Knitted Animation: Les Peaux des Lièvres

•July 8, 2014 • 1 Comment

If you thought embroidered animation was impressive, check out this amazing knitted animation music video.

Music: Tricot Machine

Director: Simon Laganier

Knitter: Lysanne Latulippe.

Photographer: Steve Derosiers

Editor: Simon Laganiere

Producer: David Valinquette

More animation


Happy in Tehran

•May 30, 2014 • 1 Comment

They got arrested for making this video. Solidarity videos ensued.

A visit to Spokane

•May 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I went to Spokane, Washington to do some work in my mother-in-law’s garden, and took some photos while I was in that part of the country.

carrying rocks

eastern WA 2

eastern WA

fixing the eaves


palouse 2


Spokane river


Bread and Roses

•May 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Happy May Day one and all.

More information about Bread and Roses here.

Kate Bush: Hello Earth

•April 22, 2014 • 2 Comments

60s Songs About Playground Equipment

•April 19, 2014 • 1 Comment

For your springtime enjoyment, here are four songs from the 60s about playground equipment.

The Moody Blues: Ride My Seesaw

The Hollies: On a Carousel

The Beatles: Helter Skelter

Glen Campbell: Where’s the Playground, Susie?

Seems to have been a popular theme from ’67 to ’69. Can you think of any more?


Compartment No. 6, by Rosa Liksom

•April 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Compartment No. 6, by Rosa Liksom, translated from the Finnish by yours truly, is coming out in the UK on the first of May, 2014, published by Serpent’s Tail.

It’s a novel about a quiet young Finnish student who is forced to share her train compartment with a drunken, tale-telling, self-proclaimed murderer as they cross the crumbling Soviet Union from Moscow to Ulan Bator.

Here are some reviews of the book in its various translations to date:

“The wild stories of the rough fellow passenger make this journey increasingly absurd, giddying and captivating… It is a stroke of genius to describe a country and give form to one’s mixed feelings for it through such a figure. ” Aftonbladet

“Melodic, rhythmic language, compressed, poetical and replete with fragrance and colour sensations… The girl and the man, this unlikely couple, accompany one another at the close across the plains as if progressing through a film by Andrej Tarkovskij.” – Svenska Dagbladet

“The outcome is both atmospheric and beautiful, an elegy to the Soviet Union and its people, the land where ‘unhappiness is perceived as happiness’.” – Helsingborgs Dagblad

It’s an ugly, beautiful book.

Available for pre-order from Serpent’s Tail or your favorite bookseller.

Our Sweet Companions, Sharing Your Bunk and Your Bed, by Marina Tsvetaeva

•April 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment


by Marina Tsvetaeva

translated by Sasha Dugdale

Our sweet companions—sharing your bunk and your bed
The versts and the versts and the versts and a hunk of your bread
The wheels’ endless round
The rivers, streaming to ground
The road. . .

Oh the heavenly the Gypsy the early dawn light
Remember the breeze in the morning, the steppe silver-bright
Wisps of blue smoke from the rise
And the song of the wise
Gypsy czar. . .

In the dark midnight, under the ancient trees’ shroud
We gave you sons as perfect as night, sons
As poor as the night
And the nightingale chirred
Your might. . .

We never stopped you, companions for marvelous hours
Poverty’s passions, the impoverished meals we shared
The fierce bonfire’s glow
And there, on the carpet below,
Fell stars. . .

More poetry


National Velvet

•April 8, 2014 • 1 Comment

I wasn’t one of those girls who loved horses, but I loved the proto-feminist classic National Velvet when I was a child. It’s the ultimate girl’s horse story, and one of my favorite Mickey Rooney movies.

What’s your favorite Mickey Rooney movie?

Ella Fitzgerald: Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

•March 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The sublime Ella singing Fran Landesman‘s glorious Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.

Happy Spring, everyone.

Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase

•March 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’m sending my friend Jon Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase in the mail, but I’m not going to post this entry until after the briefcase has arrived. Here’s how I made did it.

bc 1

Buy an ordinary briefcase at a second hand store.

bc 2

Gut the lid.


