Wednesday, November 30, 2005

3-D Extravaganza!

I see a griffon on the left, and a dragon-esque creature on the right. They're battling for supremacy in the sky, and the loser will end up paying for lunch. The hard way.

I haven't tried it myself, but it appears to me that if you were to look at this with 3-D glasses it'd pop right out at you. If anybody has the glasses and tests my theory, let me know how it looks.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

How A Mermaid Became an Angel

This nifty image came into being while playing around with Apophysis. It had a title before I even finished it. "Mermaid in the Mirror" seemed to fit, what with the cool blue colors and the nice round thing by what I perceived as her head. (Don't ask me what the pizza-looking thing is. Let's call it a wayward sea cucumber and leave it at that.)

I opened the image in Photoshop to crop it and punch up the color a little bit. Then I started playing around with filters. If you've ever used Photoshop on an image and you start playing around with filters, you'd better have some time to kill. A lot of time. Even if you've used a filter before, you never really know what it's going to do to the image. Which is how the following image came into being:

My happy little mermaid was peering through the mirror, which is what I wanted, but the rest of her had turned into this great painting-looking texture. It reminded me greatly of all those paintings riddled with angels and other religious iconography that I had to memorize in various art history classes. What was once featureless black had become aged dappled clouds. My mermaid was turning into an angel, and I suddenly realized I needed to help her along.

(Before you think I've snapped in the desert heat, you need to understand that I haven't found religion. I'm one of the most a-religious people you'll ever meet. Despite being an ordained minister and being able to scare Jerf with my knowledge of which pope was the only one to launch a crusade against his fellow Europeans.)

This was strictly an artistic exercise. The result?

The mermaid is now a figure in a flowing robe, holding a shield and a sword of light. (The shield has a holy pancake or something floating around it, but I can look past that if you can.)

Digital art is friggin' fantastic. Not only can it get the things in my head out into the (relatively) real world far faster than I ever could, but it also has the added benefit of bringing other images out completely unbidden. I really could play with this single image for a few more hours and get a few dozen variations, but since I'm no longer subjected to insomnia I'm friggin' tired. Muse or no muse, I need sleep.

Hope you enjoy the peek into one side of my brain!

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I've come to the decision that it's no longer necessary to own a domain since so much hosting stuff is available for free. Therefore, one month from today will no longer exist. This site, however, will still exist. If you're interested, update your bookmarks to

I had "" for five years, and in going through the files there I had a lot of stuff that was personal, but I also found some stuff that was used for work. By that I mean that I did some code tests and sample pages and whatnot, just to see how things functioned off of a server. It made me realize that I had the domain mostly for myself, but also so that I could do more work at home for a place that didn't appreciate it. I didn't like that realization much, as you may well imagine.

That means my e-mail address will change as well, but most of my regular readers already know what that is. If you don't have it, then e-mail me.

In other news... not much. Thanksgiving was festive, and I didn't gain weight because of it. It did, however, mark the end of my pantsless run. I actually wore jeans for the first time since May 4. The streak, so to speak, has ended. But that's OK, because the pants were loose.

There's your PSA for today. You may now resume your stuff.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Petroglyphs at Signal Hill

Signal Hill, located in the western part of the Saguaro National Park, is noted for the petroglyphs shown above. After just over six months of living within a twenty-minute drive to the park, we finally went to visit them. To be fair, the weather is now perfect for this kind of trek; and it was during this recent excursion we learned that one of the roads which leads to the petroglyphs is the same one we were on back in May. Back when it was 109 degrees and we had no water and had no idea where we were going. This time, we had a map, water, and it was only about 75 degrees. Much better exploring weather!

I've mentioned before that I enjoy archaeology, and that it's one of those things I wish I'd pursued as a career. Seeing petroglyphs like this only reinforces those thoughts. No written language for people to butcher, just pictures. Draw a spiral, people know what you mean. Draw a circle with lines on it, and that's the sun. Draw a thing with four legs and antlers, and people know that's lunch. Draw a long, squiggly line and that's a river. Put it all together and it means that it takes a day walking along the river to catch your lunch. Simple, elegant, and very cool.

To be honest, I have no idea what the dotted ring next to the sun means.

But then, I have absolutely no frame of reference for it. I don't have to go out and kill my lunch, find my own water, or build my own home. I would have been dead long ago if that were the case, and quite frankly most of the people reading this would be in the same boat. (Or complete and utter lack of a boat, as the case may be.)

