Monday, April 20, 2009

Other Works from the Rose.

Dream date: Wassily Kandinsky and Julie Mehretu ...

This work reminds me of a book cover for Man of LaMancha ...

Morbid. But so chipper in a 50s eery kind of way.


Hand print in the wall. Great hand.

(names and titles to come - all rights to these works are held by the Rose as far as I know)

Hoffman at the Rose.

The following images are clips and wholes of paintings by Hans Hoffman currently on display at Brandeis' Rose Art Museum. I was attracted to some of these for their colors and composition, and to others because their popularity despite the lack of representational rendering made even more acceptable the use of abstract color splashes and squiggles for American painters. Kind of funny - I mean, Hoffman must have had a good sense of humor, and what I perceive as a general acceptance of this kind of work is pleasantly gleeful.

Out to the Rose.

On my way out to Waltham via back roads, I passed by a UMass Waltham complex. I had no idea this existed! It is grand, and isolated, and ivy-covered.

I also discovered a variation on the rotary sign which I had not seen before. When I stoped to take the photograph, a little boy screamed "gross" out the window of a maroon mini-van. It took me a second to realize that he was referring to the squirrel in the road rather than my spandex-clad self. As far as roadkill goes, the squirrel lying close behind me was actually rather intact. That kid has some rude-awakenings ahead of him.

The question-mark sign leaning up agains the rotary sign-pole is a nice commentary on rotaries in general : )

The Fourth Morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Mornings.

Day One, Day Two, Day Three.
I am enjoying working with the colors and composition.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Garlic Sprout.

So, I decided to take pictures of the garlic rather than cutting it up.

I still needed to cook, though, and so here is what happened:

What you will need:

small non-stick pan
small pot
cooking spoon (I just a bamboo one!)
one small, white onion, chopped
half-a-brick of firm tofu, cubedheh
frozen, cut green beans (enough to balance out the red and satisfy the need for veggies)
one 12 oz can of chopped tomatoes
olive oil
hot pepper flakes
Italian seasoning

What you can do:

1) pour a small lake of olive oil onto the pan
2) add the tofu; turn the heat on to medium
3) let the tofu cook enough on each side so that it is brown and slightly crispy; add some Italian seasoning about half-way through the browning process.
4) when the tofu looks nearly finished, add the chopped onion; let it cook long enough to also brown a little; turn off heat.
5) heat the tomatoes, drain the tomatoes
6) add the green beans to the tomatoes, drain the whole mess before adding to ...
7) the onions and tofu! Add some more olive oil, salt and pepper, and hot flakes.
8) cook until warm ... drain excess olive oil off.
9) Viola. Hot partially fresh spring goodness in a bowl.

- Julia.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brake Replacement

Last night I took the evening for cleaning, fendering, and re-braking my bicycle. This was my first time replacing my own brakes! I felt more than mildly victorious for my achievements, though I did have some help from Todd Downs' The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bike Maintenance. This detailed tome presents good advice, followable instructions, and clear images for riders learning more about their bikes.

Below: The brake pad to the left is new; the brake pad to the right is only about 4 months old.

So much for doing taxes last night ...
... but a brake failure could be a lot worse than a tax break failure.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Today I first noticed the blossoms on trees! Off of Mass Ave, near MIT, and near Central .. : )

(picture actually from 04/09/09)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Closings in Pioneer Valley

This weekend I spent a few hours of my Sunday walking around Amherst. With a little time to kill before catching the bus back to my South Hadley campus, I arrived at the steps of the Fiber Arts Center to find it closed. The Fiber Arts Center functioned as a gallery, store, and learning center based around the art of the fiber. Works displayed included books, felting, fine weaving, classic and contemporary knit materials ... the show case window near the #38 shelter was a great way to learn more about crafts while waiting for the bus. Pensively, I turned around to hunt down the closest book store. The Jeffrey Amherst Bookshop was also closed.

Additionally, in googling articles explaining the state of the Fiber Arts Center, I discovered that the Amherst Arts Center also closed its doors after opening recently in 1999. This article in the Amherst Bulletin outlines the circumstances of this past January's closing, and this article published only weeks before describes one man's thoughts on the Jeffrey's empty shelves. The administrators of these three organizations found that the current economy was not active enough to support these enriching businesses. I hope that the teachers, readers, and craftsmen engaged with these local venues continue on with their passions until Amherst can afford a greater public humanities presence.

Living in Boston, it is not always as obvious to me how the economy is affecting smaller organizations. I guess that the city still has enough people vying for opportunities to blur the harsher lines of rural financial cuts. When one business closes, others seem to fill the store front pretty quickly. The scene in Amherst makes me wonder more about the future of arts-related businesses. The bookstore closing makes me wonder how many bookstores one small town should originally have been able to sustain. I wonder if towns need to more carefully consider the sustainability of similar businesses when allowing them permits. I am wondering this, not to point the blame at the town, but to mull over how towns will be pared-down in the next few years. I wonder what kind of control the local populations have over this.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Daily Adventure

Today, our Heroine ...

! was graciously bought an ill-deserved coffee & croissant by her patient student.

! tried to explain the words "romantic" and "assumes" in simple terms. The jury is still out regarding the degree of success which her piece-meal verbal stumblings earned her. She even tried to describe the fabrics of romance, but upon accidently implying that plaid was unromantic, realized that she thought plaid could be very romantic, and gave up. The reader is invited to describe what is romantic to him or her in this post's comment section.

! fixed a painting's form, built up the color, and then pared it all back down again. Progress? Maybe!

! advised MIT design students on the wonders of 3M adhesive products and on the ingenuity shown by German VIP Friedrich Froebel. The best and the brightest flattered our heroine by scribbling her words down in their moleskin notebooks. An Exciting Moment for All.

! hit a Boston pot-hole so hard that her chain fell off in the middle of the Mass Ave post-work rush. To her credit, she neither cursed nor swore. Amazing.

! correctly identified the three sounds owned by the suffix, "ed".

! smugly biked home in the rain wearing the waterproof pants she so-cleverly packed that morning in anticipation of the PM weather.

! arrived at Shaw's only to find that all three brand-brackets for ground cumin were empty. Is this a Sign of the Times? Or only of the Porter Square demographic? Quizzical. She will cook with spice another time ...

! was amazed at the deft backbagging abilities of the customer behind her. Not only was he smooth, he was done before she had even put ehr groceries into her own soggy pack. She accepted the Needs Improvement, remounted, and pedaled home.

! says in a weary but not unkind voice, "Look both Ways, Kid" to a twitchy young man who had darted in front of her tires on the dark, slick, four-lane road. Getting hit helps no one to the bar faster. A Lucky Miss for Both.

! our heroine goes home, cooks the broccoli, feeds the cat, and gets ready for a longer day tomorrow. Whew.

Stay Tuned for More Daily Adventures.

"Onward into the Mist!" - some prof. @ UMass.