Archive for the ‘Arts&Crafts’ Category

PLOT OF THE NOVEL I AM WRITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE FOR A FEE OF TWENTY DOLLARS PER HOUR

January 8, 2010

It is the future.  Due to worsening conditions on earth, largely because of overconsumption and global warming, a consortium of nations has established a colony on Mars, now in its fourth year.  Our hero, a teenager named Cornelius with many special supernatural powers, flies on Mars to live with his great-uncle and to intern with a team of archaeologists hoping to discover prior life on the red planet.  He meets a girl on the space shuttle ride, and together they begin internships with an intrepid team of scientists.

To pass the tedious hours of collecting data, Cornelius entertains his love interest by telling her the history of his family from approximately the year 1 to today.  While he frames these stories as a series of heroic escapades about which he is unusually knowledgeable, Cornelius is actually a supernatural time traveling being.  He is reincarnated again and again through time, and his purpose in each incarnation is to find his family and use his special abilities (which include ESP, the ability to see the future, and superior leadership skills) to help them out of whatever trouble they might be in.  These troubles vary from the Protestant Reformation to the French & Indian War to global warming.

After chapters and chapters of this sort of reminiscing, the plot in the present (future) thickens as the colony receives word that the nations on earth no longer have the resources to fund it, and want them all to return home. Meanwhile, Cornelius is slowly discovering that various people (including his great-uncle and the head scientist on the expedition) are also time travelers and have in fact known him in previous lives.  Together, using their common powers of premonition, they determine that the colony must not return to earth.  Why?  The giant volcano under Yellowstone National Park is about to erupt, killing everyone on earth and rendering the planet uninhabitable for at least eight years.  Instead, they must learn to survive independently and sustainably on Mars, all alone.  Or so they think.  An exploratory expedition leads to an encounter with Martians, who have been living quietly on Mars for millennia.  The two groups must learn to cooperate.  They do, and together soon build a thriving multi-cultural society on Mars.  At the same time, all life on earth is destroyed by the volcanic eruption.

END OF BOOK 1

There are also plans for a sequel, in which Cornelius and his love interest return to earth and successfully repopulate the planet.

All of us are 80 per cent water or maybe more

August 30, 2009

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Here’s a quote from a recent interview with Yoko Ono in Arthur Magazine:

“this is what the problem is. All of us are 80 per cent water or maybe more. So when I say to you, “I hate you,”I might be saying it with a laugh, but   the water takes it seriously. So your water is saying, “Omigosh, she hates me.” I say, “I love you,” you get it. But at the same time I’m water too. So I’m saying to myself that two people may be in love, God they must be in love because they look beautiful. Well of course, because each time they see each other they say, “I love you, I love you.” But actually they are saying it to themselves, too.”

(Photo of water by Hiroshi Sugimoto, found here)

Strandbeest

August 30, 2009

At the Firehouse yesterday, I saw a video of Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s “kinetic sculptures,” which he calls Strandbeests.  They are basically made of PVC pipe and wire ties, and they are wind-powered, once you give them a push.  They are so beautiful.  Go see them! Animaris Percipiere number one may 2005 photo Loek ven der Klis

Photo from Theo Jansen’s website.

Hot lunch

August 23, 2009

It’s been really hot  (how interesting, wow, really?). It’s too hot to cook, but not quite too hot to eat.  Luckily, there are still tasty things to be had.  Here are two of my favorites:  homemade hummus and cucumber salad!  Both are easy, quick, cheap and delicious.  The dark rye is from the farmer’s market.

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HUMMUS:

1 can cooked chickpeas (water set aside)

2 tablespoons-ish of tahini

1 large clove of garlic, minced

Generous 1-3 T of olive oil

1 t to 1 T of lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Optional additions: chives, dehydrated tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, herbs of all kinds, dried chili

Combine ingredients in a cuisinart or bowl and mash.  If it’s too thick…add more olive oil.  Sometimes I add a little of the chickpea water to get things going more smoothly.  If it feels like it’s just missing something, add more lemon juice, unless it’s really lemony.  Be wary with the tahini, it can be bitter and not to everyone’s taste.  Yes, it’s really that easy to make hummus.

Summer Cucumber salad:

1 cucumber, cut into quarters

Small red onion, sliced very thinly

1/4 cup yogurt

1 T rice vinegar

Fresh dill and fresh mint, minced

Salt and pepper

Mix up yogurt, vinegar, salt and pepper, and onions in the bottom of your bowl, so the onions can marinate.  Slice the cuke into quarters the long way, and if the seeds seem really soggy, scrape them off.  Slice the cuke horizontally and combine.  Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste.  Delicious, and one of the first things I ever learned to cook.

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More new etsy biz

August 20, 2009

More new stuff in my ETSY shop, featuring many vintage earringsorange 2goldie 1green clip 4blue stripe 4marble 4

WWW.MAVISVINTAGE.ETSY.COM

German potato salad – the summer standby

June 18, 2009

This recipe for german potato salad is totally foolproof and delicious.  I like to try to make a lot to keep for a few days, but we usually eat it pretty fast.  I remember intensely when my mom taught me to make it as a child.  We made it for a potluck lunch at an all-day weaving and felting workshop somewhere.  I knew it would be delicious from the beginning, because it includes mustard and vinegar, my two favorite condiments!

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GERMAN POTATO SALAD, courtesy of my mom

Potatoes, as many as you want/have (I like red, but any will do).

Red onion, sliced thin.

