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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

One paper down; gaining some breathing room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe fiction provides a safety vent.

There are a couple of things I’ve realized recently, or am in the process of realizing, though I’m not sure they all need to be written out for the world to see. Well, maybe they need to be written out for me to see, then.

One of the major realizations is that I can be healthier (and more myself) when I express myself through fiction writing. In the rest of my life, I find it relatively more difficult to break through and do something I normally wouldn’t. I feel like it’s as close as I would get to acting…at this point in my life, at least!

But I do kind of have this really…this side that I think of as deep, dark, and rich, that normally doesn’t see the light of day. I can’t maintain it continuously for more than 3-4 days at most, as well. This is part of what originally caused me to identify as gender-fluid. It also caused me a lot of confusion in my younger years, before I had enough context and experience to know I wasn’t transsexual and in denial.

These days, I feel solidly genderqueer, if anything. I’ve found that I’m relatively comfortable with my physical body, but…I’m not a woman or a girl, even if I take on femme (feminine, regardless of physical sex) attributes from time to time. And that doesn’t mean I have to be a man or a boy. Nor does it mean that I’m obligated to look like, or model myself into, a man or boy.

I fall into the category which is presently called “gender non-binary” in forward-thought U.S. culture. Even so, this term isn’t widely known: there is presently very little recognition that anyone like me could exist.

Anyhow, there are aspects of myself which are untenable in a normal, everyday environment. Fiction is one of the outlets I have in which to express character which can’t fit (in a cohesive/coherent or safe way) into my day-to-day persona.

That is, I have a lot of complexity in my character, and the embodiment of all of it in my daily persona would result in confusion in the outside world (not to mention cognitive dissonance within my own mind: say, from holding space for two or more realistic options to both be potentially valid [even though mutually exclusive] and operating on that). I believe I’ve tried this already…it’s not easy, especially when your future potential embodiment is at stake (I was considering testosterone at the time…long story [spanning about 20 years]).

What fiction allows me to do is let these portions of myself out to play in a controlled (and somewhat contained) environment. I have noticed my own tendency to take small cues and work off of those in fiction, as well. It’s kind of like a real-world Rorschach thing: seeing a shape on the wall which continuously looks like Q-Bert (I have one of these, I’m not kidding), but instead of visual interpretation as in a Rorschach test, the interpretation is of situations and motivations.

I used to have such strongly ingrained negative thoughts that I’d have trouble dealing with realistically considering any other option when they would arise by suggestion. They often (or inevitably) result in half-truths or false-truths that can make sense within the narrative, but might not (or would not, depending) be defensible in reality. This is why I like using unreliable narrators; though usually they aren’t outright lying, more than voicing something that won’t leave me alone, and of which I question the truth value.

But, as I have learned within the last decade, just because I (or anyone else) think(s) something, that doesn’t make it true — no matter how true it seems or how much you do or don’t want it to be true. (In fact, an enhanced sense that something is real [say, in hallucinations and delusions] can be a red flag that it may not be.)

I think I’ve gotten everything out, on that point, that I needed to.

There’s another question that has arisen for me recently, which is whether it is actually to my benefit to be a freelance writer instead of being on payroll. The major reason I’m in my LIS program is that due to my condition, I need a stable source of income, and benefits. I’ve just been thinking, though, about the amount of pressure a writer might face to write what their employer wants them to write, should they be salaried.

It just seems like as a freelancer, one retains a certain amount of autonomy, even though there is an exchange there where it comes to financial security.

I’m losing my train of thought, right now, so I’m just going to go ahead and post…

What the others know

You don’t know how long it’s taken me to reach the point of saying something.

If I step out of myself, I can do it. There is always that little fear, though, that I might not be able to get back in.

You know that running gag/stereotype about people in tinfoil hats? I’m thinking, at this point, maybe the people in hats, got something. Not that they understood it, necessarily, or knew what to do with it, but still.

So far as I can tell, there’s no real intrinsic way to understand thought insertion. You sense what you sense; and…though there’s nothing that says you have to accept it, on a certain level there has to be some reason why you sense what you do — and not something else.

