Friday, 31 December 2010

Goodbye 2010

Before I even start with the "ten whatevers", I thought it would be funny to go back to the last part of my "Goodbye 2009" post.

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

Ok, first one: no. Not even close. I have a Google Site, but I had it in 2009 as well. I want my own site on a server I own and operate. Now that I actually know about web servers, though, this should be much easier. Gonna get me a dual Xeon...

Second one: almost and no. Still not quite sure what happened with the job for which I applied recently, since it would appear that nothing went to the right people and no one got the right information, including me. I don't have a car, and don't know why I wanted one. I'm at college...which leads us to

Third: I'll let you guess the quality of my academic performance; your guess is as good as mine since I have yet to find out how I did on final exams and papers. I will, however, say that college is going better than I ever could have anticipated and my experience is pretty consistent, as I had said I'd wanted.


So, the "ten things" format may not be as viral as it was last year, but here we go. Be on the lookout for a photo album as well. 

Ten things to remember:

"Whiteout," "Snowmageddon," and like terms; my car ends up in a snowbank; I end up under my car.

Limit our ethnic eateries to three - Persian, Mexican, Indian - and patronize them in a cycle.

"Anywhere Left to Turn," failure of a reception, a teacher's one-up-manship, vandalism, still no compensation.

Chem lab biodiesel success.

13 years later, saying goodbye.

The best souvenirs from Pride are kittens.

Bumper stickers only annoy your parents if they're on their car. The message is agreeable on someone else's.

Living alone with two cats and an Infiniti for a week.

Celldweller remixes...Celldweller/Sybreed mashups...Celldweller rap remixes...and on and on and on and on...

Drayer 2nd floor is my matter how I come across, I love you people.

Ten quotes:

"If you do something right, no one has to know you did anything at all." - anon.

"That old guy with the pipe...he's a neuroscience professor...ok, looks like someone I'd want to have lunch with." - me

"That doesn't working!" - anon
"We're both freshmen now..." - Chris

"Go sit outside and count the stars; let the dust lie where it may." - Blinde Instinkt, Mind Like a Sieve

"Et mirakel er behæft / ved de tanker af mæ jeg vill ikke give i." - Blinde Instinkt, Alaia Alazne (Joyful Miracle)

"No one has to tell you not to / live your life like a scrap on the cutting room floor." (Kenenkään ei tarvitse kertoa teille, ettei / Elä kuin romu katkaisumallissa lattialle.) - J. Börner, Untitled Tribute

"Trap me in this empty room. / In making your devices known, / Your identity ceases to be your own." - Blinde Instinkt, Untitled

"I said I'd build a city up, / And I surpassed the sky.  / I said I'd stop the entropy, / And no one asked me why." - Blinde Instinkt, City on Paper

"I love you." - GDA


No time for life lessons or anything like that here. There are far too many. That's why I write.

Here's to 2011. As this fortune cookie thing taped to one of my monitors says, "It's high time for one of your most promising ideas."

Isn't it always?

Happy New Year.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

What made you fall for your current partner?

Oddly appropriate day to ask this! To be perfectly honest, it was one of those cliché novel-type things where "it just clicks."

We met at OutFest in October of 2009, and had such a great long conversation about...just about everything. It's hard to say why, but the "falling for" pretty much started right away. :)

...not quite sure how to put it better, actually.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

College Loves Me

It's a bit too late for this, perhaps.

By "late" I don't mean what the clock says. It is nearly 0100 hours and I have class at 0930, but have not run into any problems with missing Chinese in favor of sleep.

By "late," I mean what the calendar says. It is November 30th (or at least, it has been for about 40 minutes), meaning that on Wednesday it will be December, and 2010 will fast be drawing to a close.

This begs the cliché question - where did the time go?

Did anyone notice I have made only one blog post the whole time I've been at college?

The first semester is almost over, yet the second semester is still rather far off. Thanksgiving break is over, too, having passed by all too fast while still fulfilling what it needed to. In the odd period of time between now and the beginning of my winter holiday, which is well over a month long, I've got almost nothing to do. It would appear as though I have two final exams alongside two papers to write (for one class). I'm still not sure how well that all will go, but there have yet to be any problems.

In fact, for all I am doing and have done here at college, there is very little to write about. I've encountered about as many roadblocks as I'd expected - obstinate people and financial insecurity to name a few - but perhaps it's a reflection on my realistic expectations and overall preparedness that I feel as though college is simply the next step up. Not 13th grade, not overwhelming-workload-place. Pretty much exactly what I expected, I'm getting.

Naturally, there are a slew of things no one could anticipate or plan for. How was I to know, for instance, that my MacBook would die after being here for less than a month? And how could I have possibly imagined the toll that distance can take on relationships? 

Resolution rises from the ashes of conflict and confrontation. It always does. There are so many reasons for which I'm thankful I found Gabriel, for one. It is hard to believe we've been together for nearly a year now. I suspect the strength of our relationship is founded in our ability to resolve any issue through a form of malleable compromise in which neither party feels put-upon or disadvantaged. No argument between us ever ends with a clear winner or loser, something of which I've become acutely aware given the growing tension between my father and me.

It's hard to find solace in knowing what someone does for me while knowing what he stands for, always aware of the conflicts and increasingly pessimistic that we will ever find common ground. 

Gabriel represents everything I've unconsciously been searching for in a person, a fact I've only just begun to realize as the physical distance between us forces me to come to terms with the degree of reliance we now have upon each other. He's as much a part of my life as my laptop or my daily coffee - a comparison seemingly unflattering, initially, but think about it. My laptop is always there and always reliable, a powerful entity that does exactly what I need it to, often without my asking it. My daily coffee, well...that's just a given. Hence, comparisons to boyfriend. Being away at college has made me realize what it means to be interdependent and revealed the immense benefits it affords.

College is supposed to be a time to find yourself. Everyone starts from the proverbial "clean slate." No one knows anyone initially. It's a chance to forge new friendships, find a new niche, expand your horizons, change or eliminate your comfort zone. The independence of college life is the catalyst for molding you into the person the world will eventually know. 

Initially, I was a bit worried. I admit it - what if I didn't "find myself" at all, or what if I found myself to be exactly what I thought I was? That is, what if the person I thought I was in high school is actually who I am?

Of course, that's not true. First of all, the person I was in high school is actually the person I was during my senior year, with a few select parts of the person I was in my junior year. Nothing else counts for anything in the long term. For all intents and purposes, I was a nobody. I have little to no recollection of my first two years in high school, and I barely remember any of middle school and anything prior to that. Medically, that can be explained...that sounds ominous, doesn't it?

A big concern was, perhaps, that I would "find myself" in an environment devoid of anything familiar to me - family, friends, relationships, pastimes, fixtures of my home life, et cetera. Luckily, this looks not to be the case, as I've found that the college environment affords many more opportunities to appreciate what I may or may not have left behind. I believe it was Socrates who said that "a man is the sum of his convictions," a permutation of which I frequently use: "all your past experiences and actions have shaped how your present and future actions will affect your future experiences."

In a sense, it's been proven to me that you can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. You are who you were; you will be who you will be. 

I wish I could write more, I really do. It is getting rather late, though (according to the clock this time.)

Sorry for the ridiculous lack of activity on my DeviantArt page. I have quite literally done nothing in the last month and a half.

Also check out the new layout of this blog. I'm going to make a new logo soon, too. In fact, I'll be doing a lot, including making a bunch of computer-related posts and showing you how I've tweaked my system(s) to be optimal performance machines.

And of course, more semi-personal, quasi-philosophical stuff. Whatever people will enjoy reading - I'll write it.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

What runs in your family?

Heart disease, lung cancer, skin cancer, alcoholism, and conservativism.

Ask me anything

Thursday, 30 September 2010

I will


I promise a something. There will be words with meaning here in the future in between the present and the unpredictable static routine that simply won't go away, no matter how much I strive for variance.

A conversation I had this evening left me with a strange feeling I can only understand whilst in a certain state of mind, induced by the potency of interpersonal accord...a uniqueness in a strangely familiar peer, with whom I seem to be acquainted though there is little mutual in our brief exchanges thus far. 

How can I know...where will it go?

Do those dear to me care about my thoughts in anything other than intimate verbal form? Why do I maintain this slew of what was supposed to be photography and it a glorified micro-social network? It would be more efficient (in the eyes of this transient cosmic being) to invest in a digital IV so no one will ever be out of touch.

I have so much to say and so few who care. In between yawns I reflect on the happenings and the experiences of each and every day, wondering if it's worth the effort to re-live them, if only for a moment, and transpose them to a pleasant twelve-point rendering on this virtual mental outlet.

Chinese has a word for everything; in many cases, several ways of conveying an idea, an action, a feeling in many ways in varying degrees of severity, sincerity, serendipity, other words that begin with S.

I can hear pounding on the floor (or walls?), and it's a fucking soccer ball; grow up and realize that we are not all insomniacs by choice!

