Thursday, December 15, 2011


As we rush around tending to the details of our daily lives, we often miss the details that bring beauty and richness to our lives. I took these photos while exploring the woods recently. I really love the subdued colors of winter.

I have an old Sony digital camera and I never really know where it's going to focus. It makes for some interesting shots:

This is one of my favorites:

Another favorite:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Elmwood Cemetery

I was looking through some old photos and found a bunch that I took at Elmwood Cemetery a few years ago. I love cemeteries and Elmwood is one of the most beautiful I've seen. Here are a few shots:

Modern cemeteries don't have these amazing sculptural monuments. This is one of many at Elmwood. Here's a closer look:


"Our Son John" has seen better days:

I think it's sad, creepy and kinda cool how the lambs erode into these weird, alien-looking things:

This door is on a mausoleum:

I loved the look of the fake roses and the dead leaves:

This is just a small sampling of the photos I have taken in cemeteries. I'll probably post more later on. I am working on a post about utility belts that I will post soon. Thanks for looking!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Not a Real Job

I first want to apologize to anyone who's reading for my sporadic and infrequent posting. I let everyday concerns get in the way of what I want to do which is explore my world and share it with you. Part of what holds me back is that I often want to write about things that are off the topic of fashion. I want that to be the main focus, but I am also giving myself the freedom to write about whatever moves me. So, from now on, everything is considered "on-topic".

All that said, I want to talk about blogging itself. There are people who believe that blogging is not a "real job". Maybe at some level, I believe that myself. I certainly haven't treated it like one. I've let it drift in and out of my focus just like I do everything. But what is a "real job" anyway? I know I've had plenty and most of them sucked. They entail going somewhere I don't want to be, doing something I don't want to do and receiving compensation well below what I feel I deserve. And that's considered "normal". We suffer through a miserable commute to spend a significant portion of our day in an occupation that (most days) is unfulfilling at best and crushingly stressful at worst. I know that this isn't how it is for everybody, but it has been my general experience.

We do this so that we can meet our survival needs, which seems to make sense, but we continue to grind on, day after day and year after year, clinging to the vain hope that maybe "someday" we can finally break free and do what we want. The problem is that it never happens. Someday never comes. Retirement is an illusion. It's a lie that keeps us believing that we can't be happy now. By the time we retirement age, (which keeps getting pushed back), we are too sick and broken down to enjoy it. Then we spend the next few, short remaining years in pain and misery. Then we die. I've watched it happen. Some of us don't even make it that far. My friend and former boss, Ted Wilson, was going to "retire" in June of this year. He died in his sleep on February 19.

I've sworn that that's never going to happen to me. I am not going to let someone else's idea of what's right or wrong or "normal" dictate how I spend my life. So, also on February 19, I left my job. I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to support myself, but I did it anyway. Maybe it was crazy and foolish (or was it?), but I couldn't go on like that one day longer. Every day I face fear and uncertainty, but I have something I could never get at any job - my Freedom. I am free to do what ever I want, any time I want. And that's worth more than any dollar amount.

On a side note, it's amazing how many chronic pains have gone away since I removed the stress of a regular job. Pain that I have had for years has just disappeared. Coincidence? I think not. I believe that there are no coincidents and no accidents. Everything that happens to us happens because we intended it, consciously or unconsciously.

So what about this blogging thing? How is it not a real job? It's all in your perception. Many bloggers work from home and choose their own hours. As far as I can tell, that's the only real apparent difference. The difference that's not apparent is that we enjoy it and get something out of it.

The last few weeks I've been consumed with monetary concerns, while sitting on my ass wondering what the f I should be doing with my life. It's been here in front of me the whole time. This is the best way for me to share what I find and what I've learned. Unfortunately, I have not treated it with the respect and dedication that it deserves. You only get out of it what you put into it. I have not applied myself and I apologize.

With all THAT said, I want to promise that this will be the best blog I know how to make. Over the last 50-some years, I have learned and made and collected a lot of stuff and I want to share it in an interesting way. Thank you to everyone who reads. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maxpedition Baron Duffel Bag

Sometimes you don't need a lot of pockets - just one big one. That's what this bag is. Maxpedition makes this basic, "load-out" duffel in three sizes; the Baron (small), the Imperial (medium) and the Sovereign (large). This one is the small in Khaki/Foliage:

It's nothing fancy, but it's not meant to be. It's a solid basic duffel with a minimum of frills. It has dual carry handles that secure together with velcro, an adjustable strap which is not removable and a drag handle on each end. It also meets FAA carry-on requirements.On one side there is a small zippered pocket and a 3 x 4½ velcro square for attaching patches. There is a pair of compression straps under the carry handles:
 The single zipper opens to reveal one big compartment. No other pockets in here:

The othe side has three rows of PALS webbing for the attachment of MOLLE style pouches or other accessories. That is a Maxpedition Small TacTile next to it:

Here is the TacTile attached:

TacTiles are awesome. I will do another post about them later.

