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Twitter verifies Jason Kessler, the organizer of the White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in violence that left one person dead.

A historian explains why the Founding Fathers would be baffled by conservatives’ obsession with flag worship.

90-year-old Czech grandma turns small village into her art gallery by hand-painting flowers on its houses.

Have Turkish archaeologists found the final resting place of Saint Nick?

Has the original Santa Claus been found in Turkey?

Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.

America is not a society that values human life.

Voices from the anti-Trump resistance.

Hogwarts actually exists? Here are 10 real-life schools for magic.

How much should you charge a band for CD and album cover art?

Yes, Stephen Paddock fits the mass shooter profile.

MilkLeaks chronicles the very worst of alt-right agitator Baked Alaska.

Giant straw animal sculptures invade Japanese fields after rice harvest.

Don’t tell Grandma but cross-stitch embroidery has an extreme side.

Americans are now paranoid that robots will toss their resumes in the trash.

We can’t ban guns in America, but we managed to ban all this other stuff.

The rise and fall of the word “Monopoly” in American life.

A disturbing dispatch from Seattle’s super secret white nationalist convention.

How Trump’s focus on working class men hurts working class women.

“X” marks the spot where economic inequality took root.

It’s time to talk about what’s radicalizing white male terrorists.

The Smithsonian presents a gallery of 6,000+ rare rock and roll photos on a crowdsourced web site, and now a new book. 11:30 am

What you need to know about the tech support scams that target senior citizens who own computers.

7 DIY projects for your old t-shirts.

A cashless society would destroy our privacy and freedom.

Twenty-one colorful cubes compose Denmark’s newly opened LEGO house.

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I never thought I felt the need to write a sequel to Fuck You, George Takei (and Every Other Hollywood Sexual Predator)! so soon but then Al Franken happened.

Like George Takei I had long followed Al Franken’s career starting with his days on Saturday Night Live. I read a few of his books and I was thrilled when he was elected to the Senate because I agreed with nearly all of his political positions.

First there was that account about how he had pressured a reluctant television news anchor into French kissing him during rehearsals for an upcoming show for the U.S. troops then had a photo shot of him placing his hands on that same woman’s breasts while she was taking a nap.

The good news was that he owned up to that behavior and publicly apologized for it, unlike George Takei, who has blamed Russian bots for his predicament. The bad news is that today a second woman had come forward with her tale about how he was stalking her in her own home soon after the two of them had appeared on a television talk show and they had gotten into an argument on the air about a certain issue.

I’m just as done with Al Franken as I am with George Takei. While I admire both of them for their stands on various political and social issues, I can’t support or justify sexual harassment, sexual assault, or stalking. Besides there are a lot of other people out there who have also done admirable things and taken principled stands on certain issues who don’t engage in rape, stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or anything similarly disgusting.

FUCK YOU TOO, AL FRANKEN!

P.S. If you’re a man or a woman who has survived sexual assault and/or rape and you’re having a hard time dealing with it, there is help for you. Contact RAINN either through its hotline (which is open 24 hours a day) at 1-800-656-4673 or online at rainn.org.

UPDATE: (November 20, 2017): And the accusations just keep on coming. A woman has accused Al Franken of squeezing her buttocks as her husband was taking a picture of the two of them together.

I’ve been watching with dismay over how the Hollywood sexual predator scandal has been unfolding over the past few weeks. Initially it was just Harvey Weinstein, whom I decided to lampoon in an ink drawing since that scandal originally broke during Inktober.

But then some of Weinstein’s accusers collaborated on this Google Doc (I have to insert a trigger warning here since it provides the gory details about Weinstein’s alleged sexual predatory behavior ranging from sexual harassment to rape) and his reputation is pretty much toast at this point. On top of it, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and a whole bunch of other Hollywood people have been accused of similar disgusting actions.

I saw this post on the Uncustomary blog titled Fuck You, Louis C.K. where she expresses disgust and disappointment to someone whom she had long admired and had even attended a few of his shows. I can understand her feelings, especially since I recently had to take a hard look at a different famous person whom I had long admired. In a way I wasn’t too surprised about Louis C.K. since I had long heard rumors that he had a nasty, misogynous streak. However, the person I’m writing about is different because he had been a part of my life since childhood and he seemed to be the opposite of Louis C.K. in terms of temperament and personality. His name is George Takei.

I spent a large portion of my childhood watching reruns of the original 1960’s Star Trek series, which included George Takei playing the role of Sulu alongside a multi-racial and multi-ethnic cast. As an adult I watched an older George Takei reprise his role as Sulu in a few of the Star Trek feature films. I’ll admit that I mainly saw his acting work in Star Trek. (The only non-Star Trek movie I ever saw George Takei in was The Green Berets, which starred John Wayne. I saw part of that film on TV once and I have to say that it didn’t impress me all that much, which was why I either changed the channel or turned the TV off so I didn’t see the whole thing.) Like many of the other Star Trek actors, George Takei had a difficult time finding work after the series ended because he not only had to deal with typecasting as being capable of doing only science fiction space epics but he also had to deal with being an Asian American actor in a field that tends to heavily favor white men.

