Categories for Life

New York, New York
January 23rd, 2014

Just a couple of photos from my New York City trip. I didn’t take too many photos outside of all the art museums I visited. Why do we even bother taking photos of the artwork in art museums? I guarantee there’s a better quality version on the internet to look upon. I will also believe you when you tell me that you’ve been there or that you’ve seen that particular painting in person. Yet we can’t help ourselves. It’s like we take ownership of our very own Starry Night. One worth absolutely nothing and not worth looking at ever again. But here it is. I’ve seen it. I’ve got the proof.

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Notice the world of distractions in which we live.

nyc1


Annoyances Inherent in the System
June 20th, 2013

Call me crazy but I’m actually pondering the possibility of restructuring my blog (the one you are reading now).  It utilizes Wordpress frameworks and because of a few constant annoyances, I’m considering switching to a Tumblr framework.  See I have had *UPDATE!* a few problems *UPDATE!* with WordPress *UPDATE!* for some time now *UPDATE!* and it doesn’t *UPDATE!* seem like it’s getting *UPDATE!* any better *UPDATE!* which is too bad because *UPDATE!* I really enjoy the *50 SPAM COMMENTS!* customization capabilities.  It’s almost as annoying as Apple’s App Store. For fuck sake, I wish there was a ‘NEVER UPDATE APPS EVER AGAIN’ button. I don’t need the same application to update three separate times in one day. /RAGE Quit.

This modification would be a long and treacherous journey and if I ever decided to take that first step I would want to also make sure that I have the best domain name available. I’ve owned and utilized about 12 different websites thus far and I’ve never been satisfied with any of them.  I’m still in search for the Holy Grail of domain names.  My fountain of youth.  I’m afraid that I’m just in search of a myth.

In looking for an improved domain name, I came across my e-twins located at Andyz.com, AndyZ.us, and AndyZ.net.  I feel a weird obligatory connection to these guys and I want to help them with their (certainly dark and sinister) pursuits.  My .com brother is a “children’s performer and singer/songwriter who combines music, movement, storytelling and character puppets to create an experience that keeps kids engaged and adults entertained.”  Great, looks like this AndyZ won’t be giving up his domain name/source of income anytime soon.  And lastly I can’t help but feel like an NSA official as I look through my last two e-brothers personal photo albums.

More importantly, I have recently purchased a small server.  So I’ve had all kinds of fun playing around with and setting up different features like media sharing and the ability to host games on a separate pc.  Someday I will just host this website on my dedicated server.  That is if my ISP doesn’t block port 80. So in summary, I need to write more. Where and how should I do this? Perhaps I will know someday.


Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
November 3rd, 2012

The night the effigies got set a blaze was a magical one. Prior to sunset, I made it a point to ride around the CORE circle and visit each art installment individually before they ceased to be. There’s something incredibly amazing about putting your blood sweat and tears into a project only to allow your creation to not exist moments later. Nothing is permanent in the world. One should tap in to the higher realm of creativity. Allow this source to flow through your mind’s eye and through your finger tips. Create, admire, grow but also allow for the crashing waves of time to take away.

My favorite image is the last one in the gallery below. Two complete strangers being unified through this spiritual act of creation and destruction.

Day 1: Pilgrimage
Day 2: The Invisible Circus
Day 3: Solace
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)


Day 2: The Invisible Circus
November 1st, 2012

Invisible Circus. Burning Man 2012.

On day 2, I discovered my heaven. A heaven titled Center Camp. Center Camp was a theme camp at the center of everything, just as the name implies. Center Camp consisted of a large open-air circus tent, located at the 6’o-clock axis. Everyday thousands of spectators filed their way through to catch a glimpse of the current event taking place whether it be an open mic event or a series of bands and comedians. The creativity and self-expression here was brimming over in excess. One day, as I looked on in amazement, as I often did, a circle chant swiftly formed as hundreds chanted on in synchrony. The voice and passion of many reverberated through the entire desert as one.

Acrobatics at Center Camp. Most my time at Burning Man was spent sitting here on a pile of pillows watching entertainer after acrobat after dancer express themselves through their carefully executed and well-practiced performances. Best of all, it was interactive if one so desired. Even I, with no experience or practice could participate in and be taught how to juggle, balance on top of others, dance with fire, live. Everyone was completely willing to invite others in to their world and in to the Invisible Circus. Or if you preferred not to interact, one could just sit back and have a deep conversation with the group of people lying beside you. Center Camp was also the one and only place at Burning Man that sold coffee, among other delicious refreshments. So you could imagine how popular of a place this was. It was heaven’s coffee shop.