Line the lid with 6 layers of gold cellophane. Lolarusa suggests omitting the cellophane, but I think it adds reflected color. It’s a toss up on whether this part is effective.

bc 4

Battery pack w/eight AA batteries, some wire, 4 super bright LED bulbs, and 4 miniature sockets. When wiring, please note that the positive contact on a bulb and the positive contact on a socket is at the bottom, the negative contact for a bulb and socket is at the sides where the threads/grooves are.  Oh, and buy a refrigerator switch, not pictured. The switch that turns the light bulb on when you open the fridge door. Costs around 5 USD.

bc 5

Attach sockets to some sort of base. I used skewers & twist ties.

bc 6

Lay out the contents of Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase. Secure the battery pack with velcro. Secure the base with tape.

bc 7

Cut 3 lengths of red and 3 lengths of black wire, longer than you need them. Coil the wire around a pencil. The coil will produce tension, making electrical tape & solder unnecessary.

bc 8

Connect all bulbs, positive to positive, negative to negative.

bc 9

Make 4 gold cellophane socks to cover the bulbs. This adds the right color and stops you from blinding the recipient.


Connect to battery pack to test.

bc 11 switch detail

Connect the refrigerator switch in this manner (thank you wikihow). Red from positive socket to one post on the switch (doesn’t matter which one), other post on switch to positive power post, and finally negative power post to negative socket. Follow this illustration exactly to avoid a short circuit.

bc 12

Here is my fridge switch, tucked into the upper right corner of the briefcase, using velcro as adhesive. When the lid drops the plunger is depressed and the circuit is broken (the lights go off). I added the shims below the switch to make the lights turn on just as the lid is opened. Good electrical timing makes this prop work.

bc 10

Set the combination. To open the lock in the image above you’d push the latch to the right. While in the open position push the latch to the left and hold. Turn the wheels to any number you like & let go. That’s your new combination.

bc 14

Open Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase at your own risk.


more Curiosities

The Only Road Roller Endorsed by Doris Day

•February 17, 2014 • 2 Comments


Doubt: Gossip

•February 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman.

To My Old Brown Earth, by Pete Seeger

•January 28, 2014 • 2 Comments



by Pete Seeger

To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I’ll now give these last few molecules of “I.”

And you who sing,
And you who stand nearby,
I do charge you not to cry.

Guard well our human chain,
Watch well you keep it strong,
As long as sun will shine.

And this our home,
Keep pure and sweet and green,
For now I’m yours
And you are also mine.

In memory of Pete 1919-2014.

More Pete Seeger posts.

The Princess and the Goblin

•January 15, 2014 • 1 Comment

I’ve been listening to the Librivox audiobook of a strange and wonderful fantasy novel, The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald, published in 1872.


I really like volunteer reader Lizzie Driver‘s voice and the way she creates the voices for the various characters. Here’s the first section:

You can download or stream audio of the whole book here, or read the text here.

“There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys. His palace was built upon one of the mountains, and was very grand and beautiful. The princess, whose name was Irene, was born there, but she was sent soon after her birth, because her mother was not very strong, to be brought up by country people in a large house, half castle, half farmhouse, on the side of another mountain, about half-way between its base and its peak.

The princess was a sweet little creature, and at the time my story begins was about eight years old, I think, but she got older very fast. Her face was fair and pretty, with eyes like two bits of night sky, each with a star dissolved in the blue. Those eyes you would have thought must have known they came from there, so often were they turned up in that direction. The ceiling of her nursery was blue, with stars in it, as like the sky as they could make it. But I doubt if ever she saw the real sky with the stars in it, for a reason which I had better mention at once.

These mountains were full of hollow places underneath; huge caverns, and winding ways, some with water running through them, and some shining with all colours of the rainbow when a light was taken in. There would not have been much known about them, had there not been mines there, great deep pits, with long galleries and passages running off from them, which had been dug to get at the ore of which the mountains were full. In the course of digging, the miners came upon many of these natural caverns. A few of them had far-off openings out on the side of a mountain, or into a ravine.

Now in these subterranean caverns lived a strange race of beings, called by some gnomes, by some kobolds, by some goblins…”


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