Friday, September 26, 2008

a friday night song

Probably, I should leave music-blogging to more knowledgeable people...

Anyway, here's a song I've had on loop lately, and which made me dig up the star-brush in photoshop and apply it clumsily to this photo I took of my grandparents' basement stairs yesterday:"Starry Stairs" by Okkervil River. Okkervil River are a band I've liked for years, since a friend of mine put a fantastic track of theirs called "Red" on a CD of mp3s she made me before we both left for college, and this song is from their most recent album The Stand Ins (which is part of a double album-ish with last year's The Stage Names, which is my favourite overall album of the two, I think). The original version of this song was called "(Shannon Wilsey On The) Starry Stairs," and it's about said Ms. Wilsey, who was apparently a 90s porn star who died in a sort of tragic and bewildering way. There's nothing I don't like about this song---the melody is pretty and a little earwormy; there are some random jingly bells in the intro, as well as other cool instrumentation throughout. I love a muted horn section! And Will Sheff's songwriting and vocals are often fantastic. (Listen to the poignant way he sighs out "oh what a trip / oh what a shimmering silver ship / oh what a hot half-life I half-lived" at 2:26. Definitely my favourite moment/set of lyrics.)

Re: the photo, it represents one of those instances when my eyes and the camera weren't exactly in agreement about what was going on---my eyes thought the stairs looked way better than the camera did, with warmer light and more intriguing shadows.

Also, I guess I should put up one of those music-blog disclaimers here that goes: Mp3 for sampling purposes only! Please support the artists! And if, by some strange chance, you happen to represent them and want the song taken down, let me know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

made with pernicious peaches!

Sinister Desserts.
Originally uploaded by slothmuffin

When I got back into TV as a storytelling medium a couple years ago, I tripped and fell in love with Supernatural, and my mom ended up liking it, too. Both of us are easily swayed by vintage cars and good screen chemistry, I guess. And even though we also jointly enjoy other shows (some of which are of way more consistent quality, like The Office or Firefly), this one is kind of special. We tend to do some kind of chocolatey dessert for the beginning and end of each season (and I don my demon horns), and after the episode, we eat and discuss.

For tonight's season premiere, we (I totally stirred it for a while) made Evil Chiffon (dark chocolate and coffee flavoured) with cherry-peach-wine sauce. I've been trying to do something small and creative every day, just to keep myself from going crazy, so today's project was these dessert picks, which I painted in watercolours with things that I thought had at least something to do with the show (from left to right: ball of flames, pentagram, completely non-threatening ghost, demon eye) and mounted on little bits of road map.

I wish that blogger had a place to enter the music you've got on as you're writing, the way livejournal does. I seem to be unable to take Okkervil River's "Starry Stairs" off repeat right now, so that's what I'd be typing into the "music" field if there was one.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

more successful experiment no. 1

Wilbur the Whale
Originally uploaded by slothmuffin

Meet Wilbur, my first ever sewing machine project! When I found this stuffed whale pattern my mom had from the 70s, I knew I had to make one. (Or more. Do you think anyone would buy one of these on Etsy? I'm hoping so.) The pattern still needs to be modified a little---I made it about half the size of the original (which was 18" long, so I guess Wilbur is probably about 9") but the tail (which you can't really see in this photo) is proportioned too small, and he kind of has an underbite (also somehow minimized in this photo. Clearly, I shot him from his good side.). He's also sort of lumpy and asymmetrical. If I were a lot younger, that would add to his charm. As it is, I just need to practice so the next one is better. (And I have an awesome idea for the next one...)

I think my mom has always hoped I'd want to learn how to sew, so we're both having fun. I've been watching her sew things as long as I've been alive, and I never really understood what the draw was, since it always looked like it required more patience than I had to give, but I enjoyed this. There's something very cool about watching a three-dimensional thing come together seam by seam until you can tie the knot on its last slightly-creepy button eye and go I made a whale!!

Wilbur and I are going to go watch Gossip Girl now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

failed experiment no. 1

the jellyfish of bad ideas.
Originally uploaded by slothmuffin

I'm thinking about starting up an etsy store, so I'm playing around with ideas. I liked the thought of polymer clay jellyfish earrings with wire tentacles, but as I was fighting with the pliers to attach the tentacles (me and wire: not friends yet.), I realized these would be the Worst. Earrings. Ever. I almost always wear my hair pulled away from my face/ears, so it didn't occur to me until I actually had the wire in my hands that these would just be hair-tangling trainwrecks waiting to happen. And the tentacle-wire is so thin that the tentacle-shapes wouldn't withstand the detangling very well. I put them on earwires anyway, just to see what they'd look like, but I'm going to take them off and maybe put little thread loops so they can be hanging ornaments instead.

The jellyfish were actually yesterday's adventure. (...If making non-wearable jewelery counts as an adventure.) Today's was trying to get a bird who'd flown down the chimney out of our woodstove. After a lot of messing around with semi-elaborate bird-catching contraptions made with cookie sheets and cardboard boxes, we trapped the bird under a mug while it was napping a few minutes ago, and it just flew off into the night in a cloud of soot.

Monday, September 8, 2008


This is as good an inaugural post as any, I guess. Sometimes, when I finish a really long book, I like to balance it on my head and take a picture. (Actually, I think I've only done this with Stephen King books in the past---The Stand, It, Duma Key...) To be fair, this is the large print edition of this book, so its size is even further exaggerated. I've read all of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books, and found them enjoyable in that way where I had to clap my hands over my face and cackle at least once a chapter because the writing was so dubious and overwrought. Her non-vampire-related book (The Host, in case the title isn't clear in the picture) was actually readable in a way that involved minimal laughter! I was pleasantly surprised. She handled alien mythology/worldbuilding much better than she did vampires (and werewolves), and the plot of this book was a lot less tied up in the Great and Mystical Romance of its protagonist. There was still a bunch of "we kissed, and I could feel our souls melding like I was taking a course in metallurgy," or whatever, and Ms. Meyer has a weird thing for (a) interspecies romance and (b) characters who are So Pure and Wonderful that everyone can't help but be enchanted by them, but still. Much better.

Now, the part I've been dreading, bringing it back to the library. I try not to drive to my town library when the weather is good, since it's a quick-ish walk, but wow, do I not want to walk there carrying this thing.