The Meaning of Creativity – Gentrification Story

Very creative short story depicting the progression of a section of a city that was gentrified over time. The underlying theme of the story is the search for the true meaning of creativity. Crazy Story.

Once upon a time there was a city whose mayor believed in order and organization, and above all in planning, especially in all things relating to his municipality. He recognized that a healthy city must tend to grow, just like a biological tissue, but he differentiated between the sound, organized and controlled growth of normal tissues and the uncontrolled and chaotic growth of cancerous tissues, and wished to ensure that his city be more like the former than the latter.

Accordingly, he caused his city to be divided into zones corresponding to all forms of human activity. There were zones for manufacturing, for light industry, for office buildings, for theaters, concert halls and restaurants, for apartments, for townhouses, and finally for ordinary single family dwellings. The rules were rigorously enforced and the mayor was persuasive enough and in office long enough for his sensible plan to approach completion.

On the whole, his efforts were regarded as outstandingly successful in Freetown, his city, was held up to the world as a model for others to aspire to and emulate, if they could. Still, there persisted some nagging problems. When the entire visible population had been assigned to their appropriate spaces, there remained a significant residue that did not seem to fit in anywhere.

Some had no source of income which they were willing to disclose, some lived by renting their bodies to strangers, and some depended completely on the generosity of passersby. It was characteristic of this group that they were difficult to enumerate and indeed their numbers seemed to fluctuate erratically from time to time as individuals drifted in and out.

Some called them street people, some called them derelicts, and some called them miscreants; no one knew what to do with them. They cumbered the earth. It was not a historical period noted for generosity to those unwilling or unable to work and, while the government made available work- training programs designed to prepare the indigent for a wide range of entry level jobs, the results were disappointing. Typically, the potential trainee would begin hopefully and then lose interest and eventually drop out.

More Draconian procedures were no more successful. It was not practical to throw all the street people into jail, as the jails were already filled with genuine criminals. The idea of paying them to go away was briefly considered and then discarded as too expensive and difficult to enforce.

When creating this story I had a certain vision of what the city may look like. This video captures it perfectly.

[su_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/25446891″]

Finally the mayor and his staff sighed and decided to evade the problem, enabling them to declare a victory. A somewhat rundown section of the central city was designated facetiously

“The Demilitarized Zone” and set aside for people who were not readily accommodated by organized society. While it was never codified into law, it was widely understood that no one would be bothered by police within the Zone, provided that he confined himself to non-violent activities, which would not be too closely monitored.

The new policy was instantly successful. All those regarded as misfits in the more upscale parts of town migrated in a body to the Zone, as to a natural haven. Here one might find people catering to every form of sexual proclivity; here migrated sidewalk artists, street musicians, as well as individuals who improvised performances of all kinds; here were encountered retailers of T-shirts stamped with colorful legends, adult books and videos, as well as all manner of goods of questionable ownership. One might also find drug peddlers here, although custom confined them to certain blocks. And finally there were many beggars and panhandlers as well, people who had nothing to sell or do which could command a price. A subcategory of these were derelicts who did not actively solicit money, being dependent upon remittances from outside the Zone.

From the point of view of its inhabitants, the Zone had many advantages over the more traditional slum, ghetto, or barrio, from which it differed substantially. The violent types, the thugs and street bandits, who infested the latter institutions had been rounded up relentlessly and shipped out to jail. The non-violent resident or transient was safe from molestation by either his fellows or the police. An individual who bothered others was very apt to be reported to the police and subsequently exported, often in damaged condition. The absence of violence made it feasible to maintain a multitude of very cheap flophouses, as well as free public shelters, where one might sleep without qualms. Here and there a church group had established a center for free meals. While religious services were available at these, attendance was strictly voluntary.

Although formal rules and regulations were minimal, the people of the Zone were by no means in a state of anarchy. Early in the history of the Zone, they recognized that the various money-raising activities prevalent there were often not altogether compatible, so that the presence of a particular type might tend to inhibit practitioners of a second type. Conversely, there was sometimes a synergistic effect between two different categories. This stemmed from the fact that the cash flow into the Zone relied entirely upon casual visitors from other parts of the city or the suburbs and, if these were attracted, or repelled, by a certain kind of street activity, other entrepreneurs in the vicinity were likely to be influenced.

