May 2004 Archives

What I've Been Doing

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I had a list of things I wanted to get done this weekend, and this morning I went down the list to see what I'd actually gotten done:

1. Countertop

What it involved: Detail, buy parts for, and build a simple countertop in the kitchen to replace the two rolling carts where we have the microwave and Noel's Coffeerama.

What got done: Detailing (a lot more work than it sounds, as all the joints and parts had to be figured out), buying half the pieces (I was unable to lift plywood at Home Depot on account of my bum shoulder acting up), and leaning the pieces on the house in the back yard. Moving the rolling carts, making a gigantic mess with all the stuff that was around the carts. Not making much progress on the countertop itself.

2. Entry beautification

What it involved: Remove plastic weedblocker that is starting to lift and blow away, weed in the lavender beds, and water the street tree. Buy two large pots, plant them with flowers, and place in front of the house. Also buy a doormat.

What got done: I finished it! Friday I removed the plastic, Saturday I weeded and watered, and yesterday morning I potted up a bunch of petunias and put them out front. I think they look rather nice, though they need to grow in. I had some extra petunias from the half-flat I bought, so I potted them up for Noel to take to work, so he can have flowers in his office.

3. Office and accordion room curtains

What it involved: Iron curtain fabric, then measure each window (the blasted things are all slightly different sizes) and make curtains.

What got done: So far, I've ironed about 1/3 of the fabric (well, there are 20 yards of the stuff!), but my shoulder hurts like all hell, so I'm not sure this one is going to go far. I also remembered to buy the hanging hardware from Home Depot while I was buying countertop pieces. Now for the fiddly bit.

4. Box purging

What it involved: Sort through collection of shipping materials, recycle or throw away as needed.

What got done: Most of this is done. Noel has a bunch of audio gear he's selling, so I'm saving large boxes for him, and packing peanuts. What I was getting rid of were balls of shredded newspaper, and anything that smells like cigarette smoke (eBay sellers seem to smoke a lot). The stuff to get rid of is downstairs in the hall, and the stuff to keep is sorted and stacked more neatly in the office.

5. Paperwork

What it involved: Tidy up piles of papers around the place.

What got done: This actually was done Friday night, but mysteriously, more piles of papers have appeared. I think the house makes them. Or the cats. Maybe it's a good thing that there's a Super Fling Boogie starting tomorrow.

6. Accordion room tidying

What it involved: Clean and put away technical drawing pens which have been all over the drafting table for a month.

What got done: Pens are clean, they are dry, and they will be reassembled and put away later today.

7. Borrowed items

What it involved: Return Elaine's projector and pen cleaner, borrowed a month ago and no longer needed.

What got done: I keep forgetting to bring these when I go over to her house to visit the kittens. So once I finish putting the pens away, I'm going to stack these by the door so I remember to take them when I go over there. Also, I must remember that I stopped by the grocery store on the way over there last night and bought some ice cream, and put it in her freezer, and forgot to bring it with me when I left. Oops.

8. Kitchen cleaning

What it involved: Purge the fridge and freezer of nasty items, freezerburned items, and expired things that haven't yet turned (visibly) nasty. Also take the food scraps bin out and dump it.

What got done: All purged! One of my few completed tasks. Actually, we never have all that much in the fridge, so purging was easy. But I had some frozen foods that I had been avoiding dealing with in the freezer, and now they're gone.

9. Library maintenance

What it involved: Reshelve books I've got scrambled all over the house.

What got done: I completely forgot I was going to do this this weekend until this morning, so all I've done is stack the upstairs books in one pile to be taken downstairs.

I really only had two large projects (countertop and curtains) this weekend, so it's a bit disheartening to see that I didn't get them done, or even make a good dent in the work, but the rest of the stuff went pretty well, and I think with some concerted work on the project I can finish the base of the countertop today. The real bother is pulling the table saw out of the basement, so maybe I will use Bob's circular saw (on semi-permanent loan) instead. The rest is just nailing and gluing.

Misperceptions of Adware

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A lot of people think adware is installed with the computer user's consent, even if that consent is gained through trickery. For example, I was reading a blog entry by Angela Hoy on the topic of dirty marketing practises -- seemingly about another topic altogether -- when I noticed the following passage (emphesis mine):

We were once contacted by a author who was furious that " kept inserting ads for one of its competitors" whenever he tried to view our site. He was trying to sell his book through, yet was furious because he thought we were allowing a competitor to pay to advertise on our site, thus diverting traffic away from our authors. It took a few emails before he finally understood that he'd allowed another company to place adware on his computer, thus allowing pop-ups for that competitor to appear on his own computer whenever he accessed Placing adware on someone's computer and obtaining their "consent" without their knowledge is dirty marketing.

