Back online.

To all the people who are still waiting on a response from me, apologies! Due to some health issues (I’m okay now, but needed to rest), the last couple of days have gone by fast.

Besides work (which is its own issue), and family (same), and college ending (which I have to put effort towards), there have been some other things coming up. Namely, I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I’ve needed to.

After I get home from work, I’ve found that I apparently immediately need to put my clothes in the washer, and take a shower. Meaning…this long hair is something I can’t maintain. Today I accidentally pulled out a clump while trying to unwork a knot: this could be a sign of fungus (from not blow-drying my hair — which I don’t like to do as it can crisp it up). This means that I may need to cut my hair short again just for my health, in addition to cutting off the damage. (I already know this is the best way to maintain a healthy head of hair.)

On top of that, there has been a new invasion of bugs in one area of my work, plus something bit me on the ankle (I didn’t know it was a bite until it turned maroon 24 hours later) and I found a mystery rash…all of this points to a short cut being much easier to maintain. (Especially as I have to twist my hair down, now, to get it to fit under a shower cap, and it can take upwards of 12 hours to dry on its own.) Plus — I have to get back to exercise, and exercise requires cleanliness.

If I hadn’t taken the time to change my sheets and shower before bed the other night, though (which caused me to be tired the next day and beginning to get sick, meaning that I spent the day avoiding the Children’s area [like that helps — though it does, a little]), I likely would have introduced a parasite into my bed.

I’m still not sure if the reason for the rash was not having showered before bed, after having cleaned the office (which happened about a week ago).

In any case, I’m considering getting rid of this hair. Ironically, that step may be a bit feminizing for me…I used to get a lot of garbage thrown my way for not having it long. But, it isn’t other peoples’ decision (let alone a sexual harasser’s decision) as to what I get to do with it.

The easiest thing I can do is cut it to about 1″ all over (or so that it scrunches down to about 1″ all over), and wear it with pomade or gel. There are other possibilities, but…you know, that takes some thought. 😉

If I did that, I might move to wearing more decorative earrings. I’m not sure what will happen if I do that, and continue to wear the 14g earrings as placeholders outside of the time I’m wearing the regular ones. But I can try. I have been wanting to go back to making jewelry…and bought some leather and tools today, for an idea that came up in my mind.

And…I have just realized, it’s almost midnight. (I was wondering why I was so tired.) I’ve got to be at work tomorrow…so, even though today was full of sleeping, maybe I should get some rest while my body is going along with it. I’ve been told tomorrow will likely be rough. Hopefully, that means I get to shelve, all day. But I can’t bet on it…


Too many thoughts…

I’ve been going through backposts…and pondering what I have to do.  Classes restart in a few days, and I need to (re)start assembling my portfolio for graduation. I need to clean my office and pick up a notebook for Summer (tomorrow). I’m not sure yet if I’ll need another jump drive, or if I can recycle one — or how many of them are corrupted, for that matter.

A new shift at work has cropped up, but I’m not certain I should take it on at this point. I think right now I’m staffing 15 hours; 19 is the most I can legally cover. The class I’m taking for Summer is one unit over one month…I’m honestly not sure how much work that’s going to entail. Normally, it would be three hours a week if it were a full-length class, but somehow I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

I’ve also been looking around, and have realized that a higher-paying Aide position or a Library Assistant position is the next logical step up, for me — if I want to ease (as versus leap) into Librarianship. Looking for a new job in earnest doesn’t have to start until next year, after graduation.

I need to keep building the portfolio to graduate, foremost in my mind. (I can figure out employment after I actually have the degree.) That means cataloging some classes, likely producing some local HTML to map out what I might want to include, and starting to categorize and weigh evidence.

And my Learning Management System is being a butt. I’m glad I’m about to graduate.

As for things I want but don’t have to do…I’m thinking about picking up some flowers to draw and/or paint from life, possibly with gouache — just to see what it looks like. I also have the toile for the field pants going; easy to work on. Both of these may be a bit scary (but rewarding), though.

