Thinking of my Aussie friends, who don’t get to enjoy the beauty of the autumn leaves. However, many Americans would also love the idea of never having to rake the fallen leaves again. So, it’s a mixed bag. Enjoy the glorious colors!
The magnolia seeds are popping from their cones. When I finally noticed this, I had to remember to put my camera in my backpack, on a day when I would time to take a few pictures. Well, that’s unless I wanted to go back in to school on the weekend. I’d rather not, thanks.
Some of the cones had released their seeds some time ago, leaving the brown, dried out hull on the branch. Some branches were completely bare of any sign of cones, so I knew the cones had already fallen to the ground. If you remember those weeks when I was stalking the magnolia flowers, I assure you that I know where some of the flowers were located. : )
As I was in the middle of the process of getting my major changed (finally), I took a few pictures near Hunter Hall, but then hiked up to Edwards Hall. I’m glad I did, because the magnolia cones weren’t plentiful by Hunter, but I found some just loaded with red seeds, when I walked past Rhodes. You see, those red seeds are a favorite food to squirrels and birds, so there’s only a short time period when you’ll find them.
Do you know how long it takes a Southern Magnolia to be grown from the seeds? I think they can be grown from cuttings, too, but think of the patience it takes, waiting for the seeds to sprout, if you choose that route! Fifteen years to break through the ground, possibly? If the squirrels don’t get to them, first.
From there, I kept walking past the library and up to Edwards, peering at any passing Southern Magnolia tree, and wondering why some of them had shed their seeds already. After that, I was able to successfully get the final signatures on my paper to change my major, after running back and forth between buildings for the last week or two.
Walking out of Edwards Hall had a surreal feeling, because their first floor lobby has a painting of R. C. Edwards, whom the building was named for. Since my junior high school was named for him, I had seen a copy of that painting, many times, during my teen years. But walking past it, twenty years later, gave me a really strange feeling. I was still in college, right?
And if you’re wondering about my major change, don’t worry. I’m still a history major. Technically, I’ve been one since I started school this fall, but OFFICIALLY, I was still in the books as a PRTM major from back when I was 18. Don’t ask. It was a major that sounded sort of interesting, at the time, and I thought that I HAD to declare something. But all these years later, it was still in the books.
Soon, I’ll be able to consult with my actual advisor in the history department, and then figure out what classes I’ll be taking next semester. My goal is to have only 15 credits in the spring, and maybe have a leisure course or two included. I could use a breather.
Despite spending at least 10+ hrs of my weekend reading one book for school, I managed to get some work done on my room. The books are finally out of the boxes, and there are no more book stacks on the floor.
I’m really enjoying having the bookshelves all loaded… no more picking the books up off the floor. Of course, that’s when I have time to read other things besides school stuff. But I DO find the time, even if it’s only when I’m eating. You have to escape, sometimes.
It’s been a week since we got back from Pennsylvania, in our flying trip to get my storage unit stuff. In between all the schoolwork, I find the time to rearrange my books, pick more of them out to donate, and dig up interesting things to place on my shelves. I guess I haven’t really shared how things are shaping up… in both rooms.
Now that the storage unit stuff has arrived from the north, and we’ve sold our pool table, the center of that room is full of furniture. But a big difference was made when I set up my desk, which now can hold all my Lord of the Rings and Narnia Weta statuettes. That’s one great thing about that headboard that sits on my desk, making it the best desk ever. Who needs a “real” desk, when you can build one from shelves, a door, and a queen-sized headboard?The white shelves in the pool room are mostly full and I have been able to get out some of my favorite knick-knacks to put on them, too. But that’s without even opening up my remaining Boyds Bears and Dollstones… hope I’ll have some more surface space, eventually.
The shelves in my bedroom can be shifted up and down, so as soon as the LOTR statues came off the top shelf, I started to rearrange them all… again. Now, I still have several piles of books, and I’m running out of shelves. I used to have several smaller ones, but I donated one, and my cousin is using another. I think the remaining “problem” is that despite donating several hundred books, once upon a time, I had triple rows of books on the bottom shelves. So, I still may come up short on room for them. Sigh. I know, life is hard. ; )
Speaking of books, despite having to read quite a few of them for my schoolwork, and having a pile of them getting ready for my military paper, I still escape the college books, now and then. Just finished rereading North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell, and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a similar flavor to Jane Austen, but in more of a workers’ environment. Of course, there is the miniseries version to be watched, starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, with Armitage giving Mr. Darcy a run for his money. For all the Tolkien fans, Armitage plays Thorin in The Hobbit movies.
