Trip to NYC: Day 5

Due to lack of internet in some places and lack of energy on my part in most others, I haven’t been online long enough to update anybody on my adventures in NYC except for the occasional Facebook status update. I’ve been keeping track of the important events in a sketchbook, using stupid little sketches and phrases to mark the events as I go along. When I return home, I’ll scan these pages. Unfortunately following my trip to California, my camera lacks a battery charger, so no photos from me this time around. But you know me, I love lists. So here, have a list!

NYC Days 1-5 (in no real order):

-NYC is hot, averaging 90’F with 90% humidity each day

-Minor league baseball is somewhat dull, they have to do a lot to make people excited about it

-I ate peanuts at the park, complete with leaving the shells under the seat in front of me

-I bought a knock-0ff Tokidoki bag from a random street vendor in SOHO

“There are so many hot Asian guys here; it’s like the closest I can get without walking down the streets of Shibuya!”

– Is 16 blocks a mile? Oh, how many miles I’ve walked.

-I’ve only had Dr. Pepper once since we arrived here. This here is a Pepsi-Cola town.

-Cash-Only, cash-only, cash-only…or minimum $15 credit card charge

-Taxis don’t care if you’re jumping up and down, unless you’re IN the street you won’t be seen

“I can’t tell if some of the people here are crazy or just really friendly”

-There’s a Chinese take-out place called “U LIKE”, underneath the Chinese characters read “take out” and nothing else.

-I got to eat chocolate (and buy buttons) from the Chocolate Bar. They are located in NYC, Dubai and Qatar- no where else on earth. The chocolate was interesting, but nothing special. The button says “Wear More Chocolate”.

– #26 in the ball game did nothing but practice pitching for every at-bat. He’s my hero.

-I had the best french toast ever, with real Vermont syrup. I tried to sketch it and it looked like a bleeding sponge. The bread was light, fluffy and porous.

-The “Think Coffee” coffee shop cups said “made from plants, not plastic”

“If it’s made from plants and not plastic, why isn’t it green?”

– UNIQLO is a Japanese fashion store with only one store in the US. It’s really cool.

-I’m pretty sure UNICLO [yoo-nee-clo-wuh]  is supposed to be “unique clothing”

-Apparently in Japanese sizes I don’t have a 29″ waist? Why can’t things fit as easily as just “S”?

-I don’t think half the fire escapes on these apartments could support an actual human being

-I had Fish n’ chips that was made with something other than Cod.

-Cafe Bari has the best sweet peanut sauce I have ever tasted. Chicken Satay win.

“NYC seems to be the only place it’s OK to be foreign and not have to act like you fit in. Ironic, since it’s the most iconic “all-American” city in America.

-Average stuff here costs more than Indiana, but about the same as California.

-SUV Taxis may be terrible for the environment, but they sure are wonderful for my sore feet.

-The Metro may be great for the environment, but it sure is a terrible experience to go through.

-They recycle here, Yay!

-After all that walking, I got a blister on my finger. The index finger of my left (non-dominant) hand. I will never figure out how or why. It’s just there, being annoying.

-Did I mention it’s hot? Too hot to stay inside the apartment we’re staying in. Yay for stores, cafes and other places with A/C.

more later…

It’s not Indecision, it’s just really slow Inspiration…

It’s not even that. It’s really just the fact that the more I learn the more that I like or dislike things. You can’t understand everything fully at once, you have to try it out first. Well I’ve been “trying out” Integrated Media for a year now and I have decided that it’s just not for me. I still like web design and I’m still fascinated by a snazzy interface, but I’m just not inspired to create these things the way I’m inspired to do other things, like create characters and worlds. I just can’t find myself sitting and thinking “you know, if I could make a drop down menu that did this that and the other whatsit, it could be revolutionary”…no, not so much. But I can still pause for a moment and think “if I introduced a character like this into today’s gaming world it could change the way that we stereotype characters forever” or “if I could just bring Reality.Hacked to life, I think people would really enjoy it”. Those are the types of things that I want to share with people; that is how I am inspired.

Why is being inspired so important? Was the creator of the gMail interface inspired to create it? Hell yes. Creativity doesn’t just happen and even if you aren’t aware of it everything that inspires you contributes to your overall creation. This is something that over the last 15 years (probably even before then, but I can’t really tell you for sure) I have discovered over and over again to be true. So why did I try to push that known-truth aside and try to force myself to create without inspiration anyway? The answer to that, my friends, is a mixture of lack of self-confidence and fear of being unable to make money after graduation. I love to create characters and I love to write stories (I used to love to draw them too) but the more my passion leant toward “career” the more and more afraid I got that I was “not going to be good enough” to compete with my classmates in college. I mean, it is COLLEGE afterall- a really big deal, right? Apparently not so much. Everyone I’ve spoken to says “oh yes, I learned this, this and that other whatsit in college, but the REAL challenges came with my first job/internship”. So all I can do is practice, practice, practice and prepare, prepare, prepare. From what I’ve heard, that’s pretty much what school is about. Go figure.