I began to see George Takei in a different, more positive light when he started to speak out about his past. He was born to a Japanese American family that was sent to an interment camp soon after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He talked about what it was like being forced to grow up in a place like that and how it affected his family. It wasn’t too long ago that there was a Broadway show called Allegiance, which was loosely based on Takei’s childhood in that internment camp.

But then he came out as gay a few years ago. I never held it against him that he waited until he became a senior citizen before he came out because I knew that had he come out in the 1960s or 1970s, there was a strong chance that his acting career would’ve been ended prematurely. (Despite the start of the gay rights movement in the late 1960s, homophobia was still very rampant in those days. In some ways homophobia is still strong in this country but that’s another story altogether.) He began to use his celebrity to fight for marriage equality and he publicly married his longtime partner, Brad, back when it was uncertain as to whether same-sex marriage would even be legally recognized in the long-run. I began to really admire him for doing that.

In a way his coming out had renewed his career in the public eye. I began to follow him on social media and I enjoyed his posts. I purchased this ebook, Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I even shot this picture of a faded poster featuring George Takei, which was hung in the window of the local Social Security office back in 2013 when I was there filling out forms notifying them of my recent name change (which came about as a result of my divorce).

George Takei Poster

When George Takei and his husband, Brad, did a short-lived YouTube series called It Takeis Two, I watched it and enjoyed it. I thought it was totally hilarious yet it was every endearing, especially in the scenes that focused on just George and Brad. (Due to recent circumstances, I refuse to link to this series so you’ll have to do your own Google search if you’re curious.)

It all came crashing down just a few days ago when a onetime male model gave an interview where he claimed that George Takei sexually assaulted him while he was drunk back in 1981. (I have to insert a trigger warning here since it contains a graphic description of that assault.) I felt dismay at first. I found myself wishing that this alleged victim was just a crazy fan who was unusually obsessed with Takei and he was taking that obsession way too far. I know that celebrities have to frequently deal with such crazy fans. I’m old enough to remember when John Lennon was murdered by an obsessed fan outside his own home and Selena was murdered by the president of her own fan club.

But then I had to take another look at this story when this interview George Takei did on Howard Stern’s show last month surfaced and, to be blunt, it didn’t make him look good at all. I heard that interview and I found it to be too reminiscent of Donald Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” Access Hollywood bus recording in that Takei sounded more like a sexually predatory creep.

He dug an even deeper hole for himself when he then claimed on Twitter that Russian bots are behind the sexual assault allegations. He deleted that tweet but not before so many people had made screenshots and they simply re-uploaded that screenshot online.

Now he’s saying that he was just playing the role of the “naughty gay grandpa” on Howard Stern’s show and he really didn’t mean what he said on that show. Had Howard Stern’s show been a TV network situation comedy that is scripted by writers, this explanation would’ve been very plausible. However, Howard Stern’s show is basically a talk show (albeit one that’s emceed by a shock jock who will say anything outrageous on the air just for pure shock value). People who appear on talk shows tend to tell true-life stories about themselves—including the ones who only make such appearances in order to promote their latest book/movie/TV show/website/etc. Howard Stern’s show is no different. Stern may be more raunchy than a typical media interviewer but he is still basically a talk show host.

Given what has happened over the past few days, I wouldn’t be surprised if Takei’s response to the sexual assault allegation will one day be discussed in a college-level public relations class as a case study on how NOT to respond to a potential career-ending scandal.

But seriously I’m pissed off at him. I used to think he was basically a good guy who was willing to use his celebrity for a good cause (marriage equality). Now I know better. George Takei is no better than the other Hollywood public figures who have been named in this scandal.

The only silver lining is that a couple of years ago I had a chance to actually see George Takei in person when he and fellow Star Trek alum William Shatner made an appearance at Awesome Con in Washington, DC. I knew I would never be able to afford the extra fees required (in addition to the basic admission fee to enter the convention itself) so I could get an autograph and have my picture taken with him. I had hoped to be able to see him from afar and maybe check out any panel that he was participating in. It turned out that I didn’t go to Awesome Con at all that year because my finances were too tight to even afford the basic admission. I used to regret missing out on the chance to see George Takei in person. Now I’m no longer regretting it. I’m just glad I wasn’t among the throng of people who paid extra money for that autograph and photo because I can only imagine trying to decide what to do with these expensive items in light of that scandal.

The good thing about this scandal is that it is separating the wheat from the chaff in terms of how it is bringing out both the best and the worst in people. I was heartened when Gal Gadot announced that she would not do any more Wonder Woman films unless an accused sexual harasser was permanently removed from that project. While I enjoyed Gadot’s role in Wonder Woman, I really respect her stance. It would be a disgusting irony if a film franchise featuring a strong woman superhero that champions female empowerment would continue to employ an accused sexual harasser. One of that accused sexual harasser’s victims, Ellen Page, wrote an eloquent yet harrowing Facebook post about how he tried to force her out of the closet before she was ready to do so. (While Page eventually came out as a lesbian, at least she did it of her own volition when she did this. I have LGBTQ friends who told me that coming out is such a long process that requires a lot of mental and emotional preparation. Forcing someone out of the closet before he/she is fully ready to come out have led to major trauma and sometimes that person will attempt suicide as a result.)

