Thursday, July 28, 2011

Doobie doobie dah!

As I mentioned in an earlier post involving night cheese, one of my summer craft project is cross-stitching quotes from my favorite television show, Tina Fey's 30 Rock, which I will then attempt to hang about the house until my husband notices them and, wildly embarrassed that he married someone who clearly destined to die alone, her face eaten by the many, many housecats she would have amassed during her lonely middle years as an animal hoarding spinster, takes them down.

I've finished the second project, and I couldn't wait to show it to you. And by couldn't wait, I mean, "man, I better post this to the blog before I forget. Fuck the frame, I don't have an 8 x 10 frame just hanging around, and I know for damn sure and certain I'm going to forget to pick one up in town tomorrow. Fuck it, I'll just show it to them like this, all wrinkly and unmounted."

Hey, that's a funny joke. What do my cross-stitch and an ugly lady elephant have in common? THEY'RE BOTH WRINKLY AND UNMOUNTED.

I chose the wisdom of one Mr. Tracy Jordan, star of Who Dat Ninja? and Honky Grandma Be Trippin', Oscar winner for Hard To Watch, creator of the megahit pornographic videogame Goregasm: Legend of the Dongslayer:


This also gives you a heretofore unseen glimpse of my laptop keyboard, where I write all those amazing books y'all love so much.

Also, where I play Goregasm: Legend of The Dongslayer.

Or as I call it, World of Warcraft.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blah I Vant To Suck Your Blaaaaaaad

My latest Fiverr.com experiment does exactly what it says on the tin. The listing, from AngeltheArtist, can be found here: I will make you a finger face character with my fingers:

"Using my own fingers (girl hand) I will dress them or draw them to the character of your liking with a cute face. Like a guy from Paris, or a Vampire, or a cute couple etc. whatever you think of will work! Just tell me what you please, I will send you the picture digitally on fiver and were done! Great as a gift for a friend!

Clearly, I needed her to whip me up a vampire. This is what I asked for:

"let's go with a vampire. As goth and tortured and darkity dark as you're willing."

I mean, if we're going to go vampire, we need something dark and horrid and scary, the stuff that will make a lesser writer (like me) go on antidepressants, according to some. Cheap shot of the day! I win a billion dollars!

What AngeltheArtist sent to me did not disappoint. I present to you, finger vampires:



You can't get much darker than that. I particularly enjoy the x'ed out eyes. Classic.

What I don't understand is how one would go about creating this type of scene on one's fingers. At some point wouldn't you need both hands to apply the fake blood and bushy vampire eyebrows? I commend you, AngeltheArtist, for doing what I could not, at least, not without accidentally gluing my fingers together and then gluing my fingers to my foot and my foot to the floor.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Insert Top Gear Theme Here

I've mentioned my love of fantasizing about hot hate sex with Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear before, I'm sure. In fact, if I'd never sat down and watched "that funny show with those guys who do things to cars" I would have never realized how awesome cars actually are. At first, cars were secondary to the antics of the hosts, but then as I continued watching, I developed a real enthusiasm for super cars. Because I always desperately love that which I cannot attain. I'm looking at you, James May.

Imagine my delight when I found GreenLambo, a seller on fiverr.com who, for five dollars, will write anything you want on a piece of paper, stick it somewhere on a green Lamborghini (to my untrained eye, it looks like one of the Gallardos), and send you a picture. Obviously, I needed to jump on this.

The only problem was, my plan for my fiverr.com adventure was to create disingenuous viral hype. How could I justify comparing myself to a lime green Lamborghini? While I'm awesome, I have to say, I've seen a Lamborghini in person before. It was in New York City. My husband, friend Jill and I were standing in front of the statue of Atlas outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (doobie doobie daaaah!) when I turned and saw an Astin Martin Vantage parked in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. As I raised my phone to snap a picture, a blinding white Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder wove through traffic that looked like it was standing still in comparison. The noise it made could only be described as the high, incessant whine of an electric guitar solo in an 80's hair band mixed with the growl of bedsprings as the lead singer of that band got down with his lady love in a frenzied, early-AIDS panic meshing of unprotected sex and the threat of death.

It was a transformative experience.

