Habits and Patterns

I noticed I do this thing.

I have this urge to create, and then, in order to fulfill the urge, I must buy a new sketchbook. Or new pens. New paints. Something has to change. This change will then be the trigger that will cause me to draw all the time, to finish a painting, tile the kitchen, write a blog post, whatever. I do this, and have done this, for as long as I can remember.

Yesterday I had a strong urge to write blog content. I want to blog more. I want to create website content for my website(s). BUT! In order to do that I need a whole new website! Before I could create, I need a new domain (ahem, roymisc.com). Now I am not encumbered by the weight and legacy of my existing website (cough roylindauer.com cough). I am free to, create! But what about the last time I did that? My current site was the result of this same cycle. I got it just right, so I could create content… Oh no.

Each time it is the same. This is the turning point. This action will be the change I need to fulfill my destiny and take my place as a content creator/artist/photographer/whatever. And every time I don’t create with this new sketchbook, or new site, or new pens, they become a burden and reminder of me failing. It’s mad. I can recognize the behavior now.

One very positive thing I have noticed in this, is that the urge to create is powerful. It exists! There are, however, some hangups and obstacles in my way (or perceived to be in my way) that must be dealt with. Now I guess I need to figure out what those obstacles are, and then how to deal with them.

Development on Windows

It has been a few months since I got a new laptop with Windows 10. For the most part it has been pretty damn nice. The UI is pretty good, the native apps are not terrible, Cortana is actually useful. It’s fine, until I want to do web development. There are all of these little things that get in the way, all of these little compromises. Beware, rant coming up..

For example, SSH. Putty is the go to for SSH on Windows, but it’s not a joy to use and now I have twice as many keys as I had before (because I need PPK, I cannot use my existing RSA keys). Microsoft has included an OpenSSH client and server beta with Windows 10, but it is not totally ready. It only works with ED25519 keys (again, I cannot use my existing RSA keys) because it does not support LibreSSL (yet). Fine, it’s just nice to be able to SSH directly from Powershell. However, docker-machine no longer works from Powershell since it cannot find the SSH binary or is using the new OpenSSH binary but cannot use the docker RSA key to connect because it only supports ED25519 and for some reason the command line arg --native-ssh only works if you are trying to SSH into the docker VM and arrghghhghg. Ok, so now I have to use the Docker quick start terminal and Powershell. Really the issue is OpenSSH. So, ok it’s beta, I will just uninstall it and go back to Putty.

I use Sublime Text. Sublime Text does not have a command line utility to open the app for Windows, which is annoying, but whatever. I will use Visual Studio Code because I really like being able to launch my editor from the CLI. But Visual Studio Code has a scrolling bug that won’t get fixed until Electron is updated (so, never I guess?) and is temporarily fixed by setting the app to fullscreen and back. So now thats part of my workflow, quickly maximizing/unmaximizing a window. Ok, so back to Sublime Text and navigating Explorer to open projects.

I am not able to use native Docker witout upgrading to Windows 10 pro. Native docker only supports HyperV, so I cannot use VirtualBox. I have projects that are dependent on Vagrant+VirtualBox. I am pretty sure that Docker Toolbox is on the way out. Not sure what to do here, other than dockerize my vbox projects.

Powershell is bad. It is powerful, but it is very verbose and requires significant knowledge of Windows internals to use effectively. The output of Powershell is terrible. Sometimes I cannot even see what is on screen because the contrast of colors is all fucked. Like, blue powershell background, with some content presented in, blue! WTF. Or the background of the text is black and text color itself is straight up #0000FF blue. Its literally unreadable.

I have a lot to complain about. I do want to say that I think Windows has come a long way and the future looks bright but it is just not totally there for me, yet, to do web development comfortably. A lot of my workflow has to change. I am not going to give up on it yet though. I think the take away here is that change can be difficult.

PS. Windows feels like a Linux. Inconsistent UI, requires arcance knowledge to use the CLI, but the CLI is required to do anything substantial, and in general things simply do not work.

