reileen: (Default)
Today [ profile] lysis_to_kill and I witnessed what looked like a robbery.

We were getting off the northbound Brown Line at Belmont when a guy ran past us, laughing. A girl sprinted after him on the semi-slushy platform, shouting for him to give back to her phone. At first Liz and I didn't really think anything of it; we figured that maybe they were friends who were rough-housing on the platform.

But as we descended the platform staircase, we could hear more and more of the desperation and anger in the girl's voice, and suddenly it occurred to us that we had just witnessed a robbery in the middle of the afternoon on a crowded platform, and that the person may have gotten away with it.

I seriously hope that girl got her phone back and the guy slipped and wiped out on the new tile floors of the station.
reileen: (waaah - Garet and Isaac)
Damn, if it isn't one thing going wrong, it's another.

Last night, as I settled down to work on my ART224 final project due Monday...

1) I realized that the pictures that I took with the digital SLR camera that I thought were .RAWs were actually .JPEGs, resulting in an incredible loss of information and a generally crappy quality that blurred a lot of the details. (Though to be fair, I suspect part of the problem also comes from my own lack of skill with the focus function on the SLR.) Still serviceable, just nowhere near as nice.

2) Which is just as well, since apparently my version of Photoshop CS2 wouldn't open the one .RAW file that I had anyway.

3) I realized that I'd left one of the pictures I needed back in the storage section of my Mac lab computer.


1) I realized that I only had ten sheets of glossy photo paper left. And that I had exactly ten photos to print.

2) And the lab didn't have any glossy paper for me.

3) One of my photos (incidentally, one of the ones that ended up .JPEG) got fucked a bit - the size was off. I have no idea what the issue was - scaling? Printer layout? Whatever the case, I ended up having to chop down the other nine photo prints so that they'd be consistent with that one.

4) Wow, the print quality is even worse than I thought, and I can see some mistakes that I made when I was doing the B&W masking against the original color photo which were nigh invisible while working on the computer!

Blah, doesn't matter. The project's done and I can start worrying about ART260 and HAA237 now.


Today marks the first time that I've ever been able to ride the El from Midway Airport to Fullerton station without having to make a transfer. Usually, this is impossible because of the way the Brown and Orange Lines are routed: they circle around the Loop before returning back to their home stations (north in the case of the Brown Line, and south in the case of the Orange Line). So the only way I can get north from the Orange Line or south from the Brown Line is if I make a transfer at some point in the Loop.

However, today there was some construction going on along the Wells and Van Buren side of the Loop, so any Loop-bound Orange Line trains ~*~magickally transformed~*~ into northbound Brown Line trains at the Roosevelt station. What a glorious, glorious day, being able to ride the train to school without having to worry about transfers! I wish every day were like today. (...minus the school project irritations.)
reileen: (glee - Bomberman)
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Established in 1977 or so, Branko's is a family-owned sandwich stop just off of Fullerton, near DePaul University. It's run by a Macedonian couple who are super-nice and super-courteous. The food is standard American sandwich shop fare, affordably priced, but they make it nice and hot and serve it to you with a smile. It's excellent comfort food, and in fact I'm sitting here typing this entry while eating some fried cheese sticks that I got from there.

I started going there in my sophomore year because I kept on passing by it on my way to the art building. Its proximity made it ideal for me to pop in during a studio class break, get some minor eats, and pop back out to get back to class. Recently, I've begun stopping by the place after classes to get food to-go that I then eat at the school cafeteria while sitting with friends. Mr. and Mrs. Branko both know me by face now and have learned what my usual orders are (either cheese sticks or a regular hot dog with ketchup only and a side of fries, plus Mountain Dew), and so I sometimes get minor discounts for being a regular customer.

All in all, the food is good, but it's the service and comfortable intimacy of the small sandwich shop that makes Branko's a regular stop for me.


I'd wanted to finish up an ART224 project that's due tomorrow before going to ART113 later tonight, but the lab times are from 6-10pm. Which kind of fails considering that I have ART113 from 6-8:40pm. But since ART113 is a studio day today, I may possibly get away with leaving early to do stuff for ART224, since I don't foresee that the main part of my ART113 project is going to take too long. On the other hand, I could just do it during ART260 tomorrow (since I think that's another studio day). Decisions, decisions.

Two book reviews to go up soon. There are also some thinky thoughts that have been swimming around in my head about the consumption of music/film/books vs. the consumption of visual art and what that means for an artist trying to expand her horizons, and about my place as a second-generation Filipino-American and exploring the boundaries of where I'm Filipino and where I'm American, but I need to (attempt to) study for my ART237 midterm on Thursday as well as pull together something more coherent, so those will have to wait until I find more brain cells.

