Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Question for the Tin Man community

I need to figure out how to ask this on Live Journal. However, all brain matter that usually solves computer puzzles is wrapped up in solving sewing puzzles. And after last night, I really don't want to fight with the computer not doing what I want it to do.

Question: Anybody have a clue who this actress is?

She's the not-redheaded woman in Jeb's camp. I'm hoping that someone has already matched a real name with the face, so I can find a better picture.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Library

First up on the project list is getting Tin Man: Dragons and Ninjas ready to post in the BookWorm's Library. And because no project of mine is complete without generating thoughts of more projects, I'm here to try to figure out the next step.

Idea 1: "There are limits to what I can illustrate with photos. Let's learn Poser and build properly staged scene illustrations!"

We're going to chalk that one up to drunk with the freedom from Faulkner and never mention it again. I have been having fun illustrating this story with the cast list I have developed and screenshots from Tin Man, but all good things must come to an end.

Idea 2: "No button made for the Tin Man explanation section. Crap, the Tin Man explanation section doesn't exist either. I've been building the Zackverse Wiki. I should just make that readable, but no, it has spoilers. What about moving the explanation section to a Wiki environment?"

I must admit I like this idea. It would be more cutting and pasting what I want to share on my end, and readers could add to it. I'm not holding my breath that they will--no one has noticed the forum yet--but the capability would be there. So I went skipping along to see what it would take. ... And I'm still rubbing where I fell on my ass over the sheer multitude of choice available.

It's also not the first time I've asked the part of me that has these bright ideas why it doesn't like me.

I did manage to narrow down the choices:
  1. Not going to make the TiddlyWiki version of Zackverse Wiki readable; those are working notes.
  2. Drupal can make a wiki, but I have no idea what would happen if I added it to the Circulation Desk.
  3. MediaWiki that powers Wikipedia is free software, but I don't know how I would be limited with adding images. Plus dealing with wiki markup instead of the HTML I already know.
I'm still doing research at this stage.

Looking What I Did

Yes, I've been playing with PaintShop again. I found a new blog with tips, even though it's been a few months since the last update. But it was extremely helpful for the first two images in this sequence. These pictures for Tin Man: Dragons and Ninjas.

Lady Lissa of Hyrule (portrayed by Marguerite Moreau)

Halvard, Lord Gillikin (portrayed by Mason Vale Cotton)

Inside the Grey Gale. (I wanted to add in Dorothy, but it wouldn't work with the screen captures available. :p)

And last, because I didn't actually manipulate anything in this pic, Chelsea (portrayed by Stephanie Leonidas).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Faulkner Paper Progress 12

I know, I know. I thought it was over too. But my professor found typos. And two paragraphs needing rewording. I was more hair pulling out of the Mac speak issue happening again when the deadline is looming ever closer! 2pm tomorrow! I'd rather send it back today before I leave for the commute and check and make sure it got there after I get home.

Luckily, he found a secretary who could convert the edited document into something I can read. So now to make changes.

Oct. 15th: I've never been trained to cite in a style other than MLA format, so I use it as my basis when citing sources in the blog and tutorial posts. But I tweak it to usually list the author and title at all times, no matter what I wrote in the text. A lot of times I'm juggling two or more books by the same person, so it saves time.

Well, MLA says you don't have to do that, just the page numbers are fine, if you've referenced the author or the title in the text. But what counts as the reference? All the examples in the MLA Handbook are a sentence long, and they don't say if further up the paragraph is acceptable or not. Even though I feel it is clear from the text and character references which book is being quoted, I put the titles in all the parenthetical citation notes.

And have sent it away. Again. I added to this note, because at this point, why jinx my luck with a 13th entry?

Oct 15th 2:22 update: My professor gave the paper his stamp of approval and now it's on it's way to get graded. And I have no clue how long that process takes. But it is essentially out of my hands now so...


Monday, October 12, 2009

Faulkner Paper Progress 11

The edits: My professor was being nice. He made his edits in the doc and sent me that version. He also works on a Mac and I have a PC.

I finally get it open after having an unrelated issue with Word, and the document is nothing but gobble-gook. I'm used to seeing format go wonky, so I go looking for my text surround by wing-ding fonts. My text is not there and the only thing available in English is a line at the top: "This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0." Not panicking yet, go back to GMail and try to open it as an HTML document. Error. Try to open it as a Google Doc. Error. Call Suzanna since I sent her a copy of it while getting plans straight for the weekend. She has the same issue.

