Friday, May 26, 2006

Final thooought.

The end of Photography has arrived. Folks, I didn't think I was going to make it out alive. My feet killed me from standing in the dark room for eight hours (or more) at a time in order to print my pictures. I hated most of them. I had to drop extra cash for more paper on which to print my pictures. I was generally frustrated.

And then, last night at about 1:00 am, I finished. I mounted all my pictures on mat board (with precision, might I add), and I set all twelve of them up on the chalk tray to get a good look. And I was happy. I was actually pleased.

Then came the critique in class today. And guess what. The professor was pleased, too! I was quite proud, until after class. That's when I about had a heart attack. You know, in a good way. (If that's not contradictory, I don't know what is.) Proud isn't the word to describe how I felt after the professor used the word amazing to describe me and my photos. And then he suggested that if I got bored with my English and Spanish education studies, I should look into photography. I couldn't believe it.

And to think I was considering dropping the class after the third day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quick update.

Photography is crazy. I shot pictures all afternoon and evening yesterday. And then I went to the dark room, and all that developing jazz took me almost three hours. I'm not sure how well my pictures turned out, but it's looking bleak. I guess I'll find out this afternoon 'cause I'm going back here in a minute to print some pictures. We have eight prints with the theme of shadows due Friday. I bet it will take me today and tomorrow to get my prints done. 'Cause, you know, I have to figure in American Idol time.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Back in the habit

Like Sister Act 2. But this is probably just a phase, right? I'll get tired of blogging again and quit. Again.

Day One of photography. Not stressing yet. Today was pretty laid back. The big news is that I think I might've broken/sprained (more likely the second one) something in my foot. I was just walking down the steps to go into Fine Arts before class and my foot just did something funny. Nice omen, eh? Now I am limping around. Anyway, we went around campus and took pictures on a group roll of film. I think mine sucked. I did take a picture of a dead baby bird, though. That's gotta count for something. I mean, I probably contracted avian flu. Great. Look at all the sacrifices I'm making for the class. Breaking some bones, starting an epidemic... What more can one ask for?

I started a roll of film this weekend. I reckon I need to clear it off before class tomorrow, and I need some pre-highly-valuable-course-fee-film practice. So I'm going to drive around and snap some shots to make myself feel better about the photographic crap I produced today. I didn't perform well under the pressure of five of my classmates watching me take pictures with a camera I wasn't used to. Hopefully I can do better by myself.

On an unrelated note, grades come out over night. Oh, the anticipation.

I took some knock-off Claritin before class, and I'm feeling a bit spasmodic. Thank you, high school vocabulary.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The beauty of the light switch

At this point in my life, I have so many things going on that I wonder why I do this to myself. I enjoy the fact that I have taken on a multitude of ventures. There are so many of them, I am not sure which one to deal with first.

I am amazed at how beautifully the trip to Mexico has come together. One minute, I am wishing that I could spend some time down there studying, and the next minute, I have been accepted as a quasi-intern for two weeks to help bridge the language gap for the company my mom works for. I'll probably be in Durango, Mexico, for the first two weeks of August.

In the rapid search to find a way to get to Mexico, I was also directed toward the Fulbright program. I am now planning on starting the application process to be an English Teaching Assistant in Argentina for their 2008 school year (March through November). This is similar to the Spain program I considered in the past, but with the hemispherical changes in the seasons, Fulbright's Argentina program works nicely with my December 2007 graduation. To be accepted as a Fulbright grantee is a prestigious honor. In some ways, I feel inadequate, but at the same time, I have never come across an opportunity more perfect for me. No kidding, the program description says that they give preference to graduates with degrees in Spanish, English, education, or TESOL. Three out of four ain't bad, I say.

It is unbelievable how much my decision to become a Spanish major has changed my life. Yes, of course, graduating in five-point-five years (instead of four-point-zero) means that I'll be left here in the wake of all my friends (especially my bff/), the two best professors I've ever known, the 762 campus prefix, and a billion other things that I have grown to love that are moving on.

