Monday, April 30, 2012


When we switched tea brands (the store was out of the black tea I normally get), I needed to add milk to my morning mega-mug of caffeine (Mark was a dear to buy tea when we ran out, but he likes his blends with more bite than I do).

After I added the milk (pause to wonder if the milk should be poured first and then the tea...) sometimes I would see little images turning within the cobalt darkness of the mug.  Then I would either channel my inner Centauri Noblewoman and whisper prophecies about the Shadows, or else I would channel Stevie Nicks and sing "Now here I go again, I have a crystal vision..." (pause to imagine Stevie Nicks as a Centauri Noblewoman).

After a week or so, I thought, "Hey! I could tweet these."  So I have.

April 20 - This morning's tasseography: a dog, a mask, an animated speaker with hand gestures.  (This one sort of came true, in that shortly afterward, I saw a mask (actually a bicycle banana-seat with handle-bar horns) that looked like the mask in the teacup.)

April 21 - Today's tasseogaphy (to Wagner): a rose, three circles in a triskellion, a sled, an Art Nouveau woman in harem pants.

April 22Today's tasseogaphy: three dolphins, sort of like a saint Brendan cross. And... um, milk diffusing into the tea.  (This one also sort of came true, in that we were listening to a book on tape, and St. Brendan's Cross being mentioned.)

April 23Today's tasseogaphy (to Beethoven): X and O - a tic-tac-toe game; broken glass (from a rock?); colliding worlds, colliding electrons.

April 24Today's tasseogaphy: very swirly roses, two dolphins, an eye (vaguely Egyptian), and a hawk-like bird's profile.  (Too early to signify the UO Osprey Nest at Hayward Field, as that happened the next day...)

April 25 - Today's tasseography: a nose, a - er, Freudian image. Later a giraffe, a longhorn steer with someone riding it.   (Let me tell you, that Freudian image was burgeoning, too).

April 26Today's tasseography: Hmm. Difficult to see. Always in motion is future. Just a funnel of milk spinning in tea.

April 27Today's tasseography: an elongated monogram combining J and M, which turned around and became a swimming long-necked dinosaur.   (Maybe Mark and I will go to Loch Ness....)

April 28 - Today's tasseography: an open sled on curled runners being pulled by an antlered reindeer.

April 29Today's tasseography: a rearing white horse. Then lots of bat-winged dragons with serpentine necks and chomping jaws.   (I was hoping that I'd see the dragons - there was a whole flock of them, with a really detailed close-up of the last dragon's muzzel.)

While I am hopeful that what I interpret in the mug might happen, I'm not holding my breath.  What I notice looking over this is that sleds, horns, steers, wings and bird-shapes seem to be a trend.  Dripping milk off of a spoon produces primarily rings and also numbers like 3 6 8 and 9.  Also, if I stir my tea too vigorously, the milk turns into a flower shape.

My friends noticed the tasseomancy.  In a recent Facebook exchange, one of my friends, JB, said, "You must have lots of fun during Rorschach Tests."  To which I replied, "You know, I've never taken one."  His conclusion was, "Oh, I think you are ALWAYS taking one."  

I think I need to put that into my e-mail signature.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Buying a Small Piece of Heaven

I went to the Crumpacker Family Library Book Sale.

Entering the Crumpacker Family Library always makes me want to run around like Julie Andrews and sing, "The Hills Are Alive" - only my song would be about how the hills are alive with books books books BOOOOKS! - and then read a book while seated on a ceremonial throne.

Before the doors opened, I met a painter, and we started talking about her paintings and how I hoped I'd run into a really good book on Paleolithic art.

Then the doors opened and I told myself that I wanted to look for books on Paleolithic art and oh, look interior arts -- and no, you're writing Steampunk, so - hey! Art Nouveau! and Oh! 7000 years of Iranian Art!

No. Focus focus focus Burridge! You're writing about fantasy and steampunk and you need to look at source work for the ... ooooh! a book on silver tableware! That's Steampunk, or at least fantasy....

Finding a scholarly book on art that's at a nice price which makes my heart bubble over with bibliophilic avarice.

Everyone was very polite. I helped someone find a book on interior design and the painter's friend handed me a book on European Art History. We were all enablers.

When I think of heaven, it's filled with books. When I think of buying a little bit of heaven, I go a little crazy with divine badness. That was a Freudian slip of the fingers there, but it's probably more correct to say "divine badness" because I really only meant for this to be a dry run on what I would do at the book sale next year -then next thing I knew I had a really huge, heavy stack of older books.

Which I bought.

