This blog is the first thing I have ever written that was not assigned by a teacher. I started out just trying to write clearly. It's informal here so I do not adhere to nazi grammar rules although I do try to observe the basics. I am terrible at spelling, relying on whether a work (<---that right there is what I'm talking about) looks right or not and then on the spell checker after that. So words I spell incorrectly which happen to be actual other words often get missed. Find/fine for example. (work/word) I have a few recurring words I get wrong.

A big surprise is I rate very low on the bullshit meter when it comes to superfluous words and fillers. Less than one percent of my writing is unnecessary. This is not rating subject matter you understand. Just words. I'd hate to see an analysis of my content. Anyway, simplicity in writing...I actually write with this in mind. Don't repeat, fewer words to say things. This site, BlaBlaMeter, will analyze any text you give it and tell you what percentage of your text is bullshit. Minimum five sentences. It will analyze your German and Spanish text as well.

No surprise is the fact that the blogs I read the most, also rate low on the blablameter. Yes. I ran your numbers. I'm looking at you. Well done.

This post:
Your text: 1199 characters, 223 words
Bullshit Index :0.09
Your text shows no or marginal indications of 'bullshit'-English.

Frimm's Shredded Potato Hashbrowns - Easy!

This is not a food blog. I do not have natural lighting or a camera other than the one in my iPhone 3g. Just a heads up because there are photos down below and I am not a photographer. 

I decided to have Shredded Potato Hashbrowns tonight and I'm sharing. They are one of my faves and they're pretty much like a latke if you've ever had one. I just like pure unadulterated potato in mine. Too much egg, and flour and whatever and they start feeling like a pancake and I don't much like pancakes especially if there's potato in them.

You peel, shred, squeeze, fry, drain and eat. "Simplicity itself".

All you need are the following. (sorry, not to scale)

Optional item:

one potato + 
quarter small onion
a good ratio if you're an onion lover

Peel then grate your potato. If you're throwing in some onion, alternate onion and potato when you're grating but throw it all in together at the end. Scallions make a tasty and pretty addition but I didn't have any.

Using something that squeezes stuff (I used my hands), squeeze out as much of the water from your grated potato as you can. Or else they will be mushy. Which is fine if you like that kind of thing.

I used a stainless pan but I have also used a non-stick and they work fine either way. I'd recommend the non-stick just for simplicity.

Heat the pan with your oil. Add the shredded potatoes and artfully arrange them in the pan. Or not. Just let them go wherever as long as there's an even layer.

For you, I put my already used spatula,
a potato and my grater in the pic

 Medium high for five minutes will get you this:

It fell apart when I flipped it but no matter.

Five more minutes, or more if you like them well done. Then put them on a plate. If you're trying to be less casual because you're taking pictures for a blog, add some garnish.

I had no parsley to garnish with so I improvised

Salt and pepper, ketchup if that's your poison, sour cream whatever. I use vinegar like I do for French fries. Finish it off with your favourite thing and enjoy.

Guess Who?

I'll tell ya in the comments. Got this pic from retronaut

Guess Who?

I'll tell ya in the comments

Guess Who?

I'll tell ya in the comments

Guess Who?

I'll tell ya in the comments

Canadians in...slums

[I posted this in October, 2011. I'm reposting it because it is a subject worth revisiting and I found more information on the performance artist whose name came up in the subsequent comments. I have pictures now and a name for the video portion of the installment. Rebecca Belmore, The named and the Unnamed]

Tonya, I tried to find pictures of a slum but they had all been cleaned up. So here's a picture of a preening peacock hat. Actually, the story about the cleaned up movie set meant to look like a US inner city slum is just an undetermined urban legend. Pay no attention to that.

Canada has slums and Canada has ugliness. Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is one of the most infamous of slums in Canada where the homeless and the drug addicted collect and where around 60 prostitutes went missing starting in 1983. They went missing because nobody noticed they were gone until it was too late.

Almost twenty years after the first woman went missing, fifty-three year old Robert William Pickton would be convicted of six murders, charged with an additional twenty and confess to forty-nine murders of women culled from the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, just because he could. Who would notice? Excavations on his pig farm in Coquitlam, outside Vancouver, would expose a macabre killing field of human debris from the bodies of these women. Some of their bones were found inside his house in the form of grisly sculptures. It is also believed that many of the body parts were fed to his pigs and possibly ground up and mixed with pork and given to friends and visitors. His pork was never sold commercially, or so they would have us believe. Pickton is in jail doing a life sentence of twenty-five years. If you want to read more about this pig, check out the wiki article here.

Robert William Pickton, serial killer

Yep, we got slums. We just have fewer than the US because we have a much smaller population. Inner city woes are felt here and what wasn't already here, immigrants bring with them when they move in. Toronto has a lot of gang related crime just from the Jamaican population. Slums are here. Crime is here. You just have to know what to search for when you google it.

This is the Vancouver, Canada didn't want the world to see during the Winter Olympics.

