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I do hope you don't mind, but I'm going to differ a bit from my usual subjects for a while (sorry, TK-421!). I was in Ireland last week, having a massively relaxing holiday with a bakers' dozen friends, and the photos I collected from that trip are, to my considerable surprise, pretty good.

I seem to think so, at any rate.

They're mostly spontaneous portraits intermixed with the occasional craggy landscape -- I do so love people, but damn, will you look at that cliff? This was pretty much my state of mind for the week. At any rate, expect a stream of technicolor hippies to dance across my posts for at least another week, though I shall assuredly return to portraits of the miniature and malevolent soon enough. People are lovely, but stormtroopers are awesome. And lovely.
  • Listening to: Johnny Cooper
  • Reading: Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea
  • Playing: Outlaws!
  • Eating: Snickerdoodles
  • Drinking: Leffe, in dangerous quantity.

So I Owe You An Apology

Journal Entry: Mon Jun 21, 2010, 6:08 PM
I finally (finally) figured out a working solution to my bizarre dA-not-working-at-home thing. I still don't know why this is happening (which is driving my little nerd mind crazy), but a bit of unix hackery has made it all better. The upside? Not only can I use dA at home again, but all of my web traffic is now secured with military-grade cryptography. I <3 math.

So what's the apology for? Well, the very first thing I do to celebrate my return is to post something pretentious, like the Good Ol' Southern Boy series. It's a series, for chris'sake. About the Afghanistan war and, vaguely, PTSD. It's a shameless riff off of Generation Kill and The Pacific and The Forever War. Just who do I think I am, anyway?

I'll get back to the whimsy, I promise, just as soon as I finish crawling into this corner and having a good bout of politics-inspired depression. I would really like your comments on the series, though -- it's a bit of change from my usual, and not just because it's pretentious as all get-out. Honest.

  • Listening to: Ted Leo &amp; the Pharmacists
  • Reading: The Forever War
  • Watching: Generation Kill
  • Eating: Homemade Bailey's-flavoured fudge
  • Drinking: Eiswein, when I can get it.
I've been away, and now I feel a bit of an idiot. dA has been absolutely horrendous to me for ages, nothing but pure frustration -- ever since I moved into my (no-longer-new-but-now-pleasantly-home-y) flat, dA has flatly refused to load images. Since I'm not much into the literature or poetry that floats around here (sorry, folks), this was something of an enormous effing problem. I assumed, since it all started when I moved, that I just had the world's weirdest ISP or something; Google Image doesn't work either, and I thought, "hey, maybe this is just some bizarre caching bug."

Of course it isn't. I mean, really? I should have figured this out ages ago: don't use AdBlock with dA. It works, but is perhaps overzealous -- look, AdBlock, I probably wanted all those images from * Oh, these style sheets? I probably wanted those too. Gargh.

Since I no longer have to leave home just to browse (much less to submit), I can finally return to my regularly scheduled dAing. Devianting. Deviancing.

Carry on.
  • Listening to: Reckless Kelly
  • Reading: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves
  • Watching: The Venture Brothers
  • Eating: Candied pecans
  • Drinking: Straight from the bottle
Ok, several things. First things first, though:

I owe :iconathalour: a giant apology, complete with public debasement and prostration. We're talking Arabic-level kneeling here, with the tactical precision and calculated meaning of a Japanese businessman. I ordered a few pieces from her etsy store ( waaay back at the beginning of August. Being a prompt and friendly merchant, she responded immediately with instructions for payment; being a total and complete failure, I took over a month to actually complete those instructions.

This is not OK.

Other things:

Ludum Dare #15, a 48-hour game dev contest thing, was this weekend -- I spent (almost) the entire weekend huddled in front of my computer, composing toys for other people. I love this stuff. My entry is available here (…) if you're into that sort of thing.