Also by day 2, I have gotten use to being dirty all the time. Any attempts to wash the dirt and dust from one’s self only resulted in a dust storm to kick up five minutes later, leaving you immediately caked in Playa love. During this week in the dessert, I do not recall being hot or sweaty even once. I am one that would burn from the sun’s greedy tendrils just by setting foot outside my door back home but during this week at Burning Man, I did not burn. Perhaps thanks to the nice layer of brown suet that covered every inch of my body at all times. I spent all day walking around in an ocean of dust and when night fell, I curled up in a dust pile to sleep where I dreamed of more dust. However, I frequently applied lotion (4-5 times a day) to my entire body so that I would not completely dry up and form yet another wooden statue in the Playa desert.

Lamplighters. The lamplighters were a highly valued organization of people that dedicated their time and energy to walking the main veins of the Playa lighting and placing lamps along the way. These lamps gave others a guide and light source to make their way around. It was wonderful to see the lamplighters start their exodus for this was the sign that the sun was setting, brilliantly illuminating the Playa and giving birth to the events that would unfold during the night. The lamplighters were highly appreciated and as they walked their course illuminating the way, young and old stopped to applaud their efforts and give thanks to these individuals.

The Thunder Dome! Another amazing discovery was that of the Thunder Dome. A highly popular theme camp that consisted of a MAD Max: Beyond Thunder Dome style cage match between spectators. If I were a rich man, I would open a bar that consisted of a Thunder Dome style cage where bar patrons could participate in and watch others fight each other with foam weaponry. This was highly entertaining and strangely conflicting to the mood and atmosphere of the rest of Burning Man yet the crowds went wild as they watched two people slam their bodies into each other with great force while swinging their foam swords and batons wildly at each other. Every day forward, we made it a point to set an ample amount of time aside to experience both the events that unfolded at Center Camp and at The Thunder Dome. What more does one need?

Day 1: Pilgrimage
Day 3: Solace
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)


Day 1: Pilgrimage
October 30th, 2012

Burning Man 2012.

Finally. The week of Burning Man is upon us. “Welcome home” spoken by many. A home I do not understand nor appreciate just yet, for I am a virgin burner. Nonetheless a home I yearn to become a part of.

Other burners can be seen soaring down interstate eighty with their blue painter’s tape in the formation of The Man plastered all over their vehicles. The majority of them already dressed in their Burning Man attire. Or perhaps they are the ones in this world who constantly stand out in a crowd. Forever dressed in their Burning Man garb, never to remove the core principles they have come to embrace which are displayed like badges of honor. I make a consorted effort to stop thinking that these are costumes one would wear in attendance to a Halloween party but rather a way of life.

We decide not to brave the predictably long line that will certainly exist during the first few hours of Burning Man. Gates were to open by 7pm and I was convinced, 40,000 people were all expecting to be among the first few vehicles to enter the premises. Instead we slept off our anticipation in Reno and proceeded towards the pearly orange construction gates the following morning. We later received confirmation how wise of a decision this was from some fellow burners who got to watch the sunrise while sitting in line waiting to gain admittance.

Playa bound. Once getting off I-80, a visible convoy of vehicles started northbound towards certain isolation, towards The Playa and towards The Man. Many were pulled off to the side of the road, some already celebrating and cheering at the line of vehicles all working their way Northward. Like a bunch of fertile salmon fighting their way back upstream to reach their old spawning grounds (sorry had to). Many of these salmon people were being hassled by bears local law enforcement agencies as they sit on the side of the road, their hands cuffed behind their back, all the while teams of officers proceed to search the contents of their over-encumbered RVs. My heart went out to these burners. It seemed everyone was looking to benefit from our proliferation.

Our wait in line was overall, very short. Less than an hour, I would say. We did arrive during the middle of a whiteout, which just enhanced the realization of what we were getting ourselves into. Upon driving through the gate we promptly found a location to set up camp (5:30 and Jasmine). We will later decide that this is too far if one wants to travel to the (central) action on a regular basis yet far enough away to actually receive sleep if one desired it so.

Behold the La Llorona! Once we built our structure that we felt was suitable enough to protect us from the sun, wind, and dust (truly, there is NO protection from the dust). We ventured our way towards The Man. Bike-less and wide eyed. One of my very first sights was that of the most amazing scene of a half sunken pirate ship in the middle of the desert. Thinking about it now, brings tears to my eyes. The craftsmanship that went in to creating this masterpiece was top notch. It was as if they took pieces of wood from an actual sunken ship and reconstructed it here in the middle of nowhere. Even the interior was completely legit with a dash of pirate skeletons and a sprinkling of treasure chests. As you walked up and into this ship, the slant of the boat certainly played a factor in your mobility. The astonishment was shared equally by everyone who set foot on to and into this ship. Later I returned to this site to witness a dub-step party take place, as hundreds of pirates danced about. I still don’t believe half of what I saw during this week of Burning Man and I’m not entirely sure it all really happened.

