Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is this the end of the Fizzle & Pop blog?

Yes!

And no!

I'm done with Blogger, but I'm not done blogging.

If you would like to continue to follow along and keep up with what's happening in my life, click over to my brand new and ever changing site at www.fizzleandpop.com. There's a blog there, and more.

The only thing missing is my archive.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Video Game : Game of the Month

Bioshock for the XBox 360. I've only been able to play it twice since getting it what with Real Life™ and all, but the only reason this wouldn't be my GOTM would be if it were to end in an hour. I don't think that's likely. So there you are.



Last night I fought two Big Daddies and lost track of the time. They are a bitch to kill. Stayed up too late. I'm sleepy. So. Little Sisters. Harvest them or cure them? I'm curing them this time around. I figure I'll harvest them next time I play through the game and see what happens. Because I know I'll be playing through again. The last game I felt this driven to play to completion was "The Darkness," and before that it was "Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay." This is a beautiful game, it controls well, and it's from the people that created "System Shock 1 & 2." The only beef I have so far is the physics are occasionally wonky. If you have a 360 and enjoy fps games with a bit of an edge, get it.

Setting a splicer on fire and then electrocuting him when he jumps in the water is fun, but using telekinesis to bludgeon a splicer to death with a nearby corpse is even more fun.

...

So, I haven't posted in awhile. Technically there's one post on my Vox site that didn't made it over here. It was short though, so here it is:

------
Woot's Shirt Derby : Results
Aug 10, 2007

None of my three designs this week that I actually put time and thought into came close to my one, half-assed, last minute design last week. The best scoring one wasn't even a tenth of the final winning vote total.

The hot dog was the highest with 47, followed by the bones with 34 and brining up the rear is the penguin with a measly 24 votes.

I've decided that I have no idea what people want. For the next derby, whatever the topic I'm making a zombie fit. Fuck it.
------

Wouldn't you know it? The following derby theme was "Superhero" which I didn't participate in because of 'Marvel Zombies.' The first two weeks of the derby were filled with people accusing other people of stealing ideas. No way was I going to touch it. But last Friday the theme was Maps, so I drew up this design:



and posted it on Friday around 1 pm. By 5 pm I was in second place with close to 100 votes. However the original design didn't have the title on the shirt and after a few comments from people who didn't feel people seeing them in the shirt would "get it" – and Derek agreeing – I realized I had to do a design tweak. I made the change, resubmitted it and lost all my votes. By Friday night, however I was back up to 2nd place and remained there through the weekend. On Monday morning I started slipping behind, and now it looks like I'll be finishing in sixth. But I did get over 300 votes, so yay zombies! We'll see what next week brings.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Randomness : Pointless Invention

Found in the tubes: Automatic Candle Snuffer

I don't know which baffles me more: the idea of anyone needing an automatic candle snuffer, or the first two "illustrations" that accompany the patent. So you don't have to follow the link, and so I can fill up some space, here they are with their explanation text:



FIGURE 1

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a typical prior art candle holder. Candles may be used to provide light as well as atmosphere or mood. While it is possible to blow a candle flame out, it is not generally desirable to do so, as it may interrupt a romantic atmosphere and hinder the mood.



FIGURE 2

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the present invention in use. The device of the present invention includes a glass housing having a digital timer device attached thereto. While the timer is running it magnetizes a plate on the timer that holds the lid in the open position. When the designated time has expired, the magnetic field is terminated and the lid swings closed, sealing the housing from the oxygen supply.

My notes and observations:

(Fig. 1)
  • The guy has to pee, and his chest is chilly.
  • Has the romantic atmosphere ever been interrupted or the mood been hindered by blowing out a candle? If anything, it's just the first puff of the evening.
  • This is romantic?
  • Way to blow flame at your lady friend.
  • The blanket has been cut.
  • God the colors on that porn set are horrible.
  • What is up with her feet?
  • He really, really has to pee.
  • Even though they are both "users" (22), he's the one with the DTs.
  • Is that light blue shape a throw rug, beanbag chair or an egg?

(Fig. 2)
  • There is no #3 in the list of "reference numerals" on the page, and the different sized font and different arrow lead me to believe it was already part of the picture. Do I want someone too lazy to white that out having control over fire in my house?
  • I believe her neck is broken. He better hope they're in Vegas.
  • His pants are gone.
  • So is the blanket.
  • And his pecker.
  • You would think he'd be concerned about the whole "missing pecker" thing, but he's just smiling.
  • Does the Family Circus know this goes on in their border when they aren't around?

The "invention"
  • Where is the need for this product? "I have no mouth yet I must blow out a candle"?
  • Do you ever really need to decide in advance that a candle has to be put out in 3 minutes, 22 seconds? Who plans for that kind of thing?
  • (From Fig. 3 not shown) "After that time has expired, the timer shuts off and gravity shuts the lid, releasing it down over the opening of the tube, blocking the opening and suffocating the flame of the candle." Or... it continues to stand due to residual magnetism, or the fact that it's balanced.
  • If it does fall, you better hope it's a snug fit. Looking at the other Figures, I'm thinking there's a good chance of gaps.
  • It's ugly as sin.
  • Why is it rectangular rather than a tube?
  • WHO NEEDS THIS?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Woot.Shirts : Three designs...

Well, four really, but I'm only calling attention to three. I'm not that fond of the fourth. Neither is anyone else, judging by the votes. The theme this week is "Heat." The limitations mainly are to stay within six colors, avoid gradients, and no "Woot" related shirts.



This was my first entry. It didn't quite turn out as well as I hoped. Nobody to blame but myself. Moving on...



The second entry so far is doing better than the first. Still not blazing up the ranks, but what can I do? Suck less I guess.



My last entry. Too early to tell how this one will do. I only saw two other penguin related designs after I got this idea, and the one closest in concept is nowhere close to the same in execution. It's also above 130 votes, whereas mines... not.

I said it before, but I really mean it this time. They need to not allow voting until after the submission deadline. In spite of what they think, I do believe that some people vote for the lead designs just so they can back a "winner." Allow submissions through noon on Tuesday and voting from then until noon on Thursday. But whatever. It's not my contest.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Shameless Plug : Skull Totes

I just put up a new design for a tote bag at my Cafe Press store:



It's $14.99 and you can get to it by following this link or clicking the picture.

I had a companion piece that would have been with it as well, however it was flagged for looking too much like Mickey Mouse, I guess. And yes, it does a bit:



However I'm not passing it off as "he-who-shall-not-be-named," I never even mentioned the "D" word, and I think it's different enough to be safe from lawsuit. They disagree, I'm not a lawyer and there we are. I do understand. It's hard to be willing to stand up to a gigantic corporation that has managed to extend the copyright laws 11 times to keep their flagship icon from falling into the public domain. Never mind that it was that same public domain that they raped to build their empire. (For more on this, I recommend going here.) Maybe I'll make a skull bunny.

I do have another design in the works that will look quite different. No, not a skull bunny. I'll let you know when it's up.

The whole reason I'm doing designs for tote bags right now is because I'm tired of bringing my stuff to work in plastic grocery bags. I figured, if I'm going to buy a tote bag, I may as well get one that has my art on it. The reason I've chosen to do skulls is because I like 'em. While this design appeals to me, it's not quite what I'm after. The main reason it's gone up is because Heather likes it and wants it. If at least three more people want it that'll pay for my store for a month. Wheee!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Podcast + Stuff : This one's better than usual.

At least I think so. Probably because it's not just me and Derek yammering. Check it out:



--- Stuff ---

As a side note, the crazy number of hits I'd been getting for awhile now have apparently regained sanity and shrugged out of the wrap-around jackets. I'm back to around 30 hits a day. So... I post more and I get less traffic. Sure. Why not?

