You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘People’ category.

The whole federal government shutdown has gotten surreal for me on social media. I was on Twitter when I saw this tweet from Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame):

I had a laugh even though I live outside of Washington, DC so I’m getting a first-hand look at Donald Trump and how he’s affecting my area (especially regarding the current shutdown over his demand for a border wall with Mexico). So I responded with this tweet:

I was just getting my latest frustration with Trump off of my chest. I wasn’t mad at Eric Idle for his joke. I would probably make a similar joke on Twitter if I was living outside of the US. I just expected my tweet to go the way of all of my other tweets and just go off into the ether with no notice. Then this happened.

I got a response from Eric Idle, a member of Monty Python. I used to watch episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on TV when I was a kid. I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life when they were originally released in movie theaters. Whoa! How cool is that? What’s more, his response along with my tweet was being retweeted and retweeted for the next few days.

Things have died down on Twitter since then. But I’ll always have this screenshot to remember my brief interaction with Eric Idle by.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

One day I was walking around the local Unitarian Universalist church when I decided to shoot a photo of a painting that had been hung in that church for years.

The man in the painting is of Reverend Rick Kelley, who’s the minister emeritus of Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland (where this painting currently resides). He was the minister who officiated at my wedding (which later ended in divorce but that’s another story). He was the minister when my future husband and I first joined that congregation.

Rick Kelley retired from our church back in 1992 but he is still alive as of this writing. As a thank you for the 20 years of service he gave to this congregation, one of the rooms was named the Kelley Room in his honor and it included this painting of him that was done by one of the fellow church members.

The next photo shows the detail of the signature of the artist who painted his portrait along with the date he created this piece.

The artist who did this was named drex Andrex (who spelled his first name with a lowercase “d”). My then-husband and I first met him through our Unitarian Universalist congregation and we served on a variety of committees together and frequently met with him and his wife, Ann, at a variety of social events. drex would’ve loved to have been able to make a living as an artist but, unfortunately, he never made enough money at his art to pay the bills. He had a day job as a federal employee plus there were the years when he and his wife raised three children so he had to limit doing his art to whenever he had some free time.

drex was mainly into painting landscapes and cityscapes based on places where he and his family lived. (They lived in Europe for a few years—mainly Belgium and the United Kingdom—in the 1970’s and 1980’s.) He painted in an impressionist style and I’ve always loved his work. He tried selling his paintings to galleries and art dealers but he frequently got turned away. Having seen his work, I never understood why the galleries and art dealers rejected him. He was able to have a few art shows here and there but he really deserved better from the art world.

Sadly drex died pretty young of pancreatic cancer when he was only in his mid-50’s over 10 years ago. I still have this Christmas block print he did that I bring out every Christmas. (I even wrote a blog post about it a couple of years ago.)

Reverend Rick Kelley is still alive as of this writing and he currently lives in retirement in the southern U.S. with his wife, Mary Ann.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

It’s official, today is the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history. That’s nothing to be proud of. Even before the shutdown the various federal government employees had to deal with the effects of Donald Trump running the government and now they can’t even go to work or earn a paycheck because of Trump’s little temper tantrum. The effects of this are starting to be felt nationwide ranging from vandals cutting down 1,000-year-old Joshua trees because there are no staffers to patrol Joshua Tree National Park in California to a town in Florida being unable to receive  any kind of federal government help to deal with the damages stemming from the effects of Hurricane Michael last October.

Meanwhile Trump has threatened to shut down the government to last months or even years. All because he wants to build a wall among the U.S.-Mexican border, something that even experts say would be ineffective and a waste of money. (In fact, a test of a prototype for a steel wall that Trump prefers has resulted in it being sawed through.) It’s the same wall—which originally was the brainchild of Roger Stone and Sam Numberg—that Trump once said that the U.S. would build but he would make Mexico pay for it. Now he wants the U.S. government to pay for the wall or else he’ll refuse to sign the bill that would keep the federal government operating this year. A few days ago he attempted to make his case by going to one of the border towns in Texas only for the people there tell the media that they don’t want this wall.

A few days ago the Democrats who now dominate the House of Representatives (thanks to the mid-term elections) voted to re-open the government without funding for the wall. Even though there were lawmakers in the Senate who also wanted to vote the same, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to allow such a vote. Part of Senator McConnell’s job is to serve as a check and balance of the Executive Branch and he is failing miserably. I wonder how many people in his home state of Kentucky will feel the effects of this shutdown and McConnell’s refusal to do anything to re-open the government.

