The drawing board is a good place to be and the farm is full of beautiful flowers. I am blessed with wonderful friends and talented colleagues.

I have all I could ask for from this life except a million bucks in the bank. Must finish prose novel and new graphic novels all of which are sure to be best sellers! (Only half joking.)

On my old blog, I whined about how I was having trouble controlling the time I spent on the internet. I even took a couple of those silly tests to see if I had an internet addiction (the answer: no.)

I had developed some bad work habits, probably due to dissatisfaction with peripheral things. The tedium of being housebound for months with health problems was a contributing factor (Yes, I’m fine now.)

Breaking the web habit was very odd for me since I had always been such a workaholic. My job requires I spend a heck of a lot of time on the internet. I’d developed internet ADD and every sidebar was a bunny.

To those who asked for some tips on how to deal with the bad internet habit, I recommend Leechblock, a program which puts a timer on websites you frequent. For example, there’s a combined seven minute limit on my Facebook/Myspace pages. Once I go past the seven minutes, I’m logged off for 24 hours. If you would like to completely block a website forever, it can do that, too.

After just a couple of weeks, I noticed my web surfing habits had gone (almost) back to normal. I was spending significantly less time online. Over the last several years, I have almost completely eliminated all message boards from my web time. There’s nothing wrong with going on these sites, but they can be bad for concentration and work output. I took my own message board down some years ago.

Another program for MAC users is Freedom, freeware which puts a time limit block on your internet access for up to eight hours.

(Some people wonder why others don’t unplug the computer if they don’t want to web surf. That’s like telling an addict to put down the crack pipe.)

I don’t Twitter at all, but I’ve got friends who are wedded to the thing, and one became tearful admitting how much time she spent on it. I recommended Freedom, and boy, is she happy.

Turn Freedom on during work hours, and you’re set. You can still use the other programs on your computer. If there’s an emergency, you can always turn off Freedom and restart, which will get you back on the internet.

The point of the program is to break your chain of thought and eliminate automatic behaviors, like the need to tweet. I like the timer function, which I set to break up my work day into halves. I get my correspondence in the morning, and email scans of my art in the evening.

While Leechblock is useful, Freedom is an essential backup. Leechblock can only handle the few dozen websites you specifically request the program to block or limit. Freedom blocks everything.

Over at Salon, an overview of the internet habit, and how it is creating a nation of people with very short attention spans.

…a constant diet of reactive-system stimuli has the potential to alter our very brains. The plasticity of the brain, scientists concur, is much greater than was once thought. New brain-imaging technologies have demonstrated that people consistently called upon to use one aspect of their mental toolbox — the famously well-oriented London cabbies, for example — show enhanced blood flow to and development of those parts of the brain devoted to, say, spatial cognition.

I realize giving people advice about how to spend less time online does my blog no good, but the point is not to promote the idea that web surfing is bad, but that it must be kept in balance. If you’re having trouble keeping a good balance, there nothing wrong with using a simple tool to help you achieve that balance.

Speaking of tools for work, a surprisingly useful art tool is my weed whacker.

Yessiree, my handy lawn scaping tool is the most soothing hand massager ever. Years ago, Neil Gaiman gave me a fancy Pear hand massager to help prevent carpal tunnel, but nothing beats my weed whacker. Every morning I am out there trimming the verge. The vibration action works wonders on my digits, arms and shoulders.

Not only do I have tidy edges, I have tingly fingers.

OK, enough of that, feast your eyes on these beauties.

Draped over the bank of a stream, the wysteria looks and smells particularly fine this year.

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The bees were shocked by a sudden blast of cold this morning and clung to the flowers in a stupor.

The pollen is omnipresent. While I appreciate the fact that the plants are trying to breed, every time I sneeze I realize I am reacting to pansy spunk up my nose.

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Aren’t dogwoods pretty?

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