Sunday, August 23, 2009

long time no post

when was i last here? i have been a busy little bee this summer. surprisingly (to me, anyway). i didn't feel that busy most of the time and in fact spent what felt like a good bit of time in one manic trough or another (which, if you are not familiar, consists of fun activities like being unable to get out of bed). but looking back, i'm kind of impressed. (i find it's good to impress oneself from time to time. refreshing.) sooooo...
my grandfather was pharmacist here back in the day
what i did on my summer "vacation" (in chronological order):

  • for the second year in a row, had a photograph make it into the carrboro arts center community photography competition and exhibit. yay!
  • went to nyc with my dad. took lots of pictures. saw several completely awesome contemporary art and photography exhibits at the metropolitan museum. visited the mecca of low-fi pop photography, the lomography store. caressed the cameras.
  • shot showcase performances during wxpn's non-comm convention at the world cafe live in philadelphia. was introduced to the astounding awesomeness of black joe lewis and the honeybears. hung out with my sister.
  • went to see the english beat play. yay! photographed 'em. forgot to post the pictures. doh.
  • assembled a photographic series and self-published it. (will post the link soon)
  • was in one of two groups raleigh had participating in world photo walk day. shot film. still haven't scanned it in.
  • shot two nights of bands at the sold-out merge records 20th anniversary festival in chapel hill.
  • helped a friend organize and hang his first solo photography show in a highly desirable local venue.
  • visited my third cousin twice removed and his family in pennsylvania coal country. got the skinny on some family history. laughed a lot. scouted future photo locations. tori amos at world cafe live
  • helped my sister celebrate her birthday. saw tori amos at world cafe live. photographed her. lived a jonathan richman song by being a straight person dancing in a lesbian bar. made cookies and watched the rest of "dexter" season 2.
  • learned about giclee printing for photographs.
  • designed earrings and a necklace for my step-father to give my mom for their anniversary.

i also donated platelets twice (i get to watch a movie, people on chemo or with immuno-issues get some of my blood's clotting agent. win-win.). and read like a fiend:

"nightwatch" - sergei lukyanenko
"jonathan strange and mr. norrell" - susanna clarke
"monster" - a. lee martinez
"caught in the light" - robert goddard
"the dante club" - matthew pearl (re-read)
"the alienist" - caleb carr (re-read)
"the historian" - elizabeth kostova (re-read)
"spook country" - william gibson

reading is awesome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"...'that one went down like a lead balloon,' said the serpent."

and so goes the post-Fall of Man commentary between agents of Good and Evil in terry pratchett and neil gaiman's "good omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of agnes nutter, witch" -- aka, my recent reading material.

imagine that the long-prophesied end of the world is days away. the Powers That Be, Good and Evil, are making their respective final cosmic preparations, amassing armies, mobilizing the Four Apocalyptic Horsepersons (death, war, famine, and pollution), anticipating the rise of the Antichrist, and so forth. if it sounds strange to follow this setup with "and hilarity ensues...", you haven't read any terry pratchett before. hilarity *will* ensue, and it will be my favorite kind: literary, clever, irreverent, and with a twisted british wit.

i can't help but love a story where the characters have names like "anathema device" and the plot involves the misplacement of the Antichrist (oops!) and random cameos by tibetans, UFOs, atlanteans (as in "lost city of.."), rainforests, rare books, assorted agents of Good and Evil, and the music of Queen. an added bonus is the appearance of one of my favorite characters from pratchett's discworld novels -- the personification of Death (his friends call him "mort" and he speaks in ALL CAPS. hee!). awesome.

thank goodness for good books and twisted brits.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

some current inspirations...

1) David Lynch's book on meditation and creativity "catching the big fish".

i love david lynch. his stories are so weird, so fearlessly esoteric. "twin peaks" and "blue velvet" in particular made a huge impression on me. typical lynch plots have layers of intrigue and symbolism -- seediness hiding under a veneer of beauty and ideals. the viewer, like the protagonist, arrives naively on the scene and must look beyond appearances to reveal the true corrupt nature of the situation and the people involved.

his book, on the other hand, is about how he has been able to use transcendental meditation to get the most out of his creativity. way cool.

2) the televised kurt wallander mysteries (BBC).

i just saw "firewall" on PBS tonight, and the photography is *awesome* -- blue-toned and a holga-like focus (sharp on a single focal point -- usually the protagonist -- and blurry all around). it's actually done letterboxed, and the photographer uses the whole space, like cinema. gorgeous. plus, kenneth branagh is doing some of his finest work as the reserved and laconic wallander.


