Monday, April 15, 2019

New Sewer Line Going In

The crew from AB May got here a little after 8:00 AM. It's almost 2:00 PM, and they've already got the new line in. They managed to get the excavator up through the utility break in back. I'll have a Behind The Scenes video in a few days.

Now all I have to do is wave good-bye to around $10,000.00 give or take..

More later..

Saturday, April 13, 2019

04-13-19

Well, I finally got my taxes done yesterday... I always wait until the last minute... Anyway, since I'm on SS now, I neither owe anything nor get a refund. I can live with that.

I was out working in the backyard today, and my next-door neighbor's brother called me over to the fence to say "My sister said 'NO' on coming through the yard.." (for the contractor to work on my sewer). I guess I didn't know her as well as I thought. Fine, whatever.

They are coming out Monday morning to get started on replacing the sewer line. It should take a couple days. Hope neither of us has to poop for a couple days. The lady at AB May said they wouldn't leave us without a sewer overnight... I sure hope not. That would be awkward.


We're also going to be refinancing through our bank. Wells Fargo keeps hitting us with "Escrow Shortage" notices EVERY YEAR. They have for the last several years, and consequently keep raising our payments. Bunch of damn crooks..

I'll sure be glad when all this S##T is overwith. I've been in a very depressed frame of mind the last couple weeks - I'm just getting tired of dealing with all this crap. Hopefully after all this is done I can get back to working on my TNA story, and also start doing what needs done on this house. Then maybe we can find another place. And some peace and quiet for a change.

Rodster out...


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

04-10-2019

Just a quick post - not sure anyone reads this thing anyway..

I've kind of been in the doldrums for the last week or so, not really feeling inspired or motivated to do much beyond play with the latest Adobe Photoshop daily challenge, and hang out  on Behance Livestreams. There's a lot of good information there, but I need to get off my ass and actually DO something with what I'm learning.

I'm certainly not giving up on my T.N.A. story, I'm just at one of those writer's block stages, and not really feeling motivated. Having to drop 10,000 + on a new sewer line in the very near future certainly doesn't do much to lift my mood. Still don't know when that's going to happen - haven't heard anything from AB May. I suppose they're getting all the required permits, scheduling equipment, and so on. And maybe figuring out how to get the excavator into my backyard since my neighbor is being such an asshat.

Still need to get my taxes done, too... For some reason, I'll be glad when this month is over...

Out for now...


Saturday, April 06, 2019

04-06-19

Well here it is April already -  it’s the first really nice Saturday of spring, and I’ve been spending most of the day outside messing with some of the things on this house that need done. The three west facing windows need some attention, as each window has problems with dry rot.

I’ve been dealing with sewer/drainage issues with this house for a long time. Back in March, I had A B May come out and do the ‘every three years or so’ running of a rooter through the sewer pipes to stop the backups when the washing machine empties. The technician suggested having another crew come out and run a camera through the lines to see what was going on - at no additional cost.

The camera guys came out a few days later, ran the camera through the line and course found plenty of roots and other things that shouldn’t be in there. They suggested having the rooter guy come back out and run a larger rooter through the sewer line. After he did that they could use the higher resolution camera to thoroughly explore the sewer line. I had to temporarily remove the toilet downstairs so they could get the larger rooter into the line.


Well to make a long story short, I have approximately 71 feet of Terra-cotta sewage line that is in basically horrible shape. It’s full of cracks, fractures, offsets, roots, gravel, worms, dirt, and everything else that shouldn’t be in there. The take away from all this of course is the entire 71 feet running from the house out to the connection with the main city sewer line needs to be replaced. The cost for this? Just over $10,000.


I’m pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I don’t have any choice. We both want to move out of here as soon as possible. It’s going to be a challenge since I’m retired and the only income I have is Social Security. But if we can get a decent price for this place, and maybe have a nice chunk of change for a down payment on another place it should be possible. Obviously, the sewer system should be working properly when we go to sell the place. Plus, it might be a good selling point to point out that it’s got a brand-new sewer system with PVC piping that should last for decades. So maybe I can recoup part of my 10 grand.

As if that wasn’t frustrating enough, I do not have any kind of vehicle access to the backyard – you can’t pull a car or truck back there. In the past, my next-door neighbor to the east, Joyce, was always willing to let anyone that needed vehicle access to my backyard to use her driveway and backyard so they could access the job site in my backyard.

Unfortunately, I have lost her as a neighbor as she’s had to put her mom in a care facility, and she herself has moved to a duplex. Apparently, she’s turned the property over to her brother who is a certified class A-1 asshole. As the guys from A.B. May were getting ready to leave yesterday, I spoke with him about allowing access for the crew and the excavator when they get ready to replace my sewer. He kind of glared at me and said “NO!” Then he backpedaled a little bit and mentioned something about asking Joyce, but I doubt that he has. Then he started asking me a bunch of questions about why they needed to get back there (because they have to replace my sewer line, stupid..). He was worried about them tearing up his precious yard. I finally got tired of listening to his crap, and just said a curt “thanks” and walked away.

The guy from A.B. May said not to worry about it - they'd find a way to get back there. I'm sure this isn't the first time an asshole neighbor has refused access to someplace they need to work.

Anyway, to keep this from being overly long, we both want to find someplace else to live. This neighborhood used to be a really nice place, but it is becoming less so on an almost daily basis. Last week my neighbor across the street had the back window busted out of their car for no reason other than it was there. Stupid punk kids walking down the street at night with nothing better to do… It also seems to me like the noise level has increased drastically over the past few years.


To the south, we have both 40 highway and I-70, which are both major traffic routes. To the west we have Sterling Avenue, and to the north we have 39th St. Both carry heavy traffic – all day and all night. So pretty much 24/7 there is a background layer of constant racket… Loud motorcycles. Idiots with loud or no mufflers. And of course there’s the constant thump, thump, thump, thump of brainless idiots on all those major thoroughfares with their f-ing rap crap up so loud you can hear it in the next county.

I just want to find a place where I can get up in the morning, sit on my front porch with a cup of coffee, and not have to listen to a bunch of idiot nonsense. A place where I can do my artwork in peace in a place where I don’t feel like a riot is about to break out at any moment. And so the search begins.

Over and out.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Just a Quick Update..

First, a big THANK YOU to my Patreon supporters no matter which tier you've joined. I really do appreciate your support!

I was just feeling a bit frustrated yesterday - we all go through phases - but doing better today. I know winter and the cold and ugly weather can have an effect as well, and it's definitely been both lately. But spring is just a few months away.

Second, I am looking into bringing back my "Behind The Scenes" videos. I'm planning on giving you an inside look at what goes on here at Rod's Lair (my pet name for my little man-cave / computer room / studio), and show a bit of my creative process and workflow. And maybe a few other fun things.. 😉

I'm starting to feel inspired and excited again, and the creative juices are starting to flow once again - thanks to my friends and supporters here, and at Renderosity and FB. You guys (and gals) ROCK!
Stay tuned....

Friday, February 01, 2019

Taking A Break


This will be one of my longer blog posts, so thank you very much in advance if you read through the entire thing. So, grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut and settle in.

I will be taking a little hiatus for a while from creating and posting artwork, including the Girls From TNA. I don’t plan on this being a long hiatus – probably only a couple weeks at most. But there are things I need to do and questions that need answering. First, I need to work out some details for the rest of Chapter 6, and what I want to tell in Chapter 7. In addition, I need to take a good long look inside myself and see where I want to go from here. And work through some frustrations as described below.

But first I need to get something out of the way. I am not – let me repeat that – I am not giving up on either the Girls From TNA or any of my other artwork. Once this little hiatus is over things will continue as they always have.

Now on to part of the reason I’m taking this hiatus.

Since 2009, I have had the extreme pleasure of creating my story/comic called “The Girls From TNA” and watching it gain popularity, and a growing fan base. I have had so many wonderful comments from my friends and fellow artists at Renderosity, Fantasy Attic, and more. During webinars I have attended at Digital Art Live, I have had some very good feedback on my work and on the story. A lot of people are enjoying this journey and that makes me feel great!

What I don’t understand however is this…

Since 2015 I have had a page at Patreon. Now, I will admit that for the first year or so it sat there pretty much unattended because I really didn’t know what to do with it. Plus, at the time I was still working a full-time job (I’m retired now), and time was more of a factor. However, over the last few years I have endeavored to add content to my Patreon page in the hopes that I could gain a bit of support there for both TNA and the other artwork I create.


It took a couple years to gain my first $5.00 patron, Mike – a very good friend of mine that I met on Renderosity. This came just in time, as I was very close to just shutting down the Patreon page due to lack of interest and support. Then, in December 2018 I gained another supporter at the $25 level. That lasted for approximately one month, then she downgraded to the $5.00 level. I’m still grateful that she continues her support even at the lower level. But to be totally honest, it hit me kind of hard when I received that email from Patreon. Quite honestly, I’m very very close to just saying F### IT and pulling the plug on Patreon and not wasting any more time flogging a dead horse.

Here’s part of why I feel so damn frustrated and discouraged…

When I look at some of the other pages on Patreon like the one below, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated and discouraged. Here’s a page from a person who creates cutesy/cartoony artwork that probably takes a few minutes to create, and yet they have 337 supporters, and make over $800 a month.
 



And this by far isn’t the only one on Patreon (and for the record, I mean no disrespect to the person who created this page. More power to them..) But here’s what gets to me…

I pour my heart and soul into my artwork. I endlessly fiddle to make sure the lighting is right, the poses are as natural as I can make them, the facial expressions and body language are appropriate for the given situation, the props and surroundings look natural, and everything in the image or images is the best I can make it. And I’m constantly looking for ways to improve and make the artwork even better. And why? Because I want it to be the best it can possibly be – for myself, and for my readers. You deserve no less than the best I can create for you. And quite frankly I deserve no less than the best I can possibly create, because I love what I do.

And yet, it seems the hours of work and love I pour into my images cannot, no matter how hard I try, seem to warrant anything at Patreon. I don’t understand…. What do I need to do? What would it take to gain a little bit of support on Patreon, or even some of the merchandise I have on Redbubble or Pixels? Any Patreon experts out there that can shed some light??

Now before somebody makes a comment about it… Yes, I know I just bought a pretty expensive system with one of the most high-end graphics cards available today in order to be able to create more artwork using DAZ Studio and the Iray render engine. This pretty much took care of my equipment budget for the next several years. I am not - let me repeat that - not independently wealthy!

Anyway, if you’ve read this far thank you for “listening” to me vent. I truly hope that some of you will find enough value in my artwork to join me on Patreon and help support my artwork and the Girls from TNA. And maybe even pick up a bit of merch here and there. And again, regardless of your support - or lack thereof – I will continue to create both the Girls From TNA and other artwork.

Hopefully during this little break, I'll be able to put together a little intro video to put on my Patreon page that will explain how Patreon works in case you are not familiar with it.

See you all again in a couple weeks or so.

Rod