Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Cape May, NJ.

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Cricket’s family goes to Cape May, NJ every year and even though I’ve been with him for a decade and a half I’ve never accompanied him on this annual journey to reunite the soul with the sea, birthplace of all living things.

I decided to go this year and I have to say, I had an extremely pleasant time. I mean, I was outside a lot where the sun is located and I don’t care for that at all, but aside from that it was really nice. The best thing about Cape May is all the Victorian houses. So many painted ladies with porches and pretty landscaping. I took photos.

And here are more pictures I found on the internet taken by other people.

 

At night (when the sun was not out and I didn’t feel like Helios was trying to tandoori my skin off my flesh) I would walk around the streets and feel feelings about the architectural details and the occasional remaining stained glass window. The only time I felt unsafe was when I walked past one house and someone was playing a piano that sounded exactly like the piano from Westworld. Westworld takes modern songs and makes them sound like a tune you’d hear in a saloon in the Wild West. One the show you hear them right before something atrocious and violent happens so as soon as I heard it I was like, “Oh no, is everyone going to get shot? And disemboweled? Maybe a shot and disemboweled combo? Definitely booze bottles and knives will be thrown. I should take cover with the prostitutes.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq364f4RGqE

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

Something that amused me nonstop was how they tried to make the street signs look Victorian but they just look vaguely goth as if 1990s Hot Topic designed them.

A+ for effort.

Our B&B where we stayed was designed in the typical 1870s-style with the doilies and the marble-topped pedestal tables, etc. Our room had a strip of decorative wallpaper with a repeating peacock motif that I thought was fine until I got up close and saw that the peacocks looked demonic and had angry skull faces and then I liked the wallpaper a lot more. The way to my heart is evil peacocks, unsurprisingly.

The majority of the two days I was there was spent at the beach splashing around in the water and trying to dislodge shell shards from my sandals. In the evening Cricket and I would go to the other beach about three miles away that faced in the opposite direction and watch the sun set.

This beach didn’t really have sand, it had awesome round smooth pebbles and horseshoe crabs mating like crazy. In case you don’t know what that looks like, a female horseshoe crab (which is the larger of the sexes because she is filled with thousands and thousands of eggs) climbs up on the beach and the male horseshoe crab glomps onto her tail so whenever she’s ready for love he’s there. She now has to drag him around the beach as she contemplates where she will make her nest. It looks like two mismatched frying pans moving slowly around in the shallows. Very romantic.

I also saw dolphins and a ray and a shark, it was a good weekend for seeing animals. I even enjoyed the seagulls. They were fancy, high-end seagulls with black heads and gray wings and elegant lines.

So since The Moomins likes the beach I am taking her back for her birthday at the end of August. We will eat ice cream and frolick in the waves (after 4:00 in the afternoon because the sun sucks).

The Internet is a gift.*

Friday, July 13th, 2018

1. The Bulgarian Kukeri Festival! Who’s coming with me?

The definition according to Wikipedia:

Kukeri are elaborately costumed Bulgarian men who perform traditional rituals intended to scare away evil spirits. Closely related traditions are found throughout the Balkans and Greece (including Romania and the Pontus). The costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. Around New Year and before Lent, the kukeri walk and dance through villages to scare away evil spirits with their costumes and the sound of their bells. They are also believed to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year.

The kukeri traditionally visit peoples’ houses at night so that “the sun would not catch them on the road.” After parading around the village they usually gather at the village square to dance wildly and amuse the people. Kukeri rituals vary by region but remain largely the same in essence.

 

2. This earthworm is called a Fried Egg Earthworm. It is extremely well-named.

 

3. Everyone is familiar with The Bean in Chicago, yes? Big silver blobule in the middle of a plaza? People were setting up group meetings on Facebook and the poor Bean got roped into it. What did The Bean ever do to you, Chicagoans?? Leave The Bean out of your shenanigans! #BeanDrama

 

 

4. Badly placed quote marks range from not-quite-right to ominous to terrifying.

 

5. While I have no particular desire to go to Coachella I would have liked to have seen this wire building in person.

Here is an article on the artist. https://www.curbed.com/2018/4/13/17236160/edoardo-tresoldi-coachella-etherea-wire-mesh-sculptures

 

6. I think I got it. The bikers and dogwalkers yield to the hikers who yield to the horseback riders and all of them yield to the truck. Am I right? Did I win something?

