October 14th

Just to clarify- I came across the already-dead monarch..

Just to clarify- I came across the already-dead monarch..

It’s been a while, eh?

These photographs are from August 14th, one of the many ventures I’ve undertaken with Sampson (my Canon) this summer.
I’ve been pouring my all into the hunt (of job) for the past few months, which can get maddening as it generally places you in front of a computer screen for the bulk of the day, as everything is done online and electronically these days.  When my sanity seems in peril I take a break, usually to walk my dog or my camera.  Sometimes I just get into my car and drive around until I see something or some place that I find interesting, pull over, and have at it.

That’s what happened with the both of these photographs.  The first, a close-up of foliage and a rather dead tree-type of form, I came across after pulling over near one of the many stretches of massive power-lines.  I had ended up hiking up a small hill and down a barely-worn path.

The second photograph was also in pursuit of a herd of power-lines, although I had stopped short on a small path before even getting that far.  It was right next to a small, older woman’s little house.  She had been outside gardening, and I guess my presence had unnerved her, as she slowly made her way over to me to see what I was doing.  Her first language was not English, so she was pensive and visibly having a difficult time communicating, so I showed her my camera and said that I was (okay, I may not be any more but I WAS) an art student, and I am just taking photographs.  She seemed wary but somewhat understood- the look of caution fading a bit from her small features.

I made a note of her address so that I could send her a couple of photographs in the mail later, as a token of thanks.


august trails

Since I started going to school in the city, I’ve really grown to enjoy it so much more-so than I ever thought I would growing up.  I used to want to get my own ranch with a hundred or two hundred acres, a couple of horses and a dog or two.  Now I want my career to finally take off in the city, so I can get myself another little apartment, placed so as to give me the  ability to walk around to where I need to go, and wander, looking around at all of the different people, shops, architectural time-zones, etc.

I still adore the beauty that can be found in rural America, but I crave the activity of the city.  It has its own beauty, too.

Speaking of such- I have recently taken up a new part-time position working in a cafe in the city.  I can take the train in during the mornings I work, or stay with Preston or perhaps other friends.  Today was a little rough, with thoughts akin to “why am I back to doing this type of work?” and “why have I not been hired for a full-time, career-pursuing position by now?“.  Luckily (well, unfortunately for the two of us) one of my coworkers is in the exact same position as I am, so we can relate and remind each other that the business of newly-graduated student job-hunting is hard.  We are not failures, and in fact should be proud that we have taken the step to do whatever work we can while we search for our careers.  We are working earnestly.

I now hope not only for my own career to begin, but for hers too.


Well, I think I’ve gone on long enough.  I have a long shift at the cafe tomorrow!

May 27th – the day I became Bat Girl

batgirl

… yeah.. I got distracted and made a little batgirl..

I woke up to a group facebook message from the boys.

Geoff : There’s a dead bat .. on our floor

With a cell-phone picture of said bat.

So I got out of bed, made sure my shoulders and knees were covered (as we are living in a Monastery, and modesty is a cultural must within any kind of church or religious building), slipped into some flats, and headed down to breakfast.  I left the small corridor that contains three of our group’s bedrooms (the boys, my shared room with Sam & Christine, and another room of lovely lady companions), passed through our main classroom- where Derrick and Geoff sat, on their computers– up a small set of stairs, and through a larger hall with a better amount of natural light. Just sitting there in a little clump of fur was the bat.  Poor little guy- his fur was tousled and he sat still, looking somewhat mangey like he had a really rough night.
So I turned tail and veered right into the kitchen at the bottom of the stairs, before I reached the classroom.  I didn’t know whose they were, but there were plastic cups and plates, so I grabbed one of each.
I really didn’t think the bat was dead. It was the morning, and although he looked out of sorts- not so much so.
I used the cup to scoop the little guy onto the plate; a rude awakening for him.  Luckily he wasn’t in too much of a mood and settled down as I walked to the front desk.  I wasn’t sure how this particular receptionist’s english was, so I just said “excuse me” (one of the few things I can say in Italian) and questioned her, “English?”. She replied yes and so I brought the plate forward and told her it was a bat.  When she continued to look at me quizzically, with her brow furrowed, I told her, “it has wings, and flies at night” and I watched as her brow loosened and she understood what I was trying to tell her.  I told her that the students had found it and thought it dead, but it was just having a rough morning, and I didn’t want to leave it to a) get hurt or b) for someone to frighten it and it, in turn, bite them.

She told me, “Oh! I’ve caught two” previously. She continued to explain that there are bats that live in that part of the building, out in one of the courtyards, and that sometimes – especially on a cold night like the one before – they get inside.
Obviously feeling quite validated in my decision to rescue the bat, as she reached across the counter of the reception desk for it, I thanked her and promptly turned on my heels, heading towards the boys who thought I was just being a crazy country-person for going near it at all.

And of course Derrick’s first words to me were, “wash your hands!”.

