Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Events of Tonight

I drove down today from Oakland to Santa Cruz, leaving after traffic and staying between 65 and 80 the whole time. My side mirrors were a bit off from when Mom and Dad borrowed my car, so I adjusted them. While doing so my hand brushed the interior dash control, and it went dark. But my headlights were still on. I felt like I was Batman, in stealth mode, and left it dark for a few minutes until I got worried. I was going 70 with cruise control, and a full tank, so I didn't need any information from the dash, but I am used to checking it as part of my mirror check a few times per minute and it's best not to be disoriented while driving.

I get to Santa Cruz, show the guard my id, and drive up, parking at the gym. I plan to move the car before 7am when the meters turn on to the nearby East Remote lot, then take the bus to near Social Sciences 2 where I have an exam at 8am. I walk up to the bookstore and realize I have to pee urgently now that I am walking around in the cold. So I rush to the nearest bathroom. Locked. I walk slowly out to the patches of trees seperating the paths from the road, scanning for places to pee. A group of four stumbles past me, and I am glad I did not choose the nearest tree. I find a very dark patch of trees and walk in. I am scanning for people who might spot me or things that might be dangerous and I see, very nearby, the symbol for a men's room. I run over to it, a small outbuilding I've never seen before, around to the women's side and try the handle. Locked. Damn. So I run back to the patch of trees, dark because the bathroom blocks the orange streetlights, set my laptop case, and can of tea on the porch of the men's room, empty my pockets onto the stairs of the men's room, and then pee in the little dark patch. I have not planned what to use as toilet paper so I opt for nothing, pulling on my pants quickly, scared to be undressed in the dark outdoors. Then I gather everything back and go to wash my hands at the water fountain. Great. I continue drinking the tea and make my way to the 24 hour computer lab. More than half the stations are taken and there is no where to set up my laptop except the food and drinks table so I put it in front of a computer, pushing the keyboard aside. It's hard to focus I've been studying all day and all weekend and don't hardly know the slide ids yet, so I take little breaks to read the complicated, dense readings.

I really have to pee, again, so I gather up my laptop and notes and consult the "24 hour bathroom map" on the wall. It has a long, long path across cowell college, past the upper quad, past the fountain, and I am unfamiliar with this college but set out. Outside the lab a tall man asks me if I know where the bathroom is. I tell him what the map told me and where the map is, and we walk together. "I'm not trying to piss in the woods" he tells me so I say "I already did that once tonight. I've been drinking a lot of caffeine to stay up." "Yeah, me too. Well, I don't want to follow you in case you have to piss in the woods." so we part ways. I find the fountain (yay!) and then find a wall map that says the restrooms are next to the cafe. The man meets me again, and asks if I've found them. I tell him what the map says and he points to where the cafe is. The door is open! "Yay!" and we run into our respective bathrooms.

I wait for a second, hoping not to run into him again, and fix my hair. I look to myself like a different person, since I put on my contacts this afternoon for the first time in a few weeks. I look like a normal, generic college girl. Partly this is because there are no black frames hiding my eyes, but also my prescription is so strong it distorts everything a little, like a fishbowl. The distortion makes things at the center of my focus look a little smaller and the edges bow out. Wearing contacts I feel like my computer screen is 2" larger than usual, for example. I pat my hands dry, and head out. I am relieved he is a ways away already; it would be weird to talk to him any more.

I start walking and see big, old vines. I recognize this courtyard as the place I went to my freshman orientation lunch, where an orientation leader suggested I join another person eating alone so I did, and he hated being there and answered me as briefly as possible when I tried to chat. Nearby is the Cowell College library, a tiny library in which I sat awkwardly that day, hoping someone would see me and love me, to no avail. People talked to me a bit but they seemed relaxed, like this was something manageable and not a huge, life changing, scary process, and I couldn't match their energy so people made excuses and moved on. I have not been back to this library because it is not one of the two large campus libraries, one for the humanities and one for science and engineering. Surprisingly, there are people inside so I try the door. It's unlocked and I choose a couch, spread out my notes on a low table, and fire up my laptop to make a note of how I've grown up. It seems strange to be so glad I can talk to a stranger about peeing but God, the last time I was in this library I wanted to just be invisible, be in bed, be in highschool, be anywhere but where people could see me and see I was no good at friendliness and fitting in. So. Sitting here (of course I picked nearly where I sat 3 years ago except there were chairs put out then and I didn't want to crowd the boys sitting on the couch because I was frightened) I want it all to do over again and also, I am so glad to have got the hang of college, being a young adult, and yes, small talk.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