My Woot shirt is holding steady at 55 votes. 602 votes more and I could be in the lead, provided the current lead design didn't get more votes. Bah-fooey. Maybe next time.

I had a dream that Derek might appreciate. I was going on a road trip the next day and I and a couple of guys I don't know were packing up a car I've never seen in preparation. We had a dog that I don't own in a box in the front seat and a cat somewhere else in the car. One of the guys was putting a bird in a can and was about to wedge it in with the dog when I suggested that we shouldn't put the bird in the car just yet. The cat would be able to get him. The guy pointed out the bird was in a can, but I said the cat was pretty smart. Then the dog escaped from his box and was running loose. We were trying to catch him because we didn't want him to get into traffic, whereupon reality shifted and all dogs looked exactly like like people, only with wild hair, wide eyes and big smiles. That meant we were chasing this dog/guy around the yard as he flailed his arms about and woofed. I thought to myself, "It's a good thing all dogs look like this guy, or people watching might think we are trying to catch a retarded guy." I finally caught him by leaning out with my arms extended and said, "C'mere! Gimme a hug!" and he did. So I guess my subconscious for the evening had decided that cats were smart enough to de-can birds and dogs are retarded.

I can't imagine why I'm losing visitors.

Happy hump day! Go get'cha some!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Illustration Friday : "Moon"

Back around October of 2003, I agreed to try to make a video of a song by Mark Maynard's band Monkey Power Trio. Lacking enough knowledge in animation programs it was doomed to failure. I had access to Flash; I just didn't know how to use it. I still don't, however I'm in the process of learning. No promises, but I may be able to finish the video sometime this year.

I bring this up because the theme for Illustration Friday, this week, coincides with the name of the song: "Someday we'll reach the moon."


Click for larger view.


This is a composite of the Flash interface and a few of the elements that I illustrated before realizing I had no idea what to do next. The concept behind the video was, it would look like one of those toys that you push a button on and the music plays while the shapes move behind a textured screen. Even though this isn't a brand-new illustration, it IS the first time I've shown it to anyone who wasn't involved in the creation process, or close to me.

If you would like to listen to the song, head here: The Monkey Power Trio's 1999 album 'Chasing Monsters With Our Love'.

Someday I'll finish that animation. Someday. Someday.

I really think the idea behind the Monkey Power Trio is awesome. They are a group of friends who get together once a year, play music for a few hours and then turn it into an actual vinyl LP. They don't practice together at any other point during the year, and yes, it shows. Yet they still manage turn turn out some interesting songs. They plan to do this every year until they die. All of their music is also available at their site as free MP3s.

---

About the Shirt.Woot Derby... Maybe next time, and then only if they revamp how voting is done. As it is now voting is shown in real-time; the more votes an image has, the larger its icon is; "New Hotness" pretty much reflects the top five images because that's all anyone seems to be voting on; the lead image is already up to 422 votes; it's pointless to enter after the first day. Unless they change the rules, the only strategy I can think of to have a chance of winning is to do up a bunch of random designs ahead of time and then hope I can make one fit the topic on Friday at noon. The currently winning design wasn't the first design submitted, but I know it was there within 4 hours of start time. And in the forum, the creator said it was a design he made years ago in high school.

I'll keep you informed.

Ah, heck, I made a design anyway. Voting be damned. Still, I do hope they fix it so it's less discouraging.



If you are a customer of Woot (meaning you've bought anything from them) and would like to see this design made into a shirt, click on the picture to be taken to where you can vote. You'll need to be logged in, however.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More Babble : It's Friday.

But you already knew that didn't you? Look at you, sitting there all smug in your daily knowledge. Well bask in it for now pal, because some day, perhaps soon, you're going to find yourself unaware of what day it is, and then who'll be smug? That's right. Me. I will be. Because I'll know the day that you don't on the day that you do... don't... know. The day. Okay, fine. It'll be a Tuesday following a holiday. I just can't keep things from you.

Enough of that. My kick-ass zombie book arrived today. It was pricey after the conversion from British pounds to "real money," but I think it was worth it. If he makes more I'll buy them. I'm stupid like that. If you don't know what book I'm talking about click here.

I was also interested in checking out the quality of work they do at lulu.com. I must say, not bad at all. The paper seems to be good quality, the inks are nice and sharp and the cover is shiny. Looking at the binding on-edge, it looks sturdy. Better than some other books I've purchased lately. I'm thinking once again about putting together a book of my own. If I did, would you buy it? I'll possibly return to an idea for a "kids book" that's not really for kids. Hmmm.

Oh, and Woot.com has started up a shirt-of-the-day site that runs similar to their item-of-the-day main site. They've also started a contest of sorts that runs kinda like Illustration Friday, only you can win money if you rock hard enough. They suggest a topic on Friday at noon and you have until noon on Wednesday to submit an idea. However if you wait that long you will not likely win. Voting closes on Thursday at noon and the winning shirt goes on sale Friday. Only people who have purchased something from Woot are allowed to vote to keep people from stuffing the ballot. Full rules are here. The winner gets $200 plus $2 per shirt that sells after the first day. The fist topic is "one." I need an idea... just one idea... hmmmmm.... ONE FREAKIN' IDEA! heh. I'll let you know if I have anything by Monday. Derek's already working on his.

Speaking of Illustration Friday, this week's topic is "Moon". I'm pretty sure I can swing that one. So you have that to look forward to next week.

Enjoy your weekend! Get out, live a little. Do one thing that you never thought you would ever do and then tell me about it on Monday.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Short Story : The toilet seat and the battle of the sexes.

This didn't come up in my household recently; it was mentioned in an episode #4 of 'Man & Wife'. Scoop left the toilet seat up once and his daughter fell in. Shanda and his daughter were both angry at him for quite some time over that. That story got me thinking about my own "battle of the toilet seat" from early in my teenage years.

My dad remarried when I was 15, and his new wife had a daughter one year younger than me. My dad and I moved into their house, and the daughter and I shared a common bathroom. Up until this point I had never had to share a bathroom with a female. I soon learned all about skivvies and whatnot left over the curtain rack, the wide variety of primping materials scattered around the sink, not to use her blow dryer and to be very careful around the curling iron. I also learned that women aren't too keen on you leaving the toilet seat up after having a wizz. In the typical teenage boy way, I pretty much ignored her complaints until one day when she had one dunk in the ti-d-bol too many. There were screams and death threats that day. Her mom was on her side, and my dad suggested that I make an effort to be more mindful thereafter. So I learned to reflexively put the seat down whenever I was done with the bathroom and it's stuck to this day.

However...

Here's the question I have. If it's "not that hard" to learn to put the toilet seat down when you finish, and "any moron can do it," then why the fuck is so hard to learn to look at the seat before you start? It seems to me that's a skill that everyone should develop, just in case you find yourself in a situation where... oh, I don't know... someone else left the seat up? I do know this, in all the years that I shared a bathroom with just guys, I only fell in the freakin' toilet one time, and that was because I was tired and my eyes were on the fuzzy side. It woke me up quick and reinforced the notion to look before you squat.

So guys, learn to put the seat down when you're done. It's the polite thing to do.

But ladies, learn to look where you're planting your butt, just in case.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Random Babble : It's hump day...

Hump day. That's an expression that can certainly cause a mind to wander. Especially one like mine. You know; dirty and twisted. "Happy Hump Day!" I wonder if anyone ever wished Quasimodo a happy hump day? Or bunnies. Then again, every day is a happy hump day for bunnies. Those that can get some cotton tail that is. Bunnies strapped down in science labs... not so much. "Hey bunny! I know your brain's exposed and there are needles poking into it, but guess what? It's Wednesday! Happy hump day little fellah!" We zoom in to focus on a tear rolling from an eye of the trussed up bunny as he remembers back to other, far happier hump days. Days with lots of cotton tail and hopping down the bunny trail. Until the next jolt of electricity courses through the needles in his brain and the memories vanish in a flurry of twitching. Science! Building a better tomorrow, one zapped bunny at a time.

