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With the Apple watch being announced recently, there are a million articles out there that are debating whether this is some kind of revolution for the electronics industry. My own opinion of Apple is that while there is no denying their ability to wrap style and functionality together, their role in technology is less pioneer and more canary in the coal mine. I have read many articles that admit that Apple's entry into any given sector almost always happens after others have already released products (that is, they weren't the first MP3 player, they weren't the first smart phone), but their genius is that they take this new thing from a nerd gadget to a popular must-have. While that may be true, and you can certainly back it up with case studies, I personally believe that if they didn't do it, someone else would. There's a reason why Blackberry handhelds were called Crackberries -- they were popular enough with the masses before Apple elevated the smart phone experience with its iPhone.

I remember the time before the iPod first came out. MP3s existed, and you could download pirate copies of your favorite songs on (remember it?) Napster. I remember thinking, why don't they just have a store that lets you download MP3s of only the songs you want? The overhead of hosting the server is smaller than making and distributing physical CDs, and so many more people would buy songs at, say, $0.30 per track than take a chance at $14 for the entire record. So sales of the whole album should take a small hit, but sales of the best songs on an album would more than make up for it. Yes, I undershot the market value of the MP3. They actually make more profit per song selling them as singles digitally than they do for the whole record. But the point is, within 2 years we had iTunes and iPods. I guarantee you the demand was there before Apple made the device. They saw the demand and provided a product that now everyone talks about as a revolutionary device.

So ... admittedly I'm part of the nerd sector. I had a Palm Pilot long before it was cool. I saw what they could potentially do and for years was frustrated that no one took advantage of it. Now my Google phone is my handheld device. It does more, of course, but it could still do so much more than it does. This is the same for the iPhone. There's so much more that could be done. Samsung is doing a great job with it's S5 -- water resistant, much easier to replace a cracked screen, hot swap the battery, low power modes. They went beyond Apple and said "what limitations will people have using the phone?" and addressed those. These are the common stories now -- pushed in the pool with your brand new iPhone in your pocket, dropping your phone on the ground and the screen cracks, being in an airport and needing to send an email but your battery is dead. These things limit our usage of our handheld computers. Someone will eventually tackle the demand that already exists, whether it is Apple or someone else. Then when Apple does it, everyone seems to think they're the only one who ever had ideas.

Back to the smart watch. These things are inevitable. You can ramble on and on about whether Apple will change the market. The answer is this watch WON'T. And it was coming anyway. I recently purchased a smart watch (a Sony smart watch 2) because I wanted to know about notifications from my phone without having to look at (and drain the battery of) my phone. There are so many more things smart watches can do. Let's run some scenarios. I really believe these things are going to happen soon anyway. Just wait and see.

You're a hiker. The well-known story out in the trail is that the phone runs out of batteries and has no signal in the wilderness anyway. So you still need paper maps and a compass. Enter the waterproof, high battery life, GPS-powered smart watch. When your phone has a data signal it keeps your watch updated with a terrain map of the surrounding 50 miles. You go off the grid and get lost and the phone itself becomes useless. AHhhhh but your watch has 50 miles of map, a compass, GPS, and 4 days of battery life. It can tell you which way to the nearest town or trail, help you find streams to get water, and maybe an emergency signal of some kind if a search and rescue team comes for you?

You're the executive type. Power suit and tie, in meetings all day long, making decisions that move millions of dollars around without breaking a sweat. Your tie is always stylish and your watch should be too. But it wouldn't do for you to be constantly looking at your phone screen in the middle of important customer/client meetings (although...some do anyway because they're obviously important enough to need to). So your smart watch -- every bit as stylish as the most exclusive and expensive, gold overlaid, diamond-studded, winds itself as you move your wrist, high end watch money can buy -- is programmed to send you different haptic vibrations into your wrist depending on what is going on in the world around you while you're stuck in a meeting, and no one else can hear or otherwise detect them, so you can be informed that an important client has just backed out so no, the deal is no longer on the table, and the whole time your customer had no idea you were even in contact with your home office because they never saw you look at your phone.

Ok so that one is a pretty small usage, but business types with lots of money tend to get their way.

A more realistic scenario is the average person who can't have a phone visible at work. If you have your smart watch, you could have it designed to notify you about anything that does matter during your work day -- your children's school trying to get ahold of you vs your cousin posting on facebook. One you really want to know about and one you have no problems if your phone tells you but would rather wait until after work until you dealt with it. Instead of looking at your phone screen all day, the watch sorts out what you need to know now from what you don't.

