mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (cloak_and_dagger)
No - really - it's a meme about my relationship with [personal profile] xtingu. I highly recommend you turn back now. 
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
Well, for those of you who don't already know, my main desktop PC has taken a big fat turd and is done. I'm pretty sure that I can fix it.

But I refuse.

The poor beast is a frankensteined collection of probably 4-6 generations of hardware. It's time to put the poor thing down. She's been good and faithful, but I think that I make enough money that it will be a better use of my time to buy a new machine off the shelf of some big box company, strip it of all the crap they load on it for 'Joe-Home-User' and have it... well... just work. Obviously that doesn't mean that I won't ever hack or mod the thing, but at least for a time, I want a machine that just does what it's supposed to do without me holding its virtual hand and stroking the case sweetly while saying prayers to long dead gods in the hopes that it might get through the night.

Clearly I'm putting too much thought into this.

Anyway. The point is that I am not without my ability to surf teh intarwebs or post to LJ, but it does vastly restrict my ability to do digital art. Both of my laptops are not exactly what one would call 'gaming rigs' This means that anything I do digitally will not likely be anything I could use for prints - even when using software with as few system requirements as Open Canvas 1.x (which I am still amazed would fit on a 1.44 floppy unzipped!).

I want to wait until [personal profile] xtingu and I are in our new place before I go buying a new desktop. We're so close to move in day that I don't want to buy a machine just to transport twice.

But I was getting the digital art itch. I've been doing more with traditional media. (See crappy camera phone 'scans' here and here.) As usual, I found myself learning at a rapid rate when I forced myself to shift gears back to traditional, but it just doesn't satisfy me the way that digital stuff does. Especially with OC's ability to replay the process, I find that I learn a lot from digital as well, I can work (muuuuch) faster and it more readily translates to the net (I don't have my scanner hooked up to either of my laptops and wouldn't want to really).

AnyMcWhoozles, I tell you all this to let you know that I finally installed the driver for my wacom and did a quick sketch self portrait -
As always, I'm more than a little interested in everyone's thoughts - so comment away.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (mirror)
Warning: EXTREME mushiness ahead. If you are 'put off' by men gushing over their women - I recommend moving on to someone else's post.

Jill and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary as some of you may have noticed. I got to thinking about that fact and it caused the following post:


I love and miss my girlfriend.

Why do I miss her? Well let's see:

[]She's smart - Hind sight is always 20/20 right? Well in the past I think that it's safe to say that I've never dated a dumb girl. Hell, I'm sure that most of the women I've dated have been far above the mean. Ah - but there's just something about a woman who's ridiculously bright. It's sexy. It's fun to talk to them. They keep you on your toes. They help make you a better person through the simple and fun act of conversation. 

[]She's beautiful - Have you seen her eyes? You could swim in them for days and not care about finding your way out. 

[]She's fun - I get to be a kid around her. I don't have to feel all stuffy and 'politically correct' all the time. She lets me let loose. What's more? She joins in. She makes me feel like one of the cool kids. 

[]She's interesting - robots, birds, big dogs, computers, good food, greasy spoons, and so many other interests - each more intriguing than the last. She makes me feel like we're exploring life - together. That's one hell of a great feeling. 

[]She's funny - I laugh when I'm with her. This really couldn't be more important in a life mate. I don't think that I understood that before - at least not on this level. Laughing makes you feel good. It makes the crap in life seem distant and just not as important. It makes you feel like you can do anything. 

[]She builds me up - she's amazingly good at lifting my spirits. She shows me the things that I'm good at which I would all-too quickly dismiss on my own. She makes me feel adept. 

[]She makes me feel needed - when I'm with her I see the ways in which I am useful to the world. This is a new feeling for me. I feel the appreciation of not only her, but of others around us when I do something. She helps me to see and feel these things in a way I'm quite certain I wouldn't on my own. 

[]She's Good - She's better to others than she is to herself. She doesn't always see it that way, but she is. She worries about other people's feelings and how she affects them. She is a kind person. 

I could go on, but I'm supposed to be working here, so I think I'll call that list 'the short version' and move on.

I guess I could summarize by saying:
She's amazing, she makes me feel amazing, and when I'm with her I know that I am part of something absolutely and irrefutably amazing.

I couldn't be more thankful than I am to have someone like her in my life.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
Wow. What an awesome weekend.

