Yes, I’m still here. Actually. Really. :)

I don’t even know how long I’ve been away from this blog, but the temporary state of being in de facto, 12 units, while preparing for graduation is…apparent. Not to mention taking care of general University trainings.

It must have taken me 30-45 minutes the other night (I can’t remember which night and I didn’t write it down) just to figure out everything that is coming due this week. Luckily, I should be able to get in my second exercise for my Database class and be somewhat prepared to talk to a new contact, by tomorrow. The next deadline set is Wednesday.

The major issue is so much reading, though at least it’s easy enough for me. There’s that, and listening to audio recordings (which just take time and attention) and research. The other major thing is sedation, which I’ve been experiencing as the Prozac leaves my system (I was taking the Prozac to counter the sedation).

I realized a couple of days ago that I have (or had) been really irritable/angry/triggered, and I am no longer certain whether it’s my life that is the cause, or if withdrawal is distorting (or clarifying) my perception.

In any case, I realized last night that I hadn’t logged on here for…my Stats read a week or so, if I assume my last posting was the last time I was on. Actually, though, I did start drafting a post about 2/3 of a week ago, and then went and took care of the issue instead of writing about it.

There’s been a lot of stuff happening; mostly around death in both sides of my family, now. My office is pretty messed up (particularly the small papers all over the floor off to one side of my terminal) and I’ve ceased to worry about it, but I do need to do some laundry and clean the bedroom so I can get back to using the desk (and have clothes I look good in). I also really need to shower; maybe I can do that tomorrow morning before heading out (I just don’t want to dry my hair, really).

I also have not contacted any of my professors yet re: Disability accommodations. I kind of feel like it helps me be lazy, and in the real world, I’ll need to work to deadlines. The problem is that going without sleep for too long, or having dysregulated sleep for too long, may trigger an episode in me. It’s better to turn something in 18 hours late and maintain my health, than it is to pull an all-nighter and be damaged and unable to fully function for 3-4 weeks…which is why I have the accommodation.

Tomorrow, I might go out for some more pens (I use color differentiation to tell where one set of notes ends and the next begins, but all of my colored gel pens are running low). I bet that will help me get out of bed at a reasonable time.

And…the Bullet Journaling is actually helping, though it’s not a big deal to look at. I basically have been writing tasks down for the week, every week, with due dates.

I’ve also decided that I don’t want to be a back-end Web Developer. The Database class is kind of like a math class…oddly enough, I think I may be happier in a front-end Web Developer or Web Designer role. But it’s a good thing I found that out.

Alright. I think I can get back to homework, now; taking time out for this journal/blog constitutes caring for myself. Sometimes it’s just good to have a place to record what’s happening so you don’t forget it because of rushing so fast to get everything done…

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One paper down; gaining some breathing room.

I’ll try not to make this a long post. I started to write something here right after I got out of bed, today, but instead diverted myself into a paper that is now completed and turned in. That…did take around nine hours of work, minus an evening meal.

Now I have to figure out what is due next, but luckily I think I’ll be able to complete the vast majority of it before I have to go back to my job.

Study for tonight had to do with inferring how a database was set up in a website of my choice. It was actually…really interesting, once I started to get into it. The prof for that class has also stated that the readings are there if we don’t understand the lectures, but not required.

I might dip into Chapter 2, but as his lectures were a total of 3 hours, and I was taking notes, I think I got most of the content. My major concern is needing to access the book later on, and if I’ll be able to do it if I haven’t read the earlier chapters.

What’s amazing and a little frustrating is that for a different class, I have three separate lectures to listen to, but together, they’re only about one hour long. I wish that the professors would give us page counts and/or the lengths of what we’re supposed to listen to, before we click through to begin the work.

Not to mention, that some of our professors are laying out things for the next week, while others are laying out things for the next three weeks. And they don’t always give due dates on the readings. So on looking at the itinerary, we’re swamped with all this work…which is altogether due in three weeks?

Anyhow, I should have some wiggle room in my time, tomorrow, possibly enabling a trip to the produce market, and/or exercise. And…if I do poorly on the Power Mapping exercise, the class is only one unit. It can’t impact me that much.

I’ve also decided (for now) that if I do get time to spend freely, working on the sewing project feels like it will be most structured and productive.

Right now I’m just not certain whether to buy a certain book (to help me with that) as an electronic version or paper…

Not too stressed yet…

Yes, I am only three days into the semester, but one of those days I worked during the day, the next I slept nearly all of the day (I took medication after midnight!), and today…I got new shoes and earrings, instead of studying all my waking hours. (12g spirals! I won’t be able to put them in, though, for about 3 or 4 more weeks: I have to wait for my piercings to acclimate to their current size.)

