Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Maintenance of the Vehicular Circulatory

One fine early morning in about 2004ish, I set out on a Sunday morning with my son of nine years in a large red car, marked mother mother mother van. I was on my way way up the road to attend to the words of a Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, because I aspired to un-furrow my brow and calm the soul and achieve a meditational cat-like serentity delivered by a clean-shaven man swaddled in brown robes. I craved a dosage of shhhh deep thinking to counteract the boys boys boys in my life screeching and squashing and bouncing and whacking and wrestling and swinging and swatting and exploding throughout the daylight hours. So about 4/5ths of the freeway zoom there, the very red car made a hot smell and a sputtering gutteral sound ground to eary silence. I managed to coast down a five mile long grade to nearly a gas station. The verdict: no oil. I mean less than none. So never mind that the engine warning lights had gone astray and that the car may have been leaking oil gently onto my driveway for six months. We weren't going to make it to the monk, and we had a large-scale hassle on our hands, in fact a melted engine far away from home. And because we hadn't properly absorbed the monk's teachings, we were now worked up with a guilt-distress-dismay-regret-expense combo. Let's breathe in and out and review some of his words now:
Cooking Anger
you need to sustain your mindfulness for a certain amount of time in order for the flower of anger to open herself. It's like when you cook potatoes; you put the potatoes in the pot, cover it, and put it on the fire. But even with a very high flame, if you turn the fire off after five minutes, the potatoes will not be cooked. you have to keep the fire burning for at least fifteen or twenty minutes in order for the potatoes to cook. After that, you open the lid, and you smell the wonderful aroma of cooked potatoes.
Your anger is like that - it needs to be cooked. In the beginning it is raw. You cannot eat raw potatoes. Your anger is very difficult to enjoy, but if you know how to take care of it, to cook it, then the negative energy of your anger will become the positive energy of understanding and compassion .....You can do it.
Ok - so he wasn't talking about cooking car engines, but anyhow, ever since that fiasco, the aroma of engine and its maintenance has been present on ArtRanger's mindfulness list. She gets her oil changed here
not only because of the visuals, but when complete, the man displays your fresh dipstick like a fine waiter would show off his prawn shishkabob:

And one more thing from the teaching monk:
As a father or mother, you have to listen to your son or your daughter. This is very important because your son is yourself; your daughter is yourself. Your child is your continuation ...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Found Art Friday Ten

Welcome to Found Art Friday at the Department of Homeland Inspiration.

How could Bonnie Hotz find two such accidently-belonging-together photos?

For Richard in L.A., Close up on roots and concrete walkway make-a-dance Love This causes ArtRanger to check up on her flexible friend in the backyard.

Also from Richard in L.A.:

Which reminds Ranger of another kind of Faith Plating:

Cindy Zimmerman currently of Salina, Kansas
"Thunderstorm approaching our back yard: Mr. Imagination and Hippie Jimmie across from Peace Garden"

Looks good next to Art Ranger's backyard in Salinas, California.
Now we'd like to share with you our new cellphone design. One that cushions and explodes on impact, unlike the current hard thing that caused a rectangular bruise on Ranger's posterior when she was bucked off her bicycle this week.
Lets ring out hope for health and its care being fair.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Equinoxical Correspondence

Dear Blogofolk and blogosphere, here is a first newsstory by local Locavore correspondent LETTUCE PRAY, who has made a home in the spot that John Steinbeck and others have called "The Pastures of Heaven"


Who can name the upside down celebrity?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Found Art Friday 9

Dear Blogofolk, people who click on this, of all things: here at The Department of Homeland Inspiration, Bloggerlady recently erased all her formatting (in 3 seconds) and may or may not do anything about it because trying to get helpforum from DarkUFO was just not fun. This week's Found Art Friday has gathered itself into the tween to middleschool boy saying: "That's so random"

Sportmama shares this one:
Unused space under a freeway, claimed, designed and constructed by skateryouth in San Diego. A marvel in creative urban overlap. Goes really well with the "perceptual landing sites" of the conference Art Ranger has been attending to this week:

Art Ranger's boy doing something more interesting than usual with his cellophone

Arrived, via words this time, a lovely Found-on-Purpose Haiku by Diane Gage of San Diego who pulls these out of the air while on walks in her neighborhood:

the deep burgundy rose’s bass viol scent sends me to earth heaven

scuttling along a wall, a baby possum in daylight - where’s Mom?

