Wednesday, February 24, 2010


When I was in college I had an art professor who told me I should go to art school. He feared that if I didn't I'd "just end up making things."

Well, Bill Burke, I did go to art school and fat lot of good it did me.

You can't escape destiny.

Unless there is no such thing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Something I Made


I made this scarf for my friend Lisa.
The pattern is from last winter's Vogue Knitting. It's made with Twinkle Handknits Soft Chunky - a quality yarn with nice yardage for the buck. The pattern was fun and fast and easy to knit. I did detect an error in the chart, though, which was easily fixed.

They used a different chunky yarn held double in the magazine. I tried doubling this yarn but the swatch came out too stiff and weighed nearly a million pounds. No one wants to wear a scarf that threatens to choke them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Cake

is good. The middle layers stayed put too.


This cake is cursed. I'm pretty sure I cursed several times in the making of this cake, therefore it is certainly cursed. Or maybe I am.

Four days ago I tweeted that I was going to make "the chocolatiest cake" I could figure out how to make. This is it, right here, finished today.

I made the cakes yesterday, the first day that I actually had all the ingredients and the equipment I needed. I ran out of time to make the frosting so I made that today.

You know what it looks like to me? That expanding foam insulation that comes in a spray can.

I am disappointed in its chocolatiness. The frosting is a so-called "Mousse Buttercreammm." It is very mousse-y but not as chocolaty as I would have liked. It isn't very butter-creamy at all. The mousse is tasty but I think what I really wanted was more like a ganache.

I haven't tried the cake yet so I don't know how it tastes but I can already tell that it won't be the cake I'd pictured myself making four days ago. I thought I was going to make something a bit more robust. More like a cake-mix-and-can-of-icing cake only with no artificial flavoring or corn syrup.

Both the cake and the frosting were a lot of work. I was whisking eggs, sugar and cocoa in a double boiler for the frosting alone. This thing had better taste good!

I'm actually afraid that when I try to cut it the middle layers will squirt out the side like the ice cream in the middle of an ice cream sandwich when you're down to your third-to-last bite.

Suddenly it also dawns on me that I need to think of something to make for dinner.

I'm cursed. I mean, I'm cursing.

And who the hell (over the age of 8) has the nerve to be cranky about cake?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Deal

I got this floral arrangement at Whole Foods a few days before Valentine's day. It's really hanging in there - this photo is from this morning. The colors are all wrong, of course. It's much brighter and more intense in real life.

I don't usually get cut flowers. I find that they die too quickly and then I can't bear to throw them out. I have miserable vases of rotting flowers and swampy water sitting around the house. Sometimes the flowers will dry out completely and when I finally toss them I can manage to find dust bunnies in the bottom of the vase.

I don't plan on doing that with this bunch. I intend to get rid of individual flowers as they fade and shift the still presentable stems to other vessels.

Wish me luck with that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ow, My Disorganized Brain!

At this moment I am thinking about:
making a cake
my bass lessons
my dog's drug and squeezing schedule
my parents
my vegetable garden
my non -vegetable garden
the friends I need to keep track of
my manicure? I know - but there it is.
my next job
going back to school for either art therapy or game design
vipassana meditation
whether it means anything that I don't care about the Winter Olympics (although I'm sorry about the lugist who died)
wouldn't it be nice if there were a couple more hours of Down By Law to watch

I was planning to make a cake today but the cake pans are in Cambridge as are my bass and bass homework.

In fact, it seems like I can't complete any task at all without having to make a few trips because I forgot something. Where the HELL is my pen? I just had it here a second ago!

This is not new. Being like this made me think I was stupid when I was a kid. Now it just aggravates the hell out of me.

I've heard that some people can focus. They can concentrate on one thing and become very good at it. I imagine that they think in an orderly fashion and rarely forget to bring all of the elements of what they need with them from place to place.

My brain doesn't seem to want to think about only one thing at a time. Is it that I'm deathly afraid to be bored? Do I require a certain amount of background confusion to feel normal? Am I just a little bit A.D.D?

Supposedly vipassana meditation helps one to control one's mind and to make better friends with chaos. I've been putting off making a concerted effort at it though.

