crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Default)
Cosplayer friends! I'm heading into the next phase of cosplayer research for my capstone project. If you'd like to help, respond to this (screened) entry with answers to the questions below. Feel free to throw me other cosplayers' emails/send them to this entry (with their permission) too, I want a breadth of people! Some of you may be asked to continue with a longer interview, so let me know if that's a cool thing with you too (or if you'd rather just stick with answering these questions, also valid).

1. In general, what sort of characters do you cosplay? Any specific examples?

2. Are there any characters you wish you could cosplay that you feel you are unable to? Why? Any specific examples?

3. How would you describe your style out of cosplay?

4. Would you be willing to share a (public) internet social network profile? If so, link it.

5. Would you be willing to share a picture of you in cosplay? If so, attach/link it, please.

6.. Would you be willing to share a picture of you out of cosplay? If so, attach/link it, please.

Edited: Added one question. Because it is an obvious question I forgot. XD

Easier Week

Oct. 1st, 2013 12:40 am
crankyoldman: Running up that hill [Final Fantasy VIII] (rinoa wings)
So since our projects for my Week Long Intense Projects class are provided by external companies and one of them has too much shit going on to give us one? WE GET A WEEK OFF FOR THE CLASS.

Oh thank god, I needed that.

Gonna work on my portfolio site, sleep, read, browse shit? I dunno man, a lot of us were sitting around after Prototyping today, unsure of what to do since we didn't have like three group meetings scheduled.

First order of business: SLEEP.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Lu Lupus)
I'm going to be starting my last year (provided I don't lose my mind and suddenly decide to get another masters or heaven forbid a DOCTORATE) in two weeks. I am vibrating with excitement, because I missed my cohort and know I have so much left to learn! But I am most excited about the prospects of bouncing some ideas off people, doing my capstone (which will hopefully involve cosplay and internet subcultures and how to talk to people). Taking GRAPHIC DESIGN.

This summer had a couple rough points. I had a complete breakdown at one point because OMG WHO WOULD HIRE ME since I've been doing an internship at a startup that can't expand right now. And I had to do a lot of reflection about that and probably came to the conclusion I may be a freelancer for a while.

Ultimately, I want to work in education again, but not as a teacher. I want to help teachers get the resources they need, help design engaging lesson plans, help them understand the tech at their disposal, help make tools for them. There's a big problem with kids dropping out of school in this city and I want to help reverse that (or if they drop out of traditional school, get them a viable alternative). I'm going to be talking with a few of my old teachers about where I can start gaining the knowledge/experience in this sort of thing. I may have to start my own company?

This is really scary weird shit I am thinking about doing, but like, most tech for education people just get it so wrong. I don't want to end up making games for rich kids in their fancy computer labs or iPads or whatever. I don't want to make apps for rich dudes to add to their collection of shit they don't need.

If this major has taught me anything its that you really can do something good if you take the time to understand people. I'm thankfully engaged to a responsible adult who will help me work through all the financial stuff, as that will likely be the biggest hurdle.

I'm going to spend some real time building my portfolio of projects, doing things for friends so they can get some Real Designer Insight (at least hopefully I can provide that, I feel so much more confident now) and I can get some more "client work". Yeah I'll probably be making stuff for other people (not my friends of course) that I don't care as much about. But I know not to waste too much time.

Everything is kind of nebulous now but like.... that's ok. I got this.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Seph devil)
Last week was one of those weeks that was really intense and I'm glad I decided to not SUDDENLY TORONTO and do that to this week (half the cohort is in Toronto for a user experience convention). Job fair happened, which was very different from any other job fair I've ever done in that most of the people were legitimately looking for people in my program and we had to do a one-hour design challenge where the employers went around and questioned us and then watched us present our designs.

One company in particular interested me, as they are located where Ladyfriend lives, and they are small and dynamic and consulting-based, as opposed to being a large corporation simply maintaining products. Emailed after the job fair and got a pretty encouraging response; they are still deciding if they are going to take on an intern this summer, but the dude seemed interested in me. It didn't hurt that pretty much everyone in the cohort immediately thought that I would be perfect in this environment. Hopefully they are right!

This semester has noticeably more individual work, as we're not in Major Design Class, with some partnering up. It's not too bad. And one class is very artsy which is a lot of fun for me. In fact I took a lot of the pictures for my last assignment at Ohayocon. Hell I did two assignments and finished my web portfolio at Ohayocon. XD

Also tornadoes in January? What's up with that.
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: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (f the cosine)
Still rejecting me! Waiting to hear from backup school.

Looks like I'm going to have to do this shit piecemeal. Which is annoying as hell.

Anyone who doesn't think the system is stacked has clearly never been the "wrong" type of candidate.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (edward hot)
So let me tell you that was stressful. Though everything came together much faster (due to having done this exact application process before) I still didn't really enjoy it. Also; is it just me, or it is shitty that it costs money to apply to grad school? I mean seriously, it just screams "HEY IF YOU'RE POOR DON'T BOTHER".

