Deadline closing in:

I meant to write this entry last night, but at 3 AM I realized that it was probably better to give it a rest. Or, give myself a rest. Little did I suspect that I would sleep until 1 PM.

I have wanted to get away from dealing with the subject of my Research Guide (Zen and Art) sometime today…I just don’t know if I’ll have the time. I have a few tasks clearly laid out before me, and they need to be done by Wednesday night. I also have work on Wednesday morning and afternoon, which I don’t want to miss; also meaning that I won’t want to stay up until 3 AM again, tonight.

That’s if I want my immunity to be high enough to be around patrons.

The major challenge is integrating all the information I’ve found on Zen and Art. I have narrowed my scope down to 12 books I can review on the subject.

Right now, I kind of just want to bliss out on some knitting or sewing, or something. I also need to do some laundry, and take a shower.

Maybe I should make a schedule? Or say, hey, I can start my laundry and sew until 4 PM or something, and then I need to get back to work?

I don’t anticipate falling asleep until 1:30 AM tonight — it’s what happened the last time I stayed up until 3 AM the night before. That gives me about 10 hours to work with…

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Today’s work.

Today was spent exchanging research materials at the library, and studying for the Database Mock Final…which is not difficult. I am very glad. In a few days, my Art + Zen Research Guide will be due. Though I wanted to study for that, I found it more important to focus on the Database class, because Database Management is basically the hardest course I’ve got going this semester. And the Mock Final was due tonight.

Luckily for me…I took a lot of notes. I have an A4 notebook for class with 40 sheets of paper which is basically full from the first page, to about 40% of the last page. I was actually kind of flabbergasted that I filled it up almost exactly (I was scared of having to double-back and write on the backs of the pages).

But I think I’ll be using these notebooks, again: they’re much better for what I need them for, than buying American-sized notebooks (which can go 60-80% unused, and have worse paper, if you’re using pen). This is not to mention that the American-sized notebooks generally cost about 5x as much (I’m getting my stuff from a Japanese dollar store). There are the 8″x10″ things for ~$1, but I hate the texture and absorbency of those, so…

Also luckily, the nonfiction books I’ve been looking in for my Research Guide seem fairly well-organized, so it isn’t difficult to locate needed chapters or sections.

I have gotten to the point where I believe that when some of my sources refer to “Void,” they’re referencing sunyata, or Emptiness, the realization of which is key to understanding “Buddha Nature.” How I’m going to explain this is yet to be determined (and I suspect Zen would probably approach this from the angle of not trying to explain it), but I know that I need to toss sources which refer to Zen being based in nihilism. I read at least three different sources today in the Reference section, which dispute the nihilist claim.

Actually, as a matter of fact, the first book I picked up on Ch’an Buddhism has a first chapter which is about sunyata.

So…there is something in this that is causing me to feel the spirits are with me. 🙂 And…yeah, there is a bit of stuff in there about, “wait, I thought things were without soul/self (anatman)?” But that’s only partially correct; things are without self-arising self-identity, but phenomenal self, exists. (It is also implied that clinging to a phenomenal self gives rise to duhkha, or “suffering” [which is a poor translation].)

And I’ve read that psychic phenomena and the ability to undertake sorcery do arise on the path, and just to ignore them and keep on doing what you’re doing.

Well.

I guess it’s like being reborn in a more fortunate position than many can cause one to crash back into lower Realms, because it’s too easy to get lax in one’s conduct and mind…

I’m not certain at this point how I’m going to put this all together, but I should probably start diagramming on something. I have several different sections I could use, though it might be more useful to combine some of these:

  • Japanese Zen (Bodhidharma, on)
  • Ch’an Buddhism
  • Taoism
  • Emptiness/Void
  • Satori
  • Zen and Brush Painting
  • Zen and cha-no-yu
  • Philosophy
  • Wabi and Sabi as aesthetic principles
  • More aesthetic principles
  • Introduction of Zen to the West
  • Distortions (nationalistic, linguistic, etc.)

I would be more readily accessing the template I’ve been provided, but I’m unsure as to how to delete things once I’ve created them…

Study is going well.

Yes, I am up at 1 AM. I lay down sometime around 8 PM, apparently woke at 9 PM, and slept through until about 12:45 AM. I had planned to get back up to study, but I even slept through DragonBall Super, which isn’t quite like me.

I’ve been doing some hard work on the Zen + Art Research Guide. I am scheduled to go back to the library tomorrow to see if I can find further information on the concept of Void (or shunyata/sunyata), as approached by the Ch’an school (which preceded Zen).

It also wouldn’t hurt to find some books on Taoism, as the latter has had such a heavy influence on Zen.

I know enough to know that books referencing Zen’s, “nihilism,” are likely off-point (Void/Emptiness/Shunyata is not the same thing as, “nothing,” or, “the Abyss”), but I need to confirm. At this point I’m not certain if Void is equivalent to interdependent arising [Indian origin], or to Yin [Chinese origin].

