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June 2011

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Jun. 12th, 2020

paintedSketchBW

Mostly Friends Only

Morbo and known human, molrak
· Hello little man, I WILL DESTROY YOU!!! · Kittens give Morbo gas. · All non-friends of molrak are scum in the eyes of Morbo. · Morbo is pleased but sticky. · This journal is friends-only. · I will destroy you! · Windmills do not work that way! · Pathetic humans! Prepare to write down the recipe!

[Reply to this post if you desire to be able to read screened posts and aren't listed as a friend of molrak. Entries are screened to keep my soul from over-exposure.]

Jun. 27th, 2011

paintedSketchBW

Double comments

Trying to fix double comments in my layout. Hopefully will get it fixed soonish (even though I have not touched s2 if 4+ years).

Update 19:16 -- Duplicates are fixed, but comments now lay flat. Not brainy enough to figure out nesting right now, so comments are flat. Everything should still work?

Jun. 18th, 2011

hypnotoad

A little photochop

Gandalf: Am I not a conjurer of Cheap Trick?
For my hobbits.

Jul. 16th, 2010

paintedSketchBW

Brick Fever

Totally broke out the Lego collection tonight!

Posted via email from molrak's posterous

Mar. 22nd, 2010

BK of the Cosmos

LotD

My lesson of the day: Editing always improves work. Even if you have to do it yourself, even if you're just stopping one second to think before you talk, a little quick 1-2-3 over your work will vastly improve it. Even better if you can find a second set of eyes.

Sep. 29th, 2009

BK of the Cosmos

Hello World

Welcome, Malakai Joseph!

Aug. 5th, 2009

Superdick Expectations

On navigating relationships

I've been reading slashdot for years now, and although my account number is not as low as the years I've been reading it (switched handles), at times it has felt like I've been reading it in an act of slow torture. It just feels that the quality of the articles and comments have gone downhill, but maybe it's always been like this and my view of the world has changed. But every once in a while, a great article comes along and it makes me scream, YES! Unfortunately, I opted to shoot this one off in an email to a friend and probably hugely stuck my foot in my mouth in the process. Hopefully this individual will be kind enough to forgive me yet another transgression... When clarification was requested, I replied with the bulk of the remainder of this post. I decided the redacted reply was worthy to keep captured on another media, and as a result, you get to read it or more likely, skip over it.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/08/04/2343241/Navigating-a-Geek-Marriage
The article in question was an ask slashdot question (or it should have been) about navigating a geek marriage. I pulled the following gems out of the discussion, and hopefully I remember them if I should ever be lucky enough to find a lady friend who would enjoy suffering my company through this life and beyond.

I don't agree with this one 100% (at least the do things with other people), but otherwise it seems pretty spot on.
MaxRomantschuk said:

"Making a marriage work requires three things:

Communication, communication and communication.

Learn how to talk, how to fight, and how to consider the other person, and you'll be fine. Don't try to own your partner and let him/her do things with other people that you can't reasonably do together. Don't be afraid to show your feelings, and talk about little issues before they become big issues. Compromises are inevitable, so don't think of these are a failure on either part.

The single biggest thing that is needed to make a marriage work is simply work. You can't expect a relationship to last without maintenance. Make sure to have time for each other when times are rough, and you'll be fine. ..."

I've been guilty of this one in relationships past.
FreeUser said:

"In the 4.5 years I've been married, the ONLY time we ever ran into any real trouble was when I tried to "manage" information. The excuse you'll typically tell yourself if tempted to do this is that it's to "spare her feelings", "you couldn't cope with it then", or "spare us an unnecessary fight". Those are excuses...the real reason is you don't want to deal with her reaction and the fallout. Don't give in to that temptation. Be honest, and demand honesty from your partner. That, and a good dose of compatabiltiy and love, will take you through just about anything).

The other underlying principle I'd add is: take the attitude that you're a team, and its you against the world--not necessarily in a combative sense, but in a "we stick together" and an economic (perhaps competative) sense. If you do these two things, you'll do well, and weather just about any storm. ..."

This one kind of ties in the the previous one... I know I've done it.
Bongo said:

"Your intellect can be very clever at making up lies, hiding what you really feel, and it basically just gets in the way. This hiding and dissociation from your feelings can take different forms. If you're the kind of guy who tries to be nice and tries to be a good partner, then you may find that you hide your natural anger and hide your resentments. Eventually these will bite you hard. If on the other hand you or your partner are basically quite selfish, lack empathy, and lack a basic goodness, then she or you can do the most outrageously selfish things but rationalize them away using your clever intellect. ..."

This one is strictly for the guys.
dtmos said:

"At my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary, my grandfather was asked for the secret to his long marriage. He said, "In any domestic dispute, if it turns out you are right, apologize at once.""
 

This one is sweet.
olddoc said:

"I have been an Anesthesiologist for 20 years. I have been fascinated when I see 80 year olds who have been married for 50+ years and they still care about each other. Whenever I have a couple like that, who tearfully kiss goodbye before surgery, I ask what the secret is to being married >50 years. The consistant pattern of advice I find is two things: 1) Be easygoing, compromise. 2) Make each other laugh. I don't know how many times I've heard "He makes me laugh" with people who are married >50 years. So do you make her laugh? Does she make you laugh? Is she willing to compromise a little if you want to do something she isn't in to?"

