Friday, April 30, 2010

Metal Sculpture First Proper project

I tried to bend my maquette from yesterday into something I could use for my final piece but I did it so good it wouldn't bend. So I was proud and took a picture. Those red plastic curtains protect our eyes from the arc of other people's welding.
I sketched around my model from yesterday to make a pattern for today.

I tested my object against my paper pattern, and it was practically spot on! I don't know how I did that.

Here it is in progress.
And here it is finished with welding and awaiting the fabric
That's a bit sad, isn't it? Me curled up on a dirty floor in a metal cage? How about if I told you I was all alone so I had to take the picture with my camera's self timer? Depressed yet?
Here is a metal snowflake I made by accident.

Well visually a metal snowflake is a good antidote to a metal cage, but experientially it was not. But luckily! My TA was having an art show called 1000 balloons and I went to swim in them!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Swimming today.

I have been working up to swimming a mile, as this future goal for when I am stronger. But swimming 3/4 of a mile is pretty easy for me so this morning I decided I would swim a whole mile, or get saved by a lifeguard in the attempt, switching between breaststroke and freestyle to rest my arms. It took me almost an hour because I was pacing myself until the last hundred meters. I didn't feel very tired, so this afternoon I swam another mile just freestyle but without flip turns (flip turns are faster but you spend a long time under water so you get a lot less air than when you grab the wall, turn around, and push off, and my lungs are still getting up to speed with this new swimming regimen.)

This second mile took me less than 45 minutes. I can't see without my glasses so I can't really use the time clock on the wall, so I used my phone stopwatch. I started it, put it away in my locker, realized I had got all ready except putting on my swimsuit, opened my locker and put it on, had a rinsing off shower for etiquette, went to the pool and swam 1600m freestyle, got out, found my wet shoes which had apparently fallen into the pool and been fished out and the combination to my locker (which I store in my shoe because I can't be memorizing a new code every day) lost in the process, went straight to my locker, managed to get it open, and stopped the stopwatch, all of which took 46 minutes and 27 seconds.

My shoes were okay because they are made of foam, and I bring foam shoes because they might get splashed when people climb in and out of the water, but not flip flops because then I would have nowhere to store my locker combination.

Then I got a slice of pizza and was going to get a beer because I did a good job but it was $4.75 so I didn't. Swimming makes me really hungry. Today I had a huge lunch and a pretty big dinner, usually I do one or the other and then just have like a piece of bread for the other or some soup. Also I had delicious cookies sent by my aunt and decorated by my cousins, but I didn't eat them all in my ravenous state because after swimming I like something hot.

I expected that goal to last me a bit longer so now I don't know what to do. I looked online but workouts are like 200m of this and a 300m drill and then catchups for 100m and like, I can just about count how many laps I am doing, I for sure can't memorize a workout I am only going to do once. I could write it on my leg though. And it would come right off- I had five showers today. 2 etiquette showers so I could get into the pool without dirtying it too much, 2 to get the chlorine off after swimming, and one at home a while ago because my fourth shower was insufficient because lots of children were in the shower room after their swim lesson and I didn't want to be naked around them and also the water was really cold from all of them using it so I took a too short shower and smelled strongly of chlorine when I got home.

I guess my next goal is to swim a mile of breaststroke and a mile of freestyle in a row, and then if I can still move my arms I will swim a mile of backstroke. That sounds like a lot but I think it is linear growth from on monday when I swam half a mile.

