Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Laundry Situation

So, I goofed.

I'm late with the blog again.  But, more importantly, I have a situation.  A Laundry Situation.

The Laundry Situation

A lot of changes have occurred in a short period of time.  Lots of little things fell to the wayside I normally keep up with weekly (like the blog).  Then I ran out of clothes.

No, that's not dirty laundry.  That would be normal.  No, no, see I washed my clothes only to be too tired to fold it on Laundry Night.  So, I left the massive pile in the bin.  Then I woke up the next day and thought "Man, that's a huge pile.  Too bad I have work all day.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow I'll do it."

As most procrastinators will recognize, this is Phase 1 of Denial:  believing in yourself.

I then proceeded to push off folding it for another four days.  It became absurd, just sitting there, while my actual dirty laundry was increasing in size, without a bin to place it in.  I decided to be pro-active.  Did you fold it? you ask.  No.  That would be smart.

I instead moved the huge pile--yes, moved it--to on top of my bed, wherein I thought to myself evilly, "This will get me to fold it!  I'll have to fold it to get to my bed!"

Turns out, that tactic didn't work.  New data from studies show that a Tired Beryl is ten times more likely to push piles of clean clothes onto the floor rather than fold it.  So for the next few days a new, festering routine kicked up:

In the morning, I would wake to see the huge pile on the floor and move it happily to the bed, thinking "Tonight's the night... I can feel it," then of course, shifting it back onto the floor amid a sense of dread and self-disappointment for the morning.  It was like a sick, twisted cycle I couldn't pull myself out of.  It's still on my bed, waiting.

That's when I came up with my brilliant idea.

So What's Up? 

Laundry, like many things in my life, has become obsolete in the face of two part time jobs that are now coming to an end to be replaced by...

*drum roll please*

A full-time position with my favorite theatre company.  Not only has this meant a surreal week of interviews and pleasant surprises amid all the other odd commuting and hours I've been working, this has ALSO meant a huge shift in my life for the foreseeable future, all of which I hope to happily keep you abreast* of.

Thank you for your patience and I plan to be back on schedule (whatever that is--what was the last day I was traditionally posting on?  Tuesday?  Sunday?  Can't remember because it's been that. long.) at the top of November, if not sooner.


p.s. Teehee: "a-breast."


So Halloween approaches.  You might remember my Otter Costume  I fixed together last year.

Earlier today on Facebook it became clear that a lot of people believed me to be a good Robin Hood as a child.  So, I managed to find my old Robin Hood hat again.  And then I realized there was an opportunity here I could not pass up.  I give you...

Friar Pug.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Middle-Aged Librarian WWII Spy You Never Knew About

My friend Danielle requested I create a comic-book version of Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra.  While I think a) there very much should be a comic book version of every tragedy play ever written by Shakespeare and b) I would be the perfect candidate to draft these, I c) don't have the time to draw it.  Yet.

Instead, this week I am going to introduce you to yet another woman who isn't nearly as famous as she should be.  This is part of my Random Acts of Hindsight Feminism (see: Anna Mae Wong and Nicolaa De La Haye or the post inspired by Dr. Marlene Zuk).  Looking back, I am shocked that these women are not nearly as famous as their male counterparts. 

Feminist whingeing aside, I have found a new woman to admire for her gumption, her gallantry and un-gripulous nature.  Don't ask me how I got that last 'g' word.  It's incredibly hard to find a good 'g' word.*

Oh sure, you might have barely noticed her.  You might have decided, as I think most would, to look at the Giant Naked Lady instead.  

You might have completely ignored that mousey little woman with her pristine stereotypical Librarian fashion.  

But, you see, so did the Nazis.  

Godwin's Law Doesn't Count When You're Actually Having A Discussion About WWII, Right?  

The Nazis, I think all sane people can agree, are an emblem of When Humans Go Really, Really--No, Really--Bad.  I am not going to summarize what they did or even entertain the idea of explaining why they're bad because if you HAVEN'T learned about their actions during World War II by now you grew up in a walnut shell.  Or you're a crazy maladjusted dictator of Iran.  Just saying.

So among the many horrible things this army did systematically, the German Army in the 1940s began an enormous, secretive operation of art proliferation.  After the invasion of France in 1940 and the "armistice" between France and Germany was signed and ratified, Hitler and Goehring had a particular surreal project in mind:  the confiscation of cultural artifacts they liked and the eradication of everything else.

Keep in mind, Adolf Hitler applied to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien, aka the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, as a painter.  He was denied admission.  Twice.**  

That's where Rose Valland comes in.

You May Have A Systematic Way Of Looting But We've Got An Art Historian With A Memory Like A Polyurethane Mattress 

I can't help it.  I like someone automatically if they're a smoker.***  
Rose was the overseer of the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris right when that armistice went through. Hitler had just decided not to obliterate Paris.  Among the many odd facts about Hitler, he both adored and envied Paris and was "happy" when he finally got to visit the city.  It seems a bit hypocritical to point out as an American, but I always thought one doesn't have to overrun a country to become a tourist.

Anyway, the Germans created an organization solely dedicated to systematic looting of the occupied territories.  It was called the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzen Gebietesay that three times fastor the ERR for short.  The ERR used the Jeu de Paume as their central storage and sorting unit before sending thousands of pieces of art--pieces of culture--to Germany.

Emptied frames of the works stolen by the Nazis during WWII

I Spy With My German-Fluent Eye

Rose was a quiet woman.  She didn't dress flamboyantly and didn't cause much attention, which is a good thing because for over four years she recorded the distribution and looting of over 20,000 pieces of art.  Much to the German's chagrin, Rose could also understand German.  

Imagine that sweet, quiet librarian you always thought nothing of, spying on every conversation between brutal, murderous Nazis.  She would just sit there, soaking up the information, memorizing the names, titles and locations of every piece, and would later write it down every night in a secret journal to be distributed to the Allied Forces if and when the invasion would occur.  She also risked her life to send this information the French Underground so that bombs wouldn't be dropped on the trains shipping out the priceless pieces of art. 

And that's why you should know about Rose Antonia Maria Valland.  Yes, she has been awarded and remembered by the French Government for her incredible work.  She published the book Le front de l'art in 1961 describing her incredible story and proceeded to become the chair of many artistic preservation boards.  However, I would have much preferred to learn about her during my sparse education of important women in, say, middle school or high school or hell even in college.  The fact that I'm learning about her now leads me to believe that many other Americans have no idea about her.

So, remember:  Rose Valland.

Bad. Ass.


*I think I now understand why the 'g' spot is not called the 's' spot or the 'f' spot because in English, well, it wouldn't be as nearly evasive, wouldn't it?

**Please now join with me in the ritual "What if...?" and imagine how Adolf Hilter might have handled Art 135B, Introduction to Charcoal and Pencil.  Would he have been the type to break his pencil lead repeatedly, unfamiliar with the medium, only to then stab it in his professor's chest for getting a low mark?  Or would he have instead rushed with a fury at his own canvas during Elementary Oil Painting 11 because the damn thing wouldn't dry instantly unlike his darling little watercolor paints?  Personally, I like to envision Hitler after graduating from art school, unable to be taken seriously as a real artist, and ending up trapped in a job as a greeting card artist for slogans like "A Special Message for Someone Special!" or "Miracles come in all sizes!" and "Eye will always luv u!" That last slogan would have to have an image of a cute kitten with big eyes or a magnifier on a happy baby's eyeball or something.  And yes, all slogans would have to be in Comic Sans MS.

***Small Disclaimer:  I like you automatically if you're a smoker but only if you're also French, female and a middle-aged Spy working against the Nazis.