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Lol tumblr wtf

Jul. 29th, 2010 | 09:36 am

meeeehhhhh I'm only reading livejournal nowadays for Soujin and weepingcock and sometimes pottersues. Because I use tumblr now (acutezza.tumblr.com).

I wish livejournal had any clue how to move their site into the new era of... well I don't think they ever even got to web 2.0...

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Dream Journal 6/6/2010

Jun. 6th, 2010 | 01:27 pm

Okay, so I dream a lot when I'm allowed to get up whenever I feel like it, but most of the time I forget them pretty quickly. However, sometimes the longer and more convoluted ones stick around for a little bit so I'm writing this down in order to remember. And let me tell you, it was oddly specific. The weirdest thing is that usually my dreams will incorporate a lot of things and people that have been around lately, but this one must be really digging around in my subconscious for material.
Trippy Dream CrapCollapse )
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Working Girl

Jun. 1st, 2010 | 01:43 pm
location: H-town
music: Mercy Mercy Pudding Pie - The Teeth

Phew, so the summer's been interesting/boring so far. I didn't do almost anything but worry about getting a job for the first two weeks or so, and let me tell ya, looking for a summer job is never fun. It's not so much that I have a horrible resume or no skills or anything, but no one wants to hire summer help right now. I applied to a lot of bookstores and coffee shops and other nerderly places, but there haven't really been any takers. I decided against applying for a restaurant or anything of that sort, because if it comes down to getting minimum wage for something I'd hate doing, I'd rather just hide in my parent's house and do more productive things like finish writing the graphic- novel-length comic I'm working on.

That's not to say I plan on being completely poor and useless over the summer. Instead I've been working the freelance web design gigs on Craigslist trying to build up my portfolio. I had a meeting today with a potential client and that looks pretty good, and I'm working on one more paying website right now. Those two should give me a good amount, and I might also be getting a part-time assistant job in Kingwood that would pay much better than some minimum wage bull. If everything works out I should be pretty busy for at least the next few weeks. Also, if I get that assistant job I may be able to do that while I'm at school as well (though I don't know how the dude would plan on doing that; I think I'd be working basically as a webmaster). I'm really looking for a good telecommuting job that's fairly stable, because then I can work on that while I'm in England in the spring. Then I might be able to go somewhere further than down the street while I'm over there!

Anywho, I was ridiculously stressed out over all of that, but now that I seem to hvae come to terms with my unemployability for hourly work, I've become productive again. I knocked out about four drawings in the past week, two of which had been waiting to be finished since fall semester. I'm also getting back to comic work, which includes both WIP and writing the longer comic. I also got time yesterday to work on a new site design for my personal site, which I'm trying to use as a means to promote freelance work. That's partly for music stuff (discovered that I can do solo cello gigs now that I have professional orchestra experience), but maybe one day I'll be able to get commissions through there as well. I don't really know how to brand myself as a freelancer though, since I don't really have much of a portfolio of anything. Maybe just resumes....? I dunno. Anyways, check it out!

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Evolution Pt. 5 -- The End.

May. 18th, 2010 | 01:12 am

Posting now so I can clear off my desktop :D *is OCD*
The last partCollapse )

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Evolution Pt. 4 -- The Return

May. 13th, 2010 | 11:22 am
location: Houston.
music: pink floyd

Sorry for the delay. I was troubling myself with getting moved out of school, finishing papers, and trying to find a summer job (success: none). In a few days I'll probably do a personal post because I like to procrastinate by writing journals, but for now I'll just finish putting up these evolution posts. This is the second to last one. (P.S.; typically this sort of procrastination could be forgiven because of the time taken to actually write the post, but I've had this whole set of posts written since I started posting them. I was just too lazy to actually post them. Bonjour, parrese!)

Evolution Pt. 4Collapse )

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Evolution Pt. 3 -- No time for titles

May. 5th, 2010 | 03:34 pm

Cutting to the chase!

The driving force behind evolution is natural selection.

1) Let's begin with a simple definition of natural selection. Natural selection is the process in which those organisms best suited for their environment have a better chance of reproducing and passing on their genetic material. The main aspect of natural selection is fitness, which is a measure of how well suited an organism is for their environment and method of survival. Completely different organisms living in the same environment can be similarly fit due to different methods of survival--for example, both mosquitos and nutria rats are similarly fit for the area I live in, but for completely different reasons. A grizzly bear would not have the same fitness. Fitness is not a standard measure by any means, but an organism can be said to be fit in its environment if it is likely to reproduce and pass on its genes to a new generation that can then pass on its genes, ad infinitum. There are many different means by which a particular species can be fit--it can generalize to survive many different conditions; it can specialize to thrive in very specific conditions; it can reproduce early and in large quantity; it can reproduce late and put much more energy into its offspring. I could go on for pages about the different ways in which a species can be fit for its environment, but the important things can be summed up thusly: reproductive success is the key, and the differing means of achieving reproductive success account for the diversity of organisms seen on earth.

