Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Half a Dozen Books...

Right now I have six books on my bed. In order of their arrival here, they are:

1) Euripides III

2) Expert Legal Writing

3) "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, & the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa"

4) The Handmaid's Tale

5) Children's Writer's Word Book

6) Writing Picture Books

Variety! The Handmaid's Tale counts towards the Classics reading goal, and the two children's writing books clearly have to do with translating this into a fully-fledged story. (Hint: it involves hitchhiking! No, really, it's okay though. Probably.)

The Greek dramas (supplemented by a volume of Aristophanes comedies in my purse) are light research for supplemental brain learnin'. Yeah I dunno. I just felt inspired to take out some ancient culture from the library. It may or may not have something to do with my percolating idea for NaNoWriMo this year. We'll see.

I checked out "I Heard You Paint Houses", et al from the library today on a whim, pure and simple. I did that thing on Wikipedia where you just keep clicking the intratextual links in the articles until you end up really far away from your starting point... I went from The Golden Girls to Jimmy Hoffa, only, it only took one click. Sofia apparently once claimed to know what happened to him. So clearly that meant I should check out the first book I found at the library about him, right? Right.

And finally, I bought the legal writing book to sort of start preparing myself for law school. When I started college, I was a little behind most of my peers academically because I graduated 14th in my high school class... in Florida. Brightest crayon in the 16-pack of classic colors, but the 64-pack of college includes those damn neons and metallics and, well. Metaphor beat to death, but you get it. So I googled around a little and found that the columns collected in this book assisted practicing lawyers in writing their briefs. One day, I hope to be a brief-writing, practicing lawyer, ergo I should read the book. Maybe I'll get luck and it will teach me how to make that paragraph more interesting?
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Monday, July 26, 2010


"Dynamism of a Soccer Player"
Umberto Boccioni, 1913


"The Reservoir at Villa Falconieri"
Maxfield Parrish, 1903

water lillies, art institute of chicago

"Water Lillies", Art Institute of Chicago
Claude Monet, 1906

water lillies, st louis art museum

"Water Lillies", St. Louis Art Museum
Claude Monet, c. 1916

gray line with black, blue, and yellow

"Gray Line with Black, Blue, and Yellow"
Georgia O'Keefe, c. 1923

scholoss kammer at lake atter iii

"Schloss Kammer at Lake Atter III"
Gustav Klimt, 1910

still life on a green sideboard

"Still Life on a Green Sideboard"
Henri Matisse, 1928

the sleeping gypsy

"The Sleeping Gypsy"
Henri Rousseau, 1897


Jasper Johns, 1961

afternoon of the faun

"Afternoon of the Faun", sketch for the ballet
Leon Bakst, 1912

interior with blue deck chair

"Interior with Blue Deck Chair"
Pablo Picasso, 1958

le moulin de la galette

"Le Moulin de la Gallete"
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876


extra credit: feminism

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, union organizer and early feminist. Funny story with this one: I bought it at the same time as all the above, at the Mandala closing sale, thinking it would be excellent to supplement my art cards with some historical educational material. Three weeks later, I was cleaning my room and found an old postcard book in a dresser drawer that my grandmother gave to me when I was probably 12 or so: Women Who Dared. Oops. Thanks, Grandma!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010


Now that I'm on a blogroll, I should probably make some sort of indication that I'm still alive before I make my next real post. Not only alive, but accomplishing things left and right! Or at least up and down the east coast.

So things to post about:
1) Taking the LSAT and Why I Consider this Goal Fulfilled
2) Postcards out the wazoo. Like seriously, tomorrow I hope to scan the 20ish postcards I've been sitting on for a while. UPDATE 7/30: All on photobucket... just sorta waiting for time to narrate a proper post.
3) Special exhibits descriptions - just came back from a NY trip, and went to the Met and MOMA and saw probably eight different specials? But only two or three significant ones, so those are the only ones I'll be counting.
4) Cathedrals! Visited two more on my trip, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside and Grace Church in Union Square. Gorgeous, plenty of pictures to crop and upload... eventually.
5) Swingsets! Swung on two more swingsets as well in New York... I have one really bad picture of the one in Central Park to post, and Chelsea should sometime soon be getting her film developed of the second, which was in Riverside Park on the UWS.
6) Books. Like whoa.
7) General update on the state of my craftiness
8) Goal revisions, due upon the one-year mark (August 28th)

Having an agenda is great. It's structure; I thrive on structure. Now it's OUT THERE. Now I have to get those postcards scanned tomorrow, and I have to actually lay out which goals are being changed out for which other things.

