Geek et Photo

Despite having the ability to do so, I’ve never really had much use for camera raw. This was mostly because the version of Photoshop I purchased did not yet have the Camera Raw plugin, and it was simply too much of a pain in the ass to jump through hoops to modify or use otherwise. This all changed, however: I picked up a copy of Photoshop CS2 the other week, replete with the latest version of the Camera Raw plugin, plus the oh-so-handy DNG converter (DNG is an open standard raw format… DNG stands for Digital Negative). It’s given me the necessary motivation to dig out my camera again.

I’ve been focusing on portraiture the past few days, as it’s something I feel I need to work on. They’ve frankly been more “candid” than “portrait,” but that’s fine; I needed to work on candids as well. It’s also been a nice way to meet new people, though I doubt any of that will go anywhere (not that I’d mind, some of the girls have been really nice, I’m just being realistic is all). If I get responses back giving the okay, I may post some of them (and yes, I am a stickler about this), once I’ve sufficiently meddled (I never really saw much difference in handling raw versus jpeg until I was able to do so natively, damn some of those bells and whistles are neat).

In other news, UPS has decided to decline my damage claims on my monitors. I’ll be calling the claims company tomorrow, and if that doesn’t go well, I’ll be filing a complaint with the BBB. What’s the point of insuring your items if they’re not going to cover it if there’s damage? (For the record, out of 8 boxes, 6 were damaged. One was crushed in half; another was ripped open on two corners, and the others were partially crushed and dented. This is including the factory-packaging 22″ monitor that had large stickers on the outside of the box saying “Fragile”. The only two that were undamaged were the computer boxes, both of which were filled with ultra dense packing materials and covered in company graphics that screamed “HI, I’M A COMPUTER!”) I packed these boxes myself, I was there when they were picked up, and I can say with 100% certainty that these boxes were intact prior to being handled by UPS, and that they no longer were intact when they were received.

Streetlight Glow

Life can be frustrating at times. At the moment, I’m worn out from a long weekend and sitting in Hanover, playing with my new iSight, a largely frivolous geek toy that I purchased at the same time as my Photoshop upgrade and speakers. I don’t really have any need for it for video conferencing, other than for the “new” factor of it. I can pick up software to make it function as a DV camcorder, which I’m strongly thinking about (Boinx iVeZeen), as it would make it at least slightly less of a symbol of geek lust.

On Friday night, I ended up sitting in Hanover until 4am, then crashing at Mariah’s house. In the morning, I met up with JJ and Mike in Hanover, had lunch with Tegan, and then went south to Hampton Beach. I’d neglected to pack shorts, so I hung out on the beach and dug holes, while Mike and JJ went swimming in the surf. After that, we wandered up and down the boardwalk. This was appealing to the eyes, but not so much to the intellect… attempts to strike up conversation weren’t met with disgust, rather simply blank, non-comprehending stares. It made me actually somewhat appreciate the snobbery of Hanover, where you at least have a higher chance at a conversation (assuming you can get them to talk to you). We rolled back into town around 2am, and called it a night.

It’s currently humid as hell, and I’m desperately hoping that the storms forecast actually show up; even if the humidity doesn’t drop, the wind and rain would be great, and even better if they turn out to be truly raucous thunderstorms. I’m sitting on my own, mostly because I’ve not made any effort to contact anyone to hang out (well, not entirely true: I did email Jasmine and let her know I was at Collis, but that is entirely variable on when she’ll actually get it, let alone have the time or desire to swing by). This is fine: sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and be alone. Especially after being around people for so long.

I’ll close with this minor epiphany: it’s extremely easy to be misunderstood when you not sure yourself. Which pretty much sums up my feelings right now, about relationships and emotions and thoughts. It seems like any time I make the effort to be decisive and state what I want, it’s spun around and thrown in limbo. I suppose this is my fault, self-sabotaging myself through who I become interested in, but it does get old being double guessed on my own mental and emotional readiness. As Othello stated, “Judge me as I am, nothing extentuate”. Translation into modern parlance: Don’t assume you know what’s going on in my head. As has been obviated in the past, I’m not exactly “most people.”


