Thursday, December 30, 2010


I may have killed a spider. The other day I saw two medium big spiders in the bathroom, and they made me real nervous. Then they were gone, and no one knew where. Then right now I saw a medium big spider in the other bathroom, in the tub. I saw it after I had reached in to the tub to fan out my sketchbook that is drying after being left in the rain. The bathtub is white and showed the details of the spider. It had what looked like two truncated curled front legs. But, I counted the legs on that side and there were 4. So the front things were something else, and I was scared of them. What if they were for biting me? Why was it in the bathtub? Was it stuck? Should I free it? Maybe I could rinse it away instead. But to do that I would need to get my sketchbook out of the bathtub and that would be getting close to the spider. I didn't want to smash it because I might need a spider for a resin project I might do. So I got hairspray that I bought to use as fixative for charcoal drawings, but stopped using because the scent was so strong. I thought about what I was going to do. I knew it was wrong for me to do something I think is wrong, but I looked at its mouthparts and I sprayed it and sprayed it. And it crawled away pretty slowly. Even if it wasn't getting poisoned that much hairspray should stiffen it. I was surprised it could crawl so far. The spray was choking me but I have sprayed it on my own head before (but with the windows open) so I knew I would be fine. Then I stopped spraying it and it went back to sitting still. Then I waited a bit, fussed with the top of the bottle which was coming apart, and sprayed it with a little test spray to see if it was dead. It wasn't, but this time instead of crawling it just drew in its legs. I am going to go check on it. It was upside down, curled up. The face legs were still huge. I took a picture with a shaking hand. I was somewhat surprised that I managed to get it in the frame. I guess I am a late in life arachnophobe, unless this is a one-off.
This morning I went in to look at him, and he was still curled up but flipped back over. I kicked the side of the tub to see if he moved, but he didn't and I relaxed. Then right now I wanted to get a good look at his mouth parts so I got two microscope slides and tried to scoop him up onto one using the other. Well, he reanimated and tried to drag himself with a couple of his legs so I made a loud two part noise- the first part was fear or surprise, and the second disgust- and left him. Now I feel incompetent for not being able to kill a spider yet keep it intact, guilty for making something spend so much of its life blind and poisoned, and a little scared. Well, my skin is. I'm tingly all down my legs and back and the back of my arms.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

blue and orange herringbone socks

modeled by the recipient, Dad.
I learned two color knitting and it was easy. And I memorized a pattern:
It took me about 7 hours to learn. I might not be a very good memorizer. After I got the hang of the pattern it only took me 10 hours to knit the rest. I finished by Christmas morning, which I then slept through. I had imagined I would have two pairs done in time to mail one to my nana for Christmas. Well, her pair are coming a long a lot faster and her area is pretty cold in Spring.

fortune cookie fortunes

I don't eat chinese food but I found these fortunes in my mom's house and she said I could have them. When I lived at home and my family got chinese food they would let me have a cookie and the fortunes were a different kind, just predictions about luck, and I prefer these. There's something that feels authentic to me about a platitude on a bit of paper that I found on the tv stand that got there via a cookie, my family members, a delivery person, and before that I don't know but presumably a print shop and a restaurant.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Dress

I kind of know that at some point someone has paid full price for most of the wonderful things thrift stores are stuffed with, but it wasn't me. And yet, on Christmas Eve I bought myself a dress at a discount retail store, Ross Dress for Less. I hung it over the rail of my bed to take a picture, and now it is off-gassing a sickly sweet smell. How novel.

I tried it on for something to do while I waited for my brother to finish selecting gifts, and it suited me very nicely. But, I already have a sleeveless party dress with a sash that I don't wear because it's not warm and it's fancy; I don't need two.

I reasoned that I should put the dress back because I will only be young enough to wear a frothy pink dress for like 2 more years, and there is no way I would get twenty five dollars of use out of a fancy dress in 2 years, and that made me sad because I want to go to a lot of parties and look glamorous. So I convinced myself that I would wear it just absolutely all the time and parties could take me or leave me. But I think if I wear it just one day a week until I am too old it will have been worth it.

Standing in Christmas Eve line, I had time to reconsider and I went to put it back, and then I changed my mind again and joined what I thought was the end of the line. Two girls made really indistinct sounds to each other but I worked out that they meant to be in line but were just standing far away from the rest of the line. So I apologized, and they were gracious and asked me if I was an elf. I was very pleased they could tell because by my standards my costume was a little half hearted. Anyway, on my second try at the line I made it to a cashier, who was extremely friendly and efficient.

And then it was done! I had paid basically full price for a dress!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea

I visited my mom and wanted some tea, and I found Candy Cane decaf green tea. As soon as I opened it I started to covet this narwhal.
I made a plan to come over after they put the box in the recycling so I could scavenge the narwhal, but it wasn't a very solid plan because all I know is my mom and brother don't drink very much tea.

