Is difficult at best. The moons desperately want to circle
something, so when a dish comes out, they dive-bomb it, bump
into each other and a dusting of moon-rock falls into the food.
We call that Parmesan. They know the plate won't be a planet.
We've been here for centuries and not once has a planet come in.
I guess they do it just-in-case. Having lived most of their
lives too close to everything, their sense of perspective is
poor. A plate of dumplings can start to look like a solar
system. Lately the moons seem to be losing hope. They're just
going through the motions and their waning is way more
convincing than their waxing. They no longer swarm around each
swirl of steam. A red smear signals Ketchup, not Mars. The food
is not very good, but people keep coming. Some come with nets to
sieve the sky for the tiniest butterfly-sized moons. Security is
good, though—no moon has ever been smuggled out. And most of the
diners look up the whole time, which makes it easy to get their
attention when we recite the specials. We, the waitstaff, are
waiting for the day when we come into the restaurant and find
the moons circling another moon. Below them, we endlessly orbit
the tables. Our leader has left us too."
this poem by matthea harvey seemed perfect for today. with only two days left at my job at picco, it's a little like working in an outer space.
i have always thought waitressing was a very special job. as a child i secretly admired waitresses and thought of them as beautiful. and i think i have definitely grown to depend on the rhythms and the rush of the restaurant world. sometimes i just wish that people appreciated us more, thought of us more highly.
and here is where "baked alaska parade" came from. where would this post be without it?
"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."
boy, did i need this quote today. thanks, swissmiss.
also for the flying robert, one of those objects i would very much like to have.
my flickr friend fiona in glasgow took these astonishing photos of "the circle man," who is, as she writes: "a mysterious man who sometimes appears at low tide on Brighton beach to draw circles in the sand- like some ephemeral zen garden lasting only half an hour or so... He's been drawing these
circles at low tide for a few years apparently, but seems to be regarded as a sort of local eccentric (concentric,
acentric, exocentric??) generally ignored by people who live in Brighton."
check her photostream out-- she has such a wonderful eye. and she also has another set of the circle man at twilight. whatever you do, don't miss it.
my favorite of pdn gallery's 30 new and emerging photographers to watch is julie blackmon. here is part of her artist's statement:
"The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issues
that I investigate in this body of work. We live in a culture where we are both “child
centered” and “self-obsessed.” The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate. Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our “make-over” culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves. The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other. These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs. I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos."
"the heart of the world" was one of the three of maddin's films included in the collection dvd that i got my hot little hands on. (and you can see it all in its strange entirety here. i haven't watched "twilight of the ice nymphs" yet, but i also really enjoyed "archangel." it's strange and grainy the way all his films are, with lots of russian snow and deadpan humor. it was a nice way to spend the evening.
and do i ever wish i had a flying outfit like hers.
according to wordspy:
word of blog n. Communication that occurs via blogs. [Cf. word of mouth.]
Just like the Web itself, blogs — more than 70 million by one count — have moved from their pioneer days to a more mature phase where they command respect and huge mainstream followings.
Gillin argues that, rather than adding up to a vast wasteland, the addition of each new blogger improves the quality of discourse.
No longer will 30-second TV ads reach the right audiences. "Word of blog" is the new word of mouth.
—Dean Takahashi, "For new breed, word of blog becomes new word of mouth," The Seattle Times, May 21, 2007
ever wonder why we call ambulances ambulances when we call walking cases "ambulant?"
well, according to our trusty word origin source, it is because " the ambulance once brought the hospital to the patient. the french devised the term and applied it to their early field hospitals they called "hopitals ambulants." from this the name "ambulance" was applied to the vehicle- and it kept the name when it reversed the process and started bringing patients to the hospital."
the walking hospital. that just tickles me pink.
did you ever wonder how the non-rigid dirigible came to be called the "blimp?"
well, according to "dictionary of word origins," it so happened that "when england began experimenting with this type of airship in 1914, two designs were tested- the "a-limp" and the "b-limp." the a-limp was unsuccessful." (good thing.) "the b-limp was used and gave its name to all airships of this type."
i quit my job on saturday, for reasons unforgiveable. suffice to say: if you do not appreciate me, then you should not have me. i will not work for anyone who thinks of me as a dispensable android.
it has been a strange last few days of alternating sadness, indignation, giddiness and uncertainty. i am watching myself go through this process with curiosity. everything, even the constants in my life, look different. my body and mind might react exactly the same if i was paratrooping. i have leapt out into the thin air even though i'm terrified of falling. but to stay would have been far more grave of an error.
for some reason this morning, i'm finding andy warhol comforting. pop is nice when what you're looking for is something "deeply superficial." that's how warhol described himself. these are some of my other favorite things he said:
"The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
“Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”
“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”
“I always thought I'd like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I'd like it to say "figment."”