Also, Borders performance on Friday! Old friends may possibly accompany me again so I'm not so alone, though I do have a friend from college who wants a looksee. I think I had a working setlist floating around somewhere but hell if I can find it in my room (which, not surprisingly, is kind of a mess again!).
Gonna start off with the Serious Business stuff this time before I babble about fannish things.

I found this interesting article about Michelle Obama's efforts to reach out to the poor and disenfranchised in the DC area.

I also recently discovered the work of Jay Smooth on YouTube, who posts short vlogs about pop culture and sociopolitical issues. He has a direct style that is not too "in-your-face" and is easy to follow and understand. "Asher Roth and the Racial Crossroads" is an excellent rebuttal to the idea "that racist/homophobic/bigoted jokes were a sign of a progressive population and therefore anyone who called him on his racist, homophobic, sexist, bigoted jokes is against an egalitarian society" (quoted from this comment over at JF's UnfunnyBusiness comm, where I found the video link). There's also a transcript of this particular video here at [ profile] racism_101.

Also by Jay Smooth is "How To Tell People They Sound Racist", which should be required viewing for anyone interested in anti-oppression work of any sort, not just racism. No transcript that I've seen yet, unfortunately, but as I said before, he's easy to follow.

At Racialicious, Ay-leen the Peacemaker analyzes two potential colonial visions of America in steampunk, the "nostalgic" and the "melancholic". [ profile] vyctori, you should probably take a look at this.

It's from that Racialicious linke that I think I stumbled upon Blue Corn Comics, which is a blog focusing on First Nations culture, from history to traditions to modern portrayals and stereotypes, and also branches out into wider implications for anti-racism work and race in America. There's some stuff like Video Games Featuring Indians and Indiana Jones and the Stereotypes of Doom, and then there's also his rebuttal against the notion of "equal opportunity offending".

From that site, I also found "21st-Century Warrior":

In the Sun Dance, I learned what the warrior path was truly about. It had nothing to do with what I had seen in movies, heard in music, or read in books. It wasn't about being destructive, being the toughest person in the neighborhood, or any media-stained image. I realized in my moments of terror, pain, and loneliness that this ceremony wasn't about me but about the people I can serve in my life. The warrior concept is simply taking our own talent and ability and developing it so we can serve and defend others. The warrior's goal was to become an asset to the village they served. The warriors of the past like Pontiac, Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, and Osceola were warriors not only because of their exploits in battle, but because they served their people the best way they knew how and spent their lifetimes becoming assets to their village. Today, your "village" could be your family, community, country, clients, or any other group you serve.

I first stumbled across this piece during RaceFail'09, but it was quoted in one of the Blue Corn Comics pages as well, so I figured now's a good a time as any to point readers here - The Unexamined Propaganda of "Political Correctness".

Underlying every complaint of "PC" is the absurd notion that members of dominant mainstream society have been victimized by an arbitrarily hypersensitive prohibition against linguistic and cultural constructions that are considered historical manifestations of bigotry. It's no coincidence that "PC"-snivelers are for the most part white men who are essentially saying, "Who the hell do these marginalized groups think they are to tell me how I should or shouldn't portray them? I'm not going to say 'mentally challenged' when it's my right to say 'retard', goshdarnit there's only so much abuse I'll take!"*

In this context, the conceit that "political correctness" constitutes a violation of free speech is particularly zany; as though society's marginalized groups wield oppressive power over the dominant mainstream. Actually, as far as I'm concerned you're free to call me "chink" and I'm free to call you "moronic racist loser" (and more if necessary, but I'll leave that aside for now in the interest of false civility). Free speech is the straw man of choice for intellectual bums of all stripes too fragile and vacuous for critical engagement. Calling someone who says or does bigoted things "a bigot" isn't censorious, it's descriptively accurate, like calling a bad movie "a bad movie", even if the bigot didn't intend to come off as bigoted and the movie didn't intend to come off as bad.

Randomly, The Straight Dope discusses Chicago's Anti-Ugliness Ordinance, which thankfully has since been repealed.

So, yeah, I got some serious stuff going on up there in the links. And I didn't even post some of the other ones I found because I need to take time like millennia to think about them. In the meantime, we can take a break and start mixin' us some Avatar: The Last Airbender-themed booze. Drink each of the Four Nations drinks and enter the "Avatar State"! Sporfletini. Relatedly, you can find a recipe for "fire flakes" over at the [ profile] fan_foods community. [ profile] lysis_to_kill, we should get together and make the butterbeer!

