Friday, March 30, 2012

The Rosicrucian Science of Initiation

This is really long and consists of 11 parts (for a total of @1.8 hours), but the presenter is one of most articulate persons I've had the pleasure of listening to on a subject as esoteric as this one. I wouldn't say this is strictly Rosicrucian (and all orders are a bit different, anyway), but on the general subject of initiation in mystical traditions, it's a thorough review if you can stick with him.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

RIP Adrienne Rich

We lost a great American poet yesterday. Last night I kept trying to think of pithy, profound things to say and I'm still at a loss for words. I remember discovering her in college as an 18 year-old undergraduate; before then, poetry was beyond me--too difficult, or too rhymey-dimey, or too mushy, something my literal mind couldn't appreciate. Adrienne Rich changed all that because, finally, here was a poet who spoke to me and for me and moved me.

A few years ago, I had the great honor of introducing her when she gave a reading on campus where I teach, and I will never forget how tiny she was, her hands gnarled by arthritis, how she was no longer able to stand while reading and sat, miked, on a small sofa to deliver her poems. Her voice was just as powerful as ever. God love her, afterwards she patiently signed five books for me to give to friends.  To me, she was a rock star, a cry in the wilderness for justice and sanity in a crazy world.

Read more about her here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thought for the Day

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." --Mother Teresa

Saturday, March 24, 2012

PvP in Castle Age (How to Cope)

I'm hooked on a game called Castle Age on Facebook. When I first started playing, the game mostly consisted of completing quests and slaying monsters. There was a player vs. player (pvp) element of the game if you wanted--you'd go to the battle page and challenge other Castle Age players to duels (or invasions). If you win, you earn battle points and achieve higher ranks, so people move up through the ranks from things like Soldier to General to Duke to High King. (You really have to win a lot of duels to reach High King.)

You have two options when you play this game. You play it either as your real self, acting in the game as you normally would in real life (bearing in mind that it's a game and not real life); or, you playact your way through the game, taking on the aspects of a heroic character you would like to be and aren't like at all (it's either that, or there are some true sociopaths who play this game, or, alternately, some true angels).

When I first started playing two years ago, I used to meet some people who thoroughly disliked the pvp aspect of the game. They didn't want to hit anybody and did it only if they had to. Their focus was on questing and slaying monsters, so they put most of their skill points into energy and stamina. Consequently, they were the "soft" players without a lot of attack and defense, easily defeated.

Or, there have been players whose main focus has always been the pvp aspect of the game, and they build up quite a bit of attack and defense. If they quest, they do it mainly to get skill points to add to their att/def. If they join monsters, they do it for the loot (stronger armor, better weapons). They are hard, if not impossible, to defeat.

Most players are somewhere between the two extremes, or "hybrids." Pvp is just one element of the game, but you don't want to be a sitting duck, either, so you build up enough attack and defense to hold your own if need be. But most of your time is spent questing and slaying monsters with friends.

However, over the past year, the Castle Age developers have added more pvp aspects to the game. Now, we have not just the battle page, but we have festival duels and conquest duels (not to mention guild battles, festival battles, and the occasional Arena). The result is inevitable: more people are becoming pvp types and everybody is finding themselves continually under attack. So a form of "dueling etiquette" is taking shape; the interesting thing is that since there are no official rules regarding this, everyone makes up their own etiquette about what is reasonable and fair play and what isn't.

The old "softies" are largely a thing of the past, except that every now and then you'll see somebody complaining about being hit, say, ten times in a row and insisting that three times is enough. These are the people I think of as classic oversensitives. Really, if you're going to play a game with a pvp element, you need to expect to get totally smacked down every now and then. It's part of the game; it's not personal--somebody is just after points--so work on building up your defense and grow a thicker skin. Virtually no one is going to back you up in your complaining about a single player hitting you ten times in one isolated instance.

Fifty times in a row, though? Well, many would agree that's excessive. On the other hand, if that happens just one time from a single player, you've clearly run into what I think of as the pvp opportunist; they exist, no point in getting worked up about it; pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on with your life.

