31 July 2009

He knows he's not getting my donut, right?

(Click to see my arched eyebrow.)

Thanks for sharing yours, Kevin!

Make your own Mad Men self if you like.

Claire and Serra

Claire and Richard Serra sculptures
(Click to embiggen.)

I've always liked this shot. It was taken a few years ago at Storm King Art Center as I was walking up to check out a Richard Serra piece. Love his sculptures.

Storm King is a very cool, huge, outdoor art venue. If you find yourself near Mountainville, New York, I highly recommend visiting.

21 July 2009

Anxiety medley

In the dream, my car was already in the shop having some repair done. The owner found me at the library to tell me that my car could be painted for $61. Seemed odd because that had nothing to do with the operational repair I was having done. And yet, it was awesome because that was significantly less than what I knew it would cost just to have some scratches fixed. Better still, I could change the color.

We started talking about it and he was pointing to things for color references when I remembered I'd recently picked up a bunch of paint chips from a hardware store. I spread them out over half of a large table and started looking through them frantically. I liked the blues but set them aside with my default position: red is the best color for a car.

Staff that I knew from the library looked at me impatiently from the other side of the table. Apparently they wanted the whole surface even though I'd left lots of space to share.

All the red chips had only subtle differences, changing with the light from the windows, and I wasn't even sure the auto shop could match any of them since they were samples for wall paint, not for automobiles. I was determined to pick the right color though.

The auto shop owner was still waiting. I wonder if my car's been fixed yet and how much that's going to cost in addition to the paint job.

Terri, a girl a couple of grades behind me in high school, approached. She apparently worked at the library now, but was still high school aged. She had started working on the other side of the table but when she didn't have enough room, she offered to help me in the bubbly, friendly manner I remembered.

I handed her a stack of samples and asked her to find a larger sized one with three colors on it: two blues and one red. I thought it might be the red I was looking for, but I felt so pressured for time that I couldn't find it with everyone standing around waiting for me. Terri found it right away, but I still wasn't certain about the color under the mix of outdoor and incandescent light.

Going to the auto shop to look at colors they actually had seemed like a better idea at that point.

Surmised from this dream:
1. I was overly optimistic about painting my room the other day when I picked up a big stack of paint samples.
2. Being watched and sensing others' impatience reduces my functionality significantly. I hate making people wait.
3. My fine sense of color differentiation coupled with perfectionism is highly detrimental to decision making.
4. The scratches on my car door that my mom caused five years ago still irritate the fuck out of me.
5. I wish it was cheaper to paint my whole car than to fix some scratches because I never liked its color.

A year ago on TTaT: Behind the Harry Potter lines: redux

20 July 2009

40 years, now what?

Four decades ago, man landed on the moon and anything seemed possible. A look at NASA's Lunar Exploration Timeline shows a total of 6 crewed landings on the moon.

Guess what? They all occurred before I was born.

As exciting as I find space travel--and I really do think it's awesome--I'm disappointed that we haven't gone further in my lifetime.

A year ago on TTaT: Random Scan Sunday 9: Lamp sketch

17 July 2009

Ladies cut t-shirts

When you put on a ladies fitted tee shirt, V or crew-neck, where do the shoulder seams land on your body?

I was at a J Crew outlet last night, and I was proud of myself because I went to the women's side of the store to look at clothes first. V-neck tees were what I had in mind so I picked up a bunch in various sizes, colors, and styles to try on. The deep Vs coupled with my uber pale chest made all the colors I remotely liked look horrible on me. The cut of a medium actually felt loose to me (no doubt in part due to the deep V), but the shoulder seams were properly aligned with the edge of my shoulders.

I can't fathom wearing a shirt with the sleeve seams actually on my shoulders as opposed to the edge of them or below. Is that just the nature of ladies cut t-shirts? Or maybe it's just a matter of needing bigger bosoms. Probably the latter. Just because I'm tall does not mean I have a big rack.

Their men's V-neck tees were better, the V about half as deep, but they didn't have any smalls in stock. I ended up getting a dark blue men's linen shirt which they call "tailored." It's actually a nice fit.

When I walked outside, it was a lot darker than when I'd gone in, grey clouds covered the sky. I pointed out an unusual edge to one of the clouds to M.

"It's going to rain any minute," M said.

"It is raining over there," I said, pointing to a dark grey section of clouds to the North. (Driving cross country, I'd gotten good at recognizing distant walls of rain.) There was a flash of lightning and M looked at my still raised hand. "Am I making you nervous?" I joked while gesticulating, "Oh no, it's going to be a..a..."

"Lightning rod."

"Yes, exactly." I smiled and we got into the car.

