Archive for the ‘Random Art Bloggery’ Category
1. McMansions. A blight on the eyes. There is now a website that explains why the architecture is so not great.
Some helpful diagrams of the crappityness:
2. There’s a psychotic piece of music out there that is impossible to play because, well, see for yourself.
Yeah. Exactly. However, because human being love a challenge (stop climbing Mt. Everest! Seriously! You’re not supposed to be there!) someone figured out how to play it on a piano. And here it is. To me it sounds like the best video game music ever.
3. Google Maps was kind enough to find the saddest places on earth and collate them into helpful collages. Thanks, Google Maps.
4. I can’t stop watching these cookies being painted. Who has hands this steady? Who? Where do these people exist? So phenomenal.https://youtu.be/Cs600U6OJJo
5. The interwebs being amazing again. Someone posted this:
The internet appreciated the mangling of “bon appetit” so much they made it a meme and it’s descended into madness and I’m enjoying it immensely.
My personal favorite:
6. And finally, another architectural thing. Thomassons. Who knew.
In addition to gawking over the landscape all the time I also ate Icelandic food. No, I did not try puffin or whale. Puffin was not in season and whale is supposed to be gross so it was not a difficult pass for me. I ended up making a reservation for Cricket and me at an extremely fancy restaurant called Dill. Dill serves cuisine using authentic local ingredients and you eat what they’re serving. Five courses or seven courses. That’s it. I liked the scariness of no control but I trusted them. I was right to do so.
Cricket and I ended up with the five-course meal because we were going to see the northern lights later and the seven-course took two and a half hours to serve (!). Here’s the menu.
We missed out on the dung-smoked trout (the table next to us had it and said it was fantastic, I felt epic FOMO) and the 99% Omnom (Icelandic brand of chocolate). The little appetizers that are listed as a clump at the top were okay, I did not care for the chicken skin with yeast but the shredded wolf-fish with brown butter was yummers.
Then there was the monkfish cheeks (known to be the softest part of the fish) cooked with artichokes and dulse which is red seaweed. I could have eaten a soup bowl full of that.
Followed by Cricket’s favorite: pickled tusk (a white fish similar to cod) served with seaweed, black garlic and a splash of yogurt. SO DELICIOUS. Pickling and fermentation plays a huge role in Icelandic cuisine since they only have fifteen minutes of daylight a year. In fact, Dill’s front window is made up of pickled items in jars.
Then my favorite: shredded fermented rutabaga, toasted rye bread crumbs and cod chunks. It had a faint vinegar flavor and in my photo some of it is missing because I forgot to take a photo first and immediately started snorfing it down.
The last savory dish we had was the pork belly with cracklins on top and parsnip with honey. It was okay. I mean, it was really good but the other dishes were kind of amazing so it was difficult to appreciate it.
And finally there was the dessert which was a fancy smore – cake made from rye, malted cream and prunes. I watched them make it (we were right next to the open kitchen) and the only concern I had was when the chef used the creme brulee torch on the cream. Please note the scorch marks on the wooden plates. Methinks maybe not wooden plates in the future, eh, chef?
This place was so Icelandic-themed they even gave us the check in a knitted pouch. Iceland is big on the knitting because of the sheepies.
The other place Cricket and I ate was magnificent, recommended by Snorth (thank you Snorth!). It was called Ostabudin and it’s kind of like a high-class delicatessen. We got the hot-smoked goose salad (may contain pellets) and the meat feast (also may contain pellets).
They were exquisite. And now I can say I have eaten horse! It tastes like bison. Red meat, very lean. If you’re down with cured meats (and I very much am) the meat feast was where it was at. You can also see they substituted the blue cheese for what they said translated literally to “ugly cheese” and they had built a little house of baguette slices over it to shield us from its ugliness (which I thought was overreacting, it looked like brie). I uncloaked the cheese for this photo.
On our last night in Iceland, Cricket and I decided to go to a performance at the Harpa. The Harpa is the large music hall similar to Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall. It was built to resemble the basalt columns and was covered in hexagons and lights. If you know me, you know my feelings about hexagons and lights (big big fan). So I adored the Harpa. I could not take an lame picture of it if I tried.
It had a huge empty main space with several concert halls and theater spaces branching off from the primary area. There was a gift shop that sold your typical gift shop items, as well as some stranger choices. Like these books by the famous Icelandic cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson.
And then there were some Christmas ornaments and they were also pretty typical except for one. Listen to this description: it clearly was made from a model of Finding Nemo‘s Squirt the Turtle but painted as if it was a drag queen with a foil rainbow Christmas tree impaled into its head. Because that’s what the world needed.
Anyway, the show we saw. The only thing being performed during our stay in Reykjavik was a electronic dance band called… The Vagina Boys. I wish I was kidding. I am not. There were signs all over town.