But it's's ok...tomorrow brings what is now only in our imaginations...we are all amazing artists at our cores, able to envision even the most complicated and unusual of scenarios...that's what I try to say, but words suffer from an unfortunate duality; what is written cannot even be lent a guiding hand into the vast swath of verbal drobiaziach without becoming a victim of degradation...write on a compact disk, have the computer read it back - they are more human than we ever would have imagined in the 1980s. The science fiction writers of yore...oh if only they could see us now. A characterization come all too eerily real.

If I can make it come true...all of it...if I have the means, the method, the madness...I will.

pasiadzieć, kol zorak. Chaj pylu liažać dzie jon liažyć.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Do you believe in Jesus?

I believe he existed; he was a traveling teacher who proliferated and explained a certain set of morals and virtues. While these differ slightly from the Aristotelian set by which I tend to abide, I believe he had a lot of good things to say that were, at the time, revolutionary and vital to social and intellectual growth.

Ask me anything

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Lo-Q / It's 3 AM

The fact that I get a bit more alert and focused (and, indeed, artistic) late at night / early in the morning is pretty well-known amongst my friends and family.

Odd, then, that I should stay up til ungodly / unhealthy hours of the night or early morning and then wake up at 8:00 AM sharp every morning without fail - preparation for college I say, but everyone knows it's really preparation for college.

Hey hold on a second. I meant to say that this place - - is to blame for my continued state of awake-ness. Niche Swiss netlabel for 20 kbit/s bitrate noise/industrial/experimental music, artists from around the world, lots of neat and unique stuff. I can't wait to listen to it - that's right, I downloaded ALL of it (FlashGot helps).

ZIP = album, ~ 1.44 to 8MB size, contains files, convert them: OGG => WAV LL => WAV LQ => AAC m4a.

Used switch and iTunes, Finder's search function, and that's about it. Helps when you wanna find all the .m3u files in a certain batch of music albums and get rid of all of them so they don't mess with your iTunes library.

The topic of lo-fi music got me thinking about photography, inevitably, as all my music-production ventures have so fair fallen flat on their eclectic faces. So why not just remove a few words and make it "lo-fi photography" ...?

I've already done stuff like this, actually. Several of the photos that were in my exhibit:

Needless to say - absolutely no editing. I could have if I wanted. I didn't.

All of these are 640x480 JPEGs taken with a 333px 3.6mm camera that steps down to f 1.8 (but up to what? anyone's guess) and I played with the settings a fair bit. A few of the shots I had back in March (holy crap, so long ago) at Anywhere Left to Turn were actually 160x120 shots I intentionally printed at such a size as they were not at all pixellated (and others that were unrecognizable).

Yes you've probably guessed what this camera is. Hint: I've since downgraded the apparatus of which is is a part.

I've kinda always wanted a really really old digital camera. Then again, I kinda have a cabinet full of 'em. See, the thing is, old film cameras can still take amazingly good pictures. Hell, if you know how to work it, a wartime Leica will take photos that can take a dump on a D3X any day.

But see, digital technology has always had limits. It's always been imperfect in some way. And sometimes, we choose to be restricted by limits that may have been surpassed long ago. This is usually not very beneficial (using aDSL instead of fiber optics) but can also be a great idea (not having a smartphone because I have a laptop).

Why use my D60 for everything? Sure it's a great (discontinued, potentially obsolete) camera. It always has been - since I got it June 2009 - and always will be - until the shutter goes after 60K or 70K iterations. Thing is, I shoot RAW and then do extensive, seriously involved editing and post-processing. Why? Because I can. Because technology is awesome and cool and so is art. And me. Sometimes.

When I don't use my D60, I use my Canon Powershot A550 Nikon E8700 or Canon A75. I had an A60 as well but in typical fashion, dismantled it and promptly lost most of the screws and little electronic thingys that make it work. Oops. I think I was trying to fix it.

My brother better find my A550 before I leave for college or I'll be pretty ticked off. It might be found while I'm away. It might be found next week. It might not even be in the house and he might be a lying sea monkey.

I have smeared enough moths in the process of writing this. Good night and good luck.


remember you can find me now. Facebook. DeviantArt. Search the internet for Nullcoding or one of my other nicknames. you know. those ones.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

OpenArena, VenomScape, and Fiber-Optics


I know it's been a long time since I made a post here or anywhere, and seeing as I've nothing to do right now, here's another trio post.


I don't talk about it except when asked, but the only video game I play is OpenArena.  It's described all over the internet like this:

OpenArena is an open-source content package for id Tech 3 source licensed under the GPL, effectively creating a free stand-alone game.

I prefer to call it a free, open-source first-person shooter. Nowadays, it's rather loosely based on the Quake 3 engine, but the similarities are still really evident. If you've ever played Quake 3, for instance, learning OpenArena will probably take a minute (maybe two). If you've never played Quake 3, know that the learning curve is not all that strong. There's no tutorial or anything - if you so choose, you can start multiplayer right away and get dumped into the midst of a raging deathmatch. I don't recommend that.

The engine running OA is the ioq3 fork of the aforementioned id Tech 3 engine, which was released as open-source in 2006. Quake 3 came out in 1999. Lots of people still play that - at last check, there are well over 3500 servers online! So the game engine is pretty solidly built. OA isn't the only game based on it, but it's the most similar to Quake 3 (minus the price and lack of customization).

The reason I play OpenArena so much is because it's fun. There is no lengthy character development, no tutorials or "beginner" stuff, no confusing storyline (indeed, no storyline at all). It's a game you can "just play." And it's highly tweak-able and customizable - most of the servers I play on run custom mods make by members of the OA community. Some are really good, some are never played, and some servers are too far away...but there's something for everyone.

I tend to frequent CTF servers, although I play deathmatches as well. Not too often, mind, since a lot of beginner players go there (so I use a handicap). I use a custom configuration that took a while to perfect (and I still think I can make things better). That's another thing - OA runs on just about any computer and/or OS. Things work a little differently with each, but the download contains Windows, Mac, and x32 and x64 Linux executables, all of which will run the same game. There's also a FreeBSD port if you use that.

Computer requirements aren't too demanding at all. The computer I play on has 2GB of RAM, a 3.0GHz processor, and a 128MB dedicated memory 3D/OpenGL graphics card. OA needs about 512MB of RAM, 350 MHz of processor power, and roughly 64MB of graphics memory to run. And that's not too bad gameplay, either.

You can play over any kind of internet connection. No registration for your non-existent account or anything, either.

If you want to see some screenshots of gameplay, you can search the web - or if you just want to see some of my scores and such, I have an imgur album. :P

So - if you download the game (there is a list of mirrors on the official site) bear in mind it's about 300 MB (and there is a 40-ish MB patch as well). Any questions relating to the game or anything about it are welcomed on my clan's forums!


Just thought I'd say that. About time everyone knows what I do in my spare time...!

While I'm plugging stuff on the net, I should probably also mention that "Venomscape" still exists. People still post there.

It's a general chat forum used by a lot of my friends, as it has been since February 2007. I created it, I maintain it, but I don't exactly administrate it since there isn't much to do. If you see something interesting there, and you're likely to, then please go ahead and register so you can contribute. I'm trying to keep it running/growing so I don't feel bad about all the work I put into running it in the past!


The main issue I've been dealing with in real life for quite some time now is my terrible home internet connection. It might sound strange or silly, but as an adult (and oldest of 4 kids) I feel as though I ought to look out for the rest of the family.

Currently, we have 6 functional computers in the house. We usually have 7, but I have yet to figure out how to fix my brother's laptop.

This isn't a problem; actually, it's a convenience. If almost everyone has their own computer (my youngest siblings share one), then productivity and leisure time don't have to compete from person to person, and aren't dependent on anyone else's wants or needs. We have a wireless network that gets internet to all but one of our computers (my Linux machine is supposedly tethered), and besides that, they are all connected and sharing files is easy (if you know the passwords).

But here's the thing that frustrates me to no end: we still use aDSL.

aDSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It's a protocol by which data is transferred over ordinary copper phone lines, reaches a modem, and is transferred to a CAT cable which then goes into a computer (or in our case, an AirPort router). There are two types of traffic on phone lines: voice and data. Voice traffic is a low-gain signal that goes into (and comes out of) phones. Data is further divided: faxes need a dedicated line because they are also low-gain and will interfere with phones. And there's also internet, which is a high-gain signal, meaning it won't (or shouldn't) interfere with phones.

After reaching the box at our house, the phone line passes through a microfilter (inside the wall outlet) and runs through an extension cable over to our modem, which then sends the internet signal to our router, which gives us internet access 24/7. Sounds great, right? A well-constructed system?


