Back to Basic Anatomy and Background Drawing Practice

council3small

– Raine, Ian and Kyouko are my latest victims of anatomy drawing practice –
Sucks like there’s no tomorrow, I know. Shuttup, lol.

I’ve settled all debts with WSA. They better not be coming up with more random debts that I have to pay, or I’ll seriously scream bloody murder this time around.I didn’t check this blog for a few days and interesting spams landed in the spam folder. It seems like spams are geting cleverer with each passing day, but not clever enough to get as Akismet and Intense Debate. Good, all good.

Art: Once upon a time, I used to have a good sense of anatomy for drawing. I used to be good at drawing backgrounds too. If I could just find my three-chapter manga, fully coloured that I made when I was in Form 2, I’m sure they’d look a lot better compared to the ones I make now. The keyword here is ‘used to’, of course. I guess all of my previously acquired skills rotted away because I didn’t pay attention to them enough. Drawing a simple Bridge of Venice is a hassle now. What a shame.

I feel the need to start over and practice more. I’ve left my six-year-old Deviantart account (~sirius-angel) for a new one (=toffeepops) to start afresh. The journal feature is very useful for my random art musing, but random oekaki/sketch log will remain at Pixiv. I still couldn’t find anything better than Livedoor/ Blogger Alliance blogs when it comes to oekaki blog service.

Speaking of anatomy, I wonder if I should re-install Poser Figure Artist or just stick to Posemaniacs. The latter is probably the best online reference ever.

Languages: While my command of Japanese is getting better (but I don’t have time and money for this year’s JLPT), my Italian and Spanish are dying. I keep being confused between Italian, Spanish and French words. A small mistake could lead to my whole sentence being written in a different language than the one I originally intended for it to be. Sucks. Also, I think it’s high time I start learning to read and write Thai. Knowing how to speak the language alone is not enough anymore. I need to be able to write and read as well – for my own satisfaction.

Hosting: Ugh, I’m still at Media Temple. I have two weeks if I want to move out, but seriously I haven’t been able to come to a firm decision! Sad, sad, sad…

WordPress 2.8.1 and Disappearing Post Body?

I ran out of internet bandwidth while doing this, so the page load was SLOW. This is a problem on one of my WP blogs after upgrading to 2.8.1. The other blogs, while hosted on the same server, are all fine.

Right. A screencast, for once. This just shows how pissed I am right now at WordPress and whatever glitch it just put me through. It even pissed me off more than this pissy internet connection I’m experiencing (been two days). I was writing a new post at Junjou when this happen. The screencast shows only the editting, but the same thing happens when I try to publish a new post. Once I hit publish, everyhing would disappear, leaving only the title, catagories and tags.

Going to post revisions is totally hopeless because I’ll be greeted by blank posts. So far, Junjou’s the only blog experiencing this problem. I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s wrong with it. Could it be one of those many bugs in WP 2.8.1? Could it be one or some of the plugins? I don’t think the latter is the case because all of the plugins over at Junjou are almost the same ones I installed on Caramel Toffee. Losing a long post is so frustrating. I don’t feel like writing another version anymore.

On a happier note, I’ve just released a Tabula Rasa theme for Dreamwidth:

tabularasa-coloursburst

Live Preview: [info - personal] affogato // Info: Le Petit Graphix

I’m currently trying to make a WordPress version of it, one-column and two-column versions.

p.s/ I currently have over five Dreamwidth codes to give away.

Moving and Choosing a New Web Host is Taxing

Time for another long rant. I’m trying to save money by moving to a new host. Media Temple has been VERY wonderful to me that the only thing I worried about was money (hahaha). I worked last year, so paying for the site isn’t so bad. This year, though, I just did a little bit of work for very few clients before stopping completely. I’m in my last semester of university before I’ll be flying back to Malaysia for my last year teacher training (dread, dread, dread!). I like repeating that last sentence. It gives me a reality check aaaalll the time.

I actually have no idea why I’m being extremely picky about choosing a new webhost. Maybe I’m creeped out by the WP-Memory-Usage plugin showing me that on PHP 5.2.6, a very small blog like Caramel Toffee uses at least 20.2mb memory. Imagine throwing two more WP blogs, one Wacintaki Poteto board and one SMF board into the pit. The ease of mind only comes because I know at least 99mb memory is allowed by my current host. On Tektonic, I was always reduced to tears because of the VPS memory issues. On Hostgator, I was asked to either upgrade to a dedi or leave because of memory issue PLUS server load.

