Monday, August 31, 2009

Dedicated Dance

For reasons unbeknown GIMP keeps crashing on me whenever I attempt to save drawings. Actually just opened up MSPaint in an attempt to save my work in some pitiful way. I copy/pasted a screenshot over while GIMP sat frozen. It's a good day to hate free software.

MSPaint locked up too. It must be connected in some way. They really don't want any record of what I'm trying to post. Geesh. (edit: hey, look i got it to work! I tricked MSPaint into saving a smallish screenshot of said drawing from earlier. It's my Top Gun thumbs-up for a 'Job well done, me!')

Moving on...

News: Finished finals. Horrible quarter. Glad to be done.

More news: Finished moving today (officially). Spent the past week cleaning out the old place and throwing away all the old artwork. Sad times.

In the works: Planning a road trip that will transpire sometime in the next couple of weeks. Post here if you want me to stop by your house and drink your beers. I'm also fiending for some fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. Set the oven on preheat. I'm coming over.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Claspsprinkles, Part 1

Just a disclaimer: As a change of pace I'm using the Eater Blog to record my participation in a collaborative video game experiment for a few days, so expect the next couple of posts to be about video game nonsense lingo. My sincerest apologies for this interruption of normal blog life.

My friends have wrangled me into a social experiment involving the game Dwarf Fortress. The idea was inspired by those brave individuals involved with managing the outpost known as Boatmurdered (which was constantly beset by rampaging elephants). So we had to try this for ourselves.

I inherited the fortress known as 'Claspsprinkles' to find that the first two years have not been kind to our poor little simulated dwarfs. Everywhere I look there are scenes of death. There are dwarf corpses heaped carelessly in piles, scattered bones, and one count of disorderly conduct against a donkey, though it would seem that the offender has also gone off and died somewhere.

I also found the remains of a dwarf at the bottom of a pond that was supposedly someone very important--- so who is behind the mysterious drowning? My money is on that upstart Sheriff John, who's gone around claiming all the fortress chairs for himself.

Other observations: There's no military, except for the 'Dragoon' and a Wrestler, and so not much to stop enemies if they came in force. However, it looks like there's a gaggle of peasants sitting on idle that are about to be recruited.

There are two entrances that will need to be fortified. Entrance #1 is in good shape, as there are doors that can be locked on the outside, and behind the doors a nice lobby with some traps and fortifications. I think the initial builder's idea was to turn this room into a shooting gallery. Now all we need are dwarfs that know how to hold crossbows.

Entrance #2 is the bigger problem. It's sitting wide open for wagons to roll into the trade depot, but will need some form of protection. One is . I think we'll need a moat and drawbridge to protect this entrance.

Kudos to James for setting picking a nice location for our fortress experiment, as well as directing the growth in the first year. Also, a special nod to John, for keeping the fortress alive during the bloodshed and starvation of Year Two.

Hopefully, Year Three will be just as exciting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Take Me There

I'm drawing a blank today, but the urge to write needs to be satisfied. So here I'll jump-start the conversation to say that I am adapting to this new life well, though it feels like an organ transplant that we're waiting to heal. Was the operation a success?

Feel like walking around today. Or maybe just finding a nook to sit and watch people walk by. Packed my swimming suit and goggles this morning, but haven't been in the mood to swim these past couple of weeks.

The studio-table is set up in our new quarters, though I'm not set on a project yet. I might try to work out some new ideas today after lunch.

School is still looming over everything I do, so it's important that I at least mention the elephant in the room. Finals are in a few days, and I feel like jumping out of my skin to celebrate.

I feel like treating myself to some big reward for sacrificing my summer, but the idea of spending money feels kind of silly right now. Space is at a premium and I'm not sure I want to contribute more to our problem.

Maybe I'll eat at Chipotle today. Burritos are cool.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Darkside Stroll

This was my first morning in our new home. We managed to avoid renting a storage space, for which I am very happy. The downside is that our bedroom is a maze of towering boxes for the time being.

