24 February 2010

Further Illustration- A Recommendation

I love the internet and all things new media. Most of you know I'd marry it if I could (hey, it's always home and it usually does whatever I ask it to), but as I've said before I loves me some books. As a (nerdy) kid I loved going to the library and looking at whatever really old books they had to see what kind of illustrations were in them. I loved finding books with woodcut illustrations and was fascinated by what must have been a frustrating and tedious process at times for the artists. I think I love the romanticism of many of these, the artist's ability to beautify even the darkest subject; and let's face it, a lot of these old books are full of Victorian poverty, oddities, death and melancholy.

In college, I would pick up old books on the cheap at a used book store just for the illustrations. Will I ever read my 1894 version of "Peveril of The Peak" by Sir Walter Scott or "The Essayes of Michael Lord of Montaigne, Vol. 1"? Heck no, but the woodcuts in the first interested me and the Art Nouveau block prints in the second appealed to me. Today there is no need to dig around in the mustiest of musty boxes at your used book store to see some of these wonderful illustrations, unless you're into that of course. Many publisher and library catalogs are online now and you can browse to your heart's content for that sort of stuff. One more reason to love the internet! So today I'm going to give a shout-out to one of my favorite blogs that pulls together all sorts of old book illustrations from multiple sources and makes them available for our viewing pleasure. BibliOdyssey is a great little blog if you enjoy books and their accompanying art. It is, for me, one of those sites I go to when I want a little peace while I'm online. It's not flashy, it's not in your face, there are no LOL cats, and it is always interesting. Check it out, you'll like it!

You're welcome.
I have no idea either, but they're cool

08 February 2010

I Told You So.

More evidence of our impending doom.


And you all thought I was kidding with the Lazy Patch. http://thecentralreservation.blogspot.com/2009/12/its-end-of-world-as-we-know-it-and-i.html

It's a slippery slippery slope, people.

02 February 2010

The one in which I go paperless

For Christmas, I received a Kindle. I'd been looking at the Kindle for a long while, but I didn't buy one.  I waited around a bit and really considered what it would mean to get one. There were the usual concerns of the technology not being perfected quite enough and the bugs not being worked out. By "usual concerns", I really mean other people's concerns because normally I just dive right into new technology right away.  I'm like a raven; I see some shiny new tech marvel and my eyes glaze over and all of my "WANT" synapses start firing.  It's a characteristic that doesn't always serve me well, because inevitably I buy something and about a week later they lower the price by a third or some ridiculous amount and then I am swearing and digging around for my receipt to see if I can get some money back.  So as you've guessed by now, I'm a total nerd for this stuff, but for some reason I hesitated when it came to this new tool.  For one thing, I love books.  I don't mean that I just like to read books, but I actually love the feel and look of books, the smell of them, and the sound of pages turning.  I loved lying in bed with my kids when they were small and turning the pages of a well-worn story.  Okay, maybe I didn't always love it when we were on about the thousandth reading of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, but you get the picture.  There have been times when I was so into a book I actually put it in a Ziploc so I could prop it up and continue reading it in the shower.  (Don't you judge me!)  The idea of using a cold electronic reader just seemed a little wrong, like it would take some of the soul out of reading, not to mention possibly being dangerous in the shower.  I really kind of put the idea out of my mind; that is, until I had to deal with The Boxes.  

The Boxes were the roughly 20 or so moving boxes full of books that had been neatly packed and moved by our nice corporate movers when we moved to the Seattle area last year.  The Boxes stayed packed for nearly a year since we were leasing a home while we waited to sell our other one.  It didn't make sense to unpack and pack them up again upon purchasing a new home.  So, The Boxes went to live in storage, and I got to forget about their existence for a while and blithely continue purchasing yet more books.  Now, I'm no pack rat; having been through numerous moves, including a few international ones, I am a winnowing queen about most things.  I am sans sentimentality over objects.  A Goodwill Goddess, if you will.  I think I have issues when it comes to getting rid of books, however.  I agonize over them.  When faced with the necessity of getting rid of them, I start to break out in a panic sweat knowing that I will, for the good of my family (and also so I don't one day end up on the show Hoarders), have to part with some of my favorites.  Silly?  Maybe, but hey man, we've all got our problems.  

So with this last move completed, and having put off for as long as I could the inevitable unpacking of The Boxes, I got down to business.  I thought, "I've done this before, no big deal".  The only problem is that over the last 3 moves I have lost approximately 1700 square feet of space in my house, and hence a corresponding loss in space for books.  Some of The Boxes had been packed since 3 houses ago, but the time had come to go through every single one and get rid of as much as possible; 'cause, umm, you know, that whole Hoarders issue.  Needless to say, it took a couple of weeks to do it and it was the usual sort of unpack 3 books, lay down and read a bit, unpack 3 books...etc.  In spite of the occasional wail of grief as I did it, I was able to let go of enough books that I am able to have a nice sized collection on the walls without certain death occurring when the "big one" hits (the adventure of living on a fault line).  And yes, okay, a couple of moving boxes went into the basement storage.  You can't expect me to get rid of all of my obsolete anthropology text books! 

