Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Calculus at Salem State started yesterday. I'm reserving judgement until I've had a few classes. Well, it's a math class, so I'm not going to enjoy it. And it's something I didn't particularly think I was going to need to take until U of M kindly informed me that AP credit did not get you out of your math prerequisite. And, you know, it's not going to have any use at all in either one of my intended majors. So I might be a wee bit sour about the whole thing, but we'll see.
Parking at least isn't too big of a mess... street parking is, but you can park in the athletic facilities lot quite easily, and it's just a short walk down some residential streets from there to the building my class is in. That wasn't terribly fun last night, when it began to storm something awful mere moments before we got out for the night, but it ought to be tolerable under normal circumstances.
I am also amused to note that my car now has two stickers on the back of it: a University of Michigan alumni sticker, and a Salem State College parking sticker. This is interesting because I am not a University of Michigan alum (that would be my parents), nor am I actually a Salem State student. Note to self: must get non-alumni U of M sticker at some point.
Oh. The fellow teaching this delightful summer calculus class has a website up where we can go to get our homework assignments and whatnot. Bless him. I want to hold his hand, tell him it will all be OK, and give him a crash course in web design.
Apparently this fellow found a link to my site on Ann Arbor is Overrated (I comment on the stories there whenever I remember to check them) and liked my scientific doodlings enough to note them on his site. This brings us to the Steps for Artistic Success.
Step 1: Make artwork. I've had that covered for a while now, I like to think.
Step 2: Cultivate artsy friends so that you're exposed to lots of different art types and always have folk around for criticism. In Swampscott this was not an easy thing to do, I assure you. Despite this I managed to become friends with Kate and Corey, neither of whom has a website, the lazy gits. Then I started taking summer classes at local art colleges, which turned out to be the best idea I'd had in a long time and led to my friends from Montserrat and MassArt.
Now of course I'm friends with kids from the Michigan art school, but hey, it was harder to find arteests before college, OK?
Step 3: Put artwork in public forum. Been doing that for a bit now over at b3ta, but I only got the good stuff up once I made my main site this past semester for digital class. Chip, thank cats for you.
Step 4: Get complete strangers to think your stuff has some merit. This is apparently where I am right now. The folks at b3ta and 4rthur have been very helpful, and it's a good sign when they like your stuff, since so many of them are so bloody talented themselves. *cough*Down on the Farm*cough* You come across lovely nice people like Ryan who out-of-the-blue ask you to be in art shows.
And then you get the people who find your site in random places, such as the aforementioned gentleman who just linked me, and you start to think maybe this whole art lark isn't so mad after all.
Step 5: Get paid for your artwork. Not there yet. But we're getting there. Hopefully. Hopefully.
Well, that was illuminating. Now off to watch a TV show, reread Harry Potter in anticipation of the upcoming movie release, and do math homework. Such is life.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
First off, I think a very large Happy Birthday is in order for Shelby, all the way out there in SmallTown, Michigan. Hope you have a good one, Shelbster!
Here we have the classic image of Shelby with the Ford Mustang Shelby. The car. It's called the Shelby.
Last night I was a huge dork and stayed in to do some writing and also to watch the Crufts dog show, which was being broadcast by Animal Planet. Was it the coolest Saturday night ever? Clearly, the answer is yes. I was richly rewarded though, because Deedee the whippet won Crufts, which made me happy. I love whippets. Such delightful little dogs!
Friday night I went into Boston with my mother for dinner. Fanuel Hall was absolutely packed, since it's tourist season and it was an extremely nice night out. We ended up eating at Legal Sea Foods down by the Aquarium, because it was a little bit less crowded out there. I still marvel at how nice everything looks now that they've torn down the Central Artery. If they could get rid of the construction it would look even nicer yet.
After dinner we went to see the seals, and we ended up watching them for quite a while because the seals clearly enjoyed our company. They would swim around the end we were standing at a lot more than the other end of their tank, and they kept peering at us. Terribly cute. After we dragged ourselves away from the seals we walked around for a bit, since it was just so damn nice out.