What’s even worse is that members of the Trump Administration are tone-deaf regarding the plight of the federal employees (as well as those who work for federal government contractors) not receiving a paycheck. One person said that these workers are somehow better off. The administration also suggested that furloughed federal employees do odd jobs for their landlords in exchange for rent while the Coast Guard suggested that its furloughed employees hold garage sales and babysit children as a way of raising cash.

Unbelievable!

Every other previous president had either been elected to a lower office, served in the military, or have done both. Donald Trump is the first president to have done neither. It is so obvious that he is ill-suited for the job. He came from a wealthy background and the only jobs he has ever held were in his family-owned business. He rarely had to face the consequences of his actions, even when he was a young child. Donald Trump was never raised with the sense of noblesse oblige towards those less fortunate than him, unlike the Kennedys or Britain’s royal family. He managed to go through several bankruptcies yet he was the host of a reality TV show that portrayed him as a successful businessman, contrary to what various staffers of The Apprentice witnessed behind the scenes. He also seems to have the mind of an overgrown child who has never matured. He actually alluded to the size of his penis during one of the Republican debates and this trait has rubbed off on his eldest son. (Talk about the penis measuring contest from hell.)

This is what happens when a country elects a leader with a background like Donald Trump.

Trump did promise that he would run the government like a business. At least that’s one promise that he has kept. (LOL!) The New York Times currently has a timeline of what has happened as well as what could happen if the shutdown lasts any longer. Some economists are predicting even more horrible consequences for the U.S. if this shutdown lasts past February.

For many months I used to lie in bed wishing that I could be on the same economic level like the rest of my friends and family. What I really meant is that I wanted a steady job that I could support myself with, not to have my friends who are employed with either the federal government or a contractor end up going to similar things that I went through last year (due to my alimony running out and having a difficult time with finding a steady job). I see no end in sight for this shutdown and there’s a probability of more drama to come. The latest news is that Trump plans on keeping the federal government shut while the FBI has opened an inquiry on whether Trump has been working secretly on behalf of the Russians.

I really don’t see an end to this massive chaos, which is why I still stand by my original prediction I made nearly two years ago that Donald Trump won’t make it past his first term in office.

How a man fooled the online world into believing that he was a heavy metal rock star named Jered Threatin.

Berlin regulates Airbnb and safely deflates its housing bubble while retuning 8,000 rentals to the market.

Stop patronizing the working class.

Depression era dishes: Nine budget recipes that are still good enough to eat today.

Automating inequality: Using algorithms to create a modern “digital poor-house.”

Motorists falsely arrested on DUI charges describe the life-ruining results.

Ten amazing true-life passenger stories from the Titanic disaster.

“Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal”: Employees say Whole Foods is using “scorecards” to punish them.

Short-termism led the Democratic Party to let unions die and now they’ve lost their base.

Airbnb guests repeatedly discover hidden cameras in the homes they rent.

America’s underpaid workforce imperils U.S. and global economies.

Jesus was a pronto-communist Jewish hobo who criticized the rich.

An unexpected find: A dinosaur tail discovered trapped in amber.

The invisibility of being old, disabled, or both.

The dark aftermath of 1968’s murder, revolution, and protest is nearly forgotten.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

A self-proclaimed “mommy blogger” named Christie Tate is currently getting roasted online for her blogging antics. Here’s some background. Christie Tate has been blogging for over a decade about her personal life, which resulted in her writings being published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and many others.

When she became a mother she began to blog extensively about her children starting from the time they were newborns and she even used their real names while divulging personal stuff about them like potty training.

Recently her nine-year-old daughter received her first laptop and she decided to do a search online where she discovered the many pictures and blog posts her mother had written about her over the years. The daughter was naturally mortified to read stuff like the time her mother devoted a blog post about the girl’s “rather tenacious case of diarrhea.”

The daughter begged her mother to please stop writing about her online. The mother refused saying “Promising not to write about her anymore would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her.”

Naturally people began to attack Christie Tate online for her refusal to honor her nine-year-old daughter’s request and the BuzzFeed article had plenty of comments condemning Christie Tate. But those were mild compared to what I’ve read at the celebrity gossip community Oh No They Didn’t!

