Monday, May 26, 2008

May 26th

"Visual journal" from sixth grade. Found the paper explaining it today while working on cleaning the bedroom. It's kind of funny, it its own way:

"What is a Visual Journal? Like a sketchbook, it is a place for you to explore visual ideas in sketch form. But it goes one step further than just a conventional sketchbook.
"Your visual journal will be a safe place for you to explore your thoughts in both written and visual form. It will be a record of the visual journey you will make in level one.

"What may I do in it? Just about anything artful or interesting. You may sketch, practice skills, jot notes, or write down your ideas and reflections about your art or artmaking in general.

(This part is circled in pencil:)"You may use it to experiment with new materials, create personal designs, glue or stamp interesting images, cut holes to peek onto new pages, record dreams, make lists, glue xeroxed images that can be drawn onto, or simply try out a new color pen.

"Wow! Where do I begin?
"First of all you will need a special cover- one that you design that expresses your unique personality, and camouflages the print or logo design that you found on your journal when it was purchased.

"How will my visual journal be graded?
"Some things will be specifically assigned as journal entries that will relate to classwork.
"These will be assessed according to grading rubrics. Other entries will be given credit for number of pages of exploration and the attention given this journal. (Underlined:)Everything presented should be presented in a visually interesting way.

"What do I do now?
"Why not begin. Have fun with this. You may find you want to take your journal with you wherever you go."

After sixth grade, we no longer had "visual journals." Funny, because Carver's idea of a sketchbook seems to be under the same kind of ideas. Needless to say, my sixth grade visual journal, like all my sketchbooks hence, is pretty boring & unadventurous, though back then when i was told i should try to experiment more, i (secretly, not to the teacher's face) got very indignant.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25

This is already getting old.
May 24

Reading material.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Once read a suggestion-- probably in a teen magazine, way back when-- of taking at least one photo for every day of summer vacation. So will attempt to do so. Thus far, then:

May 21

Very windy & rainy.

May 22

Not a photo, but the next best thing. Indy was good. A little weird, all things considered, but still pretty good. I was ready to aggravated & annoyed by Shia LaBouf(sp) for some reason, but he held his own really well & was really good. Cate Blanchett does evil Soviet real well. Harrison Ford may have looked his age, but he sure still moved lightening fast. And-- i don't know the name for the actress who's Marion-- but it was ace to see Marion again. So it was good, even if it was weird & kind of "eh" at bits, but i really liked it, overall. Even though they play Elvis at the very beginning (i just cannot escape that man). (And, haha, Ark. That was beyond priceless.)

There was also a guy at the theatre dressed as Indy sitting next to a girl who had her hair done like Marion's at the beginning of Raiders. Which was pretty awesome.

May 23

The computer is currently delusional: the time is pretty much correct, but the time this was taken, it was 11:03 p.m.

And nothing for today, as of yet. It's only 1:22 a.m., after all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Principles of Uncertainty

I definitely recommend this book. I was finally able to buy it this past weekend at Borders (yay, 40% off coupons...), after reading it numerous times in bookstores. Maira Kalman's art & words are thought-provoking, though sometimes seemingly odd, & the book generally feels like there's a tint of melancholy (or maybe that's just me). This doesn't hurt it, though; it's part of it.

It's an amazing book; hardback & everything, it has weight to it (literally, metaphorically). Kalman's writing is more like she's speaking to you, very personal. It's as though you're following her through her adventures. And her art, while not exactly realistic, gets down likenesses amazingly well with very little brushstrokes. And even when she works from photographs-- i'm assuming she does; she carries a camera with her when she goes walking-- they don't feel like they were. It's all her style.

One of my favorite pages reads thus: "At Cuccio's Bakery we see a seven-layer chocolate cake with a cherry on top. A seven-layer chocolate cake with a CHERRY ON TOP!!" It is accompanied by a painting of the aforementioned cake, & just seems so full of exuberance for this seemingly little thing. It's kind of inspiring-- the book as a whole is.

Also of note: The Invention of Everything Else. Bought it a while back, with a coupon & a gift card, after reading a little blurb about it in Elle magazine. The cover looked interesting, & it had to do with Nikola Tesla, whom i'd only heard about in passing on MythBusters. So i went & bought it & read it, & it is also a very good book. Very well-written & atmospheric, & also very well researched. Samantha Hunt's writing is amazing, & now i want to read the book she write before this one (The Seas, i think it's called), but no one ever has it in stock. But if Invention of Everything Else is anything to go by, Hunt is definitely one of those writers that people call "a writer to watch," & all of her novels will be this good.

Bought two new books at Ukazoo today. (Eheh. I'm horrible.) Ukazoo's a really nice store; it primarily sells used books, but, as the images on the site show, it's not a mess like most other used book stores. Don't get me wrong-- i like going to The Book Thing (free books!) & the Unicorn Bookstore & other places where there's just books everywhere, but it often feels overwhelming to walk in & have to dig without any clear direction. (Most times, even in sections, books aren't in order.) So it's really nice to have a place where one digs about as much as one would at a conventional bookstore, & the prices are even nicer: everything's less than or about equal to $10. So one could get lucky & find a book they've wanted that's usually $16 & get it for $2.89 or something. Places to sit are also plentiful 9some of the squishiest chairs ever), & there's even a little corner supplying complimentary tea & coffee. So you can make yourself some earl grey without having to pay anyone.

The only thing is that they're updating their inventory, & there's never a guarantee that they'll have the book in anyway, so the best bet is to ask or call. It seems that every time the computer tells me they have whatever i'm looking for, i go & look, & it's not there. Have a bad habit of walking all over the store & walking back to the same spot multiple times, as if the hoped-for book will miraculously appear while i've been off elsewhere. That can be frustrating.

But found two that seem interesting, & will see if they are. Not as though i already have about eight other books i'm supposedly reading.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Principles of Maira Kalman