Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
I feel I am much better prepared this year, but anything can happen.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Posing nude for an art class.
After years of wanting to do this, and wondering if I had the guts to do it, I finally said "why not" and I posed nude for an art class. Here are my experiences:
I studied art for 4 years, which included a whole semester of "Life Drawing" or "Nude Drawing". Ever since my graduation in 1994 I have wondered what it would be like to pose for an art class. I had taken some nude photos while in college, and since then I have been taking more nude photos of willing models. I have also posed nude for a couple of photographers. During this process I started studying the human body even more and wanted to get a better knowledge of the human body. The shadows, angles, composition, direction, etc.
By the summer of 2008, I was not getting enough teaching hours and I needed another income. This was when I finally took the plunge and made that first call to an art school. At first it seemed difficult to get in the door, since they had already booked models for the whole semester. I did not even think of that. But I was put on a list, and shortly thereafter I got a call wondering if I could step in for one of the models who had called in sick.
They asked me if I had any experience, and I fibbed a little saying that I did. But I had done a lot of research, and was comfortable with my body, so I felt comfortable stretching the truth a little.
When I say research, I mean surfing the internet for croquis drawings from other classes, giving me an idea of which poses work. The only thing frustrating was that I found very few drawings of the male body, mostly female. I found several "confessionals" like the one that I am now writing, but this was also from women. Either there are very few male models, or they just keep quiet about it.
Anyway, I show up for class and meet the teacher. I go to the dressing room to put on my bathrobe (which I haven`t used in years and never thought I`d use for this). Plus some shower-sandals so I dont have to walk around barefoot on the floor covered in chalk, charcoal, paint, etc. (I found this out the hard way).
She wants me to do 2 minute poses, so I disrobe and try to remember all the poses I have been studying for the past few days. The weird part is: as soon as I disrobed, I didnt really think about being naked. I just thought of the next pose.
The class had 9 women and 1 guy, ages varying from early 20s to late 40s. I didnt really know what to expect, like snickering or pointing or whatever, but the room just got very quiet as the students started to draw me. After 2 minutes I did a new pose, and did this for 20 minutes. I get a 10 minute break after every 20 minutes of posing.
When I am up there on the little pedestal, in the middle of the room, I don`t look at the students, but try to fix a point on the wall or the clock, as I am thinking of my next pose. But sometimes I can`t help overhearing as the teacher comments on some of the drawings. "His hips are huge" or "his legs are not that long", or "he`s gotten alot more muscles" are some of the comments that would make me giggle, as if she was saying this to me. Sometimes she would even come straight up to me and point to the body part she wants the student to study more.
It`s all a bit surreal, if I look at this from the outside. But I am constantly thinking of the angles and positions that the students will like the most. One of the things I started using was a pole (an old curtain rod) which I use to either lean up on or balance over my shoulders. I have gotten great feedbacks from this and is something I use for the longer poses as well.
The students are really nice during my breaks as I walk around (robed) curiously looking at the results. And during the lunch breaks I will still be wandering around in my bathrobe, and it looks like I live there and I`m just getting my morning coffee or something. As I am writing this I have been pretty active for the past 9 months, and I must say it’s quite rewarding. The hourly pay here in Norway is about 200 kroners an hour (almost 30 USD with todays rate). Not bad for sitting around in the nude, but I would have to do alot more in order to have just this as an income.
It took me a while before I felt comfortable telling my family and friends about this, but when I started telling them the reactions were all positive, and some even just giggled saying it was typical me. Most people I tell would never dream of doing this, and I think this ranks pretty high up on peoples list of "things I would never dare do" or maybe even "things I would like to do one day".
I am glad I started doing this. First of all I conquered one of my "fears" or "goals". Second, I am getting to know more people in the creative field and I am finding it easier to get into creative poses. Plus I found out that standing nude in front of an art class is not as scary as it sounds. After all, it is an art class and studying the human body goes back to the oldest cave drawings and the old master painters like Michaelangelo.
What I have learned so far:
- Ask questions before you arrive. Get an idea of what kind of poses they are expecting.
- Study different poses, including standing, sitting and lying down.
- Be ready for poses that you can hold for 20 minutes.
- Arrive early, and maybe even talk to the students. It will help you loosen up.
- Start getting used to telling time in your head so you are not dependant on looking at the clock.
- Bring a robe and slippers/sandals.
- Wear your robe during breaks.
- Just relax and talk to the students before class and during breaks. They are always happy to have a live model.
- Do yoga. It helps you be more limber and makes it easier to keep longer poses.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Astana cycling team does not exactly have the cleanest records or the best reputation when it comes to doping or allegations of doping.
But there have also been drastic changes in the team riders and its manager.
In my search for more information about this team I have found the following on Wikipedia:
Astana first became involved in sponsoring cycling during the 2006 season. The Liberty Seguros-Würth team of leading Kazakh rider Alexander Vinokourov was heavily implicated in the Operación Puerto doping case and the sponsors Liberty Mutual, and later Würth, withdrew their sponsorship of the team. Astana stepped in to sponsor the team, and during the second half of the season, Vinokourov won the Vuelta a España while riding for the renamed Team Astana.
On July 26, 2006, five Astana riders were cleared by Spanish courts. The five - Joseba Beloki, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Allan Davis and Alberto Contador - received a document clearing them of links to Operación Puerto
In April, 2007, Matthias Kessler tested positive for testosterone. The former Team T-Mobile-rider who had won a TdF-stage in 2006, was fired in July, and would turn out to be the first of a number of Astana-riders to be tested positive. Later in July, yet another former T-Mobile cyclist, Italian Eddy Mazzoleni, left the team after allegations of doping usage. Mazzoleni, who had finished 3rd in the 2007 Giro d'Italia, was later suspended for two years for his alleged involvement in the Oil for Drugs doping case.
After a positive blood doping (transfusion) test following the winning time-trial by team-leader Alexander Vinokourov, organisers "invited" Team Astana's management to withdraw the entire team from the 2007 Tour de France; this invitation was immediately accepted.
Following confirmation that Vinokourov's B-sample had also tested positive, the Astana Team announced that he had been sacked with immediate effect. On August 1, fellow Kazakh Andrey Kashechkin tested positive for homologous blood doping following an out-of-competition test in Belek, Turkey. He was suspended and subsequently fired as well.
Additionally, the troubled team decided to suspend its activities during the month of August to decide about its future with new regulations.
This was followed by the termination of José Antonio Redondo's contract after "failing to abide by team rules", making him the fifth rider of the team to leave during the 2007 season.
Following the doping problems of 2007, the sponsors of Astana decided to replace Biver with Johan Bruyneel, the former directeur sportif of the defunct Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. Bruyneel had the mandate to start afresh with the team, so he hired a number of former Discovery riders including 2007 TdF winner Alberto Contador (who had ridden with Vinokourov on the old Liberty Seguros team) and third-place finisher Levi Leipheimer. Additionally, Bruyneel introduced the anti-doping system developed by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, Head of Information for Anti Doping Danmark (ADD). The anti-doping system was initially used by Team CSC starting in 2007. The link between the Discovery Channel team and Astana was strengthened when Bruyneel signed a contract with Trek Bicycle Corporation to supply the team with bicycles and components, as they had done with Discovery Channel.
Riding under a Luxembourgian license, the team also included other ex-Discovery Channel riders such as Tomas Vaitkus, Sergio Paulinho,Chechu Rubiera, Vladimir Gusev and Janez Brajkovic, as well as American Chris Horner.
On February 13, 2008, the organisers of the TdF announced that Astana would be barred from the 2008 Tour due to its links to Operación Puerto and involvement in the 2007 Tour doping scandals. This meant that Contador was unable to defend his Tour crown, because his contract does not have an "escape clause" that covered Astana's current situation.
Astana's strict anti-doping policy came to the forefront later in the year. On July 28 Astana fired Vladimir Gusev for showing "abnormal values" in an internal doping check. In a release from team director Johan Bruyneel it was indicated that although the results “do not indicate the use of banned substances, the team has therefore applied the contractual terms based on these physiological and biological abnormalities," dismissing Gusev "with immediate effect.”
On 25 September, 2008, it was confirmed that seven-time TdF winner Lance Armstrong would leave retirement to ride for the team in the 2009 season. Along with Armstrong, another former Discovery Channel top rider, now officially riding under a Kazakh license, joined the ranks of Astana — Yaroslav Popovych — which brought the number of former Discovery Channel riders on Astana to nine (Armstrong, Popovych, Contador, Leipheimer, Rubiera, Noval, Vaitkus, Paulinho and Brajkovič).
It was reported that Armstrong would share team leadership with current leader Contador, that he intended to participate in the Tour Down Under, the Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France, and that he would receive no salary or bonuses, instead directing his attention to raising awareness for cancer research.
