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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Just a break.

Talk about needing help with time management…

I’ve got half of my paper done, and just a little longer to write before I’ll have to turn something in, done or not. I did go to work today, but I won’t be going in, tomorrow, given time pressures. This is why I’m in a job that doesn’t pay so much: flexible scheduling. Well, that’s part of the reason. The other parts are idealism and a desire to help.

Right now…I’ve been working on this stuff since about 4:30 PM with the only break being dinner, and I need to think about something else. I also need to review my readings, and see if I can’t get the next four in, before submitting my paper.

I also need to gauge if I’m even awake enough to continue working on this, tonight…as well as perhaps comment on others’ posts, on the discussion forum.

EDIT: Yay! I responded to someone, which means I get extra credit! Now to get back to whatever I was doing…

Prepping for creative work.

Surprisingly, I was able to get out of the house today. A lot of people are staying indoors because there’s still a lot of smoke here from the Butte County fire. Not to minimize the destruction of that fire, but the air has been unhealthful for days.

Depending on the air quality, I might be working later this week more than I had anticipated; my school work-load has recently sharply decreased. I decided to hit the art store, today, in celebration of having free time again.

This time, I actually had a medium and project in mind. As you may have seen, very early this morning I was playing around with WordPress’s new editor. It’s inspired me to try my hand at webcomics. Kind of interesting how something like the structure of a content editor can matter…

Anyhow — just to remind myself in the future; today I got a bottle of ink and some brushes which were approximately $35 for a set of 5, due to multiple discounts. They’re Princeton Neptune brand. I had originally set out to get one good-sized natural hair brush, but seriously, good natural-hair watercolor brushes in a decent size are fairly expensive, and I didn’t see any with the dimensions I wanted.

(It is easier to want a brush before you’ve actually seen and held it.)

The Neptunes are supposed to be good at holding paint. Maybe late Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll be able to play with them, more than just washing them out, as I did tonight. Then I’ll be able to see if they dispense paint (or ink) as well as they hold it.

I still haven’t decided whether to go in to work more later this week…

And — right! I also got a copy of the Iowa Review 48(2) and one of Granta 144. They’re both literary magazines, and as such, aren’t available at my library. I may have to do this, more. Because I’m so new to litmags, I don’t yet have a feel for what type of stories and poetry each magazine tends to have.

However, if I’m going to be writing stuff, it would help to read again. Litmags have short stories and poetry from different authors, so there isn’t too much of an investment in any one. They’re also fairly contemporary, and a good way to keep one’s finger on the pulse of new talent.

I still haven’t decided whether I want to get seriously back into writing, and if so, what I want to do with it. There’s the possibility of contributing to magazines, publishing directly to the Web as a staff writer or blogger, or running my own website. In long-form, the choices are self-publishing in an eBook or Print-on-Demand format, or going through traditional Publishing houses.

Due to my experience in Collection Development this semester, I’ve found some interesting outlets for eBooks and online litmags — though still, nothing compares to going to a bookstore and being able to browse. It’s just easier.

And then…there’s the possibility of just dealing with this here. I could run a blog, and publish comics to it. Of course, given my background, they’re likely not to be…well, intentionally funny.

Unless I go there. I can go there. It’s just not my first goal.

Anyway — for now, I’ve decided to work with Microns plus ink wash, for any comics I make. Or — I could use dip pens plus the ink I just got, though that requires some┬ápreparation of the nibs; and that requires either flame or boiling in a chemical-safe, non-food container. I do need a new lighter, but that’s easy enough to replace. I also need to find the Third Hand — it’s basically a pair of tweezers on a base.

The problem with holding nibs in pliers and then burning off the anti-rust coating with open flame is that it also heats up the plier nibs. That can distort them and make them useless. I learned the hard way.

By the way, it’s not my responsibility if you try this. It only takes a touch of the lighter, but you can get burned or worse, especially if there’s any grease.

Aside from this, I should work on my project due tomorrow. Not that I think any of us in the class, actually want to. It’s tough to write to a standard format. Kind of sucks all the joy out of it.

But I can do it. Just for the sake of not washing my GPA down the drain as my last action in this program. ­čÖé

Still working on that assignment

I’m writing, right now, to get me back into the mode of writing anything. Last night, I was up working on a Marketing assignment, and didn’t want to stop. Now, I’m having a slight bit of trouble in getting back to it.

I did get a good idea about what to do with it, last night — so I have a plan. The thing is, I spent yesterday (almost all of it) rereading the chapter and rewatching the lecture and taking notes. I doubt I will end up promoting the databases I initially chose…they just aren’t the best fit for the people I want to invite into the Library.

