Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas...

I had a good time with the folks in North Carolina. I can't say that I miss that state, but I do miss certain things about it.
Everything was fantastic. The company was great, and the food was good. And the presents were thoughtful and USEFUL. No ugly christmas sweaters here, folks.

We made the 4 hour drive home without incident and I strangely (and promptly) was motivated to change my work area around. I guess with the new items in my life, I felt like I needed to re-arrange my setup.

Other highlights - a gift exchange with my sister Christmas Eve, Chinese food for dinner, and Midnight Mass.

Normally I would be giving you gads of photos, but this was also the Christmas that refused to be photographed. In Maryland a camera broke, and another camera lacked batteries. In North Carolina, a camera EXPLODED (yes, that's right). You'll have to use your imagination.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Last night, right after work, The Cartoon Network aired "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". The cartoon NOT the bastardized live action one. I am a huge fan of this movie and I pretty much wore out the VHS we owned. I was actually quite famous for wearing out VHSes - this was the fate of another Christmas Favorite. Fortunately, there is YouTube.

The Nutcracker: A Fantasy on Ice

This was released in 1983, the year I was born. I'm not sure what it IS about this version of the Nutcracker story, but I loved it when I was little and I can't say that I'm particularly fond of any other Nutcracker rendition. I'm also pretty sure it was entirely responsible for my little-girl-fondess of actual nutcrackers.

At any rate - just a couple of traditional Christmas staples that I can't do without.

(watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas, too).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cult of Yaris

As soon as I got a job after moving back to Maryland I bought my very first car: 2007 Yaris Hatchback. It's a hilarious little vehicle that can fit into any parking space, cost under 15,000 and gets at least 35 MPG. Their ad campaigns were cute, too.

Naturally I keep an eye out for other Yarises (Yari? Yarum?) so imagine my delight when a white hatchback Yaris started becoming a fixture in the apartment parking lot. Silver Yaris (mine) and White Yaris became pals, parking next to eachother and the like.

So this holiday season I got White Yaris a pine tree car freshener. I wrote a little note that said something like "To: White Yaris, From: Silver Yaris" and stuck it under the windsheild wiper.

TODAY I came out to my car and found a note. It said something to the effect of:"Thanks for the air freshener! Maybe we should go grab a cup of gasoline sometime?"

I love it when people (I mean cars) play along.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tis the season

I got a christmas tree! It's a sad, sad plastic 3 foot tall token. But I think it's pretty awesome. And it makes it look like my gifts for people are GIANT and UBIQUITOUS.
My shopping has been complete for weeks now - I'm just waiting on some things to arrive in the mail. I do have to say that USPS has been absolutely terrible this year. I wonder if it has something to do with the postman HATING MY GUTS. I don't know if he actually hates my guts, but I haven't had one positive interaction with this dude yet. On the random chance that I do see him, he usually bitches at me about my mailbox being broken. It's not broken, mind you. Every once in a while a bolt will come loose which effects the open and close of the door, but it's just a quick tightening by hand to fix it. Anyway - I kind of hate this guy and I'm pretty sure he's losing my packages.

I have done some inperson shopping, but it's mostly been for the animals in my life. I am sadly one of those people who gets their pets presents. Nooch and Fish got their presents early: for Nooch there's fancy food, yogies, and chews; for the Fish a cute green plant.

I'm one of those workhorses that didn't take any holiday time off so I'll be driving down to North Carolina on Christmas Day. Pictures to come, I'm sure.

Congratulations: have a steak

Today called for celebration - so we went for the steak.
The venue was oZ. Chophouse. The food was predictably tasty, the wine did its work, and most importantly, good conversation was had.

Locksley appreciated the leftovers.

(also, congratulations to ben).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

merry COOKIES!!

My sister has a holiday tradition of making Christmas Cookies. She didn't do it one year, and there was a mutiny. So now, whether she likes it or not, there MUST BE CHRISTMAS COOKIES. There was a mutiny, of course, because she makes the most brilliant assortment of cookies around.
This year, I came over to help for one day (although it takes at least 3 days to get them all done). Locksley and Melbourne helped.

My favorite recipe is below:

Rum Ball Cookies

Combine in bowl:
1/2 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 c. rum

Mix well. Add 3 cups vanilla wafer crumbs. Mix well. Form into small balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar. Store in tin box.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nerd Time.

