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20 highly inspirational rules of life a Japanese Buddhist wrote four centuries ago that may change your life.

A new study suggests that the lower your social class, the “wiser” you are.

Cards Against Humanity buys area of the U.S. border in an effort to prevent Donald Trump from building his wall.

Beautiful color photos of Paris taken 100 years ago—at the beginning of World War I and the end of La Belle Époque.

A 15-point guide to surviving authoritarianism.

How the residents of a wealthy Bristol district have managed to ban birds from the trees.

A look at the first translation of The Odyssey made by a woman classicist.

San Francisco animal shelter hires a robot to force out homeless people.

You think your job sucks? Take a look at some real conversations from the clients from hell.

Black leaders in Memphis buy city parks and remove Confederate statues.

Inside the library that holds the world’s rarest colors.

A video showing the dark past of Sea Monkeys.

I am buried alive in a Michigan prison.

How 12 teens invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless.

The Disney version of Donald Trump is 100 percent less awful than the real thing.

When life gives you a divorce, get drunk and set your dress on fire.

10 reasons to visit the only country where North Koreans can take a permanent vacation.

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Why entertainment public relations can be unprofitable despite having clients who hit the big time.

Art galleries are exhibiting the work of Grenfell Tower fire victim Khadija Saye.

A computer designed Stanley Black & Decker’s new tool, marking a big shift from relying on humans to do the job.

Permanent Japanese residency to be possible for foreigners with anime-related jobs after one year.

USA Today did an investigative report about how many truck drivers are forced into debt and frequently worked past exhaustion.

Someone purchased the first Apple computer that was released in 1976, the Apple-1, for $355,500 at an auction.

XOD: A new and open source visual programming language for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc.

How to choose standout fonts for your embroidery projects.

98-year-old Russ Gremel donated $2 million in stock to create a 395-acre wildlife refuge.

Why the last thing open source needs is more corporate oversight.

This Ethereum-backed art could be the future of collectibles.

These crochet baby flip-flops are too adorable.

Open source documentation is bad, but proprietary software is worse.

How these crochet octopuses are helping premature babies.

Home robot Kuri can now recognize pets, see and stream in HD.

Artificial intelligence dolls and robots are this year’s Christmas must-have toys.

German breeders develop open source plant seeds.

A free tutorial on how to make fake succulents from pine cones.

Download more than 2,500 images of vibrant Japanese woodblock prints and drawings from the Library of Congress for free.

Download 36 vintage Dadaist magazines (plus other avant-garde books, leaflets, and ephemera) for free.

30 years, 30 great anime titles.

For the past few years I’ve been attending a party at a friend’s place on Halloween. This year was the first year that I actually shot photos.

My friend had installed red light bulbs in the lamps, which gave off this really spooky vibe. I shot a bunch of photos with the flash turned off, which led to some really creepy effects.

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I took this next photo using a flash. That was the only time I used a flash that night.

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There was also a bonfire in the backyard where I took these last three photos.

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A couple of years ago I went to a party at the home of a person whom I met through my support group for people who are separated or divorced. She announced that she was having a bonfire and she invited people to bring anything they would like to burn. A couple of years ago I brought my wedding cake topper to burn, which I wrote about in this blog and I shot this short video.

Recently the same person was having another party with a bonfire at her home and she invited people to bring something to burn. I found something that had been hanging on the wall of my home that I thought would be proper to burn. It was a wedding present from my parents and it featured this embroidery piece that was handmade by my mother the placed in this lovely frame. It had hung in the living room of my home for many years and it still remained there after my husband literally ran away from home and subsequently divorced me.

I no longer wanted the embroidery piece as is. I couldn’t sell it on eBay because it was personalized with my name and my ex-husband’s name along with the date of our wedding. I thought of ways that I could somehow alter it and maybe use it in some kind of potential future arts and crafts project only to find that it really can’t be altered without ruining or destroying the piece.

I called my mother to see if she would want it back since she worked hard on it but she said she didn’t want it either (especially since it has my ex-husband’s name on it).

So I did what I felt I had to do. I removed the piece from the frame (which I kept because it’s really too lovely to destroy and I can definitely recycle it), brought it with me to the party, and burned it. I also made a video of its destruction.

The party hostess also provided sparklers for the guests to light (especially since it was the night before the Fourth of July holiday) and here’s a photo of one of the sparklers I lit using the bonfire.

sparkler

I did some volunteer work for the Bernie Sanders campaign in Greenbelt, Maryland and here are some scenic photos I took on the side.

