Positive Thinking

Let's start off with a comic.  While it's clearly based on me (the circumstances referenced are perhaps a little unique), I have exaggerated things for comedic purposes, so don't read into anything too much. :-)

A common thing these days among people in their late twenties and early thirties seems to be "impostor syndrome" where we lose perspective on our achievements.  I often find myself falling down these thought-holes where it feels like *nothing* is working and I'm just spinning my wheels with no forward progress.  Anxiety takes over and I cease to be able to relax and have fun doing the things I love.  

Midweek this past week I hit one of those points and, knowing how ridiculous I was being, just kinda let myself run with it.  Drawing this actually really helped put it in perspective and gave me a few laughs at the same time.  The punchline doesn't quite land like I wanted it to (I'd reword it if I had another go at it), but I think it gets the rough idea across. 

Sometimes we can really be our own worst enemies.  Just gotta remind ourselves to try and have fun with it... and draw silly faces.

<3,

John

P.S. I apologize for the Jimmy Neutron hair.  I'm going to play around with other stuff.

Back to the known

Oof.  I feel it's only appropriate to start with this comic I drew about getting home from the holidays:

Holiday comics: The fallout

You'll have to excuse my fourth grade vocabulary and sentence structure tonight.  I really just want to post something, but don't have a ton of energy to write any beautiful, breathtaking prose this evening.  That and it's mostly just a dump of drawings and pictures from the holidays.

The holidays this year were wonderful, but exhausting.  It was amazing to see everyone, and I seriously feel like I saw EVERYONE this year, but I think being out of my routine for so long, not eating well, and not having my typical time-occupying activities such as woodworking, cats or work just flat wore me out.  I ended doing a ton of drawing, a fair bit of which has ended up on the sketchbook page.

I drew a couple more comics about the holidays with some KILLER jokes:

Holiday comics: dad joke?

Holiday comics: The moral here is that most people on airplanes are garbage people.

I mostly just saw people I wouldn't otherwise get to see!  Kyle and Lea were wonderful enough to fly my ass up to Vermont for New Years.  I miss those guys so much and wish that we didn't all live a billion miles away from each other.  One day I think we'll all end up on a commune up in Vermont or Montana or something and all will be well, but until then it's a bummer that I only get to see them a couple of times a year.  

Kyle and I actually flew out of a Chuck-E-Cheese adjacent to Dulles airport.  

Lea's beautiful mountain resort home.  I made that wreath!  No wire or anything, just fir branches. :-)

One of my favorite parts of Vermont New Year is that we can't do it without a fire.

Awwww.  I love them.

I've taken a brief hiatus from working on the chair in favor of a sculpture I've had in my head for the last few months.  I'm going to hold off on posting any pictures since I *think* I should be able to finish it up tomorrow or Monday.  

I think that's all for tonight everyone!  I'll leave you with this insane double rainbow I saw on my walk home the other day.  Who says walking home in a downpour is a bad idea?!  Totally worth it. 

I'm speechless.  It was jarring it was so bright.

Ok, well I'll actually leave you with this beauty shot of Mr. Kitty.  I think he had a hard holiday too...

Holiday cats: the fallout.

<3,

John

This is not the post I planned to make

I've been meaning to post something for a while now. I have a folder of "ideas in waiting" to be written upon, but I'll be damned if I'm ever going to get around to them.  Maybe at some point.  Lately I've been pretty snagged on coming up with an idea for my qualifier.  I did produce this mediocre comic about it though:

Our qualifier at UCLA is, instead of a comprehensive exam like most Ph.D. programs, is a mock grant proposal.  The tricky thing with it is that it can't be a project that we're going to actually carry out, but something that we're interested enough in to (1) come up with a pretty novel question and experiment and (2) write 12 pages about how we would carry out said experiment.  I think I like this format more than the comprehensive exam, but I am STRUGGLING to come up with a decent idea to work on.  I DO think I have some decent idea for what I actually want to do my dissertation on, which is probably more important in the big scheme of things.

In happier news, my technical note/paper on my recontstruction software was accepted to Medical Physics the other day!  I'll definitely post a link once it's published, which will hopefully be early in the new year.

Frankly, I'm really ready for vacation, really distracted for a number of reasons, and without a work project that I'm particularly interested in.  The state of the news is bumming me out too.  They canceled school for the entirety of the LA Unified School District (640,000 kids) because of a vague "terrorist" threat against "multiple unspecified locations" that had to do with "packages and backpacks."  Really? I dunno, I guess put in the superintendent's shoes it's tough to know what call any of us would make, but it just seems more and more like the people in charge of the world around us (see all of the republican presidential candidates, and just about all of congress) are, more and more, playing into all of the pitfalls I just pray that they wouldn't.  

Despite the tone here, things are going really well.  I'm making good progress on a chair I'm building, which unfortunately I haven't been posting any pictures of, but I haven't totally screwed it up yet!  As the design has actually taken shape, I'm not particularly happy with it, but there's plenty of wood present to shape it into something really nice. I'm really excited for that part. :-)  I made the leg dowls two nights ago and just need to join them to the seat, then I get to shape the everything and finish!  This way, each chair in the final set (I'm pretty sure there are going to be four when all is said and done) is going to be unique, which is actually pretty important for the set.  I'll write more on this in a different post (ANOTHER post that will most likely take quite a while to get written).  

It's starting to look vaguely like a chair!  So very many joints.  So many.

I was going to write about the camera simulations I've programmed but that's going to have to wait a little longer (besides, I think maybe one or two people who stumble through here would care/understand).  Perhaps that'll be what I do on the flight back to NC on Saturday since a on a flight is where I wrote the code initially! 

So for tonight, I think I'm going to leave it here with some beautiful pictures of the kitties, since I know that's what everyone truly comes here for.  

I... I don't even know.

Mr. Kitty is a boss

Ms. Kitty wearing her bandana.  It's basically the best thing ever.

Goodnight everyone!

<3,
John