29 November 2010

Hindsight being What It is

I have a class in a few hours that I've sloughed (sluffed?) so many times the last two weeks that I almost forget it's part of my schedule.

For the last couple of weeks in this class we've been working on a project that I could do just as easily at home. I've known the parameters of the project for a while now; there's no reason to be in the classroom working on it, as long as I'm working on it somewhere. Besides, it's easier to leave all the supplies at home rather than carry them to and from the school 2-3 times a week.

Not to mention, I was coming very close to having an emotional breakdown pre-Thanksgiving Break. Something had to give. This class happened to be it.

In retrospect, it would have been wise to have explained all of this to my instructor. Instead, I just didn't show up for class.


By the way, Blockhead thinks my new haircut is "very well stylish."

English is your first language, right?

21 November 2010

more Pointlessness...Ness...

I've been drawing Alice in Wonderland, lately. I don't know why.
Not really Lewis Carrol's Alice, though. (oh that I were a noble purist) More like Tim Burton's Alice. (not that Alice belongs to Tim Burton, but it's got that Burton-esque macabre feeling to it) Although, if you squint, it looks more like Eleanor and Harvest. (click the super-subtle link to find out who I'm talking about)

Usually my cartoons are round, squishy, and way too adorable to be taken seriously. I'm not sure where these rough, angular images are coming from. I welcome them, though. They're intriguing and offer unexplored territory.


And just think! When (if) I get the scanner I want for Christmas, I could share these newly creepified cartoons with you!

Makes you want to chip in and buy me a scanner, doesn't it?


Yeah. No. I know. But it was worth a shot.

19 November 2010

In reply

How about we stop defining ourselves by what we are not doing. And not even what we are doing because, in my case, I lay in my bed like a veal or a sedentary yam. But just think about all the work you guys are producing, even though you are behind. Would you do it unless you were forced to? Maybe that is why you need to take a writing class, Kenna. It would force you to produce the work that you are capable of producing. Nag, nag, nag. We all need sleep or (and?) to do something so intensely amazing that school won't seem that important.

Let me know what that is.

(I took the liberty of editing this quote. If I've inadvertently changed the intended meaning, Word Diva, please let me know.)

This was a comment on a previous post. It took some time to process. While thinking about it, I realized I wanted to write it out. Writing allows me to better understand the thoughts ricocheting inside my skull.

(writing also allows me to come up with awesome new phrases like "ricocheting inside my skull" as opposed to my original line: "bouncing around off the walls of that place where thoughts bounce around in...off...in." Meh.)

Defining myself outside of what I'm doing/not doing/accomplishing/failing at miserably: it's been a long time.
College has conditioned me to gauge my self-value according to a formula of the quantity and the quality of work produced, divided by deadlines. I vaguely remember a time when this wasn't the case, when self-worth was based on your decency as a human being...it was so long ago...as if in a dream...

I am producing more work this semester than I have in a really long time, and I feel pretty good about that. The quality of the work is not where I'd like it to be, but it definitely shows progress. I'm glad I'm being forced to do this because there's no way I could pump it out of myself without some external pressure.

I need to find the balance between harnessing that external pressure towards self-improvement and self-destruction. And finding time to take care of my physical needs (i.e. sleep).

As for doing something "intensely amazing"... Believe it or not, school used to be my "intensely amazing" undertaking. It was important. The things I was learning were invigorating and cultivated an appreciation within me for the world we live in, for its history and variety, and it made me want to learn more. I miss studying important things: science, math, philosophy. But, inevitably, I burnt out.
Now I'm focused on learning a skill that I'd like to have but realize I will probably never really be very good at.

That was a long sentence. I regret nothing.

I'm so close to burning out. I'm close to graduation. Almost done, either way.

Right now the thing, the "intensely amazing" thing, that makes school seem unimportant is a single thought: surviving. I want to make rent. I want to keep eating. I want to not have another Chronic Fatigue relapse before December.

Ah, and there you have the heart of it. Under the sarcasm and flippant remarks lies the true drive behind the panic, the stress. The fear that I will crumble apart again.

