Thursday, November 16, 2017

Don't Know if I Posted This, But ...

Here's a short story I wrote for a fiction class last spring.

Gloria Diaz
Curtis Crisler
Advanced Fiction Writing
What I Lost (analytical)
23 March 2017
The Bracelet
Janell was in the living room, working on a bracelet. It was a Friday night, her mother was at work. Her father was listening to his shortwave radio. It was still early yet. The television was on ABC. Donny and Marie, one of Janell’s favorite shows was on,  but she didn’t notice.
A bright, imaginative eight-year-old, she was always thinking, doing, or talking. When her older sister died, she asked lots of questions, and had a definite belief her sister was in Heaven. She wouldn’t realize it then, but later in life, Janell would remember the look on her parents’ faces. The words they said didn’t match the expression in their eyes. “Yes, she’s in Heaven now, and if you want to talk to her, pray to her,” they said. The words were optimistic, the eyes were pained.
Janell remembered they got rid of nearly all of  her sister’s things. The house was simply too small to keep a large number of mementos for sentiment’s sake. The clothes had to go; Janell was far too young for the platform shoes and plaid miniskirts. Her mother kept a skirt she’d made for Elizabeth, her father had taken the grown-up camera he’d given to her. Later, when Janell was older, he’d show her how to use it. She was too young to have it now.
Janell got to pick out something to keep as well. She’d cried when her mother said they’d have to get rid of the stuffed animals. Janell loved them, but her mother said there were too many. So Janell kept some beads that Elizabeth had bought shortly before she’d died in the car accident. Her mother bought her some elastic, and Janell was busy stringing the beads on the white elastic on that cold winter night. It seemed it was taking a long time to make. She’d start, then undo it and start over. Some of the beads had holes too small for the elastic to glide through. But Janell tried her best. Her tiny, slender fingers were cramping from the effort.
What seemed like several hours later (in reality, it was only two) she finally had a bracelet she liked. She left it on the dining room table with a note: Look! Mom! I made this tonite! Janell was planning to wear it the next morning. Her father was taking her to the mall, and promised her they would play a game of air hockey. Janell loved air hockey.
The next morning, Janell got dressed, and before she set off with her father, slid the bracelet on her left wrist. First, breakfast, then the mall. Between dunking her toast in her sunny side up eggs, she kept glancing at the bracelet, looking solid with its white beads of various shapes, but mostly round. It contrasted nicely with her skin. In February, it faded to beige, but in the summer, she turned bronze. The bracelet would look even nicer in the summer when she was tan, she thought. Some beads were shaped like teeth. Maybe someday hers would look like that: big, strong, white. Janell’s teeth were big, but crooked. A few beads were long and narrow, like tiny bones.
She walked beside her father while he paid a bill at Sears. Then, the arcade. She loved the way it smelled: worn carpet warmed by two dozen or so video games in consoles, the sweet smell of pop drinks, the occasional box of Smarties or Now and Laters or some other multi-colored candy, the roar of bleeps, blips, and the shock! shock! of the air hockey puck echoed off the walls. The arcade was warm all year round. Not even the mall’s air conditioning could make it cool in the summer. To Janell, the arcade was some sort of energetic, indoor carnival, dressed in black walls, purple lights, and game signs. Seeing the air hockey table filled her with a bursting sense of anticipation. It was magic. Put in a quarter and the machine would hum to life, the thin white disk hovering over the table. The minute she saw it, she hoped no one else would get there first, drop a quarter in, grab the paddles, then send the white disk into action. Janell loved the sound the puck made whenever she made a goal. The shock! and then the rattle as the puck slammed into the goal.
When they got there, no one was using the table. Janell played the first game in her coat, then took it off and lay it against the wall, where it looked like a dead animal. She and her father played another game (she won this time) and the third game was a tie. Then her father said they had to go. Janell picked up her coat and put it on.
They were halfway down one of the corridors when a terrible thought seized her. The bracelet! She had gotten so used to the beads gently encircling her wrist, like the mouth of a large dog gently cradling its owner’s hand in its teeth. “Daddy! My bracelet is gone! We need to go back to the arcade!”
“Okay,” he said. Holding hands, Janell practically pulled her father in her urgency to get back to the arcade, despite his longer legs. Her eyes devoured the floor, looking for the white circle. She went right to the spot where she laid her coat down. Nothing was there except for the frantic pattern of the carpet, multi-colored geometric shapes against a solid black background.
She wandered frantically all over the arcade, looking on the floor, hoping, hoping it would be there. Her father had asked the arcade attendant if he’d seen a tiny white bracelet anywhere. “No, sorry,” the attendant said.

