Remembering that mission…

I…feel like I should be doing something else, but wanted to record this impulse while I had it, as it may possibly mark a turning point as regards this blog — I can’t tell for sure, though, in the moment.

I’ve been attempting to record as much as I can, when I can…both to keep up my writing skills, and so that, months down the line, I don’t forget what I was thinking (maintaining continuity has been a historical issue with me — before I began journaling, it was apparent that I’d get caught in potentially infinite loops and not realize that I’d come to the same conclusions, before).  I think a couple of things have been happening, though:  one, being a stagnation of what I’ve been doing outside the blog (although I don’t know why I would argue that, as I just got back from a two-week vacation [albeit one in which I had to take along my studies]), and two, wanting and needing to devote energies elsewhere.

For instance, the art and craft area at my home has recently been reorganized; so the amount of freedom I would have to utilize my art supplies is fresh in my memory, at this point.  As well, I’m now officially behind in my work, again; though the extent to which this is because of me, I question (I’ve learned not to trust one of my Professors, because of this; though at the same time I’m not sure what I can do except trust him…and possibly, fail because of it).

I’ve read a good number of pages, today…I have at least 20 more to go, I think; before everything should be clear(er) in the lectures; but I’m still, basically, two lectures behind, and doing classwork which I should have started before Spring Break (though I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THAT).  I need to get the reading out of the way and then look at the online tools; I think our next graded assignment will be given out on the 13th (in four days), and this is the class where I’m currently carrying a C…so I need to get equal to or above that in the next couple of assignments.  Because of that, it takes priority over my other two classes (in which I think I presently have As), meaning I’ll be behind in those as well, most likely.  I hope to get what was due at the beginning of this week, done before Friday (I don’t do assignments well when I’m stressed — at least not when I actually have to think about them).

Anyhow, time has become a limited commodity, and I question how much using it to repeat myself here (I’ve started to do so, so that new readers don’t have to look through previous entries) is a great use of it (particularly given what I think is called a “chilling effect” from a recent legal change).  There is the fact that I can work thoughts out here and reach conclusions which I might not have come to, otherwise; and WP’s algorithms do help when I’ve written something similar before that I’ve forgotten about.

I don’t always have something new to write about, every day.  Then, also, sometimes I do have something new to say, but I don’t feel like saying it online.  An example of this is sharing my images of Hawaii…most of these are floral images, and I get irritated at myself for not sharing them, but then I also still want to keep them private, at least until I myself can use them as source images for artwork.  Once I’m done with them, fair game, right?  But I’m still dealing with a feeling of protectiveness about them, although I know setting them free is the most ideal way to ensure they survive.

I’ve also, recently, seen my Stats trail off a bit — as happens when one doesn’t post regularly (I think I made three posts over the two weeks of vacation, compared to one every two to three days, before I started ramping up and trying to get as much work done as I could, prior to vacation) — but I’m not sure that what I’m thinking about (that is, pulling back from writing here, a bit) is entirely due to that.

I think what’s happening is that there’s too much writing and not enough living.  It’s an imbalance that I noticed, too, at the end of my Creative Writing program.  It’s hard to write about things when you aren’t living new material from which to draw your writings.

I’ll try and get some of this work done, and it would also be nice if I could get the art done, as well…but I’ve realized that the work will finance the art, that the art is for pleasure and healing, and that this blog may be more of a liability than not…in this era.

And yeah, I…don’t want to be political, though I feel that as a writer and artist, it’s expected of me.  I would also dislike being truly apolitical, but it’s possible to have an opinion and just not say it (at least in public) until it’s appropriate, you know?  I know there is power in numbers, and we can’t know how many of us there are if no one says anything; because then we’re isolated — and isolation breeds fear, and power exploits fear.

It’s just that it’s not my goal to be an activist, again.  I actually don’t want to be an activist.  I just want things to happen in a way that feels correct, but I don’t know if that will happen without my voice.  The only problem with speaking…is that when I’m speaking, I’m seen; when I’m seen, the safety cloak drops and I know I may have to fight.  I don’t want to fight, because I don’t want to be harmed, or to harm anyone else.

