Tonight on Yahoo Answers

Q1: Consider the plain y=1?
a) find a point on the z-axis on this plain
b) find two other points on the plain
c) find a vector perpendicular to the plain
d) find a vector parallel to the plain
i need to show all my work thanks!
11 minutes ago – 3 days left to answer.

A1: You are doomed.

1) do you even know what a plane is?
2) what does y=1 mean? draw all the points at y=1. There’s your plane.
3) You can’t even spell “plane” properly.
4) do you know why you have to show all your work? So they can tell if you’ve been getting your answers from somewhere else!

I recommend you study your book instead of screwing around on the internet.

These questions are so basic that if you can’t answer them yourself, you’re going to look like an idiot in class.

Q2: Is love the greatest power in the universe?

A2: Actually entropy is the greatest power in the universe.

Q3: I am very ugly and nobody loves me, what should I do?
I am afraid to die, but I am so lonley I don’t know what else to do.

A3: 1) graduate high school
2) go to college and get an advanced degree
3) make a jillion dollars
4) buy your own plastic surgery, go on a diet, learn how to dress and use cosmetics, learn about fashion and art
5) return home and enslave the fat aging ex-pretty people

All the most fabulous and beautiful people I know started off ugly and unpopular. We are in our 30s now… everyone who was pretty back then is now fat, poor, and dumb. Learn from this example.

Embroidery Machine Notes

I’ll probably end up attempting an Instructable of this, but in the meantime, here’s the notes I wrote up on the embroidery machine class I took at TechShop.


You will need:

  • material to embroider – duh!
  • thread with which to embroider – most people use a shiny thread
  • “stabilizer” – a fabric designed for embroidery that strengthens the “back” of the embroidered area. Available in “tear away” which… tears away… “cut away” which doesn’t, and a kind with self-adhesive on the back. There is also one which dissolves in water, so you can make lace.
  • Jump Drive – the Janome has a USB port that it reads designs from. Bring your own so you don’t have to beg / scrounge for one
  • Machines shared amongst many artists, like the one at TechShop, use up some of the parts.
    • Bobbin – the Janome uses the clear plastic ones made by “White.” Buy some so you can load it up with your own string before your session
    • needles – you may break a needle. Use a 11 or 13.

Machine Notes: The Hoop

There’s this plastic hoop, like an embroidery hoop, that you put your fabric in.

  • There are actually two hoops for this machine, Hoop A (5.0″ x 4.3″) and Hoop B (bigger!)
  • The software can rotate your shape for you, but I would do it elsewhere…
  • The machine does one color at a time
  • try not to stretch nor bunch the fabric in the hoop

Machine Notes: Threading

  • thread just as you would a sewing machine
  • the bobbin thread should be spiralled counter-clockwise

Import Your File

  • You really, really, really need a vector art file to do anything worth doing. The converter that comes with the Janome machine is pathetic. Automated options include VectorEye ($59 exports only a .svg) and VectorMagic (It’s a SAS (Software As Service); $15 for 3 months of unlimited conversions).
  • In Illustrator, convert all your thick lines to filled, borderless shapes. Use “Convert to Outline” or the like
  • In Illustrator, convert all text to outlines as well
  • Export the file as a .emf file
  • Now open Embird!

Generate your JEF file

  • In the editor, check your design
  • use the simulator to determine the order the shapes will be stitched, and where on the shape the thing will start
  • export the .jef file

Run the Machine

  • Position the head with the arrow keys
  • start stitching by pressing the start button. But! Only let it stitch a few stitches, like 5…
  • stop stitching. Now is your chance to cut the loose thread. After doing so, start the machine again
  • The machine will stop after completing a shape, so you can load in the new color. The colors on the editor are for convenience.
  • You can skip a shape by touching the “next page” picture

Busy week

My schedule is sort of brutal recently – I get up around 7am and work on film editing until about 9, when I go to work. At 6pm I head home, and work on film until about 12. So that’s what I did Monday and Tuesday…

Wednesday I had dinner with my dad at Shan Dong (a tiny restaurant in Oakland). He lives in Auburn so I don’t see him very often. Lately I’ve been recording stories about his childhood on my memo recorder that dumps to .WMA files. I’m trying to figure out how to get them transcribed easily; like feed them into Dragon or something.

