Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Cricket helped me and now he can’t run for office.

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Publicis is having their holiday party and the executives wanted me to create a save-the-date (or, sadly, an STD as it is sometimes called). I made a very clean version that we could send out and would offend no one.

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The lead exec who is from England and does not understand our Puritanical ways said, “This is boring! I want a man’s balls in hot pants! Shiny! Bulging! Make it happen!” I was like, “Yeahhhh, we’re not gonna do that. I will find an alternative design for you.” I sat and I thought and it occurred to me, the place the party is gonna be at is called Flash Factory, why not a jaunty flasher? I needed someone with a smooth, relatively hairless chest and a willingness to help me, so I called Cricket and said, “Do you have a trench coat and are you available tonight?” He said no and yes. I called my dad and he had a trench coat. Here we go. When I got home I borrowed my dad’s coat and took Cricket downstairs. I had him take his shirt and pants off and pull his nethergarments as low down as he could before elements were revealed. Then I said, “Look down, open the coat and convey joy and delight at sharing your components with the world.” It several pictures before I got what I wanted. In most of them Cricket looked like he was a demented Joker in 18th-century long johns. Not what I was going for.

When I had something I could work with I cropped it so you didn’t see the underwears or most of his face and put the text over it.

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And the execs loved it. They wanted it far far simpler so I took out anything that wasn’t critical information and converted all the text to Helvetica and there you have it.

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Now Cricket’s treasure trail is going to be sent to 1,200 employees. And I have the best, most amenable boyfriend ever.

UPDATE: Hoo boy. This was a real agency-splitter. Lots of people thought it was fun. They asked if Cricket could come to the party in a trench coat and a flesh-colored Speedo and pose for pictures. The other half of the agency were less loving. At least 32 people wrote “How could you and I’m offended and I want to speak to the manager” emails to the top execs. Whatever, I don’t care. I did what I was told and all of Publicis America had to look at my man’s treasure trail and that delights me.

I am alive! ALIIIIIIVE!! And I pimped a painting.

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

But very busy so I haven’t done anything bloggery in forever. However, I have returned! And I made a thing! Let’s look at it.

Okay, let’s not look at it yet. Let’s have some backstory. About two years ago, my co-worker Mad had this big thrift store painting in her office. I’m sure it was worth something when it was made, but by the time she inherited it the painting was completely faded and had a giant scratch on it and someone had smashed a centipede onto it and there was dried centipede juice in the middle. Not a stellar wall hanging by anyone’s standards. Mad wanted it gone and I said, “Maybe I can do something with it, lemme take a stab,” so I brought it home where it sat quietly for two years. In mid-September it was brought to my attention that the MTA Subway in New York was taking submissions to mosaic four subway stations. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but it is one of my lifelong dreams to mosaic a subway station in New York. I had to have a portfolio ready to go for this and the upcycle of the painting would be perfect for two reasons. One, it’s big, about two-and-a-half feet long, and that shows I can work on something other than the little drawings I normally do. Two, I’m taking something that already exists and is mediocre and making it special and beautiful using basic non-fancy items which is pretty much what I’d have to do if I got a subway station. So off to work I went. I came up with a concept and gosh darnit, I made the deadline. Mad LOVED it and got it approved by our agency’s Chief Creative Officer and it now hangs in what we call the Womb Room for everyone to see. Booyah. It’s nice when a plan comes together.

First, what the print is supposed to look like:

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What it actually looked like:

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And what I did to it.

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I painted big splortches on the lower right corner and upper left corner in dark purple acrylic, sprayed some large swipes of glitter gold spray paint and then drew lots of cool critters on light blue-gray cardstock with red and black pen, highlighted with touches of white acrylic. Everyone is really happy with the final product. I love how the print is satin, the acrylic is glossy, the glittery is glittery and the drawn parts are matte. I love the marriage of textures.

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Mad liked it so much she had an unveiling like it was in a fancy gallery. People came and drank wine and ate snacks and asked me questions, it was lovely.

