May 26, 2011

Digital Imaging II

I'm taking Digital Imaging II for the first half of summer school. I really like the teacher, but so far been more of a review of what I learned in Digital Imaging I than learning much new, although I am learning that having a nicer camera has a HUUUUUUGE difference in the quality of pictures.

Make sure you click on the images to better see them. See them better. Just click on em.

May 23, 2011

Book 4 of 12: When You Are Engulfed in Flames

For book 4 I somewhat cheated. Those of you with a disgustingly good memory may recall that I wanted to read 12 books this year that I already own but have never read. Well, my spare time being what it is, (fictional) I found time to listen to a book on CD. Since I don't own any books on CD, I listened to this from the library.

I first heard of David Sedaris (the author) in my Creative Writing class. He wrote what became my favorite reading assignment of the semester, the short story "What I Learned," a surreal retelling of his college experience, and quite possibly one of the best and funniest short stories I've read.

While at the library I hunted for some books on CD that I wouldn't hate listening to, such as the last book in the Belgariad that I could finally finish and stop lying about having read them all. Another was a set of short stories/tales written and told by the incomparable Garrison Keillor, someone I grew fond of after serving a 2 year (mostly) honorable mission in Minnesota. In the vicinity of Garrison Keillor I noticed quite a few comedy CDs being passed off as books, as well as other books on CD being passed off as comedy. Among this collection was a familiar name, David Sedaris. Hey, I thought. He's that guy that wrote that story I read that one time, that was funny. I should check it out. So I did and on my way to and from work and school for the last 2 or so weeks I've been among David's captive audience. His writing (and reading, Sedaris reads his own stories) is at once dry and witty and bawdy toilet humor. Self-deprecating to a fault, he manages to be dislikable and lovable, distant and relatable all at once. Now that I sound sufficiently like the back of a book jacket, let me try to sound like myself. David Sedaris is one of the best storytellers I've had the pleasure of listening to. When You Are Engulfed in Flames is a collection of 22 short stories mostly regarding one aspect or another of the author's life. He tells stories about (I won't list all 22, just the 13 or so I found particularly entertaining): a family member who once had a parasitic worm, trying to catch up with his taller walking companion, memories of a hilariously bad babysitter, talking about Princeton (my favorite), a rude neighbor who became a friend, buying a skeleton for his significant other, accidentally being stuck in a waiting room without clothes because he doesn't speak French (it makes (more) sense in context,) accidentally coughing a cough drop into the lap of a sleeping airplane seatmate, his parent's art collection, using album LPs as shields from kamikaze French birds, having a boil lanced from his backside (the title is "Old Faithful,") and moving to Japan on Jon Stewart's recommendation in order to quit smoking.

I would recommend them all except maybe 2, (neither of those are listed above), one story I wouldn't recommend because of it's graphic nature (though I wouldn't necessarily blame the author as it's about his encounter with disgusting people and why I would never hitchhike) and the other I wouldn't recommend just because I tried listening to it about 4 times and couldn't stay focused on it enough to know whether or not it was any good.

But, for what it is, namely recollections and short stories told from a selfish but self-deprecatingly lovable narrator, I can't think of a better read. It doesn't have many hilarious quotes, just because that's not his writing style. His jokes are subtler and more drawn out than a string of quotable one liners, but it makes for a richer reading (or in my case, listening) experience. 4 out of 4 stars. 5 out of 5, whatever my rating system is.

Picdump- Whimsical Edition

May 17, 2011

May 16, 2011

Friday the Umpteenth

As a kid, I watched a lot of television. (Still do, but then, I still consider myself a kid in many ways.) One of my favorite programs was the Disney channels' "Adventures in Wonderland." In addition to being closed-captioned for the hearing impaired, it also was recommended for viewing by the American Federation of Teaching and the National Education Association, as they pointed out at the beginning of ever episode.

It was a fantastic show, (don't let the picture fool you), clever and educational with (mostly) great songs. I think one of the reasons why it hasn't been released on DVD is one of its famous guest stars was OJ Simpson. And as we all know, the only thing Disney likes more than money is bleaching out and hiding any hint that casts any kind of shadow over their family-friendly wholesome image.

One episode I remember was about Friday the Thirteenth. The residents of Wonderland were all afraid and haunted by the bad luck associated with this day, until the Red Queen pronounced Friday the Thirteenth to be "Friday the Umpteenth" which was the luckiest day of the year. All the Wonderlandians (Tweedle dee and dum, Mad Hatter, Caterpillar, etc.) realized that luck is a matter of perspective. For example, when one character was building a house of cards, he found out it was Friday the Thirteenth, the house of cards collapsed. But after the proclamation of Friday the Umpteenth, he realized that, though it collapsed, it was the biggest, tallest house of cards ever constructed.

To nine year old me, this was huge, and very educational. You mean luck can be changed simply by perspective?

This Friday the Thirteenth was a wonderful day, and I didn't even need to change much of my perspective to make it so.

I've worked at my job for a year and a half now, the longest I've ever worked anywhere. I love it here, but I've felt a bit trapped, as my school schedule has prevented me several times from promotions and advancement. However, on Friday, I received 2 promotions, one with a pay raise, and one without. Still not a manager, but it's progress as well as I think the first time I've received a pay raise, not counting commission jobs in the past.

I also was 'paid' for my first graphic design job. My friend Charity wanted someone to make business cards for her, I volunteered my services and designed some business cards for her etsy shop, PitterPat Heart. She and her husband paid me by taking Tracie and I out to dinner and arranged for our favorite babysitter to watch Morgan so we could have a grown-ups night out. Best. Payment. Ever.

So this Friday the Thirteenth or Friday the Umpteenth was one of the best days I've had in quite awhile. In fact, the only 'bad' luck about this day is I'll have to wait until January for another Friday the Umpteenth!