Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the spectrum of happiness

Everyone has bad, days, okay. Everyone gets hurt, everyone suffers, one way or another. Atleast, that's the general consensus. I know this. But the way I like to think of things is that not being happy is simply having less happiness; there is no suffering, because it's only a concept. Like darkness. There's no shadow, just a relatively lightless place. 

In the same way, there is no actual sadness, just relative happiness. And just as there is no absolute darkness (There will always be electromagnetic radiation, whether you like it or not c: ), there is no absolute void of happiness. There simply exists no such thing. I get so down when I hear people say that life is suffering, because that's just a fault of attitude; there will always be happiness, just not always equally much of it. 

Any arguments for suicide, or depression, will still be as valid, I'm not trying to convince anyone that they're in fact happy, because people are depressed, there are no two ways about it. Little happiness is still the same thing as sadness. But perspective matters, and if people focus only on the bad instead of the good, then no wonder people get depressed. I used to hate how my father always told me "It's a matter of attitude; Its only as good as you make it.", but as I grow older this only seems to grow more truthful.

No happiness will ever come to you by itself. There is no innate happiness, happiness has to be taken, earned, or given. It needs a source. What I think is the key to actually being happy, and feeling good about yourself, is doing stuff about the things that don't make you happy. Either, don't do these things at all, or do them right. Whatever makes you happy is right. The only right that exists in the world, is happiness. Anything else is simply wrong. Man is supposed to enjoy life. It's not a chore, and it surely is the only chance at even experiencing happiness you'll ever have. Death can always be worse, because in death, there exists no medium for happiness. It's an eternal absolute void of happiness. To my way of thinking, something like this doesn't even exist in life, only in death.


Happiness. I'm happy. There are so many things in life that make me happy. I was asked today, and it set me thinking... "Are you a sensitive person, do you ever even feel bad?". Well, I think I could be a sensitive person, people often tell me so, but I'm happy enough to make any detracting insults or condescending comments insignificant. This doesn't mean things don't hurt me, it just means I'm happy enough to shrug it off.

Why am I happy? I don't know, some people are easily pleased, some people are quick to laugh. I just derive tons of happiness from all kinds of things. Everyone has things that make them feel good, but not everyone is able to appreciate these things as much as they possibly can. Or maybe it is the fact that I've never been happier which makes me convinced I'm happy.

Still, psychologists call them instrumental values. Things that make a person happy. I think people think I'm quite aware of my looks, as I tediously make my hair every morning and generally make an effort, sacrifice practicality for style etc.. I don't do this because I want to look nice, that's not what it's about. I do these things because they make me feel good about myself.

Last month, I opted to not shave all month. People asked me why I was doing that, even I don't think I look any better with the measly beard I can grow, but the simple answer was... I did it because having a beard was satisfying. It's really simple. Every millimeter of that beard made me feel better. Then the feeling grew old, so I shaved, and now I'm just happy because I look better than I did last month. The important thing is I'm satisfied. And this morning, I braved the world in my faux-leather jacket, and mother of god, that jacket does make me feel good about myself. Ever since I bought it. I know it does, so I wear it. If it didnt, I'd have bought a new one years ago.

I've been meaning to write about a friend of mine for a while now, a blogging peer, one could say. He writes stuff, weird stuff, random stuff, brilliant stuff. Kinda like myself, we have things in common (Male bloggers in our genre are quite scarce), and we kinda discuss most of the things we write about. He has made a few references to my blog recently, so I felt it would only be fair to point some of my own readers his way. That drawing up there is interesting, because I post it here as a sort a response to an illusion he drew and wrote about a couple entries back. I'll say, though, mine is much more a stylized drawing, while his drawing is simply brilliant in its illusory property. While I'm an artist working in pictures, this guys true gift is not drawing, it's music. Do read.

Be warned, though, this guy writes even longer entries than I do. It's not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pseudo-tattoos and rainmeter!

No, mom, I didn't get a tattoo, I just drew it with markers. Calm down.

I'm a little torn on the subject... Huoh, generally, I don't like tattoos. I don't think I'll ever get one, either. I would say they don't really look that nice, but that'd be an awkward thing to say since I draw stuff on my arms anyway! And done right, they can look pretty awesome!

I think it's mostly because of the social stigma. There are no two ways about it, people associate tattoos with lower-status citizens. Plebe or proletarian being some of my favourite words, it would just be weird. It's like a newspapers vendor, or a cleaning lady, telling you to get a job. It would just be low.