Problem 1: the extension cable. Copper lines are thin to begin with. They are not heavily insulated. They don't need to be. As I said, phone signal is low-gain. Not much is going to interfere with your standard copper-line home phone service. However, long phone cables are often flat insulated wires containing four copper lines running parallel to each other instead of being wrapped around each other, a method of reducing interference. A high-gain signal running through a weak wire like that isn't dangerous or anything, but it is kind of stupid. Ideally, there should be NOTHING between the box and the modem other than a direct, wrapped copper phone line. Everything and anything extraneous will cause a decrease in the strength of DSL uplink and, consequently, your internet speed.

Where we live, the big guys are Verizon and Comcast. We've been Verizon people since before they were Verizon (remember Bell Atlantic?) and they currently provide our home phone and aDSL service. We pay for what they say is their "high-speed internet" package, meaning a theoretical 1 mBit/sec downstream and 300kBit/sec upstream. According to our modem, we get 864kBit/sec downstream and 160kBit/sec upstream. According to, the actual speed of the internet our computers get is 753kBit/sec downstream and 134kBit/sec upstream.

Bottom line: We get less than 75% of what we pay for. According to these tests, we actually get 60% of what we pay for.

Did I mention what we pay? $24 a month. I'm not paying two hours' wage to spend a whole day downloading a software update!

Enter FiOS.

Verizon's FiOS service is the highest-rated and fastest internet service around. By that I mean around here. NC Numericable S.A and SpeedyLine LTD are exceptions to the "speed limit," but they also aren't in America. FiOS is a dedicated fiber-optic internet service, meaning they run a fiber line right to your house, whereas cable internet is spliced off your neighborhood's lines and therefore isn't your own connection at all.

FiOS is 25 times faster than what DSL claims. Bear in mind they're provided by the same company.

The package I've been trying to get for some time now is a 25mBit by 25mBit internet plan including home phone service. Since Verizon is already our home phone provider, we get a discount. Without going into too much detail, shall we just say - we'll spend $29 less every month should we upgrade.

That and our internet will not crawl anymore. If one person is on the internet that's fine. But if two people are on? Oof. Mystified complaints of "Why is the internet so slow?" turned into "Jimmy, why is the internet so slow?" and that eventually got to me - now, I just say "Because it's DSL" and let 'em fume about it. Not my problem they're still getting gouged for ancient technology.

I've done all I can to convince them. My parents have often told me that in order to remember something, I need to be told over and over and over. That's only true in some cases, but apparently, it doesn't apply to them (despite the fact my mom's brain works a lot like mine). If I press the issue with her, she just gets irritated and tells me to "drop it already." At least she likes the basic idea. -.-

My dad's advice for getting a job included something about making frequent check-up calls after applying or going for an interview. Basically, he wanted me to pester people, only in a benign way, to prove that I really really want the job. Sounds reasonable, right? Well...somewhat, but it does work. I doubt he rose to his position by being passive.

But should I push the upgrade issue with him, he gets downright pissed off and declares the conversation "over," much like Prince did the Internet. My mother told me that I ought to put everything about FiOS down on paper, and include things like why we should upgrade, why DSL is so bad, etc. So I did. In the space of a few empty hours, I put together a 7-page "report" on why we need an internet service that isn't aDSL or cable because it's FiOS. Then, I gave it to my parents.

My mom took several days to get around to actually reading it, and even then I don't think she read all of it. My dad, as of yesterday, hasn't gone past the first page and continues calling it "Vaios" (like the Sony laptop) and asking the same stupid questions over and over.

This is a guy who didn't know how to make folders on his desktop and after that had no idea you could have folders inside folders. He acted genuinely awed. I wanted to believe he was kidding. My dad is not stupid. That's why I'm frustrated - here's a guy who uses multi-thousand dollar medical equipment every day to monitor a patient's vitals, and he can't figure out an iMac? I've seen those machines in hospitals - they're more complicated than any computer out there, with more interfaces than one person can use at once. Like I said, I highly doubt my father rose to his position by being passive.

"Does Vaios phone go out when there's a power outage?" I've heard that one every day since I first told him we need it. "My colleague says it does. I need to be available in case I get called in!"

1. You have an iPhone. You get service at home. Even in a power outage, I have a battery pack that will give your iPhone (or iPod, any) an extra 6-10 hours of battery life.

2. You have a pager. People page you when you're needed in the hospital. So if you're paranoid about your phone battery, keep it off until you're paged.

3. FiOS comes with free installation, including a free router and a free 8-hour battery backup. That means that when the power goes out, your phones will still work for 8 hours, except the 4 cordless ones and the answering machine.

4. Did you even ask your colleague what he does when the power goes out?

5. How many times in a year do we lose power? Twice, maybe? And remember those several times when we lost phone service as well?

"I'm sorry, I haven't read it yet. I will tonight."

I've heard that for about a week straight. I've all but given up on him. It's hopeless. Nothing will convince him, because I guess he can't remember anything I say. He remembers to play Wolfenstein 3D for hours, but the rest of the day he has important work. Even at home. "I'll read it in my free time (tonight)". I hear the Wolfenstein sound effects until 10 at night, at which point he goes to bed. I don't even know where my pamphlet is. He put it in his pile of unread mail and crap in the kitchen, and now it's probably towards the bottom.

So full of shit. I can't win. I really can't.


Am I being selfish? Do I want FiOS so I can download more? So I have a lower ping on "that goddamn game you always play"?

Downloading software updates (and software, and music, and other stuff) is nice and all, but not exactly a pastime of mine. Having a low ping on OA servers would be cool as well, but I do just fine with ~150ms, thank you very much.

Newsflash: FiOS isn't for me. It's not a dedicated fiber line to my bedroom, it's to your house. It's not a tool to make me better at video games, it's to make you have a better overall internet experience. It's not so I can host a faster VPN tunnel in my room, it's so your network will work better for you and your kids when I'm away at college and can't be fixing all your stuff!

I'm sick of it. Sick of all of it - the  "Why is the internet so slow, Jimmy?" The "Stop downloading stuff, Jimmy" "I'm not, dammit!" The "I'll read it later" and "I haven't gotten around to it yet, I don't have any free time" *ratatatatat*. The "If Vaios is more than $24, it's not worth it" "It's a better overall deal, for crying out loud, you're getting robbed with this crappy DSL!" "It's fine for what I do." "But it's not fine for everyone else!"

I'm thinking of the family here. I'm going to college. I won't really use our FiOS at all. I wish I had brought this up last year. We might be getting somewhere by now.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Do you believe in the greater good?

I believe that all actions carry consequences on several spectra, and that some of those actions are made with the intent of affecting a wider spectrum than one's own sphere of short, yes, there is some responsibility to "patch the road," so to speak, thus making things easier for those who come after us.

Ask me anything

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Freelance Summer

I somehow went the entire month of June without making a single post, which must mean that nothing exciting happened.

All in all, it wasn't a remarkable month. The fact that it's now July and I'll be in college in under two months doesn't faze me. Or that my boyfriend's in college now, and has been for about a week - that's nothing special. There wasn't much to write about in June, anyway. Especially not the first week. On Monday, my youngest brother graduated from 5th grade, and on Tuesday, my other brother graduated from 5th grade. On Thursday, my boyfriend graduated from high school, which was a huge ceremony (he was ninth out of 499, alphabetically...). On Friday, I graduated from Haverford, where I'd gone since 1997. And that's about it.

The rest of June was a lot of OpenArena, room cleaning, lawn mowing, computer fixing, and time with Gabe until he left on the 29th. So now all I have to do is OpenArena, room cleaning, lawn mowing, and computer fixing. And complaining. I can complain about the humidity quite proficiently.


In fact, the weather has been gorgeous here - both yesterday and today. See, I'm more of a climate person than a temperature person. I can deal with 85º heat so long as there's no humidity. Ironically, I'd hate San Francisco, where I hear it can be simultaneously chilly and humid.

My ideal climate is between 0-50º F with no humidity. I can tolerate 50-100 with no humidity. I cannot deal with negative temperatures, 100+ temperatures, or humidity very much at all. Below 0º, staying alive becomes a chore because honestly, I can't accurately determine when I'm "too cold" or when I'm in danger of freezing. Above 100º F, even if there was no humidity (which I don't believe is possible around here), I'm too sluggish to do anything and, once again, can't gauge things like dehydration, etc. And humidity, forget it. I just lose all functionality. There's no hope. Even with caffeine, I can't do anything. I lose my appetite, too, and have to force myself to make the effort to drink water (or soymilk, for the protein). It just sucks.

Blame post-war builders! The attic to our house is actually constructed incorrectly...that is, there is no vent under the ridge where the shingles meet at the middle of the roof. There is also no fan to draw the air out. Apparently, the couple who lived here before we did liked to do their own home improvement, wiring included. So we aren't sure if the wiring in the attic is enough to support the powerful fan that would be needed in order to draw all the hot and humid air up and out.

See, hot air rises, and the attic's not huge. So once it's full of dense humid air, the second floor begins to fill up with it. Then the first floor, where all the windows are open. I have an exhaust fan in my room, but that only does a little bit to help. At night, it blows in the cool air and makes my room quite comfortably cold, but parents' room in the new part of the house has an attic over it that does have a vent, and the difference is noticeable. They also have seven windows. But it's nice and cool regardless.


