Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.
Sometimes these political campaigns really seem like the old wolf and sheepdog cartoons where they detonate explosives at each other all day, but then when the 5 o’clock bell rings they smile & wave at each other and say “see you tomorrow”. I’m not sure I could ever be so detached, because I hear one in particular them talking about “those people”, he is talking about ME.
“For hundreds of years we have been using a divisive term that we call “race” to distinguish characteristics of others and to define our lineage. Some of us use race as a pejorative and distinctive mechanism to establish our superiority over others and thus to make ourselves feel better. But this selfish approach is one that none of us should ever use.”—Edward James Olmos
“I don’t remember how long I ran around tripping that day, because I was fading in and out of reality. At a police call box near the corner of Second Avenue and Houston Street, I phoned the cops. I was taken by ambulance to Columbus Hospital, a few short blocks away, panic-stricken and rapidly going mad. Even in my extreme psychotic state, I noticed dawn had just broken. I looked down at my arms. My skin had the texture and color of a lizard’s. So like any self-respecting reptile, I spread my fingers wide and tried to catch flies with my tongue.”—Nile Rodgers, from his book Le Freak, recounting a hallucinogenic reaction that occurred when he was 15 years old.
“If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”—Artist Austin Kleon
“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity. Or you’re afraid that someone will stab you, or shoot at you, or bomb your house, so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., excerpted from the sermon, “But, If Not,” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.
Botanical Portraits in Colored Pencilby Ann Swan. Easily the best book on scientific illustration I’ve seen. I keep checking this book out at the library until my limit is up.
The botanical artist, Ms. Swan instructs, accurately record how a plant grows, what color it is, and what its structure is like. Even if the work is not for any scientific purpose, it must be accurate. Any looser interpretation, she suggests, is merely a flower painting.
There’s fantastic information on colored pencil selection. Ms. Swan likes Faber Castell Polychromos pencils because they hold their point well, which is a must for detail work, especially as compared to the softer Prismacolors, and because they have a decent selection of natural greens and greys (which are used to deepen the tones of colors without changing their hue. (Didn’t know that!) She recommends 22 of the 120 available Polychromos colors as a good starter set. As for Prismacolor, which most of us who work in colored pencil are familiar with already, Ms. Swan finds their strength in that they mix well with the oil-based Polychromos pencils even though they are wax-based. Also, she finds they have a good selection of colors useful for drawing berries, such as dark purples, violets & reds. But she finds their softness annoying for detailed work. Prismacolor points (not talking Verithins) are prone to snap easily; I’ve learned this myself! Also included are other colored pencil recommendations, but it’s clear that the Polychromos line is her baby. This is very useful information. I myself have never used, nor can I easily find at the two major art stores in town, a selection of Faber Castell colored pencils so I may investigate them further.
Ms. Swan helps you get your studio together as well by compiling a basic start-up kit, most of which those of us who draw regularly already have. She tells you which other tools you may find useful for botanical work.
Ms. Swan advises even on which side of hot-pressed paper works best for colored pencil work, where to set up your work environment, how to protect your work while in progress and after completion.
As to the botanical artist’s subject - plants - Ms. Swan’s work is exquisite. She is very generous with her instruction, and I’ve even used some of her advice toward my oil pastel work. I have a deeper understanding of color, as well as a new understanding of how to break down complex subject matter.
This is a book that I’m going to eventually add to my collection, and I believe it will be invaluable to anyone who loves plants and doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to drawing them.
I cooked a pot of pinto beans today. I had soaked some in a soup-and-salad-sized Gladware container, which holds about 3 cups. I put a cup of beans in there a 1/3 cup measure at a time, rinsed them, and filled the container to the brim with warm water before I went to bed last night.
By the time I was ready for first meal, the beans had swollen and were partially out of the water in the container. Sweet. I washed out my 3 qt. steamer pot. I didn’t even take the time to pick the beans over that thoroughly, because for one thing Sprouts Farmers Market has good beans and I’ve never had any rocks come out of the small quantity of beans I usually buy at a time. Secondly, the soaking water and the rinse water would’ve taken care of any surface dirt. So I throw the pinto beans in my steamer pot, rinse them one last time, and fill with enough water to cover them with no seasoning, no nothing.
