27 July 2008

Back at the Helm

Took a 4 roughly 3 hour power nap,
added a bit to the tank,
and had a walk about in the backyard;
sunshine, warm air and a killer breeze.

A-Shift Over

I would like to thank Khouria Jen for making the Day of Blogs a reality, my awesome monitor JL who I never got to thank until now, everyone that I monitored, Anna, Becky, Cara, isabella, Letterblade, Melissa, and Moira, and esp. my sponsors.

I am going to take a nap and will return in a few hours or so.

(48) Mecha

This is your basic piloted walking and/or flying robots.

Examples: Voltron, Full Metal Panic! and even a Godzilla film had a piloted robot

Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV

(47) Pop culture

As an artist I am influenced by pop culture, and not just from the USA. Culture is spilling over borders more that I remember growing up. Then again everything is very different from when I grew up. I was at the end of a generation before mass technology. I remember when CDs first came out, a time before video games or at least the way gamers are now and when MTV was brand new and played videos. I know I am revealing my age, but hell I am not remotely old, and that is my point. There was an explosion and I was just old enough to see it and live through it.

My interest in pop culture lies on the lowbrow side, which is influenced by the area I live in – not even saying this is a bad thing since “good” and “bad” are irrelevant. I show life the way I see it or sometimes as a reaction to what I see.

"Kitsch is mechanical and operates by formulas. Kitsch is vicarious experience and faked sensations. Kitsch changes according to style, but remains always the same. Kitsch is the epitome of all that is spurious in the life of our times."—Clement Greenberg, "Avant-Garde and Kitsch," 1939.

(46) kawaii (可愛い)

No amount of punk music and horror films quells cuteness entirely. I still love Hello Kitty; it is possible to stay way from pinkness. Goofy stuff like that creeps into an otherwise black dominated existence (except now as I am wearing a florescent green t-shirt and Crocs, yet dark grey pants).

Then there is amigurumi (編み包み), i.e. knitted/crocheted cute animals or objects. If I can figure a way to make these without getting attacked my uber-playful kitties, I wanted to make some for the local Children’s Hospital.

(45) ---

A free for all, the wild card, the I do not want to have a set topic for a post. Now that I have halted my brain for the lack of following the script, i.e the topic list.

Which reminds me of The Topic, a long since gone coffee shop on the corner of Elmwood Ave. and Allen St. (where the Bubble Man lives -- really the guy blows bubbles from this apartment window, still), where one could order a giant cup of coffee called a "Hot Sludge". It was hot, thick, sure to rot your insides and the best damn cup of coffee!

(44) Go (囲碁)

I have tried to teach myself how to play Go and was inspired first by a manga series, Hikaru no Go (Hikaru’s Go). I have a board and started to learn the basics, but really need to be able to play against someone, someone who knows how to play.

(43) MAC

I am an Apple user and have been for a number of years now. With the new Intel based iMAC I am able to and do run Windows XP through Parallels, aka a Virtual Machine. Why? I have to stay current with both platforms first of all, and also because some of my classes use Windows based programs. It is very odd to be in a Windows environment and still see the MAC underneath.


Talking about windows, the sun is rising (well we are turning), never-the-less it is getting brighter outside.

(42) Crochet

I had tried to crochet on a regular basis as I find it soothing. There is nothing soothing about a couple of wound up cats attacking the yarn, even if it is in a “bag of death”. I started a scarf so long ago that I no longer wear the jacket it was supposed to go with – the point is a long period of time not matching. Alas, I would like to try and start again, even if the cats are just as crazy. They could be sleeping in the back of the house and know I have yarn at the other end of the house no matter how quiet I am, or think I am.

(41) Insomnia

What an appropriate topic for an early morning or a late night, depending on your viewpoint. I am wide awake again and have only had one more cup of coffee than “normal” (being 3), well make that half a cup since I still have some left. I do not sleep well to begin with, do not stay asleep well and tend to get up late because I finally fall asleep late. Hopefully in a few hours I can sleep for a bit. Last year after the Blogathon I only slept a couple of hours.

(40) Ninja Warrior

In Japan this TV show is called Sasuke. It is an obstacle course divided into 4 stages. Only 2 guys were able to finish the whole course out of 100 people each tournament for 20 tournaments. There is even an all female version with a different course. It has elements of a typical Japanese game show, crazy contestants mixed in with the serious ones, and the crowd carrying on when someone falls, unless it is one of the all stars. I think I have seen all the episodes for each version.

