A visual: The Genesis of a blog post.

I start blog posts with the best of intentions, but I swear every time, every time, every.time, Michael Palin as the Boring Prophet in the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian, kicks off the festivities in my head:

… rumors of things going astray, and there shall be a 

great confusion as to where things really are …

Things and rumors of things and stuff and perhaps

I could be a little more general.

A little less specific.

The struggle is real.

Enjoy!

A Sundry Assortment: Winter Olympics 2018

Before I start on my sundry assortment of 2018 Winter Olympic observations, I must say that after Mueller’s indictment of Russians meddling in the 2016 election,  I tripped across the comment “It is still possible Mueller could still indict Americans for knowingly helping Russia.” ¹ (Hat Tip: WTFJHT)

And I thought: All 63,985,134 of them? Mueller might be taking names …

Bwahahaha! Okay. Enough. On to a couple itty-bitty Olympic-size observations.


Men’s Figure Skating

I happen to be liking Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir commentary. Not at first and every now and then, sure, I’d still like them to shut up. But as Mr. Viva & I watch an entire skating event, as the precision of performance on the ice goes up, their rate of commentary goes down. And when I listen to them yammer, they do know of what they speak. They have occupied Olympic ice.

Which brings me to presence. For many men,”sports” do not depend on having a “presence.” And let’s face it, the best figure skaters exude a dynamic presence on the ice. Figure skating is not about facing down an opponent or other team and overcoming by scoring more points or beating them up.

And this is why many men don’t see the sport in Men’s Figure Skating competitions. No one is tackled. No harm. No foul. There is music. There is choreography. There are not uniforms.  Individuals wear “outfits.”

No sport.

This explains a lot.

Speaking of Presence

Johnny Weir has presence in spades. He is a joy and a delight!

And I love that his hair last night in profile — swept up and back and very black — reminded me of my great-aunt Amy. And she was beautiful.

Thank you, Mr. Weir.

Pink Floyd takes the ice.

Thrown into the mix of classical music during the final skate of the Men’s Ice Skating championship last night was a skate to a Pink Floyd medley including Shine on You Crazy Diamond and Money.

And then Mr. Viva & I reflected. Pink Floyd’s song Money was released in 1973 or forty-five (45) years ago.

It a classic.

Now it’s like, classical …

Extreme Sports

Back in the day, more than 45 years ago, in black and white, I watched skiers go off the end of the ski jump and watched the official tape measurers measure the length of the jump.  And catching air and sailing, ski tips to the nose while in flight, landing with maximum distance. I was mesmerized.

I haven’t been followed the addition of new extreme winter sports to the Olympics. And so, I watch drop-jawed gobsmacked the half-pipe snowboarding and aerial freestyle skiing or whatever it’s called, events. (“The US Stunk at Winter Olympics Until Extreme Sports Came Along”)

Hurl yourself down a ski jump, flip a couple times in the air, land backward and ski to the next jump which is taken backward, perform a couple more flips, land. This is extreme. Also, the face plants into snow and ice on some spills are painful just to watch. I’m relieved when the athlete gets up and waves their arms and … they’re ready to go again? What!?

And I wonder what sports get added after Extreme Winter Sports? Extreme Winter Sports on Steroids? No, steroids are banned. Extreme Winter Sports Plus? Extreme Men’s Figure Skating? Extreme <insert event that’s not yet extreme here>?

Or maybe the Olympic Committee could consider adding age categories.  Give the ‘olds’ some medals. Extremely Old Winter Sports.  Aging out is not an option.

I mean, we can sing along to Pink Floyd.


¹ ¹Strohm, Chris. Mueller Still Investigating Possible Collusion, Source Says” Bloomberg. 16 February 2018 2:32 PM CST. Web. 17 February 2018.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

It is a statement, a sentence, not just a movement, not just a fad.

In a post that is now so last year, I copped to being a ‘Becca’ white woman in the whole of the ‘Becky’ taxonomy.  As stated:

“Keeping in mind that I don’t know what to do or what I’m doing, I will push beyond my Becca-ness of being ‘willing to do the work … but not really.’

I will do work. Really. “

And for me the challenge became discovering a way to 4) Use your privilege to support marginalized movements without drawing attention to … me.  How could I be a quiet, present, and strong ally? Other than pinning up every day which can be seen as an empty gesture used to assuage my own ‘guilt’, how can I be heard without saying a thing?

