A Blue Heron

Nothing that I want to talk about happened today on my day job. But, while I was working, a great shadow passed over my window. When I looked down into my back yard, a Blue Heron landed next to my young Crape Myrtle tree. Before I could get a photo, he leapt into the air and flew away through the overhanging evergreens that border my yard. I was awestruck at his size, his grace, his great wingspan, not to mention his very long and sharp beak. Cooped up in my office, I felt caged and earthbound, happy to have a momentary glimpse of a free being, even if he stayed only for a second.

Time Crunch Means Something's Got to Give

It’s my day job that’s crunching me. Sorry Jimmy Jay, Buddy Butterfly, buddhist dachshunds, and magic buses. I have to go to do what I have to do. For the next week I’m going to stick my face into a computer terminal and do some programming magic. Truly, I’d rather be hanging out with you guys, in your world, where mice wear little suits and butterflies wear red shoes, but…something’s got to give, for a moment. Yes, I’m sad, but I have to take care of business now.

I’ll miss you all. See you on the other side.

Getting into Deep DooDoo, Audio DooDoo, That Is

The deep doodoo, for me at least, is getting my USB microphone working with Linux. I’m planning to do many screencasts over the next few months, both for my day job, and for the Skillshare courses I intend to create, and I’m trying to get my old Samson C01U working. My Skillshare courses will be all about programming languages.The irony here is that I’m talking about left-brain stuff on my art project blog.

After several days of tinkering I got my old Samson working. This mic works without any hassle with WIndows or OS X, but getting it to work on Linux requires putting on a pointy wizard hat and waving a magical staff at several configuration panels. The fact is, I was lucky to get everything working.

USB audio is a real pain on Linux. When I think of the time I’ve spent getting this old mic to work, I realize that I could have spent that time better by buying a low-end XLR setup that would sound better than any USB mic. But you know what, I like to get old equipment working. The computer I’m writing this on is one I built five years ago. It just feels good to keep the old electronics alive rather than junk them every time a pretty new gadget comes around.

Dear Diary,...

Today was one of those days when the work world took over my life. I spent more hours on the upcoming work project than I expected to. I’m committed to delivering a finished product by October 21. Besides the text I have to write (the equivalent of a small technical manual), I have to think about doing videos as part of each week’s deliverable. It’s a lot. Somewhere along the line, art time gets pushed to the back of the queue. Sorry, Art. I’ll be back…soon. I promise.

Al Fresco Art Club Challenge for Oct 13, 2019: Paint a Common Object in Gouache

This week’s challenge continued in our tradition of painting common objects (still life) in one hour. I chose to paint a class Penguin paperback published in 1984. For the past month I’ve been having trouble completing my paintings, so I chose a book because the shape is easy to paint, and I made a conscious decision to avoid details. I intentionally forced myself just to block out the large shapes and then just let go of it.

Penguin has a wonderful graphic style: white text (looks like Helvetica) on a black background, illustrated with a painting from the period covered by the book. In this case, Maupassant’s “Selected Short Stories” were written from 1880 on. The fitting illustration for this collection of stories is a detail from Edgar Degas’ painting named “After the bath”. Degas liked this topic and made many paintings on this theme.

Here’s my version.

Chore Day, Oct 12, 2019 -- Lots of Cooking, Frustration, and Other Fun

Chore day comes around again. I was in the kitchen cooking from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM. I have lots of good stuff to eat next week, all no-fat vegan stuff: curried cauliflower soup, Bolognese lentil spaghetti sauce with lentil and brown rice pasta, lentil and black bean rice with brocolli, vegetable stock, and a batch of no-fat humus for snacking.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day working with Linux video software. I’m planning on making some courses on Skillshare. They’ll be based on some courses I’m teaching at the local college. Since the courses are going to be dropped from the curriculum, I’ll preserve them for posterity — however long that is — by putting them on the Web.

And now, at day’s end, I’m going to chill with the family. This was a good week.