Here is a sample:

(39) Water

I have always lived near some kind of water, be it a lake or river. The water is so calming. Early mornings sitting on the beach watching the sunrise, is a perfect morning. I also like walking the shoreline looking for beach glass to turn into mobiles. Or, how about sitting so quietly at the edge of the tide line, listening to the water wash through the pebbles.

(38) Tofu

Bean curd, bean curd, yeh, yeh yeh!

If it tastes beanie or bland it was not cooked properly. Tofu will absorb any flavour you present it. Some people have a problem with the texture. I suggest trying a different type – more or less water will be harder or softer, respectively.

(37) Noodles

There is a difference between noodles and pasta. Noodles are ramen, udon, and soba (among others). Pasta, on the other hand, is shells, elbows, rigatoni, heck even spaghetti. Does not mater much to me as I love them all.

(36) Vultures

Many people I know dislike vultures. On campus (University at Buffalo) this year, there were 5 or 6 Turkey vultures living on Clemens Hall. They would fly and glide from the 10 story building – just magnificent.

(35) Skulls

There is something about skulls that I am drawn to, maybe because my favourite holiday is Halloween or maybe because of horror films. Could also be because of pirates, esp. after watching Goonies as a kid, who am I kidding I just bought the DVD last week. I have a mini skeleton hanging here by my desk and a larger skull next to me, one large enough to evoke Shakespeare –
“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that.”

(34) Ugly dolls

The official website

These toys are considered “designer” toys or “art” toys and they are part of a much bigger scene. I have a (small) Babo, and he goes almost everywhere I do because he is attached to my bag. I also love Ice Bat, Big Toe and Moxy.


(33) Body Modification

Tattoos, piercing, and gauging oh yay!

I love tattoos, watching people get tattooed, even though I do not have one yet (stressing the yet). Eventually I would like to get a Koi dragon wrapped around my left arm, coming from a whirlpool at my elbow. I think I will start on my left leg first, but I do not know exactly what yet (that and it is a bit expensive), hence the hesitation.

I have piercing, however, and I have gauged my ears to just about 0 (zeros); just about because I have not slid the new stainless steel pinchers in just yet.

(32) ukiyo-e (浮世絵)

Japanese woodblock prints are some of my favourite types of art (right up there with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec). This style illustrates Japanese life beautifully, almost as a record of life at the time, esp. during the 17th century. Some of my favourites come from the kabuki theater or are by artist Katsushika HOKUSAI (葛飾北斎); the views of Fuji-san and “The Wave”.

(31) makizushi (巻き寿司)

Another very important lesson from Japanese culture class: how to make makizushi. I make mine with lightly browned tofu, cucumbers and/or sometimes avocado.

See example of Tofu Makizushi:

26 July 2008

(30) Horror

Huge horror fan here. I do not think a horror film was good enough if I can go to sleep right after. Zombie films win out almost every time followed closely by a messed up, dark, mind twisters. I am not as into guts and gore, unless the zombies are eating. I love vampires, yet they can have their moments. I cannot stand clowns and put them into this category, not after Poltergeist (1982).

(29) bentō (弁当)

What is Japanese food or any food for that matter, without something to carry it in whether it be work, school or play. I had lunch boxes when I was a kid, those metal ones before they were banned form the market. I think bentos, Japanese lunch boxes, are way more fun than traditional Western lunch boxes (even though I still have and love my Western style boxes).

Bento example:

(28) Digital/computer Art

My new field of study, well this is more like an offshoot of what I have studied, revolves around media art (including digital/computer art). Animation is part of this field, but this time I am talking about interactivity and installations. I am interested in using code to create visuals and a space for the viewer to become part of the project. Installations also fit within this area because I do not necessarily mean the interactivity can be “dialed” up on a home computer. I have started doing some low level ActionScripting through Flash 8 calling on buttons to play video and audio. I also want to apply this knowledge to web development in an International business setting, with Asia being my focus.

(27) Philosophy

Instead of the painting degree I talked about previously, I opted for a BA in Philosophy; yes, came right out of left field. I am into Epistemology, Existentialism, the Mind-Body problem from the Philosophy of Mind field, and a lot of Ancient philosophy (because I was trying to read it in Latin and Ancient Greek). So if you did not think “what a geek” before, I am sure this post solidified it (this is a good thing, really).

(26) Video Games

My gamer skills never got far past Atari, as I only play a few Nintendo 64 titles. I really like word puzzles on the Yahoo! Games site, but I am not so sure those count.

Atari titles: Pong and Save Mary; both addicting.