*When curated well. Otherwise, it is awaaaaaaaaaaaash with garbage and nightmares.

Whipped Cream Ballet.

Friday, July 6th, 2018

I went to the ballet with The Moomins, y’all! It was my birthday present from her to me. We went to the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center, known for its profoundly awesome light fixtures. I have been going there since I was a wee tot and you’d think I’d be used to the chandeliers by now. I am not. I stare at them and greet them like old friends and God forbid one day I am allowed to touch one, I may lose my cool in an epic fashion. Fluids will come out of my face. There will be drool and tears.

I could buy a small one but I don’t feel like dropping three grand on it. Maybe one day. When I win the lottery. After I buy a ticket.

Anyway, culture and art. I own several books featuring the work of the artist Mark Ryden. I don’t know if I’ve spoken about him before, but he is a spectacular oil painter who predominantly paints three things: Lincoln, prepubescent girls, and meat. I don’t know why that’s his jam but it is. Regardless of his odd subject matter the quality of his painting, specifically the detailwork, is about as good as it gets. Here are some samples of some of my favorites of his.

     

Ryden is clearly influenced by one of my favorite painters Jan Van Eyck (famous for his mastery of the oil paint medium and all of his people lookin’ like Vladimir Putin.)

ABT (American Ballet Theater) has a artist-in-residence, Alexei Ratmansky, who decided to bring back this obscure ballet from 1924 called “Schlagobers” (“Whipped Cream On Top” in German). It was written because WWI had just happened and there needed to be some light and joy brought into the world. Alexei thought the only person who could capture the creepy saccharine quality of this ballet was this particular painter so Ryden made illustrations which were then translated into stage sets and costumes by professional set designers and costumers and it’s something else, I tells ya. Here’s a picture from the ABT website.

I was astonished by how faithful the sets and costumes were to Ryden’s original drawings. It’s perfect. It’s a ballet in two acts. The first act was lovely but kind of meh. Nothing particularly special happens.

  

The second act, however, is where the magic is. It opens with a hospital where a giant-headed doctor dances with nurses carrying giant syringes.

 

And then after they leave a parade of insanity saunters out on stage. I might have straight-up cheered. I could not find an adequate picture. Here’s Ryden’s original interpretation.

And that’s precisely what waltzed across the stage. Here are sections of it.

   

Here’s the best picture I could find from the end of the ballet.

Are you seeing this? Are you appreciating the giant two-person yeti? Are you appreciating the candy worm who drags himself across the stage on a little dolly and waves his tail around in support of the other dancers? Are you appreciating the tall thing with the ears which is called the Long Neck Piggy? The small children dressed as cupcakes who hop up and down with elastic suspenders so their cupcakes go boing boing boing? It does not get old.

In addition there were three anthropomorphic bottles of alcohol that get the doctor and nurses drunk so the main character can escape the hospital (don’t ask, the plot is not the strongest element to this ballet) and they were fantastic. You can see them in this photo – one guy was Vodka, one guy was Slivovitz (Eastern European plum liquor) and the girl was champagne.

I would recommend seeing this ballet because it’s amazingly weird and you know, Ryden. Here are a few other drawings of his.

 

 

Recent side-project. NSFW maybe. Depends on where you work. Make a judgment call for yourself.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

I am a huge proponent of helping ladies doin’ their own thing so I’ll take on work pro bono for them in my free time. (Free time! Hahahahaha!) I’ve designed some logos for women starting their own businesses and presentations for masters’ theses, etc. A co-worker of mine recently started recording a podcast with her friend where they talk about sex and dating issues that women are dealing with today. It’s funny and light and positive and she needed a logo design. Since it’s a small industry I can get a little more loose and free with what I can create. I’ll explain. I created a very basic logo based on the name they gave me.

The reason I kept it so simple was I was inspired by the Absolut ads of my youth, where the shape of the bottle is the only constant from ad to ad.

So I thought it would be cool if for every episode the text remained the same and in the same position in the box shape, but everything around reflected the topic being addressed. Kind of a bespoke logo per episode, but still recognizable. I came up with some samples. I won’t specify what topics I was referencing because some of them are a bit blunt but you can guess if you’d like.

They’re all bright and cute and fun and not straight-out vulgar, more “tee hee” in nature. I was inspired by the webpage of the podcast Criminal.

