back to the basics…

2013 New Year’s Resolutions
1. Exercise Regularly, and avoid setbacks
2. Get back in to creating art regularly.
3. Learn to play music.
4. Eat Right.
5. Write things down.

I’ve fallen off of the band wagon on sticking with the above. I am writing stuff down more, but got off of exercise a couple of weeks ago when my calf had a major issue…it sort of tightened up after I went down a flight of stairs a little too fast and it actually had me on crutches about a week… The pain stayed with me a long while. For the longest time I could not do stairs since it hurt so bad when the leg was in a certain position where the sore leg was behind the other leg… The pain has started died down a lot. It still does feel like a stiff, sore muscle in my leg sometimes… it is mainly one of the calf muscles but it sometimes radiates up to the back of the leg behind the knee and down to the Achilles heel… The ultrasound they did the day it happened didn’t find anything. I was told an MRI might find something since it has a finer scanning reading in looking for muscle tears, etc. Thank GOD there was no blood clots that the ultrasound found since I had the hernia surgery back in December.

I fell off the bandwagon also by moving my avatar in Entropia Universe to Rocktropia a few days back and exploring the entry level missions there. However, I’ve started to block myself from the forums related to Entropia with extensions on various browsers I use on home computer and blocking it elsewhere using other techniques such as content filtering in internet explorer and host file editing.

I got off target on eating right… I do plan to get back on target though. My goal has got to be 45 or 55 carbs a meal.

I got off target on the exercise because of the calf issue noted above, but plan to re-start exercising again regularly in the next couple of days. I have been doing some wii Just Dance 3 lately. I might re-start the Power 90 but it honestly scares me a little since I’ve read about how bad crunches are the last few days in a few blogs and websites. They can really screw up your back over time if you do too many. If I do do the power 90 again I might sometimes replace doing crunches with just doing a long plank or some other type of exercise?

I have been doing a little bit of MOOC (massively online open course) on coursera for song writing. It has been interesting learning about how line count affects stability/instability, etc. I find myself counting lines on songs playing on the radio these days. I haven’t been keeping up with that course or the social media MOOC I’ve been doing on Canvas Network the last few days since work has been very stressful and after work I just headed directly in to Entropia to reduce some stress through mindless grinding quests, etc. However, as I move forward and start to remove myself from Entropia as often as I have been playing lately, that will slowly come to a halt. If I’m spending all my free time in that mmo I’m not spending it doing other things like exercising and creating art, etc… I need to get back on path.

I see a lot of negativity around me at work, hear a lot of negativity on tv and in social networks, etc. I want to remove a lot of that from myself and focus with zen-like precision on tuning in to my own creativity and positive vibes. The world we live in is a wonderful place. I want to appreciate it more. I want to live long enough to appreciate it for many years to come. I can do much. I must do much. I don’t want to continue to “should all over myself.”

I want to DO.
I want to BE.
I WILL be FREE.

I AM GOING TO BE THE BEST ME I CAN BE.

How many hours a day should I draw?

Came across an interesting thread over at conceptart.org today…

http://www.conceptart.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-35391.html

One poster in there indicates that he draws 4-8 hours a day. Currently since I’ve been focused on working out/loosing weight, I have cut back my own personal time to do art… but I want to get back in to it.

I also might possibly try writing during lunch/afternoon/morning breaks at work to make more time for ‘morning pages’ but maybe not… because I rarely have a bunch of free time at work even on breaks…between going up stairs, to bathroom, to cafeteria, then back down stairs, etc. there’s rarely more than 5-10 minutes of ‘free time’ during breaks… I could possibly get up earlier, but am not sure if that will work or not since plan of going to be bed at 10 only gives 7 hours max when getting up at 5…. been going to bed much later than 10 lately… one night during the weekend I was up til 2 AM I think… luckily next day I could sleep in since it was weekend… sleeping in on weekends is something I need to do away with eventually.

Goal for second month of the 1000 day challenge (which starts in two days on Wednesday) will be to do a second work out a day in addition to the one a day I’ve been trying to get in this first month. I originally was going to make doing the NO S diet the third month’s goal and possibly doing one page of ‘morning pages’ in the evening a goal for the month after that but may make drawing/painting the goal for the third month. I might try to do it some little bit during second month to get used to it more…. working it in might be tough but should not be too hard since I have all of my color pencils next to the couch now all organized by colors… light reds/earth tones, dark reds/earth tones, light blues, dark blues, light greens, dark greens, neutral/black/white/silver/gold, and yellows… I also have some room set up in the art/storage room on a few tables to do paintings/drawings… now just need to make the time.

Honestly, the first few weeks of the working out twice a day will probably be tough on me due to sore muscles/etc… so it’s probably a good thing it’s not the second month’s goal to draw/paint right at the first…

Now for the third month I need to think about how long to draw/paint… and how much time to set aside for each. Paintings typically take me a very long time to do since I’ll rework an area over and over and over and add new layers later, etc. then there is drying time, which for acrylic is not as long as with oil painting but it still is time…

In theory evening workout time should be from about 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm by the time I get shower etc. done. That leaves from 6:30 – 10:00 to try to work in some art, assuming Tekla and I are not spending quality time together, etc. 20 minutes of drawing, either in one session or like four 5 minute speed drawings mith work… maybe alternate between those two, and/or ten 2 minute drawings to fill the same space maybe… then after that 20 minutes go on to longer work.. either with acrylic or color pencil for an hour or three… and then 10 minutes or so cleanup time to get brushes clean, etc. might work. Not sure if I’ll be able to do that every night, but want to make it a goal to get to that level, give or take a little… and then work in art on weekends too. Saturdays being the ‘rest days’ on workouts should be best day for art in theory… but on Sundays being laundry day might be better as a ‘rest day’ instead of Saturdays since gym shorts can’t be dried so have to be hung dry, and are not always dry all the way through before I want to workout if I work out on Sundays… I alternate between shorts and then wash them at the week’s end so that way I don’t have to have a 6 or so pairs. I used to only use one pair but working out twice a day, that’s not acceptable since they are typically still sweat soaked by the time the next workout rolls around. I might need to buy more gym shorts with the next incentive money, if more comes in in the future… and also might get at least one more kettle bell set so that I can do two arm kettle bell workouts eventually, or so there will be one set for me and one for Tekla if we start working out at the same times regularly.

Right now, I’m thinking maybe 2 hour minimum of drawing after month 3 starts might be a good low aim, and any more than that is just nice little extra. that way I’m not kicking myself with negativity snowballs from hell if I don’t get in a full 3 hours a night…

Eventually I’ll need to get the scanner going again… laptop needs to be used for that since main computer doesn’t have a driver for it… laptop is on it’s last legs I think, but it is still useful for that and a few other oddball tasks that I don’t have drivers for on the latest version of windows… Just wish Linux, which is what I use on laptop, had a driver for US-RR 360 sound recorder… becuase i really don’t want to have to reinstall windows xp or drag out an old computer from storage that has it to be able to use the sound recorders again…

Acting/Roleplaying/Theater/Game Design Character Questions. Characters with character.

Found this list of questions in one of my old sketchbooks and decided to post it here since these are very important questions.

It’s vitally important that characters have character. Knowing the answer to just these sort of questions as a game designer, role playing game master, storyteller, etc. is very, very, very important. These are the kinds of questions actors ask themselves when preparing to take on a role and are the type of questions anyone involved in any art form that involves characters should be asking themselves.

http://mastermesh.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/questions1.jpg

http://mastermesh.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/questions2.jpg

How old?
Origin in Feeling toward others, society, organizations of note?

What is your concept of beauty?

What is your concept of fear?

Has your character encounters either ????

is characters goals, fears, hopes, aspirations?

dreams?

where?

Who?

What?

How?

When?

Why?

Talismans?

Artifacts?

Occupation? (or former occupation?)

Feelings towards… ?

physical = height? weight? shape? form, physique? eye color? hair color? skin color?

deformities?

Love(s)? Lovers? Sexuality? Sexual?

Dark Side?

Hobbies?

Religion?

Faithfulness?

Strength of will?

Age?

Intellect/physique meets background?

Purpose?

Reasons? (for being? for being in a certain place, etc.)?

Friends?

Enemies?

Allies?

Acquaintances?

Former Lives?

Birthday?

Birthday sign?

Name?.. and true name?

History?

Mentor(s)?

When and how did important dreams meet your life?

Name enemies you have met, not met?

Quests?

True Form (and it’s looks?) (physically and spiritually, etc.)

Who do you serve – people, self, country, a master, a religion, a gut feeling, a dream, a wife, a husband, kid, etc.?

Ever been to battle?

Ever been to a library?

Ever killed someone?

Ever graduate – from where?

Work experience?

Riches?

What do you value (as your riches, goals, etc.)?

Motives – ulterior, true, false?

Beliefs – myths, truths, half knowledges, lies, afterlife(s)?

Angered by _________?

Turned on by ________?

Virgin?

Origins unknown – history unknown?

Mentally deformed?

Hallucinate?

Drunkard?

Hippie?

Anal accountant type?

Archetypes?!?

How do you have fun?

Hangouts? With who?

Make a living by ___________?

Past Life ideas? — Reborn, death, life? Immortality?

Immortality as a goal?

Experience?

Practice?, etc. etc.

(I could go on forever with more questions)…

Build character. Characters that have character are far better then those with no character.

more old sketchbook stuff.

Working on scanning more old sketchbooks, but I’m not sure if I’ll upload them or not since half of them are not completely readable, and some of them are old rpg stuff and dream journals that might not make a lot of sense to others then me… but we’ll see. I’ll have to look over it all and decide if I want it all here or not.

fantasy stuff… role playing… virtual reality… art – back to the basics

I’ve been kicked out of Entropia Universe a few days now since Vista went kaput on my computer and I don’t have a restore cd that works. I hate HP for not putting the restore cd in the box when they ship it out and rely on a hard drive restore that may or may not work when you need it… and then they want you to pay them lots of cash to buy a restore cd that may or may not work since their blasted hardware is junk that relies on partitions on a hard drive that might get corrupted someday (which happened to me I think)…

I am trying to figure out a way to make Entropia Universe work under Linux, but it’s not promising. I got the installer to work fine under Wine, but now need to install Direct X on wine and a few other things, and even then, it still might not work.

In the mean time I’ve been reading some of my old art books, studying some old drawing books more, and also reading a lot of old role playing books and things. Future posts will probably have more scans of my drawings and paintings, but might also have some other more philisophical thoughts, thoughts on role playing, stage lighting, animation, and a number of other things. Being offline in the virtual reality I spend so much time in has started to get me ‘back to the basics’ on a variety of trains of thoughts that I had several years ago and wanted to follow through back then but didn’t because I got too distracted with this other “virtual world”… I enjoy fictional worlds as a means of escaping reality sometimes – but it’s very easy to take it overboard with a super hyper imagination and make that false reality in to your over-arching real reality sometimes… Its something we all do on some level – people think about their soap operas while they work… or maybe their comic books… maybe something else. We all have hobbies, and most of us don’t have the ultimate job that keeps our attention that we love so much that we never think of anything else — anyways, I’m getting back to the basics mentally and physically on a lot of various levels at the moment…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism

German social philosopher Ernst Bloch wrote that utopias and images of fulfillment, however regressive they might be, also included an impetus for a radical social change. According to Bloch, social justice could not be realized without seeing things fundamentally differently. Something that is mere “daydreaming” or “escapism” from the viewpoint of a technological-rational society might be a seed for a new and more humane social order, it can be seen as an “immature, but honest substitute for revolution”.

motion capture cheap…

http://freemotionfiles.blogspot.com/2009/06/cheap-motion-capture-with-free-software.html

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22cheap+motion+capture%22&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us&sa=2

Yes, Chris, and anyone else who cares to read this. I did post this and the last few posts. This is NOT a robot. I usually bookmark this sort of stuff with del.icio.us but since I don’t have the toolbar for that installed on this computer, I’m just posting it the stuff here…

Believe it or not (yes, you probably do believe since I”m a bit nutty sometimes), I had a jogging suit with pom poms sewed on way back 6 or so years ago when I wanted to get in to this d-sculptor, imodeler, and greenscreen junk. However, way back then the computers I was using were way too slow to do much… Aura 1 used to be in Newtek’s ftp site for free. Not sure if it still is. Newtek is the company that makes Lightwave 3d… There was some sort of a pixel tracking thing in aura that could be exported to lightwave… so you could record motion and create paths for it in 3d. Now that I’m starting to get back in to 3d and stuff mentally, a lot of this old knowledge is starting to flood back in to my brain… interesting stuff.

