Archive for January, 2009

Dirty Jobs, Part II.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Seriously, what is going on with Dirty Jobs? Last week I saw an episode with the cow recycling, this week: recently-shot duck and goose plucking and dressing factory. Mike Rowe is really with the “dead animal having it’s dignity ripped away at the hands of the humans” thing, eh? No, literally. Mike was using a plucking machine (it resembles a car washing rotating brush, you hold the fowl under it and it rapidly brushes off all the feathers), he accidentally let go of the duck he was de-feathering, it shot around the brushes and he was left holding the duck’s head in his hand, like Perseus with a tiny, non-threatening Medusa (bone up on your Greek mythology, people!). I suppose it’s a nice change from poo (Dirty Jobs should really be called Interactions With Poo), but it makes it difficult for me to come home from work, all tired and stressed, get into bed with my cocoa and soy milk and relax with a little TV. I still love it and I’ll still watch it, but I guess I’m just a little traumatized. I’ll be okay. As long as Mike’s next trip isn’t to a charnel house or anything, it’ll be fine.

Bad calligraphy makes the baby Jeebus cry.

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Look, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you can’t write in a calligraphic hand. That being said, if you can’t, please don’t. I have to walk by this sign in front of a pub on the way to work almost every day, and I wince at its suckiness every time.


Oh dear. There’s so much wrong with this. The biggest offender, for me, is that “K” at the end of “DRINK”. The painter isn’t even trying anymore. “I hate this typeface, I’ll just put a big ole curly thing on this K, and then I’m done! Whee! I’m getting paid in beer!” So profoundly crappy.

Nerd in three parts.

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Part 1.

For my holiday present, Snorth made me a present she knew I would absolutely love. It is a cross-stitch of a two-toed sloth. Yes, yes it is. In this picture I also included the softie sheep she made me. Take it all in, people.


Part 2.

Remember how I had lolcats all over my wall? Remember that? New lolcats have been coming out since then, and I just added them in. My lolcats are crawling around the wall, yo. They’re like the blob in the movie The Blob, slowly encroaching into my sleeping space until I choke to death on cuteness and misspellings.


Part 3.

Dude, this is freakin’ awesome:

Dirty Jobs and Gelly Rolls.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Sorry about the lackadaisical posting. You know how it gets with work sometimes. But do not fret, I’m making quite a variety of cool stuff which I will be sharing with you shortly. In the meantime, a story: I got home from work on Tuesday night at 1:10 a.m. (not kidding about work kickin’ my butt ovah here) and I wanted to fall into bed and slumber, but for some reason I flicked on the tube and Dirty Jobs was on and it was an episode I had never seen before, about recycling cows. Really. See, on farms with thousands of cows, a portion of the cow population dies of natural causes. Then the “dead truck” (their name, not mine) pulls up with a winch and winches Kicked-the-Bucket Bessy onto the truck and off to the cow recycling plant. Here’s the point where I couldn’t turn it off. If the cow is fresh enough, they use the skin for leather, but in order to get the skin off of the cow, they cut a small hole, stick a metal tube in there, and fill ‘er with air to pull the skin away from the muscle. Which looks exactly like what you would expect it to look like. Ole Bess there went from a dead cow to the world’s most disturbing Thanksgiving float in two minutes. The guys who’s job is to skin swoop in there and put the hide in the basement and cover it with salt, and then they stick the remaining skinned cow into a gigantic wood chipper a la Fargo and chip her. That also looks exactly like you would expect it to look like, which is why I will not describe it to you. The only thing about the episode that irked me was how many times Mike said, “So you separate the meat and fat, and the meat goes into farm feed, while the fat goes in cosmetics.” He kept saying “cosmetics” like you and I would say “stanky gas station bathroom”. Hey, buddy, I’ll have you know on your high-and-mighty horse* that cosmetics include soap and lotions, so you’re smearing Essence of Bessy all over yourself too. Which is why if this shkeeves you out, you should use soap made from vegetable glycerin. If it doesn’t say vegetable glycerin, chances are it’s animal-based.

*They’re skinning the horse later.

And pertaining to my artsy-artsiness, I would like to give a shout-out to Gelly Roll pens by Sakura. I only recently discovered them, and they are terrific. They have nice tiny nibs, the ink flows smoothly, and they are waterproof to a certain degree, so you can put your lines in and then paint over them with watercolors without having the ink run and smear. I haven’t investigated the myriad of wacky variations of pens Sakura makes (puffy, metallic, flourescent, glaze, etc.), I’m only speaking about the basic Gelly Roll colors right now. Excellent pens. And they sell them at Michael’s, so I don’t have to go to the fancy art store to get them.


Pimp My Shoes.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Now that Bride Wars is the #1 comedy in America, and He’s Just Not That Into You is coming out, I want to point out that not all women are psycho harpy shrews. All clear on that? Good.

Check ’em out: The way the shoes were constructed, they’re leather on the outside and spandex on the top. The spandex was getting shmutzy considerably faster than the leather, so I painted the spandex. I didn’t really have a design in mind, but I didn’t want any black. I’m trying to fight my natural inclination to paint anything and everything I wear black. Here’s a pic I took while riding on MetroNorth:


It’s blue and magenta that gradually gets darker towards the toe, covered with metallic turquoise paint dots and the occasional orange crystals. There’s a cool side effect – when I stand on a beige surface, it looks like I belong to some profoundly bizarre foot-binding cult with long, thin feet.

Two things I need to get off my chest.

Monday, January 12th, 2009

1. Within the last six months, I have seen two British films described as “romantic comedies” – Maybe, Baby and Dirty Filthy Love. I think we need to sit the British down and gently explain what a romantic comedy is, perhaps using a Powerpoint. Maybe, Baby is about a man and woman unable to conceive and how their marriage falls apart. Now, they get back together in the last minutes of the movie, but… not romantic, not comedy. Dirty Filthy Love is about a man who suffers from OCD and Tourette’s and how he loses his job and his wife and basically holes himself up in an apartment for months. He meets a nice OCD girl in his support group and they walk down a beach at the end after he has emotionally shattered into a million pieces, but… still, not romantic (since he spends the whole movie pining for his estranged wife) and DEFINITELY not a comedy. A person who would find this funny would find jokes about “retards” funny. I’m not saying that romantic comedies have to be all sappy and cuddly, but these are dramas with moments of funny in them. Totally different. A vaguely happy ending maketh not a comedy, so sayeth me.

2. OH DEAR GOD, have you seen any of the commercials for Rock of Love Tour Bus? It’s so, so bad. I, frankly, didn’t know women like this existed. I’ve certainly never seen them in person. Brief description for those of you who are lucky enough to have been spared until this point: Bret Michaels, lead singer of Poison, finds the Love of his Life while traveling around the country on a bus full of skanky trollops and OH, these girls are mind-blowingly skanky. Really. I work in New York, I see all kinds of people, but nothing like these women.

I don’t know why Bret doesn’t just go and date Amanda Lepore already.

A new year, a new purse.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Alright already, I joined Facebook. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Gawd.

My octopus bag ripped a bit from me jamming pointy-sided heavy objects into it everyday for a year (it’s understandable, the ripping) so I painted myself a new bag. I really didn’t have any idea what to paint on it, but I did like this flourish from a book on ornamental design I recently picked up from Amazon (or The Money Pit, as it is to me). I printed the flourish and then cut it out as a stencil (which was incredibly difficult, thanks for asking) and then painted it in white on my bag. And then I stared on and off at the bag for three hours, wondering what to do next. I put in the rust accents and the sparkly purple dots. Then more pondering for more hours. I decided I needed a monster holding up the flourish (naturally) so I freehand-painted the blue monster. Went off and watched TV for a while. Painted the glitter and red dots on feet. Stared. Painted eyes. Eyes turned out sucky. Gently picked paint on eyes off with an X-acto knife (KIDS: Don’t try this at home. I have many years of practice wielding the X knife, you’ll shred the bag if you don’t do it right). Redid eyes. Put grassy spots under monster’s feet for depth. Was pleased with results. So, including staring and pondering time, this purse took me longer than any other I have ever worked on. I like it, though.



I also recently painted a pair of shoes, which I need to photograph. I’ll get right on that.

Chuck Palahniuk. I don’t quite know how to pronounce his last name.

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I am weak. I am so easily creeped out I don’t watch the evening news. I watch a great many movies with my fingers smooched up against my eyes. Hell, I can’t watch most horror movie commercials on TV. As a child, I found certain portions of Sesame Street to be terrifying. It was with great trepidation that I saw the movie Fight Club. I ended up loving it and buying it and watching it numerous times (through my fingers). I recently saw my hands-down favorite film of the year Choke, by the same author as Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk. He’s one hell of an author, and his books translate well to the screen. I would love to tell you all about Choke, but I took a vow to maintain some semblance of tastefulness on this website, so I will do my best to describe the not-too-nawsty bits for you. Main character is a sex addict who works at a Ye Olde American Waye of Lyfe park. Think Williamsburg, churning butter and blacksmithing in authentic garb, that kind of thing. When he’s not getting his groove on with random strangers or describing his role in American history to disinterested schoolchildren, he’s doing one of two things: visiting his mother in a home (she is suffering from dementia) and making himself choke on food in restaurants so the patrons who save him will feel a connection to him and also possibly send him money. Heartwarming tale, isn’t it? Well, it would be totally awful if it wasn’t Sam Rockwell playing the lead. I don’t know how he does it, but Rockwell makes the character into something other than a big bag of pathos and lameness and greed and vile dreck. He’s funny and sweet at times, and you really feel for him. And even though whole pieces of plot are hard to believe (you could say they are “hard to swallow!” Haw! See what I did there?), I let it slide because Sam Rockwell is so great. This is going to become a big cult classic, I’ll bet.

