noideadog: (natural dancer)
We had our childbirth class today. The nurse got us to practice Lamaze breathing exercises and made sure we understood that everything we'd learned from tv was wrong. "If you breathe like they do on soap operas, you'll just be dizzy. We're going to do long slow breaths, with short breaths for the peaks. Do they work? No, of course they don't work! They're just to distract you." I appreciated the honesty.

We talked through all of the ways things could progress and watched as a (largish) plastic doll made its way through a (smallish) plastic pelvis in several unlikely ways. Nobody fainted, but we were all a bit quiet and thoughtful by the end of the day. I mean, I guess I already knew most of this stuff, but I knew it in the interesting theoretical way that you can know things that are on the internet. It's different when the things are supposed to apply to you in some way. And in the next six to eight weeks, most likely. Surely not.

The hospital instructions form doesn't have a checkbox for "all of the drugs please, and also a martini and whatever you're having yourself", but I think they've left room to write it in.

The other thing that's going on right now is that we're insulating the icebox that is our living room. Last months' bathroom renovation was my first ever big house project, and this is my second, and I'm noticeably more comfortable with the process this time around. I'd hire these contractors again. Well, I should wait until it's all done before I pat myself too firmly on the back, but so far I have high hopes... and, of course, much less money than I started with.

Painting is the next thing. I had no good ideas, but people on gplus made good suggestions and we have five kinds of light grey paint to start splodging on walls tomorrow.

So, childbirth, insulation and light grey walls. Are these the riveting topics I expected to be talking about at age thirty four and three quarters? Would you like to hear about how we're changing health insurance providers at work too? Aw, I might be feeling a bit wistful for what I was doing this time last year, because I ended up spending hours on looking at pictures of train stations. Don't you just want to go whereever this lady is going?

I got a print of her, and one of this, and they'll keep me going until it's time to travel again.
noideadog: (meerkat)
Wow, internet-me hasn't really existed recently. Here's some things that have been going on:

Joel and I went to the (excellent!) Edward Hopper exhibition in the Whitney. Afterwards we noticed that we were in the path of some people who were making a film, so we had fun pretending to be Hopper characters in the background, sitting at the same table all introspective and isolated, physically together but not together, looking out the window, concentrating on our coffees, then breaking character and laughing like fools. We are so fucking highbrow.

Alex-cat and Lucy-cat are now able to be in the same room with only mild hissing and swearing, though she's still sad most of the time. I hope she stops minding soon. Alex sleeps on the bed until 6am or something and then runs in wild happy circles, ignoring strong language and feeble swipes, until we concede that we're awake. Asshole cat. On the other hand, I woke up in the middle of the night to turn over to the other side and couldn't because he was asleep on my head. It was unexpected and strange, but oddly comforting. Cats are great little people.

Last week was my birthday. I'm 33 now! It's my Jesus year! I probably won't create a major world religion this year, but I might learn how to make tonic water using the soda stream that Joel got me for my birthday. I love it. I ordered ten [unknown units] of cinchona bark and one [bottle of indeterminate size] of citric acid from a vaguely stocked website, so hilarity will probably ensue. There's a recipe here, if you want to play too:

We were in Puerto Rico. The hotel was a stupid resort but the sun was warm and the mojitos were tasty. You know what? I never, ever sit and do nothing for hours at a time. I sat in a hammock and I got sun on me and I read my book. It wasn't even educational! (Ok, I'm rereading the Baroque Cycle, so it was a bit educational, but that wasn't the point.)

My Sleep Thing is continuing. I'm waking up and getting sleepy at regular human times and it's a glorious thing. Key features include melatonin, f.lux software, a lightbox immediately after waking, protein-filled breakfasts, light-avoiding behaviours, and science. It does indeed appear to work. I have sexy yellow night glasses on order so I can work late without being oppressed by full-spectrum office lights too.

A bunch of us went hiking in the snow, and we'll for sure do it again. Winter hiking is much harder than summer hiking, studies have shown, but it does allow you to bring a thermos of coffee and a little something to warm it up, and that's not to be sniffed at. The snow was absolutely gorgeous. Hiking's brilliant.