Finally, a bullet list by two authors. (I learned to nod and smile instead of saying "Yes Dear", but the principle is the same.)
krou and e.coli said:

Yeah, some good advice. I'm married, and while my wife isn't geeky, the same "rules" apply in all marriages, IMO:

  • Always communicate.
  • Never go to bed angry.
  • Learn to say, "Yes, dear."
  • Learn to accept the things you don't have in common, rather than just focusing on the things you do have in common.
  • Remember to always listen, as this is mostly all that is often needed.

Best of luck for your future together! I don't regret getting married for a second.

PS. Also, let her win at things, no matter how good you are. Trust me on this one. Oh, and when you ask her if she's okay and she says, "Nothing's wrong.", give her a hug, because something is definitely wrong!

Add to this:

  • try to see the other persons side from their point of view even if you don't agree with it - it will lead to better understanding of your partners thought process.
  • Listen to what they are saying without judgment, without trying to second guess or control them or their thoughts.
  • Remain calm no matter what - lose your temper and you lose control of your self and your side of the discussion/argument.
  • Again, remember to listen without interruption - actually hear what your partner is saying without judgement.
  • Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. Even if you know you are right. Later the truth of the matter will often reveal itself.

It's worked for me and my wife for almost 30 years now.
Good luck!

--
Want another weird shit life lesson I've learned from the internet over the past week or two? If you buy stainless steel silverware/flatware, it should be 18/10 or at least 18/8. Those numbers refer to the amount of cadmium and nickel in the alloy, and the higher the nickel (second number), the less likely you will have issues with it tarnishing in the future.

Jun. 1st, 2009

BK of the Cosmos

Grumbles and ignorwho

So the honeymoon with the PS3 is over now. Granted, it is an amazing piece of hardware, but there are a few annoyances that I've discovered. I am thankful that this gen of consoles can update their firmware, but when I fire up the system, it wanted to do about 50 system updates, then  two days later, another update. Now DSL usually seems pretty fast until you're downloading a few gb of data. But at least it makes the machine better and maybe it will approach the Xbox on feature parity some day. (I'm not holding my breath, but at least the PS3's shit is free.)

However, it really is annoying that every time I put in a new game, I have to install a few hundred mb of patches. I mean, I'm used to patching on my PC, and at least this allows for neat games and user content, but even the freaking downloads from the PSN store have updates! WTF can't they just push those into the store download is beyond me.

There are lots of cool games for it, and quite a few gems in the PSN store, including the new "game" by the guy who made the original Katamari and some crazy relaxing games called flOw and Flower. Also an amazing puzzler called echochrome which is a maze game where you have to alter your perspective on the maze to get your guy to go through all the waypoints (er, shadows). Problem is the mazes all look like mc esher drawings. It's quite fun, and I find myself going back to it (and the user generated content) quite often.

And then there are the trophies (or achievements to you Xboxers). The sane human being in me knows not to bother going after all those trophies, but like a fool I dive in head first. At least the downloaded games I have so far don't have a huge list, but that uninterrupted six hour eleven minute marathon of Rock Band may not have been the best idea ever. That's a lie, not only did I get Vinyl Artist and Bladder of Steel (for doing every song on medium and doing so without pause or fail), but I scored 5 stars on every song in the effort. The only song I nearly failed was Metallica's Battery... and I'll be honest, I'm kind of meh on Metallica.

Right now my PS3 catalog is pretty small, but it's growing. inFamous, a superhero/villain game is en route, and LittleBigPlanet just arrived today. I ordered a copy of Rock Band 1 used, because you can import most of the tracks into Rock Band 2 for a measley $5 download fee, so that was kind of a no-brainer. Ah, LittleBigPlanet finally finished downloading updates, and now I get the beautiful narration of one Mr. Stephen Fry. For all my bitching, it is an amazing time to be alive, that all this technology can be around me and help me ignore the deficiencies in my life.

May. 18th, 2009

paintedSketchBW

I hate coming back here

For every time I return, another friend vanishes into the ether.
I really don't know what to do with this thing, I always have held that writing through the muck helped me, but I just have not had the motivation. Life has been at a standstill for me. This is not great, but that's life. What has been fun is my new shiny PS3, which can play my entire Playstation back catalog. (Any gamers and long time readers of this journal out there can probably guess what my PSN id is.) Also been playing way too much Rock Band 2, both at home and with friends at their houses. It's a good game a mono, but much better with others. That I like very much. Also, the Complete JoCo is pretty great to listen to as well.

Otherwise, life is boring, painfully single per usual, without a glimmer of hope in the immediate future.

Mar. 19th, 2009

GoodGraphics!

I need patterns, if not order

I work best when I'm on a regular cycle, a schedule if you prefer. Unfortunately, working in the retail does not generally allow for that, especially at my lowly level, and so over the last year my life has been varying degrees of hell. While I had settled into a rhythm as of late, that's going out the window over the next few weeks, as I break from my usual set up ad signs bidness on Sunday morning (at 0500) to 0700 Sunday and a week later, just closing down the joint on a Sunday. Sweet justice, it will be pleasant to sleep in on a Sunday morn. Of course, later that week I do an overnight (cleaning up after inventory people), followed by working at 1530 that day, and then the dreaded 0930 to 1800. I hate hate *hate* that shift, it goes over two meals, during the busiest parts of the day, and by the end of it I just want to kill people. Knowing my luck, I'll have to work at 0500 the following Sunday.

Grad school work progresses. Hopefully more news on that soon.

