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I’m currently trying to pay off my debts I’ve incurred when I underwent an expensive car repair by selling off a few things on eBay. Today I’m highlighting a vintage 1990s-2000s Apple PlainTalk microphone.

Grey Vintage Apple PlainTalk Stereo Microphone 590-0670

Grey Vintage Apple PlainTalk Stereo Microphone 590-0670

Grey Vintage Apple PlainTalk Stereo Microphone 590-0670

Grey Vintage Apple PlainTalk Stereo Microphone 590-0670

This grey vintage Apple PlainTalk Stereo Microphone 590-0670 is compatible with all desktop PowerMac Apple and Mac clone models. You can bid on this item right here. To see the rest of my auctions, click here.

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Passover

I’m currently trying to pay off my debts I’ve incurred when I underwent an expensive car repair by selling off a few things on eBay.

Roxio Toast 7 for Mac

If you use a Macintosh and you’re looking to burn your own CDs or DVDs, Roxio Toast 7 can help. It comes with the original envelope.

Roxio Toast 7 for Mac

Click here to buy it now. To see the rest of my auctions, click here.

I’m currently trying to pay off my debts I’ve incurred when I underwent an expensive car repair by selling off a few things on eBay.

Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro USB for Mac and Windows

The Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro is the one to get when an ordinary mouse won’t do.

Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro USB for Mac and Windows

It has a heavy turbo ball that’s easy to use.

Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro USB for Mac and Windows

This mouse connects to the computer via USB.

Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro USB for Mac and Windows

It has a total of 10 buttons. The top 6 buttons instantly takes you to your favorite web sites.

Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro USB for Mac and Windows

The other four buttons are customizable so you can streamline tasks. The rubberized scroll wheel speeds through long documents and web pages.

You can bid on it right here. To see the rest of my auctions, click here.

I’m currently trying to pay off my debts I’ve incurred when I underwent an expensive car repair by selling off a few things on eBay.

Apple Macintosh PowerBook Adapter for 1991-2006

This adapter is perfect for the original Apple Macintosh PowerBook that was manufactured from 1991-2006.

Apple Macintosh PowerBook Adapter for 1991-2006

If you need power for your vintage PowerBook, this AC adapter is just the thing you’ll need.

Apple Macintosh PowerBook Adapter for 1991-2006

You can bid on it right here. To see the rest of my auctions, click here.

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Day of the Dead nesting dolls.

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17-year-old Stanley Kubrick’s photos of 1940s New York proves that he was born a genius.

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Late last week I finished my latest animation, which is based on the song “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog)” by The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. Here is the video. I’ll write more about how I made it below.

I’m pretty friendly with a few local musicians. (None of them are major stars and all of them have day jobs since they don’t make enough money from being musicians to pay the bills.) A few months ago I did a short animation to Phil Shapiro’s song “Open Source is Yours and Mine.

Among my musician friends are a husband and wife duo known as The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. (I even went to their wedding that was held during the Crazy Quilt Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland a couple of years ago.) At one point I was communicating with Joe the Bachelor on Facebook (yes, he’s married now but he’s still known as The Bachelor because, well, old habits die hard [LOL!]) and I linked to the “Open Source is Yours and Mine” and I joked about offering to trash one of his songs the way I “trashed” the “Open Source” song. He really liked the video and was open to the idea of an animated music video to one of The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ songs.

Meanwhile I’ve been going to the weekly animation meetup at Makerspace 125 and there is talk about all of us collaborating together on one animation but nothing has happened yet along those lines (as of this writing). When I mentioned this to Joe the Bachelor, he offered to let those of us in that meetup to each take one of their songs and animate it.

I brought it up with the meetup group but it was met with indifference. I decided to do one of their songs on my own and show it to the other meetup attendees just to show that it’s possible. I picked “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog)” because the lyrics were straightforward and I figured that I could do a comedic animation that’s reminiscent of the old Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

I used Moho Anime Studio Debut for the bulk of the animation. There were a few times when I had to use Adobe Photoshop for some scenes where using Anime Studio would’ve been frustrating. (Like most graphics programs, Anime Studio Debut uses layers. Unlike the other graphics programs, you literally cannot control the opacity in those layers. So I switched to Photoshop for those times when I needed to control the opacity of certain layers, exported the graphics as a .jpeg, then imported it into Anime Studio Debut. I’m going to stop here on the technical stuff since not everyone is interested in such details.)

