Sunday, December 12, 2010

12/12/10 :: See you when I resurface

You don't have to keep track of anyone else to keep track of yourself. There are no deadlines for introspection, and you only have yourself to hold accountable when you fall behind. You can't get jealous at someone else for doing it better, and you can't be embarrassed about anything (because no one will ever know).

Do I think having the $70 shower curtain will make me a freer spirit? Not really. But I guess it's always been in my imaginary bathroom– the one that I imagine myself having when I'm happier. The details of my future life are more real to me than the reality of the one I'm living now. Sometimes that terrifies me, and other times I rationalize that as ambition. I'm not clear on which is wise and which is delusion. (Your opinion is as useless as mine by the way.)

I spend so much time alone that I am working so much out in my head. Without making contact with people, I've sorted out and/or dissolved friendships, cleared messes, and put to rest issues. Imagine spring garage cleaning without ever stepping foot into the garage.

I'm learning to depend on myself, and while I've strived for this for so long– it's starting to scare me a little too. Where is the balance? Why is there never a balance of socialization versus isolation? Why am I always plummeting headfirst into dark oceans when it comes to decisions and states-of-mind?

I will resurface. But I'm not sure when.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11/30/10:: Concentration

Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that's what you've wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that's what's on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, "Now what?"

Like it or not, this moment is all we really have to work with. Yet we all too easily conduct our lives as if forgetting momentarily that we are here, where we already are, and that are in what we are already in. In every moment, we find ourselves at the crossroad of here and now. But when the cloud of forgetfulness over where we are now sets in, in that very moment we get lost. "Now what?" becomes a real problem.

By lost, I mean that we momentarily lose touch with ourselves and with the full extent of our possibilities. Instead, we fall into a robotlike way of seeing and thinking and doing. In those moments, we break contact with what is deepest in ourselves and affords us perhaps our greatest opportunities for creativity, learning, and growing. If we are not careful, those clouded moments can stretch out and become most of our lives.

-jon kabat-zinn

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11/9/10:: 3rd Nature - Detroit Creative Awareness

SO, seeing as I posted earlier about the DetroitLives project, I must come tell you about something else that is super awesome in Detroit right now. A very good friend of mine from my time at College for Creative Studies, Haley Querro, is working on a project/movement in Detroit called 3rd Nature: Detroit Creative Awareness.

Basically, this is a new organization/collective/movement that is shedding light on the creatives of Detroit-- attempting to bring people together to share with one another and hopefully result in a larger impact on the Detroit community.

There are all sorts of exciting things going on like a proposal to Detroit Soup, an upcoming event featuring the band Deadbeat Beat, and an opportunity to be a part of a Detroit-positive-themed art show.

Information on all of those things are available in the links above or at 3rd Nature's homepage:

Or you can follow them on Twitter for the latest news:

Yes please!
Be a part of the positivity!
Submit artwork, communicate, party, and celebrate Detroit!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/30/10:: Rumination

Rumination is comprised of two separate variables -- reflection and brooding. The reflection part of rumination can actually be somewhat helpful -- reflecting on a problem can lead you to a solution. Also, reflecting on certain events can help you process strong emotions associated with the issue. However, rumination in general, and brooding in particular, are associated with less proactive behavior and more of a negative mood. Co-rumination, where you rehash a situation with friends until you’ve talked it to death, also brings more stress to both parties. In short, if you find yourself constantly replaying something in your mind and dwelling on the injustice of it all, thinking about what you should have said or done, without taking any corresponding action, you’re likely making yourself feel more stressed. And you are also likely experiencing some of the negative effects of rumination.
From Stress Management - By Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Ruminating is a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about problems, about a loss, about any kind of a setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action.The trouble with rumination is at least twofold. As you ruminate, you deepen the grooves in the brain, intensifying levels of anxiety and depression. And your problems remain unsolved, and are perhaps even exacerbated by the failure to move on them. Women are predisposed to rumination, largely because they value relationships and thus devote a great deal of time and mental energy to processing the often-ambiguous content of them.
From Psychology Today - By Ellen McGrath, published on April 11, 2003

Symptoms and Effects include:
*Extreme or Crippling Negativity/Pessimism
*Heart palpitations/Anxiety attacks

Stay tuned for mindfulness/meditative solutions.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/13/10:: It Gets Better

I know I have blogged here before about the importance of anti-bullying messages-- a topic that has always been super important and personal to me. I don't know how involved any of my blog-readers are in keeping up with e-trends, but there has been a big one going on lately under the official title of "It gets better." In fact, it might even be unfair to simply call it an "e-trend" because I'm pretty sure it's more than that-- it's an initiative to save the lives of adolescents who are considering suicide as an option to escape the hardships of bullying.

The specific movement I'm referring to was started by Dan Savage, American author and journalist known for his loud-and-proud anti-conservative love advice via Savage Love. He and his partner Terry began by creating a YouTube channel directed at sending the message to young LGBT teens that after highschool, life can and will get better. Since this, many celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon in support including Jewel, Perez Hilton, Chris Colfer (Glee), Kathy Griffin, Daniel Radcliffe, etc. This group has also been linked to The Trevor Project, which is an outreach 24/7 hotline for crisis LGBT or questioning teens.

While I think all of this sudden awareness is huge, exciting, and a breath of fresh air, I think we could all be doing more to spread the message. Although these specific initiatives are directed at members of the LGBT community, I think the message should be delivered to ALL youth in peril due to bullying.

