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 up...it’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 www.freewebsitecompany.com/nullcoding) but I also don’t want to pay too much. Registering a domain is the first step (nullcoding.com, 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. :)

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