Then again, I don’t want the world to die, either, because I didn’t do what I could, when I could.  That then gets into solipsism, however, and…life choices, responsibility, trying to shape who and what I want myself to be, in this world.  What energies I want to emit; whether I exist for generation or destruction.  I’d rather be a healer than a warrior…and maybe on some level…I need to be a healer; at least to heal myself.  Maybe once that’s done, I can reassess where I stand…

but…yeah.

that may just be the spirits speaking through me.  Which is the reason I write and make art.  I shouldn’t forget that.

Remembering that mission…

Irritated with a wide array of things: brainstorming a fall-back position

I hope I have previously mentioned the question of what people normally do when they exit high school or earn their Bachelor’s degree.  I asked this of M recently and she said, “they just get a job.”  So as I’m dealing with school pressures in my ******* Master’s program, it would be good to keep in mind that I can, just, “get a job,” like the vast majority of people.

I’ve actually thought of at least one position — no, actually, three — which I can enter with the amount of education I have at present.  One is becoming a Clerk for an art supply store; the other two are becoming an Admin Assistant and becoming a Library Assistant.  The first two are more appealing than the last one, though that may be because I have a relatively clear idea of what LAs go through in a Public Library system.  Being an LA in an academic library, though, might not be quite as interpersonally difficult.  The problem in both these cases is that LAs cannot move up without a Master’s.

I could also try for an internship in a Publishing house, though I’m not entirely certain where my strengths lie, when it comes to that field.  Although my Creative Writing degree did prep me for work in Publishing, I got that degree 12 years ago and stopped writing fiction shortly after.

I could work for a bead store, though those are getting few and far between; or a craft or fabric store.  Or a ceramics supply outlet, or a jewelry supply store.  I could try working for an online outlet…though that is more of a vision for after I get out of the LIS program.

I also don’t think I’d mind taking care of inventory or being a stock clerk (I’m not sure this is the right title) for a place like Costco.  And, lingering from before, is the idea of working at a produce market.  Museum work is also something I’d be interested in, though I’m not sure what kind of job I can get there without a Master’s or a Bachelor’s in Art History.  I can, however, also intern there, and try and figure things out that way.

The reason I’m even thinking about this is because of my ******* Cataloging class, which may end up trashing my GPA (but Voc Rehab doesn’t want me to drop classes that they helped pay for).  The prof (this time!) didn’t send out an email alert that we were assigned a new module at the same time as we were working on the last test, so now I’m a week behind — even though Spring Break just ended.  (And I just want to say that I’m really, really irritated by this professor, and I have no idea why my school hires some of these people, except for name recognition [which obviously enough means jack when it comes to whether people can actually teach].)  I also have two assignments due by Sunday night, which I haven’t started on yet.  Intimidation.

On top of this, I just got back from vacation.  I’m not sure if anyone noticed the reduced posting frequency, but that happened for what I feel are relatively obvious reasons (although I thought of logging my trip daily and then just delaying the posts’ release, it’s something I didn’t do).  I still haven’t quite gotten back in sync with regular life, yet, either.  Today was a trip to the produce market (to replace the old produce in the refrigerator), which would have been very nice…except for the fact that I was unable to find several things there which I know have been there before, including wakame, a type of seaweed.  My family apparently threw out my stock because it was so old; although I’m not sure dried seaweed ever really goes bad.  However, I’m pretty sure that at least some of that stuff was from around the Fukushima Daiichi era, as I remember being concerned about radioactivity.

Cue trying a Japanese food market, and the vast majority of the seaweeds I saw there had CA Prop 65 Warnings on them.  This means that there are carcinogens which the seaweeds have taken up from the water:  the two I read which were specific noted, “lead and lead compounds,” and, “arsenic.”  Because I’m in California, companies are supposed to disclose whether there are known carcinogens in food items…something that I don’t think is true of Hawaii, which is where I have been for a while (eating this stuff, to be clear).

