Open University?

Well, I did it. I requested a space for a class in Open University next semester. AM I WRONG???

It just so happened that after I submitted my Term Paper for the final class in my MLIS, I read in detail the pathway I had laid out for myself in regard to what classes I should have taken. There are 10-16 units (4 – 6 classes) that I could have but did not take in my Master’s program…largely because that would have meant that I would have been in my Master’s program for four years total (normally, these things run for only two years). It was also not required that I take those classes.

I was rushing to get out within the seven years provided to me (I entered the LIS program in 2012, then got culture-shocked and left after the first semester, staying away for three more years). The reason I didn’t take more Tech-oriented classes is that I had to — I mean, had to — take classes which were more Library-oriented in order to be able to graduate, even though some of these were classes (like “Political Advocacy”) I would not have chosen to take on my own.

There is one class that I’m similarly intimidated over, this being Big Data Analytics & Management. I’m expecting it to be like Database Management, which was an exceedingly difficult class for me. However…if it’s only one class per semester, it may be doable.

And here, I was expecting to go through online tutorials for Javascript, and retaking Cataloging, in the near future. If I do get into a class for Javascript, I’ll want to supplement it with work on my own. I am not looking forward to a repeat of Intro to Programming. Hopefully, the fact that there are outside reference sources, should help me here.

There is also a lot I want to read, both electronic and print. But yes, my folks were encouraging me to see when I could sign up for Spring. Only one class this time. Not kidding. If I ramp up my hours or get a better job (part-time or full-time)…I should still be able to handle one class. Even if it’s a Tech class, which basically all of them, are (excepting the Privacy class: that is more of an ethics and management class).

I know that my first choice, however, will enable me to have the skills to set up my own network when I need to. My second choice will expose me to Project Management (recommended by my Metadata professor); while my third will have me learning Javascript (which I am aiming to learn, anyway). Any one of those would be good.

And I don’t have to worry anymore about my ePortfolio and graduation. I just have to worry about keeping my GPA up, and finances…and finding a better-paying job. Right, and getting my driver’s license.

It was also a bit relieving to be able to renew a membership before Finals were over…student rates!

I did just get notification back from a counselor, who says to focus on the job search first, and I can always learn more later. This is…comforting. I don’t think I’m locked into taking any classes, yet; I’ve just put in an interest card.

There may be a more interesting post, next: I’m thinking about art, and my relation to it (particularly, my own art).

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Whoa! Unanticipated!

I’m actually done with my Term Paper! I’m done with this semester! I’m done with my Master’s! And a nearby County is hiring for Librarian I positions!

!!!…

Okay, for one thing I don’t think it’s set in yet that I’M ACTUALLY DONE and I ACTUALLY QUALIFY. The other thing is that I’ve kind of got a rush because OMG IT’S DONE. I CAN BE A LIBRARIAN NOW.

I mean, seriously, a couple of hours ago my biggest plan was to clean the house, tomorrow.

Of course, having the Master’s is only one component of the work. I also need experience, meaning I may need to take on jobs that aren’t particularly ideal (especially as I am not sure how well I would do at conducting programs, in a Public Library position), in order to move up in the system.

But ooh, sh…I just realized that I have most of the qualifications to be an Academic Librarian. Which may be where I would be most comfortable…considering my study over this last semester.

If I can get a better job, as well (say, an entry-level University job)…I’m seriously considering taking one class a semester for both Professional Development and to maintain access to my University Library.

Do I have a plan? It’s certainly looking like it…



Wacom and Adobe, a decade later

Alright. I eh…said a while back that if I got a higher-paying job, I might invest in a graphics tablet. When I got my first (usable) tablet, there were very few companies making quality graphics tablets, other than Wacom.

This must have been back around 2010, or before; back when I was taking graphic art classes. They weren’t really called graphic art classes, but I think it’s safe to say that that’s what they were. While I was there, I learned Photoshop and Illustrator, including some stuff (like layer masks) which I don’t anymore, recall how to do. I’d have to research it. (PeachPit Press is a good source, by the way. Or at least, they were; I haven’t read any of their current materials.)

