thrifting feature

27 June 2011

It's no secret that I love thrift stores--almost as much as I love carbohydrates. Most of my wardrobe is thrifted, most of my furniture is thrifted, most of my dishes, shoes, sewing supplies, and artwork is thrifted. Of course, the price of said items is the great draw, but what keeps me going back time after time is the hunt. You never know what you'll find, but you'll find it there. Additionally, everything I buy secondhand is one which I won't end up buying retail, which means that by shopping secondhand I've greatly limited my support of iffy manufacturing practices.

Needless to say, I go thrifting regularly (and fully support the use of the noun, "thrift" as a verb, by the way) and thought I'd document my finds here--afterall, part of the thrill of discovery is in sharing it!

I got to visit my favorite thrift stores earlier this month as I was up in Virginia for my mom's birthday. If you're ever in the Norfolk area, I recommend Thrift Store USA and Thrift Store City. Kris and I usually devote half a day to perusing both those stores thoroughly. I picked up two things at the latter store:

a pair of black leather flats: $2.98
(which, thankfully, finally replace my squeaky, synthetic, Millie-nibbled black flats)

and a seafoam colored silk shirt, which I am converting to a tank: $0.99

24 June 2011

Isn't it nice to know
That the media will sway our votes
Cause seriously we've got to see
That they choose what we know

Whenever I listen to this song by BarlowGirl ("Time for You to Go" from Love & War, 2009), these lines catch my attention with their simple truth: the press isn't the neutral arbiter of information. Rather, bias is in everything that has been selected. Dr. Paul Levinson, in his insightful and engaging book, Digital McLuhan (published 1999), similarly discerns the power of the press as "gatekeeper": "From the point of view of the reader," he writes, "newspaper gatekeeping has been the more insidious, because newspapers usually present themselves to the public as printing all news, not just the news that they have allowed to pass through their gates. Thus, The New York Times represents itself on its masthead as publishing "All the News That's Fit to Print"; the motto could be more truthfully rendered as "All the News That We See Fit to Print" (p. 122). Similarly, Walter Cronkite's nightly "And that's the way it was," would be better expressed as "And that's the way the editors at CBS decided you should think it was" (Levinson, 1999, p. 124).

When my classmates berate the supposedly conservative bias of Fox News (and, in doing so, belie the tolerance liberals tout), they overlook the bias that is inevitable with selection—and as students of library and information science, this is especially egregious, for the bias of selectivity is something we discuss all the time. What makes these students think that other networks like CNN, NPR, CBS, etc are any less selective? employ any less bias? (and on that note, how did liberal politics become the standard, like the Midwestern accent of broadcasting anyway? When my classmates snicker at conservatives, they do so with the assurance that comes with speaking for the majority, assuming that we think the way they do.)

I'm not against bias—bias is a way of organizing myriad facts along a particular line—a filter. Due to our finite capacity to find, understand, process, remember, and act upon information, filters are effective ways of distilling all the information available to us to what we can manage. Imagine, for instance, if we lacked the filter of forgetfulness and instead remembered everything we'd ever experienced like Funes in Jorge Luis Borges's "Funes, the Memorious." Afterall, I am finishing up my degree to become a professional filter as an archivist/librarian. I am, however, against bias masquerading as the whole truth and bias that occludes the whole truth. We must remember that effective filters leave some things behind and what remains is only a part. Our job is to know the filter, to understand its mechanisms, and occasionally to test it by looking over what's left behind and evaluating whether that is, indeed, dross. They choose what we know--who are they? how do they choose? what have they left behind?

The Technological Environment

21 June 2011

Witness the power of technology: "the age of radio gave rise to the four most powerful political leaders of the twentieth century - Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt - each of whom used the then-new medium to address their people at crucial moments in history. At these times, their voices came into living rooms, heretofore the precinct primarily of family, and spoke via a device unable to register any contrary opinion or objection ... McLuhan caught the fleeting reign of the radio family in his oft-quoted observation (1964, p. 261) that 'had TV come first there would have been no Hitler'" (p. 67).

--Paul Levinson in Digital McLuhan, 1999.

20 June 2011

This Week I...

16 June 2011

  1. saw my mom and little sister, Kathryn, off to England for two weeks. Their itinerary and preparations dredged up memories of my own two summers in the UK--oh to go back!
  2. ate a fresh apricot--doesn't taste like dried!
  3. became enamored of dyeing fabric after viewing Shabd's work
  4. made iced coffee concentrate following Pioneer Woman's directions
  5. have been enjoying Wilson Library's blog, Civil War Day by Day
  6. made a pattern from my go-to readymade tank and sewed up two versions
  7. am fixing to draft sailor shorts like this Kwik Sew version DixieDIY made
  8. continued my ever-looming thesis research with Levinson's Digital McLuhan
  9. started listening to the cute and insightful Saturdays with Stella: How My Dog Taught Me to Sit, Stay, and Come When God Calls

