Days 25 through 39

Here’s the latest up to day 39. Picked up a Rotring Rapidography 0.50 around day 30 ’cause I heard that the ink was black black, practically as black as India ink and I thought that it might end up being more portable than a dip pen and ink bottle. I’m not sure how I feel about that pen yet, something about having to hold it veritcal makes my tremor worse unless I grip it super loose. I’ll keep trying it though ’cause I do like that Rotring ink…

PayPal Sucks

So PayPal is trash. Let’s ignore the fact that there’s no reason for the “service” to exist. I mean, why on Earth would I want a company between a buyer and a seller when I don’t need one? Let’s look instead about the updated seller refund policy. It says that if there’s a return for a refund PayPal still gets their fee, the seller pays it, and everyone is back to square one. Well, except for the PayPal who get’s to make a profit and the seller who gets to lose money on a sale that got un-done.

Say a creative sells a print for a $100. That means somebody out there sends $100 to someone else and PayPal facilitates that transaction (as if we didn’t already have financial institutions and social contracts providing for that) pockets 2.9% + $0.30 or $3.20 and the creative gets $96.80 on the sale. If the creative was a convience store they’d just charge $103.20 for a print or price there work at $100 sticker and then add tax and fee’s at checkout. Now, nobody does that because as a population most creatives aren’t douchbags.

Now maybe that print gets creased in the mail when some carrier crams it into a PO box. The buyer wants a refund (and deserves one) so they get their $100 back. Now, you’d think that’d mean PayPal makes nothing on the transaction, and that used to be true, but instead they keep their fee and charge the seller to make the buyer whole. Who does that? Assholes.

So I want to close my PayPal account. Their website tells me I can’t and to contact customer service. I do and they say I gotta wait ten days for a “pending” transaction. I do. Try and close my account again. Can’t. Contact customer service. They tell me theirs an old, open, eBay case and I should contact them to get it addressed then PayPal will close my account.

Call eBay. Nope, no open case. In fact the only activity on my eBay account is so old that even if there was a case I’m told it would have been automatically closed by now.

Call PayPal. Nope, still can’t close my account. I tell ’em what eBay said. They give me details on the case and it’s two years old. I tell them that eBay said that means it’d be closed anyway. PayPal says it would have closed automatically on their end too because it’s so old, but it’s open so they can’t close my account. They want me to conference in customer service from eBay. I do. It’s like two brick walls arguing with each other. Everyone says they can’t do anything ’cause the problem is on the others end.

I open a Better Business Bureau case. And start giveing PayPal a call every day. Meanwhile everything I send them in their idiotic “secure messaging system” is generating automated replies that have nothing to do with the issue. Every time I call PayPal they explain how they can’t do anything and I need to close this case that is only open on their end but is somehow eBay’s problem.

Just for fun I successfully close my eBay acount. And I get the notice that the BBB has contacted PayPal, they have x days to respond, blah blah blah. Keep on calling PayPal once a day. This is my Everest.

Again PayPal want’s me to conference in eBay so they can rub their dicks together. Fine whatever.

One day I get on the line with someone from PayPal who’s not in an overseas call center. This is an actual guy in a cube-farm in the US someplace. He wants me to conference in eBay. Fine lets do that. Hey remember how ya’ll aren’t the same company anymore, how’s that working out? Why’s conferencing the eBay rep part of the standard script? PayPal finally says, and I quote “this shouldn’t be open. I’ll put in a ticket to get the support team looking at why this wasn’t closed.” I’m told I’ll get an email notifying me when my account is closed.

I get a notification that I have a message in their secure message center. The message says some trash like “Hi, my name is Buck Nutley. I’ve reviewd your request to close your account and am stepping in to reccomend you call our customer service department to achive the desired resolution to your issue.” I tell Buck no, I’m not doing that. I don’t want to hear from them until they’re ready to say they’ve closed my account.

Finally my account is closed. And all I can think is when the hell did ComCast buy PayPal?

India Ink

India ink is sweet. Its basically black + shellac + alcohol. It sucks that you cant use it in a fountain pen though, well you can but pretty much only once. I like it though, a lot, so here I go supporting a project to make an india ink fountain pen. This’ll be my most expensive art-thing that wasn’t tuition. Support it maybe.


Charcoal is pretty great. I think it’s great because it’s fast, easy, cheap and very forgiving. Full of anger and hate, poisonous food and hatching spiders? Charcoal forgives you. Charcoal doesn’t care that all you have cheap sketchbooks and scraps of copy-paper. Not like ink, ink cares about your paper. Ink cares a lot! Ink cares so much that it’s going to soak right in and become part of the paper, maybe part of the other side, maybe, part of the sheet behind the top one too. Ink’s a 2. Charcoal’s a 3. That’s for sure, maybe, the very best 3 it can be.

That’s perfect too, ’cause there’s only really three sorts of charcoal.