I’m open to wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt, but that seems too easy, too obvious, and if the BLM movement doesn’t persist, then what?  And my inner optimist hopes I’d be the butt of a joke for wearing a dated ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt when I’m old, but then my inner cynic says “shut up, systemic racism will be here long after you’re gone.”

Much like pinning up, wearing a slogan t-shirt could be interpreted as an empty gesture. I needed to create something of my own that unapologetically makes the statement ‘Black Lives Matter’, and it struck me while working on another project that Morse Code is the perfect medium.

And so this is my artist’s statement regarding the Black Lives Matter: Morse Code collection:

The challenge is to be a present, silent, strong ally making the clear statement ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Morse Code is heard in the darkness.

Darkness doesn’t see color.

Be seen to be heard.Morse code - BLM freehand (2)

Black Lives Matter.


Black Lives Matter: Morse Code t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee cups merchandise available from Zazzle via the Viva Boutique Vending page. After-tax profits will be donated to Black Lives Matter. (I get a small % from each sale.)

The BLM: Morse Code design was my own vanity project as I want the statement Black Lives Matter to be as easy and accessible as a Roswell or a Saint Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage t-shirt.


The following is included for fun and advanced reading beyond the basic blog post.

I entered some Viva facts in the 500letters.org Artist Statement Generator and it spit out the following which I thought was spot-on, perceptive, and fun. Not unlike a horoscope. Try it and see what kind of artist you’re meant to be.  “Between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves.” Oh? Really.

Viva Escritora

Viva Escritora (United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By applying abstraction, Escritora touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matters can be recognized, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.

Her artworks often refer to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By using popular themes such as sexuality, family structure, and violence, her works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.

Her work doesn’t reference recognizable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, she creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles.

Her works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves.

 

 

 

 

On blogging.

This time of year usually inspires reflection.  A check of the calendar shows that I’ve been standing on my orange crate bullhorning into the void for about 10 months. I set a minimum expectation of one blog post by Thursday each week and yes, I am behind this week.

And blogging writing. I love this quote by Joan Didion, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” And I think, well, me too. Run with me!

What I’m thinking.

Ah! There’s the rub. The quality of writing is directly correlated to the quality of thought. The practice of writing makes good writing possible; great writing at it’s foundation has not pen and paper or screen and mouse and keyboard, but thought. And this for me is always, always the challenge — to improve the thought, improve the communication. Words can be found. The exactness, the preciseness of the word, the nuance — that is what requires thought.

And I sit with that and I’m pretty sure greatness is overrated. Heh, heh.

What I’m looking at.

Originally, in early 2017 I was looking at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and I wanted a place to drop my notes, research, and thoughts and prayers summary of the protest and concerns for possible outcomes.

That hasn’t happened yet.

My notes and research on DAPL are somewhere, since I started blogging there has been another spill, and it was announced that the pipeline will be finished soon.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get on it.

I’m often surprised to find that what I’m actually looking at and choose to publish isn’t what has been under my microscope. When I look through draft posts with ideas that were current at the time, I push ‘publish’ on something from the periphery. As an example, I had just finished Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City when the Hurricane triplets Harvey, Irma, and Maria visited eviction on great swaths of population independent of their poverty or wealth.  Instead of a commentary on eviction as living in a steady state of hurricane uncertainty, I dropped some climate change ideas. Go figure.

What I see and what it means.

The immediacy of the internet has made reporters of us all. And the professionals — the trained journalists and reporters and publications that try to beat the immediacy of ‘now’ — try to get the facts straight and think and form opinions on the fly. By reference to current news sources and writing about current events, I appreciate how hard it is to locate the truth. Any truth. Statements have to be researched, sources need to be verified and I appreciate that professionals deliver news in a race for your attention and in competition with click-bait.

And what it means is that I have the luxury of time to consider an event, to turn it over and look under the hood, to discuss with others what things mean. And to weigh in with my bullhorn after-the-fact and not in-the-midst-of and during.

What I want and what I fear.

What I want is to read and to be read!

And what I fear? Technology and that big blue ‘publish’ button up and to the right means there is no editor, there is no traditional publisher, there is no one between you and me. There is no one to save me from myself.  My thinking could be off. And very public.

What was I thinking? I stand on this little orange crate with my bullhorn. I might spout strong yet wrong ideas and slide off into the margins like the itinerant repent-the-end-of-the-world-is-coming preacher or other interesting and startling orange crate peers.

