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.

Yesterday

Yesterday, Wednesday, May 19, 2021, was almost a good day. I was productive at work, after work I read a few pages in the Amy Downs book, practiced on the graphics tablet and worked outside in the yard and drank beer. The day ended laying in bed wondering though the You Tube wasteland.

Bully.

I drank two cans of Daredevil Liftoff. I would have drank more but I didn’t have more to drink. I thought about driving up to the closest liquor store but I didn’t want to drive.

For the work-in-the-yard task, I trimmed seven burning bush shrubs. While racking up the clippings, I broke the plastic rake rendering if useless. Ugh. Now I need to go out and buy a new one.

Why me?

I’ve had that rack for over ten years. It was a cheap plastic rake to begin with. I didn’t think it would last after a year of use but it did. I actually bought two. Gave one away.

At least I have clean water to drink, some people don’t.

Poem found on a sidewalk on Mass Ave in Indianapolis. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 16, 2020.
Poem found on a sidewalk on Mass Ave in Indianapolis. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 16, 2020.

A Good Day

Thankfully I had a good day, yesterday, May 18, 2021. Here’s why it was a good day:

  • I was productive at work. There was a series of price revision for the Company. In the past, price revisions were a yearly event and somewhat convoluted as the same price must be in three different lists (web, app, paper). It’s not a hard task to complete but somewhat tedious to get the price on all three lists and be correct on all three lists. Over time, we’ve developed a method that is working and more efficient. There are hundred of prices.
  • Read the current book, Hope is a Verb by Amy Downs. Actually, there were two episodes of reading, one immediately after I clocked out and the other later. The second episode was pleasant as I sat outside on the back yard deck enjoying the ambience of the evening.
  • Practice drawing on the graphics tablet and listened to the new Udemy course.
  • Kroger shopping where I bought only that which I needed and nothing else. Spent $60. That should get me through the next week or so. Other than the few days I ate on the leftover birthday cake from the grand kids party, I’ve been faithful to the new eating effort.
  • Beer. I drank a bottle of Peanut Butter Busted Knuckle from Quaff On and opened a Liftoff from Daredevil. Ah, so very good.
  • Quick dinner of canned chicken mixed with a little bit of Campbells Cream of Chicken soup. It was good enough for me. Also, I opened a can of Krogers ready-to-eat Hearty Chicken Noodle soup.

Certainly the “productive at work” item was the major player in making the day good. Work takes up at least 10 hours of the day and if I don’t feel productive during that time then the day is considered ‘unproductive”. Thankfully, that did not happen yesterday.

Timelapse video from the backyard, looking southwest on May 14, 2021.
Nikon W300 video taken by Dave O.

Walking Around Mass Ave

I wanted to do something different on Sunday afternoon, May 16.

I spent the late morning and early afternoon working in the yard, doing normal yard stuff, like cutting the grass, trimming the edges in the yard and trimming some of the burning bush shrubs.

Usually, I would be drinking beer while working in the yard as it helps to get me through the chore and makes the world better. However, I decided against drinking beer while working in the yard in favor of drinking beer ‘somewhere’ after I was finished with the yard.

At 4:00 pm, I left these house in search of a beer. I intended to drop in at a local craft brewery. But, I couldn’t decide on one. I kept driving until I was near Mass Ave in Indianapolis. So, I thought I would park and walk around. Certainly I could get a beer somewhere on Mass Ave.

My second ex wife knows the right places to go to on Mass Ave. So, I texted her asking what is the best place for beer on Mass Ave. She replied and suggested the Garage. She then says that she and Joi and Levi are at the Pins and that I should walk over to join them.

So I did.

I don’t frequent Mass Ave much so I don’t know what is happening on the Avenue. The only place I know of on Mass Ave is Bru Burger. But this Pins place is a pretty cool place. It has duck pin bowling and other stuff, but the best things about the place is they had beer.

While there, I met a young girl, my type, cute, had a sparkle in her eye. We talked. Of course, I feel ‘in love’ instantly and wondered what life would be like with a girl like her, someone I could love on and take care of, say that she is beautiful, lovely, cute. I thought about contacting her to see if a ‘thing’ develop between us. But, I am thinking against it. I’m old. Old enough to be her father. She’s young, has her entire life ahead of her. She doesn’t need to be tangled with an old man, sacrificing the youthful years of her life for a relationship with an old man with a foot in the grave when she could find someone her own age to love her and take care of her for a lot more years than I could. I could be dead a few years into a relationship and then what will happen to her. Ugh. I should leave her well enough alone.

Rusty post somewhere along Mass Ave in Indianapolis. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 16, 2021.
Rusty post somewhere along Mass Ave in Indianapolis
Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on May 16, 2021.

Practice to Make Progress

I took piano lessons when I was in elementary school. I don’t know why. I don’t know if I expressed a passing interest in piano to my mother and she signed me up. I don’t know if my mother thought I needed a music education and signed me up. All I remember is that I hated ‘practicing’ the piano because I could never get it ‘right’ and there was a lot of criticism and critical comments for what I was doing wrong. And, practice ‘time’ was immediately after school and before dad came home because you can’t practice piano when dad was home.

Ugh.

It was the practicing that did me in. It as laborious, a waste of time. The instruction wasn’t all that great to begin with. Certainly I wasn’t a great piano student. I don’t remember any adult saying “keep at it and sooner or later you’ll get it”. I just heard “you suck – practice harder, longer”.

Maybe that was the way it was done back in the early 70s. No encouragement, just criticism.

I find myself in my late 50s having accomplished nothing of merit. Probably because I didn’t practice hard enough or long enough at anything. I’ve resigned myself to being cast as a worker drone, existing to enrich others. Of course, I earned a living at the same time. But, according to some, that is questionable too.

So, in regards to practicing, I decided to take Sara Tepe’s advice and ‘practice to make progress’. So, I decided to practice digital drawing and painting on that Huion tablet and the new iMac I bought in August 2020 for that very purpose but haven’t done much with it. I will practice digital drawing and painting for 30 minutes a day.

And, I bought another Udemy course on digital art by Rich Graysonn, Digital Painting For the Absolute Beginner.

First attempt at Digital Art, circa August 2020. Created on a Huion tablet with Adobe photoshop on a iMac.
First attempt at Digital Art, circa August 2020. Created on a Huion tablet with Adobe photoshop on a iMac.