When we finally got home Jess and I decided to go adventuring (i.e. driving aimlessly around, which is standard operating procedure for Swampscott summers). The driving was much less aimless this time around though, because we actually managed to make destinations. We went up to Middleton to hit a bucket of balls at Richardson's before they closed, which was pretty fun once I realized what I was doing wrong. If I don't start with the club too high I can usually make contact with the golf ball. And that's about all I can ask for when it comes to the driving range. A good time nonetheless.
Richardson's closes at 11, so we were driving around grousing about everything closing so damn early, when we remembered that the Krispy Kreme out in Medford or Somerville or wherever the heck it is stays open until 2 or 3 am. So we headed out there and got Krispy Kreme donuts. Mind you, I was the one driving, and I needed surprisingly few directions. Perhaps I'm getting a mite better at this whole knowing-where-the-hell-you-are thing. Doubtful, though.
I figure a good goal would be to drive all the way out to Mass MoCA at some point this summer. It's a good 3, 3.5 hour drive from here, and it's not really an easy drive because you have to go through a bunch of mountains to get there, but that museum is entirely worth the time. And let's face it, Swampscott/Nahant folk, we need to get out there at some point this summer. If I could become directionally sound enough to make it out there and back it would be a truly glorious thing.
The Red Sox kicked some Blue Jay ass today, and it was a thing of beauty. Wakefield and his knuckleball gave us a very solid 7 innings, and the Toronto pitching just fell apart, prompting my brother to say to me, "Man, even you wouldn't throw that many walks. They'd be hitting tons of home runs off of you, but you wouldn't throw as many walks as Battista's doing!" Ha ha. I'm not certain how accurate that assessment is, but it should just go to show you how hideously he was pitching. We're now on top of the AL East (yes, over the Yankees), so all is temporarily fantastic.
Well, all except for the fact that my calculus class starts tomorrow. Ugck. Wish me luck, kiddos.
Friday, May 21, 2004
EDIT OF GLORY: What happens when two of the greatest animating powers on the internet join forces? Apparently, this sort of thing. The bits with the cat on the street are particularly effective, but it's the sequence at the end that is my favorite. Red pandas! Playing instruments! On the British train line! Doesn't get much better than that.
Also, today's Achewood is especially wonderous. "Hold on do you mean that Friends was written by a freshman dorm who were all giggling under a huge comforter with flashlights and iBooks". God, yes. /end edit
Another night out with Swampscott folk that mainly involved driving around and sitting at Jason's house. And loitering at Dunkin Donuts, directly across from the 'No Loitering' sign, because no one except for Brian actually wanted to go in and buy anything. We met up with a couple of those senior high school folk there, which was interesting. Hadn'ts seen any of them around yet. Hmm. High school.
Oh, and we made a trip to an unbelievably poorly lit park in Salem. There was a swing set, which we had to flee because Kate grew frightened of a small child and its parents. We also had imaginings of giant rats and pioneers. You know, this all made sense at the time, honest.
Does anyone want to go to the Best Music Poll this year? Ye-e-e-s? I would like to go. It's that event FNX has been promoting madly... they shut down Landsdowne (sp?) Street and there are bands galore. I do believe it's 17 bands for $20. A fine deal. June 5, I think. Let me know, people, so we can purchase tickets.
Curtis has been writing a story over on his xanga (which is far inferior to a real blog, but I digress). I am apparently the only one commenting on it, causing him to say "Sad that you're the only one who reads this stuff, isn't it? It feels like I'm writing you a story. Weird." Ha ha, it's OK Curtis, everyone else is just too lazy to comment. Oh, and I do hope your impending graduation goes well, you mad spring-term graduater, you.
That's all. I'm pretty equally tired and hungry, and not sure which one I should deal with first. Sleep now and get food when I wake up? But will I be able to fall asleep when I'm hungry? I retire to find out.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Well, my computer is back and more operational than it was before. Sort of. Suffice it to say that I apparently have to use Internet Explorer to get online right now, as opposed to Safari. I frelling hate Explorer. Gah. It may be that another journey to the Mac store is in my near future.
Things are somewhat more interesting around here now that more people are home from college. And when I say 'somewhat', I actually mean 'several hundred times'.
