Monday, September 29. 2008
But, while you're doing that, make sure that Megan Murphy, of Kawaii Not is there to capture the moment. She draws cute four panel cartoons of everyday objects, which have unusual views of themselves. As Megan says on her FAQ page:
"Hopefully it's funny. Or maybe you're just dead inside."
Oh, it's funny alright. I spent half an hour
And since I'm typing this at home, I'm actually pretty certain.
So I go off for a few days (more on that later) and come back to find that the Pork Princess tiara has been picked up on Boing Boing. This explains the crapload of extra email in my inbox. Hello, Boingers!
I was in Kansas for Yarn School at The Harveyville Project, but while you're waiting to hear that story you can download some vintage poison labels (at high DPI so they are suitable for printing!) that I saw while trawling through Boing Boing. Enjoy!
Friday, September 26. 2008
These guys are awesome. It's the Finnish Shouting Men's Chorus, or Mieskuoro Huutajat. ("MEE' skoo row WHO' tuh yaht", for those who like to pronounce things out loud.)
Well, would you say otherwise??? To their faces?? They're yelling, they look like Vikings dressed as The Blues Brothers with ties made of bike tire inner tubes. I'm not doing anything (after saying "they're awesome") except backing away slowly and perhaps offering them some cookies. Although, as angry as they look onstage, I'll bet they're quite friendly and mild-mannered face to face. Being friendly and laid back is a typical Finnish cultural marker. They'd probably share the cookies.
I do happen to enjoy the shouting enough to want to share it with you. Here's a small taste of their performance, in the form of a movie trailer. (A movie was made of them. It won some awards.)
In addition to performing songs and poems, Mieskuoro Huutajat like to shout a wide repertoire of national anthems. It caused a bit of an uproar sort of thing (as far as uproars go) when they performed in France, and wanted to shout La Marseillaise.
Here's how they conceptualized The Star Spangled Banner:
I hope you aren't offended (my husband was, and it led to a very heated conversation); also please know that I'm not posting it for political purposes. In my opinion it's a creative work of art, respectfully performed, elegant, evocative of the militaristic lyrics, and not even a little bit like Roseanne Barr brutally butchering the same song at a baseball game some years back. In fact, I found myself paying closer attention to the words than I usually do. I'd call that a success. I'd perhaps even call this artform AntiSinging...
Enjoying having my horizons stretched further,
PS: For other interesting non-sacred choral excursions, go to YouTube and search for "Complaints Choir". Many large cities are finding that they have choirs devoted to voicing the complaints of their citizens, and it's very entertaining, lyrical, poignant, hilarious, and I hope Cleveland gets one soon!!
Wednesday, September 24. 2008
This just in. I encourage accomplished AntiCrafters to submit!
The American Craft Council is now accepting AltCraft applications for our flagship show in Baltimore!.:Zabet
Monday, September 22. 2008
Saturday, September 20. 2008
We don't watch TV, but we do watch things on DVD, so a subscription to Netflix works well at Chez Zabet. If you don't know how Netflix works, you might live on Mars. Ok, sorry -- seriously, they send you a DVD in an envelope and you tear a flap off of the it to get to the DVD. The envelope then becomes the postage-paid return envelope for sending the DVD back. Very thrifty, very green. I judiciously deposit the envelope flaps into my recycle bin, but my friend Robyn clued me into something fun to do with them before consigning them to recycling: Netflix Origami, which gives you designs that work with those not-quite-square paper flaps.
Wednesday, September 17. 2008
Got any plans for Friday?
I mean, it IS a major holiday: International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
(NOT to be mistaken for International Talk Like Yoda Day. Man. If I had to be assassinated, I'd choose AskANinja to do the job. I'd probably die laughing before he got near me with the katana. Or whatever.)
Need a pirate name? CLICK. This one's fun, imaginative, and safe for mixed company, regardless of how you define "mixed company". Answer 20 questions (one or two invoke The Muppets; how can that be wrong?) and it spits out your name. Mine's "Iron Bess Kidd". I dare you to share yours.
So if you don't have any other plans, here's a way cool sock pattern. Saving you valuable moments of your life searching for it, the chart/graph is a pdf link in the column on the left-hand side of the page, under the twist collective logo, with the rest of the free patterns.
Skulls and argylle. Just beautiful. I'd make different color choices, but I'll give them this: it definitely photographs well.
So now you have no excuse to NOT celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day! Now go swab something!!!
fricasseeing a wise-cracking parrot,
Friday, September 12. 2008
Wait -- what?? There's a question?
People generally agree that Superman's Kryptonian. Also, that Krypton is a fictional planet somewhere very far away, and (thanks to a degrading sun... depending on the version/ret-con you're reading...) Krypton exploded, leaving few survivors.
Superman is the first survivor we meet.
But Superman, rocketed out of his exloding home planet, was never born on Krypton, he was born in Cleveland.
Specifically, in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. It's maybe 5 miles from my house.