I’ve decided to hold steady at 14 gauge (14g) for my earrings, although I did lose — and find — one for the first time, yesterday. (I’m still under 12g.) I’m not sure if this means I should get new 14g earrings plus some clear O-rings, or what. But I’m back to captive-ball rings, for now, because they can’t fall out. I’m not entirely sure how my piercings loosened up, but I’m about to blame sleeping with my earrings in, plus maturity of the piercings.

Also…because I’m working more, that’s helping with some of the cost of this. I did almost forget to mention that I recently found three books on Japanese aesthetics, none of which I’ve delved deeply into, yet. But if I get too intimidated to paint or sew, I can read. Reading’s easy.

I also recently looked back into my PHP book. You know. The one I forgot I had.

There’s got to be some way to organize this that makes sense, but I’m not sure what it is, yet.


Wool-Eater Blanket project

Apparently, I should have taken a shower before 12:15 AM last night, especially if I didn’t want to dry my hair. I have found, however, that it’s getting long enough so that I can put it in a bun on the top of my head! 😀

Okay, and I just took it down to finish drying…and it is huge and gorgeous!

I will try to stop complimenting myself now and get on to the rest of this…

Yesterday was…a long day. Because I had been assigned to dust at work (ask me why again I’m getting my Master’s)…this is part of the reason I needed to take a shower no matter what, last night. Also, I was staffing Circulation with both of the outside doors open when a gust of wind came in, blowing the dust off the scaffolding above the desk. It was fairly disgusting, and possibly dangerous to an asthmatic.

I wouldn’t have necessarily taken a shower, but I was concerned about dust mites in my hair, and taking steps not to transfer them to the bed.

Aside from that…there are other reasons I would have been tired, but they’re nothing I would relate. I got up for breakfast today, went back to bed, and didn’t get back up until after 5 PM. I’m somewhat irritated about this, but at the same time, I knew in the afternoon — every time that I started to get up — that I needed to rest. I just wish I had opened the blinds for the umbrella plant.

What I was doing last night (or early this morning, more exactly) was renewing an account to a knit and crochet website. I’ve connected it to a blog I rarely use except as an adjunct to it; and was able to go and find my notes on a project I began somewhere between 2009 and 2010.

Because the yarn is acrylic (ugh)…it’s in pretty much the same position as it was when I left it. The reason to finish it is just to get it done and out of the way, though as a functional object, it’s looking like it will be a failure. The project is the Wool Eater Blanket by Sarah London.


The reasoning behind using acrylic was 1) I was a complete novice then and didn’t know that acrylic is a terrible insulator, and 2) the price point of insulating (wool, alpaca, or other natural-fiber) yarn makes this project a rather expensive one.

However, if it’s done over a long period of time (to spread out the labor and cost), it could work.

Right now, I’m just making it to throw over the back of the couch and make things look nicer. I’m not sure at all what will happen when this thing is washed.

I was actually thinking of re-doing this pattern in laceweight alpaca yarn…because I have two cakes of the latter (both pale pink), and the right hook (likely 3.25 mm). The major issue is that I don’t know how long those two cakes are going to last, or how big the shawl will end up being. (Or how diaphanous it will end up being, for that matter!)

Ideally, I’d also be changing the colors to show off the pattern, but…I don’t even know if it will work, yet.

Now that it’s night again, and I’ve retrieved a copy of the instructions, I’m thinking that I might want to get back to work on this. Just to finish the project.

I’m always afraid with this one that I’ll have too little yarn to complete the row I’m on and will never be able to match it again…but maybe it’s worth a shot?

One week since the beginning of Break…

It’s only today that I realize it’s been about a week since my last posting. I’ve been busy moving things around, and cleaning. (By “moving things around,” I mean sorting through all the papers in my office, and sorting through everything in the bathroom. Also, going through the books on my main bookcase to organize them by approach and theme.)

This started with my cleaning and organization of the craft table, because I needed space to cut a sheet (or roll) of tinted acetate and didn’t have room for the cutting mat or the roll. Right now things are OK down there — space is usable — but it isn’t optimal.

