29 July 2006

Joining Things

Yeah, well, you all know how much of a joiner I am. But I found a few cool sites that seemed worth the effort of registering.

  • Library Thing lets you catalogue your books online, and searches various databases and bookstores so you don't have to type everything in. It even includes covers. You can add 200 books free, and then have to pay a yeary or for-life fee. I like the idea of having a list of books online, where I can access it from anywhere should I need it for insurance purposes. It won't be long before I have to pay, though, assuming I get around to adding all my books. If you want to look at my books (have only added a few so far), seach for me under "feynico."
  • TV Shows on DVD is a site where you can find out if your favorite shows are on DVD and vote for them to be on DVD if they're not. You can also make want lists for existing and yet-to-be-pubished DVDs. Now everyone go and register and vote for The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. Do it now. Please.
  • My Livejournal. It's so much easier to keep track of other people's Livejournals when you have one of your own. I'll probably end up putting personal, daily-life type stuff, plus writing updates, here on Anagram for Ink, and use the Livejournal for visual arts stuff. No doubt they will cross over a lot. But there you go. One more thing for me to neglect.

19 July 2006

Font Geek

What does it say about me that I was more excited that my 20th Century Art teacher complemented the font I used on my midterm paper than by the fact that she gave me an A?

Oh, it was 12pt Garamond.

15 July 2006

The Usual

So, school goes along pretty much as usual. Photography is my favorite class. It's intense but lots of fun. Letterpress can be a bit on the dull side at times, but I've discovered I really like setting type. It should be really boring, but I like it. I'm going to buy a small letterpress, if I can find one on eBay that's both a reasonable price and in good shape. In the meantime, I bought a camera. This camera. Yes, I finally blew all of my birthday money, plus a bit more besides.

Now I'm saving up for a sewing frame and a book press for bookbinding purposes. With what's left in my bank account (aside from what I need to, you know, live) I'm going to buy PSP stuff to review, and probably a second hand PSP on which to run homebrew -- I have an idea for an article series for work, following my attempts to downgrade the firmware and get homebrew running. Potentially, therefore, the second PSP could pay for itself.


Some of you may know, either just from knowing me or from following my ramblings on this blog, that I am entirely non-religious, yet also fascinated with (and sometimes horrified by) religion. So someone I know who is a student of Zen (hmm . . . should that be capitalized or not?) was reading this book called Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth About Reality (by Brad Warner). I thought it sounded interesting, so I asked to borrow it. I just finished reading it this morning (and, since I only borrowed it Thursday afternoon, you can safely draw the conclusion that it was an absorbing read, and therefore also a quick read). Hmm. I expected it would be interesting and well written, from the things my friend said about it. I wasn't really expecting so much of it to resonate -- and resonate strongly -- with the way I already think about things, religion included.

For example:
It's only when people believe that their beliefs are above questioning, that their beliefs alone are beyond all doubt, that they can be as truly horrible as we all know they can be. Belief is the force behind every evil mankind [sic] has ever done.

Religions, the supposed institutional repositories of humanity's understanding of the deeper mysteries of the universe, have never offered anything more to me than sophisticated methods of avoiding the truth, of building elaborate fantasies in place of reality.

The older I get, the more I think the dangers of religion -- any religion -- far outweigh the benefits, though I know there are an awful lot of people, even non-religious people, who would strongly disagree.

There are simply too many interesting things in the book for me to quote them all -- too many times when I stopped reading so I could absorb something properly. Here's one, though:
Buddhism won't give you the answer. Buddhism might help you find your own right question, but you've gotta supply your own answers.

Hunh. I'll stop quoting now, and gushing. I think I'm going to have to get a copy of this book for myself, though, and read it a few more times. I'm not going to suddenly become religious, but this is, I think, something that warrants further investigation. Anyone want to read the book and tell me what you think of it?

04 July 2006

Back to School

Yes, today it was back to school again. I had my first Letterpress Printing class, which is going to be very exciting. Real printing with real moveable type. The kind you can take out and move around in different configurations, without the use of a computer! Okay, I am being silly, but I think it will be a good class. The prof is not the mot dynamic speaker ever, but he knows an awful lot about the history of printing and book binding, and stuff, and seems to have a vast store of amusing stories that probably only book geeks actually find amusing. Luckily, I am a book geek.

Today we had a kind of show and tell with lots of samples (both real and reproduction) of manuscripts and early printing. Then we got a tour of the print shop (I think the third I've had this year, but I love it there, so that's fine with me), and we got to poke around in the basement, where all the type is kept and where we will be spending a lot of time in the next seven weeks. Yay!

I also spent a fair bit of time in the dark room, working on my prints for the portrait/self portrait project. My portrait negatives came out pretty thick; I'm not sure if it's a shooting problem or a developing problem. They're not beyond hope, though, and I got some decent prints from them. Quite a few were not in great focus though, which is a bit disappointing. Part of the problem is that my subject was moving quite a bit, but I very much didn't want her sitting still and posing, so the only solution would have been more light. I guess I should have used both of the lights I had, instead of just one, so I could have used a smaller aperture and therefore had greater depth of field. But anyway. She was a great subject, so I am happy about that.

Tomorrow I'm going to shoot some more self-portraits, even though I really already have enough for the project. I have some mad scientist ideas, which are just too much fun not to do. I do wish I had more props, though, so this is a project I may revisit in future. I also still need to make some prints for a sort of related project, which I may hand in as part of the portrait assignment -- a book of me playing on my PSP while also doing everyday things like doing the dishes and getting dressed. It'll be a day-in-the-life sort of thing, and each photo will have the time under it, but no other text (except possibly to say what I'm doing -- for example "9am, brushing teeth" or something).

And finally, I had Survey of 20th Century Art, where I handed in my take-home exam/essay (which is, I think, a decently written blather), and got back my slide test (only an A-, alas, but pretty good considering how little time I ended up having to study). So that was my day.