Tuesday, December 24, 2013

finishing the student's doodles

A teacher in Thailand has many students doodling on their tests.  The teacher treats this as a collaborative process and adds to the doodles.  See here and here and I think the latter is the teacher's own blog.

When I found similar doodles I would typically photograph them to share but this teacher's work seems more fun.

I'm at my sister's house in Alaska so I don't feel like adding much to this post but I'll see what images I might still have.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Don't be too alarmed - this isn't a real cheetah, just a carving.

I was a little disappointed once I had finished sanding the carving.  Even after vigourous sanding, there were obvious knife marks where I had cut too deeply.  I was really upset about how it looked.  Then, the yellow coat of paint was applied and it looked at least as bad if not worse.

Then, I added the spots and suddenly, it looks great!

Again, this is not a real cheetah in the picture.  It is a real snake so you can imagine a cheetah v python battle if you want.

And two closeups.

There are some glaring problems and errors - well, glaring to me.  Two pieces of easily shared advice I learned from carvers are 1) when carving with a blade, you always cut too deeply (the alternative is using a grinding tool) and 2) when showing your work, don't mention the errors or mistakes.  If you, the observer, can't see them,I'm not telling you what they are.  They stand out to me because I have held, cut, sanded and, yes, caressed, every bit of this carving and know it better than anyone else.
That said, many of the other carvers offered compliments, and advice.  One gentleman, as soon as he saw it, said, "It's too yellow!"  I was a little pissed off but the man who had lent me the paint accepted the criticism and remarked that that was all the paint we had to use.  I saw I was a little too thin skinned on the subject and so learned another lesson.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

'snowbow' and cheetah progress

The snowbow pictures shown are deliberately small (this isn't a scenery blog!) but please click to embiggen if you want to see something cool.  The second picture is from a little later in the day, just before the sun set -well, forty minutes before, versus the one-hour-and-change before for the first picture- and the 'snowbow' just kept getting brighter and brighter.  Both the snowbow and the extreme brightening of it were fascinating.

I am nearly done carving the cheetah.  Only the eyes and some of the muzzle remain.  Here I am, working in the kitchen rather than the garage because minus 25 degrees is too much for me.

 Here is the cheetah just before I started sanding.
 There is a lot of sanding still to do and I have not started sanding the face.  Once the sanding starts, you can't do any more carving: some grit embeds in the wood and damages the blade.

Friday, December 13, 2013

D-5 need to complete the cheetah carving soon!

I also need to take better pictures!

The nose and muzzle are my current challenges.  I have redrawn the nose so many times that I am not entirely sure which pencil marks I should be following.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Other people's creativiti

As a child, Judy Blume reviewed books that didn't exist. Apparently, she liked them all - she never gave a bad review.

The artwork of Glitch is available.
By giving up our ownership and any rights associated with all these designs, images, characters, drawings, animations, systems, and code, we hope more people will be more easily able to create new works with them. (The initial release was targeted towards developers; the hope is that they will repurpose the assets in ways that will lower the technical barriers so they can be enjoyed, appreciated, or re-used by more people.)
It doesn't matter to us if those new works are commercial or artistic or educational. It doesn't matter if the Glitch art is just the basis for inspiring something else or if it is reproduced exactly. It doesn't matter if we like the results or not. Anyone can use any of it for whatever purpose they want without any restrictions.

Meet the de-imaginator!  "Enemies of imagination, these shadowy figures are locked in an eternal struggle to stop the trafficking of mysterious contraband. Beware of their grabby little hands!"

And a giant!

I never reached this achievement while playing the game, but I'm sure my friends would all agree I embody this achievement.  Although my power is more to terrify others with my sneezing power.

I'm still carving and expect to see images soon.  I have to be done the carving and sanding by next Tuesday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo, hot donkeys and Lego-ized Blues Brothers

A friend was displaying this quote on Facebook and I took the trouble to find out more:

"She had an unnecessarily loud voice, a bit of a bray, like some enchanted, hot donkey."

It is apparently from Gone Girl and this website used it in describing how to write emotions and feelings.
In the mall Chase Scene from the Blues Brothers. This link include the chase scene, a side-by-side comparison of the original and the Lego version and a 12 minute 'Making of-" video that looks like it will be useful for my son and I in our more-minor attempts at stop motion.
My son has written a story:
*Cheetahs vs Leopards

It was a hot day in kenya. A cheetah named Albert spotted a impala.  He called Jacob, his assistant. Then the leopard named Carson spotted the impala. Now He called his assistant. Then they both chased the impala. They were just too noisy for the impala. King Albert blamed king Carson. King Carson blamed king Albert.

