Category Archives: Jason

Fat Mum Slim – June 2022

On Thursday I completed another month of the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. For June, there was only one prompt. Grateful. Everyday, post a picture of something that makes you grateful. What I decided to do was every day take a picture with somebody that I am grateful to have in my life. 30 days in June. 30 different people. Only one person a day. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it wasn’t necessarily difficult. Most days, I just let people come into my life. I never made a trip way out of my way to take a picture. I think the farthest I went out of my way was to Madrid for the last day. Most people agreed to come to me. The farthest away a picture was taken was in Lansing, Iowa. But I didn’t go to Lansing, Iowa to take the picture. I went to Lansing to take a picture of their town sign. The second farthest away a picture taken was Spirit Lake, Iowa. But I didn’t go to Spirit Lake to take the picture. I went to Spirit Lake to go camping. The funny thing about those subjects is they were my sisters, who both live pretty darn close to me. The farthest away anybody lives from me that was included was Easton, Kansas. But that person definitely didn’t drive to Boone to have their picture taken with me.

The breakdown of people that I got pictured, if I were to categorize these people by how I first met them, it would break down like this:

+ Friend from Work: 11 – 7 current and 4 from the past.
+ Blood Relative – 7 people.
+ Church Friend – 5 people.
+ School Friend – 4 people.
+ In-Law – 1 person.
+ Teresa’s Friend – 1 person.
+ Olivia’s Friend – 1 person.

Here are my gratitude pictues:

June 1
June 1 – Grateful – I’m grateful for my “Workspace Buddy” Joe. Not only because he is a great co-worker, but a great guy. He 100% believes the earth is flat, that there is no such thing as space, the moon landing was faked, and all celebrities are clones. While I don’t buy any of his views, I do have more respect for them than somebody that believes that supply side economics work. I’m grateful to know such an outside of the box thinker.

June 2
June 2 – Gratitude – This is Derrick. I’ve known him since we were slinging burgers together at the Evil Clown Empire back in college. I’m grateful to have him in my life, not just because we have season tickets together for Iowa State Cyclones football, but also because I wish I had 5% of his musical talent. He is a true guitar god in that he can both play a face melting solo and he can tell you everything about and repair any guitar. Just listening to him talk about guitars is a privilege.

June 3
June 3 – Gratitude – This is Willy. I’ve known him since I started getting invited to Saturday Morning Basketball in 9th Grade. Willy used to dominate the game before the “Big Dog” started to prowl the court. Willy is a world traveler as his Costa Rico hat and Portugal shirt attest and I do live vicariously through him. But the reason I’m most grateful to have him in my life is shortly after his teenage sister passed away suddenly, we started getting supper together on Friday nights. Other members of Friday Night Supper Club came and went, but Willy and I got supper together almost every Friday for a decade, right up until the pandemic. It was and maybe in the future, the perfect end to a work week.

June 4
June 4 – Gratitude – This is Brandon. I’m grateful for all my nieces and nephews, biological and otherwise. Brandon is my oldest nephew and grows the best beard of any of them. He also has great taste in pop culture as he shares my love for all things Godzilla.

June 5
June – Gratitude – I know there are well more than 30 people from my life that I am grateful for, but I also just don’t know if that I will see 30 different people on 30 different days. Especially when I mostly work from home. Some days I don’t really know that I will see anybody that I haven’t already photographed, but then something happens totally unexpected. My sister Teresa had tickets to see Hamilton with her best friend Sheri, but then she got sick and couldn’t go, so I ended up going to see Hamilton with Sheri. While I feel bad for Teresa, I am grateful to have Sheri in my life as she is one of those friends that is more like family to everybody in my family. And yes Hamilton was great! It is Hamilton.

June 6
June 6 – Grateful – This is my Aunt Linda. She is practically the last one left from my Dad’s generation. I’m grateful to have her in my life as she is a connection to my Grandma and Grandpa Bennett that I never got to know, my Uncle David that I never got to know and my Dad who I lost when I was nine. I don’t see her much because she lives in Easton, Kansas but she was in town today to take care of her Boone house.

June 7
June 7 – Grateful – This is Nader. I met him when in another life, I transferred to the Campustown outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. I’m grateful to have Nader in my life because despite having spent 5 years in an Iranian prison without a trial for saying Allah wouldn’t want you to kill people, in front of the wrong people, he still managed to find happiness in Henry Fonda winning an Oscar for On Golden Pond. I share his love of movies, but not how infatuation with the Oscars.

