Guatemala Part 1.

November 7th, 2017

I’m back everybody! Back to blogging! I worked and worked and accomplished goals and I’m feelin’ good about it. Get ready to see a WHOLE BUNCH of art I made. But first, Guatemala. Back in March I went to Guatemala with my parents and now you’re going to learn things about it. I have completed the trinity of seeing the remains of all three major ancient cultures – The Mayans (Guatemala), The Aztecs (Mexico) and The Incas (Peru). Pre-Columbian fist pump to me. Let’s dive right in and see how much I remember from six months ago.

A good place to start would be the Popol Vuh which we visited on Day 1 or 2. Wikipedia gives a good definition of what that is.

Popol Vuh is a pre-conquest narrative dating to the Post Classic period, roughly CE 1000–1500. The actual written text, however, is a product of the Spanish colonial period. The title translates as “Book of the Community”, “Book of Counsel”, or more literally as “Book of the People”. Popol Vuh’s prominent features are its creation myth, its diluvian suggestion, its epic tales of the Hero Twins Hunahpú and Xbalanqué, and its genealogies. The myth begins with the exploits of anthropomorphic ancestors and concludes with a regnal genealogy, perhaps as an assertion of rule by divine right.

Just say “K’iche’ Bible,” it’s so much faster that way. K’iche’ is the language that was spoken in the area before Spanish became the lingua franca. It has a lot of gutteral stops which makes it a cool language to listen to (our guide spoke a little). Popol Vuh is also the name of the museum that houses most of the relics and archeological finds. If I had to sum up the art style I would quote our guide verbatim:

“The Mayans would mix toad venom with water lily essence, introduce it anally via an enema, and this allowed them to have visions and transcend different planes of existence.”

You know you could also… drink it. Does the tincture taste that bad? Maybe that’s a clue that you should not be ingesting it. Perhaps. Whatever. You do you. Anyway, the artwork really captures the aesthetic of drug-infused spiritual journeys. There were these baby-heads peering at me from the edge of a bowl:

This screaming pig (I’m unsure and picking pig as the animal represented but I could be wrong):

These jaguars with corn cobs growing out of their heads (corn is VERY big in the religion):

Men with mushrooms for heads:

Proto-Mickey Mouse chillin’ in a hot tub:

A man made of corn or cacao, I can’t remember which:

Small frogs and toad sculptures that I wanted to steal but didn’t because I have restraint and am afraid of prison:

Really Happy Jaguar Man with Leaf Hat:

This sculpture that I called Person With Runny Nose Riding Disgruntled Duck:

This guy who has the expression of someone who is holding two angry housecats that are going at each others’ throats and he’s like, “whoa, whoa, settle down guys:”

And my personal favorite, Spooky Bat:

In addition to that there were mumlettes! Mumlettes are what I call mummies that were placed in urns in the fetal position. I was first introduced to mumlettes in Peru.

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2015/09/01/south-american-2015-part-1/

The actual bodies are long gone but the urns are still around. Unsurprisingly, I loved them.

In the first two days we also visited the place where the “The Earth is going to end in 2012!!!!” came from. It’s called Quiriguá (pronounced Kih-ree-GWAH). It’s a collection of stelae (an upright stone slab or column typically bearing a commemorative inscription or relief design, often serving as a gravestone) hanging out in a field predicting the future. The front parts had portraits of the kings and the sides had hieroglyphics and dots and lines telling us what year it was made. This website, The Stelae of Quirigua, explains it far better.

The glyphs are read from left to right, starting from the top, with the pictures denoting the periods of time (i.e. years, months, days), and the dots (equaling 1 each) and vertical bars (equaling 5 each) providing the quantity of those periods. For example the top left is 9 B’ak’tun – approximately 3546 years, as each baktun roughly equals 394 years. This is followed by 18 Katuns – about 360 days, and so on. The full text provides a date of 9.18.15.0.0 3 Ahau 3 Yax, which equates to the July 22nd, 805.

That’s not even my favorite fact on the page. This is:

It is also interesting to note that monuments were defaced when the cities were abandoned, with particular attention being made on breaking the nose off – an action repeated across Meso-America. It is thought that this is symbolic of a belief that the statues were filled with the living power of the person they represented and that the soul of a living person resides in the nose – curiously, this belief was also held in Asia. Therefore, destroying the nose was effectively killing the monument.

Oh, and here’s a bit on the importance of corn:

On the side if Stela H is a wonderful depiction of Cauac Sky as the young God of Maize, emerging from the roots of “World Tree.” Corn was the main sustenance for the ancient Maya, and any ruler who could provide corn in abundance was considered to be an embodiment of the God of Maize and highly revered.

I remember something about their main god being made from four types of corn – white, yellow, red and black.