About thirty seconds later, the deluge reached us. Excellent timing.

A year ago on TTaT: Dr. Horrible, yea!; I was right to fear

16 July 2009

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

...to "Let's Dance to Joy Division" by The Wombats (part 2):

Let's Dance to Joy Division
(Blogger really doesn't like the long it seems. Click to embiggen.)

Preliminary dancecube, a work in progress.

Two years ago on TTaT: Teaser

15 July 2009

Claire's Sublime Smoothies

Claire's Sublime Smoothie Recipe

Serving size: 2

  • 1 banana, ripe
    The more ripe it is, the more your smoothie will taste like banana.

  • 1 glass of frozen fruit
    I like strawberries and/or blueberries, peaches, or blackberries (tasty but tends to have a little gritty texture due to the seeds) mix and match as you like.

  • about 3/4 glass of milk
    I use 2%, but any should be fine to smooth out the drink. If you drink soy/rice/almond milk, try it and let me know how it is. You could also use heavy or light cream, but I'd use less of it as it will affect the flavor more.

  • Honey, to taste
    If you know your fruit's sweet, skip it. If it's frozen fruit from the grocery store, use about 2 spoons or 2 good squeezes. I do it by eye.

  • Blender
  • 2 glasses
  • spoon
  • ear plugs!
  • 2 bendy straws (optional, but fun)

Note: I don't use exact measurements so that I can tailor the drink to any size glasses. This recipe is for two tall glasses. For smaller glasses, or 1 serving, I'd cut back on the banana and honey. The main thing is to pay attention to what you're doing, taste the results, and make a mental note if you want to adjust ingredients for your next batch of smoothies.

1. Break the banana into chunks and put it in the blender. The pieces just need to be small enough to cover the blender blades, say an inch long.

2. Squeeze a couple spoons worth of honey onto the banana.

3. Put in your ear plugs. Put the lid on the blender, and blend. It is key that you blend your honey with some fresh fruit before adding the frozen fruit. If you try to add the honey later, it won't really mix in, at least not evenly.

4. Add a full glass of frozen fruit to the blender. (It can be a bit more than a full glass.)

5. Add about 3/4 glass of milk to the blender. Rinse out the glass with water, and dry off its outer edge.

6. Put the lid on the blender, make sure your ear plugs are still in place, and blend in short bursts until smooth. (I like a frappe consistency.)

7. Gently (in case air pockets have formed) put the spoon into the mixture and give it a stir to make sure all the fruit has blended well. If not, mix it up with your spoon, take the spoon out, put the lid back on, and blend more. If it's thicker than you want, add a bit more milk and blend again.

8. Once it's smooth, give it a taste. If it's not sweet enough, you can add more honey and blend it. (The honey really does mix in better before the frozen ingredients are in the blender though.)

9. Pour smoothies into glasses and adorn with bendy straws.

10. Rinse out your blender well and fill it with hot water and a bit of dish detergent so it will be easier to clean later.

11. Serve up your smoothies and enjoy the luscious splendor.

Please share any smoothie making tips you have in the comments!

3 years ago on TTaT: Bring on da meme

11 July 2009

Performance anxiety

All too distracting: being two songs into a drum challenge in Rock Band 2 and having someone cross in front of me before the next song and then sit in a recliner just diagonally behind me. As she leaned back and put her feet up, I couldn't quite see her in my peripheral vision, but I knew she was right there.

Even though I knew she wasn't paying me or the game any attention, my focus wavered and I started making more mistakes. Instead of passing around 96%, my scores dropped to 90%. It was frustrating because I could feel the effect her presence was having on me, but I also knew she wasn't doing anything wrong.

It made me think of the SATs and other standardized tests. My practice test scores were always quite a bit higher than my official scores, part of which I attribute to performance anxiety.* All this ran through my brain while I was still playing the game mind you, so it's no wonder my accuracy percentage dropped. It's fortunate the songs didn't become more difficult in this particular challenge.

*The other parts: standardized testing always occurred at the apex of my worst allergies. More than once I was afraid the proctor would throw me out because I was coughing so hard, and then my eyes would water so much I had trouble reading. Also, not a morning person.

Man, this clearly still bothers me some even though I got into all the colleges I applied to. I suppose it's the idea of being assessed as not my best that gets to me. Huh.

Two years ago on TTaT: Best of TTaT

09 July 2009

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

...to "Let's Dance to Joy Division" by The Wombats (part 1):

Let's Dance to Joy Division in tight jeans
(Click to embiggen.)

Though this post is the third in the series, it was wearing these--my tightest--jeans and dancing to this song that inspired it.