The reason why seaweeds are supposed to be good for one is that they pick up trace minerals from the water (along with iodine); but in polluted water, they also bioaccumulate (toxic) heavy metals (and potentially, radioactive iodine — though I saw no hint as to this, today; I’m not sure if there are people with Geiger Counters scanning things as they’re imported).

As much as I like seaweeds, this was enough to scare me away from the onigiri/musubi  (rice balls) and the norimaki (sushi), for lunch today.  I’m told that there should be locally sourced dried seaweed at the produce market, but it would not be with the Asian foods.  It’s something it looks like I’ll have to keep an eye out for, if I want to eat seaweed again.  I do wish I had the language skills to be able to determine the country or region of origin of some of these things…

So anyway, it’s probably apparent that I’m irritated at the Master’s program, pollution, Voc Rehab, and…not so apparent…that I am really kind of saddened by the urban growth and urban decay of Honolulu.  It’s like we find someplace nice on the planet and then ruin it by going to live there.  But then…we aren’t the first to abuse natural resources.  I was reminded of this by viewing the feather cloaks at the Bishop Museum…a topic so deep, and on which my knowledge is so partial, I’m not sure I want to get into it now.

I also want new job experience, but feel locked into my position at work.

I want to learn nihongo (Japanese language), I want to relearn how to throw and finish ceramics…have access to good fresh produce (which is scary in Hawaii from concern about parasites), and have access to good health care (including mental health care).  I have two of the four of those things.  While I can move on from my job, it’s beneficial when it comes to the goal of becoming a Librarian, to work in a library while going to Library School.

Thing is…I’m there for the money, benefits, and safety.  And community.  If I could find that elsewhere…

…well, maybe I’m unlikely to find all of that at once…but I feel myself to be a craftsperson, most naturally.  Problem is, it would seem that in the U.S., that is not a stable way to survive…

…although I did just remember something else I’ve wanted to do, which is work in Web Design — or at least use that as a starting point, and work upwards from there…

Irritated with a wide array of things: brainstorming a fall-back position

Getting it together

Last night, I was talking with some people about how things are, or were, going.  I realized that my resistance to doing my homework is likely largely related to the fact that I had been betting on being able to work as a Cataloger, but my Cataloging class is very 19th-century, and my Metadata class, very early-21st-century.  What I am learning from these two classes is along the lines of not knowing what I was getting into…and not particularly knowing where I’m going.  I have also reached some kind of point of what feels like disillusionment with cataloging…at first I was excited, then, not so much.

The upshot is that I still have ample time to switch gears, and the two or more times when I have questioned my path through my MLIS, I’ve done work to plot out alternate courses.  What I am thinking of right now is gaining Information Science skills, but not necessarily going on to work in the Library field, after graduation.  In this case…I can take classes focusing around working with coding and computers, and hope to be able to apply them in applications after Library School which are not necessarily focused around the institution of libraries.

I also mentioned last night that I am looking for additional work experience, but am afraid to leave my job while I’m in the middle of the Master’s program…because it will likely take up at least 20 hours a week of my time, and would require learning a new set of skills at the same time as I would be trying to focus on my classes.  I’ve realized that writing, art, and to some degree, jewelry, are all contract-based (if one is lucky) or freelance positions.  This is what I found after a while of looking through career books.  The publishing field has also been said to be shrinking, due to influence from the ‘net.  (Not to mention that libraries have had to drastically reframe their goals to remain viable, in a post-Web world.)  What I didn’t realize until I talked it out last night, though, is that I can likely start out in freelancing while I’m still working at the Library and working on my Master’s.  The hours of a freelancer are flexible, after all.

One other thing I realized is that the multiple tracks I have out in front of me are things that overlap to a strong degree, though I didn’t realize it earlier.  Right now I’m taking two out of the three uniquely Cataloging-oriented courses which I have access to.  That isn’t bad, especially when a lot of what I had planned to take for Cataloging does also apply to Digital Services, which in turn is just a technology-oriented position dealing with Virtual Libraries, and the like:  which is really what I want to be doing.  Well, that, or helping with the back end data management of a group which deals with art or jewelry.  Then I asked myself what could help me get into a job like that, and I realized:  in absence of a Computer Science degree…this.