If you meant "we all need sleep OR to do something so intensely amazing..." then I choose sleep. End of argument. Hands down. Period. Sleep will always win. Always.
If you meant "we all need sleep AND to do something so intensely amazing..." then I have some small hope.

I'll keep looking for some colossal, momentous dream that will overshadow the importance of school, and I'll let you know what it is once I get out of Survival-Mode. Truly, I will. Just hang tight.

As for writing... Truth be told, I wouldn't mind improving my writing skills. A class might be a good idea. But I've never seen myself as a writer. I'm not sure I really want to be "a writer." I like reading, but I've never read a book and thought, "Wow! That's kind of stuff I want to write!" No. I just genuinely appreciate the work. Besides that, I don't know that I have anything important to say - no desperately urgent story or message, clawing to get out, to be shared with the world. Things that I want to say are said here, on this blog, and that's sufficient for me. For the time being.

I'm not sure this post came even close to addressing the questions raised in the original comment. I answered some personal questions, but those were undoubtedly different from what was originally intended. I've read and re-read this a hundred times and I still can't determine if it even makes sense. Too much? Too heavy? Too off-topic?
I have no idea.
I feel inexplicably satisfied, though. I guess that means it's time to click "Publish Post."

Here goes.

15 November 2010

can I Nap now? How about Now?

It's been a rough semester. It's not just me; it's been a tough couple of months for a lot of people I know. Mostly classmates in the art department.

Nervous breakdowns, emotional trauma, and depression abound in the illustration program. We all started out so happy, so optimistic, so...shiny. Ten weeks later, the school has beaten all of that out of us.
Some of us are still shiny.
Everyone else is dazed, depressed, or in denial.

(I, myself, personally, have decided that I prefer denial over the other two options, so that's where I'm currently residing)

I just need to make it through this week and then it's Thanksgiving Break. After that, it's a short sprint to Christmas and the end of the semester.

I can do this. I can do this. I'm so tired. I can do this.

14 November 2010

the Weekend slips away

My husband took me Bouldering yesterday. It's like Rock Climbing but you don't need any equipment. Just special shoes and a lot more physical strength than I currently possess.

My back and shoulder muscles are nice and sore and my forearms still feel tight. It's a good feeling. What's not a good feeling is my ankle: I fell off the wall at one point (not an unusual occurrence in that room) and landed "wrong." It didn't swell or anything, and I was able to climb a few more times on it without discomfort, as well as walk around for a few hours afterward. But then the swelling hit. And the pain.

So I've been on crutches since then.

Limping around my apartment this morning. I can tell I'm still not thinking clearly (last week left me pretty fuzzy) and I don't physically feel well. It's more than the ankle - I feel raw, tired, and malnourished. Last week was not kind to me.

My life can be summed up in three words: Cleaning versus Homework. It's usually one or the other, rarely can I have both. I always feel like I make the wrong choice, regardless of which I choose. And I'm never able to do enough. Why even bother?

The regret of poor choices, and the guilt of not choosing at all, threaten to overwhelm me. I think I'll go back to bed. Maybe in an hour or two I'll be more equipped to handle life.

09 November 2010

it's Not Funny unless There's A kernel Of Truth in It

There's a large calendar on the desk in the office where I work. Blockhead draws on it when he's on his shift.

His cartoons are actually not half bad. They follow a storyline you might expect from a ten year old and, in fact, look like they could've been drawn by a ten year old, but that's not to say they're bad. I've known some pretty clever ten year olds in my day. His cartoons possess some small level of genuine wit. (i know. i was surprised, too.)

I was reading his captions and I came across something interesting. He spelled "having" correctly and "Thanksgiving" correctly, but the way he spelled "cutting" gave me reason to pause: "cutin."

I kid you not. "Cutin." Remember how I said that I wouldn't be surprised if he spelled his words without the "g" in "ing" verbs? Yeah. I was kidding. Being facetious. Exaggerating. Being my usual self.

