Saturday, September 26, 2009


After a real brain slog, and FAR too many starts and stops and massive failures and roadblocks, I have FINALLY managed to get my Wolf Bird Studios website up and running! That's right, folks, my professional art site is LIVE!

I am most interested in hearing ANY comments or suggestions or critique. There are almost certainly ticks and wonky bits, and I need your help in seeking them out, so com'on folks, let's hear some feedback!

Oh, you need a link? Sheesh...why didn't I think of that? :-) Here y'go: Wolf Bird Studios

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Kitten and the Pea

Remember The Princess and the Pea fairy tale? At my house that has now morphed into The Kitten and the Pea for the following (obvious) reason:Brady on a stack of clean dog blankets

There's a chair under there someplace. Cats are SUCH hedonists! Or as Margaret Benson said, "The cat is above all things, a dramatist."

And here's the sweetness I awoke to this morning. Th two brothers - by love, not blood.

Brady and Kramer cuddling at my feet

Meanwhile, His Grace, Big, sprawls across the entire width of the bed. Hey, I don't call him "Big" for nuthin'!

Note the "normal sized" cat on the far right (click for much larger look)

Isn't furry love just the best?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We the Sheeple

Super Yank - aka Captain America

A European friend asked me a question today, and I thought I might share the question and my response with you. I'm interested to know if I make sense, if I've overlooked or misunderstood or misrepresented anything, so please leave me a comment if you are so moved.

"Give me a clue what is going on with your politics at the moment. From this side of the pond there appears to be some anti Obama backlash, which is really sad, since the man hasn’t been in the job long enough yet, plus I don’t understand the fears re health care reform? Surely everyone would prefer a system where everyone can get and afford healthcare?"

There's a lot of cultural psychology I could share that would explain the reason we became the way we are in the first place, but I'll save that for the sake of brevity and staying on point.

But here's what you need to understand about the USA populace as applied to the question of our currently political situation:

Since the turn of the Nineteenth Century, when American Capitalists had the reins of the world market firmly in hand, the Controlling Class has been eager to control the worker classes in order to maintain their own power. We the People have been pointedly sold a bill of goods that we are the best and brightest in the world, and that America is the most important and powerful nation on this planet.

Post WWII, when our "enemies" were largely crushed, and our friends (think Britain and France) were in dire straits, believing that the US won the war for the rest of the world, we then wrapped ourselves in the myth of Super Yank, and declared the people who fought the war "The Greatest Generation." The ruling class, seeing a grand opportunity to continue their controlling role with the populace, set about building an entire industry (Madison Avenue and Advertising) on perpetuating the impossible myth.

So for the next twenty years, we grew our belief that we're the most fabulous country on the planet. And the ruling class, fully appreciating how herd-like we are when we believe we're all that, put their full resources behind the effort to keep us in Fantasyland.

Meanwhile, the Boomer generation was growing up without fear of war or want, and we thought this idea of working really hard without questioning the reasons behind what we did was stupid and too blindly docile. So we Questioned Authority. Loudly. Although there was great value in Questioning Authority, there was also a downside: in doing so, we taught others how to do it, too. That part becomes important later on.

Now, the Government didn't like being questioned; they didn't appreciate the sheep looking up, so they studied the whole experience and learned how to quash such a thing in the future. And boy howdy did they ever crush any attempt at rebellion during the Reagan and Bush years!

The knew that had to give the sheeple SOMEthing to make them feel happy and thus be more easily placated and thus controlled, so the entertainment industry; television, movies, sports, gossip, etc., and media of all kinds began overtly feeding us the Conservative line of "We are the greatest nation in the world."

During Bush Junior's regime, the propaganda was taken to the extreme. Any footage of wars in which our troops are involved or flag drapped coffins arriving home were not allowed broadcast on television (seriously, it was illegal during his years), and ONLY "Bush friendlies" were allowed into any situation where the little weasel was speaking. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Absolute control of the media, and thus of general public awareness created an environment in which things replaced feelings; where how much you had was more important than how much you were loved. Things became love. And by gum, Americans had more stuff than anyone else in the world. And we just knew other people in the world were jealous of all our cool stuff, and wanted to take it all away from us.

We were ripe, nay - pregnant with fear.

Enter Rupert Murdoch into this fertile field with his insidious tyranny of disinformation. Fox News became the (very loud) voice of the conservative right in the arena of coverage, a voice that was welcomed by all those people who were afraid someone might take away their stuff or The American Way. I do hope it's not lost on you that the final catchphrase of that sentence comes from Superman. As in "Truth, Justice, and The American Way." Too many Americans believe that phrase originated in some Founders document. *sigh* I'm ratholing again, I know. There's just so much slight of hand and so many half truths that really need some light shined on them that once I start sweeping around with my floodlight, it's hard to know where to stop. My apologies.

