Sunday, July 26, 2009

C'ville Tales


I have a few stories since my last blog entry about my wonderful city: Charlottesville:

Thursday, I had sort of a lazy day and didn't really get up and do anything before class. As I was walking to class, I was doing my usual "try to step only once" in any square along the sidewalk. However, if you've ever noticed, sidewalk squares are quite long, so I had to step on that small curved piece that's slightly wider than my foot. As I was walking to class later than normal, it was more in line with when all of the other students were trying to get to classes as well. Anyway, I'm walking down the road, and I see quite a beautiful, normal looking girl. Though not directly looking at me, she acknowledges my presence by slowly lifting her eyes. As she goes out of view, I take another step and my foot misses the edge of the sidewalk. I stumble into the street. I continued walking and had to stop myself from laughing, as there was a man right behind her that saw everything.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a chair on the Downtown Mall just minding my own business. Although I was there to read, I kept on getting distracted because parents and their children were constantly around (as I was by the big, empty fountain that attracts children). Anyway, two women who looked like sisters were sitting on a pair of chairs. Two girls about 8 years old were with them. Their hair was similar, even the way they were dressed. They weren't quite twins, but they were definitely related. One of them had shoulder length straight hair, and the other had hair that curled as soon as it got past her neckline. One had on a white blouse and a white skirt, while the other had a white blouse and a tan skirt. For a while, they just ran around the fountain, trying to catch birds. I tried not to watch too intently, because both of their mothers were sitting 10 feet away. Anyway, as they rounded the corner of the fountain nearest me, the curly haired one turned quickly around, looking towards me, lots of loose hair moving wildly as she jumped in the air and the wind followed her. I've rarely seen something so beautiful. I'm beginning to suspect that sun dresses were made for small girls, and that any girl past puberty is just trying to reconnect with the time when she was beautiful and didn't know it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't take our Kodachrome away.


A little over a month ago, Kodak made an announcement that you didn't see on your local news: they're discontinuing Kodachrome, the world's first commercially viable color film. Only one lab in the entire world will still process this film, because of the very complex nature of its processing (unlike other films, nobody processes this film in their own darkroom). I'm still deciding whether or not I should pick up a roll of Kodachrome and shoot some just for posterity. Literally, for posterity.

A few days ago on flickr, I came across a Kodachrome from the 1940's. It was just a simple picture of a woman on a rooftop, with a red sweater spread out behind her head.

(sorry, I don't have the rights to post the photo.)

Wait a minute, this must have just been a period photograph. There's no way that that was really taken in the '40's. However, no one else seems to call attention to the supposed validity of the original poster.

So, I start looking for other old Kodachromes, and I find that the Library of Congress has just released a bevy of color photos from the 1930's and '40's, most of which were shot with Kodachrome, and they're ALL on flickr. So, after looking through a bunch of them, and thinking about other photographs that I associate with this period, I realize, that one of the best reason to keep Kodachrome around is that it does not loose its luster, if treated properly. Anyway, I also looked through most of the photos the the Library of Congress put up, and here are some of my favorites:

It's crazy to think that this is what digital cannot achieve, and we've had it for 70 years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Now is not the time


Now is not the time.
You've given me cold silence.
Only now you respond.

"This will patch things, right?"
Over half of a year gone.
You and I have changed.

Re-establish lines.
Just the click of a button.
That's all you give me.

You're ready to talk.
You've found yet another boy.
Another someone.

This is what that's like:
Flaunting, Sorrow mongering,
Spiteful, Far too late.

You've atrophied all.
Do not act like all is fine
Oh, Great Destroyer.

Lies were always there.
Many things said without thought.
Couldn't face the truth.

Now is not the time.
There's not a good way to say:
"Just go the hell away."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

(My) History of Walking

I'm pretty upfront about this: I enjoy walking. I walk to school everyday, I enjoy walking around the city, and sometimes I just walk around when I don't have anything else to really do. If you're anything like me, you spent a lot of time as a kid walking. So, hear is a history of things I've thought about or games I've played while walking:

1) This is the one that started it all: "Step on a crack, break yo' momma's back." I didn't technically think of this one, but it was sort of the starting point. circa 1st grade

2) This next one came as an inspiration of a video game I never owned: Q-Bert. Now, if you've ever played Q-Bert, the point is to get all of these tiles on a pyramid to be the same color, while avoiding all of the monsters of the level. Later on in the levels, if you hit the same tile twice, it goes back to the color you don't want. Now, the reason I started doing this one was because of the similarity it had to 1). Most of the floors in my school (HBS) were tiled, and so every step was in a different tile. I guess it's also similar to some movie, but right now I can't bring it to mind.

3) As I grew older, however, my feet grew larger. It was now more difficult to fit them within tiles if I walked straight on towards them. Looking at it from a slightly different angle, I would often walk diagonally back and forth just so that I could fit my feet within each individual square and not hit any tile twice, of course.

