Monday, July 31, 2006

Create-a-Clone: A Lesson

Last Tuesday, when I posted this photo: showing 5 different versions of myself in one shot, Dani commented: "i've always wanted to do this with my digi camera but don't know how. can you help please?" I figured if Dani wants to know, maybe some other people do too, so here's a little rundown of what I did to create the "Creative Clones" shot. There are two ways to go with this. For the first, you have no desire to duplicate the result, so you just say "it's magic" and call it a wrap. If that's what you want to do, I'm totally ok with that (it's pretty much how I got through every math class I ever took in school) and you're welcome to skip all this stuff below and just scroll down to the end result or come back tomorrow or something! {grin} The second route is for those of you who want a more mundane explanation so you can try to do something similar at home without a magic wand. Read on to see how that one works. First, and most importantly, you have to have three things: *A tripod to hold your camera perfectly still in one position *A timed shutter release (or a willing helper to push the button) *Photo-editing software that allows you to work with layers (I used Photoshop Elements) If you have all those things, then figure out where you want to stage your shot and set up your tripod and camera so you have a clear view of everything you want to include. For the Creative Clones shot (hereafter referred to as the CCS, to save some typing!) I set up the tripod just outside the door of my workroom, making sure the view on the camera screen included my computer desk and at least the beginning edge of my sewing table. If you want to use props, including changes of wardrobe, it's good to organize those ahead of time too and have them outside the area you're photographing, but close by. It saves time in the long run. When you have your clothes and props ready for one version of yourself, set the camera's timer and push the button and then go get into position. You might want to do this more than once in case you move or blink or something at the wrong moment. Once you've taken 2 - 3 photos in that position, switch position (and clothes and props if you want) and do the whole process again. Lather, rinse, repeat until you have 2 - 3 photos of yourself in every position you had in mind for the final shot. Then load them all onto your computer and look through and choose your favorite for each area and you're ready to start the photo editing magic! I didn't save any in-progress photos of CCS, so I staged a much-simpler one yesterday with only two positions and no wardrobe change to show you what I mean. These are the two photos I decided to work with (small versions of them): (not exactly flattering, but Oh WELL!) Determine which figure is going to end up being the farthest back in the final photo and that's the one you use to create your background - your "canvas" to which you add all the other figures. You don't want to work directly on your original though, because sometimes you need to go back and fix things after you've been monkeying around for a while, so the first thing you do in the editing software is to create a duplicate of whatever photo is going to work as your background and the copy becomes your canvas: (I know these photos are crummy...sorry! I should've used screen captures. Next time!) Next you can open the file for the second figure. I don't bother duplicating this one because I can always undo any changes to it without affecting my work-in-progress. In this photo, if you look at the thumbnails at the very bottom, you'll see I have two versions of the first photo (the original and a duplicate) and one version of the second photo: In looking at them side-by-side I can see where I need to draw lines to select part of the second photo to move over onto the first photo. When possible, I try not to draw around just the figure because you end up with really harsh, unnatural edges, especially in areas like the hair. So as you can see from the photo below, I mostly drew lines that selected the room and all, only closing in and drawing around the figure in areas where one figure will overlap the other, such as the arm and hand of the second figure: Once I've selected that area, I just drag it onto the duplicate version of my first photo and line up any overlapping edges as cleanly as possible. In this photo I only have to do this once, but for the CCS I did that step four different times - once for each of the extra figures going into the final shot. Then it's just a matter of doing the fiddly bits like cleaning up any lines that don't quite match perfectly. This is why the tripod is so important. The more still you've been able to keep the camera, the less of this part you have to do! This step is also why it's important to keep a "clean" version of each photo, so in case you've gotten overzealous in how much of the room you've moved along with a particular figure and accidentally lopped off someone's head or leg or something (photographically speaking, of course!), you can go back to the original version of the mangled figure and draw a whole new shape around just the area that got messed up and slide that over onto your group shot to hide the BooBoo. Once you're happy with how everything is arranged and satisfied that everyone has all the pieces and parts they're supposed to have, you can flatten the image (combine all the various layers into one image) and do the final touches to the image as a whole. This is where I do things like use a smudge tool to ever-so-slightly blur any edges that look too harsh and "cut out" to me, or to blend edges that don't quite meet seamlessly. It's where I use the paint tool and a fairly transparent setting to add any shadows that should be there, but aren't. You can see that in the shot below if you look below the arm of the me that's standing - I added a shadow to the me that's sitting because there would have been one from the flash if there had really been two of me. And that's about it - the bare bones of it anyway. The rest is just practice, Practice, PRACTICE! Here's the result of this more simple version, which is also today's Daily Art Thang: "Telling Myself What To Do"

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Just Call Me Jack

I have nothing exciting to post for today because I spent pretty much all Saturday in Green Bean Hell. J decided we had to have green beans in the garden this year and they've decided, the way green beans seem to do (perverse little buggers) to get ripe all at once. Ripe? Is that the right word to use in regard to beans? Mature maybe? Whatever, you know what I mean! So anyway, we've been picking, stringing, breaking, cleaning, and canning until I'm sick of the smell of them. Bleah. Oh well, I know I'll enjoy having them this winter. Here's a glimpse of the vines: I thought the shape where the poles met was kind of cool against that intensely blue sky. And here's where I smudgified it to turn the photo into today's DAT: "Beanpole: Smudgified" (Smudgified is TOO a word, at least in Deblandia.) I'll post a quiz result too, since I haven't done it for a while. This one was kind of weird though. It was supposed to tell you what your rising sign is if you enter your sun sign and time of birth, but it didn't work for me. I know what my rising sign is (Aquarius) and that wasn't the result it gave me! Soooo....I can't promise the quiz will work for you either, but if you know your rising sign, you can fiddlefart around the site until you find it and see if the description fits. For me, it was an ok fit I guess, although I don't really think I'd describe myself as least not unless I'm dealing with idiot drivers. Heh.
Your Rising Sign is Aquarius
You are an interesting mix of introspective and outlandish. Waving your freak flag high, you really do things your own way. While you may seem distant, you care very deeply for humanity. You just have no tolerance for fools, slackers, or dullards. And while you're fairly misanthropic, many are drawn to you. Innovative and clever, people look to you for new ideas and trends.
I THINK we're done with the beans for a couple of days, so maybe I'll have something more to share by this time tomorrow. Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Virtual Press Conference Replies: Part Five

Time to continue the RSR Virtual Press Conference with a few more replies. Today I'm focusing on questions from pepektheassasin and Michelle, both of whom asked about books and authors. At some point in the next week or so I'll answer the final questions from Corky and Andrea about life. Now on to today's questions. Pepektheassasin asked: Questions. Hmmm. Let's see...okay, since I am looking for books that explain quantum physics in words of one syllable, what do you recommend? Have you read "I'm Not Really Here," by Tim Allen? Great book. And how about "What the Bleep Do We Know?" And what about Deepak Chopra? Hi! Can I call you Pepe? I'm a lazy typist and Pepektheassasin is a really long user name to type every time! {grin} Anyway, I haven't read the book by Tim Allen and honestly probably wouldn't have looked twice at it since I would have figured "typical celebrity book" but since you say it's a great book I'll look for it and maybe give it a try! I haven't read "What the Bleep Do We Know?" either, or seen the movie, but I'd like to. I've read a couple of Deepak Chopra's books ("The Seven Spiritual Laws" and "The Way of the Wizard") but it's been so long ago that I remember almost nothing about them except that I thought they were interesting. As far as a book that talks about quantum physics in a way that makes it really understandable to non-physicists (like me!), the #1 book I'd recommend isn't a science book or a spiritual book. It's a novel where the whole story hinges on certain theories of quantum mechanics and one of the characters gives a really good and understandable explanation at one point. So if you haven't read it yet, you might check out "From the Corner of His Eye" by Dean Koontz (even if you aren't normally a Koontz fan), including reading the author's note at the end. I love that book. Michelle asked: if you could have dinner with 3 authors (dead or alive) who would they be? what would you want to serve and what would you want to talk about? Only three??? (If you're imagining those two words in sort of a whiny wail, you've got it just right. Hehehe.) Ok, let's see... First would have to be Jane Austen. I love the way she wrote characters and the way she took perfectly ordinary, everyday situations and made them interesting enough that people still read the stories (and make movies from them!) hundreds of years later. She had to be so very observant to be able to do that. I'd love to hear some stories about the things she didn't write, either because they would have been too scandalous at the time or because she simply ran out of time considering that she died rather young. I'd hope that this fantasy would include her being able to stay a while and observe life in the 21st century before the dinner party so I could hear her thoughts on that too! Now it gets harder, because my next choices would be from among living authors and there are way too many I'd like to meet. Hhhmmm.... Ok, second I think I'd choose Barbara Mertz, who writes as both Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters. I've just loved her books for so many years - since my early teens. How many people can write books that someone reads and re-reads for 30 years without getting tired of them? Partly I just think she'd be fun to hang out with but also I'd like to hear more from her about Egypt and about archaeology (since that's her pre-writing career and appears in many of her books). And because many of her Barbara Michaels books feature paranormal elements, I'd like to ask her if she believes in any of those things and if she's ever experienced anything like that personally or if she just was interested in it from a fictional point of view. Also, from interviews I've read, I suspect she and I would have other things in common to talk about, from roses to quilts to old houses and vintage fashion. Third...oh my, this gets harder and harder. Do I want to choose a man or make this a GirlyNight? I think I'm going to have to go with GirlyNight, although choosing either Dean Koontz or Charles deLint as the third was awfully tempting. So third, I'd invite Joshilyn Jackson. I've wanted to meet Joss since before her novels were published, back when we were on an email list together (which, well, we still are...but we still haven't met in person). I adore her sense of humor. Plus I know she's also a HUGE Austen fan, (probably even more than I am) so I bet she'd come up with some great questions for Ms. Austen. I'd want to ask Joss about her favorite books - actually I'd like to ask all three guests about their favorite books. I'm always curious who my favorite authors like to read. I'd like to ask her some questions about her latest book, like did she ever picture in her mind what happened to Hazel or to Lori Anne (hope I'm spelling that right!) after their part in the published story ended. And we could talk about shoes (a topic where I think we'd frequently agree) and movies (a topic where I think we'd frequently disagree) and life (some of each!). As far as what I'd serve, I'd keep it simple and serve something that would keep me out of the kitchen most of the time because for me the point would be the conversation, not the food. So I'd want something where I could do most of the work in advance and just bring it to the table when everyone arrived - maybe spinach lasagna, tossed salad, some really good crusty bread and some red wine, with a decadent dessert for triple-chocolate raspberry rum cake perhaps. Thanks for the questions, P and M! Today's DAT: "Spotlight" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #23

It's been a while since I did a Junk Drawer post, so let's get to it! 1. Our kitchen cabinets are finished! WooHooooo! I'm so glad that mess is all done. Truth be told, I didn't mind them before. They were nothing special, but I didn't hate them. J did though - hate them, that is, so he spent lots of his free time in the past couple of months making all new doors and drawer fronts, re-facing all the cabinet structures, and changing all the hardware. He used some lumber left over from when he built the cabinets in our last house and that lumber was recycled in the first place - it started out as an old redwood privacy fence. Someone tore it down and got J's dad to haul it away. Then J took it and used a planer and sander to get all the old paint off - well, most of it anyway. We left some in the cracks because we thought it looked cool and we liked the nail holes too so we deliberately left some of those instead of trimming them out. Then we put a clear-coat on the boards to make them shine. We (yes, I helped) put the last coat of polyurethane on a few days ago, so it's all done! Yay!! Here's how the kitchen looked when we first built the house nine years ago, using standard oak cabinets: Here's how it looks now using the recycled redwood lumber: And here's a close-up so you can see the cool swirly handles I found on eBay and the variations in color in the wood: I think that pretty much finished up our remodeling projects until J gets another wild hair. Oh yeah, I had a purge and clean session in the pantry this week too, just to make things extra tidy. It looks purrrrty. :-) 2. I mentioned Schrodinger's Cat in my "S is for..." list and my friend Morven found this poem that explains the concept. It's informative and hilarious - a great combination! Thanks, Morv. 3. According to this story, Forbes has just released some rankings of various things and has declared Cincinnati the Number 1 city in the US for Nightlife. Uuuuhhh, yeah. When I think "nightlife" that's certainly the first city I think of. NOT! I have no response for that. Oh, wait a minute - maybe by "nightlife" they mean "crickets!" Now THAT would make sense. 4. I haven't forgotten those of you who asked questions in the RSR Virtual Press Conference and I'll get back to it soon, pinkie swear. I'm going to try to address a question asked about how I did the Creative Clones photo too, sometime in the next few days. 5. Here's today's DAT: "Sunspots" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Do Ya Feel Hungry? Well, Do Ya, Punk?

The (C.A.T.O.) prompt for this week over at Poetry Thursday is to write and/or share a poem about food. Cool! We've had poetry about favorite words and sex, now food. If we're prompted to share poetry about art, books, movies, and travel in the next few weeks my favorite things in life will pretty much be covered! I started writing something for the food prompt and if I end up with something I like I'll post it another week, but at this point it isn't even a rough draft yet. It's strictly a mind-map-style group of scribbled words and phrases on a steno pad and I'm trying to figure out exactly how to say what I want to say. I'm still sort of following the prompt this week though. The poem below isn't really about food, but it uses the topic of food to speak very eloquently about something else - something I bet most of us have felt about something in our lives at one time or another. I know I have. Red Onion, Cherries, Boiling Potatoes, Milk - Here is a soul, accepting nothing. Obstinate as a small child refusing tapioca, peaches, toast. The cheeks are streaked, but dry. The mouth is firmly closed in both directions. Ask, if you like, if it is merely sulking, or holding out for better. The soup grows cold in the question. The ice cream pools in its dish. Not this, is all it knows. Not this. As certain cut flowers refuse to drink in the vase. And the heart, from its great distance, watches, helpless. ~~~Jane Hirshfield "Ripening" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) Satisfy your hunger for more poems about food here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

S is for...

Time for another WordPlay Personal Dictionary Entry! If you want to know more about how and why I started doing this series of posts, read my "A is for..." entry. If you want to see a list of more people doing the same thing, check out Laume's WordPlay site. Now here we go... S is for... Sandy - My smart, talented, fun, beautiful Sister. Sunflowers, Sage - S-plants I like. Strawberries, Salad, Shrimp, Scallops, (Seafood in general!) - S-foods I like. If I was forced to have a really limited diet, but got to choose what it was limited to, I could pretty much live on seafood and fruit. Salsa - I'm so hooked on this S-food that it deserves it's very own entry, but I can no longer buy the one I used to like best and am now on a Holy Grail-like quest for The Perfect Salsa. I tried some locally-made stuff last week, but it said it was Hot and it SO was not. I had to add oodles of Franks RedHot Sauce to it to make it have any kick at all and if that isn't bad enough, it had sugar in it! Sugar, y'all! That's just wrong. Wrong and sick. In fact, I'm pretty sure the Bible lists earthquakes, fire raining from the sky, and sugar in salsa as signs of an impending apocolypse. Anyone want to recommend a superfantastic brand of salsa or email me a recipe for a great (but easy-to-make) homemade version? Sugar - Something I'm WAY too hooked on (despite not wanting it in my salsa!) and Seriously need to wean myself from. Sigh. Schnapps - S-drink I like, especially Cinnamon, Peppermint, or Butterscotch Schnapps. Swizzle - A drink my mom used to make every summer and I make now and then when I think of it. It's basically an iced mixture of tea, fruit juices, and lemon-lime soda. It's Yum! Shoes! - Of course I had to mention shoes. You've seen the name of my blog. Shop - I don't like just any old kind of shopping, but if you lead me to a shoe store, a book store, or anyplace that sells quirky stuff (like antique shops, flea markets, off-beat artsy gift shops), I can get lost for hours. Socks - I don't like socks nearly as much as I like shoes, but if I'm going to wear them, I like it to be something bright and fun. I have some very strange socks in my sock drawer. Stephanie (Plum) - A fictional character I really like. Spike (aka: William the Bloody) - One of my all-time-favorite TV characters, played by the extremely talented James Marsters. Spike was a vampire on the series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", but that isn't why one of his names was William the Bloody. He earned that nickname as a mortal because he wrote "bloody awful poetry." Steven (Gould) - A writer I really like, especially his book "Jumper." Sunshine, Sleep - Things I crave. I get very depressed and/or grumpy if I don't get enough of them. Sex - Fun! And that I think of it, I probably could've included this in the above entry. Ahem. Scrabble, Spades - A couple of games I love to play. "Sliding Doors" - A quirky movie I really like. Although it doesn't talk about quantum physics (one of the things on my Q-list!), it definitely relates to it. "Star Trek" (any of them!) - I'm not a Trekker to the point of dressing up and going to Cons or anything, but I really love all the various Star Trek series. (At least all the ones I've seen. We don't get the channel where they show the newest one.) Somerset (Kentucky) - Where J was born and where he and I lived for a few years before we moved here. When I was a little girl, we drove through Somerset several times a year on the way to or from my paternal grandparents house - they lived one town over from Somerset. I'd never have guessed as we drove around the town square that my future husband was growing up on a farm a few miles away. Smoky Mountains (Tennessee and North Carolina) - One of our most frequent holiday destinations. Ship, Cruise - One of my favorite ways to get away from it all. Sandcastles - I like to build them, although I'm not particularly good at it, and I love to see the ones built by people who are particularly good at it! Spring, Summer - Seasons I really like because of the abundance of Sunshine. Sunscreen - I would be in trouble without it, since I crave the light but am severely melanin-challenged. (Or in other words ghostly pale!) Spirals, Stars, Suns, Squiggly Lines - Shapes I like a lot and that appear as frequent motifs in my quilts and collages. Sewing Machine - I wouldn't make quilts without it! Notice I didn't say "couldn't." I could make quilts without it. But I wouldn't. I don't like to hand sew, so my sewing machine is my friend. Scrhodinger's Cat - is dead. Or alive. (If you get that reference without the help of Google and know why I think it's cool, we need to hang out together.) Sarcastic - I took a quiz last week that said I was totally sarcastic. Yeah, right. Like THAT could ever be true. Swear - Something I probably do a helluva lot more often than I should, dammit. Snarky, Shit, Shiny!, Squick, Smartass, Superfantastic, Scrumtrulescent - S-words I say a lot. (Bonus points if you know where the word "scrumtrulescent" comes from!) Supercalafragalisticexpialadocious - (Let's see what Spell Check thinks of THAT! Hmph!) I used to love to say that word when I was little. I still kind of do. Sliver, Shiver, Sinuous, Sensual, Serendipity, Slinky, Sizzle, Swanky, Spectacular - S-words I like. "S is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Self-Portrait as Creative Clones