So here we are. The regular work week is half over. We are past the hump*. We are rolling our way down the shady side of the hump. Look at us roll toward the shallow valley that is the weekend where we can spend two glorious days before having to slog our way back up the next hump. Avoid the rocks on the way down.

And to think, I almost didn't post today.

---

Derek bought a remote controlled helicopter from Woot a week or so back and it arrived today. He was messing about with it at lunch, trying to get it to lift off. It looked a bit like this:



Only without the water and Greenpeace-nics. At first it fell over a lot, then it just spun around in a clockwise circle making a noise not too unlike that of my old ford station wagon when the ignition wouldn't catch. At one point it lifted off long enough to run smack into a door. It's a shame, because it's cute as heck. It's about the size of my hand. I would say "your hand" but how would I know how big your hand is? I hope he gets it figured out. It looks like it could be fun.

---

I almost forgot, the podcast is up at Derek's site. You can listen to it by clicking here. I actually participate somewhat this time. It's a Christmas miracle in July.

---
*Obviously this doesn't apply to those of you who work irregular weeks, or don't work at all. You know who you are.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Videogame : Game of the week* - "Triangles"

Arrrgh... my brain... it hurts.


Click this link to play "Triangles".


If that's a bit too much crazy in a small space, try this one: Shuffle. So far I've made it through three games before losing by one round. If you really like it then you can save the .swf file to play it offline. If you have questions about how to play a .swf file on your computer, ask and I'll answer.

*Disclaimer: Actual length of a week may vary, depending on if I remember to find something for the following week. In extreme cases of forgetfulness a week could last as much as a year.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Photoshop Tutorial : A Jing video of the "Gear" tutorial with sound and stuff.

I didn't play around with Jing as much as I'd planned to. Instead I got distracted by organizing the basement and throwing crap out. However, I did make enough time to rework the gear tutorial so that you can at least see and hear what it is that I'm doing. I made the recording area about twice as wide as the first one so that you could see my tools palette and layers palette. Unfortunately, since there's no way to scale down the dimensions of a Jing video at this time, that means it's pretty big. If you give the video a listen – it's pretty short at 3 minutes 31 seconds – you'll get to hear me appeal to God for technical assistance. All was not roses in Jing video land. Since it is such a wide video (992 px) I'm going to just provide a link to it, rather than embed it on the page:

PSCS2 Tutorial 2 : Vector Gears with Sound


I checked the box that says it will add a download link, however it doesn't look to me like that's working.

Have a great week.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Humor : Saturday Morning Cartoons.

In case you didn't notice, there was no post on Friday. You see, there was this ball. I had it for awhile. I was even on it for a bit. But then I dropped it. I have no idea where it rolled. Hopefully I'll find it by Monday.

To make up for the lost ball, I offer you a Saturday post.

Those of you around my age will likely remember the best thing in the world about Saturday mornings when you were a kid. Cartoons! Around my part of the world they started around 7 a.m. and terminated at noon, and that was all the damned cartoons you were likely to see for a week. What's worse is all three broadcast channels showed their cartoons at the same time, so you had to be willing to miss out on a show you liked to find out how another show was. There was no internet in those days. I sound so old when I say things like that, yet I can't stop myslef. No, you had TV Guide if you were lucky. Flip the channels if you weren't. No wonder we shoplifted and set shit on fire in our down time.

Well, the world has changed. Some of it hasn't been for the better. But there are a crapload more cartoons out there, so it isn't all bad.

I'm going to change the topic now and share the news that the Democracy Player program is almost at version 1.0 and it's name has been changed to Miro. Basically, Miro is a way to collect, watch and share web TV using bittorrent. Right now there are 1708 channels available, and it's a free, open-source project, so there's nothing you have to pay for. Much like cable TV, or satellite, a lot of it isn't worth watching. Some is though.

One channel I'm enjoying is Channel Frederator. It collects animation from everywhere, and even though I've only watched the latest episode – the rest are downloading – it was fantastic. I highly recommend it, although some of it's not suitable for children.

Another one that I'm getting a kick out of, probably because I'm bit of a pervert, is This or That!; a burlesque game show. This one's absolutely not for the kids. I've only seen two episodes so far, so my opinion might change. But I doubt it. The Price Is Right, it isn't.

One final adult oriented show I also recommend is Man and Wife. Again, I've only watched one episode so far, but I laughed at least five times during the 11 minutes it lasted. That's a pretty good laugh-to-minute ratio. Also, much like 'This or That!', it's not for the prudish.

What's my point? Hell if I know. Give Miro a try. Look around. Who knows what you'll find. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tutorial : Taking 'Jing' for a spin.

No, no Illustration Friday this week. Instead I'm testing out a program that, if it works as well as it seems to, should make my tutorials better than they've been. However they aren't likely to be available to nearly as large an audience as they are at YouTube.

The program I'm trying is 'Jing' :Home Site: and so far it works pretty nice. It saves videos as Flash files, and the size of the 1 minute 12 second demo that I made is only 1.3 MB. Also, it remains as crisp as it was on my screen. This time around I didn't add any audio to the movie. Next movie I will. It'll be interesting to see what it does to the file size.

Here's the video so you can see for yourself how it looks:



Tonight or tomorrow night I'll do this tutorial again, only with sound so I can explain what I'm doing outside the frame.

So far I really like this program. My only concern is that it's currently "not exactly" a public beta and, straight from their home page, "It’s something we want to give you, along with some online media hosting, to see how you use it. The project will eventually turn into something else." What that something else is, and how much it'll cost, I don't know. If this proves to be as useful to me as I think it will, it'll really suck to lose it.

Oh, and videos are limited to five minutes, and without the ability to edit that could be problematic. And, if I record a full screen it won't reduce it, so... We'll see. I'll play with it more this weekend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Art & Podcast : Show announcement and I show off something old.

This is the reminder that the latest episode of the 'Son of Cheese Half-Hour Power Hour' is up and you can hear it by clicking this button:



A bit ago I was told by Derek that we have a new fan. Go us.

Now on to the something old. I don't know how many long-time readers I have, but quite some time ago I talked about a comic that I was doing for Mark Maynard and his wife Linette's 'zine 'Crimewave'. The issue was delayed for quite awhile due to varying circumstances.

But good news! The next issue has been put together and will be heading into production.

The bad news is my comic won't be with it.

So, that being the case, I've decided to post it here rather than just let it vanish. To be able to read it, you'll need to click the image.



Print quality version here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Podcast : Woo hoo!


Give it a second to load...

Why I posted this will make more sense after (if) you listen to tomorrow's podcast. Don't worry, I'll post a reminder link when it's up.

Original image found here: b3ta

---

Unrelated: On the way in to work today, I was stopped downtown on Colorado Ave. and Cascade, just waiting for the light to change. I'd just missed it. To pass the time I looked out my passenger window as I tend to do. I saw a guy who looked to be in his early 20s leaning with his head cradled in his folded arms against a parking meter, sobbing. Since I'd just missed the light I had a bit of a wait watching this guy cry. At one point he looked up and looked around with tears tracks running down his face. I avoided eye contact and looked away. I didn't want to make him feel any worse by knowing he was being watched. A few seconds later I glanced back and saw that he had returned to his sobbing against the meter. A bit before the light turned green he straightened up, wiped his face with his sleeves, squared his shoulders and crossed Cascade occasionally looking behind him as he went.

I wonder what caused him to break down like that. He didn't look entirely homeless, so I don't think it was a case of the street crazies. I say "entirely" because he was a bit grubby, but potentially employed.

