Friday, November 26

halloween wrap-up.

As Halloween approached, i realized that i was completely and totally uninspired, for the first time ever. No costume seemed at all appealing. Tragedy! Finally Nat suggested that i dress as a fairy (which of course i practically do every day as it is), and immediately i knew that that was it.

Years ago, i did this, and it worked well. All i did was make a wand (a piece of curly willow covered in glue and then sprinkled with glitter), cut some ivy and leaves from behind my building for a head garland, and wear some twee clothing from the farthest recesses of my closet and drawers. (Oh, that was the year that Nat wore a huge kabuki wig, long black trenchcoat, and self-made frightening black-latex-covered surgical mask. We were quite the pair.) At the time, the thought of wings didn't even occur to me. This year, though, it was foremost on my mind.

Images of the flower fairies (above) swirled around in my head, but so did Oona from the movie Legend. Not likely to pull off that hair, though:

What i ended up with was a so-so amalgamation of these two aesthetics. My skirt, while frayed, was quite a bit longer than hers; i powdered and glittered my face to the hilt, and Nat drew curling vines around my eyes and temples with green eye pencil. i wound a long piece of ivy around my body, and grabbed every wired butterfly i could find in the house and attached it somewhere. Made another wand, and grabbed my small bottle of fairy dust (just glitter in a cute, tiny bottle) and tied it around my waist with ribbon. Easy peasy.

The wings, on the other hand, proved to be a bit more... involved than i'd surmised. Following this basic template from Threadbanger, and modifying a bit along the lines of this video (which is much more palatable to watch with the sound off) these babies certainly tested my patience at times. But i just wanted to show that it is definitely doable (please excuse the bad photography):

~Bent 4 wire coat hangers. (Note: if you use thick wire instead, you will have much more shaping freedom. i was going for a dragonfly look, so the hangers were perfect.)
~Stretched one knee-high hose over each and tied them off. (Took a chance on these shorter ones; they were the cheapest, but they absolutely fit! Although, i wish white had been available instead of beige. Color-wise, they ended up a bit darker than i'd wanted.)
~Stared at them, unhappily, for a couple of days.
~Electrical-taped the wire ends and figured out how to attach the 4 pieces satisfactorily.
~Spray-painted them green. (Used this method because we had spray paint at work, and because no green tights could be found anywhere. Alternatively, you can hand-paint them if you have the time.)
~Spray-glittered them. (Don't be stingy, now.)
~After a failed attempt to paint veins on a test piece of stretched hosiery, i made a stencil and laid it over each wing, then spray-painted with silver. (This was very trying, as i used thin cardboard and the paint wanted to meander underneath the stencil. Pushpins in strategic places helped, but only a little. If you can, use something pretty substantial for your stencil.) Then i did the other side of each, too, because i realized that that would be the side visible to anyone looking at my directly. However this caused strange, see-through, incongruity issues because i only had the one stencil. Whatever. i'm not perfect.
~Using a stick of lit incense, made some decorative holes. This was actually really fun, but i wish i had done it before the spray-painting. Probably not the best thing to be inhaling.
~Added some glue/glitter accents and waited for the whole thing to dry.
~Wrapped the unsightly midsection with ribbon, then affixed my gigantic-est butterfly to cover it all up.
~The night of the party, i forgot to bring extra ribbon for arm loops, so i had to just use the dangling ends of the pantyhose (thank goodness i had not cut those off yet!). It was not ideal, but ended up working great.

Only downside? Walking through a crowded apartment filled with other people wearing costumes.

Let's just say that i spent a lot of time on the back porch. And walking sideways.

In conclusion: i hope this inspires someone for next year. It felt really good to make everything, and to not spend $45 at a crappy Halloween Superstore filled with dudes on the prowl for wigs and smoking jackets and girls looking for 'sexy' nurse/maid/pirate/devil/cat costumes.


A few more photos from the night.

Next year: Dia de los Muertos! Sugar skulls, altars and marigolds... i can't wait.

