Archive for the ‘Teh Intarwebz’ Category

Nuggets of Interest.

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

1. McMansions. A blight on the eyes. There is now a website that explains why the architecture is so not great.
http://www.mcmansionhell.com/

Some helpful diagrams of the crappityness:

http://68.media.tumblr.com/0a36042f20db6d53ded10b73f0d48c3e/tumblr_inline_ogsoncC0vE1sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/47c1b1c183099c7aa256c926d9a0b4ce/tumblr_inline_og2wcdHpM91sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/ca0eda2a8c26bf39c7f922079e282928/tumblr_inline_ofeenzGhCV1sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/f8dff9e65f22b732fc345de5b01741c6/tumblr_inline_ofef73vsHi1sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/4cf3ea1e5379c82eb1791506a9668e1f/tumblr_inline_oeqv95rWjN1sppt0x_1280.png

 

2. There’s a psychotic piece of music out there that is impossible to play because, well, see for yourself.

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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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Nc4iR7rGA

 

3. Google Maps was kind enough to find the saddest places on earth and collate them into helpful collages. Thanks, Google Maps.

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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

https://youtu.be/YZQiSEB60LM

 

5. The interwebs being amazing again. Someone posted this:

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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.

bf999931267dc16c5e9f17ec842ab899 grid-cell-30979-1482108258-4 bone-teeth-pickles tumblr_ohtgo0jziy1vowx1wo1_500 tumblr_og5gxsroa31r9y691o1_500screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-10-43-pm czesdgdxuaaanzb tumblr_oijmfp9mXA1use6ffo1_500 bone-teeth-recipe 14566729_1165680456855624_6850527559298318336_n

My personal favorite:

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6. And finally, another architectural thing. Thomassons. Who knew.

http://www.messynessychic.com/2017/01/18/the-inexplicably-fascinating-secret-world-of-thomassons/

Iceland Part 9, Iceland and done.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

https://soundcloud.com/vaginaboys

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.

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And two massive beautiful stained glass windows at either end of the interior space. Very Chagall / Picasso-esque.

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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.

Iceland, Part 7: Reykjavik.

Friday, February 10th, 2017

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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There are no Starbucks so the Dunkin Donuts look like fancy coffee houses. Frank Sinatra and Norah Jones playing over the stereo and everything.

dunkindonuts

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’.

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This was the other Williamsburgian place that caught my eye. It’s perfect.

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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.

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Cool shingles that look like dragon scales.

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Teeny-tiny adorable city garden.

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Iceland loves the English phrase “and stuff.” I noticed it all over and it delighted me every time.

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A painting of a lion on the side of a coffee shop.

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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.

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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.

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Cool authentic Christmas lamps. Also not for sale. I was less sad than the ravens, but still a bit forlorn.

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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.

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Dorky Norseman statue.

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Awesome painting on the front of a basement skateboard shop.

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And a neato sticker.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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Finally, there was an Icelandic dog. I loved this dog. I wanted to pet this dog for forever.

dog1 dog2

Coming up next: NSFW museum and fancy fancy dinner.

Iceland, Part 5.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

I was so super-excited to go to swim between two tectonic plates. Remember? Remember that? How could I have known how depressingly south it would go for me?

Before delving into that sadness, let’s look at some other things.

“Coconut” is “Kokosnoot” in Norwegian. I vote we all move there solely based on this.

kokosnoot

Can anyone identify this meat? I’m guessing reindeer but I have no idea, really.

meat

The city closest to the basalt columns was Vik. I should have posted a picture of Vik earlier but I’m doing it now.

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You’ll note the church on the hill. Just about every single church in Iceland looked like that. Plain white building, one steeple, red roof. Here’s someone else’s picture showing a) how freakin’ small the town of Vik is, and b) how close it is to the beach with the amazing structures and the homicidal ocean.

http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000aGd276FisUA/fit=1000×750/Vik-church-beach-Iceland-1975.jpg

And look! The volcano that ruined air travel back in 2010! Notice the big divot in the top.

