April 30, 2004

to those who are wondering

I got rejected from Berkeley, accepted to UCSD, and I discovered the following at UCLA:

Dear Brian:

We have received your application for Fall Quarter 2004 and are still in the process of reviewing it. There are still applicants for whom decisions have not yet been finalized. Please continue to check back. This site is updated daily between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

If your name and contact information listed above is incorrect, please notify us.

UCLA Undergraduate Admissions
and Relations with Schools

** This site will not be updated until May 3, 2004. **

I am the grandmaster of the waiting game.

April 29, 2004

no sand in class

I always wear close-toed shoes, but today I wore flip-flops to school for the first time and I’ve noticed two things:

  1. My feet feel naked.
  2. I have a constant expectation that I’m about to leave for the beach.

I like it.

wallet vs. gut

As I try to lose my ever so shapely figure at the same time I?m trying not to go broke, there are constant decisions between my finances and my health. Instances where either free food is being given away or I have to choose between a cheap, but fattening food and a healthy, but more expensive choice occur more often than I would expect.

This past Tuesday my will and dedication were pressed in a way that only the biblical Abraham could understand. I?m especially tapped out right now and so I?m trying to keep my spending on the down low, but at the same time I hadn?t exercised in several days due to my having the plague. When I showed up for my gym class ready to put the pedal to the metal and get back on track, I discovered a mind-bending sight: My fitness instructor sitting behind a wall of Krispy Kreme donuts and Pizza. It was my teacher?s birthday and this was to be the one day of the semester we were able to cheat, it was even her treat. On the one day I was to get back on the track to a healthier, happier me, I was being fed donuts by a fitness expert.

I resisted. Barely. And now as I look at my bank account I kick myself for it.

April 26, 2004

three card monty

I need to do an informative speech for a class and I’m going to go with one of the following topics. If you see a topic that’s particularly interesting or remember a story I told really well I’d appreciate a nice loud “HEY, DO THAT!!” in the form of comments, emails, instant messages, or even late night phone calls.

How To Take A Good Picture
For this I’d show people how to get the most out of their low-end digital or 35mm camera, showing basic composition no-no’s and how to avoid under/over exposure and silhouetting. The advantages are I’m knowledgeable about it, it’d be fun to do, and it’s something people could actually use. The big disadvantage is I found out somebody is already planning on doing the same topic.
OpenOffice
Talk about the advantages/disadvantages of OpenOffice.org. Explain what it is, how to obtain it, and why it’s free. The advantages are I’m passionate about it and it’s something anybody on a budget can appreciate (Unless they use pirated software). The disadvantage is that I’m probably overestimating the average person’s interest in office software.
Richard Avedon
A biography of Richard Avedon with a focus on the evolution of his work. I’d break this into three parts: The equipment he uses, his early work, and his later work. As a camera junkie I’d enjoy explaining the cameras he uses (My old Rolleiflex is almost exactly like the one he used in his early years) and I think people would be surprised by how much of his work they already know without knowing him. Also I’d get to show people pretty pictures. The big disadvantage is I wouldn’t be able to show people pretty pictures any bigger than eight by ten inches, which would be hard to see throughout the room.

Also, tomorrow I’m doing a very short “What bugs me” speech tomorrow, the leading topics for consideration being the recording industry’s use of the word “steal,” Tom Petty’s inability to sing about anything with more than one syllable, and that redhead on American Idol.

April 22, 2004

chevy chase was good on weekend update

We watched a video on Richard Avedon that was interesting. An interesting aspect to being a world famous photographer is that most people still don?t know who the hell you are, even though your work is everywhere. He could probably still do his own grocery shopping and not be bothered. After all, who would want to take pictures of one of the most successful photographers of all time? Would you really want Shakespeare reading your play about him?

This last weekend at San Luis Obispo was a good time out, though I didn?t get to see everybody I wanted to. Just remembering how nice it is not to have traffic, seeing the surroundings, and appreciating all the great eateries that slo has to offer reminded me that if I don?t get into UCLA it?s not a death sentence, which is good because I find out whether or not I got accepted in T minus 8 days and counting.