I also went through everything in the drawers in my bathroom, and beneath the drawers in my bathroom. Anything which could spoil, which I couldn’t remember buying in the last 6 months, I was told was fine to throw away. Particularly, used makeup, which can cause infection if there have been bacteria growing in it and then one applies it to one’s face. (I also shaved down my old eyeliners [which I hadn’t been using], and threw out what had dried out.)

The only reason I started thinking about makeup is that I did have a job interview, a couple of days ago (which was the last big thing to get out of the way before I could have true relief). I did mostly go to the interview in order to gain practice and not be kicked off of the qualifying list, but I am not certain what I would do if I were offered the job. Nothing to do but wait now, I guess.

And I have realized by now…that having expanded piercings is kind of like having tattoos. I didn’t really “get it” until a couple of days ago, though.

I was able to get that Quinacridone Magenta paint I wanted! (I haven’t tried it out yet, though.) I’m hoping that it will give me clearer violets than either Permanent Rose or Alizarin Crimson. There was a complicating factor in that I went in to buy a tube of Winsor & Newton Quinacridone Magenta gouache (opaque watercolor), and they were totally out of that color!

I did recall that W&N’s Quinacridone Magenta’s pigment code is PR122, though, and that I did have a backup choice in Holbein gouache. What I didn’t know is that Holbein’s “Primary Magenta” color is PR122 (I found this out at the store) and at least from what I’ve seen online, is extremely close to Winsor & Newton’s “Quinacridone Magenta.” The major difference is that the W&N Quin. Magenta is bluer than the Holbein Primary Magenta, so there may still be a use in waiting for the W&N at another time.

Anyway, this is just a continuation of the Color Dynamics website that I wanted to put up on the Web (but which was much too voluminous in scope and content to use simply as a final project in my Web Design class).

It’s fairly apparent by now, though, that if I want to publish a full site to the Web…I’ll have to rent some server space, which is not something I’ve arranged yet. It would also help to know what I was doing when setting up that server space, though I have been doing some study to prepare me for that.

I had wanted to continue working on this project to help me build skills in Web Design! Now that the pressure’s off, though…hmm. I haven’t touched it in at least a week. But during that week, well…I’ve been going to work, organizing stuff, cleaning, and shopping.

We did go to Nihon Machi (Japantown) recently, where I found a retrospective book on Emigre (the “type foundry”) which goes back to 1986. It cost a bit, but I was like, “when am I going to find this again,” and I didn’t want to buy it from Amazon. (It does seem that having an in-person store is a service.) I’ve read that experience with typography is one of the only things I need to know that I don’t know, if I want to be a Web Designer. I don’t think that knowledge of typography is one of those things that goes out of date, though.

I also found a book called Everyday Watercolor (from a different bookstore), which looks really interesting! I haven’t been able to look deeply into it yet, though, because I’ve been cleaning. What’s annoying is that in my cleaning the bathroom, I apparently disturbed something that was hungry (likely a spider) that bit up my legs and caused an emergency cleaning of both my bedroom and my office. So I haven’t been able to get as deeply into things as I would have liked.

I also replaced the Borden & Riley marker paper that I’ve almost used up. On the trip, I should have taken something printed, if not the old pad itself — translucency is key to this stuff being of use to me. If I had something to view through the paper, it would have made my choices easier.

The marker paper I had was like a very high-quality tracing paper. What I found at the store under the same name, however, was not the same product. The type of paper which is under the same brand name now seems to be different (more opaque, thicker, whiter) than it was when I bought my last pad.

Because of this, I did a slight shift and got two pads of paper which I hope will replace the Marker paper qualitatively (as I don’t really care if the markers bleed — but the fact that they had “No Bleed-Thru” paper that bled, is likely why they decided to sacrifice transparency). Borden & Riley is relatively inexpensive, which actually helps me be creative (because I don’t especially have a fear of wasting materials).

One of the pads is Borden & Riley #110M Technical Vellum (which is sized to be easily Xeroxed, at 8.5″x11″); the other is #37 Boris Marker Layout, 9″x11″. The new #37 appears more translucent than the old #37 Layout paper.

