Thursday, 31 December 2009

Goodbye 2009

Always looking towards the future these days, aren't ya NC?


As 2009 draws to a close, I'm gonna look back and thank about what I could possibly remember about it. All clichés aside, there's quite a bit. So I'm going to share it in the viral "ten things" format.

Ten things to remember:

17-foot-long multi-octave PVC foghorn.

^atrophy / ^dystrophy, "NC" and instantgib CTF pwnage.

Bruleé blowtorch = everyday lighter.

7-month "infection"

Multimedia lab "networking."

What the hell is Jimmy dressed up as? ...oh...

A candle that looks like it lights from both ends.

Chinese vice leniency.

1,680 days of inactivity and then back to the old RSC grind.

A broken shutter doesn't mean it won't take pictures.

Ten quotes:

"I can't build a wall on a wall."

"Hold on! We're home!"

"Belief in fate is only failure to realize all our actions have a purpose."

"Out here, even lumberjacks use hand cream."

"Serena Williams' serve is the hardest in women's tennis." "How hard are men?" "Oh, men are much harder."

"Some people fear God, some people fear gays, but only hypocrites fear both."

"Call me Marlboro Frankenstein."

"Friday will fix everything."

"There is little comfort in success, little satisfaction in victory, and little happiness in compromise."

"Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, for the self slays not nor is slain."

Ten things I learned:

Sometimes, being polarizing is a good thing.

Guard rails are there for a reason; it doesn't matter if they're in the way of your picture.

It's okay to cry.

Not cutting one's hair for over two years proves nothing.

Semantics cause more problems than one person can solve.

Taking charge is more important than taking breaks.

Food is only optional to a certain degree.

I can do math.

Knowing the language makes the experience in a foreign country just amazing.

I'm not suppressing my normal state of mind or view of the world; I am removing mental blocks that would otherwise prevent normal mindset, outlook, and function.

Ten life lessons:

Sometimes, titles hold no power and authority garners no respect.

Self-esteem is not naturally manifest.

One will always be judged by the company he keeps, no matter by whom.

Adversity is a social construct, not innate belief. Obstacles to acceptance must be combat through education rather than punishment.

Chances are good your rear bumper extends out a lot further than you think.

If you have just shaved your face, and you know you got a few little cuts, don't apply salicylic-acid facial wash.

Finding your comfort zone is a great accomplishment, but learning to expand it is a great challenge...

Five years of a foreign language will allow you to converse easily with adults, but doesn't guarantee you the ability to read children's storybooks.

Always aspire to be remembered for more than just your aspirations.

There is always somebody.


I have compiled an album (on short notice, so it's a little skimpy) of the photos I believe best represent 2009; you can view it here.

My plans for 2010 include, in no particular order, setting up a website, getting a job/car, and keeping my academic performance on my forums to share yours.

Hope you all had a great year - here's to many more! (that sounds a little strange, doesn't it...)


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

College, Cafés, and Cramming

I am going to Dickinson College.

I found out last night as I was sitting in the auditorium waiting for my brother's concert to start. There's a long story behind this, so I think I'll share: I was at a café and on my computer; I'd gotten an email from Dickinson saying they'd made a decision and the letter had been mailed. The e-mail also said I could check online.

My parents had been nervous for awhile, having resolved to not check the mail until both were home and could go through it with me. They weren't at the café with me - they were at the concert, so I had to drive all the way there, find my parents, get on my mom's iPhone, and check out the decision.

I only had to read "It is with great pleasure that..." and they did fist pumps and cheers and I was in a great mood the rest of the night.


Well, I'm still in a good mood - but that's my silly little college story.

I do have big plans for the future, of course. This month sees the completion of a great deal of school work, which has me really excited even though a lot of that work has yet to be done. Break begins on the 19th, so I've til the 18th to work. Yippee.

I will be working to solidify the photos I will be putting in exhibits, though, since I keep taking more and now essentially have a backlog. I've been given the great opportunity for another exhibit, this time at an actual art gallery, so I'll be working pretty hard on planning that out as well.

It won't be until March, and it will only last twenty days, but that's plenty of time - especially since it's almost guaranteed everyone I know will come. See, the exhibit is at my school, in the art gallery of our performing arts center Centennial Hall. Anyone going in can and will see my work, so I really need to get some more stuff together, organize my framing, make sure I'm ready to sell my work, etc. I have a lot more time than I think...


Meanwhile, the café at which I'd previously displayed my artwork has re-opened under new management and a fresh coat of paint. I like it so far, but they haven't quite gotten their menu down - I'll probably like it even more once they do. The new owner made me a bit skeptical at first - seemed like a young guy who wanted a coffee shop in Wayne just to profit, knowing we don't really have anywhere else to go. He filled me in on his big plans for the place, and I was a little dubious as to whether or not it could be done, but lo and behold the café was closed the next week and we relocated to Starbucks for a time. I heard about the renovations but I didn't actually get over there until the 11th, and now I definitely don't have any doubts - this new manager is pretty serious. There's new paint, yeah, but he also moved stuff around and removed a lot of the clutter. It actually looks pretty bare now, but he said he's working on filling up the display cases with new menu items and then turning his attention to décor.

