Friday, August 27, 2010

I'll be in my fort.

Hyperbole and a Half had one of the best descriptions of what she calls the Sneaky Hate Spiral.  I suggest you read that now if you haven't, I'll wait.

If you decided to come back and not ditch me in favor of power slamming the archives of Hyperbole and a Half (which I would totally not blame you for doing) let's proceed with the day.

Of all the ways to be rudely awakened I've experienced, I had a new one today that I have no desire to ever relive.  Ever.  EVER.

I feel a hair on my face.  Attempt to brush off.  Attempt unsuccessful.  Have two horrible realizations at once: 1) my hair is no longer long enough to touch my mouth and 2) oh god it moved on its own.

Sit up.  Brush 'hair' off as it tries to make its way into my nose.  Identify what has been masquerading as hair.

I have no explanation for the French thing.

Then I set the bed on fire.  I may have also convinced myself that I now have spider eggs in my sinus cavity and spent the rest of the day compulsively blowing my nose.

Despite knowing for a couple of weeks that we'd need signs for the adoption event happening tomorrow I continued my life long habit of being the queen of procrastination.  I made the graphics last night, but didn't bother to get up to measure the foam core board on which the printed posters would be pasted.

And thus I learned the more basic corollary to 'measure twice, cut once':

The Boyfriend wants the rescue to have a plug.

The kittens' sleep in a crate and it was past due for it to be cleaned out.  While cleaning the litter box I unsurprisingly dropped the bag of litter that weights approximately eight and a half million pounds, reaffirming my hatred of clay litter when it blew up in my face.  Now I had another reason for compulsive nose blowing.

 As a hermit* I rarely leave the house.  As a possible vampire it's even more rare for me to do so during the day.  But there were kitten related errands that had to be done so out we went.  Straight onto the surface of the sun.  But then I remembered that August in Texas is just like that.  If I could punch Texas in its non-existent face I would.

We got the posters printed and turns out the scaled up logo image I used (because I was too lazy to make a bigger one) looked like a pixellated mess.  Despite looking fine in GIMP.  So, I guess we're adopting out 8-bit Super Mario kittens.

After finishing up with the poster related stuff we had some time to kill before the kittens' new ringworm meds were ready at the pharmacy.  And the book store was right next door.  And books are the secret to a happy resa.

After picking up what was probably too big a stack already, I decided that I needed something light and fluffy that wouldn't ask me to think.

Then had the following conversation with the Boyfriend:
Me:  I need brain candy.
Him:  I just picked up some Dick Francis.
Me:  No.
Him:  You could read the latest Sue Grafton.
Me:  No.
Him:  There's a new Janet Evanovich out.
And now I'm stubbornly not sleeping even though I have to be up relatively early.  And I need to put on some more fungus cream because I too have the ringworm.  Pater has taken to calling me his 'scabrous daughter,' so at least someone's getting a kick out of it.

* The Boyfriend and I have decided that when someone asks what our relationship is we're going to say co-hermitants.  Because I still don't want to get married, but we've been dating for quite a while now.  But that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Moral Compass Is Slightly Skewed

I have this hat:


You've seen it before, but I like to show it off whenever I get the chance because it's pretty awesome.  But it's problematic.  I feel awful for buying it, because at the price I paid I know some poor Bolivian was royally screwed in the transaction.  Since I can't find fair trade chullos they're just going to have to come off the list of hand crafts I'll buy.  I'm not the best at not playing into an economic system that routinely hoses it's workers, but I make an effort.  I don't expect a cookie for trying to meet the basic standards of human decency, I'm telling you this to come to a point.

I'm really getting into making hats.  And I want to make chullos.  I'm a little put off by the cultural appropriation involved, but not enough that I will deny myself the chance to do colorwork alpaca motifs.  I could try and rationalize it by saying that I have Peruvian friends or it's an homage to Andean culture but really I'm just kind of an asshole.

I've bought yarn and I've been charting out common motifs found on chullos and playing around with the construction of the hat itself.  All is going well.  And then I get my KnitPicks catalog in the mail yesterday.  What should be on the back cover but this:

Wow, awful scan.  Sorry about that.

First impulse:  Something I'm doing is cool!  Yay!  Second:  I've done a hell of a lot of work when all I had to do was buy this handy kit.  Third:  Oh, this isn't cool.  Wait, then what makes what I'm doing okay?

My moral conflict is reaching the tipping point.  This hat may be more of a bad idea than I initially thought.  Maybe it's time to put down the needles and get a backstrap loom.  That way whenever the urge to make a culture specific garment strikes, I can do the crafts of my people.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Illustration Friday - Star Gazing

Star Gazing

Playing around with watercolors again.  We'll see if the fascination lasts a little longer this time so that I have a chance to see some actual improvement before I go off mucking about with something else.  Did this while at the adoption event for the kittens so my travel watercolor set actually did some traveling.  Good times.

Speaking of kittens, I blame them entirely for me being inblognito.  It's been a tough season so far, adoptions are way down and the mortality and morbidity rate is way up.  As a result, creative (and cleaning) pursuits have been put on the back burner while things are getting sorted. We lost two of our fosters and the ability to muster up the energy for art or craft related pursuits is nearly impossible when you're feeling like a awful kitten killer.  The remaining three seem to be bouncing back and are doing reasonably well though.

Except for the epic case of ringworm.

