Anticipation: one more thing to go…then, 2 weeks of (relative) freedom.

I wasn’t able to bring myself to do one of my readings earlier today, or tonight; what I was able to do, was get a lot more readings lined up so that I possibly do not have to do the one I printed out, the other day.  I’m looking at 10-12 papers to read, at about 12 pages each.  It’s not hard; it just requires focus and commitment.

I have been wanting to get these out of the way as soon as possible.  Because of that, I didn’t maintain a social commitment tonight, opting instead to stay home — where I had the possibility of working on my last assignment.  Unfortunately, reruns of Futurama are more entertaining than my readings!


Anyhow, I’ll try and get as much done tomorrow and the day after, as I can; even though I know that may only be six articles, total.  But basically, what I have to do is scan and/or read the articles and provide a 100-200 word commentary on each.  I’m going to try and get this done before Saturday, though I’m not sure how realistic a goal that is, at this point.  (It probably depends on what I choose to read and how deeply I choose to read it — scanning first is probably the best idea I’ve had.  Other than, that is, reading the introduction and conclusion of the paper, and first and last sentences of every paragraph, prior to scanning.  I may not have a clear idea of what these things are about, because I gathered them so quickly.)

I should probably also put the files on a flash drive and transfer them to my secondary computer so that I won’t have to worry about not having anything to read, if I get stuck somewhere after the funeral on Saturday — my little tablet lasts about 4-6 hours on a charge.  And I can take with me, the notebook I intended to use for Cataloging and then mostly didn’t — it will work for notations on the readings, which should help summarize them later.  It will probably be simpler than trying to compose notes in a word-processing program.

As for artwork…I drew a border for my relative’s funeral program.  It was nice to be able to do something with my hands, again, though it wasn’t under the best circumstances.  Right now, though, I’m anticipating that program being thrown out by near relatives (different from nuclear family) because of others’ desire for control.  What is positive is that I formed the page I worked on in Photoshop (I did what I thought I had to do and composed the front page as one flattened image, and so the cover is not editable unless it’s totally scrapped, or someone knows how to work with digital images, besides myself.  (Not betting on it.)

My grades are looking relatively good, considering.  I’m looking at a C+ in Cataloging (I PASSED!!!) and A’s or A-‘s in my other two classes.

Also…on Monday or later, I’m hoping to take a trip to the smaller art supply store near me (at least), to pick up some materials for linoleum block printing…which may make working through the grief, worth it.  I found my carving tools, and I was mistaken:  there are no burrs on my knives.  At least, not on the straight ones, or the large oval gouge.  This is good!  I will be able to see if I need to sharpen them, once I start cutting.

(Some of my spiral patterns, or the mon I designed, would make a good first project.)

One thing I’m unsure of, though, is how to make a method of image registration, so that I’m lining things up on my paper the way I want to — a relative necessity in duochrome (two-color) printing or above.  I’m not sure how to do this, yet, though April Vollmer’s Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop seems to briefly go over how this is/was done in Japanese woodblock printing.  I suppose I can see if I can adapt that to linocuts…though Japanese-style printing uses different basic materials than Western-style printing.  Still, though:  I only have four more days to get through in which I’ll have to deal with this last semester…I can make it.

Two weeks after that, my User Experience class starts up.  I took it in part because I wanted to do all the reading (as bizarre as that sounds).

I can also try and do some reading in library books, the two printmaking books I have, or my future textbooks, if I’m at a loss as to what to do.

And ah — right!  I wanted to get back on with learning Japanese language!  That should be fun!

Lest I forget, as well:  I need to back up my files to my Portfolio.  And maybe get a cloud storage account, or something.  I have what I can download, downloaded, and backed up; I need to work online for this other part, though — and I will not have a long time to do so.

I’ve been offered more hours, but really I’m not sure I want to take them — especially because I’m uncertain as to how much of a time commitment UX will be…and it’s rare to get two weeks off with minimal work.

Anyhow, I should likely get going.

I also want to get bocha, but I am not certain where that desire is coming from…I already have another kukicha; two others, in fact.  It’s just that drinking a twig infusion sounds rather earthy, I guess…

Maybe I can make a trip to the tea store in my two weeks off of school…

Anticipation: one more thing to go…then, 2 weeks of (relative) freedom.