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Arkansas. Home of The Flatness.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I know it’s been a month since I last blogged (forgive me Father, for I have sinned, it’s been a month since my last blogging) but work was being… extra work-y. The benefit of this long delay is I was unable to talk about the work trip I got to go on due to confidentiality agreement stuff but then the executives at my company announced that we won in the press so I can tell you all about my trip. I went to Bentonville, Arkansas! To pitch Walmart! It was a place! That I have been! It’s tough to come from the zestiness of New York to a place with a streetlight and a museum and a hotel and some restaurants and… not a whole lot else. I was sent out there to help design the pitch deck on site and then set up the meeting at the Walmart headquarters. The pitch itself was relatively uneventful but the hotel we stayed in was verrrrrry interesting. We arrived at the 21c Museum Hotel. Aside from the nice glass and metal bee it looked pretty much like a typical high-end hotel until you got inside. Then it got real artsy.

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The theme for their exhibition was “Celebrities in Art.” Off to the side was a chandelier. Well, several chandeliers. And some lamps. And some wigs. It looked like something that would wash up on a beach after a massive house party went askew. I didn’t hate it though. I thought the icicles really made it work.

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There was a coat filled with costume jewelry made by one of my favorite artists, Nick Cave, who I have mentioned before.

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There was a cool wall installation that told some story or another but I liked it because it was very sparkly and covered with resin. Big fan.

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There was a portrait of someone (I forgot to write down who it was) made by shooting bullets at Formica-covered particle board. Really cool idea.

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Across from that was probably my favorite piece, a portrait of Obama. It was clearly one of those Wall Street Journal drawings blown up and rendered in parafin wax. I won’t lie – it doesn’t matter that it was Obama. It could have been anyone. I love those WSJ portraits and I love the way it was done with this gloppy wax technique. Five stars.

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Off in the back was a small gallery room that had littler pieces. Like this photo composite made up of rolled paper in capsule containers.

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And a 3D photo with the glasses sitting next to it. I tried them out. Totally worked.

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Using what I assume to be acrylic or oil paint someone did pointillism of various objects surrounded by plastic roses. I dug these. I would totally have it in my home.

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There was a mouth with blinky teeth.

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And outside there was a mutated basketball hoop tree with lots of arms and a car covered with money. I finally remembered to take a picture of the informative plaque so we all can know why the car has money stuck to it.

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The only piece I was really not on board with was the one directly behind the check-in desk. The idea is great – take old records, user a laser cutter to make silhouettes of people and insects and then make a collage on the wall. Great.

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Yeah, except the artist decided to make the silhouettes either weird religious statements or pictures of porn stars, occasionally peppered with, I don’t know, a dragon. I wanted to say, “I love that you’re making some kind of statement and good for you but no. Just no.”

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After perusing the whole exhibition I checked into my room and organized all my supplies. I decided to go to the hotel restaurant and have a nice dinner. I met the maître d’ and we had this exact conversation:

“Hello ma’am, will you be dining alone tonight?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“Is this an acceptable table?”

“Why yes, thank you.”

“And would you like a penguin joining you tonight?”

“…”

I thought about it for a second and then decided there was no downside to anything I could conjure up in my head so I said hell yeah I want be joined by a penguin. A waiter dragged a large, vibrantly green plastic penguin over to my table to sit next to me and look judgmentally at my food choices. I was thrilled.

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I especially liked looking at the other people eating with their respective penguins. The penguins all looked like extremely green sommeliers.

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I found out the hotel gift shop sold not only the penguins but a variety of other giant beasties. They were $2,000 otherwise I would most likely have one in my possession right now.

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Then other stuff happened like I ended up in a meeting room for a bunch of hours working on the Walmart meeting deck and when I went to the Walmart headquarters I accidentally met the CEO and totally choked because I am a consummate professional. But I wanted to share the arty-art I got to experience.

Addendum: Outside the elevator on my floor, unrelated to the exhibition downstairs, was some cool young girl’s dresses with neat metal insect-like structures around them.

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And in the gym, suspended from the ceiling, was a fat Batman. No idea why.

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Chaaaaaaannnnnnge and an artist I like.

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Hey, how’s everybody doing? Great? That’s nice. Oh, me? I’m in a teeny tiny hell of my own creation. See, I hate change. I hate it. Good or bad, it stresses me out.

