Monday, March 31, 2014

Tools to make use of

Wolfram Alpha is not as well known as it should be. Statistics, chemistry, math, physics, biology, literature, this thing can help you no matter what you're studying. Why aren't you using it? I was going to post some screen shots to show you how to use it, but just go and check it out. Click on the examples, that'll show you what WA is capable of.

Here’s some websites that you can use: http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?127581-List-of-websites-that-can-be-useful-for-anyone

I don't have Photoshop at home, so I use online image editors for whatever Paint can't do. I use an online OCR to get text from a scan. I call myself, and read some text to my own Google phone number, to get the transcript, to get speech to text. I can upload audio to YouTube to use the closed caption feature, to get audio to text. Windows’ Snipping Tool is a daily use for me. Bitstrips or ToonDoo can create customizable cartoon-like graphics.

With all these tools, available to anyone with an internet connection, there's no shortage of ways to get your content to an audience, in a usable, manipulable format. The only consideration the tools can’t help with is the worth of your content. As Edward R. Murrow famously said, “The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.”



Peace,

Dave Roel.
Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.
- Zig Ziglar

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another museum trip

I have another museum paper due for my art history class, so this time I decided to go to the LACMA.

IT'S SO HUGE. I HAD NO IDEA.



I mean, the main reason I went to the LACMA was because I heard there was a Kehinde Wiley piece on display, and I've sort of been stalking him (ARTISTICALLY, not literally) ever since I saw one of his piecesat the Seattle Art Museum, but that actually ended up being one of the less interesting aspects of the trip (possibly because this piece was soccer-themed).

First off, when I went last week, it was Iranian New Year. Which I had no idea LACMA would throw a celebration for, but there was music and food and a TON of (attractive, well-dressed) people. So that was exciting, except I hate crowds and the parking was about as smooth as it is at school.

Second, they have a bunch of stuff from literally all over the world. Like, the first building I walked into had a Polynesian art/artifact section. And then my friend and I went directly to the Latin America building, which had everything from ancient Mayan weapons to some of Diego Rivera's and Frieda Kahlo's pieces on display. That section also had this GIANT piece (it took up an entire wall) called "Burn, Baby, Burn" which the artist had made in response to the Watts Riots. Super cool.

They also had a section for South/Southeast/Islamic art. Which is amazing to me, because usually when museums have anything Middle Eastern, it has something to do with Mesopotamia-- and anything they have from other parts of Asia is usually Chinese or Japanese. And while I'm fascinated by the art/artifacts from those places as well, it's always nice to see something new.

Anyway, this is the first thing my friend and I saw when we arrived on that floor. So naturally we stared at it for about fifteen minutes and gushed to one of the docents about it, who proceeded to tell us all about the artist-- Hassan Hajjaj-- and how she had initially been so excited by that piece that she spent about two hours researching Hajjaj's work online.

The rest of that floor was absolutely amazing as well. They had Cambodian statues, Indian daggers, pages from the Quran, and a lot of tapestries. Everything they had on display from Iran-- usually everyday items, or things like doors and tile flooring-- was beautiful and ornately decorated. And then they had this



which I thought was ingenious.

So what I'm saying is, go to the LACMA. It's completely worth the admission fee.


Stay classy,
Caitlin.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Reconsidering openness

Self-promotion: I will be giving a small presentation at the Personal Wellness Symposium on April 23 at CSUF. My presentation is an introduction to meditation.

Personal Wellness Symposium

An article became popular this week about how the internet has become a massively corrupted personal information and privacy breach, and that we should consider replacing it with a more secure version, one that cannot be penetrated by government surveillance, giant corporation data-mining advertisers, or cyber criminals. I’m not sure I’d agree that those are our only choices. I don’t think there’s much we can do to prevent giant powers from finding out whatever they want to find out about us, but I think there is one thing we can have to make the playing field even: two-way transparency. Us seeing them, and their activities as well as them seeing us. If we can see what is happening on their end, then there is accountability. This has always been a traditional means of holding the powers that be in check. The worst activities of massive, impersonal collectives are always mitigated when subject to media or legal scrutiny. The great accomplishments of the post-enlightenment modern world are founded on reciprocal accountability — science, capitalism, democracy. The basic idea at the core of each of these is that the more information that is freely available, the healthier and stronger the game. This is the core idea of modernity, and has constructed our civilization. When everyone has the information and ability to hold everyone reciprocally accountable, the result is a free, healthy, strong society.