Almost completely done.

I completed what work I had to do, last night — amazingly enough.  Though I wanted to post this last night, I ended up going to sleep at about 2 AM, having spent about 12 hours total at my workstation that day.  Accordingly, my upper back and shoulders weren’t up to more sitting at this terminal.  D has said that he’s not sure how I do it (he can’t sit for long in my chair), but he’s much leaner than I am.

I did learn a couple of things:  one, before turning in a quiz, be sure to carefully reread the question and make sure you’re answering all parts of it.  I got some points off on my cataloging quiz unnecessarily because I neglected to see that I was being asked to do something that I’d never been asked to do, before.

The second thing had to do with my oral presentation:  I ended up repeating myself a number of times because of the structure of the paper, which I transferred over to the structure of the presentation (although I have heard that repetition isn’t bad, in an oral presentation).  I also learned that if I freeze up, it’s best to stop recording as soon as I find it happening, catch myself, and then restart.

I went over the time limit by about four minutes, even though I found myself talking quickly and quietly (something I’m known for, and have been trying not to do — and didn’t do, the first two times).

Otherwise, there has been a lot of family drama, to understate the obvious.  I don’t know how much I want to get into it, here…but that — and being afraid to start the Annotated Bibliography — is something that kept me in bed for a while, today.  I did get up earlier, but then I lay back down and stayed there until a little less than an hour ago.

In any case, all that’s before me now is the Annotated Bibliography, backing up my assignments to my portfolio, and possibly watching one lecture I didn’t watch because I ran out of time.  And, ah, right — transferring over some notes into a notebook (I used the giant pad of paper and a Sharpie, which is going to destroy what adjoins it if I just cut and paste it).  Otherwise…I’m pretty much done.

Kinda hard to know what to do in this situation, eh?  I can work on the funeral program, though…

Almost completely done.

Feeling better, a bit.

So…it’s now officially midnight and I’ve been awake for 14 hours — doing required work, some of it late.  And I was able to concentrate today, even with all the external noise.  That means there actually was something wrong when I was constantly distracted.

I had decided prior to skip the Easter visits today, that wasn’t a big decision; but I also didn’t realize that I’d be cutting it so close with the amount of work I had, and the time in which I had to do it.

I did just realize that I inadvertently skipped a lecture, which — along with a project which should be relatively simple, for the same class — I can tackle tomorrow.  I can also see if I missed anything for my Research class, though I think that’s all done (except for filling in the remains of a chapter, from last week).  Otherwise, I think we’ll be moving on, starting tomorrow morning.

I’m actually pretty proud of myself for getting four different graded assignments tackled in the same day.  I’m also really glad that I’m in my Metadata course, as it shows that things actually can (!) get easier with the advent of computers!  I’m not sure what kind of grade I’ll get in Cataloging, but hey — at least now I know not to be a Cataloger, that much is certain.

My goal for that course now (as versus learning the material) is to get out with a C- or above…somewhat sadly, but not really sadly.  It’s gone there.  Right now my best option is to mitigate the damage that course will do to my GPA, and I only have one graded assignment left, so…it’s water under the bridge.  Right now I kind of wish I had held onto my test so I could check my answers with the various scattered data about this class (some in the lectures, some in the Discussion fora…), but again, water under the bridge.  It isn’t due for another nine hours, and I could have held onto it, but it would have stressed me.  It’s more my style these days to just do it and let it go, although that might be a liability (though not necessarily, as when I “corrected” one of my answers away from the right one).

And…you won’t particularly believe this, but I was able to gain access to the one book on Japanese woodblock printing (i.e. mokuhanga:  moku = wood, hanga = print) existent at my location, the other day…so I now have that to peruse, in my off hours.  It’s kind of weird.  I didn’t go there looking for it, I looked up the subject on the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) on the spur of the moment, there was one book in the system, and one copy was on the shelf — and it was filed correctly.

Speaking of serendipity, I’ve had that word strike me from three different places within what seems like the last three days.  I am feeling a lot better with Cataloging now, though; to the point that I’m considering taking an actual LIS course during Summer Session, as versus Ceramics.  D has stated that it’s hard to make a living as an artist full-time unless one gives up one’s autonomy in the process, and sometimes people have big issues with the latter.

