28 July 2017

Life of Art SitRep #389 A bit more Thunderation!

This week, I shot 96 nature photographs. Culled 55, many were fine but being brutal makes the best stand out more. Rated the rest, making the best of the best stand out yet further.

Created another Thunderation! t-shirt and 2 sets of stickers:

Check out the whole Thunderation! collection:

Made a 2018 calendar mug banner image. Visit the collection page to see it:

Read about editing video in Lightroom including how to edit multiple clips together via slideshow module.

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: exhaust

27 July 2017

Subconscious Earping

I feel like I brought my Earping1 to a new level last night. I dreamt I was conversing with Alexandra Zarowny, a writer whose work I admire on Wynonna Earp.

We were discussing succeeding in creative careers and her journey to working on Wynonna Earp. Fortunately my brain started mid-conversation, so I bypassed any awkward introductions.

At one point she said2 the key to her success had been narrowing her focus down to one pursuit.

"I still struggle with that," I said. And I do.

It wasn't a perfectly fluid conversation. There were times when it seemed like one or the other of us was about to move on, but then something would trigger further talking. You could argue it was dream montage but I perceived it as a bit of awkwardness on my part.

The next trigger was me saying, "I started reading The Artist's Way3." Which I have. In no coincidence, I'd been reading it before I went to bed last night.

Her eyes lit up. She pulled out a Moleskine, flipped through its pages until she found something and then turned it around for me to see.

It was some of her morning pages with her own negative self talk.

"Oh, I excel at that," I said. And I do. But I took two things from that:
a) We all have inner critics even if we're successful.
b) 3 handwritten pages a day are easier to crank out if your notebook is small.
"You look amazing, by the way," she said. It was here my brain instantly back-filled that I'd run into her at a wedding reception, an event at which you could meet someone unexpectedly, have a normal conversation, and where I'd be some semblance of dressed up. (No idea what either of us was wearing.)

Her compliment took me by surprise, and though I knew she knows a lot of really attractive younger people who work on Wynonna Earp, I took it graciously and said, "Thank you."

She asked me what sort of creative endeavor I wanted to pursue. Without hesitation I said, "Writing and photography." In a wakeful state, I would dilute the answer further, but in the dream, those two answers felt like the core of it.

She kindly expressed interest in reading something of mine, and I started mulling the #TTaTfaves4 I've been posting to twitter of late.

"Make sure you send me that video clip when you get the chance," she said. Like an audition for a bit part or background actor.

Wait, what?

Clearly I'd completely misunderstood the last few minutes we'd been talking.

Wasn't she the one who said I should focus on one thing? I hadn't even mentioned acting as a potential interest.

Ah, there must be something about my look that fits a character she has in mind.

Would I even want to do that? Wouldn't it be a distraction from my real goals?

But then it is Wynonna Earp, so yeah, even if it were a distraction, it'd be worth it.

And then I woke up, the final plot twist making me laugh.

1to Earp (verb): express love for the kickass feminist supernatural Western television show Wynonna Earp. Season two is currently airing 10 PM/9 PM C Fridays on Syfy in the US and on Space channel in Canada; Tuesdays in the UK.

Season one is available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon, so get caught up and join the fun!

2Not actually Alexandra Zarowny speaking. Any comments related are only what my dream mind said she said.

3The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron has been on my radar a long time. Dominique Provost-Chalkley tweeted/Instagrammed a photo of a paragraph from it about perfectionism a couple weeks ago that struck a nerve which made me feel it was time to move the book up my queue of things to read. (In true perfectionist fashion, as soon as I remembered I'd forgotten to add this footnote, I turned my computer back on to include it.)

4I've started tweeting posts from my blog Taller Than Average Tales' best of page since I've got over 10 years of writing that most people have never seen. They can be found by searching the hashtag #TTaTfaves or visiting my Highlights page on the blog which also has more highly curated lists of favorite posts.

10 years ago on TTaT: Sick of your martyrdom

22 July 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry35. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More densely packed with information than expected, but in a good way.

Makes me wish I had an eidetic memory so I could more easily retain it all.

10 years ago on TTaT: I often don't know what to say to him

21 July 2017

Life of Art SitRep #388 Calendar Posters, Magnets, Mugs

This week, I shot 85 photographs, culled 53, and rated the rest.

Also created six more 2018 calendar posters. You can see them all here:

Added 2018 calendars to thin magnetic cards:
See all of the 2018 calendar magnets here:

Created a Thunderation! collection:

Also created new 2018 calendar mugs featuring the calendar on one side and a stylish image on the other side of the mug:
See the rest in the collection I created here (I still need to add a banner to the top):

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: Behind the Harry Potter lines: redux

15 July 2017

Star Wars: Shattered Empire

Shattered Empire34. Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Shattered Empire story overlaps the end of Return of the Jedi and then reveals what happened directly afterwards. Female characters are just as involved as the males which makes for an enjoyable read.

