beading, career, craft, design, jewelry design, LIS, psychology

Almost…another all-nighter.

Apparently, I’m learning the differences between work, career, hobby, and personal time. I received a small shipment today which included flat aluminum wire for the face coverings I had been trying (without the proper materials, I found) to redesign. I also successfully held off on ordering more quilting fabric until the urge to buy had passed.

The latter…took some skill. I told myself that I could think about ordering it, after I finished my final work in Statistics. That successfully got me through Week 5 of work, last night, and a scan-through of Week 6’s lecture. Unfortunately, last night — after turning in Week 5’s homework — I got less than four hours of sleep. I had napped for a while the day before, and then I drank half a bottle of iced tea. Neither of those things helped. I believe I did try to make it to bed at a reasonable time, as well…so there was a lot of waiting, which turned into reading. (I knew getting back on the computer would make it worse [artificial blue light at nighttime tends to upset circadian rhythms], though it isn’t like constantly checking my phone, helped.)

Apparently I slept for less than four hours, if I combine the time at which I didn’t think I was asleep, and after reading three chapters in Rethinking Information Work (by which time, the sun was up). That book should help me figure out what classes (out of all the ones I’m curious about taking) I might actually need to take, based on at least past job profiles. The version I’m reading was published in 2016, and with the way Information Services are evolving…it’s likely not up to date anymore. Seriously.

Not only has there been a second economic downturn (as there apparently was around the time of the book’s second edition [though a quick web search turns up 2007-2009 as the “Great Recession”, which sounds accurate]), but Information work is closely tied to technology; and technology has been known to change at an accelerating rate. At least in Libraries, it’s also tied to the well-being of the funding body, whether that’s some form of government, private industry, or the education sector. As we well can see.

Anyhow. So I got more beads, today. This is what I mean by the difference between work, career, personal, and hobby time. Today was hobby time. I have a hard time trusting my mind to do intellectual work accurately when I’ve been awake all night, which is why I didn’t do my Statistics practice or homework, early this morning. (It’s not due for another week.)

I’ve actually started using a planner to work out how much time I’m awake, and what I’m doing while I’m awake. It’s notable that I have more time than I thought I did, largely because I tend to get, “in the zone,” while writing, and can easily spend two hours on a shorter blog post (like this). Then I don’t know where the time went, and can get anxious about my time commitments.

If I look at it, though; the issue isn’t so much that I have too little time, but that I’ve been on top of things so much that I haven’t given myself time to schedule refreshing periods (other than sleep). Or, I’m resting during the day and up at night. So I just feel like I’m working a lot, when I am basically doing things I don’t have to for my classes; my daylight hours are limited; and I’m spending time trying to get to sleep, and writing blog posts and journal entries.

What is odd — that I began to write about but then lost to brain fog a moment ago — is that I don’t even feel particularly tired, right now. Of course, I likely am tired…this being why my thinking is hazy; but I don’t feel too tired.

I should, of course, get to bed. Right now it’s about 9:30 PM, and I started this post an hour and a half ago. And I still haven’t gotten around to writing about the beads.

I seriously need to be doing some beadwork. I have what I need, right now: or if not everything, at least a really good start. (It’s been relatively rare for me to have everything I need already; going out to get parts for a particular color scheme just isn’t in the cards right now, though…but I’m somewhat in love with the colors in Delicas, at the moment.)

I just need to devote some time to design. Not even to production work; just to play and see what I can come up with. That is how I’ve found my own patterns (though remembering how I got to a specific point, or replicating my work, isn’t always easy).

Really, I am very relieved that I do understand Week 6 of Statistics pretty much just by reading about it. This is the final week for that…then I’ll be able to focus on the other 2-3 classes I’ll be in. (It helps to prioritize them, but I already went over this in my regular journal; I doubt the literal order will be of much use to those, here.)

And yeah, after I complete Week 6, then I can consider buying more fabric. :) What more do I need, though? Violets, yellows. Not…too bad…

career, LIS, technology

XML excitement :P

I’m writing this now because I’m determined to get to bed before 10 PM local time. I’ve been staying up way too late (even if I was doing homework), and I know I need to keep my immunity up. There is basically no excuse for me, not to do so. There is nothing more important right now, that is, than not getting sick. (I’ve been having slight irritation in my esophagus for the past two days, and I know it’s likely from not getting enough regular sleep.)

Over the past five days…a number of things have happened. For one thing, I’ve started to get into my XML (eXtensible Markup Language) training, which is actually really fun — kind of like a video game, except I’m learning. I know it’s just the first week, but I’m considering getting deeper into this than I had planned.

My main issue is choosing between training paths, where those paths diverge: the first being Digital Humanities and the electronic publishing industry (or the Publishing industry in general, which appears to be becoming decentralized); the second being Linked Data and metadata specialization. The second path — well — I already know that I’m interested in it. The thing is that I’m interested in Digital Humanities, as well.

The tracks just lead along different life paths…speaking of which, I did get back into Rethinking Information Work (I stopped waiting to transcribe my self-assessment), and just got my copy of Jump Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian. My fear is that I’ll be moving forward along a path so quickly that I don’t know where it’s leading.

However, not moving forward because I don’t know where I’m going is a repeat of those nine years I spent as a Shelver, where I was trying to figure out where I was going, without actually having the experience to be able to tell what I wanted, and why. Then I moved forward and discovered a bit about what it was like to work as a paraprofessional in Public Services in a Public Library…which was likely not a great fit for me, and I don’t know if it ever will be. (Sometimes students are warned away from Technical tracks in Library School; it would have been of use to me if someone warned me away from Social tracks.)

Linked Data, anyhow, is very forward-looking and oriented towards information organization (and the integration of Library work with the rest of the world of Information), while Digital Humanities seems to have more to do with coding, and getting things produced, visible, and online. (I also should not neglect to say that my Metadata Professor [who was excellent] didn’t hold one of the classes I’ve been considering from that track, in high regard.)

The spread of high technology, however, should it become ubiquitous and inexpensive (it is not yet so in my country)…it makes me question the future of paper books. I may have mentioned this here before; I know I wrote about it, but I don’t recall where (by that I mean, if it is in hard copy or digital or cloud storage).