And Speaking of mom, same Diane came across this: live webcam documenting an important job being done.
Now this is why we must all pay attention to our privacy settings. A random genuine search for information on Posion Oak, vs. spider bite on arm brings us this.

which accidently leads us to this:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Art Ranger attends virtual conference

This week, Art Ranger a.k.a. Melissa Smedley is participating in an online conference celebrating the work of two New York (worldwide) artists: Arakawa and Madeline Gins. Madeline is an extraordinary poet. Arakawa started out as a painter. They were "Post-Modern" even before modernism posted. For nearly fifty years, they have been collaborating, philosophizing, stretching, writing, re-inventing architecture etc. I've never seen such literally and completely "off the wall" art, and yet their work has appeared in major major museums and publications, even The Wall Street Journal. Most importantly, we think it is very inspiring (head scratchingly so) and often quite humorous. Below are some links to the conference. In order to see more than the abstracts, you must be brave enough to register for the conference and log in.
Here is where you start.
Highly recommended introduction to Arakawa and Gins work: : Melissa's paper, "Getting Traction" : This is where a 2 min 30 second sound/image video resides
Baby Mac, our first computer who taught Art Ranger how to write

Friday, March 12, 2010


Welcome to Found Art Friday 8! Indeed, we are what we ate.
Various birds and flying sculptures found in Central Coast environs by Jim Lindenthal, otherwise known as G.P. Image 1) Turkey Vulture 2) California Condor, oh holy dinosaur carrion eaters. Images 3) and 4) Ducky discoveries from a roadtrip

And bless our Aunt Madge (from the hood) who interestingly called it Found Object Friday because she's also a sculptor.
Image 5) mothy web magic. (Art Ranger likes it as a hammock)

Image 6) Peely in Seattle

Have a sweet and sturdy week. Check back soon, as the Ranger will give you the link to an online conference that she is part of in the next few days.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pre-ripped Jeans

Recently, Random Mother was at Target (Have you noticed their new in-house label that is trying to help prop up the economy?) and she accidently witnessed a fashion monstrosity, which was a highly organized version of the pre-wrinkled, pre-washed lite-jean. A whole whole lot of very planned wrinkles, highlighting the knee to be. This sighting coincided with the US Olympic team’s fake-faded jeanesque snowboard pant. On top of that was Sunday's full page Ralph Lauren ad featuring a woman in not only pre-faded, but yes (I mean no) pre-soiled jeans!
This series of unfortunate events prompts Art Ranger to pull from her archives, an essay from (2005ish):

I’ll tell you a tale ladies and gentlemen, of shopping in today’s marketplace for an honest pair of jeans.
This mother of boys needs a pair of jeans cuz you might have to slide on some rocks or help put a worm on a fishhook. You gotta wipe marshmellow on em. You gotta sip coffee on a crisp mountain morning.
So I start out at the mall where I might even remember where I parked my car. And I start out at the age appropriate middle age section of the mid-to-high end department store with the perfumey air entrance.
I start spinning through the rack of jeans as my search begins and it makes the hangers squeak on the big round ring like some kinda impatient irate shopper. Too blue, too teal, wrong pockets, hoidytodylabel, too long, fake fringe, sequins? And then come the nauseating flashbacks of adolescence in the seventies not fitting into any department store department. Fruitless treks through cold linoleum and worn grey rugs and the build-up of Monsanto scotchguard smelling, non-fitting clothes; Juniors, Girls, Boys. At least the ice cream cone and a walk past the indoor plastic fakewater fountain by the bronze bears, or maybe a tropical fish to take home in a baggy.

People I’m talking about looking for an honest pair of jeans.

So next I try going to the boutique shop at the mall, you know the long narrow boxes with the jaunty themes and the sock sets and seasonal underwear. And so I get to the rack that swoops down to my size like a rollercoaster ride and I stop at each jean for inspection – over here you got these already worn-in thighs all white and soft – now what life experience is this exactly supposed to replicate or reduce? And then the green tinged jeans and the last straw is the fake one-blown-out-knee jean. Look people – I came from a family that wouldn’t be caught dead walking their bicycle up a hill. The idea of breaking in your jeans was, you know kinda like breaking in a horse. You had to earn it in snags on the barbed wire and stories to go with um. You got to have the glue scabs and scars of art works and camping trips and getting lost and getting found again. Those little rivets on the corners of the pocket meant something to us.

And then there’s my aunt Jane who is 89 and still does Royal Air Force drills every morning like she learned during World War II. She still has the same pair of jeans purchased before a picnic in the 1950s that would look swell with gingham. Where at the mall is a set of sturdy jeans like that my friends? I just wasn’t meeting any jeans that I could really get along with and sit by the fire at night and tell stories wearing. Jeans used to be able to weather years of your life with you!