So Cricket and I bought tickets and we went. It took place in an enormous black box theater and because we got there at 7:50 when the show was supposed to start at 8:00 (it didn’t start until 9:00, Cricket and I are extremely cool and “with it”) we got to claim a small patch of floor and camp out on it.
We were waaaaay older than all the other people there. It was mostly high school kids. And I do love me some electronic dance music but this sounded like 21 Pilots sung in Icelandic. The Vagina Boys were predominantly mixing behind a musician named Kef Lavik. I found some of the music to give you a taste of the experience.
Cricket and I lasted about an hour and then we were both like, “This is very nice mellow uninspiring music and we’re good.” The next day we packed up and headed back to the U.S. A few things in the airport I noticed:
In addition to the giant dragon’s egg sculpture there is also a sculpture of the end of the rainbow. I thought that was pretty cool.
And two massive beautiful stained glass windows at either end of the interior space. Very Chagall / Picasso-esque.
That’s my trip to Iceland. I would love to go back, possibly in the summer when the sun is out all the time and the wildflowers are blooming. We shall see if that comes to pass.
Reykjavik is the Major City of Iceland with 150,000 inhabitants, about half of the island’s entire population. It’s a very nice city – not too big, not too small. A great many buildings are made of stucco and a delightful element of Reykjavik is the amount of artists that are allowed to paint murals all over town. There are tons of murals. The first one I saw was of a jacked-up looking bird pooping out a giant wad of string which wasn’t the best thing ever but many others were not a bummer.
Our apartment was pretty great. It was on the top floor of a house. I was not fond of taking several flights of stairs while hoisting luggage but the view was stunning and the door handle had a whimsical charm.
A bunch of random things I saw walking around Reykjavik – first, a selection of buildings. Who knew that corrugated metal could be a tasteful and lovely house covering? I certainly didn’t until I came to Iceland. Thanks, Iceland.
Sometimes the stores are tucked behind each other and in order to draw you in the store owners paint happy patterns on the sidewalk. I want to do that everywhere. It’s like the magical yellow brick road leading you places. Gets old never.
There are no Starbucks so the Dunkin Donuts look like fancy coffee houses. Frank Sinatra and Norah Jones playing over the stereo and everything.
It’s a pretty hippy-ish town. I passed several places that would have been totally appropriate in Brooklyn. Like the vegetarian restaurant right next to our apartment which had the weirdest choice written on the sign. “Ecstasy’s Heart-Garden.” They paid money to have that specific phrase, written in that specific way, put on their signs. I checked and it’s also on their menus. And their websites. As a design nerd this flummoxes and upsets me but if they’re okay with it I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.
This was the other Williamsburgian place that caught my eye. It’s perfect.
Many of the Christmas trees I saw were cleaved in twain. Like, split from top to bottom. I have a feeling that this is because Christmas trees are super-rare so if you split it and mount both halves to the front of your establishment you get twice as much tree for your buck.
Cool shingles that look like dragon scales.
Teeny-tiny adorable city garden.
Iceland loves the English phrase “and stuff.” I noticed it all over and it delighted me every time.
A painting of a lion on the side of a coffee shop.
Tiny building that does… something. Cricket and I stared at it for a period of time trying to figure out what it’s for. We came to no conclusions.
Window displays! Two dead giant taxidermied ravens. Not the only dead giant taxidermied ravens I saw as window dressing. They were not for sale. I was sad.
Cool authentic Christmas lamps. Also not for sale. I was less sad than the ravens, but still a bit forlorn.
Drawings made by children. The drawings, they were your standard kid drawings, whatevs, but two of the names caught my eye. Those are awesome names. I want to yell them out because they make me sound like a pirate. Try it. They have excellent mouth-feel.
Dorky Norseman statue.
Awesome painting on the front of a basement skateboard shop.
And a neato sticker.
I like this architect’s approach. “I want to put a window on the corner of this building but I don’t want to figure out – ah, screw it, I’ll make a flat bit and slap a window there, fine, good, time for lunch.”
And this guy’s idea. “I love the basalt columns of our country. We should represent them in the city. Where’s the best place to put a basalt column-inspired sculptu– oooh, I know! In the middle of the road where it is guaranteed to get smashed into by vehicles who were not expecting freakin’ rocks to pop up out of the road like mushrooms. That is the best idea ever.”
If you dig more than five inches into the ground in Iceland there is a chance you’re going to hit poisonous lava gases so this job site requires gas masks.
Finally, there was an Icelandic dog. I loved this dog. I wanted to pet this dog for forever.
Coming up next: NSFW museum and fancy fancy dinner.
Sorry, the earth caught on fire and I had to go deal with that for a little while. I’ll post about that shortly. In the meantime, moss! SO MUCH MOSS, GUYS.
But first, not moss.
