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maura @ 9:41 pm

I didn’t ride my scooter to work all last week, because the week before I took a spill. I know, I know, why didn’t I tell you, internets? Well, I was (understandably, I think) embarrassed: as I keep saying, the only thing dorkier than an old lady in an orange helmet riding a kick scooter is the same eating it on the broken pavement near the Atlantic Center. Duh. It wasn’t the end of the world — a couple of small scrapes and a bruised shoulder and a chunk out of one hand, and thankfully the worst of it is on my left side (I’m right handed).

With my (minor) injuries I’ve been walking to work the past week or so. It’s funny how sloooooow it seems to me now when I walk to work. It only takes 40-ish minutes, but it’s easily twice the time it takes me to scoot. (Though I’m pretty sure that walking is better exercise, even with the uphill scoot home.) I do listen to podcasts or music during the walk, which I can’t do when I scoot, but it still seems long and a little boring.

Until I get to the art, that is. Then things get more interesting. You may have seen this story in the Times last week about the rise of pop-up art galleries in vacant storefronts around the city. I know it’s not a good thing to have vacant storefronts, but I have to admit that I vastly prefer the art.

I actually walk by two of the galleries mentioned in the Times piece. The first is a long stretch of storefronts with a ton of space, and lots of interesting sculpture and paintings inside. Right next door is an Applebee’s* which just increases the artistic tension, as far as I’m concerned. The Kenny Scharf mural (photo in the Times) is there, and a weird industrial chunky sculpture that’s all wood and oil drums and pipes and water. There’s also the melting waffle from the plaza near my work! I was so glad to see it — it disappeared from the plaza a few weeks ago and I’ve missed it.

* I’ll never get used to this Applebee’s being there. It’s so incongruous.

The second set of gallery spaces is smaller but also pretty cool. There are a couple of pieces with an anti-consumerist bent, which I totally groove on. It’s also nice that the old store signs were left above each storefront; the 1 Hr Photo, Check Cashing and Taco Rico signs really add to the effect. One of my favorite pieces has a table with two chairs and a huge jello mold on it. It’s the spiritual sibling of the enormous melting waffle. Go weird big food art, go!

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everything looks beautiful on video

maura @ 9:43 pm

It’s been a crazy kid week in the mauraweb! household. Gus learned to make farting noises in his armpit (thank you, private school day camp!), and has of course been showcasing this newfound talent at every opportunity. Tonight I had to act like a parent and bust out with “no farting noises at the dinner table!” On the other hand, he’s really quite good, so I can’t help but feel a *little* proud.

He also got a haircut yesterday for the first time since last September. In our crunchy, progressive-school corner of Brooklyn it’s pretty common for boys to have long hair. But on our recent trip through a non-NYC airport the security guard used a female pronoun while referring to Gus not once but *three* times (though it didn’t seem to faze him). And it’s gotten increasingly difficult to comb, esp. since we’ve entered the shower-every-day camp phase of the summer.

I really liked his long skater kid hair so initially I was sad, but when I got home from work last night I was relieved to discover that the cut turned out really well. It always surprises me how much older he looks with shorter hair. I tried to take a picture, but he was all moving and weird faces and everything.

We accidentally let him stay up too late tonight and he started to get a little rammy in the shower. Suddenly he was rapping: “yo yo yo, my name is Joe, I like to wear my pants down low.” It sounded like something he didn’t make up on his own, so I googled it and looks like it’s a YouTube meme. For kids. Very odd. I couldn’t find the exact words though (the videos I watched all had the same beginning but different ends to the rhyme, e.g. “I stubbed my toe on a cheerio”). So maybe he did make up that part.

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here’s your future: it’s gonna rain

maura @ 9:39 pm

I’ve been mentally blogging all day in discrete paragraphs rather than sustained narrative, so I’m going to kick it list-style here tonight:

1. After multiple recommendations I finally got my hands on some Thermals records. And they are awesome! Good for listening to while cleaning the stacks of papers off your desk, arranging the fall workshop schedule, and doing the dishes. Since it has rained here for a million billion jillion days straight, the line that’s the title of this post seems particularly apt.

2. Seriously, it has rained for a million billion jillion days straight. I mean, I used to dig in Ireland, I know from rain. I finally bought some big tall boots, but this is still getting pretty old. No rain today but the forecast for the weekend looks ominous, bah.

3. Last week we went to the curriculum share at Gus’s school to see all the fantastic work they’ve done all year. I am completely in awe of his teacher: she took those 27 kids on a ton of field trips all over the city (they studied a lot of architecture this year), including walks over the Brooklyn, Manhattan AND Williamsburg bridges (not all in the same day). Among the work Gus showed us was a book he made entitled “All Kinds of Awesome Poems By Gus.” Which makes me giggle every time I think of it.

4. I finally cleared a whole bunch of random old photos off my phone recently. Here are two:

This is from a crazy place with tons of inflatable stuff to climb on called Bounce U that we went to with friends earlier this year. Gus had a blast, predictably.