[ profile] eyecatching_art had this epic picture of Wolfwood!Hobbes and Vash!Calvin.

Hallelujah, It's Rainin' 300 Men!

Best of the Worst: Twilight Tattoos. Yes, that is as bad as it sounds.

The Angry Asian Man posts about this excellent stop-motion animation piece done by Bang-yao Liu as his senior project at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

File this under "bzuh?": Michael Jackson considered releasing his next album as a video game. H-how was that even going to work? Not that I'm not interested in the results, but the logistics of it are...interesting, to say the least.


*glances over link-o-llection* ...rawr. I swear I need to get back to organizing my bookmarks. I've had stuff tagged over at my Delicious account, but I think when I upgraded Firefox I brokinated the extension I had that let me easily add bookmarks to Delicious, and I never bothered to upgrade. So lately I've just been filing stuff under one huge folder in my Firefox bookmarks. But if I'm going to get anywhere in my informal self-education, I need to actually remember where I've been so that I can better map out where I'm going.

Anyway, I deleted my original MySpace account because something got borked with the layout editing feature and apparently MySpace couldn't fix it. I signed up for a new account, then realized from clicking through MySpace Help that, hey, I should've actually signed up specifically for a musician profile from the start, because MySpace can't convert profiles from one to the other! So I clicked on the link in the help page that was supposed to help you "get started", only to get an error message that MySpace had taken the feature down temporarily for some-reason-or-other and that I'd have to wait for an unspecified period of time before I could use it. LE SIGH. So much for trying to pretty up my profile like [ profile] mia_noire suggested to me. I guess I should just work on my YouTube profile instead.

In the meantime, I'm also going to continue working on a friend's commission and on a piece of original art featuring the two main characters from my NaNoWriMo2008 novel Daemonsong. I'd originally intended it as a quick painting piece, but as soon as I got to Kira's fur I was like pfffffft that is so not going to work. So I'm taking my time on it.

he promises to you, no more tears to cry

*Can also be summarized as: "Oh, God, respecting each other's humanity is such a pain in the ass! Do we really have to do this forever? Can't you all just lighten up so that I don't have to respect you any more? Isn't the whole point of coming together as one that I don't have to care what you think?" (Thank you, Jay Smooth.)
reileen: (Default)
Have been sick with flu-like symptoms over the past few days. No idea if it's swine flu. Am annoyed that I cannot be productive, but otherwise am not dying. I think. Been staying home the past two days anyway.

In the meantime, DePaul has had its first confirmed case of swine flu.


I also got a Dreamwidth account, though hell if I know what I'll use it for. I'm not really active in many communities yet on this account, and I really only got a DW because a lot of people I followed here ended up moving their primary posting platform to DW. Feel free to add me or not.


Quick notes on stuff that I've listened to recently.

Dragonforce, Inhuman Rampage: Wow, it's amazing how every song on this album sounds exactly the same! I mean, yeah, okay, I happen to really love "Through the Fire and Flames", which is the first song on the album, but I don't want 7+ iterations of it on the same album, okay? Maybe it'll grow on me after a few more listens, but the crazy guitar riffs, as awesome as they are, get tiring when you listen to them one right after the other.

Pentaphobe, A Tribal Metamorphosis: Nice atmospheric music, if you need something dark and primal.

Yael Naim, Yael Naim: A nice low-key serving of quirky folk/acoustic, with a wide sampling of musical tastes. It hasn't settled with me, but maybe one of y'all might like her?

Tori Amos, Abnormally Attracted to Sin: Reminiscent of To Venus and Back with its electronica elements and darker sounds. I actually prefer this kind of sound for her. My main gripe with this album is that it's too long - listening to it is like dealing with an overflow of tomato sauce in a cheese pizza. I haven't decided yet which songs she should've cut, though. My favorite so far is "Give", which is the first song on the album; will be giving this a few more spins once I'm actually conscious enough to pay attention.

the sound of evil laughter falls around the night
reileen: (reading - books)
In some ways I really don't feel like writing anymore. The ease with which writing used to come to me is stilted now, the flow dammed by piles of insecurities, of weaknesses, of other sorts of dark, messy things that one usually finds in a sewer or in three-week-old boursin cheese. It will come again, in time, I suppose. But words are not my strength at this moment. I'm not sure what is.

Nevertheless, I keep trying here in my nigh-invisible corner of the internet, because I feel as though it will be important somehow, someday. I don't expect to do anything world-changing, as much as it would be nice; I merely want the confidence that I can express what I want to express. And writing things down makes them real, in a way. (Which is why I stopped doing a lot of reflective journaling during the darker phases of my life a year or so ago, I think.) It forces me to make clear the haze that clouds my vision, so that I can move forward with more certainty of where I am going next.

