I’m on the Elixir Fountain Podcast!

Elixir Drop records a podcast with Elixir Fountain

Recorded on Wednesday, today sees the release of my conversation with the ever-amiable Johnny Winn on the topic of Elixir. And Phoenix. And Perl. And Ruby. I may have even mentioned Haskell at some point in there. We cover a lot of stuff. (And then we talked comics, naturally.)

It was only afterwards that I realized I’m a complete blabbermouth and didn’t go too deep on any one topic and likely will need to explain myself at length on a couple of things after the fact.

In other words: More blogging material! =)

But if you have any questions, leave a comment or send me a tweet, and I might just make a post here out of it. Thanks!

 

(Cross-posted from VariousAndSundry.com/cs)

Joe Dante and Chuck Jones

25 years ago, Joe Dante developed a movie that would have been a dramatization of the Warner Bros. animation unit/Termite Terrace in the 30s and 40s.  It’s a movie many of us would kill to see to this day.

It never got made.

Pity.  Sounds like perfect Oscar bait. Nothing Hollywood loves more than movies about Hollywood.

In any case, this will likely be as close as we ever get to the movie: a six minute interview with Dante describing how the project came to be and why it died so young.  (“Space Jam.”  Ugh)

 

 

(Via Cartoon Brew)

Podcasting Again

No, not regularly. I was the guest on a podcast today and it was awesome. I miss podcasting a lot, but the timing is never good to make a return to it.

Plus, I wasn’t hosting so I didn’t need to worry about steering the conversation.

Turns out, I had a lot to say and probably just ran my mouth off too much.

I’ll post a link when it goes live, which I believe is scheduled for the end of this week…

Middle X: Black Widow

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Now, Black Widow is more of an Avengers character than an X-Men character. This is a complete cheat. I’m OK with that.

Middle X Black Widow, though she isn't a mutant

Diabetes Still Not Cured; Insulin Ain’t Cheap

I admit, I’m protected against this by a good health care plan, but I know how ridiculous the prices are — especially when I did take more one month and am close to running out before the renewal date.

In the United States, just three pharmaceutical giants hold patents that allow them to manufacture insulin: Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. Put together, the “big three” made more than $12 billion in profits in 2014, with insulin accounting for a large portion.   What makes this so worrisome is that the big three have simultaneously hiked their prices. From 2010 to 2015, the price of Lantus (made by Sanofi) went up by 168 percent; the price of Levemir (made by Novo Nordisk) rose by 169 percent; and the price of Humulin R U-500 (made by Eli Lilly) soared by 325 percent.  

I’ve used two of the three of those in my life.

To make insulin affordable, we need more competition. Nothing would do this faster than a “generic” form of insulin. (Technically, because insulin is made using bacteria, it should be referred to as a “biosimilar” instead of a “generic.”) Unfortunately, there isn’t one available in the United States.

Don’t hold your breath, kids.

Star Wars: Back to Basics

Link

A new (unauthorized) release of Star Wars gets back to the original. They recreated the original movie with the mission to not change a single thing. Let the imperfections fly!

I’d love to own a clean copy of the original Star Wars trilogy, like most people my age. But I do have to admit that I wouldn’t mind it so much if they cleaned it a little to get rid of the visible strings and matte boxes and whatnot. Don’t change anything in the movie; just clean up the dirty spots. Keep the final dog fight as it originally was. Greedo shoots first. Yes, even keep the guy in the werewolf halloween mask.

All the Presidents’ Heads

I’m almost in awe of this.

Presidental portraits in stone

There was a park opened in the 2000s that featured Rushmore-like rock sculptures of all the presidents up to that point. They’re each 20 feet tall. The park closed a few years ago, and a farmer nearby took all the sculptures for his backyard.

Click through the link to see some more pictures of the site. It’s eerie and cool and crazy all at the same time.

Middle X: Cyclops

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Cyclops is losing his hair and adding a gut. In other words, he’s just like the rest of us (nearly)-40-somethings….