June 8
June 8 – Gratitude – This is Kim. At work I’m somewhere between the low man on the totem pole to not being on the totem pole at all. However, a big wig like Kim takes care of the little people by scheduling Popcorn Day around my schedule!

June 9
June 9 – Gratitude – This is Ron. I’ve worked with him for over 16 years now. Ron has a Purple Heart because he was injured in the terrorist attack on Khobar Towers. However, the truth about his heart is that is gigantic in his love for dogs. He has several dogs and he and his late wife were very active with the animal rescue league in his hometown and he is active in trying to get puppies away from puppy mills, often going to Missouri in this pursuit. I’m grateful for Ron, not just because he is a fountain of knowledge but because he loves dogs even more than me!

June 10
June 10 – Gratitude – This is Carla. She is my elder sister. The middle child of 3. I could just say I’m grateful cause she is my sister, but I realize not everybody has a sister where they are also friends. I am fortunate to have that with both my sisters. If you doubt that, I’m writing this while smashed into the bottom bunk of her camper reminding myself, that I’m not claustrophobic. I’m not claustrophobic. I’m not claustrophobic.

June 11
June 11 – Grateful – This is Sara. Today was her daughter Maven’s birthday party. Before this picture we tried to remember when we first met. Sadly, we can’t figure it out, but it was definitely no later than 1997, but probably before that. Sara has a hard fast rule that when taking a picture of her there has to be at least 3 takes. She is one of the best educated people I know. She has a Bachelor’s from Iowa State. A nursing degree from Mercy, and a Nurse Practitioner degree from Iowa with an emphasis in mental health. While I respect all that learning, but really I’m grateful for her because she is just incredibly fun to be around.

June 12
June 12 – Grateful – This is Pastor Dave. Today was his last day at our church. He is moving on to become a chaplain. I know that Dave must be a devastatingly handsome man because when I’m in my short beard mode I often get mistaken for him. I wish he was sticking around but I’m grateful to him for the job he did taking over in our church shortly before the pandemic began. It could not have been easy!

June 13
June 13 – Grateful – This is Jay. I’ve known Jay since 7th Grade. He is one of the most talented and creative artists that I know. I’m grateful to have some of the art he has created, including this hand staff he made when like 5 years ago I decided I wanted to make MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE themed birthday party invitations.

June 14
June 14 – Grateful – This is my brother-in-law Jason. He’s married to my sister Carla. He’s a great guy and very selfless. But probably why I’m most grateful to have him in my life is because he is handy. I am decidedly not “handy” and anytime I need help with a home project or a car repair, he volunteers his time and expertise.

June 15
June 15 – Grateful – This is Scottie D. I’ve known him since we worked together at the Boone Outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. We (with a few other rotating members) the competitive barbecue team Baby Got Rack. Not gonna lie, Scott is pretty much all the culinary talent and I mostly help pack and unpack and photodocument and follow orders. We’ve won more than a few competitions, but haven’t competed since before the pandemic. The hiatus might be coming to an end next month, but even if it doesn’t, I’m grateful to have Scott in my life because of all the delicious food he makes.

June 16
June 16 – Gratitude – This is my nephew Logan. Of all my nieces and nephews, he is the one that is continuing the family legacy of photography. He is even pursuing it professionally doing portrait and wedding photography. I’m grateful to have family that share my passion.

June 17
June 17 – Grateful – This is Kio. He is the person I know that is most dedicated to philanthropy and volunteering. But the reason I’m most grateful to have Kio in my life is that he was instrumental in hooking me up with running the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. A gig I coveted for years.

June  18
June 18 – Gratitude – This is my niece Alexis. It is rather embarrassing how long it has been since today that we’ve seen each other. She is the baby of the family. Well of her generation. She lived with me for a bit and that is the one and only time she heard me “swear”. It was apparently significant enough to her that she immediately took to social media to post about it.

June 19
June 19 – Grateful – This is Andrea. She was the Associate Pastor at my church about 10 years ago until she got moved to Fort Dodge to have her own church. Last year they moved her to West Des Moines. I went down to her worship service today and her sermon was so affirming and so everything I needed to hear. She is probably the Pastor that has had the most influence on my faith journey… in many ways… but including the simple act of asking me to help chaperone a Youth Group Mission Trip to Kansas City a long time ago.