What can we do in our local communities to help?

MTV has started a similar initiative called Love is Louder, and you can read more about how to become involved here.

Find out how to become directly involved with The Trevor Project, or how to bring it to your local schools here.

Watch the ItGetsBetter YouTube channel, or link it to your own blog to spread the word by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/8/10:: Everything that is interesting is new

Alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear.
It is never too late to give up our prejudices.

I try to eradicate hate-- I don't want to hate anyone.
I try yoga, crochet, jewelry-making, wine-making, running, and baking-- What is my thing?
I strive for simplicity, but if I am trying so hard am I not just complicating things?

I have so many letters to write.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11/10:: Detroit Lives

I know I'm a bit late jumping on this bandwagon, but you have to forgive me. I've been a bit out-of-touch with Detroit lately, as I've moved back home to Pittsburgh to live with my family while I search for jobs. I think, however, that the Detroit Lives project has been saying something that a lot of young Detroiters have been trying to say for a long time now.

Most people ask me what it was like to live there, and they ask me with a tone that suggests "I'm surprised you survived." In some ways, it's just easier for me to tell that story. To say, "Yes, it's a wreck." "Yes, there is so much crime." "Yes, it feels dangerous to be alone after dark." That's what everyone wants to hear anyway.

"Is it true that they killed motown?"
What does that even mean? Motown was born in Detroit, and Detroit is still there. And who are "they"?

Although I don't always have the energy, I do try most of the time to express the other side of things. Because there IS another side! Detroit is perhaps the largest blank canvas... maybe the ONLY true metropolitan blank canvas in the country. A place where young people have a hand in HUGE changes, even with very little effort. You can take your art to Manhattan and feel lost, feel helpless, and struggle to have anyone notice you... or you can be in Detroit and with the flick of the wrist, change an entire city. You can be a part of re-growth, re-birth, and a strong youthful artistic community. It's an extremely powerful position, and there are tons of young people in Detroit doing it-- you just need to open your eyes to see them. Particularly having gone to College for Creative Studies, an amazing private art institution-- perhaps one of the best in the entire country-- I saw a lot of good energy and good actions.

It's a constant thing to hear people talk about their frustration with not being able to make a difference. "The real revolutions are all over." In Detroit, that's not true.

It's the heart that I can't describe to people-- the thing about Detroit that I struggle with articulating. And the misunderstanding starts close to home-- it's not just on tv and in magazines, but it's in the suburbs of Detroit itself! The very people who have front row seats to some of this amazing stuff are those that are the most fearful and lazy as well. Both the media and the suburbanites tend to miss the point. The bad stuff is there, yes, but there is bad stuff all over this country! What the rest of the country DOESN'T have, however, is some of the great creative community that is unique to the dirty D.

The video series entitled Detroit Lives by VICE media does a great job of pointing out some of that, particularly in the 3rd video-- it talks a lot about the artistic community's strength and contributions.

I highly suggest taking 30 minutes to watch the video series and perhaps form a new position on the city. Educating yourself with truth is better than being a part of the ignorant mass, yes?

Also, Detroit Lives is actually a much larger movement that is taking place in Detroit. It has a website that includes some promotional artwork/merchandise designed by some of my awesome friends from College for Creative Studies. Check out the site here:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8/8/10:: Doing Nothing

My current meditation:

Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole.

Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen.

Stick with the situation at hand, and ask,

“Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?”

You’ll be embarrassed to answer–it all can be endured.

Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you.

Only the present – and even that can be minimized.

Just mark off its limits.

And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold out against that ...

well, then, heap shame upon it.

-Marcus Aurelius

Monday, September 6, 2010

9/6/10:: Suburban Trash Re-run

If I were Johnny Cash, I would roll up the bottom of my jeans, slide on my boots, step outside onto my front porch, and light up a cigarette. I'd recline back in my chair and I would inhale and exhale and watch kids play in the street. I'd call all of my problems "the blues." I'd teach the weeping willows how to cry-- I'd teach the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.

I'm not Mr. Cash, of course, so-- I'll do what I can. I'll pace circles in my carpet. I'll lie on my back and watch my ceiling fan, reruns, ceiling fan, reruns. I'll check my email six times a day, maybe more. And I'll make false statements to myself about my general outlook.

I'll make lists. I'll refuse to make any more lists. I'll think about taking down old lists, and instead I'll make a declaration of "I'll do that tomorrow." Sometimes they fall down themselves, which is cool because then I don't have to think about them anymore.

It's not surprising that another summer has somehow passed. It's not surprising that we are on the brink of another winter that is bound to test the limits of my sanity.

If I was Johnny Cash, boredom would be taken with a stride.
I wouldn't have to try so hard to remind myself that doing nothing is still doing something.

I've got a lot of stuff. Between material things-- (things that I'm always tripping over because, frankly, I don't even have enough space for all the shit I own), and emotional things-- (things that I also manage to trip over from time to time), I am completely on overload. SO... I'm having a garage sale.

John Lennon illustrated portrait (matted)- $2
X-small Patrick Wolf teeshirt- $3
Veggietale's Larry the talking Cucumber toy- $1
The bags under my eyes- $1
The overflowing laundry basket- $2
Moodswings- $1.50 (each)

If I could stop myself from being repetitious, I would I would I would I would.

Friday, August 20, 2010

8/20/10:: On my own again soon.

