THE MY WRITING TAB

I was staring at my blog header the other day, and I realized that there isn’t a great deal here about my own writing. In fact, there is next to nothing about it, which is and was intentional. My general philosophy is that it is better to show than tell, so instead of talking about writing, I would just go ahead and write. A little dialogue here, a blurb there, with a little analysis thrown in for kicks.
If there is any interest in what I’ve been writing outside of this blog, I will put that discussion all in one place (mostly) under the My Writing tab up above. Just look for the Victorians and they will show you the way. 
I’ve also written some fan fic while posing anonymously as a pug, but I’m only giving that one away if you ask me directly. I’m not too sure what I think about that story and the fewer ties I have to that story, the better, if you know what I mean.   

DO YOU EVER SUSPECT YOU MAY BE A STEREOTYPE?

Via Look! She’s probably vegetarian, does yoga, and probably had to travel a bit to get to this outdoor locale. VYO!
I was talking with my friend the other day, who had finally met someone worth meeting. All was well with the world. She felt their date had gone pretty well, and they’d bonded over all the wrong people they had met, well, before meeting each other. Spectacular and dandy. Here’s my reenactment:

She: [about the first date] It was so good. We talked about so many things we had in common – I told him things on the first date that I haven’t told guys I’ve been dating for months.
MeThat’s great!*
SheI mean, he’s an adult – he has a full time job and a car, and he’s willing to drive it.
MeHe didn’t say “So….Dutch?” at the end of the meal?
SheNo! No Dutch involved. [We then make snide references to previous dates.]
SheHe was so glad to find out I ate meat! Ha!
MeHa! That’s great!**
SheYeah, apparently, all the girls he meets are all the the same: they’re these vegetarian girls who do yoga and like the outdoors. He was so happy to meet someone that wasn’t into those things! Hahahaha!
Me: Hahahha! (Wait. Mental pause here. Review the factors: 1) don’t eat meat, 2) do yoga, 3) like the outdoors. That describes…me.*** Have I become that hippie-dippy-California-female stereotype?)
She: So, then, at the end of the date…[she continues, I am preoccupied]
Me: [Ruminating. Am I exactly like every other trendy boring female out there? What does this mean?]

This was my conclusion: It means nothing. I like these things, and I do them. When I introduce myself, I don’t announce myself as V(egetarian)Y(oga)O(outdoorsy) like some sociopath. It’s never occurred to me to blog about yoga – so many people talk about it that there’s really nothing particularly intriguing that I can add to the conversation. I don’t even wear t-shirts with logos, and I don’t go moseying around talking to everyone about my three favorite topics of all time. VYO! 

What’s funny was my assumption that these qualities were unique to me, like I somehow owned the rights to them.**** I have as much ownership over them as I have over the sun. Interests are there to make life better. They may define me in a certain way – to other people – it’s just human nature to categorize and simplify and knowing your interests will help people to do that. It has very little to do with the actual person. I like what I like, and that probably means I fall into one stereotype or another. Identity crisis – averted.

*Not very interesting, I know. There’s really nothing you can do with good news except affirm it. If you share your good news at this time, you’re stealing their thunder and kind of a dick. 

** I know, I know…I am boring.  
*** Technically, I still eat fish.
*** Interestingly, the presumption of being special or unique can be tied to narcissism.

WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: MIX AND MATCH

The White Button Down ShirtWardrobe Essentials: The White Shirt

I found these sets from Coffeestainedcashmere on Polyvore and thought they would be a good template to have around for those days, you know?  When you wake up, open your closet door and WTFF, it has turned overnight into an unforgiving abyss.

The Essential T-Shirts

Wardrobe Essentials: The Tees

The Black TurtleneckWardrobe Essentials: The Black Turtleneck

The Grey Crewneck sweaterWardrobe Essentials: The Sweater

ARTIST TAY DALL

Via
This caught my eye recently.  From artist Tay Dall, she hails from South Africa.  There’s a lot of control and balance to her work right here, the way the colors touch each other, the precision of her shapes that aren’t exactly shapes. The closest analogy I can make to this is that it’s like writing about someone who has gone mad, you can’t just have the character go completely crazy, that means you have no control over your work and it’s sloppy. You have to give the crazy a framework where it can function. 
I’ve tried painting approximately twice in my life, and realized both times that I don’t have it in me to create anything using this medium, but it does give me an appreciation for good technique when I see it.* I tend toward abstract subjects.  Does this do anything for you?

*General disclaimer: I have yet to master the use of liquid eyeliner, so that should give you an idea of the level of skill I’m working with here. The need for eyeshadow is also rather mysterious to me. I’ve only ever tried it on Halloween, where you can pass off mistakes as “part of the costume, obviously.”

WHAT ARE YOU DRAWN TOWARDS?

