I have had an Epiphone SG for years and never knew how to play it. At the beginning of March I learned a few chords and started to play on the acoustic. Since then I have learned multiple songs and song intros including Master of Puppets by Metallica. Today I bought a new Ibanez electric guitar from Sweetwater. There will be more updates to follow.
It being February I am fed up with the winter weather. This year we have barley gotten any snow whatsoever, and the weather is unpredictable. Last week the temperature would drop to 15-ish degrees, but tomorrow it is supposed to be 81 degrees. The weather is very strange here. I'm eagerly awaiting spring so I can start my consistent running regime again.
Last year through spring and summer I averaged 3 miles of running per day, and I felt great. This year I'm going to up this to 3.5-4 miles per day. I am also going on a somewhat strict low carb diet.
During the dog days of summer, I have all the time in the world. Running has proven to be one of the best ways to spend that time. Once you really get into it it becomes so much easier. You eventually keep adding on miles to your runs, and realize how small the world can feel, or maybe how fast you actually are. If you ask me, the best feeling in the world is the when you have ran 3-4 miles or more and get back from your run. You feel tired but refreshed.
This past year has been revolutionary for me, In total I ran around 310 miles and I also participated in 2 5k runs, the first of which, the Race for the Cure, I set a new PR.
These winter months may be holding me back, but not for long. I will break free and when I do... It will be amazing.
Whether it is a book cover, poster, or something as simple as a desktop background, there are certain steps you should take when designing things.
1. Use a decent photo editing program
What I mean by this is, don't try to make anything like a book cover in Microsoft Paint. It will just look bad and unprofessional. I would recommend using Photoshop, or it's free open source alternative GIMP. I have been using GIMP for the past four years and love it, it is very user friendly.
2. Be Creative
This may sound very cliche, but do not limit yourself to what you can do when using GIMP or Photoshop. This is what I struggle with the most. Step outside your comfort zone, if you try something and it looks bad, retry until you master it.
3. Use your own images, or royalty free images
If you are working on a design that you plan to publish or sell, make sure it is your own picture, or a royalty free picture. Royalty free pictures are licensed to users under CC (Creative Commons). Any of these images can be used and edited/sold for profit. By doing one of these two things you won't have to worry about infringing copyrights.
4. Use good fonts
Most of the time you will have to import fonts into the program via downloading them and inserting them into the program files. I will make a tutorial on that in later weeks. Fonts can make or break a picture, I would not recommend using Times New Roman for anything other than actual writing. Never use Comic Sans for anything, please! Under no circumstance will it look good on a design. One of my personal favorite fonts is Marlboro, it is similar to Times New Roman however it is much more presentable on a picture.
These are just basic things to keep in mind before you create something, there will be more in depth tutorials on GIMP to come.
Today I smelt an aroma I had not smelled in years. As soon as it hit my nose I was taken a back, memories began to fill my head, memories I had no idea were still there. I was young, by young I mean a toddler. The memory came from one of the many times we would go North to Pennsylvania to see my grandparents. My grandmother was in the kitchen, I remember it being small, maybe 10x6 feet. Over time this memory has become distorted as memories do, she was most likely cooking something but it is unclear to me.
What triggered this memory was something insignificant at the time. The walls of the kitchen, from what I remember, had light pastel pink wallpaper covering them. Scattered all over the wallpaper were maroon flowers, this is where the memory becomes foggy. All of those minor details have been lost in time. On those walls were shelves made from green painted wood which was made to look fairly old. Protruding out from under the shelves were pegs that you could hang things on, this is where the memory is clear to me. Hanging on those pegs were multiple pairs of decorative primitive candles, one set was white and the other was dark red. Those candles had a tough texture on the outside where wax had run down the sides during the making of them and solidified. These candles had that scent, the scent that came to mind immediately, and with that scent came that old memory along with many others.
This scent came to me at such a strange time, in all of these memories I remember seeing my grandmother who had been duking it out with cancer for as long as I can remember. Yesterday was February 2nd also known as Groundhogs Day, but I will now and forever overlook the 2nd for the 3rd. February 3rd, 2013, was the day my grandmother died. It seems like it was just yesterday she was getting back from her final trip to see the West. It was not yesterday though, five years have gone by. In those five years I have changed dramatically, if my grandmother saw me today I don't think she would recognize me, but when she did I think she would hug me and never let go. Five years, and I have thought about her every day since.
