Archive for November, 2010

Learning Curve

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010


In 2006, Mom and I went to a scrapbooking class. This was Mom’s layout. The letters have taken a beating since then, but the pictures still tell the story of Emily’s 16th birthday.

It felt appropriate to take a picture of this “document” in Mom’s red chair because Emily’s first car was a fire-engine red Mazda protege, aptly named “Clifford.” This was the first day she got to drive me to school– February 20, 2002– and I was so thrilled. By this point the my sister, my friend thing began panning out and I was discovering that our being different was actually meant to be the source of our respect and admiration for each other– not the polarizing force it could be.


Now she’s 24 years old and brilliant as ever. A double major in chemistry/biology with a minor in psychology, she decided to take the MCAT with just a few weeks to spare in 2007– and passed!  Now she is following in our Dad’s footsteps to become a pediatrician– only  pressured by her desire to make a difference in the field we’ve watched our Dad impact, never a pressure imposed by Dad himself.



She is driven and thorough and has the curious mind of a diagnostician. She is practical and questioning and diligent. She gives other people the confidence that she sometimes forgets to have in herself. She likes to know how to best help and then do it to the utmost of her ability. She is mostly like Mom, but strongly favors Dad’s character, as well. Her heart is kindred with Moms, but she often thinks like Dad. Case in point– they enjoy doing puzzles together. Power to them. ;)


She writes sweet things like this on my facebook wall to encourage me:

you’re sleeping on my couch right now…and I’m thankful for you. Best friend/sister. Yin to my Yang (or did you want to be yang?) I love you so much and I love hearing or reading your perspective on life. You teach me something new all the time. I am so proud of you! I love you.


I wrote a super-long blog post about my feelings towards her a while back that goes into more detail about what I specifically admire about her, but suffice it to say this: I really used to always want to be more like Emily. For example, if I could substitute my passivity with her assertion, how much better a person would I be?

But with time I stand corrected. Knowing Emily doesn’t make me want be her, like a substitute; it makes me want to be a better me; a better complement. She makes it a point to appreciate my strengths as I work on the areas in which I am weak. It may sound cliche, but truly where I am weak, she is strong. I am so thankful for a sister with the patience to see the good in me as I follow 3 years behind her on the learning curve.



And I will forever treasure the days of pulling away from 4 Beeson Ct. for joyrides with her.



Installing ThinkUp

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Well, I believe I have successfully added ThinkUp to my site. Only problem…. I’m pretty sure the wordpress app only applies to Twitter! Problem because I haven’t posted anything since our last dailyshoot assignment. I was kind of excited to see all the facebook data since I’m a facebook junkie, but I can’t seem to access any of it.

Anyway, I created a separate page for this application, because I wasn’t really sure what it would do. I started off my downloading a random plug in (which is why my header is gone, bye umw soccer!), The first five I tried said they would screw up my header, so I just decided to change it and be done with it. So, once I got a random plugin (it was actually a twitter plug in ha-ha), I went to editor, erased all of it, and c/p the thinkup data. I’m getting ahead of myself.

So BEFORE all that, I went to the ThinkUp site, and clicked the download for the wordpress app. I opened the file folder, opened the PHP document, and when prompted, I clicked the option to open it with Notepad. From there, I copied the entire text that appeared in notepad, and pasted it into the plug in editor. As a side note, this sounds like it took 2 minutes. It took me about 30 before I figured all of this out. phew.

So next, in order to figure out what to do, I opened the ReadMe file for ThinkUp. There, it tells you to go to Settings in wordpress, choose ThinkUp, and edit the settings to include your twitter name. It also gives you things to paste into a post (things with [brackets] around them, not really sure how they work). So I posted the brackets into my new ThinkUp page, and fingers crossed went to check it out. It came back with, There are not recent tweets from StratCat. Success!!

Doesn’t sound like success, but at least I know it works! So I went ahead and tweeted something. Still hasn’t shown up on my page, but I’m not sure what the turn around time is. Anyway, yay for archiving nothing!


Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

We used to have to clean this bad boy every single spring– so it could be enjoyed until fall. I mean, hose, clorox, windex and all, we shined this place up nice. And then went to hobby lobby or garden ridge to buy a little something new to jazz it up.


Since we’d just finished our Great Kitchen Overhaul of 2002, the boys were *dying* for a new project. Well, no. But there they stood on the cusp of a grand construction venture that they could not refuse. So Dad and Luke walled in our back porch almost entirely by themselves.

I can’t remember much of what Emily did, but I imagine she had an excellent time with deconstruction. Read: demolition. Mom put up a fight when Dad wanted to install surround sound speakers for the stereo system (they weren’t “cute”). We had a great time (and time again and time again) shopping for furniture for our new room. And I distinctly remember helping to grout the tile. Mom and Em were there for that, too.