This post had LOTS of numbers which I think is because I spent an hour and a half counting to 64 today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Metal Sculpture

For Special Topics in Sculpture I am making Something out of metal. I have never worked with metal before and was very nervous to try, since woodshop is so hard, but actually metal shop is a lot easier for me, at least the stuff I have tried so far (rods of metal only, no sheet metal) . In woodshop you have to use a lot of different machines and materials for every project, and there is a lot of planning. Metal shop is more intuitive. I just think of something, make a model out of wire, make the pieces for it out of steel rod, then attach the pieces with welding.
I didn't have to use the anvil but it's exciting that I have an anvil in my life.
This is my first thing that I welded. You might be thinking, wow! what a spot-on hot air balloon or lightbulb! because I didn't tell you yet it's supposed to be a sea urchin. I thought a flare at the bottom would look more elegant. I thought I was inventing a shape based on the sea urchin but apparently I am rather late to the party.
This is what I made today, with my feet for scale but it is bigger than it looks. It is a model of what I want to make for my sculpture class. I want to make a little pod covered in wool (but now I am thinking something cheaper like synthetic fleece might be better) for people to crawl inside. It will be dark, quiet, and warmed by the wire from an electric blanket. And I think there might be a recording of me talking about something weird.
this is how you make the circles from the straight wire. It is huge heavy steel rollers.

My project critique is on Monday and I am supposed to have a gallery ready thing produced. Our professor was very clear. She teaches also at Berkeley and CCA and says her students there would never turn in things as unfinished as the things we turn in, that they work their asses off. So, I am RATHER nervous about turning in a lot of models instead of my piece, although Bruce who runs the shop said she will understand. I kind of want to say I am for sure literally and figuratively working my ass off and if my pants still fit my butt at the end of term in a month I will take a failing grade in the course. Because metal shop uses a lot of muscles.

I was feeling really cool, since I just learned to weld yesterday and today I am making a maquette and it looks pretty good and I am working the bolt cutters and bending steel rods with my bare hands (well. not my bare hands. I don't do a thing in that shop without leather gloves except sweep and wash my hands.). Then I noticed my classmate, who is an old hand at the metal shop, had stopped making sparks and loud noises with some mysterious grinding machine I had never seen and started to actually beat a metal pipe with a mallet until it bent. It was so much more hardcore than what I was doing that I had to laugh at myself.

(this is like my fourth blog today. I did a lot in the past 2 days, but was much too busy yesterday to write anything.)

Public Art 2 Traffic Proposal

My public art class all did proposals to get to paint a traffic box right at the main entrance of campus, which is very cool to get to do, especially as it's not school owned but city owned and we are getting judged by the santa cruz arts commission or it might be called something else. The box is huge, like 3 of me could fit inside except it is already full with electricity.

Here is mine, which as my proposal says "humorously illustrates the school motto, 'Fiat Lux/Let There Be Light' with the school mascot, a banana slug. Though the motto and mascot both represent the spirit of UC Santa Cruz, they were adopted at different times and so, taken literally, they are in opposition." It is very convenient that our mascot is one of our school colors, I took it for granted while I was working but not every school has that.

If I'm selected I'll paint the whole box blue with the slug image on the front and on the side it will say Fiat Lux and under that Let There Be Light. I was really keen on leaving off the English, but my professor was very clear that no one can be expected to know Latin and I should use both. I was horrified because this is university. So really, I was saying "fiat lux" in a this-is-a-university-have-some-freaking-knowledge way and she was saying "fiat lux" in a language-is-not-for-obscuring-messages way, and hers was less classist so I backed down. However she also suggested I "put a note on the back explaining that slugs like darkness," to make it clearer, which I did not do.

I didn't think I wanted to win but now of course it's out of my hands and I do. But there were loads of beautiful proposals so I doubt it.

Swimming in the Rain

I decided to swim every day this week, but yesterday it was raining and the only bit of time I had free was before 9.