All of this brings us to the events of 9/11. On that day and of lot afterward, pretty much everyone (including me) was in a trembling state of stark fear/terror. And at that point, the whole ugly snake's nest of greedy power brokers came together as one. Murdoch and Fox News ramped up their rhetoric, and practically overnight Bush & Co stripped away entirely new levels of rights and privacy - in the name of security. And We the People begged the government to protect us from the bad guys at any cost. Murdoch and Bush were in complete control of this so-called "strongest nation." The only "strength" being displayed was abject fear, and a blustering anger in the face of a threat to our status and stuff.

So to sum up:

1. Madison Avenue and the Government and the Media figured out how to control the US Populace and abused the privilege
2. The US Populace believed the b.s. they were fed about being the Greatest Nation, and when the rest of the world's disagreement with that stance began to make itself known, the People were immediately scared shitless that their "perfect" country and life was going to be taken away.
3. The Power Brokers figured out how to parlay that fear into more money/power for themselves. Yep, Greed is of COURSE at the core of all this. Rat bastards.

Right. So now let's look at where things currently stand.

This country is divided, and divided deeply. A lot of the anger being generated toward Mr. Obama is a direct result of intense racism, but mostly that's just a leverage point used to get into the psyche's of the Fox News Followers. I'm not alone in feeling very frustrated by the Conservative Right's use of precisely the things they lambasted the Liberal Left for using, but more than that, I'm frustrated and seriously disgusted by my Countrymens' apparent disinterest in using even the tiniest portion of their higher brain function.

The impossible political/cultural/economic balloon of "keep 'em scared and sedated so they'll keep making us money" burst shortly before Bush left office from the terrible pressure of the Greedy Bastards constant sucking whatever rights or monies or power they could access. This left a no-win situation for whoEVER took over the White House. I believe the Power Brokers did whatever they could to help Obama win, simply because they KNEW how easy that situation would be to manipulate via Fox News - bile and bilge outlet for the Country. Here's a reasonable analysis of Fox News and the Stoopid Sheeple (my term, not his):

This country has been very purposedly made fat (and I mean that in every connotation of the word), and stupid, and docile as a measure of controlling us for anothers' gain.

The irony of what is happening in this country is that the Right Wing is using precisely what they learned to supress back in the 70s against the people who were doing it then; the Liberal Left! And because those of us in the Liberal Left believe fervently in Freedom of Speech and the Right to Assembly (both First Amendment rights), we allow the Conservatives to assemble and spew their poison and invective - no matter how illogical or factually inaccurate (DEATH PANELS? Come ON..Obama not a citizen? Give me a BREAK). Yep, we're caught between a rock and a hard spot, as my dad would say.

From The Guardian

I've been watching the health care issue with no small degree of interest, of course, as I am aging, have increasing health care needs, and currently have no insurance. I'm frankly alarmed by the idea of "requiring individuals to purchase insurance, and penalizing them if they don't." Frankly, that simply means those of who can't afford to purchase insurance will just not go to the doctor or hospital, period. We'll die, simply because we can neither afford insurance nor the penalty for having none. But let's extrapolate one more level. Let's say I DO go to the hospital without insurance and I get penalised. I can no more pay the penalty than the insurance premiums, and they're NOT going to deny my health care at the hospital (we do have protective laws about that), so after a few million unpaid penalties (folks who can't afford insurance when it's required any more than they can now, etc.) we're back to square one in terms of "affordable health care," as the defaulted monies have to be absorbed somewhere, and without a GOVERNMENT-RUN/FUNDED (aka more direct controls than are possible with private companies) option, the private insurance companies are GOing to pass those costs on to their consumers, precisely as they do now. Is Obama's plan a perfect solution? No, but it's a start, and we have to do SOMEthing to get this old machine rolling again.

The biggest single problem with the US Populace - and the problem is getting incrementally worse (just look at current television programming or the film industry's blockbusters) - is that we've been carefully taught NOT to think beyond satisfying our next immediate desire. Any thinking that requires more than one element - long division or multiplication are two ready examples - any thinking that requires real logic is apparently beyond the capacity of 90% of the individual American brain.

Sadly, We the Sheeple is a far more current and representative start to our Constitution's Preamble than the historic We the People. Time to wake and look up, folks.

