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Welcome to Planet Nilknarf
June is busting out all over! Happy Spring one and all! Summer is just around the corner. I am having a wonderful visit with Janette here at the moment and we've been having a great time choosing the pictures to publish in this month's issue while I've been reading her account of our most recent trip. Headlining news for this month; on the 15th, she will be going back there on her own to provide us with coverage of the legendary Nik Walenda's upcoming tightrope walk across the Falls. This will be the first time anyone has walked a tightrope across the Falls in 128 years. At the moment I am working on the penultimate row of Quilt #5. I decided to make the top row of it with all animals from the St. Joseph carousel since I am going there in September. You can find the pictures that I used on their website: http://www.silverbeachcarousel.com/downloads-and-media.html Their website is full of fun stuff. I'm tempted to order but I'm also wondering if I should wait until I'm actually there. Their colouring book sounds awesome and I am especially interested in their “Passport” book. http://www.silverbeachcarousel.com/gift-shop.html The idea is to have the attendant stamp your page for every animal you ride. When your book is full you receive seven free tickets. I may not get all 50 animals ridden in one trip but I sure can have fun trying. While I was looking for a particular link about House on the Rock, I came across this little Slide Show I'd almost forgotten about from the 2010 National Carousel Association convention: http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-0415-0aa4-cb74?lb I've written several reviews on the Trip Advisor website lately about all the wonderful places I've seen and things I've done over the past couple years and I enjoy looking at other people's reviews about different places. Honestly, when I was reading about Wisconsin's House on the Rock I was totally rolling on the floor laughing when I came across the following review by a Neil N. from Madison Wisconsin: “If you like trinkets you just may love it here. Way too many merry-go-rounds for my taste.”
TOO MANY MERRY-GO-ROUNDS! HAH! HELLO?!! Well, that's HIS opinion but obviously NOT mine!! In my opinion there's NO SUCH THING as TOO MANY MERRY-GO-ROUNDS!! In fact the world can never have ENOUGH!! When I wrote my rebuttal in my Facebook status I was inspired to create a T-shirt with that quote. If the motif looks familiar, it's from the template I used to make the rounding boards on my Fibonacci-themed carousel in last December's Planet Nilknarf! I am SO wearing this T-shirt when and if I ever do go to the House on the Rock and I'll definitely be wearing it at least once during the next NCA convention! If anyone else wants one I can make it for you, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for info. House on the Rock is definitely on my “Bucket List” even though several reviews warn about sensory overload. I still want to go there anyway. All I need are strategies on how to pace myself In last month's issue I performed a small social experiment to find out how easily offended, or rather more likely how desensitized people are. If you've seen it you're bound to know what I'm talking about. When my husband saw it he freaked out and told me NOT to publish it. So far there haven't been any complaints, threats or reactions whatsoever! At least not YET!! I can tell you one thing though; the idea for that cartoon came from a rather controversial but funny commercial for Viagra in the UK. It pictured a woman reaching for a cookie jar on a high shelf. Then along comes her husband with his back to the camera. He opens his robe and she supposedly steps on Mr. Happy to reach the cookie jar. The sad part is this commercial got her kicked out of her church!!!
Art Exhibit at Boyd Museum
Guess what folks! Once again I will be having an exhibit of my artistic creations at the Boyd Museum in Bobcaygeon! I couldn't get a summer booking like I did last year but I did get two months for the price of one. The thing is who comes to visit the Boyd Museum in December or January? Hopefully at least some of my faithful readers out there who have known about this event all these months in advance. If you plan on spending Christmas in the Kawarthas, be sure to pop by and check it out. My WEDDING DRESS will be on display! Remember last summer I couldn't find it ANYWHERE! I was
convinced that it had vanished off the face of the earth, that I'd probably hung it on a tree somewhere in the middle of the night during my manic episode! But last December our landlord found it in the cupboard above the stairs when he was renovating and now you'll finally be able to see it in person! There will be at least one or two more quilts since last time and many more surprises in progress to experience in person! Prepare to be amazed! The Boyd Museum is located at 21 Canal Street East, Bobcaygeon, Ontario.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer and Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a story that's been in the news a lot lately. I think it's been made into a movie recently and it's popular among my crowd because although it doesn't actually say so we identify with 9-year-old Oskar Schell, who appears to exhibit Aspie traits. Oskar only wears clothes that are white and he's always dreaming up inventions. Our story unfolds when Oskar's dad is killed in 911! News of the Trade Center bombing is everywhere. But Oskar doesn't get the closure he longs for. There is no sign of a body at the funeral and the plot becomes even more interesting when Oskar knocks over a vase and finds an envelope labeled with the word “Black” written in red ink. Inside this envelope is a mysterious key that leads him on a fascinating journey. Oskar is determined to visit every “Black” listed in the phone book in order to find out if the key belongs to