Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Storm's a comin': The clouds were amazing this morning (Turner-esque, yes?), just before everything went all wet 'n' wonky. Ooh, and look! a roof down there in the corner (this same roof, actually), so technically this qualifies as part of our series.

Mornin' Musin': Wet 'n' Wild

Some places, winter is an endurance sport; a grim, determined affair that tests inhabitants' steely resolve. (The pleasure some Northerners take in their winters reminds me of the pleasure some runners take in a marathon.) Its anthropomorphized persona is that of Old Man Winter, fearsome and flinty. But our winter is a devilish imp; its sport is the headgame. It likes to frak with our minds.

Thanksgiving day was balmy. I like balmy, but I remember commenting that a touch cooler would be nice: at least give us a chance to break out a light sweater or jacket for what is nominally a winter holiday. Cooler, huh? The next morning I decided to make the best of the temperate conditions and knock out some yard work. Load the girls in the car; off to the store for supples. Cold rain. No yardwork. Over the weekend, it turned nice again. This morning I stepped out onto my balcony shortly after six a.m. It was seventy-four degrees. A few minutes later, a ferocious wind was blowing the willow tree sideways, the temperature was dropping a degree a minute, and by seven, the city was once again soaked in a cold rain.Tonight's lows will be in the thirties.

This is only the beginning. We've got at least three more months of meteorological mayhem. We must steel our minds, refuse to let it break us, lest we become jumbled cowering messes begging for the return of summer's sweltering tedium. (Honestly, though, it's hopeless. I'm always gung-ho for summer by time it rolls around.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday cruising

Diorama-lama-ding-dong: Louise and the African savanna (its lifecycle, specifically: the sun is the source of energy and the giraffes are primary consumers, or was it the trees? and somebody is the secondary consumer because they eat the other ones, and then it goes on from there....)

Mornin' Musin': Dioramas Are Awesome

There is a set of Skills-Which-We-Enthusiastically-Cultivate-As-Children-and-Almost-Entirely-Abandon-As-Adults. Example: Making dioramas. Dioramas are awesome. I'm helping Louise make one for science class—the ecosystem of the African savanna—and it's bookoo fun: shoe box, contruction paper, popsicle sticks, that putty stuff, printouts of wildlife. Good times. Dioramas make good pedagogical sense: the kids have to focus in on the details, but they're focusing on the details in a crafty playful way and, consequently, almost don't realize they're learning stuff (and for whatever reason, our brains seem to learn stuff best when they forget they're doing it). Louise has made plenty of dioramas before and will probably make plenty more in the future (as will June). But then we grow up, and we stop.* Admittedly, they have minimal practical application. (I suppose there was a time, before the prevalence of photos/movies/TV/interwebs, when dioramas were an important tool for depicting-scenes-for-people-who-couldn't-actually-be-there, but not so much anymore.) But practical applications are overrated. We could all use a little more impracticality. ("[A] little less practicality"? No, not quite the same thing.) Let's lobby for a national Grown-Ups Make Dioramas Day. It'll be awesome.

* Well, most of us stop. There are exceptions. Just this weekend, as I was chattering on about this subject, I learned that a friend is, in fact, making a diorama (for 'tit Rex; Mardi Gras always elicits good healthy adult impracticality). And somebody else told me about a college professor who, frustrated with lame student essays, had her class make dioramas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More roofs. What are those old warehouse zizag roofs called? I like them.

Louise in sunglasses

Friday, November 26, 2010

More eaves: Ms. Elmer's place. (Are we a series yet?) New Orleans isn't a particularly vertical town, but still, I usually find plenty of interest when looking up.

Mornin' Musin' (Ponderous Ponderable): Is There a Term For That?

"Friending" has entered the cultural lexicon, thanks to Facebook. Is there a term, though, for becoming Facebook friends with someone you don't really know that well but you travel in the same general social milieu and they've always seemed tolerable enough, but then you read their status updates which are a torrent of raging narcissism and drama-rama drivel, and as a consequence, you develop an active dislike for the person in a way that never would have happened without the intervention of social media? Is there a term for that?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

June and shadows

Mornin' Musin' (Ponderous Ponderable) Round #2: Turkey Day Edition

It seems to me that cranberries have really great PR: an obscure New England swamp-berry, so sour that it needs to be extensively sugared up and possibly turned into some sort of jiggly gelatin-thing (I like cranberries; I'm just sayin'...), it somehow hooks its wagon to the rising star of Turkey Day and becomes a core cultural foodstuff, central to a major American holiday, widely cultivated and guaranteed at least one annual appearance on the majority of the nation's tables. And then it get's the word out that it's good for you, that it'll keep your business all squeaky clean and fresh, and so now the spandex and trail-shoes set goes around guzzling its pucker-inducing juices by the virtuous gallon-full.

