Bees a la Enya

I've begun contemplating acquiring a video camera. I'm taking a digital cinema class, for which it would be useful, and I also have occasionally been getting the urge to play with moving pictures for my own benefit. I might try the super cheap CraigsList route, but I am also more than a little tempted to upgrade from my Nikon D80 to the new D90, which happens to include HD video capabilities. Oooh.

I was searching for videos taken with the D90 online to get a feel for what I'm looking at, and I came across this video that made me laugh:

On another note, Sakurako Shimizu rocks. He uses sounds waves to create wearable jewelry. Among the sounds he uses: human giggle, yawn and church bells.

Simply genius.


little dragon

Again, in preparation for the next project I'm giving to my class, I stumble across something pretty great. We will be making shadow puppets, so I was browsing youtube for some examples. I've watched this one about 5 times already. I hope my class finds it as inspiring as I did.

The Overdue Scotland Post

I've been dreading this post in the way I dread writing in my journal after several lapsed months during which too much has happened to record. So instead of including a monstrous run through of the entire trip here, I'm just going to point you my Scotland photos on Flickr.

What I do want to write about here is about the fact that the Scotland trip totally reignited my desire to travel. I've always been a fan of traveling (with the exception of the years between 1993 and 1998, when I actually lived in a foreign country and routinely begged my parents to let me stay home and watch MTV instead of touring Patagonia. I had a rough childhood). But daily life has a way of engulfing me sometimes, a way of making me forget the greater outside world. Sometimes this is okay--even good--because it encourages me to make worthwhile connections and investments at home. And that's important. But sometimes it's not so good, in that it allows me to forget, at least a little, how much I love the open road. And that is why spontaneously buying a plane ticket to a foreign country you've never even considered going to before is a fantastic idea. Especially if you can talk a friend into going with you.

Our outlook in Scotland was one of complete open mindedness; we were happy to travel anywhere, try anything (just about), and by the end of the trip I really felt like we grabbed the adventure by the horns. I don't think we could have done a better job of experiencing Scotland in a week, and it is memories like the ones we made there that I really don't think I'll ever forget. My dad lived in Scotland for a brief stint in graduate school, and he loved it so much that 40 years later he can point out exactly where he lived, exactly which pub was his favorite, and the first and last names of all of his roommates. (Maybe the travel bug is genetic?)

Readjusting to life in one place, a place that seems ordinary to me, has actually been kind of difficult. I know it's not a fair comparison; in Scotland I didn't have to pay bills, or wake up and go to work, or vacuum the living room. So I am working on reminding myself why this place (home) is a great place, too. (Which is not to say the travel bug has been diminished, not at all).


getting some sun

You know how we both have perhaps an unhealthy adoration for the sun? This point was proven to me yet again the other day when we had our first sunny, warmish day in weeks. Ten minutes after arriving at school that day, someone asked "What's with you? Did you hook up last night?" I knew the sun put me in a better mood, but I was unaware to what extent...just thought that was a funny little story.

In other news, Waldo will not be doing any "hooking-up" anytime soon. He lost his two little friends yesterday, but he did gain this fancy new collar, which he wanted to model for you.


Maarten Wetsema :: New Favorite

This guy is right up there with Akihiro Furuta. Only he's from the Netherlands instead of Japan. But like Furuta, Wetsema can see the value in taking photographs of a dog on a stool or a chair. That's the kind of art that makes me tick. Can you find a way to include some of that in your thesis show?

I love all of this canine goodness, but here are some favorites:

Pure genius.


Baaa Studs

I know I'm due for a big Scotland post, but in the interim this should tide you over. It's my new favorite.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And, now the exciting sequel to "Day in the Life of Claire Bow." This one is appropriately titled "Day in the Life of Lauren."
It was sort of hard for me to pick a day to chronicle, because each day seems to be a little different. But, there are a few staples to my routine, and I think this day shows most of those.

The morning actually begins around 5 am, when it is still dark. That doesn't make for very good photos, so here's when the sun enters the picture.

I find a key to making early mornings exciting is a good breakfast. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, the recent menu includes oatmeal and peanut butter, with a mug of White and Green Fusion tea. I usually eat and work on the computer while Waldo takes his morning nap at 7 am.

Here he is during one such nap.
Next, I bundle up for a short morning walk. On this day I believe it was about 9 degrees outside, which called for layering two hats to keep the noggin warm. This is Waldo protesting his morning walk. He is not very keen on 9 degree temps.
Then I had to head off to a 9:00 am appointment at the eye doctor. You can see how efficient my ice scrapper is. I might not have been able to see very well out my windshield, but it made for a nice photo.
I scored some sweet free sunglasses at the doc. This happened to be a terrible day to have dilated eyes. Fresh snow everywhere, and the sun out in full force.
Noon time brings lunch at home (beans+rice+tortilla), and another walk with the pooch.
The afternoon included some thesis paper time at a coffee shop, followed my some time fiddling around in the studio.
Finally, it's time to call it quits and head home for the evening. Dinner, wine, maybe some internet exploration, and sleep.There you have it.