Princess Leia #1 starts right at the end of the 1st Star Wars movie (episode IV) and follows her in the wake of Alderaan's destruction and the continuing rebellion.

I recommend skipping Star Wars #1, it's an old comic (really didn't care for the art) based directly on the 1st movie. Not much new to see.

10 years ago on TTaT: Question mark, jerk

14 July 2017

Life of Art SitRep #387 Calendar Posters, Magnets, Mouse Pads

Started the week by creating a few more Thunderation! items:

Then I set my sights on next year creating a series of 2018 calendars and adding them to Calendar Posters, Magnets, and Mouse Pads:

Updated calendar mouse pad, magnet, poster collections:

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: Forget the shortcake

13 July 2017

On Voicelessness

One of the things I did start doing after reading Tools of Titans is writing a bit each morning, ranting really, in scrawling illegible handwriting I never intend to reread. Just a few minutes to get my concerns, frustrations, what-have-you out of my head. As my speed reading teacher in college said, "Write things down to unclutter your mind." A fitting task for me prior to meditation.

Packrat that I am, I have many old notebooks that still have many blank pages. Since I don't intend to keep these rantings, I chose a college notebook with a pink cover I hate (Italiano is written in block caps on the cover).

This morning, after a few scrawled lines, I flipped past a divider and discovered a few pages in my handwriting. At first I thought it was just notes from a phone call I'd made, but when I looked at the next couple pages, I realized they were conversations. My side of them anyway.

Back in October 2015, I had a bad respiratory infection which lead to insane laryngitis. For weeks, all I could manage was a word or two, maybe a short sentence, before my voice completely gave out. Even after I felt better otherwise, my voice was still gone.

It forced me to choose what was most important to say, if anything.

Thumbs up, thumbs down, nods, head shakes, hilarious and frustrating attempts at charades ensued.

In my commitment to resting my vocal chords, not much of anything was worth saying.

When necessary, writing was more easily understood if I took the care to write neatly (neatly for me anyway). Here's part of what I came across today:

I like that I put a star beside it. All other issues of dinner aside, this was most key, that we go by way of ponies & goats.

Over the next few months, my voice gradually improved though was still easily susceptible to strain. There were setbacks where I'd return to not speaking at all for a week to rest it. It was an even more quiet than usual fall/winter/start of spring for my part. I spent most of it observing without comment, without engaging.

I'm still kind of paranoid about it. If my throat feels dry, on the edge of strain, I err towards resting it, drinking water, sucking lozenges. I avoid yelling, clearing my throat, raising my voice if possible.

I used to sing more, which I miss. My throat is not the same though. It protests more readily, feels more likely to abandon me which is not an experience I want to repeat.

10 years ago on TTaT: Creative space

Red Lion Amaryllis

So at the end of last year, I said I was going to be better about sharing images this year. I know I haven't been much better thus far, but here's a renewed start SOOC (straight out of camera) to keep me from procrastinating:

10 years ago on TTaT: Creative space, Damn weather

12 July 2017

Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One

Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One33. Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're jonesing for some more time on Themyscira after seeing the Wonder Woman movie, the first couple issues in this collection deliver. Well worth it.

More please, Greg Rucka.

This volume goes back in time to deliver Wonder Woman's origin story. And yes, how she meets Steve, but also awesome Etta Candy and super smart Barbara Ann Minerva.

Fun read.

10 years ago on TTaT: HP #5

06 July 2017

Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For

Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For32. Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For by Rebecca Schuman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title caught my eye and this amusing memoir delivers on it. My favorite word is Sprachgefühl, a knack for language.

Also amused that the German for "I don't believe it" is more literally "that doesn't even exist."

My favorite concept in the book: "understanding something and misunderstanding the same thing are not mutually exclusive."

Also as a bonus for me, there is a little experiential overlap between the author and me, so it was fun reading something akin to a vastly different alternative universe version of a life I could have had.

10 years ago on TTaT: Not quite the help intended (Seems apt that this is also a story about miscommunication. Look, I didn't say I possessed Sprachgefühl.)

04 July 2017

Making Mölkky History

"Come on, it's time for Mölkky," Mom yelled. "It's a holiday."

Mölkky is a Finnish lawn game in which you throw a rod at numbered pins to knock them over until your score is exactly 50. Players rotate keeping score. If you go over 50, your score is bounced back to 25. If you completely miss all the pins three times in a row, you are out of the game and have to keep score for the rest of it.

"I'll be down in a couple minutes," I replied, closing up some things I'd been working on.

My right wrist had been hurting since I got up, so I figured I could play left-handed. Couldn't be worse than one of the last games I played where I bombed out immediately by missing all the pins in my first three throws. Actually, there is no worse game than that.

Miraculously, I won the first game. Left-handed! Against two right-handed players playing right-handed.

I lost the second game and eventually bombed out of the third leaving me to keep score. Again, left-handed.

I should've quit while I was ahead, but my takeaway is still: I won a game left-handed!

10 years ago on TTaT: Let The Pictures Do The Talking: A Road Trip, iv