Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Summer, where hast thou gone?

Well, here I am, nearly done with my first week of classes. It's always hard to get back into the swing of things. That said, I feel as if I should reflect on my accomplishments of the summer.

Right after finishing up spring semester I drove to Albuquerque with my Dad. My sister was competing in the Intel International Science Fair. She did quite well, placing 3rd in the Biochemistry category. The major reason I wanted to go to New Mexico was because I wanted to visit White Sands National Monument to take some photos. I took a day trip down to White Sands, and took some excellent pictures. Later, I was disappointed to find that I had inadvertently left my camera's ISO setting at 400, which resulted in some excessively noisy photos. I originally planned to watch the sun set from White Sands, but I decided to head back earlier and save that for a later date. Really, though, it's an incredible place:

As soon as I got back from New Mexico I immediately downloaded the Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta, and proceeded own n00bs. I felt that the beta build played really well, and took a little bit more skill than Halo 2. The new weapons and gadgets made for new and exciting gameplay situations, where ingenuity frequently ousted the standard run 'n' gun feel of the Halo franchise. I also found myself so thankful to spawn with an Assult Rifle, as compared to the traditional starting weapons of Halo 2, the SMG and Battle Rifle (underpowered and overpowered, respectively). My only gripe in the Beta was that the respawn system seemed to have a few kinks: the guy you just owned spawned about 30 feet from where you killed him, and is chasing you down before your shields have finished recharging. Spanking the same guy over and over again gets a little boring after a while... ;-) In any case, I throughly enjoyed the Beta, achieving the rank of Major.

While I played Halo by night (my personal motto is Carpe Noctem), I went to class during during the afternoon. After having the most wretched experience imaginable while taking a lab class during the summer of '06, I swore I would never do it again. Unfortunately, I realized that I should take a couple of classes to make my senior year at the University of Utah a bit easier. I ended up taking a ceramics class as well as intermediate writing. I rocked them both. Ceramics was incredibly fun. For the final project we needed to make a three dimensional object out of slabs of clay. Everyone in my class made a box or cube, that is, everyone except me. I made a dodecahedron. I think my classmates hated me, however they had the last laugh: I spent about three times the amount of time in the studio.

The rest of my academic time was usually spent sitting in front of my laptop plunking away at the keyboard or perusing sources I was using to write my papers. The theme of my writing class was Wealth and Poverty. I had just finished the book Bono: In Conversation, in which Bono spends a great deal of time talking about African debt and poverty. Following his lead, I chose to reseach, report, and argue on this topic. I couldn't have picked anything better to learn about. I did struggle with the large amounts of information, much of which was highly politicized, and the depth of the issues on the African continent. My final paper focused on the current debt of African nations. I was pleased to receive a perfect score on this paper. Thanks to my friend Megan for helping me with the editing (sorry, Megan, but I didn't take out all of the passive voice you underlined).

I was also able to take off on a few trips this summer. Most importantly, I was able to hang out with my friend Thomas, whom I met in Zion National Park. Along with Tommy's dad, Brian, we hiked the narrows, 16 miles down the canyon about half of that in the Virgin river. As if that wasn't enough physical activity for the weekend, the next day we went water skiing at Lake Powell, and then spent the night at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was an incredible three days. In addition, I went to Montana and Washington. Good times.

I've already touched on this, but I wanted to go back and talk a little bit more about my experiences a a photographer during the past couple of months. This summer, I have really been able to come to terms with my camera, especially with my macro lens (100mm f/2.8 for those of you who care). My familiarity with my equipment has allowed me to get some great captures in situations that previously would only have resulted in a poor photo. In addition, my skills in using Photoshop are constantly getting more refined. Last year I told myself that I wouldn't get another lens until I had built up a significant gallery of photos that I was truly proud of. While I never actually defined what "significant" was, I have definitely made progress toward that goal this summer.

This post is much longer than I anticipated, however, I've barely scraped the surface. The best parts of summer have been the little things: weekly lunches with friends, unlocking xbox achievements, halo parties, going to concerts, hanging out with friends until 3 am, slurpee runs to 7-11, and most importantly sleeping in until noon. It was an awesome summer!

1 comment:

  1. Well Dain, I suppose if you're going to be a dentist, passive voice will serve you well. It sounds much less scary if you say "The tooth will be removed" than if you say "I am going to yank your tooth out with a pair of pliers." I've just demonstrated one of many instances for which passive voice is not only acceptable, but preferred.