Mad skillz…or, trying to order chaos

There are two things I can think of to write about, tonight.

Advocacy for the differently-abled

The heavier topic, I’ll (largely) save for another post; I’m not sure I’m up to doing it, right now, especially with the sensitivity surrounding it (both for me and for others).

But that one essentially has to do with taking action against stigmatization, misunderstanding and fear; instead of stressing over being stigmatized, misunderstood, and feared.  That is, instead of worrying about being put into a stigmatized category, work for the understanding and betterment of people who are already in that category.  Once the stigma is allayed, the anxiety will be purposeless.

This has been spurred off by reading material on Accessibility while on the job (about one in five U.S. residents at any moment are dealing with a mental illness), and realizing that more people than anyone would like are too close to homelessness — a quick Google search turns up the statistic that one in three U.S. residents are one check away.  On top of that — at least my own disability is hidden; my recently deceased family member’s was not.  His death was preventable, and what led up to it is something I have heard related to me as “abuse.”  But I’m going to try not to get into that, now.

Organizing collected art @*#&

The lighter topic, which just flashed through my mind, is my freakin’ need to inventory my art materials, tools, and supplies, because I have more than enough art supplies to do what I want to do, without buying much of anything more.  The issue here is that I’ve had them for so long, that I’ve forgotten that I have them, or what I can do with them.  And they’re mostly stashed away where I don’t look.

Case in point:  a bunch of tiny linoleum blocks which I bought at the beginning of Summer, of which I’ve only carved into one.  I had forgotten about them until I picked up a surprisingly heavy little box (not knowing what was in it), and found them inside.

I’ve already begun a small version of cataloging these things, in setting up an MS Excel file with all the paints I have (or had, in December 2016).  That, in turn, was likely motivated by my experience with setting up a database for the first second time in one of my Library classes.  (The first time I set up a database was likely in 2007, using MS Access 2003, which I no longer…ironically, have access to.)  The second time, we were using a Web-based service which, while simple, is apparently more powerful than Access.  (?!)  I’m not sure about that last one…but it simulated the functionality of an OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog).

I just took a moment to do some research on relational databases:  apparently, what I’m thinking of doing, D says, will require months of set-up work.  (Really?)  M has said that companies hire out for that kind of work, which I had wanted to give a good shot.  Well, anyway.  I suppose I can learn it later if I really want to do it…

I was also told that it would be more useful to photograph what I had, where.  My main concern was pulling together records of all my supplies in a central location, so that I could tell what I had, and from that gather ideas of what I could use it for, without digging through everything.  There’s just so much stuff that it’s hard to know on what paper or in what book to put new drawings, for instance; where any given completed drawing is; or what media to use for any given idea.

Marker digression:

I did make a crude but relatively interesting Cubist sketch the other day, trying to capture the idea of a specific kind of “lamp.”  This was done with a (Faber-Castell) Pitt Big Brush pen, which…well, the tip was already blunted, so I didn’t feel too bad about pressing firmly on it.  Different media require different approaches and have different ways of working with ease, which is why I’ve been trying to diversify.

Most markers have a limited shelf life:  they dry out.  This is a reason why I like Tombows (they last longer than most markers I’ve had — I really don’t think I’ve had to throw one out, yet).  Staedtlers are relatively good, too — by that I mean the Mars Graphic 3000 Duo brush pens.  The major issue I have with both are a lack of muted tones, and a suspicion that, like markers generally, they will be prone to fading.

Theoretically, though, both the Mars Graphic 3000 Duo pens and the Tombows are water-based and water-soluble, so they can be blended and drawn out with water.  I just haven’t especially had the will to try it.  However, that would probably be the most straightforward way to get muted tones.  Tombows come in a great prismatic range; the Duo pens are, on the other hand, mostly sold in sets, these days.  (They used to be sold in open stock…they’re really great pens, though — or, they used to be, when I purchased my three, years ago.)

Eh — maybe I should get back to large-format charcoal work and just have at it.  🙂

I guess there’s no reason not to



I was looking through a book which I had planned to xerox and return — and found that it was designed kind of as a workbook.  I’ll have to buy it if I want to work with it, in-depth.  I did, however, get the publication information and the call number, and it doesn’t look like it was on hold.

