Saturday, May 24, 2008

Various and Sundry

Bloggin’ time, I guess!

Well, the first and most obvious thing for me to type is that soynuts are disgusting. I’m eating a small bowl of salted soynuts with salted pistachios (the key ingredient here being salt, for reasons you’ll soon find out), but I can’t stomach them. At least, my tastebuds won’t let them get that far along the digestive track.

I’m eating salty stuff because I woke up this morning feeling queasy. This happens fairly regularly, because I usually wake up feeling anxious to start my day (I know, I know- that’s a problem), but this time I wasn’t sure if the tummy ache was caused by anxiety, or if I was actually feeling yucky, and as a result was feeling anxious, which, yes, made my tummy worse, which makes me worry more…anyway, last time I felt queasy for no apparent reason, things got pretty bad, pretty fast (someday I’ll write a really long blogpost about that). But this isn’t nearly as bad as that was- I went to the farmer’s market, etc., with mild (by comparison) discomfort. So now, in case I’m low on electrolytes or something, I am consuming salt. Oh, also, my appetite is nonexistent, which is very strange, and I’ve had a little bit of acid reflux going on. I feel particularly grossed out by sweet things. I made oatmeal without sweetening it, but added some raisins just to include fruit. I didn’t get much of the oatmeal down, partly because I couldn’t handle the taste of the raisins. The tea I had was good, though- two bags of green tea in a cup- it was warm, strong, bitter, and definitely not sweet. Last time I was queasy without cause (well, there definitely was a reason, it just wasn’t anxiety the way it usually is), I had zero appetite and drinking fluids was a chore that exhausted me (and therefore I did not consume them, a choice that I later regretted).

Let’s see, I had a few things to write about, other than that essay on poor Kristin’s tum-tum.

1) I finished another small journal and it will go up for sale on etsy soon. I still have to photograph it and do all the things necessary for making up a new-item posting. I like this little guy- it’d been waiting forever for me to get inspired for the drawing on the front cover, and then I came thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to totally screwing it up. Sigh. But then it was salvaged! Hooray!

2) Rain. Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain. Stop. I don’t recall 24+-hour constant rainfall in SoCal in May. Late October or January, maybe, but not May. I heard they had hail and even tornadoes in some places. There were mudslides in Sierra Madre, but those were contained to the areas south of where the fires had been. Since mudslides (unlike fire) can’t spread, my house was completely safe. Oh, and afternoon temperatures were in the 40s!

3) I’m working on two books along with the commissioned drawings. One of them I don’t want to say much about yet, but the other will be a blank book using some bookcloth that I painted. It’s pretty! I’m really excited. Depending on how it turns out, it would be cool do add that as a “product line” to etsy. Very unique. Yes!

4) This other book project, if I can actually be patient enough to work it through, will be pretty sweet, man.

5) I got a paycheck for working at Scripps the other day- now I can afford to buy new shoes!! Here’re the ones I’m thinking (and since I’m going to order from, I don’t have to worry about paying shipping to return them if they don’t fit): and
I’m just worried that the first ones will be too wide, or that they’ll get too wide after I’m walked 3000 miles in them (you know, after like, three months). I have narrow footses, so the customer reviews aren’t too encouraging.

6) I want to try getting into shows at local art galleries. While doing a bit of research for that, I came across this artist’s portfolio. She photographs real estate, and you can take virtual tours of these homes she’s photographed. I like touring homes, and these are some faaaaaaaancy homes, like whoa. :) The first one (1239 Palm) made my jaw drop. At a paltry $2 million, I’m sure it’s a steal.

7) In an effort to get to know people/be a part of the community on etsy, I’ve started editing peoples profiles and shop announcements. I think this is actually a bad idea- nobody loves a grammar/spelling nazi, but they must appreciate the constructive criticism. Looking like an idiot in a setting where you want to be taken seriously -your own business- probably won’t help your business. One person I notified (and I’ve only notified two people) had “we except paypal…”. I alerted them to this error, but then when I checked back later, they had mis-corrected it with “eaccept”. D’oh! Unfortunately, I think it would be too awkward to notify them of this second error. Hopefully they’ll catch it on their own.

Well, I’m sure I could invent more things to ramble on about, but this should tide you over until the next post. So long, and happy long weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sheesh. Weeks go by so quickly! (And more complaints)

Today the laborers labored in vain. At least, in the afternoon. Productivity hit a wall at approximately 2pm, and frustration ensued. The wall-hitting is partially my fault, and partially the result of an unforeseen event which has prevented me from progressing on a fairly labor-intensive drawing. I’m also very tired, and antsy. Luckily, I’m getting out of here for the evening- heading off to catch the bus in approximately one hour, and then I hope to shed this shell of blarg.

