Book Sale

So, when I changed the format of the blog sometime back, I said I would cover other hobbies besides CGI. Well, two of my oldest hobbies are books and movies.

I love movies from all decades, I have them from 1931 (Dracula) all the way up to 2018. (Super Troopers 2 and The Death of Superman) I don’t go to the theater so much, mainly because I work 3rd shift and don’t have a car, so it’s rough cutting a large enough time out of my evening (when I wake up) to take buses to the theater to see a movie, and get back home before said buses stop running for the evening. But, I do sometimes get to the theater if I tag along with people who are going. For example, I went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story shortly after it was released and I’m going to see Mission: Impossible: Fallout on Tuesday. But, I love DVDs and Blu-Rays, and I have quite an expansive collection. In fact, I need to organize some stuff as I literally have movies everywhere. I work at Walmart, which has really enhanced my movie buying, mainly due to the ease of buying new releases, especially since I’m there at midnight when they release, as well as older films that are reduced.

As for books, I’ve been reading adult books since sometime in my early teens. When I was in high school, I’d usually read a few a week, my particular favorites were the Star Trek paperbacks. I still enjoy reading, but it takes me longer these days to finish a book with other distractions. One thing I like is having a Kindle e-reader, as well as the Kindle app on my phone, which makes buying out of print books easier. However, another thing I love are used bookstores. One that’s near me is Half Price Books, which has over 120 locations spread all over the United States. I’ve been shopping at HPB since sometime in the ’90s. Half price is usually the most you’ll pay for something, I’ve gotten many used hardbacks there for $5 or so. Great store. They also have movies, music, video games and various knickknacks.

So, every year for the past few years, they’ve been doing clearance sales. They rent a giant room somewhere and there are just huge tables of books, movies, games and music. I’m set up on games and I usually buy digital music , but I prefer physical movies and I love getting books at reduced prices. They rented an arena for this weekend, and my parents were going yesterday, so they asked me if I wanted to go. I wasn’t working last night, so I was like: “Sure, I’ll sacrifice some sleep for that.” Yeah, it was worth it:

No, the lightsaber isn’t something I bought yesterday, it was there, so I left it for ambiance. Also, it’s sort of sad that my bed was the only uncluttered space to take this pic, aside from portions of the floor.

Anywho, 11 paperbacks. At 50 cents a piece, they were a steal. There were other Star Trek books, some of which I have already, and I stayed away from ones that were part of series, (which left out the Star wars books they had) as tracking down the rest of said series at decent prices would involve the Internet, where you have to take someone’s word for it that they’re in good condition. As you can see, the ones I bought are in like new condition. Aside from trade ins, HPB also gets inventory from close out sales and whatnot. So, it’s doubtful most of these have been read. I got mostly numbered TNG novels. Some I read back in the ’90s, so I won’t remember them, others this will be the first time. I also got one TOS novel, 2010: Odyssey Two and a cool Terminator novel that’s a better follow-up to T2 than T3 was. There’s another one by the same author that I’ll have to track down. So, good buys. 11 paperbacks for $5.50.
Amazon charges list prices for Kindle books, so I couldn’t get one for that much money.

The DVDs were just what I found that I like and didn’t have. Lots of comedy, especially Adam Sandler. I watched Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo again last week on Hulu, I’d forgotten how funny that is. It was Happy Madison’s first movie, though Adam Sandler isn’t in it (his voice is.) I got a few films he is in, Happy Gilmore is my favorites of his. Jay and Silent Bob Strike back is just dumb fun, I watched that again this morning. And, I got some stand-up comedy. My mom found the Jeff Foxworthy DVD, and
let me know about it because I’m a big Foxworthy fan. Plus, she’s gonna want to borrow it. The absolute best movie I bought is Tarantino’s first film, Reservoir Dogs. I’ve been wanting to watch that again, so it was the second DVD I put in last night (after Jeff Foxworthy.) And, The Italian Job because it’s a fun heist film, and some Sci-Fi (naturally.) The good Pirates of the Caribbean film, and somehow I didn’t already have Superman Returns. I’m a big Superman fan, so that was an essential buy. The copy of Highlander is, unfortunately, one of the old laserdisc transfers with the shitty non anamorphic widescreen, but for $2 who can complain? So, 14 DVDs for a total of $28.

All said, including a 99 cent cloth tote bag to carry everything (that sumbitch was full too) and taxes, $30-something. So, I really cleaned up.

Afterwards, it was the Olive Garden for dinner. Then, back home for some DVDs and gaming. I always clean my discs when I buy them used, as well as cleaning or replacing the cases, condition determines which it is. I have spare cases, due to transferring a bunch of movies to a CD binder when I was in the Army (for portability) and that “went missing” when I was in Afghanistan (damn thieving roommate) so there was nothing to return to the cases when I got out of the Army. So, I use the cases to replace worn out ones for my used movies and games. I cleaned up the Foxworthy DVD first, which is why it got played first, while I was cleaning the others. 🙂

So, just a fantastic day, so I thought I’d share.


