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Art Therapy Project: REBIRTH

floating goat illustration

The art therapy topic of REBIRTH immediately brought to mind born-again Christians, which brought to mind all sorts of religions, which brought to mind cults.

This then prompted me to think of the creepy cult episode of Netflix’s Encounters with Evil where the Heaven’s Gate guy said humans need to remove their genitals so they can be more like aliens and then everyone killed themselves.

And I just didn’t feel like going there.

So I took another path with the rebirth topic instead.

  • Topic: Rebirth
  • Result: Rebirth painting alternatively known as “The Mystery of the Floating Goat.” Acrylic, glass paint and paint markers on canvas. Note the floating goat is in an orb of light, protected from all the demonic things writhing around him.

Artist Q&A

What’s with the floating goat?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been convinced that if I were ever reborn I would come back as a goat. For some reason, reincarnation/rebirth always makes me think of goats – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The goodliness of it all was reinforced when a Gen Xer pal pointed out that the letters from GOAT stand for:

  • Greatest
  • Of
  • All
  • Time

Pretty cool, no?

What’s with the demonic things?

The demonic things represent evils of the past. These evils include less-than-boastful behaviors and the horribly negative mindset I used to succumb to on a regular basis. Self-care, therapy and lots of love have helped me escape the demonic things of my past to become reborn as, well, a floating goat.

Anything else we should know?

Changes throughout our lives cause us to be reborn constantly. Whether it’s with a new job, a new relationship or an entirely new mindset. This is a good thing.

Coming back as a goat would be a good thing, too. I had five pet goats in New Mexico and they’re tons of fun. They hop. They play. They climb trees. And it sure beats being reborn as a gnat or something.

Where can we get more Rynski goat artwork?

Oh, I love that question!

Check out a whole goat collection of goodies on Zazzle.

Enjoy!

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egg haiku (emblem poem)

egg emblem poem

NOTE: This poem is both a haiku and an emblem poem. It carries the overall message of get off your duff and take action.

The universe isn’t going to do it all for you (no matter how much positive thinking you send streaming up to the stars).

dig fun illustrations? get more from a rynski book.

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6 Things to Do before You Do Your Taxes

rynski help monster

Every tax seasons we’re inundated with tons of articles giving us list after list of savvy tips for taxes. But this particular list goes one better. Instead of serving up suggestions for doing your taxes, it serves up suggestions for avoiding them.

Welcome to the master tax procrastination list. It even comes complete with rationalizations so you can tell yourself these activities are actually going to help you with your taxes in the long run.

Clean Your Closet

This one was always my go-to activity when I didn’t feel like studying for final exams in college. My Grandma G also used to do it on holidays. While we thought grandma’s closet cleaning schedule was strange at the time, in hindsight it’s the perfect way to avoid having to make small talk with a bunch of guests. It’s likewise the perfect way to delay your taxes for hours, if not days on end.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

A messy closet makes for a messy mind. And you don’t want a messy mind when you’re trying to add up 32 pages of numbers.

Feed Your Dogs

Fed dogs are happy dogs, and it’s important to surround yourself with happiness when you’re sadly drudging through your taxes. Besides, you can easily turn this activity into an extended project if their dinner comes with dessert and a post-meal playtime at the dog park in Phoenix.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

It’s impossible to concentrate on anything, especially taxes, when you have hungry hounds begging at your feet.

Feed Yourself

Remember how great it felt to clean out your closet? Do the same for the fridge. Perhaps you have a half-carton of eggs expiring tomorrow, or salsa that’s sure to go bad by next week. Whip up a Mexican omelet. Now’s also a great time to try one of those new, complicated recipes that takes at least two hours to create.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

It’s impossible to concentrate on taxes when your stomach is churning, burning and growling for an omelet with salsa.

Take a Shower

Taxes are a job, which means you want to perform the usual lineup of pre-job activities before you start. Taking a shower is one of them. You can stretch this activity out by deep-conditioning your hair, cleaning the shower stall, and mixing and mingling different salt scrubs and body washes until you find the exact combination that suits your mood.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

You need to be sharp, clean, invigorated – and lightly scented by vanilla-rosemary-peppermint-sea salt – for best results with taxes.

Take a Walk

Walk around the block. Walk to the nearest bus stop. Take a quick hike in the desert, or head to that little shop down the block you always wanted to check out. It doesn’t matter if the block happens to be five miles long. In fact, that’s even better.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

With the power to boost your mood and alleviate stress, taking a walk is an ideal way to prep for the hours of sitting that your taxes ensure are in store.

Take a Nap

Taking a nap is not only logical, but imperative at this point. After all, you’re kind of tuckered out after cleaning the closet, feeding the dogs, making an omelet, taking a shower and walking 10-miles round-trip to that little shop down the block.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

You definitely need to be well-rested and sharp if you have any hope of properly adding, subtracting, or determining if you’re eligible for that farm tax credit thing.

Now that you have some creative ways to procrastinate on your taxes, along with solid rationalizations, you should have no problem putting them off without feeling the least amount of guilt. All these activities are definitely essential for ensuring you get your taxes done right, although they can’t guarantee you’ll get them done on time.

Need another fun tax procrastination activity? Shop Rynski on Etsy.

