Gimpystick Let me assure you that to us here at First National, you're not just a number. You're two numbers, a dash, three more numbers, another dash and another number. -James Estes
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Domain skaarjonastick.com Expiring
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 - 7:54pm
Way back in the day, Network Solutions was the only company that could sell domain names. The lack of options was nice, and no one realized that the price was really high. But this was considered a monopoly and has since been changed so that there are hundreds of sites that sell domain names.

This is great news! It's never been easier to register a domain name, with competitive features and pricing to give you all sorts of places to choose to spend your money at.

This is horrible news! It's never been easier to register a domain name. So people do so, quickly and often, and then sit on them expecting you to doll out tons of cash since they "got it first."

But domain swatters are just a pet peeve. I mention them because skaarjonastick.com is expiring. (And will thus be bought by some swatter hoping that I simply forgot to register it and want to pay them tons of cash to get it back. Ha.) I did a quick check of the logs, and about the only person that uses it anymore is the IP address 89.149.195.107. Why do I freely give out this IP address in an age where people are paranoid about personally identifiable information? Because it's a spammer. I've banned them from my miniforum already, but they continue to try to post three or four times a day.

So anyway, Network Solution is the registrar I purchased my original domain from: skaarjonastick.com. And it expires on October... something-or-other. I see three options before me.

1) Throw away US$35 to Network Solutions for their overpriced service. I had to click through four pages "buy this, too!" before getting to the re-registration information. I'm so glad it wasn't my dad, because he would have clicked all the boxes and select things in the drop downs and ended up paying hundreds of dollars instead of figuring out how things really work.

2) Pay GoDaddy US$10 to transfer the registration over to them (getting me another year of the domain usage). At least, I THINK that's the cost. Their site doesn't seem to be working right now.

3) Forget about it, since no one uses that domain name anymore, and stick with skaarj.com.

One of these things requires no effort. Can you guess which one I'm going to do?

So thus, I am making this post to say that as of October something-or-other skaaronastick.com will no longer work to access my website and you must use skaarj.com, which everyone already seems to be doing already. Great job, guy! Keep doing what you're doing!


Miniforum History Fixed
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 - 11:06pm
As many of you know, I don't use the commonly available shoutboxes or whatever they're calling them these days. I prefer to control the code and information myself, even if it means things get done slowly or tend to not work... perfectly. So I created my own little version and I called it the "miniforum."

It worked fine, for a bit. Then we hit 900 posts and it got a little confused about what it was supposed to do. I knew what it was supposed to do, but apparently I didn't explain it quite clear enough.

Of course, the 900 posts confusion didn't really cause an actual problem. It wasn't until about 2MBs of posts were made that PHP decided it wasn't funny anymore and stopped laughing.

I've returned PHP's good humor and the chatboxes/miniforums/whatever should now be in good working order. Please notify me if there are any problems. Thanks.


New Server, New Promises
Monday, August 27th, 2007 - 7:22pm
There was an electrical problem today and it caused the router and cable modem to be offline for an hour or two. When they came back up, my Comcast IP of some time was no longer my IP. I called Comcast and they said that the "persistent IP" feature that I was counting on hasn't been offered for years, which means a reliable IP address is no longer something I can rely on.

What this means to you, is that I can no longer host websites out of my house. Which makes me very sad. If you're reading this, it means I've moved to a different host. And since I'm not dealing with everything myself, that has the potential to involve other people in the dangers of using Epic's intellectual property: the name "Skaarj."

In an effort to ward off any potential lawsuits, I'm going to play the "fansite" card and try to hide behind it. To begin, I'll include the following, replayed from Epic's fansite policy:

Section 2 -- Disclaimer

2.1 Epic requires that a disclaimer be used in conjunction with your use of Epic IP. The required disclaimer is provided below. You must display the disclaimer on each web page of your Fan Site and on any web page containing your Fan Art, as well as on the Fan Art itself.

"Portions of the materials used are , (tm),(mr), and/or (mc) Epic Games, Inc., and/or copyrighted works of Epic Games, Inc., in the United States of America and elsewhere. All rights reserved, Epic Games, Inc. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Epic Games, Inc."