When I finally get back to having my own apartment again (whether it be in Pittsburgh or NYC), the first thing I am going to do is go get my cat from Detroit.

The second thing I'm going to do is buy a bottle of wine.

The third thing I am going to do is hook up my stereo system while I drink said-wine.

And the fourth thing I am going to do is... MAKE SOMETHING!
Make art, make noise, make a mess, make love.

I cannot wait.

Monday, August 16, 2010

8/16/10:: You're Telling Me a Fairy Tale

Here is the math.

If I wake at 6am to have enough time to shower and drive to work before 8am, and if after a long stint of traffic I arrive home from work at 6pm, I have spent 12 hours of my 24-hour day consumed with work. Of this remaining 12 hours, according to tradition, I will sleep 8 hours away. On a given work day then... I have only 4 hours to live my life.

You can only imagine then how pressing it is to use these few precious hours in a way that is both relaxing and fulfilling--and these two things rarely come packaged together in the same activity. I read a lot now. I watch a lot of films. I relish little trips to town to buy myself small pleasures like gummy bears or a new novel. And you can bet I'm wearing dirty clothes because I almost never have the heart to waste these hours doing laundry.

Well anyway, a lot of this time is fittingly spent wondering what I
should be doing rather than doing it, whatever it is. And as a true American through-and-through (despite however much I wish to deny it) I want myself to do things that are both self-bettering (productive) and pleasurable. An American might easily interchange the word "pleasurable" in that sentence with the word selfish-- I don't think an American ever really does anything pleasurable without feeling guilty about it. Pleasure usually means naughty, naughty means guilty, guilty usually means selfish, and if we are selfish, we probably aren't bettering ourselves, are we? As much as I've tried to beat this mindset out of myself, I can't. It's who I am because I am a product of my country. I was raised this way.

At any rate, when I try to think about this imaginary, magical, elusive activity that will make my day seem like it was well-spent, my mind always drifts back to Scotland as I tend to view that as the manifestation of both the most educational and pleasurable experiences of my life. I also tend to think of reflection on the past as an important activity for self-improvement. Conveniently, daydreaming about Scotland is also one of my most reliable private pleasures.

It's funny though that when I consult my records (my writing on Scotland--in this blog specifically, though not exclusively), I mostly wrote very surface and action-based reports. "Today I went here, and I drank this much, and I met this person, and it was good. End."

But of course, this is rarely where my mind goes when I think back to Scotland. I find the most pleasure in thinking of the little things... stretching my mind, if you will... by challenging myself to remember the tiny details of what I like to consider my secret second life there.

I'd like to perform this activity now, but this time through writing. I will write a different but very true story about Edinburgh.


It's a Tuesday morning in March, and it's around 10:30am. Sunlight and street voices are simultaneously pouring in through my only window which is next to my bed where a night stand should be. It's enough to wake me because I don't use an alarm clock anymore, and I've had my window open since I arrived in January. I squirm in bed, wriggling out of my red satin sheets like a snake losing its skin. I can hear bagpipes playing, and they are coming to me all the way from Princes Street. I try to imagine all of the people pushing past one another in front of the shops there, and it makes me hesitant to get up.

When I finally sit up in the small patch of sunlight hitting my bed, before my feet even hit the green shaggy 70s carpet, I light a cigarette in my underwear. My hair is sticking up, and I stare out at Edinburgh castle through my window-nightstand-portal. I smoke, and I think about what my classmates are probably doing at the studio. Should I bother going in today? Is there a point? I text the girls to meet me for a coffee down the street instead. I stand up and water my petunia before I turn my laptop on for music. This time of year I was probably listening to The Smiths on repeat.

My clothes are all scattered on the floor, and it doesn't take me long to match up an outfit... almost everything I own now is black. I pull my tights on while I'm still puffing my cigarette. I feel like a French girl in an old burlesque show dressing room. I'd never considered myself a grown woman until my time in Edinburgh, and now there is no confusion. Men here think I am an exotic creature for some reason, and I have a new liberated and dominating attitude toward sexuality because of it. In ten more minutes, I am out the door. The air seems misty like it always does in Scotland, and the pavement is covered in pink and white blossom petals. I breathe deeper here because I am irrationally convinced the air is healthier. Girls in scarves are scurrying around the college, and a boy in skinny jeans is riding bumpily over the cobblestones on a bike. The double-decker bus blows by on the corner, and a stray cat walks beside me up the sidewalk.

Lindsey is already on the corner, and she is harboring a devilish grin. We start laughing before I even make it to her. We have lots to gab about on the way to the coffee shop, and I experience the joy of uninhibited, giggly girl talk the entire way down Lauriston Place.

I start almost every day this way in Scotland for six months straight. It's so simple that you think this could happen anywhere, but it doesn't. It's the Edinburgh Daily Special on Keir Street.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7/28/10:: Welcome Back, Cotter.

Healing has been an every day project. It's so strange how so many days will go by without any progress... and then Poof! One day I'll accomplish 3 or 4 new things I couldn't do the day before. I most look forward to the day when I can sleep on my side or tummy again. Today I was able to go down the stairs without a cane.

This blog has served more like a diary than anything else over the past year and more. My other movie blog is much more structured and project-based, and although I don't think this blog needs structure, perhaps it could benefit from more productivity.

I've been writing mostly in my private journal lately, as my emotions and physical recovery have been the focus for the past few weeks. In an effort to get back to my normal self, I am going to try to open things back up here.

