Saturday, April 17, 2010
Calendar 2010: Big Places, U.S.A.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
I wish Zazzle didn't price things quite so high but since it cost me nothing but time to put it up there, it's worth a shot. It's not just a calendar ... it's a place to rest your eyes and busy mind. And it's made with love.
Happy New Year.
Friday, June 12, 2009
First, for no particular reason, here’s a totally random photo from my last trip to Oklahoma. I have a lot of photos. Might as well toss some out there from time to time.
OK, so, what’s on my mind today?
Well, I’ve had a semi-crappy week and I’m stressed out, so I’ve been watching this awesome interactive music video a lot. It’s a guaranteed stress reducer. Really, go watch it. Use your cursor to move the line. The song is lovely, too. (Worth the wait for it to load, I promise.)
Every now and then I get to write an article that makes me very happy. This article, in Southwest Spirit magazine, about the benefits of nostalgia, is among those.
Oh hey, check out the polite umbrella.
Speaking of nostalgia, this blog of photos of NYC in the 1970s (my NYC) moves me to tears. Look how little the skyline is!
And finally, some interesting research:
Here’s research into our friendship networks—evidently, although the size of our networks tend to stay stable, the contents change about every seven years, when we cut and replace half the people Hm. Having undergone a great deal of churn in my friendships recently, this makes perfect sense to me. I’m sure proximity and other environmental factors have a lot to do with friendship turnover, but it’s also a matter of my ongoing re-evaluation of what I need, want and don’t want in my relationships. Also, sometimes I really piss people off. And sometimes, I don’t care when I do.
Expanding further on the ever-fascinating introversion theme, here’s research into the social brain, although I kind of resent the way this blogger divides us into “socialites” and “curmudgeons.” Oh, I suppose I’ve called myself a curmudgeon, but it does have negative implications and I contend that there is nothing wrong with liking solitude.
And finally, research into a subject I have gone back and forth on a thousand times: couples staying together for the kids, something I’ve seen my parent friends wrestle with. It sounds right, it sounds wrong, it sounds right, it sounds wrong. I don’t know. These researchers say that if the marriage is truly contentious—lots of fighting—kids tend to drink, smoke and do poorly in school by adolescence. I suppose that’s kind of a no-brainer. I wonder, though, about homes with unspoken tensions.
Have a nice weekend. I plan to drink heavily.
travel photo cliches
Monday, March 2, 2009
another image of spring
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I'm also entering this photo of spring flowers, from Ocracoke Island, NC, in the photo contest (I have to post pix on my blog to enter.)
one image of spring
Friday, February 20, 2009
The image has to be focused on the right side, with the left side relatively uncluttered. I am finding that most of my photographs are the opposite--I hang left in my shooting. Kind of frustrating. But this photo has always said "spring" to me. I can practically smell the moist earth.
Friday, October 24, 2008
But if I were making the video, instead of lovely female models in various poses, I would have shown nothing but cactus. (I reject the word “cacti” and choose the alternate plural.)
I’m in love with the cactus here. So many types, so many personalities, all of them kind of prickly (rimshot) but nonetheless lovable. The chubby little cholla, the sturdy barrel, the prickly pear, which makes a nice cocktail, and the iconic giant saguaro.
Saguaro grow slowly and a really big one can be 200 years old. They are protected here, and they, too, each have personalities. They are stately, loopy, droopy, spare, crowded. I saw one so convoluted it looked like some kind of saguaro orgy.
I could spend a week here doing nothing but photographing cactus.
feet du jour
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Like my new shoes? Oh, those? That's Jackson, the blind kangaroo, at the Little River Zoo in Norman, Oklahoma. (Very cool place. See here.)
Friday, August 8, 2008
my travels, my feet
Friday, August 1, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
I am happy to report that the incorrigible Jack has become partly corriged. He has adjusted to the electric fence and no longer wanders at will. No more crossing the creek and coming home muddy, no more chasing off the mailman, no more patrolling the alley and riling up the other dogs. He doesn’t seem particularly traumatized by the limits. Perhaps the responsibility of patrolling so large an area weighed heavily on his burly shoulders and troubled his large noggin. His own yard is large enough. So many squirrels, so little time. And so much napping to be done. How is one dog to do it all without some limits?
