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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Rain, rain...

...and more rain. It's been raining here a lot lately. Yesterday I had to reinforce the staples that hold up the plastic sheet above my desk which catches the water dripping out of the ceiling. The originals were starting to pull loose under the weight. Since it was supposed to rain all night tonight, I drained the water out before I left. I'd guess there was slightly more than a quart.

Paul Graham has posted a new essay on Great Hackers. Conversation-provoking at least, even if you don't agree with him. I think Why Nerds Are Unpopular is better, though, if only because it speaks more directly to my personal experience. I'm not a Great Hacker, but I was definitely a nerd.

So far I've only been drawing practice things -- perspective exercises, stick figures in action poses, simple portraits. I need to draw some interesting things I can post that people might enjoy looking at. Maybe that'll be my weekend project.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Mediocre Beer

I was explaining to an out-of-town friend how Fayetteville's new ban on smoking in restaurants had been the final nail in the coffin of the Brew Pub on Dickson Street. I told him what it boiled down to was that, when given choice between drinking good beer in a restaurant and going somewhere else to smoke or drinking mediocre beer in a bar and smoking at the same time, too many people chose the mediocre beer.

We agreed than much about the state of society can be summarized that way: too many people chose the mediocre beer.

That's my profound thought for the evening. Definitely going to try to track down some of the good stuff this weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Surplus and Scarcity

After about three weeks of use, I finally hit 1 MB in my Gmail account. Boy, that didn't take long at all! Assuming that it could eventually hit 1 MB per week as I use it more, that means I'm going to run out of space in only...19 years. Wow.

It kind of reminds me of older people I know who lived during the Depression. They grew up in a time of real scarcity, so they still tend to be very frugal and careful. I guess my generation is the same way with storage space and CPU cycles. Even though I know it's going to take years to fill up a gigabyte of email space, I still catch myself thinking, "I should really just trash this instead of archiving it in order to save space." The email in question was all of about 30 KB. After all, I've only got room for 33,000 messages that size!

A few very neat art programs I've either stumbled across or been pointed toward by friends are ArtStudio, ArtRage, and Virtual Figure Drawing Studio. All very neat and cheap for playing around with. And speaking of neat and cheap, Cheap Joe's is a pretty neat place.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Remembering Myself

Aside from the cheapness of drawing tools, the biggest surprise I've found with taking up drawing again is remembering how much of it I used to do. I get lots of "Oh, yeah, now I remember..." moments. Kinda like when you're going through old school papers, and it reminds you of learning something that you've totally forgotten about ever learning at all. My artistic, creative side was something I'd allowed to atrophy without even realizing it enough to miss that part of me.

After expressing my delight with the cheapness of drawing tools, I'm thinking about getting a Wacom tablet and a copy of Alias Sketchbook. Yeah, I know, this was supposed to be a non-computer hobby, but I see a difference between a hobby that uses computers and one that's about computers.

Besides, I'm a geek. Whaddya expect?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Cheap Hobbies

I'm taking Dan's advice from a week or two ago and trying to develop some more non-computer-related hobbies, so I've started drawing again.

I used to draw quite a bit when I was younger, but I got away from it around the time I started college. So I'm now making it a point to draw at least a little bit every day. I've also been shopping around for some supplies so I don't have to use a #2 pencil for everything. I've been really surprised by how inexpensive basic drawing supplies are. Of course that makes sense, since they're basically just pencils and erasers and charcoal and such, but I guess I've grown accustomed to the expense involved with computer stuff. Cheap hobbies are cool!

I'm also making plans to go back to Aikido this week for the first time in months, and I'm very much looking forward to getting back to it. I've really, really missed going. So much so that I've had at least one dream a month about doing Aikido all year.  How weird is that, huh?


Had a great post, but Blogger died right in the middle of typing it. I'll try to reproduce it tomorrow maybe. The new editing features may be slick, but the stability has sucked since the
upgrade. I haven't been able to edit or post anything without errors or problems in days. :-(

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Not so cool....

The AC unit in my office lasted less than a day. Oh, well -- it was old and moldy anyway. I stayed really late Tuesday night installing a new one, and so far it's working pretty well. I have to leave it running full blast all morning and freeze just so it'll remain bearable until 5 o'clock. I also feel like one of the guys in Apollo 13, since there's a very specific order we have to turn on all the ACs and fans upstairs in order to keep from throwing a breaker.

There are some perks to working at a small company, though. I'll bet programmers at IBM and Microsoft never get to install their own air conditioners!

The trip to Little Rock was fun except for the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. Good to see the family for a bit.

I've started planning my story for NaNoWriMo, although I confess that I still need to finish last year's story (Sorry, Joy! It's coming -- I promise!) November is really a bad month for me to try to do that sort of thing, what with my birthday, Thanksgiving, and usually some other stuff going on, but I'm giving it a shot anyway!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Stayin' Cool

I was finally able to pry open one of the windows in my office in order to install an AC unit, so hopefully I'll be able to stay nice and cool the rest of the summer. Or at least not sweltering hot. There were a couple of scary moments when I realized the entire outer wall was moving each time I hit the window frame. Not just shaking, but actually bowing outward. Fortunately, nothing collapsed, especially since I'm on the second floor. Can't wait until our new building is completed.

Observant readers will also notice that I now have a favicon associated with my blog. It's the little lizard next to the URL in the location bar. Yes, that's supposed to be a lizard. I only had 16x16 to work with, so gimme a break.

I'm also glad to report that I'm minus 8 lbs. as of this morning about three weeks into my weightloss program. Whoo hoo!

We're heading down to see our parents this weekend, coming back Monday night, so it should be a fun weekend.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Your Friendly Neighborhood Geckoman

We had a pretty good Independence Day here in the Ozarks. The high point of the holiday weekend was probably Spider-Man 2. If you haven't seen it yet, go soon. Now. Run. It's an awesome movie. Good enough that I'm very tempted to get the video game, which is high praise indeed. I won't argue very hard with those who've proclaimed it the best superhero movie ever.

Heather Marie and I were able to catch up on a little yardwork between thunderstorms. My office ceiling at work finally sprung a leak last week. The most disturbing part is that because of the way the leak suddenly developed, it was obvious that the water had been pooling for some time in the attic/crawl space, where the squirrels and possums and things nest. "Nasty" falls so far short of describing the water's condition as to become a compliment.

Weremoose hooked me up with a Gmail account last week (Thanks, Lance!) It's every bit as slick and fast as you've heard. The best part to me, though, is that the keyboard hotkeys are based on the commands in Pine. It's like going home again! None of the usual variations on my real name were available, but Geckoman was, and I'm ok with that.