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Picture of a man holding a kitty cat.
Tom Sulcer (moi) holding a kitty cat in Maraetai (muh-RYE-TYE) Beach, a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. This kitty was unfortunately in the Christchurch earthquake recently, and I don't know if it is okay.

Who wrote this[edit]

I wrote this. My name is tom sulcer. I'm a handyman in New Jersey. I fix stuff.

Feel free to write me a message on the talk page. Better to write on my Wikipedia talk page. I check it more often than Wikimedia Commons. My current camera is my Samsung J7 smartphone, but in the past, I've taken photos with a Kodak EasyShare C160 camera, then a Sony camera.

How Wikimedia Commons fades into obscurity[edit]

I'm a longtime Wikipedian (10+ years) and I've contributed several thousand images and diagrams, often to illustrate stuff from my handyman work such as here or my interests in literature or meteorological events such as this freak early snowstorm in my town. I'm a volunteer. This takes time. I don't have to upload photos but rather I do it for the enjoyment of others and the enrichment of humanity in general. I respect the database for being a valuable resource for Wikipedia's content and elsewhere. That is why I almost always declare my images as public domain so that they are free for every possible purpose.

So, what makes contributing difficult? For one, a still-painstaking process of uploading photos, requiring me to enter field after field so that uploading each image takes perhaps three to five minutes. Two years ago, when my wife and I traveled to Italy, I took over a thousand images, but I didn't share them on Commons like I had done with my earlier images of Bermuda. I gave them to Google instead. It took just a few button clicks and Google got them. Google even sends 'thank you' notes to me, telling me how many of my images were seen by others.

A second, more pernicious problem, is that a site like Wikimedia Commons can engender a sense of clubby insularity among established users, so that they can interpret the rather vague rules, such as what constitutes an "educational purpose", to delete images that they don't like. Case in point: my wife is a hobbyist artist. She teaches English as a second language in a volunteer capacity. She paints watercolors. She's not a commercial artist and has no intention of selling her creations. So when I uploaded 33 of her watercolors, which took me about an hour or two to do, within one day they were nominated for deletion. These works are competent renderings of nature, landscapes and seascapes, which could be used for any number of educational purposes, but the nominator deemed that they were out of scope. Are these images Mona Lisa quality? No, but somebody could use them since they are competent renderings. Are they promotional? No, they're public domain, and as I said, my wife has no intentions of selling her watercolors. If the images get deleted, which they probably will, others here might consider how that might dampen enthusiasm for uploading more images, not just by myself, but by everybody.

That's how Commons gradually loses its usefulness. When it regularly thwarts long-time contributors, it discourages further contributions, and over time the database doesn't keep up with other image depositories.

My experience with Covid-19[edit]

Here's a brief shareable slide show of me coping with Covid-19 for those interested. Use space bar and up/down arrows to navigate the slides.

I'm at Day 18 with the illness and it has been nasty. The worst days were Day 3 through Day 9 when my body could not seem to keep warm, alternating chills and sweats, when breathing got difficult with a tight-chested feeling, extreme fatigue, feeling winded even after walking a few steps, no appetite; there were three days when I ate nothing at all. Several times I was on the verge of calling 911 for the ambulance but luckily I didn't, since going to a hospital risks further problems. Luckily I was able to communicate with my doctor daily through an email portal, and getting her digital oversight was reassuring. Advice I got from her and from friends was to relax, rest, drink lots of room-temperature fluids and warm tea, keep warm, robitussin, breathe slowly and gently, keep taking regular medications. When my throat got sore, I gargled with mouthwash and it would tend to go away. I took my temperature regularly and also used an oxygen and heart beat sensor that goes on a finger (about $30) so I recorded my numbers and relayed them to the doctor each day. The idea I got was to conserve energy, like I didn't do anything that uses up energy so that my body could direct its full firepower to fighting the infection. So I didn't move much, kept warm, didn't eat (digestion uses up energy). I'm lucky to be alive. Since Day 10 I've begun to feel better, but even now, at Day 18, my joints, particularly my knees, ache in a non-localized way, and my lungs still feel a touch heavy, and I continue to quarantine myself from my family. One other thing: don't trust these tests -- the medical establishment is still trying to come to grips with this disease and are working to get better tests. Please, people, don't get Covid-19. If you get it, consult your doctor.

