March 2007 Archives

Mostly to do with boobs

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Two of my favorite Opie & Anthony bits converged a bit ago while watching the CBS news previews during the CSI:Miami closing credits, namely the David Caruso dramatic punchlines and funny news teasers such as "Is your house making you fat?".

Impatient, I googled a story to do with using unwanted body fat to enhance breasts, thinking I currently have plenty of extra fat and well, frankly who doesn't love ridiculously enormous boobs, right?

This story had me laughing my ass off in ways words cannot even begin to adequately capture. I mean seriously, is that not the most American idea you've ever heard?

Picture the brave pioneer who devised this procedure:

Doctor's Wife: Aww shucks, wouldn't it be great if I could take this fat from my thighs and butt and just like, inject it into my boobs? Wouldn't that be so much safer and more naturalthan implants?

Doctor: My chubby pet, I think you're really onto something here...

It's so logical I can't believe it's a real surgical option. But man, it's perfect.

Probably related, as I was Googling permutations of "breast" and "fat" to come up with that story, I also found several news stories revealing the results of Anna Nicole Smith's toxicology report and autopsy. The first few times I saw it, I really wasn't interested, but finally, I gave in to morbid curiosity and read it.

My first response was cruel and jokey, thinking "Wow she must have had major anxiety and seizure problems to need so many prescriptions for them..." and next I wondered, "with such high doses of pain killers and heavy-duty anti-anxiety meds, why on earth would she need Tylenol?"

I snickered at the line "The anus is unremarkable," and was appalled at myself because I realized that this is a real, dead human being, and I'm laughing at her autopsy.

I was forced to wonder how the collective cultural sense of normalcy has become so perverse that such a private affair as death and an autopsy could become such a public topic. Why were these documents made public, and why does anyone feel it's somehow our "right" to know what caused her death?

I'll get down off my soapbox now, but I can't help thinking that this was just a poor dumb woman with some really bad influences in her life and a serious lack of knowledge about powerful prescription drugs. May she rest in peace (for real).

Two words:

House marathon.

USA, I love you.

(I'll be doing schoolwork.)

I really like specialization in topics. Though sometimes it's interesting to read about when my favorite bloggers foray into cooking, for example, it's rarely as consistently engaging as specialized food bloggers on the same topic. Similarly, I genuinely love crafts blogs, but when their authors start commenting on say, politics, my interest wanes a little.

Though friends might enjoy an occasional note on my artistic process or seeing completed paintings, they probably don't want the level of detail as far as color mixing, technique, or general obsessive concerns that I (try to) keep in my (woefully neglected and soon to be moved) studio blog.

That said, I realize that those who are interested in me as a person, with my daily experiences and thoughts on things, probably don't want to hear me go on and on about my current knitting projects and yarn. I mean, Eric lives with me and demonstrates remarkable patience for my capacity to ramble, yet I realize that once I get started talking about knitting, I've bored him to tears in almost a few minutes.

And so... I made a shiny new knitting blog: Vickilicious Knits.

Yes, it's a standard Blogger template (for now). No, I don't know how to fix the link colors yet (I exhausted Eric's patience with that too, after he so kindly helped set it up on a subdomain of this site and adjusted so many of the things I asked for). Yes, I still have lots of things to work out on it when I get the time. But basically, it's where I'll talk about knitting at the specialized level I'd like... and also where I can join KAL's and geek out on WIPs and FOs and what all, hehehe.

I also got the inspiration (however fleeting) to revamp this site's design when I get a chance. I've thought about moving my current blogs to subdomains as well to try to consolidate things and make it easier to navigate among my little blogging empire. I have a feeling I will have to do something extraordinarily nice to get Eric's assistance again... or I'll finally have to read the damn CSS book and quit being so helpless. We'll see.

As a reminder, this now boosts my dominance of the blogosphere to a whopping five, as outlined below:

I think that will be my limit. Oh okay, I also had my old blog, this PedX project blog that I've abandoned, as well as my art criticism one. But really, I swear, that's it.

Introducing Fashion Fridays!

