Wow. I didn’t know *that* was in there…

Let’s see…tonight I was able to submit another segment of my Culminating Experience requirement. Last night, I submitted my paper for Collection Development, meaning I’m probably not going to have a problem with that class. I only have one more big assignment, there.

Time is ticking down for my remaining essays: I have 2.5 weeks to complete 5 essays, plus one which is mostly-done, and two more which are my Philosophy and Conclusion essays, which I’ve already put serious work into; those two shouldn’t be hard. Right now, I’m pushing myself to give myself a break. Although, maybe I shouldn’t be.

There is still some study to be done to keep up with Collection Development, though it should be fairly straightforward, as compared to the more free-form (but still scaffolded) Culminating Experience stuff.

Luckily, writing isn’t too difficult for me, and I work relatively well under pressure (unless the task is just straight-up too difficult and sheer, due to multiple hidden tasks; then I just freak out and freeze, as started to happen before I got an extension on my last assignment).

If I reach a time in the near future where I want to work but can’t think in words, I can assemble the skeletons and scaffolding of my last six essays — or, the five which need it, I guess. It does take time. That’s the hardest part: trying to estimate how long it will take, and hoping that I’ll have the capacity to do the type of work I’ll need to do at the time I’ll need to do it.

The only way I’ll get into trouble is if I have to do hidden research for one or more essays, but I think I’ll be OK.

Well, there’s that. It’s pretty well-settled. I…am wondering if it is a good idea to go out, soon; or stay in, listen to my lecture, and basically catch up on the Collection Development material (which isn’t really, “catching up,” if I’m not behind, yet). Not to mention that I can look over the voting guides.

I think it would be easier on me to stay home tomorrow, actually, rather than going out when I don’t have to.

What was interesting, was investigating my college, the other day, and realizing that they have a pretty sizable Art budget. That, in turn, gets me thinking about going back to Art classes, or Computer Science classes, and the possibility of an MFA…and if an MFA, whether to do that in Web Design, or Studio Arts…and if Studio Arts, what do I plan to do with that? If Web Design, is that broad enough to do what I want?

I think it is an okay thing, right now, to really…start looking beyond the next two months. I know that December should see a lot of tension being released. January should see me beginning to look for new jobs…and getting back in touch with who I actually am.

I’m looking to be employed for at least 20-30 hours a week in my next job, which may be a Library Assistant or Librarian position, a combination of my current job with an internship, or a non-Library job.

If I don’t get any of this, I may start doing things like pulling prints or otherwise working creatively, and selling the results of that in my spare time (though as I’ve said before, I’m not entirely all that hot on Etsy, at the moment — I might want to find an alternative vending platform).

There is a third route, but I’d rather not do it, at least immediately (take Intro to Computer Science, and a one-unit class). I also need to learn Javascript, especially if I want to work in Technical Services.

And then…there is a story idea that I’ve had, which I’m not sure is related to dystopia or utopia, which goes into what might happen if the state of culture changes so that, in the majority, we decided to avoid irrational thought. A lot of things would go, including much of culture and religion; and I’m not sure what would replace them. I’m…curious about that problem, and kind of want to work it out on my own, to see where it would go. The thing is, even rational thought, based on false premises, leads to statements that aren’t true.

It does seem to be a timely idea, and it’s one I had to turn the TV off to remember, which means it’s good I’m writing it down somewhere, because just telling people about it, barely helped me recollect it.

As for whether I’m good enough at drawing to make it into a graphic novel or series, I’m not sure…but maybe that’s not the point. It doesn’t make sense to make something into a visual form, when there is no need to do so. I’m better at the written word, anyway; and one of the reasons I got into Art was because I was getting to the point with literature, of being able to actually say things that mattered, and I was afraid to do so.

Yeah, and…I’m thinking about another dream I had, which challenged my previous conception of a couple of characters I’ve had, from way back. That dream was seriously adult-themed, though; I mean, it might even set people with trauma, off. (By, “adult,” I mean that you need a moral grounding to be able to comprehend it and not take the situation as acceptable.) I’m not sure if I should write it…but it might help. It might help me get beyond it, that is.

