Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Terrible Year Comes to an End

2020 has been one of the worst years of my life.  I am glad to see it go.

In the next three weeks we may witness the most seditious act in US history, the swearing in of a false and fraudulent president, one who was not selected by the people or by an honest and accurate vote.  The left will have accomplished its long-held dream of overthrowing both freedom and free markets.  The United States will cease any pretense of being a legitimate country or a representative democracy.

My little brother died last February 27.  I have lost both my brother and my country.

How much more can I lose?

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Making My Own Clip Art With Adobe illustrator

 I thought of another great use of my growing skills in Adobe Illustrator:  making my own clip art.  

Here is my first effort.  It is an Egyptian Scarab Beetle.  What are the red spots?  I believe they are meant to represent the Sun God that was pushed as a new religion by Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, 1364-1347 B.C.).  Egyptians didn't like having a new religion forced on them, but they had to put up with it until Akhenaten died.  

Scarabs have been religious symbols in Egypt both before and after Akhenaten.  I remember when I was in the fourth grade a lady showed up in our class to tell us about ancient Egypt and scarabs, and to show us her green scarab ring.  I have liked scarab depictions ever since.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Whoa, Blogging Really is Dead, Isn't It?

Whoa, I got 14 hits on my blog today.  I used to get 500.  Of course, I have been off the blogosphere for two years so a loss in followers in to be expected.  However, blog readership is down for just about everyone.  Vox Popoli calls blogging a dead horse.  They may be right.  Social media sites provide much faster reactions and input, and many bloggers have gone to FaceBook, Twitter, Parler, MeWe. 

I believe the best use for my blog right now is as an accumulator site for my several projects:  YouTube videos, Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator projects.  It will act as  storage site for those efforts and a place for relatives and personal friends to visit.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Can Pence Save the Trump Presidency? Should He?

Vox Popoli is beginning to be one of my favorite blogs.  They boldly discuss what many would consider unthinkable.  Lately they are appealing to Vice President Pence to throw out electoral college votes from states where significant fraud has occurred.  Apparently, Pence, as President of the Senate, can do that under the Constitution.  (Or can he?)  We will see come January 6.

I  hope Pence can and will do exactly that.  It's time for bold action.  The Democrats do not move forward through persuasion, reason or law -- they operate from brute force, using such tactics as slander, lawfare and fraud.  The time for trying to persuade them is over and done with.  Brute force must be answered with brute force, bare knuckles with bare knuckles. 

Pence must throw out the electoral college votes from fraud states, namely, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and any others I have failed to mention.  Throwing them out would award the presidency to its true owner, Donald Trump.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

What's Next for America? Secession or Deep and Bitter Division?

 Over at Vox Popoli the blogger is confident that Trump will be sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2021.  He points out that Trump is not acting like a lame-duck president and Biden is not acting like a president-elect.  Both of them know that this is not over.

Over on FaceBook, Southern patriots are expressing hope for a new secession, on getting rid of the statist, socialist, globalist New England and west coast states once and for all.  

I am favorable to both opinions.  Really, isn't it time we realize that our 245 year old union has run its course?  We are two diametrically opposed nations trying to live in the same space.  The answer to our conflict may be amazingly simple:


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Adobe Illustrator Advanced Course: First Lesson

 I started my advanced Adobe Illustrator Course.  The Beginner's course was free, this one cost $69, but worth it.

My first lesson was using the curvature tool.  Here is my drawing (actually a copy of the instructor's creation):

Here is the process in a nutshell:

1.  Draw something on paper with pen or pencil.  (The drawing at the left was supplied by the instructor).

2.  Take a picture of the drawing and upload to your computer.

3. In Illustrator, choose "Place" the drawing as a template.  The drawing will be a bit dim so you can trace it in Illustrator.  A blank layer will be generated on top of the dimmed drawing.

4.  Use the curvature tool to flow the lines around the illustration.

5.  Fill drawing with color.

6.  Turn off the template layer so only the tracing shows.

7.   Export to a graphic file (I use PNG files).

OPTIONAL:  Print out the finished drawing, tape it to the refrigerator and sign it, e.g., "BY STOGIE."  Just kidding .  Of course, to learn Illustrator tools and techniques you should start off with fairly easy illustrations on which to practice.  (Actually, I like the instructor's way of drawing items -- they could be used in logos).