This week’s cartoon!

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty from Darragh O'Connell on Vimeo.


Peace,

Dave Roel.
Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.
- Henri Frederick Amiel

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Female Characters

A while back, I overheard someone in one of my classes talking about how Frankenstein has a very "feminine" feel to it, despite that Mary Shelley was writing from a male character's perspective. It sounded like he was complaining about it, but that might just be the way I interpreted it.

I kind of froze for a second. What does that even mean?

Here's the thing. I've heard variations of that complaint about a lot of things. I was playing Just Dance at my friend's house once, and she had some of her other friends over. So her friends, these two twin guys, are trying to play, but one of them would have to be a female character for that particular song. And he threw a minor tantrum over it, as though having a female icon for, like, three minutes of a game would completely emasculate him.

I think at that point, I shouted out at him,"Seriously? Because if I want to play a video game, I have to play as a dude all the time."

And it's true. I wouldn't call myself an avid gamer, but most of the games I play-- and all of the games I grew up on-- featured male protagonists. And when games do have female characters, it's still from a "male" perspective, being that game creators are usually straight men. Meaning they're either a) hypersexualized, b) useless/helpless/boring/whatever else within the context of the game, and/or c) a one-dimensional plot device. I've linked to her before, but Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency does a great job of breaking down a lot of the stereotypes of women in video games and in pop culture in general.

But back to Frankenstein. What I wanted to ask my classmate was: "Have you read a book about women written by a man?"

He would say yes. We all would say yes. And maybe you have to very socially-conscious to notice, but books about women written by men are generally horrifying. At best, many of them are cliched and stereotypical; at worst, the reader gets a very distinct sense of just how much the author hates women, which can be incredibly damaging on both an individual and a societal level (as is the case with the Beat Poets and Charles Bukowski-- in my experience, anyway).

I'm not the best judge of whether or not Frankenstein is a convincingly "masculine" character, but I think at worst, it's just not believable. It's not damaging; it won't make male readers hate themselves, or female readers see men as inferior. It's just unrealistic.
Junot Diaz, a Dominican-born writer and activist, actually has a great quote on the subject:

If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst woman writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity.
[...] 
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherf--.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
The full quote is slightly inappropriate for this blog, but you can google it-- I think it's much more impactful.

Just something to think about.


Stay classy,
Caitlin.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Researching tips

When you're combing through the resources, trying to find an article that will help you with your subject, some of the results give the option of viewing the articles in html or pdf. If it's html, most likely it means that someone scanned the journal pages, and used OCR to put the text into html. That probably means that there's going to be errors, and very likely means that you will just be getting the text — if there were any charts or graphs or pictures, they won't be included, probably page numbers won't be, either. So, if you have the choice, always take the pdf, which will likely be a direct scan of the pages from the journal.

There’s two ways academic journals do their page numbers. Some journals number their pages every issue starting with page one. Some journals count the first page of the first issue of the year at page one, and then continue that numbering, adding onto that page count, every issue, until the end of the year. That’s why some journal articles seem to be on page twelve hundred and something. That might trip you up, if you’re not paying attention.

If you need to put in a “Work Cited” page, NoodleBib is your friend. NoodleBib is a bibliographical, citation-generating tool, does all the work for you perfectly. It will generate an MLA Works Cited list or an APA References list you can import directly into Word. It's highly editable and configurable, to your requirements. Definitely keep it in mind as a go-to when writing your papers.



Peace,

Dave Roel.
No one else "makes us angry." We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our attitude.
- Jim Rohn

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thesis Statements

I got a really unexpected amount of hits on my post about essays the other week, so I thought it would be helpful to write a guide to something else I know people have a lot of trouble with: thesis statements.