I’ve also been going through my photo archives, and have a couple of images that would be nice to work through in painting, both variants of the same basic photo. One of them can be a 4″x6″ panel in acrylic…unfortunately, these dimensions (2:3) are not common in larger sizes, at least here. However, I can do a larger version in 11″x14″, easily — and I’m thinking of doing that one in watercolors. The major issue with the latter is paper buckling, so I’m going to have to figure out how to map a 10.5″x13.5″ space out on the photo (0.25″ will be masked out on all sides to hold the paper down)…ehhh…

Yeah, that’s not going to be the most fun thing ever. But it will give me some Photoshop practice.

And yes, using inches as measurements is a pain. I haven’t yet done the research to answer the question of why letter-sized paper is 8.5″x11″ (I have a feeling it’s some historical quirk), but it’s been bothering me recently.

Also…I have a very good library to go through if I ever get bored. I’ve just got to remember that it’s there. I’ve also got to filter out things I will likely never read or reference. In particular, I have a couple of books on HTML and Web Design which have got to be fairly dated by now (they were bought by a family member, a while ago: copyrights 1998 and 1999, to be exact).

Yes, I think that if someone could have been born and graduated from high school in between the time those books were written and the time I’m looking at them, it may signal that an update is needed. The HTML book is on Version 3.2. We’re on HTML5 now.

Yeah, I…am not sure how much help those will be, except as historical artifacts…

Recording this so I see it, later:

Well, my fever temporarily broke today…unfortunately, it then went back up to 99º F. Consistent with what I’ve been doing for the last several days, I’ve decided to stay in, today. I did break out the aquarelle pencils (I have one set of “Watercolor” pencils and one set of “Ink” pencils), and tried to get a start on swatching them (again — I didn’t feel like trying to find my old papers), until I realized I was again sweating, and should give it a break. I know that yesterday, I was so loopy that I was misreading clearly written text…

There’s something to be said, though, for the “wow” factor for me in even being able to draw two lines of different width on a big piece of Mixed Media paper. I think that, now, other than times when I am just trying out a paper (like the hot-press Fluid brand paper which I found, pills), it would actually be best to go for a larger pad, rather than a small one. I usually don’t use blocks — I prefer to tape the paper down to a piece of Masonite. That way, I can work on more than one project at once, and switch them out when I feel like it.

And rulers! I have been using a large aluminum ruler for a good amount of time, to cut and draw straight lines. What a timesaver! I kind of want to kick myself for even thinking about trying to hand-draw straight lines for my swatches (mostly because I didn’t want to go get the ruler)!

Right now I’m (again) in bed, and typing like this is probably not good for my spine — but I have realized a potential twist in the story I’ve been planning out. Parallel timelines: different universes. What one character believes to be a “past life” or spirit action may turn out to be the mental overlapping of two timelines.

This will enable me to have the “spirit” character not be perfect, to tell her story at the same time I’m divulging the co-main character’s, and to tell both the stories that have been bothering me for some time, within the same text. As a bonus, the female main character won’t have to die for the male main character’s story to begin, and they won’t have to take place on the same world or iteration of that world’s timeline. But the time flow issue — and the issue of psychic “alien” life — will be all screwy, which, gratefully, I’ve somewhat prepared for.

My major dilemma at this point is knowing that I want to work this out visually, and wondering how to work such an internal story out in image + text (as versus text only).

I know the “smart” thing would appear to be not to divulge these notes, but I’ve had too many projects die without seeing the light of day because of my secrecy. And it’s not even like the execution was all that great, if I’m thinking back to when I was 12 and doing this stuff. The thing is that ideas are plentiful; but it’s the execution of the idea that makes it yours. It will likely be quite some time before I’m ready to show a concrete (non-changing/logically coherent) image of this story to the world, but what I can do with it and what someone else would do with it are two different things…

Fairly wiped out, today.

