egypturnash: (HGA)

Another one of those “I answered this on /r/AdobeIllustrator and thought it would make a good technique post” things.

How to make a cute little string-art effect.

1. Draw some lines
2. Use the Blend tool to click on the end of the first line furthest away from the next one
3. Repeat until you run out of lines
4. object>blend>blend options to bring up the number of steps
5. to fix that one line you clicked wrong on, select it and do object>path>reverse path direction.

If you wanted it to really look like the nail-and-string-on-a-board kits I remember doing in the seventies, you could maybe add a highlight and a shadow by putting extra strokes on the whole blend:

Adding nails is left as an exercise for the reader.

Suggestions: dotted lines, custom arrowhead, custom art brush with a nail at one end and the “stretch between guides” scaling option in its settings, a custom art brush that’s *just* a nail plus some blank space and the “stretch between guides” scaling option applied to the whole blend as a new path atop the appearance stack shown here – maybe with a low level of effect>distort & transform>roughen applied to mimic the look of nails hammered in unevenly?

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

slick

Oct. 16th, 2018 10:31 pm
egypturnash: (HGA)

late night self-indulgent doodling whilst listening to spooky ambient country music. i tried a variant with machine-stippled highlights and shading for a ‘scaly’ look but it was too noisy, so you’ll never see it.

click thumbnail for the full nsfw image.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

I had not really thought about what would be at the bottom of the pile of assorted paper stuff I should Really Get Around To Dealing With Soon that has taken over the left third of my desk. But it does not surprise me at all that at its bottom, I find letters expressing their condolences for the recent death of my mother. Which was in 2015. I’ve been kinda useless ever since, in a lot of ways. The comedy option winning the Presidency of the US on top of all that hasn’t helped matters either.

Right now my apartment is a mess. I still haven’t really cleaned the kitchen up from when they opened it all up to replace a pipe in the wall and deprive me of the garbage disposal. There’s a pile of Nick’s books in the middle of the studio, next to the pile of stuff accumulating around the chair that needs to have its new legs put on by someone competent to drill big serious holes through wood. Laundry perpetually gets put off until it’s at a crisis point. I used to have an aspect of myself I called “Miss Fussyspider”, who wants everything to be neat and tidy and is quite willing to stonedly put in the constant low-level amount of work needed to keep things that way, and I haven’t really let her run ever since all these things started piling up. Because at the bottom of that pile there is some stuff that needs doing but is very emotionally painful to deal with.

I kinda feel like moving is going to be helpful in this. I’ll have to look at every single thing in this apartment and decide if it is something I want to bother hauling across the country. I’m sure I’ll accumulate more stuff but at least it’s a time to pare it down to what I really need to keep myself healthy and amused.

At least the pile of paper is neater now, and I’ve wiped about three years of ash off the corner of the desk the bong lives on.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

This morning I got stoned and decided that a galaxy-pattern catsuit under the bathrobe I still hadn’t bothered changing out of was a really good fashion choice for the morning. Then Nick said I looked like a far-future Arthur Dent who has truly become a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is. Because really, what is a bathrobe but a towel you can wear? He had it with him all along.

When he’s not travelling, that spacesuit is always with him. It probably converts into a useful backpack or something. Because after what he’s survived, there is no way Arthur would want to let that thing out of his possession. Ever.

 

In the shower I thought about this drawing as a pitch for a H2G2 cartoon adaptation.

 

* The spacesuit has invisibility capabilities; when Arthur’s not using it for that he has it just display whatever random imagery/video we feel like genlocking in there.

* The spacesuit can recycle his fluids into a substance almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

* Perhaps it is the latest model of the Guide? Compacts into an easy-to-carry box of roughly Gameboy size when not in use. It does NOT have a Genuine People Personality. Nobody wants that when they’re floating alone in the void of space.

* Every episode starts cold with Arthur in some tranquil setting (possibly wherever he finished last episode), when suddenly, disaster strikes and he is, once again, floating in the cold void of space. He sighs, dons the spacesuit, and begins reciting something similar to the Litany Against Fear centered around the words “Don’t Panic”. Cue “Journey of the Sorcerer” or some imitation thereof, opening titles are a montage of bits introducing Arthur and the main characters of this episode with Arthur still floating in space waiting for the Thumb to say something’s in range. As the opening titles come to a close, there’s something detected; Arthur turns on the Thumb capability of his suit via a closeup on his hand making a hitch-hiking gesture. Music climaxes, smash cut to episode title as the music fades, then we rudely drop Arthur into the middle of whatever mess we’ve thought up for him to muddle his way out of this time.

