33 Laws of OH GOD WHY

Ah, projects galore! I gotta do a thing and a thing and then another thing. It’s exhausting. And I have to practice not making a mockery out of typography by not double spacing between words? That’s going to be a tough habit to break.

In my “keyboarding” class in high school (wasn’t “typing,” no, it was “keyboarding…” wasn’t aware that “keyboard” was a verb…) we got points taken off if we didn’t hit the space bar twice between sentences. In fact, we could fail entire assignments by not doing so. That’s how old I am I guess. The class was taught by a computer. Our teacher never showed up and if she did, she didn’t care. Then she got fired because she never showed up and I had to do an entire semester’s work in about two months when another teacher was instated. Because honestly, I’ll tell you. I was one of the ones who was like, “The teacher doesn’t care? I don’t care either!” So I played Free Cell all during that class period. Which was impressive because none of the computers had a mouse.

And that time I “skipped class.” I didn’t. The teacher took roll call by having us pass around a paper and write our name on it. The preppies (as I called them back then) decided it would be funny to screw over the resident goth girl by not giving me the paper, so yeah… that took a lot of hassle to fix. I was sitting closer to the teacher than everyone else and she didn’t recognize me. Because she never showed up. That was actually part of the reason she got fired! She almost screwed over the record of a student by not properly doing her job. I even got grounded for that, even though I was totally there… My mom didn’t even apologize to me when the school called her to say it’d been a mistake… anyway.

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I mean I was good; my mom had given me a copy of Mavis Beacon’s typing software a few years before and I’d learned from that. Yet another testament to my age, haha! It was just a matter of learning to type the wrong way and then it got drilled into my head, became habit, you know, and now over a decade later, I need to break that particular habit.

But anyway, yeah. Hitting the space bar twice in between sentences is an archaic thing apparently, coming from the days of typewriters. If I recall correctly (and my brain is mush cause I’m sick with sinus junk, so cut me some slack…) it was because the letters and the spaces and everything takes up, on a typewriter, the exact same amount of space as everything else. Basically every character including space had the same width. So we needed a way to distinguish one thought (or sentence) from the next. Hence double spacing.

So there are apparently 33 laws of typography. I know because I just watched them for nearly three hours on Lynda.com. It’s not as bad as I make it sound. It was actually pretty helpful and I was able to see some areas I’d made mistakes in the pre-production of my big project. Well, at least I did know at some point. I just took sinus meds and now my brain is doing Irish jigs while it’s jumping out of a plane without a parachute.

Another thing that was drilled into our heads was to let the subject matter and tone speak for the typefaces we’re going to use. So I think I’m going to have to change one of mine. My project is an event poster for the Texas Jazz Festival, held every year in October here in Corpus Christi. I’ve been a few times. It’s always a good time. It’s mostly old Latino guys and their families there. Not many young people to be seen.

According to an infographic I saw, most of the people who are more, say, knowledgeable about Jazz are younger guys. So why not get some younger Latino dudes interested? That’s my target audience. We’re taught not to say our target audience is “everyone.” While the Fest is free entry and family friendly, you’re not going to advertise the Texas craft beer they have there to, say, expectant mothers, or teenagers. So “everyone” doesn’t necessarily work, you know? Maybe your grandma can drink you under the table though — I don’t judge you or your grandma.

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Oh look, an em dash! I learned how to use em dashes, en dashes, and hyphens and no, a double hyphen is not an em dash! When I write on my role play sites, I just stick two hyphens in there as an em dash. That is wrong! Oops. Now in some sites, it does elongate the dash, so it’s a little more forgiving. I wonder if BBCode takes into account formatting, say, in Microsoft Word. You know? I’ve never tried it! Not that I have a hell of a lot of time to write on my role play sites anyway. Leslie got archived and Ace is like… still celebrating thanksgiving with his fellow Gaysian. Lux and Marlene are probably lying in a ditch somewhere in my brain.

