Howdy Traipser!

My virtual assistant checks all links before I send this newsletter. However, sometimes he’s a bit daft and messes up. Please forgive him: he’s a T. rex, after all, and still struggles with the nuances of technology.

As part of my new effort to share what is possible for an adult piano student, here’s a working link of me playing Vivaldi Variations.

Travailing About, Edition 98 features:

-Lessons from the masters
-Seth Godin's advice for artists (or anyone?)
-Surreal landscape photos
-My go-to healthy, fast meal
-Not all is bad in the world


BTW, check out last week's "hard choices, easy life" blog post if you missed it.

Ooooh, spring was in the air during this week's ride! Side note: skies are so boring without clouds.
Lessons from the masters

I’m slowly perusing the art instruction book Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters. Via examples from Davinci, Rembrandt and others, the author demonstrates how the masters approached creating art.


My biggest takeaway: they didn’t draw exactly what they saw. They'd leave out shade on an upper lip from a nose to avoid a mustache, omit the tip of an ear for a tilted head portrait, or create light sources from nowhere.


Beginners, on the other hand, aim to copy exactly. The author gives the example of a student drawing a nude model…complete with the shadow on her chest from a cat asleep on the skylight.


This makes me think of creative expression in general. With piano, I learn a piece true to composer's music. But when I play the piece, I vary the piece depending on my mood or even the time of day. Professionals amaze me with their ability to flooow depending on the day.


With writing, I Break Grammar Rules to fit my voice or to be bombastic. (HEY, IT’S MY NEWSLETTER!)


This applies to something as simple as storytelling. People enjoy stories for lessons or entertainment, not for 100% factual regurgitation of an event. Drop an Abominable Snowman or extra 30 mph into the tale!

Seth Godin, dropping wisdom. I'm quite sure 2/3 of this list applies to anyone, not just artists!

Mind-Blowing Landscape Photos

These landscape photos are min...oh hell, I already used mind-blowing in the subject.


I tried to pick a few favorites and failed. Hard to believe they're all from Earth and not some fantasy video game!

Ok, fine, I picked one at least. See what I mean?! Fantasy world.

My Go-To Fast, Healthy Meal


My piano teacher is a young Brazilian dude who is looking to eat a more plant-based diet. He asked me what my favorite healthy and filling meal is, so I sent him the below "recipe" that Chelsea and I eat all.the.time.


His response after making it: I just wanna say thank you. It was the first time I've had a meat-free meal and felt completely satisfied with it. 

Huge discovery and breakthrough for me, and my parents are visiting and loved it as well!


I'm totally opening a Michelin restaurant now.
The fancy recipe? All I do is throw together some combination of the following ingredients, varying it to keep it interesting: 


-Base of a grain or legume (brown rice, barley, wheat berries, lentils)

-Beans (black, garbanzo, pinto)

-Sweet potato or yam

-Greens (kale, chard, spinach)

-Vegetables (e.g. peppers, carrots, broccoli, peas, corn, squash, cabbage)

-Mushrooms (cooked)

-Protein (baked tofu or marinated tempeh)

-Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin)


-Kimchi or sauerkraut


-Some kind of homemade sauce like this, a store-bought teriyaki sauce like what Trader Joe's sells, or whatever I create.

The key is prepping and cooking stuff beforehand when you have time. If all your ingredients are ready to go in the fridge, it's 5 minutes to meal time vs. grabbing some ready-made, less healthy alternative.

It ain't all bad news


The world be megacrazy right now, but here’s a counterpoint: beautiful news from around the world in a cool graphic. Good things that are happening, major trends to be happy about, yang to doomscrolling's yin.


In the past 50 years:

-Literacy is up 25%

-54% more people live in a democracy

-2.6 billion more people have access to clean drinking water
-89% of people have access to electricity compared to below 70% before  

Worst virtual assistant ever. He'll figure out YouTube links soon, I'm sure...

Shazam, 98th edition of Traipsing About in the books!

This week's unsolicited advice: draw on Davinci's wisdom and make your creations your own, whatever they may be.

P.S. It's amazing what creative people can concoct with zero budget. Sayyy the movie Alien...done in 60 seconds.
I'm planning a bikepacking trip in SE Oregon and look forward to visiting the Alvord Desert again!
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