I have a couple of 1000 watt spotlights that are typically used for construction jobs in my basement. I was going to use them to make a homebrew photo studio, or greenscreen studio a few years back. Not sure if I will do that or not… never used the lights yet since I’m not sure how safe they are (warning label on the side of the box talks about lead)…

I might use them to set up as cheap homebrew strobes to shoot my portfolio in the basement someday.

Need to clean out the basement someday before all of that can ever happen though, or before I can convert the basement in to a descent painting studio like I envision it to eventually be… (assuming I can find some way to ventilate it).

It’s still got quite a few things in it that is a bit unorganized from last year, when mother-in-law moved and father-in-law passed away, and we inherited quite a bunch of odds and ends that are now in storage in the basment…

Imaginitive Flight – on this Bright Night

Zodiac was on attack,
——
so Amma got on,
red gown flowing.
——
The horse was pale
white, and warm

on this cold
and listless night.
——-

——
In the spire
there was a squire
who spied his heart’s desire.
——
Hooves of thunder
took her asunder
——
His heart
was constantly bleeding…

Yearning and seeking,
Seeking, constantly seeking.
——
——
The land was plundered
as the hooves thundered
——
——

The Cheshire cat
laid on it’s back

micheviously smiling,
always smiling

——
——
The stars aligned.
The time was fine

when they finally met
in the heart of the city.
——
——

——
Gooving and grinding
musical binding
——
mystical hair
in the air

bodies swaying
ever so lightly
——
celestial choirs,
rythmic squires
——
throbbing & bobbing
orange and reds

currelean blue
strobes went dead

in the moon’s
bright light
——
——
The zodiac attacked the crazy cat.
but the Cheshire keeps smiling.
——
——

——
They did conspire
near the bonefire

twisting and turning
yearning and learning

the two became one
dawning rays of sun

Cheshire went away
——

you know you are right – and wrong too.

shit nitty pops
sheenennenneybops
shin -n-nine eh pops?

This right here is why
lyrics cannot be done
without some notation…

notation that’s in rotation…

That’s right.

Yeah, yeah.

Sin -n- Nine
eh bops?

Sign and wine
eh pops?

Shit and Knit A Pop.
——————————–
Poems are visual.
Sounds are Lyrical.

Both can be hysterical.

Both can be read wrong
Both can have more than one meaning.

Welcome to the world of the artsy fartsy.

Here we shit and knit a pop
as we bebop
and
Shine and wine

We dine and wine and whine and shine
Studying Sine and why it’s different
then a nine.

Cheshire cat
must still be on attack
this Cinco de Mayo
=============================
Fives and Fives are not nines…
But they might just be a part of sine

Spelled S-I-N.

Is the sin a winning?

Maybe it’s whining…

or it’s wining and a dining?

Tomorrow there’s half a moon
no crescent any more… at least a night…

Maybe Cheshire is whining while logic is dining
and it’s a dying, at least for a night, odd delight…?
==================

It’s no wonder rock stars repeat, and repeat, and rinse and repeat again.
Logic is low jack and there’s no mo jack. Brain’s a burning and a spurning.

=====================

fighting with yourself is hard to do.
You know you are right…
and wrong too…

=====================
Brain fire
It’s a fire in the spire
the wheels are a turning

Bright Light
Flash of brilliance.gone in a minute.

Forgotten and long lost.
That’s why you got to WRITE IT DOWN!

Do it now… you crazy clown.
———————
A bunch of junk that you do thunk
but most gets tossed aside

that is art. Welcome to the far side.
It’s a bit bumpy and a bit lumpy…

It’s that leftover goo
flowing from you that most would like to see.

interesting gel, colorful hell,
maybe a joyous yell.

Creativ-aty
=====================
Dammo in the Jammo
Jibber and a Jabber
What’s going on?

Jinx and the Jonx
conspired a song

a bit of a sock hop
if you will in the
crazy beautiful hills.

Jamma approved
through and through

Rock did roll on-and-on
all through the night
and in to the day.

Mysterio walked
as he talked

on and on – and onandon.

Bab-y-lon did Jah-ba-on.
Jabber on and on –
and on and on

Crazy Arma did get it on.
gooving and a tubin.

They jabbered on and on
and on and on…

but not really…
not uni-verse-sally…

(Sally from the valley)

just locally…

and the groove went on
and on. Near the Warm bonfire
they did chatter and a clatter.

Stay tuned for more
after this commercial break.
======================
bzzz bzzzz bzzzz

nERVEs!

nEurons in ACTION!

eLeCtRoTHeRApY!
IT’S ELECTRIC!

bzzzzzz…

———————

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

creative bug done bit.

================
===Caffiene=====
================
Caffiene kills.
Caffiene heals.

Opens the mind.
Shakes and Grind.

Sleepless night
filled with fright

You know your hooked.
Urine smells like coffee.
=========================

It’s a no-go without the logo

==========================

The Art bug done bit. That is it. Time to be creative.

=============================

Signs from Heaven or from Hell
Only time will tell.

=============================
I browse in my under-trousers

Blue underlines appear in my browser
leading who knows where

Clickity Click
What a virus? Oh Wowsers!
=============================

==============================
You are just being silly.
Am I?
Yes you are.
Now where’s the ham and jelly?
==============================

================================================
=========HOURGLASS==========
================================================
Hourglass, hourglass why are you here?
Duh, the network is down.

Why is it down?
I got no idear.

Hourglass, hourglass, go away please.
There ain’t no way.
You got a virus that won’t make you sneeze.

Hourglass, hourglass, 8 hours have passed.
Now I’m headed home.

I’ll hide in your email,
and give you a blast.

Hourglass, Hourglass, now why are you here?
You have passed me to your home network my dear.
================================================

Talking in circles, the man did find the lady to ask questions.
She thought he was very smart and inquisitive.

Then one day she discovered the answers were nothing more than puzzles.
She got mad, left so sad. Hearts both were broken.

Such is the story of couples who walk and talk but do not listen.
Learn to communicate. It’ll save you both.

=================================
Number has changed. I have not.
I’m still here. Nothing to fear.

Blah blah blah
bleh bleh bleh

Onwards we go.
No money to blow.

The timing just might be right.
=================================

====================
Spend your life
spinning your wheels
Everyone says chill.

but I cannot.
I WILL NOT!

====================

===========================
Language is something.
Language is nothing.

Jibber and a Jabber
Collateral Tatter.

Creative clown
done left town

following after the clatter.

He done found
No one around

===
He and you alone
Alone in the dark
in a moonlit park

Smiling at
Cheshire Cat

It’s on attack
fighting the pack
of the Zodiac.


You know he’ll win
in the end.

Moon cycles turn
as they spurn.

The smiling clown
will wear the crown

staring from afar
as he sits upon his star

staring you down nightly
============================

Oh Lord!
What a Ward.

Used in vain.
It’s insane.

In the night,
In a fight,

even in Church on Sunday.

a few more…

————————————
===========CONFORM==================
————————————
Conform and get rid of your freedom.

Do things my way… the only way…
the way it’s always been done.
====================================

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
=======APPEAL===============
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
It can’t hurt to appeal.
Beg for more money.

You know you don’t deserve it,
nor does your boss!

but you do it anyways…
it can’t hurt to ask…
beg for more money…

Money they don’t deserve.

Money that they use
to make you serve…

Mammon is real and here now.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
+++++=========~~~~~
+++++dReAmS…~~~~~
+++++=========~~~~~
Living in the shadows
your dreams come out.

They are always beside you
but they don’t always shout.

They whisper silently
in your subconcious mind

Driving you ever closer
to the edge.

It is only when
someone you love
teases them gently

softly

that they begin to surface
driving you to become yourself
and start living your dreams.

one small sign of true love.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

=======================
Holy crap.
Screwed up so bad.
What are we going to do?

It’ll all work out.
It always does.

Maybe just not
the way you want it to.
========================

========================
come on now..
you can do it…

Just a few more steps…

OBLIVIOUS OBLIVION
========================

========================
come on now..
you can do it…

Just a few more steps…

Good Boy. Good Girl.
Good God.
========================

========================
come on now..
you can do it…

Just a few more steps…

Good Dog.
========================

========================
come on now..
you can do it…

Just a few more steps…

Good Job.
========================

========================
come on now..
you can do it…

Just a few more steps…

========================

=================
=====Act III=====
=================
Dreams die.
So do we.

but…

Life is worth
living.

Don’t make
the biggest mistake

Sometimes we do cry.
It’s ok.

We will live.
Life carries on.

Let it.
Allow it.

Don’t let the 5 act play
end at act 2.

Drama makes life worth living,
even if there are a few sad parts.

Don’t make your life
come to a tragic end,

especially when it’s just beginning…

even if it’s not…
a new beginning
is born daily.

Life is worth living.
Don’t cut it short.
=================================

==================================
I don’t wanna do it mama.
Don’t let them take me away.

Surgeon masks surround the child
as he looks up at the bright light.

Surgery sucks, but it’s needed.
==================================

========================================
Dentist chair and buzzing drill.
Lolipops to cure their ill.

Mickey mouse stickers stop the wails
Ah, Silence at last…

but not for long…
Open up and saw Aw.

Fears and Tears
as pliers come out.

Don’t you shout.
It must come out!

It must come out.
It simply must come out.

the jaw cracks, the tounge is lashed…
blood is everywhere…

but never fear
Almost done my dear…

Just 24 more teeth to go.
=========================================

=====================
=======ZIPPER========
=====================
Zipper of death
Zipper of Life

Camera bag does open.

Lots of toys
Lots of Joys

Click and Shoot.

=====================

Money comes. Money goes. All it usually brings are woes.

a few poems… simple and complex.

=======================
===LUMPS IN THE DIRT===
=======================
———————–
new brick walls…
new lumps in dirt.

Quadrangles are now triangles.

CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES..

Rec center is now 4 times bigger.
Construction everywhere.

CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES…

The new garage is really huge.
The new facades are really fake.

CHANGES CHANGES CHANGES…
ALWAYS CHANGING.

but,
The art hall remains the same…
always dirty, always grimy, always in need of repair.

MU’s wasted money…

Says the Millionare
as he passes through the
doors that bear his name.

———————-
Creativity stifled.
Funds are now dried up.
changes everywhere.
———————-

==========================
===REMEMBERING LONG AGO===
==========================
Gone are the days of wandering
around the Ville at night
Gone are the days of wandering
a camera without a light
gone are the days of wandering
paintbrush in my hand
gone are the days of wandering
throughout all of the land

running barefoot in the groves
through the pavement
on the concrete and the stone

10 years and more have passed
time pushes on…

History and Present Clash.

Time to begin the new song.

Time to follow the new path.

singing in the rain
watching the clouds again.

prisms of light and dark.
The greys, greens, blues, violets,

and of course the reds, purples, and
hazy darkness behind the trees so
brilliant red

Don’t forget the Oranges too.
—————————–

=========================
==DISTANCE IN THE DARK===
=========================
In to the night
we shall traverse

far
and
close

only

a
flicker
of
light
between

a small dim yellow flick
or maybe a currelean dab

as the night screen closes in
with ultramarine and precious
prussian blues.

—————————–

==============================
===LITTLE WHITE BUNNY TALES===
==============================
Where the fuck did that go?
Never God Damned Mind.

The cursing times…

Hide the tounge
The kids are near.

Hide the truth
Bring out the Lies

It’s Santa’s time.

Tooth faires sprinkling
different colored glitter
all around…

Why’s the colors different mom?

H377 if I know… Oh no…

I mean… darling dear,
oh me, oh my.