For instance, a couple of nights ago Jess and I decided to drive aimlessly around, as we do when we're completely bored (i.e. nearly every night here). We did the usual Swampscott-to-Marblehead-Neck-and-back route, and then decided that a run to 7-11 would liven things up. Or, at the very least, it would supply us with enough sugar to make things appear livened up.
As we exited the car, we were blessed with a most startling sight. A young gentlemen, perhaps a few years older than us, was standing unsteadily on the sidewalk near 7-11. He had patchy facial hair, enormously saggy leather boots, and what appeared to be an oversized, dirty paisley (!) cape draped over his shoulders.
Upon catching sight of us, this apparition lurched forward a few steps and asked us, in what can only be described as an extremely drugged-out voice, "Do you know This Girl?" This Girl, obviously, is not what he said, but I'll refrain from reporting the lady's name herein, since she might not appreciate being associated with such a character as this. Then again, she might. She is a young lady in our grade who had graduated with our class. I'm not sure where she's at college.
In the interest of safety, we denied knowledge of This Girl. The fantastically-apparalled fellow then creepily asked, "Do you go to Swampscott High?" This we also denied, since in all truthfulness we no longer go there. "My name is Tim," he then said. "If you see This Girl, let her know I'm waiting for her." This really loses some of its humor value since you can't hear his voice through this blog, but I assure you that it was really quite spectacular.
When we came out of 7-11 he was taking large swigs out of plastic gallon jug of water. He had also made a coatrack out of a street sign. He had hung up a Marblehead sweatshirt on a coat hanger, a pair of shoes tied together at the laces, and just as we were leaving he removed his many-colored cape and was hanging that up too. We backed out of the lot rather quickly so that our hysterical laughter would not be apparent. Sometimes humanity is truly too awesome for words.
Later that night we saw two oppossums (or possibly the same oppossum twice)! Very big and very white and very, very, very glorious.
My mother and I went up to Plum Island recently to do some birding. It was great up there. We saw lots of shorebirds (mostly lesser yellowlegs, but also one killdeer which is one of the cutest adult birds ever and was literally a foot from the side of the road) and lots of warblers (about a million yellow warblers, a Wilson's warbler with its cute little black yarmulke, a blackpoll warbler which we at first thought was just another black and white warbler, and a Magnolia warbler which I'd been wanting to see forever and finally got to see!) and a couple of terns, a swan, a bunch of great egrets, all the purple martins in their purple martin houses, and more swallows than I had ever seen in one place at once. Literally swarms of swallows.
In short, it was a damn good day for birding at Plum Island.
Yesterday nothing much happened. We all ended up at my house ('we all' being me, Jess, Corey, Kate, Steph, Matt, and Noah) where we did a great deal of nothing. We looked through my pictures from school until it became pretty clear that the only one actually interested by this was me. Then we moved into the den to watch Corey's animation and his short movie (both hilarious and very well done, although I have to profess a preference for the animation, which may actually be one of my Favorite Things Ever). We also listened to Matt and Noah's tale of their documentary-making.
Then Kate went to drive home and blew a tire, so she had to leave her car here overnight and then hang around with my mother this afternoon waiting for triple-A to show up. Sorry, Kate. We all hope your car gets better soon.
Ah! In case you don't live here, or if you live in a very deep hole, you might like to know that gay marriage is now legal in Massachusetts! WOO YAY! I am, needless to say, extremely happy about this. All of the footage on TV looked just lovely... I kind of wanted to head down to one of the town halls to see all the happy people. Most of these couples had been together at least 10 years, and I think the statistics the Globe got showed that the majority were in their 40s. Clearly they deserved the right to get married.
You would think that anyone just watching these people get their licenses, seeing how utterly overjoyed it made them, would accept gay marriage as a good thing. I'm not going to get into the argument here, because it would take up way too much room and, quite frankly, just thinking about the people who try to say it's 'wrong' is making me angry. And as I'm in a tolerably good mood right now, I'm going to stop thinking about it, lest it makes me irreparably pissed off.
Provincetown looks like it would have been a lot of fun to be in that day.
Matt and Noah had been in Cambridge and Boston filming all of this for a documentary they're making. Apparently they had some mild adventures and got some really good footage. We'll wait until they've got it all edited together, and then we'll see what there is to be seen.
