Thursday, January 16, 2020

released archive of images from Parisian museums

Museums in Paris have released 100,000 images for public use. There is a lot of English on the site but you would do well to know the names of artists you want to see and having a knowledge of French would be handy.
I don't even know what to look for there. I found this stamp which is amusing. Again, my French is dreadfully lacking; the subject matter might not be as funny.

These aren't in my coffee

Via Kottke, the Cloud Appreciation Society.

There is something about clouds, a sort of Rorschach Test or creativity prompt in the sky. In text, I use randomly chosen words to force connections and make ideas. Clouds do it for me in image form.

From Jane Stieren Lacy. Image shown here is a lower resolution than the source.

From A storm front over Deer Isle, Maine, US. © Jeffrey Boutwell
Posted on 

I must admit I prefer jagged-edged clouds that could be animal shapes. I don't see animals here.I like Lacy's cloud as one to build a castle on top of and Boutwell's could be a sky-highway. Maybe the boundary between two two magicians in battle.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Riddle Master of Hed, and awful book covers

A discussion of the Riddle Master books at Tor caught my attention. I commented there and wanted to share it here:
I love Fantastic Beasts and the Riddle Master series. I have reread the latter books more than any others.
I do have some nitpicks – It drives me crazy to read, “Her face vague,” as a description of someone mysterious.
Kingfisher: “she…had vague gray eyes”
Forgotten beasts “His eyes were vague with struggling…”
   “She stared vaguely…”
Riddle Master, regarding The Pig Woman, ” The vagueness dropped from her face like a mask, “
 The Morgol of Herun, ” at the brief, vague touch of the gold eyes”
   Morgon doing magic, ” for a moment his eyes were vague, “
    “…his eyes vague as though..”
During my third to maybe seventh rereads, I had trouble with Morgon’s tantrums. He would smash a bowl or something. For example,
“Morgon reached methodically for the sword Bere had been sketching by the fire, swung it in a wide, blazing half-circle, smashed it in a snap of blue sparks against the stone wall. It gave a deep, flawless, bell-like protest before he dropped it, and he said bitterly, hunched over his stinging hands, “You could answer my questions.””
Later, it bothered me how so many people loved Morgon and Deth and Yrth. Maybe I am slow but it took a few more reads for me to recall they were basically gods and perhaps people loved them because they had to, rather than from friendship or the like.
and yet, I love those books and the beautiful descriptions.
Anyway, I saw the books on sale at a used book store a week ago and they caused me to want to reread them again.
This series was part of what made me want to be a writer. I didn't have all those criticisms thirty five years ago. It was just a cool story with wonderful things happening. And then Morgon became so powerful and mysterious and I wanted to know more.
Still, those tantrums bother me. And how does someone have a vague face?
I learned about Good Show, Sir on the same day as reading on Tor about Riddle Master. They have one other connection.
Good Show, Sir is a blog that shares terrible SF/F book covers. And this is the Riddle Master cover I remember best:
I don't remember any such purple. Morgon seemed to dress modestly and though a prince, was a prince of a small land and so also did his own farming. Maybe I am looking for an excuse to reread it for the 20th (probably) time but I don't remember anyone dressed this way.  (Image from)
It doesn't really match Good Show, Sir for weirdness, though. Here is the weirdest one I saw at GS,S:

Saturday, November 30, 2019

First and finish thoughts on Nanowrimo

Note: I wrote the first part of this entry for Quora.

First writing session- fantastic!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

LTCH Fast Animals

I am trying to find animals that I can make quickly so that I can make enough for residents to sand and paint.

'Quickly' means 'roughly' so there aren't many details. That's fine; that's what paint is for.

Still, I have not found any animal that I can carve quickly. Cut quickly was a saw, yes. But once the knife is used, the takes a long time.

Here are the animals before painting or sanding:

The giraffe necks took a lot of work, as did the legs. The bodies are very boxy.  They were cut from a 2" x 4" with the two pieces, neck and neck overlapping. I cut earlier pictures and will add them soon.

The fish is simple and mostly fun. The main challenge is quickly getting the fins and tail thin enough. A blocky tail just looks wrong.

The deer were fun and mostly done by keyhole saw and then coping saw.  There is a bit of story to their creation. I used this template.  I don't have an electric saw or room to place one if I did so I used a hand coping saw. I also don't have a vise. I used a clamp but since is pinched the wood at only a small spot, my sawing put too much pressure on the neck and snapped the first deer's neck. At work, I used a vise and since it grips the wood across a wide area, and the positioning was so much better, I was able to cut these deer very fast. Maybe twenty minutes for two. They don't have pleasing contours but still the basic shape is very obvious. And fast! 

