Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Today was a very good day for my new hobby, letterboxing, and a very bad day for my other projects. Letterboxing is when you take a personal stamp (one you've carved or one you love) and a journal and go out in the world with a clue to the location of a box with a journal and a stamp in it, and when you find it you stamp each journal with the other's stamp. The clue is usually very concrete, like a suggestion to go to a particular intersection and look under a bench. At work I described letterboxing to my coworker and she got really excited and she found a clue online for a nearby letterbox. We went straight to it-- without even getting stamps and journals-- after work and it was really neat.

Then I went home and started working on a letterbox of my own to plant on campus. I carved a pretty good stamp for it. Then I made a simple logbook- only one signature of pages. Every step took double long because I was filming in case I want to make a video about letterbox installation, which I do.

When I was mostly done with the letterbox, I carved another stamp. This is my stamp, the stamp that I stamp into logbooks of letterboxes that I visit.

It is a giraffe.
An olden times dutch painter I like, Hieronymus Bosch, has a great painting of a giraffe that doesn't look at all like a real giraffe (he'd never seen one) but all the essential giraffe parts are represented. Also he is a terrific painter. On the right is a sketch I did from his painting, which I then sketched onto a carving block and carved. I took a picture of both together because I was impressed at my consistency. The size is even similar, and the differences are mainly things I changed deliberately. So I guess my hands are getting really well trained.

When I was done cleaning up my stamp I made a little hardbound notebook. In the past I have been drawn to graceful, spare simplicity in bookbinding. It's satisfying because everything lines up just right and the knots are perfect and the weaving of ends is clever. But, you have to do a really perfect job so it takes a long time. To make my new letterboxing journal I smeared a lot of glue over everything and used card tabs to reinforce the binding and when my first set of endpapers got stuck I glued more endpapers over them. It's drying under some bricks right now and when it's ready I will go out into the world with it. Making all this took my entire evening but I am satisfied.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I try to enjoy the parade of my moods as they pass by, and today's mood was "grumpy." First I woke up two hours late, despite going to bed five hours early yesterday. I woke up exhausted so I called in sick. Then I fought entropy in my household and friendships, in between drinking four cups of caffeine tea. I took one or two showers. I don't have any towels right now so I couldn't tell. (Usually, if my towel is wet it means I took a shower.)

I clean every day and my room never gets clean because it is too full, so I got rid of some things and put other things away really good. My doorknob got oily and I have no idea how, and I didn't clean it and then later it wasn't oily. Then I studied a bit and took a nap. I sleep with the window open so my room doesn't get stuffy, and after an hour I woke up to the sound of my housemates talking baby talk to our cat really loudly in the driveway, outside my window. Oh I was so grumpy at that. I GET IT YOU GUYS YOUR TEN YEAR OLD CAT IS A BABY AND THAT'S WHY IT CAN'T READ WORDS YOU SPELL OUT ALOUD IN BABY TALK.

So I flounced to the store, the bank, and the other store. At the first store I forgot to give the cashier my tote until the end. At the bank my cashier was aggressively fake friendly without the friendliness. It was kind of interesting but I still didn't like it. And the calculator provided for us to play with in line had super sensitive keys so it said my next paycheck would be near four million dollars, but it actually won't because my employer knows how to work a calculator.

 Then at the last store I said a cuss, out loud, without checking the environment for children (I did afterward and there were none) and I don't remember why but I think it is because the soda aisle looked really long to walk down, but it wasn't that long actually. I was embarrassed standing in line because I had like two quarts of crisco, two pounds of cheese, a lot of top ramen, and a big box of coke.  I know no one is judging anyone else, but I like to play "grocery store detective" in long lines so I assume other people are as well. THAT'S WHY I LOOK LIKE I HAVE THE DISEASE "EXHAUSTION," BECAUSE MY DINNER IS ALWAYS INSTANT NOODLES AND CHEESE IN CRISCO. I HAVE THE DISEASE, "GOURMAND." When I told the checker about my reusable tote bag she ignored me (the safeway express lane counter is very high so she couldn't see me holding it out) because she was busy with another cashier. I stomped my foot and rolled my eyes and head, like a rude pony, because I guess I thought I had the right to, as I was invisible. But the guy in front of me in line noticed and helped me out by interrupting the cashiers to tell them about my bag. Then I felt grateful but embarrassed.

