Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One of my favorite things lately is the bat billboard, a design for a bat habitat that doubles as a billboard, to give bats a space in urban areas and to study them, and to teach people about how bats aren't bad even if they are kind of alarming. While I do not like things that swoop I am pretty fond of bats, especially the ones that go to space, and I am very sorry about their troubles with that fungus that kills them in their sleep.Obviously, the best part of this project is the idea of translating what the bats are saying to each other, all these little bat stories that bats can't read over our cities. Bat secrets.

But then the other day I read Bradbury's The Veldt again, and I started thinking about all of the problems that could arise if all of the desires of bats were out there for all of us to see. How we would get so used to them talking about mosquitoes that we probably wouldn't notice when they started talking about us, and all the ways down from there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I have been trying to discover the details of the painting that frightened me so last week, to no avail. In its own way this worries me more, almost enough that I am tempted to send one of my New York friends to the museum in search of it. How is it that in my overly-documented life I did not write any of this down? Something is amiss somewhere, and I'm idly worried that I'm imagining spooky paintings where no spooky paintings exist. This would hardly be a surprise.

As has historically been the case, my birthday is this weekend, and I am as always thinking too much. About how all of these days have slipped by so softly, about milestones missed not from a lack of trying but simply from a lack of succeeding. Feeling ever so slightly sorry for myself and softly blue. Aging doesn't bother me, but sometimes this lack of forward motion gets under my skin. Still, the fact that my main problem is essentially just that my waters are too calm means that there is no actual problem at all. To complain would seem ungrateful, and I am definitely not that--just spinning with all of this energy and nowhere to direct any of it. Making up spooky things that may not actually be there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

At least one of my tomato plants is suffering from blossom-end rot this year, a sign I think of our unusual rollercoaster summer. The plants just don't know how to deal with drinking water when the temperature is moving in so many different directions.

I am home from vacation. I sat outside drinking sangria and watching the heat lightning and inside cozily ordering another glass of wine while outside it poured. I watched the guards in MOMA watching the people, and the guard by a Felix Gonzalez-Torres piece try hard to convince people in several languages to pick up and eat the candy. (Fun fact: Felix Gonzalez-Torres is one of my very favorite artists.) I was surprised by a spooky Hopper painting in a corner by an elevator, and I walked through Little Italy in a rainstorm, shoes and shins and the hem of my dress soaked but still without needing a sweater. I met a wild-haired Frenchman who I can only assume was an early birthday present from the universe (dear universe: thanks for that), and I looked and looked and looked at dinosaurs. I finally, finally went to the Cloisters, and I went with someone I have known for approximately 27 years. I did a lot of eating, a lot of watching, and a lot of laughing. These are all my favorite things.

Now it's time for the rest of the summer, and as long as the creek doesn't rise it might still be salvageable.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I had lunch with the little guy and his dad today. Monday afternoon lunch is always a sign of vacation and therefore a thing to be celebrated, but today was even more exciting because they officially announced the Habit Labs merger. I like how my friends do cool things, especially when they're things about making life better and more fun.

I'm going to go on vacation, look at some dinosaurs, do some serious lounging. Regain my perspective. Let's meet back here in a week, and get ready to spend the fall making life better and more fun.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Planning for my trip next week has almost exclusively involved watching the videos about the World's Largest Dinosaurs exhibit over and over again, debating about whether or not to spend two days at the museum, and organizing drinks in rooftop bars with very funny people. It's been a while since the last time New York and I were in love, and right now I am bored and restless in my bones. In the summer my angry robot always demands a change of scenery.

Last week I was watching a documentary about migration--two of my favorite things are butterflies and the zugunruhe--and they talked about how it takes three generations of monarchs to get from Mexico to Canada, but only one to get back home. They say that the information that tells the butterflies if they are aligned with the Earth's magnetic field is kept in their antennae, a chemical compass right on top of their little heads.

In my head is the story of a butterfly who just can't keep itself straight with the rest of the group, and it's only later that it finds out that its own antennae are aligned with a magnetic field somewhere else. Jupiter, probably, or even the lost field of Mars. Someplace further than it can get to but that it never quite stops trying to reach.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It turns out that maritime law has all kinds of jargon for different kinds of wreck, a whole universe of nautical meanings for things I never thought to remember to check on. All different kinds of consequences for each of them.

So what I now know is that flotsam is what you find floating on the surface, the wreckage of the ship or what was inside. Jetsam is what you throw overboard in distress, all of the machinery and barrels of spare cows and bales of love letters that eventually either sink or wash ashore. Lagan is what you leave on the bottom of the ocean to be picked up later, when the storms have blown over or the ships have gotten bigger.

Obviously, for my purposes, it's the derelict that we're interested in, which could turn out to be all of the above--all of that which is on the bottom of the ocean but without hope of being reclaimed. Just another wreck. In the laws, it turns out that dereliction is at least initially all about intent--if the crew is abandoning something without planning to go back and find it later, it starts out as a wreck. In those cases it seems like the only redemption is in salvage, in finding what was abandoned and reclaiming it from the waters.

Maritime law gets poetic when it talks about salvage, maybe because salvage is less law and more suggestion. Still, in 1989 they amended the previous convention to include acts of attempted salvation with little chance of success, if what they're trying to save will otherwise be irreparably damaged. The conventions are all talking about compensation, of course, but I think that what is gained either way is still not quite the point.