Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-14

Pi day! At this very moment, I'm about 24.5 hours away from getting home, which makes it a very good day indeed. It's going to continue to be hard to wait that long, but having that 24 hour line in sight somehow makes things a little more real.

Dr. McVay held a review session today for the A&P final, which seemed to go pretty well. Among other things, it gave me a chance to confirm my initial impression of her. Since Dr. Torres isn't teaching A&P next term, I selected her for my lecture teacher, and I'm glad that I did. She has his same passion, visibly. She obviously understands, and moreover, loves, her subject. Her level of animation was a delight to see, and she did well on clearing up a few points that I was unclear on. I must confess, I was tempted into trying to snap a few pics to capture this wonderful spirit, but the crowd in the lecture hall prevented me from getting anything I really liked - every time she'd light up, she'd seem to almost dive in front of a handy student to block the shot. Ah well, I'll have a few months to work on that, soon.

The girls and I headed back to Roxanne's after the review to try to hone our knowledge a bit more, but I'm not sure we got much out of it. I was nearly tired enough to actually manage some sleep during the day, and was forced to more or less pace in place to maintain focus. Regardless, I was picking out most of the right answers nearly in my sleep, which hopefully bodes well for my actual performance.

Bottom line, I can't wait to actually be done with this whole thing, and just take the darn tests. Soon enough, or nearly so.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-14

20100314_MG_9015Nap Time
"Nap Time"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-13

I think I'm approaching a saturation point here. I've spent pretty much the entire day studying for A&P, and some of the information seems to be sticking, but I'm finding it harder and harder not to descend into some kind of apathetic coma. It's just hard to care very much about anything beyond simply getting done with the term and returning to civilization and my lovely wife for a while.

Ah well, if nothing else, that goal is coming into sight, if only slowly.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-13

20100313_MG_8837Quest complete
"Quest complete"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-12

Last class of the term today! The hour in A&P felt well spent, digging surprisingly far into the chapter on the immune system for not having more than 50 minutes to tackle it. Felt like I was actually keeping up with what Torres was saying, since I'd already gone through the chapter for flashcards.

Tank, Jen, and I wanted to celebrate the end of the term, if not the end of testing, by going to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, but it turns out that they had closed early. Maybe we'll be able to make it later in the weekend if they open - I've got a hankering!

Regardless, we went to the local Japanese place, Hanni Ori, and had a bit of sushi instead. Still not quite up to par, but they've got pickled ginger, which I appear to be slightly addicted to, so I can't complain too much. Think I might need to stop by Uwajimaya when I get home to pick some up for my own culinary explorations.

Our evening was spent with our regular gaming group, though RPGs were not on the menu - most of the time we just hung out with the new Rock Band Beatles game. Not everyone got around to trying it (I have no skill, and know it, for one), but it was still surprisingly enjoyable, since Angela kept on swapping lyrics to a much more entertaining variety. The Beatles are actually surprisingly bearable that way.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-12

20100312_MG_8574Smeagol lives!
"Smeagol lives!"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-11

Spent most of the day today revising and adding to material for the school blog, flashcards and such, in preparation for finals. Surprising how much effort goes into a thing like typing when you spend a whole day at it - my wrists are burning!

Our final session in photography went pretty much as expected, with the professor spending almost an hour coaxing people into dumping their assignments for the term onto his thumb drive. Not terribly productive.

Art 207 - Assignment 7.1 - Still Life - Sinister Giraffe 1

We did spend the remainder of the period voting on one another's photos to select each person's best photo of the term. Honestly I'd argue with that title, as I feel like the assignments I did for this class generally don't represent my best work during the term; I got a lot more done on my own that I'm happy with. That's not the specification, though. The class did end up picking one I had fun with, the sinister giraffe still life. Looks pretty good at 11x17".

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-11

20100311_MG_8554The ragged edge
"The ragged edge"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-10

My final quiz in A&P went ok today, for all that I spent little time studying for it (too much brain burnout working on the lab final) - I ended up with the expected range of 13/15.

Our final class session in Medical Terminology also went pretty smoothly - no new information, just a quiz and class review.

Honestly not a whole lot to report today, other than the completion of a rather critical project; my photos from the last 4 years or so have been successfully trimmed (from 165 GB to 35 GB) and backed up/transferred to the desktop, which is a good thing, as the laptop is trying real hard to die on me. I had formed a bad habit of tending to keep copies of photos that weren't necessarily worth publishing in any form... stuff that's just not terribly photogenic. Since my primary subjects have turned out to be humans and animals, this means I had an awful lot of blinks and funny looks just sitting on the drive doing nothing. Time to jetison 'em.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-10

20100310_MG_8513Playing with bubbles...
"Playing with bubbles..."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-09

I ended up waking up early again, today. Seems like my waking time is creeping 5 or 10 minutes earlier each day for the last couple of weeks. Given that, I grabbed a quick shower, then headed down to Dowe early (very early!) to run through flashcards for the hours preceeding the test.