Let me tell you some more lies.
==========================

======================
=======GAPS===========
======================
Gaps between the poems
make you stop and think

times to reflect
times to remember
times to pause

and think.
======================

======================
=====SLOW DEATH=======
=======================
you are alive and well
you are sick and ill

the coughs of sick old
middle aged people
coming from their kids

all life is a poem…
REFRAIN is not far away

sound of the
busy bees working away
in their prison cells

those little things called
cubicles…
=======================

==========================
=====Cube cell hell=======
======ever binding========
======ever grinding=======

10 punch numbers worn off

keyboards dusty for years.

Counting down the days
til the weekends is here.

and freedom from these 4 walls
is clear… at least a while.
============================

new goals and organized life…

I’m going to try to get organized in my life again. I’ve created a daily spreadsheet that I will try to write too and check off as I go along that lists all the stuff I should be doing daily. Included in the list are
– walking the dog in the morning
– walking on morning break
– inhaling lunch and doing something creative during the last part of lunch breaks
– walking on afternoon breaks
– walking the dog in the afternoon after work – maybe ride a bike with the dog if I don’t walk him… possibly working up to 5 miles on the MKT trail someday?…
– working out for at least half an hour nightly either at the YMCA, with a workout video, on the wii, riding a bike, on a jump rope, or doing some other form of excercise for at least half an hour
– working on updating online places – this blog, turbosquid, entropia universe stuff, entropiaforum stuff, and whatever else needs to be updated…
– doing at least one chore a night (one chore is something like a load of laundry, mowing, working on organizing the basement, working on organizing the attic, dusting, cleaning one room of the house, working on a 3d project, working on a 2d project)

I like doing little organized excel or google document spreadsheets like this to keep myself organized. I used to do this sort of thing for 24 hour schedule back in college and a couple of years after that, when I was still in shape, healthy, and had a lot of ambitions… Well, it’s time to get my ambitions and goals set again, and not just continue to let myself be an out-of-shape old man… Time to be young, healthy, wealthy, and wise again…

Time to actually stop being a lazy bum with no direction in my life. The time has come, today is the first day in the rest of my life… an organized, orderly, and fulfilling life. A life full of vigor and life. A life worth living to the fullest!

Happy Wednesday.

Maria’s blog: 4/16/2010

I’ve not put a lot in to blogging from Maria Mesh’s perspective for a while. I think now is the time to start doing that. I type a lot on Entropiaforum, so sometimes get lost over there instead of typing over here…

Today, Maria sold her apartment, Omegaton West Habitat – Delta Tower, Apartment 1D to a society mate. Eventually, she may get the chance to buy it back at the same price, but only time will tell. The apartment was sold to free up some PED. Maria also sold a lot of empty books she had in resettlement storage when she was running the “lost library”… an idea that sort of fizzled because a lot of people did not seem interested in buying blueprints, even if they were TT priced. What bps she has left she’ll either sell in the shop or sell to friends at a good price.

Most of the rest of the empty books have the Technician bps in them, so I need to manually unload each and then sell them and the books themselves to the trade terminal. The Lost Library has served it’s purpose, it allowed me to “save” my peds that were tied up in all of these books up until now… I spent the money on them all so that I could basically waste my time moving stuff around in books and organizing them in a nice and neat way instead of wasting time in game doing other junk that would be throwing the money away, such as hunting, buying overpriced stuff I don’t need, but wanted, etc. It was a bit of a way of making the peds last instead of blowing them all at once. Now I have a clearer vision of what to do. I’m going to keep buying stuff at TT prices off of the auctions and selling in the shop. That way I can keep playing the game safely and not loosing a ton of money in high risk investments… so the need to have that many books to mess around with is not there as much any more. Each of the resettlement containers has around 100 books in them, each priced at 1 ped, and a good bunch of them had 2-4 blueprints in them at 1 pec each, bought from the technician… so each resettlement container had about 10 US dollars worth of peds in them… not a lot of money, but enough to make my need for peds now want me to sell them so that’s what I’m doing. It was also, in part a bit of a test on the servers to see how many items an avatar could hold. I discovered that an avatar can hold an almost unlimited amount of items if they are stacked in books, boxes, and other containers… you are not limited to the 200 item slots in inventory and 500 in storage for each planet as some may believe…

Since the apt. sold, Maria is left with two estate deeds – The Shop at Omegaton West Habitat, Delta Tower, Block A, Shop 1, and one of the booths behind it, Omegaton West Habitat, Delta Tower, Booth #3. She also bought a shopkeeper and manniquin a few days ago, which is part of the reason she’s in need of peds… and sold the apt. Shopkeeper cost her 3k, that is 300.00 US Dollars… and Manniquen was only 30.00 US Dollars. I thought you could sell items the manniquen wore as he wore them, but apparently I was wrong on that, so it may be a bad buy. I sent a support ticket in about it since I could have sworn I saw a manniquen do that a few years ago in one of the malls.

Out of the 100 books that were in one of the resettlement containers, only 25 are left that have blueprints… I’ll unload the other resettlement container later that has the component II books and other books later. Luckily, the technician and Trade Terminal don’t let you sell books to them that have blueprints in them, which makes it a lot easier to sell the empty books than it would be otherwise… I just throw them all in the sell tab and if they have blueprints in them they bounce back in to inventory.

A lot of crafters tend to throw away low level blueprints, that is sell them to the trade terminal, or hand them out to anyone on the streets. The idea behind the Lost Library was to gather up those throw aways and re-distribute them to other folks in exchange for other blueprints, etc. That worked up to a point, but it got to be very difficult to organize, so I eventually sort of gave up on the idea, and just started selling on consignment in my shop. With that I paid Trade Terminal prices to crafters, tried to sell the stuff, and then if we got profits I gave them profits back. There was a lot of work involved in keeping the google documents. I still have several things on consignment with several people, but will slowly either sell them back to them at TT value or outright buy them so I’m not left holding a lot of people’s stuff, where I could eventually get accused of being a scammer.

In Entropia Universe, your reputation is EVERYTHING… if you ever get accused of scamming, you might as well forget about playing the game for a year or two… it’s not really that bad, and I’ve never been accused of scamming because I never have scammed… but some people aren’t so smart… you are not as anonymous as you may think you are in a virtual world… I could write a lot of topics on that eventually.

Well, my hands are a little sore from typing this and moving all those blueprints from the resettlement boxes to inventory, and then to the sell tab of the technician, so I’ll write more at a later time. Have a nice day.

Can Art Change the World?

As Director of Digital Learning, I might just have the best job in the world. Take today as an example. At 10:00 a.m., I reviewed video for an online studio course about the materials and techniques of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman (among others) that my coworker Amy Horschak and I hope […] http://bit.ly/d14bAR

Maria’s getting another apartment. Loooong history…

This post is a lot longer than I thought it would be… what’s sad is a lot of details aren’t in here… a lot has happened in the last couple of years in Entropia Universe for my avatar… there’s enough plots and stuff in here and all that’s been going on with the NBK on the forums at Entropia Forum to make an entire mini-series or 19 of them, lol…
——
Maria mastermesh Mesh is about to purchase a second apartment again. She previously had 2 of them… but sold off one a few days ago. Now she’s getting a second one since it’ll be on the same floor as the one that she already has.

There’s a lot of history… now here a little back story for those of you that are in to reading about that sort of stuff…

In the Pre-Maria Days, I had heard of Entropia Universe, via Slashdot.org. However, it sounded like a crazy idea… then… there was this one post about some guy named Deathifier that had spent a lot and earned it all back… and another guy named Neverdie that had spent even more, and earned it all back… so then Maria came in to being…

Yes, the hype was mostly hype, but it was an interest way to spend time and some small amounts of money as I was home on weekends as my wife worked then… and a few months prior to that time, a casino had opened a few blocks away from where we lived… At the casino I could blow through 30 dollars in less than 20 minutes. IN Entropia Universe, I could survive on 30 dollars hunting snablesnots for a month, so it seemed like an interesting thing…

Maria started out her life in Entropia Universe as a poor homeless citizen, like all avatars are when they first begin the game, with nothing more on her back than an orange jumpsuit.

Then, Maria sweated a lot and finally got a little income through that. She also shortly got an income from a deposit from an Earthling and took up hunting. She axed her way across two continents with a few 2×0 axes that got bloodied up pretty fast and needed repair. Maria found that the axes were not very economic weapons eventually (no Skill Increase Bonus – SIB)…

Then, Maria took up hunting with a rifle. Her trusty rifle accompanied her everywhere. Her favorite hunting spots were, and still are locations that are not real busy spots. Prior to the recolonization of Calypso (Version Update 10), she hunted a lot around Fort Argus, Fort Zeus, North of Fort Ithica and radom other spots on occassion.

She no longer hunts much to the east of Argus since it is now a Player vs Player (PvP) Zone. She does still travel north of Argus on occassion. She’s also found a new hunting location that did not exist prior to the recolonization – EOS. She loves hunting Foul in the hills between EOS and Athena Space Base.

Back in the early days, Maria loved trading, and joined the Entropia Forum Dollar Growth Fund (EFD Growth Fund) Smart Trade Terminal Solution (STTS), and thought about joining Entropia Investment Fund (EIF).

STTS only existed for a short time and now no longer exists. EFD Growth Fund still exists on the forums at Entropia Forum. If you are a regular over there, you might think about joining the fund since the only investment requirement is Entropia Forum Dollars, not real money – although it is possible to buy or invest real peds to get EFD in that fund…

Luckily, Maria never joined EIF since they sunk a lot of money in to investments such as Land Areas, a mall shop, and a hanger, all of which have zero Trade Terminal Value. If Maria had bought in to that fund, her money would now be gone with little to no way of getting the money back since the EIF still exists but has no plans on ever selling out for any time in the near future it appears, so all peds that went in to those investments are now gone… The investments are bringing EIF some money, but it’s arguable how much since it’s likely that the original investment money is gone unless they ever sell their invested money, which they have no plans on doing… so until they get that money back, they have lost a lot of cash… Unfortunately, sometimes, to get ahead on Calypso that it is required to make big investments like that. I still think the EIF is extremely risky since there is no such thing as multiple owners of an asset in EU, and everything is based on trust. If the Fund manager dies or something, the assets he holds can be considered gone like the wind, along with all the Project Entropia Dollars (PEDs) that various individuals put in that invested in that stuff through the EIF.

Maria also thought about joining MMA Bigshow in his quest to create Entropia Holdings at one point in time. However, MMA is no longer in game, so Maria is glad she did not do that. MMA’s cockiness got the entire community irritated at him in the forums at entropia forum, even though he really probably had some ok ideas… I guess if you are martial artists that fights all the time, you might get too aggressive sometimes… and that may reflect in other areas of your life…

Maria jumped around to several different societies in the beginning of her journeys. For a while she was in The American Soldier (TAS), where she met some nice friends, including big Dodge Ram, and Fillipe Castanhas, among others.

Later, TAS was disbanded, and Fillippe talked Maria in to joining Entropia Asia Cadets (EAC), which was a cadet society for Entropia Asia. Maria was not Asian but joined anyways because some of her friends were there. Shortly thereafter EAC got blackmailed a little – one member of the society (I won’t name names here) bought a dot com for the Entropia Asia… and did so without consenting with anyone… in part because he ran an ISP… it was a nice site with it’s own forum and things… but wasn’t that great… Later, the higher ups in the society were asked to pay for that domain or something (not sure about all the details since I was a lowly cadet)… and the leaders of EAC broke off to start Zoku instead of staying as a cadet society for EA. At that time Cadets were given a choice – either stay in a dead cadet society, join Zoku, join EA, or go off on their own way. Maria decided to join Entropia Asia because Vortezy, Bryon, and some of the other folks over there were nice, and helpful.

Shortly after that, Maria went silent for 9 months because all deposits and activity from earth that powered her dissappeared (VU updates caused me not to be able to log in for 9 months til I got new hardware… could not even get past the login screen with the ol ATI-All-In-Wonder 9000 Pro and pentium III…).