The Man in all his glory. The Man! I took so many pictures of The Man (or possible The Woman this year considering the theme was fertility 2.0). Everyday I awoke, and started my day out by biking to the Man to just to take it all in, all over again. From there we made our decisions on what we would try to accomplish for the day and what we would make an attempt to see. Inside the gazebo like structure that The Man stood so brilliantly on top of, there was a honeycomb jungle gym (beehive theme). This hive (all slot and tab construction mind you) allowed people to climb up and around on, lay and relax in and meditate upon. I took my turn and climbed to the highest point. This point being where you are closest to The Man. I felt at home.

The sights and sounds one would experience during the day were only amplified at night. I couldn’t take enough pictures as I just drifted around. Everything was so brilliantly illuminated that it was hard to just concentrate on not running in to something or someone else, who was equally distracted.

Giant squid. So beautiful. The art cars that maneuvered around at night added to the amazing spectacle that is Burning Man. One night I was biking towards The Man when I started hearing the ping of a sonar echo. This ping got louder and as I took a look over my left shoulder, a massive submarine floated on by. I stopped my bike to take in the delight of such a sight. After the sub passed me by, I was blown away as a giant squid, with its fluid tentacles gave chase to the submarine. The number of art cars that drove around increased each night, many of which shot enormous balls of fire in to the night sky. Briefly illuminating this strange desert landscape.

These photos don’t give justice to how everything really appeared. Nor do they show the utter chaos that is taking place at all times and for that I apologize. I urge each and every one of you, whom has yet to experience Burning Man to go and make the pilgrimage for yourself. Go see why so many people, including myself, call it home.

Day 2: The Invisible Circus
Day 3: Solace
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)


In The Beginning…
September 27th, 2012

Recently I’ve been really interested in starting a local podcast for the Iowa City area. One that is adult in humor and not your typical student radio broadcast (snore-fest).  I can not attain this goal alone however. I will need to assemble a small group of people all interested in making this vision become a reality.  Also because I have probably one of the worst radio voices anyone has ever heard of, I will need at least two smooth-talking, comedic personalities to be the stars of the show. I plan on just popping in and out of the conversation at random, interjecting my ignorance whenever possible.

I felt that in order to find these necessary contributors, I needed to do some design work first and foremost. I started out with sketching out a few logo designs and whipping the idea up in Illustrator. Because I’m completely unoriginal with naming anything, I settled with IC Cast (short for Iowa City Podcast). Clever I know.

IC Cast Logo Sketches.

Here is what was created.  I am somewhat happy with my first attempt although I can’t say I’m entirely pleased with the “C”. I was considering making it into a backpack but it started to look too busy. Also the color of the IC was chosen at random. I contemplated making it black and gold to fit the Iowa City theme. Any criticisms you may have will be greatly appreciated.

Next I will work on creating some flyers to post around campus and possibly a basic website where people can go to gather some more information if desired.  Hopefully this will produce the necessary individuals I need to go to the next level of production. Email me if you are interested in contributing to the cause!


Silhouettes
April 25th, 2012

For the last few weeks, my fellow classmates have been frantically researching and writing our WAC After 1400 term paper in regards to a work of art specific to them and their interests. They have all been toiling away in the Art Library, hunched over stacks of ancient manuscripts, scouring untold pages, scrawling down fragments of information, all to finish their obligations accurately and on time. But not me! I’ve been working on something completely different. I’ve been wasting my time on silhouettes.

Yes, you read that correctly. Silhouettes. I possess great interest in retracing the advent of Photography as well as the complete history of art in general. The creation of a silhouette portrait will be one of many self-portraits I will aspire to in replicating for myself. Partly out of boredom but mostly due to my own narcissism. (Not all of them will be uploaded here however.)

I took a photo of myself from the side (of course). Transferred it. Uploaded it. Traced it. Layered it. Posted it. Take a look. This is incredibly easy to do if you want one for yourself.

After ‘Googling’ some other people’s silhouette images, I was inspired to print one of these off and frame it. Just like if I were alive in the 1800’s. And damn do I look good. I would have preferred finding a circular/oval picture frame but apparently those don’t exist in Iowa. I also don’t have the coloring right, just yet.

Do you see the (ugly) vase?

Inspired by Jenny Lee Fowler's custom leaf silhouettes (jennyleefowler.com). My leaf was digitally created but her's are actual leaves. Pretty neat. Also note that I used a tomato leaf infected with blight for my portrait. ;)

The best photo of myself yet!

 

 

 

 

Sources
1. Leaf idea: Jenny Lee Fowler
2. Leaf image source: National Science Foundation
3. PS Flannel Patterns: About.com