Recap before work, tomorrow.

As I look at what I can cover in this post…it’s a bit scattered.  While I wouldn’t say there was a lot happening…it certainly seems that way.

Particularly since the language-learning part of this just got added in, and I have been considering extending my hours at work (I will have 15 hours of schoolwork a week, as versus the 30 that was expected of me last semester; and Summer’s starting means that I have had time to spend money — and time to use what I’ve spent it on).

Also, as was just explained to me:  first we had the Hawaii trip, then my relative died, then something else happened, which were all a drain on the finances.  Then:  I’m starting Summer school, which is coming out of pocket, and then I got books for Summer school.  I’m not personally in trouble, but I haven’t yet heard back from Financial Aid.  That may happen after I see my Vocational counselor next week.

I am not sure what will happen if the Vocational program covers my tuition and fees and I don’t get a grant or loan:  I’ve been depending on having a cushion so that I don’t have to work long hours at the same time as I’m taking classes (my position is not well-compensated, meaning that if I don’t get a grant or loan, I may have to find another job…and my County, just generally, isn’t the best work environment); and I have to carry at least 7 units to get full Financial Aid.

On the bright side, I got two A’s (the highest grade possible, in my program) and one C+, last semester.  I found out, today.  Well, yesterday; now that I look at the time.  Also on the bright side, I don’t see myself having to take any more big trips to the art store, in the near future:  usually, when I’m in classes, I don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to arts or crafts, though I should certainly plan to make time, as I’ve prioritized time for the blog.  But that’s majorly because I lose my grounding if I don’t write.

I feel a bit like my vacation time is over.  Summer session starts up on Monday; I’m in a class on User Experience, and expect a lot of reading:  I had to buy four textbooks for this, though I know two of them are not difficult.

Ah, and:  I’m still archiving things from last semester.  I have until the beginning of Summer session to do this, but that’s not a lot of time.  I’ve found out that anything which is saved by a hyperlink to a webpage is by its nature transitory, meaning that now I’ve got to go and copy or take screenshots of my data (particularly Discussion Posts), before it’s lost.  Even if I don’t back it up for school, I will want to back it up for myself; because I did do the work, and I do want proof of that.  Ordinarily, I would have printouts or saved files automatically.  But with this discussion-board type of interaction, it’s just not permanent and it takes an extra step to make sure I can back up the fact that I actually did the work.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I fell asleep in the late afternoon.  Possibly because I didn’t want to archive things.  I also haven’t read very much recently, though I’m fairly certain that at this point I’m going to hold off on buying the books I had planned to (that money can go to other things — like art supplies — which I can’t access without it).

What I’ve been doing is just using the Library, and I really need to get over my “ick” factor where it comes to handling things that many other people have also handled.  I work there, I know that it is not sanitary (something not entirely clear before I became an Aide); but I’ve learned to tolerate the lack of cleanliness and just be clean when I need to (when going to the bathroom, touching my face, eating, drinking, or ending my shift).

I also have realized that the suminagashi play has kind of hijacked my original intent to work with relief printing!  I’ve got a lot of knives that I have not played with, yet, and I want to try them.  Ideally this would be sooner rather than later, but classes start next week; and I have a lot of appointments in that first week of classes, too.

I’m trying to figure out just how many; as I’m looking at my calendar, I have five appointments in the first two days of the work week.  Then I go to work again, have another group that evening, and have a phone appointment on Friday and a dentist appointment the week after.  I’m thinking that I’m going to have to really think about going to my Wednesday group; that and the other group I occasionally go to are the only things I can really cut out.  As I’m having two Psych appointments already that week — and I’m probably going to need the extra time to work on homework — maybe I don’t need the Wednesday group.

Anyway — I need to get back to my original intent of working with linoleum block printing, I feel like.  I want to get back to carving, even knowing it’s hard.  I’ve realized that a lot of what I do may be based on the conversion of my own tension into creative work; this being part of the reason I started being really creative in my early teens (early teen years were fairly horrible for me), along with the sublimation of my then-libido into constructive drives.  It explains why I feel like my works are my babies:  having and planning on no physical children of my own, there does seem to be a period of incubation, then creation, then protectiveness, before I can set them free upon the world.

The conversion of the energy of duhkha into creative work is likely the reason that doing art and creative writing actually makes me feel so good.  I don’t really understand it; maybe I don’t need to?

Anyhow, I’ll leave you with a gift, though be aware that I’m reserving copyright on this one (I have the hi-res master).  We went to a relative’s house to drop off a piece of mail, recently; and not really in the mood to deal with people, I went and photographed a bunch of plants.  Particularly, a Bird of Paradise plant caught my eye.  The flowers had aged a bit — they were starting to go to seed — but looking up Bird of Paradise plants online, it’s apparent that I can fill in the blanks.  It hit me that if I want to work with asymmetrical composition, it would be helpful to work with an image like this:

924w

I have a bunch more of these; this isn’t the best.  I’m thinking of doing something with them (I’ve learned to take tons of shots from multiple angles to help with visualization), but I don’t know what media to use, right now.

Recap before work, tomorrow.

Motivation

This is just another entry in the “why be creative/do art (when it doesn’t pay),” series…which it seems I should really organize, somehow.  It would be interesting to make this blog into an actual site with indexing more sophisticated than WP’s tagging/categories system…but I don’t have the skills to do that well, at this point in time.  Soon, though:  it will be very much closer to possible.  I have the chance of learning CSS this Fall, and more than that next summer, at the latest.  I am thinking/hoping that basic HTML coding will be introduced along with CSS…it’s just that the CSS textbook was the one I saw earlier in relation to one section.

(One of the reasons I’m aiming for the Digital Services track is that even if it does become a pain to catalog and retain all of my work in order to fulfill Culminating Experience for my degree (the alternative is a Master’s Thesis), I’ll still have salable skills.  That is, outside of the Library, where it may not matter if I have the Master’s or not — so long as I can do the work.)

So, this “why do art” thing.  I was thinking up things to write about here, and the question of this came forward into consciousness.  Well…it’s an easy thing to slip into, this mode of thinking.  However…as I was actually doing the art, I realized that doing it was an end in itself.  Kind of like origami, but…well, hey, origami has practical engineering uses, for one thing; but you do this work for the sake of the work and the satisfaction of making something beautiful, and then you have all these little leftover trinkets.  Like origami.  And then it’s like, what do you do with them?  I guess you give them to others (or sell them)?

I’ve been thinking of taking my suminagashi prints and printing flowers on them (probably after I rework my flower linocut), and then cutting them apart into little prints.  I actually did this last night with my first sheet of prints (on white paper), and made a bunch of neat little 2″x 2″ tiles.  However, I realized today that I can cut them into any shape I want, meaning that I can make really nice bookmarks for my friends at the Library!

I know it sounds silly, but what person working at a Library would refuse a bookmark?  😉  Who would do that.  😀

I’ve only told one person of my plans, so far.  Happily, I didn’t have to explain to him what I was doing with the ink marbling!  I’ve also sent off a letter to my old professor, asking her about any precautions I may need to take with the Sumifactant.  Just in case, I did give myself a break from exposure, the other night.  However…TOMORROW’S A NEW DAY!!!

And I’m getting kind of obsessed with this.  That was another reason I stopped.  😉  I do have a tendency to get really strongly involved in things when I do get involved — probably the reason why I ate that book up so fast, the other night!  I’ve had a hard time finishing almost any book from the Library, and didn’t want to risk letting that one go unread.  Especially as Summer Session is about to start.

Right now, I have two other books on creativity to get through, one of which looks promising; the other of which, looks didactic.  However, the latter’s theory about a “freeze” response preceding a “fight or flight” response in the case of anxiety…was telling, and has helped me get out of stasis (and understand why one of my relatives refuses to change habits that don’t work in their favor).  I’m just not sure whether it has anything more to say, than that.

And yes, I have also been reading around on the “ink” tags on WP, and now want a Lamy Safari with a 2mm stub nib.  It seems silly, but I will be going to an upscale stationery store soon…and they may have it.  I should probably check around first, though…

Motivation

Almost completely done.

I completed what work I had to do, last night — amazingly enough.  Though I wanted to post this last night, I ended up going to sleep at about 2 AM, having spent about 12 hours total at my workstation that day.  Accordingly, my upper back and shoulders weren’t up to more sitting at this terminal.  D has said that he’s not sure how I do it (he can’t sit for long in my chair), but he’s much leaner than I am.