Part of me is afraid to try to think differently than I do. I'm afraid who I am will be less interesting if I have fewer things going on inside. I really depend on my insides because I haven't got a lot to show on the outside: normal accomplishments that most adults have like salary, title, professional reputation.

Part of me is afraid that if I think more conventionally I won't be able to be as (ugh, here we go...) creative as I am now.

On the other hand, I already have thousands of ideas. Many, many ideas. Lists of them - enough to make for decades of work. Maybe if I was a more organized thinker I could execute more of them? Maybe then I could even take them to the next level and promote them and myself?

And part of me feels like a sniveling conformist for wanting to accomplish things and get credit for it.

I suppose it's possible that meditation could just give me better perspective about the way my mind works. It might even help me be more logical and less likely to waltz myself down a blind alley.

Once you change your brain though (neural pathways and all) you can't change it back. On the other hand, life's a journey and you're brain's changing all the time anyway. I might as well try to take the reins.

Come to think of it, maybe I like reading so much because it's an imposed system of focus for me. It might be a relief to accept some limits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Get Some Taste

Dressed, once again, like a lunatic.

It's so much quicker and easier to post a funny picture than it is to write something interesting. It takes a lot less time too.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


You know, since I wrote that last post there's been a shift in my head. I'm having lots of ideas that I like.

I haven't changed anything. I'm still eating party food and drinking too much and playing too much Style Savvy. Only slowly my brain function is returning to me.

Maybe it was a natural cycle kind of thing? Maybe it was the nachos.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I have been playing a lot of video games since December. I got an gift certificate for Christmas which has helped.

My favorite game, though, I got before Christmas to entertain me on the flight to San Diego. I have played it every day but two since the day I bought it at Costco, December 15th. 2009. It's for Nintendo DS and is called "Style Savvy." Here's a review and here's the link to amazon where you can read lots of reviews.

Basically you operate a boutique and sell clothes of various fictional brands to customers. You make money to buy more inventory, set up window displays, participate in fashion contests, make friends and go out with customers, collaborate with some of the brands to make new designs, promote your store, change your own outfits, hair and makeup, and maybe even get a date with the elusive store owner, Dominic (it turns out he's very shy for a dreamy, rich guy!)

It's all the fun parts of retail jobs without the downsides. There are no rude people or shoplifters and you don't have to work bad hours.

I have found myself looking at people on the street and determining which fictional brand of clothes they're wearing. For example, my Aunt Joy, wears exclusively "Alvarado," the highest-end brand. Goths wear "Raven Candle," Punks wear "Mad Jack." I suppose Anthropologie clothes would be "Sonata" or "Epoque." Sometimes I look at real people and think about my e-inventory and whether I have an article of clothing they'd like.

I recently picked up a couple of other DS games to entertain me on the flight back from Florida, where we went to visit Pete's parents. They are "Cooking Mama" and "Gardening Mama." They're fun enough. "Style Savvy" immerses the player in a more complex world which I find more absorbing and rewarding.

I've also been playing a lot of Wii. "My Fitness Coach," which is similar to, but not as good as "Yourself!Fitness," "Wii Fit Plus," which is more fun than it is exercise, "Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3," at which I am not very good but it's still fun, and "EA Sports Active: More Workouts," which is good exercise but doesn't register my sit-ups properly, which is extremely frustrating.

I'm beginning to wonder if all of this video game playing is, in fact, making me stupider. I've been feeling pretty brain dead lately. I firmly believe that what comes out of you is a direct result of what goes into you. Mostly I've been eating too much party food, drinking too much booze and playing video games instead of reading books. I feel like a lump despite all my Wii playing.

I need to pull myself out of my lumpy rut but I'm not feeling strong or energized. None of the other things I usually like to do are appealing right now. What to do? Maybe I'll eat some nachos and think about it.

Whoa Nellie!

How insane are these artificial nails? I'll tell ya: completely! And believe me, there are more. Many more. Considering the amount of work it looks like it takes to make them they are also very cheap. This set is $35 but some go for as little as $20.