Oil can….

I’ve been feeling much like the tin man from the wizard of Oz lately.

Tin-Man

image found on Device Magazine’s website http://www.devicemag.com

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’re starting to get cooler weather now out here in the Seattle area, or just that I’m pulling to many shifts at the retail store I work at, but I’ve woken up every day this week feeling like my joints are locked in position. I’ve been dealing with this “undetermined inflammatory autoimmune disorder” for almost 3 years now, and while the fatigue has improved some since it first started, the joint pain and stiffness have gotten a lot worse lately. Normally I just feel the pain in my ankles, knees, and wrists, and my spine cracks constantly when I move. This past week though, my elbows have actually started to hurt and the pain in my joints has reached all new levels of really-not-fun-at-all. I take 3x the recommended dose of naproxen on a daily basis (as instructed by my doctor for my knee pain years back), but even then I still ache and it seems to do absolutely nothing for the mild fevers I’ve been running. My temperature hasn’t dropped below 99 degrees in over two weeks. I think it’s been a year since I’ve seen it below 98, and my base temperature before this was 97.6.

I know I sound whiny, but this is more frustration at the whole situation rather than just being cranky because everything hurts. At one point a doctor told me I likely had either Lupus of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and while having something chronic like that was a frustration, I at least had a name to attach to what was going on with me and from that could see a potential plan of action towards getting me back to a state of semi-normalcy where I could potentially one day hold down a normal job and not make my husband do all the chores all the time because I was so tired. But then the typical treatment for Lupus and RA only serves to give me really bad vertigo and trigger my vasovagal so that I ended up passing out in my physical therapists office last year. So we took me off the meds, ran more tests, and the doctor ended up taking back the potential diagnosis, because it no longer fit. I am yet again, undiagnosed. Sent back to the void of unknowing, and that potential path to normal crumbled under my feet (I should turn this all into a short piece sometime in the future, seeing as it pulls this sort of imagery from me).

In an attempt to make things better, I just gave my 2 weeks notice at my job. The extra money was really helpful in chipping away at student loans, but the time and physical toll its been taking out of me have set me a lot further back on my thesis work than I anticipated. I was essentially doing both things badly because I didn’t have the time and energy for it. At first I asked to be reduced to 15 hours a week at the store to see if that helped. I never did find out if it would have though, because the only week I did only work 15 since that request was the week I was out for 4 days because I was flying back to Boston for a friend’s wedding. Even this week now, I’m scheduled for over 20 hours. The fact that they said they reduce my hours and then left me at over 20 almost every week was particularly frustrating, so instead of asking for another reduction I decided the best thing to do would be to quit. Hopefully now I can get back on track and maybe even get the whole thesis project done a little earlier so I can start looking for a full time job that much sooner.

In the meantime, I’ve been slowly making progress on my script and storyboards. I’ve finished what is now the 8th version of my script and got the last drawings for it completed on my tablet and uploaded to my dropbox last night. After yet another work shift tonight, I hope to get them edited and presentable for another blog post. I’ve also been trying to put in 1 hour a day on getting my demo reel together so I can start sending out applications for spring internships soon. Two of the pieces I wanted to include needed some work. One just needed to be cleaned and scanned since the original was shot on a test camera at school and was pretty low quality. The other was a 2D effect piece meant to be layered over my friend Vijay’s 2 Quarter project Unlucky. [ Vijay’s 3D animation and rigging blog can be found here: http://mcvijay.wordpress.com/ ]  Since I didn’t have access to Vijay’s original file though, I had to go in a create a masking layer by hand so the effect would appear correctly on my reel. That took several days of rotoscoping to complete. But I got them done and I feel like they show some of my ability to animate in them. The goal of course is continually improve, but for work done in only my second year of coursework I think they hold up quite well.

My hand drawn dance animation clip called Undo.  I named it for the song I set the animation to which came from the third Full Metal Alchemist soundtrack. I like to credit the music I use for school exercises because even though I’m using it without  a license based on the understanding that it’s covered under the scholarship section of the FAIR Use Act, it’s only fair that it should be acknowledged for whose work it is.

This is the clip of the 2D Flash effects I did for Vijay’s Unlucky. The music in this clip is from Unlucky and was composed for the piece by Jesse Lozano.

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