Oh, the heck? Caramel Toffee only gets 300 visitors at most per day. On normal days, it’s either 50 or 125 or so. Even Junjou only gets 500 to 1000 visitors per day and our forum isn’t as active as it once was. So what’s killing the memory? Poor scripts?

Oh, back to the memory usage stuff. On PHP 4.4.8, Project Catharsis uses up 15.6mb, but that’s understandable because I’m using NextGen Gallery plugin. I still need to be careful, though because Lax Host only allows 32mb memory limit. I don’t think I’ll move PC from Lax Host. It only costs me $10/yr with the free domain. The only dissatisfaction I have with Lax Host is that I have to manually CHMOD folders to 755. By default, new folders would be assigned to the permission of 775. I realised this when I was trying to get my CGI scripts to work. I kept getting 500 error page. Ugh.

I installed Akismet too late from getting Project Catharsis to accumulate over 1,800 spam comments labeled as ‘Awaiting Moderation’. Thank goodness for Akismet. Got it to check for spams, managed to get all messages labeled as spams and delete them all in one go. I need to remember to disable comments because PC is only using WP as a CMS, not a blog.

Basically, what I’m looking for in a new host and what I need are: Apache 2.2 or Litespeed, PHP 5.2.x, MySQL 5.0.x or 5.1.x, CGI/Perl, SSI, extra bonus if the server supports SQLite. If t supports multiple domain hosting, I want each domain to have its own root, not just an add-on domain where it points to public_html/addondomain. In other words, True Multiple Domain Hosting. SSH is a big plus because I’ll be needing it to do SQL dumps and direct file transfer from good ‘ol {mt} to the new host. From what I’ve read, most free site migration services only extend to sites previously hosted on WHM/cPanel. Well, what the hell? If I’m on WHM, why the hell would I even want to waste time waiting for them to migrate my sites when I could damn well do it on my own easily from the control panel? Somehow, the offer sounds very unattractive.

I’ve been offered reseller accounts, but I don’t need a reseller account. I don’t even need unlimited anything because well, it is limited (inodes, CPU, whatever else – what’s the point of having unlimited storage when you only have, say, 50k inodes?). I only need around 2-10GB of space with at least 10GB monthly data transfer (50gb-100gb at most).

Although paying for a whole year of hosting is money-saving, I don’t think I can do that. This is not about chucking out a lump of money. It’s about satisfaction. I like being able to pay on a monthly basis because then I could cancel my account and look for other hosts if I’m not satisfied (or need more features) after 3 to 6 months. I’m capricious that way. If I don’t like it, I move on.

I was seriously considering going for Vector Level until this evening when I get the glorious Page Load Error message. Their main site was (and still is at the point thentry is being writen) down. So much for still having 100% uptime for July (I checked their Pingdom). Hosts I’m still considering now are: Crucial Paradigm, Site5 and Webfaction. I’ve been considering A2 Hosting too, but then I won’t get the multidomain hosting that I want although their PHP memory_limit is set to an atractive 128mb. Aquarius Storage has 100mb initial memory limit which you can ask to be raised, and Pronet Hosting has the limit of 64mb, but the latter’s offering super cheap 1 year of shared hosting for signups in July – I figure they’re going to get heaps of signups. Then there’s AnHosting and Midphase, Pivotal Web and a bunch others which promise high performance hosting. I also looked at Malaysian hosts like DataKL, Mercumaya and Serverfreak, but of course they only offer yearly signup (like AnHosting and Midphase).

I need something of high performance because I’m developing something (more like experimenting) with RoR (pretend you didn’t hear that from me). Searching the web for something like ‘Top 10 Webhosts‘ is of no help. Most of them are listed as TOP 10 because they offer very attractive affiliate rewards. I believed them, once, and went for Hostgator. It brought me to tears six months later and I started cursing ‘unlimited plans’ like there’s no tomorrow.

This post is getting too long for my liking. I shall go back to lamenting and searching and comparing, then.

p.s/ Webfaction is winning my heart like WHOA at the moment~

In Which I’m Feeling Geeky, Giddy and Fangirly

newpmemo

Web Diary Professional with PaintBBS & Shi-Painter/Shi-Painter Pro integration
私の新しいシンプルなP-MEMOです:) これからもっとお絵かきをする! (LINK)

I wonder if there are English versions of their softwares, because all of them are really cool~ It’s a bit sad that you need to understand Japanese in order to fully utilise their scripts. I spent one day getting Web Clap and Web Diary Pro to work (because I desperately want to use the integrated PaintBBS, Shi-Painter and Shi-Painter Pro that WordPress and Wacintaki Poteto have been depriving me of). After hours of getting either ‘500 Internal Server Error’ or ‘403 Forbidden’ and a few more hours of tweaking the skin files, I now have a fully working Oekaki Log (or P-Memo, which sounds cuter). I’m so happy, because now my oekaki belongs to only me instead of a whole community. The fact that it’s actually a blog is a big plus.

