June 27, 2013

Greycoats Hideaway-ing

Greycoats performed one of their new songs in a St. Paul skyway, as a little extra to their MN Original episode.

for some reason I can't help but think of this:

I think it's Titus' head.

June 25, 2013

catching up on books i have read

despite my reading drought this winter, I did manage to finish a few books, and then plowed through a couple more while on vacation last week. here's a quick re-cap of what I have read over the past few months...

This was so good. a detailed, insightful biography on L Ron Hubbard and how Scientology even came to exist, its Hollywood influence (not as much dirt as I would've liked, but a decent amount) and crazy dysfunction/abuses (members locked away for years in what is basically indentured servant hood). it's long but well worth it. and there are photos here and there, this one was obviously my favorite:

oh yes.

next was Pulphead, by John Jeremiah Sullivan. it's a collection of various essays he's had published in magazines, on the most random and enjoyable of subjects. Axl Rose. prehistoric cave drawings in the Southeastern United States. an outsider's portrayal of Christian music festivals. securing an interview with Bunny Wailer, the last surviving member of Bob Marley's band, in Jamaica. each one stands on its own but you'll want to read them all. (even the one on the 18th/19th century naturalist)

this was one of two books i read on our cruise. There are many Dogtowns, but this one happens to be an abandoned 18th century settlement on Massachusetts' Cape Ann. the author was drawn to it by seeing paintings of the unusually boulder-y landscape, but then discovered that the history of the area was even more intriguing. it got its name from the Revolutionary War widows who got dogs as protection after their soldier husbands failed to return home. its always melancholy aura was punctuated by a random murder in the 80's that   split the town on what to do with the land whose last owners had been dead 200 years. the author injects a little too much of herself into the story, but the book is compelling enough to overlook that misstep.

wow, is this the only fiction i've read recently? i guess so. book #2 of the cruise. a quick, easy read about small town conflict and the dysfunctional characters perpetrating it. the quickly growing Fundamentalist church disapproves of the high school's sex ed teacher and seeks to oust her. one of the churches' members happens to be the teacher's daughter's soccer coach, and a post-game confrontation leads to growing conflict and attraction between the two. a decent summer read. and hopefully there will be more to come....

June 24, 2013

backyard garden update

so far this year, working on the backyard has been in spurts. winter lasted forever, with snow still on the ground well into May. as a result, everything we planted last year was realllllly slow to come up and i worried that i had lost a lot of plants. turns out, the only casualties were the global arborvitae, a rhododendron, and one of the 6 ostrich ferns. i had a couple days off in May that happened to have glorious weather, so i took full advantage and spent most of my time getting the yard up to par and adding some new perennials. these pictures were taken yesterday, after cleaning up after a few really bad storms.

in the back you can see the ferns and hostas from last year, with a new rhododendron that the squirrels keep eating. we plan to plant some annuals in the 2 pots.

the side bed, with the hydrangea in the foreground, followed by new stuff- an astilbe, 2 ligularia, and 3 more hostas, one of which is flowering

the flowering hosta, attempting to protect the rhododendron with a little fence, my empress wu hosta, then the hostas and bleeding hearts from last year 

last year's hostas and some new additions- a purple thing whose name i've already forgotten, and 2 versions of Jacob's Ladder (one of which isn't looking so good all of a sudden)

we replaced the burning bush with some basil and cilantro, and the lilac is growing strong! she bloomed purple AND white blooms this year, although i can't seem to find a picture of it.

the empress wu in her new home!

a better shot of what's blooming in the side bed. the ligularias replaced the arborvitae- the lady at the garden store suggested trying some "woodland" perennials, as they are used to the acidity and crampedness of tree root systems. so far so good...

the biggest rubber ducky in the entire world

...is currently floating in a harbor in Hong Kong.


or at least it was in May, when I first saw photos of this amazing sculpture. the artist is Florentijn Hofman, and according to his website, "The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn't discriminate people and doesn't have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them." he also commented that "the duck represents the union of people, saying 'we're one family and all the waters in the world is our global bathtub'". so far the ducky has been to Japan, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium. I think it would look quite in any of our harbors... Duluth perhaps?

