By Sandie Maxa

October 15, 2007


I can now imagine living in a transparent box. Standing inside Philip Johnson's Glass House I felt as if I was part of the landscape -- a feeling I would guess is even more acute if it is raining or snowing. The property holds several buildings, but the glass house is the most welcoming.

April 12, 2007


Roasting a chicken, people say, is easy. And it can be. But to reach poultry perfection I've tried many things.

January 8, 2007


photo by China Foto Press

As I did last year, I am posting some of the highlights of the past year. Best wishes to all Gutsy readers in 2007!

September 27, 2006

Last night I made my way to Harlem for Amateur Night at the Apollo. Talented young men and women belted out everything from gospel hymns to pop anthems like Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. The performers touched the Tree of Hope (a good luck charm on stage) and then went on to do their thing. As a valued audience member, I was asked to either "show the love" by clapping or to boo and bring out the Executioner, who would ring an alarm and escort the act off stage similar to the Gong Show. While all this was very exciting, the warm-up act had me the most entertained.

August 22, 2006


The best thing about my workspace is that I have a big white wall above my desk where I post things that catch my eye.

August 15, 2006


Monday night I sat with 5,000 other moviegoers in the cool grass of Bryant Park to watch the 1963 film Charade. It was the second time I've seen this movie which Internet Movie Database classifies as: Comedy / Crime / Mystery / Romance / Thriller (more).

June 28, 2006


About a month ago, some friends and I headed north to visit Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York. 500 acres of farmland are home to large-scale modern sculptures by artists including Alexander Calder, Mark diSuvero, Andy Goldsworthy, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Nevelson, Richard Serra and many others. Most of the work was created post 1960.

June 6, 2006


In a fit of apartment cleaning on a rainy Saturday, I posted an ad on Craig's List to sell my 1993 not-ridden-since-the-2002-bus-strike bike that was taking up valuable space in the kitchen. I got a few bites, but no takers. I re-posted the ad this morning and got five replies in one hour. Not surprisingly, people browse the internet looking for used bikes during the work day lull from 2-3pm.

May 24, 2006


Alias, the TV drama on ABC, aired its last episode on Monday night. I for one will miss it. Although the plot lines could be uneven, the following list describes why it was a good show.

April 14, 2006

On a recent trip to the Twin Cities I was talking to my mom about plans to replace the existing "regular" Target with a new Super Target on University Avenue in St. Paul. A plan to move the building back from the street 100 yards is being rejected by the community board because many in the neighborhood access the store via the bus. If the new Target moves a block south, shoppers would have to carry their goods quite a distance to reach the bus stop. What about using carts?

February 20, 2006


Last Saturday I visited a used book store in Port Jefferson, New York. It was cold and blustery... a perfect day to wander the stacks without a plan. Smitten with the colorful covers and straightforward titles in my immediate view, I found myself in the section, ANIMALS, for a good long time.

January 25, 2006


Thanks to Rebar for the image.

Rebar, a creative collective based in San Franciso has completed their first PARK(ing) intervention: an experiment in "reprogramming a typical unit of private vehicular space by leasing a metered parking spot for public recreational activity." Basically, they load up a truck, find an empty parking space, roll out some sod and a bench and "rent" a sunny spot in downtown San Francisco for two hours and $1.50.

January 3, 2006


At the end of the year, I like to flip through my old calendar and review my daily activities. Among the notes reminding me to pay rent and go to doctor's appointments are excitable scribbles (usually in red) that remind me it was a good year. Here are my favorites.

December 2, 2005

If you like competition -- experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat -- sports are an obvious pastime. For the brainiacs, there's spelling bees and speed crossword competitions. Food lovers can compete in eating contests; consuming everything from hot dogs to ten-pound turkeys. And the publicity-hungry have the reality tv circuit. Good at traveling? Enter the Amazing Race. Have a great voice? Become the next American Idol. So how can people in the arts become trophy winners?

November 16, 2005

Every year I eat myself silly. Turkey, mashed potatoes and of course, pie. Indulging on delicious food has always been a part of my Thanksgiving. Add to that a few days off work, the crisp fall air and you've got some of my favorite things about the holiday. But food and a lazy weekend weren't always the highlights.

October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween!

October 21, 2005

As travelers streamed on the plane I was taking from Houston to New York last Saturday, I sighed with relief as the two seats next to mine remained empty. Could I be lucky enough to get a whole row to myself for this three and a half hour flight? No.

October 4, 2005


After reading what I thought would be an average story about how China was preparing for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, I found myself eager to share some interesting details from China Changes Coarse in the Los Angeles Times.

September 14, 2005


Photo of Martina Navratilova's (in blue shorts) mixed doubles match.

I love the US Open. I experienced the tennis extravaganza for the third time and grew even more fond of the event this year. It's a great way to watch a lot of tennis in a venue where you can get close to the action. One caveat: a rainy day would definitely lower the score.

September 1, 2005


Like my fellow Americans, I've been watching the news footage of Hurricane Katrina's destruction with sadness. The losses in the beautiful city of New Orleans (and the rest of the Gulf Coast) are devasting. Let's hope our country is able to help rebuild a city with as much charm and grace as it had before the storm. Here is what I loved about New Orleans on my first and only visit.

August 26, 2005

I did a double take last night. While enjoying the sounds of Sugar Hill Gang at an outdoor concert in Manhattan, I saw someone wearing a bullet-proof vest over a t-shirt. It was navy blue with a white star on the back. Is it real, I wondered. Is this guy so bad-ass that he's bold enough to make a public appearance, yet smart enough to protect himself from the dangerous people he associates with?

Or it it FASHION?

August 15, 2005


Every now and then I face the unwelcome task of retrieving an item from the back of the closet. The good news is that I often find something that I wasn't looking for, but am glad that I saved -- like a stack of my travel journals. I thought I'd share a few entries on GUTSY as part of a series.

While my photos tend to remind me of a beautiful, optimistic trip, the journals remind me of the hard details, costs, and discomforts encountered. I'm glad I have both.

August 5, 2005


After a stressful week in NYC, I was happy to hop a plane to my home state of Minnesota for a weekend camping trip. After a two-hour drive from Minneapolis, I was transported to a land of tall pines, rushing rivers and a star-filled night sky. While these natural phenomena put me at ease, nothing says "vacation" like seeing the brown wooden signs in the Minnesota State Park system.

July 28, 2005


Ever wonder what it's like to be a twin? I can tell you that it's cool to grow up with someone who's the same age and has similar interests. I can tell you that we sometimes meet for breakfast wearing the same color and type of shirt, but insist on changing to avoid looking too twinny. I can tell you that we look alike but that you wouldn't notice the things about us that are most similar (we have cavities in the same teeth and matching moles on our arms). I can tell you that the most unusual thing about us is that we're called "mirror twins" because I am left-handed with supposedly right-brain tendancies and my sister is right-handed with supposedly left-brain tendancies. While I think all this is great, I'm pretty sure we won't be getting a call to audition as the next Doublemint Twins.

July 20, 2005

Keeping T-Shirts in the Moment, an article in today's New York Times profiles the mini companies who make and sell limited edition t-shirts to hipsters (usually on-line). The article profiles several entrepreneurs, from unknown artists who use t-shirts as a blank canvas for their work to frustrated graphic designers longing to restore authenticity to a t-shirt market polluted by fake vintage designs. And I agree, long live indie t-shirts... until I read about the Hollywood actresses who started the company Just Dumped Inc.