June 20
June 20 – Grateful – This is Jesse. We’ve been best friends since meeting in Mrs. Ford’s 2nd Grade Class. Probably could write a ton on him, but enough to say he has been with me on most adventures and tragedies in my life since then. Which is a lot of years when you’re old and washed up like us.

June 21
June 21 – Grateful – This is Johnathan. He is the last of my biological nieces or nephews that will be featured this month. I have one more. My niece Elainie, but she is off in California currently with her Navy husband. So… Johnathan. He is the often quiet, keep to yourself nephew and I can relate to that. He is a phenomenal cook and is way better at cleaning than I am. He also lived with me briefly and his portion of the house was always in order. Like all my nieces and nephews, I need to effort to see him more, especially because his work schedule is so tough.

June 22
June 22 – Grateful – This is Micky. I’ve worked with him for over 16 years now. And while I’m grateful to him for all the help he gives me at work, I’m really grateful for our friendship outside of work. He is a great outdoorsman, but in ways that are opposite to how I enjoy it. Meaning, he likes to hunt and fish. Frankly, I do enjoy fishing a bit, I don’t think I could ever murderize other animals, I just don’t have it in me. Yet I have went turkey hunting with him. But my favorite part of our friendship is the great outdoorsman is terrified of snakes and I love sending him videos of snakes.

June 23
June 23 – Grateful – This is Michelle – I’ve worked with Michelle for a bit now. But like all my work friends it is our friendship outside of work that I’m truly grateful for.She is from Fort Dodge, so she does have the affliction of not knowing that Taco Tico is disgusting. But despite that she has went with me on more than one occasion to try a new tenderloin. She plays banker for the football betting pool I run and she currently has the 8th longest consecutive submission streak for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE I run. She is proof not all Walmart Hawkeyes are bad people (she went to Drake).

June 24
June 24 – Grateful – This is Jen. I’ve known Jen since we worked together at the Boone Outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. Now she works for NASA. I don’t really care where my friends work, as long as they are happy, but I use it as an example of what a long, strange, often tragic and often joyful, trip we’ve been on. I’m wearing a banana hat because she hates bananas, but one thing we definitely agree on is that today was an incredibly sad day in this country’s history. But she will persist. I will be an ally.

June 25
June 25 – Grateful – This is my eldest sister Teresa. Like I mentioned with my other sister Carla, I am lucky to also be friends with my two siblings. She is super crafty and she’s probably made like half the shirts I wear, including the one in this picture with her Cricut. She also crochets and paints and many other things I’m probably forgetting.

June 26
June 26 – Grateful – This is Phil. He is another former Pastor from my church. He has also had a huge influence on my faith journey. He was a key part of my becoming way more active in my church and he did this by visiting my at a point in my life when I was deep in grief and not giving me any of the platitudes that you are given at that time. He was just present and it made such a huge difference. Over lunch he also shared a story when he knew I saw him as a person and not just a Pastor and I won’t share it, but I will remember it and it will help shape my interactions in the future.

June 27
June – 27 – Grateful – This is Anders. I’ve known him since meeting him in Jr. High band. He is a major driving force in the monthly movie night I host in my theater room. I’m grateful to have somebody in my life who has similarly eclectic taste in cinema as I do. In fact, the book I’m holding is a 700 page book he wrote on the making of our favorite bad movie, ROBOT MONSTER.

June  28
June 28 – This is Andy. I’d guess I’ve really known Andy about 10 years now. I don’t know he made a great first impression, but that is one of the cool parts of this friendship. We have chaperoned youth group mission trips to Martin, South Dakota, Saint Paul, Houston, Milwaukee, Rapid City, and I think Kansas City. Would be more, except for the pandemic. The shirt he is wearing is for a local charity he supports (there are too many to list) that gives support to families that have lost a baby. (Neonatal, perinatal, and infant loss) I’d explain why this is necessary, but it makes me sad. Andy’s big heart is why I’m grateful he is in my life.

June 29
June 29 – Grateful – This is Elizabeth. This might be a hard one to write because I was only partially convinced that she would agree to do this and I wasn’t expecting her to come to me this morning with her hair all straightened and say, “I don’t like having my picture taken, but I do like you. So let’s take this picture.” Which was an absolute highlight of my day. And she will read that and give me grief about it. Then she said, “You’ll probably write something snarky about how I don’t like having my picture taken”. Which I probably would have and pointed out about how as a photographer it really gnaws at you, the pictures you don’t get to take. I might have even written something about the misogynist in me vs. the feminist in me, but none of that will cover why she is important to me. So I will get to that. She is probably the person that most calls me on my BS, which somebody like me needs. She at least attempts to tell me when she thinks I’m wrong as she is the unnamed other opinion on my TOWN SIGN PROJECT posts on my regular Instagram account. While we have differing opinions on the important things (pizza and she doesn’t LOVE peanut butter and chocolate together, right?)… I’ve somehow come to value her opinion. That probably even surprises her.

