30 January 2013

5. Wonder Woman, Volume 1: Blood

Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood5. Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this "New 52" take on Wonder Woman. There's a twist to her origin story that makes sense and further drives the narrative. Lots of visual cues from Greek mythology that are fun to decipher.

Cool art. The cover doesn't quite do it justice.

5 years ago on TTaT: Too cool

28 January 2013

DVR or AI?

Should it worry me that I routinely say the following things?
Well, the DVR doesn't think it's a new episode tonight.
The DVR thinks
Summer Show X is back on.
If the DVR behaved itself and recorded it, I'll watch it later.
This could be how Skynet starts, people. Why else would my DVR's model be an "Explorer"?

Two years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #51 (or 3 x 17)

26 January 2013

4. Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator4. Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Highly recommended reading for anyone (old enough to understand it).

The book is divided into two parts. The first details the strategies he used to manipulate the media with real world examples. The second covers the consequences when it gets out of hand, which it inevitably will either by someone else's design or not, also with actual examples.

I knew some of the ways the news gets manipulated nowadays, but Holiday provides a thoughtful, thorough insider's look at the topic with historical context. It's depressing how easy it is to manufacture completely false news with no repercussions.

To help yourself spot the lingo of unsubstantiated claims and uncorroborated stories, read this book. If you decide to read it to learn media exploitation, be sure to read the whole book so you understand the blowback you'll get.

Blog note: I checked this book out because Holiday is coming to Creative Live next month to teach a course on Smart PR for Artists, Entrepreneurs, and Small Businesses. After reading his book, I'm not sure what I would want to apply from it, but I'm curious to see what he has to say.

Also, in the book he says RSS is dead. I recognize the signs he mentions (removing it from browsers URL fields as an option, shifting it off Google's top page services), but if Google ever ditches their reader, I'm going to be reading a lot less. I don't see myself going back to the days of checking many sites individually every day.

3 years ago on TTaT: The tallest I've ever been

25 January 2013

Life of Art SitRep #155 Forward ho!

Felt like a time for dots, so I created Black Polka Dots on White, White Polka Dots on Black, and White Polka Dots on Red designs and added them to my store.
Black Polka Dots on White T-shirt
Black Polka Dots on White T-shirt by RocklawnArts
Look at Black T-Shirts online at Zazzle.com
White Polka Dots on Black iPad Sleeve
White Polka Dots on Black iPad Sleeve by RocklawnArts
See other Black iPad Sleeves at zazzle

Rocklawn Arts blogged all three designs.

The unglamorous task of revising old tags and descriptions continues. Another false start requiring another zag, but in the end I took care of four more. Tip of the iceberg.

How are your projects going?

Two years ago on TTaT: Care for a picnic?

24 January 2013

Blue Skies

Sunny. Blue skies.

Remind myself, "Don't be fooled."

Wind chill is -15 F.

Errands can wait.

5 years ago on TTaT: Bullet time

19 January 2013

3. Underwater Dogs

Underwater Dogs3. Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A short but worthwhile introduction and you're straight into the photos. Of dogs underwater.

The images are a mix of silly, goofy, impressionistic, and fierce. There are a lot of bared teeth, curious to look at but also a little unsettling. I preferred the friendlier pictures.

Almost as fun as the photos are the captions which include each dog's name, breed, and age. There is also a section at the back which has headshots (close-up portraits) of the dogs on land and dry.

A very quick read with some cool and fun dog photos.

3 years ago on TTaT: Registered to vote in MA? Go vote!

18 January 2013

Life of Art SitRep #154 Zag! Zag! Zag!

This week I tried to balance my efforts out a bit more. Not just adding new products but addressing behind-the-scenes and less obvious larger tasks as well.

I consolidated the winter photographs in my store into one category with subfolders. I also did this with my chevrons designs. This condenses my main page by 4.5 rows, nearly a page of scrolling.

Wrote 2 product reviews.