On top of that, we got a new book in at the Library about Critical Thinking, which I want to read, but am somewhat concerned that I’ll have to challenge the book to successfully get through it. I’m not sure if the author is intentionally doing mind-trips to make their readers think, that is, and I won’t have the extra time or energy to try and puzzle it out, before December.

What’s kind of crazy (in the colloquial sense [like “crazy” is ever non-colloquial]) is that if I get back into literature and decide that’s where I want to be, a Public Library setting would feed me, by surrounding me with literature. If I get into Art and want to be an Art Librarian (subject specialist) in a University setting, then I might well need an MA or MFA in an Art-related field.

(The thing is, do I like Art well enough to do that?)

But maybe what I need to get used to, is being okay with expression? Or unafraid to express things, maybe I should say. It’s that which got me into writing, in the first place…I could write things I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about. (That’s also what got me onto the Web, which relatively freaks out some people.)

And I guess I do, now, have the life experience to kind of know what I’m talking about when I write, which I didn’t, fresh out of undergraduate training.

Yeah… maybe I’ll go back and give writing a shot! It doesn’t cost a lot in anything but time (and maybe, books). On top of that, I know a bit of coding, and can look up the schema used to encode Kindle books, which I could then, self-publish. Or…I could try and publish through a traditional venue, with a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Library and Information Science under my belt…

Hmm. Gotta do the writing, first!

(And I can go back to school for an MFA in Fiction, if I want…it’s a terminal degree, though. But I would be able to teach, then [as well as work in Publishing], and I would be very well-prepared [formally, at least] to be a subject specialist in Fiction writing…)

It makes sense, though, that if I want to really publish, I need to be reading: yesterday, if not sooner. Maybe I could line some stuff up for January?

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Life happens when you’re trying to study

Well… well. I’ve been here only on and off recently, because I’ve been focusing my energies elsewhere (on schoolwork), but right now I don’t entirely feel like working. I was up until 2 AM last night, working on this stuff, and into the early morning the day before, as well (1:30 AM). I had to take a nap in the afternoon, today; I just wasn’t motivated to get back to it, so soon.

It is amazing, though, how much more I get done by doing work, rather than warming up first by writing about working. I have also noticed, though, the mental difference between writing by hand and typing. I go back and revise while working, much more when I’m typing. It’s easier to rephrase and rearrange what I’m doing, which I’ve noticed happening a lot, recently.

On a different frequency:

My tomato plant…is fruiting. I raised this one from a seed, so I’m a little sad to see it reach the end of its life. It’s kind of just been in the back of my mind, about how it started off so little, grew to be maybe four feet tall, and is giving me little modest presents before it dies. People talk about the tomatoes that “I” grew, but the plant grew them for me; I didn’t grow them. I kept the plant alive for months; that’s my contribution.

It was easier on me to grow an annual, though. It’s less of a psychological burden, knowing that you only have to take care of it for about six months. And if it dies early, it doesn’t seem that big a deal. But it’s another thing to have your baby that you’ve cared for all its life, giving you little things to eat, and you know it isn’t going to be around much longer. (Which seems a little silly when you had to thin out seven other little plants to give this one all the resources it needs.)

We’ve had to stake it up, actually, because it grew so big that it couldn’t support itself. One day I was even sitting next to it and saw a branch almost fall off! We put stakes in and I tied the branches up, and amazingly, that piece that almost fell off, is still alive. It must have healed somehow, or the sap could flow from the main stem to the branch alright, even though it was broken.

It was part of a little kit my folks got for me from a company called Back to the Roots. The kit contains a planter with what’s called an, “olla pot,” which is a terracotta pot that stores water and gradually dispenses it to the soil when it gets dry. I’ve had to water it much more frequently, since it got big.

It actually has been a bit of a profound experience, to grow this. I kind of feel like I connect really well with plants (and I’m fairly sure it has to do with gender and quietness). I need to ease up on watering the succulents, though.

Let’s see, what else:

There is a bead show coming up in about two weeks. I’m undecided as to whether I’ll go or not; I am leaning towards, “not,” but it will be an opportunity to stock up on Czech seed beads and pressed glass beads, in-person. I haven’t been able to do beadwork at all, since I started working hardcore on my Culminating Experience. Not only that, but I’ve cut my work hours down, so I don’t have as much money to spend, there.

I just consulted with D, who says that if I get ahead on my work by that time, I might consider going to it.

Right now, I know I have a paper to turn in by Monday night. It shouldn’t be too hard, but then again I need to review the prompt. On top of that is my portfolio work, which I can likely say that I’m more than halfway through, at this point.

It’s basically the case that I can get through one essay roughly every two days, give or take. But I don’t want to leave all this work to the last minute, which is why I gave up the extra work hours, and why I’ve been working so hard on my essays.

Today…I visited a fabric shop. M had to get some fabric for a new project; in turn, I was able to see some garments which were made using patterns that the store apparently carries? It actually made me want to try my hand. The thing is that I need more clothes that fit, and will especially need them after I begin to work more days out of the week.

It’s been brought up that instead of the Misses’ pants that I’m currently wearing, most of which tend to fall down without a belt, I might need to move to a smaller-numbered size in Womens’ Petite. Womens’ sizes are cut for larger bodies, and Petite would be shorter and more curvy.

I am very strongly considering wearing more clothes cut for female bodies, basically because of fit considerations. The thing is that I may need a smaller size number in a larger cut. The reality is that I’m now in my mid-thirties, and I’ve, eh, been growing into my body.

While I did lose a good deal of weight recently (about five pounds in three days, if I recall correctly) because of a bout of food poisoning, I’m gaining it back. And I don’t hate it. I’ve known people who have had eating disorders; what I’ve learned from them is that it’s better to be a little heavy than it is to be anorexic or bulimic. Another thing I’ve been learning is that right now, I look fairly…Polynesian, even though most of my genes are a mix of Asian and African.

I’ve also reached a level of security with my body, where I know that what conclusions others draw about who I must be because of what I look like, are generally wrong. It could also be wrong that my doctor assumes I’m overweight because of my height combined with my weight; I have potential tendency to heaviness on both sides of my family, even though (like M) I was very thin, as a youth. My sibling has also filled out as they have aged, though, so that’s another cue that my doctor may be wrong about her supposition that because I’m heavier than average, that this needs correction.

So this knowledge makes me a bit more secure in being okay about my weight. I know that some of it is definitely coming from medication, which is leading me to be more moderate in how much I eat. (Two of my medications tend to delay satiety.)

After graduation, though, I can try again to get off of the medication which is causing most of the weight gain — the problem is, it is rather notorious about being difficult to stop, without causing symptom relapse. But if I can cut down the dosage or get off of it, the slow, incremental weight gain should reverse, and from my last attempt, I know that my abdomen should slim a good bit (abdominal fat is basically the side effect I am most annoyed/concerned about, due to the fact that it can have adverse health effects).

But yeah; if I became a Library Assistant or Librarian (the latter of which, I should be able to very soon), I could wear dresses and skirts without worrying about getting them on the floor. The thing I know about dresses is that the ones I’m more comfortable with, actually don’t show too much of my body. On top of that, I’m more comfortable now with earrings and long hair — I got most of the damage cut off, recently, and the existence of a certain Samoan football player with hair like mine (Troy Polamalu), does make me feel a lot better about having and keeping long hair.

So…I guess things are more alright than they have been, at least where it comes to me and my feelings about my embodiment. I’m not sure whether this is due to age and maturity, or what…I am actually glad, though, that I haven’t so far opted for testosterone or surgery, because in my own eyes, I look really nice right now. I have no ill feelings toward my chest (except for feelings of exposure when too many details show through), and I’ve basically ceased to want to be male…especially since I’ve started settling as gender non-binary. I’m not entirely sure why it’s stopped, except I know now that what I am now is easier for me to live with, than who I was when I was upset that my body wasn’t someone else’s.

