I did not start writing when I had the thought I wanted to write and now I have no thoughts to write. 

1,549 Coronavirus cases reported In Illinois in the past day. Another 20 people died in the past day as well, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 7,657. We've had 167,371 deaths in the US. 

I wish I could just run to the grocery down the block and buy whatever hardy green they have and cook something random for dinner, but we minimize our trips to the store. And a trip to the store for one meal is completely off the table. 

I miss living like that. I miss cooking like that. A very large part of the reason I live in this city, in this neighborhood is in order to live like that. And now that's not safe. That's dismissive of the people who have no choice but to go to work to keep the stores open, to keep their own bills paid. I'm not going anywhere, so I'm not walking anywhere. 

In the olden days, even if I rode my bike to work (instead of taking the bus), I walked 3 miles a day, at least, just getting around. These days, I don't even manage a quarter mile. I'm stiff and sore and have aged three years from inactivity. 



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21h
 
 

Copied from a friend (an African-American woman). Hers is the first voice I'm turning to this week and I'm not going to steal too many of her posts because many of them are friends-only. This one was not, and it saids what needs saying:

Borrowing words from a friend as I’m too frustrated by all the knee jerk responses to come up with my own right now. “Before you read what the MSM tells you about this story, here’s what we know in Chicago: Cops shot a young person in Englewood. A crowd formed and marched in protest against the shooting. The cops then SHOT INTO THE CROWD. Public transportation was shut down, bridges were put up, people were trapped downtown. What did you think was going to happen? People’s lives > property. Always.”

There has been a war brewing In Englewood and Auburn-Gresham for some time now - recall the shooting at the funeral that could have been avoided given that the city was forewarned by reputable sources? Remember the recent Gold Coast shooting which was also highly predictable and warned against? When those who are supposed to serve and protect instead shoot into crowds (and into homes like Breonna Taylor’s) or commit murder (George Floyd) people get angry and retaliate using whatever power they have. Not justifying property destruction, but if you don’t care about the underlying issues communities are facing and only get mad when it gets closer to where you live and work please grab a mirror. What are you doing to create justice?

In other news, a derecho is headed for the city. Perhaps the Lake will just swallow us all.

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2d
 

So I have managed to get very behind on #Smaugust already. The normal process to sketch, ink, and color a single character (or dragon) takes me a pretty consistant 3 hours. I speed up in some ways, but then I get nitpicky and add complexity etc which slows me down. So the magic number these days seems to be that - 3 hours.

Doing that every day is... very tough. Especially on days when I'm working long hours for TomTom.

So to allow myself to catch up, I've dropped back to just simple sketches. I still plan to finish them later, but I want to stay current in ordetr to keep myself motivated.

I managed to get caught up last night with this new philosophy, and I thought I would share.

Above is the Quetzalcoatl - day 5. While not a dragon in the traditional sense, it was on the list, so I thought "Why not?" Also, while I feel pretty comfortable with my limited Spanish, and have always felt very comfortable with the names of obscure mythological creatures, this one just evades my brain. Every time I want to reference it, I wind up looking it up. That's just... unusual.

Day 6 - Spider Dragon. I had fun dreaming up the anatomy of this one. It uses it's spinnerets to weave 'wings' of web onto it's hind most legs. It does this to blow victims into its webs, trapping them. On the minus side, I didn't merge dragon and spider very well - it mostly just seems like a monsterous spider.

Day 7 - Crystal Dragon. Yeah, this one feels rushed even though it took me more time than some of the other 'catch up' dragons. Referenced a number of different crystals, and saw way more internet woo-woo than I would have prefered, but I feel like this is... something. Not my favorite of these drakes, that's for certain. Maybe color will improve my thoughts on it.

Day 8 - Elemental Dragon. I like this guy (gal?). I thought 'nothing thin will work with fire/lava, so everything must be blunt'. So I didn't add wings, and its face seems a bit... pug like to me. I kinda dig it. I suspect colors will really make this one significantly better.

