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Woah.

by Emily Roberts ~ July 14th, 2010

I have some new thread. It GLOWS IN THE DARK.
I must make something excellent with this.

Things that are up.

by Emily Roberts ~ July 5th, 2010

So, the last 2 weeks of classes have been pretty alright. My public speaking professor is cool, and gym is gym-flavored. I’ve given one speech in public speaking, an informative speech on what to do if someone has a seizure. Later this week I get to give a persuasive speech about something, I’m not sure what yet. That’s a problem, as I should have at least an outline by Wednesday.

My 4th of July celebration was awesome. I went down to Wise to visit my father’s family. It was the best trip to SWVA I’ve had in a long time, I think because there were so many people. Also, the fireworks were amazing! Here are some pics!

For the Fourth, nothing beats watching fireworks up close and having ash and wood raining down upon your head!

Also, Cornhole.

So Epilepsy.

by Emily Roberts ~ June 29th, 2010

I would like to talk about it.

I was born 12 weeks premature, and a lack of oxygen during my birth cursed me with epilepsy. My seizures, as far as I can remember, went unnoticed until I was 6, but looking back on them my mother thinks she can remember me having them earlier. I have temporal lobe epilepsy, and experience complex partial seizures.
Let me describe my seizures for you.
First, I experience a feeling called an aura. It feels like a pressure, right behind the bridge of my nose, like I’m holding back a yawn. There is a sort of spinning feeling. Not a dizzy feeling or anything, but like my head has been opened like a CD player and there is a disk spinning right between my eyes. Meanwhile, saliva gathers in my mouth, because if I swallow the aura lasts longer. When I was younger, I used to see faces or hear sounds when I had an aura. Well, not really see them, they weren’t in front of my eyes, but they would appear in my imagination. That facet of the seizure disappeared when my imagination dwindled, I suspect.
Not every aura comes before a seizure, and not every seizure is prefaced by an aura. Up before the surgery, I was having at least 3 auras a day, independent of any seizure. When I did have seizures, I wouldn’t remember them. They are complex partial seizures, so I am not jerking about uncontrollably on the ground. I don’t know what I look like, but my parents report that I sort of just phase out. I stare, and it becomes obvious that I’m not really there. I stiffen up, and I turn my head to the left. I make a scratching motion with my left hand. Sometimes I collapse. Once, I was up at the alter at church receiving Communion, and right before the priest got to me I fell over on my side. My friend’s mother joked that the priest should have taken the chance to cast the demons out of me.

My sister adds: “you start by staring off into space. then you sort of turn to the right and start pursing your lips like you’re trying to suck in your cheeks. you pull up your left arm and tense your hand. You tremble slightly with how tense your muscles are. If someone tries to stop you from walking away, or from doing anything, you grab their arm, turn to them, and begin bending it back, staring at them with lifeless, unseeing eyes.

…You did that to me in the middle of a movie theatre and it was the scariest goddamn thing EVER.”

I almost always left the room while I was having an aura, so some of my most memorable seizures occurred while I was in the middle of leaving. I would feel the aura, and get up and walk out, all without realizing that I was doing it. Whenever I had a walking seizure, I would already be in the midst of a seizure when the aura came. They just felt like falling asleep. I would leave class without even knowing I’d gotten up, and once I even tried to get out of a moving car!
Having a seizure at school was always a riot, they would take my blood pressure, put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to the nurse’s office. I was always exhausted after a seizure,  so I would nap until I felt well again, or until my mother came to get me.