My new 27" monitor should arrive tomorrow--I just ordered it Tuesday, but boy am I excited. (Sadly, the old one is having issues.) Unfortunately, fedex's window for home delivery in my hood is wide, so I shall have to awake early and watch ncaa's (basketball) in my boxers waiting for the delivery man to arrive. Strike that, I don't think we generally have female delivery persons, so I guess I shall have to wear pants. Oh well. I suppose I ought to clean off my desk too, as this thing is going to take up way more space than my 19" crt.

Other than that, not much is going on in my dull life.

Mar. 18th, 2009

Flying Spaghetti Monster

So Long, Television

Hello Computer
After 6-7 years of near continuous use, my old CRTube 19" monitor is on its last legs. A lot of my electronics have been dying as of late--my tv makes an awful screeching noise when on, and its low def picture, while good for its time, is not up with the joneses. Additionally, my dvd player died years ago, and my ps2 is on its last legs. This all meant that it was near time for me to upgrade, but the question is to what?

I have been thinking of foregoing the purchase of a new tv and just getting a big to huge monitor. I watch most of my tv on dvd (or ripped dvd), or on websites like youtube or hulu. Honestly, a pair of rabbit ears and some internet and I have most of the tv I would need. I decided to buy a 27" Dell Monitor. At 1920x1200, that covers 1080p, the color can be outstanding, and while there is a bit of lag, it's around 3 fps, which is acceptable for the games I play. It has a ton of inputs, including displayport, hdmi, and a few dvi inputs (as well as component and vga), and other inputs like a card reader and usb hub. I really agonized over the 30" and its higher resolution, but could not justify doubling the cost for a few more inches. Perhaps if I get a paid internship down the road, I can get a 30". It's still really damn big--my netbook's screen is only 8.9". Although the difference in resolution is not even double in each direction, that is more than triple the diagonal length.

It will be interesting to move to a tv-less existence (ie, a dumb broadcast visualizer), but I think I will be better off for it.
Update: Looks like my monitor is on its way to the shipper. I can dream that it will arrive Friday, but realistically it probably won't be here until Monday. Sigh...

Mar. 10th, 2009

Dr. Who

Need lj advice

Or how I need to reintegrate lj into my workflow
If anyone is still out there... I have been updating some of my online shizat as of late--facebook, twitter, delicious, etc--but I have not been on lj much as of late. There are any number of reasons for this, but one of the major issues is that lj is not in my workflow. Can anyone recommend good, working lj addons/extensions for firefox? Ideally something to check for friends updates and other stuff like that. Secondary on the wishlist would be a posting client, although I tend to type stuff up in google docs or my notepad application and then just copy/paste. Twitterfox has really changed the way I interact with twitter, so something like that would be really awesome. Alternatively, an external client would be ok, but I am running Ubuntu for almost everything now, so it would need to support linux. Any recommendations and input would be most welcome.

I'll write a longer post at some point in the future, hopefully sooner than later.

Jan. 21st, 2009

PhillipeToilet

This and That

and the other
Somehow or other, both taxing authorities accepted my tax returns, and in a week or so I'll have a significant refund padding my bank account. As much as I'd like to blow it on hookers (read: books) and booze, it's mostly going to pay down my debt. I have more fiscal restraint than the government! Hah! Topical humours! Additionally, I'm going to be serious about maintaining a minimum balance in my checking account, instead of promising myself I'll set it up "next paycheck".

Ok, that savings line was a partial lie. To help further stimulate this economy, I'm considering one major purchase with my tax refund. I'm leaning toward picking up The Complete Harry Potter Audiobook Series (on CD), but I have a dilemma--should I get the American edition (read by Jim Dale) or the English edition (read by Stephen Fry). I've listened to previews of both (books 1-6) by switching around my countries on the iTunes, and Dale seems more animated while Fry seems more narrative. Frankly, given the option just by their names, I'd go Fry because he's just fabulous, but I don't feel like dropping ~$300 on an edition I'm going to regret buying. Any thoughts would be greatly welcome! (If I can't decide, I'll probably just pick up more clearance RPG books.)

I guess if I import the English edition, I'll be helping the global economy instead of the U.S. economy. That still counts, right?

I'm teetering on the edge of getting decent hours at le work again. It's like they give me enough to keep me permanently in my parent's basement, but sometimes shrink it to make me grateful, like any good abusive relationship. I need a real career. I guess (read: one of my bosses mentioned) big blue is moving into the major city north of here an hour or so, but I have yet to quite ascertain if my skills could even be of use there. It may even be a call/support center. While remote tech support would not be ideal, it might pay better, maybe have benefits, certainly better hours... Well I will further investigate and who knows, maybe in a bit I'll be part of ye olde teche empire. I doubt there are too many folk with design degrees using Ubuntu as their primary OS.

Jan. 20th, 2009

paintedSketchBW

How I Didn't Win a Contest

Or failure again
A company I love to support with my patronage, Paizo, ran a contest called RPG Superstar. They have an open round, which I submitted in this year. They announced the final 32 contestants, who will be whittled down to eventually 4, who then go head to head to win a writing contract. I didn't make the 32 or even the alternates. Looking back over my submission, I'm not too surprised--I made a few technical errors, could have defined a couple of issues with it better, and it may have been an abusable item (ie, players run away with it). Additionally, as I was designing my wondrous item, I played it safe. That was the big mistake--I had a few ideas which were out of the box but didn't go with them. Instead I went with what I thought at the time was a clever idea, but in hindsight it just wasn't that clever, and one that mirrored a lot of stuff that has been already done. In hindsight, maybe my small errors could have been overlooked if I hadn't made that big mistake.