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Alright, let’s tell the sad tale of how Jessica almost drowned in a truly sad manner. I was beyond psyched to go to where the plates came together. The video looked so enticing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd1mv-wH5Pc

We arrived pretty early in the day and met up with the truck in the parking lot that had our dry suits. What’s a dry suit, you ask? It’s a suit designed for swimming in cold water. First, you strip down to your long underwear. Then you put on a pair of overalls made from sleeping bag material, so it’s puffy and warm. Everything was fine for me until the next step. You put on the dry suit. The dry suit is made out of a pretty rigid thicc-as-hell waterproof buoyant material so it is profoundly difficult to move your arms and legs. It’s also very heavy, so it’s like wearing a restrictive suit of armor. Mine was a tad too small so I could not exhale fully. In addition to being heavy and movement-resistant, there are TIGHT rubber gasket-like things around the wrists and neck to prevent water from leaking into the suit. The wrist ones were fine but the neck one made it hard to breathe. Like, to inhale. On top of that, mine was apparently a little too loose so the guy in charge put a RUBBER BELT around my neck to make it TIGHTER. I’m not making any of this up.

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At this point I’m beginning to panic very slightly and I think rightfully so because it was hard to breathe between the NECK BELT and the slightly-too-small suit. I had to consciously think about my breathing. We had to toddle over to the metal staircase into the water and it took me forever because I would immediately become out of breath. They put masks on us and flippers and we got into the water. The element most people were worried about was their exposed faces freezing from the 35-degree water but it was no problem, your face went numb after about thirty seconds. I floated pleasantly face down in the water and then I realized I was lagging behind the rest of the group so I attempted to catch up. This is the moment that changed everything. My snorkel got some water in it but because the suit was so rigid and buoyant I couldn’t flip myself upright to empty my snorkel and the guide said don’t touch the rock walls because they were covered with algae and touching them would dislodge the algae and cloud up the view. So I’m gurgling and trying to thrash (but I can’t) and I can’t take deep breaths and the neck belt is strangling me and that was my experience for the twenty minutes. I missed looking at everything because I was trying not to die. I finally had to be towed to shore by our guide because I was too pathetic to continue. If you’re wondering what I looked like this is a very accurate representation. I am the crocodile in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsRKYN8TeUg

And these are other pictures from the experience. I vaguely remember seeing this as the blackness took over my vision.

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The scenery was absolutely stunning. I loved how the rock still showed the folds of the lava.

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However, the whole day was not disappointment for me. I got to go to a indoor tomato farm! That was super cool. We went there for lunch.

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The menu is very limited and contains only tomato products but everything we had was absolutely delicious. Since electricity is pretty much free due to the volcano juice they can run those crazy grow lights twenty hours a day. This particular tomato farm supplies 18% of Iceland’s tomato needs.

Each table had a basil plant (also grown there) with a wee pair of scissors and a vessel of cold water that had two cherry tomatoes in the bottom.

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To start I got the “Mary Christmas” (all the drinks had the word Mary in them, based off of the Bloody Mary) which was a very sweet breed of tomato mixed with wine and mulling spices and served warm. It tasted almost exactly like spiced cider with a little alcohol. It was delicious and wintery.

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Then we all got the never-ending soup bowl with bread which was a brilliant decision because YUM.

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And I insisted on getting all three desserts because they all had tomato in them and I needed to understand how they worked. And they were all served in flower pots! There was apple and tomato cobbler with corresponding whipped cream pot, ice cream with candied green tomato and two kinds of tomato syrup, and cheesecake with green tomato jam.

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I took this picture of the ice cream so you could see the candied green tomato embedded in there.

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It all tasted wonderful. Tomato is very versatile.

After I had gorged on all the tomato wonderfulness I walked around the facility. Since tomatoes are not native to Iceland, these are from the Netherlands. And in order to pollinate the plants there are imported Dutch bumblebees! They live in filing boxes with their queen.

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It was so nice to see how to make food without putting too much stress on the earth. And this was the definition of farm to table. The tables were in the farm. I highly recommend the Iceland Tomato Experience.

 

Iceland. Land of surprisingly little ice.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Well, I’m off. I’m going to Iceland tomorrow and I’ll be back in a little over a week. Be strong in my absence and I’ll see you when I return. Enjoy this video of what I will be expecting.

Some artists I am feeling right now.