So that’s me trying to sort out my thoughts, and it’s not working. Too much Advil Cold and Sinus. OH! InDesign. Oy vey. People tell me “Master pages are your friend,” and yes, they are, but when you’re making a poster of one page… I don’t see how that works. That and master pages have messed me up before if I wanted to say, change the wording of a page I just stuck in as a new page. I did figure out a way around that though!

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Every Villain Is Lemons (E.V.I.L.)

This four day weekend was gifted to us, the lowly amateur designers, by Full Sail University.  I did take Thursday off, less because of Thanksgiving dinner and more because for some reason, I was super dizzy!  A little vertigo going on, you know.  Turned out my ears were really pressurized, as happens to me every time I have a sinus infection coming on.  I have chronic sinusitis, so my ears get weird every few weeks or so.  It’s more annoying than anything.

Today I did my words.  They’re not due ’til Tuesday, but we also have pre-production for another project due Tuesday so I knocked the words out early.  We had to take three words from a list and find a way to make them embody the word’s meaning.  I chose “sour,” “joy,” and “magic.”

word_sourFirst up, “Sour.”  What do you think of when you hear that word?  Sour candies like Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, Sour Straws… None of which I like!  (I like bitter and salty foods.)  You also may think… LEMONS!  My grandmother will sit there and eat lemons all day.  Lemons are good in tea, for me, and I like lemonade.  I can’t just bite into a lemon and eat it like Gramma can.

I used Source Sans Variable in all caps and made outlines of the text in Illustrator.  I warped the “O” and filled it in with a percentage of black (a grey) to make it look lighter, like a lemon, since we can’t use color, and added the little lemon ends and some texture.  I had to kern rather than track, and move the lemon around once outlines were made.  Thank God for shift-moving.  Otherwise after I kerned and created outlines, the letters would have been all over the place trying to eyeball them.  I did eventually give up kerning the letters and just kinda moved them using guides.  And a lot of shift key.

Never underestimate or devalue shift!  That button is your BFF for lining things up.  It’s so useful, OMG.  You guys.  Use Shift forever!

The next word I did was “Joy.”  It’s almost that time of year, yes?  Yesterday I drove to the store, hated every song on 4/5 of my radio stations.  Switched to the 5th one.  “OH THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS–”

NO!  Just no.  It’s not even December.  It isn’t that I dislike Christmas music; it’s just that there are only a handful of Christmas songs so they repeat and you might possibly get the same song by a different person.  I know it’s to get holiday shoppers into the spirit, but I mean, most of us buy on Amazon these days, right?

Right.  So my interpretation of the typography of the word “Joy.”

word_joyI really liked this word.  The first thing I thought of was EVE Online.  I tried playing that for like a week back in 2010 but I got so stuck in the spreadsheets organizing things almost obsessively and not playing the game.  I did that in World of Warcraft vaults too.  So yes, I was doomed.  In EVE, a common greeting rather than saying “Hi” is to type the characters o/ as if the person’s waving.  A good victory in your corp may be punctuated as \o/ as if it’s a guy throwing his hands in the air like he just don’t care.  I wanted the “guy” to be the most noticeable figure, so I typed the J and O in lowercase and the Y in uppercase.  I also colored the J and O in greys to build up to the bold Y-man, the buildup to the moment, so to speak.  I took the J’s dot and stuck it in the Y for a head, and I manipulated the Y’s serifs and such to make it look less perfect.  Because face it, it’s a human now.  They’re not perfect.  (Except for me.)  I used the font Book Antiqua, one of my favorite serif fonts.  Actually, come to think of it, the more I look at this type, the more I see the classic cookbook “The Joy of Cooking” logotype.  I can assure you that was all subconscious.  Also my husband says the Y looks like the Boys and Girls Club logo, but to be honest as we didn’t have a chapter of those where I grew up, I had no idea what their icon was.

Finally, and my favorite one: I chose the word “Magic.”  I originally wanted to do a script font with a Harry Potter type wand making some swirls, but then I saw it.

I SAW IT.

