Garstor's World, My realm of 3D art, LEGO and atheism

The Move Looms Closer

Posted on Saturday, September 24th, 2016 at 7:43 PM in Personal by Garstor

Next Thursday is the big day. At last I will be free of the horrible mismanagement at Chateau Royale!

In some good news, my original fears about losing out on my last month’s rent have been put to rest. That will be very helpful indeed since it should cover most of the costs of the moving company.

I’ve packed up nearly all of my books and I hope to start packing my computers tomorrow.

At the new building, I’ll be using Rogers’ cable modem for internet access. That should be faster than what I have currently.

I can’t wait!

Latest Books Read

Posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 at 7:15 PM in Atheism, Books, Religion by Garstor

imageSure, it is atheism and religion again. Shoot me! Open-mouthed smile

50 Simple Questions For Every Christian is a really good read. The title pretty much says everything about the book. What are miracles? Why doesn’t everyone believe what you do? Have you read the bible?

Guy Harrison offers his own atheistic/skeptical answers to each one; but he clearly means for a believing reader to ponder these on their own. Each question’s “answer” from the author typically covers 2-4 pages.

The book is in no way an attack. Harrison is respectful throughout. I wish that I could keep my cool like that. But his demeanor is refreshing and definitely made me imagine asking these questions of my mother.

I know there is no chance of her reading this though. What a shame.

So, I had to kick things up a notch with the current book I’m reading – devouring actually, I’m already two-thirds through it.

imageDavid Silverman’s first (and hopefully not last) book Fighting God is considerably more direct and confrontational.

It is less the autobiography that I thought it would be and much more his defense of being a firebrand atheist. Silverman comes out swinging with the chapter, “Atheist, Know Thyself.” He makes the case that we non-believers should use the word atheist. Don’t use humanist, freethinker, agnostic or other labels.

First, most people don’t know the meaning of those other words; but they do know the meaning of atheist. Second, the more we use the word, the more normalized it will become. Anything else makes atheists appear to be a smaller minority than we actually are. That is just what the religions of the world want people to think!

So far it is a great read but with nothing surprising (so far) if you have ever seen David Silverman speak publicly.

Both books are well worth the read.

More Trickling Updates

Posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2016 at 8:02 AM in Personal by Garstor

What a month this has been! Nearly three weeks have oozed past since the last post attempted to provide updates to my world.

The move to Etobicoke is probably the most impactful to my world at the moment. I do have the apartment confirmed and am aiming to move in at the end of September. This means losing out on a month of pre-paid rent here.

I hate this building and its (mis-)management so much that I am prepared to throw away $1,600 just to get the fuck out of here as soon as possible. Hamilton can be a great city to live in – just never, ever, live at the Chateau Royale building.

Next Saturday, Debug gets her next rabies shot. I do tend to avoid this since she is never outside. But this will be an opportunity for further check-up on her dental situation.

Miscellaneous Updates

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2016 at 4:35 AM in Personal by Garstor

Here we are, one week into August with no blog post. Yes, I have been busy – a weak-sauce excuse perhaps; but true nonetheless. So here is a point-form set of updates about what has been happening.

Work

I am so glad that I love my job. Last week, was my most recent on-call rotation so I didn’t stray far from my work laptop in case an alert call came in. That meant no grocery shopping. Unfortunately, my one call was a false alarm. The hindsight is 20/20 as usual but I refused to risk not being able to respond quickly to an issue.

This past weekend didn’t see any relief. A major – and long delayed – data migration project was finally executed. So I was working from home all weekend, tied once more to the laptop. At least that was a successful series of tasks; it will be a large accomplishment for the year.

I love my job, but I hate my commute. So that leads me into…

Moving

Yep. I have to leave Hamilton and get closer to work. I thought that the commute would give me time to read or study. But it doesn’t – it is so utterly mentally draining that I usually snooze on the bus in both travel directions. The snooze is not a restful one either.

When I get home, I am practically in a coma. There is so much stuff I want to do – especially with 3D and Photoshop – but I cannot get the energy or motivation to kick in. The commute is 4 hours every weekday and around $400 per month. I’ve got to get that back.