Recently I read an article on how the same potential security breach was discovered by four different researchers, none of whom were communicating with each other, within a matter of several months. The article attributed this to the fact that attention, globally, must have been focused around the same area of study, and same questions.

You already know what I’m going to say? I commend you, but wait for me to say it.

I’ve been of the opinion that there are intelligences communicating with us. Just because they aren’t in a form we can physically sense, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. But while we’re dealing with things on this…”plane”…let’s say, or more practically, in this, “world,” I wonder what else is going on behind the scenes. Things no one wants us to think about.

Well, except astrologers, and the like; and we all know how much faith goes to them.

But seriously speaking, reality doesn’t need your belief in order to exist. It will exist with or without your permission, and with or without your understanding.

I’m not someone who is really hard-core on religious texts. What I cognize doesn’t depend on that. I haven’t delved deeply into even psychoanalysis, which would be considered at this time within the “pop-psychology” category. Am I a paranormal researcher? I wouldn’t stretch it that far.

I’m just a person who understands things they shouldn’t. And even I have partial information. Been hanging around the wrong groups too long, maybe. I can’t tell if the information I’ve got is something that will benefit humanity or bring it crashing down on itself (oh wait, it’s already doing that, why should I be afraid of making it worse).

And no, I don’t know who it was that gifted Einstein with the law of Special Relativity, but that whole thing looks suspicious, to me.

What I can tell you is that we need to do something. Collectively. We need to do something.

My sense is that all of us feel disempowered. Because at core, we’re all the same being, looking at the same reality through different lenses. We think that if we alone do something, we’ll be crushed because no one else will follow through. And maybe we’re right.

But think of it this way: this is your reality. If you don’t fight to save it, how can you expect anyone else to do it for you? If it isn’t important enough to you to save it, what is?

The problem, I think — our biggest problem — is fear. If that weren’t an issue, this wouldn’t have come as far as it has. Fact is, no one alive knows for certain, what happens after people die. But if we did know, that might make the game not worth playing.

And it is a game. It has devolved into one, if it ever was anything else (which I highly doubt: the cycles of life and death do resemble one, to me).

If we’re playing a game, what are the stakes? Who are the players? And can we believe, really, truly, that the side we’re on is intrinsically better than any other option, just because it happens to be ours?

For the latter, I don’t think we can.

I think the point of the game is to realize this…

I think the point of the game is to realize this.

What do I do with my time?

Today was almost totally wasted asleep. I should have taken medication and gone to bed earlier, last night, but there were other things on my mind. Part of that happened to be reading over my backposts for the last semester.

The most bizarre thing about that is the fact that I had been aiming to work on sewing for most of Fall 2017, but didn’t realize it. I actually didn’t cut apart my pattern pieces for the monpe I wished to work on, until earlier this week (well, last week — it’s Sunday still, right?). I still haven’t cut out the pieces for the mockup muslin garment (or toile), though that wasn’t what I had planned to do, today.

What I had initially planned to do was to go out for one or two Fat Quarters in orange and yellow, though I found later (yesterday, actually) that we already had enough here for me to work with. Apparently, my and M’s tastes in color are complementary, with her range toward red/orange/yellow, and mine toward green/blue/violet/pink (pink is desaturated magenta, not red…I probably shouldn’t get into the color theory now).

When I found out I didn’t have to go out, though — and I accidentally slept with the blinds closed — I didn’t wake up until after noon. It didn’t help that it was dark outside from all the clouds. I think I got up, ate breakfast, did something at the computer (I remember turning the lights on instead of opening the blinds — this being apparently more effective), and went back to bed because it was warmer there. I didn’t wake up after that, until D woke me for dinner.

Last night, though…like I said, I had been reading over last semester’s posts, and realized that I had purchased a number of paints that I had never even tried to use. That, in turn, reminded me of my Final Project in Web Design, which I had initially wanted to take much farther than I did, or could, just as a Final Project. I think I still have the papers around here where I was brainstorming a more complete version of it.