Here is a shot of one of the drag handles:

In case you were curious, here is a pic of the chairs you see in the background:

They're just a couple of folding chairs I found in a dumpster and painted. They go along with my philosophy of re-using old stuff. (I got the gargoyle at Target).

If you are looking for a good quality basic duffel bag, this is one worth considering. I know that there are cheaper bags out there, but Maxpedition's quality speaks for itself and makes for a better value in the long run.

East German Long Coat

Back to fashion. I get distracted easily. For this post I want to show you this full length East German overcoat. It is of the same origin and period as the dress tunic I showed earlier. I bought this one at Mickey's Surplus.

It's also the same material - coarse, steel gray wool. This particular one has a dark collar, many of them have a light gray collar (same as the rest of it). This may be an officer's coat, but I'm not sure. The shoulder boards attach in the same manner as the other jacket.

Here's a pic of the back:

This coat is crazy huge. It's marked a 48, whic I wear, but it is very roomy. It's 48 inches from the bottom of the collar to the tail. On me it falls to about six inches above my ankle bone. I'm 5'9". It was hard to get a photo of the full length of it. There is plenty of room to put other layers under it, though most of the time that's not necessary. Being wool, it's usually enough, but with a fleece jacket under it, it can handle some pretty cold temps. There's also enough material to sheild you from the wind. I wear this coat when it gets really crappy out. With the weather getting colder, I'll be posting more about winter clothing soon. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Few More Drawings

For this post, I'd like to share a character I've been drawing for about five years. His name is Gritty. He has been appearing on the pages of Grit Magazine since 2006. Grit is a farm-oriented magazine that has been published since 1882. That's right - 129 years. The original Gritty was just a "stick man" used to illustrate an article about trailer backing. He has been fully developed as a character for only about two years. I am able to fit him into just about any situation. I like how he is now and I would like to pass him along.

NOTE: the rights for Gritty are shared between Myself and Ogden Publications, Inc. Unauthorized use or reproduction is NOT allowed. With that said, here's Gritty!

This one was for an article about turkey carving in the November/December 2010 issue. His lady friend's name is Gritta:

This one is about pheasant hunting:

And here we see Gritty "snipe hunting":

I also like drawing cartoon animals. This one was about Colonial livestock breeds:

Here he is meeting a big bass:

Gritty is also very "scientific":

Gritty dressed as Popeye for an article about spinach:

This last one was not for publication. I thought it would be funny to pose Gritty and Gritta as "American Gothic":

I really enjoy drawing Gritty and I would like to see him reach a bigger audience. Like I said earlier; I can fit him into almost any situation. He's not limited to farm-related topics. Thet's just what I'm getting paid for at the moment. I hope you enjoy this and I'd like to hear your feedback!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Few Zombie Drawings

I'm gonna do something a little different and post a few drawings from my sketchbook. Not too much explanation needed here...

Get yer zombie on...

I was having a stupid idea about "Ghouligan's Island"...

Hope you like these, Maybe I'll post some more drawings later on. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Zombie Bumper Sticker

This is a sticker I designed a few years ago. I recently had one printed by Zazzle:

Zazzle's quality is excellent. Here it is on the back of my car:

Yes, I own a hearse! I'll probably talk about it more in future posts, but this post is about the sticker. I had only one printed, but if anyone wants one, they are available in my Zazzle store - Get yer Zombie on! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

East German Uniform Jacket

I figure it's about time I wrote about some fashion, so I think I'll start with one of my favorite jackets:
This is an East German enlisted men's parade tunic. It's the one I'm wearing in my profile photo. I bought this particular jacket on eBay, but they are available at various places around the web. They range in price from about $20 - $50. It is sometimes confused with World War 2 German, but this one is much later; I estimate 1970's. The color is different from the older uniforms, too. The older ones were a color known as "Feldgrau" or field gray, which had a lot of green in it. This one is closer to steel gray. The overall fit and construction is excellent.
Everything appears clean and tight, with close atention to detail.

Here's a shot of the inside pocket area:
"G-48-0" is the size. This one translates roughly to a US 38 regular. It's not exact, but with the German (and Swiss) stuff, you can usually subtract 10 and get pretty close, i.e.; 48 is 38, 50 is 40, and so on.

All the outside pockets have edge-binding like this. There is also a small pocket inside the bottom right pocket. Note that even the flaps are lined.

The device on the shoulder is known as a shoulder board. It's held on by a strip of fabric that passes through a loop at the shoulder seam, then the botton is pushed through a hole in the board and tied on with a small string which is accessed by way of an opening in the liner. The pink piping represents Panzer Corps, or armored division (tanks). The patch on the collar is called a collar tab.

This jacket fits me better than any other jacket I own. That's part of the reason that it's one of my favorites. I like to combine it with pants that sport loud or bold colors and patterns. My general approach is patterned bottoms with solid tops. I will post pics of some of my favorite combos in the near future.