Inspiration vs. Distraction

I have an addiction.

Didn't buy it...yet

Frankly I am sure I have a ton of addictions, but I am only considering one in this post: I love to buy books. And, since I only have so much shelf space, I concentrate on buying books I can’t just go get in the library. Consequently, I don’t have that many novels (though I have my favorites). Instead I concentrate on How-to books and Field Guides.

Right now I have just noticed (thanks to Amazon suggesting it) “Yet Another Art Instruction book I Cannot Possibly Live Without”. The book is called Manga Matrix: Create Unique Characters Using the Japanese Matrix System by Hiroyoshi Tsukamoto.  Now anyone familiar with the stuff I doodle will say “But Rachel, you don’t even draw Manga style anything” and this is true. But I find the style (frequently) very pretty – especially when I think of Ghibli or sometimes Clamp, etc. I have several books on the style just to reference anyway.

But my real question, which should probably be posed over at http://Conceptart.org is this: When do you say to yourself “Intervention! Buying one more art instruction guide is not going to help you improve; actually drawing is the only thing that will actually help you improve”? 

That’s one of those questions I don’t like!

Zubbles have arrived!

They are just as fun as I hoped they would be! The package came with a 4oz bottle of pink, and a 4oz bottle of blue. I didn’t open the “Presto Pink” Zubbles yet, though I did open the “Blazing Blue”. Many others are clearly shown on the site – just not for sale yet…

The zubble soap is very, very dark in the bottle. You can see where a few drops spilled in the photo below. But the color vanishes as soon as you rub it away.  The bottle’s lid’s rim is a bit leaky sometimes which would not be obvious except for the dark color.

Bottle of Blazing Blue Zubbles
Bottle of Blazing Blue Zubbles
And in the air they look blue as can be, just as the hype said!
Blue Zubbles in Action
Blue Zubbles in Action

They were “very expensive” I’ll just say, but I’m so happy that they are finally on the market that I plunked down my dollars so I could get my greedy hands on them.

And they are whimsical fun – if you like soap bubbles! I will take them tomorrow and let my Pre-K Sunday School kids mess around with them.

TechCrunch vs. Scoble

Now I just read two completely contradictory articles – by prominent tech folks who know what they are talking about – on how to “manage your friends” on Twitter.

TechCrunch (Michael Arrington) states here that “there is an unwritten Golden Mean that shows ‘more people follow you, than you follow, therefore you are interesting and I should follow you’.” So if you auto-followback and follow people in the “vague hope they will follow you” you would not look like an interesting person and interesting people won’t care about you.

Robert Scoble (Scobleizer) states here that “you need to follow everyone, because you learn from the people you follow.”  So if you follow everyone all the time, you will enjoy having a huge user base of people to interact with.

(Paraphrases mine.)

I think I fall somewhere in between, when it comes to “Twitter philosophy”.

Do you have an opinion?

Growing in Grace

Warning: navel gazing.

Sometimes I don’t think I am growing.

When I work with the youth on Wednesday nights, the youth pastor always asks for testimonies, answers to prayer, and what the Lord is doing in your life. I have a testimony, and I see answers to prayer, and blessings every day! But I never “feel a way the Lord is working in my life”.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter; feelings are just feelings. But often I wonder about it. I hear so many people say “you should be able to look look back on your life a decade/year/month/etc. ago and see that you are holier/closer to Christ now” and I never seem to.

Right now I’m reading through Jeremiah. Back in college we had a class in which reading through the entire Bible was required – so I did it as fast as humanly possible. So this time I’m trying to read Jeremiah with “actual thought and understanding”. I read it through in KJV, and now I am reading it through with a Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Seeing each phrase of Jeremiah with an explanation makes it easier to understand (although reading it in “anything other than KJV” would also make it easier to understand – duly noted). Next I will read it again with my NIV Life Application Bible, for a different take. Finally I think I will try to write it over “in my own words”. This is the biggest “self motivated” Bible study I have done for a decade, to my shame. 

Everyone says “learning about the Bible/God is not the same thing as getting to know God himself” but, to quote a song, “you can’t stand on the promises if you don’t know what they are”. So I will study God’s love letter to us, to learn about Him – there has to be a balance there.

I love all forms of video games & geekery, and sometimes it does bother me when I think how easy it is to spend an hour on a game and so hard it is to spend fifteen minutes in prayer. [Asking “WWJD” before killing an orc is not the same as “WWJD” before spending the hours on the game. ;)]

And which has more eternal value?

I have no happy ending to this post. Just my $.02 and exposed inner conflict, same as any other Christian. It is worth it to ponder this hard question.

Tiny pre-update: Zubbles

I’ve been watching this product called Zubbles with half an eye, since about 2005, because bubbles are one of the whimiscal things I find fascinating and dear.

FINALLY they have come to market, with a “Buy” button and everything. ( Thanks to Elly and Natalie for pointing them out to me. )

So, of course, I hit aforementioned Buy button. They cost at least an arm, if not an additional leg. The story is that the inventor spent $3 million developing them!

Further updates as Zubbles warrant. Hopefully with photos!

I feel pretty gleeful at the moment.  Tonight is craft night, so hopefully I will have more art to post later.

Work in Progress: Dragon edition

Right now I am working on scuplting two dragons – one is a commissioned piece, and one is just for fun.

This baby is just for fun, but I really like the way he is turning out. I tried a texturing technique (tingue twuster!) that I found on the Dan Perez site.

If you want more “step-by-step” information on how I do this, let me know – but mostly it’s “wad tinfoil and wire in the middle, then cover with clay until it looks right”. I have actually taken many progress shots of  the dragon below (the one below the baby). Maybe I’ll do a step-by-step sort of post, but it would be picture intensive and I don’t know that anyone really wants it. Just ask questions if you have questions – I’d be thrilled to find out that anyone is reading the blog, hint. [Edit: Yes I know you are reading the blog, because I received some nice feedback when I asked for ways to keep my milk safe in the fridge! And thank you!]

 

He only has a partial wing, so far
He only has a partial wing, so far

This is the one that is “an actual commission that I should be working faster on” whoops. Sunday I started on a wing, then picked it up yesterday and discovered that the Apoxie never set! Perhaps I mixed the batch badly. This is why I would fear for everyone’s safety if I was a mad scientist.

 

Not very complete yet.
Not very complete yet.

On an EVEN BETTER note, my dad’s company just got some work in today – praise the Lord!

That was a huge answer to prayer.

I hope your day is going well, too!

 

And it’s Game Night. I bought a new card game called “Illusio”, that I haven’t tried yet. I don’t know that I’ll have time tonight, but I loved the “rival magicians” theme.

Unfortunate Food

This was from the 4th of July. It really didn’t taste bad, but the presentation…

This instantly reminds me of James Lileks great books on “Regrettable Food” such as this one. (Amazon link )

But you can tool around for a long time on his website, looking at his goofy collection of… things… in the “Institue of Official Cheer”: http://lileks.com/institute/index.html