Failure, the Monster of Fear

I want to design things.

I keep seeing videos or projects or posters or fonts that make me want to make stuff. I listen to songs that make me want to make things and everything is just beautiful and so well done and I want to be able to do that too, but I can’t.

I hate the learning process. Let me unpack that a bit… I like learning new things, but I like to learn them and be able to be good at them right away. Maybe I like to discover things. Discovering things usually means they’re ready to go, like discovering a talent for something! Learning things means having to not be very good at them at first. It means being able to see something I want to be able to make so perfectly in my minds eye, and not being able to recreate it.

Learning is frustrating, it’s hard, it’s discouraging, it’s frightening. What if what I desire to create is something I will never achieve? What if no matter how hard I work and study and learn, I’ll never develop the ability to truly do to the extent I desire?

This week I feel like I’ve seen so many things that spark that desire to create, but I haven’t created a thing because I’m scared to try and sure I’ll fail. People tell me otherwise and they say I’ll be great, or they say, that’s part of learning! but that doesn’t actually lessen the sting of failure. I’ve built up failure as a monster of a fear in my mind’s eye, I might only be looking at the shadow, failure could be a mouse in front of a candle’s flame, but that shadow on the wall is big and scary and I’m not sure I can face it just yet. I begin to wonder if I’ll ever be ready to face it.

 

These are some things that I loved the look and sound and feel of lately:

Tessa’s music video for her song “Dream”

Dodie’s song “Sick of Losing Soulmates” (heads up, contains swear words)

Episode 1 of Emily’s webseries “Cold” (everything Emily touches is so beautifully made, her Letters to July series are amazing)

 

I turn 23 at the end of this week. It sounds too grown up.

-B

This Is It.

Heyyyyyy friend! It’s been, let’s see now, well, umm, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Nearly five months?! Sheesh, my bad… So how ya been?

Summarizing the last five months could be tricky, lets see, I did keep cooking a bit, I know the posts dropped off at “E” but I made chicken broccoli noodle thing (F), pretzel buns with cream cheese icing dip (G), and Sloppy Joe Mac & Cheese (H) and maybe some other stuff but I don’t remember. I’m going to try and get back into weekly cooking, still ironing out my back-to-school schedule though.

But the summer was great! Mostly worked, but did get to take a trip to BC with mah boyfriend Ryan to visit with family and adventure down there for a bit! If you’d like to see some of what we did I did put together a video shortly after the trip

And since then school has started up again! Well for me, Ryan’s a fancy graduate with a grown-up job and everything (he’s my inspiration for what to be like next year, you see!). I am in my last year of school. It’s weird. I remember my last year of high school, it was exciting and incredibly nerve-racking all at once. There’s the excitement of moving on but also the emptiness of what is going to happen next, it feels like everything is so unknown. I’m getting feeling like that again now. This is my fourth year in university, I have the year mapped out until April when I wear the gown and funny cap and get handed a piece of paper and then I have absolutely no idea and when I start to think about that, it terrifies me. I feel so unprepared and inadequate.

Now I’m not saying that school has let me down and not taught me what I needed, I hope it has, but I am not confident that I’ll find a job, I’m not confident there will be a job, I worry I’ll be working 34.5 hours a week in a minimum wage job forever because why would someone chose me over someone else? I realize my instinct here is to say, “I wouldn’t.” and that makes me sad. Why wouldn’t I chose me? What’s wrong with me?

The other day my alarm went off and I opened my eyes after a night of tossing and turning. I couldn’t have gotten more than two hours “sleep” all night – the start of a terrible day, no? But a thought popped into my head. My boyfriend (who is a very smart man) has three things he tries to do (or would it be, be? Grammar… :P), Be optimistic, be patient, and no complaining. So I turned off that alarm and I took a breath and I decided, this is my day. No one can ruin it but me, and I say it’s my day and it’ll be just fine. And you know what, it was. It was very nearly a pretty good day actually.