Saturday, November 20

My boss brought in a bunch of branches of silver-dollar eucalyptus that she scored from a neighbor's trash bin. i was removing it from the back of her van when a tiny glint of crimson caught my eye, shimmering in the dusty light. It was a tiny hummingbird, stiff and still and lifeless. Did that glimmer, that great color, cause me to have a burst of energy? i felt it, and sensed it.

So, something from nothing.

i wanted to bury him (her?) that night, under the meteor shower. Instead it was cloudy and we stayed in. i will inter that tiny body under dirt that weighs ten times more than it. The color will go dark, and feed the worms who will nourish the soil that will spring up flowers, full of nectar for the next little hummingbird.

Tuesday, October 26


Last night i dreamt of a spider killing a chicken... it was huge, horrid, brownish-yellow spider and the chicken was someone's pet who was returning home for the evening. It flapped up to the person's bedroom windowsill, and the spider saw its chance and sunk its fangs into the chicken's right leg. The poor thing flapped and then fell, slowly, [as if in a dream] to the ground below. It was pitch night, and we were on a farm. i just happened to be smoking a cigarette outside and watched, horrified, as the whole thing unfolded. The chicken floated downwards and the spider fell with it. As i watched, the spider turned into a froglike creature with iridescent blue and green hind legs. When they hit the pine-needle-covered earth, the spider/frog creature dug in, tearing great big chunks of flesh from the chicken's legs. i couldn't watch anymore, so i turned back to the house.

There were five or six small boys there, all playing with matches. They lined up to show me their amazing and daring feats... the first (and smallest) boy bowed his head and concentrated intently on lighting his match. Once ablaze, he watched it burn, holding the match below (and dangerously close to) his face. i started, and pulled his hand away from his head. Never hold a match like that! i yelled at him. He looked upset, and i showed him how to light it away from his body, and hold it aloft so that he could view the flame safely.

Weird, eh? (To say the least).

Tuesday, October 12


We had a near-miss with an asteroid just hours ago. i didn't realize how close it was going to be! 46,000 kilometers... practically felt that thing flying by my ear. Here's a nice little article about it. Nice to be reminded that we're all on a rough blue marble spinning in forever.

On that note, y'all should really see The Vanishing. Don't go look it up, i don't want any plot points being ruined. And make sure you watch the original (1983) Dutch version. It's such a great movie, overall. i thought about it for days afterward... would just find myself unable to sleep, thinking about the final scene, and of all the wonderful foreshadowing during the rest. It's creepy, slow, and unsettling, but it also makes you think. Maybe it's just me, but this film had a powerful hold on my brain for a week or two there. It is an excellent portrayal of human strength, and fragility.

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, October 5



Intense, how time flies when you're doing... not much at all.

Once my sister and i were outside during a thunderstorm and a bolt of lightning struck the ground on our neighbor's land across the road. i watched as her long blonde hair began to stand on end. Outside, on the porch, our spider orchid has debuted its first gorgeous bloom, honeydew and chocolate-hued. i think i am only truly happy when the ground is wet, the wind is mischievous, the cold is reddening my face, and the air smells of leaves and smoke. My favorite color for flowers is orange, though i can't stand that color much in other respects. i love birds and long, intricate movie intros. The smell of rosin in a violin (or viola) case gives me a thrill. i hate it when i throw something into the garbage and it misses. For some reason i am often afraid of the ceiling crashing down on me (especially while i'm in bed). Plain cones are the best for ice cream.

To be fair, i did go on a journey in September, but i didn't paint any houses nor did i go inner-tubing down a river. Harrumph. Next time, next time. Always next time.

Nat and i are now entering Week Two of Quitting Smoking: Round 508. i've had more than a couple of friends sort of scoff at this revelation, as if to say, i'll believe it when i see it. And while i suppose i understand the emotions behind their response, i would just like to say this: Please, if you know anyone who is having a difficult time quitting smoking, or eating better, or being more assertive, or whatever it is that's holding them back from a better life, please just support them. Don't make light of their past failures. We know it is on us, we don't need to be shamed for it. Guilt is not usually a huge transformer of people, at least not in my humble opinion.
Thank you, that is all.

