Feeling unproductive.

Today, I wasn’t able to get done what I wanted, to. The most obvious and most mechanical point of action I have is to create a set of hyperlinks to my different classes for each of my required Learning Competencies…so that when working on any one, I won’t have to search around through all my archives, trying to find something which fits.

Luckily, I already have my competencies-to-courses, mapped out. I just need to create a shorthand to each folder in my file system.

I did move outside of what I had thought I would do, to get a notebook and …ponder starting to write out my Statement of Professional Philosophy. I had a better idea of what I would write, last night at 2 AM. I’m hoping that writing here will make working up to this, a bit easier. I need to write, something.

While I wouldn’t say the day was totally wasted, I did end up not going in for extra hours at work. Also, biological imperatives stated that I sleep for a while…and I still need to shower.

People around me say that I’m doing really well, though for me it’s hard to see, when I have days like this.

I guess I just have to remember that not everything has to be done NOW NOW NOW. But if I get a Library Assistant position and I’m doing that as well as my capstone class and Collection Development…I might be better off as regards future jobs, but it might really be tough for the next semester.

Which is why I’m trying to mitigate it, now.

I wasn’t expecting for the call to go out for new Library Assistants, though I see that last time it happened, it was around the middle of July, last year.

There’s some more going on now — actually, a lot more — that I think is stressing me, a bit. We’re considering moving out-of-state, in addition to everything else…which is tough for me when my proficiency at working with the community is contingent on knowing the community.

There’s also some family business to attend to, which I think is coming up because we might not be in this location for much longer. Not to mention that I have questions about my great-grandmother which may go unanswered, unless I actually get up the nerve to ask.

Things are just feeling a bit unstable for me, at the moment. Especially knowing that I may not be able to get a library job in the place we may move, to; at least, not a gainful one, and at least, at first.

I guess a lot is heading up to change in my life, really quickly. And I’m not in control of most of it.

That could…possibly be a reason for a little bit of distress.

The upshot of this is that I’d be moving to an area with a larger Asian population, which will make it immensely easier to learn Japanese, and not lose it. There also might be a lower cost-of-living, considering that prices have inflated so much here that it’s ridiculous. I’m looking at an average $10,000/year pay cut by moving, though…but unless the housing market changes, we may not be coming back.

I suppose that with so much of my life being based around the internet…maybe that would be something that would hold stable. But my friends and work, being part of this community; I think I’d miss it, at least at first.

It’s just, what a time to uproot, right?

I’ve had some internal conflict about my reasoning around learning Japanese. Hmm. But it would go better in a different post.

Advertisements

Some good work, done.

I had two moments today when I was able to shout that I got something, right. Coding is like that. I realized that since I was globally enforcing HTTPS, anything sourced from HTTP, broke. The other HA! moment came when I realized that I could write my own HTML and CSS and upload it, aside from my Content Management System. This means that my domain can host an actual self-authored website.

Since last night, I’ve basically been on the computer, whether that was related to setup or intellectual work. All those classes in Information Science have actually helped something. I mean…I can do a lot and understand a lot, that I couldn’t, before. I wouldn’t have been able to catch the error in my script unless I knew that there was something wrong in one line of code and that it was likely one tiny (and logical or syntactical) error.

Right now I need to work on organizing my files, so I know where to look for the information I need. I’ve done enough work for today on the actual portfolio, I think.

No kidding — I need to only take one other course with my capstone class, this Fall, if that. The portfolio project is major, and I haven’t done much work on the content, so far. I’ve been reading over the requirements and setting up all the groundwork that has to be done to publish this stuff.

As for content, I have about 18 weeks to get it completed, and there are 16 sections to complete. That means an average of at least one section a week (?!) for pace, though it’s possible more than one section will get done at once, as I run across evidence while looking for other evidence.

I think one of the motivational issues involved with starting this, besides intimidation, is the delayed-gratification aspect. But getting the Master’s, and thus access to becoming a Librarian, matters way more than getting Likes, does.