 

“You’ve essentially just reinvented Doctor Who”, said Nick when I pitched these ideas to him. Arguably yes, though I feel there’s a big difference: the Doctor is good at solving huge problems like “an entire universe has been converted into Daleks, who are now invading this universe with the aim of turning it into even more Daleks” while Arthur is good at averting problems well before they get to that point, or just not being where they are when they happen. His primary skills are being that super chill surfer dude who is really, really good at staying calm in the face of crisis and helping other people de-escalate. He does not necessarily solve the problem he’s dropped into in every episode; sometimes he just ends up running.

Also another way this is different from Doctor Who is that the Doctor is not costumed so as to look like she’s naked under her bathrobe. Arthur is. Because nobody really takes you seriously as a threat when you look like you’re naked under your bathrobe.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

an epiphany

Oct. 3rd, 2018 01:32 pm
egypturnash: (HGA)

So the other day I was reading this article about a town in Iowa full of dairy farms and its inherent contradiction of going all out for Trump despite completely depending on immigrant labor. And during the night, something hit me, and I felt like the world turned inside out for me: All these “illegal immigrants” that rural white folks get so riled up over are the indigenous people of North America, pushed out by multiple waves of European colonists. When they come back they get to work at the shittiest jobs for slave labor rates, with the threat of deportation hanging over them should anyone speak up; it’s the people who just walked on in and waved guns around who’re the real illegal immigrants here, using the classic deflection technique of calling the other side what you are.

It’s, like, sure, I’ve had all the pieces to this realization, but it never really all came together until late one night when I was in my late forties and I kinda feel incredibly stupid and part of an utterly horrible system that I’m powerless to change and I kinda wonder if the world would be better off if the Black Death had wiped out 90% of Europe.

(I wonder if part of why it took so long to put this together was spending the first twenty five years of my life in a city that has deep scars around the history of slavery, and had gotten rid of not only its original locals, but pretty much all evidence that they even ever existed aside from place names and a weird Mardi Gras tradition. There were some “Hispanic” people around town, living the same middle-class life I was except for sometimes speaking Spanish to their parents, and that was just kind of… normal.)

There is a very high probability that I will choose to do absolutely nothing about this realization beyond what vague leftist waffling I already am, and that kind of horrifies me too. Just another day in the United States of Omelas, a place powered entirely by continual misery and suffering that I can currently afford to look away from.

Anyway. Hi, I’m a honky from the Gulf South and I just now realized wwhat Middle Americans and rural Westerers are really talking about when they talk about “illegal Mexican immigrants” and holy crap the entire history of the European expansion into this continent sure is a massive five hundred year old tornado of misery and pain isn’t it. I guess I never noticed that because I was a bit distracted by the massive four hundred and something year old hurricane of misery and pain started by the Triangle Trade that I grew up in. I am sure there would still be pain and suffering in the world if not for rich white people, but goddamn there we sure have caused a lot of it in the name of profit.

I wonder how stupid and naive this post makes me sound.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

2018: Well look what I found in my drafts when I wanted to link to the big post I did about Needlemousevember last year. Apparently I never posted this. It’s been sitting in my WordPress drafts since September 21st. So I’ve added Needlemice 15-20, which covers all of the work I did for Needlemousevember. Everyone is talking about Inktober again and maybe I will do Needlemousevember again, because it sure is fun to start most days by making a really stupid picture of Sonic.


So back in 2009, a dude decided he was gonna brush up his inking skills by doing a drawing in ink every day for the entire month of October. He gave this the name “Inktober”. Since then it has grown into a Major Thing for a lot of internet artists.

This year, though, it started to get a little out of hand IMHO. I saw one friend debating which set of prompts they were going to build a buffer of Inktober drawings back in the middle of August. I started seeing this ongoing argument over whether you could do Inktober properly if you were working digitally. People will do these crazy, elaborate drawings for it; it’s become a big Thing.

