jeweled platypus


friday, june 01, 2007
The significance of roly-poly fish heads

This is a sculpture by Colette Hosmer, made from a mold of fresh food sold in Chinese markets (project statement). She has many other neat sculptures: minnows as water, food made of sand and dirt, creepy still-lifes, and more.

They're large and made of green granite.

But when I saw that picture while going through an art magazine, I tore it out and saved it because it made a certain song pop in my head:

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads!
Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!
In the morning, laughing happy fish heads,
in the evening, floating in the soup!
Ask a fish head anything you want to.
They won’t answer; they can’t talk!
I took a fish head out to see a movie,
didn’t have to pay to get it in!
They can’t play baseball, they don’t wear sweaters,
they’re not good dancers, they don’t play drums!
Roly poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappucino in Italian restaurants with Oriental women…yeah!
Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads!
Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!

The guy who taught me how to fish had us sing that with him while we gutted the poor things and as a way of promoting the fishing activity to other campers. Even though I never killed animals after that, I like the song and inflict it on my friends whenever possible. This is the video and you must watch it.

For the squeamish, Cement Mixer, Putty Putty is another of my favorite silly songs.

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thursday, march 22, 2007
It’s OK enough to show the world

My final assignment for New Media class was to use Flash to create a “new media work” that “uses a diagram or map as its interface”. I know that the only good Flash movies are entertaining (see monkey pops, la historia del mamut, etc.), but of course I tried to make something informative and useful — while wondering why I was having such a hard time. This is the result:

eat the map!!!

It’s an eat-map (ha ha, like heat-map) of the Santa Barbara area: a bunch of mini-reviews of restaurants I’ve visited with Doug. Then I wrote five pages about the implications of this project:

…my eat-map displays narratives, facts, words, and images in order to both memorize and communicate…these mundane facts are collected and pored over as ways to more efficiently exchange money for satisfying experiences…by putting these experiences into information, I reveal the shapes and forms within them: a spatial memory of where restaurants are, shaped into a map; a knowledge of how often we go out to eat, reduced into the sizes of circles…blah blah blah.

If you don’t want to bother with new media, here is my list of good places in the Santa Barbara area, ordered by closing time:

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monday, february 12, 2007
Apples and memory and classes

More about W.G. Sebald and “how seven British artists have responded to his work and the landscapes that inspired him”:

It was a recurrent theme in Sebald’s conversation, not just his writing, that remembering is a completely random process generated by echoes, affinities and connections.

One of these artists delves into the life of Sebald’s friend who was obsessed with apples, making a film that “uses a fractured structure that emphasises something lost or obscured”, and there are other artists with photographs of ruins, taxidermied birds, recorded nature scenes. This is all very appealing, and it reminds me that I have an unopened copy of The Emigrants at my mom’s house, bought optimistically in a book store in San Francisco along with novels by Italo Calvino and Marguerite Duras that I never read either.

But the apples. The apples are important. I read The Rings of Saturn for a class, and our assignment was to go on a walk and write something Sebaldian, and I wrote about my obsession with apples and other kinds of fruit. People liked it, and you can read it now.

not actually associated with the text

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wednesday, january 17, 2007
Now for some pictures

I love jamaica (hibiscus tea), but it’s a bit difficult to find, especially the way I like it: strong and not-too-sweet, the way the wonderful Chichen Itza in Los Angeles makes it. So I’m learning to make it myself, and after a few strange first attempts following some recipes with saucepans and limes, I figured out that it’s easiest to just drop a few calyces into one of my old tulip mugs and add boiling water. Old pictures:

a spoon on the stove

a glass of hot jamaica and a dismembered lime

Other weird sweets that I love: halvah, violet pastilles, brown goat cheese, rum chocolate, lingonberries, mooncakes (taro, lotus, red bean, chestnut, jasmine, date, etc.), rice pudding with cardamom, and far too many other things, especially purple ones.

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wednesday, july 12, 2006
Apples and other exciting things

A long time ago, people called all kinds of fruits and vegetables “apples”.

“Long apples” and “apples of paradise” [1].
Apples that look like pinecones.
“Earth apples” in Hebrew, French, and possibly other languages.
Also “earth apples”.
In Hebrew, a contraction of “golden apples”.
Grainy apples.

In other news, I am moving to San Francisco in a week or so because is internifying me this summer. Yes, this is rockingly awesome and I am rather excited. You will be updated.

Update 7/12/06 11:37: Also tomatoes! Pomodoro is “golden apple” in Italian.

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I’m Britta Gustafson.

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