daphnep: (BoscoWife Points)
( May. 29th, 2014 07:06 am)

#YesAllWomen, 3-6 of 144, in the form of haiku, for [livejournal.com profile] fizzyland

Delivery man
Says I'm way too fat to love
he still wants a tip

pre cell-phone "dick-pics"
men took them out on the street
just waved them about

Babysitter dad
Wait, I'll drive you home tonight
You still need the job.

Walking a city
With a man alongside me
a whole new city.

Take that, Twitter.

daphnep: (frog)
( May. 17th, 2014 11:10 am)

This is my first day off, after 13 of working straight. Prepare to be posted-to.

Here's my carnivorous bog, now:

Here's when it was first planted, in March:

Please to be noting the incredible height of that tallest pitcher plant. That particular plant was completely dormant at the time of planting, it was like planting a lump of dirt and a small bit of dried crumpled leaf. All of that growth is new! And the little flytrap in the foreground, stretching up new traps, what once was just a tiny hint of green amid the sphagnum.

(Yes, along the way it also became a bit of a dinosaur hangout. It happens.)

Do you know how a sundew grows?

I'll show you: like a zipper.

It starts with a folded green spear, like a bent chive, but as it straightens, the red dew thingies open up from a centerline seam, popping out from the middle, which you see right in the center, here.

Do you know how a sundew eats?

I'll show you:

Gross, huh? I said sundews are the prettiest of the carnivorous plants, and Dan said "no, they're the most disgusting, because they chew with their mouths open."

It's true: flytrap and pitcher plants keep all the killing nonsense contained inside. Sundews digest right on the surface.

Eta: here's a more close-up view of the bog, in which you can see:

1) how big the pitchers are that some of the other varieties of pitchers are putting out.
2) the bloom on the sundew, how it's arching up
3) how even the "sarracenia purpuria" (with the deep red pitchers) grows in green at first, with red veins, and then darken in the sunlight
4) that awesome little Venus flytrap and all its ambitions.

(The non-carnivorous companion plants there are a type of orchid--the green leaves--and a cranberry plant, easily identifiable.)

daphnep: (Default)
( Dec. 2nd, 2012 11:06 am)

I spent some time in a local used bookstore, yesterday. I impulse-bought some books by various authors I've been meaning to check out, but since I haven't read them yet, I'm not sure they're worth full price at Amazon, yet.

See, I do shop at Amazon. I think there is value in convenience, and "vote" for that in my own life. The bookstore made me sad, however, because it's one of those huge, dusty ones where you never know what you're going to find...a dinosaur of a bookstore, a prime example of a dying breed.

One day this kind of place might be one that we remember, but can't get to any longer. That makes me sad.

And yet, I'm not resentful of Ebooks and technology, either--I think it's great that e-publishing allows people to self-publish and distribute their own work. I think it's important to have a broad diversity in sources for information. I think, poking around this bookstore, that what I worry about most is the longevity of our information, in the era of e-books. These books are old. And yet they still exist, and are available to anyone who wants them. In a collection of old books, one can find old ideas: cookbooks that preserve old methods or outdated ideas about food. Political biographies that reflect the biases of their generation, preserved even after the passage of time has altered the status quo. Outdated literature. Outdated science. Outdated parenting. Outdated knitting patterns. Any person, with any set of interests, can wander through a used bookstore and contextualize their interests, and seat them in a tradition of history. They can refer back to other periods as needed: although that was the way we used to do/think/be, this is the way we do/think/are now.

I worry about the vulnerability of a world documented only digitally. Before Hurricane Sandy, as everyone prepared to be without power for indefinite periods of time, I wondered "what happens to our collective knowledge, if the grid goes out long term, and all our personal libraries are on kindles?"

The sharing of books is primarily why I don't, myself, use an e-reader. I like to own what I buy, and I don't like the way e-book buying is basically just renting the text for the longevity of your service providing company, or the lifespan of that digital file format, whichever is shortest.

Books, printed books, have longevity: they have longer lifespans than humans, for the most part. And they can be shared, recycled, reused, and freely passed around between people. "Here, I'm done with these ideas, I don't want to store them, maybe I didn't even like them so much in the first place...but here, you are welcome to them." And also if I change my mind, I will be able to pick up another copy somewhere else for next-to-nothing some day. I worry about how that changes a culture, when we get a couple of decades out and have gaps in our history and knowledge, periods of time in which entire bodies of knowledge slip into a void of nonexistence, like VHS tapes no-one's bothered to digitize, my body of student work forever preserved on floppy disks, or all those abandoned MySpace accounts. We are becoming a people accustomed to abandoning our own productions, thinking, and records, and just moving on to the next thing.

