Mar 23, 2012

Out of the Looking Glass and Out the Window

For those of you who have heard or haven't heard, a few weeks ago Morgan fell out of his bedroom window. He's fine now, it seems, though I'm still nearly paralyzed with fear every morning I open his door, afraid he's fallen out again but this time with his luck run out.

To set the record straight and to explain how lucky he is, how blessed we are, and how determined he is, I'd like to give my side of the story, how I've pieced it together.

Morgan often goes in his room, as most 2 year olds do, sometime in the afternoon for nap and/or quiet time. This particular Thursday he apparently climbed onto his ledge, (which we've known he can do for most of his life), but this time, instead of giggling and playing peek-a-boo, Morgan Danger the Determined One unlocked his window and slid it open, leaned against the screen and plopped out the window, onto the (thank heaven) soft earth below. Tracie was home in the other room and heard faint crying. I likely would have dismissed it at the neighbors' baby, so I'm so grateful it was Tracie who heard.

At an average Thursday at work, I received a phone call from Tracie. Normally I ignore it, as it's often Morgan who has ninja'd Tracie's phone away from her, but I stood up from my desk to answer. "Morgan fell out of the window."


After pacing down the halls at work, borderline screaming and on the verge of tears, I explained to my boss the situation and raced home, driving 60-70 mph down State Street. We took him to the hospital, seen right away by half a dozen medical workers. They checked Morgan out, had him walk around and promptly downgraded him from a severe risk, told us what signs of a concussion to watch for and sent us home.

I placed 2 screws in his window to ensure he NEVER does this again, as we've bought window guards (kind of like door-stops for windows) for every other window in the house, and amended to give our next child a more serene middle name like "Safety" or "Boring."

Thank you all for your prayers and thank heavens our little Danger Boy was made sturdy.


So as some of you may know, I applied for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree/Program at University. Unless I'm being to subtle with my title and picture, you may have already concluded I got rejected.

I will try to repress the bitterness and betrayal I feel, and how I think marking someone's work's creativity as "weak" because you don't get it is not only not professional or not helpful, it's downright stupid. I will attempt to avoid that I think the majority of the teachers over the design department at the University are not only non-helpful, they are downright damaging to design students and possibly any human being they come in contact with. I will by no means make note of the fact that their "advice" for what they look for in a portfolio consists solely of what type of portfolio case to buy, or that constructive criticism consists of turning one's head slightly askew and remarking "I don't like it." Or "It doesn't work for me."

I won't say that aside from a few shining examples by adjunct professors, I've learned so little from the graphic design teachers at my University I think I not only deserve my money back, I and everyone else in the program deserve to be paid to have to sit through any amount of time with those individuals. I won't say that belittling a student for dropping your class because he has to have hip surgery should be a crime, and that just because you know how to design, it doesn't mean you know how to teach.

All I will say is that although I failed to get in to the program, I am still proud of what I turned in. It is the best work I have ever done despite their complete lack of empathy or assistance. I didn't fail, they failed me.

Mar 20, 2012

Talking Fannies

UVU annually puts on a production of the play "The Vagina Monologues." I've always been curious about it and late last week Tracie informed me that it was playing this Friday, and that we were going.

Being the member of the family that goes to UVU as well as one not unfamiliar with the UVU Box Office, it became my task to approach the ticket seller at the establishment one enters when wishing to buy tickets, and ask "May I have two tickets to see the Vagina Monologues?" Realizing just then what I was asking, and that I rarely say the word 'vagina' in a public setting, to his credit the ticket-seller appeared nonplussed.

(While it's true I don't use the word "vagina" in everyday speech, it should be noted I don't say the word 'monologue' very often either. Though I think most of us can agree that 'monologue,' while suggesting intimacy, is not quite as intimate or to some parties embarrassing a word.)

 They informed me that no, they were not selling them. I'd have to go to the Student Center to ask to buy them. Of course I did. If only so I could say the word "vagina" again.

So I went to the Student Center, not too long of a trip when you have a car and a handicap parking pass. I found the help desk, and asked a rather oblivious-looking attendant where I could purchase two tickets to one viewing of the "Vagina Monologues."
Me: Can I get tickets to the "Vagina Monologues" here?
Oblivious Help-Desk Attendant: (slowly) "Vagina Monologues?" I'm sorry, what's that?
Me: It's a play. About, well, I'm not entirely sure what it's about. That's why I'd like tickets. I think it must have something to do with the vagina. You know, from the title. I'll let you know more once I see it.
Oblivious Help-Desk Attendant: Well, have you tried the UVU Box office?
Me: Yes, as a matter-of fact, I did. They sent me to the Student Center. Where I now am. Is there somewhere else I can go to buy tickets for the "Vagina Monologues?" My wife has her heart set on seeing the monologues, I'm rather looking forward to seeing the--
Oblivious Help-Desk Attendant's Supervisor: You can buy them over at that desk over there. (Pointing stage right.)
Me: Thank you. (walking over to where I thought I was instructed.)
Ticket Salesman: What can I help you with?
Me: Two tickets to see the "Vagina Monologues," please.
Ticket Salesman: I don't think we're selling them here. We just sell tickets to the sporting events at this window.
Me: (becoming incensed) Well, would it be possible you ask one of your buddies in there if they know where you are selling them? Though they are engaged in conversation about how one band that will likely fall into obscurity is far superior to another band that will inevitably fall into obscurity, surely one of you knows where to find "Vagina Monologues" tickets? I've traipsed far enough asking for tickets to see "The Vagina Monologues" that I think I deserve them for free, at least a discounted rate.

