We all have our personal milestones, those marker days that tick off the passing years. July 4th has become a big one for me over the years. I’ve always liked fireworks (and thunder), so the day was always something of a joy. Various personal events over the years give it a bullet list of associations.
At the top of that list, today is my blog anniversary, so I’ve spent all month working on a little something to celebrate:
It’s a virtual 3D room I created with POV-Ray. It’s meant to contain little bits and pieces relevant to, or at least suggestive of, this blog. (As always, click on any image for a big’n.)
The tile floor features octagons to commemorate that this is my blog’s eight-year anniversary. That same floor is a pattern we used in high school when we did Hamlet.
I spent a couple weeks working on that floor. We used sheets of Masonite that we painted. First we taped off a pattern for the white octagons, then we taped off for the black octagons, and finally for the beige squares.
Then we went back over the octagons with large feathers lightly dipped in contrasting paint colors to brush them to make them look like marble.
From a distance it looked amazing, and many guests commented on the floor. I’d spent many days with my face inches away and was deeply acquainted with every flaw and mistake.
It was an important lesson on what people notice compared to what you spend hours agonizing over.
One thing I love about 3D models is that I can put the camera anywhere to take a closer look or show off parts of the model. Above, for instance, a closer look at the bookcase along the “east wall” (both “wall” and “east” are somewhat virtual here).
The bookshelf is meant to represent all the posts (or at least a lot of writing and reading). Each book is generated randomly in terms of color, height, and width, so I’m not sure how many there actually are.
And there’s an eight ball reflecting my view of future predictions (they’re just a game people play) as well as my tendency to challenge others (putting them “behind the eight ball” so to speak).
Backing up from that view shows the workbench (there’s a closer look below), stools, some wall hangings, and a couple models hanging from the ceiling. (Any proper geek’s room has things hanging from the ceiling.)
There’s something in the lower left corner we’ll take a closer look at below — my tribute to all the discussions about consciousness.
Here’s a closer look at the workbench:
The abacus refers to computation and my love of math (as does the Mandelbrot image). The Earth globe because, despite all appearances (and the way it often feels), I actually am an Earthling.
There’s a pile of notes, because I’m always scribbling things on paper.
The iPad is for technology, blogging, streaming TV and movies, browsing the interweb, checking the weather, and reading iBooks. (I don’t play computer games. I just don’t.)
Okay, here’s the bit I hinted at above, two “stacks” of physical reality.
This is a topic for future posts, but the idea is to line up next to each other the layers of physical reality involved in creating a mind. The stack on the left we know works, the one on the right remains to be seen.
The interesting thing is, the only part of these that’s at all controversial is the last jump from Computer to Mind.
A big part of the controversy coming from the non-physical aspects contained with Computer — specifically, the software, the algorithms, that make the computer function.
I’ll get back to this one of these days. In the meantime, if you want a preview, the things I was writing about in this post, at the end of the conversation between JamesOfSeattle and I, are what lead to the above stacks.
Just for grins (because I spent quite a few minutes tuning the pitch and roll of the ship, and because I spent months making the model, a close-up of the (original) Enterprise (Kirk’s ship).
As I’ve said often, much as I grew up loving Star Trek, at the 50-year mark (and I’d been there since day one) I decided I’d had enough Trek.
And lastly, a long shot to reveal the movie set nature of the model (also an homage to my love of TV and movie production and a hint at my past with it).
I suppose we’re all so used to 3D CGI that this isn’t very impressive.
Rightfully so. It isn’t very impressive compared to what artists are doing these days. Part of that is the tool, POV-Ray. It’s possible to create some very cool scenes, make no mistake, but the amount of time one has to invest is considerable (and it takes getting deeply into the tool).
All the above was done with boxes, cylinders, cones, and a few other basic primitive geometric shapes. It’s all a matter of combining them, and using one shape to “carve out” another, that more complex shapes are created.
On one level, it’s really fun seeing what you can create (the Enterprise!), but on another it’s as tedious as hell — I did spend months working on that model. (A lot of art is that way.)
And, bluntly, I’m no artist. I have one weird flaw that everything I design seems chunky with too much free space. I’ve been designing web pages since the early 1990s, and they all look… really crude. Almost like a child’s efforts with crayons or something.
But, hey, I had fun, and that’s what matters.
So,… eight blogging years, 822 posts (plus various pages, and I have other blogs). Some of that’s been tedious, too, but it’s also been fun as hell.
Last year’s anniversary links to various pages that have been successful here, I think I’ll leave that sort of thing for New Year’s posts. It also has links to previous anniversary posts, for whatever that’s worth. (I’m not going to go over the bullet list about all this day means this time, either.)
I’m just gonna go kick back, drink some beers, see if the Twins can take the rubber match against Oakland, and mostly generally not futz around with a 3D model all damn day long!
Stay three-dimensional, my friends!