Monday, April 11, 2011

Shaping young lives.

I'm a "teacha" now! How very odd to be on this side of the classroom dynamic.

A little about how I got here...
For a few years now, I've been thinking about teaching, and when we moved to Columbus, an opportunity arose. I was convinced that I needed my Masters, but apparently that's not the case for every school... especially schools that are desperate for adjunct instructors. So, I've picked up a class each quarter, not because I need the money, but because I want to feel like I'm making some sort of impact.

So what do I teach?
Well, this is my third quarter, and each time I've been given a brand new (to me) class. All classes are part of a Digital Media Design Associate degree program. My first quarter, I taught Fundamentals of Drawing. Man, I had to go back to the drawing board (bahaha.. sorry, awful, awful pun) to remember my 4 semesters of drawing class & figure out what the heck I was supposed to be teaching them. Last quarter I taught Design Fundamentals, which is much more comfortable for me. This quarter, I'm teaching Typography.

I feel like I'm learning just as much as I'm teaching.
Education is a funny thing. Having no training on how to teach, I'm sort of... wingin' it. As I go, I'm learning what works and what doesn't, what sticks and what doesn't. It boggles my mind how I can say something like "There is some visual tension here," which turns into everything having some sort of tension, somewhere. Or I can say "Papyrus is not your friend," and the next 4 projects I get from that person use Papyrus. Why? I have no idea.

My theory on students and authority figures.
It seems the first couple weeks of each quarter are slightly painful. Some students fight me on every direction... "This isn't my process." "I don't think like that." Basically... "I wanna do it my way, not yours." To which I say, "Too bad."... with some further explanation, of course. My theory is that for many students, teacher/authority figure = the enemy, until proven otherwise. Until they figure out that I do what I do in their best interest, they pretty much think I'm full of shit. Until something clicks (in other words, they learn something), they believe I'm just there to torture them. What is this about?! Do I really have to say, on the first day of class, that I am here because I want to be, because I want to help them succeed, because I want to share my knowledge and experience? Maybe I should. I haven't figured this out yet.

The rewards.
When my drawing student tells their classmate, "Wow, you have improved SO much! I can't believe it!" When a student tells me, "Your class makes me feel like I can talk confidently in front of a client." Or, "Looking back at our first project, I can see I've come such a long way in just one quarter." Great stuff. Makes my heart happy. Many of my students are older and looking to change careers, better their lives. If I can help them feel confident in their abilities and like they can tackle this job, that's what I want to do. It transforms this career in design, that sometimes feels so trivial, into something that I can actually use to help people improve their situation, hopefully by doing something they love. Pretty fantastic.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From lurker, to blog, and around again. Oh yeah, and I'm 30.


Long time, no see! Well, that's not entirely true. I've seen you, but you haven't seen me... except for the occasional comment. I prefer "lurker" rather than "stalker".

Anyway, I think it's time to get back in the saddle (thanks to some gentle nudging from some friends).

So, what's been happening? Let's see here...

We moved to Ohio! Yay!
I got totally screwed over by someone I trusted. Boo.
I'm a part-time teacher now & it's freaking awesome. Yay!
Part-time teaching doesn't pay the bills when it's your only job, so we spent a few months scraping by. Boo.
I found a great gig at Nationwide! Yay!
But, it's contract, so who knows how long I'll be here. Boo.
I turned 30. Yay? Boo? I'm not sure quite yet.

There you have it in a nutshell. I shall expand of some of the above on a later date, but for now, I'm back! YAY!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inception (this is a spoiler, people)

So, you've seen Inception, right? If not, stop reading immediately.

I have to say, this is the coolest movie I've seen in years. And we watch a LOT of movies. I have high expectations for films these days. I think it's because I'm getting grouchy in my old age about spending valuable hours watching shit movies. Predictability (i.e. Avatar) is NOT cool - however, the effects made up for it. I don't like plot lines that are lacking in substance (i.e. Legion) or movies that literally make me fall asleep (i.e. Men Who Stare at Goats).  But Inception... WOW. Like, seriously. You must use your brain while watching this movie. The girl next to me in the theater said "I don't get it" dozens of times, so I'm sure she hated this movie. You have to be a least a tad smart.

OK, so, you've seen it... what do you think happens to the totem at the end? Does it keep spinning? Or does it fall over?

Here's what I think: it keeps spinning. First of all, the movie doesn't tell us how long he's been away from his kids... but we can assume it's been a while, right? Why aren't they any older? And would they really be out playing just like they were in his dreams? And, would they really be home alone?

Also, we don't actually see Cobb get out of limbo, and he doesn't make it out of the van in the second level. Juno (er um... Ariadne) tells Arthur that "he'll be alright" when they all make it out and he doesn't. I think she knows that A) Cobb drown (died) in the van and is stuck in limbo with Saito or B) If he somehow does make it out, Saito has been stuck there long enough that his mind is gone and he will never be able to make the call to get Cobb home. So, Ariadne knows the only way Cobb will be happy is to live in his dream... and she resolves to leave him there, hence "he'll be alright."

Cobb then creates the last scene of the movie in his limbo... and becomes the architect of his own world again.

What do YOU think? Tell me. (please)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Change is SO good!

Well, friends, I'm still alive!

Sorry I have been MIA for the last few weeks. Life has been busy, busy... but GOOD busy, unlike the super stressful/annoying and overall BAD busy of before. 