With this in mind, the inhabitants of the Zone, without coercion from outside, voluntarily organized themselves so as to achieve the most satisfactory distribution of activities. The drug dealers, whose clientele tended to specialize, were confined to one or two blocks on the periphery, as well as a nearby shelter, and were never seen by the bulk of the visitors to the Zone. Prostitutes of various kinds were also restricted to row houses within a somewhat larger area, with discreet coded signs indicating their specialties. The performing artists were spread out over a wide area, with never more than one to a block, which they might share with a sidewalk artist or a retailer of souvenirs or imitation Rolexes. Beggars, who were stationary, and panhandlers, who were mobile, could also be fitted in with the performing artists, although never more than one to a block. In their own interest, these were urged to avoid aggressive soliciting and could be forcibly expelled if they failed to comply; also, the desirability of silence was impressed upon them.

Although the system had its critics, there was general agreement that, on the whole, it worked amazingly well. Far from being an eyesore and a liability, the Zone had become an asset to Freetown and a major tourist attraction, putting to shame the more conventional art galleries, museums, and concert halls, which were the city’s pride. This was so much the case that several upscale restaurants had relocated to the Zone, where they were accepted with a shrug by the city government, as well as a warning that they must adapt themselves to the local customs rather than vice versa.

With time, the people of the Zone came to take such pride in their quarter that they kept it spotlessly clean of their own accord, rendering the municipal sanitation department redundant. Flower beds were planted in the dirt strips between street and sidewalk in such a way that each block acquired a brilliant color at its own particular season, so that, from April to November, there were always blocks of spectacular beauty. The flowers were supplemented by blossoming fruit trees, which had been planted at regular intervals along the strips in such a way that their colors contrasted with and accentuated those of the flowers. Freetown had always been famous for its flowers and the two parts of town now complemented each other nicely.

The quasi-gentrification of the Zone was further promoted by the rehabilitation of a large vacant lot in its center, where a fire had destroyed a group of dilapidated row houses. This was planted with grass and flowerbeds and also equipped with brick crosswalks and a small brick plaza in its center. The city did not look too closely at where the bricks came from, as there was general agreement that the park completed the evolution of the Zone by providing a much-needed center, which could also accommodate a half-dozen or so of its artists, mendicants, and performers.

The only group (apart from the drug peddlers, who did not count) who tended to be dissatisfied with the new system were the beggars, who now felt conspicuous and out of place, as if they were somehow lowering the tone of the locality. Perhaps this was because they were the only ones who did not provide any commodity or service in exchange for the donations they received.

The Zone is of course history now. This is largely a consequence of the wave of super-prosperity which swept over late 20th century America. Urban developers were drawn to the area and proceeded to put up expensive stores, hotels, and office buildings, in the process commonly known as gentrification or urban renewal. As the Zone came to be populated more and more by conventional urban types, its former inhabitants, while not exactly encouraged to leave, felt increasingly uncomfortable and gradually drifted away of their own accord, until the area largely lost its unique characteristics and became indistinguishable from the rest of the city.

What I now relate occurred during the heyday of the Zone, when its raffish population coexisted with affluent tourists, from whom it drew its livelihood. Ralph, Sam and Max, who were graduate students at a nearby university, had taken advantage of the spring vacation to visit the Zone, which Ralph and Max had never seen, although they knew it well by reputation.

Ralph, a blond, rather willowy young man and an aspiring artist, had just returned from an exhibition in a nearby city inaugurating a major new gallery, while Max, an older student and a potential writer, who was dark and heavyset, had recently visited a publishers’ convention, where many new books were displayed. Sam, a tall and athletic biochemistry major, who looked older than his age, was showing the others around. Having time to spare, they decided to include the Zone in their schedule. Both Ralph and Max had heard of it and wanted to compare the actuality with its colorful reputation, which Sam did not attempt to embellish. It was early May and the flowers and blossoms, for which the Zone, as well as the more conventional parts of Freetown, were famous, were at their height. The cherry blossoms were mostly gone now, but the dogwood trees were at their height, while the flower beds were full of red tulips, yellow daffodils, blue violets, and a multitude of others.

