Just yesterday I finished the second coat on this black. Everything takes two coats, at least, so basically I am paining this image twice. This is the drawing (points to the printed illustration on a paper), that’s how it’s going to look like.
I am from Houston, but have been here since 2010. This is the perfect neighborhood. There is no homeowner’s association, so I thought “I am going to start putting stuff outside my house,” and that’s when I did our garage door. A few days later that neighbor over there was driving by and said “you know what? I want some of that! Come paint my fence!” – so it started. Then I did the one across from my house, another one over there, now this one, and there’s another one coming up.
I don’t even have a cellphone, I have a flip phone that I keep in the car for emergencies, but nobody has its number. I go all by landline. And with Facebook, I was thinking “this is stupid,” but then I got into the neighborhood group, and now it’s different, I am on it all the time. I keep thinking “what are people doing? What’s happening with my neighbors?” and I put jokes there, and that’s all I do. One day I wrote on Facebook: “hey y’all you great neighbors, if you‘re tired of just sitting around wasting your time looking at Facebook and staying on the computer too long, get yourself outside in the bright sunshine and come on down to Fencebook.” I think I hit the right thing, because I can be in the backyard and I can hear people laughing outside.
I was born in southwestern Arkansas and spent most of my time in the northern part of the country. I moved to Austin in 2016 to become the lead operations ranger here and McKinney State Park.Before I was a wilderness ranger and firefighter for about 13 years. I worked all over: Minnesota, Arizona, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada.
I lived in wonderful places all my life, but I love cities. Cities have their own sense of wilderness. If you are in the backcountry of a pristine wilderness area in a national forest somewhere, there is that strong sense of isolation. I think a city offers that in various ways. You can be very anonymous in a city, there is a level of solitude that comes with the buildings and the people. Cities are beautiful in their own way.
Most of the time I dislike the weather immensely here in Austin – it’s hell’s front porch, right? But I really like the city and I have great friends here.
More people have been coming to the park to try to escape the confinement of the pandemic, so that’s been a challenge for us.
Sure, I saw grizzly bears, but the most interesting thing I have seen in terms of wild animals was here. We have a strong population of coyotes in central Texas, and the largest population of coyotes I have seen is right here. There was one coyote that I think was in distress, because he was very emaciated, and he came very close to me while I was working. He wasn’t scared at all and kept walking along me. I didn’t have the skill level of the knowledge to help him, so I just tried to keep it away from other people.
I work in the flooring department at Home Depot. I answer questions about vinyl, carpet, wood flooring, tile, but most of my time I am studying. I am going to school at Texas State. My major is international studies, and my minor is Japanese. I have always loved Japan for their food and art.
I had a lot of interests when I was in high school – culinary, music, animation. I think that international studies is the culmination of all that. Of course, I have always had an interest in traveling. In 2019, after I graduated from high school, I went to Japan with my dad. We went to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. It was cloudy the day we took the train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, so I couldn’t see the top of the Mount Fuji. That was frustrating, but also beautiful.
The Japanese writing system is very difficult; it’s probably the most difficult writing system in the world. They incorporated a lot of characters from China. Indigenous Japanese people were from the Korean peninsula. They didn’t have their own written language prior to moving to Japan, so they started adapting Chinese characters to their own spoken language.
If I won the lotto today and there was no pandemic, I would move to Japan. I would be hesitant to be far away from friends and family, but I really liked it there. I would choose Kyoto because it’s old-fashioned, sort of what you think of when we say “classic Japan,”, or “ancient Japan,” with a lot of mountains and nature and old temples.
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