(this is the picture listed online by our realtor– not the best. But gives a great view of the speakers :D )

We painted it yellow to match the kitchen (a much more relaxing yellow) and picked a light blue ceiling. It is surrounded by windows, has a great surround-sound stereo system (:D), and is hands down the best place for studying. Mom has her quiet time out there in her red chair nearly every day. Emily has since moved to her own home, but when she can’t get into a study groove there (she’s in her 3rd year of Medical school)– she has the blue chair in the sunroom to cozy up in for inspiration.


It’s my favorite room to take pictures in– has the best lighting. It also has its own heating and air unit, so I can make it warm for playing with the kiddos.





It’s fun for entertaining– makes the house “flow” a little better by connecting the living room and the kitchen two ways.


And while I don’t have any pictures to prove it, it’s really good for family meetings and mother/daughter cries.

As far as rooms go… yep– I’ll miss this one, too.

Fan-Fiction (Part 2) Mashup: Batman vs. Godzilla

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

For my Fan Fiction project, I decided to continue on with my website’s theme of video mash-ups. I feel that fan fiction itself is very much a mash-up in it’s own sense, bringing together cultural icons/symbols, whether they are from movies, or books, or the internet, and creating your own story out of them. That’s why I couldn’t resist putting two titanic figures together and essentially creating a fight between them for this project. When I was a kid, I always had debates with my friends about who would win in a fight, whether it be Superman vs. King Kong, or the Flash vs. Spiderman, or etc. So I found my fan fiction fight mash-up of Batman vs. Godzilla to be particularly exciting. Much like I described Batman in my last post, Godzilla was (and still is) near the top of the list of obsessions. I used to watch all of the movies when I was a kid, and had many action figures (much like Batman). So this epic fight was one of the first things to come to my mind when I thought of my fan fiction project.

Much like many of my mash-ups, I used Firefox’s YouTube Downloader and found clips on YouTube of Godzilla and Batman and then used iMovie to put them together. About creating the project, I found many of my difficulties to be strangely similar to the problems I had when I did my first audio mash-up for this class, More Than My First Kiss. The lesson I had learned from creating the song was that putting together two different things and matching them can be extremely difficult. The most obvious reason for this is because each piece of media you are trying to match together has its own beat, tempo, pitch, background noise, etc. and trying to put two together often results in a cacophonous piece of you-know-what. So I encountered these same problems when I tried to match the movies Batman (1989) and Godzilla (1998), and most of my time was spent trying to make the sounds and transitions between to two to be as smooth as possible. I think I did a pretty good job blending the two movies together as much as possible, though the task is much harder than it appears. Other than that, I just used some of my childhood imagination and my master mash-up skills to create this fan fiction masterpiece. Let me know what you guys think!


Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

It’s a favorite, this kitchen. We wallpapered it. And painted the cabinets white. The red floor stayed the same. That was about 13 years into living here. It used to be blue with hearts. Bland.

You could say a lot about this kitchen, but one thing you cannot call it after its 2002 makeover is bland. It’s the life of the party around here.

It’s for doing puzzles on Thanksgiving.


Baking Sister Schubert rolls.


Cooking big breakfasts.


(for dinner.)


Bathing babies in the sink.


Make-shifting high chairs.


Taking pictures!


Baking cookies.


Fancy bed and breakfasting.




Mishaps-turned-practical joking



And even with the pot rack that cuts the room in two and makes conversation from the bar to whoever’s cooking nearly impossible*, it’s a favorite.

*this could be a slight exaggeration.

Little Me

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

As I went through the box, that I rescued from the top shelf, I found this manilla envelope of pictures.

At different points throughout my childhood, I’ve pulled these photos from the book my mother so tenderly assembled in order to get them in my hands, show them off, love on them, and reflect on their content. For projects or frames or presentations, I’ve taken these photos for a ride. And then failed to actually put them back where they belong. Hence, they’re stockpiled in an envelope.

My bad.


All of these pictures were taken at this house. Top left to top right:

1. My second birthday, sitting in that big bulky high chair. I loved when my cousins came to town because Mom would pull this contraption back out and then I could play dolls with it for a few days after the real babies left. That is the dining room.

2. My parents bathroom. 4 years old. Mom tries to scold me for smearing her Mary Kay lipstick everywhere, but the fact that she snaps pictures while she does it is sort of contradictory. Mixed messages aren’t good for kids, Mom.

3. One year old, in our garden. This place has taken on many shapes, forms, and foliage over the years– it looks particularly well groomed this year.

4. LOVED that end table. Look how well I fit– I wasn’t really hard to entertain. I’m really still not. Take note of the green carpet– we replaced that about halfway through our time here. One of those kinds of things that seems like a good idea in 1989, you know? I should note that my parents actually found them building this house in time to customize things like that nice carpet and the french doors that can be partially seen in this photo.

