27 May 2011

Epic Memorial Weekend Sale

I hope you all have a molto groovy Memorial Day! I'm celebrating with an epic sale at my Rocklawn Arts shop and probably lots of mellow TV time. I'm thinking marathons of Buffy and Doctor Who, as well as some movies I have at the ready.

40% OFF Posters + Prints
25% OFF Stickers + Bumper Stickers
15% OFF iPhone + iPad Cases
10% OFF Everything else

Use code: MEMORIALSALE

Offer is valid until May 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM PT.

40% OFF Posters + Prints:

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25% OFF Stickers:
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25% OFF Bumper Stickers:
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15% OFF iPhone + iPad Cases
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10% OFF Everything else
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Two years ago on TTaT: 20 self portraits from 1996, day 15

26 May 2011

Life of Art SitRep #68

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
*******
Well, I'm definitely in zag mode these days or perhaps not even that, more like the molasses resistance of preoccupation. Understandable I think since I'm having surgery on Friday (hence the early SitRep post), but I still feel like I'm not doing enough. I wanted to get ahead this week but only managed to sort of catch up on last week.

Huh, I just recalled a couple times friends of mine over-exerted themselves to deleterious results. Perhaps not being super driven isn't so bad after all.

This week, I

  • Shot 50 photographs, flowers in yard, self-portraits.


  • Created a new line of Doodle Custom Speakers with my photographs and designs. They are lightweight, ultra-portable, plug into any music device with a universal headphone jack, and can be powered from your computer or by 2 AAA batteries:


  • Zblogged, tweeted, FB'd Memorial Weekend Sale:
    40% OFF Posters + Prints
    25% OFF Stickers + Bumper Stickers
    15% OFF iPhone + iPad Cases
    10% OFF Everything else

    Use code: MEMORIALSALE

    Offer is valid until May 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM PT.


  • Tweeted and Zblogged speakers and sales:
    Get $5 OFF Portable Doodle Speakers until 11:59 PM PT May 30, 2011.
    Use coupon code: DOODLEZAZZLE


  • Revised Rocklawn Arts store introduction and added links to main product types. Changed top pick items to speakers.


  • Added product category links to my product links file.


  • Made horizontal and vertical speaker templates.


  • Tweeted some speakers with sale information.


  • Read November 2010 Popular Photography.


  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?


    A year ago on TTaT: Moon over mountains, essentially full

    25 May 2011

    This is what I'm talking about

    When I talk about how much I love Creative Live, it's not just the technical photographic and business knowledge I'm soaking in for free that I'm thinking of. It's moments like this one from the end of Penny De Los Santos's workshop that elevate the experience.

    If you want to be inspired, whether you're a photographer or not, watch this:

    Check out Food Photography with Penny De Los Santos at creativeLIVE


    A year ago on TTaT: The train's a'comin'

    23 May 2011

    Pre-CT

    As per usual, the techs introduced themselves with their first names. Doctors are always doctors, presumably to cement their authority and responsibility, but everyone else is Jim or Judy or, in this case, Mike.

    I was lying on a table with my feet just outside of a large ring, like a vertical donut.

    Mike was standing to my left, explaining a few things, when he asked, "Are you scared?"

    Immediately I said, "No," and thought, What the hell kind of question is that? Then my incredulity and offense wore off as I considered that some people might be scared, so I added, "I've had MRIs before, this is nothing."

    (Days later it occurred to me that people might be scared of the results they might get, but I'm fairly sure that's not what Mike meant since techs don't share results.)

    The CT machine was only about two feet deep and the circular opening was large, so it didn't feel at all claustrophobic like the long narrow tube of an MRI machine. Besides, it's Science in action; curiosity often wins out.


    A year ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 29 Bulldozer, woo!

    20 May 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #67 Cool at a price

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    *******
    Kept my cool this week through a CT and waiting for results*, but at the expense of productivity. Made up for that some today which I'll write about more next week, but here's a sneak peak of the new portable speakers in my shop. 20% Off until 11:59 PM PT May 22, 2011 with code: DOODLEFFHS11

    *Most likely not cancer, woo! And hey, if I get snuffed into oblivion tomorrow, I won't have to have surgery next week. Works for me.

