Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Latest News from . . .

So I'm still on Christmas break. I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and has a great first day of the new year.

When my grandmother (my dad's mom) comes to our house, it's tradition that she takes us shopping. She enjoys spending money. . .but only on other people, which, I guess, if you're going to spend it you should spend it on others, right? Anyway, she took me clothes shopping. Now, none of the people reading this have probably seen my wardrobe in the last couple of years, but it's become kind of pathetic. I basically wear jeans, and girly t-shirts every day, all day, and I've pretty much stopped dressing up for any occasion, even church (I figure God understands that I have to get up at 7:30 to go to church). I have three pairs of Keds that I wear all the time. That's pretty much it.

We're in a store called Herberger's, which is basically a Minnesota version of Dillard's. My dad leans over and says "We're here, she's buying. Get yourself a couple of nice outfits." He then proceeds to walk away. When he comes back, I asked him if he was insulting my wardrobe. He said yes and that I need new clothes. :P

I've proceeded to buy four sweaters, a pair of jeans, an insulated vest, a new coat, a fleece pullover, a new, black skirt slightly longer than knee length, a paisley blue hoodie, a new pair of snow boots, and a turtle neck shirt. I also got a new green long sleeve shirt, new pajamas, and a green fleece hoodie for Christmas. The nice thing is that some of these clothes will last me years (like the coat, boots, and vest, and a couple of the sweaters). I've been debating on whether or not to start a new wardrobe, and I think I've already answered yes. A lot of the clothes I've been wearing have reached the limit of their potential, and it's time to start afresh.

In the meantime, I've been looking into Lomography. Specifically, the Fish Eye 2. It's an investment, though, and I'm not sure I'm ready to spend that much money on a hobby. However, lomography as a whole looks fantastic.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Twilight? Seriously?

"...I smiled hugely."
Who says that? I finished reading the first one on Saturday night, and I have to say that, while I wasn't disappointed in the books really, I discovered I was disappointed with most of American teenagerdom as we know it, and anyone else who says that Twilight is the greatest thing they've ever read.

Disagree if you want to, but I found the books to be hard to read simply because I kept tripping over the endless descriptions of facial reactions and displays of emotion. "I smiled hugely" is one such example of the drivel that is Stephanie Meyer's writing.

I find the story an incredibly interesting one. The idea of a vampire falling in love with a human and fighting it's primal instincts is interesting. It's a definite contrast to the ideas presented in the original vampire tale, Dracula.

As I said, I wasn't really disappointed with the books, though. I kind of expected them to be poorly written. What I am disappointed with is the fact that those books have received awards and acclaims such as "Best Book of the Decade" or "Best Book of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008." Such awards may be a ploy by booksellers to sell more of the books. I'm surprised people keep saying things like that. I want to know why people think that the books are incredibly well written. Maybe the writing gets better as the series goes on, but I have the feeling it doesn't. I'll probably finish reading the books simply to see where the story line goes.

If you haven't read the original Dracula by Bram Stoker, you need to. It's a great vampire story, well written, and it can be called one of the best books of all time, and no one "smiles hugely" in that story.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Slowly Committing Musical Suicide?

When Hot Fuss came out, it was a smashing success. The Killers has a lot going for them with Mr. Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It, and Somebody Told Me. It seemed like they would be an amazing band for years to come.

Their music got more "poppy." They started to sell out in the originality department for songs that sound remotely familiar. Why? Maybe because The Killers sound just like the band Interpol. Which came first? Interpol, and their music to this day still has the integrity that it had when their band first formed.

I understand that a band's style can change, be updated, sound "newer." But when Human came out, it took listening to the song twice before realizing it was actually The Killers. The fact that it was the band's first single made me suspicious. I downloaded it, listened to it, analyzed it, and wondered what was going on. Why the big change? Even the lyrics had a triteness to them I hadn't expected. Instead of being original and honest, with at least some sort of depth to them, they gave us these lyrics:

Are we human or are we dancer?
My sign is vital, my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human or are we dancer?
While the lyrics are "cute," and fun to listen to, after listening to the song over a period of a week, I was done with it.