This experience really made me think hard about whether I wanted to go through this any more.  Yes, I love books, but there will never be a time when I have space for all of the books I acquire and I am basically creating work and grief for myself every time I buy a book.  "Go to the library instead", you say smugly.  Well, scroll up...see that little raven analogy?  Apply that to me and bookstores as well, because while I love libraries I often do not have the patience to wait for a book to become available.  I told you, I have issues. 

Hence, the Christmas Kindle request.  Frankly, I do not know how I've survived this long without this marvelous technology.  I won't go into all of its virtues here because it's easy enough to go online and read all sorts of articles, pro and con, about it and other types of e-readers, but suffice it to say a whole new world has opened up.  It satisfies me on multiple levels.  No longer will I have to torture myself about which books to keep or toss.  Run out of reading material?  Turn the wireless on and browse for a new book.  Slip it into your bag for those interminable waits at the field when your kid's practice is taking too long.  Want to look up a word you don't understand?  There's a built-in dictionary.  Too embarrassed to buy that pornographic erotic historically rich romance novel at the book store?  Download on the sly.  I can say that I am now doing more reading than ever, perhaps the fact that I am no longer shackled to owning and storing paper-printed books has freed me up psychologically somewhat to become, once again, the voracious reader I was in my younger days.  Maybe it's the ease of purchasing reading material.  Or maybe it's just the porn romance novels.  Whatever it is, I think that this is one technological advance that is just going to get more popular with time.  Now if only they could invent a waterproof version.

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

So, a very good friend of mine sent a link to me yesterday. Not so unusual, as I get a lot of funny links from my friends. There was just one thing that was different about this one, and that is THE FACT THAT IT IS ONE MORE SIGNAL OF THE COMING DESTRUCTION OF OUR CIVILIZATION AND ALL THAT IS GOOD AND WORTHY IN THIS HEARTBREAKING YET BEAUTIFUL THING WE CALL LIFE!

I'm not kidding, it really is. See for yourself: http://lazypatch.com

Soak it in. It is a duvet suit. You read right, a duvet SUIT. A suit made of a duvet. (By the way, I didn't ask why my friend had been looking at duvet suits, suffice it to say I have my suspicions). Now you may be saying, "Golly, Aunt Renee, a duvet suit doesn't seem like a portent of our ultimate doom", but you would be wrong, as usual. Do I have to explain everything? You know, it's really quite lucky for you that I'm around.

You just need to look at the website to see the insidious possibilities of this invention. Its message is all "ooh look at us, we're lounging around on our orange sort of couch thingy, and we're so cozy because it's almost like we're in bed because we're wearing a duvet!" Look at the flash pics on the side. All of those pictures are there to make us want to be surrounded by downy goodness all the time. Look at that cute blonde wearing her skimpy cami and a duvet, she looks great! Hey, there's a guy in a brown duvet pointing at a panty-liner or something in his pocket, maybe he just got back from running to the corner shop for his wife, what a nice guy. That other woman is going skiing in her duvet, she'll have fun and stay warm for sure. And there's a guy taking a cra...Woah! I guess you really can do anything in your Lazypatch duvet suit!

Now you may think this is no different than the Snuggie (tm), but I beg to differ. You can't really do anything in the Snuggie but sit on the sofa, the New York Fashion Week showing notwithstanding. With the Lazypatch you can move around if you have to (although you won't because why bother, really?). You don't even need to change into pajamas, just brush the crumbs off and climb in bed. After all, it has "..arms and legs designed long to cover hands and feet. Simply roll up when wanting to use limbs." That's some scary shit. It makes me want to order like ten of call my congressperson and demand a ban on the importation of these things. Why, the fashion industry could be devastated by this, not to mention the bedding and linen industry! What's going to happen to all of the design houses? The retail shops? The six-year old kids whose jobs are to sew the buttons on our $50 shirts that we buy because there is a really good sale? Holy Mother of God, there are no buttons on the Lazy Patch!! Who is going to explain this to the children? Lazypatch's video even shows how it will all start:

That's right, lady...you'll never get him out of that duvet suit once he's in it. No more dinners out for you.

Inevitably, even getting up off of the couch will become a burden necessitating an evolution of the Lazypatch into something even more self contained. Soon you will see ads proclaiming, "Behold! The Lazypatch stillsuit!"

And God help us then, because you all know what will happen. Not only will we be drinking our own urine, but hygiene goes out the window, the planet turns into a giant desert planet with big worms and evil boil-infested barons will enslave the population. And all because you want to be warm and cozy. And selfish. Thanks a lot.

Now do you understand? Geez.