any of them! And there are at least 400! This book is full of fascinating photos and visual effects as well as stories from other points of view that make it a little convoluted but a fascinating read nonetheless. It was one of those fascinating stories I couldn't put down! Public Parts deals with the subject of privacy on the Internet..or the lack thereof! It shows how times have changed as well as attitudes. Go figure, in Germany people aren't the least bit bothered by seeing each other naked at a mixed spa but they're totally creeped out by the idea of the Google people cruising through their neighbourhood on bicycles taking pictures of their homes without permission. The author even mentions about whether or not it was appropriate to share in his blog about the problems he's had with his penis and battles with prostate cancer. It kind of reminded me of how I've shared my ordeal regarding my period problems and Bartholin cyst. Through sharing his ordeal, he
actually found support from people who were in the same or similar situations. Also, you never know what you say will be “the shot heard all over the world”. Back in the December issue I wrote an article about bullying and was stupid enough to mention my childhood nemesis by name. Well, a couple weeks ago my blood nearly froze in my veins when I actually saw his name in my “In” box!! He actually asked “You say that ______is your worst enemy. Why?” Not IS but WAS. I told him it was in the PAST and I FORGIVE him. But I still have to wonder. Maybe he doesn't know who I am because he remembers me by my maiden name. But surely wouldn't my lifelong interest in carousel horses be enough to clue him in? Does the idea of emptying a Tic-Tac box full of eraser dust into my hair ring a bell? Believe me, I've had worse things done to me by even worse people since then that have been even harder to forgive! By that same token, social networks such as Facebook have helped me connect with friends from my childhood and make business deals. Over the years several people have ordered T-shirts and dolls from me or notified me about upcoming events where I can sell my wares. Everyone is listed somewhere. Lately I've been thinking a lot about Ingrid Plegt. Ingrid and I were penpals from the time we met in Holland when we were ten years old until we were at least teenagers. She and her boyfriend Carlo were in a horrendous motorcycle accident and she broke her pelvis and they thought she'd never walk again but she made a 100% recovery. I thought I found her snail-mail address on the Internet so I wrote her a letter to ask how she's doing now but I never heard back. I printed up a few pictures of my quilts and crafts as well as a wedding picture and let her know what I'd been up to over the years. I may have even told her about my having Asperger's Syndrome. Ingrid, where are you? I hope you're doing well. Another thing this book mentions is...hmmmmmm...how did he put it again? Something to do with transparency. The more open you are, the less you have to hide. I don't keep much hidden. My life is basically an open book. What you choose to share or not to share is your own business. It's only common sense. I don't go around sharing things like passwords or tell just anyone my credit card number but I have put my foot in my mouth on occasion and unintentionally hurt people I care about. Especially when I wrote the best..and worst..article about a certain rock band that used to be on a kids TV show! When I told it like it was I re-opened a rather nasty wound. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I guess I just suffer from a case of Chocolate Shoes Syndrome...I'm always putting my foot in my mouth! Then there is the issue of scarcity versus overabundance. For example I have over a thousand Facebook friends, but the majority of them are people I really don't know. There are those I've gotten to know in various groups and those who I actually do know in real life but they are a minority. Some people are more selective. They just don't add people they don't know. But I add everyone anyway because I figure it's good for business. Everyone is a potential customer. By that same token, several can be trouble makers too. The solution to that is simple enough; just delete and unfriend them. Nowadays, because of the Internet, privacy is an option rather than the norm. I even managed to disable chat on my Facebook because the majority of time it's an invasion rather than a welcome diversion. Seldom do I initiate chat unless once in a blue moon I can tell someone I know is on line. But for the most part I find that distinct “plink” sound annoying because more often than not I've come across people who would appear to have nothing better to do than sit at their computers waiting for me the second I log on. I am creeped out by people I've never met before in my life who say “I miss you” or someone else whom I have also never met in my entire life who expects me to drop everything and fly to Egypt to meet him. I tell most guys I'm married but that doesn't phase them. “I can make you very happy.” he says. What does he KNOW about what really makes me
