Dueling Banjos

If my heart were an instrument, it'd be the banjo.

Or a harmonica.


Sequin Explosion

My work station: sequins, pins, Xacto, random images, world map, pills (antibiotics), wine, beads, glasses, handmade paper, large paper beetle, glass panels.  Not pictured: glue gun, music, space heater, me.
Best part is: all my materials are "recycled".

My newest creations that have helped me quit smoking.  Now there's a little art therapy for you.


Love and Some Verses

I was hired to clean my friend's mom's house the other day.  As I was cleaning her house and getting annoyed by all the trinkets (pain in the ass to dust around), I realized that there must be a story behind all these tchotchkes (I hoped, anyway).  So when the woman came home I asked her about it.  She was so delighted to tell me the story of how she possessed all these knickknacks.

It got me thinking about how sentimental I am.  Nearly everything I own has a good story behind it.  I have no problem throwing shit away if it doesn't mean anything to me, but most of the things I own, I will have for the rest of my life.

Then my mind proceeded to music and why I love it so much.  I guess it's in part due to my sentimentality.  I'm in love with the idea of love.  I'd even call myself quixotic.  And I like music for its ability to convey all the emotions of love.  The joy.  The confusion.  The irrationality.  The hurt.

So here are some love songs.  Call me sentimental.

Iron and Wine- Love Vigilantes

Cat Power- Still in Love

CocoRosie- By Your Side

Lauryn Hill- Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

Lykke Li- Little Bit

Why?- Good Friday


A Memoir

Memoir= me + moi(r)

This seems especially egotistical, doesn't it?


Tightrope- Yeasayer

I spent the weekend researching schools and programs and was completely overwhelmed...so overwhelmed that I was forced to go out and buy myself a cheap bottle of wine and smoke some herb.  It helped- as it always does.  I'm also on day 7 of not smoking, which is going really well, but making me a little irritable.  After getting a nice buzz on, I started a few new pieces for Peter's gallery opening show in Tempe (they're going to be very cool- I'm excited about them).  I'm also very excited about the programs I've decided on:

U of Denver
Florida State (Florida?)
American U
Boston U
U of Minnesota

They're kind of schizophrenic choices, but the programs are all very interesting and practical.

In all honesty, this has been the stupidest year of my life.  I hate saying that, but it really has.  But, I finally feel like I'm back on course and things are going really well for me.  I'm feeling great and in control.  Go LB!


You Shook Me All Night Long

I love this video for many reasons- the hair, the clothes, the music, the MOVES- but mostly for the innocence. (I'm totally stealing some of that fancy footwork.)


Boom Shakalaka

I took my test on Saturday and did way better than expected, which means I can really choose to go anywhere!  I guess the studying really paid off.  Now for the dreaded application process.  My only requirement in a program is that it needs to be somewhere I want to live (which kind of disqualifies UofM).  Perhaps this isn't the smartest way to choose a program, but I don't care; I need to like where I live.

Contenders: NYC- Columbia, New School
                    Philadelphia- UPenn
                    Denver- UofD
                    Pittsburgh- only place where I don't know anyone (not a bad
                    thing, just sayin')-Carnegie Mellon
                    Tempe- Univ. of Arizona
                    Ann Arbor- UofM

*Gladly accepting convincing arguments for or against any of the listed cities.



Sometimes I forget that being lost can have an extraordinary ending.




There should be

*So I've done a lot of posting recently as a GRE exercise.  It's been extremely difficult to stay focused during my study sessions, so I thought I'd keep myself entertained and interested by making the process have a concrete product.  I've got one week before the exam, and am on schedule: final week- the  writing (not that I would write any of this on the actual exam, but getting my brain conditioned por lo menos).  So this is the last of my trials...

There should be a five-year ban on making movies about zombies or the apocalypse.

There should be a one-year prison term for rubberneckers.

There should be a way to rewind life so that you can take a person back to their childhood for a day. And not so they can enjoy it, but so they can see that childhood sucked just as bad as, if not worse than, adulthood, and then they can finally stop pitying themselves for having grown up and will realize that adulthood is just as wonderful as, if not better than, childhood.


There should be a movement to reverse the recordability and portability of music, to take us back to a time when you had to be in the presence of a musician in order to hear music, that is, unless you were listening to a recording in that most primitive of music boxes—the heart—with all its false notes and turned-around phrases, echoes, warped waves, and rattling walls.

There should be a presidential election where none of the candidates are allowed to talk for the entire year leading up to the election. And we will choose our leader based on the work they choose to do and what they get done with their hands and sweat during that fundraiser-free, oh so commercialless vow of silence.

