Absent friend

This is one of those off-topic posts.

The reason I got interested in computer graphics software was because of a friend of mine, with the appropriately cosmic name of Denny Ray. I met Denny on an Irish Traditional Music forum. Chiff and Fipple contains many sub-forums that are related to Irish music in varying degrees, and one sub forum, the “Post-structural Pub”, was particularly miscellaneous. Denny had joined when the forum was still fairly new. Along with his trademark dry humor, Denny also liked to post links to unusual scientific discoveries, TED videos, and odd news in general. And, every single day without fail, he posted a link to the APOD — Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Every time he posted the APOD picture, people in the Poststructural Pub would comment on it. Some of the comments were serious, some were silly, and some were visual puns and jokes.

It became my goal to make Denny laugh. I started making visual spoofs on the APOD pictures, and had so much fun doing it that I bought a graphics tablet and software so that I could make better ones.

Original APOD

Denny Cat's Paw

Caroluna tries to make Denny laugh

Carol's cat's paw


Doing these computer graphics projects became a big part of my daily routine, and a part of my identity.

Denny post 2 Later on when I got a job that involved working with MS Publisher, it was much easier to tackle that software because I had already beat my head bloody against the keyboard trying to get Corel Painter to work.



So I have Denny to thank, for my willingness to push through the frustration of learning new software. As I try to learn MC Edit, WorldPainter and Avanti, I say a silent thank you to Denny.



And it has to be a silent thank you, because Denny is no longer with us. He passed away about 2 years ago. I still think of him when I read anything about astronomy, or  when I listen to a TED talk, or watch a NOVA program about quantum mechanics. I also think of him whenever I see draft horses, because he and his wife raised Shire horses.


Denny for blog


Hello Denny where ever you are, and thank you for the ways you influenced my life.




We miss you.


Denny post

Denny post 3

No more Lego scientist ladies???



I was disappointed to read that the Lego company does not intend to continue its Lady Scientist series, or even, to make any more of the original set. This set sold out in about two weeks. Here’s the article where I read the sad news!


That’s such a shame. I was really looking forward to a Lego entomologist, botanist, or ornithologist. The Lego company is really missing out by not continuing this series. A lot of adults enjoyed playing with them too!

Publish or perishPicture found here

So how does this tie into Minecraft, you might ask? Well…to me, Minecraft is like a form of digital Legos (except you don’t step on them in your bare feet on the way to the bathroom at 3 am).

Minecraft has kept the broad appeal that Legos used to have. If you want pink and purple and pastel colors, there’s now stained glass panels and colored clay. If you want to blow things up (or get blown up) there’s lots of ways to do that. You can built fortresses — or cute homes with a fence and flowers in front — or magnificent cathedrals — or geodesic domes. You can farm, and raise animals. You can make complicated things with circuits.  And if you like banging your head on the keyboard while learning new editing software — there are hours and hours of fun for you!

So — great job, Notch for inventing Minecraft! and props to the folks at Mojang, who keep adding cool features! And thanks to all you out there who write the editing programs, develop mods, create new “skins” for characters, run servers, build adventure maps, make videos — so that Minecraft can appeal to such a broad spectrum of people.



Creator of the Earthsea books receives award

Found this at the blog The Marysue —

Neil Gaiman to Present Ursula K. Le Guin With Lifetime Achievement Award

Among the nation’s most revered writers of science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin’s fully imagined worlds challenge readers to consider profound philosophical and existential questions about gender, race, the environment, and society. Her boldly experimental and critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and children’s books, written in elegant prose, are popular with millions of readers around the world.




I would like to build a Minecraft world that is a collection of far-flung islands. I got this idea from Ursula Le Guin’s series of Earthsea books — I loved spending time in the world she envisioned, and want to have my own parallel universe version.


le guin books

Here is a map of Le Guin’s fictional world, Earthsea.


Map_of_Earthsea 2

 click here to see a poster-sized version of the map!

This new game looks pretty cool

I just read about this game and would like to learn more about it. The evolving critters look a little cheesy, but what a great idea! I would love to see this sort of thing take place in Minecraft landscapes. It’s already fun to suddenly see a school of squid or a family group of ocelots. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see something out of the corner of your eye and think “Uh, …what the heck was THAT?!”