Monday, January 28, 2008

Silly new game from other blogs

So if you're bored...

Click this link; the article you get is the name of your band.

Now click this link; the last four words of the last quote at the bottom of the page is the name of your album (if you do more than one you may have to reload the page).

Finally, click this link; the picture at the top right of the page is your album cover.

Put them all together in your image editing software and crop to a square to simulate an actual album cover! Here are mine

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I feel bad for Brit-Brit!

I really do! She is not a bad looking woman, and having had two kids, I think she looks pretty good even if she no longer has 1% bodyfat. Her "Piece of Me" video is excellent for a pop vid, in my humble opinion.
(Edit: I changed the picture because the original link died)

One of my faves

I really like this video. First, I think James Hetfield is quite attractive here. Second, all of the girls in this video are thin and beautiful, and yet they're drunks! What wish fulfillment!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My brain is RED

Your Brain is Red

Of all the brain types, yours is the most impulsive.

If you think it, you do it. And you can get the bug to pursue almost any passion.

Your thoughts are big and bold. Your mind has no inhibitions.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about love, your dreams, and distant places.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Goldfrapp- my latest happy music obsession

I love Goldfrapp. They remind me of a combination of 70's disco and Duran Duran, with a bit of a crazy feel on top of it all. Maybe it's their "Train" video (above), but I am constantly reminded of the scene in "Eyes Wide Shut" with the animal-headed call girls. Creepy and totally awesome!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Death of an Order

An insect order, that is. When I was but a wee bug-lady, I learned that the termites comprised the phyogenetic order Isoptera, while the cockroaches made up the order Dictyoptera. This distinction has been contentious over the years, due to the many similarities between basal roaches and termites. And now Paul Eggleton's group has shown, through a phylogenetic analysis comprised of morphological, behavioral and molecular traits, that the termites truly arose from within the cockroaches. The wood-feeding cockroach Cryptocercus is the dead giveaway. Thus, the death of the Order Isoptera.

I find this kind of thing fascinating. Termites are social cockroaches! Now we need an equivalently rigorous study to show that the preying mantises are predatory cockroaches...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Night terrors

I occasionally have night terrors, where something unpleasant is happening in a dream and I am trying to scream or move but can't. I don't have them very often though so they aren't a big problem.

Last night I had one where I was drowning or suffocating under something and I couldn't move or scream for help. I finally managed to wake up, and found that one of the cats was sleeping on me and pinning my arms to my chest.

I don't remember which cat, but I'm guessing Jade because she typically likes to sleep right on me. Jasper usually sleeps curled up to one side of me.

People used to believe that night terrors were caused by demons (see picture above) sitting on the victim's chest. I wonder how many night terrors are actually triggered by cats looking for a warm place to sleep?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday before classes start....

...and then I'll probably go back to not having any time for artsy-craftsy things. I have a really full semester ahead, with yet another new course (although with only 2 students so far) and a lot of travel. I'm looking forward to it, though.

Here are two views of another project I finished over the break. The pupa and it's sleeping face are made of Sculpey clay and then painted with acrylics and dusted with green pastel pencil. The box is from a Swiss Colonies gift (thanks Mom!) that I painted with acrylics on the outside. I glued mosaic tiles on the inside and filled between them with glitter glue, beads and little animal bones (remains of some of Jasper's catches). In the back of the box I pasted a picture of the Parthenon from an old Latin textbook I bought at a church flea market. I dunked the whole box in tea (yes, tea) to give it an aged, stained look. The clock was extracted from an old watch and treated with the patina kit. The glass "bubbles" are little glass beads with latin words (from the book again) pasted beneath them. Finally, the pupa's wings are a collage of art paper, sheet music and pictures of parrots from an old Birds of Mexico book. So a lot of parts in that little box, but I like to make things intricate and surprising.

About the picture at the top- I have been getting creative with clothing combinations lately. I guess that's one good thing about getting fat- I've had to figure out new ways to work with what I have.

Oh yeah, and I organized all of my journal article too, by topic or by insect taxonomic order. I'm really proud of that (obviously)!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New art projects

So all of my art purchases have done some good in keeping me busy. The first thing I finished over the break is this dreambox that I purchased from ArtChix. It contains about a million things that all have some kind of significance to me past or present- nature findings, foreign coins, music notes in a glass stone. The inscription reads "My soul's on fire," which is from a Type O Negative song. I like to think of it as referring to the passion of discovery, gaining knowledge (Pete Steele may have been referring to spiritual matters, but it also works in a secular sense that resonates with me).

When I was back in Iowa over Thanksgiving I bought some great vintage pictures at a couple of antique stores. One of them in particular really struck me, of this young and very world-weary looking little girl. It's hard to see the expression on her face in this blurry picture, but she has the expression of an elderly person who has seen it all. It's a kind of sad, really, to imagine how a child would acquire such an expression. Anyway, I gave her some dragonfly wings and shiny red shoes in Photoshop, and inscribed the picture with some more song lyrics that I like, this time from Clutch.
"Could have been a swan on a glassy lake
Could have been a gull in a clipper's wake
Could have been a ladybug on a windchime
But she was born a dragonfly"
Only the last two lines could be fit into the picture and still be readable, but that still works, I think. The final image was printed on glossy photo paper and framed with this beautiful metal frame that I also bought while in Iowa.

Right now I'm working on this little watch case niche that I antiqued using the patina kit I wrote about in the last post. I filled it with paper bits and another picture I got while in Iowa, of a woman in a unique high-collared coat. I put glitter paint around the edges and then a glass bead over the woman's head. I am a little disappointed in the last because the ink on the print bled in the glue, so the picture now looks kind of blurry. Usually the glass bead gives a magnified but crisp image of whatever is underneath.

This last picture isn't really my own art, it's a print called "Marriage of the Odd" that I purchased from artist Jane Wynn. I found a very cool frame for it at TJMaxx and I decorated the gold backing paper that came with the print. Now it sits on the fireplace in the living room.

I have one more art project to post, but all of my pictures turned out crappy. How is it that I can set the camera to closeup mode, and it still focuses on the wall 5 feet behind the object I am trying to take a picture of?

Things have been going well at work, too. I just got a paper accepted, have another nearly finished, and have actually been back in the lab running some experiments. I can't go into detail because it's TOP SECRET, but I'm looking at brains of these crazy things:

Cool, huh?