Starting ~9:30 AM:

I wish I could say that things were better:  I started off today with a headache and nausea. I’m not sure if this is related to being up last night, actually starting a Bullet Journal layout after midnight…it well may be, but right now I wonder if I should go to work. I haven’t eaten anything except a ginger ale…(well, that’s a drink, but). One of the Librarians had a stomach sickness last time I went in, though, so it’s possible I might have picked something up (even if it wasn’t from them). I also might have food poisoning, or a migraine.

At least I now have an idea of what to write, for one half of my homework. This is in relation to UX efficiency. I would try to implement a button which would ask, “Was this helpful?” on catalog result pages. The problem is trying to gauge the duration of a session and trying to ask this question at the exit point of each session, as well as trying to gauge what a user’s information need actually is, as versus what they search for. It would seem that this information would best be gathered with a survey, and that it isn’t a simple one-click measure, however. I’m not sure how best to implement it.

In brighter news, I have three new babies (tiny baby succulents), though I’m not sure how long they will last (I watered one with my hand after drying it on a paper towel, and so I’m hoping I am not going to get mildew in that pot). I got three little soy sauce dishes from Daiso (the Japanese dollar store), and the pots fit right in there!

I’m trying to give them as much light as I can, meaning that the first light of dawn woke me up, earlier. And I realized just how fragile they are, after bumping one of them and having a leaf snap off! >_<;; (At least, the plant seems healthy…)

Writing resumed at 7:45 PM:

I did take photos of these this morning, but have been too wiped out to optimize them for the web, so as of right now, there are photos…but not ones which are ready to show. At this point, I’m fairly certain that what is going on is food poisoning…I have been having trouble regulating my temperature, alternately sweating and feeling cold, with a slight fever. The good thing is that the nausea has faded. I am not sure why I’m the only one who got sick, unless this has to do with the melon I ate, yesterday…

There are three-to-four books I’ve either read deeply into or have looked through, within the last semester, which show how much I could learn and implement about how I run things with my blog and web presence:

  • The non-designer’s design book:  Design and typographic principles for the visual novice (4th ed.) by Williams, R. (2015)
  • Letting go of the words:  Writing web content that works (2nd ed.) by Redish, J. (2014)
  • Graphic design school:  The principles and practice of graphic design (5th ed.) by Dabner, D., Stewart, S. and Zempol, E. (2014)
  • Don’t make me think, revisited:  A common sense approach to web and mobile usability by Krug, S. (2014)

I’m still kind of tired/wiped out, so I’m hoping it’s OK that I didn’t list the publishers or write this up as a style guide would recommend.

It’s also actually fairly amazing, how much my skill at picking out books online, has advanced. I find myself doing things like checking out review sites, multiple library catalogs, bridging through subject headings, reading samples, and taking criticisms of books which seem interesting, into account; in addition to taking into account the other books purchased by a given book’s audience.

And, I’ve been paying attention to how a book sells itself, what audience it is marketing itself to, and why. That is, I don’t necessarily want a self-help book aiming itself toward the market of people desperate to escape writer’s block, because it likely isn’t going to address what I want addressed, and it may be designed to prey on its audience’s vulnerabilities.

I also have called ahead to brick & mortar bookstores to ask if they have the book I want in stock, which probably saved me about three hours (not to mention wasted gas) earlier this week.

I don’t think I could say that I have much of a Web 2.0 presence right now, but it’s very apparent how I could do small tweaks to increase my SEO, for example (if I wanted to). I’m hoping things will get better next semester, as well; I should be introduced to HTML and CSS, then. I hate stressing about grades, too:  it seems so insignificant…but it isn’t, if I want to stay in the program!

I have realized, though, that part of what I’m being introduced to is called, “Design Thinking,” and it’s the same sort of thing I think I would be dealing with if I got a MBA in Design Strategy elsewhere. Except…it’s in Libraries, which has a different ideological slant to it.  I also just heard about Stanford’s “d school,” as well…which, at least, seems very interesting.

I think I’m going to post this and get back to bed…

Yeah…a bit scattered…

I was looking around for information on techniques for filling palettes, and found a number of interesting statements.