Take the revolution of cell phones for groups of people at malls and amusement parks a step further. Set up the smart watches to know who is in your party using NFC -- literally fist bump your groupies and all your watches know who is taking part that day -- and an app on the watch can tell you where anyone in the group is in real time. Can't find your sister after you both entered a big department store? Check your watch and see that she's still a few aisles behind you and backtrack to where she is. Slightly simpler than texting each other "Where are you?" "By the big thing, see me?" "What thing?" "I'm looking right at you, see me wave?" -- instead you can actually SEE where she is on the floor plan. Technically cell phones could do this too if someone set up the right apps, but watches would be more convenient for the purpose.

So there's some ideas. Goodness, you could come up with so many more. That's why the watches are going to happen. Whether Apple did it or not, this was definitely in our future. Ten years from now, people will wonder how anyone survived without a smart watch. Fewer people will own a traditional computer. There are going to be blinky, flashy, sometimes even jingle-singing interactive screens on EVERYTHING. We might even have paper-thin touch screens you can roll up. We'll have self-driving cars but NOT flying ones (yet). Most of the things we interact with in a day will have some kind of electronics component (like a smart inventory refrigerator, a plate that can tell you how many calories you just scooped onto it, TV remotes that know who is holding it and serves up favorite channels lists automatically ...).

To be clear, I'm not the anti-Apple person. I have an iPad 3 and an iPod nano 6G. I've owned an iPod Classic and iPod Touch in the past, too. I'm not likely to buy a Mac, but I'm not opposed to them. Instead of being anti-Apple, I'm more anti-Apple-fanboy. They make lots of money and they have good products. They're owed respect for that. For those people who buy Apple, everything they make, and only Apple, because they're the only ones who ever make good things ... then they kind of are putting Apple onto a throne and bowing, in a way. And mortals who get worshiped eventually let everyone down.
Spring and summer provide some pretty fun sunsets and sunrises. I especially enjoy adding some golden hour, mist, and trees.

Well, some day I'm hoping to get the hang of post-processing this so that it looks like calendar pictures.

In the olden days, having a camera on my phone had very little value. They were good for recording important details (that scratch was already on the rental car, the mileage when I filled up last time, that website I want to check out...), but they couldn't replace an actual camera for taking artistically pleasing shots. My Nexus 5 is approaching 1 year old now, and I am impressed with its photography capabilities. I still bring my Canon EOS-M everywhere, but if I want to get a shot quickly, the phone in my pocket is quicker than the camera at the bottom of a bag. It has proven to take decent HDR photos too.

Some of my DSLR photos...

Trees with Mood Lighting by KaleyObsidia   Misty Morning Lake by KaleyObsidia   More Lake Mist by KaleyObsidia   Partly Cloudy with Hay Bales by KaleyObsidia   Yosemite HDR 5 by KaleyObsidia   Yosemite HDR 4 by KaleyObsidia
With DSLR and Photomatix

Coral Sunset by KaleyObsidia   Half Dome and Merced River HDR from Phone by KaleyObsidia   Yosemite by KaleyObsidia   Late Spring by KaleyObsidia
With HDR mode on phone camera
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the LEGO movie. I read somewhere online about it being a pretty enjoyable 2-hour commercial for toys, and overall that's a fitting way to describe the movie in one sentence.

It seems only logical that a company that has been selling toy sets to promote other people's movies would want to pimp out merchandise for their OWN movie. Cut out the middle man -- themed toys and movie about the toys -- all in one. Pretty brilliant.

The problem is, if you do this in a cheesy and obvious way, you get laughed at. LEGO is the reason that I know to be skeptical of generic and knock-off brands. No one wants those other guys, they don't have that satisfying "click" when you put them together. Even a 5-year-old knows the difference. If LEGO had made just another cheap and obvious merchandising movie, it would not have upheld the high standards of the brand that we all know and love.

What is there to like about a movie made about toys rated for ages 12+?

Let's break it down ...

Young boys -- Well, that's pretty obvious.

Young girls -- There's just enough purple and pink and "kawaii" in this movie that it doesn't feel like you're getting all the boys' Happy Meals and not the girls.

Adults who played with LEGOs as a kid -- "Oh my G-O-S-H" as Emmett says ... makes me want to go play with them again, not just build things, but imagine the stories of things I built. The nostalgia is strong in this one.

Movie lovers -- As we know from the trailer, many minifigures from LEGO movie sets make appearances. Additionally, there are jokes that reference events in other movies ("Bruce Wayne? Who's that? Sounds like a cool guy"). The best ones cross several fan zones at once.

Story lovers -- So almost a day after seeing the movie, I still say the depth of the story is pretty impressive for a toy commercial, for an animated movie, for ANY kind of movie.

Creative people -- Metal beard the pirate. If you've seen the movie, you know what I mean.

Rule followers -- It's easy to celebrate creativity because of the dazzling results it produces, this movie manages to celebrate those people who enjoy following the instructions

Sappy sentimentalists -- I cry at a lot of movies. I didn't cry at this one, but I was definitely heart-warmed by the end.

People who are still mad that Mufasa died -- Like I said, I cry at a lot of movies, and it gets annoying. While this movie has its sappy moments, you don't walk out of the theater with a red face.

Optimists -- Everything is AWESOME! Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is AWESOME! We're living the dream.

Pessimists -- They will definitely see the creepy sarcasm in the theme song as they watch the blissful workers go to work with a painted-on happy face.

Detailed people -- From the fingerprint clearly visible on Emmett's shirt piece to the crack right on the knit line of 80's Space Guy's helmet, not only are the details real to what you'd expect from actual LEGOs, but they got everything else right too -- how we build (references to 1x1 and 2x1, and later when Batman says he needs all the black pieces), and so, so much more that would be spoiling the plot. There was obviously an entire team devoted to realism in this movie and they nailed it.

Protective parents -- Lots of movies aimed at children feature jokes that go over the kids' heads, sometimes pretty naughty jokes. The "adult" jokes in this movie are squeaky clean.

So, in conclusion, whether you see this as a movie in its own right or just a lengthy toy commercial, there are so many rich layers to it that I'm pretty sure you'd be happily entertained at the same time.
Comic Font Preview by KaleyObsidia

Here are the 3 fonts I've been working on for my comic. I am not sure if they are done or not. I'm thinking probably no. They need more tweaking and lack the professional punch that is required.

But I'm posting here because I'm thinking others might have some suggestions that will be helpful. For example, it looks like the handwriting font (for dialog) needs a smaller space between letters.

So...I have learned that all authors are LIARS. I don't mean actual lies, which I will refer to as "moral lies". Those are the lies we were all taught not to tell when we were kids. Adulthood sure puts a strain on those ethics, doesn't it? Moral lies are when you tell someone something that is not true, expecting your audience to believe it happened as you said it in the real universe that we live in. Authors tell their audiences things that aren't true, expecting them to believe it happened as we said it in the fake universe we are writing about.

When I work on the story for my comic, there is this realization that nothing I write about ever happened. It wouldn't happen. It can't happen. But yet my job is to make you think it was at least somewhat believable.

How do we know she would say that, or that he would do that? What are the chances that if he jumps he would actually live? If you shoot it, does it actually explode or would it, in reality, just take the shot in the most anti-climatic way possible? How do I deal with tech that doesn't exist, without too much boring exposition, scope creep, or plot holes?

The reality of story-telling is the whole thing is a plot hole. Nothing would happen as I have told it, otherwise it would be real life and we would be calling it a documentary instead. I will hand the idiot ball to a character who is actually pretty smart, just because I need some bad thing to happen to advance the plot. The heroes are going to succeed in a long series of risky moves for which the only response would be "you should go buy a lotto ticket ... now". The villains will empty entire clips into the wall behind the heroes but not hit any flesh unless one of the heroes needs a sexy-looking scar.

It's even worse having to write darker behavior. I don't really want my characters to be mean to each other, but this isn't a kids' show (and even then...have you seen Care Bears movies? there was some dark stuff in there).

If I spend too much effort trying to make the story perfect then I get myself wrapped up into something like writers' constipation (much worse than writers' block). What has worked has been to switch back and forth between developing the key plot points and a free-flowing imagination of the characters conversing in the scene. On the one hand, I find out that if I want to have X to happen in the story, realistically A, B, and C events would need to happen first. On the other hand, I have a couple characters just sitting around talking without worrying if I'm being too windy. That way I can iron out what things are necessary for them to say or do and get rid of those things that are just wasting your time.

...and speaking of time....this process is excruciatingly slow. But we are slowly moving along.
If you are coming here FROM my website, I suggest probably reading the previous entry about Manga Studio.

If you are coming here from ... here, then my announcement is that I put a framework for the new site up on I don't have new comics yet, but I'm working on it. There is a lot of things that need to be done for that to happen ... fix the story, get comfortable with the art, actually write the PHP code for the comics, and finally ... draw the thing.
So, back in the Palm Pilot days, I had a few drawing apps. It occurred to me that it would eventually be possible to have an entirely digital workflow for creating drawings. I am NOT a professional artist, but I've dabbled in both traditional and digital work (and even photography). If I decided I wanted to become a professional artist, I think digital work would probably be my focus. Another key point for this back story is that I have driven roughly an hour to work for the past 12+ years. This has resulted in most of my productive drawing time taking place away from home. I have gone to ridiculous lengths to have drawing time -- including bringing my personal laptop and Wacom tablet with me to work, and even buying watercolor crayons and bringing them, paper, and brushes to work. Here's a scene: I have a sandwich in my left hand, a brush in my right, several crayons, water, and a piece of watercolor paper in front of me. I'm wetting and brushing the picture I'm working on while I eat my lunch.