And finally, Angels in America tickets go on sale in twelve days. Time to start planning another trip north...
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Monday, June 14, 2010


I'm all grown up now and as such, I'm taking, like, active control of the direction of my life and junk. Parts of it, anyway.

Goal number 89 was to keep detailed accounting data for one month. I've done better - at the beginning of February, I created a budget file in Excel, with two pages. One sheet functions as a checkbook for my debit card, savings account, and credit card, complete with formulas so that I don't screw up the math and a banner at the top that shows all my current balances. The primary sheet, though, I am especially proud of - it aggregates all my purchases into categories, on a week-by-week (and month-by-month) basis, and includes the rough estimates for my budget... because technically, a budget is a PLAN for your money, not just keeping track of where it goes after the fact. I made a category column in the checkbook sheet, so at the end of each week, I go through and add up all the "E"s and "S"s and so forth to track my expenses.

I set fairly liberal spending allowances when I established the budget in February, when I was going out a lot more. I underestimated my income (not by a lot, but about $100 a month at least) and overestimated food and entertainment expenses by a lot, so I could wean myself slowly down to a more savings-oriented fiscal plan (and thus move myself more expediently towards a responsible move to NYC). Here's what the original budget figures were:


As you can see, I also allocated $70 per month for health-related expenses, which would basically encompass everything I would buy at CVS or Walgreens - razor blades are exorbitantly expensive these days. But I also wanted to set it that high in case I needed to go to the doctor and buy medicine in case I got sick, so that I'd know the money would be there without throwing the whole rest of the budget off. Getting my throat swabbed for strep does NOT count as Entertainment, you know? The last column, Leftovers, is additional de facto Savings. The Savings column itself encompasses my Keep the Change transfers, and a monthly $25 scheduled transfer from checking to savings that I set up to avoid monthly fees. SOOO all that money I'm not really spending on health gets saved up, along with all the other money I keep by underspending on food and entertainment. To the right of each month's leftovers, I set up a running "Total Savings" formula, which adds together that month's savings and leftovers and adds it to the previous month's total savings.

It turns out that increasing that single number has been the best motivational tool for me to 1) continue using this sometimes annoying system - Bank of America reformatted their website last month and it's an enormous hassle to do side-by-side windows to input the checkbook data - and 2) cut back my spending, the whole point of setting this goal. I didn't think to add that until mid-April or so, for a solely practical reason: I had too much data for one page and didn't want to have to be scrolling all the time; there is a huge corresponding jump in the amount of Leftovers between March and April, which becomes even more extraordinary when you factor in that I was in NEW YORK CITY at the beginning of April and I ate very well. Anyways! Budget working, ergo, budget goal OFFICIALLY COMPLETE.

Now, a completely different mechanism for getting my adulthood together: I took the LSAT on June 7th. (Goal number... TWO, for those keeping score at home. Yeah, that important.) I could pretend that the five weeks of grueling prep tests I did were the reason I didn't post so much in May, but we all know the real reason is that I'm tremendously lazy. Except for the part where I established a rigorous schedule for practicing, stuck to it, and saw real improvement in my (practice test) scores because of it. I don't get the real score back until the 28th, and I absolutely do not want to jinx it, but I feel safe at least saying that my goal of 167 was definitely reasonably within my reach. I think I qualified that enough to evade the wrath of the jinx demons. I hope.

Well, this is getting long, and I started it at work this afternoon and it is now approaching one in the morning, so, yeah, over and out. OH WAIT no, before I forget, I have another swingset - Colin Park, beachside in Daytona. Squeaky chains, really quite awful as swings go, but it was a clear night and the stars were delightful, making up for it a bit. A daytime picture will be taken sometime in the next three months. Deal. So, what is it, number 8 now?
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't be Stupid

Dear Congressman Mica/Senator Nelson/Senator LeMieux:

I am writing to you to let you know that I support the Veteran's Lobby Day that occurred yesterday, May 11th, in support of repealing the discriminatory and dehumanizing Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy of the United States military.

In addition to being hurtful to the gay men and lesbian women who choose to serve our nation in the armed forces, DADT has the opposite of its intended effect: instead of increasing unit cohesion, DADT damages the esprit de corps by forcing these patriots to lie to the other members of their unit about who they are from the first day of basic training.