I was deciding between Nicky!, Web Memory and Web Diary Pro for a few days before settling on the last of the three. Nicky! is pretty decent, but not as flexible as WDP. If you’re thinking of installing your own oekaki blog, I recommend WDP to the extreme (LOL). Here’s some extra bits of information to those who aren’t familiar with web claps and the likes:

  • Web Clap: It’s widely installed on Japanese sites, including blogs (like those hosted by FC2). Webclap is simply a script that let visitors ‘applaud’ your website content. They can also leave comments if they want to. It’s like the karma system, only web clap means giving good karma. I wonder if they have something like Web Boo! for the opposite effect. Hahaha.
  • Oekaki: The downside to being familiar with oekaki is not knowing how to exlain what it is, like what I’m feeling. Just think of it as drawing using Java appletsand then publishing the piece of art as a blog entry (or in a more popular case, pictures on bulletin boards). See, I suck at explaning what oekaki is, so feel free to Google it up if you need more info. PaintBBS, Shi-Painter and Shi-Painter Pro (the last is my favourite) are three most famous applets ever created for this purpose. Why the heck isn’t it integrated with WordPress yet?! EDIT: Finally found the most useful Oekaki plugin! Details in this post 😀

toffeepopssnippets

adlina-avatarAs I was working on the scripts, I drew myself a brand new avatar. I think is decent. I don’t know. It might be one of the most decent avatars I’ve ever made for myself.

Notice that all of them are in the same colour scheme. This is because I’ve designed for them to be integrated into my fanwork gallery, Toffeepops. Yup, that’s my finalised circle name. The last was discarded, and I registered under Toffeepops instead. It’s cute anyway. Toffeepops is multi-hosted, but the main gateway is hosted by 2Style, under the domain Sweety.Jp. I wanted Psycho.Jp, but I made a very stupid mistake… by giving them the wrong e-mail address. Moron. This is a part of Project Catharsis and the simplest site I’ve planned/made since 2004. It’s like going back to basics – less coding, more styling. Lol.

Okay, I can’t stay awake. I need to go to sleep for a while even though it’s only 7.55pm.

Waking Up Just to Fall Asleep

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– Project Catharsis website – Still under construction @ http://project-catharsis.com –

Sleeping from 7pm to 1 or 2am, and then stay awake doing random and not so random stuff like:

  • Proofreading documents I’m asked to go through for quality control
  • Translating Japanese doujinshis, mangas and novels for various scanlation groups (and individually). It is enjoyable, but very mind-breaking. My eyes are swirling from all those Kanji characters. Apple of Eden’s works are still okay (though the long discussion between Lal, Kusakabe and Hibari in ‘Sayonara Hibari Sensei’ is so full of kanji that my brain hurt), but Electrocks tendency to use difficult kanjis is a different case.Arrrr.
  • Abusing my worn tablets, sketchbooks, pigment liners and pencils to draw randomly. I need to finish my doujin “Inori” (the title may or may not be changed to “One Million Sandcastles” to match the fiction version), start working on Eleven Fifty Nine and finish at least the darn prologue of “Parapsypchic”. I’m still in the process of drafting out the whole Parapsychic universe including school curricula and organisations and a whole democratic and legal system. What have I started?
  • Brainstorming for the Doujin Overload 2009 Art Competition. It needs to be hand-drawn, which I think is fair for everyone.
  • Revamping Project Catharsis (http://project-catharsis.com). All of them. I reinstalled wordpress and cleaned up the tables. The site now is totally backed up by WordPress, CushyCMS and NextGen Gallery. I’ll need to work on integrating my manga viewer script with the site.Since I’m a sucker for cute applications, I love CushyCMS~

I tried to get WordPress blogroll to appear alongside the list of pages, but no matter what I do, using the template tag without arguments was totally hopeless. The original one was this:

[code lang=”php”]

[/code]

I don’t care anymore. As long as it’s not as horrible. I still get a decent drop down link list this way.

p.s/ I need to go sleep for a while. I should update my Dreamwidth as soon as I wake up or I’ll forget. Again. While I’m at it, I might as well draw and write for Kamikorosu’s next journal entry (moving into canon timeline now, finally).