The month before she died was a very difficult month for everyone, her final birthday was one month before she passed. She was already bed ridden by then but didn't appear that way if you were just there visiting. Over the next month her physical state declined rapidly. However her mind was there until the end. I will never forget the last time I saw her, she could no longer talk or open her eyes, but when I spoke my final words to her "I love you" she raised a fist up in the air. She was so weak, but somewhere deep inside her, she was able to find the strength to raise that fist. Before she went out she taught me one final lesson, never give up, throughout her battle with cancer she never gave up. She couldn't speak anymore, but that simple motion meant more to me than anything else could have, through that one simple motion she said "Mark I love to the end of the universe and back and am so proud of who you are, in life you will have hardships and you will face adversity but never give up. My time on this Earth is up, I love you and I will see you again". Wow... Time really flies.
A sunset is a common sight at the beach. This one however was the most beautiful I have ever witnessed. Yes the image is a sunset, but that is not the focal point. It has a deeper story, every image has an untold story.
I took this photo on vacation this past year. The island we go to is a good four miles long, two miles on both ends of the pier. Feeling up for a challenge one evening my brother and I walked from one end of the island to a mile past the pier and back, it was close to 6 miles. Mid way through our walk the sun started to set, as you can see the sky was a mixture of blue, gray, orange and red.
Though the sky looked like something out of a painting, this image is beautiful for another reason. As I stopped to capture this picture, an old man most likely in his mid to late eighties was pushing his wife down the beach in a wheel chair so that they could enjoy the sunset together. I cannot imagine the love this man had for her, he made sure that even though she couldn't walk, she could still see that sunset. Seeing those two people was a highlight of my vacation. It was a long walk.
It was a late summer night, late August I think. With summer winding down most people like myself were back home. The leaves were starting to turn color and there was a crisp breeze in the air. When looking back at the past year one memory stood out to me. It wasn't anything eventful, but it was more how I felt in that point of time that stood out.
A buddy of mine invited me over because there was not much to do at the time. The temperature was much colder than you would expect an August night to be. I'd say it was 30-35 degrees at most. It being so abnormally cold, we lit a fire in his fire pit. The heat from that fire was immense, so much so that my shoes, which were set up against the fire place, began to melt.
The picture above was one that I took that night, I had just finished a bottle of orange crush and was holding the bottle. Light from the fire caught the bottle in my hand and shone around the inside of the bottle. I put my eye up to the bottle like one would with a telescope, and was amazed at the refracted light I saw. As the fire crackled the light moved, it was alive.
My grandfather released his 4th book in the current "Rex Knight" series he's working on. I did the cover art. It is available in paperback or as a kindle download. Click Here to check it out!
I've traveled a lot this year. So far in 2017 I have been to 5 different countries, and 13 states. Every where I've went, I've enjoyed. For spring break I had the opportunity to go to New York City for the first time, and explored Manhattan. I've never been anywhere like New York City because there is no such place. There were people everywhere, each one had their own life, and were doing their own thing. The buildings were huge, and in Time Square the signs lit up the night.
This summer I went on vacation to Europe, starting in Italy, and working my way over to Spain. That trip was eye opening, Europe is very different from the United States, but I loved every minute of it. A few weeks after getting back, I went to the beach in southeastern North Carolina. It's hard to beat the beach. Of all the things I've seen, and the beautiful places I've went, I still see the East Coast of the United States as the most beautiful region on earth.
Back in August as most of you know, a solar eclipse swept across the entire country. There was a rush to get solar eclipse glasses, many of which were either fake or sold out. I however got my hands on a pair of said glasses and was astonished by the eclipse. I was in the 90% zone of the eclipse. It was approximately 2:30 in the afternoon when the eclipse was at its peak. Surprisingly with 90% of the sun blocked out, it was still very bright outside. However the light was dim in a way I cannot begin to describe, and pictures cannot really capture.