Yes! Little Creepy Fury One-Eye Bug Creatures Art

With the pre-release of Blender 2.74rc4 (yes, number four) I was excited to try out some of the new hair particle system features that were added to 2.74. Normally I wait until the actual full release of blender before I go off exploring it, but when I saw some of the new cool features you can do with hair, well, I just had to have a copy! I was not disappointed.

Fury Thing 01 Weblog Image

Some of the particle system’s new features has a “spiral” in the Kink hair setting that cam mimic curly fur/hair, for example, a sheep’s fleece, or curly hair on a stuffed animal. Also, you can create wet looking fur, like what I did above using the new interface in the Partial System.

Fury Thing 02 Weblog Image

Fury Thing 03 Weblog Image

These images were created very fast. Actually, I was impressed with how easy the work flow with Blender has gotten now. Even the render time seems to have been speeded up; however, all of these images were rendered at 350 samples, and the more hair particles you use, the longer the render time. The last image (bottom) took the longest, nearly 30 minutes becuase of the heavy use of six different particle systems using their own separate mesh.

Meeting Half the Family After Twelve Years

It wasn’t the whole family, but myself and my two younger sisters managed to meet up in Burnaby, BC yesterday. A nice surprise, since both me and my other sister had not seen our baby sister in just over twelve years. Sadly, we could only meet for a few hours, but it was worth it, as spending any time with them is worth it becuase of the long distances we live apart from each other.

Metro Town Shopping Mall in Burnaby BC March 28 2015 Weblog Image

We decided to meet at the Metrotown Mall, or just right outside from it as our rendezvous. My baby sister came in from Prince Rupert, BC, and was staying in down town Vancouver becuase she was in town to watch a rock concert that was happening on Sunday (today). My other (second youngest) sister came in from Victoria, BC, especially for this meet up, and she brought her husband and youngest daughter over to the mainland as well, but staying a different hotel. But this qualified as a family reunion–a rare event in our books.

Metro Town - Sky Scraper in Burnaby BC March 28 2015 Weblog Image

The weather was typical for an early spring here in the Lower Mainland, lots of rain, overcast, and yet mild. The photos I posted in here spell out just how dark and damp the day was, but we had a great time at the restaurant we stayed at. Good food, a fake fire pit, and a nice big round table to accommodate all of us, made for a great time. I snapped a few gigabytes worth of photos, and then drove back home. Yes, it was a short get-together, but anything was better not meeting at all; and thanks to my sister Julia for being such a pain in the butt, dragging me out of bed to make sure I was part of the reunion.

Thanks guys, I had a wonderful time, and it was great to see you all again!

Letting the Lights Go Out: But Longer This Time

I sort of cheated for this year’s Earth Hour. I went a lot longer than an hour, or ninety minutes, going almost for four hours in total. The truth is, I fell asleep. I turned off all of my lights, and feel asleep. So I guess it was not in the true grandeur of Earth Hour participation, but in some sense it could technically count; after all the lights were out–and they stayed that way until I woke up.

Unlike last year when I had candles fluttering away, and I turned everything off trying to take in zero electricity, but this time it was more of a reduction in energy use, not the full out–could turkey–Earth Hour observation I wanted to go for. Last year, and the year before, I was fully awake, and conscious, of what I was doing, making an effort to make my mark on the power grid. I guess only time will tell once the electric companies tally up their results, will I know how well my neighbourhood stacked up against everyone else. The town across the river from me won with a huge reduction compared to us!

This year’s Earth Hour started at 8:30pm local time (March 29). I was well fast asleep before that, and did not wake up until 11:00pm. But I did have some appliances running during the period that I was asleep, which meant I was drawing on the electric power grid. So I was not 100 percent complainant.

Next year!

A Tribute to Spots

As promised to my niece, here is a tribute to her favourite animal on the farm, Spots the goat. So, Paulla, here is the last photo of him that I have (Spots in the one with his head hiding behind the gate post) as promised. This photo was taken last October just before he was moved over to the larger field across the road from me, and as far as I can tell, he is doing great. He is a lot bigger, as he can put his head over the fence without standing on it with his front legs, and he has a full set of horns too–a really big set. I still see him every now and then up along the fence, but I hardly ever get a chance to walk that far up the road from my place.

