28 November 2012

A Box with Air Holes

Color-enhanced version of image.

I like having a P.O. Box.  It makes me think of travel and pen friends and the occasional mystery.  
Every now and then something truly remarkable shows up. 

This large box was delivered this past week.  
It was pretty beat up - not a good sign given that it was marked Fragile on each side.

A closer look revealed something not often seen: air holes!

And the return address was decidedly fantastical.  

Clearly other, fictional universes were involved.  Entering immediately into the play of the thing, I imagined I heard wee snorkley sounds coming from inside! And did I see movement when I opened the box?

I carefully placed the basket on the table and opened it very gently.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear?

A wee NANO RHINO wearing its own wee onsie!

Accompanying this whimsical arrival was an impressive letter.  The stationery boasted gold embossing and an elaborate typewritten script.  Pinned to the letter was a dramatically posed portrait.  

[Transcript below or click on the letter to read the enlarged version.]


To: The Esteemed Judith Jablonski, PhD
From: Dr. Humphrey D. Winslow III, Esq.
On The Occasion Of Finalization of Adoptive Care Order WR739 1/2

Dear Ms. Jablonski,

It is my pleasure to inform you that the Society for the Right and Proper Selection of Appropriate Individuals for the Care of Orphaned Diceros bicornis minor has rendered a decision in your case, #WR&#/7931/2.  In accordance with our Bylaws (Chapter 2, Section 34.3, Paragraph 9), the Subcommittee for Review of Applications, Censures, Fitness, Standards and Mores met at the Society headquarters in closed, executive session on September 3, 2012.  After three days of deliberation and multiple ballot rounds, I am pleased to inform you that they signalled [sic] their affirmative decision by order of the traditional pot of Earl Grey.

On behalf of the Executive Committee for Substantiation and Documentation of Transfers of Titles and Signatories, I am pleased to bestow upon you the title of "Member in Waiting" and bequeath you with the Deed of Subservient Services of Diceros bicornis minor.  Said Deed shall be sepeable [?] and revocable on evidence that you have not rendered adequate care and schooling to this juvenile.

Madame, I wish you and your new baby rhino the best in this life and the next!

With Utmost Sincerity,

Dr. Humphrey D. WInslow III, Esq.
Founder, Chair, President, and CEO

P.S.  Kind madame, please forgive the many errors in this missive.  My assistant and compatriot Lord Jim Higgenbottom met a fate most horrible on the business end of a Rhinoceros unicornis on his last journey to that dark subcontinent of India.  I have never trusted those beasts, and never will.


Doctor Humphrey D. Winslow, III, Esq.

Uncertain as to how Dr. Winslow III shall ascertain the welfare of the wee bicornis minor, I have posted this image below to reassure him and the Society.  The as yet unnamed beastie has been put in the tender care of one Moberg, House Mascot and Socialization Chief.  Said Moberg has mentored numerous individuals of the class Crepundia Telae and immediately adopted the wee rhino and made it 'to home.'

I also wish to send my thanks (and barely submerged chuckles) to the Society.  It is very good to know that the recent drought and excessively hot weather of the past summer has in no way dimmed the imaginative faculties of the denizens of the State of Kansas!


12 November 2012

Dreamtime Alchemy (Mashup)

There was this tiger, see?  And this funky-steampunky run of hallways filled with people from all different centuries, all talking loudly to and over one another.  At some point I strolled through a 19th century music hall.  And then I saw stars. All the while there was this cacaphony of music and sounds: a medieval madrigal with a Gregorian chant underlay, a jet contrail emitting flute notes, some Miles Davis-y jazz blended into an almost regal chanson, and a fiery furnace blast of unmitigated, white noise, full on rock-n-roll.  This is what happens when a synesthete dreams. 

Synesthesia, a term which translates as joined perception, "is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway" [ from Wikipedia article ]  Here's another take on it:
"Imagine that when you see a city's skyline, you taste blackberries. Or maybe when you hear a violin, you feel a tickle on your left knee. Perhaps you are completely convinced that Wednesdays are light red." [from Neuroscience for Kids: Synesthesia]
For me it means that chocolate tastes green - that beautiful rich green of moss on rocks; brass music becomes massive, brilliantly-lit, sharply pointed glass shards; time is a giant grid of hills where the past is a hazy lit fog and the future looks like clouds on the horizon; and when I walk on a certain moving pathway at the National Art Museum in Washington D.C. I see purple splotches where others might see footprints. 

Some days it is as distracting as all get out though most times it is the normal, quietly entertaining backdrop of my day to day doings.  Last night it invaded my dreams.  Last night I dreamt wildly.  Last night I went to a concert by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra.

Funny thing is, I don't like rock music - often to the point of active dislike.  I rarely listen to it.  My Beloved Spousal Unit is the rock fan in our household.  I don't much care for Ms. Palmer's work musically (though her lyrics and her videos I find huge and hugely powerful).  Her music-making crashes and hurts my synesthete's brain fearsomely. But I adore her for what she does.  I've seen her in concert three times now and each time I've come away relatively unmoved in terms of having had a musical experience.  And each time I come away feeling I have seen a real artist, a person who has utterly, and with complete abandon, given herself over to the true madness that is at Art's core. 

