My lack of drawing skills

I am not the greatest at drawing. I don’t intend to be but it would be nice to have – what I feel are – better skills when it comes to drawing. The reason I say is this is because every so often I look at my Instagram timeline and see one amazing sketch, one amazing painting, one amazing illustration, after another. It somewhat motivates me to draw more but I don’t do it. A few years back I tried to challenge myself by sketching a letter a day.

I didn’t succeed.

Clearly, I didn’t want it bad enough. Last night I was watching The Office; not the British version and I got to thinking about that challenge I made for myself.

If you haven’t been following or haven’t seen I’ve been trying to re-familiarize myself with Adobe Illustrator. You see when I took online courses for Web Design and Multimedia, and even before that, I loved to draw random things. This love of drawing began around fourth grade. What I remember was one kid drew something on his book cover and got in trouble. Quite honestly, I don’t fully recall why but I do recall it wasn’t allowed.

Fifth-grade rolls around and I am drawing on the paper bag covers of my books. History, math, science, and the occasional piece of paper were my mental release of creativity – or lack thereof.

So, back to The Office reference!

I reached the point in the series where Pam goes to New York to pursue her art. This hit me really hard because just hours prior I was talking to Jamie about me wanting to do more Illustrator-esque things because I want to challenge myself. It’s become more of a need now than want.

I’m not failing this time around.

The challenge

So, the challenge is simple. Draw one letter of the alphabet but use it as a character. That means 26 letters, 26 characters in total. Sounds simple enough and not much of a challenge, right?

That will be the easy part. The actual challenge will be turning those to vector graphics in one week using only the pen tool.

Starting Monday, May 22nd I will begin to draw one character per day. but if I can do more even better; I will be posting it on Instagram and once I’m done with the alphabet, the following day I will give myself 5 days to complete the Illustrator work.

This will be good.


Not so evil shenanigans

Okay, I have always wanted to have a post title like that. For one, it has been far too long since I posted on here. I just don’t think about it. Okay, I haven’t thought about it in some time, I wanted to post something last week but ended up scrapping it and a few drafts as well.

A lot has been on my mind. I think that also explains why I keep having issues sleeping throughout the entire night. I wake up at random times of the night. There are times it is because of the cat wanting to go out but that’s not often. I am very scatter-brained lately and I need to focus.

The last month has flown and it has made me a little sad. The biggest reason is that my little man is going to be going to kindergarten this August. THIS AUGUST! Crazy how much time has flown.

I love spending time with him and learning new things. The other day we went to a Dinosaur Day event held at the local public college – Sierra College. It was sort of last-minute thing since Jamie wanted to go to the Fountains – local mall area thing – and ride the train they have there. Instead, we went and learned about fossils, launched a few “meteors,” watched a methane fireball, played with some slime, made a “moon rock,” got some seeds we can plant, and even learned about how glow in the dark bacteria was made.

Last month we also went to the Earth Day event that a local park was having. We saw a chicken, he got to sit in the driver seat of a police car, walked inside the cab of a pumper fire truck, and got to play with a spray bottle to simulate rainfall. It was fairly long, eventful day but a great day nonetheless.

In between, we even went to the railroad museum with my sister; that same day we went to Sutter’s Fort and almost got a parking ticket – so that was fun. It was a little hotter than usual but it was a good day as well.

It hasn’t been easy for me to see those good days. It really hasn’t honestly. Part of that reason is that I have been sidetracked with other things while those days were going on. I do have this issue of not being able to turn off my brain. I have to be doing something and when I’m not I feel and think super strange.

The last couple of days, I have been trying to re-learn JavaScript. There are two posts that I’ve been reading and the super weird part is that they make sense to me. I have always struggled in learning about programming and a lot of that was because I read more about it so it starts to get over my head. I have this issue with wanting to learn in general because I want to learn the hardest thing first so the simple things will make more sense. This is true since I chose to learn to play Flamenco guitar over the classical.

Crank that lesson up to 11.

Okay, a little rambling but you get the idea.

The good news is that I am somewhat capable of calming my brain down a little by drawing and doodling. Art really. Playing the guitar – okay, strumming really – randomly has also helped. What has also helped is that when I do draw, little man also wants to join in.