When Maria awakend from her 9 month slumber, she was still EA, but it was a nearly dead society at least for her part of the world… There were still Asians in the society, but being located in the States, I could not see people in my society unless I stayed up til 3 am… which was a bad situation…

Maria decided to change directions if she was going to continue to survive on Calypso… so I started reading the forums… and I read them A LOT… Over time, I started thinking it’d be neat to cut some deals with shop owners, so I started studying the entropia forum and looking around at various shop owner’s avatars and visiting various terminals in game to see who owned what estates, etc. As a result, Maria met a lot of folks that owned shops in the Port Atlantis Mall and a few other places and befriended quite a few of them. She started trading things at Trade Terminal (TT) Value to some of those folks, including Nihilist, who happens to run EFD Growth Fund. Nihilist sort of became Maria’s mentor in the ways of running a shop successfully in game. He ran, and still runs a consignment shop called Dead Man’s Plunder… He buys things at TT value, trys to sell it in his shop, then pays back a percentage of profits…

Maria bought tons of things off of the auction for him, paying TT value for it. Some got accepted, others rejected. The rejected stuff, Maria did not know what to do with it… so she started trading it. Around this time, Vortexy, which is one of the leaders of EA started handing Maria lots of blueprints to sell too since he was crafting a lot… so she’d go sell his blueprints at Port Atlantis near the TP… and would also sell whatever else he handed her… she was a pretty good scounger in those days. She cut a few deals and met lots of traders… She actually started a non-society guild called United Buyers Exchange Resource (U.B.E.R.) and traded things to and from a lot of folks at TT values back then. It was fun and games, and no losses really since TT value was always growing, or getting traded off for something else to sell. STTS took that idea to a new level, but Josh Edwards (who ran STTS) only sold via auction, so he actually lost a lot of potential profit… and cost people that worked with him 100% of auction fees + 30% of the profits on top of that… pretty steep cost, but it was all junk people normally sold to the TT anyways, so it was not a bad deal… Maria eventually got in to that as an investor, and urged Josh to stop using the auction and get in to using a shop or something… He never listened, so she sold off her investment and moved on… There is still a massive void in EU that STTS filled that should be filled by someone, but is not currently being filled by anyone, so stuff gets sold in to the TT and avatars in the entire community get poorer and poorer because of that…

Around that time, NBK Entrepreneurs was formed by Hardwrath, someone who used to be leader of NBK, but had also been in a deep slumber, like Maria. Maria liked the enticing sound of being in NBK E, since she wanted to change her focus towards running a business and not being a ped loosing hunter the rest of her life… so she joined NBK Entrepreneurs… it got active about a year, had lots of great people in it – several shop owners (some of which Maria had brought in due to her U.B.E.R contacts, including Nihilist), an Land Area owner, and lots of traders… and some of the best crafters in all of the virtual universe…

Eventually though, a lot of the crafters wanted to do their own thing and focus on cutting deals with miners, so NBK Miners started, and NBK E was more or less abandoned by all but Maria and a few other dedicated folks. After that NBK E was forced by NBK leadership to become NBK Otium. Otium means “at ease.”

The idea from leadership is that Otium should be a place for the retired avatars to go that don’t fit in any other NBK society… a while before then, Nihilist quit because the promises that Hardwrath had made with a steady supply line being created when NBK E. first started out was never really brought in to being – it was, but only to benefit skilling crafters and miners, not shop owners… This and a lot of other things going on caused Otium to exist. I still am not sure I like otium since it sounds an awful like like Opium… but it’s started to grow on me a bit… sort of nice to not be under pressure to skill or cut business deals all the time even though I’m still doing some of each…

Anyways, at some point in time, prior to the recolonization, Maria purchased an apartment in Treasure Island. It was Apartment 10A in the Silver Building. The “Stack Exchange” was there, which was a service Maria ran to trade stacks of items among a lot of different individuals. Maria also had 2 shopkeepers that more money that magically appeared on her pedcard from a transfer from earth allowed her to buy. The real purpose behind the Stack Exchange was to get people in to the apartment to look at the shopkeepers and buy things. A few events were done with the NBK (Maria’s society)

Eventually, Maria bought a booth in the basement of the Delta Tower at Omegaton West Habitat… and bought Apartment 1A in the Delta Tower too… Those funds from earth helped her to make that happen…

and the Stack Exchange became the NBK TT shop… when Maria bought out the old NBK TT shop’s inventory and moved it in…

Then a few months later, the Treasure Island Silver apartment deed was traded for a deed to Apartment 4A in the Delta Tower… so Maria had 2 apartments and a booth all in the Delta Tower… 4A, 1A and Booth #3. She moved the NBK TT Shop and shopkeepers to the 1A apartment.. but that business never took off since the booth and shopkeepers were hidden away and not visible… then Maria moved everything out of the NBK TT shop apartment and converted it to a blueprint shop since NBK folks and others were continuing to TT Maria blueprints along with other things…

Then Maria did something radical and traded the two shopkeepers and booth in for the Shop 1 in Block A in Delta because the guy that owned that place, Rufwon, had been trying to sell it for a long time… Maria felt sorry for Rufwon and also found the idea of being visible from outside of the building to be nice…

So the Lost Library was established in Block A, Shop 1 of Delta Tower in Omegaton West Habitat. Maria owned Aparment 1A in the same building and 4A as well..

about 2 weeks ago, she sold 4A…

and now one of the folks that is selling blueprints in the Lost Library, who sniped 1D from Maria in an Auction at time when Maria was a little poor, is wanting to sell 1D…

So going Forwards, Maria mastermesh Mesh will own Apartments 1A and 1D, as well as Block A – Shop 1 in the Delta at Omegaton West Habitat. There’s also potential to eventually buy the booth back or buy another booth too, leaving lots of room to expand the shop at some point in the future, both horizontally, and vertically at some point in the future… The costs of expanding looks way too pricey right now, but I’m going to hold the deeds because that price may not look so bad in the future… I never thought that 2 years ago I’d join the NBK, much less own an estate… or three estates!!!… You never know what will happen in the virtual universe… the future is bright now that I have 3 estates in the same building… lots of potential room to grow eventually, even if the costs aren’t justified for that growth yet… Hopefully I can find a way to make that justification change and get profitable at the same time! πŸ™‚

Maneater…

The alternative campus magazine for University of Missouri has RSS Feeds. I’m going to twitterfeed the Arts section in to here. Happy reading. The direct url to that rss feed is http://www.themaneater.com/feeds/sections/arts/

Also… YES… I do plan to post more of my own posts in here instead of just RSS Feeds from other places. The reason I put so many RSS feeds in here is that I don’t have time to check my own email most of the time, and actually look at my own blog as way of getting info because of all of these feeds. I also like doing this so I can post a comment here on the blog about the various feeds that do come in, and you usually will find at least one comment from me on most of them.

Converting stuff from one pen and paper rpg game system to another – World of Darkness and Palladium Books

Converting Characters, Powers, etc. from one gaming fantasy world in to another is not usually too difficult because most stats in most games are fairly similar on some level. Usually there is a roll done to check if some action is successful or not. If it is successful, there sometimes is another roll to determine what actually happens, or how successful the success was. The different gaming systems have different ways of doing that – some use D20s, some use D10s, some use D6s, and some actions, especially those that are skill based instead of against a particular player character or non-player character, are based on on a percentage, usually determined by two D10s are rolled, and one counts as the 10s part of the % and the other counts as the ones part of the %. A roll of 9 and 9 would be 99%. A roll of 0 and one would be 1% unless the one was in the tens slot, in which case it would be a 10%. On skill checks like that, the Game Master, or some pre-planned skill check base is used to determine if the roll is over the amount needed to successfully do whatever it is that the character is trying to do.

Since everything in all gaming systems is based on a check for success of failure, it’s usually just a matter of comparing the two systems you are trying to convert to or from against one another to see in what way you can play with the numbers to get to the average and go from there in all conversions.

For instance, World of Darkness games are usually based on dots that make up attributes or skills. 5 dots is usually considered about the highest humanly possible attribute. 10 dots is considered about as powerful as god in whatever skill that it is that those points are in. In that system, each dot represents a 10 sided dice that is rolled to check against some number, usually determined by the books or the game master – oops, I mean “story teller.”

In other books like Palladiumbooks Rifts, Hereoes Unlimited, etc. Most non-combat actions are based on skill checks that are % based, and most combat actions are based on the roll of a D20 to determine if a hit, punch, or power that is used successfully hits. That is sometimes contested by another characters roll of a D20 for defensive actions such as parrying, dodging, etc. If no defensive moves are used, the attackers D20 roll is usually contested against the other character’s armor, which has an armor rating… Rolls above the armor’s rating does damage to the character inside of the armor. Rolls below that do damage to the armor itself, unless the armor is a special armor such as a mutant’s metal power that gives them a high armor rating, in which case a roll below the armor rating usually does no damage. A roll of a “natural 20” or 90% or more is typically a super success, usually doing twice as much damage, or making the successful check against a skill super successful. For instance, you checked against your lockpick skill to open a bank vault – a roll of 95% when you just needed a 70% might mean you got in, no alarms went off, and there is actually the keys to a lamberghini parked outside that has no alarm system sitting on the floor of the vault. A roll of 1 or 2% is usually a miserable failure – so in the same situation, that would result in a full swat team showing up, the alarm going off, and you broke your lockpick and got your fingerprints all over the place.

I have played both of those game systems and loved them and successfully integrated them by simply thinking about how the dot system works vs the % system and the D20 system. Different people doing different conversions might come up with other conversions, but what I typically came up with was that 5 dots = 99% or so, so each dot = about 20% for skill checks… and on average, one dot = +3 in d20 rolls, giving 5 dots +15 advantage on all d20 rolls, which is really just about the best most powers and things can give you in the Palliadium world.

Now go put all those vampires, werewolves, mummies, wraiths, and things in to your Rifts or Heroes Unlimited Campaign to add a whole bunch of new layers of complexity to the world… or go the other way and put some of those nearly unkillable vampires from Heroes Unlimited up against the Camarilla of Chicago or the Sabbat of New York City, etc. Perhaps a new vampire hunter is an invulnerable mutant with supersonic speed. Maybe a demigod from Rifts World Books have found a rift in to the World of Darkness and have decided to take on the eternal mummies or maybe even Caine and Lilith one on one. There’s literally unlimited potential to bring your heroes unlimited opportunities for role playing.

In a future post I might put in some rules about converting to and from other game systems.

Mapping out Entropia Universe…

I started a google document… it might be a little easier to maintain than text formating in some Entropia Universe Thread or here in the blog, or on entries in Entropedia or something. It’s open to editing by anyone so it should be easy to keep things updated.

url to the new spreadsheet is
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AppC9Gwr9zBIdGhNY0FBdHhjdm1MYUxWT2hjWHBMbWc&hl=en

url to the html web page format of it is
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=thMcAAtxcvmLaLVOhcXpLmg&output=html

Almost nothing’s in it yet… but soon I’ll start using what info is available on Entropia Forum, Entropedia, and in game in the estate terminals to start making what info is in there accurate. I invite you to do so too. This is a huge project and I cannot do it alone.

There is a place on there to put the name of the TP, name of the continent, name of the planet, name of the service, a link to the service’s website or entropiaforum thread, and a link the the shop owner or estate holder’s avatar in entropiaforum… as I said, huge project…

I wanted to do this project about a year ago, but lots of things got in to my way due to lack of real world time, etc. I’m hoping that others will join me on this crusade to map out our virtual world, and make it easier to access the estate owners of various places, and make it easier to see exactly which shops are active and which are now.

We CAN make this the best darn resource on how to contact shop owners over time! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

Studio Tip – Get Rechargable Batteries – And use them!… Also get organized…

If you have a digital camera, mp3 player, voice recorder, or even a cell phone, you probably already realize how important it is to have batteries that work on hand at all times. If you ever get in to creating stock photos or just using a digital camera or video recorder to give you source material to work with in whatever form of art you work with, this becomes even more important.

I can’t tell you how many times when shooting digital stock photos that I was out clicking away with a camera in a park or downtown somewhere and the camera I had on hand quit working because I ran out of battery power. That is a huge annoyance, especially if you like shooting clouds like I do, and you are in a time when the sun is either rising or setting, so each second lost that you did not get a shot of is gone forever because the clouds shift on you constantly and/or the “magic hour” changes dramatically as your big lightsource, the sun, is moving quickly under or over the horizon. “Magic Hour” really is not an hour. Twilight hours of sunset can cause dramatic changes in the light and way that things look on the horizon, and everywhere else outside in literal minutes or seconds.

