Scorpia

Memphis
The Apothecary and Entomologia in cooperation with the Bank of Commerce present a definitive plan for controlling the lice problem, Highness. We believe it a most effective solution.

Cleo
Owwww! Hades!!!!!!

Neferati
That hurt you so. That’s the last of it. Let me add this spearmint and chamomile salve. Press down to stop the bleeding.

Cleo
The torture.

Neferati
There you are. Now put your knees down.

Cleo
What have you come up with, sirs?

Memphis
Scorpions.

Cleo
Venom? You’re not putting that on my skin. Use Nefe.

Ari
Highness, we present them and their insatiable appetite for lice.

Cleo
Hmmm. You want me to ask citizens to let scorpions run around in their homes?

Memphis
Highness. It is a means to an end. We present a solution if they help us.

Plymouth
Let me explain. We present a specially bred venomless scorpion. These scorpions will live in the homes of our citizens and eat their lice.

Memphis
It’s the Cardashian Cluster, Highness. They regularly visit from east Europa with beautifully woven rugs. The demand has never been higher, regardless of the infestation.

Cleo
Can’t we just ban their rugs? Persians make better quality products.

Ari
The merchants will never agree to it. The Cardashian rugs are affordable and aristocrats change their decor three times a year.

Plymouth
The market forces us, Highness.

Cleo
All right. I’m listening. Nefe, can you depilate my armpits while I’m distracted by these politicos?

Neferati
With pleasure.

Memphis
Highness, I present, “The Scorpion King.”

Cleo
It’s … big.

Memphis
This is a wax likeness. They’ll be this size so they can be tethered with hemp string and returned to cages after feeding. See the opening at the tail, there?

Cleo
How does this help …? Ahhhhh!!! Nefe, why?!!!! May I die now.

Neferati
Oops. Other arm.

Ari
We present “The Scorpia.” It’s a …

Memphis
Move around to her other side.

Ari
… a new tax system. Citizens will display this waxed Scorpia seal on their doors to certify they have lice free homes. Monthly inspections and renewal fees apply.

Plymouth
We believe the new system will foster good neighbourly relations and give birth to a new business elite.

Cleo
What do we need the money for?

Memphis
To purchase goodwill from Roman aristocrats and scholars, of course. They already say Alexandria has no control over parasites. We recently learned that knowledge of this unfortunate infestation has been added to the Roman curricula. Young aristocrats will grow up thinking we are a lice infested State.

Cleo
I like it and mostly because the pain from this regular waxing of my body hair is ageing me. Be dismissed.

Memphis, Ari and Plymouth
Highness.

Notes: In this story, Cleopatra is getting a beauty treatment while attending to matters of state. Image courtesy: The Smithsonian Magazine, “Rehabilitating Cleopatra.”

Notes 6/3 – Was this review helpful?

Late last evening, a colleague and I were discussing a peer evaluation (not related to ourselves). Members of a workgroup were asked to “approve” or “disapprove” of their teammates. There was no space for remarks so the person receiving the lowest approval rating would not be able to learn anything useful. I also said that the results were invalid if the reason for each negative appraisal could not be ascertained.

I don’t believe that we, as a people, dislike each other that much. However, we wake up every morning to be lectured on how to feel, what to think, whom to emulate. The struggle to be free of that  oppression may manifest as aggressive behaviours seen in virtual hunting grounds.

Unfortunately, we choose to take out that frustration on each other. Hunting games like Amazon reviews, Tinder or Twitter allow people to lash out at others in a virtual bubble. “My friend dislikes you so I’ll trash your book,” or “Narrow thigh gap – next!” or “I disagree with your statements – delete your account.”

Which brings me to my point. When we don’t separate “virtual hunting ground” from “real life” this is what happens. We think we have the right to evaluate the human beings we live, work or study with based on superficial impressions or a five-second side-eye. But of course, we are offended when others do that to us.

Wallis

The Merry Widow looked weary this afternoon. Her minders noticed as they unearthed her body from a trough of pink salt. People said she was well-preserved, meaning it as a compliment. They had no idea how literal that was.

Despite the attention on spa Wednesday, she felt hollow. A long walk outside would have helped but her sponsors forbade prolonged exposure to the sun. They shuttered her windows. Books provided an escape while soft lights and sweet music kept her docile and subdued.

