Archive | January, 2011

Dear Nebraska,

31 Jan

Look, I know it’s almost February. I know that, as a Midwestern state, you only have two real seasons and those are hot-as-balls summer and the misery of sub-zero snowmageddon. This is my sixth winter in your frigid embrace, and I’m aware that my complaining is going to do absolutely nothing.

But seriously.

This has GOT to STOP.

Know how long it took to get all the ice scraped off my car this afternoon? Twenty minutes. I didn’t even get all of it off, and I needed to enlist the aid of my boyfriend, who has a higher cold tolerance and less weedy wrists. There was still a solid layer of ice on both my side-view mirrors, since the most we could do to remove it was chip off enough for me to have visibility. I did everything I could – defrosted and heated up my car, chipped with my scraper and brushed with my brush, but it took me twenty minutes to do a job that normally takes less than one – start my car and get to where I’m going.

And that’s not all.

It seems that while I am profoundly aware of the effects of snow and the dangers of driving in it, the rest of your denizens are either woefully unaware or just turn into complete slackjawed morons the second it gets  a little icy around here. It took me half an hour for a fifteen minute trip, and not just because of the ice, but because of everyone else driving like they’d just had their brainstems removed.

Seriously, the number of people who almost swerved into me, rear-ended me, cut me off, sped up too fast or slowed down too slow, left me looking and feeling rather like this during my drive:

Truly Nebraska,  driving in your hazardous ice and snow conditions is a horror I must endure every year.

But seriously.

It’s almost February.

This past month the weather here has been so miserable that the students at UNL got TWO DAYS IN A ROW OFF SCHOOL.

You know as well as I do that such an event NEVER happens. It never occured in the four and a half years I attended the institution.

So seriously. Please Nebraska. I understand that snow and ice are parts of nature, precipitation that gives life and growth to crops and shit during the spring. I find snow quite pretty from the other side of a plate glass window. I really do.

But please. We’ve had enough. I’m tired of my car being buried under seven inches of snow and an eighth of an inch of ice. I’m sick of slipping and falling with bags of groceries in my hands. I’m tired of almost dying because every other mentally challenged driver on the road has decided to try to take me out with him/her in his suicidal urge to drive like an ignoramus at the first sign of snowfall.

No more Nebraska. No more of this bullshit. I’d rather see it rain for a month straight than have to deal with this snow misery one more day this winter.

Make it stop.

Pretty please?

Or I’ll make plans to move to another state that start up a little earlier than fall of 2012.

Sincerely,

Lora.

 

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Art Monkey Adventures: Digital vs. Hand-Drawn Art

30 Jan

About a month a go I bought a drawing tablet – an intuos4, small sized. Owning a tablet has been a goal of mine ever since I started my hack cartoonist aspirations, and so far it hasn’t been a disappointment.

I’m far more used to the mechanics of drawing on paper, and it takes time to get used to drawing while looking at the screen instead of down at the point where the pen connects to the canvas. That said, after a month of twiddling around making sketches, I’m completely in love with digital art, and here’s my reasonings:

1) I’m left-handed

Doesn’t seem like the biggest deal, but those of you in a similar way dexterity-wise know what I mean. Writing in spiral notebooks results in hand-cramps and uncomfortable adjustments. Drawing with pencil or charcoal can result in horrible smudging when your hand unintentionally wipes across the page. This problem is eliminated with the tablet. I can rest my hand on the side, on the drawing surface, anywhere, and my drawing stays clear.

2) No Erasers

Why do they get you to draw faint pencil lines for drafts? Because too much erasing damages the paper and the drawing. Tablet drawing equals as much erasing as you want, without any damage to the canvas. Drawings are cleaner, brighter, and better as a whole.

3) Your computer is your palette

I have a lot of art supplies. Boxes full of them: brushes, paints, markers, pens, pencils, everything under the sun. They get lost, they get damaged, they run out and if you want to draw anywhere that isn’t your apartment? You’re lugging a bunch of supplies around in your backpack. Tablet drawing means that your pen and your programs are your palette. You have photomanipulation software. A huge variety of colors and textures to choose from.

So that’s my love of my tablet. It’s a wonderful tool, and it’s taking me to places I’ve never been able to go with my art style.

But don’t think I’m abandoning traditional methods. Tablets are expensive – I had to wait four years before I could get one, and it was the smallest professional-grade item I could find. While lugging art supplies around is a pain, carrying around an expensive piece of hardware that could get lost, stolen or damaged is also a huge pain.

While I love these new forays into digital art, I can’t ever completely turn my back on drawing with pencils on paper, on paint on canvas, and it’s not just about the hardware or software. It’s the feel of it. The smell of prismacolor markers. The smudging of charcoal under your fingers to give a piece of artwork just the right touch.