On Sunday I woke up at 6:45am in order to get back into Los Angeles by 10am, immediately changed clothes and headed out for a six mile hike with Eugene, Stella, and some new people. See some pics here. I?ve got some pictures of that trip that I still need to get developed, I?ll post ?em here when I get a chance.

That?s weekend update, I?m Red/Brian Wagner and that?s news to me.

April 20, 2004

throbbin bobbin

So I’m sick. I’m sick enough that I didn’t go to my photography 1 class this morning and sick enough that I’m not going to gym class later today. I’d probably just sit out school entirely today, but my 8 week speech class starts today and I can’t fall behind in Photo 2. Since I’m here my plan was to work on my paper that’s due for photography.

But I can’t think over this headache I have. All I can think is *pain, pain,* I’m going to kill whoever invented the car alarm, I HATE birds and their hellish chirping and if I don’t stop typing soon I’m going to choke myself to death for being an inconsiderate asshole.

Also, this weekend was a lot of fun and very eventful. I plan on writing about it.

April 15, 2004

japanese packing specialist

I just bought a cd from cdbaby.com and I received the following message with my receipt:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with
sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure
it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money
can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Thursday, April 15th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as ‘Customer of the Year’. We’re all
exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

I wish all companies had this much free time on their hands.

April 13, 2004

rock it like it’s 1999

I guess I’ve talked enough about the show last Saturday that I don’t need to talk about it again. A few pictures came out semi-decent, but I think with this experience under my belt I’ll do an order of magnitude better my next time out.

Or I might suck HARD. We’ll see. Anyway, below is my favorite picture:
No Profit

And I made an album of the fifteen pictures I sent to the band which are viewable here.

Lyric of the Moment:
“Well the point was fast but it was too blunt to miss
Life handed us a paycheck and we said ‘we worked harder than this’”
-Modest Mouse, “Bury Me With It.”

April 11, 2004

try “tiny p****”

At Googlerace you can see what words are most strongly associated with which presidential candidate on the internet. There are some interesting results, for example “Win” is most strongly associated with Dubya, though “Lose” is as well. A surprising number of four letter words are associated with Al Sharpton (including “cool”), and for some reason Howard Dean is mentioned in the company of the term “Dwarvish” more often than John Kerry and Dubya.

I’m “the next big thing” in concert photography

I just hope some damn pictures came out right.

In the beginning I was just too timid, afraid of obstructing anyone’s view and worrying about getting too close to the gear on the side of the stage. It took me half the show to get over it and by then I’d missed a bunch of good shots. I ended up not using my flash because I was worried about disturbing the band, which I now regret. The bass player was wearing a baseball cap and so his face was just a shadow the entire show; I don’t think I got one good shot of him. I didn’t use my black and white film that I brought because I didn’t realize how short their set was going to be and I just ran out of time. I used 800 speed film for the first roll which turned out to be way too slow, the 1600 was much better on the second roll and I’m pretty sure there will at least be some usable shots from that roll, but…

I did not live up to my own expectations. Hopefully something will come out publishable. If not, at least they didn’t pay me and there will be other shows. It’s not helping that none of the labs are open because it’s Easter so I have to wait another day to determine my immediate fate as a concert photographer.

I’ll post pictures here when I get them back, like it or not.

April 9, 2004

good to know

Eugene: dude, get the fertility test thing
Eugene: its cool
Eugene: apparently i’m not ovulating right now

ahhhhhhhhhh… intermission

This is just a non-edited quickie I’m throwing together as it’s been a while and a lot has been happening. No grammar checks and I’m not proof reading to see if something accidentally sounds arrogant. You peon.

My friend Mike whom I met in a Physics class when I first moved down here asked me to shoot his band at a show this Saturday. I’m actually “on the list.” The fact that it’s a REALLY small show and that it would have only cost $6 is irrelevant. I’ve never been “on the list” for anything and it feels good. I’ve been obsessed with this show, I’ve actually shot two rolls of test film to get a certain effect with my flash and I’ve invested in some mega high speed films. It actually wasn’t that expensive since I got one of my test rolls developed for free and I got a free roll of film, both of which are due to mistakes on the part of the business. Let’s hear it for Incompetent American Workers(I have a lifetime membership to the IAW)!