Then a man who was parked next to my car was too shy to pull out in one go, and took a year to get out of my (pedestrian) way while I was weighed down by all my oils and sweeteners and I wanted to tell him he was alllllllll clear but I knew I had a grumpy face on and probably a grumpy voice so I left him to his own devices.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Terrible Saturday

I spent all week looking forward to Saturday. As Saturdays go, this one is a big disappointment. I didn't disable my alarm so I woke up at 5:30. Then I had some tea and burned a cd and packed up my laundry and put money on my laundry card. Then I went to the laundry place at Kresge and it was closed. So I went to the Kresge East laundry room and the grad student laundry room and they were closed. So I spent a boring hour filling the hex nuts on my car with putty (at home I can't work on the left side of my car because it's not allowed in the driveway). Also I tried to scratch the enamel off my car with my nail and I could. So now I have to buy primer and it has to be the same brand because of compatibility and there aren't any distributors in town so it will be like two weeks before I am driving a presentable car. While I was on campus I checked the Porter laundry room, which my maintenance card didn't open. So then I came home to my stripped bed and moderate untidiness. I had been looking forward to this wide open weekend for weeks. Laundry and working on my car were my only special two goals of today, and I got thwarted. Now I just have my dumb goals that I hate.

Dumb Goals That I Hate For Saturday July 9th
[ ] wash dishes
[ ] take out trash
[ ] wash bathroom
[ ] latin
[ ] transcribe dmv manual
[ ] sort clothes for free box
[ ] pay overdue parking ticket
[ ] find out why my car smells moldy and stop it
[ ] sort books to go back to library
[ ] read
[ ] library for french books
[ ] configure my external hard drive or whatever

It's difficult because this isn't scheduled to be an idle day, and yet everything so far has been too difficult.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

1shot enamel

I know people use a sprayer to paint cars. I don't have space where spraying would work, and I am very good with a brush. I used all my tricks and wiles. And that paint was like, "Yeah, I'm metallic gold. You're getting brushstrokes." And I was like, "Noooooooooo." It's a thin, quick drying oil based paint that has amazing pigmentation and a tendency to drip. I put it on in sections, starting at the bottom with horizontal strokes that I blended vertically into the next horizontal stroke. At the end of each vertical stroke I reduced pressure a lot and feathered the brush across the drying paint. I didn't get a picture because I had to come inside to calm down.

Okay, I calmed down.
Now that I know I'll have brushstrokes I guess I will have to use them somehow to mimic metal surfaces. I could use scumbling to mimic burnishing. I guess I could learn more about faux finishes in metal.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I spent a bit of contemplative time in the woods this weekend feeling down that other people are better than me am in their fields. To cheer myself up, I told myself that everyone is good at something and no one is good at everything. For example (I told myself), I am good at ignoring mosquito bites and keeping track of the trail map, and choosing trailmates who can read a map. It didn't really help. Then I realized that I only need to get really good at one thing- being a polymath. I don't need to be like a special famous one, just a regular polymath such as any philomath might become. I mean, maybe I don't have the specialest brain, but I have lots of advantages da Vinci and them didn't, such as the works of da Vinci and them, electricity, standardized spelling and so on. So when I got home, after a hot bath and a good night's sleep, I sat down to invent and to learn taxonomy and then Latin and when and how everything was invented, and then I calmed down.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I made two pint glasses of water before my nap this evening. Then I woke up thirsty two times. I thought I was drinking from the same glass but when I woke up properly I saw that I was exactly! the same amount thirsty both times.
So am I always the same amount thirsty? Is everyone? Neat.