I also found a book on writing which was in the Biography section.  It would not likely have been found, however, unless one ran a keyword search:  neither of the subject headings had anything to do with writing.  Unless one knew who Joan Frank was already (I did not)…they would just be lucky that the word “writing” was in the title, or depend on a fulltext search (which I believe my system has, but which is unwieldy at best).

Nothing else about this book makes it easily findable by browsers.  The only reason I ran across it is that I work here and sorted it.

Looking up from the reading

I’ve been reading fairly constantly since about noon, but I think I’ve earned a break.  If I were at work, I would have had at least one break already, and be due for the next.

I’ve been trying to keep things fresh by switching between readings when I start getting tired of one.  Less than 20 pages to go in the Metadata text; I have no idea how many in the Research Methodologies text; but the Cataloging reading is all done.  What’s left for that now, is play, and the graded exercise (which I’m telling myself not to stress about — but nor should I let it slide until the last minute [which would be Monday morning]).

I’ve completed my graded work for Research Methodologies for this week, though I still have to finish Chapter 4 and listen to a lecture or two (not due yet).  The more difficult work is in Metadata, because of the technicality of the reading (I really don’t have a background in Computer Science), but I’ve encouraged myself on with that because if I want to work with computers and the Web, the Metadata work is going to help…and I’ve actually started to be able to read and understand the coding in examples in the text.

Of course, that’s XML (information organization) instead of HTML, but it’s…interesting to get the 19th-century version of information management, as versus the 21st-century one, so long as I don’t bang my head against the wall and declare Cataloging to be ancient enough not to bother with.  After all, it is still currently used.

I did have, somewhere around here, a paper or electronic copy of classes I would be taking if I continued on an Information Organization and Retrieval (IOR for short) path, but I’m not entirely sure where it is.  I think it must be in hard copy, somewhere.

Okay, I found it, and have been using the last 20-30 minutes cross-referencing that hard copy with my newer track.  I’m switching to Digital Services.  There are only two classes I would have taken in IOR which I won’t take in Digital Services, one of which rotates and which I can take if it comes up.  Under Digital services, I have two classes which I’m kind of “eh” about (one of which, Marketing, is something I can take on top of everything else, as I already have had a Marketing course in undergrad), and two which I really want to take (Database Management, Web Usability).  Then there are the two breadth requirements that I need for ALA accreditation, both of which would be essential if I were working in a library setting.

I might be able to switch one or both of those out if the opportunity arises, but pretty much this is looking good.

…And I have three classes, only, which are given both in Fall and Spring (though luckily, one in each semester before the final one).

At least my analytical skills are sharper than they used to be.  If I’d been this sharp before, I would have known not to take Beginning Cataloging…and the two Library-oriented classes I took last Fall.  And I would have taken the technical course in my first semester, so that I wouldn’t have had to take non-technical courses in my second.  Right now I know I will need a class in XML and Project Management — I might be able to take either or both of those, during the Summer, but they’re offered on rotating bases (basises?), so I can’t really bet on it.  I might also be able to take either or both of those with University Extension, or online; or in Special Session after graduation.  (Actually, XML doesn’t look hard — even though it’s fairly required — maybe I could earn an independent Certificate for that, or…maybe it just won’t be that hard because I’ll have taken Metadata, before.)

Right now, my past, current, and projected courseload is split about 50/50 between Library work and online work.

H*ll, maybe I could even take 12 units, one or two semesters (though XML is only taught in Special Session [which I’m not in] and in Summer)…I’d just really have to focus and get serious…

Of course, I shouldn’t plan to fail…

But in practicality…?  I don’t know if I’ll be able to pass this first graded exercise on Dewey Decimal Cataloging.  Probably the majority of the reason I was able to navigate it early on is that I use it so much — but using it and remembering the collocation sections is not comparable to building it.  I don’t know if I’ve been this lost in a class since attempting Calculus (though, granted, I never did get to see how well or poorly I was doing in Calculus, before I dropped it.  Right now, I’m really not doing well in this class, and it’s really apparent to me that I’m not doing well).