THEN, on Thursday, at work we had a big “fire drill” where a large client came in to inspect the company. I had to make a presentation, which I then didn’t get to do because of changing plans. Then, that night, Diane and I had a big party at my house for actor Gary Shail, who had a small part in Shock Treatment, which is the sequel to Rocky Horror Picture Show. The cast that plays in San Francisco is Bawdy Caste, and Diane is a player there.

Gary Shail flew in from the UK to make a special appearance, so Thursday was his welcome party. It was a potluck, so everyone brought food and booze; we actually netted alcohol. Then next night was the show (Shock Treatment) at the Clay, which was very good. Well, the movie was ghastly.

But the cast was very good. They had all the costumes and choreography. Gary Shail did a little bit of improv at the beginning.  Incidentally Gary Shail is also in Quadrophenia, which might be a more stomachable movie.

The events manager for the Clay Theater was very impressed with Bawdy Caste’s performance, and apparently Peaches Christ saw the show (sort of in disguise, since he was wearing street clothes and was therefore a he).

Then, yesterday I took a training class at Tech Shop to learn how to use the embroidery machine. Looks like I have to convert some graphics to vector in order to do them justice.

And TODAY… I get to go to work. We’re doing a deployment for a different client we sold something to. I think it’s going to be a lot of me sitting around. I am there from 2pm until potentially after midnight. One of these took until 4am.

Webcomics scraping + piracy

I just read this story about how a Chinese company scraped an entire website (a web comic), bound it into a book, and sold it in the US. Kinda insane.

But it got me thinking again about self-publishing– now there’s Amazon’s BookSurge and the much much prettier Blurb. You can publish entire picture books!

I last investigated this in June 2004, so it’s no surprise the services available are much better now.

Anyway, I have an annoying question: suppose the guy at Immonen is able to stop the sale of the book? Will he be able to stop them all? It seems like the only way to benefit from this and prevent a recurrence is to publish your own content as soon as it is completed. That way consumers will have something to buy that is not pirated and therefore gets money back to the creator.

So, webcomics guys: the only way to fight this is to band together and publish your stuff. If you don’t have enough to bind together into a book, take a page from the indie record industry and go in on it with another webcomic. The added benefit (besides the cost benefit) is that you get the other guy’s audience as well. More readers, more following = more money! Yay!

Japantown Atlas

I just found (through the Nichi Bei Times) this cool project: the Japantown Atlas.

The Japantown Atlas maps nearly two dozen communities in California where Japanese Americans lived and worked prior to World War II. Drawing from historic maps, business directories, and photos, we show a variety of Japantowns as they existed in 1940.

Our project both memorializes the Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) in their first 20-50 years in America – the businesses, churches and schools they established – and documents the hometowns that 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were forced to leave behind during their incarceration in “Assembly Centers” and “Internment Camps” during World War II (1942-1946).

“Cursed” shoot

This last weekend I shot a short called “Cursed” with writer/director Digant Kasundra. I was “DP,” although given the guerrilla nature of the shoot I was basically just running the camera and setting up some minimal lighting.

All things considered, the shoot went very well. We started at 5pm and ran until 2am, Saturday and Sunday. Despite the late hour, the actors did not lose energy, which was very impressive.

The story is about 3 slackers who think an avenging force (a stalker) is coming to kill them, because of all the rotten things they’ve done in the recent past. It’s a very funny script…

Three roommates review the foul sins of their lives while investigating the root cause of mysterious events on an otherwise peaceful night

The summary doesn’t really do justice to the writing, which is completely hysterical.

Another note was we used a SAG actress on the shoot. She was very good, and the forms weren’t so bad. We were at “Student,” so I still have to see the forms for the next level up, “Ultra-low budget.”

Name that bird

There’s a bird that sings from around 6:30 through 9am. It’s a very distinctive call… I remember it from my childhood. What the heck kind of bird is it? I got up at 6:30 this morning with a shotgun microphone plugged into a miniDV camera to record him. Since it’s a weekend and early in the morning hopefully I got it without much traffic noise.

