30min: Stairs

 

Someone on /r/illustrator posted a piece they described as “30 minute design challenge of the day: stairs”. It was a tiny little fragment of a staircase, mostly hidden by a huge wall.

I decided that looked like a good way to wake up, so I drew this. My original sketch had some more stairs in the background but I decided to spend the last five or six minutes adding the figure sliding down the bannister instead of those.

Bannisters: one line apiece, widened out with the width tool.

Posts: art brush set to ‘scale proportionately’ mode, draw a quick line.

Texture: mezzotinted rectangle, layer set to soft light 10%, the usual really.

some stoned thinking about money

I got stoned for a while this morning and found this in Evernote. It may in part be a reaction to spending a long weekend in Vegas (a friend was having a go at a couple poker tournaments there) and feeling revulsion at the constant display of the Fake Bling that you will surely come into at any minute if you just slip another quarter into this machine’s slot.

 

cryptocurrencies as a device for converting 4channers into value

 

1/ build cryptocurrency trading bots that can interface to an exchange and trade between pretty much any currency that pops up
2/ train on as much historical data as you can scrape up
3/ run a small swarm of them, each seeded with a few bucks you can afford to consider a complete loss right now
4/
5/ profit
4////// spend as much time as you care/can afford to on optimizing these bots
4/////// hopefully not including the amount of effort sufficient to create an entire simulated economy complete with an entire world populated with self-aware AIs
4//////// just so you can make a few more bucks in crypto, that’s just plain nasty
4////////
okay alternatively so like
consider money as a series of etheric flows that can be redirected to provide energy to one part or another of society
investing is like connecting pipes of this stuff between different people/ideas/ways of living
money is just a name we have given to this transit system for human energy and effort
 and some people have become obsessed with just getting high scores in how much they hold at one time
so they just want to obstruct the pipes and set up a huge pile of what should be a constantly-flowing substance, like a clot hanging there in the middle of a bloodstream
and whether or not things break when it finally lets go really depends on how flexible the pipes are
so what i’m saying is that i really hope the financial system of this country is more like a bunch of rubber hoses than a bong, because i keep on feeling like something is gonna burst soon
(puts her money where her mouth is: asks her investment counsellor to talk about redirecting some of her excess personal etheric flows to charities/dsa)

The Turquoise Legacy

Here’s a bit of NSFW fiction I just free-associated into a text window. First draft, very much about ‘things that make me horny’, probably owes a lot to Anne Rice’s version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and maybe something to admiring the fashion sense of the heavy of Disney’s version as well. Seriously don’t read this if you don’t want a thought-dump of the dirty fairy tales I tell myself while I’m touching myself. Also contains a smutty drawing.
A story, my sweetlings? Gather round, and let me tell you of the Cerulean Emperor.
Ahem.

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the dream of a thievin’ yokai

I think I dreamed that a kappa stole my phone. Admittedly it’s hard to tell as it was replaced by a stand-in – the best one yet, I think this one actually ran a weird Android variant and had belonged to someone else. I never get my real phone when I pull it out in a dream; I always get a fake phone. It’s slowly catching up; it used to be a horrible clunky device with an LCD screen and multiple physical buttons, this one was recognizably A Post-iPhone Smartphone. It had a case with a single home button and a touch screen and everything. But it was a plastic case, that was sort of opening when I pulled it out and had to be snapped back together. And it said it belonged to some dude who was definitely not me (and no, this phone wasn’t owned by pre-transition me either).

She also managed to steal my tablets and my laptop from the hotel room I was staying in. This dream was taking place at a furry con that was somehow also happening in an airport, it seemed.

Really I feel like the “what is this janky substitute for my phone” thing should be a sign to me that I Am Dreaming by now. It’s been going on for several years. But like the “casually pissing in a really horribly unusable toilet” thing (which made an appearance too; I didn’t use it but the bathrooms in this dream sure were weirdly set up), I just try to use it anyway.

At least the last time I dreamed of peeing in an inappropriate toilet, I actually asked myself if I was dreaming. Maybe next time I get a Comedically Fake Phone I’ll ask myself that question too. And maybe next time I casually pee in a wildly inappropriate toilet and ask myself if I’m dreaming, I’ll take out my phone and see what I get.

I still don’t know what I’d do in a lucid dream, mind you.

stretching again

Back in splits class for the first time in months. Somewhere in December was the last one.

It was agony. But it was agony I’m familiar with. Agony I know intimately. Agony I know will pass if I keep at it.

Well, maybe not pass. But change, and spread out, and become focused on one particular muscle or another.

During the final, really serious stretches, I could sort of feel my body remembering how to do this. How to relax a muscle being stretched to its limit. How to push it close to the edge of pain, relax, and maybe find that the pain comes a tiny bit further out when I try again.

