Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Power of Irony

I'm not sure why bloggers always feel a need to apologize for their absences. Perhaps because when looking at our stats we see the same computers checking in day after day and we want to say sorry you had to waste that clicking effort to see the same old, tired post decorating this little piece of cyberspace.

I have no excuse for not blogging other than I felt like harassing people on Facebook instead. Oh, and I've been doing things in the real world. Recent sketches for Dinah's traveling sketchbook can be found on my daily (ahem, cough, hack...) art blog Luule.

I've also been busy with mom stuff. My 9 yr old daughter needs help deciding on what simple machine she should build for a science project.

She said, "A robot that will clean my room!"
I said,"a perpetual motion machine that will power the world!"
My husband said, "a guillotine"
She is making a simple battery.

I'm eternally grateful problems in my kids life are so small and easily remedied. Life is good and we're so lucky. I saw this ad on TV last night. It's funny, ironic, uncomfortable and makes it's point. Many people thought it was real...sheesh.

Here is the link to War Child, the organization behind the ad if you want to learn more and help.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dear Inauguration Crowd - please go back and pick up your litter.

You can turn yourself into an icon at Obamicon. What fun!

Not to be completely narcissistic but as I was listening to Obama's beautiful speech today I realized a tiny noble purpose in my life could be to be suburbia's (weak and whining) conscience.

All this talk of change and preserving a way of life. Forget about those lofty ideals of freedom, democracy, yada yada yada. Archaeologists centuries from now will discover as much about us by the garbage we left behind than our art, literature or what remains of our ideals. And it won't be pretty. So if the world wants real change, not just a bunch of rhetoric and wishful regression to some idealized 'good old days', then we'll have to change more radically than just being inspired by perfect lovely speeches. Sorry to be an inauguration party pooper. I'm ecstatic Obama is president, but the poor man has impossible expectations put upon him.

My first task as suburbia's good conscience is to make living here more sustainable. If I could build community veggie gardens, local markets with useful local artisan goods and wonderful walkable communities I would. The truth is I hang my hypocritical head in shame as I've let a lot of my good, green habits slide the last year and an half. I quit composting as my nemesis on the street, a rhinoceros disguised as a Labrador escapes from it's yard, tears open the bags , strewing potato peelings 100 metres in every direction. That beast really pisses me off. But too bad, I have no excuse not to compost so I went to City hall today to get my orange sticker to put on my bin to mark it as compost. They're all out and I'm on a waiting list for orange stickers. It took me until the end of the day to figure out I could go and BUY something orange sticker-like and put it on my bin. D'oh. I shall do that.

For serious inspiration on sustainable living you can turn to Colin Beavan and his blog No Impact Man. Beavan lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. For one year his family lived as carbon neutral as possible, even passing on the toilet paper (yeah, you heard right). The result is the documentary No Impact Man which just finished debuting at the Sundance Film Festival to standing ovations. I've been following this blog for a while so it's great to see the success of his family's effort and hopefully the film will get a sizable theatrical release. A recent post that had me thinking was posted by a guest blogger living in a village in Japan explaining how they don't heat their homes in winter but sleep and eat under a kotatsu - a table with an electric heater underneath. It reminds me if everyone lives by the same then it isn't considered a hardship. Suburbia is a cesspool of conformity and we're generally a species of followers, in spite of the fanatical individualism we've suffered from too much. Wouldn't it be nice for us to adopt uniform green technologies, that may be slightly less convenient, but become perfectly normal through habit and conformity? Maybe one day. For now, I know I need to work on my own change.

And since I don't want to part without a little art, take a look at this eye candy, origami and paper sculpture taken to new heights, amazing. I'm especially impressed lately as even basic origami is harder than it looks. It took me 3 freakin' days to figure out how to make this butterfly. Although I'm especially inept at these things.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New old music

I'm in desperate need of new music. I've worn out the 70 or so songs I downloaded 2 years ago and need new music to surround me in my studio. I've been shopping at itunes lately. One song I knew I had to have was this one. It was also used in one of the best movie intros ever made, Lord of War. The life of a bullet...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Snow Forts and Steampunk

I have labeled the architectural details of my snow fort in case the subtle genius of my design is not apparent in the photo. I built this for my youngest daughter. Her enthusiastic gratitude made me wish I wasn't so three dimensionally challenged. I wish I could have sculpted something like this for her...

(image from the Ice Hotel in Sweden)

I've had a nagging urge lately to construct things. I keep passing by this painting in my studio, and I can't help thinking only the first phase of it is complete. I realize it's not enough as a painting. And it needs more than just a frame. It needs some kind of structure surrounding it, something I have to build. I think all the paintings I'm working on in this series need assemblages surrounding them to complete them. And then I think bleh, I'm not mechanically inclined, 3 year olds have completely surpassed me when I've sat down and played lego with them. I build lego towers and that's it.

So how can I possibly carry out the vision in my head? It'll involve learning, experimenting, failing several times over and probably some blood, literally, as I managed to cut myself a few times when I made this small 3D artwork a few years ago. I'll attempt it because I know directions that are right to take are ones that nag at you, get you excited and fill you with some fear or discomfort. If it's too easy, it's probably not worth it.

But before I face all that discomfort of having to do all that pesky thinking, take a look at what procrastination unearthed. A Steampunk laptop from Datamancer.

This received a lot of press, but I think it deserves more. His creations are beautiful.

What is Steampunk? A genre of fiction, fashion, music and art/design, a form of Victorian styled modern geekery and gadgetry . A comprehensive definition can be found here. But from The Library Militant, a good brief definition of the elements of Steampunk:

  • Steam power
  • Victorian setting
  • Twist of science fiction or fantasy
  • A mixture of historical setting and attitude combined with contemporary technology highly stylized for the time period
Fringe elements that we can recognize in many Steampunk works, but are almost too intangible to be used as a means of classification. For example:
  • The colors; in Steampunk we will often observe many earthy shades of color such as the shimmer of copper pipes, the dark browns of wood, the glow of gas lamps against the dark, and so on.
  • A slightly, though usually not completely, dystopian setting.
  • Technology that has not been mass-produced, but appears cobbled together and always just of the verge on falling apart...
I love the Steampunk aesthetic. I want someone to redo my kitchen to look like this. Impractical yes, but will make the experience of cleaning out the dogs food dish so much richer. The link is from Brass Googles, a wonderful site for all things Steampunk with even a name generator. My steampunk name is Miss Moxie Brogley, so I'd like to be called that from now on please.

Here's another fun site. If you're feeling unappreciated, input your first name here and you will be immediately showered with compliments, you'll start feeling like your computer truly loves you, just you. Yes, programmed, automated flattery has the capacity to make me feel good. Humans are vain, whaddaya gonna do?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goodbye G.W!

My positively, maybe, almost sort of certain last post on anything political. I found a lot of great art links I'm wanting to share, but I also found this and loved it. In commemoration of Dubya and his numbered days...