For July, the Self-Portrait Challenge is to create a weekly "Self-Portrait as ______." I've enjoyed this challenge so much I don't want it to end! This final SP for the month was inspired by a suggestion made by Janet of Just Bee-cause. She said, "How about as quadruplets! You said in your "o" post you're an overachiever! You could be four of you!!!!" Well, before I go on I feel compelled by the anal side of my personality to point out that I never said I was an overachiever. I said I've had the experience of other people referring to me that way and I disagreed with that assessment because I don't think there's any such thing as an overachiever in the sense that the word is most often used. But still, that sparked an idea. What if I could be an overachiever? What if, on days when I want to do more than I can possibly accomplish, I could clone myself, just temporarily? In this fantasy vision, each version of me would have an assignment for the day and then at the end of the day we'd all reintegrate into one person again and the experience of every clone would be right there in my memory. I suppose there'd have to be some versions of me to do the boring-but-necessary tasks, like house cleaning, cooking, laundry, paying bills, running errands. But who wants to see that? Not me! And I'd want there to at least occasionally be a version of me whose sole assignment for the day would be to lay around on the couch watching old movies and taking naps, with maybe a candlelit bubblebath to top things off. I think having a day like that now and then is good for the soul, but they can be awfully hard to fit into modern life. In fact I literally can't remember the last time I had an uninterrupted "lazy day" unless I was too sick to do anything else. That's kind of sad. But the ones I'd find most interesting would be the creative clones! I love the idea that I could do all my favorite creative things all at once instead of having to choose what to focus on. So here are those clones - a me who is drawing, one who's writing, one who's reading, one who's doing a collage, one who's sewing, and the one you can't see who is behind the camera documenting it all. "Self-Portrait as Creative Clones" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) Janet, I know you stop by pretty much every day, so you probably already know that your prize choices are either a 4" x 6" fabric postcard or an 8" x 10" print of one of my DATs. Email me and let me know your snail mail addy and what you'd like!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Virtual Press Conference Replies: Part Four

Time to continue the RSR Virtual Press Conference with a few more replies. Today I'm focusing on questions from Carol Dean, Deborah, and Angela because they all have to do with art in general or art quilts in particular. In the next week or so I'll answer questions that pepektheassasin and Michelle had about books and authors, and questions that Corky and Andrea had about life. Now on to the questions du jour. Carol Dean asks: If you could engage in only one creative pursuit (quilting, drawing, writing, photography), what would it be? Why? I had to think about this one a while because that's a horrible dilemma for someone with my multiple interests and admittedly short attention span. I have to say that if I was faced with that situation, I'd be spending most of my creative efforts toward finding a way to get out of it! HA! But meanwhile, I'd choose quilting, because with quilting I could cheat just a bit and include all those other things you mentioned as part of the process. Not allowed to write? Oh, but I'm writing an artist's statement about the quilt, or maybe I'm writing a story or poem I'm going to print onto fabric and include on the surface. I might even be appliqueing or quilting some sentences directly onto the quilt as part of the surface design. That's only just stretching the rule a little, not really breaking it, right? Not allowed to draw? Oh, but I have to. How else can I do my design sketches? And I sometimes add shading to fabric with colored pencils - gotta be able to draw for that. And of course sometimes I may need to paint fabric too, in order to get just the right look. Not allowed to take photos? Oh, but what about incorporating photo images on fabric into the quilts? And what about photographing the quilts themselves in order to submit them to juried exhibits or magazines? Surely that's allowed. As J is frequently heard to say, "there's more than one way to skin a fornicating feline." Deborah asked: Who are your favorite quilt artists? Oh man, there are SO many I like it's hard to narrow it down to just a few. But ok, here are a half-dozen names that came to mind: Pamela Allen, Wendy Huhn, Linda MacDonald, Lori Lupe Pelish, Pam RuBert, Susie (Lucky) Shie. As I answered this, I was obviously focusing on artists who do fairly representational work and who have a certain exuberance and (often) humor in their finished pieces. Those are all qualities I really admire! But I also greatly admire the work of some people who work in a way that's much more spare and abstract, so if I answered this question tomorrow, I could easily come up with a whole new list. Angela asked: I was wondering how long you spend on your daily art things? It varies and I don't really keep track of the time very carefully. I know that sounds like a wimp-out sort of reply, but it's true. At a guess, I'd say anywhere from a half-hour or so on something fairly simple to several hours on some of the more complex ones. And now and then I feature fabric pieces (Really, y'all I do! I know it's been a while, but sometimes I DO show and talk about quilts here! Heh) that I might've worked on a few hours a day for weeks - interspersed with quicker projects - so that one of my DATs might be one of those long-term projects shown when it's finally finished. And speaking of DATs, here's the one for today: "Paintified Pears"

Sunday, July 23, 2006

July Bliss List

It's Bliss List time again! Here are some things that have been making me feel Blissful in July:
  • Poppies
  • A newly-redecorated blog
  • The first ripe, home-grown tomato of the summer
  • Family fun
  • A Blogger buddy meet-up
  • Sherbet-colored sunsets
  • Fresh blueberries for my cereal
  • Finally getting to read "Between, Georgia" (LOVED it!)
  • One of my favorite daylilies in bloom
"July Bliss" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) What's making you feel blissful this month?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What Would It Take?