Janell reappeared beside her father. She burst into tears. Her bracelet, her last link to her sister, was gone. At home, only three beads were left, not nearly enough to make another one. He tried to console her, but her mother was better at this parental task. Her father, unused to his normally happy, youngest, (and now only daughter) being hysterical, comforted her the best he could. They rode home in silence.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Breathing a Sigh of Relief ...

I got some good news today.

Plus work is going well.

It's about time.

And thank you.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I'm Savage as Fuck

Student: I'm really neutral on these topics you want us to write about. So what should I do?
Me: The assignment.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I'd Rather Eat Tacos Than Dick

Propositioned twice tonight on my ride share experience. The second one asked that we stop at a fast food place, where he bought me tacos. When I drove him to his hotel, he offered me $60 to blow him.

I didn't take him up on it, but it's nice to know at my age, I have the option to take up prostitution if a full-time job doesn't come along.

The second guy still tipped me, but walked away with my tacos.

What a tease.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Home is where the Hoe is

After taking Publications Management in grad school, and learning about kerning, font choice and highlighting, this doormat made me laugh.

I wonder if it will end up on clearance.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

There's a Hard Price to be Paid for Eliminating Proofreading Jobs

Over the last few years, I've noticed more and more mistakes in newspapers, in books published by well-known publishers who should know better, and as always, misspelled business signs around town.

I used the following as a teaching opportunity for one of my classes:

This is the photo of the offending, but hilarious headline:

So proud of one of my students in my co-req class, who, when I asked what sort of punctuation we would need to fix it, came up with the right answer. I also pointed out that a hyphen looks like an erect penis. Ironic, no?

Sounds like a hell of a mentoring day experience! "Hey mom, guess what I got today?"

What a hard lesson to learn. #allhyphensmatter

Monday, October 30, 2017


So as I left work tonight, I was walking down the hallway when the elevator at the other end of the hallway Bonged.

It was 1:45 in the morning. I turned to see if anyone was there. But there wasn't.

I was the only person in the building.

Who requested the elevator?

Before I left, I made a mental note to take the stairs so if the elevator got stuck, I wouldn't be trapped.

And no, I didn't walk back down the hallway to see if the doors opened.

I got out, because I was a bit spooked.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

First Time in Twelve Years ...

That I didn't get to Cedar Point this year. I thought about going Saturday, but the weather became more fall-like, after weeks of unseasonably warm weather.

It sorta makes me sad, but since I've been working seven days a week since September 18, maybe it was a good thing to just hang around at home getting some rest and doing what I wanted to for a change.

In other news, I'm kicking ass in terms of work and making a difference. So there's that.

Monday, October 23, 2017


I make the best black bean soup in the world.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I Miss You Mom

Thirteen years ago you left.

The other night I dreamed about you. It was the first time you actually appeared. You held my hand as we went shopping.

I wish I could talk to you and Dad more and more.

I'm scared, but I can't give up, because neither of you would want me to.

I miss the way things were, but I guess it's up to me to create things I can look back on years from now and say, "gee, that was fun."

Still, thank you for being there during the best times of my life.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Well, the way they pick TV shows is, they make one show. That show's called a pilot.

Local media man, funnyman, and filmmaker Dean Robinson is doing a show starting Sunday, October 1, at 11 a.m. on the CW here in Fort Wayne. That's the pilot episode.

But if you don't have thousands of channels available that include local Fort Wayne stations, you can see my segment here.

Also, here's the link for Fort Wayne's CW

Thank you and good night!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

As if Things Couldn't Get Any Worse ...

My heart aches for Puerto Rico, one of my ancestral homelands. Not only did it have to deal with bankruptcy, but an official says Hurricane Maria "destroyed" the island.

I had many good times there. But seeing the devastation makes me wonder if it can come back to life.
As far as I know, I have two relatives there. I don't know how they are doing. One of them is a big-deal athlete on the island. The other is the cousin who is three weeks younger than I am.

I hope they are safe.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Two Posts, One Day

Thanks Russia, for reading my blog!

By the way, Trump sucks.

Спасибо, Россия, за чтение моего блога!

Кстати, Трамп сосет.

I'm Back in the Classroom

It's Gloria. Ms. Diaz if you're nasty.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How I'm Spending My Summer II

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

More Photos

So yeah, I enjoy taking pictures of people and pets. They are difficult subjects, because the people hate to be photographed, and the animals seem to always move.