For any of you who managed to not catch [personal profile] xtingu 's weekend summary post...

Friday September 7th, 2007:
I worked a little late. Ok - maybe not worked so much. A co-worker sold me a motherboard and cpu to update my sorely antiquated home PC. It took a little work, some prayers in long dead languages and a couple of virgin sacrifices, but we got it working. The power supply, in fact, wasn't the right pin out, but my handy pocket knife explained the situation to the cabling, and now it sees the error of its ways. Now I'm able to do things like play music AND browse the web at the same time. What a concept.

After that, I swung by my place, dropped the pc off, got packed up for the weekend and headed over to see [personal profile] xtingu for a nice relaxing evening of 'chill with my girlfriend' - which is not a euphemism - it's just really good.

Saturday September 8th, 2007:
We headed up to my folks' place to celebrate my brother and my birthdays. Our middle brother and his lovely wife came down to join in the festivities. Brunch at Pickles (more on that later) and then we lost Josh, Ben, and Trina to other plans. My folks, [personal profile] xtingu , and myself headed back to the house to drop off crap and consolidate vehicles, then it was off to the Allentown Art Museum to see the Looney Tunes Exhibit.

After a delightful time at the museum (which included sitting and watching cartoons with my Mom and Pop in the 'kids section' and getting bemused looks from security guards) we headed to lunch and to do a little shopping. I needed to update a couple things in my wardrobe pretty badly and I annoyed Llij and my Mom with my efficiency in that department. To illustrate:

Step 1: Walk into the shoe store.
Step 2: Grab the first pair of shoes that I like after a quick glance.
Step 3: Try on one other size in the same 'model' shoe.
Step 4: Pay for shoes.
Step 5: There is no Step 5. Nor is there any spoon.

I did much the same thing with some other clothes, a new tie, and so forth. Since I was going to a wedding reception with [personal profile] xtingu and I both seem to really just enjoy the hell out of  'farting around' with my folks, and this was some good time with them that we don't get nearly often enough. My brothers and their significant others were sorely missed, but Ben and Trina were at a good friend's wedding and Josh doesn't get to see enough of Angie these days, so he was visiting her, so I guess we can forgive them.

Later, [personal profile] xtingu and I caught up with [profile] kar0na at The Starlite Diner (which - as a side note - is INcorrectly located on Google Maps) for some munchies. We called it a fairly early night because my Rock Star Girlfriend had a date with a recording studio on Sunday. I won't point out that I'm getting to be an old man and really like to get to sleep at a decent hour myself or anything.

Sunday September 9th, 2007:
We got up and spent a little time just nibbling muffins, drinking freshly brewed coffee, and chillin with the fam. Again - good times. The folks even brought out the photo album of my < one year old baby butt. [Insert 'Awwws' here.]

After Llij took off for her studio time, I got ready for the reception with [profile] kar0na and then headed out. We got some good hang time with good peeps at the party (which was at the Sheraton Jetport). First a couple drinks at the bar with munchies - then to the banquet hall where people with much more nimble feet than my own danced after we ate a delightful meal. And had a couple more drinks. (Don't worry kids - Yours Truly was exceedingly well behaved since I knew that I had a lot of driving ahead of me.) [profile] kar0na looked lovely, I got to meet some new folks as well as see old familiar faces, and I even got to snap a couple pics/vids. All in all? I had a pretty damn fine time.

Headed down to Delaware and more or less collapsed - only to get up entirely too soon for work since I'm 'the early guy' this week.

Ugh. Can't we go back to the weekend?
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
The weekend thus far (rather than the weekend in review- for a change):

Friday:
Immediately following work, I rode to drop off a movie and pick up (rent) the DVD collection of Brisco County Jr.. I remember it being a fun series and Bruce Campbell s kinda a personal hero. What's more, it makes better sense than full blown movies for 'workout entertainment' as they're only one hour shows each episode, so I'm not working out for a half hour or an hour and then sitting for another hour to an hour and a half.

After picking up Bruce's misadventures, I headed back to the house where I met up with [profile] lotusanddragon  . We headed over to [personal profile] shellefly  's place to pick her up and than to Philly to assist in the celebrating of [personal profile] jeremym  's birthday at North Bowl. The place rocks - there's just no two ways about it. Great music, the drinks flow, and the lanes are clean and well maintained. That's one hell of a combination.

