Thursday, April 26, 2012

Things I Love Thursday in Italy

This is where I am. La Meridiana. This is a photo credit.
& Being in Italy & being in Italy with my grandmother, sister, mom, aunt, and grandmother's goddaughter & olive  oil from the olive grove next door & olive oil with salt and bread (try it. sprinkle some salt on a plate, pour some olive oil on the salt, dip your bread in this. you will never want to eat bread and oil any other way.) & gelato & people who speak three different languages & talking and laughing with people who speak no English while you can't speak their native language & learning to make things out of clay & learning to make porcelain clay in different colors & learning to make ceramics in Italy (yes, I am saying Italy a lot because, come on, you would too if you were in Italy.) & getting to know my grand mother's goddaughter & dancing with Lise (pronounced Leez) from Canada to the "13 Going On 30" Soundtrack & The Golden Light of 5 p.m. (This light used to make me sad. When I was in grade school and the summer was coming to an end, meaning I was going to have to go to school again, I would start crying around 5 p.m. When the golden light made everything beautiful and I was sad I was not going to be able to lounge around being painted by that light. Now, I have a new and happy respect for this light. Thanks, Italy.) & Olive Oil Tasting (You've heard of wine tastings... olive oil tastings are the same thing. Only, I never knew so many flavors could be found in Olive Oil.) & finding little things for friends & making little pieces of jewelry for people (it you would like a piece of something I make in Italy post a comment and email the Fantastic Spatula with your mailing address. I'm serious. Until I run out of little things. Then I'm not serious any more.) & Curtis Benzle and Martha and Antonella (OK. Curtis is my teacher, Martha [pronounced Marta] sits at my table and we laugh and make things together, and Antonella is another student in the class. These people are amazing artists and I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it has been to be in the same ROOM and them.)  Taking Pictures of Italy & meeting my bosses daughter in Florence for a wine and bread and olive oil & Italian Food & Two Hour Lunches & Siestas & laughing all night with my grand mother and cohorts about what we did when we were babies & so. many. things. & all of you. & I can't wait to show you pictures from my trip & everything online being in Italian &

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Whimsy: Scotland on my Mind

There is something about today; little things keep bringing Scotland to mind. Well, this isn't entirely surprising I suppose. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am infatuated with the place, not to mention the accent. But it seems that today, every time I turn around, there is something Scottish.

Scottish actors keep popping up on my internets; I keep seeing references to thistles, the national flower of Scotland; and I swear by Hiddles that I just had a Gene Kelly in "Brigadoon" moment. I was just sitting here and suddenly I heard bagpipes in the distance. Any moment now I expect to hear a chorus singing to me softly, calling me across the misty moors to my true home in an enchanted Scottish village.

This happens everyday in Scotland, in my mind.

Maybe it is a sign that I will meet a handsome Scottish lad at my brother's wedding. (His soon to be mum-in-law is Scottish, so it is a distinct possibility.) (Well, I can dream, can't I?)

Or maybe it has something to do with the awesome new trailer for Pixar's "Brave." Don't quote me on this, but I may actually die while watching this movie, from an overload of Scottish accents.

So, I am spending all my whimsy this evening daydreaming about charming rogues in kilts and planning a future among the heathered hills.

For serious, yo!
(It's downloadable. Have fun. Pass it on.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Time Out Tuesday

Adam "Foxy" Levine. Totes not his nickname, but it should be.

How's it going out there? Y'all having yourselves a good week so far? My Tuesday's looking a little lackluster- but at least there's nifty things on the interwebs! Here, let me show you-

& Let's start this off properly with an article about the talented Mr. Levine. (Phwar!)

& I betcha there's at least one of these 5 Gender Stereotypes that you'd never heard of before. Neat, huh?

& Feeling a little stuck and need to know where to start? Anne Lamott has a few things to say on the subject.

& Strikingly beautiful pictures of New York City when it does, actually, sleep.

& Fiction writers using crazy grammar? Really? Who knew? Grammar Girl, that's who.

& How to stop buying into the BS and how sometimes no choice is the best choice.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meter Monday: Jewel

Jewel has been one of my favorite musicians since I first heard "You Were Meant for Me". Yes, it was the line about making a smiley face with the eggs that hooked me. 