Created Checkered Red and White and Checkered Navy and White designs. Wrote product descriptions for each and added them to my shop.
Checkered Red and White Samsung Galaxy SIII Cases
Checkered Red and White Samsung Galaxy SIII Cases by RocklawnArts
Find other Red and white Casemate Cases at zazzle.com
Checkered Red and White Room Stickers
Checkered Red and White Room Stickers by RocklawnArts
Check out other Red and white Wall Decals at zazzle.com

Rocklawn Arts blogged both new designs which will go up next Tuesday and Thursday.

Double-checked and removed all In Progress Designs that shouldn't have been there (in this case all 60 or so).

Swapped out all Top Picks for my store to newer cases and designs.

I began the daunting project of revising the descriptions and updating the tags of all but my most recent designs. It's a time consuming process and kind of a hassle, but I started with one design.

When I finished it, I kind of wished I'd added one more line break to the description, but I let it go since it was a minor flaw.

I started working on the second design and noticed additional flaws in the first regarding the spacing and sizing of the related designs section. The perfectionish within would not let it go, so Zag! I redid it, noticed another anomaly and did it yet again. Double Zag! Then I was actually done with the first design. I learned a few things I need to look out for with the rest.

The second design was also a pain to revise, both more of a hassle than I'd even feared. Some of this should get easier as I go, right? Right?! Sigh. So very many photographs and designs to go.

However! With any luck (or painstaking keyword research), these efforts will pay off by making my inventory more accessible via search on the web. It's all about more eyeballs finding my work. Knock wood.

Aside from the usual promotional posts, I finished out the week by making a 2013 Life Of Art summary file and updating it.

How are your projects going?

A year ago on TTaT: Consider this black

15 January 2013

2. American Ruins

American Ruins2. American Ruins by Arthur Drooker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Though this book has the same style layout and infrared photography, I much prefer his later book Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas. The ruins themselves in American Ruins were far less interesting to me.

A few places were cool but they tended to be on private property, not places you could readily visit.

The ruins pictured are all within the United States but there's nothing from the Northwest included.

I'd suggest flipping through the book to see if anything catches your fancy and then reading his page summary about the location if you're interested. I would skip the essay at the beginning. The foreword and Drooker's introduction were fine.

Really though, I'd suggest checking out the ruins in his book Lost Worlds.

Two years ago on TTaT: Snow spirals

14 January 2013

There's Out and There's Out

Did you watch the Golden Globes last night? I could not resist the lure of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting, and they did not disappoint me.

But what I really want to write about is Jodie Foster.

Despite all the raves on Twitter about her coming out, I was unimpressed by her rambling speech. First, I thought she'd already come out via an acceptance speech about 5 years ago in which she thanked her then partner now "co-parent." Anyway, in light of that, it seemed odd to play it up with the presumably faux-nervous lead-in and bait & switch.

I didn't want a big coming out speech. I just wanted her to say, "I'm gay" or "I'm a lesbian" or some variation thereof with the same enthusiasm as she said, "I'm 50!" (Nice nod to Molly Shannon's character from SNL that no one in the audience seemed to get.)

Anderson Cooper's coming out letter last year came to mind. In it he talked about how he didn't want his sexuality to affect his work but realized that his silence over time was giving the impression that he was ashamed or otherwise not OK with being gay which is not the case. It was a good letter.

I tried to figure out why Jodie's speech was bothering me. It hit me today when I remembered that when you're pointing your finger at someone else, you're pointing three at yourself.

We have some things in common. I'm not straight either, though I consider myself bisexual rather than lesbian. I am, despite possible appearances on the blog, a private person too. In the past I often said, "If a person doesn't have the courage to ask me if I'm not straight, they aren't ready to hear the answer." Of course, they could have just been respecting my privacy by waiting for me to tell them. What business is it of most people's anyway? It's just one aspect of many about me.

Without her fame, I've done things somewhat out of order. Close friends first, then the entire audience at a film school screening who made the assumption based on my movie. To be fair, I showed the film to my family first to start a dialogue to come out to them, but they did not make the leap or didn't acknowledge it at any rate. Maybe they weren't ready in 1996.

Then there were more people I met and then the internet. Oh, and then my immediate family finally in 2009. There are still people I know in real life who don't know, but it's not like I have any context for bringing it up. There's no one to introduce them to and we don't talk about their romantic lives, so why bother? I suppose I could be prouder.