After bowling, the rest of the gang which included [personal profile] ms_violet  , [personal profile] boutell  , and many more (whose lj names I can't recall because I suck) headed somewhere for a drink, but [profile] lotusanddragon   and I headed back to the house since he still had to pack for his trip to Japan. We did that (I kept him company while he did it really) and got a chance for the first time in a long time to just shoot the shit. It was a grand time. We even had a mini-adventure taking a quick trip to his office for some forgotten info while K-T (who doesn't have LJ) read some of the end of the last Harry Potter book to us via my cell phone's speakerphone function. Then a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee, a moment where I broke his world a little by introducing him to the 'omg shoes' video, some chill time up on the deck, and the limo service was there to take him to the airport. It really kinda felt like the perfect way to send my bro off to another country. I sacked out afterward to some long overdue sleep.

Saturday:
Saturday morning I woke late (figured I earned it) and headed to [profile] jafosmite  's concert with X-Fusion at the 100th Annual Arden Fair. I took the Yamaha, and it was a damn good thing - the place was mobbed. I managed to find a completely illegal convenient parking space, locked up the scoot, and headed straight for where I hear the boys getting ready. The show rocked hard, though there's little surprise there. It was fun watching an all new batch of folks rockin out to X-Fusion's music. I was a little disappointed by the fact that the fair closed supah early, so I only had time to do a quick 'fly through' after the show, but I'm betting that's a good thing in the long run as I need to keep all the cash I can these days.

After the fair, I headed to good ol' Barnes and Noble for some time to do some writing, screw around, and browse the newest batch of 'how to draw' books and magazines. This is something that I haven't done in a while, and I missed it. It's something that I enjoy both with friends or alone. When I'm by myself, it's almost like meditation. I can people watch, get my thoughts in order, and often be inspired. I was impressed by my ability to not buy any of the new art books/magazines. Almost, but I managed to put them back. Really, it's not like I would use them - not in any real way. Most art books are great, but they wind up being more or less inspiration sources and that's about it. While I was sitting and parusing my latest batch of books and magazines, I got a phone call from [personal profile] xtingu  . Being a spaz, I went instantly into high alert mode - she was supposed to be out on the playa, and that would mean without cell phone reception of any kind at all. She assured me that nothing was wrong but that she 'just wasn't feeling it' this year and that she was homeward bound and would keep me posted on her travel plans. She said she missed me. I'm a lucky bastard like that. I stayed at B&N pretty late and went home. Once back at the house, I started working on one of the images that I got stuck in my head while at the bookstore and when I realized that it was almost 2am I hit the sack - I had a big day coming up.

Sunday:
Woke up fairly early, but not early enough. I had planned to ride with [profile] burningkirby  , Lee (sans lj), and Ballz (also sans lj). However, as I am the planning master, I didn't have any of their phone numbers and I was having net connectivity issues (I had Ballz's street address in my email account). I did finally get connected, but the whole process delayed me enough that I got to Ballz's place about 15 minutes later than planned and I hate being the limiting factor. We made our way via back roads to [profile] burningkirby  's compound where we gathered up [profile] burningkirby   and Lee and after some very minor repairs to [profile] burningkirby  's bike, we headed out. It was the perfect morning for a ride. Cool but not cold. Bright and sunny and just... frickin... gorgeous. miles melted past under our wheels as we rolled west into PA. If I can convince Ballz to send me a copy of our route, maybe I'll post it later. What a great run. I broke the 600 mile mark since buying the Yamaha with ease.

After our ride we stopped back at [profile] burningkirby  's place and had some snackages. Then off to Lee's and then I headed back to B&N. Yes, back to B&N. I've decided that I'm a creature of habit. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it until I find the next thing that I like. While there I got some more stuff done both in the writing and the creativity departments.

While I was at B&N, [personal profile] xtingu   called to let me know that she had landed and asked if I could meet her at her apartment. I said sure, packed up my gear, and headed over. We arrived at almost identical times, and commenced a good old fashioned 're-connect' kind of night. We were visited albeit briefly by [profile] theseitz   who showed us his supah sexy new iPhone. We sacked out shortly thereafter.

