Monday, June 13, 2011

Spring Term - Part III: The Print of It

As I mentioned a few months ago, I had applied and gotten the position as Associate Copy Editor for my school newspaper (The Clackamas Print).  Because of this, my days were filled with yet another obligation, this one not counting towards my degree unfortunately.

It took me a while to accumulate, to observe and see where I fit, but I think it happened.  I am truly part of the dysfunctional family that is The Print.

I started out by buying an AP Styleguide, this was a necessity given that all of my previous writing training was in MLA format, and while the differences were subtle, they weren't obvious and were often important.

My time was served editing a couple articles a week (some easier than others) and then combing each page (along with several others) over and over again on production day, ensuring as close to perfection as possible on production day.

My big contribution didn't come until the second to last issue of the term.  I wrote an article on green beans, wrote two food reviews (Mazatlan and Toki) for a special food insert, took a photo for each and designed six ads.  I was also part of the production staff that created the food insert.  That was a BUSY week I tell ya. 

Towards the end of the term, it was time for editor applications, so of course I applied for the position I had been training for all term, Copy Editor.  Guess what?  I am now Web Editor.  I suppose my stregnths showed through and I am where I should be.

I also found a way to use this opportunity as Cooperative Work Experience over the summer, redesigning and reorganizing the website, getting it up to par so it will hopefully only be in need of the typical regular maintenance that comes with updates.  I took a baby step in the right direction, taking the reigns of The Print's Twitter account and giving it a facelift.

All and all, I've got my work cut out for me.  Step one, learn Joomla.  Yay.

Spring Term - Part II: The Thick of It

Web Application Designs - Spring 2011
Even with all of the time I spent on campus, it was the online classes that kicked me in the backside this term.  Business Strategies for Computer Consultants, and Web Application Development.

Business was probably the easier of the two, but required a lot of reading, research, and relying on the advisory of a third party to get the work done.  On the plus side, there were some aspects that I was ahead of the game on, such as business licensing.  Having been through the process of completing and filing a business license application (which by the way it turns out I didn't need since I am outside of city limits), as well as actually being in the process of starting my own business, came in very handy within the realm of this class.

I learned a lot of valuable information that will likely be put into play in my own business, and I am glad I took this class.  However, what I didn't like was I always felt rushed and stressed when it came to the assignments.  I turned things in the day they were due, instead of ever being able to get ahead, which is what I prefer.  I tip-toed through that class uncertain, which is strange given that I aced it and received nothing but positive feedback.

Web Application Development was a class that somewhere deep down, was determined to bring me to tears.  During the last 12 weeks, I delved further into the world of JavaScript and began my introduction to ASP, PHP, SQL, and MySQL.  Can I buy a vowel? 

With JavaScript, everything was familiar and I got through it with minimal frustration, however when ASP came along, the hair pulling began.  Once I finally got a slight understanding of ASP, PHP came along, and it's just similar enough to almost understand, yet different enough that minor differences are no where near as minor as you would think.  Access databases are straight forward enough, it's just the syntax to use it that causes steam to emit from my ears.  The combination of PHP and MySQL drove me batty, because I didn't have access to the database in the first place.  I had to figure out how to create a record before I could edit or delete it.  Ugh!

Some how, after many nights dreaming of roaming semi-colons and sinister radio buttons, I passed, with flying colors no less.  I even managed to get 100% on the debugging part of the final (blink-blink, huh?).

Books on all of these topics are residing as we speak within the safety of my Amazon shopping cart.  With a couple classes down the line being extensions of these topics, I plan on being thoroughly prepared, even if it means keeping a spare box of tissues around, just in case.

Spring Term - Part I: The Art of It

This term, my Mondays and Wednesdays were virtually consumed by sitting in front of a Mac in the college Art Center.  My mornings consisted of Computer Graphics, while my afternoons were filled with Flash Animation (in between an hour of journalism snuck in, but more about that in "Spring Term - Part III"). 

This was my second term of Computer Graphics, in the same class room, with the same teacher, using the same programs.  It was awesome.  Our first project was to create a game; every part of it, including concept, package design, and a functional final product. 

Call me crazy, but I created a drinking game.  I assure you, I didn't start out with the intention of getting people drunk, I started out with an idea for packaging and went from there.  Instantly, I found myself drawn to using one of those skinny shipping tubes that can be found at your local postal office.  Where else was I supposed to do after realizing how nicely a stack of shot glasses fit within said tube?

Pictures and more details will soon be available here.