When I was fifteen I bought "A Night Without Armor" as a Christmas present to myself. A lot of the poems it contained went right over my lovely, innocent head. But over the years I figured out what the darker content actually meant, and also appreciated the beautiful, triumphant ones even more. 

Tonight I picked up the dog-eared, love worn book and opened it to the first bookmarked page. 

Certain Girls

I am fascinated by
those certain girls
     you know the ones
the women that are always girls
their tiny bodies like
neglected willow trees
     controlled and contorted
which may blow away with
the slightest dissappointment 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Soundtrack For the Spatula

When I was younger I didn't understand the difference between Movie Soundtrack and Film Score. Both relate to music, right? So, why two separate things? Now, I take "Soundtrack" to mean "Individual Songs With or Without Lyrics for Different Scenes" and "Score" to mean "The Background". You can Google or Wikipedia or Library-It-Up for a legit difference.

But what about for life, can you have a life/day soundtrack or score? I think so. Sometimes a particular song pops into my head during a particular part of my day. I'm not talking about a song that gets stuck in my head and plays ad nauseam through out. I mean a particular song for a particular event. When I'm driving, puffs of white cloud suspended in bright blue sky, sun warming the left arm hanging out of the driver side car window, the song "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins plays in my head as loud as if it were coming from factory issue speakers. Other times, when I'm in a certain kind of mood, a feeling theme if you will, songs seem discordant with my body. Those are the times when only a specific type of music, no lyrics, no words, just a steady background to my day, will do.

How about for the Fantastic Spatula, is there a theme music you would play for someone reading the blog? Do you listen to a particular song or band when reading particular FS writers? Do you associate songs with the blog?

If you gave Fantastic Spatula a soundtrack what songs would you include? If you created a "Fantastic Spatula Blog Score" would it sound playful and whimsical or airy and steady? If I were to create a Blog Score for the FS I would use non-traditional instruments. I would use squeaking rubber ducks, shivering saws, buzzing blenders, a clanging metal rhythm from trash can lids, combs with paper to vibrate a tune, and marbles in metal bowls (because I'm a fan of Sxip Shiery). If I were to choose 22 songs for a Sunday 22 April 2012 Spatula Soundtrack these are the songs I would pick:

22 Songs by Shannon on Grooveshark

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fiction Friday From the Depths of Forgotten Photos

 Franklin always ate his cooked broccoli and carrots that his mother put beside the fried chicken on his dinner plate. He answered, "Yes, mamma" when she asked him to put away his wooden blocks and corn husk dolls after he was finished playing. After dinner, the two would cuddle on the faded sofa, teal with gold flowers on the cushions, threads poking out of the worn arm rests showing what the inside looked like. His mamma would tell the best stories of magic men coming out of tea pots in a burst of smoke and giving wishes and thieves guarding treasure. After his Mamma went to bed, Franklin would pluck out the gold threads that itched his bare elbows on the arm rests. He would fold them neatly up and place them in his treasure basket along with three silver buttons with anchors, a chicken wish bone, a piece of broken shell, a bit of lace from the hem of a slip, his Mamma's pink broach in the shape of little roses with gold stems, and a black rock with a white line running through the middle. On Sundays, dressed in his best, Franklin would take his basket outside to the back yard and climb under the Magnolia tree with the branches that hung low and kissed the ground. There he had found a teapot and he would discuss with the man in the smoke how to keep his treasure safe.

Soon Coming: One of Two. Pick One of the Two images and I'll write a blip.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TILT: Finally

This is short and sweet, because I am still trying to recapture my sanity after it escaped last week. Here are my things I love for this gray Thursday.

  • Finally being through with tax season. Never again! (And you can quote me on that.)

  • Finally having the time and energy to get back to my reading list. Currently on tap "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" by John le Carrè. I'm only a little ways in, but so far it is excellent.

  • Finally, my birthday! As quickly as the year has gone by so far, it seemed like my well earned day of celebration would never get here. A quiet day spent with my family, my cats, and my pink cake.

  • Finally, having a release date for Diablo III; am I right, fellow warriors?

