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Posts published in “Real Life”

It’s what happens when we’re not working or playing or thinking or doing. That thing we do that doesn’t fit into all the other categories.

Sometimes we call it living.

Day 134

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day 134 centaur

Tired, could stay up later to finish a full drawing, but then, I've been having trouble getting to sleep once in bed when I do that, and I don't want to have another bout of awake-till-6am insomnia. Here's a quick sketch to tide you over - with a brush pen, since I seem to have exhausted all my Sharpies.

What I did instead this evening was art related: I hung some of my wife's paintings in the new place:

sandi paintings 4 sandi paintings 3 sandi paintings 2 sandi paintings 1

Now that's art. As for me, I'm still drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 3, Vaccine 2, Drawing 133

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centaur tired

Mostly vaccine recovered, but didn't sleep well. Pretty tired, crashing out early.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 2, Vaccine 2

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an ouch in the arm

Also Drawing Every Day #132, but you probably guessed that.

Go, immune system, go! Back to bed.

-the Centaur

Day 119

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vincent sketch

Vincent van Gogh from "Vincent and the Doctor". Roughed in non-repro blue on Strathmore 9x12, outlined in Sakura Pigma Graphic 1 and rendered in that and Sakura Micron 08, 03, and 005, plus Sakura Pigma Brush. I erased part of the non-repro blue to try to clean it up, which ended up being a mistake as it destroyed some lines, leaving white marks through the drawing; however, using Photoshop's Black and White feature with cyans almost taken to black and blue taken to white, it dropped out the blue while adding a nice warm shading to it.

Overall, not bad, though I am still squashing heads even when I am explicitly trying not to squash heads, and ending up with slight asymmetries, particularly in the left side of the beard, when I am explicitly trying to avoid that. But at least the eyes are not totally oversized this time.

vincent headshot

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

And just ~600 words too, though much of today was cats, taxes and work. Taxes are submitted to the accountant, the cat is home from the vet after a nasty gastrointestinal scare, work is progressing (RL is hard!), and Dakota Frost is having a great time doing SPOILERS with SPOILER, so, no excerpt for you.

Instead of a $1000 Monitor, Try a $12 Cable

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three monitors

So, I have this particular type of multi-monitor setup I prefer - with a laptop screen abutting two other monitors, one horizontal, one vertical - but I couldn't quite do that here on my personal setup, at least not at first, because I didn't want to buy any more monitors after buying that Wacom behemoth, and eventually, the perfectly good ones from the old house will get shipped.

But I had a couple of spare old monitors from previous computers, long since retired - so old that only the DVI ports work, though one of them has an HDMI port I don't think I got to work. After lots of flickering, the oldest one of them finally gave up the ghost, but the other was able to slot into the same place. (It's on the left, above, with Roger Moore's mug from my Drawing Every Day session on it.) While can't rotate vertically like the other, it worked, at least, and I could use it.

Then it started flickering too.

Now, three or four things could be happening here. First, it could be a flaky old monitor screen, natch. Second, it could be a problem with the monitor's plug, since jiggling the software cable often fixed it; on the same grounds, I ruled out a device driver issue. Third, since it happened to two monitors attached to the same laptop with the same cable into the same port, it could be the laptop itself giving up the ghost.

So, after putting up with this for weeks, if not months, I finally started to look into new monitors. Apparently, the monitor I want costs roughly a thousand dollars with shipping, but I know I want that monitor because I have one in California waiting to be shipped here.

Then I thought back to my diagnosis.

Two monitors, plugged into the same laptop on the same port ... with the same cable.

Now, for various reasons, I can't swap the ports around much (the Wacom is SUPER finicky about what it wants it's 15,000 cables to attach to, and if you LOOK at it funny the stylus stops working) and I couldn't try a different cable because, THANK YOU, Apple and the rest of the computer industry, for changing the ports on all your laptops so my box of cables from previous setups is now virtually USELESS.

But I could order a $12 dollar USB-C to DVI cable off Amazon.

It arrived today. I plugged it in an hour or so ago.

The ten-year-old monitor? Working just fine.

Moral of the story: make sure to vary all of your variables when you are debugging, or you'll possibly trick yourself into the moral equivalent of spending a lot of unnecessary cash.

-the Centaur

My Review of the Studio Decor 24×36 Picture Frame

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frame, broken

I do not like this picture frame. While the wood border is beautiful and it handsomely frames posters, the attachment is an awkwardly placed pair of hooks, roughly 1/3 of the way down the frame and an inch inside the outer edges, making it almost impossible to hang levelly, or evenly, or at the right height.

In fact, I'd say that the placement is so awkward it actively thwarts "measure twice, cut once" in that on at least three or four different occasions (with two different poster frames, apparently not having learned my lesson trying to level the first one) I have measured the hook placement twice, or more than twice - most recently, using two different rulers, including a t-square - and after double and triple checking it, finding that the hooks are too far apart, or once moved closer, are not quite level, or, once leveled, are a whole inch to the right from where they should be, despite the fact that you measured the center and the hooks both against the sides of the wall upon which it was going, so, what the hell, Danielewski?

poster, damaged

Also, this frame does not well protect posters when thrown across the room. But it does make a very satisfying crashing sound, and the remains of the frame are well suited for pulling a 2001: A Space Odyssey monkey-smashing-the-bones-with-a-club re-enactment.

