Month: December 2012

2012 Resolutions in Review

First off I hope the message you took from my previous post was that you shouldn’t be afraid and also always try new things in life. I apologize if it caused you to have any kind of panic attack. That said I think one of my new year resolutions will be to try not to do something like that ever again. I admit I’m rather embarrassed by it. I had intended to touch on the topic of the end of the world theories but not as much as I did.

This week’s post is, as promised, about completing past new years resolutions. It’s out early due to more computer problems. Anyways, here is the post I made earlier this year when I officially kicked off the blog: Planned Year Projects. Along with those a few of my 2012 new years resolutions were as follows:

  1. Do more dancing (practice what I know and learn more)
  2. Swing poi more often and learn more weaves
  3. Start learning another language (more French; perhaps Mandarin and Korean)
  4. Swim to exercise
  5. Finish a book
  6. Volunteer with horses
  7. Publish short stories on Amazon
  8. Loose pudge (as in unwanted areas of body fat/tone muscles)
  9. Capoeira (go over the basics I was taught and do a cartwheel – maybe a flip)

Now, before I go through that status of these resolutions in lieu of the coming new year, remember that no matter what you plan for there’s always something that’s going to slap you in the face with a boar hair brush and paint you surprised. So gather up your past year resolutions and before you go through them, think of one good thing and one not so good thing that happened to you this year that you didn’t plan for.

Something good that happened:  I got a comfy new bed this year!

Something not so good: Car accident. At some point in 2013 I may do a post about this experience but right now I do not really want to talk about it.

Alright so, let’s go through our respective lists. To encourage yourself try writing or describing privately to what extent you completed the resolution.

  1. Fill up a notebook with The Green Book story – Literally halfway complete and it’s coming along nicely. I’ve been telling you about it as I go!
  2. Break in the new sketchbook – I am breaking it in! It’s got plenty of illustrations of characters, scenes, clothing, and creatures from The Green Book, as well as for several commissions.
  3. Finish She Flies Without Wings: How Horses Touch A Woman’s Soul by Mary D. Midkiff – This is still in progress. Unfortunately I’m only one page away from where I was near the start of this year.
  4. Start on Drawing Words & Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden – I haven’t started this at all so it’ll probably be a roll over to next year.
  5. Do more dancing – indeed I have done this. Most notably I started learning line dancing this month. The place where I go to learn is a country club and there are lessons early on in the night. Now, granted I catch on to dancing pretty quickly but it’s a lot of fun and a great cardio work out.
  6. Swing poi more often – Also completed! I’ve even learned a few more weaves and improved swinging with my left hand.
  7. Learn another language  – I sometimes watch movies with French audio to keep reviewing what I learned in high school and college. Also, I’ve kept a notebook of Korean and Mandarin terms in an attempt to teach myself. I haven’t kept up with this for a few months now but I’ve found I can decipher certain simple phrases and key words without any guides and subtitles. Yay!
  8. Swim to exercise – Yes! For most of the year I’ve gone swimming at least twice a week until about October.
  9. Finish a book – Ah, I’m actually not sure if this means I wanted to finish writing a book or finish reading a few.
  10. Volunteer with horses – This was definitely done!
  11. Publish short stories on Amazon – I am very proud to say this was done! Unfortunately the single short I published isn’t up on Amazon kindle any longer because of some issues with pricing. Currently I am publishing short stories on Smashwords, one of which is free! Follow the link to see the stories! I publish a short about every 2 months. They’re meant to be single shorts for when you want to read a quick something before bed or on a lunch break but don’t have much time and do not want to become too tied up. Maybe I’ll gather them in a collection one day.
  12. Loose pudge – I’m actually really not sure of this. I don’t have a scale to weight myself on. So far what has happened is that I identified the root of why I was so negative about my own body and then started to change the way I look at myself.
  13. Capoeira – Only once have I gone out to a field of grass and done some capoeira. Early in the year I attempted to do a cartwheel and half-succeeded. Ah well.