We had storms blow through the area last night and we woke up this morning to no interenet service. Boooo! But eventually 'PuterGuyPat got everything working again. Yay!! So I'm late, but I'm posting. It's been a while since I did a meme, so let's do one, shall we? Yeah, baby! This one is courtesy of Blackbird. I couldn't resist doing this meme, partly because the last part (the Dare-ology) reminds me of a couple of games my family likes to play now and then. One of them is the "Would You Rather....?" game, where the players are presented with two terrible choices - or at least choices the questioner considers bad - and the players have to choose which they think is the lesser of two evils. The other game - the one this meme reminded me of - is the "What Would It Take?" game. In that one the questioner comes up with something bad - embarrassing, painful, dangerous, or morally questionable - and the players state 1) if they would do it at all and 2) if so, what the compensation would have to be before they'd agree to do whatever it is. The answers can get very interesting! Anyway, on to the meme. GRUB-OLOGY 1. What is your salad dressing of choice? I like most of them. What I choose most often is either Ranch or some type of vinaigrette thing like Italian or Greek dressing. 2. What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Probably Panera, although I don't go often because the closest one is an hour away. Locally...hhmm...probably Subway. We don't have a lot of choices around here. 3. What is your favorite sit down restaurant? A little place called The Garden Cafe. 4. On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant? 20% unless the server is really neglectful or rude. 5. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? Fruit 6. Name three foods you detest above all others. Liver, cabbage, dill pickles 7. What is your favorite dish to order in a Chinese restaurant? Szechwan Garlic Shrimp 8. What are your pizza toppings of choice? Pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green olives (There are lots of others I like too, but those are some of my favorites.) 9. What do you like to put on your toast? butter and either apricot or blackberry jam 10. What is your favorite type of gum? None. I don't like to chew gum. BI-OLOGY 1. What do you consider to be your best physical attribute? I like the color of my eyes. 2. Are you right handed or left handed? Right 3. Do you like your smile? Not particularly, no. Sometimes complete strangers tell me I have a pretty smile and I find that odd. I think I have nice lips, but a weird-shaped mouth. 4. Have you ever had anything removed from your body? My wisdom teeth. 5. Would you like to? Um, no, not as long as everything's working ok. 6. Which of your five senses do you think is keenest? Either smell or taste. Hard to choose as they're so connected. 7. When was the last time you had a cavity? Don't remember. Two or three years ago maybe. 8. Do you have 20/20 vision? Not even close. 9. What is the heaviest item you lift regularly? 37 1/2 lb. bag of dog food 10. Have you ever been knocked unconscious? Not in an accident or anything, no. I've been unconscious under anesthetic once. MISC-OLOGY 1. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? My first impulse is no, but really I'm not sure. I'm thinking of the movie "Big Fish" here where the main character chooses to see a prophecy of his death because he says if you know what's coming just think how fearless you could be about everything before that, knowing it's not your time to go. Interesting thought... Of course, then again, there are worse things than death. I'd have to think more about this one. 2. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to? PrincessAmazonia (kidding....just kidding...I have no real answer because I'm fine with my name) 3. How do you express your artistic side? By making art! (Snort!) 4. What color do you think you look best in? Blue-violet 5. How long do you think you could last in a medium security prison? Good grief, I have absolutely no idea. 6. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake? Not that I know of. 7. If we weren't bound by society's conventions, do you have a relative you would make a pass at? No. And also, Eeeeuuuwwwww! 8. How often do you go to church? For weddings and funerals. 9. Have you ever saved someone's life? Not that I know of. 10. Has someone ever saved yours? Not that I know of. DARE-OLOGY For this last section, if you would do it for less or more money, indicate how much. 1. Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000? Depends on which street it was! The street I live on is public, but so little-traveled, that I'd stand about a 50/50 shot at getting a half mile without meeting anyone, so I'd walk down that street naked for $100K. But if we're talking something like Main Street of a busy town, it would take a LOT more money. I'd want at least a million clear after paying all attorney, court, and/or psychiatric fees to keep me out of jail or the mental ward! 2. Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100? Yes, unless she had weeping sores on her lips or something. 3. Would you have sex with a member of the same sex for $10,000? Maybe. It would depend on who it was. 4. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000? By just anyone, hacked off with an axe or something, no. But I have to say I would allow one of my pinkies to be surgically removed by a competent doctor in sterile conditions, with follow-up care and good post-op drugs for $200k. That's a lot of money and it's not like I really use them for anything. 5. Would you never blog again for $50,000? No. I'd have to turn that down because I don't think I'd stick with the agreement. 6. Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000? Yes - with my deepest apologies to the subscribers. 7. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000? No. (That's not so much a "wouldn't" as it is a "I don't think I could") 8. Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000? No. Although I will admit there are a couple of public figures who shall remain nameless who would sorely tempt me to change that answer. 9. Would you shave your head and get your entire body waxed for $5,000? The full body wax, yes, in a heartbeat. But I'd want more than that for shaving my head. I'd do it for $50,000. 10. Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000? Yes, provided I was still allowed to watch movies on DVD. If you want to do this meme, feel free! I'd love it if you'd tell me so in comments so I can check out your answers. Here's today's Daily Art Thang: "Sunflower on Another World"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Virtual Press Conference Replies: Part Three

This past Saturday I held a RSR Virtual Press Conference where I threw the floor open to questions from readers. Today I thought we'd have another answer session, especially since one of the questions/answers plays into something I would've been telling you about today anyway. (Don't you love when that happens?) Today Debra gets answers to her questions. (I'll be answering questions from Carol Dean, pepektheassasin, Corky, Deborah, Michelle, Angela, and Andrea in the coming days or weeks, so don't worry, y'all - I haven't forgotten you!) Debra asked: 1. When did you start blogging and why? February, 2005. I don't remember my exact reasoning at the time, but I remember Julie and Dara were the ones who convinced me to give it a try. I even wrote a post about that a month or so after I started called "If Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge." 2. Who do you read every day, rain or shine? Whoever Bloglines tells me has new content. I love using a subscription service so that I know when someone has written something new rather than having to try to click my way through all my links. It isn't foolproof - it seems to work better for some blogs than others, so if I know someone tends to blog regularly and Bloglines doesn't show an update, I'll pop over and check a couple of times a week - but on the whole it works great. 3. How do you feel about meeting bloggers in real life? Have you met anyone you didn't already know? Were you nervous? Did you have great expectations? This section is gonna get long, but here we go. First of all, how I feel about it...It's fun! I've met several people in real life who I first encountered online through email lists or blogs. That's how I met my cosmic twin, Morven. She read my intro email on a quilting list and emailed me privately. We started chatting, hit it off immediately, discovered we lived about 40 miles apart (at the she's clear on the other side of the world...SOB!) and within a week we were getting together for dinner. I've also met Deirdre, Jaye, Julie, and Laume, (as well as a few other online friends who don't have blogs I can link to) and have talked on the phone to Dara and kristen. And most recently - just two days ago! - I met Dragonfly, who is the first person I've gotten together with in person after meeting strictly through blogging rather than through an email group. Dragonfly lives in Texas, but was in Kentucky this past week with her family and Wednesday we got together for book shopping and coffee. I had a fabulous time! She was fun and easy to talk to and it felt to me like hanging out with someone I'd known a while instead of someone new. Because we first encountered each other in the comments section of Joshilyn's blog, we had to take special note of Joss's newly published book. So here's a special photo of D & D: As for the last two parts of the question, the very first time I ever met anyone in person that I'd previously only met online, yes, I was nervous. Anymore, not so much. So far I've always had fun and if I ever don't...well, that's why it's good to do something like meet for coffee the first time. If you don't hit it off IRL as well as you did online, it's only an hour out of your life - not like you've committed to spend the next 5 years in a biosphere with them or something! But I've had nothing but good experiences in that area so far. My expectations tend to be in line with whatever I've come to expect from that person in online encounters. I know there are lots of people who misrepresent themselves online, but so far the ones I've chosen to meet in person are exactly who I thought they'd be. 4. Are you and your blogging persona the same person? Hhhmmm....Yes and no. I don't lie here or try to be something I'm not, so the person you see when you stop by RSR is most definitely me, but it isn't the whole me. This is the me who is talkTalkTALK (since that's kind of the point of a blog!), the me with the ON switch pushed over as far as it'll go. In person, I think (I hope!) people would see that me, but I think they'd find the InPersonMe a bit quieter than BloggerMe. They'd find that I'm comfortable with companionable silence and that I'm actually a pretty good listener. They'd find that as much as I love talking about myself here - and sure, in person too - that I also love hearing other peoples' stories, looking at their photos or scrapbooks, getting insights into their lives. And if they were around me long enough, they'd find I have an annoying-or-endearing (depending on your POV) habit of singing the oddest songs at the oddest times, often barely realizing I'm doing it. (Any of you who've met me in person want to be brave enough to comment on this??) 5. How do you party? I'm at my Partying Best in small groups of people I know well, where we can all cut loose and be silly and laugh our asses off. In larger groups, I tend to often gravitate toward smaller groups - a party within a party! 6. Has blogging changed your life? If so, how? It's introduced me to people I otherwise wouldn't have known. It's gotten me to write more than I've ever written in my life. It's expanded my ideas about the world. It's awakened a new interest in poetry and reawakened an old interest in photography. Whew! That got long! I'd originally thought I might answer another one or two today, but I think we'll call it a wrap and get back to the other questions another day. Here's today's DAT, a photo of one of my favorite daylilies - an exuberantly messy double version of a typical orange ditch lily: "Exuberant" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Amber!

ACK - I almost lost track of what day it is! Today is the birthday of my beautiful, fun, talented niece. I love you, Amber, and I'm glad you were born.

Poetry Thursday: Not Tonight, Dear

This week the (CATO) prompt at Poetry Thursday is to share a poem about sex. As so often happens, I thought it was a cool idea, BUT...Oh, come on, you KNEW there was going to be a "but", didn't you? I'm having a week where I'm super-busy, and also having some physical problems that are causing me to not sleep well at all. My reaction at the moment to even thinking about sex, never mind trying to write about it was pretty much "Not tonight, Dear. If you touch me I may have to kill you. Mwah! Mwah!" (Those were air kisses from across the room, in case that wasn't clear. Heh.) So maybe I'll choose to revisit the prompt in a more enthusiastic way another week. Meanwhile, I felt sure the immortal Ms. Parker would have something to say on this topic that would suit my rather grumpy mood and she didn't let me down. General Review of the Sex Situation Woman wants monogamy; Man delights in novelty. Love is woman's moon and sun; Man has other forms of fun. Woman lives but in her lord; Count to ten, and man is bored. With this the gist and sum of it, What earthly good can come of it? ~~~Dorothy Parker Thank you, Ms. Parker. We will hope for better things from Ms. Richardson this time next week. "Inner World" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

R is for...

