Comic Catch-Up

A month or two ago, I started Just Vinyl Comics. This post is just updating you with some of the comics that has been added since. If you want to see all the comics, make sure you check it out under the Art tab, or click here.

Pretty sure if you just click on the comic, it’ll enlarge so you can see it.

Thanks for indulging Just Vinyl Comics.

Hugs

Alexandra

What is Style?

Style (n)–a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed

In this context, I’m talking about outer appearance.

Style is so often talked about in fashion. But what is style? I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, since I changed my wardrobe. (I was going to make a video about my wardrobe change, but other vids got in the way).

Style is a big part of fashion. But what people may not understand is that style is a big part of personal fashion. Style is expression. There is no set style because there is no set people. Individuals mean individual styles.

One article says that style is outer expression of your inner self. That’s why there are style coaches. They are just meant to help you express your inner self outwardly. Style is the way we communicate without words or facial expressions. (The article is aptly called ‘What is Style?’ and you can read it here)

So what does my style say about me? I wear all black. Literally. Just black clothes. But my shoes, hats, jewelry is not black. It’s all kinds of colors. So what does all black with a splash of color say about me? What does it mean I am expressing inwardly? What am I communicating?

I still don’t know.

I just know what I like.

And I dress in what I like. It is my personal fashion and my personal style. I’m not communicating anything beyond myself: a dark soul with splashes of color.

Dress how you like. Style is subjective. It’s about what you enjoy wearing, and it doesn’t have to say anything.

Hugs

Alexandra

Riddles

As a substitute, I was known for my bag of tricks. One of which was riddles. Occasionally, there’ll be some time left over, and not wanting the kids to go haywire, I would present riddles. It gave them a chance to do something fun while still using their brain.

So I wanted to share my favorite riddles to present to them (9-13 year olds):

  1. The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
  2. Feed me and I live. Yet give me a drink and I die. What am I?
  3. Forward I am heavy, backward I am not. What am I?
  4. I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even. What number am I?
  5. What is always on its way but never arrives?
  6. What is light as a feather, but even the world’s strongest man couldn’t hold it for more than a minute?
  7. He who makes it has no need of it. He who buys it has no use for it. He who uses it does not know it. What is it?
  8. (my favorite to really wrack their brain) What 8 letter word can have a letter taken away and it stills makes a word. Take another letter away and it still makes a word. Keep on doing that until you have one letter left. What is the word?

Just something I wanted to put out there for other subs if they want it.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. The answers:

  1. Footsteps–2. Fire–3. Ton–4. Seven–5. Tomorrow–6. Breath–7. Coffin–8. Starting, staring, string, sting, sing, sin, in, I

Introducing our Rescues

We are a rescue household. Every cat and every dog (minus one) was a rescue to some capacity. We firmly believe in ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’. Rescues need so much love and can be some of the best animals you can ever share a home with.

Anyway, we’ve got quite a few rescues, a couple of which you know about since they work for me. So, I wanted to introduce them to you:

IMG_1570Edgar

My personal assistant. He was the offspring of two rescues, and I decided to bring him home to Idaho from his birthplace Virginia when the owner (my brother) couldn’t keep him.

He’s a grey and white fluff ball with a squeak of a voice. He wasn’t able to meow until about three months ago when he was able to squeak some sort of sound out. He’s headstrong and rebellious at times.

willowWillow

My caretaker. His mother was a feral kitty who would occasionally hang out on our porch when we fed the outdoor kitties. She gave birth in our basement, and kept her inside since. She and her other babies have since found new homes. I kept Willow as a birthday gift because he was born on my birthday. He’s a super purrer and loving.

img_6251Toothless

Our resident head black kitty. He was found under a highway overpass as a new kitten. Mother and my brother were the ones who found them. They were able to get all of the kittens, but the mama ran. Toothless was the only one not able to be adopted out because he’s a black cat, so he stayed with us.

He’s the head honcho of the family and puts all of the younger cats in line. He also loves sleeping on his back for some reason.

img_6659Twister

The baby. She was found outside of Vladimir’s work. Since we were known for cat rescue, his coworker brought her to us. We speculate she was abandoned because her head was a full 180 degrees from her body. She was a serious mess and had to have 24 hour care. She survived, is thriving, but she can’t be outside or she’ll get sick. We couldn’t find her an adequate home, so she’s with us still.

img_7292Bram

He was a barn cat found by one of Mother’s students, given to us again because we were known for cat rescue. He was healthy, just scared shitless. And again, we couldn’t find a home for him because he’s a black cat. Trust me, he’s scared of his own shadow; there’s no reason to be afraid of this poor baby.

img_5959Marie

Vladimir’s cat. She was found in a tractor tire in California with, I think, one or two other kittens. My roommate at my undergrad couldn’t find a home for her, so we took her when I graduated. She’s pure white with a yellow eye and a blue eye. She’s also pretty prissy. But she’s so cute!

img_7426Tiger

Now onto our seniors. We call him the weighted blanket. As you know, I have a decently bad anxiety disorder. I don’t have a weighted blanket (shit’s expensive), but Tiger loves to sit on my chest and stomach as a warm, purry weighted blanket.