The Instructor is Daniel Walter Scott from "Bring Your Own Laptop" and info on the course can be seen at this link:

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas. I Guess. What's Next?

 Merry Christmas, December 25, 2020!  

What did you get for Christmas?  I got a Wacom tablet to use in making Photoshops and Illustrator projects.  It is a computer mouse in pencil and tablet form.  You can draw with it.  It will take some practice before I can use it efficiently, but I am up to the task.

So we no longer have a country, what's next?  Civil War?  Secession?  Massive civil disobedience? All of the above?  Shall we be smothered in despair and give up all hope?

For me, the current situation is somewhat liberating.  I no longer have to worry about saving our Constitutional Republic -- it is already lost.  My worry has decreased substantially.  The Republican Party is not actively evil like the Democrats, but is useless, feckless, cowardly and easily led by the enemy.  Screw them.  We need a new party, one that the majority of conservatives can easily switch their allegiance to.  Now is the time to clean up the rubble and look to building something better.  

Also, I no longer care about having a wildly successful blog.  I don't care if anyone thinks I'm cool, or wants to invite me into their clique, or floods my site with hits.  I don't care if anyone likes me.  I blog for fun and self-expression.  My feeling about blogging is this:  a blog should be informative, interesting and fun.  FUN should be emphasized, since few of us want to listen to lectures from a scold who imagines he has all the answers.  

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Would You Date Queen Nefertiti?

 Here's the 3,000 year old bust of Queen Nefertiti's head.  I saw it for real back in 1979 when it was on exhibition in San Francisco, along with the treasures of King Tut.   She was a pretty lady, but the bust had lost its left eye and parts of its ears.

         Nefertiti as Sculpted

Here's my Photoshop enhancement of the Queen, in modern clothes and hairstyle (the hair needs work but I'm in a hurry).

Nefertiti Reimagined

I fixed her eyes and ears and clothed her in a nice dress.  Gave her some earrings.  I'd definitely date her, as she's kind of cute. Would you?

Of course there is an age difference.  She's 3,000 years older than I am.

The Nature of Man and Government

Following the demise of the United States of America, I find myself pondering the nature of man and his government.  Here is the universal truth as I see it.

1.  Man (and I include women in that broad category) will always seek to govern, conquer, or control others.  The nature of man is as a conqueror.  What's his is his and what's yours is his, and he will always find a way to justify the tyranny and treachery to make it so.

2.  The U.S. Government is a huge money-laundering scam, designed to take from you and put your wealth in the pockets of those who govern.  Every grant of foreign and domestic aid expects a kick-back to the grantors, either as direct payments, "donations" or through intermediaries, such as by hiring your family members at exorbitant salaries in pretend jobs.  When certain human parasites moan about "the loss of our Democracy" they are really mourning the loss of their money-making scams.

3. Many claims of honor, ethics, virtue, duty, religion and patriotism are mere shills for greed, corruption and plunder.  We have many concise mottos that try to summarize who and what we are as a society:  E Pluribus Unum.  In God We Trust.  Amor Vincit Omnia.  Carpe Diem. Semper Fidelis. Deo Vindice. What would be a motto more descriptive of man's relation to man?  That's easy:

Gimme your money and do as I say.  

Or more succinctly, "Pay and Obey."  

In Latin that would be Solvere et Obedire

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

I APOLOGIZE. Sasquatch Does Exist!

Sasquatch, also known as Big Foot and now SAXquatch, has come out of the woods to assert his relevance and existance and to oppose interspecies bigotry.   His name is not Daryl, as claimed by a commercial advertisement, but he does play a mean sax.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Pox on the Years 2019 & 2020: I Lose Both My Brothers

Nothing makes you more aware of your mortality than the deaths of friends and relatives, and I have lost several of each during the past two years.  My older brother Ted died at age 76 and 31 days on April 5, 2019, of congestive heart failure.  He sometimes commented on this blog as "Bro."  My younger brother Dennis followed him on February 27, 2020, of Alzheimer's Disease.  Dennis was 72.