Well, I am extremely jealous of you and Sam's Scotland sojourn. I wish I was going to be there so much, and I expect an incredible post upon your return. I too will take a sabbatical. Its work work work for the next couple days, and then off to a short trip to Portland.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Here it is: the cliche day-in-the-life post, as promised. Nevermind the fact that these photos (and therefore this day) are now two weeks old. At least I'm getting it up tonight, before I leave tomorrow for Scotland (!).

Without further ado, here is (more or less) a typical day in my life, at the moment.

Wake up at 6am to Alex's alarm clock. That might sound early, but on weekends when we rejoice at the fact that we can sleep in, we end up waking up at 6:45 at the latest because we have two dogs who are very observant of what time it is and don't like to be late for breakfast.

Run, first thing. I prefer to run before I'm fully awake; that way I don't have time to drag my feet and procrastinate. Just get up, and go. Don't think. I find that's the best approach. Here's this month's training schedule: (Please note the 110 min for March 14. Pretty killer).

Post-run is work time. We brew coffee, Alex heads off to work, and I get comfy in my office. The girls usually curl up at my feet (or, in Roux's case, in her armchair) for a morning nap.

Alex and I arrange to meet at Rachel's burrito stand (aka Little Mountain Mama's) for lunch. Rachel, wife of Rick, is a friend who has a burrito stand (complete with picnic tables) just down the road. I brought Kinley--Roux gets to go on early morning runs, so Kinley tends to get to tag along for mundane chores and outings. (Such as burrito runs).

I'm enamored with the way this shed is painted and convince Alex to get Kinley to sit still for a photo.

Kinley gets lucky at Rachel's and scores her very own Milkbone:

On the way back home I encounter this fellow and his Chevy. I decide it's worth shooting while driving and get lucky with this photo:
The afternoon is full of more work. It's sunny so I leave the front door open, and Roux takes that opportunity to keep an eye out on the front yard. The older she gets, the more serious she is about her guard dog duties.

...And that about sums it up. Evenings tend to be quiet; dinner, a glass of wine, old episodes of The Office, and an early bedtime. So there you have it: a frozen day in time. I'm sure in ten years I'll be incredibly amused when I look back on what daily life used to be like.

As you know I will be in Scotland until March 24. Take care, Wondernet. I will bring back many a good photo and many a good story. And maybe even a bottle of scotch as a thesis gifty.


the olden days

Last year I too gathered some old photos of my parents and scanned them into my computer. I have yet to turn them into a sweet flash site (probably never will), but I just love to look at them. Granted most of my images are my mom gallivanting around Iowa, a far fetch from the Galapagos, yet they still have a lovely nostalgia and humor to them. Makes me motivated to print out some of my own pictures so they have a chance to be found down the road by someone else.I think my Mom (on the left) could have used a pair of your Dad's shorts too.


Galapagos, circa 1973

I am officially finished with my Galapagos Flash project. HALLELUJAH.

And I am therefore now finally getting around to posting these images from my dad's trip to the Galapagos in 1973. He spent several months there working on research for his phD thesis in geology--living with several other scientists and a few natives in tents and shanties, traveling from island to island during the day. It was sort of a golden era for the Galapagos; tourists hadn't yet discovered the islands, and Ecuadorians had barely begun moving there, either.

I was expecting his slides to be beautiful, but nothing prepared me for how lovely they are. I love the nostalgic sense of adventure in them. Here are just a few:

My personal favorite:
I'll be sure to put my project up as well.

(By the way, I recently did a Breyer post on Rouxby Blog).


A little overdue

...but here's how Alex's birthday turned out. Every year Alex insists he doesn't care about his birthday and that I shouldn't make a big deal out of it. And every year that makes me want to make even more of a big deal out of it, because I believe that secretly people like to have birthday celebrations no matter how much they insist it doesn't matter to them. And I also believe everyone should always have a birthday cake.

As you know, the long-standing (and by long I mean four years) tradition for Alex's birthday is to make a cake that is something. See this entry from a year ago. (On a side note, how weird is it that our blog is over a year old??) This year I went with a little bit more of an abstract idea and chose a runner. It turned out like this:

Incidentally, I think you could do some rather interesting art projects with turquoise frosting. It's got a great consistency.

I also spent a significant amount of money and a lot of time making this a personalized map using a geological survey of Colorado from 1877. (I will photograph it eventually). Moral of the story: use the the Library of Congress -- it's free and the resources are amazing -- but remember that the government isn't exactly known for its customer service or for it's useful technology and expect your project to take six times longer than you expected. (It was still worth it).

One of these days I will organize and post the photos from my cliche 'day in the life' post...


on Wisdom

Ever since you posted that Elizabeth Gilbert talk, I have been mildly addicted to the whole TED website. It's just amazing to be able to listen to the thoughts of so many brilliant people. Inspirational is what it is.
I really enjoyed these couple of talks by Barry Schwartz. Never heard of the guy before, but I love what he has to say. His whole speech on wisdom and rules sort of covers one of the big revelations I have experienced over the last two years but didn't quite know how to put it into words. I'm always thankful to stumble upon words that make sense of my feelings. And the first video about "choice" sort of sums up the predicament I'm in as I move on to the next chapter in my life.