I see the future of information dissemination and sharing moving in the direction of video, animation, digital interaction in the form of socialization and gamification, inclusive of music and art, and possibly still text…but I think text is going to be at least a bridge and transitional stage.

After all, text at least can be, if not often is, the basis of videos and animation — in the form of scriptwriting. There’s also storyboarding, but if you don’t have notations about the story, it’s probably going to be harder to envision it to make the storyboards (though not necessarily; my own writing grew out of comic work where I was drawing the images first without thinking about the story, and the story basically emerged from what I had drawn, or was in the process of drawing).

That is, a lot of these media are story or narrative (or lecture), with something else added on top. Now, whether that something else needs to be added, or takes relative advantage of its format: that is a different question!

The major issue is that most people, at least where I am at, do not read above a 6th-grade level. This means that when we’re publishing our thoughts in text, that just de facto is going to be read by a limited segment of the population (at least, should we write above a sixth-grade level, which I’ve done for as long as I can remember).

This means a couple of things, one of which is obvious: it is a very important skill to be able to understand complex concepts and explain them clearly and accurately in simple language (although that’s basically the main concept of teaching). The other thing is that if we don’t do this, it seems to enforce a gap between the educated and everyone else (and then, “everyone else,” or a faction of that group, gets resentful — and you have a situation like the present one in the U.S., or in at least one other place in the world I can think of in the 20th century).

Of course, at times concepts just can’t be explained engagingly in simple language. I’m thinking of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. That was engaging, but I couldn’t take more than three or four pages of it at once, and ended up not reading most of it. I mean, it is possible to be simultaneously incredibly interesting and boring, even though you know it’s pretty much the direct teaching of one of the most brilliant people of our time. (And, yes, he did after that, publish A Briefer History of Time, the title of which…was kind of funny, because you know right there that he was referencing losing readers with the prior book.)

I’ve had the experience of trying to read notes on “crosswalking” data (for example, Bibliographic data) from one system to another, for example, and it was so dense and filled with so many external references and systems that I haven’t yet worked with (but which are now obsolete), that I couldn’t understand it. I would link it, but I doubt anyone here would understand it (or perhaps, care), either. The major issue is trying to make the language of the standards so general, so as to fit as many situations as possible, that the reader of those standards can struggle to grasp what is actually being referred to (especially if they aren’t immersed in the usage of the concepts on a daily basis).

Anyhow — XML is…it’s really simple, though it can be difficult to get one’s head around, at first. And I am just in the first week of class, so I likely shouldn’t be jumping the gun where it comes to being excited about it…but I can understand it, to an extent, right now. I have had some HTML/CSS training (which is related but different), so that helps. I just find XML and Linked Data to be comparatively brilliant solutions to creating widely-understood coding. I can also merge my knowledge of Cataloging in here…which is almost the first time I’ve really flexed those skills outside of my Cataloging classes.

(I should note to myself that I need to collect at least shortcuts to all the different places I have Cataloging/Metadata-relevant materials stored on my machine, if not just reorganizing the hard drive.)

I’ve also realized that I don’t have to learn everything at once, which is mostly a relief. (I can learn some things at a later date, that is.) My major issue is overloading my COVID-19 free time with too many classes…

career, craft, money, personal, psychology, self care, writing

Dealing with passivity…

…or tiredness, lack of energy, lack of motivation. Whatever it’s called, it’s irritating. It actually is a reason I started reading, again: it’s not that big a jump between staying in bed, staying in bed and reading, reading at an actual desk, and getting out of bed. It just kind of eases the transition for me. Plus, reading doesn’t really demand much energy, in comparison to making something or writing.

Right now there are a number of books I can get back to (or begin)…which is good. In particular, I’ve found a new one called Me, Myself, and Us, by Brian Little, which seems to be about psychological adaptability. In particular, what I’ve read so far has to do with concepts about the self, and how it helps with psychological resilience if one can have more axes of definition when it comes to self-conceptualization, rather than fewer.

Hence, if I can define myself as many things, any perceived failure of one self-concept will affect me less. Multidimensionality has an obvious upshot, here. Less obviously, though: for me, it’s difficult to maintain practice in and cover all my areas of interest (beadwork, sewing, reading, writing…and, right, librarianship…etc).

Being able to perceive others through a number of different lenses should also enable me to avoid becoming upset because of automatically imputing a motivation to their behavior (the latter of which, may say more about my own psyche than the other person’s).

Right now I have a hard copy of this book which was delivered on the 31st of July. Because I am paranoid about germs, I’m going to let it rest until this Friday: seven days was the maximum quarantine period I’ve seen mentioned (or rather, I stopped looking after I hit, “a week”), although three days: 72 hours, was a minimum.

A note: Please do your own research if you need to know COVID-19 quarantine periods for books. What I’m saying here (or in any of my posts, really), isn’t representative of the ALA or any other Library association or federation — just me and, in this case, a limited amount of research leading to an overall impression, which should not be depended upon as life-saving advice.

A while back, I mentioned that M and D had said that my period of unemployment (and class-taking) during this pandemic would give me an opportunity to see what I really wanted to do. There’s…really a lot I want to do, and some things I just need to. (And maybe, some things are just, “busy work.”)

What I’ve found that I do enjoy, is reading and writing. The thing is: I can’t do that all the time. I can’t pretend that all of life can be contained in words. It’s obvious, in my case, how much language can constrain and entrap thought; editing out of, “reality,” (or a reality surrogate, more specifically) what people have historically chosen not to recognize. However, a great amount of learning can still be accomplished through language. Organization of thought can also be well accomplished, especially when we choose not to force a concept onto reality that does not fit.

Right now, I have sewing and beadwork as non-verbal outlets, but they require such a large shift away from verbal thought that it’s difficult for me to make the switch. That may be more of a reason to do it, I’m not sure.

There’s also the sad fact that neither beadwork nor sewing nor writing nor reading can be depended upon alone, for a stable and livable income. Librarianship can; but the field is in a heavy state of flux right now. It’s questionable how long the courses I’m in, or planning to take, will continue to be relevant. Editing is also a possibility, though the Publishing industry is also dealing with competition from the Web; and as such, is also in a state of flux.

Okay, I’m…running out of energy, right now. I only slept for 5 hours, last night. How I woke up at 9:30 AM, I don’t know…

craft, design, psychology, sewing

Bipolar mania for now

…I’d say it’s better than the opposite, but I’m not quite sure.

I’m pretty sure I’m going through some kind of mood cycle. My sleep has been relatively disturbed for the past week…and aside from that, I’ve had some telltale signs of being in bipolar mania.

On the morning of Tuesday the 28th — I think it’s recorded here — I woke up at about 3:30 AM after four hours of sleep, got to work, and didn’t feel tired (even though I had to nap twice, later). On the morning of Thursday the 30th, I didn’t get to bed until about 4:45 AM, and didn’t feel tired for most of that time — as I had forgotten about medication until about 3:30 AM (over six hours late). On the night of the 30th, I didn’t get to bed until 1:15 AM because I was caught up in brainstorming a removable nose bridge design for the face coverings I’ve been making.

I’ve been attempting to redesign the coverings I’ve been producing…and I’m having some promising openings. The problem is that I may be overthinking it…trying to find ways to squeeze more than one covering out of a 3-yard package of bias tape (which is, oddly enough, probably cheaper in terms of time, than sewing fabric strips) — which requires math. I have a mental model now, though. For my future reference, this is the model using the double-fold bias tape for ties, and creating a pocket for the metal portion at the center of the covering.

For that I’ll need one of my awls, and to hand-bind a couple of eyelets within the tie. It’s relatively important that the flaps which protect the wearer from the metal, start right at the end of the metal component, so nothing shifts.

I also have a backup plan in case this doesn’t work: just sewing in a pocket (single-fold bias tape, or a piece of quilting fabric) on the inside of the covering, without necessarily altering anything else. The hard part about this is trying to keep metal away from people’s eyes in case of an accident, even though in my best trial fitting tonight, the bridge is right below the eyes. (Then again, I didn’t grow a nose bridge for a very long time, so I’m not really sure my face is representative of anyone else.)

I’m not sure these are good enough to sell, but they’re definitely good enough to experiment with. The thing I’m concerned about right now is how much longer than 4″ to make the metal component of the bridge; whether to just make it 4″; to weave a wire component for the bridge; not to put the bridge in at all…

The difficult thing for me is basically not being able to just go and automatically sew without thinking about it — which is my normal method of getting myself to do things. I had gotten up …well, at this point, yesterday (August 1) with the idea of doing some work on the coverings. I was a bit daunted, however, by the need to resolve the issue of vapor coming up around the nose and into the eyes with the coverings I had accomplished. (This is an issue where glasses and sunglasses are concerned; myself and the majority of people around me need to take glasses into consideration.)

I’m also not sure at this point whether I should be quilting the layers of fabric together, as it seems that not quilting them would be a better solution to catch the moisture coming out of the breath. Without the quilting, the breath travels through the first layer, disperses, and then travels through the second layer. With the quilting, the breath is pushed through both layers at once, which I’m thinking might be less efficient (though I don’t know). I do realize that coverings are to protect everyone else from the wearer; still, do I sacrifice heightened efficiency for ease of care?

I already know that these things need ironing after they dry, but I also know that there are still design issues to work out, which have to be dealt with before the question of, “how to iron them,” comes into play.

One issue is that I want to gather the sides of the covering more closely…within about a 2″ space (maybe 2.25″), with the upper tie going around the nape and the lower tie going around the crown. I’m hoping that the vector of force will keep the covering itself, in place.

The other thing is that M has requested repeatedly for the coverings to be larger. I’m not sure why, but right now I’m looking at an 8.5″x3″ footprint on the face (without the lower portion of the covering being extended to its full 6″ (or is that 5.5″?). I’ll have to see what that looks like and how it performs, in a future model.

For me, the prior size works fine (the cutout blank being 6.5″x9.5″). I don’t think my head is that small, but I do have a short face. Then again, M was also the person who requested the felt interlining which makes it feel as though one is breathing through a blanket.

I don’t even want to go there.

Anyway, just thinking about this is kind of a headache. I also kind of don’t want to be selling these, for liability purposes: “This face covering is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.” Although — all of that is true, and I could just say that. “Use at your own risk,” is the other disclaimer, though I’m not sure if that’s legal…

Business, career, culture, LIS, writing

Writing as an outlet? as a profession?

I began this post late last night, then found myself wandering off-topic — into stationery, of all things. As I had, the prior morning, woken up at 3:30 AM and stayed up past dawn, and it was by that time around midnight — and I was actually tired, I decided to give it a rest. Or give myself a rest, that is.

I’ve been meaning to tell you all that my instructor let me know that Statistics won’t help much with data-mining. Well. :) My instructor also let me know that I had accidentally overlooked 2/3 of the assignment I turned in on Sunday…so I still have some work to do. Luckily, the class isn’t over for a couple more weeks, and all the due dates are, “soft.” The major thing I’m dealing with is how to account for multiple variables — that is, which variables to use at what time to get what information; and how to label data points.

As well — I’ve been questioning just how important it is for me to keep myself in at least 1-2 classes per month through the end of the year (though I should note that I’ll be in Vocabulary Design, likely until December). It is possible, that is, to learn via reading and study (and writing), as versus being in a class. What I won’t necessarily get are exercises and quizzes and due dates (or Certificates).

However…I’ve saved a bunch of material from my first Cataloging course (the one I didn’t do too well in), and I could easily review…at least, the part that has to do with Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Library of Congress Classification (LCC). A lot of the material for that is available online — and I should review it. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), though — the tools for that are available only for a fee. I could do it, but it would just be practice; I’ve already taken a refresher course on that with the American Library Association (ALA).

There’s also the alternate option of getting onto LibraryThing…which uses an old version of DDC which is out of copyright (LibraryThing calls it the Melvil Decimal System, or MDS). I believe the DDC is currently copyrighted by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). DDC is used by Public Libraries and some smaller Academic Libraries, in the U.S. Most large University Libraries, from my experience, use LCC: their collections are simply too huge for the limited number of divisions in DDC.

