Imitations in Words

Watching Museum Diaries early this morning on TVO and I noticed a word they used when talking about fakes and forgeries, pastiche. It is interesting how fakes have become their own genre. Antique fakes can be as interesting and historical as the real artifacts. Also, there is still the danger of being wrong and deciding an item is fake when it is not. Some artifacts are just created differently from the standard at the time. People could be innovative hundreds and thousands of years ago too. So, a different colour, style, etc, is not a sure sign of a forgery or fake. 
Wikipedia – A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parodypastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.

Ontario Blogging Women

I started a Twibe (a Twitter based group) for Ontario Blogging Women. We can talk about anything but the idea is to get together in real time, have coffee, meet real people in real places. You can bring the digital world with you but lets see some faces.
Update – The Twibe is long gone. But, I created a new link via Blogger. If you came here looking for Ontario Blogging Women leave a note. 

No More Zine Thing

The sad thing about checking links is finding abandoned projects, like the 24 Hour Zine Thing.
The 24 Hour Zine Challenge asks zinesters to create a 24-page zine from conception to final product in 24 hours straight. Zines should be of suitable size and technical difficulty so that this truly is a challenge for individual zinesters.
Zine Thing Link Rot:
I also found 24 Hour Comics Day, which started the idea for the zine publishers.
Cartoonists around the world will face the 24 hour comics challenge. To help these cartoonists, some comic book stores, educational institutions, libraries, businesses, and comics clubs will host special 24 Hour Comics Day events. They’ll provide cartoonists with a space to work, access to food and drink, and camaraderie.
Both projects have been abandoned. I’m posting the link for history and reference. Maybe someone will come along and work on the project again, or start up something like it. 

Les Miserables: Even After all These Years

My sister-in-law gave me Les Miserables (by Victor Hugo) for Christmas one year. It was a big book, a tome. But, I was curious. I hadn’t read the book, seen the movies or performances. Also, the story is over 100 years old (closing in on 200 years even) and I really like history. What better way to see history than from the words written by someone who was there.
Reading the book took awhile. I was glad my version of the book was translated by someone who took out some of the less relevant parts. Victor Hugo did go on about a lot of things, like the war which happened before the story in the book, the slang used in France 200 years ago and other things. The editor (Norman Denny) did not remove these sections from the book, but left it up to the reader to decide to read them or not. Which was good because Les Miserables is a very long book with a story which pauses frequently to discuss life and philosophy in what seems a roundabout way by current/ modern standards of book writing.

Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables almost 200 years ago.

Yet the story isn’t so outside of our own experience with broken families and trying to manage on a tight budget. I had expected the story to be more about poverty and drudgery. It wasn’t. It also was not just about a police chase. I had seen some of the Les Miserables movie made in the 1970s. The part I watched (before turning the channel) was all about Jean Valjean being tracked down by Javert. If this is your impression of the story you should read the book. There is more to it.

Which movie version of Les Miserables have you seen and which was your favourite?

How Honest is your Review?

I don’t especially like writing reviews. They are tricky. I don’t like to be negative or critical, it makes me feel petty. But, a review needs honesty – otherwise it isn’t worth much at all.
Amazon’s lawyers are willing to go after anyone making money from writing reviews, no matter how small that “business” may be. In earlier lawsuits, Amazon targeted businesses that were selling packages of dozens or even hundreds of fake reviews. Fiverr is a site where people offer to do small jobs for $5 or more (hence the site’s name). Judging by the nature of the accused Fiverr ads, these mini-Internet scams are about as small-time as they come.
“Unfortunately, a very small minority of sellers and manufacturers tries to gain unfair competitive advantage for their products,” write Amazon lawyers. “One such method is creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews. While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers… place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand.”
“Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate,” the complaint concludes.

Write a fake, glowing review for something. Pick something in front of you right now: coffee mug, pen, batteries, skin cream, computer mouse, vitamins, etc.

