Aug 31, 2010

Goodbye, August

You were a very kind August and I'll miss you. I finished Summer semester and started Fall semester while in you. I became a better writer, completed a very late play (collaboratively), I renewed my interest in drawing, I took steps to be better financially, I went home teaching for the first time in about a year, I've made new goals ranging from getting healthier to cleaning the house to reading scriptures every day, my mom came to visit, Morgan called 911. I locked my keys in the car. We had an impromptu trip to Lagoon. I inherited a ring I now always wear on my pinkie, not only because I can't get it off. August. You've been a busy month.

September is rarely my favorite month. Some friends from Nebraska may come to visit but I doubt they'll have as much time to give us as I'd like (the whole time), I'll be in school trying to keep the goals and stay ahead of my 12 credit courseload and almost full time workload, (about 36 hours), my mom and brother and aunt and niece and grandfather and I'm sure others will be celebrating their birthdays, Morgan will be 15 months old, I'll be 341 months, my new hip and knee 6 months, hopefully I'll finish Snow Crash before I have to take it back to the library, all kinds of other unexpected wonderful and terrible things will no doubt come.

And I can't wait!

Aug 26, 2010

And you thought I had no Class

Shame on you.

So, this week I started school again. I can't begin to describe how great it was to have a week of no class, how lovely it was to go to work and come home at the same time everyday, to come see my family on my lunch breaks, so I won't.

Drawing the Human Head turned out to be not as exciting as I anticipated. I'm tempted to say the teacher appeared stoned at best, an idiot at worst, and managed to suck all the fun and life out of the room as soon as he entered 15 minutes late. But that would be rude. Accurate, but rude. When I heard that Drawing for Illustration, which I had been on the waiting list for, had opened up, I weighed my options and dropped the Human sleeping pill I mean Human Head Instructor and picked up Illustration. The only down side that I can see is that my schedule won't be so neat. Instead of 3 classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and no classes whatsoever on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll have 2 classes Mondays and Wednesdays and one one Tuesdays and Thursdays. But, my work is very understanding and flexible, so that's quite the blessing.

Update: I have now gone to Drawing for Illustration, and though it sounds like it will be a lot of work, it's a lot of drawing work, so I'm pretty ok with that. Definitely could be worserier. We have to do 200 pages of sketches, about 1/2 hour per sketch. Since my work has a good amount of downtime, I hope that won't be a problem and am looking forward to improving my drawing skill.

Next is Ethics and Values from my maybe possibly favoritest teacher person guy ever! It was great to see him again and made me feel special that he remembered me. The class seems like it will be quite enjoyable, it's in the same room and I'm sitting in the same seat I had Creative Writing last semester. The only downside is the last few classes I had with him were @ 10 people, this is @ 30. So I have to share with more people. :( Poor me. Poor, poor me.

My Digital Imaging class seems a bit misleading. I was under the impression it would be all about Photoshop and manipulating images within. Instead, it seems to be all about taking photos with a digital camera and then using photoshop a little to alter/improve those photos. The teacher seems very likeable, especially to himself. Just kidding, he's very nice and funny and laughs at all his own jokes, which reminds me of someone I greatly admire. (Me.) If nothing else, it should (it better) improve my skills with the camera, which I'm told currently ranks between "child got ahold of the camera" and "bichon frise-chihuahua mix chewing on the camera."

Finance I'll be taking at the same time and the same day and same place as Spring semester, from the same instructor. (Saturday mornings). Only this time I hope to not break my hip and need to drop out a month and a half before the end of the semester. Or skip most of the class. I know what to expect and what to do, and as long as I can get through reading "The Richest Man In Babylon" this time, I should be all set and actually understand a modicum more about money. Wouldn't that be something?

After this semester it will be ten years since I started college way back in Virginia. Since then, I've made many and lost almost as many college friends, went on a mission, had leg surgery (twice), got married, went back to school, had a little boy, had more jobs than I care to count, and piloted an invisible rocket to the moon. That's quite a lot, but I look forward to the day I no longer have to be in school. Sweet, sweet day that will be.

Aug 24, 2010

The Long Wait Before the Ride

On Saturday we were treated to a free trip to Lagoon! My uncle Craig's work had free tickets and they gave them to us! We went with my cousin Carissa and cousin-in-law Charlotte, and it was a lot of fun.

