Finals MONTH

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So here at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, we don’t just have a finals week. We have a finals month. Granted, this makes sense. But it really, really fucking sucks.

 

Essentially, because all of our projects are…well, projects, and not papers/tests, they tend to go on for longer than any normal final. Basically, our finals start just before Thanksgiving break and then we have about 3 weeks to finish them.

 

The good thing about this is that critiques tend to extend over several class periods. Which means if you get your work done by the first critique date, you have little to nothing to do for the rest of the remaining weeks. It’s a nice feeling.

 

But then all of the other stress kind of compensates for that nice feeling, soo…

 

In any case. the year is winding up before it’s winding down. And if you want to see any of the major projects I finished, I made a new Tumblr for my artwork which you can view here (and follow if you want!).

 

 

 

And also, aside from this miniature rant, I might be posting process from my Graphic Design class final project. It involves following a series of processes, and one of those is probably going to be text based (since I tend to think of myself as a pseudo-academic as well as a visual artist…). If I do choose to post the results of each step of the process I will create a separate category for them. This might be fun. Woo!…

 

 

 

Anyway. I’ll try and post more in the next few weeks but I’ll be pretty swamped. We’ll see how it goes. I will definitely post more when I get home for winter break (I have a lot of big news to share!)

 

Until then,

 

Hope everyone else who has to do finals is getting A’s for awesome!

 

 

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Creating Websites Is…Well, It’s a Bitch.

English: Example of psd2temlates Css code

Looks fun, doesn’t it…

Yeah, I said it.

And it’s probably pretty common knowledge that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. Sure, there are programs that allow visual drag and drop design, but those aren’t what I”m talking about. I’m talking about the coding. The from-scratch programming.

And that’s what I’m taking a class for. Learning how to code and program a portfolio website from scratch. And by from scratch I mean from scratch. no snippets of other people’s ingenious codes were used, no template was given to mess with. No, this is all from a blank page all the way up to a portfolio with functioning links, rollovers, and animations.

Now here’s the catch.

I think I”m a decently intelligent person who can think logically through systematic processes. But coding…coding it getting hard. Coding is a lot of little details that, if messed up, can damage an entire day’s worth of work. Coding is a lot of scary syntactical strings that have to have a close to them or else they’ll mess everything else up.

And then there’s the programming, which gets even more intense. And by intense, I mean even more confusing and technically touchy. Messing up the code is much easier, and it’s much harder to find that one character that has been misplaced/not placed at all.

Programming is also more intimidating than code (for whatever reason). I don’t want to touch jQuery because I’m afraid something will explode.

And then it explodes.

This is really just a whiny rant, but I thought I’d get it out there. How difficult this really is and how many things there are to think about behind the beauty of a website. Each element is made individually, each action has to be well thought out, each element has its pixel-perfect place…

It’s driving me crazy!

All of that being said, I do have a website that I’m currently working on fixing up (built, of course, from scratch). Please feel free to take a look and watch as it progressively gets better (or just falls to pieces…).

How do you feel about web development? Ever tried it? If you haven’t, ever think about how much goes into it?

Thanksgiving and a Much Needed Break

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Thanksgiving is almost here!

 

Most importantly, my break is almost here! It’s a little sad how excited I am. I finally get a real break from school and an extended visit of my family back in St. Louis, MO.

 

We’ve been worked pretty hard here at MCAD and I think everyone is ready for a break. Everyone needs to stop doing school and work 24/7 and needs to take a break and be pampered by family. And I’m not an exception to that generalization. Even though we still have school work, it will be, for the most part, a relaxing week of not having to bus everywhere and worry about groceries all the time.

 

That being said, I’m definitely excited to see my entire family again. Not only my parents, but my grandparents and cousins as well. Our family has also reconnected with my dad’s estranged sister, which has been interesting. She has a younger daughter, who is apparently fascinated with me and incredibly nice. And despite what I’ve heard about my aunt, she seems like a nice person as well and treats me as if there was never a misstep (but then again…maybe that’s weird?)

 

Most importantly, I’m excited to see my boyfriend. He’s decided, after long debate (and why shouldn’t he think hard about it, he’s lived in St. Louis his whole life) to move to Minneapolis with me once he finishes college. Even though it won’t be until next spring semester, I’m still really excited already. Over break I think we’re going to start a joint savings and start making a cushion for ourselves so we don’t have to worry as much for the immediate few months/weeks we are in Minneapolis together having to deal with rent.