It also helps to have birth control. I feel less vulnerable on it, and it makes my body give me less trouble. The thing about it, though–! is that I’m pretty sure it’s making my chest bigger. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m…not totally opposed to this! But especially since I’m growing, I should really start checking more regularly to make sure I don’t have cancer. Not doing self-exams is just one of those things that I got used to when I was ignoring my chest. Now I see it as kinda special (probably helped by the fact that I call them “my dudes”). ;D

Yes, it can be a little difficult to balance this with wanting to use an eyebrow filler to see what I would look like with a beard ๐Ÿ™‚ but…it’s OK. Wanting to play around with that is OK, I mean. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think maybe it has to do with seeing and getting to know a lot of “normal” people, and realizing that most of them have back stories and inner lives I know nothing about and can’t predict from their appearance. From that, I’ve gotten to kind of realize that I’m lucky. I have my flaws (some of which I’m growing out of), but to myself, I’m still beautiful.

And I realize that everyone is beautiful, to someone.

Pushing back: embracing mortality

I’m wanting to do art so badly these days that the thought has arisen: “I don’t even care if it will kill me.” That’s not something that has come up, before. It did come up last night, and I neglected to write it down…but I don’t think the sentiment is an unfamiliar one, to many. (At least, to many in the art world.)

Of course, examples of early death from exposure to artists’ materials abound. I am reminded of Jay DeFeo, who died of lung cancer a couple of decades after working on her piece, sometimes called Rose, or Deathrose, for eight years. (This piece had been repeatedly built up and carved down, which would have created particulates. I suspect but do not know that she may have used Titanium White pigment in this; the photos I’ve seen are black-and-white.)

I have had a number of art teachers who have fought cancer. I knew someone who died in their 20’s from breast cancer, potentially from grinding down car parts (and refusing treatment). My nearest artsy contact has a rattling chronic cough (though I think they have been exposed to a lot of things besides art supplies).

I suppose the thing to do is to know what you’re getting into, before you get into it. One of my previous drawing teachers did make sure to emphasize the dangers of blowing pastel dust up into the air and then inhaling it. Of course, people still did it, which then exposed the entire class…except for those who brought dust masks and respirators. (Tip: turn the drawing board vertically and then tap it on a hard surface to clear the paper of dust, without raising excess dust.)

I was one of the people who did (eventually) wear a respirator…and the difference of the smell from within the respirator, versus the smell outside the respirator, was not at all subtle. I wore it because I was getting personally disturbed at sneezing, then blowing my nose and seeing blue stuff come out of my sinuses.

And this was working with the relatively safe stuff — we were only using NuPastels. Though now, anything with loose Titanium White in it is likely to get a Prop 65 Warning in California (that is, a label saying it carries a recognized carcinogen) even though the danger of Titanium White is mechanical, particularly where it comes to free nanoparticles: not a toxic one.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I have been careful to avoid certain pigments because of their toxicity. By that, I particularly mean cadmium-based pigments. I learned of itai-itai disease while in the Art program, which is a disease caused by cadmium pollution in water sources. The incidence of itai-itai in this example was caused by mine drainage into the water supply people drank, cooked with, watered their crops with, fished in, and bathed in.

This lead to cadmium buildup in their bodies. Itai-itai literally translates to, “it hurts, it hurts.” I read this a long time ago, and the page I read it on has since changed, but one of the main symptoms is bone softening and fractures, even just under the body’s own weight. (There’s also some stuff about kidney [“renal”] failure in there, but I don’t claim to understand that…I just barely took Biology classes.)

It’s not that important to me to get brilliant opaque colors out of cadmium-based pigments (which are, generally speaking, water-soluble; meaning they can be absorbed through the skin). It’s one thing to take the risk of working, and die; it’s another to die slowly and painfully for an avoidable reason that you can foresee and take precautions about.

If you know ways to keep yourself safer, it’s likely in your own best interest to do it. Although I do know about taking on passive risk. I do understand that self-destructive quality that Freud referred to as thanatos. But there’s a reason to protect yourself as much as you can: and that is, to extend your life on this planet. If making art brings you joy, I would expect that you would want to spend as much time making art as you can, yes?

So don’t sell yourself (or the world) short.

My particular weakness on this point are cobalt-based pigments (particularly, in watercolors). Cobalt is another toxic heavy metal, like cadmium, but has a different range of symptomatology on exposure. The thing is that I haven’t found anything with the same colors, or the same working properties.

