Gyotaku Surfboard

June 11, 2018


Late last year, I tried fish printing on a surfboard. I used a model fish, model octopus, and acrylics. Printing the fish was a bit tricky, as I had to do multiple pressings to get the different colors. The model octopus was difficult to wrangle, but I do not regret my choice, because I think using a real octopus for this purpose would have been wasteful.

After the board was done, I sent it off to a consignment shop to see if it would sell. The board is not watertight, which I discovered is not a good selling point. Turns out people don’t want a surfboard for their wall, they want to take it out into the ocean. After 6 months, I collected my board and gave it a new home in my garden.

I’d like to do another board sometime, maybe turn my garden into an outdoor surfboard gallery.


Old Friends

May 3, 2018


I spent a couple of days with old friends, painting at San Diego Botanical Gardens and at Del Mar Park. We had not seen each other in 15 years – a seemingly impossible stretch of time – yet we were able to easily fill up the time with great conversation.

We are all former tech people, former VPs and similar. We’ve all followed similar paths into retirement. Now we are creatives – artists, writers, poets. Maybe we were always creatives, because tech 30 years ago was very much a “by hand” craft. Maybe that’s what we miss now, and perhaps that’s why we paint, write, create, because tech has gotten too “easy” for us. Just a thought…



April 20, 2018


Ralphie’s been with us for a few years now. She’s very much her own rabbit, and not too thrilled with us, for whatever reason. I like to think that she has a nice home, but she doesn’t seem to think it’s so great. She flings pee onto the walls and curtains, she bites us when she doesn’t get her way, and she demands food constantly. Sometimes she lets me pet her, usually when she’s sleepy, and I always have to give her a treat when I’m done, or whenever she decides she’s had enough. If the treat doesn’t come quickly enough, she bites. She will never be the rabbit who believes that the attention IS the treat. It has to be food. Ralphie was a meat rabbit. She escaped into a nearby park, where she was rescued by HRS. I can see how she managed to survive – she is tough and a fighter. I suppose for a former meat rabbit, she is doing pretty good. I wish she were more of a pet though. I wish she liked to be handled, or that she liked to sit and watch tv sometimes, but this is who she is: Master of her domain, eater of homework, flinger of pee. Don’t mess with Ralphie.

School Daze

February 16, 2018


I’m done, finished, AA in Fine Art in hand. In some ways, getting this AA was a lot more difficult than getting my BS in Math all those years ago.

The community college system is a wreck overall, with a graduation rate in the SDCCD averaging 23% over 2 years. The percentage rises somewhat over 6 years, but is still not great. Lots of opinions as to why the graduation rate is so low, but one problem that I encountered had to do with getting the classes I needed, when I needed to take them.

Budgets dictate everything at the community college level. If a class is “under enrolled,” it is canceled. Even if it is a class that is required to complete a major. Even if the class is only offered every other year. Maintaining completeness in programs that result in an AA isn’t a priority. It’s all about the budget.

So when I needed one more Art History class, and one more Digital Art class, I found myself caught up in the battle of the budget at Mesa College. My Art History class was canceled, and it was too late to get into any other sections, since I had last priority to register. A counselor told me to take the class “at any other California community college.” So I did. Unfortunately, I discovered that Coastline College is apparently the only CC that does NOT have an articulation agreement with any other CC system in California.

I had to petition Mesa to get my Coastline Art History class accepted as a substitute. The courses were equivalent – same text, similar work, etc. It took several months for the class to be evaluation before it was accepted as a substitute. Months!

The last class I needed was Digital Drawing and Painting. The Mesa class was cancelled at the last minute, and would not be offered again until the next year. I found an equivalent at Grossmont College, and, due to the diligence and helpfulness of Mesa’s art department Chair, I was able to get that final course accepted towards my AA. That process only took 2 more months.

In all, getting my AA took 3 years. Keep in mind that I already have a 4 year degree from a UC. I can’t even begin to imagine the hoops that kids right out of high school must jump through in order to get all the classes they need, when they need to take them, and how hard it must be for them to be successful at community college. Sometimes, when kids ask me for my opinion on whether they should stay an extra year to get their AA or to apply to a 4 year school, I tell them to go ahead and apply. If they get accepted, they can go on to get that 4 year degree and not worry about the AA. But I feel like we should worry more about why it is so difficult to complete that AA. We should worry more about why the graduation rate at community college is only 23%. We should worry more about creating sustainable programs at the community college level. We should worry more about keeping kids in class by keeping the classrooms open. The question is, how do we do that?

Finals Week

December 15, 2016


It’s finals week, this is my last project due for 3D Design class. It’s a form and function project. I made a Dumbo-themed mousetrap vehicle. It was almost too heavy, so since half the grade is based on the “function” part, I had to ditch Dumbo’s front legs at the last minute. Projects are due tomorrow, so hopefully I will get video of my Dumbo “flying.”

Great Books – Overheard at SCBWI OC

October 3, 2016

I had a great time at SCBWI OC Agents Day, held at CSU Fullerton on Oct 1st. Here’s a list of must-read book titles that the various speakers talked about, in no particular order:

The Witches – Roald Dahl

Penguin Problems – Jory JOhn

Dragon Was Terrible – Kelly Depucchio

Babies Ruin Everything – Matthew Swanson

Pax – Sara Pennypacker

Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness – Kate Beasley

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

The Forgetting – Sharon Cameron

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Rook – Sharon Cameron

I, Fly – Bridget Heos

No Tooting at Tea – Alastair Heim

Doll Bones – Holly Black

Forget Me Not Summer – Howland

Mr. Particular – Jason Kirschner

Utility Box

August 11, 2016

We finished our public art project over the weekend – painting the utility box in front of the middle school. It came out well! Lots of positive feedback from the community, too, which is always nice. It was hard to paint in the heat of the summer, but it was still fun.