Monday, June 27, 2011

Moved my store location

I moved my Amazon AStore Widget to a static page and linked to it in the pages link bar. Probably not the best idea but I wanted to inform the masses.

Of all the things I have done to try and earn somewhat of an income from this page the Astore has been by far the best. Granted the income is abysmal but I love reading through the logs and actually seeing that someone has bought a product that I have recommended. If you never knew I had a store please go check it out. The vendors are not my own nor do I set the prices or do any shipping, I guess I am more of an advertiser or "Affiliate" for the products. I get pennies on the dollar for purchases and fractions of pennies for clicks. However, I like knowing that I have either used, owned or can personally vouch for and recommend all the products contained within.

If you buy a product from my store and aren't satisfied, then you are doing something wrong.

Google's War on Nonsense -

Google's War on Nonsense -

Came across this on Reddit this morning, just getting around to posting it now. Rather re-posting it. I hate rehashing data but this needs to be read.

If you visit any sites that are perpetrators of this the only way one can send a clear message is to stop sending them traffic. When googles system is gamed then, in my eyes, everyone looses.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Etiquette of the Reach Around

Before anyone works themselves into a tizzy, this isn't about anyone. Just some random musings that I find myself wondering every so often. (FYI, tizzy was in the spell dictionary and did not come up for auto-correct)

Is it proper etiquette to comment back, or at least pay a visit to someones blog if they are subscribed to your blog?

Should someone be obligated to subscribe to your blog if you are subscribed to theirs? What if you regularly comment on their blog, do you feel like they decent thing for them to do is to subscribe to yours?

Have you ever deleted a subscription to someones blog solely because you felt that they were not reciprocating?

What are your pet peeves when reading through blog content? Is you a Grammar Nazi? Perhapps speling is you're hot button. For me it is a combination of seeing apologies for lack of updates, along with a lack of updates.

I started thinking about it because I just cleared up some subscriptions from people who have not updated in a while, then I started looking to see who ran those sites and if they ever commented on mine. The whole thing started a big chain reaction of digging through site records and comparing data, I do love data. Sometimes i feel like the only reason I have a blog is to watch the line graph move in Google Analytics.

PopCap is the Devil

This infuriates me.

Two Radeon 5770's X-fired with 3 monitors. Logitech G19 keyboard with G13 expansion pad. Top it all off with G500 Laser mouse with my own custom weights sitting on a Ripper XL mousepad.

What am I playing?

And my high score is shit.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Daggers daggers and more daggers

Ok, So I said I wanted to mold the dagger in Silicone RTV, well when I finally got around to reading the instructions it turns out it is mixed by weight. So I had to order a scale from Amazon.

2 weeks of scale research later and I find out I can't justify the cost for the scale that will suit my desires. So I settled on this cheap little guy in the mean time.

Down to business, This is my first time working with this stuff so I was abnormally nervous for some reason. I decided to just fuck it and jump in. I cracked open the bottles.

It is a 2 part system. The mix ratio is by weight and it is 10:1

I decided to use a clay wall since the piece was almost completely flat and a wood box would have just wasted way too much silicone. Also I didn't feel like going in the basement and cleaning up my shop.

Here is the scale weighing 10 grams of catalyst, which means I used 100 grams of silicone. Which actually worked out to fill the cavity perfectly.

I mixed it thoroughly, but very slowly. You are actually supposed to degass this stuff to remove air bubbles or use it in a pressure vessel. I don't own either, nor do I feel like building either tonight so I was doing my best not to get air in the mix. I also read about a "Long Pour" method but short of competitively pouring beer into someones mouth I have never tried it, but hey tonight seems to be a night of firsts.

After a successful "Long Pour" or high pour whichever you prefer. I noticed air bubbles on the top of the mold forming about a minute after I stopped, I guess it was air escaping from within. Seems good, I can deal with them on the top like that, its on the surface that I don't want.

You know, now that I am writing this I think I should have done a surface coat to avoid the air bubbles on the skin. Oh well, I will try it with the other blade. Oh yea, by the way, I was just doing one of the blades not the whole thing.