It was mid-morning and the sidewalks of the Zone were relatively not crowded. Most of the tourists came in the afternoon or evening and the residents moved in synchrony with them. No prostitutes were to be seen and only a handful of artists, performing or creative, were about. However, the latter category included several sidewalk artists of significant talent, who worked in pastels, as well as one who, employing chalk, used the sidewalk as an easel.

The only outdoor Zone activities occurring at anything like their usual intensity were begging and peddling. The three men had many opportunities to have their shoes polished, as well as to buy a wide range of colorfully decorated T-shirts and many other dubious goods. However, in deference to the customs of the Zone, the peddlers did not prolong their sales pitch and a simple shake of the head sufficed to shake them off. The three were left in sufficient peace to continue the conversation Ralph and Max had begun earlier, which centered about the dearth of originality in both their fields.

“It’s as if the contemporary artist has no place left to go, “said Ralph. “The local exhibition is full of material, which is both very conventional and dull, or else attempts to shock in a primitive way by violating some taboo. When a crucifix immersed in urine gets only a shrug, the artist moves on to blood-stained tampons arranged in patterns and enclosed in cellophane, or else to freeze-dried dog turds sprinkled with imitation gold dust. Either there is no originality or it takes a grotesque form.”

“It’s much the same in my field. Most of the fiction published today is the most amazing garbage; nearly all the good books are non-fiction. I think the trouble is that, when one has followed a trend to the end, it is impossible to retrace one’s steps without appearing dated. To avoid this, it is necessary to make a sharp break, either into a fresh new approach or outlook, or else into a novel form of rubbish. Unfortunately, there is no known systematic way of choosing the first alternative. The only way to do so is to fall back on the quality we call creativity, which no one can summon up by an act of will. Perhaps you either have it or you don’t.”

“It’s different in science,” said Sam. “At least for the last century or so, there’s been one breakthrough after another. When one seems to have been completely exploited, another comes along which changes everything. Individual scientists may bog down and be mired in the same habits of thought, but science as a whole, never. I suppose that’s because science is both truly progressive and accumulative. It always renews itself and can never go backwards.”

“What is creativity?” said Max. “If I knew what it was, I would go look for it.”

“Me too,” said Sam.

Their conversation was interrupted at this point by their passing a beggar, who was sitting on the sidewalk with his back against the wall of a store selling psychedelic posters. He was missing an arm. He had leaned a placard saying “Vietnam vet” against the wall. He was lean, with a sallow complexion and a resentful, hangdog look. Max, who had been in Viet Nam himself, wondered idly if the man were really a veteran. Certainly his impairment seemed real enough, but surely he could qualify for disability payments.

Noticing that there was nothing in his plate, Ralph gave him a dollar. “God bless you,” he said mechanically. Max now felt obligated to give him a dollar too and received the same formula. Sam, who had nothing smaller than a ten dollar bill, silently averted his eyes. “It’s a gorgeous day,” said Max. “And those flowers are…spectacular.” The beggar stared, as if the idea were novel to him. “Yeah, they sure are,” he said finally. As they walked away, Max and Ralph noticed that he had removed their two dollar bills, so that the plate looked empty again. They returned to the thread of their conversation.

“I don’t think there is any mystery about what creativity is,” said Ralph. “It’s the ability to solve a problem in an original and elegant way, like cutting the Gordian knot. I think it is elegance which is the true hallmark of creativity. There is always a discontinuity associated with a creative solution to a problem; it is never approached gradually. Artists struggled for centuries with the problem of perspective, and then it was solved within a short time by the introduction of vanishing points, which was not a refinement of earlier methods, but an entirely new departure. One could say the same for the rise of impressionism and abstract art.”

“I see what you mean,” said Max. “George Eliot introduced in her books the idea, very novel

in her day, that men and women could interact in many ways which had nothing to do with sexuality; this was certainly creative.”

“Your point about discontinuity,” said Sam, “certainly holds true in science. Copernicus made a clean break with the past, replacing a system which was grotesquely complicated with one which was simple and elegant. The transition from classical to quantum physics did not occur by gradual stages which progressively refined the subject, but by an abrupt jump which changed everything. In my own field, Pauling was able to solve the structure of the alpha-helix by dropping the requirement, which seemed graven in stone, that a helix must have an integral number of residues per turn.”