2) I cannot emphasize enough how much reproductive success is the key. Seriously. Someone can be smart, funny, and handsome and not contribute anything to the genetic makeup of the future of the species if they don't get down to business and produce some viable offspring. Okay, let me give a (barely) less callous example. Say there's a specific species of mice that thrives in the azalea bushes of suburban Houston. A certain mutation appears in the population, and this mutation causes the inhibition of a certain protein production. This protein just happens to regulate the production of a certain chemical that has two effects: first, the litter size of offspring, and second, the production of neural connections after birth. Macroscopically, this mutation causes the mouse to be a bit stupider, but they produce a lot more offspring. Although the expression of this gene could eventually die out due to a bunch of really stupid mice getting eaten by copperheads, if the advantage of larger litters offsets these deaths, then the gene would become more common with each generation. The mutated gene would eventually become the norm. Say instead that the gene becomes common, but the smarter mice are able to--oh, I don't know--find a way to harness the powers of agriculture and cultivate grass seeds, the population could divide into a species that is dumber and reproduces more quickly and a species that is smarter and survives by means of agriculture to longer ages, allowing for a similar number of offspring per organism between each species. But it all comes down to how many babies are gettin' made in the end.

3) Just read this comic.


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Evolution Pt. 2 -- It's a thing not a thing

May. 4th, 2010 | 02:49 pm

Without further ado, moving on to part two! (Hey that rhymed! And the syllables were the same! Awesome.)

Evolution is the process through which organisms change over generations in response to their environment.

1) This is Erin's Overly Simplified Definition of Evolution (c) (otherwise known as EOSDE, pronounced something like "sasquatch"). The point I would like to make with this definition lies in a single word, though: process. Evolution is a process. It is not, and has never been, a method, a religion, or a belief system. Lemme break it down for ya:

- It is not a method to be implemented. This is one of the most harmful misconceptions about evolution, as people will think evolution is inhumane because of a belief that it involves the purposeful elimination of members from a population. This is, in the words of my esteemed father, stupid. Let me demonstrate the faults in this with an anecdote from a fellow college-buddy: once upon a time in an introductory sociology class, a student asserted that Darwin would have wanted African Americans removed from the gene pool since they score lower in general on IQ tests. There is so much wrong with this statement it's almost difficult to begin, but the basic fallacy is that Darwin's theory was not a proposed method, it was a description of a process seen in nature. The key behind evolution is reproductive success, and nothing more; there is no implementation of evolution. It's simply what happens.
- It is most definitely not a religion or a belief system. If you're believing in evolution--to quote the internet--you're doing it wrong. Evolution is a theory and a process; saying you believe in it is akin to saying you believe in geometry. It's not something you have a say over; it's a description of a naturally occurring process, not a set of rules that have been laid out to be followed.

2) Expanding on the misconception of evolution as a method or religion, for best results, evolution must be considered completely separately from any religious argument. Evolution has nothing to do with religion. The only reason that evolution is so often entangled in religious arguments is due to the fact that religions tend to have their own explanation for how organisms and species came to be, and people get very protective of these beliefs. Way back in the depths of the Renaissance, the same issue occurred with the clashing of the heliocentric and geocentric models of the solar system. The church of the time supported the geocentric (earth is the center of the universe) model because it made room for heaven and hell, to put it simply (for more information, you can go here for a quick rundown on geocentrism). Although the church was not the only proponent of geocentrism (it was preferred for quite a while until Kepler's corrections on the heliocentric model made its predictions more accurate than the geocentric model), the church often pressured supporters of the heliocentric model because it did not have room for the religious aspect of the geocentric model. However, we rarely think of the planet's orbits as having anything religious about them today. Evolutionary theory is on par with the heliocentric model: a scientific theory created based on observations that happens to conflict with widely held religious views. With this in mind, remember to treat evolution as a scientific theory, and not as something that has anything to do with religion whatsoever.