Look forward to some new recipes, design, thoughts, and such soon.
Thanks for the well wishes and the patience as well.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

7/17/10:: Pause

I am thinking a lot these days.
For better or for worse, yet to be known.

It's been a week without cigarettes, and I haven't missed them at all.

Tomorrow is Sunday- the day of rest. Thank goodness.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

7/11/10: visual

7/11/10:: Aftermath.

Things have been really intense lately.

Car accident.
Broken pelvis. Broken tailbone.
Morphine. Pain pills. IV.
Walkers. Canes. Wheelchairs.
Pain pills.
Rehab. Physical therapists.
Pain pills.

Then California..
Emotional turmoil...
Yet grateful..

Now I'm home, and the excitement is over.

I quit smoking today. I set the goal long ago-- "I'll quit smoking the day after my 23rd birthday."
I actually never really was sure if I was going to do it or not.
But surprisingly, I acted like a robot this morning. I smoked my last cigarette on the front porch, and as soon as I was done, I made my mom drive me to the pharmacy to get Nicorette.

The withdrawal headache is the worst part so far, and the gum doesn't really seem to do anything about that.
I'm having my first piece just now though-- made it through the whole day without it.

We'll see.

Hoping to turn a lot of things around about my life right now. It's hard to stay positive, but I'm doing my best.
That's all I can say for right now.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

6/10/10:: The Milk Trip Mission Accomplished

I find my biggest challenge at this point is patience. Impatience causes many problems not only for myself but for my relationships. Impatience with finding a job leads to apathy/stress. Impatience with friends leads to self-inflicted isolation. Impatience with my future leads to feelings of hopelessness. Impatience with my emotional development leads to self-destructive behavior. I'm constantly aware, and that allows me to pause, breathe, and react intelligently. I'm getting better, but I'm not perfect.

On the whole, I am doing very well. I have a few pieces out on the board, and it's my turn to roll.

I'm going to bed now at 6am after a long night of red wine on the couch in Schvee's garage. We had some good talks about the future... and the past actually. Little discussion of the present, which I guess doesn't need much explaining. We are living it together.

Tomorrow will go smoothly if I will it. Looking forward to that.

This sleep is going to be so. so so so so. good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

6/6/10:: Meowmania

Found this when creepin' on Pielichaty's tumblr. Completely made my day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

6/1/10:: Surfin USA

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like californ-I-A
You'd see 'em wearin' their baggies
Huarachi sandals, too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' U.S.A.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

5/27/10:: The New Summer

I feel a bit odd writing here, as I've been uber-neglectful of my blogging-life for a while now. I graduated college, believe it or not. I now have a BFA in graphic design from College for Creative Studies of Detroit, Michigan. Whew. It's weird how four years of my life gets summed up in one sentence. Nice and tidy-- I kind of like it.

I've moved back home to Pittsburgh, and I am living with my parents while I sort out a job/apartment. I'd been dreading this move for such a long time, but now that I've done it, it actually has been really good to me. The stress is miles away, and I've been enjoying summer days of bike riding, book reading, car washing, badminton, mocha frapps, trips to the city, and all other sorts of mini-joys. The best part of it is the weather making it so easy to fill up my days. Every morning I awake and think I hear rain-- I pull back the shade, and WALA! Gorgeous summer day. It's like my brain just refuses to believe that this kind of weather happens to people like me.

The job-front is a war I'm currently fighting. I've had one awesome interview, and it has resulted in a test project. I've been tinkering around with it for a few days now, and I am getting anxious to know where it will lead.

Oh, I also cut 8 inches of my hair off and dyed it blonde. So that's awesome too.

My family is starting to buzz with the news of our beach trip to California. We went last year, and now it is a yearly event. What makes it 5 billion times more exciting is the fact that my amazing friend from Edinburgh is coming with me. The day is approaching super fast, but it still can't get here soon enough. So much has happened since we first hatched this plan-- and now that the major college obstacles are behind me, it is making the wait even MORE excruciating.

It's my favorite part of the summer day right now-- 7pm. Sun is just setting, the breeze kicks in, and it's ALLLL good.

Back to work though. Ay dios.

Monday, April 19, 2010

4/19/10 :: Giving Back

I've always lived a pretty hedonistic lifestyle. For the most part, if I've wanted to do something-- I've done it. I've never taken an interest in politics, church, community, etc-- mostly because I've always believed in living a life that is fully satisfying to myself and only myself. Now that graduation is coming round the bend in just a few weeks, of course I've been thinking about what I'm going to do with all the free time I have once school isn't consuming every single second of my day. I've started thinking about what interests me, what would make my time more fulfilling...

Some of the more obvious goals I am looking forward to achieving are quitting smoking and losing the college weight. One of the not-so-obvious goals is to get involved in some sort of organization. I've contemplated becoming an active member of the AIGA upon graduation, and while this is still interesting to me-- it's not exactly the most burning cause is it?

The past few weeks, a few events have been setting some wheels in motion in my head. For one, reading about the Phoebe Prince case really struck a nerve with me. Secondly, this semester especially, I've witnessed quite a few classless acts from some of my classmates in terms of respecting other people's design work.