We tried getting someone to watch Morgan. It was my Mom's last day in Utah and we tried guilting her into spending time with her grandson one last time, but she had made plans to be with her parents. We tried asking Tracie's parents to do it, but they had some lame excuse about having made plans since they don't just sit around waiting to babysit our son for free every weekend or something like that.

In our defense, we actually didn't have much time to make babysitting arrangements since we weren't officially invited until the night before. So, that's like the first time ever that asked people to help us at the very last minute and it WASN'T because of procrastination.

So, we went. Taking turns one of us watching Morgan while another of us went on the rides with Carissa and Charlotte. It was a lot of fun, Morgan was pretty well behaved for a poor little guy strapped in a car seat and then stroller all day long. My only complaint was after waiting in a long line, I was told I couldn't ride in a particular ride because of the color of my skin. No, it was because I couldn't bend my leg far enough. Bah. But, one complaint wedged into a day of free rides and food isn't enough to ruin our fun day, thanks again Uncle Craig's family for letting us go!

Now I'm waiting for another ride. I start my fall semester tomorrow. It has been a long wait, I've been back at school for 3 years and don't even have an associate's degree, because of having to be in school part time. It's not fun being almost 30 in classes with 18 and 19 year olds, but I suppose it could be worse. I am usually the smartest person in the class, though it's depressing when I'm being taught by faculty my own age. At least they're not younger. Yet. I used to want to be a professor until I realized I would be in school FOREVER, then I didn't want it as much. Anyway, enough self pity for now (more to come later!) I think I already said what classes I'm taking, but just in case you're dying to know what they are, calm down, I'll tell you.

Mondays and Wednesdays will be the big killers, I have Drawing the Human Face, one of the classes I've been most excited about, even though I'm sure I'll cry into my drawings when I see what the other students can do. (Being the oldest and smartest doesn't make you the most talented). Then I have Ethics and Values, from what I've heard it's most students least favorite class, but my favorite teacher possibly ever is teaching it, so I'm hoping for the best. Then in the evening I have Digital Imaging, which translated to Photoshop. I would be more excited about it, except for the fact that every teacher I've had says you will not need Photoshop in the real world. InDesign and Illustrator are king. Or queen, if you prefer. But, it's a required class, and I suppose extra Photoshop knowledge is at least cool, if nothing else. Tuesdays and Thursdays are blissfully class free, though I'm sure they'll be rich with homework. Friday I only have Ethics and Values (or by the end of the week, possibly just Ethics) then Saturday is my Finance class. I don't want to take it but I need to, not the least because my dear wife is getting sick of taking care of ALL our finances.

We finished writing our Indiana Jones Parody for Tracie's brother Troy! It was quite a wait for Troy and I apologize profusely (obtusely) for the delay. I have lots of excuses ranging from working full time to having school full time to having a delightful but demanding little boy and a houseguest and a new expansion for World of Warcraft to anticipate and streaming Netflix to enjoy, but I will just say I'm very sorry it took us so long, but I hope the end result is worth the wait.

If you'd like, you all can go to GlassofRandom and read it. Go ahead!
I won't judge you.
If you read it, you'll get it.

Aug 23, 2010

Missing Mommy

I miss my mom. She came to visit and has been in Utah for three wonderful weeks. Now she's gone.

The first week she came and stayed with us. Besides cleaning and baking and cleaning and watching the baby and cleaning and doing laundry and cooking and cleaning, she really really helped us out. But it was fun to visit her too. We played cards and visited and sang karaoke. Morgan had a great time with his Nana too. She taught him how to talk like a monkey (oo-ooo) and bought him some fun toys and a chair he just loves to play with. Sometimes he even sits in it too.

Then she went and stayed with her parents (her "real" reason for coming up to Utah, but we all know the truth) we visited them several times, and I loved every minute of it.

My mom, if you didn't know, is pretty much the coolest mom ever, definitely the coolest mom I've ever had. She's wonderful and beautiful and hilarious and sorely, sorely missed.

Now we have to plan a trip to Texas, and soon! ;)

Aug 16, 2010

Quotes by Me

Here are some quotes that I don't know where they came from so I'm assuming I thought them up.