Rampage Movie

Part of me wants to love this:

Probably the part of me that owns these:

However, another part of me is pissed off that they changed the back story. In the games, the “monsters” are mutated humans. In the movie, they’re mutated animals. Also, Lizzy wasn’t a crocodile.

Christmas Haul 2017

Well, Christmas has come and gone. It was a good season, though busy, especially given that I work in retail. Anyway, here are a couple things my mom got me for Christmas.


No, my mom didn’t buy me beer. She got me and my dad matching steins. I provided the beer. (gotta take ’em for a test drive after all) Seriously, people I work with were like: What, she didn’t provide anything to put in it? I’m like: I’m 38, I think I can buy beer. 😛

She also got me this:

Now, this is wickedly awesome. I’m not much into comic collecting, but she knows I love reading comics and thought (correctly) that I’d like this vintage beauty. I’ve of course read it before, but it’s always worth a re-read, as this is the comic adaptation of my favorite Star Trek movie. Anyway, wickedly cool.

And, of course, ’tis better to give than to receive. My mom wanted a kitten, so we found her a free one. She’s adorable. When it comes time, I’m going to pitch in on the spaying when she’s big enough. For my dad, he wants some tool thing that’s about $100, so I’m going to order that for him. And, of course, I spent some time with family, when I wasn’t working, including my uncle that I only see ever few years because he lives in Colorado and I live in Ohio. He was visiting, which was nice, and my grandmothers and a couple of my aunts stopped by. Good times. And, on Christmas Eve, I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I absolutely loved it. I have three days off in a row at the end of next week, I may go again, and I’m looking forward to the Blu-Ray release, which I’ll get at work as usual.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a good Holiday season and I hope we’re all ready for a new year. 🙂


So, I went to Hobby Lobby the other day. Aside from trying not to salivate on the model kits, particularly the Rogue One ISD, Reliant, Enterprise 50th Anniversary model kit (original AMT model) and the Batwing from the 1989 Batman film, I noticed they had wood and metal wall signs on sale. So, I picked up something totally awesome:

It’s a metal sign, and Optimus Prime is actually punched into the metal, so he really pops out. The paint is nice and shiny, and it looks really cool. I’m a huge G1 Transformers fan, so finding this really made my day. 🙂

Changing Times

Some of you may have noticed, the blog got a new title.  Well, there are a few reasons for this.

As I’m sure many people of noticed, my more recent posts have nothing to do with CGI.  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to do CGI anymore, this just means my hobby focuses are shifting.  One thing that’s great about CGI is that it’s cheap, compared to many other hobbies.  Many hobbies require a constant inflow of currency, money spent to buy materials.  CGI is one of the exceptions.  With free software being what it is these days, you can literally start with no more out of pocket expense than a decent(ish) computer.  Of course, what you will be able to do with said computer depends on how much money you put into it.  However, even a budget laptop can be used to create models, if little else.  I believe I’ve touched on this before, but I was unemployed for quite some time.  While I was struggling to find work with an economic recession and faulty criminal background checks working against me, (common name) CGI was there for me.  With an OK computer and cheap or free software, the sky was the limit.  All it takes to make CGI models and do images, animations, etc. is time and patience, of which I had plenty.

Continue reading

Seven Years Later

Well, apparently, I started this blog seven years ago, according to WordPress. I know It’s been a bit lean of late, and I apologize for that. Work has kept me busy, but I’ve been feeling the modeling bug biting me again recently. Plus, I may have something non 3D to show in the next couple days, possibly tomorrow if the FedEx driver delivers it. 😀

Support Ship, Pt. 01

I had an interesting experience the other day.  I decided to try BSD on my main computer.  For people who don’t know what that is, it’s basically pure Unix.  Unix is the original computer operating system and all modern operating systems are based on it, even Windows at some level is based on Unix.  Mac OSX and the Linux kernel are more indicative of Unix and how it works as they’re more closely based on it.  So, I decided the other day to try GhostBSD on my computer.  Before installation, I checked to see if it can be dual booted with Linux, which it can.  However, during installation, instead of just installing onto the partition I told it to use, it decided to wipe my entire hard drive.  So, I lost all of my data on my computer (fun, fun.)  Anywho, a lot of it was junk, but there were a few things I’d like to have kept.  Most of it was stuff I can get by downloading it again, like my CGI reference library and fan films, etc.  I was running a restoration program that is available for Linux.  It was working fantastically, but the problem was it was finding every file that had ever been deleted and not overwritten.  Plus, it was giving them names staring with f, then a long number sequence and the file extension.  It was going to take forever to go through all of that junk.  Plus, it was just taking up way too much space on the HD and it wasn’t anywhere near being done.  So, I decided to abort that and just rebuild my libraries of reference images, fan films and whatever else.

