Massively Multiplayer Real-life Role-Playing Game

I’m struggling to align my mental image of myself with my new role as SAHM in this Massively Multiplayer Real-life Role-Playing Game called ‘Life’.  You may have heard of it – like World of Warcraft only without the healers to come and get you back in the game after you’ve accidentally set yourself on fire.

It’s nothing new. I’ve been here before and asked the same hard-hitting question:

“What the Sam Hill will I do with myself while the baby is sleeping that will make me feel clever and worthwhile and maintain the shreds of sanity I’m barely hanging onto … but doesn’t involve cooking, cleaning or craft?”

In the olden days of my first time around as SAHM,  I discovered study and I really do attribute it to keeping me from going completely ga-ga.  I started my Bachelor of Science (Library Technology) via Virtual Campus and of course, fell pregnant midway through my first semester. Never one to let a mere trifle as children stop me, I carried on for the next 10 years, cutting back to one unit a semester when life got complicated (i.e. had another baby) until I finished.

Once I’d completed that sucker, I was hooked and went on to do a few other courses and diplomas related to teaching, editing, proofreading and graphic design.

The only one I didn’t see through to the end was the teaching grad dip. One round of prac finished me. I had three kids at home already – did I really want a class full of them as well?

Looking back, I note that I started them all at a time where I was struggling with my identity and self-esteem. Some people drink and take drugs. I get my jollies from assignments. Drugs would probably be cheaper (just ask my accountant about my HECS debt)  but hey, my addiction fills out a CV really well and makes me look smart.

This SAHM do-over, I vowed to take a different path from the norm. I would get involved with mum’s groups and baby play-based education sessions. I would take the baby for long walks in the pram. Leave baby home with Dad occasionally and go out for Friday afternoon drinks with the girls.

I would not sign myself up for more study and would definitely not spend countless hours at the computer with the baby asleep (or waving its arms frantically in hopes of gaining my attention) in a bouncer at my feet.

If I were grading myself on how I’m doing so far, it would look like this:

“Welcome to Stay At Home Motherhood … again.

So far your efforts to get out and socialise are to be commended and you seem to be tracking well for achieving some semblance of regular adult conversation and interaction – even if it is baby-centric. Excellent work. Keep it up.

I see you’ve arranged to get together with former work mates this week. Please remember that whilst your world revolves around your baby’s bowel motions and cute smile that may or may not be related to said bowel motions, not everyone will want to hear about it.

A simple “Baby is still alive. Husband and I still talk to each other with words of more than one syllable. I am a little tired but all is good” will suffice.  Try engaging interest with topics other than your baby such as world politics, the state of Kim and Kanye’s marriage woes or, if desperate, the weather.

However … I see you’re getting into the blogging again and I wonder if this is a wise choice?  That baby is only going to take vigorous bouncing at your feet for so long before she really jacks up. Please arrange an appointment to see me about this before it goes much further.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone is waving their arms at me frantically …

I heart my lecturer

blog atomicI am down to the wire with my diploma, so close to the finish line it actually seems possible I’ll be done … someday.  And after more than 20 years of studying in a virtual campus-type scenario for one university, college or training centre or another, I have had the absolute pleasure of getting a lecturer who I am deeply in like with.

His name is Benji and he is awesomeness personified.

He does audio blogs for us to go with the reading material. It works to spice up the rather dry subject matter of Design Industry as well as give an opportunity for him to share some of his first-hand experiences as a graphic designer out in the big, wide world.

He encourages online discussions and stimulates interest with wacky little side projects that can be rattled off in 30 minutes tops yet give a little more depth to our knowledge.

He marks your assignments THE SAME DAY.

Oh, but not only that.

He sends you an audio critique to let you know what he really liked and where you could work to make it just that little bit better.

He’s personable, humorous, positive and without a doubt THE BEST lecturer I’ve ever had.

And as I have alluded to before, I am not a first-timer in this online campus shenanigans. I am a study tart who gets around, people. I get around and I’ve had LOTS of lecturers *blush*

Truly gifted teachers, whether in a classroom, online or just happening to do so as part of the job, are easy to spot.

They are passionate about what they do and they want to pass that passion onto others.  They care deeply about the results of their students – they want them to do well.

They find alternative ways and means to deliver the message so all of their students can engage fully.  They don’t travel the tried and true highway but rather take their students on the back trails and down side streets.

They make learning fun.

I have had so much fun with this module that I’m almost sad to see it will be over soon.  And as a veteran student, that’s a very big deal.