So this is my year. I’ll try and blog bits and pieces of it but I know already it’ll be busy as heck so I don’t know how often I’ll pop in. I wrote out a list of all my assignments and due dates and oooh baby, this’ll be fun! But it’s my year, it’s going to happen. There will be no repeats of grade 12’s downward spiral to capital “B” Bad Times, these are sure gonna be some capital “B” Busy Times, but capital “G” Good Times too. We got dis, got a team of great folks to support and be supported by and we’re gonna do some cool stuff this year 🙂

– B

PS – I went exploring in the woods behind my university the other day. That was fun.

Throwing our own Paint Nite!

Paint Nite has been becoming quite the thing in my sphere of friends lately. I hadn’t really heard of the concept before a few months ago but it seems to be basically a group art class. Materials (canvas, paint, brushes, etc) are all provided and the event is hosted at a local bar or pub or cafe and a host/instructor walks everybody through a painting step by step so everyone leaves with their own variation of the specific piece being taught that night. It’s quite a fun idea really! Problem is, when you’re a poor not-quite-but-close-enough-to-being broke student it can get a tad pricey.

Now I’ve always said I wasn’t artsy, never have I claimed artistic talent or much creativity. My area is video filming and editing and I enjoy that and like to think I’m decent at it, anything that involves drawing or paint however I tend to avoid. As soon as art classes were an optional course in junior high I took French or choir instead, I was out of the art room as fast as possible!

My friends wanted to do a paint nite though. We handily discovered there are a bunch of paint nite style tutorials on youtube and Karen, who is pretty dang artistic, had a bunch of canvases and paint lying around she said we could use so really I lost all excuses. There was a minimal fee, it was at a friends house, there was a tea party involved, how can one say no?

We decided to go for one titled, City Walk, Girl in the Rain which was quite pretty looking and when we arrived at Karen’s place she had the kitchen all set up as a little art studio! Canvases propped up beside paper plates for paint palates, cups of water and new packs of paintbrushes that Bekka had picked up for each of us.

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So we made us some tea and were ready to go!

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I learn by mimicing. I like to hear instructions and walk along them step by step. This seemed to be the perfect learning environment for that, especially as we could pause the video while we all finished a step before moving on.

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Mixing the colours was probably my favourite part. From learning to edit photos a bit I’m beginning to get the hang of balancing around the colour wheel and it was fun adding bit to make new shades and see things like that there was a significant difference in the colour results between, say, adding yellow to red, from red to yellow.

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We worked with a lot of orange. Like a lot. At one point I was pretty sure that there was no way it was going to finish off with the desired yellow dress and bright red umbrella. Everything was orange!

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But suddenly we were painting over the orange and, low and behold, the colours popped like crazy!

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To finish it all off we got to make drips and splatters, to extenuate the raininess I guess, and thaaaaat was pretty fun! First making water paint and then just splattering stuff everywhere!

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I got a little carried away while splattering a couple times, a few became more like splots!IMG_1156

And then it was done, we had created art! I found I actually was quite pleased with the end result of mine, especially for the first time painting anything since required art classes in grade six! Karen and Veera went with more muted backdrops for theirs, in fact Karen’s almost looks like its in a thunderstorm! Bekka and I stuck with the original colour scheme, not adventuring away from the steps quite yet!

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Our final products! (Clockwise from top right, Bekka, Karen, me, Veera)

I was surprised to discover I actually really enjoyed the evening, painting is a lot more fun then I remember! Hopefully we do it again soon!

If you want to give it a shot, it’s super easy! theartsherpa on youtube has a ton of beginner’s tutorials and all you’ll really need is a canvas, some acrylic paint, and some brushes! She even lists the paint colours and all the supplies that she uses in the descriptions of her videos to help you prep! Go forth friends, make art!

-B

A Beginner is Cooking: A is for Alfredo

Meat is the bane of my existence.