Assuming that the name "Skaarj" is Epic Intellectual Property, the above disclaimer is now displayed on the site, and will be included in the footer of every page before it scrolls off the front page updates. I'll have to put that in the fanarts, too, it seems.

Hope that works!


Eureka!
Monday, May 21st, 2007 - 4:22am
I'm not sure if this is the "It's past three in the morning and you've gone mad" phase, or "It's finally clicked" event, but I think I've got something important. Probably very basic, but important. Especially in relation to art. It's one of those "It's so simple, I can't believe I didn't think of it" kind of things that everyone says they would have thought of themselves, but no one did for some reason.

There's been a great many things I've learned at DigiPen in the last year I've been there. I've put this knowledge to use when working on my own art and working on other pieces of art, and I've seen that it's effective and proper. The latest one is a lovely little critique I left on this piece.

Last night... or tonight. I can't remember... I was speaking with Mr. Maglot. The problem we both expressed to having was that even though we can learn all this amazing and wonderful knowledge about art, when we draw the drawing just "happens."

I've talked with my friend Ember about art, and he said something that Betty Edwards mentioned in her book that a lot of people experience. When you're doing art, you lose track of time. You're making something, then BAM, it's suddenly hours later and you find yourself with something finished on the page.

The problem Maglot and I were expressing is that during that multi-hour "BAM" that's occurring, there isn't much "left brained" or logical thought going on. We go into auto-pilot for drawing, and just draw.

So basically, the situation is thus:
-Art knowledge is awesome and excites and is so very, very useful.
-You can't actually use any of that information when you're drawing.

When I was younger, my church would also talk about making your choices before you did them. Being a Mormon, we don't do things like smoke, drink alcohol or coffee, have premarital sex, kill people (without good reason), and other things some people put as commonplace or acceptable. They taught us at church to already make the choice before the event happens. If you're never in a situation where someone offers you alcohol, great! You never have a problem. But if you haven't decided that you won't actually drink it, you may find yourself trying to decide whether to have some or not during that moment.

It's very similar to the "say no to drugs" thing, except it explains the principle behind it and says "make your choice" instead of "say no." Though I guess they did want us to make the no choice anyway. Right, back on subject.

The whole making up your mind beforehand method is actually very effective. And it works with lots of other things, too. Which brings us back to art.

One of the first things they taught us at DigiPen was "WTF." That means "What's that for." Whenever you start a picture, that's the question you ask yourself.

Something else they mentioned, after giving us all sorts of knowledge about art, is that it's just a big toolbox, and like any toolbox, there are some tools that are right for the job. You're not going to be using 50 different tools to change a light bulb. You're going to want a stepladder, and maybe some heavy rubber gloves if you're really paranoid. And maybe some sunglasses in case you forgot if the switch is on or not. But you're not gonna pull out the crescent wrench, and the left-leaning gyroscopic horseshoe tuner, because you don't really need those. Yeah, they're useful, but not for this job.

So lemme try and bring this all together in an actual lesson we call the "oh no it's 4am and I haven't gone to bed yet" lesson on art.

In order to apply the art knowledge you have into your actual art practice, you must decide before you even start the picture what your goal for that picture is, and what tools you're going to use to reach that goal.

The choices of what your goals can be is an entirely different discussion.

According to the Modified Bloom's Taxonomy Accordion Diagram (which I have never mentioned before now but it is a stepladder of learning things) everyone starts out on any given topic as ignorant, and eventually becomes better and more knowledgeable and practiced until they internalize the knowledge and it becomes second nature to them at the top level.

To start, you learn of the existence of the left-leaning gyroscopic horseshoe tuner and all about its greatness. Then you find a situation that's a good use for it, pull it out of the box, and go... what the heck do I DO with this thing? You stumble around with the knowledge you have, because you know it's a good tool, and after 10, 50, or a thousand drawings specifically trying to use it, you finally reach the point where you you don't even have to think about using it because it comes naturally. So you pull it out when you're changing a light bulb and crank an extra 50 watts out of a 60 watt bulb without even breaking a sweat.