Probably the worst I ever got from this was contact dermatitis (itching) when I was trying to reduce my exposure to cobalt by wearing nitrile gloves, and in the process got Aureolin paint (PY40, Cobalt Yellow) all over the tube — and my hand, because the gloves smeared the paint everywhere, and I didn’t see it. Or feel it. When I finally took the gloves off to actually take the lid off the tube (instead of just stretch the gloves), I got the paint all over my hand — and had nowhere but my pot of rinse water to wash it off.

I think that was a lesson in not being overly careful, if doing so creates risks and problems that don’t otherwise exist.

At this point, the only major thing I have about the cobalt colors is that 1) I can absorb them transdermally, and 2) I don’t know how to wash out my brushes while never contacting the paint. Everyone says not to touch the brushes. They don’t give any advice on how to avoid doing so.

Though now that I think of it, that would be a good use of those nitrile gloves — provided, of course, that no water gets into them. Which would negate the reasoning for using them, in the first place.

I’m not sure what’s up with me, tonight. I am feeling better than I was last night, and basically, I’m feeling better than I have for the last week. I think I’ve turned a corner where it comes to my health. It is now, though, almost 1 AM where I’m at! (No wonder I’m having trouble thinking!)

I need to get stuff cleaned up. Particularly: books. And changing these sheets, doing laundry, and getting the dust out of here. I also need to re-read Chapter 2 of my textbook so I know what I’m looking for, when I work on my late assignment. I should be able to complete that, tomorrow, if I’m feeling anything like the way I felt tonight.

Once I get that assignment out of the way, maybe I should realistically look at doing something constructive with my watercolors…I see them every day, and they just get dusty because of my hesitation. (I deal with OCD; they tempt me, but I remember that I need to use caution in handling them…which leads to their not getting used.)

Something like recovering from an illness seems like it will make a person embrace life more strongly. Kind of like contemplating immortality, just to get smacked back into reality by a high fever…

I suppose I have the cold to thank for that…

Recovering from a cold; starving myself of art

Little by little, I’m getting better from whatever this is. I can sit through computer problems in order to write and upload this — barely. And I realize that what I want to be doing now is art. I don’t know why, though I know doing it as a vocation throws me into a group where “success” is not guaranteed and life gets a lot riskier. As someone with a documented disability requiring lifelong care…that’s not great.

I’ve been wondering about what I’m doing with my time while sick (I’ve got a cold or something). “Isn’t this a perfect opportunity to work on something nonlinear?” I ask myself. But then I’m like, no…art is work. That’s why they call it art work.

Apologies if I misspell anything; I’m touch-typing by hand with my eyes closed, mostly. Even though I’ve been getting better where it comes to my sinuses, my eyes still burn. Ordinarily I can tell when I mistype something…I just know that my fingertips didn’t go where they were supposed to. But, just in case.

And yes, I am writing this prior to working on homework for either of my classes. I hate that, but writing helps me keep my head together.

(I’ve since gotten my glasses, and my eyes have stopped burning. Huh.)

I kind of wonder if life would have been simpler, had I never taken a World Religions course. I think it was while I was there that I started to get a loose idea about castes, running parallel to my idea about genders. Try to hear me out; I misunderstand a lot of this stuff, but in a way that brings light to my own situation. Apologies, too, to anyone who has been hurt by this system and is reading this: I’m an outsider here, and so in this case I’m only commenting on what thoughts my World Religions class set off in my own mind. I’m in no way trying to color anyone else’s beliefs. I’m not an expert.

When I was listening to teachings on Hindu beliefs (I was maybe 24 years old?…I don’t have my unofficial transcript here), I was also in a space relative to gender that wasn’t all that easy to inhabit. What I got from that class was the idea that maybe I did have a, “true,” self: beneath all the conditioning that I had been taught about in undergraduate Sociology classes. They taught, basically, that conditioning shapes everything about who we express ourselves to be, and that in effect there is no, “true self,” under that conditioning. The latter view jives with Buddhism (which…I don’t know what I feel about that, now); the idea of having a personal essence or duty derives from Hindu thought (which is older).

