Coldest Day So Far This Winter

The walk to the Old Town Alexandria farmers market this morning was the coldest day this winter for me so far. I know for those of you up north where it gets cold, this wasn’t too bad.

Okay, it was 32 F, but with the 20 mph winds, it was 19 F.

It’s not that bad being from Buffalo, NY. With only wearing a heavy and a lightweight hoodie for layering, the wind was going right through them at times. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t over a mile each way to the farmer’s market.

My big mittens were making my hands warm and a little sweating. The wind seemed to be chilling my upper body and my legs. It made me wish I had long underwear to wear under my pants for on my legs.

Going forward, on weekends, before heading to the farmer’s markets, I need to check the weather better. I need to see if there is any significant wind to get an idea of the windchill.

Today the warm temperature and the sun were a bit deceiving.

Here’s to dressing better for the weather when I’m outside for the next month or two.

100 Day Project

Back on April 6th, 2015, I started the 100 Day Project to do 100 days of something creative. Some people wrote for 100 days, while others drew or made mini-movies, sang, coded, etc.

Preparing to Paint

I decided it had been probably eight or ten years since I painted, so I thought I would do that. I checked on my paints, and even though they were old, they were in great shape to use.

A week or two before, I went to get a few new brushes and some small canvas boards to paint on. I ended up getting the following size boards: 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, and even a few 10 x 12. All those are in inches not feet.

Started Painting

On the evening of the 6th of April, I started using my new boards and brushes to paint wine bottle shapes on a colored background. It was rough going at first, but I kept at it.

As my skills improved, I used my pallet knives to paint either the bottle or the background. Doing so allowed me to learn again how to use them. At some point, I even did both bottles and background with the pallet knife.

Switched to Digital Drawing

I kept this up for about 180 days or so before going to New York City for a long weekend. So I wasn’t going to bring my paints, etc. to paint while in New York. I was concerned about how to bring wet paintings home in the train. So I carried my iPad and learned how to do a digital drawing using Paper by 53.

At first, I did my drawing with my fingers. The drawings weren’t that good and probably wouldn’t have been much better using a digital pencil either.

Then when Paper by 53 came out with their pencil, I bought one. Purchasing the pencil gave me more features/tools in the application and improved my wine bottle shape drawings.

At some point, I missed a day or so along the way.

I’m currently at drawing/painting 2,107 out of I think it’s like 2,117 or so days.

So not bad being creative each day minus ten or so days over almost five years. Some of it could be a bit of miss numbering, but I think it’s more. I missed a few days.

So I have missed on average two days a year. Not bad in my book.

Application Upgrade

At one point, the application wanted people to pay a monthly fee after upgrading to the newest version. So I held off for many, many months.

At some point during the summer of 2020, I mistakenly upgraded after such a long time. Because it had been so long since the improvements, I lost 1,700 – 1,800 digital drawings.

I think they are still on my iPad somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find them, and I never downloaded them. Which I had thought to do many a time but didn’t.

It was a momentary feeling of loss, but I figured what was I going to do at that point. Okay, there might have been a few swear words mumbled under my breath. Only because it was late at night, and I didn’t want to wake up the upstairs neighbors.

Other Daily Creative Projects

I have done a similar thing with GitHub for a project to keep track of places to eat when I travel (Gotta Eat Here).

Then I started another drawing thing with a friend’s child. After they saw me doing my drawing each day, I was visiting them and showed interest in doing the same thing.

I will write more on those in future posts.

Here’s to More Creativity

So here is to doing something creative each day to break up work, life, and the pandemic. While not making it into something that makes you feel bad/stressed if you miss a day.

It’s supposed to be fun and not stressful.

Yesterday’s Inauguration

January 20th, 2021, was an interesting and enjoyable day.

As a government contractor, I had the day because the government was closed in the DC area for the inauguration.

The bonus was I took an extra day off on Tuesday to give myself a long five day weekend. Doing so gave me a much-needed break from work and allowed me to get things done but still relax too.

My Midday Walk

So I slept in a bit and laid in bed and read some.

Then I realized I need to get going for a walk since I typically take a 20 or 25-minute walk around lunchtime. Today I wanted to be home around noon to watch the inauguration ceremony.

So I got dressed and gathered my things. I then went for an hour and eight-minute walk that covered 3.1 miles in the process.

Late Breakfast

Once back home, I toasted up a piece of baguette that I sliced in half lengthwise. When it was done, I added some cream cheese and strawberry jam to hold me over to closer to noon.

I started eating my breakfast and looking at Twitter to see what everyone was saying about the day’s events.

After a bit more reading, I started some blog post editing. I need to keep ahead of things by a day or more. So all I have to do is edit them the night before posting and maybe a final check the day they go live.

Lunch

For the Inauguration, I wanted a bit of a different meal for the event.

So I made a large bowl of popcorn that fit in my blue plastic bowl that is about 12 inches wide and three inches deep and was filled past the rim.

The main meal items were two types of cheeses, an aged white cheddar, and a stinky Smythe cheese. Two types of cured meats from The Fermented Pig.

Some plain crackers and a super sharp pairing knife I got at the flea market were on my cutting board. I needed a sharp knife to cut the meat and cheese.

The cutting board was from Martha’s Vineyard that I purchased 30+ years ago on a trip there.

NOTE – I need to get back to Martha’s Vineyard again after it’s safe to do so.

Inauguration Ceremony Viewing

I watch the inauguration ceremony on CNN.com since I got rid of my cable TV in the early fall of 2019.

I started watching somewhere about 11:30 AM or so. I was able to see Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez both sing.

I then witnessed history with the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris. She is the first-ever Black, South Asian, and woman Vice President in the United States.

Following that, I watched President Joe Biden get sworn in. He gave an excellent speech on the country needing to unite and work things out together even if people have differences. That’s my summary if you want all the details to watch his speech again on the internet.

Then the star of the show was listening to Amanda Gorman’s poem. She is an American poet and activist from Los Angeles, California.

Today’s “The Hill We Kill” poem during the ceremony was very moving. I even went back and listened to it again later Tuesday evening.

I’m looking for great things from her in the future.

Post Ceremony

Once the ceremony was over, I listened to a bit more of the CNN commentators. At the same time, I was looking to see what friends on Twitter were saying. After some more listening and reading for about an additional 30 minutes, I stopped. I then took a nap on my sofa to unwind a bit.

After the ceremony, I cleaned up my desk of the food, of course.

Once refreshed from about an hour nap, I watched a few videos on YouTube and then for another walk.

Once back from my second walk of the day, I edited a few future blog posts and wrote most of this post.

Later tonight, I plan to do a bit of rereading and editing of this post, so it’s ready for posting on Thursday.

The Future

As for myself and many others, I follow on Twitter. We are all looking for a much quieter four years with Joe Biden as President. Some even said boring would be good for a change, and I agree.

Meaning I expect him to work towards his promises. We need to make sure the House and Senate both work to the benefit of the people of the country they serve and not their parties.

Mostly they need to work towards repairing the divide that has happened in the last four years and ones before it too.

So here is to less drama and more nation-building. While making things safe for all citizens in the United States and abroad.

Read More Books

The year started out well reading-wise. I was reading a book about every five days or so on average; then, when the pandemic hit, and it slowed up a lot.

Total Books Read

I finished the year strong in December and managed to read 23 books.

Oops, I forgot about a few digital JavaScript books I read with a remote JavaScript book club.

So I ended up with 26 books. There might be others I missed too.

My Plan

I had hoped to read a book a week as my plan, but other things happened, and I didn’t. No, worries since it’s the most books I read in a read ever besides comic books as a kid.

Book Length in Pages

Some books were longer than others and others not so much. A bunch were between 120 and 150 pages others were over 450+ pages.

More YouTube Learning

I started watching more YouTube to learn about different ways to cook, start a small farm, ideas for a tiny house, etc. More on that in another post.

Below is the list of books I read. I had planned to put them in the order I read them, but I managed to knock over the two piles. So they got all mixed up.

List of Books

  • The Tiny MBA – 100 Very Short Lessons about the Long Game of Business by Alex Hillman.
  • Do Agile – Future Proof Your Mindset. Stay Grounded by Tim Drake.
  • How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia
  • Twenty Bits I Learned about Design, Business, and Community by Dan Cedarholm
  • Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? – The Art f Making Zines and Mini-comics by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson
  • The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Guide by Steve Sando and Julia Newberry
  • Elements of Fire – A Comic Anthology of Color! edited by Taneka Stotts
  • Do Bee-keeping – The Secret to Happy Honeybees by Orren Fox
  • Do Disrupt – Change the Status Quo. Or Become it. by Mark Shayler
  • Cool Beans – The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-based Protein with 125 Recipes by Joe Yonan
  • Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison with Reny Mia Saly
  • Do Preserve  – Make Your own Jams, Chutneys, Pickles, and Cordials by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss, and Mimi Beaven
  • Cartooning – Philosophy, and Practice by Ivan Brunetti
  • Do Listen – Understand What’s Really Being said. Find a New Way Forward. by Bobette Buster
  • Oishinbo – A la Carte – Ramen and Gyoza story by Tetsu Kariya and Art by Akira Hanasaki
  • Do Story – How to Tell Your Story, so the World Listens. by Bobette Buster
  • Form Design Patterns – A Practical Guide to Designing and Coding simple and Inclusive Forms for the Web by Adam Silver
  • Inclusive Design Patterns – Coding Accessibility Into Web Design by Heydon Pickering
  • The Fermented Man – A year on the Front Lines of a Food Revolution by Derek Dellinger
  • The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including Koji, Kombuchas, Shoyus, Misos, Vinegars, Garums, Lacto-ferments, and Black Fruits and Vegetables by Rene Redzepi and David Zilber
  • Glenn Ganges in The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga
  • The Public Library – A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson
  • Drawing Book of Faces by Ed Emberley
  • The “You Don’t Know JavaScript Yet” series books by Kyle Simpson
    • Get Started – 2nd Edition
    • Scope and Closures – 2nd Edition
    • this and Object Prototypes – 1st Edition

I will do a more in-depth write up of the ones I like the best in the future.

More Reading in 2021

Here to as much reading in 2021 as in 2020 and more if possible.

Please leave a comment if you read any of these books and what you thought of them.

Attended More Conferences

I managed to get to many more events this year because of the pandemic and them being remote/online. Which meant not having to take extra time off to travel to them and have all the expenses of travel, hotel, food, etc.

It worked out for me, deciding not to attend CSUN this year. It’s an accessibility conference in Los Angles. As it was scheduled at the beginning of everything, closing up related to the pandemic.

Luckily many conferences had time to switch to remote events. I used my vacation to attend more of them.

Used Vacation to Attend Some Events

A good part of my vacation had been saved by not traveling to any of these events.

In 2020 I attended many remote events. From four or five conferences, a few workshops, a few couple hour-long food classes/demos, some meetups, remote field trips, etc.

I even attended an accessibility camp in Australia because it started at the end of my workday. Which allowed me to participate for a few hours at least before heading to bed.

Events I Attended

Below is the list of events I was able to attend in 2020, with dates listed if possible. I might have missed one or two, but these are most of them.

Here’s to More Remote Events

So here is to these events having remote components in the future when the pandemic is over. Which will allow me and many others to attend that normally couldn’t.