  • And, most importantly, FINALLY being able to post again! I missed posting, but I really was in no shape mentally to be writing anything. Really, it was hard enough to just get up and move around, much less think coherently. But now I will be able to dedicate more time to writing, daydreaming, and making magic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday In the Sun

Produces Beautiful Prints from Natural or Man made Objects. Nature Print Paper undergoes a chemical change when exposed to sunlight. Images appear in minutes and are permanent."

Around the late 1980's, early 1990's, my mom, my brother and I would take these light blue pieces of paper, covered in little things like keys, dice, leaves, necklaces, Hot Wheels cars, a Mickey Mouse nightlight, tiny toy animals, outside into the sun. There we would sit for two minutes, curiously still for a 4- and 6-year-old, watching the paper change color. After the minutes were up we'd race to put these pieces of paper in water. To "stop" the image. And Behold! What patterns and images appeared. It's 2012 and these pieces of paper, although I know full well the chemical changes that take place, are still magically whimsical. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Salute Your Shorts Saturday

Rick Bass and Stellarondo in Missoula MT

The sound of a whispering sawblade soared quietly through the University Theatre as Stellaronda performed their self-proclaimed "crazy idea" an Evening of Songs and Scored Stories with Rick Bass. Funny thing was, at the end of the show, there wasn't anything crazy about it. It was the most natural thing to have happened, it was perfect.

Rick Bass softly accented the musical performance with his endearing, and vivid stories. Each contained the fantastical; a roadtrip owl, a surreal fire and vision, a sexy canoe romance and a bear that comes to dinner. He made us believe these often hilarious, often sad tales as if they'd happened right here in Missoula. Each ended too soon, but also at just the right moment.

The lyricism of both parties astounded me--Bass's scenes, clear and tactile; Caroline's words so true you thought you had known them along even if though this was my first time hearing them-- all this set to stirring steel guitar, playful bass, deep cello and that mystical, haughting sawblade.

It's somewhat cliché to say a band plays to your heart. Stellarondo and Rick Bass did not only that, they played to our humanity. Every part, from before birth to falling in and out of llove and finally death. They covered the entire range of the human experience like pros, like it was their intention all along. It couldn't have been any different. It was perfect. Except, you know that it will only just get better and better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday

Magic is finding dragons lounging about in a cloud, faces peeking out of tree branches. Magic is finding a real improbability take shape in your imagination. Here is a series of photos I took of an every day object that look like so many other things. A butterfly wing? A magic spell cast? A blue sky? A whisper? A wish? What does your imagination see?

Whimsy Wednesday

“There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman.

I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment. 

 In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need." 

--Alan Moore

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time Out Tuesday!

 How's it going out there in Spatuland? Things have been busy, busy, busy on this side of the screen. (Mostly in good ways!) 

Here, have some fun things! :D


& Stephen King gets interviewed by Neil Gaiman.
& Ashley Judd hands it back to the media. 
& Merle Haggard knows what's up, and he's not afraid to tell you.
& Texts From Hillary, Madame Secretary got sass.
& Having a rough day? Check out these helpful (read: hilarious) tips to help you get through it.
& Think being single is a curse? The New Yorker shed some light on why it's not, and why so many Americans are single.
& How to make photographs....with spinach!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time Out Tuesday: Birthday Edition

It seems as though all I do lately, apart from going to work, is take time out. But you have to understand, I work for accountants and as it is tax season... well. You can imagine; only take what you imagine, turn it on its head, flip it, and then multiply it by 10 and you'll get my average work day.

So naturally after a long day dealing with other people's financial angst, I like to come home and switch off my brain.

I didn't today. You see, it is my mom's birthday. And to celebrate, her sister cooked a special birthday meal for her and invited me along. It was simple; a salad, roast pork and asparagus, then poached pears and sweet cheese for dessert. But having a simple meal in the company of some of your favorite people makes a world of difference.

Tonight, we were as rich as kings.

It is the little things in life that are the best. I want all our family birthdays to be like this. Good food, good company, good wine, and good gossip about family scandals is the way to go.

Happy Birthday Mom, and a lovely Tuesday to all of you.