3) One last point for any religious people that still see evolution as conflicting fundamentally with their lifestyle, or whatever it is religious people do. I really hate arguing about religion, mostly because I don't have much in the way of religious beliefs and this tends to confound and perturb people. But to appease anyone that might burst a blood vessel, here's a good way to think about evolution in a way that won't give you an aneurysm. Once upon a time (1962), a philosopher by the name of Thomas Kuhn put out a book titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that proposed a term known as paradigm shift. To be as simple as possible, this book asserted that science is not progressive (constantly building on a single system), but rather revolutionary, which means that when a new scientific model comes to be seen as more useful over a previous model, the previous model is completely replaced by the new model. This process is called paradigm shift. A good example of this can be seen in the previously given example of the heliocentric model replacing the geocentric model. Evolutionary theory can be seen as a model replacing former creationist models. The reason for the paradigm shift is not a matter of truth or belief, but rather a matter of pragmatics. One model wins out over another because it has more practical applications and fulfills the needs of the given society. Evolutionary theory simply has more practical applications than creationist models, and thus people accept it in scientific applications. If, one day, it was found that the genetic code for all living organisms on earth was stored in the superstring strata of Saturn's rings and was occasionally rewritten by bursts of radio waves from the Sun, generating an effect that looked similar to evolution, and that this code could be manipulated by imitation radio bursts generated on earth, we would probably accept this theory because hey, we can fuck around with earth's organisms' genetic code. Evolution is simply the most practical model we have right now.

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Evolution Pt. 1 -- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

May. 3rd, 2010 | 06:26 pm

I recently have had a lot of impulses to write really nerdy posts, and struggled in vain because I couldn't really figure out what to do with all my nerd-gasms. But then I remembered that I never update my livejournal, and hey, it'd be nice to have something there other than me bitching about what I'm doing! So I'm starting a series I call nerdposts, in which I just nerd out all over my livejournal. Starting with a dumb-person guide to... evolution! People not knowing about evolution being one of my pet peeves as an environmental science student, I decided to correct some misconceptions, or rather, just create a short guide for those that would want to make themselves a bit more familiar with the subject. And voila! However, this basic overview went to be over 2,000 words long, so I'm making it a short series spread out over the next couple of days. So we'll start out with part one, a really short introduction!

Evolution Part 1! READ TO THE NEW ERA MUWHAHAHAHACollapse )

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"What are you doing with the rest of your life?"

Apr. 23rd, 2010 | 12:05 am

I haven't even written the post yet and I already know it's going to be tl;dr. Consider this ruminating out loud.

Anywho, I'm sick today and have been procrastinating, a luxury I haven't really had for a good while now. I started a comic last month and temporarily put it on hold so that I can chill out for a moment, because I'm about at the end of my rope. I will probably be okay if I don't go to classes tomorrow but I've spent today catching up reading my favorite sites and such. I feel like I've been focusing so much on school and comic-y stuff lately that I haven't gotten a chance to zoom out in a while.

First, let me make my situation clear: I have pretty much always chosen the route that provides the most challenge and provides for the most options. I never took anything less than the highest level classes in school. I am currently double majoring in English and Environmental Science, mostly because I just can and also because I didn't want to give up either the sciences or the humanities. I have participated in various activities of a musical bent since I was six (piano, then choir, then cello) and now I play a few concerts in a professional orchestra. I've wanted to been a writer since my freshman year in high school. I started drawing when I was in second grade, mostly because I was copying my sister, but since then that's obviously taken a life of its own. I started doing web design a few years ago and that has become something of a job since then. I have a passion for linguistics (language? Combined with empirical studies? Oh baby). I dabble a little in everything. I'm a little strange.

At this point in life, most college-y people like me are in one of two states:
1) Know exactly what sort of career they want, and are doing what they can to get there (or at least hoping that opportunity comes along somewhere in the middle of a haze of sexy parties)
2) Don't know what they want to do, are possibly freaking out about this or attempting to extend their school time as long as possible to avoid the "real world"

I was considering this because my sister is graduating with a degree in International Studies in two weeks and she wasn't able to get into any masters program. I find this somewhat distressing considering how good her grades generally are, but it's probably due to the fact that she doesn't have any sort of work or internship experience in her field. Chances are she'll have to start working this summer, and hopefully she will be able to get a job in her field and work towards getting into a master's program. I find myself in a similar position in that I'm searching for an Environmental Science internship in order to get some good work experience. Last summer I was completely clueless as to how I was going to even find such a mythical thing as an environmental internship in the middle of the Texan 'burbs, but I've applied for about eight internships so far so hopefully at least one of those pans out (hopefully the one that doesn't force me to drive an hour every day in Houston traffic).

At the same time I have been attempting to build something of a freelance web design business, which is difficult to do with the dearth of such jobs in Central PA and trying to manage the few jobs I can get on top of school. This is currently my best money-making method, as I can actually charge more than minimum wage per hour of work for this.

