Sunday, May 31, 2009
When I was six, I had my first of what would be four ankle sprains, and two twisted knees. The treatment then was a plaster cast for six weeks (and apparently there continue to be arguments about the best form of treatment for sprains!) prolonged immobility is no longer the fashion, but there are arguments to be made for "giving the foot a holiday" for the first phase of treatment. I spent so much time in those freakin' casts. A plaster cast is still the best for a complete ligament rupture (Grade III) but I'm sure mine weren't that bad, and I know that at least two of the sprains were re-injuries because of atrophied muscles and no rehab. I got very good on crutches and also enjoyed a lot of plaster cast artwork. But now, the emphasis is on evaluating each injury and beginning to strengthen the ankle and leg muscles (without pain) as soon as possible so as to prevent further injury. For now, she is doing homework, drawing, reading, and listening to music while I dose her with smoothies!
Coincidentally, my daughter also just found an amazing T-shirt that has a drawing of internal organs on it (yep, she's my daughter). And I just found this great blog Street Anatomy, where artists combine medical illustration with all the ways people (not just artists) are using anatomical drawings, for art, fashion, furniture and more.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Today I'm feeling the shadows of my brain chemistry's particular quirks with a heavy heart. Some rhythm helps me lose the fear of those shadows.
David Byrne. I'm so glad I got to see him perform three times with the Talking Heads in their various incarnations.
Lyrics here, but I have to admit that I heard "The TV's in repair" as "the TV's in the bed." I'm fascinated by his descriptions of the process of creating these songs, collaborations with other musicians and arrangers, photographers and artists. He ends with this:
When I first started to make music sketches for what would turn out to be this record, I imagined the result would be something a little different. I imagined longer instrumental pieces, which would evolve into songs. But as I kept writing (although a few of them ended up that way), most of the demos asked to be shorter and more and more concise. At times I felt like I needed to apologize for how accessible the songs were sounding. But then I realized that this is what they wanted to be. Like the song "The Revolution" implies, I somehow imagine that a real revolution is won by seduction, by winning over not just the mind, but the body and the senses as well. And that the sadness of some of these melodies are countered by the vigor and persistence of the groove.
Jan 22, 2001
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Listen to her talk about her mother's example "I am who I am because of my mother, and I am only half the woman that she was." Listen to her talk about the influence of Spanish on her writing in English, and how she worked on it. So self-aware, so intelligent.
Here are some pictures. And, I am informed, she saved baseball! All right, then.
"California voters legally outlawed same-sex marriage when they approved Proposition 8 in November, but the constitutional amendment did not dissolve the unions of 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who wed before the measure took effect, the state Supreme Court ruled today."
This may make some kind of legal sense, but it makes no sense to me that the Supreme Court of California has just created a separate class of GLBT people who can be legally married in California but nobody else can join that class.
My heart is broken right now.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Map from here.
I finished creating a course site for the class I'm teaching this summer: our department's Senior Seminar. I'll have fifteen students who will each be writing a 2o-page research paper in Spanish on a topic of his or her choice. We meet together for the kinds of general things we need to do, and I meet individually with each student 3 times during the class to talk about their projects in progress. Because it's the summer, they have 8 weeks instead of 15 to finish, but one hopes that they will not have any other classes or too much work at the same time.
I enjoy teaching this class because there is a great sense of satisfaction for the students in having finished their projects, their majors and their University degrees. I learn a lot from the projects as well. It can be a combination of boot-camp and hand-holding, but after so many years of doing this, I have tried to build in as much structure as possible so there are no surprises.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Life is good.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I have kept company with more than one engineer, so this makes me laugh.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Solution that ends up saving me some money: I got a deeply discounted iMac that was last year's model (and apparently has a better video drive than the new one, but shhhh!) a digital TV tuner and an HD antenna. Now we can use it for all our home computing needs, but with the larger monitor we can have lovely DVD viewing, AND we turned it into a digital TV with DVR as well! The antenna needs to be pointed at Shorview where the TV towers are, and now we get 20 channels, including ones we could not get before: all the regular broadcast channels plus the HD public TV channels, weather, etc. I've installed Firefox with Adblocker, Zotero, Download helper, and the Adobe CS4 software that was her Christmas present (Illustrator, Photoshop, etc). It cost me a lot less than full price because of my educator's discount. I also got an external hard drive for back up. We can share the laptop at home if she needs to do homework or wants to look at her email privately. The key to the set-up is a marvelous device called Elgato EyeTV Plus: with the antenna, it delivers the digital TV signal to the Mac, comes with a remote, software for recording, getting a TV schedule, burning DVDs. We can watch anything on hulu, but also broadcast, and record it while we are away, just like Tivo, and after the initial investment in the hardware, it is free, free, free. I don't have to deal with Comcast, chose a plan, read the fine print, let people in to muck around with my wiring, or be tempted by the hundreds of channels with nothing on. Best of all, I can finally watch SYTYCD in high quality, record it and watch it again without trying to find fuzzy YouTube videos. Whoopie!
I can't wait to tranfer all my photos from the laptop to the iMac and learn to use iMovie finally. I have a set of summer plans, and they include plowing through the Adobe tutorials.
