Archive | August, 2013

Am I ‘Officially’ An Artist Now?

31 Aug

So, a friend of ours came by last night, and she’s been telling me for a few weeks now that she had something ‘up her sleeve’ regarding my art, and has been very excited about it while at the same time leaving me in total suspense.  She has finally shared what the big secret was, and she is opening up an art gallery-like business, but instead of just being art, it will have all sorts of artistic mediums, including jewelry, etc., and she has asked me if I would be interested in being one of the artists whose art they will be displaying on the walls (and for sale)!

I’m extremely excited about this, and it means I will have to pick out, print, mount and frame several pieces.  No one except my mother has ever wanted to display my artwork before, so I am very excited about this opportunity!

It will surely be a few weeks or months before the work is hung, but when it is, I’ll be sure to post a picture of it!

That’s all, I just wanted to share that bit of exciting news with all of my wonderful followers and friends!

Crazy, Or Crazy Like A Fox?

28 Aug
New Orleans: Detail of graffiti on neighborhoo...

New Orleans: Detail of graffiti on neighborhood grocery shop in the back of town 7th Ward, still derilict over 3 years after the Hurricane Katrina levee failure disaster. Post disaster search & rescue “X” mark has been overlaid with graffiti reading “FEMA KILLS”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (People from N.O. found out first hand how well they could depend on Uncle Sam to help them out)

We’ve all seen (or at least heard of) the show on T.V. called ‘Doomsday Preppers‘.  In fact, you’ve probably rolled your eyes, laughed or called them crazy, or know someone who has (I have!); but if you take a clear, honest look at the state of our world today, are they really that far off the mark?

How many people in New York were left in shock, with no plan, on 9/11?  When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, how many people would have benefited from having a stockpile of food and water to last them at least a week?  It’s not just ‘Doomsday’ that these people are prepping for, it’s any disaster that can strike.  Look at Japan.  These people lived right next door to a nuclear plant, and yet had NO plan for what they should do in case there was a problem.  And there was.  Do you know how close you are to a possible nuclear fallout?  Do you even know how far the fallout from the closest nuclear facility to you would extend?  Do you live near a strategic nuclear target, like D.C. or a major military base and DON’T have a plan?  Maybe you need to redefine ‘crazy’.

If a natural (or man-made) disaster strikes near you, do you really trust FEMA, or any part of the government for that matter, to take care of you (especially looking back on the New Orleans fiasco)?  Do you want to rely on them arriving to help you in a timely fashion, with all of the things your family specifically needs?  If you’re diabetic, and disaster strikes, do you have enough insulin to last you until FEMA finally gets their act together?  Food? Water? Continue reading

Has Life Left You Hardened Or Tempered?

25 Aug
Blast furnaces of Třinec Iron and Steel Works.

Blast furnaces of Třinec Iron and Steel Works. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would like to ask you all to indulge me in the following analogy.  I am by no means intimately familiar with metalworking, so if I make factual mistakes while making my analogy, I claim creative license.

When steel is worked, it goes through several processes. First, it’s placed in the furnace, and the heat of the fire softens the steel, allowing it to be shaped, or ‘worked’, after which it is plunged into water or oil.  At this point, the steel is ‘hardened’, but it isn’t strong;  carbon trapped inside the now crystallized part of the steel  causes it to be brittle.  If the steel were left in this state, a hard blow could cause it to break or shatter.  To prevent this, the steel is then submitted to a process called ‘tempering‘, by which it is again heated, but to a lower temperature, until the carbon has had time to diffuse out of the crystallized parts of the steel, and allowed to cool slowly until it reaches the desired ‘temper point’, and only then is it plunged into the water or oil, to stop the tempering process at the desired point.  If this process is done properly, you are left with a piece of steel which has most of the strength of hardened steel, but much less susceptible to breakage.

The troubles we face in our lives are much like this process.  Our hard times are the furnaces in which we are forged.  Continue reading

Edit Results (Part 2)

24 Aug

I also snatched a picture yesterday to edit. I didn’t want to use any that I couldn’t let people know I’d used (random pics from people who I don’t follow & vice versa), so, Angela, I hope you don’t mind that I also took the liberty of editing one of the photos you posted here. If you like it, feel free to download it, or if you  would prefer me to email it to you, just let me know.  (On the other hand, if you hate it and would prefer I take it down, I’ve got no problem doing that, either!)

