Thursday, February 28, 2008

MWF seeking relief from the pesthouse

the pesthouse is back. gus is sick, again, with an ear infection (i think). he's in a ton of pain but really no fever to speak of, so he's going back to the doctor tomorrow. and, he's got that wicked cough again. sophie, who i thought was getting better (and who i just started taking out in public again) seems to be having a recurrence of her shingles. is that even possible? she is breaking out again along the same dermatomes. and she has a fever. and she is grumpy and lethargic. she is also developing a new type of rash, also kind of linear, on her other leg that doesn't look like shingles--they actually look more like traditional chicken pox.

what the hell is going on?

when we go to the pediatrician's office they are going to put us in the plague room because of sophie's rash and fever, so if they weren't sick going into the building they most certainly will be coming out. i really thought we were past all this--gus had a friend over to play this afternoon; sophie and i went to the zoo this morning with a friend of hers (hannah) and a friend of mine (louise). all this really kicked in tonight. i can't even fathom the idea of being inside again for a couple of weeks--i might actually crack. i think rich would have done very well to retain his pediatric training...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

dogpile and clinging monkey

video
dogpile!

gus is taking this awesome class where he combines elements of stop-motion photography with video editing and he has come up with some wonderful stuff. he has made two projects so far--dogpile and clinging monkey. gus shot the images (his friend conner is holding the props), loaded them onto a computer, edited the shots, added the sound and made these shorts. the fact that he actually manages to tell a story is remarkable--i seriously doubt i could have put together something like these when i was 7.

way to go spielbergus! (coppolaugustus?)

video
clinging monkey!

p.s. i finally fixed the video on sophie's touch, so if you are interested give it a look...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

what's that new button?

see that all blinged-out "feelin' chatty? give us a holler!" addition? (it's under the "old posts" section on the right hand side.) if you so desire, you may actually call the allen family bermuda triangle directly now--and it is absolutely free. you press the button, input your name and phone number into a miniscule area, then push the sort-of button on the bottom right. the service will ring you back at the number you put in and will take you to a voicemail where you can leave us a message. or an insult. or whatever. if i get brave in the future, i'll have it go directly to my cell phone. try it out!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

happy birthday lindsay!

i hope you have a wonderful 30th birthday! we love you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

beautiful migrating sandhill cranes



right now our village is home to hundreds of sandhill cranes. they are everywhere, but they particularly like this one vacant lot. i think there were over 200 of them gathered at this site, happily poking away for subterranean delicacies this weekend. they make a really interesting sound--kind of like the sound effect for the velociraptors in jurassic park. very relaxing and pretty to see.

(p.s. thank you, dawn, for reading my rants!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

gus and sophie pix

the princess demands a chocolate milk

everything i wanted to write about is coming out super-cynical tonight, so i'm switching to the cheap emotional ploy (god, that's cynical too!): pictures of the kiddos. and, yes i know, they still don't look like me...

princesshood came early, and naturally, for sophie

sophie explores her scandinavian roots in this stunning ensemble

sophie's red princess outfit

this actually counts as a family portrait, almost (we need gus)

"i bet i could cram this up dad's nose before he wakes up..."

sweet boy gus

this also counts as a family portrait, almost (we need sophie--but she did leave us her duck)

gus and sophie study the heriz carpet

they are conspiring against me somehow.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

more art-o-mat-y goodness

the kind folks at art-o-mat have generously asked me to do another set for them! this time around, i am just doing a single image in a limited edition:



it is from the "dr. oetting's passionflower" series, of which there has been a grand total of one ever printed (and it was a different image). of course, dr. oetting has that one. i am doing 50 of these for this first set with a total count of 100 (possibly 150--i can't decide) so it will be 1/100, 2/100, 3/100, etc. i loved doing the grid with the puzzle, but art-o-mat was always on the fence about it and i'm fine with that. i think they're happier with the limited edition idea.

so far as i can tell, my gridded puzzle got sent out all over the US: rayko (san francisco), amarillo museum of art, chambers hotel (minneapolis), pop deluxe (madison, WI), and to the brett weston archive in oklahoma city. one was sold in a very cool set called art-o-carton (art-o-mat artworks are sold in rehabbed cigarette machines, hence the mail order art-o-carton).