He was an abandoned cat in our old neighborhood who was tortured by punk youth and stuff. We took him with us when we moved so he could have a loving home.

img_7328Chester

And our newest addition. We found him around the time we received shitty news, hiding in the corner of a cage at the vets office. He’s an 11 year old whose owner passed away and the family couldn’t care for him. He was at the vets for months because no one wants to adopt a senior kitty. We took him. He’s a sweet and playful thing once he realized he wasn’t going back to living in a cage.

And those are our rescues! Yes, I’m aware we have quite a few. Though, I blame circumstances for that. We still work with rescue organizations and the local shelter to help the animals abandoned, forgotten, or feral. Everyone deserves a good home.

If you are looking for a friend in your life, check out your local rescue organizations and shelters. They have tons of loving animals to connect with.

Hugs (and kitty hugs)

Alexandra

White Oleander Discussion-ish

If you were not aware, I am on another 50 books in a year challenge. The rules are that they need to come from the library in the category they assigned, so that we can expand our horizons.

One of the categories was a book club book, and to participate in the discussion. Problem is I live in cowland, Idaho with one book club…at the library…that meets when I work. So, a loophole needed to be found. That’s how I figured I would read White Oleander by Janet Fitch. On its cover, it proclaimed to be part of the Oprah Book Club, and this is how I am participating in the discussion: a blog post. So, let’s get to it:

(One side note, I owned this book. And I have no idea where it came from)

White Oleander follows a young girl, Astrid, as she hops around the foster care system while her mother serves time in prison for murdering her ex-boyfriend. Each home she goes to presents new problems, new trials, and new opportunities for her to learn about herself.

This story was, like, the ultimate nightmare of a foster child. But let’s start with her mother. In another online book club I looked into (found here), someone speculated that Ingrid, Astrid’s mother, is only pleased when everyone is in pain. This is shown through her own internal torture of being an artist. She aims to make Astrid an exact mold of herself, to suffer for her art. And when her ex-lover becomes happy away from her, she kills him. Now, for this last part, I have something to add. In my opinion, she recognized that she didn’t suffer around him, that happiness was hypnotic, and he was not to be happy when she was to suffer again. Ingrid was a character to be loathed, though others felt pity as well. Personally, I don’t pity someone who goes out of their way to make others suffer.

Anyway, back to the ultimate nightmare. Astrid was tossed from foster home to foster home, and each one was hell on earth in their own ways. The first was by her own design, in a way, and ended with her getting shot by her foster mom. The second treated her like slave by a racist foster mom, she was attacked by a dog, and was finally just kicked out. The third home, called the starvation home, could’ve been cut out, honestly. It had very little time to develop, and served no purpose. It seemed just to show another aspect of suffering. The fourth home was her best home, with a foster mom who cared. However, things unhinged, especially after a trip to visit Ingrid in prison, and the foster mom eventually committed suicide. Astrid was sent to her final home in a home of immigrants making all kinds of side hustles.

In the end, Astrid aged out of the system, is living in Berlin with her boyfriend, a foster kid she met at the orphanage, and Ingrid was released from prison.

There’s a lot to talk about with this story. Something to address is that this took place in the 90s, when the foster care system was still kind of shit. While there are many many people who want to foster and adopt for good reasons, there are some bad apples in the bunch. Astrid just happened to be placed with a punch of bad apples.

This whole book was about three things, in my opinion: suffering, a mother figure, and self. Those three were prevalent in each and every home (except the starvation home, which doesn’t exist). Ingrid had instilled these messed up morals involving these three things in Astrid. She showed Astrid that everyone needs to suffer, tried to make Astrid a carbon copy rather than letting her be her own person, and was a lousy mother, at one point leaving her with the neighbors for over a year so she can party in Mexico (I think it was Mexico?). Astrid tried to figure out who she was outside of her mother at each home, and through suffering she was able to learn more. As well, in each home she tried to figure out what is a mother figure.

In conclusion (of my TED talk, thanks for coming), suffering helps you learn, but it’s not to dictate your life/happiness. You are your own person, even if it takes years to figure out who that person is. A mother figure doesn’t have to be a mother, or a woman, or a person at all. It’s whatever nurtures you.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Yes, it was a bit farfetched, melodramatic, and yikes-worthy. However, it was well-written and presented the story amazingly. Yes, I loathe some of the characters. However, there was no perfect person, no hero, and personalities galore.

I would recommend this, but I do have to warn there is some underage things that happen. It’s a definite rated-R, and occasionally rated-Gross.

And because I wrote this, I am not including this in the book club post at the end of the month.