The next block was empty, except for a street violinist, who played indifferently well. They each gave him a quarter, Sam borrowing from Max, and walked on. The following block contained a beggar, who, like the Viet Nam vet, had a placard, which was so placed that they could not read it until they were quite close to him. However, they had noticed that passersby tended to choose a circuitous route around him. The reason for this became clear when they had come close enough to read his placard, which read simply “AIDS.”

At this period, the early-80’s, a diagnosis of AIDS was equivalent to a death sentence and they accordingly looked at the man with a mixture of macabre interest and pity. A glance was enough to dismiss any thoughts that he might be shamming. He was extremely emaciated and he had acquired the semi-translucent look sometimes seen in very old people. Unlike the first beggar, he had made no effort to conceal what he had collected, which was not very substantial. Ralph and Max each gave him a dollar and received a muttered “Thank you” in exchange; Sam, who disliked people prone to acquire AIDS, walked past without looking at him. As they walked past, Max glanced briefly back at the man, to find that he was being regarded with a look of such intense hatred that he felt a pulse of something akin to pain.

After a minute or two, they put aside depressing thoughts and resumed the conversation. Max began: “I suspect that creativity is more widely distributed than we think. Most people have at least a little and it’s always struggling to get loose. If you have more than a little and don’t use it, it will drive you crazy.”

“I tend to agree,” said Ralph. It’s unfortunate that most occupations have so little scope for it. Maybe that’s why we have so many bitter old people. What chance do these people, for example, have to be creative?” “They’re a special case, surely,” said Sam. “I doubt if creativity could appear here. But I think that it can arise in very ordinary jobs. The prison warden that controlled rebellious inmates by feeding them baby food, instead of bread and water, showed creativity of a sort.”

They were now approaching the small plaza in the center of the Zone. To their surprise, and in contrast to the blocks they had passed through, they saw a bustle of activity, which was centered about a particular point, where a small crowd appeared to be milling around. People seemed to be walking past and then returning, as if they had unfinished business there. However, having returned, they did not linger, but soon resumed walking.

The crowd was sufficiently dense that they had had to wedge their way through it before they could see what the center of attraction was. They were surprised to see that it was only another beggar. This one was unexceptional in appearance, looking in fact perfectly ordinary, except for being blind. Like the other two, he had set up a placard. He had received so many donations that a plate did not suffice to hold the money he had collected, so that he was forced to use a basket. People would often pass by, pause, and then walk back to drop something in the basket.

However, our three men did not have to hesitate. Upon reading the beggar’s placard, all three gave a two-digit sum. Even Sam contributed his 10-dollar bill. Moreover, as they walked on afterwards, they all felt a curious sense of exaltation, as if they had done something noble and beautiful. They were silent for some time, until they were stopped some distance from the crowd by an elderly woman, who asked what was going on.

“It’s only a beggar,” said Max. “It’s his placard that’s the attraction.”

“What on earth does it say?”

“It is May and I am blind.”

The woman thanked them and made her way towards the crowd. The three men continued their walk. There was no further talk of creativity; it would have been redundant.

Loaded Dervish Sama Review

Okay, truthfully this is my third Loaded Dervish Sama board so you can pretty much assume that this board is perfect which completes my review. But really the first two boards I purchased became gifts to my friends or I should say, the first deck was acquired on loan to one of my friends in New York which he has not returned. The second was a gift to one of my artist friends that was riding some homemade no thrills board, needless to say he now has thrill when pushing is new Dervish Sama.

This deck pictured above was just purchased from Utopia in Norwalk and sports some new refinements in my longboarding arsenal. Of course the deck, fiberglass and bamboo Flex 2 which gives me enough flex to free-ride without hesitation and is stable at high speeds without any speed wobble or wheel bite. I can use any size wheel I choose but made the decision to include some purple Orangetang Stimulus wheels which give me comfort and allows me to slide at will. I have also upgraded to the ceramic bearings which add an additional one hundred dollars to the bill but well worth it.

The trucks are Carver trucks which also add another one hundred dollars to the bill but wanted to really have the perfect ride. You can never go wrong buying the best sports equipment. The trucks are rock solid and turn on command without any bounce back. Super light but with tons of meat giving you the confidence to pretty much tackle any situation. The quality and workmanship is really beautiful, every detail including the logo is spotless.In a nutshell, the Loaded Dervish Sama can be a crazy ride, the deck, and setup accelerates with ease. Using my GPS on my cellular and hitting the back country hills have hit speeds of 42 miles per hour without any issues of confidence.

