Rika Youngblood's Journal|
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|Thursday, November 18th, 2010|
After agonizing over an upcoming music-theory test for days, I took the test today and discovered I might actually understand the material. We'll see next Tuesday.
After missing two classes because of my previously mentioned car trouble, I'd feared for the worst. But despite his rigid insistence on maintaining particular classroom forms -- an understandable trait in someone who teaches music minutiae -- the instructor really does want students to learn and gives them every opportunity to do so. He sat down with everyone, me included, over a set of practice questions and spent as much time as we [thought we] needed.
It's still not clear whether my car can go the distance to school and back, so my housemate has been driving me to school this week. This means that he and I share the sleep deprivation I used to suffer alone on Tuesday and Thursday mornings -- we are such
decided swing/graveyard shifters. We're past the testy phase and into a sort of rhythm, though our sleep cycles haven't shifted. I go to bed at, say 2 a.m., but lie there till 3 or 3:30.
Aaand that's enough lollygagging. Now I have to whip something together for the video editing class. My current project is a documentary on Stan Freberg
. He's been working since 1944, fresh out of high school at 17 years old. Do you know how deep and how varied his resume is? Thank heaven this can be a work in progress. So far it's mostly been a piece of work. I've cut and cut and cut back on my focus, and finally decided to approach his CV in bite-size chunks. Right now I'm in the "Time for Beany!" years. All hail YouTube, without which I wouldn't have known that the Cecil the Seasick Ser-Pent voice I knew as a child probably came from Irv Shoemaker. Freberg's voice in the early series is unmistakable
|Tuesday, November 16th, 2010|
|You don't miss the water till the well overflows
This last week or so has been a collection of mini-hells on wheels. Maybe roller skates. Second biggest glitch of last week was the collapse of the water heater just before the weekend. Out of nowhere the heater produced rushing, gurgling noises, and eventually nothing else. It took me a little while to find the turnoff valve, which for some reason wasn't in the spot shown in the manual, but I shut off the spigot before the garage was flooded. That's the good news.
The irritating news was that although my housemate's home warranty payments were up to date, so the cost of replacement or repair shouldn't have been a problem, the insurance company's central office had chosen the weekend to do a computer upgrade that didn't allow the adjusters access to customer files. This meant that we couldn't find someone in network to do the repairs, and the adjusters could only allocate the minimum reimbursement amount for any out-of-network contractor, an amount that wouldn't even cover materials costs for a cheap, undersized heater.
So we had to wait till Monday evening to get hot water in the house again. This isn't easy for people who dance, sweat a lot (in my housemate's case), go to the gym, and otherwise lead moderately active lives in a Mediterranean climate. We were each able to use outside showers once, but overall we stayed sticky. A few minutes ago I took my first long, hot shower in several days -- feeling clean and warm is an undersung pleasure.
Biggest glitch of the week, though, is that my car blew a head gasket. At first I thought it was just a heater hose, as did the repair shop, but the compression test told the rest of the story. I was able to drive the car for short distances before it heated up while on the way to the repair shop. The mechanic at the desk, who used to race Honda Civics like mine, says that the engine may be able to stand a bit more driving if I pay close attention to the coolant levels and pull over to top them up whenever the temperature starts to rise. I haven't given this theory a serious test yet, though, since on top of the water heater woes I was quite under the weather for most of last week. The cost of repairing the car would be nearly three times what I paid for it (yes, a very good deal on this vehicle), and I'm in no position to shell out that amount right now. So until we find out how much driving this baby can take, I'll be relying on my housemate to drop me off at school during the crucial mid-week classes. Fortunately there's only a few weeks left.
Had to drop my screenprinting studio class at the last moment because, especially with the car situation, I just can't guarantee enough in-studio hours to pass. The instructor was very understanding; next quarter I'll give it another go. The music theory class alternately delights me and kicks my ass. Freakin' triads, man.
...Would write more, but I have to catch a few hours of sleep before the (for me) unseasonably early Music Theory. TTYL.
|Thursday, November 4th, 2010|
|Children of the night, what music they hope to make
So I've been reading Livejournal more lately, but it's still hard for me to make myself post. I don't feel as comfortable writing as nakedly as I did in years past, and that's the truth of it.
