Thursday Things

1. I’m a pretty serious laundry loather, so last night was the first time I hauled my clothes to the laundry room in 2013 — and I only did so because I had run out of socks. My laundry primarily consists of t-shirts, and since I had a lot of t-shirts to wash, I had a lot of time to think about the various shirts and where they came from.


Yeah Spanish IV in high school! We loved Justo Lamas so much we made t-shirts to show it.

I really think looking at someone’s t-shirt collection would be an excellent way to get to know them. Unlike regular clothes which may fit a trend or reflect a person’s style, I think t-shirts more often reflect a person’s involvement and passions than regular clothes might. My t-shirts come from camps, classes, student organizations, sports teams, jobs, races: all things that show either what I am interested in or was interested in at one point in my life (the same can be said for my sweatshirt collection). I really wish it were more fashion-ly accepted to wear t-shirts all the time, not just from a comfort standpoint, but from a getting to know a person standpoint. My t-shirt collection is a much better reflection of who I am than my pieced together “real people clothes” wardrobe, and I bet I’m not the only person who can say that about themselves.

2. I recently finished Crossed, the second book in the Matched series. As you may recall, I really like Matched, so I was excited to see what Crossed would bring.

CROSSED hardcover medium copysource

Alas. Another book letdown.

I’ve gotta be honest: Crossed was not nearly as good as Matched. Easily one of my biggest problems with Crossed was the fact that each chapter switches between Ky and Cassia’s point of view. This wasn’t so problematic at the beginning, but *SPOILER ALERT* when they meet up in the Carving *END SPOILER* it gets really confusing to tell who’s telling the story, especially because some of the chapters are laughably short (we’re talking one page chapters in some cases). While the action itself wasn’t necessarily over-the-top, I felt like some of the writing was a bit forced, and it’s hard to stay engaged in a story when you’re rolling your eyes over how things are being told.

However, there was one line in the novel I particularly enjoyed:


Heyo! Ally Condie reads my blog! 😉

3. Can I rant for a second or ten? (Of course I can. It’s my blog.) Lately I’ve found myself increasingly frustrated by cheaply produced “art.” I kind of touched on this in my review on Heartsick, but since I posted that I’ve had time to reflect and flesh out my thoughts more, so here it goes. See, the problem with things that require creativity is that just about anyone can do them, and therefore a lot of people falsely think they can do them well. Anyone literate is capable of using a pencil or a keyboard or even their finger in the dirt to put words down. Anyone that’s not mute is capable of producing sound through their vocal cords. Art isn’t like math or science where you can’t pretend to be able to do technical things without training. I mean, you could throw a calculus problem at me and I could make up an answer, but–unless I happened to get extremely lucky–my answer would be wrong. I never took calculus. I never even took pre-calculus. Heck, to be honest, I don’t even know what calculus really is, other than some form of crazy hard math that is so, so far beyond my simplistic math brain.

I have a Facebook friend who recently got a D-SLR camera and is now convinced that since she has a quality camera, she’s a photographer (I find this to be a pervasive problem amongst people who recently aquired D-SLRs). It doesn’t work that way, though. Having an excellent camera in and of itself does not make you a photographer any more than having the best running shoes money can buy would make me an Olympic marathon champion. It may give you the tools you need to better develop your skills as a photographer, but simply owning that camera and taking pictures with it in and of itself does not make you a photographer. I actually have a pretty serious distaste for Instagram for the same reason: it makes it easy for a person to think he or she is a  photographer. I’m not going to deny that some people take pictures that look phenomenal with the right filters on Instagram, but the fact of the matter is that what they’re doing required little effort compared to what a professional photographer does to edit his or her pictures. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’m some expert on Photoshop or like I know the first thing about actually editing photos, but apps like Instagram cheapen the real, legitimate work that goes into editing photos and gives people the false sense that art is easy. Going back to that calculus example: let’s say I was somehow able to correctly guess the answers to several extremely difficult calculus problems in a row. It may look like I know what I’m doing, but in reality I’m just getting lucky, or perhaps using tools that make finding answers easy (like Google, for example). I’m completely discounting the hard work and effort that actually goes into solving that problem. I’m taking a shortcut that keeps me from appreciating the complexity of the problem and the genius of an actual mathematician who could solve the problem using his or her own brain, not Google’s.

The even greater problem with all of this is that we consume it without a second thought. We’re fine with the fact that our popular music follows a predictable, standard, unimaginative chord progression. We’ll happily gobble up cheap writing and shoot books that have no business being read to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list. It’s easy to do this because in the grand scheme of things, good vs. bad art is not a life or death situation like, say, good vs. bad medicine. Even more so, art is typically viewed as entertainment in one way or another, and it’s a lot easier to let that art entertain you without putting in any effort on your end to make sense of what’s going on. I recognize that as someone who has always and will always identify more with the right-brained crowd than the left-brained crowd, it’s easy for me to take cheap art too seriously and too personally because I know too many people who have put in a lot of work to perfect their art only to have it go entirely unappreciated, and that’s quite upsetting for me.

(I’m also turning into an elitist over all of this, which I fear is putting me on the fast track to becoming a hipster. If I ever make mention of moving to Wicker Park or if flannel starts to become a staple in my wardrobe, I hereby charge all of you to stage an immediate intervention.)
What would someone learn about you by looking at your t-shirt collection? Pretty much my whole life…haha.
Thoughts on the whole art thing?