A year ago on TTaT: I need better role models

08 July 2009

Summer treat: 3Way

A web series born during the WGA strike of winter '07/'08, 3Way is 'the hottest lesbian comedy NOT on TV!' Tagline aside, 3Way really made me laugh, and it also impressed me with its high quality production value: acting; costumes; sets; direction; sound; writing; you name it, professional effort was put into it. The excellent guest cast and the TV shows within the show (Young Doctors Who Cry and LadyCops) are extra treats.
3Way is Three’s Company for a new generation.

After a tabloid-worthy divorce from vintage action star Dirk LaBonte, Siobhan (Maeve Quinlan) moves her lesbian best friend, Roxie (Cathy Shim), into her house believing this will be good for both her soul and her newly flattened wallet. Siobhan’s looking for a brand new start. A week later, in true lesbian fashion, Roxie moves her new girlfriend, Andrea (Jill Bennett), into the house, making it a 3Way. Roxie’s ex, Geri, (Maile Flanagan) inserts herself into the 3way.

Siobhan’s brand new start looks a little crowded. It might not be what she envisioned, but it’ll be one hell of a ride!
Watch 3Way Episode 1: Let the Gaymes Begin: Part 1

You can watch the entire first season online. Most episodes are about 8-10 minutes long, perfectly summer sized! (Often NSFW because of language.) Be sure to watch the silly 'coming next' tidbits during the end credits.
Episodes #1-5
Episodes #6-12

Also be sure to check out the confessionals which fill in the backgrounds of the characters in hilarious fashion. They run more like 3-5 minutes a piece:

Watch 3Way Confessional #1: All About Siobhan

Confessionals #1-5
Confessionals #6-15

The 3Way website is full of bonus materials: character blogs, descriptions, behind-the-scenes footage, lost scenes, and more, so be sure to look around.

What summer treat would you recommend?

A year ago on TTaT: The questions

07 July 2009

Latest note to self

Note to self, vol. XVII: Trust that you remembered to partially close the door--like you always do so the morning sun won't disturb others. Then when you reach to push open the door in the unusually deep black of recent nights, do so with your knuckles forward, not your fingertips. The door will turn up before you expect it to, especially if you consider for just a second that you might have left it open.

An aside: Ow. In my half-sleep state this morning it took me the longest time to figure out why it hurts to straighten my middle finger.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

21. Love, Loss, and What I Wore written and illustrated by Ilene Beckerman (4/5)

Brief observations about moments in the author's life paired with charming illustrations of the clothes she or her friends or family were wearing at the time.

An enjoyable quick read with tastes of fashion over five decades.

A year ago on TTaT: Purple, Hands

04 July 2009

30 years to the day, give or take a year

Claire drinking Coke at a 4th of July parade.
(Click to embiggen.)

Sitting on the curb during a 4th of July parade drinking my beverage of choice at the time: Coke, ah. That was in the days before "New Coke" and "Classic Coke" when it was still the real deal. (Can't really stand the stuff any more.)

As I dug out the envelope of old family photos containing this shot, I discovered that my old VA Tech shirt is actually a hand-me-down from my brother. Figures, but that's another story.

When I looked at the 4th of July photo above more carefully, I thought: Holy frak! I still have that shirt. Then I had a moment of doubt, but I really do have it:
anchor shirt
Long ago, I saved the shirt as something for my favorite bear to wear, but I've never put it on him. It resides in a pink vinyl hat box covered with red drawings of Snoopy's sister and her name, Belle, along with all the Snoopy outfits I collected and some other outfits for stray animals. I still have the shirt because I really like its funky neckline. I'm a packrat, what of it?

Other things I noticed: I'd bet money (so much that my dad wouldn't take the bet although that doesn't actually take much) that's my mom standing behind me in her short shorts holding a coke. I know those hands and knees. Also, that might be my brother with the blue on blue striped shirt down the curb aways.

Two decades or more have probably passed since I last went to a Fourth of July parade, but that's OK by me, because I like to sleep. Chips, dips, and some grillin' and I'm good. Fireworks I can take or leave, but if we do head out, maybe I'll try to take some photos.

However you're spending your 4th, I hope it's lovely!

A year ago on TTaT: Blue

03 July 2009


Start your weekend off right with some Amanda Palmer.

A year ago on TTaT: Not Quite What I Was Planning

01 July 2009

The nature of art and creativity

Is the value of art determined by the number of people it reaches?

Are there legitimate reasons for not sharing one's creativity? If so, what are they?

Does it all come down either to fear or the hope that one will some day profit from what has been withheld?

Please discuss.

A year ago on TTaT: Nobody's faster than Bruce