Friday, May 15, 2009

must... blog... *ehn* *ehn* (dragging self to laptop)

all right, all right, i've procrastinated long enough... it's not like i haven't got anything to blog about, but sometimes the idea of sitting in front of the computer is such a killer. (i take great joy in having not used instant messaging at all since i quit my jobby job.)

april was pretty darn awesome. it kicked off with durham's annual full frame documentary film festival. this year i saw documentaries on free speech ("shouting fire"), the production of vogue's biggest and most influential issue of the year ("the september issue"), self-storage facilities and why we keep stuff ("steel homes"), loving movies ("supermen of malegaon"), the biggest mall in the world and why no one goes there ("utopia, part 3"), the recording of and supporting tour for arcade fire's album "neon bible" ("miror noir"), and a buddhist monk's search for the reincarnation of his recently deceased spiritual master ("unmistaken child"). i love this festival. it feeds my soul.

shortly thereafter, i saw the incomparable songstress neko case perform at the unbelievably sweet meymandi concert hall. sublime. seriously. then i heard the hilarious david sedaris read at the swank new durham performing arts center. both events were courtesy my bestest fwiend who gave me tix for my birthday and xmas, respectively. yay!

then my mom and i went to philadelphia to see my brother perform the world premiere of new pieces for the classical guitar. it was a mini family reunion -- my dad, my stepmother, my stepsister, my brother's wife, my mom, *her* brother, and me. my uncle's presence was a total surprise. we haven't seen him in *years*, and he wanted to surprise my mom. we secretly coordinated via text messaging. mom cried. it was great. :-) the day after the concert, my mom and i took my brother's two children to the natural history museum while he did some philly guitar festival stuff. we hung out with dinosaurs, butterflies, and mummies. later, cotton candy was consumed.

we were back home for less than 24 hours before mom and i took off for another little reunion. every year my mom and her sister meet up in gatlinburg, TN, for the great smoky mountains national park wildflower pilgrimage, which is several days of educational hikes and programs to benefit the park. in the past i would have left the wildflowering to my mom and her sister, but this year my cousin, who i haven't seen in ages, was able to make it, so i figured, what the hey? the freedom to see more of our far-scattered family and just pick up and go on adventures was a major reason i quit my job. so we had mother-daughter-sister-cousin bonding while learning about the flora and fauna of the mountain ecosystems. we saw bears. we breathed clean mountain air. we had pancakes for breakfast every day. we used audio equipment to track bats in flight. we looked at water bears through microscopes. we learned that the eyes of some kinds of spiders will reflect light and you can use a flashlight to see them at night like teeny blue or green gems.

it was also my one year anniversary of declaring my independence from Jobs That Suck and deciding to pursue a creative life instead. (thanks for the card, dad!).

one year ago yesterday i used my "big girl" camera (the digital canon i bought to support my ambitions) for the first time. i have since taken nearly 4000 pictures with it.

one of the first:
blue dinosaur

(blue dinosaur was sculpted by my niece, rhyana, for my birthday a couple years ago. not only is he kinda sparkly, but he glows in the dark, too. blue dino is *awesome*.)

since the inaugural shoot with blue dino, i've been steadily building my portfolio with film and digital photos. my vision has matured a great deal, and with that, my confidence and my certainty that i'm doing the right thing have grown. i've met many cool people through flickr and the art house co-op who offer support and encouragement. and i've actually had my first paying photog gig (more on that later).

to celebrate, i give you this link to a special water bears music video, courtesy of some scientist in poland:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

fun with mustaches

every once in a while, the internets bring you a special treat. Wolf Choir is one of those treats: in addition to "fun with mustaches", there are also 1970s-style faux school portraits, video pizza, bison interludes, and more. it's the kind of thing that makes me glad to be alive.

thank you, Wolf Choir.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

it all started with this picture

car in the rain by "it" i mean a passion for collecting random mysterious photos. and by "mysterious" i mean either the purpose for taking the picture is unclear -- not obviously a portrait or vacation or "look at our new car!" -- or it's not clear why the photo was kept (it *is* obviously a portrait, but the subject is obscured or out of focus). my favorite ones so far are ones actually taken by family members who have passed on (so i can't ask them why they kept a portrait where the whole person is obscured by a sun flare). maybe the keeper saw the same beauty i see now...

i found that first picture in my maternal grandmother's things after she passed away in 1986. i am fairly certain that it was taken by my grandfather, who preceded her in death by a number of years, but who was apparently quite the photographer in his lifetime. there is no date or notation on the picture. the only context i have is where it was taken -- in front of my grandparents' house in st. petersburg, FL. it is pouring rain, and there is a car driving down the street. what was my grandfather looking at? the rain? the car? is the car driven by a friend or family member? is the occasion the end of a visit?

i don't know. but i've loved the picture since the first time i saw it -- a transitory moment preserved... a tempest and a traveler... a sense of trying to hold something which can not be held... an artifact, a vision left by someone lost to me.

my father's family were prolific photographers back in the day, and i recently found a treasure trove of photo randomness in a box i'd stuck in a closet a while ago. so, i've started an album. the original mystery photo will stay out on my dresser in the acrylic frame i've had for it for so many years, but i'm intrigued by the idea of treating this weird collecting impulse as a Project. like for sharing and stuff. keep your eyes peeled. more to come over time...

