Sunday, November 30, 2008

What is a blog?

Well, I jumped into this feet first, figuring I would learn as I go. I learned a little more the other day when I had the chance to talk about it a little with JC and PC. JC is the first person who ever said the word "blog" to me. I had to ask her what it was. Then later, when PC started coming to Los Angeles to be with JC and finally moved here, I got to know him a little more quickly by following his blog. I keep tabs on JS in Chicago through her blog, though she hasn't posted much lately. The blogs I read most by people I don't know are The Sartorialist and Bitten. I also look at Modern Art Notes pretty often. For quite a while, I looked Theresa Duncan's blog Wit of the Staircase every day. (It was really hard for me to go there right now in order to copy the URL into this post. I didn't know her very well, but it's still hard to accept her death.) All of these blogs are really different. I've been trying to figure out what a blog really is, and the variety doesn't make it easy to answer this question. Some people are really specific about a theme or topic, some use blogs as daily diaries or logs, some use them as a way to disseminate their work, ideas, and projects, some to advance their knowledge. Some blogs are personal, some academic, journalistic, etc. Some are abstract and some straightforward. I think reading TD's blog is the first time I thought I might like to have one of my own. It was filled with mystery and humor and cool stuff, just like her. In the end, I think that's the thing: Blogs can be self-portraits of their writers that evolve over time. I like that LM and I started our blogs around the same time, since we talk over things like this quite often. I will continue to think through the ways in which I may approach using a blog and just keep posting stuff and changing things around until I think it looks like me...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The etiquette of conversation

  • It is necessary to listen to others if one wants to have attention in return.
  • Above all things and upon all occasions, avoid speaking of oneself.
  • Being over confident and peremptory does very much unfit men for conversation.
  • Avoid too excessive pedantic or technical speech (like direct interrogation, the use of imperatives and short answers such as ‘Yes’ and above all ‘No’).
  • Adapt your conversation to the people with whom you are conversing.
  • Honorable people must never use a low word in their speech.
  • Subjects to avoid for men: hunting, hawking, and the War of the Netherlands; for women: fashionable clothes and housewifery. In general, avoid talking about one’s children, telling one’s dreams, or boasting of one’s nobility or riches.
  • It is a great fault to be too fond of keeping silent.
  • Don’t talk when you eat, it makes people think you are not enjoying the food.
  • No one speaks to the king during his public meals unless he addresses him first.
  • And of course: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof must one be silent.
P.S. I don't know where I got this list, so if anyone reads this and knows where it comes from, please let me know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cipollini onions with greens and pasta

Add a whole sliced cipollini onion to a skillet with some warm olive oil and let it all sit at low heat, stirring now and then, until they get tender. Add some salt and a little pepper and let it sit and cook. When I caramelize onions, I try to do something else at the same time, otherwise I am constantly lording over them. As they say, a watched onion never caramelizes. Anyway, once they get brown and sweet, add whatever greens are around (I used beet greens and spinach this evening). Keep the proportion so that the onions outweigh the greens. Add a little broth to help deglaze the pan and steam the greens. Boil up some whole wheat pasta until just tender. Keep a little of the water on reserve before you drain it so you have a little starchy moisture in case the dish is dry. Toss the drained pasta in with the onion and greens, and add a little of the pasta water, if needed. I ate it just like that with some roasted delicata squash, but it would be really good with toasted pine nuts added to the top as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Proposition 8 as a question of the separation of church and state

The Courage Campaign is asking for feedback from its followers. They want to know where to go next. I posted this comment to them this morning:

"Enforce the separation of church and state. Make this an issue about marriage having two components as seen one way through religious rites and one way through the eyes of the state. Encourage marriage between all people as civil unions first and foremost, making every marriage performed as a legal rite in the eyes of the state. Should couples like to engage in a religious rite as a part of their marriage then they will do so at will. Separating church and state in marriage rites should make a ban on any group's right to marry impossible to uphold."

My contention is that, not only does legislation like Proposition 8 discriminate, it is also a transgression of the boundary between church and state. These are primary tenets of the foundation of this country, and they are also humane and ethical perspectives.