July 2, 2005

Thursday's front page article in the New York Times supplement, Marketplace titled "But Can You Handle the Olive Pits?" reveals that "the lack of formal dining knowledge seems especially acute in Generation Y - generally considered anyone born after 1980." The story went on to say that colleges were solving this problem by holding dining etiquette classes for their students in an effort to give them an edge during interviews and business meetings that occur over lunch.

not gutsy
June 23, 2005

You'll notice that there is not an image accompanying this article. Because my fear of snakes is so bad, I can't even look at a picture of a leg-less reptile without hyperventilating. A few years ago, I cavalierly opened The Big Pop-Up Book of Phobias at a bookstore and when the inevitable snake popped up (as promised in the title) I dropped the book and ran screaming for the door, much to the embarrassment of my companion.

June 16, 2005


I would love to buy this bathmat by Dutch designer, Hella Jongerius. Browsing her site for textiles, I unexpectedly came across a photo of the Bathroommat and proclaimed it perfect. It is stylish, simple and appears to allow wet feet to grip the surface, although unfortunately it is no longer for sale. A disappointing Google search told me that it was designed in 1993 and now rests in the collection of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Netherlands.

June 6, 2005


Our studio is the proud owner of a brand new Altec Lansing MX-5021. This fascinating stereophonic device includes:
- 2 satellites
- subwoofer
- wired controller
- wireless remote
- 2 speaker wires
- 3.5 mm stereo audio cable
- console gaming y-adapter

But no receiver, no cd player and no tape player.

May 28, 2005


Living in the Midwest for the first 29 years of my life has left me with an anxious feeling on Memorial Day weekend. Enduring months (usually six) of cold temperatures, freezing rain, snowstorms, ice, and howling winds; and the activities that go with them: shoveling, scraping ice off a windshield, cautious driving and wearing multiple layers of clothing makes the arrival of summer the most anticipated event of the year for me.

May 20, 2005


A family trip to Coney Island included a few wild rounds of Skeeball. We soon found ourselves with 97 tickets. A look at the prize gallery told us that nothing worth having was priced under 100 tickets so we headed back to the Skeeball court. 13 more tickets were quickly won, making us proud owners of a pink poodle (value 110 tickets).

May 10, 2005


"Our team works hard to bring you the highest quality products."

If any of you don't know what I look like, you will now. I am the short dark-haired one in the first row. I am not part of a large staff. I work in a small home office with one other person. There are no red bricks on my sidewalk. I make high-quality products, but not the Mean Green Machines, Pak-A-Punches or 2-in-1 Automatic Cutter/Strippers that most of the folks in this photo do.

May 2, 2005


From the New York Times. Arts Briefly, April 29, 2005.

A guerrilla artists' group called Heavy Trash, making a statement against gated communities, has erected "viewing platforms" outside three well-off Los Angeles neighborhoods, including Laughlin Park.
April 29, 2005


Synonyms: Swine's Snout
Botanical: Taraxacum officinale

April 26, 2005

Our firm received a resume the other day from a young "Usability Specialist/Researcher" The problem... we couldn't tell what the person uses and how that is special. Perhaps one of the worst cover letters sent to a graphic design firm that I have ever read follows...

April 21, 2005

I have fond memories of my imaginary friend, Workaschmizer. Although I made him up, he was somewhat of an enigma. A permanent resident of my closet, he looked like a black blob. He had a voice and and lively personality but no discernable form. He wasn't really a person... more like an energy field.

not gutsy
April 13, 2005

At 16 I opened an account at my mom's credit union and I have received their quarterly newsletter, City-County & You ever since. For many years it was printed in all one color (Reflex Blue) with a logotype inspired by the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. It should be something you toss out with the irrelevant "Low Mortgage Rates" insert, but I can't help but read every word.

March 28, 2005


Just the other day we were looking for chocolate bunnies WITH ears. Alas they had all been sold to moms, dads, grandmas or chocolate fiends... So the only poor bunnies left were the deaf ones. Maybe they didn't hear us calling to them on 11:30pm Easter eve?

March 15, 2005

From the New York Times today...

Thought that this article was a good fit with GUTSY. This article describes the little things that people do to make a statement. Things to try to beat The Man. We've all done it... Ordered a coffee at Starbucks as a small rather than the requisite Grande.