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9th-May-2012 12:05 am - Never A Dull Moment
Wrens colonized the back porch for their nesting efforts this year. The back porch, which is a high-traffic area with people coming and going and the parrots in near proximity and the cat having anxiety issues about the outside world. That back porch.

In the end, I suppose it was good to see those busy, industrious, fiesty, and all-around demanding birds tending to their nest, otherwise I would have thought some very, very small hobbits had built a hobbit hole up there.

wrens' nest, 2012


They've all gone now, out into the world. Calm has been restored to the area around the back door.

. . .

To replace them, the baby crows have decided to fledge today. Granted, they're doing so in three separate treetops across the hill but they are every bit as noisy. An approximate translation is:

AAAA, SHIT, CRAP. IS THAT THE GROUND, IT'S THE GROUND, OH FFFUUUUUUUUUCCKKKK. HOW IS FLYING THIS DIFFICULT. AAAAA. CRAP, CRAP, CRAP.


Times perhaps a dozen baby crows. With more swears, because most crow translates to swears.

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defunct chronos
16th-Apr-2012 01:59 am - Hoot-Out To Mah Owlies
Tax prep, knife sharpening, contact juggling tutorials: things I do in the small hours of the night.

The News Nest (a weekly round up of the doings in the Tiny Owl Knits Ravelry group) very kindly took time to interview me this last week (about 16:00 min). Because I know not everyone in the world has seen David Bowie in Labyrinth, I went off looking for some relevant videos to perhaps send along with my "contact juggling is my only real 'hobby'-hobby" answer . . . and found this:




What I love about this video in particular from Alvemagi, apart from her totally owning her look (which I much respect) and the delight she clearly displays while contact juggling, is the silent movie quality she projects. Big eyes! Reactions just a titch below caricature! Hamming up her flubbs, as if the schtick was deliberate, instead of editing them out. There's performance juggling videos and then there's juggling videos where the person just happens to be a performer, you know?

It makes me think that it was a pity that early Hollywood did not get into elves and magical woodland kingdoms in Norway.

It also makes me think that I really ought to invest in a proper acrylic ball, because isolations are incredibly crap with the one I use now. They are also in many respects shinier.

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defunct chronos
Today in my excitement of Going Forth and Doing Things, I did not realize the irony of my art supply purchases consisting of (1) my favorite make of mechanical pencil and (2) a pencil sharpener. In fact, it really only just stuck me about two minutes ago. I think I must have been caught up in the context of the store's bewildering array of materials and implements which somehow lacks liquid hard ground for etching.

(I would appeal to anyone with a better art supply store than mine for a bottle of the stuff, but it violates seven kinds of postal regulations.)

Elsewhere, I window shopped for enormous mirrors, grand balustrades, giant slabs of chalkboard slate, glorious jumbles of tin ceiling panels, thickets of disassembled chair legs just waiting to be turned into hat stands, and dozens of what my pal Kris is calling "Thomas Kinkadean pastel toilets." Which is a descriptor that is really hard to argue with. I didn't even know that bathroom porcelain came in shades of lilac.

Orderly ranks of pastel porcelain


Tomorrow: more with the doing of things! Less with the toilets!

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Between bouts of tax-related accounting and data-entry, I've been ensconced with photoshop for the last little while, getting the photos I took in Philadelphia into some sort of reasonable order and generally . . . making earlofgrey into the new face of my knitting patterns.

The new face of my knitting patterns has lip piercings and makes sardonic smirks quite a lot. What can I say.

Dovecote pattern photoshoot, outtake


Perhaps you're not as excited about the forthcoming Dovecote beret pattern as I am, but I am a bit proud that I've managed to do all the photography this time (and under adverse conditions too). It's that level-up feeling, and gives me more confidence in being able to put together designs to present to you. Of course little duplicate stitch charts are easier, which is why I've gone silly with the making of them—there's more since the last time you looked. But then there's those knitterly things that I scheme up which require people to don them and have their picture taken, and that's where the leveling up comes in. Perhaps by the time I get my next next pattern ready for consumption, I will have gained even more skill to coax a whole versatile range of sardonic smirks from my friends who are so good to stand in the rain, modeling for me.

Before we get ahead of things, though, the Dovecote beret will hopefully be released within the week! You just might find it to be the thing to keep the April drizzle off the back of your neck. Which is reason enough to be excited, no?