 

I haven’t run any of this by my parents yet and I don’t really know if I need to until, at the earliest, summer break. I’d like their support and possibly a little help financially until we get ourselves settled, but we’ll see.

 

He’s also said he wants to marry me once we get ourselves comfortable! Eek! Cue girly squeals and jumping up and down!

 

Here’s a question, what is everyone else doing for the holidays?  Any big plans? Large family gatherings? Stuffing your faces as much as you can? Or do you have to work?

 

 

A Sporadic Update

Major redesign! Major makeover. 

So here’s the thing guys. I haven’t written in a really long time and I’ve probably lost what followers I had (and I’m really sad about that!)

But I’m going to try and keep writing, because it’s cathartic and good for the soul. Or something.

And as a symbolic “restarting” of this blog, I have redone the layout (see, there are fish, because my nickname is Karp. Get it?). It’s a pretty lame symbol but it works for me. I am also going to work on revamping my personal website and I’ll post the link when I’m finally finished. Other external links will also be updated.

I also haven’t written on my Hubpages in a while but I might start that up again over the summer.

Anyway. I’ve been busy with school school school and I now have two jobs (on top of being a full time student) and that’s a lot of work, with a surprising lack of free time. Whatever I complained about in terms of workload last year has pretty much doubled. Insane.

I’m excited for Thanksgiving break though and for having a break from school. I”m also excited for my next semester where I will be taking more illustration classes than design classes and maybe I can take a little mental break and have some fun. Maybe.

I’ll give a detailed update of everything once I get home and am full to the gut with yummy food.

 

Midterms

English: Kelmscott Press - The Nature of Gothi...

We're studying this sort of thing. Or we were; that was the first few weeks.

Oh man, I can’t believe that midterms are already right around the corner!

Because I go to an art school, midterms aren’t necessarily set dates for tests/papers. The only actual test I have is in my History of Graphic Design class, and it’s open note. I’m actually pretty unsure of my other classes, but I’m pretty sure for my Drawing 1 class we have a portfolio review. For Intro to Graphic Design, I’m pretty sure that the project we’re working on now is technically our midterm, though it’s really just an extended project. Luckily, my Breakthroughs in 20th Century class has no test and no midterm paper, although I think we have a final paper that’s a compilation of selected scholarly notes. And I don’t know about Media II.

On a tangent: my 20th century class is so difficult. The high school I came from was pretty challenging and intellectually stimulating, and so me saying that this class is pushing me is really saying it’s pushing me. I loved taking challenging literature and philosophy classes when I was in high school, but this is extreme. I’ve never felt quite so in-over-my-head, and surrounded by so many upperclassmen. I feel a little out of my league, to be honest, and it’s difficult to stay on top of things. It’s really fun though and I feel like I’m learning a lot and enriching myself intellectually. And I can sound impressive. Hopefully I remember at least some of it.

My drawing class is sort of my roller coaster class of this semester. It’s the class I only expect to pass and not excel at. I’ve enjoyed some of the projects and I feel like I’ve learned, but I don’t want to waste my stress and energy into a subject I know I won’t ever be completely happy with. My own drawing style isn’t in the style of a rendering drawing class, so I don’t want to change my style so much that it’s no longer me. If that makes sense. Maybe I’m just being lazy and making excuses.

My intro to  graphic design class is SO HARD. The work load is astounding, and I never feel like I have enough time. Everything is so technical but indescribably so, which makes it hard to adjust and improve. I think part of it is that I know that this is what I want to do with my life, and so it’s really hard for me to accept anything less than teacher-approved. It’s been a struggle and it’s made me doubt sometimes, but I think it’s getting a little better. I’m getting a sense for the level of work and attention I should put into it. And even though it makes me busy as hell, it feels like a productive busy where I learn a lot about what I’m going to need to know. It doesn’t feel like work where I won’t ever need it again: it feels like I’m building things I could put into my portfolio or I could learn from.

My Media II class has gotten a lot harder really fast, but it’s a fun place to be. It gives me the freedom to just sort of experiment and not worry as much about perfection because the teacher is more interested in our effort and our ambition. I’ve created things or helped to create things I never thought I’d make or do.