After much cussing and getting a cramp in my leg from restraining my urge to kick, I Google on BinHex 4.0. Find this article at No Geek Left Behind that explains the issue. Huzzah, there is a work around. Start to download the program needed, and Firefox goes into its "wait you want me to do something routine?" and freezes. I have to end program twice on it.

I finally get the download completed and get Firefox up to see the rest of the steps, and No Geek Left Behind went down. Fifteen minutes of ranting and raving, I finally remember Google's caching feature and get the text copy of the instructions. Print those out just in case Firefox wants to crash again.

Their work around worked and I was able to read my professor's editing suggestions two hours since I started fooling with Faulkner for the day. Mom thought lunch was a good time for me to take a break and talk things over with her and I hadn't even gotten started yet. *Headdesk* Two hours of a Saturday on just computer issues.

So this is it. Typing up my last edits for the final draft (4.0 for those keeping count) and sending it off today. Next comes grading and at some point I'm told the results.

Since I had to cut out my epiphany introduction for not being formal enough, I thought I would share it here along with my commentary from draft 2.5 (i.e. my rant). Enjoy or not.

From the second draft:
While Barak Obama was still campaigning to be the next President of the United States, the race issue in America swirled to the forefront of the media coverage. His association with controversial figures from the Civil Rights era was scrutinized. Statements from his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, made national headlines. Everyone expected the first biracial candidate to be hit with the lingering national racial tension, but what was surprising was how Obama addressed the issue in a speech given in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 18, 2008.

This speech explained the relationship Wright and Obama had, which was expected since it was the current controversy. What was unexpected from a politician seeking the highest elected office in the United States was how frankly he spoke on the racial tension.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America—to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through—a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. (Sullivan “The Speech.”)

Some commentators wondered why Obama would quote William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize winning author best known for writing Southern gothic novels and short stories dealing with the fall of the Old South in the Civil War. The race issue in American can be traced back to slavery and the struggle to overcome it, but why quote a white man in a book by a white author when there are plenty of authors who address the issue from the side who suffered, from the African-American side?

An unnamed reader of the Daily Dish emailed Andrew Sullivan about it, and Sullivan shared the email with the rest of his readers later on March 18, 2008.
That Obama was signaling – “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past” – that his speech – and his candidacy – are about confronting history from a Faulknerian standpoint was, to me, the bravest thing he did. It signaled to me that he feels this discussion is more important than electoral success, and I can’t help but admire that. … Faulkner is too easily pigeonholed as being about race. Or about “The Fall of the Old South.” (You have never truly felt the urge to stab someone with a pen until you’re the only southerner in a room full of upper-Midwestern accents insisting upon fitting everything in Faulkner neatly into the later.) But both of those miss the point—Faulkner is about the past, and the struggle to both accept it as a part of oneself and continue into the future. (Sullivan “The Past Isn’t Dead. It Isn’t Even Past.”)

This was one of those interpretations that had never occurred to me before reading this post to hit like a lightening bolt. If Faulkner had been born and raised in a different portion of the United States, he would have a different Past to come to terms with. Out west, it could have been the racial tensions between white settlers and Native Americans, or changes to society because the railroads. Nathaniel Hawthorne was exploring some of the same issues about the Puritan influence in New England a century earlier, so too would have Faulkner if that had been his region. Not sure what he could have been writing about if Faulkner had been prairie-bred, but feel that it would have probably been polar opposite of Little House on the Prairie.

Faulkner set most of his novels within his lifetime. The Civil War and its aftermath had taken place only about three generations ago. That’s not ancient enough past for people not to be affected by it. The society he was raised in was still trying to come to terms with it, so it is no surprise the role remembering the Civil War and its heroes and the legacy of slavery plays in his works as themes.

From draft 2.5:
Here I am, hoping that the cliché the third time is the charm actually comes true, starting over from scratch because nothing I have said before is good enough on contributes to the greater Faulkner conversation. How can it when I’ve been forced into writing about race relations like everyone else does? And the sense of panic is from knowing I’m supposed to turn out a copy by October 15th to pass muster with everyone grading this and that’s so not on schedule.

It’s enough to make me pull out my hair. It has made me abandon academic voice in favor of this conversational style that will hopefully keep me motivated to get this last project done. Though I find this a perfect moment to add: paper is easier that a thesis project my ass! If events had worked out so I could have done a thesis, my short stories would already be done and I would be banging my head against the desk for a theme to tie them together. Instead, I decided writing on Faulkner was the lesser headache out of Ishiguro and Dante. At this point, I’m only positive about Ishiguro (I couldn’t subject Ziba to my hate of that book again), and I have not time to deal with a new topic.

