Versions

Versions is an interesting video (which was originally from his exhibition, I think) by Oliver Laric that I encourage you to watch. It presents how images are replicated over time.

a screenshot from Versions
a screenshot from Versions

Seventeen Gallery: In related speculation framed by a documentary video installation that forms the second and final element of the exhibition (also titled ‘Versions’), Laric suggests that in the contemporary age certain creative protocols are, in a more general sense, similarly challenging the hierarchy between ‘auratic original’ images and those determined to be derivative (and therefore of secondary importance).

It reminded me of one of the things we’ve discussed in Ms. Plewe’s Cyberarts class last semester (during my exchange at NUS) and how a lot of images can be traced back to a more “classic” copy, and most of the images in contemporary times have become an example of that sometimes subconscious copying. It’s like more and more difficult to become “original” that sometimes the “original” is merely a fresh attempt to reintroduce what has been already made, or already great.

The thing is, I realized that getting “inspiration” from works of already acclaimed artists (be it paintings or sculpture, music, writing, poetry, or anything else) seems to “upgrade” a person’s aesthetic standard. Maybe it’s just my personal experience, but even history showed how architecture, for example, had stemmed from copying Greek or Roman styles and columns and then branched out into the Gothic, etc. (yes, I’ve been reading Alain de Botton) until eventually more styles were born, modified, edited, died out, and then revived. The same goes with most artworks (or styles of art).

It’s hard to think there would be any kind of artistic revolution soon (revolutions that gave birth to Impressionists, for example), and while it’s not impossible, I think creating mere “versions” of classic or age-old art/designs will just keep on going in a cycle.

Long ago on a night of danger and vigil

The title of this post came from Marge Piercy’s poem, If They Come in the Night (which is also the title of the blog for now). The second stanza is particularly spot-on for me:

I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.

Coding is what I spent most of my hours doing today, actually. For some reason I was too stupid to make the layout work. I tested it in a few browsers so hopefully it looks okay in most updated ones. (I DON’T HAVE IE HAHAHA.) I used HTML5 and CSS3 but I didn’t use any fancy joomla so everything should still be A-OK.

It doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything else completely. I tried to brainstorm again for a design the company Storph could identify with but my creative process stops at the image of a stork. Someone shoot me.

Read a bit of Alain de Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness and I find it really enjoyable to read! The things about architecture could also be applied to other aspects of design, and de Botton writes really well in a way that keeps me wanting to read more. The book even gave me another idea for a thesis proposal, which I’ll try to fix later/tomorrow. Though tomorrow I’m going to PA for Jan, and call-time is at 6am.

Stop-motion in a world of books

Vicky shared this stop-motion video at her blog:

Wasn’t that just awesome? :D

You have to also visit 25thestate.com/ and look at the production stills. It would be fantastic if I could do something amazing like this with my friends. The “stage” and everything was just…wow. The video was just so brilliantly made.

Friends are made more amazing by cookies

Today is the last day for summer vacation and I spent it baking with old friends. It’s always amazing fun hanging out with them, and I know I owe them a lot! Like, I have a bad way with friends sometimes but I’m doing my best now. Even though if feels like I’m pushing this reset button and starting over (either with myself or with my relationships), it just went to show that they really are important for me.

Today is the first time I saw them since forever. I mean, I’ve been gone for four months and we haven’t been hanging out together prior to that, so I’ve been missing a lot from their lives.

us with our cookies.
us with our cookies framed in a blurry pic.

We baked some sugar cookies with royal icing (which we made an apple green color, naturally) because I really, really wanted the kind of cookies with hardened icing. Although we ran out of confectioners sugar for the icing, made worse by putting too much egg — amended by adding more sugar, it was still a good batch! I mean, definitely waaaaay better than the muffin mess I made last Thursday. I was trying to remember how Ayo did it when we made muffins at Gino’s, but well, the muffin batch practically proved my memory is made of fail. THE MUFFINS WERE TERRIBLE. Practically trash save for the blueberries. If not for the blueberries NO ONE would have eaten them.

APPLE GREEN ICING. the cookie on the right is supposed to be a BUNNY.
APPLE GREEN ICING. the cookie on the right is supposed to be a BUNNY. There are sugar bits because we ran out of confectioners sugar and put normal sugar instead.

At least this means tomorrow I have cookies to share with my friends!!! YES, I AM THIS EXCITED. I mean, the last time I remember making sugar cookies was in kindergarten, when my school was still called Little Farm House and we had this fantastic curriculum that included baking. Not that as a kid we really made them but I have this vague memory of a teacher baking so it was probably more of a one-day thing where they just showed us how. What I really remember are the red oven gloves and the wound on my knee that day.

But I digress.

I have so many plans for my next cookie session! I’ll learn to make customized cookie cutters because I don’t have one, but I want to invent my shapes. Plus, this time I’ll have enough sugar and more food coloring so I can DECORATE. I feel excitement literally bubbling from the pit of my stomach just thinking about it. (I might have been spending too much time on tumblr, surfing through pages of colorful cupcakes and cookies).