One day, I found myself doodling a crappy Sonic, using none of my usual working methods in Illustrator. It made me laugh. It made me laugh even more when I posted it with the hashtag “#needlemousevember”. Especially because it was still August.

I did another one the next day. And another. And pretty soon I’d started drawing these things most days. There have been some missed days, but I don’t care.

Here’s the first fourteen. More to come, I’m sure.

The rules of #needlemousevember, if you care to participate, are:

  1. Draw a Sonic.
  2. Don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes drawing your Sonic. GOTTAGOFAST.
  3. Trying new tools, new workflows, and new methods is encouraged, but by no means mandatory. Making your drawings gleefully off-model is also encouraged.
  4. Personally I try to avoid using ‘undo’. If I make a mistake who cares? It’s just a stupid goofy drawing of Sonic.
  5. Stop drawing Sonics when it stops being funny. If it’s before the end of whatever month you have declared to be #needlemousevember then that is perfectly fine.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Late last night, I woke from uneasy dreams of apocalypses with an idea sitting heavy in my head:

R’lyeh is an ancient waste storage site, and C’thul’hu is the waste itself.

The weird “architecture” of the place is just a bunch of nasty spiky stuff the Elder Race put on top of the buried waste, to mark it as a place to leave barren, ala the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. The seven-pointed Elder Sign? Their symbol for “radiation hazard”. Or for whatever kind of hazard can be found at Waste Storage Site RLYH, one of many such sites spread out across the galaxy wherever the Elder Race stopped.

Perhaps Cthulhu is just an abbreviation for something like the giant mass of corium known as “The Elephant’s Foot” that’s deep in the heart of the ruins of the Chernobyl reactor. Somewhere in the long chain of translations from the Elder Race’s writing to modern English, there was a language that required everything to have a gender, and thus a giant psycho-radiactive pile of KL5-LO got called “he” and had people trying to pronounce its chemical label as a word.

It is dead – it was always dead – but it still lays there, still has power, still can kill you with its invisible tentacles of radiation. Stay away; do not approach. “But in strange aeons even death may die” – its half-life is measured in billions of years, and eventually this remnant will be safe. Good luck, whatever creatures come after us.

I doubt I am the first one to have this idea.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

I go outside and put peanuts on the stump outside my door. There are no crows or ravens in sight. I whistle the little tune I always whistle when I do this, and immediately I hear a far-off AWK. A couple seconds later I hear the same AWK much closer. And when I get inside and look back out, there’s a raven perched on the railing, eyeing the peanuts.

I’ve been seeing the ravens more than the crows lately. It’s been weeks since I last saw 5-7 crows clustering around the stump; I wonder if a couple of ravens have muscled in on their territory?

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Here are two drawings of Olivia and Baron K. Nick drew one of them. Can you tell which?

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Saturday morning. Went to the farmer’s market with Nick. We talked about Parallax and how much it’s changed since the versions where it was a TV show pitch. Pondered if we still want it to lead to where we originally wanted it to lead, now that it’s so different. (It’s kind of fascinating; it feels like it’s undergoing a reverse form of adaptation decay, where we start with the “Magical Truth-Saying Bastard Spidey” version and make our best guess at what “Transmetropolitan” was like based on that.)

We came up with a very clever and kind of horrible way to collapse two slightly-similar characters from the TV show version into one, which fits into the themes of that character’s personal narrative pretty well.


also we decided that another character is going to speak entirely in lowercase

with as little punctuation as we can get away with

because her voice is very monotone and either droning or calming depending on how you feel at the moment

and maybe even some e e cummings concrete poetry kind of stuff in her word balloons

because she is just that cool

(and because hey, i’m both the artist and the letterer, i can do things that require strong integration of the text with the imagery in a way a production line’s crew can’t)


So it was a pretty good morning, and we got some steak for dinner somewhere in this upcoming week to boot.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Damn. I suddenly feel like I dodged a serious bullet.

Back in the 2000s, I started working in the animation industry. Doing Flash stuff. It was a pain in the ass. I burnt out and left around ‘05, not liking the future I saw of endless Flash jobs.