Update: Day 22 (April 7, 2020) and still recovering. This thing takes weeks to get over.

Update: Day 27, still recovering.

Update: Day 34, better still not 100%.

Update: Day 45, better slowly recovering still.

Update: Day 83, pretty much back to normal.

Update: Day 365-ish (a year later). I got vaccinated with Pfizer, 1st dose. On Wednesday, slight upper arm soreness. On Thursday, achy feeling around knees and elbows. On Friday, extreme fatigue, temperature 100.1F, achiness, restlessness, occasional shivers, cough. On Saturday, temp 99.9F, fatigue, took Robitussin to loosen phlegm in lungs. It's like reliving many of the worst Covid symptoms from a year earlier.

My books on Amazon[edit]

Here is a link to my website. My contributions to Wikipedia have taught me much, which enables me to write books. They're priced pretty much as low as Amazon will let me, and if you have Kindle Unlimited, they're free.

  • Common Sense II: How citizens can understand, fight and prevent terrorism is a serious essay, not fun, geared to people who care about US politics. It is a grand strategy which really prevents terrorism, especially its most dangerous forms.
  • Jakk's Journey, a fun romp about a high school senior who builds a spaceship, flies to Betelgeuse, meets sexy aliens, and learns how to become a human from the aliens. This one is getting great write-ups and may get made into a movie someday (I've had two "nibbles" from literary agents and moviemakers). It is a goofy novel with a powerful theory in it, one that is fresh, that nobody knows about yet, namely, the problem of fate -- if everything is determined, then how can humans have free will? It is a puzzle, isn't it? Well I propose a possible solution to this problem which I think (and a philosopher agrees with me on this) is right -- it's in Jakk's Journey.
  • A bible for atheists is how to be a good human without God or gods or the supernatural, that is, it is an ethics guide for atheists. I am an atheist. Atheists have been defined in a negative way by what we do not believe in, so this book is an attempt to describe positively what many atheists do believe. Believers have a Bible: atheists now have our own bible (the lowercase b is meant to suggest that it is only one of many possible bibles). It is not intended to convert believers into non-believers. It addresses the tough metaphysical questions in a common-sense way, and integrates determinism and free will into a coherent path toward human freedom and goodness. There is no other book like this available.

Who says contributing to Wikipedia doesn't pay?[edit]

Close to the Wizard of Oz by American artist Julian Hatton. The abstract landscape painter sent me a thank you for my contributions. So, Mr. Hatton, thank you for saying thank you.

Well, everybody. Because it doesn't. We're volunteers. In my 10+ years of contributing here, I rarely get a thank you. I've done dozens, nay, hundreds of biographies. I'm currently adding several YouTubers. Any thank yous? Zilch. Nada.

But I received a thank you from a famous artist. Julian Hatton is an abstract landscape painter at the height of his artistic powers. He creates beauty. His paintings sell for tens of thousands of dollars and appear all over the world. His creations dance, like they're alive and breathing, like if you lean in close, you can feel a breeze from the movement of the shapes. It's mesmerizing, enchanting, empowering. Check out Close to the Wizard of Oz: the colors, the playfulness, the life, and yes it feels like the end of the movie, the boisterous pomp of the wizard and the big balloon, close but not there, like we have to click our ruby slippers to get us home, and Mr. Hatton reminds us how.

So keep on contributing to Wikipedia, fellow Wikipedians, and maybe even someday you too will get a thank you for your efforts -- in fact, I'll say it right now: thank you, fellow Wikipedians, for your contributions!!!

