Restarting things can be so invigorating, much like a walk on the Oregon coast in November (or, you know, a swim). As I restart so many things, I am reminded why they petered out or stopped suddenly the first time through.
I discovered a new tool for bulk-deleting tweets from one's twitter account. This was necessary not because I wanted to erase my digital past, but because a glitch in the matrix had caused some egregious over-tweeting. I had several automated postings set up, my favorite of which was the NASA image of the day. I may resume posting that one again, but manually this time. Auto-posts also included a Wikipedia picture of the day, the day's weather forecast, a word of the day, and one or two other things.
The problem began when the Wikipedia picture of the day began posting the same picture over and over again. Most days it would post 15 times. One day it posted 43 times. Another: 78. Twitter suspended my account (as it should). Though it took a bit of finagling to get it back, the process was surprisingly straightforward, and I'm glad Twitter believed my story of an auto-post gone wrong and that I promised never to do it again.
Stepping back from the inundations of rapid information overload (even when you only see each tweet a single time) is refreshing and necessary. This series of photographs comes from a lovely few days on the beach surrounded by friends. This same group of people embarked on this retreat after just having spent almost a week together in the mountains. It clearly wasn't enough.
Sometimes, you just need to get away, twice in a row.
It's 2020. Time to make some changes.
It definitely started last year, or maybe the year before. I was editing my thousands of photos from Iceland, and I realized I had learned some crucial techniques. I decided to go back to the beginning and edit ALL of my past photos. With some of them I achieved dramatic results.
I also found a few treasure-troves of photos I had taken, uploaded to my computer, and then promptly ignored entirely. There were some gems in there that now needed to be added into the timeline into the appropriate place.
Oh, the timeline! This is a spreadsheet, which is easy enough to rearrange, but it's also the Etsy Pattern site I had opened the year before to offer digital downloads that didn't expire. I loved the simplicity of the masonry look of it, but you couldn't rearrange the order easily (or at all? I'm not sure if I ever figured this out). I also had been posting sets of 5 photos from each of my categories on Instagram, chronologically, as each new set of 5 was complete. Was I starting both of these over?
This led to concluding that the Etsy Pattern site had done nothing for me except charge me $15 per month, and I could host my own items on my existing website if I put some money into it. I'd have an extra $15 per month once I shut down the other site.
Which in turn led to me taking a look at my existing website. I was pretty proud of it at the time, but I created it in 2009. It LOOKED like it was created in 2009. It was definitely time for an update.
As I began to update my new website with a new native shop function, I realized that the way I had been categorizing my photography made a lot of sense in 2009 with the photos that I had at the time, but some of those categories had not grown at all, and some had expanded to ridiculous proportions. It was time for new categories.
New categories, like the new timeline, meant starting over on some things (lots of things) AGAIN. Those groups of 5 on Instagram, which I had already completely re-posted the week before, would now have to be re-posted again. I'll do it a little more slowly this time, starting today.
My categories went from 16 to 24—many were more specific, and the total number of photos in each category was closer to equal. I ended up re-naming a few of the categories several times as I went (because, at this point, why not start something over AGAIN again...). These still fit nicely into 4 over-arching categories: Animals, Plants, Objects, and Scenery.
Old Category: Charismatic Megafauna
Previously contained mammals, usually large, but there were some small ones in there as well. The small ones were breaking the category. They couldn't be mega-anything. There was also a combination of wild animals and pets / livestock. This has now been split into two categories.
Old Category: Under the Sea
This one had become too large, and so it is now split into two categories: "Swim & Float" (animals that generally don't touch the bottom of the ocean) and "Tide Pool & Seashore" (sessile animals or crawling animals you're likely to find in or around tide pools).
Old Category: Flowers of the Wild
For a long time, this category had only 5 photos. I have now expanded it to include wildflower photos taken in the city (flowers whose garden-version and wild-version would be indistinguishable, even if that particular specimen had been planted by a human). This category also contains wild (or could-be-wild) fruits.
Old Category: Forest Flora
Now split into two categories—one for general plants and one for moss, lichen, and fungus.
Old Category: Bridges, Buildings & Boats
Turns out that's really 3 categories. When I started, it made sense to lump them together, but living in a city with 12 bridges, and visiting many other bridge-heavy cities makes the bridge category pretty big. Buildings are everywhere, too. I don't have that many boat photos, but for some reason I have a handful of truck photos (formerly in the "Everyday Objects" category).
Boats + cars = ways to get from point A to point B.
Old Category: Creeks, Rivers & Oceans
So, like ALL the water ever? Now divided into essentially salt water and fresh water.
Old Category: Into the Sky
Now two categories—one to highlight interesting cloud formations and sunsets, and one for the night sky.
So there I was, minding my own business (as usual) when I came across an eHow instructional article. The article itself was rather strange and specific: How to Draw Zodiac Constellations.
_This writer passed somebody's screening process. Demand Studios (content distributor for eHow and other channels) also hires copy editors, who presumably passed somebody's screening process and then checked the work of the writer. And yet...
The instructions were a bit odd. Basically: look at someone else's representation of the constellation. Draw the big stars first, then the smaller stars. Connect the dots. I have a hard time reconciling how these instructions are useful, or how they are appreciably different than instructions for drawing any constellation.