So back to Faulkner and all the associated baggage. I can’t put a finger on what irks me the most—besides not having a draft I just need to polish instead of revamping. One irk is the handle I thought I had on this material has been repeatedly called not good enough and it was a frightening epiphany when I grasped it. See everyone writes on the race relations in Faulkner or on the Sound and the Fury. Right away, you have the how can I contribute something new problem. So I turned to Faulkner’s use of sex, which I consider abundant considering how censored other mediums were doing the time he wrote. Specifically incest came up because I was a little shocked by how often there seemed to allusions to it in other works on top of the blatant references in the Sound and the Fury, but my distaste for what I consider sexual abuse bled through that draft. And it didn’t tie into the epiphany I tried to explain in the introduction.

Out of all the Faulkner classes I have taken, I have never had to read Requiem for a Nun and I do not read Faulkner for pleasure. I give him his props as a Great Writer of the Twentieth Century, but a little stream of consciousness covers the same distance as the Mason-Dixon line did. So it was only when I read the commentary on one of President Obama’s election speeches that I understood a new context on my ambiguity over Faulkner’s theme and subtext.
Faulkner is too easily pigeonholed as being about race. Or about “The Fall of the Old South.” (You have never truly felt the urge to stab someone with a pen until you’re the only southerner in a room full of upper-Midwestern accents insisting upon fitting everything in Faulkner neatly into the later.) But both of those miss the point—Faulkner is about the past, and the struggle to both accept it as a part of oneself and continue into the future. (Sullivan “The Past Isn’t Dead. It Isn’t Even Past.”)

Kindra’s Faulkner issue #1: Get over the Civil War already. New context: the Civil War had only taken place three generations ago and people were alive who still remembered it when Faulkner wrote. It would be like telling someone to get over World War II or Vietnam today. Kindra’s Faulkner issue #2: Did all the punctuation keys on your typewriter break? Actually, it doesn’t help so much with that problem, but the epiphany that Faulkner is really concerned with the past of his region goes so far to explain the overabundance of Civil War-obsessed characters and race relation tensions. These themes both have roots in the past, effecting the present because the characters and the South as a whole have not dealt with that past.

12:50: *Waving at email program* Bye-bye Faulkner paper, bye-bye.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tin Man: Pirates Notes 08

So while waiting for draft feedback on the Faulkner paper, I turned on the graphics program and finished all of DG's paintings that I can actually do with my limited Paintshop skills and source material.

Redone Hilltop painting. It's still not perfectly painted picture look; none of them have that. But I just now remembered there is a canvas texture I can apply and haven't seen how that looks yet.

Redone Cain's favorite out of all of them. I think the healed tree shows up much better now.

Still my favorite because it is the only one out of the group of what DG is really feeling paintings that I am able to do. I really want to do the ball from hell painting, but lack of source material. Grrrrr.

The farmhouse required no redoing, but I'll be trying out the canvas texture on it too.

The first of the new stuff. I really wanted the campfire with all four of them, but either Cain wasn't in the shot or he was and Glitch or the fire weren't, or Cain was in with his gun out. Now that I'm thinking about it, I may splice in one of his bringing back the firewood into this still frame.

The Brick Route. DG's first set of paintings captured images of Kansas she wanted to show people and was a little homesick for. Her second set was images of the adventure because all her friends were gone and she was trapped in fragile doll mode of the Palace. Her third set was DG hanging onto sanity via paint and canvas. This one is in the second set.

Another second set painting of the Crack Across the O.Z. I spliced together two screen captures to show it bottom from top. I'm impressed they managed to build a bridge across it.

And a third set painting that would have been a hell of a lot easier to do if the miniseries had one shot with both of DG's hands while she was lying inside the sarcophagus! But I am happy with how the green glow came out.

I still have a couple image projects to work on when Faulkner editing drains my brain. Along with experimenting with canvas texture, I think I figured out how to illustrate the scene in the Grey Gale out of Tin Man: Dragons and Ninjas and I have a technique I want to use on Rachel Covey's picture to Viewer-ize it.

Faulkner Paper Progress 10

New draft due on Tuesday. The final draft due Oct. 13th. I'm not in freak out mode because the professor says I actually have a paper in the last draft that needs some revising, but I can actually keep the majority of what I have already written.

Thank the gods.

Cramps my plans for the weekend, but school work comes first.