monks enjoying the morning sun

Thank you for your submission to Oakwood. We are pleased to inform you that we have selected your work Monks Enjoying the Morning Sun for publication in the 2020 issue of Oakwood!

 

Several months ago a photograph that I had taken while I was in Myanmar of two monks sitting in the sunlight was accepted into South Dakota State University’s publication called, “Oakwood.” I was quite happy to receive the news.

Unfortunately, due to Covid the publication was delayed and the reception was canceled. To be completely honest I nearly forgot about it until I wrote the last entry about my solo exhibition.
I consider it an honor to be a part of the magazine and am proudly displaying to magazine on my desk.

I’m happy to announce that my solo exhibition, titled, ‘Into the Light,’ is now on display at Peru State College’s Art Gallery. It went up on Sep 7, and will be going on for about a month. I expect to take it down the first week of October. This was a long time coming and I am proud of the response and of the work.

Because of Covid, the school was having some problems bringing in outside artists so the gallery manager asked me to fill in for at least a month. I was happy to oblige. I have been working on several new pieces, most of them were photographs that I took as I was traveling around the world. I had all these pieces that I was just dying to show others and hadn’t had the chance since I came back to the US last year. Thanks to PSC I now get to show the world, albeit a small part of the world, my work.

Into the Light postcard, kenneth curtis I have never been the type of person who looked forward to exhibitions, I always felt that people wouldn’t understand my work, or worse that they wouldn’t like it. For some reason, maybe it’s age, but it didn’t bother me this time.

The work went up on Sep 7, Labor Day, and it consisted of thirty pieces. It contained, four hand work pieces, about 10 photographs, and the rest computer art or serigraphs. The first week I had two groups come through and was able to give a talk about my process and thoughts behind my art. It was a lot of fun.

Although no one asked me why I called it ‘Into the Light,’ I kind of want to mention it for posterity. When thinking of a title I kept coming up with titles that reflected the art contained, but nothing seemed to stand out. Then I realized that since this was the first solo exhibition that I’ve had in quite a few years, I felt that I was emerging in the art world. That meant to me that I was coming out of the shadows and putting myself and my work on display for everyone to look at and critique.

Ever since I got set up in my apartment there was something that I needed to do and that was to sort out my hard drives. I’ve got something like 11TB of data in 5 or 6 external HDs and much of the content is duplicated. So like I said, I needed to clean it up and hopefully get to a point where I knew where everything was, had necessary backups of the important data and was confident that everything was safe.

About 10 days ago I had cleaned out one of the hard drives that was giving me problems. The drive sounded like it was going to break anytime and it was the first drive that I wanted to clear out and then try to repair it… or throw it out if I couldn’t fix it. After, it was all cleaned out and the data was in another drive I decided to reformat it.

The first reformatting didn’t work, I’m not sure why, but I did it again. This time it was taking a very long time to erase the data. I kind of expected something like this since the drive was in bad shape. After about 2 or 3 minutes, on my finder window the name changed to “untitled” and it was good. Except the other hard drives that I had plugged into my computer at the time were now also named, “Untitled” My heart sank, and my stomach went to my throat… I double-clicked the drives and they were all empty.

So after about 30 minutes of walking around saying to myself, “I didn’t do it, I know that I didn’t do it.” I started to assess the real damage that was done. I had three drives plugged in at the time, so all three were reformatted. Two of the drives had very important items that I had been working on, like my new book and temporary video projects, as well as backups to both of my computers. All the data was erased, all of it. I didn’t even know what I had lost, just that the drive that I use for everyday projects was completely empty.

So I went to work trying to restore the files, the first program that I used restored the files, but all of them were corrupted. In other words, I could see the files but when I tried to open them, I got a ‘corrupted file’ error. I thought that maybe I did something wrong, so I tried it again. Side note, when it comes to restoring files, it can take quite a while. For just the first drive that I tried to restore it took about 35 hours for the program to go through the drive. Now I was going to have to do it again, at least I could see the files were there and I felt that I was going to get them back.

After another 30+ hours I tried again and the same thing happened. The files were there, but they were nearly all corrupted. It’s about Wednesday or Thursday about now, four or five days of this.

So I gave up on that software and went to another. It took another day or two to realize that it was going to give me the same issue as the other software. I tried another application and I didn’t feel as if I understood it enough to take a chance on my very important data.

So on Saturday I researched and looked around for something else to fix my situation and found the software that I’m using now. It’s slow, just like the others, but to my relief it is working. Yesterday I started at about 11 or 12 and by 6 it was done with the initial scan. I decided that I would start saving the files to a backup drive. Unfortunately though it took much longer than I expected and by about 8 or 9pm I realized that it had stalled at one file for about a half-hour.

The software gives you to ability to save the initial scan, but for some reason I didn’t do that and was forced to ‘force quit’ the program, losing the file structure that I had waited for about five hours to complete.

To sum up, about 8 days ago I accidentally erased two hard drives, both 2TBs, that contained valuable files that I absolutely have to get back. I’ve been working on restoring them since it first happened and I think that I have found a solution. Now if I don’t screw up any more, I should have both of the drives restored by at least next Friday, it will be about two weeks wasted for a stupid mistake… that I want to emphasize I still don’t think I made the mistake.