Hope everyone is having a smashing October so far. It is, after all, the best month. ;) And remember, time flies.

(this man is my hero.)

Wednesday, September 1

So long, entire month.

Wow. What happened to August?
Nat's prospectus, that's what. He's been nose-to-the-grindstone (aka the Mac) for weeks now, finishing the dang thing up. This translated to zero computer time for me, which is probably a good thing.

(What did i get done, you ask? Oh, you know: absolutely nothing of any importance.)

Going on a trip tomorrow, and i've been sick for days. Nothing like traveling while you're headachy and nauseous! Add to that an extreme case of nerves due to flying by myself for the first time in 11 years, and you've got a gay old time, indeed.

Things i am doing and plan on doing while away:
~Painting 'the house up North' (my dad's house in Montana). This is the main reason for this whole trip in the first place. Let's just hope that scaffolding holds...
~Innertubing down a river, also somewhere up North (big sister, you promised!).
~Watching loads of Top Chef episodes that my brother so lovingly recorded for me (because everybody watches TV in Las Vegas. At least i do.).
~Hitting up the chairlift on Big Mountain again. This time i will try and get my mom to take some photos with her digital camera, so you will all have the beautiful, glorious proof.
~Finding (and patronizing) the oxygen bar at McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas). File this one under "trying new things before you die".
~Keeping an eye out for a modest (read: nothin' but coverage) bathing suit for our trip to Hawaii in November. Yes, this is the year of trips, apparently. Will talk more about this later.

Catch you on the flipside, folks.

Until then, here are some nouns that are also adjectives.



buffalo (buffalo buffalo buffalo, and so on, forever.)


Saturday, July 31

lost and found.

Many thanks to Millie and Wayne, an older couple who originally hail from Long Island (say it with an accent, please) but have lived here in San Diego for some forty years. They saved our butts on Thursday night when we were lost in the hills. Our local transportation authority's website had instructed us to walk "east" for about a mile upon exiting our trolley, which ended up leading us right to an impassable canyon after about four blocks. Distraught, and late for a concert, Nat hailed a car exiting a driveway. (This was a very cloistered neighborhood; not a soul walking about for miles, it seemed, that we could ask for directions.) The woman driver hesitantly rolled down her window and i watched from afar as he ran through every confused facial expression in his repertoire, asking if there was a way through to 3rd Avenue. Finally, he waved me over.

Turns out that unless we could fly, we were stuck. Our directions had neglected to impart some pretty important information regarding the topography of the region surrounding the Middletown Trolley Station. Cretins.

So what happened next? They demanded to give us a ride. Insisting that it was no problem, and that they were merely "on [their] way out for a hamburger", we were ushered into the vehicle. Sweaty and grateful, we were whisked to our destination over hill, over dale. Wayne thought that we were from England (why does this happen constantly?!), to which our only response was that we both had an English parent. i blame Nat's extremely proper enunciation under times of stress. Millie later told us that if i hadn't been carrying flowers, she probably would have just screeched right past us. (Apparently, "you just never know" in this day and age.) i told them to come and visit me some time at the flower shop if they were ever in the area. i honestly hope to see them again. . . thanks, Millie and Wayne! You two really helped revive my good feelings toward the human race.


As for the show, it was okay. Not sure if Joanna Newsom's latest album really lends itself to the concert circuit; perhaps if there had been tables and chairs, cocktails and candles. . . but standing crowded in a hot room with other people who are having a hard time grooving to the lengthy, strangely-syncopated tunes, it was a bit rough. Milk-Eyed Mender would have been a great tour (in fact, we did see her then, in a dark smoky bar, before we even knew who she really was), and we did get to hear one song from those old, melodic days ("Peach, Plum, Pear", which, incidentally, is one of my all-time faves). Unfortunately, we arrived late just as Robin Pecknold (of Fleet Foxes fame) was finishing up his opening set. Pretty sure that would have been the better performance, partly because Joanna's drummer was set too loud on volume and he even managed to sing over her at points.

