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Sculpting self-aggrandizement

I'm posting this here because, well, I like showing off. I've taken up sculpting for the past few months. Here's what I've done.
Funny story: I haven't sculpted since high school, and there I only ever sculpted a single thing: a mask that didn't work out, because I didn't know enough about casting to not screw it up.
Have you ever had one of those 'ah-ha' moments where you realize you have a skill that surprised you? I've never been a particularly good 2d artist: I can build something in 3d inside my head, but it gets warped in the translation to the flat plane. But working in clay makes sense to me. I'm not sure why it makes sense-- maybe some genetic memory of my Grandfather's lifetime as a carpenter-- but I haven't had this much of an connection to a medium since, well, a long damn time.

Recent posts


I've been reading a lot about bitcoin. To those of you not in the know, bitcoin is an online currency that allows robust, non-returnable transactions without a central issuing authority. Transactions are broadcast throughout the network as a way to prevent double spending, and it's almost impossible to crash the network. Read more about it here.

Why not use this same architecture for voting? Every online voting scheme out there now depends on proprietary hardware and software, black boxes the people can't see into, nor inspect for flaws. This makes it impossible to trust the veracity of votes moving through the system. But if you base it on an open source framework with widely trusted security, then we can take it apart and see how it works.

More importantly WeVote (my clever little pastiche) takes away the vote counters, keeps the polls open and fair at any time, and allows for the start of a direct, local democracy movement.

Projects in the Works

One of my pet projects is a boardgame. Well, it's a boardgame in the sense that you play it at a table with a bunch of friends, not in the sense that there's an actual board that you move little doo-dads about on.  Ars Gladiatorum started because I watched three seasons of Spartacus in a two day span and said 'yes, I would do that in a New York Minute'.

I have a propensity for making stupid decisions when I'm ODing on action serials. One time, after watching Saving Private Ryan, I ended up in the Army. True story.

Age bringing wisdom (or at least bad knees) and sans time machine, I opted for the next best thing: a simulation of running a gladiator academy and arena combat. Shamelessly pilfering the best bits of a dozen different games and hot gluing them together, I have ended up with a robust combat system where death is an ever present threat, welded to a fighter management system where you decide how much a risk you want to take with your stable. 

The base is there…

My Fiance

I'd note that Mandy was wearing her Happy Egg Gnome hoodie while at the gun range.

August, My New Enemy

I'm usually not one for public moaning about the trials and travails life brings. Usually, I keep my trouble to myself, at least on the internet. But this month deserves mention, if only because it has raised the bar of terrible months. I want you to understand, this is coming from a person who once slept in parks, who has broken both his legs, and has, on several occasions, lost all his friends and have to pack up and move. Even with the above sloppy shit sandwiches in mind, August, oh horrid August, will go down as one of the crappier months I've ever had.
First, Mandy learns that her mother died. I'm not going to claim that as a bad thing for me, but it is hard to watch someone you love in pain. So she has to fly out to her hometown, which is one way or another, gonna cost money.
For the record, most people don't realize just how tough and resilient Mandy is. She has not had an easy life and she's still a genuinely nice person. I know lots of children …

I miss my kitty

Tonight, Madeline Waffles was hit by a car and died. She was a sweet, loving, loud and skittish little thing. She loved to sleep beside me and Mandy, wriggling between us until she'd achieved the maximum surface area exposure to snuggles possible. She'd follow the chinchilla around the house at a safe distance, then leap out of the way when the fearless Elmo would trot right up to her. Madeline was tiny and scared of her own shadow.
A couple months ago she decided she would climb a tree outside out apartment. The tree led to the roof of the apartment next door. She naturally jumped onto the roof. Two hours later, I'm climbing up a rickety painting ladder up the side of a two-story building with a bag of kitty treats in my hand to lure her away. Stanley is walking around the house crying. They were inseparable their whole life, and now he's on his own. My wife-to-be is trapped in Virginia dealing with a death in her immediate family. I had to call her to tell…

Bang Bang, They Shot Him Down

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of people's motivations for celebrating the assassination of Bin Laden.
For the past decade, our entire culture has been twisting in the wind, waiting for the other shoe to explode. We, as a people, watched our civil liberties erode, our wealth squandered, and our impotence on the world stage mocked (most viciously by us). All of this happened because one man scared the shit out of us. Oh, there were bottom-feeding opportunists waiting in the wings, but there always were those people. People who wanted to bomb the Soviets to powder, or take over Iran, or traipse across the globe like infantile giants. They were sometimes powerful, usually fringe voices, but for all the excesses of our crude views of the world, they never gained ascendancy. Then came September 11th, 2001.
The loss of life was numbing, the motivations so prosaic it boggled the mind. We're sort of used to dumb crackers who blow up abortion clinics, and we kn…