There are really popular books called the Twilight series, about supernatural people written for teenagers, and they were made into a movie and there is going to be another. It is a bit of a badge of pride not to like them, especially as all sorts of products have started using vampire themes in marketing. But why is it a point of pride? I read on one of the feminist blogs I read about how the heroine is terribly passive and all that, and so it is non/un feminist but I wasn't interested even before I learned that. I humored my friend by reading the first several pages of one, so I could commiserate about how sad it was she was sucked into reading them, and they are bad but I don't read YA fiction lately so idk if Twilight is standard. And the content at least isn't any sillier than loads of things I like, or loads of things it is geekily cool to like.

But today on one of my friend's blogs there was a picture of 2 makeup sets, one called vicious and one called vegetarian, which is too obscure an in joke so it made me not want the sets, and also while I was looking at them I realized that I don't at all have the coloring to look like a cute vampire. And so maybe that is why I am not interested in going to the movies, because I am too pink and can't identify with the heroine. Actresses don't really look just like me, but I suppose they look more generic so I can identify with them most of the time. Like last night I watched The Invention of Lying, and I identified totally with Jennifer Garner's cuteness and naivete even though she is way taller, way thinner, and way older than I am. Ricky Gervais's's's character: "Of course he's sweet to you; a shark could be sweet to you!" JG: "It would?" RG: "No, no it wouldn't, it would {mimes snapping shark} don't go... don't go near its tank, that's not... that's not what I'm saying."

Although actually my speech patterns are JUST LIKE Gervais's's's in that movie, which I learned by how meandering my little youtube videos are.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I ruined a rape joke :)

So someone I went to highschool with posted a status that was a joke that bothered me so I told him why and I included a cuss. Then he unfriended me which I found out bc I got 5 notifications about his status but when I clicked to see them I got the view of profiles you get when you aren't someone's friend. But I wanted to know what the 5 things were and luckily Andrew went to highschool with him too.

(it's quite small I know but it opens larger if you click) But once I read the things I wished I didn't. But I guess it's neat that that I ruined the fun for that last commenter. And now I won't get confusing wrestling statuses in my feed. So it's win-win. But I still feel a bit yucky.

edit: wait, he is in my newsfeed today. Not sure why I couldn't click on the notes yesterday but I clicked hide so it's still handled.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Heart Painting

I need to attend one of the campus workshops on how to photograph your art. I think a start is doing it in natural light and waiting till the paint has dried, but in this case I had to do the photo while it's wet because the sun is setting soon.
this blurry one shows the colors

I like to think kitschy stuff like my last 2 paintings isn't my thing but as my heart shaped signature there (it's a c and a v.) shows I am just a hairs breadth from cutesy at all times.
This shows the iridescence of the transparent paint in the background but it also shows the wetness of the paint. Whatever. I'll try to get a better shot before I give it to my dear friend. I did this painting over the top of the painting I started her months ago that was too ambitious and I got bored, so I am really pleased it isn't sitting sadly in the corner any more and I hope she'll love it. I sat down to sketch and I thought I can't do anything -but- a heart, she is so defined in my mind by her huge capacity for love. So I tried to make the heart really bold and bright and then for absolutely no reason I put freaking angel wings on it. God. And then I went ahead and wrote on it that I love her because I felt if I was going to do this to the poor canvas I was going to do it properly and not by half measures.

meta internetting that got really micro toward the end.

A youtube video I watched just now had a man who said he hadn't been around since the start of the internet but he got online in 1992. What! I thought around then was when the internet for people started! So I left him a comment "Oh. I did not know the internet in usable form was older than 1992. I thought it was just to share text files before then. I am 21 and have been using computers for 19 years but have only been using the internet for 11 years. omg i've just realized you printed out an email you got. Generational gap right there as well" and went off to wikipedia (I'd been to the entry before to command f "al gore" but didn't read it through) and sure enough, the ARPAnet is a few years younger than Dad and the public, widespread internet (not the internet as I've known it but a precursor that crossed the threshold into usability) is a few years younger than me.

