Sunday, November 27, 2011

class is cancelled. NNOOOOOOO!

Welcome to the homestretch. As of today, I only have SIX CLASS DAYS until Assessment Week, for a grand total of twelve school days when A. Week is included. Say whaaaa?! As I always end up asking at the end of every semester: where the heck did the time go?? I demand to know what you've done with it, NBCCD!

Monday: This week, two of my classes were cancelled due to teachers being sick, starting with Drawing. Although I like that class, I didn't mind the cancellation, as it gave me time to do some homework on a Monday for once.

Tuesday: That day was my last shoot at Dance Fredericton, and I went all-out. I'm really happy with the photos that I took that evening, and after spending Tuesday evenings there four times in the last five weeks, this coming Tuesday will feel really weird. I spent most of the day doing homework.

Wednesday: Drew handed out the final Photoshop assignment that day. It's also an independent-study project, but it's an even bigger one than the last one that we did. This one isn't due until Assessment Week. That, and it's worth a whopping twenty-five per cent of the final mark. There were several suggestions in the hand-out, and I decided to design three billboard ads, which was one of the suggestions. The ads could be on anything I wanted, and I chose Bill C-10. I've done two already (they still need some tweaking, and I'm not done masking Billboard #2), and I'm really happy with them.

That afternoon, we had the first major snowstorm of the season. I heard via Facebook status updates from some of my UNB friends that eight profs at the university cancelled class. Not so at NBCCD: we kept right on going as though white stuff wasn't falling from the sky as we worked.

Thursday: Class cancellation #2. This time it was Advanced Digital Projects--Peter was sick. And this time I got up early for no reason. Because Digital Projects is a morning class, I was up at my usual time (7:30/6:30 EST). As usual, I checked Facebook first thing--and there was a status update from one of my classmates, letting those of us who don't check our college email know that class was cancelled (I checked my email afterward). Well. There went my plans for the morning. But... I'm already up, I'm dressed--I'M GOING TO SCHOOL TO GET STUFF DONE! I took a bit longer to get from my back door (which, unlike the front door, opens directly onto the street that connects to the street that NBCCD's on) to campus because, due to a lack of classes and the first real snowfall of the year, I took a few photos on the way with my point 'n' shoot.

I spent the day getting homework done.

Friday: Another day of getting stuff done. And gritting my teeth at Black Friday, which I've hated for several years, and every year it seems to get worse (both B.F. and my hatred of it). Especially when Walmart is involved. I started to become aware of the problem in '08, when a thirtysomething Walmart employee was trampled to death when the store opened: people just wanted to get to the deals as fast as they could, and the life of the employee didn't matter. When he didn't get out of the way, they trampled him.

This year, Black Friday invaded Canada. I first noticed it in a ad in the sidebar on Facebook, and on the day itself I saw that the Kings Place Mall had a sign outside, announcing the mall-wide sales. But that wasn't the worst of it. At a Walmart in L.A., a woman used pepper spray to disperse her fellow shoppers just so that she could get her hands on some electronics--the effects of the pepper spray could be felt throughout the store, and as usual Walmart employees did nothing. There was also a shooting at a Walmart in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What has this world come to? Is the acquisition of more "things" now more important than the lives of your fellow human beings? And what is it about Walmart that brings out the worst of the worst in us humans?

Yet more proof of how twisted our society is.

This year, I decided to make a point of participating in Buy Nothing Day (which includes buying local rather than from a big-box chain store, and paying with cash rather than with your debit/credit card--especially if you have an account at a big bank like RBC or ScotiaBank). Success.

I also went to NBCCD's craft sale and bought a couple things there. And I shot my second independent lighting project. This week, I focused on using the Speedatron lights because I don't have much experience with them. Until just a few weeks ago, I was scared to even touch the power pack, but after I went over the ins and outs of how to use it with Drew, I felt a lot less scared. And I don't want to lose that lack of fear. But although I'm no longer scared of the power pack, I am frustrated, as the slave mechanism for those things is finicky as heck.

I was doing fine until I switched lights. I started out using a Speedatron with an umbrella, plus a WhiteLightning with a grid (secondary light), but then wanted to switch to a Speedatron that had a giant softbox attached. When I switched to the softbox, the slave mechanism wouldn't work, and only the WhiteLightning fired. It still refused to work when I tried switching back to the light that I'd been using before. I tried several times to get it to work, but then gave up. I'm definitely more suited for lights like the AlienBees and WhiteLightnings: if the transmitter (which is battery-powered) doesn't work, just switch it out for a new one.

In case you're wondering what I mean when I talk about flashes being "slaved", here's the definition from Paul C. Buff (the company that makes the WhiteLightnings and AlienBees): "A flash unit is said to be a slave flash when it is set to fire by detecting the flash from another (master) flash unit in a multi-light setup. This allows multiple flash units to be operated with only one light synchronized (hardwired) to the camera. As many slaves as necessary can be used in a setup."

Black Friday 2011: The Violence Continues
Black Friday 2011: Shoppers Fight Over $2 Waffle Makers at Walmart [Video]

Saturday: Open-house day at NBCCD. On Wednesday I was approached by Barb (she used to be the studio tech for the Fashion Design studio, but she now works in administration, in marketing), who asked me if I'd be interested in guiding people around the studio and answering questions. I said yes, even though it meant that I'd have to get up early on Saturday.

However, the open house was a lot of fun, and worth getting up early for. And I thoroughly enjoyed giving tours. In between, I managed to get some homework done for my Photoshop project. Take that, Harper!

I was the only person in the studio until about two, when Drew showed up (he was leading some of the tours through the school that afternoon). I told him about my frustrations with the Speedatrons, and turns out that problems like mine aren't uncommon with those lights: they are finicky, period.

That night, I discovered a new piece of music--and immediately fell in love. Or in infatuation, which will probably turn into love. I'm currently working on choreography for it, and the music is challenging me to go beyond what I usually do, and to experiment, and I love it when that happens. The choreography is closer to modern dance than anything else (I dance a combination of ballet, jazz and modern, all rolled up into one). Check it out--The Ballad of Revolt, by Harald Saeverud (Trond's grandfather):

From my battles--er, I mean, shoot--with the Speedatron.
Sunday: Today's been a standard weekend day: I stayed up late on Saturday, so I slept in this morning. I did laundry and then headed over to the school. I printed stuff off for tomorrow, as well as my traditional check-list of all that I have to do between now and the end of term (with blank spaces, which will be filled in as Finals Season progresses) which will be taped to my dorm-room door when I get home. I also skyped with my parents and my mentor (we all have to have a mentor for business class), and edited photos for my independent study project for Peter's class (this week I've decided to focus on really whipping them into shape and fine-tuning the editing before I start printing next week).

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