Outing myself.

Wednesday! Whoa! Salad for dish to pass tonight done. Trash on the curb. Prince Dauntless at school. Cats fed and angry.There is banking to do, key to pick up and some publication design. The Cidery is well on the way. We are closing in on the labels. Delighted and Delightful!.

I have a crazy secret to share with you. You know I listen to talk radio, and Howard Stern. I listen to political radio, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, NPR, Terri Gross, and Meet the Press. I listen to books on tape from Audible. I love listening to chatter when I work.

Well, I have been listening to trash Tv, yes, the trashiest in the world, The Bachelor. OMG. What an amazingly profitable and formula driven show complete with individuals who are essentially cast in roles that happen season after season. There is the dullard, body building “hunk”(?) Bachelor…with a Zack, Jake, type of name. He is thuggy, not very original, and always is exclaiming about his inner, dull feelings of love, of the girls “opening up to him”, and of the possibility of “my wife is in this room”. He is always driving hot cars and “planning dates” (read the t.v. producers are planning, staging and making them happen and putting the words in Zack/Jake’s mouth). Then you have the girls. You have the beautiful bad girl who is guaranteed to take her top off. The good girl who lost a spouse or boyfriend in some awful accident (generally an airplane). You have the girls that might engage in cat fights. You have the yappy, maudlin one. There is always a super kookie one who is off her meds. And there is always one that reminds me of my favorite, most favorite internet personality>>Miss Teen USA (2007). These gals have given up their jobs (no one is very high management types.. and I am always trying to figure out how they pay the bills) to be on the show. They have suspended their lives to live in a group house with nice public spaces. When they give us little peeks into their bedrooms—it is not the lap of luxury. When they are not out of the fantabulous dates with Zack (either “one on ones” or a group date) they are busy waiting at the dream house eating frozen food. If they get through the immediate eliminations, there is a chance to travel around the world “finding love”. Oy.

The dates are a formula too. There is always the Barbie Dream Date ( the gal gets a shopping spree to buy a party dress, the loaner big hunk of jewelry, the private plane flight to Las Vegas, the private concert by some musical group, the tete a tete dinner in an exotic location where she and Zack can “open up to each other”. There is always a date where the pair either bungie jumps, tight rope walk, jump off a cliff together to get closer. There is the group date where there is “acting” and Zack has lots of kissing scenes with all eight gals. I could go on and on. This is so absolutely mindnumbing, yet fascinating.

And then there is the Fantasy Suite (generally in Tahiti) where they get “permission” to sleep together. The Fantasy Suite is totally Barbie with a pool, hot tub, tall tubs of champagne and satin on the bed. They like it nice and obvious (and Barbie Styled Tacky). I could go on and on about this. America sees these dates and women being eliminated after being considered  by Zack over the course of 8 or so episodes with these polygamous style dates…to the point that there is the meeting of family at the “hometowns”. The climax of the show is the elimination of one gal and keeping the last by offering her an engagement ring. Yep, two dream dates, a lot of groping and discussion about “opening up”, with sidebar video of each chick talking about her love for Zack. And surprisingly, it rarely lasts after the trips, the evening dresses and roses, and fantasy.

The next Bachelor or Bachelorette is selected from the prior year’s show—so there is a ton of back story and communal love for the perky or beautiful girl with lots of sass and “reality” or the strong, sensitive Zack-to-be.

And we all are delighted and amused like children as we know what is coming season after season.  We know about all the types of dates, the types of dinners, the infighting, the factions style conflict, the rich (not) and a meaningful conversations (not), and all the opening up (there is always a build when the widowed gal has to tell Zack about her child and loss of her love in an accident). Such edgy stuff. Makes the Kardashians seem like Fullbright scholars.

More often than not, the happy couple break up withing seconds of reality hitting (no more fantasy dates, the underwear on the floor, the philandering that Zach may be involved in)—and their “love” cannot survive.

There have been 16 bachelors, 16 Zacks… and they keep coming. I pity the folks that actually think that this is the way things should be. No wonder its hard for college kids to date. This bizarre show of competitive dating has changed things…not good. Not good at all. Now its time to go back to sleep in my Rumplestiltskin mode…and stay away from this crap.

More later.


More miracles

Portrait in progress, step one, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5

I have two portraits to do by the end of September. I got a crack at one of them yesterday and delighted in creating the silhouette and beginning to digitally cut the highlights out of that shape. I hope the mid tones and darks will go in today. I am always, without a doubt, nervous when I square up the paper and start these thing—asking myself if I can do it this time…as I rarely have much confidence in the reference combined with shaky personal confidence. Just picking up the pen, taking a deep breath and then the focused chipping away often checking every decision takes the time. When I have a half dozen highlights in, I know this is going to work or not….and my optimism can rise. Its a nice charge to drive the work forward. Then, I give myself a little permission to go a bit rogue with some manufactured highlights and shadows. I am optimistic I can give my client a pair of portraits that will work complete with working a hand with a smoking pipe into one of them as the pipe was so iconic with this particular artist.