But I made it, and so now I have to move on without another fantasy. I wonder if playing it safe has too often been the mistake in my life. I shall have to mull this over, as looking back, it seems that far too often I have taken the path of least resistance, and so far it has gotten me no where.

Looking at the positives--I did at least make the submission deadline, I did participate instead of just wondering if I should participate, and considering I've only been playing 3.x DnD for a little over a year (at least of the pen and paper variety), it shouldn't be too surprising that I didn't make it. Paizo has open calls for other products they produce, and I should probably get serious about working on the open call for that right now. If nothing else, at least it will force me to continue to write (non-introspective diatribes).

Jan. 19th, 2009

paintedSketchBW

A Goodbye to Bush

And a goodbye to Privacy
This post has politics, so beware, you probably won't agree, blah blah blah...
Maybe you'd like this video instead?

All About BushCollapse )

Jan. 15th, 2009

BK of the Cosmos

WTH, taxes

Or how I have no clue how any financial shit works
As a part of my move to reduce the clutter in my life, I switched almost all my bills to "electronic", provided I do not have to pay for said services. With the exception of the asshats at Dell, this has worked really well, and now I get lots of nice pdfs or just email notices informing me of shiat and bills and what have you. I have a little file in my google notebook where I keep track of when bills should be due and how much they should be, and I've been quite pleased with this little system.

I even got a notice about electronic W2 forms from my place of employ. I was not too sure what to make of this, so I asked my lovely accountant friend, who informed me that at her place of business, they got their W2's electronically last year. So what the hell, I should get my form a little early, get a pdf backup, there is no downside to this. I was told I would receive my W2 by the 15th. Low and behold, some time in the frigid, wee hours of the morn, an email arrived in my inbox informing me that my w2 was ready to download. Hurray, huzzah, and all that--might as well keep on top of shit and get that sucker filed.

OH NO YOU DON'T!

Apparently you can't efile with the IRS or my state until tomorrow. WTF? I really do not understand why there is a delay between the start of the year and when you can efile. Maybe there's a logical explanation, but I cannot see why there is a delay. Granted, for me it's only a day, and as I'm not doing jack anyway tomorrow, that works fine with my schedule. Perhaps part of my issue is that I assume everything in The Simpsons is at least based on fact, and I remember that pencil-neck Flanders rushing to the post office to file his taxes before the end of January 1 (or maybe 2). Granted, he didn't efile, but still if I saw it on tv, it must be true. (Technically I last saw it on my computer, which is basically like the internet, so it must be *doubly* true!)

This is just another annoyance, and another reason to hate taxes. At least I was smart when I started working and told them to take out as much money as they wanted, just so I wouldn't have to pay squadoosh come this time of year. (Granted, my income is so insignificant that I probably wasn't going to pay much anyway, especially when coupled with my generous charitable donations... still, I'm annoyed at this.)

Jan. 14th, 2009

paintedSketchBW

Oh wow, a post with no content

But an amazing video:

Jan. 11th, 2009

paintedSketchBW

180 days to obsolescence

Or, how I need to stop looking at the calendar
Today is neither my birthday or my unbirthday--today would be my *half* birthday. Sigh... the big three-oh approacheth at much too great a speed. The sinking dread that I've accomplished nothing is coming back in full force, just in time for the doldrums of mid-winter to sink me into yet another bout of meh-to-depression. Thankfully, I've held to my pledge to identify a path, and while I've been slow, I've at least made a little progress toward grad school (the exec program is the fallback if grad school fails me). I suppose this sort of direction (dare I even say drive) has shifted me from what would have been full-blown suck to simple melancholy--I can deal with that. No point in self-pity, much less wallowing in it.

One lesson I've learned to take to heart as of late is to not only know others' happiness, but to revel in it. That others do well is not a reason for me to feel bad, it is a reason to be happy for them. While I am still a bickering, sniping, wise-cracking, heartless dick, I'm still happy for people in my inner circle (or those who used to be) when they kick ass. There's been a lot of that as of late, especially the influx of people on facebook who add me and then promptly don't say anything to me. Still, I have several friends who have married, bought their own homes, some who have multiple kids! Instead of using their lives as a mirror into my own deficiencies, I need to be glad that they do well (and be especially thankful that a few of them avoided that black hole that is my own life).

The final mantra that I've had bounce around in my head was introduced at work of all places. One of my bosses from my olde library uni job bumped into me and we managed to have a small conversation (as much as time permits in the foul beast that is retail). At some point she asked what my plans were, and even by that point I had the general idea down. She made a remark to the effect that she was glad that I wasn't limiting myself to a dead end, and that I just seemed to go at my own pace. The more I think about this, the more truth there is to go my own way (er, pace). At k12 school, I ran on afterburners until depression slowed me down. After high school, I was kind of all over the place. (I had some motivation in band, but at cross country i was the stomping, lumbering slowpoke.) When I finally pulled myself together to earn a bachelor's degree, I tended to have an easy-going, laid-back, fuck-it-all attitude. I was practically unmoveable if need be, but I also could get really animated if so motivated. And motivation has been the issue as of late--but I think I'm rewiring myself into a decent pace. And I'm finding peace in my hobbies (aside from just the pledged reading.)

Jan. 7th, 2009

BK of the Cosmos

Lazy Language

I've been known to use language oddly, not just in my writing but also my speaking. I've been accused of having various accents throughout my life, from a British accent to a gay lisp to speaking like a pirate. (I plead guilty to the last one at times.) One of my great annoyances that the net has brought to focus regarding the English language involve www. blah blah blah, etc. So instead of double-u, I'm now just saying dub. Instead of period, I just say dot. The only exception is point when numbers are involved, I guess there's not a good reason for that, but there it is. I'm all about reducing syllables, it may be a function of my name (or at least common name).

