Archive for December, 2011

The Nativity Scene.

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

I just saw this on Buzzfeed:

And it reminds me of when I lived in Harrison. I lived in a predominately Italian-American neighborhood where the gardens were impeccably manicured and the properties were always tidy. Except for two houses: the one I lived in and the one at the end of the street. Ours was fine, the hedges weren’t clipped perfectly and there was a saint without a head hiding behind the stoop, but the house down the street…yikes. A mentally-ill fortyish man and his elderly mother lived there. The man was prone to wandering the streets talking loudly to himself, and I saw the old woman very infrequently. However, they did have a nativity scene outside their house. For me, it was the nativity scene of nightmares. I guess the woman had lost the donkey or the cow and had decided to replace it with a large plastic light-up goose, so looming over the Baby Jesus was this enormous Japanese Godzilla film extra of a goose that glowed in the most unholy way. Also, one of the stray cats that hung around this old lady’s house liked to stretch out and nap in the cradle, basically smothering Baby Jesus to death while the nuclear goose looked on. Let me tell you, coming home late at night all alone and seeing that at the end of the block was akin to turning a corner and seeing those freaky-freak twins from The Shining. I have attempted to make an artistic rendering of what it was like:

Charts for Christmas. It’s on everyone’s list.

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

As you celebrate this festive holiday season, drinking nog and eating whatever cooked beast your family whips up, please take some time to think of the charts. Those charts, who gave selflessly of themselves all year long so we could know more things without requesting anything in return. God bless them, every one.

Unrelated items of interest.

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

1. I recently had to do an web ad for a Japanese client and they wanted koi fish, so I did some koi fish research, and I now can say I have a favorite type of koi fish. They are called shusui, and in addition to having lovely orange blotchies on their sides, they have these black marks on their spines which make them look like Day of the Dead skeletons.

2. Also pertaining to my work, I made a logo for a yogurt shop, and they asked for a repeating band they could put around the store as a chair rail, on the napkins, on the website, etc. So I designed one and it’s very cheerful. I’m posting this primarily because people are always saying, “Why is everything you design with the creepy forests and the monsters and the like? Don’t you ever want to draw a golden retriever puppy gamboling in a field of daisies?” Hey, people who say that, check it out. Happy happy yogurt in cups. Not even remotely macabre.*

3. There’s this artist named Adam, I think his last name is Ellis, and he has a delightful blog called Books of Adam which has caused me to snork my beverage more than once. He does portraits of people for about twenty-five dollars a pop, and they are really, really special. Here are some of my favorite of his blog entries:

And here are some of my favorites of his portrait drawings.

*If someone wants to pay me to make something with a puppy romping in a field I will more than happily draw it for them. I love puppies. However, if I ain’t makin’ paper I will draw what I want, and that’s insects and deep sea fish and skulls. So shush already.

A typical day for me.

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Someone recently asked me what my typical work day was like. I thought that was an interesting question and I would go about answering it the best I could. I have some days (very few) when there’s little to do, and some days (way too many) when I just slog though piles of work for thirteen hours straight. I’m giving an example where I have some work to do, but it’s not consuming my every waking moment. Enjoy.

9:52 a.m. – Show up at work. Make enormous vessel of herb tea. Meet up with co-workers (there are five of them) to discuss previous evening’s activities. Consider laying down on disgusting never-washed carpet and going back to sleep.

10:07 a.m. – Read emails. Answer work emails. Divvy up work between me and my co-workers. Børkke walks in to office to have meeting about daily work tasks. She has composed a new song about cheese.

10:07 a.m. -10:11 a.m. – Listen to horrible Michael McDonald-style song about cheese.

10:12 a.m. – Discuss what everyone’s going to have for lunch.

10:14 a.m. – 1:43 p.m. – Design a Keynote presentation, or a brochure, or an email signature, or a headsheet for a meeting, or a letterhead, or photoshop some images. Listen to unch-unch-unch dance music the whole time while wearing big floofy earphones. Refill giant tea mug twice. Go tinkle forty-seven thousand times because of it.

1:44 p.m.-2:03 p.m. – Actually eat some real-person food. During that time, check myriad of websites like Buzzfeed. Snort-laugh repeatedly at videos while wearing earphones so no one knows why you’re laughing. Reinforce pre-conceived notions that you’re mentally unbalanced.

2:04 p.m. – Have important office meeting. End up coming up with dance moves for The Cheese Song.

2:05 p.m. – Figure out with co-workers how we’re going to deal with the enormous soul-crushing project happening the next week. Make mental note to see friends and do laundry this week, because next week I will be so strapped for time that I will be unable to find time to shower. Consider laying down on too-small uncomfortable couch and going back to sleep.