And they're all my favorite. And I want to read them all. And I can use them for research. And I'm not sure where they will fit on my home shelves. But I am pretty sure Mark is going to start laughing in a few minutes when I walk out of the building with two shopping bags full of second-hand art books.

[editor's note:  He did.]

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Eugene's Only Victorian House

Today we visited the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House, a home built in Eugene in 1888. It's easy to forget that we have buildings this old in Eugene.

I liked seeing some of the older items in the SMJ House; it's always interesting to go to a historical source for a Victorian setting.

I found myself comparing SMJ House to Olana.  Which really isn't a good comparison, but the attention to interior details prompted me to do so.

What I like about the windows in the front doors is how they use negative space.

The kitchens in Victorian houses are always interesting.

I always forget that the kitchen stove would have used wood as a fuel source, and that the ashes would need to be cleaned out periodically.

There was a large butter churn with a cool gear assembly. I like how the crank wheel has curved struts instead of straight spans.  I also wondered if the smaller, five-fold gear might not be original.

The furniture was ornate and it struck me how it didn't look like it had been mass-produced or created by someone's on-line plans and laser-printed.

An old sewing machine, tredal-powered.

What really caught my eye was this medalion.  The detailing on this is amazing; and there's no computer chips in the machine. How did they sew?

Here's the sewing machine's tredal mechanism. 

Obligatory old typewriter photo taken by an author. I thought this was a manual typewriter, but it looks like there's an electrical switch on this.

Door plate details.

Did they mass-produce these by pressing them, or were they cast this way?

Well, there; I can design some electrical face-plate in Blender and then print them out with MakerBot and...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Honor Killings in Fiction

I've been thinking about honor killings in the news and honor-based fictional societies, which has led me to the question, what is it about the Klingon's honor- and shame-based society that makes them cool? I mean, they've got Mauk-to 'Vor (ritual killing of an individual so that his honor can be restored), and the rituals around discommendation affect the honor of a family for seven generations. So how is different from honor killings like the one which happened in Arizona? If the father involved had used a sword instead of a jeep, would that have made it better?

I asked around how and why Klingons were acceptable. One Facebook friend responded "To themselves, they are socially acceptable." A group of writer friends thought that Klingons were more acceptable because their honor killings seemed to be confined to acts of males against other males. (This was followed by an interesting observation about historical romance novels: make the female main character too bold and the historians trash your story for being too modern western; make the female main character an integrated part of her historical society and the feminists trash your story for supporting the patriarchy.)

Thinking about it more, I made an continuum. On the left side I put Sheri S Tepper's Land of the True Game series, because the central moral theme is that parents have a responsibility to make sure their children have souls (the ability to be moral) and kill them if they don't. A little to the right go the Klingons. Further to the right are mediaeval cultures like the Vikings or Knights of Chivalry. And all the way on the right is the Arizona Honor Killer.

What this appears to boil down to is, when do we as readers admire fictional killers? Now I have to figure out where National Geographic specials with hunting lionesses on the serengeti fit in.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Writing Progress

Today was going to be the day when I wrote.... but then I made a stupid mistake syncing a manuscript between Scrivener and SimpleNote and the next thing I knew I was digging through backups to restore an accidentally deleted scene.  All I can say is, bless you, Scrivener, for automatically backing up my manuscripts.

On the "It's Not Working Because You're Doing It Wrong" front, I have a writing office that, by bits and pieces over the Winter Holiday, transformed into a junk drawer.  I have a bad habit of tossing things I'm not quite sure what to do with into my office; which is literally a spare closet.  I cleared out reconfigured the piles of paper and reclaimed the space.  Now I have to make the painful decision about what to do with my Very Old Desktop. It has a lot of Illustrator files on it, which I'd like to keep... but if I wiped the hard drive and recycled (or re-purposed) it, I'd probably get an extra three feet back in my writing closet.  The goal is to have a space I can write in without hurting my wrists, neck, back or feet, keep my writing and art projects from encroaching on the rest of the house, and that will be able to facilitate more than one project at a time.

Sounds like a day-by-day task...

Monday, April 02, 2012

Mark's Pre-Birthday Sky

This is what the sky will look like the night before Mark's birthday. If it isn't cloudy.

... And there probably won't be a giant grey arrow with a W on it.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Rocks and Peacocks!

We visited Peterson's Rock Museum, near Redmond, Oregon. Mark pointed out that I've been wanting to build something like this ampitheatre in our backyard for... well, actually, something like this anywhere since he's known me.

I was kind of busy photographing peacocks. This is probably the best shot in terms of asthetic design. The one peacock who performed a display dance did so after I'd filled my photo card.