In high school, I dealt with an enormous amount of bullying. While I know it was never fair and certainly never justified-- when multiple groups of people aim themselves at making fun of you, you have to wonder if you're doing something that might be attracting so much negative attention. I've always been outspoken and proud about who I am and what I'm doing-- and a part of me always wondered if I may have brought some of that attention upon myself. Now that those days are far behind me, I know that it doesn't matter WHAT I did in high school-- I never deserved the treatment I received from those malicious people. Much of my time in high school, I was very, very depressed and self-conscious, and a lot of my problems were directly related to the bullying that I encountered daily.

It's a sensitive subject with me. A hugely sensitive subject. It's a practice that happens in every single high school, and most of the time, the kids are too stupid to realize that their actions are really, truly hurtful to people. And even worse-- some DO realize it, and that is the pay-off.

I'd like to think that after a few years out of high school these people realized how wrong their behavior was, but in all likelihood... that's not the case. And while a million teachers and discipliners can stick their heads into the problem, I know from experience and past perspective that it really doesn't get through. The last person that is going to make a high schooler think twice about their actions is a school principal, and often, I'm sure they only make matters worse. Maybe there is someway I can use my age/experience to help others.

So anyway, this is something I think I'd like to become involved in-- some sort of anti-bullying program. Whether it's outreach to students who are dealing with it-- or talking to people who may be inflicting that kind of pain on other students. I'm lightly researching some organizations, but as of yet, I haven't found one that is asking for more than money and awareness. Two things that I don't really think do much for anyone.

I'm going to keep looking around, but I just wanted to toss it out there. Get it down on 'paper' so to speak, so I feel my thoughts become more stable.

Looking forward to a life outside of the school environment. Looking forward to doing some things that are going to be good for me-- in a less self-centered way.

Friday, April 16, 2010

4/16/10:: Tummy aches, David Bowie, and Progress

These are the two projects I'm currently working on for my typography IV class.

The first is a laser-cutting project where we had to choose an environment, create a narrative, and then use laser-cutting to create a typographic sculpture for our narrative. My environment is my bed, and my narrative is: In my sleep, I can I live the life I want.
The form is a modern interpretation of a dream-catcher and is 36x64". It will be suspended at an angle (almost parallel) over my bed. It's made of 6 panels of white bristol, and the laser-cutting was thanks to Zoyes Creative Group in Ferndale, Michigan.
The panels will be sewn together with clear thread.

The following is a create-your-own-typeface project. We had to choose an environment and then design a typeface for it. My environment was Edinburgh, Scotland, and my typeface is pulled directly from the map of Edinburgh. The upper-half of each glyph is pulled from a section of Edinburgh's northern and griddy New Town, while the bottom half is from the winding, southern Old Town map. The typeface will also include a series of dingbats that are icons for some of the attractions of Edinburgh. Each character is hand-drawn in Illustrator and then imported, spaced, and kerned with Font Lab. The typeface will eventually be showcased in two 30x40" posters, which are still under construction.

These are just two of the 8 or 9 projects I have going on right now.
I've been busy, jah.

Friday, March 12, 2010

3/12/09:: Busy Beez

It's been an insane week here in Apartment 322! Josh has been gone for the week, so I've had the place to myself-- frantically working away in anticipation for my week in NYC. The goal was to finish reworking pieces for my portfolio as well as complete the coursework I'll be missing next week. *Wipes sweat off of brow*

Ollie and I have been spending loads of quality time together too. Movie nights and early morning coffees by the window.

Reworked version of my 3-DIMENSIONAL poster from my Advanced VisCom I last semester. It's a crappy screenshot + photo mockup of what the finished thing will look like. New layout and typography.

An original typeface I'm creating for my Typography IV class this semester. This is the very first sketch/drawing-- we had to just form the letters for 'Yankee Doodle went to town.' We had to choose an object, location, or event to inspire the typeface. My typeface is inspired my coffee sessions in Edinburgh. :D

Snuggling down with my bebes <3

Courtney and I went shoppppinngggg. I got some new things for spring! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

3/5/10:: Everything is going to be alright.

So it's officially spring break now. Big excitement, big scare as well. The first half of the semester has been both hellish and rewarding.

Midterm grades
Typography IV: B+
Portfolio/Presentation: B-
Advanced VisCom II: A

This upcoming week is huge for me, emotionally and work-wise. It's spring break, yes, but for me-- it is going to be the week that I really have the opportunity to pull my life together. I have tons of work to do for my portfolio class, as well as my senior thesis. I've been slipping farther and farther behind on reworking my projects for my portfolio, and I have mountains of work to do for the classes I'll be missing the week after break for NYC. It is my absolute dream right now to finish out my last 7 weeks of my college education feeling prepared, organized, and in-charge of my work. I couldn't stand to continue on OR end my college career the haphazard way they've been these past few weeks.

Also, my parents are coming for a short visit tomorrow night. Josh is leaving this evening for a week in Florida, so I extended an impromptu invitation for my parents to come up to the city and see Detroit. They've never stayed with me here, and we've never really gotten along peacefully for longer than 10 minutes. I invited them up to do something fun here, and to try to show them that I am responsible and I DO have a life here in Detroit. Their view of the city is that is a horrible place, and I hope that showing them the reality of my life here might help them understand that it's not such an open-and-shut case that I'm going right home after graduation. I also want to at least TRY to make a step forward in our daughter-parental relationship, since the past 4 years have been rather terrible between us.

