Wednesday, December 03, 2008

left, right. center slides.
depth and flatness self-contest.
a world emerges.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

on the nature of questions and steps in the routine of advancement

up left right forward
up forward up left up right
up back up up up

Thursday, October 30, 2008





Sunday, September 28, 2008


"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state."

"What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it."

"Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change, I have not said that."

"Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that's with the energy independence that I've been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, that I worked on as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States."

"It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state ... these last couple of weeks ... it has been overwhelming to me that confirmation of the message that Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing and kind of that closed door, good old boy network that has been the Washington elite."

In Palinese, up to 5 distinctive thoughts are typically strung together and the english teachers be damned because...they instill a discipline, and discipline is not for freedom, and freedom to say that your words are juxtaposed and free from discipline and the liberty of that, the liberty of the american people, is to be able to communicate your preferred ideas by using a tent, a tent with a screen, and stuff the thoughts of relevance inside, and create a termination clause that reveals something of emotional regard regardless of the interior of the prior metaphor, for you know that you are not free unless you have the freedom to speak your own mind. Oh yeah, and Russia's right there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

A few months ago, TH and I started watching Battlestar Galactica. We're a few episodes into the third season, and I'm starting to thinking it might be the best written show I've watched on a regular basis. It used to be Deep Space Nine, then the X Files, then Lost (which many would argue about after a year of button-pushing). And I'm pretty picky with what TV programming I'm willing to watch, since I gave up "watching tv" in the traditional sit-down-and-see-what's-on sense about five years ago. But in terms of telling compelling stories with characters you believe in doing things you believe in, it is light-years beyond even the other excellent shows I mentioned. I'm been thinking about why, since I have a bad habit of analyzing everything. TH says I need to know everything about everything. But to answer why, I think it's in the mistakes. Real people with good intentions make some really bad decisions quite often. Why do we still fight wars, see genocide, let people starve, destroy the environment for cash, etc.? It's not that the old folks "in charge" are bad people. It's usually well-intentioned bad decisions. Miyazaki plays off this all the time in his films with the very ambiguous "villains." By identifying with the villains, you feel the pain of what they do far more than you would if they were your typical "bad guy." BG writers know this. Most of the time, the human protagonists are those doing the most horrid things. And it makes it personal, and it sucks you in. You want them to come out ok, but like the real world, they come out scratched and bruised. So despite space travel by "jumping," characters who consort with manipulative mental antagonists and dialogue that includes the word "frak," you just buy right into the world.

Monday, April 21, 2008

black and white

I hearby declare 6AM as "Insane Kittie Hour."

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Some shows are shows to be seen. This is one to watch in your head, with your imagination. An hour of abstract rhythm and timbre that heads right and then suddenly trips and turns left, adding and subtracting and building to all-out frenzies interspersed with just enough breathing room. Even with the complete lack of light, for me it's one of the most visually amazing acts to see, as the music feeds the imagination while guiding or pulling it on an hour's long journey.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

week of drawings

Here's the highlights of a fairly decent week of drawing. One afternoon in anatomy class and one evening in open life drawing. I haven't posted any of these in a while, and a massive pile of drawings has accumulated in the past few months. Staring down the pile as I was gearing up to go through them and toss and save, I realized how short-lived they will be, as they're on newsprint. Motivated by that thought, these will at least see the light of another day. :-)

These are drawings of the torso musculature from class. Excessive labeling to help my remember what is what.

This is a gesture I liked. I'm usually sloppy with them and use them as exercise more than anything else, but this has a nice stylization. It reminds me of some character icons from a film I was close to but did not work on.

And a few more from open life drawing.

It's always fun to find open life drawings that I like after the fact. I haven't been thinking about the drawings themselves much lately so much the act of drawing. Subtle exaggeration was my personal exercise for the evening.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Is creative software too precise?

I had a conversation last week with MM about the downsides of creative software and he brought up an interesting point. First, I'll note that he's coming from a creative background and has only recently added computer tools to his mix. He's been trying some painting software, and finds it sort of bland to work with because of its over-predictability and lack of interesting response.

We design creative software to give users exactly what they specify, but this isn't really how traditional media works. I'm going to use drawing as an example, since I draw frequently (MM used watercolor, which is more extreme).

Some drawings are destined to be rigid, precise studies that are created with the goal of realistically matching the appearance of the subject. Others are scribbles quickly jotted down to remember the shape of things. Some are refined, clean illustrations that communicate a concept. Others are loosely drawn figures where only a few important features are rendered with precision. It seems to me that the majority of today's artists see the latter as far more interesting. These approaches leave breathing room; that is, room for personal expression of the subject and greater freedom for the artist's style to come through. My own work, when I am at my strongest, feels like a dance. The drawing instrument is precise only when needed, and the way I partially relax my arm and hand comes through the rest of the time. This is different than how anyone else does it.

The media also comes into play here, and this is the big thing MM brought up. Every surface you create on, every marking tool you use, has a certain precision to it. More interestingly, it has a certain imprecision. The imprecision is your dance partner, in a way, as you create. This can be the paper, the pen, the conte, the water and pigment mix, or even the ricketiness of the easel on which you're working. These all introduce forms of imprecision. As a computer scientist, I'd be tempted to say that one of the benefits of software is that this can all be avoided. But is it good to avoid? As a creative person, your dance partner takes you in new directions and spawns new ideas as you work. An unintended line from a crease in the next sheet of paper might lead to part of an imaginary setting. A line that doesn't quite follow the actual subject's form can lead to an exaggeration study. Watercolor pigment that spreads in a particular way can lead to a style of mark--a symbol--for representing something with partial abstraction.

Does this mean that this imprecision is always good? No. Sometimes we need to avoid it. In my case, by working slowly and being careful. I'm always more careful with eyes, unless I don't have the time. Then they become quick, broad marks that leave most of the content to your imagination. In software, maybe it's good to look into creating imprecision in a controlled way. Something to put in place that can be turned down or off as desired. I've seen it in some features of 3D software, but it's missing all over the place in most of the tools we use day to day. Maybe it's hard to design in a way that is predictable and controllable. In the places I have seen it, it certainly is hard to work with.