i am still so thrilled to be a part of this!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the buehrle collection robbery

there was a major art robbery in zurich over the weekend:

paul cezanne, "the boy in the red vest," 1894

edgar degas, "count lepic and his daughters," 1871

claude monet, "poppies near vertheuil," 1880

vincent van gogh, "blossoming chestnut branches," 1890

these four paintings were stolen from the buehrle foundation on sunday. hopefully the police will be able to figure out who did this quickly and get them back, but there is almost no way to guess the motivation behind such a robbery. they can't be sold on any kind of legitimate market; they can be traded for drugs, weapons, etc. or held as ransom for money from the insurance company, the foundation itself, whatever. there is speculation that they were stolen to be traded for a lesser sentence in a totally different crime--how would anyone even know that? whatever the reason, they are now gone and are probably not being stored properly... ironically, the degas has a sort-of companion piece that is sometimes also referred to as "count lepic and his daughters," which was considered lost or stolen for decades:

degas, "place de la concorde," 1876

same guy, same girls only older. i love how there is such a great psychological disconnect between count lepic and his daughters--the borzoi seems as important as the girls. this painting was missing for like forty years and then one day the hermitage just announced that it had been "found" in their collection. it had been confiscated by the russians (in germany) after WWII from a private collection. anyway, it is now a feature of the hermitage's permanent collection.

buehrle (the swiss foundation guy) made his money making weapons and selling them to the third reich; he then purchased some of his paintings from collectors (jews and other nazi-deemed undesirables) fleeing their home countries. the rest of his paintings were purchased immediately following WWII when collectors, still desperate, were looking to unload anything of value (many works at the university of iowa museum of art, among other august institutions, were acquired in a similar manner). this is called "flight art," in contrast to the much more illegal "looted art." however, buehrle did have both in his collection and he rectified the "looted art" problem by paying the families they were stolen from.

hopefully these four works will find their way home soon before they get too damaged.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

the pesthouse, redux

almost exactly a year ago our house was the pesthouse; today we celebrate that anniversary by becoming the pesthouse once more. gus has been sick for over a week with some atrocious bug that is just attacking his respiratory system, and sophie, of course, trumped that with the shingles. she is also developing the atrocious bug so my normally beautiful, precious little angel has become scabby, sputumy, whiney, girl-variety blob. yuck. gus' bug even gave him an ear infection, so he's on antibiotics as well (and they are fortunately of a variety to kill any strep that might have been lingering in him). i'm just hoping to dodge all this while i can.

in the mean time, i am prepping and preening for my sister's wedding next month. i have botoxed, hydroquinoned and bleached my teeth not quite to chiclet grade to look good for this event. if the wedding gets cancelled, i will be pissed, although i guess you wouldn't be able to tell it by looking at me. rich is always too thrilled when i want to do anything cosmetic--this time he took it a bit too far and said he could probably get me in for an upper lid blepharoplasty before the wedding. i asked him who was going to do his and he got all insecure. then he went and stood in the mirror and botoxed himself until he felt better. i am actually going to buy makeup for the wedding, which is primarily to alleviate some of my mother's stress about how everyone and everything will look. i am a bridesmaid (bridesmatron?) and i think there are like 400 people invited to this event. i barely even remember my wedding...

Friday, February 8, 2008

awesome idea for a class-action lawsuit


i have a ton of stuff to write about at the moment, but i am going to set it all aside for an awesome idea for a class-action lawsuit (cindy, if you are reading this, this is for you!).

the above picture is sophie, as of this afternoon. she has shingles. she is 20 months old, perfectly healthy, not immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, and she has shingles. the strange thing is, she has never had the chicken pox. traditional wisdom says that you must have one (chicken pox) to have the other (herpes zoster), but she and a very few others are proving this to no longer be so. sophie, like all kids under 12 or so, had the chicken pox vaccine. sophie had only one dose--a recent change in vaccination policy from two doses, which gus had--and it was thought that one dose is/was enough to prevent the child from contracting chicken pox. and it probably is enough to prevent the kid from coming down with the first instance, but it does not prevent the child from acquiring the virus itself in their system.

confusing? you bet. sophie went with me and gus on the trip from hell just after christmas to visit my mom, who had recently broken out in shingles over the stress of her move and lindsay's wedding. i called sophie's pediatrician and asked if it would be alright for her to be around my mom, as her infection was fairly new and fairly acute, and she said no problem. so, we went on the trip from hell and sophie seemed fine. what we think must have happened is that since she was exposed to the virus via my mom it still got into her system but didn't manifest itself as chicken pox. however, 5 weeks later, sophie does definitely have shingles. so the virus still got in her system, attached itself to whatever nerve endings (in her case it is along her left leg), and blossomed as shingles rather than chicken pox.

