Wiscon

Just got back from Wiscon 40, my first-ever time attending Wiscon… it was amazingly great! I had a dealer table and art show table, and I sold soooo much jewelry, and met so many amazing people and had so many great conversations! I am definitely going back next year!!

In addition to being a very successful dealer-room event, it was also a great vacation. I went with John and Alex, and we drove through a lot of fun areas before getting there. Here is a scene from a rest stop on the way, where a robin had (for some reason) built a nest on the ground in a corner.

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Here we are on the first night, which we spent at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells on the way to Madison. This is such a fun place! Great waterpark! And they unexpectedly upgraded our room to a suite, which was a nice surprise.

 

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Here’s a view in Mirror Lake State Park, on the way from the Dells to Madison.

 

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And here is my Wiscon table! Thanks to everyone who came and made Wiscon so great this year!

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Optical Illusion Rays

Here are some rays in the Wild Reef exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium.

Fun fact about me: I had been to the Shedd Aquarium once before, as a small child. I have only the vaguest memories of it. But to this day,  I still have lots of weird surreal dreams, which often come with a sense of being somehow connected to the Shedd Aquarium.

One recurring dream is about going around in some kind of museum with lots of exhibits behind glass, each with something strange and otherworldly in it. Visiting the Shedd Aquarium last week definitely brought back that feeling.

Another dream I often have involves fish inexplicably swimming around in the air.

It can’t have been caused by this exhibit, which was installed pretty recently. But this is a freaky optical illusion.

The rays are swimming in a shallow pool in the center of a darkened room. The pool is lit from within. So there is virtually no reflection on the surface of the water, which makes the water effectively invisible.  It looks as if the rays are swimming around in the air, an inch above dry sand.

It took me a while to figure out what was going on. If you look at the right angle, you can faintly see some reflections that tell you the water is there.

But there is no plaque or anything to explain the illusion. So, I’m pretty sure some people go to the Shedd Aquarium and come home thinking it has LEVITATING LAND RAYS.

 

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More Shedd Aquarium

A few more weird water critters. Moray eels seen from the front look WEEEEIRD.

 

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Some bizarre fish. I especially like the guy that swims around with his giant mouth open under his paddle-shaped nose.

 

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University of Chicago church windows

 

Every little stained glass window was different. This place is insane.

 

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Church at University of Chicago

 

 

The university chapel, which looks more like cathedrals in Europe.

 

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Chicago Uni

 

University of Chicago, which John is seriously considering for grad school.

Fascinating mixture of extravagant antique and bizarre modern architecture.

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Baha’i House of Worship, on outskirts of Chicago.

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Back from Chicago!

John took me to Chicago for the week of my birthday! It was really cool. I will be posting lots of pictures.

Here are a few from the time we spent walking around in parks and stuff. There is really weird cool outdoor art there!

 

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How I backed up my personality on paper

(Updated with the more recent version of the project. I redesigned the books to be prettier, fit better in the box, and hold more data.)

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A recent art project, of sorts. My attempt to cope with fears: the fear of death, the fear of societal collapse. My fantasy that my personality could somehow survive both my death and the downfall of civilization.

In an apocalypse, digital media are of questionable use. I toyed with the idea of microfiches for a while, but then realized that paper, kept in a safe place, can last just as long. Lulu.com prints on acid-free paper, and can print very, very small.

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Text of the back of the book:

I am Erika Hammerschmidt. I am an author, artist and speaker from Minnesota. I am terrified of dying, but far more terrified of being forgotten. Being forgotten is true death, the death not just of the body but of the information that makes up the personality.

The information that makes up a human personality is more bountiful and complex than any book can hold, but this is my best try. This is my novels, my poems, my private emails, my art, my journals. It is my secret perversions, my selfies, my websites, my handmade jewelry, my travel snapshots, my diaries, my childhood scrivenings. Please let me live.

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