Now some medical stuff. From the age of 6, I was on Tegretol, until I was 15. I also took Sabril (which is not FDA approved, I was in Germany at the time) and Topamax at different times. When I was 15 and taken off the Tegretol, as it was doing more harm than good, I went on Keppra and Lamictal, and I am still on those today. My seizures were intractable, meaning nothing was working. So I went in 2005 and got a temporal lobectomy.
Some of those diagnostic procedures that I had to go through were ridiculous. The infamous  Wada test, which is used to establish which cerebral functions are located in which hemisphere, involved having a catheter threaded up from my femural artery into my brain. They put half of my brain to sleep, asked me questions, put the other half of my brain to sleep and asked me more questions.
The exact surgical procedure I went through is referred to as “grids”, basically an EEG on the surface of my brain. The Wada test, and other MRIs and EEGs and scans of all sorts suggested that my epilepsy was focused on the right side of my brain. The surgeon implanted strips and grids of electrodes on the surface of my brain, and they monitored my brain activity for a week in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Johns Hopkins. Then, when they finally took the electrodes out, they took out the offending piece of brain, my entire right temporal lobe, including the hippocampus and the amygdala.
That didn’t entirely work, though. Due to the brain not being as color-coded as they’d like, the surgeon left a tiny piece of hippocampus in there. I had a breakthrough seizure a year later, and I’ve had one every spring since.

Except this past spring. I’ve been seizure-free for over a year. There is hope yet for getting a driver’s license!

Thanks for reading, if you did. I’ll post better stuff later.

Final project: shading

by Emily Roberts ~ June 16th, 2010

I’ve never been good at adding depth to my 2D works. This project combined that with lessons in symmetry and color.
I had 7 things to turn in at the conclusion of this project. First, we had to draw 4 shapes, and create a composition on tracing paper. Then, using stippling, create different areas of light and dark to indicate depth.

Then, photocopy the composition and make 2 different symmetrical compositions. Here are my examples of bilateral and radial symmetry.

Next I had to photocopy one of my symmetrical compositions and make it non-symmetrical.

Finally, I had to paint 2 copies of my original composition, one using colors to disguise the fact that there are even drawn shapes, and the other using color to indicate depth.

OOF. Lots of little work for this project. It was pretty fun though.
This whole class was pretty fun. Di Bella’s a good professor, I think he’s probably much better when he has a 15-week semester to teach rather than a 5-week summer course. I learned some things, and made some pretty cool stuff. Now, how about that whole studying thing for the Classics final….

As for next session, I got the Public Speaking professor to force add me into his class, and I dropped feminism. So yay.

Textures

by Emily Roberts ~ June 11th, 2010

I owe my nonexistent readers a blog post!

I got a new theme. The picture problem the other one was having was just too big of a deal, since I’m posting a lot of pictures. I’ll try to pretty this theme up a bit more, but not too much.

This last project dealt with textures! For the first part, we were to find a photograph – I used this one

Then we were to take a piece of tracing paper and place it over a section of the photograph, and find the darker and lighter areas.

And then, using a grid pattern, I transferred the section onto a larger sheet of bristol board. And in each little square on the grid, I drew a texture. I repeated them a lot.

You’re supposed to be able to see the abstracted photo. Can you see it?

I can only see it because I know what the source photo looked like.

The second part was a sculpture made out of objects found in nature. Here are some of my sketches

I chose the giraffe walrus. I made a wire support structure, and I used magnolia leaves and mulch chips found on campus.

He’s cute! I want to remake the giraffe walrus out of bean bags. I’m going to the craft store this weekend, I’ll see if I can find any such materials…. yeeeeeessss…

The last and final project for ART 105 is a project involving 3D values and shading. You’ll see pics when I find out how that goes.

In other news, I’m staying for the second session of summer school, because I can’t get a job. I’m taking “Intro to Feminism”. It was the only speaking intensive offered. x_x Not particularly looking forward to it.

17 MILLION BEES!

by Emily Roberts ~ May 25th, 2010

A truck carrying about 17,000,000 bees crashed in Minnesota. One person died, another was taken to the hospital. AND NOW 17 MILLION BEES ROAM THE EARTH FREE!

So, for part 3 of the negative space project, I chose to make my found-object sculpture using empty Diet Coke with Lime cans, since I had them. Here are some pics.

Chopping and smashing the cans

I used an exacto knife. Probably not the best tool.

My first idea, with a twirly ribbon of can draped down the middle staircase of crushed cans. Di Bella thought that looked too decorative.

Final sculpture. I changed it a bit.