So the next time I came over I asked if I could have a couple of bags of it, and mom sent the whole box home with me.
The tea is good. It tastes like nothing with an aftertaste of mint, and it smells amazing, like candy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Herringbone Socks Progress Pics

I am knitting some socks for my dad as a christmas gift. I knit him some solid blue acrylic socks a few years ago and he took very good care of them and wore them out instead of losing them, so I felt it was time to knit him a pair of nice wool (wool needs a bit of washing attention or it will shrink) complicated socks. The free pattern I chose was knitty's Red Herring sock, which was on big needles (by sock standards, that is- I just don't love anyone, including myself, enough to make them socks on smaller than size 3 needles.) I spent perhaps 8 hours over the course of 3 weeks knitting the first 5 inches of the sock. Every other row is easy, 2 stitches in each color all the way around, but the other rows were so hard for me. The chart is 12 stitches wide over 72 stitches and I had to recheck it every 6 stitches. I was thinking about ending the stranded colorwork part early, because it was quite tedious and you have to knit love into handknit things or they are no good.

Then I went to my brother's hockey game, and I brought the sock because my Christmas deadline is looming. I accidentally left the pattern in my car, so I had to use the knitting as it's own pattern. The chart is only 4 rows long but I could not memorize it or see any pattern to it. (it goes A BB AA B A BB AA B which was much too complicated for me to remember)

So what I did is count 4 rows back and knit the same colors as that row for 12 stitches, then repeat that order for the next 60 stitches- the rest of the round. That was tricky because 4 rows back in knitting is hard to keep track of, but I realized that it also has to be opposite color of the pattern 2 rows So then I only had to look back 2 rows, and I knit two rounds counting in my head,
"opposite, opposite, opposite, opppoooosssiiiite, opposite, opposite, opposite, opposite..." Then I realized how the pattern works! I have no explanation for how long this took me to work out, except that I have not knit in a few years and my major prizes ingenuity not decoding. So, here is how to knit herringbone pattern:

-rows need to be a multiple of 4 and columns a multiple of 12-
1: 2 stitches of the main yarn, 2 stitches of the contrasting yarn, all the way
2: start with the same color as the previous row. One stitch in that color, then:
2CC, 2MC, 2Mixed; start with the color that contrasts with the most recent 2 stitches, repeat.
3: there have to be 2 stitches of the same color vertically so it's time to switch
to the contrasting color as the start of the round. 2CC, 2MC around.
4: start with the same color as the prior row. One stitch in that color, then
2/2/1/1/2/2/1 around, and each unit has to be opposite the previous one.

I am very relieved that I learned this pattern because I also bought the yarn to knit my Nana a pair and now I will be able to in time. It's okay that it's not in time for Christmas, because that side of the family gathers on Epiphany, which is January 6th. Presumably she would still love me if I knit her striped socks, but we are good at similar but separate handicrafts so I know she can tell the difference between a beginner sock and an intermediate sock and I am very glad to be able to send her an intermediate sock.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This summer I read for days accounts of birth mothers and analysis of the process and system, and it seems bad. I know only a few adopted people but all of them have told me they were very happy to be adopted, so I feel a bit conflicted. But adopting someone's baby instead of 1. adopting an orphan or 2. using the same money to make the same child comfortable but without including them in your day to day life seems bad. My bloglines whatever got transfered to merchant circle and now it's way different? So I have been browsing blogs looking for new feeds and I found one called rageagainsttheminivan and the blog author had a guest poster, Jennie, who writes at, and wrote about her "6 children" 2 biological, 3 pending adoption, and one that she didn't adopt at all but just loves. And- I feel bad for writing this, but- feels entitled to. She wrote, "That day we faithfully began praying, and that week our daughter's birth mom conceived... When we were matched and heard about our birth mom we were ecstatic. She was 14 and had been in and out of the foster care system. " Wow. I don't believe praying makes things happen in strangers' lives but this woman does and she writes that "her daughter's" (not her daughter's) "14 year old birth mom concieved". 14 year olds are very much children, maybe not in terms of how clever they are or how much say they need regarding their life circumstances, but they should be protected as much as other children are. And it sounds very much like this girl was not. Then Jennie writes that,
"instead we got a call that the birth mom had changed her mind and wanted to parent, so she ran away. What I want you to know is that we mourned the loss of our daughter. I mourned as I had never mourned before. I didn't matter that our DNA wasn't the same. She was our child. We had prayed for her since before her conception." and then,
"We have forgiven the birth mom for the pain she's caused, and we realize that she was in a lot of pain, too. We still pray for our daughter", and I feel like, you are "forgiving" someone who is not culpable. Partly because of her extreme youth, and also because what she did wrong is not realize (maybe not acknowledge?) that she wanted to parent her baby.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Presents from the Past

