Here’s a bit of filler art to tide everyone over for the week, to show that I’m still alive.  It’s another piece that showcases my enjoyment of the game of Go (also known as weichi, Igo, and baduk). I’ve taken to studying it again, and playing a game now and again.  Once in a while, I’m on the KGS Go Server under the handle “quarktime”.  I haven’t played enough to really have a playing strength yet. I will freely admit to being intimidated by the game, and playing a long, drawn out game can sometimes drain me badly, but I like how intricate the game can get.  The goban pictured is a fully-functional, playable board in Second Life. The picture on the wall is a well-known theme affectionately referred to as the “Nuclear Tesuji”, and I maintain this site as a peaceful retreat to relax in just this fashion.  The shadows and lighting were lovely, I simply had to share them.

I’ve been working on some projects lately that have taken some of my time, but they have long-term positive goals. One is that I have been taking drawing lessons from a tutor once a week, so I can learn to draw by hand in addition to creating my art electronically. I’m finding that I’m learning quite a bit, but it has been a strain. I do recommend that if you have a need to learn something, or just to brush up on a topic, check out and see if there is a tutor in your area that can assist you with it. An investment of an hour or two of tutoring can be worth more than five or ten hours of more general online lessons, because you get more individualized teaching and direct feedback, and when the class is just with you, not a roomful of people, you learn a lot very, very quickly.  I’ve found it to be far more economical than trying to take a class at a community college or art school.  Also, when I started, I had no way to get there.

I phrase it that way on purpose — it is no longer the case.  Shortly after my neck surgery, I stopped driving my car because my field of vision was too greatly restricted, and I didn’t feel I could drive safely. It was difficult to turn my head to either side without extreme pain, and the peripheral vision in the car wasn’t great. So I had to resort to my partner driving everywhere, and eventually, cab rides, when a competent cab company came to town.  But this grew too restrictive, and difficult to use effectively.  I have a powered wheelchair that I use when I intend to move around a lot, or for great distances, at the destination, such as a convention or a mall. It folds up quite small, and fits in the trunk of my car, but it is heavy, and my partner Maggie had to be the one to lift it in and out, I can’t do it.

Not anymore. A couple of weeks ago, we purchased a van.  But not just any van.  This van is a conversion van with a built-in wheelchair lift and tie-downs in the floor. I am able to load and unload the wheelchair with very little effort, all by myself.  We also found a special set of mirrors that attach to the sun visor and unfold outward from the middle to give two views to either side, adjustable, so I can see the perpendicular view without turning my head.  That, combined with being much higher off the ground, and with a great, wide, tall windshield and side windows, and I have a wonderful field of view with great peripheral vision.  I even test-drove it, carefully, in an empty parking lot, before we bought it.

I have a folding table, portable drawing board, and a portable, roll-up Go board (called a “goban”) in the van already. We’ve been replacing the sound system with a more modern one, and will be installing VHF/UHF amateur radio, and possibly HF amateur radio.  It has a VCR and TV, but the VCR doesn’t work, so we’ll likely replace that with a DVD player. We have one that runs on 12V.  We plan to use the van to go to local comic conventions, and I will use it to go around on local errands for myself, and just to get out of the house for a change.  It is my hope that I will be able to find nice little places to sit and draw, and perhaps once in a while to play a game of Go with someone.

It’s worth mentioning that the little shrine in the corner is not Go-related. It is Aikido-related, since I once studied Aikido. So the Go fans can stop trying to place the faces as perhaps historical Go players. They’re not Shusaku Honinbo or anyone like that, they’re Morihei Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei.