MTV Unplugged Presents: Super Starling’s weekend!

One day, the Starling got home from her job and, instead of going inside to play on her computer, she took a walk outside. She linked arms with her husband, a tall man with the face of an elegant ferret. Her spare arm clutched a thick black leash attached to a monochrome hound.

They walked in the dying light to a park.

She climbed high on the rarely-used playground equipment. She called to the pooch below. He looked up, worry in his brown eyes, fear speckling his face. His mother was so high, so far away. The dog knew that she was a klutz, and could tumble down.

Perhaps directly onto him.


Meanwhile, the Robot Overlords who owned the Matrix or what-have-you were displeased.

“Why has she not returned to us?” they chirped in their fuzzy dial-up-modem language. “Have we not offered up a veritable feast of Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon, and more? What else could this hussy possibly desire?”

Then the girl and her husband ordered in Chinese. When it arrived, they ate at at the table instead of in front of the television.

They spent the rest of the evening hanging a gallery wall of the artwork they had collected during their 12 years together.


The Robot Overlords gnashed their teeth, chipping them into a gritty spray if ones and zeroes.

“What can we do to bring her back?”

The following morning, Starling went to brunch with visiting friends.


At an antiques store, all photos and paintings were analog.


The Overlords screamed. The Internet trembled.


Dinner was flatbread pizza, wings, locally-sourced rum, independent soda, and craft beer. The Starling and her unfeathered flock toasted to an upcoming wedding. The lady fiancées held hands, not phones.

Exhausted, they went home, made dessert from scratch, and discussed a lavender-grey-black literary color scheme.

The morning came, and Starling heard the call of the Internet. She went back to it, like an old friend. In the time apart, she and the Robot Overlords’ relationship didn’t feel the same.

Some parts of the Internet felt good. Starling liked sharing photos and stories. She liked looking at images of smiling people she knew with their pets and children. She relished the unearthing of a new font, discovering an artist with a fresh vision, reading a news story with a happy ending.

The Overlords had gifts for her. And she had scraps of herself to give to it in return.

But they would have to spend time apart occasionally.

She had to speak with her voice, not her fingertips, sometimes. She had to smell food instead of looking at pixel depictions of it. She had to let the sun dye her skin while she walked; and ink dye her palms while she drew. Books begged to be read. Flowers longed to be planted. Sneakers and whiskered friends called out for dirt, grass, and pavement.

It was time to leave. Not forever. But now and again.

The blog post is wrapping up, and it’s time to go outside.

Try a double-exposure, even if it’s fake!

I got so excited while reading this article on double-exposure Photoshopping. It’s impossible for me to stroll casually past most tutorials without trying them at home.

Here are a few favorite results!

I liked contrasting this happy summery photo with a more recent winter snap:


Bleak, but hopeful. (Come back, spring! I want to take actual photos of flower bursts!)

Things We Can All Appreciate

My entries in the 100 Happy Days project attempt to capture what makes life great.

Turns out, it’s mostly food.


1. Farmer’s markets 2. Cupcakes 3. When dogs and kids are friends
4. Homes 5. Public sculpture 6. Gamer culture


7. Flowers 8. Fun coworkers 9. Birthday parties
10. Running 11. Bright design (and, of course, sugary snacks) 12. Democracy


13. Bookstores 14. Illustrating 15. Friends visiting
16. Rainbows 17. Dungeons & Dragons 18. Costumes


19. Happy accidents (like this weird computer glitch) 20. When things work right (plus: the architecture of the Dorito Church)

I guess not everybody likes Dungeons and Dragons, but you get the idea.

I finally saw Wizard of Oz!

When I was wee, my dad would spend Saturdays with me and my brother. He’d take us out for fast food of our choice then take us to a VHS rental place and let us pick out a movie to watch that afternoon. (Is my age showing?)

We picked the 1960s Batman movie a lot. I was also into this weird Donald Duck mathematics movie.

I’ve never seen Wizard of Oz.

Totally missed it.

Last night, we fixed that.

Wizard of Oz Illustration

My friend Kat made a cupcake rainbow; we activated Rifftrax and settled in for some delights.

I’m grateful for the additional comedy soundtrack. It’s a really long movie — both old and for kids, two strikes against it.

However, despite its bizarre plot holes and annoying characters, Wizard of Oz is stunningly beautiful, fantastically weird, and utterly charming.

Oh, and I loved the super-gay Tin Man. He’s the new hero of my heart.

Speaking of fab…

Image of Dogs

Here are some dogs — Brenny the corgi, Chubbs the bulldog, and, of course, Willie the beagle/border collie mix.

This does not tie into my review of Wizard of Oz in any way. I just thought dog pictures would enhance this post.