Returning

This day, Friday June 4, 2021, ends the 15 month exile to the home office as on Monday June 7 I am to report to the Office.

I suppose that is good. It will be good to see some people again, not so good to see (or listen to) others.

What I’ll miss about working from home :

  • open windows to listen to the outside ambient, the birds, the traffic, normal outside sounds.
  • my own porcelain throne.
  • the relaxed atmosphere in my home office.
  • the ability to sleep in every morning as it is a fifty foot commute and I don’t need to take a shower or brush me teeth every morning … the work-in-underwear myth is really true.
  • playing iTunes at any volume level.
  • freedom to take naps … as long as the work got done there was no reason not to … and during the months of September 2020 – January 2021 during all those surgeries and the recoveries the freedom to take 20 minute naps was priceless and so refreshing.
  • the fresh air when the windows are open.
  • the ability to do light chores between work tasks, like dishes and laundry. I never did any DIY projects during work hours, honestly.

What I don’t look forward to working in the office:

  • the factory sounds, the constant grinding of metal, the whirl of air ratchets.
  • the narcissists and their arrogance and their conversations.
  • will need to plan for my own refreshments. The Company provides a beverage and snack vending machines. I pumped many dollars into those machines. But I’ve become refreshed by the cheep Big K diet soda in two liter plastic bottles and so will need to take a cooler with my own refreshments. Plus, I need to cooler to keep the can-chicken-cream-of-chicken lunches I plan to take. At home all that was readily available but working at the office I will need to organize and plan ahead.

What I look forward to working from the office:

  • that when the 5:15 pm bell rings the work day is over. Working from home the ‘work’ is always here, available. It can press you to work more. It was hard for me to separate my time as ‘work’ and ‘personal. Now, after 5:15 pm on weekdays and all weekend there is no work.
  • more desk real estate. My home office desk is really not big enough for the two PCs and the scanner and power strips, keyboards and mice.
  • return to the Emporium … which is a flea market type of store in Greenwood. I made it a ‘treat’ to walk through the Emporium on Fridays after work. It kind of started the weekend. Before Covid, I usually bought used DVDs from the Emporium. At one time I cataloged all the DVDs and reviewed some of them giving up to 4 stars for each review. But I fell out of that. I probably won’t buy used DVDs much but some booths offer comics and books. It was just the walking through the place that I enjoyed. I usually don’t have any where to go after work on Fridays since I lead such a party animal life. A thirty minute walk through the Emporium did not infringe on anything.

What I don’t like from working at home:

  • I never really felt like I was ‘actually working’. I could play the music loud, I could have the windows open, I could walk outside. There are many perks for me when working from home. I will miss those perks. But, maybe due to the many years of task driven floggings and verbal assaults when real or imagined mistakes were made make me wonder if I’m not doing enough and quick enough.
  • neighbors cutting their yards in the middle of the day. Most of my neighbors are retired and so they can cut their yards in the middle of the day. When I hear the sounds of their mowers I wish I could do that as well, at least to get the chore over with before the end of the ‘work day’.
Example of 'practice to make progress' on June 3, 2021. Drawing by Dave O, screenshot by Dave O.
Example of ‘practice to make progress’ on June 3, 2021. Drawing by Dave O, screenshot by Dave O.

Current Life on This Day

I’ve felt a surge of productivity today (June 2). That is in stark contrast to yesterday (June 1). Yesterday I felt sluggish, slothful, unproductive and watched too much mindless You Tube. Today, I feel energetic, productive, fulfilled.

It could be that I found some honest work for the Company. Recently, the Company allowed me to subscribe to a low level SEO dashboard. It scans the site and reports all the SEO issues in the site. And there are many. Most of the issues are hard to find unless you have this sort of tool. For example, there are (were) about two dozen broken links that I never realized existed. And, about ten pages had the same <title> tag, which is a ‘no-no’ in the realm of Google SEO. Of course, there are other issues to resolve, but knowing what issues there are is a big help in my productivity, which makes me feel better about the world.

Also, I went grocery shopping and only bought that which I needed, which is canned chicken and cream of chicken soup, chicken noodle soup and Big K diet soda. I have almost cleared out all the esoteric food that still lies hidden in the cabinet. But, the canned chicken and cream of chicken soup is the current staple. A single can of chicken plus a half can of cream of chicken soup costs about $2.65. Recently, I’ve eaten one to three a day. That fits well into the budget and the new eating plan.

