End of Twenty-shiteen Wrap-up

Ah, 2016. You were a disjointed mouthful of fruit juice joy and bile-scented cottage cheese heart clots. Your only saving grace is the train-wreck maelstrom that 2017 is shaping up to be. I’ll always remember you.

But despite the challenges of this past year, I have much to be thankful for, and feel extremely fortunate. Our family is still here fighting our battles, and surviving together with love. We have some of the most amazing friends I could ever imagine. We live in a place that fits us well and we appreciate. We have also been able to spend a good amount of time seeing amazing live music. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain or understand how important this to us.

I haven’t put in as much time reading as I’d like, but here is what I’ve been able to do this year. I’ve really been enjoying collections of science fictions stories from the 40’s – 60’s. It’s amazing how it still reflects the society we live in today. Often scary. The Wool and Post Human Series were quick and good, and I love a good physics book, too.

Got any recommendations?

  • Fluency (Confluence book 1)
  • Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
  • Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
  • Hey Whipple, Squeeze This
  • The Golden Age of Science Fiction Volume 1
  • The 7th Golden Age of Weird Fiction Mega Pack
  • The Pulp Crime Megapack
  • The 1st science Fiction Megapack
  • The 7th Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 11th Science Fiction Mega pack
  • The Complete Collection of HP Lovecraft
  • The 17th Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 19th Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 21st Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The 22nd Golden Age of Science Fiction Megapack
  • The Mad Scientist Megapack
  • The Philip K. Dick Megapack
  • True Detective Stories from the Archives of the Pinkertons
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1-5) Silo Series
  • Post Human Omnibus Edition (Post Human Series)
  • Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight
  • Allegiant
  • Thomas Jefferson: Art of Power (still working on this one. Ben Franklin’s was more fun.)

We’ve seen a bunch of movies this year but I can’t remember them. I should start keeping track better. Is there a list that isn’t paginated like crazy? We did see and love Ghostbusters. Kubo and the Two Strings was wonderful. At Finding Dory and every other kids movie I cried like a baby. I still haven’t seen Dr. Strange, Moana, Deadpool, Trolls, and so many more.

I didn’t put nearly enough time into learning the tech I want and need to learn. That will be my focus for this coming year.

To everyone, thank you for being part of our lives. It wouldn’t be the same without you! In the end, life is about experiences, and I plan to go into this new year ready to add the most amazing chapters to my history book. You ready?

A New Uncanny Valley?

InigoMontoya

As VR and MR enter into the mainstream consciousness, people are starting to get familiar (or at least using) with terms that have been common in the 3D, VR, and animation fields for many years. In one way this is great to see. Language is the key to communication, and once we have a shared set of terms we can share and build on ideas faster and easier. In our world of saturated buzz phrase media though, there can be a disconnect when tech journalists start using a term in a different way than what has been the norm. I’m not opposed to evolution of language, but it’s also important to use consistent terms with established ideas.

The source that inspired me today is an interesting use of the term “uncanny valley”. I’m not going to call this out or reference the usage at this time because I don’t want to add to this new myth. I’ll send the author my comment and let them do as they will.

But to clarify, the uncanny valley isn’t a new idea that has just been created for virtual reality. The uncanny valley concept and term have been around for a long time, and applies to graphics, robotics, sound design, and many other disciplines. Wikipedia has a clear definition here, which is in line with the way the 3D, animation, and graphics industry I have worked in for the last 20 years has used it. Basically:

When features look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural beings, it causes a response of revulsion among some observers.

I am in no way a grammar purist, and I also have a tendency to make up and mash up new words to suit my needs or whims. I also applaud the use of words and language to bring a creative approach to concepts allowing for a fresh or extended perspective to further conversation. But once a term has a definition, stating that it means something totally different is a disservice to the community of participants and spectators.

I’m sure it is very difficult to keep up with the plethora of terms that are emerging from new technology these days, but I do believe that tech writers should learn and understand the language, and help new audiences learn as well.

PS. If I have used any terms above incorrectly, please comment and hammer me for it. I will probably respond that I did it for ironic impact and emphasis, but I still would appreciate the opportunity to learn.

Uncanny Valley from Wikipedia.

George and the Cherry Tree

Are you familiar with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree? It is heralded as a triumph of honesty and integrity, and supposedly pointed to his destiny as our country’s first president.

What you don’t know is the rest of the story. The real story of what happened. It’s still a story of honesty and integrity, but there is more. It’s a story that I’d bet most homeowners would be very familiar with. Here’s what happened.

George: Yes, I cannot tell a lie. I did cut down that cherry tree, fortruth.

Dad: I’m proud of you, George. Ye told the truth, even when it was notith easy. I’m still going to beat thee ass with my belt, but thy will still have thy honor. Red, sore, and bruised honor, but honor ye will have.

