Hiking Trail Temescal Canyon

Archive for September, 2007

Dingell Carbon Tax — Is it for Real?

We have a new submission in Carla Wise’s Fun Facts on Global Warming column. She tries to figure out why John Dingell, the staunchly pro-auto industry congress man from Michigan, has suddenly decided to endorse a carbon tax. Is it smoke and mirrors? You decide:

Is John Dingell for real? Floating a carbon tax

September 27th, 2007

More Toy Recalls — Buy Fewer Toys, Buy Natural Toys

Hoo boy. More toy recalls. I really don’t buy into the hysteria and I think there is probably too much emphasis on a few bad toys right now. Generally I’m glad to live in a time where we have monitoring and product recalls.

But the real issue is this — there is a constant market for the newest, cheapest, character branded trinkets. So companies just keep churning out new plastic crap that has an unnecessary environmental impact all the way from production through transportation and finally to its disposal.

The real solution isn’t to more closely monitor China. Really we make better toys that last longer. We don’t need to come up with a new line of toys every few months. Concentrate on making a few simple toys.

And that all comes down to us. Buy the good stuff. By less…

(Here’s our list of the top toys that our kids enjoyed as toddlers and babies. We focus on the best toys that last a long time. Some are plastic and there is a place for plastic. But only when it is not used for some disposable crap that is just going straight to the landfill.)

September 27th, 2007

unearthed, my first solo art show

unearthed, art pottery exhibition, marc grobman at jennifer joyce galleryYou’ve got to come check out my first solo art show! I’ve been doing ceramics for a couple of years now and I guess people have been diggin’ it, so Jennifer Joyce offered me a show at her gallery!

Working in clay has been so satisfying — plunging my fingers into something substantial, away from the computer, in real life. And being able to create things that just ooze out of my brain. No flow charts, no code, no organization, no usability testing.

So, with complete disregard for utility or what anyone else thinks, I’ve somehow been making some nice pieces that people like. I don’t want to whine… I’m not quite satisfied with the work I’m producing. I feel like I’m just now starting to control the clay more than it controls me. But I’m pleased with enough that I’ll be able to fill a small room with some interesting stuff I’ve made.

Anyway, the show is called ‘unearthed’ and you can check out a few pieces of pottery at www.quixo.com/unearthed. You can give each piece a little spin with the fancy interactive-online-art-spinning-widget. And I hope you’ll join me at the opening Saturday, October 13, 5-8pm.

I try not to analyze it too much, but I like to think of it as punk pottery, all spiky and pock-marked. But, you know, not the punk rock of pure oblivion, destruction and fury, but more the throw out the rules, start over from scratch, anti-pop punk. And I’m sure you can see the other influences banging around in my head too. It is abstract but with enough direct connection to the natural world that the forms are sensual, grotesque and maybe a little humorous. The kind of thing you might find in the forest or under a microscope or possibly just after a meteorite has made landfall delivering artifacts from a lost or future civilization. Or whatever. I’m just making this stuff up. Come on out and you can take from it what you like…

Oh, and the art will surely be upstaged by the yummy munchables crafted by Stacy TenHouten who is firing up her new business, Butterlove Bakery.

2 comments September 19th, 2007

Eve Zeisel Los Angeles Exhibit Reminder

Just a little reminder that the Eva Zeisel exhibit at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum is starting September 9 and running through the end of the year. There is more on Eva Zeisel and the Los Angeles exhibit here in my previous post.

We just returned from the opening and this exhibition is set up differently from the San Diego show. In San Diego the work was grouped thematically, but here Zeisel’s work is laid out chronologically. This made for a great tour led by Pat Moore, my step-mom and the founder of the Eva Zeisel Forum. I had heard all the stories before but never all at once, in order and with examples laid out so beautifully. While I’ve long appreciated the work, Zeisel’s biography really hit home tonight. Highlights of the tour include hearing her history including traditional apprenticeship in Hungary, imprisonment by Stalin and a conscious move against the coldness of Bauhaus and modernism. Gonna have to break out some of her books (listed here). Anyways, check it out before the end of the year. (and the circus exhibit, also now showing, is great fun!)

5 comments September 8th, 2007

Beautiful Orb Spiders Coming Out for Fall in Los Angeles

The crows aren’t the only ones coming out for fall in Los Angeles. Huge, beautiful (creepy?) orb spiders have come back. Every evening in a couple of choice locations around the yard, about 15 feet in the air, they start weaving. Before bed I can usually spot a couple not far from where they were the night before. These orb spiders have huge bulbous bodies and, unlike the many jumping spiders, cobweb spiders, house spiders and other crawly friends around here, these guys make big old classic webs. They shoot out long strands between the trees and the eves of our house and then make the circuit, around and around, filling them in for a couple hours. And it looks like they capture big old moths. I hope so, for all that work. Frequently they are still hanging there in the morning with their webs slightly broken, and they seem to hide out during the day.

Lots of good info and photos can be found at the Natural History Museum’s Spider Survey page. You can even participate by dunking your spiders into alcohol, filling out a form and sending them to the museum. (I prefer to leave them in my yard). And we love this book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin for all of our figuring-out-what-bug-this-is needs, also written by folks at the Natural History Museum.

September 5th, 2007

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