Feels like I did ok, there. I went into the test with a current grade of 88.8%, not counting a 5 point extra credit assignment that hasn't been factored in yet. Given how fast information seems to flee my brain, I know I have no chance of tipping my grade over into an A; just can't hold that much at once. Even so, it's nice to have such a sturdy B to lean on, because I know the lecture final is going to be tough!

Art 207 - Assignment 10 - Finger Bread

Turned in my final project for photography today, and I've got to say, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Looks pretty decent when printed out at the full 11"x17". This means I'm technically done with journalism, save for a portfolio I have to turn in next week, done with A&P lab, entirely, and done with photography, save for showing up on Thursday to do critiques. Happy me!

More than a little stress release in that, actually. I more or less started to fall asleep on the phone with Eden tonight, and turned in at about 9:30, just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer without the urgent prod of needing to study furiously for an upcoming final (the last two aren't until Monday).

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-09

20100309_MG_8490Through these darkened halls...
"Through these darkened halls..."

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-08

With class time in journalism done for the term, I had the luxury of not worrying about class until noon today. This worked out rather well, as I slept very poorly, and in point of fact actually ended up passing out again for an hour or two after first getting up - normally sleeping at any time while the sun is up is a sheer impossibility for me, but I was just that tuckered out!

Today is also a pretty big milestone - our first anniversary, a full year into this crazy thing called marriage. It's hard being apart from Eden right now, especially as I'd love to be there to show her how special this feels. Regardless, I'll be making it up to her next week, when the term is finally over and I can get out of here for a while!

I'm feeling pretty ok about the lab final tomorrow; running the flashcards is producing less and less flubs each time I do it, and some of the earlier structures I couldn't seem to hold in my brain are finally starting to make sense. We'll see how it goes.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-08

20100308_MG_8455And so it is written...
"And so it is written..."

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-07

I started the day today with the idea of conning Jennifer into letting me document another driving lesson for my photography project, but our session studying in A&P lab ran too long for that to be practical. I think we made some good progress in locking in some of the various structures on the models, but it was still darn near impossible to see during the few minutes we had with the cadaver - still far too many students crowding around. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up dumping the points for that section of the final through sheer lack of effective exposure. Oh well, it shouldn't be enough to dent my current B.

With the sun going down, I had a bit of inspiration for my project; bread! The perfect subject, and delicious too! I elected to try a new recipe, a finger bread variant of milk-based dough. It turned out quite well, both photographically and taste-wise; just the slightest hint of sweetness, a notch or two less than the hawaiian dough I like from the store. I didn't finish up until 11 or so, so most of the finishing pictures will have to wait for tomorrow, but I think this is going to be good.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-07


Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-06

Frustrating day today. Actually, that's more than a bit of an understatement. Various factors combined such that my study group elected to skip heading to the lab today to study. Unfortunately, both of the girls had thought the other had told me about this, and were out of communication for most of the day. By the time I got a message back from Jennifer, it was far too late to take advantage of the change in plans to go see Eden for our anniversary, and the whole bit left me too wound up to get any effective studying done when I went down to the lab to study by myself.

Add to that the fact that my current AC adapter for my laptop (which I essentially live out of, these days) gave up the ghost, again. This is the eighth adapter I've had for this silly machine in a little under two years. I did try to repair the current adapter myself, but the center pin is poorly engineered (read: far too short and barely connected) and the whole thing ended up as a loss. (I was planning to take advantage of this misfortune, so to speak, to use the process for my "story" project in photography, but having the remainder of the adapter fall apart during repairs didn't work out so well.) Not a good way to improve my mood. I ordered yet another replacement to tide me over for the time being, but it's time to start looking at buying a good netbook with this year's tax return anyway.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-06


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-05

Odd but fun day today. Seems as though everyone was stuck in the mode of "too much information, brain full!" A&P Lecture was productive, in that we finally finished up the chapter on blood vessels (leaving only 2 chapters left to do in the three hours of class we have left), but I'm not sure any of us have really managed to process any of it yet. The feeling of disassociation is very strong. Perhaps that has something to do with the disbelief attached to only having dead week and one day of finals left in the term. Scary.

