My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Fri, 30 Mar, 2007

The Arrival of Macarios

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service discovered that they had made a mistake in my taxes, and that I was due for a substantial refund. I found this incredible, but a check actually arrived earlier this year, and it was real. It was an unexpected windfall: free money! I tossed it in my account and debated what to do with it. It wasn't enough to make an investment, so I decided to take it as a free gift from the Universe and spend it on what I wanted.

My first thought was to buy an electronic music synthesizer. My friends in the ambient/electronic music community have been encouraging me to get back into making sounds again, the way I did in my youth. Synthesizer technology has improved and changed over the decades and there are now hundreds of instruments on the market. I went to my local "Guitar Center" and was tempted to buy a Korg Radias electronic keyboard, but decided that not only was it too expensive, I wouldn't have the time to give it the attention it deserved. What else would I want? It shouldn't be, you know, frivolous or luxurious. No fancy clothing and no jewelry or other glittery stuff. I have enough Oriental rugs, at least for now. Certainly no trips to resort places to waste my money on forgettable pleasures. It would have to be something important that I would use every day for useful and creative work.

This year I have been learning Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in my studio next to my calculus textbook, peering into the little lanternlike screen of SoyMac the Macintosh iBook. Meanwhile, my Dell desktop PC was giving me diminishing returns, despite (or perhaps because of) its overhaul a month or two ago. And its eight-year-old monitor was fading out. I had already been thinking of upgrading to a new desktop computer to replace it. What would be more useful than a new computer?

As a faithful Dell user, I looked first at new Dells. I visited the Dell booth at the upscale mall, and was given demonstrations of two new models which would be the equivalent for my old Dell 8300. One of them was compact, which had the virtue of smallness, and the other was about the same bulky size as the old one, with more power and a big screen. But there was a problem that not even Dell could solve: all the new Dells ran Windows Vista.

Windows Vista, as my software professional friends describe it, is the result of trying to satisfy everyone's requests at the same time, while condescending to a user assumed to be not only clueless, but dishonest. It fills the screen with distracting icons and service items while asking for "authentication" for one's software, even if it's legitimate. My old Windows system, after the overhaul, had been asking me for that as well, and not taking "shut up" for an answer. And they had removed some features which I liked to use. Windows Vista has received almost entirely negative reviews from computer professionals as well as regular users, even those who are used to PC's.
The answer, then, was to finally do what I had not planned to do again, that is, change my religion. My conversion was helped along by my friends who had, in an astonishing act of generosity, plunked a fresh new Macintosh laptop into my lap last year around this time. I had been using little SoyMac for a year without

That's right, I would invest in my own artistic hipness and cultural edginess and choose a Macintosh for my new studio desktop computer. Not only that, I would switch from the PC's CorelDraw to the Macintosh's Adobe graphics software for my graphic work. In the past week, I re-saved all my current CorelDraw commercial art files to Adobe Illustrator format, and placed them on CD's and DVD's for the move. I have been using Corel ever since 1991, when I got my first computer. I will not leave it completely, because I still have my stalwart Persian angel laptop, "Fravashi," to uphold the Corel-PC tradition. But I'm moving ahead with Adobe now.

A friend and I visited the Apple Store in the other section of the mall, where we were eagerly helped by a young man I had previously encountered working for a Starbucks I decorated. My chosen model was the iMac, which I was assured would cover all my graphics, writing, internet, and administrative needs. Even my electronic music friends had recommended it. But should I get the 20 inch screen or the 24 inch? The 24 inch was more expensive, but in comparison with the dimmer 20 inch screen, it was far superior. Imagine, not having to squint into a little screen and push my work around under the "zoom" tool just to see it! We packed the new iMac into the car and had a celebratory dinner. Thank you, IRS!

Thursday, the day after the Mac entered my quarters, I opened it up and installed it, abandoning the old Dell in place like a venerable space launch pad at Cape Canaveral. I won't throw it away; it's entirely possible that I might put it into service again if I ever got enough work room for it. But I think that it has earned its rest after three and a half years and many thousands of graphic and artistic designs. I didn't have any problems setting up the iMac. The big screen was dazzling, new, and bright in my freshly dusted work space.

And so, what shall I name the newcomer? Perhaps, to conservative and dignified academic types, naming a computer is silly and childish. But I know that even physicists name their computers, the way rugged sailors name ships. What clever cultural pun should I use, that joins classical erudition with the syllable "Mac?" MACalAngelo? MACcabee? MACrocosm? Yes, Greek, but better still: MACarios. It's a Greek word, sometimes spelled "Makarios" and used as a proper name, and it means "Blessed."

