joy magnetism: February 2011

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Monday, February 28, 2011

From Sweetwater to the Kodak Theatre

Magnet #1102 - Bierstadt's Last of the Buffalo

Another one of my postage stamp magnets from the Corcoran.

The Last of the Buffalo looks small here, but it's actually something like 5' x 9' - like most of Albert Bierstadt's work, it's pretty huge. It's one of his most important paintings late in his career, and one telling the story of the last days of the buffalo, and the Indians who hunted them. Supposedly, this painting is set at the foot of the Wind River Mountains in Sweetwater County, Wyoming.

For a select few, probably just my sisters and me, you'll know Sweetwater territory as the home base of the Young Riders, the supercute boys of early days of the Pony Express...and their housemom, Emma, played by a very young Melissa Leo, before her Oscar-winning, f-bomb dropping speech last night.

Here she is, with a very young Josh Brolin, before his own matchy-matchy Oscar-presenting with Javier Bardem, cater-waiter outfit.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Underachiever's reminder

Magnet #1101 - The Better You Do

Gosh, if that ain't the truth, I dunno what is. It's pretty much saying that the reward for good work, is more work. Isn't that always the way?

I picked up this magnet at the infamous (isn't it, by now?) East Innes St. Drug Company, as I was having yet another orangeade from the soda fountain. I could live on that stuff.

Yes, it's a sugarwater with a liiiiittle bit of orange, but it's seriously the nectar of the gods.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The slow lane

Magnet #1100 - Charleston, SC

I've been to Charleston several times over the years, but it was actually STW BIL got this magnet for me on his travels.

That's a buggy ride down Rainbow Row, a colorful set of row houses that were originally built in the 1700s as a commercial district, and were restored in the 1920s and 30s in Colonial Caribbean colors. When I was little, we did one of those touristy carriage rides throughout the streets of Charleston - the multiple-passenger ones with a team of horses out front. Pretty cool when you're 10! It was our own surrey with the fringe on top!

Lately, I kinda feel like I'm driving a horse & buggy down here below the Mason-Dixon line. Having been in NY for almost half my life, I've gotten used to a fair amount of hustle and bustle. Moving quickly about my day, fast service wherever I go, subways to get to my destination quickly, not stopping for anything but those tourists in the middle of the sidewalks.

Down here, it takes 10 minutes just to get to town from my house, and up and down the country roads I go. And more than half that time, I get stuck behind someone who is taking a country drive (literally), someone who must know full well that the speed limit is 55, but takes it 45 or 50 anyway. This morning, taking Mom to work? Seriously, a line of cars behind one guy just moseying down the road. Dudes. He was backing up traffic (yes, traffic) at 5:45AM (yes, 5:45AM). Move it along, buster!

Oh, and don't get me started on the chit-chat. In the CVS line. And the post-office line. Basically, checking out anywhere. Even when there's a line of 5 people behind me, it's folks finding out how other folks (and their family and their extended family) are doing. Hey lady, ring 'em up and move 'em out!

But I can't really complain too much about people catching up with each other, when really, it's just good old folks caring about their neighbors. And I admit, it really is kinda sweet when even the guys at the local dump are asking me how my dad is doing.

I will say that the slow lane is starting to rub off on me, though. Yesterday, my dad chided me for "dilly-dallying at the stoplight."

Ah, backseat driving. Well, at least we know he's feeling a little bit better, ya'll.
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Small gifts

Magnet #1099 - Frank Lloyd Wright's December Gifts

Heh. #1099. Appropriate given how much freelance work I'll have done this year. Yep. Rather than settle down to find another agency job, I've taken on a few freelance projects to tide me over the beginning of this year.

Things happen for reason, because the day after I accepted the third concurrent project, I found myself urgently flying down to North Carolina. And with me here for a little bit, it's been a very good thing that I can tackle these projects remotely.

This magnet - yet another from my BEA escapades in the Pomegranate booth (I should work for these people, at this point!) - is an adaptation of Frank Lloyd Wright's December Gifts, one of a dozen abstracts that FLW designed in the late 1920s as covers for Liberty, one of the leading magazines of the day.

From what I understand, they were never actually published, but these graphic designs ended being adapted up on many - and I mean, many - walls, floors, tables, countertops, and windows. Not to mention countless keepsakes, books, coloring books, postcards, notecards, ties and calendars.

And of course, magnets.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stand for something*

Magnet #1098 - Malcolm X

I missed using this magnet on the 21st, the 46th anniversary of the day Malcolm X was killed. I'll be the first to admit to not knowing as much as I probably should about the man, or what he stood for.

