Monday, April 27, 2009

A Real Haircut, But No Job

Today the Tuna Eater got a haircut.  He had previously look as though his hair had not been trimmed since he left the Arctic - it was very shaggy and pretty much disgusting in appearance.  I figured he wouldn't get it cut until he went back to the Arctic (he's leaving at the end of the week - his 'academic year' is over - no more hot dog sandwiches).

So just image how surprised everyone was when he waltzed in with short hair today.  Also, keep in mind that Ottawa has been experiencing a heat wave.  

Upon questioning, the Tuna Eater revealed that he was downtown doing whatever he does.  Probably skateboarding.  Then in his words, "It was freaking hot.  Rideau [shopping center].  Twenty bucks."  He pretty much got a haircut on a complete whim because his hair was long and the day was so warm that he was overheating.

And just because they make me laugh:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Second Year Flashback: Historic Processes Class

Cyanotype: WUDPAC 2009 Class Portrait

One of the Winterthur photographers took our class portrait.  We then turned it into a digital negative and made cyanotypes with it.  This was an excellent gift for the head of our program, Debbie, as she loves photography, conservation, the program, and the color blue.  And, happily, there were enough proofs that each class member also received a print!

The following are from the elective course Lisa and I did on historic photographic processes: this is a good way to gain a greater understanding of the materials making up photographs.  The course involved mixing the chemicals and coating the papers, which is why there are brush marks and other wacky splotches.  There are several repeats of the same image in different processes - I'm sure I don't need to spell out how this is educational.  I've identified the process of each at the top, and if you have further questions, I guess let me know?  Either way, these suckers are why my lab coat looks like I wore it to a paintball match.

Salted paper print


Platinum print

Albumen print

Platinum print


Platinum print

Saturday Busyness

So I painted my room yesterday.  I had been meaning to do it for quite some time, and had purchased the paint far in advance.  However, since I wanted to keep the window open to aid the paint in its off-gassing process, the Canadian Winter was not the optimal time.  Yesterday the day was beautiful, so I flung open the window and cracked open the paint can.

Don't judge - everyone should have a Saint Jude candle.  Good for lost causes and power outages.

The painting required lots of furniture-shifting and subsequent stool-standing and wriggling-through the resultant furniture maze.  But, it was totally worth it (my landlord paid for the supplies - awesome).  My painting is all that Flatmate Andrea has talked of since I began.  It seems to be a mixture of amazement (since I did it by myself, and seemingly randomly) and admiration (since I did a good job).

The day was so beautiful I also took a mid-afternoon painting pause to mess around with the 'sun paper' I bought in Rochester.  This is the same stuff the boy/girl scouts would use to make photogenic drawings of leave and stuff at summer camp.  I remember lying in the grass outside the nature center at Camp Curry Creek with Beth and Gina, waiting for the blue paper to turn white, so that we could make our sun pictures.  The mint-tin is full of thumbtacks and is vintage my undergrad drawing courses.  Not mints.

Since there aren't really any real leaves out yet in Ottawa, I used some awesome negatives from my digital negative stash.  Lisa and I made loads of digital negatives last year as part of our historic photographic processes elective course.

In progress.

Conclusions: sun paper is good for photogenic drawings but not so hot for actual negatives.  Yesterday's results, though not pictured, were not as good as the prints Lisa and I made in our elective course.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Future Firma

As mentioned previously, I was in the greater Philadelphia area for academic/post-graduate business.  Said business involved an interview for a 1-year post-graduate fellowship.  So... I will be living/working in Philadelphia next year as the new NEA Fellow at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts!

And in celebration: me, nearly tumbling down the hill at the Big Apple.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Winterthur Spring

Finding that academic/post-graduate business was taking me to the greater Philadelphia area, I decided that I needed to travel to yet another state, and so stayed at the scholar's residence at Winterthur.

I really wanted to take some long walks around the Winterthur grounds in order to enjoy the spring, but unfortunately it rained the entire short time I was there.  The garden is fabulous: the flowers seemed to be rather late blooming this spring, so I'll just have to get a garden fix in August.

I was the only one in the scholar's residence, though I'm certain that it rapidly filled the day I left as the annual Furniture Forum was about to take place.  Staying there was fun, especially since it felt like I was staying at my grandparents' house and that I could watch a 2-hour show about telescopes on PBS and nobody could complain about it (Tuna Eater).

There is some reading material there, and it is exactly what you would anticipate what the reading material at Winterthur would be.  Observe below.

It was perfect weather for running around the hills and yelling, "Heathcliff!  Heathcliff!"  Lacking the appropriate footwear, I decided to remain in the house.  However, it probably is something that I should do before graduating - would H. Hansen be up for a late-night August Heathcliff search?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wedding Prelude

Among the many glorious things I did in Pennsylvania, one notable event was the Mercedes Bridal Shower.  Only two of the three bridesmaids could attend, and since my little computer can't handle full-out PhotoShop, three remain in this photograph.  But look how nicely we coordinated our clothing!

Mercedes unwraps, Beth makes notations, I craft the gift-bow bouquet.  

Shameless self-promotion: if you are getting married and need a gift-bow bouquet fashioned during your wedding shower, I am an expert.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Truth, Justice, and TWINS!!!

I got to see Colin & Gillie-Bean (the babies formerly known as Alpha & Omega) when I was back in Pennsylvania!  And I also got to see D-Bird waving his arms around like an actual bird, entertaining Colin.  Observe the tranquil smile on Mercedes' face: she sees the arm-waving and accepts it.

