Artist in Residence

December 15, 2010

Good day, Scurvitans, Mainlanders, and the World!

My name is Roxy Kaye, and some of you may already be familiar with my work in town (no, not *that* work), but my show at the local watering hole, The Boneyard. Owner Catty Broadsides was nice enough to allow me to display my artwork on the walls of her fine, albeit eerily haunted, establishment for a little open house action last Friday night. While I didn’t manage to sell any of my work, it was still a fun, positive experience. I haven’t participated in an open house since I graduated from Scuryvtown University over two years ago, and it felt fantastic to have the opportunity to showcase my artwork once again.

While I was doing the networking thing with various lovely folks from our quaint little island town, I was informed about this website, and that I might be able to post some of my artwork here from time to time.

I have recently begun work on various elements of Scurvytown, and on that note, I would like to share with you my sketch of the Squatter Fountain, which was unfortunately destroyed a couple of months ago. This historic landmark was the first thing I saw when I set foot on Scurvytown a year ago to begin what I call my “Art Fellowship,” and it saddens me to walk past the stump of concrete every day. Plans are to re-build the statue even bigger and better in the coming year, and I plan on sketching the new fountain once it has been erected.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ago, I share with you The Squatter Fountain:

One small squat for mankind

Muse Strike

December 15, 2010

When the muse strikes, it’s not always a good thing. Sometimes, the muse actually seems to be on strike, as it fails to bring forth any creativity for much-needed project fulfillment.

Other times, the muse strikes at odd times, like while running, a mile away from pen and paper. My muse likes to hit most during those times. It’s funny, because sometimes when I go running, I’ll shove a scrap of paper and a pen in my bra (it helps to be top-heavy), but the muse refuses, for the most part, to appear unless I am scrap-less. Also prime real-estate for muse appearances are in my dreams, which is funny but annoying. On occasion, I will wake up knowing how to finish a story, or have ideas to help me complete tricky dialogue or a difficult scene. This is when waking up early in the morning and journaling before starting the day is key to the writing process. The more attention given to the muse, the more she seems to offer her guidance.

The third place my muse likes to tread is during super slippy washy-time, or as some people call it, the shower. This morning, the muse popped her head in as I was showering, with a really sweet idea that, as usual, should have occurred to me weeks ago.

I cannot complain about the influx of ideas at this time, of course, because the alternative is *crickets*.

When the muse strikes, it is best to listen, because next time she goes on strike, it might be in the manner of silence.

Vikings

December 11, 2010

I believe it was The Simpson’s Ralph Wiggum who said “Oh boy, sleep! That’s where I’m a viking!”

I believe this to be true because I just looked it up on the internet and watched a clip on youtube.

When I bought my new coat, I realized that none of my adorable winter hats really match it, so I would of course have to get a new one. Poor me, right? Ha! I have been looking to get a cute hat this winter, so I figured I might find something at the Cincinnati Yelp Bazaar that was held at the American Sign Museum.

Thanks to The Spotted Goose, my friend Emily and I are now viking girls:

One more venue of note: Red Tree Galleries (see the owl pin on my coat? yeah, that’s who was selling those) – they also had a giant crochet octopus that was about 11 kinds of amazing.

All the other venues are amazing as well, but it’s time to go be a sleep viking right now, otherwise I would elaborate. It was such a great event, I could go on and on.

Modcloth

December 10, 2010

So, I kind of needed a new coat, because my green one that I bought at Macy’s last year was starting to look like a giant green sack of potatoes on me. Mmm, potatoes. Sweet, sweet carbs, how I miss you! Such is my folly of weight loss, but for that I cannot complain. Getting healthier is the best thing I have done for myself this year.

I wanted a yellow coat because I am in love with yellow/mustard/saffron this year. Last year was my green year, this year has been all about the yellow. Next year, who knows? Immediately, my google searching lead me to Modcloth.com, and I am now completely smitten with their wonderful website and products. I am not quite small enough to fit their sizes, but I am still a work-in-progress (aren’t we all?) so I cannot be too sad when their gorgeous dresses (for the most part) don’t fit me.