By saying "he'd allowed another company to place adware on his computer," Ms. Hoy places the blame on the person who is being victimized: the user did not necessarily do anything to "consent" to having this garbage put on his machine, nothing active at least. I consider myself to be fairly savvy to the world of spam and internet garbage, and I have to clear adware off my machine on a regular basis. And I can assure you that I have never clicked on a pseudo-error popup, or clicked on a link without looking at where it's going.

I find this attitude towards the victims of Microsoft's negligent approach to security puzzling. A relatively simple web search would tell you that adware can be installed without consent of any sort. Trickery is not required. While it's true that the fellow in question was out of order to accuse Booklocker of inserting popups before checking his system for adware, doubling the offense doesn't make it any better.

I've had success with keeping adware to a minimum by taking the following steps:

  1. Removing all instant messaging software -- this was the most recent and the most effective step; since I uninstalled Yahoo IM, I've been adware-free for longer than ever before, and that has made me unbelievably angry at Yahoo
  2. HiJack This and regedit are my friends
  3. Spybot Search and Destroy

Liquidy Liquidy Slosh

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I've been super thirsty for the last two days.

This resulted in me drinking seven (yes, seven) glasses of water at dinner last night (well, I had some help from garlicky pickles), then drinking four more glasses when I got home. Today I've had about six glasses.

No, I don't know why I'm so thirsty, except that I expect it has something to do with that accursed pine tree down the block that has been spewing yellow evil... erm, that is to say, pollen all over the neighborhood. Because I've also been sneezing and snuffing for the last few days, and I don't otherwise feel unwell.

The result of this drinking frenzy is that I can't go anywhere that doesn't have a bathroom for more than an hour. This has lead me to design a contraption (the only word for it) which can be attached into the underpants and snaked out a pants leg, allowing a person (particularly a female person, but a male person, too) to pee discreetly while appearing to merely stand fully clothed in the shrubbery.

The catch is that you have to wear it all the time, and I think it might start to smell like pee. I'm working on that part. Maybe little cleansing rinse nodules that can be flushed through the system. Or maybe an herbal supplement to make your pee smell like perfume.

In the meantime, Noel had better get home before I actually start making anything I've designed lately.

A Mighty Wind


It's really windy here in Alameda. Like, so windy that the black weed-stopping plastic I had buried under three inches of mulch has been pulled out and whipped around, so I went out to remove it before it became a piece of litter.

Oh, there is nothing like a face full of bark mulch. There's nothing in the world like wind-born splinters on every available surface of your body. Don't ever let anybody tell you otherwise.

Whither Television


A few days ago, Noel and I noticed that we basically don't watch TV any more.

We moved down from DirecTV to cable because we couldn't justify the channels we were paying for, and now we rarely even turn the TV on (This Old House is in reruns). Most of what is on does not appeal to us (reality TV or crime/drama shows) or is on when we're doing other things (um, like, everything). I think the only time we've watched TV in the last three months was on a Friday evening when we wanted to relax and be entertained, and were not feeling up to going to the store to pick up a video.

It's funny how TV makes you rearrange your life. Even if you go to the expense of something like TiVo, you still have to make time to watch what you record. That's time that we fill up with things like running around in the yard with the dog like a pair of fools, doing weird art projects, or browsing around on the web finding new sorts of weird art projects to do (well, me at least).

So Noel was suggesting that when I go away to CalPoly in the fall, he would get the cable shut off. And I said, "Why wait until fall?"

That was when the INS knocked on the door to revoke our citizenship.

Freedom Comes With a Pricetag


I've been feeling, for the last several years -- indeed, since the Clinton administration -- that the press has been unusually lax in its chasing down of real stories, and has allowed politicians to tell it what the truth is.

Yes, I do know that the press is actually a number of individual people, but in this regard, they have been acting pretty much the same. So I was heartened to read that the New York Times is admitting that they were falling down on the job:

In an unusual note from the editors, "The Times and Iraq," the newspaper said it found a number of instances before the March 2003 U.S. and British invasion of Iraq and early in the occupation, of "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been."
The note said editors "should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism."