I am going through everything I have left at my family home. It is surprisingly easy. I haven't used the things in so long they don't quite feel like mine, so I feel like I am sorting through several caches of trash and presents from my past. Some of the presents from the attic were: 2 umbrellas (plus 2 that I don't feel attached to so I was happy to bring them down to be up for grabs), more than a hundred good books, meditation cds, a bellydance cd, my grandmother's wool and fur coat, a half dozen mostly empty sketchbooks, two frisbees, a curling iron, a hand crank emergency flashlight, pens, an address book, a pretty good knife, luggages, and a pair of orange tint ski goggles that I am going to use in the evening to help me produce melatonin.
The presents from the trailer were: my "keeper" textbooks and assigned books, a curling iron, straightening iron, and blow dryer, hangers, a shoe rack, a cheap chest of drawers, acrylic paint additives, a bit of clothing, a purse made from a license plate, and some nice yarn.

I feel weird about bringing all this home to santa cruz. It will fit fine if I get a bookshelf or two, but I have never had all my things in one house since I moved out. What if there is a fire or flood? Then I won't have any backups of anything. I won't have any clothes and I won't have an umbrella and I won't have any books. At the same time, though, it will be nice to know that if something isn't there it isn't anywhere.
I hope no one gets me one single thing that needs storing for Christmas. I haven't got any material needs. My grandma understands, and sent me food and socks for my birthday which was lovely. I told my parents I don't want anything but I think my mom thought I was wrong. So I am going to ask for an oil change and trader joe's gift cards for when I run out of money which might be soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

When you grow up, your heart dies.

Which is why when I went to take a shower and saw this:

I said a curse and pouted before coming around to the excitement of a surprise christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dressember 7th

The first week of Dressember has been fun! I love dresses and it's nice to have a motivation to wear them. Santa Cruz has been having a little bit of a warm spell (mid 60s) so I have taken advantage of that by wearing summer dresses for the past three days. Two of my housemates are informally Dressembering with me (that is, not documenting it and not worrying if they don't feel like wearing dresses) and we all look so cute all the time. I didn't go as far as the mailbox today since I had to study for Thursday's final but getting dressed made me feel more productive and less like lounging.

This is my first internet fashion challenge and I actually really like it. I like seeing the British Dressemberers being creative with layers upon layers of warm accessories, and i love that a couple of men are participating. And it's fun having strangers "like" my clothes. I hope I'm getting styling ideas from how cute everyone is but it doesn't seem attainable. The things I like are like having pale skin and dark short hair, or mixing disparate colors perfectly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dressember starts tomorrow! Participants aim to only wear dresses for the whole of December. I think dresses are so easy to wear and look so finished, but for some reason I feel like they're special and for ordinary days I should just pull on a skirt and a top. Some people are modifying the challenge and simply wearing skirts and dresses and forgoing pants, but that wouldn't be Dressember for me. (Today I counted that I have 39 skirts and only 5 pairs of pants.) My modification is that I set a goal to wear 13 of my 15 dresses during december. (One is exempt for being too small with complicated construction, and one is exempt for being made by my Nana from silk she bought in hawaii on her honeymoon fifty years ago. I know she gave it to me so I would wear it, but I am saving it. It would be great for graduation as long as June isn't hot, because I really don't want to sweat on it.)

So here are the thirteen dresses. I pinned them up because I have a harry potter closet and they were all either stuffed in with my pants or rolled up in a shoe hanger.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Growing Up

I remember when I was little seeing my parents scramble to conceal the messy details of our lives before any of my grandparents came for a visit. Dishes washed, plastic placemats replaced with cloth ones, laundry put away, candles out. It sounds simple but they would worry for days and days about getting everything in order. I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine having my parents so removed from my daily life that cleaning before a weekend twice a year would change their whole perception of my lifestyle. I especially couldn't believe that my mom could stand to be away from her sisters, since they seemed to have so much fun together at thanksgiving. I spent every afternoon with Nick and woke up every day in my parents' house and couldn't really consider how that could change.

And now it has. I invite them down to Santa Cruz just about every time I see them, and they don't come. I called my mom to talk the other day and she didn't call me back. I know I'm going to Thanksgiving with friends of the family but I don't know what my parents are doing because they didn't rsvp on facebook. I think one or both of them might come down to my school's open studios in December, but usually they say I did not give them enough notice. My mom mails me things sometimes, and she always asks for my address. And yeah, it changes a lot, but I tell her each time I move.

