Friday, April 30, 2010

Stay cool

My motto for summer:

It's starting to get hot n' muggy here in Austin. On my morning bike into work, the trickle of sweat hits my lower back at precisely the same place every day. Last summer was unbearably hot - I wouldn't even think of biking in. Here's to hoping global warming spares our little urban heat island this summer.

image via ffffound

Friday, April 23, 2010

Need to want less

I like this set on Flickr.

From the maker:

when i was 8 i wanted a puppy
when i was 10 i wanted parachute pants
when i was 12 i wanted an ogilvie perm
when i was 14 i wanted a boy named robbie
when i was 16 i wanted a car
when i was in my 20s i wanted to make bad choices
now i want everything
i only need enough to survive

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Somewhere else

Where is this place? I want to be there right now.

image via s'il vous plait

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finding oneself on Google Street View

It's not rare that I think about the pervasiveness of Google in every day life. For example, yesterday, when Google pulled out of China, news commenters were pondering what effect this would have on relations between the U.S. and China. On NPR, one commenter said something to the effect of, this is the action of one individual company, and it's not U.S. foreign policy we're dealing with. But, the fact that we're even discussing the company in this way shows how much Google has transcended business-as-usual and become something more. Something more that might eventually take over our lives, like the corporation in Wall-E? Maybe? Possibly?

And then there's the privacy issue. Google Responds To Privacy Concerns With Unsettlingly Specific Apology (The Onion)

To live in the internet age, I think you have to assume a sacrifice of privacy. I mean, we all like to share things about our friends, families, and find a resting place for all those digital photos we'll never look at again. For example, today I was looking around my former neighbors' blog, as it is chock full of cute photos and videos of their adorable children.

Then I decided to dig a little bit deeper back into the archives... and found myself. On Google Street View.

See that bicycle riding up the driveway next to the van? That is undoubtedly me, cruising towards my garage apartment when I used to live in a quaint neighborhood next to that amazing, Gaudi inspired house. My neighbors posted it on their blog before they became my neighbors, to show the folks back home what they were in for. (They were blissfully ignorant about the lack of air conditioning during that time.)

So... weird.

I'm multimedia

Some new things from work:



Sunday, March 21, 2010


I uploaded my first video to YouTube today.

Marshall was playing a bit of a last minute show with his student who is an amazing violinist, and I decided it was time to learn how to use the video on my new DSLR. I apologize for cutting off the top of Josh's head most of the time, and I'm not sure how the focus works. But I'm going to make it work, because I'm set on filming a YouTube show starring my neighbor Ian. Ian is an amazing cook and he's also rather handy with crafts, so it will be called, "Ian's Home Cooking and Craft Show." Here's an idea of the amazing DIY skills we will learn on Ian's Home Cooking and Craft Show: screenprinting for your guerrilla gardening group! After that, we will cook a comforting chicken soup and learn about Ian's new favorite wine. (He is also a connoisseur, which will run as a byline during the wine segment.) It will be so informative and fun.

A SXSW P.S. The violinist's other band (when he is not in high school) was my hands-down favorite of the festival. I had seen them before, but they blew me away a second time and gained a standing ovation from a room of 600 or more. Described as "a small symphony with an epic sound." You must give them a listen: Mother Falcon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Some thoughts

Tonight I listed some fabric I wanted to get rid of on Craigslist. A few years ago, I happened into a large box of free fabric scraps as part of my dealings with an eccentric man who was selling all his robin's egg blue furniture on Craigslist. (I know I have used the word "eccentric" to describe Austin characters recently twice now, but I feel I would be doing an injustice not to use that word. He painted his furniture - and his apartment - that color because it was his "power color.") I got a rocking chair, a cork bulletin board and whatever was on it, a rug I really loved involving robin's egg blue, and as this man was an obsessive and persistent collector of stuff (he told me he was anti-minimalist and had furniture hanging from the ceiling) he handed me this box of fabric scraps he had picked up somewhere.

Tonight I decided, in order to save an upstairs room from chaos, I needed to give away some of the fabric. So I listed it on Craigslist for free. Within 45 minutes, it was gone - destined for use in an afterschool program. The fabric would have had four owners now, via Craigslist. As I stepped outside to see that it was being picked up, I thought about how great Craigslist is. Not only had this fabric cleansing been an easy and painless process, I still treasure my memories of that strange, strange man. And, most of my furniture is from Craigslist.

Then I had the sudden thought: Craigslist killed the newspapers.

But I never would have made a classified ad to get rid of my fabric.

But I do value local journalism and jobs.

I asked myself: Would I rather give up my easy and interesting Craigslisting, or the livelihood of local newspapers?

I decided it was an impossible question.

Even if a guy named Craig hadn't started a free classifieds service, surely, something else would have burst a hole in the "dinosaur" of newspapers. You can't even really point a finger at Craig. Craigslist is a symptom. A symptom of the new nature of information. It wants to be free. My fabric wants to be free. Change, it's inevitable. Subsequent cliched justification. Being paid to create media is dying, regardless.

Craigslist makes me really happy, and really sad.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Indie band on a French carousel

Saw these guys at SXSW last year, at a small house party Marshall's band played. They're huge now - well, at least indie rock huge. I remember going up to one of them in the small, liquor sticky kitchen after they played and telling him how much I enjoyed it. I said something like, "Every year, I hope that some band will blow me away and you guys are it." I think I was drunk. I said this with much conviction. The guy seemed truly appreciative, took my compliment with wide-eyed, genuine acceptance, like it really meant something that I liked it so much. A sweet guy, really. I would like to see them again this year, but I am not sure if I can get into their shows now that they are so popular, or if it would be worth the investment of time to see something that blew me away once, when I could be listening for the next big thing.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

At the plant sale


Girls dressed appropriately

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"Care and feeding of a mermaid"

When I was little - post-Disney's "The Little Mermaid" - I was obsessed with mermaids. I made up stories about them. I wanted to be one. When I went swimming, I lived a fantasy mermaid life - half girl, half fish.

A few months after I first moved to Austin, I met my first real-life mermaid. Her name was Rusty. She swam in the community pool by my house, with a shimmering green fin and matching bikini top, which she made herself. The pool was small, and she used the two lap lanes, by the side of the pool. Two little kids ran along the edge of the pool as she swam, as if they were seeing a dolphin at Sea World.

When Rusty shimmied out of the pool (a difficult maneuver when your legs are bonded together in a uni-fin), I could not avoid my desire to talk to her. Predictably, she was eccentric. Rusty told me that she split her time between Austin and New York. In New York, she worked as a mermaid, diving in giant, glass tubs in a club. In Austin, where there are no mermaid clubs, she acted in the Rocky Horror every weekend. She bemoaned the decline of the mermaid club - quite popular during the 60s.

This video reminded me of Rusty, who I always hoped to see when I went to that pool many times over the summer, but I never saw her, or another mermaid, there again.

Via Flickr Commons