(I know. I talk about Cleveland a lot. There's a lot to talk about.) (No, really.)
You may be suprised to learn that his parents were NOT the Freudian 'gods' Jor-El and Lara-El, nor the rural WASP-ish Jonathan and Martha Kent.
Superman and Clark Kent were birthed through the flowing ink of an imaginative but shy Jewish boy named Jerry Siegel, whose father had just died.
There's some argument in the family regarding the specifics of his death: one half claims Mitchell Siegel had a heart attack as a result of an armed robbery as he was closing his haberdashery shop. The other half insists Mitchell suffered 3 gunshots which caused his demise. Either way, a gun was involved; in the Action Comics #1, he did not fly, see through walls, or use heat vision. He certainly was invulnerable to bullets. This question has influenced Brad Meltzer to write his new book The Book of Lies. Read my post from yesterday for more information and links.
This is a long, round-about way to get to what I wanted to share with you. I hope it was enough to catch your attention.
I love my city, and ordinarily I am button-poppingly-proud of it. I like to share with you what makes me proud and what local news is craft-worthy. This one instance, however, is a failing of my city, the city in which Superman was born.
The Siegel house still stands. It's a different family living in it now, and when people come to see the Superman house, they warmly welcome these strangers in. Of course, they do: pilgrims to see the very room where Jerry Siegel scribbled his first images of The Man of Steel?? Visit this room and picture the whisperings and embryonic concepts of young Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, simultaneously masterminding and foiling plots on paper meant for schoolwork; feel the tingle down your spine and (alas) see the plaster crumble in time with it. No strangers to imagination themselves, this family understands the passion that drives people from far and wide to pay homage.
Sadly, the house is a disaster.
The outside is painted Superman red and blue, but the inside is crumbling.
It ought to be a landmark. There should be a historical marker, there should be funds to protect it. It's cultural history. But the City of Cleveland is falling short.
I like his passion. The whole concept of ordinary people doing things where traditional leadership has failed is as beautiful as a well-crafted, properly fit, hand-knit sweater.
My extra post this week serves several purposes. First, to bring the issue to your attention, so you have the opportunity to participate if you choose. Next, to share some trivia about my city and comic books (and exhibit once again what a supergeek I am). Finally, to show you that, for all that I brag about this city I love, I am willing to show you the warts as well, because I DO believe this is a major failing, and I also believe in showing all sides of a story. Cleveland has helped save, mark, or celebrate other famous homes (the Christmas Story House, the Heisman house, others). The Superman House certainly deserves consideration.
in primary colors and hand-written itallicized all-caps,
PS? Edith, I love your post. I didn't realize until today Rick and I had an AntiWedding. We just rejected everything the wedding industry tried to throw at us, but that was just us being us, nothing particularly activist about it (for a change). Good to know there's a name for it!!
Thursday, September 11. 2008
Interesting article from the Washington Post.
We all know I don't like babies but I do love me some Hat patterns from Woolly Wormhead. Those of you with babies in your life might want to check her new booklet out. It's 10 patterns for £5 sterling (about $10), available as a PDF only (sorry, Johann).
P.S. Sorry for hijacking the blog this week. I just keep finding things I want to share!
I had something else, something about painting using paint ball guns, but I'll bet you'll let that slide 'til next week, right? And the bit about how the Earth took a direct shot by a very impressivly huge gamma ray -- both are movies, and both are true.
They both take a heavy duty back seat to this one:
I just finished Brad Meltzer's The Book of Fate on Wednesday morning, after picking it up Tuesday. (My take? Good. Although I kind of expected more Dan Brown/Chris Carter conspiracy, not so much Bourne chase scenes. Still: I was entertained. It's good when a comic book writer can convincingly make the jump to pages without pictures.) That noon he was being interviewed by my local NPR station for This. Very. Book. No lie.
engulfed by fate,
PS -- I was informed by A Very Enlighteded Librarian that Mr. Meltzer became known as a writer first thanks to his novels. The comic books (and I think we have all of them, so far) came later. Thank you for the correction, Katie!
I always enjoy hearing from you folk. You're extraordinary! And I'm not just saying that in contrast to the pharma-spam the blog usually kicks up...
Wednesday, September 10. 2008
Tuesday, September 9. 2008
[Ok, I'm evil. I wouldn't blog this yesterday because I wanted to make sure I had a chance to buy the über-pack before it sold out.]
I have huge stalkery Dresden Dolls love, so I thought I would mention that Dolls' frontwoman Amanda Palmer released her debut solo album today [yesterday], Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Now, Dolls fans fear not, this does not signal the end of the Dresden Dolls. It was just a thing she was compelled to do.
The album is being released with Amanda's signature theatrical style. It is not just a collection songs carefully crafted and honed by Amanda Palmer and produced by Ben Folds, oh no. The videos (available on Amanda's YouTube channel) tell a continuing story, centering on the murder mystery theme. However, furthering her artistic relations with friend and director Michael Pope was not enough. Amanda then teamed up with one Kyle Cassidy, photographer extraordinaire, and wordsmith Neil Gaiman (aka God) to further flesh out the story.