happy? Do most people who message me actually take the time to look at my photo albums? There are HUNDREDS of photos in my profile. And with the thousands of friends I have I don't have the time to look at everyone else's photos either. However, once in awhile I actually do get a few people I actually enjoy chatting with. And my “IN” box? Don't get me started! Most of it's all from the same threads on Facebook and ends up being deleted. It's so easy to accidentally delete that which IS important and be deleted when other people get tons of stuff too! That's probably the main reason why my messages are ignored when I email businesses about my Carousel of Friendship project. What am I supposed to DO to get their attention these days? Throw a parade outside their window? Because of this overabundance of information my thoughts and ideas are like the proverbial needle in the proverbial haystack and so are everybody else's! There are so many charities begging for my attention and so many group invitations I have to turn down. Or even WORSE, people who add me to their groups without permission. Facebook has really done themselves a disservice by making this possible. I hate it when people do this to me because I not only did I NOT ask to join but my mail box is full of threads I didn't ask to be part of because I didn't ask to be in their group in the first place. Usually when I am added to a new group I leave it immediately. It's nothing personal. I belong to too many groups. And there are several I've left because my mailbox is full of the same message from the same person sending it to at least a dozen different groups. Because of this overabundance of information just about everyone has a blog, but how many people actually read it? Unless you subscribe to a blog, There are thousands out there. I actually have two; one on Deviant Art, and one on We Are Autism. But I don't update them that often. Back when I had my Livejournal account I was OBSESSED with blogging. Go figure, I didn't have a life then. It was a continuous feed where I could easily read others' blogs too. And it was too easy to troll, not to mention inadvertently make a nuisance of myself. Not many people read the MSN blog that I used to have, but that's okay because I was pretty bitchy most of the time in those days and said a few things that really would have offended them had they been lurking over me in LJ. This publication itself has but a relatively small following for the time being. I have 3 or 4 hundred people who follow me on Scribd but not everyone regularly reads everything I publish nor do I regularly read everything everyone else publishes either. And I have hundreds of videos on YouTube, but none of them are viral. But it's okay. At least for now. Go figure, I've probably gone off on a tangent, as usual. I have my reasons for preferring to put together a monthly newsletter to share my thoughts and ideas as opposed to a conventional blog.
Carousel of Friendship
Well, it's been a busy and productive month for me in terms of creating various artifacts. I've been having a wonderful and exciting time in school with my art and photography classes and I have discovered the JOY OF FLASH DRIVES!!! Are they the greatest thing ever or what? It's so easy and convenient to bring pictures, documents and even PowerPoint presentations EVERYWHERE with me in a handy little gadget the size of a cigarette lighter. Technology never ceases to amaze me! My photography class is almost over and I've re-discovered how user-friendly PowerPoint really is! Monday was my penultimate class and I created a slide presentation from several of the pictures I took when Janette and I went on our last Niagara trip. It even has music! I was able to loaderize my file of “The Niagara Bug” to my flash drive to bring to school with all the pictures I wanted to use but my teacher had to tinker around on her laptop in order to convert the file from MP3 to “wave”. All in all, it was so easy and so much fun that I am now working on one to promote the Carousel of
Friendship! And I'm happy to say I finished the first entry for our “Project Pakistan” quilt. I embroidered Javed's horse from the picture they showed me:
I may also use his design for a stained glass window in my art class. In the meantime, if Javed and his friends have designed anymore horses they are welcome to share their artwork with me and I will reproduce them onto quilt squares. Or if anyone there have also embroidered the fabric squares I sent they are welcome to send them to me and I will add them to this quilt. You can see more pictures and learn more about SATH here: http://sathorg.tripod.com/ Meanwhile I am in the process of creating papier-mache models of some of the animals that have been designed for the Carousel of Friendship. These have been projects that I've been working on in my art class. First I had to show my teacher a proposal with pictures of my sources, drawing out sketches and describing the materials and methods used. My Frog Prince used two balloons and his crown is decorated with jewels I bought at a yard sale. The whole big bag of jewels only cost me fifty cents so I gladly shared the wealth with my classmates in case they'd like to use any in their project. I
used a glue gun to stick the jewels to the frog's crown. When I took him out to the hall to be
photographed, I had to laugh because somebody remarked that he looked like a bong!! A bong? Yeah, I see what they mean. The pole would be like a pipe and the crown the pipe's bowl. I also pictured that a miniature version would make an interesting design for a kazoo, with the crown being a good place for that vibrating circle of wax paper.
Okay, so there are some slight differences. No sooner had I embarked on the Frog Prince's finishing touches then I started work on my “Sausage Dog”
Of course, he'll look even better when he's been painted. Tomorrow I'll apply the primer and insert the pole. Sausage Dog, like Frog Prince and Gas Sign Horse, will also contain a piece of “Time Capsule” literature to go inside him. Sausage Dog's head is a balloon and his body is lightweight cardboard that was rolled into sort of a mailbox shape. The sausages were actually the first thing I made out of small pieces of rolled-up newspaper held together with masking tape. I found I had to shorten them by at least half an inch and cut a notch in them to give them a bit of a curve. The cat's body is a folded piece of cardboard tubing from a paper towel roll discarded from somebody else's project. I filled out more shape and made its head from crumpled balls of newspaper and gave him cardboard ears. The dog's ears are actually from the lid of a cardboard egg-carton. And his legs are toilet-paper rolls stuffed together end-to-end.
