Friday, September 2, 2011

Libraries and Gaming

Last night, I dreamed that I combined two of my favorite things:  Learning and Zuma Blitz.
I love the speed of this matching game and the incredibly high possible scores.  But this evening, I dreamed that instead of colored balls, it was a stream of sentences.  For every connection made, I learned something new.  And if I got a fruit,
than it was literally the fruit of knowledge and I would learn everything currently on the screen.

But there was an additional icon that popped up like fruit.  (And this is NOT in the game).

If I managed to get the toilet paper roll, it cleared up all the BS out there pretending to be real information.

So when I woke up this morning, I knew that I still had my trip to the Troy Library on my mind from yesterday.  We went in for a 'how to use the library' presentation for my Art History class.  I could tell that of my classmates and I, either I'm the most talkative or the one that actually uses the library, because when he asked questions, 90% of the time, I answered, and correctly.

The University has a WebCat that is, as far as I can tell, where the card catalog of my youth has gone.

You know, when we did it REALLY old school... back in the age of rotary dial phones that only made phone calls.
You search it for any of the books,periodicals, etc. that the entire University has, whether it's on this campus or not.  And thankfully, more and more books are beginning to crop up electronically!

But then I learned of two wonderful, new to me things!

 WorldCat and InterLibrary Loan.

With World Cat, you can search for a book, periodical, etc. -from anywhere in the world-!!!  If it's available electronically, viola! Instant gratification!  But if it's not, the library (and I mean ANY library) can use the InterLibrary Loan and using the old school tech of snail mail, you can borrow a book from anywhere in the world!

(Can you hear the holy choir and divine bells, or am I the only one?)
Yes, yes, this information will improve my English and Art History papers, but more importantly, it opens up an entire world of SCAdian research!  The possibilities set my little nerd heart aflutter.  I can learn from and see books on embroidery, heraldry, illumination, cooking--whatever!  If the book exists and I can get the title/ISBN or any other distinguishing bits of information that makes it possible to track down-- I can have access to the knowledge contained within!

As a child I used to dream of this.  To be honest, as a child, this access to knowledge and information was my idea of heaven itself.  I would sometimes dream that should I die and go to heaven, God would grant me access to his library for eternity.  And it contained every book there every was, or ever would be.

And then we go back to last night's dream.  This is where the toilet paper roll comes in.

Because although the internet is a great place to start, there's still an awful lot of bogus information floating around out there.  The relative ease of accessing primary sources really will help flush the crap away.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Not All Rainbows and Butterflies

This morning's blog is dedicated to

Usually, I absolute adore being a parent.  But not always.  And not last night.  Don't get me wrong, I love my children.  But sometimes, I could understand the inclination to loathe them.  Not that I'd give into it, mind you, but I could understand it.
For the last week and a half, I've gotten a consistent, terrible headache between the hours of 4 and 7 pm.

I was beginning to think I was prone to cluster headaches.
Or that I'd finally succumbed to the family history of migraines.

But I followed the prescribed plan of documenting when I get my headaches, etc., etc., etc.  And discovered that it's the boys fussing, nitpicking, begging, sassing, yelling and fighting with each other.

Even if they only do it for 15 minutes, my head is a mess for hours.  And then I might as well walk around with this on my forehead:

I recognize there are alternative solutions:

I could give them a time out.
A friend suggested duct tape.
I could even look into a baby sitter for some much needed 'me' time.
Last night, I went with
Because, let's face it, we couldn't possibly make it through all the ups and downs of parenthood without one of these:

Looking for Inspiration

At the beginning of this semester, my Collaborative Studio class headed to the Johnson Art Center to see the current exhibit and look for inspiration.

One of my favorite pieces was actually in the lobby portion of the art center.

I've tried to document it above,  and I like to believe that the artist did it on purpose, but when I saw it, I laughed out loud and HAD to take a picture:  He stuck out his thumb and pulled out a plumb (:

I was pleased to see that two of my instructors are in the exhibit:

Mr. Percy, our ceramic's and art education instructor.

And Mr. Paxson, our 3D instructor.

There were a couple of pieces I simply enjoyed for the beauty of them.

This reminded me of sand paintings I used to play with as a child.

I love the split panels, and it appears that she does some stenciling techniques.

I didn't find this one attractive, but I certainly found it interesting.
 Then I came across these amazing music boxes!  What she did was poke holes in the photo tracks.