Friday, November 18th, 2016

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.

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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.

https://www.etsy.com/people/gannadovgan

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.

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Eleanor Pigman’s Etsy store is this: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Epigman

Things I have noticed. All SUUUPER very important.*

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

1. Y’all need to see this amazing sculpture being made. Whoo, skills. So many skills.

https://vimeo.com/131811521

 

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?”

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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.

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Glad that’s all sorted out.

 

3. I happened to turn on Nickelodeon today and I found my life theme song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI-44FAvv5c

 

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.

http://pyrrhiccomedy.tumblr.com/post/142646579807/what-do-angels-actually-look-like-per-the-bible

 

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:

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or this:

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or this:

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All so cuddly. And then in the middle of that was this:

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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.

Internet treasures.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

1. I didn’t know I wanted this until I saw it and then I was so grateful. Thank you, Person Who Made This.
https://huntingforsnails.wordpress.com/

 

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.

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/09/calamityware-2/

 

 

Moooooooom! The Russians are being better at crafts again!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

I’ve been drifting around Pinterest for the last few days looking at different kinds of embroidery using sequins and beads and I came across a website called livemaster.ru. The homepage, which is all in Russian, looks pretty nondescript. BUT WAIT. There’s a Pinterest page devoted only to the bead artists who share their work there and dammit if they aren’t doing the most beautiful things that have ever been done in bead embroidery.

1bac7c7f94eefe82297b697bd20k--ukrasheniya-boretskaya-ptichka 2f02538575b889aa96adbd7484zm--ukrasheniya-repej 5df70a745ddc808b6ee4bb0567lm--ukrasheniya-kulon-ammonity-motylki 06db6a008be6ad994e1835f0a8--ukrasheniya-ptitsy 7a727fca8c968cafc24b9a30fcj9--ukrasheniya-kole-motylki 8d116251ee81f59e7aa9e8ab61cy--ukrasheniya-kole-odonata 9dc046365798a8b84e3401d775xd--ukrasheniya-brosh-kulon-k-zvezdam 27aca04da09d455ece39521928tn--ukrasheniya-brosh-motylek-kometa 39dea2869432aae7b3bfb949fceg--ukrasheniya-sergi-motylki bryut1 d371e2e9e593b679e81fffed48xq--ukrasheniya-modern-v-rozovom d972060ff3cfcc19952fe95a6b1v--ukrasheniya-oblachko e8b983932ab6b9dabc4fcde8a0zk--ukrasheniya-oblachko ginkgo-leave-necklace-russian-beads guzelbakeeva.ru_

I understand that design is a very personal journey and I personally don’t like large neckpieces but still, holy crap badgers this work is good. And interesting. And creative. It must be that seven-month long season of snow. No one goes outside so their artwork reaps the benefits. I never thought I would be jealous of Siberians, yet here we are.

OITNB, GOT and Stranger Things.

Monday, August 15th, 2016

As you may know I looooooove me some television. I watch an absurd amount of it, especially while crafting my crafts and working on my work. Recently I watched the latest season of Orange is the New Black (season 4) and Game of Thrones (season 6). First, GOT. Good season, great season. You know how all the previous seasons it was, I don’t know, a bit rape-heavy? Like, all the time with the rape? Well, this season, almost no rape! Lots of political chit-chat. Oh, and women having power and getting stuff done! Loads of women empowerment.

An example: Daenerys, the blonde lady with the dragons, gets captured by a giant Dothraki horde. In previous seasons we learned she’s immune to fire. All the men meet in a big ole wooden building filled with torches to discuss what they should do with Daeny. Of course, they want to violate her in a gazillion ways. She’s like, “Nope,” pushes over the torches and burns the place to the ground, killing all the Dothraki leaders and then walks out naked (cuz her clothes done burned off) like “WHAT NOW, MOTHER-EFFERS? SOMEBODY GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?? DIDN’T THINK SO.”

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In addition to that one tough broad’s story, we follow the story of Cercei, Marjory, Marjory’s awesome sassy grandma played by Diane Rigg, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark (who has turned into quite the badass), and Yara Greyjoy (who is an out lesbian and commands an entire army; The scenes with her and Danerys where they have sexytime glances across the room are delicious). There’s also the Dorne women, Brienne of Tarth and a new girl, Lyanna, she’s ten and she commands a whole freakin’ house, House Mormont. And she does a good job too. Lotta ladies bringing the goodness.