I am tempted to believe that I am just another case of arrested development, being afraid to move on to the "real world" and avoiding it by staying in school. But something tells me that if I had graduated with only a secondary teaching certificate for English, I would have never had the opportunity to become whatever it is that I am bound and determine to become. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but I am not worrying. I feel like I am slowly whittling out my passions, and once I find them, I don't think there is any stopping me. I know. I am usually not the cocky sort (how about that false humility?), but I'm beginning to see how I have inherited a sense of determination from a long line of hard-heads.

This morning at the desk, I have been knitting because I have finished with finals, and I've nothing else to do. And knitting lets me think and be productive at the same time. In the middle of all those thoughts, an image I haven't seen in years appeared in my mind. The house where my parents live -- one of the places I call home -- was my grandparents' before it was ours. Off to the side is what we call the "building". I am not sure, but I think my grandfather built it himself. (The fact that the house and the building are so close together that it's a fire-hazard tells me that, yes, he built it.) He was a man of determination. He was a farmer, but he was also an inventor. Innumerable times have I heard my aunts and uncles tell about how he fashioned tools himself if he needed to do something and didn't have the right gadget -- either because he was frugal farmer or because the tool had not been invented yet. (Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.) I've heard how he invented the automated tobacco-plant setting contraption years before it went on the market.

But this morning, a simpler "invention" came to my mind. I guess you could call it the precursor to the modern light switch. This building off the side of my house is lit by a bulb turned off and on by a chain. The problem my grandfather faced (and probably created himself) is that the bulb is located in the middle of the room. By the time a person clambered over all the monkey wrenches and anvils strewn about the darkened building in order to reach the chain, several bones would be likely broken. He remedied this simply. He tied a long string to the end of the chain and tied the other end of that string to a nail in the door post. When someone walks in the door, all you have to do is pull the string that stretches to the middle of the room and there will be light. My dad, who has filled the building with his own tools, gadgets, and general beloved junk, keeps my grandfather's lighting system in place. A "normal" light switch could easily be implemented by my brother-in-law who is an electrician. But we keep it, I guess in a sort of reverence to my grandfather and his mind.

I am sure he was not the only one to think of this solution to the unreachable chain. But the point is he did think of it. And he implemented his solution. He had a problem and he wasn't going to let it stop him from doing what he wanted to do -- which was to keep both shins in working order. And I think I've inherited this. And maybe I've inherited a bit of his zaniness, too. For example, when he got his cordless phone in the early 90s -- the prehistoric model with an extendable antenna a yard long -- he rigged it to his overalls with a shoestring so that he could carry it with him while he mowed the yard. I, too, have had my own harebrained ideas about what will work and what won't. (The cordless phone lost reception so far away from the base, and he wouldn't have heard it over the lawnmower anyhow.) What I have learned, though, is that if I don't take the risk of looking like an idiot (who can't even graduate on time), my life will be far less beautiful.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Thanks for nothing

I have been known to boast about the C that I made in CIV 101. I know I cannot completely blame the professor that taught the course for my indifference to the development of human civilization, but wasn't it his job to pique my interest? Anyhow, it really bothers me now that I lack a general knowledge of history. It's my fault, I know. And I have learned a lot since my freshman year, and I would like to learn more. Because I've finally started to realize the immense significance of knowing the journey that man has taken.

This doesn't mean that I am going to bust out my CIV text book and read it from cover to cover. As a matter of fact, I don't know what happened to that book (which was the beginning of the end of good relations between myself and Bradley bookstore). But I am fairly certain it got lost in the blackhole of letting someone borrow it.

I go into all of this because I see that each individual person internally goes through a sort of microcosm of history. This is what education is about. It is supposed to bring us up through all the experience of history so that we can progress -- instead of reinventing the wheel. It speeds us through our own dark middle ages through to a renaissance and enlightment and so on. We go through our own reformations and revolutions.

And I think that's profound.