Flash forward to now. Pringle, one of the people who worked under me when I was a Flash director has been at WB for a while. Foster’s, Teen Titans Go, stuff like that. He’s been posting some process videos on Twitter.

One of the things we always wished for was a way to bend stuff in Flash. On Foster’s, Pringle came up with some clever workarounds involving making an art brush in Illustrator. A hassle what with having to export to AI, then export back to Flash, but clever nonetheless, and less hassle than drawing stuff by hand or trying to control a shape tween.

He was still doing this, apparently, as late as LAST YEAR. Adobe added bones to Flash in ‘15 but he says they’re pretty useless (and I am inclined to believe his professional opinion on this), and in the past couple years they FINALLY added custom brushes in Flash to let him do this trick easily.

Pringle says they are, of course, buggy and unstable as of now. Because why would they be different from anything else in Flash?

There is an alternate universe where I found more Flash work for the past decade. I am pretty sure that I am much grumpier in it, despite still living in Los Angeles. Holy shit.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)
anyway I should have some breakfast

and holy crap I just wanna go move into a cave and delete all my social networks except for dreamwidth or something, yes even including this place, “microblogging considered harmful”

and it developed this culture of just reflexively *acting* without *thinking* because actually thinking about what you’re doing on twitter is *fucking hard* due to the inherent limitations of the system

because you can actually emit a coherent, nuanced fucking *thought* in one fucking *go* and you can even sit there and think for a moment and *edit* parts of a larger thought before you put it out in the world (and fix typos!)

And in that moment I found myself really appreciating Mastodon, and moreso really appreciating the generous character limit I’ve set in place on dragon.style

and, well, dear reader, I just skimmed right over that. Maybe they had something worth saying, maybe they were just saying the same old same old, I’ll never know.

and a newest-on-top timeline (modulo all the Algorithmic Bullshit)

which of course you have to read backwards i chunks of about one or two sentences because Twitter has a stupidly harsh character limit

I was looking through Twitter just now and I came to that one person I follow who regularly posts long rambling Threads

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Here’s a little stylization trick.

It kinda falls apart on anything besides rectangles; here’s some extra magic to fix that. With slightly different colors because I closed the file and wanted to play with it a little more.

The tilted rectangle on the lower right lacks this extra magic.

The fill is offset by enough to hide the ugly white edges; the stroke is the same width as that offset, and is offset by half its width. Making the stroke 0% opaque and turning on ‘Knockout Group’ makes it work as a built-in opacity mask for this shape – an ugly, but very useful hack. You could also just have some really thick outlines instead, or build a lot of clipping masks; both of those feel like Work to me and I’m generally allergic to that.

The rasterize effect is set to add 0 points around the path, which varies from my usual Document Raster Effect settings of adding about 35 points to give me room for most blurs I’m likely to use. You can also change the resolution, the tilted rectangle’s at a lower resolution than the rest of the shapes.

I might have to try doing some art with this look.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

So I went to Morsel for breakfast, as I often do. It’s a little local restaurant that mostly specializes in amazing biscuits with things on it; I’ve been a regular for the past few years. They know me by name.

The dude working the register is it to browse the web, turns out he’s buying plane tickets for his multi-stage plan to quit this gig, take a vow of silence for ten days, leave his other job, go spend a couple weeks being a tourist in Japan, then move to Australia. Which, damn, I envy that. I tell him thanks for all the wonderful breakfasts and wish him good luck.

This is on top of already having heard that one of the cooks is gonna be leaving for an R&D job. He’s there today too so I get to wish him well in his new gig and thank him for the many great breakfasts, too. Hopefully he passed on a lot of his biscuit wizardry to his replacements; they’ve been training a few new people anyway due to expanding the place. It’ll go on and I trust the owner to find people who’ll keep the same level of quality, but it’s definitely not the same little hole in the wall I started going to a few years ago.

Nothing is permanent. I’ll be leaving Seattle myself next spring if all goes well. I’d do it sooner but I couldn’t get the landlord to budge more than a couple months on the lease, so I get to grit my teeth and deal with one last Northern winter. The 2018/19 will be the fourteenth, between Boston and Seattle, and I am pretty sure a fifteenth would have a good chance of being my last winter ever, given how much seasonal depression I go through.