N64 titles: Hydro Thunder and Bass Master 2000 (ethical fishing)

(25) Poetry

I love to write blogs,
so much to say in a day,
won’t you come and play?

(24) Multi-blogging

I am a blogging fool. Seriously. Not only am I blogging here, but I have 2 other blogging projects in addition to my regular blog. Under my profile here at Blogger is a list of 4 of 5 blogs (including this one) yet only cōgitāvī remains active (others are past Blogathons). The one not listed has a series of broken links because I moved the website where all my audio was hosted. I blog at LiveJournal, like some those who I monitor know, yet do not know I have 2 additional blogs, one for Japanese and one for Chinese. I am even currently wearing my Blogathon T-shirt from 2006.

(23) Painting

While I was working on my photography BFA, I was going to double majour in painting. Long story short I did not, but continue to long for the chance to pick up the brush. I have mostly used oils and experimented with watercolours. Quite a few summers ago, I took a summer painting class that was held outside, weather permitting. We also had to paint an interior landscape, shown below.


2004 Still Life

(22) Buddhism

I have had an interest in Buddhism since I learned about Asia in 6th grade (end of the 80’s). Japan being nearly an obsession I started with Zen. I worked my way around Asia and how Buddhism changed with the cultures. I investigated the history all the way back into India. Somewhere in the mix I learned about Tibet and became very interested in Tibetan Buddhism, so much so that I currently am studying Classical Tibetan to one day be able to read and translate Buddhist texts. This coming up semester I am also taking a Tibetan philosophy class from the same visiting professor teaching me the language.

(21) YouTube

Hello, my name is Jess and I am a YouTube addict.

It all started when a friend sent me a video about a skateboarding bulldog. Then I found Death Note airing in Japanese. I created an account to save my favourites and create playlists for my finds. I even started adding pieces from my own video and film projects.

Thank you

(20) Chopsticks

I rarely use Western utensils to eat. I received a pair of chopsticks for X-mas 8 years ago (not that this was the first time I used chopsticks) and have since created a mini collection . When I eat cereal or frozen bean water I will use a spoon, and sometimes when I am cooking I will use something other than chopsticks. Some people think this is odd and some people think it is odd when I use a fork.

(19) Lockport, NY

A place where I spent the longest time growing up, graduated from High School and currently live, Lockport is located roughly 30 miles from both Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York. The name comes from the fact that locks 34 and 35 of the Erie Canal cut through the city. There are boats you can ride that take you through the locks and the captain gives a history of the canal. There is even an old quarry behind my house where stones were cut for part of the old sidewalks.

Lockport Homepage

(18) Family

My family is the most important force in my life. I moved back to NY and in with my parents when they needed help taking care of my brother with autism (among many others). Even though my brother now lives in a group home, because he did not want to live here and there are more people to help him), I have not moved out and really do not plan to, but to continue helping my parents. They were there for me and now I am going to be there for them.

I remember when I was growing up and my Grandparents still lived in Buffalo (NY), their house was actually 2 flats. My Great Grandmother lived downstairs and my Grandparents and an Uncle lived upstairs. When I was 7 I was honoured when I was allowed to carry down my great Grandmother’s breakfast tray and help her to eat it.

(17) Dyslexia

A doctor has not diagnosed me officially, but all the signs are there. Numbers and words tend to be reversed; thank goodness for spell check as at least it will catch the words (handwriting takes concentration). I hate reading aloud because I get nervous then all the words swim on the page and I have to try and read monotone, one word at a time otherwise forget it. If I can focus enough I can get through anything even math, but once I get tired forget it. It is amazing I can code web pages and the like. I think it is because I colour code the tags so I make sure the colours match.

(16) Music

Music keeps my world spinning; it is my own personal gravity (science aside). Like films I have a rather large collection thanks to Columbia House and the former BMG and the ability to cancel subscriptions and re-subscribe (gaining up to 15 CD for $12 each time). I still buy CDs and I have never downloaded an album; I love cover art.

Favourite genre: punk, Canadian music played on 120.1 FM out of Toronto, ON, Canada, “Alternative” Rock

Favourite artists: Against Me!, Tokyo Police Club, OK Go, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (U.S.S), Jimmy Eat World, Pearl Jam

(15) Films

I have a fairly extensive collection of films and TV shows on DVD (an obsession really), ranging just about all genres. I actually watch them little bits at a time, since my computer remembers exactly where I left off. I gave up trying to go to the movie theater and now just wait until a title is on DVD and either rent it from Netflix or buy it (if it is from an awesome director).

