Scratch Paper

"I get the chair because I'm cooler. Definitely too cool to sit in it correctly."

Doodle Location: General school notebook, says “age 11”

I’ve always drawn all over any available surface, almost involuntarily. I doodle to keep my hands busy while my brain is somewhere else, like in class or a meeting, and I’ve found it actually helps me concentrate. I often end up with drawings that are super interesting and/or weird, I guess because I’m just pulling directly from my subconscious without thinking too hard about it. Some of my favorite worlds and characters originated in the margins of school notes.



The "Doodlebugs" were recurring characters

Doodle Location: 6th grade Pre-Algebra homework; my teacher called me a “doodlebug” and so I created these little guys for her and she wrote notes to me about them when she graded my work. Mrs Brogniez was awesome ūüôā

For that same reason, though, I tend to be super uncomfortable when people notice that I’m drawing and want to see. My absentminded doodles are dumped out onto the page with no filter, and they feel a lot more personal than my more structured work.

Young Amy wasn't a morning person, either.

Doodle Location: middle-school history notebook; I had a whole cast of pig characters at one point

Plus, when people get all gushy about little scribbles that I expended almost no effort on, I feel uncomfortable and sort of guilty about it. I’m terrible at accepting praise for stuff that I slaved over, much less random doodles that I’ll toss in the recycling bin on my way out the door.

Probably not the most flattering portraits

Doodle Location: Conference for my first job at a hotel; I was drawing my coworkers from life (stealthily)

Does that sound arrogant or just crazy?¬†Oh, woe is me, people like the things that I draw.¬†I know that’s a stupid thing to be uncomfortable about but I’m a shy person and a terrible perfectionist with this weird Puritanical work ethic that makes me hate being rewarded for anything unless I worked my ass off for it. I have no idea why. I’m working on it.


Doodle Location: Cut out of a blank page in the class materials from Green Belt training at my first job (Quality science, not martial arts. My job was not that exciting)

¬†Anyways, I usually just toss my drawings without a second thought, but occasionally I see the nugget of a character or a story or a world that’s interesting, and that I’d like to flesh out. So I tear it out of whatever work-related document I’m defacing and stuff it in my pocket. Point is, I tend to accumulate a bunch of terrible scratch paper with drawings that I love on them. Almost every early drawing in the big stack I took from my parents’ house is on notebook paper. More recent doodles from work are on the backs of engineering drawings, or sticky notes, or receipts.

These ladies are awesome; I want to tell their story so bad! Someday I totally will.

Doodle Location: Work notebook; drawn while waiting for a big Solidworks file to load.

So I’ve got all these drawings floating around in my life, and I rarely actually do anything with them. I have a lot of ideas, generally, for stories or more formal art pieces that never come to fruition, so this accumulation of scratch paper sort of mirrors the accumulation of “scratch ideas” in my brain. Only so many hours in a day, and I waste far too many of them.

She was so cute, seriously. She looked like a Pixar character.

Doodle Location: The back of a Which Wich receipt; our cashier was so uniquely adorable that I had to draw her immediately

One cool thing about my collection of doodles that I hadn’t thought about before today, is that I remember roughly where I was, what I was doing, and how I was feeling when I drew them. I guess they’re sort of like a diary that way. I know some people keep picture diaries for that reason, but I’ve never been able to get into the habit of carrying a sketchbook around with me. I guess my picture diary is just really disorganized.

Three pretty people

Doodle Location: Team meeting either right before or right after I gave two weeks’ notice at my first job; I was… pretty thoroughly checked out of this meeting

Maybe I’ll figure out some sort of system someday. Until then I’ll just keep finding strange things shoved into pockets and purses.

The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home is my favorite

Doodle Location: Work notebook; waiting for another big Solidworks file to load while listening to the Welcome to Nightvale podcast

Distinguished Motorcycle Gentleman

Ever have those days where you’re just not running on all cylinders? I don’t know what it was today but I just never fully woke for some reason. Spent all day on a super simple project at work because I kept doing stupid stuff and having to backtrack. Frustrating for me and also, I’m sure, for my boss who ambushed me with the project before I even sat down this morning and probably thought it would be done in a few hours. Long, long day.

All this to say, I’d planned on big ol’ narrative post about some Intense Kitchen Shenanigans that I got up to this weekend but it is just not gonna happen. Time to veg out and watch The Voice and work on my cross-stitch and maybe my brain will reboot.


In other news, on the way home I saw a man with a long beard riding a motorcycle wearing all-black and A TOP HAT. It somehow makes me feel better about life that this dude is ridin’ around, doing his thing. Ride on, Distinguished Motorcycle Gentleman. Ride on.