Thesis statements are kind of complicated things. The only reason I'm any good at them is because my teachers in high school constantly drilled us on them until we more or less understood how to go about them. 
I'm no expert, but these are some guidelines-- specifically for English essays, but they can be tweaked to fit any topic-- from what I've gathered over the past four or five years.

1. You don't need to include the title/author/genre. In general, most teachers expect that to go in the introductory paragraph itself, so there's no need to try and cram it into the thesis statement.
2. Your thesis statement should only be one or two sentences long. Ideally, your intro paragraph will set up the context for your argument; that way, the thesis statement should be the heart of what you're trying to argue. It generally goes towards the end, or as the last sentence of, your intro paragraph.
3. Your thesis statement should be specific, but not too specific. If that makes sense. You want your thesis statement to be specific enough that what you're arguing is clear to the reader, but it needn't be much more specific than that. The actual narrowing down and elaborating on your evidence is where your body paragraphs come in.
4. Your thesis statement should connect to the topic sentences of your body paragraphs. I don't mean that you have to literally use each topic sentence as an elaboration on whatever points you mentioned in your thesis statement, but it should be clear that they are relevant to each other. A lot of people use topic sentences as a means of jumping right into the argument when they should-- at least from what I've been taught-- be used to show how the topic of the body paragraph will relate to your argument/thesis statement. 
And then you use the rest of the body paragraph to back up that claim and elaborate on your argument.

These guidelines have generally worked for me for any kind of essay. If you're not specifically writing about a book, you can skip #1, since title/author/genre generally only applies to analysis of books in English classes. 
If you're looking for examples, Google can probably be of assistance. If you give me a topic in the comments, I will also consider giving my own example of what I think would constitute a good thesis statement (provided you're not just trying to trick me into doing your homework for you).

Hope this helps!


Stay classy,
Caitlin.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Some wonderings

I apologize if this comes across as a rant or controversial. But I just kind of randomly wonder about things. Like, why does anyone think that it’s okay to allow a baby to “cry it out”, just be left alone for hours to cry until it’s exhausted? Why does anyone think that’s okay? Why does anyone think that’s healthy? Or, why does anyone think that formula is as good as or superior to natural breast milk? How could anyone think that? Or separating newborns and their mothers for hours after birth (“for observation”). Why do newborns have to lie alone during their first hours after birth, crying, untouched, obviously hungry for human contact? Why does anyone think that’s a good idea? Why are C-sections so routine? Far more than in any other country? It’s very hard to believe that these are healthy practices. I also wonder why these issues are even considered to be controversial in the first place. I mean, these are really issues that have more to do with science than with religion or politics. Why do people get passionately worked up about these things? I also wonder why someone can’t bring up these issues without getting considered a crackpot, or why you can’t have a reasonable, civil, mature conversation about these issues without the conversation dissolving into a bunch of lame jokes. I wonder why people get worked up or uncomfortable about these matters.

(I actually know the answers to these questions. But you should think about these matters yourself.)

Yeah, watch a cartoon.

Skip Pitts from Loaded Pictures on Vimeo.


Peace,

Dave Roel.
He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.
- Nietzsche

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Alto Assistance

I started taking voice lessons recently and it turns out I'm an alto, which-- if I'm not mistaken-- is the lowest female voice range. It also turns out that most of the music I listen to involves a female singer who's way out of my range (i.e. Bjork). Or a male singer. Which, while it's totally still great music, can be a little frustrating to practice with. So I've started looking into female artists with a classifiably "alto" range and my search has yielded some pretty great things:
  • I'll start with the more obvious/popular findings-- Amy Winehouse and Adele are both altos. I've never really been into their music, but that's a thing.
  • So is Lady Gaga, but personally I lost interest in her beyond The Fame Monster.
  • Lorde is an alto. This is probably most evident on "Ribs".
  • Haim are, collectively, altos. Which is most evident on "My Song 5".
  • Solange, who you may know as Beyonce's sister-- and who has a way more attainable vocal range-- is an alto.
  • St. Vincent is probably also an alto, and she has really cool hair.
  • Marina & The Diamonds is-- well, based on her first album, I feel like she's an alto with a really strong head voice/falsetto, but I could absolutely be wrong about that.

