Idiocracy Ahead

Pulizzi credulously asks, “Why should college students read narrative prose when they get their fill of stories from television, cinema, and interactive video games?”

I encourage you to read the original New Republic article this quote is pulled from as well as the Daily Beast editorial pointing out the flaws in its reasoning. I've only read half of the New Republic piece, because it is –in as few words as possible– a steaming pile of ignorant bovine excrement.

At some point, I suspect I will be crafting an appropriately lengthy blog post on this subject, after my brain cells cease firing simultaneously and my fight-or-flight response turns off its emergency warning system informing me I need to get out of America immediately, before it turns into Idiocracy.

Thinking Out Loud

I need some new craft tools. Okay, maybe “need” isn't entirely the right word, but you know what I mean. It would be nice to have the tools I feel I need, though I'm sure my life will go on swimmingly without them. It has so far!

On the one hand, yarn which has been wound on a ball winder takes up less space. I have a lot of hanks and skeins of yarn. Sunday, I will be getting yet more yarn (and crochet and knitting needles), that belonged to my recently deceased cousin. I barely have room for the yarn I already own, so anything that makes it easier to store would be awesome. If I wind it all into center pull balls by hand, I will be at it until the day I die, so a ball winder would be nice to own. Cheap ball winders are cheaply made, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's not to scrimp when buying tools. You just end up paying more in the end. While I'm not inclined to pay $200 for the best ball winder ever, because once the heavy lifting of balling up my and my mother's yarn stashes is done, the thing isn't going to get used a lot. Therefore, I have picked out a mid-range $50 ball winder that gets good reviews and will probably do the job I need it to do for the rest of my natural life.

On the other hand, I've really been enjoying working with wire and have an eye to eventually making myself (and maybe my friends and family) some jewelry I designed myself. Would make some awesome Xmas presents! Problem is some of the wire working tools I own are not appropriate to the delicate task (because I have used them for more industrial purposes where mangling the wire isn't a problem), and I lack a few tools that would really make the whole process easier and the outcomes better. Also, better wire would help. All of these things add up to $50. Amazing isn't it?! I swear it's like everything always adds up to $50 these days.

So I've been debating with myself on the merits of buying one thing over another. Sure, I could probably afford to buy both, but they haven't yet genetically engineered a tree that spouts dollar bills, and I'm not yet made of money myself, so I prefer to be as frugal as possible … and I'm trying to trim down the number of “things” I own to simplify my existence, so just buying everything all the time is like the antithesis of that philosophy. No matter how much I might WANT (or, you know “need”) all the things all the time, I can't let myself just buy them all. My house is too small, and my bank account isn't that large either. Also, they aren't really necessary for my existence, like say food and utilities.

In the end, the thing I should spend $50 on is silver paint or ink and black acrylic to get to work on the project I have decided will be the first use for that roll of primed canvas taking up space in my living room. I don't know if any of you remember this little painting I did some months ago (exceedingly long blog post about it here).

I've decided to go ahead with the gallery wall filling series of interconnected paintings based on this tiny little thing. Possibly even some metal sculpture work as well in the same theme. People love this little painting (as do I), and of all the work I have been doing, it's the one that won't leave me alone. It keeps screaming MORE DO MORE AND BIGGER at me. So I'm going to do just that. But to do that, I am going to need a lot of black paint, and I need to do product testing to find some silver ink or paint that will be easier to work with and better than Sharpie markers (nothing against them, I love them, but on the scale I'll be working they won't do). So that's what I should be buying, but I'm pretty sure all that paint and the new brushes I'll need are going to cost significantly more than $50. In fact, I'm sure I don't want to think about how much it'll cost.

So … I might as well spend a piddling $50 on either yarn organization or wire working, right? It's not going to make a dent in the major project in the long run. And like I said in the post I linked to above, I can't really start working on large canvases until such time as I have gotten my workspace in order, and because I am in the middle of doing just that (this week I have begun tackling the closet which contains more art supplies than it does clothes creating madness in my whole home), obviously anything that brings me closer to being ready for working on this project is technically money spent investing in said project! Right? RIGHT?! You know you agree with me. My logic is impeccable.

Therefore, the correct choice for what to spend $50 on is clear. I should buy the ball winder, so my yarn takes up less closet space, thereby allowing me to move things taking up room in my workspace into the closet, which will facilitate my being able to work on large canvases and get moving on this project.

Justification complete! A ball winder it is!

I Can See!

I've needed new glasses for a while now. My old ones were very old, and they've been dropped, sat on, chewed by cats, and had all manner of other tragedies befall them during the two years I've had them. Also, I'm quite blind, so I'm wearing my glasses all the time. In the past, I only ever had one pair, and needing to replace them was always a huge crisis, because yo, glasses are expensive. Except now they aren't, because Zenni Optical is awesome. No, I haven't been paid to say that. I really am a big fan.

A few years ago, I desperately needed to get new glasses with an all new prescription, and faced once again with the only option of choosing one frame that would have to go with everything I do and wear and paying far too much for them, I decided to find other options. Ordering eyewear online was still pretty new at the time, and even though I was only spending a tenth of what I would have spent locally for a single pair (and getting multiples of pairs), I was pretty nervous about it. I mean, if they totally sucked, I'd have waited weeks to get them, and returns or corrections would be a huge hassle. But, I did it. I ordered the cheapest glasses I could and waited for them to arrive.

When they did, I was amazed. The frames were no worse in quality than what I had paid many hundreds of dollars for (just the frames, mind you), the lenses were nice, and the prescription was perfection. I swore to never buy glasses anywhere else again. And what's really funny is that I'd ordered some pretty funky and fun frames, because I hadn't intended them to be the actual glasses I would be wearing everyday. These were just test glasses. But … I fell in love with them and wore them to pieces. When it came time to get new glasses again, I didn't even have to think about it. I ordered them from Zenni. When Mom was going through two years of cataract surgery and needed weird new prescriptions every few months, we turned to Zenni (and saved almost two thousand dollars). I am a firm believer that everyone should be buying their glasses from them.

