Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Good to Be Back and in my New Chair


OK, so maybe I never left. But, I have to say, while I was gone a lot of stuff happened!

For starters, the ahem "good" folks at Flickr broke the "Blog This" button. I guess, in hindsight, they told me to go off and blog this. Yahoo! is sure going out of their way to ruin Flickr but, I guess, that's par for the course.

I did my taxes. Nothing crazy there. Just crammed about three weeks of work into one long weekend. It was crazy and I felt totally beat up afterwards. After all that hand to hand combat, what do I have to show for it? I'm getting back about $200. Oh joy! I wish I could trade all of the paperwork I had to endure for that $200, believe me, I wish I could.

I've been strangely fascinated with birds. This image here I captured from my car window. It's a murder of crows that I frequently see on the way home from work. Mmmm. Snapseed. Oh how I love Snapseed. Let me count the ways. Oh, and the crows are really cool too. My strange fascination with birds continues.

I'd had this horrible injury to my thumb that has made typing very difficult. It hurts to even type this. My fingers ache but I so continue to endure. I must press on for the fans. (Well, ok, all three people who still check in here once in a while to make sure I'm like still alive and all. Howdy, folks! Yup. Still here. Sorry, you don't inherit the crock pot just yet.)

Perhaps the best news in a long time. I *finally* got my chair. What chair? You might be asking, and I'd be here to tell you. Sometime, back in November, I ordered this spiffy new desk chair for my home office. It's grey leather and it's something called a "Stressless." Oh, let me tell you. It's stressless alright. I hardly want to get up and get out of it. It's....ah....oh so comfortable.

For a long time, you see, I had this really crappy desk chair. It was horrible, not to mention just really bad on my back and all. I had wanted a new desk chair for a long time and just couldn't bring myself to pick one out. They were all sort of....well....ugly, if I may be so blunt (and you know, you just know, how blunt I can be, don't you?) So, back in November, I happened upon this store that sells contemporary furniture and that's when I saw them. The STRESSLESS chairs. Oh my! They were oh so pretty. I just had to have one. I ordered one right on the spot, in leather even, because, well I could and I just did, ok? They told me back then that it would take a few months and that my chair had to come from Norway. It was specially made for me in Norway. A chair specially made for me was coming all the way from Norway. Oh joy!

Well, needless to say, Christmas came and then they had called me and told me there was a mix up with the order and yada yada. No worries. I was in no hurry. I had put off a lot of blogging and website design for so long, what's a few more weeks, right? At this point, I was putting stuff off because my desk chair was so uncomfortable I hardly wanted to use my computer. It was like OUCH in here. It was cramped and dark and the chair really sucked. Then, the chair came in. Finally made the trip from Norway. Oh what a chair it is too. It's *so* comfortable. Now, and I know you're going to laugh at this but I must confess, I have a completely different problem.

My chair is so comfortable I can hardly get out of it.

There. I said it. My chair is so comfortable, I've been avoiding sitting down at the computer because, instead of knowing I'll be uncomfortable, I now know I'll be so comfortable that it will take all but the house burning down to get me back out of this silly chair. 

Seriously, the other day? I ordered pizza. I almost didn't order pizza. Not because I wasn't hungry, no, simply because I thought to myself, "My God, I'm sitting down! If the pizza dude shows up, I'll have to get up and out of the chair to answer the door." I was seriously considering going hungry, just because I didn't want to get up for one split second to go and answer the door. Oh the humanity! Oh, the chair! Ah, the chair. I'm all about the big, comfy chair these days.

So, you see....Flickr broken. Eh, what's new? Tax returns? Meh, I have to do them every year, why should this year be any different? Birds? Oh, they are migrating again or something like that. My thumb hurts like the Dickens. Ah well, that's nice. Please just don't ask me to do anything that requires me to get up and get out of my new chair, OK?

Welcome back, Carol! I'd tell you to come in and pull up a chair but so sorry I've already got the good one and I ain't giving it up.

Until next time...

Saturday, March 01, 2014

A Carnival of New Lights

BlueAndOrange_5581, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

So, recently I purchased some new lights for my home studio. I went out and got myself a set of Fiilex P360 LED studio lights. These are dense matrix LEDs with full spectrum tuning, so that I can dial-in just about any color temp I could possibly want. How fun is that?

Still working on my home studio setup and doing some show preparations tonight, but I wanted to share the good news with you about the lights.

A funny thing about lighting too, nowadays anyway it seems like everybody is all into the strobes. Everything is Strobist this and Strobist that. I've always been a fan of continuous lights but what am I to call myself? A floodist? That sounds like somebody who loves springtime in Iowa when the winter snows melt and everybody is out playing with sandbags, not a photographer. A continuist? Is that even a word? Geesh. We have to do better than that, no? What? Am I like an anti-Strobist? That doesn't really sound like me either. (I guess I'll have to get back to you on this one with some kind of oh-so-clever name at some point. For now though it's safe to say I've just gone out and gotten myself some new lights.)