My first thought was that it was over a woman. He looked like a guy who had been dumped.

My second thought was that he'd accidentally put his favorite coin in the meter, and he spent the whole time crying about it. My second thoughts are usually not very nice.

I'll never know the real reason why he was crying though. And now neither will you.

The situation also brought to mind the time some friends and I were crossing a street in London when we saw a woman walking around, barefoot and topless with a dazed expression on her face, crying and talking to herself. When anybody approached her she would start screaming. It was surreal. I'm not sure why I thought about her, looking at this guy. I just did.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Video Games : My Shareware Game of the Month is...

Jets'n'Guns Gold : Home Page

It's available for both Windows and Mac OS X.

Jets'n'Guns is a side-scrolling shooter. If you don't know what that is, watch the video below to get an idea.



Normally I'm not that big a fan of shooters. With few exceptions, I feel the frustration of playing that kind of game far outweighs the enjoyment it offers. Jets'n'Guns Gold is one of those exceptions. Don't get me wrong, it's still frustrating as all Hell. In fact, it may be the most frustrating shooter I've continued to play after an hour. It's fun enough that that's okay.


What I feel it does right:

  • There aren't "lives." You have one ship and it's "health" is displayed in a gage at the bottom left. When you die it's "mission failed." ...however. This is where they do it right in my opinion. You can try again with a press of the spacebar, so you aren't limited to three, five, or 10 lives. Like many other shooters. If you've reached a checkpoint you will continue from that checkpoint. If your ship just isn't configured right for the mission you are on, you're better off hitting 'escape,' which takes me to the next thing they did right.
  • Things you buy for your ship – guns, missiles, bombs, even the ship itself – don't lose value. That means if you buy an autotrack minigun for 35,000, pay 65,000 to upgrade it two levels and then decide you would rather try something else, you can sell it and get back every dime you spent on it. A lot of other games I've played either lock you into your purchase decisions, or they penalize you by only allowing you to sell your equipment back at a fraction of what you paid for it. Many, if not all, RPGs follow that "real economy" model, but I feel it's stupid for a shooter to, particularly if you are limited in the money that you can earn. More on that soon.
  • The visual style is excellent. I love the look of this game. And it controls well.
  • Smacking into a wall won't necessarily destroy your ship, although it will damage it.


What I'm not that keen on:

  • It's sometimes hard to tell what you can pass through safely and what will mess you up.
  • I'm stuck on the fifth level. I've reorganized my equipment six times trying to find a combination that will give me the edge. I've learned the patterns of the enemies that I'm facing and they still destroy me. I feel the game could really use the ability to replay earlier missions, even if you only earn 1/10th the amount of money as you did the first time through. I could probably turn down the difficulty, and I probably will end up doing that if I fail 20 more times, but I would like to have an alternative that doesn't feel so wussied.

And that's about it. I really love this game. I also feel it's a no-brainer to buy the gold version over the original version, even though it's $10 more. Rather than rewrite all of what you get for that $10, I'll just copy and paste what they say at the website:

  • Game resolution raised to 800x600! More space! More enemies on the screen! More items on the list in the shops making everything more comfortable.
  • Length of the game is DOUBLED! The campaign contains 21 NEW LEVELS NOW!
  • 7 new customizable ships! You will have at your disposal up to 10 warbirds in total! You will have an opportunity to equip and fly anything from jet pack to captured zeppelin!
  • 17 new weapons! Vast arsenal of the original JnG was widened even more! Try new stuff varying from crazy guns never seen in a shooter game to ultimate devastators, which will turn your screen into hell!
  • 70 new enemies! In GOLD EDITION you will face more than 270 unique enemies, including 16 terrible bosses!
  • Secret levels, items and ships! There's more to explore in the new version. Try to find some hidden guns or ships!
  • Briefing texts replaced with comics screens!
  • New music from your favorite band! The game soundtrack was expanded with 6 new tracks!
  • Medals and ranks! Get some decoration for your heroic deeds! Make generals to envy your collection of medals!
  • and much more...

Give it a shot. See what you think.

---

Also, it seems that I have trouble accessing Blogger to post these days, so if you find yourself itching to see what I'll be posting in the evening, check out my Vox blog: http://fizzleandpop.vox.com/It'll usually update well in advance of this site.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Random Observation : Oh that wonderful feeling.

(This may double post because I tried to email post, but I was informed that the email would be delayed until sometime Saturday(

That feeling you get when you're finally able to work free a wee piece of something that's been stuck between your teeth for some time. For me it's usually that shell/skin thing that you'll find in popcorn. Like a little razor blade buried in an apple made of popcorn, it hides and waits for the time when it can wedge itself between my teeth and cause me no end of annoyance throughout a movie that I would have paid good money to see if I didn't have a pass. It wouldn't be so bad if, at the end of the movie as the credits rolled, they would spontaneously leap free from my teeth so I could spit them out. But no. Those little fuckers have been known to bug me for days. I never seem to have a toothpick handy, so I try my fingernails, but it's usually too hard to find the spot with a finger. My tongue always seems to know the spot though. So I give up on my fingernail and probe away with my tongue, trying to find that sweet spot that'll lever that sucker loose. I wedge and wiggle until eventually I'm rewarded with that wonderful feeling. You regular flossers are really missing out.

A piggy-back pondering: Do they sell popcorn at adult movie theaters? You know, places like where Paul Ruebens met his downfall. I've honestly never been in one, but if they do it's not one of the selling points on the marquee: "Hot Lesbo Action! XXX Threesomes! Popcorn!" It would be great if they did though. That way the patrons could have something to throw at the screen during the boring periods of "plot development," and it might help absorb "spills" between the aisles.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Illustration Friday : "Geeky"

For now, this is going to be where I post during the day. For some reason I'm having trouble connecting to Blogger. When I can, I'll repost this at my normal Fizzle and Pop blog.

So, geeky.

Here's my last minute geeky.



Poorly done, but then this is also the first thing I've drawn in over a month. I've just been terribly uninspired lately. Anytime I try to draw anything it feels horrible. It was a struggle to even get this done. But there you go. Sometimes it's just that way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update : I have a better idea where my hits are coming from.

Thanks to "Rule the Web", I've installed a better stat tracker than what I was using. It's called StatCounter (www.statcounter.com) and you can see it, and my stats, if you scroll down my sidebar until you see its icon. Don't click on the icon for the stats, however. Click on "view my stats". Anyhow, this is quite an impressive tracker. With it I've been able to determine that 217 of the last 488 visitors stayed for less than 5 seconds. 100 of those visitors hit my December, 2005 archive page. Damn near all of them came by way of a google image search. What image? Near as I can figure, this image:



It's the drawing I did of GIR from Invader Zim for Heather ages ago. Those of you unfamiliar with Invader Zim or GIR, I'm sure there's a Wikipedia entry for it.

Funny thing; the image was hosted at Flickr, however it was one of the things I purged in order to fix my NIPSA (Not in public search area) status last year. Yet it's still there if you look at that archive page, as are several others that I cleared out. Some other things are gone. Very strange. Well, now it's hosted back at SmugMug and it's not just buried deep in the archive anymore. It'll be interesting to see if the hits shift.

Time to eat my lunch. Brick microwave oven pizza. Do I live the high life or what?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Update : It's Windy here in Colorado Springs.

And there are changes in it. The wind, that is. The first of which is changing my site's feed over to feedburner.com. There's a button at the top left of the page below my bio that you can use to subscribe. Much like my dad and DVD players, I've thought the idea of feeds was nifty but a bit too newfangled for me. On the old blogger I had set up a feed button, but it was just something I put there. I had no solid idea what it did, how it worked or why I'd want to take advantage of feeds myself. I'm older than I thought. Where's my Metamucil, galdarnit? No. Seriously. I think I might need to start taking it before it's too fucking late. That and other old people preservatives.