5. Myself and my sister, Emily, on what I believe to be my 6th birthday. Side ponytail, noah’s ark vest and all. This iwas back when we *really* didn’t look anything alike– nor did we get along 60% of the time. Mom and Dad always said we would become really good friends when we got older and I really looked forward to that day. Happy to say I’m living it. (This is also in the living room.)

6. This is my crib, which I was quite fond of. The story goes that I could sit in this thing for minutes if not hours just cooing at my hands while Mom could do some work around the house or catch a little more sleep. When I did decide I wanted out, though, I apparently could let out a good wail. For Mom or for Luke. In the beginning this was my nursery (decorated with lambs, as you can see in the photo), Luke and Emily shared a room, and there was a communal playroom. Then Luke got to move into what was the nursery and Emily and I shared a room. For about a month, give or take. Something about how I talked her ear off or something. So I was successfully annoying enough to get my own room– and have Em willingly give up the idea of a playroom just to get some peace and quiet in her own room.

It’s weird looking back at these pictures, because while I don’t remember a lot of what was happening around the time these were taken, I distinctly know their setting. And I clearly know their subject.

Seeing these reinforces to me how much that setting shaped this subject. While it’s clear that I’ve grown and changed, I don’t necessarily feel disconnected from the “little me” in these pictures. It’s like we don’t realize the passing of time until we ponder that it is passed. Past. I don’t feel necessarily older until I see myself so much younger in these pictures.

In this collection and in my life, the house has been such a source of continuity. Times have changed and more often than not, Dad is greeting us at the door– we’re no longer heralding his return from work. Little things like that constantly changing. Same house.

Not anymore.

Which isn’t all that depressing, it’s just that moving is now a huge marker of time for me.

So many pictures taken within these walls. No pictures taken within these walls. There’s no way to soften that contrast. In a way I didn’t know, my home offered this sense of same-ness. I felt like the same little me over the passing of time because I walked the same halls, brushed my teeth in the same sink, stole clothes out of the same closet and retreated to the same office.

A new house makes me see that I’m not the same little me. It makes me view the contrasts and creates a marked line between what was and what is. Which is not bad. It’s just new.

A new little me.

Just for Kicks

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Since class winding down, I wanted to post a documentary which I think is really good about the sneaker culture. It talks about the sneaker heads and how people go about searching for that perfect pair. It has alot of information given by hip-hop artist, graffiti artist and also just big name sneaker heads. For some it is more than an obsession and in this documentary you meet someone that keeps searching for the perfect pair of kicks. Some people in this are true true sneaker heads. While I also like sneakers and the art behind them, I don’t compare to these people, at least not right now money is tight haha. Yet maybe one day I will be a collector of $500-$1000 sneakers one day who knows.

If you haven’t seen my last post here is the link “Sneaker Music” the video I made with to things I love sneakers and music. Check it out


Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

So before Thanksgiving break I decided to switch hosting services from Cast Iron Coding to Bluehost. And I spent time with Jim Groom on making that happen. It was actually pretty easy but if you have any questions you can ask me! The really cool thing about switching to bluehost is that my site name didn’t have to change. (I bet you didn’t notice I switched! :D )

The reason why I chose Bluehost is because it is less expensive than Cast Iron Coding and you can host unlimited domains. The second point is what really convinced me because I am also able to host my portfolio site as well! I had created a site which will pull in all the work I have done at UMW (and possibly thereafter) and feed it directly to the one site. So when I apply for jobs I can add the site to my resume! Well thats all for now.

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Guitar Lesson 4

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Chords are one of the next steps in guitar playing and one of the hardest for a beginning guitarist. There are many chords, all which consist of two or more frets being played at the same time. From chords stems a lot of things such as arpeggios, which is a chord but the strings are played at different times. Barre chords are the hardest things for a beginner to learn since it involves mostly of the strings and finger strength really comes into play. To get better at chords, you must simply play them a lot and practice them a lot as well. Chords will need to be played in  a similar beat in songs and will require fast transitions between chords such as a G chord to a D chord.

Colors Galore

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The first picture is where I was trying to use the horizontal lines as not  portray “rest” which is something that usually goes along with horizontal lines. I think by having the horizontal pictures formated in a vertical position, it exaggerates the massive amounts of books and I think when it comes to massive amounts of book it gives the sense of a lot of reading, and being extremely busy. I picked to use the stack of AP books we have in my house because of the amount of stress that is associated with the test.


For the second picture I took a picture of a medallion necklace as I was wearing it. I put it on the macro setting so to focus on the details of the medallion. I also like the contrast of the gold color with the purple.


I just loved this picture of flowers with all of the different colors, textures, and the  depth. I took a couple pictures of this vase of flowers but this one while not perfect was my favorite.


I liked this distinctive red, featured with a pretty netrual backround, and I tookit from this angle because I was hoping it would add some depth.  I thought this picture came out looking very pretty.