I figure that I only have two more years to cram everything in, in regard to the LIS program, though (I think Ceramics will still be available later — and if it’s not, maybe I can buy or otherwise access a kiln), and I haven’t even factored in the class, Issues in Special Libraries.  Given that I’m hoping to enter a nontraditional field upon graduation, that class becomes an unofficial priority.  However, I’m looking at my documents now, and that class isn’t even listed as core or recommended…and why would I take that if I could get deeper into XML or another tech-oriented course instead…something that will actually help me get a job, as versus knowledge I can (or will) acquire in the field…

And yes, I…if I can stay in the program, I definitely want to aim for Web Development as an eventual goal.  It’s probably better to say that now and mean it, than to be wishy-washy about it and not tell anyone that I want to work in tech because then I’d lose my Library cred, or something.  If I’ve got an idea in mind and a direction in mind, I need to just go for it, even if someone will finance my schooling if I say I’m into Library Automation (…I am not even going to get into that).

In my Research class…I’ve been investigating why people in positions similar to mine either leave the Library field; or never enter it, after graduation…and it doesn’t paint American Library institutions as particularly healthy in regard to retention of bright, qualified, excellent candidates (as I’ve read).  Not to say I necessarily am that (maybe I am), but…it’s a known pattern, and I have some idea of why the pattern exists, because I almost never came back from Withdrawal status, and with the exception of Cataloging, I’ve been doing relatively fantastic.

Right now my degree should help with Digital Services and Digital Library work, and help me get my feet wet with programming and User Experience.  It’s not a usual use of the skillset — in fact it isn’t a traditional skillset for Library Science at all — but I like it that way.  Otherwise, I’d likely be attempting to learn how to code, however I could (if I was even aware of that as a valid employment option, and if I could get beyond the gender stigma/barrier/stereotypes I’ve read about in the male-dominated tech field).  In that sense, it is good I am in LIS, (Library & Information Science) or at least, in the IS part of LIS — it allows some comfort of being in a relatively safe, traditionally feminized field (where there are more people like me) at the same time as it opens doors into a more cutting-edge field (perhaps made more cutting-edge by the inclusion of people like myself).

And…I’ve only got two years to go (!), though I hear that in the old days, a Master’s degree only actually took two years of training…

Feeling better, a bit.

OMG I can draw…(!)

I’ve been looking back over my postings with regard to art, and it’s actually been really inspiring.  Today I drew for the first time in a while…trying to finesse a design that must have come to me at 2 AM when I was trying to sleep.  It does take less time (and fewer resources) to sit down and draw, than it does to plan and execute a jewelry design — a reason I’m thinking of getting back into it again.

Also, drawing helps to design, although with beads, it really isn’t very exact…there are specific sizes and ratios to manufactured beads, along with other limitations like hole diameter(s), that don’t work out totally in freehand drawings.  However…the skill should be very useful where it comes to bead embroidery design.

Apologies for my nonstandard and stream-of-consciousness use of punctuation, along with my total skirting of current politics, here.  I’ve tried to edit the former out; and there is a reason for the latter, which I should get used to.

Anyhow, with my Library and Information Science classes starting up again, I’ve needed to go back to creative activities in order to stay balanced.  I can easily get overwhelmed by incoming information and then blank for hours afterwards, not knowing what to express — especially if I’ve been reading for hours.  In this case, it’s easier to play around with beads and colors…and pencils…than it is to write or fully speak…and I have so many colored pencils and regular pencils and aquarelles and charcoals and pastels (and paints, though I think that 30″x30″ canvas is really intimidating me) around here that…it’s really tempting to get back into that, again.  Not to intend to make any great art, but just for the joy of it.

I have also found that there is likely a place in my life for recreational reading (that is, reading without the goal of writing in mind).  I didn’t come to this conclusion, though, until after having done some of my homework.  I realize now that my exposure to books in the stacks via my job as a Student Assistant, and to authors via my English/Creative Writing education, actually does afford me some knowledge as to how to find my way around a library catalog, as a patron.  Given that two of my classes are focused on cataloging and metadata, this looks like it will be a semester full of insights!

