Considering some decorations for the side panels of my Model CI. It strikes me that a Dalek arm weapon would fit perfectly on the side panel. Then the other side could have round designs to fit the theme. But I would like it to be the super elaborate gunstick from the latest episode, Resolution.
I have a vague memory of once being at a winery tour and maybe seeing some barrels and being in a big room drinking a glass of wine with a group of people but this may be completely imaginary. My sister took me today to Quixote Winery where we had an appointment for a wine tasting. I had no idea what to expect, maybe a tour of a cellar where I would not want to go down a million steps so would sit and read on my phone while a tour guide took other people around?
Instead it was just a very quirky interestingly built house and garden. As we went up the flagstone path to the weird looking house on top of a small hill we noticed & were commenting on the patterns of the paving stones which were set in rivery random looking designs, brick, stones, and I think maybe also tile. The building had a lot of tile mosaic bits – outside and inside – and a gold leaf covered tower like a minaret. I kept muttering “quirky Alhambra” to myself….
We sat in front of a fireplace and this lady explained about 5 or 6 kinds of wine to us as we tasted them. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah. We were there basically because my sister has a book about the architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I gathered the building has no right angles. Even the bathroom was really beautiful and had a sort of tile path across the walls, over the doorways, hard to describe. And, fat, chunky, bulbous columns in somewhat Minoan colors, orange and turquoise and gold and purple. Tiles or other elements were cracked and re-assembled or seem like they are flowing into one another. I like this guy’s aesthetic. The building fit the hillside, it fit the idea of California, it fit “Quixote” in a particular way, and it made me feel happy, dynamic, sort of mind-explody in a good way, comfortable (the movement and chaos feeling very homey, like how I think). Laura talked about how even when you have a strong vision (like this) of how you want something to be it is very hard to get it across to others and to get them to actually do it or to accept your vision to the degree that it takes to overcome the various tendencies to do it the way you (the other people) want (like the clients) or how it is easiest or most convenient (for you the workers digging holes and laying tiles and cement and so on) and about the ways sexism plays into that dynamic.
We sat in the patio for a while for Laura to sketch. I was taking notes for my text adventure game and then just gazing around to appreciate things, looking at the gold and green hillsides and the distant cliffs (Stag’s Leap… part of the terroir or the viticultural district. I had just been reading in my Roadside Geology book about how dark volcanic soils and oceanic crust soil makes for good and complicated red wines. Pretty cool! While I’m not sure I really know one kind of wine from another, everything we had there tasted interesting, complex, and delicious. 15 minutes and Laura had made a super cute sketch. She will probably do more from photos later.
Somehow all day she was asking me phrases in Spanish which will help her communicate with her landscape crew (she is a landscape designer/architect) so it was stuff like I’m not ready to plant these yet, Put them over here, No, over there, I’m still thinking about it, The tall ones go here, the short ones in front, How are you, How is your family, I’m sorry, Excuse me, I had a nice weekend how about you, and a lot of variations on Fuck these fucking fucked up plants, because everyone needs to be able to swear to express their personality properly.
I spent the day puttering around the house and reading. I’m on book 3 of an endless series of historical fiction by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, who has an amazing-sounding name and a love of describing angst and drama that spans many generations. Book 1 started out in the 14th century during the Wars of the Roses. Book 2 was mostly Henry VIII. And Book 3 is mostly Queen Elizabeth, well, not mostly about her but the family the books are about, the fictional Morlands from … somewhere near York, I think, are sometimes at court. So it’s against a backdrop of Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots and so on.
This has led me to lots of Wikipedia reading – like I wanted to know all about the guy who married Mary Queen of Scots and his unhappy ending (syphillis maybe but also murdered and THEN blown up as well by some barrels of gunpowder) and then the unhappy ending of the other guy who married her (maybe abducted and raped her, then married her?) (thrown in prison but I’ve forgotten the exact events – but he was chained to a column in a Dutch prison for 10 years and died there.)
These gruesome deaths led me, though, to strike gold:
Mary Queen of Scots’ embroidered badge of a ginger cat wearing a crown playing with a mouse, embellished with her initials MA intertwined to look like a rune. Maybe the cat was her cousin Elizabeth and she was the mouse!
Whatever it may have meant, it’s delightful!!! I think it would make a really neat replica embroidered badge! Someone should get it manufactured and sell them on Etsy!
