Wednesday, March 30, 2011

in other news: sushitimes

As I wait anxiously to figure out whether I'm going to be able to go to Japan or not. . .

Last night Mom and I went to Wasabi Sushi in Omaha with Joanna, Chris, and Bobby. It was quite delicious. It was an all-you-can-eat service -- everyone paid $22.95 and marked down what they wanted on the sheets, and then they made it fresh for you. Mom was worried because there was an added charge if you left food on the plates -- what if we ordered some sushi we didn't like?

To which I said, "Then I will EAT IT ALL."

It has been too long since I had sushi, tempura, and udon. Yum. (Added side note -- was very pleased to notice that I could still use chopsticks easily, though I still can't eat slippery udon in soup very well.)

First picture is Chris's Boston rolls and. . . Philadelphia rolls? Second pictures is my tuna maki and nigiri. Nom nom. I have such bland tastes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

my life right now

On Saturday last week, my mom and I babysat for the excellent Bob, or Toddlin' Bob, as I call him (progressing from "Baby Bobby.") He is the two-year-old son of a family friend, which is sort of an awkward and misleading term that doesn't catch any of the sense of "she baby-sat me when I was in early elementary school and I was super disappointed when I got old enough to hang out by myself in the house; worked in the clinic for my dad for five or ten years or something like that; twenty years of shared history and love and I am happy every time I see her." I don't even like "surrogate sister," because sisterhood's not really in my experience, you know? And from my mom's description of her childhood, sisterhood involves all this fighting and crap that doesn't really play in here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

life drawing: probs the final.

Didn't get nearly as much done this week as intended, but you know, I got quite a bit finished. (Especially given that a large part of today was spent freaking out about earthquakes and tsunamis. Oh laws. Actually been flipping out about more or less all day -- see tumblr, contemplating chicken.)

Pretty tense about going to London tomorrow. . . super excited, too, but tense. It's the feeling of having to switch off autopilot that gets to me. Home is so safe, that I kind of resent giving up even a little bit. Even the littlest bit.

In any case, I won't have great internet access for a while, so I'm trying to get my online presence (hahahahahahaha) into order while I'm gone. Twitter, Tumblr, what have you. (I even set up text message Tweet and Facebook updates! yeah, finally.)

As far as the actual interview goes, I'm moderately terrified that they will ask me a question about current reusable materials/reusable materials engineering/other thing I absolutely can't answer about properties of materials, but, you know, I'll brainstorm on the plane and cross that bridge (over an abyss filled with flaming pikes) when I get there.

Enough nattering. Drawings.

The model this week was skinny and muscle-y, so fun to draw. I thought the warmups went well.

Not to be gross or anything, but he had proportionately obnoxiously large junk. I sort of wanted to leave it blank, but you know, um. Yeah. you know. (OKAY YOU KNEW I WAS GOING TO AT LEAST COMMENT ON THE SLIGHT WEIRDNESS FACTOR AT SOME POINT.) This drawing is really shit, by the way, as if you couldn't tell.

Monday, March 7, 2011

a rather busy week.

On Saturday at about 1 PM I leave to go to London for my interview.

Between now and then, there is quite a bit that must be done.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

a quick glance

at my blog assures me I need some brighter colors on my front page. It's just kind of excessively grim-looking, with all the browns and the grays and the whites.

So, here are two photos from Venice. You might end up seeing them again -- I'm finally getting to sorting out the 600 pictures I took while there. :P The first is St. Mark's Square from the waterbus; the second is the Rialto Bridge. Stereotypical crap.

life drawing numero seis

Still progressing, but slowly. The model this week had never modeled before. . . and, though she was a great sport, it kind of showed in the someone limited variety of poses she took. Or, you know, I just didn't have my drawing game on. Whichever. (There's a whole lot of games I don't seem to have on this week, including my "timely blogging" game. . . erk.)

Okay warmups. . .
This sketch was pretty homely, I thought. I kept making her stumpier and thicker than she really was.

Friday, March 4, 2011

a post about movies.

Well, this is one of those boring straightening-myself-out posts.

