Tuesday, June 29, 2010

White Box Presents: The Heroin Stamp Project

This weekend I went up to NYC with my roomie Ali and my BFF Jane . We tend to hit up NY about... quarterly I guess. We've done most of the BS touristy stuff, so now we're on to the obscure. Like this:

The Heroin Stamp Project by White Box/Social Art Collective


I read about this last week and was fascinated.

The empty glassine packets can be found in Manhattan, Brooklyn and beyond, scattered on streets and sidewalks with only obscure slogans or graphic images to suggest their former use. At one time they contained heroin and the markings stamped on the packets were meant to differentiate strains of varying purity or provenance.

To some they are crime evidence. Addicts may see them mainly as a vehicle to fulfill a dangerous urge. For a group of artists who have been collecting them they are cultural artifacts that are equally unsettling and compelling.

On Wednesday a weeklong show called “Heroin Stamp Project” organized by seven members of the Social Art Collective is scheduled to open at the White Box Gallery on Broome Street on the Lower East Side. The show, which will include 150 packets picked off city streets, as well as 12 blown-up prints made from them, is meant to examine the intersection of advertising and addiction and provoke questions about how society addresses dependence and disease.

We got there just as it was closing ("closed," as the one person running things told us, but she let us whip around for 5 minutes -- turns out that's all you really need though). The exhibit was free, but a donations jar was available to support the L.E.S. Harm Reduction Center, which from what I can gather is a needle exchange program. This statistic was posted on the wall:

Of all reported AIDS cases in the U.S. 25% have been transmitted through injection drug use. An estimated 75% of injection drug users are infected with Hepatitis C.

Also on the wall? An average heroin user's one-year consumption, in the form of 1,800-some baggies. Which by my math is 5 per day. Which equates to $18,000/year.

Can someone function at the rate of 5 bags of heroin per day? I mean, can someone with a heroin addiction hold down a job?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear Jason Schwartzman,

We should get married because our kids would have great eyebrows and handlebar mustaches by the age of 8.

Also -- someday, many months from now -- my hair will be that long.

Your boo,
Me

(I watched Funny People last night. He played a total a-hole typical Leo. Kind of reminded me of Marie Antoinette, and what a tool Louis XIV was portrayed to be):

On Slow Afternoons

Looooong never-ending summer afternoons + getting home from work 5 minutes early yesterday =

Some old loves:
-Bird's Nest!
-Hammock, which I stole from my parents. Discovered that the open netting really keeps you cool. Um, am I slow? Then, I thought momentarily about making my own hammock. Quickly nixed it.
-Softspoken b.o.g.o sale (ends today)
-Made it to the lace border section of Jeanne
WIP: Jeanne

Some new loves:-Tomatoes, sliced, with a sprinkle of feta and a spritz of balsamic vinegar (also good sans tomatoes, plus strawberries)
-morning benders cover album, Bedroom Covers, fa-ree. Kind of unsure about cover singers mimicking idiosyncracies of the original singers when doing a cover(here it's really noticeable with covers of Lou Reed, Morrissey, and David Byrne), but I like the selection here, so okay.
-Mociun sale! Might have spent way too much on a t-shirt. Might love it anyway.


I'm wearing a new shirt today from H&M and it smells distractingly like warm hay. And I kind of dig it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Stealing...

So, this morning I checked my blogs, and found a post by Etsy's Softspoken. Apparently a crochet magazine printed a pattern for a chain necklace almost precisely like her version. Exhibit A (Softspoken for ModCloth):


Chain Scarf, by Softspoken

The magazine version:



I wasn't sure what to think. I had made a replica of her design for myself using up some scrap yarn; I am a knitter, not a crocheter, and my skills end just short of crocheting a chain. In fact, when I finished said chain, I said "these necklaces are worth every cent of $30, if not more." In fact, I don't think I'd make another one for $30.

So still, unsure about how I felt after reading that post, I check my email to find something from Madewell:



Cute, right? Well, just so happens, I bought this necklace from coo-koo-ri-koo a few months back:



One might argue that no one designer can take credit for or even "claim" yo-yos; they've been around forever, like the quilts that were popular back in the 1930s:



Also, laws of economics dictate that if mass production can yield a cheaper version, the consumer will surely go there.

The natural reaction is to point fingers at the mass-producers of things, to side with the small-timers. But I think that the onus here lies with the consumer; as the consumer, you have options for where your money goes, whether it be to an independent designer or a big box store. The consumer holds the power and makes the conscious decision.

