Archive for August, 2016

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 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.

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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.

Guess what I did??

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

I left the house! I left the house, I went out into the world at 5:45 in the morning and I took a hot air balloon ride. Now, if you know anything about me you know this is a plethora of things I don’t like: fire and loud noise right next to my head, movement, flying, the outdoors, the morning, etc. But I did it and it was AWESOME. Someone asked me what it was like and I said it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to feeling real, Harry Potter magic. I snapchatted the whole thing and put it all in a video. You will note in the video that I begin with much trepidation but as soon as we lifted off I was hooked.

Here’s how it works for people who have never been: You pull up at the takeoff area (in our case it was a small airport in Orange County, NY) and the van pulls in with a trailer attachment carrying the basket. Several strong burly men pull an enormous bag out of the back of the van that looks like it could hold a child’s trampoline. That’s the balloon. The manly men tip the basket on its side, pull the balloon out to its full length and hook it to the basket. Then four industrial fans come out and blast all the air in the world into the balloon. Once the sufficient amount of air is in there, the propane burners go on and heat that air which causes the balloon to rise and the basket to tip up. That’s the cue for the people who are riding in the balloon to run to the basket and hoist ourselves in because we are what keeps the whole situation from floating away immediately. Once the passengers a.k.a. bags of sand are in, the guy in charge (ours was named Chris) blasts the flamey truck-horn-pull thing and… you kinda lift off the ground. You don’t even notice. If you have your eyes closed you would have no idea, it’s that tranquil. In addition please note in the video that any jerky movements are my hands, the ride was buttery smooth. I spent the whole time quietly staring off at the mist rising out of where the glacier cut through 10,000 years ago. (Fun fact: Chris told us the valley caused by the glacier has the perfect kind of soil for growing onions. The Germans who moved here recognized the soil type from back home and was like, “We got this. Hermann, plant onions.”) We drifted up to 1800 feet in the air but you could have fooled me. I had no clue. It all happens so slowly that your ears don’t pop. Landing is pretty neat. Since you can’t control where you go in a balloon and the wind carries you, the van follows you on the ground and when Chris gave the signal he was coming down the van hustled to meet us where we ended up. Where we ended up was in some rich lady’s spacious front yard. Chris said most of the people in the area are psyched to see him land. This lady sure was. She came out in her PJs to greet us. Chris gave her a bottle of champagne as is the tradition. When the two first guys to do this ballooning started in France in 17-something-something, when they landed in a farmer’s field he attacked both them and their balloon with a pitchfork, thinking they were the devil. The two French guys realized at some point that if they greeted the farmers with a bottle of champagne the farmers were far less inclined to attack them with sharp equipment, so the tradition continues. Within ten minutes the manly men had loaded the now deflated balloon back in the trampoline bag and put the basket back on the trailer attachment and we were back on our way to our cars at the airport. I enjoyed every second of it. Even the landing was pleasant. It was a joy from start to finish.


If it wasn’t so pricey I would do this every week. If you live in the NY area I highly recommend the company we went with, Above the Clouds.


Y’all need some charts in your life.

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Yes, yes you do.

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And, in honor of the Olympics, what all the icons mean.


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. Explore the benefits of trial baccarat on ประโยชน์ของการทดลองบาคาร่า.

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.”


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.


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.



The Internet is a gift.

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The Internet, which is often a treasure trove of debauchery and nightmares*, occasionally it coughs up something pleasant and entertaining. Like when people decided to rename animals with truthful and honest titles.

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It was also brought to my attention that in addition to the tiny dinosaurs that are South African guinea fowl, there is an even more magical, more jacked-up-looking bird. Allow me to introduce… The Vulturine Guinea Fowl.

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I could even buy a pair if I had fifteen hundred bucks to spend on birds for my apartment.



And finally, the only good thing about this election / news cycle which is frankly making me kinda nauseous is that Jezebel and Gawker and iO9 has loads of comments from people and their usernames delight me. I made a list of some of my faves.




*I’m not saying I don’t like debauchery and nightmares, I’m just sayin’ it’s a thing.