I know now why I read that if I was interested in Cataloging, to take Beginning Cataloging as soon as possible.  This class really will show a person whether they actually are interested in Cataloging (as versus the idea of Cataloging).  Luckily, I have some work done from the last time I was concerned about doing well in this class.  I can still easily switch paths to Digital Services, with the aim of working online for a digital library or e-commerce platform (in which case, my Digital Imaging experience should come in handy — not that I consider myself very accomplished at that, yet).  I have a backup plan, that is.

At this point, I am kind of wishing, though, that I had decided on this prior to starting the program at all.  As things are, I had three slots free last semester which I could have used toward the goal of specializing in Digital Services — but I was still considering working in a Public Library setting.  What those two classes showed me is that I probably don’t want to do that — at least, not as an Adult/Teen Services or Children’s Librarian.

The two classes I took then are, however, fulfilling other requirements that I would need for an ALA-accredited degree — and that “ALA-accredited” part is what will qualify me to work as a librarian — even if as a Metadata or Digital Services Librarian.  And I suppose it’s that which may give me some power when it comes to employment negotiations outside the Library field.

So I’m pretty sure I’m going to bomb this exercise, but that doesn’t mean I should give up on my other two classes.  I’ll try and work on one or the other of those, now…

Record for today (I forget these things if I don’t write them down)

I think I’ve remembered that I’m in grad school, and thus, no one is watching me to make sure I do all my practice exercises.  😛  In any case, I did attend the meeting tonight, and feel relatively much better — especially after having gotten through the chapter on Dewey (except for Dewey Abridged, which I just skipped — as we’re going as specific as possible, and the Dewey Abridged section repeats a lot of material).

I’m getting to the point where I can look at my wrong answers and see where I made a mistake, so this much is good.  (I’m also really glad that I bought this book, because there are highlights all over this chapter, not to mention I’m doing a number on the spine.  The book is about 2″ thick, so…)  The section I read today did clarify a lot that I didn’t know — particularly, through examples.

I’m now on the second half of the lecture that was given about a week and a half ago (I’m still behind), but I don’t have to do any more new textbook reading, for now.  Well, I can; I probably just shouldn’t — I should concentrate on the upcoming graded exercise.  What I did do tonight — other than the meeting — was complete Exercise #4, start in on #5 (there are seven for this unit), go over some mistakes, and start rereading and working through the Week 3 Lecture Notes.

It seems like a lot of getting the answers correct depends on picking the right trail to take through the site, and one doesn’t know the correct trail, necessarily, unless one reads the notes at each juncture.

Right now I can’t bring myself to work further on the (interactive) lecture, largely because of being faced with a textwall where it comes to entering into working on Table 3B.  I guess intimidation isn’t a good excuse, though, because that textwall is still going to be there, tomorrow.

Did I do anything fun today?  Not really — the help session was kind of the high point of it.  I also haven’t exercised in a couple of days, which I’m not really happy about, though I am still losing weight.  Yeah, I guess last night was my fun time.  I did find the photo I was thinking about in my last post, though:


This is the image which I’ve been scared to start painting, because I know it isn’t going to turn out the way it looks in the photo.  Plus, I love the photo.  I could do a watercolor version of this, but I’d have to use masking fluid for large areas of sunlight, and I’m a bit paranoid about becoming sensitized to latex via fumes or skin contact.  Or maybe I can use tape?  I didn’t think about that until just now…

I can see how I could work into this image with Permanent Rose and Phthalo Green/Viridian Hue (in watercolor), or Quinacridone Magenta and Phthalo Green and Blue (in acrylic) and maybe a warm color like Indian Yellow…then there is the question of the background.  Is it possible to mix a shade akin to Hooker’s Green, without actually using Hooker’s Green?  It’s probably possible…I just have hated Hooker’s Green since I first got exposed to it in colored pencils, but maybe the pencils were just dull.

I suppose, what do I have to lose, right?  Besides time.

I do have a lot of reading coming due for Metadata, but I’d rather miss the 1.5 points for the Discussion Post than the 100 points for the Dewey exercise.

