Shanghai Skyline Model

A month ago, I sensed that the next Lego Architecture model would be the Shanghai skyline since that was being used in the website navigation graphics. Not exactly The Amazing Kreskin there with my clairvoyance! Sure enough, Shanghai is the newest in the Architecture series.

Just as sure, I bought it as soon as I saw it! Hopefully I’ll get it assembled before the weekend (it has been crazy busy this week).

Fast Updates


Debug continues to recover nicely. The cauterized areas that were removed are drying up and her fur is gradually returning to the areas that were shaved away. I still put crème on her mouth sore and make her wear The Cone Of Shame. She hates that but I usually only leave it on for the morning when I am at work. I take it off at lunch.

The lab reports that the facial growth was benign. It’s still not complete sure what it was; though the vet was talking about irritated hair follicles. I hope that’s all it was and that it won’t come back.

The Bell Tower

I’ve continued to push forward on this model. I think it is nearing the point where I call it done and move on to UV mapping and texturing. The most recent work is a separate model of a lamp that I will use as a light source around the tower.

UV_Layout_LampHere is the lamp model after I have UV mapped it in UV Layout. It is spread out over two UV tiles; but LightWave 2018 now supports UDIMs so this should not be a problem. All in all, it is nicely flattened (hence the greenish coloring) even though I made more seam cuts in the top than I would have liked.

I have tried texturing the model in Substance Painter, but I definitely need to improve my skills there. Right now, I envision this to have a copper frame with some grungy discolorations or oxidation marks. Later today, I plan on trying the new PBR texturing in LightWave 2018.

Fingers are crossed for when I tackle texturing the tower.


imageBack in Texas, a group of my ex-Microsoft colleagues started playing board games over our lunch break (and sometimes on the weekend). Just before Christmas, I turned on a few of my Moneris colleagues to Dominion.

It is a turn-based, deck-building game around the theme of expanding your dominion by purchasing Estates, Duchies and Provinces. You acquire the wealth to do this by purchasing one or more of the Kingdom cards each turn. The Kingdom cards power the game dynamic in varied ways and the expansion sets offer new dynamics to spice up the game.

I have all of the expansions but currently we are only playing with the base game, Intrigue and Seaside. I haven’t done the combinatorial mathematics, but I’m sure that there are many billions of possible games across all the expansions.

Right now I have about six regular players. My boss has won the most games – no, I’m not letting her win on purpose! Hopefully I can get more people interested and we’ll start playing two games simultaneously.

Debug Is Recovering Nicely

My poor, furry baby was definitely in a foul mood when I picked her up from the vet last night. Not eating would do that to anyone, as I well recall. But the surgery to remove the fleshy growth on her face went well.

I gave her a little bit of food leftover from her final meal before the vet-ordered cutoff time. Even though it was cold from being in the fridge, she devoured it. A good sign, I think. She was trying to wake me up at 3:15 AM today for more feeding; so I got up earlier than usual.

The lab should provide their analysis of the growth by the end of this week.

Debug’s Vet Visit

Tomorrow morning my furry baby is headed back to the vet for more surgery. Sad smile

Debug the cat and her skin soresShe has been dealing with unknown skin issues for several years now. Most notably, at the hinge of her lips on the right side. I had thought she had simply scratched her self while rubbing her face on something. The area was often clotted with dried blood.

The pink, fleshy growth above her mouth is fairly new. That started forming just before I left for Wisconsin last September. When I returned home, it was the size of a green pea.

Both my vet in Hamilton and the new one here in Etobicoke think the mouth sore is an allergic reaction. But to what? They both suggested custom foods – that are available only through them of course. Currently, I am feeding Debug a kangaroo meat meal each morning. She has lost weight between vet visits thanks to the lean diet; but the sores remain.

So tomorrow, the vet will remove that pink growth through “abrasion and cauterizing” – two words that shivered my spine – since there is not enough room or flesh for sutures.

I’m paying extra to get the growth analyzed at a lab. Hopefully, it will provide some much-needed answers.

Joining The uSheep Herd

After more than six years of solid service – I could have probably gone longer – I have finally given up my Windows Phone Nokia 920.

I hate cellphones – all of them. A common saying of mine is, “Cellphones are the worst invention, second only to nuclear weapons.” But my career has forced them upon me and I have forged a barely stable truce with the technology.

This afternoon I bought a new gold Apple iPhone 8+. The screen on this beast is about as large as the entire Nokia 920. I opted for the iPhone because I figure that it will play nicest with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Now to get it setup and fully functioning.

Anybody want a faithful Nokia 920? Open-mouthed smile

New WordPress Theme

For the longest time – pretty much my entire duration on WebHost4Life – this blog has used the WordPress theme Rubix. I really like the rainbow aurora borealis-like colours. I was also severely limited in that many themes required updated version of WordPress.

According to WebHost4Life, I could not update WordPress since I was using their Windows Server platform instead of the Linux platform. Perplexing, I know. But Brent’s amazing work changed all that! WordPress is running at the current version.

Also, the Rubix theme has not been updated since 2009. I figured, it was time for a facelift.

So this theme is put out by the WordPress team and is called Twenty Seventeen. I guess it is a little early to expect a Twenty Eighteen theme…

It feels a little bit wider and easier to read. I’ll stick with this for a bit.

R.I.P. Dolores O’Riordan (1971–2018)

imageI was shocked to see that Dolores O’Riordan had died suddenly today. She was almost exactly one year older than I am.

My condolences go out to her family and the band. Dolores will be sorely missed.

I’ll be playing The Cranberries’ music in remembrance of her talent.

Weird Problems Solved

A little over a week ago, my Windows Live Writer stopped being able to post here. It was a weird XML error. I flopped around a bit like a fish out of water but finally opened a support ticket with WebHost4Life.

While waiting for that, I mentioned the issue to my chummer Brent. While I know SQL Server, he knows everything else. We used to work together at both Microsoft and Avanade. How he keeps all that arcane network / web knowledge in his skull astounds me.

But Brent flew into action like the Superman he is. Before long, WordPress was fully updated and all my posts were restored. Windows Live Writer was behaving once more.

I’ve lost track of the beers that I owe him. Thanks brah!

The Spam Battle – Part Three

My experiment with re-enabling comments was short and pointless.

I learned from my Facebook friends that they could not figure out how to leave a comment. Apparently the link below each recent post that says “Share Your Thoughts” was not obvious enough!

About two days ago, I received a WordPress email asking me to moderate a comment. The first comment since I deleted all the spam! But it was a piece of spam…

So I am back to square one. I don’t know how many – if any at all – read these posts and as much as I would like to interact with readers, it doesn’t seem likely.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Model

As I wrote the other day, I decided to finally finish off my Lego Architecture models. To my knowledge, I have every Lego Architecture model that has been released.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum ModelThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was first offered several years ago. It was only 204 pieces and it captured the artistic feel of the building – which is something that I love about the Architecture series. The Lego Group re-released a new version last year that more than tripled the brick count at 774 pieces.

The new model is a closer representation of the real structure.

Here are the two models side-by-side. New on the left and older version on the right.

If you click through to my Lego Models Flickr album, you can also see my photo of the new model in greater detail.

I want to move to a better apartment in the near future, so I probably won’t embark on any new construction for awhile.