(Actually, what I said was "Well Where CAN I Buy Them?!?!?!?!?" But I like the above response better. )

Ticket Salesman: Yeah, over there.
Me: (walking 'over there')
Friendly Student Employee: Hi!
Me: Hello. Can I get two tickets to the "Vagina Monologues," please?
Friendly Student Employee: Just one?
Me: No. Two. I'm not going alone to see the "Vagina Monologues," thank you. Even though I haven't felt so alone in all my life except when I had chemotherapy and my parents had other duties to attend to like care for my siblings or work to pay for the insurmountable medical bills, than I do right now.
Friendly Student Employee: Here's your tickets!
Me: Here's my money!
Friendly Student Employee: Enjoy the show!
Me: I have so far.

Mar 6, 2012

Life, the Austinverse and Everything

I figured it was time to post a bit more than just what I'm working on for school, but I'll do that too. Lately I've been working/obsessing with my portfolio. I have to submit a portfolio showing 10-15 examples of my best work to get into the BFA program. I have them all chosen, touched up and ready to be cut and mounted, something I'll likely spend most of tomorrow evening doing. I've shown my portfolio to two separate teachers who gave some good and some great advice on presenting and improving the images which I've taken to heart. A large chunk of me is afraid I won't get accepted in the program and have to settle for a Bachelor of Science degree, another equally large chunk of me is afraid I will get accepted in the program and have to be in school another semester. It's due on Thursday, I'll keep you all posted, those of you who still read this blog. :)

I'm still working at the same company I've worked at for about 2 1/2 years, about the longest job I've had by about 1 1/2 years. They treat me really well and I like or really like just about everyone I work with, though there's some frustration I've experienced lately having not heard back from someone who I heard was hiring a part time graphic designer, which is frustrating. (Hence the frustration.)

For my new year's resolutions, I doubt I'll be getting all A's this semester, I'll be surprised if I get more than 1, but I'm on track for my reading goal, I finished reading the graphic novelization of the Heir to the Empire trilogy, which was pretty bad. If anything all it did was make me want to read the real trilogy again, as it's a sad graphic novel that makes it harder to visualize something than the actual novel. The only way I was able to follow along at all was I was pretty familiar with the original story.

Speaking of Star Wars, I am currently addicted to and LOVING the new Star Wars video game/MMO: The Old Republic. Set about 3000 years before the movies, it's a whole lot of fun despite the fact that it's consuming much of my free time.

My next book is one I've owned for probably 3+ years, Conversations with the Dream King, a book consisting of Neil Gaiman interviews and interviews with writers and artists he's worked with. So far so good, I'll write a review of it in its completeness once I complete it.

While I'm so sick of school, from going to homework to thinking about it, it's still (sadly) a large part of me, so here's what I'm working on now:

Graphic Design I'm turning in a pictorial logo for tomorrow, it's for a pub I found online called the Horse's Replacement, it's a picture of a cow with a saddle.
Digital Painting we're supposed to design a poster using mixed media we scan in along with artwork done in photoshop, as well as showing a human rights issue, I was thinking something like Gandhi, but may do something more extreme like the Stonewall Riots.
History of Design we're finally starting to learn stuff I find interesting (it's all interesting, but this is more so) since we skipped the chapter on Futurism and Dada, we're talking about Swiss Design or International Style, which is cool and stuff you'd recognize if you saw it.
My internship at the family print shop is going well, sometimes they have stuff for me to do, other times I work on homework, but I'm still learning a ton which is the whole point of an internship, and I get to see family semi-regularly.
The lectures class is boring as usual, but at least I can visit with friends before they start, and more importantly, this is my last semester doing it.
And last but not least (not entirely anyway) weight lifting is what you'd expect, though I think I am losing some weight, that has more to do I think with what I'm going to talk about next than weight lifting.

For the last few months Tracie and I have been taking advantage of Bountiful Baskets, a co-op local group that buys produce locally and sells it to consumers. It's about $15 a week for $30-$40 worth of produce. We get to plan our meals based on what we get and are eating a ton more fruits and veggies.

Also, most of last week we were all sick, I think that had something to do with our losing weight too. We're all better now, thanks for caring, though my throat still hurts a little, at least it's good enough to go to work.

I really miss my family and wish they or we lived closer. Extended family and in-laws are great, but not the same and it saddens me that my parents don't get to see my son very often. Makes me sad they don't get to see their son (me) very often either.

Our house seems to be in a constant state of disarray, thanks in no small part to our adorable tornado Morgan Danger. He's very curious and wishes to be completely independent, but that means he makes lots of messes and with our work and school and other schedules, we get exhausted very easily and it gets hard to keep up with him. He still is very behind in talking but is always improving it seems, he's getting really good at mimicking words, but sometimes will just nod affirmatively instead of repeating you as if you say "you got the word right, good job, dad!" But I love him more than I thought possible, same goes double for Tracie. (the love part, she seems to respond negatively to when I try prompting her to speak.) Morgan watches too much tv like his daddy, his favorite shows are still Backyardigans, though he also likes Invader Zim which Tracie isn't crazy about, and Avatar: the Last Airbender which we all love. Seriously, I think it's one of the best shows ever. If you haven't seen it, watch it. He also loves watching "A Goofy Movie" and "The Incredibles," which is my favorite Pixar movie, and possibly one of my top ten favorite movies. Definitely one of Morgan's.
 He also loves drawing and fortunately mostly on paper, but he has drawn on the mirror and floor and table, but our good friend Mr. Magic Eraser has so far been up to the task.

That's all I can think of or all I want to talk about for now, thanks for still coming here those of you who do, most of whom I think have moved away or I'VE moved away, and all of whom I wish I could see more of.