And these decisions have consequences; will it be the death of the big box store or the indie artist/crafter? Well, I'm not sure that either will be happening any time soon, but I am certain that there will be a continuous struggle between the two.

As for offering a crochet pattern for the chain necklace; what. Seriously, I can't fathom that a pattern is even necessary for that design. So here, the idea of the necklace is more valuable than the pattern for it. Last time I checked, that is not the role of pattern books -- especially when the idea is already out there, and has been for years.

Anyway, if you can't figure that necklace out by looking at it, you should probably just buy it. And even if you can figure it out, at $30, I promise you, it's a STEAL.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recipe: Grilled Salmon Foil Packs with Veggies

While we're on the topic of eating home-grown veggies...

Last night for dinner I made something awesome. See?
Random Dinner Pic

My mom dropped off a Good Housekeeping recipe along with a zucchini and a yellow squash she grew. So I decided to give it a try, plus a few mods. I loved it. Give it a try:

Salmon Foil Packs with Mucho Vegetales
Serves 2-3 (who am I kidding, I ate half of it for dinner)
-1 Small Zucchini
-1 Small Yellow Squash
-2 Roma Tomatoes
-1/2 c of Kalamata Olives (though I wanted more)
-Handful of basil leaves (again, could have used more to my taste -- I subbed these in for parsley, and woooo was I ever glad I did)
-2 TB EVOO
-Salt to taste
-Salmon (I used about a 10-oz fillet)

Light your grill; you want it at a medium-high heat (I'd say 375-400)

Chop the ends off your zucchini/squash, then using a vegetable peeler, slice ribbons directly onto a large doubled piece of foil. Once I got to the seedy centers I quit, as it was making a mess/flinging seeds all over.

Dice tomatoes and toss them on top. Top with coarsely chopped kalamatas (I wish mine hadn't had pits). Drizzle the whole thing with the oil, then sprinkle with salt (not too much... the olives are saltily delicious).

Place the salmon fillet on top; sprinkle with salt. Seal up the packets tightly. If your foil doesn't fit, like mine, then oh what a world of pain you are in. So make sure it does fit.

Drop that sucka on the grill and shut the lid. Give it 13 minutes. CAREFULLY remove the foil and check the fish for doneness (The flakier, the better).

May your house never retain heat nor your sink fill with dirty dishes.

See? MD Summers are Good for Something...

I guess I've kind of forgotten about the fact that I have a yard now; I tend to do that from time to time. It's not such a big deal in the winter, because not much really happens out there (oh, aside from several feet of snow accumulation that needs shoveling, but I digress).

Summer time though... things get a little crazy. Yesterday the humidity finally went away and it was glorious outside, so I stepped out back to say so what so what so what's the scenario to my veggie garden. I think I saw Audrey II out there.



So these tiny little tomato plants I planted out there are now monsters. Like, so big they grew over the tiny cages I put around them and were laying on the ground, COVERED IN TINY GREEN TOMATOES. I had to string them back up, and when I did they were way over my head.

The most exciting part though, was this:
Eggplant, NOMS

Eggplant! Side note: my ex-bf, The Greek, called them aubergines. It took me a long time to figure out what the heck he was even talking about.

Oh, I gots plans for deez:
Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree (so good, and I have witnessed eggplant haters devour this, unknowingly... heh heh heh)
VEGAN: Rustic Eggplant Bread Lasagna (I crave this, unfailingly, on a quarterly basis. There is something SO SATISFYING about it.
Grilled Eggplant and Olive Pizza (using provolone is pricey, and match-sticking it is time consuming, but it's worth it, b'lieve)

Anyway, I spent a good hour out there last night weeding/finding-plants-I'd-forgotten-I-even-planted. My findings:

-cucumbers, the vines are thriving!
-basil (complete resurrection of one of those wilty grocery store buys with the roots still attached, TONS of green seedlings, a sprinkling of purple)
-sage
-rosemary (smells so good that I *might* have rubbed some on my wrists)
-cauliflower: not doing so hot
-tomatoes: require a lot of space (should have listened to my dad when he said I planted them too close)
-strawberries: do just fine without those topsy-turvy growers; in fact, better (even though something is stealing the berries)

See? I do more than just drink, shop, and act like a dumb-dumb. Sometimes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend: Sweltering Heat Edition

Apparently I spent the majority of my weekend keeping cool...

