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[personal profile] outsidetheparty
I haven't been posting much because I've been in a relentlessly negative mood for the past, uh, well now that I look back I suppose the time period would best be described as "winter."

This is pretty much per usual: I am not a winter person in the best of circumstances. (Which this winter has not been. Ice storms and roof leaks and cars stranded in driveways and, well, and a baby. Who doesn't deserve to be placed in the Household Disasters category, it's not his fault. But in terms of disruption of day-to-day life, a new baby is right up there with construction work and, I dunno, falling anvils.)

[livejournal.com profile] kassrachel prompted me with a list of these five things she associates with me:

1. Camera
My sophomore year in college, I was still in the aerospace engineering program -- the lab work that demonstrated for me exactly what it is engineers actually do all day hadn't happened yet, so I still thought it was just a matter of getting through the math and physics before the fun stuff would happen. But two of my roommates were in the film program, and one of them who was taking the intro photography course used to sneak me into the darkroom and showed me how to work the enlarger and I spent a happy couple of months taking arty black-and-white pictures of, well, mostly of cute girls with as little clothing as possible -- no surprise to anyone who knows me, I'm sure -- and sneaking into the darkroom during off-hours to print them.

I finally got busted late one night when I was the only one in there (I'd gotten kind of cocky about the fact that nobody seemed to care that I really wasn't supposed to be in there) and the supervising TA observed that I wasn't leaving my prints in the water bath long enough to rinse out the developer (I really had no idea what I was doing, my friend had only shown me the basics) which meant that not only would all my prints turn yellow and rot away in a few years, which they mostly did, but that I was contaminating the drying racks and ruining the real student's photos too. So before he kicked me out he yelled at me for a little while and then made me wash all the drying racks and then suggested that maybe next semester I should, you know, actually register for the photography class.

So I did.

2. Painting
I did a bunch of really terrible acrylics in college too -- really when I think back it's incredible they even let me into engineering school in the first place, wasn't it completely obvious I didn't belong there? -- but then discovered film and later photoshop and pretty much dropped painting entirely for the next dozen or so years.

Painting is hard. I have no talent for proportion, I can't draw to save my life, and while I can mix colors reasonably well I always have a sinking suspicion that my brush technique is completely wrong, which it probably is, because I've never had any training at all unless watching Bob Ross every afternoon after school for a few years counts. (And it doesn't because Bob Ross uses a weird wet-in-wet technique that I've never even tried to duplicate.) Probably all my paintings will turn yellow and rot after a few years because I'm not doing whatever painting's obvious equivalent of rinsing the developer chemicals out is.

But it appeals to me: you're not limited by the size of your printer (only by the size of your wallet), plus there's this fun alchemist-in-the-basement thing about all those pigments and bottles of weird chemicals and brushes made of animal hair, and the physicality of smearing oil over fabric, it's just about the opposite of the digital design work I do in real life.

So I cheat. I work around my limitations by being a cheating cheater who cheats like a cheating thing: I effectively do the whole painting in photoshop first to get all the proportions right, then print it out and use a light projector to trace the thing onto the canvas and from there it's basically paint-by-numbers, at least in theory.

Hey, if it was good enough for Vermeer, it's good enough for me.

But I'm being a little dishonest in writing all this in the present tense: it's been months since I picked up a paintbrush. (My gut reaction here was "oh boy, another thing I don't really do anymore.") That overambitious dozen-panel fish I was working on last year is still stacked up in the corner collecting dust. It narrowly avoided destruction during a frozen pipe incident a couple months ago: another hour and the flood would've reached the stack. Maybe someday.

3. Geodesic Dome
Hah -- yes, Burning Man. That was, well, seven years ago now. I still have the parts stacked up in the basement. It's good to have a basement.

There was a much smaller dome that was part of the halloween maze, but you couldn't tell it was a dome because it was dark. I still have those parts stacked up in the basement too, although it's possible that one of the struts became a makeshift model rocket at new years.

4. Drumming
At last, one that I still do on a more or less regular basis!

For a while I thought I didn't know how to drum, because I didn't. Then I thought I was really kickass. Then I learned more and realized that I wasn't nearly as good as I thought I was, and I should stop trying to solo outside of classroom situations because I've been being That Guy, the one who thinks he has the beat but is just slightly off enough to throw the whole circle out of kilter. (Ok, not that bad, but there was a moment at Spiritfire when I thought I was really rocking it until Bright Hawk came over and sat down next to me and looked me in the eye and played something that I could feel all the way down in my toes, and then smiled and walked away again which in retrospect I realize was her saying, in the nicest way possible, stop that. You don't know what you're doing yet. And she was right.) I'm at that awkward place where I can hear the difference between competent and good but can't achieve it yet. So I'm learning.

5. Red Elvises
Hee. Surf punk plus soviet kitsch plus post-apocalyptic wizard of oz fairytale = awesome. Not sure I can say anything more here that would improve on just listening to them.

Per the inviolable rule of LiveJournal memeage, I may not break the chain lest a family in North Dakota suffer thirteen weeks of bad luck, therefore: if you want me to prompt you with a list of five things I associate with you, ask below.
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