The font “Canter.”  It looked so much like a traditional magic show, like they do at kids’ birthday parties and to a more crazy degree in Vegas.  The font just looked like it belonged on a headline for a swanky magic show.  Oh, you better believe I had to use it!

word_magicSo this is what I came up with.  I used Canter to form the word, and elongated the I to look like a magic wand, to which I added a star.  I think it’s pretty nice.  It’s my favorite of the three that I’ve done and I think it just looks sharp and snazzy.  It was kind of hard to make the tapered part of the wand (inside the white that’s bordered by black) but I thought if it was less harsh, it’d be better.

Granted, I am NOT the best in Illustrator.  I’m getting the hang of it more and more, but sometimes it just goes HAHA FREYJA YOU STINK AT THIS GO WORK AT BURGER KING HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Well, Illustrator, I’m not about to go work fast food.  Did that before at large national pizza chain, had a manager steal most of my paychecks via the computer system (this was way back when, they probably can’t do it anymore,) been cussed out because some guy who was on drugs or drunk or something couldn’t tell us his apartment number to deliver the pizza to (or even the name of the complex or address of it…)  I’m over all that, haha!

In other news, I sold my third Janis project product!  Can’t wait to get that $5 paycheck!  No sarcasm, actually, that’s a pack of cigarettes almost.  If I sell one more shirt, I get a free pack of smokes essentially.  That actually makes me really happy, in more than one way:  I am thrilled that people like my work enough to wear it, and cigarettes are ‘spensive.

If you want to know where to get my Queen of Rock ‘n Roll shirt / laptop skin / phone case / pillows / whatever, here you go!  Ch-ch-check it out!

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Janis Joplin, Queen of Rock ‘n Roll, new design merchandise (non-official)

Maybe shop me for Small Business Saturday?

Okay, shameless plug done!  I got one for my Emergency Standby Dad and he was so happy to get it!  He was my biggest cheerleader for the project so he got a free one.

But yeah, that’s about all I got!  Remember, Every Villain is Lemons!

 

Tiny Cat Ears?

Whew!  I got my grades back from last class; I made an overall 95 in Color Theory, which is pretty awesome considering I failed a test in it.  Now to sally forth into Typography and Page Layout!

Except this is really bugging me.  We have to watch a Lynda tutorial and I’m thinking “This lady looks like the chick from Die Antwoord if she was 50” and “Holy hell, are those tiny cat ears?  What is on her head?”  It’s DISTRACTING!

At first I thought it was something in the background but then I started to realize they MOVE with her HEAD!  She’s adorable though.  But I just wonder if those are tiny cat ears or what.  That said, her course is pretty interesting.  Eventually I’ll figure out what’s on her head.  And if I don’t?  Tiny cat ears.  That MUST be it!

I mean, all artists are weird.  If you’re an artist and you say you’re not weird, take several seats.  I like to think I’m not weird, but then again, just tonight I spent an hour answering every question my husband asked me with something about him stealing my ice.  “How are you feeling?”  Feeling like you stole all my ice!  “Did you give the cats their worm medicine?”  Yeah, cause they didn’t steal all my ice.  And so on, and so forth.  I’m from Alabama, dammit, I need ice in EVERYTHING.  Know what was annoying?  Going to Italy.  If you ask for ice they give you like half a cube.  Ack.

He stole all my ice for turkey brine.  He could’ve just, you know, stuck it in the fridge since he’s not gonna put the turkey in it til tomorrow!

Yep, here in Ye Olde US of A, we’re encroaching upon Thanksgiving day.  I may be the lady of our small family (that includes me, the hubs, and two cats) but my husband loves cooking for the holiday so I sit around and drink mimosas all afternoon.  I mean I am making the mac ‘n cheese but that will be cooked the day before, thrown in a pan, and then baked the oven the next day.

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We bit the bullet though!  We got a roasting pan that is RE-USABLE!  Dear god in heaven help us.  We’re turning into old people!  No more roasting the turkey in a big old aluminum pan you get for 50 cents at HEB.  I spent $8 to get an actual… non-disposable one.  Not too bad!  I’m going to try not to fail at cooking a lamb leg for Christmas dinner so that’ll work for that too.  And if we wanna roast quail or something, we’ve got that covered now.