Last weekend I pulled out my DVD copy of Clerks, which is the only Miramax movie I currently own, and watched it. I still enjoyed the movie as much as I enjoyed it the previous times. I only flinched when I saw the closing credits where the director, Kevin Smith, thanked Harvey Weinstein for introducing him to the best potato skins he had ever eaten. Recently Kevin Smith announced that he will donate all future royalties from the movies he made for both Miramax and The Weinstein Company—including Clerks—to the non-profit organization Women in Film.

While Gal Gadot and Kevin Smith are trying to do what they can to rectify the ongoing Hollywood sexual pervert scandal, unfortunately there are still people like George Takei who will eventually end up on the wrong side of history. As for me, I’m done with George Takei. I plan on unfollowing him on all social media and I will never again purchase any more ebooks with his byline. I will follow suit with any other famous person whom I had previously admire because sexual harassment/sexual assault/rape against any woman, man, or child has no place in this society. It is not cool or awesome and I don’t want my money to support something like this.

FUCK YOU, GEORGE TAKEI (AND EVERY OTHER HOLLYWOOD SEXUAL PREDATOR)!

UPDATE (November 17, 2017): In the midst of writing and uploading this rant late at night, I forgot to include something. If you’re a man or a woman who has survived sexual assault and/or rape and you’re having a hard time dealing with it, there is help for you. Contact RAINN either through its hotline (which is open 24 hours a day) at 1-800-656-4673 or online at rainn.org.

By the way, check out my sequel to this post: Fuck You Too, Al Franken!

I’m finally towards the end of the backlog of Halloween pictures I’ve been meaning to share online. Last month I got diverted by Inktober, where I was one of many artists who created one new ink drawing every day from October 1-31 then uploaded that drawing on social media and other online places. At first I thought it was fun but, by the end of the month, I began to totally burn out on this. It’s amazing how much time a daily project like this takes out of your day. (Which is why I’ve declined to take part in either NaNoWriMo or Makevember, which are both taking place this month.)

While I was finishing the last drawings for Inktober, I took part in a few weekend events. Friday I went on the First Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville then went to the tail end of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. I ended up filming The Mojo Priests’ performance at the nearby New Deal Cafe after the director of this documentary that I’ve been helping out with contacted me at the last minute because he decided that he wanted footage of not only The Mojo Priests but also another band that would perform at the same venue the following night. Saturday afternoon I decided to check out some Halloween-related things that were going on in Annapolis. Saturday evening I went on the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk then I headed back to the New Deal Cafe where I filmed some footage of The Wild Anacostias. Sunday morning was the Halloween/Samhain service at my church followed by the Trunk or Treat event followed by helping with teaching an English class that my church is offering to recent immigrants.

So I got to Monday, October 30, the day before Halloween. I thought I would have a day to rest only to realize that last week I signed up for this twilight networking event that would be held from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Maryland Workforce Exchange in Laurel. By that point I was reluctant to go, especially since I had attended previous twilight networking events since January and the best I was able to get as a result was to snag a gig as an extra for a PBS television special hosted by finance guru Ric Edelman. (I found it to be an interesting experience but I really needed something a bit more permanent with a steady paycheck.) I decided to go because I felt that if I didn’t go, it would be the one networking event where there was a genuine opportunity and I would miss out on it.

I arrived in Laurel a few hours early in order to beat the rush hour traffic. Usually I would eat an early dinner at Harris Teeter at 4 p.m. so I wouldn’t go networking with strangers on an empty stomach. When I arrived, I began to feel mildly queasy, which I wrote off as nerves. (In hindsight I think it was the beginning of that stomach flu that had totally derailed me the next day on Halloween itself.) I found that there was a temporary Halloween store next to Harris Teeter known as Halloween City.

Sure I felt a little bit queasy but I felt that doing a detour in this store would calm my nerves (this was when I thought that it was stress-related instead of the beginnings of that stomach flu). I felt okay as I focused more on what I saw on sale and less on my very mild queasiness. Halloween City is like the Spirit of Halloween in that it’s a temporary store that sets up shop in an empty storefront until Halloween and it sells a variety of decorations, costumes, makeup, and masks.

I found a few Native American costumes that I’m not sure if Native American groups would approve of. In recent years various ethnic groups, including Native Americans, have complained about certain costumes based on their culture while deriving them as cultural appropriation.

The rest of the store featured more benign costumes such as witches, ghosts, superheroes, grim reapers, and more.

There was a special Day of the Dead rack where people can purchase costumes for that traditional Mexican holiday (which falls on November 1-2).

There was this incredibly creepy looking Vladimir Putin mask.

It was a brief visit and I didn’t buy anything in that store. After that visit I went to Harris Teeter where I ate my early dinner. My queasiness had totally subsided after I finished eating so that was why I thought it was nerves rather than the stomach flu. I managed to go through the twilight networking event with no major problems. There were a couple of promising leads so I was glad I went. However, I ended up not following up on them until the next week due to what came the next day.

