Hello my dark kitties. I've got some free stuff for you!
Yes! I've got three smoke images against a black background completely free for artists to use in their art.
The Dropbox links below will lead you to the full size download. I don't know how long they will be available. It will depend on how long it takes to fill my Dropbox free space. You can use them in commercial work and no credit needed. I do love to see how the images are being used so please send me links or comment with a link to your work. If it is an awesome piece I'll share it on my social media. I hope the images work out for your art!
Use in: Art work, on your website or blog, on a book cover, as a background for something
I hope these images work out for you! And I really really do want to see what you create so please share!
My First Youtube video to pass 500 views!
I'm so excited to share my first video to pass 500 views. I hope you enjoy. If you are planning a trip to Japan, you'll probably find the video very useful! If you are not, well you might still find it entertaining as I am very uncomfortable filming myself and it shows.
Our first full day in Japan was October 18, 2017 Akihabara. Not much was open yet at 8am in the morning, which was surprising since Tokyo is a larger city than New York. We learned Tokyo is not a 24 hour city. There are places open 24 hours, but most places open at 10am and close by 10pm. Even the trains stop at midnight and don't start up again until 5am.
We went to Mister Donut for breakfast. I wanted the Halloween donuts but they were not out yet and we didn't make it back later during our trip. The donuts were good though. I'd eat them again. The drink I got, on the other hand, was different. It tasted like milk and had chocolate chunks as ice cubes. There wasn't a lot of flavor. It was drinkable but I probably won't order it again. We started walking around Akihabara looking for open places and came across the coffee coke everyone had been posting about. Sadly, we were never able to find that vending machine again and we never found coffee coke anywhere else. So we only got to try it once. It was good. It tasted like coke mostly with a coffee aftertaste. I would drink it again.
We came across KFC, which we never had time to eat at, and a lot of Gachapon machines, which I wish I would have bought more of. I was being conservative with my yen because I didn't know how long 200,000 yen (about $2000) would last over two weeks, but I ended up bringing a lot of yen home with me. Still have it. If I had known I would have bought more and decorated my Christmas tree with them. Next time we go to Japan, I plan to buy a lot more.
If you are planning a trip to Japan bring a lot of cash with you. They are a cash country and your credit cards will be mostly useless there. You can go to 7-11 and use your credit or debit card to get more yen. Seven-11 was the only place we went to that we could use or credit card. Not even Disney Sea would take our credit card.
I haven't worked on my writing projects in a long time. Going back to working outside the home 40 hours a week has sapped me of most of my energy. I wish I could quit my job, but I can't. Bills keep coming, food keeps running out. So that's why I added writing to my list of 2018 resolutions.
I have a complete novel written and it is sitting on my hard drive waiting to be edited. I have two short stories waiting to be finished, and a never ending supply of story and novel ideas. I just can't make myself sit in front of the computer and write.
So for 2018 I have committed to writing once a week, not including blog posts, even if it is for only 5 minutes. Something is better than nothing. I'm hoping it will help light my spark, wake up my muse, get me interested again. Not that I'm not interested. I think about writing all the time and come up with new ideas constantly. I just don't want to sit in that computer room for some reason.
My guess, it is because I spent 20 years working in there while I was a wedding photographer. I know, an easy solution, move my computer or get a small one I can move around. I've tried that and it sort of worked. My device is too old now. I need to update but I don't have the money for it. My job pays very little. I would say they are ripping me off, which is why getting a new job is number 1 on the resolution list.
I plan to update everyone on my progress here or on Facebook, most likely here. I may post one of the short stories when it is finished. If you have any ideas on staying motivated please post them. Maybe they will help me and other writers. Here are some stories I did finish that you can check out if you are interested.
The flight was 14 hours to Japan, nonstop from Boston. We got two meals and both were good considering it was airplane food. I apologize, I'm talking really low in the video . Hopefully you can hear me. The plane was mostly Japanese people and they tend to not talk on public transport so I was trying not to be annoying on the flight. There were plenty of movies to watch. I watched Godzilla. I also read a manga, Tokyo Ghoul, which I liked. It was really warm on the plane. I don't know if that is normal, but you may want to dress light. It was very uncomfortable and I couldn't sleep because of how warm it was on the plane. It was around 80 degrees. I loved the windows. You can adjust their tent from normal window to so black you can't see out. This was nice since it was day the entire flight. There is a time lapse of the window changing in the video.
After landing we didn't film or take any pictures. The time was 4pm in Japan when we landed and we had traveled with no sleep for over 30 hours. Our brains were not in a good place. We figured out emigration. There were plenty of signs in English to direct you the right way and the process was pretty easy. After that we were left on our own in the airport.
The first thing we did, of course, was buy something strange from a vending machine. I don't remember what we bought. My husband picked it and I don't think I liked it. We then had to figure out what terminal we were in, I believe it was 2, where I think all international flights land. We bought tickets for the Limousine Bus which cost $32 each and dropped us off just outside Tokyo station. This is when sleep deprivation caused me to loose my mind.