You've gotta do what you're good at.

Flattery is simply truth dressed in affection.

Love is a memory spilt by a dream.

Good things come to those who wait. And better things to those who don't.

He who speaks his mind has no right to be called an artist.

Just because you have one doesn't mean you need to be one.

I'd rather be a smartass than a dumb one.

It's interesting how something created by having sex can be so successful at preventing you from having more.

Anyone who says "you are your own worst critic" never married an editor.

Everyone is the hero of their own story.

Let your Imagination think for itself!

The world is so much more beautiful when you can't see it properly.

The say love is a funny thing. So is that why
when people laugh so hard, they cry?

The things in this world we most greatly desire are the things that we know we can never acquire.

Cancer gets you closer to God, one way or another.

Just because you're having trouble finding your own happily ever after doesn't mean you're not helping others find theirs along the way.

Final Self-Assessment: Unoriginal Creativity

For my creative writing final, we had to have a portfolio of 2 completed pieces, everything we wrote for the class, and a final self-assessment on what we learned. The self-assessment had to be told "creatively," so I made mine into a dialogue between my teacher and me.

The office of DR. JULIE NICHOLS.
The last day of the semester.

(There is a knock at the door)

You may enter.

(AUSTIN, a college student older than the average walks in. He starts to sit, but stops as he hasn't been offered a seat yet. DR. NICHOLS motions for him to sit, but he doesn't see it, so he bolts back up. She indicates he can sit, but he thinks she's indicating he leave, so he's confusingly moving up and down and she keeps motioning to sit. Eventually he figures out that she's allowing him to sit and he does.)

Good afternoon, Austin.

Hello, Doctor.

What can I help you with today?

Well, I'd like to tell you why I deserve an A in your Creative Writing class.

That's it? You're just going to present a lame dialogue as your "self-assessment in creative fashion?" Not the most clever method I've ever seen.

-Or most original.

Don't interrupt me. Or the most original. You have less than a page left. You had better impress me.

I'll do my best. (Clears throat) I feel I earned an A because I turned in every assignment, everything I turned in got either an A except for one B+, and on the only day of class that I did miss I told you immediately, and I did the necessary homework for that day as well.

So you did what was expected of you. Big whoop. That earns you a C.

You printed several excerpts of my submissions for the class handouts, as well as a discussion question. Additionally there were several examples on the handouts of classmates submitting how much their writing improved after workshopping and revision. More than a few of those improvements originated from suggestions made by me.

So you're taking credit for other's work? Not impressed. Tell me what you learned from this final.

(Getting nervous) Oh, what didn't I learn from the final!

Yes, but what did you learn? And don't fudge on this.

Well, I learned that revision is hard work, but I can do it. It's what I wanted most to get out of this class, and though we didn't have enough time to cover it as much as I'd have liked, I learned by doing. I wrote in my creative writing journal every day, I got exactly what I wanted out of this class, and I learned that I have what it takes to be a phenomenal and successful writer. The only thing standing in my way before was my inability to revise, and lack of submitting to literary publications.

(Looks at her clock) Well, all right. Sounds pretty good. Tell you what, since you did so well in the class, (rolls her eyes) I'll give you a B.

What do you say we split the differance and you give me an A?

You spelled "difference" wrong.

Don't interrupt me.

Aug 13, 2010

The Opposite of Writer's Block

My semester is over! I'm currently at work and feeling a little lost as to what to do. Normally I'd be reading my textbook or writing the next assignment, but now I don't have to do either!

I finished my final project, even though it meant I stayed up last night later than Tracie. I can't remember the last time that happened. Or if it has EVER happened.

I turned in a revised copy of "The Journey of a Dream," one of my favorite things I've ever written, as well as the (most likely) final draft of a very short one act play or two scenes called "Thirsty" that I wrote for class. I'll be posting that on Glass of Random for those of you masochistic enough to read it.

I learned a lot from that class, most of all that I'm the best writer in that class and have an over-inflated opinion of myself again. No, seriously, it was a very talented class, I was just one of many excellent writers at UVU. (And you thought "excellent" and "UVU" were mutually exclusive. How dare you.) We never really went over revision, we went over rewriting, but I guess I learned there's not really a technique to it, you just have to do it. Revising, for those of you who don't know because I didn't bother to tell you, is the biggest problem I have with writing. Part of it is due to having ADS (it's like ADD or ADHD, but the S is for Sexy) the other part is what's that over there?!