I still haven’t re-tried my hand at fiction, and don’t really know if I will be able to keep myself healthy while doing it.  But this blog has enabled me to keep some of my skills at writing nonfiction, and I’ve read that’s where most of the writing jobs are, anyway.

Alright, I’ve got to go, for now…

Getting it together

Guess who is sick during Finals?

Haaa.

I have been trying to write out a synopsis or rough draft of this blog post for just under the past week.  Each time, I’ve gotten so sleepy that I abandoned the attempt.

There is definitely something going around — I’m almost certain I picked this up from work.  For most of the past week, I’ve been asleep or bedridden.  At this point, most of my symptoms have abated to the point where I can do things — except for a slight fever, plus the sleepiness.  And, having to cough and blow my nose, occasionally.  At least I can breathe through my nose, now, though.  Lots of zinc lozenges and echinacea, here.

I’ve meant to post the sketch I made at Japantown, though I haven’t had the energy or presence of mind to photograph it in daylight.  I will need to do so, though — my Final Portfolio for this class (Figure Drawing) is due next week.  Most of the work to be done there is visual compositing…and printing, plus some drawing which shouldn’t be too hard — I found the perfect perch for that sometime today (? my time-telling capacity is lacking, due to all of my waking time blending together).  In any case, I’ve found a nice place to draw an interior environment, which is the only full assignment I can complete at this point.  Everything else is drawing in backgrounds (3 images).

My goal is just to get the portfolio in, in the best state I can, as versus not turning it in at all — otherwise, I get an Incomplete; and a C is better than an Incomplete.  I think it’s fairly obvious what kind of complication that makes…I would have to retake this course over Summer Session, in order to get my degree before Library School starts up in Fall.

Not that the degree would really matter for anything but a resumé (and I’m sure it would look like a good representation of my interests on a resumé), but still.

It has been recommended I speak to one specific English professor (the one who recommended this to me was a DSPS counselor [I note this so I can remember who she is]), with a view as to how I can use my skills in Writing, in the job market.  (My major problem is that I need income stability, because I need health insurance — this means that freelancing isn’t a great option.)  It also would be good to speak to the head of the Art Department, if I can see her before the end of Finals.

The issue is that I would like a creative job, but well-paying creative jobs are hard to come by in the U.S.  I know people immediately jump to Pixar, but given my experience with the person who taught at Pixar (though they weren’t permanent staff), there’s a definite issue with culture, there.  (It’s the same issue with culture that I found in Santa Cruz, ironically; and I don’t know what to call it.  It’s kind of like what happens when overt racism is driven underground, and people want to appear nonracist…though they don’t know what that means.)

To be honest, what I actually want to try to do is work at an art supply store, though time is ticking down on my Master’s program in Library/Information Science (MLIS).  I’m sure that my options with the latter degree will be broader and better compensated; and likely more environmentally tolerant, than what I could find working for a corporation like Blick.  (Of course, there is also the option of working inventory/cataloging for someplace like Blick, afterwards — in which case, I should take the seminar on Issues in Special Libraries, when I can.  I probably don’t need Issues in Public Libraries — I’m already working here; I freakin’ know already.)

I know that 10 years of service in the public sector may forgive my remaining loan balance for the MLIS; I have at least 5 years in place, already, but I don’t know if they count.  If they don’t…let me just say that it is tough to work in a Public Library.  The last two times I went in to work, it was literally like the kids had been throwing the books all over the tables, floors, furniture, etc.  The adult sections were fine; it was the kids who were apparently unsupervised (or supervised by someone who didn’t care).

Granted that if I were a Librarian, it wouldn’t be my job in specific to pick up, check in, and reshelve all of the books.  I would just be the one telling the kids not to scream and run around and use the tables as playground equipment.

I’ve just been absent from the LIS environment (online) for so long that…eh, I don’t know.  Well, at least I have a second plan if Library School doesn’t work out.

