Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good night and good luck.

My last day of work, and they are really making it worth coming in.
29 emails saying they were upset to find out I was being laid off and sad to see me go, wishing me luck and happiness.
One e-card from a department wishing me well.
A real card from the guys at the datacenter thanking me for my hard work
-5-people- 6 people demanding I take down their personal emails to be used as references.
3 new friend requests on Facebook.
Weird txts from a former coworker out of the blue who tells me he's doing fine, and good for him.
More conversations about favorite video games to kill time with (as I have espoused to be doing all next week with my free time.) than I could shake a stick at.
Pizza courtesy of one of my buddies in Ops.
No less than 8 phone conversations from people wanting to thank me for my help with their issues.
I had no idea I'd made such an impact or garnered such a fan base. I almost feel bad, except it wasn't my decision to leave.
It's nice to be appreciated. I think the glow of this might carry me for a bit and bolster me while I'm interviewing in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And now for a tangent.

A quick palate cleanser for folks, if you click right here it'll take you to the website of Jan Vormann. Jan plugs up holes in architecture using legos, and it's an ongoing art project. He has used legos to "heal" war damage from WWII in Germany.
You can't help but smile to see an old brick wall with hundreds of little blocks in primary colors. There's got to be an occupation that allows you to be a ninja-smile-extractor like that. I think that should be my next job.

Actual Conversation #72 ~ where proper respect for your helpdesk is examined.

me: Love when people try to get special treatment by lying.
"I'm at corporate and I need these files."
No. No you're not. You're a contractor in Minnesota.
gr: *chuckles* Wow, that's a bad one
me: Behold my ability to do a NAME SEARCH. Search-ninja! Whoo-pah!
Yeah. I laughed quite a bit.

I have yet to figure out why people do that. My first clue was when he gave me his phone number, which was NOT a Charlotte, NC area-code. Then when I asked if it was his cell phone he said no, it was his landline.
Apparently not realizing that I deal with Corporate on a daily basis, this gentleman decided to try and make it seem like a bigger deal by lying about his location, as items from Corporate do generally take precedence. He also didn't seem to realize I had the ability to look him up via his last name and know exactly where he was, his position in the company, and who he reported to.
If you read this and you contemplating doing something along the same lines of douche-baggery in the future to someone who's trying to help you in tech support or any other helpdesk capacity, think on this and know that they'll see immediately if you're lying. Also, the next time you call up you can be assured they're that much less likely to give a damn if you get resolved. Just food for thought.
Of course, my last day is tomorrow so my usual interest in getting something done for a person to make their life easier has slipped. Just a tad.

Toldja I'd get back to ranting about something. :D

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update? Not really...

Started sweater for bigger niece, digging the colors and the bubble stitch. Finishing first pair of gift socks as we speak. Intend to finish 2nd pair over next week with all of the free time on my hands, as well as start baby hat and booties. If there's enough yarn left over I'll see about making something for bigger niece to match younger niece. If not, may just make something in entirely different colors.

Used up what is apparently the last of the 120 film last night doing time-lapse shots of a thunderstorm coming in. I hope it comes out. 800 speed Fuji film in the face of lightning? It's a magical thing. And possibly overexposed, we'll see.

Cheki film STILL has not arrived so I'm gonna go yell at the slow-ass Koreans that sold it to me and tell them to hurry the shipping up. I am not a patient consumer and this should probably be a warning on my eBay profile.

Pwned the java code with help from Bob and still loving it. But we're both of the same mind, I need to sit down and work with it in other instances to see how it fits together. It's like learning Japanese. I've got some words and phrases but if I had to describe a thought I'd never come across before I'd be screwed. Time to remedy that. Thankfully I have a LOT of free time coming up here to work on learning Java a little better and work on knitting things. 'Cuz I have to finish up other surprises for people AND the crocheted sweater I started for myself around March. And Bob. I promised him a sweater and he keeps hinting at it politely, especially when I ponder aloud what to make next ("How about a SWEATER? That would be neat, I would like that!" he cries...)
Since I have the ring on my finger and everybody knows I'm guessing the man is serious and the sweater curse might not strike... I guess I'll try it. I think if I start, though, maybe I'll do it with the understanding that we'll be writing up a prenup just in case.
It'll be the greatest prenup ever. It will read in Helvetica, 14 pt., standard left aligned: "She leave w/what she came with. He leave w/what he came with." and that'll be it.
Honestly we probably won't have to go to such drastic measures. I think he's sensible enough that issues won't arise we can't solve. But that also makes it less funny to write about, hence the momentary indulgence there.

I wish the Nikon had time lapse on it. I've got some redscale film I've been meaning to play with and we're headed for a week of lightning off in the distance I would love to catch. My new tripod works beautifully and I can't wait to use it again outside.

I didn't mean for this to become a blog about toy cameras and fiber crafts. Really I didn't. I'll make fun of something bitterly in the near future, I swear...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Week's Roundup.

My everlasting claim to fame will be as "that chick that created Holga Blog's fave-icon and their Twitter profile pic."
I'm actually rather proud of it. If you go to the website and check out either their browser tab or the icon next to their URL in the address bar, you'll be able to see my work. It's very tiny, yet detailed enough that you can tell that's a Holga. Only 16 square pixels to work with too, folks. Ta-DAH!
I went on after that to continue to play with the favicon generator and created an 8-spoked Dharma wheel with accents and a Companion Cube a la Portal. It is possibly the most successful art-day I've had in a while.
I don't think I wrote about this yet, so I will and it'll be the last time. My Keyboard Cat did NOT win the G4 art contest. It did make it to round 2 (and it was on the wall in a quick video clip they did on Wednesday, so I was excited to see that it had been seen)
In a further bit o' awesomeness, however, the staff at G4 was so impressed with what they received that they're sending the entries to Meltdown Comics in L.A. to be on display for the week there. From there I'm hoping they make their way to the Kitten Rescue and collect a ton of money for those folks. My main goal was to make people grin and smile when they saw it, and help out homeless kitties. I think I've satisfied those two goals, and I can now let the artwork go in to the ether and continue on it's journey, wherever it ends up. (Although part of me would like to know who loves it enough to take it home, but that's probably just the ego talking.)

