July 2014 Archives

[Insert pithy yet winsome introductory text here. Please.]

  • Every now and then, something happens that restores my faith in humanity and I think that perhaps there really is some hope for mankind. Then I read Facebook comments and come to my senses.

Dos Equis Man: I don't always read FB comments, but when I do, I want to claw my eyes out

  • Forget Ebola. What I want is a concentrated scientific and medical research effort to find a cure for that strange malady that results in the loss of use of a person's left index finger the moment they get behind the wheel of a car in Midland, Texas. You know, the finger that activates the turn signal.

  • Similarly, what is it about grocery store parking lots that cause otherwise sane people to acquire the emotional state of a rabid menopausal bobcat with hemorrhoids? Last night, a "lady" almost rammed me trying to get to a parking space before me (and I wasn't even trying to park). Fortunately, I was able to nudge her walker out of the way with my truck bumper and get on with my business. 

  • In keeping with the mindset that anyone who drives slower than me is an idiot and anyone who drives faster is a jerk, I believe that women drivers don't use turn signals because they're too preoccupied with cell phones, and men don't use them because they think that communicating their intentions is a sign of weakness.

Tom Hanks: Use the turn signal!

  • If the Cold War turns hot and we have to start building bomb shelters again, I'm making mine out of the cardboard that Chobani uses in their four-packs. I'm pretty sure that stuff could withstand anything the Russkies could throw at it.

  • I'm so Midland, I think the name of my city is an adjective. (Seriously, folks...stop it. Just stop it.)

Mileage of the Beast
July 27, 2014 9:15 PM | Posted in:

This happened on State Highway 18, just south of Grandfalls, Texas.

Photo of instrument cluster

Sorry for the poor image quality. Something kept obscuring the instrument cluster, some seemingly malevolent unseen force that nonetheless was able cast a pernicious shadow wherever my phone was pointed.

Finally, either by a quirk of light or a supernatural intervention - you decide - a second photo revealed more than I really wanted to know.

Photo of instrument cluster

Ha ha. I'm just fooling with you. Satan didn't really appear on our dashboard. It was too hot for him. The mileage is correct though. And there are a bunch of sixes in this display. Not that I ascribe any meaning to them. *spit*

For what it's worth, I've put more miles in a shorter time on the Ridgeline than any car we've ever owned. The truck is about 4 1/2* years old, which equates to about 1,666 days...and...gulp...

*Just kiddingagain; it's only 4 years old.

Polygonal Me
July 24, 2014 8:26 PM | Posted in: ,

So, I ran across this cool tutorial (via Twitter) explaining how to create a polygon portrait poster design in three easy steps. I have no idea what a "polygon portrait poster" is, but the result was interesting and it seemed to be a process that meshed well with my artistic aptitude (read: stupid simple), so I decided to fire up Photoshop and try it out.

You can jump on the link to see the entire tutorial, but what struck me as a stroke of brilliance was the suggestion of using the Eyedropper tool to select a color that was dominant on the portion of the source photo within the bounds of each polygon. This was a revelation to a mostly-colorblind non-artiste like me, because it basically removed any responsibility for having to make decisions regarding color.

I think this technique might be more suitable for a photo that is dark and brooding (again, see the actual tutorial), but I don't think I'm capable of dark and brooding. The closest I can come is snark and looming. I do think the result would be better using a photo with side lighting, so that the shadows are bit more dramatic. 

Anyway, here's the result of my efforts.

Photo of me
Photo of me, polygonized

I can pass along one tip if you want to try this. The key is to not worry about being too precise with the polygons. Don't worry if you have some gaps. In the tutorial, all the polygons were perfectly aligned, edge-to-edge, but that might be overkill. In fact, here's what my first pass looked like:

This is a screenshot from Photoshop; the checkerboard background shows where there is no color, and it clearly shows where I was rather cavalier in my approach to drawing the polygons. I addressed this issue simply by creating a background layer and filling it with color to fill in the "cracks." I think this approach adds a bit of character to the image, although I could just be delusional.
Oh, hello. I didn't notice you standing there, in the shadows. You're quite patient, considering how long it's been since I've come around. Perhaps you should take up a hobby.

Anyway, as long as you're here, please allow me to share a cautionary tale. It's a simple story about what happens when you reach a certain age and find that your own cleverness begins to backfire on you. Here's an example:

Photo - hitch lock cut in two
Exhibit A...or is it B? I forget.

In case you don't recognize it, this is a trailer hitch lock, used to secure a ball mount in a receiver. This particular model has a keyed lock on one end, and therein lies the problem.

As you can tell, the lock has been violated in a most destructive way. In other words, it's been sawn in two. And I did it my own self, as a solution to a vexing problem.

That problem arose not when I put the lock through the mount of our hitch-mounted luggage rack to dissuade thieves while the rack was being stored outside the garage, nor when I put the key away for safekeeping until I needed the rack.

No, the problem arose when I wanted to use the rack last weekend...and couldn't remember where I put the key.

I have approximately 800 loose keys stored in various drawers, cabinets, cubbyholes, nooks, niches, crannies, recesses, and alcoves, and I tried every one of them - twice - and never found the right one. I gave up on the luggage carrier; fortunately, we didn't really need it after all.

But when we returned, I decided that I'd spent enough time looking for a solution, and not enough time creating one. Out came the angle grinder (did you know Target sells them?) equipped with a silicon carbide wheel, on went the gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protector...and the sparks flew. In a few minutes, one problem was solved.

The bigger problem remains, the one without an elegant solution. It's the problem of how to deal with the accumulation of years that results in the inability to remember simple things like where did I put that [fill in the blank]? 

Every person will eventually have to deal with that issue in whatever way seems most appropriate for them. For me, I plan to apply a healthy dose of denial (I'm pretty sure someone stole the "hidden" key, and it's not my fault). In addition, I might just buy a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, and let the dulcet tones of its 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque make the journey into forgetfulness much more adventuresome.

Heck, I may even put a trailer hitch on it.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2014 is the previous archive.

August 2014 is the next archive.

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