I really find baking fun! And making desserts and sweet things like that. Maybe one time I’ll just decorate a tea party and invite people over.

Aesthetic frustrations over our tableware

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been extremely busy over some jobs, practicing the art of watching Ally McBeal while exercising, and meeting up with friends.

However, today (yesterday? last night? It just being 12.05am) is sort-of a momentous occasion for my normally rather unexciting life: I managed to cook something for dinner, with the help of my brother.

macaroni: it's supposed to be "Greek" but looking less than amateur
macaroni: it's supposed to be "Greek" but looking less than amateur

One of the few slightly important things about me is my having been born unequipped with any cooking skills whatsoever, or even any instincts females were traditionally (I am saying traditionally, when women of all ages and classes were stereotyped as “housewives”) expected to possess. The food is basic, really, and I got the recipe from the Yummy magazine my friend gave me. It said the prep time was going to be around 20 minutes and cooking time 15 minutes, but I ended up staying in the kitchen for over an hour.

To further demonstrate my unpolished cooking vocabulary:

Me: it says I need to melt the mayo in a saucepan! I don’t know what a saucepan is! Is this a SAUCEPAN? (I hold up a black pan)
My brother: I don’t know. Maybe.

And as the first among many firsts:

Me: the mayo’s not melting. It’s getting COOKED. Is it because there’s no oil?
My brother: maybe because there’s no oil.
Me: (looks for any pre-mayo-melting instructions in the magazine. Nothing about oils found.) maybe I should put olive oil.

After putting the macaroni in the oven:

My brother: I think it’s cooked.
Me: are we going to get burned getting the macaroni out of the oven? It’s still on, and I don’t know how to turn it off.
My brother: how long did you set it?
Our housemaid: it’s at 10 minutes.
Me: it wasn’t turning on if I set it less! I just stopped when I saw the light.

It didn’t get burned, we didn’t get burned, and despite not having any feta cheese (plus flour substituted with cornstarch because THERE WAS NO FLOUR AT HOME), the macaroni was edible.

I learned to put peppers next time, and I could probably add things I want to in it even if it’s not in the instructions. The magazine kept on saying, “season to taste” but I have absolutely no idea what it was supposed to taste like, or what I wanted it to taste like. But you see. I’m learning. (And, as an additional note: adding crabsticks to the pasta actually tasted good. But shrimp or salmon would probably be better.)

And, as for the title of this post: as I was setting the table for dinner, I wanted the macaroni to match the plate so I thought of using our green plates that had smaller yellow plates as a partner. BUT THEY WERE GONE. And our housemaid told me my dad gave it away. Needless to say, for some minutes I really was frustrated because I couldn’t make the table look the way I envisioned it. Haha.

I remember Ally McBeal on Studio 23

When my brother and I were kids, back when we weren’t allowed to watch TV on weekdays, I’ve seen commercials of Ally McBeal on Studio 23. So yesterday, when I saw the DVD set in my aunt’s house, I borrowed it.

And had been watching Ally McBeal with my mom all day since.

Until I read that eventually Billy dies. Ever since the pilot episode, I’ve been hooked on the whole “One True Love” thing between Ally and Billy because they’re just so cute together (hello, smelling each other’s butts? Who can’t be sold on those two?). :( Heartbreak number one, Show.

After which I skipped to season 4, where Robert Downey Jr. becomes part of the cast as Larry Paul.

I’ve been signing up for premature heartbreaks and disappointments, I know. Heartbreak number two. :(

I really, really love RDJ’s character and it’s like the second worst thing (or the worst thing, since this is ROBERT DOWNEY JR. PEOPLE) since Billy died (well yeah, I know it was the unfortunate consequence of all his addictions back then but oh, don’t I just wish what if?). But still, I’d continue watching this for Downey Jr. At least he doesn’t die, but I know he’s never coming back. I can always imagine the series ended in some invisible, unfulfilled episode in which Ally follows him and they have a secret wedding. I’m such a shipper, haha.

On another note, I like Ally’s style. Whoever her stylist in the show is, he/she’s good. I like the simple but classy outfits. This show is dated, especially the first season, but I see her clothes and if I wore them today, I won’t look like I’m on period costumes.

I’m a chick-lit girl

I’m a romantic idiot by nature (how couldn’t I be, when as a kid my constant rewatching of Disney’s Cinderella had been paving that path for me. I mean, what would you expect when a kid already knows when exactly to cover her eyes because she’s seen the cat fall to its death several times already AND YET still watches the cursed cartoon? Well, there you go! A foreshadowing of my future-self, molded by one of Disney’s cheesiest classic movies). I know what “smart” books are, or y’know, books that are deeper, dappled with real philosophy between its pages. I don’t mind those, and I even enjoy reading classics, especially British literature that goes beyond Jane Austen, but I occasionally succumb to effortless chick-lits. Like Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl.