*Let's pretend you're the ETS graders and you give me a (drum roll) 7/6!  Which reminds me of this.

Aisle 2- tampons, candy, lighter fluid, baking soda, and rulers

We live in a supermarket society. You can buy fruit, beer, donuts, coffee, fix a flat, lotto tickets, cigarettes, porn magazines, bread, rock salt, and/or cough medicine when you stop for gas. I spent some time in Ukraine, and they still, for the most part, operate on the old school specialty shop model: you go to a butcher to buy meat, you go to a baker to buy bread, you go to a low-to-the-ground baba at the market to buy fruit, you go to the chocolate shop to buy chocolate, you go to a gas station to buy GAS—NOT FOOD. Even in this country, superrich people operate this way, they go to food “boutiques”—they don’t go to Kroger. There’s a reason why Ukrainian people (and many other non-American cultures- Spain, for sure) and the superrich shop this way—it’s better.

The downfall of a supermarket society is that nobody knows anything about anything. I go into a coffee shop in a nearby city and ask for a Cinnamon Twist (which is a fancy name for a cinnamon roll) and the barista says “Is that a drink?” And I say, “No, it’s one of your desserts.” I ask for a double espresso in a demitasse, and she says “What is that?” And I think, “Are you here to work in a coffee shop, or are you just hanging out behind the register while you wait for the Lady Gaga show to roll into town?” So I explain the subtleties of the size and shape of the demitasse and even point out its location on top of HER espresso machine. So then she picks up a coffee mug and says “This one?” And I say no. You get the picture.

I go to Target, which sells rugs, bicycles, plasma screens, books, vacuum cleaners, and peanut butter, but nobody really knows anything about any of these things, except where they are located. They can’t review a product, tell me about its quality, how long it will last, where it was made. When I bought a rug in Ukraine, she told me where she got her loom from (her grandmother), where she bought her dyes (Hungary), and how she cleaned the raw wool (in the river). She told me the story of how her grandmother left her the loom with the expectation that she carry on the Hutzel tradition of rug making and that all the patterns she designs remind her of a particular person in her life. 

Yes, I know, you don’t want to hear a family history every time you buy something, and neither do I. But even if I did have to listen to an old woman talk for a few minutes every time I went to the store, I would probably be better off for it, and I would definitely prefer that to facing a whole world of stores that expect me to expect their employees to be dumb. Is this only in the Midwest?


Rose-colored glasses

Everything is green. You can build a green house, not a greenhouse, but a house that is built with the environment in mind. Even cars are green, and I hear that there’s going to be a green Bible soon, with green-lettered verses where God’s Creation is mentioned. Everything is recycled and recyclable, natural, organic, transfat free, no CFCs…

Don’t get me wrong, I try to buy things that don’t absolutely devastate the earth as they travel from soil to shelf, but sometimes I wonder about this green explosion. Yes, we should all try to fight evil, be green, buy and eat good things, but as long as our greenness is just another route of consumption we’re still headed down the same road.

Yesterday, they taught us to fear for our safety in smaller cars and then sold us SUVs ; today capitalism has gone green, and they tell us to fear global warming and then sell us hybrids. I have a friend who lived in South Africa for a few years a few years back, she told me Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize was ridiculous. She sees all our greenness as a last-ditch plead for some fantastic forgiveness from a God whose Creation we’ve ruined—it’s all a bandaid, she says. And while I loved “An Inconvenient Truth,”  as I stepped to the counter today at a glass-walled, vegan menu, fair trade coffee café,  I find that I have a hard time arguing with her.

We used to drink water from the spring

By the time the average Westerner dies they will have spent 7 months, 4 days, 3 hours, 44 minutes and 17 seconds deleting junk emails from their hotmail, gmail, yahoo, and facebook accounts. This eventuality forces one to question the central tenets of evolution—no, it is not the rambling of Creationists that throw a MONKEY wrench (get it? monkey) in Darwin’s theory, but rather statistics like the aforementioned that make one question the idea that humans develop, improve, get stronger, smarter, better. It is what we do on a daily basis that proves or debunks the claim of our steady advancement, and on the basis of a look at these daily activities, I must say that we have not progressed. Consider the following:

We used to gather food and cook it over a fire, now we dig up coal to make a fire in a plant to make electricity to send to a freezer to freeze our food on its ways to a grocery store where it will stay frozen in a freezer powered by electricity (fire) so then we pick it up and start another fire in the internal combustion engine of our cars to take the food home turn on a light turn up the furnace throw away our junk mail and pop our “food” into a microwave (more electricity/fire) that will “cook” it for us, if cooking means altering the chemical composition of the food so much as to destroy any nutritional value left after it was picked from the vine too early to be frozen so it could be reheated. What?