But what if that same player comes back and chain attacks you like that a second time? That used to be where I drew the line. Once, okay; twice, they're an asshole. Then you are entitled to a rant. Or, you can get a stronger friend in the game to chain the person back for you so you can feel a little sense of revenge or of helping to teach the bully a lesson in what it feels like to be singled out and picked on. (Though the truth is, these people probably already know perfectly well what it feels like and they just don't care.)

Except, now that there are so many pvp aspects of the game I've honestly found that I've hit the same player more than once totally by mistake. (Then again, I would never hit anybody fifty times. My max is 15 times in a row and that is ONLY IF we're equal in rank and I'm getting lots of points from them.) So, I've adjusted my own rules of etiquette: if someone chains me more than twice, that's excessive, especially if the attacks happens in a short period of time (like a month). The odds of the game pitting you against the same players more than twice within a matter of a few weeks are pretty slim. The time period is also so short that you are likely to recall that you've hit that person before. So not remembering is no excuse. If you do remember hitting them (especially if you've already chained them twice) and you go ahead and chain them again for a third time, then you have reached the level of what I think of as the pvp sociopath.

Now some pvp players don't see it this way. Since there are no rules in the game that say a person can't chain attack someone daily if that person happens to pop up on their battle page, all bets are off, and if they repeatedly beat you up, that's your tough luck. That's why I think of them as sociopaths. They have no conscience, no little inner voice that says: "Don't you think this is wrong?" (It's the same reasoning a con artist uses when they scam a victim: it's your fault you're the victim, dummy; it's what you get for being so gullible.) Of course, it is just a game. But then again, most people still apply their own morals even when they're playing a game. For example, we don't like cheaters. Even in a game, we don't like bullies. We don't like predatory opportunists. In other words, there is still the idea of fair play. The sociopaths have no appreciation of this. So I wind up concluding they're either a true jackass in real life, or they're so pathetic in real life that they "get even" with the world when they're playing a game, assuming the role of "Super Slayer." (I once asked a repeat chainer if the problem wasn't really that he had a tiny penis to be repeatedly chain attacking an almost 50 year-old lady with such viciousness. The humor was lost on him, alas. But clearly he was compensating for something.)

Anyway, I'm happy to say that, by far, the majority of people playing Castle Age are good folks with a solid sense of fair play. Just bear in mind that everybody's ethics are a little different. I've had Level 1200+ people chain attack me but stop at, say, 25 hits and leave me half alive. That doesn't upset me. Their bar is just a little higher than mine (15 hits). The fact that they stopped indicates they do draw a line somewhere. I have a tendency to send friend requests to people like this. They're good allies to have (especially when you come across a genuine bully who doesn't know when to stop).

In fact, these are the kind of people in Castle Age who often turn out to be the angels, guardians of a sort. They are strong enough to retaliate against bullies for the smaller players and they are kind enough to enter monster battles that have gone critical and save them for you, even though they have virtually nothing to gain from doing either of these things. Your best line of defense is often simple kindness, and not immediately assuming the worst of someone. Drop them a quick message and/or a friend request. ("Hi, just asking--did you mean to hit me 50 times in a row twice just this week?" Nine times out of ten, you will get a response that says, "Oh, sorry! I didn't realize I'd already hit you.") It's a great way to meet and make friends.

The other thing that people need to know is that, once you reach Level 300, the game no longer matches you up against people who are roughly your same level. You may get matched up against people two, three, four times higher than you. So don't get upset if someone several levels higher than you hits you, say, a measly five times. The fact that they stopped at five indicates that's a kind person on the other end. You may ask, why did they hit me at all? It's because no one can control who pops up on the battle page or the festival duels page or whatnot. If someone can get a few points from you, they will hit you (you've got to earn points somehow); so, if they kept it to a minimum, they're a good egg.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is this: nothing is worth getting upset by anymore in Castle Age unless you are chained (excessive number of hits in a row) three times or more in a short span of time by the same person. Hopefully this will be a rare experience for you.

And if you happen to be one of the sociopath chainers reading this, why, the only word I have for you is: karma.

Castle Age is a social game. In the long run, you get back what you put out.