I suppose the bright spot in there is that I have been studying at night, and I have been studying in the day, even though classroom attendance and reading short chapters, doesn’t seem like it’s really “studying.” Nor does introducing myself or keeping up with everyone else’s hellos. (It helps that I got slightly ahead [one chapter] in my politics class, before school started.) Also, I’m only working 11 hours a week, at this point.

I have also (tonight) restarted using my Bullet Journal. I’m juggling four courses and have needed to put all my tasks into one place so I could see what, exactly, needed to be done, and by when. Whether I’m doing it “right” or not remains to be seen — and that may not matter, as long as it’s working — but it is helping me visualize everything that I’ve got to get done by next week. And what has to be done isn’t overwhelming; it’s just tough to keep track of.

I think it will be best if I retain one page for each week of assignments.

I don’t think I can hold it all in my head at one time: I tried, and all it does is build intimidation and a slight aversion to checking what I actually have to do, not what I think I have to do. The latter is scarier.

I found out right before the semester started that I only need one to three samples of work for each of my e-Portfolio categories. This vastly simplifies what I thought would be an arduous process; I had upwards of 10-12 pieces of evidence in each category, prior (where I had that volume of work). But the Culminating Experience is not too dissimilar to my capstone class for the Art AA.

Luckily enough, I also think that my “week” turns over mid-week, not on Sundays, for most of my classes. I also have much less that I “have” to do, in terms of work and family responsibilities, than many other people, so I feel fortunate in that regard. It’s even possible that I might be able to work more, after February. I’m not sure, though.

I still haven’t gotten in touch with anybody about Disability accommodations, but I think this semester will be better than last semester, just because I’m learning how to learn and how to keep up. That is, I’ve got to be proactive in finding out what I need to do, and work against procrastination as I’m actually accomplishing the tasks. I have heard that I’m not the only person who can delay working on an assignment for longer than it takes to actually do the assignment! Is it bad that it makes me feel better? 😉

And how is it that grad school has gotten easier?

I also need to make an appointment with my vocational counselor, although I’ve already notified her about this. I’m not sure if it just fell between the cracks, or what, but I’m just trying to be compliant.

And with that…I should probably get some rest. Early morning, tomorrow!

Images to go with last night’s post:

Alright. So at this point, I’ve been able to think things over a bit, as regards school; and have a default project for my Web Usability Final. Also, I did photograph those little sketches I did last night. Though the photos came out fine, applying Auto Levels in Photoshop did make them look less grey, so I’ve left them that way.

And to reiterate and continue from last post: I was drawing from imagination, with the goal of testing out a color; I wasn’t trying for photorealism (and in fact intentionally avoided photo reference until completing these three sketches). Apologies to people who have monstera deliciosa direct reference! Even though I am based in California, and I’ve read these are endemic to Mexico, they’re relatively rare, in my location.

monstera-1-2

These are the first two attempts that I made in trying to draw and then color, using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated Watercolor — which, by the way, is only the green hue in this image. I mixed it with Holbein Lamp Black; and Winsor & Newton’s Winsor (Dioxazine) Violet tube watercolors, in the background.

The Radiant (dye-based) watercolor lends itself to very delicate work — more delicate than I could get with the tube watercolors alone. (With the latter, I had trouble in accidentally pushing the pigment around on the page.)

monstera-3

This third attempt was done entirely with tube watercolor. I’m not as happy with the “feel” of the leaf, as it’s more angular and shield-like than I would like. Upon viewing a reference at the end, I’m thinking that this one is the farthest from the actual “feeling” of a monstera deliciosa leaf, although the flow of the veins from the center (but not the patterning of the veins) is more on-point.

But back to the colors: I used Winsor [Phthalo] Green (Yellow Shade), which is the blue-green; Green Gold (which is the yellow glaze to the right), Dioxazine Violet, Permanent Rose (fairly invisible here; it’s mixed with the black at lower left, but there’s so much black that it disappears), and Lamp Black.

For an explanation of why I was comparing these colors, you’ll want to see last post, and the post before that (for context).

So…yeah, this is what I was doing last night, after a 5-hour near-marathon of trying to get work done for Finals. (I took a break of about an hour in the middle, in order to make a salad.)

Which reminds me, I should be doing some work. *sigh*

Though I am looking forward to continuing to try and draw these leaves…I can see where it could turn out really nice. In any case, I’ve only got two more weeks of the semester left (!!)…

…which means that I need to get on it.

Painting allows tighter color control than beadwork…

End of an era?

Tomorrow is the final session of one of the two annual bead shows I’ve attended. Although I did get today off of work (surprise!), and I did get one homework assignment done (surprise?), I still feel behind enough so that I don’t want to spend my time tomorrow buying beads…which I won’t, then, have the time to use.