Also, we're coming up on carnival week so there's bound to be a lot of fun down in New Orleans this week as well. Really wish I were there but, sadly, I'm back at the ranch, getting things setup and toiling away.

And, it goes without saying really but, man, watch out for any "Floodists" you might find down in the 'Quarter this week.

Until next time...

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Year of the Horse

OrangeDragonNo1-1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Happy Chinese New Year, everybody! It's now the Year of the Horse. I was actually born in the Year of the Horse and my mother was also born in the Year of the Horse. In fact, when I was born, there was some kind of astral event so I'm actually (technically) what they refer to as a "Fire Horse." It's a bit whacked out in Chinese New Year speak, but both my mother and I are "Fire Horses." How fun!

They say the Fire Horses are almost like strong horses. I have always thought that "Fire Horse Studios" would make a great name for an encaustic studio. In fact, I should open one by that name some day. I think it would work, don't you?

I have always loved the Chinese New Year and the iChing even if I cannot always follow along with what they are presenting. It's fascinating to me and such an inspiration artistically. I love these puppets and the Chinese dancers (acrobats, really) and also tons of fireworks, plus the wonderful zodiac symbols. It really is a wonderful source of artistic inspiration, even if you don't really believe in all of the musings.

For this Year of the Horse, since it's my year (sort of) I am going to try to concentrate on making things better for the future. I hope that one day I can be an even more exciting, dynamic "Fire Horse" creature.

I hope you are having a great Chinese New Year. Happy New Year!

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Old Man Winter: B is for Bite Me!

FlyingBInTheRain_8172, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

OK, so I must admit. It's COLD outside. In Austin, we've had this weird freezing rain, sleet, ice-like crap falling all over the place. It's happened for two days now. First last Friday and now today. For two entire days now, it's been snowing, iced up, sleeting, whatever you call it.

Now, I know you folks up north are probably saying things like "Yeah, yeah, cry me a river!" since we here in Austin seldom get winter. But, it's very bad here. You see, we just don't *do* winter in these parts. We don't have sleds, mittens, warm kettles full of hot cocoa. Nope. We've got none of that. We have shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. What in the heck am I supposed to do with a sleeveless T-shirt when it's 29 degrees outside?!? Get my point? See where this is going? It's supposed to be a WARM climate and, frankly, we just don't understand all of this *winter* crap, not to mention our roads, why, they just can't take it.

You see the roads here are hilly, or at least a bit more sloped then what you are used to back east or even in other parts. We have slopes and ridges and odd medians and big hills and places where, once the road ices up, you just can't get to. Things get blocked off, people grow impatient and crashes start to happen. Lots and lots of crashes, in fact, Friday alone, there were over 200 crashes in Austin. Today, I heard on the news how there was a crash involving a school bus and two of Austin's police cruisers were involved in wrecks.

One of the main roads you might take when traveling through Austin is Interstate 35, or I-35 as the locals like to call it. It has these big fly-overs and places that just don't do well at all with ice. Today, it was deemed "impassible" due to the ice. For a brief period of time, it was completely closed today in a special ceremony. You see, it's been renamed "Ice-Thirty Five" on account of all the sleet we've been having. Mopac, another main highway through the city which is usually packed (hence its nickname: MoPacked) was like a skating rink, not to mention completely empty. Void of traffic because none dare venture out into the land of many crashes.

It's the strangest of conditions, really, since everything is covered in ice and yet nobody really remembers it raining. Not to mention this sleet stuff is doing nothing to help fill up our lakes and rid Austin of its pesky drought conditions. No, it's not helping with that, this crappy sleet is, rather it's just muddling up our traffic. Ugh! I really hate this crap. honest, I do.

Now I know I've been complaining a lot. "I'm sick!" "It's sleeting!" Yada yada. But, this really is the current state of affairs here in River City. Bad allergies gave way to the flu which is turn morphed into sleet covered broken dreams. I really hate this winter and I know that, in just a few months, I'll be complaining how it's too hot around these parts. I know, I sound like a cross between a broken record and a complaint machine, but there you have it. It's my blog and I'll rant if I want to. There's just too much winter for me to take this quietly. I know this is a season and we're all supposed to get this "winter" stuff and all, but, man, it's killing me! And, I know I'll get little sympathy from folks back east who have it worse, much worse, than I but I can still complain, can't I?

Old man winter, if you would, please turn it down a notch or two, OK? We're like all collectively kind of getting sick of you. (Enough said!)

