Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why Can't I Have Normal Problems

For the last couple of days, I have been unable to access my webpage or check my dream-sequence email. I can access every other webpage but mine. Everyone else can access mine. The webhost says I should check with my ISP, who says there's nothing wrong, I need to talk to my webhost.

Realistically, the email was more of an issue than the webpage, since I've already read most of the stuff I've written. In a worst case scenario, I could always hire someone to add to my webpage and then have them send me screen shots.

Finally, it turns out, the webpage is hosted in Hong Kong and there have been routing problems recently between Austrlia and Hong Kong. My web host, ICDsoft, migrated my page to a US server, and after the DNS caught up, my problem was solved.

Of course, that's not my only problem. I also have a bulge. Keep your mind out of the gutter. It's coming out of my belly button, like something from an alien movie. I used to have an innie, now I have an outie? What's up with that?

So off I go to the doctor, thinking that I've swallowed someone's finger or something. It turns out I have an umbilical hernia, and it's growing. What does that mean? More surgury. It's now large enough that when I wear a shirt, it sticks out like I have an extra nipple. I'm thinking I might need to start cutting holes in my shirts soon, or wearing maternity clothes or something. Anyway, the last time I was on a surgical waiting list, I waited two and a half years. That was for some pretty serious back surgery. This time, who knows? What if it keeps growing? What if people start playing ring toss on my tummy, or hanging their hats there when they walk into the house? What if some people don't think it's my tummy at all, but something else entirely? What if it really is an alien?

All I know is, with all this medical and computer stuff going on, my life is at least interesting...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Silent Miracles

I don't necessarily believe in miracles, at least not in the classic sense of the term. I've never been accosted by a burning bush, the red sea has never parted for me, and when I take the role of David, Goliath usually kicks my ass. I won't say I haven't had my share of good luck in this lifetime, but I can't attribute much of it to miracles.

Last January, one of our friends gave dana and me a car. An old car, to be sure, but a car nonetheless. Since my driving experience is fairly limited, this was a great boon. Our current car was a manual, and I don't drive manual. This was an automatic. Thus when dana went into the hospital for surgery and she couldn't drive for six weeks, I was able to take up the slack. Driving on the left side of the street is still really odd, but I got used to it and the new car (I use the term loosely, both of the cars are old enough to vote) seemed a lot more powerful.

Yesterday, we took the car in for an overhaul, just to have it checked it, before we took a long drive up to the north side of the island. The list of what was wrong with it was was a third of a page long. The car was deemed unsafe, and had been unsafe for some time. We'd driven around in that car for two months. A car with failing brakes and steering, among other things. The mechanic who worked on it said it was a death trap and wasn't drivable, fixable or resellable. When he learned we'd been driving it around for two months, he said we were extremely lucky. He also said, it wouldn't have made it up to the trip north.

My initial impulse was to be depressed. I was stranded again, unless I sat down and learned to drive a manual (which after my back surgery, might be possible, now that I'm healed). But aside from that, we had a car when we needed it, for as long as we needed it, and during that time that we drove it around, and we did use it quite a lot, somehow, the car held up. We survived. We were lucky.

Was it a miracle that brought this car into our lives just when we needed it and took it out again before we died for the convenience? I guess I'll never know.

But I will say, I feel damned lucky to be alive.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mind Over Matter

For those of you who are following the continuing adventures of the building of the weight gym, I am happy to annouce that the project is now completed. I am so completely exhausted, the idea of lifting weights is about as appealing as doing a tax return, or having sex with a porcupine, two evils I'd hate to have to choose between.

I have often heard say, usually by women, that men don't read directions. This is possibly because men build more things like this than women do, and they realize that a good percentage of the time the instructions are completely wrong. This is because the instructions are written by OTHER men, sitting at their desks, laughing at the poor bozos who have to put stuff together after they've finished playing with our heads.

"I have a great idea. Let's put in an extra piece into the box, and not mention it anywhere in the instructions. We can list it, but not say where it goes. We can call it something cool like the universal pin configuration module. People will go nuts!"

I'm half convinced that the same people who write these instructions, are the people who program viruses. They want us to suffer because they're stuck with a crappy job--which isn't at all our fault.

The other explanation for the poor directions is that they are translated from the original language into English by retarded adolescant parrots who don't speak either language. To this I say bullshit. They speak the language, they just have something against me. Me personally. They wrote these instructions, misdrew these pictures, just to get at me. It's probably some kind of karma thing, paying me back for the evil I've done in my life (of which there was plenty).