I need to catch up on my nerding, I think. I say this for two reasons:

1) Holy Cow, new species. has a story about all of the new species that have been discovered (or rediscovered in the case of the Laotian Rock Rat) in the Mekong Delta. It's still possible I could have missed my calling as an "animal-something-or-other" because when articles like this are put out I get all excited. Nature, evolution, biodiversity - it's all pretty amazing. I mean, just check out Nesolagus Timminsi!

1) Web Analytics

At work I've been doing a lot of talking about Web Analytics. It makes me want to hole up with some nonprofit geeks and talk about pageviews, tracking individuals, and whether the numbers actually matter. I've been reading a lot of articles online (this one is pretty fantastic, though a definite wet blanket for folks who are use to working with non-web metrics) and I like what it's doing to my brain. I just wish I had some people to nerd out with. I mean, I do. But not ON DEMAND. It's kind of lonely being the only nerd of this sort at work.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Silkscreening - GOOD RIDDANCE.

This semester has been difficult. Going to school full time (whether online or not) and working full time is always hard, but it at least helps when you're taking classes you're excited about. I had no such luck this semester. My other three classes plodded along well enough but my silkscreening class was absolute murder.

I am happy to report, though, that it is now OVER. I managed to complete my final project and mail it successfully to San Francisco. Now I hope to never think of silkscreening again.

Here is one of the final prints:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin story

I thought you might enjoy this.
It's traditional (for me at least) to oust the pumpkins that have been decorating my house after Halloween is over. I've never had a problem with this formula until this year, where it has apparently been very popular with the squirrels.

Let me illustrate:

Indeed, this was not a human made jack-o-lantern. It started as just a few nibbles on the virgin orange flesh of my carefully picked pumpkin and it progressed, my friends, into this abomination.
I have it on good authority that the plump, one-eyed squirrel that lives in the trees around the apartment complex did it.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ode to Osaka

Every once in a while I get a hankerin' for sushi that must not be ignored. My favorite place, hands down, to satisfy my sushi needs is Osaka in Greenbelt, MD.

Please note, I have played the field, so to speak. I've tried sushi joints far and wide and I have to say (with the exception of the ULTRA swank Kai in New York) Osaka is my favorite.

The reasons:
1) it is close.
2) the sushi always tastes delicious.
3) it's reasonably priced.
4) you get salad AND miso for dinner.
5) the service is excellent.
6) the beverage selection is very good.
7) the ambiance is everything you could want in a japanese restaurant.

They also have a Happy Hour! And, importantly, they are hip enough to have a website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You Rock, Barack.

The votes have been tallied and we have our 44th President - Barack Obama.

I admit, I am one of those people that registered for the first time to vote for Obama. I even aligned myself as a Democrat so I could chip in for the primary. That's sort of a big deal for me, because I staunchly abhor any sort of affiliate for affiliation's sake. But in this instance, I made a very large exception.

Voting was a breeze today, though I hear it was not as nice for some other people. I live in a city that is politically active and full of old-guard free spirits/hippy types. So the whole process was surprisingly efficient. From the time I parked my car to the time I trotted away from the polling place only an hour had elapsed. Some of my co-workers we not so lucky - they were nearly 3 hours late to work.

I knew my County would carry Barack based on its demographic, but I was compelled to vote anyway. Not to be disappointed, when I got out of my car after driving home from watching most of the News, I was greeted with hooping and hollering and - yes - fireworks. PG County never fails to show its pride.

This election has given me a lot of faith: foremost in the somewhat alien "American People" with whom I don't feel very closely aligned. I have to say, I was pretty pessimistic about whether folks would be able to use their brain instead of falling back on primal fears. I've also got restored faith in The Process - my guy WON which means this whole election thing must not be as broken as I was lead to believe 4 or 8 years ago.

But mostly I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the days after. Things won't be easy and they won't be pretty but it will be brave and new and I think that kind of lean and hungry attitude is what we really need.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The Story:

So It was the Eve of Halloween and I was having kind of a tough day. My fella was going to come see me so I asked if he could bring some hot chocolate.
So he shows up and tells me to stay in my room while he gets the hot chocolate ready. I thought it was a little odd, but I can sometimes be a not very bright girl..