Don’t these people from the boutique set, with the jagged hairstyles and free miles of exposed tatooed bellyline, don’t they feel robbed of some seminal coming-of-age-experiences that could be happening in their jeans? Cool stuff to be absorbed into their journey and kept a certain record of in the jeans. The 3-legged dog saloon and the rattlesnake by the yucca plant and the flat tire by the orange rooster where you had an incredible lunch. I mean come on – you with the pre-stressed hole in the hip and the leaky seams made by powersanders!

Ok - the other last last straw is the pre-dragged blownout-back-hem jeans. It comes with many virtual mud puddles you never stepped in, city streets you never explored. And maybe the jeans also now have to hold more and more flesh because of the less and less physical experiences that could lead to the breaking in of jeans. Evidently ours is a “service economy” now. Does that mean we stand around? Or sit around?

Maybe that is really what I long for in an honest pair of jeans - something made in our country by people who know how to do things.

How have we slipped into this culture of pre-stressed, pre-ripped and now pre-wrinkled jeans? (add pre-soiled) Am I entirely warped by the middle-aged mindset here? Am I so unhip to the gyp? – why do pre-ripped jeans really get under my skin? Is it a false over-generosity like an easy car given to you by your creditcardparents with a thin frosting crust of dinkietwinkie expectations? Or are these pre-stressed garments all part of our media induced coma? More slight variations in a sequence of corporate-controlled moments, feelings and nutritional inputs. Jeans now reflect our privileging of the replica over the really-lived-through. Our celebrity-worshipped, digi-pixelated, reality tv infested, nonfat venti latte mindscape. Perhaps growing up with experiential inputs arrived at through media’s vicarious character projections, rather than actual character-forming ordeals make pre-stressed jeans an ideal fashion. Whereas in a physical world, jeans can serve as buffer, a clothing layer that earns its familiar comfort shape. Now, by sitting in chairs in front of screens touching springy buttons, many are satisfied with their participation on earth and rather have tons of dioxins, pumice washers and sanding discs to manufacture “lived-in” wisdom for their jeans.

Or, have the very fibers of our nervous systems, attention spans, short-term memory cords, and thereby the fibers of our clothing been shortened and/or shredded? We just can’t live through, or upload our lives quick enough for those jeans to ever get worn in.

Meanwhile, I’m getting sick-n-tired at the mall by now and in need of an overpriced coffee beverage with my name on it. After the fourth store, which was now a more middlebracket of the department store department, we tried on the other gender and age areas for fit (pretending to shop for my sons). We got da baggybaggy jeans with the backpockets the size of phonebooks, and why do they even bother with the belt? A new kind of excess flowing under and around shoes, dragging in slowshuffling groups achieving street-sweeper-like swaths of prewashed pre-stressed, perhaps purple-tinted, never slid into home-base jeans.

How do you feel about jumping into jeans styled with a pre-lived manufactured non-experience? Thank heaven for Goodwill, where you can at least re-inhabit someone elses random soft knee-threads and spin a fiction about their lives.

Upon arriving home empty-handed, I go to work on my computer noticing how I really don’t need jeans to sit in front of my computer to write a diatribe about pre-ripped jeans anyway.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Found Art Friday 7

Welcome to Found Art Friday: Art Ranger is right this minute in her homeland of Colorado, breathing in air at 11,000 ft. rather than touching computers, but she has prepared some findings for you. If you have sent things not yet seen, the ranger is probably savoring and waiting for proper post moment.
Here dear Aunt Madge, from the aforementioned motherland, captured this wall (beautiful recycling!) from "Tinker Town", New Mexico. A perfect road side attraction filled with imagination and found objects!

What follows is a series brought forth by Robin Brailsford, public artist/inventor. Not only do you folks find art, but art finds you because you are paying attention. Themes cycle around and hit you again, differently over the decades. She's got made-and-got-paid, found, captured, and re-imagined. Her images span from 1975 - last week.

From 1975, collaboration with Ruth Huggler while in school

Commission now residing atop a building in L.A. (Does your idea have legs?)

Please check out Robin's link:

And to further the Lip Service series, I give you a nudge as to last week's retired public official soon to be starring in a Tiny Movie (or Tubey Novella) from HomelandInspiration Studios:

Go ahead - leave a comment/ an answer?/a question some day. I know you can do it!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Earthprayer for a Monday snack

Your computer bumped its head and went to bed.
You went outside instead.

The frogs at the Department of Homeland Inspiration are very shy - as soon as you even think about recording them, they stop singing. Soon Ranger will share her essai on how bees invented art. Until she sweeps together enough pennies to get a new moving image maker, you'll just have to guess what the bees really look like.