30 April 2010

Life of Art SitRep #12

A series to mark what I did to further my pursuit of a life sustained by my art each week. Committing to these posts is a commitment to action, because to have content for them, I have to do something. Every week. If you have any sort of goal you're pursuing, feel free to share your efforts of the past week in the comments. Or encouragement, that's good too.
*******
This week, I
  • Shot 294 photos.
  • Went to art exhibit opening. (Not mine, but I worked on it.)
  • Added office tags to Green Man stamp:

  • Tweeted, FB'd zazzle free shipping code deets. That code has expired, but you can now get 50% off 2-day shipping on orders of $25 or more.
    Use Code: MOMMYUPGRADE
    Ends May 4, 2010 at 3:00 PM PT.
  • Read Zazzle Advanced Store Customization Guide.
  • With zazzle forum help, removed product type links from my store's sidebar for most of the product types my store doesn't contain. Posted follow-up question to find out how to remove the last few.
  • Submitted my store to Zazzle store index site: http://zazzlestoreindex.weebly.com/index.html
  • Added zazzle blog panel to my blog's sidebar. Seems to change 3 products displayed at whim.
  • Made card, postcard, postage, mousepad, and print for Flooded Golf Course for my store. Included photo and link in blog post.

*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


Three years ago on TTaT: Catnap: Return of the Vlog

28 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 23

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"p.107 of How to Draw Animals by Jack Hamm"


A year ago on TTaT: Best DVR frak-up to date

26 April 2010

Dear Lego, your sexist policy is appalling!

Over the weekend, my Mom stopped at a Lego store to pick up a trip souvenir for me. When she asked where all of the female Lego figures were, she was told that in times of economic downturn, it's Lego's policy to market exclusively to boys. When the economy is better, then there are more female figures available and they are more prominently displayed.

My 70 year old Mom told the employee, "That's so outdated and sexist. Your policy is appalling!" (Yay Mom.)

When she relayed the tale to me, I said, "That's awful! And I can't believe he just said that to you." Such blatant sexism. No apology, that's just how it is.

When it comes to Lego Star Wars figures, I'll grant you that the Star Wars universe doesn't contain many women. But does your only Lego Star Wars character 3-pack with Princess Leia in it have to be of the character in her slave outfit? Come on! Oh right, you're just marketing to boys.

I'm so disappointed because I love Legos, but a company relying upon and perpetuating gender stereotypes for survival doesn't deserve my business. At least until there's an economic upturn, I guess.

Let me know if you decide to join the rest of us in 2010.

Sincerely dismayed,
Claire

improv wisdom: don't prepare, just show up; Aquarium

18. improv wisdom: don't prepare, just show up by Patricia Ryan Madson (4/5)

Reading Voix de Michele's tales of improv and Colleen the Communicatrix's review peaked my interest in improv wisdom, so I checked out a copy from the library. Well worth reading. (Thanks for recommending it, Colleen!)

The basic premise is that the tenets of improv performing can also be applied to life. "Say yes," "just show up," "start anywhere," "make mistakes, please" to name a few. Each chapter contains examples of its maxim from her life and her students' experiences, as well as experiments so you can try it out for yourself.

It could be easy to dismiss a maxim like "don't prepare" but Madson is mindful of context. Obviously certain tasks, e.g. neurosurgery, require a great deal of preparation. For other tasks, however, there is a lot to be gained by just diving in rather than over-thinking it.

Be in your life rather than perpetually contemplating it.

Also, saying you're bad with names is a total cop-out. Make an effort. I've started to and learned 7 in an afternoon a week ago when I showed up to volunteer on an art exhibit. At the exhibit's opening on Saturday, I spoke with 4 of the 5 I saw, initiating most of the conversations, including a brief exchange with a total stranger. Granted, I failed the next day when I did not say hi to my neighbor, but he kind of refused to look up from what he was doing in my direction. Maybe next time.

All this is to say that improv wisdom has lots of good tidbits for introverts. I'm going to add it to my wishlist.

*********

19. Aquarium Photographs by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, essay by Todd Newberry, interview by Lawrence Weschler (3/5)

A married couple of landscape photographers, Cook shoots in black and white while Jenshel shoots in color. The book is a series of photographs from each, intermingled, shot at numerous aquariums around the world.

