Personal Update

Good morning lovely readers! And I really do mean it as a good morning; I just got back from vacationing in Michigan (I live in Ohio), so I am well rested and ready to spend the rest of my summer wasting time.

And yes, all the posts for the last two weeks had been brought to you by the magical queue. If I didn’t want you to know I was gone, you wouldn’t have had a clue, isn’t that such a magical thing? Modern technology and programming is nothing short of amazing.

But anyway, since I just got back home, and I have camping on my mind, please cut me some slack on the posts for the next week or so. I’m expecting most of them to be about, yes, camping. But I also now have a ton of books that I finished to write reviews on, which I don’t do too often, so that will be fun!

Stay tuned for the continuation of my summer of nothing! It’ll be a blast!

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On a sadder note, this will probably be my last summer where I can do whatever I want. Next year I have to start co-oping, so I need to enjoy this while it lasts!

Here’s what I discovered: it’s on us as individuals to figure out how to be happy for other people’s happiness and not translate someone else’s success into our own personal failure. Sometimes, of course, when things get too “schmoopie” … it’s a challenge. But it’s not the responsibility of our Facebook friends to live smaller lives. It’s our responsibility to be bigger people.

Kit Steinkellner, on people who profess their success/relationships on social media.

Full article from HelloGiggles, here.

Taking a vulnerable essay and turning it into an art piece, exploring how visuals change the weight of a text, one way or another.

Taking a vulnerable essay and turning it into an art piece, exploring how visuals change the weight of a text, one way or another.

"Sunsets on the Blue Building"

About a year ago, the people who live in the house next door to me painted over the beautiful old red brick with a very bright, deep blue with orange accents.

It is an understatement to say that I am not fond of the new color.

In true honesty, though, the colors are not so bad, but for the fact that they covered over such a lovely brick facade: the quintessential urban Italianate, and a testament to Cincinnati’s legendary architecture status in that category. My bedroom window is flushed up against the building’s side, and, I must say, it is much better to look out over your desk and see the ever elegant ivy-on-brick wall, as opposed to the quaggy deep blue that is now my view’s reality.

The great thing about the change, though, is that it still didn’t affect how the sunset reflects off the building. Despite the fact that even a purple shift is less appealing than the dazzling oranges and glowing pinks of the previously red-brown brick in a sunset, I still can’t help but hold my breath for a moment when I walk into my room at sundown. This beautiful array doesn’t happen everyday, but still often enough that you would think it should lose some awe after a time.

Thankfully, it hasn’t yet.

Seeing a glowing blue sky, opposite the sunset and just barely escaping it’s grasp for a time, wedged in between the newly green foliage of the honeysuckle my father hates so badly, seeing the bright red glow of the nursing home on the next block in the background, draws my eye to the esteem of the sun and clouds, reflected in the blue, now purple, of that horrendously colored apartment building. Even better than seeing the sunset directly, the mood it casts, when I sit down to write or read or get work done, gives pause. It provides an instant sense of calm, of tranquility, even in the midst of next-day deadlines or rabbit deaths (true story). I could stare out that window for hours, just admiring the loveliness of the scene in front of me, beyond me.

I’m not kidding when I say it always makes me stop in wonder. I could sit at my desk forever, just staring out that window, and it would never cease to amaze me.

But the scene only lasts twenty minutes, half-an-hour at most. The sun goes down, the apartments are once again blue and ivy-less.

But maybe sometime next week, the weather will cooperate again. And at least now I can get some work done.

Drawing hands: a foolproof formula.

Drawing hands: a foolproof formula.

We drove to Asheville semi-spontaneously in a day and came back the next, mostly just so we could drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

ALBUM REVIEW: Flood

A’ight, so I haven’t done an album review in a long time, and I’ve been on a big TMBG kick lately, so here: one of my all-time favorite albums, one of the jewels coming out of the 1990’s alternative scene.

A They Might Be Giants classic, Flood just barely pulls through in my book in front of Apollo 18 and Factory Showroom, among others. From the timeless stomper “Istanbul,” a song which everybody knows but is rarely aware of its origins, to the flawless (full) opening song “Birdhouse in Your Soul” with such a full range of dynamic sounds that you can’t help but actually buy a blue canary to put in the outlet by the light switch.

All cliche review talk aside, though, one of the things I like most about TMBG is their exceptional ability to not take themselves too seriously. This is not to say they aren’t excellent musicians, because they are, in fact, unbelievably excellent musicians, but personally, I am glad they do not get too wrapped up in themselves or their musical vision. If anything, it actually adds to their musicality. Songs like “We Want a Rock,” which pokes fun at typical rock ‘n’ roll lyrics, “Dead,” telling the story of a grocery bag reincarnation, and “Someone Keeps Moving My Chair,” which “notes the exaggerated importance of petty concerns when everything else is going haywire” (Linnell in a 2009 interview), all prove that you do not have to use the overused themes of rock ‘n’ roller love and hurt to build a brilliant work of musical art. Plus, the humor also just makes them fun songs, in general. If you’ve never blasted “Lucky Ball and Chain” in the car and screamed along to the one line of lyric in “Minimum Wage,” you haven’t truly experienced all the joy of They Might Be Giants.

The format of the album is magnificently unique, as well. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, albums to me are the greatest judge of a musicians talent, being that anyone can produce a catchy song, but it takes real musicality to be able to create an entire LP and have it sound good. So I really appreciate it when artists add bit and pieces into an album that separates it from just a collection of individual songs; in this case, it’s things like adding a theme song for the album (“Theme from Flood”) and using shorter songs to link the higher production ones together (“Minimum Wage,” “Hot Cha,” etc.).

Overall, the album was just produced well, is unique and just generally speaks to the artists’ voice. Download it, blast it in the car, use the humor to cheer you up on a bad day. Plus, it’s also just good music.

Recommended Tracks:
"Birdhouse in Your Soul" (track 2)
"Lucky Ball & Chain" (track 3)
"Dead" (track 5)
"Someone Keeps Moving My Chair" (track 10)

Sketches of yellow warblers, from early January, 2014.
jilliankartwork.tumblr.com

Sketches of yellow warblers, from early January, 2014.

jilliankartwork.tumblr.com

Also, AP exams are in, so I can start posting art pieces from this past year on the internet now. Jillian K. Artwork is currently in the process of being updated, so stay tuned for more fabulous art!

Blog Update

Just an update, I am now posting on both this Tumblr and on a new Wordpress account, so as to better tailor to the general blog audience and to (hopefully) get more regular readers. It’s the same exact stuff, just in two different places, and everything will get queued for the same general time. So if you tend to be more of a traditional blog reader, this addition is the thing for you!

Like I said, though, I will be continuing to post onto Tumblr, as well, so nothing will change in terms of this particular account.

The new, additional site is here, same URL, just on Wordpress instead of Tumblr.