Yesterday morning, I started working through Rethinking Information Work by G. Kim Dority, and started the “Career Journal” she recommends. So far, I’d recommend the book to Information Professionals who are looking at job options (I know I’m not the only one laid off — or facing the possibility), just for the number and diversity of resources listed at the end of each Chapter, and in the Appendixes. (I’m on Chapter 2, and still have to transcribe my self-assessment.)

One of the resources recommended by Dority in an annotated bibliography is The Start-Up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. Hoffman helped begin LinkedIn, the social-networking site. I’m still amazed at how many people don’t know about it. I was forced to sign up in 2012 when I began my Library Science program, but I knew of it before then.

Then again, back then, the Internet was almost my primary social medium.

I wouldn’t rank The Start-Up of You too highly, at this point (I’m beginning Chapter 3). So far, there has been a lot of talk about successful capitalists (I assume they’re capitalists) and how we can learn from them; and pushing of LinkedIn. I’ve been around a bit too long to really…take that seriously. I mean, the conflict of interest is very apparent (as my own bias, here, also likely is).

However, it does bring up the idea that my perspective, thoughts, and intelligence are likely my largest assets…when it comes to differentiating myself from, “my competition.” And research, if I’m looking at Writing as a field, is largely reading. Reading comprehension and writing are two things I do relatively well. Not perfectly, yet; but in comparison to many, I think well (even if I am, now, relatively hesitant to divulge where I disagree).

That is basically my largest, “competitive advantage.”

The thing is…it’s very apparent right now that the world doesn’t need another person to agree to everything and say it’s all fine, when it isn’t. That’s an abdication of responsibility. The kids in Flint, MI, don’t stop being poisoned by lead in their drinking water because someone says, “it’s fine.” Radium poisoning from occupational exposure doesn’t stop happening because someone says, “it’s fine.” Coronavirus deaths don’t stop racking up because someone says, “it’s fine.”

I think we can see a pattern, here. We don’t need to be told that things aren’t as bad as they are — we need reality to be addressed. Not someone’s faith-based fantasy. There is a distinction to be made between fantasy and reality, although the lines seem to recently have become blurred. Or, maybe in the U.S., to some people at least, they’ve always been blurred.

And yeah, that is the first time in a long time that I’ve actually written something like that. But things can only go so far before people start speaking up about them.

And no, I do not represent my community of practice in saying any of this. This is all me.

I’ve realized that I never really did a review of Toxic Archipelago. Brett Walker, at the beginning of the book, says that it goes to a really dark place. It’s really not as dark as Kate Moore’s Radium Girls, however: I believe Walker likely tried to protect the reader from the harshness of the realities of the situations described in the book.

For example, describing kidnapped Korean labor working in Japanese coal mines during WWII as, “forced labor.” I guess that sounds nicer than, “slavery,” even though Koreans still face discrimination in Japan today, and were the subjects of cultural imperialism (at least during the time of the 1910-1945 Japanese Occupation), which is not so different from what I know. (I also outright know that there is a lot I don’t know.)

But then, one could make the same case about modern U.S. prison labor: how things went from outright slavery to Jim Crow and then to the school-to-prison pipeline. To not delve into those other two topics (cultural imperialism and discrimination), right now.

That’s a really deep rabbit hole to get into, though, and I’m not as fully informed as I would like to be on it should I comment (further, at least), so I’ll stay away from it, for now. Though, the topics of Korea-Japan relations, and cultural imperialism (in and by various countries), and the U.S. prison system, all look like topics rife for research.

While it’s cathartic to be able to actually write these things, I’m aware that communicating anything in the realm of opinion inheres risk. (Communicating things in the realm of fact probably also inheres risk, these days.) However, if my value is in my viewpoint and my ability to articulate why my view is what it is; that’s also something to be aware of.

I have actually started a project journal, as well. Right now I’m not limiting it to either fiction or nonfiction, though I believe it will likely begin as a mixture and become more fictionalized as time goes on. If my past attempts say anything about this, it will definitely become more complex…which causes me to wonder if I should actually make an outline, or let things wander where they may…

beading, organization

Energy flow, and being concerned about nothing…

I fell behind this week on my Statistics lessons and homework. Before I started it, I didn’t know that it was much easier than it seemed. Today, basically working from the time I woke up (the second time), until about an hour ago, I got through all the practice homework and the homework assignment. I also found two errors in the answer key, which is easy to check.

Go me?

I was seriously expecting to take until Wednesday to catch up, but I was able to turn in the Assignment on time. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t put your essay through a round of Developmental Editing, because you’re pretty sure you’re doing more than most people, already. (The strongest part of my essay was the ending, not the beginning. Usually, you don’t want to do that, unless it’s for a purpose or otherwise intentional.) I got this hint when I asked if our References page counted towards the page limit, and got no response. I wouldn’t be surprised if even having a References page, was an outlier.

I also have got to remember to record needed information in my notes, before the class closes. There is some information that is very helpful, but may pass by me as obvious. I don’t want to avoid recording it for momentary ease, and then forget what I learned in the class (and have no recourse)!

As for beadwork…I’ve started to set up a work space right where I had been sewing. It gets good light. Until last night, I didn’t realize how much things had been shifted around in the Craft area. I’m fairly certain that this has contributed to my not using the area as much. There’s that, and the fact that it’s right near the laundry room (so there are dirty clothes on the floor more often than I’m comfortable with), and the fact that it’s near the garage…which is the quarantine area.

Even prior to then, that area got a lot of foot traffic. The carpet itself is not in great shape. Not to mention that the lighting has recently changed, and the lower work area (on the floor) isn’t so great for beading anymore, due to rearrangement of the surrounding furniture. I’m starting to get the impression that this sounds like beading Feng Shui…but the patterns of traffic through the house, the light, and the crowdedness of the area do impact whether I choose to spend time there or not.

So I have a couple of options…the most obvious of which, is to change the location of my work. Both areas I have in mind have windows facing the same direction; they get a lot of daylight. The thing is…I can move this to a more private area (the Study), but then…I’ll have to do something about comfort on the floor, or at the desk (which at this time has no sides, meaning beads would roll/bounce right off).

It would also take repurposing of either what is now my “altar table”, or use of another low table I purchased a while back (which isn’t a bad idea). It would, however, bring this back into a safer-feeling environment, as I wouldn’t have to worry about being seen.

