Staying Fit

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I’ve blogged about going to the campus gym and walking around campus before, so my page is no stranger to fitness talk. For the past few months I have been slacking off on both of those activities, though, and I am trying to find a good way to get myself back into the swing of things.

Rather than going back to the campus gym and just aimlessly lifting and running like I usually do, I am instead going to try a more regimented way of getting myself in shape. I have downloaded two apps developed by the same company, Fitness 22. One app, 5k Runner, uses a roughly two month long training regimen to prepare you for running a 5k event.

The second app, simply titled Workout, is geared toward lifting exercises at the gym that target specific areas of the body. With these two apps, as well as more research into a meal plan, I’m hoping to get myself in better shape so that I can feel and look a little bit healthier.

If anyone out there has tried a similar goal or has any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments, I’m always open to suggestions!

Rescuing Art Education: A Presentation

This past week my paper (which most of you have read parts of) was presented as a slideshow presentation to my communication class. I was nervous as all get out and definitely felt very sick in the morning, but I pulled things together and made it to class with my Macbook ready regardless.

The presentation went very well! I cracked a few jokes and presented what is, in my opinion, a pretty darn good presentation. If you have in fact read some of the paper I posted you’ll recognize some bits from the essay in the presentation, as well as some new information.

The Presentation

Take a look and tell me what you think! I was happy the thing turned out well, and I was happy I didn’t choke up in front of my whole class. That’s one final down, a couple more to go!

Do you get nervous during public speaking or presentations? What was your last public speaking engagement about?

BottleRock Napa Valley Festival

Just hours after graduating from college I am heading to Napa Valley for a three day music festival, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the occasion. A couple months ago my girlfriend and I decided we wanted to attend a music festival this year, and looked to find the most manageable (yet awesome) one we could and buy tickets.

Bottleneck run from May 27th-May 29th, and has a pretty great lineup.

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Of all the bands listed, I’m most excited for The Lumineers, Death Cab For Cutie, Florence + The Machine. and Cold War Kids. The three days are definitely going to keep me busy with other great bands, though! I’ve never been to a music festival before, so this is going to be a new and exciting experience for me, and I’m definitely looking forward to kicking off the next chapter of my life with some killer music.

Have you ever been to a music festival? Are you a fan of any 0f these bands? If so, which ones? Let me know in the comments!

Letters

I’m taking a little break from posting excerpts from my paper, as I don’t want you to all get burnt out on that. Instead with tonight’s post I’m going to talk a bit about my Lettering and Typography class.

Now, let me start off by saying this: letters are much more complex than you might think. Here are a few of my notes from the first day of class:

HOW LETTERS SIT ON A LINE-

Cap height is the measurement of capital letter from base line to top. Rounder letters are taller.

X height is the top of lowercase letters.

Stem is the vertical stroke of a letter.

Bowl is round part of letters like a, b, d, p, q.

Serif is little tail on letters.

Descender is anything below baseline.

Ascenders are parts that go above X height.

Ligatures are two letters that merge together to form a single glyph.

Finial is a bulbous ending to a letter like s or f.

Terminal is the thin ending to a letter.

Spine is the part of an s in the middle between the two terminals.

Cross bar is middle part of uppercase B.

Small capital is taking capital letters and making them closer to the X height.

Counter is the empty space in a center of letters like o.

Overhang is a character or letter that sits below the baseline.

Here’s a quick picture to help with some of the confusion:

AnatomyLetter

Now all of that might sound more like a math class than an art class, and that’s because typography is very methodical and every letter is designed in a specific way to encourage a certain kind of legibility and message. Throughout the course of this class I have learned hand lettering, designing page layouts for books, and creating posters based on specific fonts.

Now any time I write a paper, or even layout a blog post, my thoughts are on the lettering and page design more than ever.

Improving Art Education: Part Three

I’ve received some awesome comments and feedback on these posts, and it’s very cool to see people are really into art education. Here’s part three of my paper, with part four coming shortly.

 

Part One: Background

Part Two: Why We Need Art Education

Part Three: A Little History

American education has for several decades, been going through its own type of evolution.  At one time, even though the three “R’s” of education, reading, writing, and arithmetic, were stressed, there was still a belief that a child should have a well rounded education. This included arts, physical education, humanities, nature, home economics, etc. A student from the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s would leave grade school having not only successfully completing their fundamental education but also have received a broader understanding of culture and fine arts. As testing and test score results became more emphasized, the direction of education became more focused on the test results for those core subjects. Consequently, the emphasis of a well rounded education began losing its influence. Music, dance, art, and other “elective” subjects became secondary. Slowly, once common classes such as beginning band would become phased out. Eventually, once common general music education in elementary school would be completely erased. This would lead to new generations of students never having learned any type of general music education. The same trend would happen in the other “elective” subjects as well. All of this leads to the current situation that we have in most public schools where the arts are viewed as not essential and funding, even in some schools that have successful arts programs, is difficult to obtain.

