Buzz kill

2019 05 23 - 21:39

So, I had this nap today where I dreamed a drone was buzzing my building taking photos through people's bathroom windows. Turns out, not so much. I found, upon being woke by it, that it was a huge bug of some kind or other stuck behind my curtains. This thing was about an inch and a half long.

And no, I didn't take pictures of it, before or after its death, and I intend to take my glasses off when I remove its corpse from behind my curtains, so I don't actually need to directly see it.

Any bug loud enough to wake me up, I don't need to see with the naked eye.

Also, dear jodoka, I want you to know that what I killed it with, is the $15 dowel I picked up at Rona to make my own for-now jo with. It's first kill: giant, filthy insect bastard.

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Gansai swatches

2019 04 11 - 00:15

There’s something peculiarly satisfying, meditative, and therapeutic about swatching paints or coloured pencils. These are the Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36 set, and the Boku Undo Gansai ‘blackish’ six set paints, minus the Boku Undo reddish black, and the Kuretake numbers 57, 66, 67,, and 34 (I used the numbers, because there is some discrepancy on colour names between different folks and what’s on the packaging), which others tested and deemed not lightfast, and the white, which I didn’t botber swatching on white paper.

I’ll do my own testing at some point.

I’ve found a couple of other gansai sets on amazon.ca, but have yet to discover any info on them.

I really love the way these feel when you’re swiping your brush in the pans, which is due completely to the hide glue binder. It’s very slick, but with a ‘pull’. The colours are uncredibly vivid, even after drying, which is not a thing one always gets with Western-style watercolours, unless you do many layers and/or buy the good stuff.

My biggest regret is that you can’t buy the gansai pans empty. I’d so much prefer them to the Western style full pans, especially when using big brushes.

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So far today

2019 04 10 - 10:44

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Human rights - Social justice

2019 03 10 - 17:40

I've just encountered something that had never occurred to me before, something that explains so much about how different parts of the world handle things like health care, for example. I mean, I knew it, I'd just never seen it put in these specific terms.

I've just read something by a professor of social work in the US, who talked of how such things are viewed in different parts of the world. Health care, for example, in peer nations elsewhere, is seen as a human right - but not in the US. In the US, such things are seen in terms of social justice.

It is, indeed, a very nauseating consideration, to turn a person's very well-being (their access to basic health care, to life-saving insulin, or their access to clean drinking water), into something that they should be granted by the state as a form of charity, or as a form of donated fairness from 'well-meaning' haves to the have-nots, as opposed to those things simply being accepted as the very minimum of a fair and decent existence, and, indeed, being the obligation of the state to provide for all citizens and others under the state's care. Yes, the wealthy should, because they can, but they shouldn't, because the state should, but neither are, because of greed and indifference, holding fast to the I've-got-mine philosophy of the blinkered and wilfully blind.

Why are these things even a question? The water is poison. Fix it.. People are dying. Fix it. These should not even be a debate, but they are; and I worry for Canada, that we will turn fully down a road of self-interest: self-interest of the haves over the have-nots, self-interest of the few over the many, self-interest of the 1%, turning human rights into charities, as opposed to a nation that doesn't question a person's right to exist, to eat, to be healthy, to be safe, to stay alive.

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Heirlooms - Saving things that can't be saved

2019 03 08 - 23:23

I had a brief interaction with someone today, who was lamenting that her upcoming move into a small apartment from where she's been living, meant that she'd have to give up a lot of things that belonged to her grandmother - furniture, dresses, baptism gowns, things like that.

We're funny creatures, us humans, with our seeming depthless need to save, to preserve, to not be able to let go. Some of us are better with keeping memories than things, but sometimes it's nice to have the things too.

I suggested to the lady that if she could bear to cut the clothing, or even the upholstery that wasn't otherwise being sold, given away, or recycled, that she could frame the fabrics and have a little something to decorate her walls with. Dollar store frames would do, and a square of fabric big enough to fit the space. A few of those would certainly pretty up a wall nicely

You can frame fabrics, jewellery, pages and covers of books, documents, albums and album covers, menus, programmes, stones, shells, other small mementos or knick-knacks, and all manner of things that will go into a frame or shadow box, that can go on a wall where you can actually enjoy it, rather than in a closet where it takes up space and never sees the light of day.

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Secular Saints - a work in progress

2019 02 27 - 13:54

This used to include musicians, but I think they'll need a list of their own.

Suggestions welcome.

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How to play Patriarchy Chicken: why I refuse to move out of the way for men

2019 02 27 - 09:21

"The point of Patriarchy Chicken is not just that you get where you're going marginally faster (although you do) or that you irritate a number of men (which you also do). The point is that men have been socialised, for their entire lives, to take up space. Men who would never express these thoughts out loud have nevertheless been brought up to believe that their right to occupy space takes precedent over anyone else's right to be there. They spread their legs on tubes and trains, they bellow across coffee shops and guffaw in pubs, and they never, ever give way."

This give-way situation, and its attendant use-of-public-space friend, also holds true for, as a friend mentioned, based on race - it also holds true for plus-size people. People with more socially-acceptable-sized bodies will expect you to defer to them, to give way to them. Believe me, I've seen it. They walk past you like you aren't even there, and walk at you the same way. (Mind you, my favourite ones are the ones who make faces at you when you eat in public. I may be visually impaired, but oh lawdy yes, I have seen that happen.)

I have not played Patriarchy Chicken, but I've played Cellphone Chicken. Sometimes I've actually stopped in my tracks when I see someone walking along staring down at the phone instead of looking up, and I wait, and let them walk into me. This kind of oblivion hasn't been appropriate since y'all were two and stumbling around your playpens without regard or awareness of your environment.