Now I need an electric fence for the sofa. He is not allowed on the sofa and knows it, but at night, after we go to bed, he helps himself. At the suggestion of one of his many trainers, I tried booby trapping it last night by covering it with newspapers and balancing a couple beer cans filled with coins on the papers, which were supposed to fall off and make noise and either frighten him off or wake us up. They did neither. He managed to fit his large tuchus between the cans, barely even disturbing them. So, back to shutting him out of the living room at night. He hates that. The other night, I had to put his leash on him and drag him out. Literally drag him—he put that aforementioned large tuchus on the floor and wouldn’t move it.
Slate has a special issue on procrastination (speaking of blogging) which includes this story, asking the question What is the difference between severe procrastination and writer's block?
So, I have this novel I’ve been working on for about three years. I’m in revisions. Ten painful pages at a time. And a half-finished book proposal that’s been collecting cyber dust for more than a year. So slow. I could do better. I know it. I’m not blocked, I’m procrastinating, Because as long as these remain remain unfinished they might be brilliant. If I finish them, their lead feet will be obvious.
Says one expert: "The chronic procrastinator knows he's presenting a negative image, but he'd rather be perceived negatively for lack of effort than for lack of ability."
The research corner:
Important news about men and their thingies: First, the International Society for Sexual Medicine has only just come up with (no pun intended) a formal definition of premature ejaculation. I know, can you believe it? I personally have never encountered this particular problem but in case you’re wondering, it is now defined as: “a male sexual dysfunction characterized by ejaculation which always or nearly always occurs prior to or within about one minute of vaginal penetration; and, inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations; and, negative personal consequences, such as distress, bother, frustration and/or the avoidance of sexual intimacy.”
And, says the study’s main author, “The hope is that more people with these symptoms will understand this is an actual health condition and seek treatment. They no longer need to suffer in silence.”
In related thingie-research: Gastric Bypass Surgery Restores Sexual Function in Morbidly Obese Men—Losing weight may help resolve erectile dysfunction in obese men.
Mostly, it helps them get laid more, I assume.
Having just experienced a highly unpleasant allergic reaction to a drug (my friends got all the gory details, I spared most of you) I was drawn to research into why scratching helps an itch. The study involved 13 healthy participants who underwent testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that highlights areas of the brain activated during an activity. Participants were scratched on the lower leg with a small brush. The scratching went on for 30 seconds and was then stopped for 30 seconds – for a total of about five minutes.
“To our surprise, we found that areas of the brain associated with unpleasant or aversive emotions and memories became significantly less active during the scratching,” said Yosipovitch. “We know scratching is pleasurable, but we haven’t known why. It’s possible that scratching may suppress the emotional components of itch and bring about its relief.”
So scratching is not really physical relief, it’s emotional. Which, when you think about it makes sense. Itching is so miserable … a persistent itch makes you want to scream, cry, bang your head repeatedly against a wall. Finally succumbing to the urge to scratch? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s more than physical relief. It’s bliss—however short lived and guilty, since we know we shouldn’t scratch.
The rash is fading and I will never take Aleve again.
Here’s a fun read from the Wall Street Journal, about retail therapy. Yup, psychologists and neuroscientists are studying that, too. Not to help us, mind you. To help retailers.
But keep this in mind—just like those little 100-calorie size snack packs of cookies and other treats can help us eat less, how we carry money can help us spend less, according to one study: Students were given $100 in pretend cash to participate in a gambling study. Some students received one sealed envelope with all the money, and others got 10 sealed envelopes that each contained $10. Individuals with multiple envelopes tended to spend less, sometimes half of what the people with the single envelope spent. "The power of partitioning can reduce spending by 50 percent," Cheema said.
I don’t like carrying lots of cash for this very reason. If I have it, I spend it. If I have to go back to the ATM, I become more aware of my spending. (And I am on near-lockdown on credit cards right now. Not complete, but I’m staying careful. Baby needs a new tank of gas…)
Dunno why it’s taken me so long, but I’d like to point out a new blogroll link—to the blog of my friend Jenna and her friend Rachel. The Haiku Diaries is commentaries on life entirely in the 5-7-5 format. It’s so much fun. I like to comment in haiku when I’m feeling sharp enough.
This week instead of just a list of google searches, a little commentary on a select few.