Time for another WordPlay Personal Dictionary Entry! If you want to know more about how and why I started doing this series of posts, read my "A is for..." entry. If you want to see a list of more people doing the same thing, check out Laume's WordPlay site. Now here we go... R is for... Richardson - The family I married into. Besides liking my husband (har!), I really like his last name. It sounds decent with my first name and hardly anyone ever misspells it. (My maiden name is easy to pronounce but frequently misspelled.) Roses, Rhododendrons, Rosemary - R-plants I like, especially roses. I used to be so into roses that at our last house I planted a formal rose garden with over 100 plants, pathways, a watering system, the works. I loved that garden but it was an unbelievable amount of work, so when we moved I didn't even try to recreate it. Now I just have a half-dozen or so rose bushes mixed in among other plants. Raspberries - R-food I like. In fact, if I had to single out just one fruit as my favorite ever, it would be raspberries. Red - Great color, especially for hair and for shoes. Rebel (Rebel Lee; aka: T.C. [Too Cute], Prancer, Big Bear) - One of our former dogs and my personal favorite dog of any I've ever had. He was a chow mix with a beautiful face and a beautiful heart. I still miss him a lot. Riley (Riley Susannah; aka: Riley Sue, Li'l Bit, FuzzButt, Riletta) - The youngest of our current dogs. She's a who-knows-what mix (we think there might be some German Shepherd and maybe some Collie or Sheltie in there, but beyond that your guess is as good as mine!). She's a bit shy and very sweet-natured. She's a very close second for my favorite-ever. Rainbows - Pretty! Restaurants - Check it out: You tell someone what you want to eat and they cook it and bring it to you in exchange for money! THEN, as if that weren't enough, you walk away and leave the dirty dishes on the table and someone comes along and cleans them up! Genius. Seriously, I'm tellin' ya, people...Sheer Genius. "Replay" - One of my all-time favorite books. Rook - When I was in college, Rook was one of my favorite card games, but I haven't played in years. I bet I'd still like it though. Reincarnation - I believe in it. Reading - When pronounced like "reeding", one of my all-time-favorite activities; when pronounced like "redding", an area of Cincinnati I lived in for a while several years ago. Rusty stuff - Things I like to photograph. Ray (Charles) - Love his music! Rent - A musical I love to watch and/or listen to. Recipes- Things I love to read, then ignore. I have a vast recipe collection, but I am almost constitutionally incapable of making a recipe without tweaking it somehow, if not throwing out altogether and just sort of taking it as a suggestion that gives me an idea for my own thing. (J calls that "Debbieizing" recipes.) Relax - Something I wish I was better at doing on demand. I literally don't understand the concept of relaxing my body unless my mind is already feeling relaxed. I've tried, really I have. But I don't get it. Rings - These are second only to earrings as my favorite jewelry, but I don't wear a bunch of them at a time. On my left hand I wear my engagement ring, wedding ring, and an anniversary band that belonged to my mother. On my right I wear one ring of some kind, but it changes nearly every day according to my outfit and my mood. Really, "Rutro", Right - R-words I say a lot. Radical, Ravishing, Relentless, Refuge - R-words I like. "R is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Self-Portrait as the Queen of Hearts

For July, the Self-Portrait Challenge is to create a weekly "Self-Portrait as ______" and we're supposed to fill in the blank with pretty much anything. This week I'm continuing to hang out in FantasyLand and decided to put myself on a playing card - specifically on the Queen of Hearts. "Queen of Hearts" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) "Q of H: close-up" For people who like to hear how these things are done, I started with a photo of an actual playing card and a photo of me. I reset size and resolution in both pics so that the size of my face matched the size of the face in the card. Then I removed the color from my photo, posterized it (a filter in Photoshop that reduces things to basic shapes), and boosted the contrast until it was a black and white image - no shades of gray at all. (I might have been able to achieve the same thing using the stamp tool, but I didn't think of it until later.) Then I used the eye dropper tool to set my "paint" color to the same blue ink used in the card and turned the black parts of my photo to dark blue. I then drew a mask around just my face and moved it over onto the card twice - once for either end, rotating it as needed. Then it was just a matter of doing a little clean-up work on some lines and TaDaaa! I'm a playing card! In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm having entirely Too Much FUN with this theme! In fact, I'm having so much fun that I may do some more of the ideas on the RSR readers' suggestion list after the challenge is over and post them as Daily Art Thangs, just for fun. (No prizes on those if I do, I'm afraid. I wish I could keep giving away stuff past the challenge month, but I'd go broke! But you know I'll post another contest at some point.) Speaking of prizes, this week's idea was suggested by Di. Congrats, Di! I can't find an email addy for you, but if you'll contact me with your snail mail addy and let me know if you'd rather have a 4" x 6" fabric postcard or an 8" x 10" print of one of my art photos, I'll get your prize in the mail soon. (My contact info can be found in my sidebar or on my profile page.) One more week to go, y'all and I've already chosen something for next week. In fact I've finished the photo and I had a blast doing it. So check back next week and take a look at my final fantasy SP for the month. I wonder what next month's theme will be. Hhhmmm...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Virtual Press Conference Replies: Part Two

I'm a wee bit bummed out because I haven't been able to think of a thing to write on the topic of "Between" for this month's Blogging 4 Books contest. But all is not lost. The deadline isn't until a little after 6 PM EDT today, so if I get inspired in the next few hours I could still whip something out of brain and onto the screen. I'm not holding my breath, mind you, but I could! And so could you. (Hint, hint!) Meanwhile, let's get to Part Two of my replies to the questions asked at the RSR Virtual Press Conference. Today Deirdre and Tiff have the floor. Deirdre asks: Are you all done remodeling? Not quite. J still has a small section of the kitchen cabinets to re-do (had I mentioned we're remodeling the kitchen cabinets too?) and once he's finished we'll need to find a day that's warm, but not too humid, and throw open the windows and put a final coat of varnish on them. THEN we'll be done...until we get another idea. Ahem. How do you like the new color of your studio? Calming or inspiring or too early to tell? I love it! I find it warm and calming. And the floor feels nice and cool and smooth when I kick off my shoes. What I'm finding even more inspiring and calming than the wall color or the new floor is how much more airy and spacious it feels now that I've cleared out some of the excess Stuff. Are you working on any fun Fiber stuff - can you share any of it? Um, no. So, alas, no again. This is the second-longest dry spell I've ever been through with quilting, but not yet the longest. Once, years ago, I went about 18 months without sewing a thing and at one point really thought I was completely done with quilting and then Boom! - one day inspiration struck (ouch) and I was off and running again. So I'm still choosing to just ride it out rather than forcing myself to make stuff I'll end up hating. How many pair of shoes does J have? Have you taken all the closet space? I'm too lazy to go in there and count, but I'd estimate he has 12 - 15 or so. And no. While I admit I take up more than half the closet space, I don't take up ALL of it. I'd guess the ratio is probably something like 2/3 my stuff to 1/3 his. That sounds fair, right? [grin] When are you going to post a photo on Simple Still Life? February 26, 2007, at 1:03 AM, EST. Or maybe earlier if I can remember to do it. Lalalaaaa.... Is this enough questions to start you off? Looks like! Thanks, Deirdre. And now, over to Tiff: I have but one question - if you could be a superhero, what would your name be? Magpie Because I'd love one of my super-powers to be the power of flight and because I'm easily distracted by shiny obj...Oh!...what's that?!?.... Debra, Carol Dean, Pepektheassasin, Corky, Deborah, Michelle, Angela - stay tuned. I'll be getting to all your excellent questions a few at a time over the next week or two. I really appreciate you playing! (I hope I'm not leaving anyone out. If you asked a question and I didn't either already answer or list your name, let me know!) Today's D.A.T. is another sunset photo, taken the same night as the one I posted yesterday, but a few minutes earlier and looking slightly more northwest instead of straight west. Amazing difference in the colors, no? "Another Sunset" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Virtual Press Conference Replies: Part One