Happy dueling!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ancient Egyptians Had It Right

In Ancient Egypt, when you died, you proceeded to the underworld where you were judged. If you had adhered to the laws above, then your heart was "light," unburdened by guilt and evil deeds. Your heart was placed on a scale to be weighed against the feather of the goddess Ma'at. If your heart was light, you proceeded to the afterlife. But if it was heavier than the feather, woe unto you. You were devoured by Ammit.

B.O.B.: "Airplanes"

I can't seem to get tired of this one lately.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tigger Plays "I Have Loved You Before"

Well, here is me playing Melissa Etheridge's "I Have Loved You Before." It's easy to play except for one chord that I basically have to skip the bass note on (one of these days my fingers will get strong enough to do barre chords and those crazy reaches). In the meantime, I cheat! Anyway, forgive my singing, but I think the lyrics are very sweet. I do believe in soul mates, and I don't believe they have to always be lovers. Some can be dear friends in a particular life. In another life they may be your lover, or perhaps they already have. But we "recognize" each other whenever we cross paths.

A Simple Tip for a Life Well Lived

Hat tip to MrSponsorPants.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Thought for a Sunday Morning

I read recently about a different interpretation of the Adam and Eve story and the loss of paradise on earth. In this version, paradise is not lost because God expels Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Instead, paradise is lost because, in disobeying God, Adam and Eve expel God from paradise. The state of the planet ever since--the focus on materialistic things over spirituality--reflects our rejection of the Divine. Paradise may be regained by inviting the Divine back into our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven is already here. It was never gone. We just keep looking for it in all the wrong ways.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Most Frustrating Painting Ever

I honestly don't know what gave me the bright idea to do a painting of Churchill Downs on Derby Day. It's crowded. I've been working on this damn 8 x 10 painting for two weeks now, and I'm grateful it's almost done. I still need to straighten out and sharpen some lines and add one more row of brightly colored blotches (people) and the Twin Towers need to be redone (well, the one on the right anyway). Everything in this painting is so tiny!

I think my favorite bit is the ambulance on the right. And, at least the horses don't look like goats. For a while there, they kinda did.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hitch a Ride on a Solid Rocket Booster

Stuff like this always reminds me how small and fragile we really are, and how vast the universe truly is. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mean People Suck!

Mean, hypercritical people revel in their ability to shut people down. They enjoy it. For me, these people always managed to shoot me right back into my childhood, standing there all powerless in front of my stepmother, confused and stammering because I had no idea what I'd done to have such wrath descend upon me. It was--and still is--a rotten feeling to reexperience, so, you know, I spent a lot of time drinking whenever I felt I'd been unfairly judged. My sensitivity to judgment has never really gone away--hence the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, and hence the medication I'm on--but I have had to pick up a few coping tips along the way since I had to give up drinking.

Mean people suck. Period. They suck; ignore them. Who cares what they think?

From The Four Agreements: Don't take anything personally. That is, "Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering." In other words, what other people say and do reflects on THEM, and not on you.

From an AA meeting: "What other people think of me is none of my business."

There's really only one way to deal with a mean-spirited person. If they prove over and over again that they cannot be reasoned with and they are living in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction, dis-invite them from your life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Nation Full of Fear and Blaming

I've been keeping one eye on the Republican primaries lately, bemoaning the lack of a decent GOP candidate--interestingly, with both my liberal and conservative friends alike. Why? This crop of candidates is running on a platform of fear and blaming. And why not? The "hope" and "change" promised by Obama has been largely unrealized (many of his strategies have been blocked by Congress time and time again); many of the people of this nation, unemployed or underemployed, have come to feel disgusted by their own government. Government seems ineffective and stuck in gridlock and partisan bickering. Meanwhile, the deficit keeps hovering in the background--not to suggest that it's not something to be concerned about--and our government is threatening to get the budget under control by slashing and burning: privatize Social Security, or raise the retirement age to 70, make drastic cuts to Medicare, keep defunding education (or pushing for privatizing that as well).

"But wait," people are saying. "My employer and I have, in good faith over all these years, had money taken out of my paychecks to fund my Social Security and Medicare. Now you're saying when I retire that the programs I was promised won't be there?"