What little I know is from History channel, summarized here: that he was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of a Baptist minister who himself was killed when Malcolm was only six. From there, the boy was raised in and out of the system, until finally he ended up in jail at 21 for burglary.

There, he learned of Elijah Muhammad and the teachings of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist group, changing his name to Malcolm X in honor of his stolen African identity. He became a full-on minister of the Nation of Islam, taking a harder, more aggressive line in the fight for civil rights.

Eventually the Nation of Islam forced him out, as his influence grew, and he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He came back as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, forming the Organization of Afro-American Unity, in support of black identity. A year later, he was dead, shot down by members of the Nation of Islam, a shocking end to a life of conviction.

And that's what little I know, paraphrased from the History channel. Incidentally, this is why I can't watch any of their shows or documentaries. I end up repeating every little thing I've just learned. But, thanks for the lesson, History!

He was an intense man, for sure - you can see it just in this rather striking iconic image on this magnet. It's why I picked it up in the first place. I debated ever magnetblogging such a controversial figure - after all, this is just a magnetblog. But, once I read a little about him, I wanted to.

It's weird, you know, history is chock full of good men and bad men and everything in between, and you can read text after text, attend lecture after lecture, to learn and understand what each person believes and what course they followed. In the end though, regardless of how you feel about anyone's politics or tactics, you do have to respect a man who believed in what he stood for, and had the courage to not only defend, but fight for it.

*"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
- Malcolm X

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bawk, bawk, broke

Magnet #1097 - Yellow parrot

Borders makes me sad.

I went to visit one the other day and I felt like a total vulture wandering the aisles. Everything's on sale - although, true to form for Borders, "sale" just means comparable to regular prices at other stores (especially true for their media section).

Truth be told, right now, everything's only at 20% during this going-broke sale, and there are sure to be steeper discounts in a week or so.

Of course, that didn't stop me from spending way too much on stuff that I don't really need, or need right now. Totally stocked up on pretty notebooks and pretty pens and gift wrap. In fact, I really only bought two books, and they weren't even romance books.

I bought this magnet from Borders, too. I couldn't resist - especially because not a day or two before, I sorted through my hidden-away collection of genuine vintage 80s earrings and brooches. They're below, because I'm now trying to figure out if I should sell them - as a lot, or individually, or if I should save 'em for yet another decade.

I haven't a clue what I was thinking when I got those parrots in the bottom left corner. I won't lie, I don't remember wearing them.

Nope. Not at all.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

joy magnetism: Year 3, Roll of the dice

Magnet #1096 - Joy in Las Vegas

Not sure if I picked up this magnet myself, or if someone gave it to me, but I figured it was appropriate for me beating the odds. Did you know that something like 95% of all blogs are abandoned? Or that most blogs are abandoned within months of inception?

On February 22, 2008, I giggled to myself, having figured out a way to avoid creating a superdorky Excel spreadsheet to inventory all the magnets in my ever-growing collection. Instead, I created this superdorky magnetblog called joy magnetism. (A name, which made me giggle even harder, as I said to myself, joy magnetism. Geddit?)

Three years later, here I sit, writing about my 1,096th magnet.

Who woulda bet that I could have stuck this out this long?

Or shoot, have this many magnets to talk about?

Thanks very much, everyone who has ever read, posted, or contributed to the blog and/or the collection!
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Handsome Frank

Magnet #1095 - Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)

What? That was his nickname! I'm not fangurling over our 14th president!

Although, it should be said that Franklin Pierce was about 5'10", somewhat vain, and pretty good looking, with wavy black hair and gray eyes. A total romance hero color combination.

I know, I probably should have used a George Washington magnet, since it's really the federal holiday that started out honoring his birthday, rather than just the generic Presidents Day of now. But, honestly, not very many people know Pierce.

His term of office started out with relative peacefulness, but it wasn't long before the slavery issue of the western states started to undermine his office. He made it through his one term, the Democrats had already moved on to supporting the next president (Buchanan), leaving Pierce to head back to New Hampshire to drink out his days in relative obscurity.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The New Normal

Magnet #1094 - Bali Dragon

My friend bought this dragon magnet for me in Bali. Pretty darn cool, methinks.

I had no idea that Komodo Dragons are native to Indonesia. I also didn't realize that the adults can be as big as me!!! And they're carnivores who can take down big animals with one bite!

Obviously, this means that I will not be visiting Bali for any of those daytrips or visits to their National Park to see these buggers. Yowzers.

That'll make my mom a little sad, since she really wants me to meet that American CEO dude on that HGTV show living in Hong Kong but house-hunting in Bali.