One of my friends had graciously opened her home for people to come and do phone banking. The back of her home faces Greenbelt Lake, which is really lovely to see at sunset.

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One of the volunteers had posted this script that we were supposed to use while phone banking.

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After the second night of phone banking the hostess graciously started a fire in the backyard. I really loved the side design of the fire pit that she used.

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A couple of days later I did door to door canvassing around the neighborhood with a group of other people. While I was walking I saw this giant life sized garden gnome that caught my eye. Notice the size of that gnome next to the size of the gate.

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I think my New Year’s resolution of churning out one sketch a day was a bit too ambitious for me. I’ve decided to modify that resolution by only doing a new drawing in my sketchbook if I’m not working on anything else that’s creative on a certain day. So far this modified approach is working better for me than having to force myself to churn out one new sketch every single day.

First is this two-page spread dedicated to the recent death of David Bowie. The drawing of Bowie is based on this photo that I found posted on this site. As for the lyrics on the side, they came from the song “Station to Station”, which you can see a video featuring a live performance of that song right here.

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I usually don’t two page spreads in my sketchbook but I not only felt that David Bowie was an important enough person to warrant such a tribute but the design helped solved a problem that I encountered when I did the Ptolemy Stone sketch that I wrote about last week. What I didn’t mention in that prior entry that something unexpected happened when I did the Ptolemy Stone using markers instead of ball-point pens (like I used in the previous drawings). Basically the ink from the markers bled through to the other side. Fortunately I didn’t have a sketch already drawn on the other side. It was kind of a bummer because I’ve been putting drawings on both sides of a page in my sketchbook so I had a page with one side being unusable unless I thought of a design that could cover up the ink bleeds. Doing that two-page spread solved that problem. I drew Bowie as facing the light that’s not unlike the numerous testimonies of many near-death experiences that have been documented in books like Life After Life.

For the other drawings I did this week I turned to Rory’s Story Cubes for inspiration. I used the original set where I saw two cubes that had pictures of a person in a parachute and fire. So I did this twisted drawing.

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For this drawing I decided to try using the Enchanted Mix-In instead of the main set, which inspired me to do this fantasy drawing.

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I went to my first art show in 2016. It was the formal opening of the Winter Gallery Show at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier, Maryland, which featured the art of Arthur Kwon Lee. Here are the photos I took at last Friday’s event.

Zip Cars was a major sponsor of that event and they gave away free pens.

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015 Cupcakes were provided by Bake Sweet Love. I had the salted caramel one and it tasted really good. One can order their cupcakes online through its website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or blog. ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

The big hands-on art activity they had at that event was coloring pages from one of those adult coloring books that have become a big rage these days. (I can’t seem to walk into any store without seeing at least one adult coloring book on sale.) The next photo shows a work in progress.

Winter Gallery Opening Event at ReCreative Spaces, Mount Rainier, Maryland, January 8 2015

I colored both sides of the page that I selected to color. Here are the results.

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

Here are the rest of the photos which included a guitar player who provided live music, some people socializing, and some of Arthur Kwon Lee’s art that is currently on display at ReCreative Spaces through March 31.

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

ReCreative Spaces, January 8 2015

I’m finally getting around to writing posts of other things I’ve done while Artomatic went on. Now that Artomatic is history, I’m no longer being distracted by that event plus Christmas is coming soon so everything is slowing down at the moment. I now have time to write about some of the other things I’ve been doing lately.

On December 5 the Otis Street Arts Project was having a chain saw carving demonstration outside of its studios in Mount Rainier, Maryland. I thought it sounded interesting so I checked it out. It turned out that an artist named Glenn Richardson was displaying some of his work, which he created while using his chain saw, and December 5 was the last day of this special exhibition that he and two other artists were showing at the Otis Street Arts Project. There was a reception with snack food and drinks while Glenn Richardson was outside carving a statue.

One week later, when Artomatic was holding its last day, I saw that a chain saw demonstration was also announced as well. I went to that demonstration only to discovered that the chain saw carver was none other than Glenn Richardson, who did the chain saw carving at the Otis Street event that previous Saturday. The setup was similar with the wooden demon head dangling from a crane and Glenn’s dog, Gus, barking whenever Glenn was working on his latest chain saw creation. The only difference between the Otis Street and Artomatic events is that the former also included a statue being set on fire, which was absent from the Artomatic demonstration.

Here is the setup outside of the Otis Street Arts Project Studio.

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Glenn Richardson is hard at work as he puts a few finishing touches on his latest work of art.

