Monday, August 29, 2011

Out of [into] the wilderness

First week of classes went rather well. It wasn't a full week of course, so it's probably too early to come to conclusions, but I think this is going to be an easier semester than the last couple have been.

On class that hasn't started yet and that may make things a lot busier than they have been is newspaper production. I'm working for the Triangle again, only now as the multimedia editor. While on the surface that sounds like a lot of work––which it probably will be––I don't think it will be too stressful, because while I'll be working on a couple web/video projects every week, I won't be required to write anything unless I really want to.

One of my first tasks has been to create an animated version of the Triangle logo to go at the beginning and the end of video stories. I've been having some trouble with that, because I haven't yet been able to get a version of the logo in the right format to allow for a transparent background (or at least the software that I have isn't reading the one my editor... or I guess I should say boss now that I'm an editor too... gave me).

After being foiled for a while, I decided it was high-time I learned how to create images with transparent alpha zones in photoshop.... so I did. In the end though, I still couldn't get FCE to read the files with the transparent zones... which was really the entire point. I exported the image from CS3 in every single format and combination of settings within formats I could think of, and even followed the very explicit steps that I had for doing it in a tutorial by Izzy Video... and it still wouldn't work. So the next step I guess is to try it out on some of the school's machines, using CS4 and Final Cut Studio. Until then I'm dead in the water, as it were.

One thing that did come out of the whole chaotic little adventure was the above image though... and even though it does nothing to help me, I thought it was interesting enough to post here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Flare

I'm back at Bryan as of this afternoon and moved into my townhouse. One of the nice aspects of being here is that the internet upload speed is close to 20x faster than ours at home. Thus, I have spent the last hour or so uploading lot's of things that I've wanted to all summer. One of them is this video of I shot of the gas flare in our field:

It's difficult to get an idea of how intense the sound is from the video, but just imagine it being as loud as you possibly can, and then make it louder, and you probably have a good idea.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Looking Up

After packing until about 2am last night, I woke up early, said goodbye to some of my family, drove to Canton Mennonite Church, gave a presentation, got my neck adjusted by my friend Nick (a chiropractor... my neck had been screwed up for the last couple days) and then set off on the trip back to Tennessee in the pouring rain.

While this all could have very easily turned into a very bad day, I was blessed with everything going extraordinarily well. I got packed, my presentation went well and it looks like I'm going to get some serious help paying the deficit that I had in my support (which is both a big and unexpected relief). The drive down so far to where I'm staying in Virginia has gone smoothly, and even my hotel room is awesome. It's definitely a lot easier to do it this way than driving 14 and half hours all at once.

So anyhow, things have been looking up a bit, which is good. I don't know if this post has much of a point, but I feel like my last few have been kind of depressing, so maybe this is just to keep it balanced.... like Fox News... only not, but I won't get into that. Speaking of news though, there's some interesting stuff happening in Tripoli right now... so you should check that out.


(has a couple rated R-ish parts.... so consider yourself advised)

Monday, August 15, 2011

40 Foot Flame

This morning at 3am I was awakened by my cell phone, got up to turn it off, and realized that it was light outside. Then I looked at the clock, saw the time, and knew that something different was happening. Then I looked out the window, and discovered that there was a forty-foot flame shooting out of our field illuminating the entire western sky in red.

So it's finally happening. After weeks of hydro-fracking, months of drilling, two years of prepping, and half a decade of speculation, there is gas flowing out of a pipe––or rather four pipes––in our field. Good news indeed. Could have used it sooner, but hopefully it isn't too late.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back In the [Other] Real World

It's been up and down since I got back. On the up, it's good to relax again, see my family, and not fight with taxi drivers every other day. On the down, I'm bankrupt, and I'm afraid my asthma which I have not had a problem with since I was eight or nine may be mysteriously returning. Of course I can't find out for sure, because I got dropped from my family's health insurance policy. More dire than that, I am technically not allowed back on campus until I have health insurance. So it seems the logical thing would be to buy health insurance, but as I just said, I'm bankrupt. Actually I do have enough money, but the problem is I still owe money from this summer's little adventure, and I had slated the bit of money that I had left to pay for that in case I couldn't raise all my support––which I couldn't. So now new developments have put me between a bit of a rock and a hard place, as it were. So that isn't fun, but there is a chance a couple things could work out that will make it work, so hopefully they will.

Other than worry about that stuff I haven't really done too much since I got back. I've been dabbling with selling some of my photos on stock image sites, but I'm afraid I don't have too much of a chance at that, since most of it qualifies more as travel or art photography than stock photography, so even if it were good, which I'm not saying it is, it probably wouldn't get accepted.

Assuming that I actually can go back to school, which isn't really certain right now, I think I'm actually looking forward to it, which is unusual for me. So I guess it's good that that is coming up soon. Although, it could just be because there is now the possibility that it won't happen that I actually want it... seems that that's how my mind works often, which is too bad if you're trying to be happy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Marco Polo

It's hard to believe that my week in Italy is almost at an end. Tomorrow I go to Marco Polo International at like 3:30am (my flight isn't till 7:00 or so, but other people are earlier) and begin the journey back.

It's been a good week. It was a surreal feeling, getting back to the SBI campus after a couple years away. While it felt a little weird being here without the people I was with back then, it was still a great time meeting back up with the other interns and swapping stories about our summers working in different countries.

This afternoon we went to Venice, which is definitely one of my favorite places in the world to hang out. It hadn't changed––aside from a few billboards that is.