I didn't always get what they were going for with their juxtapositions, as revealed in the interview at the end of the book. Some of their photos seem more successful in retrospect. Generally, I preferred the black and white, but there were a handful of each that I really liked.

Weschler is an astute interviewer. I read an excellent book by him about artist Bob Irwin years ago, Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees. My Dad recently read it and looking for other Weschler works, came upon Aquarium. I agree with him that Newberry's introductory essay is a little cheesy. Weschler's interview, however, is not to be missed.

There are definitely some cool aquariums out there as well as less savory ones. I read Aquarium in one sitting, so if underwater creatures and aquariums are your thing, it's worth a look.


A year ago on TTaT: Don't touch the cub

25 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 22

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"Claire's Lion"


A year ago on TTaT: Record breaking

24 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 21

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"Digger/claw #2"




A year ago on TTaT: Out looking for distraction

23 April 2010

Life of Art SitRep #11

A series to mark what I did to further my pursuit of a life sustained by my art each week. Committing to these posts is a commitment to action, because to have content for them, I have to do something. Every week. If you have any sort of goal you're pursuing, feel free to share your efforts of the past week in the comments. Or encouragement, that's good too.
*******
This week, I
  • Shot 371 photos including a groove sequence.
  • Shot 6 videos.
  • Created something that is on display in a contemporary art museum! It's not my exhibit, but it's a start. I volunteered for an afternoon, working on an exhibit. The two artists, both a few years younger than me–sigh, were quite nice and supportive of my fledgling efforts. Made plans to attend the exhibit's opening. It's no TequilaCon, but it will make me interact with new people (unless I find ways to hide while perusing art ;)
  • Revised links/text about my store on TTaT a little bit.
  • Read a bunch of stuff on zazzle's forum. Downloaded some guides. Settled on tagging strategy/methodology.
  • Revised/amended store tags and all product tags and descriptions for SEO (which I'm finally beginning to remember stands for Search Engine Optimization). I'm still keeping my background stories in my descriptions though.
  • Added product list to my shop's sidebar to make it easier to find specific items.
  • Made stamps of 14 photos for my shop, available in U.S. rates from postcard to priority mail:
  • Tweeted, FB'd, blogged (see below) new postage folder link as well as ZAZZLEMOMDAY sale info for binder and card folders.
    Cards are 20% off and Binders are 15% off with code ZAZZLEMOMDAY until April 26, 11:59 PT. All customizable.
  • Made mousepads for remaining photos except where design would be impaired.
  • Added Bokeh in Spring folder link to post with bokeh shot. Replaced old photo with store image link. Added The Road is Favorite Place: Day 9 link to The Link description.
  • Posted comment with store link and sale info to John Scalzi's pimp thread.
  • Drew 1 sketch.
*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


4 years ago on TTaT: K.O.

22 April 2010

Spaztastic! Coming to you live from the realm of reason...

Dear Self,

When you become reticent when people ask you what you're doing, that's your stuff, not theirs.

When you feel flustered and embarrassed by their enthusiasm stemming from your mention of photography, again, all you. You're making assumptions about their expectations when all that really matters is that you know your Thing is a legitimate pursuit.

The flush that sweeps over your cheeks when they ask if you have a studio, what magazines you've published in, or as you describe how your shop works? Still your stuff.

The flustered? Well, that could also be because you're not used to having an answer and you're way out of practice talking to new people. You've set flustered as your default reaction to certain questions because you're assuming all people suck. Not all of them do though, so you might as well embrace a confident attitude. Seems like that might help deflect the naysayers as well, so there's really no reason not to try it.

I know, "Be confident," it's easy to write, but when you believe your pursuit will work, other people will be more likely to as well.

You love what you discover through photography. It's worth doing and worth sharing with others.

Chin up, kiddo. One step at a time. You're probably not nearly as spaztastic as you think you are. ;)

xoxox,
C


Two years ago on TTaT: Priapism

21 April 2010

Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. xv)

...to "Keep It Goin' Louder (feat. Nina Sky and Ricky Blaze)" by Major Lazer:


(Previous grooves.)


Two years ago on TTaT: Out and about

20 April 2010

Beyond: Visions Of The Interplanetary Probes

17. Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes by Michael Benson (4.5/5)

Seriously amazing photos of the planets, some of their moons, asteroids, and the sun. Very cool.