Jan. 6th, 2009

Flying Spaghetti Monster

No more internets?

I'm not too concerned about the rumors of lj going under--seems like they trashed a good number of their staff, but that's not too surprising. I don't know how many people ran lj back before the sail to 6a, but I think it was roughly a handful. No reason it couldn't go back to that, and with some ad revenue coming in, no reason it couldn't be somewhat sustainable.

That said, I am downloading backups, just in case.

Jan. 5th, 2009

Lincoln!

My Stimulus Package

or how I pledged to reduce my monthly bills
I've decided to add one additional pledge for the new year. After looking over my outstanding balances, I realized that I don't have too many large bills left... I overspent on my computer, got a target card, and the amazon card, plus two sets of student loans (the right after hs ones and the time I finished school ones). Of those, I can realistically wipe all but the tfu/au student loan by the end of spring, very easily cut my monthly bills down to a single bill (excluding automatic deductions). Now, that would be a great time for me to be looking at a new (to me but used) car, and I plan on getting an iPhone when the next revision rolls out (unless it's an underwhelming update). Cutting down expenses before then would be a good thing if I get to grad school or whatever else awaits me. So while it will be tight, that's my goal.

Of course, the courses of rampant consumerism will still try to counteract my frugal fiscal plans, Paizo being the primary foil. While my old gaming group seems to have gone to the seven winds, I still plan on buying and reading the stuff. Of course, any supplemental fun stuff will have to come after the bill schedule has been paid, and credit cards can't go over those balances (preferably 0) at the end of the month. I have enough crap as is, and some I need to ebay off to help put more closer to the black.

This is my most boring post so far, but I fear I won't do it if I don't write it down.

Jan. 3rd, 2009

pixelnik

Looking Back, Briefly

It's humbling to be dumped on the lj by someone right after you make a return to posting. I suppose I was ok to be an lj friend so long as I didn't post, or perhaps it was just random happenstance. It was nice to receive comments from two long-standing lj friends, which more than counterbalanced the loss of some dead wood. As I dusted the cobwebs off the old lj, it was surprising to look at the mutual friends list--nice to see some names I remember, sad to see some go. But it's the internet--easy come, easy go, you win some, you lose some, and billions of bytes of data continue to lose your posts in the deluge of the net.

I really don't know how much I will comment and participate in the lj culture. When I've checked my friends page, it's been with the ?show=P filter (clearing out anything that's not a "personal" account). In the past, I'd do pointless commenting, especially with communities, and I won't begin that again. This is not without reason--as I looked back over "old Nik", I discovered that I was using this thing (and the net in general) as a substitute for living a real life. That's not to say that the net is not real, but it's not a replacement for doing real stuff.

While my New Year Resolutions did include posting on lj, I hope it's decent writiing and not me bemoaning life. I do bitch about my job still, but it's back to normal bitching about work that everyone does. I may not be "putting myself out there", so to speak, but I do hope too look back even in April at January and think, "Wow, I've been a lot better about accomplishing things this year." These past 5 months have taught me about efficient net usage, and while LJ is an additional time sink, it need not be the black hole it once was. There really is something to say about moderation.

Jan. 1st, 2009

Dr. Who

Back, blah blah, resolutions

I struggled with not posting, I admit. It was especially hard that first week, just wanting to say something, make some last little note. But I persevered in not posting while simultaneously practiced not living. I struggled. When I fired up my web browser to the post page today, it restored the draft of a "get in touch if you like" post that I never posted. In hindsight, if ever I needed to write, to vent, to chart my progress and lack thereof, those were the months. But I had my proclamation, thou shalt not write.

Well, as this month progressed, as my faith in humanity dimmed, and as I steeled my faith in myself, I decided to write again. I know I said I was done until I had a life, but writing about living the good life really isn't as important (or entertaining) as writing about the struggle, and that is where I am now. You can't wait for life to come to you, blah blah blah more aphorisms.

I'm going to write again on here. I'm not going to hold myself to one topic or subject. One day I may write about my linux box (I got Vista on a new machine, hated it, and now use it only for games--my day to day use is Ubuntu), the next I may talk about my latest painting or drawing (Viking Santa). For today, I'm going to post my New Years Resolutions. A number of people at work, pardon, team members, kept asking if I had any resolutions, pretty much starting the day after Christmas. I hadn't really thought about it, and so over the last week, aside from firing this thing back up, I've thought about resolutions. In the past, my positive resolutions (read more) have lasted much longer than my negative ones (lose weight).
  • Paint at least 2 paintings a month.
    It need not be great, or even good. I plan on doing a lot of exercises here (think musical instrument training)--find something I like, copy it. This is in addition to the regular projects I work on (and those need to continue onward toward completion, but one step at a time). My parents even bought me a very awesome easel for Christmas, so I have no excuse not to work my brushes to bristles.
  • Read a book a week.
    I rediscovered that I really *enjoy* reading in 2008, and I have not done much to get off the tv and the net and sit down with a book. As a result, my back catalog of books has grown exponentially since graduation, and I haven't made a serious attempt to tackle it. 52 books is not that many, and with my Planet Stories Subscription giving me somewhere around 13 books to read this year, I need to keep on top of things. (This excludes my gaming books, which I tend to devour in a night--thanks Paizo!) I'm not going to start hard though--a friend wants me to complete the Drizzt cycle.
  • Identify the path I will travel, then execute.
    I'm at a crossroads in my life still. I'm trying for grad school, but if that falls out, I'm probably going to jump into the Targét executive training program. As one relative said, wouldn't that be a waste of my talents? Probably, but it'd be a real job with bennies and a steady income. I'd much rather find a creative career that wouldn't make my hair go grey, but beggars can't be choosers.
  • Lose a little fat weight.
    Ya, no numbers. I'm down 30lbs from last year's beginning, probably still a bit overweight, but whatever. My weight would be down even more if it weren't for the muscle mass I've gained, so I guess that's a net plus. Still, I'd like to lose more, and by continuing to be active, I should continue to lose weight at a healthy clip, and I should be able to keep it off too.
  • Hey, write on the lj.
    I'm not going to hold to any schedule, and I'm really going to try to not post memes or surveys. Pictures will probably be as close as I get to junk non-content posts, and those will be stuff I record or create.
The list is short and hopefully achievable, and balances the do something with the lose something. I don't know what 2009 holds for me, but these are some guidelines to make it a good year for me.