    This week, I

  • Shot 64 photographs.

  • Watched Penny De Los Santos' Food and Culture Photography workshop on Creative Live. So great! Watch live for free or pay for downloads. If you have any interest in photography or design or business, you need to check out Creative Live! They also cover some computer programs, usually design related. Check out their course catalog to see what's coming up as well as what courses are available for purchase.

    Really.

    Even if you think you're not interested in the type of photography that's featured in a workshop, watch anyway. I've learned so much about so many aspects of photography watching these courses taught by successful but humble and cool photographers. They're totally inspiring.

  • Rearranged products in some folders, checked all for direct only or hidden items and moved those to a hidden folder. So glad they finally added the ability to hide folders.

  • Weeded a few more store contender photographs. Down to 200 now.

  • Tweeted a sale.

  • Finished reading April 2011 Popular Photography.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?


    Two years ago on TTaT: 20 self portraits from 1996, day 12

    19 May 2011

    Spring Leaves + Wind

    Leafy goodness!


    Two years ago on TTaT: 20 self portraits from 1996, day 11

    18 May 2011

    Caveats

    So I never actually wrote about my theme for 2011, a quote that embodies a guiding principle of sorts for the year. For example, 2010: You Shall Be Known As Usul, 2009: Begin anyway, 2008: The Sleeper Must Awaken, 2007: Engage. (I miss Jenny who inspired this practice with her own year themes.) Glancing at my previous year theme posts to grab links, I'm amused to find they are all variations on essentially the same thing: putting myself out there more.

    2011 is no different in that regard. "A person needs new experiences..."

    I include the ellipsis because it's actually part of a larger quote, but the way 2011 is playing out thus far, I feel like it's where I should have included my caveats.

    The part of me that still feels compelled to tell my Dad he's jinxing us when he points out good weather or things being easy is glad I didn't write about my 2011 theme before. I did share it with Vahid via DM on twitter once, but in that context with whatever illogic I've got going (or perhaps logic in this case), I don't feel it jinxed me.

    2011 has been full of new experiences to date and none have been what I had in mind or what I would wish on anyone.

    That's the thing about themes: if they're vague, anything's game; if they're too specific, there's no room for the serendipitous or for exceeding your expectations.

    My theme could've been: I want to go to Portland to meet some blog buds in person. But I also want to go to Seattle for the same reason. And I'd also like to visit LA. See? Specificity is troublesome for themes.

    Why didn't I just make my theme: meet some blog folk this year? Hmm, that would've made sense, but it would still confine the theme to a small fraction of days out of the entire year. Also, the ways things are going right now, I doubt I will going much of anywhere for some time.

    Back to my theme and caveats:

    Positive is what I want to insert, as in, a person needs new positive experiences. But even that seems forced. Many experiences can be stressful for an introvert like myself and then become great. The word "positive" would probably rule those out even if positive was my ultimate assessment of the experience. (That's just my semantic take on it.)

    So... for now I reckon I shall continue with "a person needs new experiences..." while remembering the rest of the line, "...they jar something deep inside allowing him to grow."

    At this particular moment, I will hang on to the thought that no news means no worse news, and if that doesn't pan out, then there's always the time-honored mantra of days yore: Whatever.


    A year ago on TTaT: I Know Where I'm Going: Katharine Hepburn, a personal biography

    14 May 2011

    Working the Room

    Working the Room27. Working the Room by Geoff Dyer

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars


    I'm a bit torn about this book since I just read Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews which shares over 300 pages of content with this volume arranged in nearly the same way.

    If I were picking one to read, I'd go with Otherwise Known as the Human Condition since it contains a few essays I really liked that this one does not.

    However, Working the Room has two advantages:

    1. It has 8 color plates which are much better than the black and white reproductions in the other book, although the plates are oddly placed far beyond the essays on visuals.

    2. It has an index which I'm nearly certain the other book does not.

    My favorite essays from Working the Room (also in the other book) are: "John Cheever's The Journals" which ends with a great quote about writing, his observations during fashion week while on assignment from Vogue while knowing nothing about couture in "Fabulous Clothes," and his experience of "The 2004 Olympics" which reminded me so much of my own. Also his personal essays, "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (with particular reference to Doughnut Plant doughnuts)" and "Of Course."

