Back to watercolors? what am I doing…

The little loose paint chips that I made so long ago out of watercolor swatches have proven useful.  I really am not entirely sure why I got it into my head to play with watercolors, again:  except for the fact that I love color, and they’re gorgeous.

M was looking for a butcher tray, so we stopped off at the little art store to look at the palettes.  There were only two things I could think of which I might have a chance of using in the near future.  The first was a stable home for my watercolors (a Mijello 33-well palette); the second was a piece of basswood, to enable the possibility of woodblock printing.

In a prior relevant post, I mentioned the Mijello Silver Nano 40-well palette, and how for me it has become, in practicality, a 20-well palette.  The dried colors just don’t reliably stick to the upside-down wells when the palette is closed.  It has good space for mixing, and it may just be that the colors I put in there fell out because of the properties of the pigments used (they’re largely earth tones, in the lid).  It’s also possible that the antimicrobial coating on this palette makes it somewhat nonstick…in any case, I didn’t want to put any more of my paints in there after I realized it would be a temporary home for them, at best.

So I basically just bit it and got a palette with all the wells on one side, with as many wells as I could find, in a dust-safe and compact model.  I had been looking at the 33-well palette before, but for reasons I can’t recall (likely having to do with mixing space), passed it up.  What they don’t tell you is that they give you three extra mixing surfaces in this palette:  one in the lid, one behind the one in the lid, and one hidden under the paint wells (though I’m not sure if these are watertight for travel:  the outer plastic is not the same color).  At least in the palette I got, and I’m hoping it wasn’t modded by some prior customer to contain all of this, all these spaces are white plastic, thus you can see the color you’re mixing.

I spent quite a long time poring over and studying the Mijello Mission Gold watercolor paint advertisement which was included, after I got home.  The palette contained a little free tube of what I think was Rose Madder (it was taped to the advertisement, so I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be there!).  What I actually was doing was analyzing the differences in color from the printed swatches (keeping in mind that CMYK printing does not always reproduce colors accurately), and cross-referencing the pigment codes to see what was made out of what.  At a certain point, it became clear that one doesn’t need to buy the intermediary mixes of pigments, if one already has all the ingredients to mix that shade oneself.

The draw to convenience mixtures, for me, has been that the colors are often really beautiful, and I just haven’t discovered how to mix them yet out of single-pigment paints.  And, if doing reproduction work, one might actually need a standard shade — as versus the subtle minutiae of variations that occur in hand-mixed colors.

Then, I started looking at my own paints, wondering how many of them were single-pigment formulations.  Quite a number of the ones I have are single-pigment, actually:  at least that’s what the codes might imply (though some codes — especially in the browner earth tones, and Phthalo colors, carry the same pigment number even though they are different shades).  I have mostly Winsor & Newton colors, as I could get smaller tubes for a lower initial investment (though these are not cheap colors, as I initially thought).

Tonight, I was wondering aloud if there was a standard palette that was mixed from, to create harmonious color lines in manufactured convenience colors.  M asked me if I wanted to mix colors.  That was a definite yes.  Then she suggested that I write in and ask to tour a paint factory, and that maybe they would even hire me–!

I had been talking about mixing colors which no one tells you how to mix…my intro to this was Phthalo Green + Permanent Rose (in a Watercolor class), which makes a lovely grey with tones of violet, pink, and blue, which can range into green, depending on proportions.  I used that combination here, in the background.  Particularly, the muted violet in the lower left corner and the blue-green in some of the leaves to the right of the rose used this combination:

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(I’m still proud of this one.)  “Rose,” May 2016.

The original post in which I first published this image (in color) is here, though only later did I say that I used Viridian.  I was mistaken.  I used Viridian Hue — “Hue” means that it approximates the color of something else.  In this case, Viridian Hue was actually a Phthalocyanine Green which approximated the masstone (basic color) of Viridian.  However, true Viridian (a chromium-based color:  also be aware that in my earlier treatment of chromium colors versus cobalt colors on this blog, I inadvertently confused the terms) behaves differently in mixes.  In particular, it’s a granulating color (unless I’m wrong and it’s really “flocculating”) — it clumps on the page as it dries, is more muted (less intense), and is not as smooth as any Phthalo color I’ve ever used.  (In particular, it doesn’t do the same thing with Permanent Rose as Phthalo Green does.)

I prefer my paints to flow smoother, though there is undeniable complexity added to an image when the textures of granulating and flocculating paints come into play.  The natural settling of the pigments in…let’s say, the watercolors I (personally) like…add visual texture.  I’m just not terribly fond of visible brushstrokes in areas I want to be smooth.  I know smoothness isn’t everyone’s thing, though.  And my opinion may change after seeing what I can do with dry brushwork — I have noticed the look of it to be visually interesting.

Anyhow, I was able to use my little paint chips to play with the future layout of colors in the 33-well palette.  There are still empty wells, which is likely a very good thing.  I did something different this time, though:  I moved from bright primary color on one side into muted tones, then added in the pinks, violets, greens and blacks on the other side.

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Upon looking at this image, to the left, I’m really tempted to play around more with this, though.  I’m seeing distinct groups or families of colors — I’m not sure if any of you are more familiar with it than I am, as I’ve only had community college and high school training in art — but this is what I’m seeing:

A green-to-cool yellow family (Winsor Yellow and up, on the photo, plus Winsor Blue and down on the photo):  these colors can be used to mix greens…and they have a certain impact on me emotionally which I can’t describe.  But they do make me think of plants.  The Oakland A’s.  Androgyny?

A red-to-orange family (Winsor Red to Winsor Yellow Deep):  all of these appear very warm to me and like they stand out more than anything else.

A pink-to-violet/blue family (Permanent Rose to French Ultramarine):  these four colors could probably be called my home base, I mean, just personally.  Do I know why?  No.  But I know they make me feel some way.  (My brand of) Feminine?

Then, there’s Cobalt Blue, which doesn’t quite fit in for me.  I really don’t particularly like Cobalt Blue, in this formulation, at least (W&N).  It’s great for skies, but in color mixing, it’s weak…and it doesn’t really lean very far toward any other color, except maybe Winsor Violet (Dioxazine Violet) and “Magenta Permanent,” (I can’t remember the formulation offhand, but this was a W&N color), above.

And…I did mention that I had shaded these into earth tones, in the new palette.  I wouldn’t have caught the color overtones of these earth tones without having played around with Pitt brush pens for a while, and realizing that nearly each brown, muted yellow, muted red, or muted blue, had an overtone which made it part of a larger color family.  (There was also a muted violet, and one brown which didn’t lean any one way in particular, kind of like Cobalt Blue in that way.)

I have taken photos of the new palette (just in case a wind blew it all away by accident), but I can’t do the layout justice with nighttime lighting.  I’ll try and post records tomorrow and then — after recording positions — try and play around with the chips more and see how else I can rearrange them…

Recap before work, tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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…

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…

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.

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.