Thursday, November 25, 2010

And now, a word against bitterness...

When I was a young lass, I asked one of my guy friends if he thought I was pretty. He said, "you'd be pretty if you lost some weight."

Sometime later that year, I wrote a love letter to another boy I was friends with, and delivered it to him in person. Then, we just continued hanging out, both pretending that he hadn't read it.

The next year, my boyfriend at the time was having a bad night at work, so I brought him what I thought was his favorite kind of ice cream. He looked at my surprise gift and said, "I like chocolate chip, not cookie dough."

During my senior year, I invited a boy I liked to a party. He showed up then made out with two of my best friends.

When I was a little older, I briefly dated a man who refused to be my boyfriend because he "didn't want to be in a relationship." A few days after I tried to get him to commit, he came to my band's show and introduced everyone to his new girlfriend. Needless to say, it was not me.

Then there were the times I actually fell in love with them, but never them with me. Those were the worst... like the one who told me he was attracted to me and that I was his best friend, but that he couldn't date me. Or the one who made me cry when I told him I wouldn't be kissing him again until he admitted he had feelings for me.  Or the one who told me that hanging around with me fulfilled him in the same way a girlfriend would, so now he would just have to find someone to have sex with.

But I'M NOT BITTER - and I'm so sick of meeting people who are! Get over it and allow yourself a little happiness. The walls you put up make you so boring - don't you know that? Share a little, love a little, and stop being a selfish, miserable prick who leaves a trail of pretty little crushed hearts everywhere you go. Life is about openness - to people, to experiences, to love.

Some advice for all you bitter bastards out there:
  • Learn to take a compliment
  • When you see someone you know, say hi to them
  • Smile, for fuck's sake
  • If you get someone's number, call them
  • At least pretend to like yourself
  • Learn to trust, and share
  • Accept a little blame, then move on
  • Or go become a stand-up comedian and put your self-hatred to good use
Happy Thanksgiving! If I love you, you know it, and you may consider this blog entry a toast to the immense amount of joy you contribute to this world. Cheers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

I had a damn good weekend. I spent lots of time with good friends, new friends, old friends, family... and after my stressful week of mid-terms, this was just what I needed. I was going to blog all about this weekend's events, as they were all pretty fantastic, but instead I'm going to share something I found the other day (and just in the nick of time, I might add). I found a list I made on February 8, 2010, of 33 things that make me happy.

I wrote it one day at Alexandra's house, after a rough couple months of boy problems and depression. At that time, I felt like I had been overlooking all the good things in life; I needed to remind myself that there were plenty of reasons to smile. It hung on my fridge at my old house, and now it's hanging on the fridge at my new house, right where it belongs. Here it is, uncensored:
  1. music
  2. coffee
  3. sunshine
  4. stretching
  5. exercise
  6. breakfast
  7. Weight Watchers
  8. bike riding
  9. reading
  10. cleaning
  11. clean clothes
  12. Sunday phone calls/emails
  13. doing my hair & make-up
  14. matching underwear
  15. sex
  16. parties (especially theme parties)
  17. dressing up
  18. drawing
  19. singing
  20. practicing instruments
  21. watching movies
  22. dinner with friends
  23. museums
  24. swimming
  25. painting nails/toenails
  26. going to the movies
  27. Chicago
  28. crafting
  29. kids
  30. car coffee
  31. massages
  32. painting
  33. dancing
  34. showering
  35. going out for coffee
  36. poetry
What makes you happy?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Target Women"

Once again, some random internet surfing has led me to a very fun little corner of the web that I never knew existed. In this case, that fun little corner is "Target Women with Sarah Haskins." Its a segment from a satirical news show called infoMania, which can be found on CurrentTV (or YouTube, where I discovered it). "Target Women" delivers a hilarious take on current feminist issues involving the ludicrous, female-targeted ads and other media we're bombarded with on a daily basis.

I've been watching episode after episode of these 3 minute shows and laughing my ass off! I've posted two of my favorites below - the first is about birth control, and the second is about yogurt. "Target Women" covers a wide array of topics... :)

I always appreciate when a social cause that I'm so passionate about, like feminism, is portrayed in such a way as to make me think AND laugh.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Facebook Killed the Class Reunion

I read a great blog post yesterday at The Good Badger about the ways that social media if effecting our face-to-face social circles. I found it most interesting because I recently experienced an in-person event that was TOTALLY effected by Facebook - my 10-year high school reunion. I posted a comment on the entry and decided to share it here, as well:
"Last weekend I attended my 10-year high school reunion, and the experience was completely different for me than it was for my brother, who had his 10-year reunion back in 1997-ish. Why? Because his occurred pre-Facebook.
"Thanks to Facebook, I already know what most of my classmates are doing, where they are living, and if they are married/have children - even the ones I haven’t seen since the day we graduated. Apparently, so did everyone else, because only about 25% of our class showed up, and our small talk seemed dishearteningly redundant. Social media has practically eliminated the need for a class reunion. This might seem like an insignificant change, but it’s representative of something much larger.
"Don’t you love being part of a generation who has experienced life on both sides of the internet invent? I truly do."
My reason for re-posting is that I am totally fascinated by technology, and I get a rise out of seeing the change it creates, especially when it's played out in real time, right before my eyes. Granted, there is nothing comparable to seeing a friend in person, and I had a wonderful time catching up with old friends at the reunion - Cindy, Staci, Christine, Steve, Jake, Allison, Lindsey, it was wonderful to chat with you all after so many years. But things definitely would have been different without Facebook in our lives. All but one of the aforementioned people is on my "Friends" list, and we could communicate on a daily basis if we were so inclined. Just a few years ago, that would not have been possible.