For now, though…maybe I’ll write a little on which, if any, of my art supplies I want to trade with friends. I feel secure enough on the portfolio, for now.

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…

Still bothered by coding.

So…it’s been a few several days since I wrote that post talking about how I don’t think I want to be a Web Programmer. Since then, I’ve completed one Exercise (it works correctly, but it doesn’t meet the requirements) and am well on my way through the third assignment. Problem is, that was due on Tuesday.

Go, me.

In any case…I spent most of today avoiding going back to my code. I just didn’t feel ready. But I didn’t want to play around, either. I ended up resting and trying to plan out a strategy.

By the time I did feel ready, it was about 7 PM. I had decided to run some of my downloads through an online utility, to see if they had been tampered with. I got three hits (out of hundreds)…though at this point, I’m thinking they were false positives.

Of course, that’s after using a bunch of utilities to try and clean one program, and finding nothing.

And, of course, trying to rectify false positives, ate up a lot of my time and energy.

I may be relatively good with technology, but the drawback is that it seems things routinely break with no warning or explanation. I know there has to be a reason…it’s just that the reason may be so arcane that it’s not understandable to anyone except people with advanced Computer Science training. And in a networked environment, it’s possible that the error isn’t even on my end.

It’s tiring.

I have some stuff to mention on the topic of writing, but I’ll put it in a separate entry.

Frustrated and tired.

My code is almost working correctly, on the assignment I was too afraid to tackle earlier in the week.

At least it’s looking like it mostly-works. One thing is more rather than less certain, though: I’m more of a writer than a programmer! It is great to hit on solutions, because it’s basically like (“like?”) being given puzzles every week. (It is being given puzzles every week.) At the same time, for me it’s a bit discouraging/frustrating/tiring when the code isn’t doing what is intended, and it’s not clear exactly why, and you’ve been hacking at it all afternoon. (It is nice to see it incrementally getting better, though.)

Of course I would discover this, one semester away from graduation. I didn’t make Web Programming the exclusive focus of my studies, which I’m glad of, now. In this case, it may be a good thing that I did veer back toward traditional Library services in my recent classes.

I took Reference & Information Services rather than Project Management, last semester: broadening rather than focusing my skill sets onto something I didn’t know I wanted, may have been good. At the very least, it helped me meet some graduation requirements. (Project Management was recommended if one wanted to become a Metadata Librarian, which is still a possibility. Even though Cataloging is difficult for almost everyone, including me.)

Reference & Information Services is another type of problem-solving, but having to do with research and interpersonal skills more than engineering (I’m using the term “engineering” loosely, to mean someone who builds things, whether those things are information-based or not).

The section of classwork I’m working on now (custom and nested functions), is said to be a good predictor of whether one would like to take a full-scale programming class. (I kind of wish the Prof hadn’t said that; it would have helped me get to work on it earlier.) I’m not sure if it is because we are now into territory that I haven’t studied on my own before…

No, actually, it probably is because we’re into territory that I haven’t studied on my own before. This section is requiring some cognitive leaps, and I don’t feel prepared for it.

I actually feel like I may have to review the entire first part of the class to get the hints to know what to do on this assignment, as the code we’re using doesn’t exist outside of the training ground. So it’s not like I could refer to JavaScript or PHP manuals to understand what we’re doing, more, except in an abstract sense — and then translate that back over to the training area.

Though actually, given enough time and study, I could do this. Whether I would want to (and whether I do want to), is a different question. There are a lot of people I’ve admired who are into Tech, but the stuff I’ve been into over the past year (HTML/CSS, SQL, Relational Database Design & Implementation, Web Programming) is kind of next-generation.

And although I am a person who likes to have control over things, from concept, through design, development, and launch…in the real world, I am likely to be working with others, and not having to deal with it all, myself. So I have some choices over what areas I can specialize in — if I don’t close those doors.

I feel like I would actually be better at Web Design, at this point, than Web Programming. Information Architecture is also something I’ve had to deal with (I took two classes on UX)…it’s just that people are so unpredictable. I kept running into times when they would click on something I never expected anyone to click on, in my paper prototype trials…but that was actually easier than this. Even if a lot more messy and scary (because, well, people).

