Tuesday, August 30, 2011

oops, forgot this one


The Iowa Review is in Prairie Lights.

I made a few more work prints from this year's state fairs.

I got into in a show in California.

I arranged to have coffee with Mandy from OK Cupid on Thursday.

I arranged to have dinner with Voldemort on Sunday. He's going to make tacos, guacamole, and margaritas.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

I should be sleeping but I'm reading over and making small edits to old writings instead

I remember a photograph of myself at four years old. I am sitting on the floor and smiling with my arm around my new puppy. I am wearing a green checked dress. The puppy is a light fawn color with a white nose and white belly. We are roughly the same size. There is a Christmas tree behind me and the legs and feet of adults at the edge of the frame. I have no memory of this event; in my earliest memories we already have a dog. His name is Caboose.

Except it’s not entirely true that in my earliest memories we had a dog, because he isn’t present in most of my memories. I remember the fact that he existed at that time, but he wasn’t there. If each memory were a photograph, he would be, always, outside the frame. We kept him in the backyard, to be eventually joined by first one, and then two, black cats, and an escaped rabbit.

When my parents tell the story, they say, We got you a puppy because he was small, and you were small, but we should have gotten a small dog instead. The puppy was rambunctious. He scared you. It’s a reasonable explanation. I don’t know if it’s true. I only know that I never loved him. None of us did.

I don’t know if I had asked for a dog or if he just happened. With two parents, a brother, and a white stucco ranch house with a fenced-in backyard, perhaps the dog was simply a necessary part of what I would later learn to call our nuclear family. Other necessities included family trips in the summer to the Grand Canyon and day trips to the mountains in the winter. Dutifully, I learned to make snow angels and sled down small hills. My attempts at making snowmen were less successful. Afterwards, we would get back in the van, wet and shivering, and drive back home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nerd Soapbox Time

"Dynamic range" refers to the range of luminance between the brightest and darkest parts of an image or scene. A film scanner, for example, might be praised for having a high dynamic range, meaning that it can register detail in both very high and very low density areas of a negative. Human sight is capable of processing a very high dynamic range, as demonstrated by the fact that I can sit in a room with a window and be able to see detail in both the couch in front of the window, and in the bushes outside the window. Most other recording and displaying media have much lower ranges. Negative film has a higher dynamic range than slide film, most digital cameras, and photo prints.

In traditional darkroom photography, the difference between the dynamic range of a scene and a negative can be dealt with by manipulating the exposure and development times to handle a greater range of light. The difference between the negative and the print can be dealt with by selectively exposing the print so that the darkest areas are exposed for less time than the lightest areas. This makes the dark areas a little lighter, and the light areas a little darker, compressing the total dynamic range from what it was on film to what can be captured in a print.

With digital photography, the sensor in a camera can't be manipulated to have a greater range than it is naturally built with. So in order to compress the dynamic range of a scene into that which can be printed, usually more than one exposure is taken, and those exposures are merged together selectively on the computer, much like selectively exposing a print in the darkroom. This can be done "by hand," which can be a very easy or tedious task, depending on the image. There are also programs and plug-ins that will take several exposures of the same image and merge them automatically. Both these programs and the images they create are generally called "HDR," which stands for "High Dynamic Range." The name is a bit of a misnomer, because they are actually turning scenes with high dynamic range into prints with lower dynamic range. The range is being compressed, rather than expanded.

Many of these HDR programs compress the dynamic range on a micro level, so that not only are broad areas of light or dark in a scene flattened out, but the individual highlights and shadows on every object in the scene are also flattened out. This process produces a look that often resembles video games and other computer generated graphics. That look has begun to be called "HDR," even when it wasn't created from a scene or set of files that had a high dynamic range to begin with.

So when someone takes a photo of a scene that has a medium dynamic range, and all areas of the scene are adequately exposed in the image, and then processes that image to look as if it had been put through an HDR program, and then calls that image an HDR image, it's wrong on multiple levels. It's a mislabel of a mislabel. The photo, first off, wasn't actually given any treatment to deal with a high dynamic range in the scene. And even if it had been, calling the final result a "high dynamic range" image is also a mislabel. The final image doesn't have a higher dynamic range, it has a lower one.

This is why I hate the term HDR.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Also, I have more film to pick up (rolls 8-11). Yay!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is what I do.

Iowa State Fair, 2011

notes for essay: now in screenplay form



Between April 15, 2009, and August 9, 2011, I have written 108 messages.
Each message leaves me anxious but hopeful. I am full of wait and want.
I am constantly on the brink of something.



Each message is an imagined future, the beginning of a story that -might-
happen. I have written myself one hundred and eight different lives.
(Music begins- “Friday I’m in Love”)

None of the montage images are clearly focused on the couple, and Angela IMAGINARY BOYFRIEND's faces are seldom visible in the frame. Imaginary Boyfriend changes in every shot.

--Angela and Imaginary Boyfriend walk across campus, holding hands. They stop and kiss.

--Angela is in the same place, holding hands with Imaginary Boyfriend.

--Angela and Imaginary Boyfriend walk into ice cream parlor, Angela walks out with a different Imaginary Boyfriend.

--Angela is with a group of people at a bar, they are talking and laughing, and she is half-sitting on Imaginary Boyfriend's lap.


Each message is a different version, not only of my future, but of myself. I have
written to one hundred and eight different people, and each one of those one
hundred and eight people have seen a different me.