“I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of ''work,'' because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don't always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.”
“It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor's finger.”
“Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they'll just have to learn how to be babies longer.”
"I'm confused about who the news belongs to. I always have it in my head that if you name's in the news, then the news should be paying you. Because it's your news and they're taking it and selling it as their product…If people didn't give the news their news, and if everybody kept their news to themselves, the news wouldn't have any news."
yes yes yes.
the friday flickr fix theme this week was "the lyrical." the idea was to pair two favorites in such a way that they reflected a certain song lyric.
i found this exercise wildly inspiring. for the first one, we have "rock me amadeus" (you know the words to this)
for the second, "you must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss..."
and for the last, which made ez's favorites this week, i thought it paired nicely with the handsome family lyrics from "everything that rises must converge":
"some folks are like umbrellas, they pass through your life with little meaning. then there are the ones that make you hang on to every word. he was one of the latter."
go to my flickr photostream to find original photographers...
the new diagram has lots in it.
the following poem by dawn lonsinger resonates with me especially.
under the poem, she writes:
"My obsession with tanks & aquariums is undocumented, but vivid; we excavate and lift things for viewing, but they are inextricably altered in that act—the fish no longer a fish of depth, but of fluorescence and solitude; the prisoner diminished to the –er of prison. I have unfo/u/nd memories of being petted as a child, not in a perverse way, but in a caring, sheltering way. Yet, this nonetheless felt ruinous to me. This perversity became more manifest in my family's disquieting inability to tend for pets ::: novel at first, then a chore. There is domestication, leashes, and love."
we had a lot of pets too. while my stepmother was anything but nurturing, she insisted on filling every possible surface and cranny with cages and tanks. persian cats that weren't allowed outside (presumably because they were so valuable), rabbits, chameleons, parakeets, fish, a dog. as the stepchild, i was the official cleaner-upper of all of them. after all those years of cleaning catboxes and scraping the caked corners of rabbit hutches and scrubbing algae off aquarium glass, you'd think i'd become an adult who wanted nothing to do with pet care. and yet i have that same impulse, to bring home animals and give them names. be responsible for them. change their water dishes, protect them from harm. pet them.
The room begs to be further inhabited, to have a sun moving in its plaster gut. At moments a decorative urge, the parrot bright and entertaining. At others—a death cry, everything so still and lasting as sandpaper, burning through to your bones with that stillness, where even you are armature, near-couch. You would not be alone. Your love would transfer directly through your hands. Someone pets the linoleum, then you. You pet your lover's head, smooth "I love you" into your child's hair like amniotic fluid, like cellophane around a dome of chopped carrots.
The Maine Coon sits on top of your refrigerator. You are fond of the unusual form following you as if it was your motor. As if an inexact circle was the shape of commitment. A shape you tend. Small box, cylinder, beak of noise, trace of liquid. How it curls in your lap, is impatient in your lap, slithers around your neck, licks your face, tracks up and down your arm, fidgets in your cupped palms, wants in. Even as its eyes swivel, cut through with an alarming precision. Even as we move, like them, constantly. We are hemmed in. The Dalmatian yanks on the leash, cuts off his own airway. Invisible in the pitch-black apartment, they still see, see nothing. A car drives by, headlights flooding their eyes, seen and seeing, saucers filled before falling into silence.
Only the fish remain at a distance, flash like memory through the tank. The basking light burns all night, as in a driveway of twenty years ago, illuminated nets echoing our hooks, mayflies amassed at the surface. A tan Chihuahua with three legs hops up the stairs. A python presses like SPAM against the glass. No one knows why the dove started to pull its feathers out, reveal its pocked skin. The frog doesn't hop. Stuttered gerbil. Shape is no promise. Our hands twist, more or less away. We live in a petting zoo. Touch everything you can get your mind on. Feel for the goat. Don't be stopped by his hyphenated eyes. Don't just touch. Trail that touch, pet—slowly, slowly. He, too, is fascinated with disparity and freedom, rolls a green ball black back and forth in the grass with his nose. Can you hear the whimpering through the packed dirt, through your bent wrists, petting? You pet the carpet where you once slept, and it curls at the edges.
