Community

Oct. 31st, 2012 05:12 pm
crankyoldman: You were there, when we were alone in a big scary castle. [Ico] (ico&yorda)
In some ways, I feel a little guilty I have not been active much at all in much goings on online. I can't say this hasn't been going on for a while; though during the last year of me working it wasn't because I had much of a community to speak of. I was mainly... emotionally exhausted. And I was going to things with online friends IRL a couple times a year, I felt like that was good.

I keep in decent amount of touch with some of you, and I try to make it a point to. That is the nature of friendship. But as you have seen with how communities change and evolve--it is not because people in general have gotten stupider, or the proliference of one type of technology for another is to blame. But there are phases in a life a person goes through.

I have to say that I am happy I don't need fandom anymore like I used to, when there was no community for me. Not to sound ungrateful or make fun of anyone in that place either. I like and enjoy it. But I am not the same lonely young person I was five or six years ago, and before that. And it's not that I've "outgrown" it. I've changed with it, integrated parts into IRL and whatnot.

Part of that is due to online communities. Which gave me a sense that I could not be a perpetual outsider. Now I can feel confident enough to try with people in other situations. I can sustain real relationships.

I can only hope that each of you find that you don't need it at some point. There's a lot out there in the world which is awful, but there is a lot out there that is beautiful. Amazing. Find someone, something, somewhere, lots of things.

Anyway, I'm thinky about this because of the project I'm working on now (which I have so much hope and love for and we haven't even completely narrowed it down to a coherent problem statement!)
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
Second project done, and I just aced an exam! I guess I'm not as shitty at absorbing information as I thought. Or I legit am focusing better. Either way I'm doing quite well, despite the last project not gelling quite as completely as the first one. Which is fine. Difficulties are how you learn.

I'm not going to talk about the details of the project much because well, they aren't really that exciting. It was more an experience in learning how to handle a bigger group, which I think on an inter-relations level we did fine, but maybe not on a actually getting things done level. Which was a good thing to learn, really. I'm more thankful for problems in this program than things running smoothly; you don't learn much if things go right, you learn from the things that go wrong so you can do it right. If you're getting it right the first time it's probably a fluke!

Things are going to start getting exciting for the class I assist with, as they are heading towards their project; building robots! On the 17th I get to teach my first lecture, which I am trying to think of ways to make exciting and informative. It will probably involve me taking prop weapons in and showing pictures of in-progress things from Senior Design and talking about glue and joints and things. It'll be fun!

Now Project 3 is working on re-conceptualizing TIME. Which is a big thing. We're narrowing in on what aspect of the problem we're trying to design for, so that's been a lot of fun.

I also got into a Slow Change Interaction Design research group, which aims to have all its members have a paper done enough to submit to publishers by the end of the school year. I'm thinking about focusing in on ways to help Women in Engineering/Tech/Science support organizations better support the women they are trying to reach and hopefully retain in their programs. At least that is the idea so far. I've gotten a surprising amount of early support from a couple of professors I've talked to about this, as this is something that especially the Women in Computing program here wants to improve on. So yay! Hopefully I won't be a complete mess trying to get this paper researched and written.
crankyoldman: I love her. (janelle jump)
I really feel like I belong here.

This program is very challenging. But not in a way that it was with undergrad, where I was simply so overloaded with things that I had to prioritize my failures and there was really a lot I didn't absorb because I was panicked or exhausted most of the time. Challenging in that the problems presented have no real clean answers and I find myself thinking again. And sketching. When did I stop sketching? What made me believe that doodling was a counter-productive activity?

So there are a lot of conflicting sources on what the hell Human-Computer Interaction design is. The best definition so far is "what is means to be human in a world of computers".

Profound shit, right?

Human-centered design is a really weird sort of thing. It's come about because there are so many brilliant people who have gotten tunnel vision with their own abilities that they start to forget simple things about how people might actually use things. Kind of in line with a lot of criticisms I had at my workplace with some of the things we were doing.

Anyway, I may be poking some of you to do informal "usability testing" for my first project, if you're free tonight or tomorrow night let me know!
crankyoldman: Lin Bei Fong is watching YOU [Legend of Korra] (lin bei fong (watching))
I start grad school classes tomorrow. I also have my first meeting with the professor I'm TAing for tomorrow as well.

My BFF from undergrad (it's weird saying that instead of just "college") came and visited this weekend and he works on some interesting stuff and there's things he wants to do past now and he may be moving to England for a couple years and I have to come visit and--

And we were just talking about they told us we were the ones that were gonna fail and were never going to do anything interesting. Where are your darlings now, undergrad professors? Widget makers? Maintaining systems that are gonna fail in a couple years anyway?