Also, I'm getting deeper and deeper into this Minifig business. Nights spent trawling eBay for deals. Days spent trawling dA for like-minded individuals. So far I'm up to 3 fellow Lego portraiteers, and debating the effort of organizing a group for the phenomenon. Thoughts (both specifically on the minifig photography and on the mechanics of groups)?
  • Listening to: LCD Soundsystem
  • Reading: The OpenGL &quot;Red Book&quot;
  • Playing: Pretweeting
  • Eating: Baked Beans &amp; Bacon
Blast. I'm up in Dallas for the weekend, spending infinitely necessary time with a friend, and falling inordinately behind in my dA stuff here. I'd keep up, if I could, but her internet is out and (bizarrely) I can't upload from this coffeeshop. Weird. Anyway, just thought I'd put some ATC stuff on written record, for posterity and such:

  • Athalour: Prayer in Stone
  • Hogret: Ruins of the Abbey
  • MindOnLoc: Edinburgh Skyline
  • Ewa5: mystery

We'll work out trading details later, I suppose. When my time is my own, and I'm re-inserted into the internets. The internet thing is particularly frustrating, because I've got a laptop full of the complete 11-part Indifig Adventures that I really want to share with you folks. Macro lens playtime for the win.
  • Listening to: Cross Canadian Ragweed
  • Reading: Devil Went Down to Austin
  • Watching: Torchwood: Children of Earth
  • Eating: Central Market Goat Cheese
  • Drinking: Layer Cake Zinfandel
Thrill! I finally finished prepping my contribution to :iconathalour:'s wild, hairy Artist Trading Card (ATC) drive. 40 cards, nicely printed and seamlessly mounted on cardstock, ready for trade -- if anyone's interested in that sort of thing. To print the cards I cropped and scaled 40 of my shots that I like the most, squeezing eight trading card-sized photos onto one 8x10 image. I took those five weird composite images into town and had them printed by a very confused photo lab, then took them home and (carefully!) mounted each glossy 8x10 to a sheet of cardstock. Once that had dried I cut them out with a photo trimmer (a treasured spoil of high school yearbook), and stuck 'em in a handy little baseball card holder. Et voilà

Almost all the cards are prints from my gallery here; a few are shots I either haven't uploaded yet or are intentionally withholding (mainly because I'm not convinced that they're worth showing to you guys). If you'd like to trade for a specific card leave me a comment on that image; if you're not peculiar in what you get, let me know here and I'll send you a random card! Huzzah!

In other groundbreaking things, I bought a shiny new toy -- a Canon 100mm 2.8f macro lens. Naturally, I spent all day today (well, before the rain started) running around taking gloriously large pictures of fantastically small things. Minifigs, rejoice! Expect a raft of mediocre macro stuff from me for a while, as I figure out how things work. Oh, education.
  • Listening to: Fatboy Slim
  • Reading: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
  • Watching: Torchwood
  • Playing: Mount &amp; Blade
  • Eating: Corned Beef Casserole
  • Drinking: Shiner Bock Family Packs
Driving home at 3:00 am in a rainless summer thunderstorm, thunder overlaid on a radio steel guitar. The giddy feeling of leaving a friend's house, knowing without a doubt that everyone was genuinely glad to see you, and that you're welcome back any time. Sitting on the back porch, sipping iced sweet tea ("sweet-tAy") and watching hummingbirds dart among the bushes while the sun sets behind a curtain of sweet, impenetrable Pinus taeda.

I absolutely adore being home, right down to the weird patriarchal emphasis on scientific names.

In more meaningful news, I finally got around to printing up my ATCs this afternoon -- going to mount them on cardstock and cut up the sheets into individual cards sometime in the next few days. Maybe this weekend, who can tell? It's not that I'm busy -- it's just that things move more slowly here. I suppose it leaves time for back porch sipping and old friends, which, let's face it, is basically what it's all about.
  • Listening to: Bleu Edmonson
  • Reading: Eastern Standard Tribe
  • Watching: &lt;em&gt;Lost&lt;/em&gt;, against my will.
  • Eating: Homemade chicken quesadillas
  • Drinking: Shiner Bock
So I'm stuck in a bit of a quandary. One the one hand, I've got all these lovely shots lying around on my computer, taken over the last few no-internet-at-home weeks and thus just waiting to be uploaded; on the other, I've got Athalour's mad, stomping ATC drive, to which I've yet to contribute. Part of me wants to save a bunch of shots for printing as unique ATCs, but how to choose? What to post, and what to print? What if I post all the good ones and choose lame, uninspired photos to trade? What if I post all the mediocre ones and you people start to think I'm insane?