Ride into the sunset, your top hat silhouetted as you pass into unseen lands; gone, but not forgotten. Never forgotten.

Related note: what does a motorcycle look like? I obviously have no idea.

Internet Travel Guide: 03/14/2014

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
-Albert Einstein

Happy Pi Day! I hope you remembered to honor everyone’s favorite mathematical constant in the traditional way:


Hey speaking of food (boom, segue), I ¬†have discovered the absolute¬†best¬†way to eat raw cabbage (which is super good for you, surprisingly): Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese. I used feta instead of goat cheese, and topped it with salmon & olives, and it was glorious. Husby even liked it, and he doesn’t like salmon or cabbage! Bonus: cabbage keeps in the fridge for like two weeks, unlike lettuce which seems to go nasty & slimy within a couple of days. I think this is a new staple in my packed-lunch lineup!

Cabbage Salad With Goat Cheese | Kitchen Stewardship

Pinterest Link:
Cabbage Salad With Goat Cheese | Kitchen Stewardship

If you ever took an Art History class, you are probably aware that medieval art was FULLY BONKERS. As in, the people creating this art either could not draw, or could not see, or (perhaps most likely) were under the influence of Ye Olde Shroomes. How did this style of art become standard? Who decided that perspective was a waste of time, and that toddlers definitely look like miniature full grown adult people? Probably these guys I guess.

The realism, it boggles the mind

That’s not to say contemporary art is any less insane, of course.

You see, over the years art has become less utilitarian, as photographs can now be used to merely capture the memory of a person or place. In the modern age, artists have the luxury of communicating complex ideas and feelings through their medium of choice. We’ve thusly replaced straightforward visual representations with more abstract symbolism, meant to ¬†invoke an emotional response apart from simple aesthetic pleasure.¬†For example,¬†Designers at the Royal College of Art decided to go for the emotional response of “pants-sh*tting terror.”

Their installation art piece, called “Space Replay,” was released into public spaces, to hover around freely, record and play back ambient noise, follow people into elevators and – I assume – steal their eternal souls. Good show, chaps.



Whoa, hey, what the heck was that? Is… is my nose bleeding?


You Should Be Watching The Voice

Historically, I have not liked reality shows in general, nor have I liked singing competition shows specifically. HowEVER,¬†Husby is a big fan of unscripted dreck so I’ve been exposed against my will. And folks, the Voice has forced its way into my Grinch-like little heart. I truly love it and you should be watching it. Here’s why!

Things I Like About The Voice:

  • Probably my favorite thing: coaches instead of judges. They’re invested in all of the contestants’ success , and they all seem to truly want to help baby artists begin their careers. Even artists who don’t make it onto the show usually get some useful feedback.
  • Similarly, Carson is a super charming host because he reeeeeally wants everybody to do well. He’s either sincerely rooting for every single person on the show, or he’s fantastic at faking it.

  • It seems like a really positive environment with none of the manufactured drama & infighting that goes on during most reality shows. To me, most shows are like, “hey let’s get a bunch of people who want to be famous and pit them against each other and see which one of them is good enough to survive,” but¬†The Voice is¬†like “hey let’s find super talented people and challenge them and find out which ones are the most amazing.”¬†On Idol everybody always looks like they’re about to have a nervous breakdown and stab somebody because THEY MUST WIN. It makes me uncomfortable. But on The Voice, the win seems like a fun little afterthought that’s mostly a contest between the coaches… Like, the coaches tend to get competitive and trash-talk each other, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard that extend to the actual¬†artists. The competitors themselves are very respectful and supportive of each other.¬†Plus,¬†everyone’s on a team, so it’s not Every Diva for Themselves.¬†Once each team is narrowed down to a certain point, the contestants have basically “won” already; they’ve got a super influential mentor, they’re making tons of industry connections, a record deal is theirs to lose, and it’s mostly about honing their skills and building a fanbase to carry with them into a career after the show. ¬†– ¬†supportive rather than exploitative.¬†I don’t know if this is editing or the actual culture of the show, but either way I love it.
  • Blake & Adam have an incredible bro-namic. Literally, they’re like two kid brothers in the backseat of a minivan and Adam won’t stop poking Blake and Carson is about to¬†turn this car around¬†but it’s usually very funny. The coaches all seem to like each other, and in my headcanon they are all best friends in real life and it is adorable.