I find a lot of searches that look like this: 2008 contact emails of the doctors @yahoo.com in Florida; email contact women's america email@example.com
I was baffled until learning that these are the kinds of searches used by spammers to harvest email addresses. OK, that would explain the ever-thickening blizzard of spam I receive.
Three of my photos have become very popular: the one of a pyramid at Teotihuacan, the portrait of a xoloescuintle and the plastic army men war atrocities. These turn up so often, I assume someone is using them for something somewhere, but I can’t figure out how to figure it out.
Someone searched hillary jillette cunt which I suppose relates to Hillary Clinton and Penn Jillette. I know he called her a bitch. Did he call her a cunt, too? What a prick.
Someone searched Elizabet gilbert eat, pray, love review childfree, which is a little confusing.
Chelle, someone searched you. Someone searched my brother Oliver. And someone searched "black and blue" "rolling stones" tribute band dallas, texas myspace which had a very happy ending, since it resulted in a job for Black and Blue. May 31, Tolbert’s in Grapevine. Glad to help…
And that's Friday.
Friday, May 9, 2008
On my one trip to Branson, MO many years ago, I stayed at the Music Country Motor Inn because it had a guitar-shaped swimming pool. Too bad the postcard doesn’t do the pool justice.
I don’t remember the room. I do remember seeing Mel Tillis and Shoji Tabuchi. Just what is the Shoji Tabuchi Show that everyone loving American music is raving about? his website asks. A Japanese fiddler. Yes indeedy.
According to this article, when the economy struggles, lipstick sales soar. Interesting. I wonder if then, these women promptly lose said lipsticks, as I do. Yes, the problem continues. Where do they go?
What do you give up when money gets tight? For one thing, Jack isn’t getting shmancy organic biscuits these days. When we have money, I order them online from a small company because with these biscuits, his breath stays sweet. These days, he’s eating semi-fancy Petco biscuits and his breath can knock you over from across the room. We also stop shopping at Whole Foods. Tom Thumb is good enough. We’re cutting back on our meat consumption a bit, too. Which is good for us in many various ways.
I have definitely started watching my driving. The other day I met friends for lunch in Plano, which is a haul for me. Driving home, I realized that gas added about another $12 to the cheap lunch. I watched that gauge as obsessively as I watch taxi meters in New York. (Although that’s less about the price of the ride than the performance pressure of calculating the tip. I calculate and recalculate the tip every time the meter flips.)
What else? I go the library more. I don’t buy many new books but when money is tight, I buy even fewer. I’m somewhat less likely to order wine when I eat out. (Somewhat. Depends on the day of the week.)
The one thing I still can’t bring myself to give up, though, is having someone clean my house every two weeks. It’s a luxury I can no longer live without. Life is short, my house gets really dirty.
Ms. Krit sent that lipstick article, and she sent me this article, about how to buy a dictionary.
Her favorite part and mine:
Look for dirty words.
All parts of English are important, even those trouble-making words that are coarse, derogatory, or sexual. A good lexicographer will include the most common words of all kinds, including ones that can be troublesome.
If a dictionary’s editors have chosen to leave out words they consider offensive, we must also wonder what other words they have left out. What are their criteria for judging words to be offensive? Are they leaving out words that concern any religion but their own? Are they leaving out words that deal with political viewpoints they don’t support? Are they leaving out words simply because they think they’re ugly? Are they including words simply because they like them? Are they deleting insulting words for their own ethnic group and leaving in insulting words for other groups?
See? Profanity does have a noble purpose? Fuckin’ A!
My favorite New Yorker cartoon of the week, right here.
Some Mother’s Day snark for the unsentimental.
Is this the scariest ad EVER? It’s the attack of the mom clones. Not to mention the scary clothes. The outfit on Mom #1 is clearly designed for the mom you hate. Stacey and Clinton, please help.
Here, from my favorite ecard site, is a collection of Mother’s Day cards you would never dare send, much as you might want to.
I’ve seen articles that say people are going to spend more on their mothers this year, and articles that say they are going to spend less. Predictably, mothers say, “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll sit in the dark.”
This just in: Mother's Day press release with infuriating unnecessary apostrophes: Wanted to pass along this last minute gift idea for those active mom's or for those mom's that always have sore, tired feet. Please let me know if you would like more information or need any images or product samples.