I never liked the Shopaholic books, but ever since Can You Keep a Secret sent me reeling in laughter back in high school, I’ve always enjoyed Kinsella’s non-Shopaholic books. So at this horrible kid’s party last Saturday (I had to attend, since it’s Family, but geez, the party had been hosted by jejemon and the music blaring those old speakers in the function room was full of screams and sounds that should have made children cry. After I complained to my dad and my dad talked to the jejemon clown, they continued to play non-kiddie music in a one-year-old and seven-year-old’s party. SERIOUSLY. It made me want to help organize or decorate a kid’s party myself), to keep myself from dying from boredom, I read Twenties Girl.

Despite the predictability of the story (who falls in love with who, etc.), it was still pretty funny and made me feel good in the way only happy endings make you feel.

I also read some paranormal romance, like the Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris (for which I am an Eric/Sookie shipper — books version, never the television series) and this morning I just finished Patricia Briggs’ Silver Borne. I’ve been following Mercy’s story for a few years now and I like some distressed damsels the same way I enjoy spunky females. Plus, again, I really like Adam and Mercy together so Adam’s anguish was almost heart-stopping.

I wish I can just read all day but exercising when you sorely need to lose weight can be a pain in the ass. I still have work calling, all due to debts I need to pay. HELLO REAL LIFE.

And down below old memories come alive

If there’s any other stop-motion out there worth spending some minutes watching it’s THIS. Even as an advertisement, this was pretty much genius. The stop-motion is not an original technique anymore BUT the challenge lies in how to use stop-motion to present something that can still be called unique.

This would have been perfect for the Island Creamery advertisement (for our Advertising Strategies project). I’m just saying.

When is Mother’s Day?

Since my long-term memory is malfunctioning, I can’t remember when exactly Mother’s Day is. But I know it’s in May.

I love my mom; we’ve never gotten into a serious mother-daughter fight. Actually, despite my tendencies to lean towards rebellion, disobedience, and dishonesty, I’m still a pretty-obedient kid. Or maybe my mom and I just usually never have anything to fight about. I mean, sure, she’d get angry at me when I sulk or irritable, impatient, and disrespectful toward my dad but that’s the end of it. I’ve never shouted at her, we never had cold wars — nothing particularly violent.

My parents swear this was my "smile" when I was a baby.
Me with my mom. My parents swear this was my "smile" when I was a baby.

Since I’ve been squandering my allowance money on big things (and by big I mean, EFFING HUGE. Some notable examples: the S$200-worth camera that got wet, which I replaced with a $600-worth camera; my MacBook Pro — 15″ and loving it; traveling to Phuket, Siem Reap, and Bintan.) I might as well use it up on something big and the best thing I can spend it on is on a gift for my mom.

I don’t know what to buy her yet. Easiest is a bag, but I’m not sure about the style she wants. I really want to buy her something extra-nice and extra-special and possibly extra-expensive so if I could maybe just afford a wallet or something within S$200 SGD (is that even possible!?), then I will. I wonder if that’s too materialistic? I want to get her something she could really love, and use! Plus I haven’t been able to celebrate with my family when she got promoted.

I’m going back to the Philippines on May 10 and I can’t wait! =) I miss my family and friends and I’ve missed out on too much (like people losing 40lbs like crazy, and possibly someone hooked up with someone again). I need to catch up on things (school-matters is something I dread though. One of them is a six-letter word that begins with a ‘T’ and ends with an ‘S.’

If I won’t have a career in design…

Lately I’ve started to consider other options for my future. Assuming I have one, well. I’m so insecure about my poor design skills; I think I’ve been left behind by even more talented people so in the possibility that I fail in trying to get into the design/creative/ad industry, I’ve decided that I could instead be:

1. A flight attendant. I got the idea when I saw this group of flight attendants eating and having a break at the airport (go figure). While smiling all day and dealing with some fussy passengers is no easy task with regard to taxing my people-skills, I think this will be a fun alternative for my future.

2. A cafe/restaurant owner. Design career or no design career, this is going to happen. I have too many plans going on for this to just leave them floating and lifeless inside my head. No, they will be out in the world to experience (once I learn how to start a business and maybe steal money for capital).

3. A traveler and part-time adventurer. This is assuming I will have won the lottery before embarking on this career in order to satisfy my tendencies for wanderlust.

4. A writer. Actually, the possibility of this happening is even less than the possibility of a career in advertising. I haven’t finished a single story and as much as I enjoy reading poetry, I’ve proven I’m not a poet since my attempts to write verse when I was seven.

5. A production designer. I’ve managed to dip my fingers in a few production-pies, so I know how much fun prod design is. However, I think this is a kind of job that will be more irregular than getting clients. Maybe. I don’t think I’d earn enough for #2 if I took this path either.

I don’t want to worry about so much yet because (1) I haven’t even started on my thesis yet, which is a requirement that will pave the way to my graduation and (2) I might just go back to being a student. Which has more benefits. But I need to get hired after graduation first.

Maybe I’m thinking too far ahead of things. :( Though, I want to think of life as something exciting as much as possible. I’ve popped enough happy-bubbles as it is.