I headed out to the Art Institute today to pick out my topic for an HAA115 research paper. The paper's not due 'til May 8, but we need to have our topic chosen by Monday. It wasn't that hard - I'd been through the Asian Art galleries of the Art Institute before with a fellow classmate in ART200, so I had an idea of what to find there. I quickly settled on a piece that had caught my eye previously: a statue of the Japanese Buddhist deity Shukongo-jin, who I would conjecture is a record of the earliest known instance of a hairerection in Japan. (Close-up here.) Seriously, though, check out the physique, too - this guy is like a proto-Dragonball Z character, and more terrifyingly badass than one.

Since it didn't take me long to choose my paper topic and get the required information, I decided to wander around the Art Institute a bit and get the most out of my $7.00 admission. I explored the Yousuf Karsh: Regarding Heroes exhibit, and was pleasantly surprised by it. Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian portrait photographer with a long, esteemed career, spanning over 60 years and many famous subjects, including Pablo Picasso, Indira Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Audrey Hepburn, and Winston Churchill. I was very impressed with how the lighting rendered the various details in the portraits, especially the facial details. The posing and settings were impeccable, as well - they full capture a sense of the power of the subject's personality. Whether the power and the personality depicted are actually true to the subject is, of course, up for debate, but seeing as Karsh was an optimist, it may be better to temporarily put aside those misgivings and to simply enjoy the portraits for their craftsmanship. Portraits, either photographic or rendered by hand, are harder to do well than one might think; I wonder if it's the case that one should be genuinely interested in people to be a good portrait artist.

I also stopped by the Thorne Miniature Rooms, featuring a collection of intricately constructed miniature models of various European and American interiors from the late 13th century up until the 1930s. Pure eye candy, I tell you. I could've spent the entire day in there, if it weren't for the fact that I was starving and the tiny viewing area smelled like humid people and...'twas not very pleasant. I want to get my hands on the Art Institute book about these rooms, though - they're simply amazing. There was something like this at The House on the Rock when I visited it a long while back, too, which was equally enthralling for me. I appreciate it primarily for the scenery porn (the upholstery! the floor plans! the different furniture styles! the stuff and thingies on the walls!), but I think it's also valuable as a historical record, as well.

Tangentially related, but just outside the Art Institute, there was this group of...I don't even know what they were, so I'm just calling them the urban taiko drummers, 'cause that's what their performance reminded me of:

I wonder if I should eventually invest in a membership to the Art Institute. That would depend entirely, of course, on how long I end up staying in Chicago. And it's hard enough for me to get my ass up and out of the house; me and [ profile] lysis_to_kill keep on making plans to visit the Field Museum or the other hotspots on the museum campus, but then we get distracted by shiny things on the Internet. Or cheeses at Baker's Square. Le sigh.


I finished reading Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara today. I liked the book well enough, but am not sure if I'm intrigued enough to keep reading. If I get some free time and can get the books from a library, maybe I will (I bought Cast in Shadow when I ordered my spring quarter books off Amazon). I do like the five different races featured in the world of the book, and the characters are well-portrayed. Unfortunately, there were frequently times where I'd be reading along, and then I'd have to double back and re-read, because I had stumbled across something that made no sense to me, and I'd be like, "What? How did that logically follow from the thing prior to it?" I can't tell if this is an actual flaw with the writing style of the book or if it's just my poor reading habits, though. And while I like the main character, Kaylin, decently enough, it's more of a "well, I don't hate her and she hasn't shown any irredeemable traits for me" kind of like.

Also, the book cover is kind of fugly. (Bitches, I am an art & design major in addition to being a bookworm, I have every right to whine about ugly book covers! Not that a fugly cover has any bearing on the quality of a book; it's just something I like pointing out.)

all you people look at me like I'm a little girl
reileen: (angry - Shinpachi)
Sears Tower to be renamed Willis Tower:

Sears Tower is no more.

The 110-story Chicago giant, the nation's tallest building, will be renamed Willis Tower under a leasing deal. The New York-based owners signed a lease with Willis Group Holdings, a London-based insurance broker, for 140,000 square feet.

Willis said it will consolidate five Chicago-area offices and move 500 employees into the tower. The company said it is paying $14.50 per square foot in rent and that the naming rights come with no additional cost.


It's the fucking Sears Tower, d00ds! YOU DON' MESS WIT DAT, GET WHAT'M SAYIN'?????

I never wanted to be one of you anyway


reileen: (Default)
Reileen van Kaile

April 2010



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