Saturday, December 30, 2006

the short list 2006

The Amazing

James Brown

Betty Friedan

Wilson Pickett

Coretta Scott King

Gordon Parks

June Pointer

James A Van Allen (physicist)

Anita O'Day

Joe Barbera (of Hanna-Barbera)

The Criminal

Saddam Hussein

Augusto Pinochet

Kenneth Lay (Enron Founder)

The Idiot

Steve Irwin

Scrap Gold Pile

Three good things came of my holiday season.

1. I watched my old roommate's oldest friend burn a huge stack of gift boxes on christmas night, right after she came home with them. Something incredibly cathartic happened in seeing all those present boxes flame up in her suburban fireplace while my old roommate told me what wasn't classified about the section of the government she's currently working for.

Sometimes I think more of my friends are spies than aren't. And it's nice to watch gift boxes burn, and think about how I never want to be involved in this kind of holiday again.

2. I walked into my oldest friend's parent's house, to hear her mother shriek with joy that my hair is now cut like it was when I was eight years old.

3. A relative gave me some jewelry that is rather meaningful to her, and in turn, me. To rough up some of the tenderness of the gift, she informed me that she was giving it to me so that it wouldn't end up, after her death, in another relative's "scrap gold pile". I'm glad to have alleviated her concern about the other relative becoming a pirate and melting down rather precious and sentimental heirlooms of the family.

Yes, she said "scrap gold pile". And she meant it. Bless her heart.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Make magazine I love you so.

The only copy I have of Make Magazine is volume 5. By "have" I mean, I lent it to my therapist- it means that much to me. It's the one with instructions on how to build your own wind-energy generator for less than 500 bucks. There are tons of other things in there, but that is #1 in impressing little It was given to me by a guy named Jeff.

Some fine attributes about Jeff:
  1. introduced me to Make Magazine.
  2. sublets his sweet little cheap apartment to my man-friend and I, for very little money in a really ideal local.
  3. left the 3-keg kegerator in the kitchen when he moved
  4. makes good homebrew
  5. is easy to talk to, even for 5 hours in a sports bar on a dead saturday night
  6. self-identifies as "sleazy" but isn't.
  7. knows more about Futurama than my own boyfriend
  8. plays board games you haven't heard of
  9. left green lantern and "bite me fan boy" pins in the most strange places in this apt
  10. owns part of a fancy coffee bar/lifestyle center in Chicago where he now lives
But Jeff aside, there's make.

I've fallen in love with Make magazine. (see the scrolling feed at the bottom of the page, oh yes, that's make feed. ) And they sent me a christmas present. I bought several subscriptions for people's holiday presents, and one of them was supposed to get the Make Reference guide. Instead they sent it to me, the billing address. And I LOVE IT.

Ask me anything. Standards, measures, conversions. If there's a reference chart I think it's in there.

I'm utterly amazed.
And I'm awaiting my subscription, hoping that the gift ones don't all arrive on my doorstep.


After weeks of trying to explain myself in 500 words or less, I've decided that Shaw is right on many things. The least of which is that I too should have a blog, and not just the blog on myspace which I was informed "doesn't count" or my project blog which I've been told also "doesn't count" and hasn't had a new post in 6 months.

The title Our Wonder World comes from a 1914 encyclopedia that I'm in love with. I love it's obvious failures in fact checking, I love its strange illustrations, I love its questions, I love its answers, I love its unapologetic world view. I even love its fonts and page quality.

It is a series of 11 volumes, titles following:

Vol. 1 The World and its Peoples
Vol. 2 Invention and Industry
Vol. 3 The Nature Book
Vol. 4 Exploration, Adventure, and Achievement
Vol. 5 Every Child's Story Book
Vol. 6 Sports and Pastimes, Indoors and Out
Vol. 7 Amateur Handicraft
Vol. 8 Story and History
Vol. 9 The Mother's Home Book
Vol. 10 The Quiz Book
Vol. 11 The Wonder of Life

Now I've only ever encountered Vol. 1, which totally changed my life. The images I found in this testament-to-a-time past were so compelling that I began to use them as backgrounds for my paintings. Using artifacts like children's encyclopedias in my work is a fundamental strategy of mine. How can I make work about our culture that has no physical element of our culture in it? Na. But also, I love how they look. I've been trying to purchase the other ten volumes on Abes, but either they're way too expensive, or they cancel my order when the shop can't find the books. I'm still kicking myself for the day that I saw them all in the thrift store in Baltimore and didn't buy them all at once, but instead just the first, which maybe was all I could handle at the time.

I digress about the purchasing of encyclopedias.

So here I go, with my new all general blog about the world as I see it, or find it, or experience it, or like it.