Monday, September 14, 2009

Around and About

One or two of my faithful readers have mentioned, offline, that there have been lamentably few posts of late. Or just few--perhaps not lamentably. I shouldn't make assumptions here, but if people are looking to see what's here, I suppose they might want to see something new now and then.
The school year has begun here, rather later than for most of my colleagues at other institutions, and curiously enough various things have settled into place. The fluorescent lights in the bedroom closet, for instance, which stubbornly refused to function for a week or so, went back on last week despite my having done nothing yet in the way of checking the fuse. The toilet-paper holder that had fallen from its mounting finally consented to stay in place again. I can't say that the molding around my windshield has magically stuck properly again, but another call to the glass company will fix that, when I get around to it. (I think their next step will be to replace the window a second time.)
More entertainingly, I have been out in the community taking a look around. I visited the Dayton Art Institute, a very fine small-scale museum. (And free to the public! And in biking or even walking distance from home!) I attended the monthly dinner of the Dayton Area Rabbit Network, where I met other people who live with long-eared beings and made tentative plans to have the Spotted Pair's toenails clipped. I visited the 2nd Street Market--several times, so now I know that Saturday is the day when all the produce vendors show up (I'm not sure, however, that I can take home a pumpkin on my bike until I get actual bike baskets). I was too tired to roam the streets and galleries on the most recent First Friday or the latest Urban Night, but I did get to my neighborhood's last potluck picnic of the summer (my potato salad was devoured and I met neighbors who garden, adopt shelter animals, and like art). I also roamed yesterday's street fair on 5th, which meant I finally set foot in some of the galleries and even bought a couple of things. I didn't sample any of the foods, because I had just eaten Thai food at the aforementioned market, but I enjoyed checking out the various art and jewelry vendors.
I was intrigued by the collage-decoupaged furniture made by one vendor, and seriously considered getting a piece, but since the university is only reimbursing about a third of my moving expenses, I felt protective of my pocketbook and thought I had better be certain that I didn't buy anything over $100 and that any piece of furniture had to be something I would actually use and, of course, that I was particularly drawn to the collage on that particular work. Well, I could in fact use another piece or two of furniture, but the types the vendor had available weren't precisely what I would find most useful in my current residence; some of the pieces I liked the most were out of my price range; etc. I chatted a bit with the artist, who was a bit disgruntled that nothing had sold yet despite people liking the work. I said that I supposed it is harder to sell in this economy, but she assured me that in some cities she's sold lots of pieces recently. It seemed to me that in a bad economy people are more likely to buy art objects that don't cost too much--Archelaus cards sell very well--but the artist was skeptical about that. Well, since I don't have a lot of money and there wasn't one special piece that just called my name, I confess that I didn't get any new furniture. And I daresay the artist wouldn't have liked the thought that, as a person who's done a lot of collage myself, I might someday make my own collaged piece of furniture. But that wouldn't stop me from buying someone else's piece if I thought it was absolutely wonderful. Each person's imagination is a bit different, after all.
And, in fact, shortly after that I talked to a different artist, also a collage artist. He remarked that since he was really broke, he was selling pieces for $20 each. Well, I had admired them earlier but assumed they were expensive, so I hadn't considered buying one. At $20, though, I figured I could get one, and that I didn't even feel like it had to be one I adored, but simply one I kind of liked. He does his collages digitally, so I suppose he can make as many copies as he likes of any individual collage--I'd like to learn to do this, since there are a lot of things I'd like to collage with but don't want to slice up, and for that matter I've found a lot of potential collage sources on BibliOdyssey and other art-related sites. The artist was friendly and local, and indicated he might be up for teaching me how he did some of this. So now I've got one of his collages. I also picked up a couple of art-deco-ish spoon rests from his dealer; I've never used a spoon rest, but the elongated rabbit and dog are pretty neat just as objects.
A ways down the street, I wandered into another gallery, where I was immediately complimented on my Czech linen hat. Next thing I knew, the woman who liked my hat, along with her friend, were giving me directions to the local Czech club, which has frequent dances (not that I have much experience with the polka); great places to hike and ski; and so forth. When these kind people bade me adieu, I took a look at the gallery and saw some works by a few of my new colleagues, which was rather fun.
Most of the time, of course, I have been sitting at home working on my classes, on a postdoc proposal, on journal articles, and on other projects.

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