Sunday, February 3, 2008 --- It's been so long...since I've seen you, my old friend...

I have missed my poor blog. I didn't realize how close we had become...until I couldn't spend time with it? (Do blogs have gender identities? Hmmmmm. Perhaps that could be a future post topic...) Anyway, in pondering my remorse for being such a bad blogger -- a great song popped into my head about friends -- by Joan Armatrading.

Now, before you go and think I am in my late 40's or early 50's, I'm not. Of course, I have had grey hair since I was 19 years old -- so perhaps I have an old soul? That aside, I got into Joan as a kid because my mom used to listen to her all the well as Maria Muldaur, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, et al. Her "Me Myself I" album has long been one of my favorite selections to listen to when I am feeling moody and introspective. So, in honor of my good friend-blog, I'd like to share this great song, "Friends", with you all. Might I suggest a nice glass of wine -- or your favorite smooth spirit of choice -- before you listen? Joan's voice is deep, rich and strong -- I find that it kind of sinks into you like the heat of swallowing a luscious gulp of red wine...I find Amaretto di Saronno works well, too. Anyway, I've included the lyrics here for your enhanced enjoyment. I'll be back soon...thanks for hanging in there with me, everybody!

[ Sidenote: Congrats to the GIANTS!! Woohoo! You can take the Butterfly out of New York, but you can't take the New Yorker out of the Butterfly! ;-D ]


[It seems as though the closing embed tag keeps getting dropped when publishing -- which makes the song player not want to work in Mozilla -- probably cock-sucking-Blogger's fault...What else is new?]

Friends by Joan Armatrading

It's been so long
Since I've seen you
My old friend
I remember your eyes
How they would shine
Those crazy times
When you and I
Fooled around
I remember the time
You fell in love
Didn't know how
To say goodbye
To your baby
And you made me take
The goodbye note
And that little girl
She cried and cried
And she asked me if
I knew exactly why
You'd gone
I told a lie
I said you felt
She'd be much happier
With someone else
But then you'd do
The same for me
Remember when
We stayed out late
We'd cause a fight
But we would never stay
To the end
I loved you then
I love you still
You know I think
I always will
You're a good friend
A good friend
To me
Who was it
Who came for me when I was
Stranded in the bad man's land
Who was it
Who put up bail for me when I was
So desperate to get out
Who believed with me
That I was not guilty
Who gave me beer when I was thirsty
And who gave me twenty-five dollars to hold

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007 --- Today's Question: Whether to shit or go blind?

See that beautiful tree with its orange and red leaves? Up until this morning, that tree was merrily going about its business believing that it was still Fall in Virginia. It has been so warm here, that our leaves changed very late and have been holding on to some of the trees longer than usual. But this morning, we had our first snow of the season...and let's just say that the poor tree doesn't know "whether to shit or go blind..."

It is very odd to be looking at the colorful foliage covered with snow...but the contrast sure is lovely!

I thought the berries on this tree were pretty, surrounded by the fresh new snow...Needless to say, it is a perfect day for hot beverages and wood burning in the fireplace.

Welcome Winter! You are beautiful.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007 --- The Infectious Music of Cansei de Ser Sexy...without the annoying commercial.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 --- Ode to the small Asian woman...on Great Mofo Delurk Day 2007!

This in an Ode, with a capital "O", to the small Asian woman who altered the blazer of my brown Jones New York suit. You are simply amazing...There is no perceivable evidence that this jacket was ever disassembled to make your expert adjustments -- except for the fact, of course, that it fits me perfectly now!

I found this little brown tag stapled to the inside label of my garment, which bears your handwriting. I have no idea what it says, but I suspect it contains secret messages pertaining to the magical spells you perform with your tiny hands and sewing machine on my clothes. I am keeping this tag because it will remind me of you, your excellent workmanship and the very simple happiness I felt today when I tried on my jacket for your final inspection.

Small Asian woman, I do not even know your name, but every time I enter the dry cleaners where you work, you greet me with your warm and enthusiastic smile. This brightens my day for a moment, and for that too, I thank you! Your small moon-shaped face, with its laugh lines and creases of old age, is full of kindness. I like to imagine you being my own tiny grandmother or perhaps a dear great aunt, but we are just strangers. You will never know that I think about you, but I do. And, I hope that you are well-loved.