When the Jot Touch was pending its initial release, I had a Motorola Xoom tablet (Android). After the Jot came out, I immediately ordered one. Then I learned that it wasn't going to work on Android tablets. I went out and bought an iPad and found a new home for my Xoom. I got Procreate for the iPad and I really love that program. They deserve a lot of credit for seeing the iPad as a tool for the full creation process, rather than just a stripped-down mobile office that you use to do quick sketches when you're traveling. That has been my frustration with tablets thus far. You can even email developers and ask why they have limited themselves and the responses tend to be ... well ... why would you use the iPad when you have a Mac, right? I don't have a Mac, and even if I did, I don't want to carry it with me everywhere I go. I think the iPad is capable of more than some developers are offering. The folks at Procreate share that belief, and the world is a better place for it.

THEN the Microsoft Surface Pro came out. When I purchased the iPad, I knew the Surface was coming and I saw the potential it had even 6 months out from release date. I expected the iPad to be a temporary solution, but then I ended up liking it so much that I now have both. I bought my Surface on release day. I stopped just short of pulling a fanboi and standing in line before the store opened, but I still managed to get one. But the big problem was this whole driver fiasco. Surface Pro does NOT have WinTab drivers, which means that Photoshop, Gimp, Corel Painter, and almost every other drawing program that HAS pressure sensitivity capabilities will treat its pen like it was just a highly accurate mouse pointer. No pressure at all. If you know even a little about digital art, you know that's a huge deal breaker. That's not the only reason why I wanted the Surface Pro so I wasn't devastated by this reality, but here we are almost 3 months out and that issue hasn't been fixed yet.

What does work with the pen drivers that were included? At the time, I only knew about Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage, and also a few basic-level programs that are only worth mentioning if you are planning on letting kids draw with your tablet. Both Sketchbook and ArtRage are good drawing programs, but they just don't fit my needs. I actually think Procreate is better than both of them. Maybe if I had spent a lot of time getting or developing custom brushes, it would be different.

Finally, I found this article:

I had barely finished reading the article and I went out and bought Manga Studio. It was obvious that I was going to like it. I didn't even go the trial version route (although I admit that it would have been smart, but luckily I didn't end up disappointed).

The bigger issue I had was "I'm not any good at drawing". Now I say that with quotes because I know I have some talent, but I definitely felt lacking in practice. But now it was starting to be clear that there were things I could do that would help with that. Practice sketching, make character sheets, and keep track of each character drawing I make so I don't have to draw new poses from scratch each time. That's where Inkscape comes in. I can trace body parts and move them around. My eye is good enough to see if the pose is going to work, and then I can use those lines to make actual character drawings.

I feel like this combination is going to work nicely. The recent drawing I did was already a whole lot better than previous work, and I barely know the capabilities of the program yet.

So now for the first time in about 5 years, I am starting to feel like I have a realistic path to doing my comic in a way that does the story justice. The moral of the story is, if you're a digital artist ... consider Manga Studio 5 on a Surface Pro. ;)
I'm not planning on talking about the use of anti-depressants because my take on that is lengthy and complicated. But it can be summarized by: if a pill makes you feel better, then great. Make sure you follow the directions...

I don't like drug commercials. The idea that we as consumers SHOULD know what drugs exist makes sense so we can be informed consumers. However, a commercial advertising a product that I can't legally just go and buy just seems silly.

And anti-depressant commercials are worse. Show enough images of people sitting around and being sad, and I start to feel sad ... It's like the commercial creates its own market!

Additionally, the flip side of every drug commercial is the series of images showing how happy and well-adjusted the drug patients are. The Nasonex commercial shows people sniffing flowers and holding cats. Anti-depressant commercials show people having a great time hanging out with other people and laughing and everything is so happy. Well, no anti-depressant will turn your life into a Hallmark card. It just ... Won't. If you expect it to, you'll end up depressed when you find out it doesn't live up to the hype.
I don't want to get into a big political debate, but I think people should consider the facts when it comes to recent political events in the US.

It's not really that surprising that the announcement of Paul Ryan as VP candidate hasn't moved the polls. His reputation and record indicate that he's a strong conservative. Yay for the Republicans, right?

I am pretty sure these statements are all undisputed:
1) People who are solid conservatives will by vast majorities vote for the Republican candidates, no matter who is on the ticket.
2) Same statement for liberals voting for the Democratic candidates.
3) The group of voters who are "moderate" and/or "independent" are the ones who will decide the results of the election.
4) If you pick a more-conservative running mate, it's not going to attract voters who are already less conservative than you.

