I may start blogging here more again.

It’s been a while since I did too many blog entries here. We are now in to the third trimester. Things are so exiting. Baby is kicking a lot every day now.

Work’s been a bit crazy since January when the replists were re-split so I had to work a different part of the alphabet than before January, but I’m almost getting it back under control in the new alpha at the level it was right before the split in January.

It’s looking like with the baby coming we’ll probably be moving back in with Mom and Dad for a while til we get on our feet financially and in a few other ways (being new parents is hard work). Financially it’s a bit of a struggle when we were trying to figure out the budget the other day since Tekla plans on being a stay at home mom for the most part, at least during the week. Gameplan is to have her work during weekends and me work during the week, so maybe, possibly, we might be able to avoid having to get a sitter or daycare… Moving in with Mom and Dad will help with that a bit, but I’m not sure how much yet since they have their own crazy work schedules, etc.

As far as the pregnancy goes we have been doing Lamaze classes the last few weeks and have learned a lot. A nice couple of apps to have to help with ‘focal point’ techniques are N7player for playing mp3 music and Quickpic for creating slideshows with photos. Also there’s the Stay Awake app that works to keep the screen on for an extended period of time so that slideshows are a possibility that won’t turn off after a few minutes… and it’s little brother, Screen off and Lock app to shut off the screen and wifi when you are ready to shut off that nice little slideshow for a while.

Since we are ‘downsizing’ by moving in with them a lot of things will be going in to a storage unit for a while. I probably won’t have much time to do a lot of art, but will still do some things from time to time. Besides photography, color pencil will probably be the media of choice for a while since there’s not a lot of mess involved with it or toxic fumes, etc. Just have to keep the pencils in baby-proof containers…

I’m starting to exercise more regularly when not hauling stuff to the storage unit. I’m going to try to start getting up at 5:00 am every morning again to do a morning routine. Finding time to do evening routines is not easy, but I might try to work those in from time to time too.

I’ve allowed myself to become caffeine addicted a bit. I was starting to get up to 4-5 cups of coffee a day at work. It’s hard to avoid there since it’s available freely in our department and they keep a pot going all day long. This last week I limited myself to a maximum of 4 cups a day. Next week I plan to limit myself to max of 3 cups a day… the next week after that go to a max of 2 cups a day… then the week after that 1 cup a day, and hopefully after that eliminate it all together, or if that’s too extreme, maybe go to max of one every other day or something til I can get to the point that I don’t need it any more.

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A few 5″ x 7″ doodles

These are a few 5″ x 7″ doodles on hard board. These works, among others, were presented to my brother in Texas as a Christmas present this year (we met them halfway in Oklahama City yesterday and drove all the way back last night getting home around 1:30 am – fyi – If you are looking for 435 in Kansas City, DO NOT TAKE 135 after the toll booth – take 35 instead! Also, there’s a nice little connector off of 435 that will let you hook over to just south of the Independence Mall that we found for the second time on accident last night – nicely done happy accident since that saved us some time – hard to miss that connector since it veers off to the right so it’s really an exit but seems to not be). Any work that is ‘from the imagination’ instead of depicting something like an illustration or drawing from life, I consider a “doodle.”

The color ones are mainly color pencil or color pencil sticks. The white one is china marker. There’s also a little China marker in some highlights on some of the color ones since I like to use china marker and prismacolor color pencils as top layers to add extra ‘punch’ to Crayola and Roseart (cheap color pencil) underlayers that get worked and reworked over and over. The white of the china marker can’t be beat nor can the pigment in the Prismacolor for the final touch.

Many artists use Prismacolor only and never use other brands. I think that’s just wasteful spending since Prismacolor color pencils average about a dollar a piece and on some really layered works I can rework an area enough to burn several pencils on one drawing sometimes. For underlayers expensive pigments in Prismacolor is not needed if you are going to work, re-work and then re-work again a few hundred times as I like. It is a nice touch for top layers, but for underlayers, it can get very expensive very fast for something that I’ll just essentially erase away and smudge to death so that the pigment itself isn’t visible anyways as it gets coated by layer upon layer of wax with more new layers on top.

In the upcoming year I plan to create many more 5″ x 7″ works. I love this size since it’s exactly twice the size of traditional “art cards”, exactly the same size needed for postcards or framed reproductions, and is just right for travel or hanging in a home vs larger works that work better in galleries that have tons of wall space.