One of the things I lost that made me unhappy was my CGI ships.  I have some of my old stuff from Lightwave on Dropbox, but I lost other stuff.  I also lost my ship I was working on in Blender.  But, such is life.  Anyway, after getting Linux Mint reinstalled on my computer and starting things like re-downloading my library of games on Steam, I decided to start on a new ship.  Prior to losing all of my data, I’d been working on some non-Trek stuff, but it was going nowhere quickly.  I had ideas, but they looked better in my head than they did in 3D.  (it happens)  So, since I lost that crap anyway, I decided to do a new Trek ship.

I deiced to go with a “future” Trek ship, something from after TNG.  I’m leaning towards it was commissioned somewhere around the year 2500, or Stardate 77-something.  (2375 was the year the Dominion War ended, with Stardates in the 52000s)  It’s pretty basic so far, but the main hull took a long time to work out exactly how I wanted it to go.  In fact, that took an entire day of pushing polygons around and seeing how it looked with subdivision applied.  (the thing started as a simple 8-sided cylinder)  Anyway, it’s about where I want it and pretty soon I’m going to apply that subdivision modifier so that I can start adding details like grid lines, windows, etc.  Though, I don’t figure it’s going to have a lot of windows.  I have already started detailing the nacelles.





This is a small ship, it’s only about 84 meters long.  (I’ll give more solid numbers once I get the sub-d applied to the main hull)  It has 5 decks and I figure a crew of only 20-30 people.  Obviously, a ship this small wouldn’t make a good explorer or any other type of ship that goes on long term missions.  But, that’s not a problem because this isn’t that kind of ship.  It’s a support ship for a Starbase.  (think about the role of the Defiant on DS9)  Basically, it’s a ship they use when they need to send a ship out to do something like a planetary survey, or go scan an anomaly, or something along those lines.  So, go out, do its mission, then RTB.  Nothing long term.  When it’s not on a mission, it probably flies defensive patrols in the general AO of the Starbase.  I figure a ship of that type doesn’t need to be huge anyway and a Starbase would likely have other ships nearby it could call in for bigger missions.

So, that’s what I have so far.  More to follow.  🙂

Blendering, Pt. 03



It’s obvious what this is. I just have to do the grills, the bussard collectors and that little light on top and it will be done. I put a little shiny material on it to make sure there weren’t any hidden errors.

I’m really liking Blender. The work flow is so smooth and effortless. Plus, I can build most of this stuff very similarly to how I did it in Lightwave. Sure, some things are better in LW, but some are actually better in Blender. My favorite thing right now: edge loop select. Freaking genius! Select a couple points in a line, hit that and it selects the rest. I had to go around and lasso select them all in Lightwave. Unless the space was too tight for the lasso select to work, then I had to do it manually. Ugh.

Blendering Pt. 02

It’s going to be a mixed bag of things while I work at figuring out in this software.

I do have one mesh that I built in Lightwave that is ready for import into Blender, because I built it specifically to be exported and imported. It’s the Vulcan shuttle I built for Tobias Richter that (as anybody who follows Star Trek: Axanar knows) he used in the video for the latest Axanar Indiegogo campaign. Since I built it for export and import into Maya, I already had the ngons triangulated and everything was already UV unwrapped to make it easy for Tobias to pop the .fbx export into Maya, reattach the textures, fiddle with the materials and get cracking. Similarly, I imported the .lwo object into Blender, separated the ring from the main hull so that I could use the ring UV map, applied the edge split modifier so that it doesn’t look like garbage, and set to reapplying the textures and setting up the materials.

There ended the easy part. The last time I messed around with textures in Blender was 7 months ago, so I had my work cut out for me remembering how to do it. I more or less remembered the shaders I wanted, but remembering how to set up the nodes as another story. Fortunately, there are other people wondering how to do this stuff, so I just had to do a simple web search. I found a few node setups and those got me on the right track, it was just a matter of tweaking stuff to get it where I wanted it. Anyway, this is where it stands right now:


Vulcan Shuttle Orbit

Here’s a little shuttle porn for the Trekkies in the audience.  Unfortunately, I found that the shuttle has its good and bad angles.  More bad than good, at least as far as doing dynamic angles with planets and whatnot.  And, alas, I still suck at making planets in 3D.  After working an hour or so on a planet in Lightwave, I finally threw my hands up in disgust and just used one of my GIMP planets.  I altered the color and a few other things to try and make it look like Vulcan.  (Vulcan has an inconsistent look between the series, which helps)  I probably overdid the city lights, since I don’t think Vulcan is that densely populated, but oh well.  😉


For the second one, I put the shuttle in against a NASA photo of Earth. I figure ships like this would ferry Vulcans to and from the planet. Really, with the size of the shuttle (35 meters) and assuming the ring is a warp nacelle, this type of shuttle may even make routine trips between Earth and Vulcan.