You step on the presser foot to activate them.  I have to admit, I LOVE interactive art, and these were extremely well crafted!

This next artist is an -astonishing- painter.  I also enjoy his mixing of 3D and 2D elements.

And I was pleased to see fiber arts represented.

As well as some absolutely lovely functional wood and metal work.

Everything was so well crafted!  And my favorites were the pieces with intricate details.

As large as this looks, it's only about a 5" square.  And made it tiny paper cuts.
 I also enjoyed the artist exploring unusual media, like light.

I even loved the green glow that was cast into another room by the previous piece.
 My favorite part of the last piece that I saw

is the apparent shadow cast on the base.  I thought it was a lovely, if macabre addition that allows the piece to tell a story.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed the show, and the inspiration I've taken from it is to embrace both my 2D and 3D nature.  To add humor, thought and whimsy to my pieces.  And to try to work in the full variety of mediums that I know how to use.

As the semester progresses, we'll see how well I do with it (:

Dancing With The Dragonflies

Two years ago, when I visited my friend Teresa in San Antonio, we stopped in a Del Sol shop and I bought this wonderful color changing shirt.

It's shades of beige and white when I'm inside, but becomes these beautiful colors when I step out into the sun. It made me smile as I was leaving English class yesterday, because I looked down and watched it happen, and at the same time, my transition lenses darkened. I could just imagine being across the street watching me color change, and it amused me greatly.

I was feeling particularly matchy-matchy, so I also had my beloved dragonfly clip in my hair. I sometimes wish that when I'd gotten in in the early 90s, I'd bothered to get a second one.

And I chose to wear the wonderful butterfly earrings that my mother passed on to me. My sister and I used to love when she'd let us look through her jewelry box. These earring were always a favorite of mine. She let me have them when I turned 15.

So there I am, leaving English class at 10 am in the morning, grinning from ear to ear at my own amusement, when I begin to cross the quad.

And grinned even larger as I watched almost 30 dragonflies zipping and racing all around the quad. I paused to watch them. There were large black ones, small red ones, even shades of blue and green happily zooming by. It was as though the cooler humidity had amped them up and they were celebrating the beautiful weather with an end of summer dance.

Though I continued walking on to my next destination, the smile remained on my face, and in my heart, I too, was dancing with the dragonflies.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paper and Creativity

In our house, I buy an awful lot of tape, note books, plain paper, glue and various writing/ coloring utensils.  And this has absolutely nothing to do with school supply shopping.

Each of my boys has their own paper drawer, as well as another drawer for pens/pencils/crayons/markers/ scissors.  I keep the tape and glue in the living room and they need to ask before they get into it.  They're almost always told, "Yes."

Almost every night, my boys spend between one and three hours creating.  They draw things out, they fold and cut and glue and tape.  And they make all sorts of really awesome things.

Tonight, they started at 5 and kept right on going until bed time.

Lately, they've both been fascinated with Batman.  I'm sure this is greatly influenced by them playing Batman:  Arkham Asylum.

My youngest has been drawing out all the different bat-tools on a miniature scale and cutting them out.  Tonight, he and his brother were making heavy duty baterangs.  They don't come back, but they sure do sail across the room like they're out to take out an imaginary bad guy!

In addition to Batman, my youngest has been building boats.  Just paper and a bit of tape.  The one he made at school, he even filled the sink up to test if it would float.

Tonight, he made this:

It's a pirate ship he made at Mark's parents while we were visiting tonight.
One of the things I love most about these times is that they don't want help and don't need supervision.  It's them, creating whatever they want to.  They'll show me when they're all done.  I like to think of it as a lesson in self-sufficiency, but really, they came up with this all on their own.

It's also a chance for them to practice creating art, in and of itself.   As well as challenging them to solve problems they come across along the way.  A lot of time, this is where they'll come out and ask for some consultation.  I'll make a couple of suggestions and they go work on them some more.  Sometimes, they follow my advice.  Sometimes, they come up with their own amazing solutions.

I also love how these creative adventures turn into part imaginary play/ part science experiment.  Tonight, they were learning about weight and it's influence on paper baterang flying, as well as speed, force and aim.  Not that they're thinking of it in those terms.

To them, the house is littered with gun wielding crazy people, and they have to defend our home.