The drawback to that is that it splits the Craft area up into two sections which are significantly far apart from each other…and the majority of my beading and metalworking supplies are now in one area. There’s also the fact that working in the Study means separating myself from the rest of what’s going on in the house. That’s not really an aim, at this point, but at the same time, I kind of feel in-the-way where the Craft area is, now.

If I chose to bead in the Study…it could be a nice environment. I have a bunch of books there (my books), my spiritual stuff, two low tables, a chair, and a really small desk. I also have a couple of floor pillows. I’d likely want to work in the daylight hours, due to lack of bright lighting at night…but then, I could choose to keep the area I’ve moved into downstairs, as a sewing table. That means that I could sew and bead during the same time period, without having to switch out tool sets (particularly: the ironing board, iron, and sewing machine, which are all fairly bulky).

I might also have to ask D to move what’s being stored in the Study out of there so I can work, and I’d probably have to vacuum and clean up everything so bugs don’t start walking on me. That’s…probably going to be the biggest issue, aside from the fact that I can lose beads down the heater vent. And the fact that I’m no longer 14 (or 6…or 4), so sitting on the floor may be more harmful to me than it used to be.

But I do have a chair. And a desk. Maybe that will help, where it comes to the macramé. Not to mention that when you’re working with tiny beads, a small drop to a carpeted floor is better than a large drop to a hard one…

And yeah, I’ve just now realized how much it’s bothered me that my Study got converted into a dumping ground. Do we have any other place for that stuff? I can ask, tomorrow. If there’s no other place, that makes the decision of where to replant this, easy…

beading, beadweaving, beadwork, craft, glass beads, jewelry design, seed beads, self care, writing

D was right…

I need to make a “short list” of things I can do. I had to look it up, but a, “short list,” in this context, is basically high-priority activity. Highest priority, recently, has been working on a paper for my Subject Analysis course. Of course, that’s easier to align my energies to than to actually do, but I have forgotten that I know how to research, and I know how to write — and how to learn. I spent a while today working on this paper, and luckily, I only have less than a page of new content that I’ll need to add (depending on what my instructor specifies — I may not have to add any).

It wouldn’t be so stressful, except for the fact that it is the largest single assignment in the class, and it’s due soon. I also know myself, and I know that I freeze up with big projects and deadlines which are too close to complete the ingest and synthesis processes. However, that anxiety has pushed me to do some review and some research today, which led in turn to gaining things to write about in this paper. So it’s very good that I didn’t put it off, because by the looks of things, I may be done by tomorrow.

Then I can get back to Statistics (which I’ve been putting off, as the projects only have “soft” due dates), and…well, maybe I can get some beadwork done.

I have a couple of beading projects which are basically frozen, right now — though the beads that came on the 21st did give me what I needed to finish one project pretty much seamlessly. The piece uses a lot of violet and green iris beads, maybe too many; I received a set of 4mm green iris fire-polished (FP) beads which will work great where I have placeholders, right now.

Yeah, using opaque pastel mint green FP beads didn’t work out great, once I could piece together what the chain would look like. :)

So…now I need to re-weave the front portion and re-string the sides and back. That may be easier said than done, as I had a difficult time keeping the pattern straight when stringing it, the first time. It would also be interesting if I had less flashy druks (these are your basic round pressed-glass beads); right now this thing is reminding me of New Orleans and Mardi Gras (only the beads will break, if they hit the ground).

There’s also the issue of what thread to use. I’m thinking either C-Lon Micro (for toughness) or K.O./Miyuki (for width), mostly because I have a bunch of both, and because I know that Nymo (which was industry-standard about 20 years ago) is prone to fraying with extended use. FireLine (gel-spun polyethylene) is another good option…the reason I’m not using it at the moment is that I’m not sure what weight I have (the last of my 4-lb. test, I used on the trial necklace), and I know for a fact that it doesn’t knot well.

Things that don’t knot well…are difficult to tie off?

Well, it’s also relatively expensive, and limited in color choice. The reason to get it is for durability (this is the one thread which I know from experience, will stand up to beadweaving with bugle beads [which have sharp edges], for example); the inability to split the thread; its lack of stretch; and its fineness.

I can hear you wondering about WildFire, which I’m thinking would also stand up to sharp glass edges. In my (limited) experience with WildFire, I’ve found it to be a bit thick — and white — meaning that this thread will show up in beadweaving. I’ve seen people color it with permanent marker, which I wouldn’t advise: “Permanent” markers aren’t that permanent, and I’ve seen some of the damage at least Sharpies can do to their substrate.

I’m thinking of a particular post I think I saw several years ago, where the artist in question had drawn pages and pages of comics using black Sharpies, and what was left was faded out and brown. I think it may have been this blog post. For what it’s worth, I think I’ve also seen corrosion of the surrounding paper around Sharpie marks, but I’m not sure about that: I can’t directly and precisely recall the images or writings. Nor can I recall where I would have been using Sharpie heavily, other than in one Painting class and one Drawing class.

I’ve been gradually replacing my vial labels which were made with white masking tape and Sharpie — I’m now using washi tape, as I’ve found the white masking tape has adhesive that degrades and sticks even when the paper component is removed. Many of these labels are really hard to read. (I mean, sure, the vial only cost maybe $0.45, but still.) As for when I wrote that stuff…I’m sure it pre-dates my spreadsheets, because prices and quantities aren’t always recorded. It’s just like, “2,” for: “there are two strands in this vial.” These days, I know that the strands I was recording likely had 45-50 beads on them…back then, did I?

Anyhow, WildFire does come in colors besides white and black, now, and FireLine does as well. I may have been out of the circuit a while, but I’m finding photos of jewel-tone FireLine from one online outlet? Hmm. Kind of scared to research that…

So there is that thread component to the one “Mardi Gras”-looking necklace, that I have to take care of.

Then there is the Pacific-looking pearl necklace. I ended up getting a through-drilled pearl for the center of this (not a big deal to replace it, as it wasn’t Baroque)…mounting a half-drilled pearl wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Particularly, if you’ve got a 1 mm hole and you’re trying to fit a threaded up-eye (a ring with a screw on it) into the hole…that thread may just lever off the top layers of your pearl, as versus drilling downward.