I was initially drawn to beadwork because of being able to play with color combinations; unfortunately, though, the “consumerism” aspect of beadwork seems to have heightened recently, which is a bit of a turnoff. Even though there are a lot of really interesting new beads being put out right now (particularly two- and three-hole beads), there are some shapes I’m drawn to (much) more than others; and most of the places to buy beads, in general, have migrated to online format.

Growing up.

I also am feeling time pressures which weren’t there when I was stably working an 18-hour week and going to the Art program at a local Community College…grad school is much more intense than that. I’m kind of wondering if it’s going to be like this for the rest of my foreseeable life, you know: with a 40-hour work week?

For tomorrow, I have at least two readings to do (one of which is in-progress), a response post, something to listen to, a slew of forum responses (which I’m supposed to be moderating) and some group work; not to mention my weekly Web Design homework. It’s just…not looking pretty.

Not to mention that I still haven’t set a firm dividing line as to whether my Web Design Final project will be based on color dynamics; or Buddhism’s focus on impermanence, as applied to archives (and living/surviving in general).

The former is dependent on good daytime light quality for photos; the latter should be heavily based on introspection and study (ideally, also, meditation; but I get impatient, meditating. The problem is that it’s hard to grapple with existential topics and Buddhist concepts without being destabilized to the point of needing meditation).

But if I look at it, I’m not sure either of those topics are really well thought-out: I was kind of broadsided with the request for topics, because I hadn’t read ahead. I know the Buddhist topic will calm me, and I’ve had to pare down the content of the color dynamics outline so much that it no longer appears “fun.”

Most of the rest of this is a tangent where I’m exploring what content I might use with my Web Design project, re: Color Dynamics.

Add to the latter that I’m translating painter’s color (subtractive color) into digital photography (additive color) and then showing it in additive color.  It would be much simpler if I were working with an RGB (Red, Green, Blue: the colors that are projected from most computer monitors) color gamut, but I don’t entirely understand that model yet.

I’m not even working with CMYK (Printer’s colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, black [Key]) either; I’m working from a split-primary model…which will probably go over most of my reader’s heads, so I guess I should define it.

intense violet, orange, and green tones, bordered by the tones used to make them, and set in a hexagonal arrangement.

Basically, if you’re looking to make brilliant tones from which to mix all other colors (including muted colors and chromatic greys [greys with a hint of color]), there are two factors to take into consideration: masstone and overtone. Masstone is something which I don’t think was ever explained to me, but essentially I believe this is the basic color which is reflected. It’s not always easy to parse, especially with non-prismatic colors.

Prismatic colors…are bright, pure, vibrant colors, such as one would see from the rainbow projected by a prism. (The above color wheel was painted entirely in gouache, a.k.a. opaque watercolor, on cold-press watercolor paper.)

So, say, on the far left of the image above, those two colors both have a blue masstone. But they have different overtones. The upper blue is “Ultramarine Deep,” and has a violet overtone. The lower blue is “Intense Blue” (Phthalocyanine Blue), with a green overtone. It’s very subtle, especially in this photo: the Phthalo Blue was kind of shading itself, and I had applied it very intensely.

Ultramarine Deep mixed with Hansa Yellow Deep makes a dull olive green.

However, try mixing that shade of green with Hansa Yellow Deep (the dark, orange-leaning yellow just below the intense orange on the right) plus Ultramarine Deep. It turns into a dirty-olive mix, because you’re mixing a violet overtone with yellow, and an orange overtone with blue: violet and yellow are complementary colors, just as are orange and blue (they are across from each other on the color wheel, roughly reproduced in the first photo) and cancel each other out when mixed, meaning the entire mixture is dulled out.

If you want to mix an intense violet (which you can’t really tell I did in the above photo, because the violet is too dark and dense to be able to read as more than a purplish-near-black; violet has the darkest innate value [it is closest to black in its pure mixed form] of all colors), you need to mix a violet-leaning blue with a violet-leaning red. In this case, I mixed Permanent Rose Red with Ultramarine Deep.

Similarly, if you want a vibrant green, you want to mix a green-leaning blue with a green-leaning yellow; and for a vibrant orange, mix an orange-leaning red with an orange-leaning yellow. This is the easiest way to think about it, I’ve found.

This is because overtones matter, and they will either enhance or detract from your mixes — if you’re after those pure-looking tones. A lot of people aren’t, as without further mixing, they look very simple. In addition, there are tons more ways to mix your primary colors than I’ve shown above. They just all come out slightly muted, to very muted, to nearly-neutralized.

I figured this out by painting six color wheels with all possible “warm” and “cold” split-primary combinations with my set of primaries (which I should list on the site; I also haven’t defined “warm” and “cold”). This was just (surprise!) the most intense result, after having cut all of them apart and reassembled them.

