Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Rant About Copyright Rants

Unless you've been bound and gagged and locked in a "naughty box" by your significant other for the past couple of months (I don't know what you people get up to in your spare time, but I'm not judging), then you are surely aware of all the hullabaloo and folderol surrounding the issue of copyright in the world of quilting. Everybody who's anybody (and probably a lot of people who aren't) has weighed in on the topic. I thought that the tidal wave of umbrage and pseudo-legal opinions had passed, but, no. I just read two more this morning. A dead horse will keep on twitching as long as there are bloggers out there to get indignant about it.

There are a lot of things that bother me about some of these rants that keep ending up in my email inbox, but the main one is how, after soapboxing grandiloquently about laws that, as far as I know, may not even exist, people are now starting to call for civility. "Let's all remember that, when all is said and done, we are all sisters. And brothers. Well, some gay brothers—not that there's anything wrong with that—and a few heterosexual brothers who are totally welcome too. So let's stop calling each other names like 'stupid meanie-pants' and 'booger-butt.' "

Please. For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, do NOT stop calling each other "stupid meanie-pants" and "booger-butt." Because if quilters stop saying stupid stuff on the internet, what will I have to write about? I'm not just a humorist, I'm a satirist, for god's sake, and if people don't act like asshats, I won't have any ridiculous attitudes to lampoon. And besides, you know me. I think people are entirely too tame. I'm willing to bet that you cannot find one comment on any blog anywhere on this topic where somebody has called someone else a "fucking copyright whore." Nope, not there. I checked.  (They must have deleted my comment.)

I can't help it. I love controversy in the world of quilting, and though it has made me some enemies, I'm still going to point it out and laugh at it when it happens. I think that we have to laugh at ourselves and our  little quilter squabbles in order to move on from them and to ultimately learn from them. And because, if we don't, we're all just a bunch of cocksucking booger-butts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Still alive, with significantly flatter ass

I am beginning to understand why they say sitting at a desk all day, every day, shortens one's lifespan. I'm pretty sure that as a result of my efforts to design the first issue of Generation Q Magazine, I will die a good ten years earlier than I would have otherwise. My back hurts. My neck hurts. My right wrist is a mess. My eyes are always burning. It's fucking awesome.

I'm dead serious. Even though I feel like a big blob of pain, I am having the time of my life. I probably won't say that next weekend, as we approach deadline, but in general, I'm truly enjoying the work. And it has gone the way so many things I do has. At first, I approach the project thinking, "There's no way. There is no way in hell that I can do this. Why the fuck are they making me do this? Idiots. I told them I couldn't do it, and now I have to go through the process of failing and then telling them I'm failing and then go crawl in a hole because I let everybody down even though I TOLD them I couldn't do it."

And then I do it.

The mag is well over halfway done, and every time I take a moment to scroll through the pages and look at it, I think, "That there looks like a real magazine." I honestly don't think it looks like people are gonna pick it up and go, "This was obviously made by a middle-aged woman in between obsessing about her weight and telling children that boogers belong on tissues, not on fingers." That falls somewhere between projectile vomiting in horror and disgust and having spontaneous, multiple orgasms on the scale of How People Will React To Seeing The First Publication I Ever Designed All By Myself.

I even managed to write my column for it, and I was pretty sure that wasn't gonna happen either. Then the good old internet came to the rescue with all kinds of inspiration. I think it turned out pretty good and there's even a little eye candy to go with it. Ah, it's good to be a magazine designer!

I even ended up doing photography. All the quilts for our projects need flat shots as well as "lifestyle" shots, so that you get a pretty picture of the quilt "in use" as well as a view of the entire quilt. Unfortunately, some of our shots didn't work out in the original photo shoot and they couldn't be shot again, and I start to get twitchy when I can't be there to control everything. "Are you using enough light? Don't rely on ISO to make up for low light—it'll just end up grainy. Can you do it outside? You have to make sure it's perfectly flat and you have to make sure your camera is parallel. Hey! Where are you going?" Turns out, Jake was going to the FedEx office, because she sent me all the quilts. So then I had to suddenly come up with a way to get flat shots.