That said, all this is leading up to my trip to NYC next week, where I'll be seeing Shannon, Shonagh, and a few other legendary Scotland friends. The reason I'm so adamant about this week being so successful is that I've been looking forward to NYC being fabulous for months now. It would be so great for me to be able to go and leave my organized, ready-to-go school life back here in Detroit, and just have a week to focus on the other parts of myself. My thirst for friendships, travel, freedom... I want to be able to do nothing but enjoy myself all week long. I know it's in my power, but it's going to require a lot of preparation to acquire that state of mind.

SO, here goes nothing.

clean bathroom
wash kitchen floor
take trash down to dumpsters
febreze furniture/vacuum
finish re-organizing workspace

Spring Break tasks:
-Typography IV homework (typeface ideation/sketches) + email to Chad
-Senior Thesis ideation/research + email to Zack
-Finish reworking Ecommo project (website/letterhead/business card)
-Rework 3D poster
-Rework Sweet Bee's Annual Report
-Revise Self-Identity/Research "Sharing" interface
-Ideation/Production of Voicemail Installation

-Mail Joe's package
-Purchase new book
-Clean out/back-up laptop

SO much to do.
But I'm too determined to fail.
Only a little bit longer, and I'm not going to crumble in the end.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

3/3/10:: Biebs

I got the Bieber fever fever fever!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I don't know about you, but I am absolutely SICK of seeing this kind of bullshit on design blogs, circulating around the design world. There's gotta be at least 9 million of these super stupid sayings being posted around, being called interesting works of design. Who likes this kind of trendy bullshit?

This has been going on for years in the design community. And I wish it would stop.
Every time I see one, I actually want to barf a little.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2/27/10:: Lately

DETROIT (photo cred: Danny Jacobs)

When I start to post the date in the subject line, the drop-down shows me the name of the post I created in 2009. Today, one year ago, I was booking hostels in Barcelona. AGH!

Lately, my life has been a bit of a droning chaos-- if you can imagine such a thing. Sprained ankle. Frustrated friendships. Justin Bieber. Funk night. Messy desk. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant. All the while, however, I'm never feeling or experiencing much of anything beyond white noise.

I've been having lots of long, sleepless nights lately. No matter how tired I am, I can never seem to get a full night's sleep. Although last night this changed with the remedy of alcohol (I'm not sure that even counts). Anyway, beside that, these nights have been full of lots of movie-watching and contemplating. Mostly about NYC in 2 weeks and the beach with Joe.

I try as best I can not to think about where I'm going to be in 3 months. What am I going to do?
The mounting pressures of graduation are paralyzing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

2/22/10:: Clusterfuck

a typical night.
it's 5:00am.

these photos don't even do the cluster-fuck justice.
it covers every inch of my apartment.

still unprepared.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/21/10:: Explosions

Sometimes I feel like the actual vessel that is my skull is going to explode open with the pressure building in my brain. My eyes are going to run so fast with tears that my eyeballs will just wash right out of their sockets. My jaw will be stretched as wide open as it will go to let all the words and memories and pictures spew out. An actual horror movie explosion of dreams and thoughts and memories and happiness and things I've been trying to save.

In reality, I just close my eyes, and I put my hands over my face. I sit very still, and I try to remember the way people sounded when they said something to me that I found very moving or special. My eyelids start fluttering and my forehead wrinkles up. My hands tremble, and my ears get hot. I can feel myself blushing in my own hands.

Sometimes it's truly overwhelming to love life as much as I do. And very hurtful to remember beautiful things and wonder if something as special will ever happen again. It always does. There's always something on the horizon. I am not fearful or regretful. I just want to keep them all forever. Just as clearly as they happened in that moment, right up there. In my head. So I can visit it whenever I want.

I swear my brain has a heartbeat.
Pulse pulse pulse.

I've been so blessed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2/18/10:: Wish

6am. watching a woman bleed from the neck and listening to bagpipes via youtube.

aching aching aching aching.


wish i was sleeping.
wish i was in a weeping glen.
wish i was.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

2/14/10:: Yellow Bird

i have not forgotten you.

my yellow bird.

Friday, February 12, 2010

2/12/10:: Revise and Regroup

If you don't like it, change it, we said, to each other and to ourselves. And so we would change the man, for another one. Change, we were sure, was for the better always. We were revisionists; what we revised was ourselves.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2/11/10:: Missing

I spend a lot of time rehashing good memories. It's always something I've done-- I tend to dwell a lot on what was, rather than what is. Usually, I write about memories in great detail or drift off into my head for a few hours. Being that it's the weekend, and I was home alone, I decided to see if I could get through the pang of nostalgia quickly and therapeutically. Decided to do a 2-minute painting of the memory/image I was thinking of. Very messy, but it definitely helped.

This is a picture I took of Joe as we were waiting for the train to London. We said that if we met again in Edinburgh, this would be our "spot." It's (shoddily) painted on a page from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

I think I'm going to do this more often.

meet me at the bridge, love.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2/6/10:: No wise words

A rather stagnant time, this past week has been. Haphazard encounters with friends and the opposite sex, coupled with budget breaking and mild stress. While the rest of the east coast gets pummeled with 2 feet of snow, Detroit remains its same neutral, cold grey.

I finished my wood-working trophy wife project, and it's on display in the Taubman.

I also registered for graduation yesterday, which was both liberating and somewhat numbing. I see leaving CCS as an extremely positive thing, but I am not quite sure what lies beyond that. I'm torn between imagining myself in the happiest, most inspired conditions against living in my parents house and struggling through interview after interview in downtown Pittsburgh.

