31 May 2009

here's a photo taken from a 1940s yearbook i bought a year or two ago . . . great fodder for scratching faces out, calling names, and adding moustaches.

30 May 2009

I never claimed to be graceful.

I have no idea what comes over me sometimes. The college is having sidewalks replaced, and on Tuesday of this past week, both sidewalks leading from the parking lot to my building were torn up. I thought, "I think I can straddle and step over that stone wall" as to avoid walking about 10 yards out of my way. I failed miserably. This was taken about an hour ago. So 4-5 days later, I look like someone beat the back of my leg with a 2x4. I was wearing a dress that day, to top things off, and I have little stubby fat legs, too . . . I should have known better!

29 May 2009

Friday's free image.

I love that this photo of these two brothers is already distressed . . . i think it will add a great detail to an altered art piece.

28 May 2009

A trophy, of sorts.

so i'm not usually the kind of person who laughs at roadkill, but this is bizarre. and weirdly funny.

More photos.

Amy's Flickr
You know, I have not quite a hundred vintage photos available for free download/printing on my flickr account! Sift through them anytime, and use what you can! This weekend, I should be adding more. I'm going to try over the summer to get my entire stash of vintage photos scanned and uploaded to share them. I want to make this baby's doll into something creepy . . . I love the idea of altering the baby AND the doll.

25 May 2009

Writers & Artists

OMG, I love this quote!

"The writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don't dare reveal."
--Elia Kazan

Angry Baby.

I love the expression on this baby's face! Print him out and use him in your art! He could become a zombie baby really easily, too. I think that may be what I do with him!

22 May 2009

Charles Simic: Quote and Poem.

“Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them.”

--Charles Simic

I think I'm going to try to start adding a quote once a week at least, that deals with writing or poetry. Maybe a poem, too. Charles Simic is credited with this one . . . and while I've never been an enormous fan of his poetry, I have heard him speak and read his work twice, and that makes me love him--he's kind of an old curmudgeon, and I love that he doesn't try to hide in when making appearances. I do love the following poem, though. It's available, with others of Simic's, at www.poets.org, too.

Eyes Fastened With Pins

How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing death's laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death's supper table.
The neighbors playing
Pinochle in the backyard
Or just sitting on the steps
Drinking beer. Death,
Meanwhile, in a strange
Part of town looking for
Someone with a bad cough,
But the address somehow wrong,
Even death can't figure it out
Among all the locked doors...
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper
To cover his head, not even
A dime to call the one pining away,
Undressing slowly, sleepily,
And stretching naked
On death's side of the bed.

21 May 2009

I love my librarian.

So, the reference librarian at UCC and I met for a drink at a local pub. It was great fun, and I think that we have more in common than we both thought . . . a very cool evening spent out, being a social human being. I feel a bit weird, but no grading, no writing, and no mail art tonight! I've had a crappy headache all day, so it was nice to try to ignore it for a while. I have got to get to the doctor's . . . I think that every Spring day in Oregon unearths another pollen to which I'm allergic.

I did watch The Grudge III this afternoon, though. Guess what? It was abysmal.

A Recent ATC.

So I LOVE taking pictures of people I don't know, preferably vintage photos of children and girls, and adding insults to them. These girls are from a late-1940s yearbook . . . and I've decided one is "loose" and one is a bitch. together, they're loose bitches, which delights me to no end. this is an atc for a swap at www.illustrated atcs.com. i don't make as many atcs as i used to, but they're fun to do for a change. keep in mind, too, that i teach writing/english to college students, so my fascination with insults and swearing is probably a little unhealthy. LOL! i like to blame it on the two years i spent in a sorority during my undergraduate at West Liberty State College--no one I've met since knows how to string together vulgarities like those Delta Zetas.

20 May 2009

Hunter S. Thompson

so, this is kinda literary, right? this is actually the first lolcat i'd ever seen, and it's still a favorite.

A Recent Work.

This is a chunky book page, 4 inches square, for a swap in which I'm participating at www.iatcs.com. This is for Judithann, and it's her cat. We all picked a particular photo to share, and the other six artists in the swap have to make a page using that photo. So, we'll each have a 6-page book ultimately, with 6 different artists' takes on the same snapshot.

I colored the cat--the photo made her look black, but she's brown IRL. I then added vintage text and printed papers, handwriting, watercolor crayon, alcohol inks on transparency, melted tulle and colored staples. There is a charm that will be attached to the page before I send it--but 3D embellishments scan so poorly that I leave them off until I'm done scanning.