June 30
June 30 – Grateful – This is Mike. Made it. 30 days. 30 different people. That is a lot of grateful and a lot of grateful still left on the table. But Mike… I’ve known him since I started working at the Computer Mine 16 plus years ago. He is the number one influence on my photography website being as advanced technologically as it is. And because we both have interests in photography (both interests inherited from fathers we both lost way too early) it was originally mostly his idea to create THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE on my website. A challenge that has very slowly grown from a couple people a week to consistently over 30 submissions a week. And his technological savvy is just a small part of why I conclude the grateful month with Mike.

I definitely didn’t write nearly enough about some people. Sometimes it was a time crunch. Sometimes, it just seemed obvious and obvious is sometimes hard to put into words.

Obviously there are more than 30 people in my life that I am grateful to have in my life. I won’t even give you examples of people that I am thankful for, because I’m sure I would leave people out. Then they would have been left out of the 30 days and then out of the list of but I’m also grateful for you list and then would be like a double slap. Just know that if you think I’m grateful to have you in my life, I probably am and you weren’t included in this set of 30 because you live too far away or I don’t see you on a regular basis. Or at least didn’t see you in June.

Here are the FatMumSlim Prompts for July:

July 1 – Reflections
July 2 – Letters
July 3 – Human
July 4 – I’m Working on This…
July 5 – Wall
July 6 – Bright Colours
July 7 – A Fave Place
July 8 – Out of Focus
July 9 – A Boomerang
July 10 – Behind Someone
July 11 – Interior
July 12 – Exterior
July 13 – Life
July 14 – Create A PostCard
July 15 – Where I Stood
July 16 – Pattern
July 17 – Water
July 18 – Street Photography
July 19 – A Cylinder
July 20 – Hug
July 21 – A Church
July 22 – Current Interest
July 23 – Still Life
July 24 – A Metaphor
July 25 – Beauty
July 26 – Portrait Mode
July 27 – Countryside
July 28 – An Old Car
July 29 – Black and White
July 30 – Happy Days
July 31 – Sunday Morning

Some good prompts in there. It will fill weird getting back to a different prompt everyday, but I’m sure I can handle it.

Selfie Project – June 2022

I hope you are prepared for lots of pictures of me over the next couple of days. Today I’m sharing the pictures from the June Selfie Project. Tomorrow I’m sharing the photos from June’s FatMumSlim Photo Challenge. Those pictures are also all selfies. With the exception of one day, I took separate pictures for each challenge. The one day I didn’t wasn’t on purpose. I just forgot to get my second selfie.

Here are some of my favorites June of THE SELFIE PROJECT:

Day 152 - June 2, 2022
June 2

Day 155 - June 4, 2022
June 4

Day 157 - June 6, 2022
June 6

Day 158 - June 7, 2022
June 7

Day 159 - June 8, 2022
June 8

Day 161 - June 10, 2022
June 10

Day 162 - June 11, 2022
June 11

Day 163 - June 12, 2022
June 12

Day 164 - June 13, 2022
June 13

Day 165 - June 14, 2022
June 14

Day 166 - June 15, 2022
June 15

Day 167 - June 15, 2022
June 16

Day 168 - June 17, 2022
June 17

Day 169 - June 18, 2022
June 18

Day 170 - June 19, 2022
June 19

Day 171 - June 20, 2022
June 20

Day 173 - June 22, 2022
June 22

Day 174 - June 23, 2022
June 23

Day 175 - June 24, 2022
June 24

Day 176 - June 25, 2022
June 25

Day 177 - June 26, 2022
June 26

Day 178 - June 27, 2022
June 27

Day 180 - June 29, 2022
June 29

Day 181 - June 30, 2022
June 30

Sometimes I think I need to get more creative with my selfies for THE SELFIE PROJECT, but sometimes I don’t. If July images look different, you will know which angel on my shoulder won.