Day 9 - Western Dragon. I sorta copped out on this one. I went with 'western' as opposed to 'eastern'. A stylistic / anatomy based theme rather than trying to do something to imply 'wild west'. The latter would have been harder, and arguably more fun, but getting caught up was my focus, and I have a bit of a plan for these later and a wild west theme wouldn't have worked as well for that.

That does it for catch up. Today's theme (Day 10) is 'Brutish'. I suspect this one will be fun to do.

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I think it's a wise choice to do simple sketches now and then go back and make changes later. besides, these aren't bad.

Western dragon. hmm. I think you made the right choice with stylistic/anatomy based. This looks very Tolkien. I like what you've done here. I'm thinking of like, Scandinavian images of dragons as opposed to Chinese images of dragons, and maybe it would be worth looking at lizards and bats that are common to the American West.
Exactly right re: western dragons. I almost think of it as "Not eastern" which is kinda lame, but I feel like eastern countries have a more consistent sense of 'dragon-ness' than everyone else. So 'western' gets everything else lumped into it that doesn't fall under 'eastern'.

Which, I'm sad to say, feels a little like calling someone 'asian' except that no one can point a finger and say I'm wrong because dragons don't actually exist. So ummm... there's that.
 

Did a terrible job maintaining my bike last winter and now the rear fender is rusted through. I want to just replace it but that's wasteful and foolish. It's just so much easier. Anyway, I haven't been riding at all since the pandemic and my general stress level has been too high for much city riding since the 2016 election. I don't want to give it up, though. I planned to start faux commuting when the weather turns nice again. 

The fatigue and just general over everything ness of 2020 makes me just want to get a new bike, instead having this one fixed. There's a shop across the street that handled my routine stuff, but I feel like I should take the bike to the dealer for this work, and the travel there to leave it (and home without it) then back to get it feels insurmountable.

I am feeling very contradictory. Angry and terrified by social media of friends taking trips, meeting for dinner, recreational shopping. Then wanting to sit in my backyard with my sister, who does not live with me now that we're grown up and have lives and selves.

Tomorrow I have to meet with workmen, to let them in to work. I am already anxious and anticipate being more so when it's done. 

I had a dull, pointless weekend, in which I did very little and yet passed all those many hours. I'm hoping the week goes better. I have easy discrete tasks for work. And some easy discrete tasks at home which I'll feel better if I finish.

So it goes. Anxiety and endless thoughts at odds with each other. Getting through the Sunday somehow.

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2d
 

Well, the addiction to classic Singers continues.

I picked up this well-loved beauty along with a knackered treadle base for the princely sum of $8. It's a Singer 66 'redeye'.

The unit below was purchased for $50. During cleaning I discovered that someone had been inside without knowing what was going on. The foot controller was disassembled, and stuffed back into the housing any old which-way. The machine internals were misassembled in such a way that one of the critical washers was bent. It is made from hard steel. I'm impressed and a little torqued off. Anyway, I scavenged parts to get it running. It's a Singer 99, a 3/4 version of the 66. It was made in 1955, electric from the factory, with a mechanical reverse and capable for making 30 stitches to an inch. It's got pristine decals and nearly flawless paint. I'm sorely tempted to keep it. But it's likely going to be a candidate for some horse-trading.

Below you can see it as purchased and after about four hours of cleaning.

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I'm really loving all the before/after photos.

And I have to wonder if beautiful, interesting design work will ever come back into the making of appliances (without driving the cost beyond reach, of course).
If you think the black iron singers were well-decorated you should see the prior generation machines. Called fiddleback or fiddlebase, they had mother-of-pearl inlays in the working surface of their bases. Their gilt decorations were hand-painted. Because, they didn't do things by half measures in the late 19th century.