My alarm clock went off at 6 this morning, and I was immediately aware of how quiet the beeping was in this new place. The carpet muffles the sound. Pretty amazing how you notice the little things like that. In the old place, the alarm beeping would ricochet off the hardwood floor straight into my head like a laser.

Anyway, the stories of moving day must be recorded lest they be forgotten for all time. And I also feel like making a list. Activate bullet-points!

  • Wife packed up my wallet, cell phone, and car keys, which traveled to our new home a day early, leaving me naked and defenseless.
  • Gave our washing machine to the neighbor. Had to move it out of our basement and then carry it back down into his basement.
  • Also, he agreed to take our couch. Unfortunately, he wanted that in his basement as well. Which, after 15 minutes of rotating, proved fruitless. So we left the couch upside down in his kitchen.
  • I succumbed to heat exhaustion shortly thereafter. Couldn't make my body do the things that needed doing, like moving boxes.
  • Drove to new location and immediately ran into a bad situation when the moving truck got parked over a large hole in the ground.
  • Shortly thereafter, Brent falls into the hole while stepping out of the truck, in what looked like some horrible ankle-wrenching maneuver.
  • My wife's father throws a big rock into the hole to make sure no one else steps in it.
  • Bee attack! It turns out that the big hole is actually home to several million bees intent on killing us all. John and Brent immediately succumb to bee-stings and everyone runs back into the house. The bees now control much of the airspace in the front yard, which unfortunately contains our U-haul as well as personal effects.
  • A solid hour of insect-o-human warfare takes place. The bees and their hive are sprayed with poison, doused with gasoline (and resultant inferno), and then drowned with the garden hose.
  • More poison is sprayed, but none of this has any effect. The bees have not gone anywhere. Someone throws an empty can of bug spray at the hive. It lays next to the rock, and the bees swarm over it-- they are clearly taunting us.
  • The humans regain control of the moving truck and take it to the other side of the house.
  • We move everything inside.
There's now a small lake in the yard, with a boulder and empty bug-spray can sitting in the middle. The smell of scorched grass permeates the scene. It's like the morning after some hellish battle was fought.

They say war is hell, but moving sucks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slim Accommodations

I present the diagram on the left as a rough approximation of our new living arrangements. As you can see things will be getting a bit more tight as we consider which objects will follow us from our three-story townhouse into this thirteen-foot room.

As of last night it was confirmed that my wife's guitar will be sleeping with us from now on. Using the diagram I have determined a configuration where the guitar sits majestically in the middle of the room. There it will loom as a constant reminder that we must work really hard in school, or face the consequences of failure: forever existing in a single chamber that is part bedroom, part storage compartment, and part art studio.

Two classic exclamations to describe how I feel about this: "Great Caesar's Ghost and Merlin's Beard!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And One

I got my Spanish exam back today. Despite the effort I'm putting into this class, my grade is suffering. I'll be lucky to pull off a 'B' at this rate, which sucks because I go to every class, do the homework, and study for exams. What is left? How can I better prepare for this class?

In the end it doesn't really matter. A few weeks from now I will be finished, and no doubt concerned about the next boogie man on my horizon.

We are moving this weekend. That's all I can tell you at this point. I still don't know where specifically we will be sleeping next week, but I'm sure the details will fall into place soon enough.

My big fear is not having a place to build things. I considered this last night (and every night in recent history) as I sat in front of the television, cutting out plasticard and making a huge mess. I have to be able to make messes. The debris is unavoidable. I thrive on it.

I just keep wondering how the hell is this going to work.

In the next couple days I'm throwing out 90% of my old artwork. The stuff's too big, too cumbersome, and I don't feel like moving it into a new place where it will essentially go to rot in some basement or garage for eternity. That said, I don't know what I'm going to do with the other 10% either.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cafe Con Leche

Thanks for the comments from yesterday, guys. I started to reply there and quickly realized that it might as well be today's post. Anyway, here goes:

I agree with you both.