Now let's see if this admission leads to any real change in policy, at the Times or other newspapers or reporting agencies.

Negative Energy


I've been going through a huge pile of negatives. Negatives from every picture I have ever taken. Negatives I have been carrying, adding to, cataloging, and minding for more than twenty years. I am throwing more than 90 percent of them away. And it feels amazingly good.

Photographs are a way of trying to hold onto the past. Several years ago I decided to go on a vacation without a camera, and instead of taking pictures of things, or of me doing things, I would try very hard to remember the experience. To feel it fully and be there, and have it in my head to go back to when I wished, instead of glossing over the events while I was there, and having it on a piece of paper in a book to be forgotten. That trip stays in my mind as one of the most real and gorgeous moments of my life, a time when I was really truly present for the first time ever.

Ever since then I have been throwing away photographs.

It's hard to convince people to put down the camera. Memory is faulty, and you will forget things, and somehow, we have become convinced, as a culture, that forgetting things is bad or a great cultural loss. I have become convinced that forgetting things allows us to see the parts that were really important. We forget the details because the details don't matter. What mattered was that on our wedding day, we were overwhelmingly happy to be around friends and family. What matters is that when we held our puppy for the first time, we felt an overwhelming love for her. It doesn't matter that she was not wearing a collar, or that the sun was very bright, or that Noel was wearing a blue shirt. Those details get in the way of the really important memory.

What has been interesting, in going through all these negatives, is the progression of my photographic style. At the beginning, all the subjects are far away, dead center in the image, usually very little emotion coming through. As the negatives progress, I get closer and closer, get better at framing, get better at waiting to capture a moment. This is especially true of my "sports photographer" phase, when I was on the cross country and track teams but because of my astonishingly bad knees, unable to run in races. I took photos instead.

It took a while, but near the end of the series, I got good enough that the photos actually show the personalities of my teammates, rather than a bunch of distant blurry figures running. Part of that was my switch to using mainly a zoom lens, which allowed me to get closer to my subjects than I could from the sidelines. The other part is that after one season of taking photos and giving them to the subjects, I was able to get closer because my teammates were willing and eager to be photographed. People asked me to photograph them during certain events (I just found a series of photos of one teammate going over hurdles) so they could see their form and have a cool picture of themselves in action.

I'm throwing all these negatives away.

High school wasn't too bad to me. I didn't work as hard as I could have, and got by on my excellent memory, but overall it wasn't so bad. On the other hand, I don't need to hold onto a hundred photographs of people who were only nice to me because I would give them a copy of the photograph, not for decades. They take up room I could use for something else.

There are some negatives I am saving. Pictures of my family when I was a kid (non-crappy ones). Pictures taken on my trip to France, carefully weeded (about half had to go). Pictures from Brazil, also weeded through. Pictures which answer the question, "What was X like, anyway?" Pictures that are intrinsically beautiful, that are artistic of themselves -- and there are remarkably few of these.

So now I have a couple dozen more negative sheets, and room in my life for more photographs, better photographs. Culling through things and getting rid of what is unimportant allows what is important to take the space it deserves.



Rosie and I took a nice little hike at Kennedy Grove today. We went out along the reservoir, until we got to the top of the hill, where I decided we'd had enough sun and ducked us back down the hill through the trees (note to self: next time, climb up the hill through the trees). I stopped at the top to take some photos, with the digital camera and the 4x5. Taking these photos meant hauling about twenty pounds of camera gear up the hill, which did not help. Nor did the fact that Rosie had her poo right at the beginning of the hike, so I was carrying the poo bag in one hand and handling the leash in the other, packing piles of gear on my back.

Anyway, this is the digital version of the photo I also took on the Graflex:

The hike was interesting for another reason: I got to see Rosie learn something. There were all sorts of prickly things growing on the trail, and she stepped on them and discovered that sometimes, plants bite you. She was clearly confused ("but plants never bit me before!") and spent a bit of time figuring out that it was plants that looked prickly that bit her. Once she'd figured that out, she carefully walked around the prickly plants for the rest of the hike.

We also saw a dead bird. Reason #58 why the dog had to be on leash, no matter how un-fun it made things.

Final Final


I stopped by school today to pick up my portfolio from photography. Nice, quick drive in, which is pleasant, compared to early-morning arrivals which involve an hour in heavy traffic.

There was a file cabinet in the left two lanes on 880, but I saw it in plenty of time. I hope nobody was whipping through there like some people do, because that thing could cause a lot of damage. Anyway, by the time I came back an hour later, it was gone and there were no accidents reported, so I guess all was well.