Today I went out to lunch with Noah. Naturally, he made me go to Friendly's. That has got to be the single most depressing restaurant crowd I have ever seen. We were literally the only people in there who were under 60 and over 5. But Friendly's is Noah's obsession, so eat there we did.
We then jaunted over to Waldenbooks, where I was strong and resisted the urge to buy anything, despite the fact that I saw several things I wanted. I WILL NOT BUY MORE BOOKS YET. Honest.
After that I drove him to the train station and waited in the car until his train showed up, so he could head back to Providence to move out for the summer. I am still marvelling at the fact that people can get to and from their colleges with such ease. I mean, cripes, if I want to get back to school I've got to either set up a plane ticket (which cannot be done very easily, or cheaply) or else I've got to drive about 12 hours. Everyone else can either hop a train or drive 40 minutes and there they are. Evil buggers.
I also got a haircut today (whoop de doo. infinite excitement) and watched some of the Swampscott/Marblehead tennis game with Jess. Both our brothers are on the team, and we know some of the other kids who play. They all lost, but hey, everyone loses to Marblehead. In tennis. We habitually kick their ass in football.
I got two new CDs... another one by Paris Combo, which is much the same as the others I have (i.e. french jazzy lounge singer goodness). I also got the Franz Ferdinand CD. Good stuff! I am enjoying it thoroughly. They play one of the songs somewhat often on FNX, and apparently they're rabidly popular in England, so I was surprised that people hadn't heard of it. Check 'em out, kids. They're highly listen-able.
Well, frell, this is long. Goodnight, cher reader.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Arrgh, I didn't truly appreciate how amazingly fast my lovely laptop was until I was deprived of it. I'm trying to type this on my brother's iBook laptop, which is on the exact same internet connection that mine usually is. The computer itself, however, is much, much slower. I think it's on a G3 processor, while mine is on a G4.
The reason I am currently parted from my computer is a very sad one. It was working perfectly fine until I ran a software update on it. It then decided to start freezing every 10 minutes. Terrible freezes they were too, where nothing was clickable and not a single key command worked.
I brought the poor ailing baby into the Mac store at the Northshore mall. Lawd bless that store and those who work in it. Jared at the Genius Bar now knows me very well, since I was in there numerous, numerous times. Anyways, it turns out the thing's logic board is somehow fried, and they had to send it out since they don't do logic board repairs in the Mac store. I should get it back in about a week, but it's mighty hard to be without it, I assure you.
Possibly the only plus of this is that I've been doing quite a bit more drawing than usual. I spent ages on a black-and-white warbler to give my mother for Mother's Day, and I've done a few more comic book drawings. I really want to get a lot of those done, since I haven't done any in ages, and I want lots of recent material for whenever I finally get that section of my website online.
My calculus class at Salem State starts up soon, which is not particularly something I look forward to. Oh well. I might be taking a life drawing and anatomy class at MassArt later in the summer though, which would be great. I won't exactly get to do any model drawing this summer otherwise. Well, unless anyone 'round here fancies a little art modeling. Somehow I doubt that anyone would.
First Baltimore oriole of the season was in our yard today. Very exciting. They're such lovely birds, so very bright orange. And we also had a dead ovenbird, which was just depressing. It must have hit the window and bounced off... it was lying right on the bulkhead door. I was going to go out and draw it, but suddenly a squirrel approached, snatched it up, and proceeded to eat it. I definitely did not know that squirrels ate birds, but evidently this is the case.
Currently reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. It's quite good. Apparently London used to be an awfully filthy place. Although, talking to those who live around there now, it doesn't seem to have changed too much. Ha.
Hm, not much else is going on. I went into Boston a bit, went out birding a bit, nothing too scintillatingly exciting. I guess Maddie and Jason are home, but I haven't seen either one of them yet. More people are supposed to be finishing up around the end of this week, which would be good times for sure. Then we can all sit around and be bored together, as opposed to doing so singly.
Louise, my Tonkinese cat, is starting to show her age. She'll be 20 in June. She's been in and out of the vet quite a bit lately, which she most decidedly does not enjoy. But she's also become even more voracious a lap cat, which is lovely.