This explicitly privileges heterosexual service members, particularly men, who feel they have the tacit approval of the entire institution when they commit acts of verbal or physical abuse against those they suspect of being homosexual. Women can be called into separation hearings on no basis more reliable than the word of a single male accuser - a man the woman has simply turned down for a date, in many cases. These hearings are a tremendous waste of everyone's time and money, and the loss of the skills and training of each of the more than 1,200 people who have been discharged since 1993 are an even greater travesty.

Gays and lesbians are willing to give their lives in service to this country. Why won't America give them the dignity they deserve in return? Please vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell as soon as possible and allow these true patriots to serve openly.

Caroline Leonard

(DA, DT, DBS was the working title of a massive paper I wrote on the subject a year ago. Don't be stupid - it don't work.)

(Also an update summing up the last month is shortly forthcoming, I swears. I've completed another goal!)
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Friday, April 16, 2010


Ooops. Got of schedule again... so I'm going to do a really quick summary of things to get back on track.

1) Finished reading The Enchantress of Florence last week. It was delightful to read solely in terms of language, but I take issue with some significant anti-feminist elements of the story... I intend to write a short essay on this sometime very soon. But we all know how well I actually do the things I intend to do, so... we'll see.

2) Started reading Atlas Shrugged; I'm now 125 pages in and... wow, I thought Rushdie was antifeminist. Otherwise, I'm still really confused about the book's philosophy. I've read about objectivism and I feel like I know what Ayn Rand thinks, but... to me it doesn't really seem to be advocating any particular viewpoint at all - except that indifference is plaguing the modern world and, like, destroying EVERYTHING. More forthcoming on this as well.

3) In order to better facilitate drabble-writing, I started a scraps file in notepad so that I'm not looking at a blank page every time I try to write anything. Writer's block has not wholly been defeated, but it is slightly mitigated. It's something. I'm stuck on this one image and I'm trying to figure out how to make a whole decent story out of it. I'll get there.

4) This has absolutely nothing at all to do with knitting, but it is creativity and therefore is marginally pertinent: I've sewn my first throw pillow with piping! I put in for 15 yards of saree fabric (in three patterns of five yards each) on ebay, and I won, and I paid, and according to the seller in India, they've shipped... and it's been ten days. Four more and I'm filing a complaint. This is getting absurd... I'm trying to start an Etsy shop here! No, really, apparently there's a large market for throw pillow covers, and I like sewing and I spend a lot of time watching TV - I figure I can at least try and capitalize on that a little bit. My camera battery's low so it's taking really crap pictures indoors right now, all grainy and stuff, so I'm not going to post one of the pillow just this second - but it's beautiful and you have to look really closely to see where I messed up, and I'm really proud of it. So take my word for it. You have to. It's my blog.

5) Speaking of pictures, I'm putting up four SPTs to cover from... I guess February 16th was the last time I posted? Oh well. See below the cut. I'll take one tomorrow for this week. (Hint: most of the SPTs are actually taken on the weekend.)

6) Music rerating is going well. I took a cue from my dad and decided to play my whole library in reverse alphabetical order, from $$$$ to A.O.K. This helps songs stand out a bit more since I'm ripping them out of the context of their albums, but has the major drawback in that I sometimes hear up to four versions of the same song in a row. (I'm lookin' at you, 405.) The one thing I can tell you I've discovered is that I really don't care at all about 98% of the Smashing Pumpkins' discography. Don't ask why I have it, I won't for very much longer.

7) Speaking of music, I have a couple new artists that I like that I plan on reviewing shortly. Preview: Yeasayer; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros; and MGMT. Yeah, I know I'm late to the party on that last one, but I was purposefully avoiding them because of all the hype and I feel it's now sufficiently passed that it's once again uncool (and therefore legitimate) to listen and be into them.

8) Speaking of MGMT, I updated my resume this week to start preparing for a northward move. This has nothing to do whatsoever with my goal list, but moving to New York has been my number one goal since before graduation, so it merits an update.

9) Daily Show! April 5th, 2010 - Chelsea and I were the first to show up at 1:15, but the third, fourth, and fifth people arrived within the next twenty minutes - so I feel it was completely justified. Um, yeah... they start don't even set up the lines until 2:30, and they don't open the doors till after 4, seat you till after 5, or start filming until 6. But SO WORTH IT. Picture proof below the cut.

