Super Tangential!

Does anyone know how to nap correctly? I've come to the conclusion that napping is no longer an option for me, as I just continue to sleep. Sigh. Reminds me of the character in True Stories, "The Laziest Woman in the World." Alas, I can't find any good videos of her scenes, and honestly, the non-music parts of True Stories are kind of a slog anyway if you're not 14 years old and just learning about philosophy. (Oh shit, am I starting to sound like Chuck Klosterman? Help! Say it ain't so.)

So I found this video of Talking Heads singing "Psycho Killer" on some show called "The Old Grey Whistle Test." And I'm certainly glad I did, because LOOK AT TINA WEYMOUTH'S HAIR. It is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Someone should create a Blythe wig called "the Tina." Then I found another video, and her hair looks great in a totally different way. I suggest you spend some time researching as I did, and you will undoubtedly find that Tina Weymouth has excellent hair at all times. AAAANYWAY, enjoy.


Pretty vs. Funny

I found a book in my work lunchroom that I promptly read, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman. I really wanted to like it. Who doesn't want to read essays drawing parallels between pop culture iconography and the way regular humans operate? But I found it mostly contrived, with a heavy dose of unwanted snark. However, I think it must have influenced me, because I wouldn't have concocted the following post otherwise.

The death of of our beloved Bea Arthur has gotten me thinking. Bea was not a conventionally attractive woman; her broad shoulders, plain face, and deep voice made her the butt of not a few jokes. But even with this occasional ridicule, she was still the star of her own network tv show (Maude), won an Emmy, and became adored by millions as one of the Golden Girls. Although she never made the 50 Most Beautiful People list, it had no effect on her ability to carry a television show. This seems reasonable to me, but I've come the the realization that Bea was one of the very few women in Hollywood to "make it" because of her talent alone. She wasn't much to look at, but she was funny, and that's what mattered. And when she got *shudder* old, people still seemed to want to see her face on their screens.

Could a Bea Arthur gain popularity in our current culture?

Here's an example why I'm not sure. The media uproar over Susan Boyle is blowing my mind. If you don't know, Susan was a homely contestant on Britain's Got Talent who knocked everyone's socks off with her incredible singing voice, and became an internet sensation. But seriously. Is it really that noteworthy that an unattractive woman can sing, and has the confidence and desire to share her voice? People are behaving as if a dog performed open-heart surgery, and I find that pretty alarming. And what's weirder is that Boyle is now attempting to take steps to become more beautiful, getting her hair cut and dyed, and waxing her bushy brows. The public's response to her is multi-faceted; they're moved by her voice, shocked that it could come from her mouth, and confused about how to feel beyond that. We'll have to wait and see what their final judgement is.

Another fun fact: Tina Fey never got any screen time at all until she lost 20 pounds, and she was just as hilarious during her "fat" years as head writer of SNL as she is as the skinny star of 30 Rock. Early test audiences couldn't even handle quirky-looking Rachel Dratch as Fey's on-screen sidekick (she was replaced by big-eyed blonde Jane Krakowski (who is funny in her own right, but still.)) And that was for a character role, which is usually the only place non-pretties are accepted on tv (see Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched, or any next-door-neighbor or maiden aunt.)

So, to you I pose this question: will there ever be another Bea? Can you think of any other female stars whose looks had no bearing on their media popularity? I want to know what you think.


Bea Arthur died today. If you grew up in the 80's, you probably watched your fair share of Golden Girls, both the original broadcast and the constant reruns. If you have cable, chances are you could watch it right now! What a strange, raunchy, and mostly funny show. With incredible confidence and comic timing, Bea was one talented lady, and became a bit of a cult figure in her later years. Fun fact: she also appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special, which I would have known if I had been able to get through more than 10 minutes of that particular slice of pop culture. Check out these art pieces, and rock a flowing caftan for Dorothy Zbornak tonight.


A Minimalist's Nightmare...My Dream Come True!

Made with Love by Hannah is a clothing/accessory line by the amazing Hannah Kopacz, who has made my lifetime by actually commenting on this very blog! I want to buy everything she makes, and you will too. Her devotion to kitsch is unparalleled, and thanks to Etsy, today we get to peek into her LA home.

I love peeking inside people's houses. If I take a walk at night, I can't help but look into every glowing window I see, ogling interiors and thinking about who decorated them. Some call it nosy, I call it curious. For more dedicated decorating, check out John Waters' home here, and peek in Amy Sedaris' windows for bunnies and taxidermied treats.


I forgot how much I love Will Oldham. I was sitting listening to Last.fm's "Lambchop" station (another of my favorite musics) and this song came on. It totally stopped me in my tracks, which is often the case with old Bonnie Prince Billy/Palace Music/all Oldham incarnations. His songs are like hymns. A beautiful, haunting song about the creeping spectre of depression, and a great song all around.

And now, the lighter side of Will Oldham. Proof that you can write the saddest song in the world, but also be a goofball dorkus.


CCA Spring Fair

CCA's twice-yearly fairs are the best. I loved going to CCA, and I love going back there to sell things. I always meet nice artists using totally different media than I do, and it's outside and warm and just altogether delightful. If you're in the Bay Area, come visit me this Saturday on the picturesque Oakland campus. Click the birdie for more details!


I guess I'm one of "those" people now. Doll people. It was bound to happen. The dress pattern I have is easy and fun to customize, so I spent most of yesterday making doll clothes instead of doing the millions of things I'm supposed to be doing. Don't tell anyone.


