14
Feb
18

Happy Year of the Earth Dog 2018/4718

*****

Friday, February 16, 2018 (4718) is the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the year of the (brown/black) Earth Dog.  [I’m just letting you know (in advance).]  What does that have to do with the price of tea in China, you ask?  I’m not sure.

But, it’s a good year for both building up investments and security and, if you have faith, feeling secure (provided your honest and a dog’s friend).  Put more money into retirement savings.  Cash in on stocks.  Buy or sell property.  Enjoy the fruits of interest/dividends.

If you own a dog, treat him or her right.  Don’t neglect the dog.  Don’t send your dog away.  But, don’t spoil the dog, either.  Healthy care is a healthy investment in your four-legged friend (or three-legged if the poor thing lost one).

The Dog guards against the vices of the world.  It has no tolerance for thieves, doubt, greed and/or any behavior that causes division (such as racism or sexism).  Thus this is a year you’ll see plenty come to justice for misdeeds.

And, this is a time to spread good will, share the wealth/crops and, if you’re good boys and girls, receive some from others.  Don’t forget to give thanks to any kindness you receive.  [I am also not sure what makes this different from other years.  Every year, it would not be a bad idea to be kind to others.  However, it would be wise to not give more of yourself than is sensible.  Do not leave yourself at risk of exhaustion or going broke.  DO NOT GAMBLE.]

YearoftheEarthDog-2018-4718_doghouseguarded_1100700-ap-1JYearoftheEarthDog-4718-2018_moon-doghouseguarded_1100700-ap-2Jhappychinesenewyear-lantern-fireworks-paper-red-8501100-ap-CSPP-1

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08
Feb
18

The Impact of (Lacking) Friendship

****

I’m going to start of this thought train with a very vital question.  Does anyone else know what it is like to go 30+ years without a solid, reliable, comforting friendship in one’s life?  Does anyone have any idea…if you have a circle or even just two good friends…can you imagine the impact on a life of not having a reassuring friendship for 30+ years?

If I was someone who had at least two friends upon which I could go to with anything and actually hang out on a regular basis, feel like there was nothing taboo or that would earn me some measure of rejection, I would probably be speechless to find someone who had no good friends for that long.

Obviously, I am having a personal crisis moment.  I have these now and then about friendship.  The last time I felt I had a solid friendship, I was 13; and that friend decided to date a “frenemy” (friend who became a sort of enemy/indifferent classmate) and say we’d never be more than friends though I was hoping she and I would be more than friends, after knowing each other so long and growing together and after having feelings I didn’t even understand long before they were a topic in sex education.  I was roughly 7 years old when I knew I felt something for this girl who became a good friend.

I had male friends, too.  But, usually, one at a time, and they were not the best friendships because most of my focus was on what we had to share, video games, trading cards, whatever.  Sure, we could joke and hang out together, but not as often as I would have liked.  [And, there’s another reason behind that I won’t go into, today.  One that was not of my control/choice.]  For some reason, I couldn’t have more than one male friend at a time.  It was like one would rub me the wrong way or he’d get tired of my cautiousness and find someone more fun to visit.  So, out the door one would go, and, somehow, another slipped into place.  I don’t even know how I made these friends.  I think we just sat together at lunchtime and, while talking about video games or some kind of toys, decided we should consult our parents about getting together.

As for my best female friend, we met through a summer group and stuck together through school.  It was almost like we were two trees growing side-by-side.  And, I remember the distinct difference between the guy friends and the girl friend.  The girl friend was more sympathetic on her own while the guy friends found discussing feelings a bit uncomfortable.

I regularly had to curb what I said with the guys whenever they turned stone-silent and looked away.  Even as a kid, I had too much to think about or say, not necessarily being chatty at the time…because I was still one of the “quiet ones” back then.  I didn’t get chatty til my teens when I had to fight for my life, different from the days with bullies when I sometimes settled things with my fist or foot.  [The cornered cat scratched back, back then.]

As I got older, friends became even harder to find and keep.  In high school, I was under a ton of internal turmoil for a handful of reasons.  And, if the guys didn’t know how to deal with that when I was little, they were not much if any better as teenagers.  And, the girls were suddenly like deer in the eyes of wildcats.  The laws of the jungle were taking hold of my peers, and here I was contemplating the meaning of life and where my future was headed.  I might as well have been a lamppost in the forest.  The friendships I managed to make with the old system of common interests fizzled as soon as I became emotional or found my “friend” was supporting a cause or theology I did not respect.  I had to make moral choices, and that left me out in the cold, time and time, again.  No one came to my aid.  Peers didn’t reach out any better than I did.  [I probably would have been more social if I wasn’t consumed with anxiety and depression.]