_The drill-down for this article is Home >> Toys & Games >> Magic, Mystery & Fortune Telling >> Aries >> How to Draw Zodiac Constellations. There has to be a better classification for this! If I were starting from the Home location, there's no way I would follow this path to figure out how to draw Zodiac Constellations. Here are a few that I would try first:
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Drawing
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Pencil Drawing
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Step by Step Drawing
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Draw to Scale
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Draw Anything
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Draw Illustrations
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Art Drawing >> Drawing Directions
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Draw Shapes & Objects >> Draw Stars
Home >> Arts & Entertainment >> Draw Shapes & Objects >> Draw Stuff
Home >> Hobbies & Science >> Earth & Space Science >> Constellations
Home >> Hobbies & Science >> Earth & Space Science >> Find Stars
Home >> Hobbies & Science >> Earth & Space Science >> Night Sky
Home >> Hobbies & Science >> Earth & Space Science >> About Astronomy
That means the Toys & Games route would be at minimum my 14th try, but I'm guessing I'd never actually get there. I hope they have a better search function than categorization function. While looking through those categories, I found all manner of mis-categorized articles. All of those drawing subcategories should probably have been in "Arts & Crafts" rather than in "Arts & Entertainment," but that aside, when you finally get down to the articles in that first listing, >> Art Drawing >> Drawing, you'll find (almost at the top of the page):
Identify Income Sources You Can Draw From in Retirement
Can I Draw Both SSD & SSI?
What Is a Sales Draw?
How to Increase Your Band's Draw
How to Fix the Draw in a Fireplace
None of which are even obliquely related to Art Drawing. So, I'm thinking I might apply to work for Demand Studios, since I'm already cited as an expert, and clearly I have some skills they need.
How do you get your blog fix?
My reader-of-choice is bloglovin'. The interface is clean and easy to use. You can follow anything with a feed, and it arranges all unread posts at the top, with a large picture (if there is one in the post) and the first paragraph or so of text. You can easily mark a post as "read" to skip it, or "like" a post to come back to later. You can sort blogs into your own categories and read whole categories at a time (or skip whole categories by marking them all as read).
Bloglovin' is one of the permanent tabs open in my browser and I have yet to see any other blog reader that comes close for my taste. But that's the thing. My taste is mine, and your preferences for reading blogs may be very different.
Some blog platforms, like WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr make it easy to follow other blogs on that same platform, with convenient follower tracking methods. This is great if your blog is on one of those platforms. Mine is not. You can still follow me the hard way, though (click below on the appropriate icon to see how). I'll figure out how to calculate my followers later...
I hope you'll find a way to follow not just my blog, but all the blogs that catch your interest. Please don't limit what you read on a regular basis just because it's not easy to follow with your current system. Find a blog reader that works for all the blogs you want to read and use it!
All of this buttony business was inspired by a post on Will Work 4 Followers. If you want to add a simpler version of these follow buttons, head over to that site and follow the instructions.
By the way, the title of this post is in reference to the fact that this is my 200th post! When I arrived at my 100th post a while back, I realized that I had counted incorrectly, and it was actually my 101st post. I almost did it again this time.
My blog posting, up until now, has been patchy at best. I frequently don't have time, and then when I do, I don't know what to post about. I still don't know if anyone cares enough to read this thing, but I got on a roll this February and posted 41 times!
If I were just one hour faster, this one could have counted as number 42, which is, of course, the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Alas, this current post landed squarely in March. Gimme a break, February's a short month!
Some new topics have emerged this month:
New Releases: As I add new products to my shop, they might debut here.
Photo Challenges: Who knew entering these would be so addicting?
Venust Truth: My ruminations on the beauty of the world.
Chaff Sagacity: Old photos I've dug up, not good enough to sell, but good enough to inspire.
Lazy 365: My personal photography quest, to get the serendipitous shot.
Some old topics were also heartily revisited:
Diversion Audit: What I do with myself all winter as an Artist in Residence.
Tutorials: A little bit of how-to on random subjects.
Waxing Geeketic: Science information, specifically stargazing tutorials.
Don't get too attached, I'm going back to my life in the forest soon. But for now, you can expect a few more weeks of prolific posting. February's selections can be found below, or all posts here.
It was so hard to choose, but my favorite posts from Fecund February have become the "you might also like" links for this post:
Here I was, posting along, knowing that I was approaching a milestone... and I miscounted. This was supposed to be the 100th post on this blog.
100th posts are a time for reflection and nostalgia, for look how far I've come, and look how long I've been doing this, and such. But then I just blew right past post #100, to arrive here at post number #101. So, no reflection. Instead I give you a parable (entirely true!) in which you may find some enlightenment.
Kirpe and the Hundred Beans
In fourth grade, we were tasked with bringing 100 of something to class. It could be anything: thumbtacks, beads, grains of rice, pennies, scraps of paper. We simply had to bring in exactly 100, and the items should be small enough to fit in a sandwich bag.
I don't remember what we eventually did with our 100 somethings, but it was probably related to 4th grade level math in some way.
My classmate, Kirpe, was "that kid" in many ways. Some of the funniest moments of 4th grade involved Kirpe. For the assignment, Kirpe brought 100 black beans to class. Just before we were going to use our 100 somethings, our teacher told us to count and make sure we had exactly 100. Kirpe counted his beans, and discovered that he had 101. One too many!
Kirpe did not want to be caught with the wrong number of somethings! He couldn't believe he had miscounted at home and was now suffering the consequences. Kirpe quickly swallowed one of his beans - he didn't do something rational like simply putting one of the beans in his pocket - he swallowed it.
Then, just to be sure, Kirpe counted his beans again. He now had... 99. He counted again. Still 99. It seems that the only time Kirpe had erroneously counted his beans had been the time he had discovered he had 101 of them.
The moral of this story is: double check, before you do something drastic. Romeo would agree. Not that missing the 100th blog post is anything to worry about, but it's good advice nonetheless.
Eight months in the making, I finally sent out another e-mail newsletter. Turns out I started working on another one a few months back and forgot about it. I'll send that one later...
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