I know. It’s sad. I do have a bead cap I can cover it with, but only in silver. As for silver wire — who sells 1mm-wide wire? Ah: that’s 18-gauge, from a quick lookup. Regardless, I don’t have wire that thick in either silver or silvertone, and the bead caps (the little “hats” that can cover the damage, in this instance) are silvertone.

Well. That was me messing up from inexperience, right there.

There’s also a bronze-and-green necklace which I should just finish, regardless of the fact that I won’t be able to sell it because it’s a prototype. It also has a damaged pendant — a through-drilled stone donut which fractured when the unnecessary drill holes were being put into place. Right now, it’s being held together by wire and cord. I posted about this project on a different blog, a very long time ago, but it has been stalled, likely for years. That’s majorly due to the fact that I was thinking my design wasn’t “creative” enough.

But I need to separate out what’s in that bin, and get things back to their proper places, so that I can move on — and see what I actually have.

Then there is the Citrine/Smoky Quartz necklace, or necklace/earring set, I’m not sure which at this point. I think that one’s in a box of its own.

On top of that, I have a woven bracelet which is now too short for me…about halfway done. I was planning to weave a button for the closure, but had concerns that people would see it on me and want one like it. That’s a problem, because the button is not my pattern. It just tops things off, really really well. I have the instructions (from a magazine) and the components…the rest of it is me (inspired by Julia Pretl’s ladder-stitch work in Beaded Collars). And I think I can do it better than last time (particularly at both ends), especially with more extensive choices for beads I can use. (I just…hate to cut apart all that FireLine!)

Really…what would happen if I didn’t use bugles? I need to spend some more time in design with that one, I’m thinking. Particularly since I don’t like the bugles bunching up. What they were doing was making wide, parallel lines across the wrist, and there’s more than one way to do that. (Three-drop peyote stitch? I could incorporate a pattern, then…)

Design is just one of those things which…well, no one really taught me how to do. I’ve just found out that it’s much quicker to go through multiple design iterations in pencil, and then make the work, than it is to try and build something from an idea, without having fleshed it out first.

Aside from that…I think the only other in-progress project is something I was attempting to make out of various pinks and violets. It would be woven and bead-embroidered, meaning I’m hoping to capture a cabochon in a seed-bead bezel, which I’ve only done once before (and that was a Swarovski Rivoli).

Yeah, that one: save that for last?

That’s enough, I think. Seriously. Gah.

beading, Business, craft, money, self care, technology

Too much analysis!

Apparently, I need to give myself a break, sometimes…though it’s difficult when a person has become accustomed to having deadlines. Particularly…it would likely be actually good for me to get back to my beads and sewing. And/or, you know, writing non-academic things.

That kind of explains why I’m back here, today.

Over the weekend…was it the weekend? The days are blurring together now, but some time last week, I found out my hard drive was failing. (They only have a lifespan of 3-5 years, according to the Web.) Two days after that and we get the replacement; and then D and I have to install the thing and transfer everything over to the new drive…which is done. It just stressed me out for pretty much three days straight, and I still haven’t fully recovered where it comes to doing things with my brain.

That is, it’s difficult to get back to having to think about and analyze things, again, which is tough when I have classes to get back to and deadlines to meet. But the hard-drive thing had to be done…pretty much immediately, if I didn’t want to have to use other machines. I’ve done it before; I just don’t like to.

As a surprise, today I did get a shipment of beads which I had stopped waiting for (they came from the Czech Republic, which has not been shipping things out promptly for at least a couple of weeks because of COVID-19)…that was fun. :) My spreadsheet says I ordered these at the beginning of last month. According to the Web, it can take up to 21 days for things to get here from Czechia, and there was about a month’s delay on top of that, which…is understandable. It actually got here about a week earlier than I would have expected, if I had expected it. I had just figured it would be a nice surprise, if and when it did come.

I did get one set of beads which is pretty much unusable due to what appears to be corrosion of the Blue Iris coating; like they have been rolled in cement, almost. I’m not even going to try to save these with washing; it may be more hazardous than it’s worth (these beads cost me less than $4, total, and everything else was fine). D joked that I should send them back.

Iris colors in particular — I mean, they’re beautiful, but they’re one of the coatings that I’d have some concern about when it comes to toxicology, just from unverified information I’ve seen online. There is a reason why these things (at least, the cheaper ones) generally say that they aren’t for use by people under 14 years old…though I started using them at 11-12, at the oldest; we didn’t know any better.

I know it took me some time to graduate to the more expensive beads, but I am not sure when, entirely, the switchover from dyed glass fabric-/craft-store beads, to glass beads from bead stores, conventions, and online, took place. I am pretty sure that I can recall going to a bead store at 14 at the oldest, though: I remember the clerk at the snobby (it was, I’m not kidding) bead store, keeping a close eye on myself and M. I was in high school, then…I recall making a necklace with a pendant from there which ended up chipping one of my front teeth, in my 9th grade locker room.

They’ve since gone under. I think the multi-hole bead trend (“which beads do we stock???”), along with open favoritism in customer service, high rent, a sparsely populated web page, and customer realization that it’s hard to make a living off of beading, did it. (I hesitate to say, “intellectual property issues,” but that’s there, too: both in using widespread/basic patterns that many people could spontaneously come up with, and in having unique designs used without permission.)

Going online sounds so easy, until it comes to actually doing it. But there is an opening here for people who know Web Development, obviously. I don’t see the trend decreasing in the near future, and actually, this was a secret reason why I took Web Design in Grad School. Of course, there’s a lot more I’d need to learn if I wanted to become a Web Developer…and I think I mentioned somewhere else that I don’t think I’d be able to maintain my initial interest (to keep myself abreast of new technology) for the rest of my life. Not keeping on top of new technology and being a Web Developer at the same time, sounds…like a very bad combination.

Anyhow, getting the beads today, was nice. It reminded me that I have a legitimate opening to sell my work. During this time while I’m in classes and purposefully staying away from other people, there actually is a way I can earn income. It just isn’t my primary career path. It is, however, something I’m skilled in. I have pretty much everything I need, now; and what I don’t have, is easy to get. There is a constraint now, however, in that I’m operating from a hypothetically closed set of resources. Like I would be if I were actually operating a business, and not just trying to break even with my externally-funded hobby.