The deck host an impressive array of concave mixed with the tails and nondirectional footing makes looking your feet into place super easy. The grip tape is also well thought out with the more aggressive pattern on the ends and the less aggressive tape on the inside make it very comfortable.

With thirteen complete decks in my collection mostly Loaded Boards, the Sama is pretty much my first pick to hit the streets. I would rate this volume 11 out of 10. Perfect ride…

Music-Video-Parodies

Welcome to my parodies post. Just a note that you can play and view both videos on each column at the same time. Sort of amusing to listen to the lyrics in a duet.

“Shake” Parody Version 

Very well done Taylor Swift parody video that is just tremendous fun to watch. April Bender, singer has a great voice that just makes the video that much more enjoyable. The lyrics are just great mixed with the facial expressions makes this video almost better then the original.Funny music video parodies by the Key of Awesome crew! Musical comedy show spoofing celebrities, pop-culture and the latest internet memes.

“Base” Parody Version

Bart Baker, the mastermind and artist that portraits Meghan Trainor in this fun, crazy, parody video. The lyrics are the complete opposite of the original that basically say all skinny people are “bitches” as opposed to the original that expresses self love. The video is spot on perfect, stage design, lyrics, dance movements, and costume design. The only flaw that takes away from the creation is the last few minutes of video segment that detracts from the original.

“Shake” Original Version 

“Shake It Off” received mostly positive reviews from music critics, who praised its musical style. Meanwhile, the music video received mixed reception, and was additionally criticized for a scene which involved twerking. “Shake It Off” debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending September 6, 2014, becoming Swift’s second number one single in the United States and the 22nd song to debut at number one in the chart’s history. The song received a nomination for Favorite Song at the 2015 People’s Choice Awards.

“Base” Original Version

Trainor was born and raised in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the daughter of Kelli (Jekanowski) and Gary Trainor.  She grew up with a musical family, and has been writing songs since she was 11 years old. The song and video are upbeat and enjoyable and conveys a positive “self love” message. On the negative side, the song has aired so much that it has had a negative impact by becoming a nuisance

Disturbing Cell Phone Images

Please if you are squeamish don’t view the finger and hand images created one hundred percent by cell phone. Using my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and a simple symmetrical filter I created images of my hands. Somewhat interesting in that the photographs take on a personality of there own. The textures and image quality is really amazing.  I did use the standard frame selection then re sized all the disturbing images using a Play store app. Will list all the apps and filters.

Would love to know your thoughts and opinions on these photographs.

Cellular Park  The use of the cell phone as an art medium is an old idea. I strongly believe that using what one has to create something is very interesting. These photographs are of the Norwalk, Ct dog park. Just an amazing place, acres of park just for dogs to run free and mingle with each other.

Tent City Story

“POW”

I suppose we, myself and the rest of the inmates of ” Tent City ” were pioneers,
we set the example, or should I say, an example was made of us…

Three-forty-five in the early winter morning, sleeping outside in military tents. Twenty-five inmates stacked on metal bunks with just the essentials. One or two blankets separate warmth from the cold stillness of the outside. The sounds of inmates usually the old timers, coughing in sickness make sleep a difficult task. Most are too weak or to scared to seek medical attention, the prospect of medical lock-down is not as thrilling as roughing it outside in the olive green canvas tents. A handful of inmates attempt to work on their bodies, bench pressing the one-hundred pound steel bunk beds with the additional weight of a few volunteer inmates situated on top. Folding the bed rolls and placing them on the ground, creating a firm support for your back. The person then lies on top of the folded mattress which allows for adequate clearance to fully extend ones arms. There is a certain harmony during these workouts, a very professional and harmonious atmosphere is created – it almost makes you forget were you are, that doesn’t last to long.
Other inmates are plugged into there radio’s totally unaware of the goings and comings around themselves. Thinking of the outside world, of all the daily joys that one takes for granted, good food, one’s freedom, and of some female companionship. Some of the more ambitious inmates, usually the ones that are staying here for many years, wonder around from tent to tent trying to either sell or buy contraband, tobacco, drugs, stolen items, or anything that was not readily available to the common inmate through legal prison lines was in high demand.
The camp is under very sever racial disturbances brought out by many factors. Such as very cramp living conditions, extreme weather conditions, cold during the winter nights or one-hundred plus degrees during the Arizona days. Without the proper heating or cooling facilities and insufficient clothing it’s just a matter of time before the bomb explodes. The second factor is the constant harassment from the camp guards, which despite their unique training, are like young kids with new toys. Usually the guards have military experience and have graduated top of there class which would make you think they could handle their positions. A large percentage of the guards have been trained in various fighting techniques and weapons usage, making them all just a little sadistic. Dressed in beige camouflage desert uniforms, equipped with an assortment of weapons attached to there belts, giving them the appearance of a Desert Storm Trooper.