As for the title I chose here, that's what I ultimately want to make of the remaining summer days. I want to sell all (or at least some) of the photos that are taking up space in my room. I want to restore a lot of old photos. I want to maybe do some commissions as well, but I'm not sure what for. I already have several people interested in photo restorations, and apparently they have a lot of stuff, so I'm looking forward to taking that on.

Basically, I need a routine. I fall apart without structure, without a routine, without meaningful stuff to do and occupy my time.

So if you can - gimme!

And otherwise, enjoy your summer too.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The artist's "lament"

While I don't plan on pursuing art as a career, it is currently my hobby, my pastime, and my passion.

This is what I tell people when asked if I will continue photography in college, or indeed if I plan on making a career of it. I am going to Dickinson to study Chinese and international relations, taking full advantage of their strong East Asian Studies program. I will spend at least a semester (but more likely a full year) in China and/or Taiwan. I see myself becoming a linguist in the future, but of what nature I'm not sure. That's what college is for.

I open with that rather than another plug of my deviantArt page because I like to humanize myself as much as possible. I'm hesitant to talk about myself; the most I'll do is acknowledge that I have several distinct skill sets and/or talents. I mean, how arrogant does it sound if someone asks me if I play any instruments, and I say "Yes, I play seven," or something to that effect? The truth is sometimes best left for the seeker to discover on his own.

THAT SAID, I am selling my prints. Still. Always.

I don't have a central list of them, but if you visit my deviantArt page, you can get a pretty good idea of what's up for sale. Information on pricing, sizes, shipping, and the like will be available in the near future as well.

See, right now, I'm working on several projects at once, and it's getting hard to take on stuff in my free time. If you didn't notice, my last photo uploads were from the blizzard we had in February. That's simultaneously intentional and unfortunate - I'm not trying to get away from the art scene, so to speak, but I am trying to distance myself from hobbies so I can better focus on things with deadlines!

If you are interested in buying my prints, then please email

Remember I'm freelance (and otherwise unemployed) so any and all support is appreciated!

Think one of my photos would look nice on your wall, your grandmother's wall, your desk, your parent's bathroom door...? Keep thinking that, and keep me in mind.

Any questions about my work not related to the pricing, purchase, or shipping of prints may be directed anytime to

A less optimistic Jimmy might have had "artist" in quotes instead of "lament." But this isn't that Jimmy. :)

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Okay. More early-morning stuff.

I got home at 0030 and was feeling better than I had all day. Figures. My body rhythm is pretty much backwards now. Odd thing is, I'll wake up at 0600 and feel fine. Thank you REM cycles?

This post is quite literally an inventory. I felt as though, since no one ever comes over to my house, I ought to share a list of what's currently clogging my room. :)

I bought six computers for $12 and gutted them all. Well, all but one. One was marked as "not working - will not boot" so I plugged it into a monitor and gave it power, pressed the power button and it booted in half a minute. Booted Windows 2000, but still. Hah.

Computer surplus sales are bad for me. It's like a philandering pothead vacationing in Amsterdam.

• 6 internal CD drives
• 5 internal floppy drives
• 2 floppy drive modules (Dell OEM for Latitude laptops, Optiplex SX-series compacts)
• 2 internal 20GB 2.5" SATA laptop hard drives (Dell OEM " see above)
• 1 internal 27.2GB 3.5" EIDE (PATA?) hard drive (from a dead 1999 desktop)
• 12+ RAM chips ranging from 128MB to 512MB each, not all the same kind (I've no idea what to put them in or what they came from - fail on labeling, Jimmy...)
• 9+ IDE cables (the big ol' ribbon ones) and I don't know why there are more cables than devices that actually use them...
• 2 SATA/legacy cables
• 4 disc Li-ion batteries (from motherboards, naturally...)

Here's where it gets pathetic. 

• 1 plastic cup full of screws I'm keeping for who knows what reason
• More mice and keyboards than there are PS/2 ports on my computers
• 6 empty or nearly-empty (read: gutted of useful, functioning parts) desktop computer cases
• 2 double-ended SATA legacy cables (for laptop hard drives) with no conceivable use at all, as they are female on both ends
• 2 10/100M ethernet routers that are plugged into nothing.
• More power cables than there are things in my house that can use them.
• A mouse that I duct-taped back together after smashing it in frustration. It probably works but is also probably a hazard.
• A wireless optical mouse that I took apart and now use as a tiny red strobe light (so sue me, it's fun)
• 2 broken flash drives, one of which needs solder and one of which was run over by a car but probably might work. Maybe.
• 1 blank 4GB flash drive for which I can think of no practical use.
• Floppy boot disks for Windows 98 2nd Edition. The CDs it requires are nowhere to be found.
• A microphone for a Macintosh computer from 1993.
• An LCD monitor that displays colorful vertical and diagonal lines instead of a recognizable image.
• A computer that may or may not run a port of Linux directly from RAM, as it has, and theoretically needs, no hard drive.
• A dismantled PS/2 keyboard.
• Did I mention a cup full of screws?
• a 50-foot-long CAT5 cable that I use for the two or three feet between my desks.
• a 6-foot-long CAT5 cable that I do not use at all.
• 2 power bricks + adapters for two things that I do not own anymore because they broke and I gave 'em away.
• 3 10-12V DC wall adapters that are too big to be efficient (they block two or more outlets)
• STACKS of floppy disks.
• a few iomega ZIP disks. I had a drive for them but it's vanished.
• 4 USB extension cables that come in handy twice a year if they're lucky.
• I have a damn cup full of screws!!

And here's what is USEFUL:

• 1 MacBook M, late 2006, runs Tiger and OpenArena. And Photoshop sometimes.
• 1 Dell Dimension 8400 with 1.5GB of RAM (pilfered from other machines), 2 processor cores, 3 operating systems, and two hard drives. Oh and two PCI cards, one for wireless and one for ethernet. And it has a USB wireless adapter (Tenda W311U - I highly recommend it!)
• 2 Dell Optiplex GX240 desktops, running XP and Ubuntu 8.0.4 respectively.
• 1 LCD monitor plugged into the Ubuntu computer with VGA, its only input.
• 1 LCD monitor plugged into the other two working desktops via VGA and HDMI. Doesn't it normally go the other way round?

• 1 Dell Optiplex GX240 desktop that runs Ubuntu but got messed up by my siblings, who don't know how to use it because they're kids and it's Linux.
• 1 Dell Optiplex GX280 desktop that I kinda modified. It has no OS (indeed it currently has no HD) but it has 2GB of RAM. It came with 512MB.

Now, ordinarily, I'd say "help me, I have issues, and I'm going to be on "Hoarders" in a few years," but the worst part about all this is that it's all organized and categorized and...well I honestly have reasons for having all this stuff.

It's fun to write about. XD

I'll have pictures soon. Believe me...I will. All this ridiculous crap in the form of a bulleted list is nice and all, but since I haven't done any art stuff in a long time (at least, not any worth sharing) I might as well post pictures of my nerdy side habits...


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

2 AM Thoughts

The theme of this collaborative blog has really drifted away from photography and art in general, unfortunately, so I'm going to fix that :)

First off - direct your attention to the links in the boxes on the right of this page (or if you are viewing this post via RSS, go to the main site). In those boxes are a bunch of links. Click them. They're cool.

By the way, remember this is Nate posting. So I'm going to plug my DeviantArt page a little - but also look at Jimmy's, even though he hasn't posted anything in months. He's told me he will, so let's all be patient.

So anyway, I haven't made a post here in a really really long time, so I probably seem like a stranger to most of you. I'm Nate, and I enjoy photography and modelling. I'm actually dating a photographer as well (not Jimmy XD). I'm all about open-source, something my dad got me into when he bought me a computer and loaded it with free open-source software. So even though I run Windows XP, I use Gimp for just about everything. I've downloaded tons of plugins and brushes. I use a very modded Firefox alongside Chrome and I do whatever productive work I have to in OpenOffice. Seriously, so much time and money saved...

The few HDR renders I've done were with my boyfriend's copy of Photomatix, which is an awesome program but not free at all. There are no plugins for it for Gimp either, so I have to use his computer or get it illegally...don't think I'll do that.

My workflow is not nearly as involved as Jimmy's. It's interesting to have a post such as this, where the actual blog owner has his methods scrutinized, but so be it, it's happening. It seems overly complicated (and a bit obsessive) to use Gimp, Photoshop, Photomatix, Gimp again, Photoshop again, etc... to get an image. Jimmy's done some really amazing stuff, don't get me wrong, but he's also been known to take forever switching between programs and tweaking minor things just to change the image the slightest bit. I think it's kinda funny, actually.

Anyway - speaking of Jimmy - our creative paths have crossed, and we're both currently doing digital art and photomanipulation-type stuff. Hopefully, one or both of us will have some stuff posted here and on our respective DeviantArt pages soon!


remember if you are seeing this on Facebook that it was not posted by Jimmy, NullCoding, or someone else.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


I am done.

