Walking sticks are one of those insects that are so well camouflaged, that you will never notice them unless they are on an artificial surface. They usually stay completely still, so they are not picked off by birds or other predators. This makes it easy to take a photo for my album:
This one was clinging on a window at my parents' house, so its camo disguise didn't work very well. I showed my niece, who was fascinated by its strange form. She was amused when I suggested that maybe he still thought he was on a tree! I pointed out its tiny eyes, with the long antennae protruding from its head.
Walking sticks are one of the many truly alien-looking creatures that are actually common in our own natural world.
Nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing something that is totally insane or nonsensical, especially with humorous intent.
This video from Let's Paint TV by John Kilduff is a ridiculous attempt to exercise, take live calls, paint, and make blended drinks... all while wearing a suit & tie. To complete the package, there are crazy camera zooms & psychedelic video effects.
When I was in high school (before the endless entertainment of the internet) my friends and I amused ourselves by watching bad movies and cable access TV. If I would have seen this gem back then, I would've absolutely flipped out.
I saw this quote by Reddit user noplusnoequalsno by scientist Blaise Pascal, and thought it described my views of nationalism and patriotic motivations for war pretty well.
"Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man should have the right to kill me because he lives on other sides of the water, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have none with him?" - Blaise Pascal
The patriotic sentiment was never strong in me, even when I was younger. My preference is to label myself as a living being, first & foremost. Everything else is just tribal politics.
I do appreciate the fact that I live in a relatively developed country with a degree of freedom, and access to goods & services. However, the idea that we should be willing to put our lives on the line for war against another country, is cultural brainwashing. Nationalist wars (especially invasions & wars of conquest) rarely benefit anyone except the wealthy sociopaths who profit off conflict and human misery.
When I first started this blog, I tried to keep it separate from my personal life. I saw it as a pseudonym that I didn't want associated with my real identity. However, over the years I've posted my art & some personal experiences that I wanted to share. Because it's all sort of melded together now, I've ended up just approaching this blog as an aspect of my personality, instead of a distinct entity.
Since I'm trying to unleash my entrepreneurial potential, I recently created an account on LinkedIn. This is a social media platform for professionals & businesses. I've made my profile public, so my credentials and experience are visible. If anyone reading this is a member, feel free to connect with me.
Today, I was watching a YouTube video of an entertainer, Tommy D, who I met recently at a business networking meetup. I then saw the video below of one of my adolescent idols of spoken word & music, Henry Rollins, talking about the single most transformative moment in his life. He came to a crucial crossroads & he created his destiny through his choice. I think it's interesting that he wonders what would've happened if he didn't accept the audition for his future band, Black Flag. I think all of us do this sometimes, but ultimately we have to accept the choices we've made, good or bad- and move on to the next choice that life presents us.
Even before watching the video, I have always tried to take this approach to heart. Especially in the last few months, I have kept my focus and been motivate each day to build the foundation for my future life and career. Not just in forming my businesses, but in maintaining my health. I have to give a lot of credit to my fiancé, who is a health guru compared to me. I was always fairly healthy & exercised, but I now eat very healthy and do different kinds of yoga in addition to working out. Each one of these little decisions we make each day forms the content of our experience. We cannot control all aspects of our environment, but we can control how we react to these circumstances.
Unfortunately, I'm in NJ & we weren't in the path of the totality, where the entire sun is covered and the sky goes dark. However, it was still cool to see (through special glasses) the shadow of the moon as it slowly worked it's way past the sun's disc.
Here is a photo of me looking super cool in my eclipse glasses. I had absolutely no equipment to photograph the event properly, so I tried to take a pic with my phone through the filtered glasses lenses, but it didn't work very well since the moon's shadow wasn't visible at all.
I was sitting in the back yard, and saw this small grasshopper land among the green blades of grass. I got as close as I could, so you see some of its cool details. In the photo, it blends in well with the lawn. It's coloring is a natural camouflage.