Have you heard about Wacom’s newest offering, the Inkling? I discovered this wonder yesterday and currently I am transfixed and cannot wait until mid September. The Inkling is essentially, a ballpoint pen that records your hand drawing and transfers that work to digital. You use their pen, and your own notebook. I am wondering how it translates your drawing to make it better than a high res scan. Its too cool…but now that I think about it…unless it saves it to vectors or layers or provides me more than a scan, I am trying to figure out whether this is more of a toy than a real work tool. Maybe if there is a chance today, I will do a little reading on this.

From EverythingUSB.com:

“Finally this fantastic pen interface technology has made it to where it belongs, Wacom Inkling Smart Pen. The Inkling Smart Pen is a 2 part device that transfers handwriting strokes to a digital format. The technology is quite clever and extremely energy efficient which is what gives it such great potential. The base unit uses 2 microphones that give it the sound version of stereoscopic ‘vision’, allowing it to hear where the pen is moving.The pen emits a completely inaudible pulse helping the base unit track location and pen pressure. The datagrams on these coordinates are tiny allowing for cheap storage of many pages. The pen is normal sized thanks to only needing to make its silent ping while the base unit listens and records. Other competitors in the space require a hot-dog sized pen to hold all the electronics. Some of those require special paper as well, where none is needed by the Inkling.

The touch of a button on the base tells the device to start using storing the pen strokes in a different ‘page’ and it can store dozens if not hundreds of pages. An internal battery in the base is recharged by USB and the pen only needs inexpensive watch batteries. This technology has been hopping from company to company for some time now, A-open and IOGear to name a few. Both have products based on this technology but no one does pens like Wacom. We’re looking forward to see how much they’ve improved upon it while unfortunately upping the prior incarnation’s MSRP. Wacoms plan to release the Inkling Smart Pen at $199 later this year. Being able to import directly into Illustrator is probably worth double that for any serious artists.”

OH MY. v e c t o r

I wonder if one will be enough!

It was study hall yesterday at the office. It just dawned on Alex that maybe, just maybe he needed to get to work on the paper he has due next week for his environmental science class. This has a lot of research and processing of information which my son thought he could dash off….NOT. So, I made him sit with me all day to work on this paper. Unfortunately, he is busy counting words versus focusing on truly delivering on the paper’s content and requirements. I think I am going to throw the role of the heavy to Rob as I am making him sit and focus. I hope there is more we will learn about Alex from the testing we will be starting in a week or so. He just focuses on the oddest things and doesn’t really understand where he should be tracking. If I can talk him through, sometimes it hits. Sometimes he is there with me. More study hall today.

I have a meeting in a few and need to get the already foley-ed tomato sauce on the stove to simmer for a few hours to get the water out. I am a sauce making machine. I feel like there may be a few more pots out there. Loving it.

the power of new technology

Green Man 14, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkAs you know, I love stuff…any kind of stuff is fine by me. I love technology—cameras, computers, its all fun. And my favorite go to for technology is my wonderful IPad (given to me by my brother and husband) which has filled in the gaps, has provided me a vehicle to watch movies, read books (and not clutter my side table with paperbacks that I do not want anyone to know I read), recipes on demand, a drawing tablet and now thanks to Kennsington, a little mini, bluetooth keyboard that allows me to write you this verbal meandering on a more regularized basis. Yes, I tried with the iPad hunt and peck keyboard—but it just didn’t get me writing as fast as I normally do with a keyboard—and thus stopping or slowing down the stream of stupidity I write. And, with this keyboard, it makes writing on the iPad app for Squarespace totally pleasant, so travel combined with the opportunity to share immediately is going to increase. Hurray for small moves! Hurray for bluetooth (which I am beginning to understand and get the hang of) ! And hurray for slightly more seamless, offsite communications! Love this world we live in! Right?

I have been enjoying Dribbble. This is a microbloggy type of site that one is invited to participate in—if you are a visual person. You are given so many shots (I think its 24 per month, with no rollover)—to post a 400 x 300 pixel image of work you are working on—and then folks can comment, like or heart. Once can post visual responses—and it is a nice back and forth. One can have followers etc. (common with the Empire of Tweets), and Facebook. It is exclusively a visual site. Its nice as you can tweet the images posted…and if you have it set up to have your tweets fed to different parts of cyberspace (Facebook, Behance, LinkedIn, Tumblr and so on), those post immediately, so more mileage for every post and every click you make. Does all this effort to thread these sites together through tweets and RSS feeds really manifest more work, more attention, more recognition, more anything? I do not know—but time is valuable, and the question is—and I think I already know the answer, is there a right solution for this?

