Friday, November 26, 2010

Daily Post 11-24-2010 (Josh)

Strangely stressful day today. Ever have one of thos knock-down crazy fights, where no one actually knows why they're fighting, but by golly, they're going to win! Yeah... Apparently that healthy fighting spirit is making the rounds.
I'm afraid not much else has gotten done. Eden and I drove Cassie down to the Max to take off for work, and only had time for a quick pit stop at Target before it was time to pick her up again. Turns out that Sylvan had lost heat entirely and had cancelled classes for the day. Much to the horror of Cassie's boss, no one had thought to call her to tell her not to come in!

Ah well, Eden's actual birthday tomorrow, and Turkey day to boot!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-11-23

Chilly! Woke up to 18 degrees today, which didn't rise much at all. Classes were delayed, but not canceled, which ended up meaning that I only missed my photography class, no real loss, as it was due to be a work day for the final project anyway.

Fortunately, the weather managed to dump all of the snow and ice it was going to last night, leaving the humidity extremely low for the first time in a long while. This meant that just as soon as the sun cleared the streets a bit, driving was fine as long as caution was used. Eden and Cassie also took advantage of the break in weather to do some experimentation for Fairy Floss; it looks like we'll have more delicious new flavors ready for the weekend, which our fans are sure to appreciate.

Also, bonus round: Not only did I have my last Chemistry lab of the semester, but I took the time to confer with the teacher and it looks like landing with an 'A' is a very real possibility. I'm more than a little pumped about that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Daily Post (Josh) 2010-11-22

Interesting day today, to be honest. We've been having some health issues with our eldest cat, Piranha, over the past month or so, that culminated this morning. Long story short, we got him into a local vet, who clued us in that he may end up being allergic to fish. Astonishingly, apparently somewhere around 70% of cats are, to some degree. Stunned the heck out of us. It'll take some time to play out and see if this suspicion is accurate, but at least it's a direction. The doc also started him on an antibiotic for an ear infection, which seems to have some immediate effect.

For the larger portion of the afternoon, Piranha more or less danced around the room like a kitten, playing fiercely with bits of fluff. Suffice to say, we're absolutely thrilled, and have some good hopes for the next couple of weeks. We'll see what happens.

This evening brought a heck of a cold snap to the area, snow and all. Looks very likely that tomorrow's school day will be canceled, though as of the moment, only this evening's classes have been canceled. I have to admit, I'm kind of hoping for an official snow day; while it's a bit bitter out, I can't help but hope for some time to play in the snow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Updates: 9-23-10 to today... (Josh)

So no, I haven't forgotten about this blog. In point of fact, it's been haunting me a bit.

As you may have noticed, I'd gotten into the habit of interleaving the picture of the day with the blog entry for that day, which in turn led to the habit of updating the blog on a text file on my laptop and batch updating both the text and the pics when I managed to get my photo stream up to date. Given that photo processing takes a fair amount of time, the instances where I'm actually caught up to date on the date of posting are rather rare indeed.

So, long story short, one of those rare instances actually occurred about a month ago - I had photos uploaded up to date on both Flickr and Smugmug, and had just finished updating that day's blog... and then I managed to drop my netbook and destroy the hard drive not 3 minutes later (I was actually only moving from the hallway to my next classroom; what should have been a safe move of maybe 15 feet!). Needless to say, I just about cried.

The gap since then has been due largely to simply not wanting to go through re-creating a full month of posts from my cruddy memory (since this posting habit has largely grown out of a desire to remember things I can't seem to keep in my brain.) There have also been some hugely emotional days in that span that I just can't deal with re-living in too much depth right now.

All that aside, I've miss posting here. The funkiness that resides in my brain means that without this record, time just seems to slip by without any impact, or worse yet, with only the hard bits sticking in my brain, which doesn't help my outlook anyway.