Now, because I am free, free, free, Rosie and I are going to pack up and go hiking with some cameras on the Kennedy Grove trails. There are some nice paths there, with views, and it's OK for dogs to be off leash away from the developed parts of the park. I think Rosie will stay on leash because she's a bit of a spaz and her ability to control herself with freedom is limited.

A Fine Ending


I just got out of my last final of the semester. Math was harder than I'd have preferred this semester, but not unmanagably so. I think I did well on the final, even though something's in bloom that I'm allergic to, so I was snuffling and snorting all the way through it.

Afterwards I walked across campus and sold my math and physics books back to the bookstore. They didn't take my calculus physics books because I guess there's been a version rev, so I'll have to sell those on eBay or Amazon or something.

In the meantime, I'm done with school, at least until summer school starts next week!

America From the Outside


I've been feeling not so very happy about the way this country has been behaving, and I have this horrible sinking feeling about the sucking festering boil on our national honour that is the war crimes in the Middle East. Then I happened across this little gem, written by an Italian woman. Here's a little snippet from What America means to me:

But maybe it's because this strange, unclear, ultimately rather unsettling feeling that the US is more real than the rest of the world. I've been thinking about this, and I have found no other better way to phrase it. Put it down to cultural imperialism. Put it down to the world becoming globalized, and my country only supplying the shoes. Put it down to our imagination being colonized. Put it down to this being the cradle of the best and of the worst

If you have time, Anna's other posts are also interesting, if not as long.

This Kills Me


I was looking through the event log for Movable Type this morning, and saw where all those hits looking for "poop in a blue room" (one of my favourite common search phrases) came from:

Date IP Address
2004.05.07 18:22:15 Search: query for 'poop in a blue room'
2004.05.07 18:22:17 Search: query for 'poop in a blue room'
2004.05.07 18:22:30 Search: query for 'poop in a blue room'
2004.05.07 18:22:37 Search: query for 'poop in a blue room'
2004.05.07 18:22:42 Search: query for 'poop in a blue room'
2004.05.07 18:22:44 Search: query for 'poop in a blue room'

I looked at this series of hits, all in a row, on the same day, and wondered, just who is this Easy enough to find out, with a little iplookup:

Search results for:
Minnesota Regional Network MRNET-C-BLOCK4 (NET-199-199-0-0-1)
Edina Public Schools EDINAPUBSCHL-1 (NET-199-199-233-0-1)

I can only imagine some kid sitting there looking up "naughty" words trying, desperately, to find something approaching pornography via a school computer. But even better, in my mind, is some bored school administrator doing it.

How to Use a Camera


There's something about the anonymity of highrises and downtown landscapes that makes people think that they're invisible, and that brings out the worst sorts of behaviour.

Our friend Stevem has had numerous people use binoculars or telescopes to stare into his apartment, and he's taken to photographing them in action.

I walked into my bedroom to get my slippers, and he was sitting on the bench staring up at my apartment. It was a little irritating, but not too intrusive as the distance makes it difficult to see clearly into my bedroom. But a moment later he jumped up and used the binoculars to peer into my BEDROOM.


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Here are the three gnomes from my Gnome Garden piece, sitting on the TV in a bath of sunlight.


Pizzeria Tra Vigne


We played hookey today -- Noel from work and me from math -- and went up to Napa with Rosie. Not to go wine tasting, but to check out various vineyards to see if they would work for a Morris dance weekend thing Noel is putting together. We left late, because we had to stop and get a certain dog a New Collar on account of her growing out of the old one in a sudden spurt of neck growth, so it was after 3pm when we stopped for an early dinner/late lunch at Pizzeria Tra Vigne.

The service was a bit off; we stood in the foyer for a while before anybody seemed to notice that we were there. But once we sat down it was as attentive as you would wish. We sat on the terrace so Rosie could sit with us, and the waitress brought her a paper dish to drink water out of. The terrace was very pleasant in the late afternoon on a workday, with dappled light and few other patrons to bother us.

The food was good: we had the garlic rolls (excellent, although the dough had been over-kneaded) and a Napoli-style pizza (red sauce, basil, cheese, with two eggs on top, on a nice crisp thin crust from the wood-fire oven). The iced tea was drinkable, not overly bitter. They messed up my decaf latte, bringing me a caffeinated one instead, but I was full enough that it didn't matter. I would definitely go back.