With what, I'm not sure. It's only natural that once one problem is solved, two more come up. It's the basic principle of entropy - any organized system will move towards disorder at a constant rate. In thermodynamics, confounding variables and outside forces come into play, but I'm an astronomer dammit. No wait I'm a musician. Blah I'm a photographer. Ok I'm Jimmy.

As my boyfriend and I drove home tonight, we hit a huge bank of fog on a the long and twisty stretch of road that leads to my street. It happens to be the road that runs between the corporate campus of SAP America and Lyondell (formerly Arco Chemical) and the estate of John duPont, formerly known as Foxcatcher Farm and fully abandoned as of two yeas ago. Half a mile down the road is the deteriorating home of Brian Schultz, the Olympic wrestler whom, in 1996, the paranoid and schizophrenic duPont murdered on the driveway, now blocked by a barbed-wire fence (like the rest of the estate, which extends to 50 yards behind my house in my backyard) and covered in plant growth and whatnot. The house is intact but I doubt it is structurally stable. The barn off in the field behind it was abandoned at the same time; either this winter or last winter, the roof collapsed because of all the snow. The fields are barren now, more meadow than pasture, and only wildlife lives there. Last month some township worker mounted a piece of plywood on the fence in front of the house on which he spray-painted "3901" - a reasonable guess, on my part, of the actual address of the place, since the next buildings in either direction are 3600 and 4018. I live near an untouched crime scene.

It's always foggy right there when it's foggy. That sounds very strange - well duh it's foggy when it's foggy - but I've noticed that the fog stays up there, on the pastures, around the abandoned house, in the woods opposite the estate, and on the road itself, making nighttime driving more of a challenge than it really ought to be. Why doesn't it make its way down into the valley? I live in the valley. I live at the very bottom, actually, because the road goes uphill both ways with respect to my driveway. Which also goes up. I live on a hill at the bottom of the valley. There is no fog there. But boy do those fields look...eerie. Mystical, enchanting, intriguing, sure - but eerie. What a photo that would make - the abandoned, dilapidated, ready-to-collapse house and its crime-scene of a driveway where an innocent man was shot three times by a paranoid, latently homosexual millionaire who then locked himself in his mansion and drew SWAT teams to the quiet suburb (I don't blame the grunts for showing up on his doorstep...I mean, the guy owned a tank.)

But fog pervades my mind whether it exists or not. I used to think that haze was a figment of my imagination, that it wasn't really there - all a fabrication of a differently-wired brain. But the last year or so has taught me more than just how wrong I was.

My previous post about fog contained several statements I would like to rescind and/or amend (you decide).

• The CFO of my school did in fact receive my e-mail. He did not respond to it, though. I ran into him on campus and we chatted for a moment; he informed me that my insurance issues are to be brought up with another person entirely. One of the art teachers - not the gallery curator, not the Security people, not the Chief Financial Officer who signs the checks - an art teacher is responsible for assessing the damages and requesting remuneration.

• I also stated that I have not been reimbursed for the food I purchased for my failure of a reception. The CFO told me that I should have been, but he needed the receipts. I gave the receipts to the curator over a month ago now. The CFO doesn't have them.

Oh by the way I'm broke.

So, in no particular order, below are listed the problems with which I am currently dealing, and (where applicable) the solutions I see hidden in the fog.

My senior project is one giant failure to launch. Currently I have a little over a gallon of fully filtered vegetable oil and that's it. I need methanol or ethanol as well as lye (NaOH) and need to actually do chemical stuff to make biofuel, and have two weeks to do it.

My father is correct in saying that I am doing nothing with my life and lack the motivation that will help me succeed in the future. I am unemployed, I have been unemployed, and I plan on staying unemployed. I have applied for no fewer than eight local jobs that were feasible for me, and have never heard back from any.

A person I know, or rather, knew, is becoming an unwelcome part of my life again. I am (not fully) at fault for the rift between us, but decided to be a man (rather than a hypocrite) and go apologize in one of the rare moments that (name) and I are in the same place. My apology was thrown back in my face instantly and I was told that seven months of my life were "nothing." (because people get along on an all-or-nothing basis, right? right? hm). This came minutes after I told this person, in front of a bunch of other people, that (name) was a strong and independent person with a drive to succeed. If you're reading this, you know damn well who you are - I meant that at the time, but now I scoff at you! Strong and independent my ass. Weak and cowardly, thriving in the knowledge that (name) can influence others to feel as strongly opposed to me as (name) does - that's what (name) is. If (name) wasn't a lazy, courage-deprived two-faced emotional Gordian Knot, maybe (name) would show up and talk to me in person so I could avoid such incisive invective as I am writing now. Believe me, I wish this problem could be solved by simple conversation, but (name) is too stupid to understand conversational dynamics and doesn't know what an "apology" is, because (name) feels that (name) is always right and the world is out to get (name).

Now to the really drama part.

(name) thinks it's okay to talk shit about me to my friends. More specifically, a certain friend who is closer to me than anyone else at my school, and friend who has told me secrets that (friend) has not told others. A friend whose support is something I cherish because I have few true friends. A friend who does not know (name), only what (friend) has heard about (name), and had to endure (name)'s childish and cowardly attacks on me behind my back. (name) made sure that I had left the location before talking to (friend). Pathetic.

Let it be known that I can and will ruin (name). I will tear down every wobbly support beam of (name)'s social standing. I will destroy (name)'s reputation among (name)'s few "friends," with whom (name) shared only jadedness and naïveté. I will make (name) rue the day (name) crossed me.

On my blog, I fight with flowery language. In the real world, I fight with fists and switchblades only when provoked. I know some things. I could break (name)'s arm or finger or give (name) a terrible concussion. Besides the obvious legal consequences and the fact I'd be thrown out of my house and expelled from Dickinson, I would gain nothing from the experience. Also, not being "Human Weapon" material, I'd probably hurt myself in the process. Last time I punched something, it was a wall, and I swear it punched back.

Basically, violence sucks. Violence is not a means to an end. So how, then, ought I to deal with this person? Some primal instinct tells me to club (name) into submission or run (name) through with a blade made from sabre-tooth tiger tusk. It's natural and scary. Humans seek to right their wrongs. Humans also seek to right those who wrong them. We are animals. We do this through force. Nowadays, we call it war and make it out to be a terrible scourge. Prehistorically, it was just how things were done.

I hate drama.

I mean besides theatre - I love watching plays but boy do I hate working behind the scenes. I can't deal with the people who work in the theatre at my school. They're full of crap. The person who fired me from the theatre talked at great length about his reasoning (without really saying anything) and in the process, contradicted himself twice and repeated the same thing four different ways. Then, having claimed to be interested in the problems I had with the others in the theatre, he dismissed my offer to explain as a futile effort that wouldn't change anyone's mind. Alrighty then. Mighty fine leadership figure there. Fuck it, I have better things to waste my time with. :)

But oddly, I see a lot of that in this case as well. Yeah I hate drama when I'm not watching it acted out on a stage. I absolutely despise drama when it involves me, though! This makes my blood boil, though. Talking shit about me to one of my only friends behind my back after throwing a heartfelt apology back in my face...(name) is a pathetic excuse for a human being. (name) had talked about (name)'s father and how he's a terrible person, etc, etc, and I believed (name). I had no reason not to...I mean, (name) was right about him. But talking to (name) and finding the worse to best express and articulate the apology that had been burning at my mind for so long - that made me cry. It really did, because I meant every word. I meant all of it - but that was then.

So hey, (name) - I'm not sorry. And if it means anything, those were fake tears. And you're actually weak and very dependent. Fat, too. I doubt you'll succeed in life with your 2.5 GPA. Oh, but I could be making that all up! Maybe I am sorry, maybe I was crying. Maybe you are strong and independent and beautiful and smart. How would you know if I'm being serious or not? How do you know what to believe? (hint: think about my values and then think about your own - oh wait...)


Holy shit. I really hope that no one is reading this particular post and using it as a gauge of my personality. I am not an angsty teenager! Far from it - I am far too anti-social to know large amounts of people and therefore have little to no right to stand in judgment on anyone else - simple because I don't know anyone else!

Oh, and also, my life doesn't suck. I am reminded of that every time I see my Gabriel. The way he smiles, the way he looks into my eyes, the way he carries serenity with him is all the conviction I need to carry on living like my problems don't exist to stop me, but to make me stronger.

Sure, the fog is dangerous when it's dark - but it makes a beautiful sunrise.

5-15-10 - JFB free speech without judgment

Monday, 3 May 2010


It's my last week of classes now, and it couldn't have come at a more convenient or more inopportune time.