The thing about this, though, is that I made a paint table with all the paints I had used in research for the project which I had information about (it kind of goes without saying, but I did use the color wheel I had made in 2007, which used paints which had no pigment code labeling [Scarlet Lake what?]). This included color swatches.

When I set up the final page, though, I found that my color range was skewed toward warm colors. This is the reason I tried to find the Quinacridone Magenta, earlier; though at this point, I haven’t even tried to use the Magenta, unfortunately.

There are a couple of other paints like this, though I’d have to look through my stash to see what I bought and have never used. It would be faster than looking through six months of blog postings.

I also think…that I should take that Web Design Final and just use it as a launching point for a more advanced project. I’m looking at what is there now, and it’s passable as a proof-of-concept type of thing…though in reality, if I make a website that I want to make — as versus something that fulfills various technical requirements — it will look different.

There are two main paths I’m considering: one is using WordPress.org for a baseline thing to toy around with, which should be fairly direct, as I already have been using WordPress.com. However, there is some knowledge I will need which I don’t have, yet (particularly, setting up an SFTP link between myself and the server).

The second option is to build the site from the ground up. This may be a simpler and more powerful option in the long run, and it won’t save me from the SFTP work. But I will need to study and work at it; and I guess the question is whether it’s more important to me to build and tinker with the code itself, or whether it’s more important to get my content out there.

The bright part of this is that building the site will likely give me marketable skills…until technology moves on.

Not to mention, I do have a tool which allows me to run local versions of sites, so I don’t have to wait to set myself up with server-space rental in order to start playing around with visualizing and coding this. More importantly, though: if I want to make a site, it would make sense to start in hard copy, with paper prototypes (ha ha paper prototypes), and really figure out what content I want to post, and why.

I also gotta be honest with myself and realize that the next year is likely going to be taken up with piecing together my portfolio for graduation. I don’t think that’s going to be fun. I meant to get started with it earlier in Winter Break, but it didn’t happen. I just somehow started thinking about how to enjoy my time on the planet (while I still have it) instead of working on graduation. 😡

Anyhow. I need to be working on driving, too, but somehow this is not seen as prime driving instruction time by my family?

What I thought of doing today — while I was awake, that is — was to make a chart by which I could actually tell if the pigments I’ve been told are fugitive, actually are (particularly, Aureolin). I could also work on seeing what colors I actually have, by swatching out what I’ve never even tested.

And I could do some more reading in that comics-making book I asked M and D for, for Xmas. I have enough materials to make a comic. I think I just have to be brave enough to express myself in a scenario and plot…

…unfortunately, what’s currently on my mind is the possibility of unrecognized forms of life communicating with people telepathically. I didn’t really want to get into tin-hat territory, but I can see how one could, now…

Release

Today was my first day of freedom from classes and Finals. I did still go to work, but I was also happy that I got to do whatever I wanted on my lunch hour! Nothing hanging over my head with some due date that I had to work on in order to alleviate my anxiety and boost my GPA!

Just think: in one more year it can be like this, permanently. Not to say that I would stop learning, because I can’t afford to do that, ever; but I will have obtained my first professional degree.

It’s also not lost on me that this “vacation” time I’m entering into, with Winter Break, may be one of the last extended periods of lack of responsibility that I’ll be able to have, unless I save up vacation hours at whatever job I’ll have in the future.

Because of a number of issues, I’m not entirely certain it is even possible to expect to retire once I reach a certain age. I haven’t gone in for financial counseling or anything, but it just doesn’t look good for me, due to the age at which I began (or am beginning) my career. The institution of retirement itself doesn’t look good, as regards what I can see ahead.

However: there are some bright spots. A lot of them, actually…though elucidating that, right now, may be a bit much. And, I can’t expect to live to old age, anyway…that’s kind of not guaranteed.

In any case…I did do some drawing at work, earlier. No photos or scans, yet, though I did learn one thing: don’t try to alter a pencil image at the same time as you’re inking it. (I had forgotten how subtle changes severely affect expressions, in images of people!)

