Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yes, I am something of an art snob

I have been thinking a lot about art lately.  Captain America wants to buy some art to decorate our house.  I recently helped a friend hang art in her bedroom.  She bought her art at World Market.  Don't get me wrong: I love World Market.  I just don't think that the mass-produced decorations you can buy there are "art."  I'm not saying they're ugly or anything.  My mother bought us some prints there that hang in our living room.  But we never use the word "art" to describe them.  Yes, someone created them, but then they were mass-produced.  Thus rendering them not art.  As far as I'm concerned, if it's not the original, it's not art.  It can still be lovely, unique, or whatever other adjective you use, but once it's been copied, I just don't see how you can call it art.

Captain America wants to hang some art in our living room, and all I can think is, we can't afford art.  We can afford my friend Eric, who makes glassworks.  (this site is a little weird...he's been working on it, but sometimes you have to click in to enter it.)

And then Costco came out with this really cool component of their photo center.  They own the digital rights (or something like that) to tons of artwork that they can print on canvas, or almost anything else you want, and then you go to Costco to pick it up.  Pieces like Monets and Picassos.  It's really very cool.  And did I mention you can print it on canvas, so you don't have to have a framed poster of something (by the way, because I am so ridiculous about this, I refuse to own framed posters of art.  I mean, who am I kidding?  A poster is absolutely not art.  And, no, the irony is not lost on me that this sentence is located right next to an ad for a poster of art.).

Anyway, this Costco stuff looks really nice.  And I have found Costco's products to be of great quality.  So now I'm suffering from this inner turmoil.  I don't want the art in my house to feel like a lie.  But is it really a lie if I already know it's not the original.  I can get Monet's Water Lilies, which I L.O.V.E.  I LOVE them so much that when people tell me they don't really care for impressionism, or it just doesn't do anything for them, I actually wonder if I'm in a bad dream?  Has their brain been eaten by a space alien?  Have I entered some sort of alternative reality where Monet is not the most brilliant painter of all time?

Really, though, if I got a print of the Water Lilies, who would think I owned the original?  I'm not sure I'd even want to.  I don't know how to care for something like that (assuming we find some sort of work around to how I'd afford it or where I'd put it).

The more I think about it, the more I feel like it should be okay for me to buy Costco's canvas prints of digital images of art that I LOVE.  After all, it's not like I can jet off to the New York MoMA whenever I want to see them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes I have trouble giving stars to books. This book was YA, so obviously it wasn't good the way Water for Elephants was good, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book in the series. This series isn't as intense as Harry Potter, and the characters are slightly less dimensional, but are still really interesting. I felt like, I wish I knew these kids when I was a teenager.

In this book, Percy Jackson basically has to save the world by battling monsters and traveling through Daedalus's labyrinth to prevent...good lord, I just realized this plot makes no sense. (Maybe that's why I liked it). Okay, the original goal was to get Ariadne's string so that evil Luke can't get it, and then navigate to Camp Half-Blood and then to Olympus. Right, but see, in the end Luke gets to Daedalus first, gets Ariadne's string, and as it turns out, it doesn't really matter.

I think the idea was that if Percy got the string first, then Luke wouldn't be able to get his army past the fortifications at Camp Half-Blood. Except, I can't really remember why attacking the camp would have been useful.

Also, in this book, Percy has his first kiss, and I actually had to go back and read this bit twice because it was not handled with the melodrama that I would have given it.

At any rate, this whole series is totally amusing and enjoyable reading, especially if you need a break from complicated plots and are looking to read something where you can let your mind just drift along.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Mummy Case (An Amelia Peabody Mystery, #3)The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say, I didn't enjoy this Amelia Peabody as much as others. Amelia is long-winded, and I felt like this book could have been edited down by 30 or 40 pages. Also, they mystery being solved in this book ended up being the result of two groups of evil-doers, and at one point a character was referenced that for the life of me I could neither place nor locate in the book. I'm not going to give up on the series or anything, because it really wasn't that bad; just that other works have been better.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When in doubt, wear a scarf...or a turtleneck sweater!

When my sister came over to say goodbye to my mother, my mother asked her if she had eaten dinner.  No she had not.  Mom asked her if she wanted something eat.  No she did not.  Mom asked if she wanted some hot chocolate.  No she did not.  Mom asked if she wanted a banana.  No to that, too.  Then something else happened (I don't remember what) and Sister put her head down on the table as if she was suffering from the ultimate misery.  Mom said, you should have let me make you something to eat.

Flash back (gulp) about 20 years or so to a teacher I had in grade school, Mr. Ewen.  One Halloween (yes, I had him multiple years; no I was not held back), he told this story about some girl who had been kidnapped by a creepy old man and forced to live in a cabin (I think I missed something in the telling of the story because all of this seemed very strange to me).  And this creepy old man made her make porridge.  And he wanted her to put blood in the porridge, but she didn't want to eat the blood, but she dared not argue with the creepy old man.  So, while she was making the porridge, she cleverly let her kerchief fall back from her hair so it was around her neck.  And she cleverly slid it around to make a sort of scarf.  So when she served the creepy old man this bloody porridge, she pretended to eat hers, all the while actually spooning it into her scarf.  Somehow this enabled her to escape from the creepy old man and presumably live happily ever after.

I retold this story to my sister, suggesting that the next time she come over, she wear a big turtleneck sweater so she can hide all of this food that Mom wants to make her.  I pointed out that her neck would be a little lumpy, but she'd be less annoyed by our mother.  This lumpy neck reminded me of the lumpy running outfit in hyperbole and a half, which prompted me to say, this is the happiest and itchiest moment of my life!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How awesome is Scrabble?

My mother and I played a lot of scrabble during her visit.  Partly because her visit was extended by two days and partly because we're really cool like that.  We play with a couple of house rules, namely, sometimes we help each other, which is just friendly and moves the game along a little bit, and we allow the dictionary.  Typically, we use the dictionary to double check the spelling of a word, or to see if something is a word.  You know, when you have a bunch of letters organized in front of you and they look like a word, and maybe you're even pretty sure you've seen the word somewhere, but you're just not positive. 

Usually my mother and I score along the same lines, with the difference usually in the 20-30 point range, at most.  (If you don't play scrabble, this may seem like a lot, but really, it's not.)

During our last game, however, I had a massive scrabble breakthrough!  I actually used all seven of my tiles in one move!  I wrote the word "unclasp," using my S to make my mother's "orbit" plural.  I scored the extra 50 points, and ended the game!  Then I danced around the house like a maniac and informed Captain America, who had just come home from work, of my brilliance that evening.  He looked at me like I was nuts as I danced around saying, unclasp! unclasp! I wrote unclasp!  What?  he asked.  Unclasp, like you unclasp your bra.  Well not your bra, you don't wear a bra!  But I unclasp my bra! Unclasp!  At which point my mother and I dissolved into giggles and left the room.

For the record, I also had to contend with the Q, Z, J, and X tiles that game.  It's almost like I'm a scrabble superhero!