Just to give them a chance, when Amazon had their MP3 album up for download for $3.99 (because if you catch Amazon on a good week, they have new albums for download for $3.99 :) ), I downloaded it. I listened to the entire thing all the way through and nothing caught my attention.

Granted, their album Sam's Town had a few good songs on it. Sawdust I didn't even bother with. However, I don't think they'll ever top Hot Fuss again. Feel free to disagree, but I have the fear that The Killers are going to be the one album wonder I had always hoped they wouldn't be.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Books to Read Over Break

I don't get to read much for pure enjoyment when I'm at school simply because I'm so busy. So, I'm planning to, I hope, read over Christmas break. I've been reading Twilight (which, imnsho, is one of the most poorly written books I think I've ever read), and I want to finish that, but I'd also like to read:

1. Man and His Symbols - Carl Jung

I've been trying to get into more of the theory behind design aesthetics. There's so much more to design/composition than one would think. Anyone who says that "art is dead" or that "the best era of art has come and gone" needs to read and look at more.

2. A Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

I love Oscar Wilde's writing. He's pretty fantastic. I started the book over the summer and forgot to bring it back with me, so I'll probably just start reading it over again.

3. Ella Minnow Pea

I've heard this book is absolutely amazing, so I've decided to find out for myself.

I wish there was more time, but I honestly think three books is ambitious in and of itself, especially since I'll be working near full-time over break. We'll see how that goes.

Desktop Wallpapers

There are some sweet desktop backgrounds out there. The above link (click on the title of this post) has a great list of them. Some of my other faves can be found at Veer.

You should check them out. If you have any favorite places to find wallpapers, post them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Portfolio Up

I'm not entirely happy with it, and I don't have some of my more recent stuff up there, but it's there. Enjoy it for what it is.

Winding Down Fall Semester, Junior Year

As this semester winds down, I'm looking at the body of work that I've produced this semester and wondering whether or not any of it is worth giving a crap about. The longer I'm in school, the more frustrating I'm finding living the life a graphic designer should live (and yes, there's a way a graphic designer *should* be, "law" or not, it's a secular situation).

I produce work. I'm deadline oriented, so my work usually is accompanied by assignment or specifics. It's not a question of "what am I doing" it's a question of "how am I doing it" most of the time. I can understand some of the particulars, but the more I'm here the less I feel like I'm being adequately prepared for the world. I'm a junior in college, I've taken almost 70 credit hours of art classes, and I've never had to deal with a client-based need. Granted, you could say that my professors assignments represent client-based projects, and in some ways they do. However, my professors present more of an art-director type role in the constructive criticism that they provide. I have the feeling I'm going to get out into the world and absolutely hate dealing with clients. Not so much because their projects are uninteresting, but more because they are uneducated. For this reason, I will readily admit, I am a snob.

Moving on...

One of my final projects is to build a portfolio website for myself. :) I absolutely love web design, so this project will be fun. The problem is that I've already put 20 hours into it this week and have gotten next to no where. I love javascripting, come to find out (when it's pre-written, ha), so I have my gallery portion of the site nearly built and coded. When it comes to what I'm actually going to write or say about myself and my work, it's kind of unclear.

That said, Paul Newman is almost done. Yes, the 24"x18" graphite montage of Paul Newman is almost done. I will finish him, if not today, tomorrow, scan him in, do the text, and be done! Yay! It's not that I don't like Paul Newman. I thought he was a fine actor. I just don't like graphite, but when you have a one week turn-around on a project that would usually take 50-60 hours to complete, graphite is the way to go.

Anyways, as soon as I'm done with these projects, I'll post my website link up and maybe some other stuff I've been working on this semester, like my 4'x8' self portrait... That assignment was not a personal choice. We all had to do it. :P