So, obviously, I couldn't say something in the picture like, "Jennifer Armintrout is cooler than this car." It wouldn't make sense. I mean, the experience I had seeing that car in action, just feet from me, was a religious vision. For a split second I actually had considered jumping into traffic, just for the story. "So you were in the hospital for how many weeks?" "It doesn't matter, it was worth it." I couldn't even say, "Jennifer Armintrout is exactly as awesome as this car," because if i had jumped into traffic and the wounds incurred were fatal, I would have whispered, "I... was... perfect!" like Natalie Portman at the end of Black Swan, that's how amazing this was. I can't live up to that. And I just couldn't stand to stain this guy's fine automobile with a lie.

So, this is what I came up with:



Worth it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let me explain to you about Fiverr.com

A few days ago, while perusing Regretsy.com I learned about a website called fiverr.com, where people list stuff they will do for you if you pay them five dollars.

Not that stuff.

I immediately saw the potential for advertising in this venture. I can pay people to say I'm awesome? That's so much easier than doing it by myself! So, from now on, expect to see a lot more random instances of people saying I'm badass, but keep in mind, I paid them to do so.

Like this handsome young chap here, who I paid five dollars to write a song extolling my many favorable qualities:



Okay, so clearly, this is the best thing ever. My thanks to "Thallett" for doing such a bang up job. If you're feeling blue or totally rad, either way, send him some business. You'd be amazed at how much more awesome your life sounds when set to catchy pop. You can find him Here

Two blog posts in one day? This is MADNESS!

Naomi Clark is my new hero

An Open Letter To Laurell K Hamilton

I agree with Ms. Clark. The tweet she references, in which Ms. Hamilton suggests that she welcomes the deep, gothic, darkity dark thoughts that she is plagued with and other people are just, I don't know, not artistic or gothic or deep or what the fuck ever enough to handle them, makes me sick and offended. I'm a writer. I have a mental illness. And I'm not going to go untreated so I can better pour my tortured soul into my stories about vampires and shifters poking each other.

There's another component to those words that suggest that if you're strong, if you're dedicated to your craft, you don't need help to overcome your mental illness. There is already enough stigma attached to mental illness. We don't need to be glorifying it as a gift from the Gods or something. What is this, ancient Rome? Okay, folks, Caesar had epilepsy, he wasn't "touched by Mars" and if he lived today, he would be on medication for it. (I realize that epilepsy isn't a mental illness, but I've been rewatching Rome lately and I can't get out of that mode right now, okay, Vorenus?)

If you're depressed, if you hear voices, if you live in constant fear and you know that it's irrational, please, I urge you, go get help. This isn't directed as Ms. Hamilton, but to anyone who might read this post and have these issues. Going untreated for a serious mental illness is not a badge of honor. It's not an artistic, deeply feeling thing to do. It's self-destructive and selfish, when it affects the people around you. I repeat: do not go untreated because some successful people feel that you can "create" better if you're struggling with these issues.

Please, do go read Naomi's letter, because she's much better at breaking through her rage and channeling it into constructive words, and she hardly uses fuck at all in there, which is why she's more professional than I am. You can read more reaction about this comment from a group known as the LKH_Lashout on LiveJournal: http://lkh-lashouts.livejournal.com/553179.html#cutid1 wherein people who live with mental illness react to those words and the hurt it caused them. It's not pretty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

These are probably the worst cupcakes in London.

I let my two-year-old pick the next cupcake project from the book, and of course she had to pick one of the most complicated. So, here are the results:

First, I had to sculpt a realistic corpse finger from marzipan. The author of the book suggested ivory food coloring, but that looked a little too fresh, so I used a teensy bit of yellow and a teensy bit of brown. Then, using my own natural sculpting talents and a ton of willpower to not just start shoving marzipan into my mouth by the handful, I made those corpse fingers, damnit:

The nails got a brush with piping gel. As per the instructions, I set them aside in an airtight container while I whipped up a batch of chocolate cupcakes.

It took literally all my willpower not to leave this...
...on top of the trashcans at the funeral home down the street. But I managed.