Yesterday a book I'd ordered arrived from Amazon:



If you click the cover it'll take you to the home site of the book where you can get more of an idea what you'll find inside. Alternatively, here's a direct link to the Amazon page. When I bought it last week the price was $8.95, down from $14.95. Now I see the price has risen to $10.17. Odd, that. I wonder if it's slowly rising to full price? It just came out on June 12th, so the discount might be a temporary thing.

I really cannot recommend getting this book enough. I'm only 45 pages in and I've already learned quite a lot. Like about feeds. How they work, why they're important, how to set them up, a good aggregator to use (if you're on a Mac, the author recommends Shrook, for Windows users: FeedDemon), etc. I'm positive I now know more about feeds than my dad knows about DVD players. Of course, feeds aren't all this book is about. You can check out the table of contents if you go to the Amazon link and click "Search inside this book" (top left, under the picture).

Something else covered in the book in the section about blogs was to write about what you enjoy. Direct quote: "The cardinal rule of blogging is to write about things that fascinate you." Lately I haven't been doing that. Heck, I've barely been posting at all since 2005. This is partly due to the fact that I have no idea what the people who come by my site are looking for. So, rather than try to figure it out anymore – or even worry about it – I'm just going to post something every day. Something I enjoy. If you enjoy it as well, fantastic! If not, come back tomorrow. Unless it's Friday or Saturday; I won't likely be posting then.

Another change is going to work in conjunction with feeds and writing about what I enjoy. I'm going to develop one-to-two-word categories that each post is going to fall within, and it's going to lead the title for the post. So, if you've subscribed to the feed for my site and you see the post title for that day is "Games : What I'm obsessed with today." and you have no interest in games, you can skip it. If it's "Video Tutorial : Vector vs. Raster in Photoshop, why Vectors kick ASS!" and that's more up your alley, you'll be able to read/view the entire thing in your feed reader without ever having to stop by the site. But by all means, if you have a comment that you would like to leave after reading any of the posts in your reader, stop by.

Yet another, more distant goal, is to set up an actual, honest to Cthulhu web site where I can doooooo things. What things? Shiny things. I need to find out if the domain I registered through Yahoo (www.fizzleandpop.com) is tied to Yahoo, or if I can use it at another web hosting service. I'm considering getting an account at laughingsquid.net. I'd possibly be willing to host through Yahoo, however every hosting package I see that they offer requires building the site through their templates and I want my site to be all custom, baby. You see, for my job we're having to learn web design pretty much on our own. It's slow going; at least it has been for me. So if I have my own site upon which I could inflict my developing "mad dope skillz", it might help speed the learning process and maintain my motivation. Having my own site would also mean I could make things available that I currently can't, like Photoshop Actions, Brushes and Shapes, or working PSDs that I use in video tutorials so that you all can play along. Stuff like that. It's what I really want to do and I think it'll be fun. I hope you guys will enjoy it too.

That's it for today. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

More Septavo™ stuff

I've been gradually working my way through the 1000 tangram puzzles in Septavo. I'm sure if I committed myself I could have been done by now. However until there's a puzzle editor I'm really not in that big of a hurry. That said, I decided to see how many puzzles I could do in 7 minutes and film myself doing them. Just for the heck of it.



It was a bit of a gamble, because every once in a while there will be a puzzle that I just don't suss very quickly, and if I hit one of those I would be screwed. Luckily the one that I was most wrong about on this run was the very last one.

If you don't feel like watching the movie, the final tally was 16 complete and one incomplete. If I counted right.

Here are my stats so far:

Drive-by near the drive-thru

I stopped on the way in this morning to get a breakfast burrito at the LaCasita near my work and on the way out of the parking lot I see a woman in an old 80's Cadillac driving toward me. As we get closer she sticks her head and arm out the window and starts waving to me to get my attention. She's smiling so I think, "Do I know you?" We stop side-by-side and I roll down my window. She says, "Do you have any money that you can give me?"

...?

A drive-by panhandler.

"No. Sorry," I shake my head and drive on wondering if that ever works. Who on earth drives around looking for free money? I guess she does. Good luck with that, although you might want to switch to a bicycle so you don't waste so much gas.

Have a great 4th of July tomorrow, my American readers. As for my foreign readers, have a great Hump Day.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Got no art, but I'm filled with story

So this is, what? Two or three weeks since I last did anything for Illustration Friday? Time flies.

I did think of a story to share.

Growing up when I did, we kids didn't have video games to occupy our time, but that doesn't mean we didn't have fun. I remember when I was in elementary school one kid – let's call him Bobby – showed several of us other kids something pretty neat. He had one of those needles with a colored ball on the end that are used in sewing. This was probably fourth grade to give you an age idea. And no, the needle wasn't the neat part. The neat part was after he turned his back with the needle, did something, turned back around, held up his hand fingernail side toward us and fingers apart. There was the needle sticking across his index finger about halfway down. He waved his hand around like crazy and the needle didn't fall off. We were awed. No video games, remember? We had to know how he did it.

Since he was a sharing kind of Bobby, he showed us. It turned out he took the needle and carefully stuck it through the skin on his finger, going across the padded area on the palm side so that it just went under one or two layers of skin but didn't go far enough to cause bleeding. Ooooo! How cool is that? Hey! My mom sews! She has DOZENS of those needles! Thus began the plan. The plan to be the cool kid on Monday.

I went home, found my mom's needle stash – a.k.a. "pincushion" – and practiced. The nice thing about this is your body will tell you when you're doing it wrong. Too deep and it hurts, to shallow and the skin tears. I learned quickly and on Monday I snuck my mom's pincushion with me to school. At recess I started putting pins through my fingers.

When I was done, I went to the other kids and presented my hand the same way Bobby had. I had six needles going through each finger, two per pad. Ooooooo! Then I turned my hand around and showed them that I also had crossed six more needles on the fleshy part of my palm at the base of my fingers. Ahhhhhhh! King for a day.

I also found, later on, that if you insert a needle into that fleshy part of your palm and don't push it all the way though, but instead wiggle it around back and forth a bit, you could make a pocket in your hand large enough to hold a dime. That was walking around money in those days, and nothing impresses a cashier like pulling a dime from your hand pocket.

---

Two movies that I've seen lately that I highly recommend: "Knocked Up" and "1408". However I will say that you'll get much more scare out of "1408" if you haven't seen the previews.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Going... going...

going on vacation. I may post something over the next week, but don't count on it. In the meantime, if you like tangrams, check out this game for both the Mac and Windows:



It's the best Tangram game that I've played on the computer in 14 years.

As for Illustration Friday... "Suit"? I think not. Maybe next time.

This amused me. Derek told me yesterday that he spoke with a former co-worker of ours named Tony while attending a wedding. To be honest, I always thought Tony was grating and didn't care to be around him. During their conversation I was mentioned and Tony said, "Now there's somebody you have to worry about. There's somebody who looks at you and you think, 'Jesus Christ! Where are the bodies hidden?' Better check his basement!" after which Derek said, "He's dating my sister."

"Check the basement." Please. Like I'd be that uncreative.

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Getting to know me.

Derek posted a questionnaire on MySpace, and rather just answer there for his amusement I figured on trying to amuse some of you as well. The bulletin and my answers follow:

----------
So yeah, on friends list, blah blah blah, want to know stuff, yadda yadda.

reply to me and answer the questions OR FEROCIOUS UNICORNS WILL VISIT AND RUIN YOUR VEHICLE'S PAINT JOB! No, seriously...Anyway, look! Questions!
---

1.)Q. Can you cook?
1.)A. Not very well, but well enough to not die yet.