This Electron entry is dedicated to the memory of David Honigsberg. He died last week of a sudden heart attack, at the age of 48. He was a member of my religious order, husband of Alexandra, also a member of that order. He was a scholar, a writer, a rabbi, a Kabbalistic teacher, and a rock musician. David's passing reminds me, among other things, that you must appreciate the good things in life which come your way, because you never know how much time you will have to enjoy them.

Posted at 4:15 am | link

Mon, 26 Mar, 2007


I haven't written about the torrent of spam word salad for some time, and the reason is that although I get as much as I ever did, it just isn't that interesting any more. You will remember my florid posts on the bizarre names and themes that the word generators came up with, all with the intention of trying to get past the spam filters on my various accounts. None of them did, however, since I fished them all from the "spam holding tanks" that the accounts kept them in, before I deleted them into the electronic sewer.

I used to be entertained by wacky combinations of words used as names, such as "Limburger R. Baronets" or "Fathead U. Stranger." These still come through occasionally, but they are less and less amusing. And the odd ethnic mis-mixture of names seems to have stopped as well, leaving only the more "normal" sounding names that the generators can constantly churn out.

Instead, the generators rely on a mash-up of names, words, and proper names, with extra letters thrown in, and their subject lines sound equally dense: "Svgcentrist volleyball" sends a note titled "Was mitochondria so equine," while "Dydrestitution leggy" titles its note: "The jacqueline till reversal." What am I to make of something sent by "Vgzsalamander centigrade" titled "To between monic" or a note from "Qbcpotato glum" titled "That to churchwomen"? Is it possible that these cybernetic surrealists are exploring the reaches of avant-garde poetry which is beyond our usual concepts of word and sense? Or are they just running out of inspiration?

This brings me to yet another question, which was popular many years ago but seems not to be raised much any more: Can a machine really be creative? Experts in artificial intelligence, back in the 1960's when this was first being developed, assured us that someday soon a machine could write poetry or paint pictures that would be as good as anything a human artist could create. This was not just the random pecking of the proverbial hundred monkeys on the typewriters; there was some sort of algorithm or system which would allow a machine eventually to be artistically creative. A short search on Google (of course) shows that some work is still being done on this subject, both by computer theorists and science fiction writers, but the dream of a truly artistic machine seems to have been put on hold for now.

I remember reading, in my youth, a science fiction story whose name or author I can't remember right now. (Maybe my more knowledgeable readers will recognize it for me.) In the story, the main character receives a mysterious box which, when opened, contains an "art machine." It has a plotter for a drawing tool and can produce drawings that rival Picasso's or Matisse's. The only problem is that the manual for this machine is written in a language which, at least to its ignorant human operator, looks like alien gibberish. The main character makes plenty of money selling the drawings the machine makes, presenting them as the work of a brilliant new artist, until one day the drawings get simpler and simpler, and finally stop. He cannot make the machine do any more drawings, and his "brilliant new artist" is revealed as a fraud. In desperation he takes the manual to a language expert, who reveals to him that the instructions are written in Swedish. And that the machine has worn out from ill-use since he didn't bother to learn how to read the (…) manual.

Is this what has happened with the spam name generators? I never believed that their word salad was quite random. It was just too funny. But now it seems that its surrealistic inventiveness has degenerated into incoherence, or at least non-meaningfulness. I used to find tasty combinations where now it is just a rather jumbled word granola. Has the machine run out of creativity? Was the machine ever creative in the first place? Or was it I who was the imaginative one, making sense out of nonsense because it is my mental nature to do so? The world is full of randomizing influences and degenerating information, which can sometimes end up as a healthful or adaptive mutation, but more often as a mass of goo. Does creativity of any sort, then, depend less on some artist's inspiration and more on the endless combination and re-combination of elements, almost all of which end up in the idea wastebasket? Maybe creativity is in the artistic choice, rather than the machine cranks of semi-random generation.