And now we're going for cocktails, so internet-me will morph back into real-life-me again. Laters.
noideadog: (culture)
We went to The Observatory Room today to see A Love Craft, a show of art inspired by madness and monsters. It's brilliant fun, all tentacles and protean horrors, and it's well worth the trip out to Gowanus.

It's nice when you go to a gallery hoping to see a good exhibition, and instead you see two. Underwater New York is a group project where people are invited to make art and stories about objects that were found in New York's waterways. Unexpected objects too, like icecream trucks and a grand piano and a dead giraffe and all manner of interestingness. The pieces cover the full spectrum from mundane to glorious, and I bought the most glorious of all, this poem about the Kangamouse

I just love this. I can't collect it until next Sunday, but I'm really looking forward to having it on the wall.
noideadog: (meerkat)
This long holiday weekend I: started wearing contact lenses, shoveled our front porch, had a New Years party, took down drywall using a claw hammer (so much fun), put up window insulation, dug around in antique shops but failed to buy a secretary desk, saw the Georgia O Keefe exhibition in the Whitney, saw Monet's waterlilies in MOMA, did the android development codelabs, watched Battlestar Galactica, drank Mezcal (but didn't eat the worm at the bottom of the bottle), pushed a wonky shopping trolley full of beer for ten blocks in the snow, ordered a tool shed, bought and carried home a ladder, spent a day doing diy then ironically cut my finger open on a bread knife, did first aid using gauze and electrical tape, planned my trip to Dublin, bought high-energy green paint called 'gecko', and began the process of turning a walk-in closet into my study. Cleaning and priming is done; next comes polyfilla^Wspackle, painting, cork boards and furniture. It will be AWESOME.
noideadog: (culture)

Originally uploaded by xymb.
At the Met last month, I was surprised by how many red-headed baby Jesuses there were in (I think) the Robert Lehman Collection. In fact, we saw an inordinate number of pictures that could be described as "Sleazy old-man red-headed baby Jesus likes boobs". I'm not making this up.

I went looking for one particular painting this evening, and ended up reading most of It's spiffy. If you have limited time, I'd recommend the Old Man Baby Jesus and Breastfeeding Baby Jesus collections.

This blog seems to have only two readers on Google Reader (and I'm one of them, and I bet the blogger is the other), so if you like this, here's what you should add:

Tanya, cultural evangelist of sleazy red headed Jesuses. (I'm getting business cards made).

Edit: Oh, I just remembered my point in making this post, which was to ask if someone more cultured than me (that'd be most of you) could tell me why so many Jesuses have red hair. What's going on there? (I was going to also note how there are never any Middle Eastern Jesuses, ever, but then I ended up reading this pretty good wikipedia article about it ( and it turns out that there are a few. Also, here's a Chinese Jesus)
noideadog: (coffee)
I have no ability with crafts, so trying to press these roses is best described as "optimistic". Nonetheless, I took a popular first step on the path to failure, and asked the internet what to do. Its advice is typically varied and contradictory. Some time later, two roses, doused in vinegar and water, are resting inside a box of kitty litter. Two more are in the refrigerator, one vinegar-soaked, one not. A fifth is tucked, parchment wrapped, between rorid (dewy) and rosemallow (a hibiscus) in Websters New Universal Dictionary (Unabridged). A sixth, reduced to petals and leaves and layered in tissue paper, lies in the men's anatomy section of a biology book. Surely one or more of these will dry in a useable fashion. I have seven left, if you have other suggestions.

If you ever wanted to feel like an early 19th Century poet, plucking individual petals from a rose will help.
noideadog: (monkey!)
I got promoted. I'm happy about it, but it was hard to know what to do to celebrate.