They got so tired of arguing that they fought for that delicious impala. Bryson, Carson's assistant clawed Phil the cheetah. Phil was really hurt. He had to stop the job. Everybody was sad. Carson called Tyson. Albert called Colin. They told Tyson and Colin, “Come help.”Colin arrived in a FLASH. Then colin did a 360 kick . He kicked Madelaine the leopard right in the stomach. Madelaine and Phil both needed to go to the hospital.

Albert just grabbed Bryson and threw Bryson in to Carson. Now Bryson threw Bob the cheetah in to Jacob but, Jacob escaped the throw. Bob landed on the ground really fast. It was a night a very quiet night.They were all sleeping except Albert. He was walking around his house trying to think about something. Next morning He told Carson we could share the impala. Carson thought that was a good idea. And they shared the impala.
See the next adventure that Albert does!

the end!
After I finished my InNoWriMo sory, my son wanted to attempt something smaller but still significant.  He chose the huge goal of three thousand words in a month. He made a hundred and five yesterday and finished his first story an hour ago.  He is still set on making 3000 words and is now at 220 in two days but has decided to make a book of several distinct adventures rather than one long story.  The lead character originally had his own name but I have changed it to 'Albert'.

He would love comments and has asked me to post his story so he can get responses.  A wonderfully naive boy, he believes his father is popular online.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Short on time

My InNoWriMo story is not finished yet - I completed the 50,000+ words, but I figure I need about 10,000 more to finish the story.  that may have to wait as I am in another contest - Surprises Aplenty Vs Christmas!  I need to finish carving and sanding this cheetah before Dec 17, so I can paint it before we travel for the holidays.

I'm really hoping you can see some changes in the face and paws in these photos.  Expect to see more in the next few days.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Snider on editing a novel

See the rest of the comic here.

Criticism of NaNoWriMo

A Google Search reveals many with strong opinions of NaNoWriMo.  I touched on this at the beginning of the month but wanted to dig in now that I have completed the ordeal.

Against: 1) First, the worst thing that happened to me during the month is the gain of 5 pounds.

Against 2: Laura Miller, at Slate, has an odd view of reading and writing:
Here’s why: NaNoWriMo is an event geared entirely toward writers, which means it’s largely unnecessary. When I recently stumbled across a list of promotional ideas for bookstores seeking to jump on the bandwagon, true dismay set in. “Write Your Novel Here” was the suggested motto for an in-store NaNoWriMo event. It was yet another depressing sign that the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing.
I say “commerce” because far more money can be made out of people who want to write novels than out of people who want to read them. And an astonishing number of individuals who want to do the former will confess to never doing the latter. “People would come up to me at parties,” author Ann Bauer recently told me, “and say, ‘I’ve been thinking of writing a book. Tell me what you think of this …’ And I’d (eventually) divert the conversation by asking what they read … Now, the ‘What do you read?’ question is inevitably answered, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to read. I’m just concentrating on my writing.’”
In an essay for the Atlantic earlier this year, the fine short story writer Richard Bausch describes meeting a couple who edited a struggling literary magazine and funded it by publishing a never-ending stream of how-to manuals for would-be writers. The wife offered him $10,000 on the spot to write one himself. “These kinds of books sell better than the fiction books,” she explained.
Frankly, there are already more than enough novels out there — more than those of us who still read novels could ever get around to poking our noses into, even when it’s our job to do so. 
I think she has it backwards; most NaNoWriMo authors make the attempt because they love reading.  There are predatory commercial interests involved but that is also true in the fields of fitness and diet and these subjects are not so rendered unimportant.  A bookstore that invites writers or even wannabe writers is probably going after an excellent target market.

And the idea 'there are enough novels out there' is both trivially true and a diagnostic sign for a closed mind.  There are enough movies, TV shows, books, paintings, woodcarvings, dance forms, out there, so let's stop all artistic endeavor.

This part of Miller's article did make me want more details:
Consider turning away from the self-aggrandizing frenzy of NaNoWriMo and embracing the quieter triumph of Kalen Landow and Melissa Klug’s “10/10/10″ challenge: These two women read 10 books in 10 categories between Jan. 1 and Oct. 10, focusing on genres outside their habitual favorites.
  I as a reader and (wannabe) writer set a goal last year of 50 books in 2012.  I beat it handily, reading around 70 books.  I'm impressed and suspicious of someone reading a hundred books in significantly less than a year.  That's a book every three days.

