Friday, May 29, 2009

That's a Test of a Different Color

Courtesy of VSL (Very Short List), I found this cool little visual IQ test. It sort of feeds my latent designer, so I was pleased to have gotten such a good score. I didn't do the whole thing straight through - had to take breaks and go back a couple of times. Some of the colors are so subtly different that they all started to look the same! I could explain it, but the sight explains it better. So just go play!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"Proud Non-Reader, Kayne West Turns Author"

I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a stuffy, pretentious, self-important poser.  Maybe it’s because I graduated from college.  Maybe it’s because I was an English major, but to have a self proclaimed "non-reader" co-create a book seems a rank offense.  Like he is intentionally thumbing his nose at articulation and literacy. In this 52 page mega pamphlet, some pages have a few odd words or phrases and others are completely blank.  It irks my life.  I’m not taking away from his capacity to create catchy music and clever wordplay.  I am dismayed, however, at the outright frivolity of  the endeavor.  I wonder if this is how actors feel when some random celebrity “tries their hand” at acting - or any aspiring or established craftsperson, for that matter, who has to entertain the wanton antics of some smug dilettante suffering from a case of self-entitlement.  

If you want to write things down and make those things available for others to read, that’s cool – put it in a CD jacket, publish it through Kindle or post it on your blog.  Hell, put it on a T-shirt even, but don’t waste the resources to print and bound something you don’t even believe in.  You’re a non-reader?  That’s cool.  Now you can add “non-author” to your credits as well.

See the article (with my orange interjections) below.  

It's like writing in the margins - the margins of books.  Take that!


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rapper Kanye West does not read books or respect them but nevertheless he has written one that he would like you to buy and read.

The Grammy Award winner, known for his No. 1 albums and outspoken statements on everything from racism in America to the banality of Twitter, is the co-author of "Thank You And You're Welcome."

okay.  I do like this title.

His book is 52 pages -- some blank, others with just a few words -- and offers his optimistic philosophy on life. One two-page section reads, "Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react!" Another page reads "I hate the word hate!"

 ever notice how words that lack any real impact tend to be followed by very strong punctuation?

 "This is a collection of thoughts and theories," West, 31, said in an interview about his spiral-bound volume, which was written with J. Sakiya Sandifer.

because heaven forbid you ever throw away something you’ve written down?  I guess you’ve forgotten the better stuff.

West said he put his thoughts in a book because "I get paraphrased and misquoted all the time." He calls his wisdom "Kanye-isms."

"My favorite one is 'Get used to being used,'" he said.

"I feel like to misuse, overuse or abuse someone is negative. To use is necessary and if you can't be used, then you are useless."

wow, to be a hater of books, he sure is a fan of semantics! this is kind of clever – in a suessical sort of way or like a freestyle. however,  the thing with freestyle fodder is that much of it is really clever in the moment, but if you have time to think about it, you come to a conclusion like, “WTF are you saying?”

So does he fancy himself a modern-day Confucius?

"I'm trying to end the confusion," he said, laughing and adding, "I'm gonna put that on the next album."

again, with the wordplay; look for that Confucius / end confusion line in the next single.

West's derision of books comes despite the fact that his late mother, Donda West, was a university English professor before she retired to manage his music career. She died in 2007 of complications following cosmetic surgery.

"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed," West said. "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph.

All artists are self absorbed to a degree.  How else can we think that our perspective and opinion are so important that the whole world ought to know about it?  And don’t you worry about getting a book’s autograph; I doubt you’ll ever find a book to give you one.  (That’s personification – something people tend to use in books and other such contraptions with words in them.)

"I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life," he said.

I get this.  there’s no substitute for experience, but books are not simply purveyors of someone else’s life.  they are also playgrounds of inspiration and doorways to worlds unknown.  not to mention we don’t all have the means to get up and go whenever we’re curious about something.  “I wonder what Paris is like in the fall?  I think I’ll go in September!”  and limiting this statement to real life leaves no room for fiction.  even you can’t disregard the importance of imagination.