Monday:
We woke up a bit late and had some more really amazing reconnect time. It had been a while since [personal profile] xtingu   and I had the chance to talk more than "Hi - how's the weather?" Okay - I'm exagerating, but you get the point. We'd let our 'life stuff' kinda keep us so focussed that we hadn't spent much time just talking. We'd both missed it terribly and this time (Sunday night and Monday morning) really scratched that itch.

Next, we hopped on the bike and headed up to [personal profile] swingchickie  's place for the afternoon and got some more hang time with the good peeps. [personal profile] swingchickie   and Jack, [personal profile] jeremym   (and the always awesome JD), [personal profile] boutell   and Jenny, [profile] opadit   and Steve, [personal profile] ms_violet   and Vince, and of course [personal profile] xtingu   and myself. Jack manned the grill and [personal profile] xtingu   brought some corn salsa that was muy muy yummy.

Then, of course, there were donuts.

Now, [personal profile] xtingu   and I have come back to her place, she's on the phone with her folks and I'm wrapping up what was started as a "weekend up to this post" but has become a "weekend in review".

Hope you had a weekend as awesome as mine!
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (coffee)
Melange Lavonne's video: Gay Bash.

I like the tune. The lyrics are a bit... well, to be honest I think that they're a little unpolished. However, the message is strong and good, and I think that it bears repeating, so I'm posting it here. Thanks to the goodly one who pointed it out.



Next there's the Craigslist Postings for Free Artwork. The following link takes you to something that some of the artist-for-hire crowd are touting as 'great' and 'must reads'. I can't say that I claim the same. I agree that the concept is good and valid. I agree that 'spec work' prepares us all for anal probing of the highest order, but I think that the rant is just that - it's a rant. It has the same kind of blind-faith 'data' that accompanies every AOHELL forward I've ever thrown in my virtual trash bin. I'm pretty sure that it might be just the same sort of 'email gathering bullshit' that they are. So why am I passing it on? Because I expect all of you to be smart enough to not give any information to folks through something like this.

I might just have to write a paraphrased document with some legitimate information. Something that shows illustrators and the like as something more than a bunch of zealots - misguided as well as misunderstood.

http://www.no-spec.com/archives/i-wish-i-had-written-this/


So while I'm on the subject of newbs and the intarwebs - I've been thinking. I've been thinking that [personal profile] boutell  's amazing web faq is a great thing and should be promoted. I wish more people would look through the vast array of information there (and elsewhere) on the web and just plain educate themselves. It's really not tough people.

I am currently of the opinion that Facebook is the shit. All of the (worthwhile) shit that basic myspace does (ie- not the music/comedy sections) and more without all the teeny bopper 'look at my annoying animations and bullshit sound files' crap. Just information, comments, groups, and pictures. Data. Good solid data. And the ability to share it. Novel concept that. The closest I would get to complaining about facebook is that it seems like it was built by really slick programmers who could use a hand in the interface design department - but I'll take quality over flashy packaging any day.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
For those of you who where there on the 4th when we discussed whether I was a ninja, a pirate, or a robot. I present Patch - the robotic ninja pirate! (Sorry for the crappy image - I had to use my camera phone to take it.)

0721070949.jpg

mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
So you've probably all forgotten the little experiment that I started back in February.



Well I didn't. It was driving me nuts that I never did finish the portraits that I had promised. I had plenty of steam to do an hour on [livejournal.com profile] lafemmekatia's image.



I slowed down a bit and lost a bit of drive while working on [livejournal.com profile] theseitz's image of Rodney Dangerfield. I sucked it up and worked on him for a little over 1/2 hour. Poor Rodney. You've looked better buddy.



I have just finished (at long last) the image I promised for [livejournal.com profile] anisette_toast. I actually found this one coming together fairly quickly. There was a lot going on here tonight, and while I would think that should be an 'excuse' for why the image didn't turn out the way I wanted, it actually seemed to be the reverse. In just 1/2 hour (ok - maybe a touch more) I felt comfortable calling it a night.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
The "golden hour" with live music on the Riverfront along with good friends, good food, and good drink. Not a bad Sunday night.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
Ok - I decided not to go to my place for lunch today, but rather to sit here and jot a few notes on my lunch break.

Here they are in no particular order:

MTM's stock (MTMC) seems to be on the rise for the first time in a while. I don't generally follow such things, but I've started paying attention to that particular stock lately. I'm not saying that I'm going to jump right in and buy now that it's on the rise, but it just seems interesting to note.

