Saturday, September 24, 2011

1970s Indian book cover design

 I used to work in a library and was in charge of the India and Pakistan collection. Apparently, back in the Cold War, the US offered a deal to countries they were afraid would fall to Communism: give us your books (in key subjects like religion and science) and we'll give you food. I think this is how it went down; I don't have any sources but my memory. We had a collection mostly from India and Pakistan, with smaller collections from Yugoslavia and Indonesia and maybe somewhere else, mostly from the 70s. Anyway a great number of these books were pretty boring but as I had plenty of time to shelve them, I spent a lot of time looking at the interesting ones. A lot of the ones below I just liked the design of the covers. I don't know the languages involved or the subjects, but a lot of the more colorful ones look like pulp novels. (It was through this job that I also learned about weather modification, Rabindranath Tagore and Zainul Abedin). I've posted one of these covers before, but here's the whole of my photos.
 Some cool marbelized page ends
 vivid color everywhere

Sorry about the poor picture quality. These were taken with my cell phone camera on the sly!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Storage for Rainbow Shoes

This is my room! I've been very excited about this shelf I made-- since it got cold and I took my sweaters out from under the bed, I needed to make room for them. The boxes where the sweaters now live was busy holding my shoe collection. So I found some IKEA brackets I'd squirrelled away and my friend got me a board from Home Depot. I figured that it made sense to put it up high so you don't have a moment of "am I gonna hit my head" fear when you walk in the door. It's too bad that short people can't see the rainbow of shoes unless they stand on my bed.

Also pictured: a print I got at Renegade several years ago, candles from Athenian Candle in Greektown (they're made in the back!), birthday cards, an absurd amount of earrings, random crap. Someone told me once "Wes Anderson would have a field day in your room." I'd be a terrible Quaker, I love clutter too much.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle

I went to a movie by myself yesterday for the first time ever. I went to go see Pillow Talk, a Doris Day movie, but it turned out to be preceded by a long college lecture so I snuck out and went across the hall to see the Eric Rohmer movie Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, which I'd wanted to see too and was much more fun. It's about two young girls who meet randomly and end up sharing an apartment in Paris and how their new friendship holds up as their value systems clash. It was made in 1986 and I found myself laughing at the absurdity of 80s fashions even in super-chic Paris.

The girl with the lighter hair is Mirabelle, the Parisienne, and while she wears some crazy stuff, I won't lie and say that I don't now want some high-waisted jeans, oversized sweaters and little canvas sneakers. I also like the ridiculous polo/turtleneck teal shirt thing she has going on in the last photo, and the giant quilted coat, Wellies, and black tank top she wears when she meets Reinette out in the countryside. I also like her attitude: she's the one telling off the snobby art dealer above.


This post is just a few pictures from my trip to California. I love the fall weather we're having here in Chicago but really do think I would be perfectly happy in a warm, dry, Mediterranean climate every day. I love the little daytime moon in the picture below.

And the last two are from the dorm where I stayed (it was an academic conference).

Hurray for sunshine! The end.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Cleanliness

I've come to realize that I have a "thing" about cleanliness. So I live in this new, cheap, air-conditioned apartment, which is all well and good except for my roommates, who are lovely and friendly in every other respect, are lacking in home hygiene habits such as regularly removing the trash and cleaning the bathroom. I have no idea how in the past I lived with unacceptable situations such as cat litter (sure, defecate in the dining room or next to my bathroom, little animal! spread your little pee-absorbing pellets all over the place where I walk with my bare feet!). I cannot stand it now though. I do not produce tiny hairs in the bathroom, I hang my towels rather than leaving them wetly on the floor, I do not spill sudsy water all over the floor, I wipe away my general bathroom dirty presence.

In addition, I prided myself on the character trait of assertiveness, but that seems to have almost wholly deserted me in the face of these daily assaults to my preferred state of cleanliness. I think I feel that since I moved in after the roommates, I have no right to ask them to change their preferred method of living in filth. But I am paying rent, and I suppose I do. It's become a silent battle inside my head: do I ask roommate 2 to take out the trash which is almost all his anyway and is no longer nicely inside its bag because he stuffed it too full of beer cans and frozen pizza boxes (the manufacturers should start putting those in bags if they insist on continuing to produce them) and so therefore will be particularly nasty to dispose of; or do I just do it myself again? I have gone to bed resolving to choose the first option in the morning, but I still feel anxious. And I cleaned the bathroom before taking a shower (I prefer to clean my own body in a clean space) as a way to ease this anxiety.

Which leads me to my second point, which is that I consider my relationship to cleanliness neurotic because of its connection to anxiety, as expecting clean shared spaces is really quite normal. Exhibit A: 3 am, July 31, like 3 years ago, my roommate S and I are cleaning out our old apartment and moving into a new one a few blocks away. This apartment had been continually leased to about 6 years of students, we estimate, without the barely-legal landlords ever cleaning it or really, looking at it at all. We are the end of this line of roommates and must leave it empty and clean. Despite our landlord's general tendency to not give a shit, we also know that they can be somewhat arbitrary and vindictive. A few years ago, for example, we got eviction notices because they had lost our leases. So I am annoyed at the injustice of continually moving into dirty apartments that I am required to leave clean, for a faceless corporation that I hated. But since I also feared them, rather than leave the apartment just marginally clean enough to not get in trouble, I went totally insane. S refers to this as the "oven cleaner incident" wherein against his advice, I pulled the stove away from the wall and applied oven cleaner to the side to get off years of accumulated sticky gunk, and he had to make me go sit outside when I became light-headed from the harsh fumes. I was also cleaning the walls with Windex, pleased at how much dirt was coming off. At our final apartment move-out show-down, I compromised by leaving a dirty corner of the top of the fridge and leaving random cleaning supplies and related crap in the apartment for the new tenants who we knew were a bunch of not-giving-a-shit college students. This cleaning insanity is not only related to my fear/hate of my landlords, but is also a self-reinforcing cycle. Both moving and huge and somewhat unjust cleaning tasks cause me anxiety, and cleaning soothes anxiety, and I enjoy seeing things that I never noticed before were dirty become clean, and very quickly things get all out of proportion.
This picture is only somewhat related. It is my very dirty feet from the crap sandals I wore this summer, which were approximately $5 at CVS and left little cheap-metal dark spots on my feet and also caused me quite a bit of pain. My personal hygiene habits are not nearly as neurotic as my apartment-cleaning tendencies, but I do require clean feet & face to go to sleep under normal circumstances. This was one of the habits I developed in the summer I spent on a ranch in Wyoming working as a maid/kitchen wench (the term is "cabin girl"). The other habits are making my bed and whiskey. In one of S's rare dispersions of free psychoanalysis, he pointed out that an anxiety about personal hygiene that does not meet the standards of others (my mother, most prominently) may relate to episodes such as the oven cleaner incident. He might be right.