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Alex Schroeder
Emacs, Lisp, Perl, Wiki, D&D
Emacs, Lisp, Perl, Wiki, D&D
Alex's posts

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This post is pinned to show at the top of my profile – it is the about me post. I'm on Google+ to talk about role-playing games, most of the time. I'm also interested in history, coding, and a few other things. I use collections to categorize my public posts and almost all of my posts are public.

My Blocking Strategy
I'll block people who circle me if nothing in their profile or posts tells me that we have stuff to talk about. This takes care of spam and I don't feel too much like I'm being watched by bots.
I'll block people who send me notifications of posts that annoy me. Almost all of them annoy me, but I'm more forgiving when these posts look like mistakes. Mistakes happen and the user interface isn't all that obvious.
I'll block people who's comments elsewhere I find offensive. I'm hoping that this doesn't create a political filter bubble—but if I'm creating a filter bubble of politeness and reasonableness, then I'm OK with it.
Everything else can be handled by uncircling.

My Blog
I also keep a blog/wiki: – that's where I post stuff that I expect to keep around for longer. Who knows how long Google+ will last. I don't cross-post a lot. I might often link to a post on my blog when commenting on somebody else's post, but I'll only link to my blog on my own posts when I think there's something worth discussing for a bigger audience. I know, many people have moved their online presence to G+ and don't keep blogs anymore. I guess I still like the idea of running my own site.

How To Contact Me
I hardly ever do video or voice chats and thus no hangouts. I prefer mail:

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Apparently March 25 is Tolkien Reading Day and I decided to read some pages of The Children of Húrin, and thus was the shadow lifted for a bit and I was carried away by these songs of old and words of power. Does not the heart of man desire release from the dark moods that are his doom? And ever in good books such solace as I needed was granted to me, and thus it has been ever since the years of my youth when I first heard of Orcrist and Glamdring. 

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If you liked the movie Nausicaä and you like comics, you absolutely need to read this comic. When I bought it I had no idea how different it was from the movie. The movie is like a short intro, the first chapter, a glimpse of the entire thing. Yes, it has all the animation of the forest and of flight, and that's great. Now read the comic with those colors and those movements in mind and it'll be great. Totally recommended.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind ( ) is a manga by Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki that ran from 1982 to 1994. It tells the story of Nausicaä, a princess of a small kingdom on a post-apocalyptic Earth with a bioengineered ecological system, who becomes involved in a war between kingdoms while an environmental disaster threatens humankind.

Prior to creating Nausicaä, Miyazaki had worked as an animator for Toei Animation and Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS), the latter for whom he had directed his feature film debut, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979). After working on an aborted adaptation of Richard Corben's Rowlf for TMS and the publishing firm Tokuma Shoten, he agreed to create a manga series for Tokuma's monthly magazine Animage, initially on the condition that it would not be adapted into a film.

Nausicaä was influenced by the Japanese folk tale The Princess who Loved Insects, a similarly-named character from Homer's Odyssey, the Minamata Bay mercury pollution, and various works of science fiction and fantasy by Western writers, among other sources. The manga was serialized intermittently in Animage from 1982 to 1994 and the individual chapters were collected and published by Tokuma Shoten in seven tankōbon volumes. It was serialized with an English translation in North America by Viz Media from 1988 to 1996 as a series of 27 comic book issues and has been published in collected form multiple times.

Since its initial serialization, Nausicaä has become a commercial success, particularly in Japan, where at least 11 million copies have been sold. The manga and the 1984 film adaptation, written and directed by Miyazaki, received acclaim from critics and scholars for its characters, themes, and art. The manga and film versions of Nausicaä are also credited for the foundation of Studio Ghibli, the animation studio for which Miyazaki created several of his most recognized works.


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A few days ago I started wondering whether there was an efficient way to draw new face elements for my face generator on a tablet. I used the iPad, the Apple Pencil, and Procreate, started a new image based on the empty grid I always use, used a separate layer for every kind of element (one layer each for eyes, nose, ears, mouth, chin, hair, and extra), exported the image as a PSD file, used ImageMagick to get at the separate PNG layers, split the PNG layers into the various tiles, made sure the naming conventions were good to go, and here we are.
A few things to note: no effort at categorisation was made. For now, the generator mixes all the elements even if later the long ears will be used for elves only, for example. It's just a first stab at things. I also feel that there ought to be no gender differences as far as eyes or mouth are concerned because I'm assuming no makeup (or equal use of makeup, I guess). I'd like to see how far I can get with sticking to just the chin and baldness as far as sexual dimorphism goes. I think it might work even though we're pretty used to makeup and hairdo these days.
Anyway, this is the first time I'm seeing some random faces assembled from my PSD file. The proportions still seem to be off. What's wrong with these heads. Too small, too round? Need more hair? Men need stronger jaws? Something is still wrong.

This is the template, if you want to give it a try:

If you do it, I'd love to get your PSD file to add to the web app. Hoping you're as willing as I am to dedicate it to the public domain. That makes it easier for everybody else to just use the generated faces for their character sheets, booklets, or whatever they're doing.

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Fear of the Pegasus makes me give the face generator another try. 

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I figured out a way to draw face elements for my #facegenerator using Procreate on the iPad. Sadly, it turns out that this is a lot more work than just doodling face elements with a fountain pen on sheets into 5x5 rectangles per page.
What should I do now? Go back to using my fountain pen? Work on optimizing my workflow? I think my first attempt at improving the workflow is going to be a 5x5 template to use within Procreate. Then use layers for the various elements, and see whether I can do it all in one layered image.

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I guess orcs are just some projection of human id? Pig men, wild men? a common enemy at the beginning of a campaign? I still remember my introduction to D&D 3.5 running Crucible of Freya which was a castle ruin held by orcs. I liked it.

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I think I want my ogres to be more like ogre mages, and I want ogres to be basically "cursed" humans without going all the way like Pathfinder does.

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Fearing the drawing of a Pegasus. In order to fight this fear, I'll post a first sketch right now. 

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