Saturday, November 22, 2008

home improvement is my bitch

i probably shouldn't say that until after the last nail is driven and so forth, but oh well. i'm feeling cheeky.
the trappings of home improvement
while i dropped off the face of the internets, i was hard at work on my "RL" habitat. it was time. in the nearly 10 years since i bought my slice of condo living, i was always to tired/depressed/overwhelmed/insert-pathetic-whatever-here to really attend to it or make it my own. i mean, although i had rearranged the furniture a couple times, things were pretty much the same (and, in some cases, in the same spot) as when i moved in. had painted (badly) the two bedrooms before moving in, had all the windows replaced a couple years ago, did some insulating, replaced the front door which had a crack you could see through, and disposed of the ugly-ass frankenshrubs which were dying slowly in my "garden" space. basically, all stuff one couldn't ignore. also, i had a rather lovely paycheck in those days, so i could afford to bring in professionals when necessary.

a year or so ago i paid a huge quantity of money to have the master bath renovated. i'll probably be paying it off until i die, but it was totally worth it to (a) have someone else manage the project and the subcontractors, (b) have the work done by people i knew i could trust, and (c) have a lovely bathroom.

but, as anyone who has been through the renovation mill knows, such projects totally disrupt any semblance of order you might have had (and i didn't have that much to start) -- all the stuff from the room you are renovating has to go somewhere else until the renovation is done, and you have to have some place to store the materials, fixtures, tools, and what-have-you for each stage of the project. needless to say, my already careless surroundings descended into chaos from which i've only recently rescued it.

freeing myself from my exhausting, grindingly depressing job was step one in my personal environment reclamation process. while this also meant freeing myself from the rather lovely income, *nothing* was worth the ongoing torture. the strange journey of personal reclamation continues it's winding, surprising path. so, six months or so down the road, i have recovered enough to actually care about my surroundings and be inspired to do something with them. (i know, crazy!)

people, i have power tools. and a work bench! seriously. in my previous couch potato life, i watched hundreds of hours of hgtv and "trading spaces". now, armed with my stanley book of home improvement, my very own tools, and a fire in the belly, i am actually doing this shit myself. i have been scraping, sanding, painting, filling, sawing, finishing, and restoring. i have replaced electrical outlets, and installed lights and a ceiling fan. i replaced my wind tunnel mail slot with a swell new one which lets the mail in but keeps the cold out.

i am totally blowing my own mind. don't get me wrong -- there are times when i think i'll snap if i have to sand one more lumpy wall or miter one more freakin molding piece. but overall, i am rockin the home improvement. pictorial evidence to follow...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


the mercury rev poster contest winner has been announced! it wasn't me, but it's a lovely picture:

slightly bummed, but mostly so glad the wait is over. it was killing me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

what i've been up to recently...

(not necessarily in this order)

1) went to the beach with friends for a week:

2) created two more posters for the mercury rev contest (which *still* has not announced a winner. i think it was a lie. there *is* no contest):

poster 2

poster 3

3) submitted work for the "50 Photographers" exhibit which opened sept. 5 at the local crocker's mark gallery. my entry: you can see the virtual gallery here.

4) submitted work for two separate SPARKcon events - artSPARK image slam and the open gallery hanging.

whew! i'm tired just recounting all that stuff. :-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

screamo indie concrete crunk housecore

i'll no doubt show my age with the following rant, but remember when there were, like, i don't know -- seven classifications of pop music? "rock" covered pretty much everything from bananarama to bob marley to zappa. then you had "soul", which included r&b, gospel, funk, beach music, and early rock'n'roll. "country" covered anything that had too much twang to be "rock" or "soul". "jazz", "classical" and "soundtracks" were satellites off in their own little music galaxies. the classifications didn't always make sense, but at least you had a limited number of places you had to look in order to find something. (yes, kids, there used to be brick and mortar "record stores" with bins and bins of recordings in various tangible formats, like "cassette tapes", "compact discs", and "vinyl". no google search. no mp3 clips. no digital catalogues of releases. and we felt lucky to have that analog existence. we knew the value of a limited 7" pressing, let me tell you.)