2:09 p.m.-6:04 p.m. – Continue working on the Keynotes or brochure or email signature, etc. More tea. More bathroom. At some point inflict a video of a bunny/kitty/owl on co-workers. Co-workers feign interest while you make squeaky noises and threaten to pet subject of video to death a la Lenny from Of Mice And Men. BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH.

6:30ish p.m.-7:15ish p.m. – Put on coat and head out for hour-and-a-half commute home.

Peppered throughout the day: “Your mom” as responses to almost all questions, and “That’s what she/he/your mom said” as responses to all other statements. Also, cram as many racist/religious/sexist comments into your day as possible. Compete with co-workers to see who can say the most offensive thing. Hope HR never visits.

Photo of Børkke and me working late one night:

Addendum: Picture of my whole department at the Holiday Party.

Imma smack Martha in her dumb homemaker mouth.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

As The Moomins has gotten older and I acquired my own place, I have taken on the responsibility of Thanksgiving in order to alleviate her stress. She does a myriad of other holidays, so taking one off her plate doesn’t deprive her of festivities. I make the turkey, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes and some desserts, and The Moomins makes a few things and the requisite Jell-O mold that is at every Eastern-European Jew’s holiday dinner. “Oh, is it a holiday? I shall boil some gristle and tendons in celebration!” But I’ve never made gravy. It seems daunting with many opportunities for greasy disgusting failure. Then, I was in CVS in October and I saw the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine on the rack.

Lookit there! “Foolproof Gravy,” it says! That sounds not-scary. I opened to the table of contents, where I was pleasantly greeted with this:

I can shake a jar! And she said, “Promise!” Martha wouldn’t lie to me. So I bought the magazine and went home.

A couple days before Thanksgiving, I actually took a glance at page 82 with the gravy instructions, expecting them to be relatively simple and uncomplicated. What greeted me was, sadly, quite the opposite.

What the hell, Martha? I thought we were cool! I don’t have seventeen hours and a staff of ten to make frikkin’ gravy! I don’t even own a whisk! You suck so hard, Martha.

However, I would not let this gravy situation ruin my Thanksgiving. I took out a bunch of steps that I found unnecessary, and sho’ nuff, my gravy was delish and everyone was thrilled. Here’s my recipe.

1. Buy a box of organic chicken stock from Costco’s. Make sure you get stock, not broth. Also, get organic stock because otherwise they add secret naughty things into it, like dextrose and MSG.

2. Put about a two cups in a clean take-out soup container from a Chinese restaurant. Add about 1/2 cup of flour to it. Put the lid on tightly and shake like hell until there are no lumps of any kind. Your arms will feel like Rosie the Riveter. This is a good thing.

3. Take the turkey drippings and pour them into one of those gravy-separator thingies. Wait about ten minutes. The grease will rise to the top. Pour as much of the non-grease-juices as you can into a small pot on the stove (about three cups). Add the contents of the Chinese soup container. Slowly low-boil the mixture over the stove, stirring constantly until it reaches your desired thickness. For me it took about seven to ten minutes of boiling until it got to a pleasantly festive viscous consistency.

4. Add a tiny bit of pepper maybe. Don’t add salt. Some people don’t like too much salt. Some people have high blood pressure. Let people add their own salt. Serve. Done.

It was delicious, everyone was happy, and I didn’t have to interact with giblets. A win-win, I think.

Addendum: A few hours after I wrote this, I saw a pertinent blog entry on mimismartypants.

Thanksgiving at my house was awesome, except for the part where Martha Stewart was a lying skank. That thing about soaking the cheesecloth in butter and wine and draping it over the turkey breast results in nothing but a shrieking fire alarm, frightened cats, and an oven full of smoke. Luckily this all happened before any guests arrived, so LT just pulled the whole cheesecloth mess off with barbecue tongs and threw it in the sink. Quit trolling, Martha. People (me) actually believed that cheesecloth nonsense. I’ma gonna get you back, lady.

My favorite talking animal videos.

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Oh, internet. You’re the best thing ever. I used to have to wait for the once-a-week America’s Funniest Home Videos to see beasties talking, and if they did have one animal video, it was buried in a insufferable mess of golf-balls-to-the-gonads clips. Here are some of my favorite chattin’ beast videos:

Oh Long John:

How To Give Your Cat A Bath (“Nooooooooooo!”):

Displeased Dutch Goat:

Jerry Lewis Goat:

Argumentative Spanish Goat:

Whistle-Howling Tiny Puppy:

And this isn’t exactly a talking animal video, but I’d like to think this is what they would sound like if they could talk, and it’s also appropriate for the season, so here we are: