Is It Still 2020? STILL??



I still get a royalty statement from my agent, every six months, for the three books I wrote. Lately, these statements have not made for good reading. The sales figures are on a time lag, so the statement I got in April 2020(which I only looked this past week) is for books that were sold in the second half of 2019. It seems that people are not buying  V. Swift books like they used to, so I was feeling poor when I got an alert that Go Daddy had taken a payment of $160 for a security certificate for my blog. Since I don’t sell anything on this blog, I figured that I didn’t need the “SSL” certificate so I took the drastic step of calling Go Daddy (wait time: 23 minutes) and cancelling the payment. $160 is what I get when 100 of my books sell, so I thought I’d made a very smart business decision and was feeling rather thrifty and $160 richer.

And then my blog disappeared for three days. So, if any Dear Readers had trouble visiting me this past week, the reason is because any interface on the world wide web needs to have a SSL certificate, or search engines will refuse to let anyone stop by. Ao, to fix this, I had to call Go Daddy again (wait time: 37 minutes) and pay them for the SSL cert, at which time I was told that it takes 48 hours to get back on track. And then, when 48 hours came and went and I was still not amongst the living, I had to call Go Daddy again (wait time: 32 minutes) to find out that someone at Go Daddy had forgotten to push the activate button.

I wish I had an IT guy to take care of this stuff for me. I also wish I had servants and a personal assistant to look after me because I don’t like having responsibilities. It still surprises me that I have to make my own dentist appointments, and it astonishes me when I do make my own appointments and actually go to the dentist on my own volition. I used to have a job where I was responsible for important historical artifacts and millions of dollars, but then I became a writer. I now sit in a room and piddle around with ideas, sometimes making a castle or two, and have zero accountability to the outside world. Basically, I don’t have to be an adult anymore.

It’s awesome.

This might explain why this is so meaningful to me:

My Korean husbands, BTS, held the #1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 for the second week in a row:

This is equally important news for the nation of South Korea:

The chyron reads: BTS Billboard Single Chart 2 weeks First Place.

BTS is headline news on KBC, the national public TV station (it’s the BBC of South Korea). BTS has raised the awareness of Korea in the world, and they are now part of their nation’s cultural patrimony. I picked a good time to be a fan. One of the best decisions of my adulthood.

In between endless streaming of BTS’s #1 song Dynamite, I did a lot of painting these past two weeks, and it’s been some of the most interesting painting I’ve ever done.

Dear Reader and Stromness Rock host Leslie, from Florida, sent me a photo of her kitty, Kitty:

Actually, Leslie emailed me a photo of a photo of Kitty, since this image is not digitized. It’s a bit blurry, and I had to email Leslie and ask her what color Kitty’s eyes were, but I thought I might be up to the challenge of painting from a photo of a photo.

Here is what I painted:

This is very bad. Bad Bad Bad Bad. BAD. Really BAD. B A D.

So I persuaded Leslie to send me the actual photo. I wanted to see how big a difference it would make, in terms of not painting something so BAD, to re-paint from a better reference.

So this is how it went:


This is a shot of the actual photo of Kitty, which shows that she has a much richer color scheme than I saw in the blurry photo-of-a-photo. It took some effort to mix the right tone of orange for her pretty face.

The trick with calico cats is to not let the colors get muddy, which is easy to do when you are using watercolor and have to let orange overlap with gray and black:


I’ve said before that the firs thing you have to do when you paints to think about your strategy. You have to be able to paint a face like this is sections, and to make blocks of color that will merge successfully once every thing is dry.








And here’s the side-by-side comparison of BAD Kitty and Better Kitty:

Thank you, Leslie, for sending me the real Kitty photo and for letting me make this experiment.

Oh my, there is so much news to get this week. Events keep happening o quickly, but let’s start with the fun story of the five boasts that sank into Lake Travis, Texas during a Trump rally on the water:




California is on fire, partly because of climate change and partly because people are fucking morons:

This is this shit happened:

Trump’s personal layer, Michael Cohen, came out with a memoir about the crap he has witnessed,including how Trump didn’t want to go to a WWI cemetery in France where American servicemen are buried because anyone who got killed in France was a “loser” and only “suckers” serve in the military.