10) Ten is a lot. I'm done for tonight. To the pictures!

spt 1-25

March 11, 2010 - Absolutely nothing remarkable about this. It is already well-documented that I'm infatuated with my Christmas lights and amateurishly adjusting the aperture settings on my camera.

spt 26-50

March 18, 2010 - Yeah, nothing exciting here, either. I... I bought this shirt while Ali was visiting that week? ...Woo.

1 april 2010

April 1, 2010 - On the first night of my trip, my friend Katy happened to be in town as well from Chicago, and our friend Mollie was about to be going out of town on Spring Break, so we threw a party. This picture was probably taken shortly after midnight... because I had woken up at 5:30 that morning to catch my flight. Yeah, I was in New York by lunch time. I RULE. Things I missed while passed out: chat roulette, Mollie's ever-entertaining rendition of Soulja Boy, and a 1:30am run to Best Buy. Yeah. That tired.

8 april 2010

April 8 - So, basically, the Kate Spade store down in Soho was doing this window display with pinwheels, and since many of them were within reach of street level, and the pinwheels were on the exterior of the windows instead of the interior, people had swiped them - which was probably what they were supposed to do anyway. So Chelsea wanted one, and I wanted to steal one, so I climbed up on the ledge and tried to push it up out of its holder inconspicuously. Surprisingly, they didn't just pop out, they literally had to be lifted up and out, and in this shot, you can sort of see that I've got the green one up to the very bottom of the stick... I couldn't reach any higher while sitting. Clearly, this was hilarious, and Chelsea took my picture. Shortly thereafter, I just stood up and pulled it out, and we lived happily ever after with our lime green pinwheel yay.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...



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Saturday, March 20, 2010

! 25%!

With the uploading of these postcards, I am officially one-quarter of the way done with goal 78! A few weekends ago, I went to visit Katelyn in Tampa and we trekked down to the Dali Museum in St Pete. There was some sort of special event going on that night and they were closing early to set up for it, so we only had about two hours to wander around. Luckily(?), the building is way too small for the museum's collection, and we were able to see just about everything without feel terribly rushed. And, of course, they weren't about to kick us out of the giftshop! I bought two postcards, one real card, and a poster - because it was two dollars cheaper than an 8x10 print of the same painting. So! Clicky clicky for the pretty!

dali - tres picos

Tres Picos - 1955

I think my favorite part of this sketch is something it might take a few seconds to notice... so take it all in for a second. I don't want to spoil anything. Go ahead, I'll wait.

...Yeah, that orchid is definitely blooming out of his crotch. It's a delightfully feminine representation of the phallus. Coming in a distant second is the leaf-hat-morphing-into-caterpillar. I just love Dali's playfulness, how he blends realities and unrealities and creates a game out of masking the lines.

dali - the lion sketch

The Lion Sketch - 1956

ZOMG LIONFACE. This one was not on display this time around, but when I saw it on the wall amidst all the other postcards, I knew I had to have it. He's probably the most adorable ferocious lion of all time, and I love him. These simple pencil drawings, that must have taken a quarter teaspoon of Dali's creative talents, make me intensely jealous of people who have both imaginative vision and the ability to execute that vision in a seemingly effortless manner. Intensely jealous. On Monday I'm going to draw another snail.

dali - girl with curls

Girl with Curl - 1926

According to legend, Dali grew up fantasizing about a Russian peasant girl... three years after completing this painting, he met Gala, a Russian bourgeois girl (close enough) who left her husband to become Dali's muse, wife, object of candaulistic pleasure (fitting for a visual artist). Some say that makes this painting "prophetic" and read a lot into the odd perspective that cuts out the middle ground between the girl and the background landscape. I just like the sensuous curves, the sliver of a crescent moon mimicking the drapery over her backside, and the hints of myfavoritecolorblue in the upper reaches of the sky.

extra credit: posters

Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at 20 Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln - 1976

Painted for the bicentennial of America, a nation he only lived in for eight years decades before, this 448-pixel-wide version doesn't really capture the true power of this painting. Proportionally, I think you have to be about seven inches from the screen the first time you see it for the Gala part to be more powerful than the Lincoln part - the actual painting is one of those jumbo, wall-sized things, fifteen feet tall at least. I love how it's sorta pixely (before pixels were really a thing), and the little squares on the bottom that separate Gala and Lincoln into separate pieces. I especially love the bloodorange in the sky, textured like water, and how it reminds me of flying down the east coast at sunset.

In sum: Dali = awesome, and far more than the Persistence of Memory (iconic and awesome work though it is), and after they open the new space next January, I want to go back and see the whole collection.

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