Thank you to those who posted some questions yesterday during my Virtual Press Conference. I'll be answering all of them over the next few days or weeks (and comments are still open on yesterday's post if anyone wants to add any more), but for today I'm going to start with Cate's questions because she was the first to raise her hand and jump in front of the mike. Cate asked: What magazines do you regularly read? Not as many as I used to and nothing that unusual! But let's see... ~"Quilting Arts" (eye candy and an occasional useful "how-to" article) ~"Quilter's Newsletter Magazine" (too traditional; I'm dropping this one when my current subscription expires) ~"American Quilter" (also too traditional, but it comes with membership in the American Quilt Society) ~"New Zealand Quilter" (love seeing what quilters in a different part of the world are up to!) ~"Taste of Home" (I love to read recipes, although I rarely follow them) ~"Ladies' Home Journal" (bleah; impulse buy when it was cheap; I'm dropping this one too) ~"More" (lifestyle mag geared toward women over 40; somewhat interesting) Uummm...I think that's all the ones I subscribe to and read (or at least skim) regularly. Anything else is an occasional newsstand buy. What are you reading right now? "Mysteria" - It's a book of short stories (or novellas maybe? I'm never sure when one becomes the other!) by four different authors. They all take place in the same town and the main characters in some stories show up as secondary characters in others. It's a sort of paranormal romantic comedy. Pure fluff, but entertaining fluff so far. Last book you couldn't get into? I've already given it away and I forget the name, but it was something by Patricia Cornwall where she was supposedly going to approach the mystery of who Jack the Ripper might have been by reexamining remaining documents and evidence using modern investigative and forensic knowledge and techniques. I thought the premise sounded fascinating, but I found the book unreadable. It was choppy, poorly organized, poorly written and edited - a big disappointment. Last book that you absolutely loved? "The Secret Life of Bees." I wish I'd read it ages ago instead of being put off by the hype. Favorite genre? I truly don't have a single favorite. I like mysteries of all kinds, fantasy novels (time travel is a particular favorite theme), some sci-fi, some romance (especially romantic comedy - those books that remind me of the old screwball comedy movies from the '30's and '40's), some general fiction (those that have a Southern "flavor" are a particular favorite of mine). The theme that runs through my favorites across genre lines is character development. I like books where the characters seem real - where they seem like people I might like to know...or to avoid. I want to get so caught up in the characters and their lives that when the book ends I feel a little like some friends just moved away. In a perfect world I want both character and plot, of course, but given a choice between a book that's light on plot but with believable and interesting characters, or tightly plotted but with one-dimensional characters the writer moves around the story like dolls, I'll take the former every time. Thanks for the questions, Cate. I liked them! I hope you enjoyed reading the answers. Today's Daily Art Thang is a photo I took of the sunset yesterday. I thought the colors were so sweet they almost looked fake. This hasn't been Photoshopped to death (although I cropped it). This is what it really looked like: "Sunset Stripes" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) PS...Did y'all notice the new blog look? I worked way too long on that yesterday. Heh. Update I just saw where Deborah said my sidebar fell to the bottom for her - is it that way for everyone? I checked out the page on both my desktop and J's laptop in Firefox and IE and for me the page is loading properly, but if the sidebar is dropping out for everyone, I need to go back to the drawing board! (If it's dropping to the bottom for you, maybe you could tell me what browser you're using and what screen resolution if you know?)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Virtual Press Conference

I'm finding myself a bit dry of blog topics at the moment. I hate when that happens! Apparently it's going around though, because I've run across the same theme - the same lament! - on several of my favorite blogs lately. I could, of course, toss another meme or quiz or something at you. And I might soon. Don't think you're escaping them, since y'all KNOW how I looooves me some quizzes and lists! HA! But today I thought I'd try something different - an idea I'm borrowing from Michelle and Liz Elayne. I'm holding a Red Shoe Ramblings Virtual Press Conference and throwing the floor open for questions. As much as I blather on about myself, I can't imagine what anyone would want to know that I haven't already talked about, but let's see if there's anything you ever wondered about me, my art, my blog, whatever. If there's a question you'd like to see me answer, from the silly to the sublime, ask it in comments and I'll answer* in a future blog post or two. Let's see how many of you are actually reading this weekend! :-) For today's DAT I'm showing you a self-portrait runner-up. I thought it was interesting, but I wasn't quite happy enough with it to feature it for the Self-Portrait Challenge. I felt like I could never get the face to match up with the body enough for it to totally work. This was a variation on an idea suggested by Dara (whose Geisha idea I used this past Tuesday). She suggested a self-portrait as a mermaid. Here, instead, is a self-portrait as a statue of a mermaid. It's my face imposed on a sand sculpture I photographed in Nashville last year. "Self-Portrait as a Sand-Sculpture Mermaid" (clickable) close-up *I'm not going to absolutely promise to answer anything and everything, as I reserve the right to maybe not want to post some things out there on the internet where anyone and everyone can find them. But I will answer anything within reason, and if I choose not to answer something you ask I'll tell you why.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Quick Trip with a Side of Snark

'ello! I just got back from a quick overnight trip to Cincinnati to visit with J, who is working up there right now. I took the laptop with me and thought I would blog from the hotel, but it turned out I'm having issues with expired anti-virus software that doesn't seem to want to updated itself properly once I renewed. Gggrrr..... Working on that some more will be a task for this weekend. So I waited until I got home and could use the desktop. It's not like I had anything that exciting to say today anyway. The trip was mostly good except for the actual traveling part. On the plus side: 1. I finally cleared out my back seat of 10 garbage sacks full of clothes, shoes, accessories, and fabric I decided to give away - yes! Count 'em!...oh, well, you can't because they aren't there any more, but take my word for it, there were TEN freakin' bags. I'm SO glad to have my back seat open again instead of driving around looking like I'm taking my garbage on an outing! 2. I got to have lunch and a nice little visit with my friend Bev - that's always fun! 3. I got to have supper and hotel sex with my hubby. I figure any day that includes both grilled shrimp and orgasms can't be all bad. BUT. Oh yes, my lovelies, there is a "but." That doesn't mean it's all good either. I now hereby feel the need for a wee bit of snarkage. On the minus side: 1.To anyone driving a car or truck in the greater Cincinnati area yesterday or this morning: If you are not a member of my immediate family or a close personal friend, I probably detest you right now. I just thought you should know. 2. To the guy driving the 18-wheeler with the HT trailer on it between Cincinnati and Maysville: Dude. You know how sometimes on a two-lane road a third lane will open up and it'll say "Truck Lane" and "slow traffic keep right"?? Well, yeah, um, that means YOU. Seriously, dude, you aren't driving a sportscar and there's no reason in the world for you to be anywhere except the far right lane on those uphill stretches of road. Lucky for me it's illegal to mount rocket launchers on the front of a car, otherwise I'd be in jail right now. Lucky for you too, because you'd be a smoldering pile of ash by the side of the road. I'm just sayin'. 3. To the drunk, stoned, and/or just plain stupid man driving the white Dodge Dakota on Hwy 560 in front of me today: Sit down a minute, sweetie, because I want to explain something to you and I have a feeling you're going to need all your brain cells for this one. Focus now! You know those bright yellow lines painted on the middle of the road? Well, yeah, you should know, those are there for a reason - other than just For Pretty, I mean. I know it probably looks all cool and everything when you're straddling those lines and they're coming right toward you, so that you feel like you could open your mouth and swallow them like ribbon candy. But see, here's the thing. There are other cars on the road besides you. Yes, seriously, there are! Those lines are meant to mark something called "lanes" and there's a wacky concept going around that everyone who is driving in the same direction on a particular road is supposed to try to stay in the same lane to avoid a little thing called a "head-on collision." In particular, when you're coming up on a hill, and you can't see what's on the other side, you might want to try the "driving in the correct lane" thing because you know what? You can't see what's on the other side of the hill until you're alllll the way on the top and starting down the other side! Imagine that! And one of these days the person on the other side of the hill might not see you in time to swerve out of the way like they did today. And also, one of these days that person could be me or someone I love. So let's work on this whole "lane" concept, ok? I feel sure you can get it if you try. Once you do, come back and see me again and I'll tell you about an awesome new invention called a "turn signal." It'll rock your world! Sigh. Before I go, here's just a little bit of pretty to counteract the ugly. I'm sure I'll feel more cheery again tomorrow. I don't plan to drive anywhere tomorrow! Ahem. "Poppy" I haven't had any time the past couple of days to visit blogs, including all the poetry posts from yesterday, but I'm hoping to catch up this weekend!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Make Me Laugh!