My advice is that you have a lot of rechargeable batteries on hand and a couple of rechargers for them, and use the rechargers often. Some people say that rechargeable batteries have some sort of memory thing in them and remember how long each recharge took, so it’s bad to put the batteries in to the recharger before the battery is completely worn down. For some batteries, that may be true, but for most regular AA and AAA rechargable batteries, I don’t think that’s really quite the truth. I typically recharge my batteries when the camera shows that they are about down to one quarter power and have never really had a lot of problems. Of course, I am constantly recharging some batteries, so it’s hard for me to tell if that is an issue…

I have two rechargers. One of them holds a lot of batteries and I keep it at home, the other only holds four batteries, but it has a plug in that folds down. I keep that one in my camera bag, and carry it with my camera so that I can plug in at any time, anywhere. The bigger recharger is too large to do that with. However, I keep the bigger recharger full a lot of times and rotate out batteries from there often. I basically try to keep a handful of batteries charged at all times. If some of the the batteries sit unused for a few weeks, I go ahead and recharge the pile anyways so that they are ready when I need them.

Storing a bunch of batteries in a camera bag is a major pain, especially since most of the time, when you buy batteries they come in boxes that are meant to be thrown away after being open. For storage at home, I keep the clear plastic part of the boxes that the batteries came in, and might cut that down to size, and fit it inside of a Altoids box. Those little metal boxes that Altoids come in make fine battery holders since they are just big enough to hold a few AA or AAA batteries and still allow the lid to close. You would think the metal boxes would shock me since I’m putting batteries in them, but so far, I’ve never had any shocks or anything, so I guess the paint or ink they use on the box must not conduct electricity. Even if it does, I’m putting plastic liners from the boxes the batteries came in between the actual battery itself and the metal of the box, so that makes it all work well. To keep the Altoid boxes closed, I simply rubber band them shut.

I used to keep at least one of those Altoid boxes in my camera bag, but lately, I’ve gone to not keeping those in the camera bag since they are a bit of a hassle to mess with out in the field, especially as the rubber bands age, get weaker, and break, leaving the batteries to roam free in the camera bag, where all sorts of potential problems could happen if the acid ever did leak…

Now, in the camera bag, I keep the two batteries in the camera that the camera requires, and keep two batteries in each of the two voice recorders I carry in the bag, for a total of four spare batteries, or two battery swaps between the voice recorders and the camera in case the camera battery charge runs down. I find this ideal since the batteries are stored nicely away in the recorders, and if I do feel the need to use the recorder to record my own voice for notes or just feel like recording something out and about, like a bird chirping, a motorcycle whizzing by me, or whatever, I can just pop out the recorder and it’s ready to go. The reason I have two recorders is that I bought one, thought I lost it, bought a second one, and then a few months later, discovered where I had put the first one… It’s funny how that happens sometimes with little gizmos and gadgets.

If you don’t have a vocie recorder, but have some other tiny gadget that uses the same sort of battery as your camera, you might look in to getting something like that to hold your batteries so that you don’t risk having the batteries just jubmled in the camera bag or case, ready to give some nice acid burns to your camera or whatever else is in there. I’ve only seen a battery leave an acid burn on something one time – it was an old plastic mug that I used to store non-rechargeable batteries in many years ago before I started using rechargeable batteries. The marks it left as the acid dug in to the plastic of the cup were horrible looking. It’d really suck to see something like that happen to a digital camera.

Other things I keep in the camera bag other than the camera, the voice recorders, and the little battery recharger are the top part of a big tripod that actually attaches to the bottom of the camera, and a mini-tripod. I also keep a couple of thumb drives and spare digital camera chips in there to make it easy to store things. The thumb drives are attached via a little stretcy cord that the casino gives out with it’s cards for people to use to remember to not leave their casino cards in the slot machines. I like that because it keeps me from loosing the thumb drives as they are attached to the camera case.

I actually have 3 camera cases. The first one is a little one that holds my little bitty camera itself and came with the camera. It’s very flimsy, but I keep it on there to cover the lens. I put the camera and that little case in to the second case, which is a big bigger and is what I mainly use to carry the camera around my neck when out and about. The third is a Polaroid camera case that I keep the other case in. I use it because it’s big enough to hold the littler case and a few other odds and ends – the tripod top and voice recorders, mentioned above.

I have an entirely seperate bag that I use to keep color pencils and sketch books in the car. At one point in time, I tried to avoid using the Polaroid case, and just put the little camera case in that bag, but that got to be too much of a hassle. Now I just leave the color pencil and sketchbook bag in the back seat of the car, and take the Camera in and out of the car, and with me wherever I go so that it’s handy, and does not get left in the car during hot/cold temperatures that could damage the electronic equipment inside.

At home I have a few toolboxes that I use to keep other things around the house/studio organized. I love the big tool boxes with different slots in them – nice way to organize pastels, pencils, ink pens, etc.

When I was in college, I used to haul a lot of big sketch pads, drawings, and some paintings in a plastic portfolio that I carried around campus to class. That was a major hassle since the classes were in various buildings scattered around campus and my apartment was several blocks away. Carrying big portolios is a tough enough job by itself since they are big and bulky… That only gets worse as you get more and more things in there to carry. You would think paper, being as thin as it is would not be heavy in big bulks, but you would be wrong… especially on humid days when the paper absorbs a lot of moisture just to make itself heavier for you. To make that walking around campus more handy, I ended up taking a duffel bag strap and attaching it to the portfolio handles. That made it much easier to handle the bag and still carry other things like books that I needed to take to class. I have NO idea why porfolio making companies have not made it an industry standard to put shoulder straps on portfolios yet. It’s something that really is needed to help make it easier for all those art students and aspiring artists everywhere be able to carry their stuff. Some Art Directors might like the neat little polished look of the little bitty handles on portolios, but I suspect that they would like the portfolios a lot more if the artists were more comfortable actually walking around with the portfolios so that they could bring them in more often, and have a descent amount of work in the portfolio to show off. I know a lot of artists aching backs and shoulders would be thankful if big art portfolio started getting made with shoulder straps.

Getting organized, and able to transport your art making supplies, is one key to creating great art. A tool such as a camera, voice recorder, pastel, conte crayon, paintbrush, or color pencil is not very useable if it’s buried in the back of a closet in a box underneath of a lot of other things. Each individual artist has to come up with their own organizational strategy that fits their own personalities and needs. If you are not organized yet, you might look at ways that you can start getting that way in the near future. It really can help you be creative when you have tools that are handy that you can grab any time and just start using. Digging around for stuff is a major hassle.

Inspirations – http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/

Clarissa left me a little comment over at https://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/mall-small-19-drawing/ talking about her friend’s website at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/ so I figured I’d visit and do this Inspirations posting about it. I have not really done many (read any, lol) inspirations postings up til now that have to do with anyone’s art that I did not know about before now. Time to change that, and start exploring the art world in these here intra-web tubes.

As indicated at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/page8.php wordsaroundtown.com is owned by Kevin McCartney Studios.

Kevin appears to be a very good photographer.

The words around town site seems to be made of various pictures that Kevin has taken and converted in to fonts to spell out words.
He’s using the forms he finds in his compositions as letters.

As stated in the site, Kevin has a real enthusiasm about this obscure typographical artform…

The challenge of finding objects around us that we normally pass by everyday without a second glance which look like letters has been exciting and fun!

Finding the hidden beauty in everyday things that we often pass by without a second glance IS, in my opinion one of the great things that exploring art does for people that get in to art.

Finding the invisible forms as Kevin is doing and making it visible is sort of a theme that has run through art for many years. It is an obscure idea that can be traced back to the Surrealist movement, especially in Salvador DalΓ­’s paintings… but the idea actually goes back a lot further than that.

Trompe-l’Ε“il means “fool the eye” and that phrase is what is best used to describe or categorize this form of art. Actually, almost every form of 2-dimensional work that goes back to the earliest known cave arts is somewhat in this to some degree – since after all making a window out of something that is not a window as paintings do is fooling the eye so to speak.

It’s all about hidden messages or meanings, and really being a keen observer of the world in order to see the form and the way that simple basic design principles can allow multiple things to happen in the same plane.

The idea of bringing the reality of the 2-dimensional canvas of a painting or photograph in to the viewers plain sight so that it’s simple beauty can be observed in and of itself outside of all other rules and principles of creating illusion is a very modern idea that is seen over and over and over again in 20th centrury art. That’s why I say that genres like Cubism, Op-Art, and a lot of other genres that focus on the 2-dimensional existence of the plane in an artwork are MORE REALISTIC than simple little paintings that pretend to be windows showing pretty landscapes or cityscapes that most other people classify as Realistic…

Is it realistic to pretend that the 2 dimensional surface on a wall is something other than a surface on a wall? Sure there can be little pictures in there, just like there is on that flat plane you are looking in to to see these words, or that you will view tonight as you watch Prime Time TV… but isn’t it more realistic to acknowledge that what you are looking at is really a 2 dimensional flat surface?… as Kevin has done by seeing the letters in his photographs?

Some folks even take this sort of idea in photography to a whole different level in the form of Photomosaics… After all, if a photograph is really just a bunch of dots made up of 4 colors, CYMK (Cyan Yellow, Magenta, and blacK), it makes sense that each photo is balanced more towards one of those 4, so it makes sense to use an entire photo as one small element in a larger picture… Actually, given enough time and photos, photomosaic technology could go to a whole new level and allow an infinite amount of images to exist hidden inside of a set of photos… the first level would look like something from space, then as you approach it to the airplane level it would phase and each level as you get closer and closer could phase in to a new image, hidden… only to dissolve as new ones come in to play. The hidden typography that Kevin is searching for is a little different than Photomosaics, but not completely. There is a lot of similarities there – searching for what is hidden in plain view.

It’s strange but all language and all these ideas that get thrown at us daily in these little windows that are not windows are something that connects us all as a society. People from 200 years ago would think we are crazy staring at computers and tvs and spending as much time as we do daily on these devices that are really 2 dimensional boxes producing light. Works like this make people think. They can become kitsch or cliche sometimes if overdone, but they do start to open the mind, and let people begin to question reality itself on some level, which, in my opinion is what all great art should do.

Keep looking for the hidden meanings Kevin. Your typographic photos are amazing. Keep spreading the Love.

A few thoughts about illustration… copyright, trademarks, why “Work-for-hire” is EVIL… and Zombies, or actually Golems Really due exist!

While I say I love illustration, and want to get in to the illustration field, I think it only fair to give you a little bit of background about me, and some of my own personal biases and things about illustration… In the wide world of illustration, usually the client always comes first. The artist does work for the client. The artist creates things, but seeks approval from the client at each step of the process. The preliminary concept art is just thought of as something to hand to the client to seek approval. The client and artist then have a disucssion and talk about things, and go to the next step… and the artist continually changes the idea to be in agreement with what the client is wanting since the client has the ultimate say as the artist is seeking payment for the work from the client.

A little bit of a philisophical problem that I have with that sort of thing, at least in my own works, is that I consider each work of art that is created in every stage of creation as a seperate and unique art form… something that is not just a preliminary work for something later, to be discarded like pretty wrapping paper that is torn apart as a Christmas present is opened. The process of creation has multiple stages. Quick little doodles done in a sketchbook are just as valid as a final work of art as something that’s been re-worked three hundred times by an illustrator or designer that is seeking permission from his or her client.

Another huge issue in all of that is the “work-for-hire” issue. Many clients want illustrators and designers that work for them to consider their work as “work-for-hire.” According to the way contract law works, art that is created as “work-for-hire” is artwork that the client will own the copyright to. In other words, if an artist creates work-for-hire artwork, the artist will have to seek permission from the copyright owner to republish the work that he or she created, and the same thing applies to and “derivitive” work… that is work that is dervived from the original… That puts artists that work in “work-for-hire” contracts in a really sticky situation since they can never use the work for hire stuff unless they get permission again, which might actually end up costing them money, etc. The derivitive issue makes the bad situation even worse because most artist tend to build a sort of visual library in their subconscious that forces works they create later in life to resemble works they created earlier… which is something they could possibly get sued for if the earlier work was a work-for-hire form of art.