Even professionals could only do so much; they didn’t understand.  A pill was not the answer; it might mess with my head and distract some part of me from functioning, but I cannot live the rest of my life like that and still feel human or true to my faith.  And, a pill is not the answer to a family situation that’s problematic.

[You can’t make everything better just by twisting my brain into some alien configuration that gets “better channels.”  My family did not have the answer nor accept me as I was.   A pill is not going to change that; talking just to me isn’t going to change that. And, distancing myself from family is only going to make me feel more alone and inadequate without a friendship to fill the gaps.

If people cannot cope with my intense persona, do I honestly think a pill that shuts me up is going to make that all better or allow me to see and use the “tools” someone thinks are the answer?  Some might say, “You don’t know until you try.”  Wanna be a guinea pig and deal with all the hazardous side-effects while trying to find the “right pill for you?”  Be my guest.  I hope you live long enough to toss the pill bottle when you finally feel better before you have other medical issues, possibly from liver or kidney sediment.  I hope the pill spares you from dealing with real emotional matters and when whoever upsets you gets on your nerves, again.  Or, if you’re one of those real lucky ones who DO “level out” just right…well, I’ve got nothing to say about that.]

So began the age of “no one understands.”

Then we get to adulthood and the workforce and how people don’t really mature much, even if they sound and look more mature.  Or, if there were more mature people, I had lost comprehension of maturity and was not seeing them beyond the trees of the forest I occupied.  I might read about someone with a “better” life without knowing all the facts and listen when others point to those people and say, “Look; they can do it.  Why can’t you?”

I manage to get along with coworkers.  I even get brave enough to put offers on the table.  And, on a rare occasion, someone makes me an offer.   But, what happens to those offers?  Not much.  If I get my hopes up, they seem to disappear or go south.  If I hesitate or brush it off, I hear, “Why didn’t you take me up on my offer?”  Um, maybe because I didn’t want to get my hopes up for the first result I mentioned?  Or, maybe you didn’t bring it up twice even though I can mention the same desire/wish a dozen times just to get a faint chuckle and/or a “yea” before it gets ignored.

Have I made any solid friendship with coworkers?  Not really.  I mean, sure, we got along and talked off and on at work for over 10 years.  I can email and call a few just to say hi and “catch up.”  And, no doubt, we’re all good at telling each other what they should do.

But, do we hang out or do anything outside of work?  Oh, no, because there was something wrong with me or my abilities.  Or, as unfortunate as it might be, we both have limitations that get in the way.  And, maybe, I don’t want to be the single, lonely guy poking his nose into a family or married situation when I am unsure of what is good timing or proper to suggest without offense.  [And, I don’t mean I was ogling someone’s wife, either.  But, if I was befriending a guy with an attractive wife, sure, I may feel attracted and then have to watch myself, which does add pressure to the situation.]  I don’t want to be the guy who “has too much time on his hands” and gets plenty of suggestions what to do with myself when I want to spend time with or have someone go over something important with me, who happens to have their hands full with family or their own social life, as if I would be a bother.

So, I am supposed to be a fully functional, professional and well-adjusted adult on his own, not letting what others say or do get to me, doing everything on my own as if I don’t have to interact with anyone yet somehow do whatever is “normal” to avoid being an outsider.  It’s like no one can explain how good friendship works….it just does.  It’s just like Life cereal.  Why does Mikey like it?  He just does.  And, Nike just does it.  So, why can’t I?

Well, if anyone wonders why I am progressing so slowly in terms of a “normal adult life” yet sitting with this “amazing brain” of mine, hopefully this current rant will shed some light on the matter and not drive potential friends further away.

 

16
Jan
18

Conversation Heart Conversations 2018

*****
Okay.  Last year, I was intending on producing a bunch of these little jokes between those conversation heart candies, if they were actual couples in bed having a heart-to-heart talk, whether it was silly or serious.  I didn’t quite get them out here…or maybe I did and took them down because I was in a foul mood.  Who knows.  But, I’m putting them up, now, giving viewers plenty of time to consider and pass them around before the romantic holiday(s) arrive (at least, the ones I know exist).  And, I’m curious to hear your input.  After the bedroom scenes, there will be some other photo-edited pieces with the same candy heart characters.

