Film

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This most recent obsession with film has increased in intensity.

A part of me is happy to see that film is making a comeback. Gigi Hadid, of all people, made a disposable camera Instagram. Film has become vogue, stylish, fun. The disposable, once looked upon as child’s plastic, is the hipster adult’s party item. It’s great and all, but–

It’s pricey. Very pricey. After scrounging around the web, I’ve come to the conclusion that Wal Mart, at this moment, is the only affordable film place. But it’s also slow, unreliable, and offers shoddy photo quality. I never asked for a CD or prints; I do ask for timeliness and film that isn’t lost. I’m typing right now and checking the last time I gave them my film. Two weeks ago. A week later, I checked on it: it still hadn’t left the counter.

Some people send out their film to The Darkroom in California. Some rave about the place. Others abhor their lack of customer service. I am deeply skeptical of mail. (This is what happens growing up during my generation. Wow, I sound oddly old. I meant that to emphasize the fact that I am not old enough) There are also other mail-order film labs where you can send in your rolls of film, and they develop and scan for you. Those are upwards of $12, usually hovering around a solid $15 per roll. I’m on a budget here. Look at me–I’m Mr. Meseeks!– a film-obsessed girl on a budget.

In college, I took a film photography class, where we went old school. There was a downstairs darkroom, countless chemical baths, light flashers, and light-sensitive paper. (Looking back, I’m still surprised that I shaved a semester off college, having taken the fun, personal classes that I did. I tanked some plant-salad-squirrel biology test, dropped the class on a whim, and picked up this photography class. I’m really glad that I did: in the end, I made a friend, took a better science, and learned film.)

I am seriously contemplating developing and scanning my own color film. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, according to the many Youtube videos I’ve scrubbed. But it is a high starting cost. I’ll need the chemicals, chemical bottles, a developing tank, a developer kit, a thermometer, and a scanner. I lied in bed last night doing the math. I groggily tried to set up an algebra equation–when would processing film be cheaper by hand than via lab? Ultimately, I deduced, if I ended up developing 25 rolls of film by hand, it’d be ‘cheaper’ per photo than if I simply paid a lab to process it for me.

Going through these calculations makes me feel like I’m working with one of my students. The fixed costs at $150. One roll of film, with 24 images, costs $40. Chemical costs (added to fixed) occur every 40 rolls at $30. How much does each photograph cost for the first 10 rolls, 20 rolls, 30 rolls and 40 rolls?

If you’ve read this far and the thought of basic algebra makes you mildly tingle, then feel free to check my math. It’s 7:30 AM on a Saturday morning–not my best math mode, but a math mode nonetheless. Here are my conclusions:

If I developed 10 rolls, each photo would cost $0.80.

If I developed 20 rolls, each photo would cost be $0.50.

If I developed 30 rolls, each photo would cost me $0.37.

If I developed 40 rolls, each photo would cost me $0.35.

Basically, as long as I got through 30 rolls in life, I’d be paying less per film photo by developing at home than I would if I sent each roll to a film lab.

I suppose that settles things. I just need to ensure that the hobby does not disappear overnight. I doubt it. Every year, I become obsessed with film. It’s like migration for birds: regular, anticipated, and predictably periodic. Now I just have to get my film lab set up. I’m going to wait on the Wal Mart film images first, if those ever get back to me, because I don’t even know how that roll of film will turn out. I used an old film point-and-shoot that hasn’t been touched in a decade. The quality should be fine, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll continue to flood Instagram with old film photos that I fall in love with again and again.

Why film? a little voice sometimes ask. Why not just digital? Because film is–and this seems shallow–beautiful and nostalgic. The color gradients, the shadows, the grainy imperfections, the delay of instant gratification–those are all part of the appeal. But mostly because film is beautiful. Digital tries to replicate; digital can’t.

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Swinging Away, This Childhood

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written November 2008

I went over to my friend’s house this Friday. At the park, I walked over to two kids that looked about eight and six at the park, asked what they were doing, and invited them to a game of tag.

It ended up in a swinging contest. I was the judge.

I called the picture Swinging Away, This Childhood, because I know being a kid isn’t going to last, and you’re just swinging in the air, all free and happy with the wind messing up your hair. And then, before you know it, you have to get off and your childhood’s gone.

Maybe it’s not like that. But maybe it is. I’m not the one to speak. After all, I’m still swinging.

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A New Chapter

I start graduate school in I/O Psychology in exactly one week!

For those who aren’t familiar with the field, a brief spiel:

When you think of psychology, you may think of mental health issues or counseling. But we often overlook the psychology and mental states of people who work. If you think about it, most people work–you probably work, your friends probably work, your family probably works. And maybe one of them has run into issues of, say, a bad boss. Or a toxic co-worker. Or lack of motivation. I/O Psychology addresses all of that. It addresses the daily psychology of people like you, me, your neighbor, your best friend’s cousin, of workers.

The field is relatively broad, and it overlaps with HR. Some go into recruitment and hiring. Others go into training and development. Others go into I/O psychology consulting.

I generally don’t feel inclined to explain the whole field to people–this was just something I told a parent about a year ago. Her friend, at the time, was working alongside the I/O department at a consulting field. She seemed very knowledgeable. My boss was also familiar with I/O and asked, with a bit of a twinkle in his eye, why I didn’t choose my alma mater for graduate school. That’s where the renown organizational psychologist resides, isn’t it? I said they didn’t offer the program, ironically.

