Princess Cornflakes

Too trashy to print on a cereal box

Programming and sewing

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As someone who has been sewing since the age of 10 (that’s 20+ years) and programming Java since the mid-1990’s (yes I am old!), I am constantly amused at how similar the two activities are. In both practices, you are basically taking things apart and putting things together. Most people can envision how this works in sewing, but trust me, it’s not much different in programming. You put together smaller objects, like you would put together the pieces of a garment, and then you sew the objects together into a larger program. In sewing you finish off the edges so that things won’t unravel. In programming we do this by declaring final classes and static variables. In both you pick apart threads and you join threads together, which is never fun. OK the threads are already woven in sewing, but you still pick them apart sometimes. In both activities you have to patch things occasionally. In both we use patterns. These patterns are templates of how to do things to make something useful, and if the patterns are good, we use them again and again.


A Wedding Gown pattern from the 1940s, from Vintage Patterns Dazespast Blog.

Finally, sometimes our sewing creations are a joy to create and turn out wonderful and useful, and sometimes they turn into a lumpy ugly mess that we spend lots of time reworking until we finally throw them away.

Can you think of other ways that programming and sewing are similar?

Written by heather_c

August 29, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Friends and Strangers

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The things I want to say on the Internet are unpredictable. Sometimes I just want to share a song I like…at other times I want to complain about my dating life, or how my employer is unfair, or talk about programming. Or I may want to rant about something political that will make me unpopular. I can’t share these unpredictable, sometimes unsavoury things with friends that I have known from my life and real family. If I say anything sensitive or report son an opinion, I get crap from people who don’t agree with me. If I talk like a tech expert or reveal my occupation, people think I’m “talking shop” and showing off. If I just post something neutral, the same three creepers never fail to “like” it immediately, making me wonder if they are stalking me.

So maybe there is a better an outlet for everything I want to say on the Internet? I am beginning to think that the problem is “friends”, or the idea that people that I actually know or have known in the past should be my audience for social media. Maybe a social network consisting of people who have known me in life is simply too highly charged to be an audience for idle Internet blabbing?

When you think about it, there is something seriously wrong with the combination of “people you know” and “saying things on the Internet”. For one thing, the things we want to say on the Internet are not always nice. Maybe they are a rant, or a sad story about our lives, or just an overly revealing comment, such as “Wow I just hooked up with this guy on the first date. It was great but now I hate myself!” (which instantly reveals that 1) I am still dating in middle age, and 2) I give in to guys who just want to use me and 3) I am somewhat slutty). No matter what the comment, if it’s anything more than a silly slogan or a cat picture, on Facebook it will usually be misinterpreted or worse yet, it will be “liked”.

And then there are the people who put up nothing but silly posters, cat, food and kid pictures. These pictures are a waste of server space and electricity. But they persist because people want to say something without taking any risk at all.

And the worst part of it is that all this posting is really making me dislike people that I ought to like! My dear cousin who I used to be so close to, who is continuously promoting his liberal causes and complainsabout the “1%” while himself hypocritically living in a $1.4 million house in California with a nice corporate job. Two of my good friends have just criticized me for letting my cat outside the house sometimes.

I think most anyone on Facebook whose friendship is worth preserving is worth a private email or a phone conversation (I’ll report back in 6 months as to whether I was successful with that).

As for that need to sometimes talk in a forum on the Internet, I can’t deny it! I like the idea of talking to strangers who remain strangers. I won’t be afraid to tell them to piss off. I don’t care if I tell them that I hate my boss I won’t care at all about the reprisal, because I don’t know them. I won’t be revealing my true identity, and therefore I am free to say whatever I want. I can even say that I’m not in favor of gay marriage. Actually, I’m fine with gay marriage, more specifically I don’t care one way or another, but I won’t have to act all happy about it and put up rainbow pictures. I can simply say whatever I want.

Saying whatever I want, I like that idea. It’s liberating. but what about all those friends? Will I be forgotten by them when I leave Facebook?

Most of my 190 friends are people that I once knew in my life. We parted paths, and I doubt that our lives will cross paths again. So they really aren’t that different from strangers anyway, except that having known me, they know a little bit about how to push my buttons. Some of them are my family from across the country. And about 10 are real friends who I may see. I care about those people and our relationships may actually improve if I’m not on Facebook posting all the time. 1) I will no longer see their opinions and may therefore grow to like them more 2) If I don’t hear from them every day we may actually have news to catch up on when we see each other.