My family got hooked up to the World Wide Web when I was 12, I think, in about 1994. It was slow, clunky, restricted, and absolutely magical. eWorld was where it was at! I know me and my online boyfriend certainly thought so. ;)

How has your life changed since the invent of the internet? What was the first service you used? How has the connectivity of social networking sites effected your real-life interactions?

One more tech-related note before I go... did you know that cars can drive themselves these days? So cool. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Juicy Hilarity

Since joining 20SB a couple days ago, I've found so many amazingly witty blogs. My favorites have been the ones by single, smart-ass women who are navigating the dating world and allowing us to read all about it. I wish, wish, wish that my blog could be half as juicy as some of the others I've stumbled across, but, alas, it cannot. Why? Because I posted a link to it on my Facebook months ago, which has been clicked by way too many family members.

I love my family dearly, and I'm happy that they're interested in my life, but I DO NOT feel comfortable ranting about the details of my love life (or lack thereof, as it currently stands) or any other debauchery that a single 20-something college girl may or may not encounter. Who am I to kiss and tell, anyway? (That's what the diary next to my bed is for.)

Since I'm not giving you the juice, check out these other bloggers who are...
... then come back to me to hear about my travel adventures, movie-watching binges, band hi-jinks, art student interests, and overall thoughts on being a woman-child trying to break into adulthood without sucking the fun out of her life.

As juicy as it's going to get... a panel (introducing yours truly) from my friend Alexandra's graphic novel "Adventures Close To Home." (Note: You need to login to Facebook to use this link.)
Also, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have read and commented on my blog in the last few days. It's a wonderful feeling to know that people are reading what I'm writing, and taking the time to let me know that they are. Thank you, thank you, thank you! After perusing so many of your blogs, I am thinking about organizing my blog a bit, and possibly gearing posts toward specific topics on different days of the week. Any thoughts, ideas, or advice?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jump in on my first blog hop!

Today I am participating in my first "blog hop!" Fantasy Casting is hosting the "Hump Day Blog Hop" to compile a list of good reading, plain and simple. There are no restrictions on topics, and it's meant to promote readership and introduce some random bloggers to each other. Check out Fantasy Casting's post all about it, and join in. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

6 Movies in 2 Days

I have two rooms in the flat that I share with my roommate, Sarah. One is my bedroom, and the other is my art-music-media room, which I recently cleaned and rearranged. Since it houses my overwhelmingly large VHS collection, I created a cozy little video-watching area that's getting a lot of use. I've seen five movies since yesterday afternoon - while doing other productive things. I swear.
  1. Half Baked
    • It always makes me giggle.
  2. Se7en
    • Brilliant story, brilliant acting. "What's in the box?!"
  3. Milk
    • It was my first time seeing this one, and I loved it; a funny, inspirational true story that had me emotionally invested to the extreme. It even made me cry a little, which is tough for a movie to do. I highly recommend this to anyone who's interested in political activism, gay rights, contemporary history, and/or emotional biopics.
  4. Office Space
    • I watched this one twice in a row. Seriously. 
  5. Friday the 13th
    • Slasher classic.
...and I'm currently watching a 6th: The Squeeze, on VHS. It was still in it's original shrink wrap, which was pretty exciting to tear open. The cover sold me, with its classically corny 80s style and a tagline promising a "comedy thriller," starring Michael Keaton, no less. Unfortunately, I'm 10 minutes into watching it and can already tell it's not going to be as fantastically bad as I expected; it's going to be "mediocre bad," which is the worst.

Frances Whitehead Lecture Summary

I recently attended a fascinating lecture at my school (see: "Where is my mind?"). Since I didn't go into much detail in that entry, below is a summary of the lecture that I wrote for one of my art history classes. I added plenty of links for your surfing pleasure, and found a couple video excerpts from the actual lecture on YouTube, which I've included at the bottom of this post.

Frances Whitehead
Climate Change: Culture Change

      On September 13, 2010, “designist” Frances Whitehead visited Northern Illinois University to speak about sustainability and the various cross-disciplinary projects in which she is involved. She gave a very informative and inspiring lecture on the importance of artists collaborating with people in different fields, specifically in the struggle to improve our environment and increase clean food and water sources. She began her artistic career as a sculptor, who often looked to the aforementioned problems for inspiration in her work. She soon realized, however, that she was only talking about the struggles themselves, and not the possible solutions to them. It was at this point that she changed direction and decided that she wanted her projects to take on a larger scale, while contributing a more pro-active (rather than reactive) response to the same issues.
      Whitehead moved into the realm of city planning, working with government officials in the City of Chicago. With her input, they developed a four pillar “Model of Sustainability” that includes cultural vitality, social equity, environmental responsibility, and economic health. She began identifying as a “designist,” a combination artist-designer, who believes that good design can improve the world around her. Working off this four pillared model, Whitehead and her cross-disciplinary colleagues have combined science, art, and government to come up with solutions to Chicago's (and other cities') pollution problems; they are currently working at planting beautiful, fruit-bearing, and fragrant plants on the sites of abandoned gas stations within the city. The plants will not only beautify the land and provide fresh food to residents, but will also clean the pollutants in the soil, renewing its richness (in a process called phytoremediation). Whitehead has spearheaded many other cross-disciplinary projects, as well, including The Greenhouse Chicago, the Embedded Artists Project, and K Lab.
      She ended her lecture by discussing ways that artists can become more involved in their communities, and giving tips on how to contact city officials and scientists with whom they may join forces. She explained that she often asks the question “what do artists know?” and the answer is that they know beauty, design, creativity, and culture, which are all very important items to be taken into consideration when solving sustainability issues in the world.

If you'd like to read more about Whitehead, check out this entry from the Art: 21 Blog.

Monday, October 4, 2010

20 Something Bloggers

I just joined a blog networking site called 20 Something Bloggers, and have been tooling around on it for hours. I love it!

So far, I've gotten tons of possible post ideas, learned what a "blog hop" is, become addicted to the juicy rantings found in Mommy Has A Headache, and opened more Firefox tabs than I ever thought possible.

Check out my profile on 20SB, then join up, fellow bloggers and blog enthusiasts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is that all there is?

My mantra song for the weekend:

"Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends,
then let's keep dancing!
Let's break out the booze
and have a ball!
If that's all there is..."

Peggy Lee is fantastic, but one should also check out Firewater's amazing cover of this song.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let's have a quickie!

My first class was canceled, so I'm killing time in the computer lab. I was going to post all about my recent trip to the MCA with Chryssa, and highlight some of the phenomenal artists we saw, but I don't have time right now. I do have time, however, to list what I got in the gift shop: a set of glass plates that look like a paper plates, a few little presents for some of my loved ones, and a magnificent book about my favorite performance artist, Marina Abramovic. I'm most excited about reading the Abramovic book, which comes with an audio guide narrated by the artist herself. Looooove. Oh, yeah, I bought a membership to the museum, as well. That means a whole year's worth of art-tastic fun.

I have printmaking class in about 15 minutes, and it's woodcut critique day. Ugh. My woodcut came out terrible, in my opinion. It was a passionless project for me. Sometimes when you struggle with a piece, it becomes your favorite, your pet, a challenge to be conquered with pride; other times, you just want to chuck it in the garbage can, out of pure hatred and frustration. Unfortunately for this woodcut, it fell into the latter of those two categories.

Cheers, all. My band is playing a show next Wednesday at The House. Y'all should come and drink and dance and laugh with me. It's gonna be a time. Here's the link to the event information.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where is my mind?

School was a fucking disaster today.

I got up early this morning to finish a design for the woodcut we are working on in my printmaking class. I worked on it for HOURS, looked at about 10 books for references, and made countless drawings of ugly, ugly crap. I left my house to go to school, and realized I was going to be late for my first class, so I went to The House to analyze my "finished" design a bit more. My short analysis, which was abbreviated by the only relaxing part of my day - a cup of coffee with Chryssa - proved that the drawing was not something I felt comfortable turning in, let alone printing. Assignment or not, I see no point in producing work that I don't personally love.

I went to Printmaking and worked on it some more, then finally gave up, deciding that it will be an at-home project that will be finished this week/weekend. I spent so much time over-thinking my original design that I  just need to start over. Not cool, but I'm giving myself a second chance at making this project worthwhile.

After the stress of Printmaking, I went to my Science & Art class and realized, at the sound of the buzzer, that I had completely forgotten to do the weekly homework assignment, which left me with next to nothing to say during our discussion time. Luckily, there was a very interesting lecture at the art school tonight that pulled us out of class early. Frances Whitehead came to talk about her various projects that mix the science of sustainability with art and design. It made for some fascinating and inspiring cross-disciplinary stuff. I'll be writing a summary of the lecture for one of my classes, so I'll try to remember to post that here.

I'm home now, and probably going to go back to The House to see some live music. That usually cheers me up. Then I think I need to go buy a fucking day planner, because my mind is stretched to its limits these days.

Also, it seems that I'm terrified of talking to people that I find attractive. When did this happen? Am I just having an off-week or have I officially become a coward??? Why, oh why, do I over-think EVERYTHING? I haven't used my gut instinct in so long that I think it's broken. Any advice?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Designs On You" has a Facebook page now.

I just created a Facebook page for this blog. Please visit it, click "Like," and share it with your friends.

Liking "Designs On You" via Facebook is a simple way to get updates about new posts, and an easy alternative for those who don't use RSS feeds. I'm also hoping that the Facebook availability will encourage people to leave comments about what they're reading here. Don't be shy! Talk to me. :)

Vote for RAINN!

One of my favorite non-profits, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), is in the running to receive $250,000 from Pepsi's Refresh Project. The money will help to widen the support they give to those in need of their services:
"RAINN operates the award-winning National Sexual Assault Hotlines and leads national efforts to educate the public and prevent sexual violence. Since 1994, RAINN has helped more than 1.4 million victims take the first step towards recovery, providing free support 24/7."

Vote now, vote often! You can vote everyday through September 30th, so make it a part of your morning routine. Good luck, RAINN!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love Your Fellow Artists

Chryssa and I were having a discussion last night about how important it is, as art students, to stay involved in the local art community and to form good relationships with your fellow artists and colleagues. Many of us who make art were raised on the myth of the "genius artist," a man whose greatness was born into him, a natural talent, who works alone, whose work is so profound that it speaks for itself, insisting that this man be "discovered" and immediately promoted to elite status in his society. In reality, 99 percent of the time, this just ain't the way things work. In order for most artists to find success and carve out a comfortable spot in the vast art world that surrounds them, they need to work together; community is of the essence.