It was around 5pm, the time you want to avoid the train stations because it is Tokyo rush hour. Salary men and women filled the station as we entered the main section. I looked around at the madness and realized I had no idea how to figure out where and what train to ride to get to Akihabara where our hotel was located. We learned from YouTube videos that the best thing to do is use google maps because the giant train maps on the wall are really hard to understand, even in English. I pop into Google maps and put in Tokyo station to Akihabara station. What came up didn't make since. I would later learn it was giving me 3 different choices and I needed to click further to get the information I needed to find our train. The lack of sleep was making my brain not work. So we ended up giving up on the train idea and went back outside where I had noticed a lot of taxis.
The taxi area was very organized, not like New York where you have to flag them down. There was an area where taxis came in and dropped people off and another area where you wait in line for the next taxi to drive up. We weren't sure if the taxi driver would speak English and my Japanese was very beginner so I started digging in the bags looking for the address to the hotel I had printed out in Japanese. Someone yelled, "Nani ga something something Something," An annoyed looking, very short salary woman stood behind us. We were blocking the way to the taxi line. We said," sumimasen," a few times and moved out of her way. People always talk about how polite people are in Japan so she was a bit shocking to us, but her behavior was understandable. She just wanted to get home and we were blocking the way. She was the only person in all of Tokyo that was even a little rude. Which makes me glad. You can't be nice all of the time. You'll go mad.
Our taxi driver was very nice. The doors on the taxi didn't open and close automatically, so I guess that isn't all Taxis in Tokyo. We were warned not to try and open the door because it would open and close on its own. The ride from Tokyo station to our hotel in Akihabara took a little more than five minutes and cost about $16. At this point I became a bit worried. What if we couldn't figure out the trains and had to take a taxi everywhere. It would get pretty expensive to take taxis everywhere.
We checked in our hotel and had no problems checking in. The staff spoke English. We made our reservation through Expedia because I couldn't read their direct website, too much kanji. I'll do a separate blog about the hotel and the room. We have a lot of footage of both.
We unloaded all our stuff and decided to check out the 7-11 that was close to the hotel. I didn't get anything because I was too tired to deal with the language barrier at that time. My extreme sleepiness was making me feel abnormally intimidated by everything. I was really, really out of it. My husband bought stuff. I think I have a picture of what he bought.
We then went to Coco Curry which was a place I had been looking forward to, but again so tired. The menu wasn't in English which normally would be fine. Why would it be in English, we are in Japan! But my brain was shutting down and I started to feel panicked like, "What were we thinking coming to a foreign country?" type thoughts. I managed to order level 5 curry which was much hotter than I thought it would be. We had heard that it was hard to find really spicy foods in Japan. They were wrong. I couldn't eat it all even though it was really good. I wish we had time to go again, during a time my mind was fully functional.
After eating we returned to the hotel room, watched a little Japanese TV, and then at about 7pm we crashed and slept for about 10 hours. Thank goodness I woke up feeling much clearer and ready to take on Akihabara. Traveling half way around the world is a bitch but 100% worth it.
As an artist, I believe it is important to be happy in your surroundings and happy with yourself or you won't feel like producing art.
So one of my goals, New Year's resolutions, for 2018 is to get my weight back to 120lb so my clothes will fit again. There is nothing I hate more than spending money on clothes. I'd rather be spending that money on trips to Japan or Australia, things that inspire my art. In my early 30s I gained weight. I weighed about 140lb. I used the plan below to get my weight back to 115lb by loosing about two pounds a week, which is a safe amount to loose. Now I'm 43 and my weight is back up again so it is time to get back on Roxanne's weight lose plan. So here's the plan. If you are trying to loose weight too maybe it will work for you too.
1. Limit calories to 1500 calories per day
I can eat anything I want, the calorie count just can't go over 1500. You have to be really strict about measuring everything including condiments that your adding like ketchup. So it is work, but it does get easier as you start to memorize amounts after a while.
2. Exercise a minimum of 3 times a week for 30 minutes
I put on Denise Austin videos from YouTube. They are free and I can do it at home. I start at 3 days a week and increase to every day as my body gets stronger.
3. No eating 21/2 hours before bedtime
Yes, at first you might feel like you want to eat before you go to bed, but soon, in about a week, your body will be trained to burn the stored calories while you sleep. You'll need to establish a bedtime and be strict about it.
4. Drink lots of water
You can drink water any time you want and as much as you want. If you get hungry during that 21/2 hours before bedtime, drink some water.
5. Only check the scale once a week
Your weight will go up and down and you don't need to see that every day. At most, only check once a week. If you can check less, great! You only need to see the big changes or you will get discouraged.
I'll blog more and make videos of my progress. I need to take a before shot and post it. I'll do that when I'm not sick any more.