Jul. 9th, 2008

Lincoln!

Why Do You Care?

One of the great mysteries to me about people is how they get personally offended by broad social trends, or more specifically, politics. I don't understand how you can hate say, Nancy Pelosi or George Bush if you've never met them. I can understand thinking they're idiots, although even that is generally just a smear for when you disagree with them. I just don't get the level of personal involvement people feel. You can't make a fuckstick's difference in anything on that level, why get all hot and lathered about it? Might as well be mad at the sun for keeping life going on the planet.

I just don't understand this personal politics that is so thrown around today. But that seems to be what's appealing--hell, we have a candidate who stands for nothing but feelings and emotions and single word propaganda. (To be fair, the other one, and yes, there are only two, probably has his email printed off and read to him by a PA.) I guess warm fuzzies are somewhat preferable to the stodgy senatorial politics we've been dogged with since Reagan. Still, politics are probably as awful as they've always been, there just hasn't been as much light shined into the swamp on the Potomac, nor the screaming cheerleaders at Kos or uh, whatever the conservative equivalent of the raving fucktards at Kos is.

So what if the crooked telecoms will get retroactive immunity? It's not like the courts were going to convict them. So what if Louisiana students can learn that evolution is just a theory, and that 6000 years ago adam and eve were cavemen riding dinosaurs like cars and having sex until they ate an apple? Have you seen Louisiana's school rankings? I doubt it's going to hurt that much, the students pretty clearly aren't paying attention anyway.

I believe it was Mark Twain who said, "We have the best government money can buy!", and that was at least 30 years ago.

So take a breath and a step back, relax, and know that nothing you do or say will change a thing. Have a beer or an iced tea. Life will go on, with or without you, us, or the human race. Once freed from these weights, you may even begin to enjoy life.

[Just a note, this isn't directed at anyone who might currently be reading this. While I have not commented much at all as of late on lj or anything, this is just a general observation from meatspace, especially after one coworker mentioned much s/he hated Laura Bush. It was a wtf moment that brought on previous memories of (ex) friends who had similar traits and beliefs. Also, this is coming from a guy who yells at the tv during NFL games.]

Mar. 15th, 2008

Lincoln!

The Political Zen (and windbaggery) of Molrak

I ran a meme a few days ago asking you all to bring me out of my lj comfort zone. Here's the third question and my full response.
"I don't think I've ever read about your political leanings/thoughts/etc. Or if you even have any, you could be one of those "I'm too cool for politics" types lol. Now get writing!"

I don't know that "I'm too cool for politics"--I may be too damn lazy, and at this point I'm certainly rather apathetic. But I'll tell you how I got to this point, some of the memorable political events in my past, and the decisions I've made which have formed my political worldview today.

But first, I'll start off with the brief facts. I'm a registered Republican. I've been registered as such since I turned 18 (in Iowa and I think Illinois, you can register when you get your driver's license). I haven't changed my affiliation for a number of reasons which I'll delve into later. I generally only vote every two years, having never cared enough about local politics to bother with them. I voted for Dubya in 2000 and 2004, but have voted to keep incumbents in when applicable in the state and federal Senates, and I've varied pretty widely on who I vote for as far as Representatives go. If I don't know anything about any of the candidates on a position, I don't vote--nothing to me is worse than an uninformed party slate voter.

I was born and lived under 18 months of Carter's rule of tyranny of malaise. ("He's history's greatest monster!") Thankfully I don't remember much of those dark days. Reagan was in office through my earliest memories, and I vaguely remember watching the election coverage in '88 when H.W. won. You can say what you will about those days, but it certainly is easy to remember those days as golden.

The first Bush's term wasn't all that great, and even though I don't blame the recession on him (I don't think the President can do *that* much about the economy), it was basically the conclusion of Reagan. Then came Clinton. I vividly remember watching the '92 election and Bush and Perot and Clinton. I remember how gleeful Brokaw and Jennings were that the southern Governor had taken the White House. Clinton came in with lots of promise, but more or less utterly failed on all counts. I remember the crestfallen looks on Jennings and Brokaw when Gingrich and the Republican's "Contract with America" won them the House and Senate in one fell swoop.

It was at this point, when I was only 13 years old, that I stopped caring about the news. I have not watched the news for any length of period since. All the pundits seemed utterly confounded that people would actually vote for Republicans. As a result, I stayed strongly in the Republican camp from 94-02. Subscriptions to National Review and reading The Wall Street Journal were pretty regular occurrences throughout this span, and even the viewing of Fox News in its early days. I watched as Clinton did his best to bring down his own Presidency and as Gore tried to distance himself from his superior and competitor in 2000. I voted and watched Bush win the college without the popular.

