My Digital Photography Architecture Presentation

These are the final six photos I used in my digital photography presentation on architecture.  The buildings were all taken during my time at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA. The pictures in the cemetery were taken down the street from my house. Surprisingly, I haven’t come across many angel topped headstones. There were two in this particular place, right across from each other. There is a lot of really cool history in New England, and it’s part of the reason I do love living here.

The first pictureis a shot I did with the camera on a headstone with lots of foliage. I experimented with depth of field in this picture (incidentally, one of my favorite things to do with a camera.)

Second picture: Downtown Atlanta during Dragon*Con. It immediately caught my eye as we walked through the downtown area.

Third picture: The Carnegie Monument outside of the Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta. I used one of the artistic filters in the picture to give it a bit of a old painting feel to it.

Fourth picture: Sitting at the Corner Bakery, I was still looking for fun stuff to photography. I looked up, then behind me and saw the reflection. It came out beautifully.

Fifth picture:Angel in the graveyard. If you’ve followed my Facebook, you would have seen the other angels I took. Loved, loved, loved sitting in that place. I think I will go back and write there.

Sixth picture:There was a little mausoleum in the graveyard and through the doors I could see a Fleur de Lys through the barred window. I walked around to the other side and noticed the broken stain glass. It made sad that someone would destroy such a beautiful thing, however, within that destruction, it was beautiful and made it special.

This Tastes Funny – Here, Try it.

Because I have to write poems for my creative writing class, and because I suck at them so badly, I’m offering them up for mass consumption. They will never, ever be published anywhere respectable, so instead, I publish them here.

Here is my final poem I wrote for the class. Yes, in a sense I just did that whole, “Omg, this milk tastes like it’s gone sour, here, try it!” trick.

Enjoy the rancid words!

—-

The Sister Grimm

The pigs have flown away

With their stumpy silver wings as I stare

In mirth, in horror, in

Disbelief and covered in shit

I had this power all along.

The wolf had nearly won with his blow-hard

Antics and toothless bite

Keeping me prisoner in my own dying garden

Yet in the midst of winter

A single blooming crimson

reminded me of

me

To mourn my phoenix was both

Premature and pointless for I burst

From my cell like a virus hell bent on

Destroying the world or at least you and

Your poisoned apple

First Day of School

It seemed that  summer only lasted for a week this year, and I don’t mean with the lack of heat. Time has been flying and it’s already the start of Lexie’s school year.  Today was her first day, and I think I was as excited as she was this morning because tonight marks the first of my classes as well. It’s my first day back, too!

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College Essay: Investing in NASA=Investing in Humanity

Here is another paper that I wrote for college. I like the topic so much, I’ll post it for consumption. Admittedly however, I do have a bit of a problem with writing reasoned arguments. This was a little tougher for me than writing the other things I’m used to. Let me know what you think!

Edited to add: Something has been bothering me about this essay. When Pete gave me his crititque, it finally made sense. The title of this essay should be something along the lines of Bringing Back the Pride. While I ultimately want the point of the essay to be about space exploration, really the main theme of this work is the national pride and a wish to hope for something. I told you I was having trouble.

Investing in NASA = Investing in Humanity

“I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space”
— Stephen Hawking

During heightened tensions with Soviet Union in the 1950’s and 1960’s, one of the most
memorable occurrences took place on October 4th, 1957. In a blatant attempt to outclass its
enemy, Russia successfully launched a satellite named Sputnik into Earth orbit. The size of a
beach ball, the launch was a major slap in the face to the people of the United States, having
been promised a launch of their own not a few years prior. Despite our disappointed defeat,
the USSR may have won the initial sprint, but their victory only served as a motivation for our
own space program.

As the space race continued, we secured our label as a superpower by launching
multiple craft, including that of the Apollo missions and the first lunar landing in 1969. It was a
time when people cared and were generally excited with what happened in terms of our space
exploration. After planting American shoes in lunar soil, Astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered his
famous words, “That’s one small step for man, and one giant step for mankind”, and a billion
people of the world continued to hold their breath and look upwards into the sky. We were
successfully leading the way. We had something in which to place our pride.

Now, as time has passed and the infamous Soviet “Iron Curtain” has fallen, there is
nothing motivating the space program in the United States. Victim of multiple budget
cuts
due to necessary war funding and social programs, the missions that the people of NASA
are able to accomplish are few and grossly underfunded. Using outdated, overly expensive
equipment and vehicles, launches are only of note if there could be an accident or in the
unfortunate cases where there are mishaps and disasters.