Posted at 2:52 am | link

Sat, 24 Mar, 2007

2 Sisters Coffee

In the heart of downtown Falls Church, VA, is a spot next to the Post Office where at one point there was a rather fancy Tudor house. The house was converted to offices, and when those were gone, the house was abandoned, picturesquely and sloppily overgrown with ivy. Finally the house was taken down and nothing was left on the land but a lawn. A few years ago, a pair of sisters came to Falls Church from Oregon with their families, wishing to make a new start. They noted that, though there were plenty of coffee shops in the area, there were no drive-through coffee stops such as they had out in the Pacific Northwest. So they founded the 2 Sisters Coffee booth, a movable little building which was placed on the lawn of the old house, using its semi-circular driveway for their drive-in path.

The tiny house, or booth, contains the coffee equipment, a few pastries and cookies, and enough space for only one vendor. They have not only drive-in customers, but plenty of walk-in coffee drinkers from the Post Office and the businesses in the center of town. In the summertime, 2 Sisters hosts a monthly art and craft show on the lawn in front of the shop. I've exhibited there once and hope to do so again this summer.

However, there may not be an "again" for much longer. The space occupied by 2 Sisters is, as journalists would put it, "slated for development," along with much of the rest of downtown Falls Church. That means either a hotel or a multi-use urban block, so no more lawn or drive-through coffee stand. The 2 Sisters booth won't go away, though; I hope that it will simply move to another place to do its drive-in business. No one yet knows what will happen. In the meantime I have depicted the 2 Sisters coffee stand in its current place, surrounded by trees and grass. In the background, you can see a squarish white postal truck, belonging to the Post Office next door.

"2 Sisters Coffee" is watercolor on board, 9" x 14".

Posted at 7:58 pm | link

Fri, 23 Mar, 2007

A Friendly Scientist returns

I had a surprise phone call yesterday from someone I haven't had contact with in over a year. This was one of my first "Friendly Scientists," who I consulted with earlier in my math and physics journey. (Name is withheld, as with all of my contacts here.) I had assumed, over the months, that he had forgotten about me, or at least was too busy to check back with me, so I didn't check back with him either. I try not to bother super-busy scientists, as you know.

When I got a phone call from him, I immediately thought that something tragic had happened. Maybe someone from his family or the scientific community was dead! But no, everyone was fine, and one of his daughters had recently gotten married. He had called just to ask how I was doing in my math and physics.

Fortunately, I was able to say that not only had I not given up after six and a half years, but I was now doing calculus and studying derivatives. I also told him that in 2005 and some of 2006 I worked on classical mechanics, as in vectors, sliding blocks, tension on cords, falling objects, etc. So though I am moving much more slowly than a student in a class would, I am indeed making progress in calculus.

He said that my experience with mathematics would influence the way I thought about the rest of my work. I know that already, because I have been thinking in terms of limits even at my day job. I explain to my co-workers that one hundred percent sign accuracy is a limit which we can approach but never quite attain, due to the nature of the job. It is asymptotic. When I use words like "asymptotic," they start looking at me strangely.

My Friendly Scientist has been a fan of my art for many years, and his wife and daughters love my work too and own some prints of it. He asked what art I was doing now, and I said I was doing portraits of character-filled buildings in Falls Church for my upcoming show. He said that he missed my "mythological" paintings and hoped that I would return to them. I kind of miss doing mythological paintings too, but don't know how or when I will go back to them. Little buildings have much more appeal to a general (and affluent) downtown audience than ancient Persian goddesses.

Speaking of things Persian, I wish a very happy NoRuz (Persian New Year) to all my Persian and Zoroastrian friends, all over the world, even in those places where it is the first day of fall, not spring.

Posted at 3:09 am | link

Tue, 20 Mar, 2007

Phantom Quantities

Since I am much involved with creating sufficient art product for the upcoming show, as well as re-arranging and cleaning almost my entire day job workplace, I don't have much time for math. But that doesn't mean I don't do any math. The dream of daringly riding the quantum waves of higher math and physics, to the industrial ambient sound of klystron engines, still has power for me. So I continue to work on calculus. I have just finished going through the Anton book's proof of the "quotient rule" of derivatives. This involves some of the same crisscross patterns I mentioned in a recent post, as well as one of the most common mathematical patterns in the universe (so it seems), a quantity squared, that is, multiplied by itself. Why would the Designer of mathematics be so square? If I ever meet Pythagoras, I'll ask him. He believed in re-incarnation, so for all we know, he might be somewhere right now, playing go in Matsusaka, Japan, or stirring vegetable soup in Chacabuco, Argentina.