For this reason, I’m not sure if I could ever “really” be a full time illustrator. However, I do like the idea of illustrating things, and creating narrative structures, so it’s possible that I might be able to get in to this field sort of. One reason I really am attracted to using Public Domain stuff as the basis of illustration is that the original copyright owner no longer has copyright over that stuff, nor does anyone else… so it’s free game for anyone… However, writers that no longer have copyrights on their books are probably long gone, and so other people probably have created derivitive works of those books and artforms over and over throughout the years, so it leaves the ancient stuff as content that will be difficult to gain any economic profits off of in a direct manner… since dead writers won’t pay anything usually… That’s why I got interested in Cafe Press, Lulu.com and other similar types of places in my exploration of all of this stuff. The internet has created a lot of new little niche areas for many of us to investigate if we want to take the time to get in to it. There’s a lot to explore and play around with in the huge playground of tweaking public domain concepts, ideas, and works, and redistrubting them with our own little additions, changes, etc.

Eventually, if I do get in to making book covers and interior illustrations for Public domain books I will build up a lot of variety and introduce new fresh ideas, in hopes that maybe someday a real writer that is alive today might ask me to do some works for their books, magazine articles, blogs, etc. If that does happen, this whole work-for-hire issue will likely come up down the road. I guess I’ll cross those bridges if/when I get to that point. Regardless, if you create artwork, this IS something you should be thinking about somewhat. There’s a lot to copyright and trademark laws. I don’t claim to be a lawyer, but do know that this sort of stuff can be a major hassle if you don’t think about it before you dive in to a contract or situation similar to a contract that is all done with verbal agreements, etc.

Do you really want to give away your right to be creative?!?… Just something to think about.

A similar thing to think about – be sure that you are honoring the Copyrights and Trademarks of other… If you want to create a work of art depicting a soda can or car, are you aware that you could be sued by Ford or Coke, or any other company if the work looks too much like theirs? This is especially true of photographs. Speaking as someone that has had some photos removed from Turbosquid a few years ago because Turbosquid received a Cease and Desist Letter from Ford due to the fact that there was a Ford car somewhere in the forground of a picture I shot once, even though it was not the main focus of the composition, I can say this stuff is a reality you SHOULD think about before and while you are making your artworks. The possibility of having to go to court and pay high lawyer fees and court fees just because you clicked your camera in the wrong place is not a fun situation to be in! Ford is probably one of the biggest companies that chases people down for this sort of thing, but any copyright or trademark owner can do similar at any time because copyright and trademark law DOES apply to “derivitive works.”

For yourself, this can be a good thing, as you could possibly sue others if they create artworks that are in your style or just look too much like your work for your liking… However, what comes around goes around, and the you can find yourself on the receiving end of the same issue if you create works that are too much like other folk’s stuff too… which is something we all need to think about a LOT as everywhere you turn today there’s some namebrand, logo, or copyrighted thing in your face 24/7.

Your computer has a logo on it… oops better not photograph or draw it. You want to take a photo of a street – oops there’s a car on it that was created by an automobile company that has a trademark on that design. You shoot a photo of a gargoyle on a building – oops there’s an architect or sculptor somewhere that owns the copyright to that design. You shoot a picture of the sunset – oops there’s an airplane flying low there that was designed by a company with a trademark on that shape. You take a picture of a wall in your house – oops someone has a tradmark, and probably a copyright on the design of that wallpaper… Where is nature? That is one of the few things people can’t copyright… Nope?!?… someone has done a picture of a deer posing in that posture before! YIKES!

If you take a photo of someone, or create any form of artwork depicting anyone – you have even more issues to deal with since there are privacy laws. That’s why you always see notices in various films, literary works, etc. say any resmblence to real people in the characters depicted is coincidental, etc. It’s also why photographers need to get the permission of anyone they photograph, usually in a written form so that they can prove that the permission was obtained. The little photo of Barrack Obama standing next to the China Wall that was put in Times Square by the coat company is just one of the newest little examples of where these sort of issues can come up and cause major problems for all parties involved…

All of these little issues are amplified by the fact that Zombies, or at least Golems really do exist! As mentioned in How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday, corporations and money are both lifeless beings that we give life to… things that are really dead that we give power to.

(*Perhaps the Golem are the invisible corporations and the Zombies are the employees that become “dead” 40 hours a week to serve the golem?*)

Sometimes, actually far more times than we probably want to acknowledge, we actually give our entire lives to these souless, lifeless beings! Corporations are our society’s gods from the ancient world. They don’t really exist but everyone knows that they are there. Everyone talks about them… shares stories about them… We even give them Social Security Numbers and call those Tax Identification Numbers… We give them life through our <a href="Memes“>about them.

Logos and employees are just one sign of their existence, as are all the contracts created in their names… Curators of Universities, CEOs, Company Presidents and others in power in the coporate world, just to name a few, are the priests of this religion that we don’t call a religion, but they are NOT the corporation itself, even if they think they are. They are hired and fired by the invisible zombies or golems that we breathe life into, just like everyone else. The piece of paper that creates a corporation is NOT the corporation itself. The corporations don’t really exist in our world, but we all pretend that they do and continue to bring life to them in our belief in them… continue to pay homage to them every time we think about that brand name we want to pay for, etc…. They are the true gollems that all of us helped bring in to power to submit our entire beings too in some way, shape, or form.

Advertising, and all of the little illustrations that come from it is just one of the many little offerings that are given to these souless, lifeless zombies to help them exist. You can call me a crazy lunatic if you want, but when you really dig deep and think about it, you have got to know that it’s true!

Does this mean I don’t want to be an illustrator. Of course not. I love to illustrate things, tell stories, bring life to the lifeless objects around me.

In a strange way, all people that create art, or anything really – letters that you made when you hit the keyboard on your computer (you do know that each letter and phrase is different from place to place in the world which is why there’s different languages that exist – we all breathe life in to our own perception of reality that the elders in our tribe have taught us IS reality and so we make it become OUR reality too), recipies you put together to eat, All Things that we do really… sort of do the same thing, whether it’s for a corporation or their own needs and wants to create. Art itself is something we breathe life in to, and it sort of takes on a life of it’s own in that process. Maybe all of this is something Jesus was talking about when he said you cannot serve God and Mammon?… but in reality, that’s not really possible is it, at least not if we want to live in this world and exist – Give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser…

Anyways, I am a living being, just as you are, and as The Universe’s Creator is. The act of creating things is in some ways the real and ultimate goal and meaning of the universe?… or is it? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, be sure to make your works your own, and unique enough that you don’t get sued for copyright infringment by other humans or the golems that exist in our society.

Just something to think about…

Gameplan…

I know that I probably seem like an unorganized slob sometimes since my thoughts seem so scattered sometimes, and I post about such a wide variety of things… but all the pieces of the master plan will come together over time… Here’s the gameplan for this blog, as it stands now. Remember, game plans are just that – plans, and they can and do change over time, so some or all of the goals listed below can go up or down in priority over time, or change completely as new goals come along…

Current Primary goals for this blog:
– Get as many of my sketchbook drawings scanned and uploaded to Cafepress and linked to from here as I possibly can. Please bear with me… I know that some of this old stuff is rough looking, maybe even what some might classify as “ugly” and amateurish. That’s ok. The newer, fresher, better stuff will get uploaded eventually. I am uploading everything that I can so that I will see it online here in the blog and it’ll act as an incentive to do better work in the future. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is very true in many ways. I believe that each image I’ve ever made in my entire life sort of has something to say about me, my technique, and my way of doing things… some of which the casual observer can see… some of which only I can know since I was there when the artwork was created, and know what was going on in my head at the time… what logic flow there is, why certain elements are as they are, etc. The same is true of photographs, and any artwork really. A picture is actually worth many, many, many more than a thousand words.

– Get as many of my paintings, and other artworks photographed and uploaded somewhere and linked to from this blog. Most of the stuff will probably go on Cafepress. Some of it might go elsewhere. For stuff that I really don’t ever want deleted in the coming decades, I might even upload some of it to the Internet Archives since I believe that place will probably be around a lot longer than most other places, including both wordpress and cafepress. It’s just a major hassle to get stuff in to there since the interface is slightly clunky and slow, etc.

Although distributing my work in this way is not the best or neatest way of doing things since Cafepress is sort of kitschy, some of this really old stuff is not all that great of a artistic quality, etc., it does get the stuff out here where people can and will look at it. That’s a very powerful motivator for me because it gets people actually seeing some stuff I’ve done, which is a LOT more than the stuff is doing sitting in the basement collecting dust in a sketchbook, deteriorating slowly year after year. Yesterday I was watching the news and there was a story on about this whole mess Google has gotten itself in by copying entire books before getting permission from each author of the books so that they could put it online. Google’s primary argument is that that makes the stuff accessible to the masses when otherwise it would just sit in the libraries untouched as it has for years, sometimes decades or centuries. That’s sort of the same sort of idea that I have going on with all of this. My artwork is a living, breathing thing, and I’m still a living artist, at least for the moment… so why not try to get as many people seeing my stuff as I can. There’s a whole huge world out here, full of many interesting people. Is artwork really artwork if it doesn’t have a viewer? My opinion is that it is, but it’s not nearly as good as artwork that gets viewed.

– Start creating new artwork in the future and continue to upload it on to the internet and link to it here. This part of the plan may take a little while since I still have the backlog of all the stuff I want to scan or shoot photos of to upload. Ultimately the goal is to make more new stuff the primary content on here… and still have the older stuff available here to view for historical purposes, etc. What form my new works will come in is largely undecided and will likely be a lot of various forms. One of many ideas that has been bouncing around in the back of my brain the last couple of years (and actually is part of the reason I started messing around with Cafe Press in the first place) is to start doing illustrations for the books on Project Gutenburg and re-publish the books in Cafepress along with new books that I create myself, etc. A sort of similar vein of though is to create 3d animated movies that use Public Domain or Open Source projects as the basis for where to start. Some folks in the Blender community have created entire full length movies with Blender that is all open source now. At least one guy that I know of has tried to do similar on his own with Lightwave a couple of years ago. This sort of stuff could never have been a one man show just a handful of years ago, but now things have progessed to a point where that is not really the case as much… More people can do more with fewer man hours than used to be possible, and things keep improving to make it easier with every new version of every piece of creative software that comes out…

I enjoy creating a wide variety of different types of art. I would not mind breaking in to Illustration industry, animation industry, or stock photograpy industry a little more than I have, or maybe even becoming a full time art critic, game designer, movie director, or something else creative somewhere down the road. I have a lot of hobbies and ideas. This blog is a bit of a soul searching thing as well as many other things. Some day I still might write a novel for Nanowrimo or some other sort of book.

Main Secondary Goals with this blog:
– Maybe do a post here and there about each of the various subjects that I find interesting and used to have blogs on… hobbies such as Entropia Universe, Role Playing, FTA Satellite, etc. With Entropia Universe, I was in email contact with some of the folks in FPC, and there was some discussion about having me create a World Book for them. HOwever, that idea is sort of nixed at the moment and has been replaced by my Entropia posts to this blog. I still may do something like that eventually, using some of the posts in here to help me along that path. However, there’s just too much work for one person to tackle with a project that huge, especially since it’d be a never ending battle as a lot of things change in Calypso and all of the Entropia Universe with every Version Update (VU).. so anything that got written would have to constantly be re-written as the rules of the universe and everything about it would be, is, and will be in constant flux… That’s just nature of the “Dynamic” system that is Entropia Universe is…

I still find it hard to believe that not too long ago I thought blogs were just for people who are mostly self absorbed (*Hopefully you don’t think that about me, lol), that I thought that facebook was just for teeny-bobbers, and that I thought that that I’d never get around to finally getting my artwork online after having so many false starts over the years (My first “website” was something I was starting my sophmore year in college but that was WAY back when the world was still on Windows 95 because 98 did not happen yet, and 100 mb was considered a lot of space, lol….

Interesting Reading – A few Technical “Bibles”

I just wanted to throw these out here because they are amazing books that I use a lot and recommend a lot of other people to use too!

The Photoshop Bibleis THE book that you will want to get if you want to learn how to use Photoshop. I am sad to say that I’m still running Photoshop 5 LE, so I have not picked up a newer version Photoshop Bible that is for newer versions of Photoshop myself, but have read a few pages out of the newer versions in a bookstore now and then. It still appears to be the best source to go to for all things Photoshop. It covers just about every main function in the application and gives you a simple plain English explanation of why everything is there and what you should be using each function for and which Icons you should push on or quick keys to hit to get what you are trying to accomplish done quickly and competently.