A quick shot of some Vintage Camera Pr0n. A quick click will show you a wall of awesome images from film's earlier days. I love the arcane, scientific look of them, it comes across as very steampunk AND architectural. Just go look. You might recognize some of them from your childhood! I just dig looking at them, personally.

This coming week is my last week at SPX. It's obvious that they are not thrilled with having to let me go, and are doing all in their power to help me get a new position elsewhere. I'm grateful. It's sort of become my idiom to go in to a place that is in the midst of flux and riding it out until it's done. Then I move on. It's always been the way of things, really, since I joined the workforce. I helped close down Earthlink, I rode out the contract for the state Medicare hotline until it was done, then I moved to Sprint until it became Embarq. Shortly after I departed because their policies changed and they started using words like "India" and "rigid sales quota". This is just an extension of all of that endy-ness. There's other instances outside of work, like being the last person to have dinner in a restaurant closing, the last to shop somewhere, the last to travel somewhere before it's closed, cut down or paved over forever. If it's anybody's "thing" to look change in the face as it's happening, it's mine. I ride the crest of it like a 13 year old on a boogie-board.
I plan on getting a cake to say thank you and sending out an email to everyone on Thursday to thank them for making it such a wonderful place to work at. I got to really build relationships and trust up with these people and it's my sincere hope that I can come in to a place like that again in my next job.
After this I would hate to go to another call center with rapid-fire phone calls coming in from people I would talk to for 10 minutes and then never hear from again. It would also drain me entirely. I don't know how I would handle that again and also manage school competently. But we'll see. Something unique might be in the wings for me and I shouldn't start deciding what's ahead of me just yet.
I'm looking forward to the chance to relax and focus on the Java coding that I'm in now. It'll allow me personal time to develop programs on the side and help me see how everything fits together neatly. I am looking forward to it a bit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And in this corner...

It is probably a well known fact by now that I seriously dig toy cameras and what they can do.
My very first was the bright red Holga a lot of my friends and family have seen. Since then has come the Oktomat and the Cheki, the latter of which I am foaming at the mouth to shoot with but my %*!#*(*&! film has not shown up.
I had been eyeing the Diana F+ cameras for a bit now, specifically the "Glow" model (featured previously and drooled over copiously) but in the back of my mind I kept wondering if there was enough of a difference between the two to justify the expense. After all, they were basically the same thing, a plastic box with plastic lenses that you stuck film in and clicked away at. Just one was more square, and one more rectangular with an external flash.
But then apparently someone else had this thought, or at least felt the need to compare the two in open, Mortal Kombat. (Not really, althought that would've been cool.) From this came the Holga vs. Diana+ Shoot Out where the two cameras were taken out and used to photograph the same things side by side.
On the whole you can tell there IS a difference. They are both prone to the same darkening around the edges, the same tapering off of focus in to haziness and blurred edges. However, they do it very differently.
You can check it out for yourself if you click here.
Some of the images, though plain, are very beautiful through the lens of a toy camera.
The most important distinction I noticed is that that "dreamy" haze they pound in to you as being a great selling point at is far more pronounced in the Diana. Upon reflection I would've loved that quality in some of the photos from Tokyo, but what I got wasn't bad. The Holga in general just has better focus.
There is another thing that I noticed and that struck me most sharply. The Holga 120N that they used rendered an image that was on the warm side of the spectrum every time. I am assuming that they used a standard 120N straight out of the box prepped to prevent against light leaks and then took off from there. I am assuming the same for the Diana+, meaning that the Holga they used wasn't much different from mine, glass lenses and included color flash aside. So that means in situations where we'd be shooting people, cities, or a warmer-toned environment a Holga would probably be enjoyable.
Of further amusement to me is that the Diana+ shot on the cool/blue end of the spectrum in every shot. I can see all sorts of benefits from this, using it to take pictures of landscapes, oceanscapes, skyshots anything with a lot of green and growing things in it, etc. I can also see where it would affect the outcome of black and white film used in it. I got some gorgeous shots with my Holga in b&w. I would get a cooler more old time-y look out of it with the Diana+.
Nevermind that the Diana has a lot more accessories that go with it, this now shows to me that it would be a different experience to shoot with one. Bob might kill me for getting ~another~ toy camera, but the chance to play with one that's the same yet so different is a little too appealing.
Just not right now. Maybe it'll be a "yay, you have a new job and won't force your new husband to be destitute with you" present. That would rock.

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Toy Camera Gluttony.

My second to final toy-camera was picked up from the post office this weekend. Behold, the cutest thing that resembles a candy bar yet is functional technology that you have ever seen: Is it not adorable? It acts as a Polaroid but is smaller and doesn't use the discontinued film that Polaroid used to create (and stopped doing as of January 2008, may it rest in peace.) This is a Fuji Instax 7s "Cheki".
I'm currently waiting for the film to show up that I ordered to take it for a test drive, and of course you know that I will spam the images here of things I sort-or managed to capture.
It's small and fun and has happy characters on the back in Japanese that are just adorable and add to the charm of the little thing. It's surprisingly heavy for its size but that's due to the 4 AA batteries it takes to run the thing.
I already have a special little photo album the shape and size of the films that will come out of this thing, and I really look forward to getting to play with it and refining its use. It may not technically be a toy because it's so automated, but it certainly looks like one. I'm glad I got the chocolate one instead of the all white one, too, as it won't fade or yellow or get visible stains and scratches on it. It's just cool. I've got nothing to really say about it but I just want to babble on about it.
Anyway... it's here. You'll see the aftermath of its arrival soon enough.

