Thursday, November 02, 2006

Leaving The Decompression Chamber

I took today off as a buffer between returning to VA and returning to work.
Think of it as spending time in a decompression chamber before returning to the surface.
I didn't do much more today than I did yesterday, going out into the world only long enough to grab lunch (a personal pizza at the Pizza Hut Express in Super Target) and to pick up some toilet paper.
The temperature has dropped considerably today from where it was yesterday and Tuesday, though it's not as extreme as the temperature change I underwent when leaving MI and returning to VA.
That was a 40 degree change, and it was a positive change, going from the 30s to the 70s in the space of the 3 and a half hours or so it took to travel from there to here.
At the Marquette airport they didn't have a jetway so we had to just walk on the tarmac to the small plane, which left us exposed to the cold and cutting wind that I had earlier been afraid might prevent my flight out.
We ended up standing out there longer than necessary because some old lady at the front of the line decided that the top of the steps at the entrance to the plane was an appropriate place and time to stop and chat with the flight attendant while the rest of us stood in a bone-chilling wind that was gusting up to 60 miles an hour.
I just don't understand how people can be so oblivious - and unconcerned - about the impact that their actions have on other people. It was a two-hour flight, lady; there was plenty of opportunity to talk to the flight attendant once you were in the damn plane.
And of course she did her best to slow the deplaning process to a crawl once we got to Detroit.
I would say that I shouldn't complain too much about people causing delays, as I generally create a bottleneck during the security check-in process, what with having to get my laptop out of its bag, take off my watch and take out my wallet, and having to untie my shoes and getting the laces all knotted up about 75% of the time because I'm trying to get them untied in a hurry which slows things down even further.
However, I would submit that having to wait a little longer to go through security is nowhere near as excrutiating as having to wait a little longer to get off the plane (or to stand around in a fucking arctic blast of cold).
Speaking of excrutiating waits, having to use dial-up for Internet access made going online even more painful than not being online, so I had to find another way to pass some of the downtime I had while I was back in the UP.
One of the things I did was finally try to make use of my Tablet PC for drawing.
I mean, one would assume that it's ideally suited for such a task, as you can draw right on the screen and actually watch what your hand is doing, which is completely unlike the way I draw on my desktop PC.
Sure, I use a pen/pencil shaped stylus just as I do on the Tablet, but my hand is like a foot away from what I'm actually doing on screen.
Of course, that's how I've been drawing for years now, so going back to the more natural method actually seemed kind of unnatural.
Still, I kind of got the hang of it after a while.
Mostly I just doodled and experimented with different styles and tools, not really intending to produce something worth sharing.
I did, however, produce this picture of Scarlett Johansson.

I'm not entirely pleased with it, but it did turn out more presentable than most of what I did on the Tablet.
Most of the problems with it stem from the fact that the source image was a low-res scan taken from a newspaper (newsprint scans always have a lot of "noise"), which meant that a lot of detail was lost in the image. And of course I was still getting used to using the Tablet for drawing, which actually has some disadvantages beyond just feeling a bit odd.
And before you say that it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, I will add that my talent, skill, and patience were not up to the task of overcoming the difficulties that I was presented with.
As I said, most of the rest of what I did were simply experiments which I never had (and still don't have) any intention of sharing with anyone.
I did do a picture of Sasha Cohen, as well, but it was a really, really, really shitty picture that I'm too ashamed to show to anyone, despite the fact that I'm much more justified in blaming the source image (which was a really tiny, really low-res, really noisy picture) for the lack of quality of my version of it.
I did okay on the body, and the outfit, but the face...well, it's best not to think about it.
I sent my friend Eric an e-mail yesterday to tell him about my dad. He responded with his sympathies and pointed out that we just missed each other, as he had been in the UP as well - also for a death in the family (his grandmother) - for a brief period while I was there, though neither of us knew about the other being there at the time.
In any case I still have some TV watching to catch up on before I turn in and prepare to leave the chamber.

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