The Paintbrush versus the Toolbar

This will be a short little ramble on how I feel about the separation of Art and Technology within my own major and the world in general. From this short piece of prose I hope to get some inspiration on two things:  One, the topic for my History and Theory of Digital Media paper;  Two, the themes I want to include in my next big composition “ART =/= TECH“.

To begin with, the first thing that always comes to mind when I discuss art and technology is the difference between digital art and what is now referred to as “traditional” art. Traditional art meaning that the medium chosen by the artist is something tangible and not digital and digital art meaning any form of art where a computer aided in the process. I have gotten into a bad habit of saying specifically that I am a Digital Designer, when in fact I do my designs in all sorts of media from pen and ink to Photoshop and Illustrator. That’s not to say that a large amount of my production time is not spent on the digital “side” of things, but it does mean that I don’t do everything on that “side”. I usually do most if not all of my planning and sketching on regular paper with a regular pencil or pen. I also do quite a lot of my writing on paper, even though I can type much more quickly and efficiently than I can write. The reason for this most likely lies in my own personal comfort zones.

Even though I have been using Photoshop for almost a decade now, I still feel the most comfortable with a pencil in my hand and a paper on the table than I could ever feel with a tablet pen and a screen. I love the effects of digital production and the fact that the limitations are almost entirely based in your own artistic limitations and not the limitations of the media itself. Still, for me this seems like a second step not a first step, in the process. “Traditional” media flows much more freely and quickly than digital media, without a doubt; so when those first little bits of inspiration shoot through my head I am always in a rush to get them down as quickly and clearly as possible. It’s usually a messy tangle of scribbles and mistakes, but that’s all it takes for that initial idea to come to life. I’m sure many artists feel the same way- at least, I assume that they do. Because we all started out with crayons on construction paper- nothing fancy- where you go from there depends completely on your interests and passions. I grew to love digital art from the first time I used M.S.Paint. Some people could never imagine completing a whole illustration on a computer screen.

There is another comfort-zone factor that I think exists within this debate between digital and “traditional” art and that is the tangibility, or lack-thereof. I can think of at least three friends who would never trust three or four hours worth of work on a piece to their computer’s hard drive. Being in complete control of where your work is at all times is definitely a comfort issue. If you’re more of a techie like me, then you may have some trouble getting through your head that someone would not trust their own computer to save information for them; especially since that is technically what is was designed to do in the first place. But there are some people who would rather risk carrying around their work in a plastic sleeve than ever save it to a hard drive and leave it there. Maybe it’s the idea that what you are creating on a computer screen is not really there, but just a representation of what could be there. What you are really creating when you open a new document in Photoshop and start slapping down paint strokes is a series of zeroes and ones that just happened to be arranged and aligned in such a way that they display exactly what you want on the screen. From you- the Photoshopper’s- point of view, you’re just creating the way anyone would. Step by step, working with different materials and producing different effects, but what’s there isn’t really there. It’s never really there until you make a physical copy of it, at which point it becomes tangible and therefore we once again gain total control over it’s existence. (This is probably why some professors feel more comfortable asking for “hard copies” of work than requesting it only sent through the OnCourse sharing site.)

I feel like I should be saying something far more enlightening, but this is all I have to work with for now. I think, as far as rambles go, this one is a pretty good start. I’ll need to do more in-depth research to gain more knowledge and opinions on these things though. For now, the ramble is a ramble.

Myrskyä

Myrskyä is a storm…

Myrskyä, my new Toshiba A505 Satellite laptop is a lovely, sleek, shiny black machine with small, lightly stenciled designs of lines running across the front and back of the machine. Despite it’s smart and clean exterior though, it’s a whirlwind of power. Running 64 bit Windows 7 it roars through all applications like they were nothing. Even Adobe can’t outclass Myrsky’s phenominal power. This laptop is easily the best machine I have ever purchased. It deserves something truely great to represent it. I decided to go with a personalized laptop skin from SkinIt.com, which I recieved giftcards for as a gift several years back, and never felt that (the late) AcerDemon really deserved.