Perhaps writing more often and less nakedly would prove more fruitful. Here's the latest fully-clothed news, then. School continues on, and in terms of getting an actual degree there is finally
light at the end of the tunnel. The courses I need to get my AA in Music Tech will be offered next spring. Did they announce this generally? No, I had to hear it completely by chance as the instructor mentioned it to another student nearby. Fine, whatever. Now I know. Next I'll check to see when they'll offer the classes I need for the Pro Tools certificate.
This quarter the class that consumes most of my attention is the Music Theory class, for better or worse. I'm learning tons of stuff that heretofore had stayed perpetually out of focus, which feels exciting. All the detail plucks my magic anxiety twanger. I have to reassure myself every few days that I jumped this far down the rabbit hole because I *like and care about music*.
The other aspect of the class that makes me jumpy is simply getting there. The class already starts early by our household's standards. The short form is, wow, are my housemate and I born to work the swing or graveyard shifts. I.e., my housemate and I are completely comfortable going to bed at 3 or 4 a.m. My housemate's body clock works on even more of a swing-shift/night-shift rhythm than mine does, and he slips back to his preferred schedule even in the face of work repercussions. My bedtime clock goes off earlier than his, at maybe 2-3 a.m.; he'll often stay up till 5 or 6 a.m. Why this matters is that we enjoy each other's company, and late is often the only time our paths will cross.
In addition to that, the parking situation, and the allergized and mildly asthmatized state of my lungs at this time of the year, means that there's only one campus parking lot that doesn't require me to hike up a steep hill to get to class. And to get a parking space there it's necessary to arrive an hour early, at 9 a.m. for a 10 a.m. class. Which means getting up at 8 a.m. or earlier. So I'm frequently dealing with sleep deprivation when I go into class -- the class sessions are 3 hours long, twice a week, by the way.
Edited to fix my embarrassing E.g./i.e slip up there. Anyway, it appears that there's one class per quarter that freaks me out, and Music Theory is the one. It's a three quarter course if one chooses to sign up for that. Next quarter the class will actually start at 9 a.m. The instructor calls roll at the minute class starts, not even waiting five minutes, no breaks for anyone, so that means arriving even earlier. I'm trying to decide whether to take the class online next quarter. If I do, I miss the solfege, sight-singing, and ear-training aspects of the class. On the other hand, I'll be awake.
|Wednesday, September 29th, 2010|
Had a lucky day today. I was assigned a new Volunteer of Record spot in the recording studio, which was an unasked favor, since other people needed to submit resumes. The guy newly in charge of assigning VORs, someone else from the Music Tech program, noticed that I hadn't submitted a resume and checked in with me to see if I wanted to stay on the list. I did and he did. Couldn't get the absolute maximum convenient time for myself, but still something workable. EDIT: I should add that I've already been a VOR for most of a year, and that apparently other ongoing VORs didn't need to submit resumes either; in other words, we didn't need to requalify.
What else felt lucky? Oh, making all the lights, getting a lot of amusing texts, jumping back into work on a project from last quarter that's carrying over, having an especially good sandwich in the cafeteria. It just felt like a good day.
Not lucky for everyone though. Greg Giraldo
, a favorite comedian of mine for several years, apparently died of an accidental drug overdose today. I first encountered him on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn
(six years since that show was on, really?), in which Quinn and four other comedians talked about current events & issues, played in sketches, performed semi-impromptu short monologues, and generally attempted to be interesting, funny, and politically aware all at once. Greg Giraldo was one of the few comedians who always hit that mark. Giraldo graduated from Harvard Law School, but he only practiced law for a year before turning to comedy. Smart, smart, smart man, always articulate and informed, and *always* funny. You can develop funny monologues, you can hone your sets to a bright, sharp edge, but being naturally funny is a gift unbound to politics or maybe even intelligence. It's all in the rhythm and the timing.