I’ve lost a lot of flexibility. But it feels like i still remember how to become more flexible. How to breathe in calm, and feel the tension leaving my body as I exhale.

I’ve really gotta start doing push-ups though. I could barely hold myself up a couple times. Ah well. That will come too.

It was exactly as terrible as I expected it to be. And that was kind of comforting.

the dream of not realizing I’m dreaming

Huh. So usually going to a bathroom with a broken toilet and using it anyway is a sign that (a) I am dreaming and (b) I am about to wake up. I haven't dreamed this in a while, but I did tonight – I was in the house I grew up in, and the toilet was just gone, with a neat little hole in the floor, and I still casually pissed all over the floor where it used to be.

I even asked myself “hey, this feels like a dream toilet, am I dreaming?” but kept on proceeding as if it was not. Go figure. Maybe next time this happens I'll actually have a lucid dream or something. I would say that would be nice but I'm not sure I really have any idea what I'd do in one.

Oddly enough I did not wake up with a bursting bladder, either. Or in a puddle.

There were also some brief appearances by my mom in this dream. I haven't dreamt about her much lately. Not sure I've really dreamt much that lingers after waking at all, lately.

No butterflies.

So I bought Rez Infinite when it came out late last year. Played the first four original levels, put it away. Just didn’t really feel like going through it all again.

Today I booted it up again. Looked at the options. Nope, still can’t access the new level. You’ve got to have either played it for at least an hour, or have finshed the whole thing. So what the hell.

I did level 5. Didn’t ever feel like I was involved in it. Just sat back and kinda watched the part of my brain that spent a month playing that level again and again back in ’02 stretch and wake up and, well, I mean I didn’t shoot enough of the targets to get the butterfly ending, but I finished it in Space Baby form without really worrying about it. And watching myself do that – with no tension, with no real conscious thought – felt weird. Was I digging up memories of playing it fifteen years ago, staring at a 30″ CRT plugged into a Dreamcast? Or has playing Polybius a lot lately really given me the level up in playing video games that it generally feels like it has?

I am still not sure I have spent an hour playing the thing but I guess I can play the new content now. It told me I wasn’t really done after the credits rolled, but I was all, man, I’ve done this before, I have sweated out the optimal path for shooting down 100% of the enemies and getting 100% of the pickups, I don’t need to prove this again. Not when this is the third system I’ve owned a copy of it on.

It’s still a very pretty game. You should experience it someday if you’ve never played it.

Rar.

So there’s this thing I do. That a lot of people involved in the furry fandom do, really. When I’m around my ex-with-benefits, I don’t always speak in words. I’ll regularly say “Rar” instead. Because I am a dragon, and dragons go rar. Or rawr, or rrraaooowwwllll, or assorted other growly snarly noises, plus the occasional purr.

We have had entire conversations this way. It carries emotional meanings pretty well; you can get a lot of mileage out of pitch, inflection, and volume. Sometimes when we’re in different rooms one of us will just say “Rar” and get a “rar” in reply; it sort of functions as emotional radar in that case – are you still awake, are you doing okay. It’s not a dragon-only thing; at Biggest Little Fur Con the other weekend, I had a functional conversation with someone who is mostly a cat and thus says “mao”.

But lately I’ve begun using this to talk to myself, too. I’ll be in the shower, not thinking of much, and I’ll open my mouth and just see what sort of emotional freight is carried when I say “rar” to nobody in particular. Sometimes it’s a polite little “Rowr”. Other times it’s an angry “rrRRRRAAAaaahhrrrr”. Sometimes it’s a sad, pleading “Raawwrrraarrrr”. And then I ask myself: why is this the emotion that came out of my mouth? What’s going on with my emotions right now?

It’s a useful tool for self-monitoring. Sort of a chiller version of a primal scream. Just open your mouth, make the cartoon caricature of an animal noise you’ve gotten in the habit of making, and see how it falls out.