  1. Apparently, Viridian (true Viridian, that is) doesn’t re-hydrate well, and I should avoid putting it into a well so that I don’t waste it.
  2. I will want to roughen up the inner surfaces of my palette with either baking soda or a scrubby sponge, before filling the wells.
  3. I’ve heard that M. Graham watercolors (like my Hansa Yellow) never completely dry and may move when held vertically because of it — but that information is disputed online.  Just in case, I will want to fill that well in stages in order to see how well it is setting.

I’ve also been looking around at information on fountain pens and Bullet Journals — the latter of which may enable me to keep track of school assignments and my presently-nonexistent Japanese study (which I keep forgetting about, due to the fact that my books are all neatly and unobtrusively stowed on my bookshelf).  I do have a dotted grid notebook suitable as a Bullet Journal, but it is stowed along with the Japanese-learning materials.

I also read not to use linocutting tools (I assume they meant Speedball knives with interchangeable blades) for woodblock prints, as the blades would dull.  I do have some tools to sharpen my old knives (aluminum oxide waterstone in coarse and fine grit, ultra-fine grit wet/dry sandpaper), but I don’t have the stones right now to hone the insides of my gouges (which would save me from having to buy new gouges).  I’ll stick with linocutting for now, though.  I’m pretty sure the Japanese carving store near me should have the stones available, or I can find them online.

I did look through one book on printmaking techniques, which reminded me of what I had been doing before I derailed myself into watercolors.  (Today I went through everything that I had checked out from the library, and made a pile of things that can go back.  Financial liability is not a good thing.)

Also, I realized that the entire set of my newer watercolor paint samples had been made out of the same sheet of paper; meaning that what didn’t settle roughly on the rough paper (as in the last entry) either must be inherently very smooth, or have contained less water/paint in laydown.  As a further note on that entry, I can now see texture in certain paints and not in others.

I’m also amazed at how many people are using Mijello palettes (or palettes that look like them), though that may be neither here nor there.

And I found out that D didn’t really lose my master tracing/final design for the flower linocut; I just never actually cut it off of the tracing paper (the only reason I know this is that I expected to see a missing square on the sheet, and did not).

In addition, I completed the major reading for this week on Monday, having started on it Sunday night.  My reading speed in English really is getting faster, or the book I was reading was very good at being clear (probably a bit of both).

So tomorrow, what can I do?

  • Go to dentist for cleaning and ask about the craze lines on front teeth
  • Return library books
  • Clean office
  • Clean bedroom
  • Prep loose trays in Mijello 33-well palette with baking soda scrub
  • Take a look at Beginning Japanese by Kluemper et. al and/or Elementary Japanese by Hasegawa.
  • Review kana.
    • Hiragana first
    • Katakana second
  • Shower, please

In the future,

  • Learn more about Bullet journaling system
  • Practice mixing greens, with awareness (and record!) of what color was used where (I think I experimented with Cerulean and Prussian Blue last time, but can’t be sure of the yellows) * — I may want to do this BEFORE filling the palette, — * as I’m not sure how many greens I can actually get out of this, without Viridian.  But I suppose I do have Aureolin, Hansa Yellow, Hansa Yellow Deep, and two different Yellow Ochres (I believe this is natural vs. synthetic), so it’s worth a good shot.
    • Practice mixing with watercolors in either scales or grids
      • Fill palette with watercolors
  • Transfer flower pattern onto new linoleum block
    • Practice with new X-Acto blades on linoleum sheets
    • Carve new linoleum block
    • Draw prints (in different colors!)
  • Draw gingko leaf design and puzzle out how to best work with that in a print (mixed warm [yellow, orange, brown] inks, white space for veins of leaf?)
  • Draw more than one ginkgo rendition, so as to create a falling-leaf image on bookmarks?
  • Straighten hair, trim off obvious damage

And I’ve got to remember I have both an eye appointment and an ultrasound coming up.

I should probably get going.  Sorry for the word count on these things…it’s even hard for me to go back and read this stuff, honestly.  Maybe I never grew to question the, “longer is better,” stuff I learned in high school…on the Web, at least, “briefer is better (so long as it delivers the required information),” may be more true!