Posts Tagged ‘art’

Farmer’s market, yardsales and a movie

Today was a really wonderful day. We went to pick up a tansu chest that replaces the dressers we had in our bedroom. Our goal is to only have furniture that we both like. There are a couple of exceptions for sentimental reasons, but very few.

After that, we biked down to the farmers market. Oh, my goodness. I’d missed that so much. The produce is just starting to come in and there were some really gorgeous mushrooms. Biking home, we stopped at four or five yardsales (one was a whole street, so there were really more, but it was only one stop) but didn’t find anything until the last one. We got an ice chest for the trip across country, a pair of dress shoes for Rob, and a book from 1856 for me, called The Wedding Guest. It’s an anthology of marriage advice, some of which is presented in dramatic format. Really good stuff.

In the evening, we went down to Laurelhurst to see a 1953 film noir called The Big Heat. It was a very satisfying film.

Violin Chair

Violin ChairA fellow writer turns out to be a handy woodworker. Check out this violin chair that Gray Rhinehart made.

The “Take a Seat” exhibition opened on Saturday, April 28th at Cary’s “Spring Daze” event. The chairs will be exhibited in the local mall (Cary Towne Center) through May 16th, then over the rest of the summer the entries will be on display at various locations around Cary. They will be exhibited all together again at Cary’s “Lazy Daze” festival on August 25th. After that, the chairs will be auctioned off to “support public art and education programs in Cary.”

This project was so fun that we would love to do more–in fact, we have in mind an entire series of “Musical” Chairs, from violin-, cello-, and guitar-modeled chairs to a double bass love seat and a piano “bench.” In fact, if we could find enough customers this might be the dream job we’ve been waiting for.

So, if you know anyone–including yourself–who loves music and might be in the market for a unique, handmade chair, let us know!

New York Times

PlungerThe article that I modeled for is out today. David Chelsea does the art for the Modern Love column at the NY Times and asked me to pose for this. It’s not my face; he morphed me with the author of the article.

How My Plumber Turned Water Into Wine – New York Times

I CLIMBED the steps to my apartment that night, buzzed on old Italian wine and the kind of emotional spark I hadn’t felt with a man in way too long. Musing over whether I had the nerve to jump back into the romantic world again, I stepped into the bathroom to discover, courtesy of my bare feet, that my hand-knotted Persian rug was soaked.

My daemon

I love the books in His Dark Materials, so when this started going around, I got totally sucked in. And may I say, as a marketing ploy, this is great because it makes the movie look darn good.

World Book and Copyright Day

This font emporium that I love, sent out a coupon as part of a celebration of World Book and Copyright Day. That’s today. Did anyone else know this?

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George’s Day (also 23 April) in the region, where it has been traditional since the mediaeval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia are at this time with over 400,000 sold and exchanged for over 4 million roses.

In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness

Viscosity – the modern art generator

ViscosityEdited to add: This page on my site has had a huge surge in traffic for weeks now, but I can’t figure out where you are all coming from. Would someone pause long enough to tell me?Next time you need a handy doodle tool, check out viscosity – the modern art generator. You never know what exciting piece you could create. That’s mine in the frame over the chair

No. I didn’t really frame it, and that’s not my chair; it’s just an image the website shows you when you finish playing with it. I’m always amazed at how much better something looks in a frame. Context, people, it’s all about context.

Well… no, really, it’s all about having a cool toy to play with while on hold.

The new lease

We got the copy of the new lease and our move in date for the apartment is now June 30, 2007. Of course, this assumes that nothing else goes wrong.

Stop laughing.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Nutshell Studies of Unexplained DeathGood heavens. Go check out The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.

Dollhouses as crime scenes. We were just tipped off to a remarkable book, the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. It tells the story of Frances Glessner Lee (1878–1962), who was barred from attending medical school becuase she was a woman, but went on, nevertheless, to become a pioneer in the field of scientific crime detection and to later build these miniature crime scenes…

Finishing in the shade

I just finished Shades of Milk and Honey. I’ll let it sit for a bit before starting the revisions. And for those of you who have been reading along, I’ll post a chapter a day for you. Thanks for reading along!