--Angela and an unidentified person are snuggled on the couch watching TV.

--We end with Angela and Imaginary Boyfriend making out in bed. It is night, and the room is lit by the computer screen and a small lamp on the desk behind the bed. END MONTAGE


We are seeing through Angela’s POV. The bathroom is bright. Angela washes her face and brushes her teeth. She takes medication. (Occasional fade to black, such as when washing face.)


I am confident. I am optimistic. I am happy. I am short, fat and half-asian.
Some days I'm also funny and intelligent and cute, although I don't know if I
ever manage all three at once. I am often entertaining. I seldom kill people.
I can't drive somewhere 2 hours away without wanting to keep driving for
another 6. Sometimes I yell at cats. I’m totally frazzled and anxious. I’m neurotic.
I’m way too old. I do not live in St. Louis. I am not reading a book while riding
a bike in a library. I have never been to a roller girl match, and I’m not quite
sure why. I haven't ever made a prank call. But I did once call every dirty 1-800
number I could think of, to see if they all actually were what they sounded like.


Still through Angela’s POV, looking through the closet, picking out clothes, trying them on. The view in the mirror is blurred or far away.


Reading them later, I sometimes can’t believe the things I've said, out loud
(sort of) to total strangers, although I know that really, this is only possible
because they are strangers. They aren’t real people, not yet. Until they write
back, they are only the people I want them to be. While I write, I am the
person I want to be. And every time I write to someone new, I have a
new chance to try again. Every message is a first message and a new start.



I’ve actually tried to quit, more times than I can count. But I can’t stop.
I need the waiting, and the hoping, and the wanting. I don’t know what to
do with myself without it.

Monday, August 15, 2011


80 East over the Mississippi. A stack of CDs on the passenger seat, holding down a ripped out sheet of notebook paper with my directions written down. 80 to 88 to 39 to 43 to 894 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In two hours I will check another state off my list. I am 27 and counting.

I remember what joy feels like. All the little disappointments, the boys I tried for and missed, they fall away. They never mattered in the first place. None of them felt like this. I want someone to be this road, right now, this sun and sky and music on the CD player. I am flinging myself across state lines and singing loudly and raucously and THIS is what I want, THIS is what I am worth.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

notes for essay

I write these messages to strangers on dating sites at two-thirty in the morning, half-drunk with exhaustion, and half-drunk with drink, giddy and hopeful. I write them when I wake up, and in the minutes before work or class. I mull them over for hours or days, typing and retyping the same sentence. I write them without thinking at all, almost on accident, I trip and they fall out of my hands.

Between April 15, 2009, and August 9, 2011, I have written 108 messages.

I write them to far away people I never expect to meet, and people in town who I want very much to meet. Sometimes, when I spend a lot of time thinking about a message, I begin to feel as if we've already met. I get along so well with the person I imagine that I can't quite believe that they wouldn't write back. After all, we're such good friends--or we will be, I know it.

Every message is an imagined future, the beginning of a story that could happen.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


A girl. It only took me, oh, two hours to write...

one oh five and one oh six

This one is scary because he's going to be a real person which means there's another level of accountability. I wanted to come off as "just saying hi and being friendly" and not "hey there I'm hitting on you."

I think it kind of looks like everything else I write, which either doesn't bode well for my plan, or means that I always just sound friendly.

What's the point of having a boyfriend if we're never going to go out for sushi?

where to start

I might have a new reader. It might be you. And so I want to be interesting and eloquent and witty and wise.

I want you to like me. I want to appear as if I think about things other than this chronicle of unanswered messages. But I think that would be a lie. It kind of is all I think about. Also, yarn. Dating and yarn. Dating and yarn and the song Rabbit Heart, by Florence + the Machine, which has a very rousing chorus that sounds like groove is the love and groove is the life, but according to the lyrics is saying who is the lamb and who is the knife, and if you listen closely, is really saying who is the llama, who is the knife. And since llamas make yarn (with my help), I suppose I'm back to just dating and yarn again. And weight loss, and shoes, and oh my god I think that if I performed "female" any harder on this blog I might turn the entire internet pink.

I am trying to write a video essay about the dating project, not just about the dating this time, but the project as a whole, the spreadsheet and the graphs, and the things I have learned, and the things I haven't learned, but I don't know where to start. I don't know what the story is yet.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


If I love myself just the way I am, then there is no need to make changes. If I want to be someone who improves myself, then I have to not-love some aspects of myself. At least, I have to think that I will love the change even better. The harder the change, the bigger the difference needs to be between how I feel about what I am and how I feel about what I could be. The desire has to match the difficulty.

Losing weight is really, really, hard. And the only way I can do it is if the gap between how much I like what I am and how much I like what I could be is really, really, big. And the only way to widen that gap enough is to hate what I am, to make it so I have to change. Because if there is any other acceptable option, I'd take it. And that's a problem.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It's 3:36pm and I can't eat again until 6. I chew on the fleshy part of my right index finger between the knuckle and the first joint. I pull at my hair. I can't concentrate. It's August 3rd and I've been hungry since June.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 & 102

Things with Devin did not go well. They went very embarrassingly not well. Looking at other people, writing other people, helps me stop dwelling. I'm still feeling pretty doomed and unkissable. But at least now he is not the one hope that is failing, see, there are other maybe-hopes over there...

more charts

I do not have internet at home. There's not much else to do.