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So I thought it was time for a new feature around here, Fashion Fridays.

As my schedule and interest level permits, I will occasionally discuss styles and trends in fashion, usually on Fridays. Enjoy!

This Friday, I thought I'd start by marking out some of my biggest fashion pet peeves. Might as well begin on an upswing, right?

1) Pigtails on any woman older than say, 14.

There is this weird phase where girls think they've moved beyond sweet and girlish and into some saccharine affectation of cute and sexy.

But really... no. Just no.

The only adult women who wear pigtails are porn stars. The rest look moronic, incredibly slutty or, well, both.

2) Sleeveless shirts in professional situations.

Somehow I've found myself in a career where filthy cotton tank tops are the norm, so this may be a bit of displaced personal angst.

Sleeveless shirts definitely have their place, and I realize they're not all thin cotton tanks - some are in fact quite lovely.

However, I am of the opinion that if you are my professor, supervisor, boss, or anyone who wants me to take you seriously, I probably shouldn't be able to easily discern your armpit grooming habits (or lack thereof) or smell if you could use a new deodorant.

Just because they're ubiquitous doesn't mean they're okay for the office or classroom.

Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe the elementary school-wide ban on tank tops stuck with me. It's just... is there really any kind of heat so unbearable that a short-sleeve shirt wouldn't suffice? Do your armpits absolutely need to be out in the open?

There is of course exactly one workplace (besides the beach) where sleeveless shirts are understandable.

I suppose they can also wear pigtails.

3) Too short skirts

I don't care how thin you are, this is never a good look. Even toothpick thighs get cellulite and seriously, do you ever really need to be a waist-bend away from a gynecological exam?

Thus far most of my don'ts could be characterized as "don't dress like a ho," but I am not just talking about awful pleated stripper skirts. I also mean the high-fashion versions and really anything that leaves even a possibility of me seeing your undergarments or makes me question if you've forgotten to put something on under your long shirt.

This includes simply the appearance of a skirt being too short, with more above-the-knee skin showing than fabric. Just... put it away.

4) Overly voluminous clothing

The last few seasons have made shapeless bag dresses and tops terribly fashionable, but I seriously urge normal people to resist. One would think that I might favor a garment which is not skin-tight, but bubble dresses and trapezes simply take the offensiveness in another direction.

To illustrate, let's play a game. Guess which of the following are spring 2007 fashions and which are maternity garments (answers at bottom of page):








All I'm saying is I don't think it's by accident there are so many celebrity pregnancy rumors these days.

5) Bandeau style tops

No one looks good in these, no, not even really skinny boobless women.


They are the fashion equivalent of a black bar across one's breasts, but less flattering. The little string around your neck does not change the fundamental function either, so don't fool yourself, tube-boob.

6) Crocs clogs

I know, insane comfort, crazy colors, quirky style blah. Look at them!

I almost fell for the Crocs Prima because they look like Barbie Shoes (and I really do like comfort... so yeah I still may get a pair), but for real, these clog things are just so heinous I have to shudder. Even worn playfully, they're just awful.

7) Really Ridiculously Over-sized Accessories

This list could go on and on, but I've always felt 7 items is a nice amount for lists, so let's jumble some of the worst offenders into one place.


So often the mistake is made where enormous=chic. So rarely does it work that way in real life.

Whew, that was a lot of bitchy.

My apologies to those I may have offended - obviously not everyone is meant to like every trend, so please remember these are just my personal opinions and umm, sure, maybe you're the one who can pull them off. Far be it for me to stand in your way snickering.

Answers to Item 4:
Maternity Clothes: a, d, g - all from Motherhood
Not Maternity Clothes: b, c, e, f - all from Gap

Yay Windows Mail

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I am basically 150% satisfied with Windows Vista, so it should come as little surprise that I also absolutely love Windows Mail (provided it does not mysteriously and spontaneously delete all my mail the wayOutlook once did).