Until next time...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Really Need a Cup of Tea

, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Not only is this like the worst winter in 400 years but now, it would appear, I have come down with the flu. Oh the humanity! I really need a cup of tea.

As I sit and type this, it's sleeting outside too. It's the kind of sleet where it piles up and accumulates on the ground. Sleet that piles up and accumulates? Thirty degrees in Austin? What has this world come to? What are we destined to get like six inches of white crap on the ground, just because? Somebody, save me from this madness, please.

If all of this were not enough, Justin Bieber was arrested this morning. It's just been that kind of a day, OK? Wow! What can I say? (Well, things could be worse, I mean, at least I am not Justin Bieber, right?)

They say he might get deported. And I'm on new medicine that's supposed to un-stuff my nose (but isn't.) I've got this fever that just won't break and there's nothing on TV and my back hurts from trying to sit up in bed long enough to do any work (I have my computer with me and am trying to do some work from home, rather than infect everybody I know.) It's just horrible, quite the horrible day. Still, I know, it could be worse, I could be Justin Bieber. (And the police could have taken away my shiny new Ferrari. Oh the horror!)

As I load up the page, I see two smiling young yellow-haired kids grinning back at me. One is a child who has been missing for a long time-the parents have almost given up hope. The other? Justin Bieber. Perhaps Justin should stop and reflect upon just how lucky he is, even in light of all that's happened to him today.

For myself, well, I'm content sitting here with Chase, yearning for a hot cup of tea, typing in a parka (because I've got a fever that just won't quit) wondering when in the heck old man winter is finally going to give up the ghost. Face it, old man, you're doomed. I can see the first buds of spring fighting their way 'round the yard and, like all seasons gone before this too shall pass.

Do you think Justin Bieber likes tea? (Probably not, eh? I mean, I guess it would not go with all of the booze, pot, and Ferrari juice he's been drinking as of late.) Still, you know, a flu-infected crazy lady typing in a parka can wonder, can't she?

Until next time...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Cedar Fever, Y'All

, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's cedar season. What's cedar season? Well, it's that time of year when the cedar trees release all of their pollens and start mating excessively. Taking in too much cedar can lead to cedar allergies. Cedar allergies, in Texas anyway, are often referred to as "Cedar Fever."

Basically, you get horribly, horribly sick when you have cedar fever. It's kind of like the worst allergy you can imagine, combined with a sinus infection (or the like.) It tends to last almost a month in these parts and it's quite horrible.

Usually, I don't suffer from cedar fever (I'm one of the lucky ones) but, this year anyway, I seem to really be having a doozy of a time of it. Cedar, it would appear, has really gotten to me. Now, it could just be too that I'm allergic to so many *other* things and our record (off the chart) high cedar count this year is just adding to my suffering, but there you have it.

So, I've been under the weather with this cedar fever. Trying to make myself well. Trying to take some meds for it. Just trying to get through the day. It's been quite a struggle this allergy season and, I must confess, I feel quite horrible.

I hope you manage to escape season allergies where you live. Heck, even with my allergies, I'm happy enough to recognize that, if I didn't live in Texas, I'd still be trapped in "winter" somewhere else (and, I'm told, this has been a horrible, horrible winter as well.)

I think we all collectively need to escape to some kind of a beach and sip some kind of a boat drink. Some kind of a boat drink with a really, really long straw and probably like at least one (or two!) of those little colored umbrellas.

Yeah. Right about now, one of those drinks is calling my name!

Until next time...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Attack of the Webinars

, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Since it's a new year it seems that a lot of artists and art coaches are all about webinars. Everybody is putting up webinars. Podcasts, new eBooks, and the like are popping up like mushrooms. It's everywhere!

I have to say that I love it. I've been eating it up. Over the holiday break, I listened to an entire Podcast called "The Thriving Artist Summit" and I got tons of good advice. Just today, I was futzing around on Facebook when I happened upon the Art Biz Blog lady's free webinar on "Income Boosting Strategies for 2014." I mean, this is tons of free advice and it's ripe for the taking. Phew!

The thing I love is that, in the old days, to be an artist you pretty much had to move to New York. You had to get an agent. You had to hire attorneys. It was tons of paperwork and the process took oh so long. Now, with the Internet, everything is simple. We really are living in the golden age of owning your own business and artists are profiting from this. It's never been easier to run the nuts and bolts part of the business, leaving you free to concentrate on the business of, well, making art itself. I love it. I love how there is the Internet with all of these vast resources. One can get inspiration easily from the digital archives. You can learn. You can grow. We no longer need agents and have to fuss over the business end of things. It's fantastic.

I hope you are making the most of these new year "freebies" because they don't always last. I'm sure that, by June anyway, much of this will be gone and people will be back to doing what it is that they do.

It's free Podcast season, folks, enjoy it while it lasts!

Until next time...