Too many times at school, especially in my studio classes, I witness classmates being too shy or closed off to ask an opinion of someone working next to them. I see them defensively arguing over their pieces during critiques, or cutting down the work of others, in terribly nonconstructive ways. They skip most of the gallery shows in town, only gracing the ones that are presented by their friends. All this behavior makes me wonder one thing - why are they art students? I mean, a major or minor in Studio Art doesn't seem like a choice one would "default" to.

I'm not saying that I've got this all under control, but I know where I strive to be within my community, and I know that I expect my success as an artist and art historian to come with support from others. I know that I want to go to as many local gallery openings as possible this year, and that I'd like to widen my circle of artist friends. I enjoy discussing my work and the work of others as much as possible, and find the opinions of my friends and classmates to be invaluable; I always leave artistically focused conversations feeling like I've learned something new.

And next Friday, I plan to buy a membership to the MCA in Chicago. I would like to plan monthly/bi-monthy trips there, and I'd love it if others would join me. Chryssa and I are going together next week, to buy the memberships, and after that I plan on making event announcements to see if others would like to join. We can take the train, or carpool, check out the museum, then, afterward, talk about the work we've just seen. Doesn't that sound great? If not, that's okay, just don't rain on my parade.

The exhibit I'm most excited about seeing is called "Works on Paper" from the MCA Collection (running until October 3, 2010). It features work by several artists, including some by a most interesting character - Henry Darger. My last roommate introduced me to Darger's work, and I have since fallen in love with it, as well as with the story of his life. There is a wonderful documentary about him, called In the Realms of the Unreal, which I highly recommend.

Art on, brothers and sisters.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh, the horror!

Over the last week, the temperature in my part of Illinois has dropped from 90° to 60°... basically, Illinois warp sped from summer to fall, seemingly overnight. Every year, as the weather starts to get chilly, I get a hankerin' for some good ol' fashioned horror movies. I began the cinematic descent into blood, demonic possessions, deep psychoses, and deranged villains last night, by re-watching The Shining for the umpteenth time. I'm not a big Kubrick fan, but I adore The Shining. I saw it for the first time when I was 13 or 14, and at 28, it still manages to give me the chills.

Here's the beautiful and terrifying original trailer:

And, just for fun, a romantic-comedy re-cut someone did with scenes from The Shining. Hilarious!

The next movies I plan on re-watching are Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, two more of my favorite horror classics. Did you know that The Omen includes one of Hollywood's first, and, arguably, BEST, decapitation scenes? I have long been toying with the idea of making a VHS "Decap Comp" of all my favorite movie decapitation scenes, and this one from the original Omen would definitely open up the tape:

I have a list of some of my other favorites, and if there are any that you'd recommend, please leave them in a comment below. I'd also like to know what your favorite horror movies are, so I can add some more must-sees to my watch list. Some of mine, in addition to the few already mentioned, include: Dead Snow, Cabin Fever, 28 Days Later (I love you, Danny Boyle!), House of 1000 Corpses, The Good Son, Jaws, The Exorcist, Carrie, and Teeth (don't trust the shitty trailer - trust me). And the next horror release I'm really looking forward to is Hobo with a Shotgun (see the teaser trailer at the bottom of this entry). I found the link to this through a blog I just discovered this morning - Greatest Movie Deaths of All Time. Total Google score!

Happy horror-ing, guys and gals. I finally have a working internet connection again so I should be blogging more frequently. Subscribe. Stay in touch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First! Episode 2

More firsts of 2010! Some recently recalled, some recently happened...
  • first time at the Atlantic Ocean, and Myrtle Beach (March 2010)
  • first show with Wienerslav (April 8, 2010)
  • first time intentionally eating seafood (Friday, the 13th of August, 2010)

UPDATE! (...which is not as cool as an "UPGRADE!")

I have officially moved into my new house in DeKalb, with my new awesome roommate, Sarah B. I'm still not completely unpacked; it's a huge task, considering the ridiculous amount of trinkets that I own. 472+ VHS tapes, 300+ owls, and who-knows-how-many books later, and the unloading is coming along slowly but surely. Tomorrow is my 28th birthday, I start school on Monday, and I'm going to be in an arts and crafts show next weekend in downtown Aurora. Did I also mention that I started a new job about a month ago? I'm busy, busy, busy, as usual.

As if all this wasn't enough to fill my time and brain, yesterday my electric went out and will not be turned on for one to three days. Thank you, oh so much, previous tenants who did not pay your bill. My fridge is filled with soon-to-be-wasted food, I can't listen to my stereo, I can't charge my computer or phone, and I did my make-up by flashlight last night. Oh, yes, and I had to cancel the birthday house party I had planned for Saturday night.

So here I sit, at The House Cafe, checking my email, blogging, and swigging coffee... I'm just going with the flow and trying not to worry about things that are out of my control, counting to 10 over and over. Chryssa is going to lighten my roots this afternoon, and I think I might buy a new dress to lighten my mood.

P.S. I'm reading a fascinating memoir right now (thank you, Sarah!) called I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, by Pamela Des Barres. I'm devouring all its juicy details of rockstar trysts and sordid tales from a life I could only imagine. As a girl who's always been in the band, and not with the band, I'm absolutely engrossed in Pamela's life story. And come on, who hasn't wondered what it would be like to make-out with Jim Morrison??? It's a must read.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward." - Soren Kierkegaard

I know I'm supposed to be working on posting my travel journal, and that's exactly what I'm NOT doing right now... but trust that this post IS related to my recent transatlantic journey.