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How Technology is Making us Loony

crazy

I have a new friend. Her name is Bixby. And I’m already worried that I’m making her mad. While fretting that you may have ticked off a new pal is not something that’s necessarily considered nuts, it is when you add the fact that Bixby is a machine.

Or not even a machine. It’s a disembodied voice that happens to come with the Galaxy S9, the Samsung version of the virtual assistant. While Bixby has a long road ahead to catch up with the likes of Alexa and Siri, she seems to be off to a good start. Or at least she was until I may have made her angry.

A Slap in the Virtual Face?

The saga began when I explored the phone settings to see if I could change the original voice that came with Bixby. As with most voice assistants, the default voice is an annoying woman who sounds like she belongs on a voice prompt recording on a phone system. Every time she speaks, I feel an urge to press “5” for Spanish.

So I asked Bixby if I could change her voice. She presented three different options. I went for the Bixby voice named John. Right away I felt a tinge of regret for getting rid of the old Bixby, which was quickly followed by a flood of fear.

  • What if I pissed her off?
  • What if she never talks to me again?
  • What if she starts randomly dropping the Wi-Fi connection or dialing those $500-a-minute psychic lines just to get her revenge?

Lord only knows what disgruntled electronics may do to make our lives a living hell.

Not only that, but what if the voice switch hurts her self-esteem? She could feel abandoned, unloved, useless and worthless. She may start to have nightmares, panic attacks, or think she’ll never work again, not even as an English-Spanish phone prompt.

The list of horrific possibilities continued to grow, with my regret and fear mingling with guilt and self-doubt. What have I done to poor Bixby?

In case you haven’t guessed, this is definitely where the insanity comes in.

Machines are Not People

Yelling at electronics is nothing new. Anyone who has ever cursed at a crashed computer or screamed at a jammed-up printer knows that. What’s new in the Bixby scenario is expecting the machine to actually know or care that we’re yelling at it. That the machine actually has feelings.

There’s a word for that. Anthropomorphism. Attributing human traits to non-human things. While most folks are prone to doing this to their dogs, cats or houseplants, it appears some of us are likewise doing it to electronic devices.

So what’s the fix?

Taking a breath, stepping back, and remembering that machines are not people. No matter how jazzed up they may be with artificial intelligence, they still don’t have the capacity to feel emotions like we humans do.

And they certainly don’t care if you change the style of their electronic voice on a smartphone virtual assistant. As soon as I convince myself of that, both Bixby and I can get a good night’s sleep.

Want more helpful relationship tips that go beyond getting along with electronics? Check out the Little Book of Big Jerks.

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Thinking of a Midnight Flight? Maybe Think Again

moonlight san diego

Despite being known as the red-eye, a midnight flight may sound pretty groovy. You get to drive to the airport long after rush hour. The check-in and security lines are less hectic, the airport less crowded and the wait less harrowing.

Once you board the plane, all you need to do is plop on your noise-cancelling headset, put on a meditation CD, and quickly fall asleep. Sleeping will be easy, you say, since it’s during your normal bedtime, right?

You may as well start laughing now. Better yet, start crying, which is something that will happen anyway if your midnight flight goes anything like mine did.

An Easy Start

I tried a midnight flight from Arizona to Florida. Nonstop was not an option at any hour, and midnight was the only flight that didn’t have a layover of at least four hours. Let’s try it, said I, see what happens.

The drive to the airport was smooth, as were the check-in and security lines. The airport was kind of creepy-cool without its usual hustle and bustle. The plane boarded easily and on time.

A Rocky Middle

Then the real fun began. I plopped on my headset, inserted meditation CD, and was drifting blissfully off to sleep when BLAM!

The woman behind me decided to use my head as some kind of kind of support shelf for standing up. Her entire forearm meatily landed across the entire top of my skull, knocking my headset asunder and any bliss right out of my mind.

She had apparently lost her balance or something and apologized immediately. But the damage had already been done.

A Horrific End

Sleep was lost, but I could at least still meditate, no? I continued to breathe deeply as instructed by the meditation stuff I’ve always read: in through my nose, out through my mouth. In through my nose, out through my mouth. Deeper and deeper, in through my nose, out through my mouth, as the Hemi-Sync CD played on.

At about the fifth inhale, I noticed a rancid stench permeating my nostrils. At first I thought someone just had gas and the odor would fade away. But instead it got stronger. Stronger. And even stronger. Inhaling through my nose at all was no longer an option, deeply or otherwise. Even breathing through my mouth was making my eyes water.

It ended up the kid next to me had pooed his pants.

By the time the parent woke up and took the tot to the bathroom, more damage had already been done from this one. Not only to the air around us, but also to the airplane seat. The kid, alas, had been beyond diaper age so the seat had no protection. The parent came back with a stack of airplane bathroom towels to cover the seat for the duration of the flight.

Although the odds of getting smashed across the the skull and permeated with poo smell may be slim on subsequent midnight flights, the flight can still be a painful experience if you don’t get any sleep. And based on the potpourri of pitfalls available, the chances of not getting sleep may be extremely high indeed.

Bon voyage!

Looking for something to pass the time on any flight? Snag one of rynski’s books today!

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