Regardless, in a few minutes he comes out - not with hot chocolate - but with a BRAND NEW MacBook. When he opens it, the desktop background is a picture of him with a sign that says "Will You Marry Me?" and a ring on the keyboard.

I said yes, of course. :)

Friday, October 31, 2008


Important details to come but, for the moment, some pictures.

We ended up going to a gallery opening consisting of "Dead of the Dead" inspired art above an Ethiopian Restaurant. It was pretty good - though once over it we went to the old bar haunts: The Black Cat - Red Room, and The 9:30 Club - Back Bar. I'm not sure how we managed it, but we ended up getting home around 3am.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Doctor Diatribe

Let me preface this story by saying: I am a bit of a workaholic and don't take sick days very often. So the fact that I took work off today alone should say something about the issue.

I wanted to take a moment to diatribe about doctors. I hate them and do not trust them or respect them. I mean, I do respect them as human beings. But I do not intellectually buy in to the idea that they know more than I do, although I apparently do in practice. What am I talking about?

Well, I took off work today because I have been feeling especially sick for the past two days. I say especially because for the paste several months my neck has been giving me trouble. You might remember that I had something hacked out my neck last year. I have now had recurring issues where my throat feels swollen, like someone is jabbing their finger in to the surrounding muscles (and whatever lymph nodes and other weird things are around there). Sometimes this will be accompanied by feeling flushed.
So I go to the doctors today to get this stuff checked out. And I tell him "and I cyst taken out of my neck" yadda yadda. You'd think a doctor would say "oh, she has a pre-existing condition" and send me to a ear nose and throat doctor who knows things. But no. He suggests I take allergy medicine, and has me get blood taken because I walk my dog and maybe a tick bit me.


Of course I had absolutely no spine, and should have said "hey, give me a referral will you or a soft tissue xray". But I didn't. I just did what he told me. Which is annoying because I know two weeks from now I'll just be back in there with my neck still feeling obnoxious.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Halloween Tree

It's pretty much mandatory for me to read Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree every October. It's the book that got me interested in the writing of Bradbury in general, and of course, focuses on my favorite holiday topic.

I was first acquainted with it because The Cartoon Network made it into a movie (part 1, courtesy of YouTube!), and the voice of Mr. Moundshroud was done by Leonard Nimoy. My Pappy was a big video person (one room of his house was lined with VHS) and this was one of the titles on the shelf.

Because the quip "the book was better" is almost always true, I decided to look up the book online. And it was true - the book WAS better. It is, in fact, one of my most favorite books of all times. Which you would think is weird - I mean, technically I guess it's a young adult book. But the writing style of Bradbury is so rich in imagery and poem, and the scenes the book goes through are just so aesthetically please to me, that the pretty standard plot (kids, saving their friend) doesn't pinch the intellect.

Anyway - I'm going to start reading it tonight and I highly recommend you get your hands on it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Halloween NOMS

I love halloween. I have never been a big candy fiend, or a big "foodie". But something about this holiday makes me both. I want to make delicious autumn food, and eat extremely snotty candy. Like the stuff below:

Day of the Dead Skulls
Sweet skulls, sweet skulls! A skull for a soul! These look delicious and they SOUND delicious. I've had some chocolate from these folks before and while it is most definitely pricey it does a crazy dance on your tongue.

Classic Pumpkins - aka Drunken Chocolate Figs
Not only do these look cute, but they are FIGS drenched in whiskey clove ganache. I support inebriated fruit, and autumn so really - what's not to like?

Grey Salt Apple
There are lots of yummy items at this link but, in keeping in with the fruit theme - chocolate covered apples. They have lot of varieties lists but I think the grey salt apple looks fanciest.

That's it for now! More Halloween to come...

Dead things, and more dead things

The New York Times was definitely on the ball. They've run TWO articles recently that got me excited.

ONE: American Psycho, the musical
As most people who have been around me for any length of time know, I'm kind of a fan of American Psycho. It started with the movie (Christian Bale!) which prompted the speedy purchase and consequent reading of the book. And, as usual, "the book was better". So, then a became a Bret Easton Ellis fan. Anyway - it seems to me like American Psycho would be a fantastic musical. It has a great balance of comedy, music, and of course horror. I am most definitely going to see this in person once it gets into production - requiring a trip to NYC, and maybe reservations at Dorsia's (kidding).