I have made it my summer goal, and perhaps a late New Year's resolution, to try as many new things as possible this year. I've long considered myself to be an adventurous, spontaneous individual, and in this year of 2010, I am striving to prove that to myself everyday. And so, I am beginning a list of "firsts." Maybe you'll do the same?

  • first trip to Greece (May 26, 2010)
  • swam in the sea (May 2010)
  • ate a whole, uncooked tomato and LOVED it (June 2010)
  • went down a water slide (June 31, 2010)
  • tried liver pate (July 2010)
Admittedly, these things may not look so exciting now that I've got them laid out in front of me, but THEY ARE... I've been terrified of fish, oceans, and the sea for my entire life, so when I took a  swim with Chryssa in Greece, it was an amazing step in my life. By the end of my vacation, I was loving every second I had in those refreshing waves. I've also always been really weird about food - I didn't eat any vegetables, aside from corn and potatoes, until I was well into my twenties - so eating a whole tomato or trying something uncommon like liver pate is a big deal for me.

What I'm getting at is this: no matter how insignificant a new experience may seem to be, it's still new, and it's still a chance to hop outside your comfort zone; a chance to break down a boundary. Most of our boundaries are self-imposed, and each time you crack one of them, even in a small way, you are giving yourself more room to grow.

Fewer boundaries = more room to play = a happier life. It makes sense, yes?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Greece 2010 Travel Journal: May 31, 2010

Three days since my last entry, and there is already much to catch up on...

On Friday evening, Chryssa and I decided to stay around the house and relax. I tried to go to bed early, but my legs and feet were very tingly and achy from the long travel and a lack of sleep. I laid awake in bed for hours, anxiety-ridden over the thought of experiencing foot or leg trauma on yet another vacation.

Shortly after I fell asleep, Spero barged through my door and turned on the light, ready to hang out and take some shots. We sat and talked for a long time about the things he misses about the U.S. We talked about the difference between respect and fear, and how to recognize where you are loved, and in which way. It was a nice time.

Chryssa and I spent all day Saturday at the sea, and it was wonderful! We drank juice and coffee under an umbrella at a beach cafe, and I am developing a lovely tan. We also went to birthday party at Landi's friend Maria's house. Maria is from Chile. Her family was very welcoming to me. She and Landi used to belong to a group for foreign wives in Greece, and they told me great stories of old time. I am at the beach with them now.

Chryssa, Spero, and I have been out drinking every night, and it's been fun to "party" again. I have a different control over alcohol these days, so it's been all pleasant experiences. I've met so many people that I'm having a hard time remembering their names. I need to work on this. One of my favorite people I've met is Ilias, a friendly, young gay man who works with Spero. He has a opinion on everything, but is not pushy. He is a dancer and a theater student, and seems wise beyond his years. I also really liked the girl Spero invited out last night - Xara. She was a blast, and we became quick friends. She works at a hotel on a vacation beach in a nearby town, and I think we will visit there for a night. Ilias would also like to take us on a mini-vacation.

There is so much more to tell, but I've written enough for today. Maybe I will write more at the beach tomorrow. Kalinihta! Good night!

P.S. Spero hurt his knee "80's dancing" the other night, so he is a bit incapacitated. :(

Greece 2010 Travel Journal: May 28, 2010

I am sitting on the balcony and just finished doing my make-up. Spero, Chryssa, and I are going out to coffee at a cafe called Exis before Spero has to go to work

Kalamata is gorgeous, and full of tiny privately owned shops. It is laid out very differently than any American city I've seen; you walk through small alleys to find the entrances of buildings, and all the streets are paved with different types of stone. You can easily walk everywhere, and many people have scooters or motorcycles.

Yesterday, the three of us went to a cafe called Bar Fly and had frappe, then beer. Spero went to work, then Chryssa and I went to meet her friend, Danny Kargas, at his graphic design office. After we met Danny, who is very outgoing and friendly, we went to visit Spero at the bar where he works, called Vino Banco. It is a cozy place, very classy, with warm lighting. We drank and laughed until early in the morning. I met many people, and drunkenly practiced the few Greek phrases I have learned so far: "thank you," "fuck you," and "I'm hungry." Haha! Starting with the basics...

It was wonderful to spend time with Spero. I knew I had missed him, but didn't realize just how much until we had the chance to hang out yesterday. I am glad to be able to see an old friend, and to meet new ones. I hope to spend some time with Nike, as well. Though she is busy with the baby, we plan to have coffee and maybe go clubbing soon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Greece 2010 Travel Journal: May 27, 2010

Arrived in Kalamáta at Chryssa's house around 11:00 p.m. last night. I'm extremely tired from traveling, but also too excited to sleep! We flew from Chicago to Zürich, then from Zürich to Athens, then rode two buses to Kalamáta, then took a cab to Chryssa's house [where her brother, Speros, and sister, Nike, live]. Amazingly, I did manage to nap a bit over the course of the last 24 hours of travel.

We had dinner with Landi [Chryssa's mom], Nike, Aggelos, and little Panayiotis [Nike's baby]. He is adorable! We tried to stay up to say hi to Speros, too, but I am going to pass out at any moment. So far, Greece is beautiful and amazing. I can't wait to see more of it tomorrow!

