It’s finally finished

Back in April, one of my co-workers found out that I dabble in calligraphy, and he asked me to do “Dance like nobody’s watching” in calligraphy on a small sheet of paper, so he could give it to his wife.  I assured him that I am no good as a calligrapher, but told him that I could probably convince my mom to do the piece, as she is an excellent scribe.

I never caught her in the right moment; however, so I resolved to do it myself.  I did 4 or 5 pieces that I was very dissatisfied with.  Then I decided to do it on watercolor paper on top of a nice watercolor wash.  I finally completed one that I was fairly happy with only to realize that I had written “Dance like nobody’s wathing.”  According to the Urban Dictionary, wathing is “Stalkerishly watching someone or something bathe.”  I think the most disturbing part of that definition is the part about watching “something” bathe in a stalkerish manner.  Shiver.

Anyway, missing the “C” changed the meaning of the phrase resolutely.  So I had to start over.  Again.

I was working on painting an ocean scene, so my palette was already loaded with purples, greens, and blues, so I got the paper soaking wet and washed those colors over it.  I then peppered the paper with kosher salt.  When it was all dry, it had a neat, almost tie-dyed, effect.  I drew guidelines on and went at it with a teal calligraphy pen.

Man, I really need to start taking better pictures of my stuff.  Anyway,  it’s not awesome, and the calligraphy  needs a lot of work, but I gave it to my friend yesterday, and he was really happy with it.  As long as the (non-paying) customer is happy, I am happy. It only took me 6 months to complete it!  Now I just need to finish my Mom (from Futurama) painting, and I’ll have a totally clean slate.

To get me off on the right foot, this morning I spent half-an-hour typing up an inventory of all our (“our” being Mom and me) watercolor paints.  It seems that for every class I take, I have to spend $40 on paints, even though I already have 3 baggies full of them.  Somehow I never have the exact right shade of cadmium yellow (the teacher requires deep and I have light, etc.).  To save time, I created a spreadsheet with columns for Main Color, Color Name, and Brand.  Now I can easily sort to see all the various reds or greens that I have.  It’s pretty awesome.  I kinda want to sign up for a class right this minute, so I can tell in 60 seconds whether I already have the appropriate colors in stock.  Ah, blessed spreadsheets…

On that note, Go Hawks!  Weeeuuwww!

Home Sick Today

I came down with a nasty cold yesterday – the kind of cold where you always need to have a tissue on hand because at any second, liquid snot will just start pouring out of your nose.  I mean pouring – like water pouring out of a faucet.  All the moisture from my nose vacated, so during the night I had to get up and put a moist washcloth over it to protect the fragile, exposed cartilage.  I need some mucus back up in there.

I went to work this morning because my nose seemed better and because at our office we have Paid Time Off (PTO) which means we don’t get sick days.  We just get days to use for whatever.  I, of course, have all of mine allocated to fun stuff like Benny & Nate visits, trips and what not.  But I had to break down and use some of my precious time today.  I took a brief 10-minute stroll with a co-worker this morning, and when I got back to my chair, the aches set in – all in my legs, my hands, my head.  In the span of 10 minutes I went from feeling poorly to feeling horrible.  So home I went.

After a nappy-poo I watched the first Firefly episode, then I tried to read The Dispossessed.  It’s a great book, but my fever-addled brain could make no sense of the words on the page, so I put it down and watched Good Will Hunting.

There is nothing like laying around all day, doing nothing, and then watching a movie about a genius to make one feel inadequate and as if one is not living up to one’s full potential.  I’m not sure it was the best movie to watch in my state.

But tomorrow is another day.  Hopefully I will be feeling better and will be able to accomplish something of use.

Memoirs of a Geisha

I just finished Memoirs of a Geisha this week.  I have to say, I don’t know what all the fuss was about. Learning about the training of a geisha and their lifestyle was interesting, but the main charactor, Sayuri, annoyed the heck out of me.  She described everything using metaphors.  I think the author was trying to make her appear poetic and deep, but they were so overused that it seemed forced.  Here is an exaple,

“But now I know that our world is no more permanent than a wave rising on the ocean. Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however, we suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.

She uses two separate metaphors to describe the same thing!  Enough already!!

