welcome2016

All the Self-Help Books…

I like to do research into things.  Sometimes the research is for a project.  Sometimes the research is prep for something I plan on doing.  Research and planning are ways I deal with the fear of doing something.

In my research I have read several “self-help” books.  “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers, is one of them.  I have also just finished “Guerrilla Marketing for Artists” by Barney Davey.  I have read quite a few more, but these two are stuck with me right now.

Both these books, and most of the other self help books, have at least one piece of advice in common.  You have to do things you do not like.  You have to go out and meet people. You have to go new places.  You have to do things outside of your comfort zone.  However you want to put it, it is the same.  Do stuff you do not want to do.

I started my “do stuff I do not want to do” last year.  I went some place new by myself every month.  This may not seem like much to some, but I am a serious “home body.”  I do not like to leave my comfortable and familiar home.

This small change in my routine, created tons of new art ideas for me.  I filled three sketchbooks and created many illustrations that I would never have thought to create before.  I used mediums that I had not use.  I used old mediums in new (to me) ways.  It is exciting, how just going to a new park alone changed my mind.

I was afraid of doing it, but I did it anyway.  Thank you Susan Jeffers, for that lovely phrase.

This year I am going to try to do a few more things that I do not want to do.  Most of them involve talking to people.  Talking to people about my art.  Something I have down played most of my life.

HOWEVER if I want my art to become self sufficient I need to get people to buy it. The only way to do that is talk to people, about my art. So says Barney Davey.

Ms. Jeffers and Mr. Davey are both right.  If you want to reach your goals, see your plans succeed and do that thing you want to do, you have to put yourself out there.  Feel your fear, figure it out, get over it, and succeed!  No matter how much you do not want to do that thing that stops you.

May 2016 be the year you take those steps to make your dreams reality!

welcome2016

Colored inks on Yupo Synthetic Paper. Even did my own calligraphy on the words. My skills are expanding 🙂

 

Book Review: Rushed by Brian Harmon

rushed coverIt has been a while since I did a book review.  Lately I have been re-reading some of my favorite books.  I have done reviews on a few.  Otherwise it has been a while since I read a book that I could not put down.

The first thing that caught my attention in this book is the interaction between the main character (Eric) and his wife.  My spouse and I have similar interactions.  While there are significant differences there were enough similarities to make me feel right at home and comfortable with their interactions.

The other thing that kept me hooked was the way the character interacted with his environment.  He did not just rush into anything.  He took time to examine things and think before he acted.  This process saved him a few instances and caused problems in others.  Just because you have a guide does not mean you should just blindly follow.

The Story:

Eric is an average guy, perhaps even slightly more intelligent than average.  He has a good job and family life.  One night he has a nightmare that causes him to abandon all reason and go out for a drive.  Being slightly more intelligent than the average bear, he actually stops before he gets into the car and drives.  He manages to put it off for two days before investigating the overwhelming need to drive, somewhere.

Eric only has his cell phone (with spotty reception) and wits to overcome the obstacles in his way.  Weird creatures and shady characters are common encounters as he follows the path set out before him.

I should also point out that this book is free (right now) if you have a Kindle.  Even then it is worth the pittance that would be charged (like 3 or 4 dollars.)  I bought the second book “The Unseen.”

 

 

 

Take a Look…

…It’s in a book!
This came to me as I was wondering what to draw today.
I love reading. Books open my mind to all sorts of things and were key in shaping who I am today.
When I had television, I loved to watch Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, and a few other liturature based shows. I loved books already, but seeing other interpretations of the stories was eye opening. These shows helped me realize and understand that people are different, have different experiances and will understand things differently.  They made me want to know more about people and what makes them different, and the same, as me.
Yes, books can do all that.
Not only do they teach you things, they make you ask questions about the world and yourself.  More on this in another post… when I am not on a mobile device. Some books aske the questions and you have to figure out the answer. Fiction or Non-Fiction, if you want to KNOW read.

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Take a look, it's in a book. I am going to be singing this all night now.

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Book review: Serenity Rose -10 Awkward Years ~ Aaron Alexovich

I am having a hard time picking my favorite acquisition from Emerald City Comicon 2015. I did not pick up very much, six books (2 are not comics) a set of comics, two prints and a tee shirt. I cannot choose which one is my favorite. Maybe I am just hung up on how awesome my green hair was.

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Serenity Rose book cover.
Check it out on http://www.heartshapedskull.com/

Serenity Rose is the first graphic novel /comic book that I have done a review on.  Not the first I have read, but the first I really want to share. It is 500 pages of interesting story and awesome art.