Here are some photos I've taken that I really like.

Daphne was very young here. The hair around her ears is just starting to grow.

On the left, Daphne is at Franke Park. On the right, she is hanging out the window of my mom's car.

This young lady wanted a good picture to send to Hooter's Annual Calendar Girl competition.

Two local musicians. I took this the Sunday before 9-11.

Friend and former co-worker. Shot at the Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne.

The Borgen Project and an Item on My Compassion List

So I've been interning for The Borgen Project. For different dollar amounts, I'll make or do certain things. I'll bake cookies, or make a video with original music, write a short story, or things like that.
If you want to check out the page, go here:

I am interested in photography, and the top donation amount of $100 entitles the donor to a photo session. I'm posting some portraits I've taken of people. If you know of anyone looking for an inexpensive portrait session, tell them to check out my page and donate! The usual price is $212, so you're saving a bunch.

My friend Heidi. I liked the way her hair looked in this shot.

A former student. I'm testing out a new camera.

Shot at Lakeside Rose Gardens.

Bridal portrait at the Botanical Conservatory. Both it and Lakeside Rose Gardens are great places to take pictures.

I really like this shot. It's in the desert room.

Co-worker and all around cool guy who agreed to have his portrait done.

Former co-worker. She'd just had her hair done. I loved the color and had to talk her into this pose, because she didn't want to do it. One of her guy friends saw this photo and REALLY liked it.

This is my co-worker a few years later with her future husband. I shot their wedding, at the bride's insistence.

Close-up of the bride.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Borgen Project, or How I'm Spending My Summer

So the weather has been beautiful here in Fort Wayne this summer. Funds are kind of lean though, and that's nerve-wracking, but I think I met someone the other day who is going to have a huge impact on my life.

Anyway, I'm an intern for The Borgen Project. I'm learning a little bit about search engine optimization and fundraising. I'm also creating content for the organization's blog and magazine.

I'm spreading the word about my fundraising, and since my friend Heidi has more success on my blog than I do, I asked to write a guest post for her blog, and she kindly posted it. You can read it here:

I also have my very own fundraising page for The Borgen Project. You can check it out here:

I'm also sleeping late, tending a garden, working odd jobs, helping friends out, entertaining myself for cheap, creating art, losing weight and building a better resume, among other things. I may also get a job in an area I've been fascinated with for decades, but we'll see. I've been let down before.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Here's the Link!

I'm interning for The Borgen Project, and they set up my fundraising page. Here's the link:

The founder's story is pretty hardcore. After working with refugees in Kosovo, Clint Borgen wanted to do something about global poverty. After college, he worked on a fishing boat, and that's where he got the funding to launch The Borgen Project.

It wasn't until 2014 that a generous donor enabled him to become a paid staffer. Up that that time, he worked on TBP 9-5, then worked nights as a server.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nothing but Crickets

So a couple weeks ago, a former classmate PM'ed me on Facebook. Asked me if I wanted to go out for drinks. I hadn't seen this person in a while, and I'm pretty isolated due to job schedule, so I said yes. I asked them if the following day would work.

No response.

The day I suggested getting together, I PM'ed them, and said, "are we on for drinks tonight?"

No response.

The whole thing makes me wonder if the exchange even happened, or if I, in fact, don't exist.

It's getting so I don't approach people anymore, not even my friends, and ask them if they want to do stuff anymore. I've been invited and blown off so many times, that the only people who keep appointments with me are my therapist and job interviewers.

I'm socially awkward, but I'm beginning to catch on to certain things. Such as, "hey, do you want to get together for drinks" actually means, "I haven't seen you for a while, and haven't talked to you. I still don't want to, but I'll ask you to get drinks/dinner/see a movie because it's the socially polite thing to do. Then, I won't respond when you say, 'sure, sounds cool.'"

The Iranians have a custom of making polite promises they have no intention of keeping. It's called "taraf."

Here in the U.S., it's known as bullshitting.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I'm Spending My Summer ...

interning for a couple of organizations. One of them is the I will also be doing fundraising for them. I'll post the link to my fundraising page as soon as they get it going. Donate enough money, and I will compose original music and lyrics for a rap song about your life.

