After attending San Jose City College on a part-time basis for the last five years, I finally got my associate degree in computer programming. Well, almost. I missed the filing deadline for the graduation petition by one day. My official graduation date isn’t until the end of the summer session, and my diploma won’t arrive in the mail until late August. I’m finished with my second tour through college (2002-2007), although I’m still taking another year of ceramics for my own personal enjoyment.
Computer programming is no longer the hot field that it once was five years ago. I couldn’t get classes five years ago because there were too many students. I couldn’t get classes in recent years because there weren’t enough students. Now that healthcare is the new moneymaking major that everyone is flooding. That’s fine. I’m looking forward to when China and India will stop exporting their workers to the U.S., and the baby boomers start retiring en masse within ten years. I’ll be making serious money from the forthcoming I.T. crunch where jobs will be more numerous than available workers.
This painting tablet is an odd assortment of landscapes and people who caught my interest during a difficult six-week period when I graduated from school, got laid off from my job, and started a new job. Most of these paintings are from pictures that I downloaded from the BBC, Los Angeles Times and New York Times websites. The Easter Island statues came from Wikipedia, and the empty room came from an issue of The New Yorker. My favorite painting was a large water drop on a leaf since that one turned out perfect. Painting people—Kurt Vonnegut, Turkish politicians, and a Star Wars pilot—were the hardest to do.
Ceramics I (Arts 046A) has come to an end with a larger-than-life self-portrait head, several small statuettes, a large water jar and a square bowl. The self-portrait head was the biggest piece with ~23 pounds of recycled clay that took six weeks to finish. Revealing how I view myself instead of how I want people to see me, I described the bust as “a modern shaman and philosopher” on the name card introducing my work. My instructor wrote down in her comments that this was the most successful self-portrait in the class.
After having a potluck lunch and brief tour of the student art gallery, we displayed out finished work, wrote down comments on the paper set out for each set, and stood before the class to explain our work. The sad part was packing up our pieces and saying goodbye. The instructor wasn’t kidding that the semester would go by fast. I’m planning to take Ceramics II next semester.
Before my class started the final critique in Ceramics I (Arts 46A), the instructor took us over to the student art gallery to check out the ceramic pieces done by students from the other classes this semester. The last time I was in the student gallery was 15 years ago for my first associate degree in General Education, taking an art appreciation course that reviewed historical arts in all its various forms. What a trip down memory lane.
The first project in Ceramics I (Arts 46A) was creating six bowls on the kick wheel. It took 20 balls of clay to create eight bowls (one bowl got set aside for the next project). I enjoyed this part of the class even though it was hard work and I came home covered in clay dust as if I spent a day working in masonry block construction. Glazing the bowls was an unpredictable process as I tried different colors and techniques since I wasn’t required to form a set based on similar design and/or color.
I’m still learning how to paint without numbers and trying to develop my painting style. These paintings are copies of pictures from the BBC, Los Angeles Times and New York Times websites that caught my interest. My favorite out of this set is my third attempt at doing a British sunset at Blackpool after the first two attempts were disasters. I also like the fishing boat on a dried riverbed in Southeast Asia that’s affected by global warming.
I’m entering the home stretch as I graduate with an associate degree in computer programming from San Jose City College in two weeks.
- Ceramics I (Arts 046A) is pretty much finished as all I need to do is glaze my final four pieces—a self-portrait bust, a large water jar, a square bowl, and a Egyptian figurine—this week, and get ready for the potluck and critique next week.
- A Directed Study (CIS 098) course substituted for Object Oriented Programming (CIS 059) that hasn’t been offered this semester or next got done in ten hours. I previously completed an online HTML in six hours on the last day of school, as I’ve been writing HTML code since 1997.
- Data Structures (CIS 055) is proving problematic. I want to do anything else but figure out how to link data nodes this way and that. I might wait until the very last day to finish the assignments for that class.
Although I’m still planning to take Ceramics II (Arts 046B) and Ceramics III (Arts 047C) for fun next year, this is the last semester I can qualify for academic pricing on certain software packages. I bought Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Lightroom for $600 USD (retail is ~$1,800 USD), and I got Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional on order for $99 USD (retail is ~$800 USD). If you’re going to have a career as a web developer and programmer, these heavy-duty and very expensive applications are must have tools.