I don’t have much design news other than that I’m watching a lady with tiny cat ears, but just felt like I had to brag about getting a 95 (A+) in a class I failed a test for!  How’d I pull that off?  The world may never know!

Whelmed…

There’s a saying that I love in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” that goes a little like this:

“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you just be whelmed?”

That’s my second favorite, after the “If a a guy in a row boat’s going X miles and the current is going, like, some other miles, how long does it take to get to town?  It’s like who cares?  Who wants to go to town with a guy who drives a row boat?”  If that doesn’t sum up how I feel about math, I dunno what does.

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But the whelmed thing.  I get overwhelmed really easily with school because it’s an accelerated degree program… and I’m slooooow at working.  On like, anything.  So I get overwhelmed to the point where I don’t really care, and I think that’s what being “whelmed” is.  I mean I do care.  Let me rephrase that.  I accept my fate.

I always try to do my best work, sure, but sometimes that leaves me scuttling around at the last minute trying to finish everything, finalize designs, convert to pdf, upload… despite not having procrastinated.

Okay, at least not having procrastinated MUCH.  Sometimes I get stuck in Pinterest.  Or a cat appears and needs my assistance.  Or The Sims sings its Siren’s song.  Granted I haven’t opened TS1, 2, or 3 in a long time, but Sims 4, yeah, I made some cats!  That was between me turning in my work and my next assignment becoming available though.

babyduelThis kinda stuff happens and honestly it’s more entertaining than learning stuff and thangs.  But until I get paid to play Sims… And some people do and I’m like HOOOWWWW?

Bleh.

I finished my final design for Gross Fruits Incorporated… I mean… Okay I like dried fruit, but yeah.  Now you think I’m done?  NOPE.  Need to make a Spark presentation.  Why are we using Adobe Spark?  Why can’t I use Open Broadcaster, cause it doesn’t give you a time limit per slide!  It doesn’t HAVE slides!

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I wanted it to appeal to both adults and children.  The brief said it was for adults to feed their kids, but like, if a package was boring, and I was a kid, I’d chalk it up to “old people food” and not eat it.

 

Go Die in a Trash Can Where You Belong, Adobe!

URRRGHHHHH I’m so MAD!  Did you know “Dammit I’m mad” is a palindrome?  It is, and I am!  I mean, so is “Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo,” but I think the Dammit one fits better.

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So I guess a little background is necessary.  My computer decided to blank screen; I thought it was blue screening, but no, it was much worse than that.  See, whenever I let it go to sleep, it blue screens.  We’re working on fixing that.  Windows 10, amirite?  Still, this machine isn’t nearly as slow and clunky as my old 2013 CrackBook Pro, so I use it.  Plus there’s the thang with the CUDA cores…  I mean I use both, but I main this one.  So yeah, it didn’t blue screen.  Adobe decided to commit suicide.  Took down InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop with it.  I was like, no biggie, I have backups saved of my work… right?  RIIIIIGHT?  NO!

IT ATE THE FREAKING BACKUPS.  Well, corrupted them to the point where I couldn’t even FIND them.  It basically committed seppuku on live television and laughed at me as it spilled out its internals and died!

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Like what?  I didn’t know it could even do that!  I didn’t know that was even possible!  So I trawled around in my AppData to find somewhat more recent backups.  Found some new enough to  be able to work with but I had to re-do about two hours of work.  I work very slowly as it is.  Well then.  Hope you’re happy, Adobe CC 2018.  Hope you’re pleased with yourself for all posterity.  Cause now I’m so much in crunch time that I’m typing up this blog post on a snack break rather than blog posting time.  I wish I had about five or six more middle fingers.  I’d let ’em all fly.

But a Macauly Culkin picture will have to suffice.

I almost forgot his name.  I was like… “Colin Creevey… no, wait, that’s that creepy camera dude in Harry Potter, what is this dude?”  That’s where my brain is sitting at the moment.  Fried like hash browns.  Scattered, smothered, covered, cooked by a woman with a cigarette falling onto the grill.  God I miss Waffle House.  Last I checked though you can’t smoke there anymore and neither can the cook.  LOL dammit!