Of course, it is a Wednesday and so the new comic release is upon us. I bought :

  • Batman Catwoman #5 (have all five issues)
  • Bettie Page : The Curse of the Banshee #1 (first issue in this series, plan to collect all)
  • Nocterra #4 (have all four issue in the collection)
  • Batman #109 (always need to buy the new Batman)
  • Vamperilla # 20 (trying to collect all Vamperilla issues)
  • The Walking Dead Delux #16 (buy for my son)
  • Serial #4 (missing issues #2 and #3)

For the Bettie Page issue, I bought Cover E. Usually, I buy the main cover and avoid the variant covers. But, in this case, a variant cover was available and so I picked it up for $3.99 (plus tax). There were other variant covers available but those covers were pushing $8.

I went to the Library. I borrowed :

  • The Prodigal Daughter by Mette Ivie Harrison
  • What to Read and Why by Francine Prose
  • The Secret Talker by Geling Yan

Still practicing the drawing effort on the digital tablet and following Complete Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting by Rich Graysonn. It really gives me a feeling of productivity to be consistent in drawing on the digital tablet. Some day I hope to be good enough to sell my drawings on eBay.

In fact, since I have been recalled to the Office on June 7, 2021, I bought a second Huion digital tablet to keep at the Office, which I will use to practice drawing during the lunch hour. Before I was sent home for Covid 19 in March 2020, I used the lunch hour to practice drawing in a sketch book.

I received the Summer 2021 Volume 28 Number 03 of Juxtapoz in the mail. Too cool. It has become a bit Woke but I guess it has always been on the edge, although being woke is a bit main stream in 2021.

Of course, I finished the day with 2 cans of DareDevil Lift Off and a Four Day Ray Peanut Butter Porter listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ The Gateway.

Cover E of Bettie Page The Curse of the Banshee #1. Scanned by Dave 0 with a Canon Pixma MX492 on June 2, 2021.
Cover E of Bettie Page The Curse of the Banshee #1.
Scanned by Dave 0 with a Canon Pixma MX492 on June 2, 2021.

Again?

In my youth, I was a huge fan of the Indianapolis 500. I devoured the newspapers and magazines for information on drivers, their stats, wins and losses. During my middle school years I would make up a type written test for some of the teachers and a few friends to test their knowledge of the previous day’s race. I even aspired to be a race driver but was shot down immediately by the parental units as “you need money for that”.

I lost enthusiasm for the race as I grew into my adult years. Working to take care of the family and supporting those who needed support required that I work. In the age before instant information, before the internet, it was hard to dig up information on the race. You had to listen to the radio at the right time to hear stats, plan your TV viewing for the evening new. There wasn’t enough time for me to stay up to speed with the indy cars and work full time and take care of the house and cars.

By this time, drivers like Rick Mears and the Penske team were winning too many races. Their arrogance on and off the track caused me to cringe, thinking how could someone so prosperous and successful be such an ass hole. In the early and middle 1990s Penske was all that was talked about.

Foreign drivers who also came with their arrogance, hired by Penske, to dominate the race caused me to slide further in contempt for the race.

The feud between the IRL and CART gave me hope that maybe the race of my youth could come back, when it excited me and I could pronounce the names of the drivers. That was short lived, however. Penske now owns everything.

Even though I was born in, grew up in and currently reside in central Indiana, I attended only a few races in my life time. My last race was in 1996, the first year the race was run under the IRL.

When I heard that Penske bought the track, I died inside. Now that a foreign born driver climbs into the Four Time Winners Club, I have absolutely no enthusiasm for the race.

Rubber Ducky on Playground, Otterbein Town Park, Otterbein, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave 0 on May 29, 2021.
Rubber Ducky on Playground, Otterbein Town Park, Otterbein, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave 0 on May 29, 2021.

At a Dug Out

We found a neat place to sit and watch people walk along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. It is called the Dugout, and from what we understand, it’s been around for a long time. Of course, we get to the party later than normal. We just stumbled on it.

We sat in their sidewalk cafe area and ordered beer for me, a PB&J mixed drink for her and an order of tater tots. We watched people walk by, inline skate by, dogs walking people and people walking dogs. Even the Pickled Pedaler peddled by.

I have never done that … sat outside on the sidewalk, drink beer and eat tater tots, and been ok with it, enjoyed it. I wish I had taken a photo.

It will be a place to return to. I could ride the IndyGo bus system or take an Uber. I don’t have to drink that much beer that I couldn’t drive. Really, the thing is to ‘just go’. Maybe take a camera this time.

Saturday, May 29, 2021 effort on the Mulch Containment system I've been working on this year. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O.
Saturday, May 29, 2021 effort on the Mulch Containment system I’ve been working on this year. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O.

