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It’s August.  There is no one in NYC.  It’s hot and I have no new artwork to post.  So here’s some commentary on The Glee Project; a TV show on the Oxygen Network that I got sucked into watching.  

My friend “X” (he wants to retain his internet anonymity) got me to watch THE GLEE PROJECT which was essentially a “boot camp” for young (read 18, 19, maybe 20-year-old) singers/actors. The winner of the show would get a 7 episode role in the next season of Glee.  Turns out they were so good they picked TWO winners: Samuel, an indie-rock kid with dreads and Damian, an 18 yr. old from Northern Ireland. (I admit, I had a crush on Damian.) The two runners-up Lindsay (miss goody two shoes I can do no wrong but beautiful and a good actress/singer) and Alex (flamboyantly gay with an AMAZING voice like Whitney Houston, a holier than thou bad attitude and performed a few times in drag).  Hannah was the “fat girl” who everyone liked but didn’t end up in the final four and Matheus was a 4’9″ almost “little person” who had a lot of talent as well, but didn’t make it to the final four.  Cameron was doing really well, but couldn’t deal with the fact that he may have to kiss a girl on the show (he had a girlfriend and was super-religious) and ended up dropping out, thereby saving Damian who went on to win.

X said: I admired Alex’s talent but can’t stand his personality.  I also think that my “Gay-Bashed Pre-Op Trans Dies” (sounds like a NY Post headline) would provide a little of cautionary contrast to the exuberance of Blaine and Kurt to let the kids know that “it will get better but don’t let your guard down”.
Here are X‘s story arcs for some of the Glee Project alumni:
SAMUEL:  Conflicted Christian rebel from the wrong side of the town (is there a “right” side in Lima, Ohio?) who was home-schooled (thus the rebellious nature) until his parents drowned during a church revival festival when the plexiglas broke under their feet as they were performing the “walk on water” skit.  End of the 7-episode arc: overzealous performance when New Directions performed at Niagara Falls while singing the mash-up of “You Raise me Up” and “I Believe I Can Fly” .
DAMIAN:  Foreign exchange student from Ireland who initially fell under the spell of the bad girl, Santana (a gender-reversal episode of “GREASE”) but ended up with Mercedes due to their mutual love of tater tots.  End of the 7-episode arc: Deportation after being accused of killing Mercedes’ pre-op trans brother, Alex’us, in a wedding night drunken stupor upon realizing that Alex’us is fully equipped with a stick-shift and fuzzy dice rearview mirror ornaments, but not before Alex’us sings another amazing rendition of “AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING”.
ALEX:  Mercedes’ reclusive pre-op trans brother who stole Damian away from his sister because Damian’s Catholic upbringing insisted on him marrying a virgin.  End of the 2-episode arc: see above.
LINDSAY:  Transfer student from NYC after her mother (played by Brooke Shields) won a gigantic divorce settlement and moved back home to be the big fish in a small pond.  Lindsay has a HUGE fight with ALL the girls (not just Rachel) when she ambushed EVERY boy in the school with kisses.  End of the 2-episode arc: transferred to $t. Clare of A$$i$i where all the central-Ohio rich bratty girls go and where the school Alma Mater is “Gimme Gimme”.  May return at the season finale during the regional championship if negotiations with Lea Michelle to star in a spin-off in NYC falls through.

 HANNAH & MATHEUS:  The circus came to town… (solo numbers: Hannah – “Don’t Cry Out Loud”; Matheus – “Sexy Back (Stripper Remix)”).  End of the 1-episode arc: The circus left town ….
CAMERON:   Shy guitar nerd who was secretly in love with Damian (cue in “Saving All My Love For You”).  End of the 1-episode arc: stuck his wet finger in the outlet while singing a “I Kissed A Girl (and I hated it)”.

It’s been so hot here (and everywhere in the northern hemisphere I hear) that I have no energy to do anything.  So, there is no painting this week.  Just some comments on death and dying.

Yep,  I figured it’s so hot you would need something really fun to perk you up.

A recent story of a woman who was a hoarder (think Collyer Brothers) fell in her home and died under an avalanche of her own “stuff”.  She was found four months later.   Don’t ask.

I told this story to a friend who said to me: “I always pray ‘God, don’t let me die stupid’.”  What she meant, of course, was don’t let me die on the toilet, tripping over the dog or setting my self aflame because my sweater caught on the toaster as I was making myself some cinnamon raisin toast.

So while I feel for this poor woman, I only hope that when it’s my time to go, it’s not by getting my hair caught in my shredder.

The pictured chair was done for a woman who had a paint your own pottery studio.  I no longer remember why, but she had a contest to paint the white chairs in her studio.  I came in 2nd or 3rd and won something.   So much for my memory.

A random thought:  Law and Order Los Angeles?  Really?

Stay cool dear blog readers.  Stay cool.

Another Thanksgiving has arrived and I  know that I am very lucky and have a lot to be thankful for.  Among those things are you!