Really, Smith Family Bookstore? Really?

So, last week I called the Smith Family Bookstore in Eugene. I was looking for a copy of The Safety of Objects by A. M. Homes. Apparently, somehow, my copies of that title and of her Music for Torching were mis-sorted into a "sell" pile when I was packing to move to Oregon last summer.

So, both locations--downtown and near campus--told me that they didn't have it. The campus location told me that they had none of her books. I spelled her name, saying "H-O-M-E-S, not H-O-L-M-E-S."

Still, no dice. Now, Eugene's about 75 minutes from here, so I don't go there all the time. I didn't want to drive up there only to find out they didn't have the book.

So yesterday, the hubs and i decided to take a drive up there to go to the farmer's market, to buy an extremely belated mother's day gift for my mama, and to fart around. I stopped in the campus-area Smith Family Bookstore to just double-check on their lack of A. M. Homes books.

I'd like to say I was surprised, but I'm not. They probably had 20 copies of assorted books by her, including two copies of The Safety of Objects. I doubt two people sold that book to them in the last week--and I know it's impossible that they had a sudden influx of 20 copies of various Homes books. Ugh. Of course, I bought the two books that I needed--I even got Music for Torching in hardback. But I was really angry, and squinted my eyes menacingly as I gave them my money.

An interesting development.

I'm completely stressed out over these writing papers, but somehow listening to The Flaming Lips in my office is making me a little happier. I use my iPod as a mood-altering drug far too infrequently.

18 May 2009

Reading Term Papers.

So I'm weighed down, emotionally and physically, with the research papers that my WR123 students have been working on for their whole term. The assignment was to write an argumentative research-backed paper with at least 12 sources [8 of which should be scholarly journal articles] and12-15 pages of writing. APA format.

For some reason, as soon as students read "12-15 pages of writing" and "research-backed," most of them interpret the assignment as finding as many sources as possible, then proceeding to write a paper that is little more than a patchwork-quilt of source information. oh my.

I find myself writing over and over again--"Where are YOU in this paper?" "How do these sources work to support your own claim on the topic?" "Where are you connecting these sources to the original argumentative claim, and allowing that claim to function as the thread that holds the paper together with one focus?"

I am certain I covered this in class in great detail, but somehow it's not translating once students leave the classroom to work independently on the project. I'm not sure what I can do in future terms to help with this--I'm sure it's frustrating for them, not just for me.

And, if that wasn't enough stress and worry, I also had eight students out of 35 choose to NOT turn in this draft. It's worth 30% of the course grade. If I had a camera phone, I might take a photo of myself pulling out my own hair in rage, then send that to the class.

16 May 2009

Gothic Arches.

I have recently been accepted at a juried mail-art site, and this is a sample from one of the first art swaps I've joined there. it's for 4x6-inch gothic arches that had to include a vocabulary flash card. Mine are little French/English ones from the 1960s or 1970s.
I've made seven of them, six for the swap and one for the host, Annie, as a gift. "Doigt" means "finger," by the way, which I thought was amusing. And I love picking on photos of little kids, by calling them devils or brats in my assemblages.
This is made with printed papers, vintage book text, a photocopy of a vintage photo, melted tulle, caran d'ache, alcohol inks on acetate, colored staples, graphite pencil, permopaque marker, a paint sample chip, metallic sharpie, acrylic paints, and more. The cardboard from a box of granola bars is the substrate.

Are YOU an English Nerd?

Yes, it's true. I am one. This made me smile.
English Nerd anecdote.

15 May 2009

Cultural Sensitivity? Maybe Not.

Redneck Haiku
This made me laugh out loud, even though I know better. I think that being born and raised in West Virginia affords me a certain amount of "allowed" mirth at the expense of the redneck stereotype. My great-grandfather was a redneck--officially. He worked in the coal mines in Brooke County, West Virginia. So there you have it. The first haiku is my favorite.

Macbeth, in Ashland, Oregon

So I went to see Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon yesterday. The college pays for students in my ENG105 [intro to literature, focusing on drama] and in Pete Anderson's Shakespeare courses to attend a matinee. Only about 12 students from each class went, but I think those students really enjoyed it overall.

I was impressed with a lot of the play . . . the stage direction and set design was fabulous, and the costumes were great. they wore WWII-era soldiers uniforms, for the most part, and Lady Macbeth wore a deep ruby color in all scenes except her final scene, when she wore a tattered white nightgown.