Spot and the Other Two Goats Weblog Image

As you can see in this photo, all the little goats now have horns. These were your favourites from your last visit here last summer, all grouped up so I could photograph them together.

I Just Had To Test Out the Latest Blender 2.74rc3 Release

I was trying to hold off until the official release came available, but once I started reading the list of newly added features, well, I caved–downloaded–installed–played for five hours. Yes, I could not stop drooling over some of the new features and bug fixes that are on this new version of Blender 2.74RC3. My poor old PC does not crash when rendering hair particles in Cycles Render (that are over two thousands strands) now. The new “spiral” hair feature is awesome, and just the way it renders, has changed. So many added little new things added that I did not get a chance to play with them all.

Hairy Puff Ball Bomb - Using Blender 2-74 RC3 March 26 2015 Weblog Image

The above image took me about thirty minutes to create, and about ten minutes of rendering time to produce this.  It is just a simple sphere mesh, with a hair particle system added, plus the very minimum of modelling to insert an eye-ball.

Our Beaten Dollar

Funny, with our Canadian Dollar so low on the money markets in its value, my personal spending habits have not changed that much. Prices still seem to be the same, although some energy costs have gone down in price, for the most part, everything seems to be the same in terms of overall cost. Sure, as I heard on a consumer program that food packaging is changing so that you pay more for less for a smaller package, but most often what I buy, I buy locally now, direct from farmers, simply for the quality. But one buying habit that has not changed is my Internet Shopping. And there is the plus side of becoming a seller too.

The Beaten Canadian Dollar March 21 2015 Weblog Image

Right now our dollar is about $0.78 to the U.S., and it seems it could go lower. However, with that huge difference in value, my personal online buying has been the same as it was when our currencies were at pare with each other. It is still cheaper for my to buy even from U.S. sellers as their prices are remarkably lower than domestic sellers. Only the tax from my Federal government has gone up to try and add pain to the purchase, but still, the offset in better pricing down South still makes up for it. But by far, buying from the Chinese market is still ranked number one for many items that I purchase over the Internet.

It seems that when our Dollar started to tank in the money markets, the Chinese started lowering their prices along side these changes. One item that I was tracking, SD Flash Memory cards, many Chinese sellers seem to have kept pace with our lowering Dollar, keeping their price almost in line from just a few months ago. The difference is huge, almost 70 percent in cost savings as compared to buying local.

The plus side is that now for the first time, my selling options have started to look more and more attractive to U.S. buyers as they are thinking that our prices are sweetened with the dirt-cheap Northern Dollar. I am getting emails from them asking if I sell some types of items that I normally buy. I have never seen that happen before.

Happy First Day of Spring 2015! It is Finally Here.

Finally! Spring has arrived, (actually the Vernal Equinox officially starts at 3:45PM PDT this afternoon) and I am so excited. Good ridden cold weather; hello warmer days ahead! Even though we have had a fairly warmer winter than usual this year, the thought of spring is welcomed as I am tired of the brown and grey colours of winter. Now let the explosion of green everywhere begin! The first day of spring is here!

Spring is Finally Here March 20 2015 Weblog Image

Happy spring 2015 everyone!

Updated: March 23 2015

Springy The FLower March 23 2015 Weblog Image

Here is a more refined version of “Springy” the flower, done using Blender 2.73. I worked on the face, rounding it a bit more, and then focused on the eyes, adding eyelids and more definition to his look. I felt he looked too evil looking the original way I rendered his face, so I smoothed out the mesh a lot. I also made the lighting more direct on his face–less shadows.

The Big Hairy Question

I was talking last night to one of my friends from my old neighbourhood, just keeping tabs on the latest dirt among my peers, when we went off tangent and got on the topic of feminine versus masculine hair trends. Of course, I am talking about the hair down under, the private area, where the sun does not shine. And naturally, I just have to blog about this becuase after the conversation, I was in stitches from laughing so much. Here are some of our findings, asking that big hairy question, are men adopting the feminine style of a hairless body?

Hairy Question Mark March 19 2015 Weblog Image

The short answer seems to be yes. Now, we have a very small “N” in our group study, and all of our data is based on inferential statistics, but examining the answers from people that we know, there is a trend of young men who are shaving not only their nether regions, but every cubic centimetre from the neck down on their bodies as well. Like the women, according to my friend, the girls have been doing this for decades, and the boys are just now fallowing in their footsteps. I can back this up too from past conversations I have with women while I was attending university, and a quick search on my favourite search engine.