I clicked on their sale items the other day, and decided that since a cute little red coat cost half as much as the yellow one that has me weak in the knees, I might as well buy that one since I worked this week (ha!). Then, since I have a very important appointment next week for which I want to look totally cute, I decided to get a dress as well. (On that note, modcloth has free shipping on orders over $75 for for holidays FTW!)

Check it. all fuzzy because I awkwardly shot these using PhotoBooth on my macbook:

Episode Twenty-One Point Six

December 6, 2010

Voter Turnout, Continued

Interview from the Scurvitan Sandbox Podcast:

“Hi, this is Magby Aarhus, and I am pleased to welcome you to my latest podcast, wherein I interview the scientist behind the Election Day Hoax.
I have with me here long-time resident of Scurvytown, Matisse Batiste, who works in Research and Development at the Squatter Foundation.

MA: Now, Matty, as I understand you prefer to be called, you have been conducting this research for twenty-four years now, are you able to tell us what inspired it?
MB: I was about twenty-eight years old when I got the idea for this project. We were being bombarded with political ads non-stop for that year’s Presidential election, and I was sick of it. I stopped turning on my TV, stopped listening to the radio, stopped reading the newspaper, and when it came time to vote, I felt like my head was clear from all the static of campaigning for the first time in ten years.
MA: Let me do some quick math here, so this would have been, what, only your second time voting in the Presidential election?
MB: Yes, but you see, there’s the mid-terms elections, the in-betweensies, and the yearly ones, and it’s all kind of the same static, just noise noise noise!
MA: I understand. So, it occurs to me, that if a person were to impose a media black-out on himself, how would he then be informed enough to cast his vote in the election?
MB: Well, by party lines of course!
MA: I see, but then how do you know which party stands behind which issues?
MB: Youth today, I swear! Kid, you’re born into the parties, don’t you know anything? You kids don’t know what I’ve done for you! All the research, all the strides I’ve taken to make voting a more positive process! What a gift you’ve been given, to vote straight down the party lines, with no interference from campaign propaganda and biased media outlets!
MA: Matty, I sense you are getting upset. So let’s take a five-minute break, and we’ll let the listeners hear a few of the political ads that were running during this year’s campaign.
MB: Thank you, my dear, I just get so wound up over this issue, you see.

MA: Okay folks, while Mr. Batiste takes a little break, I am going to play for you some of these campaign ads that those of us who reside in Scurvytown did not get to hear before Election Day.
If you’ve been living under a rock or under fake-invasive species lock-down, here is some background info about the Presidential race.
For the Socialite Party, Oatricia Carroway is the Presidential Candidate, and Logan Spicer is her Vice-Presidential running mate. Of note is that former talk-show host Oaty Carroway’s first name was a typo made by the hospital where she was born, and she opted for the unique name rather than going with Patricia, as her mother had intended.
Then you have the Re-Stance party, lead by Presidential Candidate Dwight Dwizzlebee, and his running mate, Ginger Hart. The first advertisement was for his campaign, and here it is in its entirety:

Advertisement 1:
“Socialite Party candidate Oatricia Carroway’s name was a typo on her birth certificate. Oaty Carroway is an error that was never corrected. She may embrace life’s mistakes, but you should ask yourself if that is the right thing for America. Don’t make a mistake when you vote this Election Day! Vote for Dwight Dwizzlebee, America’s next true leader. This ad paid for by Re-stancers Against Typographical Errors.”

Advertisement 2:
“Dwight Dwizzlebee wants your daughters to grow up to become prostitutes. And that is why he has chosen former call girl, Ginger Hart, to be his running mate. Do you want your children to grow up to lead a life that was once a jail-able offense? Say no to vice, vote for Oaty Carroway, a true believer in the morals and values of society. This ad brought to you by Socialites for Social Justice.”

Advertisement 3 (a response to Advertisement 2):
“Hi, I am Dwight Dwizzlebee. The Re-stance party is all about giving people second chances. That is why I have been up front from the start about the fact that my Vice Presidential running mate was once a high-priced call girl. I believe that when you turn down a dark path in life, there is a way out. There is always a hope for turning your life around. And Ginger Hart may have put herself through college all the way to a Ph.D in political science using money she earned as a call girl, but once she got her degree, she put that life behind her and started giving back to the community, starting off by helping many of her former colleagues to get honest jobs, in addition to helping to pass the legislature that legalized prostitution in our great country. So before you throw away your vote this Election Day, think about the second chances you got in your own life, and vote Dwight Dwizzlebee. Give me a first chance to make a good impression on our country’s future.”

MA: Okay, folks, we are back with a refreshed Matisse Batiste to discuss more about what the media is calling our country’s worst ever political scandal. In fact, it’s so bad that they are having a re-vote for all citizens of Scurvytown.
MB: I’d like to interject about that, if I might, Magby.
MA: Certainly, Matty.
MB: Well, I think the real crime here is all my tarnished data. Now that people have seen all the same ads, I’ve lost my control group, and it just really stinks, to be honest.
MA: According to the reports, you will be able to use the data from the polls for your research this one last time, though it seems that only five percent of eligible Scurvitans even bothered to vote.
MB: Yes, one last bit of data. I suppose I should be pleased with the fact that I got three successful sets of information.
MA: How difficult has the voter-turn out rate been for your research?
MB: Well, I picked Scurvytown because of its isolation, and because I’ve lived here all my life and am familiar with how the system works. I went to college on the mainland, so I know how different it is to live there. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the general apathy of my fellow Scurvitans, and though I had read studies about improving our abysmal voter turnout, I didn’t believe that to be a problem when conducting my research.
MA: How do you feel about the fact that they have put the election results on hold since it came down to both electoral and popular vote based on our little island state?
MB: I think that would be a fascinating subject to research, and as I’ll have plenty of time on my hands while the government tries to figure out whether or not to charge me, I plan on developing a study to research what has gone wrong with our political party system in this country.
MA: You majored in political science in college, but ended up in R&D at the Squatter Foundation, correct?
MB: Yes, it wasn’t what I dreamed of doing while I was a naive student, but I’ve found my niche, now.
MA: And what do you feel your niche is, exactly?
MB: Well, given that I’ve proved that I can successfully pull the strings to guide an entire island of people, I think my next step is clear: in eight years, I will be running for President.
MA: Thank you, Mr. Batiste, it has been a pleasure talking with you this afternoon, but our time is up.
MB: Thank you, my dear, and I would love to contribute more to your program in the future.
MA: Thank you, sir.

Well, there you have it, folks, Matisse Batiste, a man with a plan for America. This is Magby Aarhus, signing off until next time, when I should be casting from a visit to the Mainland. Until then, fearless listeners, chin up, and Scurvitans, make sure you get out there and vote next Tuesday!

Voter Turnout, continued

From the desk of Captain Benjamin C. Tullis (edited by Janet Tor)

I have traveled the world far and wide. I have written a book about my travels, and the amazing things I have seen. The book, cast off by some as the deranged ramblings of a drunken lunatic, managed to catapult my name to cult status, as I toured the mainland. It is as this cultured madman that I feel the need to issue a statement on behalf of the people of Scurvytown: we were collectively deceived by the best of them, by a scientist so devout in her beliefs, that she spent years developing methods to make her mass propaganda widely believed and undoubted.

Nothing that I did in those years, or in the years of adventuring that lead up to the book tour could quite prepare me for what I’ve recently witnessed in the locked-down state of Scurvytown, the oft-mocked island state to the southeast of the mainland.

What I found was that while our little island community was locked down from the happenings on the mainland, there was essentially no reason for it. We were the unwitting research participants of a project being conducted by the Squatter Foundation’s head of Research and Development, Matisse Batiste, who has apparently spent the last twenty-four years conducting an experiment based around the 8-year Presidential election cycle.

Why did we believe what all the propaganda told us? Because we’re good citizens who care about our own well-being, that’s why. Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have some drinking to take care of for the next seven or more hours.

Good day,

Captain Benjamin C. Tullis.

Additional reading: a relevant article from the Mainlander-Gazette:

The Mainlander-Gazette

Mass-delusions and Corruption Skew Election Day Results for the Island Population of Scurvytown by Templesmith Fox

The months before Election Day are filled with propaganda, campaign promises, and lately, an increased amount of mudslinging between candidates. For the citizens of Scurvytown, someone sought to change all that, but not for the reasons you might suspect.

An employee by the name of Matisse Batiste from the Squatter Foundation’s Research and Development team got special funding from an anonymous and untraceable source that enabled him to use the population of Scurvytown as the control group for his research project. There has not yet been a formal statement issued by the Squatter Foundation on their involvement in the mass-conspiracy, for the record, but we have been in contact with their offices.

Mr. Batiste managed to convince the entire island that there was a new species of bat, called the Blorgbat, that had settled on their town twenty-four years ago, and that, due to the dangerous nature of the creature’s 8-year mating cycle, they must flee below-ground for the entire 6 weeks leading up to the election. The next phase of the plan was to create a media blackout, so that no information could go between the island and the mainland for the six weeks leading up to Election Day. It was Mr. Batiste’s hope that once the voting was over, and the results were official, he could then study the effects of the campaigning versus the lack thereof for the citizens of Scurvytown.

We were unable to interview Mr. Batiste, but an amateur podcaster by the name of Magby Aarhus was granted that privilege, and has agreed to share her story with us. As a citizen of Scurvytown, Miss Aarhus remembers going into hiding during Blorgbat season for as long as she’s been alive. Her interview is linked here.

Episode Twenty-One

December 6, 2010

The following episode is rather lengthy, and is basically a story cobbled together using various multimedia approaches. It was written for a project for one of my graduate classes.

Voter Turnout

“Crickets” <--- click to listen to the latest podcast Script below, since it mentions a "linked article," I might as well go ahead and post it. There are some slight differences in the recording. After about the fifth attempt at recording it, I realized there were some things bugging me, mostly related to clarity. From the latest issue of The Scurvitan Sandbox Podcast:

“Ahoy there, this is Magby Aarhus, bringing you the latest news from the Aarhus family bunker. Normally, I’d be bringing you my reports from Scurvytown, but while you-know-what-season is in full swing, this is the best you’ll get.

On day 2, I watched a spider build a web in the corner of the basement. I hope some insects manage to find their way into the house, or it’s going to be slim pickin’s for Charlotte A. Webbington, my new spider overlord.

That’s right, fearless listeners, only 48 hours underground, and I was already going completely stir crazy. That is what happens when your parents hold you hostage in their basement. Out of sheer boredom, I decided to sneak upstairs and try to get a recording on the sounds of the you-know-what’s as they you-know-whatever. It really is kind of “blorgish” noise, but sort of almost sounds like a toilet flushing. At least, that is the way I remembered it eight years ago.

From here on out, we can dispense with the “you know what” nonsense. Blorgbats are supposed to be nocturnal, so I conducted my field research at night, and then checked again every hour, all the way to mid-morning. You wanna know what I heard? Crickets. Okay, so not actual crickets, but nothing. And I wanted to know why.

I recorded a podcast about it, asking my fearless listeners for their opinions. However, when I went to upload it to the internet, the connection was down.

As you can imagine, as I am a digital age kind of gal, this disturbed my fragile little mind on so hardcore a level, I am not proud to admit the advanced stages of my subsequent freak-out. There were histrionics and withdrawal, as myself and the rest of the townspeople realized we were cut off from all forms of communication to and from the mainland.

A group of us met up at the Welcome Center and decided to go top-side and see if we could fix the connectivity problem, and we discovered more crickets, to continue that little metaphor. We went to the offices of the phone company to see what was wrong, like maybe a switch had been flicked off somewhere, and that’s when we discovered that there had been sabotage. I cannot pretend to understand the technical aspects of it, but field correspondent and all-around nerd Pokemondius Flack assured me that our media blackout was quite deliberate.

A lot has happened since our discovery, and I think it only prudent to show you how well our little island of misfits was able to band together in the face of adversity. Please read the linked story written by our own Captain Benjamin Tullis and edited by Scurvytown Welcome Center’s Janet Tor.”

Migration Patterns

December 5, 2010

Slowly, I have been migrating all the old episodes of Scurvytown over to the shiny new website, as I plan to kill the old website when it expires in April.

There are several changes that need to be made to the format and length of the Scurvytown episodes. This entire serial experiment has been a very fun one to write, and at some point, some of the fire/passion I had for it started to fade.

Additionally, there were piles of excuses: work and school, school and work, and distractions seemingly everywhere. Some of these distractions include NaNoWriMo, blogging, and job searching.

There have been several things I have not been entirely happy with regarding the story as it’s written so far. One: capping the episodes is a good idea, but I feel like the cap isn’t strict enough. As far as readability and attention-span, it seems to me that no more than 1200 words per episode is probably a better idea, so I am going to test this out and see how the story seems to flow. Two: record more podcasts. People seemed to like the podcasts, and they are a ton of fun to write. I haven’t been particularly happy with the sound quality, so I am trying to learn more about what kind of hardware and software can help me improve that. I went to a podcasting workshop at the library, but I knew as much as the instructor, who was actually quite good as a teacher. I kind of learned some things other than I had intended, which is fine because a positive learning experience is always welcome.

And now, back to the migration process, which has actually been another good learning experience for me.

Scurvytown Actual

December 3, 2010

If you’re a giant nerd like me, you might be aware that on Battlestar Galactica, the words “Galactica Actual” were uttered more than a few times. For an explanation of that, read this, as it explains it far better than I could attempt to articulate.

So you might say that the leader of Scurvytown is “Scurvytown Actual” by that definition. So that could be me, it could be the Mayor of Scurvytown, whomever. That is not the point of this blog, which I am probably too sleepy to have begun to write. The point of this is to give you a tour of my apartment, which I think is freaking adorable.

So, let’s step up to the front door and knock to see if anyone is at home, shall we?

I love how the gallery function on WordPress allows me to tell a story primarily in photographs. It’s really kind of fun! I hope others enjoyed this post, and took note that I’ve clearly seen the softer side of Ikea as far as decorating goes. Ha!

That last photo has a story, of course, so settle in for a little quick and dirty story time. You see, I thought it was funny to use the lamp as a bra holder, so I have been throwing my bras there for about a week. Then, on Tuesday, some guys stopped by from Macy’s to deliver and put together my new bed frame. They laughed at the floor mat, and I didn’t think anything of the bra lamp until after they were gone. Some gals might have been mortified, but I think it’s pretty obvious what my reaction was: I giggled and shrugged it off, hoping I made them laugh and, possibly, have a story to tell other people. It’s all about the laughter and the storytelling with me, you see.

Comedic Writing

November 30, 2010

One of the things I have been thinking about lately, because of Scurvytown episodes and my attempt at being funny/ writing satire, is comedy writing.

What makes something funny? What is the science behind laughter? Hell if I know, but I plan on taking some of the joy out of humor and reading some scientific articles on the subject, in addition to books form people who are successful in the field of comedic writing.

Have you ever made an entire room erupt in laughter? That feeling, that instant gratification, there’s something to be said about how powerful it feels to have been the direct result of the neural firing that causes laughter. Is it neural firing? Hell, I dunno how brains work.

It’s curious, to me, this feeling of greatness, from something so intangible, something so unmeasurable, and I really want to know more about it. (Though suddenly it occurs, there is such a thing as a “laugh-o-meter.”) But I hope to take a humorous poke at this subject, because that would obviously be the most appropriate manner by which to take the bitch down.

I wrote out a list of possible topics to consider, and I won’t repeat it here, but I hope to learn more about this extraordinarily fun craft, and how to become better at it. It truly is one of the greatest feelings I’ve known, to make a group of people laugh, or to bounce into a room and light it up, or even to get a healthy round of applause at a poetry reading. So it really makes sense that I would want to figure out ways of being effectively funnier, examining the rhetoric of comedy, and the acidic bite of satire.

It is true what they say: you need to read more to write more. So I need to start reading more things that are tailored in the manner I love to write, and then take the research a little further. With my background in science, I immediately think to start there: methodically.