Friday, May 12, 2006

I'm in Chicago and reading an article from 2004 by Kathleen Yancy called Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key and I am not even three pages past where I stopped early (around mid-way through) and it makes me remember about this show I saw last November when I was visiting Pittsburgh. I decided I should blog about this show now because I don't want to forget it, the artists' name, or where to find the link, so here it is ...

At the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh (a very cool and highly recommended place!) they develop and then show installations). In November, Edie Tsong was one of the artists in show titled "Messages and Communications" and worked on these pieces shown on the MF website. The one that really struck me was the first, the self-portrait figure made of clay.

I went into the room with a group of woman and moved around to the front of the figure (the figure is looking at the window, so you approach her from behind when you get off the elevator. The curator told us a bit about Edie as a person, as an artist, and as a woman who is just recently pregnant with her first child. This self-portrait, I remember thinking was odd. Quite true to life in many ways, but then odd things here and here - a finger out of place, smooth eyes, strange ear, flattened toes. It was not until the curator mentioned that what we were looking at was made with soft clay did I realize that the entire thing was maleable, and had been changed by people since it was installed. This revelation literally floored me ... I found that I drew in breath when I realized and sat down on the window sill that I had been leaning against.

To me, it was one thing to do a self portrait. It was another to do a self portrait, naked and pregnant. It was still yet a whole other thing to allow people to essentially "edit" it, or not, depending on their preference.

As an Internet junkie, I also immediately thought about wikis and how they work as editable text interfaces (I shared this with my geek friends when I got back to work the next day actually too). A friend of mine told me about a show Yoko Ono did where she sat on a stage and allowed people to "do" things to her.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Wow, three months since my last post. Lots going on I guess.

One thing that is been happening is the renovation of my sister and brother-in-law's house by my sister and brother-in-law. The house is in Austin though, so I follow the adventures on Katie's Renovation Station weblog which has been great for keeping all our families updated on what's going on (and also helped them to wrangle up a few contributions to the cause).

Yesterday I was in San Francisco for work and I ran with some colleagues to the Golden Gate, and back. We started about 4 miles away, near Ghirardelli Square Square, and the total of 8 was a recent record for me. They ran further -- over the bridge in fact -- but that was bit too far for me, so I turned back after taking in the view from the bridge. One colleague, Paul, had his camera and was videotaping, as is usual for him, so we should see some footage from the trip show up on his blog in a day or two. As for me, I signed up to run the Broad Street Run on May 7th. A historic run in Philadelphia that starts where I went to high school (Girls High on Broad Street) and runs past where I currently live, and then further south to the old Navy Yard. Hopefully other members of my family with be running along too, making it all that more historical.

Thursday I take another train trip -- this time on the -- from Emeryville, CA (near Berkeley) to San Diego. Amtrak put together a document that Rich found for me so that I know what I'm looking at as I daydream out the window -- can't wait! Will try to get some decent pictures this time.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

And since I'm on a posting frenzy today ... let me add one more. A link to my friend Will's tribute to Coretta Scott King.
And, another local event that I meant to share over a month ago now ... here are some pictures from the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on New Year's Day 2006. Enjoy them golden slippers!
Since I live in Pennsylvania, I thought I would help spread the word ... Six more weeks of winter says Punxsutawney Phil.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On November 16th, I boarded an Amtrak train in Philadelphia heading towards Pittsburgh for the NWP Annual Meeting. The train, an hour late to begin with, took seven hours to cross the state. As is usual for me, I bought lots of things to read during the trip, but then spent most of the time staring out the window watching the world go by. A very relaxing way to spend the afternoon, in my book. My love of trains must be based on the fact that I grew up next to a regional rail station in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. I remember my grandmother having a hard time sleeping when she came to visit as the trains would come and go before 11 at night and after 5 in the morning, but I think the sound was so firmly part of my growing up experience that I actually found it relaxing, a lullaby made from metal rails and, when we were lucky, a tooting horn. "Honk the horn, Honk the horn" we would yell if we were awake and outside when it came by. And every now and then a conductor would oblige.

It's a beautiful ride across the state, as well as an historically important railroad route, the "Pennsy", Pennsylvania Railroad. Doing a little post-train trip reading, on Wikipedia (a favorite source), I learned that at the turn of the century, the PRR was the gold standard railroad. They build most of their steam locomotives themselves as well as several grand railroad stations that we still know today -- Union Station, Washington; 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, etc. The old station house in Pittsburgh still stands, but is now mostly used as an apartment building (you can see it in this phone-photo taken by my colleague Karen). Amtrak now has the ugly part in the back.

