I hiked the Mount Ununhum Trail with my friend Jackie this morning. It was 7.7 miles long with 1,200 ft of elevation gain but at a nice & steady incline. I heard about this place a couple years ago and have been wanting to go. It wasn't bad.
I saw my doctor today for a checkup and to go over my lab results. (that bruise on my arm in the picture below is where they drew blood a couple days ago) Aside from being overweight and slightly high blood pressure my doctor said my test results look really good. Better numbers than most people coming back for doctor visits after the covid shutdown. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought they were going to be bad, especially since I'm currently about 10 lbs over what I usually weigh this time of year. There's still plenty work I need to do health wise but I left my doctor's office feeling good. I wanted to treat myself so I visited my local comic shop, Legends, inside Eastridge Mall, and picked up a bunch of $1 comics. All of them are new but they're reprints of old books. After returning home I got ready and went on a hike at Alum Rock Park. I did all of the Penitencia Creek Trail, almost 6 miles, then came home and did some more work on my taxes. I have this weekend to finish as tax day is this coming Monday.
Yesterday, besides cleaning out my stash of old sketches and stickers, I backed up my iPhone, iPad and Macbook and updated their operating systems. The iOS devices continued to work fine but my 7 year old laptop was having a tough time after the new MacOS update. I updated my Mid 2014 Macbook Pro's OS, from Catalina (10.15) to Big Sur (11.3). After the install the fans in my laptop came on full blast and overheated. I'd known for months that Macbooks days were numbered. One of the speakers had blown out and the trackpad hardly works unless you press down on it really hard. I was waiting for the new M-series 16" Macbook Pro to drop but didn't want to risk losing any of my work in case my old Macbook took a shit so I pulled the trigger on a Mac Mini. I'd mostly been using my Macbook as a desktop with an external monitor, mouse, keyboard and speaker so the new Mac Mini fits right in. Now I can use my Macbook as a backup and get it repaired and not be computerless while it's in the shop.
I got the urge to do some spring cleaning and started by taking all my random sketches and drawings that I’ve been hoarding and made a pile. The plan is make something from them and/or get rid of them. Same thing with my sticker hoard. I’ve already sorted them by color, kinda. I kept a separate pile of stickers by local artists, bands, businesses & organizations. I wanna stick those somewhere cool :)
434.1This afternoon I went and bought a heavy-duty speaker stand for my single QSC K10 speaker and a couple 1/4" to XLR cables. I'd been using my work's DJ equipment all these years and now that I'm buying stuff for myself I'm reminded of how expensive everything is. Later, after practicing some mixing, I started tinkering with my bikes rear brakes and I think I fixed them. They weren't tight enough before. Now I gotta figure out why my front brakes squeak when I slow down or come to a stop. Tonight I finally went back to working on my taxes. I added up all the miles I'd driven in for business purposes in 2020 and it was 434.1.
It was a pretty boring Sunday, cleaning and doing laundry, until I took my bike out for a ride. I went up a hill, stopping twice, and on the way down the chain came off the chain wheel and my rear brakes were barely slowing me down. I was afraid I was gonna eat shit. Luckily I didn’t fall and I managed to slow down by the time I reached the bottom. I got the chain back on then went home. I got my workout and a scare. I’ll try and figure out the brake situation before I take the bike out again.
I drew another Head Thing thing today. I suffered from major wrist-rust and it took me a while to loosen up but it came out ok. There's also footage of me drawing it but it needs to be edited down.
I took my bike back to Good Karma Bikes to get looked at this afternoon. Yesterday I took it for a ride and I wasn’t able to shift into the third/highest gear in the front. Today, at the shop, the guy tests it by turning the pedals and using the shifter and it starts working fine. He tells me to take it for ride and It worked like normal. So weird. Afterwards the repair guy said if I have any problems with it to bring it back and they’ll swap the shifter. I’m really liking the service at Good Karma Bikes. After returning home then working on the computer for hours I stopped to bake cookie dough that’d been sitting in the fridge all week. My friend made the dough and the cookies came out delicious. Tonight I also pulled out the DJ controller to start practicing again. I’m DJing my friends 40th birthday party next month and need to shake the rust off. And if that wasn’t enough, I also started sketching something weird on a 18”x24” sheet of paper. I was hoping I’d finish inking it tonight but I stated getting too wrapped up in details and didn’t come close.
I took my bike for a test ride down the street today. A rode for few blocks and noticed the front derailleur wasn't letting my shift into the high gear. I watched a couple Youtube videos when I got home to try and troubleshoot and fix it but decided I'll take the bike back to Good Karma Bikes tomorrow so they can do it and/or show me how. I then spent most of the day working on creating a new resume from scratch. My old resumes were never that good so I wanted to do a complete overhaul. I took a break from the resume to enter the mileage I logged for the Casitas US map mural project into my newly updated spreadsheet, made to make next years tax preparation a little easier.