I told Mum that if she had one of the babies I was allowed to steal said baby from her, as I so rarely get to see them.  Here I have stolen Colin from David, who is now pictured assisting Colin in eating some interconnected plastic rings.

Before my thieving ways parted them.

Mercedes, Gillie, and I are reading, while librarian-grandma looks on approvingly.

Tired Beans.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Journey Cotinues: You May Notice That We've Used Up All of Our Ns

Welcome to my hometown: Podunk, Pennsyltucky.
That tank is not even a joke.  

There is a decommissioned tank situated in the middle of town.  The locals don't even notice it anymore, though it does tend to startle visitors.  Observe below: me, perched on the tank, ready to direct my forces towards our southern enemies.  I'm talking about you, Punxsutawney.  

So I went to Pennsylvania for a few days.  Where my parents have the slowest internet connection on the entire plant.  And the Methodist church forgets to check their spelling.  Some things never change.

Mum and I always take a walk through town on those holidays that involve eating a huge meal.  We're usually the only people outside on these days.

Main Street.

This is the best pizza in the entire world.  For real.

It was a big day when we got this little Chinese Take-Out.

Our Glorious Free Public Library.  Which is actually very nice.
The Borough Building.  
The Mighty Toby River.  In the background is the Field of Dreams.  The Field of Dreams is what my family calls the high school football field, conveniently located a good healthy distance from the high school.  Happily so, in that it necessitates a parade through town for every single home football game.
In case you haven't noticed, this is pretty much Appalacchia.

The local historical society.  The contents are as bizarre as the facade.  Trust me.
The best part of the local historical society is that all of the now-defunct local newspaper issues have been archived and are in a searchable database designed mainly for genealogists.  Searching local surnames results in the extreme basics from the newspaper: birth, marriage, and death notices.  However, for more interesting deaths, the cause of death is noted, such as "struck by lightening".  A startling number of people in Brockway were killed via lightening strike in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The building also has a nice bas-relief depicting our coal-mining ancestors.  The areas of highest relief are, appropriately, probably stained black from the fine coal dust that falls out of the sky thanks to nearby coal tipples.  
The Pool: the place to be in the summer if you are under 17 years of age.  When I took this picture Mum said, "Photoshop that water to be blue."  I'm no wizard; if it ain't there, it ain't there.
Our local Catholic Parish, St. Tobias.  There is an entire campus associated with the church: I'm only sharing pictures of a few of the landmarks, and I'm not even including the impressive larger-than life Italian marble crucifixion scene/shrine out along Main Street.  
Mum strikes the same pose, in the exact same spot, where she was photographed as a tiny little girl as part of her First Communion Class.  Awww.
We're quite witty at St. Tobias.  Makes the Methodist church look like a bunch of dullards, doesn't it?  (For those who've not had the opportunity to visit, a similar sign is at the far end of the sidewalk.  On the back of the sign, in large letters, is the word 'ETERNITY'.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April Showers of the Snowy Persuasion

It's been snowing since Monday.  (This afternoon at the bus shelter across from the ThinkTank.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Joy of Jell-O Molds

If you thought I could walk away from the Jell-O Museum without some sort of trophy, you were sadly mistaken.  I came back to Canada with a true gem: The Joy of Jell-O Molds.  Just using the word 'mold' makes them sound unappealing.  Excerpts below for your enjoyment.

Festive Fall and Winter Molds: No holiday meal is complete without a shimmering Jell-O mold.  Easy to make, yet impressive to behold, these dishes are essential for special gatherings of family and friends.

Impressive to behold.  Indeed.

Behold.  The Holiday Fruit and Nut Mold.

This one, the Raspberry Gift Box, is especially repulsive to me for two reasons: 1) it is oddly opaque and 2) it is a loaf of Jell-O.  The recipe specifies the Jell-O curing to take place in a loaf pan.  Looking just like a package, this beautifully garnished mold makes an eye-catching centerpiece for any birthday party or shower.

Refreshing Molds for Spring and Summer: Whether it's Mother's Day, a graduation, the Fourth of July, or just a family meal, the occasion will shine brighter with one of these dazzling molds as the star.

The Mimosa Sparkling Mold.  Minus what makes a mimosa a mimosa.

Savory Selections: When it's your turn to bring the appetizer or salad, turn to these refreshing ideas.  These tempting Jell-O Gelatin dishes will impress the crowd.  Observe below, the Savory Cheese Appetizer Mold.  I really don't know about that one.  Its just so opaque!

The creme-de-la-creme of Jell-O mold recipes are in the last pages of the book.  The Classic Molds: Remember your mother's delicious gelatin creations?  You can make Jell-O molds like hers with these traditional delights, revised or the way you cook today.

The Crown Jewel Dessert.  No foodstuff can possibly be more unattractive than this loaf of opaque Jell-O, in which small cubes of other translucent Jell-Os are captured.

While purchasing this at the Jell-O Museum, Hye-Sung and I were marveling over this, the ten-layer Rainbow Ribbon Mold.  The woman who assisted me in my purchase of The Joy of Jell-O Molds flipped through the book and pointed this one out especially to us, saying that it was very difficult to make but was very good.  Hye-Sung and I were all wonderment.  My hypothesis is that in LeRoy, New York, the birthplace of Jell-O, everyone makes Jell-O salads and that this woman had made every one of the dishes in The Joy of Jell-O Molds.