I did just talk to M and D about the possibility of taking this LIS program in one year.  Theoretically, it’s possible, but not easy; and as D mentioned, I do have a tendency to freeze up under pressure.  However, if I can do it…I could theoretically take more than two classes per semester, and get out early.  If I remained an Aide/LSA under my current supervisor, I’m sure this would be workable, although I would still be getting paid pretty poor wages for my labor.

Granted that I am almost working a Clerk position already, but without the power or compensation.  It would probably be an easy slide to Clerk; not so much to Library Assistant.  From what a co-worker did tell me before, though; and what has been clarified:  becoming a Permanent Intermittent worker is not a good option, because the environment of each Library is highly influenced by its location.  Some locations just have bizarre things happening, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the function of the Library.  On top of this, as M said, it isn’t a good thing for me to go in to different locations with different staff (not to mention different patrons) every day, when it’s hard enough for me to deal with people normally.

I have 36 units to go, which translates to 3 years at two classes per semester (without summers), or two years at three classes per semester (without summers).  Could be shorter, if I take four classes per semester — and actually pass, let me be clear.

It will be tight, trying to work in all of my graduation requirements, if I take the 3-year track, though.

I should get on top of planning out courses, this Summer, and maybe plan on two classes in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 (when I’ll have nearly the last of my required courses), then at least three classes per semester for the rest of my time (Fall 2017-Spring 2019).  I also need to place these in hierarchies so that I can see which class to drop, if I have to drop.

Why do I have to work this out on my own?  Online program.  No in-person help.

Yeah.

Guess who is sick during Finals?

Wanting more experience, needing to look up.

Really.  Seriously.  I’m wondering whether I really need to get back into the Master’s program.

I did the research, recently:  according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Government), around 80% of the U.S. workforce is employed in a service occupation.  I wasn’t expecting to find that figure, that easily…nor was I expecting to find that four out of five workers works in a service industry.

I also on a whim went and looked up the name of one of my art supply outlets + “jobs”; there is, apparently, a position open close enough to me.  I really did not expect to find this.  However — different web outlets post different job openings.  Curious.  Nor does it say which location in particular has the opening — one is fairly safe; the other is just shy of Downtown, meaning that there will be a lot of people coming by with nothing to do and no reason to be there and nowhere to go.  But they will probably have to use the bathrooms.

I actually haven’t been too hot on going to that store since the price schedule changed.  They acquired a competitor some years back (this store is known for eating up competitors and are a main reason they and one other chain are now the only two art supply stores in the area — there used to be at least four or five).  Since then, the prices have not been the same — and the prices were a main selling point.  The service there is pretty good, though it does seem that I can’t have “off” and irritable days if I work there in a way that interfaces with the public.

Granted that I’m generally fairly even-tempered, but it can get a bit much for me with masses of little children running around (no running in the library!) and screaming (no screaming in the library.), and two or three separate groups demanding my service at once (say, one who can’t make the self-check work, one who didn’t bring their library card, one who sets off the security gates).  It’s an input-overload thing.  On top of a people-management thing.

There’s a lot of screaming, at my library.

It wasn’t so bad when we could have two workers, each with their own computer terminal, at two desks; and one checked things in and the other checked things out.  Right now there is only space for one person, and any additional workload has to be sent to the backroom (or has to wait).

However:  if the point is to get out of retail…the art store doesn’t fly.  It would, though, be good experience.  Especially if I were not presently in classes and intending to be in two more through the Summer (I found an old draft of something I wrote two years ago talking about how I wanted more diverse work experience; this is not a new thing).

I did find, as well, a work-from-home option which was for a copywriter/proofreader (submissions closed), albeit halfway across the country — but for the same chain.  Which, in effect, means that they do not only hire people to staff the cash registers.  Being a cashier and/or someone hired to interface with clients is not the best use of my skills or disposition — a reason I’ve been guided to look at Cataloging as an option if I do go into Library work.

The compensation given is also something I should be looking at.  I only get paid a little over minimum wage, now; but what I could make in the future is significant enough to query — especially as (I am thinking) most service workers aren’t fairly compensated, as regards poverty wages in this area.  There were no wages quoted for any of the job postings I saw.