Often, people with put quilts on the floor and then find a way to get above them and shoot down, but that is fraught with problems unless you have a very specific set-up. I decided the quilts needed to go on the wall, but then, well, I needed a wall. Naturally, the only wall in my house that is suitable is in my sewing room/office, where George hangs:

So, David and I broke down all my sewing tables on the other side of the room and moved the sofa over to where they used to be, then George got re-hung in between the two windows on the west wall (and when the kids first saw what we had done, their first question was "Where's George?" followed quickly by "When are you going to put it all back exactly the way it was because we liked that better?"). After we moved George, Devon felt a need to show her support for the project:

Then I had to figure out how to get something on the walls that I could pin entire finished quilts to. After a couple false starts, I finally got a phone consultation with a wonderful woman known far and wide as Shortbread Sam. Shortbread Sam is a friend of Jake's and now she's a friend of mine AND THAT IS JUST THE COOLEST THING. Honestly, the idea that I have all these people whom I've never even met in person just kills me. I love it. Anyway, Sam suggested good old posterboard and these 3M Command strips that are used for hanging pictures. Nine panels of posterboard and nine packages of 3M strips later, I had a wall. I got some cheap reflector lamps from Amazon as well as some very bright, daylight balanced light bulbs, and set up my tripod.

The background gets completely Photoshopped out, so the seams in between the boards don't matter. It's not perfect, and doesn't really work well for very large quilts, but it did acceptably well for the smaller ones.

A few days after getting my boards set up, I got a package in the mail from Sam. She has made these super cute buttons and she sent me a whole set:

"Sewinatrix" immediately found a home on my purse. Sam will be selling these on Etsy soon, so keep checking her blog to find out when they go up. Sam is also letting me test her paper piecing patterns for letters. I want to make a big, inspirational message quilt for my sewing room. You know, something with a quote or saying that will keep me going when my ass hurts and my carpal tunnel is acting up and I just think I can't take any more goddamn quilts. So, it's going to say: RIDE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT. Cheers me right up every time I think about it.

Anyway, thanks for being patient with me while I am "on leave," as it were, to work on this project.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Alive. Thank god.

I am still alive, y'all, but barely. I've been putting in long hours on the magazine, which, combined with the time I can't work on it because my parenting duties take precedence and thus are also work hours, means I have been working 15–18-hour days and only managing about 5 hours sleep a night somehow. It caught up with me on Friday and I was so tired I could barely stand up, so I've tried to catch up on sleep and get a little R&R this weekend (swimming, watching The Descendants and eating). I'm feeling better today so I'm hard at work, but then I get a Facebook message from a high school friend who wanted to let me know that my high school boyfriend was ill. The little bit of research I could do suggests that he has cancer and that things may not be going to well for him right now. A student of his, on one of those "rate my professor"-type sites, said that he told his class he was dying shortly before he left permanently.

It was such a typical teenage story, and someday, when I have time, I will write it all out, but suffice to say he was my first everything and I thought I loved him, and he thought he loved me, until he didn't anymore. But while he did, he was my adventure. Like me, he wasn't blessed with grace or good looks, but was smart and creative. I think of him every once in a while, and when I do it is always with that sweet and boundless affection that is as much for the kid I was then as for the kid he was. The kind that sort of floats out into the world with no place to land because he and I have no connection anymore. I haven't spoken to him since high school. I never friended him on Facebook, and now I am glad I didn't, because I would feel compelled to, like so many people have done in the last few days, post some weak message on his wall that he may never be able to read and that doesn't even remotely say what I really feel, which is this:

Tim, thank you for noticing me, for flirting with me, for sticking notes in my locker and and asking me to prom. Thank you for all the furtive things we did in ridiculous places. Thank you for giving me your poetry, all bound in your dad's shop. Thank you for breaking my heart, and helping me grow up just a little. I did love you, the way only a 15-year-old girl can, and I still love you now, the memory of you, the way a 42-year-old woman happy in herself and her life can. I wish you peace.