Not because I look down on tattooed people myself, but because I know lots of people do. There's no denying it. It's a shame that it has to be that way, because tattoos are no lower a form of art than writing, making music or painting, or any other craftsmanship. Only the medium is different.

A snake on a dagger. Very classic, somehow. I could totally see someone actually making something like this into a tattoo. Personally, I wouldn't, because it doesn't really mean anything. I don't support getting tattoos for purely aesthetic reasons. If it's something youre going to carry for the rest of your days, then it has to mean something. If not, it's just wrong. And not just some text, either. Please. I know a lot of people who do have these kinds of tattoos, and... Yeah. No. Don't do that. It's even lower than tribals.

Also, Rainmeter! No, it doesnt actually have anything to do with rain. Rainmeter is a desktop customization toolset for Windows. Yeah, you guys know me, I'm a PC geek, and no, I'm not expecting you to be interested.

My PC broke down the other day, forcing me to format and reinstall windows. I lost my old Rainmeter skins, but I quickly made another! Its the only sort of programming that I can do or that I'm even remotely interested in doing. I programmed myself a clock, showing the time in s;m;hr, and also the day of the month, and the month, and it looks a little like this;

All the numbers move over the screen to the right. The red number represents the actual time; 00 seconds, and 3 minutes after 10 in the evening. My bike got stolen some time ago (Refound, now... :O ), and it had a lock with a code. I kinda thought about those rotating coils when I made this skin. Anyhow, I won't write much more about this, but I did make a page for all my Rainmeter code, and this one will be the first of the bunch.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

GIFS in GIMP; how to

Oh, yes. Im intentionally targeting the search motors by using very simple language in the title. Clever. When people want to learn how to make Gifs, they dont google for "GREAT MANUAL OF GIFBOOKING" or, god, "GIMP user manual", or something awkward like that, no, people use searchwords like "How to", or TUTORIAL (Im intentionally writing this word here, just for you, google!), along with whatever they're trying to achieve. Hopefully, the happy googlers will be trafficked right here, to my little blog.

I noticed my RAW vs JPEG entry, an old one, way in the dark part of the blog, is one of my most read ones, and I guess that can be attributed to its title, which is so... Plain. It's something one might write into google search, yahoo, bing or whatevers.



TO THE JUICY PART (Also the part that is totally not interesting for any of my regular readers, dis for de googlers...)

Someone recently asked me how I go on about making all these GIF animations. Well, this one is for you. I use Gimp. This how-to requires you to have some prior knowledge of how Gimp looks and functions. It's similar to Photoshop in many ways, but it's free and stuff. I like it.

Anyway, the first thing you need to do is open Gimp, and when making a GIF, the smart thing to do is to go to File -> Open as Layers. Here, you select ALL the e.g. JPG's or PNG's you want in your animation, and press the red button (It's not actually red, but red buttons are much more dramatic.).

Alternatively, you would create all the layers separately. If thats the case, then just make the layers as you would make layers in a regular XCF file. Make sure all the layers are at 100% alpha all through, so no funky stuff happens. Generally, though, one uses premade pictures in GIFs, or atleast I do.

Now you have all your separate images as imported layers. The order goes as follows; The bottom-most layer, is the first layer that will appear in the animation. Thus, the topmost layer is the last. This is the order.

After having sequenced all the layers correctly, theres something else we need to do. We need to figure out the timings. How it works, is, every layer has a number in milliseconds, for which it will show, before the GIF  moves on to the next picture. This number is specified by adding a suffix of e.g. (100ms) to the layer name. If no number is specified, then a general value which you enter when saving the GIF will be used instead

So. Example.

These are my layers. I deducted that 250ms standard erh... showtime... would be suitable. As I wanted the first layer of the gif, ("FIRST(500ms)") to be longer than the rest, I gave it a 500ms suffix. I could also have duplicated the layer, in essence, making it be treated as 2 separate, but equal layers, to double the time which it will be showed in the animation. This, however, makes the file bigger. A (500ms) suffix doesnt.

Similarly, I also changed the timings for the blank layers.

The layers were created by just making a white layer, with a text layer over it. I merged those, then I hid the layer completely, and went on to the next frame. Simple stuff.

To see it in action before you save your gif, you can go to Filters -> Animation -> Playback. Its intuitive enough, I have faith in your figuring it out. (<- not a grammar mistake, just poetic license. Dont harp.)