I went to Newbury Comics and got a new CD (Final Straw by the Snow Patrol, very good indeed), and they only had one CD on a list of about 5 that I had with me. Either Newbury Comics is falling off in quality, or my music is getting more obscure. I'm not entirely sure which one I should hope it is.
This July will be my Aunt Phyllis's 75th birthday, so we're all tromping out to her house on the Cape around the 4th of July. It promises to be a good time, as the Cape is always lovely that time of year, and it will be awesome to see all that side of my family, since they're the ones whose company I had to miss out on over Passover this year. It is a bit unfortunate that I'll be missing the annual Swampscott/Nahant fireworks hang-out, but I shall survive.
I might have a sort of job this summer. It's not all worked out yet, and might still all come to naught, so no more details until I know one way or the other. I will risk a hint that, if it goes through, it would be the perfect sort of job for me, as it would involve art rather than, say, retail. Well, we can hope.
That's about the sum of it, I suppose. Hopefully there will be more (and more interesting things) to report when other people start getting home from college. Hurry it up, you tardy buggers.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
edit: Upon iTunes purchase, I've decided that Somebody Told Me by the Killers is, indeed, fucking awesome. Also, final grades are in. A or A- in everything except for a B+ in CFC (the class we had to do crap installation art for). Solid As in my two highest credit classes, those being bio and english. Take that, college! I'll have your head yet. /end edit
Eek, I've been remiss in blogging. I know this. I apologize.
I went to see Kill Bill Vol. 2 with Corey a few days ago... ah, Saturday, I guess. He joined us for Saturday Night Family Dinner first, which is always an event. We went to Acapulco's, this large and relatively good Mexican restaurant in Beverly that no one's ever heard of, for whatever unknown reason. And we got to have a nice little laugh at my complete and utter inability to park. Nice to know that some things haven't changed.
Quite frankly I'd be surprised if he wasn't traumatised by the meal. Either I'd been away even longer than I'd thought, or my family was truly in fine form that night. Yes, Dad, I do mean you.
The movie... well, the movie was great. I don't want to go into too much detail, in case there are those out there intending to see it who haven't done so yet. But if the first one was pure action and visuals, this one had more of the dialogue, more of the meat, if you will. It was beautifully funny at points. Which is not to say that it didn't have tons of action, of course. And the visuals were still fantastic, although the sets seemed to get cheesier in this one, especially the painted backdrop in the climactic scene.
Pai Mai was absolutely incredible. The guy playing him was simply great for the role. Of course it helped that, the way it was written, it was a great role in any event, but the actor really ran with it. Bill was acted to perfection... any more and it would've been over the top, any less and it would've been boring. Uma Thurman... well, the movie wouldn't really have worked with anyone else, now would it? I eagerly await the arthouse releases of Volumes 1 and 2 in one showing.
The crowd at the movie theater was impressive. It was also impressive in that it seemed to be compromised mainly of middle school or young high school kids traveling in large packs. You don't realize it, but in Ann Arbor you see mostly older high school and college kids around. No middle schoolers, except for very occasionally on State Street on the weekend. I had almost forgotten all about them.
Now, someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I honestly don't remember us (i.e. my class, the class of 2003 or 2007, depending on where you're counting it from) being that exagerrated in middle school. I mean, the girls were all either wearing mini skirts, high heels and too much makeup, or else they were goth/punked out to a ridiculous degree. The guys were all either swaggering around with the mini-skirted girls, or wearing enormously baggy pants and dragging around skateboards, or slouching about in oversize tshirts and large necklaces.
It was absolutely hilarious just sitting in the theater watching these kids walk by. Which, of course, we did, for about 10 minutes before going in to sit down and see the movie. Good times.
That song by the Killers, Somebody Told Me, is a glorious song. Yes. Pity it's on an EP and not a full length CD. I don't like buying a CD unless it's got a reasonable number of songs on it. May be an iTunes store purchase.
I've been doing a bit of birding with my mother lately at the Audobon Sanctuary on Marblehead Neck. It's really a pretty small sanctuary, but it gets a ton of birds and apparently birders come from all over the States to see some of the stuff that stops in there along various migration routes. The warblers all flew in recently, so we went down a couple of times to see them.
