Monthly Archives: November 2011

I like my art moving


I’ve always been fascinated with mobiles and kinetic sculpture. I don’t know what the proper division is between them but to me mobiles are typically passive and kinetic sculptures are often motorized. I find them both soothing, fun, and fascinating to watch. Since a lot of babies have them hanging in their cribs, I wonder if this fascination is something we all share. Kinetic sculpture is newer to me but I’ve noticed a lot more of it in public spaces such as airports and large building lobbies. Alexander Calder is credited with being the inventor of mobiles and is near to my heart because he was trained as an engineer but used that knowledge to help him make art which is an aspiration of mine. I stumbled across Reuben Margolin’s work one night on a random internet search and was amazed by the graceful movements of his kinetic sculptures.

“Animals. Animals. Animals everywhere…”


My husband and I share our approx. 900 sq. ft apartment with our two cats and our aforementioned dog. Sometimes having three critters plus ourselves in a smallish space can be overwhelming but other times I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve always shared my life with animals except for a few brief stints in my 20s when I couldn’t have pets due to lease restrictions. Growing up I’ve had up to 3 cats at a time, a dog, chickens, goldfish, tropical fish, parakeets, a Corn snake, and a pony. If I had the space, I’m sure I’d be in danger of becoming a crazy pet lady.

Our current menagerie started with our cat Bogey. We adopted him from a rescue group here in L.A. when he was about  2 years old. He originally came with the name Spartacus because he’s a big muscular male cat but that name suited a warrior not our adopted scaredy-cat so he was renamed Agador Spartacus in reference to a character in the movie The Birdcage. That name was a bit unwieldy so he picked up the nickname Bogart from J.K Rowling’s descriptions of boggarts in the Harry Potter books as being creatures that hide in dark spaces which then got shortened to Bogey. So in summary, this cat’s full name is Agador Spartacus Bogart a.k.a Bogey. He’s still a bit of a scaredy-cat but he’s gotten better over the last 7 years we’ve had him though he still is very similar to a fellow blogger’s description of their cat he calls The Other Cat.

The next cat that came into our lives was Nyx from a woman threatening to take her to the pound if no one adopted her. When she first arrived, she was a very petite Egyptian statue looking black cat and was named after the Greek goddess of night. Soon after getting her she had some pretty disgusting health issues and is now shaped like a football. She’s an oddball of a little cat but she’s very friendly and is much more outgoing than Bogey and she’s been a part of our house for about 3 years.

Our dog Monty is the latest addition. My husband and I had been wanting a dog for awhile since we’d both been raised with dogs and missed their companionship. We debated for a couple years and then decided to take the plunge a year ago and got a dog. We were hoping a dog would just show up in our lives but that wasn’t happening so we started searching online through various rescues. We wanted a bigger dog, 1-2 years old, with short hair but the dog’s personality meshing with ours was the most important requirement. Our dog chose us at a rescue event and the fantastic people at the Dawg Squad let us adopt him. He came with the name McGee but we changed it to Montana for a couple of reasons. My husband’s parents have a dog named Indiana so we thought it’d be fun to continue the states theme, we had just come back from a trip to Montana, and it’s the last name of my husband’s favorite retired quarterback. The dog’s full name is Montana McGee a.k.a Monty and is a fantastic dog. We’ve debated about starting a fan site just  for him because everyone loves Monty.

All three of our critters are rescued from the pound or from people who didn’t want them anymore and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We didn’t care if they were purebred or not so all of them are unpapered mutts kinda like their owners. They are all very loving and somewhat well-adjusted animals no different from their bought as kittens/puppies counterparts. I try not to be preachy but I really urge people wanting a pet to look at rescues and the pound first before buying their animal from a breeder because pet over-population/abandonment is a huge issue. Also, consider black animals as they are the least likely to be adopted.

A walk in L.A.


Last Saturday my husband’s family was visiting from Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa so we decided to do the Art Deco walking tour through the L.A. Conservancy. I never realized how many art deco buildings were located in downtown L.A. until we started walking around. The tour was definitely worth the price if you like that sort of thing and I highly recommend it.  My favorite part of the tour was seeing the interior of what was known as the Southern California Edison Building which has since been renamed to One Bunker Hill pictured above. The mix of stone textures, colors, paintings, and lighting details were breathtaking.

After the tour, we wandered over to another spectacular building know as the Bradbury Building pictured below. This building predates Art Deco so it wasn’t included on the tour but it is worth visiting. One of these times I’d love to take a ride in the wrought iron elevators but they aren’t open to the general public as this building is still being used as office space.

Following the Bradbury Building, we took a short ride up Angel’s Flight which is a very short funicular up a large hill downtown. Apparently Angelinos didn’t like walking even a hundred years ago. I’d never heard of a funicular and may have to use one in my not so epic novel I’m supposedly writing for NaNoWriMo.

All in all it was an enjoyable day exploring downtown and acting like a tourist. Also on the tour was a guy I had a crush on in the 8th grade who I hadn’t seen since I graduated high school in Northern California. What are the odds?

Etsy obsession in blue


I have spent so much time on Etsy lately it’s becoming an obsession. Seriously, I’m out of control. I haven’t bought anything in awhile but I have been window shopping like a madwoman. If you too are an Etsy addict you can look me up on the site under the username Phera if you want to add me to your circles.

Now that I’ve admitted my addiction as a first step to recovery I have to say how impressed I am with some of the things people create and put up for sale. Awhile back I mentioned my interest in beading but the necklace that restarted my fascination was this one made by the artist at Circe’s House. I’d absolutely love to steal her picture of the necklace just to show it off here but I respect how much work she did making the piece. I will be teaching myself how to do bead embroidery after I finish knitting some objects that I can’t post pictures of until after Christmas.

In my various Etsy forays, I’ve noticed I’m drawn again and again to the vivid blues, greens, purples, and reds. Minus the red, the colors are what I call the peacock colors. Apparently I have a peacock color palette fixation. My husband and his brother are anti-peacock because according to them peacocks are evil based on their mysterious ability to fly even with all those tail feathers and the sounds they make. If you’ve never heard that sound imagine a cross between a very loud housecat and a donkey braying or just listen to the video.

Besides wasting time on Etsy, I’ve started reading a new book. I meant to read Steve Jobs’ new biography next but I’d forgotten that I pre-ordered Brandon Sanderson’s new book called the Alloy of Law. It’s set in the same world as the Mistborne Trilogy but not the same characters so far. What really drew me in to his writing was the unique magic system he created for his world. I’ve been an avid fatasy fiction reader for  as long as I remember but I do get bored when the worlds are populated with elves, orcs, and dragons all the time. Sanderson’s worlds have been unique and I’ve really enjoyed the five books of his I’ve read. Also, he’s an avid blogger on his website where he’ll share his inspirations, and thought processes that go into his writing. It’s fun to read what triggers his imagination and how he translates those into his novels.

Creators. Collaboration. Compromise. C^3?


I’m still musing about Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and her classification of people in two general categories of creators and second-handers. Since this a major theme of the book, I’m not going to explain it as a basic Google search will bring up all kinds discussions and I highly suggest reading the book but one of her quotes got me thinking about the how people are using the internet.

“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary. The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism. ”
-Rand, Ayn (2004). The Fountainhead (pp. 665-666). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

A couple years back Time Magazine voted You the person of the year instead of an individual and here’s where Rand’s creators and second-handers start getting blurred in my mind. Are the creators the ones who created Twitter, Google, Facebook, Ebay, Etsy, blogs, and so many other software tools for linking people, information, and products or are the creators the ones who use those tools to accomplish their goals? An example of this would be what is now known as the Arab Spring. The makers of Twitter didn’t organize the revolts but individuals used the tool to spread the word about the location and times of the protests. Even then it wasn’t one person organizing the protests, it was a movement of multiple people across multiple countries. Who then is the creator and who’s the second-handers?