I may only be an amateur hack, but I love art, and there are pieces hanging in galleries and on internet websites that demonstrate incredible feats of hand-created artistry. Art is part of history, part of culture, and traditional mediums will never go out of style in my opinion. There are some mediums of art that can never truly be transposed to the digital. Sculpture is one example.

But digital art also opens the door for beautiful feats of computer design. It allows a canvas to create complicated calculations of architecture. It allows for three-dimensional designs and models used in new forms of media and storytelling. CGI in movies. Videogames are foraying into art more and more these days.

There’s room for digital and traditional art in modern culture. I’m proud to say I’ll continue to happily indulge and experiment in both.

Little Victories

28 Jan

Today I cleaned the kitchen.

Doesn’t sound like much there on its own, but if you had set foot in this supposed hallowed place of culinary mastery a single day ago, you would have turned tail and run in horror. The stove was covered in grease, crumbs and stains, the sink piled full of dirty dishes, the floor covered in trash that had missed the can by inches.

Because I’m unemployed, I have trouble feeling useful. I fill out applications, I try to get out of the house once or twice each day, I study for the LSAT, but it’s difficult to feel accomplished without school and a job to keep me on track.

So today, I rolled up my sleeves, cranked up the music, and I cleaned.

Oh, did I clean.

The dishes, covered in leftover chinese food and sauce, were scrubbed. The pots and pans soaked for hours. The sink ran out of hot water and I nearly punched a hole through the wall. The dishwasher ran. I took a break and ate some pizza. I scrubbed, swept, mopped, picked at tiny bits of gunk with a knife when cleaner wouldn’t get them to budge. I took out at least a ton of trash.

And now?

Now, that kitchen is absolutely spotless. The floor – and the dishes – are clean enough to eat off of.

It’s not much in the way of a victory, but all things considered, I’ll take it.

Tomorrow, I’m gonna make cookies.

LSAT Prep and Me

27 Jan

I’m a little strapped for cash at the moment, being unemployed and all, but just about every source I’ve exhausted on the interblag has recommended the Powerscore books to me for my LSAT prep. They have a strong reputation for being the most detailed, most comprehensive and most helpful teaching aids you can get outside of dropping a grand for a prep class.

Thus, I hit up the ol’ amazon dot com and got myself a copy of this:

It arrived yesterday, and since then I’ve been systematically poking it with a stick (i.e my trusty highlighter) and taking frantic notes in the hopes of absorbing the information.

And it’s a LOT of information.

The Logic Games section is hard enough to grok as it is, and the Powerscore notation methods for diagramming puzzles is designed to timesave and ease the process of deciphering the games and questions.

But damn is it hard to keep track of everything.

I have a good four months to go before my first possible LSAT date. If I’m not where I want to be on practice tests, I can definitely postpone until September/October times. That’s the goal folks, 170+ or bust.

Ah, the maddening road to Law School. It is fraught with standardized testing, applications, essays and the dire need for finances.

Here’s hoping tomorrow i”ll take another crack at ’em and this business won’t all be so overwhelming.

That along with writing, scripting, designing a blog for Jeff and some art fun should fill up my tomorrow. Hopefully I won’t have exploded from filling my head with logic notation by then.

I am a Geek

25 Jan

How do I know that going into Intellectual Property Law is something I can really get passionate about?

I just read through all of this. As found on this blog (which is awesome. I wanna be that guy when I grow up).

For fun.

Though when you really get down to it, it’s a fascinating study of what constitutes a violent game, and the idea of video games as art and cultural touchstones. It covers specific games, including Bioshock, which is one of my favourites. This is the future of free speech law folks.

Hm. Maybe I should go into Constitutional Law too. Or instead.

Guess we’ll see.

I’ll be over here, being a nerd and looking up more legal briefs concerning the gaming industry.

Lack of Regret: Things I Did Right

24 Jan

Yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer, no? Guess unemployment has made me a little on the negative side. Today is better though. Posted a new chapter over at The Bond, I dropped Jeff off on campus and got out of the house for a bit, I’ve got LSAT studying to do, I got a phone interview for a part-time position at The Home Depot, and I’m actually talking to friends online again instead of hiding like a recluse. Things seem to be looking up.

So, in light of yesterday’s regrets, today is a post about things I don’t regret about college and those four-ish years of education, both in and out of the classroom.

– San Diego Comic-Con 2009. We drove from Lincoln Nebraska to San Diego in two days for the four day comics and media extravaganza. It was long, it was cramped, the car broke down in the middle of the desert and we stayed in a house without AC, but it was worth it to meet so many kickass comic artists and see so many fantastic actors.

– Playing D&D. Yes, I’m a huge nerd. Yes, I spent my free time rolling dice and spent my money on sourcebooks. But it brought me closer to so many awesome people, it was totally worth it. That and it made me a better writer and creator of characters.