Tonight, Tonight Dovecote beret mk ii, detailgreen-gold Dovecote beret, detailTonight, Tonight Dovecote beret, detail


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3rd-Apr-2012 12:49 am - Fleeting Things
springtime blossoms


Spring is here and I've finally found a use for the flash on my camera.

Also, spring is here and I went to see one of the last Actors' Renaissance Season performances of Thomas Middleton's It's A Mad World, My Masters* at the American Shakespeare Center.

These are entirely unrelated with the exception of being things that only happen in the spring, and being things that I enjoy very much. (But not necessarily both at the same time.)


. . .

I have also joined Pinterest, ostensibly to organize my collection of tarot card inspiration images, and have found it otherwise . . . disappointing. While a large number of pictures of blooming trees cross my friends' activity feed, there is comparatively little Jacobethan drama that turns up. When it does, it is usually in the form of a picture of David Tennant haggardly contorting his face at Yorick's skull.

I know, right?





* Recommended for mature audiences because of the sexual innuendo. Recommended for immature audiences because of the poop jokes.

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Tabs open in my browser, courtesy of various people (thanks for feeding my brain!):



At this rate, we seem to be aiming to revisit The Year Of The Tiny. That is pretty much the state of things. As you were.

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defunct chronos


Rated 9+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes


Maybe I laughed so hard at their categorization of revenge tragedies as "cartoon violence" that I just spit tea all over myself. Maybe. And who knew that suicide and suggested incest were "mild mature themes" suitable for nine year olds†?

(Hamlet and cartoon violence looks like this, actually. Which is a relief because now I don't have to draw those jokes.)





* A surprise crown in every box, except that your mooching uncle empties out the box first, takes the crown and puts the cereal back leaving you with nothing but stale cereal and bitter suspicions day after day, week after week, slowly driving you mad.
† Not that I think nine year olds can't handle Shakespeare, because that's when I first started going to his plays. But. I would say that . . . maybe A Comedy of Errors is more approachable than Hamlet at that age?


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defunct chronos
Dear Tumblr,

Where are the animated gifs of Edward Norton contact juggling with an orange in The Illusionist? Seriously, are you hiding them just to mess with me? It's not like the scene takes more than a moment.

In distress,
Chrono

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airship
Orderly rows of clouds across the sky, pt iiOrderly rows of clouds across the sky like zebra stripes.


So this happened today. That thing where a weather system pushes through, and on the back end of it, all of the clouds form orderly lines, spaced evenly across the sky like zebra stripes. It doesn't happen often and it doesn't last long because the weather pattern is so much in flux—but when it does, it is hella distinct.

. . .

Is there a name for that? There's got to be a name for that. "Zebra-stripe clouds" lacks a certain scientific panache. Discuss!

EDIT: [personal profile] enname reminds me to check the Cloud Spotter's Guide, which is why it effing well exists. They're Cumulus humilis radiatus! So much more science-y.

Reminder to self: look for a copy of the Cloud Spotter's Guide in my bookshop travels. I can't believe I've gone this long without it.

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airship
7th-Mar-2012 01:18 am - Downloadable Hexagon Goodness
Bee Keeper's Quilt yarn stash: all the purples


So I think I realized what the dominant, anchoring color is going to be in my Bee Keeper's Quilt. And it's not an exotic shade of grey, dammit. Although it seems to go well with exotic shades of grey—that is not the point. Purple, sigh. Whattayagonnado.
(Purple is sort of an accident—it was the one dye that could cover up all the colors of fugly in some old, re-gifted sock yarn scraps. They make up about half of the platter. I think my favorite is how a previously rust colored yarn took the purple and made into a rich, velvety shade of plum.)

Also of interest in the knitterly world are a bunch of charts I've drawn up for little things to embellish, ostensibly for hexipuffs but they are yours to do with as you will. Go, have fun, embroider things and whatnot. (And let me know if that link doesn't work.)



I have a feeling that there will be some more of these free charts to come, because playing with pixels in a 20x20 grid is strangely irresistible. Back-burnered but not forgotten are a couple of hat patterns; those need a couple of dedicated photoshoppery days to finish them up. 20x20 grids, though. Man. Addictive.

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defunct chronos
3rd-Mar-2012 12:56 am - Bookish Adventures!
My campaign for touring the local bookshops has begun fairly well, with sarinda's help. (Having a cohort always helps in anything you choose to term a 'campaign.' Probably.) It also has given me a prompting to Not Be A Freaking Shut-In All The Damned Time, which is also a worthwhile campaign. Probably. Just in general, knowing a city through its independent booksellers seems to be a good way of knowing the soul of where you live, and also generally a low-pressure adventure.

