Saturday, October 11, 2014

In what appears to be...

A continuing series on how the internet has changed everyday life (big surprise huh?), charitable giving has been changed as well. In terms of large charities there are now sites like Charity Navigator that let you find out how efficient, focused, reliable, etc. the charities are before giving. I consider this to be a great benefit both to stewardship of my personal finances and an encouragement to transparency and integrity on the part of the charities.

In terms of small, directed charitable efforts (which is what led me to write this) there are now sites for that as well. I suppose it probably started with KickStarter for businesses but now there are sites that are much more open-ended. The one in question is GoFundMe which I became aware of when a commenter at my favorite blog was unfairly (his boss admitted as much) suspended from work with no pay and another commenter created a funding drive to provide a month's living expenses for him and his family.  After that, another commenter created a drive to get a book published.

Which leads me to my point, which is that I have started my first GoFundMe drive. It is for another commenter at the same blog who has been there for a couple of years and whose comments I've appreciated. He is a divorced single dad with one son a little older than my oldest and due to a job/state change has been unable to get insurance because of pre-existing diabetes and heart condition. On Monday, at the urging of other commenters, he went into the ER even though he was hesitant to due so because of finances. It's good he did since he is scheduled for a triple-bypass this coming Monday. The fund is to help him with the medical expenses associated with the surgery as well as helping him retire the debt from his *last* medical problem. The commenters at the blog we mutually read have already been very generous. 

The nice thing about having a third-party site (even though they do take a small fee) is that a lot of the organizational aspects are taken care of and it greatly simplifies communication and expands awareness of the giving opportunity while adding legitimacy to the campaign.. Beyond the actual site though, I used Twitter both to contact the person who had first made me aware of GoFundMe and the recipient since I don't have phone numbers or even emails for them. I used the mutual blog (and Twitter again)  to let people all over the country know of the need and chance to do something so that we are already 10% of the way to our goal. And I did it all starting yesterday afternoon. The quick response time may well be the single greatest change in private, small charitable giving. Combined with the wider reach offered by social media, it is a change that has potential for a lot of good.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I mentioned recently that I had ordered two dead-tree figure drawing books and was waiting for snail-mail to deliver them so I could find out if they were what I needed. Well, they came. Aaaaand, one is a shorter version of the other.  *Exact* same photos. Now, that's not all bad. The other book had a very large section of nudes (pretty much unavoidable I guess) which is the main thing the smaller book is missing. Although there are still "cheesecake" models I can at least let the kids use the condensed version without having *a lot* of very awkward conversations.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Speaking of...

The way the internet has changed stuff, I am currently listening to a YouTube playlist of "Hindi non-stop Christian worship songs" on another tab. I also found a playlist of Mongolian praise music. It's only 15 videos long, but the fact that there is any is impressive. Of course, if I leave YouTube and go to the Antioch Mongolia site I can listen to about that number of tracks that are bilingual (another huge change). Back on YouTube, for over a month I've been listening to "177 Messianic songs, mostly in Hebrew" many of which I'd never heard before because my personal playlist is 20 years old (and on cassette tapes) from when John was dancing with ICD.

Another lovely thing is that there are comments on *each* of those playlists from other countries and other languages thanking G-d for the music and how it brings the hearts of all believers together even if the words are unknown.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Something else...

That has changed in the last twenty years is that not only has there been an explosion in instruction books for manga drawing (something that pretty much didn't exist 25 years ago, I was certainly looking) but due to e-books they have gotten to be fairly inexpensive.  This week I've purchased four drawing books. Two were e-books, cost a total of $4.00 (plus tax now, boo!) and I had them to use immediately. In fairness, it takes *both* of them to do what I need but $4.00 make it worth it. The other two are reference manuals of figure drawing models. Together they cost about $20.00 used, which isn't bad, but I am still waiting to find out if they are as useful as I hope.

The internet is also helping here. All it took was a search for "manga" on Pinterest to easily fill a board with references for hands, hairstyles, poses, etc. It is truly a whole new world of self-teaching from that in which I struggled to find *anything* on manga and general instruction books were often expensive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I said...

Yesterday that I didn't mind doing *studies* as somehow random drawings seem more useful if they fall under the heading of "practice".  This is an area that has been *really* changed by the internet. Specifically the Google and Bing "image (whatever you want images of)" searches. Hands, faces, traditional clothing, all of these are only a click away. In fact, I found so many wonderful photos of people in traditional clothing from around the world that I started a new Pinterest page just of people I want to draw. Even better, on my Kindle Fire I can even change the size of the photos so as to get a really good look at some portion of a given photo.

Another internet tool I found (because I went looking for it due to my certainty it would exist) was the Challenge List.  I found 365 day versions because that was what I was looking for, but it looks like there are one week and one month versions as well. The prompts provided by the originator easily provide a reason for drawing and at least a starting point of *what* to draw which helps me overcome the two greatest difficulties I was facing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

As I mentioned yesterday...

 Although a decent number of my drawings in the past were of reasonable quality, I had pretty much no control over what (or generally "who" since I tend to draw humans) they turned out to be. At this point I'm not really satisfied to draw like that. I feel that drawings should express more than just that I wanted to draw, but I don't really have anything I'm trying to say with them. I don't mind doing hand studies or other practice things but what are essentially random imaginary people seems pointless for the amount of time it takes to do well.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another thing....

That is frustrating about manga, not just Shoujo in this case, and really anime as well, is that it makes me want to draw. 

It's been like that since I was about 12 and saw Robotech on summer morning cartoons while my mom was sleeping from having worked nights and my dad was at work.  It was like a revelation and I was almost literally entranced by the completely different style of art which I immediately set out to copy to the best of my ability. 

In high school and attending community college (so, over 20 years ago) since I was sitting at a desk pretty much all day, every day, I was actually pretty good at drawing. I even still have the partially filled sketchbooks to prove it.  I found it difficult to *sketch* since my lines tended to be overly dark and solid but other than that I had gotten to the point that what I drew was interesting and generally in correct perspective. What I *couldn't* manage was to decide ahead of time what to draw and then have that appear on the paper. I sort of had to just go with whatever showed up.  

Now though, I am very much out of practice and have no desire to spend hours every day practicing my drawing, especially since I *need* to spend a fair amount of time on various needlework projects if I'm going to have anything to sell. Which is where the frustration comes in, since the desire is very strong but the ability to do much about it is distinctly lacking.