To add to the idiocy, the message text gives no clue as to what the product is. I would have to open an attachment for any more information. Not gonna do it, Matt. If for no other reason than because you're an idiot. What would your mother think?
Don’t know what to get mom? Perhaps this:
And finally, searches of the week.
My portrait of a xoloescuintle was very popular on Thursday. Maybe someone was passing it around? It was accessed a number of times. Also, from the same page, the photo of the pyramids and my arty farty flower shot.
I was disturbed by the search
i hate ps 166
How could anyone hate PS 166, my beloved alma mater? Now, if they knew Ethel O. Ebin, the principal when I was there, I could understand hating her, nasty old bat. I wish I had a photo of her. She had a grubby beehive hairdo that looked like it housed rodents.
Other searches this week:
Thank God I books for sale Castagnini
inside the brain of a narcissist
negative reviews of elizabeth gilbert's eat, pray, love
gmail emails not reaching their destination
derivation of lithium name
cashmere bouquet plant
customer support gmail
outlook autofill subject line
odd looking dogs
give me obama email adress and guest firstname.lastname@example.org
jack kent cooke Conundrum
gmail to yahoo not getting sent
46/64 baby boomers magazine dallas morning news
CAROLINE HELDMAN self objectification
2008 guess book of jane in the usa @yahoo.com @gmail.com
"black and blue" dallas
fun shit in dallas texas
"Advanced Backup Plug-In"
Menade du: "Advanced Backup PlugIn"
picture of someone eating a twinkie
2008 email contact of directors in bangkok @gmail.com
smacking upside the head emoticon
rooting cashmere bouquet
+27+2008+2009 @yahoo.com OR @yahoo.com OR mail.com "director"
ooed and ahed
"an open mind" book markova
55L alpine pack = too big??
beautiful aunties with saris
That is all. Happy Friday.
one more photo
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
show and tell
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
One of the best things about Mexico City is that, as my mother-in-law-says, "There's a treasure around every corner." I don’t know what church this is and didn’t bother finding out but it’s a stumbled-upon treasure.
The Pyramids of Teotihuacan are the remnants of a civilization that predates the Aztecs, who found this former metropolis already in ruins. The pyramids were spectacular, although we did spend somewhat more time there than I would have liked, what with everything else the city has to offer.
Our guide was knowledgeable and meticulous and had a lot to say about the pyramids.
The Aztec dog, the xoloescuintle, is a little odd looking, with those big ears and hairless skin like a lizard. These dogs are endangered but we met this one by the pyramids.
This little pack of xoloescuintles (dunno how to pronounce it) lives at the Museo Doloros Olmedo, which I loved.
Dolores Olmedo was friend, lover, patron and sometime model of Diego Rivera. Her collection is housed in her former home, a lovely hacienda surrounded by lawns and gardens. Art ranges from pre-Columbian forward, including numerous artworks by Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo, and the collection is stunning.
However, I was mesmerized by numerous photos and portraits of Dolores herself—so glamorous, so fabulous. In one photo that appears to be from the 1950s (I looked for a postcard in the museum shop but alas, there were none), she crosses a tarmac from a small plane wearing a pencil skirt with a fur stole around her shoulders, flanked by slender dark-haired men in suits and sunglasses. I have a new role model.
Random artsy-fartsy photo of the museum courtyard.
The gardens are home to a flock of peacocks and the boys were randy this day, showing their stuff.
A different view, in case you wondered.
We also visited the Frida Kahlo Museum, in her former home in the town of Coyoacan. I’m sure it’s lovely but it was so crowded I got woozy and tore through it. I’ll have to return someday. Nevertheless, here’s a photo of her garden.
And in conclusion, another random artsy-fartsy photo from the Frida Kahlo museum.
That is all. And it took forfrigginever to post.
Monday, March 31, 2008
A reader of my column in Chicago sent me this photo insisting it is real. I say Photoshop. (To which she responded "...sorry you can't accept the truth.") Shouldn't there be water streaming from the whale? Wouldn't the woman standing there be a wee bit startled? ("Her name is Dianna...")
What say you?
i might as well share these here, eh?
Monday, March 24, 2008
And looky, once more I'm on-trend.
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