Now begins my ticky list, so that by year's end I can see where I've been. In the course of sarinda's visits in the past few months, we've popped into the following:

  • Awesome Books

  • Eljay's Used Books

  • Kards Unlimited


Awesome Books being like the most wonderfully curated garage sale of books you would ever hope to visit. It's now opened up a secondary location, as part of some of the grant money floating around to revitalize downtown. I think perhaps that they have fleshed out their space a little more than they did on opening night, so a return visit might not be a bad idea. They also have some mighty fine taste in art to display.

Awesome Books #firstnightAwesome Books, artwork


Eljay's has a bit of a reputation for being the place to go in town if you are looking for secondhand scifi and pulp and general pop cultural oddities. Gorey first editions? They have them.That book that you lost in your last move and does not seem to exist anywhere else on the face of the earth? They probably have that too. Supremely friendly and knowledgeable staff, who will give you the run-down on how Peter S. Beagle is doing with his copyright issues because they know him personally? They have those as well. (Mr. Beagle is doing well and has resolved them as of this winter! Also, he will be going on a world tour in 2013, so hurrah for that!) While most of the store is devoted to used books, there are a few timely titles on display out front, along with some shelves of local talent. Eljay's also has chairs all over the place, in case you need to plop down and reacquaint yourself with a book. Chairs of greatness, like so:

Where the wild things sit.

Miniature fun fair.


Kards Unlimited is something that we found almost entirely by accident - I was charmed by the miniature fun fair at the bottom of their display window (shiny! twirly! lights!) and it was only after sarinda listed off about five of the titles of the non-shiny, non-twirly things that were also in the window that I noticed that it was a bookshop. Ok, calling it a 'bookshop' may be a little bit of a stretch. About a third of the store has books in it, the other two thirds are devoted to cards, wrapping paper, and novelty gifts. Fine. It's plumb in the middle of the university district; running a straight-up bookstore is not particularly feasible because you saw what happened to Borders, just a few streets over, amiright. What Kards Unlimited does really, really well is to sell series, in the most beautiful bindings you could want on your shelves. All of the individual art deco versions of P. G. Wodehouse with the matte dust jackets? They've got them. Edward Gorey reprints, glossy and new? They've got over a dozen different titles. The fancy cloth-bound edition of Jane Eyre? They've got it, and the rest of the fancy cloth-bound Brontë titles to keep it company. The fourth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events that you lent out and never got back? They've got a replacement for you. If you have any type of library OCD, or completist urges when it comes to your book collection, Kards Unlimited is your enabler. If physical books are to become a thing of the past or a specialty item, it only makes sense to me that you would want a book to also be a beautiful object. That is the reasoning behind Kards Unlimited having books at all, I think.

Elsewhere in our gadabouts, we passed Beyond Bedtime Books but did not go in. Partially because it looked closed and partially because there was so much more to see at the time. Poking around in ye olde crystal shoppe seemed much more entertaining, oohing and ahhhing over every piece of labradorite in the place, and giving in to the temptation to pick up a pyrite sphere to see how it balanced for contact juggling. (Verdict: astonishingly well. Palm spinning a couple of those would be kind of amazing.) Technically, ye olde crystal shoppe sells books, but more of an afterthought than anything. What they did have was a "Joseph Cornell Starter Kit," which made us titter a bit.

(The concept is an interesting gift idea, perhaps for a 10 year old niece that you want to introduce to the corrupting influence of the arts. But . . . buying it pre-made? Really? Does that not seem to be ever-so-slightly counter to the point of found-object artwork? Making up a d.i.y. version for a gift . . . a few choice oddments and artifacts . . . with a small book on Cornell tucked in with it . . . perhaps.)

((Eljay's would be happy to sell you a biography of Joseph Cornell to tuck in with it. Just sayin'.))

(((The zeitgeist arrow points to Joseph Cornell, by the way. It is a thing.)))

Knowing the character of each of these shops has been an interesting experience, one that helps me be mindful about which books I bring home with me and which ones I do not. Anyone who has ever had shelving woes sympathizes with this, I'm sure. The big box store model for selling books easily overshadows this aspect of bibliophilia, since the aim of big box stores is endless, mindless consumption and therefore profit. It's good to be back in a place that gives me the breathing space to get to know a book, and it's good to know where to go when I want a certain kind of book.† Definitely I'm looking forward to writing up more reports from the field, adding to my ticky list, taking pictures of their chairs.