My idea was that maybe I did have a, “true,” gender aside from man or woman, and it just wasn’t what most of the world understood or would like; or that maybe I had a, “true,” calling, even though I wasn’t born into a arts/crafts family. We’ve kind of made it an arts/crafts family over the years, but at inception I think it was M who was the artist.

In my case, I thought I was in spirit a person who made things…creativity was my main focus and drive. It was reflexive and needed to be directed outwardly, or it began to transform me personally, and not always in beneficial ways. Often it worked out so that I would be transformed in some way thatย I understood, but others didn’t.

That creative spark and drive is what I had then that was special to me. That’s why I’ve hung with this (the art, the writing, etc.) for so long. I’ve needed it as an outlet for my energy. It’s also a reason I now work in a Library: my interests change so often that it’s hard to stick with one thing. So I’ll stick with all things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

While things on medication are more logical, they’re also a bit duller. On the bright side, it’s easier to catch when my mind is not working well. The thing about beliefs is that people generally don’t look at their own beliefs, and call them false. There’s something about the brain that makes it think that what it believes is true, the majority of the time, whether any of its thought is true or applicable or not. While that makes it easy to make positive belief statements…it in no way ensures that those beliefs line up with any form of reality outside of one’s own mind.

The “professional” identity I find myself being pushed into now is an economic move so that I don’t go without treatment (for the same issue that caused me to be creative all the time) for so long that I relapse and get out of control again. I do have serious issues with trauma from having been sexually objectified all my life (which is a reason…but not necessarily a causal one…why I don’t identify as a woman. That is, being not-woman likely led to the objectification, which led to the rage). The rage issues are what I’m majorly guarding against, because…hey. I have a germ phobia. I don’t need to be fighting. It’s gross. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I’d go to adult jail, now.

Besides, I consider rage a form of pain.

It is…indeed possible for me to drastically reduce one of my medications after graduation. It should help with the side effects (largely, muscle spasms), and if I’m right, it should give me back more of my creative ability than it’s giving back, now.

Right now I can feel it still simmering under the surface, bumping up under some of the floorboards in the back of my mind…as I try and focus on getting my degree so that I can be a, “Librarian,” so that I can get health benefits. (Which, in itself…is beyond idiotic. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE for being a Librarian???)

๐Ÿ˜›

It’s not an easy feeling. Really, not. I mean, just having to push that to the side so that I can deal with finishing grad school so that I’ll have class mobility, and be able to meet my basic needs. Even if I’ve realized that maybe I like working with things more than working with data. But craftspeople and artists don’t make an easy living in this society. And if you asked me now, yeah, that’s a reason why I’m thinking about not staying here for the rest of my life.

But I only have two more months of this, to deal with; unless, I don’t work.

I think I’ll be OK.

Potential tech stumbles. Surprisingly far into Web Design, but still a beginner.

EDIT: I’ve just removed all the angle brackets and hypertext transfer protocol encoding from this post in order to de-confuse WordPress; apologies for any confusion.

I’ve just learned about a security gap which I was heretofore unaware of. It has to do with the rel=”noopener” tag which I’ve seen be inserted into links when I view the raw HTML of entries (both here and elsewhere) in which I’ve entered a target=”_blank” specification.

target=”_blank”, when placed within an “a” (link) tag, causes the specified link to open in a new tab. What I didn’t know before tonight is that…from what I can see, it appears that if target=”_blank” is placed within the “a” tag, so as to open the target link within a new tab…if not paired with a rel=”noopener” tag, this creates a security vulnerability where the opening tab can take over the original tab.

Thus, the marginally safer way to insert a link which opens in a new tab is to add rel=”noopener” within the “a” statement.

At least that’s what it sounds like, given what is said on GitHub. I’m going to not link to the page I want to link to, because I don’t know if it’s safe (I haven’t checked out all the source code, nor clicked on the test links); and if I recall correctly, WordPress has a bit of their User Agreement that prohibits WordPress blogs from linking to sites which might have malicious code.

Searching rel=noopener will likely bring it up…unless Google just knows that I’ve searched for tech stuff before and is directing me to more advanced sources.

Since I’ve been considering going into Web Design after this…it was just a surprise to find this security vulnerability which has been right in front of me this whole time (that no one told me about, pretty much ever). I should check my links elsewhere to make sure they’re okay, though I can’t remember having hard-coded anything (that I deleted information from) in recent memory.