Anyhow, my (hypothetical) plan would be to visit the Art studios with some little handouts, and a card about a few of the databases to which the students have access. The target audience (to be narrowed down) are college students who are visual thinkers, like to work with their hands, and are a bit alienated from computers (particularly, the use of computers for research) and the Library (which most people think is just for text). I realized that I would be marketing digital resources to on-campus students, which requires different tactics for reaching them (as versus distance-education students).

And yeah, I did think of putting posters of that Duchamp piece, “Fountain,” in the bathroom stalls…but that may be in poor taste!

(I’M NOT GOING INTO IT.)

The thing is, since I started reconsidering the path of becoming an Art Librarian (likely in an Academic setting)…I’ve started dreaming again, and it’s distracting me.

Not to mention the fact that I went to an art store and found a new Prussian Blue watercolor (Sennelier brand — in a tube) and now I want to do the freakin’ art but I have to finish my work for this semester, first!

But yeah…watercolor + gouache + pastel…there’s gotta be some great uses I can put those media to, together. I look back on some of my work which I’ve done in ink and watercolor…which, I’m still really curious about, but I may have to try a way of working that I witnessed another student using, which is to do a grisaille (greyscale) underpainting in sumi ink, and then layer color over it. That should be much more flexible than using Microns, like I’m making a coloring book or a comic.

Eh…yes, the sooner I get this work done, the sooner I can stop worrying about it!

And…I actually have been considering going back for an MFA in Art History or Studio Art, to use both for personal fulfillment, and as qualification to be an Academic Librarian specializing in Art…but I also need to earn gainful employment, sometime.

(I also wonder if it would be worth it to get one good natural-hair paintbrush…and see where that takes me.)

Time crunch.

So it seems we’re ramping up to the holidays, faster than (at least) I expected. I’ve decided to skip the bead show, this year. I already have too many beads, and I haven’t really been using them at all. Hoarding more beads, I think, would just make me feel bad.

Especially knowing that I’m not intending to go into beadwork as a money-making venture, at this point. Cost-recovery is something else, but beadwork is an expensive habit, and I don’t even wear much jewelry and I haven’t been crafting. I would be more encouraged to sell on Etsy, but even that isn’t really worth it unless we look at how much money I’m losing for not being otherwise employed (plus I am not sure whether or not the last computer bug I got was from Etsy).

The alternative, it looks like, is to start my own website or find a better sales platform, and I’m not doing the first until I can take a serious cybersecurity class.

It also seems that I forgot to mention in my last post that we went out with my Godmother on Wednesday, for lunch. It was supposed to be a little meeting, and ended up lasting until 8 PM. I likely would have done better to stay at home and work, but then again, I did get to try a really good frozen drink at the Vietnamese restaurant we frequent.

The drink itself, I hear, is like the Philippine halo halo, or…well, you can look it up. I don’t really know much about it! I got it because it was listed as having three types of beans and coconut milk. It did have coconut milk, but the other two, “beans,” aside from the azuki beans, were sweetened plantain (so far as I could tell) and slightly sweet agar.

I don’t know, either.

But since I like plantain and coconut and azuki, I was pretty happy. ­čÖé Until M almost drank all the coconut milk out of it. That was unfortunate.

There’s something else happening tomorrow that I am wondering whether to skip. It’s basically a festival where stuff is sold. I know I really don’t need to go and I kind of don’t want to go. I mean, it’s just a chance to spend money. The thing that’s giving me pause is whether to go in order to share the experience with my family — which I’m also leaning against, because I have an assignment due Monday night which I haven’t really started yet.

If I were looking to go into business and work shows like this…that’s something else, but that’s kind of not where I’m headed at this point in my life.

I’m really not sure. If I don’t want to go, my family may not see the point in going, either…which isn’t the outcome I want.

I suppose the best thing I can do now is get to work on my homework so that I can complete it on Monday…and if I have an extra Sunday to work on my portfolio, so much the better…

And then, I just realized: it would be different to go to the bead show to see the current state of the market, if I wanted to go into Jewelry Design. That …is an entirely different angle.

Because of my work in my grad program, I realized that drafting a set of rules as to what I would and wouldn’t buy, would help me not overspend. This is with an aim to end-use. I want to do stuff with macrame and size 6┬║ (Czech) and 8┬║ (Czech and Japanese) seed beads, possibly with small (3-5 mm) druks (round pressed glass beads) and fire-polished faceted round beads. The thing is, what is seen in person are often limited-run specialty glass…

Ehh…I’ve got to think about this, some more…

Recovering.

Right now, I’m just writing so I’m not in bed. For the past four days, I’ve been dealing with food poisoning (and the course of recovering from food poisoning). This morning when I weighed myself, I had lost almost five pounds — though I’m not sure how much of that is due to dehydration and how much is because, until about 24 hours ago, I couldn’t digest food.

