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Pew Pew [May. 30th, 2015|04:04 pm]
pew pew pew

I've seen an increase of "a few very smart people are very concerned about super artificial intelligence!"... things on the internet.

And the discussion always gets me weirdly exasperated and angry, for reasons I can't quite articulate. It exasperates Nate too, and I think he articulates it a little better, so maybe I should tell him to write a post about it.
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Bummer of a Follow-Up [May. 26th, 2015|06:37 pm]
Unfortunately, our friend the fawn didn't make it.

We saw it laying down underneath one of the trees in the backyard this afternoon, being all camouflaged and generally doing its fawn thing of lying still and chilling while Mom goes out to forage.

But then, after a while, it tried to get up and, well, couldn't. It struggled and yelled for a little bit, and the doe came back, but only seemed to walk around the fawn without touching it. Then it was laying on its side in a very un-fawn-like position, so we called the number of a volunteer rescue close by, and they asked if we could bring the fawn in ASAP (the guy said, "Normally I'd come out, but I am swamped with fawns right now").

So... this was a thing I've never done before. The doe had disappeared again, and I went out back with a towel and some gloves to grab the fawn and put it in the back of the car. The minute I picked it up, it was apparent that thhiiiiissss was going to be a long shot. The fawn was pretty limp, aside from jerking occasionally. Still, had to try, right?

For most of the 10-minute drive, it was silent, and I was almost certain it would be dead by the time I got there. But then as I got off the highway, I heard a little "meh! meh!" from the back.

"Oh, you're alive!" I said. "I thought for sure you were dead back there. Hang tight, we'll be there soon."

I hope I don't have a reason to say those words again anytime soon, y'know?

Anyway, we get there, the guy (whose name is Bill) comes out to the trunk, again we think the fawn is dead until it gives a little yell, and Bill says, "Alright, let's get it inside. I'll need your help for a minute, okay?"

"Okay, should I grab my gloves, or..."


We went inside and I held the fawn while he worked a tube down its throat and got some deer-formula-or-whatever-fluids into it. The fawn was still mostly limp, but would struggle a little bit every so often.

Then Bill went to go get something else, and the fawn suddenly arched its head back and peed on me. Then it didn't move anymore.

Bill admirably tried a little bit of fawn-CPR, but it was over. He said apparently the fawn was about a week old, but very emaciated and looked like it hadn't eaten in days. So I'm not sure what went wrong with the fawn and/or its mom, but by the time we got to it, it was too late. Nature, am I right?

Come to think of it, I don't know for sure if this was the same fawn from the previous entry. There have indeed been a lot of fawns around here lately, and I could have sworn I saw the previously-mentioned one suckling later that day. Or earlier this morning? Also now there is literally another doe and fawn in our next door neighbor's front yard right now. So who knows.

Anyway, it was worth a try to save it, but oh well. Bill said, "If you don't mind, we can put its body to good use. We've got a pair of baby vultures we're raising out back, and..."

I nodded. That made me weirdly happy. Good old nature.
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"Nate, guess what I almost ran over when I was mowing the yard!" [May. 25th, 2015|04:04 pm]
In the few hours this morning between one thunderstorm and the next,* I decided to haul the reel mower down the hill and give a haircut to the scrubby weedy meadow out back that we call a "yard."

And I'm mowin' along, avoiding rocks, deer poop, and huge mounds of fire ants (because yay Texas), when suddenly about three quarters of the way through, I'm all, "What's that weird pile of dirt about six feet in front of me completely out in the open?"

surprise its a fawn

Fawns are good at hiding, y'all.

I then proceeded to coo at it and make big dopey faces and wave until it hopped up and wobbly-ran (fawns are all legs, it's cute) into the bushes at the far edge of the yard. At which point I figured if I hadn't already scared the poor thing out of its mind, finishing the last quarter of the lawn wasn't going to push it over the edge.

We saw the doe come back later, and now I'm assuming they're hanging out in the downpour.

*- We've been getting a buttload of rain this spring, which is great. For that drought and all. It's funny though, after LA, I'm completely uncalibrated as to what "a lot of rain" is. It's like the way you don't really feel the difference between a billion and a trillion. Anything more than twice a year is "a lot of rain" to me.
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Almost-Asleep Nonsense [May. 24th, 2015|03:22 pm]
(I can't remember making this entry and can't find it in the last few months, so be kind to me if I've already mentioned this.)

I think most people's minds wander just before they fall asleep. My particular flavor of this involves my inner monologue going a little wonky and starting to talk nonsense. They're not dreams per se, just audio. Sometimes I can wake myself up and catch it, but it's really hard to remember them even over a couple seconds.