4) Next, I came to a more difficult problem. Where as, when I knew the regularity of the size of the tiles and the path I walked was fairly wide, walking was easy and relatively thought free. However, when the tiles are irregularly shaped, a strange tessellation occurs, or if there were things in the way, it would be difficult to adhere to the strictness of a set of rules. So, I began working at extrapolating my planning further. In addition to getting more accurate results, it also allows me to not vary my steps awkwardly (stepping on the left with my right foot and on the right with my left), thereby allowing me to do this while walking with other people with little notice.

Anyway, this doesn't even get into the subject of path finding techniques of walking, because that is a much longer subject that has been rarely breached and shall be left for another day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First impressions of my new city


In case you didn't know, I moved. Not across town, nor up the interstate, but a few states away from where I grew up. I've only been in the city for a little over a day, but I have already seen that God has planned for me to be here. Always a nice contrast is that my parents are in town for a few days to help me get settled in (and also so they can see the sights around here), and noticing their reactions to things shows me just how much I've grown since first packing up my things about six years ago and heading out for the big 'ol GSSM.

Since then until now, I have not really had a real home. Sure, I've stayed at places for months at a time, but nothing seemed like it was mine. Although I had a room to myself, a kitchen, and a bathroom, I always knew in the back of my head that there was to be an end to my relationship with that area, and that end was always hauntingly close. The only anchor I had during my Clemson years was dcf. I went to the same building, took communion, prayed on the wall afterwards in the same manner nearly every week during my stay at Clemson. However, summer always seemed to destroy the sense of home for me.

Charlottesville is now my home. If I leave here, that will be defined as a vacation or trip in my mind. The recentering will occur here, rather than elsewhere. Anyway, this is a list of the first few things that I have picked up from Charlottesville, a city whose people, I believe, that I am called to love and will learn to do so through my life over the next several years.

  • I love that I live in a city where I can hear the birds over the cars.
  • I hope that my sincerity in thankfulness is well taken, it seems quite lacking and almost out of place.
  • I have already signed up to help kids discover inspiration for art in the city around them. Hopefully I'll be as inspired as they are.
  • I like that some people walk distances here. Not just to their cars, but to and from their place of work.
  • I really like my neighbor, a nice woman that lives above me. She has a cute baby boy that she pushes on his toddler swing in the evenings. She's quite talkative and has also offered me laundry services (all I have are hookups right now).
  • Sunsets are beautiful from my front lawn. The sun rests right in between a large "V" of green, and pushes right down into the tracks as it colors the sky one final time for the night.
  • I like that I can open the windows in the evening and feel a memory of a breeze.
  • Two strangers commented on my hair already. Although one was probably gay, I'll still take that as a positive.
  • I'd just like to state for the record, that I fully embrace "art in place."
  • This city has my kind of weather. I can't remember the last time I walked for over a mile and didn't sweat! Also, big surprise when I got out of the car tonight: fireflies!

Not so positive things:

  • Takes 25 minutes to walk to Kerchof Hall. I'll keep looking for quicker routes.
  • I have to wait until at least Monday to get my ID card and therefore, can begin working out.
  • Cable/internet won't be activated at my home until the 13th.
  • Rain got to some of my board games on the way up here.
  • I need a lot of furniture to make my home seem "not empty." Any donations will be accepted!

Today, I had an interesting journey. In the morning, I made my way towards Memorial gym. After getting a surprise ride from Winn, I started working out (after figuring out where everything was). About half way through finishing the number of sets I wanted to do on bench press, I heard a deep bass sound coming from... well, everywhere. I sat back down on the bench, and tried to listen closer, to see if it was an oncoming train. Well, the sound wasn't going away, and nobody else had turned strangely towards the music or the speakers to see what the matter was, so I thought it was normal. I tried to shake it off, but it was just so encircling.

I laid down to start my set, deciding to do five instead of eight as I had done on the last set. That way, I didn't have to try to get the attention of another so they could spot me. I pushed the bar up, let it come down on my chest, pushed up normally, and the bar didn't go anywhere. I push harder, HARDER and got it up. Whew, okay.  Perhaps I wasn't physically prepared for that.

Put body at physical readiness.

Lower the bar.

Push at a steady rate.



I barely rack the weight. The sound is still overhanging and filling my thoughts. I finish my workout, but am unable to be as mentally aware as before. I can see where everything is, but I still have to think about what I'm doing and what I'm going to do next.

The rest of my workout was without event. As I walk upstairs, I notice that there is a wrestling camp in the main gym. They're all playing a timed Dodgeball game. I stare at the game, not particularly interested, but still unable to hear normally. I watch until a coach blows a whistle, and the boys stop playing. A coach at least twice as wide as I am rotates towards me and nearly, simply stares at me (which of the two is uncertain). I notice this peripherally and turn to leave.

Later on today, my right contacft started to get fuzzy. I could read on my Kindle quite well, but anywhere I looked was hard to focus on, even mentally, because everything was unfamiliar and fuzzy. I could fixate on things, and move towards them, but I found it impossible to window shop. I was either walking towards something or walking aimlessly.

Once I got on the bus, I started to think about the difficulties I'd had. I realized that I find this new city debilitating in a sense. I'm in sensory overload right now, and it isn't going down. For some reason, my senses have decided to take advantage of the situation and screw with me to make it even worse. Maybe a quick nap will help.