Middle X Cyclops art

San Diego Comic Con Goes RFID

San Diego Comic Con logo

Word is out now that the San Diego Comic Con will be using RFID chips in their badges this year.

The RFID chip is an interesting thing. They put those in the badges at OSCon last year, which lead to some amount of informal protesting amongst convention goers and speakers. Some even ripped theirs out. That was a tech conference, though, so people were more in tune with what RFID tags are and how they might be used. Personally, I didn’t have any problem with it.

The thing OSCon had with every room you walked into was an RFID scanner across every door. The convention could use it to track how many people were coming and going into each room. For a convention like SDCC with the logisitics it faces, this could prove to be very valuable information in handling crowds and seeing where the most and least popular panels are being held.

That’s all assuming they have the scanners posted at the doors of every panel room. That’s an awful lot of scanners to bring in, but a convention the size of SDCC could (and probably should) pull it off. It would be very valuable information to have.

I bet the fire marshall would love to see a live feed of that data, too…

Troubles in Las Vegas

LINQ executives told Las Vegas police that public indecency is on the rise, “which they fear will impact the reputation and business operations.”

 

Vegas business owners fear that indecency will impact their operations.  This from the city whose motto is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”?

Middle X: Jean Grey

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

She still thinks she’s a trendy 20 year old…

Jean Grey as a soccer mom

Middle X: Domino Paper Cut Out

I learned a lot about Manga Studio while working on the Domino drawing I posted last night.  I multiplied the “colors” to get a stronger look.  I successfully magic wanded Domino and then rotated the selection to create a mask to draw the shadow with.  And more.

I love looking at colored art without the line art. You can often see just how close to being a pure painted a colorist might get.  It’s fun to see if the drawing is clear without the black lines.

For this one, I did more.  I dropped both the black lines AND the colors of the character, leaving behind only her shape as a negative space.  It looks cool, like I created a pop-up paper doll or something.

Work In Progress of the Domino art from yesterday. She's an empty silhouette here.

Welcome Back, WordPress

WordPress Logo

I’ve been blogging since September 2002.  What started on LiveJournal.com quickly moved over to its own site, using WordPress before it was even called WordPress, I think.  Check my database — this blog’s prefix is “b2_.”

Things slowed up a lot here over recent years.  I got a new job, got married, had a kid, etc. etc.

And WordPress became annoying.  I always assumed it was because the database was so big with the thousands of posts I had up, but couldn’t prove it.  Simple things like posting an update became too slow to bother.  And, of course, Twitter popped up and consumed us all.

I posted here occasionally, but sometimes months would go by.

Lately, I’ve wanted to get back into it.  I hate throwing things into the Twitter and Facebook machines and watching them drift away, owning nothing.  I like having a blog that I can look back on years later and see what I was thinking in the past so easily.  Even if I only did short posts, I wanted to jump back on the bandwagon.

So I checked up on WordPress, updated to the latest and greatest and — it’s a whole new experience. WordPress grew up somewhere in the last couple of years. Maybe four years?  I don’t know, but all my problems are gone.  Everything is so easy now.  I can shop for a new theme or a plug-in from inside WordPress, and install everything that way, too.  No more downloading zip files and then uploading them praying the back end sees them, and then activating.

Many of the things that needed plug-ins were now built in. (Markdown! YouTube!)

The default themes look good, and are easy to edit.

I have at least two usable iPhone apps where I can post to the blogs even when I’m away from my desk.

Also, it’s speedy.  I don’t have to wait forever for a new blog post to save.  (And then it posts links to Twitter and Google Plus for me.)

I’m even using the new WordPress desktop app to post this.  It’s also awesome, and lets me run two blogs at the same time on it.

I’m excited to be blogging again, both here and on the sister site, Various and Sundry CS, where I cover more of the computer science-like stuff.  Even if it’s only short thoughts barely longer than a tweet, the default theme handles things like that beautifully…

Middle X: Domino

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Number 4 is… Domino.  Some people just can’t give up the lifestyle.

 

middlex 6_domino_web