Saturday, September 18, 2010

Long Overdue Update

”Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.”……Bertolt Brecht

This was the ‘Quote of the Day’ on my homepage for 09/18/2010. It pretty much sums up my life since my last post in February. There have been a few changes, that’s for sure! Most of the major ones have occurred in the last few months. More on that in a minute.

Back in August of 2009, I purchased a 3-D computer art application called Poser 8, from Smith Micro. Although I’ve had a few stability problems, I have had more fun with this program, and found it to be a wonderful tool for creating realistic 3D figures. Combining Poser with Photoshop and other digital art tools, it has taken my art to a whole new level.

Shortly after I started working with Poser, I found and joined a fantastic art community called Renderosity. I now have a gallery there with over 130 images currently, and still growing. I have quite a wonderful group of fans, and have made many new friends all over the globe. I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting two of those friends in person. What a wonderful and uplifting experience this has been, and continues to be! If you are interested in art, be it computer art, traditional media, photography, or writing, I would highly recommend checking out http://www.renderosity.com/!

Other than that things have remained pretty much the same. Helping Jo’s mom and my dad, working, and just the usual domestic stuff. Until recently…

In June of 2010, I was approached by one of our managers, asking if I would be interested in joining our new production print group. This group is currently contracting with a major printing firm that serves the financial sector. We provide service on 20 high-speed digital presses they purchased from us, and use for a large part of their printing needs. There are certain non-disclosure requirements in place, so I cannot reveal the name of the company or details about the printing they do. I can say that you probably use their products frequently.

At any rate, after considering that the work I was previously doing for the company had slowed down significantly, I thought it would be in my best interests to go ahead with it, so I agreed. I was sent to Tampa, Florida in July – August for 5 weeks of training on the Kodak digital printers I’d be working on. The training went well, and in mid-August I returned home, and began my new position – in an advanced on-the-job-training position. I had some idea of what I was in for, but certainly not to the extent I’ve experienced for the last month.

This firm runs (normally) Monday – Friday, 24 hours in 3 shifts: 6:30AM – 2:30PM, 2:30PM – 10:30PM, and 10:30PM – 6:30AM. Lately, they have been backed up on printing orders, so they have added weekend shifts as well, but this is only temporary – or so I’m told.

In my training mode, I’ve been switching back and forth between the 2:30 – 10:30 shifts, and a new shift, 8:00AM – 5:00PM pretty much every week. Right now, I don’t know if I’m coming or going most of the time. The work is a lot more intense and demanding compared to what I was doing before, so I’m pretty much exhausted most of the time.

I was feeling pretty discouraged on Friday (I had to work the 2:30 – 10:30 shift Thursday night, then turn right around and come in 8:00AM – 5:00PM on Friday), but had a good long talk with the manager that recruited me for this position. I have been assured that things will be calming down in the next few weeks. Apparently, I’ve entered this new domain at the most chaotic time, filled with changes and issues with some of the paper stock they are using. I sure hope so, because I’ve been pretty worn out and discouraged lately.

In addition to this, I still have our elderly relatives to help out, and all the other domestic errands to look after. I’ve not had much time for my creative endeavors, lately. I hope that will be changing soon – I get a little grumpy sometimes when I don’t have my creative outlets to calm my inner beast.

At any rate, to bring this epistle to a close……

I am working hard to make the best use of the increasingly smaller snippets of time I do have for creative things. One of the top priorities is doing a complete overhaul of my website, Rod’s Lair. It will be updated to more accurately reflect my current art and photography. In addition, I’ll be adding to my gallery here, and I’ll be devoting a special section to a new series I’ve started, and is currently running in my gallery on Renderosity. It’s called “The Girls From T.N.A.” The series is a bit of a spoof loosely based on the old “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” TV show, but with two hot chicks in the title roles. I’m getting a lot of good feedback on this series on Renderosity, and I’ve got a lot of ideas for the series.

I’m also going to work on keeping this blog up to date. I see since last time I was here, they’ve added a lot of neat new features to it. I’ll probably be re-arranging my “Latest News” section, with different menu options, and a new layout to take advantage of full-page views instead of the frame-based layout I’m currently using.

Lastly, I had hoped to have an on-line store on my website for some of my lamps, windchimes, and other fun things. Unfortunately, I’ve had to put most of those projects on the back burner temporarily. I do intend to open up a section on my website with these items, but it might take a while.

For now, I wanted to get this update posted to let everyone out there know I’m still alive and kickin’! I’ve got a week of vacation coming up in October, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch my breath a little bit!