Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parade of the Grotesque

After this week's onslaught of class assignments I finally burned out yesterday afternoon. Once "burn-out" occurs, an automated system kicks in and sends me staggering back to the couch where I zone out to the background chatter of DVD's we watched two days hence.

At some point in the evening I switch back to life and find that I am standing in the grocery store beside Esther. I'm holding a box of pop tarts in my hand, wondering how on earth I got there.

We pass the beer aisle and she recommends I pick up a six-pack for myself. I respond by saying I will pass on the beer because I haven't really done anything this week to warrant treating myself. She nods her understanding and pushes the cart away down the next aisle.

I start to walk away, but change my mind and grab a 12-pack. It's been a long week after all.

I sleep poorly that night, waking up every hour with the notion that I should go into the living room and work on my Spanish homework. Finally, I get up at 6 and get to work on it.

She baked some cookies for me last night, and that little happiness helps me focus on my homework. I finish my assignment, shower, shave, and get to class early for once. Class is bearable. I actually understand what's going on in there, and I am neither annoyed, self-conscious, nor awkward.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rainy, Cold Summer

It's only the third day of my new Spanish class and I already feel like I'm treading water to no avail. Apparently, my teacher is going be taking up homework every single day in there. I took a break to focus on math yesterday, which came back to bite me this morning when 'la maestro de espanol' told us to turn in 'la tarrea'. (homework)

I've got to find some way to strike a balance between these classes, otherwise I will lose.

We turned in our official 30 days notice to the property management office last night. So it's finally happening again: time to move on. Esther lovingly patted the side of the house once we got home and pointed out that it's amazing we were able to live there for the past two years considering my being laid-off and unable to find a job.

It's the first home where I've been truly comfortable in Columbus. Safe, quiet, convenient, roomy: everything I've ever needed--even a detail as mundane as the basement, where I've come to find myself busting out some new project that requires I make a total mess (a daily occurrence as of late)-- so many cool and useful attributes all in one place of habitation.

Simply an amazing place to live, this casa. I will remember it with fondness.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Out of the Heat

After a weekend of mental healing, I've gone and thrown myself back into the path of the academic machine. I got an A in my Spanish class, so thanks to everyone who's been supporting me and putting up with my perpetual bad moods these past weeks. Love you guys. Parents, friends, family-- you all rock.

And right back into the grind I go: Spanish 103 looks to be particularly ruthless. First impression is that our instructor is going to be pretty rough. I'm hoping that my first impression of her is wrong, though I doubt it.

Sandro, my instructor for Spanish 102 this summer was nothing short of amazing. He was brimming over with the kind of perpetual enthusiasm for teaching that I rarely, if ever, see in college classes. He's headed for Germany to do research for his doctorate the rest of the summer. Safe travels, mi amigo.

Have I talked about my wife lately? This weekend she spoiled me very well, possibly as a reward for kicking butt in my classes. Thanks for the iced coffee and midnight milkshake (or was it a malt?). We teamed up for a good portion of the weekend to assure that the couch did not float away, and had an overall swell time.

We also wrapped up our four-month volunteering project this weekend for our church. Kidsquest was great fun. I'll probably miss teaching those kids to memorize their Bible verses, but for the time being I am just excited about having Saturday nights free again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Test Day + Rain - Sleep = Excitement

Only have time for a quick post this morning. The planets aligned unexpectedly this week, earning me a midterm and a final exam on the same day. Woke up at 3:45 this morning to find Esther had fallen asleep on the couch while watching a movie. I shooed her off to bed and decided that since I was up I might as well get some studying done. I never really got a chance to go back to sleep, as it seemed uneconomical to close my eyes and risk falling asleep (and missing that first exam en espanol).

After 2:30 this afternoon I will be finished with school stuff for a couple of days-- and happy to come home and relax for a bit.