Instead of both sides being semi-symmetrical and staircase-patterned, I changed the other side. The pieces across from each other are pieces of the same can.

In other news, the comic I drew for April’s Iron Avatarist, which I posted back here, won me the gold in the “funniest scene” category and the silver in “best overall”! The newest contest is about war, I have no obvious ideas for that one. Maybe my classics class can inspire me.

My apologies…

by Charles ~ May 21st, 2010

For the inactivity.  I have an 8 to 5 during the summer and I haven’t had much time to ’shop.  I’m trying to work out time, though, because I have some neat ideas!

The only thing better than this comic…

by Reverend ~ May 21st, 2010

Image by XKCD

Is this tweet about that comic:

First few days back

by Emily Roberts ~ May 19th, 2010

and my desk is already covered in meaningless bits of paper.

Living in the UMW apartments is cool. But there’s no longer an easy way to get to class from here since they built a huge fence along the outside wall, which before now was climbable. The front gate is open all the time, what’re they trying to keep out by blocking campus from they apartments? Us, I suppose. However, now we have a fridge with a freezer, a stove, an oven, and a DISHWASHER.  A DISHWASHER. That will make life easier next year, when we cook.

Classes seem to be alright. In the past 3 days, I have learned the genealogy of the Greek gods, and I have glued construction paper to bristol board.

For the purposes of comparing negative/positive space, axises, viewer completion and all that jazz. I like the one in the lower left, but apparently the fact that it doesn’t touch the side means it doesn’t quite fulfill the assignment. It’s just sort of floating there. I should put some black around it.
Oh yes, something else totally lame, I bought colored paper at the bookstore, and though the package advertised having about 6 or 7 different colors, it only contained black. My project will be most boring. The Chibi is letting me borrow a few scraps of color.
This is part of a larger project (or as Di Bella calls it, a problem), the true meaning of which has not been revealed to us. For today I created a similar piece using construction paper and bristol board, comparing the figure and ground. Since I am uncreative and bad at coming up with stuff on the spot, it involves a jar of bees.

This was the first draft

And this is the final thing, after the professor constructively criticized.

Very nice, I think! Di Bella wondered, “is the jar full of honey, and the bee is going after it? Well it should be up to the viewer to decide.”

And tomorrow I am to bring a sketchbook to class. The final part of this problem concerning negative/positive space is a sculpture that uses mass-produced non-artsy material, like toothpicks or bottlecaps. I’ll need to think of something.

Summer school

by Emily Roberts ~ May 16th, 2010

Driving down to F-burg this afternoon. I do not want to goooooo.

That’s not quite true. I’m getting pretty bored. Everyone who keeps saying I’ll have fun at summer school is probably right. I’m rooming with one of my best friends, we’ll be living in an air-conditioned apartment, and I don’t think I’ll hate my classes.

BUT, I might have gone to Europe! I might have gone to Germany, gotten 4 credits of my major out of the way, and well, experienced more Europe. I lived in Wiesbaden, Germany when I was 8 to when I was 12. I want to visit many of the places I don’t remember or didn’t appreciate. And I want to visit the places I didn’t get to visit when I was there (mostly Italy.) But, because only two people signed up for the program, I do not get to go to Europe, and will not unless I get a job that allows me to travel. And without those 4 credits, I’ll have to design an independent study course. Because I need 12 more credits in my German major, and there is only 1 intensive offered per semester. x_x
*sigh* Oh well. Hopefully I can figure out something I’ll like. Something involving WWI, I figure. We have about over 9000 books on the subject here, including some primary sources.

Anyway. I won’t be taking any needlework to summer school. I’m taking Design Principles, which means I’ll have enough art to do. Also, my needlework chest is big and a bitch to transport. According to Ms. Art Major of Chibi Charms infamy, DiBella is an awesome professor. Expect the next few weeks of posts to be about assigned projects. With some Greek/Roman mythology thrown in (taking Classics too.)

Can’t stop rereading Jim Butcher’s Dresden Crack. Need a new series. I think I’ll try Discworld.