Or Peggy Lee and Iggy Pop.

https://youtu.be/APT5Allol04

Madonna and The Verve.

https://youtu.be/zgjRNpie9y0

Oasis and Marvin Gaye.

https://youtu.be/KH77HKvuKms

Go discover mashups that you are into. It’s a big world out there and lots of people are exploring this art form.
To hold you over, I leave you with “Big Booty Bitches in Miami:”

https://youtu.be/M8RDcIrkIxE

And Tom Petty with Biggie/Puffy/Mace.

https://youtu.be/yOo4xYWwiHc

Pertinent! Since I will be in New Orleans for most of next week for Nessa’s wedding, here’s a mashup of Louis Armstrong and Method Man from Wu Tang Clan.

https://youtu.be/Lqcy2-K7y-4

Learning!

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

My friend Børrke, who is getting married in a little over a month, had a bachelorette party. Normally bachelorette parties involve strippers and penii-shaped straws and hats and I dislike these festivities intensely. Luckily Børrke’s sister Blürrr made way better plans. The day started with a private tour of the Museum of Natural History. Something called MuseumHack, created to encourage people to visit museums and see all the awesome stuff housed inside without being a tourist or feeling obligated because they have kids. It’s a great idea. I highly recommend it if you live in or are visiting New York. Our guide was a lovely young man named Jared who works during the week teaching children at the Bronx Zoo (swoon). He knew we were a classy bunch from the second we arrived with Børrke. She was sporting a tiara, a pink sash that said “Bachelorette,” a t-shirt that said “Feyoncé” and a pimp cup emblazoned with “Ho Fo Sho” that she was required to carry around.

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Yeah. A group of non-drunk (yet), well-educated, mouthy dames. Good luck Jared. He did a stellar job I must say. Jared took us from interesting exhibit to interesting exhibit telling us all kinds of things we would not have known from reading the little placards. One of the things we learned:

Right after the ticket counter, everyone always goes right into the African Mammals Room so it’s always packed, but the Asian Mammals Room is right off to the side and it’s never packed, so go into there. The taxidermied mammals in the Asia Hall are equally awesome and in surprisingly good condition considering that they were mounted in the early 1900s. The primary animal collector/taxidermist for the museum was a man named Carl Akeley and he’s a swell guy and all, but his back-up guy was a SUPER-special fella named Walter Potter who, in his free time, would make anthropomorphic tableaus featuring kittens and bunnies. Like this:

Rabbits’ Village School, Circa 1888

And this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 8.00.33 PM.

Now the reason many taxidermied things previous to Carl Akeley were absolutely terrible was that the industry used pre-built stands for each beast and it was irrelevant whether the animal skin fit over the mount, they would tug it and yank it and make it fit. That’s fine and all that but the problem with that is that you end up with pieces like this:

bad_taxidermy2

Which are not great, Bob. What Carl Akeley did was immediately after he shot an animal he took extremely detailed measurements and mailed those back to the museum so a form could be created. The smaller forms could be made from clay and paste, but the larger ones like the elephants were hollow iron covered in papier-mache. When the animal’s skin got home it could be stretched over a form made especially for it, a one-of-a-kind. They also created the diorama around the animals so it appeared like they were in their natural habitat. Jared said that due to the curved walls and ceilings of the diorama rooms, Renaissance painting techniques were implemented. All of this combined helped to make the animals in the dioramas extra-realistic and they have totally stood the test of time. Jared then had us pretend to be water buffalo and tigers and elephants in the middle of the Asian Mammals section. I was a water buffalo and I was promptly eaten by a tiger so I had to lay on the floor and be dead while another member of the bachelorette party pretended to be an enormous feline consuming me. Way better than a male stripper.

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Other things we learned from Jared:

  • The gigantor boat that is hanging from the ceiling in one of the halls? It used to sit on the floor and it was filled with sand. At that time there were also cats that patrolled the museum taking care of the mice. You may not know this but cats use sand for their litter box so one of the tasks of the museum workers was to clean the kitty poop out of the boat every day.
  • The big blue whale that the museum is famous for was incorrectly rendered until fairly recently. It was based on a big ole dead whale that had washed up on the shore and was in the process of decomposing. In the last few years the scientists decided, hey, maybe we should paint it, you know, BLUE and not gray since blue is the color it’s supposed to be and maybe throw a bellybutton on up there so it’s vaguely accurate? Yeah, let’s do that.
  • Sea otters are not cute and delightful all the time. Yes, they hold hands so they do not float away from their beloveds (squee) and they have a pocket in their fur for their favorite rock (additional squee) but sometimes darkness befalls the sea otter. Otters used to be all the way up and down the Pacific Coast but due to that horrible time when they were almost hunted to extinction they are now only in pockets. When the teenage males come of age and there are no females available, the males get ornery and horny (hornery?). Aaaaaaaand then they rape baby seals.