Look at this panoramic pic I took of a corner of the gigantor glacier that takes up a fifth of Iceland.
And while there are like four trees total in Iceland, that does not mean they are completely bereft of plants. Look at the beautiful colors of this random ground cover.
We stayed at a sheep farm for two nights. It was wonderful as long as you’re okay with the intense smell of sheep poop. I’m fine with it so it didn’t bother me.
Right out our front door was an enormous field and then the glacier. Helluva view, I tell ya.
Our first night there I could not wait to meet the sheep so I snuck out by myself and went to the barn area. I was using a flashlight and totally forgot that retinas reflect back so I was startled by a barn full of demon sheepies.
Not really. They were pretty chill. Small and stocky and rather disinterested in me and my delight at meeting them. Except for one, the alpha male. He was sitting on a cube of hay directly in front of me and was not behind any blockade of any kind.
All was going well until he decided he had had enough of my company and stood up in a threatening way and I realized he could bolt directly at me if he wanted to and I was like heeeeeeey would you look at the time I gotta go.
Big fan of the two broads on the left. We chatted briefly before I made my hasty exit. Well, I chatted and they looked at me. Still counts.
So, the moss. As you already know, Iceland is made out of lava and some of that lava is in chunks, like this:
Very jagged. Well, this feathery moss (it’s really a lichen but everyone calls it moss so we’ll go with that) found that it clung really well to these chunks and covered them completely so now the chunks look squishy and soft and round. These moss fields go on for miles and miles. It’s all you can see in any direct. With the mist it makes it extra-otherworldly. I adored it. Team Iceland Moss 4 Eva.
Remember when I said I was going to share about twenty pictures of moss and everyone was thought no way? Look at all that there moss, y’all. I culled it down too. There was a solid hundred pics. Seriously, I really liked the moss. Has anyone watched The OA on Netflix? There’s a shot of the lead character visiting heaven or purgatory of some other plane of existence and they used the moss fields for that shot. I was so psyched to see it in the show, I might have yelled, “Oh, hello Iceland moss!” alone in my apartment when that came up on the screen.
Apparently you can make an awful-sounding soup from the moss where you have to add a massive amount of sugar to make it palatable but hey, you got to get your chlorophyll from somewhere and there isn’t a lot of choices. (I almost wrote “chloroform.” Glad I caught that.)
Let’s finish talking about the countryside while we’re here and then in the next post we can move onto Reykjavik. In the first place we stayed, a massive village of about fifty inhabitants, we went out for a walk in the morning by the seaside. Note, it is before 11:00am so the sun is not out yet.
And while we were walking by the sea a sweet small friendly cat D christened Socks decided to join us. I loved Socks.
He let me pick him up and sing to him! He wasn’t enthused but he tolerated it. Great cat. I wanted to stuff him in my luggage and take him with me but I was outvoted. Boo.
Since almost all of Iceland runs on geothermal energy we also visited a power plant. I recommend going. It’s only about an hour outside of Reykjavik. Easy to get to.
We took the tour and the lady was very informative. Here’s what she basically said: There is insanely hot poisonous water that they pump up from under the surface. A pipe filled with clean water is put in a bigger pipe filled with this hot demon water and that heats up the clean water. The giant pipes go to Reykjavik and only lose two degrees on the journey so the water is still crazy hot when it gets there.
The poisonous death water is put back into the earth so there’s no collapse and it reheats and the circle begins anew.
The hot water is also used to power massive turbines which in turn make electricity. It’s a pretty self-sufficient facility. There are 40 employees on weekdays and two on weekends. Two.
The turbines come from Mitsubishi and the company thanked Iceland for buying their products with two very beautiful authentic Japanese crafts.
This was my favorite chart on the wall explaining the lava under the city.
They also had a display of all the indigenous rocks. I loved that the most to the surprise of nobody.
Alright, onto the city.
I’ve inherited an glorious amount of roving from my sister (thank you and I love you, K) and therefore I’ve been looking at different needle-felted artists. One who I thought had the sweetest cutest work was Hanna Dovhan. I mean, seriously.
I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make what I had in my head with the roving I had received, but looking at Hanna’s work answered my question and now I know how I’m make what I’m thinking of. Here’s her Etsy store.
Another wonderful non-traditional artist is Eleanor Pigman. I can’t quite figure out what she uses as a substrate, I’m guessing hand-painted felt, and then she beads on top of that. Eleanor layers her beads using different sizes and depths and her main subjects are birds and sea creatures.
Eleanor Pigman’s Etsy store is this: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Epigman
Warning: Vaguely spoilery about Doctor Strange below. I mean, it won’t ruin the movie but it’s maybe more information than you want so be cautious.
Hey! So, that election, huh? As an intellectual Jew from New York (I’m “elite”!) you can probably guess how I’m feeling so let’s skip all that, shall we? Skip right over all that. Plenty of other people to talk to about all that.