Okay that may be a slight exaggeration, I should clarify. What I mean to say is, I dislike cooking meat.

I have no issues eating it, definitely not a vegetarian! Not a super fan of fish and refuse to eat veal and lamb because cute baby animals but everything else is usually pretty safe! It’s the cooking… the raw slimy floppy I’ll move on, I’m grossing myself out.

So not a fan of raw meat, yet I’ve made the decision to cook. Huzzah. This should go well.

I tried to cop out today, I really did. I looked through a bunch of vegetarian meals but they all had weird ingredients that I didn’t recognize. I think the health-fanatic vegetarians and vegans have scared me off. Also a lot of the things I don’t just have lying around – is goat cheese substitutable with just, like, normal cheese…? I don’t know these things!

I kind of a fan of those thirty second “Tasty” videos on Facebook that make cooking look so fun and easy with their cheery music and fastness and I had saved one of a one-pot chicken alfredo thing. Now I quite like chicken alfredo so this seemed like it could be a nice lunch.

First speed bump. I discovered the recipe calls for heavy cream. (Again, do people normally have these things lying around or are they actually smart enough to plan ahead? People I admire you.) My good friend Google told me that I could make a heavy cream substitute with milk and butter though so here we go, we’re gonna start straying from the recipe before we even start. Rebel. Yes. That’s right.

But it got worse. Oh friends, the gong show has yet to begin.

So I made the mistake of assuming we would have something as common as say, parmesan cheese. Apparently not. Thankfully before starting to cook the chicken (which I discovered it much easier and less gross to cook with gloves on, very glad mum bought those!) Our parmesan seemed had been forgotten at a relative’s house after Easter and no one had yet noticed. I was the one who got to discover the glaring lack. Alfredo is simply not alfredo without parmesan cheese thus I grabbed my ever-suffering sister to chauffeur me to the grocery store. (Mental note, get driver’s license faster.) Actually having to pay money for this learning experiment was unexpected and cooking is stressful and I was starting to get cranky. It was at this point that I dramatically texted my boyfriend, “It’s official, I hate cooking.”

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Having obtained the rogue cheese (and a chocolate bar) I began cooking. It was after adding the chicken broth and “cream”, as I was stirring that suddenly the smell wafted up to me. It smelt good. People, at this moment it came to me, this could actually work.

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After painstakingly waiting for it to simmer 15-20 minutes, (you know the plus side to sandwiches is you get hungry and within two minutes you’re eating) it was time. I stirred in the parmesan cheese and tasted it.

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Folks it was pretty decent. The cheese didn’t fully melt and not as much of the brothy stuff had evaporated as I thought but it doesn’t have to look pretty to taste decent right? The next few hours will finalize if I live or not… It wasn’t super flavourful, kinda salty from the broth I think. But it was food and I made it and I have officially cooked a meal on my own, no help, huzzah!

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I’m gonna go eat my chocolate bar now.

Overall time from start to eating: hour and a half.

Should have taken: maybe 30 minutes? (quite possibly less)

Stress level: One med-large chocolate bar

In the end: Might make again, but almost too cheesy and salty. Maybe with less broth and less cheese?

 

(Feel free to follow me on snapchat @rlpdean for real-time annoying updates when I’m “cooking”!)

The Need of Internet

I don’t need the Internet anymore.

Now there are a couple things in this sentence you could confront me on, first, need – who needs the Internet? But also anymore – so I did need it then? And what changed?

I’m reading a book for my Media and Society class right now called The Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships and it’s sort of freaking me out a tad but I think I’m also learning lots. It talks about Internet addiction and how it affects our brains and how we function and how it changes our relationships (for better and for worse, it’s not a doomsday book, they acknowledge that there are benefits!) but it’s making me consider how much I use the Internet and social media and why.