I think it's appropriate to quote Rumi, a Sufi poet of the 13th Century. In case you don't already know, Sufism is the mystic heart of Islam.

Don't go back to sleep by CATeyes.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; Don't go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want; Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Mary Travers and John Denver, ca. 1968

First of all, you have to know that I was the quintessential California girl in my teens. I lived in the Monterey/Carmel area in the mid-late 60s, hung out on the beach wearing a bikini and my hair long, blonde, and straight. On the beach, my friends and I played guitars and flutes and sang folk songs. My favourites were always the versions of songs done by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Great song selections, and they sang in the key where my voice is most comfortable, so I walked around singing their music a LOT of the time. When Mary split off and did her solo albums, I memorized those, too. I loved "The Song Is Love," "I Guess He'd Rather Be In Colorado," "Rhymes and Reasons," and "Follow Me." The last three were John Denver songs, another favourite artist. Mary Travers died today at age 72, and I've been taking it hard. For me, PP&M represent my youth, and losing Mary feels as another terrible reminder that my life is decidedly finite and and my tme ever more borrowed. I'm grateful though, that I will have Mary's voice and the memory of those lovely times with my frends, singing songs of freedom and love and peace to accompany the rest of my days.

So here are three favourites - Because All Men Are Brothers (Joe Glazer), The Rising Of The Moon (John Keegan “Leo” Casey (1846-70), the "Fenian Poet"), and In The Early Mornin' Rain (Gordon Lightfoot):

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There's No Place Like the Internet, There's No Place...

So last we spoke, my horrible-terrible-awful-birthday was in full strike. Another catastrophe struck in the form of THE worst brownie+frosting combo in human history. Seriously. I gave some to a coworker just to see if I was overly biased by the horrible, etc. day, and she ended up spitting out the bite and throwing the rest away. Who knew you could ruin chocolate or lemon frosting? It was so bad that Peter and were practically on the floor with our laughter at just how utterly doomed my birthday seems to be. When midnight struck we high-fived one another and went off to our beds relieved the beastly twenty-four hour period was behind us for another year.

The next day dawned GLORIOUSLY, with stunning Indian Summer weather here. I dressed and ran around town with many errands to accomplish by the afternoon, and everywhere I went I ran into people who were glad to see me. When I got home, there were cards in the mailbox from distant friends, and an e-mailbox full of greetings from dozens of friends. One friend in Scotland went so far as to start a special forum thread for my birthday greetings in the online group to which we both belong! I was so amazed anyone would go to that trouble for me, and so very pleased by everyone's kind words in the thread. Really means a lot to me.

Yesterday I was up at oh-dark-thirty taking Peter to the shuttle stop, and then running at top speed which didn't stop until I flopped into bed, comPLETEly whipped at 11pm, just in time to watch Jon Stewart and then pass out. I did a LOT yesterday, and I can feel it in my body today, but the sense of satisfaction at having gotten SO much done is just HUGE.

A bit of silliness

Today I did my volunteer stint at the library in the morning (I'm their a/v repair person), then trotted off to the post office for shipping, to the doctor for two months of thyroid - funded by the check received yesterday for my winning County Fair entries! - then treated myself to a couple of replacement boxes of my favourite incense. It's a cheap thrill, which is about all I can afford at the moment. I have figured out and done the first of about twenty steps toward creating an accordian inchie book that's in the works for a swap over on iATC. I've also got the doll armature wire pieces cut and prepped for soldering tomorrow. Once I have the skeleton built, I can start sewing the musculature into place, then the skin, and THEN I can attach the arm-hands, shin-feet, and neck-head that are finally finished to my satisfaction. The piece has gotten named, based entirely on the head; The Mad Alchemist. After I'd named her, I realised it may not be entirely appropriate, but only the person who has commissioned it can tell me if it crossing any lines it shouldn't. Mr. V?

Upon my return today, a VERY special treat awaited me, as that same amazing Scottish friend sent me a birthday present! My only actual present this year! I tell you, as the years go by, I continue to learn deeper and deeper appreciation for the gentle kindnesses of friends.

Thank you all, your friendship means more than I can express in words. Thank you, everyone who took the time to write a few words of cheer and celebration. Thank you, old friends who haven't let our connection slip away, in spite of time and increasing distance. And thank you, all my new virtual friends, who have brought the kindness and acceptance into my life I have so long hoped for and sought. I love how technology allows such disparate souls to find one another and connect. I have gone from feeling alone to knowing there are a lot of sister and brother spirits out there, and I just wanted to give you all a great big virtual hug and thank you for continuing to pay your internet bills. Ha!