Actual Conversation # 71 - wherein both coding and romance are perfected

(Let this be prefaced with the fact that I struggled with loops in Java for 3 hours last night.)

me: Tonight I might code fish.
I think after I get my coding annotated and finish checking out everybody else's, write summaries and answer questions, if there is time then I shall code fish. :)
gru: Fishies! Code fishies!
me: blub blub! ><)))->
long fish is long.
gru: :-) I just got that!
me: >^.,.^<(long int is long)~
(I forget the number! Doh!
gru: Yes, close your parens please :-)
me: {}
gru: Thank you :-)
me: {<3}
gru: { if you == Helen love = true;}
{else love = $5 up front}
me: LOL
me: Int = Bob
gru: Yay!
me: for (int Bob = 1; i <= infinity; i++) {
System.out.println("Of course there's still love.")
gru: Awwww!
grudan523: And it was perfect too. So hawt!
me: ^_^
Also... WIN.

(And while the coding is correct, I dock myself 5 relationship points for having the gall to point out that not only did I get it right, I was being sweet. That's like asking somebody to tell you how nice you are.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blindsided like Helen Keller on a freeway.

In the greatest twist ever, I am now being terminated. In two weeks, the last day of July. About one month from my wedding. Same as it happened last time. :)

I feel as if there is a very tiny marble in my center roiling with anxiety. The rest of me is going "Huh. So what's next?"
It is an odd place to be in, but I'm glad I'm not curled up on the floor weeping in fear. We'll just, well, see what's next.
My god, maybe I paint and write and submit stuff. I've been waiting all this time and it's happening sooner than I Is it wrong to be slightly excited? I am.
I have a great feeling of "shedding", like this job was part of the old me, the me that had all of that past crap with friends and jobs and relationships and I'm growing out of it. This is the final holdover from that time period. Hell, even the houseplants I brought to the apartment all died off about 3 weeks ago. It's all just the energy of moving on in giant, fat sway.
Let's do this, Universe. I'm ready!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Assumptions Kill All Common Sense

I'm going to highlight a little concept for everyone today that perfectly illustrates how much your outlook, your mindset, controls your perception of the world around you.
We've heard this for years and most people go yes yes of course, I will strive to be HAPPY, but that's not just it. Being happy means that you are still making assumptions about everything in front of you. You are still forcing them to be perceived in a certain fashion, in this case happy. It's double worse if you don't FEEL happy but you're telling yourself it is. You're making the ego do a deep back-bend and just letting the "self" have as much time and energy as it wants for all of this.
Case in point, the story of the ghost picture at the Lambertville School.
Many years ago it was noted by people checking out the Lambertville School (abandoned) that there were strange images on the walls upstairs, and that they were ghostly images. When you see the pictures you'll see why, but they're really not ghostly so much as "white". Like the color. That a lot of artists use. But I digress, and must also allow that ghosts are typically painted in a white color.
Several stories about the place abound, and we get this first description of the images when one woman first looked at them:
"None of the children are smiling. They all have painful faces, and many have their arms clutched to their chests. The etchings all seemed to be looking to the right of the room, near the windows that give a beautiful view of the Delaware River and the woods of Pennsylvania. There was one girl, however, looking directly to the center, both arms crossed like she was in a coffin."
This woman walked in waiting to see ghostly images and she sees chilren with arms clutched to their chests. If you read the page you'll see that she's basically waiting for something eerie to occur/be produced at the place, and that it has colored her perception of what's in front of her. How do I know this? Well, because of the second description from another's perspective who visited the site:
"In one picture the kids appear to be saying the ‘pledge of allegiance.’ In the other picture it looks like a scene taken from a class in progress.
Whoever the artist is, the detail is fantastic. I am amazed on the detail of one of the picture: All of the little faces just looking so thrilled to be there. It reminded me of my time in school. All that’s missing is somebody staring at the clock waiting for the bell to ring."