Now the part that I will acknowledge is at least partially debatable is some polls show only 25% of voters are sympathetic to the Tea Party (fact) and from what I can tell, the other 75% of people think they are bat-sh## crazy (opinion, but ... come on ... that really is what most everyone else thinks about them). So, if you want to sway the votes of people who hadn't already made up their mind, why would you pick someone who is so conservative, only the people on Fox News like him?

I have only somewhat recently started listening to politics, so I'm not sure the conservatives have always been crazy. I would like to think I lean at least a little on the conservative side. There are so many wasteful government programs and a lot of people who can survive, even if in poverty, without having to work. So I don't necessarily support a lot of government-run charitable giving. On the other hand, not everyone is dealt the same deck to work from and having a little social safety net is a good use of our tax money ("keep your government hands off my medicare", really?). So that puts me solidly in the moderate category. Until 2008, all candidates I've ever favored were Republicans, but that's when the conservatives went crazy.
I am more "gadgetty" than most. I played Space Trader on a Palm Pilot, until I got the Palm IIIc. I found out about Linux for PDAs and installed it on an iPaq (did you realize there were i-devices before Apple?). Then I moved to the Sharp Zaurus line with an SL-5500 and eventually a C3200. That one ran GIMP on a Linux install and was great until it quit working. I replaced the Zaurus with a Sony Vaio UMPC (Windows XP handheld computer), the UX-280P. Did you notice that the Vaio UX made an appearance in National Treasure 2? In the Palace scene in London, Riley locks himself in a bathroom stall and starts strapping devices to the walls. One of them was a Vaio just like mine. While still using the Vaio, I got an early iPod with a touch wheel and finally an iPod 3rd Gen with a touch screen.

I was not a fan of Apple. There are lots of things Apple does that are irritating. So when the Android phone lines came out, I got an HTC EVO. I loved that phone. Now I have a Motorola Photon which I don't love nearly as much -- the battery life is bad, the screen is about half as pretty as it should be for the number of pixels it has. But I'm mostly happy with the software offerings for Android phones.

I'm NOT at all happy with the discrepancy between software for iPads and software for Android Tablets. Particularly annoying is the lack of good drawing apps. Sketchbook Pro on Android pales in comparison to the app by the same name on the Apple store. Procreate and Artrage are not offered for Android, and currently they have no plans to offer them. Then of course there's the whole host of other special-use apps that are iPad-only.

To make it worse, the Jot Touch pressure sensing stylus just came out today, and it is ... iOS-only. I was thinking that it would probably work with Sketchbook, but I asked them and they said no. Not now, and no definite plans in the future. No.

So, Google, here is where we part ways. I vigorously defended you. I support a more open environment because it can encourage people to try more unique things. In your case, all that has been accomplished is I watch everyone enjoying their iPads, getting accessories at stores for their iPads (when nothing is stocked for Android tablets), playing with fun software on their iPads, and so much more. I avoided buying all this time because I'm still not over their choice of names and because I was trying really hard to encourage the Android movement.

But this is the last straw. I'm buying an iPad today. No one can call me a fanboi (or more correctly, a fangirl). I gave you a fair shake and instead of getting the world at my touch screen, I got jaded at every turn by lack of software and lack of environment where people would want to write software.

So. I am leaving you. Don't feel too bad, though, as soon as I find something better than an iPad, I will totally cheat on Apple.
Sometimes I think I might be one of those people who is incapable of doing something right until I've first done it wrong in every way possible.

Today is one of those days.
It begins.

Now for 4 months of "snow is pretty but I hate it".
I'm going to muse about synesthesia today. If you don't know what that means, there are some interesting facts about it on the Wikipedia page. I won't describe what it is in detail because it would drag down my musings and that would be really sad.…

What is really interesting to me is after I realized that I'd been seeing extra colors that don't really exist since I was a kid is suddenly this new world opened up. I get to explore something that happens really subtly in my brain. Here are some recent discoveries.

The colors only exist when I'm not trying to look at them.
Invariably when I'm talking with people and discuss my colors, they want to test them out. We usually start off with naming the colors of their names and then they dig a little deeper into other names, individual letters, other objects, and anything else close at hand to ask about. I've noticed it can be difficult for me to capture the color at these times. Here is an example -- I know the name "Jeremy" is a very green name, especially because J is strongly green, E is strongly yellow, and R is a dark blue. So if you started playing "what color is that word" with me, and you asked about "Jeremy", I could tell you from memory. The problem is, if I didn't already know what color it was, the word would suddenly turn to black in my mind. Cold, neutral, boring, prison-wall black. It's like what happens to taste when your nose is all stuffed up. You know that all the flavors are muted and food suddenly all tastes like slop. This happens to words when I'm trying to capture that color experience as it is flashing in front of my brain. It runs away and hides.