at some point, the catch-all supercategories began to be overshadowed by subclassifications, which was cool... broadening the musical horizons of the music-buying public and perhaps inspiring artists to explore new music frontiers as well. the subcategories were manageable by and, for the most part, actually made sense to consumers. for a time, they actually *helped* you find what you wanted and browse new stuff you might like. there were some weird subcats sometimes, but most of the time they preceded a genre which was about to blow up and go mainstream (or at least lucratively culty).

i was able to ride the subcat train for a long time. no prob. the more i drifted away from commercial radio and toward independently owned stores and college playlists, the more bold new musical genres i discovered. all good.

i'm not sure exactly when i got off the train and was left at the station, but the subcat train is long gone. the now-dead local annual sleazefest helped me get a pretty good grip on various subsets of modern punk and rockabilly. (nothing illustrates "psychobilly" like a performance involving a redneck guitarist wearing nothing but a dixie cup.)

but i knew i was in trouble when i started coming across terms like "twee" and "emo". and as i peruse the available musical genres on myspace, i know i am a clueless old-school dork. some of these have got to be totally made-up: concrete, electroacoustic (how can something be electro *and* acoustic?), hyphy (hyphy? what?), emotronic, shoegaze (wait, i think i ran into some leftover shoegaze fans before the sxsw japan showcase. i thought they were emo at the time.), visual (i think someone's getting their senses confused)... my favorite one is "screamo". (i hope somewhere out there is a band named "screamin' emo".) i like that they have a category for "melodramatic popular song". 'cause you want to find those bands. and apparently anyone can make a new genre by just adding "-core" to an existing genre. myspace also has a status emoticon for "crunk". i didn't think crunk was a state of mind. drink it, yes. be it? hmmm. then again, i didn't think "architect" was a verb. what do i know?

you can also choose "pirate" as your mood. so i guess if you are working with a mood spectrum that includes pirate and jedi as well as "exanimate", nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

hello, babies. welcome to earth.

happiest of birthdays to my sister ann and my bud holden. yeah!

flowerhead says: have a nice day!

aren't you glad i didn't get you a cakewreck?

there are new wrecks posted, just in time for you to enjoy on your special day. show me the wrecks!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

resistance is futile

i have been assimilated into the myspace hive. it had to happen sometime. *technically* this is the second time around... i had a brief myspace stint a couple of years ago so i could converse with tim easton, whose musical career i've been following since he played the late lamented pine hill farm, like, ten years ago and upon whom i had a raging crush at the time (ah, youth!). almost instantaneously, spambots across the universe were aware of my existence. so, heavy with unrequited crushies and a mailbox full of offers of male enhancement (i know - the irony!), i withdrew from the world's largest single collection of the ugliest webpages *ever*. (the rest of the story: the spamathon halted almost immediately. and i still see tim whenever he's in town. cake = having + eating)

so what, you ask, has drawn me back in? no, not hot crushies on a mcdreamy singer/songwriter/guitarist, as delightful as that might be. it's a graphic design contest. ok, it's for a band poster, but it's not like that, i swear! for reals, i was not even familiar with the band beforehand. i've just always wanted to design album covers and show posters, and i couldn't resist the opportunity to design for yeproc records, who is local and whose bands i tend to like. the added bonus is that the band in question -- previously unknown to me -- has turned out to be awesome. nice!

so, the scoop is that yeproc announced the contest in their last newsletter: design a poster for mercury rev's upcoming release, "snowflake midnight", submit it to the band's myspace blog, and then wait patiently (or not) for the band to choose the winner. as those with myspace experience know, you have to join in order to post anything. so i did. (i feel so cheap ;-))

thankfully, spam filters keep getting better and myspace has taken some measures to reduce spaminocity. but as an added measure, i got a freebie web-based email account for my myspace identity.

and i have to say that working on the poster has been great fun. the whole process of researching the band's visual and musical identities, and conceptualizing while listening to their songs totally ruled. as i said, i've always wanted to design something like this, and attending flatstock at sxsw two years ago only fueled the fire.

you can see the finished product here:

i'll let you know how it goes (the winner will be announced some time after aug 18).