Or maybe my orange crate and bullhorn, reporting from my little space off in this section of the bleacher seats is just homage to my love of mixed metaphor and play on words.

I know that very time I click the ‘publish’ button and release a post, any post, this post into the internet wild, I win.

I think. I look. I find meaning. I write. I want. I overcame fear.

And dear readers, you have my love and gratitude for reading me thus far.

Thank you!

I win.

 

Mind.Blown.

Mr. Viva and I were talking about what to watch Friday night and “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” with Raul Julia and, you know, “that woman” came up. And we described “that woman” — Brazilian, beautiful, long hair, great actress — but her name remained unspeakable at the tip of our tongues.

Fast forward less than 5 minutes.

Mr. Viva pulls up FaceBook and Sonia Braga, i.e. “that woman” is in his news feed.

Mind.Blown.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Choice: A Thanksgiving Rumination

In this season of Thanksgiving, consider the thankless comparison of measuring wealth by number of dollars. Someone else has more and someone else has less and once basic needs are met, money is superfluous.

My preference is to examine the sundry assortment of available choices for basic living that are afforded and available to me. By that metric, I drown in choice.

I am wealthy. And I am thankful.

Choice: Sartorial

When I dress, whether in the morning or for a special occasion, choice abounds.  There is so much choice that sometimes I approach full circle and “have nothing to wear.”

And my choice can include the latest fashion, or comfort, or color, or fiber content. Sometimes choices align and I am all that. And the closet includes choices available for weather across the seasons, and with the exception of the most extreme environments,¹ across geographies.

I am dressed. And I am thankful.

Choice: Daily bread

And not just bread. Grocery stores, food items, restaurants, cuisines. The range of choice available within 5 miles of home can feed me for the rest of my life. A quick peek at Googlemaps turns up 18 grocery stores in that 5 mile radius and that’s not even counting  two Aldi’s!²

In these grocery stores, it will not surprise you to know that I can buy the same food stuff packaged many ways — fresh, canned, frozen, and sometimes prepared in the deli which keeps the kitchen clean. Er. Cleaner.

And the choice goes on. If a recipe uses something a bit out of the ordinary, say, Turbinado Sugar to caramelize on a choice cut of meat, I can find it. And if not near me, I can Google and find suppliers, or Amazon. Out the door or delivered to my door, availability is not a barrier. If I am hungry, it is a choice.

I am fed. And I am thankful.

Choice: Home environmental control

A thermostat is a wonder of environmental control. In the winter, heat; in the summer, air conditioning. The range of temperature, time of day, day of week on our simple thermostat provides a lot of choice.

I am comfortable. And I am thankful.

Choice: A Sundry Assortment

Choice abounds!

Choice of home furnishings and manufacturers or craftspeople.

Choice of public or private transportation; choice of truck or car; new or used; gas, hybrid, or electric; leather or upholstery; color; etc. 

Choice of electronic devices, use, capability, brand. And just take a moment to consider technology in general. As a child wireless communication was mom hollering up the stairs. She is now states away and we can communicate in normal voices on a cell phone. What a wonder.

And fill in your own choice(s) here …  Join me. As you wend your way through a day, any day, celebrate the availability of the choice available to you because happiness is also a choice. And be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Choice: Too much

Finally, a rumination by that great bard, Joe Walsh:

“I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.”

Life’s Been Good, Joe Walsh


¹ North of the Laurentian Divide or in a belt around the equator.

² Aldi’s. Yes, this is snarky. People seem to love Aldi’s for groceries or meh, not so much. I am in the later category and every time I stop at one, I want to love it. It just hasn’t happened yet.

 

 

Unintended consequences.

While waiting for an oil change for my car today, I was browsing through products on the Houzz app. Due to the ‘view in my room‘ option, I was able to electronically redecorate the waiting area. I placed new seating, a new rug. It would still probably pick up a little whiff of oil but I could see that it would be so much more comfortable.

And home now, I can visualize a pink or a maize tea kettle feature on the front lawn in the manner of a Claes Oldenburg sculpture. Or maybe it should be a large red mixer.

I should probably alert the neighbors.

And I’m pretty sure providing waiting room entertainment and whimsical lawn art considerations is not the use for ‘view in my room‘ the good folks at Houzz intended.

Oh well. Carry on.