Friday, April 27, 2007

Toy Story

Despite all of the stress I've been feeling as of late, I've also been feeling particularly inspired. I have all sorts of creative ideas for both arts and crafts projects. Two art projects I'm most excited about involve these toys I've been adopting from the bookstore before they are about to be thrown out.

A couple of months ago I snagged an aging Thomas the Train set that was on its way to that big green garbage can in the sky. Having no children and really not wishing to acquire any, I still couldn't let such a kitschy item die. Recycle-reuse, right? Currently my Thomas set is undergoing its makeover into fabulous, over-the-top pink and jeweled train concoction. Why? To photograph, as an art installation....hell, to sell on ebay.

Last night further entrenched my weirdness (err...creativeness) when I spotted a huge set of Lincoln Logs destined for the trash. I could just picture these fabulously tacky log cabins glued together and destined to be left in odd places. I'm still working on my overall messaging for that project, but pictures will definitely be up once I get going.

I can only dream of one day being as cool as the couple featured in this month's ReadyMade Magazine. Two artist rockers from Seattle and Austin were looking for a place to relocate to together and ended up settling on a small town in Kansas. Why? Abandoned schools. Urban flight has led to the closing of so many schools that evidently they are really cheap. She sold her house and with the money bought four abandoned schools near each other in Kansas. They live in part of one and are in the process of turning the whole thing into an artist colony. How cool is that?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm the grumpy carebear

Grumpy might be the wrong word, but I just don't remember a weary Carebear. Perhaps I should create a line of adult-themed Carebears. Could get ugly though.

I digress. I'm weary and so over being stressed out by work and life. Work has me so stressed out right now that I have a mini-panic attack every time I start to think of everything on my to-do list. I can't blog in the mornings because I feel guilty and like I should be using that time to work. I can't keep up with my favorite blogs (see previous sentence). And, now, I finally post, and it is to complain.

I can't even begin to think about how to blog about the family health issues tearing my heart apart chunk by chunk. The short of it is that my grandmother may have to have a leg amputated and is in a lot of pain. Knowing she has to go through this ordeal and that my mom has to be the strong one, the one carrying the emotional burden for everyone, fills me with a depressive tiredness, as if I've spent hours fighting my way through a taffy maze.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mr. Roboto

Thursday took me to Fredericksburg for a work meeting on fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay. Rather than rent a car or take the train, I grabbed my traveling cohort, and we hit the road. On the way, we decided that, since we were already so close, there was no way we could not head on down to Richmond after my meeting and go to Sticky Rice. Once there, though, we determined we weren't yet hungry enough for the sushi and tots of Sticky Rice and should do some exploring of Carytown. Next thing I know, we're both sucked into the charms of Cary Street and the independent stores that line its path.

World of Mirth stopped us in our tracks. Our inner children shrieked and whizzed through the store with glazed eyes, periodically stopping to shout, "look at this" or "OMG, Allie, you've got to see this." Wind up sushi, Paul Frank wallets and shirts, skulls, skulls, skulls. I was almost ready to consider having a kid just to be able to buy the skull bib. Instead, I decided Allie needed to get knocked up. I walked out of World of Mirth with a robot and a promise to myself to go back soon.

We never did make it to Sticky Rice proper*. We wandered from shop to shop investing some loot in For the Love of Chocolate, finally snagging a Nancy Pearl action figure from Plan 9, and drooling over yarn in the local yarn store. I thought about feeling guilty for the toys I snagged but quickly pushed that thought aside. I work hard and think hard. Life is full of serious moments, both personally, professionally and globally. Toys give our lives color and creativity and a break from all of that seriousness.

My inner child had a blast.

*We did snag some tots from their carry out place, ToGoGo. I also should have snagged the number for the hot tattooed guy behind the counter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Return of my lover

I fall in and out of love with reading. Actually, it's more like the lover whom you know so well that you take for granted, often seeking a little something different in its stead. Our romance has been renewed recently with a few new additions to my collection. Jim Crace has always been an author I've had my eye on for a while but just never got around to reading. When an advance copy of his latest novel, The Pesthouse, arrived at the bookstore a week ago, I snatched it up and set about immediately devouring it. A sweet love story set in a post-apocalyptic* world.

Feeling rejuvinated by a good read, I decided the timing was right to slide right into the next read. I have dozens of unread books, but two recent purchases begged to be read, Love is a Mix Tape and How Sassy Changed My Life. Love is a Mix Tape won out. I've only just begun but adored the idea of the book before I ever picked it up. Blowing through the first chapter was like a romp down my pop culture memory lane. Two chapters in and he not only had my heart aching just a little for him but also had me reminiscing about the songs that made up the mix tape of my own life.

I've posted in the past about how different men (loves, crushes, obsessions, etc.) have each been assigned their own song. Thinking of these songs fighting each other for favorite song status on a mix tape cracks me up. I've** listed a few of the songs below. Judge for yourself, but I think they'd make a pretty crappy mix tape.

Serena's Hypothetical Man Mix Tape:

Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks
Unforgettable by Natalie Cole/Nat King Cole
Paper Bag by Fiona Apple
Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers (I think)
Million Ways to be Cruel by OkGo
Memories by Elvis Presley
I've Got Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks
Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie

Seriously, seeing that combination typed out makes me shudder.

*I'm big on post-apocalyptic novels, movies, tv shows, everything.
**I'm rushing this post because Allie is waiting on me and keeps singing/scatting The Final Countdown and is driving me batty with it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blow me away

I watched The Holiday this weekend, and while many of you film snobs may not consider it worthy of any mention, I enjoyed the smarm and the way everyone got what they needed in the end. I really only mention the movie because there are scenes where this insane wind blows and Jack Black's character talks about how it's the Santa Ana winds and crazy things can happen when they blow. Well, the Santa Ana* winds blew into DC yesterday and are still wreaking havoc. It's the wind of scary stories that blows the bad guy into town. If it weren't so freaking cold, I'd be completely enamored.

Crazy weather brings about crazy things, or in my case, the discovery of hidden talents. Guitar riffs, manic drums, and the keyboard. I rock at air instruments. Jimmy Hendrix would envy my air guitar, and Ben Gibbard only wishes his air keyboard was as fine. Maybe it's my weak wrists, but my air drums still need a lot of work. I'd be amenable to a real drummer boyfriend who would help me perfect my technique.

*I fully realize we can't have Santa Ana winds here, but you know what I mean.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Where is spring

Rain has the power to amplify whatever mood I'm in. If I'm a little down or melancholy, rain further drains my energy, the world weighing heavy like a sodden coat. If I'm upbeat, happy, the rain energizes me, even making me a little hyper. Today's rain, oddly enough, isn't really doing anything. I can almost feel it wanting to bring me down, but I keep fighting it. Waiting for the bus with only a black umbrella over my head, I began to sing ( the rain) to keep my spirits lifted. Before I ventured outside, I let the drumbeat of the falling rain be my music as I brightened up my surroundings with color. When the day is gray, there's nothing like color and a little red stain on your lips to keep things bright.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Was it all about the outfits?

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself every day and make it interesting? Since the second week of January, I’ve been participating in a 365 self portrait challenge* where you take a picture of yourself everyday, and this past week I finally broke down and took a break. I’ve been having fun doing it and think it’s an awesome endeavor. Because of the self portrait challenge, I have (1) learned which side is my good side, (2) no longer cringe at having my picture taken, and (3) have perfected “the serena”. However, I end up taking practically the same picture every day and am so bored with that. Remedy? I need to use this to work on a specific skill. Each week will have a theme, and my self portraits will need to reflect that theme. For example, I’m kicking this off again (after my one week hiatus) with a black and white theme. All self portraits this week will be done in black and white. Hopefully this will stave off any potential boredom.

Speaking of boredom, I’m almost embarrassed to admit one of the things I spent yesterday afternoon doing. Ha. Ah well, that’s what blogs are for, right? Remember the Blythe doll I purchased? Well, I was hanging out at Allie's house yesterday afternoon just eating, stealing wireless, and gabbing when we get a brilliant idea. Allie's mom has kept all of her Barbie's in tubs in the basement, so we decide to raid the contents for potential James (the Blythe) outfits. Suddenly I was 10 years old again and memory lane was the path spread out before me. There we are, two virtually grown women, sitting at the table surrounded by Barbies. There was the Jem collective and Brenda from 90210, too. The '80s were in full force with these outfits, most so horrific that they hurt to look at and be reminded that we once thought this was fashionable. Neon pink tulle skirt, printed leggins, shoulder pads, gold, glitter, the shirtdress, pleats. And, let's not forget the Barbie outfit Allie had made as a child, complete with puff paint. Ah...looking back is fun, but I'm glad to be moving forward.

*My “daily me” photos are on Flickr account, but you probably can’t see them unless you’re a Flickr “friend”.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

dueling banjos

I know we all have many different aspects to our personalities, but sometimes I feel like there are two very distinct individuals that live inside of me. Don't freak out; I'm not talking about any kind of split personality. It's just that the two sides of my coin are night and day.

There is the kind, compassionate side that is prohibitively shy. She hates big groups and parties and meeting new people. New situations make her nervous and cause her to break out in a cold sweat.

The other side of me is this very forward, bold woman who goes after what she wants. She takes charge and is just as likely to back you into a corner and have her way with you as she is apt to give you a verbal tongue lashing for the wrongs you've done to her.

Scarlet and I have talked about this 49%-51% split we all all have. Well..let's just say that last night the bold side took more than its fair percentage.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Writhing bodies for sale

As the only tall indie guys in the entire world found their way in front of me and bodies began closing in on all sides, I began to wonder what I was doing there. I could feel my hair physically frizzing as sweat trickled down the small of my back. A sea of heads bopped up and down before me in an almost zombie-like unison. The band playing, Land of Talk, was fun...good beats. Still, I couldn't help but ask myself why we subjected ourselves to concerts and shows when we could listen to the music in the comfort of our own homes, our cars, where ever.

Seconds later, as the driving beat was palpable and I fought my body's urge to follow it, I knew why we come to the live shows. Listening to a cd doesn't give you that visceral experience. You don't feel the beats in the same way, don't get that euphoric high when they hit that note just right, and miss all of the extras when they just decide to jam. The same crowd that makes you sweat also feeds your energy. The outfits, the shenanigans...

...this is why I love live music.