In the space of that used bookstore, I am reminded of all the things we have lost, and still stand to lose.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

I'm nominating this phrase as one of my most loathed.

I see it frequently these days in reference to Pinterest projects. Someone will make something intricate and time-consuming and perhaps of minimal use (say, cupcakes tricked out like Christmas ornaments, complete with edible metallic paint) and someone else posts it to FB or somewhere to say "oooh, pretty!", and some nasty person will have to point out that whoever made that thing has "too much time".

Peeve 1: it's generally in reference to made things. Apparently, it's fine to buy all the delicate, intricate things one might want, but if one is intrigued by the puzzle or process of something, and wishes to try it for oneself, that's a waste of time.

Peeve 2: It totally fails my "compared to what, exactly?" test. Whenever people make sweeping judgements I try to be precise about what the standard of measurement is that they're judging against. Now sure, if we're holding up Albert Schweitzer as our measuring stick, yes, perhaps beading a complicated design onto the full surface of a ballgown by hand with a very small needle and a million glass crystals is not as constructive as vaccinating an entire nation of small children.

But I don't think that's what the naysayers are up to. They're filling their oh-so-valuable time with all sorts of things themselves: hours and hours of shopping, playing videogames, hanging with friends, watching tv, creating judgmental macros to update to Facebook, but none of that seems to them to be "too much time on their hands".

Yes, I'm defensive. I'm crafter myself, and I've personally spent tons of time on things that many shrug off as "wasted". And I'm a proponent of art and images and handmade things in so many different forms. And the times that I've encountered this sentiment in person have been rather puzzling. I usually hear it when I am knitting in public places. "I'd love to do something like that, but I don't have enough time," people tell me all the time, whenever they see me knitting. Which is particularly odd, because always when I'm knitting in public, I'm either waiting in a waiting room or sitting on public transportation. I always wonder what time the speaker imagines I have that they don't also have? We're waiting together. The plane will arrive at our destination at exactly the same time for both of us, but only one of us will end the ride with a new scarf.

Let's face it, there's only so much time in the week that a person can spend on work. The rest of it is going to be filled somehow. I hope people choose to fill it with things that make them feel satisfied and contented, however that happens for them. But I am grateful that the world is filled with beautiful things, each contributed by people who felt beauty alone was an endeavor worthy of their precious time.
I'm writing this here in case there's anyone else who, like me, loves pumpkin-flavored everything, but can't stand the syrupy fake-flavored stuff that coffee shops are buying to make all their "Pumpkin spice" products these days.

It's really EASY to make "pumpkin" flavored coffee, yourself. You just put a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny, tiny bit of ground cloves (yes: the "pumpkin spices!") in your coffee filter with the grounds, before brewing your coffee.

Voila, a true "pumpkin spice" flavor that makes everything feel like fall, without that godawful aftertaste and chemical mouth-coating that flavoring-in-a-pump products have.

You're welcome.
So everyone knows the Atlantic Monthly ran an article asking yet again "Can women have it all?" to which Jessica Valenti responded with a hilarious compilation of stock photographs showing the dire stock-photo lives of the archetypal "Sad white babies with mean feminist mommies."

(Here: http://jessicavalenti.tumblr.com/post/25465502300/sad-white-babies-with-mean-feminist-mommies-the)

I'd just like to add to that that it's an archetype that long pre-dates the stock photography industry, in the world of image-making. Witness, below, satirical drawings by Honoré Daumier, in Les Bas Bleus (The Bluestockings) depicting the dangers that can happen in the home of educated women.

18th century, darlings, and look how far the conversation has not come:


If women are allowed access to education, their houses will fall into disarray and their babies into the bathwater...


...and their poor beleaguered husbands left to fend for themselves in child-rearing.


As the French say, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
daphnep: (ART)
( Apr. 8th, 2012 12:34 pm)
Over breakfast, Dan asked "do you think Thomas Kinkade's work will ever be in a real museum?"

"I hope so," I replied. "In fact, I'd like to curate that show, myself."

I told him what angle I'd like to take, and what context, and we mulled over speculative titles. I can already see the street-side banners:

Happy Little Trees: Duchamp to Kinkade, Consumerism and the Commodification of Fine Art in the 20th Century.
Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Bob Ross, Thomas Kinkade

I think it's genius.
The key component of art, to me (and I mean art that makes a mark in history) is that it tells us something essential about the time and place in which it was made. And I think Kinkade's work makes two valuable points about our era: the shopping mall consumer culture of mass manufacturing, and America's current deep need for fantasy and nostalgia for idyllic times and places that never existed. It's not a flattering portrayal, perhaps, but it's completely relevant.