This animation was my first foray into actual lip-synching. Anime Studio Debut recommended this free open source software called Papagayo, which churns out lip movements based on both audio recordings and what you type into the application. If you want to know more about this, I suggest getting it yourself, since it is free to download.

I originally planned on doing the entire thing in Anime Studio Debut while I would use iMovie only to put in the opening title and closing credits. There was a snag when I discovered that Anime Studio Debut can’t go any further than 3,000 frames and the song lasts longer than that. I was basically using the app’s default at 24 frames per second. If you do the math, you’d know that the maximum run time that the software can handle is 125 seconds or two minutes and five seconds. The song runs for two minutes and 31 seconds.

I found a workaround when I brought the song into Audacity and broke it up in two. Then I created two separate animation files, exported them separately, then brought them into iMovie where I managed to patch everything together into one file.

While I was working on this, I found out that Moby had been releasing animated music videos. The first one is a statement about people being addicted to their smartphones. The second one has become controversial because it makes an unflattering statement about President Donald Trump but that’s another story altogether. I was influenced by the end titles in both videos and they were my inspiration for how I created the end title in my own animation where I showed people where they can download or stream The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ music.

Speaking of President Trump, I added some imagery of my own about The Donald along with a quote from George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. See if you can spot them while you’re watching my video.

I have to admit that this was my most ambitious animation to date and there were times when I was on the verge of burnout. And that’s because I was also doing some major job hunting using tips from a book that I had recently gotten a hold of.

I finally decided that doing two big things at once wasn’t good for my health. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, I decided that I would finish the animation first then resume reading the job hunting book after the holiday. (If this book works for me and I end up getting a new day job to pay the bills, I will write another post praising this book and urging all my readers of this blog to buy it.) With another finished animation under my belt, I now have something recent I can show to any potential employer interested in my animation skills.

I’m also toying with starting a Patreon page where I would make short animations (meaning less than five minutes) for anyone willing to give me some money. Working on this animation has shown me what I can realistically do for a potential patron while setting a price that’s reasonable for the patron while not pricing myself so low that I end up making $1 or $2 per hour (which is impossible to live on anywhere in the United States of America).

By the way, if you like the song, “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog),”  you can purchase it or stream it through The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ Bandcamp page.

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Passover

Recently a friend of mine decided to purchase a bushel of apples that were on sale at the local farmers market because they had been picked a few days before so they were priced to move. He made this huge purchase despite the fact that he is single and he lives in a house with two other housemates. When I ran into him he offered me some from his bushel because he knew that he had purchased way more than everyone living in his home can possibly eat.

I took him up on his kind offer only to realize when I carried those apples to the car that there were way more apples than I could possibly eat. Sure I could bake apple pies but I would need to bake two or three pies, which would be way too much for me since I live alone.

So I went online and looked for recipes for meals that use apples. I found this recipe for Beer Brined Pork Chops With Roasted Apples on Betty Crocker’s site. I already had the necessary spices at home so I went to Aldi where I found boneless pork chops on sale. Then I went to the liquor store where I went to the refrigerator where they keep the individually priced beer bottles. I purchased the cheapest beer in that refrigerator for only $1.25 mainly because I was only going to use it to marinade the pork overnight then discard it. (A lot of times you don’t need to buy expensive beer if you’re only going to use it as an ingredient in a meal.)

So I followed the recipe and the results were excellent. I could definitely taste the beer in the pork chop yet the brown sugar did off-set the beer taste. And the apples had the consistency of chunky mashed potatoes but there were very tasty. I have enough leftovers to freeze for the next few weeks and I was able to use up some of the surplus apples that my friend gave me. So all was well.

With spring being here and with more and more farmers markets opening up all over the place, this recipe will definitely come in handy if you end up with more apples than you can possibly use.

