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Monday, February 28, 2005

PICTURE UPDATE

Here's a post just to let you know what my hands are capable of. It's been a long, long time (probably over ten years) since I've sat down and really put my heart and soul into a drawing. It had been so long that I wasn't quite sure what my limits are. This is close to being as good as it gets:



It's Spider-Man, of course; my favorite comic book hero and the frequent subject of my elementary school artwork. I could never draw Spidey quite like I can now, though. This was penciled at first as a rough sketch, filled in with black ink, then given red ink, blue ink, webs on the costume, and more black ink for shading. Finally, shadows were lightly added with a pencil. The picture here doesn't quite do it justice. The actual artwork is much brighter.

This might be the most valuable artwork that I've ever done, sentimentally, anyway. It took me over three hours to finish but adequately showed me what I can do with my art if I put my mind to it.

I've got to give credit where it's due: the pose is an imitation of an Erik Larsen splash page featured in the Amazing Spider-Man #343. Larsen is one of my favorite artists, along with Todd McFarlane and Mark Bagley. They each have very unique styles, with Larsen and Bagley building off of the foundations that Todd McFarlane set down when he started drawing for ASM in issue #298.

While the pose is an homage to Larsen's style (and the character certainly doesn't belong to me), this Spidey artwork was 100% mine. I'm seldom satisfied with what I draw, but this turned out really, really well, and I thought I'd share it with you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

HOW VALUABLE IS YOUR TIME?

I had a meeting with a professor this afternoon at 3:10pm. Ah, scratch that - I was supposed to have a meeting at 3:10pm. As normal, I showed up a few minutes early, and, like I expected him to be, he was meeting with another student. Fine, I thought, I'll just wait outside. And I waited. And waited. And continued to wait.

The scheduled appointments were supposed to last for 20 minutes, and by 3:30pm, my time was up (donated to another student against my wishes), and the 3:30pm student had shown up. After a 40 minute meeting with the previous student, the good doctor has the balls to look out of his office and say, "OK, next two, you're coming in together."

I was pissed. I don't remember the last time I was that mad on the inside. When I get really upset and hold it in, my eyes turn red and my eyelids turn purple - don't ask me why, that's just how it goes. When the 3:30pm appointment got there, she said, "Did you get hit in the face?" Apparently, my anger was really noticable by that point.

I was in a great mood a half-hour before then. After waiting for so long, I was (apparently) noticably mad, but then - when he devalued my time - I was furious. Why was the person ahead of me worth 40 minutes? Why was I only worth 10 minutes, figuring that he spent half of my meeting time talking with the other student who joined me? And now in retrospect, I do feel a little bad about being as nasty as I was to him, but only a little bit. He deserved a kick in the butt.

When he called us both in, I said, "don't you think that's cheating a little bit?" He said, in his folksy and affiable demeanor, "aw, no, no, no, not for you two." I and responded - real loud and angrily - "you have just cheated me out of my time." And that was it; I never said another word the whole meeting. That was smart, because who knows what could have come out. By the time the 20 minutes were up, I was calm enough to speak with him a little before I left.

This is a bigger problem than just this one professor. It's rare that I've ever had a professor be on time to a meeting. There are some good ones, to be sure, who are always waiting for students on time. But I've been stood up one too many times to have those few professors be the saving graces of the rest of the university. Most PhDs at K-State are quite knowledgeable and friendly people, but they honestly think that their time is a little more valuable than everyone elses. If they're 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or a half-hour late to a meeting, who cares? They're the professor; they're in charge; they hand out the grades and make the rules.

I'm not going to accept that any more. I'm not perfect; I'm not always 100% punctual and have forgotten my share of appointments, but I think it's inexcusable for a professor to treat a student the way that I was treated earlier today. I may not have a PhD yet (and the way I've talked about them so far, it's a bit frightening that I want one at all ), but my time is no less valuable than that other student's or the professor's. I went out of my way last week to sign up for a 3:10pm time slot, and I expect him to hold to his end of the bargain. He failed, but I'm the one that got screwed.

This happens way too often to students at universities. It's not the first time that I've had my time marginalized. It probably won't be the last, but I'm not standing around waiting anymore. No more running on PT - professor time. I've got my own clock - which runs on actual time - and I like to stick to it as much as possible.

OK, enough of the rant.

Here's what else has been going on since I last updated, which I see has been two weeks ago!

On January 31st, I became the Opinion Editor for the K-State Collegian. The former editor resigned due to schedule conflicts and keeping too busy with other last semester activities. It kind of took my by surprise, but the needed a new editor to step up pretty fast, and I was willing to do it. It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun, too. SO, keep reading http://www.kstatecollegian.com for me!

The quick pace of my last semester that I mentioned several posts back continues. Lots of school, lots of work (at the paper now, not at the dairy), and too little time for sleeping, eating, and the other things that are important. But I make time for them. Sorry about the blog drought - I've probably lost my readership, but if you're still checking in, stay tuned. I'll update every now and again.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

GREAT SPEECH; NOW LET'S SEE SOME ACTION

I have to admit that I only halfheartedly watched President Bush's State of the Union speech tonight. It had been a long day of class and work already, and I was doped up on so much cold medication that I couldn't use my laser-like concentration to hear everything he was saying. But I got the gist of it. Good speech.

He presented some of the exact same views that I heard Jerry Marsh talk about years ago in high school government class: we've got to do something about Social Security now. The current beneficiaries and the boomers who are getting ready to retire must shoulder at least part of the burden for fixing the system; that way, my generation doesn't have to hold all of the burden down the road. That might mean raising the retirement age or doing away with benefits for those who made over a certain amount of money; a sort-of means testing. Or, it might mean the private savings accounts that the President is recommending. In his speech, he seemed to be open to negotiation on what needs to be done.

But clearly, something does need to be done. The dumbass Democrats howled like the British Parliament when Bush cited different years for different periods of breakdown in the system; eventually there will be two working persons paying the benefits for each retiree, and in 2042 (according to Bush), the whole system will go broke. Attention Democrats: don't tell me the system is fine. Don't tell me that nothing is wrong. It may not be broken, but it is breaking, and it is an absolute injustice that my generation could suffer the effects of the Democrats playing politics. So they don't agree with the numbers...so what? Is that any reason to scrap Social Security reform? We know the system will fail sooner or later if it is left as is. It's time to do some maintenance.

However, I remember that Social Security reform was one of Bush's main themes in 2000. Granted, he got a little sidetracked with some other issues, but his Social Security agenda was pretty much put on hold until now, and voila! - it pops up again after he's won reelection.

It's time to turn towards domestic issues. We certainly can't turn our back on the international arena, but Bush's first term neglected some much-needed "house cleaning". We'll see if he's brought the maid with him for this term.

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