After I typed this up I went into the other room to check on it, It looks like it has a blue white marble swirl going on. I don't know if that is from improper mixing or just the way it cures. I hope it is the later. If anyone knows please clue me in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Transformers, my son, and my theater

OK, I am not going to lie. A few years ago, before the first Transformers movie was released I was super pumped for it. I was a TF fan all of my childhood life and into my adolescence. When I found out that they were making a live action movie I almost came in my pants. I stalked the websites that had news about for ages just literally vibrating with anticipation over what was sure to be a visually stunning masterpiece.

I have a son, I got him pumped for it to. It was all we talked about. I would ramble on about it to anyone who would listen and even those who weren’t! My boy and I would discuss for hours at a time the old series and speculate on which characters would be brought into the film. I found my old collection of the original series and let him watch so he could be well versed in all that which was cybertronian in nature.

I believe this to be one of the things that truly bonded us together and made us the inseparable pair we are now.

Getting to the point.

I have been an active member over at AVS Forum for quite a while. I, like many people who share my interests, love electronics and naturally found a sort of sanctum in that place. Though not everyone shared the same interests in many of the oddities that I did, they all loved audio and video and, like me, were obsessed with learning everything before venturing into something.

I spent months (before I even knew of the Transformers movie) pouring through the pages of guys who converted a garage or a basement into a full on theater with projectors and acoustically transparent screens with starfield ceilings and network controlled everythings. I was watering at the mouth and growing more and more jealous of the fact that I would never be able to afford any of it. Even the guys who were labeling their conversions as DIY still never did it themselves, and the amount of money they would pour into speakers and receivers seemed more than the value of my entire home.

Fast forward.

The commercial trailers had started playing for Transformers and my boy and I were almost drunk on anticipation. I was again, as always, looking through the pages of theaters when I saw someone had built their own subwoofer. It was actually pretty common, I had noticed it before but I don’t know what triggered it in me at this particular setting. I had a eureka moment, an epiphany of sorts. I started looking around at other threads to see how to build a screen, looking at cheap but quality projectors and finally just how can I build an entire set of speakers?

I was determined. I had a full basement. Unfinished. The house is older than sin. On one side the basement had a dirt floor in most places, on the other concrete. That was where my band had all the equipment stored. We were on our way out. Everyone was going their own way so I made a few calls and had everyone come get their belongings.

My plan was now in effect. But what exactly was my plan? I still can’t afford any of this.

I decided then, that I would have a working theater by the time Transformers was released on DVD (Blu ray and HD DVD were still duking it out and I was up in the air)

I had no idea how I was going to do it but I was GOING to do it. I wasn’t going to just read about it anymore. I was not going to be jealous anymore…

That day, I calculated many things, and I began quite a bit of research. I learned how to do it all. I wore myself down to a nub working and learning. Granted I am a bit technically inclined but I had no idea how to do any of this stuff.

  • I learned how to make my own speakers and made them. 

  • I learned how to make my own acoustically transparent screen and made one (3 actually)

My first try, before I realized a black frame was the right choice. I want to say this material was a fabric from Dazian called Celtic Cloth, but I honestly can not remember. It did the job of being AT and you could project an image onto it, but the colors were washed out and even as an inexperienced amateur with no frame of reference I could tell it was not a good picture. 

I did not take a picture of my second screen attempt but I tried a material used for patio furniture, the perforations were just slightly to big for my 720p projector and I was plagued with a moire pattern. The size I had purchased was just wide enough to cover my screen so angling it and trying again was not an option. 

My third, best and final screen. I custom made the frame with two supports going through it in 3rds, marking them to not interfere with the speaker placement. Painted the frame black. The material was a very very very difficult venture. I was obsessed with finding out what the professional screens were made of and using the same thing but buying it directly. Long story short, if you are interested in doing the same it will be a difficult venture, not because the material is hard to figure out but because of the bulk that it is sold in when you try to buy it from a supplier. To this day, I love this screen. 

  • I learned how to make an acoustic sound stage, how to model a room, how to set up a projector for cinemascope viewing and build a homemade anamorphic lens.

 I was going for a fancy design, like an eyeball, instead I ended up with something like a Klingon bird of prey

 bout' 2000 pounds of sand

This one here is not my screen, it is just some material strung up in between the 2x to see how it looked, but I didn't have any other photos of the very tippy front of the stage floor. See how it is supposed to look like an eye. In hindsight I wish I would have used a larger variation in wood sizes to really see the height difference.