I still tell them my good news and my bad news, but they don't know all my news. Like, I bought gym pants last night. And there was a hailstorm and I saw lightning. And ants got in my room. And I have a new favorite kind of salad. And my house mate crashed her car and now I'm scared to drive in the rain.

This is a picture of Nicholas growing up and me grown up. And I guess that was predictable, but I didn't predict it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

rainy day exploration

I went for a rainy day walk today, and because I was wearing rain boots I ventured down into a little runoff stream that I pass by every time I walk to the beach. I discovered that the tunnel that the runoff goes through never turns into a pipe, as I had thought, but is large enough for me to pass through very comfortably. There are two grates above the tunnel that rained on me, and there was a phenomenal amount of wind in the tunnel which was very exciting. The tunnel is perhaps 3 or 3 1/2 feet high, with a trough in the middle and shallower sides.
This is the inland side:
This is the ocean side:
This tunnel was a bit easier than climbing down a lot of rocks while wearing flip flops, which is what I usually do at that beach. But I can definitely only do this when it's raining, because the water isn't stagnant and the rocks on the beach side are washed clean instead of slippery and sandy, and I am wearing rain boots rather than flip flops. I like that. The tunnel is 'activated' by rain.

UCSC pride

I want something with my school mascot and colors, something mass produced rather than handmade. And I do not ever pay retail price for clothing because it is really expensive. But I realized that I need to buy the something with my school mascot and colors while I'm an undergrad. If I don't, in five or twenty years when I come across it I won't have a lot of memories of wearing it to class and on the bus and to go to the library at 10pm during finals. So I went to the bookstore and tried on the ones that I liked.

This last one was my favorite, and it costs 25 dollars, so I didn't buy it. I don't really buy t shirts but when I do they generally cost well under two dollars. But I really want it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

beeswax sculpture

I told my metal sculpture professor that I wanted to try encaustic* and she set me up with a crockpot of beeswax.

The series I am making is a reimagined naturalist's study. It will have kind of a dark ages aesthetic with selected 18th, 19th, and 20th c content. I thought I could put this bird in like a cage shaped like the SF conservatory of flowers.

*This term I am that kid, the one who demands absurd accommodations before I'll consider producing anything. As in, my final project for metal sculpture is going to be largely wax, paper, and carved fruit. This would be totally fine with everyone if it had a metal armature, but metal is just kind of an accent on this stuff.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mail Art

I am not that good at working on long term projects. I think a few weeks of thinking and planning, one session of inspired work followed by a session of polishing and then documenting and reflection is perfect.

So this mail art project that I've been working on for a few months is a challenge for me. I hadn't done any in two weeks so over an episode of Eureka I painted 7 with no forethought beyond getting out my watercolors and a jar of water.

Predictably, 5 of the seven didn't really turn out. Here are the two I am happy with:

the end.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grass Mane has sprouted!

My grass mane finally sprouted, almost immediately after it started getting rained on instead of misted with a spray bottle. Steel and soaked sawdust are heavy:

which is why there's no picture of me wearing it. (that's our combined weight) There's no way I can lift it over my head carefully enough to put it on.

Edit: I just realized I was lifting it one handed since I had my camera in my other hand. So actually I probably can put it on by myself, I just can't take a picture of the process.

Create! Start now! Create unceasingly! Forever! Do it now! Keep at it! The things are so good! Now more! Now do an exercise that acts as a sketch for an assignment! Then something new with the same materials! Then the assignment! Now more! Do all the things! No one else can! Do all the things! Do them now! Now more! The things are getting sloppy! Do things with more margin of error! Now do more! If you go to bed you'll never find out what these things will be! Tomorrow's things are not these things! You're not tired! Art sustains you!

thanks, brain.

Today while I was sewing a miniature yeti I let myself think about how good I would be at making things if I tried harder.

I don't know how to try harder.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Art Murmur

A little more than half of my art and art history professors at UCSC live in San Francisco and the rest live in Oakland. One of the Oakland ones organized a field trip for us next Monday to go to Urban Ore (which is a lot of reclaimed stuff like sinks and doors and luggage and electronics) and a metal yard and a salvage yard. I can't go because I have a midterm at that time. So I went to the other proposed field trip destination, Oakland Art Murmur. It is where 24 galleries around Oakland open from 6-9pm on the first Friday of the month. I ended up going alone so I didn't want to walk very far in the dark and stuck to the ones around 23rd street, and I saw a LOT of art in different styles. Sculpture, textiles, painting, repurposed toys... it was neat! The outdoor vendors had things like leather cuffs and pottery, but I felt shy to look closely at their art since I couldn't buy anything, and it was really dark because it is Winter so I couldn't see it from far away.