Approximately ten minutes outside of Altoona, Pennsylvania, is the famous Horseshoe Curve, a feat of engineering in its time. It was, unfortunately, dark by the time my train reached the curve, but I sat by the window (south side of the train) with my face pressed up against the window and was able to watch as we went through. They didn't announce it on the train though -- I had to ask where it was. I guess they think it's not so interesting these days, but I think they are wrong. Or just depressed as the Feds continue to systematically dismantle the national railroad system. Or something. But, if they had a good PR head about them, I think they should say something, even if it's dark. It's a dramatic effect and fun to watch as you go through and reminds you what went into the construction of these rails in the first place.

I have some not-so-great pictures, including a rainbow and sunset, to share once Deccember comes and I get my new month of free uploads to Flickr. So keep an eye out for those!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I haven't posted recently, just been too damn busy lately (more on that later). But I wanted to stop and acknowledge a few important events/anniversaries.

First, a happy event ...

My father turned 60 this past week. Way to go Dad! Photos from the weekend my sisters and I had with our partners, steps-siblings, Dad and Jeannie in NYC have been posted on my Flickr site.

Then a couple sad notes ...

Jim Gray, founder of the National Writing Project, died on November 1st. The NWP has posted a formal tribute to him on the NWP homepage. A friend of mine who knew Jim out in California posted this personal tribute to him on his own blog.

I also just noticed today (because I'm behind on reading blogs too) that Rich's close friend and a person I quite liked and respected, Sara Weaver, would have turned 36 the other day. He wrote this tribute to her on her birthday. In 2002 she died of Leukemia. A fund has been set up in her memory at the Philadelphia Foundation called the Weave Fund.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Good for UNICEF!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I don't personally know this teacher, Doug Noon author of Borderland, but I believe that I did actually meet him at the NWP Annual Meeting one year -- he was handing out a card advertising his weblog. (I remember the card because I liked the design.) I follow his writing from time to time and today I read this interesting post about Kids Voting that I thought might be of interest to others.
Citizen-viewer recently posted an update on Lt. Josh Rushing who played a leading and important role in the documentary Control Room. I previously mentioned him in this post.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Searching for alternate visions and possibilities in the world?
Come to Peoplehood -- this Saturday, October 1st in Philadelphia!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I'm sure all my many blogging fans have been missing my posts as it has been quite awhile now. I'm sitting at the SFO airport waiting for a flight home to Philadelphia. Not exactly looking forward to the flight, but really happy to get home. It's been a long trip and very very busy.

I was in Berkeley for work. However part of the work was a two-day staff retreat in Bodega Bay which was certainly more of a break than not. Plus, no birds pecked at my eyeballs and I did get to see some pelicans (this is not my picture), so that part of the trip was great!

Actually I realize that I did get another break last weekend when I went to Placerville to meet a writing project teacher with some colleagues, and then stop by to visit my Mom's brother in the San Ramon area. ... San Ramon is on the east bay, near Mount Diablo. Placerville is on the east side of Sacramento and in the foothills of the Sierras, it is a beautiful little town of about 10,000 people. It was a work visit, but a nice visit too, with stops at a winery and an orchard in the hills.

Quick Quiz: What are there 5 of in Placerville that might strike one as surprising?

On another note, one disturbing conversation I was in this past week was with a man from Baton Rouge who was in California for work. He started talking about New Orleans and how really things might be better there now because they can build expensive housing on the waterfront and make the downtown like Orlando. He said "the schools were crappy anyway." He was serious.

Also, this morning, there was apparently a small quake in the east bay. I wasn't conscious of it, but I do remember waking up around that time (my clock said 4:29) and noting that I have another 30 minutes to sleep before I had to get up for my shuttle, so I went back to sleep. I suppose the small shock of the quake did actually wake me up though now that I hear about it.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Support Spiral Q simply by doing your grocery shopping!
This Wednesday, Whole Foods market at 2001 Pennsylvania
Avenue will generously donate 5% of the store's net sales
to Spiral Q! Stop by and grab a month's worth of grub, a
big sack of organic produce, or even just a pint of your
favorite soy ice cream. Say “Hey!" as we represent Spiral
Q and share our puppets at our info table up front. Spread
the word, tell your friends, every purchase counts!