I’m also starting to experiment a little bit with mixing color pencils and oil pastels with encaustic painting (wax painting that basically mixes oil color with a mixture of bees wax, paraffin wax and some manmade waxes to add more durability as bees wax and paraffin are both extremely brittle under certain conditions). I’m not sure I can do much with it since the encaustic doesn’t take the color pencils too well, but if the color pencils are the lower layers it might lead to some interesting potential as the encaustic can be layered three dimensionally much more than flat color pencils can by themselves.

I probably don’t have enough room for it now where we are currently located, nor will I for the next few years, but I’ve always wanted to experiment with mixing plaster sculpture and encaustic painting techniques someday. That’ll be many years down the road though. This upcoming year I really want to focus on the 5x7s and really ‘learn’ all the techniques and tricks I can about working on these small panels.

Fresh Start

Edit 5/27/2013
Got off of the workouts a few days the last few days and didn’t watch carb intake either. Going to try to get back in to it going forwards… Anyways, since it’s Memorial Day, here’s a video from this memorial day and one from last. If I remember, I’ll try to take one every year to show progress because I DO PLAN TO GET TO MY BMI GOAL WEIGHT BY AGE 45!!!

Memorial Day 2013:

Memorial Day 2012:

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Today is my birthday and I’ve decided that it’s time to restart the daily workouts after this weekend. I’ve had enough time to rest and recover after the surgery a couple of months ago. So.. here’s a new ‘before’ video…

Weigh in 2/8/2013: 277.5 lbs.IMG_20130208_072324

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Here’s a couple of Birthday Self Portraits. Many other artists do annual self portraits on birthdays, and I started this little tradition last year, so figure going forward I might try it more often.

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The self portraits got me thinking about things so I started some photo self portraits shortly after that…
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More photos:
http://halfwaytoseventyfour.shutterfly.com/pictures/187

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Today’s video:
2/8/2013
277.5 lbs

………..
The hernia issue happened October 29th, 2012. I overdid it on doing a Power 90 workout. Up til that point in time I was using 10 lb weights on each arm for most of the exercises. On that day I upped it to 20 lbs on each arm for the exercises, with was just too damn much… so I got hit with a hernia and had to have it repaired with a surgery. The doctor said that it was an odd type of hernia unlike one he’d seen before because it wasn’t a tear all the way through. Instead a very long piece of fatty tissue had essentially come out from the back area up through where it should not be and the overdoing it caused that to just strain all of it much worse than it should have been which caused the surgery to be needed. The surgery was in the early part of December and I was out of work a couple of weeks to recover from that. Then I went to work about a week and half and was on a scheduled Christmas vacation that was planned before the surgery thing came up… I kind of have not gotten in to the working out too much since then. I tried a time or two to do some of the workout videos, but the strain on the area where the surgery was for some of the kicks, crunches, etc. was just too much at the time. I am hoping that I’m now ready to re-start fresh now that I’ve had another few weeks of down time that I have not been doing much exercise.

Past videos and weigh ins on the weight loss journey up til this point in time:

10/2/2012:
273.6 lbs:

9/3/2012
292.6 lbs

I went up above 290 since the ‘rest’ I had to take to let the stab wound heal was days I gorged and ate extremely badly. That was a HUGE setback!… Hopefully junk like that won’t cause me to have setbacks again in the future.


Video of ‘The stab wound’ the monring after it happened. Sorry for the crappy video quality. I was using a low resolution webcam since it was the only video recording device I had available on that day. I accidentally stabbed myself with a steak knife while doing dishes. It was in the rack drying with the point up, but our sink is very small so I just moved wrong while washing a dish and accidentally the knife went right in. I bled a ton when it happened. Very scary situation since Tekla was not home when it happened. Very hard to hold the phone and call 911 when one of your arms has to hold a towel to stop blood and the other is bleeding like crazy.

8/21/2012
284.6 lbs

8/16/2012
285.3 lbs:

8/9/2012
281.8 lbs

8/1/2012
284.8 lbs

7/24/2012
286.2 lbs

7/17/2012
289.2 lbs:

7/14/2012
288.6 lbs

Before then

6/29/2012
292.1 lbs

6/24/2012
296.5 lbs

Memorial Day
May 28, 2012

4/30/2012

4/10/2012

Weight Chart prior to the videos:

Just as a reference for this old chart…
135 kg = 297.624 Lbs
130 kg = 286.601 Lbs
125 kg = 275.578 Lbs

The chart sort of outlines my ups and downs… The time when I was at the heaviest was a very dark time. It seemed like death was everywhere I looked.