After the event ended I went to Giant where I found this pumpkin that was on sale so I bought it. I drove to another grocery store also in Laurel where I found even cheaper pumpkins so I bought that one as well. So I had two additional pumpkins that would join the pumpkin I purchased earlier at Clark’s Elioak Farm. I spent the rest of the evening carving faces into my three pumpkins in preparation for Halloween the next day until it was bedtime.

When I woke up the next morning I really felt horrible. The mild queasy feeling I felt the day before had intensified and I spent Halloween day alternating between diarrhea and vomiting (except I was doing more dry heaves than actually throwing anything up). I felt so horrible that I was barely able to give out the Halloween pretzel treats to the trick or treaters who came to my door. I was invited to a party at a friend’s house that would begin once the official trick or treating time ended at 8 p.m. but I ended up going to Giant instead because I was running low on toilet paper and medication. I went to bed early when I returned home.

The worst part of the stomach flu was gone by the next day but I was extremely tired and weak. I spent the rest of that week just resting.

I think what happened is that I had done so much in the days leading up to Halloween that it made my body more susceptible to catching whatever germs were going around and I happened to end up with the stomach flu on Halloween. I’ve had other friends getting sick with something similar so I think there’s something that’s going around and I was unlucky enough to catch it just in time for Halloween.

I’ve learned that I’m going to have to be more picky as to what holiday events I’ll go to and stop trying to attend as many as possible, even if they are all located within a few miles of each other. That’s a valuable lesson since Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are coming up in the near future.

American Flag

Let’s take a moment to remember the sacrifices our armed troops have made for this country on this Veterans Day holiday.

Now let’s go on to the links for this week.

A U.S. military veteran speaks out on the issue of whether NFL players should be allowed to take a knee or be required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

NFL players never used to stand for the national anthem before 2009, when the NFL switched it as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more patriotic.

Here are some ways people disrespect the flag daily based on flag code.

Niger is the perfect example of the US state of perma-war.

How Twitter killed the First Amendment.

Sorry, but Haribo gummies are reportedly made with slave labor.

Interesting and colorful paintings made with controlled pours.

Artist shows how people in other professions react when asked for free stuff.

How to be an artist, according to Bauhaus master Josef Albers.

Artists who caught companies and fake artists shamelessly copyright their work and selling it.

White people commit the most heinous crimes, so why is America terrified of black men?

11th-century herbal remedy guide now digitized and online.

Wall Street got a bailout, why not Puerto Rico?

One man’s hobby is to Photoshop himself into various celebrity photos in a hilarious way.

Facing poverty, adjunct professors in America turn to sex work and sleeping in cars.

How to master color theory.

Trumpism run amok: How Alabama’s GOP runoff explains the brave new world.

Profile of an American city where the government barely exists.

Is this the end of the job as we know it?

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why America should have seen Trump coming.

Leonardo da Vinci’s bizarre caricatures and monster drawings.

Hurricane Maria started in 1898: how America spent more than a century brutalizing Puerto Rico.

The United Nations says that robots could destabilize the world through war and unemployment.

How many Palm Beach mansions does a Wall Street tycoon need? As many as destroying America’s hometown newspapers can buy him.

Smithsonian digitizes and lets you download 40,000 works of Asian and American art for free.

I learned via Facebook that Third Eye Comics was having a Halloween ComicFest right in its store. Not only were there really cool sales but they had some free sample comic books to give away as well. (It’s almost like the annual Free Comic Book Day except it’s in October instead of May.) So I went down to Annapolis where I took these photos.

The one thing I’ve noticed is that there seems to be more comic books based on cartoons that I used to watch on television when I was a child.

I laughed at these comic books taking jabs at Donald Trump. I just wasn’t in the mood to buy them though because I’ve had more than my fill of Donald Trump and his constant need for attention. (I feel this way after he’s only been in office for 10 months.)

I’d never thought I would ever see Stan Lee action figures. (LOL!)

They have cloth dolls based on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic book series.

I laughed at seeing this set of Batman action figures all patterned after the rainbow flag. I wonder how many of my LGBTQ friends would be interested in that one? (LOL!)

A culinary-minded person can do some superhero-themed cooking.

I took advantage of the sales to purchase the three-volume graphic novel series Batgirl of Burnside. I checked the first and third volumes out of the public library a few months ago and I liked them really well. (My library frequently have this situation where, in the case of book series, it might have some volumes of a certain series but not all of them. Part of the reason is because people check them out but I’ve never seen the second volume of Batgirl of Burnside in my library ever. I looked for months and I’ve only seen the first and third volumes. I can only guess that some jerk checked out volume 2 and never returned it.)

I decided to check out the Spirit of Halloween as well. I originally was going to go to the one in Bowie since that was the one place where I knew such as store was operating until I did a quick search on Google Maps. I found that there was another Spirit of Halloween store that was just located one mile away from Third Eye Comics so I decided to go there instead.