May 28, 2021

Last night, Thursday, May 27, 2021, I bought six comic books from the local retail vendor, Comic Book University:

  • Casual Fling #4
  • Batman Detective Comics #1036
  • Strange Adventures #10
  • The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #2
  • Shadecraft #3
  • Money Shot #11
  • The Casual Fling concludes the series where a powerful married with children female attorney is seduced by a scam artist and blackmailed.
  • Of course, Batman Detective Comics is the cornerstone of my collection.
  • Shadecraft is an interesting story of a teenage boy who lives as a shadow while his body lies in a coma and his new relationship with his sister.
  • The Girl Who Electrified Tesla introduces me to Cynthia Von Buhler. Apparently I have two other issues created by her, at least the League of Comic Geeks where I catalogue the collection tells me so.
  • Strange Adventures enticed me by the cover and the title, seems like I’m coming in at the tail end of the series as issue #10 is of 12. If the story is good I may seek to buy the back issues.
  • Money Shot is of a group of people traveling through space whiling enjoying space orgies. I don’t really know why I spent the $3.99 plus tax on it.
Digital drawing/painting effort on May 27, 2021 by Dave O.
Digital drawing/painting effort on May 27, 2021 by Dave O.

Practicing Drawing

I have been true to my objective of ‘practicing’ drawing for 30 minutes a day.

Of course, the goal of these 30 minute practice sessions is to make progress toward becoming an accomplished artist. Recently I was introduced to the concept of ‘making progress’ not ‘perfection’ by Sara Tepes. So far, it has gone well.

Below is a screen shot of yesterday’s effort. The image to the right is a model from the web site Figurosity, which offers digital models one can use to practice on. The space to the left of the screen shot is my effort of drawing the model.

I’ve been following Greg Graysonn’s “Complete Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting“. At this moment, I am working through the blending and shading part of the course. The boob is an effort at blending and shading.

Screen shot of May 26, 2021 drawing session.
Screen shot of May 26, 2021 drawing session.

May 26, 2021

I wonder if I could earn my keep by selling my drawings on eBay?

  • I would need to learn how to draw. I am giving this task an honest effort. As I’ve mentioned before, I am dedicating at least 30 minutes a day to ‘drawing practice’. I follow Rich Graysonn’s Udemy courses. I like his teaching style. Hopefully, if I develop a drawing skill I believe I will be able to sell prints at a few dollars each. I would only need to earn enough to cover my living expenses, which, if I live in a van, would be minimal I assume.
  • I would need to learn how to sell stuff on eBay. It probably isn’t that hard to do, but certainly there is a method to it, how to attract buyers, and to keep people buying, things like that which make a difference. Of course, that means that I will need to turn out the art on a consistent, regular schedule, which also means that I need to learn how to draw in a style that people want spend their disposable income on. This is an example. And, this is another example.

I have also considered living in a van and earning my keep by developing a You Tube channel. I watch several people who dwell in vans and seem to earn a living by posting videos on their channel, gathering views to generate ad revenue. Of course, I don’t know much about earning a living on You Tube while living in a van, that is probably something you just-need-to-do to know how to do it. Bob Wells is a good example.

I watch the Unstoppable Morgan You Tube Channel. She seems to have the required mix of personality, good looks and circumstances for a successful You Tube channel. While watching this video she mentioned that it is important to give people something to watch while holding and squeezing her boobs. If I had her set I would probably do the same. But, I don’t, I’m an old fat white man so there is nothing I can offer by way of physical attributes.

Nikon W300 time lapse, May 25, 2021, looking south from the back yard.

A Sun Burn ?

I haven’t had a sun burn in many, many years. Of course the sun has burned my forearms a few times in those years but I’ve haven’t have a full torso, front, back and shoulders sun burn in a very long time.

Until yesterday.

Recently, it has been rather warm and sunny in central Indiana. On Sunday, May 23, I worked outside in the bright sun and upper 80 degree ambient temperature for a few hours. I trimmed a few burning bush shrubs and dug a few post holes. It was so hot that I took off my shirt. I usually don’t do that because of my body dysmorphia. I don’t want the neighbors to have to look upon a pasty, overweight short fat old white man. But, I didn’t care this time. Usually, I do care and suffer through the heat and sweat and discomfort so my neighbors don’t have to look on me. But this time it was just too hot.

I felt a burn later in the afternoon but ignored it.

Last night, I went back out after my day job to continue the task of digging post holes and again it was hot with bright sun. I believe the ambient air temperature was pushing 90°F. So, I took my shirt off and dug post holes.

My neighbor drove by, stopped, smiled (no doubt at the absurd sight) and mentioned that I ‘should cover up as I’m looking a little pink’.

