Summer is over

On July 25, 2020 I completed my first sprint triathlon. I was apprehensive because the idea of it seemed so unsurmountable. I thought that I might as well do it before I’m too old or injured. What did I do to prepare? I didn’t train consistently. I crammed running and biking sessions six days before the event as if it were a college exam, which is never a good thing in athletics or academics. I didn’t practice my swim, a bit arrogant on my part. As a result, I gassed early in the swim because my technique was no efficient. I finished though. During the race? It was actually pretty fun, minus the swim. I knew I could do a sprint triathlon because I have done all the disciplines and distances separately before at least once in my life. The curve ball is to, do all three in a row. A sprint triathlon is roughly 550 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. I was tired during the race but I still enjoyed myself. The whole experience was an adventure. From getting up early, to staging my bike, to preparation of equipment, and my nutrition. The only negative was that I had no one to share the experience with. Will I do it again? Yeah, Sure. I feel that I should give this sport an honest try. An honest try would be one year. My next triathlon is a relay triathlon in Katy, Texas on September 5th. I will do the swim portion and my two teammates from Jiu Jitsu will do the bike and running portions.

Chemistry

I was a bit worried but completed the class with a C. It took a lot of studying to understand the material. I took the class online. The amount of individual study time was challenging. Especially without a teacher to break down the material with multiple examples. I had videos, but it is not the same. As I write this, a month and a half after I completed the class, I don’t remember a majority of the material. It is a shame that these science classes are just prerequisites. It would have been beneficial for me to be in class and learn with solid examples (chemistry pun). The take away from the experience is that I need to ask for help sooner with tutoring or email the teacher for more guidance. Repetition and constant reviewing was also something that could have helped my understanding.

Spanish 2312.

I’m just about done with my summer semester at Lonestar North Harris. I’m really disappointed with the foreign language education here in the U.S. I wish there could be an efficient way to teach students foreign languages instead of the sink or swim method. The current way of online education is very archaic. (That last sentence was an oxymoron?) I will continue learning and improving my level. I will have to find other methods. U.S. Education falls short in this aspect. I will look to polyglots to expand my level.

Water color.

I will let show my work and let this post be a baseline for my water color progress. I switched my journal to a watercolor sketchbook. By doing this, I hope to paint everyday. Hopefully.

In conclusion, this summer I completed the tasks I wanted to accomplish. I finished my first sprint triathlon. I need to be more consistent with training to become better at it. I completed my chemistry class, which was the last class I needed for my Associate’s. I will complete my Spanish class with an A. My watercolor progress has started. In my next post I will write about my fall semester at Sam Houston.

December 2020

Lone Star College

I finished this semester and my grades were A, B and C. An A in Mathematics for teachers, B in General Psychology and C in Statistics. The interesting part is I spent the most time on the statistics, the class I received the lowest grade and I spent the least amount of time on Mathematics for Teachers. Psychology was pretty straight forward, read the chapter, do the quiz, then do the unit test. As a student, it would be nice to get all A’s, but the most important part is what did I learn from the class.

What did I learn from my statistics class?

I learned that math or data is valuable. I rewatched the film, Moneyball, recently and using data and statistical analysis the Oakland Athletics were able to create wins by looking at baseball differently than the way previously viewed. This concept can be applied in many different aspects of the world. I learned how to gather data, read it, and see if it had any correlation with other variables/factors. I also learned how to create graphs, boxplots, histograms, and scatter plots with a programs called jupyter.

What did I learn in Psychology?

Like I said above, the class was straight forward. I would read the chapter, take the online quiz, then take the online unit test that would cover the last 3 chapters. There was a zoom class every week, but my zoom/webex wouldn’t work the last 4 weeks. It wasn’t a big problem. What I learned…? Psychology is an important part to life. blah, blah, blah. I don’t care about the entirety of the class. The most interesting part about it was the education part. How we learn skills? As a future educator, this part was fascinating. Learning about operant conditioning and classical conditioning concepts was very interesting. I teach kids jiu jitsu, so I can see when my students learn techniques they didn’t know before. I can also see them forget the techniques they learned before(extinction). Which is frustrating. I will look into these concepts for the future.

What did I learn in Mathematics for Teachers?