West, a college dropout, said being a non-reader was helpful when he wrote his book because it gave him "a childlike purity."

should I read “childlike purity” as “infantile intellect”?  hmm…

West dedicates the book to his late mother.

"My mom taught me to believe in my flyness and conquer my shyness," he said, defining "flyness" as confidence. "She raised me to be the voice to allow people to think for themselves, to find their own way."

know what makes your closing statement appealing?  rhyme and assonance – literary devices.  you are a walking contradiction, sir.  now if you will excuse me, I have to find my own way to the library.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Chocolate Room

Here's a story about a dining room.

Once upon a time, it was all green trim and white walls.
Then we changed it, and now it looks like this:

I really love the way the colors in both rooms look together.
(Not that anyone would be standing in the threshold between the two rooms, but still.)

The End.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Everything's Coming Up...

Dear Nature
(and whoever actually planted them),

Thank you for the beautiful peonies in the backyard. They are HUGE blossoms, they smell amazing (really fragrant, not just green like many flowers) and best of all – I didn’t have to plant them. Sure, there are ants on them sometimes, but I can flick or rinse those away, no problem. I snipped one and have it on my desk at work, and catching a whiff of it every time I turn around makes it easier to be indoors all day long. I think I’ll snip some more to bring in the house, if I can get enough of them without the ants.

I’ve never been a girl who cares much for flowers – not a dislike, just a disregard. Now, I actually stop by the bush each morning on my way to the car. I’m thinking about ways to give them as little gifts once more and more of them bloom. When it stormed the other night, I found myself thinking, “Good for the peonies!” You probably won’t find me on my hands and knees in one of those silly hats playing in the dirt any time soon, but I’m noticing, Nature. I’m noticing.

Thanks Again,

PS – Good job on the irises too!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

3:36 am

"What fresh hell is this?" - Whoever I heard say this that one time

Know what happens when you become fixated on sleep? You can't. I've been pretty deliberate as of late in trying to get to bed at a decent hour - 10ish. But then I get caught up on the phone or watching a movie on TBS that I've seen half a dozen times already (very funny), or wretched facebook or any number of lame time killers. By the time I lie down, I already feel doomed. Then the pressure is on.

"If I can fall asleep in the next twenty minutes," I tell myself, "I can still get about 6 hours."

Twenty minutes come and go. I sit up and look at the clock across the room. "Zut!"* I remark to myself, as I reset my cell phone alarm to give back the 30 minutes of sleep in the morning that I just lost tonight.

"I'll have a yogurt for breakfast and bring soup for lunch, so I don't have to take the time to make them. If I figure out what to wear to work as I'm falling asleep, I can go straight to it in the morning."

I recline again. Twist. Turn. Shift. Flip pillow to the cooler side. Put second pillow at the foot of the bed. Pull up the sheet. Kick off the blanket. Open the blinds and close them tighter because OMG is there a search party going on, is public enemy number 1 outside - why the hell is it so bright out there?! Breathe a quiet sigh of relief that I haven't awakened HomeBoy with all this damn movement. Close eyes tightly. Imagine myself sinking into the bed or whatever. Look over at the clock.

"What!!? I'm going to be so tired. This is ridiculous. Come on, Self, knock out already! We can't get up any later tomorrow morning."

So focused on how tired I'm going to be tomorrow, I can't sleep tonight. It is sometime between O-dark-thirty and Stupid-o'clock in the morning. I'm too anxious to sleep and I'm too tired to get up and be productive. So I lie there, sometimes looking out the window but mostly staring at the thin strips of light that seep through the binds and paint the ceiling. I hear the occasional car and wonder where the driver and passengers are going. Ain't nothing open this time of night except... Ah the sage sayings of "righteous women".

How are the hours trudging along so slowly now? Time, you play a cruel trick. If I was asleep these 3 hours would have been thirty minutes, but because I am awake you make them feel eternal. This is what it feels like when time passes you by.

*This was probably a much stronger and English word in real life, but it's too early in the morning for that kind of language. Seriously. Too. Effing. Early.