Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolved: More Blogging. Maybe.

I've actually been thinking seriously about New Year's resolutions this year because I came up with a really good one--one that will mean the breaking of a really stupid habit that I should never have allowed to take over my life in the first place. And it's completely realistic and achievable.

Here's what it is: at some point, I got into the habit of taking my clean laundry out of the dryer, putting it into the clothes basket, and then stuffing all the clean clothes baskets (unfolded) into our bedroom closet, where they would remain, getting rummaged through on a daily basis for shirts and socks and the like, until the following weekend, when I would need the baskets for the new week's dirty laundry, which in the meantime had been piling up on the floor in a corner of the bedroom. Then, and only then, would I fold the previous week's clean clothes and sort the dirty laundry.

I know, I know. Didn't my mother teach me anything? She did. Then I disregarded it, apparently.

So, I thought it would make a great resolution to change this habit back to what it ought to be, namely, reincorporate the folding of laundry immediately upon removal from the dryer. This would also benefit me in the sense that I try to avoid ironing clothes--folding them right away would prevent some unnecessary ironing. Plus there would be clothes baskets available for the tidier storage of dirty laundry during the week, and I wouldn't have to bury my arms up to the shoulder in the basket of clean laundry looking for that one matching sock.

I started on this resolution yesterday, actually. Yay! My other resolution is that I will finally tidy up my office the way I've been meaning to for about the past year. I will have to do this anyway when my office changes rooms into the newly remodeled part of the house, so conditions are conducive to the fulfillment of this resolution as well.

I'm all about the realistic and achievable goals this year. Usually I'm the opposite--unrealistic aims that I don't necessarily even have control over. Let us call this year the Year of Sensible Goals.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Move-In Day

So, our etching press has officially been moved into our newly built studio space. Technically it's not the first piece of furniture to christen the room--the utility sink has already taken up residence, showing up soon after the linoleum floor was installed. But the etching press is definitely the significant feature of the room, at this point, due to its size and extreme weight.

However, we're also probably going to get a truly ginormous lithography press, which is currently sitting around at Rob's work not being used. MJC no longer has a printmaking department, so we've been bequeathed this giant 3' x 7' litho press as well as several lithography stones and other associated equipment. I'm actually really excited--I took a lithography class when I was at the San Francisco Art Institute and it was quite possibly the worst class I've ever taken (thanks to the professor), so I'd like to try my hand again in the privacy of my own damn studio.

Of course, by the time you put an etching press, a litho press, some shelving and some worktables into a 500-square-foot space, you've used up quite a bit of it...and it was definitely a tough decision to take the litho press. However, the cost of moving and recalibrating it would be nothing compared to the $12,000-and-up price tag for buying a new one, so we think we should probably take this opportunity...

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Most Amazing Link I Have Seen in Months

Thanks to Fuse #8 (and Neil Gaiman), my eyes have now been opened to the phenomenon that is Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz. Unfortunately you can't give this amazing item as a Christmas present, as it is currently out of stock. However, it may comfort you to know that people who viewed Tuscan Whole Milk on Amazon also viewed Uranium Ore, Fresh Whole Rabbit, and Summer's Eve Anti-Itch Gel. And you ain't seen nothin' till you've seen the lyrical paean, modeled after Kubla Khan, singing the praises of Tuscan Milk in the Customer Reviews section. And if poetry's not your bag, there are 975 other reviews that might be more to your liking, such as:

"For those of you foolish enough not to know the joys of a plastic pitcher of Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz: I thoroughly pity your wretched state."
"This whole milk is smooth and milky in consistency. Not at all gritty, chalky or sandy. An excellent purchase."

Oh, and for the love of God, don't forget to click on the Customer Images. Seriously, this could entertain you for hours. If you're really bored.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Oh So Quiet (shhh....shhh....)

Yup, it's quiet around here. It's because I don't have any spare seconds in my day. Any seconds that appear to free up are quickly submerged under the massive crippling anxiety that I'm not going to be able to get everything done that needs to be done in the next few days.

Ya know, if it weren't for me, there would be no holidays celebrated in our house. More later, I promise. I also promise to improve my negative attitude. Just kidding.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Too Much TV

From a commercial I just saw while watching "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" on ABC Family: "She's holding him hostage...but he's stealing her heart." The movie? "Holiday in Handcuffs," starring Melissa Joan Hart (aka Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Mario Lopez (aka Slater from Saved by the Bell). Yes, it really exists and I am not making this up.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Venice and Other Distractions...Part I

I've been wanting to post for a while, but ever since we've been back, the shit has hit the fan in terms of work, getting caught up, household construction, family fun time, etc. My back currently aches from helping Rob grout tile in the new bathroom in the addition (I was the water-bucket hauler--and I seriously tested the limits of my upper-body strength with each load, of which there were at least 15). But I finally feel like I've made some progress work-wise and can therefore justify some blogging time. Oh--did I mention the 25+ (and growing) pile of books sitting on my office floor waiting to be read and judged? I'm having this horrible fear that I'm not going to agree with what anyone else likes. So far, of the 9 titles posted to the short list, only one is also on my personal list of favorites. Granted, I haven't yet read a lot of the titles people have posted, so I can't actually say I won't agree once I get there. Anyway. Here are some impressions of our Italy trip, in no particular order:

  • Bridges. Venice struck me for its myriad of little footbridges just as much as for its canals. Wooden footbridges, concrete footbridges, footbridges with wheelchair ramps in the tourist area near San Marco, footbridges with no ramps that we had to haul extremely heavy luggage up and over, young parents hauling their kids' strollers up and down footbridge steps, tourists taking pictures of the most insignificant of canals from the tops of the bridges. The Ponte dei Pugni, or Bridge of Fists, where young noblemen used to fight and throw each other off into the canal, marked with footprints set in the concrete where combatants are supposed to start off. The Ponte Accademia, a wooden lattice arching over the Grand Canal and affording almost unreal, Disneyland-like views of the cityscape.
  • Roman stuff. I love going to see Roman historical sites, just as I like going to see ruined castles. What can I say? I like wandering around the remains of history. Verona was a fantastic (and unplanned) surprise in that regard--for one thing, they have the third-largest Roman arena complete with gates where the gladiators and beasts used to be released. And it's still in use today for operas and performances. There was also a Roman amphitheatre and a reconstructed bridge over the river. I'm always amazed by how the Romans really built to last.
  • Not quite enough alone time. This was but a minor note of dissatisfaction, but traveling with the in-laws didn't quite give Rob and I enough time on our own. His parents aren't experienced overseas travelers--China was their first trip abroad, and that was an almost completely guided event with pre-set daily itineraries and tour guides for each city. For Italy--Rob and I were the tour guides. We set the itinerary, except for one guided tour we took in Milan. And Venice is a little confusing to get around at first, so they were content to let us take the lead and just kind of follow along. Which was fine...but resulted in only about half a day that we actually had to ourselves. Not as much of a romantic trip as you'd expect from Venice.
  • Da Vinci's The Last Supper. It's in terrible shape. I'm glad we saw it (it's in Milan, and that's why we bought the guided tour--it was the only way we were able to get tickets to see it). You go in through what is essentially a series of airlocks, keeping the room climate-controlled, and enter the former refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and there it is on one wall of the rectangular room. It was much bigger than I'd pictured (sort of like the Mona Lisa tends to be smaller than people imagine) and parts of it are what I'd call nearly obliterated by time and wear and overly-zealous restorations of the past. I'm glad we saw it before it fades even more, because it really is an incredible masterwork of its time.
  • The Euro. The dollar. GAAAAH! We are po' now.

To be continued...