Monday, February 16, 2009

sketchbook project

oh, man, i was so distracted by wrong baby heads, i almost forgot to mention the sketchbook project:

bon voyage, little sketchbook

the sketchbook project is a touring art exhibit of hundreds of sketchbooks, each one by a different artist, based on a single theme (in this case, "everyone we know"). i thought it sounded cool, so i registered, got a sketchbook, filled it up, and sent it back. my sketchbook, along with hundreds of others, will go on tour starting feb. 27. maybe the tour will come near *you*. check it out!

i've posted some pictures and explanations of my sketchbook pages on the art house co-op website:

here's a graphic that never should have been made

much less employed for marketing purposes, say, for tooth whiteners. if i had a freaky green baby-faced tooth in my mouth, my only concern would be to GET IT OUT.
tooth from hell

a note to any graphic designers or aspiring graphic designers out there -- if you are thinking of putting a baby's face on an inanimate object to make it seem amusing or friendly, don't. it's like sad hobo clowns. creepy.

come to think of it, if you're thinking of putting a baby's face on anything that does not naturally come with one, do the world a favor and AVOID the impulse. you don't want to be responsible for something like this, do you?

wrong baby

i'm just sayin'. be kind. don't misuse baby heads.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

if i were a (banana) hammer

apparently one of the benefits of a -20F environment is that you can use your banana to build something (hopefully, something that will take you to a warmer place, yo). (skip the video clip -- their comic timing is waaaay off and from the volume of pointless chatter, i'm assuming they had air-time to burn. i mean, show us the banana hammer already.)

that's pretty damn cold. right now, right here, it is an unnatural 64 degrees. which is why i'm here and not building an escape pod with a banana.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

kay yow kicked ass. a lot.

if there was one person i thought could kick cancer's ass from here to thursday, it was nc state women's basketball coach kay yow. and she did, *three* times, starting in 1987, the same year i started as a student at nc state. through her 38-year coaching career and her decades-long battle with breast cancer, she became an icon of strength and courage for women across the country.

among the many times she kicked ass:

  • 1975 - nc state university hires yow as associate athletic director of all the university's women's sports and as coach of the one-season-old women's basketball team, as well as the softball and volleyball teams. she remains the coach of the women's basketball team for the rest of her life.

  • 1981 - helps to found the women's basketball coaching association (wbca).

  • 1986 - leads the u.s. women's basketball team to their first victory over the soviet union at the goodwill games, and to a gold medal at the 1986 world basketball championship.

  • 1988 - recovers from bout one with breast cancer to coach the u.s. women's basketball team to olympic gold in seoul. she is the first women's coach to win both the world championship and the olympics.

  • 1998 - coaches the nc state women's basketball team to the ncaa elite eight® and final four®. over the course of her 38-year career, her teams won four atlantic coast conference tournament championships and earned 20 ncaa tournament bids.

  • 2000 - is inducted into the women's basketball hall of fame.

  • 2002 - is one of the first five women to be inducted into the national basketball hall of fame.

  • 2002 - launches jimmy v classic women's tournament in 2002 to raise money for breast cancer research.

  • 2004 - battles the cancer a second time.

  • 2006 – launches "hoops for hope" game to raise money for breast cancer research.

  • 2006 – coaches her 1000th college game and becomes the first acc women's coach to record 650 victories. by the end of her career in 2009, she is one of only six women's basketball coaches to top 700 collegiate victories.

  • 2006 - battles the cancer a third time.

  • 2007 - establishes the kay yow/wbca cancer fund.

  • 2008 - continues to coach and support her players in spite of a fourth occurrence of breast cancer.

in one of her hall of fame induction speeches, she said, "my career has been made possible by many people who have dug wells from which I have drunk and by many who have built fires by which I have been warmed." even as she humbly gave props to others, she gave as much to those wells and fires as she got. with her passing today, she leaves an amazing legacy of courage, dignity, empowerment, and perseverance.

Friday, January 23, 2009

new stuff for a new year

have added new designs and new merch to my cafepress store:

also, i have begun to add my holga (a 120 format camera by lomography) portfolio to flickr:

if i'm not careful, i might actually make a go of this artist thing. heh.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


maybe it's because i still have feelings for the good old days of "the x-files", but i swear that the casting of history channel's "ufo hunters" is inspired by the beloved investigative trio, the lone gunmen. seriously. compare:

The Lone Gunmen
UFO Hunters

see? tell me you don't see it. there's a byers (brilliant, mild-mannered, mustache dude), langley (brilliant, hacker/gamer-type dude -- sans glasses, trade long hair for face fuzz), and frohike (brilliant, crusty-but-heart-o-gold, older dude -- with dark glasses). it's kind of awesome.