2.)Q. What was your dream growing up?
2.)A. It mostly involved dozens of giant tornados, mass destruction and invading aliens. I still have it ever other year or so.

3.)Q. What talent do you wish you had?
3.)A. I wish I was funny. No. I mean really funny.

4.)Q. If I bought you a drink what would it be?
4.)A. Creepy.

5.)Q. Favorite vegetable?
5.)A. They're all so clever, I don't think I can single out a favorite. Although carrots have been really outstanding lately. Broccoli could be trying harder.

6.)Q. What was the last book you read?
6.)A. 'The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove' by Christopher Moore

7.)Q. What zodiac sign are you ?
7.)A. I'm on the right side of the line between Aquarius and Pisces. The wrong side being Pisces.

8.)Q. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?
8.)A. Not on me, but I have several tattoos on other people.

9.)Q. Worst Habit?
9.)A. Working. I'd kick it, but then I would get the shakes real bad and all my stuff would disappear.

10.)Q. If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
10.)A. Apparently.

11.)Q. What is your favorite sport?
11.)A. Hunting for compliments.

12.)Q. Negative or Optimistic attitude?
12.)A. Which do you think? Wrong!

13.)Q. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
13.)A. Forever? Kill you when you're sleeping and eat you to survive, I guess. I'd be sad about it though.

14.)Q. Worst thing to ever happen to you?
14.)A. Have my "girlfriend" have sex with my "best friend" because I was "moving too slow" when I was 18. That's the first to come to mind. There's probably worse.

15.)Q. Tell me one weird fact about you:
15.)A. I have a freckle in the middle of my lower lip. I think it's weird.

16.)Q. Do you have any pets?
16.)A. Several. A couple pass for children.

17.)Q. What if i showed up at your house unexpectedly?
17.)A. My dog would bark at you. The children might too.

18.)Q. What was your first impression of me?
18.)A. Aloof art snob.

19.)Q. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
19.)A. Why can't they be both? Is it right to put a limit on clowns? Just kidding. There's no such thing as a cute clown.

20.)Q. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be???
20.)A. I wouldn't mind losing around 60 lbs. Without, you know, diet or exercise.

21.)Q. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
21.)A. Apparently crime partner.

22.)Q. What color eyes do you have?
22.)A. Blue/Green.

23.)Q. Ever been arrested?
23.)A. Not as such.

24.)Q. Bottle or Draft?
24.)A. Bottles are great ways to hold liquids, and drafts are great ways to kill young men. Hmmmm. I'll say "Bottle".

25.)Q. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?
25.)A. Pay off my VISA. Seriously. I want that fucker paid off.

26.)Q. Would you date me?
26.)A. Is this like "Name that currency"? I'll say 1975.

27.)Q. What 's your favorite bar to hang at?
27.)A. You've GOT to be kidding. The monkey bar! hur-hur.

28.)Q. Do you believe in ghosts?
28.)A. I allow the possibility, but haven't personally experienced the spooky.

29.)Q. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
29.)A. Game, read or draw.

30.)Q. Do you swear a lot?
30.)A. Not normally, without provocation.

31.)Q. Biggest pet peeve?
31.)A. Like I would hand you that kind of ammo.

32.)Q. In one word, how would you describe yourself?
32.)A. Subdued.

33.)Q. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same
33.)A. Why do I have to repost this so you can fill it out? You already have it! Lazy.

Monday, June 04, 2007

You know I'm looking forward to this...




AFI's Top 100 Comedies

(Deep apologies to anyone with a subscription to the feed for the four changes I've made after submitting the post. Apparently Mondays suck for proofreading.)

This is done as a companion post to Heather's post about the American Film Institute's (AFI) Top 100 comedies. I've marked the ones I've seen with a red number and provided links to the Netflix pages for all of the movies.

1. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) Netflix
2. TOOTSIE (1982) Netflix
3. DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964) Netflix
4. ANNIE HALL (1977) Netflix
5. DUCK SOUP (1933) Netflix
6. BLAZING SADDLES (1974) Netflix
7. M*A*S*H (1970) Netflix
8. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) Netflix
9. THE GRADUATE (1967) Netflix
10. AIRPLANE! (1980) Netflix
11. THE PRODUCERS (1968) Netflix
12. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935) Netflix
13. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) Netflix
14. BRINGING UP BABY (1938) Netflix
15. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) Netflix
16. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) Netflix
17. THE ODD COUPLE (1968) Netflix
18. THE GENERAL (1927) Netflix
19. HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) Netflix
20. THE APARTMENT (1960) Netflix
21. A FISH CALLED WANDA (1988) Netflix
22. ADAM'S RIB (1949) Netflix
23. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… (1989) Netflix
24. BORN YESTERDAY (1950) Netflix
25. THE GOLD RUSH (1925) Netflix
26. BEING THERE (1979) Netflix
27. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (1998) Netflix
28. GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) Netflix
29. THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) Netflix
30. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944) Netflix
31. RAISING ARIZONA (1987) Netflix
32. THE THIN MAN (1934) Netflix
33. MODERN TIMES (1936) Netflix
34. GROUNDHOG DAY (1993) Netflix
35. HARVEY (1950) Netflix
36. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) Netflix
37. THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940) Netflix
38. CITY LIGHTS (1931) Netflix
39. SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (1941) Netflix
40. IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (1963) Netflix
41. MOONSTRUCK (1987) Netflix
42. BIG (1988) Netflix
43. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) Netflix
44. MY MAN GODFREY (1936) Netflix
45. HAROLD AND MAUDE (1972) Netflix
46. MANHATTAN (1979) Netflix
47. SHAMPOO (1975) Netflix
48. A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964) Netflix
49. TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942) Netflix
50. CAT BALLOU (1965) Netflix
51. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955) Netflix
52. NINOTCHKA (1939) Netflix
53. ARTHUR (1981) Netflix
54. THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (1944) Netflix
55. THE LADY EVE (1941) Netflix
56. ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948) Netflix
57. DINER (1982) Netflix
58. IT'S A GIFT (1934) Netflix
59. A DAY AT THE RACES (1937) Netflix
60. TOPPER (1937) Netflix
61. WHAT'S UP, DOC? (1972) Netflix
62. SHERLOCK, JR. (1924) Netflix
63. BEVERLY HILLS COP (1984) Netflix
64. BROADCAST NEWS (1987) Netflix
65. HORSE FEATHERS (1932) Netflix
66. TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969) Netflix
67. MRS. DOUBTFIRE (1993) Netflix
68. THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) Netflix
69. BANANAS (1971) Netflix
70. MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936) Netflix
71. CADDYSHACK (1980) Netflix
72. MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948) Netflix
73. MONKEY BUSINESS (1931) Netflix
74. 9 TO 5 (1980) Netflix
75. SHE DONE HIM WRONG (1933) Netflix
76. VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982) Netflix
77. THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) Netflix
78. ROAD TO MOROCCO (1942) Netflix
79. THE FRESHMAN (1925) Netflix
80. SLEEPER (1973) Netflix
81. THE NAVIGATOR (1924) Netflix
82. PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1980) Netflix
83. FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950) Netflix
84. LOST IN AMERICA (1985) Netflix
85. DINNER AT EIGHT (1933) Netflix
86. CITY SLICKERS (1991) Netflix
87. FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982) Netflix
88. BEETLEJUICE (1988) Netflix
89. THE JERK (1979) Netflix
90. WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942) Netflix
91. THE HEARTBREAK KID (1972) Netflix
92. BALL OF FIRE (1941) Netflix
93. FARGO (1996) Netflix
94. AUNTIE MAME (1958) Netflix
95. SILVER STREAK (1976) Netflix
96. SONS OF THE DESERT (1933) Netflix
97. BULL DURHAM (1988) Netflix
98. THE COURT JESTER (1956) Netflix
99. THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963) Netflix
100 GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM (1987) Netflix