Oddly, Obama is taking the blame for this when he has, in actuality, been resisting the idea. The idea to privatize Social Security and to cut social programs of all kinds are Republican strategies. Obama has, however, been willing to negotiate deals with the Republicans in order to get other things done. Reforming Social Security and Medicare are back on the table. Thus, many fear what the future holds for them--that is, unless they happen to have millions of dollars on hand.

And our fear is being compounded by a lot of the current talking points. Iran is said to be developing nuclear weapons, though naturally Iran denies this and says it's nuclear energy they're working on. Since the United States under George W. Bush committed the first "preemptive strike" it's ever committed by invading Iraq (claiming there were weapons of mass destruction present, which turned out to be untrue), it now appears some politicians accept this precedent as a great idea and are calling for us to bomb Iran. Blow up their nuclear facility. But is this good policy, or are they only talking tough and saber rattling because it's an election year? If we bomb Iran, Iran will likely retaliate. They may not attack us; it's more likely they'll attack Israel; but since the US is an ally, sworn to protect Israel if it is attacked, we'll find ourselves right in the middle of yet another war.

So much for the deficit. Once upon a time war was a somewhat profitable venture, even though we had to borrow money to conduct it; at least war would create jobs and get Americans who weren't fighting to work in factories. Well, wars aren't profitable ventures anymore. The government lately conducts its wars by contracting with the large defense firms and by contracting with shady entities (remember Blackwater?) to do some of the dirty work. The money flowing into other countries to prop up the war machine is often misused, and contracted jobs are shoddily done and unreasonably expensive. The money doesn't flow back into the American economy. It flows into the hands of the contractors, many of whom aren't hiring Americans to do the work (remember Halliburton? Remember the millions of dollars of missing equipment)?

So now another war looms on the horizon--if you're bothering to listen to some of the political hawks. Well, we've still got a mess in Afghanistan. (Bless Obama for finally getting us out of Iraq.) We are not making things better in Afghanistan, not when we have our own soldiers going postal and massacring civilians. The majority of Americans want us out of Afghanistan as it is (Obama got bin Laden; mission accomplished, finally; why are we still there?) And yet some of our politicians are calling for another war?

What about unemployment here? What about jobs? What about our futures? That's what Americans are concerned about, yet the political dialogue is about everything else BUT these things. Aren't our politicians listening to us?

Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital and claims as a businessman, he knows how to balance budgets and create jobs. Really? He also broke companies up for profit and put lots of people out of work. He doesn't talk about the specifics of HOW he would accomplish the things he wants to accomplish. (Obama, on the other hand, did have a Jobs Bill, but the GOP did not cooperate in getting it passed. Instead, they stalled on issues such as not removing the Bush tax cuts for millionaires. They keep pushing the stale idea that tax cuts create jobs, but who is swallowing it? The wealthy have had those tax cuts through two Bush Administrations and all of Obama's term so far, yet where are the jobs?) They're in Singapore, China, and India... they're creating them everywhere but here.

Most Americans--Republican and Democrat--actually support rolling back the Bush tax cuts, and even Michelle Bachmann insisted that the tax rates should be where they were when Reagan was President; then our economy flourished. Really? I'd go for that myself. Because when Reagan was President, the tax rates were HIGHER than what they'd be even if Obama rescinded the Bush tax cuts.

Gingrich's great idea is to drill, baby, drill, so we can produce more oil ourselves and be less dependent on the Middle East for our energy, and he's sure he can create tons of jobs doing this while bringing the cost of gasoline down to $2.50 per gallon. Then again, he also thinks we should put a base on the moon and start mining there, or something to that effect--it was such an off-the-wall, expensive idea that even all the Republicans I know were laughing at that one. I think it's been shown repeatedly that even if we drilled like crazy here in the good ol' US of A, we would still be producing what is essentially a drop in the bucket in comparison to all the oil we actually consume. The hard truth is that we need to find other sources of energy or else cut back on our consumption.