Oh, ringworm.  How much do I hate you?  So much I can't find adequate words to express it.  The bathing.  The desperate hope that our own cats don't catch it.  The thanking every deity I can think of that I'm seemingly immune.  Our plans for replacing the manky downstairs carpet with wood flooring suddenly being moved up.  Because steam cleaning?  Is a pain.

Here's hoping things continue to improve.  Because at this point the universe is just being mean.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Illustration Friday - Caged

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down the narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
and he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for he caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on the dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

-Maya Angelou

Note to self: when mucking about with digital art it really is worth the trouble to find your mouse.  My touchpad finger's all hurty now.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Rather than do something productive with my time (meaning: with tangible results.  meaning: cleaning the ding dang guest bedroom, jfc.) I've been messing around with the blog's layout.

I think I like it more than what I had originally.  But at this point I've been looking at it for so long that I really can't form any sort of opinion on it.  Which is how the last layout happened.

All I know is that there must be an easier way to go about it than what I ended up doing, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what that would be.

So, this not really an update is really me begging for feedback.  Because y'all are lovely people who will help a sister out.

I really hope I don't end up hating it in a month or so because I think I gave myself a copy-paste related stress injury.  And that's just sad.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cleaning FAIL

New toy!

The lovely Kate from Deth Spïralz was kind enough to give me her mother's old art table along with a bag full of crafty goodness.  This is what prompted the desire to clean out the guest bedroom and set up a studio.  It's all very exciting.

I was hoping to take this week and, if not make it entirely presentable, at least lower the slob rating from 'crack den' to 'bachelor pad.'  Unfortunately, I haven't made much of a dent in it yet.  Why?  Well, the same reason it's taking me eight and a half million years to try and write this blog post.

Kitten pile!

These guys are probably about four to four and a half weeks old.  Already eating solid foods, very active and not the least bit coordinated.  No really.  They'll knock themselves over just walking along.  It's a talent.

Along with these guys we also have a little guy, probably about two to two and half weeks old.  Still very much a bottle baby.  Unfortunately, he's pretty dehydrated so we've had to start him on subcutaneous fluids.

So, this means that instead of trash bags, mops and brooms filling my days like I had been planning on it's been bottles, syringes and this:

Little furry epaulets.

I feel like I should have left all the extraneous kitten typing in here so that you'd get some sort of idea of how underfoot these guys can be.  Also overfoot.  And top of head.  And clinging to legs.

Kitten fight!

For example this is what is currently happening beside me.  The Boyfriend is on the phone and has one squeaking in his other ear.  The baby is feeling left out of the running around all crazy pants fun and is sitting in his nest box crying about it.  Seriously, I don't think he's stopped in the last five minutes.

Maybe this weekend.  Once the little guy is hydrated and needs to be fed less frequently.  Or maybe I should just set up my 'studio' where the art table is currently waiting for it's new home.  I'm sure the Boyfriend would love having even more of my crafty clutter in the living room.

And now it's time to feed the little guy.  When did that happen?


Monday, August 2, 2010

Next on Hoarders

I once again have an overwhelming urge to have a dedicated studio space.  There are a few problems with this.  The best room for me to use is the guest bedroom.  In fact, it currently has a bunch of my art supplies, a folding table acting as a desk and the broken sewing machine from the last time I decided that I would use it as a studio.  Aside from the so called useful things, like a bed, desk and night stands it's also crammed with an ungodly amount of crap that's accumulated over the years.  Because the Boyfriend and I are both packrats with no real organizational skills.  One a scale of one to exploded meth lab it's about at 'livable crack den.'

That's an unholy amount of stuff.

I can't blame you for judging me for my serious lack of housekeeping skills.  I will ask you not to tell me about how much of an unbelievable slob I am, I'm very sensitive.  So, going through it all, throwing things out (always so difficult for me- what if I need those half finished notebooks at some point?) and organizing the things that remain more effectively than my current system of 'stacks of semi-related stuff' will be more than slightly challenging.

Aside from the desperately overdue spring cleaning there's a problem with the room itself.  The reason why it didn't work out as a studio the first time and therefore became a repository for boxes of random crap and unused furniture is because I find the large picture window incredibly creepy.

As an incurable night owl, I do most of my work at night.  But I'm afraid of the dark.  Especially dark windows.  Especially this window:


A few years ago the Boyfriend and I redid the floors in the guest bedroom and gave it a much needed fresh coat of paint.  One night I was in there by myself painting trim with the window open to keep from getting too high from the fumes.  Unbeknownst to me, the Boyfriend's cat Tigger, who never goes outside and I'm convinced hates me with the fires of a thousand suns, had wandered out onto the eave just outside the window. 

Rather than doing something sensible like calmly and quietly walking through the open window when she wanted to come back inside, she came flying out of the night with a squawk and gave me about seventeen and a half heart attacks (I can't be sure, it was hard to count) then trotted off wondering why the new girl was such a weirdo.  There may have been some nonchalant butt-licking, I don't remember.

I'm hoping with some ridiculously cheery curtains that actually fit (as opposed to the last set, which is why it's currently uncovered)  I'll be able to use it.  At the very least I'll have a place to put up guests again and I suppose that's nice.

Still, I can't help but feel that my cleaning efforts will end up something like this:

Tell Mater I loved her.

On the plus side, if I die in a landslide of accumulated bits and bobs I won't have to clean ever again.