15 June 2011

Kathryn's keeping a tumblr blog now, called ::myperfumebottle:: She's already started updating it with accounts from her England adventures, so I think you'll be in for a treat if you peek in from time to time.
So I've recently started watching Switched at Birth. Kind of embarrassing since it's a teen-centered drama and consequently a bit...well, dramatic, but one of the characters is deaf and so I've been tuning in. [--edit: it's getting harder to tune in to those ridiculous story lines, and I have a BIG problem with shows like this that portray teens dabbling with sex; they are creating the impression that it's normal and almost inevitable that teens will dabble and that it's a part of growing up. In fact, it's the opposite; real maturity comes with self control and the willingness to defer what you want until the appropriate time (marriage)]

I've been fascinated by the Deaf culture since high school, when I took American Sign Language in tenth grade. One of our assignments for the year was attending Deaf events (by the way, "deaf" is the physical condition, and "Deaf" is the culture). Kris and I would go to Silent Dinners at various local malls and try to converse using our stilted, halting, ever-uncomprehending ASL. Then in my year off from Grove City College when I attended Tidewater Community College, I took another year of ASL. My teacher was deaf and classes were immersion-style. My brain would hurt afterwards! I'm pretty sure my optic lobe had never communicated so intensely with whatever part is responsible for comprehension. Using a language based not on sound but on gesture is a new way of thinking and perceiving the world.

I remember one time when I was attending a Deaf church, I was introducing myself to one of the congregants. I finger-spelled my name and braced myself when he spelled something back. I'm terrible at understanding finger-spelling...come to think of it, I'm not so good at understanding spoken spelling, either...but those who are proficient in ASL spell with such fluidity, it's hard to distinguish each letter, much less string them together into a word. I signed "AGAIN?" and he repeated the word and then repeated it again at my puzzlement. "?-?-L-E-?-I-E. V-?-L-E-?-I-E" Ohhh, rats. He was confirming my own name.

Back at GCC, I resumed my participation with the ASL Club with weekly meetings, silent dinners, and chapel performances in which we would sign worship songs like "Before the Throne of God Above," "Better is One Day," and I can't even remember the others. Unfortunately, all I have to commemorate those performances is this picture:

In my defense, I had a 103 degree fever at the time (which, among other things, apparently prohibited me from assessing the fit of my khakis with a critical eye).

My love of signing lead me to sign to worship songs in church, which caught the attention of my English professor's wife, which lead to my little gig teaching ASL to ten first-sixth graders every Friday afternoon. It was such fun! I loved coming up with each week's unit and covered things like the alphabet, introductions, family, food, and activities. Our ongoing project was learning to sign the song, "Thy Word." They had it down by the end of the semester.

Fast forward to today, when I sign very little. I'll watch vlogs and sermons in ASL occasionally, and I'll gloss songs during church at times (for a beautiful gloss of "Here I am to Worship," see my high school teacher's interpretation here). But right now most of my contact with ASL, deafness, and Deaf culture comes through literature and television programs like Switched at Birth. I've mused on sign language before and have a few posts in draft form about various books I've read about deafness and Deaf culture. If you want to read more, I recommend Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture, and Deaf Like Me, or watching Kathy Buckley, a hearing impaired comedienne and motivational speaker (I love No Labels, No Limits!). These offer glimpses into an American culture that subsists alongside and often within the hearing culture.

13 June 2011

Mom and Kathryn are off on their England adventure! Hopefully they won't encounter service like this in the air.

06 June 2011

What I'm loving right now...
  • linen
  • a full night's sleep (insomnia is for the birds)
  • grace periods at the library
  • Awaken the Dawn by Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • mint colored nail polish
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (a British series following Detective Inspector Lynley and Detective Sargeant Havers. I first watched it at Hazel's house in Kent; we would come in from our days of mowing the pear orchard/chopping wood and watch a program in the evenings--or cross linseed fields and an ancient Roman site to see if the badgers were out)
  • Textfree app for the iPod Touch--Kathryn and I have been messaging each other like crazy--texting really is fun!
  • Goody Spin Pins

03 June 2011

I was walking to the bus stop when I heard fevered rustling emanating from...the garbage can. As I suspected, a squirrel popped up, proudly claiming a chunk of bread nearly as big as he was.

Coral Blouse

02 June 2011

This recent heat wave has reminded me to fortify my summertime wardrobe, particularly with blouses. With that in mind, I've been gathering breathable fabrics and simple patterns in order to begin sewing in the gap.

For this particular project, I used Sarah Eagle's popular Port Elizabeth Top pattern. Its loose, easy-going style makes it appropriate for hot summer weather, while its simplicity gives center stage to this absolutely glorious linen, cross woven with fuchsia and gold threads. The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen it a bit and to pinch in the sleeves with wooden buttons.