I should probably be monitoring some of these job sites to look for openings, in the meantime, though.  After all, there’s no reason I have to stay at my current branch, or in my current system — even if I do stay in the Library.  And, actually, signs point to my possibly having a better experience in a different system (whether that’s a Public Library system or an Academic Library one).

…which is also, something to think about.

But for now…it’s really late, and I don’t want to be totally flat on my face tomorrow.  I should get some rest.

Wanting more experience, needing to look up.

Trying to figure out how to approach scheduling my own work hours…

I’m actually feeling much better today.  There was an extra helper at work, so things were nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.  I’ve also learned that rehydration helps a whole lot when I start feeling weird in the afternoon.  I’m not sure whether I drank one or two bottles of water after lunch, but…I must have been really dehydrated.

So…as regards the school stuff…I’m planning to hang in there for this last required semester, possibly take that one Art History course (Modern Art) in Summer, and then try for a better job.  Or maybe I should say, a different job.  One where I’ll have different experiences than I do, working at the Library.

The most obvious slot to filter into is customer service.  It isn’t something I adore, but I do like to help people.  The biggest reason I kind of don’t like to be faced with this problem at my present workplace is that I have to tell people they’re talking to the wrong person, and then redirect them.  I’m not all that great at telling people things they don’t want to hear.

So…I’m thinking of putting in applications for some art supply stores, and craft stores.  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work in a Downtown area, because it’s a bit seedy for me.  I’m not all the way hardened, yet.  😛  I could always try, though — and then if I don’t like it, go back to my first job.

There’s that, and the possibility of working in a bead store (again, hoping to avoid Downtown if I can)…I know of several local bead stores.  The main drawback of the top two I could work for is that both are in urban areas.  However, I do have a good eye for design, and I’ve been working with beads since I was 11 or 12 (summer before 6th grade).

Then, there’s the possibility of volunteering.  There is one craft society that meets near me, and the Bead Society is fairly open — though I’d probably need to become a member again to really know what goes on there, and what skills they’re in need of.

Now that I mention that, though — there are a couple of classes I can look at, which could help me gain a foothold in the working world.  The first is Art Gallery Management; the second is Artist as Citizen (where artists are paired up with local nonprofits).  I had totally forgotten about those, until now.  They might be good first steps.

I’m thinking that, even though I’ve worked in a Library, it is probably not a good move to try and work in a bookstore.  I just don’t read enough to have the breadth and depth of knowledge I’d want and probably need, to help match people with books.

And, again, the easiest thing I could do would be to wait for Clerk positions to open and then try for those.  The reason I haven’t wanted to do it is majorly because it is public service; however, I’d also have the option of working outside the Library system, and that could turn out really nice.

Then, there’s the option of freelancing.  I have more of a clue of how to do this as regards jewelry, than art, though.  It would be possible to remain an Aide and take the money from that, use it to buy materials, use the materials to make jewelry, sell the jewelry at one or more boutiques, farmer’s markets, flea markets, online, etc.  If I do that, though, I’ll want to set up a P.O. Box, not to mention read up on pricing and taxes.

Isn’t it weird when your handmade jewelry seems easier to sell than your handmade art?  Hmm.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve been at it, longer…

In any case, I started out this post thinking about how to organize my time so that I actually end up getting work — whether that’s artwork or beadwork or both — done.  It would be good to set up an intention of working on a specific project (cyclamens?), then divide that into steps, and spread the steps out over a number of days and work times.

What’s nice about having kept up this blog is that I have records of projects I was working on once, and would like to continue (like suminagashi); so, I’m not starting from scratch.

(And I should remind myself not to worry about screwing up the cyclamen painting.  Gah.  It’s just a piece of board.  If I screw it up with impasto, I can always either paint the back side or use it as a mount for spraying fixative.)

I do have a time chart that I made up one or two semesters ago, in which I can block out my salaried time, and then my art and craft time.  Doing this, in this way, might also show me whether I enjoy the art or the beading, more — though I’m pretty sure that what’s going to happen is that they will feed off of each other.

