Friday, September 7, 2012

The Monthlies Came Early

Yup, somehow I managed to post here before a full month had passed. Wonders will never cease!

It's been somewhat of a whirlwind tour of Dayton, it feels like. As though we just got here... and already we're heading out next wednesday. Dayton itself has proven to be rather innocuous, shall we say. Very middle-of-the-road. Which, after Phoenix, is more than welcome.

There's really not a whole hell of a lot to report from here, even. A trip to Yellow Springs, a cute little berg about 30 minutes from here, full of galleries and bookstores and the like. And lots of patchouli. It reminded me a lot of Gainesville, Florida, actually.

Then a day-trip to Columbus last weekend for their monthly art crawl, which was *quite* fun, though I wish we'd gone later in the afternoon/evening, as it felt like things were just really getting busy as we were heading out. Maybe that was a good thing, as it was VERY crowded... getting there early allowed us to actually be in the shops without feeling all claustrophobic.

One of the best parts of the day was the chance to meet, in person, a fellow blogger.... even if it's only for a brief moment (sometimes literally a "Hi/Bye" deal) that's always a nice thing. We're all  connected on here, this weird online world we live in, and it's easy to forget that sometimes the physical interaction hasn't happened yet! I suppose that's one of the benefits of my job... I get to travel around, and have the oppurtunities to meet folks that live all over the place.

So, yeah, I got to say hey to Sharon, of fame!

She had some very nifty clown pieces up as one of the displays...
It did make me laugh a bit... one of the people I was there with, a somewhat impatient 20-something whom I should have just told to go on by himself (but that's another story) said, as we walked up to the window "Ooooh, those are creepy".... I had to laugh as I replied "yeah, that's the friend I've been looking for, actually!"
Anyhoo, on with the random photos you all knew were coming.

                                                                   What a Waste

                                                              Good advice

                                                           Puerile Graffiti

                                                         Urban Spellcasting....

For those who may be interested, we've (our employees and I) actually started a group on Facebook to share the images we come across over the course of our workdays. There will be some overlap with the things I post here (obviously) but there will be a lot of other fun stuff as well!
No new reviews this time around... working my way through The Dog Stars and Blue Magic, both of which I recommend, though neither of which I have finished yet.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Monthlies

That's what I should change the name of this blog to, I suppose, as that's about as often as I update it these days. Last time was exactly one month ago today... assuming I finish this post tonight, that is. (I didn't. It's now the following day) What can I say? Phoenix took it out of me. It drained me. It's weird to leave a physical place and realize that you're also leaving a dark emotional place as well. One you only kinda-sorta realized you were in. Phoenix was/is an abomination, one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (okay, I would actually wish it on them) and I can't tell you how glad I was to see it in the rear-view mirror as we left it behind on monday.

This is what was happening the evening before we left... The haboobs were cute the first few times. By the end (after just having washed the car) I was pretty over them.
Monday. SOOOoooo long ago. Three days ago. Three days of driving ago, to be exact. Quite the haul, even for someone used to a lot of travel. The first day was pretty easy... I think it was just the joy of being out of that shit-hole. The second day was long, but okay. The third day was... hmn... let's say "painful." Skinny little asses like mine suffer after sitting on poorly-cushioned car seats for that long. I was longing for some booty. Thankfully, after those three days, we find ourselves in Dayton, Ohio. This weird, magical place where water falls from the sky, and breezes that don't feel like you're inside of a convection oven blow. It's even actually kind of cool outside right now. Amazing. (except all the clothes we have with us are designed for triple-digit-weather, but oh well. We can deal.)

We saw a whole lot of country in those three days. Some of it really beautiful... specifically New Mexico... unfortunately I was driving during that portion, and didn't get any photos. When I was in the passenger seat, which was rarely as I prefer to drive, I did snag photos out the window at 75mph...

                                                                         El Dorado

                                                                Liberal, Kansas

                                                                   Hooker, Oklahoma

All righty... reviews! Other than sit there and think about how sore my ass was and take pictures out of windows, I did some reading.

Railsea, by China Mieville, to be exact. I'd been reading it for more than a month, but, despite liking it, just couldn't get into it. I blame Phoenix. I would read a bit here, a bit there, but that was it. My concentration wasn't present. The car solved that. Now, I do have to admit to being somewhat biased when it comes to China Mieville. See, he's my Other Boyfriend. He just hasn't acknowledged it yet. See, if you're not familiar with him, he's insanely handsome, crazily smart, lectures at feminist conventions, is a fan of socialism, and, did I mention... he's sexy as fuck?