Stun-guns were just introduced into the picture during my enlightening stay at tent city. On several occasions I witnessed the very brutal results of the power of these torture devices. Without warning, three or more guards burst into the small confines of the tent, sudden confusion and a mad dash to you bunks. It is to late the guards have singled out one or two of the more visible prisoners and have begun what seems like an endless verbal beating. Eventually the atmosphere becomes more hostile, like a school of hungry sharks – at first just playing with there prey and then going in for the final kill. First kicking there victim and then hitting with clenched fist. Finally, the horrible conclusion, ZAP!…It’s over, cuff him, and drag his limp body to lock down, he’s back in one or two days. The hit squad has done there damage, their point taken and there message well understood, “do not fuck with us or we will take action”. Not realizing that there method of communicating there thoughts was beginning to wear thin, and the inmate community was beginning to get agitated and very hostile towards the institution. More and more incidents were becoming a daily occurrence. It is as if they were trying to get things going so they could extinguish there own fire, boredom?, or were they venting there own inner inadequacies, there hostilities, there anger from there miserable lives, nightmares from the military. These questions will never be known.
The constant noise, twenty-four hours a day, sirens, bells whistles, and the announcements over the intercom system, mixed in with 300 inmates speaking and yelling in the background, night and day, it is very maddening after a while. You never really sleep, short naps all night, ones ears fine tune at night, able to hear distant conversations in detail, not actually acknowledging what is said, trying to tune everything out, not able…restless
After a while you know every detail of you bunkies life, you know about their family and their girlfriends, especially their girlfriends. I imagine that most of the stories are lies or at best exaggerations of the truth. Listening contentedly, every detail heard and accepted as the truth. You become close to certain fellow inmates, persons you might share the same interest, or enjoy playing cards with. I suppose you become a family of sorts, each member helping to the best of their ability another member through a hard time, each gaining support from the other.

2015 Pigments Painting Award

Story Beginnings Notes

“When the article was first written, all the details were not included. The end result was the forming of conclusions that are not the actual feelings of the author. Please find enclosed the revised essay in its final format.

Sitting behind the keyboard, fingers waiting for the electronic commands from my brain to be transmitted.

It saddens me to realize that I will go the rest of my life without smiling….

I suppose we, myself and the rest of the inmates of ” Tent City ” were pioneers, we set the example, or should I say, an example was made of us…

Switching Hosting Providers

Hostmonster One of the Worst Hosting Providers

After tens of years with my host provider and thousands of dollars and hundreds of domains under my belt, switching was not an easy task.  Over the course of the last year,  give our take,  service from Hostmonster really diminished to the point of frustration. Customer service took hours to get through,  usually with no results.  On several occasions sites that had thousands of pages and took years to fine tune where all of a sudden riddled with error messages and databases that no longer functioned. In essence they could not fix the issue and opted to reset which cost me years of time and work. Read Customer Complaints

Recently, I kept receiving emails that said my databases exceeded system specifications. No problem, started removing and compacting the files but still needed assistance. Called Hostmonster and waited with speakerphone on so as not to waste more time. Forty five minutes passed and finally spoke to a IT service representative. Explaining the situation as he viewed my files, he informs me that there has been phishing emails going around. I mentioned that I checked the header of the email and it originated from Hostmonster. I asked if he could delete any unused databases, which he said he could not. After hanging up without unsatisfactory results, my sites were all down, my service was suspended. I was crazy angry and had to call again. After more time, spoke to yet another customer service representative that said I have exceeded my database limits and would have to upgrade service to continue. I was super hot now, hung up and started deleting databases removing websites. Called again and they scanned the databases and of course un-suspended my service. Hung up and immediately started saving by exporting all my files and sites.