On 2 July, Vinokourov stated that he would return to Astana, which he noted was "created for me and thanks to my efforts", when his suspension ended, and that he would ride for Astana in the 2009 Vuelta a Espana. He stated that he expected to reach agreement with Bruyneel about his return within the week, but that "if Bruyneel does not want me, it will be Bruyneel who is leaving the team." The next day, the French newspaper L'Equipe reported that the Kazakh Cycling Federation planned to fire Bruyneel, Armstrong, Leipheimer and many of the other riders and rebuild the team in the model of the old Liberty Seguros team, which was predominantly Spanish. The paper quoted the vice-president of the Kazakh federation as saying, "[Contador] will be our sole leader for years to come [and] will be able to pick out the riders he wants to ride with him. In our mind, the team will be composed of Spanish and Kazakh riders, including Alexander Vinokourov."
Before returning to the saddle, however, the controversial Vinokourov faces the angry opposition of cycling's world governing body, the UCI. The UCI has renewed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, asking the court to overturn the one-year suspension by the Kazakhi federation and to impose the standard two-year ban on Vinokourov. This appeal was originally filed in 2007, but had been dropped after Vinokourov announced his retirement from cycling: after he announced his intention to resume his career, the case was retabled, and the CAS announced that the ban would expire on 24 July 2009.
Today`s 2009 Astana team has a different manager and different riders than the 2006-07 team. It is interesting to see that Armstrong, Contador and Leipheimer are all on the same team, and can easily cause conflicts within the team seeing how they are each contenders for the yellow jersey.
None of these guys have been convicted of doping, but there have been lots of rumors and accusations.
I just hope that they stay clean. So far, in this year`s TdF, there have not been any doping scandals reported.
In stage 8, Thor managed to win 2 of the sprints, earning a total of 12 points.
This would secure him the green jersey with an 11 point lead in front of Cavendish.
After today`s stage 9 they have the following points:
1. Hushovd - 117 pts.
2. Cavendish - 106 pts.
3. Rojas - 75 pts.
Thor has 2 days in green. This is incredibly exciting! :-)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I miss my nephew and niece.
They visited me last summer, but this year they are unable to come. I was looking through some old photos and found this clip from last year where I took Stian up to Nøklevann. He lives in Houston, so everything in Norway is new and exciting... even the girls ;-)
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thor won an impressive stage win in yesterday`s long and wet stage from Gèrone to Barcelona. With a total distance of 181.5 km, the final kilometers would prove to be extremely difficult as the riders were falling left and right on the slippery wet tarmac and several turns. It was nerve wracking to watch, but Thor was well planted on the ground.
He not only wins the sprint but has a whole bike length between him and Freire, who came in second.
This is Thor`s 7th win in the TdF (8 if you count the team tempo in 2001).
Cavendish, the current green jersey holder, came in 16th place. This means that Thor took a big chunk out of his lead and is only one point behind Cavendish`s 106 points. In third place is Ciolek with 66 points.
Lance congratulating Thor after the stage win.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
This is a very good distance for me, and a good sign that I am finally in a good training mode.
In 2008 I hardly rode at all. In 2007 and in 2006 my total for the whole year was 1500 km.
I need to go back to 2005 and 2004, where I had pretty much the same km total by July.
Cycle on :)
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
A second place finish for Thor, a whole bike length behind Cavendish.
The Green jersey still belongs to Cavendish, with 70 pts.
Thor is now in second place with 54 pts.
Cancellara has the Yellow jersey, but Armstrong is in third place, only 40 seconds behind.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
This is my favorite,
and the one I was aiming for.
And thank you Ellen for helping me out :-)
Thursday, July 02, 2009
I live on the 3rd floor in an Obos apartment building. There are 2-3 others like it across from me, and we have facing balconies.
Last summer I noticed that across from my building, on the first floor, there was a woman on the balcony. But something just didn’t seem right. She was wearing a nice summer dress… but still, something was off. As I looked closer I could see why. She had a 5 o`clock shadow and very hairy legs.
This fascinated me, how this guy would suddenly come out in a summer dress, make up and ear rings, and just sit there drinking wine.
He did this several times, and he had about 2-3 different dresses. Sometimes he would wear a pair of white high heeled shoes to match. Well, I don`t know if they matched or not, I think he had just the one pair.
But as much as I was fascinated by this, it was also kind of sad. Every time I looked out the window he would still sit there, sipping wine, doing nothing else. I felt sorry for him because he seemed really lonely.
I`m sure he was aware that people could see him, and that curious neighbors, like myself, were watching. Maybe this is what he was after, and what excited him.
Well, he stopped doing that and until recently he has been on his balcony, as a guy, reading books while drinking some beer.
Once again, the blue summer dress with the white flowers is back, with a couple of nice earrings. I`m not sure what he`s reading, but he has a 6-pack of beers with him.
I hope he finds someone he can share his dresses with soon.