Today is Great Mofo Delurk Day 2007! Please, don't forget to leave a comment on all of the blogs you read...lurk...stalk...Trust me, you will be making people smile.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007 --- My Favorite Little Munchkin Came For A Visit This Past Weekend...Isabella!

The man's niece came with her parents this past weekend and we had a lot of fun with them. She terrorized the cats, of course. She also loved the playground in our complex right outside the front door. She's a jungle-gym-climbing-machine! I can not get over how big she has gotten -- she's almost 3 years old (November) -- and looks like an actual kid now!! It seems like she was just in diapers...

Trying to settle down from a hyper period of cat chasing...

In search of those cats...I have a rainbow string, kitties!

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Thursday, September 6, 2007 --- A modest collection in a wooden box...

Another thing I love...this contains my collection of tavern puzzles. They often get mistaken for Medieval torture devices which rather amuses me. But, I also think they are beautiful examples of Blacksmith art.

I do not have a very large collection -- I only have eight puzzles currently, but I would like to expand it further. This is a good Christmas gift idea for anyone who wants to jot it down [Hint: mom].

We have pictured here, left to right, top to bottom:

Row 1: Double Bypass, Blackbeard's Revenge, Dirty Dog
Row 2: Patience Puzzle, Long Island Catch, Satan's Stirrup
Row 3: Double Trouble, Matched Set

For more information on these puzzles, visit the wonderful world of Tucker-Jones House, Inc.

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Monday, September 3, 2007 --- Casual Gameplay...We love Jay Bibby and JIG!

I picked up this fun little game from one of my favorite sites -- Casual Gameplay at!

It is called JIG. The object? Put the pieces in order to complete the scene. Play it, enjoy it, let Jay know that you like it (at his site)...and, you can even support it by adding it to your own site!

[ The code can be found at on the sidebar. ]

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Saturday, August 11, 2007 --- Studies in Facial Symmetry...the Amber Valletta series.

As a graphic designer, photo editing softwares like Photoshop and Fireworks are a part of my everyday life. But, when I am not using these programs for a design project, I love to edit and manipulate photos purely for the fun of it. I suppose you could call it one of my "hobbies"...

One of my favorite things to do is a Facial Symmetry study. The majority of us have extremely assymetrical features...and, if you have ever done one of these on yourself, you will probably get very disturbing results! Typically, one side (half) of the face reflecting itself to create a "symmetrical whole" will produce a very strange-looking wide head, and the other half becomes a narrower head, or has what I call a "pinched" face. Trust me, generally, it is not very attractive. When I have done my own face in the past, one side produces a cute, wide-eyed and wide-foreheaded, semi-retarded-looking girl and the other side, looks like I was squeezed in a vice as a child...I shall call her "pinhead"!

Not too long ago, I was listening to an NPR or PRI podcast -- and I heard a story regarding the study of facial symmetry and attractiveness. I seem to recall it had something to do with criminals as well, but I have been unable to find the exact story on either website. [Connections between lack of symmetrical features = perceived ugliness = less-liked and fewer opportunities = tendency toward anti-social behavior = crime, etc.?? Something like that...]

Anyway, scientists have been doing variations of these facial symmetry studies, body proportion ratios, genetic health, etc. for a long time. The thing that stuck out to me in this story, is that they mentioned studying the faces of many people, famous and not famous, that were perceived universally by subjects as "beautiful" -- and it always came back to having high symmetry and particular facial size-ratios. The model Amber Valletta was mentioned as having one of the highest measured facial symmetries and almost perfect size-ratios -- and therefore, in the study, she rated very high with subjects on her "perceived" beauty. This got me would be interesting to do one of my Facial Symmetry studies on Amber Valletta's face!

I needed to find photos that were as "forward facing" as possible, preferably with a relatively "even" or "neutral" expression. I found three very interesting pictures to work with that I thought would yield interesting artistic results. As I began to work on them, I was truly amazed...I have never seen anything like this...

Normal Front View

Left-Side Symmetry ------------------- Right-Side Symmetry

There is almost no difference between her Left-Side Symmetry and her Normal Front View -- while she does still have some asymmetry (crooked smile, slight nostril difference, etc. which, personally, I think creates her most charming attribute, her impish grin) -- it is so slight that her Left-Side Symmetry could be a post-plastic-surgery "after" photo, displaying a minute nose job correction and right side chin implant. I would say this is her "too perfect" incarnation.