I’m currently sitting in front of Collis (becoming a broken record on that one, I suppose), wondering whether or not I want to go spend $250+ on going to a convention in Connecticut. I’ve heard good things about it, and I know several people who are going. Given that likely what I’d be doing instead is more of the same, I’m not sure why I should be hesitating. I suppose I’m just trying to figure out if I really have the gumption to go be surrounded by hundreds of people for three days. Some days I’m fine with the idea, other days… not so much. That many people wears me the fuck out.

I’ve already packed my bags and have left the house, and an idea that has been running around in my head is foregoing the convention and just holing up somewhere instead. We’ll see… I’ll let you know what I ended up doing when the weekend is over.

Faux Intellectualism

We signed contracts yesterday, agreements to sell our house. It’s kind of weird, but hasn’t really impacted me as much as those around me expected it to. I’ve already said my goodbyes to the house, so this simply is what it is: another nail in the coffin of our marriage, but really, the lid was already secured well before now. Instead, I’m just trying to look to the future, what to do with my share of the proceeds from the sale of the house — my current idea involves buying some land in northern Vermont. I’ve found some acreage within my price range, just need to get it perk tested to see if it’s a worthwhile purchase (I’d hate to dump money into a property and then not be able to do anything with it). What I do after that is entirely up in the air. My first priority is to finish my final semester and get my degree. Beyond that, I have some ideas, but nothing I’m willing to commit to. As to why I’m not willing to commit, it’s a lot of reasons, often contradicting each other. As much as I want to move on and “feel” ready to, I still end up catching myself say “my wife Mickey” and realize that I’m probably not. I’m frustrated and tired of being in limbo, but when it comes time to do, my mind fades into bleary dissonance. I guess it all comes down to wanting to believe that I’m functional, and then discovering that I’m still not.

The title of this post is “faux intellectualism,” and there’s a reason. It’s how I feel sometimes, when I sit and write. Sometimes I feel like I’m being an elitist or getting in the way of communication for the sake of a false sense of eloquence. This is something I do out of habit: my own favorite posts are those where I feel like there is a strong voice in the writing, which is sort of antithetical to the notion of literary or intellectual snobbery. It’s something I resort to when I’m tired, feeling tapped, trapped, apathetic, and pathetic. Which is definitely how I feel right now. I’m very frustrated with my life, my attention being stretched in many directions, none of which where I want to. Here’s what I want right now: I want to be myself, at my own pace, working at my own schedule, living at my own schedule, balancing friends and studies. I want to have the option to be around people and the option to NOT. If I’m going to be thrust back into the role of being single, I’d like to actually have the benefits that come with it, you know?

Uri’s been in town for the past 10 days… he flies out bright and early tomorrow morning. It’s been great having him here, even if for unfortunate circumstances. I’m sure he’s looking forward to getting home and sleeping in a real bed — he’s been crashing on an air mattress and sharing a room with me. We’ve spent nearly every evening out in Hanover, talking to people at Collis, which has been fantastic. The general group has been Uri, Mike, Jasmine, and myself, with Eli and JJ both also making regular appearances. This evening, we had quite the passle of people: Adam H, Ann, Eli, Pia, Tegan, Adam P, Matt, JJ, Jasmine, Mike, Uri, and myself… we completely filled two tables in front of Collis, and made use of a power strip Eli has begun bringing with him to power everyone’s laptops. We also tossed around the idea of getting together a laptop lan party out here in August when Uri rolls back into town.

There’s a lot that I need to think about, a lot of feelings to sort out, and many decisions to be made. I’m left wondering when this will happen… I hope soon. I am scattered to the winds, and now it’s time to re-collect myself. I had a conversation with Jasmine this evening about what makes me happy, and the results of that conversation leave me wanting to get back to it.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Just saw Howl’s Moving Castle with Jasmine. It’s the new Miyazaki film, and is fantastic as usual. The premise is pretty simple, a young girl being transformed into an old woman. She then is taken in by a giant magical moving castle, and goes on a journey of self discovery, companionship, and love. Visually, it’s stunning, with interesting interaction and interplay between the characters, and a goofy, elaborate fantasy setting mixing steam power and powerful magic.

Definitely worth seeing. It is warm and uplifting, without beating you over the head with sap. Check it out while it’s still in theaters.