Sometimes it's in my voice, sometimes it's other voices; maybe people I know, maybe not. Anyway, I've tried writing them down quickly when I catch myself falling asleep:

"You know that little cough in the back of your throat? That's the bit about the earth parasite crater."

"'Honest do you teach, honest do you teach?' Tell her that, she'll know what it means."

"This is where people look at something on a cupcake for $3.50."

"'It's all wrong' he said, scrubbing the pan, 'it's all wrong.'"

"I loved as only a transparent, caustic lover could."

* * *

They're almost close to making sense, but not quite there. I can't remember the context or lead-up for any of these. My brain just skips along until I suddenly wake up a little and think, "Wait, this doesn't make any sense." And by then, I've usually forgotten what didn't make sense in the first place.
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Sketches of the Animals I Talk About [May. 19th, 2015|03:25 pm]


I did not even mean to end up at "straight Bambi" on that deer. It just happened, I swear. Turns out those guys knew how to characterize a deer, I guess.
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In Which Our Heroine Does her Most Useless Detective Work Ever [May. 18th, 2015|10:22 pm]
Piece of information #1: We like Netflix documentaries, and we recently watched the first episode of one about plants called "How to Grow a Planet."

Piece of information #2: I find that listening to a Pandora station that does epic movie soundtracks is great background music for a lot of drawing.

Me: "Okay, that part when the dude is climbing the Sequoia at the end? I swear I've heard that music before. On Pandora or something. It's from a movie, I know it."

Nate: *Polite reassurance that I'm probably right*

Me: "No, no, I have to find this out. This is going to bother me."

And every time I had that station on, it DID bother me. I went through and compared music themes; it wasn't Lord of the Rings, Narnia, or Batman. It was something else. I had a sneaking suspicion, but no, it couldn't be. That'd be too... dumb.

This wondering went on for longer than I care to admit. But then tonight I suddenly heard something familiar, and I look over at Pandora and it's... one of the Transformers sequels? I have no idea how many of those damn things there are. But the music is sufficiently "general epic movie style" that it could fit just about anywhere. INCLUDING A BBC DOCUMENTARY ABOUT PLANTS, MAYBE?


So then I sat here for probably twenty minutes just now with the Youtube soundtrack of this Transformers movie in one tab and Netflix open in the other, panning and skipping from track to track, playing these bits over and over and agonizing over just how hard it is to keep in your head an instrumental piece that was specifically written to be general background music. I had a few almost-matches that weren't quite right, and figured maybe I'd been barking up the wrong (Sequoia) tree this whole time, when BAM.

I found it, BBC! You used the theme from a Transformers sequel for the climactic scene of your high budget documentary and I called you on it.

(It's okay, I secretly like the song too.)

Me: NATE! Nate, come here! I finally found where the music was from. SEE??

Nate: Oh ha, wow, you found it.

Me: I knew it!

Nate: You sure did.


Nate: Maybe you should share it with—

Me: Oh I am blogging the heck out of this.

The internet needs to know.
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The Deer, Continued [May. 18th, 2015|09:59 am]
Since opening our side gate, more deer have been wandering into the backyard. I am thrilled about this, especially since my gardening efforts have been confined to pots on the deck and the rest of our yard is pretty wild right now.

The doe with the fawn have been back, as well as another group of four that consists of:

-The probably-pregnant doe
-The little tiny light-colored doe with a lot of scars on her leg
-The completely unremarkable doe
-The buck with wittle teeny beeny antler nubbles dat are soo adowable

If the art bug had passed me over, in another life I could have been an ethologist. There is some happy itch in my brain that is scratched by watching animals do random shit and looking for patterns in it. So uh, forgive me if I bore you with tales of "The deer walked around today! The deer are eating leaves! The deer are laying down!"

Baxter seems to get along with them as well. He'll go down into the yard and walk around with them, moving back when one of them gets a little too close/interested. He's more wary of them than they are of him, but he still makes the effort to go down and hang out.
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Baxter's New Friend [May. 14th, 2015|07:08 pm]
Baxter had a pretty fun morning. Handsome devil that he is, he gained an admirer who followed him around the front yard for a while.


He wasn't quite heartless enough to tell her he just doesn't swing that way (he doesn't swing any way really, being neutered and all, but that's neither here nor there), but he wasn't exactly thrilled about her attentions.

Pretty weird for a deer. And if you're noticing that Baxter has spotted something of interest in that last clip, you're right. She followed him over to a patch of bushes and started hopping around and getting agitated. I peeked around the fence to see what was going on, and oh hey!


Well that explains some things.



I guess the little one had been hiding in the bushes by the side of our house that whole time. I'm still not sure whether the deer was following Baxter around because she felt threatened or whether it was her maternal instinct going a little wonky. She never seemed defensive, just very interested in him.