I've started work on learning how to use CSSs in earnest. Many thanks to www.boutell.com for directing me to www.w3schools.com which is where I've been doing my homework. They have a rather impressive setup there with well written information and even a quiz at the end (which I scored an 80% on my first time through). In order to put my new found knowledge to good use, I've begun a mock-up page for the new and improved www.dragonbones.net over at what will become my new homepage - www.lightinthewoods.com The idea is pretty simple: www.dragonbones.net will become my professional portfolio site, while www.lightinthewoods.com will become 'everything else' - my more personal page. Please understand that there's basically nothing there right now (lightinthewoods) because I'm learning the basics of CSS and I'm playing around with the nuances of the existing page. As with most CSS docs, the idea is to come up with a really good set of style sheets and base more or less everything off of those so that website wide modifications require less effort. I have to say that it feels really good to be learning something since...

...the bank has been slow. I mean dog slow. I mean pine sap in January slow. Yeah. Like that. It's alright now that I have net access when I want it, so I find that at least I can entertain myself, and since I'm not right with the group of folks that I actually work with there's little risk of someone looking over my shoulder and getting upset that I'm not doing something 'important', but I just can't shake that part of me that worries like hell whenever the work seems to dry up. Some old habits die hard. I guess the positive way to look at it would be that this is a perfect time for me to brush the cobwebs off my resume.

We all seemed to have an awesome time this weekend at [personal profile] xtingu 's party for her birthday pie. Six years old. Where does the time go?! Anywho - I wanted to thank those of you who were able to make it and waggle my fingers with my thumb pressed firmly to my nose at all those who couldn't make it. What? You're going to let a little thing like a well planned wedding get in the way of our (more or less) last minute BIRTHDAY PIE PARTY? Silly mortals. (ed. note: in case you missed it, I'm being sarcastic here - were you missed? yes. do I really blame you for not making it? if you don't know the answer to that, smack yourself in the head and ask the question again - something's worked itself loose.)

I wanted to let the folks who took part in my little challenge that I haven't forgotten them. Life got in the way (as I have a bad habit of letting it do) and that challenge went a little bit 'back burner' for a while. I'm getting back to it shortly. Re-formatting my pc and the subsequent re-installation of all my software took a while, but everything seems to be back up and running properly. What's more, I'm sorta re-dedicating myself artistically these days and I'm working pretty fiercely on the concept of 'likenesses'. I'm working more from reference, and within that umbrella, I'm focusing more specifically on portraiture. The idea is to be able to do classic portraits and caricatures within as short a span of time as I can reasonably do. Both of those abilities seem to be regularly in demand, and while they don't appeal to me in a "my soul yearns for this amazing thing" kind of way, they also don't repulse me like  a lot of professional art work does. What does this mean? Well, I don't think that I have the kind of dedication to art to make any kind of decent living through art, so better to do something 'part time' as a side job for extra income. The thing is, if I'm going to take anything on (even part time) I want it to be worth while to me, so it had better either A. pay a butt-pile (it's a metric measurement - look it up!) or B.be something that I enjoy. Portraiture, and more-so caricature both seem to have fairly high levels of both of those elements. You professional art types who read this should feel free to correct me if you think that's not the case, or if you think I would be better focused on something else.

And while we're on the subject of art, there's a poll I wanted to set up. Think that I will do that in a separate post.

Hope you're all well beyond what you could reasonably ask for.
mrlich: Photo with great thanks to Joe del Tufo - http://www.deltufophotography.com (Default)
Ok. So as some of you already know, Quito and I rearranged the Romper Roomâ„¢ and changed it into a work out space. One of the things we did was set up his trail bike on a stand so that it (in effect) become a stationary bike. Then we pointed it at a tv and hooked my PS2 up to it so we could play DVDs.

I wasn't sure how well it would work until just now.

I just rode that stationary bike for 77 minutes while I watched the movie Hellboy: Sword of Storms.

The movie was fun and kept me pretty solidly distracted. I won't pretend that I was going great guns the whole time, but (aside from a couple very brief pauses to stretch) I kept moving the whole time. When I was done, I was drenched with sweat and feeling thoroughly used up - in a good way.

I'm looking forward to Wednesday. Not sure what I'll rent though.
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