You've got to admit, it's a tough one.

I am, however, about to go home on holiday for about a month, meaning that my available camera-time should increase exponentially. Also my back-porch-sitting, mint-julep sipping, early-afternoon-napping time, incidentally. I suppose one will win out, or I'll single-handedly kickstart this summer's alcohol photography trend. I guess we'll just have to find out.
  • Listening to: The Ink Spots
  • Reading: Old Man's War
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Eating: Brie &amp; Cranberry on Ciabatta, w/ Chicken
  • Drinking: Guinness Export Stout
So I've been pretty thoroughly gone from here for a while, mostly because I was quite literally gone. Out of town, out of country, out of contact. I spent an amazing week and a half at an informal academic conference in Irsee, Germany, and I only just got home last night. Needless to say, I've got more than a double handful of pictures to show for it (in addition to a whole lot of work-related insight and about a zillion new German-speaking friends).

The conference was in Irsee, which I'd been mislead into thinking was just outside of Munich. While this is technically true (we flew into Munich Airport), it's somewhat deceptive, as we then spent two hours on a train and half an hour in a cab before we actually made it to Irsee. That's almost three hours of traveling through what must be the prettiest country in Europe, I might add -- I was drooling before we actually made it to the conference center.

Which was a converted monastery.

So, between chumming with academic legends, swimming in crystal-clear lakes amid the Alps, and touring weirdly Disney-esque castle I snuck in quite a few hours of idle wandering, and I intend to show you all (you hypothetical people you) the proceeds of these little camera-ready excursions. How cool was all of this, you ask? Is it worth looking at, really?

I'm learning German, folks. Bavaria makes Scotland look like Pittsburgh; Germans make Scots sound ruder than (Los) Angelenos.
  • Listening to: Wax Tailor
  • Reading: Eats, Shoots &amp; Leaves
  • Watching: Castle
  • Playing: Settlers of Catan
  • Eating: Sausage &amp; eggs
  • Drinking: Guinness, copiously
I went for another afternoon walk through Blackford Reserve today. I'm really getting a feel for the place; it has grown on me enormously. I'll still be incredibly pleased to move away (just across town, to another flat) -- but I will miss being able to wander out my door and into the pseudo-wilderness.

I tried to focus more on the flora this time around, snapping pictures of all the flowers and interestingly thorny Scottish groundcover I encountered. There's one blooming right now in particular, a tall single stalk with thumb-sized purple cones hanging off of it. They were all over the place, covering entire hillsides, and absolutely gorgeous up close. Pictures forthcoming!
  • Listening to: Count Basie
  • Reading: The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Watching: Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 2
  • Playing: Werewolf (logic/ pen-paper rpg)
  • Eating: Baguettes, stuffed with goat cheese.
  • Drinking: Porta Cabernet Sauvignon
I'm starting to worry about my state of mind. Lately I've been slipping back into my old habits; talking myself through life in a stream-of-consciousness narrative. "To work! We must go to work," I exhort myself in the morning. "Up! Out of bed, you shiftless good-for-nothing grad student."

I'm eyeing the Bedlam theatre shiftily every morning as I pass it on my way to the office. Can I tech there? Can I act? Will they let me? It's all up to them.