So I've seen 43 of the 100. Of those I own 16 on DVD and I've added around 20 that I haven't watched to our Netflix queue. Do I agree with the list? That's hard to say. I don't tend to rank movies I've seen in any kind of cohesive list. Derek gets all kinds of annoyed when I can't name of my favorite movies, songs, or whatever. I tend to rank most things on a three step scale: Liked it - Ehhhh - Didn't like it. There are also two more steps but those don't get used too often: Loved it - Would rather gargle in glass with a drano chaser than watch again. So I guess it's really a five step scale. "Loved it"s are movies that I can toss in and enjoy watching almost any time. Of the movies on this list that I've seen, 'A Fish Called Wanda' , 'Groundhog Day', 'The Odd Couple' and 'The Producers' fall into that category. Nothing I've seen on the list falls into the "Glass & Drano" category, but there are a few that I didn't really like, or that I liked at first but liked less with each additional viewing: 'Good Morning, Vietnam', 'Mrs. Doubtfire' and 'Arthur'.

Not on the list, but still great (off the top of my mind – I'm sure there are others I'd add if I could remember them):

Murder By Death (1976) Netflix
Kung Fu Hustle (2004) Netflix
Trading Places (1983) Netflix
Midnight Run (1988) Netflix
Rocketman (1997) Netflix I may lose all credibility with this one, but as I recall it's very funny. I haven't seen it in nine years though.

That should do it. Have a great week.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

IF: Cars

I'm busy, so nothing new for this one. That said, here's something old:

This is a car that I made in Photoshop using vector layers and gradient effects:


I can't seem to locate the original file, so I can't offer a better view of it. If I find it in the next couple of days I'll update the post.

And since the theme of the week is "Cars" plural, here's the image that I made my illustration from:


Have a great weekend everyone.

---

Also, our latest podcast is up here. #51.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's Friday don'cha know.

(updated with the final illustration 5/29)

This has been one long, long week. Long I say! And barely a drop of fun to be had between the hours of 8am and 5:30pm. Next week should be "fun" though; I have jury duty starting (and hopefully ending) on Tuesday. First time. Wheee.

The only thing I have for you today is a post that I posted at my Visual Breakdown site earlier this week. It just ties together all of the zombie drawings I've been working on in a single post. The only thing new that I haven't already shown at this site is at the bottom.

Also, keeping in the zombie vein of this post, Heather showed me a trailer this morning for a movie coming out soon-ish: Fido. A must see for me. Thanks babe!

Those of you in the US, enjoy your extended Memorial Day weekend. Those of you elsewhere in the world, enjoy your regular two day weekend. Those of you with odd working hours... find something to enjoy and enjoy the living heck out of it!

---

Zombie "Fan-Art" for D.L. Snell's latest book "Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines"

First some sketches to try to flesh out the author's mental image of his zombies:







The second and third were the closest, although the tentacles needed to be narrower. With those in mind I made a thin line drawing that I would later add vector layers and more line work to:



Now the vector layers are done:



I'll update later with the final piece when it's done.

It's done. Here's the Black & White version:



and the color version:


Monday, May 21, 2007

4th (final) Illustration

For the story "The Drain"


I haven't heard back on this one yet, so it may not actually be the final. We'll see what they think.

Now that that's (potentially) done, it's on to other things.

Have a great week.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

No IF from me today, but...

... I finished the third illustration out of the four I'm doing for the book:


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Point.

Derek Brought up a good point in a comment on my last post:

Derek Knight said...
so I clicked through to Graveside and found that they pay the pittance of $10-$15 (US) for artwork. You know, I'm all for things like "exposure" and "helpin' folks out," but...Brotha', these represent far more work than a trip to Taco Bell...

I've felt that way myself for quite awhile as well about other companies. I even took about a week after receiving the request to make the decision to do the illustrations. Here are my reasons for doing this:

- Graveside is a new company, just getting started. It's at a very "indy" level right now, and companies like that need help where they can get it. If you've been a reader of mine for awhile, you may recall the one time I did an illustration for Dark Recesses Press. They were in the same situation. However, with them, I think I blew the one illustration I did. I've never heard back from them. I have no idea if Graveside will take off, or crash and burn. That's not in my hands. But if they do take off, and they really like the work I've done for them, and we build up a good working relationship, then when paying jobs come along I'm confident they'll think of me. Amazingly optimistic for me, I know, but there you go.

- I'm not a "professional" illustrator. I'd like to be, but I'm not even close. I need practice actually illustrating stories. I know I could get a book I already have and illustrate things from it, and I've even considered that in the past, however that would pay even less than this and lacking external pressure to get it done I'd likely end up never finishing. Left to myself I tend to put things off. Like the book you and I were talking about a year or two ago. I see working with Graveside right now as a kind of internship. The pay isn't great, but maybe I'll learn something about what I'm doing and how to do it better.

- The feedback I get from doing a project like this is helpful. The only time I get more than a couple of comments here about things I've drawn is when it's a part of Illustration Friday. As helpful and confidence building as those times usually are, illustrating a story is more difficult than illustrating a word. For that matter, I've been participating in Illustration Friday – more on than off – for almost a year and a half now and it doesn't pay anything. But I have been learning as I've been involved in IF, developing a few styles, and I feel it's worth doing and continuing. But the pay's not great.

- At the end of this all, there should be a book released with my artwork in it and it takes from me is a few hours of sketching in my downtime.

I certainly understand why someone might not want to participate in something like this, but for me – where I am artistically right now – I'm willing to do it.

So. Here's a zombie.



It's a lot more plain than the rest because I'm going to apply "finishing" work to it and I like the lines to be clean at that point.

These zombies I've been drawing lately are fan art for D.L. Snell's book "Roses of Blood on Barbwire Thorns" which just recently went to press and can be found by clicking the sidebar button, or going to Amazon. It's zombies vs. vampires.

I've been a fan of Snell's work since I read 'Cold Flesh'. He contacted me a month or so ago and asked if I was still drawing. We emailed back and forth and he recommended that I try submitting some of my work to Permuted Press for them to keep on file in case they needed any illustration work done. I didn't know if that would work since the body of my horror illustration work is smaller than that of a missing circus midget. He then suggested that I try my hand at doing an illustration of one of the types of zombies that makes an appearance in the book. That way I'd gain a bit of experience, and the guy at Permuted that gives out the art assignments could see my process and the end result for a story he's familiar with. This is the fourth zombie I've sent to Snell, and the last sketch I'll make before the finished work.

That's the story behind the odd zombies. Have a great rest of the week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What's new?

I'm doing four illustrations in my "sketch" style for four stories that are being collected in an anthology called 'Fried! Fast Food, Slow Death.' being put out by Graveside Tales.

Two are done, and follow below, and I'm waiting on stories for the other two. My deadline is the end of July, so I'm doing pretty good so far. This is very loosely connected to the zombies I was sketching before, in that one of the people responsible for putting this book together saw my sketches at the other book's forum and liked the style.

On to the art.

'Clipped' written by Jodi Lee



'Snailwart' written by MP Johnson


And yes, that's nasty. But the story is fairly nasty as well. And it's from the story.

I'll post the others as they are done and approved, and I'll let everyone know when the book is available.

I'm not going to be participating in Illustration Friday this week, as the word is "Citrus" and I have other things that I should be working on. I may change my mind, but it's not likely.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A new video is up.

This time with me actually talking and trying to explain just what I'm doing during it, rather than playing random music. Unless you have Photoshop though, it probably won't be terribly interesting for you. It's basically a quick – and admittedly not that informative – tutorial of how to use the Pen tool in Photoshop to make and modify vector layers, as requested by Nate.

