Monthly Archives: July 2010

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Because of this post at All Things Paper (which, by the way, is a fine, fine blog), I have discovered a new beautiful thing: Kolam, or Rangoli. Women draw these ephemeral patterns on the ground outside their doorsteps. Similar to sand painting, white and colored rice powder is used to create the art. Dots and lines are drawn first, to guide the pattern.

Just before daylight, a village woman prepares the ground before the entrance of her house. After the day's initial tasks are done, she sweeps the front porch area with a broomstick made of coconut fronds. The sound of her broomstick striking the earth resonates with those of other women who are also sweeping their thresholds. Soon there is an orchestra of brooms signaling to those still in bed that morning is coming and that it is nearly time to rise.

After sweeping, she prepares her earth canvas by first coating the ground with a mixture of water and cow dung, which has been chosen for its purification value. Then, with deft and nimble fingers, she first lays out a regular pattern of dots with white powder. By letting the powder run smoothly between thumb and forefingers as if she were pouring dry water, she composes a continuous line, which turns and twists around the initial dots. Some women can draw up to four lines at once, as the powder slips through poised fingers. Sometimes a woman knows a pattern by heart, and sometimes she will create a pattern that is entirely new and unique. Each type of design has a name and a symbolic meaning. On festival days, kolams are particularly large and magnificent.

The Spousal Unit and I spent a good chunk of time last night, mesmerized by videos of women gracefully spreading delicate swoops and curls.  Here are two of our favorites:


I was going through an old password list, and found some pieces of my web self. Some of these may require registration for you to see my profile. Not long ago, this list would have included a Geocities page. C'mon, you had one too, admit it. The one constant has always been I've been blogging here, frequently or not, for more than 10 years. I suppose this will do for a belated anniversary post. So here, like discarded bits of clothing leading through the house to the bedroom...

My Vox page, which is lovely to look at, but was never very useful to me.

The current mood of frykitty at Imood.  I am astonished this is still around.  Every time I find it again, I'm so charmed that I update rather than delete my account.

Cafepress.  Half of it was stuff I made on the fly for a work friend, and means nothing to anyone anymore.  The two frytopia items are from a design I miss very much, and should probably find a way to have again.  WordPress doesn't play well with just including the raw blog in a design.  Dang, why haven't I been here in years and years?  I used to be absolutely addicted, and it's a cool thing.  Maybe I'll revive this one.

ICQ.  Bwahaha! I had to delete embarrassing stuff from my profile before I'd post this. I hate to chat, but once upon a time, this, IRC, and AIM were the only games in town.  I remember they used to have the absolute worst, most confusing site on the web.  It still kinda sucks.

Librarything. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a wonderful site; it just never meshed with the way I read.  I put a bunch of stuff in, but stopped a year or so ago.  Spending the time to log books got annoying. I still keep track, but with a little paper notebook.

MySpace. I wanted MySpace to be what facebook is, but let's face it, MySpace is complete crap. The only thing it's good for is band sites.

The Stone was one of my first online obsessions.  An elegant puzzle game steeped in mystery, it encouraged lots of research and community.  It no longer exists, but there's a tribute site that preserves the puzzles, though you must register. I think I still have my Stones (yep, I bought more than one) somewhere.

Tribe. I can't believe I didn't delete my account. The thing about message boards: on most of them, it's people saying the same things over and over.  Once you've read them for a month or so, there's little new. So I get bored with the boards. I was really into this for a while, though.

And now that I'm fully nostalgic, I think I'll grab a Mt. Dew and party like it's 1995.

This, I believe, is a first for me: the web brought me full-circle.

I found a blank spot on Google Maps, which in Gresham means a butte.  It was nameless, and I was curious, so I went driving around, looking for good access.  Found okay access, and will explore more later.  In the meantime, I came home to try to find more information.  Mapquest had a name: Grant Butte.  That led me to this entry about Kelly Butte. It looked awfully familiar.  Sure enough, I'd perused it a few years ago when I was exploring Kelly Butte, and even commented.   I guess all roads lead to cyclotram (which, incidentally, is a fave blog of mine).

Amazon recently updated the way wishlists work; they now show release dates for print pre-orders.  Great!  At the same time, they removed any clue that Kindle pre-orders were available yet.  Oh, not great.  Here's a snippet from my list, to show you what I mean:

Wait for Dusk hasn't been released yet.  On my wishlist, it looks exactly the same as Kindle books that are currently out.  I have to click through on a title to figure out if I can buy it yet.  Very, very frustrating.  I have faith that they'll fix it.  Thought they would have fixed it already, so I'm actually sending them a note as well as whining here.

Yes, I know your wishlist is supposed to be used by other people buying stuff for you, so the Kindle status shouldn't matter, as it can't be a gift purchase.  In reality, and I am darned sure Amazon knows this, people use their wishlist as a personal shopping list.  Right now, I'm adding print editions instead of Kindle.  This is after I went through my wishlist and changed all my print editions to Kindle where available.  This book junkie is getting irritated.

Beginning with the robot series, I have been putting LTCs (Letterbox Trading Cards) in with my plants as a gift for the first finder.  LTCs are like Artist Trading Cards: a tiny bit of art on a 3.5" x 2.5" card, except LTCs must incorporate a hand-carved stamp.  I have been making sets of 4 so I have some to trade later--I'm saving them for the big meet in August.

I'm new at this, so one reason I'm posting is to see how my technique changes as I get more experience and look around for more inspiration.

This is "3 Laws".  The stamp is based on the cover of the first edition of "I, Robot".  I also carved the moon wedge in the background, and I think I'll be using it a lot.  The robot was embossed on to card stock using a mix of a couple of reds and a silver, then cut out and affixed to the background.  Most of the background is blending chalks, which I just started using and lovelovelove.

This card is called "Klaatu barada nikto!"  Sorry for the unimaginative titles--I name them after the letterbox, and I don't like to be too cryptic.  Of course, it's Gort.  This card is very shimmery, which doesn't show up well here.  Swirly alcohol inks make up the background.  There's that moon again.  Gort is embossed in a mix of black and charcoal, and cool mini-ribbons (I forget what they're called--they're for scrap booking) border the top and bottom.

"DON'T PANIC!"  Marvin and his caption are two separate stamps.  I planted them both with the letterbox.  This one is the Spousal Unit's favorite so far.  Copic markers, ink, silver gel pen.

Here's R2 in "The Force".  Oops, looks like I got the scan a little crooked. Blending chalks and pencils for the background here.  Keep in mind that this card is 2.5" x 3.5".  Yes, that teeny robot was a bitch to carve.