I turned 76 last month and this week passed my older brother in longevity.  I do not fear death and often find myself welcoming it.  Old age, aches and pains, the recent loss of our democratic republic to the fraud and ruthlessness of Democrats, is discouraging.  Facing another four years of Democrat gross mismanagement of the economy, the military and the border is very depressing.  

I am in very good health for my age, according to my doctors, but a year ago I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, which I keep closely controlled with medications and diet.

Dying of old age is not a tragedy, it is a fact of life and a part of nature.  Nevertheless, I don't have to like it.

Above Photo, Circa 1966:  From left to right, my father on steel guitar, me on bass guitar, Ted on guitar, Dennis on drums.

Monday, December 21, 2020

My Venture Into V-Logging: Making Videos for YouTube

Another new venture of mine is making videos for YouTube.  I have a YouTube channel called "Grumpy Meditations" and have posted a few videos thereon.  I am using and learning another Adobe program for this purpose, called Adobe Premier Pro.  It also comes with my Adobe subscription.  So the Adobe programs I am using and learning include Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition and Premier Pro.  Audition is for sound recording, I use it to record my band practices for upload to SoundCloud where band members can listen and improve.  Premier Pro is for editing videos that I take with my video camera to upload to YouTube.

Here is the best of my videos so far:

Kathryn Sevy's husband was Elliott Francis Marrs, who was a San Jose Policeman in the 1930s.  He died in 1981.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Photoshop 2021's Neural Filters -- Rapid Colorization of Black & White Photos

The latest version of Photoshop has something called Neural filters, which greatly streamline various editing tasks,  My favorite so far is colorization of black and white photographs.

Adding color to black and white photographs really brings them to life.  For example, here is photo of Marilyn Monroe that I colorized with Photoshop.  

I have been colorizing photos for family and friends for the past couple of weeks.  Some examples are below.

Pretty cool, hey?  Colorizing makes the pics more realistic and vivid.

Adobe illustrator: Drawing Charlie Brown and Linus

I took an online course to learn Adobe Illustrator, a graphic art and drawing program.  I think it will be an asset for making memes, illustrations, cartoons, logos and what-not.  My first practice exercise after completing the course was to draw Charlie Brown and Linus, standing behind the stone wall in the snow.  I added animated snow using Photoshop, but the drawing itself is all Illustrator.  (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

Moving Graphic: A Christmas Tree in the Snow

 Lately I have been resuming my practice of Photoshop, and have added Adobe Illustrator as well.  I have always had this bent towards artistic creations, and desire to exercise it much more that I have.

A few years back, I created a moving gif file of a Christmas tree in the snow.  I found the picture of an  outdoor Christmas tree and added animated falling snow to the picture.  It came out well.  Since that time I had forgotten how to add motion to a gif file.  This past week I have been studying and experimenting with Photoshop 2021 (I have an Adobe subscription and get the most up to date programs as soon as available).  Photoshop 2021 is more powerful than my older versions, but also different.  I took an online course to get myself back up to speed.

Anyway, I used the same picture of a Christmas tree that I used eight years ago, and added falling snow as a learning, or re-learning exercise.  Here it is, enjoy. (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

A Return to Blogging?

I haven't blogged in two whole years.  I contented my urge to argue by frequenting Twitter, where there is an inexhaustible supply of liberals and leftists to duel with.  The immediacy of that medium also kept me abreast of breaking news and events.  However, this media was seriously spoiled by the desire of its owners and operators to stifle and censor conservative thought and argument.  

Now, however, my enchantment with social media is on the wane.  The Trump era appears to have been murdered by Democrat fraud and bad faith, and rhetorical persuasion no longer relevant.  Who leads the nation now is more dependent on slander, dirty tricks and criminality.  Our status as a pluralistic, tolerant and open-minded society is at an end.  Perhaps it is again time to secede for those states who refuse to go along with the new socialistic order.

I should clean up this blog, delete many old posts that are no longer relevant, give it a fresh perspective and a new starting point.  We'll see.