Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You are Your Avatar

I heard about this study on NPR in which a group of scientists have deduced that if you choose an “attractive” avatar through which to live your online life, your real life will be influenced, and you’ll start to think of yourself as more attractive. You will lose weight, you will choose cuter friends, you will be more social, etc. You will become more like your online self.
Sort of strikes home for me. Did I choose Kloe because she is me? Am I her? I am blond and blue-eyed, and that’s why I chose Chloe/Angel, and not Jasmine or one of the other Bratz (ALL of whom I think are sweet; sorry, I just love Bratz). I have a sort of Bratty figure too. Have I become more like her, or was she always there, a sort of sassy girl hiding behind my Waspish background?
What if I’d decided to use a Cabbage Patch doll instead (shudder the thought)? Would I have ended up on a farm in the Midwest, quilting and riding tractors? Would I not have this fetish for very high heels and baring my metaphorical mid-drift?
Anybody had a similar experience?

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Compost Saga

So you may remember I had a bit of a problem with my compost. In that it wasn’t properly cooking and so gathering lots of small flies. I closed it up in a black trashbag a month ago and started a new compost trashcan (still awaiting my worm bin).
A few days ago I dared to open up compost #1 to turn it, and wow, it’s turning into black soil already. I’m thrilled. I just love getting something out of the scraps I would have had to throw away.
Now compost #2 is also gathering flies. I just pulled out all my flowering herbs and greens, threw them back into my compost, and will get some new starts. Have already put in my first tomatoes (photo is toms from last season). But the flies, ugh. Am getting screens in two weeks…

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fallen in Love with a Neighborhood

Since returning from Turkey I’ve felt ambivalent about living here in SoCal. I’ve realized I hate the suburbs. I’m a city girl, at least at this point in my life. City or country, but not the burbs. I’ve missed being able to walk to work, to the store, or to get coffee, like I could in Turkey. I need to have more contact with the arty crowd that understands me, not the conservative SoCalians who live around me and are sometimes horrified by my work. But I currently reside in a lovely place, where 99.99% of the world’s population would die to live. (I am not joking, it’s like paradise here.)
So what’s to do? My fantasy is to get an artist studio in this neighborhood I have fallen in love with. This hood is just that: ratty, a bit dangerous, and urban. But it has possibilities, a raw hipness, a risk involved. It is not Disneyland on the water.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stalled but Not Beaten

Around the New Year I ceased to think of academia as a career option. I’ve now been out of grad school for seven years, had numerous call-back interviews for positions, a Fulbright, and am no closer to landing a tenure-track job. Arnie has killed public ed here anyway. And I’m getting older. Time to stop messing around.
So I decided to start a design business. And was promptly swamped teaching two lecture classes to 150 students, unable to proceed with my freelance plans. But the end is in sight, only one more month of madness and then summer is here. Yes, I’m teaching summer school with any luck. But I’ll be able to again focus on getting some clients and building a portfolio. Also continuing to paint and promote my own work, of course.
Then I’ve got this other thing in the back of my mind, tickling me. It’s good to let go the idea that teaching is the only or best way for me. A friend on the other coast is making the same decision…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Intelligence Counts

The other day I was talking with someone, and mentioned the last time I had done such-and-such I was in Istanbul. There was a beat of silence. And then he said, where is Istanbul?
He was a computer engineer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Turkish Bratz

I know you liked that last Turkish Pop video so much, I decided to share another one…
It's fascinating to me to observe how Western ideas of feminine beauty and sexiness have been co-opted by Turkish culture. Observing Gulsen I see so many Turkisms: the was she cocks her head, the movement of her hands, her perfect hair and flawless, heavy make-up. But then she adopts hip grinding moves and Daisy Mae shorts that she can't quite pull off; there is a reserve there from raunchiness. That the languid singer knocks out a Western looking hunk is also pretty interesting, given the preponderance of violence against women in Turkey...
But you know I only present the classiest stuff on my blog!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Once a Child, Always…

Ran into one of my grandmother’s friends today. The very day I was visiting the cemetery for the first time since her death (brought pink bougainvillea, she would have liked that).
The friend said she didn’t need to ask about how I am, she’s reading this blog. Gulp.
And she noticed the F-word. Double gulp.
And that my gram would not approve and that Kloe, as a Bratz, doesn’t talk that way.
Like my gram was haranguing me from the grave…
I just have to slow down.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Found a local market that stocks Middle Eastern products and produce. I knew I might be in heaven when I saw an entire aisle of olives and olive oil. Here’s some stuff I gleefully threw in my basket:
Turkish cay (black tea)
Black olives (douse with thyme and olive oil)
Dut (dried mulberries)
Pomegranate syrup (for salad dressings and drinks)
Bulgarian feta (to go with the olives)
Ulker Halley cookies
Unfortunately, no Turkish chocolate, but that might be wishing for the moon…