They are happy. And they are saying the pledge of allegiance. Which, stop me if I am wrong, is generally what children do in school, right?
I'm not going to call the first woman a moron just yet though I am thinking it very loudly in my head, because I want you to be the judge of this. Here. I have a picture of the ghostly pictures.
Do they look like they're in pain? Nope. The girl with her arms crossed over her chest? Am I the only one that sees her arm hanging at her side and that she has the diagonal styling of her dress crossing underneath one of her arms? The children look like they're bored and/or reciting the pledge of allegiance, just as schoolkids would.
Nevermind that the artist is having to work with a fussy substance by carving these pictures in to the slate of the blackboard and that may not allow him to impart the usual expressiveness to his images. (Or perhaps he's captured their expressions perfectly. I'm sure I looked like that in school.)
Let's take a look at another of the images. You know, just for grins.
Oh, wait. There isn't shit going on in that picture, actually. Except kids sitting at their desks calmly while the teacher faces them. Granted, the picture isn't the best detail and there may very well be something disemboweling and consuming a student in the back of this picture that we can't see because it's a bit hazy. But I do think we can safely assume that this is just a regular school scene.
Here's the problem. Creepy abandoned places are assumed to be haunted because.. .well, just because. It is a common theme not just in Western culture, but in all cultures for abandoned and ruined places to be the domain of the restless dead. Why? Someone somewhere wrote a far more in depth and boring dissertation on it for their thesis at 156 pages and you're probably better getting it from them. But I think it's because we need to fill that shape that is familiar to us with other things that are familiar and of a similar vein. It is the ghost of a former used school and therefore the residual energy of the students must also be there. The happiest house on earth fallen in to great disrepair will spawn some story of hellspawn leaping from the basement and great misdeeds done to the family within the walls simply because it isn't regular, it's decrepit, and with the immediacy of this image and our inability to imagine beyond the present we assume that the decrepit nature of it must have extended back to the individuals from the past who were inside. It's assuming the moment exists forever on TOP of the ego telling you what the world around you is all about. Double foul!
Now of course, I make fun of the first lady and sort of chuckle at the second woman for their associations. The first let someone else's predisposition to believe the place was haunted color her own perceptions, in that she found out about the "ghostly images" from another who had visited the place. The prior individual had decided they were eerie and passed along this in their wording of what they saw. Then this woman walked in expecting to find something creepy and did, decided that the children in the images are in great pain, and staring off to the right not because of the perspective of the image, but because there's something weird about the forest. She is obviously not an artist and is not objective. And really I don't have a right to be smug, but in this case it was rather obvious she had specific thoughts in her mind before she even arrived.
The second woman is also guilty, deciding that they are happy, sounding as if she herself had happy memories of childhood and applied that to the image. I don't see that happiness in their faces. Perhaps in closer detail it's visible but we have a pretty good view of the overall feel of things and that doesn't come across. And there's just this nagging bit that she fed her own feelings about school in to the artwork.
We will ignore an entirely separate rant that I could go on about excitability of individuals who think they've encountered something paranormal. I could go on for pages about that stupidity. But you shall be spared. Perhaps another time.
This is how life goes. You already have the assumptions built in to you at this moment whether you realize it or not. And it will tell you for the rest of your life what you are seeing so that you'll never actually know what's in front of you unless you learn to sidestep and see past them.
Even I have this problem. Because I look at the image and snort and go "No, they're all bored schoolkids."
But they're not.
They're not even schoolkids.
They're incised marks on a surface that form a pattern human eyes pick up and automatically decipher as specific shapes and forms. In this case, we're seeing schoolkids.
It's when I see things like these and snicker that I'm smart enough to catch myself and take a step back. I can look at myself and see if I'm doing the same thing. Usually I am or I have in the past, and I have empathy for the person. But it really highlights for me just how much we let our ego and our thoughts control how we view the world, and how much we miss by letting that happen. These pictures are beautiful, and the individual who took the time to carve them is incredibly gifted. To walk in and see children in pain, not stopping to admire the perspective or the technique or even ponder the amount of time it probably took to do it, is something alien to me. But at the same time it isn't really wrong, per se. It's just not what's really in front of us. It boggles me that people wouldn't want to see what's really in front of them when it is so much deeper and richer than what their brain tells them is there.
In the meantime, this was for me a good exercise in seeing ego in action and being able to recognize it in myself even as I'm laughing about it in others.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Having me a bit o' weirdness here.
Spent most of this evening with a story that randomly popped in to my head about a man who takes care of the hellhounds of England. You know, the black dogs that show up as a portend of death to the older families. I haven't thought about the subject in years, hadn't seen anything lately about it and hadn't really even touched on similar topics that might stir something up by association. I just went with it and had a great deal of fun, but was pondering the whole time where it came from.
I'm watching "Syfy" and poking through deviantArt. An ad for a movie comes on for this weekend. The title? "Hellhounds". I am creeped out just a bit. But then I take a look at my watched artists list and someone has submitted a bit of artwork.
The focus of it? Yeah. Hellhounds.
So that's weeeeeird...
...but wait, there's more.
On Monday I handled an issue for a woman in one of our departments. She was one of the great ones to work with over the phone and seemed happy with what I managed to get done for her. Not a bad person. As I looked at her name on the ticket I was creating I had a stray thought of "I'll see her name again by the end of the week. On a termination. That's too bad"
Today I processed a lot of terminations for people, and I recognized a LOT of the names that showed up in the queue. It was depressing. Until I got to her name and just stared at it. There was no reason for me to suspect it was coming. No emails or hints. I just thought of it in passing, then dismissed it as being stupid. But it wasn't. I was right.
I'm often stuck with moments of serendipity and synchronicity like that so it doesn't often strike me as unusual... except that this was pretty specific. It's normally not. I dunno what to make of it. I came home, asked for us to order out because I was messed up over helping fire the nice people of the world and drank some tequila in my coca-cola. After this latest bit with the hellhounds I may take another shot and call it a night.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Toy Camera Addition?

Me want pretty. :(
It was on eBay for several months and I kept putting off because there were so many listings for it. Then, magically, it disappeared. It's been several months and not returned. This is one of those moments where I fell in love with something then decided to wait, and apparently waited too long. Not sure now whether I should take that as a hint that it wasn't meant to be or if I should keep searching. I am seriously kicking myself, however.
It's so utterly adorable, and very reminiscent of my first camera (a Kodak 35mm point and shoot given to my by my Grandmother with utterly no choice of focal length, aperture, or anything... just whether the flash went on or not.) and it was so unusual and girly-pink that I fell in love with it. If I ever see one I'm going to grab it.
Meanwhile, interwebs, if anybody sees this for sale out there, holler! I will be eternally grateful.
I'm happy to say that I have only one more camera on my list that I absolutely want. The Diana F+ Glow. Behold its glory;

And yes, per it's name it DOES literally glow in the dark as long as it's been near a light recently. If you're in the midst of shooting time lapses in low light, I could see that coming in handy (or conversely futzing up your shot by the ambient light it would add...)
I love it. I've been waiting to see it on eBay since charges out the NOSE for everything it sells -and let's face it, being trendy tacks $50 on to anything, even a semi-mutable hunk of plastic- so I'm a super happi gurl that it showed up. I look forward to the chance to play with a different
interpretation of a toy camera/entirely manual setup.
Anyway, that's a toy for another time. I just hope I don't wait again so long that it's no longer for sale, as it's a special edition Diana model. *sigh* Oh, the balance between being an early adopter and entirely missing the train...
That, the adapter lenses for it and a Holga ringflash and I'll consider myself equipped and finished.
I love Bob for putting up with my obsessions. Art supplies, manifestations of yarn crafting, and photography. He doesn't even blink, just glad it makes me happy.