Seems to me, uneducated and naive in this cyber world of “getting out there”, there is no clear answer. The web is for everyone…and you can tailor your experience to those things that interest you…and only you. It is one of those wonderful spaces that you can be totally self absorbed—and pursue your likes and loves—regardless of anyone else. And, you can do this privately on a global stage. Just as your experience with the web is personal, so is the promotion, the tagging, the blogs, microblogs, social sites, promotional sites all need to reflect you, your interests and what your pocketbook can support. It can get expensive if you filter advertising and private sites into the mix. But again, this is personal choice—and with the DIY headset I am understanding…everything goes.

That is why an approach of fearless trying—and linking, and spending the time to knit it together to create a cohesive image is important to me. Good chance it might not be the same for you..but then again, this is MY web experience…at least for now. My rule of thumb is that you never know anything unless you try it…so sticking my toe in the electronic pond and seeing where the ripples end up is my approach. You never know…and interesting people and projects have come my way just my putting my work on threads and seeing how far and wide they go. India is one of the bigger countries that sends people to my work via google. And I am in China and Estonia. Go figure. I guess the work speaks to this aesthetic and audience. What is next?

It is a silver-gray morning at the lake. The water is the color and form of mercury with a subtle deliineation between water and sky…all misty and moisty. The crickets living in the wisteria are having an audio party, chirping away. Last night, I made up a pot of more freezer jam: sweet cherries, blueberries, and nectarines with lemon and just slid the 4 robust jars of it into the freezer. What fun this freezer jam is. Next stop: ginger peach. I think that sounds divine.

It is looking like fall. Its cooler and thus, I want to cook a bit more. Lovely Alex regaled us with his love of Thanksgiving—particularly that of last Thanksgiving—from the food (in detail) to the guests (he loved it) to the relaxing and quiet of the day. I had totally forgotten that last Thanksgving was premade holiday that I made mostly in advance (gravy, stuffing, breads, desserts, cranberries, side dishes) and froze—unthawing the day before—pop the bird in…and away we go. Definitely the way to go….and I am getting my lists ready to be in advance this year. That really, really worked out—and the food was only a few weeks old in the freeze, so it was just fine. Plus, it pushed us to have turkey before Thanksgiving for the bones to make buckets of stock that the whole of Thanksgiving hangs off of. Gloria will be with us this year which should make the family scene more lively for all.

The week beckons. Kitty and Rob go to NYC tomorrow. Alex starts preseason training today. I have commitments all week. And we are squeezing Sausage Fest into the mix on Saturday. I mean, preseason isn’t preseason without the annual “skinny boys| big sausages” event. Yes, we have the teeshirts. Yes, we have the guest list. All we need is the sausage. Done. I also raised my hand (as a senior’s mom) to provide breakfast for 28 on September 10th for the cross-country boys and girls just to keep my end up. Now, what to make….? And back we go to providing pounds of apples and bagels, writing checks, and showing up to events. The bittersweet thing is that this is the last year. Now that I have really gotten the hang of being a mom—the merry go round will slow to stop. And I will get a new role with this training. The good thing is that Alex is delighted that the end is in sight. No hesitation, no maudlin shows….plunging ahead. Love this boy.

More green men. I am getting the hang of them.

Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras Memento, Q. Cassetti, 2011. Pitt pen, ultra sharpie pen on moleskine We had a magical dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen last night…me and the boys. Alex was courtly and funny, amusing us with his insights and observations which are rational, succinct and quite wise for someone so young. I am so proud of him, his view of the world, and the world that continues to unveil one more interesting thing after the next for him. And our dinners were delicious, beautifully presented and imaginatively put together. They are doing wonderful things there.

Mardi Gras is today. They are eating pancakes in Pittsburgh and boudin in Lafayette LA. Revelry with feathers and music, high jinx and frivolity. The last of the king cake will be consumed because tomorrow, the period of remorse and sadness begins.

Need to get into that spirit.

What to give up for lent? Hmmm… I have a few ideas. Humor? Trying to be nice? I think I will give up being a grown up! Yeah….that feels right.

Interesting how change evokes change. With the snow, I opened a dropbox.com account. Dropbox is cool…as it is a sync’ed file that you can access via the web, via your computer, cellphone and ipad. You are given 2 GB of space for free…and can pay for more…so its not pricey to back up to dropbox to have your files available immediately, anywhere you want…plus, you can set up folders for clients etc. etc. I may even get one just for my personal work…so the work and the play can be separate. Hmmm. Works like a charm. Installs easily. Syncs with the iPad, powerbooks and desktop beautifully. Simply explained and a snap to engage.

Need to get rolling on an illustration. Awaiting the  Hangar materials (a bit late)…as there is a ton to do.

Later baby.