I was going back and forth between writing this out by hand, and writing this out online…I guess you can see which won out. I intended to journal last night and ended up dropping off to sleep by accident — twice!

Last night was a little worrisome, too. Because I couldn’t keep anything in, I hadn’t taken my regular medication. So when I realized I had double vision at about 8:30 PM, I didn’t know if it was from dehydration, lack of food, reading things too close for too long, electrolyte imbalance, or withdrawal. I took medication early last night and tried to drink as much water as I could, and it did self-resolve (thankfully).

I also realized that the wedge pillow I got to do computer work in bed, also works really well to allow me to read in bed, and to prevent me from experiencing what might be the beginnings of sleep apnea. (I think I’m snoring, that is, and I think the snoring is leading to anxiety while asleep, about not being able to breathe — though that might better be categorized as a panic attack.)

So basically…Tuesday night I started feeling sick, and Wednesday was just a wash. If I hadn’t taken the time off of work previously, I would have been (seriously) sick at work. Yesterday, I did manage to work on my homework for Collection Development (the Prof finally put up the correct link, and I read through the assigned chapter). Nothing much else has happened, except I realized how much of Intro to Marketing I had forgotten, while reading about Marketing. (I need to rework that section of my ePortfolio.)

Except — I did start reading in this book I got a while ago, called The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think, by Eli Pariser. I think it was copyrighted in 2011, and it’s regarding the Web, so I’m kind of surprised it’s still accurate. It’s about how Web search algorithms have been designed to show us what it predicts we’ll want to read, and how that isolates us from ideas outside of that.

Immediately when I was reading it, I started thinking about the widening political rifts going on in my own country, and how much of it may be due to people never being exposed to ideas outside of what they already think. I’m pretty sure Pariser isn’t saying we should stop using the Internet, but rather as with any form of technology, we need to be aware of the hazards inherent in how it works (which are largely hidden from us, and the workings of which, none of us entirely understand).

And yes, I do want to get back to my art, but it looks like I’ll need to be working on completing this degree for about the next month, pretty seriously. I’m just glad I’m not drowning in assignments, yet.

I’m also glad I allocated myself enough time that I could just forget about my work for a day, and it’s probably going to be all right.

For the rest of today…I should get on finishing my other two readings. One of them is 53 pages long, so I doubt I’ll get much else, done. Tomorrow, unless I get sick again, I should be going in to work. Then there is a Discussion Post to do, and the rest of that time — unless I start working on my Collection Development paper early, I should be able to work on my ePortfolio.

The anxiety’s easing, a little bit.

I think the only thing I’m really going to have to watch out for is devoting too much time to Collection Development, over my Culminating Experience requirement. That, and not getting sick. Today I spent a little time outside, picking up more food and, incidentally, highlighters. (I get tired of having to look for one that isn’t 15 years old.)

Yesterday, I was able to complete most of one new section (F) to my project. I’m still not halfway done, but it’s comforting to know that it doesn’t take me forever to get one of these, completed. The day before that, I completed and submitted Section E. I likely would have gotten more done last night if I hadn’t been tearing through my archives, looking for evidence (while I had the motivation and nerve to do so). I wanted to deal with finishing Section F more today, but I had to turn in an assignment for Collection Development. Two points. (And…I wanted more trail mix.)

I just would hate not to turn in anything, especially as I lost three points for not following standard format in my last paper. That narrows the gap as to what I can avoid turning in. But of course, it probably doesn’t matter, so long as I don’t get a D or F in this class (I’m uncertain whether that would cause graduation to fall into jeopardy, though I’m presently in good standing).

Good news: I’m now caught up for the weekly turnover, and the Marketing assignment is coming up shortly. I should be able to use this for my incomplete Section D, and then move on from there. Once Sections D and F are turned in, I’ll be over halfway done.

Section D is going to be kind of a pain, though. I was an editor for the major class I’ll be using for evidence in that section…which was needed, because we wrote about 80 pages in our final drafts for that class, combined.

Right now I’ve got approximately eight sections to work on and approximately two weeks before Halloween, which is my soft deadline to get rough drafts of all these sections turned in. After seeing what happened with my first few drafts, though (in which none were reviewed until I fixed the first one I submitted), I may want to take my time on them as versus turning in, “just anything.”

The final due date is in mid-November. I have five weeks. 35 days. But I want to do my best to get all this turned in, in two. 14 days. Hopefully, this will allow me a little bit of extra time, to edit anything that needs work, to fill any gaps which may exist, and to complete incidentals like my Introduction. I’m getting confident with the format, though.

Seriously, the sooner I get this turned in, the sooner I can relax.