After the cupcakes were cooled and vanilla frosted, it was time to make some marzipan pie lids. I finished construction while singing along to "The Worst Pies in London", "A Little Priest", "God That's Good" and "Joanna". The Patti LuPone/George Hearn version, of course. After a little experimentation with methods (though the book instructs you to put the entire thing together before decorating with luster dust, I found it was easier to brush them with gel food coloring for better contrast and then put the entire thing together) and thickness of marzipan, I they came out looking more or less all like this:

They were a hit with the kids, and bigger hit with me, since the kids didn't want to eat the marzipan fingers and gave them to me.

I am surprisingly enjoying the aesthetics of them sitting on my baking rack in little rows. It's like a bunch of cupcakes flipping me off every time I walk past.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"and every two years you take up knitting for... a week."

In my fevered attempts to keep myself from working, but also to not bake super complicated and work intensive cupcakes every single day, I've also decided to treat my work addiction with cross-stitch.
Counted cross-stitch is probably one of the easiest hobbies on the planet, unless you're my friend Bronwyn Green and you spend ten years working on a Theresa Wentzler project until your husband tells you that you can't cross-stitch anymore because he can't take the stress. There is just something soothing about mindlessly counting and stitching, counting and stitching. Until, you know, you fuck it up and you have to take a bunch of stitches out.

Keeping that last part in mind, I present my very simple first project of this whole "not working" experience:

I plan to cross-stitch several pieces with my favorite 30 Rock quotes on them, and then hang them in my office because my husband expressly forbids me from putting them up anywhere in the house, stating that, "Your nerdness must be contained to your own space. Don't make your nerdness everyone else's problem."

Sage advice. I hung it above the doors in my office, so that the view from my desk is something like this:


I have a lot of admiration for Liz Lemon, the fictionalized version of Tina Fey on the show. Although I always think of my friend Jill as being more Lemon-esque (and she has the coloring and glasses), I notice similarities between Liz and I. We're both trying to "have it all" and are obsessive perfectionists.

Also, this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trading one addiction for another



Recently, with the help of my community's department of mental health services, I was informed that I am addicted to work. Apparently, "workaholic" is an actual thing. Usually, I feel as though if I work twelve hours a day, it's not enough, and I don't have enough time to get anything done.

As a result, I am now taking my first hiatus from writing in six years. I needn't tell you, gentle reader, that it blows real hard. All I want to do is write. Great ideas just keep popping up. But I'm forcing myself to ignore that urge, and, like a smoker who chews gum to quit smoking or a heroin addict who smokes cigarettes to quit heroin, I've found a parallel addiction to rule my time.

Crafts.

The glorious anniversary of my birth is tomorrow, and as a present, my friend Cheryl Sterling over at Writers, Like Me gave me this:

This is A Zombie Ate My Cupcake, a book full of some of the strangest, most pointlessly complicated cupcakes you will ever see. And I have made it my personal mission this summer to make them. All of them.

I started out with Lily Vanilli's Rainbow Cupcakes. Now, I'll be honest. She has a recipe for the actual cake in there. But cake and I... we don't get along. I'm not good at making cakes without a mix, so I will confess, I used a mix. But I did make her frosting recipe (I am amazing at making frosting). The cupcakes turned out like this (pre-frosting):


Mine turned out quite short, because I am new to this whole cupcake thing and I didn't fill the cups enough. As it turns out, that was a point in my favor, because once I had made twelve little cupcakes, I had enough left to make my own version of a rainbow cake. I made a tie-dye cake:


This fulfilled my life-long need to eat something that looked like the pretend food they ate in Neverland in Hook.

Once I got the cakes frosted, I decided to take a look at the inside, to see how the rainbow effect worked out:

Aww and yeah. Look at all that rainbow-y goodness. These cupcakes are magical. I don't know what it is about eating something that looks like you're having a mild hallucination, but it tasted delicious. As per Ms. Vanili's forward, I used fair-trade ingredients whenever possible. Farm fresh eggs and hand churned, organic butter from the hippie farm. I think it made the cake taste more psychedelic, even if it came out of a boxed mix.

I'm letting my daughter pick out the next cupcake design to try, though I'm a bit nervous she's going to want to jump right into the ones with sculpted marzipan fingers.

Stay tuned for further projects. Besides the cupcakes, I've also got some other things up my sleeve, crafts wise, this summer.