The only time our space program makes the front page of any reputable news outlet is if
a shuttle explodes, or disintegrates upon re-entry, or if foam breaks off the tank during launch, exposing the seven person crew to a dangerous return. It is in these cases when all the experts take notice and the opinions start to matter.

As the NASA budget continues to dwindle in favor of more socially acceptable programs,
amid fears of recession, China and India have ramped up their efforts in space exploration.
Aiming for a man on the moon in 2020, China recently celebrated their first space walk in
September. Couple this event with the recent Summer Olympics display and the national pride
in that country has exploded.

India, not far behind its rival in China, launched their first lunar probe, marking a
historic day in their space program as well. The United States used to know
what that type of elation and pride felt like, when we flexed more than our military might in the
1960’s.

To give credit, we haven’t been terribly idle on this side of the world. NASA and JPL have
managed multiple trips in the glorified, broken-down shuttle bus back and forth to the
International Space Station, sometimes piggybacking on the shoulders of Russia to accomplish
our goals.

While we have launched missions to Mars (Phoenix) and Saturn (Cassini), it can be
argued that while notable in scientific discovery, these projects don’t fundamentally secure our
future in space. A sister planet in Mars may be a viable alternative in the long run, should the
data coming back suggest that life could be sustained with a little work. However, in order for
this species to thrive in the next 1-1000 years, we need to be looking for alternative
exploration, perhaps outside our little corner of the galaxy.

NASA’s focus in the next few years should be a viable craft, similar to the space
station but one that can be moved throughout the galaxy, encompassing an entire community.
Within a self sustaining environment, we would be able to live and seek out new worlds on
which to colonize.

If the government continues to deny proper funding to NASA and JPL (Jet Propulsion
Laboratories), instead of being the ones to make the news of historic endeavors, we will be
cursed into living vicariously through other countries.

Humanity needs to have something in which to cheer for as we progress amidst the
global and socioeconomic turmoil, instead of remaining stagnant on blink of oblivion. Private
space exploration firms such as the Xprize and Amazon.com founder, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin
are doing more than their share to upgrade our failing systems and craft, however, in the end,
exploration of space will belong to the rich and elite. Thus creating more of a social dissonance
with avid fans and supporters who may not have the wealth needed to secure a ride into the
cosmos. At $200,000.00 a seat, space belongs to those who can afford it.

Stephen Hawking had it right. Our ability to survive as a species hinges on space
exploration and colonization of other worlds in other galaxies. If we aren’t taking the baby steps now to accomplish this goal, the problems that continue to plague the people of the Earth, (e.g. Overcrowding, pollution, global warming) will only grow, and when we could have had a “plan b”, we will be twiddling our thumbs and waiting for our demise.

Don’t get me wrong. As Americans, we have shown incredible moxie in the face of
disaster. We rally instead of divide. However, it has been some time before the American
people have had something to believe in and get excited about.

Psychology Class – College Life

As you know, I’m taking an online psychology class. Part of my grade consists of discussions with other people in my “class.” Imagine my surprise when upon signing in this evening, I had 3 e-mails from a very disturbed classmate on the subject of animal rights during research. One of her horribly misspelled diatribes was summed up in three words. “yuo are wrnog” 

I’m not kidding.

I couldn’t help but get angry. First of all, if you are going to call me out on my opinion, do it in a manner where I am not cursing you for your misspellings. Second, if you’re going to tell me I’m wrong, back it up with opinions and more importantly facts.

The fact that she attacked me in e-mail, showed her cowardice in not bringing her oh-so intelligent opinions out into the discussion queue. Instead of letting my anger get the best of me, I went back to the original discussion, and wrote the following:

Actually, Cynthia, I am not trying to change anyone’s opinion. Aside from all your snide, out-of-discussion e-mails you’ve sent me, I am simply trying to argue the other side here. It is very obvious you view animal research as an evil thing and unfortunately, it’s one of those cases where no amount of reading or checking facts will make you objectively view this topic. C’est la vie. 

I really wanted to continue with, “Thanks for being yet another closed minded individual. I thank you for your lovely anti-social and uneducated addition to society”. However, I stopped.

I’m such a bitch.

I leave you with the opening paragraph of my Chapter 5 psychology module:

In a jar on a display shelf in Cornell University’s psychology department resides the well-preserved brain of Edward Bradford Titchener, a great turn-of-the-century experimental psychologist and proponent of the study of consciousness. Imagine yourself gazing at that wrinkled mass of grayish tissue, wondering if in any sense Titchener is still in there.