First there’s vine. Vine is just what it says on the tin, it’s vines, burnt vines? Former vines? It was vines, the charcoal formerly known as grapevines. It comes in gently curving lenghts around the size of a pencil. Three grades, hard and medium and soft. There’s extra soft too, and probably extra hard and extra medium. It’s a bit coarse, and you can really feel it going on, even on very smooth hot-press paper. It’s uniform in cross-section, charcoal all the way through ’cause vines grow that way.

Then there’s willow. Same thing with willow, it’s formerly a tree. It’s got a pith that you can see in the center of each straight length. Willow doesn’t come in hard or soft or medium, I think it’s all soft. And it’s fragile and dustier than vine but it’s so smooth. It’s like an ice cube on a hot dashboard. It wants to move. Willow comes in different diameters, up to about the size of a lipstick.

Then there’s compressed. If it isn’t vine or willow, it’s compressed. Ignore whatever made up name the manufacturer gives it. Compressed is carbon, ground up charcoal, and it’s mixed with some sort of binder. That could be some kind of mastic gum resin or oil or just about anything really. It comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. It comes inside pencils. Then it’s got every hardness from practically dust to basically stone. The hard ones can hold a point like nobodies business.

All you need to use charcoal is a piece of it and any paper. Bigger paper is probably better but that just means it’s a good thing for implying details rather than adding them. You might want an eraser, so get a kneeded one. Get a scrap of rough canvas too, or a tissue, that’s basically an eraser too. I guess some people need a paper smudger too but just use your finger. You don’t need a sealer but it’s not gonna stop being alive until you have one and use it. Just grab a can of Krylon for six bucks. No, it doesn’t matter if you get “workable” fixative or not. Hell, people use hair-spray and if you’re working on cheap acidic newsprint or something that’s not gonna be doing much but getting worse that’s fine.

Anyway, here’s days fifteen through twentyfour. Everyday is charcoal day until I get bored.

Every day week 2

Proportions are weird. No wonder the trope of an artist holding up the handle of a paint brush are so common. No wonder measurments are important. Scale doesn’t mater, just the relationship of one thing to another. Water-soluble graphite is faster than hatching but looks less polished, less intentional. Maybe ink outlines and water soluble graphite for the tones one of these times.

Things I don’t get

There’s only 3 things. Gender is a 1. I mean, of course it is. I don’t get it though. I become aware that I don’t get it when I read things like this on The Nib. Go read it. Gender is a 3 for this person. That means it’s not someplace they are, it’s something that happens to them. I don’t get it, but that’s interesting. Like, here’s a person who thinks about gender on a level that’s far and away more involved than most people. That sort of makes me sad that I don’t think about it more.

I mean, if I say, “thank you, sir” to somebody it’s done without a thought. No malice, quite the opposite, it’s intended to be distancing and respectful. Sir is gendered, but it’s a sign of deference. If I think about it, it’s saying thanks, but it’s personal in that it identifies a specific person, while stepping back from that intimacy by establishing subordination through the use of an appalation like sir. Appreciation to unique entity separate from and unfamiliar but in elevated standing relative to myself.

For someone who has gender as an event, that’s off-putting, insulting. I’m inflicting my perception of a personal event on their own chronology. I am telling them where they are in relation to me, I get that as such that act is probably going to have negative effects on them.

I wonder though if this is more indicative not of any difference in our oppionions or desire to behave well to each other, but rather a product of the differing importance of gender to each of us. Gender doesn’t mater much to me, so if I missgender or am missgendered, it occupies no psychic real-estate. If it’s important to someone who is missgendered it would of course occupy more. How much onflict is the product of differing levels of assigned importance rather than conflicting oppinions or possitions? Probably more than we would care to know.

It’s personanlly elevating to have an oppion that is in opposition to another. It’s ego boosting to have adversaries. It’s insulting to find that your position is simply not important to another.

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective

So I guess there’s this series of books, from Gabi Campanario, the founder of Urban Sketchers, that’s all about inspiration and instruction for people who want to sketch or do already. I learned about the books from this guy, Teoh Yi Chie’s youtube channel. I picked up one of them, called Understanding Perspective: Easy Techniques for Mastering Perspective Drawing on Location by Stephanie Bower to start with. I like it.

Early on in the book it has an excercise suggestion that it compairs to playing the scales on an instrument. It’s about filling pages with lines. I gave it a shot and made some notes. Now I’m gonna sketch every day for like a long-ass time and see if the results of the exercise change over time.

Tiny Dragons

Just a quick couple sketches from a couple pics sent my way by a guy I know. Watercolor’s fun only I don’t have a clue what I’m doing with it. Feel’s like I’m pretending it’s cheap thin acrylic instead of it’s own medium. Gotta work on that.

No Film Resolution

So my resolution for the new year, you know the one that started in April, is no photos. No shows, no running after things in the dark with a camera, no film. Call it a mental-health year. Pocket-phones and their tiny little sensors and bits and bytes and shit are fine, they don’t stir anything up. So my cameras are in boxes and my films are in the freezer this year.

But what’s A Body to do when the daily goes away for a year? Art therapy is a thing I guess so pens and inks and watercolors and maybe that’ll be alright. The sky still puts me on edge though…

Anymore, here’s some rando’s house:

I’ve really got to practice.