– I spent my final year of education studying my butt off. Sure, I have a couple low marks on my transcript (curse you Oceanography, curse you), but I finished college with straight A’s both my final semester and the semester before.

– I learned a lot about love. And how relationships are messy, tricky, and make you do pretty dumb stuff. I’ve learned what I can and cannot put up with in a relationship, and what it means to be treated both poorly and well by a significant other. I also figured out a bit more about my personal preferences and sexuality.

– I came to terms with my lack of religiosity. People may talk about god bringing them comfort in times of need, but I’ve never had a better time dealing with hardship when I had no god to rationalize as a punisher. Absence of God bringing you comfort indeed.

– I’ve learned to responsibly and rationally deal with alcohol and going out drinking with friends. I’ve had a few wild nights out with friends, but I never drank enough to black out, I always had a ride and I had a good time without screwing up my life. Alcohol can be fun kids, especially in the company of friends and comrades. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

– I held down two part-time jobs for two years straight. And passed all my classes. And didn’t kill anyone. Definitely a win.

– I switched my major concentration to British Literature over Creative Writing. Best decision I ever made. My Shakespeare classes were absolutely wonderful, I had kickass professors, and it turned out I had enough credits for TWO concentrations. But considering the issues I had with creative writing professors and their views of fiction, it was worth it to switch.

– I stayed in Lincoln instead of going to college on the coast. Sounds nuts, but it saved me a whole lot of money and I met some really awesome people I never would have met otherwise. Worth it all the way.

That’s a few ideas. A little positive energy for you. Hope you have a happy Monday and a decent week.

Things I Regret About My Time in Undergraduate College

23 Jan

– Not learning a useful foreign language, like Spanish.

– Spending all my free time sleeping and going out for drinks instead of joining useful college organizations, like the honors society or a club or something.

– Not sticking with the Poli Sci minor or major. That would have been useful too.

– Not realizing my law school aspirations. If I’d figured that out a year ago, I’d be sitting here waiting for acceptance letters for the fall instead of barely started down the road.

– I would have applied for better jobs before November.

– Gone to a couple of career fairs to get my name out there.

– not Retaking Oceanography so I wouldn’t have that one D on my transcript.

– Not volunteering.

– Not putting more thought towards what’s coming next.

– not finishing my novel.

– not finding a cheaper place to live.

– Dropping out of the honors program.

– Not studying abroad at Oxford my Freshman year

– Bad boy decisions.

– More bad boy decisions. That definitely counts for more than one regret.

– Not saving more money after graduation as a buffer.

 

There you go kids. Wanna have a decent time after you graduate? Don’t be me. If nothing else, I count as a quality cautionary tale.

Stay in school kids. Or if not, don’t get a liberal arts degree. They’re more useful as placemats these days.

*cheesy thumbs up*

Now excuse me, I”ll be over here drowning my sorrows and waiting for potential employers to call me back.

 

New Writing Project

21 Jan

Here it is readers: I’m finally getting started with my serial webnovel. The Bond just updated for the first time, and I hope those of you looking for a new fantasy fiction story will check it out. The Bond will update Mondays and Fridays.

Here it is!

The Bond

I Crave Sushi

20 Jan

Clearly this is why I need to get a job.

So I can have sushi.

That is all.

On Unemployment

19 Jan

It’s Wednesday, putting me at day four of unemployment. So far I have accomplished little, but that’s more due to coming down with a lung nose head plague of doom and destruction. On the plus side, I’ve found other ways to keep myself sane and not buckling under the semi-crushing fear of being utterly broke and jobless.

I started watching 30 Rock yesterday, and am now six episodes into season two. For those of you who are at all familiar with this show, I need to inform you all that I am going to become Liz Lemon some time in the next ten years.

Seriously:

It’s gonna happen.

Blurg.

I mentioned this to my boyfriend and all he did was give me a sheepish grin and say “well, I really wasn’t going to say anything… but if it makes you feel better, she’s pretty hot.”

And he’s right. There are worse TV personalities to be doomed to become.

I’ve done a little work between bouts of sneezing. I wrote the first two scenes in my planned serial novel, which I hope to start posting on Friday. I studied some LSAT prep. I’m knitting scarves again.

Apparently unemployment is soon to be synonymous with ‘creepy old lady’. At least I don’t have any cats.

Yet. There were some adorable kittens I saw at Pet Smart yesterday when I went to pick up dead mice for Piglet, Jeff’s albino corn snake. Some day I hope to give those adorable little balls of fur and mayhem a home. As long as they don’t sit on my face. I have a mild allergy to pet fur.

So here I am. Still jobless (yay), still occasionally trying to hack up the small bacteria colony that has made its home in my lungs. Thrilling.