My usual recipe for beans is boil them hard for 10-15 minutes, then turn the heat down completely and simmer - barely bubbling - for at least one hour. While that’s cooking, I prepare a mirepoix of finely chopped carrots, celery, and onion. I cook them in the oil I cooked my first meal’s turkey bacon in and I seasoned the mirepoix with cinnamon and cumin.
I used this as an opportunity to practice my knife skills. I’m no Jacques Pepin, but I get the job done. I cut the organic carrots on a severe bias and julienned them, which means cut them into matchsticks, then I dice the matchsticks. I cut my organic celery stalks in halves or thirds depending on how wide they were, then diced those. Half a white onion was also diced. The diced veggies went into my cast iron skillet to soften, then they were added oil and all to my pot of simmering beans, which by that time were pretty nearly done.
This was the time to add salt, not at the beginning of cooking the beans, because salt toughens beans. I wanted to use my Himalayan pink salt grinder that I found in TJ Maxx last week. When I picked it up and started turning it to grind, the cap fell off. Oops! Shit! I’m hoping too much salt didn’t fall in. Luckily Himalayan pink salt is a rock salt, so maybe that saves my meal. I put the lid back on the pot and hope for the best.
Recently, I discovered the joy of eating whole tomatoes out of a can. They are packed in their own wonderful juice, and ice cold, they are just shy of heavenly. Whenever I open a can, I put them in a 5 cup Gladware and store them with their juice in the refrigerator. This makes for wonderful snacking later when they are cold. I chopped up three of them with a half cup of their juice for the bean pot.
After my timer sings briefly telling me the hour is up, the moment of truth. I taste the beans….and am relieved. True, it was saltier than I usually like, because I normally don’t use that much salt, even though my body craves and needs the minerals. At any rate, I didn’t register any excessive – read inedible – amount of salt in my food.
“I’m very concerned about the plight of the international global warming phenomenon. I knew it was coming, but I wish it had gotten people’s interest sooner. But it’s never too late. It’s been described as a runaway train; if we don’t stop it, we’ll never get it back. So we have to fix it, now. That’s what I was trying to do with ‘Earth Song’, ‘Heal the World’, ‘We Are The World’, writing those songs to open up people’s consciousnesses. I wish people would listen to every word.”—Michael Jackson, as told to Ebony Magazine in an article published December 2007
#MJFam Michael Jackson on a bus screaming and holding signs to express his disgust versus Sony ….. his fans now in bed with Sony ….. something is not right… what happened post 2009 to fans and fans’ communities ?
Amen to that. Sony doesn’t get my business anymore
“Very painful. In our African tradition we don’t display the departed. It’s very hard for the family to even share him even in his death after sharing with the whole world and our whole country while he was alive. He’s still not really just ours, the family, He still belongs to the whole world and we have to share.”—Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on the lying-in-state of her ex-husband, Nelson Mandela.
“As the first Hanukkah candle is lit, we are reminded that our task is not only to secure the blessing of freedom, but to make the most of that blessing once it is secure. …From my family to yours, Chag Sameach.”—Statement by President Barack Obama on Hanukkah (via statedept)
“Researchers comparing preschools in Japan, China, and the United States in 1989 surveyed parents in the three countries and found that while 67 percent of the Chinese parents and more than half of the American parents believed preschool was crucial to give their children an academic head start, only 2 percent of Japanese parents believed this. “The reason we want children to play so much, said Yasoshima-sensei, my children’s Japanese yochien teacher,”is because it helps them learn what their interests are and who they are.”—Excerpt from Parenting Without Borders by Christine Gross Loh
“One American mom living in Sweden remembered how a Swedish colleague living in the United States as a teenager was shocked by the automatic assumption that she should be at odds with her parents. “She didn’t understand it. It wasn’t part of her experience,” she told me. In Sweden teens of any age may legally drink in private moderation, the voting age is 18, and spanking a child is a criminal offense.”—Parenting Without Borders