And then, the dip shit talked to Bob Woodward for 18 hours on tape, and told him that he was going to ‘play down” the coronavirus:


In seeking to control the damage of is own words, Trump claimed that he lied about COVID during many press conferences last Spring, calling it a “hoax” that would “just disappear” because he didn’t want to alarm people:


















The notice on the Biden sign says: If you remove this sign, I will make a $36 donation to Planned Parenthood and I will replace the sign which means, in fact, YOU are supporting the Biden/Harris campaign. Think about it.














We need some puppies:









And that’s it for the week, Dear Ones.

Have a great weekend, and keep wearing masks and stay our of any boat that has a Trump flag.

That reminds me:

Fuck Trump.









8 Comments, RSS

  1. Leslie

    Dear Vivian, Congratulations! And thank you! You totally aced dear Kitty’s portrait. I am so glad you thought to get the actual photo. As to POTUS, how about a Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations-type compilation of your collected memes? Brilliant!
    How is your little kitty?

  2. Great job on Kitty — definitely a good idea to get the better photo. Second version is much more vibrant.

    I’m sorry that I can’t have a great weekend as you wished, for I am stuck inside here in the Pacific Northwest due to the neverending apocalyptic gray-yellow haze of wildfire smoke covering the land. I’ve forgotten what blue skies look like.

    I asked a friend how anyone with at least two brain cells to rub together could support Der Drumpf, and she explained: “They watch Fox ‘news’, and avoid all other sources of information, and thus they are living *in an entirely different world* from you or I.” This was both enlightening, and terrifying.

    May *you* have a great weekend — someone should!

  3. Kirra

    Sorry to hear your website cost you money and time this week, thanks for persevering and posting for us still!

    Your second cat painting is great, I’m impressed how you can plan all the colours at the beginning to make it look good at the end. Glad BTS are staying number 1 in the charts, something positive for the US!

    I often think Australian politics is bad but American politics at the moment I can’t wrap my head around. It’s kind of unbelievably fascinating to see a country go from a President like Obama to now Trump. Good luck to you all, it must be hard living in the same country as that man.

  4. Megan

    So sorry for your internet trouble. The cat portrait looks fantastic. Had so much trouble leaving a comment today, seemed I couldn’t leave one as there was no ‘form’ but then bingo the form popped up. Hope we can soon see all the comments. Hope you have a fantastic weekend.

  5. I’m so glad you are back online again, Vivian. I need to share your last post — where you so brilliantly painted my sweet Lizzie — with Rick and a couple others and now I can. How frustrating and annoying, that security certificate thing.

    Well, I think even BAD kitty was pretty good but you’re right — BETTER kitty IS better. I need to review your curly poodle early in this series as I need to do a curly black dog this week. I’m not optimistic. I’m so glad you are painting again and sharing it with us. I need to look up the leaf tutorials, too.

    I wish I could remember who I sent your books to in the past for Christmas. Seems like this might be a good time to order ahead for this year. A few of us have stopped gifts this year — shopping is too hard. But there are still some and if they don’t love your books already, they are going to.

  6. It is rather overwhelming all the insanity in this country right now. Then for us on the west coast we are now also having to deal with fire and smoke. And that idiot T thinks he should visit California this coming week. I hope people ignore him. And what a scam about the Piece Prize! He is indeed a piece of shit. If you knew me you would no these are no words I saw lightly.
    Thanks for the entertainment and I hope your books suddenly start selling.

  7. What a saga about your web site! Yikes. Have you thought about switching over to a free blogging service like Blogger? I mean, I don’t pay a cent for my blog — or even think about the technology very much — which is pretty darn refreshing.

    It’s interesting to see your cat paintings side by side. What a difference a real photo makes! There’s an interesting art project to be made by someone taking a photo of a photo of a photo, ad infinitum. Maybe. Or maybe that’s a boring idea.

    I love the church sign. Go Presbyterians! (I was raised Presbyterian.) And the Jackie O thing made me laugh out loud!

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