–   –   –   –

As usual, after finishing class on-site (usually in a church or in a piazza) I returned to the Don Orione (the monastery) and asked for my room key at the reception desk, “Chinque chento quatro?”
She handed me my key as the receptionist from earlier in the day came out of the office and told me , “your bat” and made a flying motion with her hands.  I told her I was happy he was alright and thanked her for working with me, and she was smiling and said that it wasn’t a problem.  I think she enjoyed helping him as much as I did- especially since she had helped two before.

So yeah- that’s the story of how I saved the bat.

sub/consciousness

So this being my last semester on campus (at least as an undergrad, who knows), I’m taking quite a number of classes, finishing up my credits to graduate.
I had two extra credits to fill (since this school likes to be ridiculous and take as much of the money I don’t have as it possibly can, and therefore wouldn’t let me transfer in a couple of courses) so I’m doing a directed study, as they call it, with an awesome professor.
It’s a project-based DS, because I want to make something tangible of my work.  Something that I’d actually be willing to spend my time, energy, and (lack of- ha!) funds on.  Something I won’t regret afterwards, and perhaps will even LIKE.

This is something I’d been thinking of and working on for a while.
It’s a book.
But not one long narrative, as I have always played around with (and have yet to pass the 36-microsoft-word-page threshold on)- it’s a compilation of shorter pieces, paired with my own photography.
I’d decided to use my dreams as narratives for this work, since I have so many dreams and enjoy writing them down.  The thing is, a lot of my dreams are difficult to put into words, and so I fear I may not have enough of these stories that are purely from my sleeping mind.
This has driven me, as of late, to think about the validity of including other works into this book.
All of my short stories are from my wandering mind, usually rooted in a dream or seven I’d experienced recent to their being written.  I’ve never been one to simply sit and plot and plan out characters and situations- they’re generally ideas that emerge from the back of my mind, that come waltzing into my consciousness at their own leisure.

Does this, then, entitle them a place in my book of dreams?

No, seriously- tell me.

night number 3

So.. this is the third night in a row that I’ve had a dream like this. A kill or be killed dream.
The first two weren’t organized the same, but I still feel like this was related. Some kind of continuation…

But this time, I was part of an army- all pretty young like me.
We traveled through really dense fog or mist of some sort that had horrible visibility, in a giant group.
Our leader was named “Hero”.
And we had a collection of little dolls that represented real people. They would be brought as “spectators”- representing our loved ones and innocents back home.
And if something happened to the doll- it happened to the person.. So it was in no way a good thing. It was cause for anxiety.
We would march to a location where we suspected the enemy.
Then we would line up- out soldiers split in half, each half facing the other like a sickening mirror. Then the lasers would touch you; a small iridescent beam hitting your chest- it’s color giving orders. Green was safe- you were to stand back and watch things unfold. Usually on the ship (which was black and rusty and cloaked so as not to be seen). Red was active- you were part of the attack/defense on this particular wave. Purple was special- you would be given individual orders for your current mission. Generally something like a sniper or enemy infiltration.
And you did as your color indicated. I don’t know yet what the repercussions for failure to comply are, but they’re obviously not good if I didn’t notice anyone ignoring their orders.
I had dolls for some of my family members in Japan. Luckily I had an officer as a friend who would watch over them for me. When I had that sickly feeling that we weren’t alone he gave them to me and I raced backwards, down the old stone stairs, to my host mother Emi, who was not a fighter but for some reason made to join us on this damned pilgrimage.
I headed back, fighting off the first wave from a distance. Not doing too much for I was not purple.

After the first wave we regrouped, facing each other, and I did not receive a color.  Panic settled over me. I asked those around me and they looked sympathetic, saying they hadnt seen anything on me either.

