Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"I've got a lot of problems with you people!"

In the spirit of Festivus, I thought I would recall the story of how it all began, as told by a Mr. Frank Costanza.

Many Christmases ago,
I went to buy a doll for my son.
I reached for the last one they had,
but so did another man.
As I reigned blows upon him,
I realized there had to be another way!
(Kramer: What happened to the doll?)
It was destroyed.
But out of that, a new holiday was born!
A Festivus for the rest of us!

And that, children, is how Festivus came to be. Happy Festivus, everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nobody belongs here more than you.

Okay, okay, this book has been out for a while. I am way behind. I've heard it more than once. But if you are like me, somewhat behind the times in readery, I suggest this book to you. It's called Nobody belongs here more than you. and it's by Miranda July.

The book is a collection of short stories, many of them somewhat twisted, but looking at life from a different perspective. There's something off about most of the characters, but when you think about it, isn't that life? If you have seen the movie, "You, Me, and Everyone We Know," the heroine is the author. And her style of writing very much reminds me of her in that movie. But so much better. At the least, sit down and read one of the stories at your local bookstore. If it's too weird for you, put it back. If not, take it home. After paying for it, of course.

But (almost) more importantly, take a quick second to check out her website. It really stands out as the most creative, simple, personable sites that I have seen. The entire thing is written on a stovetop. Well, most of it. You'll see what I mean. It does require some light reading, but I promise it is enjoyable. At the second page, you will want to click "the beginning" to know what is going on.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I saw this necklace by Fringe Lore on Etsy and fell in love with it (don't get too attached, though, it's gone already). I found it under Steampunk and Noir. Steampunk is sort of the Victorian era meets the industrial revolution meets someone who likes to take things apart. Meets jewelry. I am digging it! I had no idea I was so into punk.

It took me forever to think of something to ask for this Christmas. I need things I can take with me in case Minnesota doesn't work out. (Everyone's getting fired, the competition is fierce!) Lo and behold, two days after I find this necklace, the perfect thing to ask for, it's sold out! Just my luck.

But hey, I am psyched to find this genre of jewelry! There seem to be a lot of steampunk cufflinks that I would like as earrings. I am hoping to see more sellers create more feminine pieces.

Small World!

Okay, so I was in an adventurous mood the past week, and for some odd reason, the more random things you do, the more you realize that the world is even smaller than you thought. The story is amazing, and I am going to attempt to tell it. If you get lost, give up there's no hope. Or, if you think you can handle it, start over. :)

It all started almost two weeks ago, Thursday. It was a Cocktails With Creatives night, something the AIGA puts on. One of my friends invited me to go see a local band, the Dollies, later that night, but I went out between then and wore myself out. Never made it.

On Friday night, I was pretty bored and glad the week was done with, so I walked to a little dive bar about a block from my apartment. I sat at the bar and instantly the guys next to me started chatting with me. One of them had previously been a graphic designer, and was also a musician. I told him that I sing and he invited me to this gig he does on Thursday nights (to sing). I wasn't about to do that, but I told him I'd come check it out.

Then Tuesday night is Books and Bars, an event I mentioned in a recent posting. I was a huge fan of it, and decided to introduce myself to the guy who ran it afterward. He was really nice, we talked for a few minutes. He told me more about the event and how it had started, I told him I just moved here, he suggested things to do, etc, then I left and told him I would join the Facebook group, and I'd be there again.

So Thursday rolls around and I go to hear the guy from the dive bar's group play. Of course, I know nobody in the bar, so I take a seat near the band while they warm up. I start chatting with the guys next to me. They're both really cool, they say they're musicians too, and they're playing tomorrow night at Mayslack's. I tell them I'm there! Somewhere along the lines, I mentioned that I had just been to Books and Bars, and one of the guys was like, "Oh, I know him (guy that runs it)." Whaat?! They work together to put on a random musician jam type thing at this guy's music venue that he owns. It sounds really cool, 3 musicians, never met, take turns playing songs each has written. So the others just kind of jam along.

Anyway, so I am good on my word, and turn up at Mayslack's the next night (which is famous for it's beef??). Both of the guys I had met were really great musicians, I will definitely be attending their gigs again. So these girls show up, also friends of these musicians. We get to talking while they're on stage, and it ends up one of them lived in Lubbock for a year! Really?? There were a lot of ironic things going on that night, but they didn't really involve me. The girls ended up knowing a lot of random people from a Halloween party, so they wouldn't recognize them at first. And one of the musicians knew both girls, but separately and didn't know they were good friends, or that they knew his friend. It just kept getting smaller!