So, how did you do? What’s your ratio of completion? Will you continue the resolutions into the new year?

Next week’s post I’ll put up some of my new resolutions at the start and then I’ll have something else for the main post. Happy 2013 in advance!

Stay safe and happy trails~

The End of the World and African Wildlife

Well, it’s a late post this week, but I’ll be inside Wednesday – so it counts! I haven’t been writing much in my works this week. Instead I’ve finished the first half of an art project for a friend and started a sewing project.

According to fear and unrest shared by many individuals in the human population of Earth, the end of the world is December 21st 2012. Over the past year there have been great upheavals that have caught our attention: rebellions, issues in public health, gun crime, riots, changes in leadership and warfare, and mother nature has been tossing hurricanes one way and setting off volcanoes in another direction. There are a great number of theories about how we could go and as such I am not going to list them.

If it does turn out to be a great natural disaster, I’ll bet you wished you recycled more, eh?

Ultimately I believe that the “end of the world” is actually going to be a great shift in the ages of the Earth, whether it’s a natural, political, or another but I don’t think the Earth is going to shake out of orbit on that day (knock on wood). Honestly the only thing I’d be worried about on December 21, 2012 is the danger from rioters and people whose mental capacity is “I can do whatever I want today because tomorrow it’s not going to matter!” Uhm.

So me, I’m going to spend some time with the friends I can meet with. If I need to I’ve got the means to get out of whatever city I’m in. All I can do for now is prepare for the worst but not let it drive me to act out of fear.

Besides, what if I like the thriving drum and kick of the world afterwards? What if also the surface isn’t scarred by fire and brimstone – or after said fire and brimstone the grass grows back greener than before because all the nutrients have been cleansed and refreshed? What if the animals are different and the more unique and before unseen ones crop to the surface? Oh, the possibilities! It could be exciting!

Onto a more pleasant subject: if you have about fifty-two minutes to spare, I highly recommend the video below. It’s about Kevin Richardson who seems to have a natural talent for training and inserting himself into the social animal groups of African animals. He’ll show you in the video that wild animals are not meant to be tame pets and that it’s a full time job working closely with them. You want to be alpha? To be the head hyena, an animal that can crush your bones with its bite force? Then get ready to work to win trust, show integrity, and win a fight without throwing a single punch (you know what I mean). It comes with as many rewards as sacrifices. Ask yourself: what are you willing to sacrifice to get where you want to go? Also consider that where you want to go may not actually be the right place for you and sometimes life has a way of taking you somewhere you never expected – yet it’s just where you thrive best.

What I notice about this man the most is that he is right where he belongs.

Next week’s blog will be about reviewing the resolutions I made in one of the first posts on this blog (and the ones I made for this year). How many 2012 new years resolutions did you keep up with? All? Some? None?

Happy trails~

Non-Biodegradable Art

That’s right, I’m talking trash bags.

First of all: do trash bags decompose? The short answer: Scientists are not entirely sure. There’s plenty of information out there about this so I’ll write only briefly on the decomposition process: biodegradation is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as “a process by which microbial organisms transform or alter (through metabolic or enzymatic action) the structure of chemicals introduced into the environment.”  Now, the base of most plastic bags we use today are made of a polyethylene base which microbial organisms do not register as digestible. The Daily Green writes that though the bag doesn’t biodegrade it does undergo photodegradation: a plastic bag will photodegrade when ultraviolet rays from the sun cause the polyethylene polymer chains to become brittle and then break down. The bag then breaks down into synthetic granules but that doesn’t mean it’s completely degraded. Those granules can work their way into the soil and then into the food chain for the rest of the animal kingdom. That’s right, this means at some point it could work its way through the food chain and into the human diet (and probably already has).

