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Fact check? My ass!

I swear to god somebody in my Twitter stream or a blog or Drudge or something said today was the anniversary of the founding of the GOP. So I did this stupid drawing, and then I went to authenticate the story. As far as I can tell, February 28 has no significance what-so-ever to the Republican Party.


Screw it, I’m running with it anyway. This thing has Monday written all over it.

First person that says “measure twice, cut once” — I’ma pop you one.

February 28, 2011 — 11:31 pm
Comments: 23


Dear Koch brothers,

Like my hat? Yeah, because…ummm…it’s empty.

I’ve been reading all over the blogosphere lately how you guys have bankrolled this “Tea Party” stuff and I’m just wondering — where’s mine?

I’ve got this wingnut schtick down. Really. Really, really good.

Do you not know where to send the check or something? Because my email addy is right there in the header. Just drop me a line; we can work it out.

See, if this gig doesn’t start paying off soon, I’m going to have to slide on over to the progressives. Because we all know they’re actually right about stuff.

Hey! Am I right?

The only reason anyone would be a conservative is for dough. Or because Sarah Palin says it’s what Jesus would do.

So, c’mon guys, pony up! Fair’s fair! I’m really hurting over here.

If the Mossad ever stops buying favorable blog copy, I’m screwed.

Stoaty Weasel

February 25, 2011 — 11:45 pm
Comments: 27

Cutthroat Scrabble

Yeah. Sorry about a post tonight. I have a Scrabble emergency.

And if you don’t think there’s such a thing as a Scrabble emergency, you’ve never seen the white-hot laser intensity with which I can do utterly pointless things.

Yep, I’m still playing that massive multiplayer online Scrabble knockoff game. I’m up over 100,000 points (the top ten starts at over 400K), and that’s a little too much personal investment to walk away from, nome sane?

Thing is, the strategery for this is totally different from Scrabble. One of the most important points is not to get surrounded and cut off, because it’s difficult to punch through somebody else’s lines (you can only play on your own tiles). You get yourself stuck in one of those bunches like the thing in the upper right hand corner, and you’re fucked. That’s it. You spell shorter and shorter words until you can’t play no more.

So I spell toward open water, which in my case is down and to the left. And every once in a while, some ass peals off the main word stream and spells AT me with all he’s got. And I have to spell, spell like the wind to blow past him to freedom.

If none of that made sense to you, it basically means WEASEL HATE! KILL KILL KILL!

‘Scuse me.

Oh, cmblake6 asked to be put on my blogroll (somehow, I thought he already was). Some of y’all may remember I hate messing with my blogroll, so while I’m in there, if anybody else would like to be added — sing out. I don’t think blogrolls contribute to Google ranking or anything now (which is why I’m not ever so scrupulous about maintaining mine), but I’m happy to oblige.

— 12:14 am
Comments: 41

You musta beena beautiful baby…

Yeah. Sorry to do this to you for a second day, but I just cannot get enough of Moammar Kaddafi’s face. He looks like he’s carved out of a giant cube of decomposing luncheon meat.

Pimiento loaf, perhaps.

February 24, 2011 — 12:09 am
Comments: 20

I see Moammar dressed himself today

Seriously, world? How have we all, collectively, let this homicidal nutcake run around loose all these years?

When I saw this, all I could think of was this.

February 22, 2011 — 7:16 pm
Comments: 23

Hello there, New Boss

Is there any reason to be the slightest bit optimistic about the riots going on across the Middle East at the moment? So far, they’ve knocked over very bad men in Egypt and now, maybe Libya. So everything defaults to military control. Um, great?

People on both sides are being a leeetle too premature on the celebration. On the right, because we fetishize the American Revolution. On the left, because they fetishize revolution itself.

Not counting our own — which was hashed out over years by some of the finest political thinkers of the Enlightenment — when has revolution led to better lives? Honest question — I’ve been trying to think of examples.

France? Well, eventually. I guess. They’ve had lots of bad, bloody governments between then and now. Ditto Mexico and South America. I don’t know if you can say a thing improves lives if it takes a couple hundred years to do it.

Russia? No. China? No. Tscha.

After pushing against Apartheid with all their might, the left doesn’t seem to have noticed that South Africa has descended into utter third-world shit-holery. I guess shit-holery is okay as long as it’s racially equitable shit-holery. Like when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and everybody starved together.

So that leaves Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall. They got themselves together within a few years. So there’s that.

Anybody know Middle Eastern Lech Wałęsa? Yeah. Um, no.

I have a really bad feeling about this.

February 21, 2011 — 11:40 pm
Comments: 25

Pixar, here I come!

So, Nina asked me what I could do with all this modeling stuff. Well, Miss Smarty, I can make a shiny disembodied gray chicken head float around and chew gum. NOW don’t you feel silly for asking?

