The Blue House

This is pretty damn cool: The Blue House Gallery and Studios was featured on an episode of ThinkTV‘s THE ART SHOW this past weekend.

The Blue House is one of my favorite things about Dayton, actually. It’s a gallery/studio birthed from the husk of a sprawling, dead house, and is run by my friends Nick, Ashley, and Diana, and features a wide array of unique work from local and not-so-local artists. It opened a couple of years ago, and appears to only be becoming more of a success. New exhibitions rotate in and out about once a month.

I was actually there this past Saturday for the opening of an exhibition called “Artist by Artist.” I pretend that I only go there for the free booze and snacks, but secretly I enjoy being exposed to a little badass culture, and seeing friends. If you like art and are free an upcoming Friday evening, I highly recommend checking it, or a future exhibition, out. “Artist by Artist” is running, I think, through the end of May. Hang on, there is a Facebook event with full details somewhere. Ah, here it is.

Admission is free, though donations are gently encouraged, and are certainly not coaxed from hapless attendees by the business end of a two-by-four with a nail in it.

But seriously — go. It’s worth it.

The Blue House

New Art Shit

About two years ago I decided it was time to get some new art for my apartment, since what’s on my walls has been largely unchanged for almost nine years. As is my nature, now, two years later, I am finally doing something about it.

I went to the Indiana Comic Con this past weekend (brief recap: it was a lot of fun, I got my picture taken with Cam Clarke, who provided the voice of Leonardo from the original TMNT cartoon and Kaneda from AKIRA, and watched a surprising amount of STAR TREK: TNG in the hotel), where I met Jim Lawson, one of the original artists on the TMNT comic. Jim was charming, and I was quite taken with a TMNT print he was selling, so I picked up a copy.

TMNT_print

The other new thing I have to tart my walls up with is this print I bought in New Orleans, at the Art Market.

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It’s called “Pin Up Girl VS The Thing,” and the artist is Joe Badon. Joe’s style reminds me a little bit of Bruce Timm’s, but the almost 3D effect makes it striking on its own. I bought this one and a couple of other prints as gifts.

Now I just need to buy frames, which means I’ll probably get these hung up by, oh… 2017.

New Art Shit

New Orleans, 2016

Returned from New Orleans yesterday, and am slowly getting back into the swing of things. I don’t get jet lag, not really, though I did take today off from work. The extra day, while not necessary, gives me a chance to drift back into the non-vacation, real-world mindset. Compose myself into a reasonably functioning adult again.

Whenever I travel by plane I am reminded of William Gibson’s theory on jet lag from PATTERN RECOGNITION. That one’s mortal soul cannot travel as swiftly as a plane and so gets left thousands of miles behind, and has to be waited on, like lost luggage.

New Orleans was fantastic. It had been 12 years since I was last there, which was far too long. Got to spend four days with Kat, one of my favorite people in the world, who also flew in, from Colorado. Gorged myself on delicious food, had all of the many only like one or two drinks, wandered up and down and around the Quarter, and just generally had a wonderful time.

Aside: I also got waaay more steps than usual. Typically my target is 5,000 a day, and 10,000 on my cardio day. But being sans car, out and about all day, and perpetually fueled by alcohol having had a drink or two, I was able to destroy those numbers. See?

stepcount

Also, as of yesterday, I amranked number 2 amongst my Fitbit friends for the 7-day step total. That is unlikely to ever happen again, so I am savoring it, and certainly won’t gloat about it to any of them. /Aside

Here are some photos from the trip, when I actually remembered to take them. Even so, I still had 150-plus to sort through. Digital cameras are both a blessing and a curse that way.

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We stayed at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel, which in a past life was apparently a popular bordello. The skeleton playing the piano was located in the attached bar, May Bailey’s Place.

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Low-light selfies taken in a bar are, of course, a must on any trip.

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One of the first days in town we wandered by a club and saw that a band Kat really likes, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, would be playing while we were there. They put on a really fucking good show.