(please make a note of that if you have not already: most of my posts, and especially posts about Blockhead, are based on fact, but have been greatly exaggerated in order to make them funnier. that's the purpose of the Blockhead Chronicles - to be funny. when you stop laughing, you're dead.)

I had no idea I was so close to the truth behind Blockhead's disregard for the letter "g." I think I'm going to start over-emphasizing my "ing"s when he's around. Mostly to be obnoxious, but also out of burning curiosity as to whether or not it would make a difference in his speech patterns.

05 November 2010

the work Is Not hard, so I Guess something has To Make my Workday difficult

Blockhead was at my desk yesterday.


Our supervisor wasn't here so he insisted that I cover her desk and he would keep mine. [big fat heavy sigh] Fine. I'm sure everyone in this office would prefer it if I, instead of Blockhead, sat at the front desk anyway. So, fine. Not only was our supervisor gone, but all of the professors were out of the office as well. Just me and Blockhead. Oh boy.

Now you have the setting. Grant me a moment more to explain the telephone system, and we'll launch into our story. The phones here are pretty interesting.

Oh, how to explain this as succinctly as possible?

Okay: my supervisor's phone, the one at the desk I was sitting at, will heretofore be known as My Phone (you can imagine this phone as being red, if it helps you visualize). The phone at the other desk, which is usually my desk, the desk that Blockhead was occupying yesterday, will be known as Blockhead's Phone (or the yellow phone).

Still with me? Remember to visualize. Are you visualizing?
(the colors don't really matter, I'm just trying to waste your brain space)

When calls are placed to My Phone, they are first routed through Blockhead's Phone. A pointless procedure but that's how they do it. It will ring once on Blockhead's Phone and then forward the call to My Phone, and then I can answer the call. If calls are placed directly to Blockhead's phone, the ringtone is very different.

That's how you know whether to answer it or let it go through to the other phone. You listen for the different ringtones.

Regardless of the ring, Blockhead tries to answer the phone every time.

Ready for the story? Okay.

Yesterday, a call was placed to My Phone. In accordance with the system I've just explained to you, the first ring was on Blockhead's Phone. Blockhead apparently lacks the psychic ability to listen for the ringtone, and so apparently thought the call was for him.

He tried to answer it. He got dead air because it was already on the second ring. In his desperate confusion, he pressed a button to retrieve the call from My Phone so he could answer it. (clearly this was not thought through, because if this tactic had worked he would have answered, then the caller would have asked for our supervisor (because that's who they called in the first place!) and not knowing what to do, he then would have transferred the call back to me anyway. pointless. pointless. pointless.) Unbeknownst to Blockhead, I had already picked up the receiver to answer the call.

Somewhere between me answering the phone and Blockhead pressing buttons that he doesn't understand, the call was lost.

Good job, Blockhead.

The caller tried again. Blockhead got all kinds of flustered. "It's ringin' again! It's ringin' again!"

Dude, I know. Calm down.

"Now it's on your phone! Your phone is ringin'! Your phone is ringin' NOW!"

Oh my gosh, we are not seriously doing this. You are a grown man. Calm down.

I answered the phone. Blockhead was watching me from the other desk, wide-eyed and nervous. He had apparently worked up quite a sweat.

It was one of the professors we work with who happened to be out of the office at that moment. "What did you hang up on me for?"

Thank you, Blockhead. Thank you for, once again, ensuring that I would be the only witness to your abounding incompetence.

04 November 2010

I swear I'm Not writing about You...unless I Am....

I keep trying to read the blog of a(n almost) family member/friend/acquaintance/anonymous person that I know and you don't, and I really should stop.
I end up getting nervous twitches by the end of three posts:

"That apostrophe is in the wrong place...that's the wrong "you're/your"...that's the wrong "there/their/they're"...oh my gosh, why aren't any of these capitalized??"

I cannot focus on any of the content when being bombarded with these and similar thoughts every five seconds.

I know, I know. I'm a snob. I need to get a grip.
And I agree with you.

I don't think I'm completely unjustified in being aggravated by this.