OMG, y'all, I'm so excited about the (CATO) prompt for Poetry Thursday this week that I kind of want to squeal with glee. I warn you, this post is likely to get quite, quite long! Liz Elayne writes, "This week, we are inviting you to find the laughter in the world of poetry." YES! Anyone who hangs out here at all has to know how much I love this idea. After all, I was writing (mostly smartass) limericks and haiku long before I paid any attention to "real" poetry. And now that I'm reading (and occasionally trying to write!) poetry, I adore finding poems that have a funny edge to them, not to mention those that are flat-out comedic. In fact, more than a few of the poems I've shared in past PT posts could qualify for this prompt, so if you love the idea of poems that bring a grin to your face, it might be worth a stroll through my recent archives. I can't wait to see what the other participants post! One of the earliest times I participated in Poetry Thursday, back when it was still hosted on Liz Elayne's blog, I posted several haiku (those weren't funny) and limericks (a few of those were, IMO, especially the one about Guido) and a Shakespearian-style sonnet written in honor of Johnny Depp that was purely for laughs. I thought I'd share the link to that post in case participants who might have missed it the first time want to take a look. It seemed fitting for this week, given the recent release of his latest movie. I also want to share a couple of other poems, one I wrote years ago and one I didn't write but really like and have been wanting to share for a while. This first poem is something I wrote during a bad winter about 5 1/2 years ago. It's silly, snarky, and not particularly good (For one thing, I only now realized in re-reading it that I arbitrarily switched rhyme schemes from the first stanza to the second and never looked back! Snort!), but I still think it's kind of funny. Warning: This poem is vulgar. So if vulgarity offendeth thee, removeth thyself posthaste and returnest thou another day. Ith. Or thou canst avert thine eyes and scrolleth past it to the other poem. Est. Whateverestith. Also, I must explain the title. I was going to call it "Ode To Snow" but then I realized it really isn't an ode to snow, because an ode is a poem that exalts something, like "Ode on a Grecian Urn": See that Urn. Ain't it purty? Tho' some o' them pikshurs is kinda dirty... (Obviously that's not the real "Ode on a Grecian Urn" but I can't remember how the real poem starts and I'm too lazy to look it up, so that's my imagining of how it might start if it had been written by JimBob Krump* instead of John Keats.) Anyway, what the heck do you call it when the poem doesn't exalt something, but rather is written to snark and bitch about something? What if it's the Anti-Ode, so to speak? There doesn't seem to be a word for that, at least not that I can find, so I made one up. I hereby decree that a poem written specifically to snark about something is an know, the opposite of an Ode. So, without further ado (yes, yes, I know there's been way too much Ado already!), here is my bad poem, "Edo to Snow", along with a brief rebuttal verse and addendum created by some friends of mine. Edo to Snow I hate snow. I hate the cold. I hate the white. It sucks by day. It sucks by night. I hate it falling gently down or blowing wildly over town. I hate it when the roads get slick. This sucks the big ol' donkey dick. I would not like snow in New York, or on a ranch they call "South Fork". I would not like snow in Peru. It still would make me sad and blue. Although it's white, not yellowy, (I don't felt wool with my own pee!) the beauty does not make me stare. I'm grumpy as a grizzly bear. Oh Weather Gods, I you implore, Please do not send me anymore! We've had snow. Now can you bring some rays of sun? I want spring. I hate snow. ~~~Deb Richardson February, 2001 "Rebuttal to Edo to Snow" I come from a country with winters mild So snow excites me like a child Naked snow angels are such fun Wish they wouldn't freeze my bum ~~~Morven Walker February, 2001 "Addendum to Rebuttal to Edo to Snow" I'm grateful on the other hand Just think what freezes on a man! ~~~Pamela Allen February, 2001 And now on to a good poem. :-) This next one is definitely humorous, but it's black humor, as if the writer is laughing to keep despair away, and not quite managing the task by the end of the story. It's odd and quirky, funny and dark, and I like it a lot. I hope you do too. Just a Sestina to You, Honey, Letting You Know What an Interesting Thing Happened to Me While You Were at Home Rubbing Your Wife's Back A martian fell out of the french windows into my bed last night He wasn't much different from you, honey, except the hair in his nose was green not brown and in his left hand he clutched a nine inch satellite dish (that's a little bigger honey than the one you clutch) - any way he apologized for dropping in like that - I asked him to stay you know, chat for a while - life, love, lipstick - so he did stay actually he ended up spending the night (in case you're wondering honey, no, he didn't get any) we just sat around thumbwrestling and well the night was getting hot so I got us a dish of butter pecan ice cream - he really lapped it up like a native, honey, and then as we played a rousing game of Twister on my deck, he looked up and noticed that the Christmas lights were still up, in March. They stay up (I said) because I've got a married lover (that's you, my little dish) so every day is Christmas, hooray! (honey I didn't say how every night is Easter how you've crucified me baby) I could see he liked me, the dish he held, he clutched a little harder and asked if there were any chance for his little old martian self to experience any Earthly love. I have some single friends (I replied) and they're pretty desperate (not like me honey) the chances are good they wouldn't kick you out of bed - stay with one of them and pretty soon one night you'll get to try out that nine inch satellite dish in a way you haven't thought of; not many women get nine inches of dish (I told him), matter of fact some women don't get any. (that's where I'm lucky, right honey?) The hot night grew cold, so we stopped hanging by our ankles from the deck and came in and then I saw his suitcases (there, by the bed) You can't stay (I said) My married lover could be by to see me any month now and the place has to be empty. I might not even be here (I said) but the (I was JUST KIDDING, honey) martian got huffy, packed up his dish, asked politely to use my phone to call a cab, said he wouldn't dream of stay ing and messing up my affairs. I asked the martian if there were any thing else he wanted to know. Yes he said, How is life here on lovely Earth and I said Wake up - it sucks! Take me away, into the night (I said) but by then it was morning the sun was mooning us so any way he left (alone) (taking his nine inch dish) and I sat in my kitchen and poached some eggs. Why didn't I go with him, why do I stay (but honey here I am, dishless and cold, waiting for you to come any day any night) ~~~Carolyn Creedon "Snow Flashback" (from a photo I took last winter: clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) If you want to read more (possibly humorous) poems, check out the links you'll find here. *For the billions of people out there who may not know who JimBob Krump is, he's the Pugilistic Poet of Podunk Hollar, Arkansas. He's also the father of Buford Krump, AKA Bob Katt.** **For the billions of people out there who may not know who Buford Krump, AKA Bob Katt is, all is explained here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Write a Blog Post! Win a Book!

Yep, that's right, Blogging 4 Books is live for July and you have just under a week to post a bog entry on the topic "Between" (whatever that means to you!) for a chance to win a book by novelist Joshilyn Jackson. This month is an especially good time to play because Joss is not only giving a prize to the first place winner, but to the second and third place winners as well. Yay! So go ahead! Click on the link above and read the rules and write to win. You know you want to.

Q is for...

Time for another WordPlay Personal Dictionary Entry! If you want to know more about how and why I started doing this series of posts, read my "A is for..." entry. If you want to see a list of more people doing the same thing, check out Laume's WordPlay site. Now here we go... Q is for... Quilts - I make these, although these days I mostly make the kind you hang on walls instead of the kind you put on beds. Now and then the quilts I make end up exhibited in shows or pictured in books, magazines, or calendars. Quilters - As a rule, some good people. Quiet - Something I crave at least a little of every day. I'm not someone who wants constant noise in the background (like music or TV noise) beyond things like nature sounds, and in fact I get very stressed out if I hear man-made background noise non-stop for too many hours at a time. Quesadillas, Quiche - Q-foods I like (especially the quesadillas, with lots of salsa and guacamole - yum!). Quantum Physics - I only understand the tiniest portion of Quantum Physics, but what I understand fascinates me. It's like the area where science and spirituality meet and essentially say the same thing in different languages. I wish I understood more than I do. (I found the quantum physics poster I used in the Q-collage at this cool site.) Quirkiness - A Quality I often admire. Qat - A lifesaver word in Scrabble and certain other word games, as it allows you to play the Q tile without a U to accompany it. (It's a type of shrub, in case the definition matters to anyone.) Queen City - A nickname for Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was born. Quiz - I'm pretty hooked on taking quizzes. Quarter-inch seam - Something important to traditional quiltmaking. I don't do as much of that as I used to, but I still have a pretty good eye for a quarter-inch seam. Quartz - Pretty! I like the clear kind, and I also love amethyst and citrine, which are both types of quartz. Question - Why did I include this? Does anyone know? Hello? Anyone there?? Quixotic, Quest, Quip, Quick, Quiver, Quiescent, Quench, Quell - Q-words I like. "Q is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Self-Portrait as a Geisha

For July, the Self-Portrait Challenge is to create a weekly "Self-Portrait as ______" and we're supposed to fill in the blank with pretty much anything we can imagine - real or fantasy. So far I'm choosing to hang out in FantasyLand for this challenge rather than do anything that relates to my real life. So many of the past self-portrait challenges have been grounded in reality (and rightfully so!) that I'm having a blast doing off-the-wall portraits for this one. Last month I asked RSR readers for suggestions for this theme and offered prizes for those suggestions I used. This week's winner is Dara. Congrats, Dara! She suggested several ideas I liked. In fact, three of hers were pretty much a tie in my mind. I first experimented a little with the mermaid idea, but didn't come up with anything I liked that much, so I decided to move on to another of her suggestions and ended up creating a self-portrait as a geisha. One of the reasons I loved the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" was for the visual impact of the costumes, make-up, wigs, and scenery, so I had a lot of fun with this one. "Self-Portrait as a Geisha" Thanks for the ideas, Dara! Let me know if you'd rather have a 4" x 6" fabric postcard or an 8" x 10" photo print of one of my D.A.T.s as your prize (and if it's the latter, give me a choice of about three that you like, since I still have most of those files, but not all of them). For other people who suggested ideas, there's still two more weeks to go, so check back!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday Stroll (on Monday)

