Friday, January 28, 2011

The Holly House Diaries - My Plea


As defined by Holly's Dictionary, "a room in a house that typically sees little to no activity except around the electric kettle, where bagged lettuce often converts to a liquid state in the crisper drawer, and the only beverages to be found are usually 13% alcohol or categorised as 'loose-leaf' or 'espresso grind'."

You never appreciate something until it's gone. I have been without a kitchen for a while now, and I never thought I'd say this, but I'm sick of take-out.

The Kitchen, Step 1 - Obviously, no expense was spared.
I expect those tinfoil and painter's tape window shades to be the next big thing in kitchen design.

Very soon there will be countertops, then I will have a place to set the kettle.

Please, please, please Universe, I promise to be good. I swear I am ready to cook. I have even purchased a brand spanking new set of pots and pans in anticipation of going all Martha the second the kitchen is completed. I have googled The Naked Chef and now know that he is not indeed nekkid (sorta disappointing), but that his name is Jamie Oliver, he's British, knows his way around the kitchen, talks with a slight lisp, and might actually be my soulmate. I even bought... *GASP*... a cookbook. OK, yes, it is a book filled only with cookie recipes, but it is a step in the right direction. Please, I'm begging you O Great Universe, let the installation of the countertops, sink and faucet, and the hooking up of the appliances go smoothly and be done by some time in February. I don't know how much Nutella and toast a person can ingest before it begins to do permanent damage to their intestinal tract and brain function, but I think I'm there.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Thank you Wipeout.

Thank you for making me laugh so hard I cried and peed a little.

Now, normally I do not find people getting hurt entertaining, even if it is a result of their own stupidity and quite deserved. Unless I am extremely drunk (see: attending Jackass, The Movie, Pt I), then I am going to laugh so hard people will mistake the sound for an irate burro with a bad headcold due to all the braying and snorting.

I do not watch America's Funniest Videos or World's Dumbest Criminals. My first reaction is not laughter in those situations, but flinching and squinting my eyes with an exclamation of "Damn!"

However, I have developed a strange fascination for game shows that require contestants to navigate some sort of obstacle course - which, as we all know from elementary gym class, contains not only the potential for severe injury, but unplumbed depths of humiliation as well.

And usually rope burns.

The Japanese game shows MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge - the voiceovers for the commentators and contestants are comedic genius), Unbeatable Banzuke, and Ninja Warrior have elevated the game show obstacle course to new heights of glory. American television has tried to emulate their success. Though the attempt hasn't failed, you can only go so far when you can't actually kill or hideously maim the competitors. I'm not familiar with the technicalities of Japanese law, but the waivers the contestant sign must be iron-clad against ANY injury lawsuit. Otherwise how would it be possible to have a show like "Hit in the Nuts"?

Trust me, nothing is lost in the translation of that one.

Monday, January 24, 2011

There Were Some Awesome Things About the 80s

Big score in the $5 DVD bin at the Wal-Mart this weekend.

Drum roll, please.

Are you ready?


This morning I am suffering  from an acute case of 21 Jumpstreet Marathon Overload. It's like a bad hangover. There's a skull-splitting headache and a taste like the cat took a poo in my mouth, but the additional side effects include a desperate desire to rat my hair, wear one mismatched, long earring, pull on the slashed, acid-washed jeans, and bust some high school punks.

If you catch me reminiscing about how I once infiltrated a gang of car thieves operating out of a high school shop class or cracked a Catholic School coke ring, please remind me that wasn't actually me, but the leading characters on...

 "JUMP! Twenty-one Jumpstreeeet! I said, JUMP! Down on Jump Streeeeet..."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Living Room Muse

She is perched on top of a heap of books varying in topic from home decorating and art to autobiography and mythology. It is an appropriate resting place. I get the impression she likes it.