Are Darwinistic forces at work? By natural genetic variation, are some foodstuffs better equipped to garner a successful public relations campaign? Will organisms that can successfully navigate the new media-scape endure while others, less adept at branding, wither and die? Hmm...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Phone Phun: Mr. Baldhead. He doesn't look much like who I was trying to draw, but he definitely looks like somebody. (I'm starting to get the hang of the feel a bit more. I kind of dig the line quality. What does it look like, the way it's so even and crisp? Almost like an engraving.)
Phone Phun: Bike dude. This old guy went biking past me yesterday morning while I was out for a run. His sunglasses frightened me.

Mornin' musings (a.k.a. Ponderous Ponderables): Side Sleepin'

How about a new series of morning musings, sort of a regular early a.m. version of our "What's Up With That?" series. And let's see if we can make it a (pseudo-)daily endeavor, just a little something to mull over and talk-amongst-ourselves about as we soak the coffee into our thick groggy skulls. Our inaugural musing:
When sleeping, why do we have the potent compulsion to sleep on one particular side.* And then later we just have to switch to the other? And then later on, back again. What's up with that?
I assume it's some sort of biological imperative to make sure our musculo-skeleture (or whatever it's called) doesn't get too wonky and lopsided. But it can get kind of complicated, particularly when one is sharing a bed with a partner/spouse. Then the two folks have to either have to sync up their directions or scoot to remote corners of the bed to prevent knees and elbows from awkwardly interfering. (And this must be a major reason why polygamy never really seems to works that well, the exponentially increasing complexity of sorting out everyone's sleep-orientation.)

* I assume this is a widespread phenomenon, though
it obviously doesn't apply to those symmetrical front or back sleepers. (I really don't know how people sleep on their backs. Seems freakish to me. I know it's good and healthy and symmetrical and all that, but I just can't do it.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Phone Phun: That last bit of digi-drawrin' was fun. Let's do some more. (I'd played around with the digi-drawring before, but it's caught my fancy again of late, not as a substitute for the pen and ink, just a curious side foray.) Here's a doodle I did on my phone yesterday while eating lunch outside in our beautiful late November weather. (Another guy with a bunch of hair. Is this a trend? The last guy was pretty hairy too. All those little squiggles are pretty fun to draw. Maybe that's why.) The phone doodling is definitely different: a strange feel. Right now, I'm pretty clumsy at it, so the drawings come out kind of child-like, but that's okay, refreshing even. And one can't deny the convenience of always having a mini-sketchpad in one's pocket. (Plus, when one whips out an actual sketchpad in a public place, people get weird and self-conscious and nosy. But when I'm futzing on the phone, I just look like one more modern American obsessively checking Facebook.)

Wait, I owe y'all a photo series. I had options if I recall. Oh, yes: roofs. (Rooves? Roofs.) Here's a roof. (Our roof, to be precise. Well, it's a view looking up at our roof. Does that qualify as a photo of a roof? Because if you actually have to see the roof's surface, that's going to be lot harder. I don't have a helicopter. Let's be broadminded.) Admittedly, one photo of a roof doesn't make a series, but it's a start, and perhaps there will be more. (Is two a series? What's the minimum? Three?) And then all will be well and good. And then I can do another series. And another. And then series-o'-series, here we come!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

June seen through chain link fence

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Is "Classic Rock"?

(I drew him on my phone. Why should David Hockney have all the fun?)

Question: When is "classic rock"?

As a teenager back in the 80s, the last time I was listening to classic rock with any regularity, the answer seemed pretty straightforward: It was that stuff from the 60s and 70s.* But as the decades have marched on, the definition has morphed. Now stuff from the 80s is totally fair game. And maybe even a bit of the early 90s. So what can we conclude? Perhaps:
Classic rock is rock that is at least two decades (or so) old.
Does that sound about right? But if the end of the classic rock era is moving forward in time, what about the start? If new stuff is being brought into the fold, is old stuff being kicked out, falling off the front end into some even older category? "Oldies"? No, surely Led Zeppellin will always be classic rock. And I think of the term "oldies" as applying more specifically to rock 'n' roll** and other pre-"rock" popular forms. So is the start of classic rock stationary while the end moves forward in time? Will the duration of the classic rock era march relentlessly towards infiniti? Hmm.

* The whole concept of classic rock must have kicked off in the 80s, right? Before that it was just rock. Hmm.

** That's another good question. When did rock 'n' roll morph into just rock? I'd peg it at some time around the British Invasion—Beatles, etc.
when the music became less syncopated and more stadium-centric. Hmm.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've previously discussed New Orleans' hyper-efficient trash-picking culture. I've also discussed our local use of shopping carts for hauling anything and everything. A recent event that conveniently illustrates both points:

I'd hauled a large number of bulky domestic items to the curb:* Within hours the choice bits had been whisked away. After a day, the formerly large pile had dramatically shrunk. After two days, everything was gone—everything except a big unwieldy tree stump.** Yeah, this isn't firewood country. Nobody around here wants a stump. Even the garbage collectors ignored it. What the hell was I going to do with the thing?