I'd also like to work into this lineup some aspect of the spiritual/devotional purpose of his art. Art has long served that purpose, commonly and throughout cultures. We no longer find the same comfort in gazing into the eyes of the Blessed Mary Mother of God, but clearly glowing cottages with picket-fenced gardens somehow, for many, serve the same purpose, today.

I just can't figure out who Kinkade's closest (20th C) predecessor would be for devotional painting of this type--I need another artist or two on the contemporary spiritual side to add to my exhibition, to make this link.
daphnep: (yarn (he)art)
( Feb. 12th, 2012 07:33 pm)

I keep seeing that video of Ellen DeGeneres making the rounds, responding to her detractors opposed to her deal with JCPenny.
(Here, if you've missed it.)

And every time I see it, it makes me happy. Mostly because to me, Ellen, and her sustained popularity, in particular, is one tangible sign that it really does, sometimes, "get better." I remember very clearly what a huge outcry there was when she first came out on her television show as a lesbian. I was in high school, in a small conservative town, and even though we all knew she was gay, it was an enormous thing when they made it a plot line and actually said it in so many words, on television. I remember kids talking about it in the lunchroom. And now, I can't begin to count the number of "out" celebrities and gay plot lines in t.v. shows, and every day it seems there's a new one, and I can note on my own personal timeline how much the universe has shifted, because I remember personally that time when it was radical that Ellen was gay. And she's still gay, and it's no longer radical, and the world has improved just that measurable amount, and I love Ellen, for being a measuring stick for that important change.

I love her for other reasons, too: She's funny, whether she's hosting an awards show, on her talk show, or being interviewed in magazines and on other shows. Or that video with Kristin Bell.

She makes me laugh. She makes me laugh in a belly-deep, chortling way that defies the conventional comic wisdom, that says that women can't be funny.

Also, I love that even though she's not conventionally cover-model-gorgeous, she's still won the cultural recognition of a "beautiful woman"--many particular honors that are normally reserved for a different, less interesting kind of face, like a makeup sponsorship deals (CoverGirl) and the covers of fashion magazines.

W magazine

And mostly, I just love that this supposedly "not funny" "not pretty" kick-ass gay woman is all over the place, still being hilarious and gorgeous and smart and in every way bad-ass.
daphnep: (girl crossing)
( Nov. 23rd, 2011 12:48 pm)

...Yellow shoes on an autumn day!

daphnep: (big butt)
( Sep. 14th, 2011 11:10 pm)
Because the internet is my friend this evening, I present to you the earliest "Plus Sized" advertising in women's fashion, courtesy of Lane Bryant, the company that first brought us clothing to fit in larger sizes.

If you are not slender...

not slender

...or if you're downright stout...


Read more )
Every couple of years I read a story in a magazine or on a fashion website. The story goes like this:

So-and-so was a fashion model, and her career was going great, and then she started to put on weight, and her agency said "Oh, NO, So-and-so! You have to lose weight, or we can't send you on shoots anymore!" And So-and-so either a) tries to lose the weight and cannot, or b) is possessed of a rebellious streak and decides she doesn't want to lose the weight, and so she finds another Kinder, Gentler Modeling Agency where they are happy with her body just the way it is, and they name her a "Plus Sized Model" and send her on shoots for clothing for Big, Beautiful Women, and then she lives happily ever after, the end.

The only problem is that I swear I have read that same story about every two years all of my adult life, and every single time So-and-so is given a new name, and every single time, the author of the article writes it as if this is radical, new turf that has never been traveled before.

Last winter I read the book Hungry, the memoir of Crystal Renn, the latest So-and-so, and the whole time I was reading it, I was wracking my brain going "Where was the first time I read this? Who was the model the first time around?"

The first time, you see, is the one that makes the impression. The first time, I was younger, and I went "Oh, Plus Sized Models, you say?" and paid attention. And now, ever after, I read it and go "yeah, right: radical as ever, every single time it happens, over and over again." It happened most often during the Mode Magazine years, with Emme/Kate Dillon and all those other model defectors.

It bothered me that I couldn't find the original version, although I know she, too, surely isn't the "original", she was just her year's So-and-so, and the story's been retold ever since "Plus Sized" modeling began.

But at last, I have found my original:


From People Magazine archives, 1992.

Her name is Laina Pecora. Google shows me only modeling comp cards from 1982 and 1983. After that, she drifted back into obscurity--I can't even find a photo shoot of her, modeling fashion. Just this--this one article, filed in the endless databank of my brain, the one that set the standard for the plus-sized princess story.

