Lazy Sunday, 1 December 2013

I’m still nursing a tryptophan hangover, so you’ll have to fend for yourselves.

Fantasy Life Update: Moving In, Desk Edition

I know, knockout status.
I know, knockout status. Like the copy room sign in the background? I’m really living it up.

After your bed, there is but one piece of furniture with which you have a real relationship, and that is your desk. I spend a solid 9.5-12 hours a day at mine, and yet I always avoid really committing. This week, I added three major things to make my mark on my open-plan office workstation: Suki the fake taxidermied rhino, courtesy of my best friend, a not-that-cool-but-kinda-cool organizer, and lastly, gorgeous, perfect flowers from Roadside Blooms here in Charleston. Their model is really cool: green, sustainable flower arrangements that are based on what’s available locally in any given season. You just say, “I’d like small, medium, or large” and they bring it to you in their vintage British mail truck. I know. I know! But the best part is that they were a surprise, all the way from Afghanistan! Nothing quite like a no-reason-at-all pretty to make you feel like everything is going great.

 

How do you personalize your desk at work? Pictures? A candle? A terrarium?

Lazy Sunday: 1 September 2013

You know what the best part of a three-day weekend is? A four day work week comes along with that. Enjoy your day.

The Porn Star Next Door

Elizabeth Moran takes photos of people’s workplaces, studios, and cubicles. Her latest project depicts the custom-designed sets of Kink.com, a.k.a. the workplace of porn stars, who work hard and pay taxes like everyone else. Don’t worry! This is totally safe for work. Is it weird that I want to play in the balloon fish tank? It looks like a more fragile version of a ballpit.

Reimagined Field

The field has been announced, but this is the race I’d truly love to see.

Via the geniuses at Kentucky for Kentucky.
Via the geniuses at Kentucky for Kentucky.

Limited edition prints of this Hunter Thompson-themed dash are available at Kentuckyforkentucky.com and are $30!

Lazy Sunday: 28 April

Well, friends, I got you these. Enjoy a quiet day.

The Curator by Miller Williams

In honor of National Poetry Month, I wanted to bring you one of my favorite poems of all time. I have a special fondness for poems about the blind.

The Curator

by Miller Williams

We thought it would come, we thought the Germans would come,
were almost certain they would. I was thirty-two,
the youngest assistant curator in the country.
I had some good ideas in those days.
Well, what we did was this. We had boxes
precisely built to every size of canvas.
We put the boxes in the basement and waited.
When word came that the Germans were coming in,
we got each painting put in the proper box
and out of Leningrad in less than a week.
They were stored somewhere in southern Russia.
But what we did, you see, besides the boxes
waiting in the basement, which was fine,
a grand idea, you’ll agree, and it saved the art—
but what we did was leave the frames hanging,
so after the war it would be a simple thing
to put the paintings back where they belonged.
Nothing will seem surprised or sad again
compared to those imperious, vacant frames.
Well, the staff stayed on to clean the rubble
after the daily bombardments. We didn’t dream—
You know it lasted nine hundred days.
Much of the roof was lost and snow would lie
sometimes a foot deep on this very floor,
but the walls stood firm and hardly a frame fell.
Here is the story, now, that I want to tell you.
Early one day, a dark December morning,
we came on three young soldiers waiting outside,
pacing and swinging their arms against the cold.
They told us this: in three homes far from here
all dreamed of one day coming to Leningrad
to see the Hermitage, as they supposed
every Soviet citizen dreamed of doing.
Now they had been sent to defend the city,
a turn of fortune the three could hardly believe.
I had to tell them there was nothing to see
but hundreds and hundreds of frames where the paintings had hung.
“Please, sir,” one of them said, “let us see them.”
And so we did. It didn’t seem any stranger
than all of us being here in the first place,
inside such a building, strolling in snow.
We led them around most of the major rooms,
what they could take the time for, wall by wall.
Now and then we stopped and tried to tell them
part of what they would see if they saw the paintings.
I told them how those colors would come together,
described a brushstroke here, a dollop there,
mentioned a model and why she seemed to pout
and why this painter got the roses wrong.
The next day a dozen waited for us,
then thirty or more, gathered in twos and threes.
Each of us took a group in a different direction:
Castagno, Caravaggio, Brueghel, Cézanne, Matisse,
Orozco, Manet, da Vinci, Goya, Vermeer,
Picasso, Uccello, your Whistler, Wood, and Gropper.
We pointed to more details about the paintings,
I venture to say, than if we had had them there,
some unexpected use of line or light,
balance or movement, facing the cluster of faces
the same way we’d done it every morning
before the war, but then we didn’t pay
so much attention to what we talked about.
People could see for themselves. As a matter of fact
we’d sometimes said our lines as if they were learned
out of a book, with hardly a look at the paintings.
But now the guide and the listeners paid attention
to everything—the simple differences
between the first and post-impressionists,
romantic and heroic, shade and shadow.
Maybe this was a way to forget the war
a little while. Maybe more than that.
Whatever it was, the people continued to come.
It came to be called The Unseen Collection.
Here. Here is the story I want to tell you.
Slowly, blind people began to come.
A few at first then more of them every morning,
some led and some alone, some swaying a little.
They leaned and listened hard, they screwed their faces,
they seemed to shift their eyes, those that had them,
to see better what was being said.
And a cock of the head. My God, they paid attention.
After the siege was lifted and the Germans left
and the roof was fixed and the paintings were in their places,
the blind never came again. Not like before.
This seems strange, but what I think it was,
they couldn’t see the paintings anymore.
They could still have listened, but the lectures became
a little matter-of-fact. What can I say?
Confluences come when they will and they go away.
So what do you think? What are you favorite poems?