I saw the towers fall. I thought things would be different. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I became disgusted with the excesses, the pork, the lobbyists, the insane engorging bureaucracies and agencies. Ineptitude spreads, now from top to bottom. I became so disgusted at one natural disaster that I lashed on my lj and then censored myself after someone showed what a jackass I was being. This was one of, at most, three times I've privated an entry (this time, to remind myself to think before posting and writing). Yet after the natural catastrophe ended, I saw the shiny new agencies fail.

I suppose what it all boils down to is that I don't believe that the government can do anything competently on any level. Douglas Adams has a line about bureaucracy, how it crushes the soul and blunts the mind (I'm paraphrasing), and I really feel that way about the beast in Des Moines and DC. That's not to say the market will be the answer to everything--I just think that a competitive market is a better answer than an unchecked government for just about anything and everything.

That's not to say I'm all crotchity and conservative on everything, or much of anything. I'm just opposed to the FDR-led belief that the government is the answer to society's problems.

It was some time during 2002 or 2003 that I discovered a little website and magazine called Reason (via my first political blog and the only one I've stayed with since 9/11, instapundit). Their slogan, "Free Markets, Free Minds" appealed to me, and as they were a not-for-profit, I quickly decided to stop being a freeloader on the web and ordered their print magazine. It more or less opened my eyes to the reality that there are people who believe in a limited form of government, that there are people who not only believe our freedoms are being reduced or ignored, but who are working to regain our freedoms, like the eff or ij, who aren't batshit crazy like the ACLU.

While the big L Libertarians I'm still leary of, I can believe in the libertarian movement. I haven't switched parties or gone independent because I've heard the libertarian phone system/tree is nutty, and if you're 3rd party or independent in Iowa, you tend to calls from both the Democrats and Republicans. Calls from one side of the looney bin are more than enough for me.

And just for fun, here's a "short" list of my political beliefs:
I believe in free trade, and I don't believe in subsidies. I believe in a VAT or fairtax, and I think income tax is a sham. I think that companies and civilians should be encouraged to be environmentally friendly, but not at the cost of crippling them. I believe in nuclear power and alternative energy sources. I'm a conservationist, not an environmentalist. I believe we should reduce our usage of oil because it makes economic sense as well as environmental sense. I have a hard time still believing that corporations should be granted the same rights as human beings. I think abortion is fine to be a state issue (I'm personally against it, but I'm not sure that it's up to the government to say whether it's illegal). I'm a believer in a free and open internet. I'm a believer in reduced copyright terms (no more than 50 years from creation) and in copyright and patent reform. I believe that the telcos need to be legislated or regulated to not fuck over their customers. I believe that some wars are necessary. I believe that the reason the U.S. sucks so much in foreign policy now is that Clinton and Joe Biden shut down all ground-level espionage and information gathering during the 90s, and we still haven't recovered from that loss. I believe that Saddam needed to be removed and that the cause was frankly irrelevant, but perhaps the U.S. wasn't the nation who should have rushed into the matter. I also wonder if part of the plan (or non-plan) for Iraq was to use it as a honeypot. Now that it's started, we had better fucking finish it (and Afghanistan). I believe in Israel, but I acknowledge that the Brits and Euros pretty much fucked over the Middle East and Africa when they decided to end colonialism. I believe in India more than I do in China, but I think that inland-sourcing has a greater ceiling for growth than outsourcing, especially for customer relations. I dislike anti-Americanism (and I saw the seeds of it during my trip to Europe in the summer of 98), but I can understand where it comes from. I frankly believe that the government has no reason to be involved with marriage in any form. I believe that a good revolution every now and then keeps those in power on their toes.
Dr. Who

My beliefs

I ran a meme a few days ago asking you all to bring me out of my lj comfort zone. Here's the second question and my full response.
"Are there aspects of the supernatural in which you believe? IE: Superstitions, ghosts, cryptozoology, etc."

When I was a kid, I believed in about everything--ghosts, aliens (and alien abductions), magic, government conspiracies, religious conspiracies, secret evil societies, Santa--you name it, I believed it was real. I suppose that is one of the dangers of having an overactive imagination and a subscription to some borderline magazines (I think one was called Nova or Omni or something like that.) But what about today?

I don't believe in ghosts, aliens visiting Earth, divination/seeing, voodoo, magic, hobbits, dragons, tarot, astrology, creationism, a flat earth, psychics, telekinesis (I could go on). I don't believe in government conspiracies, at least not of the X-files variety--frankly I don't see the governments of any nation being able to keep anything secret and do so successfully. If there are government conspiracies, it's because money was changing hands and they don't want that knowledge to be public.

I don't consider myself superstitious, but I do some things which border on the superstitious. I always set my alarm clock (or alarm phone, etc.) to wake me up on a time that, when you combine the digits, adds up to 9 (and thus, a factor of 9 using base 10). I have a habit of wanting to alternate chewing sides in my mouth. I still find myself at times not stepping on cracks in sidewalks. Honestly, 13 is a lucky number for me, but then again, I'm not all that lucky. I say bless you or gesundheit after someone sneezes, depending on their religious views. I do stupid shit if my sports teams are on a streak, like wearing the same clothes or hats or stuff like that.