And I don’t have much to say about my history class – the teacher is nice, she has a sense of humor, but the class is brutal in the sense that it’s all lecture. It’s strange, but I’m used to discussion-based art history classes so I have trouble finding a point in showing up. But I do anyway. Our test is open-notes: we’re given 90 images to choose 15 from, 3 essay questions, and 30 short answers to take notes on (15 will be on the test). All of this can be put onto our computer and brought into the test…which is great, but feels strange. Like it’ll be graded 10x harder than a normal test. But I’m good at writing analytical commentaries, so hopefully it’ll go really well.

Anyway, that’s a little summary of my classes. I hope you enjoyed, and maybe it gave you a little insight on art school and what it REALLY is. Ooo, new hub, maybe?

Also, my Hubpages account is linked to Amazon ads and Google Adsense. So support your starving artist, and read my Hubs! I try to make my amazon products links relevant and helpful, so I encourage you to actually look into them if you find the content of the hub interesting.

Thanks!

A Much Needed Update

Avoid Alzheimer's Disease 2

Avoid Alzheimer's Disease 2 (Photo credit: AlzheimerHelp)

So I do have an excuse, albeit a pretty pathetic one.

I’ve been swamped this semester with school work and everything else in life. That’s not to say things haven’t been going great, but it’s more to say that they’ve been ever-moving. I was going to just let this blog die, but I don’t think I can do that to myself, or to my readers. Even though I haven’t posted in a month, cough cough.

So a lot has happened. We’re at midterms now and I have a lot of work, but I think it’ll all be okay. I’ll jus have to be constantly busy for the next week. But then things should wind down and then breaktime! I’ll be able to write a lot during that time.

I’ve made a few new friends during my blogging hiatus, which has felt pretty nice. College friends are so different than high school ones, and it’s a fascinating discrepancy. It’s made me more outgoing and more comfortable with myself.

Work wise, I lost my two jobs from last semester (as I might have mentioned, I don’t remember). That meant this semester meant scrambling around looking for jobs, and I actually got a lot of responses and three official offers, which astounded me. I get to build a website and code it for one client, which I’m anxious to start. It’ll be a learning experience and my client is willing to learn with me. I was also offered a job as a personal assistant for a handbag designer whose headquarters are based in LA. This was exciting to me because their products have been featured in international/national magazines and on celebrities. I had accepted the job and was going to start shortly after I had talked with the woman on the phone, but the next day I got another offer at a company that I’d talked to earlier. Apparently people have heard about them, and they’re going to teach me design techniques for web/mobile design, sales, etc. They work with a lot of local venues and DJ’s, artists, etc, so hopefully it’ll move me towards what I want to do after college.

Anyway, enough about me for now. I hope you enjoyed that brief update, I’ll try my hardest to update more frequently. In the meantime, check out my Hubpages Hubs, they’re updated more frequently!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day

Image via Wikipedia

 

Unfortunately a national holiday is really the only thing that’s been going on in my life. I wasn’t able to spend the day with my boyfriend because we’re in different states, but it wasn’t quite as hard I thought it would be. I was able to keep my mind off of it and we talked a little. My roommate and one of her friends invited me to hang out for a bit before they went to a show, which was nice.

I’ve been a little lax with my homework and have been cutting it close too much, which is causing unneeded stress and lack of sleep. Part of me wants to blame the amount of work and my weird sleeping habit that I haven’t been able to shake, but most of me knows that this is stupid and it’s really all my own fault. We all have moments of time-management mistakes though, and I’ll get in control of mine.

My Hubpages is oing pretty well also. I’m amazed at the responses. As I’ve said, usually when I make blogs as an attempt to get recognized, it doesn’t add up to much. However this blog, and my HubPages one, have gotten more attention than I ever would have hoped for or expected. Not only that, but a lot of it feels like genuine interest, and the compliments I’ve gotten on my viewpoints, writing, and writing personality. The encouragement I’ve gotten has been really helpful in keeping me going and I’m having fun.

So onwards and upwards!

Hubpages Update

Blogging Heroes

They have those?

Not a lot has been going on in my life worth blogging about, so I’ll talk about my other blogging site, haha.

So Hubpages is really great. The articles are mostly informative, which is something new for me, and it’s really strictly filtered to ensure high quality writing. I’m not entirely sure how the money thing works but I think it’s just through ads.