My plan is to convert the sound to .WAV or .MP3 and send it to birdwatching sites, so someone can identify it. Yesterday, just for fun I bought more bird calls at the sporting goods store. I love bird calls.

Last night I got in at 2am. I was DP’ing for Digant Kasundra’s Cursed, which is a very funny script. Since we needed it to be dark, we set up at 5pm but could only start shooting around 9pm. Horrible. Tonight we shoot starting at 8pm; I hope we don’t go until 2am again.

Single Issues To Graphic Novel Conversion

  This may turn out to be a terrible idea, but I’m going to try binding my complete run of DC’s 1988 series of Doc Savage into a book.

The comics aren’t worth anything, and it’s a pain to keep them in the plastic baggies. I’d prefer to have them all in one place.

I have a few series of comics which I enjoyed, but pretty much everyone else hated (for example, “Harley Quinn”), so they will never be collected into a trade paperback.

I also have some comics where I’d like the trades, but can’t justify buying the entire thing again (for example, “Outlanders”).

There are two separate Instructables on this: one with just glue, and one with stitching, like I learned through the San Francisco Center for the Book.

Why I Love Batman More Than Superman

I love Batman because the message is that if you overcompensate enough, you can overcome the pain of the past.

Example from real life:

When I was growing up, I’d always heard of “the ice cream man,” but no trucks ever visited our neighborhood. We first actually got ice cream from one of those trucks when visiting my grandparents in Gilroy. There was a park on 2nd where kids would play, 2 short blocks from grandma and grandpa’s house. The ice cream would occasionally drop in, and we could hear the music from his truck from the house. We’d get a bit of money from my grandparents (or my parents if they were feeling especially charitable) and run to get ice cream. I usually got a fudgecicle. Don’t tell me you can just buy those in the store; it’s just not the same.

Back at home, we lived about half a mile from two different parks, so every so often I’d hear the music from the truck. Faintly I could hear the strains when playing in the backyard, but by the time we ran in the house, asked for money, jumped on bikes, and biked there, the truck was nowhere to be found. To this day I don’t know if we guessed the wrong direction, or we just weren’t fast enough.

Eventually we just gave up. The ice cream man music became a taunt. I felt bitter every time I heard his siren call. Very bitter.

So now I live in a relatively dense suburb of Oakland. Several ice cream trucks have us directly on their route; but I am taking no chances. I’ll be sitting at home or in the backyard, reading comics or surfing. Suddenly I perk up – the sound, the sound!! I’ll run into the house, grab my wallet, and throw on sunglasses and driving gloves. I jump in my black sportscar and floor it, tearing around the streets.

I search for the truck with a feverish intensity. Every few intersections I silence the motor and listen intently with the windows rolled down, triangulating on the sound of the ice cream man. The streets are laid out like sort of a maze, so it takes them a while to get out. Once I’ve figured out what street the truck is on, I gun it to intercept. A couple of times I have stopped my car directly in front of the truck so he cannot escape. I jump out of the car brandishing a wad of cash and demand an ice cream sandwich from the petrified driver. Sometimes Diane goes with me; bonus points if we are both wearing all black.

Overcompensation. I has it.

But I’d still follow Superman. He is the only one you can trust.

Late Easter gloom

You know those Easter Eggs that look exactly like a real bird egg?  I saw one on the ground today while walking to work.  Sort of late for Easter, it must have been part of a leftover stash.

I have a terrible sweet tooth, and I would consider eating candy I find on the ground.  I picked the egg up, and squeezed it a little to see what kind it was.  But it turned out it was a real egg.  It cracked in my hands and made a mess; I killed a unborn baby chick.  That sucks; I felt bad about that.  Namu Amida butsu.

Although, not to rationalize or anything, but who lays an egg on the ground, not even in a nest?  How did it get there?  There weren’t even any trees around.  Maybe a pigeon?  They lay eggs in stupid places I hear.  Unless “mom” intended to sit on it in the middle of an open dirt pile totally unprotected from cats or the elements, I’m thinking junior was pretty much doomed.

Still a bummer though.