Lols and Cats, but not together!

Bit embarrassed to admit I laughed at this and THEN put it in my feed but Why Women Hate Men and Psychotic Letters From Men are hilarious. And unfortunately thanks to my past relations with the male of the species, I relate on waaay too many levels. When I came across a post about a girl who was stalked by someone in WoW and sent emails and texts and things, I gave an involuntary shudder based on how close to home it hit.
I felt a sort of kinship for all the times I'd dealt with awkwardness, with people wanting power in a situation, with people deluding themselves in to thinking "no" wasn't really serious... and I was a bit ashamed to realize what a withe in the wind I'd been in the past, hoping the storm would blow over instead of standing up to it and saying no and leave me the fuck alone. Except I did. Or I've started to. I do sometimes still want to be nice and let people step on me in response.
But I stuck up for myself finally, with the support of friends, family, and my loving fiance who at that time was just a really good friend on the other side of the computer screen.
Is it mean that I get amusement from reading about poor interaction between human beings? Possibly not, because it wouldn't be if I couldn't relate on some level, either to the awkwardness or the illogical nature of it all. I guess my argument is that I laugh with understanding.

As an aside, I got up the bravery to drop Keyboard Cat in the mail this afternoon. I sent him express mail to be sure he'd get there by Monday. At this point it's all a lesson in letting go of something. Someone might fall madly in love with it and I have done what I originally intended to do, which is to share my love of cats and my inspiration to make someone's day.
But man, I love that piece of artwork. And it would be a huge, fat lie if I didn't admit I was shaking badly when I mailed it off, or a little misty-eyed that I might not see it again.
I am sitting here now taking the rosey-glasses view of things. They'll like the picture, and if it doesn't win it'll go to that kitty shelter to be auctioned off for charity, where hopefully it will bring them in enough money to buy a bag or 5 of kibble for animals that might otherwise die of starvation or disease.
I'm okay with that. Mostly.
If they do that auction online, though, I'm totally gonna bid on my own picture. Hopefully taht's allowed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Actual Conversation # 70 - No New Toys for Hollywood, and a small rant.

gru: Baby?
I just read they're making a "animated/live action" movie for the Smurfs. I might have to leave the planet now.
me: Oh fuck me.
gru: Yeah....
me: We will die together. I swear this.
It will be my blade the fells your soul.
gru: sighs We could have such a good, long life together.
me: Maybe... if we went somewhere Hollywood didn't reach. A land beyond, without media. Without stupidity.
gru: I know not of such a place...we may have to invent our own.
me: I bet I could dig a hole in Minnesota and get most of the same affect.
gru: True...but that gets cold, but it might be worth it.
me: anything would be worth a Smurf-free life with you, my darling...

I mean... seriously. You bastards have destroyed Indiana Jones, Transformers and soon enough, G.I. Joe. Just go rape Tron and The Last Starfighter, remake Wargames with Shia Le Beouf, and cast Alan Rickman as Gargamel. Do it. Just get it over with so we can start a cultural revolution over your stupid need to touch our childhood favorites in their naughty spots for the purpose of making a dollar. And when you're done, remake My Little Ponies, but put an animal cruelty spin on it somehow and have Megan Fox be in it so dads don't mind dragging their impressionable daughters to it and giving them body issues early on. I DARE YOU.
That being said, I'm still waiting for emails from investors for Average Joe Media. The state of our visual entertainment has gotten so old it can't even be considered fine wine anymore; the days of my beloved silver screen and the story for the sake of the story are dead. Dead and returned to dust, not even to be raised as a zombie in a bad late-night B-movie at the drive in. I weep. :'(

Keyboard Cat - Revisited. Repeatedly.

I have as of late been berating myself for my lack of "what the hell, let's just do it"-iveness. It was something I prided myself on doing quite often in college and that eventually fell by the wayside as I was in an environment where it became oppressive towards my former free spirit.
I've begun to feel that loosen over the past 2 years, but when it is there, my word has it held fast. My courage is the submarine and Nemo is out on the deck battling the Kraken of What If??? with a tiny little spear that is engraved with "Yup, what if? Neat, huh?"
Every day I think of things then sit on them because I am unsure I will do it right, or because i don't think I know all of the steps to properly complete it. Ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for years still sit there, not wanting to budge. Why? Because I didn't know publishing laws. I didn't know if I needed (or could afford) an agent. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do was topical. I didn't know how to market my artwork. I wasn't sure if I was wording something correctly to not piss off customers at my online shop.... a million reasons, not even diving in more than the last 2 years. They stack up and I feel them groaning above me like rusty joists in a tower.
The latest iteration of this was my initial excitement over seeing G4 TV's contest to create artwork of Keyboard Cat. The prize would be a signed poster from the G4 set and the winning artwork would be displayed. Runner-ups would go to a charity auction to help kitty rescue in L.A.
I was so stoked. I knew immediately what I wanted to do, knew how to do it, and dove in to reading the rules to make sure I was following them.
Then I came upon this one bit where it said that whatever was left over would be thrown out, and I stopped in my tracks. Cold. For a week and a half.
I couldn't get over the thought of someone taking something that I had worked SO hard on and just pitching in the garbage. It paralyzed me, and I kept thinking "What if it's not good enough? What if it doesn't even go to auction? What if it just gets tossed, like refuse?" Somehow what ~might~ happen hit me like a truck and I couldn't get over the personal commentary such an action would imply. I would love the artwork and pour my heart in to it. That it could be carelessly discarded seemed to say to me that it wouldn't be good enough, and a direct reflection of my skills. (Not the budget of the studio for postage expenses or a function of the logistical nightmare that would be returning the items.)
Hope sparked again when I saw a few examples of stuff they had gotten in the mail and I realized that I could do better than what they were holding up. I replanned, refined details in my head, then got stuck again on that little detail and I sat, twiddling my thumbs, another 3 days.
Then last night after reading on the notes for my shiny new Java programming class and the process of Object Oriented Programming (a concept that still eludes me a touch, I must admit) I got fed up with myself. I had 4 days left to draw and get the picture mailed. I could do it well. I could make it awesome. And if they threw it away? Well fuck 'em. I was going to photograph/scan the item as best I could so I had a copy for myself. I leapt up, cleared off the kitchen table, and dumped my copic markers down, en masse, sketching like a mad woman.
This was around 10 pm.
At 2 am I put the last marker down and here's what I had.