Air conditioning, sweet sweet air conditioning
Showers followed by dust baths of powder
True Blood (try 5+ hours of it)
Swimming (x2)
Ice Cream (x2)
Late-night walks
Knitting (this and this)
Beer can chicken and raw beet salad
My new drink of choice: Seven & Seven
Accidentally grabbed a slug. Ew.
Neon shorts = instant dance party
Being freaked out by the picture of roasted quail in my French cookbook (similar to this):

Realizing my "trying to keep cool" pose looks kind of (exactly) like that quail

Friday, June 11, 2010

Liberty of London Invasion: Swim Edition

Last week I realized something frightening: I’m going to the beach in less than a month. On the whole I don’t get caught up with body image issues, but this trip… this trip… I’m heading to North Carolina with a bunch of runners. You know, people that run… like, for fun.

Just to rehash, some of my funtime activities include writing, snacking, knitting, reading, lunching, munching, and baking. Also? I don't want to look like someone's meemaw on the beach.

I’ve been doing all kinds of things to prepare, like eating healthy and walking a few miles a couple nights a week. But now comes the crucial part: the swimsuit. I’ve been scouring all my old haunts online (Target, J. Crew, Urban, the whole Gap/Old Navy/Banana tri-fecta), but turning up nothing.

Did I miss the swim suit deadline? Why is it impossible to find anything right now?

Anyway. I seem to have uncovered a little battle of the pricepoints.

In this corner, we have J. Crew, sporting some Liberty print swimwear:


“This playful print, originally designed in 1974, comes to us from England's Liberty Art Fabric (they're legendary for their distinctive textiles and prints). We think it's just as stylish today as it was back then.”

(Top, $39, and bottom, $39).

And in this corner, we have Target… also in Liberty swimwear… SAY WHAT?! (Decapitation courtesy of Target):


“[Apparently Target does not dabble in captionery.]”


(Top, $19.99, and bottom, $19.99)


The Target/Liberty of London collabo got a lot of buzz over the interwebz when it first came out… when was that… March? So much so that most of their online stock was sold out/backordered in a matter of days. J. Crew, not one to be outdone, also jumped on the L-Train with the above swimwear.

Clearly, Target is the bargain, but… I take issue with Target’s styling – Exhibit A:

“What’s crackin’?”


In case you think I’m being partial, check out J. Crew:

“Wedge-free in the place to be.”


Well-played, J. Crew, well-played.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Free Music: Levi's Pioneer Sessions

Levi's is doing some kind of music series on their website. I took a minute to check it out today, and overall I'm glad I did. The NAS cover of Slick Rick is just ok, and I skipped Cobey Callait... not a fan really. But the rest is solid.

My favorite is The Shins covering Squeeze... imagine one of your new(er) favorite bands covering an old favorite band (from childhood); that is how it feels, which is to say pretty damn exciting.

Also enjoying The Swell Season's cover of Young Hearts. Reminds me of this scene from Romeo and Juliet (der, the movie version of course):



P.S., I'm pretty sure I have Leo DiCappy's hair cut from that video right now. He rocked it better.

Coveting

Lizzie Fortunato Jewels for Madewell necklace:



Cost: $62
Prognosis: Though I'm loving the triangles and brass right now, I'm not likely to shell out $62 on jewelry that isn't handmade. Is it? I don't know. I mean, if it was, it would almost certainly say so in the description, which it doesn't.

Erica Weiner Crystal Spike Earrings



I bought these a few weeks ago. I put them in the day I got them, and it's been almost a week and haven't taken them off once. They match everything. Also -- I'm not much of an earrings type of person, but since I chopped all my hair off, I felt like I was missing something. Apparently these are it.

Summer Reads

Confession: I haven't finished a book in... well, let's say it's been more than a season or two. I just don't have the patience to stick to a novel and see it through to completion.

I'm most likely to read something that's easy to pick up and put down, as I tend to read in short fragments. Like while stuck in traffic... driving a car. Oops.

I bought this book at the Strand a few months back, for something ridiculous, like $5:


That's The Best American Non-Required Raading, 2007 edition. It's edited by Dave Eggers, and the selections are chosen by a group of high school students. No, the pieces aren't written by high schoolers, but chosen from literary quarterlies. As I was falling asleep last night, I happened to see that the cover was illustrated by Carson Ellis, aka wife of Colin Meloy from the Decemberists. She also did the artwork for a bunch of their albums. Like one of my faves, the Crane Wife:



The book has an introduction by Sufjan Stevens, wherein he reveals that he was illiterate until the third grade. What.