TWO: Ornithology as art
Most of us know about John Audubon or Albertus Seba (or maybe I just think people do... nature art nerds!) but I've always been intrigued by nature as art in areas other than illustration. What really got me going was the idea of "Nature and Birds: Science Art From Cave Walls to Computer Screens". When ever there is a synthesis of different media it usually turns out to be something very novel and interested (or at least unexpected). The idea that humans and animals have been linked from day one is something I support, and it's interesting to see art thrown into the mix as well.

So, there was have it. Two of my favorite ideas involving dead things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


So.. the internet was down at work from 1:20pm yesterday to about 11am this morning. For most people this is a bummer - you can't surf the interwebs, or check your personal email and so on. It extra-sucks for people who want to do work. In this case we couldn't access our shared drives which decreased the amount of work people could do.

But if you're someone like me - who position is WEB associate (you see that? right in the name, there?) you are sad, sad, sad. Because you can do jack. Because the internet is your thing. I was restricted to working with things I had saved to my computer's C drive. And really, reading Raiser's Edge guides is only so interesting.

Although part of me was griping about why there wasn't a redundant line (apparently there was, but both failed - but no one told me who our ISP is so I could kick them in the nose regardless) another part of me was really, really happy it was not my problem. It was liberating not having to care about fixing the internet, or having to hound someone to fix the internet. The work hierarchy was in place and I didn't have to worry about it. Leaving me free to gripe in my head. It was great.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

So this weekend while scouring the earth for art supplies we randomly picked up a city paper and caught that My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult was having a show at DC9.

This is a band I had wanted to see for sometime but, for one reason or another, hadn't. It seemed like every time they came to town I would find out about it AFTER the fact. I can clearly recall the very first opportunity I had to see them - they were having a show at the 9:30 Club in a couple of days and I only found out about it because I was at 9:30 for a MDFMK show (yes, you read that right - I went to an MDFMK show). And in highschool you can't just go to two shows in a row. Plus I think it was a weeknight.

ANYWAY. Why do I like this band? There is the obvious musical merit. I like the way they sound. But listening to them transports me back to a stage in my development - a crystalized moment in time. Listening to them reminds me of a sort of dark, desperate depravity but not in a meaningful way - not in a Nine Inch Nails "I am truly feeling miserable" kind of way. This was more of a chosen, masochistic kind of darkness. If you listen to "A Daisy Chain 4 Satan" you'll know what I mean.

We saw them Sunday night and the space was the right amount of full - a respectable crowd that wasn't so bad that you had to stand too close to strangers but wasn't so wimpy that you felt bad for the band. I have to say the patrons were a pretty good looking lot, which is notable since this is an industrial rock crowd (hating! I'm fired). There were lights! and video! and a fog machine!

But best of all there was good music. They didn't play all my favorites, but the hit a lot of memorable tunes (including "A Daisy Chain 4 Satan"). I danced like a madman and it was excellent. I kept saying "This was SUCH a good idea". I had some random people offer me a sip from their flask ("No thanks, I'm good"). In general I have to say it was one of the best and most memorable shows I've been to in a long time. If you're entertained by songs about sex, drugs and occult I would highly recommend catching their show/buying an ablum.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lots of Lox

this is all you get. (here's more in the album)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

WTF, loser?

I am sad to say that I've been busy and not in an entirely fun way.

I've been adjusting nicely to the new job but it takes up a lot of time. Not just in the working 8 hours kind of way - I have to wake up early to get ready (in comparison to my other job, this is not one where I can roll out of bed, slap on some clothes, and be decent for the office), and my commute is pretty ridiculous. I know for a fact that some people have MUCH worse commutes but again, in comparison to my old job that was practically down the street, this commute takes forever. Not only do I get to enjoy the beltway, but the traffic is pretty foolish coming into/getting out of the city of Bethesda anyway. As evidenced by the picture to the left.