Yep. My mother. Still searching for my perfect soulmate. Only now the candidates are from television.

I've mentioned that I'm back home for a while, taking care of my parents in a post-heart attack world. The New Normal, is what we're calling it. It's a world that's both more gentle and more harsh, as we're more gentle and more harsh with each other.

A world where we're monitoring meds, diets, sleep schedules and exertion (no, not exercise - yet).

A world where we're thinking procedure to procedure.

A world where we worry about every little stressor and forgive a lot a heck of a lot more than we normally would.

A world where I'm running pick-up/drop-off for the parents, not the other way around.

But, The New Normal is also a world that includes both my parents right now, and for that, it's still a pretty good world.

Funny, because I feel like the last two years have been nothing but the redefining of The New Normal.

When the group I was working with got absorbed into a new company, that became The New Normal.

When half of the older employees in the group were laid off in the subsequent couple of years, not knowing if we were all going to have jobs by the end of each day, that became The New Normal.

When I was laid off for writing memos expressing my displeasure with the company we'd become and how to fix it, and I became a temporary "Woman of Leisure," that became The New Normal.

When I started living my life up and down 95 (/tm Julie), driving my parents up and down the eastern seaboard for my dad's eye surgeries, that became The New Normal.

When my apartment building was bought and I joined our tenants association writing minutes and suddenly caring about rent laws (because they now applied directly to me), that became The New Normal.

When I started doing freelance work this year, that became The New Normal.

But so now, as we try and settle into yet another The New Normal, my question is, when does The New Normal become the everyday?

I had to include this Komodo Dragon video. FREAKS. ME. OUT. Gentle giants they are not!

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Annnd the world got a little smaller...

Magnet #1093 - Richmond, Virginia

Remember how I spent a week in Richmond, and then failed to actually pick up a magnet for the collection? Voila!

Picked it because I recently watched Tim McGraw trace his paternal family tree all the way back through Virginia, Washington, D.C., New York and then Germany, where his eight-times-removed grandfather came across on a ship via England with some of Elvis' relatives. Pretty cool.

I've only seen two episodes (David Tennant's [natch] and McGraw's), but whomever came up with the show Who Do You Think You Are? is a freakin' genius. Originally a UK show, it follows celebs as they trace their bloodlines as far as they can go.

The cool thing is that the bulk of the work gets done for them, either by (great placement, by the way) or various libraries or genealogy experts, leaving us to tag along with the celebs as they discover where their people came from. I mean, ole Tim had me sniffling with just his opening scene!

In seventh grade, I traced the family tree back a generation or two through oral records and hearsay, but I didn't really have anything official. My parents came from the Philippines through LAX to O'Hare a year before I was born, so I'd have to travel a world away to trace my heritage beyond my grandparents.

Which is what one of my Twitterpals did, as it turns out.

She and I have Twitterbonded over TV shows and cuteboys over the last few months, but never really knew anything personal about each other. When I Tweeted that I was watching Tim McGraw's story, she mentioned loving the show, and how she went to go find her own grandfather's roots.

And I said exactly what I said above, I'd love to do the same, but I'd have to travel to the Philippines, and Lord knows how their records were, after a certain point.

That's when I learned of her journey to do exactly that - taking a five-hour bus-ride north of Manila to her grandfather's village, and finally managing to track down a first cousin of her grandfather's. (I wish I could link to the LJ story, but best not to without permission.)

Still. An amazing, and quite inspiring story. If she could track down her roots in a remote village, finding mine in Cebu City should be a piece of cake! Food for thought on our next trip to the homeland.

Hearing her story also makes me wish that they'd do a regular folk Who Do You Think You Are? series. The journeys would be just as cool, methinks.

Of course, I do find it extremely funny (and fitting!), that in all the world, through an online friend that I met on a completely separate messageboard, I somehow managed to end up Twitterpals with a chick who is part-Kababayan.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh, reeeeeeeally. /tm my mom

Magnet #1092 - Mom's Guilt Trips

When I saw this at the Innes St. Drugs soda fountain - while sipping on quite possibly the best. orangeade. ever. - I knew this was a magnet that had to come home with me.

Of course, I learned a long time ago how to refuse any and all motherly guilt trips, so it technically doesn't apply.

Now, complexes - the giving and the having? That's probably something we'll never get around, for sure!
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pine Bank Arch

Magnet #1091 - Pine Bank Arch, John Hall

John Hall shot this image of Pine Bank Arch in Central Park, back in 1996, the year after I moved to New York. It's gorgeous, no?

