Sunday, January 30, 2011

tick tock

Oh, my, the weekend goes by so fast it gives me agita just thinking about it. I had/am having a simi-stressful weekend with some fun stuff thrown in. Yesterday we saw a cool print show at the Block Museum - they were having printing demonstrations and a sale, with a DJ and everything - it was more crowded than I've ever seen that place, so they might have been happy, even if everyone was vaguely miserable because of the long lines. M & I both liked this artist named Tom Huck. This piece is a woodblock print called Chili Dogs, Chicks and Monster Trucks. viaHis work really reminds me of Lisa Hanawalt, who also has a horror vacui. How they manage to cram all those things together and still maintain a clear narrative is really amazing. I really want to buy one of her pieces... I recently spied one of her illustrations accompanying a New York Times article! Can I get in before her market explodes?

We both got smart phones and I installed this cool "Retro Camera" app that makes all my pics turn out gorge. Look at this... Could you just die?

Tonight we have special plans to go out for what I hope will be a lovely dinner, and then, tomorrow, back to the old grind.

Oh, my review was posted in Newcity Lit - check it out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Check, PLEASE!

I finally got around to watching Doubt today - I thought it was fabulous. Oh, Meryl Streep! Anyway, I was confused because I had heard there was like a total did-he-or-didn't-he thing, but for me it was totes HE DID! Did anyone else have a different impression?

Oh, great. My fave restaurant in town was on Check, Please! It's already hard enough to get a table at that place. The good news is they didn't give it a very favorable review.

Speaking of restaurants, me & husband went on a "date" (lately I've noticed that my friends with kids now call their evenings out "dates" where sans kids these events were just, you know, evenings out. Anywho, I merely mention it because I find it amusing) to one of (his) favorite Italian restaurants in The City, and, much to our horror, we discovered that unanticipated opera singing was occurring in the dining room. Experiencing a fair amount of chagrin, we are escorted to a table, but then offered a better table which was right next to wear this dude was belting out some opera. So, I whisper to the waiter, we'll take that one if the singing will be over soon. And he says, Yes, yes, he'll be finished in just a moment. So, the dude finishes, we all clap, and then M & I go slip in behind the table. No sooner do we sit down than another opera singer (and then another, and another) take his place and belt out some Puccini. I mean like, 12 inches away from us. Here. I'll draw a picture for you. It was pretty much like this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Marwencol

Last night M & I saw this terrific documentary called Marwencol about this man who was attacked in a vicious fight and suffered brain damage and memory loss. As part of his own rehabilitation, he creates scenes with dolls and photographs them. He created a 1/16th scale town he called "Marwencol" and peopled it with the alter egos of himself and people he knows.
Eventually it's revealed that he was the victim of a hate crime, and it becomes clear that he suffers from massive anxiety and fear. What's interesting is the story that's not told - the hate crime, the failure of his therapy and recovery, his ex-wife and the extent of his brain damage.

His art and life are virtually inseparable, where he refers to his doll alter-ego as himself, and seems to have an obsessive love for the Barbie characters that interact with his doll-figure. What he would be considered in art terms is an "Untrained artist", or the less popular "Naïve artist", which generally means, as you might imagine, that he's not a trained artist (before his attack, he drew cartoon-y, R. Crumb-y type images, but afterward his hand shook too badly to draw) and that his work is little influenced by current or past artists. The uniqueness of his work stems mainly, as the editor or art magazine Esopus states, from its complete lack of irony, which is generally overwhelming in most work of this nature (including my own!) His earnestness and naïvité extends to his relationships with women, with whom he clearly has some issues. To wit, he creates "staged cat-fights" with the Barbie-doll characters in his bar in his town, going to great lengths to clarify that they are "staged."

What's a bit disturbing is how violent some of the images are, especially as concerns his own attack. In his little town, Nazis attack his character and torture him, similar to his own injuries, and then he exacts horrifying revenge on them. He drags a small tank full of heavily-armed characters with him just about everywhere he goes, and it becomes clear that it's because he's relying on them for protection. Ultimately, his doll character drags along a small-scale doll of his own to deal with his attack by the Nazis.