The same shopping center had a lighthouse that was located next to a movie theater. The biggest irony is that the nearest body of water was located at least three miles away from where both the lighthouse and shopping center were located.

I arrived at the Spirit of Halloween where I took these photos, starting with the ways in which one could come dressed as either Donald Trump, Melania Trump, or Vladimir Putin.

I know that some of the Disney Moana-themed costumes have been controversial so I’m amazed that any store is still carrying them.

I purchased only one item from that Spirit of Halloween store. It’s a small gargoyle where, if you pressed its belly, its eyes light up and it says one of four phrases (such as “You are doomed!”). This gargoyle was perfect for decorating my car trunk for the Trunk or Treat event that took place at my church on the following day.

Silicon Valley is now using empathy as a marketing tool to sell virtual reality equipment.

The late Steve Erwin’s son is an award-winning photographer and these photos show why.

Why it’s hard to separate Woody Allen the director from Woody Allen the person.

Yes, you can make your own solar cells from white powdered donuts.

The first historical record of Jesus describes him as a “magician.”

An interesting looking crochet version of The Exorcist.

Obama goes from the White House to Wall Street in less than one year.

Amateur artist turns old flip-flops into amazing action figures.

12-year-old boy creates creepy yet awesome sculptures using found materials.

The psychedelic retro-futurism of Swedish artist Kilian Eng.

The making of the first hand-drawn VR cartoon.

People are attacking Kendall and Kylie Jenner for their racist handbags…again.

Ivanka Trump hides behind her White House job to avoid a copyright lawsuit.

LuLa Roe has just changed its return policy and its consultants are screwed.

Scenes from 30 movies re-enacted with LEGO bricks.

Eight before-and-after graffiti transformations that create beauty out of blankness.

World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall likens Donald Trump to a chimpanzee.

Bruce Springsteen lists 20 of his favorite books.

The chateau you should visit in France instead of Versailles.

Pepe the Frog’s creator has found a reliable way to fight the alt-right’s appropriation of his character.

Street-style photographers unite to proclaim #NoFreePhotos

How the band Rage Against the Machine predicted Donald Trump’s presidency 17 years ago.

This amazing tree that shows how languages are connected will change the way you see our world.

One woman’s quest to save Baltimore television, including some early footage featuring a young Oprah Winfrey.

Download Theft! A History of Music is a new free graphic novel exploring 2,000 years of musical borrowing.

Bic ballpoint pen portraits drawn on vintage maps and stationery by Mark Powell.

Dancing Skeleton

Today is the day after Halloween and the first day of the two-day Mexican holiday known as El Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). In addition, Inktober officially ended right on Halloween yesterday. I succeeded in drawing and uploading 31 ink drawings in 31 days from October 1-31. I finished Inktober at the same time as I ended up getting sick with this stomach flu where I constantly felt nauseous and I alternated between going through dry heaves and diarrhea. The fact that it also happened on the same day as Halloween totally sucks. I barely managed to get myself together enough to give out treats to the trick or treaters. Instead of going to a Halloween night party at a friend’s house, I had to make an emergency run to Giant after the official trick or treat time ended just so I could pick up some medication and toilet paper.

Today I feel better in that the dry heaves and diarrhea has subsided and I feel mostly tired. I took a nap today and I’ll probably go to bed early tonight so I can rest some more.

As I go over the drawings I did during the month, I realized that I could easily put them into certain categories (with many of those drawings falling under more than one category).

Animals: Penguin, panda bear, black cat, dinosaur, swan, pig, two former ride cars from the now-defunct Enchanted Forest amusement park shaped like a duckling and a swan, Willie the Whale, goat, and Zombie Dog.

Based on Dolls I Currently Own: Volks Dollfie Dream, Batgirl and Wonder Woman (with Donald Trump and by themselves).

Building: Crooked House.

Clark’s Elioak Farm: Two former ride cars from the now-defunct Enchanted Forest shaped like a duckling and a swan, the Crooked House, Willie the Whale, goat.

Death Penalty: Guillotine.

Friday the 13th: Black cat.

Halloween/Day of the Dead: The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, Goat Man, Zombie Dog, Day of the Dead skeleton, Frankenstein, Jack O’Lantern.

Hollywood Scandal: Harvey Weinstein.

My Own 100% Original Character: Zombie Dog.

Native American (For Indigenous Peoples Day a.k.a. Columbus Day): Wolf kachina.

Real People: Donald Trump with Jesus Christ, Donald Trump again (with Wonder Woman and Batgirl), Donald Trump yet again, Donald Trump one more time, Tom Petty, burlesque performer Reverend Valentine, Harvey Weinstein, my father-in-law, my mother (which also includes Elvis Presley), Madonna Girl Dale.

Religious-Related Drawings: Jesus Christ (with Donald Trump), Unitarian Universalist flaming chalice, wolf kachina.

People Who Celebrated a Birthday During Inktober: My mother.

People Who Died During Inktober: Tom Petty and my father-in-law.

Politics: Donald Trump with Jesus Christ, Donald Trump again (with Wonder Woman and Batgirl), Donald Trump yet again, Donald Trump one more time.