So now I'm thinking about the internet, and how important it is. Everything would be so hard and limited without the internet. Some things would be so complicated, like I would have to have maps of everywhere I might go and keep the maps where I was, like what if I left them at home when i was at my parent's house? And what if I left them in my car when I was in someone else's car or took the bus someplace? And I would have to go to a store to get music, and also to get a radio so i could hear new music to find out what new songs i might like. And I would need to own recipe books. (I try new recipes every week but I do not trust recipe books. I guess in the old days you'd go through them and if one was a flop you made a note of it and served it anyway? I go to new york times online and read the comments and adjust accordingly, or do the same on That way loads of people have tested it and I can figure it out from there.) I would need a dictionary. And I could still take digital pictures but I could only share them by... by putting them on cd and mailing it? By sketching them and mailing it? Because I can't afford to print photographs but the operating cost of my camera is very low, just what it costs to recharge the battery I guess. So I can for free take all the photos I want (the internet does not do this part, it is other technology which in my scenario I still have) and then share them with every single person i know if they care to look (via facebook) and with the people I think will like them (via email if they are good pictures to save or via fb tagging if they are just fun). So in addition to things being easier, I can just do a lot more stuff since I have the internet.

Also it is free to do most things. Like instead of buying 2 of my required textbooks (red badge of courage and the conjure woman) I just looked them up and read the full text online. There's legally free content, illegally free content, plus there is meatspace free things that the internet enables like freecycle.

And the parts that aren't free aren't wasteful products. I watched The Story Of Stuff last night (online of course but still projected in a student run awareness event showing) and it said that out of everything you buy you only have 1% 6 months later, plus also there was waste in producing and transporting it before you bought it). That sounds high to me, and it's just an overview short movie so the narrator didn't cite anything but still I know I make a lot of trash, and a lot of people make more trash. So it's interesting that files you buy online don't contribute to the waste in the same way. I said files because if i wrote "the things you buy online" it would sound like i was including the things you get on amazon, but not everything is files.

On facebook I play a game Happy Aquarium. I started playing because it's like having a fishtank to look at (though it plays dumb music instead of the flowing water sound a proper fishtank provides so I mute it) but free and easy. I kept playing because my friends play and it's something fun to do long distance. I live 70 miles away from my boyfriend but we know each other's login info so can feed each other's imaginary fish and earn in-game coins and then buy each other little tank decorations or fish, send decorations as gifts, and also leave messages in bottles, which is the only remote way I know to do that as he's inland. Almost everything in the game is free (costs in-game currency) but some items you have to pay for. Like this unicorn, which I covet. It costs $3 or you can level up 36 times to earn pearls for it.

I actually have a few for-pay things in this game because once Anders was supposed to come down for the weekend but got delayed or sick or something and so he stayed home but got me a few dollar's worth of for-pay currency to cheer me up. And it worked, because it was unexpected and frivolous. We spent a long time fb chatting what I should get and I got a dolphin and named him Speeders.

A month or so later for some other reason I spent $2 to get him currency so he could have a choice of some of the for-pay items and he had fun with that. One little running joke we have about the game is that they introduce loads of new things all the time in all the categories but never new crawlers, never for months. We sent images back and forth via chatting of what we wished we could have as crawlers, and every time a new collection of items came out (like "western" or "space") whoever was AFK (at school, say, or in bed) would say "check if there's new crawlers!" and the one playing would report, "No, none yet. darn." And today there are three new crawlers, nudibranches, so I went on Andy's account to spend $1 (smallest allowable increment, the new nudibranches are 60 cents) so he could get one but he already had enough currency left to get one so I didn't.
So my point is that not only do people pay for random things with no external value, I myself have done it, and I have about $30 all together.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Peacock Painting

My friend is moving into his first apartment and for a housewarming present I offered to paint something. He wanted a peacock, which is something I'd never pick to paint, but I had fun working on it. It is not quite done because i need to cover the white spots with light blue but I like how the white looks. But when I break out the paint to do the eye I will try to bring myself to cover the white spots with light blue with indigo centers.