This particular post is taking me a long time to write, as I currently have a fairly unpleasant sinus infection that has spread throughout my body and is causing me terrible pain in my wrists, back, and knees; as a result, I can barely breathe through my nose, can't really taste, and find walking up stairs and lifting normal items to be painful and involved. I also feel really hot but have no fever. The best part, though, is that I am not contagious and, though I feel miserable, am still obliged to go to school.

So my "sickness" makes this final week of classes "inopportune." But I am glad to see it come, all the same, because this means I only have several more days when I will ever have to deal with the inanity, insincerity, and impracticality of high school.

Mentally, I graduated from high school around December. I also turned 18 a few years ago. In reality, I am a 17-year-old high school senior, which means that my opinions are naïve, my worldview is narrow and jaded, and everything I say is wrong. Most importantly, though, my status means that I am automatically put at the bottom of any kind of priority lists and treated as second-class within the school and most other organizations.

Case in point would be the fiasco with my March exhibit and the disgustingly large amount of vandalism that occurred. Five of my photos were damaged and roughly 10 others tampered with. Lots and lots of pins were torn out of the walls, bent, or used to scratch or poke holes in my photos. Most noticeable were the holes poked in my ear and eye in one photo and the six on my face in another.

I already made a post about this, I know - but I never shared the financial details. I don't plan to, either, as it's an issue between the school and me, but this being a public space, I will share my experiences dealing with the financial people at my school.

Oh wait. I have no such experiences.

This would be because I have not received a reply to the e-mail I sent to the CFO of my school on April 16th. Two and a half weeks, and no reply.

Following is my exact e-mail, unedited. I deliberately did not include any numbers or any hint of how much of a settlement I expected. Hell, I didn't even say how many were damaged. I intended to make him want to ask me those questions and, as a result, have to set up a meeting with me in which I could explain my case:


In March, I had an exhibit of my photography in Centennial Hall's gallery, and when I took it down on the 25th, I was faced with the unfortunate task of assessing the damage that had been done to many of my photos by other students.

I assessed this based on the asking prices I'd set for each photo, and have come up with a list of each damaged photo, the exact damage that was done, and the prices of the photos that were compromised.

In the contract I signed for use of the gallery space, there was a clause saying that my work would be insured at its asking price, so I would like to arrange a time to meet with you and discuss this issue.

Thank you for your time and effort! I look forward to resolving this unfortunately large amount of vandalism.

So - no response from the CFO (to whom this was sent), and no indication that his secretary, to whom I talked about this (she advised that I e-mail him), has informed him that a disgruntled student has invoked his right to justifiable recompense and ought to be contacted forthwith.

It should also be noted that I was forced, at the last minute, to provide food for my own reception. I found out a few minutes before the doors opened and had to borrow my boyfriend's car to rush out and buy about $60 worth of food for all zero of my guests - money I should not have had to spend, money I was told I would not have to spend, money which I have not as of yet been reimbursed.

Again, I have said this before, but it helps to keep things in context. I have gotten nothing but the short end of the stick in all my art endeavors at the school. Friends of mine who have hung paintings and photos around the school have never had to deal with vandalism (believe me, I asked!!). Teachers have never seen their artwork damaged. Currently, in the gallery, a teacher has hung a bunch of his complicated clay tiles on the walls. It's a hell of a lot more elaborate than I could even describe - fired clay hanging on a wall - by itself, mind, not with mounting hardware, and nothing has been broken by the overwhelmingly unintelligent and disrespectful population of students at the school. I don't think it's just those little paper signs saying "Please do not touch."

At the same time, I am taking great pains to not seem paranoid. It would be very easy for me to play the so-called "Rainbow Card" and whine that some student is a rabid homophobe with a silent vendetta against me. It would also be very foolish of me and would completely remove my right to label others within the school as "insincere" and "stupid."

The buzz-word in this particular case is "pathetic." Five teachers have independently used "pathetic" to describe vandalism of my photos. The CFO's secretary called it "unbelievable" and "totally disrespectful." The head and assistant head of the Upper School used words like "disrespectful," "callous," "rude," and "degrading." Hearing so many members of my school's community use words like these to describe the same thing when given the same description (from me) leads me to believe that those words actually reflect on the student community itself in addition to the act of vandalizing my work.

Face it - this was an isolated incident. It must have been, as the photographer whose works were displayed prior to mine reported no damages at all, nor have any ceramists or painters. So this is one idiot student out of many.

Lately, someone has been stealing stuff from people's bags and lockers in the gym. This doesn't affect me, as I keep my valuables on me at all times (and don't go to the gym anyway). But today, the entire Upper School was told that the thief (or thieves) would be expelled, plain and simple.

Ok, so if you catch a petty thief, chances are damn good that the kid will fess up and return all the stuff he swiped. It's happened in the last two incidents of theft during my time at this school. Same assistant head of Upper School, too (disciplinary stuff goes to him).

If you catch the person who vandalized my photos, he won't be returning anything! He'll offer a cheap apology, probably in e-mail form because no one has any balls around here, and it'll be extremely complicated to try and weasel out any sort of remuneration, especially based on my asking prices. Just you wait.

As a result of all this shit, I haven't done any photography stuff in what seems like ages. Once I finally, finally get this all resolved, it'll (hopefully) be back to the old grind - which, not being "high school," isn't really so bad. :)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Way to go Sweden...

Okay, so I just found out that these are the lyrics to Solution .45's song "Lethean Tears."

Another sun
Now sets within
On the torn apart
Not to be found
Again therein
Bleeding fry the heart
Once more a dawn
Now wearing thin
Broken work of art
A can of worm
Incisive burns
Of the dark

Excuse me?

For those who don't know me well, I love Scar Symmetry and Solution .45, bands with very similar styles thanks to Christian Älvestam. He's got a great voice and can growl too, but apparently can't write lyrics. Either that, or people can't quite transpose them succinctly. I'd go with the former, but blame the band.

Solution .45 isn't the only band with a great sound and strange, almost nonsensical lyrics. Try Here Comes the Kraken or Within the Ruins...

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Surrealism alive and well.

This is not a photography update, because there has been absolutely nothing photographic in the last month or so on which I can update you.

Instead, I'm going to share a series of wall posts a friend made on my Facebook.



送松。 宋鬆頌聳訟淞誦。工公共功紅可一唷已永用一,頭口肉某走!


ㅆ! 문 킴 림ㅅ . 흥.

고 노 보 고 .


あああ青尾尾尾絵絵絵胃胃胃イア。ああの 僕のい かし





And now the translation.


What do you Ma Ma scolded ant code issues raised area Mount Body brother was being charged more than the empty hole Kong Mountain pressed sincere fear of hollow Kong air?

Get loose. Song-Song Song Song Song Song-defendants. Workers in public Gonghong may have never used a yo a head of a walking mouth meat!

I walk away with fleshy mouth. What broke my hand a few mouthfuls of meat, mother of every family tree will have to go with meat mouth!

Son of a! Kim Moon Forest fuck, man. Hm.

He said no protection.

Joker joker joker joker!

Ia stomach stomach stomach picture picture picture tail tail Ao Oh Yeah. But Oh, if my
Oh, oh area to rear tail!

Oh, and the world s water Yore.

Uu, vs Ini speak.
Oh tailed cormorant, I Ono Aichi, rather Ichichi ー

Fuji Yu of writing, you should speak to the waves. . .


Problem is, it makes sense at times. That's worrisome considering the person who communicated this vital information to me in several Asian languages in fact speaks none of them.

Have a nice day now. :)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Sky's the Limit


Last Friday was the reception for my exhibit. The exhibit itself looks great, and I'll have pictures up soon - but the reception itself...that was a huge disappointment.

First and foremost, that event I created on Facebook? 28 people RSVP'd saying they'd come (about 100 said no), but of those 28, one showed up. I shouldn't be exaggerating, actually. It wasn't really 28, since both my brothers said they'd come but then had other plans (I already knew that...) The one person who showed up was boyfriend, since he was there to help me set up anyway.

All in all, it was a fiasco.

I originally got the gallery for March back in December, when the curator of the gallery offered it to me - usually, the space is rented by professional (or semi-professional) artists who are looking for a local venue so they can get more exposure. They're almost always adults with lots of experience, but I'm not - I'm a student at the school, not an adult, have a couple years experience, and certainly want/need local exposure. I was thrilled to be offered the space for an exhibit all my own. Students and teachers at my school would finally see my work, and people from outside the school would as well! Being in the lobby of a large and frequently-used auditorium, the gallery lends itself very well to helping local artists get their names out there.

It took months of preparation and a lot of effort for me to get everything together. Practically from that day on I organized photos on the computer, edited them, tweaked stuff, did budgeting, organized frames and prints I already had, thought critically about print sizes, did some more budgeting, and finally made a last push to gather all my materials together. You may remember several past posts in which I expressed how difficult it was to narrow my larger prints down to only 17 (from over 40). At least I saved some money. And take my word for it, I'm glad I didn't print so many - originally, I thought I'd have too many photos...then thought I'd have too few...turns out I had just enough! The setup looks great, it really does, and I'm thrilled it got off the ground and happy with all the positive comments I've gotten so far. It's the reception that still bothers me.