The petroglyphs are inaccessible. Well, they're supposed to be. There's a small metal railing keeping honest folk at bay, but it wouldn't take much to just go around the railing and clamber all over the rocks and petroglyphs and carve your own symbols on there to mess with the next visitor's head. But that's one of the interesting things about being here in Arizona as opposed to New York... there's a level of respect for things like this that's lacking in NY. Specifically, I mean graffiti. These rocks would be buried under spray paint six inches thick by now if they were in NY. Or they'd be encased in bulletproof plexiglass with armed guards. Here, they're out in the open as they were meant to be. Funny thing, though... the railing had graffiti on it. Names carved into it, things like that. (Hey, I didn't say AZ was perfect.)

It does have some magnificent sunsets, though. I'm quite happy with them.

You'd think that an afternoon spent looking at petroglyphs, exploring the desert, and taking a whole bunch of pictures of the setting sun would qualify as an eventful day. Normally, it would. But the evening had one more special event in store for us, and we saw it as we were heading out of the park.

Two coyotes, walking up the road towards our car. Sunset is the time that the desert really comes alive with animals, and these two were out in search of lunch. (And they didn't need any petroglyphs to find it!) Deb took this shot, and I think it came out pretty well considering it was dark, we were inside the car, and the flash went off. Actually, I think the flash is the only thing that kept them from walking right past the car. They had no fear of it.

That is what I call an awesome end to an awesome day!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Instruction Manual of the Lamp

We purchased the lamp pictured here from Toscano. The lamp came with a 5" x 7" sheet of instructions that not only bore the title "Instruction Manual of the Lamp", but they were either translated from another language or written by someone who bashed his head against a keyboard for a week. (I've worked with people like that, so I'm not ruling it out.) Since I laughed quite uncontrollably while reading them, I figured I'd share the highlights with you. My thoughts will be in italics for your added enjoyment.

1. Cleaning
Do not use the Cleaning Powder, the Wire Sponge, the Flammable Spray Cleanser or Pesticide.
Honey? Where's the DDT? I need to clean the furniture.

Use soft cloth for cleaning. Dry immediately if wet cloth used for cleaning for stubborn.
If you're easygoing, does that mean you can use a wet cloth?

2. Changing the Bulb
Disconnect from the electronic supply for at least an hour before replacing the bulb.
OK, so in order to change the bulb I have to unplug the lamp, wait an hour, and then do it? What am I, going for a swim with the lamp? Or is the lamp some awesome storage battery housing all manner of electricity siphoned off from the mysterious "electronic supply"?

3. Changing the Structure
Do not change any part and insert any material to the lamp for safety.
What? I didn't realize I had the power to transmogrify lamps! Why didn't anyone tell me? Also, the lamp didn't come with a bulb, so if I insert a bulb that's bad, and if I change the bulb that's bad. So much for safety, as I've effectively purchased a metal stick.

5. Caution
Place the wire in safety condition to avoid kicking.
While I agree that it's good to avoid kicking, I don't exactly know where the safety condition is. Perhaps the lamp is playing football and I didn't know it.

Do not shake and knock the lamp.
I can't do both, but can I do just one of those?

Do not use the lamp in downward position in order to cause fire.
You know, I've never tried to use a lamp as a laser. I'm going to have to try this with one of my instruction-free lamps and see if I can use it in a downward position to cause fire.

Do not cover the lamp with cloth and paper to avoid fire.
Again, not both, but one would be OK? And if I'm avoiding fire, isn't that a good thing?

Do not touch the lamp immediately after switching off or when the lamp is switched on.
In other words: never ever touch the lamp.

Personally, I'm relieved that the lamp came with these instructions. Otherwise I'd be touching the lamp, covering it with paper and cloth doused in pesticide, and generally using it in a downward position to cause a fire. I'd be like Prometheus with a Gothic laser beam lamp, starting brush fires and killing bugs with impunity and a wire sponge clenched in my teeth.

In other, non-lamp news, I'm happy and surprised to announce that I've lost over 10 lbs. If I lose another 20 I'll be happy, but really anything is a bonus. Can I get a large "woohoo"?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


This is one of those pictures that started out as one thing but ended up as something completely different. Like a man with a tape recorder up his nose.

Image created with Poser, Bryce, and Photoshop. To quote my wife: "None of it is real."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Paint Yourself Another

Back in 1985 there was a new version of The Twilight Zone series on TV. One of the ones that has always stuck in my head was the one where a woman kept seeing faces in the patterns of objects. You know, wallpaper, fabrics, things like that. Nothing so odd about that, really. After all, doesn't everyone see faces in patterns? Hell, the blue floral wallpaper in the bathroom in my parents' house had several groupings that resembled faces if you looked at it the right way. (Wallpaper of the mid-70s was designed primarily by people on acid trips, so that may explain it.) The difference here was that this woman was convinced that the people who belonged to those faces were trying to come out of their world and into ours and do various nefarious things. She wound up in a mental institution. Nice white walls, white sheets, everything pattern-free. That is, until it rained, and the ceiling developed a stain from a leaky roof. A stain that looked like...