The gamble has worked for me. I can't say it was easy; I've taken some pretty crazy risks near continuously since I turned about 20. Seven years of uncertainty and stress and also wonder and amazement and happiness.

I have no idea where I'll be in two years and this actually doesn't scare me. Because I think I'll be alright. If I can offer one piece of advice it is to be completely honest with yourself; know what you want to do with your life. Know that it may change. Know that you have to be the change to make it happen. Know that you won't have all the answers right away.

I mean that sounds cheesy, but seriously. Be honest with yourself.
crankyoldman: You were there, when we were alone in a big scary castle. [Ico] (ico&yorda)
I've been quiet because I was trying to survive the last few days of work. These things have happened:

1. More hanging out with my grad school cohort, which is basically a ton of awesome people. Apparently two of them are married and met in a chatroom about FFVII in 1998. Um, holy shit my people.

2. I adopted a cat! She is smart and beautiful and talkative. Her name is George Sands, after the French writer.

3. I found out that I am TAing for a course on human-robot interaction. Human. Robot. Interaction. I GET TO TEACH ABOUT CYLONS AND SHIT.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
So this weekend I'm going to do a self photoshoot, like I did with my Daryl costume sometime back. I live a couple blocks from a university with super gothic architecture which I think would be a great setting for my Kuja costume, and also the students aren't all back yet so it'll be fairly quiet. As many amazeballs photographers and makeup superheroes as I know, there is something very satisfying about taking an idea through its entire conception; sewing the costume, doing the styling, taking the pictures. Hell, my Daryl pictures ended up in my grad school application portfolio, without any sort of shame because it really felt like my work.

I may be going through a phase right now where I am going to be pretentious and arty and really don't give a fuck. Engineering has more in common with art than it does with science a lot of the time. It was only a matter of time before I fell into it. I'm just keeping a realistic head on my shoulders and keeping on focusing on the career aspects of that.

I suppose AU me probably got into theater, and may have done awful performance art stuff. XD

I plan on starting several other costumes soon, and plan out others. Not all of them are for me, which is fun because only making stuff for myself can get a little limiting. I'm also admitting the costumes I really want to make for myself/my ladyfriend, because yeah.

Costumes I intend on making this year:

- Maria (FFII) for [personal profile] lassarina by March.
- V2 Lady Braska (FFX) for [personal profile] novel_machinist by January.
- Snake (999) for myself by January (all I need to do is make the jacket I have everything else).
- Yui (Angel Beats!) for myself and helping with Yuri for [personal profile] novel_machinist by January maybe?

Costumes I intend on starting research/acquiring materials for with the intent to make later:

- Amano Cid Highwind (FFVII) This is a thing that's been in my head for a while because I like patterns and beads and also making up shit as I go along... I'm doing research on WWI flight jackets in Russia and America to start out with. Cause I'm like that. Hopefully I can get a V1 done by a summer con.
- Pearl/Blackpearl (Legend of Mana) So ladyfriend has expressed interest in being my Blackpearl for this, and I know it will take me a couple years to do these costumes. Because seriously the concept art is complicated. But these are kind of my dream costumes that I just can't get out of my head because gorgeousness. And aside from Blackpearl's hammer they are entirely composed of stuff I like to work with--fabric and pretty bits. XD

Thankfully most of these are pretty straight forward, like the vest I made for ladyfriend's Zell costume--because um grad school. Aside from the fancy ones that I intend on taking some time with of course.

Otakon

Jul. 26th, 2012 07:59 am
crankyoldman: Lin Bei Fong is watching YOU [Legend of Korra] (lin bei fong (watching))
Heading off to Otakon today, so if you were waiting on me to do something or look at something, it's not happening. See y'all Monday.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (doc)
Wow, so that whole time management thing got away from me this summer. I have no regrets, because it got away from me so I could travel freaking everywhere and visit everyone I've been meaning to visit for some time. And you know also sprawled about and read and played games and otherwise chilled out.

So I decided to cut a costume from my list (while it involved Goodwill clothes, they still needed to be dyed and I had to make a prop or else it wouldn't have made sense and I just haven't had the time to bus over to the other side of town where said materials can be purchased). That way I can focus on my Kuja costume, which is shaping up really nicely. I had my doubts about doing this, but I kind of love being properly genderfucky and Kuja is really my style. XD

Currently I have everything major that needs to be sewed done, I'm just attaching and gathering and what-not. The only big thing that I haven't done yet is the boots--I have to go get some black thigh high stockings and determine if I want to make it look somewhat like his crazy boots or just wear these metallic gold high heeled knee-highs I have. Both are viable options. It'll depend on how many fucks I have.

