Today we received mail addressed to Mr. and Ms. Bobby Ocholoco. (That’s not B’s real last name; I wish it were, but it’s just what I’m calling him for demonstrative purposes.) MR. AND MS. BOBBY OCHOLOCO. Fighting. Words. I love my fiancé dearly, with all my heart, but I will never be M(r)s. Ocholoco. I intend to die as I was born and as I lived: Ms. (Dr.) Whitney J.M. This is to say nothing about us not yet being married! My reaction when I saw the envelope:
Mr. Ocholoco is enroute to Mississippi to visit his family, and I’m in Philly holding down the fort with our creatures. I won’t even pretend B. leaving didn’t come with all manner of crying and self-pity. Literally everyone I know in Philadelphia is out of town and B. doesn’t return until New Year’s Eve, so, you know… call me and such. I’ll just be blasting Justin Timberlake, watching all the TV shows and movies B. hates, and eating oatmeal raisin cookies by the dozen.
Happy Belated Holidays. With love,
Mr. Bobby Ocholoco III, Esq. and Ms. Whitney J.M.
This evil spawn looks so convincingly innocent, but she’s not. She jumped up on the desk and started chewing on my bamboo knitting needles, so I said, “Hey you, knock it off!” and threw a sock at her. So she looked me dead in the eyes – seriously! – and then batted my glasses off the desk, sending them sailing across the room. It was the most intentionally spiteful thing I’ve ever witnessed from an animal.
She’s not the only one being a terrorist, though. Sebastian found himself locked in a closet by an annoyed B. at 5am because he wouldn’t shut up. He was carrying on like a banshee with his meowing. He’s such a talker, and usually it’s endearing, but not nonstop at 5am.
Almost can’t believe there’s only two weeks until Christmas. Where is the snow? When I moved here, it was with some seriously romantic notions of white winters, but so far I haven’t seen much snow at all. Is it too much to ask for enough snow to build a snowman or go sledding at the park?
Life is boring lately – not much else to report. Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.
When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?
Looking out over the Bay from Hamon Tower – with B.
Opening Day 2009 at AT&T Park – with J.Lo
Walking through the Rose Garden and Golden Gate Park – with B.
Fog rolling in over the Oakland Hills at Sibley – with Scooter and Blanket
Waiting for the fireworks to start near Fisherman’s Wharf, July 2009 – with LKP
I’m feeling homesick for the Bay Area. Naturally, this means browsing through pictures of home and listening to songs about California. Yes, I have a California playlist and no, I don’t have any shame about it.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and even though no one asked, I’ll tell you why: It’s one of the few major holidays that is completely secular. (This blog has been profusely secular lately, hasn’t it? No apologies.) I can’t tell you how much it grates on me when I hear things like, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” or “Keep Christ in Christmas!” I so completely could not care less about Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like bringing a spider-infested fire hazard into my house, snowy nights, or decorating with pretty lights. But Thanksgiving. Oh, Thanksgiving. It’s all the tradition and celebration with absolutely none of the annoying genuflection (physical and otherwise).
I wrote a list of things I am thankful for this year:
1. Snuggling up with NoeCat and Sebastiano to keep them warm
2. Hazelnut coffee and pumpkin bread
3. Plenty of peace and quiet for reading good books
4. New friends here in Philadelphia (especially thankful for this one)
5. My rapist being in jail where he can’t harm anyone else (and this one)
6. My favorite little cousin and the new one on the way
7. President Obama’s reelection
8. Beautiful autumn weather and foliage here in Philadelphia
9. My oldest friends, my family, and my wonderful fiancé
These are (some of) the results of the expired roll I shot back in September. I didn’t get to develop this roll myself, but I did find a place that processes this type of film close to my office. In retrospect, I probably would have pulled this roll a bit during processing because I got a tad overly excited about lens flare while I was shooting. I tried to do some dodging and burning in Photoshop, but I got frustrated with it, so I’ll save that for the darkroom.
Nothing spectacular, but a few decent shots. Welcome to West Philly.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Survive a hurricane isn’t on my 30 Before 30 list, but maybe it should be.
I took a few pictures from my front porch. Frankenstorm doesn’t seem very terrifying yet, but it’s not supposed to hit us with its full force until later tonight. I’m housebound for the next couple of days, so maybe I’ll actually finish Madame Bovary.
And, in case you live in a cave, I’ll just leave this here:
Damn, it feels good to be champions. Again.
In all my years as a camera enthusiast, I’ve never taken a self-portrait. I’m not even sure I really know how to take self-portraits. My tripod is in California, and I lost my cable-release years ago, so I had to go with the classic mirror shot. I felt so, so vain.