This is called The Great Wall of Oakland, and it is at Grand and Valley streets. I watched it for 10 minutes and it was interesting. It was a bit faded. I don't know if the projector was a bit too far away, or it wasn't quite dark enough out. I had never seen this before and it's neat! It was showing shorts by different artists instead of looping something, so I think I could have spent a significant amount of time watching it.

My skills are a little lopsided.

These are some pizza rolls with bats that I made for a Halloween party.

And this was my best attempt at cutting a triangle wedge out of a pizza. I was proud of my first slice, but the first slice made it impossible for the second to be a wedge.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rocky Horror Picture Show

last night I went to rocky horror for the first time and I was very surprised by how unsexy lewdness is. I can see that a camp performance accompanying a classic camp movie with extensive audience participation could be fantastic but Rocky Horror wasn't it for me. Why was the trans main character a sexually predatory alien? That was continuously uncomfortable- I don't care if it was parody, because now it's not because I have never ever seen anything it was based on.
Because of The Rocky Horror Glee Show I was prepared for someone to use a wheelchair who isn't a wheelchair user in real life but when he wheeled over to the stairs and tipped off the chair to run down them it was an upsetting image and I couldn't figure out if there was a ramp anywhere so that someone who couldn't run could be in this production if they wanted. And I didn't want to yell "slut" all the time, partly because the people I was with had been talking in similar terms about the partygoers we passed on our way there. (I helped because I didn't tell them to stop.)

I was sober for the hour long preshow yelling activity because the lights were on and I didn't feel like drinking beer in a lit auditorium because most people were drinking out of plastic containers, not alcohol bottles. Then I had 24 oz of beer, kind of quickly because I was dehydrated, and then I was quietly charmed by how much there was to look at and how things went with other things.

Then a hundred years later the show ended and I offered to drive two people home on the second policiest night of the year after tonight. (actually there are so many police on foot downtown on the 31st that the 30th might have been policier for drivers) When I got home and got into bed I was dizzy and I realized I had not been perfectly good to drive. I had just been having such a bad time I couldn't imagine feeling that way under the influence. But just now I looked up a BAC chart and it said it was fine, so maybe I was just dizzy from tiredness or sequins.

In conclusion, as long as I'm not going to have any fun no matter what, I might as well do it at home where it's safe.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


October is my favorite month by far. I don't even have a second favorite month. One of the many things I love is pumpkins! My housemates thought I was serious when I said I didn't mind going to Safeway for a pumpkin if they didn't have time to go to the pumpkin patch, but safeway had zero pumpkins for sale!
I ran up and down the aisles looking for the perfect pumpkin and trying to stay out of the mud. It's not a real pumpkin patch but it has a good variety and is outdoors. Peter found a gorgeous red pumpkin but I had already fallen in love with a plain orange one before I saw the fancy pumpkins. I bought it for 6 dollars (and they gave me a tiny one free!) and proceeded to entertain myself with it continuously for 4 hours.
When I sat down to carve my pumpkin, Xiaona said it was making her hungry because pumpkin is just another vegetable in China. (she and Peter are saving their pumpkin until after midterms when they have time) So instead of taking off the skin in a woodgrain pattern like I planned, I carved a simple lattice so she would have a lot of pumpkin chunks to make soup. (Note: this next part saddened me and might sadden you.) While I was doing this she told me a story of starvation from the 1950s in a village near hers, where a family had saved a pumpkin in their garden to eat if they got too hungry, another family stole it to feed sick children, then a member of the first family died of starvation and a member of the second family felt so bad for stealing and causing a death that he killed himself. I asked her how much she needed for the soup and she said half. I did my best but at most I removed 1/3. It was a lot easier than a woodgrain was going to be and I think it looks nice.
This is Xiaona when I dragged her outside for a picture showing off the pumpkin-as-food v pumpkin-as-craft.
And the last present my pumpkin gave me, roasted pumpkin seeds! The little bowl is with cayenne pepper and the big bowl is just salted.
Here is how you do it: Separate the seeds from the pulp. Preheat the oven to 300f. Boil the seeds in salty water (actually my water might have been too salty to boil so I just turned it off and left the seeds in very hot water for 20 minutes). Spread them out very thin on a cookie sheet. In 20 minutes, stir them, and half an hour after that take them out and season them. I used sea salt and cayenne pepper. The ones from the tiny pumpkin they gave me for free tasted a lot more delicious than the big, flat ones.


I hate when something that should be easy is impossible and it is people's fault but not any person's fault. I went down to the courthouse 58 days after getting a ticket that I was supposed to handle before 60 days. I left it late because I wanted to get a notice. I didn't want to go down so I tried to pay online, which didn't work so I tried to phone but after an hour on hold I decided it would save time just to go downtown.