I mocked up an example of what The Get Down Lowdown website could look like.

I also thought of the poster from The Dollop podcast where it’s the two hosts and a collection of characters they’ve discussed in the past.

I think it would be cool after The Get Down Lowdown is on for a while and I’ve made a large quantity of these individualized squares if I make a collage poster based on some favorite designs. Then The Get Down Lowdown girls can sell it or give it away to Patreon subscribers. There’s a lot of directions this could go.

 

Addendum: They’ve finished editing their first episode. And I have made their logo for them. It’s super-classy.

Podcasts that are simultaneously fascinating and appalling. Enjoy!

Friday, June 8th, 2018

I had to build a massive project and I wanted something nice to listen while I was enmeshed in work hell so I went to Snorth for a list of podcasts to plow through like it was my job. The project is over and I’ve made it through a goodly portion of Snorth’s recommendations. She and I both like a good true crime podcast and here is the list of what I’ve listened to so far. Warning: these podcasts will not increase your love for your fellow man. Many, too many folks are made of paranoia and hammer claws. Every episode has me making this face:

Like, I get you have to kill that person. They wronged you, I understand. But did you need to do weird stuff with the body? Was that completely necessary? Cut them up? Shove the parts in a tree? Eat the remaining bits? It’s too much.

True Crime Obsessed. Here is the description from their site:

This podcast is a place for you to get even more information on all things true crime. We’ll be talking about podcasts, documentaries, movies (as in “Zodiac”), books, television shows, you name it. 

There is so much out there and we’re going to tell you about it in a knowledgeable and, let’s be honest, funny way. We will always be respectful but we’ll also sprinkle some levity in there because if we don’t we’ll all be miserable, depressed messes. These are the true crime conversations you’d have with your friends… if your friends didn’t think you were a total creep for wanting to watch “There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane”… again.

It’s two people, Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle, two theater nerds who I believe host a Broadway  musicals podcast together as well. They are gloriously sassy and opinionated and they ring a bell when they like someone (“Hero Bell!!!”) or when they do not like someone (“Garbage Bell!!!”) (it really helps that they announce what kind of emotion they’re conveying with the bell because it’s the same bell for both). True Crime Obsessed predominantly covers documentaries but they’ll branch out to other mediums on occasion. They have a Facebook page where they take suggestions. It’s about as much fun as you can have listening to horrific stories about liars and cheaters and murderers. I definitely recommend it.

 

Criminal. Here’s the description from their site:

Criminal launched January of 2014, and is based in Durham, North Carolina. New episodes come out twice a month, always on Fridays. In 2015, we won a Third Coast International Audio Festival “Best Documentary” award for our story, 695-BGK, and were chosen as an iTunes “Best of 2015.” In 2016, we were featured in “Best of” lists in Wired, The Atlantic, USA Today, and Rolling Stone. We travel all around the country to interview people, and sometimes take the show on the road to tell stories live.

“A true­ crime podcast that understands crime as something sociological, historical, even anthropological — that crime is a function of people, time, and place. With incredible sound design, marvelous writing, and a boldness in the way it makes its choices, there are few shows that feel more alive.”  –Vulture

This is a very NPR-y type structure. The nice lady who hosts, Phoebe Judge, has a strong case of soothing NPR voice which for some reason I find wildly irritating. I feel compelled to post Patton Oswalt’s bit about NPR whenever I mention NPR. However, I girded my loins and gritted my teeth and now I don’t even hear Phoebe’s vocal stylings at all. I built up a tolerance, I guess. It’s a well-researched show that interviews the victims (when possible because, you know, sometimes they’re dead) or the family members so it’s not second-hand. Unlike Serial each episode is its own entity which I did not realize until the third episode. I was SO confused. It’s an excellent podcast to listen to while you’re organizing files or color-correcting images. Interesting, engaging but not overly or unnecessarily dramatic. Also, someone draws a little descriptive sketch for each episode and I am a big fan of hiring illustrators in this day and age.

 

Small Town Dicks. Worst name for a podcast ever. Here’s the description from their site:

Small Town Dicks is a podcast about the big-time crime that’s happening in Small Town, USA. Each episode features the detectives who broke the case in their small town, and includes assets like jailhouse phone calls, suspect interviews and 9-1-1 calls. The show is anchored by veteran, identical-twin detectives Dan and Dave, and hosted by actresses, Yeardley Smith and Zibby Allen.