What did you do with your Labor Day weekend? For myself, I went backpacking in Big Sur, California and took a few pics along the way just to prove it. In case you’re wondering, it’s a physically grueling experience. I’m not going to even try to pass this off as anything other than what it is. You’re a mule carrying about forty to fifty pounds and eventually you’re going to have to go up a few hills. The first hill isn’t very nice to you. The second hill, well that one is a fucker, and somewhere in the middle, you look up and realize it just gets steeper without getting any shorter. And you go on.
There really is no logical reason to do this, this backpacking thing, except you have to get something out of it or what would be the point? However, this elusive something is intangible. You cannot hold it in your hand, you cannot show it to other people, you can only show it to yourself and talk about it to other people, and hope that they try to understand. I don’t know if hardship is conducive to creativity. I honestly can’t answer that for you. But – and I can only speak for myself here – I believe that hardship is conducive to happiness. I believe that the best kind of happiness is the kind you have earned, and that if you settle for the other kind, you kind of just float on by on the surface of your life and never achieve any depth.

I was reading Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, the writer of Fight Club fame, and he’s very good at describing everyday misery – maybe drudgery is the better term for it – the monotonous, never-ending daily grind  type of misery, the misery whose defining characteristic is that it will happen again and again in exactly the same way until the overall effect is the cumulative loss of your self: your dreams and your ambitions, until you settle for just getting by and you accept misery as a kind of toll you pay to just get through the hours of the day.

Now – spoiler alert here – the point of the inflicting this kind of misery on the protagonist was to guarantee that she would become a great artist. I’m not entirely sure about that, but I think that’s a very common idea, to believe that you have to really suffer to create great art. I believe, to a less dramatic degree, that you should challenge yourself, which will lead to becoming a deeper person, a deeper thinker and observer, and that in turn will give you the tools to create something exceptional. Put another way, it’s not misery itself that is important, but what you do in the face of it.

My second point: I think everyone has something that they’re naturally drawn towards. If I say left or right, black or white, vanilla or chocolate, you have an instinctive preference. You may not feel like sharing, but you probably prefer one over the other. I know myself fairly well by now, and I like being around nature, even when I discover that citronella does not repel gnats (Did you know?) and I was walking around in an insect-filled haze of gnats that alternated between flying into my eyes, nose or ears for three days…and yet. I would do it again, probably with stronger repellant this time. And an inflatable pillow. I couldn’t sleep very well while I was out there, but it didn’t piss me off the way it would if I had been unable to sleep at home. There were sounds I could listen to. There was a lot of space for my mind to open up and play. There was a bird I wanted to hit with a rock. If you listen, and possibly explore a bit, there is something or some place you can find that calls to you, it will bring you peace, but also the kind of frustration you want. 

JARED LETO AND HAMLET

Jared Leto and the song Raped in the Face from Hamlet 2
I think Jared Leto sometimes regrets his face, so I have diluted the effect by accompanying him with the refrain to Raped in the Face from Hamlet 2.* Click on the link for the full song in all its glory.

I once attended a concert for his band 30 Seconds to Mars and every other band member played under a spotlight while Leto sang in the dark, and then ran around stage to escape any chance of good lighting. He was literally running away from the spotlight. During the break, people (women, me) complained that they couldn’t see him. 

For background information, the face of Leto is also the mind behind Batholomew Cubbins (a fat sounding alias if I ever heard one), who directs the music videos for the band 30 Seconds to Mars, where the face of Leto is also the lead singer. But when you get caught up in that face, come on now, it’s easy to forget that it comes with an incredible amount of talent and a strong aesthetic sense.
So here below, as proof, is the music video for Up in the Air, a visual massage of intersecting images, some disturbing, some fascinating, all very well done. 

  //www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/y9uSyICrtow

*If you haven’t seen Hamlet 2, it’s worth your time.

EASY DIY: LARGE TEXTURED CANVAS

Via

I saw the above image in the home of designer Barbara Gongini, saw that picture of her bedroom (?) and stopped to stare.  There are actually two ideas going on here.

1) Take a large canvas and just brush paint unevenly over it using one principle color (red, anyone?), this will add a strong shot of color to any room, and you can casually lean it against a wall or put it behind furniture to lessen the impact, depending on what you want.  The easy factor comes from the fact that the paint job should be imperfect, it should not be flat or even in any way – I should mention that you definitely should use a hand brush and not a roller if that’s not obvious – or it will be boring and flat.

2) The second (but not the last) bit of genius in this room is in her use of a floor lamp to hang a decorative object.  I would suggest a small mobile, since there is never any normal place for those things to go, unless you’re a fan of low ceilings.

Some other details of note: the glossy white floor and the textured cream walls in the background.  This perfect neutral backdrop becomes a perfect forum for furniture and art to pop.

FUN LINKS


Food 
This Article describes what happened to chef David Chang when he was inspired by vegetarian Buddhist nuns.

Yoga  
This brilliant Tumblr account, Mayur-Asana, lists yoga videos relevant to all your specific needs, including weight loss, flexibility, relaxation, sleep, colds, and more.

Interiors  
Shinsuke Kawahare’s Paris apartment is an ingenious mix of Japan, rabbits, vintage, and  whimsy that somehow also manages to work.

Art 
The Getty Museum has made 4600 pieces of art free to download.   If you were to have a blog…and you like pictures…this may be of use to you. 

Bucket List  
If you want someone else to write your bucket list for you, here is a list of Great Escapes.

Skincare 
This is the most basic, manly-manliest skincare routine I have encountered, using mainly baking soda.