Bottom line, this is going to be a single monster post summarizing a few of the big events, and then we'll move on. I'm going to try to worry less about getting the order of posts right and just do it. Also, I finished my Project365 a while ago, and my photo habits have changed a bit in response. While it was a good project, and did a lot to help me actually put work into photography, there were times where I just felt forced to try to find something, _anything_ to shoot, just to try to make the day's quota - which leaves me posting pictures I'm not actually proud of. So daily pictures may happen, and may be posted, but aren't likely to be actually daily in frequency. I have some thoughts for other long term photo projects that may get taken up, but no decisions yet, and they'll probably wait until after this term is over to get started. I'll be posting that 365 project in a way that you folks can access all at once, as well as the missing month/chunk summaries, but probably not today - I have the feeling that getting through all of this is going to be all I can manage for the day.

Hrmmm... I'm looking back at what's actually made it to the web, and realizing that my posts cut off almost immediately after the term starts, so perhaps the thing to do is to address each class as a whole, rather than try to proceed chronologically, at least for that chunk of things.

First off is my Photography class, which I'm afraid has turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment, at least in terms of fulfilling my expectations. The teacher is definitely an art teacher forced into teaching a photography class, rather than a photographer by choice - we're almost done with the course and still haven't seen a single shot she's made, for instance. Most of the class has revolved around watching netflix instant watch pieces on incredibly abstract artists; many of whom are not photographers and have little to do with our subject matter. The teacher's instruction on actual photography has amounted to assigning a few chapters in the assigned book in the first session or two (amazingly, the book is actually quite good, and would be worth picking up outside the class) and about 20 minutes of commentary on exposure times.

Assignments thus far have been frustrating; ranging from attempting to imitate a photo by one of her selected photographers (almost entirely abstract pieces, or photo journalistic pieces that I actually quite admired in many cases... but those were always set with countries or celebrities that were just a bit out of reach) to an assignment that amounted to simply running around with a camera and taking 200 photos... without looking at what you might be shooting. All that aside, I started on the final project today with Cassie, which is much more self driven, and I'm really pleased with what's turning out so far, so there's a bit of hope for getting something out of the class for the long term.

Chemistry has turned out somewhat interesting; the last time I took it, I felt like the subject just wasn't snapping into place like I'd hoped - after the first week or so, my brain just get a bit of a glaze on it and couldn't seem to fit the concepts quite right. This time around, things seem to be going much smoother. The instructor is knowledgeable and reasonably funny, and just seems like a pretty good guy. There was a bit of a booddoggle with the online homework company for the first few weeks, but things are up and running now and the only issue there is just how very much homework there is per chapter.

I've actually made a few friends, or at least strong acquaintances, in the lab portion, that may even stick after the class has finished. Having been through this before, even if it wasn't amazingly clear at the time, means that I'm able to explain some confusing points, and my habit of getting through the algebra of the day's assignment before lab has meant that I've been free to work through why the math works out that way with my lab partners without any real time issues. It's a pretty good feeling, and I think that I may be able to nudge things into the A range that I need before the term peters out.

Anatomy, on the other hand, has been nothing short of a living nightmare. The instructor is a good guy, if a little brusque, and has real world experience both as an MD and a radiologist, but it just feels like I'm storing less and less of what I need, despite studying and worrying like a fiend between migraines (the ritual panic attack that I've been getting before each quiz and test in this class REALLY haven't helped those). Basically, I've just felt absolutely lost, and a bit like having been through this before is actually working against me; my expectations are way off.

On the plus side, I did take the time to talk in depth with my instructor last period, both about the radiology program (which does indeed focus more on principles and procedures than rote memorization - much more of a strong point for me. The instructor even commented that an understanding of physics was what really counted there, and that's a subject that I absolutely love!) and about the class itself. Turns out that if I keep on showing the same numbers that I've been getting, I should land at a 79.51% for the class, which he said he would tip to a "B" as a matter of policy. I had actually been feeling like I'd done bad enough to have to worry about failing and threatening my school funding. Just goes to show what a perception filter can do, eh? Won't do anything to improve my previous "B" on record for the OIT review committee, but it won't hurt it either.