Previously I've pointed out how much I love the built-in spell check to Firefox windows, and it turns out that Windows Mail has a feature to spell-check emails before sending, applying the same last minute "oh thank goodness I didn't out myself as a moron" protection to notes to professors and the like.

But the best part? This isn't your stodgy old spell-check. Behold:

See? Windows Mail is hip with the times and keeps me from offending obscenity connoisseurs.

(Sample email created to protect the individual I was calling a douche bag).


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Remember how I was all excited to shift gears in painting and start doing things I liked?

Yeah, so whereas I thought this was kind of an exciting start, one of my professors flatly said no, I can't do that, don't waste my time etc.

She insisted I just do the crap that has become the default means of production for lack of anything I care about because "that is where your ideas are."


I do not like people telling me what to do in any circumstances, and especially not in my own studio. So yeah, I'm feeling more than a little annoyed and defiant. We'll see what happens.

Stopping to smell the gardenia

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As planned I went to the Botanical Garden yesterday, camera in tow. I strolled around, really took my time, and enjoyed the heck out of the sunshine and fresh air.

I spent most of my time in the tropical areas, surrounded by heavenly scents and lush, fabulous plants.

In so many ways, it was one of the more perfect mornings I've ever had.

I put a lot of my photos into a Flickr set - I'm planning to make a bunch of paintings from them, so let me know if there are any you particularly enjoy or would like to see translated into oil.

Also, something spectacular that I learned - Pratt students get in for free! I'm looking forward to going back as more spring flowers bloom!

Brocade design

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I bought a small gift for my mother from Restoration Hardware several years ago and since then have received regular emails and catalogs full of their gorgeous and severely unobtainable merchandise. Still I like to look at it and think about things and get ideas about colors, fabrics, and the like.

Recently they sent an email announcing a new site, Brocade Home. Now I may not know much about the difference between brocade, jacquard, and damask, but I know this is definitely stuff I can love.

Also, I was on this trend way back when I salvaged my over-the-top ostentatious studio sofa from the hallway.

Even further back in my Industrial Design class I thought "Wow, people should make dresses from Art Nouveau patterns, but in black and white," and also declared that it was time for organic, intricate tracery patterns to make a comeback. I now currently own a dress remarkably like one I sketched out last year and wouldn't you know, all my favorite design pieces lately have been piled up with tracery.

For example, Marie-Louise Gustafsson has some crazy wonderful ideas - you may have seen the Carrie crochet and epoxy bicycle baskets floating around design and craft blogs. When I look at her stuff, I think designers are probably about a hundred times smarter and more interesting than artists, and I start thinking that I'd be much more suited to making usable things. Yknow, if I didn't like useless beauty so much.

Now the question... am I design prescient, or do I have taste which is so predictable and mainstream that companies cultivate desires in me and make it seem like it was my idea by introducing subtle variations on the same few revolutions of design styles? I really wouldn't be too surprised if it were the latter.

Beauty as subversion

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I've been writing out scrambled notes for a thesis statement draft I have to do this week, and I was reminded of something I've been mulling over lately.

In a critique, a student protested that she didn't want to make art which was "ugly and subversive," and the professor jumped in to point out the fallacy of this connection. She corrected her, saying "I believe true beauty can be incredibly subversive," then continued, "the trouble is, there's not much beautiful stuff out there."

So I've been thinking about the ways beauty can be subversive or meaningful in today's world.

(This is a large part of what my thesis statement will be about, and in theory what the next set of paintings I do will be about.)

In my undergrad paintings and probably a lot since then, I made the naïve assumption that if I painted beautiful things, I would make beautiful paintings. Since then I've gone through an encyclopedic dissection of what I find beautiful and why, landing heavily in linear and geometric abstraction and patterns (yes, I'm still stuck on pattern recognition as one of the highest forms of intelligence) and wallowing around in some really insipid stuff.

