PRATIE PLACE

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Illustration Friday: Melinama does "Entangled"

Celtic Knot from Uncle Shlomo's Pushcart at ZazzleI didn't really have time for this today but the topic is dear to my heart. I'll clean this one up and put it in my Zazzle collection of celtic knots.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

My yearly "buy nothing" month begins now.

I am not exactly a Scrooge - I like giving presents and I have after all re-published the Three Log Night 'Uncommon Music for the Holiday Season' mostly Christmas songbook a Christmas songbook and did many "Solstice Extravaganza" shows full of Christmas music...

... but I have taken to retiring from the world about now and waiting until January for things to look up again. Not that I'm not planning to have some fun, but it's going to be contrarian fun. If you're interested, you can visit my plan for how to avoid Christmas.

Hmm. Would this work for the rest of us?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

[Hannah]: Why I am a six year old princess

I have three little brothers so I never have an excuse to do fun girly stuff with younger people. Except... I'm visiting my kindergarten-age cousin for Thanksgiving and ooh boy, does she love her some pink. So I stopped by Baubles and Beads and found a string of pink pearls that I turned into a necklace in less than 10 minutes work with a pair of scissors and a pair of pliers.

Then I put it on, just to test the size, you know, and then I wore it around the house all evening with my pajamas, to the great amusement of the Companionable Atheist.
Okay, now I may have to make my OWN pink pearl necklace.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mark Does Illustration Friday: "Music."

THE LAST TRUMPET

12 x 15

Mark

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Music."

I took a picture of my fiddle, stretched it out, and this was the result.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

You never know until you look.

Greebo the catI never heard of Schrödinger's cat until this morning when somebody shared this Terry Pratchett quote about a very mean cat named Greebo, and it made me giggle:

Greebo had spent an irritating two minutes in that box. Technically, a cat locked in a box may be alive or it may be dead. You never know until you look. In fact, the mere act of opening the box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh no, not already! Seen on my way back from Tate Farm with a truck full of hay.

Words of wisdom from the oyster industry as heard on NPR this morning on my way to Tate Farm to get hay

Captain of Industry to reporter re: raw oysters with a widespread, sometimes fatal contamination:

"Illness and death associated with our product hurts our marketability."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mark does Illustration Friday: "Unbalanced."

"Pica pica (Magpie) with Treasure."

Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 16

In "Corvus: A Life with Birds," Esther Woofson notes a superstition: that those who live with magpies become unbalanced.

Mark

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

My new (old) "Songs Anyone Can Sing" songbook

I'm so addicted to the speed of Amazon's Print on Demand "CreateSpace" that it made me want to do another songbook. I'm going to put the best songs from all four editions of "Songs Anyone Can Sing" into one book and sell it with a midi file of all the songs - I don't teach the class (Songs for Non-Singers) any more, but it's very hard for a beginner or a singing-challenged person to learn alone. Maybe midi files blasting through headphones will do the trick.

This picture is also (for Illustration Friday) "Unbalanced." I never really liked the original because the people didn't fill the frame the way I like. But I didn't want to add extra people. So here it is, unbalanced as always.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

In which I watch Michael Jackson inspire a universe of creative people

Yesterday I took Menticia to see "This is It," the Michael Jackson farewell movie.

We were both rapt. For years I've only seen pictures of his plastic surgery ravaged face, seen him doing press conferences about his possibly obscene relationships with children, heard about his financial failings, seen him falling apart psychologically...

... but here, we saw him confident, incandescent, showing why he became such a super-star.

The movie was well edited and respectful, the music was realer and less processed than I expected, and Jackson himself was a powerhouse. His dancing, his singing, and the way he conceived the whole over-blown, miraculous spectacle made me think, over and over again...

... that he was exhibiting the divine spark. I don't necessarily believe in God (though I do give thanks regularly to nobody in particular when my life is going well and ask for strength and patience from nobody in particular when I'm at my wit's end) ...

... but watching Michael's frail frame bursting with disciplined, focused energy, energy that has inspired millions across the globe, made me feel there was something divine in him.

It continually amazes me to look around at humans - fallible, frequently misfunctioning jumbles of bones and flesh and mysteriously intertwined organs, preposterously animated from the world's dust - to see that, as fallible as we are, we can sometimes create wondrous things. We can be inspired beyond our basic needs for food, sleep, and the occasional scratch behind the ears...

... to think up and follow through on projects - music or dance or architecture or paintings or poetry or things so individual nobody else could have even conceived of them, much less brought them into the world - which then have the ability to illuminate and energize other people who may never have known or even seen us.

My favorite parts of the movie:
  • Watching the child-like tsunamis of enthusiasm the backup dancers and singers had while watching Michael, studying everything he did and knowing it was good;

  • Watching Michael explaining to his keyboard player, who was watching him like a hawk, how to play further behind the beat. He wanted the offbeats to lag, lag, almost too late. That's a hard thing for a trained musician to do. The result was fabulous;

  • Similarly, watching him ask for long stops and silences in his spectacle. He clearly reveled in the power of empty space.
And then, one day, each jumble of organs - which one could say never should have worked in the first place - stops working. The divine spark is extinguished. Michael, you tortured, brilliant spark - goodbye.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Visiting Middletown: some tourist needs are well taken care of

I came up to Wesleyan University for "Homecoming Weekend." I did buy some meal tickets like a good parent but Ez and I have avoided all group activities in favor of auto-sequestration in various dull libraries.

As a treat I thought I'd bring him a chocolate-glazed donut. Look at this: there areabout seven Dunkin Donuts shops in two miles - there are two others on the way to his house not shown on this piece of map.

I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts DRIVE-THROUGH! Did you know there was such a thing? I'm glad to know the citizens of Middletown can, like the citizens of Myrtle Beach, buy a donut at one shop and then start walking and be at the next donut shop before they've finished the first donut.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

[Hannah]: chuppah preview



The aunt of the Companionable Atheist is a weaver and she sent us a sample of the colors and design she plans to use for our chuppah. Isn't it gorgeous? The photo doesn't do it justice even when I touched it up - it shimmers in the light in a very mysterious fashion. It is a style of weaving called Guate cloth (as in Guatemala) and after the wedding we can use it for a tablecloth or a wall hanging. She said we could give her input on the design but I wouldn't change a thing!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Superman the miniature horse escapes enclosure, climbs the porch stairs to steal chicken food.

I think the headline is self-explanatory. Today I'm going to have to beef up security out there.

Note envious donkey over Superman's left ear.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My Hanukkah songbook is available for purchase at Createspace. Also as a Chanukah card!

Can you believe there are more than 13 ways to spell Hanukkah? Sadly I chose only the fourth most popular spelling when I made this book, and it's too late now...

I painted the cover image from an image found on the floor of the Beth Alpha synagogue, from around 500 C.E.

UPDATE:The book is available now, for a mere $10.90, at The TJC Hanukah Songbook at Createspace.

I also made a greeting card from the image, available from the Uncle Shlomo's Pushcart Zazzle site.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Skinny."

I had such a good time doing the cover for the TJC Hanukkah Songbook that I made it into a Hannukah card - and then it seemed fun to do another picture that would make a nice holiday card. We always enjoyed singing "The Tree of Life" at the temple... the tree has very skinny leaves.

You can get the card at Uncle Shlomo's Pushcart Store at Zazzle. Heh.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mark does Illustration Friday: "Skinny."

SHOPPING WITH FLAMINGO

Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16

Mark
Halloween 2009

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