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So anyway, argh, this is a design blog, not a “Freyja rambles about the lady cooking her waffle in a neon yellow box in a small town in Alabama” blog.  So you’d think I’d have some design, right?  Well you’d be absolutely correct!

Into the ring comes Very Berry Coconut by Pacific Coast Orchard, a fruit company that doesn’t actually exist!  Yay!  This is my version 1.5 because for version 1.0 I couldn’t figure out how to skew the assets.  SKEW ALL THE ASSETS!

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It’s vegetariannnnn!

I don’t like it, but it’s progress.

 

Now Is the Time For Design (and a background)

Well, hello there, world!  The name’s Freyja Taylor.  Artist and designer, at your service!  Okay, well honestly I’m more at my cats’ service these days, but what cat owner isn’t?  They like to demand things, uncap my markers, and chew my pencils.  Sit on my Intuos 5.  Stand on my sketch book and portfolio case.  The usual.  Can’t have anything nice.

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I mean, look at Potato, the ribbons from his KitNipBox he threw on the floor, and my work pile slash mail slash bullet journal!  And a chewed-up lightning cable.  It just never ends!  But I’ve got a nice big Maine Coon Cat to snuggle, so that’s good.  No idea where Ace the Siamese is.  Probably sitting on my paint box, trying to figure out how to open it so she can be the next Da Vinci.  She would.

Oh, where was I?

So in Norse mythology, Freyja is one of the Vanir traded to the Aesir.  Her title is Vanadís, “goddess of the Vanir.”  And since my preferred (though not legal yet) name is Freyja, I thought that would be a good name for my brand.  She and I are similar you know, have two cats, blind people with beauty (and baffle them with bullshit,) and oh, the things we’d do for a shiny necklace!  Some people throw Freyja out and go with Frigga only, but Freyja is honestly pretty damned entertaining.  I’ve loved Norse mythology ever since my dad won the Volvo VISTA competition and the grand prize trip to Sweden about two decades ago and he brought me back a book of Scandinavian mythology since I loved to read literally anything I could get my hands on.

I am fortunate to live in the lovely sparkling city Corpus Christi, Texas.  Right where we can surf, day trip to the magical land of kolaches and klobasniky, and get smashed along the Riverwalk in San Antonio after a short drive.  Just… you know, don’t drive back the same night.

So that said, I am a graphic design student going online at Full Sail University.  I am constantly burnt out and overwhelmed but to be honest, that feeling forces me to produce some of my best work.  I work best under stress.  Always have.  I am not in any way an amazing designer.  I like to think of myself as a creative waiting to bloom.  One day I’ll be creative.  Possibly tomorrow, possibly during my midlife crisis, or possibly the day before I die when I’m old.  But one day, for sure.  I can feel it.  If it were material, I would be able to lick it.

So, I didn’t always want to be a digital artist or designer.  I wanted to be a painter.  I imagined myself having a studio underneath the loft I’d live in, in a big city, maybe not NYC but probably Chicago or San Francisco.  I started drawing seriously at the age of five or six.  When I was six, I did “my early work,” which is my family’s inside joke for the picture I drew of my grandparents’ dog Rocky’s toy, Roadkill.  It was I think a weasel, but he was so beat up I wasn’t really sure?

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I was six when I drew it, as I said, but I didn’t like saying “kill” so I called it “Road Pizza,” which is… pretty damned gross.  They have it laminated and hanging on their fridge to this day.  Anyway, a little after Road Pizza, I got into painting.  I liked to stick one of those stiff and horrendous kids’ watercolor brushes in water, push it down on the hard watercolor tablet, make it fan out in a circle, and spin it around.  I figured that was the most effective way to get hella bright paint output.

