The Lecture

If there is one thing in life I can not resist it is experiencing things I haven’t experienced. So when I was asked to do a 1 1/2 hour lecture in Illustrator I couldn’t say no. While I have taught several summer art workshops in the past and made speeches in front of many people, a lecture is different. You have a projector, a microphone, a laptop – plus I have to say everything in English aside from making sure my brain, my mouth, my hand, laptop software and library hardware are coordinated.

Credits for slide artworks, vector graphics and definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics , http://www.vector.net/2010/differences-between-photoshop-and-illustrator/ , http://dryicons.com/

I was a nervous wreck especially when on my initial practice I realized this was harder/complicated than it looked. But eventually I got the hang of it. What made it so much better was the dimmed lights in the auditorium and the projector. The audience’s eyes weren’t focused on me but in the wide screen in front of them.

Sharing with you the the introduction I prepared beforehand and some of the slides:

“Hi everybody my name is_____, you can call me Geri. I am a graphic artist. If you are a regular_____ Library Patron you probably have seen me here at the ____ during the summer teaching. I have been in the graphic arts field for 20 years now, although I was a fine arts student in college I worked part-time at a small design studio back in the Philippines in the early 90’s.

At that time we didn’t have any of the Adobe programs or computer graphic programs for that matter. To make a poster would take us days and would involve a lot of people. We would ask the secretary to type out the words in her computer and print it out for us, the we would take it to the copier to enlarge it to different sizes, then we would cut and tape it to another piece of paper, cleaning out the edges and black spots from the photocopier with white outs, indicate where the photo will be lay-outed, then write on another piece of paper instructions to the printer regarding colors etc., giving them the negatives of the photos etc. And the scariest part of it all we really have no clue what the finished product would look like until proofing, after a couple of days and not after we have committed to print 50 or more pieces of that poster. Computers graphic programs like the Illustrator sure has made making posters a lot easier, cheaper, faster and more fun nowadays. It’s just me and my laptop and not the whole community.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Adobe programs would ask what is Illustrator? How is it different from Photoshop? Which is better Illustrator or Photoshop? There are two kinds of graphic programs, vector graphic which is composed of path and raster or bitmap graphic which is composed of pixels. Illustrator is a vector graphic program. Photoshop is a raster graphic (show sample). With both programs you can create graphic prints like posters, flyers, website graphics, calling cards etc. but which program to use depends on the image you want to put into your work. Graphics best suited for the vector format are page layout, type, line art or illustrations. Bitmaps are best used for photographs and images with subtle shading. (see website sample)”

Lecture and demo followed…

My husband, trying to be encouraging, just told me to have fun and I did. I was also happy to note that all of the audience stayed for the 1 hour lecture and only one left for the 30 minute  Q&A. I am now hoping for the library to ask me to give me more talks =)

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Look Who Has Come To Visit

Up to this day I can’t believe why I get to be so lucky when it comes to friends. Rhebs and Gilda, filipinas who I met through an internet forum 9 years ago, back when I was still a fresh from the plane immigrant, came for a visit. I have met them four times in person, but have exchanged dozens of emails, facebook messages and phone calls all through this years and yet I feel not a single mile separates us. In fact, I have come to think of them as the big sisters I have never had.

Rhebs is into photography nowadays so I took her to the Botanic Garden and we were lucky to have been gifted with such a fine, perfect fall day for a photo shoot. I think Rhebs did such a superb job, I love the photos!

Here are photos I took:

Here are photos Gilda took:

This blog could also have been titled, filipinas and their cameras. =)

Of course no gathering of filipinas would be complete without photos of food:
Lechon at a filipino buffet restaurant. Both liked it so much that Rhebs proclaimed it to be the best filipino buffet she has gone to in the US. Gilda liked it so much that she wanted to go there everyday for lunch. But we didn’t because of this:

Rhebs cooked “Humba” (pork hock sweet adobo) and…

Paksiw na bangus (milkfish stew with vinegar) and…

All these food from our feast at Cielito’s where we also got together with Rose, her sister and my other filipina friend from my hometown in the Philippines, Candice.

It was a happy 4 days and I am already missing them.

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What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Okay, I am getting tired of apologizing for not posting more often but I have been preoccupied with other stuff lately. The good news is I am almost done with Tom’s website and should be ready to publish next week. What took longer is that it’s done in custom theme WordPress. Making my own theme (I call it Writer’s =) rather than using ready-made themes. If I master this I will have the potential to be a WordPress developer myself. Lots of learning involved especially since some level of Php (which always reminds me algebra) understanding is needed but I am happy to say, after muddling through numerous hiccups, I finally got it working. Just a few more tweaking of the CSS and animating the header, it should be done and I am so excited. I have wanted to do this 3 years ago and finally I’m here. I am so stoked that I raring to start on my own website which would replace this blog. I am so ready to move on to the next phase, crossfingers.

I am in-between freelancing projects but last week I attended the grand opening of the facility (said to be one, if not THE, largest in the industry in the world) of a client. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it because I was nervous about dressing correctly (it was a formal affair) and having to chit chat to people I don’t know, in an industry I have not a clue of (chemistry). But it turned out to be fun, with the most delicious hor d’oeuvres (imported cheeses) and desserts, and the friendliest people. Even the president stopped and chatted with us TWICE, complimenting my boss and I for the catalog (their company “bible”) we put together a few months ago. Even the big shots from France took time to say nice things to us. But I have to say, it turned out to be a impressive looking catalog, but the materials were also first class, so that is a huge contributing factor too.