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The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles

2019 02 22 - 16:27

“You can do something you love, just because you love it.” (When did I become Ask Polly?) And suddenly the sentence that both of us needed to hear came out of my mouth: “You don’t have to monetize your joy.”

But our culture "reinforces the idea that [our] attention belongs more rightfully on profit than on pleasure," because we "live in the era of the hustle. Of following our dreams until the end, and then pushing ourselves more. And every time we feel beholden to capitalize on the rare places where our skills and our joy intersect, we underline the idea that financial gain is the ultimate pursuit."
 
Possibly we'd feel less need to turn everything into the dollar-dollar, if our economy wasn't so stacked against us that we have to earn off everything we do, or we won't be able to eat. This whole idea of, and the author mentions it, of loving what you do so it never feels like work, is a scam to trick you into further enslaving yourself to your employment, so you won't notice the shortcomings of your economic status. There's nothing wrong with loving your work, and there's nothing wrong with making money from your hobbies or joys, but there is definitely something wrong with those things being turned into necessaries or obligations, or, worse yet, flaws if you don't.
 
We've over-structured everything to the point where a good chunk of our population now has no idea how to relax and just be, nor even that they can do just that, and it's okay to do just that. Children have gone from play to play dates. Every hour must be filled with something. The pragmatism of the Protestant work ethic has struck again, and it never strikes in a very good way. It keeps telling us that whatever we're doing, it's not enough. We could maximise our time better, faster, more. We're scheduling and monetising ourselves to death.
 
Why don't I do things for money? Why don't many of us? Because we want to keep enjoying them, that's why. I'm not obligated to turn my joy into your pragmatic money-maker.
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Shopping

2019 02 22 - 13:16

I tend to have a fairly boring diet - partly because I hate cooking, but also partly because I'm severely visually impaired, so all I can get at the grocery store is what's right in front of my face.

If it's too far up, I can't see it. If it's too far down, I can't see it. I have to pick up every single package to read it, so I know what it is. Produce and meats are a little easier, because each meat is a particular colour. I still have to pick up the package to see what cut of meat it is, for example, but chicken is a particular colour, and beef the same, and so on. Granny Smith apples are a particular green that stands out, which makes life simple    . Unfortunately, peaches and nectarines bear an unfortunate resemblance to certain types of apple, so yeah, I've touched apples thinking they're peaches.

It's an enormously frustrating pain in the ass to have to pick up every single bloody thing so you can read it, so you know what it is. I have to do this at book stores, art supply stores, every store. I can't browse the same way others can. This is partly why I got very much into shopping alone rather than with friends, because it takes me forever to do what others do in a much shorter span of time than forever.

Now, I don't normally shill for the house when it comes to any business, but I've got to tell you, that grocery services like Grocery Gateway, and now Instacart, are a godsend to me. I can browse a website, and someone else does the picking and choosing. I can not be utterly frustrated by the entire shopping experience, and/or having to ask for help every time I need something. I can actually buy things that would normally be outside of my "reach", because someone else is doing the heavy-seeing part.

If, by the by, you think I don't have to ask for help when ordering food at a fast food mall joint that has no paper menu I can hold in my hand, because I can't read the overhead behind the counter menu, then you'd be wrong. Every. Damned. Time.

As a much younger person I used to be embarrassed and even more frustrated by things like this. I thought there was something wrong (in more of a way than just physically) with me. I tried to hide it or get around it as much as I could, and get angry with myself because I had to intrude on other people to do simple things. I had no ability to articulate my disability, my frustrations. It took me years, decades, to figure my way around that one. I thought, for a very long time as a younger person, that I wasn't supposed to tell people I needed help. I don't know why that is. It doesn't matter now, because I have no issue saying, "Sorry, severe visual impairment. Can't read your menu/package/whatever."

Ah yes. Packaging. The thing I have to take pictures of with my phone and zoom in so I can read them. Thank you, modern technology, for the invention of the cameraphone. You are a miracle deserving of sainthood.

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I'm on a bus, on a psychedlic trip, reading murder books, trying to stay hip.

2019 02 10 - 15:19

Last year I played a little game of Telephone with Google Translate, using my favourite James Bond quotation: Darling, I give you very best duck.

Today, I've done it again, using my favourite Billy Idol lyric:

I'm on a bus, on a psychedlic trip, reading murder books, trying to stay hip.

to French: Je suis dans un bus, dans un voyage psychédical, en train de lire des livres de meurtre, d'essayer de rester hanche.

to German - Ich bin in einem Bus, auf einer psychedischen Reise, lese Mordbücher und versuche, hip zu bleiben.

to Bosnian - U autobusu sam, na psihickom putovanju, citam knjige o ubistvima i pokušavam da ostanem bok.

to Greek - Se éna leoforeío, se psychikó taxídi, diávasa vivlía gia dolofoníes kai prospathó na parameíno sti zoí.

to Yiddish - es iz a lempert, mit psikhish taxis, divaza lebn dalafon é nes gi prospathu aoyf di eykhes.

to Hawaiian - no ka mea,?o ia me na taxi psikhish, a me na lekale?ale?a, a me na mea nui.

to Irish - toisc go bhfuil sé le tacsaí psikhish, agus na tráchtearraí, agus an ceann is tábhachtaí.

to English - because it is a psikhish taxi, and the commodities, and the most important.(psikhish is apparently a Yiddish word for 'psychic')

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