So since I've needed new glasses for a while, I've been stalking their website for months. The holdup was mostly me agonizing about whether or not to get bifocals or stick with my two pairs of glasses for two functions way of doing things. It wasn't so much me having any hangups about bifocals meaning I'm getting old. It's that bifocals require lenses and frames that are much larger than I prefer to wear. They are also more expensive (a whole $50 at Zenni, so really, not expensive), which means having fewer pairs, and I like having eyewear options. But then I got an email in early July announcing a buy two get one free sale at Zenni, and since I hadn't yet found any frames for bifocals I was totally in love with yet, I decided to stick with my usual way of switching between glasses or just dealing with the fact I can't read tiny print while out and about. I mean seriously, how could I pass up a sale like that!

First I picked a duplicate pair of my daily wear frames. I love them so much, and I was thrilled they still had them. They suit my coloring and match most of my wardrobe. Don't mess with perfection!

If they'd still had the frames for my reading glasses, I'd have bought a duplicate of them too, but they didn't, so I picked something I'd been thinking of getting for my daily wear pair. Clear half frames. Turns out, I love them, and I'll probably be getting a pair for distance vision too.

I thought about getting a new pair of sunglasses, but my old ones are still in great shape, and I don't need two pairs of sunglasses. Since I would be getting this pair for free, I thought I'd go wild. It was hard to pick something that wasn't in my usual color range, but there was one pair I kept going back to. Green, blue, and yellow … with rhinestones. I was sure I wouldn't like them much, but what the hell. They were going to be free, and they could sit in a case for emergencies should something happen to my main pair. Well, I love them. Sure, they don't match any of my clothing, but they look fabulous! I'll just wear them with black things until I find some shirts to match my glasses. LOL!

So yet again, Zenni has given me the ability to see clearly in all instances and do it with some style. How much did I pay for these three pairs of vision correction devices? $30. Had it not been a sale, it would have been $45. That's why I will always buy my glasses from Zenni. They are such a bargain!

For real, this has not been a paid announcement. People need glasses, and it's ridiculous how much glasses cost at all the usual eyewear buying places. Even the cheap ones aren't cheap, and once you get into speciality prescriptions, none of them are cheap. I love Zenni, and while I rarely go on at length about brands or stores, they are the exception, because they are awesome.

Wire Experiment #3

Today I learned the Egyptian coil link. I also learned that both my pliers and wire suck. I'm almost convinced I should invest in better pliers and wire (because I'm enjoying working with wire), but I'll struggle through the remaining few feet of the stuff to be sure.

Not Much…

So Orb, what have you been up to lately?

Not much, and a whole lot! All at the same time! I'm amazing that way.

The removing of useless stuff from my existence continues. I'm getting really good at getting rid of things. When I started this whole thing last fall, I should have made marks on the wall for every overstuffed trash bin, recycling bin I lugged to the curb to keep track of how much stuff I have tossed out of my life. As well as the bags and boxes that have gone to charity. I'm down to the closet area of the bedroom, my art supplies, and the library of books I rarely touch anymore. That's a few more weeks of work, no doubt. Then there's the Box Room (i.e. my future studio). I'm pretty sure that's a two-person job (some large and heavy stuff and some stuff not belonging to me). Hopefully by the time I get to it, I'll be an expert at decluttering and tossing things out.

I had to take most of last week off from life due to the air everywhere being full of pollen and spores (and other things like dust and ash) that make me feel wretched. Soon enough it'll be ten thousand degrees outside when summer fully arrives and every living green thing will turn brown and die, so I'm not actually complaining about the plants breeding so heavily. I guess I have a love/hate relationship with nature. If only there could be all those pretty plants and flowers without all that nasty sneeze and congestion inducing pollen. Can't have the good without the bad I suppose.

I've also jumped fully down the Surrealism rabbit hole and have been intensely studying surrealist techniques and games. Nothing much that I would call art has come of it yet, but I'm enjoying the experimentation and learning new things, so … it's better than not working on anything artsy at all. I have finally decided to give up on oil paints though. I just don't enjoy working with them as much as I do acrylics. They don't feel right to me, and I don't have another 40 years to get used to them. Best to stick with what I know and try new things with them to expand on my already acquired skill set.

Aside from these things, I have also very recently (like this week) begun to try my hand at making wire jewelry! There's definitely a learning curve, and it feels a little steep at the moment, but I'm just doing it for fun and leisure (and to maybe have some unique and cool jewelry to wear), so no stress or pressure. It'll probably be like knitting and sewing … something I get out and do for a while and then pack away for a few months until the mood strikes again. I knit during the winter, sew in spring, so maybe wire jewelry will be my fall or summer activity.

Actually, my fall activity should be writing. Wow, I have not been writing AT ALL this year.

Anyway, here are my first two attempts at making rings. They aren't all that, but I'm rather pleased with myself. The most important thing is that I'm having fun with it. Well, fun mixed with a bit of aggravation. So it goes with all new endeavors.

That about sums up what I've been up to. Other than bill paying, house cleaning, cooking, doing Sunday brunch, reading on my Kindle, cat herding, and managing my crazy family members (and solving their many problems). Oh, and playing some Skyrim (I finally started a new game) and Game of War. So yeah, I've been doing a lot, just not much of anything exciting or terribly productive. Except the life decluttering. That's been the most productive thing EVER. Someday I hope to be free of all the useless things I have moved from home to home my entire life!

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog silence. LOL!