 

16
Jan
18

Mama MIA! Are You Hungry for Some Loving?

*****

Although I just posted…debuted a new holiday for single, divorced and/or widowed folks to beat the romantic holiday blues, I still hold a torch for everything romantic, including Valentine’s Day (even if I rarely get to enjoy it).  I find joy in crafting these loving, serious and sometimes funny cards, taking my mind off my status or circumstances.  Hopefully, they continue to spread good vibes among those who find them like leaves falling from my tree.

With that, here is my first wave of ORIGINAL digital art pieces for this year (not my usual cartoon-incorporated images).

This first lot is food and/or drink related.

Next, I have some general/misc. hearts with similar designs and messages.

16
Jan
18

Untied Day Art, Posters, Etc.

*****

Here will be my initial gallery space for Untied Day materials, including explanation and simple flyers/ads you can distribute as you please to spread the idea.  If more come into creation, I’ll add them when I can.  The 900 pt square ones, I think, make nice (car) window decals and/or napkins.

Let me know which you favor and what could be improved.  If you have any to submit yourself, you can post on your own space with a link to this space (and leave a comment below to connect readers here to that space).  Or, you can send them to my mailbox (or discuss sending them, beforehand).

If you’re a lil foggy on what this is all about, be sure to seek out my previous post on the new holiday (conception).  There you’ll find screen-printing and coloring page versions of the logo and all the details I painstakingly composed in an effort to make single, widowed and divorced folks just as happy as anyone who celebrates romantic holidays like Valentine’s and Dragobete.  Untied Day is one day that takes place between those two, on a day noted by a 2 and a 1.  Run with that concept as far as you feel able.  [Yes, I put some “riddle-me” thought into this.]

16
Jan
18

Untied Day: A NEW Holiday for Singles to Represent and Get to Know Each Other

*****

On February 21st, if you are single, widowed or recently divorced, feel free to celebrate…

UNTIED DAY
(c) (R) AP 2017

How many of you are single and sick of Valentine’s Day and its cousins, including Dragobete? How many of you are tired of worrying about what gift to get someone you like/love, what greeting card will make that someone happy or forgetting one more holiday date just to end up in the doghouse with your significant other? And, how many of you are walking around, looking for love but not keen on online dating sites or singles “bars?”

Wouldn’t you like to go out and know who is single, looking for love or interested in something else, just like you? Wouldn’t you like a sign that tells you more about the person you meet out there? Well, have I got the holiday cure for you.

On Untied Day, anyone who is without a paired heart on Valentine’s Day or a lock on Dragobete can be themselves and let others know a little (or a lot) about who they are. There is no need for worrying about getting a gift, how much you spend, forgetting something that happened one or fifty years ago or being late for a date.

————–

WHAT TO WEAR:

A) A loose tie or ribbon, draped loosely over the shoulders/around the neck. [IE An untied business tie for a man or a hair ribbon for a woman.] If you are capable of wearing more than one ribbon at a time (to display a variety of interests/opinions), more power to you.

AND/OR

B) An Untied Day shirt/patch** with the appropriate color(s).

AND/OR

C) Represent your personality/tastes/interests with accessories and/or color/pattern choices (or wear what you happen to have and take your chances on explaining to curious individuals why you dressed that way). You could even substitute an Untied Day shirt/patch** with one that features an image or message that represents you, something you may already have stashed away somewhere.

**Currently, there are none in print/production. So, for now, you can simply print/reproduce the logo (a ribbon fused with a dress tie in the shape of the letters UNT) at your own expense, provided you give credit to yours truly. [I did come up with the design and the holiday name, after all.] For now, the idea of the holiday may be nothing more than something “trending” if it will be. But, I aspire to fashion tees, hoodies, tanks, sleeveless turtlenecks and camisoles as well as a variety of patches/badges.

————–

Suggested accessory #1: If you want to go one step further, get yourself a good and sticky nametag (or, if you prefer, a pin-on, clip-on or magnetic type), one that either has the words or upon which you can write this message:

HI. I AM ____.

And, in that blank, I want you to put either your first name or a word that best describes you. [IE HI. I AM Fred. HI. I AM silly. HI. I AM frank. HI. I AM shy.] Just don’t put a word like “dependable” or “trustworthy” because you’d have to work harder than most to prove it.

Put the nametag on one side of your (Untied Day) shirt. If nothing else, it helps clarify your “untie” of choice.