Do you recognize that name, Yeardley Smith? It’s because she’s the voice of Lisa Simpson. Let me tell you how weird it is to hear the voice of Lisa Simpson ask a police officer, “So, when you found the corpse did you run a rape kit or wait for the coroner?” Aside from the culture shock of Yeardley’s voice, it’s taken from the point of law enforcement and what see and encounter when they go to crime scenes as well as how they they interrogate the people of interest to sort out what happened and who’s responsible. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of cops and detectives on the crimes they experience.

 

Sword and Scale. This podcast is a grim one. Here’s their description:

Sword and Scale is an internet radio show and website covering the dark underworld of crime and the criminal justice system’s response to it. The show and website were launched January 1st, 2014 and feature stories of murder, abduction, rape and even more bizarre forms of crime. It’s the purest form of true-crime where nothing is off the table. Everything from 911 calls to court testimony, interviews with victims and sometimes with perpetrators give listeners a 360 degree look at the entire story. Told from the narrator’s point of view, Sword and Scale goes beyond the news clips and the sensationalist headlines to give listeners the whole story and deeper insight into the cases it covers than any other medium.

They don’t cut corners. They don’t soften the details. You’re gonna learn all the facts no matter how upsetting. Sword and Scale plays a great deal of the 911 calls so get ready for unintelligible screaming. I do recommend it though, but don’t binge-listen like I did. It will give you a big case of the gloomies. Maybe alternate with a comedy podcast, or one on wine-tasting, something light and refreshing with laughter and pleasure.

Internet musings.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

1. I was on Amazon buying something unnecessary and this ad popped up because Amazon clearly knows its target audience:

I was faced with a quandary. If I was going to watch this game (I wasn’t), who would I root for? Normally I root for the animal, but these are both animals. What’s a girl to do? I decided I would root for the Seahawks because they have a bird of prey name and I love owls (it’s a stretch but let’s work with it) AND even though I adore female cardinals (their drab coloring compliments the redness in their beak) I’ve noticed cardinals are very mean to the other birds at bird feeders and I don’t want to be complicit in that. So I would support the Seahawks. SPORTS FAN!

 

2. Everyone know what a black metal band is? Wikipedia says:

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.

You can go on YouTube, there’s a ton of videos there. A thing that is extremely common amongst black metal bands are illegible spiky tumbleweed-resembling logos.

There are great memes out there that illustrate my point:

So, with all this in mind, Snorth’s husband Speeb sent me this on Facebook:

And I tried to figure out the names. I really, really tried. I felt like I was at an eye exam. Here is my response:

 

3. Look at this sea cucumber video! It’s like a little pulsating sphincter and then BOOM! Arms outta nowhere. I love it.

https://gif87a-com.tumblr.com/post/167984024750/this-sea-cucumber-waking-up-to-eat

 

4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A place… with people, I guess. I don’t know anything about it. What I do know is there was a camera – you know what? I’m not going to explain. The pictures explain themselves.

 

5. I could watch this gif all day. What awesome costumes. I am so impressed.

 

6. So Maxine Waters is a congresswoman from California and she is relatively famous for the phrase “reclaiming my time.” Refer to this video for clarification:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EvuBakBj3I

And God bless the internet, because now there’s this and I watch it at least once every couple of days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4u3nt-TFXM

 

Addendum: “99 Red Balloons” played on red balloons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZND9dApFKU

Vienna and Krakow, Part 10.

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Okay, we covered the depressing. Back to the positive things humanity has contributed to history.

But first! A doorframe. I saw a Baroque doorframe with angry… weasels? Lizards? Dog griffons? I couldn’t tell. Thankfully, the club made their logo a line drawing of the guardian beasties so that mystery was solved right quick. Thank you, Klub Pod Jaszczurant.

This was our heated towel rack. I developed a deep and powerful relationship with this towel rack. I would come back from sightseeing frosty with crisp extremities and drape myself on this towel rack. I think the towel rack and I are married in some villages, so intimate was our contact.

In one of the churches I visited I saw a ceiling motif of the ten commandments. Now I’ve always seen them split even in two, five on one side and five on the other. Here it was the first three on one side and seven on the other, which I found odd. I asked my dad why they did that and he said the first three commandments deal with your relationship with God, where the remaining seven deal with your relationship with your fellow man. Ergo, the uneven split. Knowledge!