It's unlikely that this movie is going to be in wide release, but watch out for it in festivals near you. You can also see a fair amount of his photographs on marwencol.com, which also has some clips from the movie.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

W00t PWN: Tron Legacy

Despite poor reviews, husband wanted to play the new Tron video game (PS3) because he's... a huge nerd. He said he doesn't really like it (although he keeps playing it???) and that it's mostly just "running and jumping" like "Prince of Persia only in a Tron universe."

It looks a lot like the movie and it's got some dumb bits with er, Kevin Flynn (aka "The Dude-erino") which looks about as realistic as the "young" Flynn in the movie. That was extremely creepy, in an unfortunate uncanny valley kind of way. The voice in the video game is not Jeff Bridges, and I doubt the audience will be fooled regardless of the frequent repetition of the word "man". I happen to think: If you can't get Jeff Bridges, just forget it (man).

Did you ever hear that rumor about how Jeff Bridges' junk was so big that Disney said he had to strap it down lest he offend? This remains unsubstantiated, mainly because Google searches for "Jeff Bridges Giant ___" are overwhelming. (Here you may imagine me spending a good 10 minutes contemplating whether I'm comfortable with my both my parents and current or potential future employers reading various words for male genitalia on my blog. I finally decide to be conservative on the issue.)

Anywho, as far as I can tell, you run around in your neon jumpsuit and occasionally slash at people with your special frisbee. There's some dreamy ambient music, which is fine, but I'm surprised there's not more of the cool Daft Punk score from the movie. It also seems like there'd be more riding of "light cycles" and "recognizers", although M says it's possible there's more of that later in the game.

I find the game Somewhat Tolerable, mostly because it's fairly quiet and inoffensive.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Precious things

I just got back from a visit to see my friend A and her new baby, P. Baby is lovely and I had a nice time snuggling with her and a few days of non-stop chatting and laughing with A in our natural habitat: the couch.

Have a look:
My own little one is posing quite nicely for her own photo sessions lately - isn't this great? It really seems to capture the essence of Kaya (Mainly, boredom and disdain.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

W00t PWN: Left 4 Dead 2

Husband is playing Left 4 Dead 2, "Swamp Fever" a game about 4 people fighting zombies in a hillbilly town. It is quite unpleasant because, aside from the constant rabid-dog snarling of the zombies, the entire game is punctuated by the sound of shot guns and characters shouting "reloading" for no apparent reason.

One plays "co-op" with three other people (which means, you play with 3 other real people and the computer plays the zombies. Some of the zombies explode acid and some seem to be inspired by that Edgar Allan Poe story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue?

When it comes to zombie lore, most people will agree that the zombie's head must be removed, which makes sense because like, the former human is dead, right? The vessel, as it were, is rotting flesh, presumably unreliant on a highly functioning central nervous system, which accounts for the grunting and the lurching walk, amirite? To merely shot them... so what? They're already dead. But, anyway, in Left 4 Dead 2, you just have to shot them a couple of times.

Have you ever noticed how in most zombie stories, blue collar folks are amongst the few remaining humans who must fight the zombies? Never, you know, former art history students. I suppose the blue collar folks are more likely to have guns or, better yet, sickles. I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about what I would do in case of a zombie attack. Option one is to board up my entire house windows and doors and cower inside with husband and cat. Option two is to steal a boat and wait it out in the middle of Lake Michigan (with husband and cat). Or else, I suppose, row up to Canada (surely impervious to zombie attack?). As far as I can tell, those aren't options in Left 4 Dead 2.

M rates this game "pretty fun" and then he shrugged, non-committally. I rate it Quite Unbearable.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

W00t PWN: Kinect Adventures

Because I love my husband so very much and because I'm such a fine wife, I got M an Xbox and Kinect for Christmas (xmas=xbox, see?) He was thrilled, and I quite like it too. When you're playing the Kinect, it's like you're Tom Cruise in Minority Report because you don't have to hold a controller or anything, you just move around and it knows what you're doing (something to do with infared friggin' laser beams?)