So why? Why all of a sudden have men joined the total clean shaven ranks that was seemingly just a feminine look of the human body? Could it be a form of looking more youthful, prepubescent, boyish look, and the girls like this? Perhaps it is a comfort issue, no hair equals a sense of a more pure form of hygiene management and a cleaner, smoother feel? In a movie I once saw, two best friends encountered their first sexual experience when they both made love to a prostitute, and resulted in catching little parasitic bugs called Crabs. One solution they came up with was shaving themselves in hope of ridding these little parasites off from their manly fro’s. Perhaps this could be one form of reasoning towards this trend of clean shaveness?

It seems less clear now that what was once so desired in boys, reaching puberty and having a body all covered in hair, is now so passé, as men want to retain that boyish look. Contradicting this clean look is the trend of the man’s full faced beard, as now more men under twenty are growing the full face jungle now, and the girls are loving this.

Personally, I have to shave my face becuase I cannot stand the stubble. Yes, I once dawned a full face beard, but I eventually shaved it off because the itchiness was driving me crazy. It was also costing extra time with trimming and shampooing it after each shower. It was a lot of extra work that I really did not want, so the toss-up is the daily routine of having a clean shaven face. Perhaps that is the bottom line, how much time do you want to invest on looking your best (with the current styles) that appeal to the opposite sex.


To Fix the Source Called Stink

It was five years ago today I wrote in my journal: It was yesterday that I got word that a lingering problem was dealt with at my work. Secretly, I can only assume that my employer was more embarrassed about this than the offender, so in the quiet, while everyone were doing their routines out on the work floor, the gears of bureaucracy and diplomacy were grinding away. Even I had little warning that the fruits of my efforts were being reaped. Even today I am amazed at the efficiency of what I thought was a steadfast ridged employer, the head manager “about faced” and asked for a private meeting with the said employee to clean the problem once and for all. I was delighted with the (cleaning) solution.

The Unnmaed Stinker March 19 2015 Weblog Image

Without going into details and opening up this can of worms (a three week old diaper) out into the public sphere, I will only go into the methodology that I used when it came to a head as I dealt with another person’s personal hygiene issues. Rather than going directly up to a man, who I was warned about having severe anger issues, and an impulse to engage in bullying tactics, I instead skirted around the direct route and petitioned my supervisor. Sadly, she was equally scared of the stinky co-worker than I, so I went higher up the chain of command. Writing a letter to the head manager yielded results, but not in the manner that I expected. I was hoping for a meeting to explain in detail my complaint, but this never happened. Instead, without my knowing, they arranged a meeting with the foul scented employee, and as far as I know, he was let go. I had no feedback whatsoever. Typical. This person was gone!

The lesson here is, the pen is mightier than an employer who practices meritocracy. There is “looking bad,” but then there is “smelling bad,” and the only way to bring this to the forefront (without airing those dirty underwear in the wind) is to file a letter of complaint. Perhaps employers fear public retribution as such as legal instrument could slither its way beyond the confines of the private protective walls of a corporation? I have no answers. Nor is my employer forthcoming to me. I only have the satisfaction that for months a problem has been fixed now, and it was done by a pen, and one sheet of paper, with it scribbled less than 200 words. Lesson learned.

The Morning March Moon On Saint Patrick’s Day

First of all, good morning, as I sip my root beer, ending the working part of my day with. And, it is indeed Saint Patrick’s Day today, so wearing (wore) green too to celebrate it with. I also took a moment just before I went inside when I got home to photograph the Moon (as it slowly turns to the New Moon phase, as just a thin sliver crescent of light) becuase it looked like a great shot with the clear sky and the rising sun over the horizon. As a night-shift worker, my day is ending, as I start getting ready to go to bed, so Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and I hope you enjoy the photo.

March Morning Moon on March 17 2015 Weblog Image

The photo was shot using a 300mm lens, F22 with a 1 second exposure at ISO100. I used my Sony Alpha 77 for the shot, using a tripod with a remote trigger. There is some post processing, using DarkTable Version 1.6.3 on my Linux PC, more or less, darkening the tones, and lowering the exposure a smidgen, while cool the white balance a few degrees cooler.