The Original

The Original

Edited

Edited

 

Edit Results

24 Aug

My greatest appreciation to znjavid (check out her blog HERE for more pics of her adorable son, and some good poetry, too!) for offering me a picture to edit 🙂  Thank you for letting me try my hand at editing the picture of your little fella!  The picture was a little blurry at full size, so I did the best I could… I hope you like at least one of them (but it’s okay if you don’t)!

Original

Original

Tried to make this a little whimsical... but afterward I though it was a little too blurry looking... but decided to put it in anyway.

Tried to make this a little whimsical… but afterward I though it was a little too blurry looking… but decided to put it in anyway.

This one I was going for a more 'retro' look

This one I was going for a more ‘retro’ look… it reminds me of those old pictures from backwhen I was a kid 🙂 …

Black & White, of course

Black & White, of course

Ended up being my favorite...

Ended up being my favorite…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you liked at least one of these, and THANK YOU AGAIN for giving me the chance to edit your picture, it really helped take my mind off of my doldrums! (If you’d like me to e-mail these to you, just let me know, but you may be able to right-click and get the full sized images.)

Pity Party Inside (and free photo edit offer)

23 Aug
Angry Penguin

Angry Penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so, I wrote the following long, whiny, self-pitying post just because I can… but at the end, I came up with something to take my mind off of my ‘despair’ and that was to edit other people’s photos, because I find it to be fun to do.  My request to you is, if you have a picture of someone (yourself, your kid, whatever), I’d like to edit it for you.  I’ll edit them/it, and post a few on my blog with before/afters.  You might love it, or you might hate it, and either way is okay.  IF anyone decides to take me up on my offer, just let me know where to find the picture… I’m just going to go randomly copy people’s pictures and edit them, anyway, so why not get in on the action?  ^_^  (If you like it, you’re more than welcome to copy/keep/reuse it however you like… I’ve been considering offering this for a small fee at some point in the future, so if you’re curious what I can do, here’s your chance to get it for free)

*******

Some days I just get so angry.  I feel completely retarded (Note that I’m using this as a verb, not a noun.  Look it up.) by everything and nothing at all.  There’s so MANY things I want to do, see, experience, learn… but can’t.  Sometimes it’s because of money, sometimes it’s because of time, sometimes it’s because of other people, but some days it always seems that there is nothing I can do to make things better. 

I mean, I try.  I try very hard to do things to help, to improve my ‘lot in life’ so to speak, but nothing ever seems to work. 

Some days, the frustration just takes over, and I’m angry.  Impotently angry, but angry nonetheless.  I say impotently angry, because nothing I do as a result of my anger works, either.  Continue reading

I Am – A Poem

23 Aug

Blast from the past!  This is an oldie I wrote back in my Sophomore year of high school… back in (cough)’96(cough).

Hope you enjoy, let me know what you think in the comments!

I AM

I am a wild animal in a cage Continue reading

Free, Fun *AND* (Hopefully) Interesting! – I’m now on Pod-O-Matic

23 Aug
The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image representing PodOmatic as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Hi there everybody!  I’d like to announce that I’ve started a podcast on Podomatic.com called ‘A Better Me’.  You can go listen (and subscribe!) to it here.  If you have it, you can subscribe to my podcast through iTunes by using the link on the bottom right of the page.  If you’ve got a minute (or seven) to check it out, I’d love to know what you think about it.  I’m a little rusty, so please be gentle.  Love it?  Hate it?  Sorry in advance for the slightly hollow sound, and the slight whine of the computer fan in the background; I’m not at all sure how to fix that.