The most important thing I learned from this class was teaching math to younger students may not be as straight forward as people think. Here are some questions that are in my assignments. What concepts are in this problem? What problems or confusions do you think your student can have when undertaking this equation? How would you solve this? (Please keep in mind you may be teaching this to a K-8 student.) I never really thought about math this way, or even teaching. For example, 5x= 10. Obviously, x=2. First, is the concept of numbers, second the concept of multiplication/division, then the concept of x being variable for another number. Then I would have to think as if I never saw this before. To look through the eyes as a student again. This kind empathy is interesting because it is very difficult to forget that 2+2=4. This is just an example. I feel like this course is necessary for students that haven’t taken college math before.

In conclusion, I’m glad I finished this semester. I also learned a few things about the class.

Next Post- My Goals and what I’m reading

Hello, again.

Here is a caricature from one of my favorite artist. Kosuke Miyagi. Follow him @kosukemiyagi

It’s been awhile. I have seasons or moods when I blog. But really, I should continue to write and create regardless of my mood or location. The world has really gone to another place since the beginning of this year. I choose not to write or comment too much about my situation, much less the current events of the world. Really I need to write/create for my own piece of mind. Even if it is wrong. Most of the time I take in the news and it just depresses me. There’s no place to put my opinions, frustrations or thoughts.

My plans were derailed this summer, like most people. I was planning to travel to Europe with the money I earned from Spring Break. The lock down happened during that time. So that money never came. So I’m here in Texas for the summer. Which I would rather not be, but I have to adjust and adept. Like Jocko Willink would say, “good”. I gained about 10 pounds since quarantine started. I made a plan to get in shape.

So what will I do for the rest of the summer. I have some classes on Udemy, an educational website, that I will start for a head start on the classes I will take in the Fall. Statistics, Chemistry, and Psychology. This is a strategy, I think I need to take. I have hypothesis that I am not naturally good at school. I have a concept in my mind that I have to catch up, and I’m not as quick as other students. It could be mental flaw, but what negative can come from getting an introduction to one of my future classes. Besides a bit of money and time, I will have a basic understanding of each subject I undertake with Udemy, which will further prepare me for the Fall Semester. Which brings to an important college question. Are you taking the class to learn? Or are you taking the class as a requirement and your goal is to pass?

I am the kind of person where I want my cake and I want to eat it too. Also as an education major, I would be a bad teacher if I wasn’t a good student as well. I want to learn. I have to change my mindset, I have to be curious, and I have to think critical. Especially when analyzing why are these classes necessary? How are these teachers teaching? Are they effective at transferring information? Are they engaging the students? There are so many more questions.

SPANISH

My Spanish was the one thing that improved during the quarantine. Before the quarantine I signed up to Lydia Machova’s Language Mentoring program. I felt so good that I signed up twice. There is so much to learning a language that I actually experienced during this time. You have to put in a lot of hard work when learning a language. Most Youtube polyglots don’t actually show how much consistent work they put in. My second time in the program I wasn’t as consistent with the weekly goals or activities. I had my own goals. I concentrated on reading, comprehesion, and grammar.

What I’m reading now. The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain.

2020

I’m back in the United States.  I have been back for the last 12 days.  Unfortunately, I don’t think my life is very interesting when I am not traveling.  I will turning 35 this year.  I returned to college, currently I’m at my local community college.  I will be transferring in a year and half. Urgh!

What have I been doing so far?  I started school last week.  So I’m been trying to get adjusted to the semester. I started Jiu Jitsu again and I’ve been trying to get over my jetlag.

I wrote my resolutions down. I’ve been meaning to post them.  That takes way too long. Sometimes post will come without pictures. They are just posts to get started again.

My friends will visit me this week. I will do a post about that.

Back to school Fall 2019

It’s back to school for myself and many of us who still attend. I will try to post once a week. For those you have been in school, know it is very difficult to have free time for yourself. I’m essentially writing this blog as a record of my life. This will be the summary of my classes and my initial thoughts of the classes.

