Random summer project coming: me vs thrift store art!

Ever since I heard about these artists who have been creatively augmenting thrift-store art, I’ve been dying to try my hand at the fun, even though I basically suck at drawing. I’m about as good as I was when I was 13.

This, for example, is one of the “involuntary collaboration” pieces done by Chris McMahon:

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Swamp Monster, by Chris McMahon

And here is another, one of the “Thrift Pix” created by Thyrza Segal:

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Untitled (as far as I know) by Thyrza Segal

I love the idea of breathing new, quirky, strange, eccentric, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal life into these paintings. I tried having some of my students throw some random characters into a thrift store painting I’d happened to rescue from the garbage, but they didn’t quite get it — they ended up finger-painting it into a dark mess. (If I remember, I’ll take a pic of it to show you tomorrow, and update this blog.)

Here it is! 

  

The trouble and the challenge is that I’m not nearly as good at creating the impression of the third dimension as I’d need to be to even come close to McMahon and Segal’s awesomeness. I’ll just do it for fun, maybe in small bits here and there. Tiny creeping creatures peering around from trees, or forming images in the ground. Living landscapes, maybe.

Whatever I end up doing, it will have a horror theme to it — horrible to look at, no doubt, as well as creepy. Horror-comedy.

And then the question will be what to do with my new objet-d’art? Not sure. Take a photo, share it, maybe pop it onto Regretsy as a lark. Keep to give as a gag gift? Have a grand art-burning performance piece in the backyard? No, not that last one. But maybe asking someone with a jigsaw to cut it into a puzzle — that might be fun, too. Oooh, and then use the pieces to make a mosaic on a piece of furniture! Now that, I could definitely get behind!

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“No” by Chris McMahon


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Toddler and Kitty by Thyrza Segal

Just seems like a really fun and relatively harmless way to do some creative mischief. Like taking thrift store stuffed animals and zombifying them. Hey . . .

They make money off of these at UndeadTeds.com!!!

They make money off of these at UndeadTeds.com!!!

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Hm . . . definitely would have to use thrift store stuffies, though. Not sure my daughter could quite take me doing that to her playthings, even if she doesn’t play with them anymore.

(Somewhere, in the universe, Margery Williams is shuddering . . . “Not my Velveteen Rabbit!”)

Drumroll for my Ottawa ComicCon 2015 pics!

Always remember to ask permission before taking a picture. Cosplay does not equate consent!

Just a silly / fun assumption poem

Billy walks casually down the street,

Cindy’s soft hand in his, perfectly fits.

He strides over puddles, avoiding wet feet,

And thawing lumps of slushy dog

“Mitts!”

Cries his true love, letting go his grip,

To blow on her hands and rub them fast.

“It’s too cold for the pool; not even a dip

in the hot tub will warm up my

“Pass

if you want,” Billy tells Cindy,

“I’m tired of being bored in this muck!

Too warm for a ski and too cold for my bike,

Unless we go back to your place and

“Tuck

your shirt in,” she laughs, “Not happening.

My parents are home and they’ll pick

on us both. How about instead I watch you swim,

whistling at the size of your

“Ticks

me off that you won’t come in the water,

you’ve already got your swimsuit and stuff.”

Billy shakes his head. “We’re almost there!

And you even went to the spa and waxed your

“Tough

cookies,” Cindy tosses. “I’ll swim when it’s hot,

Right now I’m just not feeling the best.”

They dodge a snow heap and Billy curses a lot,

mourning ’cause he won’t get to see her

“‘Fess

up,” Cindy warns him. “I know what you’re up to —

I can see your face getting red.

Swimsuits in springtime are just an excuse

to get me back into bed!”

—————

Addendum: I’ve never written one of these before! Much more challenging than I’d anticipated. Sonnets might be easier. Still, kind of fun and a nice stress-reliever. Happy Tuesday — hope you enjoyed!

And now, a poem . . . about MOSQUITOES!

I thought of this while I was driving to school today. My son, riding shotgun, refused to let me go further than the first two or three lines. The darned thing has been lurking in the back of my head all day, though. So here it is, just for you.

Where Do All of the Mosquitoes Go?

Where do all of the mosquitoes go

When the earth is frozen under mounds of snow?

Their high-pitched song and piercing whine

Silenced by the cold of winter time.

Do they sleep beneath blankets of white?

Or are tiny corpses all that remains of their fight?

While their eggs, suspended, wait for spring

Near the pools of standing water that melt will bring?

It’s only the females that bite and suck blood

Driven to nourish their coming brood.

Mother’s instinct winning over manners kind

(If insects had rules of etiquette to mind . . .)

Where do all of the mosquitoes go

When the frost descends and north winds blow?

Minuscule ethereal tormentors of the skin

At end of summer meet their reckoning

Flying slowly, lazily, to peaceful destruction

Seems unfair, having survived elimination

Should we envy the lives of these summer creatures

Spared having to endure winter’s features?

Fairy-like structures able to cause such pain

Thriving in humidity, heat, and rain

Irritating with attacks by proboscis

Still, mosquitoes have their uses.

Where do all the mosquitoes go?

Do the crows and ravens miss their flow?

Crunchy snacks for wily fowl and fish

Beware, mosquito, if you’re not quick!

Evening walks are far more pleasant

When you’re not racing their annoying chant

And why do they aim for ears and nose?

If it’s blood you want, don’t head for those!

What’s the point of targeting orifices

When it’s flesh that has the tastiest pieces?

I don’t miss your high-pitched hum

When icicles hang and I freeze my bum

I’d rather pile on layers of sweaters and socks

Tingling fingertips and toes numb as rocks

Than endure itchy bumps and calamine lotion

Bleeding and scabbing from mosquito devotion!