Movies I've seen in the theater since coming back from Spain:

1. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
2. Tangled
3. Voyage of the Dawn Treader
4. The Green Hornet
5. The King's Speech
6. Gnomeo and Juliet
7. Megamind
8. [edit, forgot this one] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

To which I say, WHAT.

Movies I've watched at home/Fenway since coming back from Spain:
1. The Secret of Kells
2. A Single Man
3. The BBC Emma
4. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
5. Bridget Jones' Diary
6. An Ideal Husband
7. Red
8. Eat Pray Love
9. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
10. Fiddler on the Roof
11. The Blind Side
12. Gigi

To which I say, WHAT WHAT.

Just to keep things straight in my head, movies I saw (at home) whilst in Spain:
1. Coraline
2. The Corpse Bride
3. Sabrina (1959 version)
4. The Princess and the Frog
5. The Triplets of Belleville
6. The Holiday
7. Nanny McPhee
8. Julie & Julia
9. Hellboy 1
10. Hellboy 2

Looking at these lists worries me a little . . . I apparently have issues with watching normal and/or serious movies?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

on writing

I am cross-posting this from my tumblr, because. . . what the hell.


My writerly friends, I am curious.

How do you define a good day of writing?

I’m not really a writer…

A good day of writing —

Oh laws.

You know, I didn’t use to have issues with identifying myself as a writer? And one would think it was fairly straightforward, whether or not one is a writer: But I have a HISTORY with that word. From the age of about seven, on up until the age of thirteen — before the onslaught of high school and sanctioned extracurriculars — I actually got up at 6 every morning (in middle school, it got pushed back to 5) to write. Just to write, for an hour, or two, or three. My daily output started at about a page a day in “Creative Writer” (did anyone else have this word processor for kids???? am I alone in my appreciation of Zeke the purple-skinned facilitator of artistic pursuits???) — maybe 500 words — and was probably up to 2,000 to 5,000 words a day by the time high school hit. These were stories, almost universally fantasy fiction, lots of talking animals and unicorns and sorcerers. With sixth grade came a journal — holy shit did I journal the hell out of my life. I had ideas, dammit! I was not going to forget my ideas! I had zero problem with the word “writer” at that point, and have around eighty partially-finished stories, ranging in length from 2,500 to around 90,000 words, to prove the point (and that’s not including the stuff that was lost on my family’s very first computer.)

And then high school, when writing started getting slotted in: Unless you’re doing itfor something, a paper or contest or speech or what-have-you, there’s no point. There’s no time. And yeah, I was still a pretty prolific writer in high school, and I won some awards and crap for things I had produced — American Legion speeches, Scholastic Writing Awards, a few other minor things. I should note that every three months saw me producing a 20- to 40-page package of letters and writing for my beloved penpal and editing a similar-size package for her in return.

Writing, to me, was a big fucking deal.

And then college, where I got confused all to hell.

I don’t know why I picked the major I picked — because up until college there was never any doubt in my mind that the ultimate goal was to make my living writing. Not an iota of a doubt. I might study something else, I might do something else to pay bills and put a roof over my head, but WRITING. That was the thing.

I blame college (okay, and AP English Literature) for teaching me to write truly shitty papers. For teaching me that, yeah, I can get up at 5 AM the morning a paper is due and pound something out that will get me at A-. If I didn’t have to put in the effort to survive, I wasn’t gonna. There was that — but there was also, for the first time in my life, an actual social scene that I, personally, could participate in; there was food to eat and places to explore; there was architecture; there was design; there were a host of things (like Japanese and theater) that were really cool and interesting but that I wasn’t really that good at. Instead of honing and specializing my interests I seemed to have given them steroids and encouraged them to metastasize all over the damn place.

I wrote papers — I wrote a couple essays — I started a blog — I started two stories. I wrote a couple poems, particularly after the flood that swept through my family’s home and business in spring 2007 — but at some point, I seem to have broken my self-designation as writer.

And yeah, I’d like it back. I’ve blogged (in my other blog! heh) about my “resolutions” — to be focused, to be write more. But I don’t think I really set down my anxiety, my skittishness, the way I feel my heart and mind to be hopskotching over the world and back — I was that to quiet. I’m hesitant to classify myself using a medical term, but my inability to stay still for long enough to write out — to spin my experiences and my dreams and the stories that my brain continues to churn in hopes that some day I will manage to sit down and knit them together into a kind of reality (only it’s more like getting in shape to run a marathon, really) — it makes me feel disordered. In all senses of the word; wrong, messy, difficult to describe, entropic.