Finished my Spanish final, which went surprisingly well. The teacher was also nice enough to return my water bottle to me, which I had apparently abandoned there after class yesterday. I forget that bottle in a lot of places, mainly because it's painted in green camouflage patterns.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Swim Days

I am debating whether or not to take my daily swim today. The pool averages about 84.5 degrees this summer, which is agreeable, but I am so tired I think I'd rather sleep.

Despite all my swimming-talk I have a confession. And it is that I have always sucked at front-crawl swimming. Also known as freestyle swimming, this form of aquatic locomotion is graceful and powerful to behold. Unless you are watching me swim, in which case you will be treated to a spectacle more closely described as artful drowning.

Typically I cruise along at a respectable 1 knots-per-hour with the breast stroke, which I have secretly renamed "froggy style." But even so, I have still desired to plow through the wet like the other free-stylers: those quick and graceful swimmers who look more like they're being pulled along on a conveyor belt because they move with so little effort.

So I've been practicing freestyle one agonizing lap at a time and ever so slowly I am coming closer to the prize.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Falling Faces

I feel like I'm being buried alive by this Spanish class. It's swallowed up my life. On the weekends I am studying for Spanish exams. During the weekdays, I am also still studying for Spanish. It goes on and on.

Thinking about different modes of making artwork today. I reason that this blog has, in some minimal capacity, been a useful outlet for when I need to fulfill the 'create and display' directive that has been programmed into my mind.

Recent developments have required me to run a self-analysis. Questions I have: Will I actually exhibit work again? Do I want to? What does it accomplish for me? For others?

Have I lost my artist identity? Have I lost my ambition and persistence? Why does it seem like I was more productive as an artist when my life was miserable?

Note a line from an episode of Spaced where Brian has lost his ability to paint: "Contentment is the enemy of invention." But is this true? Am I afraid of failure?

While I puzzle out the greater mysteries, see what happens when you animate a painting. (hopefully it works): click

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Art Folk of Columbus

In an e-mail I was writing today, I felt that I was able to summarize my feelings about the art culture in our fair city in a couple of sentences. Seems pretty spot-on to me. We have the Agora events bi-annually, and while said exhibition serves to get all the artist cliques together in once place, they all end up staring at each other across the empty dance floor.

Which is a metaphor of course, I'm not sure I've seen real dancing at Agora. Though some definitive head-bobbing occurs in and around the areas where the live bands play.

To be fair though, I've been systematically skipping Agora when it rolls around in the spring, only participating in the fall event. For all I know, springtime could be the real Agora. The place where the junctionview artists talk to people other than their friends and parents, and everyone stops worrying about looking cool and relevent.

Gah, now I've reminded myself of why I despise my own kind.

*crawls under the porch*

Monday, July 6, 2009

...And Modest Too!

Sometimes a photo opportunity comes around and it is imperative to seize the moment. This may have been one such occasion, or perhaps it was fate that brought me to stand under the Wright Brothers' Memorial at just the right place. Surely it was meant to be.

My first day back to school began with me staring into the glow of my alarm clock, which had probably gone off at some point in the morning and was subsequently turned off by whim of my subconscious mind. Anyway, my next thought was realizing that I had overslept by approximately two hours. Bad, considering that I had spent all of yesterday studying for two quizzes in my Spanish class, both oral and writing composition. Ah, very bad.

I ended up getting to class about 45 minutes late, the trip spent in intense prayer that everything would somehow magically work out and, if not, at least that I would be able to face the bristling arsenal of fate and consequence with integrity. (no begging on hands and knees)

God tossed me a miracle this morning. And once again I find myself grateful for something that I didn't deserve. Magically, my car did not run out of gas, despite the tank being bone dry, nor had I missed the quizzes. Actually, I had arrived in the nick of time-- much to everyone's amazement. Apparently my classmates had been running through all sorts of fantastic scenarios to account for my absence, including kidnappers and something to do with saboteurs.

I'm pretty sure I did well on both quizzes. Or at least felt very good about taking them.

Man, it's a good day.