These machines were lifetime investments. And I think that they wanted them to be beautiful as well as functional. Given that people were commonly buying them on installment plans that stretched out as long as twenty years, you can understand the interest in keeping the customer pleased. They also had an active, customer-oriented dealer network, that would sell, service and maintain the machines. Interesting factoid, Singer was the largest furniture manufacturer at the turn of the century, and the 7th largest company in the world.
Ray Conrad 3dedited
 

DAY 17
​​​​​​​Had a raucous ridiculous online cocktail class with my besties on the internet last night. It was fun--really--but I miss them so much.

Aside from all the things in the world and the fact that we were on in the internet instead of at a commercial establishment, this was an ordinary day.

OOPS. I never hit post So I have to add day 18 to day 17.

DAY 18:

Forced normalcy continues. Got up. Made coffee. Ate some not-yet-perfect-but-wholly-satisfactory geysir bread with cheese. Tidied. Started work on Folkwear 215.

Apparently, I am the only person on the internet who finds the instructions for this dress completely inadequate. A couple say that the bodice shoulder pieces are "fiddly" and should be marked "very carefully front and back" but fitting those pieces together is not my problem. My problem is figuring out how to run the ribbon casing across the front bodice, over the front shoulder, down the back shoulder and across the back bodice. I think I've already screwed it up such that it can't be fixed. 

Ah well, it's just a costume for lounging around the house in. An extra fancy dressing gown, so ¯\(°_o)/¯ 

But it was frustrating, so not relaxing, so left me a little disgruntled with today.

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4d
 

It was late in life--and even later in my career--when I realized how little people "liked" me at work. Not that I was disliked or unpleasant or unreliable or irritating, but much more than I was reserved and unknown. It was some time after that when I realized how that retards progress in my projects and how intricately that's connected with traditional metrics of success. It's probably very good I got away from the firm track early because I can't make that sort of emotional and personal committment to my professional self.

In a larger context, I've been thinking about counting wins. How "wins" are often small, frequently don't look anything like what you expect, easily discounted. Small and incomplete wins--as well as the sorts of progress that don't look like wins--are frequently critized as a defense against people thinking it's enough or that they're done or, more importantly, in order to resist pressure to compromise where compromise is not warranted. 

Progress is slow and incrementalism both insufficient and effective. Look at how the GOP got us here; that was an inch at a time. The GOP misogynist and racist rally cry that giving Them an inch means They'll take a mile has given them the federal judiciary and probably the nation as a whole. Encroachments breach walls and leave legions of bodies behind them.

Everything is hard.


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6d
 

Overwhelmed, stressed, brittle. Spent a few minutes with a friend (who was picking up a portable A/C from me and bringing me some end tables) and it was wild and good and stressful and weird. We wore masks, used hand sanitizer; I managed not to burst into tears. 

Felt guilty, but accepted the ride home. We kept our masks on. Cases are rising in Illinois, entirely because people are letting their guards down, exactly like this. Which I was frightened about the whole time.


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6d
 

I've been a vegetarian for a year and 8 months now. no meat. nada. 

I like it. i've been getting enough protein from all of da beans and i take iron supplements because i didn't eat enough spinach. 

I don't see myself going back to the omnivore's diet anytime soon. 

I even got my father to stop eating meat and he likes it so i must make it look great.

So i've accidentally eaten meat twice, once was in a soup that i didn't know had bacon in it, and the second time i was eating perogies that i didn't know had bacon in them.

So long story short, people love hiding bacon in things. 

k, that's it. I feel like saying that i followed through with a plan i made makes me sound cool so here i am saying it. 

idek, ok bye. 


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Following through with a plan that you made is great.

I really liked being a vegetarian and I want to go back to it.
If it were socially acceptable I would probably hide bacon under my shirt.

And you are cool as shit.
who says it's not socially acceptable?
So it's, "I come BARING bacon," rather than "bearing" you're saying.
You have the right to bear bacon and the right to bare bacon. Just make sure you bring enough for everyone.
Cool!