So ladies, if you want to know why men don't follow the directions, build more furniture and you'll understand.

As for me and working out, should I survive this ordeal (that is not a certain circumstance yet), I may one day feel strong enough to actually try my new weight gym.

Friday, September 29, 2006

East Meets West

You've taken a wrong turn robo-dude...this is a fantasy story

To pose or not to pose...

that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of poser's bugs while allowing my writing career to languish, or delve into a new writing project and leave the graphics programs to the artists...and face it, I am no artist.

Is creating an image in poser art? If not, what is it? I'm working with images and textures created by others, putting them together and altering them. Load a backdrop, place a figure against it. Pose the figure. Load another figure and scale it. Pose it differently, perhaps apply a different texture. Use a texture set to make another figure into a copper statue. Make sure everything is posed, then light the scene. Sometimes I try ten or fifteen different light combinations, but again, most of these are predone by people who know what they are doing. I'm just picking the one that looks best. I'm changing the camera angle too. Zooming in and back, showing different bits... is it art? It's not science. Is making a collage art? Am I wasting my time? What of my writing career?

See, Poser is fun for me. I'm just playing around. Sometimes it's frustrating too, but it's frustrating fun. Writing is work. I have things I really NEED to work on. And if it was just writing, I would be fine, but then there's rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting, ad naseum), then editing, which might mean more rewriting. Then polishing. Then sending it off. There's dealing with cover artists (not always a great experience), and then promoting. Okay, I like talking about myself, but there is a limit and I can't have that. No limit I set would be good enough to promote my work.

I am not even trying to be professional or promote my poser work, though I have some ideas in the back of my head of some things I can do with it that might eventually lead to an income, but that aside, what am I really doing? Is it art? Is it a waste of time? Should I be doing other things?

To pose or not to pose, that is the question. It'll take a greater mind than mine to answer it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Father and Son Outing

But da...if yumuns never existed, where did all these statues come from?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gazi Chachkas

Chachkas: You're a pain in the neck.
Gazi: If you'd slow down, I wouldn't havta use my claws.
Chachkas: You COULD fly.
Gazi: Big, fat, hairy deal. Flyin' is easy.
Chachkas: You shouldn't take flying for granted. Some of us don't have wings.
Gazi: And some of us don't have massive jaws that can grind bone to dust.
Chachkas: That's what I mean. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I'm a brave hunter, a vicious killer, a fearsome predator, and you...
Gazi: Yes? Yes?
Chachkas: You're a pain in the neck!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Art for the Graphically Impaired

Ever play with colorforms? Those in my age group might well remember them, even though I haven't seen them in years. Essentially, you have a background upon which you place down flat, plastic figures that fit onto it, creating a scene. Update this about a thousand times, put it on a computer, make it 3D and you have poser, a program with enough free and inexpensive figures available that you don't have to make them yourself, you only have to add them to your scene and pose them.

The preceding paragraph is both true and misleading for several reasons. First, though you can plunk down figures, making them look natural is a lot harder. The real challenges with poser are image composition, lighting, camera angles, and the quality of your posing. Sure anyone can plunk down an image or two (especially me) and call it art, but there IS an art to poser, as those who are better than me and more familiar with the program can tell you. I've seen poser art and poser use. They are NOT the same thing.

That disclaimer aside, I've submerged myself in 3D graphic programs. I don't know how or why, but it happened. I guess it started when I found out that Poser 5.0 was available for free from a site called Content Paradise. While it's no longer free, it's still cheap, if I'm not mistaken. On the other hand, Daz3D has it's own simple 3D posing program called Daz Studio. It's free, the content pack is free and there is plenty of free stuff to keep you playing for ages.

Of course, I never do anything the easy way. I joined both sites, Daz3D and Content Paradise and as such, got a lot more graphics. In fact, I've spent over $200 US this week on stuff for the programs. By the way, I also downloaded Bryce 5.5 for free, when it was offered on Daz3D, a 3D program more geared toward scenary and background creation.

So far, my poser attempts have been modest, but I like some of the results. The picture at the top of this column is one of them. I included the lighting that I like best and the one that dana likes best, just because I can. It shows how much different proper lighting can make on a scene.

In the meantime, I'm downloading a tarantula and centipede graphic from Content Paradise. You never know when you'll need a least I don't.

So there you have it. If you don't see me posting as much, it's because I'm buried in graphics. Wish me luck!