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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window

21sep2020

cropI didn't much feel like writing web pages this weekend, so I don't know there'll be much posting this week. Why yes, I was offended that Mitch McConnell is going ahead with replacing RBG even before her body is in the ground, despite her (dying, for the ghods’ sake!) wishes and his (fake) ‘rules’ last time around.

So what we have here is my attempt to inventory some of my hostas, a topic, I assume, of interest only to me. As compensation, here's a link that may be helpful to other relatively ignorant hosta gardeners: HVX is not the only hosta virus but it's definitely the most serious, and an excellent reason to justify purchasing hostas from reputable providers (as opposed to big box stores, where, even if the garden section employee wants to get rid of the entire shipment if one is diseased, as required by law, probably wouldn't be allowed to do so...) I'm very grateful that, as far as I know, despite the plethora of striptease hostas (a particularly vulnerable cultivar) in my garden I so far have not encountered HVX. (Of course, I bought that original, since aggressively divided, from a reputable source, Arrowhead Alpines.)

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18sep2020

cropSomeone posted a link about a machinist who makes an 8 ball from brass and steel, which was certainly nice enough, though I was actually more fascinated by a) the comment that the technique and equipment used had been seen hereto only in a 100 year old book; and b) the comment with a link to another of this guy's videos, this one about the restoration of a vintage, possibly antique, ratcheting screwdriver.

I say antique ’cuz I don't ever remember my dad using a tool like this when I was growing up, and he was into fancy tools: he had a ratcheting wrench that used a similar mechanism, of which he was quite fond. Plus, the wooden handle is kind of a giveaway.

I actually have some old wrenches, mostly leftover from my bestie's grand-dad, which perhaps I should someday photograph, but in the meantime, here's another floral sketch.

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17sep2020

cropO hai, I expect everyone's getting a bit tired of sunflowers, so let's shift gears to something slightly different—black eyed susans, which are almost exactly the same shape!

I have to admit, I enjoyed listening to this relatively successful maker (whose creations include patreon, amongst other things) discuss his many, many failures. My life has turned out okay, but I surely get the failures—stuff I'm convinced people will find awesome...that just fizzles. Over and over and over.

As one of the commenters on boingboing notes, the secret is to keep plugging away, till you finally hit upon something that catches. And then plug away some more, because the first success doesn't necessarily guarantee the next one. IOW, practice makes perfect.

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16sep2020

cropSo many of my recent links seem to be kind of depressing, so I was charmed by this guy playing melons and kiwis. Before I clicked, I thought this might be like the story I heard from one of my friends about her son playing a cactus. I'd never heard of that! She was pretty bemused, and not terribly impressed.

As it happens, the melons just provide conductivity from the player's fingertips, that is, an input method. I wondered if I could find a clip of my friend's son playing cactus. (It seemed pretty unlikely.) While looking, I discovered something I didn't know, which is that John Cage pioneered this technique, while he was exploring music from plant materials in the mid 70s, and that people are continuing to play his compositions. Therefore, the kid wasn't just twitting his parents over his extremely expensive music major randomly messing about, but actually performing repertoire. And, wonder of wonders, here he is performing John Cage on the cactus after all: Pretty cool! —that I found this kid's work; that I got to hear it, finally; and that it wasn't some half assed experiment but actually part of a half-century tradition. (Not that a lot of half-assed experiments, particularly to the public's ear, didn't become beloved classics. Looking at you, Rite of Spring...)

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15sep2020

cropOkey-dokey, let's unload some links...cool 1902 footage of Germany's ‘flying train’. I s'pose I oughta read this article from Time magazine on Conspiracy Theories. I have to say, I'm getting mortally tired of people falling for this crap, which looks to be fueled by much of the same resentment that Fred Clark has documented so skillfully. He's much more willing, it seems to me, to cut what he calls the ‘anti-kitten-burning coalition’ slack—or at least, make an effort to empathize with their fears, but it really seems to me that racism is the driving factor—after all, it's not like the rest of us aren't being screwed by the system, with PoC taking the brunt of it. —This is why I was so annoyed with an article a friend sent me, The West has a Resentment Problem for which the author's thesis is, rural communities did not recover at the same rate liberal urban centers did after the 2008 crash, so they all went for populists like Trump.

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14sep2020

cropBefore stumbling upon a list of best children's books, I had not heard of Mo Willems, who evidently is a sensation, particularly for his all-id no-filters character, Pigeon. Well, given that kids tend towards the all-id no-filters approach to life, it makes sense they would identify.

But while listening to an interview about some of the author's new projects, the teaser for it promised “A New Creative Challenge (And So Should You) [try]”. Intrigued—it's only seven minutes, and as you may have noticed, I have been listening to a lot of crap stuff while making marks on paper—I waited to find out what this enticing practise could be. —As it turns out, the author's terror at trying new things was the bit with which I identified, but Willem's suggestion for getting kids to make art without easy access to art teachers in these covid times is...make art.

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