When it comes down to it, I want to go back to the source to understand what true beauty is. When I am on vacations or looking to spend some leisure time outside of the city, my first instinct is to grab my camera and make observations, using the camera as a tool to document the things I see and feel. It's not about remembering things the way they are, but the way I've experienced them. At this point, I have thousands and thousands of photos that I've taken freezing all these little interstitial moments of beauty in my life, but I don't do much with them. Instead I go fart around with a meandering line in two colors, and uff, it's just tiresome to think of at this point. I am not at all surprised that I dread going to my studio - the art I've been making is unbearably dull and truly has nothing to do with what I'm interested in.

I've said it before, but since really no one at school likes what I'm doing now, I might as well pursue something that I enjoy. The worst thing that happens is umm, they don't like my paintings. Oh well, same old thing, right?

But I get chills to think how wonderful it would feel to be making the paintings that I imagine when I'm out in nature, experiencing pure beauty. That's the kind of beauty which changes me and the way I go through life, and in such an unadulterated form, it truly is subversive at the deepest levels.

I sincerely hope that the mid-60s high forecast is accurate for today because I'd love to go to the Botanic Garden to recharge. I'll be sure to post photos if I do.

Spring breaaaaak

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My spring break began last Wednesday after my Materials Techniques & Conservation midterm (which I think I did pretty well on). Lots of scintillating things have been happening since.

For one, I've been frantically knitting a baby sweater for our friends Shon & Shana. The shower was yesterday, and this was as far as I could go (I was up until 7am knitting then had to crash if I wanted to be at all sociable). We had another gift to give them anyway, but I still felt jerky. This is a truly interminable sweater, and it's actually part of a whole set, which I will eventually finish (I hope) before the baby is born next month. Please ignore any wonkiness in this photo, as it is pre-blocking, and I know I have a stitch to fix in the beginning of the cables. They will look totally different when stretched to the proper dimensions.

I have to finish that other sleeve, then sew part of it together so it becomes like a book, pick up stitches to make a ribbed collar, then seam the rest. Heh, and then there's the matter of the hat and booties (I'm not making the pants). I've concluded I genuinely loathe garter stitch and will make every effort to avoid knitting it in the future.

I've had this twee little pink leather bag for years (literally, I bought it in 2004) and never once worn it (why do people say they "wear" bags? Isn't it more a thing to carry or use?). Last Saturday when I was walking to the bank, I had the perfect combination of clothing and required items that this was finally the perfect bag. Three years, used once, I'm making brilliant progress right?

Eric says it is the kind of pink which must be pronounced with an exclamation mark (pink!), and I think I have to agree. My, how tastes change in just a few years.

One thing which will never go out of style, of course, is cat blogging. (Forgive the atrocious segue). Behold, it's Iggs in the sun:


(In case you wondered how he got so smart).

Awesome day

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On Wednesday I got home from taking my midterm and buying yarn five minutes before the store closed (did very well I think, and heh, score, I am the master of aggressive driving and quick decisions). I got a message from my mom asking if I'd like to meet her and my brother at the Brazilian consulate in Manhattan in the morning. There's really nothing wrong with that sentence.

They got travel visas for my parents' upcoming trip, and it's a bit of a strange process. You go one day with your passport and documents between 10-12:30, then have to go the very next between 2:30-4 to pick them up. Since it required a long train ride in from New Jersey, I offered to take her receipt and get her documents tomorrow then hand-carry them down to New Jersey when I'm there for St Patrick's Day.

What this meant though is that I got to spend the day in Manhattan with my brother and mother! For some reason I thought they'd just want a quickie lunch, but they were totally down with hitting up a museum. After a long walk in the cold, I screwed up seeing the show at Whitney Altria (which closed on the 4th, whoops), then the place we were eyeing to eat had just stopped serving breakfast. Frustrated with misdirections and bad timing, I was like "Screw it, I know how to get to the Met in my sleep, let's go there!" and they were all for it.

It's always kind of magic to go to the Met, no matter how many times I go. I literally always see something new, and their special exhibits are often spectacular.

Today we checked out African art, then the Modern section (oh beloved favorite), a really wonderful show on Louis Comfort Tiffany (seriously mind-bogglingly wonderful), a quick scan through a Barcelona and Modernity show which smelled of old people, arms and armor, and a handful of other random rooms like the cute little Italian inlaid wood rooms. It was great fun. We had lunch in the Met cafeteria, which is completely different from the last time I'd been (I think I was a teenager), and it was lovely.

