Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tablespoon Painting

I have a wonderfully pitted and crumpled tablespoon that I have been wanting to paint for a couple of weeks. Painting something that looks totally different if I move my head part of an inch seemed impossible, but once I got it mostly defined I just kept working wet on wet until I was pretty happy with it. It's 10x15 and took three hours. While I was painting it the grey I mixed looked very purple, but actually it looks pretty much spot on. My professor said it is hard to paint reflective stuff and I would have to forget everything I've learned about physics and light, which I totally did without even trying. Maybe I am a painter in my soul.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Today at rowing I stayed in the harbor but went right out to the mouth. I am glad we aren't going on the open ocean (the Monterey Bay is not nearly as protected as the San Francisco Bay) until the end of the quarter because rowing over there was exhausting compared to rowing in the back of the harbor, where there is barely a current and I am the main thing moving my boat. For some reason I decided to row without using my legs for a few minutes. I thought I could control the boat better if I wasn't sliding around, and I also thought I could exercise my arms. Anyway, I wore myself right out and still had to row to the mouth of the harbor and back. I was not sore and my muscles felt fine, but I was rowing really sloppily because I had just used all my energy. Like, I would fail to switch an oar from feathering position (skimming) to digging in, but only on one side, so I would do a proper row on one side and get turned in the water. I could only keep myself from doing this a few times before I would do it again. The part of the harbor near the ocean is wider so I thought it would be a good time to learn to left row and right row. That is where, just by pulling harder on one oar during a stroke, you turn a bit. It is better than turning by dropping an oar in, which is what I do, because dropping an oar slows you way down. But, it was not a good time to learn those. About half the time my stroke would turn me the opposite of what I intended, because I veered left all the time.

Sometimes I surprise myself with how slowly or quickly I catch on to things, and just now I figured out why when I was messing around with my little dumbbells* and doing crunches with them on my chest yesterday they seemed as easy as regular crunches. It is because rowing uses my stomach muscles, but it uses them very gently so far compared to how it uses my arms and back, which ache for days.

*I am figuring out a performance piece about strength for early feb, and so far it looks like I have to cast fake weights in plaster even though I would strongly prefer to use real ones.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beach days!

Last Tuesday I skipped my second class and went to the beach. Today I skipped my first class and went to the beach, and I felt shy to go to my second class in case I drew attention or reprimand for missing tuesday. But I went, and walking the mile to the bus stop with my laptop case I reflected on how compact one of my friends managed to be when I saw him last. His pants and jacket pockets held everything he needed, and although we were carrying comparable weight mine was hanging off me in a little bag. I try very hard not to over pack- I emptied the mail out of my laptop bag twice today- and yet there I was on my commute to the bus stop, happy that I had stashed a packet of non aspirin in my pants pocket because my pelvis injury was flaring from the asymmetrical load, my furry jacket slipping out of my sweaty hands continually.

Anyway the beach was gorgeous both days.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I almost made a twitter!

My memory for names and details isn't as good as I'd like it to be, and while I love having the internet as my external memory, I am trying to store a bit more information in my meatself. So for a while I have been pasting things I find online into sticky notes on my desktop, so that I would look at them every day until I could remember them and then delete them. But it was getting cluttered, so I decided to export them to my external memory via twitter and then just look at them sometimes.

I went to twitter. I read some of the latest tweets that scroll by on the main page, and I read my sticky notes. And it was all inane. So I spread out all the notes I hadn't memorized, and took a screen capture and saved it. I made sticky notes for a couple of very overused (sometimes by me) quotes just so I could put a name to them, but when someone tweets quotes without explanation it seems like they are promoting them.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

San Jose Mercury News

For my class The Intimate Body, The Public Body I have been thinking. I don't know what to do for my next project but I have some threads I have been thinking about, like how I my body is the only thing that's actually mine, and why don't I use it relentlessly to back up my ideals, rather than rather intermittently? So I decided for a few days to evaluate the things I do in the physical world and see how they match up with the things I imagine I value. I was reading a newspaper because my house mate subscribes to the San Jose Mercury News, and I enjoyed having the physical paper all spread out around me on her bed. And I read a lot of articles, and their span of subjects was a lot different than the corners of the internet I like. And now I know that Yemen has a president, and I know his name also, and I know that Yemen is facing a water shortage, and that reminded me that Cyprus has a water shortage, and so I decided to stop using so much water. So I forbade myself from taking hot showers because I think that I won't linger that way, and I will use a bit less water. And then Yemen can have it. I haven't figured out that last part yet. I tried to figure it out in the shower, where I usually have good brainstorms, but I was too busy trying to figure out why I was shaving so poorly. I thought I was shaving off the tops of my goosebumps, but it could also have been my shaking hands. It was pretty cold. And I didn't have to waste water by running it until it heated up, which is what I usually do. When I got in I burst out laughing because I couldn't believe how much I hated it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I went to the MoMA