But if you think that Christie Tate blogging about her young daughter and ignoring the girl’s plea to stop is bad enough, here’s another thing that she has blogged about that really exposes her as a downright horrible person. Back in 2016 she wrote this post about how she had been regularly attending group therapy sessions and she decided to write a book based on those real-life sessions, including what her fellow attendees have said in confidentiality at those sessions. As this post states:

The first draft is done now.  My beautiful, bloated, crammed-up first draft. They’re in there. They all are, because they’re part of the story. Right now they appear with their given names, their actual hair color. I’m told (by the therapist and the writing people) I’ll have to make them composites: change their genders, move them from the city to far western suburbs, change their struggles from fidelity to chronic debt.

That’s all coming. But right now it’s my story and I need to tell it unencumbered by pseudonyms and scrambled voices.

When one of her fellow attendees learned about her planned book project, he was naturally upset at the prospect of what he said in what he thought were confidential group sessions being turned into fodder for her book. Here is what she wrote about this:

I resent him for making me fight for the story. I should be free to wallow in a single pool of fear about whether I’ll ever see a book through to publication. I don’t wait to divide my time between who am I hurting? and will I ever?

Holy shit! What a self-centered cunt! The story that’s she’s being forced to fight for is not even her story. That story belonged to her fellow attendee. He’s the one who should decide whether he should ever make his own story public in a book or blog post—not her. He’s not some major public figure like a politician or rock star, he’s just an average person who only attended those group therapy sessions in order to help himself with improving his life not providing inspiration for Christie Tate’s book.

That blog post especially rankles me because I started the first week of 2012 attending my first meeting of a weekly support group for people who are separated or divorced. My husband abruptly walked out on me just three days after Christmas, 2011. I spent New Year’s Eve crying in the office of a Unitarian Universalist minister at a different church from the one I usually attended because the then-minister at my church was out of town and this minister was filling in for her. She was the one who recommended that group to me and I attended my first meeting on the first Thursday after New Year’s Day.

Unlike Christie Tate I have never written anything online about what goes on in these meetings. That’s because the group has a very strict confidentiality rule where we are discouraged from telling outsiders what exactly is said in those meetings and who said it. In fact, each meeting ends with a facilitator saying “Remember what is said here, stays here!” Sometimes the meetings will begin with the facilitator telling attendees why everyone needs to observe the confidentiality rule, especially regarding what a fellow attendee has said in a certain meeting. Basically people need a safe space where they can freely express their personal feelings about what happened in their marital breakups without worrying that someone like Christie Tate will decide to write a book based on what is said in those meetings.

That support group was a godsend to me when my husband abruptly ran away from home and started to engage in behavior that totally shocked not only me but many of our longtime friends. My fellow attendees have told their own stories of what went wrong in their marriages, which included things like infidelity, alcoholism, workaholism, spousal abuse, mental illness, drug addiction, gambling addiction, too much shopping, and Internet porn. The stories I’ve heard over the past few years would make great fodder for this blog and even a book.

But you’ll never see me write such blog posts or even a book because for me to do so would be literally stabbing that support group in the back after it has done so much to help me weather through my divorce.

The people who attend divorce recovery meetings are trying to understand why their marriages failed while trying to heal from their recent traumas stemming from their separation and divorce. They hope to gain insights from these meetings in order to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. They aren’t there to serve as inspirations for a blogger or book writer.

I’m sure that the people who attended the same group therapy sessions with Christie Tate were also there making a sincere effort to gain insights on how to improve their lives and stop making the same mistakes over and over. They weren’t there to serve as fodder for her public writings.

Then there is the issue of royalties regarding that book. Did Christie Tate agree to split her royalties with the people in her therapy group since their stories were the only reason why she felt it was possible to write her book in the first place? While I can’t say for sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if she is keeping all of the royalties she earned for herself and she has no intentions of ever splitting them with anyone else.