If anyone's interested in taking voice lessons but can't afford it, in terms of time and/or money, there's a surprising amount of Youtube videos that provide free singing lessons. It's obviously not the same as having someone in the flesh telling you what you, specifically, are doing, but it's a start.

Check out St. Vincent's newish alto-friendly video below.


Stay classy,

Caitlin. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Beyond the internet

Not everything's on the internet. The research that was done for decades is still largely out in those ink-on-paper journals, untransferred to any searchable electronic format. That means for some assignments or some papers, we'll have to hit those databases to find some of the references. These resources are available to us as students.

EBSCO is available to us with a wide array of databases to be mined for useful references. Academic journals, with resources and references for literature, English, consumer issues, health, business, history, etc., are all available. If your research has anything to do with education, you'll want to hit ERIC, Education Resource Information Center, with 1.3 million records and 323,000 full-text documents, dating back to 1966. LexisNexis is an enormous legal and journalistic resource. All these databases and more are available through the library or through the links on My Gateway, comme ├ža:


You'll notice that the top link there is ask a librarian. That's always a can't-miss way to get what you need: "This is what I'm looking for, where can I find it?" If you’re stuck, not finding exactly what you need, that’ll clear the logjam.

Books and articles are labeled with subject terms which can be searched. Knowing the right terms is important in searching. Some terms are pretty esoteric and unfamiliar. EBSCO uses the Library of Congress subject terms, of which there are hundreds of thousands. The librarian can direct you to subject terms that might be more efficacious.

The resources we have available reaches far beyond the internet. Be sure to make use of them.

Peace,

Dave Roel.
Change is inevitable; growth is optional.
- John C. Maxwell

Friday, March 14, 2014

Impermanence

Every one of the main players in the current technological scene will vanish within your lifetime, vanish as definitively and totally as MySpace, GeoCities or Bell Telephone. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft — these giants will not last forever. They will doubtlessly not last another two decades. They will be replaced by others, who will, in their turn, be replaced by others, still. They will be replaced by products and services that we currently don't even have names for or concepts for. Nothing lasts forever, and technology moves at an ever more quickening pace.

Everything you own and use and work with regularly will be destroyed. Devices and software and apps are obsolete the instant they are available. The churn is increasing. There is no longer any stability or security in any area of life. The future is impossible to predict or prepare for. Every field is disrupted, every hot development and technology and phenomenon will eventually be abandoned, often within a decade. For better or for worse, that’s our legacy.

The friends I know who work in technology or communication tell me that basically, it’s all completely new stuff every seven years. Whatever you were doing seven years ago is all completely gone, and everything you’re now dealing with is all stuff that’s been introduced in the last seven years.

As a society, we need a better relationship with our past, with our detritus, with our refuse, even our digital garbage. We need better ways of recycling and composting.

Here’s a cartoon.

Rubix by Chris Kelly from Dezeen on Vimeo.


Peace,

Dave Roel.
The original purpose of government and religion was to create a world where they were no longer needed.
- R. Talmadge Lacy
.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

          I don't know what it is with college that makes me feel so laaaaasasjdlkjdsfaaazy and like I'm going nowhere in life
          This is probably another transition kind of thing for me, because at least in high school I was in class every single day for 8 hours. Now I'm talking two courses online and two on campus but only Monday Wednesday and Friday and I'm there for no more than 3 hours. 
I FEEL LIKE I'M DOING NOTHING

