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philobabble

books, miscellany, philobabble

The End is the Beginning is the End*

I’m graduating on Saturday. In an effort to combat the debilitating fear and impending doom, I’m trying to take comfort in the fact that I’ve somehow managed to incorporate a few of my favorite things into my academic career. I’ve managed not only to bookend my college experience with my favorite book, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but I’ve also snuck in my favorite television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer**.

Thesis Components. When one wants to write about identity, heroism, transformation, and regret.

Thesis Components: When one wants to write about identity, heroism, transformation, and regret.

My first encounter with Kavalier & Clay was in my senior AP English class. Our final assignment (outside of the year-long “Senior Project” which also incorporated Buffy- what? I’m nothing if not a dedicated fan!) was a simple book report. The catch was that the list included works like Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, and among them was Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winner. It was the last book I read as a senior in High School, and by a stroke of luck, it was also the last one I read and wrote on when I transferred from one college to where I am now; finally, it’s become a part of my undergraduate thesis.

As trite as the symmetry is, I’m a little weepy. Of course, using it in my thesis was deliberate, but it was an easy choice given that this beautiful book is a goddamn tome; rich, elaborate, poignant, and inspiring. Naturally, it’s a story about heroism, but it’s also about identity and human connections. Through my third revisit, I still find myself getting emotional, if not more so, given that I’m already aware of how it all unravels.

Obviously, each time I’ve written on Kavalier & Clay has been on a different theme, and this time it’s used in conjunction with the idea of metamorphosis and psychological dissonance. Because, why shouldn’t I make the last major work a giant piece of actual self-help? Right?!

The inclusion of Buffy follows along the same points of choice, but considering that that her character is an inversion of some many traditional tropes, she’s a fascinating character to explore.

*Yes, this is the title of The Smashing Pumpkin’s song from the Batman & Robin Soundtrack (one of the best OSTs, don’t deny it!), and it’s also fitting because I’m including Batgirl into my thesis. Be jealous.

**Today is the tenth anniversary of the series finale! :’) *sniff*

crafting, miscellany, philobabble

Stitch by Stitch

I have a penchant for procrastination. Although I finished this before the end of June, I didn’t block it until the second week of July and only photographed it on the 31st. Yes, that’s quite a bit of time in between. While the project deserves a comprehensive post of its own, I want to take a moment to discuss productivity.

I’m learning that I work best in obsessively focused, isolated periods of time. While I do have different projects all going at the same time, I can’t work on one for an allotted amount of time and then move on to the next, repeating day after day until completion. I need to work until I feel like I’ve reached a significant milestone before I can put it down and sometimes one project takes all my attention away from another.

It’s a process that can be as ineffective as it sounds. The key is in specificity; if I don’t detail the steps, I keep going until I can’t anymore– which is usually due to frustration or fatigue. Liberal list-making, here I come!

I’m always fascinated by the creative processes of others; how do you work best?

announcements, miscellany, philobabble, site, web design

Blog Birthday #1.

I hope all of my festive fellow Americans had a fun and safe fourth of July!

Well, as you can tell from the title, it’s Glass Lens, Gold Key‘s first birthday! I cannot believe that it’s been a year since I started this. For all intents and purposes, I really did make this on a whim; it was barely two months from the time I decided to return to writing on a non-community blog (in May) to when I got the first post up. There were many muddled and anxious thoughts before, after, and during that time; while there was much excitement, there was also a lot of doubt.

There was a specific way that I wanted to proceed, a way that required a bit of money and a hell of a lot of time. Because this wasn’t my first time blogging– I used to code layouts in notepad using copious amounts (okay, maybe “unnecessary” is a better term?) of tables and/or frames, and type posts up and upload via FTP before there was an easy-to-use CMS– I knew what I wanted and was impatient to go slowly. But I was wary of my own intentions and determination. I didn’t want it to waste away, as my site had before, and I was also worried that I simply didn’t have anything interesting to write about. However, the latter is only true if one isn’t honest or enthusiastic, and I knew that I absolutely missed creating, designing, and sharing my own perspective. So nostalgia won out, but not without genuine excitement, and I went about it the way I had before.

I’m so thankful that I did. I feel better having written, designed, and created something that I can share with others.

In the past year of working on Glass Lens, Gold Key I’ve learned quite a bit; on both technical and personal terms.

In terms of design, I’ve still got a lot to learn, as well as re-learn. I’m currently using a heavily modified version of a theme, but the CSS isn’t as daunting as it was before. In the past year, I’ve cycled through the following layouts:

Glass Lens, Gold Key 1.0. Text heavy!

2.0 A circle! Getting there.

Version 3.5- Now with pictures! Finally.

As I mentioned earlier, I basically began when the thought hit me and thus spent no time considering the layout, or photographing the material that I wanted to represent the ethos of this blog. What’s funny about this is that it was completely antithetical to my previous method of making a layout first and getting to really flesh out the content later (although seeing the mockup of a “finished product” does help!). There’s so much more that I want to do, but building it up gradually doesn’t bother as much as it used to (of course, this is only the case for my work; if it were for someone else, it wouldn’t be as piecemeal).

I’ve also become a better writer, in the sense that I’ve become more comfortable with “publishing” it– allowing others to read my words. Or rather, I suppose I should say that I’m getting better with writing; I’m slowly getting through the self-deprecation that comes from apprehension. I’m an anxious person so my head goes a mile a minute down worrysome paths and perfectionist doubts, but, like the many maxims on regret have urged, it’s been better to do something as best I can rather than allowing an idea to dissipate before I think it’s “ready” or not.

It’s about improving. Growing. Evolving.

Here are some of my favorite posts of the past year: Continue Reading

philobabble

Leaps and Bounds

Despite nagging myself for failing to write more than I want to (or as well as I hope to), I’m choosing to take a step back and just… be surprised at having written anything at all.

In taking advantage of a day that won’t come again for another four years, I’m thinking and looking back and I’m just very grateful for having changed since the last Leap Day.

Though I could stand to be better than I am now, I’m much better than I was then- again, I’m just thankful for that.

How has your Leap Day been? How have they been in the past?

philobabble

Twenty Eleven

There are maybe a million ideas that I want to convey to commemorate the end of this year and to celebrate the next year. I had hoped to say more here, to show more, but my thoughts are moving faster than I can hope to catch them. I need to be better at being able to say what I mean, when I mean to say it. I want to be better at being open. Expressive. Honest. This is an… issue (“problem” is too big a word, but right now it very much feels like one) that I hope to resolve, or at least move in progressive direction, in the new year.

Given that it seems as though I’m always striving towards it, this isn’t so much a “new year’s resolution,” although that’s the most precise word for it, isn’t it? Resolve, resolution. Solutions (“problem” then suffices).

But at least in admitting it I’m making some sort of progress right?

Anyhow, I know it’s already 2012 for most of you and I hope that it’s been fantastic so far!