Thursday, March 13, 2008

Svenhild Hansen: Bird Kidnapee

One of my favorite thrift store finds are these books:

They are a series of twelve books called 'Animal World in Color.'

Not only are these books chalk full of interesting information about animals, but the illustrations are amazing. The books were published in 1969 and all the illustrations have a 1960's feel because of all the bright colors used. It reminds me of watching an Audrey Hepburn movie in technicolor.
One thing I like about the world is that there are always new things to find out about. I would think that at age twenty-four I would have a pretty good grasp about which animals exist out there in the world. But no! I still find out about animals I never knew existed. Or sometimes I just find out amazing animal facts. Browsing through this book, I found an amazing animal fact involving a little girl named Svenhild Hansen (the book says her name is Svenhild with an 'E' but during internet searches I could only find her name as Svanhild with an 'A'.)

It was June of 1932 in Trondheim, Norway. Little Svenhild was doing what most young children enjoy doing, playing outside. She was four years old. Still at that age where many children believe that when people aren't around, animals hold in-depth conversations with each other. In privacy, animals go around doing all sorts of human activities like dinner parties or board game nights. Its that age were you still believe that some day one of the animals will talk to you! Maybe when Svenhild first saw the bird descending toward her, she thought the Eagle was just coming to chat. What ever the case may be, Svenhild turned her eyes to the sky and SWOOP! An eagle grasped tiny Svenhild in giant taloned feet. The eagle was a mother, searching for a plump and delicious meal for her young hatchlings. Svenhild, in her red sweater, moving about the green outdoors in that clumsy yet energetic way kids do, must have immediately captured the attention of the Eagle. Svenhild and the Eagle soared through the sky for more than a mile. The illustration of the flight partners shows Svenhild with a terrified expression on her face. I like to think because she was still a young child the whole ordeal was actually a lot of fun. I imagine that four year olds often have a scewed perception of what is a threat and what is harmless (I.E. Monsters in closet: Threat, Flying around in the sky: Not so dangerous). Ever since I can remember I have wanted to experience flight the way birds do. Svenhild got that opportunity. Maybe while in those birds talons Svenhild was admiring the scenery, seeing what the world looks like from way up high. Probably, story-book characters are the only ones who experience life in that way. The illustration probably had it right, she was probably terrified.
When birds bring food to their nest, they usually kill their prey. Lucky for Svenhild, the bird got tired and left her on a mountain ledge before there was a chance to commit any violence. Svenhilds frantic parents and a group of kind hearted searchers found her because the Eagle kept circling around the mountain ledge where Svenhild was left. When she was found, Svenhild was fast asleep. It was quite an adventure!
I'd like to know what happened in Svenhilds life after her great adventure in the sky. I did a google search in order to find this out, but nothing came up. I imagine that she sometimes had dreams about the experience. Sometimes the dreams were nightmeres and sometimes they were good dreams. I also wonder what she thought of the movie "The Birds?" Slightly different plots, but still, theres the whole "dangerous birds" theme.
Well, like I said earlier, I love these animal books! So I will probably share other amazing animal facts I find from these books in the future.

(All information about Svenhild Hansens Bird Adventure from : Burton Maurice (editor), Animal World in Color: Hunters birds, fish and Amphibians (volume eight). Chicago: Childrens Press, 1969)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My First Chindogu: The Nose Warmer.

Not so long ago I was wandering around Uwajimaya, which is an Asian supermarket in Seattle. This market has all sorts of things that other markets do not offer. Just the fish section alone feels more like an aquarium for marine life appreciation rather than a place to buy fish. Attached to Uwajimaya there is a book store specializing in books imported from Asia. This is where I discovered a most amazing book: The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions, by Kenji Kawakami. This book is chalk full of hilarious and clever inventions. The author coined these particular inventions with the title Chindogu. Giving a clear definition of a Chindogu is a hard task, but basically Chindogu's serve a purpose, but ultimately are impractical. There are Ten Tenets of Chindogu that may give you a clearer idea of what a Chindogu is. Here are some examples:

Duster slippers for cats:

Subway Sleepers Screen:

( These pictures are in the book but I found them here also. I think this sight hasn't been updated in quite a while because the "Chindogu Member submission of the month" hasn't changed since my first visit several months ago. There are about two hundred more Invetions like these plus witty descriptions in the book.)

