Saturday, May 31, 2008

Homage to Snoopy

Ever thought about writing a book? Once you get past all that pesky character development and plot outlining, there stands before you perhaps the biggest challenge: the opening line. Here's the place that will have them buying your book, or putting it back on the shelf. No pressure there at all!

So here's a contest for you to get it out of your system - a contest for the worst opening line. You don't even have to write the rest of the book! Just come up with your very own version of "It was a dark and stormy night..." and submit to the kind folks at the Bulwer-Lyon Fiction Contest (so named for the chap that penned that awful line).

Kudos to The Blog That Ate Manhattan for sharing this - check out her entry... it is delightfully dreadful.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If You Can't Beat 'Em...

It's been like a scene out of Caddyshack - but with squirrels playing the lead roles.

Spring arrived in all its quick green glory, and so I headed to Costco for a new box of birdseed. The bird feeder, a long ago gift of sentimental value from a dear friend, was hanging on a low hook on the second story deck behind my kitchen. I dutifully filled it with new seed, and sat back to watch the birds - mostly cardinals and other songbirds, and an occasional blue jay who sprays the seed all around while picking out choice morsels.

The birds came, seed was eaten. I felt good about myself, feeding the mamas so they could feed the babies. The next day the feeder was entirely empty. They must be hungry, thought I. Filled it up again. Watched the birds. Empty next day. Hmm - definitely hungry, possibly a bit greedy. And so this went on for a week or two, until I finally caught a squirrel in the birdfeeder. Aha! I spent a large portion of that morning knocking on the kitchen window to make the squirrel leave.

So for a day or two, the squirrels would scatter when I knocked on the the glass. Then they hung tight until I opened the door. Then they hung tight until I got all the way out on the deck, defiantly staring me down until the last possible second - they are young 'uns, all full of punk-ass attitude.

So I moved the bird feeder. Hoisted it up so high that they needed to leap up a good three feet, and if they missed it's a good dozen foot drop to the ground. Hah - that should deter them. And so for a couple of days, the bird feeder was visited only by its intended guests. I even watched one of the punks get frustrated trying to leap onto the feeder. And then sure enough, the punk figured it out, and the feeder was empty every day again.

Well, rats. OK... I'll get a squirrel feeder. Cute little wooden box with a lid and a plastic front. Full of pumpkin seeds, corn and peanuts. And a stick to hold up the lid until they figure out how to open it (took all of a day). So now the punk and his buddies take turns fighting over who get to eat. And the loser heads off to the bird feeder anyway...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Taking a Rain Check

Well, studying in Italy is out for this summer. For those of you who have not received the word through the grapevine, I had a heart attack last week. Before you panic, know that I am well, surrounded by people determined to keep me so, and home resting and healing from a couple of days of testing and endless needle sticks.

My already genetically funky heart got in a bit of a twist, and decided to remind me that I need to take yet better care of myself. For those of you who like to research the big words, they diagnosed a myocardial bridge - a genetic anomaly whereby one of my coronary arteries takes a left turn under a patch of muscle, rather than staying above ground. My heart is overly muscular due to a rare version (apical) of hypertrophic cardio-myopathy and so my muscles flattened the vessel for a spell (while I was singing my head off to Bonnie Raitt). One would think that the appropriate time to pull a stunt like this would have been during my end of semester reviews as we could have at least called it performance art!

No surgery is needed at the moment, and there are proven surgical methods if we have to go there - but not until we've tried a bunch of other stuff. The cardiologist (great guy) and I are working on balancing some meds that don't make me any weirder (hah!) and I will be dedicating my summer to building healthy eating, exercising and stress management habits that need to be unshakable in the face of school stress. My professors are on board for this too, so I anticipate being supported when the going gets nutty.

While it was very, very tough to face this without my CA support system in the room (this is the first time I've faced big scary without Mira and Stevo, and I missed them horribly), hats off to my VA family that proved to me that I have, indeed, built a new support system here, and that it is a good one - led by Becca, Holly, Daniel and Kim, and Lisa.

Anyway - Italy is on hold... it wouldn't have been my first trip there, and we all know that it won't be my last. I will promise to try to find a comparably interesting story or two to tell about Harrisonburg and DC (and if I'm lucky, maybe even New York). Oh and as for gelato... it's not really on a heart healthy diet. So you'll have to eat some for me this week!

Rauschenberg's Work Ethic

Published at Smithsonian's ARTiculations:

(although I submitted it with the title of "Going out with your spurs on" :-)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mapping a Different View

Published at Smithsonian's ARTiculations:

Bring Back Vinyl

Published at Smithsonian's ARTiculations:

Welcome to Version 2

It seems that, in the upheaval of moving across country last year, when I deleted my old email address, with it, I inadvertently killed my ability to manipulate my blog at the admin level. Due to privacy rights, the kind folks at Google can't identify me well enough to let me back in. While this is a royal pain in the seat, I strenuously support privacy - and thus the best solution seems to be to create a V2 blog. So here it is...

The original Art on the Road blog will remain linked at the top of this one. While I could spend time to recreate the posts, I would lose all of your lovely comments (and I'm not willing to give them up).

If you subscribe by RSS feed, don't forget to update to the new address here:

I'm back off to Europe again this summer (yes, dreadful habit, but someone has to do it). I will be studying with the University of Georgia's Abroad program based in Cortona (Tuscany) Italy, so while Italy is certainly an upgrade over Harrisonburg, there will be some serious work required of me amidst the play and local travel. It's still grad school, so it's all about the work!

Watch this space for pix and stories - oh and yes, I promise to eat lots of gelato for you. Yes, all of you :-)