The thing is: I haven’t worked with graphics for so long, that I don’t know that I need a graphics tablet. At least, not now. Not yet. I’m thinking that having one would ease some stuff in Web Design; however, those are very limited problems, and I could probably bite off a good chunk of that, if I just used a mouse, instead of my touchpad. And I have a wireless mouse I could use. I just haven’t, because I’d have to start taking parts off of old, unused machines.

but that’s techie, right? sasasasasa…

I’ve also given thought to signing up with Adobe. I know: it’s less than optimal. GIMP 2 just has a pretty steep learning curve. I know I could learn it; the thing is that I’ve seen more…well, techies using GIMP 2, because of its customizability, and the fact that it’s open-source and free, while Adobe charges (at least) $10/month just to use Photoshop.

The fact that I’d want vector capability as well as raster, means that either I use the Pen tool within Photoshop CC, or I get Illustrator as well. That’s at least $240/year, and I’m not certain that it’s worth it. And actually, I just tried to check this; Google says that Illustrator and Photoshop are both $19.99/month, making it closer to $480/year for both of them. I tried to navigate to the site, but they want me to enable Javascript.

Which, of course, gets the same treatment as pop-ups: back out. I don’t care that much.

I also know, though, that there are functionalities available with Adobe (or were, at least at one time), which — if I’m recalling right, from the last time I tried — GIMP 2 can’t really do, yet. I’ve noticed tilt and pressure sensitivity, primarily, to be lacking. It’s something I really liked when using the Wacom tablets (likely Intuos) at school, which I can’t reproduce yet, with what I’ve got. (My Intuos won’t do it, with GIMP 2.)

The problem is that from what I can see, Wacom’s customer service is pretty poor (to put it lightly). The entire reason for me to get a new tablet is so that I don’t have to try and use the decade-old one and hope that it’s both possible to update the driver to Windows 10, and that Wacom has actually made the driver and uploaded it. And, you know, I actually found the right one, and stuff like that.

And I mean, I could try, but I’m kinda scared.

But then there’s the other possibility: of getting a new Intuos, and not being able to download the driver in the first place, and not getting any help — with the Wacom site being down or intermittently available, as happened tonight.

The thing is…that it would seem that there is decent competition in the graphics tablet market, now. Wacom isn’t the only dog on the block anymore, I mean; and I’ve been doing offline art for most of my artmaking. But if I went into Web Design, I could use the help with photo editing.

The actual reason for me to get a tablet is for graphic design, which — from what I could tell in my Web Design class — might only use such rudimentary visual skills, that I could do it with just a mouse. I mean, sure it would feel better to make a vector drawing with a pen, but is it necessary? Not really.

I’m just kind of getting tired of rolling my fingertip over on the touchpad to inch a selection over by half a millimeter. It’s not much easier with a mouse. And yeah, arrow keys…

…yeah.

I dunno. I’m going to have to think about it. The major thing is wondering if staying loyal to Wacom and getting something that should work if it’s supported, is worth the extra money, over going with an unknown company. Back in the 1990’s, when I tried an off-brand tablet, it was basically a piece of garbage (“oh you want to draw a diagonal line? and you want it to be straight, you say? HAHAHAHAHA”); but it isn’t the 1990’s anymore.

And yeah, I still haven’t gotten that higher-paying job. I’ve just started to think about what I would do if there were a good deal, since holiday season is getting into gear.

I have a feeling, though, that I probably am going to be doing some off-brand, open-source work: I’m not the kind to buy a Mac and a Wacom and use Adobe, just for brand recognition. That’s not what I aspire to.

But that gets into…some other topics…which I probably shouldn’t get into, now. It’s too late, and I’ll say something stupid. You know I will.

Revisions and new possibilities

About an hour ago, I completed a paper for Collection Development. Five pages of content, two of references, and a title page. I was seriously just happy that I got it in a half-hour before midnight.

Oh — and that I was just barely under the maximum word count!

It would be nice if I were able to deal with my ePortfolio, now that I’m back in the world of the living. I really, seriously, need to get over my intimidation on it and just start writing stuff out. It won’t get written if I don’t write it, that is.