And concerning the end of the world happening in 2012, yes, the Mayan mention 2012 as the beginning of their new calendar. Nothing ends. It’s like when spring follows winter. Our guide said people camped out in front of the stelae and sang songs and anticipated the End of Days while the archaeologists and professors who knew what the stones meant and were probably hoarse from repeating themselves over and over rolled their eyes straight into the backs of their skulls.

Celestial events recur through time so using them to reference times in the past and the future was a very elegant solution – and one that appears to be built into the Mayan Calendar. … Curiously, the Mayan Calendar is not linear, but cyclical with a cycle length of 5,125 years, which perhaps confirms that it is based on a celestial event.

I think this is the text that caused all the hoohah.

And I took this picture for a reason but I’ve forgotten what it is. If anyone knows, let me know.

To protect the stelae from the elements they are under leaf roofs. They look like cute little chess pieces from a distance. In truth the stelae are huge, 12 feet tall and the like.

The trees are also insanely big. Here is The Moomins standing next to one.

And here is a wee orange butterfly that landed on one of the stelae and was photogenic.

Next entry: Tikal. BIG New World pyramids. Get psyched.

Kinda bummer news.

June 7th, 2017

Well, due to life being all life-y (I’m a manager now! Of other people! Pray for them!) I’m going to have to take a hiatus from blogging. I just can’t keep up with the everything. I’ll return, but I don’t know when. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Be strong in my absence and I’ll be back before you know it.

I watched Prometheus again. Here are my live-blogging notes.

May 19th, 2017

I saw Prometheus when it was in theaters and I had all the wrong reactions to it. Mainly, I laughed a lot. It is not supposed to be funny. Now that the newest installment in the Alien movies is coming out and I thought it best to rewatch Prometheus in case there are references to it. Allow me to also mention that Snorth crocheted me a squid baby like the one in Prometheus to wear in a baby bjorn to the movie theater. That’s how you know you’ve found your soul-mate. Anyway, I live-blogged my Prometheus viewing to Snorth and here are my notes. Follow along if you’d like.

 

– I have strong pervasive feelings for Michael Fassbender. I sure do like my Aryan German robots.

– When the two idiots, the redheaded geologist with the mohawk and Sweatshirt Douche are in the tunnel and the vagina-penis-snake-monster attacks them and the one idiot falls in the magic mud with a “splut” noise I started laughing so hard I had to rewind it and watch it again.

– Did I mention I’m obsessed with Fassbender? It’s not ebbing. Oh no, he just found SQUID BABY on the sonogram!!

– Dragon Tattoo whacked Scottish Game of Thrones Breastfeeding Too Long Lady in the face with a metal thing and she’s off and running!

– The Squid Baby scene is still hysterically funny, btw. I almost piddled myself.

– Oh my God I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. When the Not Especially Incredible Hulk got run over by the tanker truck, hoo, I may never recover.

– This movie is TERRIBLE. It might be my favorite comedy of all time, though.

– I really like Idris Elba. He’s an extremely likeable man.

– Oh, now it’s all boring. Old Man Priscilla Queen of the Desert is tromping around and they’re screwing around with The Engineer on life support.

– I don’t give a crap who you are, you do not get to rip the head of my robot boyfriend.

– Why does this movie even exist? It’s like a very expensive two hour long NIN video from 1997. I’m questioning everything now.

– Oh, all of you die already. Whatever, Dragon Tattoo survived. Yay, hooray. Does she and Fassbender Head go on wacky adventures together?

– The Engineer and Chtulu are fighting it out. I do not care who wins.

– I am attracted to dismembered chatty robot head. I have no standards.

– Make his dumb body carry his dumb head back to the ship! Girl, you gave yourself a c-section with a toaster oven! Take a spa day, Jesus!

– Oh hai bebbeh xenomorph! Aaaaaaaaaand we’re done.

 

Addendum: Me rockin’ the squid baby at the movie this weekend.

I’m back, everyone! Back from the dead! Like one of those pirates in the Johnny Depp pirate movies!

May 13th, 2017

I learned only two days ago that Johnny Depp wears an earpiece with someone reading him all his lines so he doesn’t have to learn his lines. Is… is that allowed? Like for a healthy functioning human? I know Marlon Brando apparently used that technique in his later films but he was basically Jabba the Hut at that point and all manner of problems. This will make watching Johnny Depp films harder for me now, knowing what I know.

Yes, I was gone for a spell. Work consumed me and I had to deal with that. Specifically, a co-worker said he was quitting and so HOLY CRAP no one had transferred the old server contents to the new server location and I had to do it before he left because I had been employed there the longest and was most familiar with the files. I looked into the abyss, the abyss looked back, and then I organized it into neat little subsections. Proof:

You see that number? You see it? That’s ~31,000 separate documents. I looked through A LOT of them. I made up a whole new taxonomy because the old one had broken down into personal horse poop like “Folder Of That One Citi Meeting Where The CEO Was There But The CMO Was Not 2015.” That kind of thing is helping precisely no one except the person who made that folder and they probably don’t work with us anymore. So I made a new system and send out, and I’m kind of proud of this, the most boring email in the history of emails explaining how it works. The tedium drips from the words like wine.