My colors aren't related to my eyes.
I actually have a stronger color reaction to memory or talking than I do with reading. Reading will mute the colors (not completely, just lower the volume). I usually prefer audio books over paper ones. It is kind of weird since I have plenty of evidence that I'm a visual person (I'm an artist, I'm a CAD designer and engineer, I love doing spatial puzzles, all extremely visual occupations). When it comes to reading or any thing related to language, though, I would much rather experience it with my ears.

The colors blend in a really fun way.
Synesthesia is supposed to be consistent but I find that my letters can affect each other. I was trying to describe today why I had a hard time with the states Arizona and Arkansas. My company has a plant in Arkansas. The first time I saw the plant's name, it was listed as being in "AR". Now clearly either state could have been abbreviated AR, and I eventually learned that it was indeed Arkansas. So even after I KNEW what state the plant was in, and even more, it makes more sense that we'd have an automotive plant in the south rather than the west (Arizona is not really an automotive manufacturing hub), I still told someone else we had a plant in Arizona. Why is that? Well I think it's because R and Z are both blue and K turns it green. So the word Arizona starts off red (from the A) and has a very strong dark blue streak (from the R and the Z). But Arkansas has the red, then the blue, and then the K just kills it. K is usually a strong light brown, but I experience it in the name as green (probably because the blue and brown mix and form a green). So Arkansas is red-blue-green while Arizona is red-blue-blue. And "AR" is red-blue.

I doubt any of that would make sense if you don't have letter-color synesthesia but if you do have it, you totally get what I mean, right? Seriously, it is weird how the colors of letters completely screws with my memory sometimes (the AR abbreviation matching the state name for example).

Especially fun is when opposite colors try to blend.
So ... 3 specific examples of funny blending. Yellow and blue blend together to form an imaginary color. See the article on Wikipedia (… ). The first time I crossed my eyes over the yellow and blue squares on that page and I totally saw the blue/yellow impossible color, I was like OMG this color is so pretty. It is kind of like a yellow-gold-blue-purple, brilliant and grey at the same time. I can still see it in my head and I began to realize that when my synesthesia lines up a yellow letter or color next to a blue one (and it makes sense when you think about it, but the yellow has to come first, the blue kinda squishes the yellow if it is first) then I see the impossible yellow/blue color. It does not always have to turn green. It happens most often with numbers. I actually feel happy whenever I see the number 78 anywhere, even in a sequence of numbers. Those 2 numbers together have an additional synergy that you can't get from any other color combination.

On the other hand, the impossible color formed by blending red and green is gawdy and ackward. It is part of why I don't like the red/green at Christmas. It affects my enjoyment of fall as all the green leaves are turning red. The pair of colors blends together to form a kind of a yellow brownish purple. It is similar, but not the same as, the muddy brown color you get when you mix red and green paint. It's kind of eerie that yellow+blue is completely not green at all but red+green is close to the blended pigments. So I don't know why I don't like this combination, but it is not regal or pretty like yellow/blue. It's dirty and germy. Combinations that make red/green tend to feel kind of ick. This includes 34. Ew.

The last one is blue and red (like 84). This does form a purple as you'd expect, but it's almost like a 3D purple. It has way more depth than just what you'd expect. I like that combination as well. It's like a brooding, musing, fun purple.

So the world is pretty colorful. Sometimes it's too colorful. My colors tend to be like those of carnival balloons, the 16 basic colors of early computing (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, and so on), strings of colored Christmas lights. There's some aspects of that experience that make everything feel cluttered. I can't imagine those people who do literally see the colors of their letters and numbers. I think it'd give me a headache.
Well, I am not very good at projects that take a long time. Most of the hours in my week are taken up by 3 things: 1) work (yay! I have a job), 2) church/family/household, and 3) TV.

I can't touch the time spent on 1 & 2, obviously. Those things are important. The third item is tricky. When I say TV time, I don't mean all day every day from 5 pm to 11 or later. What's left over is usually 1 or 2 shows per weeknight, and this is my "wind down" time after work. If I turn off the TV, it doesn't immediately make me more productive at my hobbies. It actually might cause me to go to bed early. That might be nice, though, because if I go to bed early, I wake up earlier, and it's just a fact that I'm more productive in the mornings.

Anyway, I'm still working on it.

My two projects are my comic and my game. The comic has pretty much been constant in my intentions since 2004. I will one day complete it. I love that story and I want to tell it.