Christie Tate is still married as of this writing. (I assume that her husband either doesn’t know about or knows yet tolerates the fact that she wrote blog posts like My Husband Doesn’t Know I Am Posting Our Texts and My Husband Doesn’t Know I Am Posting Our Texts: The Willie Nelson Edition.) I hope she stays married because I would hate for her to decide to join a divorce recovery group similar to the one I joined and end up using it for her blog posts and a new book project. No divorce recovery group deserves to have a totally self-centered cunt like Christie Tate attend its meetings.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, one day in the future, Christie Tate finds herself totally alone with no friends while her children refuse to speak to her. I wouldn’t blame anyone for cutting her out of their lives because she can’t be trusted. After all, anyone who confides in Christie Tate about anything will risk having that confidentiality being posted online in her blog so why bother with her?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Santa Claus

A free tutorial on how to make angels from used dryer sheets.

Laid-off Sears workers left with nothing—and they say wealthy bosses are to blame.

What you can do about bullying in assisted living.

Man made $2,500 in a day buying Monopoly for Millennials at Walmart and selling them online.

How Mark Burnett resurrected Donald Trump as an icon of American success.

Why we’re underestimating the American collapse.

The Elf on the Shelf is a surveillance-normalizing little creep.

Sheryl Sandberg saga shows that it’s time to lean out of corporate feminism.

Holy hypocrisy: Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels, and the religious right.

Calamityware now makes porcelain ornaments with its signature disaster scenes.

Robert Reich makes his UC Berkeley course on Wealth and Inequality in America available on Facebook.

Does America have a caste system?

Severn bridges stop taking tolls after 800 years.

Democrats have hijacked the anti-Trump resistance.

Mass shooters aren’t self-loathing—they are humiliated narcissists.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Santa Claus

As you may know, I did a special event in this blog known as The 12 Drawings of Christmas where each day from December 21, 2018-January 1, 2019 I uploaded a new drawing. It’s similar to what I did for Inktober with a few exceptions: 1) I only did 12 drawings over a 12-day period instead of doing 31 drawings over a 31-day period and 2) unlike Inktober, where the drawings have to be done in ink (pencil can be used as an underdrawing as long as the finished drawing is inked over), I permitted myself to use whatever drawing medium I wanted. It helped that this was something I did on my own instead of an organized event like Inktober so I could control what media I wanted to use. It also helped that I only had to deal with doing 12 drawings instead of 31 drawings.

It was pretty liberating to allow myself to use any media that I wanted, in contrast to Inktober where I am only limited to just ink. I’m financially struggling at the moment so I have to limit myself to using cheap pens that I can find on sale at Target and Five Below. These pens don’t really have a wide variety of shades, especially certain colors like brown (which I can only find in dark brown among the cheap pens). Buying something like Copic markers is just not in my budge at the moment. At least with the more media variety I allowed myself for The 12 Drawings of Christmas, I could switch to colored pencils if I didn’t have an ink pen in a certain shade that I needed (such as light brown).

Working on The 12 Drawings of Christmas was basically a more laid-back experience than Inktober since I only had to worry about 12 days. I did one drawing based on a song lyric and one political drawing but the rest was basically fan art. The only real snag were the two-day period where I drew Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen followed by Abbey Bominable from Mattel’s line of Monster High dolls the next day. I drew both drawings based on the dolls that I currently own in real life. Both dolls wore a piece of clothing that was made from tulle and both tulle clothing had snowflakes on them. It was a bear trying to simulate tulle with my ink pens then trying to draw snowflakes on top of that.

The results were worth it, especially since these two drawings face each other directly in my sketchbook, which created a certain kind of unity between my drawings of these two very different females.

After spending two days in a row on relatively challenging drawings, I spent the rest of that 12-day period doing simple drawings based on free tutorials I found on websites like How to Draw Step by Step Drawing Tutorials and Easy Drawing Tutorials. I find that it doesn’t hurt for a trained artist like myself to use tutorials because I could use a refresher on how to draw something a certain way every now and then.

Unlike Inktober I never approached the feeling of being burned out. That’s because I worked on far fewer drawings than Inktober so I only had to worry about creating 12 drawings instead of 31 drawings.

Like Inktober I wrote blog posts about my drawings and I uploaded them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Jobcase. The main difference is that I also uploaded the drawings in the off-topic section of this political discussion forum that I belong to. I usually don’t do this but I thought that my online friends could use some cheering up after the recent death of a longtime member known as Moomba so close to Christmas. I got some pretty positive response to my drawings in that forum.

I also got some positive responses from my Facebook friends whom I know in real life. One night I went to a local cafe where one of them asked me in person when I was going to upload my next drawing. That was cool.

