Tag Archives: I-5

The Boredom & Beauty of Interstate 5

I really really hate making that long trip from San Diego to Vacaville (and back) all by myself. Especially when I don’t bother to burn a few CDs to listen to on the 8 hour+ drive. Yeah, I have tons of old mixes that are TOO GOOD, but I’ve heard it all before. I’ve gotten used to making the trip without any natural supplements now too. They may make the drive smoother, but its such a waste! Ah procrastination… you slay me once again.

Another thing that really sucks are the stinky parts of the stretch that fills the car with Eau de Cow Poop… YUK. (Hint: blast the AC and put it on recycle BEFORE you hit those patches. Drive “The Five” (as SoCal’rs say) enough times and you’ll know develop a sense of where they are. Oh, and breathe through your mouth).

For speeders: The cops. Such a long drive and so few blue&reds, it gives you a sense of false security. Sure you can speed through 80% of the trip at 90+, but that one time you get caught is enough to make it all not worth it. And besides, think of the gas! Luckily, I’ve never been caught (on I-5 at least), but I’ve had a few close calls. Nevertheless, on every trip I try to push my car to the limit (around 110 mph) at least once, for good measure.

For non-speeders: Those damned speeders think they own the road! Honkin’ their horns, blarin’ their lights. Damn! Calm the fuck down! I fall into this category these days, mostly cuz of gas prices. But man… I sure miss making it home in 6 hours (or less!).

For both: Trucks. Damn they’re slow. And don’t you hate it when a truck attempts to pass another? Seriously, what’s the point of that!?

And of course: LA Traffic. This is gotta be the worst part of the drive by far. Get a bad lot, and you can add another 2 to 4 hours to your trip. In the smog. Normally I schedule my trips around rush hour, but with LA, you just never know. Man LA sucks.

But there is one thing that I do enjoy about the drive:

[quicktime width=”640″ height=”480″]../../videos/beauty_of_5.mov[/quicktime]

Moments like this make me take a deep breath and remember that I’m happy with my life. I’ve always wanted to be a passenger and work on my light/dark drawing skills with the hills— aka the other reason Cali is known as the “Golden State”. The hills, the sky… so beautiful when there’s nothing else around to spoil the view (cept for the damned infinite stretch of pavement, but I’ll take what I can get). Though I’m all for beautiful lush foliage and greenery, growing up in a valley surrounded by these golden brown mounds has led me to appreciate and respect the beauty of the seasonal cycle.

The song in the background is Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence“, from the movie of the same name. Chances are you’ve heard this beautiful song from somewhere, but don’t know where; The somewhat mystical, somewhat haunting melody has been used in many an ad/trailer I’m sure. I’d do the research, but I should be doing homework now anyways, so that will have to wait.

Anyway, this has been a favorite song of mine ever since I was a kid. I’m sure I must have seen the movie when I was little, as it deals with East/West relations in a Japanese POW camp, but I can’t remember it at all–only the song remains. Though it stands by itself fine enough, I’m a sucker for context, so I’ll have to watch the film. I hear its pretty good though, so if you have any interest in Japan’s relationship with the western world, you should take some time to watch.

On every trip, I usually have at least one of these moments, where music, mood and scene come together perfectly and gives me a sense of peace and calm. Though I would still prefer having a passenger, I know that I would probably miss these moments if I had someone to talk to. Then again, who knows. Maybe these moments are meant to be shared with a special someone…

PS: Please forgive the shaky crapiness of the video. I was driving! (!) …UH I MEAN…

More Art

Vis 1 Final

So here’s some more pics, not as pretty, but whatever. Here’s the statement I wrote for it:

When I first found out about this weeks assignment, I already had an idea in mind. I wanted to do something silly along the lines of this: http://www.cockeyed.com/pranks/mall/plazaprank.html. After scouting around La Jolla, I found a few potential targets (I thought about putting eye patches and weird hats on the dolphins at UTC), but quickly came to realize how bad something like this could end up (especially in La Jolla), and decided to do something a little less drastic. I couldn’t come up with anything until last Saturday, when I went up to L.A. to visit a friend. While there, we went to a few malls, stores, etc (Christmas shopping), and I was struck at how many Salvation Army bell ringers there were (though I’m used to seeing them at home, I thought it was a phenomena not as pronounced here in SoCal). There were even a couple dressed up as Santa! (Something I haven’t seen since I was little). That gave me a nice little surprise and I dropped some change off. On the way back home, I had to stop by school. When I got to the corner of La Jolla village dr. and Villa La Jolla, I saw a couple of homeless people looking for money and jobs. Now this wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered the less-fortunate around school, but seeing so many “Salvation Santas” in L.A. put the scene in a different context. It was then that I noticed that I haven’t seen a single bell ringer in La Jolla since I’ve been here. I went around searching for one, but the closest I could find was a small change drop box at Vons. This led me to the idea of making one up to atone for this, and setting it up at my original site, UTC. I also wanted to make some kind of statement with it to help shed light on how lucky Americans really are. I did consider making a real figure instead of a painting, but realized that if I did (and did it a real-life scale), it would be too hard and heavy to get to the mall. I didn’t really want to do anything that I’ve done before (drawing, water colors, pencils, etc), and figured that it would be a good opportunity to pick up and practice some painting skills so I used acrylics. I’ve never really painted before (well, not since I was little at least) with acrylics and wanted to see how I’d manage with them. In my opinion, it turned out very well (which prompted me to do another painting for the extra assignment). At first I had a little bit of difficulty coming out with even brush strokes, but I got the hang of it and had a lot of fun with them I really wished that I would have started using them earlier, as I like them much better than water colors and pastels (mixing colors is easier and more fun for me with paints).

           Going back to Santa, at first I wanted to find one that I could use as a subject, but I didn’t even see any Downtown (maybe they were on break though, I went there 2 days ago and heard quite a few bells). Wanting to get started, I decided just to sketch out the ringer, and turn him into Santa while painting. After doing a couple rough sketches, I became satisfied with one of them and went home. When I got around to painting, I googled up a few popular Santa images (my main source was the Coca-Cola Classic Santa), and referenced them for my own. I chose not to put the traditional Santa hat on him because the one that originally inspired me was quite bald (and proud of it).

           I chose the words, “Are you helping?” solely to instill guilt upon its reader. UTC being such an extravagant and excessive mall, I felt that it was quite an appropriate reminder to others that there are many only less fortunate people. I also didn’t paint the words on, because I felt it could make a nice and friendly Christmas poster without a heavy handed moral getting in the way.           

           I had trouble with 2 main parts with this assignment. First of all, I didn’t know what to do for the eyes. I don’t consider myself to be a great drawer, and didn’t feel like ruining a nice happy face with strange looking eyes. Not wanting to risk it, I borrowed some happy-looking anime style eyes. Secondly, I had a LOT of trouble with the collection bin. First, I didn’t know where to place it (I originally wanted to depict a hanging one, complete with the Salvation Army Sign, but I felt that it would have blocked too much of Santa. After finally figuring out a place for it, I sketched it out and it seemed all right. When It came to painting it though, I could not for the life of me figure out how it was supposed to look, and was very frustrated (I finally felt like I got it right towards the very end of my painting).

I still have a few more things that I wanted to add (like a few concept sketches), but that’ll come tomorrow. I’m sooooooo beat right now… I hit a lotta traffic in SD and LA, and driving I-5 North all the way up during the night is really boring and tiring.