Sunday, February 28, 2010

Learning Python to make an applet in Gnome

Last week while using my Windows 7 partition, out of habit I hit "ctrl+alt+R arrow" which in Linux changes to the right virtual desktop,but; in Windows 7 it rotated my screen from landscape to portrait. I thought that was cool, and that it would be great for reading ebooks. I set off looking for an applet to make my screen rotate like that in Linux.  I had no luck in finding one, that does not mean it is not out there I just could not find one. I decided maybe I could make one mostly because of Paul Grahm in his book "Hackers and Painters" . He talked about writing code like sketching, That made perfect sense to me, that line demystified the idea of writing code to me. Of course that does not mean I will be good at it, it just mean I feel like I can give it a try. A day later Jono Bacon put a challenge to write an application by March 4th and post it to his blog.
 I was like what the hell I will give it a go, I am not sure what i am doing qualifies as an app, it will hopefully be an applet when I am done.

I went on and figured out what command I needed to rotate the screen right which is "xrandr -o right" and to get it back is "xrandr -o normal", you can also use left and inverted as options. I can run those in terminal to achieve what I want. Ultimately I want a applet on the panel that I can click a drop down menu or toggle a button. The menu would have four options, normal,right,left and inverted, this an image of my first try. Now I have to learn how to  make the selected options run the different commands

Below are images of my first succesfull try at getting a  button to kind of work, below is normal before I pressed and the second image after. 


The problem is I have not figured out how via a button press, to switch back.  Making an on off button, were "on" would rotate to portrait, "off" would be back to normal.  The only other issue with this way is it only gives two options, unlike the menu that would allow for all four. Well back to the sketch pad.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Myth that is Fairgreen

I lived on a street named Fairgreen between 1998 and 2005, between 1998 and 2003, I was very happy there. I liked my job, it was stable I more or less did what I wanted. I hiked two or three times a week I was working out consistently and my bills were paid. It was place with no drunks stomping around yelling F@(& unless it was me. I was also very stupid, I did not do any planning. I invested poorly spent unwisely and frankly screwed myself. It was an odd time I learned a lot about myself between those years. I was very intuitive to some things and blind to others. I think it comes from the idea, we choose  'truths' that confirm our beliefs.

I am now trying to hang on to what I like from that time and shed the baggage. I challenge my beliefs, some have changed others reinforced. My wife and I are living simpler than either has before, to maintain a life we value. We watch our sibs struggle with money, as we have and we decided old houses, used cars and limited credit are better financially as well a mentally. We are working torwards our own Myth of comfort and sanity.  I can not expect it to be, because I work hard or 'deserve it', that statement is a joke we deserve nothing good or bad. You get what you get and make the best of it, that is what we are doing making the best of it, honestly it is pretty good even with a car without AC and a old analog TV.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Coffee and reading

Just sitting in downtown Dayton at the Boston Stoker drinking a cup of coffee just finished my first book on the A+ certification. I am going to start reading the second book I purchased for A+ and start the pre-test. The interesting part was putting together the knowledge I had and the knowledge I was lacking(still lacking) some things mad so much more sense to me. Other items I felt pretty confident in my knowledge. The GUI stuff was actual new to me I was amazed at what commands in the command line are similar in the unix world to the windows world. I enjoy the learning and get excited to try to apply the some of the concepts, i am of course not looking forward to the test which is after all the final goal.

Another two post I read today that were interesting was on by Jeff Attwood talking about applicant's applying for coding jobs who can not code a simple program(not that I can) I would imagine a lot of industries are spending time interviewing many applicants who have no credentials or poor skills. That may be me soon hopefully I will only be lacking credentials and have the basic skills needed to be of use to a company.  In his comments section someone mentioned The Dunning-Kruger effect it is an interesting idea, I am sure we may ll suffer from either side at some point in our lives, maybe?
Just a few thoughts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Clown Suit

My friend Christy  and I are both currently unemployed, recently I asked her  how the job search was going. She said not so well,and that she wanted a job where she could dress up and wear shoes that went clippty cloppty when she walked, I got kick out of this. She explained she wanted to have a secretarial job "so I feel like I am doing something with my life". Then she preceded to say  how a job like this would keep her from having to wear a uniform an dumb uniforms were.  I got defensive because I wore a uniform at a job for ten years, and  she did not recognize having to dress to a certain standard is a uniform. Then of course I flapped my gums saying "I do want to work a job were I have to wear a monkey suit or khaki's" , and how stifling that would be for me. 