I saw Doctor Strange with Bendybloo Cobblehobble. I knew precisely nothing when I walked into the theater and I think that worked to my benefit. I looked back at the original drawings of Doctor Strange and he looked like the drag-queeniest Vincent Price ever conjured in the mind of man (not that there’s anything wrong with that, stay strong fellow brothers and sisters) so I think that had I known that I would have expected it to have more musical numbers. There were no musical numbers. It was, however, my favorite of the superhero movies, DC or Marvel, for one specific reason. I did not enjoy it the most. It wasn’t the most quotable or the quippiest or the most nail-bite-y. My reason is that in almost every superhero movie everything gets destroyed, whether by the good guy or the bad guy. Whole cities are demolished and that’s just how it is. I’m still mad about The Avengers. Hey, Loki, remember when you destroyed Grand Central Terminal and your punishment was to go home with a fancy metal ball gag? Remember that? Neither you nor your brother GoodGuy McBlondHammer stuck around to, I don’t know, hoist a girder with your crazy strength to rebuild after you done broke all the everything. In Doctor Strange the lead learns to harness the universe’s energy and in the climactic scene (here comes the sorta-kinda-spoiler) he not only doesn’t destroy a city, he UN-destroys a city. Like, it was being destroyed and he puts it back together all neat and tidy. THAT is what a superhero is supposed to do in my opinion. After he or she vanquishes evil, people will be grateful but they will also need places to live and rubble doesn’t keep out the cold. Seriously. Look at, like, every superhero movie that’s been released in the last ten years. There’s a lot, I’ll wait. See what I mean? This is great. Other things about this movie that are awesome and should encourage you to see it:
- There’s a diamond effect that was used by January Jones in X-Men: First Class. It’s back. Glad to see it.
- Buildings are bending and folding over each other like in Inception but even more bendy and foldy. Glad that’s back too.
- Hannibal with super eye makeup. In the movie the purple part glows like embers!
- The evil dark realm looks like it was designed by Lisa Frank. No complaints about that.
Things that are not awesome about this film:
- Benedict’s American accent. It sounds like he’s writing with his non-dominant hand. It’s not a bad accent, it’s just not… quite… right.
- The plot moves too fast. I had no time to process. It felt crammed in for time. I feel like this is an engaging and exciting story and I would have preferred to see it on Netflix as a series so each emotion gets a chance to sink in.
- That’s it.
I would recommend seeing this film, especially in the movie theater. Not necessarily in 3D. I saw it in 3D and it was a bit much. But definitely in the theater. I think I’ll see it again.
1. Y’all need to see this amazing sculpture being made. Whoo, skills. So many skills.
2. I use WeTransfer for work and sometimes they have ads. I saw this ad and I was like, “Where do I know that old guy from?”
I could not for the life of me figure it out. Finally, FINALLY, I got it. He’s a perfect doppelganger for the librarian in Monsters University.
Glad that’s all sorted out.
3. I happened to turn on Nickelodeon today and I found my life theme song.
4. While perusing Tumblr I learned what angels are supposed to look like. I am fond of the first one which appears to be a spinning gyroscope covered in eyes with a black hole of a fetus in the middle shooting tribal tattoos in all directions. I don’t know about you but if that popped up in my backyard in 1153 AD and all I’d ever seen was corn fields and maybe a creek I would not have held it together with grace and decorum.
5. I was looking at kawaii softie patterns on Pinterest for work (that is true, my job is awesome) and one in particular caught my eye. They were all very sweet but some real extra-sweet ones were this:
All so cuddly. And then in the middle of that was this:
It’s not bad, far from it, it’s just… what’s the word? Off-putting. I think it’s how far the eyes are, those intense dark circles, the angle of the head and the Mona Lisa smile. I would not be comfortable as a small child sleeping in a room with that there stuffed animal. I’m not comfortable looking at a picture of it on my computer in a well-lit room right now.
*Totally not really at all even in the slightest.
1. I didn’t know I wanted this until I saw it and then I was so grateful. Thank you, Person Who Made This.
2. I was talking to my co-worker SuzieQ and I was trying to tell her about PetTube.com, a website of animal videos structured the same way many amalgamating porn sites are built, but with cats playing and dogs wrassling and birds making squawky noises. It was the saddest conversation because I could not for the life of me remember the correct names for the porn sites being referenced. I told her it was like PornHusk or RedBlob. I actually said that. She looked at me sadly. Anyway, there’s a nice pet website out there for you to look at.
3. Calamityware, a company that designs Chinese-style porcelain with bad things happening and whose mugs I own, has come out with a line of plates. Also filled with bad things. Also that I wished I owned but I’m going to draw the line. My favorite one, not surprisingly, is the one where the picturesque village is overrun with frogs.