Or, I'll bake you some cookies.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Vaughan Again NON-Christian: Another Interview With Brandon Vaughan

I've never met Brandon Vaughan, but I feel like I know him. I did an interview with him almost three years ago. Time flies! Read on for an entertaining look into one of the PacNorthwest's best writers! Also, there's important advice regarding stuff you should not do during your first year of sobriety, because Brandon has done all three. Learn from the man, kiddos.

How's the sobriety? Still off booze and cigarettes?
This week I’ll be forty-one months sober. To me, that simply means I’ve almost lasted three and a half years without touching a drop of alcohol. Which isn’t shit, frankly. If I allow it, my sobriety will evaporate. I can’t relax for a moment in recovery. Sobriety is a fucking full-time job. In order to remain sober, I constantly evaluate, process, observe, and remain self-aware. I stay vigilant. When something feels off, I run a system check using the H.A.L.T. method. Am I Hungry?Angry?Lonely?Tired? If I feel one of those things, then I immediately remedy the problem. If I feel two at once, I have the tools to correct them. Three or all of the above, and I’m in big trouble. Knowing this, at the very minimum, I must eat and be well-rested. If angry and lonely, I then must examine the reason honestly; this way, unchecked feelings won’t fester and ultimately cause even more harm. Sometimes this all happens before I’m out of bed.
I am a casual smoker, I suppose. If I do buy a pack, it lasts for a week. I seem to only justify smoking cigarettes after stressful situations. It’s not a habit I can afford anyway. That six bucks could buy me a sandwich.

I gave up soda for Lent. Seems like I can stick to Lenten promises, and I'm not religious. What did you give up for Lent?
I don’t practice lent. The whole ritual is silly to me. My Pops was a devout Christian, and I can’t recall lent ever being discussed.  Theoretically, If I can give up something for a month, then I can give it up for good. That is something I would do for myself, for the long-term enrichment of my life. Not as part of any archaic religious ritual. Not for “God”.I have long regarded myself an agnostic. However, in the past year I have begun to explore atheism. Atheism is the most compelling concept yet.
Also, I am currently reading Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson. I think this is vaguely lent-related news.

Tell me about your work. Any more short stories. You've got a publisher now, right?  Did you finish that novella?
Dynatox Ministries will be publishing my debut novel DIE WITH YOUR BOOTS ON. I pitched it as The Warriors meets 3:10 to Yuma. It is an outlaw biker story set in the ashes of 2023. Initially I envisioned it as a story about lemur biker clubs, but Jordan (at DM) flat out said he didn’t want to do any stories with animals acting human. I’m really happy he put down his foot. It feels like an embarrassingly juvenile idea now. I can’t say much more about the novel until contracts are signed.
I’ve been writing lots of short stories so far this year. I wrote a bunch of silly ones about Pauly Shore, and half-jokingly floated the idea of a Pauly Shore anthology on social media. It received a huge, positive reaction. I think it would be great. Someday I may pitch the idea.
Ultimately, i scrapped the novella. I lost interest in it. Zombies have saturated the market. I can barely stand to watch The Walking Dead because ohmygod, more zombies this week. So the idea of writing The Nursery made me sick. I have nothing new to say on the subject of the undead. I just don’t care about zombies anymore.

What's your take on the current political climate? You've posted a few things on Facebook, like that family who was told by a customer to “build that wall” and they responded they weren't going to fucking build anything. What else have you seen that horrifies you?
The current political climate scares the shit out of me. I’ve been notoriously uninterested in past presidential campaigns. I listened to the candidates this time around, made up my mind, and let it go. I remember thinking There is no way that fucking idiot will get elected. Bernie will step forth and lead this country. But it didn’t happen that way, and the real shitty people suddenly had a mouthpiece, a slug to worship in their own shitty images.
A customer told me if the wall was already built, people like me would finally be sent back home. That is the extent I will comment on the stuff that personally horrifies me. I was primed with dozens of examples and stories, but I don’t want to shine any more light on that topic. The pigs have finally unmasked, and now we know who they are. We have met the enemy, and they are EXACTLY who we fucking thought they were.

Even though I hate Trump, in a crazy way, he IS making America great again by galvanizing people who are horrified by him to volunteer, protest, call their representatives, and step up. I'm doing my part by pestering Trump with a postcard every day asking where the jobs are and that I hate NAFTA. Are you doing anything like this?
My revenge--my protest--is to show anyone interested that a Spanish high school drop-out drug addict/alcoholic ex-felon can get still rise up in the Trump era to make something better of himself. I’m working harder than I ever have. I’m hungry. I want more. I want that management spot at work. I want that corporate seat. They don’t want that. They want the poor beneath the poverty line. They want people like me to stay desperate, to develop Stockholm Syndrome with the boot on my neck. Not this cat. Not anymore. More to the point, I want to show my sons that if I can get my shit together, then anything is possible. I am not the man I once was.

In the last interview, you said you'd never meet your birth mother. Since I follow you on Facebook, I know that has changed, and it seemed like a really positive experience. Discuss.
None of it feels real. It’s been two years now, and we are still complete strangers. I have yet to meet my sister (who has remained suspicious of me since first contact). My mother took me to Seaside for an overnight trip. We walked barefoot up and down the Oregon coast, holding hands and talking about forty years worth of experiences. She pushed me on the swingset on the beach. We ate double-stuffed Oreo cookies and drank Mexican coffee and played Uno. She gave me her sunglasses (dark Ray-Bans). We text a lot. It is amazing just to be able to tell her I love her. Spanish is her primary language, and mine is English, so there are always interesting exchanges.To be able to hug her and to finally have so many blank spaces filled in is the ultimate catharsis. Ultimately, nothing seems impossible to me anymore. Because forty years ago, neither of us ever thought we would meet the other.

Do you go to any writing events like workshops? I know they are pricey, but I went to the San Francisco Writer's Conference, and I will do whatever it takes to go back there. So worth it.
I’ve taken several online writing workshops run by authors I admire in the local/Bizarro/weird fiction scene. Currently, I’m taking one hosted by an author/editor I have known for a few years now. He has edited some of my work, and helped me produce some of my strongest work. Much of it has been--or will be--submitted for publication. A workshop over the summer helped develop a great working relationship with one of my favorite East Coast author/publishers. The exercises and feed-back are terrific. Not to mention rubbing elbows with the cool kids. Plus, starving artists can afford the workshops.

What's the writing scene like where you live? I'm pretty isolated, because I live in a conservative town, and it seems like the weekly writer's groups are led by a lecturer, and we don't get to read each other's stuff. Maybe that's changed. I'd almost rather post stuff on Scribophile, or NovelTrove, and get feedback.
  There is a massive writing scene thriving in Portland. But I live in Silverton (forgotten farm   country/soft nuclear target) and bum rides off of my room mate so I don’t really know what it’s like. However, November each year promises the return of BizarroCon. BC is a beautiful, magical, psychedelic trip of immersive sensory overload guided by the sexiest, sharpest, strangest literary minds in the burroughs. These incredible people--performance artists, writers, actors, and musicians--converge on a haunted hotel for three days. There are readings unlike any you’ll likely encounter. For instance, last year a reading of a book about a drunk driving race featured volunteers pretending to drive in circles throughout the Ad House kitchen/living room. It’s a festival atmosphere filled with kind, talented souls. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the past two. Oh, and the Ultimate Bizarro Show-Down: a talent contest where ANYTHING can happen. After the mayhem of the showdown, I usually find myself smoking a metric ton of pot with rock star authors.

I'm sorry I didn't get the questions to you by the anniversary date we agreed on. I suffer from depression, and it was really bad this fall. I hate that it has me gripped. I literally didn't get out of bed unless I had to. Please forgive me.

My doctor diagnosed me with severe depression. Although I take Zoloft daily, I still suffer from deep periods of overwhelming depression. You never have to apologize to me when something is delayed because you are taking care of yourself.

As someone of Spanish heritage, but with a non-Spanish first and last name, do  you feel people make assumptions about you? Meaning, do they think you're not Spanish and they make racist remarks? I feel because my last name is Diaz, they automatically assume I'm on welfare and have lots of kids and that I don't speak English.
I am a guero. I’ve encountered plenty of Latinos who dismissed me as a white boy. I’ve dealt with plenty more white boys who treated me like a spic. I’ve put up with casual racism my entire life. My step-father (an Air Force officer) was a bigot. My adoptive father told racist jokes in hushed tones. More often than not, I will feel a connection with other Hispanics at first. Until they discover I am not fluent in Spanish. I can sort of see the connection dim in their eyes. Although if I bat my eyes enough, we usually find common ground fast, lol.

Are you still in love with life? Sometimes I think I would be, if I had the things I want, like to be paid lots of money for doing the things I love, and a flexible work situation so I could fly somewhere if I wanted to.
Still in love with life? Ha ha, I said that in the last interview, didn’t I? Man, that sounds like such a grandiose, naive bullshit statement to me. I remember the night I answered those first questions. It was a sticky summer night, and I had just walked away from my third marriage. I barely had a year of sobriety under my belt, had a brand new girlfriend, and was moving to Milwaukie (one of Portland’s burroughs). I was riding my pink cloud pretty hard that summer. I later learned that the three things you should never do in the first year of sobriety are: move to a new place, start a new relationship, or make a massive life-altering decision like divorce. I committed all three sins simultaneously.
So no, I am not in love with life. I love the unexpected, wonderful moments in all their glorious clarity. I love the smell of the produce as I walk through a grocery store. I love when I see an act of kindness. I love when I can see tangible results of hard work in my daily life. But life is fickle. Life can beat you down, strip your soul, and cast you into the gutter. Life can shake you from slumber, and when you’re sober there is no place to hide. You have to face it. You have to face reality and life on their terms, which means playing fucking roulette. You have to accept the bucket of warm shit with the five-course dinner. People I love die. People I love leave me. But a desert sunset is still breathtaking.

Do you get up to Portland much? Is it really as cool as everyone says it is?
Not very often. Last time I went up to Portland was in mid-November. Prior to that, I hadn’t been in the city since March 2016. Portland is exactly as cool as you think it is, by way of experience. Portland gives off a very shiny, hip vibe. The air seems fresh, and the hustle and bustle of daily life can be a turn-on for weirdos like me. It is a pretty cool place. Of course, I was raised a city boy. And once I spend any real amount of time in a city/borough/town I start to see it with less-starry eyes. Like any other city, it is congested, expensive, filthy, and there’s no fucking parking. Everyone is flocking there, driving up the cost of everything. Every person I know living in Portland has forty-seven roommates. The place just really feeds my anxiety, unless I’m on the MAX (Metropolitan Area Express). When I’m watching the city through the light rail windows, I find it tranquil. I find it beautiful.

Anything else?
Congrats on graduation! How is the love scene? You were recently in Sucker Free City--How was your visit? When are we going to grab a cheeseburger and talk internet dating, defunct writing groups, celebrity encounters, French press coffee, and Game of Thrones?

And a big shout-out to my sons (Pops loves you!), Skurvy Ink for teaching me how to fold a T-shirt like a goddamn screen-printer, and Jordan Krall at Dynatox Ministries/Dunham Manor Press for liking my insanity enough to publish it. Say Rah!!!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yeah, it's been a while since I posted

If you earn your own money, you won't be owned by anyone else's.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Thesis

I bet it's the only one in I.U. history that is chick lit erotica.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


At work I had a nice conversation with a customer about blinds, and he bought me some water.

I couldn't believe how nice he was. I wasn't even wearing makeup, or a revealing top.

I guess he's just one out of 3.5 billion men who isn't an asshole.

Okay, TWO out of 3.5 billion men ...

Anyway, it was a great start to a day that ended in flames.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

I just fished cheese out of my cleavage.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Carroll High School Fine Arts Night Art Display Ideas Plus Photos From 2014

This post is obviously a reprint from Monday, April 28, 2014. I'm running it again because this years Fine Arts Night is coming up! If you or your classmates need display ideas, hopefully this will get you started!

Carroll High School Fine Arts Night Display Ideas!

It's that time of year again! No, not prom season--it's awards and recognition season, and once again, it's Carroll High School's turn. Check out Carroll's Fine Arts Night Wednesday, May 10, at 7 p.m. at 3701 Carroll Road, Fort Wayne IN.

I work at a big box home improvement store. Sunday, I had two young ladies and their parents come in trying to figure out an inexpensive way to display artwork. Face it, even if mom and dad say it's okay to blow $200 on a one-time only display, why would you want to? If you ARE going to spend money, it makes sense that whatever materials you decide to use, you can use again.

So here are some ideas for displays. I realize time is short, but I decided to put some ideas together. If you like them, spread the word!

For an impressive display, get your hands on a refrigerator box. If you can't find one, try and get a couple of range/dryer/washer/dishwasher boxes and paint them the color(s) you want, then tape them together. You'll have at least four sides, and a fairly tall display. You can weigh the boxes down with books for extra stability. Try and find boxes with flaps intact. I would suggest going to the home improvement/appliance stores in person to get the boxes. If you call the store, chances are you will be transferred to a department staffed by one person. They will probably be busy, perhaps too busy to look and see if there are any boxes to be had. If you actually show UP in the store, you stand a better chance that someone will track down some boxes for you. Cardboard is cheap (in this case, probably free) and is fairly lightweight. Be sure to use cardboard to mount your artwork on instead of buying expensive mats at the art stores. I think they still sell Post It note glue sticks, or some sort of adhesive that isn't permanent. Use that, or make corners for your artwork for temporary mounting.

Painting your cardboard: You will have better results if you use a primer. You don't want any printing on the box to show through. So if you are going with a black or red background, chose a gray primer.

Try and think of unconventional ways to display your artwork. A patio umbrella makes a novel way to hang artwork, as long as you have a sturdy base for it. Use fishing line and duct tape to attach the artwork so it can hang from the umbrella's outside edge. No one will see the duct tape since it will be on the top of the umbrella. Make sure the umbrella is high enough so people can walk under it.

Bookcases can serve a dual purpose of displaying 3-D artwork, such as sculpture or jewelry, and you can use the three sides to display photos or paintings. Remember to mount your prints on cardboard, and don't frame them, so they aren't heavy. If you don't have a bookcase, look for inexpensive ones such as these. You can use them over again, and to save space when you aren't using them, they are easy to take apart.

If you don't have it, see if you can borrow it. If you have lots of jewelry to display, try using a dress form, and putting a cool dress or neat outfit on it. It depends on your jewelry. Funky, modern jewelry won't look right on a formal gown.  Also consider hitting up the thrift stores for velvet jackets to use as cushions for pins. If you have satin gloves, try stuffing them with fiberfill and stitching them shut. You can use those to display rings and bracelets. Scarves would work too. Try using goldfish bowls or aquariums to display jewelry.

Wire shelving, the kind used for linen closets, comes in various depths. With some zip ties, you can attach three or more of them together and form a vertical triangle, or a cube. The wire is usually spaced in half-inch intervals, so you can attach a variety of things. Most stores can cut the length of the shelving. We have it in four, six, eight and twelve foot lengths. You can get one shelf for around $7 or so. Larger sizes cost more.

Something else you might want to consider is lattice panels. You can use zip ties at the top as a hinge, then either use more zip ties at the bottom, or twine to secure the bottoms to make a sort of giant sandwich board. It will look like a giant upside down V. You can then display your artwork on both sides. You can then use the lattice for its original intention, or use it for a garden-themed headboard or wall display panel for photos or award ribbons. 

Pallets can also be used, if you don't want your artwork at eye level. You can zip tie pallets together to make an open cube about three and a half feet high. This might not be your cup of tea, but pallets can be had for cheap, if not free.

Go scavenging! People throw out all sorts of useful stuff. If you can find four doors all the same size, you can paint them. then hinge them together for a vertical rectangle (which will be pretty darn solid) for a variation on the refrigerator box theme. Screen doors are a lightweight alternative to traditional doors. I've seen brand-new screen doors for $21. But try to borrow or scavenge if you can.

If there aren't any boxes to be had, you can always go to Office Depot and get document storage boxes. I think they come in 10 packs, so you can save some money. You can paint these, duct tape them together, and make a giant wall to display your artwork.

Most home improvement stores have sawhorse brackets for about $7 per pair. A couple of two by four by 96 inch studs cut down can make a quick table. Just slap a piece of sturdy cardboard on top, and some fabric to hide the legs and you're good to go. you can also make a giant sawhorse by buying five of the two by fours, and a pair of brackets. The fifth two by four will go across the top. You will have a sparse looking frame, which can be painted whatever color you'd like. You can hang the pictures with fishing line, or clear line. Duct tape the line to the back of your artwork. Then, duct tape the line to the top of the two by four across the top, where no one can see it. The artwork will appear to float in the air. 

Use your imagination! A lot of great artists were extremely poor before they became famous. Use this opportunity for making a display another way to be creative! Bear in mind, I don't know if you have space limitations, or how much time you are allowed to spend assembling you display. Not all of these ideas may work. Think about your artwork and if there is a theme running through it. If you need a little bit of elevation, borrow a card table or coffee table. Check out the thrifts for sheets or lengths of material to cover tops of tables, table legs, etc. Stepladders may be an option as well. You could probably make a 10 foot by 10 foot display booth out of PVC pipe. Depending on the circumference of the pipe, I saw pipe for less than $2. You could attach it with the little corner pieces. I would estimate if you did just the frame, it might run you maybe $25. Also, if you have one of those little pop-up canopies, you could use that as a display area. If it's advertising beer or some other form of alcohol, you may have to cover up the logo so you don't get in trouble.

