Monday, January 31, 2011

In Which I RULE at Pop Culture Knowledge (at Least Compared to The Boy)

I'm not a genius at pop culture stuff, but I think I'm better than average.  I know about stuff I've never even seen before - stuff from my parents' era.  I know that there used to be a show called Green Acres about people living on a farm.  I know George Burns had a comedy show with someone called Gracie Allen (who I think was his wife but I'm not positive).  I know that Sally Field once famously accepted an award by saying "You like me!  You really like me!"...plus I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the '80s sitcoms I grew up on and I've seen a fair number of classic movies.

The Boy, meanwhile, doesn't recognize any pop culture thing from before his time*, ever, unless it pertains to the original Star Trek series, the original Planet of the Apes movies, or some other nerd thing.  For that matter he barely knows pop culture stuff from his own time.  I guess he just doesn't pay attention to that sort of thing.  So, I often pause DVDs to give The Boy a quick history lesson so he can fully understand what we're watching.  Here are some things I have told him:

"Whenever anyone likes the smell of something in the morning, that's from Apocalypse Now.  That's a war movie where someone liked the smell of napalm in the morning."

"Whenever someone asks 'are you trying to seduce me?' or if there's a shot with a guy in the background and a woman's leg in the foreground arching over him, that's from The Graduate."

"If people are taking a long time to analyze where a projectile came from - especially if they say the phrase 'back and to the left' a lot - that's from the movie JFK."

"The phrase 'It's Chinatown' is from some old movie- a cop movie, I think.  I'm pretty sure it means 'you're not gonna win this so just give up.'"

"If a guy says he's gonna make someone squeal like a pig, he's talking about anal rape.  It's from a movie called Deliverance."

"That's Anne Bancroft**!  She's an actress mommies and daddies like."

I've given literally dozens more of these "history lessons" but I'm sure you get the idea.

We've also had a bunch of exchanges like this:

Boy: Is that Burgess Meredith?

Me: What?  How do you even...?

Boy: He was The Penguin on the old Batman series!

Me: Ah, yes.  Of course.

It always flabbergasts me when he recognizes an actor who's over 40 years old, and it always turns out to be because they were in some nerd thing.  It's adorable.

Actually, I shouldn't say The Boy knows less about pop culture than I do.  He knows less about actors and actresses.  When it comes to music or comic book trivia, he could hang me out to dry.  (Comic books count as "pop culture", right?)

* Also, he's eleven years younger than me so "his time" is shorter than "my time" in the first place.


**The Anne Bancroft movie we watched was the 1998 Ethan Hawke version of Great Expectations.  In it, Anne Bancroft's character sarcastically says, "Chicka-boom!" (long story).  Now, every time we're watching anything with an old dark-haired actress in it, The Boy says "Chicka-boom!" and I'm like "dude, that's not her."

Shoutout Sunday: Fresh Collective

I am a 37 year old childless-by-choice artsy girl, and it's damn near impossible for me to find clothes that I like.  Most women's clothing stores tend to be a little too soccer-mom for my taste.  Stores that cater to the gothic subculture carry delightfully edgy clothes...that are made for pipe-cleaner-skinny girls who don't mind if their asses hang out (seriously, I try on skirts or dresses at these places and they're at least four inches too short to cover my butt).  WHERE IS THE HAPPY MEDIUM, DAMMIT?!  Where are the clothes that are sexy and interesting and cover my bathing suit areas?

At Fresh Collective, that's where!

Fresh Collective started out as Fresh Baked Goods, a clothing brand that consisted mostly (or maybe entirely?) of funky hand-knit sweaters.  Mastermind Laura Jean the Knitting Queen has since turned her brand into a store that features clothing and accessories from her own line as well as a bunch of other designers.  The store is so successful that it's in the process of opening a third location (but only in Toronto - sorry, folks!).

I have a dress and a skirt from the Fresh Baked Goods line (it seems Laura Jean is good at more than just knitting!) and both items get comments whenever I wear them.  The skirt is black and knee-length with a pattern of bright red cherries and some sassy red lace trim at the bottom.  The dress is also black and knee-length, and so tastefully stylish that many people don't notice it's covered in little cartoon skulls*.  Finally, I can dress my age without feeling frumpy!  Thank you, Laura Jean!

Another brand found at Fresh Collective, Mandala, also carries cute knee-length dresses; really, all the clothes I remember from Fresh Collective are cute, interesting, and not overly revealing.  And there's always great jewelry, too!  This store is truly the "sweet spot"  for women in their thirties (although you don't have to be in your thirties to like their stuff, of course.  You also don't have to be a woman: the last time I visited their Queen Street location, there were baby clothes and sassy men's underpants as well!).

You can see some of their clothes for yourself (in the little slideshow on the right) and also find a Fresh Collective location here.

Happy shopping!

p.s. Sorry for the late post!  I have a bad cold so I've been sleeping a lot.


*"You look cute but kind of scary at the same time!" someone once told me when I wore the skull dress.  "That's exactly what I was going for," I replied.  I love when I achieve exactly the look I wanted!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Caturday: A Pretty, Shiny Crime Against Nature


A couple of Caturdays ago, I made a post about how cool it would be to splice flamingo genes into a Siamese cat to get a cat with pink extremities (but I was kidding!  I'm actually against messing with animals like that...I'm convinced it'll accidentally create a disease that wipes humankind off the face of the planet).

My scientist friend Vikram commented on the Siamese cat post with: "Are you aware of the GFP and RFP cats? Scientists successfully took a gene from jellyfish which encodes a green fluorescent protein (GFP) that causes the jellyfish to glow green, and inserted it into the cat genome. The result was cats that glow green (or red with the RFP variant) under UV or blue light."

What an abomination! What a creepy, creepy thing to do! But also? REALLY COOL-LOOKING:


You'll notice it's the cat's skin that glows red, not the fur - which is why the glow is only visible in places where the cat has little or no hair. When you think about it, then, the rear view of one of these cats would be like a single, searing halogen spotlight: "Argh, Fluffy, high beams!  Can't you put your tail down?  I'm trying to sleep!"

Oh, wait, the cats don't glow in the dark, they glow in black light.  So cat-anus likely won't be keeping you awake unless you and your glowing cat are at a dance club and you've picked the dumbest time ever to try to take a nap.  Or unless the cat just likes to shove his asshole randomly in your face (which most of them do, it seems).  There's no dozing off when a cat backs his poop chute up into your eye socket, glow or no glow.

Tangent: can you imagine if someone let some glowing cats loose in a blacklit room with some glowing mice and filmed the resulting shenanigans?  It'd be like Animal Kingdom meets Tron.  Awesome.

"You're getting brutal, Sark. Brutal and needlessly sadistic."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flight of the Conchords has a song for EVERYTHING!

My friend The Bitter Guy told me about a robot-themed art show coming up...they're still looking for participants.  Robots sound like the kind of thing I would've painted before, yet no, I had not.  But I'd like to be in this show, so I started scrounging around in my brain, trying to come up with ideas.  And suddenly, my brain got flooded with like ten million different kinds of robots that I totally need to paint.  Yes, robots are my new obsession.

And when I get obsessed by a topic, I tend to get so immersed that I'll even get relevant songs stuck in my head.

If you know Flight of the Conchords at all, you probably see where I'm going with this.  If not:



And, as usual, I only remembered a tiny bit of the lyrics, so I was planning out compositions in my sketchbook while singing a continuous loop of partially improvised words: "The humans are dead (he's right, they are dead)/the humans are dead (ask Birchy, they're dead)/The humans are dead (they smell pretty dead)" etc.  On and on and on.

The "I am clinging to the brink of sanity by my fingernails" expression on The Boy's face was priceless. I'd probably better start sleeping with one eye open.

Today I Feel Like a ROCK STAR!

Shower Art mogul Rosalie Gale said nice things about me on her blog!  You should go see. :D

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dirtysexyawesome.

I'm a messy, hands-on sort of artist.  If my brush gets overloaded I'll usually wipe the extra paint off on my thigh.  Sometimes, I go to rest my hand on the canvas to touch something up but the paint isn't quite dry and comes off on my hand - after which (I'm never aware of it at the time but the evidence doesn't lie) I inevitably wipe my hand across my face.  Occasionally, I'll squeeze paint out of the tube with a bit too much zeal and some will drip on my bare feet.  How my forearms always end up Jackson Pollocked is anyone's guess.

And the thing is...I love it.  After a productive day of making art, the vibrant, rubbery shrinkwrap coating of acrylic paint on my skin makes me feel more beautiful than any makeup, any haircut, any lingerie, any compliment from a stranger.

Art is my happy place. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Maybe it's Both...?

I've been shopping for new glasses online.  Did you know that clearlycontacts.ca has a "virtual mirror" where you can upload a photo of your face and see how most of their frames would look on you?  I can't believe they hide this amazingly useful feature under the "glasses" menu - they should have a big giant link to it at the top of the main page!

Interestingly, about 80% of the frames I "tried on" in the Virtual Mirror were so narrow that in order to affix them to my face I'd have to punch the arms through my eyeballs, thus defeating the purpose of wearing glasses in the first place.

The question now becomes: does Clearly Contacts cater largely to leprechauns, or do I have a gigantic freaking pumpkin head?

Hmm.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conversational Snippet #10: Retro Edition!: Why My Mom is Awesome

[My mom and I are out for brunch; at this point, The Boy and I have been dating for a couple of months and it's going really well, so I mention that I'm seeing someone.  And then I decide to go for the Big Confession:]

Me: ...and, by the way...The Boy is an occasional crossdresser.  I've always liked feminine men, so the crossdressing is a happy thing for me - something I actively wanted and looked for.

Mom: Oh.  [Pause.]  Can you explain something to me?

Me:  Sure...

Mom: Why would anyone want to wear women's clothes if they didn't have to?  They're constricting, they're itchy, they're uncomfortable...

Me: I know, right?  But he's willing to put up with it for the sake of being pretty.  And, hey, better him than me!

So obviously the Big Confession went smoothly.  Frankly, I wasn't that worried anyway: my mom is open-minded* and would be fine with any partner I had as long as he/she/zie treated me well.  But it still felt good to get things out in the open.

By the way, after brunch we hung out at my place for a bit.  My mom spotted a pair of platform Mary Janes tossed in a corner and said, surprised*, "You have girl shoes!" - then she immediately corrected herself: "Wait...they're his, aren't they?"  

And they were.

*And yet, somehow, she manages to be very sheltered at the same time.  She probably hasn't heard of many kinks or alternate lifestyles but if someone explained one to her she'd just go "Well, as long as it's not hurting anyone..."

**It's true that I don't own too many girlie-type shoes...but I didn't think clunky dude-shoes were, like, my trademark or anything.  Considering how shocked my mom was for those two microseconds, though, I guess I come off more butch than I'd realized.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Which The Boy and I Enjoy Reading Movies

Whenever possible, The Boy and I watch DVDs with the subtitles on.  It's surprising how much more you can catch that way (or maybe it's just us...I think we're both bad at processing information aurally).

An unexpected bonus: it's neat to see how the subtitlers describe music and sounds.  What some people would describe as a "scoff", others describe as a "snort"; sometimes the names and artists of songs are provided and sometimes the feel of the music is described and nothing more.

Of course, for theme songs and scores, there are no song names so it's always about the mood.  Apparently, depending on who wrote the subtitles, the opening theme song to Dexter is either "mysterious jazz," "slinky jazz," or "quirky instrumental music" (me, I agree with the last one.  I feel like proper jazz is more horn-based than the theme to Dexter...can anyone confirm this?).

Aspiring writer that I am, I can't help automatically revising subtitles in my head to make 'em better.  I'll be thinking things like, "Huh.  I would've gone with 'laughs morbidly' rather than 'chuckles'.  And there should have been a '[sarcastically]:' right before that one line, 'cause the guy's face was pretty inexpressive when he said it and I think a deaf person would need a cue as to his tone."

I'm glad The Boy prefers subtitles, too.  A lot of people hate having to read (or ignore words) while watching stuff.

One of Life's Mysteries, Explained!

It's weird to me that people can have a difference of opinion on how good an actor is.  For instance, I think Sarah Michelle Gellar is fucking awesome, but an acquaintance thinks she's terrible - can't act to save her life.  Wouldn't you think this sort of thing isn't negotiable?  Either an actor can convey an emotion or they can't, right?

But today I realized: the audience has different levels of perception.  I bet that's where the issue lies.

I mentioned a while back that I seem to fit the profile of a Highly Sensitive Person - and one of the strengths of an HSP is that we're very attuned to the emotions of others.  So maybe I can pick up on it perfectly well when Sarah Michelle Gellar emotes some complicated thing like Being Secretly Attracted to Her Arch-Nemesis While Realizing She Might Have Left the Oven On, but other people don't see what she's conveying because they're bad at sensing emotions in general. "Subtle" probably comes off as "wooden" to them.

It all makes so much sense now!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shoutout Sunday: Greenbelts

Today I'd like to direct you to the Etsy store Greenbelts.  Owner Shannon Ritscher makes the coolest leather wrist cuffs, dog collars*, and more - all out of recycled leather adorned with studs, buttons, or other interesting doohickeys.  I've bought two wrist cuffs from her so far (one of which has an old fashioned metal faucet handle bolted to it!) and will no doubt be back for more!

Ritscher's customer service is top-notch: I got a thank-you email after each of my orders and both items arrived quickly.  Also, I've just reread her profile on Etsy and am reminded she started marketing her craft to an audience when she was pushing 40 - same as me.  So now I think she's even cooler. :)

So yeah.  Want some funky, edgy leather accessories?  Something a little different from the offerings at your typical leather goods or Hot Topic store?  Greenbelts is the place!

*The more enterprising among you will have realized that a medium or large dog collar can easily become a decorative people-collar.  You know, if you like that look.  The Boy and I sure do!

A New Treasury!

ChatteJolie was kind enough to feature one of my fortune cookie paintings in an Etsy treasury, Anyone For Chinese Tonight?

I think my favourite thing in this treasury might be the big fortune cookie pillow.  Or, wait, maybe the paper valentine fortune cookies.  Actually, I don't think I could pick just one favourite. :)

And what about the curator of this treasury, you ask?  Well, ChatteJolie sells vintage clothing and accessories.  I especially covet some of her gorgeous retro dresses.  Take a look!

Caturday: Cowcat Says What?

I'm a bad, bad blogger: I'm just sitting down to post, yet Caturday has ended about an hour ago.  I'll try to be more on track in the future.

My other issue today is that all my current ideas for Caturday posts are kinda long and I really want to go to bed soon.

So, for now I'll just leave you with this video of The Boy "cow tipping" Birchy.  It's totally stupid and lame.  Enjoy!

video

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Awful Tooths

I remembered another dentist story.  This one happened during a cleaning...I had my mouth cranked open until my jaw creaked, trying to make room for the hygienist to groom my back teeth with her Pointy Hook of Discomfort, but there was still barely room for her to manoeuvre.  She was like "You have a really small mouth, huh?"

And - god knows why - I replied "Yup.  I guess we all know what I'm not good at."

Then my sense of propriety kicked in (about twelve seconds too late, as usual) and silently screamed OMG DUMBASS YOU JUST INVITED THIS RANDOM LADY TO PICTURE YOU TRYING TO WEDGE A PENIS INTO YOUR MOUTH*  I wanted to facepalm but that would probably have driven the Pointy Hook of Discomfort down my throat so I refrained.  Instead I just waited to see how the hygienist would react.

She blithely said, "Hey, what you do on your own time is your business" and kept right on picking my teeth, unfazed.  So that's cool.

Oh!  And another time, I was at the dentist to see if the suspicious lines running diagonally across my two front crowns were scratches or cracks.  They were cracks - crowns are supposed to last for ten to fifteen years, yet somehow I'd cracked these after only two.  My dentist said "You must have quite a bite."  I almost quipped back "That's what they tell me!" but managed to stop myself in time - probably because I remembered my shame from last time and didn't want to repeat it.  Alluding to one's boudoir quirks at the dentist's office is Not Okay, people.  Think before you speak.

*And now you're all picturing it, too!  Huzzah!  But I know your dirty little minds would've gone to that place, anyway, just from reading the first paragraph of this story.  I really only said what everyone was thinking.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Hey, Facebookers:

If you don't already "like" my She Said Pop page, you really should - I'm giving away my awesometastic Weimaraner Monroe painting to one lucky fan for FREE!


All you have to do to qualify is "like" She Said Pop, respond to the wall post where I ask who wants the painting, and after the response deadline (Friday, Jan 21 at 11:59pm Eastern time) I'll randomly choose a winner from all the respondents.

It's a gorgeously detailed 4"x6" painting with a value of $40...and it could be yours for FREE if you do this one little thing.  I'm just sayin'.

Conversational Snippet #9: Retro Edition!

Me: So...The Boy's gonna move in with me.

Shambolicguru: And you've been together how long?

Me: Four months.

Shambolicguru: Four months?!?  Are you sure you're ready for cohabitation?  That's a pretty intense change in intimacy levels.

Me: I know it may seem kind of fast, but I have a good feeling about this boy.  Sometimes you just know, y'know?

Shambolicguru: Yeah, but four months?  Most people aren't even fully being themselves around the other person by that point.  Like, have you farted in front of him yet?

Me: Dude, I've farted on him.

Shambolicguru: ............................................You'll be fine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tooth of the Matter

I had to get some fillings at the dentist's yesterday.

A lot of people tell me that the sound of a dentist's drill fills them with dread.  Me, I'm okay with the drill; my issue is that I'm terrified - terrified - of needles.  Especially the idea of needles in my mouth.  Once that part's over and I'm totally numbed, I can usually pretty much fall asleep during the rest of the procedure.  As long as I can't feel anything, it's all good.

Yesterday they gave me nitrous oxide for the first time ever in an attempt to lessen my fear of the Novocaine syringe.  Either they didn't give me enough of it or the stress chemicals in my brain cancelled it out, because the injections went the same as always: I hyperventilated and gripped my hands together really hard and fought the urge to tell the dentist and his assistant "OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU YOU'RE SO GOOD TO ME I LOVE YOU SO MUCH" (I also get this urge with tattoo artists while they're tattooing me.  I think it's a form of Stockholm syndrome).

Then the dentist left the room for a minute while the Novocaine took hold, and I told the dental assistant "My face is numb!" and started cackling like a lunatic and had to use every ounce of my willpower to force myself to stop.  Why hello there, nitrous oxide, nice of you to finally join us.

The rest of the appointment was uneventful.

Oh, btw, I asked the dentist if I could be exempted from flossing forever and ever by getting all my teeth pulled out and replaced with implants (theoretically!).  Implants, after all, would be impervious to cavities.  It would be like having SuperTeeth!  But alas, after looking alarmed and then laughing a lot, the dentist said I'd still have to floss to maintain my gum health.  So in case you were wondering, flossing is pretty much non-negotiable as long as you have teeth of any kind.

Poop.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Damn you, winter. Damn you to HELL!

I'm not a fan of winter.  I think it boils down to three factors: the cold, the dark, and the snow/ice.  If any one of those things were taken away, I'd be fine.

The cold: if the temperature in winter stayed in a spring or summerlike zone, I wouldn't care so much about the limited sunlight or the snow and ice on the ground making it hard to get around (I know it's impossible to have snow and ice in 15 degree Celsius weather.  This is a theoretical discussion and I can bend the rules of physics however I want).

The dark: not only are the nights longer in winter, the sunlight during the day is kind of pale and wussy.  If winter light could be happy and yellow and last 12 hours a day, it'd perk my mood right up and I wouldn't mind the cold and snow so much.

Snow/ice: it seems patently unfair that not only do we get coldness and darkness in winter, we also get crap all over the ground that makes it difficult or even dangerous to get around.  It's like Mother Nature is kicking us while we're down.  If winter could be precipitation-less, or if the snow could somehow fall only on lawns and not on sidewalks, roads, or parking lots, that would be awesome. Imagine: you're walking to the store in winter.  It's 6pm and already dark out, and it's so cold you're shivering and huddled into your coat.  But the ground is perfectly clear and unobstructed and you can stride quickly and confidently to your destination.

People should ask me how to run the planet.  I have good ideas.

WIN FREE STUFF!

Sometime soon, I'm gonna start giving away original art (and maybe other cool stuff, too) on my official Facebook page! 

If you haven't subscribed to my page yet, and you'd like the chance to win awesome free things, please go here and click the "like" button to qualify!

Thanks!

Awesome News!

Canada Post's shipping is infuriatingly baroque - certain shipping methods are only available to things being shipped to certain countries, some methods make it more expensive to send things within Canada than to send them to the US, etc.  There is no one shipping method that works for every single destination.

But tonight I fiddled around with their online rate calculator and after a running a dozen or more hypothetical shipping scenarios, having one small crying jag and pulling out about half of my hair*, I believe I have figured out a viable pricing system on sending my wares outside of North America.

Yes, that's right: I now ship paintings everywhere in the world, not just to Canada and the US.  If you're outside North America and you've been desperately coveting something in my store, now's your chance!  Go nuts.  :)


*Ah-HA!  You thought The Boy used an electric razor to give me a righteous chelsea over the weekend, but in fact I suffer from mail pattern baldness due to Canada Post's infuriating website.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In Which my Awesome Vocal Stylings Fail to Impress.