So as a small note of thinks (er, I mean thanks, but now that I say "thinks" I can see how it fits, too), here's a little funny for those of you in the know...(nudge nudge wink wink say no MORE)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Downburst - 20820 Days and Counting

...whether you're having fun or not.

Have I mentioned how much I LOATH my birthday? Ever since I can remember, and I can with great clarity remember every one from my 4th birthday on, my birthday has been synonymous with a terrible, miserable, absolutely rotten day. Pets die, car crashes occur, terrible storms arrive, and anything else you can think of that constitutes a personal or communal catastrophe happens either ON the day or within a couple of days, either side. Remember eight years ago? We were all trembling in shock from the events of 9/11 as I turned 49 and NO ONE noticed. Well, one friend sweet next door neighbor who had the rotten luck to celebrate HIS birthday on Sept 11. A year later, the neighbor son on the other side was born on the 12th. Yeah, counting his mother and sister and my friend/cohabitant Peter, there were SIX Virgos in three consecutive houses. Be afraid, be very, very afraid...

But this is about the crap day that always seems to be my birthday, no matter how good I feel or how fine a mood I'm in at the beginning of the day.

No, there will NOT be cake.

Today, as the newest example, I got up in the middle of the night for a drink and a stop in the bathroom, and reached for the glass of juice I always keep next to the bed. Yeah, you guessed it...3AM, half a glass of GRAPE juice spilled-all-over-the-carpet-and-my-precious-sketch-pad later, the lights are all on and I'm running to the kitchen for paper towels and spray cleanser. Half hour later, I'm back in bed, staring at the ceilng. Yup, must be my birthday.

This morning, I got up and sat down with my cup of eye opener while I waited for a wave of pain to pass. I opened the card and wee gift that awaited me by the coffee pot, then proceeded to have a crap time of getting breakfast together. You'd THINK toast would be pretty easy, huh? Not toDAY.

About twenty years ago, I actually realised there was some crummy cosmic pattern involving September 13th, so I decided to change the date I celebrated my birthday. I consulted a variety of oracles and after seeing a lovely biorhythm pattern of perfect peaks of physical, emotional, and intellectual cycles on that date for that year and the following two, I decided on October 2nd. Coincidentally, the first person I informed of the change was born on the 2nd of October...he thought I was joking! Stuff that makes you say "hmmm..."

Another step down my path

So I celebrated my birthday on October 2nd for five years running, having absolutely glorious days each time, and I figured I had broken the curse so I returned to celebrating on September 13 again. I actually had a pretty good birthday for a couple of years, and then back in the toilet the event went. I think I should really consider altering the date again, don't you?

For today, though, I'm just going to sit here, type, sew a little, watch some global disaster shows on The History Channel, and wait for another birthday to pass.


Remember the middle of the night grape juice incident? That was NUTHIN' Peter and I have just spent the last half hour or so cleaning up a MUCH bigger spill of the same substance. THIS time I moved the same way I've moved a thousand times before, but this time a FULL - that's a 20oz glass - tumbler of grape juice got knocked over, spilling across my bedside chest (where I'd piled stuff the night before during the clean up), down through all three drawers, soaking a multitude of stuff that I haven't yet been able to face, and (thank GOD) soaking both the throw rug next to my bed and my (formerly) lovely yellow linen blouse. Purple and yellow make a particularly dreary shade of grey, btw. So NOW I have to clean everything from the drawers, then clean the room, and finally do a thorough vacuuming before moving the bedside chest and tackling the stain.

Anyone care to TRADE birthdays? Please?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Status Report

I was always the world's worst when it came to logging my weekly status report with management back in my corporate life, so the title of this post is a bit of a joke, though I confess I'm beginning to need to keep status reports for mySELF! How miserably wretched is THAT?

I've been incredibly, phenomenally, profoundly busy the last month or so, and that's not going to stop being my daily truth until late November. And only then if I stop taking on new tasks, projects, and promising another slice of my time and attention to someone.

After weeks of coding/building the sucker, the last few days I've been really trying to take my Wolf Bird Studios website live, but continue to experience some FTP difficulties on that front. Setting her jaw and stamping her foot, she insisted "I WILL have this done before the Art and Soul Art Retreat the first week of October!" Determination R Us.

Right. So here's what I owe everyone - and if your request isn't reflected in the following list, you MIGHT want to ping me sometime soon...