Relatives: My father-in-law and mother.

Superheroes: Batgirl and Wonder Woman together with Donald Trump and by themselves.

Supernatural Book/Movie Characters: The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and Frankenstein.

Virtual Models from Figurosity.com: Woman running with a gun, woman dressed in psychedelic tye-dye outfit holding a gun.

The biggest challenge for me is that working on a new drawing a day then uploading it online to this blog and various social media sites took a portion of my time that I could’ve spent doing other things (such as doing house cleaning, putting up Halloween decorations, sending out a few more resumes). That was the main reason why I had quit a previous effort to do one new drawing per day starting on January 1, 2016 (which was a New Year’s resolution). I think the reason why I was more successful at Inktober than my previous daily drawing effort last year was because I knew it was only for 31 days that I had to worry about doing a new drawing each day. After that I could draw as much or as little as I wanted.

Even though there was an official Inktober prompt list of one word for each different day, I was more interested in doing my own thing since this is the first year I participated in this. (Inktober has been going on since 2009.) I only used the official prompt list if I was stumped for inspiration. Now that I got my desire to draw whatever I wanted for Inktober out of my system, I’m thinking that if I was to do this again next year, I would discipline myself by sticking strictly with the prompt list. It would be a way to challenge myself, especially since I’m sure that there will be a word or two that will have me totally stumped at first.

The biggest benefit I got from Inktober is that I was able to learn which social media sites gave me the best exposure in terms of publicizing myself and my work. I uploaded my drawings to the current popular social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as well as other social media sites I haven’t posted anything in a while. These sites used to be relatively popular until they were overshadowed by Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. I decided to upload to them because I wanted to see if I should still bother with them. I found that the absolute worst were Flickr and Google+ because I only got one “Like” on both platforms and that was it. Tumblr was hit or miss in that I got maybe one or two Notes (which is Tumblr’s version of “Like”) for some of my drawings but there were others that got zero Notes. (The one drawing that got the most attention was the one I did of Tom Petty and that one only got four Notes.) Minds, the open source alternative social media site, was just as hit or miss as Tumblr in that I got maybe one or two “Likes” on some drawings but others were totally ignored.

By far the best response I got was on this blog and Instagram. In fact I got new followers on both platforms because of Inktober. Twitter came in at a close second in that I also got new followers as well as retweets. Facebook was surprisingly more of a mixed-bag. While I got a better response than Flickr, Google+, Tumblr, and Minds combined, the response rate was lower than this blog, Instagram, and Twitter.

The one major social media site that I didn’t use was LinkedIn because that one is more of a professional social media site and some of my drawings were either too political (such as the ones featuring Donald Trump) or the subject matter was one where I just didn’t feel comfortable in posting there (such as the one about the Harvey Weinstein action figure). I’ve seen people get chewed out on LinkedIn for posting anything that was even remotely controversial (especially one that’s political) and I’d rather avoid it since it’s common knowledge that would-be employers tend to look you up on LinkedIn to see if you’re someone they would even want to hire. I don’t want to lose out on any potential opportunity because of some post I made there.

It was time consuming to upload the same drawing on so many different social media sites per day but at least I gained knowledge on which ones are worth investing my time in promoting myself in the future so it was worth it in the end.

I also learned that there is certain value in practicing drawing only for yourself because you’ll never know when one of those drawings you’ve done have struck inspiration to do a regular art project based on what you’ve drawn. I’m thinking about doing a watercolor version of that swan I drew during Inktober because I really liked the results.

Another positive result of Inktober is that I discovered Figurosity.com and that site was valuable in providing virtual models for me to practice my drawing with. I plan to use that site for my drawing more often.

I also looked at other people’s Inktober drawings on social media and I was amazed by the amount of creativity I saw there. There were a few people who did some really ambitious things for Inktober. I saw some people do two or more drawings per day, which I personally admired since I found it a challenge to do even one new drawing in a small sketchbook every single day. I saw one guy who was working on a graphic novel and he decided to use Inktober to draw and ink one new page per day. There was another person who decided to use Inktober do a large complex drawing where the person inked just one section of that drawing each day with the goal being that the large complex drawing would be completed on October 31.

The biggest challenge with Inktober is to maintain my enthusiasm for continuing with drawing one new drawing per day then uploading it online. The first few days I was very eager and enthusiastic. But then I came down with this nasty cold but I continued to work through that cold even though my body wanted to get more sleep so it can knock off those cold germs. After I got rid of that cold I began to gradually view the daily Inktober sketches more and more as some time-consuming daily chore instead of something that I was excited and enthusiastic about. Even though I tried to keep the designs relatively simple and I used a small sketchpad, I still found myself burning out towards the end. This was especially true when I wanted to put up Halloween decorations or go to some Halloween-related local event only to remind myself that I needed to make time for my daily Inktober drawings.

By the last week I went to Clark’s Elioak Farm because I wanted to draw enough pencil sketches so I could just ink over them on the allotted day for the next few days. Then I spent one additional evening filling up my sketchbook with enough Halloween-themed pencil sketches to last me until the very end of the month.