Given that everyone was feeling a little brain dead, we elected to skip our normal D20 session tonight in favor of something a little less thought intensive. Namely, a fun little game called "Grave Robbers from Outer Space" (and a half dozen of the sequel packs). It's essentially a card game wherein players build horrible B movies (often staring Skippy the Wonder Dog) and take turns killing off each other's characters. Great fun!

We also watched Hudson Hawk, a wonderfully campy Bruce Willis film that I hadn't yet gotten around to seeing. It filled in the brainless action part of the evening nicely, and was quite hilarious at times! I don't know if we'll get back to D20 in the next couple of weeks, given that break is coming up and people's schedules are pretty much utterly scrambled with finals, but it's still fun to hang out with the crew when the opportunity arises.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-05


Friday, March 5, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-04

Today's photography assignment was interesting to do, especially without a secondary subject or a short lens. I ended up playing with the camera on a tripod and tethered to the laptop and snapping a pic every 12 seconds to give the flashes time to recharge. Lots of unusable pics (too much overlap), but it worked out. Not quite the execution I was hoping for, either, but it rarely is. Regardless, I still like my concept as a response to the assignment of a multiple exposure.

Art 207 - Assignment 9 - Breakfast Blend
"Breakfast Blend"

We got our final project in photography today, as well - short version is that we're supposed to "tell a story" in 6 pictures. There are a couple of other determinants, but that's the basics. Due Tuesday, will represent nearly all of our final grade, from the sound of it. Glad we have time to plan on this. Sheesh. Got a couple of ideas, but we'll see.

Airsoft meeting tonight, to elect officers for the club for next year. Turns out that Peter was about the only person I knew there, so I abstained, but that's ok - it worked out well. President was the only position that had any competition, and that vote landed as a tie. As per club charter, there'll be a duel for the position at the next airsoft game to break the tie. Awesome.

After the vote, it was time for pizza, ice cream, and a showing of "Zombieland", which I hadn't gotten around to seeing yet. Turns out that I seem to like zombie comedies, based on this and Shaun of the Dead. In any case, any club that caters, even from Dominos, has got to be good, right?

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-04

20100304IMG_0002Almighty Blender
"Almighty Blender"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-03

Today was the last meeting of my journalism class. Just have to put together my portfolio as a final, and I'm done. At the least, it'll be nice to be done with this segment of classes for dead week. I think we're going to have to set some records for study and relaxation, in equal parts, during that time. Lots to get filed in the braincase, and lots of stress to burn off. Nice, too, to have at least one class that takes dead week off - that tradition seems to be dying in most classes at OIT.

A few of my fellow students seem to have the right attitude, on that one - looks like there's going to be an interesting party on that Friday that might be worth attending, and the airsoft club is holding a fairly massive skirmish that Saturday. I'm going to hit up Jason to see if I can bum a weapon to join in - current finances mean that I wouldn't be able to pick up one of my own that'd actually be worth keeping before that point.

A&P quiz today didn't go too badly; landed with the 13/15 I've come to expect out of lecture lately - no matter what I study, there's just too much content in these chapters to hold it all in. That's ok - it's looking like I'll be coasting into finals with a well insulated B again this term - that helped a lot on keeping the stress of actually taking the test down last term.

I'd suspect the medical terminology midterm lands at about a B as well, though I probably won't have results before the final, ironically. That's ok - it's not a class I'm feeling overly worried about - it does take actual study, but enough seems to stick that the stress level is semi-low.

Today's afternoon project was bringing Jen's desktop back to life - she's been living off of a laptop for more than a year, and it'll give her a place to sit down and play with Photoshop once she finds her tablet. Moving her files to an a spare hard drive and reinstalling XP/drivers went surprisingly smoothly - I've gotten to expecting some little crisis during these things, lately. Good way to end the evening.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-03

20100303_MG_7955View to the top
"View to the top"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-02

Found out why classes was canceled yesterday. Turns out that Dr. Torres has acquired a nasty case of laryngitis that makes it more or less impossible to speak over the chatters in his classes (they're rampant in both sections of A&P and medical terminology). Regardless, he came in today, as it's the last formal session of lab before our lab final next Tuesday.

He actually ended up having his lab assistant run the quiz, as he was smart enough to realize that having us depend on trying to make out what he was saying to specify this or that anatomical bit would have been unfair. Very even-handed of him. The cram sessions we put in yesterday and this morning seemed to pay off, as both Jen and I pulled in with a 15/15 - woot!