I called the curator of the exhibit about fifteen minutes before opening to ask where he was and what the situation was with food for the reception. He had said that there would be food, after all - it's an art opening reception, and the first Friday of every month is full of them around here (it's an official Philadelphia-area event). When I called, though, he said "Oh...hi Jimmy. Actually, I'm in the city right now..." and I freaked out (inside). There was another art reception that apparently took precedence. All but one of the art teachers were there instead of at mine (and believe me, I'd asked if they were going to show up), and the one who wasn't there was visiting his daughter, so I excused that. At any rate, after the call to the curator, I had to go to Acme (luckily a minute down the road) and buy food for my reception. Upon arriving back at school, having just essentially poured $55 more of my own money into the exhibit, I found all the doors to the gallery locked. My boyfriend was in there and let me in, but when I called Security to ask if they could open the doors, "because I'm having an art reception you see", the guy said "I wasn't aware of any art reception tonight." According to him, they "don't tell [Security] these things." He came and unlocked the doors so people could get in.

Well, they could have gotten in, that is, if they'd shown up. My grandmother came, at least, which was a pleasant surprise. My only living grandparent, who hates driving in the dark (hates it!) drove about 50 minutes (maybe 90 minutes, round trip, with the traffic at that hour) just to see my photos hanging in a gallery...but the curator of the gallery couldn't even be bothered to let me know, in advance, that he wouldn't be at the reception and I'd have to provide food and such. No other teachers showed up. None of my other friends showed up. I made allowances for the ones who don't live in Pennsylvania, of course, and the ones in the musical who had rehearsal, but the others...nope. Over 20 of them said they'd at least drop by, and I didn't see them at all that night.

Initially, I felt worried, then anxious, then somewhat offended, and then just plain hurt. I'm over it now, of course, but still. I've never been one to take things personally - I may jump to conclusions and do that on occasion, but not this time. No one would actually get my hopes up and then not follow through, just to spite me...right? Right?

The thing is, communication just didn't exist. It's not like there was some unexpected event, or a lapse in publicity effectiveness - simply put, no one took it seriously. I only have about 100 "fans" on Facebook, but I invited most of my friend list, including everyone at school...I'm not offended that people said "no" to the invite, or that some said "maybe" and never showed. I am, however, offended that 20 of the people whose RSVPs still say "yes" at this moment just didn't come at all, and gave no explanation!*

Moving on. Really.

I've taken up an interest in astronomy lately - deep-space astronomy especially. This is an interest spawned from my second-semester science course - Astronomy - which is more basic and introductory than I might like, but it's gotten me off on my own path to the cosmos.

For stargazing, I use binoculars (roughly 7x50, my sister's bird-watching ones) and my camera. Naturally, it didn't take long for me to mix this newfound hobby with my well-established hobby of photography - Nikon D60 + 300mm zoom lens + tripod pointed up + 30 second shutter and 10 sec self-timer = good pictures of stars and such.

Unfortunately, there's this thing called rotation that the Earth does, and as the Earth moves, the positions of celestial objects appear to change. To a camera on a tripod on the surface of the Earth, everything in the sky (except airplanes) is essentially equidistant, meaning that Mars (a little closer to us than the Sun) appears to move just as much as Rigel (775 light years away). It's only an arcsecond (max), or perhaps a fraction of an arcsecond even, in that 10-second exposure, but that's enough for the stationary 62mm objective at a 300mm (18º) FOV to take in its minimal movement and register it as a diagonal line. That means I need a "clock mount" for the tripod - a component that locks onto the celestial co-ordinates of whatever and stays there, even when it (a star, a planet, etc) sets. This means I could lock onto the Orion nebula (near his belt) and leave the shutter open for an hour or more and get a totally clear picture. I did do a 20 second shot of the nebula area, but the stars around it "moved" so much that all you see is a blur. The nebula is there, but it doesn't look like much...a blur like everything else. Too bad.

Gotta get me one of those mounts...just...I'm not entirely sure what they're called. I'm sure my teacher can help me find one. That'll be a cool investment. If people will buy photos of rural Chinese landscapes and the foggy Yellow Mountains, they'll definitely buy shots of deep-space objects!


That's all for now. Thanks for reading. Comments welcome, as always!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Anywhere Left to Turn - Pt. 3

I have submitted my photos for printing. They'll be in my hands tomorrow and I'll begin framing immediately.

It took a lot of time and even more critical creative thinking to figure out which I wanted to remove from the big-print list and which I wanted to remove from the exhibit entirely. I ended up getting rid of only nine, while putting the rest that were "on the fence" onto the small-print list - they'll be either alternates or space-fillers, whichever is necessary.

There are eight 12x18s and two 16x20s which will be hanging on the walls but not in frames, and seven 11x14s that will be framed. My finances are much more secure than I thought, too. Originally, this was all going to cost me $240 or so - much more than I could or was willing to spend. Now, I just spent about 1/4 of that on prints, and instead of the initially projected cost of $78.00 for frames, I don't need to buy frames at all. In fact, I'm just reusing the frames from The Mind Dynamic.

This also helps with filling the gallery more, since the photos from TMD are still lying around (and still for sale, by the way...), so I can put them up too if need be. I've even got a bunch of spare 8x10 frames for the small-print list stuff that I may want to frame.

Saturday, I begin installation. I'll have pictures up here and on Facebook as well.

Speaking of Facebook - If you have one, and are in the Main Line area, check out the Facebook page I made for this event. Main Line First Fridays (March 5th) will be in full swing, and mine is one of several art openings that night. Shuttle buses will be going up and down Lancaster Avenue stopping at all the venues, and The Haverford School's Centennial Hall Gallery is one of them - and will be full of my photos.

The exhibit runs from the 1st to the 25th of March, but the official reception is Friday March 5th from 6 to 8 PM. I will be there to answer questions, take comments, make sales, and pretty much anything else (artist networking? great!). Additionally, I'll be taking commissions for photo-restorations and have some samples of my work available, so I'm going to be representing pretty much every side of my photographic adventures.

That's all for now - next post will likely be a final wrap-up of information, probably when I finish preparation completely. Maybe I'll even have some photos of the installation (in progress, finished exhibit, etc).

I'm pretty excited, to say the least. :)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Anywhere Left to Turn - Pt.2

After six days off from school, I'm back and shifting exhibit prep to the top of my priority list.

As of now, there are 69 items lined up to be in the exhibit. I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to go next, though. See, printing and framing is a bigger issue than it ought to be (par for the course). Some photos, as I mentioned, will be printed at school - this is beneficial because it's free and those 20 or so pictures either don't need to be framed or can be put in frames I already have.

But the Costco prints, there's a challenge. See, it's really cheap and convenient and all, but there's still the fact that I'm printing (theoretically) 40 pictures there at 12x18. That works out to $120 for the printing alone. Then there's frames. The ones I use are basic and rather boring and happen to cost as much as each print, so there's another $120 roughly. That's a total cost of $240. $240 I'm not necessarily willing to spend. I'd much rather save wherever I can.

I have all the TMD stuff sitting in my room. 3 of them are going in the exhibit already, which leaves 12 frames I could salvage (read: reuse), saving me $36.

So that's $204.

Also, what's to say I really am going to print 40 pictures at 12x18? I've yet to actually scope the gallery itself, measuring the walls and all. For all I know, it's more efficient to have a bunch of unframed 8x10s or 8x12s pinned to the walls and maybe 20 12x18s. I know for a fact that 40 12x18 framed photos would take up much more space than I have! And given the duration of the exhibit...nah.

Notice the stream-of-consciousness writing tactic implemented above. See why long-term projects stress me out. Good. Moving on.

There you have it - the cartoony, colorful, and much-anticipated (I hope) poster advertising the exhibit. I just printed 20 of 'em and I'll start hanging them as soon as I can. Maybe a Facebook album of their locations will ensue. If you live in the Main Line area, be on the lookout for them. :P

In the near future (read: when I'm done with Astronomy homework), I'll be going through the "Costco Prints" folder and narrowing down my future 12x18 prints. With any luck, I'll cut it in half. That might be hard, but at least I'll still be showing the others at a later date. ;)

Total cost: $144

Each 12x18 print will be selling for $45. The others, of various sizes, will be of various prices...yet to be set.

I'll have a Guestbook format finalized very soon, along with an aesthetically pleasing price list. I have already made labels for each photo, but haven't printed them because I don't know which will be in the final exhibit. For reference, I can begin "installation" on February 27th. So I've got time. But as we all know, time is money...

I'll keep you posted. Stay informed. :)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Anywhere Left to Turn - Pt. 1

My next exhibit will be in March, at my school's art gallery. It's a sizable space with plenty of room to hang photos. Which is good, since I've got together about sixty photos I want to put in the exhibit.

They're of various sizes and some HDR stuff, some black and whites, some Thought-Process drawings, and some other weird and wonderful photographic art. It'll be cool to see it all in one place.