Presenting! Greece 2010 Travel Journal

As most of you know, I recently spent four weeks in Greece, with my friend Chryssa and her family. While I was there, I kept a journal, and I've finally found the time to transfer it here to my blog. It was an amazing trip, and I know that my meager writings won't do justice in describing the thrills and happiness that I felt each day that I was there, but I do hope that they will give you a glimpse into the experiences that I had...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Countdown to relaxation:

Friday, May 21, 2010

It'll almost be like you were there!

Wienerslav played a show on Wednesday night, and my friend Chrissy was kind enough to take some videos of our set. Below are the videos of our two originals. The videos of our covers are being posted to our Facebook page as I type, if you'd like to check out more.

Friday, May 7, 2010

90's WWW Flashback!!!

The Geocities-izer: Make any Webpage Look Like It Was Made By A 13-Year Old In 1996

This web toy was too spectacularly spot-on, hilarious, and nerd-a-rific not to post. Take a look at the 90's version of Designs on You. Love it!

May Madness

Someone is ringing the ghetto doorbell outside - honk honk honk honk - seriously? Just get out of you car and go to the door, jerk face. Grr.

School's out for summer, my roommate has moved out, and I'm leaving for Greece in less than three weeks. Also, I will be moving out of my apartment before I leave for vacation, and I'm a little sad about letting it go. Even though the electricity and plumbing are shit (I can't run a toaster and a coffee machine at the same time without the power going out, and every time I take a shower water leaks into my neighbors' bedroom), I do like this place a lot. Not only that, but since I moved in a little less than a year ago, I've managed to acquire approximately 80-100 new owl collectibles, and probably about 60-80 new VHS tapes. Moving is gonna be an overwhelming process. As it always is.

In other news, Wienerslav has been asked to play another show at The House on May 19th, opening up for a Virginia band called The Judy Chops. We are also going to get together to record a couple songs on Monday and make ourselves a MySpace page to showcase our tunes. Keep your ears open!

And though I haven't had a moment to make any crafts for the Etsy shop I mentioned a couple months ago, my friend and fellow blogger Chrissy has, and her items are posted and ready for sale! Check them out at The Tawdry Owl on Etsy. And while you're there, check out my brother's shop, too.

Last but not least, here are some photos of my final sculpture project. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I wish it would have been finished early enough to be in the show with my other works. Too bad. Maybe I will be able to show it sometime in the future...

"Better Version of Me"
Nikki Rice
May 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Living This Life

April has been a month spent immersed in art and music, just as I prefer. On the 8th, both of my bands, Eat Your Heart Out! and Wienerslav, played a benefit concert called Rock Against Rape (see my previous post for info). It was fantastic! About $1000 was collected for the local non-profit agency Safe Passage. Then, on the 22nd, Wienerslav played another show with some amazing musicians - most notably, Jason and the Punknecks. The bill was filled with high energy country-punk-blues bands that I felt honored to play amongst.

I don't have any future shows scheduled yet, but am looking to book one for my birthday, at the end of the summer. And hopefully a few in between, once I get back from my summer vacation to Greece. Yes, I'm going to Greece!!! For a whole month! Could I be any luckier?

In other news, two of my sculpture pieces were featured in NIU's 2010 Graduate and Undergraduate Sculpture Show at the Pleasant Street Gallery in DeKalb. It was my first time having any of my art in a gallery, and what a wonderful feeling it was. Being back in school is opening up so many opportunities for me to explore and share my artwork. I could go on and on about this, but the real world duties of laundry washing and final exams are calling to me. Until I find more time to write all I want to, here are some photos of the sculptures I had in the show. (Sorry, the photos are only iPhone quality.)

"The Mytho-Mechanics of Sexual Biology"
Nikki Rice
February 2010 

"Breathing in/Breathing out (Homage to Marina & Ulay)"
Nikki Rice
April 2010
* Click here for info on original piece being reference.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fools' Day!

In honor of All Fools' Day, I suggest you buy a metric clock to be proudly displayed upon your living room wall. I know I'm going to.

In 1975, an Australian TV show called This Day Tonight put forth one of the most clever April Fool's pranks ever. The show convinced many viewers that Australia would soon be converting to "metric time" and explained the guidelines for the new system. In fact, metric time (or decimal time) is a real system that has been explored, but not yet perfected for public use. Pretty good. Prett-ay prett-ay pretty good.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And one more thing...

Thank you, Chryssa.

"Oh, go on and cry. You'll pee less."


I've been wound up like a spring for the last two weeks, and each time I think all has fallen back into a sensible order, it's crisis time again. It's like I'm trying to file a bunch of papers, see? But there's an army of little men who live at the bottom of the filing cabinet drawer, and they just can't wait until I tuck something away so they can tear it to shreds. Party. Confetti. Life's a beach, man.

As of yet, my patience has been serving me well, but it's running thin tonight. Luckily, I'm somehow still smiling and the shinola continues to outweigh the shit. But I'm stressed, damnit. Why don't I have that Valium prescription anymore? Time to count to ten.

I watched Postcards from the Edge for the first time tonight. Great movie, containing the awesome quote that inspired this whiny post. It seems that I will be peeing a little less after this.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Art & Music Schtuff! (And other news.)

My schedule is consumed with all things art and music right now. I'm in two bands right now - Eat Your Heart Out! and Wienerslav. Both of my musical projects will be playing at the WRC's Rock Against Rape show (to benefit Safe Passage) at The House on April 8th, and Wienerslav is playing another show there on the 22nd. It's been so long since I've played a show, and I've never played keyboard in a band before, which I am now doing with Wienerslav.