What is even more unusual, is that her Right-Side Symmetry looks completely normal. It does not look as much alike to her Normal View as the Left-Side Symmetry did, but it is still so much like her that it could be a slightly different "twin" sister. Neither one of these symmetries has any hint of being abnormal-looking, like you would expect to see with most faces. Indeed, apart from the "overly perfect" aspect of the exact-mirror symmetry, these women could be triplet sisters with small facial differences. This is incredibly unusual and I am amazed at how these pictures turned out.

These next two groups were very bizarre! I did them purely for the crazy symmetry fun of it -- to see what would happen! She still looks like a beautiful lady, but with some serious...ummmmmmm...birth defects?!? Yikes.

Normal Front View

Left-Side Symmetry ----------------- Right-Side Symmetry

Here is a body series, but again, aside from the weird shadows on the face and the crazy bodies, look at how much the face on the Right-Side Symmetry version still looks very normal!

[ I would recommend clicking on the image to zoom in on the face -- you'll see better how "normal" it looks close up. ]

Normal Front View

Left-Side Symmetry ----------------- Right-Side Symmetry

Photo credits:

Picture #1: Photo by Jeff Vespa/ - Image courtesy

Picture #2: Photo by Raymond Burrows

Picture #3:

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007 --- Meat is murder...Tasty, delicious, mouth-watering murder!

Part of me was concerned that I was posting too much about the Cancer-Cat...but then, I one reads my blog! "Butterfly," I said, "you post that Cancer-Cat. Don't you worry about those nonexistent readers for even a minute!"

And so, with that, I give you another video of the lioness, Trudy-the-Cancer-Cat!

The fabulous "meat graphics" come from the I Love Meat Sticker Collection that can be purchased at one of my favorite hilarious shopping spots on the net, Archie McPhee Toys.

[Click on the picture to go to the video page.]

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Thursday, July 19, 2007 --- I was always struck by the enormity of his head...

With the most recent upgrades to our area's cable service, we now have VH1 Classic -- which is really great incidentally -- because we get to see all kinds of old music documentaries and vintage videos. Periodically, I will see a Smiths' video and it will make me laugh...I have never gotten over the enormity of Morrissey's head and that extreme-high hair of his. He was like a caricature...or a bobblehead! Whenever I think of The Smiths, I see him in my mind's eye with his big head, high-styled hair, a loose plaid shirt, and drooping Levi's with substantial footwear, dancing around the stage in that lazy-crazy "I don't give a shit" way. Reminds me so much of my NYU days and all of the serious brooding types (gay and straight) that I knew.

[Photo credit: Steven Wright ]

But, it also makes me think of how my mom, her friend Robert and I were all so tickled by the lyrics of one of our favorite Smith's songs:

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I'd like to smash every tooth
In your head

Oh ... sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt, oh
As the flames rose to her Roman nose
And her Walkman started to melt
Oh ...

Bigmouth, la ... Bigmouth, la ...
Bigmouth strikes again
I've got no right to take my place
In the Human race

Oh, Bigmouth, ha ha ... Bigmouth, la
Bigmouth strikes again
I've got no right to take my place
In the Human race

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt, oh
As the flames rose to a Roman nose
And her hearing aid started to melt
Eek !

Oh, Bigmouth, la ... Bigmouth, la ...
Bigmouth strikes again
I've got no right to take my place
With the Human race
Oh ...

Bigmouth, oh ... Bigmouth, la ...
Bigmouth strikes again
I've got no right to take my place
In the Human race

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt, oh
As the flames rose to a Roman nose
And her hearing aid started to melt
Oh !

Oh, Bigmouth, oh ... Bigmouth, la ...
Bigmouth strikes again
I've got no right to take my place
In the Human race
Oh ...

Bigmouth, oh ... Bigmouth, la ...
Bigmouth strikes again
I've got no right to take my place
In the Human race
Oh ...


Goodbye, and thank you! Goodbye!

[Morrissey photo: The uncropped version can be found here.]

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Monday, July 9, 2007 --- Blythe was very excited to do another photo shoot with me...

Oh, so pretty and serene. I love how she looks against my mosaic dish from Pier 1. Nice contrast to her coloring...she really pops against the fiery the inspiration for my background choice from her sunglasses. Annoying reflections on her plastic skin were a challenge.