I haven't finished the book yet, I'm about a hundred pages in, but I was totally blown away by a comic by Alison Bechdel called A Happy Death. I'm not too familiar with the genre aside from the section that comes in the Sunday paper, but wow. This is nothing like that. This was, I'm assuming, a piece of creative non-fiction (one gripe about the book: it doesn't assign genres for each piece, and I'm too lazy to go searching).

Anyway, a comic that quotes Camus? Yes, please. The only other piece I've read I can compare this to is a comic by Harvey Pekar, about Harvey Pekar, for a class I took last semester. It, too, was wonderful.

Here's the TOC for the book (taken from teh Wikipedia... too lazy to type) -- I can't wait to get to the pieces by Miranda July and Conan O'Brien.

Work/Source/Author
"Middle-American Gothic" Spin (magazine) Jonatham Ames
"A Happy Death" Fun Home Alison Bechdel
"Ghost Children" Creative Nonfiction D. Winston Brown
"Rock the Junta" Mother Jones Scott Carrier
"American" New Orleans Review Joshua Clark
"What is your dangerous idea?" Edge Foundation Edge Foundation
"Selling the General" Five Chapters Jennifer Egan
"Where I Slept" Tin House Stephen Elliott
"Loteria" Indiana Review Kevin A. Gonzales
"How to Tell Stories to Children" Zoetrope Miranda July
"Adina, Astrid, Chipewee, Jasmine" The New Yorker Matthew Klam
"All Aboard the Bloated Boat" Barrelhouse Lee Klein
"Love and Honora and Pity and Pride...." Zoetrope Nam Le
"Darfur Diaries" Jen Marlowe, Aisha Bain & Adam Shapiro
"The Big Suck" Virginia Quarterly Review David J. Morris
"Stuyvesant High School Commencement Speech" Conan O'Brien
"Humpies" Agni Online Mattox Roesch
"So Long, Anyway" Epoch Patrick Somerville
"Literature Unnatured" American Short Fiction Joy Williams

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hate You Mr. Sandman

I rarely dream. Or, if I do, I don't remember it, so I don't know it.

Last night I had the most realistic dream; I dreamt we were at war. I was driving down Rt. 40 (minor 4-lane highway) with my mom. It was a bright sunny day. All of a sudden, a shadow fell over the car, and I looked down at the road to see the clear shadow of a rocket/projectile. We watched as it landed three cars ahead of us, before detonating. At that point, I whipped the car around and headed in the other direction, driving down the wrong side of the road.

That's all I can remember.

What.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Humidity > Hair

From May until about September, my hair and I are not friends. Maryland summers are the stickiest, and my hair is always out of control.

I found this on Flickr today and laughed when I saw it -- it's me, this time last year (we'll just pretend the picture, like my hair, is fuzzy on account of the humidity):



This year? I have about a third of the hair I did then, and it takes me about a third of the time to fix it. About oh, 3 minutes. And I have a secret weapon:



That would be the Rochefort Chapeau, pattern courtesy of the Purl Bee. I knit it in two skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton.

And those glasses? Warby Parker's Huxley. I love them, but they make me want to grow a bigger nose with which to hold them up. Until then, I'll be Urkel-ing it up/pushing them up on my face compulsively.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fight Night

My three best girl friends, including my roomie, left me and went to Ireland. I'm not bitter. They're there now, actually, which means that all I have left are my guy friends. This weekend I hit some bars with 4 guys. Oh yes.

There was a general theme of fighting. Maybe it was the UFC fight everyone was talking about that served as the inspiration.

Fred's toe had a skirmish with a curb; it was bloody. Dan's shirt lost to some beers ("Dammit, now I look like a slob!" -- apparently guys care about that kind of thing). I (stupidly) started an ice cube fight. Myrick's penis lost a fight to a switch that I happened to be slanging. My Android had a run-in with the street. The screen is cracked, and somehow the notification light stopped working. Boo.

Then, an epic battle ensued between my sanity and some frozen drinks. Sanity, 0. Drinks... 1,457.

Free Music: Major Lazer & La Roux

Free LEGAL music, I heart you. I've been listening to this at work all week:



LAZERPROOF

Craving lemon pepper wings a freeze cup.