SkinIt.com laptop skin teal and light green

SkinIt's Teal and Light green skin

SkinIt.com has many, many laptop skins for you to choose from, limited only by the make, model and size of your laptop. Even with those limitations, there are still hundreds of choices and dozens of themes to pick from. I saw many that I really liked, but I did not feel really matched the personality of Myrskyä. There was one in particular that I really loved, that is shown at the left there.  <—

This one here is a beautiful symphony of shapes and colors that I really love. The rich, deep teals and the nice, light greens are fantastic and match my own theme colors of the year. Also, the flowing, cloudy patterns are exactly the sort of abstract feel I want to portray the “storm” theme for Myrskyä. However, I feel that the design itself is a bit too generic in style. Also, I’m not a huge fan of the gilt-esque appearance of the golden and green outlines on the light green flourishes. It looks almost too “hotel carpet-y” for my tastes. Perhaps too elegant a design where I really want something that portrays both elegance and power.

Still, there is something about the feeling behind the movement and shapes here that I really like and I find really inspiring. I’m not sure where exactly I’m going to take it, but my own design will definitely be remeniscent of this one, if not completely inspired by it. The colors and composition especially.

Though, I would really love the colors to be brighter and more saturated; that would really suit my personality better, plus it will stand out much more than this design. I don’t want to get TOO specific with the colors, because goodness knows what their printer will spit out, but a similar color scheme is the plan. Teal, chartreuse, spring green, some light aqua and probably even some rich blues. Maybe even some orange-y yellows for contrast. I’ll just have to see what looks best in the final design.

About the über-mouse

Logitech's M305 wireless mouse

Logitech M305- blue w/dragon

Another important thing for me is for the skin’s design to have at least accent colors taken from my absolutely über-fantastiche mouse, from Logitech. It’s not just über-fantastiche because it’s in my favorite color, or because it has dragons on it, no-no; it’s really fantastiche because it’s a wireless, takes just one AA battery, senses motion and turns off when it’s not being used, has a very small USB nano-reciever that I can leave in the computer without fear of knocking it out every time I move it around (any USB port in a Storm…), AND has a small spot just for the reciever inside the mouse’s casing itself, right next to the battery. Oh yes, this was a pricey mouse, running around $35, but it is SO worth it. I’ve even taken it other places and used it on PCS and Macs in the labs as well as friend’s Macbooks and laptops. It even works with Ubuntu. Just awesome. It’s also pretty small, I can slip it in my jacket pocket to take it across the room and the scroll wheel is practically silent compared to some mice I’ve seen.

And did I mention it comes in my favorite color? It probably comes in yours too, with or without designs. When I see something in aqua or teal, odds are I’ll pick it up right away just because it’s my favorite color. This time I’m really glad I did! By the way, for no particular reason I named it “Mushroom” or “‘Shroom” for short. It may have been because of the shape or size. Whatever the reason, it’s an odd nickname, I feel like I should be something that fits the storm theme better. It needs to sound cute though, because my little über-mouse is just adorable. ❤

By the way, this counts on The Big List as item #1.

But, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions…

I hereby declare that I do not resolve, but might otherwise attempt to achieve in the next 360 days:

  1. Lære mere Dansk!
  2. Be more honest with my opinions of people
  3. Keep up with washing the dishes
  4. Do my laundry BEFORE I run out of clothes
  5. Wear more green.
  6. Find a proper illustrator for Reality. Hacked
  7. Take shorter showers
  8. Work hard in all my classes
  9. Surround myself with cute and happy
  10. Eat more food! Gain 5 lbs!!
  11. Blog at least weekly if not bi-weekly
  12. Do something exciting/profitable with Cubecats
  13. Dis poor font choices less often (ext. Papyrus, Comic Sans)
  14. Make a portfolio website!
  15. Don’t let my lack of phone/car prevent me from socializing
  16. Take the REDLINE more!
  17. WALK more!
  18. Take more photos of things.
  19. Look into studying marketing/merchandising
  20. Learn to love Macs (ugh)

I want, I want, I want…

I want an iTouch. Yes, me the hater of all things Apple and Macintosh, wants an iTouch. Why? Because I hate using my phone, which I can no longer send even a normal text message with, let alone access my IM or email.

“Why an iTouch? I thought you wanted an Android Smartphone?”
-I do, I do. But right now I don’t have a regular calling plan nor the money to switch to one on a company that isn’t AT&T. I still go under my parent’s phone account for my phone service (which is pay-as-you-go right now).