Chryssa, Alexandra, and I practiced about a week ago. We are tightening up some classic material, and also working on some new stuff. Liam, Josiah, and I have been working on getting together a 30 minute set, and it is going really well. It's always exciting to play with new musicians, and I feel like we've really started to gel. I think my keyboard skills are improving a lot, and my voice is getting some much-needed practice, too.

Chrissy and I opened an Etsy shop about two weeks ago, called The Tawdry Owl, and we've been working on items to fill it up. We haven't posted anything yet, but should have some cool paper picture frames up in the next week. Chrissy has been slaving away over them and they look awesome! I'm pretty sure she was a sweatshop worker in a past life. I, on the other hand, have yet to actually FINISH any of the items I've started. Everything I want to make seems to take forever... I'm trying to up my production energy, but art school homework and music practice have been taking up most of my time. Here's a picture of some of the frames Chrissy's working on. I'll post an update when we post them for sale in the shop.

Other bits of randomness that have pleased me lately, in no particular order: Josiah taught me how to play Go, I got some new VHS tapes for my collection, Jaime very generously let me borrow her electric piano, I heard from two people on Facebook who I haven't seen in years, I spent a wonderful afternoon with my mom, I've almost finished reading Snoop, and I finally cleaned my room.

And a few things I'm looking forward to in the next couple of weeks: Chryssa's birthday, practicing more with all my awesome band mates, a Flak Attack, and actually finishing one of my Etsy projects.

And, finally, go check out Chrissy's new blog: Blog de Glitter Emitter. I command you.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

I'm currently on spring break from school, and just got home from an awesome road trip with my friends Chrissy and Liam. We went to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Our vacation was spent visiting a great local bar (Duffy's/The Bowery), eating at delicious little restaurants where we could smoke INDOORS, hanging at the beach, visiting the Ripley's Aquarium and other attractions, and meeting odd characters.

This is where I should go into detail about our trip, but I feel like I've got too much to catch up on in my blogging after not writing for a month. So, instead, you'll just have to use your imagination as to what went on in S.C. Here's a slide show of some of my favorite trip photos to help get you started:

Last week, I played an open mic with my new band, Wienerslav (name subject to change in near future), at The House Cafe in DeKalb. We were offered to open up a show on April 22nd and I'm quite stoked. The last time I played a show was about a year ago, with my other band, Eat Your Heart Out!. I will also be playing a "Rock Against Rape" show with both of my bands on April 8th. Music has been one of my major foci for the last couple months, and I feel like it's paying off. It feels great to be performing again.

I've also been SWAMPED with schoolwork this semester. My studio art classes (2-D Art and Beginning Sculpture) are keeping me very busy. I've been juggling like crazy to keep my schedule in order, and I'm not an innately organized person, so it's been a bit rough. I did scratch a couple important items off my to-do list yesterday: replaced my social security card that's been lost for almost two years, and got new copies of my birth certificate with which I can apply for a passport. (I'm going to Greece in June with my friend Chryssa, and I'm incredibly excited.) Next on my list is paying off a few parking tickets I've gotten lately... boo and hiss. Luckily, they're for small amounts and didn't cost much more than parking in the pay lot at school would have. But still, BUMMER.

Well, I'm off for now... going to call up Chryssa and Alexandra and see if we can make a little coffee time today. Cheers, all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Last Time I Had A Valentine

It's been 10 years since I've had a Valentine, and on this lonely anniversary I'd like to share the story of the last time I celebrated the holiday. It's time for the internet to own this shitty memory, not me...
It was the year 2000; I was 17 and a senior in high school. For about a year, I had been in an on-again-off-again relationship with my first boyfriend, Ryan. When Valentine's Day rolled around, we were in an "off" phase, but still seeing each other every weekend, and I was positive that we would soon be an official couple again. Despite all the drama and manipulation that he injected into my life, my pathetically low self-esteem made me go back to him time and again, believing that no one else would ever want me. I saw myself as ugly and replaceable, a fat girl getting by on her sense of humor and generous nature, and felt that I was lucky to have anybody who wanted me. It's very hard to admit that these were my regular thought patterns, considering the strong person I have become over time, but they were; my thoughts were that of someone who felt she had no worth outside of that which others assigned to her.

My best friend Nicki was dating Ryan's best friend Justin. Through the grapevine, I heard that Ryan and Justin had been at the local flower shop during the week of Valentine's Day, buying roses which they intended to send to their sweethearts at school. On the morning of the fateful holiday, Nicki was called down to the office during our government class, and came back with a giant bouquet of flowers. She told me that she had seen an identical bouquet right next to it on the counter, surely from Ryan to me. My heart swelled with excitement through my next few classes, as I anxiously awaited this romantic gift.

Finally, after waiting hours that seemed like days, I was called to the office. The secretary handed me a single rose with a note attached, then wished me a happy Valentine's Day and sent me on my way. Outside the office, I read the card and my heart dropped into my stomach - the rose was from my friend Katie, a lovely platonic gesture that I found nearly impossible to appreciate at that moment.

At the end of the day, I confessed to Nicki that Ryan had not sent me flowers. She promptly found her boyfriend, who admitted that yes, Ryan had bought a dozen-rose bouquet when they went to the florist's shop, but that, sadly, it had not been for me. It was for Justin's ex-girlfriend, Rachel, who Ryan had recently met and developed a crush on.
I was embarrassed, incredibly hurt, and totally confused. I immediately began making excuses for Ryan's behavior, justifying his total lack of respect for me. I didn't confront him about the way he hurt me; I ignored it. We had plans that evening for a double date with Nicki and Justin, and I was terrified of canceling. I knew that if I wasn't there, he would simply find someone else, and that thought was enough to make me go to Hell and back to keep him.