See you next time.

Hugs

Alexandra

Driving Laws

I was recently driving with my mother when we came upon a four-way stop. The person to our left went through, then we were about to. But the person to our right went through because he was there first. Mother then does a mild, 5-second scold to following four-way traffic laws. She does this at every four-way that doesn’t perform in a counter-clockwise merry-go-round manner.

When I went through drivers ed, I was never taught and four-way traffic laws. It was a first come, first serve basis. But during her little scold, I actually got to thinking: what is the law behind a four-way stop? And I decided to look into three states: California, where Mother learned to drive, Virginia, where I learned to drive, and Idaho, where we both live now.

Well, guess what. They all have the same right-of-way laws…and Mother was wrong.

At a four-way intersection, right-of-way is given to the person who showed up first. And if two cars are there at the same time, right-of-way yields to the person to the right, not left as Mother mini-scolds every time she goes through a four-way intersection.

This post is meant to educate, to embarrass. When Mother learned to drive, laws were a bit different. Things change, and in this case, we just accept it.

Hugs

Alexandra

Is My Friend More Worthwhile Art-wise?

Is it just me, or is there a snootiness when it comes with opinions about art?

As you guys know, I’ve been making comics lately. It’s a janky series called Just Vinyl Comics. I would, infrequently, also make colored pencil art.

Now, every artist gets criticism, constructive or otherwise. I’m no exception. However, the most popular criticism seemed to be, why waste your time on comics?; or comics aren’t real art, try real art; or comics aren’t worthwhile compared to painting.

The problem is people don’t seem to understand art is more than painting. And by their logic, my friend Lee Valentine, a painter, is a more worthwhile person than I am. (Also, check out his stuff, he’s amazing). That’s like saying Pablo Picasso is more worthwhile than Bill Watterson. We can’t compare them. Picasso paints, Watterson cartoons.

And if we want to continue this stretch of the imagination, am I actually more worthwhile than Lee because I do theatre and sing (an art form) much more than he does?

It’s a weird argument.

The point is, no, one person’s way of art is not more worthwhile than another person. Whether you paint like Lee, make janky comics like me, or some other form of art.

No art is more important than another.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. Check out Lee Valentine Art, he’s great at what he does! He’s the one who made the painting for me.img_5011

Message from Caregiver Willow

Hi! ^_^willow

It me, a-Willow!

Alexandra been a-sick lately and asked me to a-write to you!

She got a flu. Lasted for a week and a half so far.

She be fine, though! ^A^

I know it a-hard to take care of self when busy!

But do your best!

Drink a-water, wash hands, take walk, stay in a-sunshine! Sunshine a-good for you! I love sunshine! ❤

Be well!

Love,

Willow

Ramadan

Ramadan started last night. This is a special month-long holiday. While you do not need to celebrate it (I don’t), I believe you should be mindful, especially if you know someone who may celebrate.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is one of the most holy months of the Islamic calendar year. It is a Muslim religious observance, believed to be the time when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by Allah.

There are Five Pillars of Islam, and fasting through Ramadan is one of them. With the exception of illnesses, diabetes, pregnancy, and other health issues, it’s an obligatory thing. Muslims are expected to fast from all food and drink, water too, from dawn until sunset every day during the month. And because we are entering summer months, they’ll be fasting, approximately, from 5 am to 9 pm–16 hours! At night, the fast is broken with a communal meal.

During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to pray, read the Quran daily, and give to charities. They are meant to abstain from foul speech, gossip, smoking, engaging in sexual relations, and fighting. The fasting, as well as the praying, reading, doing good, etc., is meant to promote self-discipline and bring you closer to God.

Now, why do I care? What does it matter if I do not celebrate it?

When I was in the seventh grade (Year 8, for my UK friends), I had a friend who came from Pakistan. She and her family were faithful Muslims. One day, I went back to the classroom in need of something when I saw a familiar hijab in the room. My friend was reading, alone and without food. I offered lunch, but she was fasting. This is when I first learned about Ramadan. I didn’t understand at first; it took a hot minute for me to grasp what it was. And at the end, she invited me to Eid Al-Fatur, their celebration the day after the last day of Ramadan.

Even if you don’t celebrate/aren’t part of their religion, be respectful. Don’t belittle their efforts or mock their tradition. And if you see/know Muslims using this time (until 4 June, I think?), don’t force food or water in their direction. You don’t need to make fun of a religious time just because you don’t understand it.

Have a blessed Ramadan.

Hugs

Alexandra

Dropping the Ball

I didn’t post on Wednesday.

Why?

Because I forgot.

Sometimes we drop the ball on stuff. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we are too busy to do everything we want.

And it’s okay.

It happens to everyone; we’re all human.

But what we definitely need to remember in these moments is not to be hard with ourselves.

Strive to be better, yes. Change something to help you remember what you need to do.

But don’t beat yourself up for being human.