On the way home we stopped by Point Isabel so Rosie could run off her boredom from a day in the car.

Oh, Yeah


I try to stay away from politics, because it makes me unbelievably angry, but this cracked me up.

I was looking through some bookmarks I have saved this evening and I found some celebrity blogs. I found these fascinating the first time I saw them, read the main page, then bookmarked them and never returned. I think it's because the last thing I want to do is get inside the head of a complete stranger (this does not explain why I read the blogs of gay men in New York City who I don't know, but stick with me here).

Most celebrities are, well, kind of boring. They don't have much to say, and when they do say something interesting, it's because somebody else wrote it. Somebody who I would be far more interested in talking to than the celebrity. It reminds me of a party I went to once, where I ended up standing with a Famous Actress, who was apparently bored by the conversation about a book everybody else had read and exclaimed, "When are you going to say something fun? This is a party, not an English class!"

Wow, that made me wish I could be her best friend, I assure you.

So this evening I went back through my bookmarks of celebrity blogs and weeded out the most vapid. Most of them I don't read, admittedly, because I simply do not have enough time to read everything every day. Even Miss Manners has fallen by the wayside this semester, on account of my spending eight hours of every day in a studio or a darkroom, well away from Internet access and covered in toxic chemicals or mud or both. But the rest I don't read because the more I read them, the more I disliked the particular celebrity, whose work I liked before I found out what a brainless twit he or she really was.

A Basic Recipe for Baklava


There are as many recipes for baklava as there are Mediterranean women. I don't make my mother's recipe for baklava because I never remember to ask her for it when I don't need to make some Right Now, but then again, I think I could make baklava blindfolded, having watched my mother make it about ten thousand times when I was a child. It's not very complicated, and the basic formula will accept a lot of fiddling and tweaking to taste. Here's my recipe:

Ayse's Non-Specific Baklava

Make a filling of chopped nuts, any spices you like, any flavourings you like (rose water or orange flower water, or vanilla if you're a heathen), and a sweetener (honey, or just white sugar) to taste. Don't ask me about proportions; you can figure that out on your own. Make as much as you like to have. I usually make about 2 cups.

Make a syrup from sweetener (honey or sugar are good bets), water, and, if you like, a flavouring (like rose water or orange flower water). Set it aside to cool.

You can make your own fillo, but, good heavens, why would you do that? Just buy it at the store like a civilized person. You don't want to be rolling out dough to 1mm thick to make the middle eastern equivalent of brownies.

Lay down about half a pound of fillo sheets interleaved with butter. Some people use margerine, but they are infidels. Fillo is easy. Don't get all worked up about the sheets sticking or tearing; that is inevitable. If you ever make a baklava and none of the fillo sticks or tears, throw it away uneaten; it is a cursed bakalava that will bring you bad luck, I assure you.

On top of the layer of fillo, spread out your filling. Then lay down another half pound of the fillo/butter thing.

The top sheet will tear into a million pieces. It always does. Relax. Fillo flakes like a bitch, so nobody will notice that gigantic tear.

Before you bake that sucker, slice it. You may think you can wait, but I assure you that you will be in a world of hurt if you wait to slice until the fillo has crisped up. Just slice it now.

Bake in a warm oven until done. Explicit enough for you? Roughly 350F for maybe 45 minutes. However long it takes to get all nice and golden brown on top, the way it's supposed to look.

Take it out, let it cool a bit so you don't burn your hands and say things you ought not to say in the presence of food, then reslice it (it will need it) and pour the syrup you made over the top. Let it cool completely and then cover it and let it sit for at least 12 hours; 24 would be better. Then you can serve it at room temperature with coffee or tea or whatever you like to drink with desserts.

The Holy Grail

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Nobody around here seems to sell rose flower water. Certainly not on a Sunday, when the muslim grocery is closed (figure that one out). Not Andronico's, even. I combed the store in person after my attempts at letting my fingers do the walking were unsuccessful. The guy at Albertson's thought I meant Cal-Rose rice. The guy at Safeway said, "Oh, wait," and hung up on me.

I will have to make my baklava tomorrow, and hope it has enough time to get all tasty by potluck on Tuesday. And I still have to come up with something to make for the sculpture potluck on Wednesday. Maybe little gnome-shaped cookies or something.

