09 October 2006

How our art chooses us

Ever notice something about yourself that you had forgotten all about? Like a freckle on your arm that you are surprised to see but remember vaguely from the last time you were surprised to see it? I have this reaction to my ankle tattoos often. It might be mostly because I don't see them as much as I see my other work (though I see them slightly more than my newest tricep work and far more than I can see my back plate...). But every time I see them, I think oh, how nice. I love those. What a great thing to have.

And I do love them. They were the first tattoos I got: I was 20 and we all lived in Madison for the summer. I was working a part-time job, the only one I could land after applying for and not getting calls back from 35 others. I made just enough money to pay rent for three months, buy food, and get tattooed. Oh, the simplicity. Ah, the halcyon days. I went to a parlor that seemed popular (for all I know it still is, though I'd patronize another establishment there now) with an idea in my head. An artist who wasn't busy met me at the counter and asked what I wanted. Now, I asked for a pair of black bands around my ankles, but that wasn't what I thought I'd been planning to get--what I'd envisioned, for months up to that point, having inked into my skin. I'd never told anyone what I was planning, so this statement, when I turned on a dime and changed my mind about what I needed, was the first out-loud mention of my plans. And these plans turned out to be different than what I thought I wanted.

Needed. When I spoke it to the artist, I'd told him not what I thought I wanted but rather what I suddenly knew I needed. Maybe our art chooses us. Maybe that's a serious conceit. But maybe I was saved from a bad tattoo (the design for which I still have not divulged to this day) and set on the path I'm on now, the path I know is right.

So after some brief misunderstanding (him: "okay, here's some ankle band flash, with some vines or flowers or stuff." me: "no, solid black. like electrical tape." him: "what?" me: "solid black bands on both ankles, like electrical tape.") I made an in-45-minutes appointment. We worked on placement for 45 minutes and inked for about an hour or and hour and a half, and it was over. Cash money changed hands, aftercare sheets were handed out, and I had a pair of beautiful black tattoos.

I love those. What a great thing to have.

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05 October 2006

Halloween decoration update!

I surely wish I had a digital camera. There are two ghosts--one behind the other--popping out of that air-powered pumpkin (which hides them from the waist down) so what it really looks like to me, honestly, is that some ghostly hanky-panky is transpiring inside that pumpkin.



04 October 2006

It do not feel like October

The breeze today feels warm, and the sun is out, so it feels a little more like mid-June. I know, however, that it is October, for the Halloween decorations are going up in front of our little owner-occupied two flat. Wait, that's a little passively constructed... Our landlords are putting seasonal decorations up in the front lawn of their building. They are most certainly au courant in their choice of decorations, as their inflatable ghost popping out of the pumpkin and the giant blow-up Tigger dressed like Dracula have both also been erected by the house down the block.

The house down the block, it should be mentioned, makes my landlord's efforts look like crap, shoddily applied. The house down the block is either occupied by someone who works for the electric company or by someone who is wealthy enough to retain the services of a personal electricity consultant, as there is always a truck from National Grid parked at the over-lit, overly whimsical house, with its alternately delightful and completely stupid pastiche of funny, cute, and scary Halloween decorations. They have the flattened witch-n-broom plastered to their tree, to imply that this wholly non-threatening creature has mistakenly flown into the tree and sustained injury. They also, in contrast, have the newspaper-stuffed front stoop zombie and the simulated grave stones in the side yard. This cemetery simulacrum is next to the inflatable Dracula-Tigger, though, so it gives one less pause than it might otherwise. Strings of sticky-looking cotton spider web and of orange colored Christmas lights (are they still called Christmas lights out of season? Methinks it's like calling a tissue a Kleenex...) hang from the trees, the porch, and the chain link fence. There is even a mummy. The house down the block has been decked out in this manner since mid-September.

By these standards, our landlords are, at least from this modest start with the two trendy inflatable objets d'automne, phoning it in. Unless they have something else up their sleeves, I'm going to have to conclude that Christmas is more their house-decorating occasion. Can't wait.

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I also can't wait for our landlords to cash that rent check we wrote 17 days ago, along with the one we wrote on the 1st. Our checking account looks falsely awesome, and I can't handle that right now.

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Last night's dinner featured my very first attempt at scalloped potatoes, cribbed with a few alterations (smaller size, added onion and turnip, tripled garlic content) from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1. It worked, which pleased me. We ate it with a perfect roasted beet each and a small dish of Brussels (Brussel? brussle?) sprouts with dill butter.

Today, however, I tried to make cream of tomato soup out of a can and something went horribly awry. This hasn't ever happened to me in my nearly three decades of Campbell's Tomato experience: the milk curdled, stuck to the bottom of the pan, and in general, precipitated disgustingly out of the soup-solution. I trashed it and ate a granola bar for lunch instead. Adult.

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