Thursday, October 8, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
So, yes. Things have gotten busy. But, it hasn't been all work. Well, it hasn't been all school-work.
Last weekend I helped Patrick with a little art project that required 100+ jars of home-canned food. After a long, hot, sticky, vinegary day, we got 34 pints done!
I can't wait to see how the finished product turns out.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I am not proud of it, but one major project I undertook this summer was the Twilight series. Since I have the same interests as most preteens (and geriatrics, I'm very conflicted) and I went through an interesting period in high school marked by an acute interest in vampires, dragons, black eyeliner, and questionable red and black clothing ensembles, this series seemed like a natural fit for me.
So, when I saw the first movie last spring, I as simultaneously bored, shocked and appalled - and not just by the abstinence. I had heard that the books and movie revolved around a pretty basic damsel in distress, but I found this much worse. Basically, Bella's boyfriend repeatedly warns her that at any point in time he may violently attack and kill her - but she calmly reassures him that it will be fine because they are in love.
My first thought was that, since the books are so popular, this theme must just be part of the movie and not the book. I read the rest of the books this summer, and unfortunately it only gets worse from there. I kept reading because it seemed unfathomable to me that there would never be a turning point where Bella asserts herself, realizes that she is in an unhealthy relationship, and sets things straight. It never comes.
I wanted to write a long analysis of the horrors of these books, but there is just too much to get into. I am amazed that I haven't seen more about these on the feminist blogs I read, but maybe we are all in the same boat. Here are my Goodreads reviews instead:
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
I wanted to know if the books are as disturbing as the movie. They are. When Bella's boyfriend dumps her, she takes up dirt biking expressly to injure herself. This is just the positive message teenagers need.
View all my reviews >>
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Could book three possibly get worse than book two? Yes. Bella allows the men in her life (Edward, Charlie, and Jacob) to control her. Edward takes apart her truck to prevent her driving to see Jacob. Jacob jokes that Edward's controlling behavior is an indicator of an abusive boyfriend. Unfortunately the conclusion put forth by the author is that Edward's controlling behavior is a sign of his love. Wow.
View all my reviews >>
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
The piece de resistance of the Twilight series. Bella marries Edward. She enjoys the sex but wakes up covered in bruises. Don't worry girls, that is a normal part of every relationship and is just your partner's way of showing his love. Soon, she becomes pregnant with Edward's mutant vampire spawn. It is clear from the get-go that this mutant vampire spawn could kill Bella, but luckily the fetus has psychic powers so she does not pursue abortion.
Frankly I am confounded by the fact that this is a mainstream, popular series of books.
View all my reviews >>
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It took a week but I finally got around to pulling out the water colors on Sunday.
Normally there is a point in every project where I am 99% sure that I have blown it completely and should quit because I am just going to hate the finished product. But if I soldier through, I almost always end up liking it after all. So this time I tried to take pictures at each phase as a little reminder/motivator to keep on truckin.
I wanted to do something sort of abstract with a lot of construction lines. I really liked this drawing. Then I tried to lighten the lines and start coloring it in, and I realized pretty quickly that I had blown it completely and should quit because I was just going to hate the finished product.
Unfortunately, my little exercise didn't work out, because I am seriously not feeling this one. That peach on the left is killing me. I don't know how I shaped it so weird, but it looks like a freaking papaya or navel orange. I guess I could try to work back into it and fix it, but ...ugh.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I've had to take a break from bellydance classes for the past couple of months, but I am trying to keep my skills fresh. I know that it is practically sac-relig (at least according to my last instructor) but I really prefer dancing to pop music rather than actual bellydance appropriate music. Britney is pretty good, but obviously Shakira is the ideal match. I really like the bellydance-inspired segment at the end of this video. I've also been practicing the contortions and keeping my eyes peeled for some raw materials to make my own jumpsuit.
My gentleman caller loves to tell me that I am an anachronism because I like doing things like canning pickles and using the term "gentleman caller".
Well, I have gone and given him another piece of ammo:
That's right, it is a handmade laptop sleeve! Of course, I have seen these many times before, but even I have to admit that mine may be among the most ridiculous.
This is a quilted flannel laptop sleeve. With hi-loft batting. My laptop is not just protected; it is swaddled in a soft comforter.
There was a scary phase where it really looked like a diaper bag, but I think that in the end it turned out okay. As for the print, I liked the whole green, leafy thing...it really says to people, "HEY! Important future landscape architect at work here!" But, on closer inspection all of the leaves are ternate! Friggin' poison ivy is everywhere I look.
Joy and I visited Becca in Lynchburg this weekend.
Her apartment only has one little window, but the quality of light in there is really nice. Plus, Becca has a whacked-out sense of color that drives me wild to create! So, while Becca was working on her line, Chromat, Joy and I took over her kitchen table and worked on some watercolors.
I haven't managed to make much time for watercoloring lately, and that needs to change. I've been trying to talk myself into starting a daily exercise, but I seem to have some kind of mental block about it being too much work to take out my palette, spray it with water, get a cup of water, and sit down. I even have a sketch already to roll - and it's been that way for months! Maybe tomorrow will be the day.
Well, I know that the entire internet has been sitting on the edge of its collective seat ever since I mentioned the potential for an actual in-ground garden here. Without further ado, here it is!
When I got here, my little patch of dirt was packed to the gills with a delightful mix of pokeweed, and poison ivy (but I'm holding out hope that at least some of it could be virginia creeper).
So far, I have managed to clear out that mess, and generally clean up:
As far as the container garden, the cherry tomato plants looked like they just couldn't handle another car trip, so I left them with my parents. (The purple cherokees I gave them were just kicking into gear when I left...I am tempted to go back this weekend just to pick up some tomatoes.) The herbs did made it here, minus one pot of basil (a gift to my mom, to go with her tomatoes).
So, what will become of this charming plot of dirt? I put in some seeds for collard greens, beets, and "giant pumpkins", so hopefully I will have a nice, unruly fall garden. I probably should have conditioned the soil, but the weeds seemed to be doing so well that I decided to take my chances for now. Unfortunately there isn't a spigot outside, so unless we have a rainy fall watering the garden might get old fast. Still, I'd like to think it's a little nicer and a little less poisonous out there now.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I trimmed back the basil and made a bunch of pesto. The tomato plants had to stay in Sterling, but the herbs continued the trip.
I have a patio here and a little space to plant things, so a fall garden is already in the works.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
In this piece, a relatively fuel efficient mid-1990s automobile is loaded with with pots of cherry tomato plants and herbs, then driven from the inner-suburb of Arlington to the exurb of Sterling.
This piece is intended to critique notions of locality, mobility, and "green washing". Viewers must ponder whether transporting a container garden is environmentally responsible or unconscionable.
This piece also makes your car smell like pizza.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
They're rolling in. The plants are huge and totally unsupported. No idea how I will get these from my 6th floor balcony, into my car, and down to my new patio in Charlottesville. But it must be done!
Introducing the 1931 / Apt 613 Salad: parsley, basil, oregano and cherry tomatoes with oil and vinegar.
All of the herbs are doing well, except for the parsley. There is not much of it, and there are lots of stems and very few leaves. Nutz.