Has anyone else done this sort of thing? Bookstores? Other kinds of specialty stores? Either as straight-up tourism or as a way to rediscover the place where you live? I feel like I can't possibly be the only person to do this, in all the cities in all the world.





† Although . . . I have yet to find anyone willing to sell me Urbane Fantasy and Fictional Science. Possibly the problem with that is that no one has written those kinds of books. Psshhhht. SELL ME BOOKS THAT DO NOT EXIST! I DEMAND IT!

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airship
Hederas, not hearts! Ampersands, not amore! Interrobangs, not— actually, I think the interrobangs could go either way.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a quadruple entendre, I do believe.

Bee Keeper's Quilt: typography honeycombBee Keeper's Quilt: hearts honeycomb


Wait, what was my point again? Oh yes. My Bee Keeper's Quilt is going to need upwards of 850 hexagons, so I guess that there's room in there for both hearts and hederas. But I think the balance will be slightly shifted in typography's favor. (I am digging the alphabetical merit badges on amylbri' ravelry and think I must do up some of my own. Perhaps in the style of Dana Tanamachi's chalkboard typography, since the design-fu is strong with her.)

I've also been putting together little color study honeycombs, I don't know if I've mentioned? There are certainly lots of random combinations to put together, filling out the spaces between some of the more deliberate honeycombs. But sneaking in a plain old color study now and then helps keep things from getting too crazy while still preserving the feeling of randomness. It also keeps me on track with my overall color theory. Everyone is pretty much playing well with everyone else, as you can see:

Bee Keeper's Quilt: blues & indigos honeycombBee Keeper's Quilt: murky purples honeycombBee Keeper's Quilt: Tiny Owl Knits pattern honeycomb
Bee Keeper's Quilt: color study honeycomb, sea glassBee Keeper's Quilt: color study honeycomb, redsBee Keeper's Quilt: tree bark grey honeycomb
Bee Keeper's Quilt: Ships And Seaside honeycombBee Keeper's Quilt: turquoise honeycomb


(You know of course that if I had to do it all over again it would just be a thousand different shades of tree-bark-grey, right? Because I'm me?)

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defunct chronos
It's . . . three of my favorite things combined into one piece of awesome. Using knitting needles on the ISS for charged particle experiments. Which help humans visualize how auroras happen.



. . .

SPACE!



That is all, carry on.

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airship
"So, this Shepherd University that you went to. Is that near Shepherdstown, WV?"

". . . Yes."


Near, which here means "spliced onto the town like a mutant amoeba engaged in a symbiotic art/alcohol relationship with its host."

While I am dead happy to be etching again, I've got to say that having to make a dozen introductions every day that I'm in the print shop is very,very tiring. Especially for some one who is not enthralled with small talk and factoids to begin with. I'm getting better at coming up with glib replies, but nowhere near the level of snark that I would like to put into an average repartee. (See above.)

However, I am doing this, which more than makes up for the tedious introductory social rituals.

First etch (in ages)! Killer plate tone, bevels need some work.


Plate tone, yeah!

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1st-Feb-2012 02:36 am - Filing.
I had wanted to track down the Kiki Smith interview where she says that she can't imagine anyone ever being bored, or not having anything to do—because there is always something in her studio that needs to be filed down. "There's always filing to do" is the actual quote, I think.

Which was the majority of my evening: scraping and filing and burnishing plates for printmaking. And I kept on thinking, "there's always filing to do."



And instead I found this, and got mesmerized by her silver nail polish, chips and imperfections and all. Which has also been an ongoing theme of this evening.

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31st-Jan-2012 01:34 am - "Swans," My Arse.
Past self, you are so not helpful with the note taking, let me just say. Leaving "swans" on the list for future illos and failing to elaborate even so much as a smidge. Harrumph.

So let us play a game of word association and see if you are better at thinking like me than I am, because clearly I am not. Let's see . . . I'll start you off:

  • owls => cowls

  • peacocks => Elizabethan ruff

  • ostrich => Marie Antoinette wig


All right? Got it? It's your turn.

Swans! And . . . GO.