Anyway, now it was Baxter's turn to be very interested.


"You didn't tell me you had a kid."

He watched them for a while as they moved back toward the neighbor's yard. After they got out of sight, I went back inside, and Baxter came in later. He seemed fine, so I'm assuming he didn't get nipped or trampled or anything.

The deer seem to move constantly through the neighborhood; maybe we'll see those two again.
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Bugs That I Hate [May. 13th, 2015|10:32 pm]
I've told you about my unconventional reactions to bugs in general.

Large hairy spider: "Hello little friend! Eating lots of insects, I hope. Keep fighting the good fight! Take care!"

Two-inch-long roach: "Well huh, that's unpleasant."

A few tiny white larvae—slow, harmless, and as small as a grain of rice: "NO NO GOD NO KILL KILL. Kill them all. I don't care how toxic it has to get up in here, plunge this room into a nuclear winter if you have to, just make sure they ALL DIE AND NEVER COME BACK."

Worm-things, man. They wreck me. My head gets all buzzy and my stomach drops and I nervously check around my feet for the rest of the week.

We saw a few on the floor near the dining area windows last night, and I doused the whole patch with bleach, scrubbed it all down and have been patrolling the perimeter today. Haven't seen any more and only now am I starting to be able to breathe normally again.

They looked a lot like the larvae of the pantry moths we'd dealt with at a previous house, and those things are a bitch to get rid of once they figure out where you store the food. So I am on High Alert for the time being, my only solace being that we only saw them relatively far from where the pantry is and nuked 'em good before they had time to migrate anywhere.

Please don't comment and tell me that they move through the walls at lightning speed or something. I will spend the entire night crouched wide-eyed on top of the kitchen table clutching my jar of bleach and a flyswatter. It won't be fun.
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Coffee-Sipping Apes [May. 7th, 2015|03:18 pm]

Doodling during meetings.

(I do actually listen better that way.)
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I still play X-Com occasionally, if only for the moments like these. [May. 6th, 2015|05:25 pm]


I have gotten so much more than my money's worth out of this game, I'm just saying.

Have you ever watched a Heavy overwatch a couple of Mutons and not only miss, but destroy his own cover in the process? I swear the Mutons stopped where they were, stared at him for a second, then figured you don't pass up an opportunity like that and blew him to Kingdom Come.
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Twangity Twang [May. 5th, 2015|08:22 pm]

He gets all the toes tappin' at the tavern.

Also: Thunderstorms and fireflies are two things we didn't get in LA and this evening we got them at the same time for a while and it was amazing.

Also: If I had the two-year-old's tolerance/love for repetition, I bet I could learn all sorts of crap about the world every day like he does. As an adult, it's like, I read something once, and expect to have learned it, then I forget it, then I don't care. This happens a lot. Especially when I read books for some reason. I love reading books, but after I finish, I can barely tell you what they're about. If I read books the way Benjamin reads books though ("Ah-GAIN? Ah-GAAAINN??"), who knows.
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Thought of the Day [Apr. 28th, 2015|04:03 pm]
Someday in the future when robots run the world, they'll be looking back at things people used to do on the internet. And those "Forgot Your Password?" screens will puzzle them.

And someone will have to explain that people used to do this thing called "forgetting" where random information could just vanish from their brain at any time. This would sound terrifying and barbaric to robots, and they'd wonder how we could have possibly lived like that, forgetting things—important things!—all the time.
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Nobody Messes with the Armordillo [Apr. 22nd, 2015|04:37 pm]

Fun fact: I had like three false starts on this guy for some reason. I'd get the sketch down, procrastinate, then have to close Photoshop for some reason and just be all, "Ehhhh, screw it, I'll draw it again tomorrow."
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Thought of the Day - Cookies [Apr. 17th, 2015|08:24 pm]
It occurred to me while standing in line at the grocery store that someone has to design some of this food.

Not just the packaging, but the food. Like, you don't have a cookie until someone has made a series of decisions about its existence. What ingredients? How big? Thick or thin? What shape? Should we alter the color of the dough? Any notable chunky bits? Frosting? Sprinkles? What pattern?

Someone out there is a Cookie Designer and ostensibly, they get paid to decide how much the factory machine rounds the corners on those pecan sandies. Somewhere, people are having meetings about it.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but it does.
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Uh Oh Tortoise Spider! [Apr. 13th, 2015|09:24 pm]

Apologies to those who are afraid of spiders.

(Or tortoises.)
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A Work Thought [Apr. 7th, 2015|10:57 am]
Apple does lots of things well, but one of the more subtle things they did right was to put lots of straight-on hi-res images of their various computers & devices out onto the internet.