More crumpled bits of newspaper made the snout and lower jaw. And when there's time left over in class I work on my “final exam” project...the KISS quilt!
Sorry that Ace couldn't be finished in time for this newsletter but it'll give readers something to look forward to in the future when my project is completed!
Dear Mom and Dad
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 Dear Mom and Dad How are things in heaven? Jean will be driving me to the cemetery next month to visit your grave. Janette is coming with me. We figured we'd kill two birds with one stone so Jean won't have to make two trips and she can bring us to Aunt Anne's house straight from there. Janette will stay with me at my place the night before. She has already made our hotel reservations for our North Bay trip. We're grateful that Aunt Anne can drive us there on our way to Timmins. It's such a rare treat to be driven somewhere. Remember the road trips we used to take when I was a kid? Weekends at the trailer at Aunt Jean and Uncle Alex's place and when Uncle Mike and Aunt Anne had the cottage on Sturgeon Lake. I can remember when they had that cottage moved so they could build their house on that property and Anne's brother Jamie bought the cottage. It was strange at first having that cottage on the new property. We were used to being able to look outside that place and see the lake. I remember when you sold the trailer back to Uncle Alex so you could buy our cottage that eventually became our house. I still don't know if anyone actually lives there yet. According to Aunt Anne they
seem to be doing what we did, just using it as a cottage for the time being. Perhaps when they retire, they too will live there full time. I hope they love that house as much as we did. That last week there was an emotional and surreal time. I'm not surprised the place sold quickly, even though Jean sent Janette and I out for walks whenever someone came to see the place because she was sure all they'd do was criticize our beloved place. She warned me that when people are house-hunting, they're more likely to talk about all the things they DON'T LIKE about a place than the things they do and that would be very heart-breaking for me. Before we go to North Bay, Aunt Anne is taking us to the Horseless Carriage Museum. It's only open by appointment. They actually have a few old-fashioned music boxes and barrel organs. My kind of stuff. I'll be sure to shoot video footage and post it to YouTube. Do they have YouTube in heaven? They probably have even more amazing things than our present technology can comprehend!! As you can see from the rest of this newsletter, I've been quite busy and productive in school, having the time of my life with all my latest creative projects. If school were always this much fun I'd have graduated with honors ages ago and built a dozen carousels by the time I was 40. I hope it's not too late. Our landlord just gave us a new bathroom floor. He had to. The “new” toilet he installed back in December was leaking and causing the floor to rot! Since we couldn't go all day without a toilet, Dave spent last Friday at his Aunt Kathy's house and I left the house early so I could go to Michael's before school and stock up on more embroidery thread. Go figure, I have HOARDS, BUSHELS, TONS, CLOUDS of embroidery thread but I never seem to have the exact colour I need when I need it. I tend to go through red, yellow, black, white and silverygray the most quickly these days. I notice there are seasons when certain colours are harder to find than others, unless I buy a SET and I'm stuck with colours I don't need. A year or two ago it was reds that were hard to find. All I could find was a boring, brownish-brick red when what I needed were cherry and tomato. This year it was yellow. The brightest shade was a tad too light for my liking. Fortunately on my last visit I was happy to find more of that “French's mustard” shade as I like to call it. And although none of the gray I had matched the project I was working on at the moment I JUST had enough to finish the tail of the “Peter Criss” horse. I'm a little worried about Janette. I'm sure she'll be okay, but when she's hurting, I'm hurting. I had the most wonderful, happy, productive day on Monday but my heart sank to hear about all the drama she went through that day. I'll spare you and my readers the gory details for the sake of her privacy except to say that I know EXACTLY how she feels and I probably would have done the SAME THING in her situation. At least Dave is doing well. The swelling on his leg has gone down considerably and his foot looks almost normal! He's been out and about doing shopping and whatnot and goes back to work on June 17th. It's been nice to go out for dinner again on Friday nights. Oh nooooooo!! I just checked my email and my Facebook account has been suspended! Some asshole has been screwing around with it!! I hope I get it back and I hope the asshole who did this to me gets his comeuppance. I gotta go now. This month's issue will be shorter than usual due to how busy I've been and this unexpected crisis! Love, Margaret
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