Watercolor Wash Exercise

I am very impatient when it comes to painting, especially watercolor. However I was shown a great exercise for practicing and warming up that helps me slow down and focus; Creating smooth watercolor washes. It’s actually kinda hard to do. My first attempts are not that great. But I think this is a great exercise.

The images below are in the order they were created. I improved by the 3rd and 4th but there is still a long way to go. These should be perfectly smooth solid colors.

Definitely a few things to practice here. First being water control. Gotta get rid of the streaks. I am not using enough water and/or letting the paper dry. Second, brush control. I can see the strokes, and the directions are inconsistent. Finally, the paper warped and the water pooled up. It’s kinda shitty quality paper though. I’ll stretch it out next time.

Started Painting.

I have started painting. I would say again, but I don’t think I can really say I was a painter before. In the past I have half-assedly tried to paint with various levels of success, but it never stuck. It was a frustrating experience because I did not know what I was doing. I either lacked a real desire to learn or maybe assumed that “since I draw gud I should paint gud too”, or both. Definitely both. I would not have admitted this in the past but I need help and guidance. The ego is a real son of a bitch.

Swallowing my pride and searching online I have found some really great painters that I like who offer online courses and instruction. I have just barely dipped my toes into the water here but I already feel empowered to become the artist I have always wanted to be, at least the painter I have always wanted to be. It feels great! I’m not ready to share any paintings just yet, but I will. I have years of sketches and drawings and concepts that are dying to be realized.

So now I am starting to get into it. And reflecting on my attempts to do this in the past. It is pretty silly, but in the past I was hesitant to mix paints to get the color I wanted. I was always super impatient about it and would just go straight from the tube. I’d only ever mix white or straight up black into the paints. It was so damn limiting. And I was missing out on a surprisingly fun part of the process. I have also learned about the joy of stay wet palettes. Super nice so far.

I had read a story many years ago about a man who spent his whole life planning and preparing to create. He built the perfect studio, bought all of the best supplies, organized things perfectly. He spent all of his time building the studio, that he never created a thing. I do not recall where I read this, but the message has stuck with me. I have been doing this to myself for years. I’d buy art supplies all the time, but would never use them. They would sit beautifully on my pristine drafting table, arranged elegantly on my shelves, collecting dust, etc. I feel strongly that the cycle will end. Time to put these supplies to good use.

Switched to Windows.

For many years I have used Apple computers at home and professionally. I have been a champion for their product, for their stability, ease of use, and unix core. However in the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with them, from the operating system, to the hardware. I have been looking for a way to untangle myself from Apples “ecosystem” for a while now and finally had enough when I purchased a brand new Macbook Pro. It was a terrible machine and was the last straw for me. Time to rip off the band-aid.

So here I am, running Windows 10, and finding that I actually enjoy it. Perhaps it’s because it’s new and shiny, or maybe Windows has just come a long way since I used it seriously. It has not been that painful of a transition either. A lot of work has been done on the tools I use for web development that they are actually well supported on Windows. Microsoft is not “sexy”, or “cool”, or anything like that. But they aren’t trying to be, but they are making things for people to just get to work. I can buy a PC laptop that has a built-in SD reader, USB-3 and USB-C, up-gradable RAM, hard drive expansion, and powerful video cards options. That is no longer an option for Apple (it never really was I guess). Apple does not make computers for “power users”. They don’t make computers for me any more. It is unfortunate, but whatever it is just a tool, and for now I am choosing Windows as it feels like the superior tool.

I pushed Apple super hard at my job, for years, and now that our creative/development team are 100% powered by Apple computer, im out and moving back to Windows. Pretty funny, and I am sure I’ll get some shit for it. All good though.

I don’t want to forget Linux though. I have tried, for years, to use some distribution of a Linux desktop as my daily driver, and it is simply not there. Not for me. Development on Linux is great, but doing anything creative is pretty terrible IMO.