Since the 1980’s, technological advancements, especially computer technological advancements, have been the forefront of everyday life. Every aspect of human life has been affected by technology. It is now part of a standard education that every student have some type of computer technology training, beginning as early as elementary school. The need for highly skilled, highly trained computer experts is almost insatiable. Therefore, large technology corporations are willing to invest many millions of dollars into the education system to help train up and coming generations of potential future employees. Also the growth of the technology industry is at its infancy. New technology companies are always on the rise in a new generation of highly skilled workers will be needed to fill their needs.

The combination of these two events, the decline in arts education and the advancement in technological education, may have inadvertently contributed to the decline of the arts in general. As children are not being exposed to classical music, ballet, theatre, or fine art, the appreciation and support of museums, symphonies, and theatre companies is in sharp decline. Supporting the arts was once thought of as standard practice for a large majority of people. Citizens of a community once took great pride in supporting a symphony or opera company or a museum. Due to the lack of arts appreciation in schools that has changed. The Silicon Valley of California is one of the wealthiest areas in the United States. College graduates as young as twenty two years of age, can obtain a job with an entry level salary of approximately 100,000 dollars. Yet as recently as March of 2016 the Silicon Valley company closed its doors due to lack of donations. Other artistic ventures in the Silicon Valley that have disappeared include the San Jose Repertory Company, American Musical Theatre, and the San Jose Symphony which even though reformed as the Silicon Valley Symphony has a smaller season than did the San Jose Symphony.(D’Souza) This trend is not unique to the Silicon Valley but can be seen across the United States. The dismissal of the arts as being important to culture and community let alone being seen as a viable career choice by some, can well be trailed back to the lack of early training and appreciation for arts in the classroom.

Improving Art Education: Part 2

Hey everyone! I am currently working on a paper regarding the current state of art education, and decided I would posts parts of it as I finish them here, as art education is predominantly what my blog is about. I will be posted the paper in parts as blog entries so you don’t have an entire eight page paper to read all at once, you can get my two cents in little doses. Post opinions on this issue in the comments and I’ll mull them over and perhaps include responses to them in future posts!

Part One: Background

Part Two: Why We Need Art Education

It’s obvious that art curriculum is easily forgotten and commonly cut completely from school, and that is why it is important to assess exactly why we need these courses to exist in the first place. First, art education improves student performance, both in creative courses and standardized testing courses. Multiple studies have shown correlations between students taking creative arts courses and students who perform more successfully in their other courses. Schools with successful art programs have higher graduation rates, showing that art education potentially keeps students in school. The arts create a stronger bond between students, their peers, their communities, and therefore their schools. Art education fosters creativity and problem-solving skills, improves judgement, and opens students up to different views of the world, all the while increasing innovation. Music education is also very beneficial as it helps to connect both hemispheres of the brain, producing great improvements in listening and communication. Some studies have shown that children who take part in music classes for at least a half hour a week may have more developed brains than their peers.
Art classes are beneficial for students in many ways, and the goal of schools and governments should be to find ways to increase funding for these programs by innovating them and bringing attention to them in interesting ways. One way of achieving this goal would be through closely aligning the creative art with another subject that is seen as more influential and lucrative in the eyes of the government. The best choice in this situation would be technology education, as the booming field is already closely intertwined with the arts in many ways. Technology permeates visual arts, music, and theater, and in many ways the two fields of study can form a symbiotic relationship. What is happening to art education? It is evolving through adversity, and now is the time to look into relevant compromises and solutions that will bring the benefits of the creative arts to students in ways that raise awareness and continue to produce successful members of the workforce.

Improving Art Education: Part One

Hey everyone! I am currently working on a paper regarding the current state of art education, and decided I would posts parts of it as I finish them here, as art education is predominantly what my blog is about. I will be posted the paper in parts as blog entries so you don’t have an entire eight page paper to read all at once, you can get my two cents in little doses. Post opinions on this issue in the comments and I’ll mull them over and perhaps include responses to them in future posts!

PART ONE: Background

What is happening to art education? The creative arts in education usually consist of some combination of music, drama/theatre, dance, and visual arts and design classes Art education is normally supported by a collection of federal, state, and local government funds. Following budget cuts throughout the country, this funding has seen a major decline since 2008. As a way to keep schools afloat, money was taken from creative arts courses, especially dance and theater programs. From 1999-2010 the percentage of schools offering dance and theater courses dropped by nearly twenty percent. In the same number of years the percentage of schools offering visual arts programs dropped nearly five percent. To compound the issue even further, government programs such as the No Child Left Behind Act and the Common Core State Standards have placed greater emphasis on core subjects such as math and science, increasing and decreasing funding based on the results of standardized testing and putting more focus on more obviously financially lucrative fields.