I actually really am liking the one class which has already started in earnest…because it’s like a more intense treasure-hunt than that which I experienced as a Volunteer.  It’s like, “using all of your capabilities and these clues, find this item (which you haven’t been given the name of),” which is something that I’m not permitted to do in my current position at work.  I can only expect the restrictions to become more intense as I move up the ranks, if I move up the ranks — at least in a Public Library.  This is related to serving all people, not a selective group determined by my own personal biases.  Given that this is directly related to professionalism…

Okay, I’m about to say too much, so I’ll stop.  🙂

The trouble seems to lie in having gone into this field for reasons related to my own values, and then having to rein in the free expression of some of those values in order to be “professional,” at least on the job.  But I would expect and appreciate the effort to remain politically neutral as regarded job duties (“professional”) if I consulted a Librarian who had very different political values than my own, so I can look at it that way.  Same thing if I had to access a free clinic:  I wouldn’t want to be denied services or given inferior service because the person caring for me personally didn’t agree with my choices.  The principle cuts both ways.  I cannot advocate my personal views as a library professional (should I become a professional), but I can advocate them as a person — outside of my job duties.

Of course, this is a personal blog, not a professional one (THANKFULLY!!!).  I’d still err on the side of caution when talking politics, though:  just because I have had a taste of what it is like to be looked up to, and I can’t speak with the authority of the ALA behind me here, nor imply it.

So, forgive me if I do not go into politics right here and now.  Even though I am generally a deep thinker and so would not immediately advocate any position in most cases, I also should not do so in a way where I might lead one to believe I were speaking for anyone but myself.  I would hope that I would be read to speak only for myself, anyway, though!

And dang.  I only have about five hours until dawn.  Okay, I should at least get ready for bed.  😛  I did surprise myself today, though:  my little drawing that I did to expand on a late-night scrawl of a chain design…actually looks…passable?  😉

Ah, I’ve got to try that pattern out in physical materials, now…

OMG I can draw…(!)

68 hours remaining…

…the good part, being that I finished two papers today and made good inroads on our Group project, of which there are three or four sections left to attend to.  There are two Quiz questions which I need to look up.  My Competency Paper still needs to be done.  And in Intellectual Freedom, I have one more Discussion topic to complete.

Sunday night, I have another group meeting.  I need to get on my Course Evaluations, and archive material into my Portfolio and onto my local device:  particularly, these final papers, and Discussion prompts.

Other than that, however…it’s looking a lot better than it did, yesterday.  I have Monday off, but it’s possible I won’t need the extra time.

I’ll put any remaining thoughts I have, into a separate post.  🙂

68 hours remaining…

88 hours to go…ganbarou! (i.e. strive!)

Yes…I am tired.  Even after going to bed at 6:30 PM last night and waking after 12 PM today (though I don’t think I really got up until 2 PM).  I’m fairly certain that it’s a combination of the weather, and my immune system working hard to fight something off.  (Maybe putting on my glasses will help with the burning eyes…)

In any case, I spent the waking time today which was not spent on eating (or, minorly, laundry), working on our Group Project, due in…four days.  I have a quiz, but that will be OK.  I also have three papers, one of which is almost finished.  Everything — including the new Discussion topic — is due in four days.

What’s really irritating is that two of the papers, plus the Discussion topic, are for the same class:  the class which I am really disliking, at this point.  I’m going to try not to let that irritate me more, but it’s worth noting.  I guess I can complain about it more after I get the stuff turned in, because working myself up into anger prior to that is just going to make it harder to get the essays done.

In any case, right now it is slightly after 10 PM where I’m at, meaning I have about 88 free hours to get everything done–!!!  Though I’ll probably be asleep for half of those.  I’m hoping that the work I put in for the group today will be adequate enough so I don’t look like I’m slacking.  The good part is that the rest of the group has also begun work on the project.

I should finish up my Interview Paper first thing tomorrow, start on my Competency paper, and start on my Privacy paper.  I can also work on my second Quiz, which looks easy enough.  Actually, maybe I should take a look at the Quiz, tonight, and see what I have to look up on my own.  The course evaluations can wait until last-minute; I don’t mind not getting the bonus for turning them all in, on time.