And I still haven’t begun to assemble this (I will need to break things down into conceptual chunks), but I have until Wednesday to do so. In the meantime, what I have to do is the Mock Final for Database Management: which I’m trying to convince myself, isn’t a big thing (as no one will see it, and it’s just a study aid). I don’t expect it to be easy, though…and I dislike seeing myself perform poorly. Even on a study aid!

Aside from that, work is fine. Although I keep having random sneezes, and I’m not sure if it’s allergies, or if it’s an illness I’m fighting off.

I know that after this semester is over, I’m likely going to want to check out some books on quilting. But after this. Maybe when I return my Zen books.

🙂

Strategy for the Research Guide on Zen & Wabi + Sabi

I’ve realized that I don’t have a lot of time to read deeply in all of my books, as regards my Research Guide. Perhaps I should have chosen something that I knew more about, rather than something relatively new which I was interested in! (I know about some other types of Buddhism, but not overly much about Zen.)

In any case, the Research Guide is the last major project I have to do. I have a mostly-complete project due in another of my classes, and a Mock Final, then a Final in my Database class. The Research Guide is the major thing that’s left to tackle.

(Actually, I just realized that I totally forgot about a couple of chapters of reading, due to the fact that I stopped recording assignments in my Bullet Journal about two weeks ago. However, this is just background information for the Research Guide, and can feasibly wait until after the Guide is done.)

I’m still feeling pretty good, about now; I’m just trying to figure out how to tackle this topic tomorrow. I’ll complete my reading in Six Names of Beauty and look in the two books on wabi sabi I’ve got. A fourth is by D. T. Suzuki, who helped popularize Zen in the West. I will have to look into the chapter where he talks about aesthetics…

And I’ll need to confront the bags of library books, tomorrow. However, I think it will be fun, which is the upshot.

Projects, projects…

Right now I’m here trying to figure out what to write about, which would not be too personal. Or controversial. By surprise, I got tomorrow off of work, so as I spent pretty much all of today dealing with school things…not homework, other things…I was able to concentrate on the experience and not the work that I was missing at home.

There is another group project due in what will be approximately 72 hours. Along with that is a late assignment. I am almost done with the lectures, but will likely need to spend the majority of the weekend dealing with these two projects (same class!), and making a screencast (due in 48 hours). Everything else can wait.

And I am now officially a member of an Honors society. I’m guessing that feels pretty good, though the induction ceremony reminded me of Hogwarts.

I also got to visit the University library for the first time, which was almost overwhelming. Because we arrived for the ceremony early and looked lost, one of the librarians also gave us a tour…which was really nice.

At this point, I’m trying to keep my head together and wondering if I should be in bed already. After the ceremony, we were able to go to a tea shop and I got a diffuser…and a couple of new teas (this place is way out of our normal sphere, so I got what I could when I could). There was also a Japanese bookstore in the area where I got a couple of books on Shinto (this material has been hard to find in English, even within Japanese bookstores), and one on Buddhism.

I’m wondering if these can be of use in my final project for Reference Services…if I haven’t done it before! I know I wanted to do it before, but I wasn’t able to because of the constraints of the class. I just don’t know if I’ve done it since: I’ll have to look through my archives.

Ah — I see now. I set it out as a proposal for a website, but it was beyond the scope of the class. Before then, I set it out as a proposal for a study guide, but it was again, beyond the scope of the class. I also may have some constraints here because I may have to use sources from within libraries to which I have access.

I’ll have to look at the requirements for the assignment. If I use InterLibrary Loan, I might be able to work something out as regards art and design, as well — which might be more fun, particularly if I narrow down my search to something like a particular form of the graphic arts I’m thinking of now…I just have a choice between taking an art history angle or an art practice angle. Or a philosophy or cultural angle…

That’s not due for a while, though. I’m also thinking that my angle may depend on what’s available to check out.

I’m also looking at the subject of “composition in painting and drawing” right now…which sounds fun! It would also get me out of what I already know (or have more of a good start on knowing).

Weird…I’m starting to know how to research and present this stuff…

Assignment recap, and an upcoming deadline:

The bright side of this: yesterday, I completed an assignment I had been very intimidated about for Database Management, and effectively showed myself that I could do it. I also completed my Discussion Post and comment. Both of those things were late. They also took all of yesterday, to complete.

The not-so-great side: Now I have a long-term project with an interim deadline of Sunday morning, which I know I won’t be able to complete adequately by then (this is a group project). It doesn’t help that I’m supposed to be using a print reference collection for part of the assignment, which is quite far away. Plus, I’m not really in any sort of hygienic condition to be going out.

I can get started on the Reference assignment. I have, I think, seven more questions to go, and many more which I will have to re-do because of inadequate direction on the part of the Professor.

Right now I’m typing this because I’m trying to stay out of bed. I got nine hours of sleep, even if I did go to bed after 2 AM last night. Nor am I tired, so I’m not sleep-deprived: I just don’t want to work on my assignment, and I’m trying to avoid going back to bed just because it’s my “safe place.”