Well, I was quite inspired so I made my own: A Nose Warmer. Where is the first place that frost bite usually strikes? The Nose. Protect your nose from those bitterly cold winter days. I know that when I am trying to enjoy a brisk winter day, the tip of my nose always becomes very chilly. This will no longer be a worry with a nose warmer!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Floor Plan of the Ocean

This is based on a dream I had. I was at the ocean and there were friendly panda bear seals lounging around. I went into the ocean and the ocean was divided into different rooms. Also- I could breath under water!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Sinking Ship

I made this moving paper diorama. The sailor is remembering the day his ship sunk. This is the first of many moving paper dioramas I plan to make. In the future I'm going to have to use sturdier paper. The ship sinks by rotating a paper lever in the back. In my original plan, the waves were going to move along with the sinking ship. I had some problems with the engineering of the moving waves, so they are stationary.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Two Very Interesting Fellows.

I was recently watching a video series about the Prohibition Era when I learned about two very interesting fellows: Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith. They were two police officers during the wild days of prohibition.

I have a fascination with the roaring twenties. It all started with an appreciation for the fashion. After learning more, I realized it was just an over all interesting time in American History. As far as prohibition goes, I usually have more of an interest learning about the law breakers than the law makers. In my mind, speakeasys and rumrunners are adorned with a sort of sleazy glamour. As far as the speakeasy patrons go, it wasn't just traditonal "low-lives" or seedy cons, it was everyone! All sorts of do-good americans were sneaking about, giving doors secret knocks, and sharing drinks! Prohibition turned the average law abiding citizens into small time criminals. Despite this transformation of law followers into criminals, the twenties are often credited with being a care free and innocent period of time. In fact, the twenties were actually harobirng som very devious forces within the society, mainly, the rise of the Mafia and the surge of KKK membership. Despite this, there was a spirit of mischeif steming from the twenties. When I say mischeif, I mean "kittens falling into the fish tanks, Tom Saywer and his antics" type of mischeif. Its playful, not malicious. I feel that Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith fit into this spirit of mischief just as much as the grannies drinking gin with the short skirted flappers did.
Moe and Izzy worked together busting speakeasies from the years 1920-1925. Izzy Einstien created a theory well before the more famous Einstein came up with his theories on physics. Izzy's theory was "The Einstein Theory of Rum Snooping." I would imagine that for most officers busting a speak easy is a pretty straight forward deal. Find out where it is and who operates it, raid the place, and hand cuff the culprits. Izzy and Moe had a far more elaborate way of catching booze providing scoundrels, through disguises! That's pretty much my childhood dream job: dressing up in costumes and catching the bad guys! Some of their disguises included: a traveling salesman, a street cleaner, a banker, muddy football players, a bartender, a grave digger, a streetcar conductor, a vegetable vendor, a Texas cattleman and a movie extra. My favorite of their disguises was when they dressed up as an old jewish couple. I don't know how convincing this was (seeing that they were both men), but Izzy did speak Yiddish, so he had that bit of authenticity to add to his role. There schemes didn't stop with just costumes. Sometimes they tricked bootleggers with well planned scenarios. One incident involved Moe jumping into a freezing cold water, all so Izzy could rush him into a speakeasy and demand a drink for the freezing man. Their creativity scussfully chisled away at the bootlegging subculture of the twenteis. They made 4,932 arrests and 95% of those arrests ended in convictions.

Some would say its never smart to make addmissisions of intentions of breaking the law, (even if that law is long gone), but I feel that if I lived in the twenties, I would want to be at those speakeasys with all the flappers enjoying some gin. Despite my differing views of prohibition with Izzy and Moe, I can't help but admire them. The way I interpret them, they beleived in what they were doing, and beleived it was bettering the good of the society. Other cops were angered by them partly because they kpet them from bribe money. Izzy and Moe brought a sort of creativity and resourcesfullness that everyone should bring to thier job and life. Imagine what the world would be like, if everyone, when faced with a challenge thought to themselves, "I know how we can solve this one! We can dress up like an old jewish couple! An if that doesn't work, how about grave diggers!"

Heres where I found my information on this topic:

Izzy and Moe on Wikipedia
The Enforcers: Izzy and Moe

and here's the name of the video series where I first learned about the guys:

Prohibition Era: Thirteen Years that Changed America (Atlantic Productions in association with A & E Television Network & BBC Wales ; produced by Charlotte Moore ; directed by Clive Maltby ; written by Marius Brill)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spell Check Pen Invention

Here is a new invention idea I had the other day while writing a letter. Unfortunately, I know nothing of the technology needed to make this invention, so I can only draw out the idea. Hopefully, somebody else will invent this.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Stuff at my Etsy Shop

I have new stuff up at my Etsy shop! Here's pictures of some of the stuff. I also put a couple of vintage finds up. (

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Magestic Unicorn on Black Velvet

I was rummaging through the hall closet when I rediscovered this very enchanting painting- A muscular unicorn slashing the air with his magic encrusted horn. Since it is not on the wall where onlookers can revel in its glory, I thought I would hang it on this metaphorical wall in cyberspace.