pinkie_sad_face_vector_by_termi92-d4q5ksi

  • In the oldest room in the museum (museums are very expensive and are often built over many years) the Pacific Northwest Collection is housed. It smells really good in there because of all the giant cedar sculptures. There are also murals on the walls depicting Native American village life. Recently there was a bit of a flood on an upper floor and some of the collection was destroyed which is terrible but also a blessing in disguise. Jared showed us one mural that had been damaged in the flood, and a good thing it was. It was called “The Dog-Eating Ceremony” and it was so very clearly painted by some white guy in 1860 who had no idea what these “savages” were doing. On the outer edges are various tribesmen carving something into stone tablets a là Moses on Mount Sinai and in the middle is a woman about to start chewing on the back end of a still-alive poodle. I mean, really. White people, this is ridiculous. The ignorance, it is palpable.
  • Why are there only skyscrapers in the Financial District and Midtown in Manhattan? Well, it’s because the bedrock in both those places is 30 feet below the surface. Elsewhere on the island it is 100 feet below the surface. No one wants to dig that deep so areas like the Upper West Side and Chelsea get normal-heighted buildings.
  • Speaking of bedrock, you know the humongous iron meteorite that is in the middle of the museum? It’s not sitting on the floor. The meteorite is so heavy if it was sitting on the floor it would smash through all the levels of the building. It’s sitting on a giant pillar that goes directly into the bedrock under the museum. If you were granted permission to go into the floors beneath the museum you would see the pillar. Apparently it’s painted red.

Jared took through many other sections. He had us pretend to worship a giant stone in the gem section and then since we were in the minerals and metals section he gave us all Hershey’s nuggets because we were all his little “golden nuggets.” He had us take the best picture of diorama testicles in the primates section and the winner got astronaut ice cream from the planetarium gift shop. This was so damn fun. If you have someone coming in from out of town or you need to come up with a cool gift for that hard-to-shop person, definitely consider Museum Hack. It’s a jolly good time had by all.

Bonus: a picture of Børrke sharing some imaginary liquor from her “Ho Fo Sho” goblet with the gorilla bust. That one is going in the album.

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New charts for spring.

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Joy! The tulips have emerged, the cherry blossoms are blossoming and it is time for charts. The Rihanna one is more of a statement, but whatever. Knowledge is knowledge and there you have it.

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Cleansing breath.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Wow, the last two weeks have been rough, work-wise. First a big client said they wouldn’t need a Keynote, then they said they totally did, then naw never mind, then eighteen hours before the global meeting HOLY CRAP WE NEED FIVE KEYNOTES SRSLY. Five decks in eighteen hours. The best part is they insisted I click through one of the five decks so the A/V techs set me up on a laptop in the far back corner of the room. The room was filled with giant display boards and my clicking was supposed to correlate with what the creative director was pointing to on the boards. Only one problem with that: I was stationed in the corner so unless I had a periscope perched on the top of my head I couldn’t see nuthin’. I could hear him point to something and say, “This campaign is something I’m very proud of, ” and I had to guess… uhhh, maybe in-store? Or digital? Or something entirely different? It was stressful. But now that is done and according to people who could see both the boards and the TV I kept in pretty good sync which means I have the lamest X-Men superpower ever in the history of things.

More importantly, I went to birthing class! No, not for me, I’m just rockin’ my regular pooch. No, my friend Neenernator who I went with to Germany is expecting in mid-June and since she and I have seen each other all kinds of naked (refer back to when I went with her family to the spa) I asked her if she would be okay with me being at the birth of her child. I want to see what it’s like. Neenernator said yes! Really! I can go! However it’s not all sunshine and placentas, if I’m going to be in the birthin’ suite I need to bring some skills so as not to be completely useless. So I went to a first-time parents class at Neenernator’s local hospital. I learned for five hours. I learned A LOT. I learned that however gross you think birth is, it can get so much grosser. For example, when your amniotic fluid breaks you have to remember the acronym c.o.a.t. – color, odor, amount and time. Odor, people. And bonus horror, after the baby is born the woman may spot and have cramps for six weeks as her uterus shrinks back down. This bringing-life-into-the-world-thing may be miraculous but it is just the worst. If I didn’t want to have kids already this just about sealed the deal. If they want teens to abstain from pre-marital sex they should have to take this five-hour class because dear Lord. Guess who has two thumbs and watched a c-section? This guy. I made a-cow-mooing-in-distress noises the whole time I watched, but I watched. I would have to say the best part of the class was observing the dads-to-be. It’s a class for first-time parents, remember, so these guys have no idea what’s in store for them. They were terrified – of the information presented, of what was required of them, of their partners, everything. They kept treating their ladies like beautiful delicate flowers wrapped around a hand grenade that could go off at any time. Meanwhile I’m calling Neenernator “Chubby” and making fun of her when she’d drop her bottle cap and could not retrieve it due to her swollen limbs and giant parasitic midsection-dweller. The other attendees were all in shock that I could do that and I wanted to say, “See, you should have found a girl with a sense of humor before you filled her with your genetic pollen.” Luckily Neenernator has an excellent sense of humor, plus she knew I would help her as soon as I was done mocking her. And I did, I picked up that bottle cap and carried her comfy folding chair and rubbed her back and counted through her practice contractions (I am terrible at it, I cannot math which clearly means I cannot count, thank God for iPhones). Since I am such a diligent friend I can get away with being a sassy one. It’s an excellent trade-off. I will, of course, blog in great but vague detail how the birth goes come June 13th (or thereabouts). Get emotionally prepared.