As the day wore on I thought more about this, I loved my blue collar job, I do not automatically see the white collar world as a step up. She watched her father struggle in a print shop and her mother work whatever she could. The white collar job is a step up to her, saying "so I feel like I am doing something with my life" brings the point home.  I am happy for her that she knows what will give her self worth in a job, I can not say the same. We just have different values, that is good.

In the end we are all wearing uniforms, is it the uniform that quiets your soul or are you wearing a clown suit. I have looked like Bozo quite a few times, my friend Mark said  "If you wear something and it feels like a clown suit than you need to change" that can be as simple as an outfit or as big as your whole life. I do not feel like I am wearing a clown suit, which is good, however; I just feel naked some days.

Faces and Tattoos

These are more images from old sketch books, the eye and the cross were early ideas for tattoos, I was really inspired by celtic art during this time. I curious about the celts because of some of my family heritage.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The odd man out

Have been going through all of my old sketch books lately it has been interesting to see what styles imagery has carried through. The first is the most recent it was a painting I did last year. The next three are images done between 2003 and 1998, this figure first started showing up in my sketches around 1996.     

Sunday, February 14, 2010

From old Sketch Books

It has been interesting to dig through some of my old sketch books to see what was there. Found some art that I liked which was refreshing, there was some scary stuff also. I found a buch of writings some silly, but; some still relevant. Even a little poetry  most of it dark. 

The first drawing I believe I did around 1997, the second one I did in 1988 and the third was a inversion I just did in GIMP and liked the look .

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A few of doodlings

rust and ink on water color paper

crayon and marker on a reject photo

crayon and ink  on paper

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Acceptance and Respect

I have recently heard two stories that I thought were pretty amazing. The first one was from the author of 12 Brain Rules, he talked about when he was a youth and he told his mother he was an atheist. She was a relgious women whom attended church each week, her response was amazing. Instead of flipping out, she preceded to get her son a book from Friedrich Nietzche " Twilight of Idols" She told him "If you are going to be an atheist, be the best one out there. Bon appetit!" She embraced him with love not bigotry, his curiosity, wanting to learn was paramount,  it was his path.                                  

The second story I heard was from Ann Druyan, she talked about when her father told his Dad, who was a very pious Jewish man, that he was atheist and would no longer participate in the religious traditions.  His fathers response was "The only sin would be to pretend." Her Father and Grandpa always got along wonderfully and the was never a schism because of the differences of belief. 

This kind of acceptance and respect of others choice, is something to be learned from. Right now everyone seems so hung on I am this you are that, we can not ever come to a common ground to find a way forward. I have been guilty of this as much as the next.

Chicken Coop

abstract, originally uploaded by highfructose327.
This painting is an abstract that I used chicken wire, plaster, oil paints and encaustic on ply wood. I wanted to experiment with fresco, to make sure the plaster adhered to the board, I used chicken wire, it took on a life of its own. I had high hopes of trying buon fresco, not so successful, ended being more like fresco-secco which is still a lofty aspiration. I applied the plaster with a notched putty knife which gave some nice texture. The encaustic(wax) as it cooled was interesting, when first melted and hot, I could get an almost glass like surface. As the wax cooled the wax would get lumpy and take on a rough texture like 60 grit sand paper. I tired applying the oil paint in many different ways from very fat to very thin layers, using varied brush strokes. It was a piece I learned a lot from, I am was happy with finished image.

Crayons: primary, secondary and tertiary

In Ignore Everybody the author  talked about just creating, not caring if you would ever make a dime, its good for the soul. What I got from ch. 7 was that as a child your given crayons and you create, that is our natural state to create to make something. As we get older society says no that's wrong, because it is different. I know it seems like common sense,but; reading it reaffirms or even reawakens the idea.  I am glad people stepped outside of the mold, we would still be running from predators, or extinct. If that first cave man who fashioned a spear had not. We would be a part of the 99% of animals that ever lived are extinct group. 