The game has been a big mystery bag since I first decided (in high school using BASIC as a programming language) that I wanted to make a game. I almost always go back to a Final Fantasy Tactics type of game. My biggest goal is to make sure there's nothing dragging about it. Most games where you have anything like levels, goals to reach, skills to achieve, battles to fight, anything like that require from you a commitment to playing it until you reach the goal. Make the goals too easy to reach and you get bored quickly. Make them too hard and you give up. Make them too few and there's no incentive to play. Make them too many and you feel cheap. On that note, here's my complaint ... games that are always dangling another short term goal in front of my nose so it never seems I can reach completion of anything, the biggest example is Tap Fish for iPod/iPhone. The goal is to breed all the breedable fish together to collect all of the hybrids. They keep making new breedable fish with exponentially increases the number of combinations. It became impossible to ever even get one species completed. I know they were doing this to please those people who want new content all the time but it actually made me quit playing the game.

So here's the formula for a goal-based game as I see it. First, make there be a lot of short, easy-to-achieve goals that offer a small gold star (figuratively speaking) for completion. Then, give some medium-sized milestones that break up the list of short goals so there's a sense of "Okay, I made it". Last, there has to be some ultimate goal or at least a bigger goal that is worthwhile and takes 20-40 (or more?) hours to reach. Usually that's accomplished by coupling the game with a story (Chrono Trigger or any of the Final Fantasy games).

Most importantly, "grinding" style leveling ... sucks.
I have seen other artists use photos for their work before. The truth is, unless you are insanely good (and possibly even if you are), your work will always look better with a reference. I tend to do stuff from my head and I've always thought it lacked quit a bit. Some of that is because of shortage of talent and because I went to engineering school instead of artist school. But, what I have learned is there is quite a bit of engineering that goes into fine art. You have to know what end result you want first, and second you need to find a way to get there.

And this is where we are now. I have a program called Inspire on my iPod touch. I created a painting of a kitten from a photo I found on Flickr. It immediately seemed to me of a higher caliber than any of my other digital art.

Kitten Pounce by KaleyObsidia

The problem here is I don't own rights to the source photo. And then the big idea comes. I'm also a photographer! Not a very good one, but maybe combining my mediocre photos with my mediocre artistic skills, I might be able to produce reasonable works that would gain popularity!

So here is my first try.

Bluebird Painting by KaleyObsidia(painting) Bird 2 by KaleyObsidia(photo)

I do like the painting better than the photo.

I'm going to try this for awhile and see what becomes of it.
Since 3APD no longer has a forum, I thought I'd offer one here. People rarely posted back in the day. The problem is you have to scroll down to get to it and you need to be a dA member to post on it.

What do you think?

Maybe when I start updating again regularly, I'll need to find a way to host my own.
There's a lot of back story about why I was so motivated to set this up, but I'll get to that later.

First, what was I hoping to accomplish? The successful PC alarm clock makes the best use out of existing software rather than having to install other stuff, does its thing without having to be "turned on" every evening before bed, and is "mute proof" (able to turn the system volume on).

The first item needed is NirCmd. The command "nircmd.exe mutesysvolume 0" will turn the volume on. I put nircmd.exe in a folder and created a new batch file with this line.

The second item needed is the ability to play an MP3 from the command line. In Windows, this can be pretty easy and it opens in the default player ... just type in the path to an MP3 file. I have iTunes, and opening an MP3 also copies it to the library (behavior that you can change, but I don't want to just for this), so I made a shortcut file to an MP3 file in my library, and then put the shortcut file in the same location as the batch file and nircmd.exe. Then I added the shortcut's filename to the batch file.

nircmd.exe mutesysvolume 0

Of course, there are many options and many ways to open a specific MP3, random MP3, or a playlist in various MP3 players. The shortcut worked well enough for me, so I kept it simple.

The third item needed is a scheduler. Windows comes with a task scheduler that's like Unix "cron" but ... ya know ... more Windows-ish.

You can schedule tasks through nircmd.exe, but if you go to program files, accessories, system tools, task scheduler, you can create a scheduled task to run the batch file every weekday morning at a specified time (or any of the other basic options for recurrence). Then just make sure that the computer has power enough to last through the night, and the next morning, the alarm will go off.

So... why? Well, I used to have problems waking up for work. It wasn't every day, it wasn't even very often, but it seems that no one else ever forgets to set their alarm clock and I was forgetting about twice a year. That was too often. So I became much more careful about remembering.

Then I got a Zaurus PDA with a pretty nifty alarm clock app on it. All I had to do was set it once and then make sure that the system's alarm volume wasn't muted and I was able to get multiple alarms every morning that were pretty much idiot-(me)-proof.

