Hello World!

…says my new computer.  I’m very excited about it.  I’ve never even had my very own desktop before, and now, thanks to Erik’s help, I got to build one myself.  I got a pink case:

…which I think is awesome.  It has an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor, a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard, 4x1GB Corsair DDR2 800 memory, a GeForce 8500 GT 512MB graphics card, a Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB hard drive (as well as a Transcend 160GB external hard drive), an Antec TruePower 550W power supply, and a Lite-On 22x DVD burner.  All but the burner, hard drives, and case (obviously) are hand-me-downs from Erik.  However, to me this is still a kick-ass setup – much better than the laptop I’ve been using for the last four years.

Building it was a lot of fun; Erik supervised, and helped with a few things.  But I really did much of it myself, and I have the cut to prove it:

The computer runs 64 bit Vista, which I am enjoying.  I finally have a graphics card that can handle gaming!  It’s also nice to have more than the 80G of storage space that my laptop was limited to.  All in all, I am very pleased with my new computer.  Thanks Erik!  🙂

Attitude is everything.

This afternoon on my way out the door, I glanced over at my roommate’s backpack and noticed a button that read, “Attitude is everything.” My first thought was “Jee, that’s corny,” but on the drive to work I started thinking about that button. . .

Attitude. The moment I started thinking about my attitude and how it affects the way I experience things, I resolved to have a positive one. Instead of dreading going work and having to deal with obnoxious patrons, why not try to make the most of it? After all, what if the patrons aren’t really that obnoxious, and I’m just making it worse by coming into the situation with a negative attitude? I immediately felt somehow cheerful, despite the fact that I was walking into work amidst the 100 degree heat.

Instead of feeling resigned to a boring afternoon at the library, I felt so refreshed that I took time to notice the perfect sunflowers growing through the chain-link fence surrounding a nearby construction site, and the mud that swirled and cracked around the bulldozers. I saw the beauty hidden within my everyday experience. It’s there, if I’m willing to take notice. . . I’m thinking I might start a photo diary. I’m always wishing that I would take more pictures; maybe if I always carry my camera, and take pictures of everything that inspires or interests me, I’ll start living in the moment and enjoying it, instead of deeming it boring before I even get there.

Blankets

I just finished reading my first graphic novel today: Blankets by Craig Thompson. My first impression of the book just after I closed it was that it was mediocre. However, I did enjoy the graphic format of the novel. The drawings were well done, and they helped add a depth to the novel that might not have gotten through to the reader otherwise. The graphic novel certainly allowed the writer to experiment with form and tell the story in a completely different way. Frames that featured nothing but snow and trees, or contained nothing at all, captured the lonely feeing of adolescence perfectly. But, no matter how skillfully the artwork was done, it couldn’t make up for the poor dialog and weak plot. Without the drawings, the novel would have never made it through publication.

This leaves me not knowing what to think about the rapidly growing genre of the graphic novel. Part of me feels that instead of using words to paint a picture in the reader’s imagination, these writers are simply drawing comic strips along with their story to make up for the weak writing. On the other hand, if I look at these books from a more artistic perspective, I look at the juxtaposition of the pictures and frames and admire the effect they create for the reader. In the end, I think that a good graphic novel should have it all: an excellent plot, effective dialog, and great artwork. Because the graphic novel is a hybrid, their authors have to impress both art and literary critics. This may leave them at a disadvantage, but as the genre develops and matures, I think it could make for some very interesting works.

Artistic Discovery

Erik gave me an account on his blog, so I thought I’d make my first post about something outside his usual scope – art.

Today at work I came across a new magazine shipment and flipped through the pages of an issue of Art Lies. A piece by an artist called Andrea Zuill caught my eye, so I checked out her site. Her pieces are surreal and darkly humorous; here are a few good ones:

“Scout”

“Fairy”

“Monster”

“Elephant Dancing”

“My Time as a Bear”

And here is a sculpture called “Grunt with Bow”

I enjoyed her work. Her site is www.andreazuill.com.