I am looking at a two-bedroom apartment that will be a 5 minute walk to work. It is an older building so I am not expecting much from it. But the cheaper rent and the removal of the travel time sink should do wonders.

Debug

Of course I wasn’t about to forget an update about my baby! I took her to the vet on Friday for a post-surgery checkup. Having been on a wet-food diet for 2 weeks, she lost some weight – which is good, she was just slightly overweight before. The vet says her mouth is healing nicely though. She can now have some kibble.

I think she has gotten much more affectionate since the surgery. She’s almost always moving to whatever room that I am in and she loves to cuddle at night.

There are a couple of other items that I am keeping under-wraps for now. We’ll see what comes of those later on.

A Better Life

Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2016 at 3:14 PM in Atheism, Books by Garstor

A Better Life book coverIt was a couple of years late, but I finally bought Chris Johnson’s book A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. I say “a couple of years late” because I first heard Chris speak at FFRF’s 2014 National Convention in Los Angeles.

He gave a wonderful talk about the idea for the book and the work that went into creating it. It really does make a beautiful coffee table piece and Chris’ photography really inspires and explores what is beautiful in life. Many of the people featured inside have been past – or will be future – speakers at the FFRF Convention.

I often buy several books at the FFRF Conventions; but this time around, I couldn’t. I rectified that a little over a week ago and in spite of the possible postal strike in Canada, the book arrived a couple of days ago.

Check it out! Buy your own copy! It is worth it.

A Little More Debug

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2016 at 6:18 PM in Personal by Garstor

Debug sleeping - 2016-07-24Just a couple of photos of Debug that I added to Flickr. One of my disappointments is that I did not take many photos of Code. So I intend to do better with Debug.

She loves to take naps next to the tiny desk that I use for my personal computing. The 3D computer is on a bigger desk off to the left. The only place she sleeps at more often is under my bed.

I loved the look here and quickly grabbed my cell phone to capture the moment.

Debug at vetWhen I picked Debug up from the vet on Friday evening, every gushed about how much they loved her face. They took this photo in her kennel before the operation.

She really is such a sweet cat. She is my baby.

My Poor Baby!

Posted on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 at 9:00 PM in Personal by Garstor

Two nights ago, I dropped off Debug at the Blue Cross Animal Hospital for surgery.

When I left Texas, Debug received vaccinations that were necessary for her to be permitted back into Canada with me. The vet in Irving recommended that I get her mouth checked out and stated that at least one tooth should be pulled. I finally brought her in for a check-up and got some pretty bad news.

Poor Debug’s mouth is in a bad way. I had no idea. She never seemed to be in any pain and certainly loved eating her food. But the vet stated several teeth would require extraction and that several had already fallen out. So on Thursday evening, she was taken in to prepare for surgery on Friday.

I picked her up after work on Friday. Nine teeth were pulled. She barely has any teeth left. The vet remains concerned about her jaw too – so there is to be a follow-up check on that.

It will be soft food only for at least two weeks. I’ll probably keep her on that from now on.

Here is hoping for a speedy recovery with no further issues.

First Poser Renders

Posted on Sunday, July 17th, 2016 at 8:22 PM in Ray-Tracing by Garstor

Pauline - business suit

The above image is not my first render with Poser, but it is the first render that is worth showing off. Unlike past work in Carrara, a lot of the Poser renders will be fully-clothed so that I can share them at work.

The model is called Pauline and I used the business outfit and a preset pose for her. The background is just the empty “construct” default that Poser uses.

I wanted to bring the old models that I bought for Carrara into Poser (since Carrara reads the Poser formats). So I figured that out today and created the render below.

Sexy Victoria

This is the Victoria model with Damaris hair and the Dangerous Mistress dress. I modeled the “sexy” text in LightWave and imported that into Poser. The background is still the “construct.”

The dress actually had a poke-through problem and “hung” down through the letter “E.” So I made two renders; one with the dress and one without it. I merge the two images in Photoshop and used layer masking to correct the poke-through.

I still have much to learn about texturing, lighting and rendering in Poser.