Jenny Holzer Writes Projections as Art

Jenny Holzer is an artist presenting ideas in words for public spaces. 
The public dimension is integral to Holzer’s work. Her large-scale installations have included advertising billboards, projections on buildings and other architectural structures, and illuminated electronic displays. LED signs have become her most visible medium, although her diverse practice incorporates a wide array of media including street posters, painted signs, stone benches, paintings, photographs, sound, video, projections, the Internet, and a race car for BMW. Text-based light projections have been central to Holzer’s practice since 1996. As of 2010, her LED signs have become more sculptural. Holzer is no longer the author of her texts, and in the ensuing years, she returned to her roots by painting.
Quoted from Wikipedia.
I found her through Twitter, someone else said she was one of his favourite people to quote. My experience has been different. To me she sounds fatalistic, meaning she has lost hope and doesn’t feel anything will change for the better. 
These are among her recent posts. The first one is current, posted today. I don’t find those inspirational and I don’t agree with them either. 
I do like some of her quotes, but these three make me worry for her. I hope she has people around to notice should she need help. 
Anyway, I posted her link and her art out of interest for the genre. I like combining art genres and styles in new and interesting ways. What would you post up on a building in lights? Something you wanted to share and inspire the world (or at least the city) with.

In Time We Won’t Be Here

I often think about the future and history. They aren’t opposites really. The future becomes the past and the past inspires the future. But, in between, what do people in the future think about people in the past? All the things we have written… will anyone read them?
That bugs me. People may or may not read what I write now. Somehow it matters more that someone reads it all in the future. Of course, that means it has to be available to be read in some format. I don’t think it will be. I’m not that important or especially brilliant to be preserved for future generations. It all winds down to a popularity contest in the end. Kind of sad. Being popular doesn’t make what you say any better or smarter. Likely it gets edited to suit the popular opinion so the popular people keep being popular.
In the end, will anything kept from our time matter? If it is all based on popularity – how bland that will be.
Time will tell – that is such a great phrase. But, in time, we won’t be here to talk about it.

Build a Better Mousetrap for the End of the World

Would you even guess this is a mousetrap? It’s vintage, from the 1930’s approximately. I first saw it on a video from Shawn Woods and then I went looking on eBay out of curiousity. Shawn Woods makes videos of how mousetraps actually work at catching mice. If you are especially squeamish or strongly against killing rodents, don’t watch. 
I think people have been trying to catch rodents, mice in particular, from the earliest days of deliberately planting anything with the idea of farming. You might think we should let all the urban wildlife live and, I’m not out to kill them all, but I do think we need to find some balance. Some animals are very good at surviving, adapting and scavenging. I’d rather see other animals keep their foothold instead of the planet being overrun by predatory scavengers. (I do include ourselves among those). 
I enjoyed watching the mousetrap videos for the engineering aspects really. My Father was an electrical engineer and I also like seeing the mechanics of things and how all the little parts work together and rely on each other. Vintage things especially because they were still made to last then. I like the heavy, solid feel of them and 100 years later they made need a little cleaning up but will still work. Often any repairs are simple enough you can manage yourself. 
I like to imagine the mousetraps people would come up with if there were an end of the world, a zombie apocalypse, a worldwide disaster, or some other possibility like the end of all fossil fuels. Could you make a mousetrap if you had to design and build it yourself? Don’t go with the “let all creatures live” thing. If it came down to the mouse or yourself for the last of the food you have on hand, I don’t think you would feel quite so charitable about sharing with a pack of rodents.

Repurpose Unwelcome Old Books

I am a book hoarder. I knew I had passed the collecting versus hoarding limit when I needed a second bookshelf for the non-ficiton books I mostly have not read yet. All those good intentions can’t last forever. So I have at least a dozen books about computer software which have not been relevant for awhile. Libraries and second hand bookstores do not want them – computer books in particular they tend not to accept at all. But, I can’t just throw them away! All that idealism that went into picking them for whatever project I had in mind. All that stuff I wanted to learn but didn’t finish… before it became outdated. 

Some books are just obsolete. 

Just because you can’t find someone who wants that old book about Windows ME, doesn’t mean it’s not worth more than the paper it’s printed on. There are people who would be glad to have those old books for art projects. Consider donating them to schools for children to use in craft projects. I’m thinking paper mache but I’m sure teachers working with young people could think of other uses. Artists working with paper could use the pages of your books for practicing, creating a mock up/ rough draft of a project – of cleaning their paint brushes. 

There is hope for your old books so stop keeping them all yourself. 

(Image from Good Housekeeping).