and it was okay. Actually the first hour and a half I had an okay time. I took notes, searched for my favorite painting (not on display) and picked a painting to write about. As I walked and walked, I felt like the MoMA is the worst museum- so tired. After a while nearly everything I saw made me go, "that's not art." because it was just so dead. Good art should be flown around the country for fanatics to cuddle with it and tell it their dreams. We should burn it to keep warm, choking on the oil fumes, fighting for the ones with toxic vermilion. If it must be imprisoned, can't it feel the warmth of the sun? At the very least we should be able to take notes about it in pen. (they didn't confiscate my pen, but they had me put it away and gave me a golf pencil. I was happy to see it fall out of my bag and roll away on the BART ride home)

I eavesdropped on a middle school tour that progressed through the exhibits exactly as fast as I did, and it was inane. I started to feel very bummed that I have to take a painting class when it's not my medium at all. A museum is a library where you can't touch a single book. There actually was a great installation called the shadow$hop where you could touch everything and buy it, but it was closed all morning so I didn't go in. Why didn't I go in? Am I that cowed?

When my class met up and we discussed how we liked everything, I perked up. It was interesting to engage with the art that way. The monitors interrupted us several times actually with instructions, but I didn't hear the specifics. That museum is so aggressively regulated. At one point I strongly wanted to make a flash mob and take off our pants, because it would hurt David Park's Bathers not at all, and yet it is forbidden. I was too timid to propose it. I got my pants part way off (I had a skirt over them, but if everyone wanted to do my idea I would have taken that off as well) but I put them right back.

two Lao Tzu inspired postcards

The line between obscure and obvious* is tricky, so I don't know if this is clever. I prefer to imagine that it is, but looking at it I think it was one of those pieces that you don't have to make because there's nothing to them.

It's (obviously?) an illustration of the part of the Tao Teh Ching that says that a cup is useful because of what's not there. Because writing is the same way- the negative space is exactly as necessary as the ink. I don't think this is integral to getting it, but that is the character (in Japanese but hopefully in Chinese, because the Tao Teh Ching is in Chinese) for bowl, plate, or dish.

How's this for clever: I used an online translator to find the word for bowl, then looked in the index of my Japanese book, couldn't find it, repeated the process with the word "cup," then looked through every page one by one until I found the character I needed, at which point I realized I had already learned it.

*words which, distressingly, don't share a root.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Japantown Trip

I have been wanting to go to Japan town to check out the current selection of dollar store bento supplies, but a whole trip across the bridge just for that seemed excessive and exhausting. Today I was in SF for something else, and I walked from Yerba Buena to Japan town in the hopes that the dollar stores would still be open. It was a longish walk by my standards as I had spent the day on my feet at the museum, but I kept up a refrain of "cheap! plastic! crap!" in my head as I walked to keep me going. When I got to Japan town I found the stores open, but with a very sparse bento selection. Perhaps bento is going out of fashion, leaving me behind for I am going to continue eating like a child who can't stand their foods touching.

Anyway there wasn't as much selection as I am used to, but I got a two tier bento, a replacement for the two yellow bento boxes I have let rot, some chopsticks, and some silicone food cups.

On the right is everything I bought, and on the left is its packaging.
I spent the BART ride home husking everything, and mulling over what use I could put the plastic to. I will use the plastic carrying bags once more, to line my room's trash can, and one of the plastic wrappers was plain and crisp enough to hold a card or something. The rest I tossed. I wish I had taken a picture of the package that warned me to dispose of my product according to my local government, and the one that reminded me to follow the disposal regulations of my municipality, but I am too tired.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan 1 2011 resolution post

I got sand in my bed because i can't feel my feet so i didn't know they were sandy. I resolved to go swimming every day of 2011. I resolved this while I was already in the frigid water. I don't know if it was literally frigid because I don't know what frigid means. It was about as cold as usual I think, but I wasn't warmed by the sun or by vigorous swimming. Anyway, I had my glasses on instead of my contacts and the waves were really big, so I only went in up to my waist. But, I haven't broken the resolution yet; there's still time. I went to the school pool but of course it was closed. But the drive was great. The speed limit wasn't one for me and those roads.

On the radio there was a song called sexy chick. well the radio clean version is called that. It is about David Guetta not being able to describe someone's sexiness.
She's nothing like a girl you've ever seen before
nothing you can compare to your neighborhood.
as you can see it's a song that is really improved by censoring.