  • The Voice tends to have a very high level of talent compared with Idol or especially AGT – I think they probably vet potential contestants before they’re allowed to audition. It’s usually people who have been performing professionally for a few years already but haven’t “made it” yet. I like this because they’re definitely dedicated to making music for a living, and usually know what direction they want to take their career. I think mentorship is most useful once you pass that threshold of experience where you know¬†yourself as an artist.¬†Of course, Husby prefers the Idol-style open auditions where you get kids who have never sung in front of people in their life and they improve dramatically over the course of the show, so this really comes down to personal preference.


Things I Don’t Like About The Voice

  • Blake & Adam have been on every season, but the other two coaches have alternated between Christina & CeeLo one year, and Shakira & Usher the next. I like a lot of things about this setup – good balance of consistency with variety.¬†BUT,¬†I would love a season with both CeeLo & Shakira, because they are my favorite temp judges! Christina & Usher are HUGE DIVAS.

  • On a similar note, if they go with completely different rotating judges on a future season, they definitely need to not do another blonde lady & black dude. Three sets would officially make it weird.

  • Sometimes Adam pokes big bro Blake a few too many times and it stops being cute and starts distracting from the show. Classic class clown behavior – I bet he was a¬†terror¬†as a child. Seems to be getting worse with each season so maybe they’ll reign him in eventually. Or tie him to his chair.

Seriously, even if you hate reality shows give The Voice a shot. Pleasant, not stressful, and a lot of great music. This season’s auditions just ended this week so you can jump right into the battle rounds without missing too much, if you’re convinced. Let me know who you think will win! I think I’m gunning for Team Shakira this year.

Put This in Your Eye Holes

You know what’s fun? Web series. They’re like TV, except they can do whatever they want and say whatever they want and tailor their stuff to smaller audiences, so you get fun non-mainstream content that would never make it onto a network. It’s amazing what people can do with a tiny budget and amateur actors and ***a dream***

So… What time is it? Recommendation tiiiime:


Journeyquest¬†is a fantasy adventure series from Zombie Orpheus Entertainment¬†that follows a party on their quest to retrieve the Sword of Fighting from the mythical Temple of All Dooms… But what will happen when they discover the bumbling wizard Perf is the Chosen One, instead of the party’s “brave” knight? Characters include a progressive barbarian usurper, an undead cleric, a sensitive orc, a gargoyle that always lies, and the bumbling bard who’s chronicling everyone’s shenanigans. The third season is currently in the works and I’m excited!

Space Janitors

We all know what life is like for the elite evildoers on everyone’s favorite Not-A-Moon – It’s all huge, ominous chambers and mind-choking, 24/7. But what do the underlings get up to in those circular halls… and who keeps the floors so very shiny? Space Janitors on Geek & Sundry tells the story of Darby, an ambitious janitor aboard a certain unnamed evil space station. Star Wars jokes abound and it is delightful. (“The more they disobey the Emperor, the more we tighten our grip. And the more we tighten our grip, the more systems will be held firmly in our massive space hand.”)

The Guild

Also on Geek & Sundry and created by Internet superstar Felicia Day,¬†The Guild¬†is an award-winning, super-popular web series… So popular, in fact, that you’ve probably seen it and it’s pointless for me to recommend it here on my humble Farmpartment. But hey,¬†just in case…¬†You should really watch¬†The Guild. It follows the friendships that form when an online gaming guild decides to meet up IRL. There are plenty of gaming in-jokes, but it’s also accessible for those of us who don’t frequent the World of Warcraft. It’s clever, charming, and occasionally truly moving as the characters help each other grow. The show went six seasons and I think it’s done now… so you can binge-watch the whole thing. Hooray!


Those are my top 3 but there are¬†plenty of¬†other fantastic web series out there. Got any recommendations for me? Leave ’em in the comments.

Internet Travel Guide: 3/7/2014

“I don’t know who I am or who I was. I know it less than ever. I do and I don’t identify myself with myself. Everything is totally contradictory but maybe I have remained exactly as I was as a small boy of twelve.”
– Giacometti

Do you watch The Walking Dead? I LOVE THE WALKING DEAD. Here’s a collection of video clips from TWD actors’ former work. Notably, Norman Reedus’ appears in a Bjork video that is FULLY BONKERS (as are all of Bjork’s videos – this is why we love her and her insane elven shenanigans). Also, Scott Wilson (Hershel) was a total babe in 1967.

Take a few minutes to read “Let’s Draw a Car and then Let’s Draw Batman,” a comics-essay about what happened when Lynda Barry asked a group of adults who don’t usually draw to give it a try. It’s lovely.

Exerpt from “Let’s Draw a Car and then Let’s Draw Batman” by Lynda Barry

Next, LOOK AT THIS WEE TERRARIUM!!! I must make one ASAP.