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Once he finished with his carving, he set it on fire. He explained that he had soaked the wood in water before the demonstration so the flames wouldn’t burn the statue all the way through.

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Once the fire burned out, the statue took on a darker color as a result of it being charred by the flames.

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

Glenn Richardson had his other works on display as well, such as this dragon bench.

Chain Saw Carving Demonstration

In addition to the above photos, I also shot this short video of the chain saw carving demonstration in action. You’ll not only hear the whirl of the chainsaw but you’ll periodically hear Glenn’s dog Gus barking. (The dog was chained next to Glenn’s truck so he wouldn’t accidentally get in the way of the chain saw.)

Back in April I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Baltimore for a session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School that was held at The Wind-Up Space. The model for that evening was a sideshow performer named Reggie Bügmüncher who’s known in certain circles for her ability to eat live worms on stage, walk on glass, and lie on a bed of nails (among her oeuvre of tricks).

Thanks to Facebook I now know that Reggie’s name is currently in the news in connection with that British Airways plane that literally caught on fire at a Las Vegas airport. She wasn’t on that flight. She just happened to be at that same airport waiting for her own flight when she looked out the window and saw the plane on fire. She immediately took a photo of that burning plane and posted it on Instagram. Within minutes she was inundated with requests for information on that story as it became breaking news and she began to talk with reporters about what she saw. They noted her name and, well, she is now part of that news story. Just doing a Google search on her name results in all kinds of articles about her and that plane on fire.

Here are just a few of the drawings I did of Reggie Bügmüncher that night at Dr. Sketchy’s back in April.

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You can view more of my drawings of Reggie Bügmüncher right here. (WARNING!: Some of the drawings depict her eating live worms so they are sort of NSFW.)

I’ve written about my divorce before but I’m writing about it again not because I’m a drama queen but because I’m hoping that this post would get mentioned by the Delightfully Tacky blog. Especially with that blog’s The Brave Ones section where other writers write about their own experiences with overcoming trauma.

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I don’t know if anything will come of it but I want to do things in the hope that my life will be improved enough so I can move on from the drama of the last three-and-a-half years. My therapist, divorce recovery support group, and even a few books have suggested that everyday I do at least one thing that could possibly help me move on from this major trauma that I went through and I’m still struggling with.

I married my college sweetheart. Compared to other boyfriends I’ve had, this man was very mature, level-headed, and very responsible. He never developed any addictions nor was he ever violent towards me in any way. We had a lot in common. When I introduced him to my parents, he managed to charm them. When I announced our engagement, my parents were totally thrilled because they liked him. We got married 10 months after I finished college and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven because I considered him to be my best friend as well as my husband. At times he even served as a model and muse for some of my art projects.

Man Lying in Bed, Watching Television (B&W)

Man Lying in Bed, Watching Television (Color)

We had weathered a lot together, including the sudden death of his mother in 2010 and my hip surgery in 2011. I thought that we were destined to spend the rest of our lives together. This blog post, which described this baseball card collage I made as a present for my husband in early 2011 based on his own suggestion, is typical of the married life I had with him.

Baseball Cards Collage

My husband did a lot for me both before and after my hip surgery. He made all the preparations for my surgery, he took time off from his job so he could take care of me while I recuperated, and he even lined up friends to drive me to and from physical therapy sessions when he had to return to his job. On Christmas Day, 2011, we had a lovely time together, which I recounted in this post. I was happy in the marriage and my husband acted happy as well. He didn’t indicate that he felt there were problems in our marriage or anything like that.

Michael Reclining on Couch

It all came to a sudden screeching halt just three days after that lovely Christmas Day and three months after my hip surgery. He came home from work, announced “I’m moving out…I found a room,” threw some pieces of paper my way, then ran out the door before I could even respond. I looked at the papers. One was a check for $2,000 that was designated as my first alimony payment. One was a separation schedule that he drummed up that would lead to our divorce. The other was a note where he blamed the fact that the day before I had the hip surgery, I went on a little shopping trip to a mall where I purchased an American Girl doll who was supposed to represent the 1970’s. she had long blonde hair (like I did before I hit my teens), and she wore an outfit that was nearly identical to one that I wore as a child in the same era.

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Basically that doll was the reason why he said he had to leave home.

I was totally shocked by all this. At the time I thought he had simply snapped due to all the stress over my health problems and some stresses at his job and this volunteer job he took on as treasurer for our church. The night he left I wrote a short entry hoping that he would soon return home and the separation would be a short-lived one.

