Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rocky Horror Picture Show

last night I went to rocky horror for the first time and I was very surprised by how unsexy lewdness is. I can see that a camp performance accompanying a classic camp movie with extensive audience participation could be fantastic but Rocky Horror wasn't it for me. Why was the trans main character a sexually predatory alien? That was continuously uncomfortable- I don't care if it was parody, because now it's not because I have never ever seen anything it was based on.
Because of The Rocky Horror Glee Show I was prepared for someone to use a wheelchair who isn't a wheelchair user in real life but when he wheeled over to the stairs and tipped off the chair to run down them it was an upsetting image and I couldn't figure out if there was a ramp anywhere so that someone who couldn't run could be in this production if they wanted. And I didn't want to yell "slut" all the time, partly because the people I was with had been talking in similar terms about the partygoers we passed on our way there. (I helped because I didn't tell them to stop.)

I was sober for the hour long preshow yelling activity because the lights were on and I didn't feel like drinking beer in a lit auditorium because most people were drinking out of plastic containers, not alcohol bottles. Then I had 24 oz of beer, kind of quickly because I was dehydrated, and then I was quietly charmed by how much there was to look at and how things went with other things.

Then a hundred years later the show ended and I offered to drive two people home on the second policiest night of the year after tonight. (actually there are so many police on foot downtown on the 31st that the 30th might have been policier for drivers) When I got home and got into bed I was dizzy and I realized I had not been perfectly good to drive. I had just been having such a bad time I couldn't imagine feeling that way under the influence. But just now I looked up a BAC chart and it said it was fine, so maybe I was just dizzy from tiredness or sequins.

In conclusion, as long as I'm not going to have any fun no matter what, I might as well do it at home where it's safe.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


October is my favorite month by far. I don't even have a second favorite month. One of the many things I love is pumpkins! My housemates thought I was serious when I said I didn't mind going to Safeway for a pumpkin if they didn't have time to go to the pumpkin patch, but safeway had zero pumpkins for sale!
I ran up and down the aisles looking for the perfect pumpkin and trying to stay out of the mud. It's not a real pumpkin patch but it has a good variety and is outdoors. Peter found a gorgeous red pumpkin but I had already fallen in love with a plain orange one before I saw the fancy pumpkins. I bought it for 6 dollars (and they gave me a tiny one free!) and proceeded to entertain myself with it continuously for 4 hours.
When I sat down to carve my pumpkin, Xiaona said it was making her hungry because pumpkin is just another vegetable in China. (she and Peter are saving their pumpkin until after midterms when they have time) So instead of taking off the skin in a woodgrain pattern like I planned, I carved a simple lattice so she would have a lot of pumpkin chunks to make soup. (Note: this next part saddened me and might sadden you.) While I was doing this she told me a story of starvation from the 1950s in a village near hers, where a family had saved a pumpkin in their garden to eat if they got too hungry, another family stole it to feed sick children, then a member of the first family died of starvation and a member of the second family felt so bad for stealing and causing a death that he killed himself. I asked her how much she needed for the soup and she said half. I did my best but at most I removed 1/3. It was a lot easier than a woodgrain was going to be and I think it looks nice.
This is Xiaona when I dragged her outside for a picture showing off the pumpkin-as-food v pumpkin-as-craft.
And the last present my pumpkin gave me, roasted pumpkin seeds! The little bowl is with cayenne pepper and the big bowl is just salted.
Here is how you do it: Separate the seeds from the pulp. Preheat the oven to 300f. Boil the seeds in salty water (actually my water might have been too salty to boil so I just turned it off and left the seeds in very hot water for 20 minutes). Spread them out very thin on a cookie sheet. In 20 minutes, stir them, and half an hour after that take them out and season them. I used sea salt and cayenne pepper. The ones from the tiny pumpkin they gave me for free tasted a lot more delicious than the big, flat ones.


I hate when something that should be easy is impossible and it is people's fault but not any person's fault. I went down to the courthouse 58 days after getting a ticket that I was supposed to handle before 60 days. I left it late because I wanted to get a notice. I didn't want to go down so I tried to pay online, which didn't work so I tried to phone but after an hour on hold I decided it would save time just to go downtown.

The woman there told me that they are behind entering tickets so I should get a notice in the next three weeks and then I have to pay it within 45 days. Then she signed off (or something) that I had done my duty of coming to the courthouse within 60 days. So far I have spent 3 1/2 hours trying to pay this ticket. They drag the process out really far, which I guess works because I will feel like I am being punished for more than four months total, or more if I had to pay in installments.

That is probably also why the building, which is full of plants and windows and sculptures, is so awful.
light and life

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I am concerned for my housemate. She is from China and she doesn't navigate things very well. Today I had to go to the courthouse and we happened to be leaving the house (me by car and her on foot to the bus stop) at the same time so I offered her a ride. When we were on the part of highway 1 that goes through santa cruz, she asked if we were downtown and I said no. Then when we got to downtown I asked if she could walk from the end of downtown to the metro center and she said yes, if she knew the street name, so I told her, and asked if she could walk to the metro center and she said yes, if she knew what direction it was so I told her and then I checked whether she could walk to the metro center and she said yes, it would just take her some time to figure it out. I didn't want to strand her and it wasn't very far (I'd just wanted to avoid the one way streets) so I drove her there, and when the metro center was in sight she was relieved and told me that she knew where she was. I let her out at a red light, but she had a lot of bags that she gathered while thanking me and talking to me about the confusing streets, and then the light turned green but I waited, and she got out and stood with my door open thanking me, and I said goodbye and she thanked me again and then finally I could go.

As I drove away I tried to figure out why it didn't matter to her that the light was green. And I realized that people started teaching me the red=stop/green=go binary 12 or 13 years before I was ever expected to drive anywhere.
There was Sesame Street. There was the rule following race game Red light, Green light, which has no lights and no colors, but the concept of red or green dictates what the players can do. And in first grade there was a multi pocketed wall hanging where each student had 3 cards. At the start of the day everyone had a red card in back, a yellow card in the middle, and a green card displayed in front. The green card would get shuffled to the back if you did anything wrong, meaning you had a yellow warning, and if you did another thing wrong the yellow card got moved to the back also and you got a red card phone call home.

That green means go is not something I think about, but it's extremely deeply ingrained. I don't want to ever patronize Xiaona but I want to help and she seemed interested in the idea of walking around downtown with me, getting her bearings.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

too tired to 'make my senior year count' today.

I have class in five minutes, then I have 20 minutes to pick up the camcorder I have reserved, then I have class! And I am not doing it! I spent the last 4 days working constantly on something for my video class, and then I handed it in and slept for 14 hours, ate breakfast and killed half the ants in my kitchen, and now I have to go! I am a tiny bit sick (just my throat and sinuses, I don't feel a fever) but well enough to leave home for a few hours if I wrap up.

The reason I don't want to go to my history of costume class is it is too easy. Our prompt for our page-long midterm project includes the instruction: "Please see me or Christina immediately in office hours or by appointment if you have never created a document using images and text." you know what, there is no way in hell I would make an appointment to tell a professor I had never created a document using images and text. I would find the image tool in a text document or the text tool in an image document or I would ask for help from someone who was not going to be grading me.

The reason I don't want to go to my metal sculpture class is it is too hard. Also I skipped it on Monday without asking because I had damaged my wrist holding the camcorder and didn't want to damage it further working at the anvil, which is my favorite thing in the metal shop. I was right near the department but I was scared if I went into the shop I would get excited and sit down at the anvil and bang out a squid and ruin my wrist forever. But it's so loud, and it will be such a hassle to get out of my gloves and face shield every 30 seconds to sneeze*, and it smells like burning, and it's three hours long, and I didn't buy materials to work on my project that's due in one week, and I didn't think of a new project that I want to do now that I finished my first "draft" of the project and am disenchanted with it. (it's a parachute/lightbulb shape frame with a screaming thing in it that if you turn it the right way up doesn't scream, and I was going to do a series but now I'm not.)