So, I got all bundled up in my rainboots to go swimming. I got really wet on the walk over.

and I was going to take a picture of the pool or whatever but when I have my glasses off the world and all my plans recede and I can only do what is immediate, which was swimming. And yesterday I swam 3/4 of a mile, all different strokes and slowly. I am going to build to a mile and then work to a mile of freestyle. And then after that I went to welding and used bolt cutters to cut infinity many pieces of thin steel rod and by the end of the day my arms hurt sooooo much and the muscles in my armpits and neck hurt also. I was worried I wouldn't be able to go swimming today but of course I was, I just did a little swim since I only had an hour including taking the bus. Tommorow, though, I have all morning and the metal shop is closed so I have nothing else physical to do so I am going to swim until I can't move and then ask someone to help me out of the pool. Or maybe swim until I can't move and then float until I have the strength to get out. Yeah. I am going to swim 1600m freestyle tomorrow because there's no reason not to. It's not like I'll drown, there are like 3 lifeguards.

I went to a mall

Not to buy anything. I think malls are so interesting, how carefully designed to encourage buying they are, how stupendously banal purchasing something from a mall is, and also the architecture. And the creation of a third sphere or whatever it's called that isn't work or home. (or school or home). But I never think to go to them, because they don't have anything there for me, but my friend had to get her phone looked at so I drove her to Capitola Mall and I really, really liked it. It was raining outside, but not in the mall. I felt like an explorer.

these are so people can see what the clothes would look like, for if they ever need to stand barefoot and immobile in a store window.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I have wanted to learn to surf for more than a year now but the only way to do it in my price range (besides making surfing friends, i must know every single non surfer in this town) is the school swim class which is very cheap (the price of one regular surf lesson for 6 lessons or 6 weeks of lessons or something) and always fills up immediately. So right now my plan is to get much stronger at swimming (I think I would be all right with a surfboard on an ankle leash at the beginner beach but definitely if I got swept away I would just have to go with it, and if I lost my board it is very unlikely I could catch up with it unless it went toward shore) in the pool and then in summer when I don't have pool access I will swim in the ocean for short times and build my endurance.

I have been swimming at the pool twice a week since the start of the quarter (about a month) and it has been great, but last week I went swimming in the ocean and it was discouraging. I didn't have a way of keeping track of time but I played in the waist-chest high water for maybe a half hour and then went swimming where the waves swell (deeper out than where they break) but in water i could easily bob off the bottom for air instead of having to tread water, and I swam for about 10 minutes or 15 at the very most and it was so tiring. I was trying to work against the water (for the exercise, I know that is a slow way to get anywhere) just to get up the beach to where my friend was, and it was impossible. So I swam back to shore, and I was panting and everything, and very cold. So obviously I need to swim a lot more so surfing can be a safer undertaking.

I usually try to swim for 600m in freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke and then I am pretty tired and alternate using aids for my arms or legs so each has a turn to rest for another 100m and then I am too tired to climb out of the pool and have to encroach on the lane of whoever has the ladder. Today I had brand new goggles (thanks so much mom!) and a whole lane to myself because I went late but after 500m the pool closed because it closes at 7:30 and not 8 like I thought. But it opens tomorrow at 8:30 and I don't have any obligations until 10 so I am going swimming tomorow morning. Then I have errands, learning to weld at the metalshop, volunteer at the co-op for 2 hours, and hopefully more time in the metalshop if it is still open, plus also a one page paper and a really solid painting and a proposal packet, all due wednesday. So I have a bit of a busy day but I think I might need a swim at the end of it, especially if I don't make it over there in the morning as I am planning to.

So I made a goal of going swimming every day this week (going twice tomorrow is only one day of course) which is not a huge goal because it is right on the other side of campus and there is a bus I can take (which I plan to always take on the way back because I am all sodden) but at the same time it means getting out of bed on a weekend to go exercise, and also I will almost certainly have a sunburn by then. (sunscreen doesn't even pretend to last through an hour of swimming, it says on the label to reapply after 15 minutes or something, and then wait half an hour before going in the sun.) But maybe not because I have a bit of a tan (I love tans!) and that might keep me from burning.

Now I am looking up things to do while swimming, like drills, because I got a little bored today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yesterday I went to the 4/20 celebration my school is apparently famous for. I don't know what the crowd was estimated at yesterday, but last years' was estimated at 5,000. My bay area friends often ask whether I've been, whether I recommend it, and I've never gone so I decided to go even though I don't smoke and the university sent us an email asking us to make positive choices about how to spend our time.