Some of Downtown Eastside's Missing Women
In the comments and in response to something said by Tonya, I was reminded about seeing an artist by the name of Rebecca Belmore. Her website is here. She is a performance artist and the work I stumbled upon I have since learned is called "The Named and the Unnamed". I'm going to copy the description from the comments below and I've found some pictures to go with them.
[October 2011]
I was at the Art Gallery of Ontario a few years ago [update: The Art Gallery of Ontario in 2003] and they had a video playing on loop. It was an art performance by Rebecca Belmore. I'm not much of a performance art fan, it confuses me more than anything and I was at the gallery to see works by the Group of Seven. This video caught my attention and because nobody else was sitting in the room, I sat and started watching it.

The woman had names scrawled all over her arms. She had candles lit, for what purpose I didn't know. And she had a lowly bucket filled with long stemmed red roses. She wore a thrift shop wedding dress? or dress of some kind over her jeans and tee shirt which she nailed to the telephone pole and tore off in strips. It made me laugh uncomfortably the way these things always do. This continued until the whole dress existed as tattered remnants nailed to any wooden surface found on that street corner. 

I really didn't know what to make of it but I stayed mainly because my legs were tired. 
Then she grabbed a bunch of roses and one by one she placed them in her mouth, like a tango dancer would, and then ripped the stem through her teeth shearing off the leaves and petals. Before each rose was destroyed, she called out a name.

Who's names was she calling out? What the hell was this about? I went from seeing it as laughable to wondering what the message was because it was a very powerful visual image to see her doing this. 

It turns out each of the names she called out were the missing women of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Her purpose was to bring attention to what was happening before something had been ever done about it. She put names and raw emotion into each of those women's identities and by doing that, she validated their existence even if it was just her doing it all by herself on a street corner.
It hit me in a very dramatic way. That is why I could never call those women prostitutes. Rebecca Belmore tuned me in that day. Each of the victims was a woman and someone's daughter or sister or even mother. None of them deserved to just go missing and never be seen, heard from again or thought of again.
She made me take notice of what was happening. I thank her for that. I hope the families of the victims thank her for that. 

What's my sign? Ugh...

[Here is an old post from September 15, 2011. It's one I remember having a lot of fun writing. I've refined my format a bit since this blog began which is cool to see. I've tried to clean it up a bit but the edit interface only allows so much editing for old posts.]

I don't put any value in astrological signs. I'm also not superstitious and I think it's for the same reason. My birthday. I am a cancer and I was born on the thirteenth.

Interesting symbol but I still can't embrace Cancerism

What came first the disease or the sign? I discovered that the disease was named for the crustacean, crab, because veins radiating out from tumors looked like crabs to the man who named the illness. [see below] Considering how subjective that point of view has to be, I want to go on record as saying there were any number of tentacled creatures, or arachnids, who could have shouldered the job of sharing a name with a horrid disease. Especially because there were no current star systems and future signs of the Zodiac named Cuttlefish, so it was available and not already doing double duty like the Crab.

Western Astrology is considered to have had its start around the 2nd century AD

According to the American Cancer Society our oldest description of cancer (although the word cancer was not used) was discovered in Egypt and dates back to about 3000 BC

The word "cancer" was used by Hippocrates around 460-370 BC.

Hippocrates used the terms carcinos and carcinoma to describe non-ulcer forming and ulcer-forming tumors. In Greek these words refer to a crab, most likely applied to the disease because the finger-like spreading projections from a cancer called to mind the shape of a crab. You can read more about the History of Cancer at the ACS website

So, this is a case of the star grouping Cancer, being named for the crab although the stars were there first. Then you have the disease which has been around long enough for fossilized cancerous bones to have been unearthed, but not named cancer. Western astrology came around after that and named my sign after the stars and then Hippocrates named the disease after the crustacean. Hippocrates was born in 460 BC and I can guarantee you he was not a Cancer.

This is a cancer cell:
I see no resemblance to a crab

This is a spider:

I see a resemblance here
This is a crab:

I ask you, where is the similarity?

Yes, I'm comparing cancer on a cellular level, a view which Hippocrates had no knowledge. ok. OK! Settle down now. What about this then?

What about this, I ask you!

Sunflower Starfish

Then there's the whole list of traits associated with those born under Cancer the sign...see right there? I had to qualify cancer. You don't have to qualify Scorpio, you know what I'm saying?

Emotional and loving
Intuitive and imaginative
Shrewd and cautious
Protective and sympathetic

And bad:
Changeable and moody
Overemotional and touchy
Clinging and unable to let go

Anybody who knows me would laugh at this list as it applies to me. All the good points, spot on, well except for maybe emotional. All the bad? Hah! Clinging and unable to let go? Seriously I'm the opposite. Touchy? No. Moody? No. I'm about as capricious as a rock in the mood department. Steady as she goes...I'm female but I've been compared to a typical guy in the relationship department. I even hate shopping. Hate it. Well, except for groceries which I love.

Anyway I'm not into being a Cancer. If you've lost someone you love to cancer, and I know you have, it's really hard to separate the disease from the sign. I'm just suggesting we shouldn't have to. I'd be happy to embrace Stella as a sign.