I'm tired of coming out speeches too (even the super short variety), but likely have more in my future without an international audience of millions.

As Jodie said, she's 50. Eleven years older than me with a career that started when she was 3. She grew up in the heyday of being gay and playing gay killing your Hollywood career. I get it.

What I hope she gets is that her coming out in 2013 is not much about her personally but rather the visibility she adds as someone gay and successful to a group with so many who struggle (to get through the day, to be married, to have equal rights under the law...). I just want to know that her desire for privacy won't keep her from being on our side. For fuck's sake, she has Mel Gibson's back for some reason, so I hope she'll have ours. Hmm, that doesn't sound as ideal as I meant.

And now off the lgbt for a moment but back to the speech:

Did anyone else find it strange how many contradictions there were?

Her quote which they started her life's work montage with was about how being normal is to be avoided and yet, due to early and enduring fame, she has spent her life trying to have one that is normal. That's why she values her privacy so much. But then she wants to be "deeply known."

I'm often ambivalent myself, so I suppose I can understand these dichotomies. I'm a private person and yet I blog to put myself out there, to connect with people. I relinquish some privacy to do that. Perhaps that's Jodie's struggle to a degree: to connect and be known but not tabloid fodder.

Despite your oblique approach to coming out all these years, congratulations, Jodie Foster. It does me good to see you loud and proud.

4 years ago on TTaT: In the mail...

12 January 2013

The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success

The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success1. The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success by Jennifer Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I enjoyed making collages, I probably would've gotten more out of this book. However, there is plenty of good business info presented in non-threatening, friendly language.

I kept thinking of Havi Brooks and her site, The Fluent Self, where she's been modelling this business approach for years.

If spreadsheets give you hives (I kind of dig creating a good spreadsheet) and you're building a business, I'd recommend this book.

If you're well aware that right and left brain behavior aren't so easily divided into creative vs. analytical and can't get over its vernacular usage, and you have a hatred of glue sticks, maybe read something else.

A year ago on TTaT: Ow, naturally

11 January 2013

Life of Art SitRep #153 Kicking Ass and Takin' Names...

...which in my world looks like finding my cool, repeatedly, and staying on my course. In this week's case, a pretty damn productive one.

Shot 33 photographs.

Remember the 8 new cases I started adding to my shop last week? I finished adding them to all of my existing photographs and designs as appropriate. 252 new cases.

Protect your iPads with:
Powis iCase iPad Mini Cases
Powis iCase iPad Cases
DODOcase iPad Cases
Protect your smartphones with:
SkinIt iPhone 5 Cases
Case Savvy iPhone 5 Cases
SkinIt iPhone 4/4S Cases
Case Savvy iPhone 4 Cases
SkinIt Samsung Galaxy S3 Cases

I also created a new Checkered Black and White design, wrote a description for it, and added it to my shop.
Checkered Black and White Case For The iPad Mini
Checkered Black and White Case For The iPad Mini by RocklawnArts
Check out more Black and white iPad Mini Cases at Zazzle
Checkered Black and White Sleeves For iPads
Checkered Black and White Sleeves For iPads by RocklawnArts
Look at other Black and white iPad Sleeves at zazzle.com
Checkered Black and White Bags For Laptop
Checkered Black and White Bags For Laptop by RocklawnArts
See other Black and white commuterbag at zazzle

Check out the complete collection of Checkered Black and White products.

Rocklawn Arts blogged New Checkered Black and White design. Blogs on the new phone cases and iPad cases will go up next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Rearranged my store some including consolidating my polka dots designs into one category minus the rainbow ones.

3 years ago on TTaT: 2010: This is your secret name in our troop

Oh, you guys, I have a theme for 2013. I've just felt paranoid and derailed from writing about it given events of late. Maybe in the days to come. The comments on that 2010 post are some of my faves.

10 January 2013

Right On

Tonight's fortune:

Right the fuck on.

5 years ago on TTaT: Numero sei

09 January 2013


...I would've been better off passing on lunch. Instead I had some tasty crab dip and the most hurtful thing anyone's said to my face in ages. Not the week for supportive sentiments it seems.