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Even though the hotel was only a block away Bourbon Street, we only spent one night wandering it. Too many drunks, shitty bars, and street hustlers. At one of the least terrible places we could find, I ordered a Hand Grenade, because New Orleans, but it was vile. So vile, I couldn’t finish it. (I have a fantastic picture of Kat looking miserable while drinking hers, but I am a kind man, and won’t share it.) The bartender didn’t even know what was in a Hand Grenade, he explained, because they and a lot of the other bars on Bourbon St order a mix.

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Other than drinking, I did do cultural stuff, like go to a museum called La Pharmacie Francaise. Its walls were filled with old-timey bottles of elixir and tonic, and a bunch of weird medical implements which were equal parts fascinating and horrifying.

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However, my favorite thing in the museum was this portrait. Not sure who it is supposed to be, though I suspect it’s Chevy Chase in one of his Fletch disguises.

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My second favorite thing in the museum was this print, the Surgeon’s Warning. I wish my doctor would put this up in his office.

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A lovely little courtyard outside the pharmacy museum. Also: a Kat.

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Badass street performers, one of whom played an electric violin.

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My second favorite bar was Yuki, located on Frenchman Street. It gave off a really Blade Runnerish vibe. This is a wall in their bathroom. (I know, I take pictures of only the finest things.)

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There were a lot of blue lights at the place across from Yuki, which made for fun photos.

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My favorite bar was Club Tonique. We found it by googling “hip bars French quarter,” because we are terrible people. Tonique was a blast, and made the best drinks. We went one of the first nights there, then back again our last afternoon in New Orleans and remained there for several hours.

A lovely city, excellent company, sunshine, no work — what more could a person ask for.

New Orleans, 2016

For Your Health

This year has gone by like a fucking blur.

The contributing factors are a couple of old chestnuts, and one or two new ones. Like: an incredible amount of busyness at work and the stress of being in a new role, my possibly-ill-conceived resolution to not take any time off before spring, and winter’s best SAD-inflicting efforts. My days have largely consisted of work, gym, DAREDEVIL or ARROW, read, bed. The strange part is that it’s been pretty tolerable, really. This winter has been unseasonably warm, which has served to mitigate my little slice of SAD. Probably not being a complete hermit has also helped. Turns out that hanging out with other humans will do wonders for a positive outlook. Who knew?

I have always said the universe did not design me for cold weather. So, the arrival of spring, with its extra daylight and warmer temperatures, is always when I really feel like I am sloughing off the winter ennui, waking up, and really wanting to be active. The calendar is filling up with fun activities, including a rather large amount of travel — in two weeks’ time I’ll be in New Orleans, praise Jingus. Also going to England later in the summer, which I am incredibly excited about. Been writing more, too, which is always cathartic. (When I don’t write for a while I always feel a vague sense of anxiety, like I’m disappointing myself.) A story that’s been kicking about in my head for a while finally coalesced into something not wholly terrible and I’ve put a couple thousand words down on paper.

So yeah. January thru March may have steamrolled over 2016 so far, but compared to years past I have been able to safely stay out of its path.

For Your Health

One-Star Reviews of the Sphinx

Over the past couple of months I’ve been reading FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS, Graham Hancock’s seminal book wherein he proposed that a technologically and culturally advanced civilization existed in our world’s very early prehistory, was wiped out near the end of the last ice age, and which inspired/influenced the earliest ancient civilizations.

It’s a really interesting book, which I may talk about in more depth another day, but while reading it I’ve been googling a lot of the theories and evidence that Hancock references. One of those theories is that the Great Sphinx of Giza is much, much older than previously thought (see the water erosion hypothesis). While scrolling through the search results I noticed that out of 787 google reviews, it had a rating of 4.7. My understanding of highly advanced maths told me that since the Great Sphinx rating wasn’t 5.0, then there had to be at least a few negative reviews. So I wondered: Who would take the time to post a one-star review of the Sphinx? Turns out, a surprising number of people, including:

The random-bordering-on-nonsensical:

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The racists who think they are clever:

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And, my favorite, the people who are just trolling:

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But don’t think that negative reviews are confined simply to the Great Sphinx. There are plenty of other ancient monuments that people also think are terrible.