Why else? Well, it’s just such an awesome little thing. I can customize it to my heart’s content, play games, listen to music (I was planning on buying a new iPod to replace my screen-less shuffle anyway), use the internet~ and there are so many more free apps than there used to be.

To add to that, I’m really bad at purchasing electronics. I always buy “the wrong one” (case in point: Burikuu -that is “brick” – my Palm Centro) and I always over-pay (see previous). But I know that this is a good purchase because everyone has one. All of my friends, teachers at school, even the UITS tech support people have them! If it works for them, why not me?

Post-Christmas, Pre-New Years

It is now after Christmas and all pre and post holiday shopping is complete. All the great deals following the Christmas rush have been snatched up and I got some really cute stuff from Target, including a Target-exclusive, limited edition Kit the Cat from the Skelanimals series. I love the Skelanimals, who are a perfect mix of creepy-macabre and ADORABLE. I used to be frightened of skeletons as a child, so it’s surprised me that I found them so irresistibly cute. My Kit the Cat has angel wings and a little crooked halo. I will post a picture later. Posted!

Kit from the Target Skelanimals collection as an angel for holiday 09

Now, cute things aside (but not pushed aside, because pushing cute things is mean!) I still haven’t put much effort into designing my portfolio site yet. I still need to do sketches and some research. I’m pretty sure I am going to use the Gallerific technique that we used in my N341 class, since it is a fairly simple jquery plugin (that even I can utlize, ha-ha). I still plan to go with a mostly minimalistic approach, but I do want it to be a bit flashy to impress possible employers, of course. The ideas are coming slooooowly…

Also, new cubecats to come! More later on that~

Winter Holiday Plans

As usual, after arriving at my parent’s home for Winter Break, I am left with little to do but chat with friends online, watch TV, read, eat home-cooking, play with cats and sleep. A nice, contented existence compared to the hectic life of finals, but perhaps a bit too mundane for me. Some Christmas shopping here and there, a plan for this and that party, a little designing~ this has been my day. Since my family is rather short of funds this year, we are spending more time at home with the cats. Lovely little kitties. :3

It was a main plan of mine to design and put up my portfolio site during the holidays. I have done little planning into it, but I know I want it to be minimalistic, lots of white space- but still colorful, and definitely themed with cubes (not cubecats, per se, but cubes since I love them).

While creating my portfolio site, I will also be planning a matching redesign for this blog as well as an iGoogle theme (because I keep getting bored of the ones they offer) and wallpapers, icons, etc- for my own use. I really want to bring it all together with one theme that says “Krystal Weber”.

A pixelart of a tofu-cubecat

<[ Krystal Weber!]

“Bloggage”

It’s the blog equivilant of “snackage”. I’m not sure exactly what it means, but I like the sound of it.

OK, well I feel somewhat guilty for not having blogged about anything since my last post of whiney introspection. Honestly, I’m doing better by way of health and such. I drink nutritional drinks everyday full of protein, vitamins and something that makes it sort of taste of chocolate. They are expensive, but keep me alive and alert. I also finally got my new glasses! They are 50% weaker- meaning I see 50% clearer than I did with my old glasses, which were too strong. I’m near-sighted and far-sighted, so I will be getting a second pair of glasses just for reading made out of my old frames. My new frames are super-snazzy though. I feel more creative just wearing them. They look like creative-person glasses. Whoo.

So, as for artsy-things, not much progress as far as inspiration. I made a painterly-esque CG portrait of Neo-Nana, a personification of my desktop PC, who I originally designed as a vector doll to practice my skills. I have yet to design her clothing, which will be a mix of Sweet Lolita Fashion and Cyber Punk. Lots of black, lots of lace, and LOTS of cute. It should be fun~ I haven’t designed such an in-depth character in a while. She also has three little sidekicks (her mice, since my computer has 3) but I haven’t made official designs for them as-of-yet.

Also, this year instead of making a usual wishlist or telling people to get me whatever, I threw together a quick Holiday page on my Google sites page that lists my favorite colors and things that I wouldn’t mind owning. I also included on the page a link to my Amazon wishlist, for people who prefer just working from that.

As for myself, this season I am making CUBECATS! Yes, Cubecats, my own little adorable creation. Cubecats are about 1″x1″ in size, white or blue (depending on whether they are tofu cubes or ice cubes) and have little ears and tails. I am making a large number of them out of white felt and a few larger ones out of off-white fleece. I’m not a great seamstress and I make a lot of time-consuming mistakes, but I still love working on them. And I hope people will like receiving them. For my far-away friends, I’ll be designing papercraft versions that resemble this one except there will be different versions and sizes. (And maybe some extras…hmmmn),