Joel went into seclusion earlier today with Fallout 3. He said 'See you tomorrow' and I waited calmly until he revised it to '.. I mean, later?', so I don't entirely expect to see him again before I sleep. And tomorrow we have work drinks to celebrate someone leaving, so tonight's a good evening to stretch out at home with books and music and red cow pyjamas, right? But on the other hand, one should do something to mark the occasion, and I didn't know what. And I was sitting in History of New York Architecture trying to decide whether I'd like Romanesque churches more if I didn't feel such ancestral loyalty to the irish-built Gothic Revival ones (because, did you know?, the Irish and the Italians didn't exactly love each other when the latter arrived here in the 1880s, and the irish (or at least Patrick Keely) were putting up Gothic-style churches like you wouldn't believe and the Italians didn't want any stinky irish architecture thank you very much, so they started building Romanesque instead.) when I remembered the taste of toomuchsalt and the texture of grease-on-greaseproof and the spicy anticipation of a hot bag of chips and god it was a challenge not to leave the class at that exact moment.

A Salt and Battery is one of three English establishments in a row on Greenwich Avenue: There's Tea and Sympathy (think china teapots and scones and pictures of the queen), then a sweet shop whose name I forget, which is enthusiastic about opal fruits and lion bars but had never heard of Taytos, and then ASaB, with its menu of chips, sustainable fishes, and various other deep-fried things all picked out on a black rubber board in slightly irregular white stick-on letters. I hadn't been in there before, because I do try to eat semi-healthily, (although you would know it from the fortresses of cake I've demolished recently), but I've passed it and foodporned at the menu, which, btw, includes deep fried mars bars, a delicacy I've never tried.

It's probably redundant to say that haddock and chips from a chipper in New York don't taste right, but they were delicious all the same. Walking down the street in the rain and the wind and the cold and the winter eating chips out of paper, I was in my element (and the element was salt, and life was very good indeed).

On Saturday I had a great time apple picking and tree peeping at [somewhere upstate] and [somewhere in Jersey]. I love road trips of any kind anyway -- sitting in a car with people I like (John and Amy and Joel and Fisher-the-small-dog in this case) and drizzly windows and music on the speakers and good conversation is exactly what I enjoy -- and this was one of those times where the journey is perfect and then when you get there the destination is just as good, and you have a whole lovely journey back ahead of you.

We bought hot apple juice and petted scruffy-fringed bison at a farm that didn't have any apples and photographed ourselves with oversized pumpkins at a second. The third had big "pick ur own apples" signs and oddly-wattled goats (I tried to find a picture of an oddly-wattled goat, but instead found this useful goat vocabulary page that explains that wattles are 'goat jewellery'. Also, giving birth is "kidding" (if you're a goat). There's a "baby goats.. just kidding!" joke in there, but I don't know exactly), so we petted goats and picked Empire variety apples. Empires are delicious eating apples, and empirical evidence shows that they're good cakeing apples too. (I ended up taking the cake to work, because I was having thick slices of it for every meal. (Also, six meals a day.))

Everyone writes about how amazing the leaves are at this time of year, but I still wasn't prepared for the reds and pinks and oranges that flooded the sides of the roads with colour. Honestly, it's just stunning.

We went to a winery (my first winery experience!) where we paid $5 to taste six wines and.. actually they weren't up to much at all. The place we were at (started with a B, maybe? Sorry, I'd write the worst tourist guides ever) had a bunch of plaques showing awards they'd won for their Best Hudson Valley wine, and I was surprised, but Amy explained that Hudson Valley wines are basically not any good, and I felt conspiratorial having this explained to me inside a Hudson Valley winery, like someone parodying the awful choir in a church, or holding forth on silly pretentiousness at an art thing. ("Heeee... shush, they'll hear!")

'Art thing' reminds me: at I reached home, a dude was walking down the street here shouting loudly into his mobile phone about how he'd "FOUND A CURATOR FOR HIS ART SHOW!", and it was pretty funny (if you're mean) because the person on the other phone couldn't really hear, so he had to keep repeating it, and his tone went from "I found a curator it's so cool!!!" to "ok.. my art show? right? you know my art show? you know I have an art show? I found a curator. A curator. For the show." and so on. I was entertained by how, for all its bells, whistles and fancy graphics, mobile technology continues to suck.