          I mean yeah I have essays to write and presentations to present but sometimes when I don't have all of that I feel a little like I'm withering away. I do readings, I show up, I take notes, I fall asleep, I leave. (I'm just kidding about the falling asleep part....kind of!) I feel like transferring or graduating in 2 years is impossible if I don't feel like I'm doing something academic for at least 5 hours a day and my willpower to just pick up a novel for class is...well, practically nonexistent. I love reading, though, don't get me wrong. Reading old english with extremely archaeological spelling though, a little different for me.
           However, yesterday for class we finally did something other than sit around and discuss--we actually got into peer-editing groups where we actually had to read each others' essays aloud in a group of 3-4. I was a little not to enthusiastic about this because I felt like I ended my essay a little abruptly (okay I kind of gave up molding it into a perfect essay after maybe 4 hours of backspacing) and then I had a war with my printer (the printer won with me ending up with ink that is STILL on my hands and giving a buck to the printer at our library) so I was definitely resentful of my essay. 
           But in our peer reading group one of the people in my group said to me, "You're an english major aren't you? I can tell. Your essay seems like it should be in like, a textbook or those example essays you find online" 
(': (': (': (': (':
okay that probably doesnt sound like much of a compliment now but it really felt like one then 

         I'm not trying to brag! it's just it suddenly seemed like all the blood sweat and tears (I'm not even exaggerating the top of my printer fell on me and jammed my fingers) producing that essay, and even college itself, suddenly seemed extremely worthy. 
I don't know, it kind of felt like the seeds I've been sowing finally started to sprout, if that makes sense. Anyway, hope you guys are all having a good week so far!

Joy ☼

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Original Hipsters

We learned about the Dada movement in my art history class the other week and it's something that I'm kind of still trying to wrap my head around.

Dadaism was a response to World War I, and an attack on traditional values of art as well as a rejection of bourgeois values and intellectual/cultural conformity. Which, theoretically, that sounds like something I'd be interested in.

But then I learned about the actual artists. Specifically, Marcel Duchamp was emphasized. Duchamp was one of the most prolific Dadaist artists and one of the most controversial. He "pioneered" the idea of readymades, or previously-manufactured objects that an artist sort of just arbitrary elevates to artistic status.
For instance, Duchamp submitted a signed urinal that he'd bought to an exhibition in New York. It's very Dada-- they strove to be everything that art was not. But I really don't want to consider it art.

It's a statement, for sure. It's an attack on traditional ideas about art. But is it actually art?

Another of Duchamp's "readymades" was a copy of the Mona Lisa that he drew a mustache on, and then wrote something sort of derogatory on it, which is apparently supposed to be exemplify his "ironic sense of humor." Should that also be considered art?

I've noticed this happen with a lot of movements-- the intentions are good. I am all for challenging mainstream ideas about things. But I think it gets to a point where the artist, or someone else who's part of the movement, or whatever, gets so wrapped up in this idea that they're brilliant revolutionaries/voices of a generation/ultimate challengers of the status quo/whatever else when a) they're not truly social outcasts, so they just happen to dislike a certain aspect of mainstream culture and end up being really obnoxious about it, and b) they end up not really achieving much of anything, but get lauded for it anyways.
The same textbook that practically worships Dadaism and the like also refers to African artwork and masks, the styles of many western artists "borrowed" for their own work and received praise for it, as "primitive"-- there's a lot of things I see wrong with that, but one of the things that most immediately comes to mind is the fact that a urinal submitted to an exhibition is widely regarded in the western art world as an iconic work of modern art, yet African masks that take an immense amount of skill to make and hold high cultural significance are considered to be... primitive.

Until Picasso used them in one of his most famous pieces, anyway.

I mean, I'm definitely biased, but there's still something wrong with this picture. I'm wary of a lot of counter-culture movements, particularly when they originate among groups of people whom society already favors. There's a lot of movements like that and they all seem to end in a lot of ego, pretension, bigotry, abuse, weird nostalgia, drug use, and unnecessary hero worship.

Beat poets. I'm talking about beat poets.

Also hipsters, but I digress.


Stay classy,
Caitlin.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Activism bypassing

I got into a discussion with a friend about the current state of things. I don't spend that much time thinking about the large issues facing the world. When you look at it all, things do certainly seem to be going in a bad direction. But I also don't know what the future holds. I also know there's little I can do to influence things one way or the other. So I think the thing to do is focus on improvement in career, relationships, health and psyche/inner self. That's the best I've come up with.