Did you cook my rabbit?

Both my dad and Alex's dad have touted Local Hero as one of their all time favorite movies. That combined with the fact that it is all about Scotland and I'll be heading that way soon convinced me to add it to the Netflix queue.

It's an older movie (1983), but it has fabulous off-the-wall yet subtle humor and a lovely plot that actually makes you think.

Definitely worth a Netflix add.

watch this

My latest Netflix rental was The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Not sure if you have already seen it, but if not, make sure to que it up. It's great on so many levels.


this and that

There is no central theme to this post beside the fact that I just uploaded both items to my computer. Above is the latest gift to me and one of the other grads from the janitor at school (I did an earlier post about the pumpkin and Orange Slice that he gave us all on Halloween.) Inside the impeccable packaging are two crab legs and some steaks. The funny part is that he tried to drop it off at my apartment because he lives near by, but I wasn't home. The neighbor must have been in the hall because he ended up giving the meat to him so he could later give it to me. I'm not sure if Jerry (the janitor) told my neighbor what it was, but it must have seemed like such a suspicious thing to be delivering, and when he brought it to me his words were "some guy brought this for you," while holding it awkwardly in his hands. As I type this, I'm thinking it may not come across as funny as I thought it was. If nothing else, you might get a laugh at his choice to wrap the meat with a garbage bag and duct tape.

Below is another little Waldo video. I took the camera outside to capture some playing in the snow (yes, snow, I'm so so over the snow). After reviewing the videos I felt this one of him bringing his toy home to be more endearing. I love when he finds a stick or in this case, a toy, and suddenly turns into a man with a job. The job being that he must carry this item somewhere, usually to a secret stash or towards home. I also love that the video captures him hiking up the stairs which is also one of the cuter things that he does.


just another reason

Why I love this President:
Obama reverses Bush Endangered Species Act

And, while I am increasingly more proud to be an American, I still often think how messed up we are. There is a new visiting scholar at school from Egypt. He has never even traveled outside of his home country, and now he finds himself here in Pullman, WA. Needless to say, after having several conversations with him he is a bit disillusioned. For one thing, Pullman is not the city I would send anybody to who is hoping to experience America for the first time. He has already picked up on the odd atmosphere of this place. I believe it's because it is a city, or more appropriately, a town, based on a transient population. There just isn't much of an established community here because the majority of the population is between 18-22, and only live here for about 4-5 years. That sort of set up means not many really go out of their way to establish much of a bond with the place or the people. He was telling me that in Cairo he loves just walking around on the streets talking with people, and here he is shocked to find that no one is talking, they are not even looking at each other. This is something I am very guilty of myself. Usually, when I participate in Lent, I try to take on a new habit as well as give something up, and I'm thinking this time around I will try to consciously acknowledge the people around me like they are real people, even if it just means eye contact or a smile.


Give it a second; it's going to space

I've been meaning to post this for a while. It's basically the same thing we always say except much funnier.

waldo report

My current schedule is pretty much equally divided between dog and school. Taking care of a puppy and having a huge impending deadline sort of forces you to put some structure into the day. The routine looks like this most days:

-wake up somewhere between 5:50 am and 6:00am, take Waldo outside to potty.
-breakfast. for Waldo it's dog food. for me it's a new favorite, oatmeal with milk and peanut butter mixed in (divine!) and tea...must have tea.
-morning nap for Waldo. Morning reading or computer work for me.
-morning walk or romp in the grass.
-try to get waldo to poop.
-try to get waldo to calm down and go in the kennel.
-head to school or coffee shop to work on thesis paper.
-come home. lunch. play. walk. potty.
-head back to school to work or run errands.
-come home. play. watch movie or something else equally mindless. more tea.
-dinner. potty.
-waldo goes to sleep (7 pm) I go back to school. sometimes more tea, or if i'm lucky a coke.
-come home. potty.

The good news is, that all this structure means I am getting a lot done. There' nothing like becoming busy to realize how much time you used to waste. The other good news is that the stress of puppy raising is starting to subside, and now I am really enjoying it more and more. It's crazy how much you learn to communicate with your dog, and how successful communication makes things sooo much better (I suppose this is the same with humans). I can now decipher between hyper Waldo and when he just acts like a maniac because he really has to poop. I can also decipher between his pay attention to me squeals and his tired squeals (both of which don't seem like sounds that should come from a dog.) There are many more examples, but I think you are probably very aware of how this goes seeing as though you have raised two of your own.

My absolute favorite thing to do with Waldo (beside watching him try to carry gigantic sticks) is go for walks, preferably when the sun is out. I tried to get some pictures on our last morning walk, and I even took a video of our shadows (you know how I love those shadows). I also love when he hangs out and naps by my feet while I am working at my desk, as he is doing now (with lots of snoring). On one such occasion he made his first appearance in my sketchbook.