But my ambitions right now are really turning in a very different direction. I've been somewhat inspired over the past year to pursue a more artistic career, either in animation or comics. It seems really far fetched when I put down what I do in school, and what sort of jobs I have. I'm self-taught in drawing for the most part. I feel I'm fairly capable, and get better with everything I draw. It's only recently that I've felt that pursuing something like comics seriously is out of reach. I know I'm far from the best artist or storyteller out there but I feel like I can take what I have and make it into something workable.

I wouldn't go so far as to straight-up tell my parents, "hey, I want to make comics for a living," because they would flip shit and assume I'm going to drop everything to do comics. I'm not silly. I'm keeping my day job. I'm a pragmatist at heart. (After all, I told my parents I was going to be an author when I was in high school, and it took them years to take that seriously--and wanting to write for a living is a lot more credible than wanting to draw comics for a living, from what I've seen.) But I've already started thinking of this as a sort of job--not one that I can devote most of my time to, but one I can set goals in and know not to give up on.

So, here's to goals, and here's me stating them:
1) Finish a script for a full graphic novel, amounting to about 200 pages of actual comic, by the end of this month
2) Thumbnail the whole thing in the first half of May
3) Begin drawing the comic in May and aim to finish the whole thing before or during the first semester of my senior year (about 1 to 1 1/2 years of drawing time)
4) Maintain at least a weekly schedule of the other comic strip I started back in March

The most far-fetched thing in those goals is #3, mostly because it gives me an insanely short amount of time to actually draw the damned thing. But I'm already 40 comic pages into #1, and thumbnailing doesn't take me long. #4 will wait until the end of this semester, so that I'm not putting off school work trying to do that comic. This schedule would have been completely impossible last year or this year due to the amount of schoolwork I had, but next year I will be severely cutting back in activities for my off-campus year. The first semester I will be at the school's environmental field station, where I will only be taking about 14 hours of classes and where I should be a lot more isolated from distractions (also: a single room!). The second semester I'll be at York St. John University in York, England, doing about 15 hours of classes, and I assume I will be much less busy when I'm across the pond. Both of these semesters I'll be unable to do orchestra and choir, which puts a lot of time back in my schedule as well. I hope that this more isolated period will let me focus more on these goals. If everything goes according to plan and the end product doesn't look like slightly warmed shit, then I'll start publishing the comic online (not until it's at least halfway completed though) and try to garner some sort of popularity for it. If I'm actually able to get people to read it, I'll start trying to sell it, go to cons, so on and so forth. I have something of a business plan in mind, so that I'm able to skip the whole 1) draw comic 2) ???? 3) PROFIT dilemma.

It all sounds very speculative, but the only thing that will get any closer to that goal is to pursue it. So. Here I go. Wish me luck.

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Argh

Jan. 29th, 2010 | 12:48 am
location: My freaking dorm.
music: "American" Quartet, Antonin Dvorak

Reposted from my dA journal because well I pretty much said it in there. Sorry for incoherency, but I'm feeling pretty incoherent at the moment.

AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH

That, my friends, is the sound of idea block. Which I may or may not be in the process of getting over.

Let me describe idea block:
Okay, so you have been working on a couple of stories for a while, and they're solid. But it gets pretty tiresome to always be on those subjects, right? So you want to come up with a new idea to work with. But not just any old schlock. Something new, something you haven't done anything like before. You have some idea about the territory you want to work with, but not much else.

The problem with this is that trying to find such an idea without any real-life impetus other than your own mental bent is horrific. If you have even the slightest concrete notion of a story element, then you at least have something to work with and build on. But just having a very vague idea of what flavor of story you want to come up with and not any concrete object or character in there--doesn't make for a very good brainstorming session.

I spent most of the past hour staring at the wall. I think it's almost passed though.

In other news, I have no 'writer's block', and by that I mean that established stories are developing nicely and I started writing a script for one of the long-comics. I've settled on doing one semi-long comic to practice comicking and doing something more realistic-styled (artistically) for a change that will probably end up being about 100 pages long (hopefully less if I can re-compress the story a bit). I want to write it all out and then just churn through the drawing bit. The style is going to purposely sloppy-ish so that I can get into the comic without wanting to cut off the hand that offends (haha lookit that a biblical allusion). This is mostly to give me time to develop another comic idea while still feeling productive. The second comic idea involves a lot of historical BS and I'm not a history major so it will involve a lot of consulting of library resources and so on and so forth. That will be a lot longer but I will definitely be coming into it with a set series of events and beginning and end. And... well that comic should probably be "Erin screwing around with history because she felt like it" but it's mostly a comedy. Blargh.

Okay. I think I'm going to set a due date for myself. The first script will be due by the end of February. Eek.

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