The first time we saw mostly yellow-rumps, black-and-whites, and palm warblers. The black-and-whites are my favorite warblers so far, they're really quite striking when you see them in person, and there were tons on the Neck.
The second time we went because there was allegedly a kentucky warbler there, and these guys are incredibly rare. We ran into a few other birders, a couple of whom were from out of state, all looking for this bird. Apparently there had been a big group of people looking for it much earlier in the day (around 6 am-early... birders tend to keep ungodly hours). It was all very exciting.
Anyways, we found the kentucky warbler... it was just hanging out in one area with all the other warblers. It was pretty close to us, and was staying in this one little stand of trees, hopping around eating something yummy under leaves on the ground. It was really easy to see because its underside is bright yellow, so it's pretty simple to pick it out. I have now seen the rare kentucky warbler! Joy!
Oh, and all of those images (except for the palm warbler) were from Bird Photos around Marblehead, MA, a website of photos by a local birder called Rob Kipp. He takes massively good photographs of birds, and makes me jealous of his fantastical camera skills. Blargh. Anyhow, check 'em out, they're amazing.
Not much else has been going on. I did a whole lot of nothing today... well, I finished reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I liked Good Omens so much that I figured I should read something else of his. This one wasn't half so funny, but it was very good, and a very quick read despite the actual length of the book. I may have to pick up some more of his stuff at some point. I still feel like a bad comic book dork for not following Sandman at all, but oh well.
Yesterday I went with my mother to the Lexus dealership for the car's one month check up. Oh! Yes, we have a new car. One of these puppies. Very snazzy. It's got features up the wazoo, and the service people seem to be very good, which is really what my mother wanted, after the hassle of the previous cars. It has the GPS direction thing, which isn't perfect, but is better than my sense of direction for sure. And! It has a little camera right above the license plate, and when you put the car in reverse it automatically turns on and the GPS screen shows you the back of the car! So you never back into anything! My god, what innovation. I now have the station wagon all for my own, which is great, but I sure do wish it had that back-view camera.
After that we went to Bob's and I got new sneakers, which I needed, since the ones I have now had the soles worn completely smooth. All that walking around Ann Arbor, I guess.
We then went to the mall (insert gasp of dread here). My cousin Rosi's bat mitzvah is coming up later this month, so both my mother and I require *shudder* dresses. As you may or may not recall from the posts around prom time last year, I absolutely detest dress shopping. Hate hate hate it.
So I was pretty floored when the first store we went into had a long, dressy skirt that I liked, that fit well, and that looked relatively good (well, as good as a shiny black long skirt can look on someone who's wearing a ratty Michigan tshirt and purple socks at the same time). THIS SORT OF THING DOES NOT HAPPEN TO ME. Of course I still need a top of some sort to go with it, and shoes, so there's plenty of room for the Hell of Dress Shopping to continue.
We were going to try to have an 4rthur/b3ta bash in Boston at some point, but Willis is getting out of school tomorrow, so there goes our organizing power right there. We might try to do a midwest bash come fall though, since I'll be out in Michigan, he'll be in Chicago, and there are a couple of folks right around Columbus. And I'm sure there are a few southern Canadians who'd join us. Much as I detest Ohio I would brave Columbus for the event. It could be a magnificently good time if it happens... if you're a b3tan or an 4rthurian in that area, get in touch, you miserable sods. And if you're a Bostonian, why the hell haven't you gotten in touch with us before, eh?
The website had a massive update recently. I added a bunch of stuff to the Pencil, Charcoal, etc. section. I added a few images to the Pen and Ink section. I added an entirely new section, called Paintings and Prints. I uploaded the most recent batch of B3tan Name Illustrations, which people seemed to react very well to, especially those whose names I had drawn in this batch. Check it all out, it's glorious (except for the art work, which is pretty mediocre).
I'm sure there was something else I wanted to write about, but here it is nigh on 1 am, and I'd been hoping to get to bed early, so I could perhaps venture into Boston tomorrow. We shall see. I bid you all a good eve.