Anyway, as much as I really do enjoy the history reading (some of it) and some of the English reading, I have to escape into my own reading, from time to time. A few weeks ago, I was reading A Patriot’s History of the United States, by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen, as a method of escaping my Western Civ teacher’s excessively liberal views. But the busier I’ve gotten, the less time I have for extra non-fiction. The fiction helps me escape for a few minutes, when I’m eating lunch, or taking a break between subjects.
Tonight, I was doing some shopping (for clothes), but I continued to resist going anywhere near a bookstore. As the end of the year approaches, my craving to buy books is growing. Except for books for school, I haven’t bought myself a single book during this entire year. And though my wish list grows on Amazon, I continue to download free books, and I’m shelving all the books that I’ve had for years… the urge to have a new book that has nothing to do with school… it’s building. I believe that after this year, I’ll do much better at resisting spending money on books, especially when I need to save it. But just the relief of being able to buy the newest Naomi Novik, Robin Mckinley, or Rick Riordan… I can’t wait.
Looking through the pictures I’ve uploaded… you’ll see the tons of Star Wars books that I own, and just one of my movie posters. I had lots of empty walls in my last house, so I had Star Wars and Lord of the Rings posters to put up, along with my wall of calendars (the calendars are under my bed, now). Now, I have no wall space, so I store them, wondering when I’ll be able to put them up again, if ever.
And yes, I do love me some Lord of the Rings. The Argonath bookends have been in my collection ever since I bought the expanded edition sets that came with the statues. The Minas Tirith jewelry box was one of those, too. No, don’t have a panic attack. What kind of idiot would actually store jewelry under Minas Tirith? But for some reason, that’s what that figurine was made to be. The Weta artists are amazing, aren’t they?
If you have a care for the Narnia books and movies, then you’ll know full well that Oreius was a character created just for the movies, but the centaurs have always fascinated me. That was my first Weta statue, and it’s a stunning piece of work… though they never can seem to get the faces right.
Well, I think I’ve babbled enough for now. But it finally occurred to me that I’ve had these photos collecting, but haven’t done anything with them. Now, if I could just figure out where my copies of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were hiding…
P.S. For those college fans that are wondering, yes, I do know that Clemson is playing Florida State, this weekend, and I am even wearing a Clemson shirt, because today is Friday. But while my older brother has come all the way from New Hampshire to be at the game, I will be home studying and taking notes on King Leopold’s Ghost. But whether I find the time to watch the game on tv (hey, I watched the game against Georgia!), I felt like pointing out how much more awareness I have of Clemson doings, now that I’m a student there. : )
I think he tricked us, really. Or maybe he was as tired of being stuck in class as the rest of us. Either way, instead of going to our Chemistry class on Thursday, we went to the Botanical Gardens in Clemson. Possibly it was a practical joke, because it caused half of us to lose our good parking places, and find new ones at lunchtime. Not a pleasant endeavor.
But on Tuesday, my professor told us to meet him at the Gardens, near the “red wagon” (caboose). Since my first class was at 8 o’clock, I got a latte, and showed up over an hour early. I was hoping to get some nice pictures of the flowers, before the rest of the group arrived. When the first of my classmates arrived, we debated whether we would be talking about global climate change, which was our new chapter in our Chemistry in Context class. Would we be told to look around the garden, and imagine that in twenty years, it would look like the surface of Venus? He showed us a picture of Venus, in a slideshow, on Tuesday, while telling us about the horrors of global warming. You know, the atmosphere of complete carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid rain (or some kind of acid), which maybe my grandchildren can look forward to. : )
Anyway, my professor arrived and noticed that most of us had backpacks, but promptly said we didn’t need them. We were just going to be walking around. And walk around, we did. I started at the front of the pack (there must have been at least 30 of us there, a third of the class), and listened in on a discussion about tarantulas.
When we reached the duck pond, everybody stopped to look at a turtle swimming around, while half of us had funny smiles on our faces… as if we were all wondering what we were doing here. The ducks were on the other side of the pond, and they wouldn’t have been interested in us, anyway, because no one thought to bring any bread.
We hiked up to the butterfly garden, and I got behind the group to take some more floral photos, and kept having to run to catch up. It reminded me of elementary school field trips, with a teacher in the lead, a children trailing behind, wondering what was going on.