i found the link to abelardo morell's camera obscura photographs a few days back over at heading east, and i've been thinking about them ever since.
i wish every room in my home had its own camera obscura. i wish i would have been educated in rooms like these. i wish, instead of flourescently-lit supermarkets, we had rooms like these in which to gather our provisions, unsure as we reached for something on an upper shelf if what we were after was even there.
one of my flickr friends sent me a link to the 3rd effect website, seeing my fascination with juxtaposing photographs. i must admit it's become a little bit of an obsession. i wasn't thinking about the third effect in those terms before, but it is precisely the desire that the effect between two photographs be brought to some kind of invisible palpability that obsesses me.
this is how the third effect site describes the phenomenon:
The 'third effect' is what happens when any two photographs are juxtaposed - without captions, titles or any other textual clues.
We read meaning into each photograph individually. But we also read a third meaning into the fact that they have been juxtaposed. This third meaning is highly subjective, shifting and enigmatic. It is an extension of what Barthes termed the "obtuse" meaning in all photographs.
The bigger the 'gap' between the photographs [subject matter, source, genre, time etc] the greater the third effect.
this excerpt from here explains more about barthes' third level of
meaning that is perceived between two juxtaposed images:
"This next meaning, however,
cannot be coded. Its home is in feeling rather than language. It is not present in nor is it
concerned with the diegesis, but it lurks below, it punctures through, it hovers above the
signified of the obvious. It is what he calls the obtuse. It is striking and balanced at once.
It punctures and envelopes. It is a sense of whole that comes from what is both
disturbing and harmonious from the image."
so these are my third effects for this week. the first is "the art of memory, part 2," the second "the art of listening," and the third "charmed circle." all were inspired by creature comforts' friday flickr fix challenge to compose diptychs on the theme of the body.
see my flickr photostream to find the original photographers...
“words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.”
alas, and here's where i found them:
1. Shadow People, 2. "Independent shadow" or "Guardian angel", 3. Max & James Shadows, 4. Untitled, 5. streetlife34, 6. Twiggy, 7. Family Portrait 2, 8. IMG_7673.JPG, 9. Shadows. Mine and Yours., 10. Baggy trousers!, 11. Hi kids!, 12. Graz, 13. sienas ēna (i)
my new article is up over at into wine.
and while we're on the subject, i have a fun wine blog to share. it's called quaffability, and its focus is on "mostly wine, mostly under $12, and mostly from trader joe's." what a good idea.
juan gris' banyuls painting from here.
one of artist jason taylor's underwater sculptures in grenada, west indies.
his concept for this process is fascinating:
"An underwater gallery creates a whole new perspective on the world. Submerged objects are affected by different conditions both physical and emotional. Objects appear 25% larger and closer, colours are changed as light is absorbed differently by the water. The surface of the sea creates an ever-changing kaleidoscope of light, whilst its turbidity acts as a filter. The aquatic medium affords the viewer a multitude of angles and perspectives and thus transforms the traditional role of passive observer into an active process of discovery and engagement.
The ocean provides a setting imbued with mystery. Observers are invited to appreciate the works of art whilst questioning their circumstances and history. The viewer is immediately committed and involved to the environment and becomes part of the work itself. The sculptures will be an ever changing exhibition as nature colonizes the surface and the sea and tidal movement shapes the texture."
here you can follow the steps it took to get the sculpture created and put at the bottom of the sea.
in addition, this little video is really worth watching.
last time in french class, i learned the name for chess: échecs. its etymology traces back to the eleventh century, when it was first played by the persians. échecs derives from "shah," or king. checkmate is "échec et mat," dead king. the word also means "failure." that really got to me. that chess is really called failure. it felt, at that moment of discovery, that i'd learned something very essential, one of those inexorable things, not often spoken of, about being human.
i expressed this aloud in class. laure, our teacher, said "well, isn't it true that we learn more from our failures than our victories?"
and left it at that, moving on to the other linguistic mysteries inherent in etiquette and plumber...
image courtesy of here.
"once there was a man
who wrote a symphony based entirely
on the arrangement of birds on power lines outside;
it's called solmifying- to solmizate in the infinitive; transitive: to sing
any object into place."
this week's diptychs:
"hatching a plan"
"top & bottom"
"objects of affection"
see my photostream for more...