Tag Archives: taxidermy

Art is a flat circle.

10. Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

Outsider art, taxidermy I don’t have to see, serial murder, solid female characters – well, solid characters in general, and some very unexpected surrealist imagery…it’s like Beukes had several of my reading habits in mind when she started writing.

Each character has a different angle on the central story and brings a different part of Detroit’s atmosphere in as well. It was really fun reading a book about Detroit that brought in the broken parts but also did some taking to task of the pretentious humans making artistic lemonade out of ruins.

There’s a lot to Broken Monsters. A lot of detail, a lot of tension, a lot of pieces that normally would have made me cringe treated with enough information and deference that I can tell she did a lot of research, essentially it provides a lot of reasons to follow Beukes as an author.

Merricat giving that look that means "I know you didn't say what you wanted to say about scenes that reminded you of True Detective's antler graffiti in this review."

Merricat giving that look that means “I know you didn’t say what you wanted to say about scenes that reminded you of True Detective’s antler graffiti in this review.”

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Megatherium and me

8. Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy – Melissa Milgrom

This book is glorious. I learned so much from it and took away so much more appreciation for sculpture and silicone and Damien Hirst than I would have expected.

Taxidermy and I have a complicated relationship. I’ve been going to the Museum of Natural History at the University of Iowa since I was a small child.  Mammal Hall, and Bird Hall, and Rusty the giant sloth, have tortured/inspired me. The wombat in Mammal Hall may have been a part of jump-starting my love of small, guinea pig shaped mammals (there is no guinea pig in Mammal Hall, there are a lot of terrifying mice though) and since I have yet to see a wombat in person, I’m happy I got the opportunity to see that one. My other favorite piece in there is the skunk that’s posed to spray with its back feet up in the air – nice one to whoever decided on that pose. Mammal Hall also includes a giant room full of skeletons, including an Atlantic right whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling, that I have always loved. Bones are my favorite thing to draw, and they’re just so damn important to understanding why vertebrates look the way they do and how they fit together. The main level of the museum also includes the terrors of my childhood – Rusty the giant sloth and that Devonian Coral Reef beast creature springing out of the wall. I thought Rusty was real for a very, very long time. I also thought that bones were inside the stuffed animals, even though there’s a very clear display on the ground floor of the museum that should have clued me in about that but it didn’t sink in until I read this book.

Rusty is a recreation of a Giant Ground Sloth. A terrifying, costumed for holidays, recreation that many people enjoy. He’s a pretty awesome achievement. In Still Life, I learned that taxidermists and naturalists recreate animals from other kinds of animals in competition and I did wonder what was used to make Rusty happen (and the Gigantopithecus in the basement). The competition discussed in the book takes place at a hotel that I drive by on my way to and from Mississippi, so that struck a chord too. Now I just need to visit the Dead Zoo (not mentioned, but it’s not like I can just go hang out with Damien Hirst’s official taxidermist in her clearly awesome set up) and the Museum of Natural History in New York to finish my appreciation tour. And I’d like to see one of Walter Potter’s works in person. Preferably one with guinea pigs, it’s unfortunate that the collection couldn’t stay together, almost as unfortunate as guinea pig taxidermy usually looks.

I still feel sorry for the Victorian-diorama stuffed guinea pig at After Life.

It is next to impossible to produce an effective guinea pig via taxidermy. That nose is not meant to be preserved, apparently, and it is one of their cutest features – just look at Peregrine’s beauteous nose for proof.

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Jingle Bells…Jingle Yay…Jingle Good for You

A second jump into the murky seas of search terms. I mean into the fresh smelling forest of Douglas firs of search terms. I am trying to sound more winterish. There’s no snow, yet, in my area, but the bitter bleakness remains. I should change my voicemail to that “Hello, you’ve reached the winter of my discontent” thing from Reality Bites. Or I could listen to less doom metal while it’s totally cold and bleak outside. But it seems like the best time to listen to doom metal! And I just found out the singer dude from Finntroll (not doom metal at all) is cute and that made me nearly happy. Damn, I am rambling. I guess in this vein of trailing off I could mention that the purchase I’m happiest about lately is the game Cards Against Humanity. It’s free to download if you don’t feel like buying it. Damnit, Jerry!