Meet Avalon!

Talk about good timing. At about 12:30 PM today, I answered the postman's ring with no pants on and became the proud owner of my first Blythe doll (I pulled my shirt down as far as I could, but there was simply no time for pants!).

Her name is Avalon, she has five different eye colors, and I love her to death.

If you don't know about Blythe, here's a little history. Many grown-up people spend a lot of time playing with and perfecting the fashion sense of their Blythes, and I plan to be no different. My line of Blythe fashions is forthcoming; the above dress is my very first try. It came out pretty well, I think, and I only got really frustrated once. There's something about pattern reading that makes me really frustrated and petulant; I never behave more like a child than when I can't figure out a sewing pattern.

I think Avalon looks a little like Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde; I'd like to make her a little replica of this outfit.


Sometimes life is easy, but your brain makes it hard. I'm always at a crossroads about what to share regarding my "battle with depression." (I kind of hate that term anyway. It's more like a long, drawn-out argument, with a little bit of yelling and a lot of whining, than an all-out battle.)

If I go on about my sad, sad feelings and my deep, dark days at length, that's no fun for anyone. Alternately, it's not something I feel I need to keep a secret. The last few months have not been super easy for me, as I find myself getting sucked down into a totally unpleasant and familiar pattern of living that has nothing to do with the real me, who, incidentally, is fun, hilarious, and has a whole lot of energy to make/do fun things.

Another fun and hilarious depressed person, Hugh Laurie, knew he needed some help when he found himself feeling bored while driving a racecar in in a charity demolition derby. Boredom," he said, "is not an appropriate response to exploding cars." I love this quote because it sounds absurd, but pretty much encapsulates the total WTF that is clinical depression.

Not only am I genetically predisposed to this lametarded condition from both sides of my family, I recently found a study that posits that female poets may be especially susceptible to depression.

In a more recent retrospective study of 1,629 writers, Kaufman found that poets--and in particular female poets --were more likely than fiction writers, nonfiction writers and playwrights to have signs of mental illness, such as suicide attempts or psychiatric hospitalizations.
In a second analysis of 520 eminent American women, he again found that poets were more likely to have mental illnesses and to experience personal tragedy than eminent journalists, visual artists, politicians and actresses--a finding Kaufman has dubbed "the Sylvia Plath effect" after the noted poet who had depression and eventually committed suicide.
Seriously? Come on, man! Why not baseball players, or hot dog vendors? This just doesn't seem fair. At least I bill myself as at least 5 other things besides "poet". But, even though the cards are clearly stacked against me, I'm working hard on getting out this this particular bout of the old sads. I'll let you know how it goes.

If you want to read more about the "Sylvia Plath effect," just Google it and you'll find a lot of interesting discussion about creativity and mental illness.

Meanwhile, I'm giving back my MFA in poetry. Well, I'll stop paying my student loans, at least. I think that might be the beginning of a healthy healing process. Yeah, that's the ticket.


Psychedelic Friday!

I wanted to post the video to Serge Gainsbourg and Brigette Bardot's Comic Strip for y'all, but I couldn't bring it to the blog. However, I may have found something even better. I've never heard of this movie before today, but I'm ready to see it right now. Here is the Japanese trailer to 1967's Anna, starring Anna Karina, Marianne Faithful, and Serge G.


Billy Balls

Billy Balls, originally uploaded by Shelby Nycole.

Craspedia, better known as "billy balls" to those in the flower know, is one of my favorite flowers. You can buy one or two and they look fantastic in a vase by themselves, or throw a few into an arrangement. I usually get mine at Whole Foods; they cost about $2.00 each. But, billy balls last forever (just take them out of water and let them dry), and my God, they're called BILLY BALLS! What more do you want in a flower?


Am I Done Yet?

I'm working on a large wholesale order right now for a company showcasing bicycle-related products. It's kind of fun to pump out a bunch of the same thing, but a little exhausting as well, and projects like this always take longer than I expect. Most things take longer than I expect, actually (saving money, losing weight, achieving important life goals, etc).

I love this fabric from Kokka; it's more of a canvas than cotton and is nice and sturdy. Expensive, but worth it! I'll be making a few extra things out of this to add to my Etsy shop. Click on the pic if you want some for yourself!


Fabulous Friends and Fascinators!

There was a magical time in the early part of the century when I started every day with an apple scone and a cup of Earl Grey with a hint of lavender. I chatted for hours with my dear, dear friend Sue, at the little shop where we worked together. And since no one actually came in to the store, we basically got paid to hang out together every day. We had all the time in the world to come up with big ideas, about crafts and otherwise. I often pine for those bygone times, but both of us had bigger goals than a lifetime of retail.

Sue is charming, beautiful, and hilarious, but these days, she's best known for her super-successful business, Giant Dwarf. Her gorgeous felt creations have garnered the attention of all right people, and there's no one who deserves that attention more. Sue's latest feat is so, so awesome; her Rosette Fascinators are now being sold at Anthropologie. I love you, Suey!

You can buy these lovelies at Anthropologie, or straight from Sue herself, on the website that changed our lives, Etsy. (I'm getting the one pictured, in yellow, of course!)


A Brief Book Review!

Let the Right One In Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the few book/movie combinations that I feel complemented each other equally. Please don't confuse this with Twilight.

View all my reviews.