So, yeah, sometime soon I'm going to paint a bunch of hot mermen, and maybe some mermaids too.  It's my latest artistic obsession.  And this in turn made me need to watch the Flight of the Conchords video for "Mermaid," and that got the song stuck in my head, and I've been singing it more-or-less constantly ever since.



Well.  Not singing the whole thing.  Just the beginning - I have a terrible memory for lyrics and the beginning part of this song is all I can remember.  For those of you who are unable or unwilling to watch the video right now, this means I've been going around the house crooning the word "mermaid" in a loungey voice over and over.

And over and over and over and over.

Until The Boy  - bless his tactfulness and sense of restraint - said, "Please learn more of the words to that song."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Conversational Snippet #8: Nobody Likes an Uppity Camwhore

[I am still obsessing on paintings of food, but now another obsession has appeared - hot mermen.  So naturally I got The Boy to pose for a bunch of reference photos, because he is pretty and readily available and loves having his picture taken.  Later, this happened:]

Me: Y'know what's a shame about this merman thing?  I don't get to draw your spectacular ass.  It'll just be, like, a featureless curve at the top of your tail.

Boy: So just move it up[Gestures at his chest and does a little shimmy.]

Me: But I'm painting you as a merman, not a mermaid.

Boy: So?

Me: I am not giving you mermoobs.

Shoutout Sunday: Body Art Forms

Do you have piercings?  Do you want pretty, edgy, or interesting jewelry to put in them?  Then you might want to check out Body Art Forms.  They carry all kinds of body jewelry, from belly button rings to septum spikes.  Got a hankering for pyrex plugs for your stretched ears?  BAF has them.  Maybe a pair of spirals made of stone or horn?  BAF has you covered.  Every time I go to their site, my inner raccoon says "OMG SHINY THINGS!" and I end up browsing through tons of items - even stuff I can't actually wear - until I fall into a drooling retail coma.

BAF is especially awesome because they let customers post reviews and photos of the products.  These pics and opinions have played a big part in helping me decide what to buy - and so far I've loved all of my purchases!

Also, Body Art Forms sells their stuff for much, much less than my local piercing shop does, and since it's a website I can shop naked, which my local piercing shop seems to frown upon.  So there's that.

Everything I've bought from BAF arrived pretty fast...within a week or two, I think.  And although I've never had to return anything, there's a lot of feedback from customers who say that BAF's customer service is great and that returns are quick and easy.

I'm gonna go ogle their waffle-texture rainbow dichro plugs some more and wonder if it'd be worth stretching my ears a bunch of sizes bigger so I can get them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Caturday: Mad Science Edition!

Back when I was catless-but-looking, I researched different breeds to see if there was any specific kind of kitty whose personality would suit mine best.  In the process, I learned the coolest thing ever: the dark "points" on Siamese cats are temperature-sensitive!  Siamese cats are actually solid beige when they're born because their mother's womb kept them so warm.  Then once they're out in the world for a little while, the coolest parts of their bodies - the extremities plus their snout, which is continuously "air-chilled" from breathing - turn dark.  (I guess this means Birch's eyes are Siamese but his markings are pure calico, since he has dark spots on his torso as well as his face and tail.)

Anyway, yeah...a Siamese cat's markings depend on its temperature.  And this fact naturally reminded me of another animal fact I learned on a childhood trip to the zoo: a flamingo's colour comes from a particular kind of shrimp it eats (put the flamingo on a shrimp-free diet and it will turn white!).

Conclusion: it would be awesome to splice flamingo genes into a Siamese cat and then feed the cat shrimp.

artist's rendering
I mentioned this idea to my friend Shambolicguru and he said, "You'd make a terrible scientist.  But an excellent MAD SCIENTIST."

Best.  Compliment.  Ever.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Scientific Theory

I never leave home without my glasses on my face - they're not "optional" for me like they are for some people - but sometimes I'll do without them if I'm just bumming around the apartment.  And I've noticed that when I'm walking around with a naked face, the "wind" of me moving around hurts my eyes and makes me blink.  It's like I can feel the individual air molecules bouncing off my exposed eyeballs.

But I don't notice non-spectacled people flinching and blinking as they walk around. They don't seem to feel anything amiss.

My hypothesis is that a lifetime of constant air molecule collisions has given them eye-calluses.

Custom paintings now available!

I am now officially selling custom COOKIE WISDOM paintings in my Etsy store!  Buy a fortune cookie with your very own fortune on it for just $5 more than my pre-made ones.  It's an amazing deal and would make an amazing gift!  Click the picture to go to the listing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm in a treasury!

My "Don't" painting has been featured in another treasury!  This one was created by Noa, who owns the Etsy shop Tutika. The treasury is called Shooting Stars Around Your Heart.  I love how the themes and colours of all the pieces fit together - and as usual, I've ended up favouriting several of the other featured artists!  That's one of the best parts of being in treasuries, for me: since they're usually compiled around a particular theme, I'm bound to love most of the items alongside mine.  It's a nice way to discover new stores.

By the way, Tutika makes decorations for kids' rooms - if you love brightly coloured, interestingly textured decor pieces (I especially love the animal themed ones) you should check out her store!

A change of plans.

I'm going to discontinue my Gender Wednesday posts.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still make those types of posts on occasion.  Just...not on any specific timeline.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love Letter

Yesterday morning I sent out my fifth Etsy order(!) and was struck by a giant burst of, well, love.