Another thing I've learned tonight is that obsession is respectable to limited levels, proportional to the person's own desire for the subject, until it passes a certain point and the level of respect plummets.

That is: To someone with a Beanie Baby desire level of 5.0, they will respect a Beanie Baby collector's obsessive tendencies to the level of 8.0. However, the average person has a desire level of 3.3, which only allows them to respect to the level of 6.3. Therefore, the original Beanie Baby collector has a respectable hobby, and the later has an unhealthy obsession.

This principle is why gamers think staying up all night playing games is "cool," while parents think it is "not cool." If the parents had a higher desire level for games, they would also see it as "cool," baring other crazy ideas like "growing boys need plenty of sleep."

I need to make graphs for this later, and not talk about it at 4am. They would probably help it make more sense. Or not make any sense at all, so I could stop trying to explain it.


New Feature: Scoring
Thursday, March 15th, 2007 - 3:26am
I'm added the barebones of a new feature! Scoring!

The more days you update within a three month period, the higher your score is. Update every day, and the score will be 100%!

Of course, silly me didn't keep track of the date people joined, so poor people like Faileas won't reach 100% until their three month aniversary rolls around. It's on my list of things to fix.

There's also the aspect of cheating, or uploading more than one picture per day. I haven't finished coding that part, so it doesn't work yet.

Want to get your average up? Then cheat! The cheating numbers won't show up for a while, so it's ok to cheat since it won't record the stats! Right? ... no? Yeah, probably not. But I think I might do it anyway. My score's pretty low.


Gimpystick Wiki Online
Monday, February 12th, 2007 - 1:08am
Alright!

I used valuable time that may have been better spent elsewhere, but I've got a little of stage 1 and the hard part of stage 2 on my master plan for Gimpystick done.

Stage 1 is about reminding the members what the rules are so we'll remember what we're there for.

Stage 2 involves taking all of the good critique and advice that's floating around the Gimpystick comment board and consolidating it into one area. A wiki is the easiest format, so we have an Art Wiki!

Stage 3 involves making it much easier to comment. That is, BBcode, inline images, and linking to the wiki. My goal is to auto-link to the wiki, so if someone says "your local value should be lighter than your reflected light" it will automatically give links so people know what the heck is being said. Vocabulary is important!

Once I finish that, I'll have to figure out what to do next.

Enjoy!


Current Game Plan
Wednesday, January 17th, 2007 - 11:31pm
I want to lay down for myself (and so others can see) what it is I currently have planned. Please keep in mind that while I'm getting better at judging what I can do and when, this list is subject to me being lazy or busy or both. If there's something you like on the list, cross your fingers. Or bug me about it. Either way. My current attitude is shifting more towards a focus on Gimpystick.

Immediate plans: Sit in the magic massage chair for a good 10 minutes, then finish the Anatomy assignment due for class tomorrow. Then sleep.

Weekish plans:
-Catch up on my schoolwork that was painfully effected by the snow (More snow by morning! Woo. ... Yay.)
-Add the necessary polish to the Seawolf boats in SecondLife to get them released
-Finish up Trivium and put the closing capstone stuff on it so it's over

Pre-summer plans
-Pass all of my classes at DigiPen.
-Update Gimpystick (quick and easy usability features)
a) Make comments easier to use and reply to
b) Auto-scale image option on upload
c) Spell-checker
-Do Morrowind Comics whenever able (probably not)
-Play Ocarina of time when I'm lazy and not busy

Summer plans
-Start and complete the next Seawolf project in SL
-Finish the Morrowind Comic
-Update and universalize look and feel of website
-Get fun new features into Gimpystick
-Beat Ocarina of Time if not done yet, and Wind Waker
-Beat Twilight Princess again
-Spore, UT2k7, check out Stalker

I don't think there's enough time in the summer for all of that, but I can't think past summer right now so it goes there.


Latest 5 Uploads

Stickman
Drawing Class Sketches


Stickman
Werewolf Tag


Stickman
Sharkman Character Sketches


Stickman
Lizards and a Flag


Stickman
Werewolves, Justin, Dragon


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