We used to drink water from springs, now we pollute the spring to make a plastic bottle then build a factory to purify the water and put it in the bottle that polluted the spring in the first place, and we do this so we can have drinkable spring water. Right.

We used to eat corn, now we eat high fructose corn syrup.

We used to listen to music, now we listen to [put random auto-tuned robotic voice black dude here, or any of the Youngs will work, or any of the Li’ls].

As you can see, I could clearly go on, but I'm sure it's obvious why I'm skeptical about this thing called human progress.

KitKat patty wack, give the kid his goddamn candy

I love working on Thursdays.  I have the greatest group of volunteers who come and help out at the warehouse.  They don't come on their own volition, but are forced to come by the State of Michigan in order to receive welfare.  If they can't find work for three months, they must start community service to continue to acquire skills.  But it doesn't matter because most of them are hard workers regardless.

All of these women are inner-city women with at least one child.  They talk about the funniest shit when they're here.  And I have to say I learn a lot about the hardships, realities, and the culture of these people.  And anyone who knows me, knows that I love anthrolopolgy... and Halloween.

That being said, I was talking to them today about Halloween.  I mean, Detroit is infamous in regards to this holiday (it wasn't until recently that I became aware of Detroit's exclusivity in this tradition).  But, unfortunately, due to the causes and the effects of this infamy,  the children cannot trick-or-treat in their own neighborhoods.  As a result,  many of them end up getting bussed in or driving into the suburbs to trick-or-treat or trunk-or-treat. [People hand out sweet treats from the trunks of their cars in parking lots.  (Something about this seems contradictory to everything I learned as a child.)]

As I live on the "8 Mile" division between Detroit and the burbs, many of these children end up in my neck of the woods.  Oh, and I hear about it.  I've overheard numerous people talk about "the bullshit of having to give these kids candy on Halloween (they don't even have costumes)".

To this I say:  Go fuck yourself!  The point of Halloween is to give kids candy (and diabetes).  Who cares if these kids are in your neighborhood; put that KitKat in that cute kid's pillowcase and wish him a happy Halloween.  Wake up and realize that he would probably rather trick-or-treat in his own neighborhood anyway. 

This city is ours.  It's not a "their problem" situation we have here.  In fact, this problem is really a microcosm for a larger issue of national security; a problem I see as closer to boiling than Iraq/Pakistan/Afghanistan.  No one wants to share their candy.


A sad crescendo of existence. I can laugh now.

Low moments that have made for good stories.

I went to visit a friend (female) in a nearby village.  Upon seeing her, I hugged her and started humping her leg involuntarily.  I instantly started crying- from laughter and sadness.  I realized I hadn't been hugged in almost a year and I fucking INVOLUNTARILY humped my friend's leg!

I got locked inside a train garage- inside the train.  I was so scared.  I called my friend, Eddie, and asked him what I should do.  He didn't have much advice.  I eventually tried climbing through the window, but reconciled that the drop would be too much.  So, I pried the door open, jammed my backpack between the doors, and jumped.  I was about a 1/2 kilometer outside some random city with the equivalent of $.50 in my pocket.  Not a good situation.

I saw a man fall down a flight of cement stairs with his bike in hand.  I didn't do anything.  I waited to see what the other women would say (one being his wife) who witnessed the event.  She yelled, "asshole".  I laughed.  Then I felt bad for who/what I had become.

A friend and I spent three hours deconstructing a text that may/or may not have had romantic implications (the ellipses were a definite sexual innuendo).  That was the most exciting thing that happened for many weeks.

A friend called to tell me he found a human ear on the ground.  I asked, "Did you take a picture?"  Was that really an appropriate response?

Determined that it was easier to leave the food out on the stove because then I wouldn't have to reheat it the next day and dirty another pan.

Saw a dead body in the trunk of a car and didn't think much of it.

Definitely had more than one "I-just-want-to-go-to-the-forest-and-eat-meat moments".

Have used something other than toilet paper to do the job of toilet paper.  And was proud of myself for being so resourceful.


Bottom of the Ninth

The internet is remarkable.  I truly believe it to be the greatest invention ever.  It's a sea of information at your fingertips, a place to stay connected, a opportunity to influence people to action on a global scale, and a creative outlet for so many.

