Tag Archives: Japan

Altered Gallery

Dusty road part 2 (Altered)

I’ve created a new section in the gallery, called Altered. This is where I’ll be putting any photos that I’ve manipulated beyond shrinking and labeling. For example, the dusty road picture attached to this post is one that I had been thinking needed some sort of work to make it pop (for lack of a better word). So I fired up GiMP and did the roughly1 following:

  • Copied the entire image into a new file, to preserve the original.
  • Created two layers in the image containing the entire image.
  • Selected the bottom layer and applied a 5px Gausian blur.
  • Selected the top layer and set it the mode to multiply.
  • Flatten the image to save it as a JPG.
  • Resize and label.

I really like this altered version vs the original one. Also in currently the altered gallery is a picture I took of some clouds and that tonight I ran through the same basic steps to enhance it. This version of the image also really pops! 🙂
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Review: Twilightners

This was a review that originally I was somewhat excited about writing. The novella was written by a friend of my and self-published through Lulu.com. After he received a few copies of the printed book; he put one of my desk with a note thanking me for my opinions on a rough draft some months back and asked me to give the final version a read. He’d also asked that I post my thoughts here on CoffeeBear.net.

Unfortunately, the arrival of the book happened at something of a bad time for me. I was busy with work getting things filed away and ready for me to take my 2 week trip to Japan. I’d started to read the book and was interested to see where it was going; as none of it looked familar to me. Alas in my hurry to pack, I forgot to stick the book in my bag. So for two weeks, I had to wait to finish the last half of the book. I was busy enough during those weeks to not particularly mind the delay but when I got back; I was busy for a while and didn’t immediately pick it back up. When I finally did; I remembered enough of the story that I could continue without starting over but my interest in the book had waned somewhat in the interval.1 After finishing it, I realized that wasn’t really a fair reading of the book and decided to set it aside for a time to let my memories of the book drain away to give it a fairer reading.

This review is based on that 2nd reading.

In 193 pages, Clifton appears to be trying to tell 3 seperate stories. That of Dr. Brian McKart, a scientist who believes a friend of his may dead and another is in danger while the mysterious Soo pushes him to solve a mystery. That of Sharon LaSalle, a woman who was attacked and was taken away under odd circumstances. And finally, that of Special Agent Grace Rainwater who was investigating Sharon’s disappearance. Dr. McKart’s story is the central one to this novella and it is interesting to see how Clifton twists and turns McKart’s view of reality until the man isn’t sure if he’s experiencing something truly beyond his understanding or whether he’s trapped in an ultimate virtual realty game. Clifton tries really hard to blur the line between reality and virtuality for Brian but upon multiple rereadings this seems to fall a bit flat. Maybe I am just not clicking with the metaphysicalness of the story but while Brian seems to be struggling to remain sane; I’m finding it difficult to believe he let himself get into the situation to begin with.

Sharon LaSalle’s story seems to be marginally more interesting as her disappearance from the normal world can be explained as either: being killed, being kidnapped & hooked to a VR simulator or as simply moving to an alternative plane of existance. Which really happened? You’ll need to read the book and judge for yourself; as I’m still puzzling it out. Sharon’s story doesn’t receive quite as many pages as Brian did and that’s a shame because these sections of the book seem more interesting to me.

Lastly there’s the story of Special Agent Grace Rainwater. Her story is the least fleshed out of all and boils down to a simple investigation of a complex matter but there’s several unanswered questions here (e.g. why does she work so hard at the case) that the novella would have really benefited from having answered.

Overall, I give this book 3.75 stars out of 5. Again given my background with the novella, my issues with the story might be just that. MY ISSUES. To know for sure, you’ll need to read it yourself. It’s an interesting premise but but the more I read it; the less I can sympathize with the main characters. For a first effort, I’d say it’s good work but I’d like to see more depth to the characters and something that would allow me to sympathize with them better.

This book is available from Lulu.com (more money goes to the author) and Amazon.com (CB.net gets a cut).

1 Sorry, Clif but them’s the breaks.

Yesterday

*UGH* That was a looooooooooooong day. The night before, I’d headed to bed around 11 (slighly early for me) thinking I was bit a head of the game. Boy was that ever the wrong thing to be thinking. I layed down in bed and then tossed & turned for the next 5 hours without ever falling asleep. Finally around 4am, I got out of bed and dinked around on the computer until it was time to get ready for work.

I got to the office and after an extra strong cup of coffee1; I started hitting the program hard-core. I setup a spreadsheet to list off all the possible things I wanted to look at while testing this particular part of the program and went to town getting it setup. It was slower progress in the morning and I was still fairly out of it when my phone rang. No, no, no. You don’t understand. MY PHONE RANG!
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Human Virus Scanner

The virus that have infected you will be show here along with thier cures, if known.

Viruses you suffer from:

Pokemon
Pikachu! Use your hyper-electric-get-a-life move now!

Linux
Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.

USA
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! [repeat]

Junkfood
Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.

Sci-fi
Stop wearing the stick-on ears.

Free BSD
The GPL isn’t that bad really. Adopt a penguin at the zoo.

Religion
Read “God’s Debris” by Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert guy)

Japan
Big is good. Small is bad. Giant robots would not make a good last line of defence for Earth.

UNIX
Anything this old must be obselete. Go and install a nice modern operating system. I hear MSDOS has come a long way lately.

Discordia
Buy a suit. Invest your money. Eat hotdog buns on a friday.

Windows
Try MacOS X. It’s based on UNIX, it has a smoother UI than Windows and it doesn’t suck.
As an extra feature the boxes look nice.

Politics
Stop caring!

Brand Names
Having a well-known name doesn’t make it good.

Hippyism
Free love is passe and potentially dangerous, and patchouli smells like cat piss.

Computer Games
Stop staring at the screen and get some fresh air. You should see a doctor about the RSI in your thumbs.

Conspiracy Theory
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that’s quite scary.

Ultima
If you find one tell us.

Environmentalism
Consume more stuff! It’s easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.

Macintosh
Use a mouse with more than one button.

Viruses you might suffer from:

Gaming (70%)
Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.

Industrial (70%)
Everyone likes folk. No, really. Maybe you should listen to the Incredible String Band.

8-Bit (90%)
Polygons, all the polygons you can get are not enough.

X11 (60%)
I hear Mac OS 10 Aqua is nice at this time of year.

Prog Rock (60%)
Long hair looks dumb with a bald spot. Listen to CD’s they don’t crackle.

Football (75%)
Do something unhealthy and indoors, away from the Bears.

Click here to scan yourself

200 Things About Me

I’ve seen this meme in several different places. I finally decided to heck with it and that I’d do it myself. The items in bold are the ones I’ve done and the rest are viewable after the jump.

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
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