Anyway.

This time around I have four letters of recommendation, which I figured were necessary since I was applying for the second time. The fourth letter is from this wonderful lady that works for NASA who has been helping us with the Huge Timesink Project. She's an educator, not a scientist, but I would take her over any SME any day, frankly. My statements are much more... clear. Mostly because I know better what to spin and what I would like to study. I cringe a little at my previous statements, they were really naive-sounding. I can see why they didn't completely convince anybody. XD Also considering in the year since I last applied I got put on more projects and have HYPERLINKS in my resume, I feel a lot more confident this time.

Now all I have left is to apply to that Master's program here for the backup, but that's due in January. XD

In other good news, I'm getting more technical control over some e-learning content, which is making me very happy. MORE MATH! :D And actual doing of the things! Of course, this makes the total of major projects I have a hand in for the next month so about five. Hopefully I can keep them straight.

Also, this game is really good to play while working. At least so far.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (Young Doc)
Not in.

NO WORRIES, SERIOUSLY. HOLD THE CONDOLENCES.

The letter was not actually a form letter (it was very specific to my application), and it was signed by the dean. They think I should get a master's degree first, as my grades in undergrad were less than stellar.

This immediately tells me two things:

1. The kid that got my spot had better grades. Fucker.

2. I may be able to get in next year. I live next to another university, one which transfers credits up to the university I am trying to get into a lot. Football rivals, academic incest. I could start on said degree without much trouble already, as said university is also ridiculously lax about letting people in (see: I was on academic drop for a semester and they let me in basically on a pinky swear). If they want proof I don't flunk out of every class, well, I'll give them proof.

I was starting to think that it was just a little too easy considering my history (spoiler alert: if there is ever an easy way, I manage to meander completely around it). And part of me is relieved. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to launch back into full time school yet. I really only want to get into academia to help fix it, because I think it's kind of broken. Also I like games a lot.

If I weren't adaptable, I wouldn't be where I am now, which is actually fairly happy. I do like my job. I'm just kind of ambitious and always looking ahead. So here I am, looking ahead. Hell, if I get the info I need soon I may even start a class this summer. This is how adaptable I am.

Also, I'm glad I was checking into apartments in town and not just up at Other College, cause, I need my own place if I'm staying for another year (or more).

So I'm thinking Education and CS classes. But we'll see what the Engineering Ed people say.

Am I disappointed? Of course. It's a great program and I want to do a lot of things with my life and I need some more cred to do ALL the things. It would be nice if I didn't have to wait another year or two. But this is part of the academic dance I have to do because I am just not a typical student. Never have been.

But then again, I'm only 25, I don't have kids, I don't have a lot of things tethering me down. I still have an undergrad in Aerospace Engineering from one of the top schools in the nation. I have health insurance and a retirement plan. I am not shit out of luck in life, I'm still doing pretty darn good.

And hell, not being in school full time this fall means I get to be there for the testing of THE AEROSPACE GAME I AM LEAD CONTENT DESIGNER ON. I was worried I'd be missing that, and I hate missing testing. I want to see kids play my game! I AM EXCITE FOR THAT.

So yeah, don't worry, I just figured I'd share the news.
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (rikku brain)
Am in an incredibly good mood!

Things to share:

- I have apparently made it to the final 20 applicants that are going to be shown to the Grad Committee for admission into the ENE program. SO, here's to hoping that the final cut doesn't include me. They want a picture, so I am probably going to figure out the dorkiest picture I can of myself without looking TOO ridiculous. Considering as I'm basically a living cartoon, this shouldn't be hard.

- Both the HS intern applicants are pretty awesome. I'm going to make them learn some programming, as they both have an interest in the technical as well as the content side. The girl in particular (YES. FINALLY A GIRL) seems to really be interested in the e-learning aspects. She also actually knows what cosplay is, so that was nice. XD I am basically the world's easiest interviewer; if you show up on time (she was an hour early actually) and actually seem interested in what's going on, you're likely to get hired. Granted, it wasn't like I was hiring financial advisors or anything serious like that. So now in addition to Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge, we now have Zone and Watts. Yes, I rename them after FF NPCS.

Tomorrow is the DAY OF MEETINGS, including technically a presentation for the Dept of Education regarding our usage of Astro in schools, another planning meeting for the Aero game, planning meeting for the STEM SPACE projects (aka, all the things I work on), and the weekly Intern Meeting. I'm most excited about the intern meeting, as it will no doubt be full of energy with the new kids, as well as Wedge making us play through parts of his robot game.

I know adults aren't nearly as fun as kids when it comes to managing for projects, but I am waaaay less nervous about doing any project manager work now. I need to not assume people won't listen to me, get out of that mindset. I'm not in undergrad anymore, I can assert my expertise. I'm the engineer in the company, after all.

So yes, all good things.

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