Aaanyhow.

My life has basically been made of trying to get this assignment done, today. I’m not sure if there’s something else due before midnight, but I think you can see where my head is at. I’m just…frustrated. I do only have one more week to go, though.

Then, it’s just me, my job, and my portfolio. And anything else I can find to distract myself with. 🙂

Aging artist?

I’m experiencing doubts. About the value of continuing to be creative, as regards the arts and crafts. Somewhat, as regards writing too, but like it or not, writing is something I’m always going to have to do.

(That doesn’t mean it’s ever easy.)

Of course, I know the doubts aren’t true. Arts have a way of guiding or prompting people to consider viewpoints other than their own. And as irritating as it is, I wonder how much of the present-day relative acceptance of gay and lesbian identity in U.S. cities has to do with early 2000’s mass media which presented stories of multifaceted (human) people experiencing homosexuality. (I’m thinking of Glee, by the way.)

I am old enough to remember that episode of Twin Peaks where two female people kissed and…that was the first time same-sex sexuality had been seen on U.S. broadcast television. It was incredibly controversial.

I’m old enough to remember Ellen DeGeneres’s coming out on her show. Again, incredibly controversial. Even though innocuous, as I think most people would see it, today. (Or maybe I’m giving America too much credit.)

Today I’m writing about this because I’m literally wondering why I am a creative person, if I am a creative person, what the worth is of being a creative person, whether to continue to be a creative person.

But I think every creative person who isn’t a constantly-inspired genius (read: pretty much everybody), deals with this.

And I think pretty much every creative person on the Internet has had to deal with people trying to shut them down.

No matter what someone says, someone else is going to have some issue with it. No matter what is made, people are going to judge it and have something to say about it. No one on the Internet is immune from random abusive people trying to make it seem like the abuser’s problem is their problem. Someone’s always going to be offended by something, regardless of the offender’s intent. On top of that, no one knows everything, and creative expression often involves being wrong in some way — of necessity — because if we waited to be experts on everything we imagined in order to increase its “realism,” we would never imagine anything.

I realize I universalized a lot — or all — of that experience (gained from having grown up with a large online component to my socialization), and that itself tells me it may be wrong. It’s why I’m leaving it that way.

Prior to writing this post, I realized that there are a number of words which come to mind about being “out there” as a creator (at least as a creator of ideas), which everyone has to deal with:

  • Attack
  • Judgment
  • (Destructive) Criticism
  • Abuse
  • Wrongness
  • Offense

Given this, it’s amazing anyone makes anything. Or anything new, perhaps I should specify.

But then maybe it’s like my job, where most people are appreciative and kind, and then there’s a small percentage who are just “off” (and there’s no one way to be “off”). If I concentrated entirely on what to do about (or how to “solve” my relations with) the approximately <2-5% people (though actually, today it has felt more like approximately <1-2%) who either can’t or won’t behave appropriately, there is no way that I would even consider pursuing a front-line career in libraries.

There would also be no way I could work a service job at all…which would shunt me into the 20% of U.S. jobs that were either manufacturing or agriculture (the service sector is said to make up 80% of all U.S. jobs, though I’d have to revisit what I viewed in order to try and understand what they meant by “service”).

But the rewards (including the internal reward of not treating people with bias because of what I may be tempted to assume about them, which actually makes me feel pretty good, given my history) are greater than the annoyances.

And…is the reward of being creative, greater than everything I have to go through, in order to create? I think it is, though I couldn’t easily tell you how. I should probably start a file demonstrating the rewards of creativity, as well as the setbacks. Maybe you all could help contribute.

I have a tendency to focus on the negative, meaning it is going to be harder for me to describe these. The only reason I know that is that I’ve dealt with depression, in the past; and I know that sometimes it is literally not possible to think positive thoughts and (initially) believe them.