Relatively interesting class session today, as well - a quick lab on blood typing, then a review of the structures we'll be responsible for on the cadaver for the final. The old fellow gets less and less intimidating each time we work with him, which reassures me a bit that I'll eventually be able to maintain utility when it finally comes down to performing in the hospital during trauma or forensics.

I am still stunned, however, by the level of casual familiarity Torres shows with the body. No hesitation or qualms about just scooping out the guy's brain (literally!) to point out this or that structure.

Photography was a bit of a trial, tonight. I'm not sure if I went in the right direction by not making too much fuss, but dang - Becerra was pushing buttons that I didn't realize were such a big deal like crazy all session.

It's readily apparent that his commercial forays into photography as a business have some serious gaps. I won't go into technical details here, as it deals with stuff you folks probably could care less about, but he kept on insisting that people "correct" their photos with various automatic settings in Photoshop. Now, admittedly, many of the photos in question could use some post processing, but if I had any damn input, the use of Photoshop in a photography class should include instruction on the proper way to direct the tool's operation - leaving things on automatic gives no creative input and amounts to the same thing as leaving everything on automatic on the darn camera. Like listening to nails dragged across a chalkboard, it was!

Add to this his casual comment that our photos for class would be going up on his website. When I asked what kind of license we would have to consent to for this use, he seemed stunned at the thought of licensing anything. It was a casual comment, and honestly I don't have a problem with him using the photos I selected for class in this way, personally, but geez - be aware of the legal ramifications of your supposed profession.

I guess that last bit might require some explanation, as an outside view might make my own publication habits seem overly casual, but believe me, I'm very well aware of the inherent limits on my legal rights with regard to photography. As a for instance, the work I publish to flickr that includes human subjects (including a lot of you) falls into the legal realm of self-publishing, which basically states that as long as I don't make a profit on the photos directly, I can use them for self-promotion without needing a model release.

To turn that around, Becerra grabbing said photos for his own website without license has no such protection - he'd be violating both the model's rights (even on candids), as this is not journalistic use and there are no model releases signed, and for that matter, violating mine under copyright, even if he's not making any profit from the action.

I don't know; as I said, it's not this specific instance that I object to - the work I produced for class this term has been more frustrating than spectacular, as an average, but it shows a stunning level of disregard for his fellow photographer's rights, and more to the point, his lack of knowledge on the subject is a grave disservice to his students. Honestly, spending half of a class on the legal issues surrounding photography would be a great help to any of the students that would like to make a dime in the field someday - it's scary easy to set yourself up for a potentially bankrupting lawsuit, at least once you enter the realm of publishing. (Legally, _taking_ pictures is protected in most circumstances - it's once your work is distributed in some form that you have to worry).

I'd love some commentary from the peanut gallery on this one - I know I'm probably over-reacting (hell, I'm very surprised at the depth of my reaction myself), but how much so?

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-02

20100302_MG_7920CU Closeup
"CU Closeup"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-03-01

A&P is producing some awfully odd behavior in me. I end up feeling like I'm late when I'm less than a half hour early to class (or the CU, when we have a study session set up). I actually obsess over details of the chapter we're on outside of class, and often fall asleep loosely reviewing anatomy for lab in my head.

Today is another example of questionably sane results from that class. I feel like utter crap, dizzy and nauseous and just plain screwed up. However, given that most of this hit last night with scary abruptness, I'm relatively certain that it represents some sort of body imbalance, rather than sickness, and thus I went to class today, specifically to make it to A&P.

Honestly at this point I'm not too worried about Journalism, Photography, or Medical Terminology; I'm relatively certain that I'd be able to make up any missed content with little effort, and of course in the first two cases the classes end up feeling a little fluffy when we're down to two weeks left and I haven't gotten a single grade yet. Hard to worry effectively when it feels like what you're doing has no effect.

Not so with A&P - the darn class is such a colossal pain to get a handle on as it is, and I'd be pretty damn upset with myself if I blew my grade in it just prior to formally applying for the medical imaging program. So at this point it's full speed ahead, regardless of consequences, as long as I can be relatively sure I'm not spreading plague.

The girls made appropriately consoling noises upon encountering me, as it was readily apparent that I wasn't doing so hot. Not a good look on me, it seems. Regardless, we got in some good prep for the respective quizzes for lab and lecture.

Imagine our surprise when we got to class, and found out that both A&P and Medical Terminology were canceled. Almost a let down after making such an effort to be responsible.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-03-01


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February 2010 Picture Roundup

Here's February!

