The Mac Lab

Archive for May, 2009

Time’s Up

by on May.29, 2009, under Blog

hd_pw_smYesterday a student told me that Dreamweaver was “broken” on his computer. You see, he’d been moved to a new computer and it turned out the only thing that was broken was his memory. He didn’t know how to define his site. And sadly, I know he’s not alone. If you’re one of those lost in space students, this movie should jog your memory (ignore the password.rtf file). Of course, you’ll probably also need directions to connect to the correct server. Better now? That some of you don’t know this tells me that I have to do a better job teaching the fundamentals next year.

It’s not just the kids who aren’t holding up their end of the academic deal who seem to have forgotten things either. Yesterday a student was weaving something (a key chain?) in class. When I asked what she was doing, she informed me that she was “finished” with her Website. Can you imagine how I reacted? Everyone, repeat after me.

Today is the last official day to work (Jake C). I’m going to begin grading your projects this weekend but I’ll tell you right now that any student who chooses to finish out the year flaunting the rules will pay an academic price. Yes, yearbooks were handed out yesterday. No, you may not exchange them in class today. Don’t even open it or it’ll end up in the VP’s office with the cell phones. You’ll have plenty of time in class next week to sign to your heart’s content. Today is the last official day to work, remember? So how ’bout we finish on a strong note? We’ll get through most of your final presentations on Monday so you’ll have plenty of time during our last two-hours for wrapping up personal affairs. Fair enough?

Yes, even though it’s a pain, I’ll let you make up time and work next week but the door closes on the day of your final. (I’ve got to stop being such a softie!)

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A’s and Bees of CDs

by on May.28, 2009, under Blog

baca_bee_cd_dvd_disc_smYes, I skipped the “F” reference in the title, and I sure wish you guys would, too. Giving grades is a pain in the assessment. It’s by far the worst part of my job. I’ve rigged the game so you’re guaranteed an A or B if you play by the rules but I’ve still got students choosing other grades for themselves. Hey, I’ve written over and over about how stupid I used to be. I guess some students feel the need to exercise their right to self-destruct, too. Talk about going in circles (David B).

Note: I would have said, Talk about stupid! but I’m not supposed to call students names.

Since we just had a peek at David’s disc design, I should confess that the printer is currently in malf-mode. I’ve got numerous lines in to tech support and hope to receive deliverance today so we can start printing your discs. The assignment still stands. I’ll be printing your jewel case sleeves every day from now on and will print the discs when/if the printer’s working. If I have to come in Saturday to get this done, I will, but there’s NO SATURDAY SCHOOL so don’t ask to come in. Sorry, but that’s the only way I’ll be able to get things done. Grades close tomorrow. Finals start Monday.

Be a busy bee. Finish strong.

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School Spirit

by on May.27, 2009, under Blog

operation_fresno_smFor some fortunate students, the Mac Lab will be a fond memory. It may also be a stepping stone on their personal artistic journeys. Vocation or avocation, art will always be a part of life for some of you. Lauren C is such an individual. She is plugged in to her art and she’s worked as intensely as anyone I’ve ever seen on this piece. From the start I expressed my misgivings about the clash of artistic styles between the boys and their surroundings but to her credit she’s stuck to her vision. I’ll print this and let you be the judge. One thing I will say, without reservation, those boys represent some of the best line work (Illustrator) and shading (Photoshop) we’ve seen yet in the Mac Lab. Really a tour de force that Lauren should be proud of.

I’m seeing an ever-growing number of students who, at some point during the year, have discovered a palpable passion for art. For them, the class isn’t work, it’s a joyous adventure that others will never understand. I’ve tried to describe this but words really do fail. It’s something you have to discover for yourself. One of the tragedies of life is that there are people who walk through their days without ever touching their bliss. You need to discover what it is that you love to do. (Yes, need is the correct word.) Read the quotation at the end of this post and find a way to feed the real you.

CD/DVD + Jewel Case: Right-Click and download these Photoshop templates.