i'm also submitting a piece to the ARTspark component of local creativity-fest sparkcon (happening in sept). i'm sure i'll soon be ridiculously in demand. ;-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

this is why i love the interwebs

because without it, i would never have experienced the awesomeness that is cake wrecks. thanks be to the blog gods. and people actually willing to admit they paid for one of these cakes. there is something for everyone here -- egregious use of quotation marks for riva, the world's worst r2-d2 cakes for the lintqueen, carrot-riding mohawk babies for me...

yes, i said "carrot-riding mohawk babies". if i hadn't seen it, i wouldn't have been able to conceive of it. although really, most of the featured cakes defy all the laws of nature. gravity, color families, tastefulness, proportion, spelling -- you name it, you can see it violated by a cake decorator. if you ever had any qualms about ordering a custom cake, these atrocities will put you off *forever*. the baby shower cakes *alone* are enough to scar you for life.

i laughed so hard i wept. my throat hurts. and i keep going back and laughing some more.

lintqueen, do not -- i repeat -- do not try to consume a beverage while viewing the cake wrecks. i will not be responsible for any spewage that may occur. ;-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

quote(s) of the day

if you've ever wondered how the whole thunder-as-dramatic-emphasis-in-cinema thing got started, it was probably with the 1932 film "the old dark house". which i just enjoyed with my morning beverage. (kinda makes it sound like toast)

but the slightly excessive overall dramatic license is part of its charm. and, as anyone familiar with my taste in movies knows, i am down with some excessive overall dramatic license ("i am SICK and TIRED of all the muthafuckin' snakes on this muthafuckin' plane!"). i thrive on it, really.

what all this is leading up to are the quotes of the day, courtesy "the old dark house" *insert thunder here*:

1) miss femm: "she was godless to the last. godless!" *insert thunder here*

2) gladys: "i know wind when i see it." *insert thunder here*

these moments made possible by tcm. speaking of which, tcm -- having expanded their definition of "classic movies" of late -- also broadcast the awesomely awesome "spider baby" (imdb has the most info, but tcm has *clips*) in the last 6 mos, which one of my fellow retrofantasma list members has raved about for *years*. now that i've seen it, i totally understand the why it impressed her so. *so* freaky. so very, very freaky. and, hey, turns out that sid haig has *always* looked like that. 1968, 2008, pretty much the same. freaky.

*insert thunder here*

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

whatever happened to baby fly?

so, what have i been doing while my blog gently weeps? well, i'll tell you... although my energy level has been utter crap (there was a lot of inertia and very little leaving of the house for a while there, but i am lucky to have a best friend who knows how to help me through my nadirs: healthy doses of cheeburgers, summer movies, and flight of the conchords), i have managed to: (1) purchase my domain and redirect it to my cafepress store for the time being, (2) set up my amos email (heh), (3) set up my imagekind gallery shop so i can sell my photos framed, unframed, and on canvas, (4) uploaded some new t-shirt designs to cafepress, (5) begun to inventory and evaluate my accumulated antiques and collectibles (so sick of researching esoteric porcelain maker's marks and slogging thru 50 million "RARE!" eBay listings - bleh), (6) see both "hellboy 2" and "the dark knight", (7) recycle, (8) get an A++ checkup at the dentist (i love the free toothbrush thing, don't you?), (9) leave the house several times, (10) assemble a nifty rolling stacking file storage bin for my various and sundry design mags and paperful projects which seem to multiply like tribbles.

ooh, and i almost forgot -- i finally hung up my bat house! (which i've had for, like, a year) i think the solution i devised is pretty ingenious, the challenge being to put the house where it would be safe from predators and get enough sun and not conflict with our hoa covenant. once i found a good spot around the back of my house, i had to figure out how to mount the bat condo without messing with my 1940s asbestos shingles (mmm, asbestos!). in a moment of genius clarity, i stripped an adjustable nylon webbing strap off an old car seat-back map organizer, threaded it through the bat house hanging hardware, and looped it around the center support of some second-floor double windows, securing it inside the room with the buckle that came with the strap. because the strap is flat, it doesn't interfere with the window screens or with closing the windows. bat house is secured, unapproachable except by flying bats, and nothing has been contaminated by asbestos. sweet!