It was one of those situations where the person denies meaning what they've just said that's hurtful, and possibly really believes that. And yet, it's totally clear to everyone else they absolutely meant what they said. Say it with me people, "Denial."

I was done anyway and so hurt I just got up and left, holding back tears. Trying to say anything would have set me off.

There may be some truth to what she said, but it was in no way helpful. I am not inspired as some would be to prove her wrong; instead it made me feel useless and wonder what's the point?

I realized that she really has no respect for what I'm trying to build. I'm not doing things in the way she thinks I should be, so it's like I'm doing nothing at all.

It didn't help that my head was already full of negative thoughts this morning.

Whatevs. Back to work whether it's ineffectual or not.

3 years ago on TTaT: Long winter shadows

05 January 2013

Note to Self, vol. XVIII?

When you tell someone something you're really excited about, and he or she responds with a weak, emotionless "Good" and immediate subject change (i.e., zero interest), do not dwell in your bummed out feelings.

At least, try not to. It's been a couple of hours and I'm still thinking about it.

Next time though... next time... I'll probably keep it to myself.

4 years ago on TTaT: Begin anyway

04 January 2013

Life of Art SitRep #152 New Year

Happy New Year, everybody! How's it shaping up so far for you?

I'm finding my groove again after a respite.

This week, I...

Wrote 2012 LOA summary posts for TTaT and RA blogs.

Added 417 new phone and iPad cases to my shop. 8 new cases I'm working on adding to my current designs.

Also rearranged my store a bit.

6 years ago on TTaT: When correspondence was tangible

01 January 2013

Life of Art 2012: the year in review

Happy New Year! Here's to a happy, healthy, marvelous 2013!

For the past 151 Fridays, I've been tracking my efforts to create a life of art for myself. Here's a look at what I accomplished in 2012.

  • I added 27 new photographs and designs to my Rocklawn Arts shop.

  • White Circles on BlackBlack and White ChevronsRed and White ChevronsRed and Black Chevrons

    Yellow and Black ChevronsNavy and Grey RectanglesRainbow ChevronsPurple and White Chevrons

    Red, White, and Blue ChevronsOrange and White ChevronsOrange and White Gingham PatternBlue and White Chevrons

    Green and White Chevrons5 Bisected Black Lines5 Bisected Red LinesPink and White Gingham Pattern

    Pink and White Chevrons5 Bisected Blue LinesHappy Buddha With Snow FacialLight Blue and White Gingham Pattern

    Red and Green Polka Dots on WhiteRed Polka Dots on WhiteGreen Polka Dots on RedGreen Polka Dots on White

    Geometric Christmas WreathSuper Moon over Washington MountainCheckered Rainbow

  • I added 27 new product types to Rocklawn Arts for a total of 4007 new items and 427 new templates (up from 2711 and 100, respectively, the previous year):

  • iPhone 5 cases

  • iPad Mini Cases

  • Samsung Galaxy S3 Cases

  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus Cases

  • Samsung Galaxy S2 Cases

  • Droid RAZR Cases

  • HTC Vivid Cases

  • Skins

  • MacBook Pro Sleeves

  • MacBook Air Sleeves

  • iPad Sleeves

  • iPad and Kindle Folio Cases

  • Messenger Bags

  • Mini Messenger Bags

  • Folios

  • Magnetic Frames

  • Acrylic Keychains

  • Playing Cards

  • Clocks/li>
  • Wall Decals

  • Specialty Mugs

  • Water Bottles

  • Throw Pillows

  • Placemats

  • Kitchen Towels

  • Napkins

  • Belt Buckles

  • Watched a lot of Creative Live workshops. With their increased number of workshops, I've become more selective. However, there are instructors I like so much, I'll watch about anything they teach. Sue Bryce, Tamara Lackey, Lesa Snider come to mind. They all have workshops coming up in 2013. :) I need to keep an eye on my time though so I'm not just soaking in information but applying it.

  • Read 66 books, scripts, or book-like things. Not everything shows up on GoodReads, but most of it's there if you'd like to take a look.

  • I also donated $16.39 to Room to Read via referrals from my Squidoo lenses. Not much I realize, but I like having philanthropy built into my business even if only on a small scale.

  • A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art 2011: the year in review