What amazing new photos I have added[edit]

Amazing? Well. I'm a point-and-click type of guy. But hey I'll take credit when my idiot-proof camera takes great shots. Here are my latest photos. Here are my handyman photos. Plus I am learning how to use image manipulation programs like Sumo Paint to make free public domain images to try to counteract the dearth of images from copyrighted media such as Star Wars and Star Trek.

A revamp[edit]

An example of a recent revamp of a Wikipedia article. The Wikipedia article on Self publishing -- before my revamp (225 pageviews per day) and after my revamp (271 pageviews per day). From about 20K bytes before October 30, 2017 to 121K as of the beginning of 2018.[1]

Bored? Check out my videos[edit]

Wikipedia may not yet have an article on How to cure boredom but please don't despair -- you can watch even more boring videos to make it seem as if what had bored you previously was not so boring after all. May I suggest...?

Note: I plan to make videos to illustrate the main ideas in my terrorism prevention solution Common Sense II so people can get the gist in a jiffy.

Idea to improve Wikimedia Commons[edit]

Isn't this a cool picture? It happened after the freak October snowstorm in New Jersey when the leaves were still on the trees. It brought down powerlines but hey -- isn't this cool? What's instructive is that I'm only an amateur photographer -- no training except for listening to a brief tutorial years back -- so how does this beauty come about? Because the cameras are getting better and better, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

In Wikipedia, there are essentially two channels -- a public one, namely articlespace which any Internet user can easily access, and an internal backchannel semi-public space which is much harder for the public to find, where Wikipedians can discuss article improvements, leave messages to each other, and so forth, including talk pages, user pages, Wikipedia "how-to" pages and such. In Wikimedia Commons, however, all images are essentially public -- one big undiversified public pool. There are times when I'd like to share images, photos, drawings, cartoons only with the Wikimedia community, like having a backchannel picture place for images intended only for us Wikipedian contributors without putting them in the public pool. A variant would be letting users post a picture with a fixed time limit duration, such as a day or week, so the picture naturally expired after that period. It would help facilitate communication between Wikipedians and make this place more enjoyable. Images are a medium of communication. We might get more artists and cartoonists contributing here if there was such a capability.

My current and future knols[edit]

I photographed these two beauties cuddling on a rock looking kissably cute; not a good idea, however; they may be either feisty or poisonous or both.
Sunset in my town.
A diverter valve about to be added.
  • Why women are beautiful (problem is, haven't figured this out yet). So, I didn't write it.
  • Dating and mating in the twenty tens -- Frank advice for heterosexual men and women seeking love. This one is hot too -- readership is really picking up. I can email a copy without the photos and diagrams if interested.
  • An American's perspective on New Zealand -- Travel account.
  • Philosophy of Spinoza: An introduction. Snooze. Boring. Zzzzzzz. Not my most popular piece.
  • Fifteenth Reunion -- an original screenplay free for people to look at. It has mild sexual and language content; younger readers please avoid. A romantic comedy. It would be cool if a high school or college drama group did my screenplay. I give my permission for groups to use it for small-scale productions, if interested.
  • Screenplay "Polar Planet". Outline written. Sexual science fiction. I mapped out the idea, but when I started writing it, it sounded boring and formulaic; so right now it's on hold unless I can make it feel fresh somehow. I ditched this.
Tree after an overnight snowfall, in early morning light.
  • Stair Repair -- A handyman project fixing a stair. It's a public domain document, including pictures; feel free to use them for handyman-related articles.
  • Handyman project: mortaring bricks to seal out rain -- Pictures and text are public domain; feel free to use them for handyman-related articles if interested.

My contributions at Wikipedia[edit]

Winter sky in New Jersey.

Click on the following link to see my latest Wikipedia contributions. I like to revamp popular yet needing-attention articles (50 to 1000 pageviews per day) and spruce them up. A few of my past revamps are:

United States Congress -- 5000 readers per day.