But then I began to just burn out on even doing the ink over the pencil outlines, especially during that last weekend before Halloween. I started to partially-ink over more than one pencil sketch a day or two before the allotted date while leaving each one intentionally unfinished until the allotted date, when I would finish it so I could technically say that I did work on one new drawing per day each day during Inktober. One evening, about two nights before the end of Inktober, I used my free time to do the bulk of the inking on my scheduled drawings of the last two days while leaving just a small area of each drawing unfinished so I could spend less than 15 minutes completing each drawing on the allotted day.

I did it this way because I grew tired of spending anywhere from a half-an-hour to a full hour working on each new drawing then spending additional time photographing my drawing then uploading it on my various social media accounts. You may think that I was cheating but I don’t care. If I hadn’t done something like this, I would’ve grown so tired of spending a chunk of time on my Inktober sketch that I would’ve quit just days before October 31.

Right now I’m typing this in the early days of NaNoWriMo, which is something similar to Inktober where you spend every day in November writing your novel. I’ve read about people who are doing NaNoWriMo but I’m definitely not taking part in this. Spending time each day doing Inktober was enough for me without having to go from doing daily Inktober drawings in October to writing daily NaNoWriMo prose in November.

Now that Inktober is over, I’m going to take some time off from drawing on a daily basis because I have other things in my life that I need to focus on (such as the upcoming winter holidays in December). Ultimately I’m going to try doing a new drawing in my sketchbook at least once a month. I would do this by just working on that drawing in blocks of 15 minutes on a given day (and that would be only if I had extra time available for me to do such a drawing). I would keep on working on the same drawing, 15 minutes at a time and one day at a time, until I’m finished. Basically I want to practice my drawing but on a more leisurely schedule where I can balance that with other activities that require my attention at the same time.

Of course only time will tell whether I actually achieve this. (LOL!) But I’m willing to at least give it a try.

Here are a few things I would advise a person who’s thinking about doing either Inktober next year or simply wants to devote a different month to doing one drawing per day (such as December or March or June):

1. Don’t obsess too much about drawing supplies. I know the official Inktober site has a list of recommended supplies but some of these supplies (such as Micron pens) can be pretty expensive to those on a tight budget. If you can’t afford the recommended Inktober supplies, don’t fret. Just go with cheaper supplies instead. I did my Inktober drawings using a cheap pack of multicolored Paper Mate InkJoy pens that I purchased at Target for only $10. And I wasn’t the only one who didn’t use the best supplies either. I saw quite a few Inktober drawings that were done only with the cheap disposable blue ink Bic ballpoint pens and I found them to be just as interesting and well-done as the ones that were used with the more expensive pens. As for drawing paper, I would recommend shopping around because sometimes you can find the best bargains. Here’s one example: I’ve seen 9” x 12” (23 cm x 30 cm) sketchbook drawing pads on sale at my local Five Below store for only $5.

2. Use a small sketchbook that’s no bigger than 9” x 12” (23 cm x 30 cm). Not only will you fill up the page faster than with a larger sketchbook but a smaller sketchbook is more portable. I did my Inktober drawings using a 4” x 6” (10 cm x 15 cm) sketchbook. When I decided to travel to Clark’s Elioak Farm to do some more Inktober drawings, all I had to do was to put my sketchbook (along with my pens and pencils) in my purse and I was good to go. Heck, I saw some Inktober sketches online that were drawn on Post-It Notes.

3. If you can, try setting aside a certain time each day to work on your Inktober sketch. It could be when you wake up the first thing in the morning or after dinner or whenever. If you can’t commit to the same time every day, then just take advantage of whatever free time suddenly materializes to do your drawings. I’ve seen people admit that they did their Inktober sketches while riding public transportation on the way to or from their day jobs. I’ve even seen people admit that they did their drawings on the sly while being forced to sit in on a boring lecture at school or they took advantage of some downtime at work. Just do whatever works for you.

4. The one thing about Inktober I learned is that you can do some advance drawings in pencil as long as you wait until the designated day to do the final inking. In fact, I learned that this year’s official Inktober prompt list was put online two weeks before the month began so one could have the luxury to decide what he/she wanted to draw on the designated day and even do a rough sketch in pencil. I took advantage of this policy towards the end of the month when I began to burn out on doing a new drawing every day and I was in danger of quitting before the month was over. What I did was to go to Clark’s Elioak Farm, where I finished one new drawing in ink but I did other unfinished drawings in pencil that I could finish in ink over the next few days. By the time I finished that series, it was close to Halloween so I spent one evening just doing a pencil drawing of Madonna Girl Dale (who usually wears a costume in public all year round) followed by pencil drawings of traditional Halloween and Day of the Dead figures until the 31st drawing of the month. So I spent the last week of Inktober just coloring in one previously made pencil drawing in ink per day until I reached the last drawing on Halloween.