Relationships with people we “used to know” aren’t worth our time. Strangers are good for bouncing ideas off of without worrying. True friends deserve one-on-one conversations. And all that time used posting could be better spent on something like writing blog posts or making banana bread. Facebook doesn’t help us to know our friends better, it makes us hate them.

Written by heather_c

July 4, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Guys in Eyeliner

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I know that guys are breaking the gender rules of fashion a lot lately. They are shaving their chests, legs, wearing spandex pants, and plucking their eyebrows. I know all this because I work with the 25 year old set. But they missed the one thing that makes guys so cute – eyeliner!

Eyeliner was huge in the 80s, for women and men. I remember being really bad at it! I never got the hang of liquid eyeliner, so I tried with a pencil and just smudged it. But eyeliner was something that could make or break your goth look, or “death rock” as we referred to it in the 80s.

Think Robert Smith in “Let’s Go to Bed” or any other video that the Cure made. I think Robert Smith slept in his eyeliner!

And the adorable and witty Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh. Now he can do no wrong, so any amount of makeup would probably look good on him, but eyeliner suits him perfectly

There are many more who look great in eyeliner. Such as Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes. Eyeliner? Well maybe he just looks like he’s wearing it, becuase his eyes are so beautiful!

And how about Prince? Now that man could wear some eyeliner! Eyes you could get lost in.

I guess that is why he made them into the Purple Rain poster, complete with the eyeliner. But maybe that’s a woman’s eyes. At any rate, it’s great eyeliner!

So kids, that just goes to show, eyeliner looks great on anyone, at anytime. Now go practice!

Written by heather_c

May 21, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

I Was Waiting on a Moment

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Does pop music need to go along with memories in your life? There is a lot of good pop music  – Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, the list goes on, which I got into late and does not accompany any memories from my own life. I enjoy it just as music, for its own sake. It does not remind me of any lost lovers, or first time experiences, or nights out with my friends. It does not even remind me of some ground breaking new music genre discovery, because music genres have splintered so much or I don’t pay attention to them now.

Then there is the pop music that triggers those memories, like “She Sells Sanctuary” by the Cult. That reminds me of being in high school in Southern California, and going to the Scream and looking for the underground L.A. of Bret Easton Ellis, though we lived in working class Long Beach. Or Japan, “Obscure Alternatives”, which reminds me of 9th grade and played it on my headphones constantly, because I had discovered glam rock. Or “Los Angeles” by X, that reminds me of going to Melrose and the whole feeling of Melrose, L.A. sun beating down, bright pavement, kids in 50s dresses with red lipstick and driving old cars.  And not every song reminds me a new music discovery. There is “If There is Something” by Roxy Music, and I had just met this guy. We had been out all day and had gone back to his place. I was about to leave, because I didn’t feel anything for him. But then he put on this song and started kissing me and everything changed. We ended up being together for the next year.

And then there is Nick Cave. Nick has been with me for years. When I was 14 and my best friend gave me the “Mutiny” album by the Birthday Party, watching Wim Wenders films like the breathtaking “Wings of Desire” and being taken in by those scenes of Berlin and Nick Cave in the cavernous club while Solveig Dommartin danced in a dreamlike state and the dark carnival music. Or the other songs that went along with films, not really real experiences, but very powerful images that made a big impression when I was young, like  “Cat People” by David Bowie or “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and The Hunger and those great scenes with Bowie and Deneuve roaming after dark with sunglasses on, in search of blood.

I would love for Radiohead to be part of my identity and have that power over me, but the truth is that I feel like an outsider looking in with them. I know it had something to do with the 90s, and early 2000s, and penetrating dark traumatic feelings, and sex and sadness. It’s the kind of thing that I might have had experiences to, had I been born later. But to me it’s just good music.

Why do songs sound better when you have a memory to go with them? It’s not that they sound better, they just sound deeper. You did something to them, or they changed you at a time when you were young. They might have made you what you are. I think that a lot of people can’t imagine music without these associations, and that is why they stop listening to new music after their 20s, when they stop trying new things as much. But for us lifelong music fans, we just have to accept that as we get older the music will not be as personal. That doesn’t mean it won’t change us at all. Maybe music changes us even as we get older, and our life experiences are not so dramatic, but we don’t see those changes until later. I’d like to think that in 20 years I will realize that Radiohead really did become part of me, even in my 40s.

Written by heather_c

May 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Spring. I feel my Luck Could Change.

I’m not exactly getting over this breakup like a mature adult. I know this because I will do something innocuous like take a walk, on a beautifu spring day with my headphones on, but then will suddenly find myself laying down on the grass, crying over my breakup. Crying over a breakup. That sounds so teenage. But come to think of it, a lot of the feellings I have are teenage feelings. It’s not like I’m trying to be young either. I just fall in love, and then if it ends I want to kill myself. This has happened over and over in my life. It’s my fate.