It was built in 1861, just at the beginning of the Civil War. If you want to get technical, it's really a bridge, and is about 80 feet long, and about 11 feet up (to allow for the bridle path below). It's also one of the few remaining original cast-iron bridges left in the park.

Snow-covered Central Park is pretty much how I left New York a few weeks ago before I came down here to North Carolina to take care of a family emergency. Who knows what it'll look like when I get back up there. When I do, though, I definitely have to take this Forgotten NY tour - would love to be able to see all of the stunning bridges and arches the park has to offer. You kind of just take them for granted when you're there, but flipping through those bridges makes me want to spend the day in the park.

For now, though, I'll definitely enjoy the spring temps of NC - it's supposed to be 73 tomorrow and in the high 60s this weekend.

Yep. I just did a magnetblog about the weather. Too bad I didn't think about the weather before I packed all my sweaters a couple of weeks ago!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A girl & her [Belle Jolie/Merle Norman/Cover Girl] lipstick

Magnet #1090 - Mark Your Man

Oh, Peggy, your Belle Jolie lipstick line was pretty good! My sister got me this Mad Men magnet for Christmas. Pretty snazzy, no?

What is it about a girl and her lipstick?

I've had the same lipcolor since college: Berry Kiss dual lipstick/lipliner from Merle Norman. I haven't used the lipliner side in a dozen years, but I love, love, love that lipstick and that color.

I love that I can apply it, and not even have to look in a mirror. I love that I can order from the Merle Norman in Salisbury, and they ship to New York.

What? I'm a creature of habit. I recognize that most girls don't keep the same lipcolor, or apply make-up without a mirror. But hello, I keep a magnetblog, would you expect any less?

Turns out it could be hereditary - the same lipstick thing. We've just searched every CVS, Walgreen's, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Target, Wal-Mart in Salisbury and Charlotte for #565 lipstick from Cover Girl, for my mother. They must be about to discontinue that color, because where'd we find it? All the way in Washington, DC. For about two bucks each.

I'd cry if MN tried to discontinue Berry Kiss.

Me and the grannies, anyway.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why, oh, why can't it be bears?

Magnet #1089 - Colorado Bear

So, during this indefinite stay in North Carolina, I've been surrounded by all sorts of flora and fauna.

Deer. Coming from every which way. I was driving back from the VA early Sunday morning and came across a whole passel (yes, I just said passel) of deer checking out the Historic Salisbury sign.

Ducks and geese. Crossing the road. I kid you not. For years we've been seeing Duck Crossing signs at City Park - my favorite road sign of all time. But we've never actually seen them crossing the road. Until last week, when they stopped traffic.

Cows, horses and donkeys. Given that we live 10 minutes outside the "city" limits, it's not surprising that I pass pasture after pasture full of them. Of course, there was that dead cow on his side on Providence Church Road, in full-on rigor mortis. Eww.

Raccoons. They're freakin' stealing my trash from the backyard. Or, at least I hope it's just raccoons, anyway.

Tigers. Ok, fine. The I-85 billboard for Tiger World, in Rockwell, of all places. My BIL and I are planning to visit once the season begins. I wonder if they have magnets. Hmmmm.

And don't even get me started on ladybugs, beetles, and other tiny creatures of this earth. Blech.

Or the roadkill! Double blech!

All I have to say is if I have to see NC wildlife, why the hell couldn't it be bears? I've only ever been to the Denver airport, so all I really know about the state is what I've learned from Mork & Mindy. But, I've heard stories of friends of friends who live there and they've had bear in trees in their backyard!

Me? All I get is deer stands and target practice in my backyard.

And raccoons. Don't forget the blasted raccoons.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Chains of love

Magnet #1088 - Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Given the last couple of weeks, it's nothing short of a miracle that my parents are able to celebrate their 39th anniversary today. You'd think there would be more celebrating, but there's really a lot of take-it-easy, take-it-easy [insert Filipino accent here].

That was also the theme when we were making (hobbling?) our way through the streets of Florence last year just after the Save the Couple Wedding. In fact, we just looked down the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), rather than making our way across it.

A Medieval bridge, Ponte Vecchio is one of the oldest in Europe - with first documentation of it is around 900. It spans the Arno River in Florence, and is dotted with several different merchants and stalls, with presumably more Florence, Tuscany and Italy magnets than I could ever hope to buy.

One thing we missed, though, is the bust of Benvenuto Cellini near the center of the bridge, whose railings the authorities are constantly trying to keep track of. I know, right? Why would anyone bother protecting it?

Here's something that I've missed for years and years and years...