I might also wear too many gray shirts. I could claim it is my homage to the gray card, but truth is I probably need to get more color back into my wardrobe. I also need to wear the alligator shirt more. It is a fan favorite, since its debut on Alligator Movie Night.

Of course, there can only be one selfie to represent each day and while June might not have been a super active month for me, there are plenty of alternates to share that didn’t make the cut.



















Hopefully I leave my house more in the month of July. I do badly need to take a vacation from the Computer Mine. I’m just not quite sure when that will be. A week in July or a week in August. Maybe a week in July and a week in August. I do have the PTO to burn.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is ENTERTAINMENT:




But what is an ENTERTAINMENT image? It is simply a picture of something that is used for ENTERAINMENT or something that ENTERTAINMENTs you. Examples would include things like theaters (like in the theme reveal) or concerts or plays or anything you would do to pass the time in an enjoyable way.

Happy photo harvesting!

Fall Apart Again

Year 17 of the Roundball Oracles has come to an end. On Monday night, Kansas used a flaw in the court that injured North Carolina’s best player to help them overcome the Tar Heels in the last minute of the game. It was an otherwise great game and it is sad that it was partially decided by an injury due to a flaw in the court construction.

Ben Baier was the winner of this year’s pool. He is the youngest to ever win it. He joins this list:


2022 – Ben Baier
2021 – Micky Augustin
2020 – No Tournament
2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Where there is a champion, there also has to be a last place. This year’s The Sara “winner” was Joey Randazzo.

Past “The Sara” Winners

2022 – Joey Randazzo
2021 – Rachel Gildersleeve
2020 – No Tournament
2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

Note, Olivia Baier actually finished below Mr. Randazzo, but as she is a child, she is not eligible for The Sara.

Here are the Final Standings:

1. Ben Baier – 273 points
2. Sara Lockner – 271 points
3. Shawn Lockner – 242 points
4. Rachel Gildersleeve – 242 points
5. Linda Bennett – 232 points
6. Becky Parmelee – 231 points
7. Carla Stensland – 229 points
8. Angie DeWaard – 224 points
9. Humble Narrator – 224 points
10. Tim Peterson – 223 points
11. Jason Baier – 217 points
12. Lowell Davis – 215 points
13. Derek Dohrman – 215 points
14. Carrie Baier – 214 points
15. Sarah Karber – 210 points
16. Micky Augustin – 209 points
17. Elizabeth Nordeen – 206 points
18. Jorge Rios – 203 points
19. Brandon Kahler – 203 points
20. Will Baier – 197 points
21. Jordan Toot – 197 points
22. Corey Faust – 197 points
23. Andree Jauhari – 192 points
24. Jesse Howard – 191 points
25. Dawn Krause – 182 points
26. Derrick Gorshe – 181 points
27. Michelle Haupt – 179 points
28. Jackson Faust – 176 points
29. Jason Stensland – 168 points
30. J.J. Baier – 164 points
31. Russell Kennerly – 161 points
32. Toby Sebring – 157 points
33. Robert Henning – 151 points
34. Jill Gorshe – 147 points
35. Joey Randazzo – 143 points
36. Olivia Baier – 141 points

I’m already looking forward to next season. Iowa State will have to replace a lot from this year’s team and one of their assistant coaches, but could be a good team. You never know. This year’s team definitely wasn’t supposed to make the Sweet Sixteen!


Seems like a good time to share some flower pictures from last year:

Soul Expansion - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Digging for God - 2021

Fall Apart Again

Fall Apart Again

Nature's Amen - 2021

Nature's Amen - 2021

I still have some flower pictures left to share from last year.

2011-05-01, 2011-05-09, and 2011-05-14

The pictures in the folders 2011-05-01, 2011-05-09, and 2011-05-14 are mostly from a Mother’s Day celebration we held at my house. But there are also pictures there from the RANDOM WEEKLY PHOTO EXPERIMENT (now known as THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE) and Logan running track.




Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Logan Track - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

Mother's Day - 2011

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:





Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve the greenhouse formerly known as the Northwest Greenhouse.

Sneaky Snake Root Beer

This year for our family Thanksgiving I wanted to attempt to make root beer. I had Glenn Peterson’s recipe in hand and I also fruitlessly pursued another recipe, but I’m not really sure how different root beer recipes can get.

Glenn’s recipe was a little vague on a couple things, but it goes like this:

Recipe for homemade root beer (X 2 for 10 gal water cooler)
4 lbs. sugar
3 ½ gallon water
1 bottle Root beer extract
1 bottle Root beer flavor
4 lbs. dry ice.

