Locusts and Cidadas

One of our best friends, Brian, came down from LA on Friday.  Brian is the most competitive person I know, and we love to play games together even though it doesn’t always end pretty.  Last time we played Monopoly, it got a little heated, and I remember Brian saying in all seriousness, “Why on Earth would you buy that Railroad?  There is no long-term growth potential there!”  None the less, we decided to stay in on Friday, make a fire, drink some boozy cider, and play a bunch of board games.

Brian cleaned up in Trivial Pursuit.  He’s a really smart guy, so that was no surprise.  For the question “What insect appears for just two weeks every 17 years? ”  He said, “I know it’s cicadas because we have them at Princeton once every 17 years, and when they come out, it is SO gross!”  Then I said, “We have cicadas in Texas every year, but people call them locusts for some reason,” and then Brian said that we were wrong, and by we, I mean all the Texans that see cicadas every year and call them locusts.  He said that what we see are actually locusts, which look like grass hoppers, because cicadas don’t come out every year.  I told him that he was ridiculous.  As a kid, I collected the exoskeletons that the cicadas shed.  I know what they look like and they are not grasshoppers.  But he really is a super smart guy, so I let him convince me that if they only come out every 17 years at “Princeton,” then I guess he must be right.

But this morning, I was vindicated by a Google search.  “In parts of Australia, and the USA, cicadas are often known as locusts, however, a cicada is an entirely different type of insect than the locust or the grasshopper. The cicada is related to the aphid and comes in two varieties; the annual and the periodical cicada. The annual cicada has a lifecycle which repeats annually, i.e. they breed and hatch once per year. The periodical cicada may have either a 17 or 13 year lifecycle and spend the time between breeding buried in the ground until billions of individuals hatch in unison. This gives rise to the name thirteen year locust and seventeen year locust.”

So take that Princeton smarty pants who whine about bugs showing up every 20 years.  We Texans take’em on once a year!

The final game night score was 2-2-0.  Brian won T.P. and Boggle.  I won Uno and Risk.   Poor Mike was just collateral damage.

A Revelation

This is Mike.  We just figured out how to get our house really, really clean.  Hire someone to do it.

Man, the house looks good.  Man, this place was dirty before the cleaners came.

Hope everyone has a good Turkey Day.  We’ll let you know how the Turkey on the Weber Grill works out.

Back in Chicago

I have an opening on Friday in Chicago.  I just flew in this morning and forgot how much busier the city is than sleepy San Diego.  The airport was crazy.  But I was surprised at how excited I was to be back.  I have lots of plans to see friends and to eat, eat, eat, and eat some more.  I really do think Chi-town has the best food in America.

I listened to the guy next to me on the plane tell me about his recent Indian Princess camping trip with his daughter.  He went on and on, and it was so cute to see a dad who loves family so much.  Hearing how happy he was made me anxious to have kids in such a fun place.  There really are a million adventures around San Diego and generally, people seem to value family time more than work. I like that.

I have gotten really good discounts on the work I’ve made for this show from the framer, the embroidery lady who helped me finish my project, etc.  All the work is about being unemployed and I think they feel sorry for me.  🙂

Anyway, here is the info about my show:

Artist: Unemployed opens November 20, 2009 at LivingRoom Gallery
Reception: Friday November 20, 2009 5-8 pm
at LivingRoom Gallery
1530 West Superior Street (between Ashland Ave. and Armour St.)
Chicago IL 60642

Making art is expensive, but it can be cheaper than therapy. In Artist: Unemployed interdisciplinary artist Shawnee Barton uses humor, humility, and her art practice to cope with being unemployed during the worst economic downturn our country has seen in sixty years.

In this installation at LivingRoom Gallery, the artist addresses subjects related to her inability to get a job including daytime television, arts policy, and her ongoing existential crisis.

The Performer: It takes one to Know one

I got Mike a grill for his Birthday.  It’s a pretty fancy one called The Weber Performer.  He’s been really into it, and it’s fun to see someone giddy like a little kid at Christmas.  Ten minutes after we got it home, he was registering it online and on his second read through of the manual.  He’s even contemplating cooking the Thanksgiving bird on it.  We’ll see how that turns out.   Just so you know how serious this guy is, here are some things he’s actually said to me:

“We’re gonna cook the corn on the cob with indirect heat and the chicken with direct medium heat.”  Whatever that means.

“I think I need to hold off on grilling and just study for a couple of months.”

“Water smoking is a step or two above my pay grade”

“Now, I’m not sure if we should have a ring a fire, a bullseye, or three-tiered coals”