Now, I want two more things: 1) pictures of Laina Pecora actually being a plus-sized model, and 2) So-and-so plus-sized hero stories from before Laina Pecora, going all the way back, to when it was called the "Chubby" division, etc.

(Because SOMEBODY'S got to keep track of this stuff!)

daphnep: (lipstick)
( Sep. 14th, 2011 12:43 pm)
Missoni made a line of clothing and home goods for Target, which launched yesterday, flooding the stores and crashing their website. Within hours, the goods were on Ebay, for much more than Target was offering them for, and some of the items for sale on Ebay at elevated prices aren't even sold out on Target.com, yet. Most things are, though...so I guess the few remainders will be, soon.

I'm sort of disappointed, but a little more amused. I had seen the preview for items and wasn't that impressed. I thought maybe I'd get a scarf or two, but for the most part, as a long-time Missoni fan, I thought it was obviously a "downmarket" line of products. The whole beauty of the fashion house, to me, is that they're really attentive to their fibers and textiles and dyeing processes, so they come up with very subtle and amazing color combinations. The items I saw on the Target preview (and indeed, as they appeared) seemed visibly "cheaper". Instead of carefully gradated dye colors in the knits that create zig-zags, they just decided to do "a Missoni-esque zig-zag." As if the zig-zag alone is enough. To me, that seems to reduce the whole artistry of the line.

Take this photo, for example, from yesterday's brand launch:

The woman on the left is wearing Missoni. The woman on the right is wearing Missoni for Target.

To me, the difference is obvious. The Target line seems to be created for someone who wants the name brand, more than the actual style or fashion. The stripe pattern becomes just a name emblazoned over the item. I know there are a lot of customers out there who buy into this (the people who want the Tiffany blue box as much as any jewelry that comes inside of it, for example, or the ones who prefer a tee-shirt that clearly says "Chanel" on front to a nicely tailored Chanel suit, etc.) so it's inevitable that many of these more cheaply-made items will sell on Ebay for more than their upscale counterparts. The Target designs, among a certain demographic, will be more recognizable than the more elusive pieces, because they've been more heavily advertised, and then memorized.

Which I guess is actually good for me, because maybe now it'll be easier to score on something better, if I keep an eye out...
daphnep: (warhol)
( Aug. 14th, 2011 10:55 am)

Every morning when I wake up I experience an exquisite joy--the joy of being Savador Dali--and I ask myself in rapture, "What wonderful things this Salvador Dali is going to accomplish today?"
daphnep: (eye)
( Aug. 12th, 2011 11:33 am)

by Imogen Cunningham

How many ways can I love this photo?

When I was in Chicago last month, I was looking at Grant Wood's American Gothic and I realized (as I often do, standing before iconic paintings) that what we think we know about a painting isn't really true. In this instance, what I "think" is of a painting with two very dour old people, when in fact, what I was looking at was kind of a frank and very contemporary assessment of what today could almost be a hipster couple. "If she'd open her mouth and speak," I thought, "if she came to life, she'd be really very pretty, even today." If she'd let her hair down a little.

Which reminded me of what I've long thought about the Mona Lisa: that if the woman who sat for the portrait walked in to the room today, dressed in contemporary styles, we wouldn't even recognize her. "Of course I have eyebrows, that's the major thing," she'd say.

So I had to try it, and see for myself. I'm mostly amazed by how Lisa looked suddenly twenty years younger as soon as the eyebrows went on. She reminds me a little of Anne Frank. Ms. Gothic, above, is perhaps related to Jenna Elfman?

Yeah, sure...but there's no guarantee he's bringing you through it alive. Remember Job? He's the star of the tale...but what happened to his wife? His sons? How do you know if you're the protagonist, or just somebody who gets killed along the way, the sidekick to somebody else's journey "through it"?

No, I'm pretty sure you inherit that. Never heard of anyone yet who's succeeded in willpowering their way to a new genetic code. Or, you know, shit happens to it along the way...like illness, and injury, and all sorts of stuff...unless you think you've earned that, too.

Oh, honey, that's only if you haven't done nearly enough.

Nope, that's called "my husband's workplace". God, who comes up with these things?

(all images taken from pinterest.com)
I think more websites should be like this one:

It's full of information and great pictures, and if you go there looking for one simple thing, it's easy to get fully distracted and suddenly caring more about a subject than you ever thought you would. (Oooh...what do Spanish playing cards look like, compared to Swiss ones?)

daphnep: (Default)
( Apr. 12th, 2011 05:19 pm)
I still can't get into my livejournal on any regular, reliable basis.

So...I guess I am here, in the meantime...staring at posts years and years old. Trying to figure out what I want to do here. (Crosspost? Start afresh? Give up?)


daphnep: (Default)


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