Sigh. "I don't have an anger management problem, just an anger problem." Sigh. And it's not like it was a great poster, but, hell, it's impossible to replace. And I checked.

Time to find a new frame - with a proper wire or central attachment, either of which enables you to add a single central hook, and to slightly adjust the angle and centering of the picture.

"We call it living."

-the Centaur


VAC-CI-NATE! (and Drawing Every Day #103, and Camp Nano …)

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So! I got my first shot today, and other than a little arm soreness, a headache which may or may not be related, and some tiredness which may just be because it's 3:21am, I have not yet had any ill effects. I was totally lied to by my album covers though, and have not been able to hack into Bill Gates' secret global network through the tiny implanted computer chip in the vaccine, maybe because neither exists.

centaur, vaccine 1

Ouch. First picture failed for some reason, so we get this charming shot of the needle coming OUT rather than going in. But it didn't really hurt at all, maybe because I was fiddling with my camera. Our Dalek friend below is proud that he was able to contribute his catchphrase to our cause:

dalek toy

~500 words on Camp Nano, still behind, but I am too wiped to write more.

Drawing, writing, being a good citizen every day.

-the Centaur

As for 2020 …

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My frozen fountain ...

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the year that hell froze over, yes? Well cue the cartoon helicopter noises and ...

Penguins in a helicopter!

SEE YA, 2020! Wouldn't want to be ya.

Ok, OK, it's penguins in a helicopter taking off. Perhaps you had to see the video. Regardless, I am ready to take off and get OUT of here.

Actually, since I couldn't go see a ball drop or have a cocktail at my favorite coffee house or even climb the hill with my wife so we could watch the fireworks, I plopped in the scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture where the Enterprise goes to warp (FAIR USE! or buy it here, director's cut of course - ask me how I know) and the moment the Big E gave Einstein the finger, I held up my glass and said, "Fuck you, 2020!"

The Enterprise going to warp

So anyway, 2020. Wasn't so bad, by itself. I mean, yes, yes, for the world, but for me personally, 2019 had its own brass knuckles. I lost my mother in 2019 and worked my ass around over the margins of that, so I had kind of hoped 2020 would be an upswing. But, no, I got the zombie apocalypse and an even newer reorg to deal with, and by the end of it I'd lost my uncle Boo. So I'd love to say how horrible 2020 was, but for me personally, it felt like Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones - that is, a repeat, trying too hard, that went on too long. (And remember back when we thought 2016 was bad?)

comic con panel 2020

Still, it wasn't all bad. I got to participate in many conventions online, and to see friends from all over the world that I otherwise wouldn't get to see. And it's the year we saw some truly bizarre things occur in the world of media, such as this little oddity ...

A female Captain Kirk?

Actually, I might sign up to see a show about a gender-swapped Star Trek (oh wait that's Star Trek Discovery OH SNAP I went there), but that's neither here nor there. This was the year almost all responsible church services went online ...

mass online at st. stephens

... and the year when we DID have socially distanced outdoor services, a police chase started in the background behind the priest during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And hey, remember when this graph looked so bad? We didn't know how good we had it!

early in the pandemic

It's the year I learned the pomelo looks like a Lovecraftian monster on the inside ...

Inside of a pomelo, or Azathoth. Not sure.

(You eat it, it doesn't eat you, I promise. Tastes like a sweeter version of a grapefruit.)

And last but not least, it's the year I got this place put together the way I wanted it ...

The Futon Room

... and maybe the way other people wanted it too ...

The Office Room

... only to have circumstances force me to take it apart again ...

Moving boxes

But, in all honesty, they were good circumstances, if a bit bittersweet. Hopefully the new place will start coming together soon ...

The New Office Reference Shelf

So it wasn't all bad. While I really do want to tell 2020 to bleep off because of work and the pandemic, here's hoping that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Still, what can I say? Hurry up, Aslan, we need you on the East Coast. Bring my wife and cats with you when you come. The other boxes can wait until the next trip.

Aslan in a Harry Potter Sorting Hat

-the Centaur

Day 6

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Tony Francis at Meteor Crater

Tony Francis at Meteor Crater. Sure was windy that day. Oddly, this is one of the best pictures I have taken of my dad.

Guess I enjoyed spending time with him more than taking photos!

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 5

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Uncle Boo, Hand Sketch

Ran out of time unpacking and organizing my library, so no digital sketch today. All I had time to do was a hand sketch of Uncle Boo, which I took on in hopes that I'd do better than the digital one (or at least figure out where I went wrong). Other than imagining connections instead of seeing and drawing them, the number one thing I walked away with was, man, I need to find and unpack my art supplies.

Though the resemblance to my dad is more striking in a drawing ...

Closeup of Dad at Meteor Crater.

Perhaps I've found my next drawing subject ...

Still, drawing every day.

-the Centaur