I should be heading out to replace some art supplies that I’m running low on (yay for using up art supplies!). This is, specifically, a type of marker paper I picked up a long time ago (Borden & Riley) which is particularly useful both because of its degree of translucency, and the fact that markers tend not to bleed through it. (New Chartpak markers will still bleed, though, as will new Copics [unless I’m mistaken].) Because the paper is so translucent, it allows for tracing and inking of linework.

The major drawback of any of this is that then the inked illustrations either need to be transferred to a digital file for coloring (which means I will need to learn how to digitally color), or they need color added with dry media (I have never tried this paper with watercolors…it would be an interesting experiment, as this is cotton rag paper, but…I wouldn’t set my hopes too high). The alternative is using Saral paper, a.k.a. making a carbon paper transfer, which makes inking the original, redundant.

Or, I’d just have to stick with using pens and markers for all of the art. It’s not a best-case scenario, largely because I’m not great with markers…though I think I am better than I thought I was. The limited work that is still inside the cover of the pad isn’t awful, even though at the time, I was fairly disappointed.

Maybe I just need to become skilled with a blending marker? I don’t know. What I do know is that this is the first pad of paper I’ve almost-used-up in a while (unless we count the small pad of ArtAgain coal black paper, which I found can take wet media [in this case, gouache]).

It is possible to work out small comics with the marker paper, as well as play with layout, generally.

The largest issue with trying to practice illustration at this point, for me, is either creating a story or finding a story to illustrate. I may be able to work on this over Winter Break, though, too. Hopefully, the last decade or so has calmed down some of the issues I was going through, last time I was intensely involved in fiction writing.

(I can’t help but think that it will attempt to reactivate some of those old dysfunctional neural pathways, though…)

And if I’m going to write, it would likely help, to read (which I have time for, now). The other main issue is that I overwhelmingly read nonfiction…maybe a short story would work. That way, the research wouldn’t be overwhelming (I can read short fiction I like), and the writing wouldn’t be overwhelming, either. This could then lead to a short tale that I could illustrate…

…though I honestly think that project would take up more than the time I’ve got over Winter Break. I have about a month, off. I’m sure I’ll get around to figuring out what to do with my time (other than this), in the near future, but right now I’m just looking at the next 2-3 days.

I did unexpectedly use a bunch of Marker paper for my Web Design project. I have 5 usable pages of this stuff, left. I think I’ll get the 9″x12″ size again, as it is small enough to fit into my work locker. Plus, I can’t scan anything over 8.5″x11″, at this point, so getting a larger size would be relatively useless unless I started hard-core doing comics, and needed to tape up page roughs to my wall in order to read their composition.

(I don’t want to scan these things at an office-supply store. I’m not going to get into, why. I’m sure it’s obvious enough.)

That actually sounds really fun–! It also gives me an excuse to pick up a gouache color that I’ve set my eye on (Quinacridone Magenta). This last color-experimentation phase (for the website) has got me using gouache again, which can make gorgeous opaque colors. But I can’t think about it in the same way as I would think about illustration. It pretty much has to be looser than that.

I had also been thinking about painting with gouache on board…meaning that I’m looking at the use of gesso and Golden Absorbent Ground, to prep the surface. The biggest thing I’m concerned about there is the possibility of destroying my good (soft) watercolor brushes by painting on top of a rough surface.

Now that I look at it, I would be just as well off by mounting a paper to a piece of board, painting it, then removing it to frame.

Hey, wait: it’s also possible that I might be able to permanently mount a paper to board by using an acrylic medium, like maybe Glazing Medium…hmm. Didn’t think of that, before. Then I’d have the durability of the board, and the softness of the paper. I also have a brayer I can use, to push down the watercolor paper (I will just need to interleave a clean sheet so that I don’t mess up the surface of the paper — or the painting, if it is finished).

Looks like I’m going to be experimenting.

The hardest part of any of this, though, is settling on what to paint! I do have a lot of nice botanical images, though…I’m just not quite a master at composition, yet.