hence my (actually, rich's) awesome idea for a class-action lawsuit: there is absolutely no critical reason to get the chicken pox vaccine. while it can prevent the initial chicken pox breakout, it cannot prevent the far more serious herpes zoster (shingles). thus this shot ain't doin' what it ought. and the fact that my 20-month old now has shingles is more than disconcerting, and i feel like this vaccine has to have something to do with it. i am ready to hire turner branch and get this ball moving! there must be more people out there with kids who developed pediatric shingles--a fairly rare disease--whose children had the varicella vaccine.

why do doctor's kids always get the funky diseases and disorders?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

happy 農曆新年! (chinese new year)

happy year of the rat! clean your altars, set off some fireworks, give out red envelopes and go find a dragon dance somewhere. i am a monkey--an earth monkey, like my beloved gammy, to be exact--but we get along with rats (and everyone else). rich is a snake (wood), gus is a dragon (metal) and sophie is a dog (fire). a nice balance there. any rats out there? if so, this is your year, baby! dress up in red and celebrate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

primary politics and british pop art

gerald laing, "deceleration 1," 1968

did you vote yesterday? i didn't--i'm registered as an independent so i am excluded. and, unlike our extremely right-leaning "independent" mayor, i am actually interested in an independent candidate but there is none to be found this go-round (ron paul was interesting to me for a bit). that and rich and i are still waiting for ross perot declare his candidacy, but it doesn't look good.

i would have liked to have voted but it sounds like it was a mess here--neither enough ballots for the state nor enough polling sites to go to. in any event, as of now, there are less than 200 votes separating obama and clinton so we still don't know who won (the republicans vote june 3 here). i like obama. i have to say, i am sick of hearing about "the women's vote" or "the hispanic vote" or whatever--a vote is a vote, and hopefully people aren't voting along gender/racial lines. that and it is insulting to assume if one is female and liberal then one should vote for clinton as she is "the female candidate." and by "the female candidate" i mean both designations: she is female, thus the female candidate, and that she allegedly would be the best political representation for women, thus "the female candidate" again. i hate hearing that women need some kind of special representation in politics in this day and age--i think we are past that. it denigrates clinton as a candidate to define her by virtue of her sex; the same goes for obama as "the black candidate" and richardson (when he was running) as "the hispanic candidate" thing. they are Candidates, period. it keeps one from examining the contenders when they are reduced to a single arbitrary reference point.

there is a parallel in the history of modern art to all this. in many circles there is a strong belief that marcel duchamp was the father of all things revolutionary in western art. of course duchamp made major, major contributions but some--actually many--art historians take this a step further by claiming anything innovative in art history after duchamp must have come from duchamp. for example, if any artist were to ever take a common object (say a rake, comb, bicycle wheel, advertisement or--especially--a toilet) and integrate it into their work, it is almost guaranteed that an art historian will cite duchamp as that artist's reference and claim that that is the tradition they are working in/from. whether or not it is true is irrelevant because the effect of such a statement is that the viewer of the new object now no longer has to think about what they are looking at--it is now part of a fraudulent linear construct that starts with duchamp and (currently) ends with the given artist. it does the new artist a tremendous disservice because while some art historians would consider this lineage a compliment, it actually keeps people from ever critically examining their work again.

a great example of this is when i met gerald laing, a british pop artist, at the menil collection in 2001. all pop artists, british or american, are tied to duchamp via their objectification of popular or common items. it isn't necessarily an accurate alliance as it wasn't a cohesive movement (it's not like all these guys got together and said, "hey, let's all work in duchamp's tradition!"), so it is a problem. anyway, i asked him directly, "you know, so many people connect you to duchamp and i'm just curious how you feel about that?" and he very adamantly declared, "i couldn't care less about that god-damned, bloody urinal!" i think i fell in love with him at that. he's currently working on a fabulous series about the war in iraq.

marcel duchamp, "fountain," 1917

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

mom has a kitchen...

...or at least 95% of one. my trip to houston was wonderfully productive--i think i unpacked just about all things kitchen, dining room and bar (as they are all combined now). so, now my mom can function a little better. i should have taken a picture, as her place is beautiful--gorgeous granite countertops in various tones of brown and black, tons of storage and shelves, and really high ceilings throughout. and she has all new stainless appliances! it is lovely and i think she'll be happy there.

it is good to be home, too. sophie got depressed while i was gone and wouldn't eat anything; gus just stayed over at the neighbor's house as much as possible (i think they were feeding him). rich said everything was all ridiculously easy and nontaxing for him and he had no idea why i would ever complain about such a life. i will thus make sure to leave him with the kids more often...