I have also started school which is good. I do not have a very flexible schedule, though so I end up fitting working on school stuff on any spare hour I have. I'm taking four classes which is a full workload because a) I want to get this over with b) It is a financial aid requirement. So on the roster for this semester: Silkscreening, Physics, English for Art Kids, and Quark Design. Those are not the actual names of the classes - they have goofier titles but above is what they actually ARE. I was trying to figure out why this semester has been harder for me than last semester and I think I've finally got it - I'm not particularly interested in any of these classes. I kind of hate silkscreening, Physics makes me kind of barfy, English is something I feel I can do blindfolded, and I personally think Quark is a bullshit program that doesn't hold a candle to InDesign. Never the less - gotta get that over glorified piece of paper...

So, that is all. I wake up at 7am, feed the dog, walk the dog, get ready for work, spend an hour in traffic, work for 8 hours, spend an hour in traffic, feed the dog, eat dinner, walk the dog, do school work and GO TO BED.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fall is coming...

I love Fall. It is hands down my most favorite season. People who have known me for any length of time know I get comically enthusiastic about Autumn, or specially, Halloween. It can start as early as July, but really kicks in during August when stores like Michaels start putting out their Halloween wares. I have to restrain myself from buying all the awesome stuff at once so I can prolong the Autumn Enthrallment.

The first step this year was visiting Benke's. The trip was planned out of necessity - it was imperative that the weed situation in the front and backyards were addressed in the form of getting mulch to smother them. So, since those are not my yards to be tending I wanted to get something fun as I tagged along.

Behold - Mums. They are the quintessential fall foliage. They have rows and rows and rows and thanks to genetic engineering they come in lots of wonderful color variations. I selected one called "Dark Triumph". Your plants must have sufficiently Metal sounding names. I poked around a little bit more to see what else I could find and came across a really interesting ornamental plant that looked like it had little peppers all over it. The color palette was right, and it was weird enough. Plus, it was called "Explosive Ember" and really, how could you NOT pick up a plant with a name like that if you're already getting "Dark Triumph"?

The mums haven't bloomed yet, but they're working on it. The EXPLOSIVE EMBER is fullblown, though.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Alley Cat Alley

October 16th is National Feral Cat Day - the annual kick-off for Alley Cat Allies' national education campaign.

As a sort of promotion of the event, and just a generally fun way of showing support, there is Photo Pledge page for members of the public. Basically the game goes like this:

1. You print out this page and put your name on it.
2. You take a picture of yourself (and your pet! If you have one)
3. You upload the photo here.
4. It gets posted to the gallery here.

Highly entertaining - so I encourage you to do it. I'll show ya mine, if you show me yours :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lots of Dog Park

In the pursuit of finding novel things to do, we've been taking Locksley to as many dog-friendly places that we can find. Fortunately the DC Metro area has quite a few.

Recently we went to both the Quiet Waters park in Annapolis, and the Greenbelt Dog Park. The Annapolis dog park was nicer - it was huge, had a dog beach (unfenced which was not so good for us) and lots and lots of people and well behaved dogs. It cost $5 to get into, though, which was kind of lame but understandable since the park was HUGE and obviously well maintained. The Greenbelt Dog Park was nice and close, but when we went there weren't many dogs around (and the ones that were there weren't as mellow and playful as the Annapolis dogs).

Regardless, Locksley had a great time and was exhausted by the end of it. More pictures in the Locksley photo album, but a couple silly ones here:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I am good at the internet

I am in a job transition. My last day at the job I've had for nearly 2 years was July 25th, my first day at the new job will be August 4th. That means I have a whole week to reflect and get ready which was afforded to me by the wisdom of my new employer. When they asked "When can you start?" I of course enthusiastically replied "Whenever you need me to", but instead of saying "Tomorrow!" they said "Why don't you take a week off and start on the 4th". Brilliant. I need people to set boundaries since - as evidenced with the last job - my work ethic can get the best of me.

Regardless I've been spending the time rediscovering why I love the internet in the first place. I've been researching getting a laptop for school (since the company issued one is where it belongs - with the company I left), re-acquainting myself with personal email, and playing with an assortment of Google incepted toys. I've been bouncing around bulletin boards, signing up to mailing lists, and - yes - spending way too much time with lolcats.

I've also been thinking about actually working on my website, making an honest woman out of my blog (what?), and finally getting around to picking my mother's brain about setting up her website.

Today I realized it was only TUESDAY. That is good and also terrifying. I don't feel like I've had this much time on my hands in a while and I apologize in advance for whatever messes I make between now and gainful employment.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I have acquired a dog.
This should be absolutely no surprise since I have a long history of surrounding myself with animals. However even I will admit that this was probably a bad idea, mostly impulsive, and something I will mostly likely regret on a bi-weekly basis.

I am of course being melodramatic.
For months and months I had been scouring pet shelters looking for a dog that might like to come home with me. I finally picked a medium sized Afghan Hound Mix Female. When I went to visit, though, it turned out the dog was more like a large German Shepherd Mix Male. Oops. Fortunately (for him) he was very endearing and I decided to fill out adoption papers anyway.

I ended up bringing him home on June 27th and spending the rest of the weekend FREAKING OUT. Mostly because I thought I was just filling out paper work and not bringing him home until the week after. But no. Chaos, right out of the gate.
Thanks to my very best partner in crime I kept my head on and so far dog partnership has been pretty entertaining. We've gone to the woods in Pennsylvania, walked around Old Town Alexandria, had 4th of July in Delaware, and taken a swim in a Lake in North Carolina.
The Dog's name is Locksley (or Loxley, if you prefer) as in "Robin Of". While he is a bit puppyish (he's maybe 10 months old and gets bored - read: destructive/hyper - with a frequency that I can mostly tolerate) he did come crate trained, knowing how to sit, lay own, and "shake", and for the most part listens really well. He get walked twice a day for anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes and has energy to spare.

So be on the lookout. Click on the picture above for an album. More pictures as they come, and probably some good adventure stories.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I like moss. So I decided to make it the subject of my digital photography final project. The shots aren't technically very good, but I like them anyway.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Twigs and grass

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before, but I am fond of the artist Faryn Davis.

SM gave me one of her creations for Christmas and it is, hands down, my most favorite Piece Of Pretty to wear. I am a well document friend of things-in-jars and as far as I'm concerned, this is a wearable thing-in-a-jar (or resin, if you want to be accurate).


Yes, it's a Nine Inch Nails song.

But I came across a really fun link called "Who Wants to Live a Million Years" on the Science Channel website. It's really fun, and additive paying with the different trait combinations and seeing how the species you've created does.

I've always though natural selection was neat because it's not like an organism "decides" to grow a longer neck or something. A mutation just happens, and there it is. Of course you can converse about whether a Higher Power makes the change or if it's completely un-designed - but either way I think it's neat in any case that the organism has really no part in it.
I remember my college ecology class talking about natural selection and it was really interesting that some folks had some pretty big misconceptions about natural selection. My favorites:

1) an animal stretches its neck out reaching for berries up high, its neck gradually gets longer, and that trait is passed on to its offspring.
The error here is that the animals genes have remained the same. While its neck has physically changed, it was due to outside stimulus that did not effects its genes. It's ability to pass on short necks (what it was born with) was not changed on a genetic level, so if the animal was born with a short neck, its offspring will have a short neck. UNLESS of course, the physical change was brought on by a gene altering act (a bunch of glowing green chemical waste was dumped on the animal, changing its genetic makeup, giving it a longer neck! Thank you Hollywood!) This also goes to the premise that individuals adapt, but only species evolve.

2) an animal starts to look like a flower, in order to be camoflauged.
This is a real example from class. We were talking about a species of praying mantis that looks exactly like a part of an orchid. The mantis hangs out in aforementioned orchid where it snatches bugs who try to drink/gather pollen. The question was how did the mantis know to look like an orchid? Simply, it didn't. A mantis, thanks to genetic mutation, was born accidentally looking a little like an orchid (maybe it was white, or had fanned out forelegs or something) and because other insects couldn't see it as well, it went on to make more offspring.

I think it's amazing. Not everything is calculated, thought out and logical. Sometimes there are just brilliant accidents. Without realizing it, or having a say in it at all, an entire population can start down a divergent genetic road. It makes me think, from an individual's stand point, what kind of survival techniques we adopt by accident without really realizing it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


More class work. It was an exercise in light and product photography. I had gotten this neat night light from Ikea and decided to photograph it. Part two of the assignment was to make an ad out of the product.
I think it turned out pretty well. I like the composition and all the weird lines created from the dark and lighter shapes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I have been very slack with my blog but very UN-slacky with my school work. For your amusement, some photographs of my various school labors.