And I still don’t know how to underpaint, though maybe if I made things in Phthalo Blue/Green and white with gesso, it would provide a good foundation for the rest of the project.  One of the big strengths of this image is the limited color palette, though…something I’ve found with botanical images in general.  Plus, the high value contrast between the shadows and highlights.

I guess if I mess up, I just gesso over it…

And no, I’m not sure whether to use a limited palette or the more complex color mixing I’m known for…the latter would likely be easier, so long as I stick with the same palette through the whole thing…(like adding violets and such — things not emphasized in the photo — would be interesting).  My teacher used to tell us “not to become a slave to the photograph” and that only laying out certain colors was like “trying to conduct a symphony with only a few notes”.

Yeah, the worst that can happen is that I just paint over it…as long as I don’t use textural media…

Hey — maybe I can do a small version of it before the 30″x30″?  I have a 12″x12″ board gessoed and ready to go…it’s much less of a loss to lose a square foot of Hardbord!  And I can practice my color combinations on it…and my drawing in charcoal.  And I have another side if I totally mess up.

I made a note to myself last night as regards sharing my images…that there’s no way for me to keep a creative work entirely to myself, unless I don’t make it.  Once it’s shown or heard or read, it can be copied; but the alternative is self-silencing, which seems to defeat the purpose of creativity.  It’s like being a singer who sings beautiful songs, but only when no one else is around to hear.

In that case, does the problem really lie with selfishness, as I’ve assumed, or does it lie in fear of judgment (or even esteem)?  What’s the value of being creative if no one sees what I create?  Of course, I’d still create, because that’s a key part of who I feel myself to be, at this point; but it’s like hoarding…which would seem to be the opposite of what I came into this world to do.  Creativity is for sharing…right?  It can’t do its work if no one knows about it…

So I’m not incompetent.

Remember what I was saying about getting most of the DDC questions wrong?  My Prof assigned the wrong reading two weeks ago, so I never read the chapter on how Dewey Decimal Classification works.  I only found out that this was the case, though, by looking at the Discussion Page where students were correcting it for each other.  I don’t know how anyone was supposed to know that there were more instructions, and I’m pretty mad when I think of how many of my classmates didn’t check that page.

Yes, angry.  And I can’t work on the DDC homework without wasting time if I don’t read these other chapters, first.  Not only was one week wasted, but two — and now I’m really a week behind, and we have a graded assignment on DDC, upcoming.  I’m hoping the Prof pushes out the due date.

Back to work!

These days off are starting to become an exercise in evading useless procrastination.  I have been able to convert today into useful procrastination, but still.

Sometime this afternoon, I was in bed and realized that I wasn’t tired anymore, and the only reason I actually was still in bed was because I didn’t want to work on the effing DDC homework.  Given that, I got up, and I’m pretty sure that what I did was start on the exercise bike and do some sit-ups.  Then I played around with a fitness game, ate dinner, and took a shower.  Now, here I am, about to restart the d*mn DDC homework.

I initially woke today at about 6 AM, listened to the lecture for Research Methodologies, then did some reading for Metadata which clarified that I have at least four chapters to read in about a week and a half.  I also ate some grapes and a tangerine, then went back to bed, to awake to a ringing phone and the above realization which prompted me out of bed.

I’ve found that hanging out in bed is probably the worst thing I can do, because it causes an even greater loss of time for me than what would occur if I were awake and just doing something I wanted to do (and not whatever I’m avoiding).  That is to say:  it’s very easy for time to slip away from me faster than I realize, when I’m asleep.

Within the next three days, I have 12 hours which are a total loss because I have to go to work.  The rest of the time, aside from sleep, hygiene, food, and exercise, is free…so I hope.

I’ll try and hack at this DDC homework some more now…I did skim over the lecture which this work is linked to, and apparently I just have to read the notes really really closely and not skim them (which is what I’ve been doing, because most of it doesn’t matter).  Even when the notes don’t make sense.

H*ll, at least I’ve realized that I don’t have to add in the Table number along with the number specified in the Table…(complicated, confusing story; sorry I mentioned it)…