Mostly i would argue that her more complicated songs are best left to the studio. i was surprised to find that my favorite performances of hers that night were a couple of songs that i'd barely noticed on the album: "Go Long" and "Baby Birch". i was completely transported by them, whereas the more familiar, jaunty hits ("Easy", "Good Intentions Paving Co.") were lacking the punch that i had come to rely on. And Joanna on piano is wonderful, but watching the light catch on her humming harpstrings was still as fascinating as always. If you have patience and a light heart, you'll enjoy the show (and, obviously, the albums). Have One on Me was by far the most difficult album of hers for me to get into. While not necessarily an album full of gems, almost every song has its few seconds of brilliant joy. It just might take you a bit longer to wind your way through to them.

"Baby Birch" was melancholy-sweet and symphonic (sorry for the poorish sound on this):

and "Soft as Chalk" was very enjoyable:

As always, you are free to harbor nothing but disdain for this music.

(Kinda like me with Phil Collins, or Dave Matthews.)

It's absolutely up to you. But i encourage everyone to at least give it a shot. She takes a few tries, but in the end it is like having access to some kind of magical auditory respite.

Monday, July 26

forward and back.

As the girlfriend of a philosopher of time and physics, i think and hear quite a bit about the nature of time. Now, i'm someone who's always felt that our human, recorded (or "ordered") time is somewhat arbitrary. Why do we measure single seconds, instead of two- or three-second increments? Why are there twenty-four hours in a day instead of twelve (two-hour units)? As Nat has pointed out, our system of time is based on the actual movement of the spheres: rotations of the Earth, and Sun.

Being a huge Dark Crystal fan, this orrery-inspired time measurement model feels right (see also Stonehenge, sundials, and so on) somehow. Anyway, apparently those crazy ancient Egyptians with their base 12 numbering system led to our modern-day measurements. Fun fact.


In related(ish) news, we saw Inception last night. It was certainly a thrilling, mind-bending nail-biter. Pretty nice to look at, even though the sound editing was awful. (Just try and tell me you caught every spoken line in that film. Go on.) Our boy Chris Nolan certainly seems interested in the nuances of perception, time, memory, identity, and reality – and boy, can i dig it. He obviously understands the awesome power of our brains, and how this can both help and hurt us. i would love to sit and eat tiramisu with him some day, and talk about layers. Also, i really liked how he named the characters and entities in Inception: (highlight if you want to read the end of this paragraph:)
Cobb's unsettling wife 'Mal' kept bringing to mind grand mal seizures, or words that begin with that root, such as malicious, malevolent, maladjusted, etc. Naming Ellen Page's architect character 'Ariadne' was clever, and the nefarious company that Leonardo was (or was not?) running from, 'Cobol', might quite possibly have been echoing that mischievous sprite, the kobold.

...Here's an interesting delve if you're so inclined.

In the spirit of the above nonsense, here are some fab time-lapse photographs. They've been sitting around in a folder on my desktop for who knows how long (minutes? months?), so i'm afraid i can't remember where they came from. It would certainly be nice to give credit where it is due, but for now they remain in limbo. Enjoy.

Monday, July 12

The tiniest bit.

Can someone please explain to me the difference between 1.6666 (repeating into eternity) and 1.67?

One person has told me that there is no difference. i refuse to accept this as fact. Certainly there exists that tiny, incremental bit that is keeping it from rounding up? Sometimes the world of mathematics is so perfect, and other times it absolutely fries my brain.

Any answer will do. Seriously, just give me something, please.

Sunday, July 11

...and taste it some more.

Here is a link to a post on Drawn!, probably my favorite art blog. The artist's name here is Ginette Lapalme, and is she ever adorable; i love the sweet, watery rainbow colors she's got goin' on – and the painted sticks! Well, words cannot express. Hope you enjoy.

Be more colorful.

Monday, June 21

Taste the rainbow.