She is not a-mused.
 She doesn't like her neighbors, however - both of which reside atop the furniture to the right. Not her right (she doesn't have hands), your right. Mr. Television and his bride, Wii, are obnoxious, loud, often uncouth, and play their music late into the night. As a result, Muse is considering a move to a more peaceful neighborhood. Fortunately, she has casters.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mr. Toast's Creative Tuesday 1.18.11

Here is this week's doodle. The theme was "scarf".

Check out all the Creative Tuesday fun first-hand at Hot Toast and Tea.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Holly House Diaries 1/11- 1/16/11


I am officially a home owner
   I'm still not sure how I feel about it
      My Gypsy itches.


Is it weird that I have numerous pieces of furniture with wheels on?
    That my first thought before purchase is "Can I add casters?"
         Like I am going to ride a coffee table to town?
              Where is the furniture going to go?
I should have built a vardo.

Guy with a lisp came to measure for a fence
    Even if the quote is outrageous, I will feel bad if I don't buy from him
        Stupid speech impediment


Bought a medicine cabinet
    Dad said he could install. No problem. Fifteen minutes.

He couldn't. It was. An hour.
    Torn all to hell and hanging by a thread.
          I wanted to scream.
I have to start over.


I love my little house. It isn't finished.
    It may never be. That's okay.
         I am a work-in-progress, too.

The bathtub is one of the best things about the house. It's as deep as a swimming pool (no diving!) and the edge is curved to cradle your back and neck like the palm of a hand. Filled with aqua-blue, endlessly hot and steaming, slightly earth-scented well water, it's the most relaxing place on the planet. One hour long soak in it is better than twenty trips to a therapist.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Blogger Hop 1/14

This looked like a fun way to wile away a few minutes...

Hosted at Crazy For Books

The question comes from Barb at Sugarbeats Books.
"Why do you read the genre you do? What draws you to it?"

Though some of the BookBabes selections have forced me to read outside of my typical literary comfort-zone, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Mystery are my genres of choice. I like my books to have distinct good guys and bad guys and I like the good guys to win - whether they are swing a sword, a light saber, or a scalpel used for autopsies. Good vs. Evil, Knight vs. Dragon, Skywalker vs. Vader, or Detective vs. Serial Killer, I enjoy a book that involves a quest to end the Evil. There's comfort in knowing in the end the bad guy pays for his evil deeds, especially since in real life it doesn't always wrap up that way.

With the Fantasy and Sci-Fi -- and the occasional mystery -- you also get the additional benefit of traveling a foreign country and visiting distant (light years, in some cases) lands. I luurve me some exotic locales. Not to mention the exotic locals. Bring on the elves and aliens, dude.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The End is Near

In orientation on Tuesday, a new employee made a statement about how the world was going to end in 2012.

She was having a discussion with a fellow attendee during a break and I walked in to hear her say, "It doesn't matter because the world is going to end drowning in fire on Dec. 25th, 2012, anyway. So enjoy your last couple of year on earth, buddy."

At that point the discussion bled over and began to get rather heated amongst the rest of the newbies, who exhibited attitudes ranging from scoffs ("Puh-leeze. That Aztec calendar's ended, like, fifteen times already.") to a more meeting the challenge head-on approach ("Bring it. I've got my commando gear waiting in the foyer and ten years of canned goods and rations in my lead-lined basement.) I listened for a few moments wondering how much any of them actually believed what they were saying.

Finally, I broke in with a comment, "Around here there are three topic you should probably avoid chatting with your co-workers about: religion, politics, and college football team alliances." Then I said, "George Bush is the Devil. Now on that note, lets get back to the handbook..."

That pretty much brought the conversation to a screeching halt.

Later I was wondering how many people believe the end of the Aztec calendar in 2012 was literally going to mean the end of human existence. Probably about the same number who thought the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, cell phones would implode, planes would fall out of the sky, and our planet would revert back to the technological Stone Age. Each group has their reasons for believing the way they do. Who am I to judge someone else's doomsday prophecy?