Consider: when you're writing something, a text message or email or blog post, you cannot rely on body language, voice inflection or facial expression the way we instinctively do in person-to-person conversation. The words you put on the page are all we have to decipher your meaning.

With the aid of body language and voice inflection, the person you're talking to does not rely solely on the words being spoken to understand your full meaning. A person could say a redundant and empty statement, "Like, you know?" and depending on the inflection, hand gestures or exaggerated posture it is coupled with, those three words could mean completely different things.

You don't have that advantage when writing. The black and white text (er...or cream and red, in this instance...) is all the reader has with which to judge your intended meaning. You have to write out what would otherwise be implied. What and how you choose to write tells a lot more about you than you may realize.

If the words "you're" and "your" are misused once or twice, it's not a big deal. No one's perfect and it's easy to get them backwards when you're typing quickly. But when I see them consistently and constantly misused by an author, I infer that I'm either reading something written by a child who hasn't learned the difference yet, or an extremely ignorant adult.

If you are an ignorant adult, you probably can't help but portray yourself as such. If you had the skills to come across as intellectual, you wouldn't be ignorant.
But if you are not ignorant and your writing implies that you are, start paying attention to what you're writing! This isn't about knowing all the grammar rules of English; it's about presenting yourself.

That's my real argument. That's what I'm trying to get to. Writing is not just ranting, it's a way of presenting yourself. You will be judged, not necessarily by your writing skills, but by your thoughtfulness in crafting a written message.

I don't think you can write something and post it/publish it/send it without at least reading over it once or twice. At least. If you don't give a thought to what you're writing then you end up with an over-abundance of smiley emoticons [ :) ] and the word "like" and not nearly enough periods. People read that and think you're an idiot. And you're probably not an idiot, but you write like one, so how are we to know otherwise?

...I'm reading over this and thinking to myself, "This sounds like the rantings of an obsessive perfectionist. Maybe no one else cares about this. Maybe no one else reads crap like
"it was so great :) oh my gosh I can't even tell you :) and it just made my day :) :) :) :) !!!!!1"
and thinks that it's stupid."

You think it's stupid, too, right?
If you've never thought about this, then now is your time to start.
If you're as frustrated with idiot-writers as I am, then would you be interested in starting an anti-idiot-writers facebook group with me? C'mon, :) it'll be super-fun!!!1! :D :D :D !!!!!!!!!

02 November 2010

We've all Got Something we're good At

I stayed home from work and school today. I was hoping that if I stayed home, rested, took care of myself, I'd be able to beat this weird getting-sick-thing before it got too ugly.

I think it helped. Until about an hour ago when my throat started hurting again.

I'm not very good at the whole "not getting sick" routine. I'm much better at succumbing to illness.

Maybe I'll just stick to what I'm good at.

01 November 2010

shoulda Sluffed To take A nap

I get sick about once a semester, usually around midterms and sometimes again right after finals. It's one of those circle-of-life kinds of things.

Except for this semester. Oh sure, I've had a couple of days where I didn't feel 100%, but I haven't been sick enough to need pharmacy drugs or anything like that. I'm pretty stoked about it. I keep bragging about it to people. This semester could set a new record for me.

...until today.

(cue the horrified scream of anguish)

About halfway through the day, I felt it. Fleeting headache, slight soreness in the throat, and a discernible drain of energy.

Have you ever felt that? It's like Superman getting too close to a fleck of kryptonite. Strength levels drop and it takes a few moments to build them up again. There's a sudden hollow feeling in the stomach. The lungs deflate and struggle to let air in again for a split second.

And that's when you know.

It's coming.

Alright, so maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive to every little change my body goes through as a result of my extreme paranoia of getting sick. Maybe not everyone feels this way when they've caught a bug. But I think we're all familiar enough with our bodies to know when something is not right. Everyone knows (or should know) their own body's signals when a cold or a flu is coming on.

And today, my body gave me the signal.

I'm not actually sick (yet). There's still time to ward this thing off (probably).

I wonder if I can just put it off until the Thanksgiving Break? That's only...3 1/2 weeks away...*gulp*