The books can be a little traumatic (I was squicked by the amount of 14 year olds who marry old guys) and there is like, constant weird incest and trauma, and children who are super charming and beloved and then DIE DIE DIE or maybe everyone dies, and I got really sad about Anne Boleyn, but they aren’t like “The Kingdom of Little Wounds” level of trauma and that has got to be the #1 gross book ever for its multiple times we get a syphilitic Queen’s very public ob/gyn exams described; keep in mind I absolutely love that book but I have to warn people when I recommend it that it goes deep.) I continue reading them since I am very curious how Harrod-Eagles is going to sustain this strange family all the way into World War II. I’m also admiring the volume of her output, I mean, from her Wikipedia page it sounds like she works full time and writes these doorstop epic novels on the weekend and there are like, 30 of them. So impressive. Anyway, I am getting just slightly INTO the vibe of these books. Is there someone sympathetic? Is there someone they absolutely shouldn’t shack up with, like, their secret half brother or their actual uncle or their husband’s brother or a hoydenish Scottish girl who rides into battle and hates men, or, their paralyzed and sickly first cousin, or like, a travelling homosexual actor or a bloodthirsty Earl who may have murdered his first and second wives? In Morland logic this is like catnip to a catte. The more inappropriate the match the faster they freaking leap into bed, get INSTA-PREGNANT and then their children and grandchildren accidentally do it all over again.
Meanwhile, a list of things I have glued today: my thumb to danny’s glasses frame; the glasses frame to itself; a large flowerpot in 6 pieces; a small bone china horse. I had to soak my thumb and the glasses in nail polish remover for several minutes before I was able to scrape my thumb free of the glasses with a knife.
I really enjoyed these cartoons today:
Time for a new installment of Work-From-Home L👀ks pic.twitter.com/FSZgz53T7S
— tyler feder spells it “chanukah” ✨ (@roaringsoftly) November 26, 2018
There are 4 pages of work from home outfits of uncanny accuracy to how I normally dress at least, until noon or so. Some details vary, but I totally put my hair (short as it is) into a top of the head ponytail and I tuck my tattered pajamas into my (too big, mens’) socks. The t-shirt boob tuck is also just TOO REAL. I did wear actual pants today. My t-shirt is one that I got in 1988 at the Guinness factory in Dublin which has miraculously survived all this time with no holes and amazing softness.
The artist has an adorable etsy shop!
Came across this excellent article today on U.S. museums that add information about slavery and enslaved people to their exhibits.
Silly but clear headline (the answer is “yes, of course”).
For these particular portraits of people from 1700s Massachusetts, there is presumably whatever info was there before on a placard next to the painting, and there is a new placard outlining the person’s connection to slavery, including the names of the enslaved people whose labor enriched themselves and their family.
I like this approach to history. Who is missing? Who is not seen, heard from? Who has disappeared from the picture and why?
Add in another layer, of the indigenous people of that part of Massachusetts, and their lives at the time of these portraits.
An interesting book is mentioned in the article, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved from Womb to Grave in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry. I may give that a read.
Enjoying my visit to New York a lot already. This morning I had breakfast in our super nice hotel (Townhouse Inn). Tonight will be busy and I get tired easily, so I didn’t want to try to do anything big. I set off towards the nearest museum, which I knew nothing about – The Rubin Museum of Art, a few blocks away, picked out from Google Maps. It’s a museum dedicated to Himalayan arts and culture.
Along the way I browsed in a vintage jewelry store which had a lot of little wooden drawers full of stuff (like, a drawer for the 5 dollar tie pins, and 10, 15, and 20+ pins) There were drawers for brooches with people on them, animals, leaves, circle pins, birds…. I got a tie clip that is a very cute enameled bus from the 50s and something called a scarf clip that has morpho butterfly wings in the design that said it was from 1944. Anyway, I needed a clip because, all the way to the museum, I had to keep feeling at my neck to make sure my nice silk scarf didn’t fall off. Now the clip can make sure (or, I will lose a scarf AND a clip!)
At the museum I enjoyed the wrathful deities who represent wisdom and the small gold statues from the 13th-14th centuries especially the one of a historian and translator, Zhonnu Pel.
