Category Archives: Derrick

Remembered with Nostalgia

Now that I’ve been back to reality for 7 days, probably a good time to go over my vacation.

FRIDAY

Left work at 4 PM or so. Vacation starts.
Had FNSC with Willy. Ate at Colorado Grill.
After Colorado Grill. Started watching a new show, NARCOS.

SATURDAY

Breakfast at Legal Limit with Mom.
Photography for Amber and Steve’s Wedding.


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Not Steve pictured.

SUNDAY

Went to the Lutheran Church in Gilbert with Jesse and Nader to celebrate Nader’s 30th year in the United States.
Ate lunch at the church with some of the people that helped Nader when he got to the country.
Went to Gene’s farm to admire his car collection.


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Sent this picture to Russell of Youth Nazis harassing this old woman.

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Sent this picture to Logan because he sent me a picture trying to make me jealous of his lunch.

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A Studebaker with an El Camino back.

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Naima getting her pills.

Went to the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and Shorty was there working it.


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While this food stand looks awesome, the ice cream isn’t that great.

MONDAY

Loaded up Mom’s car and headed for Mount Rushmore.
Stopped in Sioux Falls for gas, human fuel, and Falls Park. It rained all the way to Sioux Falls.


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Sent this picture to Jorge and Joe to remind them that I wasn’t at work.

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Falls Park

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Mom struggles with the selfie concept.

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Confused by the bridge they built to seemingly just to wreck the view.

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I wonder what this picture would look like with me in it.

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Oh. Like that.

I give Falls Park the thumbs up. I’ll have to go back when I have more time at some point.

Stopped for gas again next to 1880 town.


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Stopped at Wall Drug right before it closed.


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Still don’t have the selfie thing down.

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Free Water.

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Pretty horrible restaurant across the street from Wall Drug.

I’d give Wall Drug the bird. Don’t waste your time. A bunch of touristy garbage with ridiculous hours.

Got to Rapid City and checked into a hotel with free WI-FI and continental breakfast.

TUESDAY

Got up in the morning and ate continental breakfast at the hotel. Had a lengthy conversation with two women from Arizona that came up there for the Buffalo Roundup.
Left for Mount Rushmore.


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Posted on Instagram. #wafflelife

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First view of Mount Rushmore

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View from the parking lot.

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One armed woman took this picture for us.

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Getting better at the selfie game.

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What Mount Rushmore was supposed to look like, but they had to stop because of WWII. Another thing we can blame on Hitler.

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I give Mount Rushmore the thumbs up.

At the base of Mount Rushmore we ran into Brad Dighton. The cousin of a member of my church. He gave us several pro tips for the area. We weren’t able to get to all of them, but maybe next time.

One of his pro tips was take the Iron Mountain Road to Custer State Park.


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All of these tunnels point back to Mount Rushmore. You can’t tell in the picture, but trust me.

I give the Iron Mountain Road the thumbs up.

Custer State Park is a great example of white privilege. I have no clue why a park is named after Custer. His 2 claims to fame are graduating last in his class at West Point and then getting his buttocks handed to him at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Custer Park (like the man) was more hype than pay off. We were told we would see hundreds of buffalo. We saw one. That being said, the feral donkeys and the prairie dogs made up for the lack of buffaloes.


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I give Custer Park a thumbs up, but it didn’t live up to the hype.

After we left Custer, we went to Needles Highway.


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Still working on the selfie game.

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We’re starting to get there.

Needles Highway is a road about the width of McHose Park road, but with a 400 foot drop to your death on one side. It is amazing!

I give Needles Highway a big thumbs up!

After that we went to Hill City to eat lunch/dinner at a place recommended to us by Brad Dighton. That place was closed, so instead we dined at the Hill City Cafe.


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We bought fudge there.

Hill City Cafe wasn’t terrible, but it certainly was not great. Thumb sideways.

After that, we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial.


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Almost there!

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We might’ve regressed on our selfie game.

I’d give Crazy Horse another big thumbs up! My only complaint is that all the information seems to be on the family carving the memorial and hardly anything on Crazy Horse himself. You know, the guy that ripped Custer’s buttocks off and handed them back to him. He took out Custer’s brothers while he was ate it. Crazy Horse was an OG.

Pro Tip: Pay for the $4 bus ride.

After leaving Crazy Horse, went back to Mount Rushmore for the lighting ceremony.


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Sent this picture of Thomas Jefferson ice cream to Russell since Russell hate Thomas Jefferson for being a slave owner and a rapist. True, but he also made a mean ice cream.

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Paid and extra dollar for the Thomas Jefferson ice cream.