There’s a fun public art project all along a street near my work for which lots of people knitted cozies for the parking meters! It’s amazing, very Doctor Seussian. I took this photo right after the cozies were installed — they look much more droopy now that they’ve been rained on for a month. You can get a better look in the nice Flickr photostream and there’s also more info in the Times.

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that’s when their eyes got big

maura @ 5:28 pm

You may remember that time last year when I saw a manhole cover with the word TELEPORT on it. (Or maybe you didn’t, which is why I linked back to it just there.) And then I couldn’t find it later.

A couple of weeks ago I thought I found it again, except that I’m not exactly sure that this is the same one I saw before. I could swear that I saw the other one a few blocks away, but I haven’t walked that way to work in a while.

It’s funny, it never even occurred to me that this could be Art, but Jonathan suggested it might be so the last time I passed it I looked verrrrry closely. And it looks as solid and authentic as any other manhole cover. Plus, it’s right near a big old Verizon building and there are other manhole covers in the vicinity that feature the same hexagonal patterns (though they all read BELL TEL or have a bell on them).

That’s the boring explanation for its existence, though. I’d prefer it if you could really teleport. And, as Jonathan pointed out, there are little rocketships in between the hexagons. Interesting…

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distant voices from deep space

maura @ 10:45 pm

Way back in April I was inspired to take the camera and document my walk to work one day. I downloaded the photos and there they’ve sat, in a folder named blag, on my desktop, for weeks now.

Until today! The day when you too can enjoy My Walk To Work in all it’s late April glory.

This is the block around the corner from ours, a particularly pretty one. Lots of lovely planting going on here — I always enjoy a good clawfoot bathtub planter.

A coffee shop on my walk has this cool bench. Never had their coffee though — I’m always too hyped up from J’s coffee (and walking too fast to stop at this early point).

This is one of two somewhat crazy clothing + other stuff stores I walk by. I’ve never been in though — maybe I am too afraid that I will buy something.

The Williamsburg Bank Building is the tallest building in Brooklyn. Of course they are turning it into condos (note scaffolding). The red and greenish building on the right is just one example of the hideousness wrought by the developer who wants to build a huge stadium in this part of Brooklyn. Bah.

I’ve never understood why there’s a cow in front of the hardware store. But it is a well-maintained cow, and the kids do like it.

Did you lose your glasses? I hope not, because these are in bad shape.

I am perfectly happy living in an apartment. But if I ever do live in a house, I would like it to be purple! After walking by it somewhat unintentionally, I actually changed my route because seeing this house every morning makes me happy.

Gus’s old preschool was across the street from this bar, which prompted many a joke amongst the parents, esp. during the always-excruciating “phase-in.” Note the “for sale” sign. Sigh.

I walk by lots of beautiful examples of urban gardens. I like this one for the pansies, which look so perky and happy, and the variety, which is quite eye-catching.

I also walk by lots of bikes. I’ve been having serious bike lust lately. This old school yellow number’s pretty rad. (More on bikes another day.)

How many new buildings can you count? The correct answer is 3 (4 if you count the one just to the left that didn’t fit in the frame). There’s a lot of construction these days in northern Brooklyn. Because, did you hear? There’s a terrible shortage of million-dollar 2 BR condos! TERRIBLE! Wherever will those people wanting to pay $1m for an apartment GO?! Quick, throw up more condos, before they all move to the suburbs!!!


This is a sculpture in the plaza I walk through when I’m almost at work. Even though I’ve been at my job for almost 3 mos, I still wonder “where’s that dog’s owner?” at least once a week.

Another view of the plaza, while the cherry trees were in bloom. Public art is cool. The mostly blue + green mostly metal + stained glass sculpture on the left has an old-fashioned subway station feel to it. On the right is part of an installation of small plastic water bottles filled with red liquid hung in the trees, which look like alien fruits or eggs or something.

I like walking through this plaza — it’s right at the end of the walk and it’s nice to see trees, grass and art before starting the workday.

Work! The library’s in a funky building that was built in the 80s to connect 3 other buildings. Sometimes the floors don’t meet up (e.g. the library building has no 3rd floor) which is surprising! I’m lucky to have a window — the green dot approximates my location.

…and, I don’t know quite how to end this post. Except to say that it’s Friday night, and even though I can’t quite manage the popfest this weekend, I still probably shouldn’t be thinking about work. Bye!

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so so so busy

maura @ 1:36 pm

but jonathan sent me this link and it just cries out to be posted: this is the blog of the main buyer at the coop. get yer fresh coop news here, including such tasty tidbits as why you can’t get grade b maple syrup in ny state anymore (how will anyone ever do the master cleanser fast???).

in all seriousness, we in this household are mightily pissed off about the maple syrup thing. luckily we’re visiting my dad in vermont very soon, mostly likely with an empty suitcase in tow.

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