OK,  enough sappiness.   Here’s a quick sketch I did while waiting for breakfast  on a cloudy morning in St. Croix.   This was not in the Flamboyant Lounge, but the service was just as slow.   Matt was off for a dive and my other vacation friends were heading home.   After I ate, the sun came out and it was blazing hot.  I went to the beach, sat down with my book, iPod, and sketch pad to enjoy some sun, quiet and ocean waves.  And then it happened.

Like a wall of locusts.

A Disney cruise had just come to Carambola for a day excursion at the beach.  As they ran down the beach towards the west end where I had just settled in, I heard someone screaming GET A CHAIR, GET A CHAIR.  I turned, looked and was horrified at the vision in front of me.   Hundreds of people with screaming kids.  I took one look and I ran.  Right back to my air-conditioned room and cable TV.  I enjoyed a nice morning watching TV and knitting in cool, quiet and solitude.  I was very thankful for that!

negative space stool

This is not my self-portrait.

I forgot to tell you about the class involving negative spaces.  Then I will show you my self-portrait.  By drawing the space around the object, you get the object.  While I understood the concept, I found this difficult to do.  I kept wanting to draw the stool instead of the negative spaces.  However, it was another interesting lesson and now I can’t stop seeing negative spaces .

As long as I don’t see dead people.

Here is my in-the-works self-portrait which we did on the final day.  I don’t know why the background is green.   One of those camera mysteries I never know how to solve.

portrait - in the works

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing.


Are you done?

Here is the final version:

Serious ly ME  10-4-09

I look like I’ve been stunned by the flash of the camera in the police station while they were taking my mug shot during the booking process!  I should be holding a sign with numbers on it.   Most of us came out looking like we were “staring” since we were staring into a mirror for 3 hours.  (The teacher did his self portrait in about 20 minutes!)  And yes,  I had a lot of help from the teacher.

You know how they say owners and dogs end up looking alike?  Well, I think I am starting to look like my lovely dog Kaiya whose portrait was done by my dear friend Judy.

Serious Me 10-4-09 KAIYAportrait

Now If I could only get my ear to stand up like that.

There are stormy skies up ahead!

Big Sky in Florida 9-27-09

My brother is one of my favorite people in the world.  He is funny.  He is smart.  He is clever.  He is good looking.  He will NOT, I repeat, NOT read my blog.

On a recent family trip to Florida for the funeral of a favorite uncle,  I happened to ask my brother why he never reads my blog.   His response was:  He doesn’t read blogs.  He has two little boys. He is tired.  He works long hours.  He has to change diapers.  He can’t read a blog on any day that ends with a “Y”.   He has no time to go on the computer.  (That one is debatable.) On and on and on.   I could NOT get him to give in and convince him to read my blog.  I hounded him for two hours in a car ride to Jupiter.  Florida, not the planet.    In Jupiter we met with the rest of the family for a service at the cemetery.   After it was over, we all stood around chatting and my favorite aunt came over to me.  Out of the clear blue she says “I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I enjoy your blog.”

WELL!  In a million years I could not have planned that more perfectly.

Since he won’t read my blog, I will just write about him. So there Robert! So there.

I haven’t finished this painting yet, but like how it’s going so far.  Clouds are harder to paint than I thought.

Monochromatic mountains 9-2-09

They (scientists) say NYC is a melting pot and Astoria in Queens, NYC is one of the most racially diverse areas in the world.

I was watching a show on the National Geographic Channel called The Human Family Tree.  Scientists working on the human genome project went to a street fair on 30th Ave. in Astoria and collected DNA swabs.  They wanted to get more information on how humans traveled out of Africa and then traveled all over the world.  And ended up in Queens.  Really?  All that traveling just to end up in Queens???   Nevertheless, it was a fascinating show and like Stephen Colbert, who doesn’t see color, we learn that there is really no race.  Just the human race.  I loved the program.  (Or programme for those of you who are a bit naff.)

I noticed that the narrator was Kevin Bacon.  Which led me to think… all of you who enjoy the game “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon”, this will now bring a whole new “degree” to the game.  After this show, Kevin Bacon can now be traced to EVERYONE IN THE WORLD!!!!!

Game over!

In class tonight we learned about color values and making grays and blacks from the colors in our palette.  And by NOT using either gray or black.  We then had to paint a monochromatic painting using a number of different values from the gray we just made.  My gray was made from Pthalo Blue and Burnt Umber.  I mixed the gray on my palette and only used that one color in my painting.  It was interesting to see that even though I only used the one gray, the brown seems to have warmed up the blue.  I loved this exercise and really enjoyed painting this.   Interestingly, the photo of the painting shows the brown in the blue, but in real life it pretty much looks all blue.   Wonder why?

I have discovered the magic of masking tape.  And not for use in a watercolor painting sense.

Pear or light bulb 8-16-09

Every workday I leave my apartment and walk a few blocks to the subway.   There are two staircases that lead down to where people ride in a hole in the ground.   One day I noticed the staircase I always used was boarded up.  An official MTA  sign said that the stairway was being repaired and had spots where one can write in the dates that the staircase would be out of service.