Serenity Rose prefers to go by Sera. Sera is a witch. The only witch living in Crestfallen, a city in a parallel universe. I feel like it is located in New Hampshire or there about. There are a few pages in the book about Crestfallen and its history.  I just did not memorize them.  I am such a bad reader some times.

Sera is a bit of a recluse, she has had a rough life. Being one of only 5 witches in the USA, she was put on display a lot as a child. Now as a young adult she prefers to hang out in her room. She has a pretty boring life until she gets talked into going to a concert with a friend and ends up fighting a vampire. Things take off pretty quickly.  Especially once she gets fed up with herself and how her life is not going anywhere. She discovers lot about herself once things get moving and even makes friends with another witch.

A story of coming into one’s own and discovering what makes you unique and happy.

Read the forward, but after you finish the book. I read it first and I had some preconceived notions about the story. Reading the forward after links up things without messing with the story and will give you a few “ah-ha” moments. Those are always fun.

I was kind of hesitant to buy this at first. Most big graphic novels that started as comics can get kind of repetitive and boring. I have trouble staying interested and I will put it aside. Another thing that caused hesitation was the size of the book. It is 500 pages and could probably take out a few zombies if you swing it about. I did not want to lug it around all day. Then there is the “filler” content. That can be boring and pointless also.

This book is NOT boring or repetitive. I had to stop and digest every 80-100 pages, a good sign. This book was action packed. Lots of random and cool monsters, thought provoking statements and the art sets the mood well.

This book could probably be a good novel, sans pictures, but the art really adds so much. You are really able to identify with Sera better. You can see her shrink away when she is afraid; get taller when she is angry or brave. You can catch the nuances of the characters with the art.  Words probably would just get in the way.

Yes it is huge. I would not want to drop it on my foot. Once I started reading it, the size did not matter. Every time I stopped reading, I would put the ribbon (it comes with a book mark ribbon) in my place and look to see where I was. Sometimes I was disappointed and sometimes I was amazed. When the end came I was sad. I want to know more about Sera and her adventures in Crestfallen and the magic based world she inhabits.

As for the filler it is all written by Mr. Alexovich. There are some awesome afterwards from the original comics, some cute “Dear Abby” Q and A. There is even some fan art hiding in the back. All-in-all, AWESOME!

This is staying on my private book case. I am afraid I might not get it back if I lent it out.

Cyber-Bullying and 13 Reasons Why Revisit

This is really a rehash of an older post.  A friend ran across an awesome Public Service Announcement (PSA) about cyber-bulling posted by the Times.

As a person that never really fit in, I cannot imagine all the mean things that were said about me in High-school.  Not many of my classmates had mobile phones, so it was not a huge thing, negative comments stayed in the originators clique .  I also actively avoided the cliques so I never heard the mean comments.

Now, everyone can say mean things and it will be on the internet, forever.  There is no going back.

All your immature, hormone driven, ignorant opinions make it to the internet for everyone to see, forever.

No only have you ruined a classmates life (possibly) you also ruin parts of your future.  Do a Google search and employers, friends and family will forever see all the mean things that you said about someone that was different from yourself.  Forever…

I love the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.”  This goes for social media as well as verbal communication.

Lets go back to my post June 26th, 2014…

ImageI found out about Thirteen Reasons Why off a list of suggested books to “change the way you think.”  I had read several of the books listed and they were okay, so I read the summaries and picked a few that I might want to read.  I found Thirteen Reasons Why quickly on my e-reader and here we are.

This is a story with a serious mood.  It is busy, past paced and chock full of emotion.  It has a unique view of how suicide effects people.  Not just the victim, but the lives of the friends, family, and people the victim may not even realize are impacted.

Jay Asher does an amazing job of setting up the story and has a unique way to present the information to us, the readers.  The suicide has already occurred and we relive the deceased’s life through a classmate via some recorded cassette tapes (and a map.)  We read as the classmate listens to why someone felt that their life was not worth the effort anymore.  We are taken through a chain of events that, while small in the eyes of others, lead to a tragic death, and a bit of blackmail

While I may not have benefited from this book growing up, I know that many would have.  I want to say this is a book for teens and their parents / teachers.  It is not.  It is all to easy to substitute a school environment for a work environment, and a teen for a 30 something with a new job, new city, new life.  We could all be the victim or someone trying to be a friend who gets left behind.

I am not going to give away any more than that, not that the story would suffer if you knew more.  I just want you to read the book and have a reasonably untainted experience.