Then the next wave hit and I moved impulsively.
Like I had received orders my conscious self hadn’t been aware of.
I was purple. But not a simple assignment had been forced upon me. I was no mere  sniper.
I bolted.
I ran full-force towards the attack.
I spotted a particular target, incredibly muscular with a wild look in his eyes and a demonic demeanor. He was way too confident and had eyes such a bright aqua-blue color that they seemed to be lit from behind.
I followed him around the corner of a black metal monstrosity (the form and use of the building I could not tell) and saw him take down a purple before I got there. He held his victim in his inhumanly strong arms, putting his mouth to a particular spot on his neck, and breathing in- as if pulling the vein to the surface of the skin with a vacuum until the man fell limp. I assumed the carotid artery had burst with the pressure.
I barreled into him, with an insane lack of fear. We tumbled around for a bit, and I was shocked to realize he wore no armor. He held me as he did his last victim, and I made sure he couldn’t reach my neck. In fact I went after his. Before his grip ensnared me too tightly, I wrapped me legs around him to gain some leverage.  I searched for the same approximate place on his neck and I bit, and I bit hard. I could notice the shock register in his muscles. But damn it, what was this guy made of? He was crushing some other pressure point of mine as I bit down, fighting the blackness of unconsciousness while trying to send him into that dark place first.
And finally I felt my teeth pierce through, and he started to go limp, but kept on attacking me- so I didn’t stop there. I bit down with all the force I could muster as his grip slowly weakened, but those eyes. Thy never changed. They were simply disturbing.
I stared into them, biting, until they finally shut.
I grabbed him by one of his ridiculously thick arms. Holy shit- did I seriously knock him out? I was suddenly panicking that he’d wake up as I moved him, and that I wouldn’t be able to fend him off a second time.
I quickly dragged him out into the fray, which was unsettlingly empty. I searched for the ship to drag him to, which was confusing since I COULDN’T SEE IT. I was waved over by a slightly aged gentleman, obviously a higher ranked officer, so I headed to him as my deadweight luggage fitfully began his return to consciousness.
When I was close other men appeared to take him off my hands; I had reached the ship. But those uniforms- the hell? They weren’t of our military’s.
Damn it.
This was an enemy ship.
I was so confused- what the hell was going on? Why were they doing this? I was obviously not one of their own.
The man who had flagged me down gave me a warm drink and a towel. We watched as my captive was detained in a glass cylinder.
Inhuman indeed.
Apparently this army had been using experimental procedures on select soldiers, enhancing their capabilities with the risk of serious side effects. Only those deemed the most fit, stable, and worthy contenders were chosen to be lab rats.
And were immediately  released into the field.
This one I had brought back was not selected for these qualities. He was a hotheaded scrawny soldier with an ego unfit for his weak body. Why had he been allowed to change?
It hadn’t gone well. When he was injected the aqua color came to his eyes and shone through his veins. His spindly left arm had torn itself completely off just above the elbow, but when medical assistants stepped closer to intervene, the word “no” could be heard amidst his screaming. His body contorted and his muscles spasmed, the “whites” of his eyes bulged and glowed that sick aqua color as they rolled to the back of his head. His skin took on a grossly blue hue and thickened like rubber. His arm snaked around and contorted, obviously the most painful part of this stage, as his bones cracked and jutted forth; a new arm grew into place.
This was how he went out.
This was the monster I had somehow managed to take down.
And for some reason was being helped by his creators?
Some secret faction of the enemy’s side that wasn’t exactly.. Enemy.
The man brought me further back in the ship and asked if I had a way of contacting my officers. I mentioned the military sanctioned phone I carried and pulled it out of a pocket in my uniform. It was a small black flip phone that glowed red. I opened it and chose the contact “Hero”. My benefactor guided me to a small restroom behind the office, telling me to be quiet and keep an eye on the lock.
I entered, locked, and dialed. Standing against the dark wall, facing the door I had come through.
The ringing stopped but I heard no voice. I spoke quietly into the device telling of my placement on an enemy ship. I did not want to be reported dead.. Also I wanted to get the hell out.
A girl knocked on the door and I asked for a minute. She was polite and walked away.
I redialed and while leaving my second message, a second girl came around. This one not so polite. She asked “are you talking to someone?” And wouldn’t just let me be. She ended up sneaking something Into the lock, drawing a piece of the mechanics back until it opened, and barged her way in. She was a tall blonde girl with a long ponytail. Obviously an officers daughter as she was too clean for fighting and too self absorbed to be treated less than daddy’s little princess.
She crossed her arms and challenged my words, but somehow I got her to drop the suspicion and she led me back to her place like a stray dog.  A new toy to play with.
We crossed borders to a new ship; a civilian ship. She led me to her home, a bright Victorian with wide staircases, lively paint and warm blankets  tossed over homey couches.
She led me up a staircase to her room, obviously hungry for a friend her own age. Surprisingly nonchalant. She didnt care that I was in fatigues ripped and covered in mud and blood. Luckily so much so that you couldn’t tell that they were distributed by another military.
Her family was packing that night to go on a vacation. She wanted to go to the gym and since I said I needed to get back to that other ship soon she said she’d take me to see the “institutional” gym on the way since it was located on that ship.

久しぶりです。

.. {pronounced: hisashiburi desu.
meaning: It’s been a long time.}

I really need to get on here more.  I have been writing (and reading..) a lot, but I’m always self-conscious about what I share with others.
そして、I have three stories going all at once, and I’m not sure which to stick with and work on first- so that’s not really helping with the lack of productivity.

As for some real news:
 I am leaving a week from Monday for Japan! I’ll be in Nagasaki & Fukuoka , and I cannot wait!
I’ll be bringing my Nikon, and hope to get some good photographs during my stay.  I would have liked to bring my Canon, as it is the superior camera (obviously- I am so biased) and I love it, but I need to buy a new lens!
I will be living with host families in their respective cities, and I hope that it goes really well.  I know nothing of my family in Fukuoka, but that my host parents in Nagasaki are young, with a young daughter and a baby boy.  I’m thinking that I’ll probably identify with them more as a friend than as parents! Nonetheless- I am ecstatic!  I hope they’re as excited as I am.  I’ll also bring them some small New England gifts that I hope they will like.

Well, I guess that’s about all for now.