The JavaScript Bible is THE book to have on Javascript. You CAN learn some of the basics from visiting websites such as Web Monkey, but when you really want to start digging deeper and understanding how to do things on a more complex level, this is the to go to book that you will be wanting to get. Just about every aspect of Javascript is covered and there’s coding example after coding example that will get you up and running quickly and give you a working understanding of how all the spokes in the wheel run together to get your website advanced to a new level of interactivity.

Beginning Game Programming with Flash is another great book to have for web design. Surely you have played a few flash games on occassion. They are all over the internet. This book teaches you from the ground up how to start building those sorts of games yourself. If you thought Javascript was fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The graphics and programming power behind Flash can let you create just about any sort of game that you want online if you have enough time to program and test your stuff out. There are definite limitations to what Flash can do, but many of those limits dissappear with every new version of flash that comes out, especially as more and more people are getting off of dialup and heading to dsl or other high speed internet carriers.

The Artist’s Handbook, or The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference)
is just about one of the best “Bibles” on traditional art methods.

Both of the books cover many of the same topics. Mayer’s is considered a little “better” by some since I think it is actually the older of the two.

They cover just about every technique that there is in the traditional arts, and gives some really neat in-depth information that you just won’t find many other places, especially in a single book. It’s actually pretty hard to believe how much information there is packed in this book…It tells you some of the little known facts about how to make pigments, what formulas to use to make your own gesso, explains in-depth information about various surfaces and how you should treat them and more importantly, why. It just has a lot of little key bits of information that are invaluable to anyone that really wants to create artwork.

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) is another great art related book. While this book is not really a Technical Bible per se, it is a bit like the more traditional Bible in that it goes directly to the source to get first hand accounts of what is going on in the minds of various artist in the contemporary art world. The book is filled with tons of interviews done with artists, diary entries created by artist, and a variety of publications created by artists and those that have an in depth understanding of artists. It gets to the heart of why contemporary art really exists, and has more in-depth, behind the information than you are likely to find ANYWHERE else all in one place.

Interesting Reading – Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testament

You folks reading this might think I’m nuts doing this many Interesting Reading posts in this short of a timespan, but there’s a lot of various books that I’ve read and/or am in the middle of reading that have a lot of relevance to this blog and life in general really, and are just great books that I think everyone should at least take a glance at some point in time… I’ll probably add more interesting reading posts in the not-too-distant future…

Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testaments is a very interesting book. Asimov, possibly one the greatest science fiction writers of all time, explores the bible from a scientific and historical perspective in this book. He’s an athiest, (and a former Jew I think) but that does not matter. He covers a lot of the historical aspects of each chapter of the Bible in this book from a scientific perspective. There’s not a lot of mushy love and miracle belief talk in the book like you see in a lot of the bible study books that are written by Christians. Also there’s a lot of discussion about geography and history of the locations in the bible, and how each of the main characters in the bible is thought of from a historian’s perspective and how they sort of fit in to the Social Studies and History books. That is something you don’t typically get a lot of with a lot of other books about the Bible. I don’t know that I agree with him on everything (since he is an atheist after all), but I do think he presents a lot of ideas that anyone interested in Religion, History, or Geography, regardless of whether they are Christian or not a Christian might find interesting.

His explanations that seem to explain away miracles or give them a new twist by allowing you to think about them in a different way than the way you might have been taught in Bible School by adding a bit of science is somewhat refreshing, and for the most part does not make the Bible any less relevant or True.

Remember, there are multiple perspectives to our reality… What everyone that witnesses anything experiences is likely slightly different than others that witnessed the same darn thing. It is good to sometimes think about things from a different angle. There might be a slight challenge to your faith in some of the info in this book, but that actually might be a catalyst that will help you gain a stronger faith by reading the book. There is a lot of historical and geographic info in here that you probably won’t come across many other places unless you are theologian and have read a LOT of ancient texts and have a masters degree in religion. It’s good to learn a few new things. and think about things in a different way on occassion! πŸ™‚

Seed idea…

How many people in the world eat apples and oranges daily?!?… How much of the world is getting hurt by green house gases because of trees that are now gone? Imagine what could happen if we all saved our apple and orange, or whatever other fruit seeds you come across in your daily meals, and send them to people to plant, or plant them yourselves somewhere? I am always eating apples and oranges in my lunch and now have started collecting the seeds and planting the little baby trees inside of a little bowl at home that has a light directly above it most of the day. What I’ll do with these saplings when they get bigger, if they get bigger, I don’t know… Wonder if others have similar ideas or are doing likewise?!?… Is there some sort of national forest type of place that could allow us to plan these little orphan trees? Maybe we could start a national orchard that has free fruit for everyone! πŸ™‚

Interesting Reading – The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Miguel Ruiz is an interesting book. It talks about a lot of things, but mainly how to handle your internal train of thoughts to become more at peace with the world around you.

The 4 Agreements are
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.

One of the many themes in the book is that Original Sin does not really exist since the Fall of Man is just a story in our head… but it is much more than that too…

because our conscious minds that are always trying to make up stories about the world around us to help us understand and cope with the world around us based on our own unique psychological pasts, IS that the true Serpent in the Adam and Eve story… not really a serpent so much as a story teller – something that is constantly feeding us lies about the world that we can choose to believe or not to believe.

In many ways what the book is getting in to is a very DEEP and profound understanding about the world, and how to look at the world. I don’t know if I agree with everything that the book’s author believes, but I do believe that a lot of his ideas presented in the book are applicable to all of us in our every day lives.

Sometimes if we take the time to just shut up that little voice in our head that is telling us the way that things are, based on our own perceptions and mis-conceptions that we believe are Truths about reality we can come to realize that there is a lot more to the world around us than our own little single solitary point of view and can start to see the other sides of the multi-faceted jewel of reality that is hidden in the the story of each individual in the world around us… and can go 3 or 4 steps beyond that and start to come to realize that Reality itself is not really necessarily all that we have been taught, but is something much more than that…

and can come to realize that maybe, just maybe, we really were made in the image of God, like the Story of the Fall of Man tells us that we were, and that there really can be heaven on earth and peace everywhere, at least inside of us, if we just change the way we think about things a little sometimes and stop trying to continue to use our past biases and little lies that we have told ourselves in the past that made our reality a little more black and white than it should have really been.

Many years ago I remember that I had an in depth discussion with a Catholic Priest and he told me that the true Fall of Man is that we forgot that we were made in God’s image… Sex was not the problem… it was that Adam and Eve discovered that they could be their own mini versions of God to themselves, and saw things in their own ways, and started trying to make logic out of things, and taking actions to mold the world around them to suit their own needs instead of molding themselves to the world to be at peace with the world. It’s something to think about… It is a very interesting book. It really gets in to some deep psychology that is very simple on the surface, but has deep implications and can help you see the world around you in a new light.

Don’t continue to listen to that biased voice in your head all of the time assuming that it’s always right and has the true Truth about all of the world around you. Sometimes that voice can be wrong. Sometimes it can have a lot of little biases too it that have come in to creation based on some things that have hurt you in your past that you might not even be aware of today. Sometimes it is good to look at that multi-faceted jewel of reality from a different perspective.

Perhaps if more people started looking at things from more than one perspective, and started to really get in to thinking about the world around them instead of rushing around doing things based on assumptions, lies that they’ve been told or told themselves, taking everything personally and seeking revenge because of that, and being overall morally lazy by not doing their very best in all that they do, the world could become a better place, and we might not have as many conflicts about silly things… maybe there would not be as many battles in governement. Maybe there would not be as many wars. Perhaps we could start to bring peace to the entire world around us, both socially, ecologically, and environmentally.

Perhaps we could get back to the true Reality that we were born to embrace – a Heaven on Earth. That reality does exist today. It’s just a matter of changing your attitude and way of thinking about things to make it more of a reality for yourself. Negativity is all around us. It’s blasted at us in the newsrooms. It’s shouted out in all the advertisments everywhere – “You are not good enough to be happy today – Buy a Coke and put it in the coaster in your Ford Truck today so that you can have a supermodel sit next to you as you get a happy life. It’ll just cost you several thousand dollars… ” Stop listening to the lies. Start trying to find the true Reality. It does exist, and is in your grasp, and this book might just help you find it a little easier.

Interesting Reading…

I’m constantly reading various books, blogs, websites, reviewing new material, reviewing old material, and rethinking about some of the content in those books, blogs, websites, etc.

Moving forward, I’m going to reserve the “Interesting Reading” tag and category in this blog for interesting reading articles, website links, links to books that I’ve come across, new thoughts I’ve got on old material, etc. This is not necessarily for “book reviews” so much as to toss an interesting piece of information that I’ve come across at you to think about a little – a pebble of thought, in to this wide Ocean that is the Blogosphere.

Exhibits Tag and Category

The Exhibits Tag and Category of this blog is reserved for artwork that I have enterered in to various exhibits. I will try to mention in each individual posting, or in the first comment of each posting which exhibits each item was in. I will also try to create a tag, and possibly as category for each individual exhibit. However, the main exhibits tag and category will be applied to all works that were in any exhibit.

Similarly, I’ll try to tag each item with a tag denoting the original year that the item was created. By default I’m tagging all artwork that I know that I created in College with the college and 1999 tags since I graduated in December, 1999, and I might not be able to pinpoint the exact year between 1994-1999 that the college artwork was created. (Yes, it took me 5 and years to graduate from college, but that’s mainly because I took a few extra classes in order to get a theater minor).

Artwork created in Highschool will be tagged with the tags 1994 and highschool because I graduated from highschool in 1994.

Some of strangest compliments I’ve ever received…

Have you ever had someone say something extremely oddball to you, about you, that was meant to be a compliment, but could have possibly been taken as a slam? I’ve had that happen to me a few times. I love these little compliments because you remember them well and can look back on them, and sometimes say, yes, they were right, I am that way, or just look back and smile and laugh. Here’s some of the weirdest compliments I’ve ever received, which have a bit of truth to them…

Becca
(I can’t remember your last name Becca sorry – we attended TSU together. You had long black curly hair, a smile and laugh that is hard to forget, and a a neat little glimmer in your eye when it came to anything that interested you, and I think you were going in to art therapy after you graduated from TSU):
Jeff, when I watch you create your art, it is like you are an exotic farmer.

Chris (Gondee) Mast
(referring to an apartment bedroom that Tekla and I had converted in to a computer room many years ago) :
Gah! Jeff, it feels like I’m walking on to the set of a Star Trek movie when I walk in here.

=====================
I might make a post later about some of the weird remarks that I remember from various role playing games through the years, but am not sure if I want to do that or not, since some of it might not be suitable for younger members of this blog’s viewing audience…

I’ll also try to add more weird or oddball remarks about myself in this post over time as more of them come to me from the depths of my subconcious mind from many years ago, or as new ones come around in the future…

Ode to Daily Painful Pleasure…

ring ring… Ring – rwring.. wring… WRING.. RING WRING. RING RING… THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

The pulsating sensations get loudear and louder. My temples are on fire. The sounds around me begin to echo… I begin to hear more things.. begin to see more things… “What was that?” I ask loudly to no one. I know I saw a dark patch of movement out of the corner of my eye. There it goes again, but this time it’s on the other side. I turn my head quickly to see the dark image haunting me. My neck is now hurting from the whiplash.

THUMP THUMP… RING RING!!!! RING GRING! THUMP THUD! gRIN GRING!!!

Heart is racing wildly! Head is now pounding harder. I feel tingly and yawn. The top of my forehead feels like it got run over by a Mack Truck.

I’m starting to get itchy now..

Scratch Scratch… can’t get rid of that itch… It’s moving from my forearm to the back of my neck… Now my ears are ringing even louder! Back is twitching with the painful throbbing. Knuckles are pounding more and more with every key hit… pulsations of pain and pleasure.

Stomach is gurgling more and more… Feels like very hollow inside…

Gurgle… gurgle… twurl…

RING-RING… THUD THUD! THUMP THUMP! gRING gRING! BA-BUMP! BUMP BUMP!