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The lighting ceremony kind of drags on for awhile, but the part where they bring veterans on stage and take the flag down is powerful. While waiting (forever) for them to light up the mountain we became single serving friends with Lance Young. A former Iowa State wide receiver that played in the Dan MacCarney era.

After the lighting we went back to Rapid City and crashed.

WEDNESDAY

Got up in the morning and hit the continental breakfast. Hard. Going home day. No time for single serving friends. Ate and hit the road.

Stopped at Badlands National Park.


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This sign was all hype. No snake.

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Still working on it.

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I think we have it. At least we’re in striking distance.

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Taken by a woman who was friendly, but strangely afraid of falling down the side to her death. She has no future as a Photography 139 Assistant!

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“I’ll take one to the side and one of you in the middle.”

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Not afraid of the edge. Pimp.

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Badlands. 2 big thumbs up. They just need to work on their rattlesnake game.

Next stop on the way home was to see the Dignity Sculpture. It looks like the Big Jesus in Sioux City, only less creepy. I don’t have a picture with the cell phone, but when I unleash the camera pictures, there is one there.

The next stop was Mitchell. I was going to avoid the Corn Palace but it just lined up with when we needed gas and human fuel.


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Go home corn. You’re drunk.

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SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER in corn. Well, I can’t hate that.

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Mic Drop! I think we finally nailed it!

Last time I went to the Corn Palace, I gave it the bird. I’m going to upgrade it to just a thumbs down. It is worth seeing, if you don’t waste time going inside.

We stopped at a place called The Hungry Dog for lunch.


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The Hungry Dog was by far the best eating experience of the trip. 6 out of 5 Stars!!! It only seats about 5 people on the inside and after the only employee took our order, made our food, and delivered it; she locked the door and told us she’d be right back. She had to go pick up her kids from school.

I loved every second of my experience!


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On the way out of town we saw this Albert the Bull wannabe. Jason Baier will get that joke.

The last stop of the evening was in Jefferson for gas and human fuel.


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I wish so badly we had this sign when I worked for the evil clown empire. I can’t even count all the times some dirty white trash blew cigarette smoke in my face as soon as I opened the drive-thru window.

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1424.3 miles in 3 days.

Then home for sleep.

THURSDAY

Did not much in the day. Hung up a bunch of pictures in my bedroom. Cleaned out the guest bedroom now that Alexis has moved out.
Picked Derrick up for the Iowa State game.


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I don’t care what anybody says. I love the new Bugle Cyclone secondary logo.

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Well almost everything about that game sucked, except the company.

FRIDAY

I can’t remember next to anything that happened on Friday.
I visited Scottie D. to get a yard sign. He is running for City Council for Ward 5.


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Also had FNSC with Willy. Think it was at Jimmy’s Barbecue.

SATURDAY

Don’t remember much about Saturday either.

Went uptown during YesterBoone to complete another page of the Photo Journal Project.


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Sent this to Micky and offered to buy it in case he got shutout on his hunting trip in Wyoming.

Went out to McHose Park and with Jesse’s assistance completed yet another page of the Photo Journal Project.


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After that, we went to a Gender Reveal Party for one of the members of the Youth Group. It’s a Girl!!
Headed up to Jay’s for Chili Lab. Both Jay and Wily made great chilis and we enjoyed a viewing of KONG ISLAND.

SUNDAY

Got up and went to church at Boone First United Methodist Church.
Then lunch with the family.
Meeting for the Council to Elect Degeneffe.
Then I went to the Freedom Flight Send-off to see Jesse’s Dad.


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Derrick’s dad made an impromptu speech praising military spouses.

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Monica’s mom made a bouquet that they took with them to place on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Then I went home. Sat on my couch and soaked up the last few hours of vacation, before being back at the grind on Monday.

I’ve been back to work one week. Already fantasizing about the next time I dip my toes into the PTO pool.

The Selfie Project – September

Here is a look back at my favorite September photos from THE SELFIE PROJECT:


September 1, 2017
September 1

September 2, 2017
September 2

September 6, 2017
September 6

September 7, 2017
September 7

September 10, 2017
September 10

September 15, 2017
September 15

September 16, 2017
September 16

September 17, 2017
September 17

September 20, 2017
September 20

September 21, 2017
September 21

September 23, 2017
September 23

September 24, 2017
September 24

September 25, 2017
September 25

September 26, 2017
September 26

September 27, 2017
September 27

September 28, 2017
September 28

September 29, 2017
September 29

And if you can’t wait for these monthly updates, you can follow THE SELFIE PROJECT’S daily updates by following me on Instagram:



@christopherdbennett



I think I had a pretty decent September. Hopefully October treats me well.