Lovely stuff. I was surprised, though, by the casting. The cast was multiracial, which is fantastic, but the choice of race for some characters was a bit odd. Macbeth was played by an African-American actor, and I thought that his portrayal of Macbeth had unintentional racial implications . . . here was a big, power-hungry, strong Black man who wanted to please his greedy shrew of a wife [who was white, btw]. I thought that it just seemed awkward, and McDuff's wife was portrayed by an Asian woman, and the character was reduced to a silent china-doll stereotype through most of her appearance.

I know it wasn't a thing that was intended, but I thought it was a little sloppy.

However, the play used three little girls, kind of like a gothic version of those famous Diane Arbus twins, to represent insanity, and that was genius. And, the three visions that the witches show Macbeth at one point are represented by these little deformed people that scurry off stage after popping out of the cauldron. Very cool.

Anyhow, some of the students had never seen a major production of a stage play, so it was a great opportunity. And, Ashland's only two hours south of here, so I may be tempted to go back this summer and see something else. :) Both Don Quixote and Shakespeare's Henry VIII are being put on this summer . . . i'm thinking that if we can afford it, Steve and I might go down and spend two nights . . . see both plays, one on Sunday & one on Tuesday.


Apparently, I have bees on the brain today--it's a beautiful afternoon, and I'm smelling flowers and listening to the kids across the alley play basketball. it is SO nice to have the house opened up!
i am trading art with a few friends, each of us is making a 3.5 x 5 inch piece of art, inspired by bees. this is my piece. it's got an overlay of acetate with alcohol-ink staining and bees stamped on it. it is watercolor paper and vintage text, painted with acrylics on a brayer. then, the letter B was stenciled on with PITT pen and prismacolors in yellows. then, a few asian bee images were added, then a rubber-stamped beehive became the body of a girl; i used a vintage image for the head and drew on wings and hair. there's a stamped bee in her hair, too. i added the letter B rubber-stamped around, and a caran d'ache edging in hot pink over a black permopaque edge. green staples hold on the acetate. oh, and there are images of wooden bee hives in the background, too. whew!

i outlined some things with charcoal pencil, and added a chinese fortune that had a bee stamped on it. that's my friday art. loL!

okay, so tomorrow is catturday, so here's a lolcat.

this one almost made me spit up. i love lolcats, but i try to stay away, as i can get caught up in just looking through the archives forever . . . i do love them. and, who doesn't love a little Blind Melon reference now and then?

13 May 2009

Outstanding Students . . . I have more than one, but . . .

Next Wednesday, UCC has their annual Outstanding Student Reception. I was able to nominate the outstanding writing student for the year--my student KL.

He's a nontraditional student, and he's a fantastic writer. He's lived a ridiculously full, crazy, enviable life, and his journal writing last term was hysterical, incisive and peerless. Additionally, his academic writing is accomplished, stylistically unique and always interesting. Regardless, I have to write up a little paragraph about him and present him with a certificate. :)

I'm excited--and I was certain that KL would roll his eyes in his head when I told him about it, but he seemed excited, too.

So it should be a nice little afternoon thing. I'll post a picture if I have one taken! :)

Some days I just don't have the patience for teaching.

I am seven weeks into a ten-week term . . . and I'm not certain as to how to proceed. I've never had so many students leave notes in my campus mailbox saying, "when you get a chance, please call me at 541-555-XXXX."

I don't want to call students at home, or on their cell phones. I also don't like that they disregard my office hours, when they could stop by or call me and be certain to have me there to answer all their questions at once.

I can't help but feeling like by leaving me a message to call them, they feel like the pressure is off, that the ball is now in my court. ugh.

Maybe I overreact, but I can't stand calling my mother, or friends I haven't seen in a year. I certainly don't want to call a student who is still on campus, but just doesn't want to walk over to my office.

02 May 2009

little birdies for springtime . . .

i'm taking part in a little art swap at a friend's mail art site, and all players used the same crow template to make birds. mine are double-sided, one side with collage and journalling, and the other side with acrylic and watercolor painting.

they're not quite eight inches long, and about two inches tall. i'm thinking about making a garland of them in black to use at halloween in the house--they'd look great spanning the built-in bookcases between the living room and dining room.

Here is the back of them--using a few rubber stamps I've bought second-hand. I'm in love with the "free key" stamp. it's huge!