It's shaded. It's toned. It looks like the cat, and I think I properly conveyed the whole psychadelic atmosphere I was going for (although I was really irritated I didn't even have so much as a pack of neon highlighters to supplement the wild colors.) In 4 hours I went from a wimpy base sketch to that, and I actually think I did a damned fine job for it being my first major piece. I got a real feel for how the markers work together, both in close proximity and over large areas.
-based on this piece I will be avoiding large areas of color-
Anyway, they can have it now. It's done, just gotta get it rolled up and shipped off to L.A. I'm proud that I went to the trouble of getting the image on paper, at least, so I know what I'm capable of. And best of all, heck, what if I win??
Maybe I get to trade off for a totally awesome poster that we can hang in the office and I get a little bit o' recognition. Maybe my poster goes to help out with cats and kittens in LA. (I'd be lying if I didn't say I was seriously pondering trying to bid on my own piece if that happened) Just as many good things could come of this. It just took me a bit to realized that and I feel better now for having released that energy that was locked up in me being worried and preparing to be disappointed in myself. I feel great.
For my next trick I'm going to work on another project that's been knocking around in my skull but hasn't gone on paper out of fear. This may be my new hobby, scaring myself to death by just DOING stuff. There's probably better ones, but for now I have to partake of this one or nothing will get done and everything will back up and circulate in my head. Which would not be fun.
I seriously dig my keyboard cat. I'm hoping somebody else does too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sharing some of the Holga Love!

I just wanted to give people a little peek at some of the awesome shots I managed to get with the Holga while we were partying in Japan. Some of them are just fiercely awesome. I just wanted to post 2 or 3 so you guys can see. If you like, you can click and see it enbiggened! (A real word, I swear it.)

They don't look terribly neat or technically pretty or sharp, but that's the point. They're supposed to look fuzzy around the edges and somewhat surreal, which describes what I've gotten perfectly.
If I haven't said it already, I'll just say it now (or say it again.) I LOVE MY HOLGA! <3 <3 <3!

Actual Conversation #69 ~ where we avoid an obvious pun and study the affects of pizza on programming.

(Discussing a series of drawing I did to try and visually explain how things worked with C programming, which were lost in my computer crash.)
me: ^_^
I remember the public lollipop.
I remember a raptor leaping out of the dark (but not why)
And I remember the boomerang.
gru: And the news broadcasters!
for function calls
me: yes! Back to you Jan!
What was the raptor about??
gru: I...I have no idea but I'm fascinated now
me: It was about being surprised over something.
You don't want a public lollipop because if everything accesses that data it slows stuff waaaaay down, right?
gru: More you can unintentionally pass things along
me: Like bits of programming in other sections?
gru: Yup, if everyone can touch it you have no control over it
me: I know we've discussed this, but I can't remember why that's a bad th....some fucker has pizza near me....
And I can smell it!!!
gru: Bastards!!!
me: /tangent

Monday, July 6, 2009

To Beach... To Beach perhaps to Tan...