Décor, you say? Yes, they'll hang my photos again, no there won't necessarily be more, yes of course I can sell them, etc. Same deal, only he's a little swamped at the moment and my photos aren't really a priority. Needless to say, I've already planned out where to hang what.


This is going to be a hectic week since I've got a Yearbook deadline, an English essay, a Latin project, and several gift ideas I need to follow through on. But the afternoon/evening of the 18th...gonna have a good time. ^_^


If you aren't a fan of me on Facebook, become one! I post updates time to time, photos here and there, and generally just try to foster appreciation of my work. Of course, checking out my DeviantArt doesn't hurt either...

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Hello December, Hello Future

Well, it’s here. The last month of 2009 has arrived in a flurry of late-departed leaves and a few snowflakes.

It’s getting colder around here, with temperatures hovering around 40ºF; I’m gonna break out the gloves, scarves, and faux fur coat pretty soon.

This ought to prove that yes, I am alive, and quite active! ...just not on the internet. I have not submitted anything to DeviantArt or indeed really made any artwork at all in nearly a month. I don’t feel as though I’ve accomplished much in the creative field lately, to be honest. Rather, I’ve been working on a bunch of other things. I think, once again, this merits an explanation.

I’ve been asked many times if I am considering art as a career. Some people were confused when I told them I applied to a small liberal-arts school rather than a school with a noted fine-arts program. Fellow students are surprised when I tell them that no, I have never taken an art elective in high school and no, I do not plan to enroll in one next semester. In fact, art is a hobby! I gave a 20-minute speech on this, and meant every word. Art is not the career for me. Working in a portrait studio is something I could do, or working part-time for a newspaper as a sports photographer, perhaps. In the spring, I might cover local high-school games for the Main Line Today or even the Inquirer - I’ve been thinking about that. But that’s a job, not a career.

One thing I’ve been pursuing with ravenous new interest, however, is photo-restoration. It’s very satisfying to tackle a seemingly impossible task and then get it done, and done well. Nearly-destroyed old photos seem impossible to restore to anything close to their original appearance, but it isn’t impossible. It is hard, and kind of a pain in the ass sometimes, but totally possible. The worse the condition, the more time it takes. Here is an example of a photo I quickly fixed up (click for full view - they aren't actually this blurry!)

It’s not actually “old” - it’s from 1995 - but it certainly is “damaged.” This photo was one of a set of my baby brother (who’s 14 now) that my mother meticulously cropped, matted, framed, and sent off to my relatives so they’d have a piece of baby memories. She did this for me as well, only mine are all in good condition. Someone, at some point, 1) broke the glass, 2) spilled something sticky on the matting/photos, and 3) crunched up the broken glass...which wound up stuck to the physical photo prints. It’s a mystery. There’s this one room of my house I recently started cleaning’s full of little treasures like this. :)

Enough about that - believe me, I’ll be talking about photo-restoration more in a later post.


This time of year, people are rife with ideas about what they want to do or get for others. Not being at all religious, I see the Christmas season as a time of reflection on our own situations and of empathy for those of others. I see it as a time to surround oneself with family and friends, to share gifts, good food, and good times.

As the Christmas season gets underway, though, I find myself almost totally at a loss as far as presents are concerned! I know what to get my dad and I know what to get my brother. But that leaves my mom and two siblings, one of whom is a girl (it’s hard to buy presents for a 9-year-old girl). It’s dilemmas like this that make me sit back and think about why I’ve got to get them stuff. Sure, it’s not written anywhere that I’ve got to buy something - I could just make something - but it is kind of expected that I get them gifts. And that’s just my immediate family. My maternal grandmother and aunt live around me, and the rest of my relatives are scattered about in Vermont, California, Georgia, and Illinois (lots in Illinois). Some of them send me stuff; I feel a little bad I rarely send stuff back. This year I’ll definitely make cards, probably those cliché ones with a family photo and a “heartwarming” caption, and everyone’s signature and a couple of paw prints from the cats, etc.

On a slightly more serious note (as I have plenty of time to ramble about Christmas shopping dilemmas), I have been thinking about a website more and more. I want something fully customizable, but knowing little about advanced HTML and/or CSS design, I’d need someone to lend a hand. I don’t want to host it on some free hosting site that limits content and puts their name in the domain (ie but I also don’t want to pay too much. Registering a domain is the first step (, anyone?) but then there’s the whole deal with indexing everything and laying it out and making sure I pay for enough storage space wherever so I can upload plenty of images (and maybe videos), making sure I actually make some small change from ads, finding possible affiliates, etc, etc, etc.

It almost seems like making a website will be more complicated than my planned graduation project...

In the near future, my plans are limited by the fact I’ll be heading out to Denver really early Wednesday morning and returning at around 12:45 AM on Sunday the 6th. I’ll be going to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a large meeting of representatives from independent schools around the nation to promote diversity and acceptance within their school communities. I'm the only senior from my school who's going (along with four faculty members and five other students) and as I was chosen to go, all expenses paid, I feel pretty honored about the whole thing. I'm going to take plenty of pictures, yes, and I'll also probably post about the experiences I had there. But if you're wondering where I've been the next couple days...

There’s your December update. :)