Tag Archives: Photo Posts

A Lot Of Books

I don’t generally buy into all the Anthropologie hoopla and I usually feel their stuff is a false buy-out of the cultural artifacts it’s all trying to imitate, but after watching a documentary preview on Showtime (well, online…) about the buying process and consideration that goes into the brand, I’m slowly forming a bit of an appreciation for the brand. However, knowing that their in some way linked to Urban Outfitters still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Moving on…

I noticed this wallpaper posted over at ‘A Cup of Jo‘ and was only slightly disappointed to find out that it was an Anthropologie product. Obviously it’s out of my price range, of course I have no place to put it as I am currently and will be for a while to come renting, but I’m still quite inspired and must admit to the little warm spot in my heart that gets poked every time I see stacks and stacks of lovingly decayed books.

Growing up, I used to love getting lost in a good ‘old lady’ wallpaper. The intricate patterns on the walls of houses we’d visit, daycares I’d spend an afternoon at, neighbors houses with hidden treasures in dens and guest bedrooms. My imagination would run wild.

I guess the wallpaper isn’t really necessary. We’re working on quite the collection as it is, and sooner or later they’ll outgrow all their shelving and just line the walls. It’s a daily struggle to keep track of the four or so I’m reading at this moment. They seem to migrate about the apartment, floating in and out of piles. On coffee tables, nightstands, desks- any flat surface that would normally collect dust, in this household collects books.

There’s just something so beautiful about a simple spine.

[Image credits: Patrick Cline, and my house.]

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Staying grounded

Sometimes, all I need is a gentle reminder. Where did I come from? Ah yes.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. But beautiful old people are works of art.

-Marjorie Barstow Breenbie

A Small Change

Or a shift in content, if you will. Maybe you already know that I operate two “blogs”; one that is more of a traditional blog where I recount discoveries/events/reflections and the other, a “tumblr” where I simply collect and post things I find along my internet travels- a way to keep my mind from getting so cluttered with all the visually endearing things I come across.  I’ve been struggling to define the difference between the two. The line needs to be drawn somewhere, but exactly what belongs where has always seemed a bit grey and inconcrete.

This blog, from now on, will remain pretty much the same- with the addition of shorter posts of personally generated content (photos that I’d take digitally and merely post without a caption on the other page will now find a home here). The tumblr will now function purely as a sort of inspiration wall- an electronic collage of things generated outside of myself. Feel free to pay a visit; I think it’s a lot easer to make your way through when you’re feeling inattentive and short on focus.

I know there aren’t many of you out there, but hopefully you’re enjoying the time you spend in this little nook of the internet.

My Centennial

100 posts

Hard as it is to believe that I am just now arriving at my own little sweet centennial, and wordy though I may be, I’m going to attempt at keeping this short and sweet. Happy blogging centennial to me! And in celebration of finally garnering a smidge of street cred, I’m going to top this entry off with a few things that have, as of late, made me just sublimely happy (if only for an instant).

This song

It’s positively transcendent. The album version is different than the video; a bit more refined, and with a lot more vitality (oddly enough). Her voice is old and traditional, playful and warm at the same time. The song just gives me the giddies on the insides each time I hear it. I got a tad disappointed, however, to walk into an Urban Outfitters the other day and hear it blaring from the sound system. Money for the band though, and all that blah blah blah.

Miles Davis’ Container Gardening Tips

This, coming from the king of cool and jazz, not only cements his “cool-dom” further, but also paints such a vivid picture of his imagination and the life he lived. I just plain chuckle every time I read this through.

As originally credited from Ryan Abbott

1. Don’t feed them garbage This is a pretty simple concept, so heed it. If you feed your container plants shit—polluted rainwater, cheap fertilizer, ash from your hash pipe—they will not flourish, your buds will not bloom. Like I said to my bass player Paul Chambers last night, “You got to cool it with the booze and drugs.” The same is true of your garden.

Because they don’t talk much we forget that plants are living things, organic beings that need nourishment to survive and thrive. I recommend a quality fertilizer, delivered sparingly, with restraint. Just a few drops for every quarter-gallon of water and before you know it your azaleas will be laughing with color. Literally, laughing. You got to be careful you don’t overdo it, in fact, because azaleas will take their partying to the limit, and after a few days you’ll find yourself leaning out your window at three o’clock in the morning yelling at them to shut up because their flower orgy is keeping you awake.