I did learn a couple of things:  one, before turning in a quiz, be sure to carefully reread the question and make sure you’re answering all parts of it.  I got some points off on my cataloging quiz unnecessarily because I neglected to see that I was being asked to do something that I’d never been asked to do, before.

The second thing had to do with my oral presentation:  I ended up repeating myself a number of times because of the structure of the paper, which I transferred over to the structure of the presentation (although I have heard that repetition isn’t bad, in an oral presentation).  I also learned that if I freeze up, it’s best to stop recording as soon as I find it happening, catch myself, and then restart.

I went over the time limit by about four minutes, even though I found myself talking quickly and quietly (something I’m known for, and have been trying not to do — and didn’t do, the first two times).

Otherwise, there has been a lot of family drama, to understate the obvious.  I don’t know how much I want to get into it, here…but that — and being afraid to start the Annotated Bibliography — is something that kept me in bed for a while, today.  I did get up earlier, but then I lay back down and stayed there until a little less than an hour ago.

In any case, all that’s before me now is the Annotated Bibliography, backing up my assignments to my portfolio, and possibly watching one lecture I didn’t watch because I ran out of time.  And, ah, right — transferring over some notes into a notebook (I used the giant pad of paper and a Sharpie, which is going to destroy what adjoins it if I just cut and paste it).  Otherwise…I’m pretty much done.

Kinda hard to know what to do in this situation, eh?  I can work on the funeral program, though…

Almost completely done.

Trying not to spaz about assignments

OOOokay, people, I drank 1.5 pots of houjicha earlier tonight, and so I am not certain when I will sleep. 😛 By “pot,” I mean that I brewed the first set of tea leaves twice, and the second set once, when it became apparent that I had leached all the goodness out of the first batch. (I’m kind of amazed at the fact that the tea will still steep, even without boiling water…I just sprinkled the new tea into a pot of hot water, stirred it, and it worked.)

Right now I’m feeling okay and a little drowsy (I have been known to fall asleep right after drinking Jasmine green tea…and houjicha will probably have less caffeine in a standard dose, as about half of it is stems), and just took medication, so…if everything goes as normal, I should be conking out around midnight. Meaning, I should brush my teeth in an hour or so (11:15 PM), before I get too wiped out to even do that.

I did just get out of the shower — not sure how long my hair will take to dry, but I usually go to bed with it damp, in these circumstances. One wash with a conditioning shampoo, mostly at the roots, and a comb-through with a detangling comb and no conditioner, this time. I think it will be alright — it doesn’t feel dehydrated (yet).

I only got up around 1:30 PM today; I just checked my records. This is why I was after the tea; I was having a hard time (again) staying out of bed. It doesn’t help that when I’m sitting at my desk, which is a quiet (silent) and isolated place to work, my bed is right behind me. As for what I got done today…I finished the reading in my textbook which I mentioned last time, although it took me a number of hours to get through it. It’s amazing, because the reading was only about 15 pages long…I think this is the book that I had been complaining about, before. It’s just very dense and kind of difficult.

In any case, I can now view the lectures for Metadata, and complete the last Discussion Topic…which I think I may need to do before viewing the lectures. I’ve made a skeletal PowerPoint layout for my presentation on Sunday for Research Methodologies. I should probably reserve a time to do that, so I’m not forced to do it early. I can’t do it right now, though, unfortunately. I don’t know why, except they assumed we knew how to edit HTML.

Last night, I started in on my Quiz for Cataloging…that one is going to be more of a pain to get through (lots of essay questions, which are easier on me than technical questions — but still), but it’s the last thing I’ll have to do for that class. If I get 0 points on everything I’m not sure about, I’ll get a C in the course (apparently, 80% is a C in grad school). And like I said, come Monday, all I’ll have to do is the Annotated Bibliography, and I’ll have a full week to do that (though I want to get it done by Friday).

I am just hoping to do as best I can on the Cataloging Quiz, but I don’t think I can hope for better than a B (or an A-, if I stretch my imagination). The Discussion Topic is last priority, though it’s easy. The presentation won’t break me if I don’t do well; but I need to do it. The major nervousness about it is that it has to do with altering infrastructure as a means of actually being inclusive (as versus pushing “diversity” initiatives), which I wouldn’t think the people in the organization I’m abstractly referencing would welcome.

I think I am running in a cycle of overwork + burnout; like I do a lot of work one day and then don’t want to see it again for three days. I know I don’t have much farther to go, and that these due dates are hard due dates (or so I’m assuming). It’s just that I’m really tired of this semester and am wearing out, about now, and want to get on to the break like NOW. Or yesterday, preferably. I’ll try and keep going through Monday, and maybe that’s all I should focus on, right now.

That sounds good. And I’ll look at work tomorrow as a designated and sanctioned time to get my mind off of this. Another time would happen as I’m editing my family member’s funeral pamphlet. Couldn’t forget about that…

And yes, I am trying to single-space my sentences. How observant of you to notice! 😉 (I don’t know if it shows up at all, really; I’m just trying to break outdated habits which only made sense on typewriters…)

Trying not to spaz about assignments

Wrapping up the end of the semester

As much as I dislike having to get into this at all, I do have a few more things due this semester.  I’m posting this here to remind myself of what I have to do, along with updating this blog somewhat, even if it isn’t art-related (I hate not being able to see progress, and having the same blog entry at the top of the page for days, doesn’t help).

I know that I have been making progress and doing things, but not being able to easily see what I’ve produced can get me into a relative funk.  What’s silly is that what I’ve been doing is likely more important than maintaining my blog.  :/

I did get back to the Career Counselor whom I had opened communication with.  This was a form of homework in itself, but what is nice about it is that all I had to do was ask, and I got help; and this is something that matters, so…not a bad deal?

And, as I mentioned before, I did turn in a paper (30% of my grade, unless I’m mistaken) and another 15-point assignment on Sunday.  I didn’t want to have to work on it, but it didn’t really matter, because I had to do it (or to at least try to do it) and that actually made it easier for me to push through it — and concentrate.

By the end of this Sunday, I will have to read about 15 pages in my textbook and answer a Discussion question.  This should be relatively easy, though I shouldn’t forget that I will want to view the lectures after having done the reading, and probably before answering the discussion topic.

On top of that, I have to give a 5-10 minute presentation on my paper topic, which probably won’t be too much of a big deal.  What I need to make sure to do is get my slide presentation put together, and the speech (or rather, the speech points) organized and practiced, before setting up.  The voice recorder on my computer should help.

Both those things, I’ll have to do before Monday.  Unless I’m mistaken, the quiz I’ve been working on should be due Monday.  After that is accomplished, the only other thing I will have due is a literature review, and I’ll have a full week after that to get 10-12 things read, reviewed, and turned in.  My family member’s funeral will be this week — I’m not betting on that going down smoothly, nor am I betting on being recovered by the Monday following.  Ideally, I’ll be done with everything and able to turn in my Lit Review on Friday, at the latest.  That’s two or more articles to read, per day.  Easy.

I know which chapter I’ll be investigating for that project, as well.  I’ve just got to find the articles — citations for a number of them, I have already.  I just need to actually locate them, which sounds like something brainless to do when I get tired of my other work.

And, right:  I will also need to back up my files to my portfolio — something I haven’t done because of not wanting to look up my syllabi (which is stupid; they’re in the covers of their respective folders).

This means that Sunday — the 21st — and forward, I should be able either to work on art, or take that long-awaited celebratory trip to the art store and pick up what I’ve been wanting to, for the past month or so.  And — or — I can try and sharpen my chisels on my aluminum-oxide waterstone…which I’ve never done before.  But I do have the waterstone, water, and chisels.  Nothing to lose, really.  (I have a sizeable burr on the edge of one of my woodcutting chisels, from high-school days when I was wedging out hardened plaster with the edge of the knife and ended up bending the steel’s cutting edge.  The burr may be too big for me to save the knife [will I ruin my waterstone?], but I should take a look at it, anyway.)

I should also…not count out going to an actual chisel shop.  I’ll know which one I’m referring to, when I see this post.

The positive thing is that I only have 5 hours of salaried work in between now and the time my quiz, discussion post, and presentation are due.  I know it seems big, like “AAAGH I’ve got to go in to work,” but it’s really not a lot of time, in the scheme of things.  (It’s barely over half a day.)  Especially not when you can stay up until 2 and 4 AM working on things.