Hi, remember me? I'm oh-so-very late posting any sort of blog entry today. Looks like I should've prepared a couple ahead instead of just one, yes? Oh well. The last of the guests have headed for home, so I'm finally getting around to sharing a photo or two and will hope to get some blog visits done over the next couple of days. We all had a great time, especially on Sunday, when there were 9 people, 4 dogs, and a cat hanging out here. (Well, ok, the cat was mostly hiding.) With everyone's work schedules, it's very hard to find a time to get my husband, father, brother, sister, and their families all here at once, but we managed for a while on Sunday. Yay! We ate a lot, played some games, took a walk, gabbed, had a good time. I even remembered to take my camera with me when we went walking. See, this my sister taking a picture of me while I'm taking a picture of my sister taking a picture of me taking a...oh, never mind. I thought her t-shirt was really cute. In case you can't read it, here's a close-up: And check out the birds my niece drew on her jeans: She's always decorating her clothes. I love seeing what she's wearing when we get together. Speaking of getting together, one thing I love is the fact that when my family gets together we always act very mature and dignified. Ahem. I said "mature and dignified!" There we go. I got a surprise when we were walking - I had poppies about to bloom, after I'd pretty much given up on them: "Poppy Stem" Actually, I have two blooming today. But that's a photo for another day.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another Countdown? Why Not!

I did something called a Countdown Meme last month, but then I saw an entirely different version of a Countdown Meme on Susannah's blog and decided to do this one too, 'cause y'all know how much I loooooves me some lists! Plus I wanted something I could do ahead to post while I've got company since I'd feel rude if I spent too much time on the 'puter while they're here. I actually typed this up on Friday afternoon, so if some of my answers seem odd compared to the time and date stamp on the post, that's why. So here we go. Countdown, Take Two 10 Favorites Favorite Season: Spring and Fall (it's a tie) Favorite Color: None. Truly, I don't have *a* favorite color. I love too many. Favorite Time: Daylight Savings Time (yeah, I know that isn't what that question means, but I think it's a silly question, so I'll give a silly - yet true! - answer) Favorite Food: dessert Favorite Drink: alcoholic - margarita; non-alcoholic - water with lemon or lime Favorite Ice Cream: Praline Pecan (or is it Pecan Praline? I can never remember!) Favorite Place: Here. Or Maui. Or sitting on the deck of a cruise ship. Or...hhhmmm... Favorite Sport: Bwahahahahaaaaa! Um, none. (Favorite sport...that's funny...) Favorite Actor: Cary Grant (yes, I know he's dead, but I don't care, he's still my favorite) Favorite Actress: Katharine Hepburn (see above re: the dead thing) 9 Currents Current Feeling: Mellow Current Drink: water Current Time: 1:05 PM (on Friday, 7/7/06) Current Show on TV: no idea, it isn't turned on Current Mobile used: Cingular Current Windows Open: Outlook Express, Bloglines, MyYahoo, Red Shoe Ramblings Current Underwear: Sooooo none of your business! Let's just say I'm wearing some and leave it at that, 'k! Current Clothes: red capri pants, red/pink leaf-print t-shirt, red flip-flops with floofy red flowers on them Current Thought: "Is anyone reading this at all interested in these answers?" 8 Firsts First Nickname: Very first? probably Debbie (not too exciting, but there ya go) First Kiss: Danny S. when I was around 14 or 15 years old First Crush: Ilya Kuriakin on "Man from U.N.C.L.E.", when I was really small. Mom said I used to pet the TV screen when he'd come on and say "I love you, Ilya." First Best Friend: Debra H. We were almost the same age and our mothers threw us together from the time we were 6 months old, until I switched schools in junior high and we lost touch First Vehicle I Drove: I have no idea what it was - some old car that belonged to a high school friend of mine and she let me drive it around her parents' property (off-road) before I was old enough to get a permit. That didn't go so well. First Job: very first - babysitting; first "official" job with W2's and so on - flipping burgers at a fast food joint. Bleah. First Date: Doug C. when I was 13 or 14 (it was a double date, with mutual friends Mike and Pam) First Pet: a gerbil named Gerrie 7 Lasts Last Drink: water (my drink answers are boring! I drink water all day) Last Kiss: Johnny, a couple of hours ago Last Meal: lunch, an hour or so ago Last Web Site Visited: my photos-only blog Last Film Watched: Superman Returns Last Phone Call: Audioblogger (how sad!) Last TV show Watched: Rockstar Supernova 6 Have You Evers Have You Ever Broken the Law: yes Have You Ever Been Drunk: yes Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: yes Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire: yes Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: no (I don't swim!) Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart: yes 5 Things Things You Can Hear Right Now: The whir of my 'puter, the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard, J doing some woodworking stuff in the basement Things On Your Bed: 4 pillows, 2 quilts, a set of sheets (green), and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeeee. (Well, some of that is true anyway) Things You Ate Today: so far, a bowl of cereal with berries and milk, a pimento cheese sandwich and potato chips (health food!...not!) Things You Wouldn't Want to Live Without: family, friends, books, internet connection, computer, all my various art-making tools and supplies Things You Do When You Are Bored: read, watch TV or a DVD, go for a walk, surf the 'net, especially blogs (That these are also some of my favorite things to do when I'm NOT bored is purely coincidental, I'm sure. Ahem.) 4 Places You Have Been Today a little local mom-n-pop grocery store my back porch my basement my mailbox 3 Things On Your Desk Right Now a glass of water a packet of photos I just had printed my cell phone 2 Choices Black or White: Black Hot or Cold: Hot 1 Place You Want To Visit New Zealand to visit my friend Morven! If you like this meme, feel free to take it and make it your very own. I'd love it if you leave me a comment telling me you did so I don't miss your answers. Here's an effort at a Daily Art Thang: "Queen Anne's Lace" (clickable) Now I'm off to sleep so I can be all hostessy tomorrow - or rather later today. I'll hope to get to visit all of your blogs soon!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #22

1. My baby sis is celebrating the anniversary of her grand entrance to planet Earth today. I'm glad you were born. 2. I just finished reading "The Secret Life of Bees" tonight - yet another book that I put off reading for ages because it was so hyped that I was sick of hearing about it before I ever picked it up. But I'm so glad I finally did. Pick it up, that is, and read it. I loved it. This is one I think I'll be reading again and again. 3. J and I went to see "Superman Returns" a couple of days ago. Wait. Really, I should put that previous sentence in bold font or all caps or something to make it look more significant. Let me say it again: J and I went to see a movie together! You see, J isn't into movies. Not at ALL. I usually go by myself, so when he's interested in going to see one with me, it's An Event! It happens maybe once a year, at most. And then quite often after we've seen it, his reaction can best be summed up as "enh." But this time, he went with me, with no coaxing on my part, and he actually enjoyed it. He said the words "pretty good" afterward. Seriously, y'all, "pretty good" from J is practically gushing. You can take that as a glowing recommendation of this movie, if you like superhero films. Oh yeah, and I liked it too. :-) 4. I've been meaning for weeks to take a photo of a sign that appeared in the window of a little local mom-n-pop store when it changed hands recently, but I never remembered when I had my camera along. Finally, the other day I did. Take a look and see if you can spot why I started laughing and had to take a photo (identifying info has been blurred to protect the clueless): You may not be able to see what I mean in that photo, so how about this one: What's wrong with this picture? 5. Speaking of pictures (says Her Royal Highness, Queen of Smooth Segue), here's today's D.A.T. - another sunset photo, taken the same night as the one I posted yesterday, but a few minutes later in the evening and from a completely different angle. Very different look, eh? "July Sunset on Gobbler Knob 2" (clickable) 5. J and I are having a houseful of guests this weekend, so if I'm slow to respond to comments or emails, hang in there!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Take Two

AKA Audioblogger finally comes through! Yay! Here's my second try at reading the poem I posted last week. If you want to read along, click here and the written post will open in a new window.
this is an audio post - click to play
Updated to add: Daily Art Thang We'll keep it simple today - a photo I took of the sunset a couple of nights ago, not long after we'd had an early evening thunderstorm. I thought the quality of light was really lovely. "July Sunset on Gobbler Knob" (clickable)