I like to spread the pain of change over a period of time so I don’t get slapped by too much at once but alas, that is not how it’s going for me right now. FIRST, my parents sold their house and moved into my apartment building. Yep, that was my idea. I need to be able to keep an eye on their octogenarian selves. They went from a 3,500sq foot house with a garage and everything to a 1,300sq foot apartment. Ooof. So I had to deal with that drama. SECOND, my office is putting all of us in one office building. That meant I had to pack up all my belongings because of course the executives decided to go open-floor-plan and we each get a wee locker for our possessions and that’s it.

Did I mention this all happened the same week?

*breathes into paper bag*

So while I have not actively freaked out I am living on the cusp of freakage and I think it would be beneficial for me (and possibly for you if you’re going through something similar) to look at some soothing animated gifs. Let’s start with this one.

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This cat is very popular. Many people rely on him for the soothing.

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Other people have modified the cat so he can be soothing in a variety of colors.

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Next, the swallow. You keep flying, swallow.

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Then some geometric ones.

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And finally the work of Carl Burton. He is so talented. He understands atmosphere and mood so durn well.

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Here’s Carl Burton’s website if you want to check out his other work. http://carlburton.io/

Bits and pieces.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Guess who has two thumbs and was sent home from work last week with a stomach flu? Me, and don’t touch my thumbs. Go wash your hands right now. It was so sad. The whole situation was like a physical manifestation of that Sarah McLachlan song they use in ASPCA commercials.

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It started the night before. I thought it was general bodily malaise but I couldn’t sleep all night because my entrails felt sunburned and ouchy. Eventually I said what the hell and went to work and that’s when the muscle aches and skin pain kicked in. Børkke found me at my desk weeping softly and sent me home where I writhed in bed because when your stomach is upset you’re not supposed to take Tylenol or Advil but my muscles and skin were so sore and there was naught I could do. You know how they say “Necessity is the mother of invention?” I thought back to all the episodes of Intervention I had seen and all the ways I could get painkillers into my system bypassing my GI tract. Cricket had to deal with texts like this all day:

“Do you have any injectable Dilaudid and a syringe?” (No.)

“How about Fentanyl patches?” (No.)

“Okay, do you have any Oxycontin that I could put on a piece of tin foil and light from underneath, inhaling the fumes?” (Stop.)

“How about an anal suppository sprinkled with opium–” (I’m coming over.)

Eventually after moaning to Cricket for three hours (he’s a very patient boyfriend) I fell asleep and woke up the next day much improved but I’m still wondering, why don’t they sell non-oral pain suppressants? I’ve been told it’s because it’s difficult to regulate the dosage but how is it harder than a pill? Someone get on this. Me wants some stickers that make the owwies go away.

In a vaguely related note I worked a obscene amount in January. Like, all of January. To repay a designer who gives up sleeping and bathing for a month an account team will buy them a thank-you present. It’s usually a bottle of good liquor or a gift card to someplace nice. Those are crap gifts. I got the most magnificent present ever from the team I worked with – a zebra-print felt hoodie with AN INFLATABLE NECK PILLOW BUILT IN. You feel that? That feeling is jealousy.

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It’s glorious. I am not a fan of animal prints in the slightest but I was delighted by this zebra print because what the account team not know was that several years ago Neenernator bought me a zebra print Slanket. Therefore I got to spend Valentine’s Day wearing this exquisite ensemble. Brace yourselves.