We have moved & settled into our new place in Columbus. It's funny how comfortable I feel here compared to living in Charlotte. Ohio is, and will always be, HOME. I'm glad I figured that out sooner than later. And I'm lucky to have a husband that is more than willing to let me have that, even though home to him is the Rocky Mountains. 

Speaking of the Rockies... we managed to squeeze a trip out west into our crazy few weeks and had a fabulous time. Check this out: 

That's me, skydiving! 

Here's me, happy that I am still alive.
(I was nervous about that.)

How did this whole skydiving adventure come about, you ask? Well, my father-in-law is a second generation smoke jumper (you know, those crazy people who parachute into the wilderness to fight wildfires because it's impossible to get there in a vehicle). After that, he worked for the Forest Service on parachute design & testing and now he does top-secret stuff for the military. Cool, huh? So anyway, he signed us up for a jump and I thought what better situation than to jump with someone he knows is super good? Super good tandem jumper, Gary, pictured above. The guy has been jumping for 40-some years and has made over 8,200 jumps! Yeah, I think maybe he knows what he's doing.

Every experienced jumper I talked to before the big day (Paul, Paul's dad and Paul's grandpa) told me I wouldn't feel like I'm falling at all... no stomach in the throat, just the feeling of floating. I couldn't believe it, but that's TOTALLY correct. I had NONE of that roller-coaster feeling. I screamed, yes. But then I looked around at the gorgeous mountains. See?

(That's Paul & Gary coming in for a landing.)

I cannot WAIT to jump again. I think this is our new (expensive as hell) hobby. It takes 25 jumps to get certified to jump solo. Just FYI. Ha!

Anyway, back to the point. I'm loving the changes in my life - new state, new job (um, seriously, no boss is the best thing ever), new apartment, new (SHORT) drive to see the fam, new (LOW) stress level... good stuff. Very good stuff. Yay. :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

The South ain't all bad.

Indeed I am, and will always be a mid-west girl. My 2 years in the south have been a bit rough - being far from family & friends, struggling with jobs & money, trying to build new relationships... all the while feeling like I'm a bit of an outsider. I'm excited to get back to where I feel I belong (HOME), but there are things that I will certainly miss about Charlotte. Here are 12.

1. Charlotte friends. You are #1 by far on my list. You made this experience something I would never trade. I am so grateful to know you all. We are still planning on that annual beach trip, so count us in next year... or we'll just crash your party.

2. Being close-ish to the beach & the mountains. 2-3 hours east or west gets us to the Atlantic or the Appalachians. It's pretty cool. Check out the sand dollars we collected at the beach this past weekend:

(Pardon the terrible CrackBerry quality photo.)

3. REAL barbecue. (see below... not the kind you get at Sticky Fingers.)

4. 70 degrees in January. Actually, I'll miss the weather October - March in general.


5. Beer. Specifically Yuengling & my newest favorites - all 3 beers made by Big Boss Brewery out of Raliegh. Also, I'll miss the unlimited access to Fat Tire, Carolina Blonde and numerous other awesome mico-brews that I've come to love.

6. "Y'all" This is one southernism that I find charming and useful. Up north, as you know, we say "you guys"... doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

7. Running all year long. Even when it snows, there's still not enough, nor is it cold enough to stop me from running - with the exception of maybe a week or 2. Ohio is MUCH different in this regard. (Sad face.)

8. Lake Norman. It's pretty, and I like to watch the boats. Although there are giant lakes back home, they won't be in our back yard.

9. Rust-free vehicles. I know Paul will miss this for sure! However, I will get to use my 4WD again, so that's cool... I guess.

10. Slower pace. Now, let me clarify. My day-to-day is very fast-paced, but if you took work out of the equation, life is indeed slower here, which is nice.

11. Moe's Southwest Grill.  Man, I just really love Moe's. I'd like to own a Moe's one day.

12. Being the one with the accent. It's fun. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things Clients Say #8

Here we go! (I think Blogger is broken. It doesn't like my line breaks today. Sorry!)

"Add a white or bnlack border. All the graphics and final materials look much cleaner when there is one."
Yes, yes, you're right. Borders = much cleaner. Especially bnlack ones. Gosh, I'm glad you're here to educated me on this.      -- 
"I have been waiting 13 days for the graphic?"
Wait, are you asking me? Nope, you just don't know how to use the very complicated question mark character. (on a side note, I sent her the graphic in question 12 days ago.)   -- 
"This is not as classy as we were hoping.  Can they say that it is [client]'s 3 Year Black & White Anniversary Party.  Can we please make this look a bit more special and classy.  Can we add crystals too it?"
Adding crystals "too" stuff makes them classier AND special-er! What was I thinking!?
Here is last year's anniversary party they are referring to:      
It's lovely, no? WHAT is that thing coming out of her head? It's very serpent/alien like. Let's go celebrate Anytime there. Are you in?  Haha!-- 
"Just a suggestion, the bottom picture is just a giant nacho could you slip in half and do the second half with something gameday related? May a pictures of some classy girls watching sports on tv, or toasting over a touchdown, something like that?"
lol. This one just made me laugh. "Giant nacho"... hehehe! Also, I always toast with my girlfriends over a touchdown... looking classy of course. Don't you? -- 
"I think the negative of reminding people we’re not local out ways the positive of multiple locations or that we are local for some."
Hehe... "out ways"... duh.  -- 
I may not have as much material for a new post each week (thank God) from now on. However, there is no limit to the stupid in this world, so this definitely won't be the last!