Second Visit to the Blanton Museum of Art

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO6400
“Art Tour” Austin, 2019

Today I dropped Koa off at UT Austin for his third and final band camp of the summer. The dorm he is staying at is right next to the Blanton Museum of Art, so after Koa was squared away, I decided to check out the artwork. As a bonus, I bundled my ticket with parking so I saved a few bucks. 😁

As luck would have it, I bought my admission at about 3 pm, right when a free guided tour was starting. It was “Best of the Museum” and we stopped at nine pieces of art and had discussions about each one. It was very interesting and illuminating! I’ve been interested in art all my life, but I find it hard to understand the purpose of it. Some of the art we saw today from the early 20th century was clearly made to make a social statement, but other Italian art from the 1600s was more of a depiction of a typical everyday scene. They were very different, but both are “art”. I suppose the hangup I’ve always had in understanding art is that for some reason I thought art should have a singular purpose, but that is clearly not the case. Some art is meant as a protest against the status quo, some art is religious and devotional, portraits can simply be a likeness of the subject, etc. I guess the art is more about the artist’s vision, rather than the objects in the art themselves?

Listening to the museum docent describe what the artists may (or may not) have been trying to say opened my eyes as to what art might mean to me. I’m excited to think about it more, and maybe I can use my creativity to make some more meaningful art. The first step is figuring out what I want to say, which honestly could be a challenge.

It’s funny to think that although I’ve been interested in art since elementary school, took classes throughout high school, majored in Art Studio and minored in Art History, then interned at a museum, that finally at 50 years-old I am giving serious thought as to what art means to me. All this time I’ve just been making things just because I liked the aesthetic. But there can be so much more, right?

I hope you had a nice Sunday!

またね~

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO6400
“Replicas” Austin, 2019

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Replicas” Austin, 2019

Speeders and Tickets

Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 31mm, f/11, 1/80 sec, ISO100
“Signage” Leander, 2019

This morning after dropping off Koa at school, I was driving on the street in the 25 mph school zone when someone in a pickup truck was coming up behind me, perhaps driving at 40 mph. I was hoping that there was a police car waiting on the side of the road (as they often are here), but there wasn’t. However, I saw a police cruiser coming the other direction. As we passed by each other, I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw him make a U-turn, then he pulled right behind the truck. At the next intersection, the lights on top of the cruiser lit up and the truck pulled over. I almost cheered when those lights came on!

I might be in the minority on this, but I love to see people get pulled over for speeding, especially in school zones and residential neighborhoods. I mean, it’s really dangerous and there’s no good excuse to be speeding in places where kids or pets could be crossing the street. Sometimes I’m driving at the speed limit of 30 or 35 mph and someone starts tailgating me, and might even flash their high-beams. I used to get upset at this, but now I realize it’s not my problem. It’s their problem and not worth my time. Plus, there’s no way in hell that I am going to get a speeding ticket because of some jerk tailgating me in the neighborhood.

Today’s photo is of some signs at Bay’s high school which I thought were funny. Since Bay is graduating soon, this might have been my last chance to take a photo of it. ☺🐷

I hope you had a good day!

またね~

My Movie Reviews

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/75 sec, ISO3200
“Imitation Game” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

On this blog, I sometimes will post a movie review including a rating from 1 to 10, and then add to my list of movies (and books watched for the year. But sometimes I go back to my list and revise my rating. Oftentimes it’s to lower a score a bit because since some time has passed I can now adjust it for memorability. Usually, the movies that have more of an emotional impact will keep their rating, but those that don’t have that impact will have their ratings dropped.

It’s related to the thought that “you remember how a person makes you feel, rather than what a person tells you”.

I’ve also been thinking about my movie and dorama reviews, and how simplistic they are. Of course, I’m not a professional reviewer, so I can only write from a certain level. But I enjoy writing about movies that I particularly enjoy, in the only way I know how to write, and since the movie reviews tend to be my more popular posts, I think people might relate to how I write. That said, it would be nice to learn a bit more about how to write more elegantly and compellingly. Perhaps someday I can take a class or two, but in the meantime, I’ll keep blogging as usual.

Anyway, today I watched The Imitation Game, which is today’s photo. I thought it was pretty good, and shed light on a dark time in history, both because of the war and the way homosexuals were treated in the mid 20th century.

またね~

Best Place to Renew Passports in Austin

"Waiting at the Passport Office" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/320 sec, ISO200
“Waiting at the Passport Office” Austin, 2019

こんばんは。Today I took my two sons to get their passports renewed at the University of Texas International Office. In the past, we’ve gone to the post office to take care of it, but a friend recommended the UT International Office, and the reviews are fantastic, so we decided to give it a try.

I have to agree that this is the best way to get your passport renewed (or apply for a new one) in person in Austin! The staff was so friendly, the wait time was minimal, and they even offer photo services for cheaper than Walgreens.

I was nervous about going here during spring break because I heard it can get crowded. But really, it’s a great time to do it because you don’t have to take your kids out of school which is important if they are high school age. Plus, during spring break, there’s hardly any traffic. We arrived when the office opened (8 am) and parked at the San Antonio Garage, which is just across the street. The cost was US $6.

There was a short line at the UT International Office, as you can see in the photo above, but it was shorter I was expecting. I think we waited for about 15 minutes before reaching the reception desk, where the friendly staff member made sure we had all of our documents (including check to the US Dept of State) in order, placed everything into a plastic folder for us, and told us to wait for a txt which would let us know it was time for us to head upstairs for the actual processing. The waiting area is small but comfortable. It was such a nice environment compared to the post office!

After 10 more minutes, we received the message and took the elevator up to the 2nd floor where we turned in our document packet to another worker (also super-friendly), who double-checked everything, and then we sat down while they processed the application (or whatever they needed to do). If you need a photo, they will take it upstairs. I think the fee is US $13. Next time, I’d save the trip to Walgreens and just get the photo done (for cheaper) there at the UT International Office.

"International Office" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/50 sec, ISO800
“International Office” Austin, 2019

10 minutes later we were called back to the counter and took oaths stating that everything on the applications was true, then paid the US $35 service fee, listened to a detailed explanation of what would happen next, how long it would take to receive the passports, and received a paper that had instructions on how to check the status of the application. I have to say again that the staff members were so helpful, friendly, and clear about everything. The University of Texas International Office is SO MUCH BETTER than the post office for handling passport applications. I recommend anyone in the Austin area use them.

"Passport Takeaway" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Passport Takeaway” Cedar Park, 2019

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

The Return of Sunshine

"Morning Light" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Morning Light” Cedar Park, 2019

After a couple of grey days, I woke up to this amazing morning sunlight. It lifted my mood immediately… is that another kind of solar power? 😆

Have a nice day!