My blackberry is a fine example of this phenomenon. It's currently crashing around twenty minutes into any phone call, or any time I need it for anything. Today I wanted to be HILARIOUS when some girls on a (mostly sales) work list were exchanging tips about "cute shoes that are suitable for work", and... actually, as an aside here, I hate the word "cute" applied to clothing or accessories or anything other than babies and bunnies (and -maybe- teenage boys if the speaker is a teenage girl), and someone saying "I saw such a cute purse!" moves me to levels of irritation I really can't explain.. but anyway, I wanted to send a picture of my feet up on my desk as an illustration of how suitable for work my omg-cute shoes were, but my cameraphone failed me, so I had to link to an internet picture of blue doc martens instead. MY CREATIVITY IS BEING CURBED BY MOBILE TECHNOLOGY.
noideadog: (culture)
I don't store information in my brain any more. Plans and appointments go in calendar. Movies and plays I see go in my paper notebook, as do flight numbers, quotes and things I expect to be amused by, years from now. Books go into My "work" file has a list of when I was in work, and what I did while I was there, in detail, including summaries of problems left to solve, and a todo list split into "today", "this week" and "some time". I keep useful command lines or solutions in one of several "notes" files. Most of them are aliased in my .bash_profile anyway. Livejournal tags frequently help me remember when I did stuff. Password hints remind me what I was thinking years ago. My mail client stores addresses and my phone stores numbers. Maps tells me how to get where I'm going. And the ubiquitous search box does everything else, converting celsius to fahrenheit, mls to cups, New York time to Japan time, and so on, and correcting my spelling while it does so. Nil by brain.

Every single time I bake soda bread, I look up the recipe online.

Every single time I want to do ssh port forwarding, I get it from my commandline history.

Every single time I do something basic with tcpdump, I read the man page.

Every single time I need to use my social security number, I look it up in my phone.

I realised how bad this all is earlier today while googling for how long it was ok to leave cooked fish in the fridge before reheating it. If t'internet went away tomorrow, I'm not sure how long I'd survive before dying from food poisoning or ignorance, or being eaten by bears.

(I'm actually kind of worried about that, the more that I think about it. Not the bears-and-poisoning part, not really, but that maybe this is not the way to maintain healthy memory-centres. What if this internet thing is causing worldwide brain damage?)

(It'd explain a lot.)

Today I bought a jigsaw of the subway map, a mallet, a chisel, a set of drawing pencils, four comics, three yoghurts and my first ever root beer float. Today I tipped badly in anger, went to MOMA, had lunch outside at the (excellent!) Shake Shack with rain trickling down my neck, saw Jesus Hopped the A Train and reheated slightly old fish.

MOMA on a Sunday isn't ideal for my personal way of seeing galleries and museums, which is this: stride purposely past as many exhibits as possible, occasionally exclaiming and sitting down and really appreciating something good, or surprising, or familiar. Go through each room several times, liking different things every cycle. Repeat until brain is full.

It's not easy when there are thousands of people who appreciate things in a slower, saner, more thoughtful way.

I didn't know what Jesus Hopped the A Train was. Actually, I thought it was something obscure and silly, based partly on the name, and partly on the fact that it was recommended by the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, who are about as silly as the name might imply. So it was a bit of a surprise to take my seat in the very full Town Hall theatre (capacity: ~2300), and become aware of the excited buzz filling up the room.

Apparently JHTAT was rather excitedly anticipated. And famous, I guess. I guess I get my philistine merit badge, because.. *makes that whoosh over-ones-head gesture* .. nevvererdovit at all.

And then a dude who was apparently Philip Seymore Hoffman came out on stage, and said enthusiastic things about various people involved in putting on the reading, and the crowd applauded every single name, and cheered some of them. And seemed close to rapturous tears. Diane and I looked at each other all "Who's this guy?" and "What the fuck do you think is happening?", but figured out nothing. It was like the time Joel and I were sitting outside a restaurant, and some dude was walking by, and two girls ran up to him, -very- excited by having ACTUALLY MET HIM, and took their picture with him, and raced off again with huge smiles. Do you think I knew who he was? I did not.