Beading is a bit less threatening because it gives me a chance to play with little “jewels” with holes in them.  They’re already pretty, they just have to be arranged to maybe become even prettier.  Even though most of them are glass, it’s fun; it’s like playing with the fake jewels in the LEGO set I had, when I was a kid.  Everybody knew they were plastic.  But still…

And, I’ve got to be sure to balance out challenging and new techniques and subjects with things that are more comforting and known.  If I try bead embroidery with cabochons, I should also work at something that isn’t as new and/or hard, at the same time.  This will ensure I get to work on something instead of freaking out about bead embroidery and doing nothing.  Even if I work on a tested and true pattern, it’s better than stopping.

Trying to figure out how to approach scheduling my own work hours…

I need to ease up on myself.

I guess I have actually done some studying today, although it wasn’t what I intended.

I’ve slightly changed the pronunciation of my chosen name, along with its spelling in kanji.  It, oddly enough, fits a question that came up yesterday, as regards another one of my names…I could either have it read “Spring Light”, or “East Light”.  The second reading is closer to the meaning of one of the names I’ve sought to replace with something similar.

I’m thinking that it’s best to shy away from the ultra-masculine “Kage” names, though at an earlier time in my life, I would go after those.  It just wouldn’t look good if I ever traveled to Japan and had the name of a (male) great feudal lord in my name, you know…whose name is also, coincidentally, used by a number of online roleplayers…

…and, I am, eventually, planning on legally changing my name.  But I’m not sure exactly how I’d enter my first name on forms, considering that in the method of Anglicization I’m using, there’s an apostrophe.  (The actual pronunciation has a glottal stop, meaning there’s a staccato right after the first syllable.)  I would then, in my daily life, be going by one or another shortened version of my chosen middle name.

What I’ve found interesting is that the old Japanese-English dictionary I used to use is now compatible with tablet computers; so I was actually able to write in the kanji using my old graphics pad and stylus.  (I reinstalled this recently, even though I will probably have to get rid of it when the upgraded OS comes out.)  From there, it was easy to find what I was looking for!

Of course, to do this, I’m thinking that it helps to know the stroke order (which I was able to intuit for some kanji), and the site is almost completely unnavigable without being able to read kana.  One would be able to see the forms, but not read the readings or know which pronunciation to use — kanji change their pronunciation dependent on which words they’re used within.  And without knowing kana, it’s just a mess of squiggly and angular lines.

*smiles*  So yeah, I guess I did a little good.  🙂  I even successfully read a bunch of things in kana today.  Go, me.  😉

I’ve also been reading in two of the art books I’ve borrowed.  The book on color, in particular, makes me want to paint — which is probably nothing but a good thing.  🙂  I love playing with colors!  It’s the main reason I ever got into beadwork…which I still haven’t been doing.  For some reason, today, I got back the idea to take up knitting, though that would likely be a nearly total waste of time for me.  I just have some pink laceweight yarn that would look nice in a rippled shawl.  It would take forever to knit, though — and I don’t have an easy way of threading rescue lines in with my circular needles.

(I forget what those are called — lifelines?  Basically, if you’re knitting lace, you can thread a line of unwaxed floss in through a row of work so that if you severely mess up, you can take the needles out and rip back all the stitches up to that line.  The line preserves the stitches in that row and orients them correctly to reinsert the needles — which matters, because twisted stitches show up in the finished product, and affect the tension of the finished product.  Why lace, you ask?  Because I didn’t know how hard it would be.)

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be a waste of time, if it got me doing something, other than sleeping.  I suppose there’s a gendered component to that, as well…which could be…well, some kind of reinforcement of something that I probably shouldn’t speculate on.  One of the books I’m reading, though, says to think about drawing, not making a drawing, and that kind of Zen-type working method is extremely present in knitting.  It’s just …really tedious work, or alternately, meditative.

I did get to the point today where I started to have nightmares while asleep, which shows me that I have really been sleeping too much.  Fun dreams are OK.  Scary dreams…not so much.  I don’t know why the Harley Quinn twins were hanging off of Grandma Maxine from those Hallmark cards, but I think it’s related to clips of the last Silent Hill game I saw.