This is the shot that I used for the comment banner in my sidebar. I needed to retouch the photo so that I could get rid of her pull-string hanging down in the back. Also, I had to do a duplicate layer and flip horizontally so that I could make the background wider for the text area of my banner. I love the way it turned out. What do you all think?

Lighting was a little weird in this one, but I like the way her hair seems to glow and you can really see her green eyes. I should take some more pictures with her other eye colors (blue, pink, and orange), but the green eyes are my favorite.

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Saturday, July 7, 2007 --- More than meets the eye...and other stories.


Acting was great -- totally believed that the actors were terrified and/or interacting "with" the robots (which is hard to do when nothing is there) -- and Shia LaBeouf was really funny. Effects were un-fucking-believable. Story kept me on the edge of my much so, that I refused to take a bathroom break...even though I needed to pee really, really badly. And, amazingly, I was in-major-love with the robots by the end -- as if they were actual people. I thought I would cry when it seemed BumbleBee was going to die. Optimus Prime, I love you. [swoon] Anthropomorphizing rules.

One question though...Why no female-voiced Transformers? Maybe the sequel will have some? Just a thought.

On the Fourth of July, we saw this little number (because Transformers was sold out for the whole afternoon) -- which was just fine. Why? Because this movie was Hi-lar-i-ous...HILARIOUS! Possibly...funnier than The 40-Year-Old Virgin...?? Maybe. I am not entirely sure. But, I think so. It is hard to quantify the hysteria-factor when the movies do not occur back-to-back for comparison, but I am willing to go out on a limb and say it was.

This has been a great week for movies, indeed. I think I want the DVDs of both of these babies when they come out. Yeah, they're that good.

What else? Oh yeah, we had a day of hell in the feline arena. This mother f*cking cat can NOT be made to take a pill or swallow a liquid medication OR HOLD STILL FOR ANYTHING OR ANYONE!!!! Maine Coons are known for not liking to be held and being rather wriggly...And Trudy is the worst. The worst! And the quantity of drool that accompanies ANY amount of stress is incomprehensible. We wasted 3 pills today just trying to get them down. They all became mush. We tried to hide them in Tuna...NO GO. We tried to dissolve them and syringe blast them down her throat...NO GO. We suffered several personal injuries and have lots of holes in our T-shirts that were not there before. We lost more than a milliliter of the precious liquid medication that needed to be swallowed, but instead was splashed all over the bathroom in a shower of drool and antibiotics. So glad we have several more weeks of this to look forward to...Finally, after the many failed attempts, lost patience, and the addition of sweatshirts and leather gloves, we finally got the crap liquid antibiotics and the pill down. I can hardly wait for the morning when we start again.... ;-(

Here is something exciting. the_butterfly aka my Twitter identity, is part of the Big Blue Marble Twitter Mosaic. Don't know what I am talking about? Well, this Twitter person(s) collects the little avatar pictures that everyone uses on Twitter to ID themselves -- and uses them to create intricate mosaic pictures of works of art, photographs, etc. [Add twitter_mosaic to your friends' list and you could be in the future mosaics!] You can see these mosaics at the Twitter Mosaic Blog which is at Anyway, I was included in the "Big Blue Marble: Negative Mosaic". It is easiest to look at it first on the mosaic blog, but then, you can also see my saved copy of the image where I have circled the occurrences of my butterfly picture -- where I could spot it so far in the mosaic (not easy!) ;-D WooHoo! See it here.

Okay, this has been one of my longest posts in a very long time. As juvenile as it gushing over my Transformer-Love...and the Knocked Up versus 40-Year-Old Virgin debate...and other stories of fame...and misery...

I am now tired and must fold some fresh laundry that is about to finish in the dryer before I go to bed. So g'nite

[Photos source: Yahoo! Movies]

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Thursday, July 5, 2007 --- Terry Border is Really Bent.

butterfly has sent you a clip...

butterfly's Message:
Some of you may have checked out one of my favorite blogs, Bent Objects, by the very talented and humorous artist, Terry Border. If you have not, you should!

That said, Terry Border has just launched a raunchier permutation of our beloved favorite. "The more graphic, black sheep cousin of Bent Objects" aka Really Bent. Below is the most recent post from the new blog, "Teabag". Hilarious fun!