The driving factor here, is time. I have two months left to get this done, and the more I don’t work on it, the more it’s going to feel like I’m taking three or more classes, towards the end of those two months.

Realistically, I need to submit an average of at least two essays a week — probably more, now that I’ve wasted two weeks being sick, and catching up on work I didn’t do while I was sick. But I’m only taking one other class; I have time if I have motivation.

The big thing about it is getting back into an academic mode, as versus a vacation mode. The good thing about being in Collection Development concurrently is that the second class is structured, and forces me to get out of bed and engage.

I’ve just taken a look at my ePortfolio, and I’ve realized that any foundational work that I can get done on any Competency, will be good. This is because it makes things vastly less intimidating when I’m not looking at a blank form. And I can always update and edit work that is there.

The other thing that has happened is that I’m using one of my memberships which I have heretofore ignored. It’s encouraging the direction of my energy towards Librarianship, though it also can be a time sink: I spent two days authoring something to help someone. That’s time I could have used, working on my ePortfolio. But it did help. It really helped me, too.

I have realized that I would be a very good fit for a Public (or Academic) Library position. One of my papers is on the intersections of Social Justice, Civil Rights, and Intersectional Feminism, and I found myself shifting back into that mode and speaking on diversity issues. Now I’m involved. 🙂 Ruh-roh. 😉

I have realized, however: I’m a very good candidate as a Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, or American Studies scholar, as versus or in addition to having possibilities towards Japanese-language/-diaspora Special Collections, and the possibility of becoming an Art Librarian. I’m thinking, though, that Gender Studies…might be more interesting, and might help the world, more. And I’m not convinced that I need to go back to my alma mater for it.

I still remember someone there saying that I couldn’t have an opinion on gender identity unless I had read Foucault, first. Which is just elitist hogwash. I kind of know something about gender identity, from, you know, having engaged with and lived the problem. Did he? (On that note, I probably don’t even need a degree in Gender Studies to be knowledgeable in the field. I’ve done Master’s level research. I’m in Library Science. I’ve written papers. I have some knowledge of Social Science. I have a grounding in Feminism. My fundamental grasp of the topic is apparent. I can deal with it.)

In comparison…the Web Design stuff is looking unimportant. Weirdly. Though right now I would likely have to work in either general Reference or Technical Services, given my skill set. I want to and may need to extend my reach deeper into Information Organization, however. That includes re-taking Cataloging.

Coming up…I will very shortly have an interview with a Collection Manager, and I need to read Chapter 4 in preparation for that (and I have been advised to read it more than once)…though this week’s Module just now opened up. Chapter 4 is just 30 pages, though — not a problem. I could get the first run-through done tomorrow, if I needed to.

I’m still waiting to hear back from my contact, though; I’m not even sure this will follow through. I might have to interview someone in a different system. Maybe I should get the contact information of an alternate person, from work.

Speaking of which, I’ve gotta be there in the morning. Maybe I should get some sleep and stop running myself into the ground. 🙂

The curse of having scruples…will I eventually become a librarian specializing in Japanese language?

One more day, down. Instead of reading in my sashiko book at lunch, I ended up doing some research on the path of Web Design, and to what extent Web Design includes or implies Marketing work. I did this at work because I have little chance of infecting the work computers, whereas I want my home computer to continue to function!

I found a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which I would need to pay attention to if I became a Web Designer (and wanted to stay one).

However, the upshot for me is that it appears Digital Marketing is not the same thing as Web Design. And Web Design is a subset of Web Development, but also not exactly the same thing.

I started doing research on this because I realized that the idea that Web Design would have me doing Marketing work was just an assumption…so I decided to test it.

The bright side is that my assumption seems to be false. The other side — but one which I’d have to deal with in any job — is that I may not agree with my clients or with what I am helping them sell. Integrity is a major issue, with me, and it’s a reason I’m in my current Library job — and not working for a for-profit institution. Not that working for profit is necessarily bad, but I’m thinking there is likely a different way of thinking about what we’re doing, and why.