My classes are English 302, History civilization before 1877, Introductory Algebra, Public Speaking and Introduction to Teaching. English 0302 is similar to English 2 in most colleges I suppose. I will have to write papers that analyze and interpret subjects. History is basically history of the world until 1877 as it relates to the United States. Though I always think that history is always taught with bias, no matter where how impartial one tries to be. Introductory Algebra, I had to take a remedial class because it’s been so long since I’ve taken a Math class. The highest math class I took in high school was geometry. Public Speaking is a class, teaching us how to speak well in public. Introduction to Teaching, It’s funny how a teaching class is being taught online. Overall 15 credits.

How do I feel about this semester? I feel like It will be easy I just have to put in the work and show up. I get paid to go to school. You can’t beat that. I have it better than most college students right now. I should be glad, unfortunately my mind is constantly somewhere else most days.

What keeps my hope up is the light at the end of the tunnel. It helps to have a goal. I plan on going to Europe for my winter break. I want to take a Spanish course in Valencia, Spain. Then see Belgium and France.

Until next time. I will also be participating in INKtober2019.

Being a Caricaturist

Here’s a family I drew the other day. 

I was a caricaturist in my early 20s at amusements parks around California. I had knee surgery earlier this year and I needed a job not too labor intensive. So how I stumbled across a caricature stand at the aquarium here in Houston. I just talked with the manager. He told me to bring in some of my work in. I had to make some work and hand them in. I got hired. Truth be told it took me about two weeks to make 2-3 pieces. It took me awhile to get used to making art. It’s weird now I can knock out draw my entire shift and sell retail caricatures from my first day. Just a few things I needed to learn was how the register worked and how to get faster at drawing.

I’ve been working there for about a month now. Some say going back to the same line of work before you joined the military is a step backward. I might say yes. Then I remembered how much fun I had and how much fun I am having now. The only thing that doesn’t equate is the pay. I’ll explain that in a later post. The best part of the job is apparent, I get to draw everyday as a job. As a kid, I thought drawing as an occupation was such a hard job to get. It really isn’t. To live as an artist on your own terms is way harder. There are so many websites like fiver.com or upwork.com that hire designers and artists. Even if we didn’t live in 2019 there are several ways to make income as an artist. I will discuss this further in another post.

Since I started drawing caricatures back in 2004. I knew that I will never be as good as I hope to be. I’m only as good as my last sold drawing. The work never stops. I can always improve. I can always practice. This idea can lead to burn out. I draw at work. Then I go home and draw at home. I fear that I put too much pressure on myself on what other people think of me and my skill as an artist. Especially when I had a bad drawing/ reject. I believe this is associated with the idealogy of a job defines who you are, which I carried with me through most of my life. I don’t think like that anymore.

I had a to draw a lady with burn scars from the chin down to her chest. I don’t know what happened but with something like that. I assume people stare or ask them about them all the time. So I don’t bother. But what does the caricaturist do? Does he A. Leave them out B. Draw them. C. Exaggerated them. I went with B. I drew them. For obvious reasons I didn’t take a picture of the subject or drawing. If I was a better artist I think I would have incorporated it better with the caricature. Imagine living with that everyday. Maybe someday I could draw at the VA or some VFW gig. Just a thought.

I think these posts will be called Caricature Confessions.

PS: I drink while I blog and I probably do one or two edits before I publish. hahaha.

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I will try to put the subject and the drawing next to each other when I post again. 

Alaska

I work outside drawing as a caricaturist at the local aquarium here in Houston. It is hot and humid. The worst I’ve ever felt. Mind you I lived in the California desert before, 29 Palms. I don’t mind dry heat. I think humidity is the worst. I really wanted to travel this summer. My knee recovery and lack of funds prevented me from traveling. What I enjoy most about my life is the freedom of choice! I can stay up all night, eat ice cream for dinner, or play video games. When I don’t have a wife or kids. I can do whatever I want. It feels great. One of my favorite things to do is to plan potential travel adventures.

Alaska next summer is on my potential destination list. This isn’t some Into the Wild pipe dream. I want to work in Alaska, not go into the Alaskan bush. I also would like to use this welding skill I gained last year. I watched this video, Timothy Ward, on seasonal jobs in Alaska. He pretty much sold me on the idea. I will do more research. He worked as a hotel care taker. I’ve volunteered around the world in exchange for room and board. I feel this would be a good experience as well as a story.