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Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Yes, I know it’s January 17th or whatever. It’s been a hellish two weeks. Would you like to hear about them? No? I’m telling you anyway. I was on a pitch, a global pitch. I had meetings with various European offices here in NY, as well as South American offices and Asian offices. Every one of them had sections of the Keynote deck they needed designed. I would meet with each office, incorporate their pages, then meet with the heads of the pitch, make their changes, back and forth and back and forth. THEN, when everything was hunky-dory a major not-to-be-meddled-with executive would come in and change everything on this 120-page document, causing me to have to stay up all damn night to make those changes. It was like this for two weeks. It got so intense I ended up getting a hotel room across the street from the office so I could grab four or five hours of sleep everyday with a minimal commute. The rest of the time was spent working. In my 12 years of being in the advertising industry this was one of the top five most stressful pitches I’ve been involved with. However it is now finished and I can return to my life of watching the Discovery Channel and writing blog entries. Let’s start with what I did on New Year’s Day. I have always wanted to do the Coney Island Polar Plunge. It’s held on New Year’s Day and people run into the ocean off of the Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn. Since I went to the Oase in Germany last year and had ice water thrown at my naked flesh I feel like I am emotionally and physically prepared to engage with the Atlantic. It wasn’t a coincidence that I picked this year because it was warm. Well, the air was 46 degrees and the water was about the same so maybe “warm” is the incorrect term, but glacier-like it was not. I was not aware that it is a charity event so I was delighted that my entry fee went to a camp for children with cancer. The theme is “freezin’ for a reason”. We arrived very early so we could be the first group in the ocean (so many people show up they space out the plunges). The police were cordoning off the beach and it totally looked like they had found body parts a là Dexter.

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We headed out to where we decided we would park our stuff and waited for our cue. A ton of people showed up to cheer on and/or mock the plungers.

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It started with a person in a full polar bear costume entering the ocean surrounded by women in bikinis playing trumpets. I would expect nothing else from Coney Island.

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And then we were told to line up. We stripped down to our bathing suits and went in. It was surprisingly not bad. I was surprised. I thought the cold water or the cold air would hurt but it didn’t. I would describe it as “excessively refreshing.”

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Afterwards we went for Russian food in the Brighton Beach area. Nothing warms the cold toesies like cherry dumplings and hot tea served in glass cups. I don’t know if I would ever do this again but I definitely would encourage others to because it’s a fun convivial atmosphere and it’s nice that it raises money for a good cause. I give it two shivery thumbs up.

Addendum: Here’s a super-cool picture of Coney Island from above.

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So very artistic am I.

Monday, December 14th, 2015

I know I’ve been super-lackadaisical with my posting of late and I don’t want anyone to think it is because I have given up on blogging. That is way far from the truth. It’s because I’ve been so busy, all in positive ways. But I think work is slowing a wee bit and now I can blog at the furious pace (like two posts a week, but still) I had become accustomed to.

One thing I’ve been tackling is my kitchen. Ah, my kitchen. The Sisyphean task I took on, what, seventeen years ago or something? It feels like that. But the last of my glass arrived and now I’m in the home stretch (Hallelujah Moses!). I put the white strips of glass over the white paint I laid down. And just to clarify, but white glass, I mean opaque white, semi-transparent white, as well as very pale brown, yellow and blue. I wanted nuances of white, not a flat white. It looks a bit aged which is pretty cool.

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After I finished all of those I tackled the trees. I made trapezoids and rectangles and irregular quadrilaterals out of clear glass with little bubbles in it, rounded all their corners using a grinder and glued them to onto the wall. It took seven hours to do the big trees and two and a half hours to do the small trees. And since I was making up the patterns on the fly I had to stop every two or three pieces and assess how I would proceed. It was a tough process but it would have been infinitely harder if I had planned where every piece was going to go.

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After that I made the orange dots that go in the center of the branches. I can’t take full credit for the delightful blobular branches. I realized afterwards that I had totally ripped off another artist, a great lowbrow one named Jeff Soto. See?

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I don’t feel bad about it, I’m not making any money off of this project and it’s my kitchen anyway. Where was I? I was making the orange dots in the middle of the branches. I bought semi-transparent orange glass and then I traced circles onto it, roughly cut them out and then ground down any edges so they were round coins. Then I painted the backs with gold paint so they would be opaque and have a faint shimmer.

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Then I made the branches a dark red which look like a warm black, very nice, and now all that’s left is for me to do big background squares and I’m done. Done, I tell you! Home stretch!

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But wait, there’s more! In addition to working on my kitchen and doing my full-time job I was asked to make the photo op for our holiday party. And, like everything I do I went a wee bit overboard. I designed seven mountains composed of patterns containing our company colors (pink, purple and red) plus gold and silver. The three big mountains are on a background covered in snowflakes but the four smaller mountains go in the foreground, giving the photo op some depth. Here’s a rough mock-up I made so people would understand my vision.

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The studio we have (that have large format printers) printed out the back part and all the smaller mountains were printed and cut out. All I had to do was prop them up.