I now have a pile of ancient electronic gear: a perfectly working 1988 TV, an ancient VCR, a cheapo DVD player, all the cables, antennae, power sources, an ancient portable CD player, a cheesy portable DVD player someone gave us that works but makes as much noise as an air conditioner...I need to take a load to an electronic recycler, or put up an ad on Freecycle. So much stuff to keep out of the landfill.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I first saw Robert Muraine when he auditioned for SYTYCD. He made the top 20, but decided not to continue, recognizing that he'd be like Cedric: an amazing dancer in his own style, but not ready to branch out. He and Philip Chbeeb did a dance-off that was awesome. Chbeeb also had made the top 20, but got pneumonia and had to drop out. Muraine went on to be a protogé of Nigel Lythgoe who had him on another dance show (that I did not care for) where he got to show his talents to a wider audience. Anyone who makes a living as an artist knows that residuals from commercials pay the bills, so I hope this ad from Ikea is paying Robert so he can keep on dancing.
And where did Shugamai Johnson come from? Yeah, baby!She's a "liquid" dancer rather than a popper like Robert.
Here's a video about the making of the commercial:
Here's Mr. Fantastic vs Phillip Chbeeb (aka Pacman). Who do you like better?
Will Chbeeb be back this season? here he is against D-Rock with a great song by The Gap
I think Chbeeb has great musicality as well as popping skills. I'd love to see what he could do in other dance styles. I hope he auditioned again this year.
(cross-posted at SYTYCD 5 Social)
Monday, May 11, 2009
UPDATED: Can't wait for the two-and-a-half hour season premiere on Thursday, May 21 at 7PM central time. We'll see the preliminary auditions from around the country, and there will be another audition episode to follow, before they do the boot-camp eliminations in Las Vegasand introduce the top 20 dancers. If the show does what it did last season, we'll see a lot of bad auditions, some good ones of people who will not make it through to the final, and some of the top possibilities will be kept a careful secret so as to build anticipation. Because this is reality TV, folks!
The top 20 have already been chosen, but apparently a couple of them may have contractual obligations that conflict with the show, Hey, I notice that American Idol is the lead-in for the new show Glee, and the AI finale is Wed, so we will all be couch potato TV junkies that week; andn when I say "we" I mean those of us who are song-and-dance lovers, theater geeks, and people who own TVs.
Here's the official page for the show on Fox. It has been dubbed "the big ugly slow site" by some folks, but it will have more official information as the season begins.
I'll be joining folks over at SYTYCD 5 Social to blog, and tweeting SYTYCD news on www.twitter.com/sytycmomo (so I don't spam up my other Twitter account!
I think it's safe to say that fandom is about pleasure and fun. At times the pleasure is in the deeper thinking, and at times it's just about itself. Fresca feeds my reawakened Trekkie jones by revealing the existence of the blog "Look At His Butt" (that would be William Shatner's butt!), a compendium of all things Star Trek, hosted by bloggers LT and JK, who "talk Trek" on their podcasts (their inaugural podcast from 2005 is here). I think it's safe to say that this is a site that celebrates fun, but also engages in conversation about the funness of the fun.
Then there's the testiness of the critics who are worried that popular tastes are dumbing us down. TaNahesi Coates responds to a great essay by Alyssa Rosenberg called "The Fanboys of Summer" about the summer blockbuster sci-fi/comic hero movies. His essay "The Deeper Meaning of Star Trek/Wolverine/Terminator" contrasts what the critics think to what the fans want. What is it that we want from so-called "genre" books or movies? Whatever it was when we were teenagers, it might be different for us now as older adults.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
@MNStories sends us a video on MNStories of a heron on the lake in Loring Park:
Want to know what it's like to paddle on a canoe through the tunnel from lake Calhoun to Lake of the Isles? Here you go. Chuck and Lorika take us along on their canoe adventure. At 4:20, there is some marvelous footage of a black-crowned night heron, a heron with a short neck and a long plume trailing from the top of his head.
@marilinkAnd it breaks my heart... ♫ » link to Blip.fm | marilink | Regina Spektor – Fidelity
From a blogger in Madrid. I haven't explored Blip.fm yet, but it looks like a great way to learn about new music. Might try it after I turn in my grades next week.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Each year's theme is chosen as the artists of The Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater meet with neighbors and members of the community to talk, brainstorm, make art. Then, once the theme is chosen, they all go to work to make the story that is each year the same and each year different. Here's how they explain it:
Our Common Treasury— Dig It
HOBT’s MayDay Parade, Ceremony, and Festival has always been rooted in two important traditional celebrations—the celebration of the Green Root of Earth’s green energy rising in Spring, and the Red Root of human work energy rising from mind, heart and hand.
We cheer on the great merging of the human social justice movements with the environmental movements to remember humans as responsible relatives of the earth.
As we experience the failure of our economic systems built on debt, consumer waste, the theft and sickening of earth resources, we gather to rebuild an economic system that protects and sustains our Earth as a “Common Treasury for All.”
The first May Day I attended with my daughter was when she was seven months old. This year she is 14, and we'll both bring our cameras! I'm not a great photographer, but I have great memories of each year's festival: of the kids and families, the costumes, the music, the joyous energy, the birds and flowers and water and sun of Powderhorn Park, the affirmation of life and the renewal of commitment to solidarity, change, and beauty. We will watch the giant puppets, the musicians and dancers, and then the performance of the festival story: the May tree and the Sun are reunited. The Morris dancers and pagans will be there, the lefties and hippies and artists will be there, the anarchist kids on bikes will be there, and we will be there.
We will sing "Down By the Riverside" and "You Are My Sunshine" and I will probably cry.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
It was also the birthday of a wonderful artist and performer, Amanda Palmer . Here's a video she made in Harvard Square with some friends. (yes, she's lip-syncing)
After making her mark with Dresden Dolls, she has put out a solo album that is amazing and wonderful, "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?" Here are some of the videos. What do you think?
"What's the Use of Wonderin'"
"Strength Through Music"
"The Oasis" (banned in the UK!)