The other thing I need to do is find a Patron Conduct Policy — oh nevermind, just did that.  🙂

See?!  It’s not so hard!

In any case, I’ve taken one of my two upcoming work days off, which should give me a little extra breathing room.

And either on the 12th or the 13th, you bet I’m going out there to get my new pens!  I’ve been looking at my notebooks and have decided that 8.5″x11″ or slightly smaller (to trim bleeds) is good enough for a comic book.  I actually have (or had) one that is around that size (called “The Generator” [knowing the title apparently does squat for looking it up on Google because of all the “comix generators”]; it was published as half of a “making comics” book), but I’m not sure exactly where it is, at the moment.  Maybe I gave it away?  That one was all in black and white, though…hm.

Maybe I should take a trip to the comic store, too…or at least take a look in the Graphic Novel section for adults, at my library…or — ha! — in the Graphic Novel sections of the nearest glut of libraries around me…

I should use them more if I work at them, yes…?

88 hours to go…ganbarou! (i.e. strive!)

Nine days to go!

Well, I’ve got a couple of assignments, down.  I completed the last Discussion Post assigned for Intellectual Freedom (will there be another one? unsure — but at least I did what I could).

I was sitting around trying to figure out whether to write and what to write and where to write it, or if I should just go and draw/write in my art journal, when I realized that this would be a good opportunity to stop procrastinating and get some work done so that I can break the anxiety/avoidance cycle.

All procrastination really gives me is anxiety, and anxiety makes me want to hide, and hiding is detrimental to the goal of getting work done, which is detrimental to the goal of staying in the program, which is detrimental to the goal of having a stable career, which is detrimental to the goal of having leisure time for writing and art.  (The work does have to be done, eventually; and while there is a place for self-care and nurturing, it cuts down on the total anxiety I feel dramatically when I get the work done earlier, rather than later.)

So there are several things left to do now, but the majority of them do not have to be done immediately.  The exception is my Subject Guide for Diversity, which I have the parts for, but which I haven’t assembled, yet (largely due to being grossed out over the dirtiness of the library books).  I have most of the day to work on it tomorrow; it is due the day after.  But if I can turn it in early, that sounds like a better plan than delaying until the (absolute) last minute.

I can also work on my final group project…which majorly involves research (I have a date tomorrow night — by which time I’ll need to have done some work).  In particular, analyzing web sites.  Joy, right.  (It would be more interesting if I didn’t have so many other demands.)

Then I can add in my Reflections on my Librarian Interview paper and turn it in early (it’s already nine pages!!!), plus get started on my Privacy paper (which is as yet, unstarted:  due nine days from now).

As well, Discussion #3 and my course evaluations can be completed:  the latter, at any time.  After that, I just have to worry about my Competency paper and the final Quiz for my Database class.  After everything’s submitted, I should archive it.  Then — I think — I’ll be done.  Of course, there will be more work thrown in there around my Database group, but if I stay on top of things, it won’t matter.

I do wish that I had been listening in on the “Help Sessions” for Diversity class…if I’d known they were either required or extremely useful, I would have been.  But they were called “Help Sessions,” not “Lectures,” and I missed the data in the Syllabus.  I don’t even know if I was expected to read the entire textbook; which, I might have known, if I were listening in on the “Help Sessions.”  Something I can mention in my evaluation.  However, I have learned a number of things, this semester:

  1. Read the Syllabus deeply and thoroughly at the beginning of the course!
  2. Don’t be afraid to include outside research in your answers, even if it is just a Discussion question.  Cite your sources in the document — ALA format.
  3. When you’re responding to a question, don’t assume anyone will remember what the question is or was; as portfolio evidence, you don’t want to have to include the prompts as a separate file.  Either paraphrase the question in your response, or quote the question in your submission.

And, I think I’ve finally managed to learn how to use the Portfolio tool.

I can’t think clearly enough right now to organize this into a list, but I’m pretty sure these are all the commitments I’ve got (besides work).  And I have a little over a week in which to do them.

I’m not sure if I should save getting my pens until the 13th, just to give myself a break and a reward for powering through these last days…

Nine days to go!