Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Request #1

My first request blog is in response to all you Texans who never get to play in frozen bits of falling cotton. Lindee asked a while back about the weather in NYC, and I hesitated to tell her. A simple account of the forecast could not suffice for an unfortunate southern child deprived of a winter wonderland. Confident as I am in my descriptive abilities, I defer to the magic of photography. These are a few shots around my campus and the city. To Laken, Lindee, Ainsley, and Mom, I took these pictures for you, I wish you could have been here.

With the exception of this one diversion, everything in this blog is from this semester. Near the end of the savage first semester, I had a treat that made facing finals a bit less horrifying. My favorite animator, Aaron Augenblick, creator of Adult Swim's "superjail," lectured at our school. A few weeks before, the lecture from Andrew Dayton of Pixar made my day, but is didn't compare to this. Aaron revealed some of the secrets of his animation genius, tips for getting involved in the industry, and even how much he struggled. It made my dreams seem possible and my failures feel human. He is an up and coming animator who broke off from MTV and started his own studio before he was thirty. As the owner of Augenblick Studios, his clients include Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, MTV, Spike Lee, and PBS. Look out for his new show Ugly Americans on Comedy Central. My animation instructor introduced me to him, and I found out that there are internship opportunities available.

My doubts about Pratt have been alleviated. Second semester, something has changed. I don't know if everything from last semester sunk in some time over break, or if my improved sleeping and eating habits have removed the filter of pessimism that plagued my first months at Pratt. Whatever it is, its just clicking. Successes come often and failures teach me to improve. Fears of my artistic inadequacy are replaced by a renewed enjoyment in the process of making art in its many forms. Andrew, my roommate for the first semester, transfered to the School of Visual Arts. He was a good roommate and it was sad to see him go. The vacancy in my room was shortly filled by one of my good friends, Jared. Rooming with one of the more talented artist of the freshman class has driven me to improve, and I can always count on solid advice when I am struggling with an assignment. Efficiency at homework has left large spaces for recreation, and those spaces have been used well.

I kicked off the semester with a concert in Harlem, another great christmas present from Hannah. Vampire Weekend, one of my favorite bands, gave an incredible show for their second album, which was even better than the first. A Valentines Day inspired a chocolate hunt brought Hannah to the famous Jacque Torres and later the Max Brenner restaurant. Both places were good, but Max Brenner took the top prize. He and his famous chocolate pizza were featured Food Networks "Best Thing I Ever Ate;" I recommend trying it before you die. February's Time Out New York provided me with a list of fondue restaurants and a hard decision to make. One of the restaurants on the list sent Jared into a nostalgic frenzy; it is apparently his mom's favorite restaurant. With that resolved, Hannah, Jarad and I set out for La Bonne Soupe (see pictures below). Sudden patches of spring gave me the idea one day to borrow my roommate's frisbee while he was in Long Island for the weekend. Hannah and I were having a fun time until I accidently broke the frisbee. One target adventure and two frisbee purchases later, I myself was the proud owner of the original flying disk. Deciding that I went through way too much trouble not to use the frisbee, I have developed what some might call an unnatural fondness for it; I guess some college stereotypes are unavoidable.

MTV has a new program called "My life as Liz," starring a girl who lived not far from where I lived in Texas. It is a fake documentary style show that is based off of her senior year in high school. She basically lives her life, recounts the events, and MTV writers stylize and dramatize the events. Functioning as a semi-reality show, they often hire the people involved to reenact the scenes not captured on film. Investigation into her life revealed that she attended the University of Texas during the fall semester of 2009. On a recent episode of the show, she mentioned going to New York while still in high school. She is now a freshman art history major at Pratt Institute, and is in my friend's art history class. Apparently, the show is going to resume filming here at Pratt, and MTV has been attempting to cast random students for the show. Liz seems to be the artsy type, and her gimmick on the show is that she is alternative. Unfortunately, MTV appeals to mostly a mainstream college demographic, including kids who desire desperately to be snobby NYC art school intellectuals. Many of my fellow Prattcats reject this flattery via imitation, perhaps rightfully so. MTV is a rather ridiculous network, and artist are not usually the type to be made into mascots. Although I sympathize with my classmates' outrage and distaste for MTV, I feel sorry for Liz. The typical college would embrace the semi-celebrity; but art school feels the need to serve as the counter culture. As a result, it is alleged that Liz has very few friends, sits sadly alone at almost all times, and has a difficult time even having friends casted for her. I don't know if she is the wannabe art kid that everyone says she is, but I doubt it. Regardless, there are much worse people here who have friends. So, the plan formulated by Jared, Billy, Hannah, (possibly Hannah's roommate), and I is to find Liz and invite her to a game of frisbee. We plan to maintain a delicate balance between developing a friendship with Liz, and avoiding being on MTV at all cost.

As a side note, I just want to brag about a fact I recently discovered. For those of you who don't know, Hannah attends NYU film school. I found out that NYU film is the number one rated film school IN THE WORLD! My lady's got skillz.

From about 100 applicants, including upper class men, I was given one of the eleven spots as a Resident Advisor at Pratt next year. Not only did they choose me, but they gave me my first choice of dorm. Willoughby, the upper class dorm, is an apartment style dorm complete with a kitchen, and choice of suite mate. This will save me an unbelievable amount of money, and put me strategically close to the animation building. I look forward to the amazing meals from Jared and Hannah, who have both been itching to utilize their culinary talents. My residents will likely be older students, which just adds cool points for me. I guess I have skills too.

It has been a great semester for me, and I hope everyone else has been as fortunate. I am nearly finished with all of my homework as I enter spring break. I would love to hear some suggestions for activities during this free week in the amazing NYC. And for those of you feeling sad, I found squirrel with a bag stuck on its tail, may it bring you happiness.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Format

Too much happens for me to do all the exciting events in my life justice. I would probably bore everyone in the process. From this point forward, I will write about what you request. Text, comment, email, call, etc. and tell me what you want to read about. I look forward to your suggestions.