Actually, the alert viewer will observe that he’s not really chewing. His bottom jaw has become dislocated and is flying around randomly inside his skull. Darn you, learning curve! Darn you to heck!

Have a good weekend, y’all.

February 18, 2011 — 10:57 pm
Comments: 47

Short attention span tutorials

Here’s how my mother used to convey information to me: “…it was Wednesday — I know it was Wednesday, because I was wearing my flat shoes with the buckle — and I was in town buying some Milk of Magnesia from the drugstore. You know, that place hasn’t been the same since Bud died. Heart’s gone right out of his wife. Anyhow, who comes in but Helen from the bank. I thought she looked a bit peaked…” This could go on for another fifteen, twenty minutes. There was NO speeding the process up.

Here’s me conveying the same information: “I bumped into the bank manager. You’re overdrawn.”

See, this is why I hate slogging through tutorials. They teach you stuff they way my mother does, by telling a pointless little narrative.

One of the early Blender tutorials shows you how to build and animate a gingerbread man. Along the way, you learn a little about the interface, a little about the modeler, a little about the materials editor, a little about the animator, and on and on. These are all completely separate, self-contained parts of the program. And they’re each hella complicated. (Oh, don’t even get me started on video tutorials, which inevitably waste precious seconds of my life with, “hello, my name is Tom Fuknutz, and today I’m going to walk you through the steps necessary to do some boring shit. This plastic doohickey is a mouse…”)

Soon, memories of my sainted mother come flooding back, my head explodes and I quit the tutorial process completely. At that point, I have no idea what most of the buttons do.

Me, I want a bullet list of broad concepts. Then I want somebody to walk me through every menu and button and write down what each and every one of them does. Even if I don’t yet have the background to understand what the explanations mean — though this kind of approach is especially helpful when you’re already familiar with some other, similar program. Kind of an Appendix A on the whole program. (I will say, Blender tooltips are better than most).

At one point, I started a project to put together tutorials on stuff I know for those who are similarly patience-challenged. I registered a domain for it and everything. Then I lost interest.


February 17, 2011 — 9:51 pm
Comments: 13


Oh. My. God. This is so turbly, turbly fun to play with.

Pixologic, the people behind the astonishing but pricey Zbrush, offer a free tool called Sculptris (download link is at the bottom of the first post).

Fire it up, and there’s a big gray ball in the middle of the screen. You use your mouse to poke it and pull it and crease it and smooth it until it looks the way you want it to. Then you can output a mesh for use in other programs.

It takes about two seconds to learn the interface (start with D for draw, X to toggle whether you’re poking or pulling, [ and ] to make your brushes bigger or smaller, and Alt-LeftMouse to rotate your viewpoint).

Even if there’s not an artistic bone in your body, I bet you’ll enjoy mashing on this big ol’ digital ball of Play Doh. G’wan, it’s free!

Thanks to gogman for the recommendation. Sorry for all the artardalation this week. When I’ve got new toys, there’s NO getting anything sensible out of me.

February 16, 2011 — 11:06 pm
Comments: 10

Better, faster, stronger…

Oof! Spent my day fiddling around with tutorials. I hate tutorials, but I am wise enough to know the quickest way out of tutorials is through them.

Messiah:studio’s gamble paid off and I get my software. Turns out, though, everything I wanted to do I could do with the totally free Blender. Oh, well. More toys.

And just because this is the only thing going on in my head at the moment, here are the components of a 3D animation program, from the ground up:

Modeling — where you take spheres and cubes and planes and stick them together, cut pieces off and wiggle their bits around until they look like something. Here’s where you get to build materials, too — red or blue, shiny or knobbly — and apply them to your thingamabobs.

Shiny. I like shiny.

Then you set up the scene: lights, cameras, backgrounds, atmospherics (fog and so on). I love this part.

The renderer is the bit that makes a picture out of all this, the under-the-hood part. I suspect most modern renderers are pretty good, but this used to be the differences between the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff: whether the rendering engine could make things like glass and water look realistic and take proper reflections. If you have a lot of lights and shiny mirrors in your scene, it can make the render very, very slow — and there are thirty renders for every second of animation.

The animation module is where you make your things do stuff. This includes rigging — building skeletons inside your thingies to help them move right — and things like hair dynamics (check out this dude in the middle of the page and imagine trying to animate that without some kind of automation). Rigging and modeling the movement of soft things like falling drapery is apparently what messiah excels at.

Anyhoo, it’s a hell of a process. I’m not planning on trying to do anything for reals with it. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to run the risk of doing anything practical or lucrative with my time.

I just really, really like shiny.

February 15, 2011 — 11:47 pm
Comments: 27