This next set of shots shows the wall studding I did. Nothing real interesting here. 

Little knockout for the equipment rack. 

I may not have become the best at any of this, and I never finished my theater due to my health, but when Transformers came out on DVD, my son and I watched it in our own private theater. With no walls or furniture.

I would love to be able to get back down there and finish, but it has become difficult to do so lately. 

It all makes sense now!

Eric Allen Kramer IS Mr. Incredible!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Super Fancy Clay Oven Warmer Thingy

I have been working with Chavant NSP medium lately. It is oil based so it can be heated or baked without hardening. Anyone who has ever worked with it knows that if it is at room temperature, and that happens to be anything below 85-90 degrees, it can be a bit tough to work. The solution has always been to heat it up and soften it. Some people use an oven or a toaster oven, others stick a lamp over a box lined with aluminum foil. While others even just press the clay between their testicles and let body heat soften the clay. If you enjoy torture, you can simply work it in its' hardened state and enjoy arthritis for years to come.  The choice is yours.

This stuff isn't groundbreaking here, but it is mine so that makes it infinitely more interesting than anything you could be checking out from someone else.

 Sidenote: I go through 2 boxes of these every three weeks. My pee is actually just bitter coffee!
 I decided to try the mylar blankets they sell for emergency kits. The temp rose from about 78 to 95 in about 10 minutes.
 I had cut a flap on the side of the box so I could just reach in and remove the clay but it was difficult to pry the bottom of the flap open so I constructed a handle from armature wire.
 See the handle.
In the end I tried aluminum foil. I thought the mylar would outperform it because hell, it's Space Aged! But with the Aluminum covering the mylar the temp rose from about 78 to 106 in about 7 minutes.

The pictures are blurry because my hands were coated in the clay and I had touched the lens on my phone. I hadn't realized till I uploaded the and looked at them but I didn't feel like taking new pictures at that point. Also, I placed the aluminum over the mylar because I was too lazy to take the mylar off first. 

In case you can't tell, the lamp hole is actually cut into the bottom of the box and the whole thing is resting upside down on a piece of foil. There is a vent hole on the top side because I figured it should have one. The temp probe is there just because I was curious.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Hate Davis Cleveland

Davis Cleveland is terrible.

I mentioned before that I have a kid. Among other things that means that I have to watch quite a bit of the Disney channel. I actually don't mind it as much as I first thought I would, the shows are usually quite decent. As a bonus I get to be a bit of a pervert while ogling the young starlets parading around half dressed, right out in the open!

I think Disney hit comedic gold with the casting for one of their relatively new shows "Good Luck Charlie" seems everyone on that list is just pure comedy genius. Occasionally, I find myself watching it when nothing else is on and my son is no where to be found.

"Shake it Up" seemed to be on its way to becoming a similar gold mine, plus Bella Thorne and Zendaya are the cutest pair ever. Yet, every time this fuckwad enters the frame my blood boils. He plays one of the girls little brother, I honestly don't know which one because I can't stop cursing him while he is on screen. He is a no talent mule fucker who is ruining an otherwise decent show.

I would now normally take this opportunity to list alphabetically the things I despise about him, but since this list would be endless and continue on for eternity I will simply invite you to check out "Shake it Up" and see for yourself. A word of caution though, have a trash can and air freshener on hand because you will most likely begin projectile vomiting  and encounter a bout of violent dysentery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hei's Daggers Part 2

Here are some update pictures of the Darker than Black daggers that I am working on.

  • This is the first rough. I was trying to roll the blades out entirely of clay with a long strip of armature wire running down the middle and bending back down. It proved to be extremely difficult for my skill level.

  • I then did a little searching and found a website called Volpin Props, this guy was amazing. He actually did a set of Hei's daggers and instead of sculpting them out of clay he built the form up with illustration board and covered it in apoxie sculpt. So, considering this guy obviously knew what he was doing, I used that technique for the blades. It gave me the ability to get the hard edges I wanted.Here you can see I did some refining on the right side blade.

  •   Her is a full on shot of the progress with the new blade style. Still only the right side blade has any detail.