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 92

On the day of the Iowa State-Iowa football game, I was able to take a picture for Page 92 of the Photo Journal:


Photo Journal - Page 92
Page 92 – Walk down a busy street taking pictures without stopping.

I completed this page by walking with Derrick from our parking lot to the gate where we enter the stadium. Below are some photos that I took on this photo sojourn that I like, but won’t be adhered into the physical photo journal. There can be only one.

You will get the sense (I’m sure) why Hawkeye fans are universally considered so low class.


Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

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Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92


Photo Journal - Page 92


Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

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Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

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Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Photo Journal - Page 92

Next time we check in with THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT, we’ll probably look at one of the pictures for Page 58.

10-13-07

The pictures in the folder 10-13-07 are from the Iowa State-Texas football game. Here are a few of them:


Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

Iowa State vs. Texas

I don’t recall who won this game, but I’m sure it was Iowa State by a lot as the Gene Chizik era was starting to gain momentum…

If you want to see more of the photos from Iowa State’s 2007 football season, click on the link below:

FONT COLOR=BD2031>IOWA STATE CYCLONES FOOTBALL – 2007


Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane looks to be some tree and night photography.

Valley Lodge is Closed

Since a few people have been asking, I am making a formal announcement.



THERE IS NO CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA AKA BENNETT-FEST THIS YEAR!


The reasons are multiple and complicated, but it is probably your fault. If you search your heart, you know it to be true.

So there will be NO:

– Baby Got Rack Award Winning Barbecue
– Hardcore Firetub Action
– Bubbles
– Sidewalk Chalk
– Golden Retriever
– Master’s Playlist
– Cornhole
– Tent
– Stimulating Conversation
– Catching up with old friends
– No photos like the ones below







2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

Better luck in 2018. I have the idea for that year’s invite. I just need to find some volunteers and some costumes.

Selfie Project – February

This is a good time to check back in with the SELFIE PROJECT. These are some of my favorite images from February:


Selfie Project - February 2
February 2

Selfie Project - February 5
February 5

Selfie Project - February 6
February 6

Selfie Project - February 7
February 7
Selfie Project - February 11
February 11

Selfie Project - February 13
February 13

Selfie Project - February 17
February 17

Selfie Project - February 18
February 18

Selfie Project - February 19
February 19

Selfie Project - February 21
February 21

Selfie Project - February 24
February 24

Selfie Project - February 25
February 25

Selfie Project - February 26
February 26

Selfie Project - February 27
February 27

Selfie Project - February 28
February 28

So far I’m 74 days in and this beard is looking good!

Don’t forget that you can follow the daily SELFIE PROJECT postings by following me on Instagram. @christopherdbennett

Post No. 2500

This blog has hit a milestone. This is the 2500th post since I started “An Artist’s Notebook” on August 9, 2006. A lot of different things have went through these pages over the last 10+ years, but I hope I’ve stayed true to the original vision I laid down in that very first post:

So here is the first journal entry. I felt like having as pretentious sounding name as possible for my journal. I have a few goals about this journal. My main goal is just to actually write in it. My second goal is to be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings. I have another journal on another website, but it is really just a collection of sarcastic statements and cheap jabs at open faced sandwiches. This journal is meant to be about what my achievements and failures are in the world of art. What projects I am working on and what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish. What I am photographing and what I am thinking about entering in photo contests. What I am thinking about. It might not always make sense. It might just be things I need to write down because they strike me as poignant or inspirational. This is in a small way an online “idea box”.

I do also have a goal of producing something that makes me worthy of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook”.

It is strange to think that one of the things that I was originally committed to was the TRUTH. For many years the “motto” of this blog was “Art is a lie that reveals the truth.” Now we live in a post-truth society. Truth has had a hard time. If Justin Timberlake can bring sexy back. I can bring truth back.

I hope in these last 10+ years I’ve stayed pretentious enough for the title “An Artist’s Notebook”. I’m sure some of you will argue that I have. Those of you that like to push the “elitist” lie.

The first JOURNAL ENTRY would go on to tell a story about Photo Contests:

So last night, I attended the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Reception with Sara. I figured that the two pictures that I had accepted for display would be a picture of Jay entitled “Portrait of a Self Portrait” and a picture of a bullfrog entitled “Kentucky Appetizer”. I didn’t have any real strong images to enter into the contest this year, but I felt that I had some that were good enough to display, but probably not good enough for ribbons. I was correct. Those were the two pictures selected for display. They did not receive ribbons.

So now I turn my attention to the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I wasn’t going to enter this contest because I have been frustrated in the past by the way it is ran. The pictures are never displayed on the day that they are supposed to be displayed. Instead, they might be displayed as late as 48 hours. The second thing about this contest that sticks in my craw is that they don’t put the names of the photographers or of the image up anywhere. Basically, there are a bunch of pictures up and who knows who took them.