What's that dripping on the floor? Oh, it's GREATNESS. Careful, don't slip.
Monday, September 8. 2008
Y'all may already know this, but Twist Collective opened it's doors a little while ago. I've been meaning to mention it for some time (since at least August 4th, judging by the timestamp on my notes). It's opening came upon the heels of a discussion I had with my husband (ok, more like one-sided rant) about print magazines being nigh upon useless.
You see, I had just gotten the latest issue of Vogue Knitting in the mail -- don't ask me how, I don't subscribe, they just started showing up -- which if you don't know is published quarterly. Now, I would say it's safe to estimate that I don't care for about 98% of what Vogue offers up. It's too haute couture, too skinny-person focused for me. That won't stop me, however, from flipping through the pages of a free magazine and looking for inspiration. But as I flipped I found I was more annoyed than inspired. Never mind the ads -- too many of them, of course, but that's how you pay to print and ship a magazine that brings your reader 25 patterns for a mere $7 (less if they subscribe). The news was painfully out of date, the kind of stuff that's been on the internet for ages. (I've experienced this with Interweave Knits as well, so don't feel I'm picking only on Vogue.) I find it hard to believe that the demographic who buys Vouge Knitting overlaps much with the un-wired demographic. (Which I will admit in my head are those living in rural areas and define a good yarn as being one that is cheapest -- I live in Kentucky so I can make statements like that, thankyouverymuch.) About a third of the article space seemed dedicated to "non-ad" ads, i.e. hot-knitting-accessories-of-the-season-type "reviews" (how much they cost and if any celebs have been seen with them).
I figured you could strip this $7 mag down to about 25 pages of actually useful material (if you included the glamour shots of the knitwear). The knitwear is divided into thematic groups, with about 4-6 pieces per group. The technical articles could be pulled together into another group, and the cultural/historical articles would be another.
My brain took those puzzle pieces and rearranged them like so, which I think would be a fabulous way to run any quarterly mag that focuses on making something:
1. Stop printing. It's a waste of resources from start to finish. It's a money drain. Just stop. Give it up. Print is dead.
2. Obviously, turn web-ward. Vogue has a website already (which I am only vaugely familiar with), but it would need a serious redesign and some heavy back-end coding. All patterns and articles should be offered electronically (PDF) with a download link via email. (See steps 3 - 5.)
3. You will never, ever be current on news again if you don't just turn a news section into a blog-like feature. It's just the way of the world now. News = blog = news. And make it free.
4. Let people pay for the content they want, how they want it. Put those 25 pages into a PDF and offer that as a subscription -- say, for $5 an issue? That's the same as the print subscription rate. Put those groups I mentioned above into their own subscription feeds as well. $1/issue for tech articles. $1/issue for cultural/historical articles. $2/issue for all articles. $3 for a group of patterns. Throw out a free pattern every issue. If someone wants a printed copy, they can print their own -- and you KNOW that we knitters will make a "working copy" of the pattern anyway so we can check things off or make notes or crumple it up in the bottom of our bag without losing the original, so why not just let us print one?
5. Single-time purchases could still be made (with a preview of photos and article abstracts). Full issue $7. Tech articles $2. Cultural/historical articles $2. All articles $3. A group of patterns $4. Delivered again via PDF download link in email.
Honestly, is it just me or would this cover their bandwidth and production costs just as effectively (or more effectively?) than selling to advertisers and paying to print and ship? Hell, they could still sell to advertisers, but in a less obnoxious way, say a la the Knitty marketplace model. It seems to me that this way Vogue could spend less time promoting how great and cool they are to get subscribers to keep their advertisers happy, and more time just being great and cool without the middlemen.
But back to Twist Collective. They are certainly innovative in their business model and moving in the right direction. Things I love: All their pattern are for sale, so the designers get paid. Were I running the AC like a business and not like a hobby, I would make sure designers get their due off the bat. (As it is, we live on your gracious donations of brain power.) I would like more photos of the items on the purchase pages, and it took me a bit to realize that they have a faux-paper-magazine layout with full photo treatments of each item... and ads. Oh, web applets that try to mimic turning pages in a magazine or catalog, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.
So Twist Collective is a pallbearer in the inevitable demise of the quarterly printed craft mag, and a welcome one at that. This funeral procession is moving much, much too slowly as it is.
I should also mention: the offerings are quite lovely. Whoever is choosing the projects has a nice (if "normal") aesthetic.
Wednesday, September 3. 2008
Locally, our air show is over, as of this weekend, so I don't know what to do with all my very tongue-in-cheek, left-over paper airplanes. Other than yet another daft mobile...
So, trolling the Web for inspiration, I came across Polly Verity's amazing site.
Paradigm shifted, I may not see paper as a mere flat surface again.
folding and scoring,
(Page 1 of 2, totalling 17 entries) » next page