Add 4 lbs. sugar to 3 ½ gal water. Stir until sugar dissolved. Add 1 bottle root beer extract and 1 bottle root beer flavor. Stir until mixed. Add 4 lbs. of dry ice ½ to 1 hour before serving. Use gloves when working with dry ice. Dry ice will cause the container to look like a witches’ caldron. Do not stir nor put a lid on container. When “steam” from the dry ice disappears, root beer is ready to drink.
This recipe was shared with Glenn while in the Army. He started sharing it with Pack 150, Madrid at the Blue & Gold Banquets/ Crossovers and Arrow of Lights Ceremony from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Glenn’s widow Tamara shared the recipe with me a couple years ago.

The one thing I didn’t know is how much is 1 bottle of root beer extract and how much is one bottle of root beer flavor. I compared it to other root beer recipes and determined Glenn’s recipe calls for a 2 oz bottle of each. I changed his recipe slightly. I used 1 4 oz bottle of Shank’s root beer extract.

Johnathan and Logan assisted in the making of my first batch of what I am calling Sneaky Snake Root Beer. Here are some pictures:

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
Logan is wearing some of my Mom’s old dish gloves.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
This is one of my favorite family pictures ever.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

I decided on the name for my root beer on Saturday while cruising around Monroe County with Teresa. I was originally going to name it after Naima sorta and call it something like Gold Dog Root Beer, so I could put her mug on the bottles. However, I decided to name it after an old family memory. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic because Thanksgiving this year was obviously bittersweet at it was the first major holiday we’ve had without Mom. But I decided to base the name off the Tom T. Hall song “Sneaky Snake”.

When I was a kid and we would go down to my Dad’s darkroom, the music was mostly provided by his 8 track collection. My favorite of his 8 tracks was blue. It was Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits Volume II. I can’t swear that it was Volume II, but it was pretty close. My favorite song on this 8 track was “Sneaky Snake”. I still love that song, even though next to nobody outside of my family seems to appreciate its greatness.

The lyrics are:

Boys and girls take warning
If you go near the lake
Keep your eyes wide open
And look for sneaky snake
Now, maybe you won’t see him
And maybe you won’t hear
But he’ll sneak up behind you
And drink all your root beer

And then sneaky snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

Well sneaky snake drinks root beer
And he just makes me sick
When he is not dancing
He looks just like stick
Now he doesn’t have any arms or legs
You cannot see his ears
And while we are not looking
He’s stealing all of our beer

And then sneak snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

So this is what the label on the bottle should look like, or would look like if I could get it to print correctly:

I’m definitely not a graphic designer, but I do like the picture part. The picture of the snake is from about 10 years ago, when I found a snake in Shorty and Doris’ flower bed. I photoshopped it up a bit though.

I might not explain everything about this under normal circumstances, but my nearly professional labeler Elizabeth is concerned that people might think it is name after the “I’m a Snake” guy of YouTube fame. It definitely is not. So don’t even try thinking that!

I have a few bottles of Batch 001 left. I’ve earmarked a few for December Movie Night. And the rest, well they might go to Elizabeth’s progeny. They apparently are big fans of Sneaky Snake Root Beer!

I’m going to continue to experiment with the recipe. Try different brands of extract. Try Glenn’s original recipe. I want to try mixing in some vanilla at some point too. I definitely need to figure out a way to capture more carbonation. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I have some theories. Batch 001 will be followed by Batch 002 and 003 and so on and so forth more hopefully.

Journal Entry #4,250

Can you believe that this is the 4,250th post in this crazy little thing called “An Artist’s Notebook’. 4,250 posts! It has been 5,549 days since I took keyboard in hand on August 9, 2006 and typed these words:

So here is the first journal entry.

The name of that first journal entry was “First Journal Entry”. I really started out with a bang!

What was that first journal entry?

A set of goals:

+ To write in this journal. Mission accomplished.
+ To be truthful. I’m sure there are some that would disagree, but I’m calling that mission accomplished.
+ To record my achievements and failures in the world of art. Mission accomplished.
+ To produce something that makes me “worthy” of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook. Jury might still be out on that one.

In that first entry I also wrote about attending the Photography Salon Reception with Sara. I go on to complain about the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest and tell a tale about how Jay convinced me to enter the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest that year.

That was it. A simple beginning for a simple man. 5,549 days ago.