Off to do some celebrating now.

Chinese = Martian

According to my nephew, the Hasby Goon inn on Mars has a library filled with books that are written in a Chinese-Martian hybrid. He says that despite speaking a little Chinese, it’s too hard to read the books because you have to translate two languages at once. The spoken language is easier because they speak British. He says that’s still confusing.

Reading Aloud 15: Choices & Compromises while recording Rude Mechanicals

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Reading Aloud

When Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press asked me to read Kage Baker’s Rude Mechanicals, I was delighted, because I love the Company stories. I was delighted until I started reading the manuscript and realized that the point of view character was male. I skimmed forward, just looking at dialogue. Most of the characters were male.

I don’t mind doing some cross-gender voicing, but generally avoid it with the POV character, because I think it is confusing for most listeners. I agonized and then emailed Bill and told him that I thought he should hire a male voice artist, because that would serve the story better. He disagreed, and since I really wanted to read it, not much arm twisting was needed.

As I read the entire manuscript, instead of skimming, I realized why he wanted a female narrator. Ms. Baker uses direct address to the audience in a couple of places, so while the narrator stays with Lewis, it is clearly a separate narrative voice as opposed to an extension of Lewis. Know what I mean? So choice number one, was to have a female narrator.

This left me the freedom to pitch the narrator up, above my natural speaking voice. I also chose to make it very feminine to contrast with all the boys running around.

For Lewis and Joseph’s voices, I ran into some trouble. Joseph has more speaking time in some scenes than the narrator. Now, in the stories, Joseph is described as a bass baritone. Clearly, I wasn’t going to achieve that naturally, so we had to look at compromises.

Lewis was the less vocally dynamic of the two, so placing him at the bottom end of my range was easy; I didn’t need a lot of room to hit his emotional levels since he’s a steadier character. Joseph, our bass, on the other hand is very volatile and he talks a lot. I found that I could either nail the character or the pitch, but not both. When I pitched him down, he wound up sounding angry and dangerous, because of the audible effort involved in keeping my voice low. It doesn’t sound strained as if I were going to hurt myself, but the strain is nevertheless present as a tension that was inappropriate to the character. Most troubling, he wasn’t funny. Joseph is very funny in Ms. Baker’s story.

So after recording a test chapter with a lower Joseph, we decided to go back to the higher one because, aside from the pitch, that voicing was truer to the character.

It is true that we could have pitch-shifted my voice to get it to the right range. The software to do that now is good enough that if the voice is heard out of context, it’ll pass as real. However, in the context of the other voices I was generating, the pitch shift was obvious. Why? Because there’s this thing your brain does with a familiar voice, called psycho-acoustics, which basically waves a flag saying “Wrong! Something is wrong!” It’s a complex series of things that involve overtones, positioning, and other technical things that you have no idea that you are processing, you just know that it’s wrong.

To demonstrate, I have three clips for you.


The final Joseph choice.


Me, lowering Joseph naturally.


Joseph, pitch-shifted down 10% from the first clip.

See, even down 10% he doesn’t sound like a bass, but he sounds weird. The weirdness is even more apparent if it’s in the context of an entire chapter of natural voices.


The pitch-shifted Joseph, in context.

With all the other voices that are obviously generated by me, pitch-shifted Joseph sounds like someone else and is jarring. Given those choices, we went with the first voicing, feeling that the characterization was stronger there.

At some point, in a reading, you’ll probably have to face a similar choice and I think that you should go for the voice which will give you the most emotional range and be truest to the personality, even if you have to sacrifice some of the physicality.

Why can’t things be simple?

So, the fellow that we are doing the houseswap with just called.  He said that his landlord has told him that he has gone about the process wrong and that he can’t let us have the apartment.  They are sending him additional forms, which will hopefully resolve the issues.   Hopefully. Meanwhile, there is a definite sensation in the air that the whole thing might fall through.

9 and 10

We recorded Chapter 9 and 10 today, so my part of the process is over for the moment. Rob will edit it together, and then we’ll see if I need to do any pick-up lines.