Then there’s that acrylic throw blanket that I began at least two years ago, and never finished.  It’s just not a warm thing.  Pretty, yes.  Heavy, yes.  But not warm.  And it’s probably going to pill, and I can’t shave it because dimensional crochet.  I think I recorded some info on that, over on another blog.  At least two years ago.

I’m just finding myself…eliminating activities depending on whether I see them as dead-end hobbies, or not.  I don’t want to get to 35 and find out that everything I’ve been doing for the past 10 years is stuff that one would do if they were a married homekeeper with spare time and a secure income stream.  You’ve gotta kind of have a relationship for that to work, and I’m…just not that social.

The best I can hope for from the beadwork avenue is publishing my own patterns, and/or kits, and/or teaching classes on how to make beaded jewelry.  I never did show any of you my work, eh?  Let’s see….

Design, (c) S. Fujisaka, 2013.
Something I made before I got discouraged…

BA-HA!  So that graphics program does help!

This is a pattern I made by screwing around with beads and cord.  I’m not sure if anyone else has stumbled across it, though I’m sure someone has, and I just haven’t found them yet.  Or, they aren’t online.

The thing about this is that…with my art skills and my writing skills, I should be able to make patterns and sell them.  (I should also be able to help others make patterns, as well.  DESKTOP PUBLISHING, BABY.  And those patterns could be copyrighted, as versus a product made from those patterns…)  Actually hand-producing these things doesn’t make sense in my country, because of the high cost of labor and relatively low cost of materials.

Sure, you’ll need some things like Alligator Tape to protect your hands if they’re soft…and, well, a macrame board, pins, beads, cord, skill…but it’s really not hard to do — for me, at least.  But then, I’ve been beadweaving since I was about 14.  I moved out into macrame because of the question of copyright law; it’s much easier to create an original design with knots, for me, than it is with bead-weaving (though I’ve done some of that, too — the new Czech two-hole and four-hole beads are really expanding design possibilities, at least for beadweavers [the holes only allow one pass with the cord I’ve used for knotting], and the field with these is still young).

The main issue with selling kits like this is the entire copyright dynamic, which probably then bleeds into quality control and branding — depending on whether it were possible to copyright handcrafts at all…whether it is or not, I have no idea.  I should probably just write the U.S. Copyright office, or visit them online, or something.  I’m just kind of scared that they’ll tell me I’m doing something unethical (which is, again, the reason I dropped beadweaving).

But now that I think of the startup costs, and the time spent in design and parts acquisition, not to mention resolving errors, this is probably not as inexpensive as it seems.  The trouble is that I’d currently be underselling myself at $30.  $40 is more reasonable — then I’d be breaking even with labor and materials.  The thing is, like with any other handmade good I’m thinking of, the majority of the price is labor.  I could up the ante by using more expensive/fancy beads (e.g. Apollo finish — which is what, a year old now?  Two?), but whether that will be appreciated or not, is not something I know, from here.  Especially as I don’t even know the longevity or durability of many “fancy” colors and finishes, like Apollo.  However — it would be worth it to ask, and I’d get experience in some form of Business by cold-calling or writing Toho, for example, and asking them for some kind of brochures about durability, UV resistance, green manufacturing, etc.

What I do know is that it’s possible for me to make really, really beautiful — and original (to me, at least) — stuff.  And I have enough materials to do this now, without dealing with buying new stock (at this point, a lot of my stuff is vintage, given where I bought it).

But anyway…that’s something I was doing before I became discouraged about the entire questions of legality and tax codes and economic globalization and brand image and marketing.  But — I have, really, dreamed about working for a niche magazine publication which deals with beadwork.  It could be really cool.  I could also begin to teach classes…that could be really cool, too, especially given that macrame has the advantage of avoiding pricked fingers (unlike beadweaving, when done with most needles).  And, I probably have enough skill and experience to work for a bead store…though maybe not the right temperament.

I should probably re-join my Bead Society and try and actually make it out to the meetings, this time…it’s not an entire waste of daylight.  Unlike, hibernation…

I need to ease up on myself.