Kinect comes with a disk called Kinect Adventures! which has like 4 or 5 little games you can play with a friend. The best one is probably River Rush, where you're standing in an innertube raft floating down some rapids and you have to move right and left and jump around. It's very easy but it's fun and not bad exercise. Another game is called 20,000 Leaks, in which you're standing in a small aquarium for some reason and fish are breaking it, and you have to "fix" the leaks by putting your hands or feet over them. It's sounds dumb, but it's fun.

The best part of Kinect Adventures! is that it takes a picture while you're doing this stuff and it's basically the funniest thing you'll ever see. Then you log on to their website and you can download the pics or send them to Facebook. I only wish they were higher quality images because I love them so much I want to make next years Christmas card out of one.

I would rate this game Good Times - it's great because you don't have to practice - you can just start playing - and you can play with a wide age group of people, and no one really wins or loses, which is nice. It's even fun(ny) if you're just sitting there on the couch watching other people play too.




Thursday, January 06, 2011

Huck Finn

I wrote about the Huck Finn controversy over on my other blog: check it out!

Grannies

Here are a few more pics from our trip -

M's Gran, happy as a clam with a kitchen job:
These are my grannies. (Grandma J is wearing a sweater that would have been quite a contender in our contest last year!)

And here's a picture that just cracks me all - all the dudes thinking real hard over a game M got for xmas:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

sledding

video

Oh, I meant to post this video with my last post - it's really short but cute!

Nephews

A few days after xmas, my sister and brother came to town with their little monsters and the fun really began. Exchanging presents was complete madness, with all of us lavishing attention on little people we love but don't get to see that often. M and I went slightly overboard and bought nephew #2 a four foot tractor complete with a scooping shovel, and he gratified us by going completely out of his mind, just like we figured he would. While C tried to calm the chaos down by shouting at my dad (aka, Santa), Slower! Slower! and then, in one hilarious outburst, PAUSE! Do you have to poo-poo? M had a different technique, "Don't stop,", he said, "Until everybody's cryin'."


We also went sledding on my parent's gentle slope. That was a good time.

Nephew #2 has the energy of about 3 kid's worth, but just look at that face...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas Recap

M & I went to Indiana on Christmas Eve, where we went to a candle-light service at my parents church, then to my grandma's house, which is an old tradition. Grandma has a tiny little house, which doesn't stop her from inviting over everyone she knows. She rather ingeniously puts boards over her sink and stove piled with food and encourages us to eat heavily.

My cousin C's kid really appreciated our present - he's a sweet kid.

On Christmas Day, M's Mom and Gran came over, as well as my Grandma and Uncle D. We all had a lovely dinner with my mom and dad.


I just like this picture. Do you know my mom put up THREE Christmas trees?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year!

On New Year's Eve we went out to dinner with friends and my sister and brother-in-law in Indianapolis, then we went to this hotel party and also spent the night there. The hotel party was a bit silly but still fun. They played all this bizarre 80s hair band music like Pour Some Sugar on Me and Welcome to the Jungle all night, while we were all in the mood for dancing to ... something good. Then this crazy girl tried to get in a fight with us like two minutes before midnight and it was rather alarming. Oh, Indiana!

L asked everyone to tell their favorite moments of 2010 - Cousin C's husband B has been recovering from cancer this year and broke our hearts when he said "any day I wasn't in the hospital". 2011 can only be better for them. (I love you guys!)

M & I had a good year. We both agreed our trip to France was the highlight of the year. (I love you, babe!)
It was great spending a lot of time with my sister over the holiday. My goal was to spend every minute glued to her side and we pretty much did. (I love you, Miss C-illa)
Truthfully, every minute I spend with this guy is my fave - it doesn't matter if we're in France or our back yard. <3