One Thing, Two Things, Three Things

I set out to write this post mostly as an update. Several things piled up into what I wanted to say today.

The semester began yesterday, and I’m still getting into the groove of things. Most of my classes this semester require lots of reading, which isn’t really a problem, but I might not be as active as a blogger as I would like to be, as I’m focusing on jump-starting my life and career right now. Interestingly, I discovered in my physical science book this morning that no one understands time the way we measure it concretely (by seconds), but through events, which adds a scientific explanation to my disassociative tendencies as well as my previous post about New Years. We only really understand time as a series of events. It also provided me with some positive insight to remind me that we should always be moving forward. Time doesn’t move in any other direction. If you hang out on Pinterest for positive quotes for your handlettering projects (which I do), you’ve probably seen hundreds of quotes that insist upon a forward-thinking mentality. Physics schooled me by telling me to ignore the past. (ya burnt)

dontlookback

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” This appears way more often than you think. 

 

Now that school’s begun, most of my educational focus will once again return to projects for my classes. I enjoyed using the break to practice web development and graphic design skills, but I’ll have to wait for Spring Break to spend all my energy on that. However, I began the Daily UI challenge and I’ve been doing it every day (although not posting the designs anywhere, because this is primarily a learning challenge for me, and I’d rather study UI design further before sharing my work). I might eventually do the challenge again, but at the very least I plan to use what I learn in books and other resources while I’m creating these designs and recreate them later if they weren’t up to par. If you haven’t done the Daily UI challenge before, I highly recommend it! You might think it wouldn’t help you improve, but at least for me, I spend so much time researching every time I’m prompted to work on these. I also feel like it’s helping me decrease the time needed to create a prototype, and it’s helped me identify any of the issues I have as a designer (namely, I appreciate minimalism too much and need to learn how to balance simplicity with anything more). These are crucial to improvement in general. Do it! You don’t have to share what you don’t like!

I can’t wait to finally take courses in my actual degree plan, though. I keep focusing my individual projects and work on those skills, but when I finally get a chance to do that 24/7 I imagine more personal growth will be on the way. I need to do some research for UI design books or blogs (does anyone have any recommendations?). I feel lost doing my daily UIs based only on what I already know with some daily research before working on it. I know about the monster UX booklist, but I wonder if there are any books used in universities to teach these concepts? I’ll look into it this week and if any of you are also seeking this information, I’ll let you know what I find. Honestly, that list probably has exactly what I need in it, but I’ve only read the more theoretical or conceptual books, rather than something that helps with the application of said concepts.

Well, I hope that blogging helps me get out all of my not academically appropriate jargon and conversation so that my essays and journals are not poorly written this semester. I’m studying two languages on the side, so my writing skills are just going to be all over the place right now. I hope everyone is doing well! I’ll try to log in at least once more before January ends. (I forgot my password actually…and finally got around to resetting it today)

Much love,

Tal

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A Love Letter to a Measurement of a Unit of Time, In All Its Abstract Glory

This is a love letter to New Years. It is a love letter to people as well.

I’m not actually a big fan of holidays (yet), but New Years is my favorite. So much that I take advantage of celebrating it in all its forms.

For many, the New Year is a time to make new goals, and to celebrate the passing of time that the unit of measurement known as a year represents. Interestingly enough, we often experience a cultural understanding of how the year has passed and find ourselves agreeing that “this year felt much longer” or “I thought [an occurrence] happened this year, but it was actually two years ago”.

I can remember every New Years Celebration I have experienced, but I sometimes can’t remember my own birthday. I remember standing downtown in 30 degree weather, a slight drizzle leading into the early morning, texting those I cared about that I was happy to have lived another year with them in my life. I remember sitting on top of the car or the truck, watching children, neighbors, relatives, loved ones, and friends blow up fireworks together, enjoying their brightness and their sense of renewal. I remember parking the car on the side of the road to watch a local university’s fireworks show with my beloved, thinking all the while how lucky I was to have people like him in my life.