And there it is. Beautiful. To save it, you go to File -> Export, and then, as a filename, enter filenamehere.gif. Hit export. This triggers a dialog. First, you may be told the picture has to be cropped. Press ok. Then, another window is sure to pop up. Fill in whatever you must, mark the "Save as Animation" box, make it "Loop forever", too. You'll also be prompted to write in a number in ms, as I wrote earlier. If you dont know what number is good, just go with something, and go view the result, then simply overwrite it with another, more appropriate value.

Gifs! You now know how I make them! It's probably not the most comfortable way to do it, but it gives me enough invoice into the process to satisfy my megalomanic needs for control.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

waste, unsexy sex and loneliness

Some days, man. Those days, when you just sit at home all day, and don't do anything in particular. I mean, you might blog a little, make great food, or do homework, but you didn't go to school, and you didn't have coffee with your mates, and you didn't go out in the evening. In fact, you may not have met anyone at all, except, say, the cashier at the local grocery store, and two strangers on the way down there.

Days like those, man. They might be rewarding in their own sense, you know, just a chance to chill out at the end of a busy week. But whenever I have days like these, I get kinda depressed. Sure, I did productive things. I cleaned the apartment. I drew a portrait. I might've baked a pie, and I fixed that flat tire on my bike. How can I feel down when I did all these productive things?

In the end, I think it's mostly about who you meet rather than what you do. Humans are social creatures, we are dependent of one another. It doesn't matter if you were happy on your own, you'd probably have been alot happier if you could have done those things in some company. I dont think we even feel lonely, we just get down. One lonesome day does not make you lonely; only alone. It's like being tired. You get irascible, quick-tempered and your problems seem much larger.

I dont know why, really. Is it because you get to think more? You've time to reflect, time to scroll back over what's going on in your life? Thats not likely it, no. I dont feel that way. I think it comes down to that elementary, evolutionary drive. Have sex, breed offspring. After all, most of life's greatest pleasures can be related to the drive to proliferate; have children, and survive. I mean, love, sex, the ultimate hormonal coctails, we only feel these things to force us to breed. If feelings weren't of key importance in making us more effective at sexing it up, then we would not have them.

Thats how evolution works. Eating, sleeping, there is nothing arbitrary about us feeling good doing these things. Human life wouldn't be possible without eating, so of course it makes sense to make us feel good when eating, it encourages us to eat more, thus live longer, and have more children.

In the same way, social behaviour is important in making us feel well. Its a long proven fact, even though humans lived as nomads, we do better in groups. You know why yawning is contagious? Because more people yawning means more oxygen to more brains. Why do we feel well partaking in social behaviour? Because it means people stick around, and live longer.

That might be why I feel bad when I'm alone. Probably not. It's a rather diffuse explanation. Just saying I'm feeling lonely on a lonesome day would probably be a better explanation, in every conceivable and practical way.

A wonderfully philosophical gem from art class.

But I think analyzing everyday things from an evolutionary perspective is quite fun; It really downsizes humans. With all this humanitarianism and such glorification of the human race going around, its a breath of fresh air. Truly, we've been gifted with this wonderful mind, and we treasure it so, and it enables us to do so many things, yet, in the end only... Only to the purpose of having more sex than other animals? Brilliant.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Layouts and polarisation!

Recently, two things have taken a step towards complete awesomeness. Firstly, the blog layout has been improved! Secondly, my face!

I remade some of the blog layout! I changed the header, which was already over a year old (TIME FLIES I KNOW RIGHT!?), and had lots of really old art. It's more up to date now, and also syncs in with that stylish dark backdrop at the top, which is just neat. 

And it wasn't even a hassle to make! I made the old header using gimp, which was... Cumbersome. The tools for making uniform and organized pictures and templates aren't the best. Instead, I used some free web collage maker! Fotor! It's actually pretty darn useful! It even allowed the collage to have transparent borderlines, I love it. Just what I needed to improve my otherwise inefficient workflow.

What I also changed was the text font. The old one was a sans-serif font, and the new one, Cambria, is both stylish, and serifed. Why are serifs important? Well, they enclose the text. The serifs at the tops and bottoms of the letters together form a line, horizontally. This provides for easier reading. It goads the eye into moving left or right, rather than up or down, which it makes it easier to focus, especially for people with dyslexia or similar problems!


