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Posts tagged as “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

Viiictory, Twenty-Nine Times

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camp nano april 2021 SO! Once again, I have written more than 50,000 words in a month - this time, on Dakota Frost #7, SPIRAL NEEDLE, which is close to being finished. (Yes, yes, YES, I know, Dakota Frost #4-#6 and Cinnamon Frost #1-#3 are not edited yet, editing is harder than writing, and pays less than teaching robots to learn. I'll get to them, I'll get to them, I promise). I can't figure out the new Camp Nano interface to make it cough up the usual winner banner, so you'll just get that screenshot instead. camp nano april 2021 b This is my twenty-ninth victorious Nano challenge and thirty-first attempt overall. That's great stick-to-it-ness, but I was behind for much of the month, not getting my feet under me until the 10th, but I managed a big pushes two weekends a go and a huge push last weekend, leading to me briefly getting ahead of the game right around the 28th, making today an easy coast (1500 words finished me off, though I wrote through to a notch over 1,667 words just for completeness). According to my records, that 8,154 word push on the 25th was the second most I've ever written in a day, topped only by my 9,074 word mad push to finish PHANTOM SILVER, Dakota Frost #5, on July 30th, 2016. camp nano april 2021 c Overall, a bit behind this month, which was pretty rough OKR (Objective / Key Result) planning at work. I love the IDEA of OKRs - say what you want to do (Objective, for example, write roughly 1/3 of a novel) and how to measure it (Key Result, for example, 50,000 words in the month of April), but this time it took us until almost the 20th. 3 weeks is way too long to spend on planning for a quarter's worth of effort. OH, almost forgot, an excerpt:
The questing metal fingers of the Plague Witch's "broom" branched and lunged at me. The Salzkammergutschwert’s black blade swept through the metal spikes, as cleanly as a Larry Niven variable sword through tissue paper. The Plague Witch recoiled, whirling the broom-thing, striking its black kettle end on my overextended sword hand. The Salt Chamber Sword sang out across the street, slamming into a fire hydrant in a hiss of water. But that movement naturally carried me forward, as I thought it would, and the moment the Plague Witch raised her head, I shoved my free hand at her, jamming onto her pointed beak a magical silencing wreath made of glowing vines and Technicolor feathers. “Oh, shaddap,” I said, drawing the wreath tight just as she tried to scream. The Plague Witch squeaked—she had a mask, not a beak, so the wreath couldn’t actually shut her mouth, but it could effectively gag her, and as she flailed her head, I kicked her. “And siddown!” And as she stumbled back, for a moment, I thought it was going to work. The Plague Witch writhed. I seized the Waystaff. Nyissa seized my arm. “I suggest retreat!” she cried. “No argument!” I yelled back—but retreat was not so easy. The silencing wreath wasn’t a free design, like my bluebirds or butterflies, but was an ad-hoc construct made from—and attached to—my vine and peacock tattoos, which tugged at me. “Some difficulty!” “Dakota!” Nyissa cried, pulling me away. “Let go!” “She’s got me,” I said, my feet slipping on the street. Oh, this had been a bad idea: as the Plague Witch struggled, the wreath self-replicated, drawing more and more silencing power from her own strength—but the design was imperfect, and was reeling me in towards her. “Nyissa!” Then things happened very, very quickly. Nyissa—my bodyguard, my bride-to-be, my love—darted forward, seized the Salt Chamber Sword in a burst of spray, and swung wildly at the tattoo vine connecting us. But the Plague Witch, flailing, swung her damaged broom at Nyissa—impacting her stomach. Nyissa didn’t even scream: she just doubled over in a splash of blood. The broom swept through her as the Plague Witch stumbled away, her body taken through a forward tumble, the lethally sharp sword falling from her hand—and severing the magic-tight tattoo connection. My vine snapped back to me, hurling me to the pavement. My wind went out. The Plague Witch tore off her disintegrating crown of vines, and screamed—
-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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vac-ci-nate 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

Day 100

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dakota rough sketch Quick Sharpie sketch of Dakota Frost, based on the model from the BLOOD ROCK / LIQUID FIRE covers. I tried to do this upside down at first, to "see" it better, and OH BOY it did not turn out well - the landscape was all off. So this is an even quicker sketch, because I need to get to bed early. dakota skull small Also, Camp Nano only got ~150 added words, but again, I need sleep. Rough draftiness:
“Your voice,” the priest said, taking another step back. “If not a vampire, surely … surely not a werewolf … but your voice … why do I know your voice?” I spun, rolling my neck, unfurling more vines into a soft green halo that lit my face. “Do you know me now?” I asked. “Oh … God,” the priest said. “You were on the news, the mother of that weretiger—” “That I am, and if she is here,” I said, “you should point the way … then run.” “She … here?” The priest blinked, then his eyes flicked at the coffin. “But it’s not—” My heart fell. The prisoner in the coffin was not Cinnamon—but as the priest’ eyes went wide in terror, I realized that in his shock he’d given away there was a prisoner in that coffin. I drew a breath, my face flushing, feeling my blood pounding in my ears.
Hopefully I'll pick up speed now that I'm out of the Lenten "Jesus and Godel" series. I wrote 45,000 words of nonfiction in Lent, which is nowhere near the needed Nano rate, but I think is probably the fastest rate and largest single body of nonfiction writing I've done since perhaps my thesis. But what I really did today was move boxes into the room that's going to become my wife's art studio. Drawing, writing, moving every day. -the Centaur

It’s been a long time since I’ve thrown a book …

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chuck that junk Yeah, so that happened on my attempt to get some rest on my Sabbath day. I'm not going to cite the book - I'm going to do the author the courtesy of re-reading the relevant passages to make sure I'm not misconstruing them, but I'm not going to wait to blog my reaction - but what caused me to throw this book, an analysis of the flaws of the scientific method, was this bit: Imagine an experiment with two possible outcomes: the new theory (cough EINSTEIN) and the old one (cough NEWTON). Three instruments are set up. Two report numbers consistent with the new theory; the third one, missing parts, possibly configured improperly and producing noisy data, matches the old. Wow! News flash: any responsible working scientist would say these results favored the new theory. In fact, if they were really experienced, they might have even thrown out the third instrument entirely - I've learned, based on red herrings from bad readings, that it's better not to look too closely at bad data. What did the author say, however? Words to the effect: "The scientists ignored the results from the third instrument which disproved their theory and supported the original, and instead, pushing their agenda, wrote a paper claiming that the results of the experiment supported their idea." Pushing an agenda? Wait, let me get this straight, Chester Chucklewhaite: we should throw out two results from well-functioning instruments that support theory A in favor of one result from an obviously messed-up instrument that support theory B - oh, hell, you're a relativity doubter, aren't you? Chuck-toss. I'll go back to this later, after I've read a few more sections of E. T. Jaynes's Probability Theory: The Logic of Science as an antidote. -the Centaur P. S. I am not saying relativity is right or wrong, friend. I'm saying the responsible interpretation of those experimental results as described would be precisely the interpretation those scientists put forward - though, in all fairness to the author of this book, the scientist involved appears to have been a super jerk.