LISTEN: The Living Room, story from Radiolab NPR
LOOK: Out My Window, photo series by Gail Albert-Halaban
Gail Albert-Halaban,explores the tension between public and private life, what is seen by all, and what is hidden. The series Out My Window is a collection of images taken through and into windows in New York City, she acknowledges unspoken voyeurism and exhibitionism, tells us to admit we all do it, and then pushes us to confront the hope, isolation and other emotions that lie behind the gaze.
The pictures seem intrusive, but are nearly all posed. The residents are collaborators and their apartments are lit specifically to make these pictures, which explore a defining urban experience: becoming secretly familiar with the neighbors’ most intimate moments.
READ: “Look at Me, I’m Crying” by Melissa Febos , New York Times
“If you live in New York, you’re bound to end up crying in public eventually; there just aren’t enough private places. Just the other day I saw someone doing it on West 12th Street. A tall woman in a beret, with a curtain of reddish hair, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. She wasn’t on the phone, wasn’t accompanied by a man, or a mom or even a dog. She wasn’t beautiful, the way a lot of people in New York are, but I couldn’t look away.”
Lullatone is a band by Shawn & Yoshimi (as in, battles the pink robots!). The music is so cute, and so is the couple that makes it. They started dating in college, and after graduation they moved to Japan, Yoshimi’s home. They make concept albums that revolve around a certain theme. In their own words, “…we try many ideas based around that theme and use the best ten or so. Our concepts up to this point have included: instruments tapped and plucked to sound like musical raindrops falling; making up a melody in your head, forgetting it, and then trying to rebuild it (scattered but still super melodic;) sine tone symphonies, and, of course, pajama pop.” (The quote is from this interview.) So for fun, I created a song list for an album about kisses. The list is below. Listen to and buy their music here!
Sticky kindergartner kisses in the sand box
Kisses at picnics in sunny parks
Kisses on Ferris wheels, while your heart beats so fast
Nervous first date kisses on the front porch
Kisses stolen in the kitchen while guests and family aren’t looking
Kisses in mornings with stale breath and stubbly beards
Kisses in the quiet of freshly fallen snow
P.S. they created some crazy fun games for making music and animations here. You can play on your computer or download a phone app!
“Although NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken many breathtaking images of the universe, one snapshot stands out from the rest: the iconic view of the so-called “Pillars of Creation.” The jaw-dropping photo, taken in 1995, revealed never-before-seen details of three giant columns of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16.
Though such butte-like features are common in star-forming regions, the M16 structures are by far the most photogenic and evocative. The Hubble image is so popular that it has appeared in movies and television shows, on T-shirts and pillows, and even on a postage stamp.
And now, in celebration of its upcoming 25th anniversary in April, Hubble has revisited the famous pillars [pictured above], providing astronomers with a sharper and wider view. As a bonus, the pillars have been photographed in near-infrared light, as well as visible light. The infrared view transforms the pillars into eerie, wispy silhouettes seen against a background of myriad stars. That’s because the infrared light penetrates much of the gas and dust, except for the densest regions of the pillars. Newborn stars can be seen hidden away inside the pillars. The new images are being unveiled at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.”
“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently.”
“Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.”
Lately I’ve been getting to a bunch of projects around the house that had previously been forgotten. It feels good to attend to those small things around the house that irritate me; improving one tiny thing after another. So far I’ve:
- replaced the boob light fixture above my desk with this paper lantern
- installed hooks for guests to hang towels on
- mounted my favourite vintage door knob and escutcheon as a closet curtain tie back; also, finally hemmed that curtain
- finally got a bath mat that the bunny won’t destroy
- sanded and Danish oiled plywood that will soon be a new desktop surface, and a new dresser surface for the guest room
- organized the closet (what a relief!)
- touch-up painted around the apartment (more of this to do)
- hung a world map in the guest room, and strung up all the thank-you notes I’ve received :)
- re-arranged the bedroom furniture so that there’s enough space for my yoga mat
- drop a huge load of stuff at goodwill
- re-organize and clean the back stairwell so it’s no longer scary
These things have kept me busy these last few weeks. I’m realizing how much I enjoy designing and improving my environment. My mood, energy levels, and ability to focus are greatly influenced by my environment, and I feel so much more focused and purposeful. It’s the same feeling as balancing one’s checkbook. Anyway, this weekend I hosted a lovely French couple and their three year-old daughter Aimee. She was so sweet and well-behaved! It was impressive to see how her parents hovered over, constantly encouraging her to talk clearly, walk slowly, and play gently. What lovely people! Saturday night we went to the grocery store together, and they invited me to eat dinner with them. See that lovely salad below – with avocado, tomatillos, and grapefruit! I tucked in early, then spend all of Sunday in Lakeview celebrating LOVE.
LOVE makes a family.
I often stress myself out when there are two things that I love so much that I can’t choose a favourite. I’ve been stressing on ranunculus vs. poppies as my favourite flower for months. And yes, stress IS the appropriate word.
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