Winter Exposes the Nest, and I’m Gone

We buried my grandparents yesterday. The clouds sat low in the sky and muted the world, leaving just a rustle of wind through the grass in the cemetary. A few words were spoken, and each of us were given the opportunity to place a handful of earth in the grave. There were hugs all around, and then we went down to the church, where services were held. Several family members got up to speak, though I’d chosen not to. At the time, however, I was strongly tempted to. There was a lot of talk about all the community work my grandmother did, and being such an upstanding member of the community, which is absolutely true — she did a lot. My memory of my grandmother, however, is far more simple and personal: climbing into bed in one of the really high beds she had in Lyme, and her coming in with her hair down, and reading to us before we went to sleep. For all the big things she did, that’s the memory that’s been running through my head for the past few days.

After the services, my brother, my cousin Philip, and myself climbed up the bell tower and rang the bell, once for each year of her life (comes out to 30 each plus one or two by the person who let us up there, whose name is currently escaping me). After it all, we went to Dowd’s Country Inn, which is Gammy’s old house, and had a reception and dinner together. It was a good conclusion to the day, and really made it feel more like a celebration of Dick and Mary’s lives than a mourning of their deaths.

After getting home from dinner, I went out to Hanover, and spent some time with my friend Jasmine. I’ve only known her for a week, and I already think she’s absolutely fantastic. She is both forthright and honest, yet compassionate and caring, and simply great to be around, whether for a quick hug or to spend the day with. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with her. I’ll leave it at that, for now.

I’m thinking pretty heavily lately about the lack of deeper thinking I’ve been doing. The notion of spirituality and emotions and mysticism and energy, these things I’ve been touching peripherally but not actually delving into on a personal or deeper level. To some extent, it feels like these topics are knocking on my door, waiting for me to let them in. Maybe it’s time I did.

Accordian Music

I’m sitting in Hanover again, with Uri and Mike this time. Uri flew east yesterday for our grandparents’ funeral, so he’s around for the next ten days. He brought his laptop this time, so we’re both getting some writing done, sitting at Collis. On Uri’s computer, iTunes is playing Below the Salt, a band we saw out in Seattle. It’s interesting stuff, a strange combination of jazz and hillbilly; laid back with a simple groove, a mishmash of upright bass, accordian, and musical saw. Totally worth looking into, assuming you can find it.

I’ve discovered that lately I have a strong aversion to hanging out with groups of people. More than two or three people and I simply lose interest in the situation, and want to go elsewhere. It’s like the more people around, the more I become exponentially more anti-social. I’m just more interested in actual dialogue right now, which is more likely in a one on one situation than it is in a group dynamic. I want to talk to people about what they are passionate about, what they care about, what they think about. I simply can’t bring myself to care about the inane little bullshit like what Buffy was wearing at the Yacht Club last week or how drunk you got last night. If you can’t make it to relate to your enlightenment, why are you talking about it? What does it bring to the table that makes it unique from the thousands of other stories exactly like it? We don’t like “reruns” in our entertainment, why should we have to accept it in our conversation?

Over the weekend, I spent some time with Mariah, leading up to her departure for Option. That was fantastic — she and I talked a lot about what was going on, and just in general had a really great time together. That lead really well into Sunday, when Mike and I were hanging out in Hanover, and randomly started talking to someone walking by. It turns out that her name is Jasmine, and she’s a graduate student at Dartmouth, studying organic electrochemistry. Let me just say that I think she’s awesome. I’m very glad to have met her, and look forward to spending more time with her in the not too distant future. She lives life passionately and genuinely, and it’s a breath of fresh air that I really value.

The house in theory is going on the market today. Mickey has been stressed about it, and I feel kind of bad about not being around to help with preparations, to spread the stress across an extra set of shoulders so to speak, but there is really very little I can do from here beyond lending an ear. I hope she knows that she is welcome to call and vent any time she needs to. I don’t really have anything else I can offer.

Thursday, UPS is finally sending an inspector to check out the monitors that were damaged in the move. For the record, from the date they called to confirm that I needed an on-site inspection (“Someone will call you in the next 24 hours to set up an appointment”), it was fully a week and a half until they called to set up an appointment, which was nearly a full week after that. I am very frustrated with this process, and if they try to dick me around on recompense over my damaged, insured items, I have absolutely no qualms filing a complaint with the BBB. I’m sincerely hoping that it won’t come to that, though.