I don't believe in destiny, a destined true love, unearned (or once earned) salvation, fate, or any of that crap--I believe in free will. True love is something that is about trust, it's earned, and must be worked at every day. Destiny is just random luck (shaddup, you Obi-wan's). The only way a star can affect your future is if it goes nova and dumps enough radiation on the planet to vaporize a key component of it.

I believe the path of greatest stupidity or least resistance is generally the most likely answer to unanswered questions involving other people. Failing those two, the most likely answer is the most probable.

I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day, I spread my wings and fly away.

I do believe in evolution, and were I to venture a guess, I would say that life on earth largely evolved arose of matter from our own star. I do believe that there is life in the universe besides ours on Earth. I find it likely that civilizations have risen and collapsed before the Earth was even formed. I believe there is probably intelligent life in the universe besides our own even today. I think some science fiction writer said that the greatest proof that there is intelligent life in the universe is the fact that they *haven't* contacted us yet. I do believe in God (and The Trinity). I believe in souls. I believe in chaos theory and string theory, and I believe in most forms (or at least the concept) of game theory. I also believe that charismatic (not psychic) mules that can fuck up game theory (or psychohistory). I believe in Heaven, but I won't be too upset if I end up just rotting in the ground (circle of life).

I struggle with stuff in the Bible, or when people get visions of Saints or relatives. A part of me says that the Bible is just a literary tradition, a guide to what you should do and how you should act. Perhaps I'm a doubting Thomas, but I just find it difficult to believe that people are visited by anything from a higher (or lower) plane. That is probably one of my great weaknesses. That said, I still think there is power in legends, whether they're based in reality or not, and I think it's important for societies to have such things.

If anyone would like me to go more in-depth on any of those topics, feel free to ask. This is just a primer of my worldviews, at least on the greater things in the world and beyond.

Mar. 14th, 2008

BK of the Cosmos

What would I do (if I were motivated/empowered)?

I ran a meme a few days ago asking you all to bring me out of my lj comfort zone. Here's the first question and my full response.
"You write about art and some of your graphic design projects, but what you write about always seems to be very realistic - what you can do with your current resources and current timeline. So, what would be your dream animation project? You would have free reign, unlimited funding, and unlimited resources."

Just a brief aside (sort of what I'm working on now)--with my current resources, I'm making an illustrated OGL SRD (Open Gaming Licensed System Resource Document--in short, a dnd 3.5 rules guide, without some of WotC's IP, is just all text--so I'm making web/print versions with b&w and colored illustrations). I'm also working on a video of Weird Al's "Canadian Idiot" in Flash. Targét has slowed down the work on all of these. Additionally, I'm applying to BioWare and I have to make two modules for two of the positions I'm applying for--right now I'm having one proofed/played, and the other I hope to finish this weekend. After that, I'm going on with some speed painting in Photoshop and my b&w work and data entry on the illustrated srd.

I have two dream projects--one is an adaptation and one is my own creation. I'll talk about the adaptation first (it's easier), then I'll talk about the original stuff.

My dream adaptation would be a tv miniseries of JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion. I seriously struggled reading it in high school, and never managed to even finish the thing until a few years ago. Within the last two years, I checked out the audiobook at the uni library, and boy, did that ever help. It wasn't dramatized, but it wasn't abridged. Just having the names pronounced in a lovely British accent (I think John Hurt was the reader) made the thing much more accessible. I think a visualization would add another layer to make it even more accessible.

You couldn't adapt it straight, even as a long-running miniseries. Things would need to be cut, some things would need to be added (especially in the realm of dialog. There is a lot of telling but not so much showing in the published form of The Silmarillion. Still, an abstract Fantasia-esque creation of the universe would be heck of neat. The struggle of the Valar against Melkor in the early days would pose an extreme challenge to visualize, but if done right, would be beyond an epic tale. Then the Elves and all their troubles, you could easily make a series that would run for quite some time. The stuff people saw in LotR is not even scratching the surface of some of the things the elves did and built (and destroyed).

This project is way, *way* beyond the means of one rogue dumbass in the wastelands of the heartland. Even if I were respected and known to the industry (let alone in it), budget would be a tremendous constraint. This would make Rome look like a drop in the bucket. I think if it was done with the proper respect and constraint though, it could really be an amazing tv/video event.

Ok, I lied. My second dream adaptation would be Monkey Island: The Movie. Ok, I lied again. Monkey Island: The Movie, or Grim Fandango (the movie). These games still are some of the best-written games ever made, and I think movie adaptations of them could help to revive these neglected franchises/games. The approaches to each would vary widely--Monkey Island I would see as more live action than animated, whereas I see Grim Fandango as stylized 2d or 3d.

I've struggled with 'my own world'. It's changed a lot, but I've been writing off and on in this imagined universe for some time. Unfortunately it morphs so much from telling to telling that I really can't do anything with it. It's generally written (I don't recall any recent art I've done in it). It started off as a fantasy setting that eventually ended up with steampunk-esque metropolises, where the upper elites lived (and the lower classes scrounged). As it's developed, it's felt post-apocalyptic in some ways--in other words, what happens after humans try to ruin it. (Hint--they didn't succeed.) It had a lot of Nostradamus sprayed about it (I used to be obsessed with him), My failed NaNoWriMo this past year was set in it. (I don't have a name because every time I write something in it, the name changes from one bad name to another.)

I suppose if I was going to create something in it animated, I would hope it would be some sort of Miyazaki-inspired film or short. Thinking about it now (as I write this), maybe it would be good to force myself to revisit it and try to canonize and cement a few concepts.

Hopefully that answers that question! Feel free to hit me up with more questions about anything above.

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