The Biophilia book was based on an assignment prompting us to make a book from found objects. I went for a walk around the lake and picked up various bits of nature to include.

The rat picture was study of motion in photography. I let Nooch run around the apartment like a menace. Of course, just looking at this photo, not knowing it's my dear loving rat, gives the shot a kind of dirty/creepy feeling. Fun!

This was my mid-term. It was a book based on a quote by Egon Schiele. I was pretty disappointed by the way it turned out but it took me many sleepless nights to make so I figure I'd better include it on principle.

Tea bag! This was just a study in detail and light. It looks very texturey and touchable so I liked it.

This is probably my favorite book I've made so far which is funny because it was an assignment that was meant to push our understanding of what a book is. We weren't allowed ot use any paper, or paper products. So I used a jaw bone of a deer (supplied by Mr. Tim) and used it as my book spine. I painted it with india ink. The pages are plastic, with wax dripped around them. I punched holes in the wax and then sewed wax thread through it to attach it to the spine. Creepy and awesome.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We went there. Highlights: the architecture, the Oregon Zoo, and waterfalls.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Orleans: Adventures

We went to the NTC in New Orleans this year and also did a bit of messing around in the city. My favorite part was the cemetery.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nature and Art

Don't drink and blog.

Meanwhile, this is a great link to an inspiring artist.

Sebastian Buescher

Also, they are a million years old, but I still love and can't get enough of these guys:

Giant Microbes

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Speaking of bones...

I mean, it is called "design with spine, right?"

This is my actual spine. I had to get an x-ray taken a couple weeks ago and I finally got around to picking them up so I thought I'd share. I also have slews of really neat looking MRIs but it does take a good amount of boredom to scan and post all of those things.

You might be able to tell, but unlike well behaved spines, the one in this picture has a little bit of an s-curve to it. At any rate, I think images of insides are really amazing - despite the weird scanning lines that tend to show up in them.

Also, bones

This was an assignment for Digital Photography.

And I like bones.

This is a deer skull that my step-father let me have. Included (besides the skull) were jaw bones and a couple vertebrae. Neat!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Assignments: Book Art

Behold: Books I have made!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bunnies in your Living Room

Flipping through the Dwell Magazine that occassionally manifests on the coffee table I came upon one of the most clever things I've seen in a while: Permafrost "Silence" RugGet it? It's bunny tracks across your newly fallen snow-rug! Such cleverness gets me a little swoony. I'm looking forward to retailers picking this up - it's that blend of nature + design that I heartily endorse.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Things in Jars

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of "things in jars". Not only does the science dork in me find preserved organisms wildly interesting (have you ever seen a up close?) but there's something about the aesthetic of preservation that really appeals to the design in me. The variety of glass containers, handwritten labels, and just the sheer number of the collection. Apparently, I'm not alone. Check out the work of Andy Paiko:
While I'm not neat enough to have anything of this caliber in my house, I am fortunate enough to live in an area with many free museums. My favorite is The Naturalist Center in Leesburg, Virginia. While the various Smithsonian buildings in Washington, DC are frequented and crowded, this little gem is very low-key and volunteer run. Not to mention, chock full of things in jars, taxidermy and other examples of the diverse biology of the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Get you some Education

I'm kind of a pain in the ass. In fact, some might claim I like to do things the hard way. Case in point: my educational history.
I started, fresh out of high school, going to the Academy of Art College, in San Francisco. I love it there! It was great! I didn't take nearly as much advantage of my time there as I should of. I stopped going after a year because I freaked out about money (the prospect of being $40,000+ in debt when you're 18 is pretty daunting).
But! I was committed to learning! So where-ever I moved (and I moved a lot) I enrolled in school., Evergreen State University, and a couple of community college later I have finally decided to bite the bullet and go back to my original "first love" - The Academy of Art University.

Am I moving? Nope! They have a completely online curriculum which is great considering my propensity for hopping states (oops).