Well, it's the Twilight Zone. You can pretty much figure it out.

To those of you with wallpaper and/or leaky ceilings: Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Run, Runner!

I'm either the kiss of death for my own childhood, or things are much more out of control than I previously thought.

Allow me to explain: We were watching Logan's Run today. I was going to post something about how, if that movie were remade today, people wouldn't get the message. Or the fact that the message the movie was making back in 1976 is even worse almost 30 years later. Or the simple fact that the story requires some thought on the part of the viewer.

When I went to IMDB to get the link above, I saw that there is in fact a remake in the works with a tentative 2006 release date.

Here's the exceedingly brief synopsis of the 2006 version: "A young man at odds with his society's mandatory death sentence for all those turning 21 plots a daring escape on the eve of his fateful birthday." For those of you unfamiliar with the 1976 version of the movie, let me provide you with the view of someone who saw it scant hours ago: that's not what happened in the movie. That's what happens in the book. So, they're not so much remaking the movie as they're going to take a shot at actually adapting the original story.

I'm just not a fan of remakes. I hate having my childhood toyed with. Lucas destroyed Star Wars, Burton wrecked Planet of the Apes. Creature From The Black Lagoon is coming, and I'm nervous. Why do I even care? "They're just movies," you say. No they are not. They're a large slice of my childhood. When I was growing up, the nearest kid my own age was 3 miles away. The nearest kid I liked was 6 miles away. Add to that my wonderfully inadequate immune system that granted me all manner of pneumonia/bronchitis/black death every time I friggin' went outside (even in the summer!), and all that adds up to the fact that the TV and I were close. (Oh, and no cable TV either, ya whippersnappers.) Lying on the couch with a fever was all the more bearable because I got to see the Gill Man walk among us, or giant ants eat people.

Now that I've rambled so successfully and lived up to the title of this blog, I'll leave you with one thought which, if you know what I mean by it, you know exactly how I feel:

Han shot first.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'd Like A Bajillion Dollars

Back in May I posted a little note on this site asking for a movie remake. (Second post.) It seems that it's being done. Yep. They're actually going to remake The Creature From The Black Lagoon. I'm not going to pass judgement just yet. I just really, really hope they don't screw it up.

Now all I need is my check from the movie moguls. Since they took my idea and all. And I'm positive I'm the only one in the whole world who ever had it.
< /sarcasm>

Oh yeah. Psst... Hollywood... How about a remake of Them? Big ol' irradiated ants attacking people! How cool is that? You can even make it hip and edgy by making the ants the product of genetic experiments by terrorists. Have at it, but don't forget my check!

On a completely unrelated note, today's picture comes courtesy of my parents. This pond is near their house, and I have never seen it in the daytime or without ice. Why? Because the pond was built well after I moved out, and my subsequent post-pond visits were only during the hectic winter holidays.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


There's a whole lotta truth on this shirt.

We went to the Tucson Celtic Festival yesterday. Many, many men in kilts, swords, and other regalia. To them I say: "Are you nuts? It's 85 degrees outside and you're wearing wool and long sleeves?" I did not partake in the kilting activities, though I was not wearing pants. We did get to see our surname proudly displayed over a tent, and there were several varieties of our tartan and crest and stuff for sale. And swords. Mmm... swords. I did not buy one, but it wasn't easy to turn away from a whole bunch of swords empty-handed.

The guy pictured above was one of the competitors in the caber toss. They also had a stone throw and hammer throw exhibition. Oh, and meat pies, haggis, stuff like that. Mmm... meat pies. Definitely my kind of stuff. You got your meat, some oatmeal, and wrap it in pastry. That's it. None of those lousy vegetables and nonsense. It's brown, toasty, and tasty. That's all you need.

We also got to hear an awe-inspiring rendition of "Amazing Grace" by a team of bagpipe players. (I don't know what a group of pipers is called. A troupe? A McGaggle?) Further backing my theory that there is simply no other way that song should be heard. Not sung, not a band. No other instrument than the bagpipe can give that song its due.

One last thing not exactly Scot-related. If you're over 6 feet tall and you feel it necessary to run to the front row of an event (such as a parade or other public venue) and stand there with your hands on your hips taking up/blocking as much as your body will allow, remember this: the stabbing pain you feel will be from me slicing a hole in your midsection so I can see. So either sit the fuck down or move to the back, you jolly green ass.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tattered Carousel

Pierced. Suspended. Straining. Screaming. Neglected. Childhood. Rusted. Rustic. Condemned. Holes. Sky. Tattered. Carousel.