Monday, August 18, 2014

You're Majoring in What? (aka, do you want fries with that?)

Triogenius would never want to stomp on the dreams of anyone....but there are some college majors that are going to prove fruitless once one graduates and is looking for a job.

 Degree                      % Unemployed/New Grad       Experienced
Fine Arts                                      12.6                                7.3
Drama/Theater Arts                       7.8                                8.8
Commercial Art, Graphic Design 11.8                                 7.5
Architecture                                   13.9                               9.2
Philosophy and Religion               10.8                               6.8
English Literature                            9.2                               6.2
Journalism                                       7.7                                6.0
Anthropology and Archeology      10.5                                6.2
Hospitality Management (Hotel Mgmt)   9.1                        5.7
Music                                                9.2                               4.5
History                                            10.2                               5.8
Political Science                               9.1                                6.0

*There has also been a noticeable reduction in hiring in majors such as Registered Nurses, Law Enforcement, Postal Workers, Florists, and Teachers.

So, what do you do if you are interested in one of these majors?

Music: You're not limited to teaching or performing music. Check out this substantial list of options, including composing, studio work, instrument repair or building, and writing for music magazines or online:

Have a plan in mind while achieving your degree. You enjoy working on a degree in English, but what do you most want to do with that degree? Teach? If so, what level?

With a degree in English, you could become a writer. This does not mean that you would write books, necessarily. Another alternative is to become a technical writer, which means a largely increased vocabulary; you might want to find a niche in a particular field that could use a good writer. Some companies need people to write instructions as to how to use their products.

You might want to be someone who writes grants for other people. You might become an editor. You could write scripts for anything from commercials on TV to print ads to posters.

Consider pursuing a minor in something related that has a better chance of getting you hired. As an example, keep your major in English but also pursue a minor in another language so that you might become an interpreter.

You might want to choose something similar or related to your first choice: for example, if you are thinking about doing social work, which has quite poor pay and high stress if you can find a job in that field, consider instead psychology, teaching, or the health field. These careers also have you interacting with people and helping them, if that was your intent when choosing your degree.

Here are some other ideas from the University of Texas:

Specialize. Become expert in one part of your major: for instance, if you like archeology, you might be especially knowledgeable in arctic exploration, a particular time period, or you might become a leading authority in pottery made by a particular group of people.

If you are currently undecided or torn between several majors, do a little research on them: which careers seem to be hiring? Is there something related that might have better job potential? What is the "supply and demand" of the major right now? Would a graduate degree help -or be required- to start your career, and how do you feel about that?

Flexibility on your part can help you get a job you want: Are you able to relocate to take a job?

You can sometimes request an "Informational Interview," where you make an appointment with someone in that field and ask all sorts of questions about his or her career, because you aren't necessarily looking to be hired by that company. You may even know someone who works in the field you are interested in. Ask lots of questions, because the career may be different than you thought.

What about doing volunteer work for a company you find interesting? It can give you a 'feel' for the work atmosphere and possibly some valuable experience. Volunteering will always look good on a resume. It will also give you contact people, and you will probably be made aware of job openings in that company if you're there on a regular basis. If you're in the process of getting your undergrad (4 year/bachelors) degree, tell them: they may offer you a paying job now or after you graduate, since you have shown interest in their company. Many times you will find a mentor through volunteering who can be valuable in answering questions you may have, and also may be used as a reference in the future.

To summarize: Be informed as to job opportunities that will be available with any given degree, and make a smart decision as to whether you will need to specialize. Pursue what interests you, but be realistic. When your student loans come due, you'll be glad you were.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview: Michelangelo

So, what do you like to be called?
My full name is Michelangelo Buonarroti, but most people don't use my last name.

OK, Mike, then tell us a little about how you became an artist.
When I was born, my mother was quite ill and I was the 2nd of 5 sons, so my father sent me to stay with a stonecutting family. I learned to work with stone when I was pretty young.

As I got older, it became apparent that I really didn't want to follow my father into his business---I just wasn't into math, and he worked with money and finances. Luckily, I was able to apprentice to a painter as well as to work in a sculpture garden, both of which were great training.

You didn't like traditional school?
No. And a classmate smacked me in the nose once. Made my nose crooked for life. It was a lot harder to get girls after that.

So you got an apprenticeship.
Yes. It was really helpful.

How old were you when you began to sculpt?
Oh, I did a little here and there. You may have seen one of my early works, Battle of the Centaurs?

Did this one when I was 16. Turned out OK.