You: What's your sign?
Me: I'm a Stella
You: Oh?
Me: Yes, I'm shrewd and cautious but clingy and unable to let go!
You: How about those Jays?! [starts texting frantically]

As for the number thirteen? Let's just say I've seen enough birthdays to know there's NO truth to the bad luck thing. Can an atheist be superstitious? I think that would be impossible. In order to be tempting bad luck by walking under ladders or staying on the thirteenth floor, something sentient has to be keeping track.

Mitch Hedberg on thirteen:
I’m staying at a hotel right now, there’s no 13th floor because of superstition. But come on man, the people on the 14th floor, you know what floor you’re really on. If you jump out of the 14th floor hoping to kill yourself, you will die earlier.

13 is an unlucky number. If 13’s unlucky, then so should the letter B be, cuz B looks like a scrunched-together 13. ‘Hello, what is your name?’ ‘Bob.’ ‘Get the hell away!’
The insidiously unlucky letter 'B'

Judith Braun's Gestural Vocaburalizations

Judith Braun - finger painter

She seems to be kind of a cute person, eh?

So I have had this post as a draft for some time. Then I updated it and finished it to my satisfaction. Then blogger ate it. So I'm trying again with the idea that sometimes you churn out something better when you're forced to do it over.

Judith Braun's work is interesting and finger painting isn't the only thing she has done, but I'd rather not immerse myself in her explanations of what she has done and why because, I don't know, it's a little too cerebral or pretentious or other words used to convey the meaning that it's over my head. Here's her website, you tell me. 

For example, here's what she said about "fingerings" (because calling it finger painting is what...? Too banal?):
"Fingerings"  continue my use of carbon medium by dipping my fingers in charcoal to draw directly on the wall, sometimes with both hands simultaneously to the extent of arms' reach. This allows the inherent symmetry of the body to generate a gestural vocabulary of mark making.
OK sure! None of her words were flagged by my spellchecker so maybe she has a point. My sisters and I are often told we have a great gestural vocabulary due our flailing about and marking our conversations with the need to act out what we are talking about. I don't know why we do this but it makes for the occasional spilled beverage and often a captivated audience if only to see where the train wreck will end. It's one of our many charms.

This person created the portrait below of one of his blogger friends, Reyna, because she also is cursed with the need to express herself via gestural vocaburalizations.<--a word which was flagged by spellchecker

Caricature by Joey Majdali

Bad bangs, bare feet, animated face and gestures involving the entire body, this caricature of Reyna could very well be me or one of my sisters. [The Lad is nodding and smiling as he reads this over my shoulder. He tells me it shows The Sisters are a lot of fun as far as he's concerned. Oo! Menchies for him!]

So I believe I started out talking about art somewhere up there. Judith does do some very cool pieces when all is said and done.  Here are some pictures.

This is an abstract gestural vocaburalizaion

The following is a mural on display at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, where it will remain until July 1, 2012. So hurry up and check it out before the janitorial staff get take their spritzer bottles and paper towels to the fingerprints on this wall.

View from left side

View from right side

Right detail

Entire mural as best as can be shown

Centre detail

Working one handed at 50% reduced gestural vocaburalization

WTF Blogger?

Ever write a really good post and have blogger eat it on you? It was really long with lots of pictures and links and I'm pissed and I just don't have the energy to try and re-capture it. This isn't the first time either. And what the hell is with this WHITE background thing I  suddenly have to keep editing out? Does it LOOK like I want white background? Does my layout LOOK like it calls for a white background suddenly after all these months of green? Have I opted for a white background EVER? NO. I thought it was because I sometimes cut and pasted from my html interface and IT had a white back ground but I cut and pasted NOTHING for this post. So sick of it.

The way I deal with the unwanted white background is I go to the html interface and type control + f. That gives you a search box where you can type in anything you want to find on most pages. I type in "white" and then delete every word I find.

I shouldn't have to do this. White backgrounds shouldn't be inserting themselves into my design.

Shadows, Nails & Thread - Kumi Yamashita

I know, I know. Another art post. Kumi Yamashita is worth your time.

Kumi Yamashita has little to say about herself. She was born in Japan. She lives and works in New York City. You can view her work on her website here.

The following pictures are from her "Constellation" series. In her words:
This body of work consists of three simple materials that, when combined, produce the portraits: a wooden panel painted a solid white, thousands of small galvanized nails, and a single, unbroken, common sewing thread
There's a video at the bottom of the post where she explains that if she needs to correct something she threaded earlier in the work, she has to unravel the thread to get to it!  There's a starting point where the thread begins and you can clearly find it in almost every work of art she does with this medium.



Mana detail


Eric detail

The next series is called "Light & Shadow". She explains:
I sculpt shadow with light or sometimes light with shadow, but both function in essentially the same manner. I take objects and carve and place them in relation to a single light source. The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow)
Each one of these paper squares is folded or arranged so the resulting shadow reflects a face


Orange Origami detail





City View
City View detail
For a look at how she works here is a video. English subs. Start it at :50 to see her at work. Even though this video is in the format of a panel variety show (?), it's interesting because it shows Kumi working on her pieces and also explaining them.


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