21 December 2009

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

Wow, so it's been a while since I posted anything new. I thought I'd post a little something since the last thing I posted was about me going to Detroit and I didn't want anyone worried that I never made it out alive.  Oh well would you look at that, that's interesting.  While I was gone no one posted any comments about how concerned they were over my safety. No "Where are you?! Why aren't you posting?! OH MY GOD, CALL THE POLICE!" Not a single one. I could have been murdered for crissakes, and you guys are probably all like "Well, you know, it's the holiday season and well, we really didn't want to get involved with a big ole murder investigation 'cause the in-laws are coming and everything and it's super stressful especially with my mother-in-law not able to keep her damn trap shut, always criticizing and complaining, and well you know... "  Pathetic.

Well you can pack your guilty expressions away, as I returned from Detroit relatively unscathed considering I had to spend my long weekend not only with my own family in close quarters in a shithole  2+ star motel, but also with my husband's extended family since the reason we were there was to celebrate my father-in-law's 90th (!) birthday.  A man who, by the way, has taught me the amazing secret to longevity.  Based on my completely scientific observations conducted while under the influence of both xanax and a stiff bourbon, the secret to longevity is massive amounts of  Obstinacy sprinkled with liberal amounts of Bitterness.  Get you some of them and you'll be set. I'm just sayin'.  Anyway, as we discussed before when you were going on and on about your loudmouth mother-in-law, it's one thing to deal with the neuroses of your own family of origin and a whole other thing to deal with someone else's, so let's just say I wasn't wholly jazzed about this little shindig.  I am glad to report, however, that the party went off decently, everyone stuffed their faces and kept their knives in their boots and I escaped without having to commit to attending any future family reunion.  I call that success. Yay me!

The bonuses were that I did get to the beautiful DIA to see the Rivera murals (which are astounding in person) and many other fabulous artworks. I got a personal tour of downtown Detroit and a close up look at the schizophrenic juxtaposition of some really impressive architecture alongside some of the most heartbreaking urban decay I've ever seen.  Plus, we got to see one of the original Weinermobiles, and if that doesn't tip things into the 'win' column, I don't know what would.

hehe, "Band Wieners"

All around, it was an okay trip.  Especially since I didn't get murdered.  Not that any of you care.

09 December 2009

Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons (In The Ghetto)

I'm traveling this weekend. I know what you're thinking, "Oh Renee, what new exotic destination will you be jetting off to now?". You're not thinking that? How dare you. Haven't I told you over and over how glamorous my life is? Well perhaps you'll believe me now. This Friday I will board a Northworst jet bound for Detroit. I'll be flying in steerage of course, because really, first class is just so pretentious, don't you agree? I thought you might.

Detroit has a bad reputation, to say the least. It is world famous for its crime rate and parts of downtown Detroit have been called post-apocalyptic in their appearance due to the burned out and abandoned buildings that abound in the city. When someone mentions they are from Detroit to an outsider, there is a visible recoil and then a curious look that comes over their faces as if they can't believe that anyone would actually admit to living there. There are a lot of reasons that Detroit has such a reviled (and in some cases, exaggerated) reputation; a complex mix of heavy industrialism that has been in decline for decades, rampant governmental corruption, racism, real estate speculation, poverty and the crime and victimization that comes along with it. Much of the reputation seems to be deserved, but to simply assume that people there don't care would be unfair. There are many people in Detroit that are proud of their city and its history and are working on improving things in very difficult circumstances. There's no denying that the city is rough and can be dangerous but it's never productive to over-simplify when you are talking about a place where people work and raise their families the best they can just as we all do. Still, it's not exactly a trip most people scrimp and save their money to take, is it? But there are some things in Detroit that are worth seeing, some great architecture (even if some of it has been abandoned), pretty lake views, and some world-class art. After my family obligations are finished I hope to go to see some of that art up close.