Sometimes our mind is overwhelming us with worry about the state of the world precisely because it knows that those are problems we can't solve. Precisely because it knows that that will be an endless distraction, a distraction to keep us from doing the work on ourselves that we need to do. Ego is highly tricky like that. I think in a lot of cases, a lot of the hardcore activists in political activism, environmentalism, etc, are putting so much energy and worry into their causes as a coping mechanism for their own wounds. Not that there aren't terrible things that there need to be activists about. But sometimes I think I'm seeing too much unaddressed psyche damage playing out. I just caution against falling too deeply into any one of the four quadrants. I advocate for being sure all quadrants are being addressed. And also, if we’re going to be effective activists, we ought to establish a solid foundation (of health, career and relationships) from which we launch our activities.



Peace,

Dave Roel.
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul.
- Carl Jung

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Essays

A lot of times, I catch myself doing something that was drilled into my head in high school. Like five paragraph essays, for instance. I wrote an essay for my English class this week and found myself struggling-- and subsequently wasting time-- with how to divide the topic into three neat body paragraphs. It's a difficult habit to break.

The thing is, once you're in college, nobody actually cares about three distinctive body paragraphs. Well-- some professors care. But I've actually gotten points taken off for not dividing up my three "massive" body paragraphs into smaller, more specific paragraphs. So this is how I'm beginning to realize college papers should be written:
  • You still need an introduction, obviously. Unless your professor is like my high school history teacher, who only wanted us to write thesis statements in the interest of saving time.
  • Which, yeah, thesis statements are definitely still a thing that needs to be included, but it's not like you have to allude specifically to each of your main points within the thesis statement. It just needs to be an overall statement of your argument, and maybe a hint at how you plan on backing up your claim.
  • It still helps me to subdivide my points into three main "paragraphs," but once I've written out giant masses of text that all refer to one point, I go back over it and break up the paragraph into smaller ones based on information that goes together. A new paragraph doesn't necessarily have to signal a change in topic.
  • Conclusions are the trickiest part for me. You have to somehow restate your argument and tie everything together without sounding repetitive, but the good news is that I feel like most professors just look too see whether you even have a conclusion and don't give too much consideration as to how well-written it is.
  • MLA format, double spacing, bibliographies, and all those other technical aspects of essays are still definite musts, unless your professor says otherwise (or unless you're only using one source-- like, writing an essay on Frankenstein that only cites Frankenstein probably doesn't warrant a bibliography).



I know some people struggle with breaking out of the five-paragraph essay mold, and I definitely have my moments, but hopefully this helps a little!


Stay classy,
Caitlin.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Paradoxical meat

So Dan calls me up on Tuesday. “Hey, I need to move my gardening equipment into your backyard as soon as possible.” (This wasn’t out of the blue, we had been talking about doing this for awhile, and had been trying to arrange things for this.) “It needs to be sometime in the next three days.” “Wednesday’s out. I’m at school all day. Unless you want to get here at 8am, we do what we need to do and we’re done by ten.” “How about Thursday?” “I am taking a computer class that requires me to spend some amount of time in the computer lab. I usually set aside one of my otherwise-free days to go in and spend as much time as I need for it. Usually Thursday.” “My storage unit is being evicted in the next three days.” “Why do these crises never seem to happen at a convenient time? Like a weekend? Or before the semester? Or after?” “Alright, I can come over at 8am tomorrow.” “Okay, that’s fine.” He didn’t come over the next day, or the next. A lot of smoke and dust for no result. Typical for Dan, actually.

This post was intended to demonstrate how I balance school obligations with other things that come up in life. School always takes priority. Luckily, most of my friends understand that. There’s only so much time and energy. We need to be clear about what’s most important to put our time and energy into. That’s the price we pay.

Here’s a cartoon.



