Work in Progress – April

Yeah, it’s not much, it’s still early, and it’s awful.  And it’s a bad photograph too.  I’ve been working on and off (mostly off) on this for weeks, and progress is very slow.

Still, it’s something I guess.  I hope to get more motivated very soon, but then I always hope that happens.

See you sometime next month.

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Canned Goods

Wow, there goes February.  I don’t have anything to say, really, since most of the projects I’m working on…aren’t being worked on, much.

How about a picture, then?

See you next month.

Stupid Flash Tricks, Part 3

Well, I finished up another Flash project–basically conceived and finished in ten days time.  Considering the last one took weeks, I’d say that’s some kind of progress.  Unlike the last two, everything (except for the audio) in this one was created entirely in Flash itself, with no PhotoShop imports.  Flash is still very primitive as a paint program, but I am slowly figuring out how to do things in Flash…something I never thought I’d say.  It’s nice to feel that I can do good work quickly–a nice feeling of accomplishment.

Here are some stills:

And the entire thing can be found here.

See you later, and thanks for stopping by.

Stupid Flash Tricks, Part 2

Hello!  I hope everyone had a good Christmas and is looking forward to the new year.

I believe the first entry in this “Stupid Flash Tricks” series was over a dozen years ago  (I’m not going to look it up).  Since that time, Adobe’s Flash animation package has gone from ubiquitous hero of the internet to abandoned pariah, with some browsers (Google Chrome) saying they will no longer support it.

Naturally, this is the time I choose to decide I need to attempt to learn it again.  Much like PhotoShop, once you gain a slight understanding of how Flash works, you can appreciate the difficult curve you just rounded.  Unlike PhotoShop, though, Flash remains obstinate in its refusal to cooperate.   An errant mouse-click can undo all manner of carefully arranged work.  Things seem designed specifically to be time-consuming and confusing, precision is an absolute must, and in two key areas of film–sound and editing–it remains bafflingly primitive and difficult.

Sound–better have the sound just the way you like it before you import it into a project, because there’s no way to edit that sound in Flash itself.  Yes, you can’t even change the volume if it’s too loud.*

Editing–movies are made by shooting one scene, then another, and so on until you have the footage you want.  You then edit these scenes together to tell the story.  Within Flash, the only way to combine two different scenes (i.e., two separate animated scenes) is to sweep your mouse across all the frames in your second scene, copy them, open the first scene, and paste them into the frames after the first scene ends.*

Anyway, despite that, here‘s my latest Flash project, that I’ve been working on for ages.

   

It’s called “Look at me,” from the only line of dialogue in the whole thing.  Enjoy!  And as always, thanks for visiting.  Happy New Year!

*As indicated, I’m still strictly a novice in Flash, so there may be ways to do these things within Flash itself.  However, I did search for those ways diligently, and found nothing.   Third-party solutions are no way to go through life, son, but they do allow one to work.

Leela (approximate Summer of 2000 – November 13, 2016)

Leela the cat has been with me since she was a small kitten.  I adopted her on November 14, 2000.  Last night, one day short of her 16th anniversary, she passed away in her sleep.

This was not unexpected.  For the last few days, she hadn’t been eating, she stopped using the litter-box, and she didn’t have any energy.  I had planned to take her to the vet on Monday…so that she could be euthanized.  I’m glad, in a way, that her last moments came quietly, and not while stuffed into a cage and on her way to the vet.  I knew that I had to do it, but I wasn’t going to enjoy it, and it would haunt me forever.  It’s better this way.

Was she a good cat?  That’s a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?  It’s also hard to define.  She wasn’t destructive, I’ll give her that.  But while she was affectionate on occasion, it was always on her terms.  In her last years, she would go and hide somewhere if I got up from a chair or walked toward her.  (For the record, she was never abused, not once.)  On balance I guess I would say she was a fine cat.  I’ve known better and I’ve known worse, and I like to think I gave her a good life for sixteen years.

Below is the last photograph I ever took of her, on the night of the 12th.

She will be missed.

Creature Sighting

I’ve always been fond of animals, particularly cats and dogs, and when I see one, I always try to make friends.  I typically try to make eye contact, and if the animal responds, I offer my hand as a petting device.  Usually, with dogs this works fine; most dogs are naturally friendly and gregarious.  They are the only animals I know who have thousands of best friends–and every single one of those friends is at the top of the list, too!  No one is in second place.

Cats are a different matter.  Cats are rather paranoid by nature, so making friends is a bit more difficult.  Instead of simply offering a hand to pet, you have to offer something more.  Like treats.

A couple of weeks ago, this cat started showing up.

Difficult to get close to.  Like most strays, she’d run off when I got too near.  Having a soft heart (and a soft head), I had some old cat treats on hand, so why not.

Well, apparently she appreciated those, because I could get closer and closer.  She still looks a bit suspicious, though.  (Treat visible in the lower left.)

After that, she decided that treats were more important than maintaining the stray lifestyle, so she now asks for them frequently (she is very vocal, though her voice isn’t harsh like a Siamese).  Here she is, in the daylight hours, asking for more treats.

Here she is simply posing (after asking for treats).  (As you can see, she is very beautiful.)

She basically makes two noises:  a regular meow (“Give me treats”) and a long, drawn-out meow (“Don’t touch me”) that can last for several seconds.  She still makes both of those sounds, but over the course of a week or so, she has allowed herself to be petted, which means the long, drawn-out one is less frequent.  This also means I can get even closer shots.

At first, the petting she allowed was pretty much “Don’t touch!  …say…this isn’t half bad…*er!* I mean, don’t touch!

Then, it was more like “Sure, sure, whatever, pet me, but don’t forget those treats!  Okay, two pettings is enough!  Okay, maybe one more.”

Now?  She allows herself to be…wait for it…picked up and stroked, and she purrs a mighty purr then.  Doesn’t struggle to be let down, either.  As noted, this is after only a couple of weeks…   Now, a feral cat would still run for the bushes no matter the quality of treats, and a stray would probably take a couple of months to get to this stage.  So I figure she has to’ve been someone’s pet at some point.

…and, given the way she’s played me for a sucker, she may still be.  “Oh, hello, ‘owner.’  Where’ve I been?  Oh, nowhere.  Say, can you let me out for a bit?  Private business, don’t you know.”

By the way, I’ve started giving her regular (dry) cat food, so it’s not just treats.  It’s still treats on occasion, but I figure, she should eat something a bit more substantive.  Just like she does at the other five or six houses she (probably) visits.

Oh–and the cat I currently live with, Leela (previously seen many times on this site), doesn’t seem to be aware of the outside visitor.  At least, as far as I can tell….

Now, Leela is sixteen years old, and getting on a bit, and may not really care about what she perceives outside, as long as the inside has food and a litter box and sleeping places.  Maybe.  One thing I know about cats is that there’s a lot I don’t know about cats.

Anyway, see you next month!  And thanks for stopping by.