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Hey Mom, or any other fan of delicious food, I sent in the recipe for Swedish Brownies. Yummy.
Tristen asks: "This way is hard. Why did you change it?" I know it's a hassle, but that's the way we have to do it now. The internet people are now charging extra money to use those checkboxes. Sorry!
If anyone wants to apply peer pressure tomorrow to Brent, Lindsey, Lori, Paul, Ryan, Sean, or Zachary, feel free! :-)
It started with just some square blocks, which I stretched and resized to make a stairway. I made a floor under them, and then stretched the top stair to the right to make a kind of platform. I put two walls in behind everything, and then decided to put a window-like opening in each wall. I made the windows square, and then created a mountainous horizon which could be seen through them in the far distance. I have a bunch of pre-made objects for Bryce (that others have made and I downloaded), so I rummaged around for something interesting. I found a marble vase, a short pedestal, and a garden bench. The bench would provide a kind of human scale. I put them all in where you see them, but I elongated the pedestal so it went higher than the top stair, to center the vase between the windows. The two round ends of the bench made me think the windows would be more interesting if they were circular, so I reshaped them. This kind of emphasized the view now, and I realized I never quite got the mountains to look right, so I went back to my pre-made objects and found some fantasy-type medieval buildings. I arranged them into a distant city skyline, then textured the nearby area and the distant buildings with a rough stone look -- and made two of the interior planks of the bench a similar color. I then changed the marble vase to red glass and positioned the sun so it threw an interesting shadow on the steps. The very last thing I did was when I imagined someone looking out the windows: We now seemed dangerously high thanks to the distant buildings, so I added an iron bar to each window for safety! :-) And that's it. It was a very pleasant couple of hours making this.
One more reminder to Brent, Donna, Erika, Grandma, Lindsey, Lori, Marsha, Olivia, Paul, Ryan, Sean, Teghan, Tristen, and Zachary that your Oscar ballots have to arrive this weekend to be counted. I'm also going to send out an annoying email reminder today to those who haven't joined yet. :-)
It's a program called Bryce that I have been messing around with for years, and every once in a while pick it up again. Last week I was playing with it quite a bit, and did the five pictures I'm using this week (actually more than five, but I weeded out the weaker ones). What you do with Bryce is make scenes rather than "paint" a picture -- you create geometric 3D elements, position them and light them, and then save the image. In that first picture, for example, I wanted to make a bonsai tree scene. So first I created a rear wall with a platform below. I textured the wall with a stone-like pattern, and the platform with cedar wood boards. Then I made a shallow box, put into it a tree and some rocks and soil. Then I positioned the camera and played with the lighting and shadows until it looked the way I wanted. Oh also, I made some coins and added them for scale. Bryce is best at making landscapes that you can then populate with trees or buildings or whatever, but you can create pretty much whatever you want. You can also animate your scenes and save the result as movies. If you want Bryce on your own computer, let me know -- an earlier version of it is now free. --Gary
In other news, there is no news yet from Brent, Donna, Erika, Grandma, Lindsey, Lori, Marsha, Olivia, Paul, Ryan, Sean, Teghan, Tristen, and Zachary. Can't win if you don't play!
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."
She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be an Obama Democrat."
"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."
The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."
"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"
"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."
In other news, unless you are Amanda, Anna, Emily, Gary, John, Karen, or Samantha you have only 6 days to get your Oscar ballots in. Do it now and avoid the rush!
Hey, remember this guy? I'm sure Tristen and Teghan remember meeting astronaut Clay Anderson last year. Well, I just heard that he's going back into space in less than two months (April 5). He will be doing at least three space-walks, and he will be one of the first people to get to see the awesome new picture window in the space station, which was just installed last week.
Only ten days to get your Oscar ballots in, everybody. (And by everybody I do not mean Amanda, Anna, Emily, Gary, John, and Karen -- they are already in!) It should be a fun Oscar night, and it is way more fun if you are in the race for this!
Me too. A well-thrown frisbee in flight is a beautiful thing to behold. I also spent many hours throwing the frisbee in Duboce Park in San Francisco, usually with Ben Macri. Did you (or John) ever meet him? We used to stand as far apart as possible (exactly in the area this picture shows), then try to throw it so accurately the other person didn't have to move at all to catch it. That was partly for the art of it, and partly because there was a lot of dog-doo in that park... --Gary
Wish I still had it. Big bucks on EBay! But it either went through the lawn mower or got chewed by a dog -- probably both. Anyway, RIP Fred Morrison, and thanks for all the many many hours of Frisbee.
On a related note, I just heard that today there is snow on the ground in every state in the U.S. (probably excepting Hawaii). That doesn't happen very often. Later: I just found out that it's the first time in recorded history!
Oh, wait: It's not about being first, it's about most correct answers -- so the rest of us still have a chance.
As I mentioned, the voting process is a little more cumbersome this time. Sorry about that. Let me know if you have problems with it.
Good luck, everybody!
Second, the Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Best picture contenders are: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, and Up in the Air. I'll have our ballot up later today, hopefully.
In addition to having ten best picture nominees instead of five, there is another slight change in this year's ballot: I can't use the simple checkbox-type page we've had in previous years, so we have to do a copy-and-paste email workaround. It's a bit of a hassle and I apologize for the inconvenience, but my internet service is now charging over a hundred dollars a year to use those checkboxes -- which seemed a bit pricey for something we used once a year....