Life, Art, and Monkeys


Well, given how infrequently I update this ol' personal blog, I think it's about time I moved things over to permanently. It's updated every Monday, after all! Plus I'm going to be upgrading it in the next few months to include links to other spots I hang out online, such as my new digs at Instagram. If you're looking for me in the meantime, check over here!

Zipping over to!


Inktober #6 – And a Book

Today I did an ink drawing using a photo my friend Mike took.

Inktober bird drawing Riki
Here's the reference.


I think it turned out rather well, considering I haven't done a lot of drawing from life recently. And the REASON I haven't done a lot of life drawing recently, apart from general laziness and lack of art momentum, is I've been working on my first book, and that book is here!

creativity Boot Camp bookmockupIf you'd like a copy, you can find it right here right now. There are both print and E versions available. Best of all it's on a Pay What You Want model, so you get to set your own price. :)


Photos: California 2015

I recently returned from a trip out west, and here are some photos from the journey!


The Coast of San Diego


I like taking pictures of rocks. Not sure why.


Bird, with poop.


See? More rocks. It's weird, right?


Obviously I didn't take this one, since I'm in it. Tidepools!

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Past Archives Begin Here

Caution sign
Please note: Posts here older than June 24th, 2015 should be considered officially archived. I am not removing them, but in the ten years that I have been writing on this blog I have changed a great deal. Things beyond this point should be considered outdated at best, and may contain many errors or opinions I no longer hold. These things tend to happen as you grow and live life. Or at least, they hopefully happen as you try to become a better person as you age! I just want readers to be aware of that, so that if you decide to go poking through history you will know that it doesn't necessarily reflect my current or future views. :)


If you'd like current thoughts and posts, please visit for regular scheduled updates that provide better insights and information. Thanks!


Scenic German Town

While in Germany we stopped at a very scenic little town where every building was painted brightly in different colors. It made me wish we did things like this in the US. Sadly we don't seem to take care of our little towns this well, but I guess that's another good reason to just go visit Germany!

scenic German Town
I have no idea what this town was called, or even where it was. Somewhere near the Black Forest (also a cool place to visit).

scenic Town 02

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Bird Watching

I had a chance to go take photographs with my friend Mike recently, and we camped out on his back porch behind a big camouflage net and captured some bird photos. Here are a few of mine that came out alright (though none I took were as good as his).

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Q, A, and a Squirrel

First of all, here's a picture of a squirrel:

I share this photograph not just from some random search of the Internet, but from the camera of my friend Mike, who snapped the shot. He has a bird feeder behind his house and enjoys taking pictures of the wildlife that visits. Though he's never been trained as a photographer, his natural sense of composition and the clarity of his shots leave me a little envious of how good he is without trying. It takes me so much work to set up shots like that, and I never seem to capture the moment this well!

I'll probably showcase a few more of his photos in the future. They're too good to not share.

The other topic for this post is the return of an old favorite: The Blog Q&A!

Back when I actually updated the main website, I would occasionally call for questions and then answer them the following Monday. It was a way to let FtM fans ask anything about the series, or my process, or any topic really, and I enjoyed the experiences thoroughly. I haven't done one in a long time mostly because I only recently came back to daily blog updates, but also because I didn't think anyone would participate anymore. Though I'm still not sure if anyone WILL, I at least have had several people comment that they are happy I've returned to updating the blog. So at the very least I know someone, somewhere, is reading this and might have a question to ask.

If you do, please ask away!

On Sunday I'll copy over any of the responses and do my best to answer what I can (or look up what I don't know). Monday morning, bright and early at 12:01 AM the answers should go live, so get your questions in by then.

Also, have a fantastic weekend!

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On Best Buy and Clutter 2: The Revenge

Yesterday I wrote about Best Buy and its greed-motivated 'Simple Ways to Get Rid of Clutter' advertisement. Today I write about it again! Though this time, we shift gears slightly, and enter the terrifying world of "The Cloud."

Take a look at Tips #2 and 3 from the Best Buy ad:

At first glance, I can certainly understand and appreciate where this suggestion is coming from. (Correction, past the greed of "we want to sell you stuff" I can understand why this idea might be useful.) In my life I have two very special people who looooooove paper. My wife and my mother.

In their defense, it isn't the paper they love so much as the security to know that whatever may come along, they will have records. If the IRS shows up at their door, all it will take is a trip to the Great Mountain Of Boxes and a few hundred years and they will be able to tell Joe Taxman that they purchased tuna fish salad on February 15th 1992 at 6:38PM. Trust me, I understand the peace that comes with this sort of security. I don't much care about it myself, but I understand it. I'm not ragging on people who keep great records. God bless them, they are more responsible than I.

I can see the appeal of the "scan to cloud" concept of de-cluttering. Unfortunately we need to remember what we discussed yesterday: Organization of clutter is not de-cluttering. It is merely clutter in neatly stacked order in another location.

In our world today, we often don't take quiet time to contemplate things very deeply. Some people do, myself included when I'm not too caught up in watching old Good Eats reruns (so not often enough), but overall we score poorly on the Test of Meditation. I don't mean meditation like:

(Though don't get me wrong, doing this is amazing as well)

I mean meditation like:

(Not limiting to phones, but all distractions)

Our world and lives are filled with so much distraction that we don't THINK enough. (To be fair, why should we? We have technology to think for us now! It's easier!) So that's why the surface level of "more organized clutter means it isn't clutter anymore" doesn't get the slap in the face and banishment from our lives it probably deserves.

Clutter of the MIND is just as- if not more, in my opinion- threatening as clutter of the physical space around us. It stops us from enjoying the peace that comes with breathing deeply with a clear head. There's a reason so many people feel peaceful on mountaintops, or staring at the ocean. Sure, part of it is because there's not a lot of stuff laying around (depending on the mountain or beach you're frequenting) but more so there's nothing cluttering the mind. In front of you is the beauty of God's Green Earth. Unspoiled by cell phones and meetings and what we are going to make for dinner tonight which can't be chicken because we just had chicken last night but the chicken in the fridge REALLY does need to be used because throwing it away is such a shame and maybe Costco isn't the best place to buy chicken because it's hard for any individual family to consume 17 pounds of raw poultry before it spoils.

I've exhausted myself just TYPING that sentence, but it's exactly what's racing through our brains most of the time.

I'm not sure The Almighty Cloud is going to declutter anyone's life. Because the information is still there, and it still has the potential to overwhelm. Thanks to digital cameras, we take more photographs than any time in the history of the human race. How many of them do we sit and appreciate, in the way we might appreciate the single black and white photograph of our great grandmother that is the only recorded visual of her existence? How much of a treasure is that photo, because of its rarity?

Clutter is not only physical. Scanning papers may remove the compressed tree pulp from your dining room table, but the informational clutter remains. It may be hovering invisibly above your head, but it is no less there. Sorry, Best Buy, but I really think you missed the mark on this one. I do appreciate the blog-topic fodder, however. I will miss it now that I have clicked "unsubscribe" to your spam after all these years.


More of Photographic Hawaii

This morning was especially cold. First day I've been back where I was ready to book another plane ticket to the islands. And tomorrow we're supposed to get a snow storm, but honestly I don't mind if it's cold if there is also snow. I just don't like cold with zero snow. That's like some sort of tease.

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More Hawaii Photos

As promised!

The last one there is especially cool because it was a white coral beach at the end of a very, very long dirt trail you had to hike along the coast to get to. Unlike most other places on Oahu, there was hardly anyone there. Nice and peaceful!

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