(https://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/2189/ – list of most of the recent funerals in the family)

I think I was in a pretty deep depression at the time due to many family deaths those few years and various economic problems, as well as a lot of stressful political bullshit at work… One of my coworkers quit/got fired in a big huge spat that happened after several months of building up to it. They fought her getting unemployment checks, and that all ended us all in a courthouse type of setting in Jefferson City… one of the most nervous days I’ve ever had… It was a big fiasco. I’m not sure if she ever got her unemployment or not, or if she sued in a real lawsuit or not like she was planning to do… but anyways, in some of it I had to get sworn testimony in there about how the Associate CFO, who was sort of the head of our area had pounded fists on a table in a meeting a few years prior to this in some heated contractual negotiations, etc. (she was trying to argue something about a hostile work environment, etc.)… A few months after that whole fiasco, I was told that there just wasn’t room in the budget for me any more, and I was ‘reassigned’ to another department.

There was quite a bit of hostility in myself after that retaliation for speaking up… which is exactly what I still think that was all about… add in that type of getting pushed around to depression, etc. and with my personality being to overeat when feeling down or nervous, and it was just a horrible situation all around… I was a walking time bomb and heart attack ready to hit. Luckily, my rationale side, and amazing better half kept me sane during these insane times – so I didn’t buy up big bulks of fertilizer to use as a weapon of mass destruction, and stuck with causing havock in video games like Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas, various old NES games, etc. Entropia Universe, the video game, was a part of the depression, etc. as you can read about in my other blog as the developers in that game love to make promises they can’t and just won’t keep… and the love to break expensive items and estates in game that you pay for with real cash after you pay for it, sometimes for months, or years (taming still isn’t back since version update 10, etc)… However, even despite all the bull shit with that game, it was something I had some control over in my life… sort of this little escape from reality that was always there since I started playing it in 2007. There was some documentary on Eminem I watched on youtube the other day that talks about how his alter ego existed vs his real name use because it was this sort of alter ego he went in to deal with reality sort of and have control over… the documentary said that lots of folks that grew up in some conditions similar to his had the same type of issues sometimes. I think my avatar in Entropia has sort of turned in to that type of alter identity for me. I guess, like Neverdie, I am my avatar.

(note – blog link in above paragraph is now on a private blog, so it won’t work… new blog for entropia can be found at https://entropiascams.wordpress.com/ – I had to start the new blog and make old one private (although backup does exist in xml file that you can find a link to over on the new blog if you use a password in one of the posts over there… hint: password is a simple name that most folks that have played entropia a long time should know… it starts with an M and ends in an O… 🙂 ))

(August 2015 update on the job issue… currently working as a Dual Rate First Responder/Security Officer at the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville, Missouri.  I’ve held this job less than a month so far. Before that I was only a Security Officer a few months, and prior to that worked as a Steward at the Casino. I have a few updates to resume still needed.)

I have grown to love my new job… so sometimes the God(s) do have a plan. I actually kick ass at work now since I’m 3000% hyper focused. Also, I don’t have the constant man hating bullshit that I had to experience daily in my previous department. At one time back then my Supervisor back then actually hung up the phone and outloud gabbed about how the problems they were having was all his fault because he was a man. It was highly funny/ironic/sad at the time because the only other guy in the area we worked in and I had to go to a human resource training session the day before that talked a lot about how sexual discrimination was so bad to have in the work place, etc. In that department, at least at one time there was a massive amount of sexual discrimination of men in the department was happening by the female supervisor and boss… All the while chitty chatty brown nosing gossipy bitch who sat in the cubicle next to mine got a raise. They never really did this discrimination stuff openly. What they’d do is this stupid crap of creating a new position that did the exact same job of who they wanted out… then after they purposefully got the job duties overlapped enough they’d assign the old worker they wanted out the bullshit jobs like manually closing out 50,000 or so accounts in a huge database where a pulldown menu had to be selected to close it, and this backlog of unclosed visits existed because the brown nosers never did their job but did a good enough job of hiding that fact until months later that they were never reprimanded… and then after assigning the crappy job they’d say that due to the overlapping of duties, there just is no need for the person that was there longest, etc. It’s all political bullshit…