I wonder how much crap they read because they had to to make their quota.  Hey, change 'read' to 'wrote' and that sound like a line Miller used to impugn NaNoWriMo.  Landow and Klug may have read nothing but interesting and valuable books but most in that marathon would not.

Against 3) Here is a reason not to do NaNoWriMo.  Look at this page from my commonplace book.

Those numbers, written everywhere, have nothing to do with the plot but are there to help me count how many words I typed on a given day.  I would tend to update my count every two hundred words or so.  If I was really into the writing, perhaps eight hundred would go by before I updated.  I did not deliberately write valueless exposition or description of backgrounds.  Indeed, when I revise, I expect to need to add a great deal of description to others can see the movie that seems so clear in my head.  Still, when I couldn't think of how to go forward, I went sideways. There were eight characters and, when stuck, I would go into what several were thinking or doing until I saw how to move forward.  This might look perfect as a tension building device but i doubt it.

For 1) Antony Johnston feels writing more means improving more (I've added several ellipses.  Follow the link if you want the whole thing - I want his point to be clear but his details to be on his page only.  Go have a look):
Look: anyone can sit down and write two pages of a novel, then forget about it, and a week later write five pages of a screenplay, then forget about it, and a week later start another novel… etc, etc.
That shit is easy. Everyone (yes, even working writers) has a ton of projects they’ve started but never finished.
But writing a whole novel? Or a whole screenplay, or comic book, or stage play, or whatever? Actually seeing it through and finishing it?
Well, now. That shit is hard.
You learn from it. You learn how to sit your arse down and write, even when you don’t feel “inspired”. Even when ... this room could really do with a good dusting couldn’t it, and, and, and you write anyway.
You improve. It’s impossible not to, because you have something finished, to review and assess in its entirety. And when it’s finished, it inevitably comes up wanting. What you write is never as good as what you had in your head when you started — never, ever, ever — so you make a promise to yourself, to do it better next time.
You can’t do that if you still haven’t finished this time.

Against 4) Albert Riehle repeats the complaint that no one feels we should all try Brain Surgery so why do we all want to try writing?  To repeat my rebuttal: Almost everyone can walk and run so trying a marathon or 10 km is reasonable in ways that trying a 10 km swim is not.  Almost everyone reads and writes daily so the step up is not at all similar as attempting complicated medical procedures.  Albert Riehle needs to learn about false equivalence.  He clearly isn't perfect at logic so he should forever give up on persuasive writing.

Riehle also mentions the commercial aspect of NaNoWriMo.  On the website are ads for writing software and professional editing services. This might be a fair criticism.  On the other hand, I usedOmmWriter, a free word processor and found it entirely satisfactory.  The 'Build a book' outline and organization guide I saw on the website was free. I am likely to donate money but only came to that decision after finishing the event.

For 2) JunkFoodMonkey likes the idea of NaNoWriMo as a way to promote creative pursuits:
Okay, so why is it NaNoWriMo, rather than PaintAPictureADayMonth or LearnToPlayAnInstrumentMonth? Those are legitimate creative pursuits. Why is it NaNoWriMo that caught on?
Because writing is easy! In the purely practical sense that is. Almost everyone knows how to do it. You don't need special equipment, at least nothing that you probably don't already own, so there's little or no financial outlay. You don't need lessons or a how to book before you can even start. You can do it almost anywhere.
For 3) DebraEve learned to just write:
3. Distract that troll.  Devise ruthless tactics to contain your inner critic. In fact, give it a name. (I got this from Fi Bowman.) My inner critic is Citirc (pronounced Sit-Irk) the Troll. Not very original, but it sums him up and sounds vaguely Anglo-Saxon.
To keep Citirc quiet during Nano, I left an asterisk where an idea needed research or a hash mark where the plot needed work. Then I vaulted over that area and kept writing, promising I’d come back later.
In short, Nanowrimo taught me how to write – not edit, not rewrite, not research. Before Nano, I’d tried to do all those things while creating a first draft. That’s like hanging a gorgeous pair of silk curtains before you’ve installed window frames. It can be done, but what’s the point?

There is more on both sides and note that I loved my NaNoWriMo work even though in this post I twice wrote against it.
Not really related:  Congrats to my two closest fellow participants.  Perhaps someday I will meet them.