GAAA! CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Where the heck is that bandanna… got to get it on my forehead to stop the PAIN!

…—000—000—…—
Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon! Don’t drink it in the morning either!

CAFFIENE KILLS! It never heals.

Artfolio vs Portfolio

I plan to tag and categorize all future posts that I consider a part of my true art portfolio as “Portfolio” at some point in the future. This is different than the posts tagged or categorized as artfolio. Artfolio is reserved for all of my artworks posted in this blog, both unfinished and finished as well as works in progress, quick preliminary sketches, ideas, notes on technique, diary type art-related postings, etc. Portfolio tagged items are a subset of Artfolio tagged items which are more finished, and worthy of viewing. A lot of artists don’t like to show the unrefined, unfinished works to the public for a variety of reasons. I like doing this so that it’s easier to see techniques being used, discuss various methods of doing things, discuss the historical rationale behind symbols and patterns being utilized, etc. That’s why I created the artfolio tag and category. The portfolio tag and category is reserved for things that I would, and may actually put in my real world art portfolio. The Artfolio stuff is more of a hodge podge mix of everything I do that’s art related.

Exploring the wide world of blogging and updating…

I’m learning more and more every day about the wide world of the blogosphere. Up til a few days ago, I was manually doing a lot of updates in facebook and here, thinking of them as seperate worlds… The rumor that these here intraweb tubes all work together like magic is TRUE!

A few days back, I started using twitterfeed to update my facebook account with links to my blog. Within the last 24-48 hours I discovered http://hellotxt.com/ that does something similar but feeds a heck of a lot more than the 4 or so things that twitterfeed feeds… actually I learned about hellotxt from twitterfeed since twitter feed lets you use it to feed hellotxt… so now my blog is feeding twitterfeed… twitterfeed is feeding hellotxt… and hellotxt is feeding a bunch of other networks I never heard of, or heard of but never took part in before now. Amazing how these little social network things can connect you like crazy… It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, I thought facebook was just for geeky kids fresh out of high school, lol… It’s gotten me connected with a lot of old high school and college buddies, almost all of my family members in different parts of the country, a lot of people that I play video games with, and a ton of other people… The world isn’t such a big place anymore!… I really wish all of this stuff existed about 10 years ago when I graduated from college – I’d probably be a hole different life if that happened. Of course, if that happened, I’d not have met my wonderful wife, and have the amazing life that I have now… so there’s no looking back… but…. Look out future. Here we come in this interconnected virtual world!

Fellow Artist – Chris Mast

Chris is the webmaster for the popular gaming website http://www.merqurycity.com/

I’ve known Chris since high school. He and I were on the high school newspaper staff together at Boonville High School way back in the day (16 years ago, geesh, I feel old now). Back then, Chris lived one and a half blocks away. Chris, Chris’s brother, Sam, my brother, Danny, a few other close friends, and I used to play many video games and pen and paper role playing games together. The main games that we played were Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, Ninja and Superspies, Rifts, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT – no longer in publication since the Copyright and Trademark owners dumbed the TMNT down and made it in to a kid’s cartoon instead of the gritty, urban ninja comic it originally was intended to be). In my college days, we even played a few games of Nightbane, and a weird role playing world that I created using Palldium Books game system with modified versions of World of Darkness characters on occasion. (I won’t publish the conversion rules here in this post, but might in a future post – they are fairly simple).

I have many fond memories of role playing with Chris. Him and I used to take turns being the Game Master. Role Playing is one interest of mine that got me interested in taking up theater in college. Chris was one of the grooms men in my wedding. I keep in pretty close contact with him and see him about once or twice a year most years nowadays. He’s a very talented artist, and with two bachelor degrees behind his name, is about as well rounded of an artist as there can be.

Chris’s portfolio website is http://www.chrisjmast.com/.

Fellow Artists

Items tagged with the tag Fellow Artists are going to be dedicated to some of my fellow artist friends and their websites. Here, I plan to link to websites, blogs, and other interesting online projects that some of my fellow art friends have created, run, or maintain. I’ll try to keep the list narrowed down to artists that I personally know, or have some affiliation with. A copy of these postings will also be added to the Fellow Artists Page in my blog.

Growing up… .stream of conciousness… fleeting thoughts…

growing up … train-of-consciousness running me down!..stream of conciousness… fleeting thoughts, racing through my mind.. dream like visions… life is flashing before my eyes as various realities that I have known come colliding together in kaleidoscope forms making a rainbow prism for myself to see… myself… who I am…

Watching sunsets on Aunt Jo Ann’s porch (the brilliance blinding and beutiful), ruts in dirt roads. Covered bridge. Cows crossing the stream..
lincoln logs,
He man, Spider man, GI Joe and Fonzy
etc.

Fond memories of my dad’s flannel jackets, my great granma’s bonnet, clubhouse/treehouse… space cadets, imagination running wild. I feel like I’m awakening from a dream as I type this and begin letting my brain reconnect with some old memories… neurons are all a chattering away … excitement like a Child awaitng opening presents on Christmas morning… Christmas, Ceder Tree, tinsels, icicles… taking the icicle from the coyote’s cave near grandpa’s farm…

mind is racing as I conciously do what I need to do, at work, and elsewhere… however, I am no automaton. My subconcious races thinking about many thing… both wonderous and mundane. Creativity is flowing through every neuron in my body as I feel a tingle. I know that I am alive. It is good to feel this level of happy exhileration again… to be in touch with who that I am…. knowing that I am… being who I am… I am.

I am reminded of an old meditation that several nun’s and other Catholic mentors that I have related to at various retreats throughout my life have taught me…
Be Still and Know that I am God… Be still and Know. Be still… Be…

zest for life after mourning… inspirations of Jon – He is alive and is proud to be alive… spirit quests… change is good although we don’t like it when and fight it tooth and nail… understanding… wisdom…

It is good to be alive.

====

I am…
I am that.

ALIVE AND WELL here. How are you today?

Jeff’s Art Folio

People say that it’s not good to show “everything” in your online art creation portfolio or “artfolio”. I’m of a different opinion. Although it is important to show things in a pleasing manner, taking display and presentation issues greatly in to consideration, etc., especially in a resume/full portfolio presentation website that is being used to try to get a job, find new clients, etc., it is also fun to show off every darn thing you can… let the viewer see your mindscape in it’s totality. Where have you been, where are you going… what does a work-in-progress look like. What techniques were used to get from point A to point B to point C to a finished work. Process and technique are sometimes just as important, if not more important than the actual finished work of fine art. Sometimes, especially with artwork that uses the dimension of time and space, temporal attributes of the work are part of the main essence of the piece. For that reason, among very many other reasons, I likely will upload some of my older works here someday soon, assuming I can get halfway descent scans or photos of the works.

I’ve tried to do this sort of thing before, many years ago, but never succeeded for a number of reasons – it was simply too time consuming, my digital camera at that time just did not have enough pixel depth to capture things, or my real 35 mm camera cost me too much to have tons of pictures developed that didn’t come out very well since lighting was poor. My hard drive kept crashing due to the unstable Operating System known as Window 98, or Window XP… CDs of my work got scratched due to improper handling as I moved from apartment to apartment on an almost biannual basis, etc… my never-ending quest for a cheap or free webhost provider always ended unsuccessfully – If I am going to do something like this I want it to be around for a while and not disappear the first time that someone forgets to pay an Internet Hosting bill or the first time that a free website provider goes under, as many of them have done in the past. Before blogs became popular, I was going to do this by creating my own website(s), hand coding things, etc. I studied Flash. I studied Javascript. I studied ASP. I studied PHP. I studied Dynamic HTML. I even studied ways to hand code VRML. I studied all that I could about web programming… I studied Photoshop… I studied Illustrator… I studied Quark… I tried to learn as much as I possibly could about doing websites so that I could create the greatest website ever known to exist on the face of the earth…That was an epic failure because of my lack of time and ability to cohesively get everything together, and/or find a webspace provider that offered enough free web space to consume all the stuff I wanted to put online… Nowadays, with this blog, which I hope to maintain for as long as I possibly can, and various free image hosts, I think it’s time to make this never-ending quest for Jeff’s online artfolio to come to a real conclusion right here and now!

Going foward in time from now, postings tagged as artfolio, painting, drawing, pastel, digital painting, oil, acrylic, color pencil, etc., will be postings of my artwork, and each will probably a little description or at least title for each work. All works considered to be a part of the artfolio will be tagged and categorized as artfolio so that you can get to them easily without reading a lot of other postings about other things that I post about.

I plan to upload a lot of art, and create more to upload in the future…. I’m also going to try to put most of it on cafepress products and link to them from the artfolio, just in case you see something you like and might want to buy on mug, poster, greeting card, or something else. I know that most of it will never get a sale that way, but you never know. I would have never thought that people would buy some of the photos that they have purchased over the years on turbosquid…

I also might try selling some of the original artwork at some point in time when the time is right… and there comes to be a need to sell some of the stuff. In today’s digital world, what exactly is an original work of art anyways?!?… there’s a philisophical question for ya.

Some of ther artfolio work is on ok quality of work. Some of it is near perfection. Some of it severely sucks as artwork, but might have some other interesting quality that makes it worth taking a look at by more people than are looking at it right now, at is sits in a closet or sketchbook somewhere collecting dust… There are some interesting transitions in my style over time, interesting themes I like to revisit over time, etc. This is all stuff that art historians typically study once an artist is dead… Why let them make guesses after I’m dead since I’m alive right here and now?!?… I’ve never understood why artists don’t try to show their ALL to the public. Reveal the inner workings of their minds. We, as creative people, have a lot to offer to the world. Without further ado, welcome to “Jeff’s online Artfolio!”

Feel free to comment on various postings. I love feedback, both positive and negative (although in most real world art classrooms, it’s typically peferred that if you have something negative to say that you offset it with something positive to say – Constructive Criticism is what I’m really looking for…). In the future I may create “Jeff’s online Portfolio” which will be a subset of the Artfolio that focuses only on the best works in a more “traditional” portfolio website type of format. Until then, enjoy the upcoming visual feast.

inspirations

Inspirations… This, and future postings that are tagged as Inspirations are postings dedicated to works of art that inspire me. The postings tagged as inspirations could be thought of as a sort of “Jeff’s favorites” list of artwork, or list of art works that Jeff thinks about somewhat when he’s creating his own works. I honestly like a lot of various artwork for different reasons – and might even go so far as to say that there is something I can find to like about any artwork in the world… at least for some reason… In inspirations tagged postings I’ll try to explain why I like or am inspired by the works of art described or linked to in the individual postings. The Inspirations postings are actually sort of a challenge to myself to think about my own habbits & thoughts, as well as force me to actually look at more artwork than I typically do today on a regular basis. I live in a city where there’s not a whole lot of art galleries or museums, and those that are here or nearby are typically opened only during hours that I have to be at work, etc. so my actual viewing of artwork is a lot more limited than it probably should. Hopefully the inspirations tagged postings here will help me get past that a a bit, and continually grow as an artist myself by looking at what others in the world around me are doing instead of only looking at myself in the mirror…

Fantasy Lands…

Wikipedia is bad for studying fantasy game worlds in mmorpgs since they have rules that keep that sort of thing from staying in posts there…. can’t verify blah, blah, blah… which is weird since they have entire sections on fantasy places in literature

like Oz…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Oz

Land of Oz

Mavel Universe,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_universe

and even Heroes…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroes_(TV_series)

etc.

I guess for now, folks in Entropia will just have to continue to use places like http://www.entropedia.info/ because the place that should describe all of these sorts of things in detail, wikipedia, refuses to do so. Gigantic bias against virtual game worlds there on wikipedia in my opinion, which is really too bad… How are places that real people visit with their avatar every day less real and needing to be in there than silly make believe places like the land of Oz?, especially since places in Entropia Universe are paid for with real world money?

Something that really frustrates me about all of this is that they apparently have different rules for different virtual worlds… since they apparently don’t mind listing locations inside of the virtual universe of Warcraft… even though it’s an MMROPG and is “less real” than Entropia since it’s based entirely on a virtual gold system instead of a PED system that has a real world monetary system as the PED is tied to the dollar in a 1:10 ratio.