Nevertheless it’s a great way to push and stretch my skills as a writer and my ability to coherently instruct and inform, which might help with my career. It might also get me a good reputation as a writer and a good resume addition so that I can apply for some lower end article writing jobs which will give me more options for money as well.

So my first two Hubs have gotten positive reviews thus far, and I’m up to three followers. I haven’t gotten many comments, but the ones I got are stunningly praising, and it feels like the people are truly respectful and intelligent, like they wouldn’t lie about it just to be nice or something. The comments consisted of “You’ve made a hard act to follow. And Anna, that’s a good thing” and “you should do good on this site if you continue to write like this” (although I think it should be do well…?).

Anyway, it’s definitely encouraged me to continue writing there.

Support me!

A Very Guilty Pleasure: Criminal Minds, A Review

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Image via Wikipedia

A Spoiler-Alerted Summary:

Criminal Minds is a series based on an elite squad of FBI agents whose purpose it is to profile victims and criminals in serial killings/crimes. Called the Behavior Analysis Unit, it consists of a few select members like any other TV FBI squad. The setup is pretty typical: the headstrong woman, the nerd, the hipster-nerd, the macho men, and the experienced veteran. The stories follow major crimes that the BAU are asked to assist with. Crimes are shown usually at the beginning of the show, where the victims are killed by an anonymous perpetrator or “unsub” as they call it. The files then get sent to BAU for assistance, and they start right away by profiling the victim through information gathered from sources ranging from closest friends and family to nosey neighbors. By profiling the victim, they are able to identify what the unsub is looking for in their potential next targets. As the agents rush to fall into step with their suspect, personal tangents are integrated into the storyline, making each character a little more human. This often offers humorous situations, but it has also (so far) led to the demise of some characters to an understandable circumstance.

This being said, around halfway through the show the agents are getting closer to their perpetrator or at least have a lead to follow. By this time, viewers watch the unsub plan his next attack and usually, their face is revealed. The FBI plays around with various leads ranging from their childhood and psychological state to injuries and jobs and potential places of favor. With the assistance of victimology (sometimes this is expanded by the unfortunate production of more victims), the FBI can start to follow tracks, and they tend to get closer and closer the more information they have obtained.

The end of the show usually begins when someone within the agency has a revelation or discovers something by luck or through a series of complex networks and searches. This lightbulb moment rushes everyone out the door for “wheels up”, where usually they call in for local police support and potentially SWAT. By splitting time between the perpetrator and the agents, the series allows the viewer to watch as the assailant begins his attack on his next victim. Usually the camera goes rapidly between the two, and many of the rescues are last minute.

The Crime Show Part of It

As a crime show, Criminal Minds is strong. Along the lines of shows such as Law and Order: Special Victim‘s Unit, Criminal Minds focuses on a very disturbing and intense subject matter. I would even go so far as to say it’s more intense and psychologically thrilling. As an enthusiast of historical serial killings (don’t read that the wrong way!), I’ve always wanted to watch this show. Psychological mutations and deficiencies have always been an interest of study for me, and the title of the show itself represents what it is.

As stated before, this show is about the BAU’s attempts to find and arrest (and sometimes kill) serial offenders. Most of the time this means killers, but sometimes rape is the only crime. For the serial killings, nothing is sugarcoated. The first episode alone forces the viewer to dive directly into the somber and gritty world of the mentally disturbed, and there’s no beating around the bush. Graphic images make it hard to eat when watching this show, but they’re like a trainwrek: you just can’t look away.

Through the profiling of the perpetrator, audiences are allowed into their minds. The show does an amazing job of slowly showing more and more without making the viewer frustrated and confused. In terms of its ability to hold attention, it does an amazing job of leading the viewer through the scenario and allowing them to make their own conclusions throughout the whole episode. The endings are often surprising, and no one is left unscathed by the tragedies of the show’s incidences. While normally crime shows (even SVU) avoid child murder because of its intensity, Criminal Minds seems to have no problems showing its audience what the real world has to offer. Realistic accounts of victimization and murderous scenarios add to the shocking reality of this show. With clips of profiler knowledge stated outright in meetings and pre-ops, one learns a lot about the governmental agencies as well (which adds a nice bonus). Unsub, for example, means unknown subject.