— Psychology (Eigth Edition in Modules) by David G. Meyers

If I were Titchener, I’d be fucking pissed.

“Filling the Spaces” – My Second College Essay

The assignment was to write an event in my life that will be engaging for readers, at the same time, help them understand the signficance of the event.

Did I live up? Let me know!

Kathryn Baker
Essay # 2 – Remembered Events

“Filling the Moments”

I remember the taste of snow on my tongue. The cold had permeated through my
cheeks and numbed my whole body despite the layers of warm clothes. It was far past the time
to retire for a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate toppled with marshmallows, yet I stubbornly
remained outside. We were in the middle of another cold New England winter and as a five
year old girl, I cherished every single minute in the frozen wonderland. Even with my blue lips,
chattering teeth and shivers, I had begged him for one more turn.

Gripping the sides of my sled, I could still hear the muffled voice of my father despite
the triple set of knitted hats which sat atop my head. He leaned in close and I remember that
even through the constricting and frigid air, I could still smell him.

“Are you ready?” he asked with unmistakable mirth in his voice.

I eagerly nodded my head and felt his strong hands start to turn the sled in a counter
clockwise motion. Sucking in my breath in anticipation, I closed my eyes as I felt the world start
to spin. In almost one fluid moment, my father’s strength propelled me down the large hill
behind our modest little raised ranch in the middle of suburbia.

I also remember the smell of freshly made coffee and the warm sunlight on my feet as I
made my way down the hall to the living room. I knew I would be chided for not wearing socks
once more, but I didn’t care. This was my time with my father, half-hearted scolding aside. He
fondly called me his “early bird” as I plopped my small body down next to him on the couch.
Sitting there in his neatly pressed khakis, steel toed work boots and buttoned-down
dress shirt, he would switch the news to cartoons without complaint. I would usually fall asleep
again before he left for work, barely noticing the kiss he would place upon my forehead or in
some cases, the blanket that he had wrapped around my frigid feet.

As I sat in the small and unfriendly ICU waiting room last year, these specific memories
were the glue that held me together on that unforgiving summer day in August.

Shortly after what was supposed to be a routine surgical procedure, my father’s heart
had suddenly stopped beating. Medical personnel were successful at bringing him back, but
the trauma of the evening warranted a crude, plastic tube down his throat to manage his
breathing. It was only after the doctors were confident in his prognosis that he was allowed to
waken from the medical coma and breathe on his own.

As we consulted various experts in the small and plainly decorated hospital room, it was
agreed that in order to repair the damage to his heart, he would need major bypass surgery. It
was also discovered that one of the valves allowing blood to pass through the heart was
severely damaged during the attack and also needed to be replaced as well.

They moved him from one hospital to another, but despite the change in location, many
things remained the same. The room was painted and draped in stale pale colors with minimal
decoration, save for a small TV that hung from an L-bracket in the corner. The only noticeable
difference was the noise that usually accompanied big city hospitals. Sirens and traffic could be
heard outside the window of his room, despite the attempts to sound proof.

I remember eating my lunch as he picked at the tasteless and under-salted slop the
hospital provided for their patients. My father would barely touch most of the meal, saving his
Jell-O cups for when I brought my children to visit. He was thrilled to see them every night in
the week leading up to his surgery and it warmed my heart to think they were a source of great
strength and comfort for him.

Invoking memories of my past, he’d allow my children snuggle up to him as best he could despite the wires leading to various monitors and IVs, and immediately turn the TV to something child friendly. Even in those difficult hours and his fate in the hands of doctors, he still placed the needs of others above his own.

On the night before his surgery, I took the opportunity to bring in my digital camera,
taking pictures and videos of him with his grandchildren. The tension was tremendous as I
caught various hugs and timid smiles. Some part of me shuddered to think that if something
were to happen on the operating table, these would be last moments of my father’s life
captured in perfect stillness.

Holding his hand, I flipped through the pictures on the tiny LCD to see how they had
turned out, and saw something that had caught me off guard. For the first time in my entire life,
I could see the fear in his eyes. It was at that moment, every reserve of strength that kept the
dam of emotions from breaking, instantaneously failed. I squeezed his hand tighter and barely
managed a whisper through my tears that everything was going to be okay. He slowly nodded
as the words “I love you” exited my lips, his own pale blue eyes growing moist with anxious
sadness.

Being a single mother, I had no choice but to take my children home for the night. Guilt
racked my body as I left, knowing that as soon as I crossed the threshold of his room, it could
very well be the last time I saw him. I often wonder how I managed to find my apartment
through the veil of tears that clouded my eyes that night.