Favourite genres: horror, science fiction, anime

Favourite films: Star Wars saga (4-6 still remain the best), Metropolis (1927), Poltergeist (1982)

(14) Gardening

This year I planted the family garden and it is growing! I planted 4 types of tomatoes, radishes, zucchini and the potatoes sprouted on their own. There is even a tomato plant growing in our front yard with the Rose of Sharon we transplanted (they “had” babies and now we have over 50 of them). We also have quite a number of various pine trees we have been raising since they were twigs or as I lovingly call them, “bristles”.

(13) Birds

We put a bird feeder in our yard a few years ago and now we get so many varieties of birds, some staying all winter (which is feels like 8 months of the year, but in the Buffalo, NY area all you have to do is wait 5 minutes and the weather will change). I do not know which bird is my favourite, maybe the American Goldfinches because watching them is so entertaining; some would call it birdie soap operas. The most rare bird (for my yard) to visit was a Cedar Waxwing; saw them once, just long enough to identify. During the winter I participated in a bird count where birders from the area count the various species and send to the Audubon Society.

NOTE: In coming!!! If by chance I miss a few posts it will only be because I lost power. There is a long line of severe thunderstorms on radar and my Grandparents, 9 miles away, lost power during the first round.

(12) Onigiri (おにぎり)

My favourite Japanese food I make on a regular basis. I learned about onigiri and how to make them from Sakamoto sensei during our food day in Japanese culture class.

I should go make nishiki rice! \(^^)/

example of my onigiri:

(11) Audio

This is not that same as music in the sense that this post is about audio creation.

For some of my work I use CC licensed (Creative Commons) audio meaning audio can be manipulated into new audio or used as royalty free tracks with an artist notation; depending on the license. Some audio I have done has been made up of my voice or free CC licensed sound clips (or in combination). I use mostly GarageBand, sometimes Audacity (mainly for class projects) to manipulate sound into either audio stories or soundtracks.

The only example left online is the sound from my animation from the last post. The sound track was created from 5 sound clips and constructed in Audacity.

(10) Flash Animation

Another facet of my work revolves around animation. I am currently using Flash 8 at home, but got a chance to use Flash 9 during my summer class (not really a big difference). I am interested in abstract animation and sometimes still tells a bit of a story. Again I mostly work in black and white with limited use of colour. My animations are either silent or strictly musical – no voice/speaking. I am sure later I will add dialogue as my skills develop.

Most of my animation I took down because I am building a portfolio site at a different host location, but my project from my summer class is still online.

Check out project here.

* note: This project was completed in about 6 hours which includes making the audio.

(09) Indie Film Maker

I love film so much I started making my own films and film clips. I noticed my photography tended to be in series format, so moving pictures seemed a natural evolution. I currently only use digital video, but I will be taking a documentary film class soon which uses 8mm or 16 mm film. I prefer black and white for my film experiments and projects, but I do work in colour as well. Also I prefer silent films, even though there is music.

My first indie film was for a class last year called profundity of illusions (2007) where I filmed, produced, wrote the script and acted (just did not drive for the moving shots):

(08) Vegan

I had been a strict vegetarian since I was 15 (slightly over half my life) and I am also lactose intolerant and cannot eat eggs. Before I went strictly vegan I would eat some cheese and egg white were in some foods, even though it bothered me physically. A few years ago I said enough was enough and went “cold bean” to veganism.

Sure animals are cute, sure I want to preserve the environment, but I myself cannot save the world. These all are great reasons to be vegetarian/vegan, but are not the reasons I maintain this lifestyle. Being human I have the ability to choose, and use this ability to not eat other animals because I know I do not have to. I have had blood tests and all my levels of vitamins and protein are great (except vitamin D, but that is because I am either studying and/or in front of this computer underground).

What does a vegan eat? This vegan eats tofu, beans, noodles, rice, vegetables (but only a few kinds), bean water (soy milk), frozen bean water (soy based ice cream) and the list goes on.

(07) Photography

My passion, my BFA is in Photography. I have been studying and working within photography for about 13 years now, before strictly fine art, now mainly documentary work. I am currently working on Project 365, which is photographing everyday to post in my gallery. One of this photos are also blogged everyday in a LiveJournal community called mylife_onceaday.

I work mainly digitally (Nikon Coolpix 5700), but I love film, 120mm black and white.

Favourite subjects include: flowers, birds, water droplets on an objects, and repeating lines or forms.

(06) Anime (アニメ)

Anime means Japanese cartoons, not to be confused with Western cartoons, which I do watch too.

