Ben Crowder

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#art #releases #religious

New artwork: Of These Emblems II.


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#art #generative-art #python #releases #religious #svg

New artwork: The Gathering of Israel. For a few months I’d been thinking about how to symbolically represent this idea and eventually settled on a vector field (with artistic license rashly taken) as the best fit, at least for this version. The textures all generated in SVG via a small Python script.


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#art #releases #religious

New artwork: Alpha and Omega.


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#arc #cast #go #linode #object-storage #plain-text #s3 #slash #storybook #tools #vinci #writ

Brief and no doubt boring update on internal tooling:

As of a few days ago, I’m planning to take Vinci (logs), Arc (notes), Storybook (fiction writing), and possibly Slash (blog) and smush them all together into a new, streamlined Django app called Writ. (Fundamentally, they’re all tools for writing, and there’s enough overlap among them that keeping them split out isn’t worth it to me.) Still in the initial design/planning stage. Looking forward to simplifying things a bit.

I’m no longer intent on using plain text as the data store for my apps. The main reasons I wanted to do this in the first place: a) archival durability and b) rampant minimalism. For the first, I’ll instead have all my apps export everything to plain text whenever there’s a change. It won’t be canonical, but it will be a redundant copy of the data so it’s even more archivally durable. As for the minimalism, well, sometimes one can go too far.

Lastly, I’m looking into hosting my site statically via Linode Object Storage (ala S3). Still exploring ramifications — redirects, etc. Main goal with this is to make my site more resilient, and even if the object storage part doesn’t work out, I’ll still move the site over to a new static engine (which I’m naming Cast, and I plan to write it in Go).


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#art #releases #religious

New artwork: Why Weepest Thou? (a variation on Woman, Why Weepest Thou?).


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#art #releases #religious

New artwork: A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit. Another style experiment to find something that I can do without making my back worse. This style — white background, more hand-drawn feel — is also one I’ve been wanting to explore for a couple years now.


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#coding #go #jai #zig

At work I recently had a use case for Go 1.16’s new embedding feature. Incredibly easy to implement (literally one or two minutes). Worked like a charm.

Tangential note that doesn’t completely relate but whatever, I’ll throw it in: every time I think back on embedding (which is not that often, thankfully), my brain gets all excited about compile-time execution in Jai and in Zig. (Both are languages I’ve only read about, to be clear. Might be time, though, to start building something in Zig.)


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Links #44

#covid-19 #electron #history #links #mechanical-engineering #medieval-history #personal-sites #renaissance #web

Tauri looks like an interesting lightweight alternative to Electron. Quill is the only Electron app I’m still actively using, but it’d still be nice to reduce its footprint a bit.

Ada Palmer on the Renaissance. Better than the Middle Ages? Doubtful. (Also, there was so much more plague over the centuries than I’d realized. Goodness.)

Robin Rendle on redesigning his personal site. The latter half of the post is what resonated most with me. Sometimes I feel like my site has gotten perhaps a bit too focused on smoothly delivering projects, at the cost of some character. I hope to restore some of that character over the next year.

Bartosz Ciechanowski explains internal combustion engines. His interactive diagrams are superb as always.

Donald G. McNeil, Jr., on the end of Covid. A fairly measured take, I thought. My wife and I are both fully vaccinated now, by the way, but we can’t unquarantine until the kids get their shots (mid-to-late fall is our current loose expectation on that).


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#art #releases #religious

New artwork: Take up Thy Bed. (This was an attempt to go back to a style that I think isn’t as hard on my back.)


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#disability #health #productivity #spondylolisthesis

Quick update on projects, or rather the general lack thereof these past few months.

Since messing up my back again in late February, I’ve seen a mild level of recovery, but I’m still far from where I used to be (which itself was far, far from normal, those good old days before I slipped on some ice and got spondylolisthesis). Some of the things I used to do (like art) now cause enough pain, whether immediate or delayed, that I have to avoid them.

I’ve also been dealing with some out-of-the-blue episodes of vertigo. So much fun, let me tell you. The worst seems to be over, but every time I turn my head things still get a little woozy for a couple seconds.

On top of my lovely collection of physical ailments, I’ve also been feeling mentally drained and exhausted after work each day. Not sure if it’s a side effect of the back and neck pain or if it’s 2020 finally catching up to me or if it’s the new job. (If it’s the job: my company just got acquired, so I’m effectively starting yet another new job. Exciting. I’ll write more about it soon.)

With all of that, I’ve effectively been taking a forced mini sabbatical from project work. Thus the prolonged silences.

The break has certainly been restful — lots of reading — but I do want to find a way forward with making things, even though it’s fairly unclear what that will mean. Whether I’ll ever get my back back to where it was. Whether the vertigo is a new long-term companion. Whether I’ll be able to keep doing the same types of projects. (Writing and programming are still fine, physically, so I expect more of both. Not sure about the rest.) Whether this begins the inevitable slowing down in life and what then follows. (Hopefully not yet!)

A quick endnote lest my somewhat bloodless portrayal of the situation keep humanity from seeping in (and to mix metaphors post-haste, I’m not casting my net to catch any pity here, just documenting what this experience is like in the hope that maybe somehow it’ll help someone someday): there have of course been many moments of frustration and anguish and discouragement. It’s devastating not being able to help out nearly as much at home. Not being able to roughhouse with my kids. A lot of time lying on my back trying to relieve the pain. (And a corresponding bump in the number of accidental naps. C’est la vie.)

The situation isn’t ideal, but situations rarely are. I’ll still keep trying to claw my way back up to better health, of course, but if this is my lot going forward, so be it. There’s not much use in pining after what’s unattainable. I’ve adjusted, and I’ll continue to adjust as necessary, and I’ll be fine.

Anyway, that’s the far too long explanation of why I’ve been mostly derelict in posting work here these past few months.


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