Michael Muranaka

My name is Michael. I am an artist.

Current Project: 100 Days / Face Sketches

Social: Instagram

Check out music I make on Bandcamp

Check out fonts I made on DaFont

The Abandoned Hummer H3

About 5 months ago, I watched a young woman pass by me in her grey H3 and park in front of the clubhouse at the complex I live at.

A sedan parked next to her and a young man got out. They were smiling and happy. The young woman got out, and they both got into the sedan and left.

I have no idea why I remember this. There was nothing that stood out to me about the couple. I watched them drive away, turning at the end of the street.

I never saw them again.

I thought maybe they lived in the adjacent complex and they would return later that day for the car.

Some weeks later I was walking my dog around the complex and I noticed the H3 was still there. This was odd. H3’s aren’t super common. If they were leaving the car there long term, a pretty freaking long term had already passed. Since it was during COVID, it didn’t seem likely that anyone would complain since noone was allowed into the clubhouse.

Months passed.

I explained the encounter to my wife at least 3 times – maybe more. Why was the H3 still there? Had the couple gotten into an accident? Did they forget where they parked their car? Was it stolen? Was there a stash of drugs or weapons or candy stowed away?

It’s a pretty expensive car to just leave someplace.

I thought about calling it in numerous times. I thought about trying to steal it myself, but I doubt that I could a) hotwire a car or b) do anything that stupid. Plus, these psychos could have planted some kind of incendiary device so that upon opening it I’d be blown to bits and unrecognizable from the shrapnel.

This car has tormented me since that fateful day I watched it park.

Today I was walking my dog around the block hastily because I had a meeting and I was trying to unload an air purifier that we didn’t use anymore on Facebook Marketplace – and lo and behold – the H3 WAS GONE.

Just as it had parked mysteriously so did it vanish. I don’t know if a neighbor called it in. I don’t honestly know that it was there the whole time – what if someone just parked there every day and I never noticed?

To the mysterious owners of the H3, I’ve spent long walks wondering about you. Why did you park in front of the clubhouse. Do you live here too? Did you go on a trip and not want to pay for parking? Don’t tell me – just let me wallow in the mystery.

July 19, 2021 • Permalink

The Only Logical Takeaway from the Matrix

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the movie The Matrix.

I remember seeing it when it came out and thinking it was a little bit scary. It’s dark. There’s people in bondage dancing to crappy music. Agents can hijack your body at will.

The first time I saw it I took the whole thing at face value. It’s an action movie that had groundbreaking special effects at the time I guess? The 3D holds up as well. The sequels wrap up threads in the story, but the only film in the series that really matters is the first.

By the time I hit college – and people still talk about this concept today – there were classes about the idea that we ourselves were in a Matrix of sorts.

I was always quick to get angry about ideas like this, passing them off as stupid.

Now as a man of a certain age, I try to temper initial negative reactions and see things with an open mind.

The other day I was watching the Matrix again as I do every handful of years and the meaning finally clicked.

Leaving the Matrix means rejecting belief systems. The real world might be gross and violent, but the only way to grow as a human is to leave belief systems that you were raised with, that you held onto behind.

Growing up, concepts annoyed me and I would dismiss them without giving them a chance. Leaving that belief system behind, I can try and give ideas a chance for better or worse – bypassing anger and negative emotions. I’m not perfect by any means, but completely denying other people or concepts would leave me trapped in my old belief systems.

There are millions of examples and analogies. A great example is the movie Yes Man starring Jim Carrey. He was a guy who lived in a small, closed off world, but once he started to say yes to everything it opened up his world to new experiences.

Believe whatever you want, hold onto your beliefs. Hold onto things that make you happy. But don’t close your world off to people or experiences cause that’s all we really have in this crazy world anyhow.

July 13, 2021 • Permalink

When is it done?

I am an artist. Like all artists, I am extremely critical of myself. That being said, if I am working on a project, there is a huge, abstract range of project status’ that I work with – in progress, done – not good enough, completely finished, etc.

One of the biggest roadblocks we face as artists is deciding whether or not something is finished. This is something you have to decide for yourself – when is something good enough for you to consider finished?

There are a couple things you should consider.

1: When is something done? If you’re never finished with something you’ll never be able to move on. You’ll feel frustrated, angry, inadequate, impotent, any other negative adjective you’d like. You need to set a benchmark now – it can always change.

2: Do, redo. This isn’t your magnum opus. Get something done and move on to the next thing. Creativity is a muscle and you’re benching more and more each day. You can always redo. One project I tried last year was drawing pictures twice. I went through the process a handful of times, drawing something and then coloring it, then doing a round 2 – new sketch new colors. The second version was always much better.

Your goal isn’t to be the best. Your goal isn’t to knock it out of the park every time. Your goal is to learn and enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy the process then what the hell are you doing with yourself?

June 22, 2021 • Permalink

The Only Real Investing Advice

The appeal of investing is obvious: making money – especially quick and in large amounts. I grew up in a house where my father and grandfather (and now sister) gave me investing advice. You can follow trends, day trade, or ride high on the crypto train – but there is only one true piece of investing advice that you should follow.

Invest in companies you believe in.

My dad worked at McDonalds and therefore invested in McDonalds. If you believe in a company with your whole heart, invest. Invest in those who you work for, work with, trust, and believe in.

I was recently turned on to the Brave browser by a coworker, and I truly think it’s the future of the web. They reward you in crypto (BAT) for viewing ads – advertisers are paying you to view their ads. I’ve converted all my crypto to BAT because I believe in Brave.

There’s an endless stream of investing advice that you could buy into, but I’d stick to investing in what I believe in, and for long term investing read The Secret Path to Wealth.

June 20, 2021 • Permalink

The Rest of Our Lives

Every day is a constant battle with my subconscious mind. Every day I struggle with self respect, self confidence, anger, and a myriad of other issues. My subconscious doesn’t want me to get out of bed in the morning. My subconscious wants me to take the easy way out, put in the least amount of effort, hide my creativity from the world. The only thing holding us back from a world of infinite, beautiful possibility is ourselves.

This gets more complicated because I have a 2 year old child. The way she deals with overcoming her subconscious heavily depends on my wife and I. You can relate or not, call me a fool or not, I just hope that you’re strong of mind and will.

June 20, 2021 • Permalink