This isn't the plan I developed for myself. Metal Sculpture and Digital Video are absolutely perfect for me, and I had planned to spend all my time on them, except for an hour a day or so to go swimming and eat vitamins which would together keep my body in good enough condition to do all the work I ask of it. Hmph.

*written out that sounds like overkill but these are not dry sneezes...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Digital Video

Digital Video 2 is the first art class that is stretching me as much as the classes I've taken that aren't in my major. It's so hard! I'm used to working hard in spurts but working not hard most of the time. I like to play my strengths while only stretching a little to incorporate a new skill. Not in this class! A pretty unrelated computer art class counted as my prereq, so I have never fired up Final Cut Pro in my life and loads of people in this class have projects already that are just so finished, with such forethought (or maybe intuition) for the tons of considerations that we have to keep track of for even a small piece. Basically we are 4 weeks in and I spent the first 4 weeks drowning but I just yesterday passed over the hump of the learning curve.

I have barely had time for other things this term. I am watching all of the dry tutorials, reading the e-texts, checking out the camera every week, and going to the mac lab for editing about 4 nights a week. I have approximately nothing to show for it, but I did get ideas. Video is really important for documentation and sharing, and there is really no better time to learn it than in undergrad when any equipment I could want is free to use.* But I am having an extremely hard time thinking like a filmmaker.

My professor told us to think of it as sculpting in light and time. My strong inclination is to point the camera at something I like and not move it except to replace the dv tape every hour. I am comfortable with the camera as a tool for recording but not as a tool for point of view or explanation or composition. So, I have been carrying the camera around with me and shooting this and that, and then uploading it and thinking about whether it worked and why.

My professor cautions us against silos (compartmentalizing our classes and life) so I am trying to record my other work. I am thinking about recording my mail art project for my in-camera editing project, mostly because I didn't think of a different idea and I want to do sped up paintings on camera.

Tomorrow I am going to ask someone from my film class to record me in my grass suit.

*the day after I got excited about infrared LEDs (I guess I never knew a camera records them, even though I am sure I knew it could see them) and shooting at night, I found out that there is an infrared LED flashlight at media services I can use.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

today so far

I had class from 9-10 this morning. I got up at 7:20 because I hadn't done the reading. I was unbelievably exhausted considering I have been getting a lot of sleep and eating really well for the past two days. I drove to campus, parked at the base, got the bus, then walked. I allowed 40 minutes for this process and it took 38 minutes. I was practically dead in class. For example, as we were leaving the girl who had been sitting beside me left her sweater behind and first I couldn't figure out what words to say so I was silent, and then as I walked after her, still trying to figure out how to put "sweater" into a sentence, I lost track of which of the three people walking in front of me had been sitting next to me for an hour. Of course, if I had my sentence prepared I could have just said it and whichever one was sans sweater could go and get it, but by the time I realized that they were gone. I was so tired that I took the core bus* to the loop bus to my car. I think the time sitting in the sun did me good, but it might have been better to get my blood moving by walking a bit.

Then I told myself I would not go to sleep because I had class at one pm and I would go to safeway and shoot the second half of a shooting lab assignment so I could work on it in class but instead I made stovetop popcorn, drank water, ate a handful of vitamins, and sat under my blanket for an hour. I feel a lot better.

*on my campus everything is very spread out to make room for the trees, and I love that. However, although almost everything on campus is conveniently accessible by taking one of the 3 campus buses or the 6 city buses, only one bus goes through the center of campus. That is where the library, theater arts, arts, tutoring, and music center all are, aka everywhere I have to be this quarter except the computer lab.

Monday, October 4, 2010

body extension again

I have a proposal and maquette for a body extension due in a few hours and I have been sketching and thinking for several days about it and I know I want it to be tentacular but that's it. I thought I wanted a pair of back tentacles, then a stomach explosion of tentacles, and now after examining google I want to try to make a collar of them where they all extend left.

anyway the ninth page of my search had something I made.

and that calmed me down, like: okay, I have made a lot of tentacled things. I can probably make another.