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Now, don’t get me wrong – the show is still very violent. This season had an large amount of people getting eaten alive by large dogs. There’s a battle sequence with all manner of death and maiming. But… little to no rape, so that’s nice. This was probably my favorite season. Because there’s only two truncated seasons left the producers and writers realized they need to start wrapping up all the loose ends of plot rolling around like yarn balls so instead of there being seventeen story lines it’s all starting to come together into one cohesive end game. I have hopes and dreams about who gets to sit on the Iron Throne and rule all the kingdoms but I’m psyched to see what actually happens. Three things I can be sure of: It’s going to turn into The Hunger Games, everyone is going to die vying for the throne, and I can’t wait.

In addition to GOT I watched the whole season of Orange Is The New Black in, like, three days. I adored the first season of OITNB which took the viewers on a journey through the initial stages of prison: checking in, meeting other prisoners, establishing your place in the pre-existing pecking order, etc. Now after watching Season 4 I’m really struggling. It’s gotten very sitcom-y. There are conveniently-timed wacky antics which I think is unnecessary. Warning: I’m going to throw some spoilers out in the next paragraph but they all happen in the first two episodes so they’re relatively benign:

A new guard shows up, but surprise! He’s actually sent by the drug king that one of the characters ratted out in court and while the “guard” is trying to strangle that character the schizophrenic inmate helps kill him and then what do to? Well, obviously you chop up his body and bury him in the prison vegetable garden! At the same time, a woman modeled after Martha Stewart checks in to serve her time, what’ll happen there? A new CO is hired and he’s mean and scary and clearly has some kind of backstory! Since the prison is now for-profit, a gazillion new inmates show up, oh no, where will they sleep? One of the characters is Jewish and one of the new inmates is Muslim and they fight over floor space like they’re fighting over land in the Middle East! Get it? Wackiness!

See what I’m saying? And there are three other plot threads I haven’t even touched upon. It’s too much and too convenient. I would think the day-to-day situations in prison would be plenty enough material without all this extraneous plot fluffing. However, despite my reservations, Snorth said I really should check it out, so I did. It’s worth it for episode 11 (out of the 13). There’s usually one episode per season that rips your guts out. Last season it was the one with “compassionate release.” This season’s saddest episode dealt with mental health and how they are dealt with (or not dealt with) in the U.S. prison system. Brutal stuff. It’s no surprise that in the U.S.’s overcrowded prison people dealing with mental health issues are treated poorly and often tossed away. Again, head’s up, episode 11. Difficult.

And finally, Stranger Things. It’s a eight-episode series on Netflix. If I had to describe it, it’s a love letter to the Stephen Spielberg / Stephen King movies of the 80s. I did particularly like those movies (E.T., The Goonies, Stand by Me, etc.) so I did not anticipate to like this series very much. I think that helped because my expectations were very low. In the beginning it was a bunch of tweenage boys being annoying and bicycling around their neighborhoods which I had no interest in but then a weirdo bald girl shows up with limited conversation skills who clearly escaped from somewhere and stuff gets interesting. People are smitten with Stranger Things and I totally understand why. Winona Rider is in it, she plays a distraught mother. They didn’t really give her a lot to do, mainly she has to shriek and spazz out and have crazy eyes, I feel like they could have given her more depth. But the kids are great actors, especially the escapee girl. Look for that actress in future projects, she’s gonna be big. The monster (there’s a monster) made me laugh, though. It was supposed to be terrifying but it looked like the designers took a skinny muscular man, gave him one of those daisy headdresses they make little kids wear in school plays, covered it with teeth and said, “Great, good, done.” That, that’s not scary, people. Also when you’re finished with the series you are going to want to buy all the christmas lights in the world. In the major conflict scene I found myself wanting Indian food because the christmas lights. You know the Lexington Avenue Indian restaurants? If not, here’s what I’m referring to.

indian-restaurant-christmas-lights

See? LIGHTS.