From the walls of her bedroom, the covers of Life and Time mocked her. “Parasite of international society has zero net worth. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sponsors fetched her every three weeks or so. They shoved her in front of cameras to promote various agendas. They fed her milk and farm fresh produce. Just enough, and the nurse made sure, to maintain her petite figure. When she was younger, she had been ruthless about looking slim. These days, she always felt a little hungry.

It is possible to succeed and fail miserably at the same time. She was a strong woman who had more ambition than decorum. There were two lessons she hadn’t learned. One, do not offend the wrong people, starting with her sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. And two, when you reach your endgame, stop. The high profile fling was a ploy to get respect. Instead, she found herself serving the establishment for the rest of her life.

~_~

Notes: Thank you for reading this work of fiction. I am NOT a Wallis Simpson apologist, especially considering her sympathies during WW2. Revisionists may want to forgive her but some things should never be ignored.

Photo credit: Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day, June 3, 1937. “Los Duques de Windsor, un amor que cambió el rumbo de la historia,” via Hola magazine

Pandora

Dripping wet, Pandora stretched out on a parapet of black stones. After bathing in the filtered streams of the lake, she felt warm under a pleasant copper sun. The bifocal lenses of her guardian scanned the surrounding woods. He was cautious and ready.

Her facial muscles tightened, drawing her lips into a wide grin. She couldn’t feel them, but the stones’ infrared rays had already coaxed her cells back to optimal function. She had outlived the great grandchildren of her childhood playmates. However, her stunning features and sensual vitality suggested she was frolicking past her nineteenth summer.

She knew how to get along with the young ones. Honeybees had taught her that for healing, she could use venom and propolis. For nourishment, pollen. And for restful sleep, nectar. She’d spent years practising her craft.

“Yay, cat,” she said now, gathering stones. “That’ll have us for a bit.” This was to be their last visit.

A new settlement had welcomed her to stay. Pandora planned to grow old there. With the stones she would bring the young ones time. Time that was still firmly on her side.

🐝

Notes: Best wishes for healing in November. In this story, I present Pandora as a nomad and the world’s first naturopath, who created the myth to protect her anti-aging secret.

Photo: “Morning Beauty,” Alek Alexeyeva by Sølve Sundsbø (2009) for Vogue via Fashion Gone Rogue.

The Feast at Samhain

Three pairs of eyes, dusted heavily with shadows of Dior, beamed at the stage where a D-list “vessel” was just sold. The auction house, or rather, suite, was rattled by the combined assault of perfume, statement earrings and martini shakers. Plush carpets steadied the unquiet clacking of new Louboutins.

Up next was a down-on-his-luck A-list actor with perfect teeth, two ex-wives and mortgage payments of $60,000 a month. His nickname was, “Paper Tiger.” The auction proceeds, minus a 9% fee to the organisers, would net him more than he earned from his latest blockbuster film. He was a raw vegan, free of infection, drugs and alcohol. They could have called him, “Prime Meal.” His blood was that refined.

The auctioneer called the bid. “Vessel withholding one litre of highest quality, purest, untainted blood of Hollywood’s acting elite. Bidding starts at nine MILLION dollars.”

The actor’s pulse raced as all paddles clapped the air in unison. It was one past nine of the clock. The vampires would continue bidding for two hours and ten minutes.

🖤

Happy Halloween!

Photo credit: The three vampires are wearing Christian Dior Haute Couture – via Blogazine.

Poppet

Russian rod puppet

Poppet

Russian rod puppet propped in a corner, by a window. She was eight feet tall and I couldn’t resist her juicy lips. Wishing you an autumn filled with spectacular views.

Corona

Pink edit - Popsicle

Berry Soda

Acrylic and moulding paste on
A4 illustration board (processed)

Orange edit - Orange silk

Orange Silk

This is a practice painting I’ve been playing with since early March. It started as an orange stigma and petals in shades of green, on green illustration board. Later, I painted over it in light rose and oxide black. And finally, in deeper shades of rose.

Two versions of the painting were photographed on magazine pages. Below is the light rose edit I’m using as wallpaper for my phone.

iPhone screensaver edit - on magazine pages, a model is wearing a spiky Game of Thrones style tiara and necklace.

Corona – The Same Face

Outtakes: The collage below shows the edits that nearly made it to the main presentation. This time, I really couldn’t make up my mind. The final deep pink version appears in this one.

Collage of alternate edits

Collage with texture details

Corona - Banner with inverted text, by SB

As always, I wish you a lovely day. Thank you so much for viewing.