I also started looking at Wacom drawing tablets, again. If I’m going into Web Design, it would help, whether I’m working with Photoshop and Illustrator (I would likely need to subscribe to Creative Cloud, which brings its own problems), or GNU Image Manipulation Program.

It looks like if I got a Wacom Intuos Pro (eventually), it would be a good balance between functionality and price. I initially started searching for the Cintiqs to see if the prices had come down.

No. No, they have not.

I still have an Intuos (the plastic on which is degrading), but I don’t think it’s been installed on any computer I regularly use, due to age: and my suspicion that its driver could be incompatible with the current version of Windows.

The deal with Cintiqs is that they’re essentially drawing tablets that display what you’re drawing on the screen, as you draw it. By that I mean you’re physically drawing on the screen. They start at around $1000, from what I recall, which is the price of a good computer. Intuos and Bamboo tablets, however — you’re essentially drawing blind. The image shows up on your monitor…but there is no display on the tablet. Of course, that makes them a whole lot cheaper. About 1/3 as much.

The good thing about the Intuos is that it’s reliable — I used mine in the Multimedia Arts program which I had been thinking about going back to (in the Web Design and Production certification), but there are two caveats. One is that the Web Design specialization isn’t really a specialization there, anymore. I just checked out the Graphic Arts program at a different place, and what I could learn there, too, that I don’t know — is minimal.

I need a class in typography (or despite it all, just to learn typography), and to work on my own sense of composition, plus working at digital photography, if I want to do Web Design (and not use stock photos). The latter may require me to get a Digital SLR camera. Which I am not particularly…hot on, but digital photography might be a bit easier for me, once I can do it, than trying to compose images totally from imagination.

I’m really surprised that there isn’t much to draw me to those Community Colleges, anymore. But I did surpass the upper limit of what I could take and still have priority registration…

HOW DO I KNOW ALL THIS.

Too much time in school. I need to be using and honing these skills.

And I’ve found that when the verbal part of my brain stops working, the visual part is often unaffected. I should make note of this…

Photos. I finally took photos.

I’m posting this here instead of on Hidden Jewels (for now), mainly because it’s a continuation from the past two weeks. I couldn’t concentrate on reading today, so I went back to the photos I’d taken earlier when the sun was at full blast, and did a tiny bit of photo editing.

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To the left, is a close-up of one of the quilting cottons I picked up yesterday at a local quilting shop. It’s a batik, much nicer in quality than the ones I’ve gotten at the chain fabric and craft stores. I can guess at how it was made…and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was from one of the handmade bolts.

I’m just wondering, at this point…if I wanted to go into crafting as a vocation, basically in my case, apparel design or jewelry design (though I’m more interested in apparel design, at the moment)…how I would do that.

M had been talking about my being able to go back to my art after graduation. The one place I researched which I know has a fashion design program, is FIDM, and their biggest selling point is making friends and networking, which isn’t really my strong suit.

There are a number of steps which come before being able to design apparel, however. I’m thinking that it starts with making clothes (or jewelry) from patterns, then graduates into mixing and matching elements from different patterns, then goes into draping and designing one’s own patterns.

My biggest hurdle with this is the fact that my own sense of style isn’t traditional. I can be interested by traditional work, but the lack of readily available patterns for menswear, for example, is one of those things that I notice and don’t really “get.” As a female person who sometimes wears clothing made for men (and who would wear more of it if it were cut for my body), I know that not everyone who is female wants to wear traditionally feminine clothing. I also know that clothing styled for men doesn’t have to look horrible on a female body, but the apparel industry isn’t really geared toward gender-variant expression at the moment.

Anyhow, going off of my last post, I did get up enough nerve to take some more photos. Not a lot of them, mind; I could have gone at it and photographed all of my Fat Quarters, too, but decided to try not to go overboard. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The alternative to the carpet background is to lay down some muslin or something.

So…the above image is of the four bits of fabric I got yesterday, about 3 yards in total (each piece is .75 yards), which cost about $38, including tax. For fabric, that’s pretty good. At least it is where I live, where the cost of living is apparently pretty stupid high.