7. Why are so many people looking for this? : son of rosemary incestuous

What kind of a world do we live in? Why can’t people just search for random incest? I mean, it’s on Game of Thrones, not just in these old tomes from the 1990s. Son of Rosemary…is the worst

Are Jon Snow and Daenarys Targaryen related? I hope not.

I originally wanted that review to be only two words: Shit Sandwich. And I loved The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby so I felt really guilty about how much I hated Son of Rosemary. It just sucked so hard. And it’s hard to see good writers write shit sandwiches. That’s why Pammy is hiding.

8. Amusing terms: guinea pigs named Lois

I wonder how many guinea pigs named Lois there are? I don’t have any, the only Lois here is Lois Duncan: Twisted Window , Lost in Time

Who watches Ozymandias? Will anyone keep from his detonating his Doomsday device? I watch him,  but I wouldn't.

Maybe in his previous home, Ozymandias was named Lois. Probably not.

9. Things I hope don’t exist: ebook on taxidermy of guinea pigs

I’ve never thought about having my pigs freeze dried or stuffed. Mostly because the idea of having their glares become lifeless and frozen in time is a little too much. Also, taxidermy has not progressed to the point where the adorable snout and ears of the guinea pig can be preserved exactly as they are, forever. I don’t think an ebook is going to help that.

Why specifically an ebook? It’s hard enough to find physical books on guinea pigs and you’d think a squirrel mold would probably work.

Twiglet – Not meant for stuffing.

10. Not on my watch, son: guinea pig rat cross

I have heard terrifying tales of escaped hamsters mating with mice and producing offspring. I have never heard about that happening with guinea pigs and rats and I never want to hear about that happening. It just makes me think of the Fly. And the Fly II.

Thaddeus and Pammy, so fresh and so clean clean

Thaddeus tells Pammy it will never happen. Just like he hopes his next bath will never happen.

11. Self-indulgent edition: captain sparkles

Next year, I will be putting up the sequel to Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns on Amazon. The sequel is called Day of the Robots. The character that I have nicknamed Captain Sparkles appears in both books and will also be included in the conclusion to the Night of the Squirrels trilogy: Night of the Squirrels. It is always darkest before the dawn. Anyway, I reviewed Nightlight , the Twilight parody book by the Harvard Lampoon people and utilized that nickname (which is also in my book in the spirit of Twilight parody, but there are no vampires in Night of the Squirrels, despite what that visiting Canadian writer decided in workshop, not bitter, there are also no particularly forlorn romances, just funny bad things happening, good grief this is a long aside) in the title of that review.

The main characters are people! They’re people! (to be said like you’re talking about Soylent Green)

Pickles is on the cover because she’s a clue that the content is kind of unexpected in a variety of ways. And she’s so cute.

Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns – a slightly more thorough explanation

Night of the Squirrels: Dawn of the Interns – purchasable

12.  High concept spelling issues: ginny pigs ghost hunter

So I started a series of paintings and silkscreens about this very issue… I also had Ginny dolls as a child. It’s like this person is psychic. Anyway, the first time I included the concept was in a painting for Mr. Cheese that is somewhat visible in some of my photos – Thaddeus and Pammy take over for the Ghostfacers from Supernatural investigating the Murder House from American Horror Story. Danger Crumples is their intern, kicking the pink flamingo from the Electric Six song. It’s basically the only area you can see behind Ozymandias besides Belvedere being Ryan Gosling from Drive and the bottom of Pickles dressed up as Constance from AHS standing on the end of the Chevy from Drive Angry.

Discussing my artwork in this capacity reminds me of the Maria Bamford bit about taking art classes from Wizard. “The last time I saw that look… Ojai, ’74.”

Are there ghosts behind this pumpkin? This chair is known to be haunted .

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