Fact: i am pretty smitten with the Amish (and i suppose, the Mennonites and other various 'plain' cultures). A long time ago at a stained glass store far, far away, my friend Sherri, a thin bookkeeper with artsy glasses and short hair, gave me a book called Plain and Simple.

i read that thing from cover to cover in a couple of days, easy. Inhaled it. The thought that there could be another way of life, free from stuff: free from technology and advertisements, traffic noise and ATMs, swimming pools, brand names and artificial colors and flavors, free from all things hustle-bustle, really invigorated me. In a powerful way, i yearned for that life. Yarn, oxen, wood and grass felt very real, and very close.

As an entirely non-religious person, however, it was a conflicting feeling. i have never understood the need to believe in something that somehow 'explains' 'it all'. The 'answers' are all around us, all of the time. It seems to me that faith in one's self should be first and foremost; without that, what do you really have? On the other hand, losing yourself so completely to a shared way of life with the close-knit community around you sounds mighty appealing to someone like me: a self-centered anxious hermit crab who is always wondering what everything 'means'.

All of these feelings were refreshed by the book Nat recently gave me, The Riddle of Amish Culture, by Donald B. Kraybill. Written in 1989, it certainly feels a bit dated, and being that it is a sociology book, it leans heavily on the history, customs, and belief systems of the Amish, really quite different fare from the personal, day-to-day quirks i had read about years ago in Plain and Simple.

Not surprisingly, there is a fair amount of bloodshed and martyrdom in those old (Protestant) roots – religion tends to have a stain of that wherever you find it. The belief system is really quite simple: obedience to Christ. They separate themselves from the evil (modern, outside) world, and excommunicate errant members of their society (shunning*). Sounds severe, no? But they value hard work, patience, and humility, three things which i live by.

Then i came across one simple sentence that flipped a switch in my mind: it reminded readers that in Amish society, wives are meant to be subservient to their husbands. [an insider discussion here.] Obviously, this is not unique to the Amish people, but it got me thinking: did a religion exist in which women held equal sway? After all my waxing romantic over the Pennsylvania Dutch, i was suddenly left hotly bitter.

With a bit of searching, the only one i could turn up was the Bahá'í faith, a religion formed (quite recently) in 19th-century Persia. In fact, if i was forced to ascribe to a 'recognized' spiritual belief system, it would probably be this one. The unity of humankind seems like a pretty simple idea to me, and one worth striving for. i'm sure i'll find my problems with it, though, just like i have with every other religion, faith, and creed out there.

For now i suppose i'll stick with my particular blend of heathen nature-worship. It's what i do best, certainly, and it's carried me this far... i am filled with reverence every single day, and it's never once felt forced. Having a healthy spiritual life has never really figured far up on the ladder for me, but maybe it was there all along, quietly flowing. That wistful Amish life i'd always dreamed of will remain a fantasy, and i will have to be content with mooning over the Mennonites at the farmer's market of my hometown in Montana, offering their beautiful jars of rose-hip jelly. Our religious differences don't have to be an impasse - it doesn't mean we can't still connect as human beings.

Unfortunately, however, this can be the reality in our world. But maybe next time instead of worrying that a Plain teenager will balk at (or silently judge) my bright pink hair and sparkly eyeshadow, i should just strike up a conversation about, say, goldfinches, and see where it takes us.

*Check out Devil's Playground for a modern, somewhat sensational portrayal on Rumspringa, the period during which a young Amish person 'grows up', and decides whether to live their life within or without.

Monday, May 31

Mesmerizing, hypnotizing.

Okay okay okay.

i always hear about stuff too late. And this is no exception:

My first (and still best) exposure was this. (warning: it may play choppily if you have many other things running on your computer, or if you are looking at another window while it plays.)

(By the way, here is that original video; it was put together by a young Australian guy using sounds and sights found in the animated movie Alice in Wonderland. Gives me shivers, it's so good. But then, i am madly in love with that movie.

Another video worth a listen (and watch) by him is the Mary Poppins track. Guy knows his melancholy.)

Unfortunately, nothing else i've played on YooouuuTuuube fills me with as much satisfaction as that Alice video. Still a neato tool, though.