However, luckily the new position I’m in now has much less of that type of stuff going on. For the first time in my life I work for a Department Manager that actually gives a damn about what her employees think! Just the other day I had an hour long meeting with supervisor and department manager just to discuss a handful of emails I’d sent where I explained some concerns I had about processes in the office that I didn’t agree with. At no other job I’ve ever had in the past has anyone ever taken the time to care that much… That’s an awesome feeling. It’s nice to have control over your own real life world a little, and have coworkers that actually care about what you have to say and think. Also, even though I do have to listen to some coworkers and their phone conversations nowadays, it’s nothing like the hateful bullcrap I used to have in my old department where the brown nosing bitches like to slam phones down after the call, call names to the other party after that, and then repeat back the entire conversation they just had voicing out loud with as much hatred as possible why the other party was wrong, on every paragraph in the conversation, EVERY time they take a call or make a call, either on the office phone or on their own private cell phone… That type of venomous poison is easily spread as it’s yelled out daily. Kinda sad to say it but it’s almost too bad that rattlesnake they found in the hallway outside of my old department didn’t find it’s way in the mail slots. Might have adjusted some attitudes in that area, but I doubt it would have done any good. Hopefully some of the self-loathing venom being spewed from that old office can recede from that area in the future as it really just causes endless cycles of negativity to draw itself in more and more daily…

Hopefully, as I continue down a healthy past in the near future, this control over my own life can only get better and better over time. We are now in the age of Aquarius. Enlightenment that was just beyond grasp is now within reach! 🙂 😉

http://sketchbookphotosshotjanuary2013.shutterfly.com/

http://sketchbookphotosshotjanuary2013.shutterfly.com/ – a few more photo of the sketchbooks taken today. I used the 1000 watt light (it’s really two 500 watt halogen bulbs) to light it. I think that helped the white get a bit more white than the last batch. This is a continuation of the sketchbook shot in the last batch and the start of a second one. These sketchbooks were mostly from college and a few years after that. Some of the portraits in them are actually of people I quickly did sketches of at various summer jobs during college, etc. I didn’t get a bunch done in this round of photos since that 1000 watt light is extremely hot. The wall near where the light was sitting as I shot these was still hot to the touch about 15 minutes after I turned the light off! I can’t do extended several hour long photo shoots with that light in that enclosed of a space. It’s too dangerous as a fire hazzard and also a danger on my health since it really drains me standing about two feet from that light as I shoot these sketches.

After I get a lot of these sketchbooks uploaded, I probably won’t do a bunch more unless I scan them or photograph them as I create them… something I didn’t do much in the past, which is why there’s such a big backlog.

I suspect a bunch of work in the near future will actually start digital and stay digital most of the way through since I recently got got an android tablet for Christmas and just in the last week or so installed Sketchbook Pro on it as an ‘early’ birthday gift. I’m starting to learn to love that app…

Notice some of the ‘yellow’ on the backside of the sketches… I suspect that ballpoint pen ink does that since it’s acidic even though the pages of the paper is non-acidic. Scary stuff. Makes me really glad that I’m actually taking the time to start shooting some of these before they decay even more in a few decades because of that type of thing.

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/ – link to a little bundle of pics I uploaded to shutterfly tonight. Most of them are ancient sketchbooks from the late 1990s, but the acrylic paintings, encaustic paintings and photos are very recent stuff.

I might crop some of them and put them here on the blog later. Some of them are multiples of the same image because I like to shoot several pics of one work and pick the best of them with fewest blurs, bad contrast, etc. for various things. I’m not sure – I may have scans of some of these somewhere in the blog already?… Oh well, multiple images of the same thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Lighting was not very good on many of these… I was using interior lighting and that’s never good for shooting art. It’s too cold to go outside, and I don’t trust the wind outside when shooting photos of artwork on paper since paper tends to catch in the wind too easily. A few years back (a couple of months before we moved out of Boonville) I did try to shoot a bunch of artwork outside and a lot of it got caught in a big gust of wind. The same day a wind gust knocked over the tripod and busted the screw connector at the bottom of the camera that was on the tripod at the time. That poor camera finally died on me about a month ago or so… it’s had a hard life. I haven’t thrown it out yet in hopes that maybe it will get some life again someday… (I think something’s gone wrong with the battery connection or something).

Shooting photos of art is much faster than trying to scan them. I also scanned a bunch of my ‘morning pages’ today from the last year or so. I have not consistently done that every day, but there’s still a heck of a pile of paper. I probably won’t publish that to the public since there’s a lot of private thoughts on it… but might upload it somewhere secure for a backup like in email or google docs. Scanning those is not super time consuming since I’m going on very low resolution of 100 dpi or so for the scans since there isn’t any real big drawing/painting to it even if there’s a sketch or two here and there from dream scapes I tried to outline the architecture of, etc. Many of my dreams have a very architectural feel for them… various locations tie in together in various ways with hallways, placements of architectural elements, etc. It can sometimes get intricate in how I try to detail my ‘morning pages’/diary or whatever you want to call it because of that… Jung had archetypes. I have archetypes and architecture that those archetypes act in. All the world’s a stage…