No matter what our orientation with regard to the opposite sex, it is necessary for us all to recognize that banning any group of people from marrying one another is a massive affront to civil rights and is an undeniable act of discrimination. This legislation must also be recognized as precedent for future potential state and federal amendments to the constitutions which would gradually erode what we currently understand as inalienable rights.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jill Spector and Corrina Peipon: Project 02

Our design for the Thanksgiving table is influenced by the colors, light, and bounty of autumn and the particularity of autumn in southern California, suggested through a cornucopia basket form, plaid fabric, and autumn colors. The tablecloth is neutral muslin (like a blank canvas or preliminary dress pattern), and the napkins are made from a fabric that incorporates turquoise, red, purple, teal, black, etc., in an imprecise stripe. The centerpiece is made from plaid fabrics using turquoise, red, black, yellow, etc., including a single strand of gold Lurex. Rather than using traditional Scottish plaids associated with fall and winter, we decided to use the association of plaid with this time of year but in colors that hearken back (or forward... ) to summer and reflect the warmth and glow of autumn in Southern California. The plaid fabric forms stand in for traditional cornucopia basketry, wrapping seasonal foliage, fruit, and wheat in a form that is more amorphous, drawing the elements of the table together. Fig leaves, eucalyptus, lemons, oranges, orchid tree blooms, holly berries, etc. are foraged for the centerpiece, and dried wheat is added to symbolize thanks for our food and as a sign of hope for the next good harvest. One or two smaller ornaments made from a large black and white polka-dot fabric in combination with the multi-color stripe from the napkins and the flora from the centerpiece are arranged on the mantle and bar. To wish for light and luck throughout the season, candles are set out with each arrangement, using plain votives in aluminum cans with decorative punctures.

P.S. I added the picture above today (November 19). It was taken at Thanksgiving in 1972 in Philadelphia. On the left is my uncle, Garry Prowe. He is being embraced by my grandmother, Amelia Olga Prowe. My grandfather, Joseph Prowe, is serving something or adding the feast to his plate, and my mother, Barbara Prowe, is grinning at the camera. She still has that fruit basket on her counter, which is now in Portland, Oregon. There are many striking things to me about this image, but one of my favorite things is the green wine bottle with shafts of dried wheat in the foreground. I was born on August 27, 1973, so maybe my mother was already pregnant with me when this image was taken.

Monday, November 17, 2008

WAR IS OVER (If you want it.)

The New York Times, dated July 4, 2009.

The broadside was handed out for free in New York City and around the country. The web site mimics, and the many comments on the stories variously reveal readers' anxieties, exuberance, confusion, despair, and on and on...

From the section "Fine Print":

"The dozens of volunteer citizens who produced this paper spent the last eight years dreaming of a better world for themselves, their friends, and any descendants they might end up having. Today, that better world, though still very far away, is finally possible — but only if millions of us demand it, and finally force our government to do its job."

P.S. I found out today (November 18) that there were many groups who collaborated on this project and that it was led in part by The Yes Men.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To educate for initiative and courage

This interview is incredible. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn are deeply articulate and endlessly committed to living lives that exemplify the change they want to see in the world. They describe a kind of everyday resistance I admire. In listening to this, I realized that there are many ways in which I have not yet entirely embodied my ideals and need an occasional reminder that silence and inaction are affirmation and complicity to that which is ethically objectionable and inhumane. We each must invent our own ways to contribute to the human endeavor to love and progress as a people lest the corporate-political, military-industrial project of fear and greed infiltrate our lives completely. Below is an excerpt in which Ayers describes his view on the necessity of education for an enlightened society.

..."So, the question is, who gets to set the agenda? ...[W]hat makes education in a democracy distinct? And I would argue that what makes education in a democracy distinct is that we don’t educate for obedience and conformity; we educate for initiative and courage. We educate for imagination and hope and possibility. And we recognize that the full development of each person requires the full development of all people. Or another way of saying it is, the full development of all is the condition whereby we can educate each. And that shifting of the frame is so important. And frankly, I’m hopeful that in this period of rising expectations, of rethinking so much, that this is where we can go."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

East to West and West to East...

Bennett Simpson talks with Dorit Cypis, Julio Cesar Morales, and Martin Kersels at MOCA Grand Avenue, 3-5pm

West Hollywood:
Sarah Thorton book signing (Seven Days in the Art World) at Art Catalogues at MOCA PDC, 4-6pm

Culver City:
Ruben Ortiz-Torres and Julio Cesar Morales at LAXART, talk at 6pm and reception 7-9pm

A Machine Project Field Guide to LACMA, noon to 10pm
Anne Collier and Mateo Tannatt at Marc Foxx, 6-8pm
Kirsten Everberg and 1301PE, 6-8pm
Davis Rhodes at ACME, 6-8pm

Kiersten Puusemp at The Box, 6-9pm
Davis Rhodes at Sister, 6-9pm
Krysten Cunningham at Cottage Home, 6-9pm