As I grow older, I often think about what a blessing it would be to have a conversation with my dad.
It would go something like this:

Me: Hi, Dad.

Dad: Hi, Laudenski.  What's cookin'?

Me: Not a whole lot.  Work's good- could use some more money.  Ya know.

Dad: Yeah, well, hang in there.  I've been thinking about adding some flowers around the base of the cherry blossom tree.   Want to see what they've got and pick some out with me?

Me: Sure.

(At this point we would get in the car and Dad would turn on some Tiger's baseball.)

I know it's nothing spectacular, but it'd be priceless.

I stumbled upon a touching website that honors a woman's father.  This is why the internet is so cool.


Assembly plant

Here's a link to something I've been working on to get ready for the ominous winter that lay ahead.  Plants keep my spirits high, while simultaneously improving my air quality.  It's a win-win.

And since I will most likely be making a move in the near future, and knowing that plants are a huge pain in the ass to move with, these will be perfect!

I've also recently acquired these really neat beakers from work to continue my spawning.  I feel like a mad scientist (I like it).


I'm fine, thanks.

There's a phenomenon that has only been observed in the human race (perhaps because we're the ones with advanced language) that when asked, "How are you?", as to not play the weakling, we say, "fine." Even when lying on our deathbed, or after a father passes away, or someone breaks your heart, or you break someone else's heart. This is commonly known as taking one's courage in both hands.  

I don't know if this is courageous at all.


If before every action, we were to begin by weighing the consequences, then the probable, then the possible, then the imaginable ones, we would never move beyond the point where our first thought brought us to a halt.

This is why I'm spontaneous.


"Sadie" -Joanna Newsom

I've never been one to be too concerned with lyrics. I never remember them; no matter how much I want to. (And yes, I am that asshole who sings without knowing the words or sings what I think to be the correct words.) I typically like a song for the overall feeling it gives me or because it just sounds good or makes me move. However, in few instances, certain lyrics will strike a chord inside.

Though I don't particularly love Joanna's voice, there's something ethereal about it. She has a provocative cadence that makes her singing interesting. And, wow, these lyrics are beautiful.

Sadie, white coat,
you carry me home.
And bury this bone,
take this pinecone.

Bury this bone
to gnaw on it later; gnawing on the telephone.
'Till then, we pray & suspend
the notion that these lives do never end.

And all day long we talk about mercy:
lead me to water lord, I sure am thirsty.
Down in the ditch where I nearly served you,
up in the clouds where he almost heard you

And all that we built,
and all that we breathed,
and all that we spilt, or pulled up like weeds
is piled up in back;
it burns irrevocably.
(we spoke up in turns,
'till the silence crept over me)

Bless you
and I deeply do
no longer resolute
oh, and I call to you

But the water got so cold,
and you do lose
what you don't hold.

This is an old song,
these are old blues.
This is not my tune,
but it's mine to use.
And the seabirds
where the fear once grew
will flock with a fury,
and they will bury what'd come for you

Down where I darn with the milk-eyed mender
you and I, and a love so tender,
is stretched-on the hoop where I stitch-this addage:
"Bless our house and its heart so savage."

And all that I want, and all that I need
and all that I've got is scattered like seed.
And all that I knew is moving away from me.
(and all that I know is blowing
like tumbleweed)

And the mealy worms
in the brine will burn
in a salty pyre,
among the fauns and ferns.

And the love we hold,
and the love we spurn,
will never grow cold
only taciturn.

And I'll tell you tomorrow.
Sadie, go on home now.
Bless those who've sickened below;
bless us who've chosen so.

And all that I've got
and all that I need
I tie in a knot
that I lay at your feet.
I have not forgot,
but a silence crept over me.
(So dig up your bone,
exhume your pinecone, my Sadie)

I don't like to over-analyze an artist's intent or purpose of a song because the beauty- literally and figuratively- of art is in the eye of the beholder. So, perhaps this song's about losing a dog and the mortality that we don't recognize (until it's too late). Maybe it's about loving someone and not talking to them (we all know about this), or the universal fear we all have of growing older and our worlds changing (endlessly). It could be about the challenge of the letting go/holding on to memories, and that ultimately we should all slow our pace. Conceivable, it could be a song about faith v. science or the reconciliation of the two. Whatever her point is, whatever mine is- I like these words.

Just thought I'd share them.

Bing gan

The woman at work gave me a fortune cookie today. It read:

"You will move to a wonderful new home within the year."