So if you remember I mentioned that when a building needed repair in Krakow they repaired it in whatever style was popular at the time of the repair, not the style that was popular at the time of the building’s creation. This worked out well for me because one whole church interior was fixed and painted in the Art Nouveau style which is my favorite artistic movement.

The windows were stained glass in the Art Nouveau style but they weren’t very good so I didn’t hurt myself trying to take pictures of them. The church was very dark and the windows were very bright and my camera was like, “What… precisely… are we going for here” so I didn’t fuss with the windows.

Before WWII Krakow had a ton of Jews. Now it’s got about 200 permanent resident Jews but approximately 700,000 Jews visit Krakow every year so the former Jewish district has been turned into a sort of cultural center with restaurants and museums relating to the community that used to live there.

Most of the buildings are around a small town square. This was the oldest remaining building from 1300-something.

Here’s the school off to the side. I like brickwork and am a sucker for a good brick building. Mock me if you must, I will find solace in my bricks.

Here’s a bit of Roman wall. The Jews were sent outside the city limits at one time and it’s cool to see where the city limits used to be.

This was the butchers market. In the center of this octagonal building is where the actual kosher killing happened and then the stalls where you would buy the meat. Now there’s a vintage and second-hand market there on certain days in the stalls.

The Old Synagogue (so named because it’s from the Renaissance) is now a museum. It has a really lovely clean interior with several original elements remaining.

The main thing I took away from visiting this museum (which I recommend, it’s small but excellent) is that Jews loooooove lions on their religious objects and, bless their hearts, they cannot make a decent lion for all the money in the world. There was these ones:

And this:

And these cheerful failures:

And my personal favorites from the 1700s that I call “If I’m going to get lions wrong I’m going to get them epically wrong.”

Brief moment of grimness (listen, it’s Europe, it’s Jews, things are going to get crappy, it’s unavoidable). We walked through the former ghetto. This was the SS office in the center of the square.

After the ghetto was liquidated and everyone in it was sent to concentration camps, the Nazis threw all the furniture in their apartments out of the windows and the square filled up with furniture. So as a memorial the square is filled with bronze chairs. Some believe it represents all the furniture that was thrown out. Some say they are waiting for their owners to come back (spoiler alert: it never happens). It’s a very impactful memorial.

We also went to the Remu Synagogue. From Wikipedia:

The Remah Synagogue, is named after Rabbi Moses Isserles c.1525–1572, known by the Hebrew acronym ReMA (pronounced ReMU) who’s famed for writing a collection of commentaries and additions that complement Rabbi Yosef Karo’s Shulchan Aruch, with Ashkenazi traditions and customs.

I was interested in going there because I heard a story (remember, we’re in Krakow where there are no myths and fables, only TRUTHS and FACTS) that Rabbi Moses Isserles wrote a book that was very important and then he buried it in the backyard where a tree grew out of the book. Then when Rabbi Isserles died he was buried under that tree as well. When people tried to dig him up to move his body to a better cemetery the tree smacked the crap out them with its branches (“No move body! I smack!”) and when bombs were dropping the tree bent over and protected the body from damage. I love that this rabbi is protected by something that is half Whomping Willow from Harry Potter and half Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. I wanted to see the tree and wandering around an old cemetery is always on my list.

 

Headstones had lion fails as well. This one looked like Courage the Cowardly Dog screaming.

Someone had taken the broken headstones and embedded them on the back wall.

The interior of the actual synagogue was very small and cute.

And it took me a while to figure out why there was a lobster on the ceiling because, hello? Sooooo not kosher? But apparently there were the signs of the zodiac around the perimeter of the room (which still makes very little sense because isn’t that Greek mythology, whatever).

Next entry: The Salt Mine! With the Salt Church! And that’s the end of the trip.

Vienna and Krakow, Part 5.

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Okay, last entry on Vienna. Get ready for some art.

First, more food. This is apple strudel. Sitting in a warm bath of vanilla sauce. With swirls of whipped cream on either end. *sniff* I miss this so much.

The Moomins and I walked past a print shop where we saw real rebellious students working on real rebellious posters and banners. Hand-painting them! I was so impressed.

Some Renaissance smooshed into the Baroque. This is called the Schweizertor (“Swiss door”) and it’s on one of the many MANY buildings in Vienna that belonged to the monarchy.