On other aspects it’s been 2 months since I’ve been using my new “running shoes” and I love it!The first time I touched the material in the store I 0oohed and aaahed, it was then I got it why runners would wear this ugly looking shoes hahaha. The reason I bought one was upon the recommendation of a 3 times a year marathoner/ultra-marathoner friend. She has used hers for 2 years already (that’s 6 marathons and trainings in between) before buying a new pair. It just made more financial sense to me. Plus with these shoes you have to run in a different way that promotes injury-free and longer running. It took some time for me to break in but I am now back to my regular running miles and might start training soon again.

Salads for breakfast. I got this tip from the Born To Run book and I love it. I am not always consistent though. It requires planning and food planning is not a strong suit of mine. But having healthy, unprocessed, homecooked food at home is my aim and I know I will get there eventually.

This is what we have been reading lately. Every night we take turns reading a few pages aloud and we’re almost done. We are at the part that Bilbo and the other dwarves are making an escape from the Elvenking. I am very surprised how entertaining this book is, I thought it was going to be a bit dark as the Lord Of The Rings was but it isn’t. I wouldn’t have thought to let Evan read this haven’t it be for Tom’s recommendation. But Tom said he read it in eight grade. And Evan is still six… Years old. I am reading it for the first time at 42 years old. lol

P.S. I don’t remember if I mentioned it but Evan read Harry Potter a long time ago when he was 5. I am surprised how easier The Hobbit was to read compared to Harry Potter, but maybe Evan had just become a better reader since then. Other books he also has read are Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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Evan’s Race

I’ve been out of touch lately. Since I did my freelancing last April it just sort of took over my life and now that I got a few week’s break, I have a lot catching up to do. I am currently working on my husband’s website right now and I am (finally) doing my own custom WordPress theme. I am excited about the learning even if I still have to squeeze it among other things that are backlogged.

Evan and dad, waiting for the race to start. Evan checking out his loot bag.

But we did some fun stuff this weekend. We had Evan join a half mile fun run with some 20 other kids up to age 9. And guess what? He finished 6th! I was so ecstatic that I couldn’t manage to take a photo of him on the finishline. I was nervous when it started as all the kids dashed forward and I saw Evan’s facial expression changed to focus, competitiveness and determination. I thought a lot of things can go wrong. He could trip, bump into other kids, stop mid-way etc. But he didn’t. Tom ran in the sidewalk with him (or tried to keep up with him) but I stayed behind as he grew smaller and smaller until I could no longer see his silhouette and just hoped for the best.

At the starting line. The boy in purple shirt won and the girl in light blue shirt placed second.

After a few minutes, a kid in purple shirt who looked like he was 9 year old ran back checking from behind him to see his second finisher a few meters far from him. After a few moments a group of 3-4 kids came running forward and I saw the littlest one looking like Evan. I thought, “Wait a minute, is that Evan?” After staring hard, unblinking at the group, it was really him! My heart was pounding hard and I could hardly contain my excitement. “Evan! You are doing a good job!” I cheered as I ran beside him. He turned to look at me blankly, he was so focused that he didn’t recognize the bystanders. Then my image clicked in his mind, his face lightened up and he gave me a big smile as he slowed down. “No!” I shouted, “keep running!” And he did until he reached the finish line.

Evan showing off his cool finisher “shoe” medal. He wanted a medal just like mine now he has his 0wn.

Later on Tom related that at 3/4 of the race, a boy Evan age came up behind him and when Evan saw him he ran faster, then the boy ran faster too. They alternately edged out each other 3 times until the other boy just stopped in the middle of the road, exhausted. This was one of the coolest thing ever I have experienced as a mom and I already have visions of college track scholarships for Evan. Imagine the money we will save. Ahhhh, a mom can dream.

After the race we cooled of inside the library. While playing chess was Evan’s idea it didn’t take him long to start goofing around. Poor dad, he has the patience of a saint.

I was funny how before the race I saw this skinny asian boy, about 10 or 11 doing warm up running exercises. At that time I thought he was doing the fun run too. I joked to Evan, “I want you to beat him in the race.” It turned out that that asian kid ran the 5k with the adults and placed second. Another boy, a year older than him won the race. Just made me laugh thinking about how ambitious I was.

Well anyway, Evan says he had fun and wants to do it again next year and I bet you I am more excited than him.

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The Surprise Get-Away

We planned to go on a short vacation a week after my birthday. Since we have been renting our place in Madison beginning last year in preparation for Tom’s looming early retirement, we decided to rent a room at a bed and breakfast place in a town near the city. We have passed this town everytime we go to Madison and it wasn’t that impressive to me. However, what I didn’t know was that the house was situated in front of a lovely lake hidden from view. That was the surprise part of my story. Here are a few photos:

I was still working on our way to our vacation but thankfully was done and met the deadline 2 hours after we arrived at the resort.

This historical lodging place is a favorite of a former vice-president and also the inventor of the Harley-Davidson.

I fell in love with the homey furnishings the first time I saw them.

For a few moments I felt like I was in the Downton Abbey era.

Evan playing with his action figures as we wait for breakfast.

Breakfast. Southern eggs, blueberry coffeecake, fresh fruits, english muffin, locally made canadian bacon, multigrain loaf.


Our kind of vacation.

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