I love making art - coming up with ideas and challenging myself to render them well.  I love that people dig my work enough to spend money on it.  I love wrapping a customer's brand new painting in pretty tissue paper so they'll feel like they're getting a wonderful present (which they are - even if they bought it for themselves!).  I love packing their order in a safe, secure nest of padding so it will reach its destination in perfect condition.  I love doing the whole post office transaction and knowing the package is on its way to someone who's excited to receive it - I feel like I'm nudging my little baby birds out of the nest and watching them fly.

I super-love that my very first customer left my store amazing feedback - reading those lovely words, I finally knew that all my planning and hard work was paying off.  My mad skillz are noticed and appreciated.  I...may have teared up a little bit.

Big thanks to everyone who's bought art from me and big thanks to you for reading this blog. You are literally making my dreams come true.  You guys rock so hard.

Okay I think I'm done being embarrassingly mushy now. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Which I Totally Fail at Networking

Yesterday The Boy and I went grocery shopping and got the friendliest cashier ever.  When she asked us how we were and we said "tired", she was like "Awww, why are you tired?  Do you mind me asking?"

Both of us got all awkward and just shrugged or whatever.  I can't speak for The Boy but I know I was thinking "This chick is doing a job.  She probably doesn't really want to talk to us."  So, I avoided talking about myself because, like, why should she care?

But she was clearly trying to engage us in conversation - just because I'm not that type of person doesn't mean that nobody is.  And now I realize I should've answered with "I was up all night painting, actually.  I'm an artist with an online store...would you like a business card?" 

I bet she totally would have taken a business card - and cheerfully, too, not under duress.  She was just that kind of chick who's interested in everyone and wants to know what they do and what they're like.  People like her are probably also very likely to pass cool information on to their friends.

But nooooooooo, I didn't tell this girl anything about my business, even though she handed me the opportunity on a silver platter.  I had to get an attack of social anxiety and convince myself that her obvious friendliness was all an elaborate ruse.

*Facepalm*

I think we can all see why I choose to sell online rather than at arts and crafts fairs.  Online, I am friendly and approachable and funny and confident.  In person...well, I'm still friendly and approachable, and sometimes funny.  But I have attacks of shyness.  My brain locks up and I forget how to carry on a conversation.  Hopefully this is something I can work on.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shoutout Sunday: UglyBaby

Today I'd like to direct your attention to UglyBaby on Etsy.

This store is so freaking great!  It specializes in waterproof "shower art" - basically a slab of clear rubber with awesomeness embedded in it and a suction cup on the back for hanging.  I've bought three pieces of shower art so far and will undoubtedly buy more in the future - especially since they'll accept custom orders and these custom orders can involve photos and/or slogans and/or glitter.  For a somewhat tomboyish person I am super-addicted to glitter...maybe I'm part raccoon or something.  Yay for shiny things!
 
Anyway, in addition to awesome shower art with zombies and ninjas and glitter and snarkiness built right in, the store also carries adorable handmade greeting cards.  Plus, if you love their shower art but it's not within your budget, they sell postcards of some of the best pieces. 

Their customer service is excellent, too.  The seller keeps you informed of the status of your order and your stuff will come with a postcard explaining what shower art is and how to care for it (and some info on other projects the seller is involved in, I believe).


You should really go look at their stuff now.

 
*If you're curious, two of the pieces I bought were gifts for friends: one with glitter and the caption "YOU'RE A STAR" for a friend who needed a bit of a pick-me-up, and one with a tiny female action figure being shot with a rainbow beam from a device in the sky (caption: THE GAY RAY STRIKES AGAIN) for a friend who enjoys both sparkly ironic things and having sex with other ladies. 

The one I bought for me has a toy pterodactyl in it along with a sprinkle of green glitter and the words "MORE THAN A MEATBAG.  A HECK OF A LOT MORE."  I hung it in my shower so I'm reminded every morning to keep pursuing the art thing as hard as I can - because without inspiration shaping and informing my life, I am just a meatbag**. 

**Yes, I can read symbolism into any combination of words, no matter how random.  It's a talent I have.***

***Another of my talents is making blog posts that necessitate multiple (or even nested!) footnotes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Caturday: I Know What I Like.

I love distinctive-looking animals, and what initially drew me to Birch was his awesome faceblob and his blue eyes.  When the volunteer at his foster home told me he's a calico and that something like 99% of calico cats are female, all that registered was "oooh, he's handsome and rare as well!"

It wasn't until I brought Birch home that I realized he's basically a crossdresser - you know, a boy body with an outer layer of "girl".  Apparently I'm such a drag hag that I chose an androgynous pet without even realizing it.  And less than a year later, The Boy moved in, doubling the number of catty little transvestites I live with.

"...But I'm the pretty one."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gather 'round, kids! It's story time!

A bunch of years ago, my then-husband and I went to a Gold's Gym for a free trial workout.  While we were there, I saw a woman in totally kickass shape and I thought, "Huh...you don't usually see such big boobs on a woman with such low body fat." 

And then I saw another surprisingly big-breasted but otherwise very athletic-looking woman.

And another.

And another.

It was most perplexing.

In the car on the way home, my ex was like "So I guess you noticed this is where all the strippers go to work out during the day."

Mystery solved!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

True story.

This morning The Boy and I woke up with our faces just inches apart.  We smiled at each other and said our first words of the day at the exact same time.

He said "I love you."

I said "Have you been eating garlic?"

Awkward.

WALL BACON!

The fortune cookie paintings triggered a need in me to paint pictures of other food items, and this has now become a full-blown obsession.  I started off painting five 4"x4" canvases to look like toaster waffles (complete with tinted varnish "syrup"!!!).  Now I want a breakfast nook specifically so I can hang a bunch of these righteous waffles up in there.  Sadly, my kitchen is laid out in a way where there's no good place to hang art (or room for a table or chairs), so they'll have to grace someone else's nook. 

So yeah...I painted some waffles (with toasty brown edges!), and they are fabulous.  And then I thought, hey, these waffles should come with a side of bacon.  But not strips of bacon painted on a big ol' canvas - I'd want this bacon to stand alone in bacony glory.  But how to accomplish this?

My brain excels at problem-solving, and "how can I make fake, wall-mountable bacon?" is exactly the kind of weird-ass quandary it loves.  I have indeed come up with a way to construct artificial bacon strips, and I'm 99% sure I know how to make 'em hangable...but I haven't attached the hanging hardware yet so you'll have to be content with a picture taken on the floor.

BEHOLD!


Hungry? :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gender Wednesday: Dude, you are SUCH a chick.

My friend posted the clip below on my Facebook wall a while back.  I love it because it shows just how stupid and arbitrary gender stereotypes are.

You can bend anything around until it looks "masculine" or "feminine", really.  Knitting?  Oh, yeah, that's a dude thing.  Guys are so good with their hands...and good with counting, which is a big part of doing the fancier stitches.  Cooking is another obvious manly pastime, what with all the math involved. 

Sports, though...sports are sooooo girly.  Chicks are smaller, y'know...makes 'em more agile.  Plus women have a lot of physical endurance - their bodies are built for childbirth, after all.

Etc., etc.

Anyway, enjoy this delicious comedy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER

Is there a word for a braingasm triggered by the perfect intersection of two or more awesome pop culture references?




*Head explodes*

Monday, January 3, 2011

A sneak preview of my new series of paintings!

This post from a while ago made me realize that fortune cookies rarely contain any useful information...and I decided I need to fix that.  However, I'm gluten intolerant and not good at baking anyway, so I'm doing this the only way I can: through painting!  Check out the very first painting in my new Cookie Wisdom series:

The "fortune" is an actual slip of paper I typed, printed, cut down to size and glued to the canvas.  Not only does this look more interesting and authentic, it also allows me to sell each painting for less than if I'd had to painstakingly render all that precise lettering by hand. Win-win!

I've done four of these paintings so far, each with an important piece of wisdom or advice*: "Be your own guardian angel", "Be brave", "You are stronger than you know", and the one shown above, which I made just for me.  I'm going to hang it up in the area where I paint to remind me to stay calm/take time for myself sometimes/not be such a worrywort.

In the future I'd like to offer custom fortune cookie paintings.  That way you could order one with a piece of wisdom you choose yourself - something you sometimes need to be reminded of.  Also, let's all take a moment to picture the awesome gift-giving potential here:

Classy - you could use the person's favourite quote.
Predictive - an actual fortune you would wish for them, like "You will be famous" for an aspiring actor.
Passive-aggressive - if you're forced to buy a gift for someone you don't actually like, consider going with a backhanded compliment like "You're as sweet as you are pretty."
Outright snarky - do you have a playfully mean relationship with someone?  Perhaps they'd get a kick out of a cookie whose fortune says "Fewer carbs" or "Nobody likes you."

I'm totally psyched about this idea (can you tell?).  It's weird, but after every painting (or series of paintings) I do, I always feel like "Well, that was it.  That's the last cool idea I'll ever have.  I've used them all up now."  And then a few weeks later - pow - new inspiration hits me and it's like getting a phone call from a childhood best friend who's still just as funny and smart and awesome as I remembered.  It's like "Oh!  Wow.  Inspiration?  Is that you?  I never thought I'd hear from you again.  How you doin'?"  And Inspiration and I have a long talk that leaves me feeling electrified and before I know it it's 3am and I'm making a blog post because I'm too excited to sleep.

By the way, all this cookie-painting has made me want to do other paintings of food, too...just because.  I'll let you know how that goes!

And hey - feel free to suggest "fortunes" to me - if I like one I'll totally use it (and unlike with custom orders, you're under no obligation to buy the resulting painting).

*Yeah, yeah, technically that's not a "fortune" but neither is half the stuff you'll find in an actual fortune cookie.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shoutout Sunday: Weird Green Cat

Today I will be discussing Weird Green Cat.

Weird Green Cat is a webcomic that comes out every Monday, and it is awesome.  Creator Brett Donnelly excels at crafting dead-on parodies of Star Wars, comic book characters, etc., and seasoning them with exactly the right touches of philosophical sweetness and cynical grains of salt.  It's like someone put geek culture through a Holden Caulfield filter*.

If I had to pick a favourite comic, it might be this one, based on awful '80s fantasy film Ladyhawke (it's funny 'cause the guy is saying exactly what I was thinking when I watched it!) but the competition would be very, very close indeed.

Incidentally, Brett also does digital commissions.  I'm getting one, but I haven't been able to decide what I want him to draw for me...there are so many things I'd love to see translated into his drawing style!  You can also purchase a fancy, high-res print of any of his comic strips - or rather, a print of some of his comic strips, because he'll only print each one once.  The list of still-available-comics is here - order your favourite one while you can!

Last but not least, you can purchase a handy educational 12"x18" poster of A Phylogeny of the Undead (the hilarious faux-Latin names alone are worth the price of admission, kids!).