Apparently, lovey-dovey couples from the world over attach padlocks on to bridges (or thereabouts) as symbols of their steadfast love. I don't know how I've managed to miss it, but talk about chains of love, or ball and chain, or bonds of matrimony!
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Turn off Turn Off The Dark

Magnet #1087 - Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark

I dunno why I've hit such a run of Broadway shows that I haven't liked, but this one was the capper. When they first announced a Spider-Man musical, I was pretty skeptical. Then people were saying, hey, it's Julie Taymor, look what she did for The Lion King, it can't be that bad. Plus, it's Bono and The Edge. It definitely couldn't be bad.

When cheap preview tickets became available back in November, I still wasn't sold. But when the preview troubles started, like everyone else, I decided to join the crowds to watch the train wreck last month.

So that's what you need to keep in mind, reading the below. Skeptic. Train-wreck watcher. Predisposed to not like it from the beginning.

And I didn't.

The good: So much praise and wonder for the set design. The sets are bigger than life, and they border on being the actual characters of the show, instead of the humans themselves. That said, the set design is gorgeous, truly fantastic, and well worthy of a comic book universe. In fact, they alone might have been worth sitting through the whole show.

The Cirque: I hate Cirque du anything. I know. Everyone loves it. It's a cultural phenom. But, I don't like when people are flying on stage, or curling themselves up in those ribbony fabrics or floating on and off stage, up and down and twisting around or whatever. I hated it in American Idiot, and I hated it here.

Only here, I cowered in my seat whenever anyone flew close to me, worried that they'd fall on me. Granted, I probably would have done that anyway, even without all the prior stunt incidents, so that's definitely on me.

But between you, me and the labor peeps? At one point, one character was flying and another was supposed to land atop his back for them to fly in sync. Dudes. I watched with bated breath as the one guy tried to land, and could not gain his footing to save his life. Ridiculous. And unsafe. And I swear, it added nothing to the story.

The story: I don't read the comics, so I dunno how much of the story comes from canon. I saw all the movies (and loved at least one of them), so some of it comes from there for sure. But this retelling was just disjointed, uneven and just plain boring.

The overall framework of three geeks and their stereotypical geeky Asian galpal didn't quite work for me, but I liked them oh so much better than the character of dreaded Arachne. She's totally a cross between Kiss of the Spider Woman from years ago, and Doctor Who's Racnoss. Actually Sarah Parrish would have kicked ass in that costume.

Also, even after they changed the ending, I still sat in my seat and said aloud to no one in particular, "Wait. That was the end?"

The music: I feel like I'm supposed to like it because it's Bono. And The Edge. And despite the fact that I don't really remember a single song from the show, I think that the music might be ok. If Bono were singing it. Because that's how the actors were singing it. Hard and gravelly and balls to the wall. And as if they were Bono.

But. Either the actors are trying to match Bono's voice, or, Peter Parker's and Mary Jane's voices are already supertired from the strain. (Which could damage both their voices for the rest of their careers! Or at least that's what I've learned from watching Andrew Lloyd Webber's UK West End casting reality shows.)

The cast sang their hearts out, you could almost feel how much they want this show to finally climb out of previews and become the success they signed on for. Meanwhile, the long wait to March 15th continues.

Do I think there's a weird conspiracy that they're using the "technical issues" as a ruse to shut down a $65-million show instead of admitting it's just bad? No.

Do I think it's the end of Julie Taymor? Oh, hell no.

Do I think less of Bono or The Edge? Please. Hello. It's Bono. And The Edge.

Do I think they opened to the public about six months too early? Yes.

Was it worth going? Well, I'm definitely glad I didn't pay full price for preview tickets. Though I probably made up the difference when I bought this $10 acrylic die-cut magnet.

Oh. I heard earlier today that they were doing more focus groups. Why? Why throw away another few thousand dollars?


And lest ye think that I'm a total creep for posting how I feel about a show not out of previews yet, I actually waited to magnetblog on this until after bigger and better and more critic-y people posted their thoughts. To wit:

New York Times
Toronto Star
Philadelphia Inquirer

Or, here: The 9 most scathing reviews of Spider-Man

And of course, last night's SNL.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

You're my best friend

Magnet #1086 - Purin

Well, I don't know about you, but when I saw this little Hello Kitty character magnet from my Sanrio 50th set, I wasn't exactly sure what it was. I mean, he looks like he's wearing an acorn hat, so maybe he's a chipmunk or some woodland creature. But then he has floppity ears, so maybe he's like an unspotted beagle?

I had to look him up on the Hello Kitty site just to make sure. Turns out, he's a Golden Retriever, who likes pudding, and has a best friend named Muffin.

