Thursday, January 30, 2003

I was reading this blog, which has a post about not caring too much about chocolate, and it started me thinking about the spectrum of snack food.

To my mind the spectrum begins with salty dry things like pretzels and chex mix (vile), and improves gradually with nuts and an assortment of baked goods like cookies and crackers. Things get much more greasy and delicious with potato chips, tortilla chips and french fries. Cheetos are an elegant segue into the World of Cheese, which then moves through some kind of dairy-kinship into the land of chocolate. After chocolate, there are a lot of wierd fruity-savory things like sugared dates and coconut, and fruitiness totally takes over when you get into hard candy and gummies. It is possible to lose all grip on reality at the totally sugary-artificial end of the spectrum where you'll find smarties and pop rocks and pixie sticks and gum.

Now go look at these paintings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Things I learned last night at a lecture about the speed of light:

1. The speed of gravity is the same as the speed of light. Have no idea what it means that gravity has a speed, but have emailed my dad and am hoping to find out soon.

2. The speed of light may have been faster at the beginning of time than it is now. Einstein thought it was always the same, but scandalously, Einstein might have been wrong about that.

3. There is a horizon at the edge of the galaxy beyond which we cannot see because light from anywhere beyond that point hasn't had enough time to get here since the birth of the universe. But as the universe gets older and older, we can see farther and farther.

4. Possibly there are teensy little particles that make up gravity and space and time, just like there are teensy little particles that make up people and light and fishes and whatnot.

Thing I am a little disappointed not to have learned:

1. Why E=MC2.
Here is a link to the amazing art of Barry McGee.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are going to put these gates with big flapping yellow pieces of fabric in them in Central Park. I can't wait. I wish there were some way I could have some kids and have them be about seven years old in 2005, because that would just be the most amazing thing for a kid to see. I remember when I was little they wrapped some Florida islands in pink fabric and my parents were really excited about it, so I saw some pictures. I thought about that a lot . I think I imagined you could walk out on the pink stuff, but looking at it now, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't work. Well, maybe if you were very small and light.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

This guy is an amazing artist. Also, look here and here and especially here.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Is your medicine working? None of ours is. S.'s antibiotics aren't doing a thing about his terrible spasming cough. J and I are dutifully taking our antidepressants before whimpering off into a dark corner to cry. I keep putting medicated gunk on my cold sore, but it just lurks there.

It's either the weather or the apocalypse.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I have been having some very complicated ethical questions about my job. It's nothing that is going to make me quit, or even make a fuss (and believe me, I will make a fuss at the drop of a hat) but it is thought provoking. I was in a meeting yesterday about creating some lesson plans for kids that would be used in schools to promote our videos, and I started talking about how many impressions are we going to get, and what kind of response rates we could expect. And one of my coworkers, who is perhaps living in a dream world, said "well, it's not like we're just doing this 100% to sell product". And we all looked at him like he was insane, and my boss said "well, we're doing it 99.8% to sell product." And I thought, what a chump.

So here is my question...who is the bigger asshole? Is it me for knowingly trying to sell crap to kids in the classroom, which is obviously an inappropriate venue for advertising, or is it this guy for creating a little fantasy in his head where he is actually doing some kind of public service by trying to sell them shit?

Another question...we are creating lesson plans which possibly could be useful to teachers, and which won't appear in the classroom unless the teacher does deem them somehow useful, and which just incidentally suggest that purchasing some of our genuinely educational videos could be a good thing to do. Is there a real moral difference between that and advertising junk food on the egregious Channel One?

Last question for now...I'm obviously not going to quit my job over this. Would I quit if I were asked to make a junk food ad for Channel One? Where would I draw the line? Where should I?

Monday, January 20, 2003

I finally scanned in my comic book, and put words in all the word balloons. I want lots of constructive criticism, but if you decide to give me some, can you please say at least one nice thing, and say it first? Because I am pretty bad at taking criticism. Thank you very much.
S. and I went to Chelsea yesterday in the freezing cold to look at art. I feel very successful, as that was one of my New Year’s Resolutions…to look at more art. We saw some really wonderful things, including a short film called Dwelling by Hiraki Sawa, which was being sold as a limited edition of 8 DVDs. The film consists of different shots of an empty apartment, with tiny little planes taking off and landing and flying through the different rooms. I don’t know if the artist intended it to be a response to September 11th, but the tiny little airplanes definitely have a whole world of overtones that they couldn’t have had before then.