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Passover

I had an intellectually stimulating conversation over matzah, wine, and brisket with several post-grads and Jewish expats. There is nothing better than beautiful, smart people arguing. Makes me have hope in the future.
Some were in San Francisco for the Olympic torch debacle; as I had heard from other contacts, the situation was extremely explosive. We all agreed that the Olympics has never been primarily about athletes, but about politics. Religion + politics, and it turned us all on...
And yes, another year is upon me, thanks for the bday wishes from my lovely friends.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Oh, this art history is killing me. Please, if you’re considering teaching it as a studio artist, reconsider. Because:
1. You read the 20lb text book.
2. You enter notes on the 30-50 slides per chapter in Powerpoint.
3. Then you have to read a secondary source to get other info the students expect (fact: a college teacher must know more than her students).
4. You read notes from an expert (an art historian friend of mine).
5. Every 3-4 weeks you give a test to your 70 students that takes DAYS to grade.
So you’re paid for only three hours of teaching, none of the prep or grading, which adds about 15-20 hours per week.
I’m counting the days til this semester is finished.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All of my Main Food Groups

After that serious post of yesterday, in which the event continues to upset me on so many levels I can barely think straight, I need to talk about something light. So here’s me in Heaven: solid bittersweet chocolate and bread in the same food. Eat with either strong coffee or sweet wine. Keeps you young.
Am also being seduced by some new music: Air and Beirut. Thanks, S.M!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bad PR for Turkey and the Arts

A friend in My Anatolian City just alerted me to a recent tragedy, which is also very bad for her nation's image in the Art World. Pippa Bacca, an Italian performance artist, was raped and murdered in Turkey, supposedly by a Turkish man. She, with a group of other women artists, was hitch-hiking from Europe to Israel/Palestine for “World Peace” wearing a wedding dress. Her action signified her basic trust in the goodness of fellow humans.
I hope Turkish artists will respond to this awful event.
As you may know, I have opinions on the way women are treated (often with violence), and how sexuality is handled, in Turkey. To make broad generalizations, especially from conservative, violent American culture, is dangerous. But… here goes: sex and sexual violence are big problems in Turkey. Women are taught to hate sex, and men are taught to marry virgins, and take “whores” on the side. So obviously women are screwed either way. Sorry for the strong words, and I know our own culture also has complex codes for sexuality, but I feel there is so much sexual frustration in Turkey that things must change, somehow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The 2 main things that I feel I missing in my life are:

1. Financial stability-- it causes me lots of stress at times, but I'm learning not to let it bother me
2. A support system--- I really miss being near my family & close friends. I feel it's very hard to really connect with people in CA (at least for me)
Oh- I do remember losing a black leather jacket that I loved years ago when someone borrowed it & lost it. It still bugs me a little when I think about it.
I guess the obvious thing to hope to find in the Middle East would be peace, but unfortunately I don't think that will happen. As far as Turkey goes, I would settle for one of those embroidered throws, some beyaz penir, that fabulous green melon & some raki :)
(from a friend of Kloe who was with her in Turkey; dark house image by beginning drawing student)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Candy, Baby

Kid.01 has just informed me how to eat a KitKat bar. With the wrapper on. Why, I ask him? Because you chew, and chew, and chew, and it slows you down.
He also believes Nerds are made of real rock, softened.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Response Quote

I had to go into my grandmother’s house again, for the first time in five months. Took cashmere skirts and hand-knitted cardigans, dead plants in pots, soccer balls, depressing detritus.
I was pressed into accepting a small bulletin board from the garage pinned mostly with xeroxed cartoons. But cut out carefully was this quote:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point to satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do it with the approval of their consciences.

C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Small Comment

Today, after an endless review of Greek and Roman slides in preparation for a my next test, a student laughingly said told me I wasn’t her favorite teacher anymore. I wonder if she knows how much that means to me?

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Failed Artist

I was at a dinner party a while ago, sitting next to a magazine editor. She was interested in my year abroad as an artist, and told me that her ex was a “failed artist.” Meaning, she explained, he’d made it to 60 and never achieved the success he’d hoped. Awful, but let’s not mince words, most of us artists will end up like this.
I wonder if this editor had given her former mate this moniker, or had he labeled himself? It takes so long before we can say we are “Artists” (it’s a role we feel we have to earn, somehow). And then what do we have, 20 years to make it? 30? And what makes us a success? Selling? Gallery representation? Small regional museum show? Tenure track position in academia? Respect from our peers? Not starving? If we earn a modicum of fame, must we maintain it?
And what does it mean to say the father of your children (cause she had grown kids) is Failed? That she was a success? That she had chosen to be responsible, a business woman, while he had chased dreams unsuccessfully? The whole thing smelled, like being with someone who drops names or flouts toys.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Gentrification, Turkish Style

Here’s another little video of the Odunpazari neighborhood in Eskisehir, where my “Missing” flyers will be posted soon. The old Ottoman houses are being restored. There’s not much tourism yet in the area, but hopes are high.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Early Spring Garden

Radishes and carrots
Last lettuce
New tomato starts
Radicchio (my fav),
Broccoli (didn’t do great with this)
Parsley (need to replace)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool

I am a Good Girl, Happy in Every Way!
And I have so much time to enjoy Life!
I spend long lazy afternoons doing nothing!
I love teaching Art History!
My paintings are selling!
I have enough Money and Friends and Love!
Etc, etc, etc!