My inability to recognise celebrities is frustrating for younger-sister-and-celeb-worshipper Tina. Living in NYC and not recognising them seems to her like to be the most horrific waste.

But the play/reading was bloody good, anyway. Definitely worth going to, if it's on again. Just remember to be excited, or you'll stand out.
noideadog: (links)
Via [ profile] cliph:

I like this a lot. I gave him $30.
noideadog: (they might be giants)
Teh Joels is ok! He's a bit uncomfortable and sleepy, but his biggest complaint by the time I left the hospital was that the Jello Lady (the morning bringer of gelatin desserts) had excluded him from her rounds. He's pumped full of bright yellow intravenous painkiller ("This one is -very- good", the nurse assured us as she set up the drip, and it seems to be true), but all is very well indeed and he'll most likely be out tomorrow. Joyness!

They gave him the stone in a little jar. It's maybe 6mmx3mm, substantial enough that it'd ruin your day if it was in your shoe. Certainly something you wouldn't want in your tubing.

I'm floating two feet above the ground this afternoon. I didn't realise how stressed I'd been until it went away. The removal of a worry is by far the best thing for generating a buoyant mood. I found myself singing out loud as I bounded down the stairs, smiling at strangers, laughing at things that were only slightly funny. I even went touristing a bit, mostly enjoying walking around and not paying much attention to the Archeology Museum's terribly grand and impressive stone and bronze things that were built in the blah era by the whatever peoples and show an unparalleled example of the fine something something style. Well, at least I learned that Greek sculpture and pottery doesn't do it for me. Sorry, ancient Greeks.

(Apart from Zeus, obviously. Zeus is -hot-.)

I did learn that most recovered art seems to come from desecrating graves and from finding shipwrecks. Can I suggest that we drop some of our better current works into the deepest Pacific to placate future civilisations and encourage them to leave our graves alone?

Oh, I haven't mentioned here how much I love working in the Greek alphabet. Learning maths in school is enough background that it's pretty easy, but still a fun puzzle. Like, school teaches us that that a phi looks like Φ, and mu is μ and capital sigma is Σ, and pi and beta and theta and lambda and so on. If you're like me, you don't instinctively know the ones that look like roman characters but aren't, but that's easy enough too. It's a little substitution cipher. p is r and X is H and v is n and H is I. And before you know it you see Φαρμακείο and don't have to think too hard to figure out that it's a pharmacy.

I had trouble remembering Ψ (ps) until Joel pointed out that it's obviously psi-don's trident.

I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. I stood in front of a dvd shop for half an hour a few days ago, being entertained by reading actors names out slowly, Sesame Street style, until I figured out who they were. It's cool to see familiar movie posters in a different alphabet. Σρεκ has little Shrek ears on the Σ. And the poster for Χαρι Ποτερ uses the same lightning bolt font. I find this unspeakably delightful.
noideadog: (links)
From [ profile] mr_wombat, for Ciara:

Since you mentioned the whole vulcano theme of Ciara's art, here is a link that is funny

Is it work safe? :-)

It is not only worksafe, it is *architecture*.

.. gosh.

The ones Ciara paints are a bit more subtle than that, of course. And furrier.
noideadog: (culture)
I bought art, in a gallery in Arklow. It's very nice! The artist lady was there and as I told Powerman and Ciara at the time, I don't know which of us was more embarrassed. But I think it was me.

My toaster came with instructions, including "When the bread has toasted, the carriage will 'pop up' and the toaster will switch off. The toast can now be safely removed from the toaster."

Other than that, life continues as normal.
noideadog: (meerkat)
Today had its moments, but first I have to tell you about Thursday morning, when Andre brought us to the Getty Center. "Us" in this context is me and Sara [ profile] yellowpigs, a Mountain View resident also visiting Santa Monica this week. Andre's a member of our team down here and a friendly chap who's very obviously proud of the area in which he lives. He gave us a good tour of Beverly Hills (rich! ferrari! cartier! rolex! designer everything! signs warning against 'cruising'!) and Hollywood (loud! a bit scary! a guy in a rabbit suit! a 4 foot tall gangsta!) on Wednesday night, and then collected us from our hotel on Saturday to show us some more stuff.