But this is where my Mea Culpa comes in... his last few books I just haven't been able to get into. The City and The City, while it had an interesting premise (two cities that co-exist literally within each other, but whose respective residents aren't allowed to interact with each other... think Israel/Palestine) just felt like socio-political lecturing to me. I didn't make it past the first chapter. Kraken also had some interesting concepts (Competing manufactured apocalypses, anyone? Giant squid gods?) and held my interest a bit more. I still set it aside 400 pages in. Someday I'll finish it off, I suspect, just not right away.

But I'm not speaking of those books, am I? I'm speaking of Railsea. A return to what I originally found intriguing about his works... excellent world-building, a layer (or more) of philosophy, and some action thrown into the mix for good measure.

The story follows Sham ap Soorap, a young man who works and lives upon a train captained by a woman hunting her philosophy. (that's not a mis-speak on my part, that really is what she's hunting, literally) Over the course of the tale, we see him discover there are other things out there, mysteries of the Railsea to be solved, and is own philosophies to be hunted. If you've never dove into a Mieville book, this is an excellent one to start with. Not too heady, not too weird, not too dark.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Random Photo Post!

Woot! Everyone loves Random Photo Post, right?


That's what I thought... and it is good, as there's really not a whole lot to report since my last check-in here, other than we're still in Phoenix, and it's still hot as hell. Actually, that's not entirely true... it rained today, and it dropped down to the upper 90's, which feels remarkably cool by comparison. Of course, once the sun came back out, it was a bajillion degrees AND humid.

One thing that Phoenix has done, other than make me sweat, is add to my Sole Remainders photos. There are abandoned shoes everywhere.

Phoenix, Az

Phoenix, Az There are also pretty mountains here. DSC01518 And cute little quail with funny things on their heads.
Ominous bullet found in the parking lot of the hotel we're staying in. Yay. It's even a hollow-point, to make it more ominous. The only need for hollow-point is to ensure maximum damage to a body. Yay, again.
Ominous insects in resin... and yes, I'm starting a collection of them. My grandfather had several scorpions in resin, and I was quite fascinated with them as a little kid. They (scorpions) have been an ongoing theme in my life, so.... yeah, new collection in my future.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cities in Dust... and Prometheus

Well, somehow it's been 3 weeks since I updated, despite my "Ima gonna update on a regular basis" pledge. Oh, that's right, it's been a crazy-ass few weeks, as we literally shut our house down, packed it up, and had someone move into it... which is a first for us. Usually we just have our neighbors look after it, water the plants, feed the cats and all that jazz. But, since it's unlikely we'll be back home for the next six months or longer, and we had a friend looking for a little more personal/private space, we decided to "rent" it out to him... which is nice, but it meant making physical space for him.

Anyways, we landed in Phoenix, which I have now renamed the Big Shitty. I'm thoroughly unimpressed. It's a very NONpretty city, both people-wise, and otherwise... mentally, you could say, as well as physically.

For one thing, it's HOT AS FUCK.

I mean, I know we're in the desert and all that jazz, but c'mon. That's just wrong. And I think it just makes people crazy. Like for realz crazy. Within the first few weeks here, Charlie was mugged on a morning walk, had his head bashed open and his wallet and phone stolen... our coworker Tess was roughed up during a night out at a bar by some guy, a fight broke out next to me at the Trader Joe's (for those not from the U.S., TJ's is a hippie[ish] grocery store, the last place you'd expect a fight).... so yeah, I think people's brains are just fried out.

Not to dwell on the negative, the natural side of Phoenix is pretty nifty. LOTS of cool cacti and succulents around.

This one up above is one of my favorites... like a giant artichoke. I'll be getting one to mail back home before we leave here, that's for sure.

It's hard to tell with no sense of perspective, but these are HUGE. The golden barrel cactus in the very front is about 3-4ft or so.

We also got to see a haboob last week, which was pretty swell... if a bit (understatement) gritty. I'd seen it approaching off to the west when I was on my weekly comic book run, and it rolled into town a little while later. You can't even tell in the photo (or just barely) but there's a many-storied building in the background, obscured by the sand/dust.

Sadly, the overbearing heat has kept us from doing much exploring of the surrounding countryside on the weekends. It's just really fucking hot out there, ya know? I realize the whole country is sweltering, but 105 degrees seems cool compared to 115 to 120 degrees. You'd think that after a certain point it just wouldn't matter, but it does. I long for the days of low 100's.

Today we played it smart and went and saw Prometheus (finally) during the heat of the day.

I'd been looking forward to seeing this ever since I first heard about it, but all the activity prevented me from doing so until today. At first, I was a little let down by it, but that was mainly due to having really high expectations for it. Always a bad idea. Now that I've had a few hours to "digest" it, I'm liking it more and more. As a basic (if slightly more in-depth, philosophy-wise) "people in outer space discover mean things" type of movie, it's fully functional. There's several forms of creepy (and occasionally sexy) aliens, there's giant spaceships, there's intrigue, etc.