But once you have the prismatic colors, you can then play around by mixing other colors, using them: mixing a little across the color wheel (which I didn’t define, and would need to) will mute them. Mixing hardcore across the color wheel will give you a chromatic grey. (Mixing to the side, e.g. green with orange…not sure.)

I just didn’t have the time to do that, this time.

Maybe I should do my final project on color…it just seems so…not-academic…

I get freedom, and I just…throw it away…WHY?

I just hate to have to deal with a neutral Web layout, when I otherwise have few limitations on color, except for usability purposes. For this project, I would have to make a relatively boring/very neutral layout in terms of color, because the background a color is seen against, alters the human perception of it (this is something put forward by Josef Albers, and in my perception, holds true). I should have some examples of this from my Color Dynamics portfolio; and even if not, it’s easy enough to reproduce on Photoshop.

I will also be getting very, very familiar with the <float> tag…

What I have been doing so far is utilizing one of the nearest topics to me, in order to populate my learning documents; and that is self-care. Buddhism isn’t far off from that, but neither is painting.

Maybe I just feel guilty that I’m working some fun into my assignments?

Gah…

General update:

Yesterday, I realized that when I am bored and not knowing what to do, I should likely fill that time with work so that when I do have an idea of what to do, I will have the time to do it.

Right now, I’ve only got about 15 minutes to my name; apologies for this post not being entirely well thought-out.

I was able to organize a good deal of the paper storm in my computer room.  I think there was stuff lying around in there that dated back to this time last year.  I also was able to reorganize the tall bookshelf in there, and moved a bunch of the New Agey/energy work stuff to a smaller bookshelf.

I had the idea to play around with watercolor paint…but couldn’t think of any subject matter, so I went back to my Web Design homework.  Accordingly, I’m almost entirely done with my readings, there.  I should be able to complete my homework for that class, early:  then I can focus on my other two classes for the rest of the weekend.

Also:  I keep learning things about how to write and lay out and organize Web pages which let me know that I’m not doing it in an optimal manner (though how could I, really, without knowing this information?).  I’m concerned that all this knowledge will slip past me; so I’m considering creating a book which will hold notes containing “best practices” which I find in my readings.  As far as I know…that will date back to this last Summer with my User Experience class.  (I don’t think any of that information goes farther back than that.)

I will also, soon, have to figure out what classes to take in Spring…but that’s not terribly urgent, at this point.

All right, I should sign off right about now…

Catching up, and trying to take care of myself at the same time.

I need to manage my time, better.

I’ve come to the realization that the vast majority of my work, this semester, is from one class.  While I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, in effect, it is a lot of work.  It’s also kind of stressful in that it seems, whenever I take some time out for myself, I fall behind.

For instance, now.  I know that writing here doesn’t have much to do with my studies (other than being a warm-up for a written assignment:  it’s hard to start cold), but I don’t think I’ve realistically done much other than study, eat, go to work, and sleep, over the past 5 days.

Oh, wait, no.  I did play around with some beads to make earring focals, but that…that was intentional.  There was one day — Monday or Tuesday — in which I started studying when I woke up, and aside from dinner, did not stop reading for 9.5 hours, until I went back to bed.  But I’ve been catching up on three weeks of work, which went by I-don’t-know-how (other than the fact that the class with the surprise heavy workload was the class with the almost-no-workload earlier in the semester).

I need to change the pattern of not checking the Learning Management System when I need a break, because then I don’t know how much I’m falling behind.  Of course, not thinking about it is kind of the point; but when in other semesters this would have been a viable option because the amount of falling behind was negligible, this semester it is not.  I simply have too much work due too soon.

So…it really does look like my life is again circling around my career choice.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing? but I’m having to use disability accommodations in order to get through it all.  That’s largely because of the sleep issue.

Speaking of which, it’s been working relatively well to take medication at 9 PM, take care of hygiene, fall asleep around 11, and wake up randomly between 6 and 7:30 AM.  The problem is falling back asleep after I wake up, even when my alarms go off.  This happened today, and so even though I woke up at 6 AM (before sunrise), I repeatedly fell back asleep, and didn’t actually get up until 12 PM.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that I didn’t take medication last night until around 11:30 PM.  The later I take it, the more bombed-out I am the next day.  I think it would be best to stick to the 9 PM med time when I can, even though it feels like I’m wasting time in which I’m aware:  9 PM is early enough so that I’m not totally wiped out the next day.  And if I can manage to find a way to stay out of bed after I first wake up, this should be workable (it should be easier as my body gets used to going to bed and waking up at stable hours).

Of course, that means that I’ve got a little less than 8 hours left to get my homework done, today.

I’ll get to work.