When I hit these milestones, I like to check in on a few statistics, to see how things are trending. I like statistics cause they seem to bring order to chaos. It is like the saying goes: “There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.”

Here are some damn lying statistics.

I use “Categories” to help organize this blog. There are 194 of them and the 100 most used Categories can be found on the sidebar of every page on this website. The 100th most used Category is a 3 way tie amongst “Jaycees”, “Vacation”, and “DaeHee”. I’ve use those 3 Categories 65 times each. The 2 Categories that have the greatest shot at breaking into the Top 100 are “Kelly” at 61 current uses and “Town Sign Project” at 59 current uses.

These are the 10 Most Used Categories (Post 4000 Rank and entries):

10. Art – 408 (NR)
9. WPC – Submissions – 417 (8 – 381)
8. Mom – 422 (10 – 363)
7. Carla – 435 (7 – 391)
6. Portrait – 450 (5 -472)
5. Shannon – 458 (6 – 421)
4. Jesse – 529 (4 – 495)
3. Animals – 665 (3 – 620)
2. Flowers – 754 (2 – 693)
1. Black and White – 819 (1 – 698)

These are the 10 Most Used Not a Person Categories:

10. Photoshop – 368 (8 – 327)
9. Nature – 379 (6 – 349)
8. Macro – 390 (7 – 332)
7. Road Trip – 394 (9 – 326)
6. Art – 408 (10 – 314)
5. WPC – Submissions – 417 (5 – 381)
4. Portrait – 450 – (4 – 472)
3. Animals – 665 – (3 – 620_
2. Flowers – 754 – (2 – 693)
1. Black and White – 819 (1 – 698)

There are the 10 Most Used Person Categories (Post 4000 Rank and entries):

10. Vest – 274 (9 – 258)
9. Jen – 277 (10 – 254)
8. Willy – 278 (8 – 268)
7. Derrick – 311 (7 – 295)
6. Jay – 329 (6 – 320)
5. Teresa – 405 (4 – 364)
4. Mom – 422 (5 – 363)
3. Carla – 435 (3 – 391)
2. Shannon – 458 (2 – 421)
1. Jesse – 529 (1 – 495)

The Non Person Categories most likely to break into the Top Ten are “Naima” at 323, “Formal Portrait” at 320, and “Candid Portrait” at 303.

The Person Categories that are most likely to break into the Top Ten are “Kim” at 263, “Logan” at 248, “Sara” and “Micky” both at 239.

After 750 posts, “Photography”, “Friends”, and “Life” were my three most used Categories. I’ve since tried to de-centralize those Categories and they have fallen. I’m trying to do the same with “Portrait”, so It should eventually fall out of the Top Ten as well.

After 1,000 posts, “Jay”, Jesse”, and “Shannon” were the most used Person Categories.

After 1,500 posts, “Jesse”, “Jay”, and “Shannon” were the most used Person Categories”.

After 2,500 posts, “Jesse, “Teresa”, and “Shannon” were the most used Person Categories. It was the same after 3000 posts.

After 4,000 posts, Top 3 had changed to “Jesse”, “Shannon”, and “Carla”. I’ll be curious to see where these number are in another 250 posts.

If you are wondering how to increase your Category usage, it is simple. Submit to THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Be a photo assistant. Show up in THE SELFIE PROJECT. Go on road trips with me. It doesn’t hurt to be related to me either.

But this is a photography online journal, so let’s look at what are the most popular images and galleries on my website?

Most Popular Photography 139 Galleries of the last 365 days:

#10 Weekly Photo Challenge – HOF – 25,192 Views

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2013
#9 Daisies 26,286 Views

Punch Myself in the Face
#8 Christopher D. Bennett 31,665 Views

9 Emotions - Bill
#7 9 Emotions Project 49,215 Views

#6 Iowa 59,724 Views

Soccer with Evie and Layla
#5 Gorshe Family 60,179 Views

Xenia, Iowa
#4 Town Sign Project 72,850 Views

#3 Weekly Photo Challenge – Year 8 82,681 Views

Day 162 - June 11, 2021
#2 Selfie Project – 2021 128,029 Views

Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#1 Alexis Pregnancy Photo Shoot – 2020 236,976 Views

At post 4,000 The most popular album was “WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – YEAR 7”. #2. Was “Christopher D. Bennett”. #3. was “9 Emotions Project”. I’m impressed with the sustained popularity of THE 9 EMOTIONS PROJECT. I haven’t taken a new picture for it in years. Although I do want to fire it up again.