 

Busy busy busy!

coffee

Ooh pretty!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I honestly forgot I hadn’t done my weekly post … and I was doing so well with keeping up with my New Year resolutions too!

For the past two weeks, I’ve driven across to the closest metropolis (a 2.5 to 3 hour drive each way, depending on how many trucks/road works/caravans or how speedy you are) to do a 3 hour course. Yep, drove 6 hours to do 3 hours of learning. Twice.

However, learning to Barista is a skill I have always wanted to gain and since the course was there (and not here – nor would it be in the foreseeable future), I figured it was worth the small inconvenience.

Of course, you can’t just be a Barista with only 6 hours of playing with the machines and making pretty froth pictures under your belt. It requires practice, practice and more practice. Honestly, I had no idea of the great number of variables that can make or break a great coffee! Beans ground too fine/course; beans out too long; milk too hot; not frothed enough in first few seconds … the list goes on and on.

But now I have a small dilemma – what do I do with this training? Are these certificates destined to remain two pieces of paper decorating the walls of my office? Or do I go out and see if I can get casual work in a coffee house?

But if I do … will that kill the romantic notion that working as a Barista would be a fun way to earn a few dollars and feel useful when graphic design work is slow?

I only hesitate because I already work every second weekend and whilst I really enjoy it – I get paid to talk, essentially – it already means I have to swap with the other person if I need that weekend off.  I really don’t like doing that.

I don’t like being tied down or having to ask permission to do something I want to do.

What if I get a job and I’m so awesome, they want me to work full-time?

What if I suck?

Hmmm … I think I have a problem with over-thinking things.

And commitment.

I definitely have issues with that.

 

Joys of working for yourself

Clown

Clutsy the Clown would like to get paid. Please.

Otherwise known as the “Cashflow Blues” …

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a fan of working from home and being my own boss. Getting to be creative on a variety of jobs from a real mix of clients is great fun. Getting to do it in comfortable (i.e daggy) clothes and no makeup plus getting those mundane household chores done as part of your working day is a real bonus as well.  I can take a long weekend and head off somewhere if I so choose, or stay in bed all day if I’m not well.

Theoretically.

In practice, I can’t really take that many long weekends because the sad reality of modern society is that you need money to do that. Money that I get sporadically at best. And surprisingly enough, I don’t seem to have as many sick days anymore …

But back to the green stuff. I’ve become a compulsive checker, looking at my work bank account daily (sometimes twice daily) to see if by some miracle people have actually paid me.  I mean, I have a deadline to work to. My invoices should be treated in the same manner.  But by and large, they aren’t. Sigh.

I’m currently studying Design Industry at the moment and this week is about contracts.  Now, they suggest doing up a full contract outlining how many hours; what equipment; who holds intellectual property; whose arse gets kicked if certain project markers aren’t met and ensuring you as the graphic designer can use the completed work in your portfolio as future promotion.  There is even suggestions of getting a down payment before any work is done to avoid cashflow problems.

My ears pricked up at that.

The trouble is that I work in a rural area. Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the way things work out here but most things are done on a handshake. It would seem strange to go through a five page contract BEFORE any work started, with a hokey little ol’ graphic designer who’s working from home and more than likely gets business because she’s a known entity. It’s a small town. People are very trusting. I am never asked to show a portfolio. It’s very humbling, to be honest.  I’m also cheap and get the job done quickly.

I know it’s in my best interests – protects my finances, ensures intellectual property and makes the deal very clear on paper. But I’m not sure if it would work out here. And to be honest, I’d feel a little uncomfortable doing it. Seems … pushy.

Having said that, I do have a nest egg that allows for the bills to be paid when cash is not flowing inwards so it’s not like we’ll starve or lose the house … but the tightarse in me really really hates using it.

Oh yeah, and that’s my clown. I sketched him then scanned him in and used that as a background so I could use the Pen tool in Illustrator to build a digital version of him. I feel rather pleased with myself.

Is Print Dead?

Background rainbowWell, gosh I hope not as this is the area I am currently neck-deep in with my graphic design studies and knowledge! Whilst I like tinkering with web page design, I don’t think I’m ‘all that’ with it. Being a recovering Librarian, I am all about the paper.  As part of a study module, I had to write an article on future trends in the area of expertise I wanted to … become an expert in?

So here it is, in all it’s glory. Should you be interested in reading it, by all means go ahead. It’s not long. And has pretty pictures in it (some I didn’t even swipe from the internet but made myself).

Is Print dead Specialisation article

And if you have any particular thoughts on whether you think print is about to be wiped off the mat or is here to stay, please feel free to leave a comment! (you’ll be included in my final assignment submission hehe)