There's also Charlize Theron playing another Stone Cold Bitch, and nailing it perfectly. Seriusly, she should stick to these kinds of roles from here on out, she's got it down. She slips between the lines of cold and clinical to creeptastic so smoothly.
What truly made me appreciate this movie as part of the whole Aliens mythology was the introduction of the actual alien that we're familiar with from the original movies, and how it comes to be created. We've established in the earlier movies that the alien assumes a shape that is similar to that of it's "host."  Here we see the "birth" (both literal and figuratively) of our good ol' slimy-toothed alien, and why it has the form it does... and here we also see a return of an ongoing theme of all the Alien movies that have preceeded it: The Dark Mother, the introducer of violence and destruction. Without the actions of Shaw, the alien in its current form would not have come to be. While Sigourney Weaver's character of Ellen Ripley may have fought the monster at first, unintentionally released it upon others later, and eventually became the monster, here we see the true mother of the monster.

All righty, that's all for now! Off to play ketchup and see what folks have been up to!

Theme song for now, and possibly the foreseeable future:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Drowned Cities

Okay, Bacigalupi is the author who finally makes me take a stand and say "It's not a fucking YA book just because some of the central characters are youths." He started pushing it with Ship Breaker, but this is the one that goes all the way over.

Will older kids (read: Teenagers) be cool with it? Yes. Will some (not all) of the younger ones? Yes. Hell, I was reading King and his ilk by the time I was 10, and I'm not overly-damaged. The violence is fairly constant, and not in any way sanitized.

But will they grasp some of the messages within it, regarding fanaticism, indoctrination, loyalty and the like? I'm not sure. Though I'm also not sure if they need to. Maybe taking it in solely on the level of "Tool is a badass" (to quote another reviewer) is enough... and maybe it'll stick with them enough to warrant a future rereading of it.

While I both loathed and loved it, in a Dancer in the Dark kind of way, I hope Bacigalupi plans an eventual return to what's both a horrifying and intriguing place... the world of the Drowned Cities. A world that is, sadly, all too believable.

Friday, June 8, 2012

On The Road Again

Someone should write a song about that.

Oh, wait....

But yup, it's been nice to be home for a while, but it's time to head back out. We leave for Phoenix on the 18th, and will be there for the next two or three months. Just in time for summer. WOOOT! (that's sarcasm)

I'm hoping that while we're there, we at least get to see a haboob. Given that this photo was taken on this exact day last year, it seems like there's a good chance of seeing one!

I mean, seriously, how cool/intense do these look?

I'm dreading the trip some, I have to say. Mainly because we're flying out there, since the new company cars are being delivered there. 1) I hate flying. It's the same kind of thing with why I refuse to be a passenger in a car, amplified 20x. I just have issues with people other than myself being in control of my life. Logical at all? Nope. Still there anyways? Yup.  2) Since we're flying, it means I have to seriously downsize what I take with me... including cooking instruments and studio stuff. My usual Modus Operandi is to just take anything I might possibly even think I may want. Sewing machines, paint and easels, collage stuff.... you name it, I bring it. Not this time, though. Going to have to focus on specific things and plan ahead! Ack!!

Speaking of art, two nifty-keen things I received this week:

The first is a book of self-portraits from a swap hosted by the lovely Jen worden, featuring a portrait of a devilish Amy on the cover...

The other thing is a little Poe-inspired tin shrine from an exchange hosted by Lisa Vollrath, and created by Katie Cahill.

One thing which I'll be hauling half-way across the country with me is this thrift-store painting. I'm hosting a swap inspired a recent(ish) show where a bunch of different artists took a bunh of paintings, and added monsters, robots, etc into them. Seems like a fun idea, and lord knows there's plenty of base material out there!

I haven't decided yet what's going in there. Kind of torn between some Cthullu-esque creature, or giant robots. Or things in the water. Or... or.... or...

Anyhooo,  how about some random garden(ish) photos?

These guys wanted a little privacy, but they didn't get any. That's what happens when you have sex on my porch. Expect voyeurs.

Teeny-tiny mushrooms, sprouting up at the base of a rosemary bush... they were glowing in the early morning light, and by noon they had melted to little piles of moosh. (given how hot it's been here this year, I frequently feel like melting into a little pool of moosh by noon myself)

I'd been anxiously awaiting the opening of Snow White and the Huntsman. I LOVE some Charlize Theron, and I love some darker fairy tale stuff.

Sadly, it was pretty disappointing. Visually, it was beautifully done, Theron rocked it out as the evil queen, Raevenna, especially when she took it completely over the top. Kristen Stewart, however, seemed hell-bent on sucking any sort of fun out of it. I'd never seen her before, but I now get why people were booing her even before they saw the movie.