22 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. I completely understand the whole art thing. Since I go to a pretty artsy school, Columbia College, I am surrounded by artsy people. Also, my fiance is really creative and artsy as well. I think this is especially true of photography. I know people that think they are the greatest and haven’t taken one class on it and everyone says that they are the greatest, but really they just have a really good camera and got some lightening equipment. I have a big problem with cheap art and mass consumed products. This is why I don’t really care for post-modern art. My opinion is also coming from my major in art history!

    • I’m glad you feel the same way, especially since you have an education to back up your opinion unlike me! I also like your comment on post-modern art. I’ve always been somewhat skeptical of it, but I thought maybe I just didn’t know enough to make a fair judgement. But if an art history major doesn’t like it, then I can’t be too far off…right? Right. Good. Haha.

  2. Tshirts.. yes! I completely agree. I don’t wear tshirts often, but when I do, I always end up in conversation with a stranger. I was wearing a tshirt from my college to travel to SC to find an apartment. My hotel room wasn’t ready yet, so I wasn’t able to change before going to the bar next door to grab some food. Turned out the manager of the bar was from a town right near where I went to school – he gave me all kinds of pointers for adapting to Southern living. That conversation never would’ve happened if I had had time to change into what I was planning on wearing that day. Moral of the story? We should all wear tshirts all the time!

    • I will admit that the one time I went to Wicker Park I 1) very much enjoyed myself and 2) did not encounter anyone particularly hipster, so I probably shouldn’t be so judge-y about the ‘hood haha. And FOR. REAL. A good camera alone does not an Ansel Adams make.

  3. I don’t have an overall opinion on art, because I like crappy books and crappy music, BUT – the photo thing does make me crazy. It’s one thing to post crappy pics for fun, but yes, to think you are talented, when you are not… that makes me nuts. We know quite a few people like that.

  4. I love when people think using instagram makes them a photographer and are all serious about it. Really? You take a picture WITH YOUR PHONE and then select a filter. Now, I love using instagram but I would not consider myself an artist because I can make my oatmeal look pretty using a sepia filter…

    I love the t-shirt idea! I have a lot of race shirts but I’ve gotten rid of most of my high school stuff. I do have a special section of my closet for college/Michigan shirts to be worn for big game days or on football Saturdays though!

    • Oh man, A+ to you for being able to get rid of high school t-shirts. I kid you not: I still have (and wear) the t-shirt I got at soccer camp in 1998. (Even though this was a kids camp, the only t-shirt sizes were adult, so it still fits me…although it DEFINITELY did not fit me when I first got it! Haha). I actually really enjoyed wearing that shirt to camp when I worked there and being like, “You see this shirt? It’s older than you are, campers.” Hahaha. But yeah, I have a terrible attachment to my t-shirts and can’t convince myself to get rid of them!

  5. ok this is hilarious. my t shirt collection is out of control, I still have all of them from high school including the musicals I was in. yep…. I can’t seem to throw them away. I just can’t. instagram still baffles me I am so behind the times

    • ME NEITHER. Seriously. I work out six days a week, right? And each of those days, I wear a t-shirt, after which I put the t-shirt in the wash. When I did laundry yesterday for the first time IN A MONTH, I still had more than enough clean t-shirts to last me…probably another 2-3 weeks, and that’s not including tech shirts. It’s out of control. I should really get a t-shirt quilt made to cut down on all this excessive t-shirt madness.

  6. Love love love the t-shirt idea!! You really can tell so much about a person from their collection and they are so freakin comfy and can be worn at any time throughout the year…thankfully my job as a nanny essentially requires me to wear them for now since peanut is 3 months old and spits up a ton…win!

  7. Jeez I agree…there seem to be a lot of “experts” out there not only on art and photography but on everything from music to dancing. This definitely takes the spotlight away from those who actually deserve it (i.e. the true experts in the field) and skews our own perceptions of what high-quality actually looks like.

  8. Hahahaha! I don’t think you’re going to become a hipster! I agree with you about the art thing actually. I think it can also be acknowledged though that some people are still learning and honing their abilities. It is a bit of a shame that the majority of people these days can’t really recognize good art anymore though.

    • Oh thank goodness! I give my sister enough crap for her hipster tendencies — I can’t go down that path without fear of much mocking from my family hahaha.

      And yeah, I’m all about people learning and honing their abilities…just as long as they realize they’re learning and honing their abilities AND are actually making a conscious effort to do that (i.e.: not spending five minutes flipping through Instagram filters to decide which one they like they best).

  9. I can’t stand Instagram because so many people think what they eat and drink is really fascinating. (Um, it’s not.) However, I don’t really view Instagram as a “photography” app, I view it more as another form of social media, one that gives us a visual glance into their life. However, I do wish everyone who ever plans to use any camera (even just the one on their phone) would take 5 seconds before each picture to think about where the light is and also framing a good shot. Even if it’s not art, at least make it look nice if you’re going to share it.

    • Hahahaha love the comment on people Instagramming their food. I like your point about Instragram being social media rather than a photography app, though. I think it’s kind of a blurry line between the two in Instagram’s case, but maybe I wouldn’t be quite as annoyed by it if I just viewed it as another Twitter haha.

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