The No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law in 2002 by George W. Bush, aimed to provide education to all students, regardless of race or privilege, though the caveat to this was the aforementioned standardized testing required for schools to receive funding. Studio classes were some of the first to be cut from curriculums due to their existence outside of the normal testing realm. The Common Core State Standards is a current state-wide initiative that emphasizes the development of skills needed for students to succeed in college and future careers. Similar to No Child Left Behind, Common Core focuses on subjects that require standardized testing, and doesn’t include creative arts education in its core curriculum. However, the Common Core Standards references arts in the curriculum several times, meaning the field has not been completely forgotten. To many this leaves room for school to align the Common Core standards with art education in some way. New National Core Arts Standards were developed and released to the public in 2014 as pilot framework for this idea. In 2015, a pilot project was launched to reassess the types of achievements needed in order to meet common “standards”, and these assessments will continue in 2016.

Art Workshops

I’ve written quite a few times in the past about the Art Space on Main, and I’m sure there are still some of you who read my blog who haven’t been there yet. I know, life is busy, but really there’s never been a better time to stop by!

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Throughout the Spring semester several instructors and techs from around the art department are going to be holding the above workshops at the Art Space. For those of you who would like a little glimpse into what it’s like to be an art student, or perhaps just want to make an awesome t-shirt or figure drawing, these workshops are for you.

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Not just students are welcome in these workshops, anyone who’s interested can participate!

Here’s a bit from the workshop link:

“Each workshop is a one-day, intensive emersion in the discipline lead by Stanislaus State Department of Art faculty. Workshops are open to the public and and do not require being enrolled at Stanislaus State. Ages 18 years +. Materials included.

New this season is multi-event discounts!

Sign up for two or more workshops and save! The more Workshops you sign-up for, the more you save. Workshops must be purchased at the same time to receive discount.

Any one Workshop: $80.00
Any two Workshops: $150 (save $10)
Any three Workshops: $210 (save $30)
All four Workshops: $260 (save $60)
You must call 209.667.3111 to register for the multiple Workshops Discount.

For individual Workshop registration, follow the link in the Workshop’s description.”

If you follow the link above you can check out in depth descriptions of each of the workshops. I highly recommend taking a look at each one and seeing if a subject jumps out at you! Maybe I’ll see you there.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

For anyone who knows me, they know I’m a person you gets the shivers when it comes to the open and deep ocean. Really, the ocean in general. I’m fascinated by it, but at the same time it really creeps me out.

Recently my dad won tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is a place I had never been but had always been curious to visit. I was able to get the day off work, and after a two hour drive in the rain we made it to the aquarium.

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Our main missions were to see the sea otters and the penguins. At least, those were my family’s missions. I had my eyes set on one thing: jellyfish. We began our trip through the massive building with the kelp forest, viewing large fish, sharks, crabs, and octopi.

We continued through to the bird enclosure and into the area where we were able to pet Bat Rays. I, of course, made a few Batman jokes along the way. Before long we were watching a mother otter in an outdoor cover preparing to give birth, and before we left were were able to see the baby right after being born.

After spotting the African Penguins and watching a movie on Great White Sharks, we finally we arrived at the moment I’d been waiting for: jellyfish. Let me tell you, it was not disappointing.

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In the end we we made our way back into the pouring rain and two and a half hour drive back home, the whole time reminiscing about our favorite animals and moments. It was an amazing family trip, and I’m extremely grateful to my dad for taking me and to my job for giving me the day off.

Have you ever been to an aquarium? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

My Oscars Predictions

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Every year I watch The Academy Awards, or Oscars, with excitement. I sit and bite my nails anxiously as celebrities embarrass themselves on stage and awards are given to movies I think deserve them, as well as movies I don’t think deserve them.

Normally I jot down my predictions on a scrap of paper right before the show and mark awards off as I go along. This year I was able to go to the New York Times website and create a nifty ballot I can use while I watch the event tonight.

Here are my predictions (In PDF format):

Oscars 2016 Ballot – NYTimes

 

This year my roommate and I have a trophy we are going to award to the one of us who gets the most correct choices on our ballots. Along with the trophy, the losing party has to buy the other party a movie ticket. It sounds like I’ll be getting a free movie here soon!

What are some of your predictions for the awards tonight? Do you watch the Oscars or not have much interest? Let me know in the comments!