In 1932, Mexican artist Diego Rivera was commissioned by Edsel Ford to paint two murals for the Detroit Institute of Arts garden court. The painter was given carte blanche except for one rule, the painting must relate to the history and industry of Detroit. Rivera and his wife, Frida Khalo, spent a month photographing sites of interest and designing the mural. They were so inspired by the time they spent visiting the assembly line at the Ford Motor plant on the Rouge river, that Rivera suggested painting all four walls of the garden court rather than two. The resulting work was to become one of the finest examples of the muralist movement, and an iconic view of industry that raises issues of politics and class. Rivera's "Detroit Industry" was controversial and magnificent, and the artist considered it his finest work. I can't wait to see it in person! Please enjoy the following images of "Detroit Industry". And please, try to control your envy of my jet-set ways, perhaps if you are ever in Detroit you will remember to go and enjoy these yourself. Better start saving for that dream vacation now!




05 December 2009

BBC America: WIN

Okay, BBC America officially wins the award for the most ROCKIN' documentary titles ever in the history of American television!*  Other networks, while presenting many incredibly boring wonderful and informative award-winning documentaries, cannot possibly compete with the BBCA in titling their offerings.  History Channel?  Puh-leeze.  Biography? Boring.  PBS?  Ken Burns blah blahbitty blah, fiddle plays, blah blah.  And suck it, Discovery Channel, why didn't you come up with "Brothels: The Ins and Outs", huh?  You, with your fancy-pants nature docs, pfft.
 The National Parks: Amerizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Who is not going to at least tune in for a bit of "My Big Breasts And Me", I ask you?  What about these:

Britain's Worst Teeth                                         
Too Ugly To Love
Transvestite Wives
Sex Change Soldier
Perfect Private Parts
The Human Spider


 My Car Is My Lover

Fabulous in their promise of possible freakishness, n'est-ce pas?  I, for one, offer my thanks and appreciation to the British Broadcasting Corporation for the fine presentation of educational and relevant television programming.  How else would I have learned about that lady who married the Eiffel Tower? Pure gold, I tell ya.  Anyway, just wanted to pass on the kudos....I've got to go now though, the second half of "My Fake Baby" is starting and I can't wait to see how that whole "nursing" thing turns out.  Cheerio!

*not a real award but should be

03 December 2009

Steampunk or The One Where I Reveal My Heretofore Denied Nerdery

I like art. Who doesn't, right? I like all sorts of art, although I do tend to prefer abstractism and if given the choice will choose a gallery walk that features this kind of art over others. I'm not well versed in the language of art history or criticism so I can't give you all the reasons why this art is (or should be) appealing, I only know that in looking at it I am able to focus on how the piece makes me feel and not so much the quality of perspective and realism. Wikipedia states that "Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art". Perhaps this is the appeal for me? Frankly, I often think reality is way over-rated. In any case, any art that strikes at the core of imagination and emotion of a person is valuable for it's ability to draw us beyond our petty everyday concerns, regardless of style or appeal to professional critics. So it is with another more recent art style that has gained my interest and in some cases absolutely delights me, and that style is STEAMPUNK.

Steampunk as art emerged in the 1980's from science fiction and fantasy literature that has drawn its inspiration from the scientific romances of H.G. Wells and Jules Vernes, among others; pulling the fantastical pseudo-Victorian mechanical imagery of those works into modern fiction that describes an alternate steam-powered reality that often blends the patently inorganic with the organic in an wonderful way. Along with this literary imagery has come an emerging artistic sub-culture that has inspired artists and craftsmen to capture its spirit, and it in turn has captured me.  There are a lot of pretty bizarre little crafts and inventions that people make in the Steampunk style that illustrate a certain hard-core punk nerdism, but while I'm not interested in the Steampunk lifestyle, there is much in the craftsmanship and magic of it that draws me in. I think it would be great fun, for example, to stay in a Steampunk hotel. If any of you know of one, let me know 'cause I am so there. If you are interested in learning more about the origins of Steampunk take a look at this basic Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk So without blathering on and on about it anymore..... I present my inner geekery, please to enjoy a sampling :



"Requiem for Industry", art by Almacan: Kazuhiko Nakamura - see more of his "Mechanical Mirage" works



http://www.keiththompsonart.com/pages/scribe.html







http://artdonovan.vox.com/library/photo/6a00e398e2c7620005011018612dff860f.html



http://www.donovandesign.blogspot.com/

02 December 2009

Life not turning out the way you wanted? It's probably your bra.