    The best scenario is your library has both books, so you can look at the plates in this one while reading the essays in the other.


    A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #14

    13 May 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #66 Seeing the Unseen

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    *******
    This week, I

  • Shot 86 photographs: mostly macro shots of flowers and ferns.

  • Prepped Rock Mountain Summit photograph, wrote product description, and created a variety of customizable gift items: iPad and iPhone cases, prints/posters, cards, postcard, mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, magnets, buttons, stickers, keychains, mouse pad, ornaments, necklace, return address labels, and stamps:

  • Tweeted, FB'd, zblogged link to Rock Mountain summit.

  • Went to a cool M.C. Escher exhibit.

  • Sketched out some ideas for a new store header image.

  • Zblogged, tweeted, FB'd On The Golden Gate Bridge links.

  • Added products/links to 6 lenses/blogs.

  • Tweeted some sale information and products.

  • Culled store contender photos from 325 to 205.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?


    A year ago on TTaT: A Moment in Time

    09 May 2011

    Otherwise Known as the Human Condition

    Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews26. Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews by Geoff Dyer

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars


    If you're not already a fan of Geoff Dyer, as I most certainly am, then I would look at the categories in the contents to see what might strike your fancy. "Visuals" are essays about photographers for the most part as well as a painter and sculptor or two. Most contain an image or two which lets you see what Dyer's describing, pondering, and deconstructing. I read these and feel we have love for a number of photographers in common.

    "Verbals" are reviews of books and authors. It was a bit dry for me since I hadn't read most of the books, and yet it also contained my favorite quote of the book, from John Cheever's The Journals. I wouldn't have encountered Cheever's words otherwise.
    To disguise nothing, to conceal nothing, to write about those things that are closest to our pain, our happiness; to write about my sexual clumsiness, the agonies of Tantalus, the depths of my discouragement––I seem to glimpse it in my dreams––my despair. To write about the foolish agonies of anxiety, the refreshment of our strength when these are ended; to write about our painful search for self, jeopardized by a stranger in the post office, a half-seen face in a train window; to write about the continents and populations of our dreams, about love and death, good and evil, the end of the world.

    Then comes "Musicals," a series of musings on jazz, Indian music (must remember to find some Ramamani to listen to), and Def Leppard.

    "Variables" tread closer to the humorous, autobiographical travel essays of Dyer's I love. In particular, "The Wrong Stuff," where he relates his experience getting to fly in a MiG-29 fighter jet; his observations during fashion week while on assignment from Vogue while knowing nothing about couture in "Fabulous Clothes," and his experience of "The 2004 Olympics" which reminded me so much of my own.

    Finally, there is the "Personals" category which is just what it sounds like. My favorites here are "Comics in a Man's Life," "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (with particular reference to Doughnut Plant doughnuts)," and "Of Course."

    Overall, the essays flow from one to the next quite well. You'll read an article on one photographer and then may see them referenced in the next. Someone did a very good job of arranging these.

    Definitely worth a read, though if you're new to Dyer, I might start with Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It or Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence.


    A year ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 27

    06 May 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #65 Time sneaking past

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    *******
    This week, I

  • Shot 110 photographs: leaf buds, fiddleheads, and more.

  • Prepared On The Golden Gate Bridge photograph. Tried out Adobe Camera Raw for noise reduction, much better I think than Photoshop's filter. Wrote product description and created On The Golden Gate Bridge product line:

  • Rearranged Rocklawn Arts store for improved flow. Changed 'top picks' products.

  • Watched Zack Arias's Foundations of a Working Photographer on Creative Live. So great! If you have any interest in photography (and some other creative pursuits), you should check out their classes. Watch live for free, pay for the downloads.

  • Submitted 2 products to blog.

  • Tweeted some products and sticker sale information.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?


    A year ago on TTaT: Petri dish of humanity

    05 May 2011

    A mind of my own?

    Sitting on the edge of my tub putting my knee high blue and black striped toe socks on, I thought, Hey, I haven't had a nosebleed in a while. I guess I am OK without the humidifier on.

    At the precise moment that thought completed, I felt the telltale drip rolling down my right nostril.