The proofs of both the multiplication and the quotient rules involve lots of sorting and re-sorting of algebraic expressions. One way they (the provers? The Universe?) do this is by adding a seemingly arbitrary quantity which is then subtracted from the same line of expressions. This is proper math, because as long as you take something away after adding it, you're even. The introduction of this extra quantity helps the proof re-sort the expressions into the proper definition of a derivative, so they can be worked with. Without making a diagram of this, it's hard to describe but my Friendly Mathematicians and Scientists probably recognize what I'm talking about.

What intrigues me is that it does seem arbitrarily chosen, just for convenience's sake. It seems like a phantom piece of math that is here for a second and then gone. But that would be wrong. This process resembles that of a chemical catalyst, which adds nothing to the final product but enables the process to go on. The important thing, which reminds me of art and craft more than clockwork mathematics, is knowing just what quantity to throw in (and then remove) to get your proof to do what it's supposed to do. Being mostly self-taught, I missed that lesson in math class. Perhaps I am misinterpreting it anyway. But having worked through the proof, I feel that I am now worthy to do the set of derivative problems which await me in the next few pages.

Posted at 3:24 am | link

Fri, 16 Mar, 2007

Billennium Workplace

My colleagues and I are finally breathing a sigh of relief after three weeks of high pressure and workplace stress. This is why I haven't posted for a few days. An ambitious program has spent the last two months running seasonal ad campaigns, changing and relocating the foodservice area, renovating the back rooms where we do signs, changing the sign look for the whole store, and preparing for an inspection visit from the chief executive of the entire corporation. We had been promised that we would get a sign workroom of our very own, once the old sinks and tubs and fixtures had been removed from it. During the renovation frenzy, we had to do our signs while workmen and painters and construction people worked in the same space, as well as the usual customers coming through.

Early this week, during a re-painting job and store re-arranging, our designated space was crammed with all sorts of extra equipment and furniture and paint, along with our own signmaking equipment, file boxes, and art desks. The room was literally packed solid with stuff. Only the slimmest and youngest of our sign crew members could wriggle his way through to some sort of improvised flat space. The rest of us made do with any place we could find. Just before the Executive Visitation, I was doing signs on the bare floor of the now-emptied foyer where I had always done my work. Our sign crew, in my opinion, did a heroic job under these trying circumstances. But the Executive Verdict has not yet come down to us.

On Wednesday, by the time I came in, the Visitation was over and the employees, having worn themselves out making the store perfect for the inspection, were circulating about looking rather shell-shocked, or at least peanut-shell shocked. And, having done what we could, we in the sign crew were now authorized to pull all the stuff out of our chamber and arrange it to our satisfaction.

I spent that day, with another sign crew member, hauling and scrubbing and wiping the construction dust from everything. We threw things out, such as old signs or dead equipment, which we had always wanted to toss. We cleaned the floor and walls thoroughly. Then we put our newly dusted furniture and art equipment back inside. This was our "Promised Land."

Our new studio is a tiny back room, no more than fifteen feet by eight feet, and there are no windows and no skylight. Illumination is provided by fluorescent lights. But finally, after all these years of working in a busy, well-traveled spot we had to share with the tasting kitchen staff and their pots of pasta and stew, as well as the customers using the restrooms, we, the signmakers, have our own special place. And we rejoice!

Our sign room saga reminded me of a story by the famous British surrealist/dystopian writer J.G. Ballard from 1961, called "Billennium." In this "Ballardian" dystopia, vast numbers of people in a grossly overpopulated world are tightly confined in immense cities while the rest of the earth's usable space is used for mechanized agriculture to feed them. They must live in dormitories and tiny cubicles carved out of what used to be "normal" living spaces. In the story "Billennium," a pair of young men rent a double cubicle in an old run-down house filled with dozens of seedy tenants. By accident, one of the roommates discovers that their cubicle actually leads into an abandoned, and empty, room. Since the housing bureaucracy doesn't know about it, they claim it for themselves. Here's how Ballard describes the moment of discovery, and how the new tenants feel about it:

"Directly in front of them, faintly illuminated by a … skylight, was a medium-sized room, some fifteen feet square, empty except for the dust…"Do you realize what we've found? Do you realize it, man?" Rossiter was staring into the room, his mind staggered by its vastness. "You're right, he murmured. "Now, when do we move in?"… For an hour they exchanged places, wandering silently around the dusty room, stretching their arms out to feel its unconfined emptiness, grasping at the sensation of absolute spatial freedom. Although smaller than many of the subdivided rooms in which they had lived, this room seemed infinitely larger, its walls huge cliffs that soared upward to the skylight."