Michael in Red and Green

A couple of days later my husband was still missing so I did a few Google searches under “My husband ran away from home” and I was led to this book by Vikki Stark called Runaway Husbands where she went through a similar situation as I did. I ordered it through Amazon.com and for the next several months I read and re-read that book over and over again.

Despite Vikki Stark’s contention that, based on her own experiences and her research of other women who went through the same thing, my marriage was destined for divorce, I still held out hope that my husband would reconsider. I had even contemplated selling that doll that he blamed for the walkout on eBay in the hopes that he would realize that I was serious about saving our marriage and return to me.

When I read Stark’s book, especially the section about how there’s usually another woman involved, I initially thought that there was either no one else or, if there was another woman, she would’ve been a co-worker at my husband’s job at NASA. My assumptions were totally shattered a month later when a few of my friends finally came forward with the truth. They had seen him in the company of a friend of ours whom we both met through this cafe that we frequented. (She worked as a barmaid two nights a week while being open about struggling with severe depression that has impacted much of her adult life. She even mentioned that she had an experimental pacemaker implanted into her brain because her depression had grown that bad. About 10 months before my husband ran away from home she had to check into a hospital for a few days in order to adjust her meds because her body had adjusted to her current course of treatment.) He took her on dates to the same cafe where she worked as a barmaid (and the same one where my husband and I were regulars) within a week after he left me so my friends figured it out before I did.

I thought that the barmaid was my friend and I even felt sorry for her because of her struggles with mental illness. She was among my friends whom I approached when I was trying to look for my husband and she denied knowing where he was. When I told her how he ran away from home, she seemed shocked at the time. But now I realize that she was just a fake friend who had no qualms about stabbing me in the back while I was still recovering from hip surgery and was still willing to stay with him even after I told her he ran away from home.

For the next year I didn’t hear from my husband other than receiving e-mails and texts demanding that we separate our finances and we sign this separation agreement as soon as possible. In his messages he basically barked orders at me like I was his employee instead of his wife. Whenever I protested he would threaten to sue me in court. Basically my husband went from being my best friend to my own worst enemy.

Michael in Dots

To make manners worse, on Christmas Eve, 2012, he sent a divorce petition in a .pdf format that was attached to an e-mail. Then he demanded that I sign it and mail it to his lawyer as soon as possible. I consulted a lawyer who told me that it wasn’t real because there was no case number assigned to it. My husband had his lawyer file for divorce for real and I ended up in divorce court in April, 2013.  Our divorce was declared final by June. In August, just two months after the divorce being final, I got word via Facebook that my ex-husband and my ex-friend suddenly got married.

In the aftermath of my husband’s dramatic about face, I began to see a therapist and I also started attending weekly meetings of a divorce recovery support group. Through them I began to gain a new perspective on my marriage. I realize now that there were some issues in the marriage that I had swept under the carpet and was willing to overlook because I thought my husband was such a swell guy. For example, my husband grew up in a family that was basically dysfunctional and full of drama and it had an effect on him that I should not have ignored. These days I tell people that before they get married, see how that person interacts with his/her own family. If there’s something troubling about your fiancee’s family dynamic, get out now. Ditto for any other red flag that your fiancee may display. It’s easier and cheaper to break an engagement than it is to get a divorce.

I kept on reading other books after I went through Vikki Stark’s book several times and they were all a tremendous help to me. I also have to credit my family and friends for sticking by me and helping me through this sudden out-of-the-blue divorce. If it weren’t for them, I would be in a worse place now both mentally and financially.

I’ve always considered myself to be an artist but I’m having a hard time trying to make ends meet with only selling through art shows and craft fairs. I’m currently looking into temping and freelance work so I can support myself once my husband’s court-mandated five-year alimony runs out. I’m trying to move on. My therapist tells me that I’m making great progress but there are times when I doubt it myself.

I’ve also tried finding creative ways of dealing with what happened. When a member of my divorce recovery group threw a party at her home, she invited people to bring things in order to thrown into a bonfire that she was having in her backyard. I donated my old wedding cake topper for the occasion.

And then there is the time on Halloween when I did this wiccan/pagan ritual where I burned a lock of my ex-husband’s baby hair (which was saved by his late mother when he was nearly a year old and it came with a bunch of items from his mother’s estate—ultimately he left it behind with me).

I have no other choice but to keep on trying new avenues and make major life decisions by myself and hope everything works out for me because right now I’m currently in limbo. I don’t know where I’ll end up. I’m hoping for the best while trying everything possible to avoid the worst.

http://www.nablopomo.com

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