Archive for the ‘pirates’ Category

A Sexy Pirate, Vectors, and Entropy (artwork)

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on August 11th, 2005

Current mood: My Pirate Name is Long-Jimmy Short-Beard

Aye, I fine firey lass was she! Hair as red as the devil’s coals, a face that broke a thousand hearts, and a waggle in her hips that sank a thousand ships!

At the behest of my cousin Brian, who loves scalable vector art for games, I have been making an effort to practice vector artwork lately, so rather than coloring her in The Gimp as is my usual practice, I traced and colored her in Inkscape. I am pleased with the results. Creating vectors vertex-by-vertex is painful for me, but traced from a hand-drawn source, I am happy with it.

My vector-art-idol, whom I seek to emulate is the talented John Allison of Scarygoround. His work is well worth checking out, not just for the artwork, but also for the humor.

Look! There in the sky! It’s Abrupt Change of Subject Man!

The entropy of the Sexy Pirate picture is really high. (Some people sometimes yell at me for using the word “entropy” in a non-thermodynamic sense, so I will clarify that I am talking about Infotropy) I began with a really large amount of information in the form of a scan, dividing 2D space into a grid and recording a color value for each pixel. When I reduced that to 1-bit and reduced the resolution, a huge amount of information was lost in the pixelation process. The original scan contained almost ten thousand times as much information… at least measured in bytes. In terms of visual recognition, it only lost a little. You can still tell it is supposed to be a Sexy Pirate. All the information on what make something “Sexy” and what make something a “Pirate” are already present in the mind of the observer. Most of the 99.99 percent of the information that was lost wasn’t important information. In the tracing process, even more information is lost, but now since we are working with curves in vector space rather than describing black and white boxes in a grid, the remaining information is oddly enough even more meaningful than it was before. That is what makes information interesting to me. That is what makes it so difficult to think of in simple terms like you can with math or logic. Some information is more important than other information…. and the only way to tell the difference between meaningful information and meaningless information is– More information!

And in conclusion… *wolf whistle* … um… yeah… ;)

EDIT: added shaded version in place of flat-colored version (less entropic I suppose, but oh-well)

Fireflies and Shed-Bulldozing

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on July 19th, 2005

Current mood: Humidified

I am currently in Tennessee. For those of you who have never been here, it is just like California, except with more trees, more grass, more humidity, and a whole lot less everything else. For those of you who have never been to California, that comparison is useless. For those of you who are from California, that comparison is probably still useless.

I guess a better way to put it is this;

They have fireflies here. You drive down the road, and you can see them winking on and then off again among the plants growing at the side of the road. I like to imagine that they are greeting the car’s headlights, which they might have mistaken for their long lost king and queen.

A possum ran across the road in front of me. I am happy to say that I missed him. Sadly, I cannot say the same of about 30 percent the frogs that have tried the same stunt this week.

The sky has been unapollogetically rainey and wet this week. When I look out the window, I expect it to be cold, but it isn’t. It is hot outside, pretty much all the time. This is widely agreed to be an unpleasant thing, but actually I think it is not so bad. Sure, the shock of walking from an excessively air-conditioned room into the hot humid outdoors isn’t very nice, but once you get use to the outside air– and as long as you know a shower is waiting for you when you go back inside– it can be quite pleasant.

This picture is my house. The bushes out front are gone now, already rooted-up. Don’t feel bad for them. They were nicer bushes in the picture than they were in real life.

In the back is a lop-sided shed, another lop-sided shed, and a garage which, while not lop-sided, is certainly thinking about lopping. They will be torn down this week, and I get to stand by and watch. It is very important that I be present for this occasion, because there is a middling chance that one of the sheds has Pirate Treasure hidden in the roof. I am a little worried about how to fend off the Vengeful Zombie Pirate Skeletons which will no doubt leap out to guard it, but the demolition guys will have a bulldozer, and I think Sam (my contractor) is going to be bringing a chainsaw, so I think we can take them.

If all goes well, I will bring home a gold doubloon for each of you.

Two Pegs, Two Hooks

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 31st, 2005

Current mood: Piratey

So I was killing time, waiting for my ship, and I went into this dockside tavern, and ordered a tankard of grog. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of this salty old sea-dog with two peg legs, two hooks, and an eyepatch. I picked up my grog, and went over and sat next to him.

I’ll bet you have some good stories to tell. I said to him.

Arrrr! says he. That I do.

So I ask, How did you lose your legs and arms?

He lifts his right peg leg, and says; Arrrr! This leg be the first limb I lost. When I was young, I were a whole man, and I sailed with Capt’n Shoat. I remember it well, I do. It were in a fierce sea-battle against Capt’n No-Beard’s frigate. A piece of grape-shot came across the deck, and clipped me leg out from underneath me!

Wow. I said.

The old pirate continued. Arrr. It were seven years later that I lost me hand! He brandished the shiny hook on his left wrist. I was in Madagascar, dueling across the beach man-to-man against the notorious Red Robert Blarg, and me peg leg sunk into the soft sand, and I lost me balance, and Red Robert, he with one deft chop, disarmed me!

Disarmed you, Haha! I get it! I laughed.

But the old pirate scowled, and barked Arrr! It be not funny, lad! I was maimed fer life, i were!

I’m sorry! I thought you wre making a joke. I said, embarrased. Do go on with your story… I said humbly.

Arrr. mumbled the pirate, and he shifted himself in his seat, and then went on. So I thought I would give up piracy, and take up a safer trade instead. So I became a whaler.