Last week, I went out to Reno for BLFC 2017. It was a pretty good con.
I spent the vast majority of it trapped in the chillout hotbox of my room – my roomies were running a Secret Smoking Lounge and it was this incredibly relaxing wonderland of swirling lights and vapors.
Things I did when I left it:
  • Spent an evening flirting with one dragon
  • Got circled by a mob of crows (and got wingsnugs from their leader without having to provide any bribes of shinies first)
  • Saw photos of the utter clawed up mess two dragons left of this one slutty tiger’s back, got thanked for inspiring her to be that slutty
  • Flailed around on the dance floor with a pair of wings on
  • Passed through the swirling chaos of a Femboy Party and threatened to do terrible things to this one pretty mouse but went out dancing instead
  • Waited forever for breakfast in the hotel’s very own Black Lodge Diner, I dunno maybe I was stoned and sleep deprived but they sure were slow and unearthly.
  • Jumped around the edge of the dance floor snarling and clawing at another dragon
But I also ended up hanging around the room and kinda turning it into an ultra downtempo darkwave hangout whenever I ended up being the one whose phone was providing music and that was pretty nice too. As always there’s something to be said for finding a nice place to hang out while the con passes by, instead of chasing around looking for the party; parking my ass in a Chill Lounge was a hell of a nice change from the usual madhouse of the dealers room. Absolutely none of my conversations were about a financial transaction and that was nice. I’m debating doing a table next year with sharply limited hours – take a few commissions in the morning, then vanish to work on them for a while.
On the other hand I’m also debating making some short runs of designey dragon wings and selling those behind the table. I dunno. I definitely wanna do BLFC next year in one way or another, it’s super relaxing for its size. I heard this year broke 5k attendees which is big enough to be real good to the dealers but not insane.
Major thanks to Splice, Amethyst, and Karu for sharing their ultra chill room with me. Especially to Splice for being the motive force behind organizing it and pruning the list of folks who knew about it.

A fragment of memory

So. Let me tell you about a little sore tooth in my mind. A fragment of memory that just doesn’t fit with the narrative of the rest of my life as I remember it. Every now and then it bubbles up and I wonder what the hell was happening; the other day I went for a long walk through the park and… poked at it.
The scene: upstairs in a sunny house in New Orleans. Probably summer. Probably next to Bayou St. John. Probably around 1986-88.
There are two children sitting there listening to a man, dutifully taking notes. One of them is a skinny boy with black hair, who would eventually grow up to be me. One of them is a girl. Was she someone I knew in school? I don’t know. I don’t even have a solid memory of her ethnicity, let alone her name. The guy is white. I want to say he’s slim and possibly balding. I don’t have a solid memory of that either.
My brain says this is somehow related to Future Problem Solving, which was a thing I did in high school. Which is where I get the 1986 guess from.
But the content of what this man is telling me and this girl doesn’t seem to match with any kind of preparation for this very rational exercise in Creative Sci-Fi Thinking. Because I am being told a bunch of New Age sounding stuff about… well, that’s misty too. I mostly recall being shown diagrams. Concentric circles. Rounded off teardrops. A general sense of the text being about the Shape of Reality. Mystical stuff. In a relatively new book.

Something vaguely like this? I dunno. There were labels.

I dutifully took notes on a yellow legal pad. I don’t know if I copied any of the diagrams. Or wrote down the name of this book.
I don’t know where those notes went.
I don’t remember talking to this man ever again. Or anything else along these lines.
I have a memory of wondering what the hell this new age bullshit had to do with anything but this might actually be a memory of remembering this later on and wondering just that.
I’m pretty sure my mother was there. As was the other kid’s mother. I don’t know if she was listening to all this. I don’t remember talking with her about it later. And I can’t ask her about this any more; I’d have to perform a seance for that.
I can’t recall any more details. And to be honest I would be suspicious of the truth of any more details I managed to dredge up; I’ve read enough about how easy it is to get people to remember things that never happened.
It feels weird. It feels like something that tugging on hard enough could be the start of a paranoid conspiracy novel set in the eighties, with children being recruited and programmed into… well, pick your own narrative here, really. Indigo Children becoming soldiers in a secret psychic war or whatever.
My memory of most of my teenage years is a tapestry of holes. I’ve always just assumed it’s due to the depression I fell into after my father died; when every day is grey and sad despite the blazing New Orleans sun, it’s easy to disassociate and just… forget. But pulling this out into the light suggests an alternate story of… something. Something secret and buried and hidden from me.
Part of me is reluctant to talk about this publicly. What if there is some kind of Secret Society involved? What if They see this and decide it’s finally time to activate my programming or whatever? What if I really am in a Phillip K Dick novel instead of the sensible mundane life I’ve always thought I had? Maybe you’ve only ever heard of me because this was a test that I failed, so I was left to make my own way through the normal world instead of being a character in a real-life version of Psychonauts. Or the X-Men I guess but I’d rather imagine the goofy cartoon version.
I wish I could remember anything about the title of that book with the diagrams. Anything to ask Google about. But I can’t.
It might just be a dream I had. I’m pretty sure the time I walked into my parents’ bedroom at night when I was five and saw a glittering crystal cavern hidden behind their dresser was a dream, for instance. But this feels like a thing that really happened.
Welcome to the hole in my head. I don’t know how deep it goes. I don’t know if I want to find out.