Some famous artists’ self-portraits revealed neuroses or mental diseases. My self-portrait revealed that I’m a Velma Dinkley doppelgänger. It’s fitting, I suppose, since we’re both brainy and myopic. I think I also inadvertently solved my Halloween costume crisis.
However, this post isn’t just to tell everyone I look like a cartoon (although that is a pretty cool bonus story). Today I got a job! I start on Wednesday. Plus, after the interview I went to Macy’s and bought new shoes because Sebastian vomited all over mine. He really needs to get his barfing under control.
The Bad News: I shattered my iPhone screen.
The Good News: I shattered my iPhone screen exactly 12 days before my Geek Squad Protection Plan expired and I’m getting a brand new iPhone without having to renew a two-year AT&T contract.
The Bad News: B. and I both really want a puppy.
The Good News: We can’t have a puppy, so at least that’s a little less shit to clean up.
The Bad News: I’m years away from ever having a really satisfying job.
The Good News: I’m interviewing to be a campaign canvasser for Planned Parenthood.
Tangent: I applied to work at an AT&T store and the application actually had the following nearly verbatim agree or disagree statement : “This is my first choice job. I would prefer this position over any other.” How the hell was I supposed to answer this question? If I answered honestly, of course I “strongly disagree” – no job. If I answered dishonestly, they’d know I was a lying, lying liar – also no job. I mean, just please, like I literally cried and cursed my way to my degree because I always wanted to work retail for AT&T. For the record, I answered honestly and subsequently received an e-mail stating the store didn’t have “an appropriate position” for me.
The Bad News: I scalded and blistered my hand with Cup of Noodles.
The Really Bad News: I’m so broke I’m eating Cup of Noodles.
The Great News: B. passed the PA bar and is a minute away from being a bona fide officer of the court.
Do you ever just desperately need a change? In middle school I got a terrible haircut (it was a bad time for my tresses) and my dearest friend Scooter laughed at me and asked, “Oh my God, did you cut that yourself?” I think I kicked his shin in response – that seems like something I’d do at 12. Actually, my mom had paid a “stylist” at Supercuts, and the result was bangs that ended about two inches above my eyebrows. Like I said, a bad, bad time.
Lately that ennui I mentioned in my last post had me itching for a change. I decided wanted a haircut and I wanted it the second the thought entered my mind. Patience is not a virtue of mine, so I grabbed some dull office scissors and went straight for the bangs. When B. noticed me, he jumped up yelling, “What are you doing? Stop!” The wise man knew I was going to regret trying to give myself a haircut and, perhaps more importantly, that he would be the one to hear my whining until the damage grew out. He’s a keeper, that one.
I still felt like I needed a change, so I started fiddling with my blog instead. An ugly style sheet is much easier to fix than an ugly haircut. The blog has been in a state of disarray for the last week, especially in regard to a title. Having grown tired of my whit-icisms (see? so lame) and blatant Nabokov theft, I just could not come up with a new name. Finally, this morning, I came up with something on which I think I can settle: Notes from the Darkroom.
Notes because writing is what I like to do, darkroom because it’s where I like to be, and homage to Dostoyevsky (i.e. Notes from Underground) because Russian literature is what I love to read. It’s kind of perfect, but then again, I’ll probably hate it in a week. To be determined…
Small joys in what was an otherwise dreary week:
FaceTime with my cousin and the Giants clinching the NL West.
I’m hopelessly adrift in ennui. No job, no school, no friends, no bueno. I’m slogging through Dead Souls, which is a worthy and enjoyable read, but dense like the war in War & Peace.
Today I left the digital XSi and took the Rebel T2 out roaming. The film has expired, so I’m a bit extra excited. You never know what surprises you’ll get from an expired roll.
It felt incredible, but it’s also a sad reminder that I don’t have easy access to an analog darkroom anymore. Every school since high school has had a darkroom into which my troubles and I could withdraw. I did find a studio here that rents darkroom space by the hour, so I’m planning to go there once I have a few rolls to develop, but it’s just not the same as popping into the studio between classes. But, when I really feel like I’m struggling to hold on to what seems like a relic while the digital age progresses around me, I remember this:
The darkroom is my sanctuary. I live for the weight of the camera in my hands; the sound of the film as it advances; the clatter of the canister as it pops apart and falls to the floor; the smell of familiar chemicals on my hands; and the way developer washes over a blank sheet of paper, slowly turning grey lines into an image.
I wrote that in my admissions essay to Berkeley, and the sentiment is just as true today as it was then.