Friday, September 23, 2011

Ok Ok Ok

Today's art book is Ok Ok Ok by photographer Mike Slack. This is a lovely little cloth-bound book, filled with a small collection of Polaroids. It's interesting--the images are hazy, quiet, understated, sometimes almost abstract, that yet they somehow also manage at the same time to evoke a narrative, presenting a charming and evocative world.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Next Poem about Fall 2005

October 10, 2005
Our kitchen saw a lot of activity yesterday

Bill woke with the urge to make pancakes
and put ginger in them
The Joy of Cooking pancake recipe is
in my opinion
one of best recipes
for any sort of food
(melted butter is the secret)
ginger and maple syrup are good too

After breakfast I got to work
on a large version of the mini potato gratin I made the other night
to take to an afternoon ladies’ comfort food party
it takes a lot longer
to peel and mandolin up four potatoes than one
to chop five cloves of garlic rather than two
to make layers of stuff in a large dish not a small one
Facts which really shouldn’t have surprised me
but somehow did
So that I felt rushed in my cooking
which I do not love

Unless it’s something like the Indian cauliflower we made for dinner
full of high heat
and stir frying
and fast ingredient-adding
with lots of fragrant smoke that smells like spices and chilies
The sort of cooking where I get to yell
“Action cooking!”
while rushing around the kitchen brandishing my big wooden spoon
which makes Bill laugh

But Action Cooking aside
I want time in the kitchen to proceed at a stately pace
to amble
like baking
to absorb my hands and the front part of my mind
leaving the back part free to mull

Same reason I like to sew by hand
no matter how many times Jen offers me her machine
I like the deliberateness
of doing something on purpose in a way that takes time
and then arrives at an observable result
in the end

image source is here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jackets as Decor

Now here is an interesting thing in the book world (note bene: no one in publishing, as far as I know, uses that term--rather, by employing it, I am outing myself as a nerd who reads Jasper Fford)--this company, Juniper Books, will make you custom book jackets for the books in your home library, so they can all match and look extra cool together on your shelves. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, they're certainly doing it well and, ooh pretty. But on the other hand I'm picturing thousands of hard-working book designers quietly going insane with the ignominy of having all their thoughtful work undone. Not to mention I do rather love a sloppy, loved, real shelf of books, where everything has clearly been read and pawed over and many were bought for cheap so the reader in question could read more, not prettier. So, suffice it to say I won't be ordering any of these up for myself any time soon. But I can admire them as eye candy with impunity, and now so can you, thanks to these fine images culled by Nursery Notations and Elements of Style:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2 or 3 Things I Know, A Mash Note

It would be nearly impossible for me to overstate how much I admire the blog 2 or 3 Things I Know. Its author, Cerré, has an astonishing curatorial eye for beauty, and her text is so restrained and smart that the more prolix and babble-y amongst us can really only gape and adulate. The whole thing is utterly pleasing and elegant. To show you what I mean: though I've been reading it for years, all the images in today's post are drawn from posts currently on just the first page of her site (so to track them back to their sources, just click the link above and scroll down)--such a rich wealth of great content! Not to mention, none of it is the stuff that everyone else is blogging and reblogging this week (no small feat in our current era of tumblr, pinterest, and so forth).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mabel and Gandhi

One of the Embarcadero towers, the Ferry Building clock tower, statue of Gandhi, Mabel, and a cloud. Summer in San Francisco.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Year in Japan

A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson. I love this book. Love love love it. Sometimes, when I am this enamored of a volume, I find it very hard to "review" it in any meaningful way. Basically, I just want to say "this book is amazing! look at these pictures!" And so: This book is amazing! Look at these pictures:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another Poem in the Series about Fall 2005

October 7, 2005
Picked up by my mother from work last night and taken out to dinner

To a new restaurant in soma
excellent food ordered in a grazing way
where we shared everything
tempura fried green beans and duck liver terrine
fig pizza and pea ravioli
yummy chocolate cake and a glass of rosé
There was also a tiny vase of red flowers on the table
and a candle that shone through my water glass

let’s be honest
clearly I don’t just enumerate any old minutia each day
but rather the beauties of
and my pleasure in
certain among myriad quotidian things
Not so much recording
though I could
the mundane details of the daily round
or the inevitable little domestic crises
Because of course what I’m really looking for is
the secret beauty inside of things
picked from the day like the best fruit
that’s always there if I just slow the hell down and
that proves beyond doubt that life is immeasurably
(yes even when its full of change and challenge)
that forces the issue of being smack dab in the proverbial moment
and nowhere else

But in fact I do want to notice it all

the frisson of revulsion at the sight of the curdled yogurt
the comfort of snuggling into Bill’s terrycloth robe

the smells of trash and low tide and smoke and tar in the street
wet pavement and coffee and girls’ perfume

image source is here

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion Alert

In conjunction with the San Francisco AIA's upcoming Home Tours weekend (one of the houses for which, the Hill Street Residence by John Maniscalco Architecture, is pictured above), I'll be on a panel this afternoon. Sponsored by California Home and Design magazine, it's going to be all about print and online publishing, how they intersect, and what it all means. Info is below--though I'm afraid tickets are sold out--but I still just had to share because, hey, panel, neat-o!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Women Abstract Painters

Abstract painting is something I like, but not something, I must confess, I spend a whole lot of time thinking about as a general rule. But recently three painters--one Modern, two Contemporary, all women--have come to my attention in various ways, and now I find I've got vivid abstraction on the brain.

First up, Helen Frankenthaler, a mid-century figure who in my view deserves a lot more attention than she gets, brought to my attention on the fine blog A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words:

Next, Patter Hellstrom, whose work I saw last week at First Thursday and have been thinking about more or less nonstop ever since:

And, finally Michelle Armas, recently pointed out to me by a visually astute colleague. Again, these are the sorts of images that you see, and you like, but that's not the end of it. They keep coming to mind afterwards, so they grow in your brain when you're not looking at them, until you feel compelled to go back and look again to see if what you're remembering so fondly is really there. And it is: