Decluttering the Garage of Hazardous Materials

"Ready for Disposal" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO100
“Ready for Disposal” Cedar Park, 2019

One of the cool things about living in Cedar Park is that once a year, they offer to take your hazardous materials. They accept household paint, motor oil, cleaners, old tires, electronics, etc. I chatted with one of the workers, and as expected, most of the items were buckets of paint and cans of spray paint. That was pretty much the bulk of what I had to give them as well, but I also had some old automotive oil and fluids, caulk, and degreaser.

"Dropping Off" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/1700 sec, ISO100
“Dropping Off” Cedar Park, 2019

This year, the dropoff location was the neighborhood football stadium. When I arrived at 10 am, there was a super long line of cars… I was amazed! But it moved fairly quickly, and I was finished in about 35 minutes. I have to say it was very well organized and run, and there were plenty of workers and staff to help out.

Next year, I might just have a bunch of old cooking oil to drop off, but not much paint. It feels great to have all that stuff off of our shelves and out of the garage. I have a little more space now, so I can get some things off the ground, like toolboxes and tool bags. Slowly but surely, the garage is getting tidier!

I hope you had a good day.

またね〜

Daily Journaling with the iPad

"Daily Journals" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/110 sec, ISO200
“Daily Journals” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。

One of my daily habits is to jot down a few things about my day into a daily logbook, and I have now switched over to a digital system using my iPad and Microsoft OneNote. Going digital with the logbook parallels my going digital with my sketching which makes sense since the Apple Pencil is such a wonderful device for both drawing and note-taking.

One reason for going digital is because of convenience. I usually have the iPad with me so I can take a note in the logbook within a few seconds. I can write with different digital pens/highlighters, erase effortlessly, doodle, and create unlimited pages. And if I want, I can switch from writing by hand to typing using the virtual keyboard.

Another reason why I am going digital for my logbook is that it meshes well with my process of decluttering. Regarding note-taking, I can now streamline my fountain pen collection and notebooks as well as my art supplies. It’s kind of a quick switch because just last year I started buying more fountain pens and decided on a good notebook system, but decluttering is so liberating that I want to extend that to my stationery as well. It’s a win-win for my present lifestyle. Convenience and less clutter! It’s funny, but I sometimes like to have cool things, like my fountain pens, but I am increasingly getting more joy out of not having those things.

So why did I decide on OneNote as the app for my logbook? Sure, there are several highly-regarded note-taking apps for the iPad such as GoodNotes and Notability, but I wanted something that wasn’t tied to the Apple eco-system. That left Microsoft OneNote as the top contender, and it ticks off a lot of the checkboxes for me. It has an organization system that makes sense, a good handwriting experience with a decent selection of virtual pens, excellent price (free!), and it’s cross-platform which means I can access my logbook on my Android phone and Windows computers as well. I wish it had a dot-grid option for the background, but that’s not a deal-breaker (and it’s possible to make my own).

I’m only a week into using it, but it looks like it will work out nicely. I have one “notebook” called Daily Journal, and within that are pages. I use one page for a whole month, which may seem like an odd way to do it, but OneNote’s pages can be huge, so I think a whole month’s worth of log entries will fit no problem. And having one tab/page for a single day would create too many tabs. Plus I like to see several days at a time with my paper logbook, so it makes sense to carry that over to the digital logbook.

It’s kind of cool that I have my sketchbook and logbook on the same device. Plus of course my calendar and all my books (Kindle app). For me, the Apple Pencil was the catalyst that brought it all together. I’m not an Apple fan, but the iPad/Apple Pencil is a really awesome combination. I love it!

Digital Drawing and Overcoming Barriers

"Late-night Office" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO320
“Late-night Office” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going? I continue to enjoy sketching on the iPad, and the convenience and speed it provides. What is really nice is that I can work through mistakes a lot faster than with pencil and eraser. It lets me try new things without fear of wasting paper or actually needing to buy new stationery or art materials. Also, because there is no cleanup involved, I am more likely to start something completely new. If I simply want to push paint around, I can do that instantly. It’s not physical paint, of course, but I end up scanning the real-world watercolors and pencil sketches to share in the digital world anyway. I suppose drawing digitally, and on the iPad in particular, streamlines the process, and breaks down barriers that were standing in the way of creativity.

Digital drawing for me also goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. I feel like I can reduce the number of pens and paints I keep around. My sketchbooks have been “silent” lately, although I still use notebooks for daily journaling using my favorite fountain pens. But I don’t mind not using the sketchbooks because I don’t really like seeing them laying on the desk. It kind of made me feel guilty of not using them. So I put them away, and the desk is even more clutter-free, even though there’s still lots more that can go. It’s nice to know that I can have all my new artwork contained in the iPad and the cloud. Maybe it’s just a phase, but I am finding joy in NOT creating physical drawings.

Anyway, here’s the latest drawing. I keep getting closer to my own style, or at least I find myself gravitating to this style. A couple of things that are on my list are more body poses, and also male portraits. And the digital medium will help me in those efforts for sure!

I hope you had a good day!

またね~

Decluttering Alma Mater Items

"Old Pullover" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/25 sec, ISO6400
“Old Pullover” Cedar Park, 2019

While going through some of my old clothes, I came across two items from my alma maters, Torrance High School and UC Irvine. The one from high school was my old cross-country jersey. It was cool to look at it again before putting it in the trash. Its last bit of usefulness was to remind me of the good times I had running in high school. Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy cross-country. Haha. But it happened, and it gave me experiences and I learned about myself.

The other item I found is a pull-over from college. I really like the classic design and color, but it’s uncomfortable and not soft anymore. Actually, I don’t think it was ever very soft. Anyway, I was going to throw it away but then Bay decided he wanted it. I guess he’s into “college mode” or something. I’d eventually like to get a more comfortable replacement for the pull-over because I am sort of proud of graduating from UCI. It’s not really high on my list, though. 😄

Who knew decluttering could be so fun?

Farewell to the Old Heater

"Broken Heater" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/75 sec, ISO6400
“Broken Heater” Cedar Park, 2019

The other day the space heater that I use in the home office finally died. One of the switches was faulty and didn’t always turn the heater on. Well, the last time, the switch started smoking so I decided that it had finally had enough. But this heater which we bought when we lived in Japan had served us for 22 winters. Actually, our memories are a little foggy on the true origin of that heater… Mariko might have had it before we met so it could have been older than 22 years.

Anyway, I’m a little sad to see it go, but I told it thank you and goodbye. We had a good run!

"Dog Heater" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/10 sec, ISO3200
“Dog Heater” Cedar Park, 2016