The only ways I’ll be able to get this done before Sunday morning are 1) lucking out and finding a lot of digital reference sources; 2) not going to work tomorrow, or 3) pushing the interim deadline back.

This assignment is worth a lot of points, but then again…I can handle a B or C in this class, when most of my other grades are A’s. I just don’t want to, because I know I can do better.

Good work done today. Resting ’til tomorrow.

Today I dedicated a number of hours (approximately five) to getting a major research assignment done. I need to schedule approximately five more hours before Friday, to complete it (we have a meeting to discuss the results on Sunday, and on Saturday, I’m not available). The professor had said not to leave this assignment to the last minute because it won’t get done; at least now I know approximately how much time to dedicate.

Luckily for me as well, my next assignments aren’t due until Wednesday night (of course, it is now Tuesday morning!). I should still get on the other, weekly Reference Services homework — it shouldn’t be that bad, it will just take time. I also need to get back on my Database homework. For both of these classes, I have some pretty substantial work to do. My third class, Instructional Design, has more lenient scheduling, and nothing due for two weeks.

I was also able to update my Instructional Design curriculum, which was great — it’s starting to actually look competent, now. I didn’t realize I had such a wide variety of information already available on the subject I chose to tackle. Nor did I realize that I had such a wealth of information accumulated from past study and experience (mostly extracurricular).

My workstation here, I’ve realized, isn’t designed perfectly ergonomically, so I have to be aware of how long I’ve been sitting and whether my body (particularly my back) is tightening up. It isn’t as bad as it has been in the past, but the tension is enough to have caused me to wonder whether I should be spending any recreational time at the computer, at all. The alternative is saving my sitting hours for homework, and avoiding this seat as much as possible, in the meantime.

But…it’s not that bad, yet. As long as I keep changing positions, I can delay cramping.

What’s happened is that I think I just have made the decision that I have to immerse myself in this Library stuff if I want to get out with good grades, and with the experience I wanted when I signed up for the classes. I’m actually, honestly (really), 😉 getting to the point where I kind of do want to be a Librarian now, too.

I’m not sure where that puts me if I work in a Public Library: as Reference Librarians are also often responsible for Programming (like Library Programs, such as Movie Nights — not as in programs such as Java), and I’ve taken two Programming classes if you count Instructional Design (the other was Library Services for Diverse Communities). I don’t think Programming would be my strong suit, though.

I am more suited to work on the back end of things…it’s just kind of unreal, realizing that I’ve unwittingly developed skills in Public Service in the past seven years. I’m still an Aide, which is the lowest-ranking paid position I can be in at my Library (largely due to trepidation and fear and feeling like I need to be prepared before I move up — while others with less internal resistance and fear of incompetence take on higher positions), but I do have some of the duties of a Clerk. (Not all Aides at my branch, do.)

Surprisingly, that’s helped me. I know I’m not being compensated in a fair way for my work, being a kind of combination Aide/Clerk and paid as an Aide (although I am working very few hours, to be honest), but really I’m there for the experience, and to build myself up. I’ve grown a lot in this job.

I also only have one more year to go before I’ll be through with Library School. At that point, I’ll be able to become a Librarian (and before then, I’ll be able to become a Trainee, which will prepare me for the Librarian position).

After Library School…that’s still up in the air, particularly right now. But I think it’s best to concentrate on what I can see ahead of me, for now, and worry about the future when it’s closer. After all, between now and then, I’ve still got to get everything in order, including my ePortfolio.

As for creative work, I haven’t been doing much art, because I’ve been working hard at catching up on my assignments. Maybe tomorrow, though…maybe I can try and think of a silk flower arrangement (or more than one), and draw it out while playing with color schemes.

We have something that looks kind of like a hurricane lamp, which came with tulip bulbs which sprouted and bloomed, and is now empty. I want to fill it with some kind of pebble substrate (I’m undecided between glass pebbles and acrylic) and maybe some paper, and put silk flowers into it. I’m also thinking about clear acrylic tubing and shapes.

Eh, that sounds kind of expensive, doesn’t it? Hmm. I have enough to play around with sewing and embroidery again, and that is either noncommittal, or a long-term project — but it’s sounding good, about now! I have some beautiful fabrics; one looks like ikat, and the other is a batik, both deep indigo in tone.

I also found the unfinished toile (practice garment) I was making with the Folkwear Nepali Blouse pattern years ago, but I don’t even have to try it on to know it doesn’t fit, anymore. I’m fairly certain I’m a size 16, by now (and though I have reasons why, I’m not going to get into them; I’ve been over them, before). If I want handwork to do, I can complete the toile.

I’m still undecided as to whether I need to re-purchase the pattern. It depends on whether I kept the cutaway pieces, and I haven’t sought that out yet. Also, the sleeves are a bit tight, and I’m not sure I want them that way. But stitching that pattern by hand, could be very soothing. If I wore the piece, I would just need to wear a tank top or something similar and close-fitting underneath — there are slits at the side seams which show waist.

Right now I’m thinking about light organza bias strips to bind the seams…

hmm.

Yeah, that sounds good. 🙂

…really good. ^_^