I'm glad that I got to see Giraldo perform live once, at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco. Afterwards he hung out in the lobby hawking his CDs -- you'd think he didn't need to do that any more, but we all know how glamorous the life of a working comedian is. He stood there covered in sweat, waiting for CD-autograph requests and compliments, both of which I could give him. Comedy's a hard profession, not much given to peace, but I hope he has some now.
|Saturday, September 25th, 2010|
Here in the TechShop hub at the end of the afternoon, after finishing my first session on the laser cutter in a couple of months. I made some relatively simple cards on luxe coppery paper in a mini-production run.
Feeling kind of relaxed for a change, now that that nasty cold is over. I'm surrounded by quiet bustle, people chatting over their projects at the worktables, the buzz and whir of machinery a room away.
Life is for the moment okay.
|Tuesday, September 14th, 2010|
|Sunday, September 12th, 2010|
I dropped my housemate off at the airport a little while ago, after successfully portaging around some gigantic accident on 101 that occupied traffic on both sides of the freeway. For a week it's devil-may-care, tra-la.
This week will also be a dry run for this quarter's retuned sleeping schedule. I'm about to start the hard-core music theory class at Foothill, a 5-unit course that meets twice a week/3 hrs per meeting (standard courses are only 4 units). The course is available online, but if it's 5 units worth of work, I'm betting it'll be easier to stay on track with face time and butts in seats. In fact, most of my schedule is predicated on being there in person this quarter, and at high-traffic times, too. Going to have to arise hours earlier than usual.
With any luck this will rearrange my housemate's schedule as well, since he keeps complaining that he a) doesn't get enough sleep and b) needs to get to work earlier. We're both natural night people and we do enjoy each other's company; we tend to use the wee hours to multitask together as we roam the net, chat, and catch up on TV after he gets back from his other evening plans. What he says
is that my schedule shift will help him tweak his own timing, as his boss has asked. Me, I don't know. He's set in his ways. But my own ways will have to change no matter what.
|Friday, September 10th, 2010|
Up late because I'm pining for the fjords.
Okay, I've never been to the fjords. Someday, though.
Have been up working on a number of things -- washing/organizing clothing to donate to the San Bruno fire evacuees, watching backed-up videos off the DVR, and desultorily straightening up. My housemate just got home from work; he's been laboring over all the things he has to finish before a business trip, and a moment ago I finished proofing his Powerpoint slides.
I'm watching the VH1 compilation of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" -- am trying not to get too bent out of joint about the order of the selections, because these lists are always creatures of the moment and it's modern musicians voting, but The Velvet Underground rating above Chuck Berry, really? Patti Smith isn't there at *all*? These five hours of clips serve mostly to prod the memory. "Oh, yeah, I remember them. That was a great song!" "Look at Freddie Mercury work that gigantic crowd at Wembley -- Christ, they're eddying like a field of wheat." They're in the Top 20 now; everyone's a powerhouse, group placement is mere quibbling.
So how the heck are you? I do read y'all on a semi-regular basis. Current Mood: awake
|Sunday, May 9th, 2010|
|A quiet afternoon
Taking a moment to post here from the recording studio at Foothill. It's a slow day -- I'm here as a "volunteer of record," vetted as someone mature and responsible enough to keep sure the studio stays in reasonably good shape, microphones aren't stolen or flung carelessly onto the ground, and so forth while people convert performances into Pro Tools sessions. The artist who was going to be recorded today didn't show up, so the student engineer cut out early, leaving me to be responsible by myself.
Muzzy-headed from allergies today. Is it preferable to have your head full of cotton wool, your mood low and somnolent, your stomach aching, and your throat froggy than to simply have your eyes streaming while you sneeze so many time that you can't stop to type? It's a tough call, though right now the sneezing almost seems preferable. If you're too logy and dragged out to think, freedom from sneezing doesn't buy you much. Thank heaven I'm not taking choir classes lately -- I'd be clearing my throat every other note. Also, without a brain I'm a shitty conversationalist, no fun to hang out with; Sudafed's all that keeps me close to normal.