I called him once more that evening, telling him again that I was looking forward to
seeing him the next day, and I reiterated numerous times how much I loved and cared for him.
If it had been up to me, I would have stayed on the line all night, but he must have
sensed the profound worry and exhaustion in my voice and urged me to get some sleep. I can’t
explain to you what it feels like to have so much to say to someone and yet leave so much
unsaid. I couldn’t bring myself to say, “goodbye” when I finally hung up the phone.

As the sun filtered through the blinds of my apartment, my head pounded with lack of
sleep. My youngest daughter had slipped out of her bed during the early hours of morning and
lay curled against me upon the couch. With her baby blanket wrapped tightly around her
sleeping body, it was this act of comfort that let me close my eyes for some much needed rest.

Too soon did the hour of six strike the clock as I dialed the number to his room, while
wiping the sleep from my eyes. I felt the chill slide down my spine as the nurse who answered
informed me that my father had already been moved down to the operating room. There were
no more words to be said until I could be with him later, in the best or worst of outcomes.

Shipping my children off to school and daycare, I grabbed a few muffins and a hot chocolate and drove to the hospital. It was going to be a very long day.

As I sat there next to my uneaten breakfast, I passed the time away by reading, writing
and remembering. I also quietly shared in the experiences of others who were waiting for
doctors to emerge with news. Good or bad, I got the impression that some were just anxious
for any word on their loved one.

An elderly Indian woman silently sobbed against her brother’s chest as her family
surrounded her. Her eyes were red and puffy as she took a moment to look around the waiting
room, drawing in a much needed deep breath. I offered a warm smile and inclined my head as
she folded her hands atop her brilliantly colored yet wrinkled sari.

As she caught my eye, she returned an exhausted nod, and then spoke something in her native language to her family. Excusing herself, she made her way to the small women’s lavatory. I would later find out through her brother that her husband had taken a turn for the worse and they had been informed by doctors he would probably not live through the day.

A tall, well-dressed man who at my best guess looked to be in his forties, paced back
and forth through the white painted halls eagerly asking any passing medical professional if
they had an update on his ailing wife. When he got tired of pacing, he would linger by the vase
of freshly cut flowers that sat upon the reception desk, carefully running a finger over what
looked to be a yellow rose. I’d like to think he was drawing up some wonderful memory of
their past together, in an effort to steel himself against the agonizing wait of not knowing.

In one of the corners of the room, where worn cushions provided little comfort, an older
Japanese woman quietly wiped away tears with an ornate red silk handkerchief. She was
surrounded by four women who looked just like her, and I would later hear that they were all
sisters waiting for news on another sibling who recently had bypass surgery.

Throughout the long day, the elevator doors continued to chime, open and close.
Worried families arrived and departed; some relieved and other grieving. While I was the rare
case in my solitude, I remember thinking to myself that despite the fact that we were all
strangers, we all had something in common. We were not alone in our ordeals; we all deeply
cared for someone who was behind the ominous security doors.

It was a total of eight hours until I was called into an even more tiny private room to
learn my father’s fate. I sat there adjusting myself. I crossed my legs, sat up straight, played
with the old, cream colored rotary phone they kept on a battered wooden coffee table and I
kept telling myself it was going to be good news.

The doctor knocked on the sturdy wood door and walked into the room, dressed in
clean, green scrubs. I found it odd that he still wore clear plastic booties around his feet and a
similar dressing over his dark hair but I realized he was trying to stave off infection when
greeting family.

I noticed he stayed confidently standing before me and there was something comforting about the fact that he hadn’t put an arm around my shoulders upon his arrival. I had always associated those types of greetings with bad news. As he pulled the germ mask below his lips, I secretly rejoiced at finding a smug smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He was proud of himself as he told me that my father’s surgery went according to plan.

Although he spoke of recovery risks and symptoms, I could barely listen as relief swept over my
body. At that moment, I was glad to be sitting as I’m sure my legs would have given out during
the briefing.

He was okay.

I was trembling.

Just five days after opening his chest, he was allowed to go home with me. I will never
forget the image of him sitting in a hospital wheel chair, with newly washed hair and a defiant
smile on his lips. He had cheated death once more.

As he clenched the little heart shaped pillow that the hospital gave to outgoing patients, I
could feel the excitement build. He was ready to be home. It was in that perfect moment where
I leaned down and whispered in his ear.