so, really, for a person who could barely get out of bed for a week, i have accomplished quite a bit. i have impressed myself ;-) i vaccuumed too. and threw out the ooky stuff in my fridge. nice, right?

i did fall off the wagon with regard to several of my "must do every day" activites, namely writing a page a day for my fiction project, taking a picture a day for practice, and doing at least one outdoor activity. i also suck as a sibling, having completely flaked on returning my sister's call. doh! sorry! love you! call you tomorrow!

on the upside, it's shark week! i love me some shark week. it comes but once a year. like christmas, but on the discovery channel. i've always been fascinated by sharks -- terrified also, but fascinated. i suppose the release of "jaws" in my formative years is partly responsible (i pity the kids who had to start with "jaws: the revenge". everything after the first film should be erased.). i remember also reading this book about shark researcher eugenie clark (check me out, rocking the feminist vibe even at age 8) as well as every available time-life-esque nature book about sea life, mezmerized by the science of sharks. my brother used to tape long sheets of paper together in order to draw sharks actual size. we were shark junkies.

this is all well and good, you say, but is there, you know, a point? the point is that shark week *rules*, man. it's a happy time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

the reluctant poet

thanks to my dad for sending me the new york times article about the new poet laureate:

Kay Ryan, Outsider With Sly Style, Named Poet Laureate

as a fairly peripheral fan of poetry, i was expecting to glance over the article and move on without real involvement (i know -- a reluctance to commit even to news articles. sad ;-)), but i became intrigued by the description of the poet as an outsider and uncomfortable with the exposure that comes with being an artist (not to mention a laureate something-or-other).

hmmm. *that* doesn't strike close to home or anything. i've only struggled with that... mmm... i don't know... always?

at the same time i have this drive to create and communicate, those actions, by their very nature, expose me to the world. and i can't remember a time when i've ever been comfortable with that. (vulnerability = icky!) the digitalization of, well, *everything*, has expanded and intensified the opportunities of and for exposure. there's really no technology "safe zone" -- once you put your shit out there into the digital ether, it's *out there*. your control of it is limited, at best.

while that's true of any work of creation, seems like it's easier to fake yourself out about it in the analog dimension. you can *see* your acts of insulation in action (you can decide where *not* to show your painting and physically enforce the "no photos allowed" rule. you can dodge that critic lurking by the hors d'oeuvres table or pretend you don't hear your film being discussed by the people in line behind you at the grocery store. you can give your unpublished novel only to people you like, watch as they read it, and take it back). in other words, you can *feel* in control of your work, even though you lost control as soon as another person experienced the work.

the internet is another story entirely. not only is it near impossible to prevent unauthorized use of your work, but you can't control the context either. add to that the fact that the presence means pretty much anyone can track down pretty much anything about you, and you can say "hello!" to your new friend, paranoia.

i had a momentus struggle with my inner security guard before creating a substantial web presence for myself and my creations. how much of my work should i put out there and through what channels? (and, yeah, you better believe i registered everything with the copyright peeps) how forthcoming should i be with personally identifying data? i *still* struggle with that one. and yet, here i am, parading around with a personal blog. am i crazy or what? partaking of crackburgers?

here's my rationalization. if you really want to connect with an audience -- heck, if you want to have an audience at all -- you kinda have to put yourself out there. (i know. i'm as surprised as anyone at this revelation, but there you go.) i mean, what's the point of art if (a) it is not an honest expression, and (b) nobody sees it? furthermore, in my case, what's the point of anything i've done or will do, if i don't believe in it? so i take my intentions seriously enough to go from high income to no income, completely overhaul my life, then hide my light under a bushel? gonna be a wussy poser?

i don't think so. when i think of how long it took me to get here, and all the crap (self-induced and otherwise) i've managed to get through, i know i can't be half-assed now. any suckiness that could ensue can't be more sucky than the years of shitty self-esteem, self-doubt, and crushing depression i experienced when *not* pursuing my writing, photography, and design. (how's that for an endorsement?) yes sir, fear of suckiness can kiss my boo-tay. (oh, a buckaroo banzai moment!)

thus, i am putting my shit out here. gonna tell some stories, post some pictures, and otherwise channel the specialness that has been inside my head all this time.

kay ryan, who resisted her poetry-writing self as long as she could, describes her artistic epiphany as a feeling of “an absence of boundaries, an absence of edges, as if my brain could do anything.... finally i can ask the question: can i be a writer?”

her answer to herself was, “do you like it?”

funny, that was my answer too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

new look and feel - but it's still me

yes, the amosfly blog has a new layout and color scheme. i loved the dots (and the darkness - but that's me ;-)), but i decided i wanted a different sidebar layout.