I don’t complain because I seek the fame and fortune that comes with having your picture displayed at the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I complain because I would like to know who took some of the other pictures. Sadly, 1 town west the now defunct Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest was ran a million times better.

Jay talked me into entering this year’s contest. I told him that I didn’t like having to put any emotional investment into this contest, when it was so poorly ran.

He said it wouldn’t require any emotional investment. I could just put the pictures I made for the Ogden Fun Days Contest into the Pufferbilly Contest and whatever happens happened.

For better or worse, I’m just not wired in such a manner. There are very few things in my life I can just say “what happens, happens.” Photography certainly isn’t one of them.

He did convince me it was a waste not to enter one of the few contests around here just because it was so poorly ran. So, I am entering. I need to come up with 6 entries by August 31. That is the limit and I do not want to do anything less than the limit. I don’t want to mail it in.

So I started a sentence with the word “so”. How very lazy of me. Hopefully I’ve improved in that vein over the years.

It is interesting that I’ve now semi-retired from Photo Contests. I haven’t entered the Pufferbilly Days Contest in years because it is so terribly, dreadfully run. Last year I didn’t enter the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon for the first time in probably 15 years. I just didn’t have the fire in my belly for it. The Ogden Fun Days Photo Contest folded after 1 year.

I may come out of retirement this year. Even though the Pufferbilly Days Contest, is so terribly, dreadfully, awfully run.

Maybe you are wondering what KENTUCKY APPETIZER looked like. Something like this:



Kentucky Appetizer

That picture of Jay? Use your imagination.

In 2500 posts, this blog has went through 3 different platforms. There have been 2,166 comments left. That makes me kind of sad. But I’m sure I’ve received some feedback via email. I’m hoping.

The most popular post category is:

Flowers – 362 Posts

The people to be referenced in posts the most often:

1. Jesse – 283 Posts
2. Teresa – 244 Posts
3. Shannon – 231 Posts
3. Jay – 231 Posts
5. Derrick – 220 Posts

Thanks to everybody that has given this blog a modicum of success through 2500 posts. Here is to the next 2500!

Selfie Project of 2017

So I tried and failed at a Selfie Project in 2016. I’m trying again in 2017. Last year I took the pictures with Blue Boy. Who you may remember is my Canon point & shoot.

This year I’m going to take the pictures with the front facing camera on my Google Pixel. I feel this will enhance the chance of this project working because I always have my phone on my person. That way I don’t have to constantly remember another camera. Therefore I’m taking these pictures with the worst camera I own. Unless you count my pinhole camera and if you were thinking, “Yeah, but what about your pinhole camera?” I say to you, “I’m impressed that you remember that I own a pinhole camera! Well done!”

That being said, the Google Pixel camera is easily the best phone camera I’ve ever owned. Partially because it is made my Sony (shout out to Sony!) and partially because of a myriad of features that are included with the camera. I will one day soon publish a review of the camera, and you’ll know what I mean.

Another thing I should point out is that the rear facing camera on a phone is always way better than the front facing camera. But I’m using the front facing camera for ease of use. Even though it tops out about 4 megapixels. But I don’t have time to teach you about the megapixel lie. That is a subject for another time.

And this time, is the time to share the first ten pictures from the Selfie Project (circa 2017):


Selfie Project - December 31, 2016
Day 0

Selfie Project - January 1
Day 1

Selfie Project - January 2
Day 2

Selfie Project - January 3
Day 3

Selfie Project - January 4
Day 4

Selfie Project - January 5
Day 5

Selfie Project - January 6
Day 6

Selfie Project - January 7
Day 7

Selfie Project - January 8
Day 8

Selfie Project - January 9
Day 9

Part of the purpose of this project is to document my magnificent beard growth. I recently joined the Dollar Beard Club, like beard connoisseur Andrew Bardole. I’ve been enjoying their wonderful beard shampoo, beard oil, and beard cream. It makes me smell like a lumberjack that just got out of a hot spring bath in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. So… pretty amazing.

Although I’ll probably check in on this project from time to time on the blog known as An Artist’s Notebook (that is this blog silly), I don’t know that it will be a regular occurrence. However, these photos will be published on Instagram on the daily. Not only can you check out the progress of the scruff, you can check out Selfie Project Superfan Elizabeth’s daily critique of my smile. So everybody wins!

If you’ve forgotten, my Instagram handle is @christopherdbennett

Be warned, if you hang with me now and again, you might get thrown into the Selfie Project Mix. I’m hoping to even get my picture taken with noted Selfie queens like Alisa and Alexis and Elainie. Fingers crossed and you’ve been warned!