————–

The following are suggestive color/pattern choices which you may apply to your choice of Untied accessories. The point is to represent yourself so you don’t have to explain everything to interested/potential mates. If you don’t agree with these explanations, feel free to explain yourself when approached/asked.

COLORS:

BLACK = Strictly business, not looking for romance/a relationship. You are single and okay with it. And, if you are looking for a partner, it’s only for business/work. You’re hiring.

WHITE = Virgin. [You gotta be quite brave to represent this, these days.]

BABY BLUE = You have a son or sons. [For greater accuracy, wear one logo for each child.]

PINK = You have a daughter or daughters. [For greater accuracy, wear one logo for each child.]

GREEN = Newly single; you just got out of a relationship or are new to dating. [Be sure to represent any other factor of that status, including past sexual relationships and children.]

BLUE (any pure blue other than baby blue) = A very emotional person; sensitive. Possibly coping with depression. A sign of caution to potential partners; you need to be handled with care. You might also be gentle with others.

RED = Aggressive; an avid hunter. You have limited patience and are not afraid to admit it. Stop. Don’t bother asking ME a question; I’ll come to you.

YELLOW = Cautious or too shy to say hi or ask someone out, at the moment. You need someone to approach you, first. [At least we know you’re not hostile or superficial. Right?]

ORANGE = The hands-on/tactile type who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. In terms of dating/relationships, you are someone who prefers holding hands, hugging and physically laboring to show you care. [Compare with PURPLE.]

PURPLE = The intellectual/intuitive type who like mental challenges and never stop being students of life. In terms of dating/relationships, you are someone who prefers heart-to-heart talks and thoughtful gifts that may not even be tangible (like planning a trip somewhere your partner longs to visit or frequents). [Compare with ORANGE.]

GRAY = Mysterious; you consider yourself a mystery, enjoy being one and/or like to explore mysteries where you find them. You like interrogation, both giving and receiving.

BROWN = Chocolate-lover. Quite simply, you are in need of the brown (or white) stuff and are letting others know what would put a smile on your face on a day like today when you don’t have someone to love (in place of chocolate). You don’t want to dwell on feelings, who’s happy together or who’s starved for love. You’re not seriously looking for companionship. Just give you some chocolate.

——————-

COLOR COMBOS:

BLACK AND WHITE = Religious and/or marriage-minded. Religion is important to you.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE = Politically driven, patriotic or an activist. You support your nation’s government with pride.

RED AND BLACK CHECKERED = Lover of (board) games and puzzles.

HALF RED/HALF WHITE = You are in a medical field (of work), a surgeon, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, etc.

——————-

PATTERNS (OF YOUR RIBBON/TIE AND/OR ACCESSORIES):

POLKA DOTS = Bubbly, lighthearted or having a good sense of humor. You occasionally clown around and can take a joke (about yourself). Humor is important to you.

STRIPES =
ONE STRIPE = You’ve had one previous sexual relationship (no longer a virgin).
TWO STRIPES OR MORE = You’ve had more than one sexual relationship.

HEARTS =
ONE HEART = Monogamous; you are seeking one partner for a lifetime.
TWO HEARTS OR MORE = Polygamous or open to unconventional relationships.

ANIMAL PRINT = Nature-lover and/or animal-lover. Pick a print that best fits your interest/personality, like a spirit animal. If you think of yourself as a tigress, wear a tiger stripe ribbon/tie. If you are chatty like a parrot, wear a tie/ribbon with a parrot face/profile. If you favor dogs over cats, wear a tie/ribbon that has (a) dog(s) on it.

STARS =
ONE STAR = Divorced/Separated.
TWO TO FIVE STARS = Divorced (#/multiple) times.
MANY (SMALL) STARS = An interest in astrology/astronomy and/or space exploration.

DOLLAR SIGNS =
ONE DOLLAR SIGN = Money-minded; you give great importance to a person’s income and how they spend/save it.
MULTIPLE DOLLAR SIGNS = You are rich and proud of it.

MASK(S) (THEATER, CARNIVAL OR HARLEQUIN) = An interest in role-play (not necessarily role-playing games, aka RPGs). You favor costume(s) (parties) and pretending to be other characters/creatures.

——————-

WHAT TO DO/NOT DO ON UNTIED DAY:

DO:
1– Treat yourself to something you normally push aside because it’s not “frugal,” too flashy to wear most days, not the best use of your time or not the best for your “diet.” [But, see DO NOT #1.]