Write public invitation for Sci-Fi Reading Group I've been asked to organise and lead. - due by 9/20/09
Magic wand for Teresa finished and shipped to Wisconsin - due asap
The Mad Alchemistart doll finished and shipped to Seattle - due asap
The Deck Project (iATC) - a new piece due weekly through 10/01/10
The Chakra Swap (A4A) - four atcs due 11/22/09
Miniature Book w/Inchies (iATC) - eighteen inchies mounted in a miniature handmade book due 01/11/09
Closet Swap (iATC) - atcs already on hand due in Canada on 10/10/09
Sock Symposium (weekend of Sept 18th) - learn to knit socks, stay two nights in Towanda the Wonder Bus on nearby property!
New web site finished - when? when? when it is DONE!
Art Retreat 9/29-10/04/09
Packages shipped - due by 09/20/09

I know there's more, but my brain is starting to liquify at this point in the evening after a very full day out and about at the Wooden Boat Festival here in Port Townsend.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Uplift - St. Olaf's Impromptu Joy

On a visit to the Santa Barbara Mission in California, the choirmaster Dr. Armstrong called everyone into the chapel and had them sing one of the songs from their tour called "Sicut Cervus" by Palestrina. What a lovely impromptu moment. Don't you wish you'd been there? I certainly do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

International Bacon Day!

The curious up-front truth is that meat really doesn't squeal my wheels, and every day I step further and further away from it. That said, if I could only eat one meat the rest of my life, as much as I adore fish, I would choose pork, and I'd even be willing to narrow THAT choice down to bacon/ham. I. Love. Bacon and Ham. YUM.

I do my level best to thank the hapless pig that gave its life so that I might savor the pleasures of its flesh and continue to life, but for someone as sensitive as I am to the plight of animals and our planet, loving pork as I do goes TOTALLY against the grain. So does my love of leather and fur, and I hope someday to come to terms with my cravings. Not today, though. And not tomorrow, for tomorrow is International Bacon Day!

In celebration of those incredibly delectable, crisp strips of fat and meat, I'm planning to make maple cupcakes with rich chocolate ganache, and topped with (drum roll, please) BACON!

Alas, I didn't make up such a wonderful idea, it came from the folks who started International Bacon Day; Tee & Cakes in Boulder, Colorado, USA. As logistically, I cannot possibly get to their shop tomorrow, I hope to replicate...or come close, anyway...their lovely bacon cupcake (shown at the top of the page). I'm considering two different recipes, though one is definitely in the lead as the other is from "Cooking Lite," and "Lite" just seems wrong somehow when celebrating bacon.

This is real...currently available in L.A.

Once I've created the cake, I have to address the dark chocolate ganache that will hold the bacon pieces on top. One recipe I have calls for instant coffee, the other for dark rum. Now believe me when I tell you that the coffee makes a frosting too rich to believe...and hey, coffee, maple, cream, and bacon? Obviously, this is breakfast in the making! So many choices, and only a single day of celebration. Oh well, there's always next year.

If I had some of this (available in Seattle), my choice of ganache would be easy.

So what d'you think? Which dose of death by maple, chocolate, and bacon should I choose? *sigh* So much sacrifice in the name of porcine glory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Music I Love

Working hard at trying to get everything done before the end of the month. In particular, busting my brain getting my website built so it can go live before I go south (literally, though perhaps figuratively in that I may crater - go south - before this month is over). Anyway, I thought I'd share some of what I'm listening to while I've got my head down, immersed in flash and html code. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Geeky Nrrd Grrl Plays With Her Brain

After a couple of days of head-down, shoulder-to-the-wheel working, I decided to take a little break this afternoon and play with my brain. Okay, so there really was no decision involved, I just got sidelined/distracted by a fun link to an interesting blog, which led me to another and another and, well surely I can count on you to understand the fine art of surfing the Web. Inevitably, I landed on one of those "what kind of dog are you? quiz sites. The set of quizzes I decided to take were the following, with the answer received just after them:

How Many Colors Can You Name In Five Minutes? I ended up with 79...which doesn't seem like very many unless you include the requirement of typing. This wasn't so much a case of naming them as how fast I could type the words.

How Geeky Are You? I am very proud to announce that I am 97% geeky. And I don't know which answer lost the 3%. Good to have room for improvement, though.
How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take In A Fight? 23. No further explanation required beyond sharing the absolute that when pressed, I fight to win.

How Many 90 Year Olds Could You Take In A Fight? 27. See above.

There were many other quizzes, some I took, some I didn't, but really, where's the fun in letting you in on ALL my secrets? Here's the straight skinny, though...I am a geeky artist who can - and will kick both young and old butt , and whose body, at death, is currently worth (drum roll, please) a whopping 6,115 bucks! Must be the long hair...