At the same time, I created a page for my startup business, Fantasy Photos.
Fantasy Photos is a company I started that specializes in fun, custom portraits. They are perfect for gifts or special occasions. If you are reading this and have a Facebook page, please give the page a "Like" to support my efforts.
For many years I created these special portraits for my family & friends. After I got laid off from my job at a graphic design studio this year, I decided to follow my own dream by starting Fantasy Photos.
I also offer the Fantasy Photo Booth service, for parties or live events. I take the customer's photo against a green screen, & replace the background with a scene of the person's choice! It has proven to be very popular at festivals and shows that I've attended as a vendor, and I'm looking to book more events.
At my parents' house, my Mom has hummingbird feeders in her gardens. She loves these tiny, fast birds and also has hummingbird decorations around the house.
When I sit in their sun room on the back porch, there are hummingbirds that always buzz around the feeder by the window. I decided to try to get some footage of these speedy creatures, so I set up a lawn chair right underneath one of the feeders.
I had to stay perfectly still & wait for maybe 5 minutes, then they started hovering around and approaching the feeder. First a male came, then a female, & then both perched on the feeder at the same time. Finally, a third hummingbird came and they had a scuffle and they all flew off.
Originally, I had about 4 minutes worth of footage, but it was a lot of the birds just sitting there & drinking. I edited the video down to about a minute and a half, so it didn't get too boring.If you are watching on a computer with speakers, you can turn the volume up to hear the buzzing of their wings and their chirps at certain points.
Although I have been writing on this blog for a dozen years, I've never really tried to monetize it, other than posting about designs available in my store. This is more a leisurely pastime for me, for my own enjoyment and for those who want to read The Monkey Buddha.
My career has been in graphic design, and a few months ago I was laid off after 15 years with a studio with whom I had spent my whole career. It was fairly unexpected, but I had been unknowingly been preparing myself for that moment. I actually wasn't as upset as I would've imagined. Although I felt anxiety at the set of problems ahead of me, I also felt a degree of freedom. After working every weekday 9 to 5 for all those years, it was weird not having to keep to a schedule.
However, I did not treat unemployment like a vacation. The very same week, I was updating my resumé, ordering business cards, and adding work to my online portfolio.
Although I wanted to find a new job, a part of me wanted to see this as an opportunity to create my own vision of a business. After many years of creating custom portraits for my friends & family, I formed Fantasy Photos in May 2017 and started my first business.
Even when working in the studio, I had been doing freelance work on the side. Now I am also trying to grow my design business. I've been learning about internet marketing and building web pages to expand my expertise.
I just started a Facebook page (finally!) for my graphic design business. I specialize in all forms of print & digital media, and have a lot of experience with branding and promotions for small startups. I have also worked with the biggest companies on the planet, so I work with clients of all sizes.
If you or someone you know could use my services & skills, do not hesitate to contact me through this website or social media. Thanks!
My Mom had this classic-looking toy on her kitchen table. I picked it up and put my thumb & pointer around the black cube in the middle, and gave it a spin.
A little later, I was joking with her & told her that I looked it up online. I said it was the original "fidget spinner" and was worth $500! She said "Really?!?!" & believed me for about 2 seconds, before I started laughing.
I couldn't find anything about it on Google, but it appears to be an old game where you spin the cubes to show random letters Then, maybe you try to make words out of it? It's not as fun of an explanation as being the first fidget spinner, but it was an still interesting old-school toy.
One afternoon, my family decided to play "Watch Ya Mouth". It's a game my sister brought, and plays with her kids. The players have to try to pronounce words, while wearing a mouthpiece that makes you look like the Predator alien.
It was so funny and ridiculous that I had to take video of us playing. Today I finally got around to editing the clips together.
In the video, my attempt is first, then both my nephews, then my fiancé Loretta, then my sister Mandi, then finally my Dad.