I want to keep creating or I may go extinct. I do not feel I have a big problem with creating for the sake of creating. I am going to take they idea very literal and buy some crayons. There is a simplicity of creating with crayons, back to the basic tools. Take away the precision of a pen, the fluid movement of paint or the use encaustic, which is one of crayons pretentious cousins. In my mind I had mostly just left crayons for the coloring books. I think it will be a fun exercise to buy a box of twelve crayons and see what happens.  Crayons are a interesting medium, they blend well you can melt the marks you make, they are not caustic( can't say that about paints) I do remember I did some simple drawing on old photographs with crayons which was interesting.   I have quite few things I want to try should be fun!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A search engine, Greasemonkey script and a podcast aggregator

I have been trying a different search engine. It is ixquick, the search results have been good, better than I have experienced with Yahoo not as good as Google. I  like that they do not record your IP address when you make search queries. A quote from their site

"Every time you use a regular search engine, your search data is recorded. Your search terms, the time of your visit, the links you choose, your IP address and your User ID cookies all get stored in a database."

Not that this will make a major difference in the trail I leave on the Internet, because as soon as I choose one  of the search results my local ISP will record that address. As much as anything I like trying new things and different technologies.

A script I use in Firefox with the Greasemonkey addon is Fbpurity. I really like this script for Facebook because it blocks every post about other peoples exploits in all the different Apps like Farmville or Mafia Wars ,which I have lost hours to. Sorry guys don't want to hear about how you mounted your pig, or how you gibbed Jimmy Mobs now you are a death soldier level 582. I do like to see about how well everyone is doing and some of the banter that goes on.

One of my favorite applications is Gpodder, it is a podcast aggregator, the Devs just continue to make it better. Two of my favorite options are, if a podcast is downloading and I need to turn off or suspend my computer it will resume the download from where it left off. There is a online backup account for your subscription list, which is great if you do a fresh install of Gpodder just log in and it uploads your subscriptions. It is just solid piece of software.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Had to fix GRUB in Ubuntu 9.10

When I was trying recover data, I had logged out of Windows and into Ubuntu a few times. The first time I left the external drive plugged in when I logged out of Win 7 to log back into Ubuntu, GRUB hung. I believe it had to do with the External hard drive was set sda with a boot flag, as was my HDD. I had to do a hard reset, this I believe this is what corrupted my MBR. I followed this guide from Web Upd8

Booting from a LiveUSB ( I used Ubuntu 9.10) I needed to find my Linux partition , I opened a terminal and entered. 

$ fdisk -l 

This was the out put /dev/sda5 is what L was looking for

Using the terminal again I made a directory:

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/ubuntu

And then mounted the partition sda5 at the directory I created:

$ sudo mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/ubuntu

I needed to  simulate a persistant  root login shell. normal sudo rights would not be enough:

$ sudo -i

I needed /dev from my actual install to be used instead of /dev from the Live instance. By using the bind option it would mount it at /dev in the Live instance

# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/ubuntu/dev

Next run chroot (chroot has live usb use the
directory /mnt/ubuntu as the root directory)

# chroot /mnt/ubuntu

Now to install grub in a terminal

# grub-install /dev/sda

Now I rebooted and continued my work.

I was interested in what chroot was exactly. So the at the  Wikipedia page I got this explanation: A chroot on Unix operating systems is an operation that changes the apparent disk root directory for the current running process and its children.

Thanks Web Upd8 , if you need more info follow the Web Upd8 tutorial. I am just chronicling how I am fixing my goof ups, and trying to understand better the system commands I make as I go.

abstract prints

 These are dry point prints that I colored one with water colored. The second is a completely wiped dry point and the third was a selective wiped print. these were inspired by the abstract sketch

abstract print w/ water color, originally uploaded by highfructose327.

junk culture

junk culture, originally uploaded by highfructose327.
This is the painting inspired partly from the abstract sketch, the initial idea came to me as I slept it drove me nuts. I decided to wrap a piece of plywood through the center with canvas. I used oil paint, hot wax and newspaper, plus cold wax encaustic. Take what you will from the title.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coffee and Cigarettes

This is one of my personal favorites, sometime s I believe more so for the content than the actual work. So often the the inspiration of the work means so much more than the finished work. This painting reminds of late cold fall nights smoking a cigarette with my moon roof open. I can smell the cigarette smoke in the crisp night air and it always puts me behind the wheel of my CRX smoking a Newport on Fredrick Pike.

abstract sketch

abstractsketch, originally uploaded by highfructose327.
Abstract sketch became impetus for a print and a painting !