The fact that I got anything recorded at all is amazing.  Having to figure out this software all on my own wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve had to do.  I don’t know why, I don’t recall having this much trouble the first time I did it.  Yes, that’s right, this is my second go at a podcast.  The first was also done on Podomatic and it’s still there.  It was called ‘Master Your Mountains’ and it can be found here, if you really want to listen.  I did a whole FOUR episodes.  I’m a little embarrassed to share these for some reason, so while I welcome criticism, please be kind.  Also please note that I’m not able to log in to respond to comments on my old podcast and the email and blog are defunct, so please, if you have any comments, post them on this blog. 🙂 Continue reading

To Whom It May Concern – A Poem

22 Aug

This poem I wrote also about 4 years ago (apparently I’d gotten onto a poetry kick around the end of August ’09!) and I wrote it for my mom, but I thought it to be humorous, so I figured I’d share with the other moms out there, not just mine.  Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments!  (You don’t have to be a mom to share your thoughts!  All are welcome to!)

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I thought I made it

pretty clear

in my request to you last week,

 

that things aren’t going

as they should

and my patience has reached its peak.

 

I don’t know how else

to request

a certain change in plans,

 

I’ve grown quite tired

of being quiet

and censoring my demands.

 

Dissatisfaction

rules the day

so again, I will implore:

 

Dearest Family,

I’m not your maid

get your own socks off the floor!

 

Written by A.T. on 9/01/09

This poem is copyrighted to the author and may not be used or reproduced in any way without expressed written consent.

Please do the right thing and ask permission to do anything with my work other than read it where I have personally posted it.  Thank you.

10 Things I Do To Get (And Keep) Readers

21 Aug

The other day, I was answering a question posed in this post, over at SFoxWriting’s Blog and in replying, I came up with the idea for this post.  I hope you enjoy, or at the very least, find something helpful.

  1. I always use tags for every post, without them, my posts don’t show up when people search using keywords.
  2. I try to always link to related posts at the end of my own (using Zemanta), not only is it helping other bloggers to become exposed to new readers, I almost always get a view or two from people coming to check out who left them the pingback.
  3. I try to take a moment to acknowledge comments left on my page.  I truly appreciate it when people take the time to not only read my posts, but to make a comment, and the least I can do is say thanks.
  4. I visit, like and comment on other blogs, but I don’t leave comments just to get people to come back and visit me, I only comment when I have something valid to say or add.
  5. I follow the people who follow me, because if they like what I have to say enough to follow me, chances are, I’ll like what they have to say, as well.
  6. I try to post about things that people have shown they like to read.  If I notice a sharp increase in views with a certain subject, I try to incorporate that subject into my blog.
  7. I always try to be nice to everyone.  Like the old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
  8. Whenever I get an idea for a blog post, I always try to make a draft of at minimum, the title for the post, so that I have starting points when I’m low on ideas.
  9. I try to schedule posts ahead of time (like this one!) for days I know I might not be around the computer.
  10. Write!  The more you post, the more you’re out there for people to see.
  11. BONUS TIP:  Always try to give a little more than expected.  People appreciate it.

I’ve gotten a higher than usual influx of readers and followers lately because I’ve been writing about kindness the past week or so.  People want to read about kindness, acts of kindness, and more ways to be kind, so they come.  I also seem to have a lot to say on the subject, so I have made several posts a day, which also brings in more readers, naturally.

Posts about myself are always (usually) short, and posts about social issues are usually longer.  I also take the time to promote other bloggers, because some of my favorite blogs have been found through someone else mentioning them, so I try to offer the discovery of something new to my readers, as well.

Eventually, I would definitely like to monetize my blog.  I’m a homemaker, and I would like some pocket change to buy gifts for my fiancee for Christmas and his birthday, because I always feel guilty using money that he has worked for to pay for them, and I do promote my art on my blog on occasion, but for the most part, I try to write the sort of things I enjoy reading on other people’s blogs, so I know that in time, I will have plenty of readers just by doing what I’m doing.

I know a lot of people suggest following and commenting on other blogs to gain followers, and while this does work after a fashion, you really need to be careful with this, because if people feel like you’re doing this for the sole purpose of getting more readers/views/followers for yourself, you’ll get a not-so-stellar reputation.  I make sure that when I comment on a post on a blog that I’ve just run across, my comments are thoughtful, and add something to the blog.  Sure, ‘Great post’ is nice now and then, if you mean it, but if you want more meaningful follows and comments, you have to make sure you’re doing the same.

It might be a slower process, but in the end, if the people follow me because they like what I have to say, then they will be more loyal.  At least, that’s the plan 😉

How about you?  Any tips to add for getting and keeping readers?

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