How did you learn to sculpt the human body with such accuracy?
I had to get permission from the Catholic Church to study cadavers, which was really helpful, but it made me sick. Today they say there was something called bacteria in them? I don't know. I just couldn't study those dead bodies as long as I might have. But it gave me insight as to how bones and muscles look and how they work, proportion, how skin should look, stuff like that .


                                           David's hand.

How old were you when you did this one?

The Pieta
I was about 25. Carved it out of a single piece of marble. I was so glad I didn't mess it up. It was a lot of work. And then this other artist tried to claim he did it, so I carved my name in the sash. I never signed anything else, but that just ticked me off.

How did you get the assignment to paint the Sistine Chapel?
Pope Julius asked me to do it. It's kind of hard to say no to the pope. You know, originally, he wanted me to do the 12 apostles, and by the time I was done, I had done 300 figures. Couldn't stop myself.

What a huge project!
Yes, and then partway through we had to scrape everything off because there was this stuff called fungus that was eating through it all. I was SO disappointed to have to start over. It took me until October 31, 1512 to finish that thing. Man, was my neck sore.

Did you paint it lying down?
No, actually, I stood on a scaffold and then moved the scaffold as I needed to. In fact, here's a sketch I drew of how I was painting it:

And although this was my painting of God, it's really how I was working at the time-I would not recommend it:

I was hurting so much I wrote this:

I've grown a goitre by dwelling in this den–
As cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
Or in what other land they hap to be–
Which drives the belly close beneath the chin:
My beard turns up to heaven; my nape falls in,
Fixed on my spine: my breast-bone visibly
Grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
Bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.
My loins into my paunch like levers grind: goes on a bit but you get the idea: It wasn't good. It took me four years to finish that thing.
                                    Detail, God touching Man to give him life

What else have you worked on?
In 1546, I was named chief architect of St Peter's Basilica. Which turned out pretty well, I think.



Thanks for all the info, Mike. Do you have any advice for people who like painting and/or sculpture?
Probably just to keep working at your craft and you will get better. You'll be recognized in due time. Some of the other artists of my time weren't appreciated till much later, but luckily I became well-known for my work and made a good living at it. If you like what you do, you'll do it well.

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Do You Know About... Los Angeles?

LA, home to movie stars and smog, right?

Los Angeles was once a part of Mexico. It was founded in 1781 by the Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. In 1848 it became part of the United States. California became state in 1850.

It is about 1224 miles from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, or it would take about 3-1/2 hours to fly from Minneapolis to LA. The time in L.A. is three hours earlier than Minneapolis time, so if it's 4:45 in Minneapolis, it's 1:45 in LA.

                                       A night view of LAX

LAX: The largest airport in LA
LAX is in southwestern Los Angeles. It is the 6th busiest airport in the world, with 4 parallel runways, 8 terminals, and 101 gates.

With a population of close to 4 million people, Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in the United States, while New York City is the largest. LA covers 503 square miles. It has 80 districts and neighborhoods, including Hollywood, Watts, Bel Air, and Brentwood.

The San Andreas Fault runs through Los Angeles. This is an area prone to earthquakes.

                                         Aerial view, San Andreas Fault

Learn more about the fault at:

Did you know there are mountains on the outskirts of LA? These are the San Gabriel Mountains.

The average annual temperature in Los Angeles is 66 degrees Fahrenheit or 19 degrees Celsius. In January it can be from 59 to 73 degrees, in August from 79 to 90 degrees. There is still an air-quality problem in LA, and although it is better than in the past, the American Lung Association says LA had the worst smog in the nation as of 2013.

Major employers in the LA area include Occidental, Health Net, Reliance Steel, 20th Century Fox, the Cheesecake Factory, Farmers Insurance, Fox Entertainment, and Viking Cruises.
Los Angeles is known as a center for the motion picture industry. Studios in the LA area include Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Brothers.

The colleges in the area reflect a high interest in the entertainment industry, including the American Film Institute Conservatory, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and the Fashion Institute of Design. There are three public universities in Los Angeles: California State, UCLA, and Northridge, as well as a number of private colleges, and 9 community colleges.

Los Angeles County has 841 museums and art galleries. Other sights to see include:

Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra

Kodak Theatre

Griffith Observatory
Want to look at real stars? Visit the Griffith. Here is their website:

Hollywood sign
                                 Did you know it was originally "Hollywoodland"?

Hollywood Bowl

Named for its shape, this is an outdoor concert venue. Over 17,000 people can be accommodated.

Staples Center

Sunset Bridge

Vincent Thomas Bridge