A Bit of Housekeeping


I keep getting comment spam, so I just went through and made all the old entries closed to comments. I figure that few enough people read this and even fewer feel any urge to comment on a posting, so I can feel pretty confident that if nobody's said anything about it for a week or so, nobody has anything to say about it and the only ones who will notice the closed comments are the spammers.

I have a lot of home housekeeping to do, too, and losing Saturday every week to the printing class really puts a damper on that. I'm looking forward to the last day of classes next week, even though I have two potlucks in a row. In fact, I have to go out and buy some things for one of the potlucks this afternoon.



I spent the day doing all sorts of bits and pieces for final projects: making the crate for the Gnome Garden, finding a frame for the Kitties piece, and matting seven of eleven prints for photography. I was spotting some of the prints, and botched four of them, so I need to go back and rewash those tomorrow, so matting will have to wait until after they're done-done.

In the evening Christo came over and made me feel good by flattering my artwork and gamely eating my first attempt at fillozes from one of the cookbooks my mom gave me. Um, the fillozes did not taste so good. Don't know why. I think I will try the yeast version of malassadas next.

Printing all day tomorrow. Noel will be drywalling, so I will attempt to feel lucky that I'm in class.

Coffee Smoke

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Noel bought himself a coffee roaster. I wish I could ridicule this as a useless toy, but he actually drinks enough coffee to make it a useful item. With it he bought a selection of green coffee beans to roast in small batches (for the perfect, perfectly fresh cup of coffee). It seemed like a good idea at the time, and I even went to the warehouse today to pick everything up for him.

Except the house is filled with smoke now. Coffeeish smelling smoke, kind of like the smell of burnt coffee at a diner where they just keep adding more fresh coffee to the pot, which has developed a black rind on the bottom. This smoke is apparently one of the byproducts of the roaster. It seems that Noel left the back door open while roasting, and the persistent sea breeze across the bay and through our back yard pushed all the smoke from the kitchen through the dining room, down the hall, up the stairs, and into the accordion room where I was attempting to gesso a board.

He also bought a coffee grinder, and I have been informed that there will be a lot of test grinds before he finds just the right one to run through The Machine. In the meantime, where's my dinner?

End of Semester Franticity

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Lots of glazing today in the sculpture studio. We're out of wet clay and into bisque, and I have lots of stuff to work on. Unfortunately, a bunch of my greenware had not yet been fired, so I didn't have as much to work on as I might have hoped.

On the other hand, the kiln programming was faulty, and most of one of the bisque loads blew up, so maybe I'm glad my stuff was not fired over the weekend.

I did get my birdhouse and bird feeder glazed and into a kiln for firing, and I'm still trying to get the right amount of glaze on the winged gnome, so he's drying and waiting for layer two. I also put a layer of tea dust glaze on the gnome pot, and glazed a bunch of eggs for the gnome garden. I do appear to have gone overboard with the gnomes, somewhat.

I came home to a couple more molds arrived from eBay purchases. I really cannot wait to try them out; I may even join a ceramics studio in Berkeley for the summer, if there's time.

Once home, I went out to run errancs and bought a box to "grow" the gnome garden in (three buried gnomes, several eggs, and some plants in dirt in a box). I was looking for a shadow box or nice frame for my "girlhood" wall piece, but no luck. Maybe I'll find something at a thrift shop. I'll have to go Thursday or Friday afternoon, because the last day of school is Tuesday next week. Yes, I am a little panicky.

The other bit of school news for today was an irritating conversation with the admissions office at Calpoly. I have to get general ed certified by City College, because if I don't it counts against me and I can not be allowed to transfer. But City College appears to have a dimwit as a registrar, because they think I need to take freshman composition. I guess I'm going to have to go in and go over my transcripts with them, line by line. Sheesh.

I also put my name on the wait list for a weeklong speech class, which I need for Calpoly, again, and really do not want to have to take. But I will. Anyway, the class was full and I'll have to go and try to get in on the first day of class or something. Because I'd really rather not take it over any longer time period.

In the Dark


A brief two-hour session in the darkroom this afternoon (after printing my pages for my printing class) yielded five of the eleven prints needed for my final project. I have a math test next Wednesday, so maybe I will mat the prints between studying tomorrow.

The semester is starting to get really tight.



I'm a sucker for those old Victorian methods of cataloging things like evil or criminality, so I felt compelled to try out The Gematriculator. It's a good thing I did, or I'd never know how evil my home page is:


Portfolio on My Mind


We have to present a final portfolio to the teacher in my photography class. About 11 photos in all, from all the assignments through the semester, in their best condition and at least four of them mounted.