That night, I arrived at Ryan's house to meet up with everyone, wearing my "I swear I'm okay" face. Although no one brought up what had happened earlier in the day, Ryan was clearly pissed off at me for some unknown reason, and acted completely indifferent to my presence. When it was time to leave for dinner, he kept checking his phone and stalling, making us all wait around but refusing to tell us why. Our questions were answered when a car pulled into the driveway - he had invited Rachel.

I was dumbfounded and mortified, for the second time in one day. As Rachel approached the house, Ryan looked at me, ready to fight over any reaction I might give his mean-spirited stunt. Nicki and Justin were as appalled as I was, and uncomfortable to boot. I asked Ryan if I should leave (yes, I ASKED him, rather than just high-tailing it out of there) and he replied that he didn't care; I could go or stay, and it was all the same to him. At this point my stubbornness kicked in, and I told Nicki and Justin that I would ride to the restaurant with them, since Rachel would be riding with Ryan.

And I did. I made it through the most horrific dinner of my life with a little bit of wit and a lot of repressed feelings. I held back the tears until I got home that night, and by the time they came my anger for him had become hatred for myself. A couple months later, I began dating Ryan again, and the shame cycle continued. Luckily, though, his behavior on Valentine's Day had desensitized me enough that when I saw the words "FAT FUCK" written across my face in his yearbook, I barely even blinked an eye. It was just another day in Love, after all.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recommended Viewing

"I didn't bring your breakfast, because you didn't eat your din-din!"

This movie has been on my "To Watch" list for a long time, and I finally saw it a couple weeks ago. It's a MUST SEE! If you're anything like me, you'll be rooting for crazy Baby Jane for the duration of this deliciously demented film.

"Being an adult means to have a speedometer that marks 210 and not driving over 60." 

This one is about a boy, a girl, and an absurd game... oh, yeah, and a most fucked-up kind of love. Love Me If You Dare was personally recommended to me by a close friend, based upon a specific experience I had with a former love. If you've ever trusted someone who you knew you couldn't trust in the least, then I think you'll enjoy this one. Also, it's shot beautifully, reminding me of the same dreamy, fairytale feeling that's conveyed in two of my other favorite films, Amélie and Big Fish.

'If I wanted to have sex I'd go out and find someone who was actually sexy." 

Just a few things that made me love this movie: an amazing female director/writer/lead (see: Marianna Palka), unabashed stalking, and Jason Ritter. I suggest going in without any expectations, and just enjoying the characters for who they are. Also, order a pizza.

Skip Day

I should be at school right now, in sculpture class, but instead I'm at home, finally catching up on my blogging. The following string of events lead me to this spot:

1. Overslept this morning, waking up too late to catch the bus.
2. Borrowed my roommate's Jeep to drive to school, because I've had a flat tire on my car for over a week now.
3. Stopped at a gas station to take out money from an ATM, then bought a coffee to get some quarters back to use at the parking meters at school.
4. Arrived at school, already 10 minutes late to class, only to find that all of the meters were in use.
5. Thought about circling back around, or parking in the $5 pay lot, but decided just to head home instead.

Rather than get worked up about the fact that I'm missing my favorite class, I'm taking it easy. It turns out that the older I get, the less I worry about the consequences of my actions. Each time I find myself getting anxiety ridden about a crappy date, or a missed homework assignment, or a ridiculously intimate secret shared with a casual acquaintance during a drunken tell-all, I just remind myself that it's not the end of the world - I've undoubtedly dealt with worse. It's a liberating thought process, and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A list of awesome things that happened in the last week:

1. My parents renewed their vows on a cruise ship, and brought me back a bunch of cool presents from Barbados. Congrats, Mom and Dad!

2. Bought a hideous on-the-hanger dress at Target that looked way sexy on-the-me.

3. Got my first sculpture assignment, and it's highly interpretable.

4. Learned to play Hank Williams' "Hey, Good Looking" on the keyboard (as well as a few random 90's techno songs).

The Unreleased Recordings: The Hits... Like Never Before

5. Chryssa dyed my white trash roots back to beautiful blond.

6. Used velcro rollers in my hair for the first time, and, thanks to some helpful amateur YouTube how-to videos, got wonderful results. The video below was the most useful for me. I will try to put up a full instructional post of my own in the next couple days, as I'm assuming that using rollers to curl hair is as big of a mystery to many other people as it was for me.

7. Ate a phenomenal falafel pita at Pita Pete's with Jaime and James, and some damn good Qdoba with Chryssa and Alex; friends and food - need I say more about why these experiences were so exceptional?

8. Got a bunch of canvas and other art supplies from the VCBeast.
9. Spent lots of time with people I love.

10. Received an exciting X-mas gift: a beautiful polka dot corsette!

11. Made plans for the upcoming weekend that are guaranteed to bring me many smiles, much laughter, and maybe even some butterflies in my tummy.

Life is spectacular right now. I wish I could feel this way all the time. I know people say that you can't appreciate the good without the bad, but I find that really hard to believe. And, even if this is true, I think the amount of "bad" I've experienced thus far will keep me appreciating "good" for the rest of my life. Bring it on.

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