Continuing in this Palahniuk vein, a blog I read called FourFour (I referenced FourFour when describing the cat show) talked about another CP book, called Haunted. If you’d like to read Rich’s entry, here’s the link:

If you want a quick summary, here’s the best part: Palahniuk wrote a short story called Guts. It makes people faint. No, really. From Wikipedia:

While on his 2003 tour to promote his novel Diary, Palahniuk read to his audiences a short story titled “Guts” … which appears in his book Haunted. It was reported that to that point, 40 people had fainted while listening to the readings. Playboy magazine would later publish the story in their March 2004 issue; Palahniuk offered to let them publish another story along with it, but the publishers found the second work too disturbing. On his tour to promote Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories in the summer of 2004, he read the story to audiences again, bringing the total number of fainters up to 53, and later up to 60, while on tour to promote the softcover edition of Diary. In the fall of that year, he began promoting “Haunted”, and continued to read “Guts”. At his October 4, 2004 reading in Boulder, Colorado, Palahniuk noted that, after that day, his number of fainters was up to 68. The last fainting occurred on May 28, 2007, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where 5 people fainted, one of which occurred when a man was trying to leave the auditorium, which resulted in him falling and hitting his head on the door. Palahniuk is apparently not bothered by these incidents, which have not stopped fans from reading “Guts” or his other works. Audio recordings of his readings of the story have since circulated on the Internet. In the afterword of the latest edition of “Haunted”, Palahniuk reports that “Guts” is now responsible for 73 faintings.

Now, when Rich on FourFour described the story, I thought it sounded familiar. See how above it says they published it in Playboy? Cricket has a subscription to Playboy and guess what? When the story first came out in 2004, I READ IT. I READ THE WHOLE STORY. I did not pass out. I did not throw up. It made me walk and sit funny for about a week, but other than that, I made it where others failed. Whoo hoo! I am one tough cookie. Please turn on the night light before you leave.

Here are some links if you want to learn more:




I has ornaments. Let me show you them.

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I am really, really into glass, especially blown glass. Unfortunately, I am also really, really into about six or seven other things, so in order for me to own blown glass, it has to be small and relatively inexpensive. I started collecting handblown glass balls about eight years ago, when I finally had a (meager) income of my own and could use it here and there for a desired object. Also, many high-end craft stores don’t want to pack those things away, so they put them on sale after Christmas, and I swoop in like a ball-buying demon. Over the years, I’ve acquired quite a few, and now that I own my own apartment, I finally could display them. My mom gave me a table she didn’t want that has rods going all the way around it, so I thought, “A ha! I will display my glass orbs here hanging from ribbon and they will be out of the way (reduced chance of breakage) and they will catch the light from the window and it will be delightful!” So that’s precisely what I did.


Here’s the problem: See those six boxes on top of the table there? Those are six new ornaments I received this holiday season. I am going to have to cull the herd a bit, because space is at a premium. I’m going to hang the new ones around the sides, but I’m going to run out of orb-danglin’ room mighty quick. That’s my New Year’s wish: May this be the most difficult quandary I have to deal with this year. That would be nice.

Windows at Zahks.

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Zahks = Saks Fifth Avenue. My grandmother spoke with a heavy German accent and so she referred to Saks as “Zahks” (pronounced like “socks” with a Z). Therefore, I refer to Saks as Zahks. Anyway, the windows this year were particularly cute. For the last few years, they’ve had beautiful windows, but they had creepy dolls in them. Moving creepy dolls.


Brrr, instant nightmare for me. It looks like the demonic ghost of Jon-Benet come back to wreak havoc on those who did her wrong. This year, they found a book (or they had a book written for them) called A Flake Like Mike.

It seems like a nice book with a positive message, but here’s the best part: Saks has some kind of relationship with Swarovski, the crystal manufacturer, so everything was BLINGY BLINGY. Me being a magpie, I was in heaven. And the characters from the book are very cute, so I took some pictures of my favorite parts of the windows.


This is a window of how Mike blends in with all the other snowflakes. It’s all done in felt, which is a very matte material, so there’s no flashy anything. But wait! The hexagons around Mike’s face flip over:


MAD blingy bling. Three-dimensonial sparkly goodness. I stood in front of this window for longer than you’re really supposed to, but I was so entranced. It combines so many of my favorite things: hexagons, repeating patterns, the aformentioned sparkly goodness, radiating lines, etc. You know when you play peek-a-boo with a small child, and you cover up your face and then you “Peek-a-boo!” at them and they laugh over and over? That’s what this was like for me. These panels would flip to plain snowflakes and then flip to this and- “Ooooooh!” -I would be dazzled all over again. I found video on YouTube:

The other window I loved was the last one. All the snowflakes are happy, but the best part were the snowflakes riding a merry-go-round of sorts at the top of the window. They were the HAPPIEST SNOWFLAKES EVER. You couldn’t stop smiling at them.

snowflakes4.jpg snowflakes5.jpg

And they’re riding around in a circle, you can practically hear them go “Yay!” “Whee!” “Whoo hoo!” as they swing by. I hope this is a trend that Saks keeps going with, the cute, almost kawaii-style windows. With a great deal of crystals. Gotta have crystals. Blingity bling.