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But nope. This is when I got really excited, went to Michael’s, bought $300 worth of crafty goodness and started making glittery, three-dimensional bits and pieces. It looked like it took no time at all but it actually took twenty-five hours or so. Crazy how things take a long time if you want them to be tidy and nice. Totally worth it. It turned out excellent. Here is a lovely photo of me installing the photo op in the space.

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And here are some people posing with it. I feel very pleased with myself. *Pats self on back*

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Now that those projects are completed (or semi-completed) I shall hopefully get back to my usual schedule of getting things done (and blogged) in a reasonable amount of time.

Addendum: I got some decent pictures of the three-dimensional aspects of the mountains.

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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.

Two things of little to no importance.

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Until I finished my Germany pics I would like to share two random tidbits with you. One is my new purse. As my canvas purse wears out I take a new one off the shelf, paint it or draw on it or pimp it out in some festive manner, retire the ratty old purse out and rotate the new one in. This newest purse is pretty great, mainly because I found a use for a partially dried-out turquoise marker I had lying around. It turns out that partially dried-out markers are excellent for shading. They blend very nicely. I attached some sequins using glittery fabric paint and I think I ended up with a swell end product.

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The second item is from a recent trip to Washington D.C. for a meeting. We were put up in an extremely nice high-end hotel with all the fancy amenities. In all the hallways were these big blurry oil paintings reminiscent of Rothko’s work. HOWEVER, in the hallway on the way to my room was a painting that is, frankly, pornographic. I can’t decide exactly how, but it is not family-friendly.

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Right? RIGHT??? I can’t decide if it’s a shot taken from above of a fleshy woman’s lap, or perhaps a from-behind look at some flagrante delicto action, but something’s happening for sure. As soon as I figure out what it is I’m writing a letter to somebody. *clutches pearls, cries “won’t someone think of the children”*

Looking a gift horse DIRECTLY in the mouth.

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The Moomins recently returned from a trip to Africa where she spent a month hanging out with relatives and friends. One of those relatives, my Auntie Bo, works for WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization. It was created mainly to help women in Israel and according to the WIZO Wikipedia page:

Today, WIZO runs 180 day care centers in Israel, caring for 14,000 children of working mothers, new immigrants and needy families. The organization also runs summer camps, courses for single-parent families and therapeutic frameworks for children removed from their homes by court order.

That’s nice. Anyway, my aunt runs a chapter in Johannesburg and they have auctions to raise money. A woman in Africa passed away and left the contents of her home for WIZO to auction off. The Moomins was assisting Auntie Bo, organizing the stuff into piles when another lady came over with a puzzled expression on her face. “What are these?” she asked. The Moomins said, “Oh, those are penis shields.” Indigenous men in Africa would wear penis shields to prevent irritation from the rough animal skin pelt skirts. You don’t want to chafe. Now that Western clothing with underpants is more common penis shields have fallen out of popularity, but these were vintage ones from the 60s. “Who would want them?” the woman asked. “You know, my daughter would*,” The Moomins responded. So, when she came back and I said, “Hey, didja bring me anything cool?” thinking I would get something made out of wire or a piece of pottery, she presented me with not one, but two penis shields. A plethora of penis shields! Hooray! You can’t have just one! I didn’t know what to do. Despite what you may think my entire apartment is tastefully appointed, no art with any sexuality of any kind. I do not want these in my home. I cannot decide which drawer I will shove them in to try to forget about them. I insisted my father hold a shield in each hand so I could take a photo. He’s trying to smile but he’s actually saying, “What am I holding right now and why?”

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In keeping with this vaguely sub-gartelian theme, I was asked by a gay co-worker for some signs to hold when he walked in the Gay Pride Parade. He is part of a gay outdoor adventure group. He gave me some witty and naughty catchphrases that he wrote (puns abound, y’all) and I designed a variety of posters based on them. I went to their Facebook page and researched all the places the group had traveled to (one was called Gaylordsville which is ridiculous, c’mon now) and used them as background images for the signs. I think they turned out great. Head’s up: some of these are a bit rough-and-tumble so don’t look at them if your workplace is uncool.

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*NO I WOULD NOT.