5. If you hit a rough patch where you really can’t focus on doing any complicated detailed drawings or you don’t have a lot of time to do anything too complex, just do a simple drawing that you can easily finish in 30 minutes or less. I experienced this challenge earlier this month when I came down with this horrible cold that literally left me feeling very weak and tired all the time. For those days I decided to do simple drawings of a penguin and a panda bear because those animals were relatively easy for me to draw quickly before I felt tired enough to take another nap. As an added bonus, those two drawings were basically black and white drawings so I didn’t have to do much thinking while I drew them. I also didn’t bother with drawing backgrounds because that would’ve been more time-consuming and I didn’t feel wide awake enough to draw something that would’ve been more complex.

6. Don’t be a perfectionist about your drawing. The whole purpose of Inktober is to practice your drawing, not focusing on being the next Rembrandt or Keith Haring. The idea is to do a quick drawing that can be done in a small part of your day.

7. Don’t be afraid of posting your drawings online, even if you personally feel less than enthusiastic about your latest drawing. I found that people tended to be really nice towards those who posted their Inktober drawings and many of them gave positive feedback. I personally didn’t encounter any cyberbullying in the month that I posted my Inktober drawings online. Just post your drawing online even if you personally don’t like it because there will be people who will like it better than you do.

Well, that’s it for Inktober 2017. I’ll end this post with a couple of embedded things in case you’ve missed some or all of the Inktober drawings I’ve been uploading over the past month. One is a YouTube video that includes some catchy background music.

If you prefer to view the pictures at your own pace without background music, you can view my Flickr album instead.

Inktober 2017

Donald Trump has been such a disaster from day one of his presidency that I’ve always been glad I never started a political blog because I would never get any rest. Every few days this man starts some new drama on Twitter that has me constantly rolling my eyes.

Then there is Trump’s messed-up interactions with children. First there was that lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump raped a 13-year-old girl (which was later withdrawn due to Trump’s election). Then there was that crazy incident at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll where a boy asked Trump to sign his hat. Trump signed it and, instead of giving the hat back to the kid, he tosses it into the crowd even though there were people shouting “NO!” If that wasn’t enough, there was that looney speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree where he talked about inappropriate topics like repealing the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

You’d think by this point that most parents would keep their children away from being physically anywhere near Donald Trump. But there are some parents out there who naively think that this time President Trump has learned from his past mistakes and he would be on his best behavior around their own children. How else can you describe yesterday’s incident where members of the DC media allowed their children to arrive to the White House dressed in their Halloween costumes so they can do some early trick-or-treating at the Oval Office?

Of course President Trump messed that one up as well. Here’s this headline:

Trump questions how media could produce “such beautiful children” at trick-or-treat event

But that’s not all he said around the kids yesterday. Here is what another headline said about Trump’s interaction with those trick-or-treaters:

Trump to Little Girl as He Hands Out Halloween Candy: “Well, You Have No Weight Problems, That’s the Good News, Right?”

In Trump’s world, it’s never too early to get girls to worry about their appearances, including gaining too much weight. There’s this old interview Trump did with his second wife, Marla Maples, where he said that their daughter Tiffany, who was only one year old at the time, has Marla’s legs and he even speculated about the size of Tiffany’s future breasts.

The fact that Donald Trump can’t even do something as simple as handing out treats to young costumed trick-or-treaters at Halloween says a lot about him—none of it very flattering. If I had children at home, I would never allow them to get anywhere near Trump ever because he would make that visit all about him, his need for constant attention, and his willingness to use children to score all kinds of attention for him while ignoring their needs and preferences.

The next major holidays coming up after Halloween are Thanksgiving and the Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa holidays. Parents really need to resist the temptation of a White House visit and keep their children at home because President Trump would just use them for his own ends.

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Target to hire 100,000 temporary holiday workers.

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Here is everything wrong with “Bodega,” the startup that destroys bodegas.

How Bullwinkle taught kids sophisticated political satire.

The financial crisis created a precariat army of RV-nomad seniors who serve as Amazon’s seasonal workers.

On white identity politics and American terrorism.

One woman intentionally dressed like a self-described “idiot” at London Fashion Week to see how easy it is to get noticed by the style bloggers.

Survivalist soldering: Mend wires without using electricity.

Polaroid returns to its instant-film roots.

The long list of who Hillary Clinton blames for her defeat in last year’s elections.

We see you, fake service dog owners. You’re running it for people who actually need them.

Union power is putting pressure on Silicon Valley’s tech giants.

Why you should never do work for “exposure” instead of pay.

How to use LEGOs to hold your cables.

How corporate capitalism looted democracy.

Amazon’s new headquarters should be in hell.

Raw picture portraits of the transient kids who travel on American’s trains.

The day that destroyed the working class and sowed the seeds of Trump.

Online gaming must confront its pathetic, disturbing racism.

Trump tweets bizarre narcissistic painting of him saving America by pulling US companies across an ocean on a barge.

40 years later, Talking Heads’ most valuable member is still its most under-recognized.

Maybe recruiters are keeping people out of work.

If you want to be a Nazi in America, pay the price.

Christian Siriano’s diverse new Barbie collection features nods to Solange, Leslie Jones, and more.

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