I grew up watching Bob Ross.  I loved him, and even was him for Halloween one year.  I remember the day my mom said that Bob Ross was gone, and I vowed to carry on his legacy!  So when I was 12 my mom got me a Bob Ross oil paint set for Christmas.  I used every tube to its last drop.  I didn’t have any formal training in painting, other than what I’d seen artists do on TV, but I did some pretty cool paintings nonetheless.  When I got into high school, I started art classes.  My high school basically had a “you have to do a certain track of study to graduate” and mine was fine arts, both performance and visual.  I was on the flag corps all four years, art club four years, and theatre for two.  I designed prom two years.  It was enough to make me not want to jump off a bridge, as I was generally disliked by most of my peers because I was the shy, weird goth.  I was an easy target.  I did have friends, but just a handful, and most of them were in lower years.

I had an art teacher who was amazing, taught me how to paint dark to light, and told me that my pointillism  painting wasn’t pointillist, it was impressionist.  Whoops.  But it was still nice.  I found I really liked impressionist painting.  I also kinda dug watercolor.  Then my junior year she got in an accident with an 18 wheeler and though she survived, she was paralyzed and had to retire.

That’s when the next art teacher came in.  I registered for “Drawing” but he stuck me in the “Design” class.  Imagine how pissed I was.  I didn’t want to learn design.  I wanted to learn to be a fine artist.  Most of his assignments were super religious, which I didn’t really like because even if I did have to do design, I’d have liked to you know, not be drawing hundreds of crosses.  I’ve never really put too much thought into religion, and though I do have one, it’s not the main part of my life.  So anyway I managed to leave my senior year with absolutely zero portfolio pieces because he always made us work in groups.  So I couldn’t claim, you know, all the work.  He kinda screwed me over a bit!  Though I did manage to sell a painting to another teacher, and she provided me with a copy of it for my portfolio, and then I was commissioned to change the colors of flowers on a painting to match another person’s decor, and that went in as well.

Unfortunately, that was before digital stuff was really all that accessible (an 8 gig flash drive cost about $70, which I didn’t have…) so I kept everything physical, and I lost it in a move overseas from Guam to Chicago.

In the Navy, I was a nuclear machinist’s mate.  My proudest accomplishment was graduating nuke school.  Then I was injured pretty badly (read: fell 15 feet off a ladder, breaking a hip) and well, I tried to change rates to a hospital corpsman or a yeoman, but once a nuke, always a nuke, and they discharged me.  Honorably with medical benefits, but still I was out after just a few years.

I delved into Sims for a while.  I got into Sims modeling.  I got into putting my sims in fashion shoots, drawing backgrounds digitally with my Bamboo Fun tablet, drawing their hair and makeup.  I found out I really liked it!

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I fell farther into the rabbit hole, starting to make custom content.  3D models.  Aesthetics.  Custom hair colors, custom tattoos, and custom objects.  It was then that I basically thought… well, I guess I’m into graphic design after all!

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I learned, in Sims, how to make things I liked myself.  I have an Al Capone mug that I got in a train station in Chicago and wanted it in my Sims game.  So I 3D modeled and painted it and ported it into the game!

Not long after that, I applied to Full Sail, and got in.  I ended up being hospitalized for a few days just before I started.  I was having massive anxiety about going back to school, so I had to go in and get my medication changed in an emergency.  But I only saw it through for a few months before I started having horrible physical issues.  I was diagnosed, after three years, with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Fibromyalgia.  The medications from those plus the mental issues led to Tardive Dyskinesia, but if I wear a compression glove when working on my Wacom, my hand is usually fairly steady.  Plus Illustrator is hella forgiving.  And I’d rather my limbs jerk than my brain act up, really.

So I started back this year in May and I have a 3.88 GPA which I’m totally thrilled about.

I’m a creative person in progress.

I am not the most creative person that ever created.  I’m just not.

But I do work hard.  You could be a very creative person and not work hard and just stay at the same level.  But not me.  I am fairly creative and I use hard work to expand upon and better my work by critiques from professors and peers, and then analyzing it myself and trying to see where I can fix things that don’t work.

There will be a TL;DR on my about page, but these are the events that led up to where I am now!

Thanks for reading and I hope to communicate with you guys soon!