Some posterize art with GIMP

One of my reservations in switching to Linux was Photoshop.  I really like Photoshop and I’m comfortable with it.  In order to get comfortable with GIMP, I decided to do a few little projects.  One of the filters that I really missed from photoshop was anisotropic filtering, but I found a wonderful filter for GIMP called Greycstoration.

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Ubuntu Linux [After a few weeks]

After a few weeks with Ubuntu 8.04, I can say that I’m ready to wipe the Windows partition for good.  I still have a few gripes, but for the most part – the money saved on software makes up for the minor frustrations.

Let’s start out with Kino: I used kino to put together a few little home videos.  I ran into problems immediately with capturing, but found that it was merely that I had to chmod (change permissions) on a file and I was off and away.  Adding effects with Kino is pretty awkward.  You have to apply the effects and then render a new file which is then inserted into the timeline.  This actually makes applying multiple effects, titles, or filters quite cumbersome.  At one point, I found that I had to export my movie and then re-open it to apply multiple effects.

Getting video to work smoothly on my websites accross multiple platforms has been a real headache.  I want my videos to be hosted by me and viewable in any browser.  I was excited to see that I could encode Flash videos with Kino, but I ran into some problems.  Exporting .flv files left me without any audio when I used the ffmpeg from the ubuntu repositories, so I had to get the copy from medibuntu.  Now I can export my movies in lots of different mp4 formats like h264, xvid, flv, etc.

Working with desktop gadgets got me a little pissed off.  gDesklets didn’t have a whole lot of widgets, and Screenlets were really unstable and unpredictable.  They would have strange startup behaviors, they wouldn’t stay where I put them, etc.  I ended up giving up entirely.  I may try Prism or Google Desktop sometime.

Avant window manager is great.  I did have a few problems.  First off, if you want to use any cool features, you can’t use the copy in the repository – you have to get it from their repository.  The upside to this is that they do provide frequent updates.  Sometimes it uses an application’s default image rather than the icon theme that I applied with GTK. The other big annoyance is that I can’t empty my trash using either of the included applets, so I have to start gnome panel, empty the trash, and then close the gnome panel.  Getting the gnome panel to stay closed requires you to use a button in the session manager that says “remember current applications”.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to undo or “forget” once you click that button and return to a default state.


My final annoyance is standards.  I thought I would be ready to rock with firefox installed, but as it turns out I can’t view videos at because silverlight only works on windows or mac.  Microsoft isn’t the only culprit, though.  I get an error message at, too!

School Districts

Lara spent some time mapping out the nearby school districts from Upland to Rialto and then ranking them 1-5 stars based upon publicly available test score data. 

  • Red: 1 star
  • Yellow: 2 stars
  • Light Green: 3 stars
  • Medium Green: 4 stars
  • Dark Green: 5 stars
  • Pink: No data
  • No color: Industrial area – No residences


To see the map full screen in your browser with the names of individual school districts, click here.


I was depositing some checks at the ATM yesterday, and I was in a bit of a rush.  I was trying to keep Devin under control as I swiped my card and punched in my numbers.  I stuffed the checks into an envelope and whisked the flap across my tongue.  The stinging sensation of the paper cut I got gave me an immediate flashback to the week before, when at a banquet I was licking the envelope for a thank you card to a preceptor.  The intern accross the table from me said “Aren’t you afraid you’ll cut your tongue?”  I shot her a puzzled look like: “Why should I be afraid of something like that?”

So I have created a new word from greek word roots: Glossectophobia – fear of cutting your tongue!


Touro Lecture Hall

It was kind of surreal being back in the classroom again.  I really had a hard time being there at first.  You see, none of the testing or anything we did counts toward a grade.  I felt really unmotivated, but then I remembered how stressed out Western students always are over their shelf exams, and I felt a little better.  

OMM Lab Tables

Of course, we also got to see where all our tuition was going.  300k went into upgrades in the OMM lab.  It’s really impressive.  They have HD video with three cameras and about twenty monitors.


Tonight we got to play a little euchre with Collin and Brian.  I caught them both “in the barn”.

Euchre BarnEuchre

Christmas Redux

The big news this year is the puppy.  We picked her up the day before christmas eve, and if you ask Devin who brought the puppy he says “Santa!”  Christmas eve the Santa Ana winds were really howling, so we named her Windy Holiday – “Holly” for short.  I had forgotten what it’s like to have a puppy.  She chews, shits, and piddles on everything.  She has dug up all Lara’s flowers in the planters out back – so that she can chew on the roots.  It’s kind of like having two kids that we’re potty training.

Devin and Puppy

The holiday didn’t include a whole lot of relaxation.  We flew to Denver, where we spent time with friends and family.  As soon as we got back, we did a birthday party – then drove to SLO.  When we got back, we did four more christmas celebrations at home.  When all was said and done, Devin had Christmas seven times! 

Cousins in SLO

Rude Train

I must say that public transportation in Colorado doesn’t fuck around. 

After we got off our flight in Denver, we had to take a train from the gate to baggage claim.  As the train approached the station a little guitar strum over the loudspeaker announced it’s arrival.  A pleasant recorded voice then told of the train’s destination.  We shuffled inside, and some musical chimes sounded followed by the same pleasant voice announcing the train’s departure: “Please step away from the doors”  Someone on the train next to us was rushing to beat the closing doors, and they slammed shut on the luggage trailing behind her.  The doors on our car shuttered and then flew open.  The same voice came blasting over the loadspeaker, this time sounding a little perturbed: “YOU ARE DELAYING THE DEPARTURE OF THIS TRAIN!”


So, we’re in Colorado – Devin’s really psyched to see snow for the first time! We must’ve looked like idiots playing in the snow outside Applebee’s.

We got to see Jenny and Alan and the famous Rocky Mountain Pug – Baxter. They’re doing well and really like Colorado.

Devin discovered his kegel muscles and found that he has control over one more appendage. He has fun making it go up and down and up and down.

I’ll post some photos of us in the snow as soon as we get back.

Merry Christmas,