New tech blog!

So I decided to stop with the “Tech Tangents” already. I had an old blog years ago which was basically my Japanese practice notebook typed up and posted online. Last week while dealing with a friend’s tech support issue, I decided to write up my experience. Then, since I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to also write it up in Japanese. After I did that, I thought, “hey, remember your old Japanese blog? Post ‘er there!”


From now on, I’ll endeavor to keep my techie stuff separate from my art stuff in this way. I think that forcing myself to write in both English and Japanese will keep me from getting too deeply involved in tech blog posts because of the level of difficulty. I also used my dad’s old domain name, , to redirect to my Blogger page:

Tech tangent: Python on Linux — here we go!

Not even sure I should call this one a tangent, since I’ve been doing a lot more tech reading than drawing and designing lately. I thought I could turn my art into a side gig, eventually growing into a licensing income stream, but that hasn’t been working out. So maybe my other hobby, techie reading, will play out eventually…

With such an interest in tech in general, I decided to try learning Python again (I learned a few basic operations a few years back but not much beyond “hello world”.) Let’s see how long it will hold my interest this time!

Udemy had a $9.99 sale this week, so I bought the course “Complete Python Boot Camp: Go From Zero to Hero in Python”.

I decided, as I am wont to do, to go all in: try to complete the course on Linux instead of Windows. Getting stuck at jump, (“Course materials installation guide,”) prompted this blog post! The course uses Jupyter notebooks, and they recommend that newbies use something called Anaconda to install both Python and Jupyter. So I had to visit on my laptop. After downloading the file , I of course tried to double-click it, and got this:

screenshot .sh file

The text editor is tryna open it! So a web search brought me to StackExchange, where I learned that you have to manually run the .sh file from inside the correct directory in Terminal. Success!

screenshot terminal

So I entered ‘jupyter notebook’ into a new terminal window, it was very anticlimactic to just see a new browser tab opened with …a list of my local folders. But glad it’s finally done!!

It’s pretty easy to write commands in Python and then immediately run them by pressing Shift-Enter. And saving is easy as well. On to the next course module, I hope it doesn’t take as long as the installation took!

Taniku shokubutsu

Taniku shokubutsu, or “spoiled child”, according to Weblio‘s definition of the word “succulents” in Japanese:

translation of succulent in Japanese

I guess a spoiled child would probably be ta-niku (have plenty of meat)!

I had absolutely no IDEA about the succulent-verse online until I photographed the adorable little things as I was walking one day. Peeps are real serious about these plump plants! Using the PRISMA app, I made a colorful fabric pattern out of some little succies I photographed while walking near Date Street in Honolulu, HI.

Succulents Date Street Honolulu, HI

Then using the Prisma app on my phone, I applied different filters to the photo:


Then I took a screenshot of my phone and opened it in Photoshop (CS5, version 12.0). You can also save the photo or e-mail it to yourself. (Prisma cropped my photo so I had to run it twice, once on each side of the photo.)


After cropping out the phone stuff and the app, I aligned and joined the 2 halves of the photo together into 1 layer. Then I made a backup, duplicate of the entire layer and turned it off, just in case I messed up later.

Next I used the Lasso tool to duplicate a few flowers. I just traced around the edges of a flower and Copied as New Layer a few times, until I had a few extra flowers to be used later as ‘filler’.


Then I used the Offset filter (select menu Filter>Other>Offset) to turn the picture into a repeat with four corners.

repeat using offset filter
Offset filter applied. Now just gotta fill in the center area with some filler flowers.

Using my new flower copies, I filled in the blank space in the center where the four corners meet. Then I used the Smudge tool to blend the four corners together.


I think it came out pretty well, don’t you?

Artistic Process – Where Cool Pillows Come From

I grew a few gray hairs creating this Cosmic Damask fabric pattern, but it was way worth it! From pencil sketches, scanning, and then repeat process. You’ll need some tracing paper for this, unless you prefer using a drawing app with a digital stylus.

First, I scoured the web for a nice old damask pattern. Here’s what a quick search might turn up — almost any of these will do the trick:


Now print out the damask pattern you just found. Print on regular paper, in a size that is easy for tracing.

Lay the tracing paper over the damask printout. Now this is where your artistic vision and skill come in! Think of a theme and start filling in the damask area with your own doodles, like mine below:


You can scan the tracing paper and continue to work on it in your photo editor software.


Or, you can do a repeat pattern by hand on paper, old school style. (madamchino on Instagram)

Waikiki — Fifth Avenue on a beautiful beach

The Hawai’i weather is awesome compared to New York City!  There is no checking the forecast here — one simply leaves the house. It is a thing of beauty.  And almost every day is a beach day, although for us ladies that can cut both ways!

So what do you get when you mashup Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive with a beautiful island beach? Seems you get Waikiki!

Night scene in Waikiki, Spam Jam
Waikiki Spam Jam 2016 (yes, THAT Spam®)

“Why would anyone want to perpetrate such a mashup?” is the logical follow-up question, and that is what I’ve often found myself asking since I arrived here a little over a month ago.  Why did the developers think this commercialization of the beach was a good idea?  Why is this area still dotted with construction cranes, when it seems so unsustainable? Is there no one planning long-term sustainable commercial/tourism development?  Well, it makes digging for the hidden gems of real Waikiki character a bit tougher, but all the more enjoyable when discovered.

I guess this over-commercialization explains why some residents of the other islands are so fiercely protective of them.  Stay tuned for my future forays to the islands…

Aloha…Relocating to Hawaii (or is it Hawai’i…)




“Can I come?”

That’s pretty much the gamut of responses I’ve gotten when I’ve told friends and colleagues that hubby’s job is spiriting me away to Hawai’i.

I’ve been reading about the aloha spirit, checking shipping quotes, furiously discarding unneeded items, and having last dinners, lunches, and coffees with all our friends and family.

Very excited to start a new chapter in life and hope you, dear reader, will stay for the journey.

Updates to follow…

Tech Tangent: Installing the Bitpay Ecwid plugin with WordPress

Instructions for the layperson installing the Bitpay Ecwid plugin

After trying unsuccessfully to install this Bitpay plugin at my WordPress site, I decided to go with a simpler plugin from .  So while it is not the smooth solution I wanted and I now effectively have 2 stores, at least it is working and I can accept payments!
For anyone other artists out there who are not web programmers and want to accept Bitcoin using Bitpay on Ecwid, I can get you as far as getting the Bitpay option to appear on your Ecwid checkout page:


1. Backup your site, and make sure you have SSL enabled (you can purchase through your hosting service)
2. Download the zipped files for Ecwid Bitpay plugin from Github
3. Extract the compressed files and note the location
4. Log into your website’s hosting site and open the File Manager
5. Navigate to the folder in you site which contains your WordPress installation. Then open the sub-folder which has all your plugins, including Ecwid. It may be a location such as this: public_html/wp-content/plugins/ecwid-shopping-cart

6. Create a new folder there called “ecwid-plugin-master”
7. Upload the extracted files from Github into this new folder. (if you know how to FTP, you can also do that)
8. Open the “bitpay” folder, and then open “config.php” with your File Manager’s text editing feature.
Now you are ready to follow the instructions in the README file which was included in the files from Github to edit the config settings.

This is what you should see when you open the config.php file with a text editor. (I added my comments inside asterisks ***):

// ecwid settings
$storeURL = ”; // example: ‘’ ***fill in your store link between the single quotes***
$storeId = ”; // found in your ecwid control panel, bottom-right

// bitpay settings
// url of bitpay folder on your server. example: ‘
$bitpayURL = ”;
// apiKey: create this at in your account settings and paste it here
$apiKey = ”; // ex ‘DNboT9fVNpW7usAuDNboT9fVNpW7usAu’
// speed: Warning: on medium/low, customers will not see an order confirmation page.
$speed = ‘high’; // can be ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’. See bitpay API doc for more details.

//payment method settings
$login = ”; // see README ***generate a random string and paste here between the single quotes. You can use sites such as***
$hashValue = ”; // see README ***generate a random string and paste here between the single quotes. You”ll need a third random string for the MDchecksum as well. Note these numbers in someplace where you can find it later, because you will need to enter them into Ecwid settings.***

// add trailing slash to url
$bitpayURL = preg_replace(‘#([^\/])$#’, ‘\1/’, $bitpayURL); ***This portion I don’t understand. I am still waiting to hear back from ,  if they ever get back to me, I’ll repost.***

The above steps got me this far…you can see the Bitpay option appears
…but after clicking “Continue”, the next page generates an error.

Tech Tangent: Dual booting Linux on an old HP Mini 2140 netbook

Now for another one of those enjoyable digital tangents I go off on every now and then. I was asked to install Linux on a bunch of old HP 2140 netbooks to add a bit more life to them. Because it’s the distribution I’m most familiar with, I tried installing Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS 32 bit, but it was still very glitchy, and I had problems installing the wireless drivers even though I had researched and downloaded them in advance. Next I tried Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa 32 bit, Mate version. (Thanks to some vigilant YouTube commenters, I found out that Mate is pronounced MAH-tay, as in yerba mate.)

Mint installer is actually easier and faster than Ubuntu, and zero problems installing the Broadcom 802.11 drivers (thanks to this site).  I downloaded the drivers here:

I used a USB stick to install, since the HP netbook doesn’t have a CD drive. I made my own using a small application called YUMI from . But you can also order a pre-installed USB stick from a company called . Mint prefers you connect to the internet while installing, but this is not necessary — just install the Broadcom drivers after installing and restarting once.















ARTrovert — Introvert

If you know me, you know I’m an introvert. But if you didn’t know that, don’t worry — my own brother recently seemed surprised that I thus classify myself.

Often people have expressed wonderment that I have not sold more work, or am not yet a highly-paid artistic director or corporate officer. Some show kind concern about my secular career and have encouraged me to be more aggressive in my work life. This used to lead me to question my own value very frequently. “As an intelligent and creative person, why does it seem that others pass me professionally, or earn more than I do despite the hours I put put into my work?”

As is borne out by various studies, anecdotes, and my own personal experience, some (small?) part of the answer to such questioning must be gender and race-related. (Women in the US still earn around 77 cents to a man’s dollar. And for every dollar our white female counterparts manage to make, us black gals get about 84 cents.)

Anyway, my spiritual beliefs cured me of those bouts of secular self-doubt; I came to realize that I didn’t want or need to seek the Hollywood happy ending I’d been fed as a child; get the girl/boy, trounce the bad guys, get rich. This realization however, does not preclude analysis of my employment history; I continue to give it thought, and even wrestle with the occasional reared head of ambition.

But only recently did I realize that MUCH of the damage done to my secular career (and self-esteem) over the years was attributable to my not meeting unrealistic societal expectations; being outgoing, networking and social ladder-climbing. Introverts are expected to suck it up, put on their extrovert face, and power through that job interview or sales call. Usually if a child is poor at sports but gifted in math, everyone praises his strengths and says, “Don’t worry about the sports, you’re brilliant in other areas.” Not so with introversion. It doesn’t matter if you are a whiz with words and images, articulate, trustworthy — if you are not good at glad-handing, small talk, and hors-d’oeuvres, the societal consensus is that you are somehow wanting. (Fortunately my parents didn’t conform to larger society, and allowed me to just read books and make art.)

See the talk which thoroughly impressed me here:

(スーザン・ケイン 「内向的な人が秘めている力」 With Japanese subtitles 日本語字幕があります。)

While I hate the “brooding artist” stereotype, I have to admit I do like a good brood now and then. Chit-chat is usually like Kryptonite to me. I always want to get straight to the point, and I think that’s why sometimes I may be mistaken as standoffish or aloof. My husband is very patient with me; he often seems to be the opposite, thriving on social gatherings, and boisterous restaurants, although I think he may be an ambivert.  After a party or meeting a large group of people, I have to find a quiet place and recharge, often with a book or browsing news articles online.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why I love riding motorcycles  as well; only room for one! Introvert Bike