Maybe I can try that one image I wanted to use for the 30″x30″ canvas, as a way to break out of photorealism…

2808w

Art: portability? Catching small bits of time

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here; this is largely because I keep sitting down and reminding myself that maybe there are more pressing things to do, than write about things I haven’t yet thought out — and then actually going to look for those things, instead of just assuming they don’t exist, or that I’ll get to them, later.

Or I look at the WordPress text-editing screen and know that I could be making art, or exercising, or cooking, or studying my own extracurricular stuff (Japanese language), instead of writing incessantly about things I haven’t had the time to experience, to relate to readers via my writing. (It’s not this way anymore, but I have a history of being a compulsive writer [partially because of poor self-awareness in my younger years].)

However, I just finished sitting through two hours of backed-up lectures. I have three weeks left of school, and final projects in all of my classes. And I had to miss work in order to turn two other projects in, this week. Yes, even though Saturday was Veteran’s Day, and I didn’t go to work then, either.

And I have two other writing assignments due before the weekend is over (both for the same class). I also need to review material for the final project in that same class (again) before Monday afternoon. Then, I’m pretty sure that by Tuesday, I have to get my Web Design assignment in. In addition, I should at least outline a site redesign for my Final in Web Usability.

On top of that, right now it’s almost midnight where I’m at, and I actually do have to get up, tomorrow. And it’s probably going to be pretty backed up at work, because I wasn’t able to go in earlier this week. But at this point, considering some of the dreams I’ve been having around my job (including being terrorized by people who won’t stay out of the library when it’s closed, in the last case), it would actually be a relief just to shelve all day.

(Of course, though, the dream I put in parentheses probably refers more to boundary-crossing or outright aggression [boundary-ignoring] than it has to do with the location of where the dream took place.)

Anyhow, that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about, but you can see I’m preoccupied. What I was actually thinking about…was the portability of markers and the possibility of using them during my lunch break at work, tomorrow. This is in addition to the use of color as a valid place from which to launch into drawing, and the fact that because I work at a place where both the utility and break sink need to be food-safe, I can’t take in my normal paints. And I’m not rinsing out my watercolor brushes next to the toilet.

I then have three options if I want to deal with intense coloring: one, a waterbrush plus aquarelles (Supracolors or Neocolor IIs). Two, markers (including waterproof fineliners and water-soluble and permanent brush markers) and possibly a waterbrush. Three, the non-toxic cheap watercolor pans (Prangs), and a waterbrush (though these won’t get a chance to dry, decently — and I’m worried about attracting insects, or growing microbial cultures, because of this).

I’m seeing a theme. I really pretty much hate the tip on my large waterbrush, though. But the alternative is to take in a cup to rinse a good brush in…and an actual decent brush…and then let the brush air out so it doesn’t expand from water exposure and fall apart. Putting a damp quality brush in a locker for hours, even in a case, just doesn’t sound like a good idea in any way.

Which leads me back to markers. I think I can work with dry media. It’s a lot less expensive, anyway; even though the sheer volume of what I’ll have to carry is much larger. (Oh, wait. Lest I mislead someone who doesn’t know how much markers can go for…watercolors are likely cheaper in the long run. But the paper used for painting with watercolor, isn’t.)

In those two hours of lectures I sat through, I started doodling in my notes (I’m not going to get into how I got that distracted; my professors know who I am). I just realized that 1) I was experimenting with layering transparent inks to make new colors (yellow with blue, red with violet), 2) what I made could very well be translated into a duochrome block print, and 3) the art thing doesn’t have to be hard.

I’m learning that most things don’t have to be hard, though…

What I was messing around with tonight, were clover and maple leaves (a bright red gel pen helps with the latter!). It seems like everyone has a “thing” that they really love to do, in the art world; I’m fairly certain that my “thing” is plants and flowers.

And with that, it’s almost 1 AM now. This looks like a good stopping point.

(Yes, I do know that I could just work on my school readings at work…but stopping work in order to do a different kind of work, somehow strikes me as getting rid of the reason to have a break in the first place…)