A greater proportion of my life than I would like is spent searching for the perfect brassiere.  I've tried on hundreds (maybe upwards of a thousand) of bras hunting that perfect combination of elastic and fabric that might help give me the perfect shape without torturing me and making me want to claw it off the minute I get home.  It is an elusive creature and I've caught it a few times only to have the manufacturers discontinue the style or tweak the design in a way that ruins it for me, necessitating a new search.  It's not like you can go find the perfect one and buy a lifetime supply.  For one thing, bras are bloody expensive; and for another, you can't just have one style, you need different styles for different fashions.  Besides, different stages of life require different levels of  bondage support (p.s. I hate you, gravity).  It's a remarkably frustrating process, often ending up with me near tears in the dressing room surrounded by heaps of bra fail and loudly complaining to all nearby "It's the 21st Century, is it TOO MUCH to ask to at least look like I have great tits?!"  Then usually someone in another room complains about how the bra they're trying on gives them back-fat boobs and soon pretty much everyone in there is in full-blown lingerie hate.  And then I'm happy, because at least I'm not alone and also I'm glad that I don't have a lot of back fat.  But I recognize that this is one of those annoying things about being a woman that is kind of timeless.  Women have forever tried to figure how to be happy with their girls. Witness below:


Look, she's lovable now!




She's finally getting flowers from that special fellow she likes!


There's a new sheriff in town now that she has her Maidenform! Watch out you thievin' galoots!



She can finally land that glass cutting job down at the window factory now!   No, really, isn't the Nipple Bra all sorts of awesome?  And all for only $2000 dollars!  Or you can just do it the Amy Sedaris way and stick the pointy end of the lemon peel in there.  It's all good.

Anyway, the search continues.  And for those of you who suffer along with me and hate the thought of all that wasted money spent on broken (or droopy) promises, try your greenie crafty best and recycle the old boulder holders into.........



Tada! The bra-purse! Instructions here:  http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Bra-Purse  Etsy is waiting for you!  If you need extra materials just call me, I have loads.


01 December 2009

My Speidi Senses Are Tingling (feels like a cold sore)

How many stupid things have you done that would be dragged up for public consumption if you were suddenly famous?  Ahmagawd, way too many in my case.  After all, how many truly smart and circumspect twenty-somethings do you know?  For that matter, how many fashion tragedies have you perpetrated lately (come on, you know there are always a few)?  How would you like them dissected in the pages of People?  If you were famous, there would be people whose mission in life would be to find out anything embarrassing to you. But even worse, your personal faux pas could become the lead story on the national news.

I have no idea why anyone would want to be famous.  Nearly everything we read or see on television about famous people (or even the infamous who have sought celebrity) these days is as much about tearing them down as it is extolling whatever talent or quality that got them noticed in the first place.  This morning, MSNBC crackled with speculation about Tiger Woods.  Was he drunk?  Did she go after him with a 9-iron?  When they wore that debate out it was on to the DC socialite wannabes who crashed the POTUS's dinner party.  Not a story about the breach in security, so much as a discussion about what social climbers they were.  All hashed over by various pundits and legal eagles until the subjects were wrung out like some nasty dishrag.  Sort of made me feel like washing my hands after viewing.

Why was this such a big part of my news day?  Why would this not be relegated to a very small portion of the broadcast if at all?  And why the hell do I know what a "Speidi" is?  I've never even seen "The Hills", I don't read gossip magazines, but even I know what wankers those two are.  But the bigger question is why do We care who they are?  And the American public does care, or this gossip wouldn't make its way into our morning coffee time.  We love hearing about it, and the news media is giving us exactly what we seem to want.  Fair enough, people obviously like the distraction.  I even enjoy celebrity news in its proper forum, but when it is called 'news' it really irritates me.

So here we are, this stuff lead the morning news.  Meanwhile, there were a couple of smaller side pieces that provided a distraction from the more titillating stories of the day.  We will be sending 30K more troops into Afghanistan. That's thirty-thousand young American men and women going to war (in some cases for the second, third or even fourth time). Oh, and as an aside, this is World AIDS Day and there are currently 34 million people living with AIDS in the world today.  I seriously doubt whether any of them give a shit about Tiger Woods or nouveau riche polo hacks right now.  Maybe we shouldn't either.