Unspoken bond

Back in 2006 I moved out with my sister and my fiance. We lived in a two bedroom apartment and I was working as an assistant general manager until they let me go. I took some time off only because I wasn’t looking for a job. I landed one as a short order cook at Mel’s Diner. I would be working overnight from 10pm to 6am cooking. I wasn’t getting as many hours as I needed but worked hard to learn what I needed to do and what needed to be cooked.

Shortly after I found a second job. Working at Starbucks. This was the one that lasted me the longest to date. Nine years working there, making coffee, meeting new people and learning a lot about others as well as myself. During that time I attempted to attend online courses for Web Design and Multimedia in hopes to get a Bachelor’s Degree. Held out as long as I could but ultimately would not be able to finish the courses.

This didn’t stop me from learning about the web and its technologies. I began collecting books on PHP, CSS, JavaScript and reading as much as I could because I knew that needed to learn these things in order to advance myself. There were days when I felt like giving it all up and just be another person living day-to-day – paycheck to paycheck.

Jamie has always pushed my buttons. Both good and bad. She irritates me like nobody can but I couldn’t image my life without her. We have shared good things and bad things about each other and I feel like I really lucked out with her. She makes me feel beyond elated when she pushes me to better myself.

This is shown when I draw, when I paint, when I take a picture.

For years she was the artist in the family – and I still feel like she is. I love when she teaches me new things about art. In a way we do have that unspoken bond: art. She brings out the artistic side of me and it does bring a smile to my face. Not just when I express my artistic side but hers as well. She is the tripod to my camera.

All these years she’s supported me in every aspect of my life. She gave me an amazing gift four years ago that to this very day I am thankful for. Our son, Salvador.


Our little monster.

He makes me so proud when I see him. The things he does, the things he says make me happy to know that we are both raising a child with a bright future. It hasn’t been easy the last two years because he does take after dad a lot. I guess karma babies can happen.

I am lucky and blessed to have amazing people in my life and even luckier to be married to one and raising one.

When encouragement just isn’t enough

About two weeks ago I chose to slow down on contributing to reviewing WordPress themes. I have my many reasons for doing so.

  • Burn out
  • Repetition
  • Discouraging
  • Frustrating

I think the biggest one is frustration. That’s not to say I am going to stop. I just won’t do as many. In the last four years, a lot has changed in the reviewing world. Many of those changes good and a few bad. I met a lot of people, helped a lot of new reviewers and some theme authors along the way. Yes, I would do all of that over again in a heartbeat.

What really drove me over the edge was when somebody asked for clarification on one thing. A blatantly obvious and simple question but they chose to try and find a way to go around it. I’m sorry if I start rambling about code but that’s what will happen.

As a theme reviewer I should know about security. When I began, I knew of it. I knew some basic practices because I looked the up and read about them. I tried finding resources, tutorials, videos about WordPress security and best practices. I even looked up basic PHP security practices to get a better understanding.


So that I can not only understand what the theme was doing but also pass on that knowledge to the author if they didn’t know. I say “I should,” only because there are no documents, articles, tutorials, references on what a theme reviewer needs to know in order to actually do a theme review. Could that be an issue? Quite possibly.

Now, over the last four years, I learned a great deal on how WordPress works and even contributed a few patches along the way. I got to see my name in the credits and it was a great feeling knowing I helped more than twenty percent of the web in some manner.

This last year has been rough. I’m not going to lie when I say that I actually dread looking at the current state of the themes being submitted. The biggest reason being repetition. I log on, look at the theme’s code and see the same mistake I saw last month. Or the month before that, or that, or that – you get the idea. A lot of those are from the same author that submits many themes at once or use a the same framework on all their themes but neglect to fix the issues on the other themes. It’s not hard!

The biggest frustration though is in the form of authors “cheating” the system. Okay, bad term, really bad term but that’s the feeling I get a lot of the time when I see those types of submissions or when I see an author asking questions about what is allowed and edge cases. It’s like they are trying to find a way to cheat the system. That was one thing I despised about working at Starbucks a lot of the time. People asking for “cheaper” ways of getting a drink. Those are generally the ones that ruin it for the others down the road. That was part of the reason prices had to be adjusted in certain market areas.

It hurts not only the person working but those that stop by later on as well.

For now, I’m just going to keep on posting on the forums and helping when I can on there and not so much on the theme review. It’s been fun but not so much lately and it makes me sad to see others feel along the same lines as I do.