I was at the beach on Friday and Saturday with Bob and his kinfolk. It was a lovely house, 3rd floor looking out over the ocean around 18th street. It was perfect for watching fireworks from the barge out in the Atlantic Ocean. We could basically make a bee-line out to the sand from where we were, and had a comfortable air-conditioned space to come back to after traipsing around in the blazing sun and humidity.
For the record, I'm dead surprised that I am not completely covered in a sunburn. I only applied suntan lotion once each day, was out upwards of 4 hours, sometimes with bouncing around in the ocean, then came back. Bob's got a wee bit o' the pink on his nose and other places.
We had a great time. We bounced over the waves, walked the boardwalk, road the log flume at Wonderland (and obtained photographic proof of whether or not I really hid going down the hill), ate boardwalk fries, wandered around a seasonal bookshop loaded with things like trashy romance novels and Maeve Binchy on one side, and on the exact opposite shelf the counterpoint of Ovid, Existentialist writings of the late 19th century, and metaphysical poetry. It was excellent to not drown in John Grisham novels and find some lovely fun things. I took the opportunity to educate myself on the Jersey Devil by purchasing a book from a local publisher, as well as snagging aforementioned book on metaphysical poetry, a copy of Ocean City Ghost Stories, and a beautiful black book that cost $10 less than I would've paid for it at Barnes and Nobles. I am sworn to go back there and browse more thoroughly and with the idea that I will obtain my entertainment while there, and not import it as I did with Smoke and Mirrors this time. It would make for a far more engrossing event to have to search the shelves thoroughly, scouring amongst the quick and easy novels for the gems that would carry my fancy through the rainy days.
We bounced in and out of shops at a whim, and left some cash at the fudge shop that infamously confused us over what an Irish potato was 2 years ago (hint: It is not Irish, nor are there any potatoes involved in its creation). Bob became the Nicest Guy on Record by pleasing two girls at once with the purchase of a Hello Kitty lunchbox (for me, which now houses current sock-knitting projects) and a small little tin purse with Cinderella on it for the niece.
We also had pancakes at a well-known breakfast place - and the pancakes are aptly described as very good, I might add- on Saturday morning, enjoying coffee before wandering another multiple blocks down to the Discovery Seashell Museum. It was a Museum only in that it had items in display cases that were unusual, and explained some about the shells. But for the most part it was a shop that sold items made from seashells or just the seashells themselves.
We acknowledged this and bought some seashells, including a "sea biscuit" sand dollar (which looked very cool) and a very large sea star with multiple white round protrusions sticking up. I have plans for them and some b&w photography in the near future.
We rode the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round at Wonderland and did the traditional black-light Under-the-Sea golf, giggling and generally having a bad time of actually getting it in the holes correctly. We marveled at solid walls of climbing hermit crabs sticking their feet out through the wire mesh of their enclosures, all quietly chanting "Atti-CA, Atti-CA" in their high-pitched hermit crab voices. (I took a picture of their feet)
(Actually, I took pictures of everything this weekend.)
Bob stopped long enough to let me play with the Oktomat on several occasions for the purpose of testing the range and blur-quality. If some of it comes out correctly, I will be very happy, but I don't hold out hope of getting much the first few times, truth be told!
There was lots of carousing with 3 year olds and pleasant (for the most part) chats with his folks and his sister, and overall but for a few times everything went relatively nicely. Bob beamed often and squeezed my hand, whispering that his parents liked me. I'm glad for the blessing of the Progenitors of Bob, as life will go very smoothly now that this is the case.
All in all it was fun whenever we were all by our lonesome out on the Boardwalk. However, the usual problems with too much togetherness set in and we departed Sunday morning a bit ahead of schedule. Bob had the brilliant idea of stopping to pick up the engagement ring from the shop in the mall and we did so with VERY stiff and sore bodies (nothing like going from walking 5-6 miles each day to spending the first half of your day seated and in a car to make the muscles seize up.)
Once obtained I spent a good portion of my time staring at it -and still am. It's beautiful. I didn't think of myself as a bling gal, really, until I saw this ring. As Bob put it, it pretty much advertises "back off, she's taken and you can't afford her anyway" but it isn't tacky. I like that.
It was good to relax the rest of the day. The thoughts of what my time-lapse fireworks might look like has tickled at my mind quite a bit and I think I'll have to risk tossing out some money to a new film developer to see what became of it. That and my firefly pictures, which sit still undeveloped. Poor things.
We did so much more, but really to recall every detail would take hours and paragraphs. Rest assured we had a lovely time creating memories and traditions together, I indulged my Muse to the point of indigestion on its part, and our long-awaited ring is in its proper place on my finger, reminding me every day I am engaged and about to be wed. It is an odd but wholly pleasant place to be in, made the better for sharing some of this weekend with family.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Romance by Firefly

Our tomatoes we recently acquired were looking a bit dire, so to combat the possible impending death I decided to repot them. Unfortunately I kept waiting for us to have that early evening thunderstorm so that I could do it afterwards, and it didn't materialize as planned.
This left me on my hands and knees on the back deck with no tools to properly garden with (we have them but they are secreted somewhere spectacularly well hidden, as we can't find them at ALL currently.) and somewhat poor lighting.
I didn't really mind it, to be honest. I love gardening and have no issue with getting my hands in the soil. It lets me feel things like moisture and aeration. I can tell if it's rocky or has too much clay, or has been used over so many seasons that it's worn out, compacted, and dried beyond use. These are things that you can't find out wearing gloves and digging through it with a spade, although eventually one would come to know how to "eyeball" it. I feel more connected to what's going on with the plant if I stick my hands in dirt, though, and darnit I like it. So folks can deal.
Anyway, this was my first try at Late Night Gardening, and besides it being cool and more private to operate in the dusk that way, I had not yet discovered all of its benefits and enjoyable bits.
I moved the sunflower starts around and got the tomatoes in to place and was just starting on potting up the pumpkin starts (yes, we're trying to grow our own jack-o-lanterns this year. Wish us luck!) when I stopped to go fill up the watering can. When I came back out the flash of one of my beloved fireflies caught my eye and I stood up for a moment to see where it came from.
What I beheld was astounding. All across the field and up in the maple trees were at least a thousand tiny lights blinking, like someone had strung the entire field with blinking Xmas lights. They formed a constantly shifting blanket of light and I think my jaw not only dropped but bounced a few times off the deck as I looked down at them.
I watched them for a long moment, leaning over the railing and just letting them take up time in my evening with their quick flashes of brilliance. I couldn't hope to capture the moment on any kind of camera and I can't really accurately explain how dazzling and sublime the entire display was.
I went back inside and asked Bob if he could come outside with me. He was in the middle of a raid, so I knew there was little chance, but I hoped maybe he could go AFK for a few seconds.
They were in luck, having just downed a boss that carried no loot he desired, so he came out to see the light show with me. We stood there, arms around each other, and just marveled at the fireflies doing their little show. It was singularly romantic.
He returned inside a few minutes later, I finished potting up the pumpkins, and got inside just as the sprinkles of rain started happening. We were then treated to the sound of rain on the roof and wood planks of the deck, and the purple flash of lightning. We laid together and watched it as we were falling asleep, having successfully chased and caught a firefly that snuck inside while we were traipsing in and out. (The firefly, for the record, blinked a "WTF, man?!" signal at Bob when it was hit with the sock lobbed at it to get it to fly somewhere other than the ceiling. I believe we both laughed for a few minutes at that.)
I'm hoping this is one of those memories I can recall freely when the snow is on the ground 2 feet thick. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Average Joe Media