I mean, you know, there’s that added financial stress now…and I haven’t even begun working, yet. Before, it just would have been nice not to lose money; now, it’s don’t waste your time and investment! Of course, any income from this beyond breaking even, I could see as positive, so long as my living expenses are taken care of. If I were seriously doing this and living on my own…pricing would be a serious issue.

Of course, there is also the question of who will be buying jewelry at a time like this. But then we could also question, who is going out at a time like this, and obviously, the number is greater than I’d expect.

I actually have started a writing project, but I’m concerned that by working on it, I’m resigning myself to the fact that I’m going to die one day. Which of course, I will, unless I’m another Henrietta Lacks (which I’m not sure anyone would want to be). But the concern is about mortality (mine and everyone else’s) being an immediate issue. That kind of sets up…some difficulty, where it comes to recording my own thoughts. But I guess most people don’t like to think about that, so I’m probably not alone.

The other thing I had been doing for my sanity at home, was sewing. I can also get back to that, as it doesn’t require a lot of intellectual/analytical input, and it helps me feel helpful. Probably I also discouraged myself by trying to improve on my design, however. If my state makes it illegal to go outside without a mask (and it looks like we’re going in that direction, now)…I am going to have to make more.

Yeah, I just should. Building up the mask stash should be #1 priority, with #2 being jeweling, and #3 being authorship. Where it comes to work, aside of my classes and my Portfolio.

career, creativity, LIS, philosophy, work, writing

Changing tack?

What I’m wanting to write about, at this point, is the process initiated when one realizes that the self-concept they had as a younger person no longer fits as well as it used to. This is particularly difficult when that self-concept has become ingrained in one’s identity, and when one never expected it to change or morph into something else.

In particular…I know I’ve built the groundwork for creating things, but I might be better served in my own life and identity by not primarily judging or gauging myself as, “a creative.” That isn’t necessarily…fully true, though; the creativity and curiosity may just be finding a different method of revelation.

However: it is the case that it’s seriously a significant shift to get back into making physical art. As well, the stories I told myself as a 17- to 20-year-old to explain my situation, are not necessarily the wisest things to refer back to in order to explain the rest of my life, no matter how “creative” they were. Maybe it works when the average life expectancy is 36 (or 25)…not so much in modern times.

I mentioned this to M and D, recently, and they said it was a sign of growth. That interpretation helps, as versus interpreting it as a sign of failure. I’ve just realized that accumulating arts and crafts supplies doesn’t mean much when I don’t use them. And if I don’t use them, that’s just wasted money (and space) spent in trying to prop up an identity which no longer fits. In Buddhism, I believe this is known as clinging (upadana?), which is a cause of unnecessary duhkha, or, “suffering,” interpreted loosely.

At this point, in regular life, I suppose I can say that I’m in at least four classes, though I only paid for two of them. When all the work from those two classes was completed, last week, I decided to give myself Sunday off: I had been putting classwork as first priority since the past Monday.

I don’t precisely remember what I did on Sunday, but somewhere in there, I was able to get some reading done in Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan. I’m pretty sure that happened early Monday morning (today’s Tuesday, right?). Like, until about 3 AM, Monday morning. (I got through Chapter 3, setting myself up for Chapter 4, where itai-itai byou [lit. “it hurts-it hurts disease”; a.k.a. cadmium poisoning] is introduced…which is the major topic of interest which got me started on Bad Water, which then led me back to Toxic Archipelago as a book to read, prior.)

After I finish Bad Water, assuming it can hold my attention, I can move on to Radiation Brain Moms & Citizen Scientists. All three of these books are based upon ecological disasters in the Japanese archipelago (the last in relation to the Tohoku earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi disaster), though I think Bad Water is more of a political analysis of culture after the ecological disasters in the Tokugawa and Meiji eras. So far, Toxic Archipelago has heavy (albeit at times, forced) Buddhist themes, which I hadn’t expected.

My sleep hygiene hasn’t been the best, recently: I’ve been getting up for breakfast, then going back to bed and sleeping until late afternoon, and staying up very late. (You know it’s bad when it’s 12:45 AM, and you’re thinking about what else you can do.)

So…I’ve really got a lot of reading I can do. Aside from these three books, I have Rethinking Information Work, 2nd ed., which may help me if I want to enter a field in private industry, rather than working in an Academic or Public Library system; and Essential Classification, 2nd ed., which will help me if I become a Cataloger or Metadata Librarian. Both of the latter books, however, are really technical. Right now, though: I’m aiming for Cataloger and/or Metadata positions in Academic libraries.

One of my courses is entirely self-paced, and that’s a Spanish course which M purchased for me. I’m still in the first lesson, because other things (paid classes which I’m taking in tandem with a cohort of students) took priority late last week. I’m still torn as to whether I should be learning Spanish or Japanese languages…my interest is largely within the latter realm, but I might need a second “Western European language” to work in at least the Academic Libraries I’ve been looking at. I’m just (much!) closer to facility in Spanish than I am in Japanese; M says that the requirement for Spanish is likely because a lot of the patrons around here speak and read the language.

Basically, right now, I have a lot of time. My folks are telling me that I should have time during the next year to year-and-a-half to redetermine what I want to do with my life. I’m actually thinking about becoming an academic researcher…though a lot of this is being addicted to content, and specific, deep content, at that. I’m pretty much amazed that Toxic Archipelago seems to only be in nearby Academic (not Public) Library collections…

There is, that is, the possibility of becoming a Subject Specialist in some topic related to the Pacific Rim. Right now, the majority of my knowledge centers around the West Coast, Hawaii, and Japan. Through Hawaii, there’s connection to other areas in Polynesia, and to Japan…is that what I want, though? Do I want to center my studies on Asian American experience and culture? Or do I want to learn Japanese language and be able to more deeply appreciate other areas which are written of in Japanese?

Or, you know, learn a different language (Native Hawaiian)? Or focus on other English-speaking areas in the Pacific Rim, like Australia and New Zealand?

One of the things I’m realizing is that it’s going to be really difficult, given the speed of technological change and the potential rate of global sea level rise (particularly looking at the accelerating melt-rate of Greenland’s ice sheet)…to be able to predict what will be stable decisions, as regards the future.