My online C programming course has been interesting, at least a bit. Not a huge amount of learning in terms of principles there, other than pointers and memory management, but the material is understandable and I've been keeping up without any problems - I'm actually showing in excess of 100% for a grade due to extra credit. It pretty much works out that this'll give me a baseline knowledge in the language and it is something that I'll probably explore more after the class, but I just don't have time to do anything beyond the coursework right now.

On to more personal life. Having stopped the beta blockers I mentioned in my last few posts helped quite a bit, both in terms of migraine intensity and in terms of medication side effects (deep, dark, black depression being the most threatening of those). I'm still having the migraines pretty regularly; near daily, but usually staying in the 4-7 pain range and fairly manageable through energy drinks, ibuprofen, and Head On. I'd love to be rid of em, and hopefully will be soon, but it's not a crisis yet. On that note, I've finally gotten all my ducks in a row to get medical coverage through the VA, and will hopefully be seeing someone in the next few weeks to address both migraines and ADD.

I actually ended up seeing one of Dad's coworkers as an interim solution out of pocket and doubled up on my ADD meds, which seems to help a bit. Less issues outright forgetting stuff, though it's frustratingly sporadic in terms of being able to access stuff. It's hard to describe adequately; it's like I can't remember what I had for breakfast if someone asks me that point blank, but if someone mentions pancakes or somesuch, I can remember the entire incident based on that trigger. It's just hard to find the keys myself, I guess. Also still having a lot of issues with maintaining concentration, but my understanding is that that's not something that's addressed as much by these meds. Ideally it'll be something to work through when I have a more regular doctor.

I did end up with the Flu or something in late September, bad enough that I missed a day of school and spent about half a week in bed, miserable. Not much else to say on that subject, other than that I survived it with no real after effects other than a recurrent sore throat.

The girls' new business, Fairy Floss, has had a hard time of it this fall. Since the product is highly susceptible to humidity, being hydroscopic, we haven't been able to get out and spin most weekends lately, which has introduced a lot of stress. We're bulling through it, but may have to consider changes in our structure for next year to account for it.

On a much more somber note, my maternal grandfather, Bob Snow, passed away on October 4th - part of the reason I didn't want to go through re-writing all of these entries. I don't cry often, and have a hard time dealing with such emotional issues. Suffice to say that he was an amazing man, and that the world, and my life, is poorer without him in it. He is missed.

Mid-October brought Craft-o-rama, a local family event through the Scheans/Martin side that simply must been seen to be believed. J. J. Martin, a dear friend, and an ex-in-law through Eden's aunt Pat, throws what amounts to a multi-day crafting party every year, inviting friends, family, and neighborhood kids to take advantage of her amazing house, which is simply filled (and over-filled!) with crafting detritus in every room. This year we even got an informal belly-dancing show! More recently, J.J. asked Eden and I to take care of her house and cat, Spooky, for a few weeks while she was out of the country, so Eden got a chance to do Craft-o-rama mark II!

The end of October brought birthday parties both for my father, Bruce, and for Eden's aunt Carol - we had a lot of fun celebrating with family on both occasions, and just generally catching up with everyone. Actually, just this past Friday, I had a chance to throw a surprise birthday party for Eden, which was an amazing amount of fun, and almost amusingly frustrating to put together, as she almost caught me in the act perhaps a half dozen times along the way, while I was setting reservations and wrapping presents and such - good times, and good friends - we had a lot of people show up to celebrate our girl this year!

At this point, we're pretty much just unwinding the slightest bit from midterms, studying madly for finals, and looking forward to tasty tasty turkey in just a few days, which will give us another chance to bring the Byram and Scheans clans together. I can't wait!