G: Shit. *runs and yells back* But Dad, I didn’t mean to cut down thy tree! *smack* Ow!

D: Get thee over here, ye cockchafer.

G: Seriously! *smack* Ow! Ye Limey dick!  Benny, I mean Mr. Arnold came over the other day and asked to borrow our hatchet to cut some of his trees. I couldn’t find it at the time, but when I was out doing chores in the woodshed – *smack* OW! Ye ball! – I found the hatchet. I took it over to his *smack* OW! Ye fackwad! house this morning to see if he still needed it.

D: Now ye lying is getting thick as porridge, quim. Get back here! *smack*

G: Ow! Piss! He wasn’t there so I came back home. As I walked back I noticed one of the branches of the tree was broken, so I trimmed it off to keep the tree healthy. *smack* Shit, ow! Whigg! Then the tree was all off balance so I trimmed a tree from the other side. *whiff* Missed me! *smack* Ow!

D: HA! Your fate is preordained. Accept it now or ye will feel my wrath two-fold.

G: Once I trimmed off that side, the other side seemed to big. OW! Soon I realized I trimmed the whole damn thing to a stump. *smack* OW! For real! I was just trying to make it look good and stay healthy! *smack* Ow! Ye tarnal! Screwth this.

D: Ye can’th run, boy! Ye residence is known to me!

G: Eateth my big one, ye nutlick! I’m outeth. Ye and thy British bull shit can suck my Yankee doodle. One day I’ll clear all thy shits outa here!

And that’s the way it happened. Google it.

Back and Forward Again

Sure, sure. Every year I do this little ritual of looking back over the past year to reflect on what was good, bad, interesting, boring, useful, or somewhat less than useful. After that I look forward to pick out a few things to focus on for the coming year. It’s not the most exciting ritual, but it’s mentally necessary.

Looking Back – 2014

2014 was generally a good year. Let’s take a look.

  • I kept the same good job for the full year, making two years straight at the same company. As volatile as the job market has been, I’m happy with this.
  • I finished up teaching at FRCC. I’ve been teaching there for about 8 years I think – Game Design, 3D Animation, Photoshop, Capstone. I’ve had great students and learned a ton, but it’s time to get back to doing some things. Time is never our friend, is it. I’ll still be on the advisement board and help out when I can with mentoring my replacements, but I won’t be actively teaching for a while.
  • Reading more was important to me this year and I was able to read more for recreation than I have in the past. Not a ton, and a lot of sci-fi and cyber books. I left out the software manuals and blog series. They don’t really have interesting titles. I also left out the real paper and binding books that I’ve read and that don’t show up in my Kindle app. I tend to give them away and forget I’ve read them.
    • Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (In progress, good but slow.)
    • Relativity: Special and General Theory (In progress, good but denser)
    • Post Human Series Books 1-4
    • Enders Game
    • Speaker for the Dead
    • Xenocide
    • The Sirens of Titan
    • Dune
    • Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware…
    • Freedom
    • Mona Lisa Overdrive
    • How the Scots Invented the Modern World
    • Ready Player One
    • Sword of Fire and Sea
    • Rocket Surgery Made Easy
    • The War of the Worlds
    • The Time Machine
    • The Information: A History, Theory, Flood
    • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    • Sherlock Holmes: Complete Collection
    • Neuromancer
  • Not as many movies this year, even though LilF is getting older and interested in more movies. I’ve missed a ton that I’d love to see, but here are a few I’ve seen, some with LilF, some with the beautiful Aimee:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Big Hero Six
    • How to Train Your Dragon 2
    • Captain America: Winter Soldier
    • Xmen: Days of future past
    • Lego Movie
    • The Nut Job
    • Horns
    • Pompeii
    • Rio 2
    • Maleficent
    • Video Games: The Movie
    • BoxTrolls
  • We were able to go to ComiCon in Denver this year which was a blast!
  • Watching the World Cup this year was amazing.
  • I was able to travel some this year, but again, not nearly as much as I’d like. Aimee had a ton of trips this year, but me not as much.
    • Company retreat to Berekley, CA
    • Family weekend to Seattle, WA
    • Conference in DC
    • Los Angeles
    • Snow Mountain Ranch
    • Dreamforce in San Francisco, CA
  • Concerts – There have been a bunch of great shows and festivals this year including Tellerpalooza, UMS, Westword Music, Higher Ground, FoCoMX, Bohemian Nights, and Riot Fest. I haven’t kept track of all of them this year, tho. Check on Greeblehaus.com for photos of the ones that I’ve been to as well as the ones Aimee as been able to shoot.
  • What else, what else… There’s been a lot going on here at home and around our family, but it’s tough to keep it all in mind for the full year. Which brings us too…

Looking Ahead – 2015

I’m looking forward to 2015. It should be a good year. A lot of the craziness of the last few years with health and work has seemed to stabilize, so we are ready to mix things up again this year! There’s a razor’s edge between comfort and terror that is fun to glide.