I once read an interview with Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s where she talked about how she lived forever in this teenage realm of intense feelings. I never bookmarked it, wish I had. But I understood her. I have spent most of my life in my own private idealized world. I’m picky in dating. I get crushes, like a teenager, and fall in love with impossible people, like people who are very far away, or people who have depression or drug problems and live in private worlds of their own and can’t be touched, either.

And then I put everything into it. I bring that person into my world and make them the center of the dark romantic fantasy. When the real-world problems like distance or lack of money burst our fantasy worlds and we break up, I want to kill myself by jumping in a lake. It’s this very intense realm of feelings that makes you feel like you are alive for about a year, but then you go back to just being part of the boring machinery of life, when it is over.

Most adults my age have anesthetized themselves to it by now. They stop falling in love over and over again and just go for sex and friends, or they are married, or they fall in love with people who could make their life work with them. I totally understand this. It’s a good idea. Why not be happy? But as for myself, I keep falling in love, for a year or so, just enough to see what living is really like, but then it ends and I’m heartbroken, again. I’ll probably die of a broken heart at age 70. Like everyone else will have heart failure, but I’ll have heartbreak. Oh well, its my choice. I prefer my private world, even if I always meet men who live in their own, and our worlds keep bumping up against each other without the real humans ever touching.

I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll
This time, I feel my luck could change
Kill me Sarah, kill me again with love
It’s gonna be a glorious day
–Radiohead, “Lucky”

Written by heather_c

April 14, 2015 at 7:30 am

Posted in editorial

I Hate NJ

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I’m in a very negative and honest mood today. The truth is – I hate NJ. I have been living here for the last 10 years. When I came here, I thought it was New England. I had lived in Boston for 3 years and liked it there. but I quickly learned that this is not Boston.

Why do I detest NJ?

Weather. It’s either freezing, like this winter which has been endless, or in the summer it’s a sticky swamp. There are a few pretty seasons in between, and the leaves do get pretty in the fall, but it never lasts long enough.

Another lovely day in Edison, NJ

Another lovely day in Edison, NJ

People – Sorry. I hate you guys! People here have the worst accents. It’s nasal and harsh. I hope never to get one. Men and women around my age segregate themselves, according to ancient Turkish law or something. The women sit around and talk about cooking. Men talk about sports. Young men talk about trucks or games. Bruce Springsteen is a safe musical conversation choice for everyone. NJ people are just rednecks who do not live in the country.

The problem with the people of NJ is that they think these are great topics.

What do I want to talk about? How about video art? How about the books of Milan Kundera, or the music of Joy Division, or Radiohead, or Amanda Palmer? How about old buildings? How about the movies of David Lynch?

At least in other places that were dirty and industrial, such as the Soviet Union, or North of England, or Detroit, people hated it there and that led to interesting movements in art or something. Here in NJ people mostly just live with it and go to the mall, or Florida, so nothing interesting comes of it and nothing changes.

Potholes – The NJ Department of Transportation estimated 300,000 potholes that need to be repaired after the endless winter of 2014-2015. They are still there, and they are ruining my car.

Surroundings – There is nothing worse than NJ in the winter. Did I mention winter? First of all, NJ has bad planning. Anyone can just build anything anywhere. So they put businesses in houses and houses in businesses. Then there are power lines snaking in and out of everything. Then most of Central NJ is paved over and full of traffic, oil and litter that people throw from their cars. The combination of disentegrating houses, torn up sidewalks, dirty snow and litter all over the place makes winter into a fossil fuel mess, so I usually just stay indoors.

I wish I could give this a happy ending or at least make it a learning experience. The only thing i would say is – what if I liked everything all the time, and everything was happy, all the time. Yeah, that would be hell, too.

Written by heather_c

March 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Other Princess Cornflakes

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Recently, I learned about the other Princess Cornflakes. It is an independent French film, an “extra-large fashion comedy” by and. You can see it here. I just watched it and from what I can tell, it’s a parody of girls aspirations to be beautiful and perfect models when they grow up, sort of a mini-Jane Campion. It’s creative and features special-effects scenes worthy of 50’s pulp fiction such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. I enjoyed Princess Cornflakes very much and I’m proud to share a name with this production.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 6.15.03 AM

Princess Cornflakes, the film by Antoine Asseraf René Habermacher

the American classic film. 5/10 stars on imdb!

Written by heather_c

March 11, 2015 at 10:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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