Whenever I'm in Detroit, I feel like I ride from one broken engagement/promise onto the next, stuffing my face with snack food and cigarettes all along the way.

Turn the page, wash your hands. Turn the page, wash your hands.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1/26/10:: "Maybe it's just the wine"

I wake up, it's a bad dream
no one on my side
I was fighting, but I just feel too tired
to be fighting.
Guess I'm not the fighting kind.
Wouldn't mind it if you were by my side,
but you're long gone.
Yeah, you're long gone now.

Where do we go?
I don't even know.
My strange old face,
and just thinking about those days.
I'm thinking about those days.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1/23/10:: Proserpina

This is from Kate McGarrigles' last performance this winter before her untimely death due to cancer at age 63 this week. It's a song she wrote about her daughter (also a brilliant musician), Martha Wainwright, who is seen performing with her here. The song is based on the myth of Persephone (Proserpina in Latin), a daughter who has been tricked into marrying the god of the underworld and can only resurface for 6 months of the year. This song is from the view of the mother, the goddess of gifts such as food, warmth, etc. It's about how, in her wrath and misery for her daughter's yearly departure, she controls the seasons and plagues.

Brings me to tears. Enjoy.

RIP Kate McGarrigle.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1/20/10:: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

It's been a pretty long time now (I can't determine exactly HOW long) that I have been having some internal issues with what I'm doing with my life, as far as career and general occupation (time spent, friendships maintained, etc). It's always been difficult–I'm not going to pretend that when I started my time at art college that I found what I was doing to be easy or natural. Struggle has always been present. It's the invigoration and the desire to succeed that has capsized, and it's this that has really come to worry me.

When I look back at my first two years at CCS, I see a very different person from who I have become today. I used to lecture people on the importance of college, and I used to elevate my work to a holy level. I was invigorated by every new challenge, and the way I looked at the work in design annuals was nothing short of a worshiping gaze. I was getting amazing marks, and I was consistently ahead of the curb, even when my projects weren't entirely successful. Even in failure, I was absorbing things, and I was fierily determined to make a mark, make a successful gesture, receive a compliment, and try something new.

It seems to me, however, that somewhere along the line, for me anyway, the "magic" that I once saw in a creative career has been lost. Not to say that I don't enjoy creativity or enjoy the fruits of hard labor anymore, but I have just come to decide that I no longer align myself with the way people in this industry function. For example, I used to marvel at the works of David Carson, Stefan Sagmeister, Tomato... and now, I have a hard time looking at them without thinking, "Oh, they are on another level." "They are rock stars." "They are fully caught up in a shroud of design arrogance and bullshit that just doesn't apply to my practical experience and struggles with design." As often as I try to re-evaluate this outlook, I don't find myself changing my mind.

Now that I am on the brink of graduation, my professionalism has come under serious scrutiny by my peers (not verbally, but it is felt) and especially by my school's faculty. No longer a star student, I have been told time-and-time again over the past two years that my typographic skills are weak, I don't experiment enough, I am too stuck on unoriginal ideas, I am not editing properaly, and that my overall body of work is not where it should be for someone "at my level." I am struck down and dumb-founded by this, as I am a second semester senior sitting on a 3.6 GPA. Where did I go wrong? Was it when I stopped feverishly loving design? Probably. But I'm not sure it's possible to force yourself to love a career or process if, for the most part, you despise its underlying mythologies.

The mythology of design is truly that it needs to be intelligent and exhaustive. You need to be culturally aware, explore things from every angle, and at the end of the day, produce extremely pointed and perfectly crafted work. No room for mistakes conceptually or in actual execution. Choosing a typeface from the wrong era-- how foolish! Using stripes instead of a self-created pattern based on socio-cultural observations-- how lazy, how boring, how predictable!

I can't argue that these people are all wrong. Good work does come from this sort of thinking, I agree. But somewhere along the line, there isn't a welcoming bow to people willing to learn. I truly feel like 'you get it or you don't' at this point, and there is little room in the modern art school for people that struggle. People that aren't completely moist with trends and the latest doo-dad available via CS4. Reading books like "How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul"-- a book created for students on the brink of career-- seem absolutely absurd to me. This book outlines what it takes to be a designer today, and to me, it just seems like a ridiculous checklist of traits that are superhuman. Who is perfect at all of these things? How snobby do I have to be to produce great work and be accepted in the design community? Maybe I am being overly harsh, but the fact remains in that this profession seems to demand an outlook and interest that I just do not hold. My values do not lie in schmoozing my way to the top, being a typeface snob, clouding forms with mountains of process. I'm an advocate for living and letting creativity flow from experiences. I believe in working to live, not living to work, which seems to have caused others to brush me aside and take me less seriously as a designer. I guess they are right about that-- since my portfolio is apparently a disaster.

At some point in my academic career, I have bumped into the category of the hopeless, the lazy, and the sloppy. In my reviews now, there is little praise and lots of shaking heads which all seem to be saying, "What have you been doing for the past three years not to produce anything worthwhile?" The truth is that I don't know. I never imagined myself to be one semester away from a professional career and suddenly feeling like I was never cut out for this.