The woman there told me that they are behind entering tickets so I should get a notice in the next three weeks and then I have to pay it within 45 days. Then she signed off (or something) that I had done my duty of coming to the courthouse within 60 days. So far I have spent 3 1/2 hours trying to pay this ticket. They drag the process out really far, which I guess works because I will feel like I am being punished for more than four months total, or more if I had to pay in installments.

That is probably also why the building, which is full of plants and windows and sculptures, is so awful.
light and life

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I am concerned for my housemate. She is from China and she doesn't navigate things very well. Today I had to go to the courthouse and we happened to be leaving the house (me by car and her on foot to the bus stop) at the same time so I offered her a ride. When we were on the part of highway 1 that goes through santa cruz, she asked if we were downtown and I said no. Then when we got to downtown I asked if she could walk from the end of downtown to the metro center and she said yes, if she knew the street name, so I told her, and asked if she could walk to the metro center and she said yes, if she knew what direction it was so I told her and then I checked whether she could walk to the metro center and she said yes, it would just take her some time to figure it out. I didn't want to strand her and it wasn't very far (I'd just wanted to avoid the one way streets) so I drove her there, and when the metro center was in sight she was relieved and told me that she knew where she was. I let her out at a red light, but she had a lot of bags that she gathered while thanking me and talking to me about the confusing streets, and then the light turned green but I waited, and she got out and stood with my door open thanking me, and I said goodbye and she thanked me again and then finally I could go.

As I drove away I tried to figure out why it didn't matter to her that the light was green. And I realized that people started teaching me the red=stop/green=go binary 12 or 13 years before I was ever expected to drive anywhere.
There was Sesame Street. There was the rule following race game Red light, Green light, which has no lights and no colors, but the concept of red or green dictates what the players can do. And in first grade there was a multi pocketed wall hanging where each student had 3 cards. At the start of the day everyone had a red card in back, a yellow card in the middle, and a green card displayed in front. The green card would get shuffled to the back if you did anything wrong, meaning you had a yellow warning, and if you did another thing wrong the yellow card got moved to the back also and you got a red card phone call home.

That green means go is not something I think about, but it's extremely deeply ingrained. I don't want to ever patronize Xiaona but I want to help and she seemed interested in the idea of walking around downtown with me, getting her bearings.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

too tired to 'make my senior year count' today.

I have class in five minutes, then I have 20 minutes to pick up the camcorder I have reserved, then I have class! And I am not doing it! I spent the last 4 days working constantly on something for my video class, and then I handed it in and slept for 14 hours, ate breakfast and killed half the ants in my kitchen, and now I have to go! I am a tiny bit sick (just my throat and sinuses, I don't feel a fever) but well enough to leave home for a few hours if I wrap up.

The reason I don't want to go to my history of costume class is it is too easy. Our prompt for our page-long midterm project includes the instruction: "Please see me or Christina immediately in office hours or by appointment if you have never created a document using images and text." you know what, there is no way in hell I would make an appointment to tell a professor I had never created a document using images and text. I would find the image tool in a text document or the text tool in an image document or I would ask for help from someone who was not going to be grading me.

The reason I don't want to go to my metal sculpture class is it is too hard. Also I skipped it on Monday without asking because I had damaged my wrist holding the camcorder and didn't want to damage it further working at the anvil, which is my favorite thing in the metal shop. I was right near the department but I was scared if I went into the shop I would get excited and sit down at the anvil and bang out a squid and ruin my wrist forever. But it's so loud, and it will be such a hassle to get out of my gloves and face shield every 30 seconds to sneeze*, and it smells like burning, and it's three hours long, and I didn't buy materials to work on my project that's due in one week, and I didn't think of a new project that I want to do now that I finished my first "draft" of the project and am disenchanted with it. (it's a parachute/lightbulb shape frame with a screaming thing in it that if you turn it the right way up doesn't scream, and I was going to do a series but now I'm not.)

This isn't the plan I developed for myself. Metal Sculpture and Digital Video are absolutely perfect for me, and I had planned to spend all my time on them, except for an hour a day or so to go swimming and eat vitamins which would together keep my body in good enough condition to do all the work I ask of it. Hmph.

*written out that sounds like overkill but these are not dry sneezes...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Digital Video

Digital Video 2 is the first art class that is stretching me as much as the classes I've taken that aren't in my major. It's so hard! I'm used to working hard in spurts but working not hard most of the time. I like to play my strengths while only stretching a little to incorporate a new skill. Not in this class! A pretty unrelated computer art class counted as my prereq, so I have never fired up Final Cut Pro in my life and loads of people in this class have projects already that are just so finished, with such forethought (or maybe intuition) for the tons of considerations that we have to keep track of for even a small piece. Basically we are 4 weeks in and I spent the first 4 weeks drowning but I just yesterday passed over the hump of the learning curve.