What I know is that artists and writers are both, as groups, more tolerant of personal irregularities than the general population. I think it’s because neither group can avoid confronting their own irregularities in the process of creating. Both, as groups, are also familiar with constructive criticism (as versus destructive criticism: criticism designed to destroy the author or artist or craftsperson).

I’m also starting to wonder if we’re just wired differently, but obviously I’m not a neurologist. Trying to read about cognitive function is also not easy. Right now I’m at the beginning of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty. It’s reading like a textbook which is also partly creative nonfiction…

But yeah…it’s difficult. I guess how do you describe the actions of the temporal lobes without introducing the overall structure of the brain…

Not to mention, just maintaining a creative practice, is difficult. Right now I don’t have any regular practice time set up to draw or paint. Generally I write at nighttime, before I go to bed. I did come up with an interesting twist to help me out with one of my stories, which helps it feel more legitimate and real…and human. It actually makes one character seem genuinely caring, as versus predatory or parasitic, and it shifts the narrative away from the main emotional problem in the story.

I’ve been going through some culture earthquakes recently, as a follow-up to some relatively recent posts. It’s probably because of my age. But someone I spoke with mentioned that my experience, being surrounded and influenced by so many cultures, as mentioned in backposts, sounded much like…an “American” experience (as versus a fragmented, complex, nameless mix of influences). I’m not quite used to the term “American” not being used as a conservative buzzword, but what they said felt accurate.

And it is odd for me to be called “American” without a qualifier, kind of like I didn’t expect that could be the case, I realize now. But what I’ve been reading about at work…is showing me that in some way, I am culturally American (for instance, in dealing with things like Freedom of Speech, freedom of inquiry, tolerance of dissent, and recognizing the existence of an educated public as essential to democracy).

Maybe what I’m dealing with now, is wondering about the possibility of my intended career, becoming more important than my art or my writing. As versus…just being a Librarian to survive, and having my main drive be my art and/or my writing.

I probably won’t be able to solve that problem, tonight, though.

Getting a little harried with anticipation.

Today marks another day in which I haven’t worked on my portfolio, or read anything (offline) for pleasure. I did successfully write a bit of code, which was great when it worked out, and when I could understand why — though this took a bit of retracing my steps.

The big thing right now is learning to define functions from within other functions (I just built my first custom function, today). As I’ve been introduced to nesting code via XML, I’m thinking it shouldn’t be too hard. Still, though, I’m writing here instead of doing that.

I needed a break. Especially as the next couple of assignments are meant to show me whether I want to be a Web Programmer.

I don’t particularly want to go back to working on my Master’s for at least another couple of hours, though. I got up late again, today, so I’ve been dealing with life for four hours, max., right now. It feels like most of that was spent on homework. Certainly, most of the use of brainpower was spent on that.

In lieu of homework, I’ve gotten the idea to paint…but it’s getting harder to get ideas of what to do, away from the computer. This is another reason why I was sewing, yesterday: it does not have to do with logic.

Though as regards linear, step-by-step thought: I could postulate that it does. Which gives me an idea for one of the Discussion assignments I skipped over. I’ve sensed that working on the computer is about linear inputs, even when CSS formats these posts to insert an image or video…a reason why journalling offline, in an unlined journal I can draw in, is a good idea.

I guess it’s easy to get tired of this stuff. Like: homework that requires analytical thinking, reading for information, my job, my portfolio. Right now my life ideally would be circling around my future employment, with school as a component of that, but I don’t want to be working on that all of my waking hours. It would feel different if there weren’t additional work stress, but there is.

Also, I had to trash my first portfolio version because it didn’t adhere to school standards, and now I have to rebuild it. Ideally, I would have been building it over all the time I was in classes, but I did not have the foresight to do that. So I have probably about a month and a half to get a jump start on my capstone class so that I’m not overwhelmed and rushing to get everything in by the end of the year (as well as complete my other two classes).

I really don’t know how they expect everyone to keep records of everything for two to three years. But anyhow.

Maybe I’ll go and try and draw. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t meet my expectations. Maybe I should lower my expectations…