Some random goals in no particular order:

  • Help LilF and Aimee find the direction and people they want to be. They are both in amazing times of change and growth. I’m here for them.
  • Figure out  how to cook more, both by making time and learning how to cook things. It really shouldn’t be that difficult. LilF wants to cook more too, so I can rely on him for encouragement too.
  • Take advantage of work flexibility. Travel more, see more, do more. Not expensive stuff, but just see and experience more. The world is out there, and cries out to be revealed.
  • Keep getting more and more input from more places. Reading, movies, music, lectures, events, podcasts. I always need more input.
  • Output – Create and build. Tired of having so many ideas that grow fungus. Fanplan, BandBeef, Pick the Weather, Live Streaming, Unity games, my music.
  • Support local music more this year. I didn’t get out to see nearly as many gigs as I wanted. We have a great scene in Denver that is well worth getting out for. I also want to do more to help the SpokesBuzz crew and other such entities. I don’t have to start from scratch for everything, do I? Most things, but not everything. :)
  • Be physical. Skateboard, bike, run, ski, wrestle, box, something, anything. I’m getting rounder by the second.
  • Drink good whiskey. Drink less, learn more. Denver Whiskey Club FTW.

And one of the most important things I need to do is make sure the people I care about know about it. Family, friends, bar buddies, concert crew, and more. All you wonderful people are the ones that I learn from and grow with. I look forward to another year with you all!

Mom’s Fridge

No matter what drawing, sketch, sculpture, or piece of trash I’d give my mom, she would always gush over it saying how wonderful it was, and she would put it up on the fridge for everyone who came to the house to see. We didn’t really have much company, so this was a pretty safe approach. Now that I live 2000 miles away, she’s not as dedicated to the cause.

I was cleaning up my in-house office space the other night and found some sketchbooks. Nothing amazing, but some fun stuff. I’m using this post as my fridge. Just some stuff to remind me of moments of creating. Feel free to ignore me.

Zombie: This guy shows up every so often. He’ll get a comic strip one day.

Vulture: Sometimes vulture, sometimes turtle. He’s a cutie.

Skull: Not as cute. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind this night.

Angry Pooh: But I wasn’t nearly as mad as Pooh. He was PISSED!

Rabbit: Rabbit went on a 2 week bender and came back all “I need money for rent…” Back to rehab, fuzz tail. I have a work in progress animation about him on Easter Sunday. Bad, bad, rabbit.

Lawman: This guy shows up all the time. He’s got a swagger and style all his own.

ManHead: A jaw built for chewing.

Stagecoach: Must have been feeling a bit Western this night. Or was I feeling Country? Either way, now the lawman has a way home.

Machine: If the stage coach isn’t good enough, how about something a little more gritty?

Man: A bit more optical.

Woman: Behind every man is a good woman. Or a screaming banshee cackling like a hyena.

Capone: A man and his lady for the evening.

Happy: This one just makes me happy. A girl and her teddy.

Bath: Ever feel like the world is a blasting shower of acid torrenting down on you in a deluge of burn? I remember this night.

Dresser: Whew, glad that shower is over.

Entrance: This is the entrance to BgxLabs. It’s a massive underground complex originally called Area 13, and right under Table Mesa. Nike accidentally outed it’s existence when they tried to build their headquarters there.

Eye: I’m watching you. Always watching.

You wouldn’t believe the things I see. Or maybe you would! We should talk more. Leave a comment.

 

Irony

It’s pretty funny to me that when I was in an Apple Mac-centric shop, I had a WM6 phone that was always tough to get to sync with everything. Now I have an iPhone and an iPad, and work in a Windows shop, and still don’t have the computer integration that I would hope to have. Life is always interesting with silly first world problems.

Forgetfulness ra

It always happens the same way. I have an idea for a post, something that I want to share and that actually might be interesting to someone else, and by the time I get to a device, fire it up, log in to wordpress and get to recording, the idea is gone.
This is the current situation, and I am not happy about it. I am bashing my head trying to find out what was SO important that I had to share it and I come up blank.
I hope this is a normal thing that writers learn to deal with because it bugs the hell out of me, and is one of the reasons I don’t post a lot. (notice the proper use of a lot? I’m a gramatatician.)
In an effort to jog my memory, here are the events of the eve. After a day of building. A very slick desk for my phenomenally amazing wife, I enjoyed. A Memorial Day evening HOLY FUCK I JUST REMEMBERED! See? Writers write.
I hope I remember this by the time I get to the next post and that it is somewhat interesting.