A Whaler? I asked.

Aye. said he, A whaler. But one day we encountered the White Whale; Moby Dick! He saw me peg leg, and took me fer Capt’n Ahab, and capsized the long-boat to get at me. Before me mates could pull be back aboard the ship, the White Whale had bitten off me other leg!

Oh… I said solemnly.

Then he raised his other hook, on his right hand. This one was cleverly wedged through the handle of his tankard of rum. This hand, said he, this hand I lost to a woman. Black Flag Betsy, only daughter o’ the corrupt magistrate of the Isle of Blood. A fierce woman was she! A head o hair, red like fire, and a heart full o’ fire as well… I met her in an Ale-house in Bermuda, and well… Let’s us just say she didn’t take lightly to being treated like a wench. I put my hand where I ought not have, and I lost it for my trouble! I’ll say no more of her, for it pains me heart to think of her.

I was silent for a while, sipping on my grog, and thinking about the pirate’s tales. Finally i said One last question: How did you lose your eye?. I pointed at the patch over his left eye.

Arrrr… sighed the pirate. He sounded disappointed. You can tell, can ye? I thought it were so realistic. He reached up with his free hook and popped out his right eye. It rolled across the table. It be made of wood. said he. I lost it last month, right here in this tavern. I was deep in my rum, and I went to scratch me nose, and missed, and gouged out my own eye. Arrr! What a clumsy fool I be!

I was shocked. But… but… What about the other eye! I exclaimed, What about the one under the eye-patch!?

Arrr! said the pirate with a smile. That be me good eye! I wears the patch to protect it while I’m drinking!

Wash Your Hands After Touching the Gummy-Dinosaur Candy Sculpture!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 15th, 2005

Current mood: Only very slightly sore

Last night (read: hella early this morning) I got back from the Ninja Penguin art show. I enjoyed it. It was something halfway between an art show and a party.

The front room was the gallery, and it had a cheezy life-size styrofoam ninja temple on the right wall (I mean the Ninja’s were life size and styrofoam, not the temple) and on the left wall and in various other places were the art displays. Stepping in the door, I practically ran into Bernyce of Le Menagerie, who was wearing, what was by far the coolest Ninja costume of anyone present. You see; guests were encouraged to come in costumes on the themes of Ninjas or Pirates, and many did. There were also a few guys in drag, an assortment of goth costumes, and a couple of 17 year old hoochies (I presume they might have been intended to be “Pirate Wenches”, but my extensive study of Pirate history informs me that it is very unlikely that any real pirate wenches wore florescent-orange hot-pants)

Anyway. Back to the art. This was a “Tangible” art show, which means that you are not only allowed, but encouraged to touch the artwork (Fun art-gallery side-note: If you are ever in the Babylonian sculpture room of the British Museum in London, do not under any circumstance attempt to touch the 3500 year old bas-relief stone murals, for example, to point out an interesting sculptural feature to your sister. Your finger will set of the alarms and summon the guards even several centimeters away from the surface of the stone) But yes! This art you could touch or even pick up. Many pieces employed texture, such as ninja-silhouetted in sandpaper on wood, or a giant pirate skull sculpture with cool sticky-spiderweb eyes, or a ball-and-paddle game with ninja poetry and artwork painted on the paddle, and of course you could actually pick it up and play it. Bernyce’s piece entitled “Sista Ninja” was a mixed-media watercolor, including tinfoil ninja stars, and a ‘Fro made from real human hair. My favorite piece was probably the Julie Keene’s Bunny vs. Squirrel Box … actually that was Ninja Bunny vs. Pirate Squirrel, in keeping with the theme of the show. It was a panel-comic painted on the surfaces of an ordinary corrugated cardboard box, which doesn’t sound like much, but overall shape and layout of the panels combined with Julie’s soft-high-contrast art style made it look remarkably cool. I also was both amused and alarmed by the sculpture that appeared to be constructed entirely of gummy-dinosaurs (you know, like gummy bears except dinosaur themed… at least I think they were dinosaurs. They were so mashed together, they could have been gummy-spongebob‘s for all I know.)

Moving on, the back room was the dance floor. They had a small bar, and DJ’s from Ninja Skillz were playing (technotrancehouse-ish stuff). It had a small party atmosphere that would have disappointed a serious clubber; consequently I greatly enjoyed it. I don’t much like to go to crowded clubs anymore, as there is seldom room to actually have any fun, so this small informal mini-club was exactly what I needed. I had a great time.

Also, I knew from the flier that there were supposed to be martial-arts demonstrations, but I did not expect to actually participate in one. At one point I was sitting there, and listening to these two guys discussing board-breaking (there was a pile of boards on the corner of the ninja temple for that purpose). Apparently one guy intended to break a board, and he wanted the other guy to hold it for him, but the other guy wasn’t feelin’ it. So he says, “How about that guy, up there?” and points up on me (I was at that moment, sitting way up on a ledge where I was probably not actually supposed to be) And so I agreed, after some safety instructions, how to hold the board for him to break it, which involved bracing myself, and holding the sturdy-feeling board up more or less in in front of my face, while he punched through it from the other side. All went smoothly, and nobody was injured.

I don’t have any idea if Penguin Palace plans to host any more such events, or if it was a one-time thing, but if they do, I would be delighted to go again.

Blackbeard Sez:

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 19th, 2005

Current mood: Piratey

Arr! Avast! Last week I put highlights in my hair, and my wife -- Blast the Wench! -- She hasn't payed me no notice at all! Arr! ...