Do you ever worry about regressing? About falling back into high school, because your life is starting to feel weirdly cyclical and you know you've had all of these thoughts before? Damn it, I just want to get some stuff done. It ain't 2003.
  • Listening to: Johnny Cash
  • Reading: Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver
  • Watching: Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Playing: EVE Online
  • Eating: Sainsbury's white chocolate bars _en masse_
  • Drinking: Absolute Citron, shaken with lemonade and curacao
So it's Friday and I'm staying home from work to recover from a rather out-of-proportion head cold. It's raining all day, absolutely miserable (i.e. lovely Scottish weather), which only contributes to my desire to stay inside. What to do on such a day? Well, the obvious thing is to tackle the small pile of work I've got queued up — finish a pair of experiment designs and read a couple papers. Of course — I reason to myself — I don't think very well when I'm sick/medicated. And so off I go, merrily installing Linux instead. What else is an honest geek got to do on a rainy Friday afternoon, really?

Didn't I have a perfectly functional desktop, you ask? Why would I need to go around, wiping hard drives and installing slightly newer kernels? Jaunty Jackalope, of course. I figure I'm culturally obligated to install operating systems named after quasi-mythological Southwestern creatures. Apparently doing a dist-upgrade (or update-manager -d, whatever) is less broken than the past (i.e., it isn't completely braindead) — but it still left me with a terminally unbootable system. Argh. Ah, well. If I weren't OK with a little mild data loss I'd have gone crazy years ago. A fresh install from a 9.04-desktop image worked like a charm.


So, several happily uneventful hours later, here I am — posting this from a shiny new Ubuntu 9.04, XFCE 4.6, compiz-enabled, keyboard-customized linux desktop. Color me happy. Even managed to get EVE running under WINE without too much trouble. Not that that's a good thing, really. Anyway, pictures from the cold-inducing sunset jaunt ought to trickle online in the next few days, same pattern as usual. Social snaps go on Facebook; decent images go on DA. Most go in the trash.

(cross-posted from
  • Listening to: LCD Soundsystem
  • Reading: Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver
  • Watching: Band of Brothers
  • Playing: EVE Online
  • Eating: Ciabatta &amp; brie
  • Drinking: White Russians
So I just got back from my spring break trip; I went down to London for two weekends, but came back to Edinburgh for the middle of the week. Kim went with me (she met me in London the first weekend), which was a lot of fun. Obviously.

Anyway, I took about a zillion pictures (ok, maybe just a few hundred) over the week. As I get the best of them processed and cleaned up they'll probably trickle onto DA -- the first few already have. Check out Ruins of the Abbey for the first (and best!) of these. For all the great pictures that I think I got, I feel like there were at least ten that I wasn't able to take; London and Edinburgh are both just so full of stuff that it's impossible to take it all in, or have enough battery in your camera (fail) to photograph it properly.

If nothing else, this week has renewed my excitement for photography -- mainly by reminding me that I am literally surrounded by picturesque bits of decaying history. Silly Europeans, always having older countries than us Americans. Why aren't they all out taking pictures of everything all of the time? I would be.

From now on, I will be.
  • Listening to: Avenue Q
  • Reading: Psychology Review
  • Watching: Battlestar Galactica (end!)
  • Playing: Things on Kongregate
  • Eating: Baguettes
  • Drinking: Tom Collins
So I decided, after ages of haunting a few of my friends on DA, that I needed to register a username so I could comment on their stuff. This is fine, all well and good, name is already taken.

I grow indignant, perhaps even annoyed. Who the hell is using my name? No one uses my name except me (and a credit union, but I'm betting this isn't them...). Huh. Weird.

Just for kicks, I try an old password. It works.

I have a DA page? It has content? When did I even take that photograph? Also, what happened to those headphones?

Anyway, I'm here, back, with more resignation than vengeance. Also, if anyone's seen the headphones in my oldest deviation, give me a ring -- they were damn good phones, and I want 'em back.
  • Listening to: Cross Canadian Ragweed
  • Reading: Categorization and Similarity
  • Watching: Battlestar Galactica
  • Playing: Jarhead
  • Eating: Goat Cheese
  • Drinking: Homemade pear liqueur.