Failed Experiment

That didn’t work at all. What was it? Did you see it? Hopefully not. A weekly digest of all my tweets as a blog post, automagically generated and posted with no effort from me at all (except to turn it on). Interesting idea, but only if you are saying anything interesting at either location. Otherwise, it ends up being overkillingly dull and lifeless. Who wants that? Not me, that’s probably why I stopped reading my blog.

The point is, it’s gone, and I am back to my random and intermittent schedule of posting, that we all have grown comfortable with. Don’t say I don’t do things for you. I am here to serve.

Hopefully I’ll get some more things going on here and actually be able to provide something of interest. It’s that time thing. I guess if I got up and just did it for 15 minutes a day, and let it fly no matter what, that would be something. That would jam a spike in my procrastination-perfectionist disorder, but maybe that’s a good thing. Worth a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?

I am beautiful

Dear Cosmetics Industry,

I have no idea how you do it, but you do. You take a little seed, a fluttering, fledgling of nothing and nurture it into an amazing flower with nothing more than a bit of colored dust, water, and maybe a little whale bile. Whatever it takes. You make us look on the outside like you tell us we look on the inside, and we are so willing to pay you dearly for the chance to bring our little light out from under that rough, hand-hewn wicker basket that is the earthly shell we are eternally confined within.

But what is it about this transformation that amazes me the most? At what moment am I overwhelmed with realizing the magnitude of what it is that you truly accomplish for millions of people each and every day? Is it when I look in the mirror and see the glamor shine through? Is it when the photos look like a poster from the next Hollywood blockbuster? Is it when I see the looks of awe and adoration in the eyes of the men, women, children, and animals (both wild and domesticated) around me? Nay. It is not at these times.

It is when I am removing these aforementioned colored-particulate laden whale-bile products from my person that the vastness of the universal impact of the depth of your influence reaches into my soul and warms the cockles of my organ of respect.

It is then that I realize that you are marketing, advertising, and product placement evolutionary lords, and we should all swim silently before you if we ever desire to emerge from the muck in which we live to be able to one day gaze directly up at you upon your pedestal.

Perplexed? Please, let me clarify. I don’t wear make-up often. A few times a year at best. But what I have discovered is that when I do wear it, as easy as it is to go on, it takes about 10 times more effort to get it off. I wash. I scrub. I cleanse. I rinse. I look up – and it’s still there. WTF? Repeat. Wash, scrub, cleanse, wash, scrub, cleanse, rinse, look – WTF!!! This is the moment I am talking about. How do people do this every day?

I get the opposite side, putting on the make-up makes sense. Masks, imperfections, protection, sure, what ever you need. You get something out of it, so you put in the time at the beginning of your day. Fine. But having to invest ANOTHER HOUR to wash the shit off? These guys are marketing geniuses. How have they convinced so many people that they need to invest this much time into looking like, well, looking like anything? They don’t even say we’ll look like anything! Just not like us! And we get to spend our good money and our good time to do it. I don’t even like to sit too long on the toilet, and that’s something that is actually necessary. If it doesn’t come, it’s going to wait until next time. I’m busy.

So after last night where I was the pirate guide at the haunted house, and after tonight at the Denver Zombie Crawl, my wife and son understand that for the next few days, I will have some eye make-up hanging around. I’m not gouging out my eyes to get it off. I’m not buying another pot of some other chemical to get it off. And I’m not going to soak my face in warm water for the next 2 hours waiting for the muck to get soft enough to wipe off easily with a moist towelette drenched in denatured alcohol or MEK. When the skin cells fall off, so goes the muck.

I am beautiful. I will swim with my muck and gaze up at the marketing lords of the cosmetic industry, forever in awe of their prowess. And while they have discovered what makes us tick, they will never understand why over 7,000 grown adults will dress as zombies and descend upon downtown Denver. And why we bring our kids. And we love it. So there.

Check out eyeheartbrains.com

My Dearest Adobe

Oh, Adobe-muffin, my longtime friend. I understand your frustration at Apple for not allowing Flash to run on their iPhone and iPad. You have worked long and hard on systems that would convert Flash into an iPhone/Pad application, and don’t want to throw all that great programming out the window like a day old placenta. I bet that really burns your bottom in the worst way. Unfortunately, that seems to be the way the cookie crumbles today. But don’t lose heart, you can still plant that placenta under a beautiful rose bush to enrich the already fertile soil you currently tend.

Of what do I speak? What quizzidom of quirkitude of which do I quack? Why your other products, of course. Illustrator, Fireworks, InDesign, Photoshop and many many others, including the wondrous and ever useful Acrobat. What amazing and incredible things!

Maybe now you can make it so that every fucking time I open a fucking Adobe product, I don’t have to fucking download yet another fucking update.

Toodles! Hope you have a great day!

Love,

bg

P.S. Aldus said to tell you “Eat it, Cakeboy.” Not sure what that meant, but he sure seemed to be laughing.