So there you have it. I will be working my ass off for the next semester. On my plate:
Design Technology
Digital Photography
Art History through the 15th Century
Book Arts 1

Look for varied and weird updates in the future.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fascists and Grasshoppers

In the spirit of doing things "with spine" - in design and all things - when I visited the resturant Oyamel Cocina Mexicana in Washington, DC I obviously had to partake in this unique menu item:

Taco de Chapulines

The legendary oaxacan speciality of sautéed grasshoppers, served with shallots, garlic and tequila $4.50

It was pretty delicious, though I have to say that the grasshoppers looked almost exactly like what I fed my Leopard Gecko. Delicious!
This nicely rounded out the evening, which was primarily filled by program with Steve Heller on the topic of totalitarian propaganda design.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Zombie Rat (hearts)!

As I was driving home from work today I caught part of Science Friday on NPR. If you've never listened, I highly recommend it - as their tagline suggests, it aims to " [make] Science User-Friendly" which is something I can get behind.
At any rate, the story that caught my attention was about ZOMBIE RATS. Well, not really I guess. But they did take a dead rat heart and made it beat again. Pretty amazing, huh? The way they did it is really clever and kind of sci-fi: they took a heart from a dead rat, washed it of its cells, and then put new cells in the "ghost" heart. The new cells grew and the heart started beating (it took a couple of weeks, but still, that's pretty amazing).
As a side note, the heart looks really cool all cleaned up. Kind of like blown glass.

You can read about the science and watch the video here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pay It Forward: Craft Edition

It's contagious! One of my favorite blogs is nurtured by Laura Jane Murphy, and the last time I visited she had a post up about a craft/art exchange type of thing. The rules are:

- Anyone with a blog can join
- The first three people to leave a comment on this post will receive a handmade gift from me.
- I will send your gift within 365 days.
- In return, you have to pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Of course I jumped all over that and was the first poster (!!)
Even though I am admittedly more of a designer/info architect type of person, I can be pretty handy in composing touchable creations.
So - despite the fact that this is a brand new blog I'm expecting at least 3 people (strangers?! friends?) to visit and post to get something weird from me. You know you're wildly curious...

Aesthetics and the Collector's Cabinet

I am both a scientist and an artist - and while those may seem like two opposing identifiers - there are rare times when I find something that satisfies both of these aspects of my personality. Artfully done biological collections are one of these things.

The Victorian Era gave rise to a fantastic hobby among distinguished gentlemen of the time - that is the collection of various objects of natural history. The measure of a dapper fellow's collection was a social status marker, and thanks to their ego, there are several rather impressive private assemblages of bones, hides, fossils, and preserved specimens across the biological kingdom.

I am shamelessly fascinated by such collections. The Walters Art Museum has a room which, rather successfully, uses the painting "The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector's Cabinet" to mimic what one of these private hordes would look like. This got me very excited, gentle reader, because I am a huge sucker for natural wonders. Corals, fossils, stones, bones, leopard skins, moose heads, bugs pinned in boxes, microscopes, dried flora, and slimey things in jars! All displayed with the touch of an artist's design.

Not only do these collections satisfy me on a intellectual, scientific level but there's something about the aesthetic of these things that my brain really indulges. The items themselves are beautiful and interesting - the textures of skulls, the construction of insects, the intricate patterns of corals. But the design of the objects that surround them - slide microscopes, various sized bottles with caps and corks, boxes with glass tops, magnifying glasses - makes me pretty giddy, too.

It should be noted that there is a significant difference between this highly aesthetic Victorian Era style of collecting and the more legitimate scientific cataloging of nature. There is a really exciting Naturalist Center that is a part of the Smithsonian Institute that serves as a public study center of such collections. Here there are hundreds of preserved animals - tagged and named and stored in drawers for scientific study and comparison. While this kind of collection lacks the artful presentation, the sort of playful "isn't this cool and gorgeous and fantastic?" aspect, I could still spend about a thousand hours sifting through the collection.

Apparently I'm not the only dork who thinks biology is beautiful. The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is housing an exhibit called Transitions: Photographs by Robert Creamer. He's also a big fan of the Naturalist Center (using some of their specimens as subjects) and also takes fantastic photographs of flora in various stages of decay. Now that Spring is slowly creeping back into our lives I expect there to be plenty of opportunities to appreciate the aesthetics of nature and to work on a Collector's Cabinet of my own.
(orginally posted 3/16/07 at

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ketchup Bag

This is a bag from Target I bought several months ago.
Apparently, it is ketchup color.
Also, I need to buy a new camera. The flash is not working and that makes me sad. However, it does mean that I have a perfectly good excuse to get a new.