I realized this morning that I have spent slightly more than half my life in New Orleans, and slightly less than that away from it. If I put off moving back until I hit fifty it’d be exactly half. I dunno how long I’ll stay this time, me and Nick are kinda thinking maybe just a couple years while we get Parallax going before moving somewhere new to us both, but right now I don’t feel like I’d be too broken up if I end up spending the rest of my life there.  Moving away and coming back around the age of seventy-five would be pretty awesome, too, though!

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

So recently I picked up a used set of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain cycle. I’d loved them as a kid, and found them to still have something to say to me when I re-read them in my early twenties, unlike Narnia. I wanted to find out if they still worked at the age of forty-mumble.

I had to stop halfway through The Book Of Three (the first one) to marvel at how dense it was. In something like three pages, Alexander manages to establish that Taran is a young man of uncertain parentage, living a boring life and longing for Adventure; by the end of the first chapter a mere ten pages, we’ve gotten a brief lecture on the fantasy-Wales he lives in, been warned of the dark spectre of war looming over it, and seen him rudely kicked out of his boring, safe life to chase down an oracular pig in the middle of war. The whole thing moves at what feels like a breakneck pace compared to the adult fantasy and sf I’ve been reading lately and yet it never feels rushed; it just has absolutely no fat on its narrative bones. But it has a lot of muscle and sinew. I have this suspicion there may have been like a half dozen drafts of this that got shorter and shorter, resulting in this this astoundingly potent book. There’s not a single excess word.

Overall the theme I really resonated with in Three that I didn’t really notice beforehand was the longing for home. In the middle of his quest, Taran briefly grapples with starting to miss the safe, boring existence he had before the story started, and this comes up again when he returns home with a few new friends. I was still living with my mother when I last read these books; now, I’ve lived away from the city I grew up in for nearly half my life, both parents are gone, and I’m thinking of moving back there for a few years to sort some things out in my head, and to remind my body of the downsides of living in the tropics after fifteen years of living in places that have Actual Winter. I sighed at Taran’s youthful desire for Adventure! right alongside the older ex-warriors who shook their heads, and knew they could do as little to dissuade him from that path as their elders could in their youth.


Today I went to the park with my hammock and The Black Cauldron (the second book) and sat in one of them reading the other.

Cauldron not as amazingly lean as The Book Of Three; it kinda feels like it wanders here and there, though I’m not sure I could put my finger on where given how intricately each chapter dovetails into the overall structure of the book.

I am really impressed with the dance Alexander had to do with regards to Prince Ellidir, so that the reader is okay with his noble self-sacrifice at the climax of the book. He’s got to make him distasteful enough that nobody’s really sad that he’s gone, but make it clear that he’s distasteful for pretty sad reasons.

I do find it interesting that his Noble Self-Sacrifice did not act on me like such a thing normally does; I’m usually a sucker for that, but I read it without any real emotion. I knew it was coming what with having read the book before, but I don’t think that was the whole of it – maybe this book could have done with something more to make Ellidir a little more sympathetic somewhere along the line? Or maybe it’s just a no-holds-barred tragedy. Behold, o faithful reader, the tragedy of Prince Ellidir, a man driven by envy, fear, and the need to live up to the expectations of his rich-ass parents. Watch what lows he will sink to for the satisfaction of those needs, cheer for his heel-face turn at the last possible moment but know that he wouldn’t have needed to perform his Heroic Ultimate Sacrifice if he hadn’t been such a jerk. Close with a happy ending for reader-standin Taran and his friends, with a reminder that this whole book is about how little honor and glory there is to be found in war – Taran seems to have learnt this lesson, have you, Dear Reader?

(Alexander set things up so that someone was going to have to climb into the Cauldron to destroy it [at the price of their life, and they have to know exactly what’s going to happen too] sooner or later. From a cold plot-weaving viewpoint this is the entire reason Ellidir exists in the narrative.)

Still, it’s impressive how few punches Alexander pulls in this series. In book 1 he is quite explicit that the dark lord Arawn is at *war*, we see people getting stuck in cages and burnt as soon as chapter 3 or 4 of that one. He doesn’t dwell on the horrors of war but every single adult is quite emphatic that there is little honor or glory to be found in it. This book carries that theme more strongly; multiple adults reiterate that, and Ellidir’s major obsession is Attaining Honor And Glory At Any Price. Even if he has to act extremely dishonorably to do so.