I think if I keep on having a career making DVDs, I would like to collect limited edition DVD art. It is such a strange concept, and hard to get your head around the idea of something digital and infinitely reproduceable as having value. Particularly when the actual object is something as mass-market as a DVD or a CD-ROM. But obviously people had the same thoughts about conceptual art and pop art and photography, and probably even the printing press. We had a long conversation with the curator of Bitforms about the problems of selling and displaying digital art.

Other things that we saw that I liked were the snowglobes at P.P.O.W.; Edward Burtynsky’s photos of oil fields, and Judith Schaecter’s incredible stained glass windows. I hadn’t even seen her show listed – we just stumbled across it by accident and of course it was incredible.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Your assignment for this week: Write a limerick that begins "A performance artist, a puppeteer and a poet..."

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

I know it's a little early, but I'd like to nominate George Ryan for Man of the Year. I can't think of the last time a politician did something like this. He actually did something controversial, morally complex, intelligent and admirable. He actually gave it some thought. He actually took a stand. Unlike our other so-called leaders whose idiotic, simplistic, sneaky and embarrassing-type behavior we just take for granted. George Ryan, you may be a Republican, but this week you rock my world.
Whole lotta pictures from Iceland and London!

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

I just found this amazing interview with Inka Essenhigh, an artist who just fascinates me. I've never managed to see her paintings in person, but every time I see them in magazines or on the internet, it just blows my mind. And the fact that I keep missing her shows gives her a kind of mystique.
I have an idea. Let's start a left-wing tabloid. It would be just like the NY Post, only on our side. We'd run big pictures of Bush everyday with LIAR in giant letters, and lots of articles about his trampy daughters, and his niece's coke habit. He's such an easy target. It would be fun.

I think that liberalism can be just as trashy and appealing as conservatism, it's just that liberal politicians and activists are way to invested in being tasteful, intellectual and having the moral high ground. That has got to stop.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Top Ten Things of 2002

1. Best Movie: Spirited Away (apologies to The Good Girl and Secretary, but this movie really was the most amazing thing)
2. Best Art Show: Janet Cardiff at PS1.
3. Best Book: Prague by Arthur Phillips
4. Best Place I Went: Barcelona
5. Best Album: Original Pirate Material
6. Best New TV Show: Firefly
7. Best Food I Ate On A Regular Basis: The Holy Mole burrito at Burritoville
8. Best Article of Clothing: Striped knee socks
9. Best Magazine: Bust
10. Best Comic Book: Courtney Crumrin
I have been trying to put my finger on what it is that makes London and New York so different. I mean, there is not one square inch of either city that you could ever mistake for the other, and that was a big surprise to me.

So in analyzing this question and trying to develop a kind of unified theory to explain the difference, I have decided that that New York is very much about striving, and aspiring, and always imagining that you are on your way up or on your way somewhere else or just moving constantly forwards. And London seemed to be about people being where they imagine they are going to stay. I think that this is in the architecture, with New York crowding together and pushing up into the sky and being on a grid system, while London just sort of sprawls out and sits there. And it's on the streets, because New Yorkers always seem to be hurrying and not paying attention and tossing their trash over their shoulder, while London has lots of really lengthy instructions posted everywhere, and if you stop and take the time to read them and do things right, you can be sure that everything will work smoothly.

I also think that my theory explains why our streets and trains and social services are kind of crap, while theirs are incredibly generous and well-run and cozy...everyone here thinks that they are just about to move on, so it doesn't really matter, while everyone there is in it for the long haul.

Based on all of the above, I would imagine myself to be a London-type person, as I am lacking in all kinds of ambition and really don't much like change and am a socialist and appreciate things working properly. However, I really can't imagine living there. Just spending four days there made me realize that in spite of whatever pretentions I have, I am really really American, and I probably can't ever live anywhere else and be comfortable. I guess it is partly because they speak English, so you know that the cultural differences are real, and you can't just blame them on a language barrier.

Intellectually, I highly approve of London, but there is no way I could ever live there. So I guess I'm stuck on this stupid continent.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Iceland was very dark. It got light at about 10:30 and got dark at about 4:30. At noon, it looked like sunset, but then the sunset lingered for hours. Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time, although it's nowhere near Greenwich.

In London, the sun was out a bit longer today, but it's raining.

Something disturbing. In both Tucson and London, I've arrived just as the local papers broke vile local news stories involving parts. Of bodies. That were no longer attached to the relevant bodies, where they should have been. You can read about them here and here , but trust me, you don't want to. If you do want to, there is something wrong with you.