Unfortunately, their idyll in the new room doesn't last. They invite their girlfriends to stay with them in the room, and the girls bring in their elderly relatives, so that at the end of the story, even their new "abundance" of space is filled with seven people and their possessions. We artists can enjoy our cozy atelier knowing that we can go home to what would be, in Ballard's Billennium, a gift of infinite space.

Posted at 4:06 am | link

Sun, 11 Mar, 2007

Spring comes to Starbucks

Maybe that groundhog was right after all. Mild and moist weather has returned to MidAtlantica, robins have been sighted in Massachusetts, and I hear red cardinalbirds announcing themselves. Today I did my good productive thing of the day. Without productivity and good deeds, a day is a pointless waste. The work today was a spring design for another Starbucks Coffee board. In this coffeehouse concept, emeralds sprout from ferny vegetation and flowers bloom among the spring greens. The plaid or "argyle" fabric (not a large snake, though it may look that way) was requested by the manager of the store, who for some reason likes that pattern.

Posted at 3:25 am | link

Fri, 09 Mar, 2007

Chiastic Patterns

I've finally gotten the noisy paint cans out of my car, entrusting them to the "Household Hazardous Waste" collectors of Fairfax County, so now I can turn my attention back to calculus. I am going very slowly, given that I only have enough time to learn perhaps one page's worth before I have to get back to art. Currently I'm finishing up the chapter on rules for derivatives. The rule for the product of two derivatives falls into a pattern which is known to classical scholars as chiasmus or chiastic, which in ordinary English means "crisscross." In the Greek alphabet, the letter X is called "chi," which is where those descriptive words come from. The idea is that a group of objects forms an X-shape, whether visually or in meaning. The simplest example of chiastic pattern I can think of would be something like this: "pizza, soda, soda, pizza." Or, in another possibility, "pizza, soda, pizza, soda." The two words are arranged in either a mirror or a sequential symmetry. Poets in Greek and Latin, and later in other languages including English, adopted this pattern in their verse.

Believe it or not, there is an entire website devoted to chiasm in words, proving, as if proof were needed, that whatever exists in the human world, no matter how esoteric or trivial, now has a website. But when I encountered the proof of the derivative product rule, I found it was chiastic. The definition of the product rule, without using math symbols, goes like this (quoted from the book):

"The derivative of a product of two functions equals the first function times the derivative of the second plus the second function times the derivative of the first."

In a more graphic interpretation, it could be phrased like this. "Derivative of (pizza x soda) = (pizza x "derivative of soda") + ("derivative of pizza" x soda)." This reminds me of my old high school math teacher Dr. Weinert, whose classes I ignored and nearly failed. One of the few things I remember is when Weinert, clad in his grubby chalk protector smock coat, would put his fist in front of an algebraic expression such as (a + b) and call whatever was in between the parentheses "Fist." Then he would do the same to another expression in parentheses and call it "Bushwah." So then he would multiply "Fist" times "Bushwah," and out would come something which would be beyond my comprehension until 2002, thirty-four years later.

When I got to quadratic equations and multiplying polynomials, I finally learned that you multiply them in a crisscross way. Mathematically, that's (a + b) x (c + d) = ac + bc + ad + bd, interweaving the components. It's a form of chiasmus. So now that I have managed to get to calculus, here it is again. Currently I have no idea what derivatives or limits actually do in what passes for the "real world." It's all abstract patterns. Mathematicians love them and don't even mind if it doesn't apply to anything in the world. But there is another application of "chiastic" forms, in religious literature, as not only a rhetorical device but as a signal of spiritual meaning. This religious site, from an Evangelical Protestant perspective, discusses chiastic structure in the Bible. This pattern existed in the Jewish scriptures long before Christianity, as this short article in Wikipedia attests. But the X form is particularly attractive to Christian writers, because X, the Greek Chi, is also the first letter of the Greek word for "Christos," and has been used since the beginning of the faith as a Christian symbol.

Posted at 4:13 am | link

Mon, 05 Mar, 2007

Hole In The Wall

The little blue building in my newest painting is about seventy years old, and has seen Falls Church turn from a quiet rural town to a district of a sprawling big city. It is on Route 7, also known as Leesburg Pike, a historic road which has been there for at least 200 years. The blue building, which was once a bungalow residence, has been a used book store and comic book shop for the last couple of decades. The place is named "Hole in the Wall," and I have enjoyed its hospitality for all the years I have been in the Metro DC area. I just finished my portrait of the shop, and I hope that this painting will be in my upcoming show featuring architecture of Falls Church. In five years, perhaps less than that, this building will be gone, replaced by mid-rise, multi-use city blocks.