Not to be confused with his more recent book, Beyond: A Solar System Voyage, which is meant for younger readers.

Regardless of age, I'd still pick this one. It has loads more photos and enjoyable foreword & afterwords by Arthur C. Clarke and Lawrence Weschler, respectively. Benson's writing was much more tolerable in this book. Had I not been biased by his initial rant in the "kid's book," it would've been fine.


A year ago on TTaT: So this is you being 'helpful'?

19 April 2010

Treasure script

INT. CAR WITHIN PARENTS' GARAGE - EARLY EVENING

36-year-old CLAIRE sits in the front passenger seat – she's tall and her MOM, seated behind her, is accommodating like that. DAD is behind the wheel beside her – he always drives if he's in the car.
                   CLAIRE
         (pointing to a shelf in front of the car)
Does that box that says "Legos" actually have Legos in it?

                   MOM
         (leans over so she can read the box)
Oh, that box has a ton in it.

                   CLAIRE
Really?
Claire was certain her Mom had said they'd given a big box of all the Legos to her brother years ago.
                  MOM
Yeah.
Dad backs the car out and remotely closes the garage door.
                  CLAIRE
         (to Dad)
Would you help me get that box down when we get back from dinner?

                  DAD
Sure.
CUT TO:





The corners of Claire's mouth rise: a mischievous grin. Her eyes twinkle with the possibilities.


3 years ago on TTaT: Yeah, I watch Smallville

18 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 20

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"Digger/claw"



Hmm. OK. Well, the flaws seem more egregious now that they're next to each other. Maybe I should put a big gap in so they don't fit on the same screen. ;)

P.S. I'd love to put this claw in my yard along with that metal spiral staircase down the road that's been out laying on its side for years. Not really my yard though, among other things.


A year ago on TTaT: GGGRrrrraaaRRRR!!!

17 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 19

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"p.103 of How to Draw Animals by Jack Hamm"


A year ago on TTaT: National Day of Silence

16 April 2010

Life of Art SitRep #10

A series to mark what I did to further my pursuit of a life sustained by my art each week. Committing to these posts is a commitment to action, because to have content for them, I have to do something. Every week.

If you have any sort of goal you're pursuing, feel free to share your efforts of the past week in the comments. Or encouragement, that's good too.

*******
This week, I
*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


A year ago on TTaT: Good Friday Meets the Twilight Zone (part 2)

15 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 18

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"p.61 of Swords of the Samurai: The Splendours of Japanese Sword Furniture by Lumír Jisl"

Wanting something different from my various how-to-draw books, I pulled this book off the shelf at home. I was expecting lots of pictures of cool swords, but mostly it's plates of decorated guards (tsubas): cool to be sure, but not what I had in mind to draw that day.

However, I did find a diagram of the parts of a Wakizashi sword and tsuba which I copied for my drawing. "Copy" sounds all trace-y and wrong; I looked at an image and tried to draw it as well as I could, just like I do for any sketch from life.


A year ago on TTaT: Where is my compassion?, All in the details

14 April 2010

Slippery slope

I'm content to listen to the radio when I'm getting my hair cut or my teeth cleaned. Generally, I actually prefer it to getting swamped with questions I don't want to answer. If someone's really chatty, I'll ask him or her a question and then just let them talk.

Today I was feeling a bit more sociable, however, and my dental hygienist hit neutral mutual topics. The tv in the upper corner of the room for patients was playing FoxNews.

"Can you change the channel to something else or turn the tv off?" I asked.

"Oh sure. Let me get you the remote. You can put it on whatever you want."

I took the remote and said, "I don't know what comes on this time of day."

"You can surf if you like or turn it off. It's here for the patients."

I hit "2" to get it off FoxNews, thinking I'd surf upwards and see what was playing but after a few seconds, I turned it off. With the green safety glasses on and her work light sometimes in the way, there wasn't much to see anyway. The radio was on in the hallway, so I set my gaze on the ceiling and listened to music, DJ chatter, and the occasional ad.

"The quiet's nice," she said. "Usually the tv's on all day. Some people need it for the distraction because they get nervous. I can't stand half of what they watch though. I'm a reader, I don't really watch tv."