Because when you're making up a software website, like I find myself doing occasionally, it's very common to want a shot of a game or your program running on a phone, tablet, or computer. And because it's about a million times easier to find a good shot of an Apple product to use as opposed to anything else*, you end up with iPhones and Macbooks sprinkled all over your site. Everybody lifts the same few Mac laptop screenshots, and it's great, because it's not a problem. You get your device image easily, and Apple gets a bit of subliminal advertising.

It's this elegant little ecology of PNGs.

*-Finding a blank, straight-on, hi-res image of "one of the latest Android tablets" was one of the most surprisingly non-straightfoward tasks I've had.
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Hey batter batter batter [Apr. 6th, 2015|03:03 pm]
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What are these Holl-ih-daaaze you speak of? [Apr. 5th, 2015|12:33 pm]

Oh right, I forgot it's Easter! This is a little more in the spirit of the holiday than whining about self-checkout machines.
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Self Check Out [Apr. 5th, 2015|09:57 am]

We did this little dance with the juice like four times, I'm not kidding.

Not pictured: the two-year-old who was not helping the process along by randomly setting his cereal cup in the "bagging area."

Side note: both Austin and Los Angeles have quit giving you plastic bags anymore, so the "bagging areas" are just open platforms. This is cool and all, because Yay Environment, but I'd appreciate it if I could actually set my reusable bag on the platform without the machine freaking out and thinking I'm trying to shoplift something. Also every time it says the word bag, I'm all, "You're not giving me any bags, don't act like like you're doing me a favor."
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An Unlikely Pair [Apr. 4th, 2015|03:21 pm]

Many creatures roamed the prehistoric plains. But for some reason, the fossils of a certain shaggy pachyderm and a certain large flightless bird were always found side by side. It was hypothesized that there may have been some sort of symbiotic relationship between the two species, but due to a lack of evidence, no one was able to pin down exactly what it was.

(We've been watching lots of Sesame Street Youtube clips in this household lately.)
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PEWPEWSsssh. [Apr. 3rd, 2015|03:23 pm]
pew pew

There is a very teeny weeny chance that this guy or something like him will end up in something for work, which makes him almost-not-kosher, but I have not been drawing a whole lot lately so everybody just be cool and go with it, okay.
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Photoshop's Artistic Debut [Apr. 2nd, 2015|04:54 pm]
Photoshop did a new thing just now.

I was drawing a funky bird doodle, as one does, and I go resize it, and:



If you look closely you can see the bird sketch in there.

I have never seen Photoshop do anything remotely like this before. As I zoomed in and out and moved the sketch around, the pattern changed wildly, though it always had the same general feel as that one above. And it only happened when I had the background layer visible.

I opened a new file to draw a scribble, resize it, and see if the same thing happened:


It did.

And it's funny. These images are sort of... beautiful, in their own way. I kind of like looking at them.

You want to know the weird thing though? Here's the weird thing. Just before I came over to Photoshop, I was here looking at crazy geometric painting things (click on the picture itself to look through the series. It's cool in a trippy sort of way).

I think Photoshop liked them and wanted to try making art itself.

Adobe, what the hell was in that last update you sent out? I think you might have made Photoshop self-aware.

(ETA: I quit and relaunched it, and the issue went away. There's still a part of me that thinks there's a wild little artistic demon living in the program now though.)
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Thought of the Day - Austin [Mar. 30th, 2015|03:49 pm]
Austin is a funny place. On one hand, it's a liberal enclave where you can find (I kid you not) "Hemp Non-Dairy Beverage" in the regular grocery store.

But then, lest you forget you're still in Texas, you get these a couple houses down from you:


Take it back from... whom? Exactly?
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The Mighty Hunter Branches Out [Mar. 27th, 2015|07:47 pm]
Baxter hasn't brought us any birds yet, but he HAS started bringing still-alive lizards into the living room. The first one was tiny and adorable, and then today he brought us one of these handsome fellows,* a Texas Spiny Lizard. Less tiny, less adorable.

Anyway, he sets it down in the middle of the rug, the lizard takes off, and Baxter chases it down the hall until it runs under the door to Benjamin's room, where it stays for a while because Benjamin is finally quiet after two hours of trying to get him to nap and I'll be DAMNED if I'm gonna open that door and risk waking him up; I don't even care if a big lizard is chilling in there with him.

It worked out for the best, because by the time Ben woke up, Baxter had wandered off and I was able to scoop up the lizard between a bowl and a large book and deposit it outside.

Can't wait to see what bit of notably-larger-than-California's wildlife he brings us next.

*- That is a Wikipedia picture, I did not pick up the lizard. Though apparently you can keep them as pets? GO FIGURE.
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