With the month-long process of restoring the posterior groove in my couch to its proper depth now a fading memory, it is clear that winter break is over and that I must return to the glory of higher education. During my bout of freedom I was able to complete ONE drawing, read ONE book, and, most importantly, played through and beat ONE video game - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. All in all, my first hibernation in the desolate tundra that is winter in Chicago was a success, and by that I mean that I was able to avoid frostbite (narrowly).
Coming from the southwestern part of the United States, where you get 320 days of sunshine annually, it rains when the sun is out, and an eighth of an inch of snow is enough to result in the cancellation of school at every level, the depletion of the state's entire natural gas supply, and cause an automobile accident at every major and minor street intersection simultaneously...Chicago was quite a different experience. For me "weather" has always been more of a loosely understood concept, something that happens to Bill Paxton or Tom Hanks on a large format projector in a dark room. It wasn't until I mistakenly decided to trek into the city to visit a museum during a severe weather alert that I fully understood what living in the midwest during the winter meant. Wandering blindly toward Lake Michigan in knee-high snow and -12 degree weather in warm-by-desert-standards boots at 4:30pm - the time at which even the sun calls it quits - is NOT something that I would recommend to most people. That being said, I now own my first ever pair of snow boots and carry Life Alert around my neck whenever I venture out further than the front steps of my apartment. But I digress. Chicago is a wonderful city and all the contraptions that come to life and wander out into the street to take care of all of the wintery obstacles are pretty amazing. Everything in this city is like a Christmas movie - big trees, ice skating rinks, frozen rats - all incredible. And one final note: during my obligatory holiday Netflix binge, I discovered that every single Christmas movie that I loved and cherished as a dusty, sun-beaten desert child actually took place in Chicago. Every movie I put on was peppered with Chicago flags, Blackhawks jerseys, Bears caps, and that time-honored trope of the grizzled old man who diligently shovels snow, all the while keeping his rheumy eyes locked on the nearby reckless youths who insist on causing mischief too close to his lawn - a classic. Basically, every pitfall encountered by the robbers in Home Alone happened to me at some point during the break, and I loved it.
Turning my attention back to school, the semester has just started and is already yielding very exciting prospects. My foray into the realm of 3D digital media is fully underway and I'm excited to learn the fundamentals of 3Ds MAX and MudBox. This week we had to make a spaceship. It was glorious. In addition to digital art, this semester marks the official start of the Anaplastology program. I'll finally be able to get my hands dirty in the lab and work with wax and plaster. We're starting off with a few drawings of ears, noses, and eyes, then moving into waxwork and moldmaking. In the weeks ahead, I will get to make an ear out of silicon and color it, make an ocular (which I am EXTREMELY excited about), and, hopefully learn a bit about 3D printing. This semester I'll also get to take a more in-depth look at the anatomy of the head and neck with Craniofacial Anatomy, and I'll be taking my *first* business class on how NOT to get screwed over as an artist. There are surprisingly few courses with that aim geared to undergraduates in the arts, which is pretty appalling. And last but not least is the elusive Haptics and Augmented Reality course, which I'm still not 100% sure of what it will require of me. In our first lecture there were a lot of physics terms thrown around and we were warned that if we don't calibrate the machines correctly, we could have a Skynet type of situation on our hands, so...more on that as it develops.
Until next time - I'll be keeping the robots at bay.