  •  Here is a shot as I stand right now. I put some detail into the left blade and reworked some areas in the handle. Note that the blades are not attached to the handle, I just have it resting on top of them.

I believe I mentioned this already but I am not simply making an exact replica of what Hei uses. I am making a slightly more elaborate handle. I have not been commissioned to make this, I just thought it would be cool to have so I went for it.

When I am done with the sculpt I will make a mold in RTV silicone and then make resin casts of the final product followed by some sanding to really bring out the hard edge look I want and finish it off with some airbrushing.

Stay tuned.

How many blogs are too many?

I know some of you operate two blogs. I believe some of you have even more. I imagine many people operate a multitude of pages that cover a wide variety of subjects.

But how many is too many?

When you choose to run more than one  page, do you prefer to stick with the same blogging service? Or would you rather expand to a wider audience and make a second page on Tumblr if your first is on Blogger?

If that is the case, would you just re-blog all the same topics?

I know there are a multitude of platforms out there for which we can share our views. To me it seems a bit restrictive to only use one to convey everything. On the other hand, is it really proper web etiquette to flood every service with the same content? I know it doesn't stop most people but we are not them.

I would really like to hear from people, not just my readers, about how many pages (blogs) they operate and on how many services. How do you keep readers flowing to several when it seems a divine task to get them to come to just one? I am not looking for blogging tips, there are plenty of pages for that, plus I won't follow them anyway. I just kinda want to hear stories.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Online dating is a cespool of desperation

I signed up on a few weeks back with the intention of trolling the shit out of a few pathetic Forever Alones' in my area. You know what I learned?

I don't have to.

These women are sad.

story time

I am often considered soulless by those who are around me. They make these claims about me because I can easily detach myself from emotion and make decisions based purely on reason. I actually have gotten so used to it that I rarely display any emotion at all towards any living person including my spouse. Breakups, death, loss of important items, deadlines, dangerous scenarios, none of these have any effect on me. I do allow myself to get worked up regarding my son but I can easily rationalize that with the claim that he is 50% myself.

As an example of just how cold and rational I can be, I was in boot camp at age 18 for only 2 days when my mother died. I am an only child raised by my mother and I never knew my father. I have no other family. I never shed a tear over it. I even asked if I could stay and finish training (they were sending me back home to deal with the loss and the funeral). I gained some level of fame during boot camp for that. Perhaps it was more infamy though, you generally don't want the instructors to know who you are. While I was home, I planned my mothers funeral, 18 years old, by myself, now homeless (we were always poor and were going through a bankruptcy) without shedding a tear or feeling any overwhelming emotions. 

The reason I retell this now is because I have become somewhat like a machine. I can deliver the truth to anyone with absolutely no regard for feelings or consequences. I will speak exactly what is on my mind with absolutely no modification, save for a little grammar and clarity adjustment. I know many people who claim that they always speak their minds but when push comes to shove they will either censor themselves or just intentionally say things for shock value that they don't even believe. Accordingly you can imagine I am not very popular.

You may be asking still what the point of all this is... well, after just a few days perusing the profiles on POF, the overwhelming sense of desperation emanating from some of these cankled beasts is so bad that even I can't bring myself to ridicule them.

Of course, that isn't true. I could. That wouldn't be much of an article now would it? I bet you can find my profile if you try. Just look for the one oozing sincerity, ....and hate. 

End of the X-Men

Doing a wee bit of research this morning for an upcoming article I am working on when I happen to come across this article.

The Uncanny X-Men Ends!!!!

Marvel has reportedly claimed that in October The Uncanny X-Men will conclude with issue #544. The series began in 1963 under the title X-Men and in 1980 changed to Uncanny X-Men with issue #142.

Fond memories.

I am sure the X-Men will go on, I believe there are still plenty of other titles but this was the original. Whether you were a fan or not you can't help but take a moments pause at the end of this era.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tron 3

I admit, I have been a little negligent in my duties. Between learning to art and trying to stay alive without an income I guess I got a little sidetracked. Therefore, for this bit of information I will have to point you to another blog.