I dunno why, but that best friend Muffin reminded me of this video that DCsis has been talking about for a few weeks now. STWsis' BFF @kfriez Tweeted the below AOL video with two boys acting out The King's Speech.

We haven't been able to stop watching it since.

You’re watching Kids Act Out - The King’s Speech. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Let there be light

Magnet #1085 - Thomas Alva Edison's Electric Lamp

Happy 164th Birthday, Tommy E!

I figured it was apropos to use this patent of Thomas Alva Edison's Electric Lamp for today. Did ya'll know that he and the folks in his workshop applied for almost 1,100 patents? That's a lot of inventing.

The date on this drawing was January 27, 1880, and it's Patent No. 223,898. The electric lamp/incandescent light bulb was one of his three major inventions, the other two being the phonograph and the moving picture camera.

Think about it - it's three inventions that we couldn't live without these days. We never think about them, because the descendants and evolutions of those inventions are ubiquitous. And to think, I'm still waiting for my own million-dollar idea - just one! - to hit.

I do wonder if Edison sits up in heaven, looking down at all the pinpricks of nighttime lights scattered across the Earth, and think, hey, I did that!

Incidentally, I actually tried to get my dad and sister to roadtrip out to Edison's workshop out in Jersey. After driving and driving around for what is surely a piece of Roadside Americana, we managed to find a trailer that was supposedly his shop.

I never lived down the wild goose chase I led us on, but I was more disappointed with what they had to offer, given their historical importance. Maybe one day, I'll be able to find the real Edison workshop.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Joy in Key West

Magnet #1084 - Key West Joy

You know what's odd? The amount of people who think I've been to Key West.

Which is probably based on the amount of magnets that I have from Key West.

Which is probably based on the amount of friends and family that end up visiting Key West.

You know what's funny?

I've never been to Key West.

Hello, people. They're islands! I wouldn't voluntarily run down there and visit!
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So desu ka

Magnet #1083 - Kawaii girl

I picked this Japanese Kawaii girl at the AnimeFest portion of Comic-Con last year. I just thought she was adorable, and figured I needed her as part of my collection.

She reminds me of all the Japanese classes I had to take at Carolina to appease my mother. I blogged about it before, she was totally convinced that Japan was poised to take over corporate America and that I should be ready. But man, those classes were seriously the bane of my existence my first two years at college.

I loved, loved, loved writing the characters, but I was absolutely terrible at comprehension and spoken Japanese. It definitely wasn't the prof, because I have a friend who started out with me in JAPN101 and he's totally fluent and loves the culture and its people. Puts me to shame every time we get together, he does.

Because I didn't want to finish out the final JAPN course, for fear of tanking my grades further, I ended up taking a crib class - Spanish. Flew through that class with flying colors. The Filipino language is somewhat based on Spanish, so there are many common words and even accents that Filipinos use. So I just pretended my parents were speaking Spanish to me in my head, and I mimic'd the Filipino accent. It's how I got my A for SPAN101, and funny praise for my terrific Spanish accent.

I picked this magnet for today, because I never really notice my Asian-ness as much when I'm walking through the streets of my small hometown. In a Southern town of about 28,000, with only about 200 Asian people living here, that's probably not surprising.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Can't see the forest for the bureaucracy

Magnet#1082 - USDA Forest Service

Neat magnet! My sister picked it up for me at the Forest Service building where they keep Smokey Bear's office.

The Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture takes care of U.S. land management, keeping our 193 million acres of forests and grasslands intact. They work on the landscapes and protect water resources - caring for the land, and the people on it.

There's something I've been thinking about since Obama's last State of the Union address last month. That whole thing about the salmons?

"Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."
- President Obama, State of the Union Address

He said it within the context of telling us he plans to consolidate federal agencies and eliminate redundancies. I mean, everyone complains about the bureaucracy of the US government, that it takes forever to push the paperwork, and navigate all the different branches and services and groups and sectors that overlap and duplicate and possibly counteract each other?

I get it. It's probably a necessary step, and one that will take forever to accomplish. But, the thing is, if he gets rid of several different agencies, that's also eliminating jobs, too.

And where do those folks end up getting absorbed?
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Bring romance to life

Magnet #1081 - Mills & Boon

My friend bought me this Mills & Boon cover art magnet. Dunno what a Mills & Boon is? You're not alone. There's a whole world out there that you're missing! Or several, if you want to get technical. They're the leading UK publisher of women's romances, owned by Harlequin, one of the leading North American publishers of women's romances.