Oh wait, it gets better. I then went around to all the people I sent the email to and point-blanke asked them if they had read it and they all got guilty looks on their faces and I tsk-tsked them so now I will give them all hard times and quiz them until they know the server structure. I am the worst and this is so much fun.

In case you were thinking, Hey Jessica, didn’t you go to Guatemala a million months ago and shouldn’t you have posted pictures by now? Yeah, yeah, I’m getting to it. It’s been busy. We’ll get there (eventually).

In the meantime, might I interest you in a link with a cool-as-hell gif?

Creating The Never-Ending Bloom: The Amazing Mathematical Wonders of John Edmark

The healing power of charts.

April 17th, 2017

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Two artists I have been feeling lately.

April 5th, 2017

The first one is Andreas Levers. He’s a German photographer who apparently controls the weather because all his pictures have this magical ethereal mist. I love the combination of the basic hard-lined structures that are often his subjects and the hazy light that emanates from the man-made light sources.

AndreasLevers_01 AndreasLevers_02 AndreasLevers_04 AndreasLevers_05 AndreasLevers_06 AndreasLevers_07 AndreasLevers_09

Here’s Levers’ latest collection.

http://www.96dpi.de/at-night-5

 

The second artist is Dina Brodsky. She predominantly paints tiny, exquisite landscapes with oil paints. The way she captures the essence of her subjects in the minimum of space is amazing. Dina also makes larger pieces but the small circular ones are my favorites.

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Important things of importance.

April 3rd, 2017

1a. As I grow older fewer and fewer nature facts surprise me. Which is why when I saw this sassy weevil I assumed it was someone’s craft project:
17038886_10103753643964205_6803583694919446981_o

But just to make sure I did a bit of searching and no, that might be a real weevil. I found a similar one called the Polka Dotted Clown Weevil and it is covered in iridescent scales that look like scattered glitter. Why was I not informed of this awesome weevil earlier???

tumblr_nbps0gthDY1qzicj3o2_1280

1b. In keeping with the nature theme there is a man in Japan, Keita Kosoba, who breeds nudibranchs. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love nudibranchs. So many varieties of awesome! I wish I could have a tank of nudibranchs of my very own.

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2. I love when people take mundane elements we see all the time and interpret them and make them cool. For example, this post that is now a cow being abducted by a UFO. Excellent work, street artist.

alien-abduction

 

3. There’s a woman in the Ukraine, Yulia Kosata, who makes felted houses for cats and I think they are magnificent. Why all cats everywhere are not housed like this I do not know.

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4. What steel droplets look like when they cool.

steel-droplets

 

5. And a fun one-type-of-music to another-type-of-music site that you might enjoy.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 3.23.26 AM

Addendum: Here’s another nature thing: Look at these pictures of this fairy wren makin’ snuggles with other birds.

cuddling

Why are they cuddling? I mean, I know why I would cuddle them (so cute!) but I’m sure they have a different reason. I couldn’t find the precise reason but I did find out these neat facts.

Non-breeding males, females and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in color; this gave the early impression that males were polygamous, as all dull-colored birds were taken for females.

Like other fairy-wrens, the superb fairy-wren is notable for several peculiar behavioral characteristics; the birds are socially monogamous and sexually promiscuous, meaning that although they form pairs between one male and one female, each partner will mate with other individuals and even assist in raising the young from such pairings. Male wrens pluck yellow petals and display them to females as part of a courtship display.

Acorn necklace.

April 2nd, 2017

Hi everyone, sorry about the delay. I went to Guatemala. Did I omit to mention that before I left? I think I did. My bad. Anyway, I’m back, I have pictures to sort, it’s a lot of work and we’ll get to it eventually. In the meantime, I made something and we should look at it.

Acorns! Who doesn’t like acorns? Communists and satanists, that’s who. Acorns are awesome. A few years back I was going to make something for my dad using beads and acorns but I never followed up on it.

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2013/03/18/the-elusive-beaded-acorn/

beaded-acorn4 beaded-acorn3

Well, recently I thought it would be nice to revisit the beaded acorn situation so I pulled them out of a drawer, unraveled the top part, incorporated gold beads and made it a pin for my sister.

acorn-necklace2

Aaaaaaand she hated it. She said it looked like two boobs. I said that’s what acorns look like and what the hell do you want me to do about it. She said make it less boob-like. I figured the only way to resolve that was to break it apart and add a third acorn. That way only people who were familiar with the three-boobed lady from Total Recall would make that connection.

acorn-necklace3

I ended up making what I thought was a lovely, non-boob-related necklace but she still didn’t like it. So guess who made herself a new necklace unintentionally? This gal! It’s a little bigger than I normally would like and it makes me feel like a prophet or soothsayer from a movie like The Fifth Element or Dune but whatever, I’ll wear it and make it work.

acorn-necklace1 acorn-necklace4

TV. I’ve been watching it.