Right. She told me about a Diana Gabaldon book a few visits ago, I thought to myself. I let it go, instead mentally drawing the vent and fluorescent light fixture on the ceiling.

A persistent hum sounded nearby. A cell phone on vibrate. Is that me? No, my phone's not even on. Must be hers.

She continued working and said, "That's my phone. Usually I don't have it on me or even on, but we've got an American Idol pool going. It's up to $250 and there are a few people who haven't gotten back to me yet. They need to get their picks in today for the winner. Have you seen it?"

When she removed the mirror and pick from my mouth several seconds later, I replied, "I saw an episode or two years ago. I don't follow it."

She told me who she likes and why and then we discussed reality tv and the nature of celebrity. It was an affable chat.

Then she asked me something the answer to which I was embarrassed to say, so I sort of lied to avoid the typical follow up questions. My answer was true in a certain context, but it gave the wrong impression. Her immediate enthusiasm for my answer based on her perception of its scope made it a straight-up lie. I felt my cheeks burn and hoped her focus was aimed solely inside my mouth.

Her subsequent questions made me feel like a fraud, so I tried to walk back my initial answer to the proper context. I was half successful, but she responded with suggestions and support for me. I fear this will come up again in six months. With hard work and some luck, I hope it won't matter then.

To recap: a truthful answer would've made us both uncomfortable for a short while. The bent truth told to avoid embarrassment lead to the precipice of a fictionalized identity and still has me beating myself up for telling it. So, integrity is not always a picnic: there are uncomfortable truths and uncomfortable lies whether spoken aloud or not.

Feels like time to embrace silence again.


A year ago on TTaT: To sum up

12 April 2010

G BIV flora









A year ago on TTaT: I'll take a bear in my Easter basket any day.

11 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 17 + bonus sketch

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"p.101 of How to Draw Animals by Jack Hamm"


And bonus sketch:
"Shelves at SuperCuts"

I would've gotten further with my drawing of the shelves at SuperCuts (though I kind of like it as is), but I held off starting because a short woman in her 40s was regaling the hair dressers and other customers with stories from her stripper days, and I didn't want her to think I was writing it down. ...which I am now... Anyway.

Apparently stripping is good money so long as you're not on drugs and avoid prostitution. For the best tips, you want to entertain the unattractive old guys. They've got pensions whereas the better looking young guys have less and aren't really going to get serious about you anyway. Young guys aren't worth the effort.

Both hairdressers said they would strip for money if they had better bodies. The ex-stripper said she would if she still had the body she did when she was in her 20s, but that her husband probably wouldn't like it. Don't remember if she said she quit after they met or before.

A male hairdresser emerged from the back and waxed the ex-strippers eyebrows for her. After she left, he asked if she was the one who'd been talking about stripping.

"Yeah, that was her," another hairdresser said.

"I thought so," he said. "She didn't have any makeup on except for lip liner. Without lipstick. Her lips were perfectly outlined."


Four years ago on TTaT: Don't forget

09 April 2010

Life of Art SitRep #9

A series to mark what I did to further my pursuit of a life sustained by my art each week. Committing to these posts is a commitment to action, because to have content for them, I have to do something. Every week.

If you have any sort of goal you're pursuing, feel free to share your efforts of the past week in the comments. Or encouragement, that's good too.

*******
This week, I
*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


4 years ago on TTaT: Memedulgence, Touch the fire

06 April 2010

Polaroid


Apparently there was a time I could tan...


A year ago on TTaT: Unintentional odds

04 April 2010

5 years of TTaT!


To mark five years of blogging, I decided to pick a post from each year, one that would reveal the quintessence of me or my writing at that time. Choosing just one per year proved too difficult and constraining. To ignore all of my photography posts would be to ignore a huge part of myself. When I got to 2009, I hadn't even selected my favorites from the year yet (it's done now, oh ho). And finally, the weather has been unseasonably spectacular for a couple days and I couldn't bear to waste it inside. Nonetheless, I was able to cull a trim list I'm happy with.

To read and/or look at these posts is to learn more about me, as a writer, photographer, storyteller, and artist. When I look at the list I chose, I see so much inspiration, much from other bloggers. Thank you all for reading, commenting, and blogging yourselves.

Five years of Taller Than Average Tales, ultra-condensed

2005:
Goblets of beer: a tale of perception, paranoia, and standing out.