Geishas are also supposed to be clever conversationalists.  Her examples of “clever” conversation all involved a geisha talking about being naked with her skin exposed to breezes or what not.  That didn’t strike me as “clever.” One does not need to be very clever to arouse drunk males.  I didn’t read one example of clever conversation in the whole damn book.

Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but I just don’t understand the whole geisha thing.  They aren’t “prostitutes,” but they do sleep with men for money.  Kinda sounds like a prostitute to  me; albeit an expensive, high-class prostitute.  Watch Mal’s take on “Companions” in Firefly, and that’s pretty much my impression of geishas.

The main story thread also aggravated me.  *SPOILER ALERT*  Sayuri encounters this man, The Chairman, one day as she is crying by the river.  He speaks a few kind words to her, gives her money to buy shaved ice, and a hankie to dry her tears.  Of course, she immediately falls in love with him in that instant and spends the next 15-20 years yearning for him.  Eventually, after a series of unfortunate events, he ends up becoming her “danna” and paying her Okiya for the pleasure of sleeping with her a few times a week.  How romantic.  Oh, and he’s married and has a family.  I just don’t get it.  I understand that she was essentially sold into the lifestyle and had very few options, especially in those times (the book takes place during the Great Depression/World War 2), but still.

I did enjoy reading about the culture and the kimonos, however.   In my opinion, if the book had been written about a truly clever Geisha, it would have been much better.


Watercolor Aspirations

So…again I haven’t written in a while.  That doesn’t mean that  I haven’t had anything to write about.  It just means that I haven’t written in a while.  I’ve actually had tons of things I wanted to write about, but my old bane, inaction, has been at it again. Maybe if we tossed the couch and the TV, I might actually get something done.  I blame some of my inaction on an uninspiring work location.

I moved my laptop to the top of our book-case in an attempt to create an ad-hoc stand-up desk.  It works fairly well; however, I don’t have much room to work, and since I’m just standing there facing the wall, I feel rather anti-social.  It’s not an environment that is conducive to creative enterprises.  It’s conducive to checking email and Facebook, and that is all.  My brother and father are both building me stand up desks…eventually. They both have plans, and they will both build something amazingly beautiful, but it may be awhile.  Anyway, once I get my stand-up desk(s), I am going to experiment with a little rearranging, so I can position it in front of a window instead of a wall.  I stare at fabric-covered walls for 8 hours * 5 days a week, and I can’t take the wall-staring a minute longer on the weekends.

I did find a way to alleviate some of my cubicle discomfort.  I purchased a piece of original, amazing art from Ryan Hayes.  It’s a small piece of art that packs a big punch.  It’s funny; when I first considered taking watercolor classes, I was reluctant to do so because when I thought of watercolor, I thought of poorly painted, washed-out, sad little flowers.  That wasn’t what I was interested in painting. At all.  However, the more watercolor work I see, the more  I realize how false my prejudice was.  People create absolutely stunning work with watercolor.  It’s ironic, though, that the piece I bought is a painting of flowers.  But it has amazing movement in it.  Check it out here.  See what  I mean?  Anyway, I hung this painting up in my cubicle.  It breaks up the expanse of grey & tan and provides my eye with a much-needed visual retreat.  It also reminds me that I should be doing artwork of my own.

On that note, I signed up for another art class at the Figge.  This class will focus more on technique, I think.  I kind of jumped into watercolor painting without have any basics in it.  Hopefully this class will strengthen the foundation.  While looking up the colors that I need for this class, I ran across this website:  It has tons of good information and tutorials on the basics (how to hold your brush, how to do a wash, etc.).

My friend, Butterbrickled, is creating an animation involving pirates and ninjas.  It looks great so far, and he has enlisted my help to paint some floaty/Tiny Wings inspired backgrounds for it.  I’m happy that he has assigned me a task, as hopefully it will make me actually get my gear out and get to work.  I lack motivation something fierce.

I read a good article from LifeHacker today, though.  The article advised just DOING something, one thing that you’ve been putting off, to get yourself out of a rut.  It’s so easy to fall into a rut of inactivity, and so hard to get out.  But just by taking action – any action (cleaning off your desk, for example), you can start to lever yourself out.  I have  about 10 things hanging over my head that I know I need to do, but I keep putting off. So, my baby step today is to finally write a blog post.