So…the two on the left are batiks; as I said, possibly hand-painted. The second from the right is faux shibori, I believe (shibori is a method of tie-dyeing which can get really intricate, though I think this one is just a pattern). On the far right, I believe that’s an indigo ikat pattern (ikat is a method of dyeing threads in a particular pattern before they’re woven, and then weaving them together so that a design shows up in the finished fabric).

I’m really interested in fabrics right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the color issue plus the texture issue. I just get stimulated by color (I still don’t know how or why), and I get stimulated tactilely by working with fabric…which is also a mystery. It’s just nice to feel things that feel nice. Which is weird because I don’t consider myself a highly physical person…cloth is something else, though.

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Above are the Kona Cotton Fat Quarters I got a while ago, on which to practice embroidery. Only the pink has been embroidered at this point, though (I used an orangeย Olympus-brand sashiko thread which doesn’t appear to be that high in quality). That, in turn, was only a trial where I was pushing myself to do anything except be on the computer. It worked…even though I did the embroidery non-traditionally, because I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t study the optimal thread path before starting.

Well. (It would matter if the stitching was weight-bearing; one of the original uses of sashiko is to reinforce fabric.)

I guess when you just want to get started as fast as possible, to kick yourself out of doing nothing into doing something, it helps.

And I guess we’re pretty deep into the night, now. Here, I mean. I’ll see how I feel, tomorrow. I might want to work; I might not want to. I might be able to work, or not.

Oh, wait: I go to my job, tomorrow.

Coming up, I’ll just start reviewing my old work for the ePortfolio, without committing to writing anything. Working from Competency to Competency, I should have an okay time getting an idea of what to write…my Prof still hasn’t returned my first essay, yet, so I don’t even know if I’m doing the correct work.

I also need to summarize Chapter 1 of the reading for Collection Development, and read over other people’s responses…

I can take my textbook with me tomorrow and try and work through Chapter 2 and review Chapter 1 on my lunch.

I can also take one or more quilting books with me, in case I can’t concentrate… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Quilting??! (“Why would one need release,” you say?)

I’m experiencing a lot of levels of frustration with my work environment, right now, and the dysfunction is sapping my determination at studying.

On the bright side, I went to the quilt shop, today. I also have a bunch of quilting books to read, if I can pull myself away from what I have to do long enough to devote myself to something that doesn’t have to be done, right now.

Of course, this writing doesn’t have to be done, either: but I have just been so frustrated that I’m like, “screw all of this.” I need to remember, though, that all workplaces are going to be somewhat dysfunctional. My own workplace is likely particularly so at this point, however.

So…I was just reminded to take my medication. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also think it’s best that I put the study away for today, even though I have a lot of review ahead of me. This is due to not having stashed my assignments into ePortfolio pools at the time of their creation.

What I need to remember is that if I don’t commit myself to anything but my work, school, and upkeep, I have a good amount of time that I can devote to studying, on a daily basis. I don’t have children or a full-time job, and I live with family. I do have a disability to contend with, but that’s more of a mental struggle, than anything.

Probably the biggest thing I need to deal with is making sure I don’t go off on anyone from built-up stress, meaning that I’ll need to watch my anger level and give myself breaks when I need them.

Right now I’m being distracted by a show on orchids…it’s easy to get lost in stuff like this and lose track of time. Is that a good thing?

Anyhow…recently, I’ve purchased about…3 yards of fabric, and a large ruler to use in rotary cutting. I’ve just been hesitant to start into cutting and sewing. I have to give myself permission to do that, first. It also requires design, which I can shortcut into by reading and following some of the quilting books I have at the moment.

Right now, I’m considering doing a small model of what I would make, using the cheap fabrics from the big-box fabric store; and use the nice fabric for the final version. Or part of it, anyway.

I do have a bunch of fabric. Maybe tomorrow, I can photograph and upload some images. It will give me something to look forward to.

I’ve also decided that I’ll use the sewing machine, which should make things vastly simpler. There’s no real reason to stitch by hand, except personal preference; and I could make something much faster (and much larger and more complicated) by using a machine.