The necks of the two giraffes went from recognizable to pleasing with a good sanding.

I work at two LTCHs (Long Term Care Home) and in one is a coworker who is both an excellent painter and painting teacher. One technique I learned from her, perhaps obvious to others, is to paint the lightest colour needed first and dry it. She uses a hair dryer but we waited overnight. So we somewhat sloppily painted one or two colours - fur brown and beige antlers for the deer - and the next day added other elements. For the giraffes, the plan was to paint them a light tan one day and the darker spots the next.

These aren't art grade carvings so it was silly for me to imagine the residents of the LTCHs would attempt art grade painting. They did attempt, and manage, fun grade painting. We all had a lot of fun

I will definitely make more deer, perhaps enough to try to sell the completed works, next year. Both LTCHs I work at have bazaars and the sale of products made by residents - as tree ornaments  perhaps - would go well.

And as my saw work improves, maybe I will try giraffes again. The iconic long neck is easy to identify so the finished work is not as confusing as dogs or cats might be - I probably wouldn't be able to carve -quickly or not - enough detail to allow people to recognize the difference. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

LTCH Crafts: looks fishy to me!

I am currently an activity aide at a Long Term Care Home (the 'LTCH' in the labels or tags for this post). I want to do creative work with my residents but many suffer forms of dementia and other challenges. I do not want to put sharp or heavy tools in their hands; not merely because they might use them on each other but, well, I have a big scar on the back of my own hand and my residents often have shakes or palsies of their own.

Another consideration here is my own limited ability - remember that scar on my hand? I can cut wood but not always in a straight line. 

So I thought for a long time on how wood working projects we could do. At my mother's home, I saw a big carved fish - very simply done, mostly a slab of 10" by 2" that, well, looks better than the ones below but clearly similar.

I was able to find some soft wood, cut out some big chunks and do most of the rest with a knife.

There was a discussion online about asking people to draw a bike from memory. Many people had trouble with the shapes and how they connected. Because I love cycling, I got all but the fine details right - and as not before about my ability, those fine details would be sloppy anyway. In this case, I think I conflated many different fish and how their lower fins fit and worked.
This one from   Government Fisheries, has four forward fins, almost like four arms on terrestrial verts.
Image result for largemouth bass
Some of my fish has two forward and two hind fins while others, to look less like legs, had two forward and one hind fin.

I am not too concerned as I wanted these shapes to be quickly made. This wasn't supposed to be my project but one for the residents that I assisted with.

Here is how the project progressed:

I work in a locked home area with the most confused residents. Most were happy to chat while I, a volunteer and one resident did the sanding. The sanding took an hour or a little more and we were all amazed at how soft the fish felt after the sanding. We could have left the project there and simply used the fish for tactile purposes!

Instead we painted a few of them. I am not much of a painter but a coworker is both a skilled painter and an excellent instructor in the painting process. Where I  painted the yellow fish carefully doing both colours at one sitting, she would have done the whole fish one colour, let it dry and then done the second, darker colour. Sounds simple but I didn't think to do it the first time.

These fish were simple and fun but took more time on my part in the basic shaping than I wanted. I need to get faster, get more of a production line approach going, or I will be wasting my time in prep.
Future plans:



Dec: Or ask residents - offer a choice of what they want to make.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

creativiti and greed

I can only call the scheme proposed by Quora to financially reward people for asking questions a remarkable way to study greed and creativity.
In the Quora Partner program, members make a little money based on how many people respond to their questions. More info here.
This should be a great way for creative people to make money simply by asking questions and learning stuff. And maybe this is happening.

Let's look at a question I like. What is the opposite word of cooking? I like it. Cooking is not only heating food so 'freezing' isn't the opposite. Fine. I answered the question: follow the link if you like. The thing is, the questioner also asked 148 other questions, all starting with, "What is the opposite word of ...?"
Here is a person who asked 21 questions about synonyms. Another person I cannot now find (perhaps s/he was banned or blocked) asked more than a thousand 'synonym' questions.

So there is a chance to make money pretty easily. All you have to do is ask questions. Ready? Go!

Huh, turns out thinking of good questions isn't easy. As Quora knows, it is also hard to police the questions they get. I have tried to ask useful, valuable (financially for me!) questions. I have asked a total of five, I think. And I have made $5.11! But that is American so that's something.

I love answering questions. How hard can it be to ask them? Turns out, pretty hard. But I want that money!