I have so much more to say about this book.  I would rather you read it and let me know what you think.  Maybe you will agree this should be something that all citizens of planet Earth should read.  Maybe it will help you, or someone close, through a difficult situation.  That is what kind of book this is.

Book Review: The Night Circus –Erin Morgenstern

I was cleaning out my Kindle this past week and I ran across this amazing gem of a book. I am going to have to buy a physical copy. It is that good.

I do not remember why I picked this book from the Kindle library. All I remember is that I was looking for fantasy, fun and good (always.) I downloaded a lot of new, cheap books that day. I did not even read this one first. I read some pretty bad stuff before I chose to read this one. I did not have high hopes that evening.

uk-finished-night-circusThe story is about two wizards/ mages/ sorcerers (whatever you choose to call them. I am going to call them sorcerers; it has a slightly dark connotation to me.) They have been at odds for eons. Yes, their battle has been going on for a very long time, and the author does a great job at hinting at how long. They are fighting over who’s magic methods are the best.

I never really thought that the archaic “stand and fight” method was very magic user like. Magic duals should be sneaky, thought provoking affairs. I like when Merlin gave Mad Madame Mim a flu, instead of changing into larger and larger animals. These are the tactics our sorcerers use, sneaky and thoughtful, not stand and shoot, reload, repeat.

Our story involves two young people, one male and one female. A sorcerer adopts one each and trains them in their particular flavor of magic. One uses something similar to incantations and the other uses mental visualization and will power. The kids are trained apart and when they reach the right age the venue for the battle is set.

A traveling circus that is only open at night.

Once the main characters find out what is going on, they believe the battle is to see who can have the most spectators in their attractions. They put all their efforts into out doing each other’s shows, while trying to start a personal relationship (they are not supposed to, but are drawn together.) Too late they discover that they real victor will be the last one living. Survival of the fittest is the sorcerer’s idea of proving which type of magic is strongest.

The cast of supporting characters is great. Each is well rounded with strengths and weaknesses that drive the story and cause unexpected changes. In the end these characters are able to help the main characters “cheat” the sorcerers out of their expected outcome. It is done in a fantastic manner, all sneaky and thoughtful like.

This book is truly a work of art. The characters are well developed. Ms. Morgenstern uses her words to create vivid scenes. I swear I was watching a movie as I was reading this. Something that is not usual for me.

This is totally worth reading, several times. I think I will start tonight.

Side note: I do not know is she is related to S. Morgenstern (Princess Bride author) but they have the same last name and I thought it was kind of neat. Princess Bride is also an awesome book.

Book Review: Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

windup girlI have been thinking about this book for a while.  With the fate of our tasty banana’s and people wondering who/what Texamati is.  The only reason I know anything about these things is this book.  There is truth in fiction!

When I bought this book, I was not sure how I was going to like it.  It seemed really detailed and I was worried that it would take a long time to read and understand.  It was not so.

This book is so interesting!  I caught two main stories right away, one was the fighting between the company-nations and the other was the plight of the protagonist.  There are more things going on, but you will have to read it and see what you pick up.

First story:

The food conglomerates of the world have caused a global catastrophe.  Due to their increasing destructive corporate espionage tactics, the worlds food supply has been corrupted.  The counties as we know them have crumbled and what is left is corporation-nations.  The corporations being the ones that can supply the food and the nations are the governments that help support them.  One of the spies is trying to find another companies secrets and stumbles into our protagonists story line.

This bit is really neat.  Instead of money we use calories to pay for jobs.  Office jobs cost fewer calories and are paid in fewer foods where as physical jobs cost more calories and are paid in more foods.  Calories are king and if you want more food you have to find a way to get it.

Second story:

A mechanical girl, designed for a Japanese business man, is abandoned in Thailand.  She ends up performing in a dive to a boss who exposes her weaknesses to the patrons on a daily basis.  She is not really what we consider an android, or electronic consciousness, but she is living entity.  I considered her more like a steampunk bio-mechanical creation, that is conscious.  She is a living being.  Her dream is to escape and live a life of her own, not one that she was created for or forced into.  She crosses paths with the spy and things get interesting.

I like this book for many reasons. First is that it does have truth involved.  You learn quite about about socioeconomic issues that are relevant today. It is also a viable way for the future to happen.  Secondly, it is realistic.  People are being used and using others.  Some things work well and others fail.  Thirdly, there are things in the story that do not impact the overall path of the story, but it is there to add depth and help you understand the characters motivation.  Things that help move the story are sometimes hidden in these “needless” bits of fluff.

This is definitely one to read a few times.  I am going to re-read it once I find it in my boxes of books that I have yet to put on a shelf.