When I got this magnet, I immediately went online to see if I could find the title of the book that surely went along with it, but to no avail. I did, however, end up buying The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon and Harlequin Cover Designs, which gives an excellent overview of their romance covers, going all the way back to their early days of 1908.

Like, early days, when they were Jack London's UK publisher. Seriously. Jack London. Yes. That Jack London.

Since those days, M&B and Harlequin have published thousands of romances and romance series all around the world. According to that anniversary book, there's an M&B book sold in the UK every three seconds!

The really fascinating thing about flipping through these covers and titles is that you actually can see the change in romance reading culture over the century. From noir mysteries to wartime stories about women in the WAF, or doctors and nurses, or MINOs (Marriages In Name Only), or sheikhs and their captive brides, to all the brides, babies and cowboys of today, you can't really tell if they're driving the market, or if the market is driving the content. It's probably a little bit of both, honestly.

One thing's for sure, I'm totally headed to the nearest book store in London in June, so that I can pick up a few choice titles. Mind you, they won't be as great as Take Me! Break Me!

Or Brittle Bondage.

Or Grace Before Meat.

Or Pardon my Body.

But, I'm sure they'll be almost as good.
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Yellow Pants Bowl

Magnet #1080 - Pittsburgh Steelers

Dudes, I dunno. I'm the one using this magnet at the start of the Super Bowl's second half where the Steelers are down 21 to 10.

But, I figure if I go ahead and use this magnet for today, then I don't have to wait until the next time the Black and Gold become AFC North champs.

Of course, I haven't a clue where I got this magnet. No, really. I think someone gave it to me back in 2008, but I'm not entirely sure why. Or maybe I bought it, and was I supposed to give it to one of my Steeler fan friends?

Eh, who knows.
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Go fish

Magnet #1079 - Fish

I picked this magnet up at Bowne & Co. Stationers museum/store down at South Street Seaport. A very small, but really cool place to visit, they have their 19th century printing press on display, as well as a few stationery items on sale.

Seeing their old printing press reminded me of how my maternal grandfather owned the only newspaper on the island of Cebu, Philippines, complete with their own printing press on the ground floor. So when he'd visit us here in America, we'd have to visit all these old-school printing presses, to see if we could buy all the individual typeset letters for their press at home. I don't know whatever happened to that printing press, though my grandmother offered it to me, when she heard I was going into publishing many years ago.

But the real reason I picked this fish magnet, is because it kinda just reminds me of my dad. I've probably said it before, but he loves, loves, loves fish. It's not even that he's a true vegan or anything, but he really will eat only fruits from the sea, and then not even all kinds of it.

It's to the point where it's nearly impossible to find regular Joe American food that he'll eat...aside from fried fish from Captain D's or a plain Filet O'Fish from McDonald's. Or french fries. He eats a lot of french fries. Oh, and bread. In fact, flying usually means us handing over our dinner rolls for him to eat. Poor thing.

The last few days, the poor lady from Food Services has been struggling to find any hospital food that he'll eat. Our conversation?

Food services lady: Will he eat green beans?
Us: No.
Food services lady: Will he eat tuna?
Us: No.
Food services lady: Oh! Will he eat grilled cheese on white?
Us: No.
Food services lady: Will he eat mashed potatoes?
Us: No.
Food services lady: Will he eat baked potato?
Us: Maybe. Let's try.
Food services lady: Ok. How about ice cream?
Us: Oooh, yes!

Annnnnd, that was his first hospital meal. Ice cream.

Because he sure didn't eat that baked potato.
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Friday, February 4, 2011

King Billy

Magnet #1078 - William III (r. 1689 - 1702)

Won't lie, I don't even want to cover all of the meaning of William III on the throne, but my photobucket bin of readily available magnets will start wearing pretty thin while I'm here in NC unexpectedly.

Ya'll know what I'll never understand? Titles. Like, I never really understood them in the corporate world - how some people vy for better titles, versus having a better salary, or why some people think that whatever's after the comma defines you as a person somehow.

I guess we're all a little guilty of it at some point or another. But I think it might be worse for the royals, since you know, from birth, they come with these humongous titles that mean something on some paper somewhere, and oh, by the way have whole countries of people depending on them.

Take William III. His father, William II, died of smallpox eight days before Tripp was born, making Tripp Sovereign Prince of Orange directly from birth. Seriously. He came out of the womb, and bam! he was head of the Principality of Orange in Southern France. I mean, he was born in The Hague in the Dutch Republic, and responsible for something along the Rhone!