Magazine photos – Maggie Jablonski by Elena Rendina for Numero, Tokyo, “Be Gorgeous”, vol 91, November, 2015. 

David et Goliath (Archangel Edit)

Archangel Michael

Cheer me on, Oblivia
as I wind up from the knees
to rend from Earth this nemesis
of everlasting peace

Aiming at the nose bridge
of the Grand Chaos Machine
bracing with the groundswell
fully charged, I launch again

Swing that arm around now
Come on David, let her fly
Holding up your left hand
as a shield against the sky
watch that middle finger
you must use it as a guide
Clean your stones; less friction
Count, release and it is done

Lead, my faithful vanguard
Gather, kindred, go that way
On your trusting footprints
shines the mighty light of day

Come on, children, walk this way…

 

Note: I wrote this poem at the end of March and hid it, thinking I would never need to publish it. Clearly, I was kidding myself. Tammy, and Jeanne, this poem might be all I can do. Photo credit: Archangel Michael defeats the Evil One, St Michaelis Church Tombamasta, Hamburg, Germany; image via Pinterest.

Antique Moss Green

paper plate with green wall paint
Antique Moss Green

Ordinary, exterior wall paint (yellow in green) drying out in a paper dish, on a sheet of newspaper. The result of a demonstration that wall paint doesn’t blend like artists’ colours.

Think

Poster colours on masking tape

Think – Grey

Poster colours and masking tape on 120 mm x 100 mm notebook cover.

Poster colours on masking tape

Think – Green

 

masking tape

Masking tape

Today, I wanted to play with watercolours and masking tape. I tried something complicated with art and poetry (the inked portions) on Sunday afternoon but messed it up. After hearing encouraging remarks from a friend, I taped another layer and splashed out on a new idea.

Setup – before painting

 

Think – Raw (unprocessed)

Keep it simple if/where you can and have a great (Independence) week(end) ahead.

Coffee + Heart

Melbourne – Monday, June 13 – 08.08

GUEST POST

Reflection and photos by Machine.Gun.Meow (mGm)
Facebook: Machine Gun Meow Twitter: @MachineGunMeow
Instagram: @machingunmeow

Growing up in Nairobi, as a girl of Indian heritage, diversity has shaped my worldview. I have been in a nostalgic mood of late and, given recent tragic events, SB asked me to share my morning reflection with you.

While watching The Revenant last night, I noticed the treatment of the Native Americans in the film. I said to Mr. Meow that it is unfathomable that we, as a human race, seek to hate others based on differences.

Filtered

We could go to land’s end and the hate would find us because there is always something that distinguishes one person from the other. What is more unbelievable is that the situation has changed little in the two hundred years since the film’s setting. Simply put, the hate stems from a sense of righteousness or superiority, whether you blame it on religion, ‘science’, politics or custom. I feel we must find a higher order of being instead of looking for problems where none exist.

Mixed bowl

At the moment, I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. In it, I explore the idea of diversity. The questions I contemplate are, “What is the alternative to diversity? Is it uniformity or conformity?” I wonder, is that the kind of world we want? Are we better off being cookie-cutter images of each other? Is that what would encourage acceptance?

Reflection

If the defilers of diversity were confronted with the alternatives, would they reconsider their position? This is wishful. I concede I have no solutions.

 

No Forks Given

aluminum cans

Varnished aluminum cans …

A head dressed up

… dressed up a head

Can I have a witness? Two hours after swearing on a stack of fifty imaginary Bibles that I would never, ever, ever publish anything from my archives, I found myself wedged in a situation.

Hiatus

Hiatus

Wired

Lomo wired

newspaper roses

Newspaper roses

Summer, 2009 – A friend and I thought, “Let’s, like, totally deface a mannequin as an homage to Alexander McQueen (memba that headdress?) and Junya Watanabe (Comme des Garçons).” Yeah, sure, she had some at home, so we borrowed one. Ow!

Netted

Netted

Defaced

Defaced

red tab

Red tab

Instead of using plastic to wrap the soda cans, as in the McQueen Horn of Plenty Autumn 2009 show, we used 110 denier tights, glue and wire. Nail polish went on the lips, can motifs and Hangul lettering. The barcode was inked with permanent marker.

Forked over

Silver painted forks

My friend was really into Korean pop music and the Hangul script was hers. I have removed the forks because I don’t remember why we added them.