I finished the goal of digging five post holes that evening and went inside and took a shower. It was then I noticed the pink skin and I began to feel roasted.

Odd array of vents, found on an abandon building in Morocco, Indiana. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 22, 2021.
Odd array of vents, found on an abandon building in Morocco, Indiana.
Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 22, 2021.

Good Weekend

The past weekend, May 22-23, 2021 was probably the better of the 2021 weekends, so far. Why ?

  • Got the Covid vaccine. I didn’t really want it but peer pressure, work pressure, family pressure seemed to dictate that I get it. My doctor said it ‘wouldn’t hurt’ to get it. I wonder if I would jump off the Golden Gate if the government says to jump off the Golden Gate.
  • Washed the car, swept out all the grit and dirt and small pebbles (how do those it in the car), wiped the surfaces with a $2 Amour All sponge I bought from the vending machine and used my last car wash coupon.
  • Drove to Lafayette. Drank beer. Lunched at Teay’s River. Drove to Morroco Indiana, which seems like a cool place to retire to.
  • Got a hair cut.
  • Bought groceries. Still staying on track in my new eating plan of mostly chicken noodle soup and canned chicken.
  • Finished trimming all the burning bush shrubs in the yard. There are 41 burning bush shrubs in the yard.
  • Dug six post holes for the mulch containment system in the southern portion of the back yard. Hopefully, soon, I can get this project done.
  • Drank Zombie Dust beer.
  • Took several time lapsed videos with the Nikon W300 camera.

So, it was an active weekend. Which is good. Saturday was a relationship day and Sunday was a work day. If there was any down side is that I ran out of energy about 4:30 pm on Sunday afternoon, took a shower and then a nap.

Morocco Indiana water tower. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 22, 2021.
Morocco Indiana water tower. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 22, 2021.

Hope is a Verb

Amy Downs survived the Oklahoma City bombing, lost over 200 pounds of body weight and completed an Iron Man. She is now a motivational speaker.

I was wondering through the You Tube wasteland when I came across a documentary on the OKC bombing. Amy Downs was interviewed. I looked her up on the web and bought her book. I need some motivation, a swift kick in the ass to get me going. I thought maybe her book will do that for me.

She says, “I was about to die and realized I had never truly lived”.

Her story of rescue was vivid enough to place yourself in her position, hanging upside down for over six hours wedged between concrete rubble. While there, she wondered if she ever had lived now that she was on her way to death. She promised to live if she didn’t die.

After her rescue, she began to lose weight, had a baby, found the joy of cycling, went back to college eventually earning a Masters, trained for an Iron Man triathlon, became the CEO of a credit union and divorced her husband and married again.

Wow.

You can’t help but be motivated by her. She has certainly taken the lemon of her life before the OKC bombing and made sweet lemonade after.

I’ve read many motivation books and know the formula for ‘success’. Set achievable goals, take steps to work toward those goals. Amy gives many examples of doing that. Thankfully, however, her book is not preachy about it.

I used to cycle. My second ex wife and I had a tandem bike that we rode for many miles, the Hilly Hundred being the highlight of an Indiana cycling season. I bought my first ex wife a bike but it was never used. Cycling was important to me back in that day. Maybe I will buy a new bike in this Day.

Amy believes that Hope is something that is actionable, a verb, something you live day to day in your life. “Live the dream”, she would probably say. “Dream big” she would add.

I appreciate Amy Downs and her book. Maybe I have taken her advice and set an achievable goal by spending 30 minutes a day ‘practicing’ on the graphics tablet. It a small step toward what I ‘hope’ is a deeply satisfying world of personal creative fulfillment.

Here’s a list of practical things I would like to be motivated to do :

  • Finish the ‘mulch containment’ lawn edging system for the south half of the back yard. I’ve already started but dropped the ball.
  • Plant sunflowers before it is too late.
  • Build another sunflower planting box.
  • Finish the ‘office’ space I started, made progress but dropped the ball.

Here’s a list of other practical things I would like to do … someday:

  • Put in a new kitchen, with new cabinets, new appliances, the way I would like the kitchen to be.
  • Put in a new garage floor, one of those epoxy coated jobs. Plus, put up new drywall to cover up the crumbling plaster, maybe put in a wall of storage cabinets, put that old VW in storage.
  • Put in new flooring in the family room, get rid of that desk, maybe put in new book cases.
  • Remodel one of the bedrooms upstairs and maybe use as my new bedroom. Will need to replace the carpet, fix the dry wall, paint. Probably will need to put in a new heating and cooling system for the upstairs as it is so hot or cold up there.

Amy ends her book by crossing the line at the Iron Man. She had the Hope. It was inspirational.