(According to Wikipedia, he served in WWII out of a desire for Adventure, but never saw any action – he ended up being a staff sergeant in the counterintelligence division.)

The one thing that keeps sticking in my craw about these books is how much of a cipher Princess Eilonwy is. There’s a moment in the beginning of Cauldron where Taran has received his first sword, and runs to her to ask her to ceremonially put it on her “because she’s the only girl in Caer Dallben”. Which she rightly takes offense at, because this is definitely a story about boys doing boy things and dreaming of doing man things. I am pretty sure Alexander realized this, though, because the next book focused on her as a main character…

(Also I cannot spell “Prydain” without checking on the books. I keep wanting to spell it “Prydian”. I am pretty sure this is due to the fact that my English-speaking brain has no earthly idea how to spell the pseudo-Welsh used for the names of everything rather than due to Them editing history.)

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Tonight’s dream involved being in some stacks looking at a section of bookshelves full of Magical Books. Some of them were very badly abused, one had the lower third of its spine sticking out at an angle that makes awake me wonder how the lower third of the pages weren’t completely detached from the upper third.

I pulled out a copy of the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Someone had grabbed it by the back cover and tried to rip the whole cover off, but it still barely clung on to the front edge of the spine. Written in pencil on the layer of white paper still clinging to the glue was the name of the book, and an eye-in-pyramid happy face.

I said something about how much I missed having my own copy with my own marginal notes, which I’m pretty sure is not a thing I did in the copy I had. And then I spent a while browsing through a book of Recent Important Pop Artists that ranged from comics to someone who did prose pieces in the shape of continents, mostly Africa.

There was a long stairway to climb down and then I was awake.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

I do not have the data to back this up at all but it feels like I kinda stopped dreaming for most of the Trump presidency. And now I have started dreaming again.

It was one of those dreams where my father was back and we were just not talking about where he went during the time he’d been “dead”. I haven’t had one of those in a long time; this time he looked like someone else entirely and we weren’t talking about that yet either. Doing some rough calculations, this new person looked about as old as someone who’d been born around the time Russell died, so that’s kinda interesting.

Then I decided to go hunt for breakfast and wound up dodging the line into some kind of restaurant that took people and sat them together in groups wholly unrelated to any social units they may have been in when they got in line and I just slunk out of that and was suddenly outside a casino or something and I pulled out my phone to figure out where I was and it wasn’t very helpful and then I woke up.Maybe I should go back to sleep.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

What if, instead of prodding poor Arthur Dent into another adventure, Douglas Adams’s third or fourth attempt at a Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy book had involved a totally different cast of characters doing their thing in another corner of a generally goofy sci-fi universe?

Like I could imagine a couple of books involving the daily lives of the planet builders of Magrathea that could have a similar vibe to Discworld books involving the Unseen Academy, maybe a try at some bumbling space cops who actually have reasons to throw themselves into the teeth of danger, maybe a book about the time Ford Prefect’s terrible research lead him to become the accidental ruler of an entire planet, maybe a story about Scoodlewiff Mazariblan’s attempt to rob the biggest casino on Damogran and the ways it goes horribly, comedically wrong, etc, etc, I am pretty stoned right now and just riffing here, damnit now I wanna live in the timeline where Adams didn’t have a heart attack in his late forties and said “Hey what if I rub the serial numbers off of Ocean’s Eleven, set it in space, made a couple tangential references to the Guide, and left Arthur Dent to live a quiet life well off-stage for once?”

(This comes out of discussing how Pratchett’s first Discworld books were promoted as “like the HHGTTG but for fantasy!”, and thinking about how every single Rincewind-focused story has the same essential problem as all of HHGTTG: a main character whose constant desire is to just find a nice quiet place to slack off instead of “saving the galaxy” or whatever.)

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

This morning dawned chill and grey and overcast and Seattle. I’m sure all the natives cheered it, as they cheered a similar day yesterday; July was record-settingly hot. But me? My body’s learnt that skies like that mean it’s time to shut down and hibernate for another three-quarters of a year.