I bought a bike today and it fits in the back of my car. I’m pretty stoked. I’d been thinking about buying a bike since last year and I’m glad I finally pulled the trigger. I went to Good Karma Bikes in San Jose. They’re a non-profit organization that sells refurbished bikes and does repairs. The last time I owned a bike was in high school, a Frankensteined bmx bike that I mostly rode around at night after sneaking out of the house. The next time I’d ride a bike would be at this thing called “Bike For Beers” in downtown. It was an event where mobs of people cruised on their bikes to different houses where they had kegs of beer and punk bands performed. That was about 15 years ago and I borrowed a bike for that. Now, with this bike, I plan on using it at normal hours doing normal shit.
I got my second vaccine shot this afternoon and got a nifty button! I didn’t experience any side effects either. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my fully vaxxed friends & family in a few weeks after the vaccine has taken full effect.
The tax prep is still dragging along nicely. I did a bit of work tonight. Mostly reworking the forms & spreadsheets I use to keep records. I do my best to log everything but I’m constantly trying to improve & streamline the whole bookkeeping & tax preparation process.
Happy Star Wars Day!
I went on a hike at Alum Rock Park today. I wanted to get a hike in before my 2nd vaccine shot tomorrow. I’m planning on staying home in case there any side effects. Tonight I also worked a little more on my tax prep. Tomorrow I’ll be entering all my expenses from last year. If I did a good job with my bookkeeping then it should move pretty quickly because otherwise it’s a drag.
It’s that time again. Today I logged onto TurboTax and began the process. I think this will be my 3rd year doing the self-employed version. It’s gotten easier every year but it still feels like a huge chore while I’m doing it and an accomplishment once I’m done. This year I’m going to document the whole process and create a “how-to” guide for next year. I’m constantly updating how I keep records to make filing faster and more efficient .
It was a busy day doing boring shit. It’d been a while since I doodled anything on the iPad so I drew this before bed.
That’s what I drew while I was on the phone. Not on hold but trying to connect with a human being. Instead I entered automated phone system hell.
It's that time again. Time to pay the state and federal government their cut of my money. First I'm going to pay California's sales & use tax then I'm getting on Turbo Tax to file my income tax. It aint much. After covid, every event was canceled and I barely made any sales in 2020.
Tonight I finally finished smoothing out every letter of every state of my US map design. The map was drawn by hand in Adobe Fresco on the iPad using the Apple Pencil. If you looked closely you'd see all the jagged lines. To fix that I spent the last few days tracing every path using the Smooth Tool in Adobe Illustrator. It not only smoothed the lines, it also removed a crap-ton of unnecessary anchor points. In the end I brought the file size down from 2.9 MB to 896 KB.
I didn't spend much time on the map today but I did finish North Dakota, New Mexico & Colorado. All that's left is: Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon & Washington.
Almost there. Still cleaning up the design by smoothing out the paths and removing unnecessary anchor points. This sucker is 12 states away from being print ready.
Today I learned about the Smooth Tool in Adobe Illustrator CC. It smooths out jaggy lines (paths) and gets rid of a lot of unnecessary anchor points which is what I need for the drawings I make on the iPad. Using the Smooth Tool, with a mouse, on my US map would be a nightmare so I downloaded Astropad which turns my iPad & Apple Pencil into a graphics tablet & stylus to control my laptop. This sped up the process significantly and I’ve now cleaned up 22 states. I’m almost halfway done.
That’s right! I went Friday afternoon and hiked the last bit of the Yerba Buena Trail at Grant Park. I’ve officially hiked every open trail there. That makes three parks that I’ve hiked 100%. Alum Rock, Sierra Vista Preserve & Joseph D. Grant. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue trying to complete whole parks, tho I might do Hellyer Park since it’s so small and I’ve already walked/hiked most of it.
The work on this map never ends! I want to make prints but need to make sure the artwork is print-ready so I’m going thru every letter of every state to make sure the lines are clean, not jaggy, and there are no artifacts or holes. So far I’ve done Alaska, Hawaii, Maine & Rhode Island. Only 46 more states to go!
My body is sore as hell from yesterday’s hike and the scrape on my right hand is bothering me because the bandaids keep falling off where I bend my wrist. Aside from that it was a good day. I did a bit of active recovery and went on 3 mile walk at Hellyer Park. I hope I start feeling better tomorrow and that it’s not a case of delayed onset muscle soreness. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I went out with the intention to finish hiking the remaining trails at Joseph D. Grant County Park today and being 100% done. I came pretty damn close. I started at the Grant Lake Parking lot and walked almost a mile on Mount Hamilton, where they were laying down fresh new asphalt, to reach the Washburn Trail trailhead. Then I walked to the barn. From there I hiked up to Tamien Trail and got lost at the end of that trail before coming back to Washburn. That’s when it got cold and overcast. I hustled the rest of the way on the Cañada de Pala and Los Huecos trails because it was getting close to closing time and I was afraid my car would get locked in the parking lot over night. Because I was in a rush I slipped coming downhill and scraped my right palm. It stung and got a little bloody but it wasn’t bad. It hurt more using the hand sanitizer when I got to my car. It was past closing time and luckily the gate wasn’t closed. I didn’t want to press my luck so I left. I’m gonna have to come back and do that remaining 1/10 of a mile on the Yerba Buena Trail in a few days and be 100% done hiking all of Grant Park.