So, yeah.  That's all I have to say.  Go read now. :)



*which is something I just made up but I'm suddenly thinking it'd be really cool to have one...I'd run the Bible through it so I could read Jesus' plaintive musings about women.

Addendum: Don't Read This, Either.

Just a little postscript to this week's Caturday...I remembered something else that happened during Mordecai and Tulip's stay in my apartment.

Turns out cat physiology is somewhat similar to ours: which is to say, when Tulip was in heat, any time she'd get up from sitting on the couch she'd leave a tiny wet vagina print behind (funfact: this is why human women wear pants).  Each print was a neat little circle, like this:
O

I saw this and couldn't stop laughing.  I said to Mordecai (who, if you'll recall, tends to object to my general disgustingness commitment to telling the truth): "Dude, we need to buy a coaster for your cat.  She's leaving wet rings on the furniture."

And he was like "OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU STOP TALKING NOW."  (Which, frankly, I've heard so many times from so many people that the words have lost all meaning.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Caturday: You Probably Shouldn't Read This.

The following story is disturbing and says some dubious things about my character.  However, it's also pretty funny, so I'm going to go ahead and share it.

A year or two ago, my friend Mordecai* found himself suddenly without an apartment.  He and his cat Tulip* ended up staying with me for a month or two while he looked for a new place.

Tulip was a teeny little slip of a thing -  not technically a kitten anymore, but smaller than a normal adult cat and in possession of the biggest, most vacant eyes I've ever seen. She was also unspayed and currently spending about half her time in heat.  She'd have about a week where she was all sweet and well-adjusted followed by a week in apparent agony, and it'd just kind of switch back and forth.

A cat going in and out of heat looks kind of like this.
So one day Mordecai and I are sitting on my couch watching tv or whatever, and poor Tulip is languishing on the floor making a constant stream of "CAN HAZ SEX NOW PLZ?" noises, and Mordecai sez to me, he sez:

"I heard you can satisfy a cat in heat by using a Q-tip [name-brand cotton swab]*."

[Note: you should have an inkling by now where this story is going.  If it skeeves you out, please hit the "back" button on your browser.  It only gets worse from here.]

And I'm like, "Huh.  I did not know that."

And Mordecai goes, "I could never do that to Tulip, though.  She's like my daughter."

"That's understandable."

Pause.

"Apparently it's totally safe for the cat, though," Mordecai says.

"That's good."

Pause.

"Yeah, and they love it.  It makes them feel better."

"Interesting."

Pause.

"My friend's veterinarian recommended it for her cat.  An actual veterinarian!"

I can't figure out why he keeps bringing this up.  Then, finally, realization dawns: "Mordecai, do you want me to [name-brand cotton swab] your cat?"

"Yes.  Yes I do."

I look over to where Tulip is writhing around in a frenzy of sexual frustration.


Normally I would never consider what Mordecai is proposing.  I'm an enlightened person, dammit!  I know about the importance of informed consent!  But still...Tulip looks like she's really suffering.  She seems like she might die if she doesn't get some action.  ('Course at this point in my life I've been single for a long while so I might be projecting a little bit.)  And hey, if even vets endorse this practice...

"Get her and hold her down," I say.  It feels totally surreal hearing those words come out of my mouth.  It feels even more surreal when Mordecai - who apparently thinks of his cat as a daughter - sets Tulip on the couch, grabs her by the scruff of the neck, and lifts her tail for easy access.

I go to the bedroom, get a [name-brand cotton swab], and lube it.  Then I go back into the living room and - how to put this delicately? - swab my friend's cat's vagina like it's the deck of a really filthy pirate ship.**

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit: my movements were actually much more slow and careful than that pirate metaphor made them sound.  Still, the moment I "breached her hull", Tulip let out a howl that made all the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  Then she began to thrash.  I'd heard before that cats are loud and violent during sex, so I was kind of prepared for this, but it still freaked the hell out of me.  "OH MY GOD MORDECAI DON'T LET HER GO!" I shrieked.  He yelled back "I'VE GOT HER!  I'VE GOT HER!  IT'S OKAY!"

I continued gingerly probing Tulip's kittybits while she bucked and yowled and Mordecai held her in place as best he could.  Finally she let out a screech so totally bone-chilling that we both simultaneously leaped away from her in fear for our lives. 

The whole episode, from "get her and hold her down" to the Screech of Imminent Dismemberment (which I think may actually have been a catgasm), had lasted three minutes, tops.  Once released, Tulip was utterly  blissed out - total pleasure overload - so happy she didn't know what to do with herself.  She started purring like a jet engine and alternately rolling around on the floor and running up to various articles of furniture to rub her cheeks against them.  Her cheeking was so passionate, so vigorous, that Mordecai joked, "Damn, if Tulip were an outdoor cat she'd be pushing a parked car down the street with her face right now." 

Also, for the next few days she didn't seem to be in heat anymore. 

So overall I guess the [name-brand cotton swab] experiment was a success - although Mordecai and I ultimately felt weird about the whole thing and agreed not to do it again.  But first I told him I was gonna construct a cotton swab strap-on "for next time" (and pantomimed holding a cat up at hip level and thrusting) just so he'd go "ARRRGH EWW NO."  He is hilariously squeamish sometimes and I can't resist messing with that.

* Name changed to protect the guilty.
** Clearly, I'd either be really bad at writing romance novels, or superfuckingawesome at it.  I haven't yet decided.