Hello 1970! How to Make a Tiny Terrarium and Macrame Hanger | Life On The BAlcony

Of course I say that, and I love terrariums so very much that they comprise like 63% of my gardening Pinterest board, but I’ve never tried to make one because where do you get moss? Every tutorial treats it like a common thing that you can just grab from a rock outside but I live in¬†Texas.¬†I could scrounge up some dead grass and mesquite clippings and maybe some nice poison ivy. Do they have moss at nurseries? This mystifies me and thus far I am too lazy to find out.

And finally, I just discovered this great bit that Kimmel does: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets. Hooray for public jerk-shaming!

Things My Dog Likes To Eat

ear cocked kirb

This is my dog, Kirby. She is an absolute maniac who does not understand food. The following are things that this animal enjoys eating:

  1. Dirt
  2. Grass
  3. Her Own Poop
  4. Other Dogs’ Poop
  5. Rabbit Poop
  6. Rabbit Hair
  7. Q-Tips
  8. Leaves
  9. Small Rocks
  10. Chair Upholstery
  11. Hay
  12. Toys
  13. Shoelaces
  14. Lotion
  15. Grasshoppers

The following are things that she does not like to eat:

  1. Carrots
  2. Crackers
  3. Potatoes
  4. Tuna

There’s no accounting for taste.

Super-Quick Chunky Cowl

Super-Quick Chunky Cowl | Farmpartment

So I fixed that weird-sized scarf, as mentioned, and I’m in love with how it turned out. Perfect-sized cowl, bunches up in a very cool way, and super-warm. Yay!

photo 2-1

Here’s the Ravelry project, but if you’re not on Ravelry… I used a stitch that I found on Pinterest:

Cast on multiples of 4. Knit all right side (odd) rows. Row 2 and 4: p1k3 across. Row 6 and 8: k2, p1k3 across to end, end with p1k1. Repeat 8 rows for pattern.

photo 4

It makes a cool basket-weave texture. For this exact cowl, CO 24 sts on size 13 (9mm) needles and repeat the pattern 8 times. (This used up the whole skein). I joined the two ends¬†as¬†I cast-off, by knitting into loops in the original edge at the same time as the final edge – worked out well that I was doing this on the wrong side so the seam isn‚Äôt visible when I turn it right-side out. I wish I‚Äôd taken pictures as I did it but I wasn‚Äôt sure if it would work at the time, since I was straight wingin‚Äô it. There‚Äôs probably a ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ way to do that sort of cast-off already, but I’m not looking it up because I’d like to think I invented it. You could also sew it together at the end; I just hate finishing steps.

This was a super-quick project; pretty sure I started & finished while watching Book of Eli. Might have worked on it a bit during Crazy Stupid Love as well. (It was a movie weekend over here)

Good timing, since it went from 70F on Saturday to like 20F and snowing on Sunday. *shakes fist at sky* “POOOLLLAAAAAAR VOOORTEEEEXXX!!!”

Internet Travel Guide: 2/28/2014

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”
-Edith Wharton

I’m chillin’ in my PJ’s on the couch with the husband & the dog, drinking red wine and re-knitting my weird-sized scarf from a couple weeks ago. Excellent Friday night. Have some equally excellent links:

Here is a comic about how nature is terrifying. (Your garden is “a box of dirt that pushes food at you very slowly.” Ew.)

The Winter Olympics are over, but here is a reminder for the committee choosing the site for 2018: do not choose Hoth.

This is Why Hoth Was Denied Its Bid to Host the Winter Olympics

This tiny (400 microns) zircon crystal is the oldest known object on Earth – and it looks like something straight out of a cheesy old sci-fi movie. As do these sea sapphires – crazy sea organisms that switch between glowing blue and being nearly transparent. If I encountered one of those in the wild I’d check myself into the psych ward!

Finally, this fashion video from the 1920’s features hilarious commentary by a woman who is not so sure about short skirts. Her reason? “I don’t much like knees.” She’s got a point.

Gone Home

Very short post today because I stopped by my parents’ after work and stayed way later than I’d planned. Any home-cooked meal¬†buys a lot of my time, and my mom is a great¬†cook.

I think I’ve finally reached the point where I can go Back Home and still feel like an adult. That’s kind of a strange feeling. Like when you visit your old elementary school and everything is tiny.

(Everything is super tiny in elementary schools, too. What must it be like for adults who work at elementary schools? I’m guessing infuriating. Just hunching over all-day-every-day… tiny people in their tiny desks, tiny water fountains, tiny lunch tables, tiny sinks, tiny toilets…)

Today we learned that the word “tiny” looks/sounds very odd when overused.