More talent.

i am digging this guy's art. Jon Han. Love the color and the geometry of it.

An Open Letter to Serious Dimwits.

Dear fuckwits drinking beer and blasting music by the pool (because it's Memorial Day Just Another 'Legitimate' Day For You To PARTY DOWN, woooooo!),

i have zero sympathy for the fact that the police were called and came by to kick your asses out. When you treat the security guard like shit (4 times!) and refuse to tell him which apartment you live in (and yet adamantly maintain that you are doing nothing "wrong"), there will be consequences. Sorry your super-sweet pool party got shut down. Sorry that some of us who live hear don't actually enjoy listening to your favorite talentless Top 40 'musicians' filling the air with tonal diarrhea while you sing warble backup and drop beer bottles every five minutes.

p.s.) omg, it like so totally was funny when the puppy like totally jumped in the pool after you!! Especially cuz, like, there are no animals allowed here! omg.

Saturday, May 22


...because sometimes, just sometimes, i am here to help blow your minds.

(Click on the titles of any of the above videos to watch them, full-sized, on their proper sites. Honestly, i don't know why i can't figure out how to format things to fit on here.)

Calamity Jane.

The other day i got battery acid, bleach, and rubber cement on my hands. Just, you know, part of a day in the life.

My bike light wasn't working, and when i cracked 'er open to replace the batteries, i was greeted with a nasty white, grainy film. After removing the spent batteries, i noticed piles of the stuff, beneath, and all over the metal contacts themselves. Asked Nat to look up if there was a way to clean this stuff off, or if i had to buy a whole new bike light. Turns out i had corroded battery badness all over my hands. Yum. This fact was especially fun because i happened to have a big old fresh cut on my left palm from trying to pick up a piece of beargrass at work while i was unknowingly stepping on the other end. sliiiiiiiice.

Later, i was patching the inner tube for my back wheel–it was definitely a bad day for bikes–and while stubbornly squeezing the tube of adhesive, i didn't notice that the flimsy metal casing had ripped open (probably from my thumbnail) and was oozing "TOXIC POISON" all over my fingers. Peeled it off in a tizzy.

The bleach thing is commonplace: we have it at work, in a repurposed dish soap bottle. a few drops go into almost every clean bucket of water before we put new flowers in it. Helps to keep the bacteria levels down. The downside of this arrangement is that sometimes the bottle falls into the sink, sending little droplets spraying every which way; my clothes are spattered with scads of tiny, light spots. And, on the odd occasion, one of us will grab it to wash our hands with. Oops.

Besides all of this, my hands are just jacked in general. When you use your hands as tools, this can (and certainly will) happen. Also, i don't wear gloves at work because it impedes my ability to handle anything efficiently. In fact, at the stained glass store where i used to work, we didn't wear gloves, either. When you are moving around a four foot-by-two foot sheet of glass, you want to be damn sure that you can feel the glass in your fingers. There is not a whole lot of room for error, and i have never found a glove skin-tight enough to dispel all unease. At least one of us, on any given day, had a bandage on her fingers from a glass cut. People (customers, acquaintances) would always tell us to "just wear gloves"– ah, thank you, Captains Obvious.

Stripping the greens off of the lower stems of flowers and leafy items leaves you with shriveled, permanently dirty hands. Painting your nails is basically an exercise in futility, and no amount of lotion will drench your parched palms. The amount of time that your hands are wet makes for a chapped skin affair for the ages. Sometimes, when a really precious girl says to me, "i would just love to work with flowers", it is all i can do to contain my snicker. Girly, i think, you can kiss that French manicure goodbye (see above reasoning). And your designer clothes (hello, pollen stains!), and your high heels (concrete for 8 hours, anyone?), and your breezy attitude (seriously, we are selling people something that's already dead, and at 3x the market price). i have, in fact, worked with people like that, and it just never pans out. You either aren't afraid to get dirty, or you are. You can't work in the flower shop all day and expect to leave immaculate. It's just not part of the deal.

Although, i suppose it does have its rewards...