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by on May.26, 2009, under Blog

alt_self_andrea_smAt 7:25 during the 19th and final Mac Lab Saturday School™ of the 08/09 school year, there were 55 students in the room. (The clock always reads 10:30, and if you’re counting, the others are out of frame behind the file cabinet, far right.) When I got here at 6:15, 27 students were waiting outside. (Kevin L and Atheer M were first in line at 5:40.) Thankfully, the incoming flow tapered off and “only” 65 kids showed up. Some had to wait a while but everyone got to work eventually. For some, it was just another day. For others…

Made an iFriend Sunday morning when jumping from here to here to here to here. Departing seniors continuing on with digital arts, you’ll want check out the second here for must-have Illustrator scripts and the fourth here for killer Illustrator sketching tips and a bonus, “Oh, that’s why Illustrator bogs down sometimes!” factoid. It’ll change the way you work (and the way the rest of us will work in the fall). Everyone, the third here is a wonderful read about doing the right thing. Find some time outside of class to read and ponder the implications in your own life. Returning veterans, Adam O’Hern, the author of those posts and reformed HiC heister, has offered to drop by the Mac Lab to share some of his artistic wisdom with us next year. (Anyone who puts Spitwad-Marksmanship on his resumé is okay in my book.)

Final Exam: There’s been a lot of angst about the CD/DVD portion of the final. Let’s put this to rest. The custom CD/DVD + Jewel Case is a Mac Lab Parting Gift™ and all you have to do is create something that you think is cool for full credit. I’ll print your jewel case insert and disc, you burn your files onto the disc, take the groovy souvenir home with you, and everyone’s happy. Get it?

Girls, read this sometime, heed the advice, and stay safe out there in the WWW!

Is that eye beautiful or what? Check out Andrea C’s alt self portrait WIP that references this and this and this but just like the others have done, Andrea takes it a step further. As for the eye, that’s a brand new idea that I absolutely love! Brand new unless one considers the ultra-cool triangular-based illustration Nicole C is working on. Since the girls are in different classes, I’m guessing neither knows what the other is presently working on. Besides, Andrea’s uses negative space along with overlapping translucent triangles that generate other polygonal shapes and whilst Nicole carefully maps adjacent triangles. You guys are so good it’s brain-numbing. You’ve all been part of the most creative group of artists ever to pass through the Mac Lab. Thanks for making this such an astonishing year. And considering the consistent, quantifiable, year by year leaps in student achievement, it’s awe inspiring to ponder what’s going to happen next year. Talk about exciting!

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Who Are You?

by on May.22, 2009, under Blog

true_identity_smFinding oneself is more often associated with college than high school. Truth is, over the past seven years you’ve helped me to find out a lot more about who I really am. This is my second tour of duty in high school and there’s no comparison; I’m having a lot more fun this time around. The ABC’s of my initial high school experience were alcohol, bongs, and cutting class. That, btw, despite any cliché you may have heard to the contrary, is a good recipe for losing oneself and one’s future. It’s not a right of passage. It’s more like dancing along the edge of a cliff.

I’m not quite sure how I managed to graduate (2.46 GPA) but I do know that without a natural aptitude for passing tests I’d have never qualified for college. I spent five years there (1.91 GPA) spiraling into an ever-deeper drug-induced hole. I did manage to fall in love with a girl I met on September 19, 1976 (her first day at Cal Poly) and build a pretty impressive portfolio before leaving town with a broken heart and an empty wallet in 1978. The portfolio grew and kept me fed, housed, and medicated for the next decade or so. If not for a deep, abiding love of art and design, there’s no way I would have survived this journey into darkness. Art not only paid the bills, it gave me an alternate focus.

There were professional successes, personal failures, and an ever-present insatiable black hole at the center of my being. I’ve written here and elsewhere about synchronicity, but I don’t think you’ve ever understood that the only reason I’m still alive is that the author of this RPG, after slapping me around for a year or two to get my attention, reached out and showed me one way the game works. (Three years of round the clock meth can leave one slightly disconnected.)

I was telling my wife the other day that I can’t remember the last time I wanted to do drugs. She said that I was addicted to the Mac Lab now. Once an addict, always an addict. I laughed along with her, but she’s wrong. It’s not just the Mac Lab. I’m addicted to the RPG. I’m addicted to Life. I love the synchronicities. I love the flow of inspiration and intuition. And, as I’ve already told you, I love you guys and I love my job. My wife and daughter complete me. That Noël (class of ’15) will be here in two+ years is exciting. That she’ll be following in her mother’s footsteps (class of ’76 — Valhalla’s first graduating class) is beautiful symmetry. That her mother happens to be the very same girl whom I fell in love with all those years ago, proves that miracles do happen.

Find yourself (Kevin L). And if I may offer some advice… Skip the cliff dancing.

New Visitors: Armenia (97 countries)

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Learn it all.