But I'm doing art, taking care of business. This last Thursday in the T-shirt & garment printing class, the instructor brought in a guest teacher, a man named Mikey (missed his last name) who reportedly worked with Warhol and Basquiat. Looking at him, you could believe it. Imagine Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler as a working artist, running around a table full of students set to work using his old silkscreens, barking at them to throw on another shirt Right Now, saying "that's not the right color" and literally grabbing hunks of ink out of the container to mix on the screen with his hands. The regular instructor pinned samples of Mikey's work to the walls for us to enjoy; it's a lot of hand-cut stencils and big, throbbing images, inspirational in their huge gestures. Makes me feel a bit prissy for usually admiring fine lines and clean details in my own work. Okay, we'll see how Going Big works for me.
Friday night I went to the Billboard Liberation Front/Mission Muralismo event at the DeYoung Museum
. Interesting mixture of groups there. On the one hand, the Marcus Shelby Quartet performed while slides of stencils flashed past on walls overhead. To the right, a line of tables full of traditional-style quilters, not really art quilters as such, fielding questions about their respective quilt guilds while they stitched. Away to the left, an adults/kids table where children either colored or tried cutting stencils. And in front of the auditorium where Rigo and the Billboard Liberation Front were speaking, stencil artists gave demos and spoke about their work. Here are a picture of the artist Eclair talking about her work and another of two of her stencils:
Inside the auditorium, Rigo introduced the BLF and clicked through some examples of his own work (for example, the "Extinct" mural shown below). The members of the BLF wore masks reminiscent of commedia dell'arte when they spoke, subtly blending centuries of cultural work. Nevertheless, the warmth and darkness in the auditorium nearly knocked me out. At least I've seen members of the BLF speak in the last few years, so the mini-naps didn't lose me much.
Afterwards, a trip to see Iron Man 2 with friends, which gave a chance to compare Mickey Rourke more closely to Mikey the Visiting Artist. Yep, a lot of the same demented energy. If you bleached Rourke's hair blonde and gave him wide, dark sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt, you'd have a reasonable picture of this guy. Weird, the way all these artistic streams want to cross. Current Mood: spacy
|Friday, April 23rd, 2010|
Only a month passed between posts this time; I'm narrowing down the average gap.
This is being typed as I sit in the TechShop common area, after a class in Demystifying Crochet that actually may have gotten me over my mental blocks. The instructor, Laura Mappin, brought out several bags of her simpler crocheted works from her squid-and-octopus phase, then set us to chaining and making simple netting. Only two students, me and a grizzled quality-assurance engineer, both refugees from the laser room
The new school quarter has begun. As of week 3, my extra-special class load doesn't seem that heavy. Most of it is further exploration of work I've already been doing: more on garment printing, more on learning Final Cut Pro, more on Pro Tools, more on piano. A mostly self-paced online class where I'm already several weeks ahead. Then three courses of essentially extended studio time in printing and recording. Finally, a one-unit class that gives access to the college gym, because all this sitting over the last couple of years literally gave me sciatica. Given a choice I'd be taking a Pilates class, but with budget cuts, there aren't any that fit into my schedule.
And where does all this take me, you might ask? Well, I'm now traveling a path further along the road of current tech, not mega-technical but moderately technical (that would involve programming, which will probably happen at least at the Arduino level but 'oley speaks, not yet). I'll be able to edit a video and record & edit music at a moderately professional level, design and print things onto T-shirts and other surfaces, and laser-cut you a good piece of artwork along with its display stand (this part comes from TechShop).
The funny thing is that what's most likely to make me money in the short run is the T-shirts. People *get* T-shirts -- that is, they understand them *and* they buy them.
The Foothill Fine Arts department is participating in Open Studios next month, hosting tables for students to sell their wares at the Foothill tables, and I'll be joining in. As it turns out, this gives me all of a week to gather my scattered goods together and figure out what I want to sell. Lots of possibilities. I've been stockpiling work for a while with the plan of selling it online. Kept dragging my feet on populating my Etsy shop, though. Gathering work for this sale not only will give me a deadline, it'll also eliminate some of my no-doubt-excessive worries about selling (is this the right amount for shipping? will I be able to maintain a good sales-to-shipping turnaround time? will PayPal mess with me as it has so many other people I know?). It'll all be sold right there.