Our second assignment in Computer Graphics was to server an actual client, who needed designs for a sustainability tour being planned on campus.  I had a lot of fun with this.  I enjoy creating logos, though the biggest struggle I had was trying to do things in Adobe Illustrator, that I had become so familiar with in Adobe Photoshop (not everything crosses over sadly).

Examples of my designs, as well as the pieces that were chosen (or at least a variation of) for use will soon be available here.

Flash Animation was a fun class, quite different than the Multimedia For the Web class I took last term in the sense that it was more about the design and animation than the straight forward functionality and scripting.

Our first assignment was to create a ten second animation, essentially a site gag.  We started out drawing out storyboards, and then brought the story to life.  Perhaps at some point I will post the links to some of the examples the instructor gave us for inspiration (entertaining, based on the audience).  My animation topped out at over 30 seconds and caused much frustration due to an over complication of elements (would you believe grass field was almost my downfall?). 

This animation will soon be available here.

Our second assignment was to create a game (yes, this was actually the same instructor as the Computer Graphics class).  The idea and design were more important than the functionality, however I was lucky enough to end up with a rather pretty finished product.  I created a brick breaker game, and gave it a tropical feel.  I hope to go back and add music to it at some point, but for now, enjoy!

Stoic - October 2010 
This game will soon be available here.

Lastly, and not assignment based, I must mention the art show.  I submitted six pieces of work I have done over the last school year to the Lee Hutchinson Student Art Show, and five were chosen to be displayed.  Of those five, one won best digital (the photo on the right).  Yay me!  I won a $75 gift card to the art supply of my choice, so of course, I picked Best Buy.

All six of these submissions will soon be available here.

So that was the artsy side of my term.  Stay tuned for more!

Time to Breathe

Would you believe another term has come and gone?

Six classes, 17 credits (12 is considered full time), over 30 hours a week on campus, countless mind numbing hours on homework.  The final result?  My fifth 4.0 in a row. 

I'm exhausted.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stepping Stones

Last term flew by fast. 

I learned more than I ever thought I wanted to know about Microsoft Windows in Operating Systems II.  I was introduced to the wonderful world of Adobe Flash in Multimedia for the Web.  I explored my talents for graphic design and turning those designs into a finished product in Computer Graphics I.  And I learned how to draft an argument and use better research and citation practices in my second term of English Composition.

The final result?  Another 4.0 (four in a row now).

More news?

I applied and got the position as Associate Copy Editor for the college newspaper.  It's requiring an additional five credits on top of my 12 credit, full time course load, but the rewards could quite possibly be worth it.  The sort of attention to detail the job requires is going to be a welcome addition to my resume.  It is my understanding that I am now a part of a great big dysfunctional family.  I'm looking forward to it.

Can you believe there is more?

"An Axe Design" is officially a registered business name in the state of Oregon.  Soon to follow: a business license.  Got any freelance work?  I am open for business.

And finally:

I got my first paid freelance web design job via a friend since birth.  More details to come.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Official

Term GPA: 4.0;
Overall GPA (4 terms): 4.0;
I am exhausted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Updates Are Here!


Updates have arrived at

I've revamped the whole site, added several pages, and content is still coming!  Please visit and support a budding web designer in their efforts!

Thank you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Updates

New updates are definitely on the way!  I've got the start of several pages created, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll have them uploaded.  Please stay tuned!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Years Resolution

Yes, I actually made one.

My resolution for 2011 is to be more than just a student.

Last year I managed to earn three 4.0 GPAs in a row.  Yeah, it's a major accomplishment, but I feel like I haven't accomplished much outside the academic realm.  Proof?  I haven't updated this blog since April, I hardly even got it started before politely setting it on the shelf and ignoring it.

I am more than a student.

I am a granddaughter, I am a daughter, I am a niece, I am a cousin, I am a friend, I am an artist, I am a designer, I am a blogger, I am a photographer, I am a knitter, I am a computer geek, I am so many other things... on top of being a student. 

This year, I resolve to not neglect the rest of my life in the pursuit of good grades.  Reading, crafting, writing, and creativity are worthy of a little extra time and attention.  Employment would be another nice goal, there is no reason I can't get paid for being creative, that's the whole point of getting this education, right?  And socializing, I miss my friends, I miss making friends.  It's just not practical to spend every Friday and Saturday night doing homework and studying.  Also, do you know how long it has been since I turned on my XBox?  I bet it is pretty ticked off at me by this point.

Not everything needs to be put on the back burner to earn A's. 
That is my New Years Resolution.