Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890). The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, 1888. Oil on canvas. 80.7 × 65.3 cm. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.
I SO WANT TO EAT AT THIS PLACE SOMEDAY.
Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890). The Starry Night, 1889. Oil on canvas. 73.7 x 92.1 cm. Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.
It’s becoming clear to me that I take a great liking to paintings with stars, and it all probably comes from Van Gogh, so I might as well get his three great star-infused paintings out of the way right now.
Brian Kershisnik (American, 1962-). Young Astronomer, 2009. Oil on canvas, 66 x 84 in.
Here’s a painting that pretty much depicts where my mind is at right now. I saw this painting a year or two ago at one of Kershisnik’s shows at Dave Ericson Fine Art, an art gallery in an old house in downtown Salt Lake City. I’ve been to these shows two or three times, and every time there seems to be one or two impressively large paintings that serve as the centerpiece of the show. This was one of those paintings, and it has entered my imagination and been amongst my most favorite pieces ever since. I assume someone purchased this painting at the show; at any rate I have no idea where it now resides. Maybe this should go without saying, as it is true of most art, but this small digital image does little justice to the almost mural-sized original oil painting. I should also mention that the last time I wrote about Brian Kershisnik on this website a few years ago it led to me meeting my wife, so his art is pretty special to our family.
You can see much more of Brian Kershisnik’s art and learn more about him at his website.
It comes with an emergency ejection system, parachute, rocket pack, regenerative environmental control and life support system (for extended space travel), and an iPod dock: pretty much everything he will need if our planet Crypton is ever destroyed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t breastfeed or change diapers.
I have to confess that this cute red bear suit with its criss-cross pattern has always secretly reminded me of Radiohead’s bear icon (courtesy of their longtime album art collaborator Stanley Donwood, I think.)
They won’t let you give tattoos or piercings in the hospital, so we had to settle for this hardcore boy bow. Made out of blue and clear plastic LEGO Technic parts and stabbed right into his skull with a needle, this is a bow a little tough guy can be proud to wear in his hair. We wanted them to safety pin it into his skin, but we had to settle for tape. Still, it looks rather good with neo-natal faux-hawk.
Turns out that it also doubles as an intravenous access device for the administering of medications, making it an extremely useful newborn accessory.
The only disappointing thing about the whole delivery experience was that, in the rush of the emergency C-section, they didn’t set aside for us the placenta. We had, of course, planned for our shaman to stew the placenta, through the ingestion of which we might have obtained the mystical powers of the ancestors and forever conquered our spirit enemies. Oh well. Mom and baby are both healthy, and really we can’t ask for much more than that.
The Froz-T-Freez staff is growing! We are currenly on-site at the Intermountain Medical Center, recruiting and training our newest member. Due to contractual restrictions, we cannot yet reveal his or her identity. However, I am prepared to admit that he is but a young, little lad.
For some time I’ve been debating whether to write about or show images of my new child publicly on the Internet. I know a lot of other people publicly post photos and anecdotes of their children, including numerous of my own relatives and friends, and I don’t know that there is anything wrong with it. At the same time, I am very cognizant of the fact that he currently has no say on whether I make any and every facet of his young life public or not, and yet it will potentially remain available and accessible for his entire life. Fourth grade bullies, potential employers, and future authoritarian dictators alike will all potentially be able to judge him not only on his own thoughts and merits but also by what I may write about his potty training experiences.
And yet, at not quite a week into this whole parenthood thing, I already have the urge to share some things. So, inspired by some comments I heard once from an unremembered celebrity guest on a talk show, I have arrived at a compromise. (Indeed, I make most of my major life decisions based on advice from celebrities on talk shows, so this one should be no exception.) This is the compromise I offer to the world:
I shall at times mention or write about my child in the text of this website, which does indeed constitute a public forum, with the following exemptions:
- I will not be sharing his true name, but shall create a pseudonym for him.
- I will not show pictures of his face.
The picture part will be the hardest to remain true to, because he’s a cute little baby, but it will also be a fun challenge.
So, without further ado, I present to the world the name of Roosevelt FitzWallace, affectionately referred to as Fitz, and perhaps occasionally as Little Lord Fitz.
A post-apocalyptic, swashbuckling adventure, Ship Breaker begins the story of the young teenager Nailer, who works the “light crew” with a ship scavenging outfit on a beach on the gulf coast. Old oil tanker wrecks wash up on the beach, and Nailer climbs through their tight ductworks, stripping copper wiring for scavenge. In a future world where city-destroying category six hurricanes are a regular occurrence and the coast is lined with drowned cities and treacherous swamps, Nailer lives with his violent, strung-out father in a shack on the beach. When Nailer finds the ultimate scavenge that could bring him great wealth, he must make the tough decision to take the scavenged goods and continue life as usual on the beach, or face the unknown by rescuing a survivor for the risky and questionable possibility of great reward. Adding another complication, the survivor just so happens to be a beautiful and swanky girl.
Bacigalupi has constructed a gritty, violent adventure tale set against the backdrop of a future American gulf coast laid waste by climate change and environmental catastrophe. This book is smart but compulsively, easily readable, and is the first of a series: look for its sequel, The Drowned Cities, to appear later this year. Highly recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, this is another brutal teenage adventure rife with strong ethical dilemmas.
Written by Paolo Bacigalupi
Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: May 1, 2010
Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944). Color Study, Squares with Concentric Rings (Farbstudien, Quadrate mit konzentrischen Ringen), 1913. Watercolor, gouache and black chalk on paper. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München
My wife bought some cool fabric to make bumper pads for our forthcoming baby’s crib; it reminds me a lot of this painting by Kandinsky. And this isn’t anywhere close to my favorite work by Kandinsky, so you’ll likely be seeing a lot more of his stuff here at the Froz-T-Freez Gallery in the future.