Now that the class is over, this is the first time since the class began that I didn't bring my notebook or textbook in to work. And I feel lost. Like someone who just retired and now has all this time they don't know what to do with. That's right. That's how I wrote that.

New classes start in 2 weeks, so it won't be long that I'll have all this extra time, in fact soon I'll have even less as I am signed up for Ethics and Values which I'm actually looking forward to because I'm taking it from my favorite college professor ever. Next is Digital Imaging, which is a fancy way of saying Photoshop. Also looking forward to, less because I like Photoshop, more because I want to learn more about CS 5. I'm taking Personal Finance again, provided I don't break my hip this time I'll finish it. Finally rounding it out with Drawing the Human Face. I've looked forward to this class for a long time, as I think the human face is a lot of fun to draw, as well as one of the most important things to draw. I just hope we have a model or several. Not that we artists are unattractive, but I don't like having to pair off when drawing portraits. Not only do we always then draw someone looking down, but I seem to always be stuck having partners who can only draw a bald guy with no chin and old glasses. It's like they always pair me up with the blind person, you know?

I'm starting to read "Snow Crash" on Ammon's recommendation, and liking it so far, but I'm only about 30 pages into it. Now that I don't have writing homework or reading to do, I should be able to finish it before it's due back at the library or I have to go back to school.

Check out Glass of Random if you want to read "Thirsty." I'm posting it now.
And if you can't, that's because you weren't invited, silly. Let me know if you want an invite and you'll get one. Heck, you'll get two, you lucky dog.

Oh, one other thing I'll be posting is the Self-Assessment we had to do for Creative Writing. But if you go to Glass of Random, you'll see that.

...or just look up.

Aug 10, 2010

Jade Lotus

Final Project for Digital Prepress:
Design a logo for a high end Chinese Restaurant, design a business card, gift card and gift card holder. The jpeg messed up the alignment but you get the idea.

Tell me if you can see the face in the logo.

Aug 5, 2010

I saved an old man's life! And what did I get in return?

The other day, as I was driving to work, an elderly motorist began merging into the lane I was driving in. In fact, if I wasn't such a good driver, he would have driven directly into my car. I swerved and honked my horn several times, meanwhile he appeared non-plustered and continued merrily on his roadway warpath. It was then that I had two thoughts. (Three, if you count the ways of demise I hoped for that octagenarian, including but not limited to burning and twisted metal). One was what a jerk that old man was and I hope he'll be all right driving that way, not at all explode mysteriously or drive off a cliff when napping.

The other was why Mitsubishi, when designing the Lancer model, decided to install the weeniest car horn made. Picture the scene. I'm driving to work after class. I'm in a hurry, because UVU and Security Metrics are not close in proximity to one another, relative to Orem. Suddenly an old-person in an old-person-Buick driving like an old person invades my driving space in the lane I am occupying: my lane. I swerve to avoid crumpled cars and angrily mash my palm repeatedly on the horn, only to hear:

"weeeeeeeeeeeeee! weeeee wee weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

This just infuriates me all the more, so when I get to work I grab all my belongings (so I thought) and slam the car door. Then realize, I locked my keys in the car. With it still running. Stupid old man. This is all his fault. I get to my desk and ask my coworkers semi-seriously if any of them can break into a car, while I start looking online for locksmiths. One of the managers tells me Orem Police can break into your car for free, and I think what a deal! So I call dispatch (after being told 911 is probably not the best number to call for this type of emergency) and tell them our location.

I go outside, wait by my car and meet the officer. He's very friendly, has me sign a form waiving any charges for them breaking anything on my car. I hesitatingly sign, after the reassurance from him that he's been doing this 20 years and has yet to break anything. I tell him 20 years, he looks much too young for that, he asks me what I'm doing later. After successfully breaking into my car and unsuccessfully breaking it or getting a date, I grab my keys and thank the officer and silently curse the old man that he will lock his keys in his car evermore. I then realize, he probably already does lock his keys in the car, and instead curse him with baldness and dementia. Too late. Incontinence. Already there. Oh well. At least no one was hurt. Yet.