2. Play music to your plants Music heals all wounds except those inflicted by a hunting knife, so I like to play music to my plants. What do I play? People stop me on the street to ask me that all the time. What’s my answer? Usually it’s, “Leave me alone and go buy my albums,” or a variation thereof.

In my experience, annuals tend to appreciate the complexity of classical piano concertos, like those by Ravel or Rachmaninoff. I play records by those two over and over again, my speakers aimed out to the backyard, blaring through a hole in the screen door torn by a high John Coltrane one morning when he thought he was a rabid polar bear, which he was not.

My vegetables—tomatoes and pole beans and eggplants—like to be sung to. I think it helps the fruit ripen—sweetly sung melodies that rise and fall like crooked branches, scales that float on the warm humidity of the July sky. Like my sister Dorothy says, “Soak their roots in song and they will grow, my brother. They will grow.”

3. Don’t throw your plants down the stairs Not throwing things down stairs does not come naturally to me—it is something I’ve had to work at. That’s what life is all about: challenging yourself to rise above your essence, while staying true to your character. Of course, the hard part is knowing what about yourself needs changing, and what you should accept and embrace and blow on with the full force of your diaphragm.

Maybe you got upset by Columbia Records not giving you the $5000 advance you deserved and reacted by tossing a Blue Velvet orchid in an authentic 15th century Ming vase down a flight of stairs where it shattered on a marble landing, tossing potting soil into the shark tank. Perhaps you felt you were within your rights as an artist to do so, but in the process you have removed from this world two items of great beauty. Three, if you damaged the marble.

Like most living things, container plants prefer to be upright the majority of the time. They also need good containers with good drainage. My favorite material is terra cotta, which is fragile but has an earthy vibe that complements most urban container gardens. While throwing plants down stairs doesn’t always kill them, it rarely makes them stronger. Most often it just makes one hell of a mess for the housekeeper.

4. Give your plants space This is it, this is the most important tip, so wrap it in tissue paper and take it out of here when you go. The space around everything is more precious than the items occupying the space.

Space is what defines matter, gives it a shape, a silhouette. It’s true of music, true of art, true of container plants. Without room to move among the vines, how can you discover fruit? How can you get close enough to smell the singularity of a flower if it is among hundreds? Silence ripens our attention to sound. Negative space makes positive.

Some people pack their gardens tight: cluttered clematis and hydrangeas in noisy bands of color, herbs upon herbs upon herbs … a symphony of shit. Don’t get me wrong, color is fine; color is life. But if you can’t walk through your garden without puking, what good is it for?

The space around your plants is what defines them. Save that space, relish it, drink it in. Give your plants room to walk, to be seen and heard, to develop deep and hungry roots with their own space to explore and invent, the freedom to create new shades and shapes, arms that reach through the empty air to carve fresh pockets in which to build an entirely new kind of fruit or flower. A type never tasted, something unheard of.

This Photograph

I really can’t explain why it hits such a note every time I look at it, but more than anything I just get an overwhelming sense that everything is going to be ok- and this clear memory of a sandy beach on a warm sunny day. I also love the quality of motion that it depicts.

Fret ye not, there is so much more to come.

“Good times.”

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It’s time to celebrate. Can you tell? I’m enthused.

(Myself, on the knees of an uncle, Minneapolis MN, Christmas 1984.)

After years of struggles I’ll never be able to put words to, I’ve achieved that pesky little goal of graduating. I can’t say it feels huge/climactic/surreal, because it doesn’t. To those that have supported me (directly and indirectly), you have my deepest grattitude. You’ll never know what you’re constant badgering has meant to me.

As Mary delivered what was to be her last lecture about the Galápagos Islands, though, she would be stopped mid sentence for five seconds by a doubt which, if expressed in words, might have come out something like this, ‘Maybe I’m just a crazy lady who has wandered off the street and into this class room and started explaining the mysteries of life to these young people. And they believe me, although I am utterly mistaken about simply everything.‘”

Vonnegut, Galápagos