This reflection, of time, of space, of life, of community-wide experiences or any other shared part of the calendar year, brings us standing outside in the cold as we wait for the countdown and the fireworks, as we wait for some oddly significant piece of history to take effect at the stroke of midnight.

Despite all traditions, my favorite part of the New Year’s celebration is standing in a sea or crowd of others, excited for opportunities and possibilities and future goals and accomplishments, and truly feeling that our lives are together a shared experience. I enjoy community and togetherness. Perhaps it’s also sitting at home drunkenly singing to Auld Lang Syne with the people I love. No matter what, I feel my love for others the strongest on New Years.

I love the idea that we all desire to grow, to change, and to exist much more. To be more present, more mindful, healthier, happier, kinder. To attempt new challenges, even if we fail a whopping two or three weeks later. These are the things I love about people, and New Years brings this to the front of all our Illustrator layers of life. Our bad habits take a backseat to our goals.

I shall reiterate and put my thoughts to rest:

My love is strongest on New Years.

But I plan to make it this way all the time. (:

Peace, Goodnight, & Happy New Year! ♥
Tal

(This is my first attempt at responding to the daily prompt, which is year!)

 

Welcome, 2017!

I’m so excited for the new year! I’m excited not only for the new number I get to write and glance at on my phone screen every day, but for the opportunities this year may bring, and the many, many projects I and others will begin.

I spent 2016 enduring your average hardships, improving upon old and gaining new skills, and consistently working on any bad habits I needed to sweep out of my life. This year, I’ll live a similar way, hoping that by the end, I grow closer and closer to the person I need to be in this universe.

I reached several blogging milestones of note at the end of 2016:

1) I can officially say I have been an Actual Blogger for a decade. From personal blogs, to academic blogs, to food blogs, to entertainment-focused blogs such as reviewing films and albums, I have lived a full life as a blogger.

2) I created and ran a fully functional, purposeful, topic-specific blog that garnered the most attention I’ve received in the last 7 or 8 years. I interacted with a follower-count I hadn’t seen in years; that is a huge achievement for me as a blogger.

3) On above blog, I also generated a decent amount of original content that I took the time to carefully craft and edit, including several tutorials (which was a goal of mine!).

4) For the first time ever, I managed to maintain a blog for 2 years without skipping a full month of blogging. While most of my blogs lived long, I certainly neglected them. Additionally, other than microblogging and reblogging aesthetic content, I never kept a blog of last year’s nature well updated with original content. It was a challenge, but well worth it.

All of this without a social media plan, without an editorial calendar (although I learned how to create one for some projects I am pursuing in 2017). It happened naturally, just because I enjoyed doing it. (:

Which leads me to today!

I set out to build up this blog on January 1st, but it’s now 20 past midnight into January 2nd. I busied myself throughout the day with necessary tasks (such as cleaning up the New Years mess), but I’ve also been trying to enjoy the break, so I sat down to watch LOTR with Matt. We still haven’t made it through all of them in one sitting, though.

My goals for this blog aren’t very specific yet, but they will grow and change as I continue doing it. I told myself that this year, I wouldn’t go without posting at least twice a month. Given my progress last year and the year before, I think I will be able to finally do this again.

I also have an inclination to bring back a lot of activities which have sort of changed in the last decade…those activities being pure video creation (more on that later), writing letters to friends, and generic personal+professional blogging. Since blogging itself has made such significant changes as an art form (or a science, or both) I found myself worrying about stats that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things in 2016. I have an interest in digital marketing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not my priority, nor is it my pursued career field. I hope this year that I can write many letters to my friends and reconnect with them, that I can work on shorter projects to gain skills, rather than long-form ones it might be easier to set aside more often, and that I can recover my sense of wonder in certain areas of life.

I find that in my field of interest, the lack of the human element makes things harder, but it seems to be growing in technology. For me personally, the human element is the most essential piece of the puzzle.

Well, I’m excited to get back into blogging With A Purpose™. Do you have any New Years Resolutions you’re agonizing over not accomplishing this year?   Anybody else starting a new blog for the new year?

Peace,

Tal