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defunct chronos
You may have heard me lamenting on the Twitter about not having enough normal-people-clothes for jury duty (one of these days real soon I swear I will stop starting out every other sentence with the words "jury duty;" apparently I haven't cycled the experience out of my system quite yet). Just earlier this evening ago I realized the heart of my difficulties. My biggest problem with clothing is not that half of everything I own is covered in paint, ink and plaster spatters (though it probably doesn't help).

My problem with wearing normal-people-clothes is that everything I know about business casual dress code, I learned from Supreme Commander Servalan.

Which is . . . great in its own way. But totally not helpful at this point in our cultural evolution. Maybe . . . some time in the distant future when we all wear Space Clothes™ to the office?



Relatedly, if you watch Bitchin' Kitchen as obsessively as I do, you may be pining for a breakdown of Nadia G's hella wardrobe. I can help you with that. It may not be Space Clothes™, but they aren't business casual either. And you occasionally get to hear her musings on jet packs, which is close enough to Teh Future for me.

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20th-Jan-2012 10:57 pm - Printmaking Time, AWWWW YEAH.
The past two weeks—next week will make it three—have been eaten up by JURY DUTY OMG. Which, aside from leaving me fairly well burt-out when I get home, has been eating up all the hours of the day. So I can't give a good accounting of myself so far this year. My books read, yes. My productive activities, no.

But! The weekend looms and it will have this in it. Come hell or high water, so help me.

AWWW YEAHHHH. I have been waiting for this moment like you wouldn't believe.


Those, my lovelies, are my printmaking supplies, which have been tucked away in storage in various parts of the house, along with collected tarot sketches and xerox transfers waiting to get etched. I finally have time and money to devote to intaglio etching again, and have procured a printshop access membership at the local arts center. The prospect of getting ink under my nails is all that has kept me going the last few days in court—to the point where I've been dreaming about it at night, allegorical images and everything (usually then interrupted by a shouty lawyer and recalcitrant witness, because even my subconscious is feeling blunt these days).

After that, I promise that I will figure out how to get the danged video footage from First Night off of my phone. You are bound to find my city's stilt-walking samba band as cheering as I did, and thus it is wrong for me to keep it from you. Still images don't do them justice.

Steel City Stilt Band: an eight piece samba band, on stilts. Obviously.


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defunct chronos
5th-Jan-2012 03:08 am - +++Redo From Start+++
It is with great regret and incredible amounts of frustration that I am going to tell you this: There won't be holiday cards this year, not even late ones. Distractions, commissions, show-applications due, computer death, and general year-long burnout all contributed to this—not that these are an excuse but that there are reasons why I would look at my drawing table over the past month and a half and want to cry. If I'm crying over something that should be happy and worth sharing, then something has gone wrong, you know?

But! This means that 2012's card is nearly done already! And I've found a proper printer with all the right template dimensions, who will also score and fold for me (instead of the usual "draw, ink, scan, photoshop, print at Kinko's, take home, cut to size, measure the fold, score the fold, then address the card as normal"). So that's a relief to look forward to.

Thanks for your patience and to those of you who took the time to send me holiday post. It was very kind. Next year will be better.

And who knows, I might have a trick up my sleeve for Groundhog's Day.

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2nd-Jan-2012 01:33 am - Knitting In The New Year
It has come to my attention that, after spending the night out at the chilly and damp First Night goings-on while wearing fingerless mitts on my hands and subsequently spending all of January first with an EPIC arthritis inflammation in my hands, that my current choice of hand wear is inadequate.

So it comes to this. Which pair of finger-inclusive knits do I get to reward to myself after I finish up holiday knitting? (Shush, yes I am still doing holiday knitting. The holiday may have to be Groundhog's Day though, I'm still getting the knack of double knitting.)
Mind, store bought gloves and mittens are essentially pointless for my freaky-long hands.

Wraparound Gloves? (I . . . do not have the yarn I would prefer for this.)
IMG00042
by janiegrl on Flickr


A variation on Bird and Vine/Endpaper? (I possibly have yarn for this?)
Endpaper Gloves
by maralenenok on Flickr


Herringbone/possibly houndstooth (à la Roko) gloves? (I have projects that I am willing to cannibalize for yarn for this.)
houndstooth
by Roko20 on Flickr


Or do I give up finger mobility altogether and go for the ever-popular Fiddlehead mittens? (I have cello-colored yarn waiting patiently for me to make up my damned mind to knit this.)
Fiddlehead Mitten
by PurlDiva on Flickr


Ach, poor hands. I will never be mean to you again, I promise. Now if you would calm down enough to let me knit . . .

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