“Are you ready?” I asked with unmistakable mirth in my voice.

The Internet – Not Just For Porn (A College Essay)

What do U say about my first college essay? 😉

Kathryn Baker
English 101 – Composition
September 2nd, 2008

The Internet – Not Just For Ebay

Using the internet for anything other than computer gaming, surfing web pages, or
chatting with long distance friends is a profoundly new experience for me. Finding out that I
could actually advance a degree with online learning through my community college was both
a relief and a curse. Reading Msnbc.com, emailing, and blogging will now take a back seat as I
continue my education.

When I originally decided to return to college, I was hoping to get my degree quickly and
easily with accelerated Saturday courses at Bay Path. I eagerly applied and was accepted.

Nervously, I began each day with a walk out to my mailbox, hoping to obtain the magical
“golden ticket” of financial aid, which would pay for the expensive program. Imagine my
surprise when I found out that I would be borrowing the monetary equivalent of a large SUV
worth of loans to realize my dream.

As a single mother of three children, living in a newly purchased home, and the rising
costs of well, everything, I turned my sights to a more affordable option; community college.

When I graduated from Enrico Fermi High school in 1995, I stubbornly associated those
two words, with an idea of failure. I was an honor student after-all, hoping to chase a doctorate
from a prestigious university. To me, attending community college was the easy way out. As
I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that taking baby steps can make a difference in sending
you and/or your family to the poor house, or out-right quitting any attempt to obtain a
marketable degree. By taking this accessible road, I’m actually excited about attending
Asnuntuck this semester, instead of dreading each footfall on a tangled and impassable
path.

As my full time employer starts a new fiscal year, my job as an Administrative Assistant
will devour a lot of my time. As I also value romping around with my children, I chose only two
online courses with which to start my school year. Both will allow me the flexibility to continue
enjoying the two main jobs of my life. Two courses a semester may delay my degree, however
I’ve fully realized the pain that over-work and stress may have cost everyone had I drowned
myself in full-time study.

I’ve never experienced an online college course in this digital age, so I can’t truly
be certain that I will benefit from this any more than I would, by taking a class on campus.
However, as I try to juggle work and life issues in my ever busy world, I can hope it will make a
significant difference with flexibly obtaining a degree. From what I’ve read, I am
growing confident that I will not only learn something of value, but I will enjoy it as well.

Truth be told, if I end up liking this type of educational format, I plan to fully utilize as
many online courses as I can while I work towards that cap and gown. After-all, nothing beats
sleeplessly sitting at your computer at midnight, as you hear the distant breathing of your
dreaming children through a baby monitor. Perhaps once I might have opened a web-browser
and wasted away the hours engaging in Internet related frivolity. Now, there is a
definite satisfaction that I am doing something worthwhile with my time, while simultaneously
avoiding purchasing priceless Battlestar Galatica memorabilia on Ebay.

——-

Now, I was originally going entitle the essay, “The Internet – Not Just For Porn” but after some careful deliberations with my friend, Pete, I decided to change the word “porn” to Ebay. I thought the original title was very cute, but apparently in the whole stuffy college world, being a smart-ass can backfire.

What the fuck?

Kate = New College Student

I graduated from high school with honors back in 1995 and decided that I would pursue my life-long dream of becoming a pediatrician. Accepted into the University of Hartford, I started the year only to drop out due to a medical condition.

Almost 13 years later, I’ve decided to take some baby steps in obtaining that ever elusive degree. I was originally accepted into an accelerated Saturday program at Bay Path Women’s College, but upon receiving a rather small financial award, I was unhappy that I would sink farther into debt with low interest loans.

Unwilling to be defeated, I went down to my local community college, applied and was accepted.

So as of Wednesday, I will be starting two online credit courses, and was able to put the classes on a payment plan. It’s not necessarily a loan, and this way will be much cheaper than the above mentioned institution. I will probably save myself around $20,000 doing it this way, and I will have my Saturdays to spend with my children. There is the added benefit of taking as little or as many classes as I can afford at a given time and the community college also offers online credit courses in addition to traditional classroom format, which is highly convenient for a single mother of three. I will definitely be playing with my options. The flexibility will be wonderful me as well, as ultimately, I would like to market myself as someone who had the fortitude and strength to keep going, albeit 13 years late.

I’ll be taking online writing comp and general psych. As of now, I’m trying to get my feet wet and I would consider myself pretty directionless. Hopefully that will change as time progresses. I am happy where I am right now, but it’s always nice to have the proverbial ace in the hole as I travel through life

Wish me luck.