Ron Paul's solution to the deficit is simple: stop giving foreign aid, period; stop involving ourselves in wars; dismantle government until it's teeny-tiny, and don't approve spending for anything. Well, is it really a good idea to throw the baby out with the bath water? Some government regulation is a good thing, unless you don't care that we have clean air and drinkable water. And people who want to keep their Social Security and Medicare and other govt benefits can't be too crazy about Paul, either. (He won't be nominated anyway; he doesn't belong to Wall Street in the way virtually every other politician does. The way it works right now is that our govt works in collusion with corporations and the big banks. They drive the economy; we are at their mercy. The Founders actually warned about this, but we have long since gotten stuck in this quagmire. There's no easy way out of it.)

And then we have Rick Santorum, who has no ideas about anything except that he wants to blur the line between separation of Church and State. He wants to outlaw abortion, outlaw gay marriage, outlaw birth control--or at least make these things as hard as possible to get. What this has to do with jobs or the deficit is beyond me, but he sure does have plenty of ideas to get our "moral house" in order, since, according to him, Satan is attacking the United States.

No wonder we're all fearful and frustrated. And with those feelings comes ANGER.

People are uncomfortable with fear and uncertainty. No one is offering any real solutions to our problems. We don't deal well with these feelings of discomfort, and we will do anything to make them go away. (I should know; I spent the better part of my adult life trying to drink anxieties and uncomfortable feelings away.) When we are fearful, we are at our worst. We start looking for things to ease the discomfort. The easiest way to do that is to scapegoat others, to blame others for our problems.

So: it's the gays, it's the loose women, it's the welfare recipients, it's the damn illegal immigrants, it's the Muslims, it's the Jews. (Oh wait. We're not attacking the Jews; that was Hitler's strategy for getting support when Germany was in a situation similar to ours after WWI.)

It's textbook political strategy: divert attention away from the real conversations that need to take place (the deficit, lack of jobs, flat wages for the middle class), and get the populace all pissed off and afraid. We point fingers at each other and our minds snap shut.

We are in the midst of a fear-driven, frustrated, angry backlash right now--against women, against gay citizens, and against science and education. What are we in, the Dark Ages? When we have a Presidential candidate saying that Obama is a snob because he wants a college education--or at least higher education, training beyond high school to prepare students for jobs, many of which are technical in nature--we have a problem. When college professors are scorned and seen as "elites," a "pack of liberals who are indoctrinating students to be liberals," we have a problem. (I also have to wonder how my Republican colleagues feel about being lumped in with the rest of us like that, who are assuredly not "indoctrinating" anybody.) But no, when we have one political party insisting "intelligent design" ought to be taught in schools as an alternative to the theory of evolution ("it's just a theory," they say, thereby making clear they are clueless about scientific theory and how that operates), and when we have one political party insisting global warming is a farce conjured by Al Gore because... well... because I guess Al Gore hates big oil? I'm not even sure what their reason actually is or even if they have a reason), when the science overwhelmingly demonstrates that yes, it is happening, what is wrong with us? I once heard a well-meaning very conservative Christian say, in all seriousness, that he wasn't worried about global warming because if we were in any danger, God would intervene.

God would intervene? Did God intervene when six million innocent Jews were slaughtered during the Holocaust? Did God intervene when the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Did God intervene during the black plague, which wiped out a good portion of Europe long ago? Since when did God ever intervene to correct anything that happens on this planet? I'm afraid "God's terrible non-intervention" (to quote one theologian) is the consequence of humanity being granted free will, and with that comes having to suffer the consequences of the stupid things we sometimes do.

So, what to do? We have to start insisting that WE THE PEOPLE direct the dialogue, not the politicians or the pundits on the cable channels. We have to start insisting that politicians start doing the job they were elected to do: represent the people. Stop representing Wall Street and stop representing the doctrines of your Church. Represent your diverse constituents. We don't actually want much.