A little bit about paint: It never hurts to prime! If you are using cardboard, it probably will have writing on it, or it won't be the right color. If you are deciding on a very dark color like black or a deep red or brown, please use a primer. If you don't, the brown or white of the cardboard may show through, and you won't be happy. If you come to Lowe's, you can get a gallon of black paint for about $21. It's called Olympic Icon, and I recommend getting it in flat, so it doesn't reflect light. I suggest using the color Black Magic, which is my favorite shade of black. It's made by Olympic. It's a pure black; if you look at our other shades of black, you'll see hints of green, purple and even brown. If you do decide to prime, get the Valspar High Hiding Primer, which is around $18 a gallon. It's white to begin with, so tell someone at the paint desk you'd like it tinted to a gray.

If you think these ideas are helpful, please let me know! My email is Please spread the word, and if you try something that works, please let me know! I will find out the date of the Fine Arts night and post it here on the blog. I just wanted to get this post up ASAP. Please spread the word if you know a Carroll student (and parents!) freaking out over displays! 

Carroll Fine Arts Night Photos!

Here are some photos from Carroll's Fine Arts Night. There was some really interesting funny art. There were also spoken word pieces, singing and music as well. I really do think the night should be longer than just a two hour event. I was able to meet the young ladies who came to Lowe's looking for display ideas and paint. 

This was a nice set up, and some nice pieces. The display was three panels painted and hinged together, with a board across the top to keep everything stable, as well as identify the artist.

Taylor made a cast of her own body in packing tape, and made a dress form. Displayed on this is a dress she made, and yes, she can wear it.

Some nice graphic design work.

Noah got these pallets from church for basically nothing. He nailed some panels on the backs of the pallets to give them height. He then nailed some supports on the bottom so the panels wouldn't fall over. He said to buy the pallets, they would cost about $9 each. He then mounted his photos on some unusual nails that sort of looked like flattened spikes. They fit in really well with his photographs, which featured lots of bridges.

This display was made of what looked like OSB and PVC pipe. Ashley's work depicted a father and son doing the same things.

Brooke was one of the young ladies who came to Lowe's looking for paint. She chose this dark red color, and I strongly suggested she use some gray primer on her panels before putting the red on. Red does not cover well, so I think the gray primer helped. Brooke said she put on about two coats of the red. It looked really nice!

Tayler knew someone who had a prior Fine Arts night exhibit, and borrowed this set up, which consisted of old doors. Tayler can't remember where her friend got them, but said they weren't expensive. The doors looked antique, and made a beautiful background to her work.

Alexa is the second young lady who came with her parents looking for display ideas. The boards were painted black and then hinged together to make a big display triangle. Boards can range from insulation to OSB to particle board to plywood. I think her father said the set up cost around $103.

Alana's artwork struck me as having a sense of humor. You'll see a close-up photo of her stuff later.

Brianna spoke about being Asian, and how it puts a damper on the holidays. However, she portrayed it in a humorous way.

And Santa doesn't come for Christmas, either. Sorry the pictures are sideways.

Coming to Starbucks soon. The Megaccino. Only $200.

A whole table of wire-sculpted shoes was set up. Here are a couple of them.

Yes, a replica of that famous picture, with soldiers made out of packing tape.

Made out of Starburst wrappers.

It looks like Obama, but it isn't.

I like how this figurine was multitasking.

This student liked underwater photography.

I like the title on this one.

This caught my eye, because it looks like a miniature replica of the area surrounding Cindy's Diner downtown. Then I realized it wasn't. It's a photograph, and there must be something up with either the lens, or how it was manipulated (if it was).

This is plastic, painted and then glued into place.

I like abstract art.

A 3-D depiction of the Wizard of Oz.

These bowls looked like flowers to me.

I like art that makes me think and/or wonder. Is this a tooth, or a white diamond?

Bird leaves!
Or are they leaf birds?

A branch makes for an interesting display tool.

I like this apple stitched together. It was disturbing.

I love the colors in this. This was done by Brooke Stabler.

The picture above was painted in nail polish! Alexa Heyneman did this one.

This photographer had photo reproductions of famous photos as part of his display.

I think this was the artist, Josiah Joseph, posing as Elvis.

Some of Alana's work. I like her sense of humor!

Kate Yeager had some disturbing-looking work. Her display was literally a miniature art gallery, complete with walls and lights.

This was a really wonderful show. And it was absolutely free! Next year, consider coming out to this show to see and hear some very talented students!