March 4th, 2017

We’ll start with the most recent and work backwards.

1. Legion on FX. Anyone else watching Legion? I started because British McHotSauce from Downton Abbey was the lead and I’ve always liked his weird risky acting choices and piercing blue eyes. Dan Stevens. I met him once. Stabbed him in one of his pretty eyes with my antler. Photographic proof at bottom of entry:

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2012/12/19/santacon-2012/

I want to like the show, I really do, but it’s a bit too trippy. I realize it’s about a man called David Haller who has been told his whole life he’s schizophrenic when it turns out he’s got superpowers like telekinesis so the show-people want to make it resemble the chaos that mental illness can wreak. HOWEVER, enough is enough. On top of David being crazy-wait-not-crazy-just-magical other people are trying to go through his memories and you know how the inside of your head looks like your grandma’s garage, with crap and thoughts and bits of dreams piled up all over the place? We the viewer are trekking through many minutes of that. It’s only up to episode 3 so I’m hoping in the next few episodes we stop with the demons chasing characters down hallways that lead to nowhere and the epilepsy-inducing strobe effects. On a positive note, the atypical relationship David has with his girlfriend is charming and interesting to see developing.

legion-sweepstakes

2. The Crown on Netflix. It’s the story of the early years of the Queen of England. While I am fully aware that like with every docu-style series everyone on the show is way more attractive with better teeth and above-par conversation skills it was still cool to see a relatively non-fiction retelling of the beginning of Elizabeth the Two’s reign. I think any time a little girl says, “When I grow up I want to be a princess!” we should show them this. “Yes, Bryleigh, being a princess may sound appealing but actually it ends up being not fun at all. There’s lots and lots of paperwork, like a big box a day with your name etched into the box so you can’t give it to someone else to do. And you can’t behead your enemies anymore, in fact you might even have to make small talk with them at parties and tamp down your hatred for the sake of international relations.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LukyMYp2noo

Anyway, back to the show. I learned a series of things I previously had no idea about. First of all in the beginning we see surgery being performed on Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. I assumed kings of empires in the 20th century had their surgeries in hospitals but no, they have them in ballrooms.

ballroom-surgery

Do you see those chandeliers? How awesome are those? I can’t tell if it’s perspective but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all twenty feet tall because why the hell not. I want all my surgeries in ballrooms from now on. Stained glass windows optional.

There were three things that I learned that blew my mind. One, there was a smog crisis in London in the 1950s where TWELVE THOUSAND people died. Not all immediately, about four thousand people died in the five days that the air was unbreathable, but the effects continued on for years and about twelve thousand people’s demises can be traced back to the smog. How… how have I never known about this? Why was this not taught to me in school in Social Studies as opposed to the gross national product of Belgium which has been of no use whatsoever in my life? (I don’t remember what it was. I assume it’s beer.)

Second, I had no idea that the next-in-line to the throne was not educated. I mean, there are shots of Elizabeth being homeschooled and learning about the Constitution of England but that’s kinda the length and breadth of what she’s taught. Later in the series Elizabeth bemoans the fact that she’s expected to speak to world leaders and she doesn’t know anything. She secretly hires a private tutor. I don’t know why but I assumed that she would be well-read and knowledgeable but it seems like they kept her ignant so they could keep control over her.

Third, okay, Philip, the Queen’s husband, he knew who he was marrying, right? Like, he knew she was going to be queen and the stuff the royal family did for the last bazillion years that hadn’t changed ever? Then why is one of the tropes of the series Philip being butthurt about being the second in the family? He knew he would have to bow to her. He knew he would have to walk two paces behind. I don’t understand where Philip gets off being all “oh no mah fragile masculinity be ouchy” when he clearly could see the future. Very few of us can anticipate what’s coming. He could. I don’t know if that’s true or amped up for the show but if it is true then dude, seriously. Maaaaaaybe don’t marry the future Queen of England, maybe? Yeah.

The main thing I liked about the series was the transition from Elizabeth being a person with thoughts and feelings to a masthead for a nation with no personal identity. There’s supposed to be a second season, I’m psyched to see her further development

 

Addendum: Dammit, Legion. I saw the fourth episode and not only were there tons of flashbacks and general craziness, now there’s a guy in an oldey-timey diving suit walking through a field of glowing grass and living in a hollowed-out ice cube. You keep this up you gonna lose me.

Addendum to the addendum: I finished watching the season. You lost me.

I have charts in my heart for you.

March 1st, 2017

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