Anyway, it is a very short walk from my house, and I could here a drum circle going all day from the time I woke up. I had my first day staffing the condom co op so I didn't want to go in the morning in case I smelled like smoke, and I had a shift from 2-4 so I headed over after and got there at 4:07. (the co op is in the building next to my dorm, it was all very convenient) It was neat, and very crowded. I smelled a lot of kinds of smoke, which was interesting but my eyes started stinging. I found a drum circle one of my friends was performing in, and settled in to watch. It was very celebratory, with people sharing and taking photos and dancing and stuff. The drum circle was chanting a call and response countdown, which I liked but was too shy to join, I just danced a little. Then shortly before 4:20 everyone got really excited and set up their smoking, which I thought was a little silly because they had a whole minute to work with, but everyone was making sure their bowl was packed and repacked just right, or something.

Then it started getting too smoky for me. I did not know you can hotbox the outdoors, because it is so big, but you can. It was very nice that several strangers offered their smoking tools to me, but I declined. I thought it was very friendly though. Anyway, in addition to the stinging in my eyes I felt uncomfortable trying to breathe, like if instead of a bonfire everyone wanted to have 500 little fires in every direction. I was looking for a way to be comfortable and I thought crouching down would help, but people would think i was sick and try to help. Then I figured out it might have been smart for everyone to start off sitting, then stand up, so they could reuse the smoke. I wished strongly for a pair of stilts, to be away from the smoke and fit in with the performative atmosphere. So I hiked back home. I was glad I went, and I was glad I went alone (my friend was supposed to come down but he had to stay at his dispensary past midnight on the 19th preparing stock for the 20th so he was too tired to come down.) because I ended up needing to leave very quickly.

I heard one boy saying "Someone should have a bong or something" thus demonstrating a really poor level of attention to his surroundings. I still don't know what he meant, other than that he doesn't plan for his needs well.

So I went to the dining hall, and I went back for more food 4 times (on my 3rd trip they were playing "Smoke Two Joints" on the loudspeaker) and then I put 2 slices of bread, an orange, 2 cookies, and 1-2 servings of chicken into my purse, wrapped separately and carefully in napkins.(we are allowed a dessert or a fruit to carry away) I am not sure why but I think it was the placebo effect.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Condom Co-op

Since I am only taking 13 units this quarter (12 is the minimum to be full time but a usual course load is 15) I have time to volunteer a few hours a week at the Condom Co-op/Student Health Outreach and Promotion office. It's a very important program that buys condoms in bulk (like, really bulk) and resells them cheaply to students, plus also has loads of pamphlets and info to direct students to the campus resources they need for like health and counseling. We have an indoor office that's permanent, and also set up tables outside the bookstore and dining halls. About 15 girls were at the training, and 6 were in sororities with sorority pins. This is a really high proportion at Santa Cruz, so maybe it was for their community service. Idk. It reminded me of when a girl in my econ class had to wear an outfit of condoms (I don't remember what because I didn't pay close attention because she didn't seem to want any attention, which imo is not the way to wear a condom outfit, but I think it was inflated condoms on a large hat) because she was pledging, which I did not bring up.

My 3 hour training was yesterday, mostly about sex dangers with only a short portion about setting up the booth, rates, and dealing with students. It was good to learn because I haven't had to learn about that stuff since my freshman seminar, and the group was positive and we laughed a lot, and it was all girls except one of the guys running it. But it was also worrying, because lots of volunteers were pretty mis/uninformed. I mean, we sell condoms 2 for a quarter, we're not health counselors. But still, people will ask us things and we should know the answers. The U in IUD stands for Uterine, not Urinary. And sex toys for anal play need a flared base. And so on.