I was, er, stumped. But lo! Along came two neighborhood dudes with, of course, a shopping cart. They hoisted the great wooden beast in and started on their way. I had to ask.

"Great. What are y'all going to do with that thing?"

"Grow mushrooms." He elaborated, explaining about the drilling and the plugs, and...

"What kind of mushrooms?"***


And there you go. Though are neighborhood is almost exactly not what one would picture when contemplating small-scale organic farming, it's true: Mr. Transports-Stuff-in-Shopping-Carts is growing Shiitake mushrooms**** just over the way. Ain't life grand?

* Boring story: other side of our double, lame tenants, left a bunch of crap behind when they moved out, blah, blah.

** Boring story: lame tenants, found a stump, thought it would make a cool end table, never got around to making it anything other than a stump, left it sitting on the porch forever, blah, blah.

*** In some more hippified climes, I'd have avoided this question, but hallucinogenic fungi aren't a particularly hot commodity around here.

**** You must follow that link and watch that video. And then watch all the Catherine Tate shows. And then we can talk about it! (I'm obsessed with it and have been quoting it ad nauseum at Sarah, and I think she's going to kick me out of the house if I don't find another outlet for my fixation.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Schoolbus. Speaking of series, these yellow behemoths seem to be catching my eye lately. (I took this photo—and a number of others that have showed up here recently; the square "dirty" ones—with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. How is it that a few well-chosen filtering algorithms can turn a crappy little phone cam into a tool capable of producing surprisingly evocative images? Nostalgia is certainly a factor: the pictures look old—a fact that will presumably confuse future generations of viewers: "Seventies of Twenty-Tens?"—and old stuff tends to feel more artful and emotionally charged, but that's not the whole deal. Hmm...)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Suggestion Box

I've got a hankering to kick off a photo series. That's well and good. Only trouble is, a series of photos of what? My brain is kind of rolling-tumbleweedy today, and I'm coming up with a whole lotta nada. Suggestions?*

* Preferably of things I actually can take a series of photos of, not, y'know, n-dimensional wraiths or whatever.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pink Barbie

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Beardo Fam

So I was laid up sick earlier this week. Boring. What to do? What to do? Oh, draw beards on all the members of my family!

Beardo Slim

Beardo June

Beardo Sarah

Beardo Lulu

Friday, November 05, 2010

Bruisers-New-Orleans Has a Website!

Hey, guess what? Chicken butt! Yes, also, Bruisers New Orleans has a website now,* and we think it's kind of awesome for two reasons:
  1. It just is kind of awesome.
  2. It's awesome because it sells our awesome CD.
You should go there. It'll be awesome:
* Actually, we've been having a website for a bit, but it still had some growing up to do. Now it's ready for its big debut: tiara polished, all elegant in its floor-length gown, and ready for a splashy write-up from Nell Nolan. Ooh, isn't it lovely?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Big Easy to Big Apple and Back, in Photos

promised you photos. They're overdue, but better late than never:

Over the East River

On the subway

Bracing against the Brooklyn winds

Brooklyn Bridge

Greay NY Noodle Town

June was disconcerted by the large number of buttons

View from the High Line

On the High Line

Tory and Sarah, Staten Island Ferry

Times Square

Central Park

Serendipitous Election Day humor: This morning on the way to work, I wound up behind this Doodie Calls port-o-potty poo-hauling truck, on the back of which was painted, "Within this tank Lies A Lot of POLITICAL PROMISES". Har! Funny enough, I suppose, though mainly I was just busy thinking, "Please don't rupture! Please don't rupture! Please don't..."

Monday, November 01, 2010

Like Riding a Bike

I would like to announce that we are officially no longer terrible parents. Specifically, our children now know how to ride bicycles. All by their own selves. Without the trainy-wheelies. For some inexplicable reason, we'd failed to instill this knowledge in a timely manner and were increasingly shamed by ever-growing daughters' inability to partake in this universal American pastime. (Well, in our defense, our neighborhood is a far cry from a bucolic suburban cul-de-sac and provides comparatively few carefree training spaces). We'd had a number of sweaty load-the-bikes-and-the-kids-in-the-car,-take-them-to-the-park,-and-chase-them-around-like-a-fool training sessions, but these typically ended with exhausted parents and frustrated children and were sort of miserable, and we wound up not doing them that often. They didn't make any steady progress until recently, when we basically cut ourselves out of the loop and set them loose in the parking lot across the way (on nights and weekends, when the security guard wasn't around to chase them off), paying just enough attention to make sure they didn't severely injure themselves or do anything really stupid. And it worked like a charm. Within days, they were pushing off, gunning along, braking, starting again, zigging and zagging like little pros, their helmet-encased bubble-heads bobbing in proud concentration all the while. And this weekend, we actually had our inaugural ride-from-point-A-to-point-B-(and-back), with some advanced lessons on how to navigate around (or if necessary, through) our city's horrendous potholes.

Teach kids to ride bikes: ✓