My mentor

My favorite place to be is on a continental coast with my ugly feet (thanks Dad) in the salty water. I love looking out over the expanse and feeling so small and insignificant, but empowered simultaneously. The ocean inspires me more than anything; it's a conundrum- my mind at peace, yet in a rapid procession of thought (think strobe light-like).

I feel like I'm currently standing on that edge of greatness now- looking at my future and feeling insipred. I haven't felt like this since being back in the States, and man, does it feel good. I'm focused. If only I didn't have to wait on this shore for another year before taking that next step.

I'll just have to settle with my feet getting wet- that's a good place too.



In honor of the languages I've once spoken- now only as a conglomerate in my dreams, I've chosen two poems to remind me that they exist independently and in real time.

Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn't be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren't unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I'll go.

Pablo Neruda

Ahora contaremos doce
y nos quedamos todos quietos.
Por una vez sobre la tierra
no hablemos en ningun idioma,
por un segundo detengamonos,
no movamos tanto los brazos.

Seria un minuto fragante,
sin prisa, sin locomotoras,
todos estariamos juntos
en una inquietud instantanea.

Los pescadores del mar frio
no harian danio a las ballenas
y el trabajador de la sal
miraria sus manos rotas.

Los que preparan guerras verdes,
guerras de gas, guerras de fuego,
victorias sin sobrevivientes,
se pondrian un traje puro
y andarian con sus hermanos
por la sombra, sin hacer nada.

No se confunda lo que quiero
con la inaccion definitiva:
la vida es solo lo que se hace,
no quiero nada con la muerte.

Si no pudimos ser unanimes
moviendo tanto nuestras vidas,
tal vez no hacer nada una vez,
tal vez un gran silencio pueda
interrumpir esta tristeza,
este no entendernos jamas
y amenazarnos con la muerte,
tal vez la tierra nos ensenie
cuando todo parece muerto
y luego todo estaba vivo.

Ahora contare hasta doce
y tu te callas y me voy.

Вадим Лесич

Пергами пам`яті пом`ятий, не шелестить,

як шумлять затьмарені сади вечора

і вітер гне, наче лук, дугу далечі

і луки ликують під фіялками сутінку.

Бурий дим - і округла, мов гльоб, порожнеча.
Дим від кострубатих кістяків життя,

що попеліють.
Порожнеча, яка чекає на повноту.

Пергамен пам`яті іржаво

запалює свічі на вівтарі вечора.

Мов мох полярний - синіють приморозки.

Під білими зорями тремтить,

мов павутиння, музика Гріга.

Речі зовсім не пов`язані, що існують
окремо кожне для себе, -

але, наче доспілі овочі з різних дерев,

- падають важко у тиші саду
на землю, що меркне в чеканні.

Тіні стають, мов дерева,

і дерева стають, мов тіні.

Пергамен пам`яті

піском розбитих дзеркал

у розсипаній пустині.


Vadym Lesych

The parchment of memory changing, not rustling,

like sound darkening gardens yesterday

and wind bends, as if a bow, the arch of distance

and meadows rejoice below the violets of twilight.

Chestnut smoke - and around me, like a globe, emptiness.

Smoke from the rough skeleton of life,

that turn to ashes.
Emptiness, which waits for fullness.

The parchment of memory rustily

lights candles on the altar of evening.

As polar moss - bluing frosts.
Under white stars trembles,

as if a cob webs, the music of Grieg.

Things totally unbound, that exist
each for itself,-
but, as ripened fruit from different trees,
- falling heavily in the silence of the orchard
to earth, which fades in waiting.

Shadows become as trees,
and tress become as shadows.
The parchment of memory rustles,
the sand of shattered mirrors
in the spilled desert.


Perfect strangers really are perfect.

One of the greatest things that I have learned while traveling this beautiful world is that you have to trust people.  I have trusted complete strangers with my life in many strange situations; I've never been let down.  I've found that people are inherently good.  
I let a man lead me into a sandcastle oasis in the middle of the Sahara desert with no grasp of the French language for survival.  We had the best dinner and accommodations that night at a fair price.  

I let a nice Dutch woman drive me into the middle-of-nowhere Burgundy, only to be dropped off at a goat cheese farm. The following day was the best day of my life.

People are good.  But why is it that perfect strangers can be so helpful, caring ,and respectful, but people you care about disappoint.  Trust means enabling other people to take advantage of your vulnerabilities- but expecting that they will not do this.  And the only people to have crossed this line have been two people that I've really cared about.

It's a disappointment.

It hurts me to think that I can trust complete strangers more than people I know.