As far as academics, I know I’ll be fine. At my alma mater, the grueling cold Ivy where people locked themselves up in libraries on weekends, I still overloaded from boredom and shaved a semester off. But the field of I/O Psychology, which I’m pursuing, is less saturated in academia and more so in practical, boots-on-the-ground application. So I’m steering my focus on relationships and practical experience. In my own time, I’ve been learning basic Python, because apparently, it’s incredibly useful to know.

All in all, I’m excited to start the program, to flip open to a new chapter in my life. It really does feel like that (it be like that sometimes). I’m nervous about juggling my schedule, but I know I’ll be fine. And finally, I can pursue the field of Psychology! I’ve spent years of my life poring over psychology books and studies, signing up for mailing lists at 11, memorizing researchers and days and conditions. Now I can pursue it–professionally and academically!

Reverie

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Sometimes I find myself lost in paintings: the best pieces, I think, are transportive. You’re no longer in the pristine museum with white walled divides or the living room with its gaudy frames. You’re on some field instead, climbing over oil globs and brush marks and resting in blended shade. You’re on the rainbow trail dotted with pink painted flora. You’re somewhere else instead, dancing in visual reverie.

Picky

A perk of being picky, I think, is that the food I make tastes good, because otherwise, I won’t eat it. Because otherwise, I feel irritated at having invested time and effort into something I don’t love to eat. Because otherwise, if I don’t love it, and it’s not crispy where it’s supposed to be or tender where it’s supposed to be or salty when it’s supposed to, I feel agitated. I have to learn the food! I have to learn it!

I mull over it. I research temperatures. How do I manipulate it properly? I look up similar experiences. Why did egg whites collapse? Why was the meat rubbery? Then I learn the material. What does one type of meat do under different types of heat? Pressure? Time? How does one vegetable cook so the texture is just right?–and not like those awful watery canned cafeteria greens.

When it comes to food, I’m just so very picky. I’m picky about what I eat, so I’m picky about how I make it, because if I don’t make it right, it’s as frustrating as being two and force fed carrots. I’m also conscious of price–cannot be too high– and health–cannot be unhealthy and bad, but it also cannot taste bad, like those weird veggie shots in smoothies.

It must taste clean, with little salt, little oil, little grease. I always privately thought that delicious food swamped in grease was cheating. Dirty fast food is fine in moderation, and I love indulging every now and then, but if I eat too much, I feel like shit. And healthy should not equate to nasty. Vegetables smoothies make me gag. Healthy foods should taste good, too. Clean protein. Vegetables. Yes to flavor explosions, no to blandness. This is where the spice rack steps up.

There are various rules surrounding the food I make and eat. I generally don’t eat the same foods two times in a row, unless I’m on an obsessive streak. Fruits don’t mix with vegetables. Vegetables are better solid and simple; fruits are preferable in smoothie form. No meats in the morning, only carbohydrates. The more I type this out, the more I realize that my rules are a bit rigid and that I am, as my boyfriend says, particular. Well, I guess I am very particular.

At least my picky particularities contribute to my food-making. Or so I like to think. On another note, it wrong to expect others to be able to cook? To me, it’s a life skill. Like being a caveman and knowing how to make fire. I find enthusiasm towards cooking both admirable and attractive. Food, sustenance–this shit is important! And it should always taste good, too.

The Broad Museum

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“You are a goddess living in a city of angels.”

We passed by the courier-sans painted declaration of love and self-love on the walk to The Broad, LA’s contemporary art museum. On the way, we were stopped by an angry protest in the streets. They marched in circles, shouting loud, the police surrounded. After a few attempts to go around the demonstration, we finally climbed up several warm blocks to The Broad.

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We took the three story high escalator to the massive airy room, which housed millions of dollars worth of contemporary art. Several sections were partitioned off, so we zig zagged through the exhibits.

At first, all I saw were scribbles. Blobs. Meaningless abstract figures. And, truth be told, I’d never been a huge fan of contemporary. It always seemed like a whole lot of nothing imbued with something. But the art began to morph into more complicated, familiar pieces. Roy Lichtenstein. Andy Warhol. Jeff Koons. Cindy Sherman. Kruger. 2D images, pixelated and printed, danced to life.

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Here I was, seeing the works of so many artists I’d researched, written about, drawn inspiration from.

Near the end of the museum, we found ourselves in a video exhibit. In a mid-size room, there were at least 10 projections on the walls. On each projection was a musician, cradling a different instrument.

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Each musician contributed to rising the symphony, each absorbed in his own world, his own space, while creating one with others. The music ebbed and flowed.

 

New Blog Layout, Hurrah

Why am I looking up psychology studies at 12:30 AM?

It’s hard to believe that graduate school starts soon. I’m nervous and in slight disbelief.

But I have energy and resolve and whatnot. The only thing I’m wary about is…transportation.

My blog has undergone a makeover. It’s small and minimalist now. I’m not even sure if it’s intended for reading. The old layout was just dull and littered with ads. That was driving me nuts.

These image-ridden posts are getting tiring. I’m going to opt for more of these brief, blank text posts.

That’s it for now. My mind draws a blank.