I'm not even making actual art during it. I'm just doodling. It's sad, really. But it's something new.



If anyone else has a request for general art or program related movies ask in the comments. I may start hosting them at Google video rather than YouTube because there's no time or size limit that I can tell. The only problem is when I put this one on Google video, they compressed the crap out of it or something. It's pretty bad. I may have to set aside some time to try out different formats and see what works best. You can compare how bad it is here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1560387374506565742

Have a good... no a GREAT Sunday.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A musing...

I was getting lunch from QDoba and noticed, as I was leaving, someone going into the nearby “Tan Your Hide”. I've always thought that was a stupid name, since “tanning your hide” is another way to say “giving you a beating”, usually with a belt. At least it was when I was a kid. Today I thought, if I was more enterprising and willing to go up against the law, it would be great to open a chain of S&M shops alongside all of the “Tan You Hides” in strip malls across America and call them “Smack Your Ass”.

Have a great weekend you huddled masses, with all your yearning and whatnot.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Succumbed to da' Debbil.

That's right. I've given up. I now have a MySpace page. Here. It's pretty barren so far. It'll probably stay that way for awhile. The plans I don't have for it could fill entire libraries with void. But it's there. Just a'sittin'.

Anyhow, if you also have a MySpace page and would like to be added as a friend, do that voodoo that you do to let me know and I'll do what needs to be done.

No zombie today. Sorry.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Yet even more “Art“ of dubious value...

I tossed another quick drawing into one of the Something Awful MSPaint forums. This time the topic was “Animals on drugs”. I originally wasn't going to make anything for it, however one person requested that someone draw “a panda smoking a blunt.”

I've always wanted to draw a panda.

I wasn't going to show this to anyone outside of the SA forum, with the exception of Heather, because I don't find much funny about drug abuse. On the other hand I really like how the panda turned out for a fast freehand sketch.

So, in the end, drug abuse be damned. He didn't inhale. Here you go:

The Todd Settlement

------
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DAVID KELLY AND TODD GOLDMAN REACH AGREEMENT ON PAINTING

MAY 2, 2007

Artists David Kelly and Todd Goldman have agreed to settle and end the recent claim that Mr. Goldman utilized an image and caption belonging to Mr. Kelly in an original painting without his permission. In early April, an internet site noted the similarity of a recent Goldman painting to a web cartoon panel produced six years ago by Mr. Kelly. Mr. Goldman has agreed to pay Mr. Kelly the full proceeds from the sale of the two paintings in exchange for a perpetual non-exclusive license for the image and its caption (“the “Work”). “It was a mistake on my part to not research the source for this Work which was sent to me over the internet by a friend. “Until a few weeks ago, I had no knowledge of Mr. Kelly or his body of online cartoon and animation work,” said Goldman.

Mr. Kelly has accepted Mr. Goldman's explanation and payment of the license fee and calls for the internet sites and all interested parties to acknowledge that Mr. Goldman’s use of the Work was an unintentional legitimate mistake and that there should be no further debate on the matter. Mr. Goldman’s two paintings which depict Mr. Kelly’s image and caption have a legally valid and enforceable license from Mr. Kelly. Mr. Goldman has agreed that he will not paint this image for any future commissions or exhibitions or otherwise use it for any further commercial purposes. Each of the artists have declared their intention to move on in their respective fields and encourage their supporters, friends, and patrons to do likewise.


# # # # #
For further information, please contact:
AR american rebel pr
1509 N. Crescent Heights Blvd. #5
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 656-5020: Phone
(323) 656-5021: Fax
------

Interesting. I guess all the other stuff* is just a string of coincidences. Provided he receives oodles of art submissions via the Internet by friends, of course. I'm not saying either way, but I will say it'll be a cold day in hell before I'll knowingly purchase anything he has to sell.

Moving on...

---
*Read it while it's hot. The guy running the site has received a take down notice from Todd's lawyers. It seems several other sites have capitulated already in regards to their own articles, including WIRED and Wikipedia. It's disappearing under the rug as you read this. Doubleplus ungood.

Friday, May 04, 2007

More “art”.

There's a thread on the Something Awful Forums called “MSPaint Stuff That Old People Do”
(EDIT: Fixed the link)

I joined up with the SA forums in early April at the insistence of my brother. He said I would “rule” in the art forums. I said “Meh. I don't have time and I don't have MSPaint.” He told me they don't have to be MSPaint, and even showed me a thread that was call “ArtRage is the new MSPaint” where everything was done in ArtRage.

I finally joined after months of being bugged, and I've posted a drawing I made in ArtRage to the above thread. We'll see if it gets a negative response. You can go and look if you wanna (but you have to be a member of the forums to view it), or just scroll down a bit here.

Scary Old Teeth

When I was a kid my dad liked to do this whenever I had friends over. After the first time, it wasn't that often.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

IF-Remember

Once again it's Thursday and I've been caught unprepared. So, here's a quickie illustration/sketch for Illustration Friday.

Illustration Friday: Remember


Have a great weekend. Stay away from the sheep.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another Tuesday...

... another zombie:



And what freaky zombies they are.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Odds are...

... if you've been around the internet much for the last month or so, and have any interest in art, you've heard about Todd Goldman and how he's apparently been making oodles of money by ripping off art from online sources and selling it as "his creations" both on merchandise and as "original" paintings. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read about it here and here for starters, or just do a Google search.

One of the things mentioned much later in the SA Forum post is from ruth323. She said:

"Apparently it's not uncommon for commerical artists to trace photographs. I think it's a bit strange (don't artists go to art school to learn how to draw?) but I can imagine that when there's a tight deadline it would be necessary. Also, there are some artists who really have great ideas and wonderful execution, but they just can't get that leg to look right, so they trace it. Oh well. Okay. ..."

That reminded me of an instructor that I had somewhat late in my "art education", when I was attending Pikes Peak Community College. I can't remember his name, even though I had him for a couple of classes during my time there. He used to work at Hallmark, and had done illustrations for the Hallmark Movies posters as well as some other poster work and some greeting card work. All very impressive, to be sure. Far more than I've been able to accomplish. Apparently that all came to an end, I'm betting due to bad judgement of some sort. He would talk about the glory days at the drop of a hat. So there he was teaching at a community college, and there I was to learn. This was ’94 or ’95.

I've probably posted about this guy some time in the past. I have vague recollections of doing so. Still, it applies now even more than then.

We had been given an assignment to take a black & white photo of a woman that he provided to us, blow it up to three times its size and add color to it. We weren't allowed to use a photocopier, and there was only one wall projector, so rather than wait in line I gridded and drew the image by hand and eye. During the critique phase I was asked why I drew it instead of copying it. Compared to the others that had been traced on the wall, it was pretty obvious that I didn't trace it, grid or no grid. I answered, "Because I can." knowing that, for whatever reason, most of my fellow students hadn't taken a drawing class and weren't planning on it.

That was the wrong answer.

I was informed that in the professional world you HAVE to copy to succeed. It takes too long to draw. In fact – according to him – nine out of ten people working as professional illustrators don't even know how to draw. They have large photo morgues to pull from and they know all kinds of tricks to make it work. He didn't know how to draw, and look at what he accomplished!

I said, "I guess I'll be the one in ten." As it turns out I'm not a paid illustrator at all. Instead I'm immeshed in advertising graphic design.

By the end of the semester I had virtually no respect for the guy and a 'C'.

As I see it, Todd Goldman is one hell of a businessman and a perfect example of what my instructor was talking about, but until I actually see him draw something from his mind freehand I refuse to call him an artist. I'll bet that'll lose him all kinds of sleep.
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."