I have barely had time for other things this term. I am watching all of the dry tutorials, reading the e-texts, checking out the camera every week, and going to the mac lab for editing about 4 nights a week. I have approximately nothing to show for it, but I did get ideas. Video is really important for documentation and sharing, and there is really no better time to learn it than in undergrad when any equipment I could want is free to use.* But I am having an extremely hard time thinking like a filmmaker.

My professor told us to think of it as sculpting in light and time. My strong inclination is to point the camera at something I like and not move it except to replace the dv tape every hour. I am comfortable with the camera as a tool for recording but not as a tool for point of view or explanation or composition. So, I have been carrying the camera around with me and shooting this and that, and then uploading it and thinking about whether it worked and why.

My professor cautions us against silos (compartmentalizing our classes and life) so I am trying to record my other work. I am thinking about recording my mail art project for my in-camera editing project, mostly because I didn't think of a different idea and I want to do sped up paintings on camera.

Tomorrow I am going to ask someone from my film class to record me in my grass suit.

*the day after I got excited about infrared LEDs (I guess I never knew a camera records them, even though I am sure I knew it could see them) and shooting at night, I found out that there is an infrared LED flashlight at media services I can use.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

today so far

I had class from 9-10 this morning. I got up at 7:20 because I hadn't done the reading. I was unbelievably exhausted considering I have been getting a lot of sleep and eating really well for the past two days. I drove to campus, parked at the base, got the bus, then walked. I allowed 40 minutes for this process and it took 38 minutes. I was practically dead in class. For example, as we were leaving the girl who had been sitting beside me left her sweater behind and first I couldn't figure out what words to say so I was silent, and then as I walked after her, still trying to figure out how to put "sweater" into a sentence, I lost track of which of the three people walking in front of me had been sitting next to me for an hour. Of course, if I had my sentence prepared I could have just said it and whichever one was sans sweater could go and get it, but by the time I realized that they were gone. I was so tired that I took the core bus* to the loop bus to my car. I think the time sitting in the sun did me good, but it might have been better to get my blood moving by walking a bit.

Then I told myself I would not go to sleep because I had class at one pm and I would go to safeway and shoot the second half of a shooting lab assignment so I could work on it in class but instead I made stovetop popcorn, drank water, ate a handful of vitamins, and sat under my blanket for an hour. I feel a lot better.

*on my campus everything is very spread out to make room for the trees, and I love that. However, although almost everything on campus is conveniently accessible by taking one of the 3 campus buses or the 6 city buses, only one bus goes through the center of campus. That is where the library, theater arts, arts, tutoring, and music center all are, aka everywhere I have to be this quarter except the computer lab.

Monday, October 4, 2010

body extension again

I have a proposal and maquette for a body extension due in a few hours and I have been sketching and thinking for several days about it and I know I want it to be tentacular but that's it. I thought I wanted a pair of back tentacles, then a stomach explosion of tentacles, and now after examining google I want to try to make a collar of them where they all extend left.

anyway the ninth page of my search had something I made.

and that calmed me down, like: okay, I have made a lot of tentacled things. I can probably make another.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

from object to platform

Art Made In the Movement
Museums for videos underwent a break, or shift, from traditional museums.
Traditional museums were called a "cultural masoleum" because they are not fluid.

The space and exhibits of the Australian Center for Moving Images demonstrate this shift:

ACMI panorama:

Gallery 1 is a subterranian former railway station.

"Where the traditional museum asserted its hegemonic pedagogy by tightly choreographing paths of movement and parameters of interaction... the contemporary museum utiliizes interactive interfaces to provide increasingly individualized forms of particpation" p19

Since the time From Object to Platform was written, the ACMI has continued exploring, and have created an exhibition space outdoors called the Video Garden:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I am having a bit of a bad day

And I don't know why. I ate plenty, I slept last night, I haven't been drinking this week, I went swimming today- I am doing all the things I know to take care of myself. My bad mood was pushed to the back of my mind because I was BUSY all day (and yesterday and tomorrow) but when I got home today it re emerged. I prepped for tomorrow, worked on homework, read supplementary stuff so I would be on top of things... even after I got everything I can do today done, I was in a bad mood. I baked some cookies to have something fun to do, and I was in such a bad mood that when I took them out I slammed the oven door partly on purpose and flipped all the cookies onto a plate, breaking about half. Then I ate 3 cookies and put myself to bed but I wasn't tired and my mind was racing. So I learned about sauropods and camels and moose and I was calming down but then I went on (it's about disney but run by fans and is unofficial) and started learning about timeshares which made me feel sick and then I started thinking I want to do a project about disney but I have nooooo idea what. I need to start a notebook with printouts of the desperation (?) on that board (when someone says something is too expensive at disney, and they mean it as in disney overcharges rather than phrasing it as needing to be even more frugal in anticipation of the trip*, fellow posters on the board sort of jump down their throat about "disney is a company and companies charge an inherently fair price because that's what people will pay" like, okay, but you don't have to be thrilled to pay it and you especially don't have to bristle when a stranger isn't thrilled to pay it).