I began using the Internet more and more starting from around age seventeen. A friend introduced me to the vlogger (video-blogger) side of Youtube and within a few months I was vlogging myself. At this time I was in grade twelve and slowly giving into minor depression as I grew increasingly afraid of my unknown future and saw my friends all drifting into the great unknown. I felt that I was losing my friends, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, didn’t like my part time job at a grocery store post-grad (I would “entertain” myself by seeing how far into a shift I could get without talking to someone. I clearly wasn’t a cashier!) and wasn’t pushing into God and building my faith thus allowing that to drift away too. I was lonely.

And the Internet, oh the Internet! The Internet helped me find friends, find friends fast and who had common interests and fun hobbies. I had Facebook, and now Youtube, next was Twitter and Tumblr, more and more ways to connect with my new friends. Now I’m not bashing this because it actually served a purpose in where I was at because as I somewhat dissolved into “living in” the Internet, it also helped bring me back out. I went to a convention in California, meeting friends I’d only previously known online. I’ve since gone on a second trip to DisneyWorld with them. I began organizing meet ups in Winnipeg a couple times a year for other people who were fans of some of the same Youtubers as I was.

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2012

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2012

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2013

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2013

The Internet sucked me in, yes. I became too reliant on it, yes. But it also helped me grow, a lot. I planned my portion of two trips out of the country and then travelled there alone. I organized meet-ups with people I’d never met before and spent time getting to know them. As I found solace online I began to gain more confidence in my real life outside of the Internet. I made friends with coworkers, I reconnected with high school friends, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As I gained a few subscribers on Youtube I began to value my voice and think about what I was saying more and through vlogging I actually developed an interest and some practical skill in video making, an aspect of what I hope my future career will involve.

Lately the Internet hasn’t been very fulfilling though. It’s no longer serving the purpose it once did and I think perhaps I’ve outgrown it. It’s not that I don’t value the friendships I made while regularly vlogging or even regularly watching Youtube videos – I do, very much, I would consider many of them to now be friends, but I no longer solely need the Internet to feel that I am connecting with people and being heard. I begin to find it tiresome, Internet connections cannot interact the same way as people in real life. I have friends and hobbies and goals and a life that extends past the limitations of my laptop and my wifi. I can appreciate the ability to stay connected using social media and the like, but I prefer to see friends in person and actually go out and to things and build relationships in that sense. And that’s a big change for me. There was a time when I would Facebook message you instead of trying to get together in person. Now, well… now I’ll do both 😉

I suppose over the last five years I’ve been able to mature and get to know myself better. I’ve experienced life online, and it’s fun for a time and serves its purpose, but I’ve discovered it’s crucially important to maintain a solid foundation in the real world. To be able connect with people in person is something that cannot be replaced and it is only through the challenges and bumps that we face along the road that we can grow, and those are rarely found within the safe walls we build up for ourselves online. Online is a place to hide from challenges and bumps, however, in the sage words of The Sound of Music‘s Reverend Mother, “These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.”

-B

Space, Science, and Captain Blonde Beard

Starting off a movie with an emergency take off and presumed dead character is always a good way to go. Gets the adrenaline pumping and the audience engaged. So starts The Martian starring Matt Damon and it continues for two and a half hours of space, science, and the dangers of living alone, well, as the only inhabitant of a foreign planet with a limited source of supplies.

The movie does a great job of keeping the audiences attention as it jumps back and forth from NASA back on Earth as they discover Mark Watney (Matt Damon’s character) is still alive and figure out ways to communicate with him, back to Mars where Watney is completely and utterly alone. To keep the Martian scenes from becoming boring and drawn out, much of them is spent with Watney making logs into cameras around the compound. This gives a more personal feel to the movie as he is in a sense breaking the fourth wall for much of it and staring straight into the screen as he confides the dangers, fears, and discoveries he has while trapped on Mars.

It is a well done movie, drawing to a close with a high suspense rescue attempt. Overall a very good movie, would recommend to a friend.