Well, I switched to a newer Zaurus PDA and it had some issues with its alarm scheduler. I got out of the habit of using the Zaurus alarm, and started to use the alarm on my cellphone, which was also pretty good. It would come on loudly even if the phone was on vibrate (which it usually is because of work).

Eventually I got my Sony Vaio UMPC (which I'm using right now), and I didn't use a PDA anymore because that was just silly. And I traded the cellphone for a newer one, and it's alarm program just sucks. If the phone's on vibrate, the alarm is on vibrate, and it only alarms for a short time and then it dies. It's annoying when it wakes you up, and annoying if you don't turn it off in time, and easy to miss because the phone's always on vibrate.

So ... the ideal solution is to make my Vaio a programmable alarm clock. And now I have done so. :) And there shall be much rejoicing. Of course, I'll keep setting my main alarm clock before I go to bed, but now I have the backup option that I need.
Facebook is an evil pyramid scheme. I can see the appeal but I'm bothered that so many of its applications want my address and cellphone number, and they don't tell you that until you are halfway through trying to use it for the first time.
  • Listening to: gentle humming of the filter in the turtle tank
Why is everyone so slow to realize when they're being inconsistent?

I think it is because if no one can function while being deliberately inconsistent, and that creates resistance against seeing the inconsistencies. I'm not saying that I'm consistent in everything I do, and there are probably many ways that I am inconsistent and unaware. But I do hope those inconsistencies will become visible to me at some point and I'll be able to correct them.

Here's one that's been bothering me lately. The whole America's Financial Sector Sucks issue that began early this week. And now the Executive Branch is trying to bail out the financial sector. But Congress is asking for safeguards against CEOs leaving those doomed companies with "golden parachutes" (why do we always have to use such awful cliches? A parachute made out of gold would cause devastating failure and death to the jumper).


I don't know where I stand on the "bail out" proposal. I'm not an investor and I don't have an economics degree. I think the best course of action is not to poll congressmen, but to poll economics professors and economics experts who are NOT ranking leaders in any major investment firm. Whatever the majority of them favor, that's what Congress should do. That's who will know the answer and who will collectively (not individually) have the least personal bias.

But the inconsistency that I'm talking about is the golden parachute language. If we do anything other than nothing, it's already the so-called golden parachute. It seems hard to believe that there can be blame with any specific individuals (if so, they would already be named). It's corporate policies that are causing the problems. All corporations are at least somewhat corrupt. It's how you do business. If you sold all of your items for what they were worth, you'd never make any money. You have to make a profit. Other businesses assume you are making a profit, but no one ever tells anyone what that profit is, how they accomplished that margin, and what they did to separate themselves from the competition. All of this is "a healthy corruption", I guess. So who's to say when this business scheme goes too far? It's hard to figure that out until damage starts to occur and by then, as history has shown with Enron and the like, it's already too late.

These businesses have already failed, right? If not, they wouldn't be needing government help. So we, taxpayers, are going to be supporting entities that are already to blame. It may or may not be a moral blame (tisk tisk, you should have known better), but at the very least it's a fact-of-life blame (natural selection, survival of the fittest, you just didn't cut it in the business world). Any action at all is handing them benefits that they don't deserve.

The only reason to do such an action is to cause a benefit to the market, the economy, and the nation as a whole. But still, it is an action that will unfairly benefit those people who made the problem. You can't avoid that if you do any bailing out at all.

It's also an issue of inconsistency when you say you respect the Secretary of the Treasury but then don't listen to his recommendations. This guy is beating this thing hard because he's sold out in his belief that it is the remedy we need. If you lawmakers respect him, then you'd respect his recommendations.

Again, I can't say that I respect him because I don't know him, but they do (or at least more than I do). I probably know less than the average American what the right plan should be, but at the very least the right course of action is about what will work for the nation, and the entire global economy, and not a bunch of emotionally driven inconsistencies and blame-pointing. We have a problem, we figure out what the most elegant solution to the problem is, we implement the fix. That's all there needs to be to it.

Stupid politics.

Makes me think of those Nextel commercials that pose the question ... "What if firemen ran government?" I'd sure like to see more firemen-types in government right now.
  • Listening to: the joyous sounds of automotive manufacturing

3APD updated!

Tue Sep 18, 2007, 9:10 AM
3APD homepage

Episode 002 - New is live! I still have to update the design of the homepage. I'm such a slacker.

Let me know what you think?

Hopefully on September 30th I'll upload the new version of Episode 003. I think Episode 004 will be the end of Jack's first arc so I will cut over to new content -- Episode 080! It's been awhile since the story progressed, eh?

  • Listening to: Couch Potato by Weird Al
  • Watching: House MD new season starts soon!
  • Eating: Pizza Wontons