Screen Rant Tron 3

Her are a few excerpts from the article written by Sandy Schaefer:

"Disney decided to begin moving forward with a Legacy sequel earlier this year and has now recruited a new screenwriter to pen another adventure in “The Grid” – even though Legacy co-writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis were said to have begun work on the TRON 3 screenplay over a year ago.

"According to Heat Vision, Hororwitz and Kitsis were all set to return for TRON 3 – but are currently too busy with their upcoming fairy tale TV series, Once Upon a Time. So Disney has gone ahead and instead hired on screenwriter David Digilio, whose sole feature-length film writing credit to date was the company’s 2006 survival drama, Eight Below. Digilio also recently sold a pitch for the post-apocalyptic TV series Last H.O.P.E. to Showtime.

"THR also speculates that part of the reason Disney is moving ahead so slowly with TRON 3 is so it can wait and see how popular its animated TRON: Uprising TV series turns out to be. While the success of the show shouldn’t make or break the possibility of another live-action TRON movie being made, its failure would definitely give studio heads all the more reason to pause and reconsider just how much interest the general population has in the TRON universe."

Which reminds me, TRON: Uprising will show as a 10-part micro-series this fall on Disney XD, and will begin airing regularly during the summer of 2012. Don't forget about that if you really are interested in making number 3 a reality. I am and I almost forgot...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Daggers and Clay

I decided to take a small break from drawing. I was looking through some online knife vendors and noticed that I didn't see anything resembling Hei's daggers from Darker than Black. I guess it isn't that surprising, the split blade design on an actual combat knife was probably one of the worst design choices ever. Since this is just anime fantasy though, nothing is stopping me from creating my own.

I am no where near done, but I commented on someone else's page about it and thought it may be a good idea to post a picture. 

I am working with NSP Chavant and given that it is about a hundred degrees here I can practically use it at room temperature. I hope to make a couple molds out of it, perhaps one in ultracal and one in silicone rtv. I will complete the process by casting it in a plastic resin, which will make the finished prop about as functional as a real split blade dagger.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aperture Laboratories

So on a whim the other day I decided to bust out my airbrush and make myself a new hat.

I am now an employee of the Aperture Laboratories Enrichment Center Research and Testing Facility.

I cut the stencil out of bristol board and used a balloon to keep the side of the hat flat while I worked. I do need to go back over the edges with a blade to clean them up and the hat could use a de-linting.

Someone did ask me why it wasn't on the front.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Some ink and colors

Original pencil by ebitempura96 The character is named Sasha and she is an original Fan creation for the Gunslinger Girl universe. I did the ink and color.
This next one had the original pencil work done by thegasmaster with the ink and color done by me. This is a fan rendition of the character Triela from Gunslinger Girl.

I have just kind of been picking up pencils from random places and doing the ink and color work on them for practice. I then email or PM the original artist the finished work and if they like it I add it to my dA portfolio. I really don't have a motive for doing it other than to get better. Generally if you give credit to the original artist they are fine with it. I know a few who aren't cool with it which is why I send it to the artist first.

Actually, the first one, Sasha, the artist seemed to like it enough that he has asked me to do a few more for him, but then I did not hear from him again.

On a related note, Someone went out of their way to extend a courteous hand to me so I read over so stories that they posted and started doing some sketch panel work for them. even if it comes out terrible it should help me get the needed practice in drawing, scene translation and panel layout.

Other than keeping excessively busy with practicing my drawings I have been getting more and more into anime. I never really thought it would be my thing until I watched my very first series. Requiem for the Phantom or Phantom of Inferno, I was blown away by the depth of the story. Perhaps it is common knowledge to all manga and anime fans but when I came to the realization of the freedom these shows have in their ability to dive into a story I felt like I had finally found my place among entertainment. It struck me as if they were not held back by the same restrictive taboos that hollywood filmmakers are. They can tell any story they want however they want, and that makes a very good medium for artists to express with.

I loved Phantom. I couldn't stop watching. From there I started with Gunslinger Girl, again I was hooked. I moved onto Darker than Black of which I just finished watching everything up to the last episode of Gemini of the meteor (which left me wanting a bit more as well as a bit of a feeling that the subs were a bit of a bad translation, I don't know, something just felt off about the whole thing) I sure do love me some Yin.

I want to watch Noir next. From what I understand it should be right up my alley.

Friday, June 3, 2011