The Getty Center (and not "Centre" of course, as [ profile] trjh points out) is an enormous art gallery on top of a hill. It's an astounding place, with all the art you want and more besides, but the real beauty of the place is the building itself and the grounds. It's all made out of some amazing Italian stone, and it's hard to walk around without feeling up the walls a little. Everywhere there are fountains and plants and beautifully designed columns and steps and overhangs. I can't recommend it enough. We didn't really have a lot of time there, so I shouldn't have started in the Monet room (and it's so easy to type "Money room" which it is too!), because I didn't get to see anything else. I made my impressionist joke[1], which nobody has ever laughed at ever, and then mostly stood there gaping at the sailboat.

He was a bit good, wasn't he? That's my art criticism right there. "Monet was a bit good". It wasn't really just a Monet room - there were Van Goghs and Cezannes and a Manet, and I think a Rembrant, but now I forget, and I kept trying to leave and being pulled back by something. It was a good room. I wouldn't have bothered going if there had been a modern art section available. It just goes to show what a retard I can be.

Afterwards in the grounds we watched a school group of babies playing on a hill. A gorgeous little chubby blonde kid came up to us, eyes shining, hands clapped together, ponytail awry. "We're rolling!" she said. "I wish we could roll", I said. "I will if you will", Sara said.

We rolled down the hill. It was glorious.

[1] "Impressionism's rubbish really, isn't it? I mean, from a distance it looks pretty good, but when you get up close it's really messy."
noideadog: (buttercup)
So, ok, the anthropoid rabbit hugging a vole is actually a Lady Hare and a Dog. That's fine. I can accept that. But is it art what the hell is it? Could someone art-clever explain it to me please?
noideadog: (meerkat)
[ profile] rbpixies and I checked out (briefly) at lunch, the Monumental Garage Sale, a "multimedia installation and performance" by Martha Rosler which also happens to be a functioning garage sale. The site tells us

"This work has a range of political and philosophical implications relating to the function of objects, including items deemed 'art' within social processes, their use value, their commodification and their transition between public and private realms. Operating on a number of levels, including the theatrical and the psychoanalytic, it suggests a method by which an artwork can address the complexity of the political sphere while maintaining its own multiplicity."

Call me a philistine (hell, call me a Palestine ;-)) but the Monumental Garage Sale isn't "a metaphor for the hegemony of the economic over all relations", it's a bring-and-buy sale! It's for selling your junk so you can move house without having to rent a lorry. Putting it in a gallery doesn't make it art.

(Edit: I'm not sure about that last sentence now that I think about it. Maybe that's a definition of art. I can't decide.)
noideadog: (me)
I thought that these:

were about as lovely as anything angsty as hell could possibly be, but then [ profile] cliph made them be funny and now they're ruined. FOREVER.

(And ok, they did have pretty self indulgent names. And, yep, sad clowns, I know. And.. yeah. Anyway, shut up.)
noideadog: (Default)
The Turner exhibition in the National Gallery is awful good. I wasn't very impressed by the dictat that the prints only be shown during January until [ profile] nonhae pointed out that one that I had enthusiastically "Meh"ed at was an originally beautiful print that had lost its colour from hanging on some loser's wall. I liked the colours that burn your eyes and make you go 'Ooh'. I said 'Ooh' a lot. Highly recomended.

Afterwards we wandered around the gallery where I proved myself to be someone you don't want to be seen with by asking questions like "So, why's that Rembrant guy any good, like..really?" and "Ye..ess, but what's it..of?". [ profile] nonhae explained that she liked the juxtaposition of styles; that the vague idea of the existence of the flowers was in beautiful contrast with the stark clarity of the faces. It was true, but I just thought the green bits were pretty. The clever art man watching us wanted me to be dead. I could tell. (The green bits were fucking awesome. You'd have been wowed. Honest-to-god.)

Dinner at the Westin and then (now) we're drinking StatOil wine and playing Yahtzee.


noideadog: (Default)

February 2014

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