GoDaddy Provider Makes Hosting Interesting Again

Went to my domain manager and unlocked all my domains. Found GoDaddy, signed up for the fasted most powerful plan and started transferring domains out of Hostmonster to GoDaddy. Easy, but costly because you have to renew each domain name also. Customer service at GoDaddy is fantastic with people that actually know what they are doing. I now have almost all my sites back up and running utilizing some of the best organized cPanel apps. There is a slight learning curve with GoDaddy but we’ll worth it. My sites work blazing fast and service is exceptional.

Hostmonster started off well and was rated one of the best but has not kept up. Please do yourself a favor and stay away. Also, they have other companies under different names which is a bit shady if you ask me Will update you on those. Will not miss poor customer service from Hostmonster.

Disturbing Hand Photoshop Image

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 511″ limit=”3″ link=”lightbox” width=”750″ height=”300″]The disturbing image is actually a photograph of my hand which is then manipulated with Photoshop. The image was captured with my cell phone, set to its highest setting, against a white wall. Separation of the main object from the background is much simpler if the background is of a neutral background such as a white background, black, or even a sky setting. I then created a layer mask and simply picked the background color as a highlight and deleted it.

The next step was to create the transparent hole in the middle of the hand. Using the lasso tool I created a shape that I was pleased with for the moment, can always fine tune later. Then I deleted the selection and created several layers with the same shape for future use. The layer selection was picked and then right clicked to display the blending tools and palette. Then it was simply a question of adding shadow and depth to the whole. Then I highlighted the next layer hole I made and transformed the size to just a shade smaller and once again used the blending tools to create shadow, depth, and color. This went on for about four more layers, adding texture to the last one.

The next step was to merge the layers containing the holes and using the liquefy tool started to fine tune the hole to something more vile. Once satisfied, I saved the work space and focused my attention to the hand that had no depth, seemed flat and not interesting. Using the basic, burn, dodge, and sponge tool, I added shadow under each finger and in the joints. I also added some detail on the main artery on the wrist. Burned the whole and really tried to make the blood look a bit dried up. The next step was to use the render tool and add a single source of light, making part of the wrist in the dark. Once again I used the burn tool to make it really pop.

Once the image was just about what I wanted, I flattened all the layers and added “plastic wrap” in the artist section. Then using the file section picked a soft light and reduced the intensity. Didn’t want it to look like plastic wrap. Then it was time to add some interesting textures to the hand. Then the background image was created, its actually a photograph of a house that I took a while back. Converted it to a black and white image, and once again added a spot light effect, then the use of render lens flare to create the moon effect, toned down and diffused.

The last thing was to clean up the background of the hand and whole and blend the background with the for ground, once again flattened the image and used the lighting effect to complete it. Total work time was about 40 minutes or so. The original image is massive and shows a lot of detail. Let me know your thoughts on this image. Thanks again.

 

Pigments Painting Preliminary Room Setup Procedure

Pigments Painting

Preliminary Room Setup Procedure

  1. Photograph room in current condition and as a reference to furniture and wall decorations placement upon completion of project.
  2. Remove or organize furniture for easy access to walls, ceiling, and trim.
  3. Cover all furniture and floors with clean drops and plastic. Seal off room
  4. Remove all cover plates, window hardware, wall fixtures, and trim hardware.
  5. If required, wash walls, ceiling, and trim.
  6. Sand everything, fill, tape, and make sure surfaces are sound and smooth.
  7. Vacuum and make sure dust levels are under control.
  8. Prime or spot prime with appropriate high grade product. Depending on project.
  9. Caulk and follow manufacturers specifications on dry cure times.
  10. Finish paint ceiling.
  11. First coat walls and inspect.
  12. First coat trim overlapping slightly to walls.
  13. Second coat walls and trim. Remove any blue tape. Finish baseboards.
  14. Clean up and assemble cover plates, wall fixtures, and trim hardware. Make sure they are clean before assembly.
  15. Remove all drops, plastic, and vacuum once more before furniture placement.
  16. Final walk thru with client.
  17. Tag and date finish paints and leave at clients home for future reference and touch ups.
  18. Job Completed and room left spotless…