Timothy Ward mentioned this website coolworks.com, it is a site where you can find jobs all over the country for different seasons. Looking at all the options was a little overwhelming.  It was a good place to start. I’m familiar with websites like this because I have used workaway.info for volunteering when I traveled abroad. Volunteering is cool but I like to get paid. I am not in the military anymore and need some sort of income.

Potential plan next summer. 1. Find a welding construction job next summer in Alaska. 2. Worst case scenario. I just find a normal seasonal job next summer.

My research consists of watching a lot of youtube videos on the subject and reading a couple blog posts.

If you have any stories of working Alaska or aboard please share in the comments. Any tips or advice would appreciated.

Next Post: Being a caricaturist.

Planning Ahead

 

At this point of my return to school.  I am in my first semester at community college.  I plan on finishing with an associates in teaching.  I estimate that I will transfer by Spring 2021. Then on to a university, I am not 100% sure on which one yet. I have narrowed my choices down to three. University of Houston 90%. University of Texas- Austin 8%, and Sam Houston State University 2%. I realize I can elect to go anywhere in the world, I choose to stay in Texas because I just moved here, cost of living, and the veteran’s program I am using coincides with Texas.

How do I choose what college to go to? I think about what I want to do. I want to be a teacher. Great. Okay. What kind of teacher? There’s P.E, Art, Math, Early childhood development 1-6, social studies, special education, English as a second language. There are so many options! How does one choose? At this point I’ll finish with my associates in teaching. I have yet to take any classes either. I would like to volunteer at some schools in the Fall. My initial thoughts were to be a language teacher in a foreign country. I have a lot of time think about this idea and I will use the upcoming year to flush it out.

I finished my art exam test on got off of class early one day. I used that time to take a tour of University of Houston. It was an unusually cool for a June day in Houston. So a walking tour was perfect. The university was great with all the amenities and opportunities it offered. It is one the most diverse schools in the nation. It is located in the 4th largest city in the nation, behind Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. It was an easy sell for me because I just moved here and I didn’t want to move again.

The thing I don’t like about colleges. First and foremost it is a business. I didn’t really know what that meant when I was 18 years old. Higher education is a growing industry. In essence a school tour is a 90 minute sales pitch. I have visited a few schools in my time. I had a girlfriend who went to Cal( UC Berkeley), so I went there often and college avenue ran from my art school in Oakland to UC Berkeley. I visited Stanford University for the Cantor museum and Rodin sculpture garden. When it comes to colleges nothing really impresses me anymore. A normal tour consists of showing us buildings of where students and/or teachers gather, and so on. Unfortunately you can never know what a school is like until you go there. It is one of those experiences you can’t fully grasp until you jumped in. Much like the military me.

The tour illustrated an emphasis on college life. The first time I went I didn’t really enjoy that. I feel its probably better for young adults to start renting apartments and start being an adult sooner vs living in the dorms and life on campus. This is probably for economical reasons, city planning, and ease of access to campus. As an older student I will probably move closer to the campus but continue my activities in the city vs college activities. College will eventually end for all students. There’s no reason to switch off campus because you already have a community. No need to transition. In school, it is super easy to meet friends because they have similiar goals and interests. As an adult, making friends is very difficult. I believe people should be exposed to that as early as possible. These are a just a few thoughts on how broaden your college bubble.

What do you think? Did you graduate from college? Do you have children? What do you think they should do? Write your comments below.

Next blog post: Alaska.

Back to school

So I officially started school AGAIN.  It’s a little weird to go back.  The young students are probably wondering why I’m so old and going back to school.  That’s just me projecting and being insecure about being older.  Back when I was in college I used to wonder why the older students were so driven.  Now as an older student I know why.  I have had so much life experience and years of working in the world.  I’m going back to school more focused and knowledgeable on how to accomplish tasks.  I look back on my 20s,  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I’m impressed with these kids that do know what they want to do, but really they don’t know what it’s like to work in their proposed fields.