Blogging, fortunately, is always productive (even if I just hold down one letter’s key, in only a few short minutes, I’ll have pages and pages of text!), and I even get the added benefit of forcing you all to listen to me as I whine! No, I would not like some cheese with my whine- I like my whine pure and undiluted.

So. Graduation was this weekend at the Claremont Colleges; I went out to attend Mudd’s and Scripps’ with friends. It was stiflingly hot, but I got to see Bill Nye (yeah! The Science Guy!)…I mean, William Nye (“Science Educator”) speak at Harvey Mudd’s commencement. I ate cookies for lunch, languished in the heat, saw people I haven’t seen in a year (practically a lifetime), didn’t drink enough water and generally enjoyed myself greatly. Dinner was wonderful, and was shared with exactly zero graduates, though we dined in Claremont. Should’ve tried Bombay Bistro last year as a post-graduation place of feasting, eh?…oh well. I have no regrets :)

It is very quiet here in my room. I can’t hear the sounds of outside because the windows are closed, due to the fact that the air-conditioning is blasting. I’m wearing a sweatshirt, and looking forward to having air-conditioning for the first time in my five years in SoCal.

Blah. Note to brain: SNAP OUT OF IT.
Unfortunately, I have nothing for it to snap into. Nothing that’s easy, that doesn’t take any work. Ah well, today will be over eventually and tomorrow things will be different. Huzzah for that.

Monday, May 12, 2008


At last, prints of some of my work are available on Etsy. I have been kicking myself in the bum about this for weeks, so it's nice to have it partially off my shoulders. Only about half of the prints I have are currently for sale because it's so cloudy outside that I can't even take mediocre pictures of them. By next weekend I hope to have more prints available, as well as more in stock of each (ideally I'd have 5-10 in stock for each print). Needless to say, but still worth saying, the prints look a billion times better in "real life" than as a digital image of a photograph taken on a cloudy day. Sigh. That said, if you think the photos I have posted look terrible, please let me know and I'll rephotograph them (sigh).

So, another reason I love SoCal: food, food everywhere. FREE food. Fresh, free, organic food. These nice little communities I’ve been lucky enough to live in out here are packed with trees, especially fruit trees- avocados (can’t say I care much for those, but still), plums, apricots, oranges, lemons, limes, pomellos and grapefruits (don’t care much for those, either), grapes (not actually trees), peaches, loquats, kumquats, apples…am I forgetting anything? At any rate, that’s a lot of fruit, and thanks to a little Roman law that has managed to persist into the present era in this nation, if any of those fruit trees extend over onto sidewalks or other public spaces from the lawns where they’ve been planted, anyone is allowed to pick from that section of the tree!

Also, a revision to my last post. Mr. Nick pointed out fairly brilliantly and clairvoyantly that classical music is a lot better to have stuck in your head than pretty much all of the other crap you hear on the radio. SO TRUE. When I was working last week, some students had cds of Madonna, Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, and some other things playing while they worked. I had awful, old Madonna songs stuck in my head for days, and if I’m not really careful, I’ll get them stuck in my head again right now just thinking about how terrible that was. So I am officially changing my view on this topic- if it’s really necessary for me to have some kind of music stuck in my head, I would definitely prefer that music to be of the classical variety.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A few observations

1) Listening to classical music while working all day can be great, but when that music stops, and, say, I'm trying to go to sleep, I'll have classical music stuck in my head. Not actual, existing classical music, however, just sort of generic classical music that my head makes up. It usually features string instruments, it's usually baroque, and it's usually prestissimo. Try falling asleep to that.

2) Every time I hear helicopters now (which are common in LA), I think of fire. They were flying low around the foothills constantly last week during the fire (obviously). Helicopters are kind of like vultures - they're usually looking for sites of disaster, runaway criminals, tracking wildfires, etc., (they're much more helpful than the scavenging birds, of course).

3) Going to Claremont for the day means I can sneak away to not one but TWO dollar stores (of different chains, with, therefore, different merchandise) in the morning before starting work. Awesome healthy bread, vanilla soymilk, plain soymilk, large bags of whole wheat pasta (2 for a dollar!), V8, fat-free Colombo yogurt, some cool energy bars- 3 for a dollar (including some that I've seen at Whole Foods. So what if these are maybe a little old and got a tiny bit squashed?), and on, and on. I love the dollar store, I do, I do.