[For the more sheltered folks in the crowd, who may not know what "teabagging" is, you can get a brief education at Needless to say, if you are a "Yute", you probably should ask your parents before looking at the Really Bent blog.]

Get Clipmarks - The easiest way to email text, images and videos you find on the web. It's free!
Sent with Clipmarks

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Monday, June 11, 2007 --- Recently acquired items of cuteness...and a heart-melting sweetie!

I am loving these new items that we got at the outlet a few days ago...very cute cotton, empire-waisted shirts from Old Navy. I got this white one as well as black and navy.

...and my ethnic-looking leather sandals from Naturalizer (very comfy on the tootsies!).

And, as a bonus treat for all of you cat lovers...a picture from Noodle's latest kitty photo session! He just melts his momma's heart --- in spite of how evil he can be...

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Saturday, February 17, 2007 --- Cruising Flickr for interesting stuff...Vintage Advertising!

Something you might not know...I have an insatiable love of vintage graphic art and illustrations --- especially advertising illustrations from the early to mid-1900's. In almost every room of our apartment, you will find some sort of poster or framed postcard displaying this fact. Cappiello, Cassandre and Steinlen, oh my! In today's mostly photo-driven advertising, the beauty and attention to detail encompassed in these vivid commercial artworks are things to be missed.

While the pre-Women's Lib aspects of much of the vintage advertising (especially from the 1950's and 1960's) will not be missed, I admit, I do derive a great deal of amusement from illustrations depicting this lack of enlightenment.

I recently found this little collection of funny gems posted on Flickr by bayouborne. Particulary his "Atomic Housewife", "Motorola" and "Pharma Made Us Do It" photo sets. Some hilarious stuff in there and his accompanying comments are pretty funny, too!

Anyway, if you are into this stuff, there are some great Photo Pools set up on Flickr:

And, of course, one of my favorite providers of sarcastic vintage products:, the home of this little beauty, which proudly hangs in our apartment's dining area!

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________ - THE BUTTERFLY BLOG - Copyright ©2007 Vanessa Lee Hamlen. All rights reserved.

Would it kill ya?

What I Am Doing...

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About Me

I am a graphic designer. I love animals and have quite a few pets. There is a frustrated DJ inside of me --- hence, my ongoing obsession with making music mixes.

Recent Posts


Musical Goodness

-- Music from Butterfly's personal library --

LORI'S LABOR: A collection of 6 unique playlists with varying intensity and mood for your listening pleasure! I created these original mixes for my friends to use during the labor and delivery of their first baby, Nicholas.

You can visit their blog here: ---> The Bridenstines!

Listen to my comical, purposefully nasal, total HAM-job submission to the 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert in the mini-player above!
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vanessa lee hamlen
towhead productions
lizzie sue
the Daily Lizzard
joe hinsburg
fleck family
katie haverly music
joe sorren art
the sneeze
archie mcphee toys
eric joyner robot art
nishant choksi illustration
neth creatures
grammar girl
go fug yourself
jeffrey fulvimari art
don't click it
favourite website awards
paul neave
jared tarbell flash art
liquid journey flash art
my pet skeleton
tobie giddio fashion illustration
van beater art
pure breed revolution
pixel girl
jay bibby game reviews
the mighty jimbo
be the boy
sweet blog o' mine
bent objects - sculpture blog
terry border art
anne taintor - vintage gift items
anne...straight from the hip
the naked rabbit world power foundation
i can has cheezburger
passive aggressive notes
citizen of the month
the daly blog
craxy's blog
john's adventures
guerrilla gardening
kung foodie
this is blythe
deron cohen art
life student
hug nation
march of the hugmobile
tales from the dad side
ikea hacker
easy being green
marc johns's blog - mildly amusing drawings
ideal bite - easy green living ideas
gathering in light - c. wess daniels
schmutzie's milkmoney or not, here i come
we are rantasaurus rex, hear us roar
the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks
lyrical venus
the world's most local burger
readymade: instructions for everyday life
giant microbes
busted tees
inarticulate fumblings
i am the diva
wesley riot
queen of spain
in palinode's palace
mustaches of the nineteenth century
sera faery NEW! - the daily overdosage NEW!

DO NOT CLICK on the following links if you are under the age of 18! These blogs are not for you...

really bent
where i vent my spleen
cocky bastard
tassy pink

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