2010-02 Picdump [Show images on map] [Fullscreen slideshow]

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-02-28

Odd day today. Ended up waking early, and decided to take advantage of the time. Rolled out of bed and went straight down to the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge, hoping to catch the Bald Eagles with the sun at the right angle (their usual haunt leaves them fairly well silhouetted in the afternoons). Not much luck there - it seems that most of the pack has moved on for the season already, as there simply weren't many to be found. On the other hand, the Red-shouldered Blackbirds were out in serious force - there were probably over a thousand individual birds in the area where I usually find the eagles - crazy.

These two videos aren't terribly steady, I'm afraid, but they should serve to illustrate the crazy cacophony produced by the swarm.

I was price checking a few possible continuous lighting sources this evening at Walmart and Home Depot when my body suddenly decided that it was going to be viciously sick - horrible nausea and dizziness and funky flashing lights in my vision. Very strange, and disturbing. Not sure what's going on there.

Ended up skipping my near nightly call to Eden in favor of just trying to lie still and go to sleep early, at 9. Really not doing so hot, hoping I feel better in the morning.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-02-28


Daily Post (Josh) 2010-02-27

Interesting day today. Abe asked me if I'd like to accompany him to Medford to find the Indian restaurant he'd tried to direct Jen and I to earlier in the week. I decided to fight introvert habits and join the crew. Jen and Tank weren't able to attend, but Abe's girlfriend, Nichole, and his roommate, Cooper, joined us.

It worked out to me chauffeuring the crew as they all worked on various papers on their respective laptops - very surreal trip, with very little conversation. Nichole stopped at a local tattoo shop long enough to acquire a new nose piercing (apparently this is something of a tradition with Abe & Nichole, the package deal of a new piercing and Indian food in one trip).

I ended up trying the chicken Vindaloo at India Palace, and was fairly well impressed. A good amount of heat, but not heat without flavor, which I despise. The hostess and her daughter were very attentive all evening, and were nice enough to let us try (well, most of us - I was too full to attempt it) a new desert, a frozen chai treat, for free. Turns out that her husband was the sole chef that evening, and was very understanding about dealing with our 8 separate orders (4 people present, 4 to go orders for friends). Good stuff.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-02-27

20100227_MG_7056Laptop of Luxury
"Laptop of Luxury"

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-02-26

Dr. Li filled in for Torres again in A&P today, as he's still out at his conference. Much frustration with this fact seems to have produced a chorus of dissatisfaction among his students. I can relate.

Both Jen and I were struck down by relatively nasty migraines in the late evening. We alerted Jason to this fact, trying to negotiate rescheduling our weekly game of D20 for later in the weekend, but it was not to be as other people's schedules would not flex that far.

We elected to nab Tank for a run to the local Mongolian barbecue to see if food would allow sufficient recovery to attend the game, but it wasn't going to happen. Good food, but not magical. We dropped Tank off at the game and headed home to our respective beds to recover. It'll be interesting to see how the game has progressed without us next week.

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-02-26

20100226_MG_7011My patience is not infinite...
"My patience is not infinite..."

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-02-25

Not too much going on today, as it happens. I did finally get around to playing with my flashes and Jen's giraffe a bit, for my still life assignment in photography. Professor Becerra loved the results, and to be honest, I'm fairly pleased with what I got, but frustrated at the same time too.
Art 207 - Assignment 7.1 - Still Life - Sinister Giraffe 1Art 207 - Assignment 7.2 - Still Life - Sinister Giraffe 2Art 207 - Assignment 7.3 - Still Life - Sinister Giraffe 3
The primary reason I was frustrated is due to the nature of the two flashes I have, mostly. They're Vivitar thyristor flashes that I got super cheap. They're powerful, but lack a good bit of control. The thyristor bit means that the amount of light they put out is controlled by a sensor on the front of the flash that increases resistance based on the amount of light it senses until it reaches a specific value, which then cuts off the flash. Functionally, this means that the light output of the flash is dependant almost entirely on the surfaces bouncing light back towards the flash, rather than being a specific amount of light (IE 1/4 maximum power, etc). Add to this the fact that both flashes only have 3 settings for these thyristors and you can see it requires a bit of a brute force approach to get anything resembling the light setup you're imagining. Secondary to this is the fact that the light measurement is based on light coming back to the flash, not relative to the camera... not the ideal situation.

This is of course addressed to some extent by modern Canon flashes, which have a much greater granularity, and communicate with the camera to see how much light the camera is actually seeing (thus being described as TTL, or "through the lens" flashes). Unfortunately, getting in on that game would drain at least $150 from my account per flash. Not happening soon.

Ah well; adversity strengthens, yes?

Daily Pic (Josh) 2010-02-25

20100225_MG_7004Light Play
"Light Play"