Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quote of the Week

“I saw a similar theory written out on a wall, but it was written in shit.”


--Ricky Gervais

Oprah Grew Tired of Us

I had been given a heads up about this Wicked surprise, but it thrilled me nonetheless to see and hear the divine Ms. Chenoweth croon For Good for Oprah. 


No videos yet, but here's an old one.  Not quite as moving as the the performance for O, but still good.  She's a stunnin' wee ting.




Just ran across this.  For those with the patience to sit through the mumbo jumbo, this is cool to see some of the first rehearsals of said song, interspersed with the finished green-ified product.



Speaking of O, I think I had one at 4:21 of this video.  That note's a killer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Doodle Project

Imagine how gutted I am that I missed National Doodle Day a week ago on May 12th (U.S. only.  Apparently in the U.K. it's on February 11th.  Who knew?).  Since I didn't celebrate then, I'll put up this little guy that I made a little over a year ago. 


A teacher in my art group has all of these wicked ideas for projects, and this is one of them.  You paint blocks on a canvas as she did here.  They can be all uniform in size or random like this one, and they can either have blank space between or not.  Of course they can follow any color scheme.  I was lucky enough to get the canvas already blocked out and a bunch of metallic and non-metallic paint pens from her in our Christmas gift exchange. 

She included instructions and examples of doodling (which were much better than mine).  Basically, you go to town creatively and just start doodling randomly in the blocks.  She made the suggestion of chatting on the phone whilst doodling, to keep from overthinking it.  I did it while chatting and watching Interview with the Vampire (remember when vampires weren't castrated sparklers?).  Here's one of the blocks in detail...



...Gear-y moon inspired by the one at about 1:44 here.  Oh, watch as much as you wish, though, it's too good.


Happy (late) Doodle Day!  Draw a doodle.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Catch it if You Can

Just when I think I can't be any more shocked, horrified or (ultimately) inspired by history, I encounter something like PBS's American Experience production Freedom Riders:  1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.  Here is the trailer:


Racism has always been a sore spot for me.  I'm a white girl from a small midwestern town, and have never experienced any such injustice myself; however, frequently over my lifetime I've heard ugly racial and ethnic slurs and commentary, and when possible have put the kibosh on it.  I'd like to think that I hear many fewer comments like this these days, and when I do they are from elderly people I do not know.  Age isn't an excuse, but I know that years of teaching is difficult to get over, and some older folks learned from the best.  When I hear something derogatory from someone my own age or younger...now, that just blows my mind.   Sometimes, I naively think that we've all evolved to a higher sensibility.  Selfishly, I hate that by saying something like that in front of me, they are assuming that I am of the same mindset.  Translation:  They think I'm just as much of an ingnorant backwards prick as they are? 

I have a box of old papers that I wrote in high school and college, and a good handful of them are about leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., books about racism and slavery, and about civil rights in general.  Once, in my junior year English class, we were assigned to recite a poem, and I chose this one: 

The Cold Within

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In dark and bitter cold
Each possessed a stick of wood--
Or so the story's told.


Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first one held hers back,
For, of the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.


The next one looked across the way
Saw one not of his church,
And could not bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.


The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?


The rich man just sat back and thought
Of wealth he had in store,
And keeping all that he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.


The black man's face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For he saw in his stick of wood
A chance to spite the white.


The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game,


Their sticks held tight in death's stilled hands
Was proof of human sin;
They did not die from the cold without--
They died from the cold within.


-- James Patrick Kinney

It's not something I would chose based on great writing, but the message meant a lot to me, and while reading it in front of my class I struggled to finish, because I was crying.  At the time, I kind of felt like an idiot, because no one else cried.  Looking back, though, I would hate to be a 16 year-old version of myself who would not be moved by this. 

I saw some great community theater this past weekend--a production of Visiting Mr. Green.  I'll botch this line, but to paraphrase one of the characters, "You should understand what it feels like to be mocked for something you couldn't possibly change," (and I'll add), "...something you shouldn't want to change, anyway." 

I'm not sure how to wind this all up other than to say--we can do better, people. 

Freedom Riders aired last night commemorating the 50th anniversary of the rides, and will encore several times on PBS stations.  It's also available on pbs.org (for free and in its entirety) and on Netflix (so far DVD only).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Television Is Over

I read in a blog that Jillian Michaels is leaving The Biggest Loser.  For those unfamiliar, she’s the hot lady who screams at contestants until she spits and they puke.  When they’re finished hurling, she makes them run on the treadmill again and yells an inch from their faces until they cry.  In short, she is delightful.  I can’t decide if I want to be her or marry her.  Any fan of the show will tell you that they can’t imagine the Biggest Loser ranch without her tyrannical antics.


Then there’s Oprah, whose excruciating year-long goodbye is like Chinese water torture.  Each episode is counted down and punctuated with leaky-eyed celebs gagging out their O-influenced memories and tributes.  Every few days another musically scored montage is released, each more tear-jerking than the last.  While watching Suze Orman berate the Duchess of York* the other day, I thought, “I’m supposed to live without this?”

If those two exits aren’t enough, we now have to coexist with a Michael Scott-less The Office, which is going down like a sinking booze cruise.  I didn’t bother watching this week’s episode, because Tina Majorino was on Bones last night. (That’s what she said).

Tina happens to be my favorite Big Love cast member, which brings me to the crushing loss of that show at the end of March.  Only in recent days have I been able to refrain from weeping in public when something reminds me of the finale (driving by Lowes makes me think of drill bits and garbage disposals, which make me think of Nicki, who reminds me of…well, you get it).  Henricksons, we hardly knew ye.

Basically, the only show of interest left for me is one that I haven’t seen much this season.  Glee.

Oy.

I really adore the music (sometimes Broadway on primetime network television—that takes my breath away), and as a former band geek I’m thrilled that one of the most popular shows on television is about band’s kissing cousin, show choir.  Hoorah for the anti-bullying plot, as well as the itgetsbetter.org ads (again, primetime network—wow).  However, like my high school band of yore, time is marching on, and I think my age is what makes me feel like shouting after an hour of their high-intensity hormonal hijinx, “HEY, YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY LAWN!”

So, in the coming weeks, if I’m seen and heard arbitrarily screaming at the obese, making an unsolicited public announcement about what book should be read this month, clamping my foot in a George Foreman Grill, or if you see me with a group of women, varied in age, and all of us seem to be adding items to the same grocery cart…everything is fine.

I’m honoring Jillian, Oprah, Michael and the Henricksons in my heart, and trying to keep them all the year.




________________________________________________________________________

*Things are much worse for Sarah than I ever imagined. Seriously, if you pull a name off of one of those angel trees this Christmas, you may end up buying an ipod for her Beatrice.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Scarfing It

This is a little project I did with my art group last week.  You basically use straws as a loom to weave a scarf.  Nice for people such as myself who couldn't knit if ordered to do so at gunpoint (though I can't imagine such a scenario).

Here's one started...



And in Rachael Ray fashion, here's one finished.


I'm doing one now with twelve straws, and it is a bitch.  It's something to knock out whilst watching a movie, such as Sleuth, which is what I did yesterday.  (Also did it during SNL.  At 10 p.m. I was begging the Fates to allow Sarah Palin to do or say something inane enough to be newsworthy at that hour, but it wasn't necessary.  She was fricasseed Fey-style nicely without it). 

Up next?  Perhaps a creative writing project with the prompt, "a scenario in which someone is forced to knit at gunpoint."