One of the things I really enjoy about this show is its ability to be entertaining but not terribly inaccurate. I have no doubt that the characters and departments are over-dramatized, but on the same hand the accuracy of the hard facts given and the consistency of profile types makes the show that much more solid. This came through especially in an episode which featured a Jack the Ripper copy-cat. The story briefly summarized his case by having their resident genius realize the connections to the two criminals and their way of murdering. After hearing so much about Jack the Ripper, I got curious and found a document with a summary of the killings, the profile the killer would exhibit, etc etc. in the FBI Public Archives. This was exciting to me because the information given by the show was not only accurate, but the vocabulary used was also dead-on. An impressive show of research on the writers’ part.

The cases themselves are so beyond fascinating. Ranging from serial killers who shoot their victims like animals with bows and arrows to serial arsonists who burn down houses of families and watch them burn, each case is individually disturbing. The psychological reasons behind these attacked, and the “stressor”, all connect by the end of the show and accumulate into what would be a very interesting story on the news. To watch the political footwork of the BAU and the intelligence they try to accumulate is not only fascinating, but it really makes you wonder. Not necessarily in a bad way, but not necessarily in a good way, either. Nevertheless, the choice of criminal scenario is appropriately gruesome and disturbing without being unnecessarily so. Nothing is so over the top that it would be impossible to believe its legitimacy, but all of them keep your eyes clued to the screen.

As A TV Show

I love this show, and because I’m so interested in the psychology of criminology, this will forever be on my favorites list right up there with shows like Bones and Numbers and even Monk.

To look at it objectively, however, the structure of the show lacks originality. It consists of your standard high-tech FBI space where team members work and interrogate. The character list is predictable, as well. The “boss” of the department is a young, strong looking and attractive man who can’t take a joke but is brilliant at his job. The most experienced on the team is the older profiling expert, who teaches and has done work for the CSI in psychological analysis of employees. Then there’s the boy genius, who is a young, skinny and awkward individual that spews out random facts and entered high school at the age of 12. The tech whiz of the show who is able to search, find and identify with a few clicks and clacks on the keyboard is a spunky, video-game playing, unique computer genius. She shares an oddly flirtatious relationship with the other strong male team member, who’s a black kid from the Chicago underbelly that rose above and put himself through school and then the FBI academy. There’s only one other female on the team, whose position has already switched twice in two seasons. The first withdrew from the team after losing her morale on the job. The second left for similar reasons, but more so because she felt isolated and rejected from the team. The third and current is the daughter of an Ambassador who is at first not well-received, but is blending in well with the team by showing her strength as a member.

The plot structure of each show is also pretty predictable after watching a few episodes. But like I said before, the fascinating cases make up for this. The summary pretty much details the outline of each show, so I won’t go over it again. But it’s pretty easy to determine what’ll be next. The mystery of actually solving the case and the usually unexpected endings keep it interesting.

The Verdict:

8-9/10: This show is really fascinating to me. My interest in this subject might help this, though. Despite some of the cliched or routine elements of the show being vaguely annoying, the compelling elements far outweigh them. There isn’t a constant stream of action, twists, turns and drama – instead, there’s an even pacing the allows the viewer to feel stressed at the right times, while giving them time to digest the severity of the information received.

I highly recommend this show for anyone who likes shows like Bones, Numbers, Law and Order: SVU, and Monk. Similar character development and solve-as-you-go principles are applied to all of these shows’ content. I would warn however that this show displays graphic representations of post-crime scenes and deceased bodies that do not censor the blood and ripped skin. I would also advise against watching this show if you’re squeamish – for the aforementioned reason, and because many of the episodes display graphic and gritty scenes in which a victim is being attacked. Zoom-ins on injury detail and disturbing behavior are also things to keep in mind, as well as how paranoid you are. A lot of the featured situations happen to generally insignificant people and are “this could happen to anybody” scenarios. If you’re scared to go to bed after watching shows like that, then at least don’t watch this at night.

 

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I’m A HubPages Writer!

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Maybe a few dollars in my pocket?~

Which isn’t really anything since it’s not like I got hired, but I figured that if any of my articles get attention, I can make some money off of it. That being said, I don’t expect much, but I’m desperate. Above my header is a link for a live feed of my Hubs, and I would really appreciate your support! I plan on also posting my Hub articles on here as well, with a link to the Hub page so that if you really like what I wrote, you can support it on HubPages! It’s so easy to support me – there are shiny buttons at the end of the articles! Share via FB, Twitter, or “bump it up”.

I hope you all enjoy, please support me~