Anyway for those of you not following me on various quick-post networks, here's a couple in-progress pictures. Things are much farther along than in these pictures.

pics )

Summer.

Jul. 17th, 2012 11:33 am
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Seph devil)

the summer effect from cendri on 8tracks.



This has been a really weird summer. I mean, I've had a great time visiting people and it's hardly over and Sidekick still hasn't come to visit, and Otakon is about to happen but yeah. It's been weird.

I think I've spent this summer in a temporal state, waiting for things and then getting up off my ass when I start to get stir crazy. I've spent most of my weekends out of town or preparing to go out of town. Dropping down to part time has given me extra days that I typically actually use.

Still feel strangely lazy. Granted, record high temps mean that laying around inside means you don't die of heat stroke.

But it still feels like a really weird summer. XD Maybe I'll get out of this feeling of ennui soon. After all I have two costumes to finish and one to help with.
crankyoldman: Lin Bei Fong is watching YOU [Legend of Korra] (lin bei fong (watching))
Alright, so, yesterday was one of those personal anniversaries that I sometimes like to talk about and sometimes don't (this year was mostly don't) and due to like nobody showing up at work I ended up coming home. Yeah, my workplace doesn't "officially" (aka: you have to either not be paid or take personal time) take off Independence Day, because hey holiday pay would just be too much for its full time employees!

Anyway.

Today the AC is out in the office, and I'm in one of those regions of the US that is in the 100+ (Fahrenheit) temperatures. I lasted about an hour there (so the office has windows EVERYWHERE so that it's kind of like a greenhouse. Yeah) before biking my ass back home to the solace of my own apartment.

So it's like surprise two days off from work almost (I still have to handle things like: people that can't search their gmail, people who don't know how to log into a server, and the continued disorganization of this trip I'm supposedly going on next week).

I'm doing a cosplay weekend with ladyfriend next weekend, which means I miss the big van of everyone going up there (it's a 5 hour drive from here) so I'm hoping that by being noncommittal I will dodge this bullet.

We'll see.

Right now I'm alternating between dumb emails and housework, because if I get the housework out of the way I can work on cosplay and stuff this evening and tomorrow until I have to get on a shuttle to visit some friends.

I've really kept busy this summer, haven't I?
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (makenshi cactuar)
It leaves me with a feeling in the pit of my stomach. A bad one. One of my favorite things about watching roller derby is the culture around it, which means you'll see all sorts of people enjoying it. All sorts of woman-identifying (yes, it's in the bylaws that being trans* is fine and they don't do embarrassing investigations into it either) types play the sport. Huge ranges of ages, body types, backgrounds play roller derby.

But the men's team that came to play ours in an exhibition bout didn't look any different from any other men's sports team of a similar sort, except a few more tattoos and hipster facial hair. There was a sense that because they were men they also were taking it extra srs, and that before they arrived they weren't srs.

I don't mean to knock all men's sports, or men in general, but there was a disturbing uniformity to the men's team that the women's teams just don't have (well a Wisconsin team I saw once was pretty uniform, but I chalk that up to geography more than anything). There was a little camp to them, but not to the same level (no bootie shorts!) It was like watching pro sports. Nothing against those that watch them, but they are just really not my thing.

Maybe I worry that now that men's derby is starting to happen, the original women's derby won't be considered legit anymore. And there's a lot to roller derby that isn't just competition. There's a whole lot of identity spectrum just being out there and having fun being aggressive and then laughing it off afterwards and just.

Oh my complicated feelings.
crankyoldman: Lin Bei Fong is watching YOU [Legend of Korra] (lin bei fong (watching))
Saw Korra finale, but I'm keeping my thoughts off the internet for people's sanity, though if you need to get your feelings out feel free to email me!

I also saw Brave today and I REALLY ENOYED IT. Mostly because while I've been watching the general buzz, I've not been like steeped in every detail due to like, it not being certain fandoms. So I was pleasantly surprised! It's very mom/daughter centric, so if you've been wanting more of that in your princess stories (yay no 1-D mom!) um, this is for you.

(Also, [personal profile] whitemage go see this with your mom. And also your new Halloween costume I think is Merida cause reasons.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
Alright, so the three day weekend was glorious, and if I weren't so excited to be going to a Pride in an actual city I'd be a little bummed I wasn't getting another three day weekend to myself. I don't even miss the extra money, really (and considering how my work was so behind on getting me all of my PTO hours I'm essentially getting bonus monies this month). Clearly I really needed to dial the fuck back and take a chill pill.