Beer Brined Pork Chops With Roasted Apples

Santa Claus

I made a New Year’s resolution that I would try to do something creative each day. I’m making a very concerted effort to jump-start my art career since I’ve been way more lackadaisical about actually making something over the last few years. Instead I’ve been more focused on getting over my hip injury, my divorce, trying to survive financially in a very troubled economy, and other things. I’ve long admired people who claim that they create a new work of art every day because even I don’t have that much discipline. (I tend to be a bit on the perfectionist side and I generally prefer to take up to a week to get something right than to start a new project every single day.)

Of course such discipline can have its drawbacks. Not too long ago I attended a talk by an art curator who said that she once visited an artist who creates one new painting every day. This person had amassed so many canvases that, according to her, there were art stacked up in piles from the floor to the ceiling. There were closets filled with canvases.

I decided that I wouldn’t be quite as dedicated. Instead I purchased a small sketchbook for the purpose of just doing quick sketches a day. These sketches don’t have to be perfect. I’m hoping that maybe I could use one of these rough sketches as an inspiration for a future art project.

So far I’ve had two sketches cranked out. Here’s the one I drew on New Year’s Day.

picture1

For this next one, which I drew last night, I was totally stumped. I recently purchased Rory’s Story Cubes so I threw the dice and I did a drawing based on what the dice turned up—a sheep sitting under an apple tree eating an apple while reading a book (The Silence of the Lambs, of course).

picture2

 

The Art Doll workshop met for the second month late last month and I attended it once again. While my previous art doll reflected my melancholy sadness over what has happened to me over the last few years (two hip surgeries, the collapse of my marriage, fewer people buying my handcrafted items due to the worsening economy, and my ongoing personal financial issues) this latest one reflected something more positive. The Friday before the workshop there was the historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states of the United States of America. It seemed like rainbows sprouted everywhere both online (I have never seen so many rainbow avatars and icons on the various social media sites in my life) and in real life (as I saw people wear rainbow t-shirts and rainbow clothing).

So I entered Makerspace 125 in a positive frame of mind that day. I saw something pretty unique. Someone had brought in his/her own computer from home to show off this one feature that most computers don’t have. I’ve heard of computers having two operating systems (usually either Mac/Windows or Windows/Linux combinations). But this next photo shows the first computer I’ve ever seen that had three operating systems—Mac, Windows, and Linux. It’s nice to have a lot of choice as to what operating system to use, even though having all three on one computer would take a huge amount of both memory and hard disk space.

A Computer With 3 Operating Systems Installed, June 28, 2015     

The next few photos show art dolls that the workshop instructor had previously worked on and brought with  her from her home.

Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015      Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015

Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015The rest of the photos show the art doll I made during that workshop. Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I was in a positive mood stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage. Ironically the Greenbelt Theatre was having a weekend long LGBTQ film festival (which had been scheduled at least a month in advance before the Supreme Court came down with its decision that coincided with the first night of the festival). In fact, I had to leave the workshop a half an hour early because I was supposed to help with ushering for the next showing of the film Cloudburst in exchange for being able to see the movie for free. (The movie was excellent, by the way.) So I worked faster on finishing the doll so I could leave the workshop early. Actually I did pretty well despite the time pressure. (The fact that she was a very tiny doll definitely helped.) I decided to do a rainbow-themed doll but I wasn’t able to find any fabrics or ribbons that even resembled a rainbow. So, as an alternative, I decided to just do a multicolored doll instead. I found this multicolored fabric that did the trick.       Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015

I wasn’t sure what to do for her hair or which color her hair should be. But then I came up with the idea of using strands of different colored ribbons for her hair in order to keep up with the multicolor/rainbow theme I had envisioned for this doll.

Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015        Okay, so I got carried away by using some zebra-striped ribbon for one of the hair strands. (LOL!)       Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015

While the ribbon hair looked great cascading down, it all tended to bunch up at the top. I decided to take a fake flower and glue it on her head upside down in order to create a floral hat.

Art Dolls Workshop, June 28, 2015

Anyway, I had fun creating that art doll and I was satisfied with the result.

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