Santa Monica has a photo show every year and the way it works is that you submit works and then a panel of 18 judges look at all of the photos and slides and determine which ones get to hang in the show. I submitted the maximum of 5 slides as I wanted the extra credit. Three out of my five slides snuck themselves into the show. Let’s hear it for incompetent judges!

Photography is the second most fun I’ve ever had without laughing.

If you have/used to have aol in the days where everyone had dial-up, you’ll appreciate this video clip.(WARNING, rated R for profanity.)

April 5, 2004

the best things in life are free

Today I got a package that I’d been waiting on for two weeks. I bought a camera that came with a flash that I wanted. My plan was to keep the flash and sell the rest of the items that came with the camera and essentially get a flash for much less than it’s actually worth. But then lady luck smiled down on me. He sent me an EXTRA lens besides what was listed in the auction. The thing is I’ve been trying to buy the exact same lens for several months now, but I was never willing to pay the $45-50 that ebay seemed to think it was worth.

Only one word can describe this feeling. Hella.

April 3, 2004

why walter rules

I just took my second camera (henceforth known as “two eyes”) to Walter’s Camera Repairs and I have to relate to you point by point how cool Walter is:

  1. First off, this place has been in business fifty years and the guy who does your repairs is still named Walter.
  2. He appreciates a good deal. Both times he asked how much I got my camera for, and both times he let out a low whistle when I told him. This makes me feel good about my purchase, and more comfortable in spending money I don’t really have on my cameras.
  3. He has the most hideous website ever.
  4. He’s an immigrant. Somehow the German accent makes him more credible and adds that extra level of mystique.
  5. He’s the Camera-Repair-Man-Father you never had. He actually lectures you on taking care of your camera. Once you bring a camera into his shop it’s HIS baby and if you mess with it you’re going to hear from him. Every time I go in there, he tells me through his thick accent, “There are three things that should never touch camera: Water, Sand, and Girlfriend.”
  6. Walter is the one true deity of camera repair. He told me about a customer who brought in a camera like mine in and wanted an 8 leaf shutter system instead of the 5 leaf shutter system that comes standard. If that doesn’t mean anything to you it’s about equivalent to driving into a mechanic’s and saying you’d like to have your new Jeep be seven wheel drive. It’s a little more than just a bolt on. And Walter did it.
  7. He knows his stuff. I’d looked up the serial number on Two Eyes and thought the camera was made in the late 50′s. It turns out the camera was made in the 30′s. Why do I trust Walter? He took me in the back of his shop and showed me a version of my camera from every decade that they were made. He had about sixteen on hand. And that’s just his personal collection.
  8. Walter is CHEAP. When I went to get the Tank repaired, two well known Camera shops said it would cost a _minimum_ of $160 to repair my camera, as some wiring needed to be replaced. Walter did it for $60 and cleaned the camera for free (normally $50 in itself.). Also, Two Eyes needs a mirror to be replaced. The cheapest cost I could find online for this procedure is $200 (Over twice what I paid for the camera), and that’s an estimate for JUST the mirror. Walter’s replacing the mirror, cleaning it, and re-calibrating the shutter speeds for $75.

It makes me sad that there aren’t more businesses like Walter’s. Until I met Walter I’d never really known what it meant to do business with a person instead of a conglomerate.

April 1, 2004

for 40 minutes the flood kept coming

An hour ago I entered the computer lab and it was a little cloudy, but it hadn’t so much as drizzled all day. When I exited the computer lab it looked like somebody had turned the sprinklers on full blast for about half an hour and the entire campus is now soaked…

…but the sky is a clear blue.

Google is now hiring for it’s new development center on the moon. Check it out. A choice quote:

“This unique opportunity is available only to highly-qualified individuals who are willing to relocate for an extended period of time, are in top physical condition and are capable of surviving with limited access to such modern conveniences as soy low-fat lattes, The Sopranos and a steady supply of oxygen. ”

Also Google has lifted the veil and shown everyone how their patented search technology works.

Also, in respect for the day, check this out. Gotta love Sid Finch.

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