(the artist's website is full of other really cool large scale projects... worth a look)

June 21, 2013

Crawly things


the title of the link was "Donald Trump's hair discovered crawling in Amazon" so naturally I had to click through. it's actually a flannel moth caterpillar discovered in a Peru rain forest. and apparently it's poisonous, just like its namesake.  

and check out this beauty! he can be found in Australia, on Mount Kaputar. apparently it's an isolated area that houses several "quirks of evolution" like the Kaputar hairy snail and the Kaputar cannibal snail. I think he and the Donald Trump caterpillar would make a cute couple.

June 18, 2013

Summer plans 2013

the view from my office window

it's been a long, cold, snowy winter... and summer events & fun are FINALLY commencing in Minneapolis, so i figured it was time to make my list for 2013. my 2012 list was really helpful in helping me keep track of what i was interested in attending, even if i didn't end up making it to a lot of stuff. so here's to summer fun- may the temps continue to rise!

June 1-30: Romeo and Juliet in various parks

June 1: vintage sidewalk sale at Forage Modern Workshop
June 7: Ferris Bueller at Lake Harriet (full list of music & movies here)
June 9-16: family cruise to Bermuda (so we will be missing Northern Spark and the Summer Solstice performance at the Stone Arch Bridge, boo)
June 18: Celebrate NE Parade
June 19: mewithoutYou at the Triple Rock
June 22: Secret City festival in Minneapolis
June 24: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Beltrami Park
June 30: MN Food Truck Fair, Pride Parade downtown, and Chris Kluwe reading at the Loft @ 6pm

July 2: Jurassic Park at Father Hennepin Bluffs
July 3: Top Gun at Nicollet Island Amphitheater
July 4: Fireworks downtown (go early and take a picnic?)
July 8: Spaceballs at Bossen Field Park
July 11: Haley Bonar at Mears Park
July 13: Midtown Global Market Music Festival 2-8pm, River Rats water ski show 3 & 7pm
July 14: Bastille Day Block Party at Barbette (Leagues, John Mark Nelson)
July 17: Torchlight Parade at 8:30pm
July 18: Back to the Future at Pearl Park, Lights at the Sculpture Garden, 9-11:30pm
July 19: Ghostbusters at Lake Harriet
July 20: Art Car Parade around Lake Harriet, 6pm, Aquatennial fireworks at 10pm
July 25: Lights at the Sculpture Garden, 9-11:30pm
July 27-28: Red Hot Art in Stevens Square

August 1: Rogue Valley at Mears Park
August 2: John Mark Nelson (Goonies showing afterwards) at Lake Harriet Bandshell
August 3-4: Powderhorn, Uptown, and Loring Art Fairs
August 8: Dark Dark Dark at Mears Park
August 9: Adventures in Babysitting at Lake Harriet
August 11: Open Streets- Minnehaha Ave.
August 12: Cory Chisel at 7th St Entry
August 17: Grease at Windom South
August 19: Pee Wee's Big Adventure at Loring Park (with Zoo Animal)
August 21: Home Alone at Waite Park
August 22: Chastity Brown at Mears Park
August 28: MN State Fair and Internet Cat Video Festival

June 1- September 8: Artists in Storefronts (June 1 opening night) in the Whittier neighborhood
throughout August: Mill City Live at Mill City museum
through September 21: Walker Art Center is free

September 5: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at Mears Park
September 7: MN Opera (5:30) and Halloween, Alaska (8:30) at Mears Park
September 14 &15: Mill City Museum's 10th birthday- free admission all weekend, and Electric Fetus garage sale and festival 10am-5pm
September 15: free MN Orchestra concert at Lake Harriet
September 18: Iron & Wine at First Avenue

Japanese gardens at Normandale College
Monday nights: Cactus Blossoms at the Turf Club
Foshay Tower observation deck
hike the bluffs in Red Wing
Afton State Park
Franconia Sculpture Park with burgers & beer at Al's Saloon

visit the new gorillas at Como Zoo