in such a world art | veg | academia | geekery

My name is Valerie. I am currently a grad student in Communication Studies (interested in art institutions and the internet) who thrives in a realm of yummy smells, instant and speedy wifi, and the artists, designers and thinkers who make everything worthwhile. Welcome to my website.

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Moved – New Blog

Long time no write, *sigh.*  Apologies!  What can I say except that life happened?  I’ve been in a whirlwind since I took a break from the blog.  But I am turning over a new leaf and am starting fresh with a blog that is more focused on food stuff and less on everything like this one was.  So I hope you will join me over at


As you can tell, I’ve already been on unofficial hiatus from writing in this blog – well, life has taken over!  I am planning my winter wedding, writing my thesis, finishing my last class, working as a Research Assistant and trying to live a sane life.  So… this blog will be temporarily postponed until hopefully around early April, that’s when I think things will lighten up quite a bit!

I’ve also decided not to turn this blog into a wedding planning one since it’s so different from all my other posts.  I’ve created a secret wedding blog only for guests of the celebration and update it periodically.  I will definitely do one big wedding post later though that sums up how it turned out, what design choices we made, etc.

On that note, thank you for all for your patience; I hope you hang on until I can write again – I think I will be able to write freely from then on.

On Avoiding Writing, P. J. O’Rourke

Sometimes it feels so nice to have a reminder that you are not the only writer who procrastinates. Right now I am balancing two Research Assistant jobs, my thesis writing/researching, household chores and errands, and planning my upcoming nuptials (we’ve decided to have a winter wedding!) – because I’m CRAZY.  I am in the habit of making myself busy.  Anyway, P. J. O’Rourke just made me feel a little better about those times when I dilly dally.

Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o’clock this afternoon. It is now a quarter to four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word “paisly” in three dictionaries, attempting to find the town of that name onThe New York Times Atlas of the World map of Scotland, sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner, dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting—by width—all the interesting articles I’ve cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write.”

— P. J. O’Rourke
The Wit and Wisdom of P. J. O’Rourke

Did I spot a typo in the mention of “paisly”? At any rate, via.

That one piece of art that just get you, right there

Everyone has one, I think.  A work of art that draws them in, inexplicably – one they feel deeply connected to without understanding why.

Christian Schad

I remember first coming across this painting in an art book, I can’t recall which.  While on one page they showed an image of the painting, in another they showed a close-up detail of her right eye.  It was mesmerizing.  I stared at this eye, her eye, for ages and have found myself coming back again and again to this painting.

I’m curious:  what artists have done this for you?  What works just get you?

61 Essential Postmodern Reads

Compiled by a blogger at the LA Times, this is a very interesting list of 61 top recommended postmodern reads, deemed postmodern based on having one or more set characteristics:

  • Author is a character
  • Self-contradicting plot
  • disrupts/plays with form
  • comments on its own bookishness
  • plays with language
  • includes fictional artifacts, like letters
  • blurs reality and fiction
  • includes historical falsehoods
  • overtly references other fictional works
  • more than 1,000 pages
  • less than 200 pages
  • postmodern progenitor

I’ve read:

  • Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin”
  • Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves”
  • Milan Kundera’s “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”
  • Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”
  • William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”
  • (currently reading) David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”

(via Kottke)

Phil Sharp – photographs of New York

I find photographer Phil Sharp‘s flickr set of New York photographs utterly refreshing. The details, the angles, the lighting, oh all of it.

Adrian Bach, untitled photograph

Adrian Bach, untitled

isn’t this beautiful? transforms a playground into an island, a place of refuge from the flood.  can’t seem to find any more on this artist but an intriguing image.

Chair socks

Delightfully silly – yet on one level practical (prevents floor scuffing) – these chair socks designed by Chris&Ruby made me laugh. (via)


This Canada day was extra special for me, since my partner of over seven years proposed – under a dark sky ablaze with fireworks.  What a lovely surprise!  It all feels exhilarating and just right.  Anyway, just thought I would share the special news.  Now we just have to find a way to have a budget wedding next summer – my goal is to get it all under $7000. With J’s big family, that is a challenge-and-a-half – wish me luck!

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