More importantly, these are polarising sunglasses. Which is weird. Just look at this gif.

They turn completely black when turned sideways. lolwhat?.

Let me explain. Polarisation occurs in a kind of filter, which blocks out all lightwaves which dont point north or south. What?.. Well, Lightwaves, contrary to popular belief, arent just invisible lines or single particles. They are lines with a height, I guess you could say. Polarising filters are materials with grooves in them, and only wavelenghts of a specific orientation may pass through. Point is, all light has an orientation. An up, a down, a left and a right.

For example, the light that enters a filter is either horizontally or vertically aligned. A vertically polarising filter would block out the horizontal lightwaves, meaning only vertical wavelengths will remain. It's simple. The waves could also be pointing north-west, or whatever, that doesnt really matter. Half the light gets through, anyway.

Half? Then why does it turn completely black in the gif? Thats because LCDs emit polarised light. LCDs are pretty simple.

Theres a backlight, then comes a polarising filter (vertically). After that comes a liquid electronically activated or disabled lightwave rotator, and another polarising filter (horizontally). After this, the light meets your eye.

So the first polarising makes all the light vertical, by removing the horizontal light. After that, 2 things can happen. An electronically uncharged LCD pixel (Light rotating thing.) will leave the lightwave in its vertical state of existence, which means it will hit the horizontally polarising (blocks vertical light) filter and be absorbed. If the LCD pixel is charged, then the lightwave will magically be rotated (Its some fancy liquid material thing, I dont even know.), thus its horizontal when it hits the horizontally polarising filter, and it passes through, to our eyes. And thats how LCDs work.

You guys should all be experts on LCDs by now. How can I write about something so boring so many times? I dont know... Christ. So sorry.

Anyway, by adding another polarising filter into the LCD equation, I can make all the light go away. The verticality or horizontality of the filter of course change when I rotate the glasses, which is just... Fascinating. All the light that comes off the LCD is oriented the same way, and I can block out all of it with a single polarising filter.

Reflections are often polarised, which is particularly noticeable when looking at water. The reflections kinda... Go away when youve got polarising glasses on. Useful! Especially for fishers! I dont know why my glasses are polarising! I can't use them with my PC, or most phones, or my microwave oven! (The Lumia phone I use doesnt use the same technology as my LCD, and the light doesn't seem to be polarised :OO)

Yay physics!

Lots of text about lots of nothing. I was supposed to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones tonight... God damn it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

venture into chemistry

I'm more of a physics man, really. Movement, friction, physical interaction, and that kind of stuff. Chemistry is... kinda drab, to be honest. Its vital, sure, and important in understanding and doing physics, but past that, I hold little interest in the subject.

Luckily, I'm not meaning to write about that kind of chemistry! Person to person chemistry! More precisely, man to woman. Or vice versa, however you like. Or in the same sex, if you bend that way.

So chemistry. Why do we find sexually attractive partners... So confusing? I mean, we all think in the same way, more or less. Sex and caring, that's what's wanted and needed. Why must it then be so complicated, why does it seem to men like some women intentionally write intricate and ambiguous poems in the stead of plain statements? Why must this be so difficult, so damn political? And gee, women don't understand us either. I guess we are just as confusing to them. Why... Its certainly not an evolutionarily brought forth trait, this cryptic nature.

When I was thinking about what to write about for this drawing, I thought I'd write about how people have buttons, and how we very rigidly react to these buttons being pressed, like how seeing something beautiful makes us happy, or things of that nature. I realize its not always that simple, especially not when there's 2 people involved. Perhaps it's moreof a lack of chemistry, rather than bad such. How would I know, people are so confusing.

It really is quite relevant to something else that has been keeping my attention lately. Ive been reading this book for an english project, and the book is called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It's about this boy, this boy who suffers from Aspergers syndrome, which makes it very hard for him to comprehend feelings and emotions. Great book, I could copy the full analysis and put it here, too, but I dont think you readers would be very interested in reading that, anyway.

On one hand, hes a talented, free spirited, truly academic mind. Its so beautifully written, I could almost see myself in the place of this boy. But hes also so... Weird. I wonder sometimes, do I have fucking woman-aspegers? Oh, no. Its just some women. Which? I couldn't even begin to categorize them.

Oh, what a rare glimpse at my innards. Do I betray my confidence? I better stop writing, and just post the bloody art already.