The sign said that the stairway would be out of order from 6/30/09 to 7/30/09.   I silently laughed when I saw those dates.  HA!  The city can’t do anything in a month.  “We will see” I thought.  And each day for the month of July I watched and waited.  August finally rolled around and the sign still said the same thing.  But then ONE DAY, masking tape appeared over the completion date.   With no new date for completion.  Just masking tape.  As if masking tape was MAGIC tape and by putting it over the completion date, it just made that date disappear.  Wow.  How stupid does the MTA think we are?  Really?   No,   Really?

Wouldn’t it be nice it we could just put masking tape over our calendar whenever we had a due date for something that we weren’t going to complete on time.

Carol to IRS on April 16: No, my taxes aren’t due on the 15th.  I put masking tape over that date on my calendar.  And I haven’t filled in a new due date yet.

IRS to Carol: Nice try.  Pay up.  With interest.

But for some reason The City (and by The City, I mean NYC, but I have a feeling other major cities in the US and around the world would also fall into this category) manages to get away with stuff like that.  I want my stair case back.  I don’t want to have to walk all the way to the corner to use the other stairway.  Rat Bastards.

*Update to the completion of the staircase*  I passed by today and some cynical person had hand written something in.  It now says the staircase will be out of service from 6/30/09 to Infinity.  I laughed.

On another subway note, today, after having to walk the extra 50 feet to the dreaded OTHER STAIRCASE, I boarded the R train to City Hall.  I was very lucky to get a seat.  I looked across from me and there was a rather plainish looking girl rummaging through her rather large purse.  Suddenly, out came foundation, blush, mascara.  I’ve seen all this before.  I used to laugh and laugh and the woman who would pull out her eyelash curler right around DeKalb Ave. on the D train every day and squeeze it on her lashes and look around like she was holding some sort of bizarre monocle above her eye.  But I digress.  The woman today transformed herself in just a few stops.  I really wasn’t paying that much attention until she pulled out a pair of tweezers and started tweezing her eyebrows.  HUH?   Now is that really a good idea?  One sharp jerk of the train and I was expecting to see an eyeball roll across the subway car and hit my feet.   Come on!  There are just some things that should be done in the privacy of your own home.

Oh,  and I worked on the pear/light bulb painting.  It didn’t come out anything like I had expected it to when I started it.  But I like it.  And I think it works well as a companion piece to the crab apples.  Once again I over-worked it so I ended up having to add some gouache at the end.

Happy 4th of July!!!   Independence Day.  To celebrate, I had my first holiday blowout.  A tire blowout.  It could not have been more fun.

I was driving along singing to an original Broadway Cast Production of Aida with the barfing dog in the back and suddenly I heard a noise that did not sound like Adam Pascal singing.  Damn.  I pulled over and there was a very large metal object sticking straight out of my right rear tire.  It sorta looked like I had installed those spikes on my tires like they used to have on Roman chariots. That would have been cool.  Unfortunately I had a big flat tire which was so not cool.   And as a special added bonus to my day, my 100 lb dog had just barfed not once but twice in the back seat.  I pulled over to the side of the road (luckily there was a shoulder) and called AAA. Turns out they can’t come on the Saw Mill Parkway (don’t know why) but they called a county police officer who called a tow truck.

A tow truck finally came and changed the tire.  Before that some guy pulled over and asked me what was wrong.  He said he would change the tire for me, but I told him I already have a tow truck on the way.  He seemed nice enough, but I’ve seen enough TV shows to know that he was probably a serial killer.  It’s times like that when I’m glad I have a 100lb dog with me.  Isn’t that terrible?  One can no longer trust the kindness of strangers.  (If in fact he was going to be kind and not chop me up into little pieces and throw me into the woods.)

And then to top it off, one tow truck with an official “” address on the back showed up and the man was very nice, afraid of the dog and said he could change the tire.  He was almost done when ANOTHER tow truck showed up and the 2nd guy started saying that the first guy shouldn’t have helped me because HE was the truck that was dispatched by the county police.  I just wanted to get out of there.  I found out later from my sister and brother-in-law that Westchester County (that’s the one north of  the Bronx for all of you getting your maps out) has these “help” trucks that patrol the highways and help people with flat tires, cars that overheat, etc.

It was all very creepy and I’m just really glad it was in the middle of the afternoon and not the middle of the night.  My cell was barely getting reception up there.  Thank goodness my sister was available to meet me, take my doggie and all my stuff and bring it home with her while I went to a Sears Automotive place and got the tire changed.   It took 3 hours and cost me much more than the $156.00 for the new tire since I spent those 3 hours at the mall.  (I hate shopping and I hate malls, but I had no choice I had to shop.)

But I learned quite a bit!   I now know where the spare tire is on my car, how to get to it, where the special thingy is to take off the one lug nut on the tire that is “locked”, what a lug nut is, not to drive 70 mph with a doughnut instead of a real tire and, most importantly, that I can take care of myself even though I wanted to cry.

So Happy 4th of July to everyone.  I got me some independence today.  I learned how to get a flat tire changed!

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