And the extent that people get into Disney is confusing. Like there is this video of wedding dresses based on disney princesses (loosely):
For my personality, I would totally understand doing your wedding in costume as a princess. Why not? It's your party and if you're paying for it the only person you should even have to run it by is the groom. But this is different because it is dresses inspired by the princesses but meant to look like classic, maybe elegant** wedding dresses. And the most recent princess featured in that clip is from The Princess and The Frog which came out last year (ish) so it's not at all like something from a woman's childhood that she's always felt fondly about, it's more like I Am A Princess A Magic Princess. I'm glad not everyone has the same plan as me (if I got married tomorrow I'd get a tan (check!) or a burn and then layer off-the-rack white garments and stitch them together and shred them and everyone will have to tell me i'm radiant because I am a bride) because I really do think variety in thinking and actions is essential and desirable but this princess thing feels manufactured. Maybe exploitive, although I go back and forth on whether it's fair to use that word when people are wasting on purpose to feel fulfilled.

I tried to find art that critiqued disney stuff but it was hard. The few artists I found were painters. I will put them in my notebook of prep but I want some artists who do work like I do.

So the thing that got me out of bed this last time and typing feverishly to my blog was that I have to propose something for a grant to ucsc art students and I want it to be about disney and I have NO idea what to propose. (well obviously)

Maybe I want to make a flier and litter it around the park? I could shopdrop something but idk Disney is very well supervised. Maybe I could endure a ride, waiting in line over and over without breaks until I can't walk. I could go and try to function as an observer rather than a participant and not ride anything or eat anything or talk to anyone. I wouldn't like to inconvenience any of the workers or get in the way of anyone's fun.

this isn't the one I was talking about above. I screencapped it because this person only likes things if someone else can't have them ("even if there was plenty of room, why should they allow others that are not members...").

*the frugality board's tagline is (paraphrased) "every dollar saved or earned is another dollar for disney" and to me that is blatantly insidious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

20th c art

I love how these all go together yet have signs of their decade. from the top they are: 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s, 20s.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

first day of metal sculpture

In my metal sculpture class yesterday my professor said it was best not to use this time to make utilitarian projects (she said that right after I said that I wanted to warm up for the term by making fire fans) because we could do those at any time, in community college or after we graduate, and we should use this class to explore concepts and add to our senior portfolio. Then she told us our first project is to make a box.

Anyway, after the box I want to make a hat rack.
She said we can make anything as long as we can explain our concept. So my hat rack is about economics I suppose. Mass production and wage slavery and who can afford to participate in the diy movement* and people who can't afford to boycott walmart and the life circumstances gap between the maker of this hat rack and the maker of one from ikea. I know that is all very contrived but it can also hold hats.

*although often the do it yourself version of something is cheaper than buying it, projects can have high initial costs and take a lot of time, so for most diyers it is on the hobby end of the spectrum rather than necessity.

Friday, September 24, 2010

First day of school bento

I made this at my parents' house last night with my new bento gear. I might have made it more special for the first! day! of! school! but I hit today kind of sloppily having done loads of prep but with nothing finished. I bought this lunchbag for a couple dollars, which is as cheaply as I could make one, and it's simple and sweet. I do want to make a furoshiki (a fabric square that you tie the corners in a knot to keep the contents together) because you can lay them out as a placemat and I had to eat on a cement bench today because the picnic tables were too sunny.
This is a really nice box. It was $6 and is very sturdy and a good size. It was too big today but I just have to put my salad in the bigger compartment instead. On the right is a little salad dressing bottle that was 2 or 3 dollars.
this is salad and stir fry udon with tofu. I was worried about eating salad with chopsticks, because I find salad fairly hard to eat, but it turns out salad is only hard to eat with a fork. I always have to try and fold up the leaf a little to give me something to stab, and then stab it without it unfolding, and then swab/smash the leaf around in the dressing, and then toward the end there is nothing thick enough to stab so I try to scrape everything up onto the fork without it falling through the tines. I don't think anyone notices my salad ordeals; it's a quiet struggle. I have really really good fine motor skills so it's not like this ordeal actually stops me from eating salad every day. But I am not going to try to eat salad with a fork again.