Now, when I need it most, I find myself without the drive to fix things. I find myself bored of the hoity-toity design world, and I find myself happiest when I am far away from it. For any psychologist and probably every "professional designer," this is where they turn away from me, abandon all hope in my progress, and tell me to look into another profession. Not an option, people. I am almost 100k in this thing, and I wasn't always this cynical. No one is owning up to the fact that art schools and the design field in general are destroying people emotionally and creatively. I feel there is something seriously wrong with starting out invigorated with excitement and drive for success and leaving absolutely depressed and hating everything and everyone associated with my field of choice. I find something seriously wrong with letting someone get to their final year in education ON THE DEAN'S LIST, and then basically tell them they have no chance of being successful in the real world. When I point my finger, three fingers DO point back at me... and that's fine. I'll take that. But it doesn't make it any easier to solve my current problem. It doesn't answer my questions. It doesn't make every single night that I sit depressed at my computer any easier. It doesn't make design fun again. It doesn't do anything for my self-confidence.

There doesn't seem to be anything left for me to do besides try to ignore all these internal conflicts and just do the best I can to get out of here and get a job. I don't think, however, that my walk into the job market is going to go smoothly. And I don't think I'm going to leave here feeling good about the $100,000 I've spent on this education. To me, I feel like I've spent the money on a lot of projects that I am going to have to redo anyway... and a great feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy. I came in with guns-blazing, and I am leaving with my head down, smoker lungs, and a serious feeling of general melancholy about my future. I used to be full of life and vigor, and now I feel like half of myself. I just want to cry every day that I am forced to go to school and talk about art like it actually makes any sense. It all just seems like a bunch of conceptual bullshit. If someone as eager to learn as I was has no place in this field, then who does? The people wearing the most layered v-necks?
To me, this is the definition of a poor investment.

Ah, but what to do about it anyway.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

1/17/10:: General Happenings

The happenings of recent times:

Josh and I went to a comedy club in Ann Arbor on Thursday night and saw the delightful Maria Bamford. We got there early, got great seats, and I ordered a giant long island to sip-- of course, the most expensive drink on the menu. I'm such a sucker for a great cock. The comedy was top-notch, and I came home delighted to have not been a hermit all night. My buzzed head hit the pillow so easily, and I fell asleep quickly.

I dyed my hair this evening and accidently became a blotchy redhead. The color said chestnut brown, but instead, I have blotches of burgundy on my roots amongst dirty blonde... with dark brown tips. Disastro. I've avoided colors with red in them my entire life, and it goes to show that sometimes taking risks really doesn't pay off. As soon as I get some extra cash, I will have to bite the bullet and call in a professional and see if this can be salvaged.

This has also been an exciting week for receiving packages. First and least excitingly, I got two netflix movies-- one of which was Top Hat starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. What a delight! Also, my mom sent a package with lots of new toys for Ollie, including a great cat house (with a built-in "observation deck" covered in faux fur). He has been perched on it most of the weekend, overlooking his kingdom like a true dauphin. Thirdly, Lindsey sent me the most wonderful Xmas present-- a calendar of delightful pictures from our times overseas-- each month themed: The Early Days, The Meadows, General Schwaste, Idiots, etc. Absolutely hilarious-- made my day, truly.

Also, I've started dieting and working out. Yesterday I hit the gym for 30 minutes of cardio, some crunches, and arm work. I'm sore as can be today, but it feels pretty good. I'm starting out in the range of 155-160lbs, so we will see where I end up. I'm hoping to be down to 145lbs by summer.

The new semester is off to a shaky start. I was feeling pretty great about my first critique. With only 9 credits I was feeling confident that it was going to be a much more manageable semester; however, my portfolio class gave me a huge knock to the ground. Matt doesn't think any of the work I've done in my time at CCS is worthwhile of my portfolio, so I need to literally redo almost every project I've done since I arrived in Detroit. Also, some of my favorite projects were totally excluded from said pending portfolio. Huge knock on my confidence. Trying to use it as fuel for the fire, though.

Thoughts are forward to the NYC trip and the beach trip.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

1/9/10:: Another chapter

The eve of another change, another move, another "new start."
I've been going through this season after season-- state to state, friend to lover, parents to cat, job to school, car to taxi.

Of course, you always gain from transition, but if I do it too often, do I fail to remember to bring everything along? Have farewells and new beginnings become so routine that I've been neglecting to fully embrace them for all their opportunity and emotional possibility?

[It's making me nervous how every day seems the same.]

But of course, I don't really know what good worrying about any of it does. I keep moving. I keep trying.
I'm never so bad off as to just quit. I always wait for the rainbow, so to speak.

I've become very conditioned to the practice of saying goodbye gracefully. I do it so well that it almost unnerves me-–the robotic way I can walk through doors, drive away, sign off.
It's probably not the best way to be-- I've always believed feelings are the most important possession. But if you decide NOT to feel-- I believe that doesn't make you any less the owner of those feelings. Perhaps you are just controlling them better? Perhaps you are just more powerful than a person who lets them spill out into their hands.
It's a very perplexing question.

I'll remember the panic attacks. I'll remember the massage. I'll remember the green tea.
I'll remember the candles. The guacamole. The... gift.
I'll remember the glasses. The dancing. The movies. The book. The job. The questions.

He was so beautiful.
I've been so patient.

Souvenirs from Christmas holiday 2009.

Monday, January 4, 2010

1/4/10:: Wintery Boredom

trapped inside bc the roads were too bad to spend the night with friends.
guess it's another movie night for me.

going to other places in my head.

1/4/10 :: Booty

I was leaving a comment on Lally's blog.
: ]