The heart can

Heart can wire

They are tucked away in a basket on a nearby shelf. But please don’t get any ideas. I’m not giving away any of my forks.

No Forks Given

Modern art, these days

Thank you for viewing. xo

Buccaneer

Dutch replica of warship

Buccaneer

closeup of port side bow

Ghost Ship

Replica of Dutch built warship

Docked

These photographs were taken on Thursday and Friday (May 19/20), in a small port town, where I attended an art conference. May is the month in which I return home to do laundry and repack my luggage. I hope it’s been a good month for you.

cave, nuanced

Treasure Cave

wooden peg, close up

Pegged

wooden peg, monochrome treatment

Posted

Dutch replica, portside, medium closeup

Ship, Port Side

Wood Love

An open sack of charcoal; the opening is in the shape of a heart

Charcoal Heart

strips of wood, interlaced

Stripes

Captured in a forest reserve. The torches below were for our evening bonfire. The chopped wood for the bonfire is shown in the second to last photo.

In other news, I managed to make curry, over a coal fire, for ten hungry colleagues. No idea what I was doing and there was lots of improvising. So, it felt like an episode of MacGyver. The ingredients (curry powder, streaky bacon, potatoes, carrots and onions) were already prepped by the research facility that hosted us. Everyone was nervous about the potatoes but I Gordon Ramsayed them and they came out just right.

Torches for a campfire on the ground

Torches

Logs on a log shelf processed in black and white

Shelved

wood for a fire, in an iron grill

Wood Burn

Thank you for viewing.

Tea + Poetry

Earl Grey

Notes had been sent asking after my whereabouts. I hadn’t indulged in my favoured Earl Grey, tiramisu and panna cotta combo for months. This is my day off, so I presented myself at my friends’ patisserie just after 11.00 (dessert before breakfast, people) and got to work. Eating, that is.

Orange panna cotta

As for play time, this is what I got up to. Special thanks go to Egbert Starr for permission to work on this composition using excerpts from his brilliant prose poem, The Gallows’ Horse. Please visit his blog to read the full version.

open magazine pages with tiramisu and orange panna cotta

Featured magazine – Numéro, Tokyo, April, 2016. Vol 95: Perfume ads; “Dark Romanticism” and “Pretty Killer” editorials by Ellen Von Unwerth with art direction by Yuni Yoshida.

Dark Romanticism with glass try and tea

Prose poetry excerpted from “The Gallows’ Horse” by Egbert Starr.

Facing pages; poetry on magazine page; empty dessert jars

Upper:
I said to the wise man I met, “Love.” And I said to the crone the same. To children, I said to them, “Love one another.” To kings, philosophers, chemists, scientists of every kind, my message was exactly so.

Lower:
I remembered from the land above the flower of my treachery. I remembered my rage and anger and my fulsome seductions of a thousand Persephones. How pleased I was! How capable! How incisive and cross-quotable my demonic possibilities. I was in the world of common men without compare!

second page with poetry written on

Epic prose poetry, and it tasted fantastic. My friends and I chatted while I worked, so they were my guest editors. Thank you for reading, too. Enjoy a sip of all right until we meet again. SB

Omelette Pizza – Easy cheesy breakfast

Omlette pizza brunch with Yokai Watch

Hello and best wishes for the month of May. This is my brunch. I used one egg for this omelette because (excuse me) I needed room for the cocktail.

Omlette pizza full

Easy cheesy, omelette pizza:

  • Sautée plum tomatoes with sausages and garlic.
  • Cook an omelette on one side, flip it. 
  • Top the cooked side with the tomatoes and sausage.
  • Top that with shredded Gouda cheese.
  • Reduce heat and cover skillet until the cheese melts.
  • Photograph right away.
  • Eat omelette while it is hot.

Greek yogurt with raspberry sauce

The cooking time is short. If you’ve made an omelette pizza before, I’d love to hear from you.

What’s in this?
One egg; sausages – diced; plum tomatoes – halved (green, orange, purple); black olives – sliced; finely shredded Gouda cheese; garlic – grated; rock salt (a little); butter/sesame seed oil.

a part of the omlette pizza folded up

My dessert of choice is Greek yogurt and raspberry sauce, which mGm will appreciate. The May Day cocktail, fresh cut strawberries in blood orange juice and sparkling wine, is for Work in Progress.

fresh strawberries (cut) in blood orange juice and sparkling wine

Thank you for viewing.