But I especially loved the the animations by Chitra Ganesh (The Scorpion Gesture), and The Road to Sanchi by Ghiora Aharoni. Of Ganesh’s animations I super loved the large glowing panel called Metropolis (must be in reference to the movie with Maria the robot) I watched it twice – get ready for the somewhat inaccurate/incomplete description from memory. It started out in sort of cosmic space/time in the stars with a Buddha and a writing (woman’s?) hand, some scrolls/books and a giant glowing flower and buildings which looked old (a monastery I think). More buildings arise in a mountain backdrop and then giant black feet stomp on everything so that the land and mountains fracture (I suppose many disasters including colonialism and invasions or diasporas) It is all a gorgeous technicolor neon collage. The giant feet are like Kali trampling and I also thought of the Monty Python foot. Felt that there were a lot of inter-references to stuff I missed but that didn’t lessen the impact – clearly more depth, but accessible to the ignorant. There is a rainbow, more buildings, an airplane, tall buildings and urban life appearing over and along with the older buildings and temples, then I think the 2nd buddha appears in a golden statue form, its face changes to a woman’s face (but I don’t know who specifically) and her body is like a cyborg goddess body which raises an arm and some sort of energy (weapon?) appears in her hand. It was gorgeous and apocalyptic and many-layered, with a relentless quality to the action. Loved it so much!!! Science fiction feminist visions are the best. My head exploded! I could have watched it 10 times! Thank you future historians of the (im)possible!
The other exhibit that really struck me was The Road to Sanchi by Ghiora Aharoni. It is a curving array of battered taxi meters in glass bell jars. The meter has a small strip of video screen playing and if you go around the back of each one there is a digital camera attached to the meter, playing the same video, full screen. Each one is a journey through busy crowded city streets (though in at least one, a more rural road) to a sacred place of various religions, in India and I think maybe Nepal.
I was pretty tired by this time so did not watch each of the 12 or so videos of the journey. I spent a fair amount of time with it though. My mind had already been floating through my own journey to new york from san francisco & through the street this morning on my scooter mingling with the crowds and enjoying the many layers of time of this city where on every block there are buildings in stages of dereliction and renewal built on geologic-feeling accretions of cement and tunnels and asphalt and pipes. Purple glass “light tunnel” windows inset into older bits of sidewalk. You can feel the infrastructure just seething.
Then, just before I got to the Road exhibit, I had sat at a desk by the elevator, where you can write a letter to a future museum visitor. On seeing that I realized that someone had handed me a letter from another visitor on my way in (I took it with thanks but assumed it was a sort of “please donate” brochure) So, I sat at the desk, got out the letter, and read it. Very sweet: “Dear Visitor, Don’t leave the museum without taking an idea that can impact how you live your life! Enjoy the wisdom of an ancient culture, whether you believe in religion or not. – Batya” Nice, as I am in fact not religious – only a poet. Maybe someone will enjoy the letter I left in the box.
So the idea in “The Road to Sanchi” of someone centering the pilgrimage (rather than a destination), through these multiple cameras/videos of specific places and times, but all playing at once, where I could wheel around their graceful arc (of time and space) made me very happy, feeling even more pleasantly catapulted in my awareness out of linear time and connected to many times and places. (Thinking of the artist’s, and by extension, everyone else’s, experiences of their lives). The somewhat chaotic street scenes, sense of not being in control (as a passenger not the driver) but in control as the viewer of art. And the battered, gritty, homey feeling of the iron taxi meters, of a place I have never been so they are not familiar to me, but from their being more or less the same made me feel they were familiar to others who are not me, another sensation/thought that is beautiful.
In a small library exhibit there were shelves of books on culture and history, travel journals, and science fiction, especially noticed the heavy amount of Octavia Butler’s books and then the book Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler (edited by Rebecca J. Holden & Nisi Shawl) just leaped out at me. I may have pulled it off the shelf to put it on top of the book stand display!
Notes on access: The museum is spread out through several floors with a small wheelchair lift to the main lobby and then a separate bank of elevators to 6 other floors. It was pretty accessible but larger powerchairs may have trouble with the somewhat narrow hallway to the bathroom (i.e. you could not turn around, and would have to back out of the bathroom and hall). There were a lot of free headsets with audio descriptions for some of the separate exhibits. The front doors were heavy but well balanced enough that I could (barely) open them but there were people in the lobby standing by to help. So all around, very accessible.
Now getting ready to meet friends for dinner and go out to the performance of Descent which I’m looking forward to quite a lot.