Once we reached Hanover House, which I had never been far into the Gardens enough to see, we were stopped short of getting a good view, and got a history lesson on Thomas Green Clemson, instead. Then we were marched off again, so here’s what little I looked up about Hanover House, though I didn’t get close enough to get a picture of the house. It was a house built by French Huguenots in the Low Country of South Carolina, but when they planned to fill Lake Moultrie, it would have been put underwater. So, they moved it to Clemson.
One of these days, I need to go visit and see it, and really hear some of the history. There’s supposed to be another historic house, somewhere on the Gardens grounds, but I’ve never been out of the Caboose and Duck Pond sections, even though I’ve lived here for my whole life. Pitiful, I know.
We hiked over some more back trails of the Gardens, and then made our way back to the Caboose and the Bell. Once we reached the Bell, I heard my prof say something about the last Ice Age occurring 20,000 years ago (“fairly recently”). So, I have no idea if that was to remind us we were in our Chemistry in Context class, or if they were actually discussing the Ice Age at the front of the pack.
After saying farewell to us, all the students that had walked to the Gardens piled into their friends’ cars. Yes, in order to deal with the parking problem, quite a few of them walked, at the prof’s suggestion. It was a lot farther than they thought, though, so they were hot, sweaty, thirsty, and covered in wet grass, from crossing fields.
I felt for them, though, because I wouldn’t have wanted to walk it. I drove one student back to the Shoeboxes, and then went home to get my brother to drop me off at the library. But we had a phone mix-up, or something, so I got to experience the long walk, too. While calling constantly, I walked all the way from the Cooper library to the fire station, which is right across from the Botanical Gardens. Oh well, it happens. At least I didn’t have to walk the rest of the way home.
I hope you enjoy the flower photos. I was experimenting with having changed my camera focus from Auto Area AF to Single Area AF. After my last post about different focuses on my camera, a friend gave me some advice, so I’ve been trying it. I did have to do some web-searching to locate the right buttons on my camera.
One button that takes me to the right page to change the focus… I haven’t known what it was for, not since before I was in Australia. When I was in Sydney, I wore lots of sunscreen, every day, and it was always on my hands. Since that button was at the bottom of the camera, it got accidentally handled the most, and the sunscreen helped rub off the symbol.
Just a few pics from the last weeks. I have been out to look at the local plant life, and I keep watching the magnolias for the fruit to “pop” and the red seeds to come out. In the process, I found a wasp’s nest, and had to get the building’s maintenance to take care of it. No, I didn’t get stung, I only SAW it… 2-3 feet above my head.
Other pics are from wandering around campus one afternoon. Oh, the sculpture and sign pics were taken on 9-11, after viewing the flag memorial. I enjoyed playing with the photo overlay and colors, and messing with the Fluor-Daniel sign was especially fun. And I still love that sculpture, and the reflections on the windows are beautiful.
For you accomplished and knowledgeable photographers, you’re going to be tempted to tell me to just adjust the shutter or the speed of something or who knows what else. I’ll just forestall you by saying… I don’t understand all the terminology. Yes, I do have a pretty good idea of what shutter speed is, but I honestly don’t know all the ins and outs of how to work my camera.
I love a camera that focuses automatically, while allowing me to focus the lens. Aside from that, I take all my pics while trying to get it to focus where I want it, without making any fancy adjustments. Preferably in good lighting that doesn’t require a flash, because I have issues with flash photography.
Perhaps in the future, I will take a photography class at Clemson, but until then, I’ll stick with being a photography illiterate (or something like that). Plenty of people will try and tell me what I should adjust and consider trying out for my next photo shoot… and I just look at them like they’re speaking Greek. Call me set in my ways (I am, I know), but I’ll just continue to putz along, until I’m ready to learn some more. Emphasis on “ready to learn”. I promise, if I want to really understand, I’ll ask so many questions, you won’t be able to shut me up. : )
Meanwhile, with these pictures, I was trying to get a good shot of the blooms from above, to show they’re sharp angles. They almost look like an “X”, from on an upper angle. But the camera couldn’t make up its mind whether to focus on the blooms or focus on the green centerpiece at the top of the flower. And since I wanted it to focus sharply, it would choose one or the other, but not both.
No matter that I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, I love the contrasting colors, and the edges to the “X” of the plant. And I still haven’t figured out how my camera can focus an all four sets of blooms, in one picture, and yet not on “centerpiece”.