By being older I’m more focused and dedicated to my craft.  I know what I’m capable of and how the world works.  I’ve failed at many things in life. I learned resilience from getting back up.  For example, I’ve dropped out of art school, I failed out of Navy Dive school and I’ve had two knee surgeries.  These low points are necessary for the high points.  If I didn’t drop out of college, I wouldn’t have join the Navy and seen the world. If I didn’t attempt to try for special operations I would have always regretted not trying.  I’m a better person for failing at something.  My recovery from my knee surgeries gave me the opportunity to learn Spanish, something I always wanted to do.  Now I’m learning Korean and improving my conversational Spanish towards a near native level.  The experiences I’ve had from the time I’ve left college initially couldn’t have been learned by following a common archetype.  Even now I plan on finishing towards a Bachelors degree.  My future job will be an unconventional location in relation to forty years ago. My age is an incredible asset when it comes to returning to school.

I have to address that many students choose nursing as career of choice.  Nursing is an up and coming industry that will need workers.  It is a stable career.  I’m Filipino, it is ingrained in our culture, well, my upbringing.  My mothers a nurse, both my sisters are nurses, several members of my extended family are nurses.  I know very well about this occupation.  I worked as Navy Hospital Corpsman for 7 years.  I know what it is like to work in the healthcare industry, among doctors, nurses, and other specialists.  To sum up my experience, it isn’t for everyone.  I didn’t enjoy seeing people put in hospice care.  I didn’t enjoy the bedside care.  I didn’t enjoy people dying.  I think the last reason was why I couldn’t deal with it.  That aspect is a small part, it takes a toll on a persons mental health.  As a result most of the ICU staff I worked with had black humor, as most do that work with death so closely.  Its an interesting coping mechanism among first-responders.  I won’t mention the bureaucracy among the United States healthcare system or the how we heavily medicate with drugs and pharmaceuticals.  I won’t forget my time as a corpsman.  I admire any one willing to aspire to be a healthcare professionals.  I just hope they do it for the right reasons and not the money.

Some other News

I finished my Spanish intermediate online class.  I received an A.  There’s something wrong with the foreign language education system in the United States.  Is it the teaching method? The policy? America’s general attitude towards languages of foreign countries? That’s another blog post.  I have to keep studying.  There is so much to learn.  I learned many different nuances and subtleties in the class.  I still do italki.com classes with a community tutor.

I got a new/ old job.  I draw caricatures at the Downtown Aquarium here in Houston.  I drew for Kaman’s Art Shoppes from 2004- 2008 at Great America in Santa Clara, Ca.  I miss being around other artists.  It is very hot humid here in Houston.  It is something I just have to get used to.  So far my boss is cool and my co workers are warming up to me.

I started teaching Jiu Jitsu to kids again. Well, I’m the uke. (Uke: a japanese term for someone receiving the technique.)   The purple belt uke.  More to come on that.

I will try to post more.  College is about writing papers.  I have to practice writing.

Move forward

I’m in this cross roads in life.  I should either get a job or go back to school.  An unalterable fact is that I’m going through physical therapy for my ACL surgery recovery for the next 6 months.  I had to decide fairly quickly so earlier this week I went to my local community college and applied.  It is fairly daunting to go back to school, especially being 34, but if you put all the anxiety behind you everything will work out.  I took a pretest for my basic college skills.  Basic math and pre-alegebra, English reading and English composition.  I did horrible at math and English composition.  I understand that I suck at math, I hated it in school.  But English!? It’s my mother tongue.  I also write constantly in my journal, text, letters, and postcards, but rarely on this blog.  It’s honestly something I avoid trying to be good at, or even average at, because I didn’t need to write well in any of my jobs that I’ve had. (Navy Eval writing doesn’t count.) Regardless of my skills I need to improve on these subjects if I want a better life.  Not just to be good in school or avoid remedial classes.  If that is the result I will accept it.

I bought a cliff notes my review book and I’m going to read some English writing books I had on my book shelf.  My test is in 11 days. I’ll be using this blog to be an experiment of sort for my writing improvement.  I thank everyone and anyone who actually reads my writing, I know I should proofread and organize my thoughts better.  I don’t do it well because I never really was taught how to write a blog.  I usually type in a stream of consciousness way.  The way I usually write letters, postcards, or journal entries. 

I have this feeling that school gives me a new excitement for life.  A new chapter.