Oh, and one of the musicians, I find out, plays bass for the Dollies. And the story comes full circle. For those of you still here, thanks for hanging in there. I just had to share this. The twin cities area is just too large for so much, "I know you," business.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is It Possible?

I was browsing in Common Good Books tonight after getting some mail out when I stumbled upon a historical scandal, something very interesting, something that made me think. I love it when that happens.

This book was about a man named William Mumler, a man whose profession was in spirit photography. This was a practice in America in the 1860s that was very controversial. I'm sure you can see why, the effect is quite obviously something that could be achieved in the darkroom. But was it? Mumler proved his process to be true to James W. Black, a leading photographer of the time who oversaw the entire process of his own spirit photograph. Yet a figure still appeared with Black in the negative.

Of course, this does not disprove the possibility of a double exposure having been done prior to the sitting, but many of these spirits were known by the subjects to be dead. A Moses Dow had his spiritual photograph taken (shown above), and his deceased assistant, Mabel Warren, appeared with him in the photo. He had believed Mabel had been trying to communicate with him, and was told by a medium to visit Mumler. There is also a photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln and the spirit of her husband, good ole Abe, after he had been assassinated. It was also claimed by some clients that the spirits in their photos were of people who had never been photographed in real life. Then again, supposedly some "spirits" were found to be still alive.

Was this man a fraud? Did he get tips from spies like every other psychic? Was this just double exposure at its best? Is that even possible if there were no photographs of the deceased? Did he go grave-digging when nobody was looking? Or were these spirits actually there as the photographs were taken? The court eventually ruled that the charges were to be dropped due to lack of evidence. What do you believe?

Either way, the images themselves are just so captivating. I wish this man were still alive, I would love to have my spiritual photograph taken.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So Much to Do!

The Twin Cities is such a busy place. In a good way. There's always so much going on, it's hard to decide what to do! I'm glad I didn't miss these things:

Artist Mini-Golf Course. An entire mini-golf course, each hole constructed by different artists, at the Walker this summer. It was amazing, there were a lot of creative materials used. One was a huge pinball machine that you shot your golf ball into by pedaling an exercise bike, all made from materials salvaged from dumpsters. One hole took your ball through a maze of ramps, and you had no idea where it would come out. And, of course, one was completely impossible. Artists.

Wine Stomping. Yes, like in "I Love Lucy," and on Youtube when the lady eats it. I can see why, I definitely recommend holding on to something. I got a shirt that says something about my wine legs, and I got to take home a grapey footprint! Talk about an excellent Christmas present for somebody.

Zombie Pub Crawl. This happens every October. The zombie attendance keeps going up, estimated at just under 2,000 this year! Everyone gets really into the costumes, there's blood everywhere. Just be careful what you say, you don't want to anger a drunk zombie.

Books and Bars. This has quickly become my favorite thing to be a member of. It's a book club that meets once a month in a small theater in the back of a bar. It's put on by a small bookstore in Uptown, and they pick amazing books for each month. I'm guessing over a hundred people were there last night, and the discussion never died.

And this list is only a select few of shindigs that I've been to, and there are tons that I've missed somehow, including a fundraiser where people swim in a freezing lake, a movie on wooden type, lawn bowling on the roof of a bar, Saint Paul Art Crawl, weekly farmer's markets, Oktoberfest, apple picking, tons of live music, etc.

I'm impressed because of the way Minnesotans really get into things. There never seems to be an event that is a complete bust, people here love to get out and get involved. In most cities, that Zombie Pub Crawl would be a total of 10 people getting tons of weird looks all night. But the sense of community here is strong, even though we are in a city, and I have been so impressed with that.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Belated Adieu

I may never have mentioned this to you, but autumn in Minnesota is truly gorgeous. The colors are just absolutely breathtaking. But now it is definitely winter. There's usually a light flurry going on, the cold hurts sometimes, and the sun sets just after 4:30.

Today was the first real snow. I swear there was glitter mixed in with this stuff. It looked exactly like a snowglobe outside. I mean the snow in Lubbock never sparkled like this. This glistening white layer settled over everything, it felt like some kind of fairy tale land. How do I get to Prince Charming's castle?

So I thought I would officially bid adieu to autumn and all of its goodness. It's probably a crime that I didn't blog about it until now. Amazing colors, delicious apples (highly recommend honeycrisp if you are able to find them), and lovely weather. It was fun while it lasted.

(cue photo montage)

Colors are much brighter than they appear.

Alright, winter, show me what you're working with.