It’s one thing to build collections which respond to the needs of the community (thus enabling them to educate themselves and act on that education, knowing full well that their journey is their own); it’s another to manipulate people into doing something. The latter may not be much of an issue with sales, where someone is actually looking to spend money; however, it would be an issue with what that firm I’d be helping, does with the money they would gain because of my help, and it would be a major issue in political arenas.

I don’t know if that counts as a holistic, systemic or ecological view…but I doubt I’ll lose it.

I also think that it’s a really good idea to learn Japanese language and go into a library which has Asian Languages special collections. It’s closer and likely more…I don’t know, satisfying, I think, than going through the trouble of an Art program would be, for me.

On top of this, I could deal with helping manage a Library website (which is something I can get behind and [mostly] authentically support). That would give me training in supporting a Web project…which, if I’m being honest, I mostly want skills in so that I can build awesome(r) stuff online. Doing it as the main part of my job is something else.

I had to get my priorities and future pathway straight in my mind before I could work really hard on my ePortfolio. I was asked to think about my end point, and am feeling much more secure in that, now. So I want to learn Japanese language, possibly go for a Japanese Languages and Literatures MA or PhD, and become a Japanese Collections specialist! Awesome!

I mean seriously, that would be totally sweet…the thing is, I’d probably end up being an Academic Librarian with this path, or a Public Librarian in a place with a large Japanese-reading or -diasporic population…hmm.

(I could also work at a Japanese bookstore…or, eventually, as a book translator…)

Getting to what has to be done.

I really need to stop posting at 2 in the morning (I say at 1 in the morning: I started writing, around 11 PM). Sorry about the lack of coherence of my last post; I didn’t have a lot of time to edit it, and had been mulling over a backlog of posts for a while, likely hours. Long enough for my mind to start falling asleep, apparently.

Since I have time now, it would probably be better to do this a little earlier in the evening, or hold onto the drafts for 24 hours to allow for editing, before publication…so I don’t have to worry about posting at 3 AM with my mind not all there.

I also didn’t have enough time to get together even the basics for work, this morning. I thought I had brought nothing to eat on break (what I brought was breakfast), but then I found an unopened pack of trail mix in my purse. I didn’t eat it, but it was comforting to have. Still, though, I didn’t have time to pick a sketchbook in addition to grabbing the Monolith sticks, so I wasn’t able to draw during my lunch hour.

What I did do, today at lunch, was take another typing test. I needed to verify my WPM in preparation for a job application. The latter is done now, so I don’t have to worry about it, anymore. Maybe I should have included a cover letter, but I don’t think I’ll absolutely need it. I was more worried about actually decreasing my chances of getting a job by writing a messed-up or ill-considered cover letter under time pressures…

Though I really didn’t need to turn it in, so soon. I have just been worried that the hiring call would close early, due to so many applicants.

But it’s one thing off the table. The next thing is getting the content of my portfolio started, which I can do easily once I transfer my files. I’ve just got to remember that nothing needs to be set in stone, at this point. So there’s no penalty for going ahead and starting.

The big fear is that I won’t have the evidence I need, but even if that’s so, it’s still to my benefit to get started, early. At least I’ll know where I stand, and I can try and make up the deficiency while I still have the time to study and write.

And it will give me something to do if and/or when I decide that I need to stop with the arts and crafts. It might be good to get back to something, academic. Or that matters most urgently, you know. Maybe the difficulty I have is with balancing my wants and needs. Or with…studying and making. And I don’t know which is more important, sometimes.

Today was a good day, at work. It actually made me want to go in, more. It helps that I have someone to talk to about art stuff. It also helps to have a sense of upward mobility. And purpose. You know. There is a purpose — for the library, and for me — to my staffing Circulation, even if I’m not a Clerk and not being paid Clerk wages.

It also helps to know that my final semester won’t be the end of my learning; continuing education is expected for librarians. And if I’m getting paid paraprofessional wages, I can afford to go to classes, in order to hone skills for my future path(s).

I think that part of the problem I’m having is that I have way too much free time and way too much that I want to do, in that free time. If I were working a 40-hour week, there would be no way I could even consider doing as much as I’m trying to do. With the amount of technology in use, I wonder about how much less time people spend working, than we were built to. It’s just not…it doesn’t seem to my advantage, to have so much time.