I’ve also been offered more hours at the job, but considering that I’m not even particularly clear on when Summer Session starts, I’m not throwing myself into that, right now.  (Just checked:  I’ll have two weeks between the end of Finals and the start of Summer Session, which I’m assuming will be a 15-hour commitment, per week, on top of my now 11-hour commitment at my regular job.  That [26 hours] does leave a lot of free time, though.  Maybe I could take on four hours additional…)

The thing I do wish I had done more of?  I wish I had played around with the cataloging tools, more — particularly where it comes to RDA (Resource Description and Access, used in building bibliographic records).  I wasn’t betting on not being able to access them after the semester ended — there are tools available, but the one I just checked was institution-only, meaning that individuals can’t subscribe to use the databases.

I also had a fun time nerding out over art supplies with a couple of people, the other day.  🙂  That was nice, especially as I understand the perspective of one person in particular…

And I’m seeing that I have now stayed up over an hour into tomorrow…so I think I’ll sign off and get ready for bed; though because I haven’t taken any medication, I may still be up for another two hours.  It will be a good time to get some reading done, if I can’t sleep.

Wrapping up the end of the semester

There can be things more important than art, I guess…

I’m…not being sarcastic.  I’ve spent the majority of today working on academic projects and trying to catch up on my reading.  At the advice of M, I abandoned the latter effort, in order to work on what is due later today.

Accordingly, I have two projects halfway done:  a paper with eight pages more space allowed, and a metadata encoding crosswalk which I’ll need to use my human brain power to construct (there is a reason computers can’t do it).  Right now I don’t have the mental wherewithal to trust myself in dealing with anything I have to think about, so I’ve stopped, for the night.  I have a little less than 1.5 weeks to go before classes end…I didn’t know it was that urgent.

I should likely get to bed very soon:  I have less than 24 hours to finish all of this.  After that…there will be another test in Cataloging (which I’ve been neglecting the readings for), an oral presentation (which I may just have to work with trial-and-error to accomplish), and possibly one more thing due in Metadata.  After that, like it or not, the semester will be over…and I’ll need to be sure I’ve backed up all my work.

Today has been relatively hard.  I’ve just been trying to lead myself with small steps, like:  instead of going to bed, how about opening a document.  Amazingly, I did fall asleep earlier directly after drinking a pot of Jasmine tea (I was having a lot of trouble with being cold).  I am not entirely sure what’s going on, except that the recent death in the family has put me under stress that is causing my illness to flare.  I have, however, learned not to even try to read anything substantial in this situation when I’m among other people, or with the TV on in the same room.

There’s also a birthday party tomorrow, which I don’t think is a wise investment of my energy, at this point.

What I am thinking of is beginning to play around with linoleum block printing, and getting back to painting, once school is out.  (D even found a hidden brayer for inks.)  It’s been a really long time since I’ve devoted much time to my art…the exception being that night when I was messing around with the markers (I still haven’t figured out how my little designs are exactly working, yet…nor have I uploaded any of them).  There is also a lot of material which I want to read, which I don’t have time to read, because I have assignments to work on.  I have been playing around with different handwriting styles in the margins of my books, but I don’t know where that falls in.  😉

Enrollment for Fall is done.  Nine units, again:  D is apprehensive that I may be taking on too much.  I can see what I can cut out — right now my schedule includes both Foundational and Recommended courses (basically, everything I have a remote possibility of taking), but…even though there’s more I want to take, and even though it will cut down my Financial Aid, maybe I should take six units instead — and have time for myself.  If I do drop anything, it will likely be Digital Curation.  The other two classes (Web Design, Web Usability) are too important to me.

I’ve just checked my schedule, as well — I don’t even need to take three classes per semester.  I can get out with two and still graduate in Spring 2019 — or I can take three per semester and get out in Fall 2018.  I just won’t have the entire package of classes that was recommended…and there are some, like Linked Data, which look very interesting but which are likely too new or too temporary to be recommended.  As long as I fulfill my breadth requirements, I’m OK.

All right.  My brain is checking out as I’m sitting here — I’m going to brush my teeth and get some rest…and try not to be too hard on myself, tomorrow.

There can be things more important than art, I guess…

Growing up?

I suppose I can start off this post with an apology for staying away too long.  There has been a recent death in the family, which is why I was unable to…I believe, do anything at all on the computer, yesterday (now that I think of it).

Actually, no — I did finalize my class schedule for Summer (if all goes well on their end, I am good to go), although I am hoping that this is going to be a class that I really want to take.  I still have yet to do anything about the required books, which I should get on as soon as I can, but until yesterday, I hadn’t been committed.  Right now I’m on a break — M said that going in to work would be helpful in getting my mind off of things.  I’m not sure if that’s correct (for me), but I only have a little more ways to go, anyway.  Right now, though, I’m skipping lunch to write this.

I am wanting to post some of my photos from the other day, under a Creative Commons license.  Basically, my hesitance to post anything at all has to do with not wanting to be ripped off or have to go to court to prove that I took the photos, therefore they are my intellectual property.  Creative Commons kind of works around that issue by acknowledging that anyone (including me!) can use them.  I’m not really a litigious type, but the concept of intellectual ownership of images (“I looked at it, it’s mine!” [?]) is kind of…well, a bit scary.  I don’t have the photos with me at the moment, but I can look them over once I’m back at my normal workstation.

It was actually really peace-inducing to go out, the other day.  The thing with photos, especially photos of flora, is that the light is never going to be the same again, and the plants are never going to be the same again.  It applies strongly to images of blossoms — they’re so temporary.  I have been giving thought to photographing the people in my life as well, though my life has been so full of staged photographs of loved ones that maybe it turned me off.  Most of my photos are of natural things (my aunt was telling me that one of the counters used in Japanese depends on whether something has blood or not, heh — I take pictures, mostly, of things “without blood”).

In any case, I’m doing probably better than would be expected.  It’s kind of difficult to know what to feel in these situations; I’ve been advised to just let myself feel what I’m feeling.  Of course, there is the fact that it’s hard to know exactly what happens when someone dies.  I’m just hoping that the person who is gone is in a better situation now than he was, before.

There is also the fact that I’m in my mid-thirties and not entirely independent, yet; which makes the prospect of my own family no longer being able to help me, be a scary thing.  I do have people around me who would help me out, though, even if one or both of my parents died.  I’ve been told that the conversations have already taken place, so not to worry.  It is weird, though, having memories from when my parents were half their current age!

I suppose I have lived a long time with them.  The time I spent in student housing at college was the only time I’ve lived alone.  It was…an experience, I guess?  😉  I was at a relatively strange school, so…

Right.

Right now, I suppose, all I can do is hold down my current job or get a new one, and try my best to graduate actually with the Master’s.  The good thing about taking a technology-oriented track is that there are some things I’ll be able to carry away with me, even if I somehow end up failing.

But, it’s hard to learn without taking risks.  And my Vocational program plus the grant I got last year are defraying the monetary risk, somewhat.  I’m still thinking that maybe I should be actually applying for scholarships, and engaging more with the school.

For instance, I have worked out a system under which I’ll be able to take everything I will need to, for the Digital Services track (though I am not sure this applies to my County’s Virtual Library positions — I might want to make some inroads to speak with the new person in charge of that).  However, I’m not sure it’s optimal — I have four semesters remaining during which my classes will all be valid — two Spring, and two Fall.

I know what to take in the Summer following this one, as well.  I’ve got the course rotations somewhat in hand, so I know what is given in only Fall, or only Spring.  I also have searched out what I can of course prerequisites, so that I should be taking one of the only courses I need which will open up new courses to me, this Fall.  The major issue is whether it’s optimally arranged.  As best I can envision it, I would have to email a copy of my spreadsheet to a Counselor.

I just…am shy, have been shy, that’s part of the reason I’m in an iSchool (besides the fact that doing otherwise requires relocation).  I mean, I didn’t even want to get the social media accounts that I had to, for the program.  This is the major reason why I’m not hot on being a Public Librarian — I’m ordinarily withdrawn, not gregarious, and some of my more outgoing coworkers even get strained by working Reference.

The Virtual Library sounds more like my style (I do worry about being attacked, at times — one of my coworkers in the past knew someone whom this had happened to), but I am not certain how many shifts they take, answering phone calls and chats.  And as technology continues to improve, the barrier between myself and my clients is likely to somewhat fall (for instance, video chat could become a norm).

Anyhow…I should get back to work.  And after that, it’s sure to be reading.  *sighs*

Growing up?