I've been deciding which photos to use. Here are some of my choices:

Contrast in Nature: Down Down Down

Variable Contrast Filters: Hands on Keys

Self Portrait: Up High

Lighting: Just One More Chapter

Series: Graffiti (Joon, In a Corner, Trash on Trash)

I have others for the other assignments and more in the series, but I haven't scanned them in yet.

After school today I stopped by Photo Supply downtown and picked up mounting boards, tape, bags, and a box. I grabbed two new tongs while I was there, because my darkroom tongs are starting to fall apart, and new ones would help a lot with my frustration levels. I figure I'll need to reprint all of the images for the portfolio, so the final results are all the same size and can be mounted too look uniform (which will be more important when they get hung on a wall than for the final portfolio).

This summer I should mount all the prints I bought at the print sale, too. Then I should get back to getting things framed once a month; all this art will never get on a wall if I don't get off my butt.

I came home to find a mold had arrived. A gigantic bust of George Washington; I mistakenly believed it to be 5 inches tall when I bid on it, and it turned out to be, um, considerably larger than that. But I'm sure I can find a good use for him. Maybe an army of Washingtons buried to their chins in the back yard will keep that idiot cat from digging in the lettuce.

In the Dark


I had an epic day in the darkroom today: 30 prints from my last roll of film, and lots of them quite good. I have to sort through them for a few keepers for my final portfolio for photography; I think I'm almost done.

It was the last slip pouring day in ceramics, so I brought a couple of my molds home. I also made a bird feeder (well, most of one) and strung up all the kitties for the Girlhood piece. I need to find an 18x18 shadowbox with a frame. Somewhere.

As I drove up to the house, Rosie's new friend Ted and his mum were walking up to see if Rosie wanted to play, which she did. She and Ted had a good romp in the yard, but he still won't play in the pool with her, no matter how much she tries to get him to come in. I like Ted's mum; she's nice and roughly my age (everybody else in the neighborhood is older) and a little weird. She was oo-ing and ah-ing over the house project, but she hasn't ever opened a wall and found 100-year-old dried feces plastered to rotting cardboard. I'm guessing she has never even thought about what it would be like if that were to happen, so far out of the realm of imaginable is such a thing.

Anyway, a nice quiet evening at home, with the dog socked out after her playtime, and a chance to read uninterrupted and without guilt, even if I should really be working on infinite series a bit more.

Our Inner Struggle


I can't quite figure out how I started reading the blogs of a bunch of gay men in New York City who I don't know, but they are charming and interesting and fun to read, and every now and then, one of them posts something that resonates with my sensibilities the way discussions resonated in college, during late-night discussions at a cafe where students undertip and irritate waitresses and older patrons.

Today's resonant moment was courtesy of David Buscher, who I don't know at all. In his Friday posting, The Great Divide, he talks about how there seem to be two Americas overlaid on one another: the America of intolerance and ignorance, and the America of intelligence and understanding. Like our own Israel/Palestine. Except without the suicide bombers. (Our combatants prefer to live to see the fruits of their violence, I suppose, or they don't really believe that there will be eternal salvation for killing people.)

Anyway, check out the post, and check out the rest of David's blog. You'll like it.

Wet Dogs Have More Fun


Last night we went over to our friends' house for dinner. So beforehand, we took the dog out and ran her around the yard for some exercise. Because I removed the ice trays from the freezer, it's been warm, so I pulled out the hose and we had a jolly old time.

I've put the pictures on a separate page for those of you using dialup.

... it means your block came out right.

I traced and carved my linoleum block for my printing project today. Five lemons -- one sliced -- and the words "Fresh Lemon Sherbet" on the horizontal. It was physical work but not terribly challenging, and it came out perfectly. I was very happy with the way the lemons came out, with the shading just right and my little detail lines showing nicely; on the letterpress the fine lines come out clean, whereas when I hand print them, they fill with ink. Very different carving techniques have to be used depending on the ink and printing method.

Yesterday I had a busy day, with four hours in the sculpture studio (I made a birdhouse and cast a gnome) and then a couple hours in the darkroom. I only got a couple prints out in the darkroom but I did get a contact sheet from the film I developed Thursday, and it looked nice. Only six of 36 frames were not worth printing, which is the highest return I've ever had.

The last day for wet clay is Wednesday, so I will be overtiming at school for the next several days.

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