Most Popular Photography 139 Images of the last 365 days:

Maven's 2021 Birthday Party
#10. Maven’s Gift Table – 2,013 Views

Moingona, Iowa
#9. Moingona Town Sign – 2,029 Views

Iowa State Fair - 2010
#8. Alexis Cheering at the 2010 Iowa State Fair – 2,177 Views

Mom's Retirement Party
#7. Mom’s Retirement Party – 2,669 Views

Day 73 - March 13, 2021
#6. Mom and I at John Wayne Birthplace Museum – 3,716 Views

Youth Group Family Portrait Fundraiser - 2010
#5. Andrea, Josh, and Kids at Youth Group Fundraiser – 2010 – 4,221 Views

Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#4. Alexis Pregnant with Anela – 5,485 Views

Day 51 - February 20, 2021
#3. Selfie in Ackley – 6,369 Views

Day 0 - December 31, 2020
#2. Selfie in Front Yard – 6,587 Views

Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#1. Alexis Pregnant with Anela – 10.355 Views

That picture of Alexis was also #1 at the 4,000 Post Mark, but the other 9 Pictures are completely different. Last time #2 was a picture of Taylan and #3 was a picture of me and Scottie D. at the Pufferbilly Days Parade.

That leads us to my most popular individual posts.

Most Popular An Artist’s Notebook Entries (by Comments)










#3.WPC – WEEK 283 – WIND – 24 Comments

#2. LIPTON CUP OF ZINNIA – 32 Comments


I have to confess that I haven’t been very good about responding to comments left on my blog lately. I swear that I will get better at this again.

The final statistic I want to share are who my most loyal email subscribers. Loyalty isn’t probably the most accurate term, but it is all I have.

Top Five Most Loyal Photography 139 Subscribers

5. Jeanette Duff – 96.4%
4. Angie DeWaard – 98.5%
2. Michelle Haupt – 99.7%
2. Joe Duff – 99.7%
1. Kio Dettman – 100%

Jeanette, Angie, and Kio are new to the Top 5. They replaced Corey, Sara, and Shannon.

Linda and Tamara are the two most likely to break into the Top 5 in the next 250 posts.

We’ll have to check in on these statistics again in another 250 posts!

Selfie Project – September 2021

Yesterday I completed another successful month of THE SELFIE PROJECT. I don’t know I did a lot in September, but I guess the pictures will tell the story.

Here are my favorites from September:

Day 246 - September 3, 2021
September 3

Day 247 - September 4, 2021
September 4

Day 248 - September 5, 2021
September 5

Day 249 - September 6, 2021
September 6

Day 250 - September 7, 2021
September 7

Day 253 - September 10, 2021
September 10

Day 254 - September 11, 2021
September 11

Day 255 - September 12, 2021
September 12

Day 256 - September 13, 2021
September 13

Day 258 - September 15, 2021
September 15

Day 260 - September 17, 2021
September 17

Day 261 - September 18, 2021
September 18

Day 262 - September 19, 2021
September 19

Day 265 - September 22, 2021
September 22

Day 268 - September 25, 2021
September 25

Day 269 - September 26, 2021
September 26

Day 270 - September 27, 2021
September 27

Day 271 - September 28, 2021
September 28

Day 272 - September 29, 2021
September 29

There can only be one Selfie per day, but here are some of my favorite alternate selfies from September:







If you want to peruse all of the 2021 selfies for THE SELFIE PROJECT, click on the link below:


Hopefully October is a fruitful month as well.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is FLOWER:


A FLOWER image is simply a picture of a FLOWER. Doesn’t have to be a real FLOWER. But it could also be a real FLOWER.

Happy photo harvesting.


At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 I seem to have lost a ton of pictures. I’m grouping all the pictures that are in the folder 01JANUARY2011 together for this post:



Nuclear Library Redux

Nuclear Library Redux

Nuclear Library Redux

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

The Story

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:



RWPE #52 – EYE



I’m not sure what next week’s walk down memory lane will cover. My files from 2011 are a complete mess. Just a complete mess.

The Stenslands 2020 Gamma

Here is the final collection of pictures from the Stenslands 2020 family photo shoot:

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

These were the last pictures from 2020 that I had yet to share. I might start taking Sundays back off from “An Artist’s Notebook”, but I will need to take a look at where I stand with the backlog before making any kind of rash decisions.