    Really? Maybe it's just drainage. I tipped my head back a little to see up my nostril in the mirror. Nope, blood slowly gathering at the precipice.

    I stood up and reached for a square of toilet paper. Since the blood wasn't pouring like an open faucet, I took the time to fold the square into thirds, then in half. I tore it in half, took one piece, folded it in half and stuffed it up my right nostril. (For whatever reason, my nose typically favors bleeds exclusively to the right.)

    I sat back down on the tub's edge and finished putting on my socks before standing up again.

    After a minute, I pulled the toilet paper from my nose; the bleeding had stopped. It was seriously just one drop of blood.

    My brain is fucking with me.

    A voice from within, like mine but a bit deeper and gravelly like I'd been smoking for twenty years, said, "If you think your brain is separate from your body, a discrete location for your mind, you're wrong."

    No, I know that. These past few months have made that abundantly clear. I don't need any more reminders.

    With a smirk I felt more than saw, my body said, "I'm the boss of you, kid." If she had a pack of cigarettes, she would've deftly lit one and taken a long drag, blowing the smoke out in rings towards my face. I, in turn, would've brushed them away, coughing, as my body said, "Now why don't you run along."


    A year ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 26

    03 May 2011

    I am a relaxation ninja.

    That's the goal anyway. I find myself at a point in my life where anxiety and stress are impacting me physically in a more pronounced way, so it behooves me to learn how to shut that mental nonsense the fuck down pronto when it crops up.

    My chief weapon is surprise, surprise and fear, fear and surprise. My *two* weapons are fear and surprise, and ruthless efficiency. Our *three* weapons are...no wait, I seem to have gone astray.

    Amongst my weaponry are such elements as:

    Take a ten minute walk. Outside, if you please, at least until the pollen, bugs, heat and humidity become unbearable. I have to be able to take strides long enough to actually stretch my legs at a good clip for it to be worthwhile. Harder to do inside because of my height. Treadmill as last resort. DDR is actually a better choice because it can make me laugh.

    Breathe deep. When you find your breath is all shallow and fast, take in more air and slow it down.

    Think relaxed. Shoulders up by your ears? Drop them down. Remember what your muscles feel like when relaxed and try to make your body adopt that sensation.

    Say, "I am a relaxation ninja." To yourself or out loud, doesn't matter. Picture it in your mind: all in black, only your eyes showing through a small opening of fabric, calmly determined. You take your sword and slice through a fog-like mass of tension; it immediately dissipates. You know what to do for every anxiety, you have the tools and the skills to meet and defeat them.

    Read. A good book preferably.

    Transform your anxious energy into dance energy. Play your dance playlist, get up and groove. (Think I'll turn that on right now actually. Chair dancing is good too.)

    Work on your life of art. If you can get past your preoccupations enough to start, it will distract you and be productive which will feel good. I know how hard it can be to start though. Deuparth gwaith ei ddechrau.

    Watch TV. Sort of a catatonic approach, but hey, sometimes it's just the thing and that's OK. If you can find something that will make you laugh all the better. Or Dr. Who because it's just awesome.

    If you need to do something stressful, do not procrastinate! Just do it. Otherwise you'll dwell on it which will make you more anxious.

    Do yoga. Every day ideally. I like Rodney Yee's AM Yoga, a VHS tape I've had for years. It's short, fairly easy but still lets me push myself, and includes a little meditation to start and finish. My days are better when I start with this. This is more of a tone setter than a reaction-based approach.

    Write! Duh. I hit publish and then realized this should really be on the list. With luck, this will make your feeds if I save it fast enough.


    Do you have anything different you do when you're anxious or stressed out? I'm looking to expand my weaponry, particularly fast-acting, immediate actions.

    So far, I find the ten minute walk the most effective thing, but it's still ten minutes and not that helpful if you're say in an office waiting for an appointment.


    On a side note, I am so tired of getting bad news (and I'm ready for my friends to stop getting bad news too). First thing that illogically came to mind this afternoon was that it's like I must've drowned puppies in a past life. I love puppies! Heck, I clipped out the Peanuts strip from Sunday's paper. I love the panel of Snoopy yawning and the one where he's sitting on a bench: now there's a relaxation ninja!


    A year ago on TTaT: A River in the Sky