 

 

 

So I guess it’s for sure, I’m a professor working in Peru, Nebraska. I felt really energized and motivated to have been given this opportunity and I think I can honestly say that I’m loving it here. The first week of classes is over and I haven’t seen anything that is not perfect here. The students are great, the facilities are perfect, and much to my surprise, administration here is the best I’ve ever worked with. Seriously, sometimes faculty and administration have different ways to solve the same problems that all schools face. Here it seems like we are all working together. It really is perfect here.

 

A couple of days ago I was sent a email with the newspaper article welcoming new faculty to the area. I am back row, left. I guess I’m shorter than I thought because you can’t really see much of me, but I am there. :)

Here is the url to the article:

https://www.newsrepublican.com/news/20190820/peru-state-college-announces-eight-new-faculty-members

 

Ken in class clowning around

Greetings all, I just wanted to update this site with the latest on what’s going on in my life. I know that it’s been a while since I sat down to do a full update, but life has been fairly hectic the last couple of weeks. So hectic that even when I have time to write I’m not in the right mindset to do anything productive like updating this blog.

Since my last update I have actually made the move to Nebraska City in the southeast corner of Nebraska. I won’t go into the details on how much I like it here except to say that it looks and feels like the perfect small town in middle America. It really is beautiful. The town is small, I think I read somewhere that the population is about 9,000.

Last Saturday my Brother drove down from Portland, Oregon to drive me up to NC. It was so nice of him to do that, and it really made the move so much easier for me. Instead of taking more than 24 hours to go by bus, or even an estimated 12 hours to do a combination of flights and taxis, we made the trip in about 14 hours. Not bad considering how much nicer it was to not have to sit and wait for the plane to leave, or layovers for the next bus.

We got to the apartment building at about 5pm and moved my stuff into my apartment. The apartment is okay, kind of mid-seventies style, but it works for now. One of my major concerns was just finding a place to live and this works well for that. In a year or so I’ll probably start looking around for something that fits me a little better.

I spent most of this week walking to Walmart at least once a day, sometimes a couple of trips a day. Mostly for groceries and the basics of outfitting an apartment. It’s not that far, Google maps lists it at 1.6 miles away which seems about right. It may not be that far, but with the hills in the city my calves are aching at the end of the day.

I bought a car on Wednesday. Technically getting a vehicle has seemed the most daunting to me. I won’t lie, there have been a least a few times where I just wanted to give up on the whole process.

The school I’ll be working at is about 20 miles away, so a car is a necessity. There is no way around this, I have to have a car to function in my new position. The problem is that my last license expired in November of last year. So I need to get a new one except I haven’t had a permanent residence to prove I live in the state.

The whole process is like a Möbius strip that there doesn’t seem a place to get off of it once you get stuck inside.  In order to get a license, I need a car. I can’t technically drive a car without insurance, and I can’t get insurance without a license. The only break in this ‘chain’ is that I could get insurance as a non-driver. I paid for that with a premium that was probably double what I’d pay otherwise, but at least I was able to get it. So although I stressed over everything for quite a while, I now have a car and insurance. On Monday, I expect to have a license too. So although it may be premature right now, it appears that everything will work out.

Oh, and the car I bought was an old Ford Explorer. I made the mistake of assuming that there would be a branch of my bank here, but I found out that it closed a couple of years ago. The nearest was about 60 miles away. There isn’t really a problem with that if I am doing purchases that I can use a debit card or cash that I can get out of an ATM, but when purchasing a car, you need cash, lots of it and I couldn’t seem to figure out a way to get my money here fast enough to buy a vehicle from a private party. I bit the bullet and went with a used car place, for the reason I could wire the money to them.

The car is a 2002 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer. It’s okay, not something that I will keep long term, but it should get me back and forth from the school. Maybe next summer I can buy something more to my liking.

Anyway, I went into more details that I thought I would on this posting and I don’t know how much I’ll leave up. There’s a good chance I’ll go back in and edit it or delete things that seem to private for the blog. For now though, that’s my life in 500 words.

So things have really heated up for me in the last few weeks, and I’m not referring to the summer heat, although the temp is nearing 100 degrees outside. I’m referring to my life and being back in the US for the last few months. I’m not going to go into all the details, but I will give an overview of what I’ve been up to. It has been close to a month since my last post so I think an update is long overdue.

About two weeks ago I accepted a position in Nebraska teaching graphic design and all the related fields that go along with it. It’s an exciting position and I’m looking forward to the start of the semester. All the people that I met on my interview were great. Without exception they were all kind and engaging and I’m looking forward working with them.

The campus is small, but it is postcard perfect. It sits on a hill and everywhere you look there are mature trees and green grass. I think it’s safe to say that I was overwhelmed by the amount of green while I was there.

Now all the hard parts become real like moving to the new city and setting up a new household. Because I lived oversees for so long I really don’t have anything to actually set up a house. I have one towel and clothes, and of course all my tech.

I’m in the process of renting an apartment (sight unseen) and if my instincts are accurate I think I’ve got one lined up. I’m just waiting for my application to go through. After that I’ll be looking for a car.

I’ll be leaving NM in about two or three days. I haven’t bought tickets yet just because I can’t seem to find a direct route to my new home. Since I’m not really familiar with the area I’m having some trouble picking the best way to go. Tomorrow though, it has got to be done.

Okay, I know this update is short but I don’t want to tell the world what’s going on in detail. I think just a basic update will suffice for now.