Which brings me to the other thing that always baffles me when I think about it. The royal network across Europe, how they end up ruling bits and pieces of other countries throughout Europe. Oh, I know they marry into it, they're appointed, they conquer it, they're born into it, whatever, but it always makes me laugh when I see or hear it in the movies...oh, and by the way, I may be King of England, but that bit of France, that bit of Holland, and maybe some of that bit in North America and Australia, and maybe a bit of Mars and Venus, are mine, too.

So, William III of *that* William and Mary ended up in the end, "By the Grace of God, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Stadholther of the Republic of the 7 United Netherlands, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, Defenders of the Faith, etc."

First, what's the "etc" stand for?

Second, how'd he put all that on a business card?
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Women and children first

Magnet #1077 - Camille Monet and a child

Another Monet from my collection. I know, it's neverending, those Monets.

This piece is called Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist's Garden in Argenteuil from 1875, and part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts collection.

Oddly, it never really specifies who the kid in the painting is - I've always assumed it was Monet's.

I just picked it for today, because yesterday at this time, I was merrily typing up a magnetpost talking about going to see the Addams Family and writing about the Adams library.

Today I find myself in North Carolina, with a bit of our world a little askew. Best laid plans, I suppose. But one that puts a lot of things in perspective.

I kinda like this image anyway, of the little one sitting patiently at Camille's feet. It takes me back to a time where I sat - ok fine, I'll face it, I've never really sat patiently anywhere.

Still, it's a peaceful image takes us back to simpler times, where all the world is right, where you had nothing to worry about except the toys right in front of you.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Library hijinx

Magnet #1076 - Adams Library

Gonna go see the Addams Family tonight. So I figured I'd use this magnet of the Adams family library to celebrate.

Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA, is cool in its own right. The National Parks Service site includes the birthplaces of both John Adams (our 2nd president) and his son John Quincy Adams (our 6th president) - so much history born within a stone's throw of each other.

But on top of that, you can also visit the Stone Library, which was built in the 1870s to house all the important papers and books of the Adams family.

I blogged a bit about this place before, actually, but didn't use this library magnet. During the quick tour we did in there, the space quickly became my favorite place ever. The medieval architecture was a departure from the colonial look and feel of the rest of the property, creating a whole world far removed from its surroundings.

Goodness, what I wouldn't given to have some time and free reign to take a look-see through the more than 14,000 books, across a dozen languages and even more subjects lining those shelves, upstairs and downstairs.

It's always fascinating to see what ends up in private libraries - the books people collect say so much about them and who they are.

Once, in college, an elderly couple had donated their entire library to our undergraduate collection, so one fabulous weekend, we ended up trekking out to their house take inventory. It was amazing the books we were finding on their shelves - every subject, very old binding, books of poetry and literature. My favorites, though, were the very old, very loved, red Baedekers travel guides from the early 1900s, most of them having been lovingly inscribed by the couple to each other. Amazing.

That's why instead of listening whole-heartedly to the park ranger at the Stone Library, I edged my way to the back of the group so I could check out what the Adams family had in their collection. And right at eye level, and oh! so close! was Webster's dictionary.

No. Seriously. When I first started in publishing, we were all referring to Web10, Merriam-Webster's 10th edition. The Adams family? Owned the first and second editions. Whoa.

When I realized what I was looking at, I totally hid myself from park ranger view, so I could sneak a quick picture of them.

You'll see I succeeded in taking quite the blurry picture below...taken just in time for me to hear the ranger let us know how they finally had to install a state-of-the-art security camera system because of a break-in and theft.

Um, oops.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

City temple

Magnet #1075 - Angkor Wat, Cambodia

About a month ago, I put down Egypt and Russia at the top of my bucket list of places to visit. Let's just say I'll not be doing any more bucket lists.

So here's someplace that I will likely never be able to visit in my lifetime - Angkor Wat ("City Temple") religious temple in Cambodia. My friend brought this magnet back for me during her trip around Asia, and I'm superjealous, because it's one of those 1001 Buildings to See Before You Die buildings.

Began in the first half of the 12th century (!), it was originally a temple dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu, as the King Suryavarman II's original temple and palace. About 200 years later, it was repurposed as a Buddhist temple, and has been such ever since.

It's also included as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as one of the largest religious structures in the world. The architecture is so grand that you have to see it to believe it, and over the last several centuries, it's never been completely abandoned, having been protected mainly by the giant (190 m) outer moat, an even gianter outer wall, plus the jungle terrain surrounding it.

I was going to expand on the architecture and the bas reliefs and the orientation of the site, and the different temples and galleries...but for my own sake, I need to stop this magnetpost now.

Otherwise I'll have myself convinced that I need to visit. And I'm no longer doing bucket lists, remember?
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