Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Everything’s the WORST.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

I watch a ton of Cartoon Network and Disney XD because those are excellent shows to have on in the background while you’re working on your laptop. They’re bright and fun and the plot’s not critical, they make great filler. Along with cartoons come commercials aimed at children, so a great many toy ads. Changing topics slightly: I understand the need for excrement in one’s life as a necessity but I cannot for the life of me understand the joy people find in turds – the poop emoji being a prime example. For some reason it really bothers me. Enter some of the toys I’ve seen commercials for recently, a.k.a. these atrocities that haunt my nightmares.

Flushin’ Frenzy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEtM1gwCkP8

Don’t Step In It:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjztIsqVI2Q

Doggie Doo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPQrTKoP8Zo

Poopeez:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aUvDsTMRU

I can’t. I seriously can’t. I’m going to go back to watching women-killing-their-husbands reenactment shows where the commercials are mainly for Life Alert and debt consolidation. It’s too much.

New York musings.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

1. This past summer when The Moomins took me to all those concerts in Lincoln Center I noticed there were seats behind the orchestra for when there’s giant choirs. They were black chairs with with metal armrests which was fine when the lights were up.

However when the lights went down and the tips of the armrests caught the light they looked like creepy animal eyes peering out of the forest. I didn’t take a picture during the performance because I’m not a HEATHEN GARBAGE PERSON LIKE THE GUY IN FRONT OF ME DICKIN’ AROUND ON HIS CELLPHONE so I photoshopped exactly what it looked like. It certainly made the concert spookier which I consider a bonus.

 

2. I passed a pawn shop on 8th Avenue and the window was filled with the usual… and a giant tomato. I decided it was because the owner wanted the tomato to ripen or something, but it really drew your attention away from the merchandise.

 

3. I saw a really nice mashup of modern and retro. I was walking past a coffee shop and I saw what looked like one of the oldey-timey Edison bulbs, but the filaments were replaced by three rows of discs where the edges of the discs had wee yellow LEDs. It looked really cool. I highly recommend using it if you’re thinking about eclectic but environmentally conscious lighting.

I found a pic online. It’s called the Edison LED Fireworks bulb.

 

4. I don’t normally care much about fashion but Cole Haan has come out with sandals that look like lobsters. Not only are they lobsters, but they’re ombre lobsters.

I support this fashion movement and I hope that the spring fashion season is awash in color-blend sea creatures. See my previous three posts to understand my love of ocean beasties (it’s intense).

 

5. Closing with another weird store window: There is a sweet perma-Christmas store down the street from my job and they sell all kinds of charming trinkets as well as old hotel keys with the tags on them (I do love an old hotel logo). But in there window right now, monopolizing the whole left front section is a intentionally dirty handmade doll of the Statue of Liberty. I believe they were going for whimsical but it looks straight-up haunted. Haunted and stinky.

I can make you a badly sewn doll and then drag it behind me on a string through the streets of NY on a rainy day if that’s what you’re looking for in home decor. I don’t like to call people out for how they dress their homes but unless you’re running a Halloween Horror House and need to make a children’s room extra creeptacular I would say skip this one. You’re just asking for problems (and by problems I mean ghosts).

Cricket went scuba-diving! We’re gonna look at some dope fish, part 2.

Friday, August 24th, 2018

More fish! Excellent, magical fish. Get ready.

But first, anemonemones! Memonemones! Mnemonoes! Mahnahmahnah (doodoodoodoodoo)!

My favorite are the ones that look like little hands.

Big ornery crab.

Two very beautiful fish that resisted classification due to my ignorance of oceanography and whatnot.

A not-great picture of a boxfish but look at those patterns! Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about hexagons (I’m pro).

And a far better picture of a boxfish but without any hexagons (boo).

Trumpet fish. I think they should be called Flute fish because they do not flare out at the end but I wasn’t there when they were naming the fishes so I lost my vote.

Nurse shark. Nurse shark. Nurse shark. Shark skin. I like nurse sharks because they do not have those gross eyes that pull in to the socket when they bite. Ugh, those give me nightmares.

 

Cricket was attacked by a protective fish. “Attacked” is a strong word. He tried to bite Cricket with his little moopers again and again but sadly, due to the fact the Cricket is a thousand times bigger that AggroFish and wearing a wetsuit, the bites did not have the desired effect. However, Cricket appreciated the little guy’s tenacity.

Conches! It is pronounced “konk.” I’ve being saying it wrong for the majority of my life. They are similar to snails. Here are the trails they leave when they trot around on the sea floor.

The best part of the conch is their eyes. They peer out from under their shells with concern and anxiety and I always enjoy seeing them.

Brace yourself for some supreme cuteness. Wee bebbeh boxfish. He was extremely wee so Cricket couldn’t get a good focus on him. First, an example pic so you know what you’re looking at.

I know. Epic cuteness. Now Cricket’s photos. So precious. My heart hurts looking at it. I love you, tiny fren!

That’s it for now. Next entry: the final pics. Get ready to shriek with excitement (I did).

A light smattering of internet. Mostly nature-related.

Friday, August 10th, 2018

1. A VERY important article about the our friend the boxfish.

http://anklecrack.tumblr.com/post/174496481893/its-hip-to-be-square

 

2. I don’t know what ballet this is from but I REALLY need to see it. If anyone knows, please tell me so I can buy tickets asap thnx.

http://10knotes.1000notes.com/post/80231584492

 

3. Look at the beautiful pattern of weathering on this chainlink fence.

It reminds me of the graffiti artist El Mac and the circular patterns found in his work.

 

4. I love that the artist Alexis Pavlantos is making dung beetles with felted dung balls as jewelry. I went to the site and no items related to the dung beetle is being sold which is a bummer, but it’s still cool as hell. Maybe Pavlantos will bring back the poop-pushing jewelry line. Let’s hope.

 

5. The Audubon website recently had an article on the gorgets of hummingbirds. The gorget is the bib area and it is often really bright and metallic. This particular photo blew me away. I never realized that each of those little peaks and valleys is one feather, not the whole curved scale section. Those feathers are teeny-tiny.

 

6. Trees no want to make touch.

It’s so cool and no one has a concrete answer on why trees do it. Wikipedia has some theories.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_shyness

 

7. Uhhhhhh, I don’t know what kind of filter or video-editing program this is but I kind of want to edit everything to be like this. That is trippy as hell.

http://photoelectron.tumblr.com/post/133267929461/walking-down-a-trail-in-charlottesville-a-few

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