Apparently she just came out of the closet as a pot-smoker, and while I have no issue with that whatsoever, perhaps she needs to put the pipe down before going to work. Or only take on roles in zombie a zombie.

I wouldn't say it's a horrible movie... far from it, actually... but it was a let-down. Watch it, but don't expect a whole lot. Perhaps that was my problem... I'd gotten myself all psyched-up for it beforehand.

This, however, makes me LOL... literally.

All righty, hope everyone has an excellent weekend!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ship Breaker

Another of those books where I wonder if it got slapped with a YA label simply because of the age of the main characters. There's violence on par with The Hunger Games, possibly even exceeding THG, as, unlike with Katniss, these characters aren't horrified by their potential for violent acts, violence is part of who they are, part of their daily lives. Regardless of whether I think it's miscategorized or not, it's still an excellent, quick, read. There's nothing all that deep to it, but it still doesn't feel like fluff. It definitely snags you up into the story immediately, and races along without pause... it could've been a one-day-read, had I not had to do that whole Sleep Thing, so it got stretched into two days instead.

The realism of the post-environmental-apocalypse world in which they dwell was quite nice. There's no need for explanation or backstory, really... if you watch the news, you know how things got to be the way they are. (Global warming, anyone?) The cultures and societies that have built themselves up afterwards make sense as well. While little of the story actually involves ship-breaking, since the action quickly moves from there, what little you do see is both interesting and, in a way, horrific, as ship-breaking yards exist in reality, scattered around the globe.

I particularly enjoyed the specific location/setting along the Gulf coast, as it's one I'm familiar with in real life, having grown up there, but that's just an added personal bonus. Who doesn't enjoy when stories set in areas that are known to them?

You can read more about the book here...

Friday, May 25, 2012

And the Winners Are....

Okay, let's clear one thing up, first: If you expect me to be punctual, even with something as simple as a random drawing, please allow me to disabuse you of the notion! I'm the worst at procratinating/getting distracted.

We have a very good friend who's in town, Nandra (that'd be her in the green in the middle, with the pre-party crew), who turned 50, and who is moving to Dublin, so we had to have a combo bday/going away party for her. And then recuperate from said party.

I even broke out my Hooker Heels for the dancing. You can't tell in the pic, but they're 1) tall, and 2) spikey. I suffered more the next day from those than from any imbibing, I believe. It's been a while since I danced for hours (okay, until sunrise) in heels. Ouch. I remember why it happens infrequently!

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
Sad to see her go, as she's been a part of our lives for 15+ years now, but I'm happy she decided on Dublin instead of Tokyo (her other option) as I see trips to Ireland in our future! While Tokyo would be interesting, Ireland holds a lot more appeal for me.

Anyways, the winners are (insert drum roll here)...

For the shrine...
and for the 4x4 painting...

If y'all will drop me an email with your info, I'll get those in the mail to you!

It looks like we're gearing up for another scorching summer here. Last year we broke all kinds of records, and given that it's in the mid-90's this week (norm is mid-80's), it's not boding well. On the plus side, it means lots of mid-day time spent inside, where I can be in the studio.

There may also be some dancing around to Roisin at some point. (minus heels) It feels like that kind of day.

Hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Complete and Utter Randomness

First off, thanks going out to Amy for putting together the blog crawl! Met lots of nifty folks, and I think it has given me a kick in the pants as far as keeping my blog updated.

Anyhoooo.... randomness!

This little guy is cute, but he needs to go away. Bird seed is expensive, and he throws 3/4's of it on the ground as he rummages around, filling those little cheek pouches up. Plus, the birds aren't that happy with him, as you can see.

Per request from my friend Carol, one of several of my Old Skool Boyfriends. I need to start scanning them.

A gift from a friend, several years ago. I forget their names now, but they were quite famous in their time. And now it's going to bug me, trying to remember.

Cat in a box. I was going to throw the box away, but now I can't bring myself to do so, as both cats love it so much. When one is already in there, the other will walk up, and look at the one inside with great disdain.

Another But is it Art WIP... "Urban Legends." I need to break out the sewing machine soon so I can start moving these on to their next phase.

Meet Randall, who came to live with me in Tennessee. He was made with a lot of love and weirdness by Sharon Dorsey. You can check out more of her weirdness over at her blog.
I love him, though some in our household find him a little creepy, apparently.

Okay, if you read, you need to read this book. Seriously. Especially if you were That Weird Kid in school. It's categorized as "young adult/fantasy" but it's so much more than that. It was sent to me as a birthday gift from a friend last week, and I picked it up one night with the intent of just getting a taste of it... and ended up having to set it down hours later so I could get some sleep. (Coincidentally, it just won the Nebula Award for Best Novel on sunday)

"Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead."

All righty, that's all the randomness for now! Hope everyone's week is off to a good start!