I went out with a book for a sandwich for breakfast, and no urge to get anything done today. I was just gonna sit in the park with a hot drink and read for a while.

But on the way to the park, I found myself singing the chorus of the title track of Genesis’ album “A Trick Of The Tail”. It’s a little story about a person who leaves a “city of gold” to wander a world that sees his city as just a legend, ends up a freak in a cage for a while, and eventually makes it back home. And today I felt all too sympathetic to that plight: I come from a strange, colorful city that’s been on the edge of sinking into the swamps for my whole life, and could quite possibly vanish within my lifetime thanks to global warming. I’ve spent most of the past decade in a cold place full of people who recoil from the sun that gives me life; they wail in misery during the few weeks of the year I actually feel alive for. A mythical beast, lost in an alien land, telling tales of a place that sounds straight out of myth, beginning to question if the place they remember ever existed at all? Yeah. Yeah, I can sympathize with that. I can sympathize with that a lot today.

I used to visit my mother at least once a year. Two years ago, I went back during summer for her funeral, and I haven’t been back since. I sat there in the park watching homesickness well up and spill out through me, and cried.

Seattle’s seemingly inexorable flight towards being another city that only people working for “disruptive” software companies seeking ways to suck profit out of every corner of human effort can afford to live in has been making me think it’s time to leave more and more. I’ve been thinking about a few places but I think today just really made it clear that it’s time for me to go spend at least a few years in the city I grew up in, a place that’s so implausible that there was a Twitter thread going around for a few days in which an RPG designer pointed out all the things he’d ask for revisions on if someone handed in a world map with an accurate depiction of the place on it.

Maybe I’ll stay. Maybe I’ll find circumstance slinging me out to some other adventure, hopefully in a much more mild way than when I moved there three days before Katrina and ended up in Boston with Nick and Rik. I don’t know. Or care. I just know that I am getting perilously close to the maximum number of Seattle winters I can make it through and survive.

He grabbed a creature by the scruff of his neck, pointing out:
There, beyond the bounds of your weak imagination
Lie the noble towers of my city, bright and gold.
Let me take you there, show you a living story
Let me show you others such as me
Why did I ever leave?

They’ve got no horns and they’ve got no tail
They don’t even know of our existence
Am I wrong to believe in a city of gold
That lies in the deep distance, he cried
And wept.

And so we set out with the beast and his horns
And his crazy description of home.
After many days journey we came to a peak
Where the beast gazed abroad and cried out.
We followed his gaze and we thought that maybe we saw
A spire of gold – no, a trick of the eye that’s all,
But the beast was gone and a voice was heard:

They’ve got no horns and they’ve got no tail
They don’t even know of our existence
Am I wrong to believe in a city of gold
That lies in the deep distance

Hello friend, welcome home.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

This morning I started batch deleting old Twitter and Facebook posts. Twitter’s relatively easy, if “deciding to trust one of several websites, or to get a script up and running” is easy. Facebook though? Boot up Chrome (not my main browser). Install an extension that can batch delete old Facebook statuses. Start using it. Watch Chrome wedge up so hard that it just shows blank windows when I restart it after force quitting it.

I did get as far as 2011 (my second year on that site, I held out a good while) which is when Ricky died. I got to watch some of those comments scroll by as they got deleted, one by one. That was basically the thing that got me to ever really use my Facebook account in the first place. Those conversations are gone now.

Possibly this is not something I should be doing when I’m mopey and haven’t had breakfast or my pills yet but I’ve been contemplating this for a few days. I’ve been in a place lately that can best be summed up as “for-profit social media considered harmful”. And having Facebook and Twitter’s attempts to fix their problems end up interfering with the ways I’ve set things up to copy my posts from my blog and Mastodon is just getting a big shrug from me; really the only thing that’s keeping my Facebook account alive at this point is the pile of people watching the Tarot deck’s page, waiting for me to get a Kickstarter for a second edition moving.

At any rate, I reinstalled Chrome and kept poking at the Facebook batch deleter. I’m up to 2015 now. It’s kinda slow and takes multiple passes but I sure have a much smaller trove of stuff to mine off of Facebook than I did this morning.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

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Margaret Trauth

April 2019

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