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So there you go. Next time you visit a place of great historical or cultural importance, one that’s survived the march of time for millennia, don’t forget to leave a shitty review on Google.

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One-Star Reviews of the Sphinx

So Qwerky

I hate the name Qwerkywriter — much the same way I will take an immediate disliking to anyone who describes his or herself as “quirky” — but an aluminum-constructed keyboard that emulates the look, feel, and touch of a classic typewriter but that can connect to a computer or tablet via Bluetooth would be pretty cool to have.

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On an entirely unrelated note, my birthday is a little under a month away…  *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

So Qwerky

The Winnie the Pooh We Deserve

Today at work was a little stressful, so when I left it was with a headache. Not a migraine, where I have to pop Vicodin like mints and flee to my dark Cave of Solitude and hope I either pass out or die. But the kind where I was able to skip going to the gym, grab dinner from Panera, and come home and watch a movie I’ve seen thirty times, all guilt-free. It wasn’t an ideal situation, of course, but sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to be lazy.

I saw THE REVENANT over the weekend. It was very good, gorgeous to look at, and super fucking intense. The notorious bear scene, while expertly shot, was particularly hard to watch. I’m glad I saw the movie, and on a big screen, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to see it again.

Well, today I was talking with a coworker about the movie, who shared similar feelings towards it. Later, he emailed me this:

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I didn’t realize until now that the same person also made Winnie-the-Pooh-themed posters (Poohsters?) for all of this year’s Best Picture nominees. They’re all pretty great.

The Winnie the Pooh We Deserve

The Adventurers Club

Below is the impressive spread of food from a birthday party I attended last weekend for my friend Melanie. The evening’s theme was an Adventurers Club, which meant there was a lot of khaki. The “gold and jewels” in the glass bowl was actually dyed caramel popcorn. It was so good I nearly made myself sick from eating so much.

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My favorite decoration (that I of course forgot to take a picture of) was a not-even-pretending-to-be-real tiger rug. Melanie’s parties are usually themed, but this one might have been my favorite.

The Adventurers Club

JOY-less

Earlier in the week I saw JOY, and I’ve been thinking about it off-and-on since — but not in a good way.

JOY is the Jennifer Lawrence-starring film about a woman who invents a new type of mop, and despite her truly awful family, manages to sell it on QVC — the setting is the early 90’s — and eventually becomes a hugely successful entrepreneur.  The plot itself is compelling, and Lawrence is entertaining and believable in the title role, as she tends to be in almost all of her movies.

No, what makes this movie so frustrating to watch is the rest of the characters.  With the exception of Joy, her grandmother, ex-husband, and the bigwig at QVC who eventually lets her sell her product, I loathed the rest of the characters.  They — “they” largely consisting of her family — use and belittle her, treat her continuously like crap.  And she just takes it.  I understand that, for narrative purposes, there need to be obstacles in the way of her achieving her objectives.  But c’mon: must that require we hate 90% of the film’s characters in the process

About an hour into the movie, as Joy’s fortunes are starting to change for the better, I whispered to my sister, “I hope at the end she never talks to any of her goddamn family again.”  Honestly, Joy could snapped in the middle of the film, and spent the second half hunting down and killing her family off one by one, and I would have been cheering.

The ending is satisfying, but her family was still alive as the credits began to roll, so I won’t say it was a happy ending.

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Good? Bad? I’m the guy with the gun.
JOY-less

Foreign Shores

passport

This arrived a couple of days ago, a Christmas gift to myself. Only took two years of talking about it for me to finally get around to going to the local county office and applying. Now that I have a passport I can legally inflict myself upon foreign lands.  It’s in the Constitution, or something.

Fancy passport holder courtesy of my sister.

Foreign Shores