Whatever veggies you may have, sliced: radishes, salad turnips, snap peas, haricot verts, pickles, or quartered hard-boiled eggs

Whatever herbs you may have: dill, parsley, mint, basil, tarragon, cilantro (choose carefully)

For the dressing:

Dollop of stone ground, pebbly mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons vinegar (I use brown rice, apple cider, or red wine vinegar)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Teaspoon of sweetener (optional, I use maple syrup or brown sugar)

Copious black pepper

First, put a pot of water on to boil.

Wash and cube your potatoes.  Throw them in when the water boils, adding a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Cook until tender but not crumbly (important), drain, and set aside to cool.

While your potatoes are cooking, make the dressing in the bottom of your salad bowl.

Mix together mustard, olive oil, vinegar, (optional) sweetener, and garlic.  Add lots of pepper, a bit of salt, and minced herbs.

Throw thinly sliced red onion, radish, salad turnip, and whatever else in there to marinate and become delicious.

When the potatoes have cooled, toss with dressing, add more black pepper, and eat!

Nasturtium garnish is optional and delicious.

P.S.  If you don’t have brown rice vinegar around, you should get some.  It’s pretty amazing.

How to draw a bunny

May 5, 2009

I watched the documentary about Ray Johnson this week, How to Draw a Bunny.

It was great.  Ray Johnson was a pop artist, and he made beautiful collages.  I wish the movie had been How to Make Collages like Ray Johnson, but of course no one could ever learn.

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The movie also talks about his close friend, Dorothy Podber, who of course is known for shooting a bullet through a stack of Andy Warhol’s Marilyns.  I am no big fan on Andy Warhol, and not into romanticizing that art scene…..Dorothy and I would NOT be friends, since I would be way too scared to be her friend…..but I love the gesture.  Andy Warhol was kind of an asshole, and she totally knew it, and didn’t care, because she was too busy LIVING ART.  Dorothy Podber and Ray Johnson also gave a friend a present which was a clock with no hands, and when you opened it, a gold-painted rat fell out.

Ray Johnson founded the New York Correspondance School, which was a bunch of people sending art through the mail to each other, adding pieces on as they went.

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Lucid dreams

May 3, 2009

I had a semi-lucid dream this morning as I snoozed past my alarm.

I dreamed that I lived in a series of apartment buildings that were like a huge laboratory of glass greenhouses.  I had an upstairs door to my apartment — inside was a catwalk filled with amazing plants.  Below was all my stuff and my bed and all that.

While I was opening the door and walking in, I thought to myself in the dream — what a great dream idea, when I wake up, I should sketch it.  Someone is going to want to design this fantastic apartment idea, perhaps I will.

And that’s the first step in lucid dreaming — recognizing that you are dreaming and differentiating actions in your dreams from actions awake.  I knew that I was dreaming, while I was in the dream, and I knew that the dream wasn’t real….I knew it was only a source for ideas.  But I also believed the greenhouse/apartment idea was real enough to translate into reality.

The only problem is that the greenhouse thing is not really an interesting or good idea to me when I’m awake.

The next step will be to decide to do something in my dream!  If I had sketched it in my dream, it would have been less of a disappointment.  Next time, in a dream, I will try to tell myself — sketch it now, so you will remember when you are awake. I wonder where that will get me.

The dream was probably inspired by going to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens last weekend.

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Image is an illustration by Maud Purdy, former staff artist of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Fiddlehead season

April 30, 2009

It’s fiddlehead season!  Or at least, the very tail end.  I picked some in Winooski last night at my plant class, and this morning made a fiddlehead scramble for breakfast.  Granted I was really hungry, but they were meaty, creamy, tender, and crunchy all at the same time.

When picking: look for the unfurled ostrich fern….recognizable by its brown, papery, flaky covering.  And just pick a few from each — don’t pick them all or the fern can’t survive!  I recommend boiling them for a few minutes before you sautee them, they turn bright green and you pour off some brown water.  That makes them really tender!

celendineThis picture is celendine — which is invasive — but is a good remedy for warts, and also has a yellow sap inside that might be a good painting pigment.  And has a beautiful name.

It is also dandelion green season (though I’m not a huge fan), and there is ground ivy and wild violets to be picked and added to salads.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!!

The Writer’s Almanac

April 20, 2009

I just signed up for the Writer’s Almanac by newletter, since I can’t seem to listen to it on NPR in the morning at 8:30.  You can sign up for it online and today’s poem, by Tennessee Williams, is really, and sort of surprisingly, good.  Yesterday’s poem about blueberries was sort of underwhelming.  So here is today’s, you can read it with or without your best Garrison Keillor voice:

Life Story

by Tennessee Williams

<!– (from The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams) –>

After you’ve been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what’s your story? And you think maybe they really and truly do

sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there’s some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you’ve had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they’re telling you their life story, exactly as they’d intended to all
along,

and you’re saying, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,
as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?

Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette in his mouth,
and that’s how people burn to death in hotel rooms.

“Life Story” by Tennessee Williams, from The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams. © New Directions, 2002. (Reprinted without permission, but nobody really reads my blog anyway).

I’m going to New York this weekend, and I think I’m going to go see the Henry Darger exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum.

afam_2318afam_2314-1I like him for so many reasons.  I love the Vivian Girls, I really like folk art, or course, and 1900s Chicago is one of my top historical time periods — mostly from reading Sister Carrie, William Cronin’s Nature’s Metropolis, and everything about the Columbian Exposition.  Darger’s story was really sad — he had a tough childhood and spent a lot of time in institutions, and as an adult, could never really get over it.  So in his own way, he devoted his life to protecting children, in part by writing the Vivian Girls, his super-fantasy heroines, into being.  All his famiyl was gone, but he did have a friend, one friend.

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