4) It does not feel like it's been a year since my senior art show. But apparently it has been, because the 2008 senior show opened last night. It was a pretty good show! The work was technically stunning- a lot of talent in that class. The gallery was also very full of work. Last year, each person had pretty much one piece to present, and they were all fairly small and self-contained. This year, each artist had a couple or several pieces. Conceptually, I don't know. The major disappointment was that the artists weren't standing next to their pieces, as we had been commanded to do last year. I knew only one of the girls in the show, and her work was pretty straight-forward, so tracking the artists down was pretty much impossible, too. One girl gave her audience pretty much nothing, not even a title. There seemed to be a lot going on in the work; and since I didn't get most of it on my own, it would have been nice to get some help from the experts. Argh. Now I'm really frustrated. Anyway, there were a few that were hard to follow. Several used text (there were two graphic novels and another piece was in the format of a single comic strip), but I often found myself confused, either with the sequence of events or the dialogue, or with the illustrations. If the artists had been standing with their work, I would have been able to get these things (and many more) figured out. But as it is, work that might be very strong to those who are familiar with all its various aspects, may now be viewed as weak by those who weren't allowed access to that same information. And it's not like we can look up the work online, either. Bummer. The next best thing would be to track down all their theses...Hmm...tempting. Sort of.

Well, I am now going to go rummage at a rummage sale down the street. Yippee!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

...May 1st?!

Wowies. Long time no post. Please accept my most humble apologies! A lot has been going on. A LOT.

First, my house almost burned down. A fire was started about two or three miles away, north in the wilderness area in the foothills, on Saturday afternoon. It’s since burned about 600 acres, I think, but miraculously, no houses burned (many were evacuated, like mine), and the fire started going north instead of any other of the cardinal directions on about Tuesday. This took it far away from civilization; a huuuuge blessing. Also, to my knowledge, none of the firefighters have been seriously injured in this ordeal, though one did get stung by a bee. And to add yet another blessing and relief, the weather has been perfect- no wind, though it was very warm the first couple of days, and then yesterday and today have been very cool and humid. All of this is a big deal- the foothills where it started are steep and rugged, and hasn’t burned in forty years. It could have been disastrous, and nearly was, but God kept us well guarded.

Next up:
Commissions! I currently have several commissioned art-things in the works! This is exciting and makes me happy. I hope I can find time soon to work on them…

Work! Pretty much my favorite professor at Scripps has hired me for a short period to help her class (Typography and the Book Arts) finish the semester’s work. This is my third year working for her (I worked for her during the summers of 2006 and 2007), and the third time her offer has really been a life-saver. She’s even bumped my pay rate up 25% from last summer (which was about a 25% bump up from the summer before that!) :) The work can be tedious and exhausting, but…I kinda like stuff like that. And it’s fun to work with cool materials, help out, see what the students have been working on, and take peeks at the book they’ve put together (and from my own experience in that class, it takes a stupefying amount of work). Professor Maryatt is herself a treat, and being a well-known figure in the art/book arts world, it’s a huge honor to work for her and learn from her. She has connections EVERYWHERE, and never hesitates to do things for her students. Also, she’s buddies with/does work for Ed Ruscha—he’s like, seriously, a famous artist.

Coming soon…art prints! Hand-painted fabric!
I’ve just ordered some paper from Mohawk papers, and I plan to have a few of my originals made into prints, which I will then put on Etsy. It’ll be a good way to sell artwork for less, without having to sell originals and/or pay myself ten cents an hour to make “cheap” enough artwork. I’ve also ordered some fabric paint, which I will use to make awesomely printed/painted fabric! Textile design is super cool, but I can’t afford to do it commercially. So I’ll just have to do it myself.

Books on cd. The greatest invention ever. I loved The Return of the King. The middle-aged British dude narrating really got into the voices and sang the couple of songs Tolkein wrote with gusto. This book, which I had started reading at least six times before giving up after the first couple chapters, is so much better in an audio format. Listening to it was also an excellent escape for parts of my brain that would get bored with a lot of drawing, and it was an excellent escape in general, because it allowed me to forget about my troubles for a bit. :) Since the Tolkein, I’ve listened to Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour, which was fun but frivolous and completely pointless. I just started listening to The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, which I don’t really like so far (I’m not sure if it’s the narrator’s voice or what). Oh, and I found an awesome, free online resource for anyone if you want to try out audio books- It’s got a LOT of classics, because most of the classics are in the public domain (hence, free) and nice volunteers come and read them. I’ve started listening to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift, which is read by a youngish-sounding British woman, so that’s a little weird, but so far the story is pretty good! Yay audiobooks!

That’s all for now. Hopefully this was somewhat coherent. after staring intently at various things all day long, my eyes keep wanting to go out of focus…not to mention my brain. My brain definitely wants to go out of focus. Whatever that means. See? Time to stop writing before I hurt myself.