We’re moving.

Guys, I have some news I need to break to you. I think I just moved my blog.

I made a new website a few months ago; some of you may have seen it. I like it, it’s pretty. And it gave me the option of making this blog a self-hosted thing, rather than a .wordpress.com thing. Which I’ve been meaning to look into, but you know, I also have been meaning to vacuum and clean the bathroom, and go to the dentist, and etc.

Anyway, I was just fooling around with it, trying to see how complicated it was going to be, and blammo! It’s all moved. Everything since 2008. (have I really been at it that long?) Presto, change-o it was that easy. Internet, you’re amazing!

Anyway, the new (old) blog is now here. So update your bookmarks and such. (Mom, go ask Adam if you don’t know what that means.)

This will stay up just in case you’re afraid of change, but I’ll only be updating the new one.

Edited: My mother would like everyone to know that of course she knows how to update her bookmarks, don’t be sarcastic.

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Bonin Islands Grosbeak

Back to birds! Bonin Island Grosbeaks were technically not Grosbeaks, and technically only found on one of the Bonin Islands, (though maybe at one point it had lived on more than one). So let’s start at the beginning:

1. Where are the Bonin Islands?

The Bonin Islands are also known as the Ogasawara Islands, and are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands,  some 1,000 kilometers  directly south of Tokyo, Japan. Bonin is the English name for the archipelago, derived from an archaic Japanese word for “uninhabited”. Which these islands, for the most part, are. The exception is the island Chichi-jima, the largest, which was the home, when it was alive, of the Bonin Island Grosbeak.

2. What do you mean, not a grosbeak? Why’s it called a grosbeak, if it isn’t one?  Beats me. It’s used sometimes as more of a vernacular word for various finches with a big beak, instead of as the name of a specific species. The beak in question for all these birds is large and powerful, and was useful for beating open the shells of seeds.
3. Why is it extinct? Well, it liked to stay on the ground, looking for seeds to eat, and wasn’t so into flying or perching in trees. Ground dwelling birds are generally much more vulnerable to predators. It also lived mostly on one island, and one island alone. That right there is a recipe for evolutionary disaster. The smaller and more specific your habitat is, the more likely you are going to disappear.

Which is what happened to the Bonin Island Grosbeak. Whalers in the nineteenth century used the island as a stopping point, introducing rats, goats, sheep, dogs, and cats, all new predators to the island in the process, and cleared some of the island for settlement. The combination of habitat loss and a whole bunch of new animals running around their island home looking for something to eat did in the bird.

But before it disappeared, several people decided to draw it; here’s a sampling of various images of the bird:

Bonin Grosbeaks by F.H. von Kittlitz, 1828 (wikipedia)

Depiction from ‘The zoology of Captain Beechey’s voyage; comp. from the collections and notes made by Captain Beechey, the officers and naturalist of the expedition, during a voyage to the Pacific and Behring’s Straits performed in His Majesty’s ship Blossom. London, H. G. Bohn, 1839’

Specimens from the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, the Netherlands , via the Oriental Bird Club Image Database.

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News! Very Important!

I’ve been neglecting this poor blog due to a life that is literally scheduled down to the minute. So here’s an obligatory catch-up post:

I’ve been working on Governors Island since the beginning of August. And there is an open studio weekend coming up this very weekend! So if you’re not participating in or doing or putting on or hosting one of the twelve million other cultural events taking place in New York this weekend, COME TO MY STUDIO TO READ WORDS AND PICTURES. Afterwards, you can pet a goat. No, really, I’m not kidding.

Also a fancy chicken. If that’s what you’re into:

You can also check out my amazing view into NY harbor (where I totally saw the President fly into town on Monday.)