Peace,

Dave Roel.
Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem.
- Thomas Szasz

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Job vs. School?

          I recently started a part-time waitressing job, and since it's at a cafe type place, the hours are definitely unusual. Once I had a shift start at 9 PM and end at 1:30 AM (3-4 hour shifts are typical there, but most of them are 6-7 hours). I did have school the next day, but I slept right through the alarm. The place I work at gets crazy busy, we get people quitting left and right because they can't deal with the chaos. It's slow around dinner rush and picks up at around 10 and we get a waitlist out the door. We're a tiny little teahouse and dessert place, so people coming so late is a common occurrence. 
           
           Anyways, I had class at 8 AM the next morning and since Fullerton is a twenty minute commute from where I live and I had to give an extra fifteen minutes for parking and getting to class on time, I had to wake up at 7 AM by the latest and that's if I basically just roll out of bed and put on a sweater, which I did not want so I set the alarm for 6:30. 
          Yeah, I missed my alarm. All three of them too and I ended up waking up at 10 AM and thinking "what year is it..."
           I ended up dropping that class. I talked to my manager at work to schedule earlier hours and she fixed the schedule so that I could leave work at 10 PM, but sometimes it would get so busy around then that my supervisors would ask me if it was okay for me to stay a half hour, and I would always figure "well, can't hurt it's just half an hour". But it wouldn't slow down and they'd ask me to stay another half an hour and I would think "well I'm here already anyways might as well" and then I'd miss the next day's class. So yeah, couldn't do it. 

           I feel a little disappointed in myself, a little like I chose work over school, but the pressure at work was kind of like...I felt like all my coworkers (who were all around the same age range as me) had no problem getting 3 hours of sleep and going to class and going back home to nap until late afternoon. Yeah I can't function like that. I need 8 hours, and I hate naps. I mean I love naps they feel great but they mess up my sleeping schedule, so I hate them. 
           MAN IT'S JUST SO HARD You're a college student so you need money but you need to go to classes and get credits and transfer/graduate but it's not like you're in class 24/7 so you have more than enough time for a job but then it gets in the way of your schoolwork and it's like
           Do you guys know what I mean? Or is it just me? This is my first job, and so far I'm loving it because I get to interact and talk to the customers and some of them write things on the receipts like "thanks for the great service" and "have a good night joy" even though I just met them an hour ago. It's great, I love working there. But the late nights and the juggling everything else...definitely a battle. 

 Joy ☼

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Art!

I'm taking an art history class this semester and one of our assignments involved going to a museum and critiquing a piece of art. The closest museum to me is the Long Beach Museum of Art-- and it has free admission on Fridays (plus free parking any day).

Before this, the last time I'd gone to the museum was when I was in first or second grade, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. It's a fairly small museum, but the collections they had on display were amazing. There was a lot of abstract pieces that were unexpectedly emotional-- my favorites were done by J. Esteban Perez, whose work is all done with enamel on copper sheets, which I thought was pretty genius. There were also a lot of great photography pieces, and a really interesting exhibit involving one artist's woodwork.

I took pictures, but I don't think I'm technically supposed to post them? Which is fine by me, because I highly recommend that you go see for yourselves. Particularly the woodwork exhibit-- the artist, whose name I've unfortunately forgotten-- made a ton of really beautiful wooden sculptures and cabinet-type things, most of which have some kind of decoration that involves porcupine quills and minerals. They were honestly really cool.

Plus, I'm told that the cafe there is amazing. It was closed when I went, but I at least enjoyed the art, the view of the beach, and the area. That part of Long Beach is a major shopping/beach/restaurant strip, so it makes the trip all the more enticing.


Stay classy,
Caitlin.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dave in computer class

"Let's learn Word!"

Okay...

"Let's get started!"

What the heck is that?!?!?!?

"...and the Word start screen opens."
What the heck is that? Start screen? Since when does Word have a start screen?

"You can open other documents here..."

Dang, this is different. Weird. I'm not used to it. This is new and makes me uncomfortable. It's not 2002 anymore.

(Forty minutes later)

Okay, that was boring.

