Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mug Purge

When my husband and I got married almost 20 years ago we registered at Macy's and received a complete set of beautiful Japanese dishes complete with cups, saucers, sugar bowl and creamer. There was enough of everything for 12 people: purple, blue, black and green luscious plates and bowls. The color was saturated and gorgeous. Like Fiesta ware, but better.
Twenty years is a lot of tea and coffee. A lot of tea parties with the girls (we have two now), a lot of mixing salad dressing and holding colorful frosting for holiday cookies. These little cups are good for so many things, after all.
This is the only one left:
The lonely blue cup from a dozen rainbow originals, the only unclipped, unbroken member of a big, happy family. What happened to the others, the ones that didn't break? I can't even recall. How would one lose a tea cup? I guess they all broke, leaving just one intact after two decades of heavy use.

We never replaced the others, not really. What fills our shelves are a mish-mash of odd mugs collected or made over the years. We've received "thank you" mugs with our names printed on them for good deeds done. We have a few bland Ikea mugs that don't even merit a photograph. There are a few matching mugs—in straggling twos and threes—given as holiday gifts with a pound of coffee or box of special tea.
But mostly what we're left with are the oddballs. The joke and novelty mugs that are just too funny to toss but too weird to love. Like this one, a dandy little guy that wishes us a Happy Winter, year-round.
This one is my favorite. It's informative, with a nice long description of Bigfoot sitings over the 20th century.
It's hard to imagine parting with these guys, such familiar faces in the morning. But it's time. It's time to grow up, toss the reindeer mug and throw down the big bucks for matching more adult mugs. Or at least matching mugs. Again. But without the big white gown and catering.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nation's Oldest Shopping Mall Converted to Apartments

Further illustrating the trend away from big-box retail, a 19th Century shopping mall in Providence, Rhode Island is slated to transition into a complex of micro-apartments. The Greek-Revival building in downtown Providence will continue to house retail on its bottom level, but the Arcade's upper two floors will convert into 48 dwellings, all outfitted with built-in beds, baths and storage. Imagine moving in straight from college. You'd have to bring nearly nothing and you'd get to live in a gorgeous building located near services and public transit.
 Built in 1828, the Arcade was the United State's first enclosed shopping center. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1976, but by 2010 was one of Providence's ten most endangered buildings.
Grazi Architizer.

Friday, March 8, 2013

If You Love Words

You'll love the work that MyriapodProductions is doing. Among other things they've created this lovely site, Mysteries of Vernacular. Using paper craft animation (that looks much simpler than it really is, I'm sure) artist Jessica Oreck explores the twisty tales behind some of the most interesting words in the English language. Check out their entry for "clue," below.

There's also a interesting entry about hearse and another on assassin. They're slowly building up their archive. I suggested limousine for L, but they'd already chosen a word.

Friday, February 1, 2013

In Memorium

The same day Rep. Gabrielle Giffords testified before a Senate committee on gun violence, a disgruntled client opened fire in a Phoenix law office during a mediation session, killing an attorney and another client.
The lawyer was Mark Hummels, a husband, father of two and lawyer still in the early years of his career.
He was also a former journalist. Mark got his master's in journalism from U.C. Berkeley at the same time I did. I remember him as one of the sunniest, warmest people in our class -- which included some of the loveliest people I'll ever know.
After j-school Mark moved with his girlfriend Dana to New Mexico and got a job reporting for the Albuquerque Journal and later for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He got frustrated with journalism and quit, entered law school and was hired by a firm in Phoenix, Osborn Maledon, where he died Wednesday.
The shooter was unhappy about the outcome of a mediation session and shot Mark and the other client at the session's conclusion.
Mark is survived by Dana and their two children.

If any of us need any more reminders to hold the ones we love close, here's one more.
I for one feel that gun violence has hit a little too close to home for me to just sit back and read the papers.

I Like Tiny Street Art

Not art made on tiny streets, but tiny art made on streets and public surfaces. 

The German artist Evol lives and works in Berlin. He paints miniature apartment buildings on utility boxes, concrete blocks and park walls. 

He uses a layered stencil technique.

And my favorite:

grazi twistedsifter.com.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making Music Out of Garbage

There is a village in Paraguay that is built on top of a landfill. The people there work digging through the garbage and selling what can be used again. Sometimes they make things themselves from things they find in the dump.
Some documentary filmmakers have completed a project that highlights the fruits of this "up cycling" -- the Landfill Harmonic.
Villagers make violins, cellos, flutes and all sorts of other instruments using oil drums, forks and whatever else they can find. The teaser for the film shows children proudly displaying and playing their instruments, both alone and in groups. There could hardly be a more potent example of the power of making music. It is a gift that should never be taken for granted. It gives our humanity a chance to peek out and be seen.
Consider supporting this film project by sharing the video -- and make a little music of your own!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'Ghosts of History' Creates Visual Mash Ups of Photos from 1940s and Today

This post I wrote for Open Culture tells the story of Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, a Dutch historian who found a box of old negatives at an Amsterdam flea market. She spent the next several years identifying where the photos were taken (mostly around The Netherlands) and when (before and after World War II. Then she took pictures of the same places today and merged the images together. History, as her work shows, is all around us all the time.