I know what I want. I want a country in which people are free to do as they choose, without interference from either govt or the church. The only restriction on personal freedoms should be: do as you please as long as what you're doing is not hurting anyone else. I want everyone guaranteed basic human dignity and respect. I want a level playing field, for every American to enter the job force having had an equal opportunity to gain the education or training he or she needs, and I don't want "the system" gamed against anybody. I want affordable health care; I'm tired of reading about people being bankrupted when someone in their family gets ill. I want a secure retirement and the opportunity to build a nest egg that isn't placed into the hands of some crook on Wall Street who will gamble it away. I want a decent Armed Forces in the event we are attacked; but I don't want us to be the police of the world (that's the job of the UN and the ICC) and pick fights all the time, endangering the lives of our sons and daughters for causes that are not rational and have nothing to do with our own protection or nothing to do with human rights. (In fact, I want NO MORE WARS unless Congress actually declares a war, the way it's supposed to work.) I want people to take responsibility for their own lives, but I also want to see us have a social conscience too, to care for our fellow citizens. Since we all do contribute to the well-being of America with our tax dollars, I want so see that money spent in responsible ways and not be squandered by government. We wouldn't resent paying taxes so much if we felt we got something back for our money in return: I want our schools well funded; I want our roads to be drivable; I want our bridges to be safe; I want to see American workers ply their trades for compensation that is fair based on their skills and experience and to not have their employers take advantage of them in the name of greed. I want to live in a world where the drugs I take for illnesses won't make me sicker; the food I eat hasn't been poisoned and is safe. In short, I want our government to work FOR us.

I don't think I'm asking for much.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

This Is a Real Conversation

So, I got out of the shower this morning and was toweling off in the bathroom while Chelle hovered near the sink, doing various and sundry grooming-related things. The following conversation ensued:

Chelle: Damn, I'm getting fat.

Me: It's okay, so am I.

Chelle: Oh, yeah, you're just FINE with me being fat because then nobody will want to steal me away from you!

Me: Yep. You've figured me out.

Chelle: Seriously, though, look at this pudge.

Me: Honey, I really don't care. You're perfect for me.

Chelle: (grumbling noise)

Me: Look. I've gotten pretty wide and it seems to have made no difference. Just as many people still flirt with me.


Me: People always flirt with me!

Chelle: Nobody flirts with me.

Me: I'll bet you they do--you just don't notice it.

Chelle: I'd think I know if people flirted with me.

Me: Nope. You're oblivious.

Chelle: Nobody flirts with me because they FEAR me!

Me: Oh please.

Chelle: They don't fear you, so they flirt with you.

Me: That must be it. They flirt with me because they think I'm easy.

Chelle: Stop being so easy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

KONY 2012

This 29-minute video is well worth your time. Even if you choose to not donate of your money (times are tough for all of us), at the very least donate a minute of your time and forward this video along to others.

The purpose of this video is simple: it is to bring the war crimes of Kony to public consciousness in the hopes that the outcry will provoke action to secure the man's arrest and trial by the ICC to be punished for crimes against humanity, including the sexual assault of young girls and forcing young boys into joining Kony's rogue army, viciously attacking villages and murdering thousands. Some of the boys have been forced to mutilate and murder their own families.

In recent days, there has been a backlash towards this organization (Invisible Children), accusing the organization of being a scam just to take your money; of conspiring with and helping the Ugandan government, which is no less oppressive than Kony himself; of pushing a violent agenda; of being ill-advised, patronizing and short-sighted; etc etc. Others are calling it nothing but an act of self-aggrandizement on the part of the man who made the video. All I can say to this is "no good deed goes unpunished."

Fortunately, Invisible Children has responded to these criticisms here. Read it for yourself. Personally, I am satisfied. They're legit, and they do good work.

Please help if you are able.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The GOP Platform at a Glance

Note the absence of ANYTHING having to do with addressing unemployment or the deficit. It's the economy, stupid.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Rush Limbaugh doesn't like paying (as he claims) for birth control for "sluts" and "prostitutes." Well, Rushie Poo, I don't like paying for blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medication, Viagra, and Oxycontin for you. I won't call you any Triple X bad names, though, since that metier belongs to you peeps over on hate radio. I'll just call you a dope and kindly suggest you work through your Twelve Steps again since you apparently missed the point of them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Some of My Little Confections

I've been happily painting away ever since I got a kit of acrylics for Christmas from my in-laws. My father-in-law paints, and they've seen some of my drawings before, so I suppose they gave me just the nudge I needed. Here is a tiny collection of some of my work. I learn something new with every painting (not a surprise since this is the first time I've ever done any painting):

In progress.

Our kitty Derby.

The Egyptian god Thoth.

Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park

Storm approaching at sunset