What would come in most handy now is a business coach. I need a routine, and maybe a sales rep. Current Mood: cold-infested but busy
|Tuesday, March 16th, 2010|
|Work avoidance as art process
Another fragment, more than a tweet or Facebook status, less than an essay.
I'm posting this as part of not leaving the house to make a bank deposit, pick up library books, and of course head to school to do what may be the last round of printing for my garment printing class.
Garment printing makes you think about color, position, ink, and style all at once. It also makes you think, "Crikey, this is a lot of effort for a few swipes with a squeegee, no matter how good it looks in the end." So many steps, then the tension of "Will the design work on this surface? Will I manage to register all portions of the design?" I'm still enjoying it, though.
The good thing about T-shirts is that they're ubiquitous and easy to sell. I have some interesting designs that people say they like. In a somewhat related note, my MBox2 is on order, so whenever it comes through I'll be able to start working on Pro Tools at home; lots of design possibilities in sound-related ideas. In other words, two creative streams that feed each other. Current Mood: busy
|Sunday, March 14th, 2010|
|End of quarter follies
I'm sitting at the laser cutter -- technically, next
to the laser cutter as it whirs away -- having finally achieved the correct speed and power formula for something I've been thinking about for a couple of years. A kindly soul told me that another, unintentionally kindly soul blew off their reservation on Laser #2.
So, anyone still out there? How've you all been? By me it's okay, lots of creative ferment. Let's see if lots of short entries work for me where longer summations haven't. Current Mood: quixotic
|Saturday, December 5th, 2009|
|Back to LJ
Okay, it could be the schoolwork, it could be the lure of Facebook. But how did I let nearly four months go by between updates here?
What I've been up to:
1) Throwing myself into school. It's been a real head-stretcher. I'm working in several different disciplines, and my brain frequently feels like a piece of rubber stretched taut at the corners. Stretched in a *good* way, but definitely nearing my limits. Expanding those limits, too. Pushing the edge of the envelope.
This quarter it's been film and sound design, T-shirt printing, continuing piano studies, and digital painting. Which class do you think would be hardest? Wrong: it's the T-shirt class. The instructor, who is a sweetie who really does his best to elicit good work from every student, also requires a tremendous amount of work, including stacks of design ideas and detailed notes on every chapter of a deceptively thin book. Another teacher compared the class to a post-graduate seminar. Could be, could be. I just signed up for a single-unit class with this instructor in the next quarter. I expect that'll be as much work as a four-unit class taught by anybody else.
2) Doing more art. I'm finally in a groove on the laser cutter at TechShop, in a place where I can do the technical things without thinking about them much while exploring my ideas.
So much of this process has been internal, and not particularly verbal, much less commentworthy. What I'd be writing, were I writing here more, would run along the lines of "Hey, I scored some great cardboard boxes from a dumpster. Those should be awesome for etching my new design." "I recorded the sound of a cabbage being splashed into a toilet for my sound design class yesterday. Does that really sound enough like a guy being given a swirly to succeed as a sound effect?" [Okay, that story's probably worth recounting in more detail.] "Will 'Amanda' stop hogging the screens so I can print my multi-color design?" "Can I ever get my left hand and right hand to work together well enough so that this sounds like the notes written on the page?"
To everyone who's still out there, I hope you're equally creatively employed in your favorite areas, and wish me luck with mine.
I'll come back to tell the recording story after Sunday -- next week is Finals Week, and this is Hell Weekend.
|Thursday, August 13th, 2009|
|Tuesday, August 11th, 2009|
Is all I've been doing today. Organizing, wiping things down, and putting things away, but not at a heavy pace, because I may have contracted Alan's stomach ailment. So there's also been a lot of sleeping.
TCM is running War and Peace
tonight -- my inner costume nazi is really having trouble with the clothes. Oh, those body-hugging sheaths and the inappropriate satin. This was not Henry Fonda's finest moment as an actor, either.