A comment made by Ghost Hunters' own Kris Williams brought to the forefront this thought I had in my head... a secret, disturbing thought I have carried for a long time.
She made a comment via twitter that someone informed her she was far too old at 28 to break in the show business. She followed this up with the comment that they didn't want to see you unless you were a size 0 and under 25.
And this is all too true. I've heard many a report stating that if a woman is larger than a size 2 she need not apply for anything in Hollywood. Which is ridiculous, as most women really AREN'T that size. That's why you always see only those sizes left on the clothing rack when you need that size 8, or 12.
This isn't going to be a launch in to sexism or misogyny. Not at all. This is going to be about missing the boat on talent and the inbreeding of perception. Because, you see, there are hundreds of thousands of people out there that are not that thin or that young who are wonderful, beautiful and talented, and not in either the "traditional" or "marketable" sense. I use these facetiously, as I think America would adjust quite fine to seeing them introduced.
When I win the lottery I am going to take a large portion of the money and create Average Joe Studios. The entire point is to not give a shit what the person looks like. If they can act and they're within the reach of the character's appearance, then they're in. None of this size 0 bullshit. None of this needing a guy with a cleft chin and a 6 pack that can't deliver lines but sells posters. It would be purely about the story and the talent creating it ,and it would reject all the shallowness and falacy that Hollywood wraps itself in. I would probably put the studio in Vermont somewhere to be as far from Hollywood as possible. And from there we would churn out some of the best Indie films ever seen, with good quality actors and amazing stories that Hollywood wouldn't touch because it isn't the half-assed masturbatory remake of a 30 year old film or a TV show from our youth.
Sorry, needed to clear my throat.
It would lose money. It would lose a LOT of money. It would only be popular with people that had parties for the sheer purpose of viewing Indie films and drinking wine, or the people who go to Sundance for the scene primarily and the actual films secondarily. Eventually people would do retrospectives on its golden years from 2012 to 2015 when it went up in a mysterious fire the insurance company never paid out on due to suspected insurance fraud, but it would be awesome.
And maybe, just maybe, it would be the chink in the armor of stupidity and monopoly that Hollywood holds on film in this country. Hell, maybe we would branch out in the music and tell the RIAA to go fuck itself. That would be a fantastic day.
I think the major hook would be novelty, that would get most people to watch a few films from AJ Studios. Then after they realized the stories were good even if the actors didn't drip so much sexuality you needed to be careful where you walked at the end of the show, they would stick around, recommend it to friends. Then we would turn on the marketing campaign that we WEREN'T Hollywood. We weren't status quo, and we aren't going to take it anymore!
Punk cinema, y'all. I would put an Asian and an African American in the leading roles and not even flinch. Screw the need for American audiences to "identify". That is OLD thinking. That is the cowardly, undying idea that an America couldn't comprehend a story if a white person wasn't telling it. It isn't the America now that is far more colorblind than even when I was a young girl. And it isn't an America that needs a faked an ethnic minority to sell it to a mainstream crowd.
Damned tickle in my throat. So sorry.
I want to see a size 14 girl talking to an 80 year old woman bedecked in wrinkles and crows-feet because she's looking for guidance. I want to see people who can't get their hair to style properly deliver lines that take a shot at the heart of what we worry about or love. I know they're out there, I see these beautiful, wonderful people constantly. I think they should be given a chance to talk with us in a forum where we can let go of disbelief and let them in without being distracted by over-sexualized phrasing and clothing, or product placement. I think the public wants to just enjoy the damned story and not be sold something every time they sit down, be it an idea or a Nokia phone.
Anyway... this is my idea. If anybody's up for it now I'd be willing to try it even without the benefit of the lottery, or really any knowledge of how the film industry works. Sometimes self-taught is the greatest way to do things because you aren't shown the box first and then figure out how to work within it. Drop me a line if you think we could roll with this.

Actual Conversation # 68 - The Necessity of Having a Story?

me: People keep asking for the story of how the proposal happened.
.....we don't really have a story, do we?
gru: Sure we do. In between solving the hunger crisis, teaching our nation's children to read and whipping up some souffle I approached you on bended knee with great love and adoration and asked, nay begged, for you to be my wife.
And you said 'Yeah, sure whatever, I'm trying to cure cancer here and do finish my Pulitzer acceptance speech, leave me alone.' And so it was.
I tear up even now at the thought.
me: That's fucking epic.
gru: ...and we bought the wedding ring from space space. That's why it's taking so long to be sized. It's in space.
me: It really is. *nod*
gru: *nods*
me: Okay. I'll tell Cori that, then.
gru: *chuckles*
me: I've just been telling people you made it official at Raccoon Tabasco
gru: I've been telling people...oh yeah, that's right no one asks guys what the 'story' is. :-)
me: Unbelievable.
That is so not fair.
I am forwarding this email and YOU can tell the story.
gru: Oh, they're better off. I'd tell them to mind their own business. :-)
me: Really?
You'd say that to Cori?
gru: Nah, I'd say it in a nicer way than that.
But yeah, I have no need to feed other people's ideas of what all this should be. This is our way, and I like it. :-)
me: Then I'm going to stick with "We don't really have a story"