I've been working on all sorts of non-computer dependent projects because it's been good for me. Have just the finishing construction work on a couple of aprons, and have all the fabric for my Kuja costume purchased though not cut out yet. I have a bolero pattern that I think I can turn into his shorty jacket. It's going to be interesting (but not terribly hard as I am not particularly endowed) finding a tasteful way to hide my chesticles.

Been watching The Legend of Korra (which has enough awesome outside of the stupid teen relationship drama they shoe-horned in for me to enjoy it, I mean LIN BEI FONG FUCK YEAH), listening to Garbage's Not Your Kind of People, and watching a lot of male-centric "relationship" movies as research for something I want to write (basically more of this).

And I've also been listening to a lot of my local radio station, which with the exception of some new songs here and there is essentially unchanged from when I was a teenager. This gives my days a weird sort of "summer effect" of them being endless in a way that is a little uncomfortable, considering that most of the summers of my youth were spent in my yard or my room, reading and then listening to Blue Mage whine on the phone about guys and making collages on my wall.

I may have to listen to other stations or start doing more things when I have time to myself. XD
crankyoldman: You were there, when we were alone in a big scary castle. [Ico] (ico&yorda)
I don't have to work tomorrow.

In fact, for the rest of the summer, I have one day off a week. This is phenomenal. Maybe it'll feel like last summer only better. I remember last summer. I had just moved in here and my job hadn't gotten completely awful yet.

I've already cut the fabric for an apron for my mom, and have all the basic fabric for my Kuja costume. I have creating plans for tomorrow (sewing, photography), and this weekend is basically open.

Now to do some sketches on stuff I'm making for commissions!

HOMG

Jun. 1st, 2012 10:08 pm
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
THIS.

THIS.

THIS!

THIS IS MY COMPLETELY AMAZING FFEX GIFT.

MORE OF THIS, FFIV FANDOM, PLZ.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
Back in town for a couple days before wedding madness, hope to have some of my pics up on here soon. Followers on facebook and tumblr have seen a few already, but it was a great trip overall! Next year; east coast, perhaps? :D

We'll see. XD
crankyoldman: I love her. (janelle jump)
The new Garbage album is steaming on Spin's website.

Edit: Also the 25th Anniversary Cast Reunion for Star Trek: The Next Generation is up on Youtube.

Man, the internet is just a GREAT today for someone my age.
crankyoldman: Really don't be that guy. (that guy)
I know I don't talk politics too often, but I had something of a revelation.

So I was watching this. Which, is pretty fantastic and Rachel Maddow is AMAZE.

But a while after I had a revelation: I'm not liberal because I'm a queermosexual or female. While that helps, I've mostly more liberal because I am actually out in the world.

It's incredibly easy to espouse conservative beliefs if you are in a bubble. And this isn't necessarily a privilege bubble or anything like that; it's a bubble where you cannot actually see the hardship of anyone who is not you. If you've ever been in any sort of rural community, they typically aren't liberal in any way, because they are isolated. And they can be some of the people that the system has shit on the most. But it's about not being able to see beyond your own hell.

And the longer I am out in the world, meeting teachers from defunded schools, choosing friends that didn't go to the same high school as me in the same rural part of a state, the more liberal my thoughts become.

I don't even necessarily want to completely tear the system down and replace it with something else. I'm not even near experienced or compassionate or wise enough to be able to make those kinds of calls.

But I would rather face that there are things that are broken and things that are wrong than pretend they don't exist because I'm benefiting just fine from what is going on.

Because conservatism is really the idea that no matter what, things are just fine, so be quiet and do as you're told.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (makenshi cactuar)
So things are coming together in a good way!

My eeePC came in this weekend, and I am playing with it now. It's so tiny! And yet doesn't behave any different than any other laptop I've used. Plus webcam! Which is an odd thing to have finally.

I also got some lovely (and adult and practical) presents for my bday this year. Having a good stir fry pan is extremely welcome. As are the other things. My family knows me too well.

I've added another leg to my Epic Traveling, so I will be visiting Ladyfriend for this coming weekend, followed by flying out to Cali, and then finally ending up in Washington. The break I've wanted, so soon!

Though, ha ha, trying to figure out how to get to the right Amtrak stop in order to get out of Cali was fun and involved many checks through the google maps transit directions (which involved the right address, unlike this past weekend in Chicago...). But I found a route that involves basically zero walking and direct transit to transit business. Which is good!

And before you city people roll your eyes, keep in mind that I live somewhere where I can realistically bike from one side of town to the other in the same day. I occasionally forget just how many cows long distances in big cities can be. XD

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crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
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