I can do all this. I just probably don't know it where I can pass a test on it. (Unconscious competence.)

(I write using Google Docs, anyway...)

But I guess I'll need it for future employment.

Wonder what the test will be like.

Hot Technologies. Maybe I'm crazy, but won't everything on this be invalid in about two years? Five at the most. Yelp, Wordle, The Cloud... In five years, they will be but memories....

Ergonomics. There’s a subject we’ll need to know, in this high tech world. If we are spending large amounts of time sitting at a desk, probably at a computer, doing office work or schoolwork, it is possible that injuries can come about. Carpal tunnel, aches or pain from the spine, lower back, or neck can develop from long hours of sitting at a desk. If that makes up the bulk of a student's daily activity of attending school or studying, that can be a concern.

I found a cool article that talked about the Aeron chair. It's a crazy design. The seat is a polyester mesh, no padding, just a plastic network, stretched over a frame. Weird. I'd like to try it out.


Peace,

Dave Roel.
Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
- Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, March 2, 2014

          I don't know about you guys, but I feel like this rain is definitely much-needed. 
          I waited all winter for even a little teeny sprinkle, but to no avail. So I'm so so so excited it's finally raining now. It hasn't rained in so long, it's like our California weather has decided to go all out, thunder rain lightning and EVEN HAIL. The other night I woke up at 3 AM to the crash of thunder and I got so freaked out I thought the ceiling was about to fall on me. My dog was whimpering like crazy, taking cover under the bed. I was so shocked so I looked outside the window to make sure we were still in California. I saw like fist-sized ice pieces falling down--well I have tiny fists--but it was still pretty big for your usual hail. I was so worried about the house crashing down on me I almost didn't fall back asleep. 
          
          ANYWAYS, I hope you guys were all safe indoors then and didn't get hailed on!
It's already almost time for midterms in some of my classes, which is so weird. Aren't we on Week 4 of the semester? For me, I feel like we're still early in the beginning. Classes are all pretty good, just one is a little bumpy. One of my professors has a tendency to forget to collect assignments on the due date so I'm not even sure how I'm doing in the class, because I have a bunch of assignments she's never collected and I'm not quite sure what to do with them do I give them to her what if she loses them because she hasn't gotten the rest of the classes' and what if I don't give them to her and the other students do and then mine counts as late and then I go a letter grade down oh the anxiety
This is why professors should just collect things on time I get weird and I start to feel all anxious and it's just 
          But other than that, spring semester is treating me quite nicely!

Joy ☼

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dapper Day

So this past Sunday was Dapper Day and Disneyland. I'd never been to a Dapper Day event before and I hadn't been to Disneyland in over a year (plus my friend who works there offered to sign me in), so it seemed like a good time to go! Basically, on Dapper Day, people dress up, erm, nicely? Most people took this to mean 1920s/50s style.

And as you might imagine, some peoples' interpretations of "dapper" were... interesting.

There were a LOT of girls in really nice dresses. And a lot of incredibly well-dressed guys in suspenders and slacks. On the other hand, there were also a lot of guys who looked like aspiring frontmen of ska bands.

Just swap the Hawaiian shirt for a vest and the pinstripe shorts for pants.


Somebody who was very confused by all this asked if we were having a "rockabilly convention, or something."

Still, it was pretty fun. Especially because my friend had major hookups. Her coworkers kept giving us things-- fast passes, line skips, decent seating for Fantasmic, coupons for churros and hot chocolate. On top of it, she can get up to three people into the park on any given day and gets discounts for the restaurants there. So in other words, her coworkers got us to the front of the line in Pirates of the Caribbean, and then gave us coupons for hot chocolate to drink while watching Fantasmic.

What I'm saying is, work at Disneyland. Or befriend somebody who does.
(But to be clear, I'm not advocating that you use somebody for their Disneyland benefits)


Also, Indiana Jones? It got updated, at least just a little. The change is at the beginning, and it's only a slight difference, but it's a terrifying one.

Stay classy,
Caitlin.