And off to the right is a panel from the same period with some mighty fine gryphons. A+ on those gryphons.

The rest of the building has your standard Baroque extra drama with a side of expressive. I especially likes this guy wrestling what I assume is the Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades, but they look like weird tigers.

Speaking of the monarchy, the primary reigning family of Austria was the Habsburgs and as with most royal families there was cousins marrying and all that. I could not stop thinking about Paul Reubens on 30Rock when he played His Royal Highness the Duke of Terechia, the Earl of the Duchy of Westphalia, Prince Gerhardt Messaschmidt Rammstein van Hoppe.

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

Great character. SOOOOPER inbred.

I wanted to go to the Museum of Applied Arts because that’s the area I’m most interested in. I like the useful arts best. The coolest exhibit they have was the first built-in kitchen. Before this concept you bought a stove and a cabinet for dishes and none of that was provided in the home already. I guess it never occurred to me that there someone had to think of it. Here’s the Wikipedia description:

The Frankfurt kitchen was a milestone in domestic architecture, considered the forerunner of modern fitted kitchens, for it realized for the first time a kitchen built after a unified concept, designed to enable efficient work and to be built at low cost. It was designed in 1926 by Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky for architect Ernst May’s social housing project New Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany. Some 10,000 units were built in the late 1920s in Frankfurt.

And here are some chairs displayed in one of the hallways. No relation to anything. Just liked them. Who doesn’t like wood carving and little antlers?

The last museum I went to was the Albertina. It was a residence for one of the members of the royal family, a Duke or an Earl, there were so many, it’s hard to keep track.

They have state rooms on display and they were those rooms you always see in movies where you go through door after door after door and they’re all in rows, around the same size with no furniture. People would ship their bureaus and armoires of clothes so there were no closets. And clearly they used chamber pots so there were no bathrooms. Just salon after salon. By the way, that’s why it often sucks to live in a pre-war apartment in New York City – no closets. Closets are a recently new invention.

The only stationary piece of furniture were mammoth ceramic heating units in the center of the room. The cold there is real, people.

I thought the chandeliers were pretty great. They were not just slapped together like crappy hotel ballroom ones, they were clearly crafted with love and care. It makes a difference and I appreciated it.

So as I pottered from room to room looking at the art on the walls and the rooms themselves I got another artistic surprise. In one of the room was… Albrecht Dürer’s Grouchy Bunny! I didn’t know this was the museum he lived in! Hi Lil Bun-Buns! You look so mad and I love you!

Mr. Grumples was behind glass (hence the reflections you see there) so I could get right up to him, like inches from him. That rabbit is fantastic. He looks like he was painted yesterday. Now, the reason I said I didn’t know this was the museum he lived in is because there are representations of The Hare all over the city, so I knew he was SOMEWHERE in Vienna. There’s a great pink version outside the Opera House.

And a green version on top of a snack stand:

So I knew this was The Hare’s city but there’s like 200 museums so whatever. The great thing was next to The Hare was two other small paintings by Dürer and one was a wing. Guys, this wing was amazing. Every tuft on the feathers, every color shift, everything was rendered perfectly. I did my best to take photos of it but keep in mind this painting is quite small so the detail is pretty flawless. As Kendrick Lamar says, “Sit down. Be humble.” I did. I was.

The gift shop had mini versions of The Hare for sale but they were pricey so I took a pass. I would have wanted to get them in every color plus silver plus gold anyway and it would have drifted into $1,000 at that point so I opted for none.

I’d like you to know that in looking for additional information on The Hare I found this nightmare fuel in Nuremburg. What the fresh hell is this? Ugh.

I think that’s everything on my five days in Vienna. If it appears that I only looked at churches and museums and ate cake and drank hot beverages, then I have portrayed my experience correctly. Much to my chagrin I didn’t get a chance to see my girl the Venus of Willendorf. I studied her for art school and I’ve always wanted to see her. Maybe next time.

Next entry: Krakow.

New York observations.

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

1. On my way to work every day I come out of a tunnel that goes from Grand Central Terminal to further up midtown. There is a fancy glass office building being built across the street from the exit and the windows have a neat white faded pattern that have a top and bottom. It’s subtle, but it’s noticeable. Which is why I’m wondering when the building owners are going to notice that one of the windows was installed upside down and how they plan to fix it.