So with this mess — what makes a good day of writing?

I like numbers, solid things, even though they don’t tell much of the whole business — 1,000 words is okay; 3,000 words is pretty good. Stuff like what I’ve just written here — this doesn’t make for a “good writing day,” for me. Something needs to be about more than me, to pull from more than just my brain smashing around inside my skull, to be good. In general, fiction makes me feel good; a good paper, with careful thoughts, makes me feel good; it helps, on the nonfiction side, if it’s aboutmy research and my project. (At least, judging from the papers I can re-read and not flinch at.)

I am not the sort of person who typically posts things without a few rounds of basic editing — at least, checking for typos and sensibility and good stuff like that. I’m not so good at checking for insufferability and obnoxious levels of navel-gazingness.

It’s a good day of writing if… if I can re-read what I’ve written and clearly see myself in it. I don’t know if this happens to other people, but I tend to become an echo chamber for whatever I’m reading at the time — whatever its particular ideas, sense of humor, style of writing tend to be. It takes me a while to digest and incorporate and re-issue in Sharonized (TM) format. (And maybe that’s why I could never write much in college? Because there was too much going in and not enough time to let it settle down into a buildable material instead of uncatchable dust motes.) I have a very particular sense of humor while writing — it’s not loud and it’s not laughing-outright funny; it’s queer and pokey and rather gentle, and if it’s present in what I finished it’s a safe bet that I feel like I had a good day writing.

I once had a writing instructor tell me that for me, it wasn’t so much that I was creating a new world with my words as cutting swathes through my imagination for a reader to follow.

Maybe that explains why it’s so intimidating to start with anything I’ve been dreaming about for a while; but, that too, defines a good day writing: When I actually have the energy and the courage to dive into the tangle with a machete, instead of wimping out and taking a walk around the edge.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

crap from the past

I was going to try for a play on "blast from the past," but then I ended up with "crast from the past," and that's just no good. Maybe "crapst from the past." Yeah, that has a ring to it.

First, a disclaimer: I AM NOT ACTUALLY A HOARDER. I JUST HAVE ISSUES. WITH THROWING AWAY STUFF. SOMETIMES. Typically, I collect bits and pieces of things I find really interesting for a couple years, then struggle to throw it all away. . . I had a brain wave before moving back from MIT and took pictures of anything that made me sad to throw out (but was pretty sure I had no reason to keep.) Yeah, I could have scanned some of this stuff and gotten better quality pictures, but the picture-taking process leaves bonus relics of the time and the place I did it in, which at some point I suspect I will value more than what the pictures purport to be of.

The primary thing I threw out was in fact around 150 cards received while at college, from various relatives, but mainly my mom. Mom: Showing her love with seasonal cards since 2006. (actually well before that, but you get the idea.)

And now. . . a tour through the crap I no longer possess! (The image above is of the practice casts we made of various body parts in 4.302 in wax and plaster. . . so there is an unpleasant closeup of my upper lip. Damn I loved that class.)

I love Orbit gum, and I loved this packaging run. Why did you have to end it, Orbit??

things I've realized

All the bath products I'm currently using would probably fall on or near the same paint sample card in hue. (Blame my mother for taking me out to buy paint last night.)

blog bait?

It made me kind of sad when I realized that, sadly, there are no gimmicks that will get me more pageviews. I have been carefully inspecting my Google analytics account for trends in this blog, and I have found that the following things bring me visitors:

1. New and interesting entries on Lang-8. (I think people read them and then click on my blog link.)
2. New and interesting art/graphic design by me.
3. More pictures on my blog's front page, preferably of my own generation -- if it's a picture from somewhere else then it needs to be compiled into some interesting format.
4. Leaving intelligent commentary on other people's blogs.

Sadly, those are all worky thoughtful time-consuming things. Absent-minded ramblings and peppering the air with links just don't seem to do it.