AFP and The Grand Theft Orchestra, Vienna, 5 November 2012.
(Musician is 4th from the left.)

Palmer and her current band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, have been an active element in our lives these past few weeks.  Our very dear friend, Musician - my one time grad school roommate - lives in Vienna.  By day she works, by necessity as is often the case for artists, as an executive assistant at the IAEA.  But her heart is elsewhere.  When Amanda put out the call that they needed a string quartet for the Vienna concert, Musician applied.  She also brought in another violinist and a cellist.  These classical players had a night of it.  An incredible night, Musician tells us. (We had an inkling.  We were tracking it all via Twitter and the intermittent text messages Musician sent out at the pre-show rehearsals and sound checks.)

Turner Hall, Milwaukee, 11 November 2012
 Photos by Melissa Miller
Complete gallery here

I can't tell you how the concert went down in Milwaukee.  I really don't get rock music.  But I can tell you there were a lot of people around me who did.  I can tell you there were people there for whom Amanda and her bunch mean they can live another day because she is out there flying the flag for them.  Her music gives them hope.  It tells them Be Strong.  It says I Hear You. It tells them to BE.  It tells them they are loved.

And the funny, awesome, sweet and mad raucous thing is - she means it.  She god damn means it. And they know it.

Rubberstamp design by me for my onetime art stamp company

So last night I dreamed. It was the kind of dreaming that I just enjoy.  I held off from lucidly directing things though I could have if I wanted - it seemed I was awake throughout the night.  

Mostly I just watched as the decrepit plaster ceiling of the 19th century Turner Hall evaporated into a view of a very richly shaded night sky of stars.  I heard Gregorian chants behind my memories of the concert's pounding rock. I imagined my friend Musician on the stage playing her violin.  I felt my Beloved's delight at hearing one of his favorite artists perform.  I was aware of the couple from Chicago whom we'd just met for dinner before the concert.  Both love music - I could feel myself wondering what their experience of the night might be. I studied a kaleidoscope of costumes (some showing up as illustrations on the pages of old books).  I wandered through scene after scene, image after image, music after music.

The most curious thing about Amanda Palmer.  After each of the three concerts I've left truly unmoved by the sounds she makes.  And yet I am profoundly moved creatively by what she has done. It is that funny, awesome, sweet and mad raucous thing again.  

And thus I have begun my week.

02 November 2012

Professor Remington's Fosterling

Over a quarter of a century ago I first read the original Pern books by Anne McCaffrey.  I have my criticisms about the books - I am a reader of Pern not a fan - but there are nuances of social living that McCaffrey created that my utopian self finds interesting.  One of these is the notion of fostering

On Pern, as noted in the Wikipedia article about the social structure known as the Weyr, "Parental ties are loose, and children are considered to be the property of the Weyr, not of the parent." Typically, children are fostered out, that is raised by others.  Fosterage is a long time, real human tradition.  
"Fosterage, the practice of a family bringing up a child not their own, differs from adoption in that the child's parents, not the foster-parents, remain the acknowledged parents. In many modern western societies foster care can be organised by the state to care for children with troubled family backgrounds, usually on a temporary basis. In many pre-modern societies fosterage was a form of patronage, whereby influential families cemented political relationships by bringing up each other's children, similar to arranged marriages, also based on dynastic or alliance calculations." [from Wikipedia article on Fosterage]

When it comes to typewriters, for some of them in my collection, I think of them more as fosterlings than as machines I intend to keep.  I don't always know that when I see them, but this latest acquisition I recognized immediately as one I would care for only temporarily.  When it moves on has yet to be determined, but here are some pics for your Typospherian entertainment.  

It was the case that caught my eye.  A bit briefcase-y with a wrap-around handle that had a bit of the original Star Trek design flavor.

Inside the case were some paper goodies!

Including this cryptic bit of medical speak which showed off the small, elite font nicely.

The machine itself -- a Remington Performer -- showed some dings along the outer edges, but is, in the main, in pretty good condition.

A neat stylistic feature is the red spacer key.

And is it possible that the ribbon spools aren't those old, pokey ones my older Remingtons use?

Most curious, in terms of its design lines are how it looks quite chunky from the sides and very flat from the rear!

What I like, and will miss when it moves on to a new home, is the comfortable keys that Remington specializes in.  A little smaller than those on the Hermes portables, they type comfortably and smoothly.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Professor Remington 
(holding 1940s era Skyriter)

Addendum:  The Professor Remington referred to in the title of this post is the name of one of my alter egos.  She came into being in an instant this past summer when my brother Architect suggested I might enjoy participating in the annual Summer Solstice celebration over in his town of Madison, WI.  I offered to host a Type-InKeeping with the theatrical nature of the event I created a character - Professor Remington - who came dressed in full, if comical, academic regalia.  I still have her wig, costume, and advertising billboard. Who knows when Professor Remington shall make future appearances!

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