I also did a video version of The 12 Drawings of Christmas that I uploaded on to YouTube on New Year’s Day (the same day that I did my last drawing in that series). In case you’ve missed all or part of my series, you can view the video below.

You can also look at The 12 Drawings of Christmas blog category to view the original posts.

Ever since Inktober I figured out how to count “Likes” on Twitter (which I wasn’t able to figure out before so I didn’t count any Twitter “Likes” when I tabulated the original Inktober “Likes” a few months ago). So, for this round of counting “Likes” on the 12 Drawings of Christmas, I was able to include Twitter for the first time along with counting “Likes” on Instagram, Flickr, and this blog.

While I was working on The 12 Drawings of Christmas, I tried to predict which of my drawings would get the most “Likes”. I thought that my drawing of Elsa from Frozen would be the winner because that film still continues to be popular plus I’m still seeing new Frozen spin-off products in the stores (especially toys) years after Disney released that film. I also thought that my drawing of Kizuna Ai would also have a chance at the number one slot mainly because she is a virtual YouTube star who has gained a huge cult following plus I had her along with Santa and Mrs. Claus attempt to emulate that distracted guy meme that has been passed around the Internet for the past year.

I was wrong on both counts. I found out that the first place winner by a landslide was my drawing of Wysa the penguin mascot of the Wysa smartphone app. My drawing of Kizuna Ai and the Clauses ended up in second place but it was a very distant second since Wysa got 90 “Likes” while Kizuna Ai and the Clauses only got 28 “Likes.” (Remember, the counts were based the reactions on three different social media sites and this blog.)

Here’s the complete list of the drawings in my 12 Drawings of Christmas series ranging from the most popular (or most “Likes”) to the least popular (or fewest “Likes”).

First Place: Wysa the penguin.

Second Place: Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Kizuna Ai.

Third Place: Partridge in a pear tree.

Fourth Place: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Fifth Place: The Grinch.

Sixth Place: Abbey Bominable from Monster High.

Seventh Place (Tied): Krampus taking Donald Trump away and Olaf the talking snowman from the Disney movie Frozen.

Eighth Place: Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen.

Ninth Place: Christkind.

Tenth Place: Baby New Year.

Eleventh Place: Nutcracker.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com.

Santa Claus

I went to a Winter Solstice party at the home of a couple of my friends. The party began with an outdoor Winter Solstice ritual around a bonfire.

The party began in earnest after the ritual ended as people socialized and ate the food that many of the guests provided. (It was a potluck party. I brought a couple bags of potato chips.)

The house kitten also enjoyed himself as well.

The last two photos show this festive chocolate cake that the hosts provided.

In some ways this party is poignant because it was the last party before my friends’ recent move to New Hampshire. They intend to hold on to their Maryland home as rental property but from now on they intend to spend the bulk of their time in New Hampshire. I’m Facebook friends with both of them but I’ll still miss not seeing them in person on a regular basis.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Santa Claus Baby New Year

Here’s my latest drawing in my 12 Drawings of Christmas series: Baby New Year.

Baby New Year came from a free tutorial I found on How to Draw Step by Step Drawing Tutorials. I found the instructions pretty easy to follow and I was satisfied with the results.

This drawing represents both a beginning and an end—the Alpha and the Omega. This drawing is my first art of 2019 and I did it on the first day of a brand new year. This drawing is also the last one of my 12 Drawings of Christmas series. All good things must come to an end sometimes and the 12 Drawings of Christmas is one of them.

After today I’ll still do the occasional drawing in my sketchbook and upload it online but I won’t be doing it on a daily basis like I’ve been doing for the past 12 days. Anyway I hope you enjoyed my drawings and please feel free to come back to this blog for updates on any projects that I’m working on.

And on that note, Happy New Year!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Santa Claus

Earlier this month I went to my church’s annual Holiday Warm-Up Party where I took these photos.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

A week before the party I took part in a local event where I made a Norwegian-style heart-shaped paper ornament. I ended up bringing that ornament to the party where I hung it on the Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

The festivities included trimming the Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

We had a singalong where we sang a variety of Hanukkah and Christmas music.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

We also played a few rounds of Charades.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Here is what the church’s Christmas Tree looked like by the end of the party.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Previous Entries

Categories

Advertisements