Where do all the mosquitoes go?

Wish they didn’t come back at all, you know.

But a world without them would suffer more

Hard to remember, must not ignore.

I’ll enjoy the mosquito-less months while they last

And kill them on sight when winter has passed

For they’re neither endangered nor hard to locate

— impossible to escape when they think I taste great —

And they flock out en masse when the sun starts to set

Settling on my skin as though I were their pet!

They bite me through jeans! Wiggle into my hair!

In unending numbers they seek me everywhere!

Miniature vampires, blood-sucking pests

Beloved by baby birds being fed in their nests

But not by me, and my obsession should stop

Since it’s winter, and “skeeters” there are not

But I have to wonder, and ponder, this January day,

When in four months or so the bugs come back to play,

As much as I hate those damnable insects,

Where did they come from? I have to respect

For even though I loathe and despise their very being

At least their presence indicates the cold’s ending.

–Tori L. Ridgewood, 1/13/15

Book Review: In Celebration of Elastic Waistbands, by Christee Gabour Atwood

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I feel like Christee Gabour Atwood has been peeking into my life and taking notes. Honestly, there was so much I was able to appreciate and commiserate with in her tales, it felt like I was almost meeting my doppelgänger.

Once I got used to the style of the book — short, column-length chapters that were a comfortable length to read with tired eyes — I gobbled it up whenever I could. I really enjoyed her humour, her Erma Bombeck-esque take on life, career, home, and fur-babies. I am going to order a copy of this book for my mother, and probably get copies for some of my friends. This is the Rubber Chicken for the Soul. When I feel surrounded by perfect moms with hotel-clean houses and organized lives, this book is going to remind me that a) only a small proportion of North American women are like that, and b) most of them are on TV. Christee Gabour Atwood is welcome in my dog-hair, comfortably cluttered home, anytime. I may even have to frame some of her words of wisdom, immortalizing her proverbs in cross-stitch, because I honestly love them that much. Plus, cross-stitch is a great way to avoid mopping, folding laundry, dishes…

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005JJW78U

Urban (Suburban?) Winter Olympic Sports that I’d Like To See…

Grocery Cart Steeplechase
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The Playing Field: a large flat parking lot covered in alternating patches of hard-packed and slushy snow, 5 cm deep.

Objective: Complete a circuit of parked cars with a heaping grocery cart without letting a bag fall off or hitting the side of a vehicle.

Points are scored for keeping on straight tracks, smoothness of cornering, and fastest arrival at the target vehicle.

Penguin Parkour
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The Playing Field: a stretch of sidewalk downtown after the ploughs have gone by and left massive heaps of chunky snow piled over curbs, around fire hydrants, and covering benches.

Objective: Make it to a bank, a pharmacy, a gift shop, and pick up take-out without falling on the slippery sidewalk or street, using obstacles to propel yourself over the dangerous snowbanks.

Points are scored for creative use of fire hydrants, uncovered benches (even the edge), lamp posts, parked vehicles, baby strollers, and shopping bags in manoeuvring the body up, over, and around the snowbanks. Bonus points are awarded if no damaged is caused to these objects.

Freestyle Tandem Shovelling
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The Playing Field: A double driveway with connecting walking path during a heavy snowfall.

Objective: Midway through the snowfall, partners take turns clearing the freshly fallen drifts before the snow plough comes by and re-buries half of the lower driveway.
Points are scored for grace, rhythm, synchronization, speed, and thoroughness. Double-points for scraping ice down to the original paved, dirt, stone, or gravel drive. Highest scores go to those who put their snow in the plough-away direction, so the majority is carted further down the street by the vehicle.

That’s it, that’s all I have for now. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments! Cheers!

And now, a musical interlude…

Sing to the tune of the Gopher Guts Camp Song!

Great green globs of greasy grimy zombie parts,
hanging slimy zombie guts,
dangling maggoty eyeball puss,
Great green globs of greasy grimy zombie parts,
and I forgot my spoon…

***

Sing to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”:

On top of the zombie,
rotting brains ooze…
gnashing jaws slaver,
over fresh human juice…
His legs stagger forward,
on feet worn to the bone…
His hands claw the clapboards,
matching unearthly groans…

***

Try this, too!

When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to one,
you want to have a little fun,
you brush your fangs, (brushing sounds)…
You brush your fangs (brushing sounds).
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to two,
Blood clots stuck from victim number two,
you brush your fangs (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to three,
you find you’re craving for a type A-B,
you brush your fangs… (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime it’s a quarter to four,
pop out of your coffin so Van Helsing’s no more,
you brush your fangs… (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to five,
you chase the victims who want to stay alive,
and brush your fangs…

***

Twinkle, Twinkle will never be same…

Ruby, ruby, vampire eyes,
like two embers in my fire;
Glowing in the closet dark,
Watching as my sleep embarks;
Gleaming fangs stretch long and white;
suck my blood at deep midnight…

***

Forget the sheep. Let’s sing about the endless battle between good and evil!

Slayer, Slayer, have you any stakes?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three strong blades.
One made of rowan, and one made of ash;
one made of silver, to hammer with a flash!
Slayer, Slayer, have you any stakes?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three strong blades…

Vampire, Vampire, have you any blood?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three vials full.
One for my master, and one for my bride,
and one for the the slayer to swallow by mistake (evil cackle)…
Vampire, Vampire, slip it in his mug!
Slayer will be one of us, by rise of sun.

Heh, heh. I need to illustrate these, maybe…