I've been thinking about it in terms of throwing and catching a baseball. Your brain is capable of making near-instant calculations for a throwing/catching solution, and then your body acts. Based on the subconscious velocity/distance math, it's a given that the ball will be launched in the correct direction with the appropriate amount of force*

I don't think much really changes if you stand there at length, thinking about "how" you'll throw the ball. Just toss it!

So yeah, I'd like to apply the same logic to aspects of living.

*That is if you've familiar with the baseball, surrounding environment, gravity, wind, ect. the object should still go in the right direction.

Anyway, I finished another Spanish exam this morning. It was a rough one, but I studied, so curious to see what the grade will be on that one.

After class I had nowhere in particular to be, so I walked with Mike and Olin around campus for a bit. I talked about the shape of my life these past few years, the convenience of attending/teaching in art school , and the paradigm shift that brought me back to these halls of learning.

It felt good to talk about art school. I remember everyone there always pointing to New York City and crying out, "This is where all the real important stuff is happening in the art world! How can you be on the cutting edge of culture if you're not there? What?-- You don't even make regular pilgrimages to the Mecca of Art to prostrate yourself before all that is relevant and witty? Bah! Begone, foul Ohioan peasant!"

If you haven't guessed, I'm happy to be away from that. Very happy. Even as we walked by Hopkins, where I could look up to the 4th floor and see the windows of my old studio, I knew I've made the right decision.

I still see myself as an artist. But as far as the Art World (captial "A", capital "W") is concerned, I am living off the grid with friends and family in a life that is much more challenging and rewarding. We'll just have to see where the art goes from here. We're invested in a lot of passionate, creative people.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Right Choice

Are the choices we make are as important as the resultant actions?

The power to choose for ourselves immediately injects some modicum of indecision into the equation. Do I want vanilla or chocolate today?

We hesitate at the crossroads, weighing each path for its pros and cons, but I'm no longer confident that choice matters as much as the simple act of walking the path, or living the life.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I woke up dead this morning, or at least in a comparable state of 'unlife', an hour early to work on my Spanish homework. Apparently, in my zombie state I must have forgotten to turn off my alarm clock, as I heard it go off again --and some frantic movement as my poor wife thrashed about in the darkness looking for some way to deactivate the sound.

Later, when I came in to kiss her goodbye, my toes bumped into something under the bed, which turned out to be her own alarm clock, most likely grabbed and then thrown aside as she sought out the source of the noise.

I'm slightly worried now that it's past 11 and I haven't seen her on Instant Messenger yet this morning. I hope she hasn't overslept because of the alarm clock fiasco. I should probably call her and make sure she actually woke up.

There's also the slim chance that this is all in my head.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Alas! Yon Workspace, I Will Weep For Thee...

So there is something like an 80% probability we are moving in with my wife's parents this month. The situation grows grimmer then, as there is a probable chance we will either move into a spacious, quiet room with its own shower/sink cove or her brother's bedroom, which is very small, and located in one of the noisiest parts of the house. If only the latter is available, then POOF! no more workspace for me, as we'll only have room for a bed and dresser(s). Argh.

However, if we get the large bedroom, there will be plenty of room for me to work. In either case, storage may be a problem-- both materials storage and cat storage.

Yes, we have an issue with cat storage at this time. As it stands, we have one cat too many. A cat that we love as a member of our family, though we cannot keep. And so the possibilities from here are heart-wrenching at best. We know plenty of people who love cats-- but already own cats, and are unable to adopt her. Also, we don't want to give her away to strangers or to the cat pound (where she would, in all likelihood, be put to sleep). Times like this I wish we could scan the cat and save her as a PDF on our hard drive, possibly in some desktop folder labeled as "Saved Cats." And once we have a place of our own again, simply type in Load Cat and presto.