Rand’s main character was an individualist architect who refused to work with others because it compromised his vision and work. In today’s world, large visions usually are accomplished by large projects requiring collaboration between multiple disciplines because it’s just about impossible for one person to have the specialized knowledge across multiple fields to build something like an LEED platinum certified building on their own. Rand used the Cortland building project as an example of how wrong a project could go if second-handers tried to add their inputs to the artist’s original vision but how do you get anything done these days without collaboration and some compromise?

The reason I think my mind is churning so much over these matters is because I’m in the process of starting a home business. My ultimate goal being to work for myself instead of someone else as I’m tired of feeling like a second-hander so much of the time. People tell me I’m in my head too much and I should not over analyze but it’s part of who I am.

Anyways, enjoy this funny cats video as it always makes me smile:

I feel better! Finally…


Sheesh that was a doozy of a sickness. Turns out I had a sinus infection instead of just a common cold. I’ve been muddling through day to day living but today is the first day I don’t feel like a run-down doormat. I took off work for a total of 7.5 days which was not ideal but needed and during that time I did a lot of sleeping, reassessing, random internet searching, and reading. I have finished Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead which was certainly worth the read.  I’m still processing my reactions to her themes of egotism vs. altruism and I’m not clear yet on what aspects I agree with her on. However, I do think this the right book at the right time for me. There are definite large changes in the wind for me regarding my career and how I want to earn money as a creator instead of a second-hander. I don’t want to go into too many details in an open online blog but I’m excited and can’t wait to start. For just a hint of what the change entails, I’ll need to develop my skills in photography, Photoshop, Illustrator, 3-D modelling, descriptive writing, crafting skills, and networking.

Go…go…go…and crash

My dog’s version of sharing the bed.

For pretty much the whole month of October, my husband and I did not take a break. To name a few of the things we did we went to a wedding in the redwoods, skydiving in Vegas, Dia de los Muertos, and Warrior Dash along with working full time and my husband’s Second City improv show every Sunday. On Tuesday night my body finally rebelled and smacked me upside the head with a nasty sore throat, joint achiness, and a miserable headcold. Yesterday, I think I was actually awake and functioning a total of 6 hours or so.

There is nothing so awesome as a day of lazing after going and going. I lazed in my California king size bed with my dog on one side of me and my cat on the other. I’m sorry honey that you had to be at work at 6 am the last two days but don’t worry I thought of how much nicer it would be if you were snoozing next to me and it’s the thought that counts right? At some point I decided that I couldn’t stay in bed all day so I took the dog to the dog park and came back home only to crash on the couch for the rest of the day. I was worried that with so much sleeping and napping that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep but apparently that was a silly thing to worry about because I fell right asleep after a chapter of The Fountainhead.

New challenges


So in the last couple of years I’ve done a few things that were scary/challenging/different than the normal routine. I graduated college with an engineering degree in December of 2007 which was a seriously epic saga. It took me years longer to accomplish that degree than the standard 4 years but through a lot of ups and downs I did it. Yes, I know that roughly 1/3 of the U.S. population has accomplished at least a bachelors degree but I still feel like this was huge hurdle.

Two years ago in Sept. my husband and I went to Australia for vacation and had an absolutely fantastic trip. We did the whirlwind tour of the eastern side of the continent. Sydney–>Melbourne–>Hobart–>Uluru–>Port Douglas–>Sydney. In preparation for this trip we learned how to SCUBA dive because we wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef. I did not take to diving nearly as well as my husband but I did it and got my Open Water certification. I’m still psyching myself up for the Advanced Certification night dive but it’ll happen.

This October we jumped out of an airplane for my birthday and did the crazy obstacle course called the Warrior Dash.

Having the chance to experience all these adventures has been a bit hectic at times but they have thoroughly taught me that I can accomplish things that seriously intimidate/scare me. In that vein I have decided to take on the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. Wish me luck.