We took a cab back and got them on an afternoon train home with about a minute to spare (whew), and I grinned the whole way back to Brooklyn thinking how awesome that morning was. It's weird, but it's not often that one gets the chance to spend a Thursday in the city with her mother and adult brother - it was totally unpredictable and a blast!

Need Program Advice

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Dear Internet,

I need your recommendations or advice. Basically, I need a program to play mp3s that isn't iTunes.

I want to be able to sort by artist, song title, album name etc. I want to be able to make playlists. I would love to be able to burn CDs from it. It would be very nice if I could rip songs to mp3 (like I could with iTunes), and I would like to be able to edit or delete my song files from the program.

I would love a clean interface or something that I could skin.

Above all, it cannot screw with my files. I just want it to play them and do the stuff I just listed.

If it helps, I'm running Windows Vista.

So please let me know if you have anything you especially like using or think I may like.

Thank you!

With love from your musically-deprived hostess,

Really good news

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I got accepted into the Venice program! I'm going to spend the summer in Venice! Woohoo!!!

Music videos

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In high school I had a pretty heavy-duty obsession with VH1, back when their programming was almost entirely Behind the MusicPop-Up Video, top 100 historical count-downs and of course, music videos.

For years I thought I'd like to make music videos for a living, these perfect little mini films with so much imagery and artistry packed into such a consolidated span. As promotional tools they're fascinating, and yes, they've done a lot of irreparable things to the music industry, but in and of themselves I think they have the potential to be an amazing hybrid form of expression and imagination.

I took this obsession to college, and in my senior year in particular I spent many a night with Insomniac Music Theater running in the background (which now I believe is called Nocturnal State). I got to know their schedule so well that I knew exactly when to turn on the TV to watch Johnny Cash's video for "Hurt," and I watched it at least twice a day, which I can't help thinking characterized a lot of the way I thought then. I also saw a lot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers "Can't Stop" with the video inspired by the one minute sculptures of Erwin Wurm (who yeah, I know nothing about even after looking him up) and spent perhaps a strange amount of time analyzing things in that context.

Here,relive my senior spring.


I can't say exactly when I stopped watching music videos, though I suspect it was somewhere in my second year of living in Brooklyn when VH1 changed their modus operandi to Celebreality and all the Flavor Flav one could ever desire.

For some reason, I've been wondering what songs look like lately, Googling photos of the artists or staring down magazine photos to try to imagine how singers shape their mouths. I dunno, I just miss seeing people perform (or pretend to perform, whatever), and I miss all the colors and motifs and all the artificial beauty. It's so frivolous and lovely, how can you not love it?

So I put on this new-fangled Nocturnal State (God, could I act stodgier?) and lamented how much more I enjoyed it when it had crazy sheep and a spiral rose graphic and was called by the way awesomer IMT moniker.

The video that comes on? Jimmy Eat World "The Middle," a song that I thought was kind of played out the first time I heard it. What in the? Is this a classic now? I sputtered in disbelief for a while...


Then I remembered, one can never underestimate the power of girls in their underwear.

Before I get into a tangential posting of everything I've ever thought about music videos, let me say Regina Spektor is one strange bird and I like that.


I've loved this song since I heard it last spring (and boy did I annoy Eric when I first downloaded it). This video is in some ways exactly what I would have expected and in others, so very much better. Pigment bukkake. Awesome.


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Poor Kathleen, is it really possible...

... are you really too dumb for America's Next Top Model?

I really hope she was just a victim of editing. I can't wait to hear what Rich has to say though.

I'm so glad this show is back on. It is the delicious Cheeto of my pop culture diet.

(Btw, if you are like me and have class on Wednesday nights - or unlike me and just have a life - you can watch the whole she-bang minus commercials here. It's great too for when you bust out in convulsive laughter and miss five minutes of very serious fierceness.)

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