Which is ironic, based on how many of my posts are about trying to assign how much time, to which projects. There’s just so much to do. So much I could do.

Since I was little, so much of my education has been about my keeping my options open. Maybe that pattern is working against me, now.

I do think that mathematical and logical thought, aren’t the most pleasant ways for me to spend my time, though! I mean, judging from my experiences in several of my classes. I think I’m more of an Arts and Humanities person.

I guess that’s a good thing to know. It’s a step towards focusing, that is…

Validating existence.

I have finally realized what my reasoning is to check my blog several times a day (when I’m able to). As long as I’m creating things, I have proof that I exist, and that something has changed because of my existence.

In other words: I’m making at least a small bit of difference in the world. Thus I am at least somewhat fulfilled in staying alive. So…it actually could be the case that on some level I do believe that I have survived in order to produce.

I am not totally sure this is the explanation, but with me it is easy to lose touch with reality, and this is my way of grounding myself. It’s kind of like looking at myself when I pass reflective surfaces…to remind myself that I have a physical form, and of what it looks like.

It’s easy for me to lose touch with my own embodiment, otherwise: sometimes I forget that I look like something to other people (and that what I look like isn’t what I imagine myself to be). Let alone forgetting that I have a body that needs to be maintained…I am much more centered in the worlds of ideas (and dreams) than in the physical one. I think the Art and the Writing bridge this, for me.

Although I’ve reached the point where I’m not constantly looking at my own blog to see my most recent writings (really, it’s boring when you’ve read it three times and you’re looking for development and the entries keep repeating information), I do find myself constantly wanting to see new material that I’ve hashed out, and almost always falling short of that mark. Because…it’s scary to create.

I love creating, but I also find it terrifying, before jumping in. No matter what is said, someone somewhere is going to take issue with it. That’s just part of the deal. The alternative is to change nothing, “leave no footprints,” as it were, like I’m an alien obeying the Prime Directive. (And yes, during that “Indigo Children” phase of the early 2000’s, I did qualify as Indigo. If we’re not careful I’ll start taking this seriously.) But even then, passivity is its own demon, and everyone I know who doesn’t forge their own path…has handed over the reins of power in their own life to something or someone else.

I have realized that, at least after I graduate, it will be easier to have time to read and write — and draw, if I want to. Right now I am unfocused. I have so many directions in which I could go and so many directions in which I’ve started to go, that I’m not really going much of anywhere, it seems. I start and then stop; I get distracted by other things I could do.

The good part of this is that I have a route into the Library world, which feels as though it will provide ample opportunity to be exposed to the work of others. I’m still not sure if I want to be a Reference Librarian — it’s seriously intense work with people — though the primary other options are working in Technical Services (this includes Web Design and Development) or Cataloging. If I did do Reference, it would be likely that I would be called upon to do Reader’s Advisory, too, which would get me reading Fiction again (though not necessarily the Fiction I want to read).

What I’m thinking I would also be able to do, however, would be managing Circulation. Right now I’ve been working Circulation for about seven years. I don’t want to step out of my role as a worker to try and run things in my current position (I have a Supervisor, after all), but at the same time it’s really obvious to me where things are breaking down.

I’ve gotten to the point where at least I feel like I am one of the people who gets the most done, on my shifts. This is probably why I keep being sorted to staff the desk instead of shelve. When I’m shelving, I’m finding myself taking too much extra time fixing the shelves (books out of order on the shelves! people taking the books out of order and then leaving them lying around!) as versus putting what’s on my cart, on the shelf, and leaving the shelf in **** condition.

See, this is what I mean about getting distracted. I was writing about getting back to creating, particularly in creative writing. BUT, at least the above distraction has a potential monetary gain if followed through, which could sustain me — physically.

Right now…what I want to do is write. But I know that I’ll be writing ****** first drafts, and there is not the instant gratification that one gets when one blogs.

Maybe I could balance it: work part time on the blog and part time at writing creatively…