Now hold on, don’t work yourself into a panic. There is already a compostable synthetic plastic bag being distributed to those wanting, though it is mostly present in San Francisco where plastic bags are banned in the chain shopping markets and the pharmacies. Would you like to pitch in to reducing the plastic bag waste in your area? Choose paper when you can as it biodegrades in a matter of weeks. Also, I suggest investing in those reusable cloth tote bags – just toss them in the car for when you go for groceries. Can’t remember to bring them back into the car? Try folding and leaving them by the door so you remember to take them to the car the next time you head out – or better yet, hang them on the door knob. You’ll remember for sure! If you want to read more on the subject you can follow the link above to the Daily Green article or search the internet. Or you can contact your local recycling office center to ask for more info. I can tell you that in South Africa they have found that increasing taxes on plastic bags has helped to reduce the use and waste of them. Do you think that’s a good idea?

Now, onto the second half of the title: art. Air and fashion art to be exact. I’d heard about the trash bag clothes before but tying bags to the vents over subway tunnels was new to me.

First, the fashion. Call me old fashioned but I like my comfy cottons and button up shirts, and it’ll be a very low point in my life before I wear a trash bag as clothing (pending a protest or some sort of exhibition). At least not like this or these:

Although I do have to say that this one does not look too bad:

You can see the bag handles with the red lining at the bottom of the sleeves. I do like the dress design though and if I had an event to wear this cut to I would not shy from the opportunity. Here’s a question for you: if I hadn’t told you ahead of time that this was composed of trash bags, is that what you would think at first glance? Tell you what, turn your head away, count to ten, then glance back at the image above – just for one second – and then try to process what it’s made of (rule out plastic). What material does it look like to you?

Now for the zoo in the city streets. Want to see some cool animal art? Lookie here:

Interesting, no? I won’t photo dump all the trash bag animals on here as you can do an image search for more but there are a wide variety of things tied over the city vents: centaurs, horses, giant worms, dogs, etc. How is it done? It’s extremely simple in concept: you attach several plastic bags together with tape to make an enclosed shape. Next you tie only a few open hole sections (the feet of your flexible plastic animal) to the vents set in the sidewalks. When the subway passes by underneath the air exhaust from the movement inflates your shaped bags and wa-la! Plastic animals. If you try this make sure to fasten the bags on well. We wouldn’t want them to blow off and become a hazard to drivers.

That is the whole of your curious-Kiri scoop for the week. What new things have you learned about today?

Until next week, happy trails~

Illustrations

There has not been much writing this week, mostly because I am tired at the cause of sickness, but also because I am doing some art. I’ve been able to do illustrations for both my own stories and for a commission. I am very behind on requests on my art site though. I’m just getting back in touch with using photoshop and I’m hoping the heating problems with my laptop will not continue when I work with my Adobe programs. Cross your fingers for me!

This week I have an illustration and the process for it from the main novel I talk about on this blog, the Green Book.

GB_RuinWalls

To see the process I used to make this image, click on this linked text.

This illustration is of the main character in a scene that may or may not be included in the finished work. It developed in my mind while I was looking at an art book that a friend gave me. Sometimes sketching out a scene that I have not written yet helps me determine if I want to write it or not. It is as if by sketching it I prewritten it and can compare it to the storyline as a whole. After I see the scene I can ask these questions: Does it work? What is missing? Can I strip and salvage it? What do the involved characters have to go through to get to this point? Where the heck on the map is this?  Who else should be here? Are these the correct clothes for the area they’re in? Is it necessary? Most of the time the picture depicts something that helps me write the scene – to better visualize it. Other times the picture is just background information that I can group with any cut portions of the book (which will then be grouped into a companion book for any interested after the book is out). Usually if I am going through the trouble to picture it and put it down on paper some part of that original sketch, clothing design, or concept survives.

The above image took me the course of one day to do the pencil sketch, marker, color pencils, and editing in photoshop (though the time does not account for breaks and taking it slow). If I had to estimate I would guess this took only a handful of hours.

What about you? Does drawing or browsing pictures help stimulate your creative juices? Let me know!

Until next week, happy trails~