Not that I'm nihilistic, but, given the destructive capability at the fingertips of crazy people, the world as we know it could end any minute and most of us (adults) would probably deserve it. Why freak out about it ending two years from now? You're only going to get all worked up about a situation that you can't control anyway. Instead, do your best to make your corner of the world a bright spot in the darkness, help where you can, and attempt to make the world better for your having existed in it.

I don't know if the world is going to end in 2012. What I do know is that even the small positive things that we do can still change the world.

The important thing is to retain your sense of humor. That way when you are surfing the most recent round of postcards on PostSecret and you see that someone's secret is they hope for the zombie apocolypse so that they don't have to pay their bills you can still get a giggle.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Time To Go Oooom

I got accepted to the Vipassana meditation retreat again this year. In the spring, I will be skipping off to the Dhamma Siri center for ten days of Noble Silence, meditation sessions from 4am-9pm, no sex, no TV, no phone, no books, all vegetarian meals, and sleeping on a tiny bed that feels like it has a piece of plywood for a mattress.

It's gonna be GREAT!

Okay... so it's not everyone's idea of a vacation, but I will tell you that it is life-altering in a way that no cruise to the Bahamas ever will be. Life-altering in a good way. Not in a purple-kool-aid-drinking, aliens-coming-down-to-take-us-to-heaven-so-get-your-navy-running-suit-on sort of way. Even though this will be my third year to attend, my father is still convinced that I am being brainwashed by a cult. The whole ten days I'm there, he has the black helicopters and extraction team on stand-by just in case he sees the bat signal. I'm only going to say this one more time, IT'S NOT A CULT.


Besides, I wouldn't be part of any cult that would accept me as a member.

Not to mention I'm not exactly ideal cult material. There's too much dissident in my blood - which you think my father would understand by now, having been the target of much of my insubordinate behaviour over the years. I'd almost feel sorry for any cult who tried to actively recruit me. Talk about catching a tiger by the tail.

Vipassana meditation is an entirely non-sectarian technique, though most of the practitioners and teachers are Buddhist. At last year's session it was pretty evenly divided between men and women, about 100 people total, from all walks of life and religious affiliations. There are no mantras to chant, no visualizations of cloudless skies or sunlit meadows - nothing that would distract you from the inner workings. You definitely have a lot of opportunity to take a good hard look at the state of yourself when you don't have any distractions - plenty of time to clear out the inner sludge that's built up. I'm ready for a spring cleaning.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The New Year's Barely Started...

... and I'm already behind.

At the mo', most of my effort is going toward The Sketchbook Project - Status: Incomplete - Due: Postmarked Jan. 15th. I still have pages to glue, paper to insert, collage to complete, and mini portraits to include, not to mention that I wanted to scan it all in before I send it off. Yes, they are going to scan it on their end, but I want the option to be able to post my own PDFs or use my work later.

I also want to work on a mail art piece for Exploding Doughnut. I have a few ideas, but nothing down on paper yet.

And those are only No.1 and No.2 on a long, long list.

Unfortunately, all I want to do after work is go home, change into my sock monkey jimjams, and curl up with a book. I think it has something to do with coming to work in the dark and leaving work in the dark. The only sunshine I've seen the past four days has been through my narrow office window. I'm beginning to feel like a prisoner in the tower of London - only without all the fun of the torture and the rats and the watery gruel.

For about two weeks I've felt like a creative black hole - sparkling, light-filled, stars of ideas go in never to be seen again. Hopefully Carla Sonheim's class, Silly3, will help bust me out of my funk. The lessons might be the kick in the pants I need to get some momentum built up.

My office and desk at home is a wreck - probably a good reflection of my creative mind. It's piled to overflowing with crap. I've moved in to the new place (sorta), but have no storage space for anything yet. My creative space, the office/studio that I've always longed for, has become a receptacle for every displaced item I own. I don't have any more space to create than I did before.

This weekend I am mounting a major expedition to excavate some surface area on the desk. Or maybe I'll  "HULK MAD!!" and pick it up by one leg and throw it across the room, effectively clearing it off in a shower of paper, pens, paints, brushes, books, and rage. That option has a strange appeal.