On My Own… NOT

We are now entering the 8th week of the bootcamp. In some ways I’m amazed at what I’ve been able to do. If I had been studying on my own I wouldn’t have made it this far. Not that it’s easy. There have been times when I’ve felt completely lost and after getting help from one of the teachers, discovered I never would have gotten to the other side of a problem on my own. One thing our cohort is famous for is isolating ourselves. There’s a little bit of competitiveness and a natural tendency to work alone that’s been getting in our way. We’ve slowly but surely started to reach out to each other, both for help and to help. The teachers always encouraged us to work together. I wish we had listened to them earlier. In any case, we are beginning to gel as a group, finally.

Working in a group is not new for me. I’ve worked on teams as a prepress tech, web designer and as a video editor. But in those jobs I was always hired for my expertise. I always expected to be able to start a project, or at least my part, and take it all the way to the end without needing any help. I might need clarification at times but never assistance with actually performing the job. Well it turns out, especially as an entry level developer, I’ll be expected to check in regularly with my manager to make sure I’m on the right track or, gasp!?, ask for help! That was the kiss of death on my other jobs. I was hired because I was supposed to know what I was doing. Now, it seems people won’t have that expectation. Though, it will still be my responsibility to ask for help and guidance. This is a new concept for me. It’s not an impossible adjustment. I like accomplishing things on my own, but I also like finishing projects.

So what’s next? Well now the cohort that has just started working together voluntarily will have no choice but to work together to some degree, as the next assignment is a group project. We’ll be put into groups and we’ll have to work with one another to successfully finish the project. To continue my Wizard of Oz theme, I’d say this is the part in the movie where the whole team has been assembled – Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and the cowardly lion. Now, as a group, we’ll keep each other company and help each other out as we make our way down the yellow brick road to meet the wizard.


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It Is What It Is

I’m talking about the process. A lot of us get stuck at the bootcamp. We get stuck trying to understand concepts, we get stuck when called on in class, we even get stuck in traffic. This past week a few of us got stuck trying to understand our project. We spent a lot of time commiserating with each other over how stuck we were and what had us stuck. Needless to say, the discussion itself didn’t get us any closer to finishing. We spent way too much time talking about it and not working on it. After all, when it came down to it, we did know what we were ultimately being asked to do. We’ve also been given the skills to do it and the instructors are there to help, so sitting around and commiserating didn’t do anything but waste time. Rather than continuing to mull over my stuckness (and wasting time), I’m going to try and just get what I can get done… done. That usually ends up being more than I think. One step usually leads to another. So I guess it’s time to get to steppin’.

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A New Phase

My Trip to Oz

I’ve recently started attending a programming bootcamp. We are approaching our 6th week of the 12 week program. The RockIt Bootcamp in Phoenix Arizona is training us to be front end web developers. We are learning HTML 5, CSS3, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, jQuery and a bunch of supporting applications. I’m living a dream. I never thought I could learn to program. After years of trying to teach myself and hitting brick walls, I’m finally learning. I was able to teach myself HTML and CSS, but programming languages have always been hard for me. I just assumed I wasn’t programming material. While I’m still not sure, I’m blown away at what I have been able to do. I’m not the typical bootcamp student, if there is such a thing. I’m married and a mom, so coming home and going straight to my room and studying is not an option. Being a wife and mother isn’ an excuse either. I really want to learn this stuff. I find it magical and it’s great to finally be peaking behind the curtain. This blog is a requirement so I’ll be writing more in the next few weeks. You’re more than welcome to follow me on my journey.

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Bollywed Part One

Ok, it’s been more than a couple of weeks, but I was speaking figuratively and not literally about this next post. The subject was supposed to be Indian weddings. And Indian weddings is why it’s been more than a couple of weeks since my last post. I was, of course, editing an Indian wedding. Editing an Indian wedding using Final Cut Pro X, no less. I decided to try to learn FCPX by cutting an entire wedding from the preliminary ceremonies to the last dance. It was not to be however, as after a week and a half, I went back to FCP7. It’s hard to be creative when you’re frustrated beyond belief at an application, the developers, and the sellers of the application. But this post is not about FCPX, it’s about editing Indian weddings. And it’s going to be a two-parter since I first need to explain just what can potentially go into the Indian wedding.

As I mentioned in my last post, Indian weddings are some of the most colorful, creative, celebratory, emotional, and exciting events one can attend. Some go for as many as five days. It often starts with a mehndi, which is when the bride has her feet and hands painted with henna in intricate designs which may contain images special to the bride – a sitar to symbolize her musician husband to be, or a drawing of the couple, the groom in one palm and the bride in the other, all surrounded by intricate floral and fertility designs. While this artistry is going on, songs are sung by friends and family who may also dance along to the music. As with many festivities, there is lots of food and people basically party while the bride is getting her henna applied. Other women – the sister, mom, or bridesmaids, may also get the mehndi. The men aren’t left out either. Some of them get painted also.