Also when we put expired condoms on the wooden demo model (as we are supposed to be able to show if people ask) lots of people didn't follow the directions. I think it's because we were all girls, and people are usually only in charge of putting on only the things they personally are wearing, but still, there are only like 3 steps, so just learn them. Actually from all the help we needed, there might be like 7 steps, starting with "make sure it's like a sombrero, not like a beanie." To me that is help that makes it harder, because you have a sentence to memorize instead of just thinking "I bet the part I unroll should be on the outside so I can unroll it." Also, opening the condoms was really hard

They were this kind but I think the old kind (which these were, since they were expired) had notches in the middle instead of one on the end. Tricky, especially for those of us with lube on our hands from investigating the Female Condom.

I was one of the last to sign up for a shift, and yet the shift I wanted (at the SHOP office so I don't have to carry the giant totes of condoms and store them overnight until the SHOP office opens, nor set up a table or anything), late in the day on a Tuesday, was open! And I got a shirt!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm so angsty in the morning.

So one girl on my facebook is actually frightened that in 2012 the world will end. Every week (ish) she posts about this concern in her status, and not in like a contemplative way. And a different girl on my facebook posted that she watched 2012, the first girl posted that it was scary, and a different girl who I don't know posted "If it happens, it happens. What can we do? If it's our time to go how can we stop it from happening? The only thing we can do is make sure we know who is lord :)" so I didn't respond because I don't know her and it's not on my wall or status. But it's 7am on a saturday so I don't have anyone to gripe to, so here you go, internet: the concern over a 2012 apocalypse is based on a misinterpretation of the ancient mayan long calendar so it's nothing to do with your faith and it's really weird to conflate those two things.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Racism got on me. :(

I was reading a sort of racist article online about Leonard Jeffries and one of the ideas described as bigotry was his theory of sun people (from Africa) and ice people (from europe). I thought the article was being too critical of Jeffries so I googled "sun people africa ice people europe" to find out who thought that was wrong and who thought it was reasonable and why, but instead I found the racistest website I have ever seen, excluding forums. It was so racist. It made me angry. It was sooooo racist. It had an article, about ethics and where ethics come from and stages of ethics, used to show white people are the best, and black people are the worst.

And I kind of felt like it was making me racist, because even though I thought it was wrong, I was not telling the author that, I did not want to talk on facebook to my friends about it because I did not want them to be upset, and I did not even make a blog about it because it was so obviously wrong, so I was not actively disagreeing with it in any way. Parts of it got filed into my brain as facts ("did you know that average IQ is 95*? I didn't, because I thought 100 was developed as the average.")

So, after reading one or two articles on the site I did the implicit.harvard test- they are pretty neat, basic tests of your preference between 2 categories, like fat and thin, or in this case I did the black and white. It would definitely be totally possible to skew results, it is not like reading your brain to see if you are racist; you just press keys to sort: good/bad, black/white, good&white/bad&black, good&black/bad&white. But in this case I did not deliberately skew my result. It showed "a moderate automatic preference to European American compared to African American." Alright. I want to defensively consider that not a real baseline because I already read an article. I might not be racist! Or okay, it might be close enough to a real baseline. Something to work on. Anyway, then I read like 6 more articles (kind of, I scrolled past a lot of parts incredulously but I also reread a lot of parts to see if there was a disclaimer like "i am totally lying", like one part said that no one knew slavery was wrong until white people taught them it was wrong.) So I read this racist stuff, by a white guy, and I kind of thought it was making me racister because reading is a passive activity but I also thought it was making me horrified with white people because it had a white author so I thought it might change my score in either direction. And it changed my score in the direction of being racist.

So, the guy who wrote those articles got closer to his weird goal by me reading them. There's a bit more net racism in the world. I don't know what to do, but I am starting with not linking to the articles in this post, and I guess I will google for "how to stop being racist."

*actually the article said 95 as the average for white people, with lower numbers for black and hispanic people, but my brain rejected that part and stored the first part. Thanks, brain. Racism