2– Represent yourself, your interests and/or personality (quirks) with what you wear.

3– Approach someone else dressed for this special day if you like or care to know more about what you see, knowing they are single/unattached like yourself. And, chat with that person, starting with some question or comment related to their chosen attire/accessories. It’s the best and fastest cure to being single/alone on a day like this.

4– Respect the interests of others dressed for this special day if they choose NOT to speak and/or be nice to you. Not everyone on such a singles day needs or wants to kindle a new relationship (with you). Mind your distance, be open to rejection and respect the color code (if the person uses the one I’ve provided). And, if you are approached but not interested in who approaches, respectfully let the person know.

5– Meet new singles in public, drug-free places. [IE A mall, a restaurant, a department store, your workplace or a dog park.]

 

DO NOT:
1– Spend more money today than absolutely necessary to please yourself or buy any material things (IE new clothes or jewelry). You should not be taking any financial risks on a day of love (other than missing a day of work, perhaps). You might know the old expression about money not being able to buy you happiness (or love). I personally do not like buying anything on my birthday; that’s a day for other people to treat ME (respectfully and/or kindly). Likewise…

2– Pretend to be someone or something you are not. Faking is dangerous and often cruel.

3– Assume what someone is wearing for this special day means what you think it does. [See DOs #3 and #4.]

4– Criticize or try to discourage anyone from dressing festively for this special day. You can spare one day from spreading your negativity. Can’t you? Ease up on the uniform policy; think of this as a casual (Fri)day.

5– Look for new partners at a bar or anywhere you might be less conscious of your actions (should you partake in drug use). DO NOT get drunk to loosen up or forget something/someone. You know you are not content with yourself if you do so; you only ignore your nerves/conscience that way. [Then again, this IS a singles day. So, if you fool around, you’ll likely get another chance to dress up next year. But, you might like yourself less.]

——————-

There you have it. Now, get out there (or lounge where you may) and represent your single selves. Remember, this is a day to either be content with your single status–not pursue any new relations–or let others know who you are if they are seeking a partner. Be creative. Be happy. Be free. Be un-tied.

UntiedDay-explanationposter-2018-ap-900sq-1JUntiedDay-logo-2017_RBnW-color-splash-ad-2018_ap-CSPP-900sq-16J

 

[If you would like to be a part of an Untied Day creative committee, feel free to drop a letter in my mailbox. If approved, you can offer suggestions for improving the guidelines and partake in the production of Untied Day merchandise/apparel.]

 

*****A partner post to this one will be appearing, soon, including an assortment of first-draft Untied Day greeting cards and explanation ads/posters you may freely distribute to spread the word/idea (but don’t forget it is a Writingbolt/AP invention).*****

But, here are a few visuals to help “decode” my logo and provide some means of reproducing prints/coloring pages (so you can fashion your own T-shirts and such).

 

 

 

15
Jan
18

Do I Have a Right to Feel Like Crap?

****

I realize I am not internet-popular.  Not by far.  I don’t partake in the dominant “social media” neighborhoods.  I don’t have thousands or millions of “followers.”  In some ways, I am lucky I have a “blog” and email.  I don’t really need all the “apps” or “smartphones” or any of that tech they keep pitching to make humans dumb, lazy servants of the machines with which some madman (possibly Disney, possibly a certain online shopping service-mega-monopoly-bent-on-conquering-Mars-among-other-planets) is trying to replace us.

But, I also notice what IS getting the most attention among the things I’ve posted here.  I am okay with drumming up a little buzz from my Pokémon posts.  Rather, one post is getting the most buzz, featuring a list of the first 150 Pokémon which people are out chasing with their Go! “app.”  If that brings people curiosity to see what else I’ve posted/written, great.  If that opens good contact doors, super.  But, when the one post getting plenty of buzz/attention is something I wrote in jest on a whim…and it just so happens to be about excrement…it concerns me, just a little.

It wouldn’t be as bad if that bit of wit drew interest in other posts/writings, but it hasn’t.  It’s just that post that seems to draw people.  Not a huge flock, mind you, but more than the rest of my “better” efforts.

I am not sure what track this falls into when I consider such philosophies as “You are what you ___.”  But, I get this feeling the cosmos is trying to tell me something.

Have I become a pile of crap?  Do I stink in some vile way?  Do I need to “clean” myself?  Have I neglected my writing space?  And, now that I think of it, what exactly are people searching for that leads them to that post?  Janitorial jobs?




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