So…I’m not quite sure what to do, except do what I love, now. Especially as, at this point, no one can really tell what the future’s going to hold. The major issue for me is that the majority of my life so far has been preparation for the future, not living for the present. It’s kind of hard to get out of that, though being reminded of one’s own mortality…you know. It will kind of force one’s hand.

At the moment, my engagement is taken up with study, and it isn’t bad study. I am, for example, learning how to wrangle quantitative data (which I didn’t really get in my Library Science program), and I’m learning more about Subject Access. I know, however, that the latter will require far more effort than just this class; I’ve been through six others, so far, only two of which were within my LIS program.

So basically, right now…I believe I’m undergoing a sort of transformation from artist to scholar…particularly as the vast majority of material I read is nonfiction. As for what I can do with this…

Writing?

career, LIS, psychology, self care, writing

Learning to die

No, I haven’t yet read Learning to Die in the Anthropocene by Roy Scranton (2015). I don’t know how much it applies here, but…it may apply.

Just to let you know, I’m really pushing myself to get back on here and write. I have been keeping an offline journal, for myself…it’s just a bit harder to scan than this blog, though. As regards re-learning a cursive hand, I’ve decided to stop trying to force myself, as it isn’t as legible as my printing. It pretty much looks worse, too…which kind of evades the point.

Things are still kind of tense with me. Since my last class ended, I’ve had nothing that I’ve really been forced to do. I have two more classes which are about to start up, which at least will give me weekly projects to complete…on top of going back over my Portfolio, which it’s obvious (to me) I don’t want to do, but may be key in gaining future employment. Especially if I’m going for a technical position.

Right now I’m at a juncture between Web Development and Metadata or Cataloging Librarianship…the latter two being focused on the organization of information, the former meaning ability to communicate with a computer so it does what I want it to do (which is display information in a readable [and just maybe, hopefully, pleasant] manner*).

*”That’s for the UX people to figure out!” you say.

I should get back to the book, Careers in Writing, by Blythe Camenson. Because…right now, I’m actually thinking about writing for money. I think I’m in too deep with the content angle of Librarianship (after all, I have an Art and an English degree) to switch over totally to being a Web Developer.

Web Development as a career has the possibility of taking over the rest of my life. While it would be good money (if I were competent, which is not guaranteed, with an Art and an English degree), there are things I want to do besides help other people publish online. I might not have enough time for myself if I go for Web Development; it requires constantly staying on top of new technology. I’m pretty sure I’d get fried.

Right now, I’m angled toward Cataloging…and I’ll see where I stand, in a bit. I’m set up to take a class on Statistics, which will help as a foundation for text- or data-mining. Text- and data-mining help in determining the “aboutness” of a digital, text-based document. I’m also in a Subject Classification course, which will help me efficiently determine the subjects of texts in a more cognitive way.

That’s…barring any calamity which may happen between now and August. I took my in-person Spanish test about a week and a half ago (and didn’t pass: not even close; they must have been desperate; it’s like, “just tell me if I need to be at the level where I use this every day, so I can tell whether or not to even entertain this”), and so…I have until Thursday to have to still be on alert to anyone (including myself) becoming sick. (It’s now Monday morning, here.) M had mentioned an irritated throat on Sunday night, which…is not great, but there’s nothing I can really do about it; and the best she can do is rest.

What is scary is that COVID-19 can apparently infect and kill, very quickly (there was one victim in the news who was infected and died within 3 days — which I consider to be on the level of Ebola). At the time I was asked to take the Spanish test, I was unaware that there was a concurrent spike in new viral transmissions in our county. That fact wasn’t available until the hospitals started to fill up.

I am very concerned about hospitals having to make decisions about who gets treatment and who doesn’t, based upon pre-existing conditions…which could easily stray into eugenics, if it is not already eugenics. Especially, now. I doubt that they’re separating out the cases who got the disease by being personally and voluntarily irresponsible from people who were staying at home and doing their best.

Anyhow.

The thing to do, in this case, is likely to prepare myself to be independent as quickly as possible. That means…I should be driven to help cook, at the least. At the moment, I still don’t have the facility to drive, which matters in my area. Those are the two major life functions that I haven’t had to engage. Well, and there’s a third: paying bills. And doing taxes.

If everything turns out fine, that’s great: but if it doesn’t, I might be a little better prepared than otherwise. Maybe it would help me relax a bit (as versus panic)?

The problem I’m facing is a lack of information…and that information (whether or not we are all still safe) will only be revealed with time. And past that point in time, it’s uncertain again. (In actuality, the situation may be constantly uncertain.) My major blessing in this case, should it come, would only be that it would not be my direct fault that my mother became ill — this time.

But yeah…I wasn’t really briefed on the situation before we went out, either; and I have a feeling my parents were both shielding me from the information because they know that I have issues with germ phobia in the first place. I don’t really want to tell them that I didn’t even want to take the test. But we know the level at which I have to function now, in a bilingual environment…and I’m not at it.

I’m honestly not even sure now that I’d be at the level of functioning I’d need to be, as a Spanish-language Cataloger. Which is good to know. (Seriously, I look at some of the subject headings we use in English, and I don’t know what they all mean.) If I want an Academic Library job, though, proficiency in Spanish is likely the easiest route to solidify that “second language” requirement.

And no, I don’t know if it’s good or bad that when I read in Spanish, I immediately start to translate into English. It’s a very different dynamic than with Japanese language.

If we can make it through this…if I can look back on this from the future and see a learning opportunity and not a harbinger, my parents have told me that I don’t have to worry about getting another job immediately. It’s safer to hang back until we either have a treatment or a vaccine.

The thing is, right now, I don’t know how long any of us will be able to survive (especially given the fact that this virus likes to mutate). But I don’t predict the future well, which has always been a blessing — given that I tend to neuroses. I stopped writing fiction because I knew I tended to get carried off with my own stories, have I told you all that?

It might actually be time for me to write down my own, “wisdom,” so much as it may be. Just codify it. Whatever form it takes, just get it out. Then decide what to do with it, later. Decide if it’s true, later. Or leave it to others…like my sister, who told me that I have my own story and it deserves to be told…