Might go out to look at the Perseids after midnight, if my housemate and I are both feeling up to it.
|Monday, August 10th, 2009|
|Homemade cinnamon-apple syrup over vanilla & brown sugar ice creams
A few days ago I was given a tall can of apple juice that looked rather pale and watery as it stood. So this morning I poured the juice into a pot, tossed in a couple of cinnamon sticks and three cloves, then reduced the juice down to a syrup. The syrup seemed tasty enough that I ran out and bought a pint each of Haagen Dazs vanilla and brown sugar ice cream*, and drizzled the syrup on top of a half-scoop of each for me and my housemate Alan. Wharrgarbl!**
*Locals: Haagen Dazs is on special now at Safeway, by the way, probably because Ben & Jerry's permanently dropped its prices -- check to see whether your nearby Safeway is participating in the price war.
**EDIT: The Urban Dictionary tells me that "Wharrgarbl" means something more like "angry rantings" out in the blogiverse, but I'm referring only to the dog's attempts to inhale that water -- that word/picture combo always makes me laugh. If anyone knows the verbal representation of Homer Simpson's tongue-lolling gurgle of desire, that's what I'd really
like to say.
|Sunday, August 9th, 2009|
|Old school ties
As I signed in at TechShop this afternoon, a spiky-haired man with a magnifying lens clipped to his already-steampunky glasses came out of the main workroom to ask the receptionist a question, then stopped and stared at me. When I walked past him in the workroom later he called me by name -- it turned out to be someone I went to school with 13 years ago. What a pleasant surprise it was to see him.
He traveled a much techier path than I did, so he's been doing 3D animation, is now working on an iPhone app, etc. But our everyday style and a lot of our interests are still the same. We talked for half an hour about all the water that's gone under the bridge with our grad school (an interdisciplinary program that SFSU eventually terminated along with all its other interdisciplinary programs), our lives, our pet projects, our favorite shows. He turns out to be a big Whedon fan, and shortly before he left tonight I introduced him to Felicia Day's online comedy series The Guild
on YouTube -- it turns out that most of his officemates, including his boss, are World of Warcraft fanatics, and they've been putting the heat on him to sign up. (Software problems are the only thing that's kept him from taking the leap.) As I told him, I know we're living in the future when being an online gamer can become a workplace requirement.
He's going to be hanging out at TechShop a lot, he says. We're bouncing ideas off each other again, the way we did in school -- it just makes me smile. I'm buzzed and cheerful at the thought of reconnecting to that part of my creative life.
|Friday, August 7th, 2009|
|A "what you've done" meme, via Firecat
Seen various places. I've left in some of Firecat's answers as appropriate.
Bold the things you have done. Italicize all the things you WISH you had done or would like to do. Strikethrough all the things you DO NOT want to do, ever. And of course there are combinations.
I'm increasingly glad when these memes float by -- they remind me that life hasn't been dull and more is yet to come.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
(not a very high
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
(I can't decide....)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
(I still remember the huge lightning storm we had in the Bay Area, what, 10 years ago, where the lightning seemed to stretch for miles horizontally overhead -- tremendous fun)( Read more...Collapse )
|Wednesday, August 5th, 2009|
|This post is a lie
Or not. I'll try to make it delicious and moist anyway. The point is to stop caroming between more serious work on Corel Painter and several other online forums.
Right now my big distraction is the various iTunes libraries hooked up in this computer lab. Somebody has a serious
'70s/'80s oldies collection sprinkled with oddities. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole is a wonderful singer, but that does *not* mean he should be singing the Theme to Gilligan's Island.
It's embarrassing to see how many songs I used to dislike have crept into the "nostalgically remembered" category. "Sussudio," for example.
What I should be working on is a clutch of digital paintings for my directed study credit. Here's one; it's pretty simple, based on a photo I took, brushstroked like crazy in Corel Painter:
On a more topical bent: For those of you who haven't seen it yet, you too can have your own Kenyan birth certificate!