Hamlet was my undoing (Part I, Part II, Part III) and its sequel,
The Prom: Take Two (part 1, part 2, part 3): an epic tale of teen love, angst, and rivalry. (Every blog should have one!) This is the first writing I recall doing that was specifically inspired by another blogger; Helena Lazaro's Blood and Guts was a must read for me in those days. Within 6 months, she'd pretty much stopped blogging. I'd link to her archives, but it's behind a sign-in wall now.

2006:
Blue gloves: a trip to the dentist, revealing unexpected connections.

The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 3: I love being on the road, able to stop and photograph whenever I choose as long as there's somewhere to pull over.

2007:
Formalwear Claire: the trials of finding formal wear last minute. (You'd think at 36 I'd have clothes to cover all the basic formal events, but I'm sure there's more frantic shopping in my future.) Inspired by Jenny of Run Jen Run's post, Never a Bride. Thanks, Jenny! Your writing and photography continues to inspire and amuse me.

2008:
In motion: a video of my favorite thing I've ever built, a kinetic sculpture.

Claire's Bears: the ultimate backyard bear sighting. These bears and Dave of Blogography's DaveToons inspired the bear cartoons I started to draw. Thanks, Dave! Your far-flung travels, logo design post-game breakdowns, and DaveToons continue to entertain me and have taught me a lot.

2009:
Before dinner...: the camera at hand. Look at that sky!

After dinner...: I love this serene sequence of photos so much, I made it my twitter background so I can see it every day.

Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. iv): Jenny's Photobooth Chronicles inspired my Groove series. Thanks again, Jenny! My Grooves are a reminder to embrace silliness and celebrate activities that absorb my attention.

*****

5 years in 10 posts (ok, technically 15), not bad, eh?

Please take no offense if I didn't name you. If you've commented, your impact has been felt and appreciated.* Thanks again to you all, lurkers included.


*unless you were a spammer or a jackass.

A year ago on TTaT: iv, quattro, 4, four, quatre !!!!

03 April 2010

Sketchbook, page 16

(Previous pages)

The process of filling a 120 page sketchbook by year's end continues:

"Free-form flag"


A year ago on TTaT: Karaoke challenge

02 April 2010

Life of Art SitRep #8

A series to mark what I did to further my pursuit of a life sustained by my art each week. Committing to these posts is a commitment to action, because to have content for them, I have to do something. Every week.

If you have any sort of goal you're pursuing, feel free to share your efforts of the past week in the comments. Encouragement is also welcome.

*******
This week, I
  • Catalogued and sleeved 9 rolls of negatives. Removed irritating/damaging packaging.
  • Chala got back to me and identified flowers from last week as gladiolus.
  • Made postcards, cards, prints for Canted Gladioli, Gladioli, and Petrified Wood for my shop:
  • Tweeted and FB'd new zazzle product folder links.
  • Revised store intro a bit, moved some info to product info folder to bring more images up on front screen. Also changed background color to black giving more uniform look since it blends with zazzle's header that way.
  • Revised/rewrote my zazzle profile.
  • Scanned and color corrected old family polaroid.
  • Marked scratches on 2 sample scans for customer service. Resolved issue. Huzzah!
  • Drew 1 sketch, a doozy though. ;)
  • Shot 239 photos. I had a plan for returning to a location at my best prediction of its optimal conditions, but I started to feel it wouldn't look how I wanted when the weather shifted a bit. Outside influences confirmed that feeling, but I decided to go anyway, to stick to the plan just in case. I'm so glad I did because it looked like what I originally planned for. You guys are gonna love these shots.
*******

What did you do to pursue the life you want this week?


A year ago on TTaT: Second breakfast...

01 April 2010

3 days left until... no, not Easter

Having blogged daily all through March, since February 21st actually, I thought I'd take today off. However, earlier this week I noticed that my blog's anniversary is fast approaching, so what's a few more days? What better way to ring in 5 years than 43 consecutive days of blogging, right?

Since the big day falls on Sunday, I'll post my usual drawing on Saturday instead this week.

I'm working on some celebratory tidbits and perhaps a giveaway, so stop by Sunday after your bunny hops and egg hunts if you get a chance. Also, if you have ideas for marking the occasion, I'd love to hear them.


A year ago on TTaT: No more tattoo guy?