As of now, I've got a folder of stuff I'll print with my own resources and a folder to print at Costco (great prices and great quality). Luckily, I've already got a bunch of 12x18s left over from The Mind Dynamic and some other 8x10s that were alternates. Some of the photos I'm going to put in the exhibit will be printed small anyway (5x7 or 4x6) because that's how I want them. So it'll be a cool meld.

At this point, what's left is finalizing a poster design, printing it, and hanging it all over the place. Also, I've got to find out specific details on the exhibit space (as in how I'm gonna hang stuff - nails in the walls? - and how many exactly) because I'm new at this...I've seen exhibits at the gallery before, and know how they work and all, but I've never been in charge of setup and arrangement and such! I'm going to have a guestbook, of course, and I look forward to reading people's comments and such.

Also, I'll be selling pretty much everything at the exhibit. The experiences I had with TMD have taught me that my approach to selling isn't quite correct. Two people "bought" prints from TMD and never followed up. It was as good as saying "Hey, I'll buy this!" and then forgetting about it...

So that's part one. Fair and simple.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Winter Landscape Lull

Well, January is ending almost as quickly as it began. It's interesting how time passes so fast when I'm not in school nearly as often as a normal school month. See, midterms came and went uneventfully - I wasn't really able to post anything here, upload anything to dA, or even really work on much photography stuff. But, oddly, it's not because I was studying like a fiend...if anything, the school vs. artistic leisure dynamic didn't even come into play and hasn't for awhile.

Midterm exams were actually a bit surreal. See, as a senior, I don't have to take final exams unless I get below a B (or B+ in honors courses) so, the way things are looking now, these midterms of a week or so ago were the last exams I will ever have to take as a student at this school. You could say I went out with a bang - got the results back Monday, and I was thrilled. This time last year, I wouldn't have anticipated the grades I ended up with. In years past, I've walked out of the exam room and instantly started wondering (often somewhat pessimistically) what I got wrong and how I ultimately did. Usually my reception of the grade was bittersweet...I've been a B and C student up til this year, and now that's all changed for the better. I left each exam this year totally indifferent, to say the least. This is, I suppose, a good segue into a little anecdote about my tumultuous freshman year...

For Christmas in 2006, I got a MacBook. I was thrilled. I'd been begging my parents for a laptop ever since 3rd grade, when a friend got one and wouldn't stop talking about it (in 2000, I suppose, a laptop was a big deal for a kid). My parents had the common sense to not get me a computer of my own at that age, and through middle school I had to use the family computer to do homework and play games, often staying after school to play internet games and such since we had dial-up at the time (:P). The first semester of my freshman year was marked with struggles against what I viewed as an overwhelming workload from teachers who tried to foster a love of learning while simultaneously making us work to the point of hating the subject. Now, that's definitely not the case, but I certainly had no love of writing proofs in Geometry or long compositions in Chinese (in pinyin no less). That was the Jimmy of the past, the awkward 14-year-old with too-short hair, undiagnosed ADHD, and an affinity for prog metal and Nightwish. But when I got that computer, I was finally able to pursue my flawed priority pastime of RuneScape, and with the addition of an AirPort router and DSL service to the house, I barely left my room and certainly barely got off my new computer. Needless to say, my midterm grades were awful because I did almost nothing but train my RuneScape character. Maybe I glanced at some notes the night before exams, but I honestly barely remember the midterms of my freshman year beyond the poor grades I got. In the eyes of my parents, I bombed them. In middle school, I'd been a straight-A student - but one without a computer, and so it wasn't too hard for my parents to blame my sub-par exam performance on the presence of a wireless-ready laptop in my life. In retrospect, they were right.

Fast-forward...In the weeks leading up to senior midterms, I played a ton of OpenArena (open-source Quake III Arena with a great multiplayer community) and if I do say so myself, got quite good at Capture-the-Flag, and even found the time to bolster my own fledgling clan. But I barely studied. In the past, I operated on the mentality that studying would only stress me out because I'd just keep finding stuff I didn't know, and ultimately freaking out because I clearly was going to fail, and didn't really know anything! Of course, that wasn't true, but it didn't stop me from doing the bare minimum in terms of exam review. Now, knowing what the real problem was, I can't 100% blame video games but can certainly blame the combination of video games and the untreated ADHD that no one knew I had.

Why share all this? Because it's oddly pertinent to the landscape of my life at the moment. My senior midterm grades were astounding, to say the least - "A"s across the board. In fact, I got 95s on all but two of them (didn't do as well on Chinese as I'd have liked, and I don't know exactly what I got on my Statistics project, but it was between A- and A). My Latin teacher, who also taught me in my beleaguered freshman and sophomore years, said that my sight translations (of Cicero) on the exam were the best she'd ever seen from me and indeed some of the most precise in the class. I didn't study a bit. I didn't tell her that, of course, but that doesn't matter...I mean, I did the readings and translations, knew what was going on in Cicero's life and political career, and by this time in my Latin career (this is my 6th year) I can translate anything because I know all the grammar and such...

The English exam essay was the only thing I really prepared for, truth be told. We were to bring in a paper with only quotes from two readings (classic compare-and-contrast-two-characters topic) and then write the essay with no outline. Naturally I thought about it beforehand, but only somewhat. Hamlet and Satan (as represented by Milton in Paradise Lost) to relate them? It wasn't that challenging but I'm a slow writer...I ended up with 25/25 on that section and 95 on the exam. Thrilling, to say the least.

That Psychology paper I may have been complaining about? The 8-page one? Highest grade in the class.

The Chinese exam was a doozy...took all of 210 minutes, and as I was a bit of a disappointment. Serves me right though. Has nothing to do with racking up mad frags in CTF's more my general ambivalence towards improving my writing ability. Given how I did on English and Latin, both of which required concise analytical writing in English, my Chinese exam grade does not reflect my "writing ability"...just my ability to write detailed and concise stuff in Chinese. I'm on it, don't worry. I'm gonna be fluent, just you watch.

Enough of that. Let's just games+freshman year = bad, and video games+senior year = just fine, thank you. My GPA is 1.1 higher than it was this time last year, and 1.5 higher than it was my freshman year. Progress? I think so. Hence the Dickinson acceptance. I'm going places.


Winter has always been my favorite season, and I can't really say why. Perhaps it's the weather or perhaps it's the large amount of free time it entails what with break and all. Indeed, I barely had to go to school during exam week (except for two hours on three days to actually take them :P) but still, I regret to say I haven't really done any shooting in a loooong time. In fact, the last time I used my camera for artsy stuff was last year!

This probably isn't a problem, though, since March will see the biggest and best exhibit I've yet done. The person in charge of the art gallery at my school's auditorium (the one I work at) has graciously granted me 28 days in March to make the gallery all my own. I'm going to plan out a definite 'scape for the place in the near future - I'm thinking 16x20 prints right when you walk in the door, and 12x18s down the walls on either side and on the back wall as well. The space lends itself well to being an art gallery, since it's an oblong and people going into the auditorium have to see all the art no matter what. And of course, we have assemblies in there so all the students will see my photos, and the musical (Damn Yankees) is in March as well - that means that people who wouldn't ordinarily be there will see my stuff as well. I'll definitely be selling the prints, but that's the least of my organizational concerns at the moment.

See, the way I've framed stuff in the past is a simple three-step process. 1. Buy a boatload of $3 "Ram" frames at IKEA (plain pine). 2. Order prints at Costco for $3 each, pick 'em up, cut them if necessary. 3. Put the prints in the frames, get the hardware in, and hang them up. Total cost: $6 per print. It sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but then again, so does $15 per print at Ritz or somewhere where the quality is exactly the same...

This time, I'll likely either stain the frames or do mattes of my own design. This will probably take a bit more time, but that's what February is for. My ideas at this time are very preliminary. That's what I've got a blog for...expect more updates on the status of this exhibit.

For instance, I still don't know what to call it. "The Mind Dynamic" wasn't a flop, but it was kind of a silly name and (unbeknownst at the time) I picked a bad time to have it. The café is fully renovated (if you remember, that's why my stuff's not there at the moment and hasn't been for months) now and the owner said I can put stuff back up there, but I don't know when or if that's going to happen. I'm certainly not opposed to having photos in two places at once, but the school exhibit does take precedence.

And once I figure out a good name (suggestions welcome), I need to design a poster to advertise it! Ideally, that'll happen in a week, since February really ought to be devoted to getting my name out there and drawing people to my exhibit when it opens. I have commissioned the help of a really talented artist on this, but she can't do anything until I have a name down and of course it's down to me to figure out what I want on an advertisement poster. None of that Cochin font over an artificially grained semi-transparent photo of terraced Chinese farmland. (what was that all about anyway?) This is going to be cool - once I get my stuff together! :)

So that's that for for the usual plugs: I take commissions for photo-restorations; watch me on DeviantArt; fan me on Facebook.