Facebooger

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a Facebook moratorium.  This conveniently coincided with the news break that Facebook is terrible for privacy and eats babies, but in honesty, that had less to do with my decision than the fact that I was helplessly addicted to it.

Although I've generally just told people I left for ethical reasons, which makes me seem like much more of an outstanding guy than I am.

I decided not to close my account, but simple to just not log on to Facebook, at all, on any of my devices.  I never had the Facebook app on my phone, but I still have the Facebook Messenger app, which I also hate, so if any of the people I know solely through Facebook want to contact me, there's still that option.

Giving up Facebook has meant much more time for art, and less time for lollygagging about in front of the computer.  It's made me realize that I only visit about 8 websites daily, and once I've absorbed the updates, I no longer actually require the internet for anything beyond research and communication.  Which is what it's supposed to be for.

Also, moving my homepage to this blog instead of the New York Times has made me much more likely to post, and since I don't enjoy posting nearly as much as scrolling through depressing headlines, it's also made me much less likely to log onto the internet at all.  I've also increased by Twitter and Instagram presences @phostetlerart.

Life is good.

Iceland is the land for me

This post is mostly about cinnamon buns. As far as I can tell, cinnamon buns ought to be the main export of Iceland, since that is what the country does best, and they do many things very well.

I was recently in Iceland on my honeymoon with my wife Cameron, who planned the entire thing from booking the flight to booking the car to booking all the hotel room, and looking up the best place to buy cinnamon buns in Reykjavik.  I think my major contribution was going to the bank and extending our credit limit so she could do all of that at the same time.  It was easy.  Iceland is very big on tourism these days, since their major export otherwise is fish and volcano debris.  IcelandAir is one of the nicest planes I've ever been on, and their in-flight entertainment choices are top notch. 

The only "city" in Iceland is Reykjavik, home of Braud, a small (like everything in Iceland) bakery franchise at which one can find the best, fluffiest, gooiest, crispiest, butteriest cinnamon buns in the world, if not the universe, as well as a healthy assortment of tasty seafood restaurants, and also a Penis Museum.  More on that later.  We spent our first and last days in Iceland in Reykjavik, and the intervening week in the countryside, exploring and photographing the most stunning landmarks and natural wonders the country had to offer.

These include Dingvellir, also pronounced "Thingvellir," because the letter in the beginning of the word is sound at the beginning of the word "the," which everyone pronounces as "duh" unless they're very careful.  Dingvellir is the spot of the first Western parliament, and also the spot where the European and American tectonic plates are splitting apart.  In real life, that looks like two cliffs with a path in the middle that has to constantly be repaired because giant sinkholes keep opening up in it.  We also saw Gullfoss (a big windy waterfall), Seljalandsfoss (a waterfall you can walk behind), Skogafoss (a waterfall with deeply magical-looking rainbows flying out of it), and Svartifoss, (a waterfall that looks like a spooky pipe organ), a glacier named Vatnajokull, Jokulsarlon and Reynisfjara, two black sand beaches, and a few proper Icelandic geysirs.

Fun fact: "geysir" is only one of about a dozen Icelandic words to make it into common English.  Others include blunder, berserk, ransack, slaughter, heathen, , because Iceland was once full of Vikings, but also words like fellow, happy, husband, and troll.  Trolls got my attention.  Iceland officially believes in elves and trolls, and has laws against developing elvish habitats.  For my part, during drives and drink stops, I found myself sketching and lavishly detailing pictures of the most gross and obscene trolls I could imagine.  It was very fun.

My last days in Iceland were marred by an inflamation of my left eye caused by a scratched cornea.  I couldn't see a thing out of it, and could barely stand sunlight.  That, plus the fact that it was Easter Sunday ruled out the Penis Museum, which I had desperately wanted to go to, but not at the expense of breaking their window and possibly getting glass in my other, working eye.  According to Cameron, we visited a mineral lake and a bevy of geothermal pools instead, but mostly I saw the inside of the rental car and the spout of my eyedrops.  I also ate another cinnamon bun.  You don't need eyes to taste heaven.

Nevertheless, on the trip home, I managed to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel on the little airplane TV.

For pictures, take a look at my wife's instagram and my instagram too, for photos.  We took some really good ones on a very expensive camera, but you don't get to see those.  Much too good for the internet.

I saw Black Panther.

My wife and I were going to view some black superheroes this weekend, but the lines for the Michelle and Barack Obama portraits at the National Portrait Gallery were too long.  So we saw Black Panther instead.

Spoiler-y review of Balck Panther:

I thought it was pretty good. The story involves the fictional African land of Star Wars, which is in Africa, and hidden away by Star Wars means. It starts out with the Challah, son of Chanukkah (played by Chapstick Boatman), being crowned King of Star Wars by way of fight scene. You get to meet a bunch of his support staff, including his funny genius sister Surely, his soon-to-be wife Nokia, and his bodyguard Ukulele. They're all pretty awesome. Gollum and Bilbo Baggins appear, and are both blown up by Killy McKillface (played by Michael Jordon, really), who has lopsided hair and wants to be king. Everyone gets a Batman suit, and then Killface and Challah have another fight scene with Star Wars space ships and orange and blue ninjas and rhinosauruses. There's a happy ending where everyone goes to Oakland, California to build hospitals for the poor, disenfranchised Americans, and Surely goes to Coachella, which is not in Africa.

The design was pretty great, even if Bilbo and all the space ships were kind of shoehorned in. It stands out from normal Star Wars fare by virtue of actually talking about current issues and racial disenfranchisementationalization in ways more nuanced, and from different points of view, than the average film-goer usually gets. All of Michael Jordan (really)'s dialogue could have come from the angry parts of Twitter, but I suppose that's why they gave it to a character called McKillface.

I rate it forty billion out of a possible wrong phone who dis

Blitt by Blitt by Me

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Yesterday (Sunday, October 29, 2017, for the historical record) I went to a talk and book signing at Politics and Prose for Barry Blitt's new book "Blitt," available in hardcover at fine retailers everywhere. 

Blitt is one of those illustration rock stars, kin to Steve Brodner and Edward Sorel, who have made their name mostly through caricature.  Blitt is personally infamous for his topical New Yorker covers, sometimes dashed off in a few hours in the middle of the night against hard deadlines, his most notable being the Obamas giving a "terrorist fist bump" in the Oval Office.  In the movie of his life, he's played by Martin Mull or Bob Balaban.

I dig him because he draws the old-fashioned way, with a crowquill pen and watercolor on paper with little underdrawing, sometimes drawing the same piece over and over to get it right, if deadlines allow.  There's a freshness to the best illustration (I think) that turns it from a mere drawing into an idea that just happens to also be in drawing form.

This is the long way of saying I didn't buy his book, because it cost $40.  But I did do a drawing of him from the front row while he was answering audience questions, which he seemed to approve of and signed for me.  My left eye was acting up, hence my funky expression in the above photo, but all in all, not a bad night. 

 

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