And here is the whole thing. I hope he likes it; it is rather bolder than I think his aesthetic is. I had planned gray or gold for the background but then I just did napthol red and permanent rose. It came together really really quickly, in about 2 1/2 hours, because I was working into the wet paint and had to keep going without planning.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lighted Sculpture: Gourd Caterpillar Part 1

I've had some amazing gourds for a year. My uncle grew them and my Nana dried them. They molded a bit, so she rinsed them in bleach water, but the great mold patterns remained. I wanted to make a group of little warty people but that seemed kitsch and I wouldn't know who to give them to or where to put them. So I stored them in my trailer for a year, because every time I wanted to make something I didn't want to waste them so I waited. Then I found them while looking for pieces for my squid umbrella lamp. Aren't they great! This one has holes I made with a corkscrew and expanded with a screwdriver. I plan to put in Christmas lights which will show up as pinpricks of light. A jigsaw would make really neat shapes but idk how to do it with a gourd. I am using children's hand tools because that is what Andrew had in his room when I decided to start on these. They wear out my hands but Andrew also has Aspercreme so I am fine.
The left 2 are cut to fit together, but the hand tools hurt my wrists (and using the metal pliers (no grip of any kind) to nip off pieces hurt my palm a lot after a while) so the right 2 are not started. I am worried about threading the lights through the narrow part of the 2nd gourd from the right. Also I really don't want to ruin it because it is my favorite of the gourds. I tried to make the caterpillar work with only three gourds so I could continue saving this one for at least another year, but it looked stupid when I laid it out with 3 instead of 4.
Here is how it will look kind of. Seeing it like this makes me think I should cut large shapes out that follow the cuves and then cover it all in stockings to obscure the lights. That would look more interesting when turned on. However if you look at the top photo and see the luster and colors it seems like I should prioritize showing the surface over the form.

Lighted Sculpture: Cocoon

My sculptures for this class are getting so sophisticated! I've learned so much about light and construction especially considering it's a self directed course. Honestly the work I did at my midterm looked like what I had envisioned my final project looking, and now I am moved beyond that. I sound very self satisfied, but look what I made from an umbrella, lamp base, pencils, and stockings.

lit, with flash for clarity but doesn't show the color.
unlit, I think with flash
close up of texture, shows color betterthough I think it's more vivid in person.

I made the texture by creating runs in the stockings, gathers with small stitches, and some draping excess. It's not resined because I like the softness. It looks a lot like I planned although it also came together in response to the materials instead of just following a design. This is the second incarnation of this light. The first one was more dangerous because the bulb was really close to the paper I used. And I didn't like it very much but I spent so many hours trying to make the umbrella work but it just kept getting worse and worse. That happens a lot working with found objects or even unfamiliar materials. But usually after a while I figure out the constraints and make something work, and the umbrella just never did during that session.

Eventually I made it into this with scrapbook paper, playing with the lanterny shadowbox thing* and thinking about how to integrate the spidery umbrella and old fashioned papers kind of like steampunk, but with a different aesthetic. My professor said it was much too lamp-like and decorative. Since I thought it was very ugly and didn't integrate the components I didn't mind the criticism. So in the remake I stripped the paper and made the shape less lamp-like using golf pencils. Then I had planned to cover it with stocking material, shape it with thread, stiffen with fabric stiffener, and paint it. But I was in Oakland without my paints so I bought red tights along with the sheer. I think that worked out brilliantly because I was limited to pulling and distorting the fabric to create interest.

*before the term ends I really want to make a silhouette based light. My friend Max has some little frosted cube lights he might give me one when he moves, which would be amazing.


I'm moving! But it's not a big deal, I am moving from one on campus apt to another. I haven't found the new one yet. One of the ones the housing office suggested has a small double 3/4 the size of the small double I live in now (and in the same building- weird.) and the girl I met who lived there was super nice and their view was better than our view (they're on the bottom floor overlooking a hill and we're on the second floor on the opposite side with a view of the base of a hill and a cement staircase. The second one, I have met the people last quarter but they are apparently never home as I've knocked and rang every few hours on thurs and today with no response. And it's on the second floor so I'd keep the same floormates and RA. So I wish they would open their door. It's kind of awkward at my current apt since I said I am moving. Not that I don't like everyone, just that it's a really tense household and i can't deal with my roommates' needs. So. I'm glad I don't have to look on CL and facebook to try and figure out where to live, and deal with finding someone to take over my lease, and everything. And I'm really glad that when I move it won't be far at all, and all the rooms are furnished so I only have to bring my books and things, and Andy is going to help so that will be really simple.