Working on Governors Island is wonderful; I’m there on Sundays and Mondays right now. On Sundays hordes of NYC families come out for a variety of wholesome activities, as well as the young kids in their fancy costumes for the occasional jazz age dance party:

Or the antique carousel aficionados, they come out too, to see the beautiful vintage amusement park things:

I’ve been working on a new book while there, and tentatively working on a fall pamphlet, among other things:

This weekend is the last public weekend on the Island; starting in October it’s insiders only. So if you want to visit a ghost town, during the week is where it’s at:

Other than that, I don’t know, there’s been some work in some shows:

New York Bound: International Book Art Biennial at the Islip Art Museum. (Literally round the corner from Mom’s house. Hi Mom!).

Some pamphlets went out to a lake in Minneapolis back in August for a water-based adventure called The Floating Library :

Using a boat to dispense paper goods on a lake may seem like a juxtaposition of two things that don’t go together (books + water), yet this project draws on the common past time of beach reading.

In the summer, Minneapolis lakes are crowded with boaters drifting leisurely and folks reading on the sandy shores. The Floating Library looks to provide artist-made reading materials to these folks who are already gathered on the water.

Awesome, right?

There’s an ephemera show coming up in October:

918 Letterpress Ephemera Show

Ephemera is defined as any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. Examples of letterpress printed ephemera include: posters, greeting cards, pamphlets, postcards, tickets and zines.

And of course the printed media steam bath known as the New York Art Book Fair:

And marathon training, and fall CBA scheduling, and some other things that are none of the internet’s business. I don’t know, it’s too much. Come to my studio this weekend and we can talk it all over.

Ferry schedule: click Here.

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Choiseul Crested Pigeon

Described as having a beautiful rising and falling whistling call. From Choiseul, one of the Solomon Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Choiseul had no carnivorous mammals (other than man, who sometimes hunted it for food) before the introduction of feral cats by visitors to the islands; the indigenous population on the island told researchers that the pigeon was wiped out by these cats.   It was apparently very tame and would let local hunters approach it and pick it off its perch by hand.

The last unconfirmed report of a Choiseul Pigeon was in the early 1940s.

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Training. I’m still getting used to the whole “running in the evening” thing. My left foot has a touch of plantar fasciitis, the spelling of which freaks me out. Double i’s? I wake up Tuesday morning starving and tired and hobbling. I feel slower than last year, but can’t tell for sure until it gets cooler. The pictures are pretty, though:

long runs

longer run

longer runss

Gowanus Long runsmaster of the universe run

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Studio view #2

governors island studio wall

This is what wall #1 of the studio on Governors Island looks like so far.

governors island studio wall 2

This is what the other looks like. I’m there Sundays and Mondays for now, at the Center the rest of the week, and on Mondays after leaving the island I do this:

Manhattan Bridge run

Go on a long run in preparation for the NYC Marathon. Last night was 15 miles. It’s a bit much, and come Tuesday morning I’m noticeably stupider than normal. But right after I’m done? I have the heart of a lion.

I’m working on free! informational! pamphlets, hopefully a few different ones, in slightly smaller, new-and-different formats, in the hopes of distributing some to a captive audience at the open studio events that LMCC has planned. I’ve got one started already and plans for another are underway. I’m not sure if these are going to be all letterpress, all the time, (probably not), and they will be slightly less complex that the final one I’ll mail out at the end of the year, but I think they will be nice, and they are a place to put all the extra research that doesn’t really fit with the main storyline. Which will remain a secret, but rest assured that it will be awesome.

Oh, and the birds? They’re still coming, though slower than before, but I am chipping away at that in the evenings the rest of the week. I’m not a sprinter, after all, and it’s not a race. My time right now is almost completely scheduled, which is very productive, and mostly full of things I want to do, but it’s a lot.

In case you’re wondering what the first new mini-pamphlet will be about, it’s about this, which might be a portrait of Lord Cornbury, former colonial governor of New York and New Jersey, or else just a random homely Englishwoman. Lord Cornbury build a pleasure house on Governor’s Island at the beginning of the eighteenth century, which sounds a lot more decadent than it probably was.

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Studio view.

governor's island

I get to watch boats sail by while working. More soon.

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