2. Additionally on my walk to work: Has everyone seen Moana? There is a small blorp of asphalt that is mushed up the sidewalk for some reason or another and it always reminds me of the anthropomorphic wave in Moana.

3. Occasionally I take a cab to work if the weather is garbage or I’m carrying something heavy and last week it was sleeting so I cabbed it. No biggie. When I got into the cab the cab driver was on a conference chat with like three other people. Also not that unusual. What was unusual was the cabbie who, shortly after I got in, decided to hold a prayer meeting with the other people on the conference call and they all starting being infused with the Holy Spirit. I was not thrilled with that. I do not want a person who is control of a large metal vehicle that has me encased in it traipsing through city traffic shaking their head and speaking in tongues. That’s not what I look for in a driver. I tried to casually video some of it and I isolated the sound. I was holding the phone down by my side so the cabbie wouldn’t see so you may have to turn up your volume but trust me, it’s worth it.

speaking-in-tongues

(I knew it was Christian-based because at the end the cabbie said, “Mumblemumblemumble HOLEE SPEEREET mumblemumblemumble JEEZUS CHRYYYYST.” But for a while there I thought maybe they were going to conjure a djinn or something.)

4. I didn’t go and see the window displays this Christmas but I did walk past one window that made me quite happy. I think it was the giant H&M on Fifth Avenue. They had cool giant dandelions aaaaaaand a big ole hare made of yarn! I thought he was great.

I loved that the window designers went fully into textures and kept the color palette super-muted. There was a giant yarn fox and a giant yarn otter in the store but I’m a rabbit-lover to the core so the hare was all I needed. I vote that this be the window display for the rest of the year.

5. The Westminster Dog Show happened this week and I watched religiously and picked my favorites and none of them won, the usual. The thing that stood out this year was The Camera. Let me explain. Normally, the cameras are manned by humans and I never had a problem with that. This year The Powers That Be at Westminster decided that they didn’t want live bodies on the judging green, they wanted robot cameras. On the main area where cameras that looked like tank turrets merged with R2D2 and that was fine.

HOWEVER, during the Toy Group I noticed someone off to the side. I say someone because I could have sworn it was a person. Look in the upper right-hand corner of this screengrab.

Uhhhhhh, who the hell is that? I eventually figured out that it was a robot camera wrapped in purple cloth but I could have sworn it was a person. Tonight was the finals and they moved The Camera right into the main shot where I couldn’t stop staring at it.

Even worse The Camera followed the dog presenting so it appeared extra-sentient.

So while I was supposed to be saying things like, “I love that fluffy dog’s ears,” I was yelling things like, “Why is the freakin’ Grim Reaper helping the judge?!??”

I hope next year they leave the camera naked. I’d rather see the inner workings of Robot Cam and I would imagine everyone else would too instead of being reminded of their own inevitable demise during the Terrier Group.

Mantis mantis mantis. (Mantis.)

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Mantis! First, my work companion. My coworker Tongue is obsessed with plants. He has a gazillion plants in his home, and seeds, and things that look like they’re dead twigs but are not, all the plants. In order to prevent bugs from eating his beloved plants Tongue bought baby mantises (I like to pronounce that “manteeses” even though it’s wrong). He brought a few of the mantises in plastic containers to work where I proceeded to get no work done because I had to cuddle the sweet wee demon-bugs! So cute! So sway-y!

I love how he has a little hat on his head between his sweet little curly antennae. It reminded me of the Pharoah’s crown, the one that looks like a bowling pin nestled in a wonton soup spoon.

I also love how the mantis had a neck that he can turn. And the swaying was great. And occasionally he would flick out his praying arms. As I said, not much work was accomplished during his tenure. Eventually Tongue took the mantises home which made me forlorn but was probably for the best. Sigh.

More mantis! A friend of a friend recommended me for some design work. A woman named Yoda was starting her own production company called Pink Orchid International and asked me for a logo. She said she was not opposed to anything related to pink or orchid. I got to make a variety of interpretations and you bet your sweet patoot I did an orchid mantis version, yes I did.

Yeah. Not surprisingly, Yoda did not use my super-amazing mantis logos. She chose the one in the upper left because she is professional and I want to incorporate insects and skulls and rainbows into everything I do. But I was appreciative of the opportunity. Maybe someday I will get the chance to make bug-related business identities. Who knows what the future holds (insect-logo-wise).