Posted in Art, Computers, Drawing, Teaching, WordPress

Drawing…at Last!

My First Free hand Drawing

Okay, it’s not a Picasso, but it’s mine. I did the drawing, based on a children’s drawing book of ancient Egyptian art. I drew it following a step-by-step guide, then colored it using a variety of color blending techniques.

I’ve been trying to get the hang of this, and I’m finding the easiest path forward is through the children’s section. I think it’s because the writers/editors aren’t making any assumptions about what a person already knows. If you’re eight years old, you haven’t had a lot of experience other than your own imagination. I find adult level beginners drawing books and videos to be much more frustrating. I have a feeling they don’t realize how much they’re unconsciously assuming about skill levels.

I find that true of all teaching, actually. I’m a very good teacher, because I take considerable pains to edit my own brain before starting out. I can use WordPress, but someone taking my Introduction to WordPress class probably has no clue. I start from that assumption and find that extremely helpful. I love that “oh, now I get it!” look from students who really hadn’t “gotten” it before, despite attempts to understand and use the tool. I may just have to break down and take an art class – but I’ll go through the ancient Egyptian art book first, using my eight-year-old eyes.

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Computers, Family

Hot Stones and Smart Phones

What, No Apps?

I recently added myself to the number of people owning smartphones. I have to say, it’s an addictive toy. I originally bought another phone so that I could more easily send text messages to my sister and brother. What the hell, I thought, I’ll get a smartphone, too. I may not use it right away, but at least the device will be there until or if I need it.

Well, my resolve lasted about 3 days, after which I upgraded my plan (cha-ching!). I’m now able to type out texts to my sister, on a QWERTY keyboard that folds out. I can also download and install apps, which has got to be something like what a drug addict would feel. More! More! What’s that one? I want it! So far I haven’t fallen prey to games, but I’ve got every news reader and social media app they make.

On another note (or ringtone), I also decided to – finally – treat myself to a hot stone massage last week. It turned out to be quite different than what I was expecting. I thought I’d just lay there while warm stones were placed on my back, relaxing my muscles and helping me get mellow. What I got instead was as close to a deep tissue massage as I’m capable of withstanding. The stones (and they were really hot!) must have helped relax the muscles so the therapist could get in there. Let’s just say I’ve got some knots in my back and neck that go back a few years. Despite the working-over, I did leave the massage place feeling a whole lot better. Must have worked!

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Computers, Teaching


It’s been a hell of a few weeks, with the start of a series of classes I’m teaching at our local Community Education center. I love helping people who aren’t web-savvy, so focus on ease of use and good design for any tool I teach. Last week I had a run-in with the school’s computers, which caused not a little frustration. Turns out the school upgraded its servers but didn’t get around to the community education accounts. Yikes! We muddled through anyway, and I even got a few kudos for good teaching. I was pretty surprised, given the problems, but quite happy nonetheless.

I’m also swapping around migraine and sleep medication. I’m not sure we’re quite there yet, at least with the sleep meds. My doctor gave me a completely new prescription for my migraines, a drug I’m taking on a daily basis (atenolol) rather than the as-needed fiorinal I was using before. The fiorinal was causing rebound headaches and I was a walking ball of misery after a while. So far, so good. I haven’t had anything worse than a mild headache since switching the medications.

Not quite there with the sleep medications. I need to talk to my doctor again and, to tell you the truth, I’m getting tired of schlepping back and forth to my doctors’s offices every couple days or week. Enough already.

I’m teaching again tonight, class number two of my four week series on easy websites. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping the computers cooperate this time. They really do have a mind of their own! For all that, though, I really love teaching. I’ve definitely found a comfy niche!


Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Business, Computers, Insomnia, Sleep

Enter the Teacher

I’ve just added a new job description to my roster of internet and website services – classroom teacher. I taught my first class under the auspices of the Arlington Center for Adult Education. The course, Build A Website Without Knowing HTML or CSS, met for the first time last night (Wednesday). I’ve given plenty of presentations and know how to do it, but the added classroom thing was both disorienting but very satisfying at the same time. Disorienting, I think, because it was the first time through and I had to get used to the way the computers in the classrooms worked. Then I had to contend with latecomers drifting in as I was starting up.

But, I really liked it despite its moments of confusion and technical buginess. Some of my students are really excited about being able to build their own website and I’m enjoying learning how to teach them. This is just so cool!

I was both wired as well as exhausted by the time I got home last night. I’m a chronic insomniac at the best of times. I never thought I’d get to sleep, with all that was running around inside of my head! Then, for some bizarre reason, I woke up at 7:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep no matter what I did. I typically wake in the late double-digits of the morning and have only a passing acquaintance with 7:30 am. And, at 7:16 pm, I’m still not tired.

I have a feeling I’ll eventually crash, hopefully without a headache to top things off.


Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Animation, Art, Computers, Funny Stuff, Music

This Should Have Been The Soundtrack

Okay, one last post and them I’m done with funky music. And this one’s for you, fellow blogger Jaklumen and also you, Rossruns!

To begin, this is the instrument I thought they should have used for Star Wars. Ignore that man in the padded suit behind the curtain!

And, Rossruns, many thanks for reminding me that that was yet another version of Animusic’s Pipe Dreams, this time done on an actual computer. Cute – but the machine needs more rhythm practice!

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Animation, Art, Computers, Music

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

I seem to be on a synth/animation/music kick and have been finding some really fascinating stuff. Okay, it’s interesting to me! Not only is the marriage of art and technology amazing in and of itself, but also what the original iteration subsequently has engendered. For example, a bunch of high school kids from the Solon High School marching band took a shot at “replaying” Pipe Dreams 1 and 2 on real instruments. I have a feeling that the music itself is a dub, but the physical playing behind it looks pretty darn real to me. I can vouch for the classic guitar player, since I studied that instrument in high school. He’s playing it alright.

Anyway, here’s the “original” Animation computer animation, which itself is a riff on the original tune (if that’s what you can call it. Yeah, I guess that’s what you can call it). Give a listen, and don’t be afraid to enlarge the video screen. This one’s high-def!

Okay, that’s fun. Now check out what these kids do with the music. This video is pure high school cornball, but you have to give the creators credit for all their mischief.

And you have to admit – the kid on the xylophone is really, really good! I think they recorded him doing the wooden xylophone (is that what’s it’s called?) and edited the video from there.