"Hole in the Wall" is watercolor and ink on board, 11" x 14".

Posted at 2:16 am | link

Sun, 04 Mar, 2007

Clinking Vectors

My work generates a lot of what is nicely spoken of as "household hazardous waste." This includes empty paint cans, empty solvent bottles, and empty spray paint cans. It's not really too hazardous, but it's classified that way. I collect these in paper bags and save them for recycling, along with the many pounds of bulk mail, catalogs, and magazines that I receive every week. The papers can go to the local recycling center, but the paint and spray stuff must be taken to a special place where it can be handled and disposed of. So I wait till I have enough of it, and then make an expedition in miles of heavy traffic to do the job.

I made that expedition yesterday, and found to my dismay that the "household hazardous waste" recycling center had closed just a half hour before I arrived. So I had to leave with what I came with, including about a dozen empty spray paint cans, all in bags in the Narenji Orangecar's cargo bay. Now don't worry, they won't blow up, and they won't leak noxious vapors; the stuff is well sealed. But it is there, and it's taking up space.

Spray paint cans have a ball bearing or other metallic chunk in the canister, which agitates and mixes the paint when you shake the can. When the can is full, and you shake the can, you can hear the metal sphere clacking around in the paint, against the metal cylinder. Now imagine that the paint is gone and there's nothing left inside the cylinder except a bit of leftover paint, gas, and that metal ball. There's nothing to stop that thing from clanking around inside the canister and making a racket. And now, imagine twelve or more of these things all in my car, and all of them going at once. It's ambient noise for cheap! It's a gamelan of garbage! And it's in my cargo bay, until I can get back to the recycling center when it's open.

But why do these things make so much noise when I'm driving along with them? They don't make noise when they're sitting still. Nor do they make noise when I'm driving at a steady rate. That was the telltale factor. It's physics! I have not forgotten my first year physics. What I have in the back of my car is two bags of unofficial accelerometers.

The cans, stuck in the cargo bay, move as fast as my car. But the metal bearings inside the empty cans are free to move and have inertia of their own. So that when I accelerate, or change direction, in other words change vector, the metal ball will not move with my car but will tend to stay in its original course, and thus be knocked against the wall of the can, with a very audible "clink." This will happen whenever my vector changes, or whenever my acceleration changes. If I stop, the metal is going faster than my car and will hit one side. When I speed up, it will hit the opposite side. But if I maintain a steady speed, they settle down and make no noise, because things moving at a steady speed or constant vector are not changing motion and thus maintain stability in relation to each other.

But to make things more complicated, the cans are not stacked in even rows. They are stacked at many angles in the paper bags, because my packing is not neat. Thus each can that is not lined up in the same row will have its own vector to follow, and its ball will not hit the can at the same time as the other ones. If I had them all lined up in a row, they might clink in unison. But with the more random stacking, there is a rhythmic chorus of them every time I speed up, slow down, or turn. This can be entertaining on short drives. In a longer drive through the start-and-stop traffic of the city, it is less entertaining. The clamor will give me the force to vector my car back to the recycling center as soon as I can find the space-time to make the journey.

Posted at 3:45 am | link

Fri, 02 Mar, 2007

Spring at Starbucks

It turns out that my art is acceptable at Starbucks after all. It was only that one shop manager who rejected my work. At the other Starbuckses which are managed by my friends, or which are under the jurisdiction of another regional manager, my decorations are welcome, as long as I make room for the employees to write in the daily or weekly coffee theme. I leave the center empty, and they fill it. I have also eliminated the words from my borders, so there is no specific mention of a season or an advertising theme. That way the border can be neutral and just look nice. The "Daily Offerings" logo is not designed by me, it is already printed on the board.

On Thursday I did a border at one of my friendly Starbucks, energized by plenty of espresso. I filled it with leaves and flowers, adapted from a book of Victorian designs. (What would I do without Dover Books?) There are also some purple-red jewels made into flowers. Florals and foliage cannot offend anyone. And I get that Spring feeling in there, because Spring is coming, it really is.

Posted at 3:30 am | link

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