Big surprise I am also an avid anime watcher and collector. Anything by Hayao MIYAZAKI (宮崎 駿) esp. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ Kaze no tani no Naushika) [1984] or My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ Tonari no Totoro) [1988]. I really love the way he draws his characters and the life he gives them.

Unless unavailable, I watch all anime in Japanese with English subtitles. I watch many series, such as InuYasha
(犬夜叉), on TV so these are all in English and eventually I will go back and re-watch them all in Japanese. I am very behind in watching Bleach (ブリーチ), so I plan to catch up tonight or should I say overnight.

(05) Manga (漫画)

What is manga? Japanese comics, read right to left; however, I currently read the English translations.

I have a mini ring binder where I keep track of all the manga titles I have read or those I want to read and I own at least 1 volume from over 50 titles, yet I read many more. I hate when the publisher flip-flops manga so it reads left to right, as it ruins the whole experience. [I am not a fan of Western comics, i.e. Superman, Batman, et al.]

Favourite genres include: horror, science fiction, and historical (yet I read just about anything)

Favourite titles include: Death Note, Phoenix, Sgt. Frog, Hikaru no Go, and Full Metal Panic!

(04) Japan (日本国)

I have an almost obsession with Asia, esp. Japan. Maybe it started with anime or martial arts films when I was a kid in the early 80’s. I think it was reinforced when my Godparents adopted a baby girl from Korea (I always thought she was Japanese until recently and she is now in her early 20s) and the baby shower was at a Japanese woman’s house – all that authentic food did it! I am finally going to start formal Japanese language lessons from the same professor I had a Japanese culture class from last semester, Sakamoto Sensei.

I really enjoyed learning the history of Japan, and I have always been very interested in its religion. There is something about the level of respect the Japanese have for each other that is most appealing; something the USA, in general, could or should learn.

(03) Cats

I have 2 cats, Rocky and Squeaky who are 6 years old. They are brother and sister and have 2 other siblings, however I only know about their brother Dusty.

Here they are playing with their fabulous Ring Toy:

or watch them:

(02) Language

English is my native language even though it gives me problems sometimes (spelling). I have studied a variety of other languages, but none to fluency. Currently I am studying 3 languages if you do not count computer languages.

Spanish - 3.5 years in High School
Latin - 4 official college semesters, 1 unofficial
Koine Greek - 4 official college semesters, 2.5 unofficial
Mandarin Chinese - 2 official college semesters, 1.5 unofficial [current]
Classical Tibetan - 2 official college semesters [current]
Hebrew - 0.5 unofficial college semester
Japanese - 0 official college semester [current, begins Aug. 25]

(01) Coffee

Black with 3 level tsp. of sugar, in my regular coffee cup.

This is a dangerous situation: I have not yet had any coffee. I rolled out of bed an hour early as it takes me a while to "get with it". I am a night owl by nature, but once that first cup of coffee (probably the equivalent to 2 cups in 1) navigates through my system, it is like the first person on the job who turns all the lights on and gets the machines ready for the day.


25 July 2008

Event Topic

I agonized over what to write about this year. Last year I wrote a 48 line poem making each line into an acronym poem. The year before that I rambled. So this year I thought to have a list of topics to write about, but I did not know what the topics should be. While designing a website for my summer class last month I had to write a bit of a bio, and I dislike doing this because I never know what to write. I do not even like the bio for Blogger, which is the same for every other place online I need a bio. To solve this problem, because the project was going to be due, I thought I will tag myself, i.e. use words to describe myself and my interests.

Brilliant! I should do the same thing but write about the tag I chose. Maybe after this event I can go back over what I wrote and try to put together some form of intelligent bio piece I can add to my not yet created portfolio website. Good deal, since this portfolio needs to be completed and submitted very soon after the semester starts at the end of August, or before.

Self tags it is.
[This is not as egotistical as it may seem; the posts will speak for themselves.]

10 July 2008

Charity for This Year's Event

This year I will be blogging for donations to the
Sera Je Food Fund.

"At present, the food fund provides three meals daily for all 2,600 monks living at Sera Je Monastery. As more monks arrive, the need for nutritious meals increases daily." Source

It matters not what faith or philosophy one adheres to, if any, but helping another Human being have something as simple as a meal is of the utmost importance.

Donations, at the end of the event, can be made at the link to the right titled Make A Donation. If you are planning to make a donation please email your name or a name to be displayed and the total dollar amount to jprintup@gmail.com, so your donation can appear in the Supporters section.

Thank you very much.