(so i'm telling you i wanted to improve my site usability, but i know that you know that, really, i just wanted that dr. horrible graphic to stand out more.)

joss whedon fans, rejoice!

it's here! it's finally here! >>

ah, nathan fillion, how do i love thee? you can make me laugh until milk comes out of my nose. and neil patrick harris. with the singing. who knew?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

did you want fries with that?

i feel a t-shirt design coming on.

there is no charge for awesomeness

"Kung Fu Panda". See it. Hilarious. Also some genius animated slo-mo kung fu action. With slo-mo sound effects. Two thumbs up. Would see again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

just dropping by

check this out -- last sunday a.m. i'm surveying my back patio from the second floor bathroom window -- you know, expecting to see the usual post-storm detritus and be reminded, again, that i really should tidy up out there --but instead, there is actual wildlife action. a rather large bird of prey is just chillin on the top fence rail, its legs tucked up under it like a decoy, drying its wings in the sun. the way it was holding its wings out, i thought at first they might be broken... so of course like a geek i jump online to find my local wildlife rescuers (yay, interwebs!). then, secure in the knowledge that i can call in a professional if needed, i run downstairs to get a closer look.

by the time i have repositioned myself, the hawk has repositioned as well. something out there has made it sit up and take notice (and i'm hoping i'm not about to witness chipmunk-icide) but then it sees me all pressed up against the window (they *do* have good eyesight!), which makes it uncomfortable (i can't imagine why), so it flies to a branch.

clearly, the wings are ok. the emergency now called off, i can proceed straight to photo geekdom. i even went out through the front door instead of the back so i wouldn't freak it out.

based on the markings and the impressively long tail (which isn't visible in this pic -- whaddya want? i was excited), i *think* it was a young red-shouldered hawk. so awesome. look at those talons!

living downtown, i don't expect to run into raptors hanging out on the back stoop. really, i'm pleasantly surprised that we haven't wiped out all the native beasties and that we have some coexistence going on. nice!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

attention-grabbing headlines

When you see a headline like "What's a penis worth?", you pretty much have to click on it, right?

Friday, July 4, 2008

independence day?

i guess it's appropriate that i start my blog life today. i recently walked away from a high-paying but soul-sucking tech job. after nine (yup, *nine*) years of the soul sucking, i realized several things. mainly, that if i didn't get out, i was going to die of depression. less dramatic but still critical was the realization that a corporate job -- with its alien culture, made-up language (if i ever hear about "architecting a web site" again, it will be too soon), and non-reality-based, cookie-cutter measurements of "success" -- was quite possibly, not a good fit for me.

let me count the ways:
- issues with authority (especially if it's stupid authority)
- inability to dedicate myself to pointless tasks
- dislike having to teach my boss what my job is
- like having a soul
- believe that creativity can not be quantified
- low tolerance for assholes, idiots, and businesses who never learn from their mistakes
- need naps
- happiest when i can work at my own pace and on only one project at a time (multi-tasking sucks)
- have no regular schedule whatsoever
- like to go outside sometimes, experience things that have nothing to do with computers, emails, the interwebs, or contact with people

so, in this going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket economy, i left. to work on my photography. i'm scared out of my mind, running out of money, and learning at every turn what i *don't* know about trying to make a living as an artist. and yet, i don't regret quitting at all. freaking out (i want to hyperventilate with every report on the economy), but without regret.

i'm a crazy person. soon to be living under a bridge and sending my cats out to hunt for food.

but i am free to reclaim myself and my soul. it's a new life.

let the blogging begin

Oh, look at me... blogging like a -- um, blogger?