Wall Street -- 2500 readers per day.

Dating -- 1500 readers per day.

Rodney Bingenheimer -- Interesting personality. 300 readers per day (but spikes at times).

Two-party system -- 500 readers per day.

Lake Erie -- first time I've done a lake. 1000 readers per day.

Man cave -- 300 readers per day.

Equal opportunity -- 800/day weekdays

History of citizenship -- 100 day; wrote from scratch

Big History -- 250/day

... many others...

These were major expansions. What's cool is that perhaps a million people have read stuff I've written, although they may not know it was me. :)

Advice for revampers: query people on the talk page first about what they'd like; do a thorough newspaper & magazine search with lots of references; write offline, port it to a sandbox; invite reviews on the article's talk page to comment on the sandbox version; last, swap it in.

Plus I've started numerous articles, including Karyn Marshall (100+ readers per day) and Citizenship in the United States (300 readers per day).

Selfie of yours truly with self-made face mask (I taught myself to sew via YouTube) and sunglasses to protest for the cause of Black Lives Matter in my local town of Summit, New Jersey. About 6,000 folks participated to show support for equality and civil rights while wearing masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. I gave out about 20 masks to fellow protesters.

Biographies. I like to write about folks with unusual occupations. If you have ideas of people to create Wikipedia articles for, please click on my talk page on Wikipedia.

My interests. Lots of stuff. Sorry, don't know much.

Music. I've worked on articles such as David Wilcox, Jonatha Brooke, Mountain Man, and others. I play guitar.

Handyman stuff. I've been fingerwagged by folks wondering why I write about what I know nothing about and not what I do know about like handyman stuff. Why am I writing about Lake Erie -- they say: you've never been to Lake Erie (true; never been). Why not write about mortar? Sheesh. Okay, okay. I'm trying to contribute more pictures, tips and tool information. Maybe it will keep some homeowner from chopping off a finger. In spring, my handyman business picks up, and I'll try to take pictures when relevant, and post them here in case they'll be helpful.

My politics[edit]

A drip sandcastle I built.
Sunrise in August over the Atlantic Ocean in Wildwood, New Jersey.

I'm non-partisan. I don't vote for Republicans. I don't vote for Democrats. I call for serious structural reform of the United States Constitution via a Constitutional Convention, but I realize this is extremely unlikely to happen. On Wikipedia, I'll write about all types -- conservatives, liberals, radicals, activists, Democrats, Republicans, and I try to be fair to all of them. For example, I wrote about conservative hard-liner Heather Mac Donald as well as liberal activists such as David Sirota and Ted Nace. Earlier in my life, I was highly socialist; later, highly capitalist. Why did my thinking shift? I don't know. I know how both worldviews think. I could have wonderful arguments with myself. There are strong points to each side. Today, I'm non-partisan. Studying politics, reading, working through philosophy --> these things helped me become non-partisan. IF you find yourself being highly charged ideologically, having long political battles with people that seem to go nowhere, arguments that don't persuade, arguments providing much heat but little light, arguments that afterwards leave you feeling heated-up and angry and wondering why is everybody else so stupid? And, if you don't like feeling this way, THEN: read the first chapter or so of Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions. You'll see what I mean.

Update (2017). I'm increasingly supporting those in the Democratic party as a result of the 2016 election, although as always, I'll try to remain unbiased in my Wikipedia contributions.

Useful places[edit]


Original Barnstar Hires.png The Original Barnstar
Your profile page led me to send you this Barnstar. Thank you for all you have done to enrich this collection. I hope you're healthy now and not experiencing any of the long lasting symptoms of Covid. Best to you. Smkyle1 (talk) 17:19, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

References and notes[edit]

  1. Note: statistics are from pageviews analysis based on a 90-day period before October 30 2017, to the period of November 1 2017 to January 10 2018 -- comparing the daily averages of both groups.-- tws