The mehndi is just one of the many ceremonies that can take place before the actual wedding. I’ve searched the web to see just what exactly is going on, but there are so many ceremonies that can take place and not being Indian, I don’t understand the lingo in the descriptions. Some weddings combine ceremonies and I think different provinces have different names for the same thing. There are a few that are pretty consistent though. The mehndi, as mentioned earlier, the sangeet, which is a fun-filled evening of performing, eating, and, you guessed it, partying, the baraat which is when the groom and his family go to meet the brides family. Oh wait, it’s not that simple. You see the baraat is more than the groom simply going to meet the bride. The groom in most of the weddings I’ve edited, arrives on a white horse, among relatives dancing and celebrating to the sound of a drum, tambourine, or other instruments, or all of the above. It’s a procession that can wind through suburban neighborhoods or down the city streets of San Francisco. Once they meet up with the brides family, both families dance together. The groom can be lifted onto the shoulders of his groomsmen while they dance and if he’s not careful, someone might steal his shoes.

The baraat is often followed by a blessing from a priest and then a garland exchange. The two families exchange garland wreaths, one pair at a time – the uncle from one family to the uncle from the other. During the garland exchange the men try to outwit each other in order to be the first to pick the other up. Friends and wedding guests are encouraged to participate. You can imagine however, that the women do not participate in the game since they are usually dressed in beautiful sarees. The garland exchange is then often followed by the welcoming of the groom by the mother of the bride, which is presided over by a priest.

After all the partying and processions finally comes the wedding. Hindu, which is what I like to edit, or Sikh. The Sikh ceremony is very devout. No humor, lots of bowing and chanting and it takes a long time. The Hindu is more relaxed. There is plenty of chanting, but the priest also jokes with the couple and their families while directing the service and giving marital advice. After the ceremony, the newlyweds may depart to the home of either the parents of the bride or groom for more games, blessings and food. What starts off as a light-hearted pleasant get together however, often turns somber as the bride bids a final farewell to her parents and family and starts her new life as a wife.

With the wedding day so full of activity, the reception is often left to the next day. I mean the bride arises early in the morning for makeup and she has to be helped into the bangles, head pendant, nose stud, toe rings, and saree that makeup her wedding outfit. She may have been partying the night before at the sangeet and the rest of the day is full of ceremony, emotion, and fanfare. It’s completely understandable that some postpone the reception until the next day. The reception is the culmination of what could be days of rituals, ceremonies and games, but it doesn’t slow anybody down. Speeches are given, there may be dances or skits performed and there is more eating, drinking and partying.

As you can see, a lot goes into these weddings. And this is something that needs to be understood before going onto part two, the edit. All of this needs to be captured and edited and not just in a three to seven minute highlights video, but what can often end up a two to three hour documentary… also.

Wow, over nine hundred words. I can’t believe I did this voluntarily. Stay tuned for part two.

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Gone Blogging

It’s a common held belief that people like talking about themselves. I’ve told my story so many times, though, I’m a little tired of telling and hearing it. If you want to know more about who I am, what I’ve done and what I do, check out the About Me page.

So, about the new site. I was advised a while ago to update it, but just didn’t have the time. I was so busy, which I suppose is a good thing. But the old site was beginning to look dated and I was getting embarrassed to send it out. My recent work wasn’t even uploaded, so it was getting a little useless. So, I carved out some time during a family vacation and finally got around to it. I was a web designer in the past and designed and coded my last website, but there are so many platforms, browsers and devices out these days, I just didn’t think I could tackle such a huge endeavor with my limited time. I resisted using WordPress because it felt a little like cheating. But after looking back on the hoops I had to jump through to get my site up and running (mainly because of IE6), I decided to give WordPress a try.

Thank God for WordPress. Their theme made a major overhaul much easier and faster. And it’s already tested, so if something doesn’t work, they’ll fix it. I sound like an ad. Sorry… But it’s true! What would have taken a couple of months has taken a couple of weeks and that’s only because I had to get back to work. So, thank you WordPress.

When I started looking into using WordPress for my new site, I didn’t think I would have much use for the blogRoll. But after giving it some thought, I realized I have sites I visit on a regular basis that others might find useful. So I included them along with the sites of clients, friends and people I admire and whose work inspires me.

The next post will probably be about my experience editing Indian wedding videos. These are spectacular cultural events, full of color and artistry. They often last for days. So check back in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can check out the highlights videos I have uploaded on the Videos page under weddings.

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