Sunday, December 6, 2009

Email Test

I've been meaning to test the email feature of updating my blog for a while now... Below is a rendering of the ISS. The model was downloaded from NASA and rendered in LightWave3D.

First United Methodist Church in Marietta, OK.

An exterior and interior rendering of the church my brother, Les Bussell, pastors.

Modeling Victorian...

A home and a schoolhouse from"A Victorian Housebuilders Guide, Woodward's National Architect of 1896".

Underemployment and Taxes

I've been working here and there since May, making money where I can and doing my best to stay off of the Public dole.  The problem?  Though I'm making enough to stay in our apartment, pay our current bills, and feed my family; I don't have enough left over to pay any taxes.  None, nada, nil.  I wonder how many millions in the  country are in the same position.  Unable to find full-time employment or not making enough in contract work to pay for necessities and Uncle Sam.

Best I can hope for now is to put some needed software (Modo 401, iLife09 & iWork09) on the evil credit card and hope it's enough to offset the taxes owed.

I so hate this.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Employment and the New Economy

It's now been over a month that I've been on furlough from Paradigm. To be honest, early on, I was quite distraught, rushing to the Unemployment Office and signing up for Social Services. Now, after weeks of steady contract work from my former employer and others (thank God) we're doing fine. We've not had to tap into any State funds - which makes me feel better, as I hate taking from others for something I've not worked to receive.

What have I been doing? CAD work and 3D modeling, rendering, and some video editing. I've also been working on a family project that's hush-hush. I'm happier working from home. From time to time I become anxious, worried that my "all" won't be enough, but God, through His Holy Spirit comforts me and I quickly relax and get back to work.

More and more this event, or series of events, has me thinking that working under this new economy may mean working for myself again. Relying only on God, family, and myself for jobs to keep us under a roof and fed. The realization comes to me that working for yourself and having a job is no different - or shouldn't be. In both we have to produce enough to justify our income. We have to serve or provide product to enough people to survive, and in the end, God is in control and puts before us opportunities that we need to prepare ourselves to meet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Unemployment and Memorial Day

One week ago today I was laid-off. My resume' is now updated and have put quite a few "feelers" out there with people I've worked with over the years. There's been no bites (not even nibbles) but I've no doubt that soon I'll be working again. Of course, the word "soon" has a very non-specific meaning, and the older one gets, the longer period of time the word encompasses.

My boss, or ex-boss, at Paradigm has been very gracious, letting me use my office as needed and the company laptop during this transition. To increase my experience he's even allowed me to borrow the HD Camcorder to become familiar with its functions and features. On Saturday my daughter, Rebekah, and I took the camera to the Veteran's Cemetary. Being Memorial Day weekend, flags were set up alongside the entrance road. Waving gently in the breeze, Old Glory made for some wonderful shots of the grave markers, memorials, and grounds. Walking through the cemetary gave us some time to reflect on the those who've truely sacrificed for us, for our freedoms, our liberty, and made my current situation puny in comparison to the suffering some of them endured.

God forgive me for my whining. In light of the blood spilled for generations who, too often, view their sacrifices in scorn, contempt, or indifference, my current situation seems so small, so very insignificant.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Technology, Family and our Apples

Tonight we had an experience that 10 years ago would have been close to impossible, we connected via iChat using video and voice. My two daughters, one in middle Tennessee, the other in Texas, and we talked for hours over the Internet. Though the video was large there was only a very slight lag, nothing distracting.

The night started when Debi was trying to help my oldest daughter with her taxes. I recommended she connect to her via iChat and share screens - so she could direct my daughter with no, or very little, confusion (it is the IRS). That ended up being a great success and my wife loved the experience.

Soon after Debi called my middle TN daughter and walked her through connecting via iChat. Soon we were all singing and dancing to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody - seeing each other while doing it. We laughed and laughed.

We might have been able to do this with PCs...but Apple's iChat put all the video in one window and was extremely easy to setup and use. We love our Macs - love the fact that it's easy to use, to enjoy each others company. The good of technology without the hassles and frustration I've experienced over the years with Windows.

Microsoft is, in their current campaign, making a point about the cost of buying an Apple vs a PC - They may have a point, though I'd have to argue with the details on most occasions. The biggest benefit to me for the Apple is that I now have time to enjoy my family instead of troubleshooting and tweaking a PC. The Macs in the house work - yes, they just work. So save your money - I'll take my time so I can enjoy my family.

Thank you, Apple.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wide streets = Fast Cars = Unsafe areas for pedestrians

The ongoing obsession by a majority of cities and towns to create plans, standards and to build roads whose size is beyond any needed capacity is hazardous to the safety of it's people. The codes requiring overly wide streets are usually written by traffic engineers or by the "bigger is better" crowd. Neither focuses on the safety issues of pedestrians and children related to neighborhood streets. For example, we live next to a boulevard street that is designed for at least 2 lanes each way (they're not striped - that's another matter). I don't have an exact number, but from everday observation, the traffic count is extremely low and nowhere near the service level that would demand such a wide street system. The issue here is that because the street is overly wide, automobiles travel very fast on it - as it's perceived by drivers to be safe to do so ( no matter the posted speed limit signs). Adding insult to injury the street has no sidewalks adjacent to the curbs - so adults and children must walk or ride their bikes in the traffic lanes. A short sighted County engineer, planner, or official made this decision to build a road like this with no regard to PEOPLE, to safety.

I've been to enough public meetings to know that some will say, "Well the road is there for cars! Those people shouldn't be using it at all, or they should walk in the grassy area next to the road..." The statements are correct, but incomplete. Roads, since the Roman days have been built to provide transportation. The word "transportation" being interpreted broadly. Therefore local streets should be designed for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The issue here is that local land planners, engineers, and elected officials decided some time ago that they don't really give a damn whether citizen's have a safe place to walk. Their only thought is automobiles and the movement thereof. I don't blame the traffic engineers as that's their job - they move traffic - find the best most efficient way to move traffic. Who's to blame? Politicians, appointed officials, City Planners and ultimately us.

There's so much to be said about land planning and the obsession with Cities focus on cars - rather than on serving people - and how these issues reveal themselves. We'll talk more later.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Use of 3D in Evaluating Design

My first introduction into 3D came as I worked as an assistant land planner for Metroplex Engineering Corporation in Denton, Texas. The year was 1986. We had purchased an HP mainframe system and a Holgien Civil Engineering program to run on it. Within months I'd figured out that using a few commands it was possible to see the sites we've designed in perspective, and that it was possible to change the view. Fast forward to 1996. I had just left the Navy and had purchased LightWave3D as quickly as possible I learned the program and began marketing my newly found skill to architects and engineers.

Within a few months I had my first architectural job, an exterior shot of an office building.
Upon seeing the rendering the client immediately saw that he didn't like the roof the builder had designed. He had the builder change the design and saved several thousand dollars and hours, days or weeks of frustration dealing with a problem he would never have seen had it not been for a rendering. 3D modeling and rendering as a design tool is very effective for builders,
architects, developers, engineers - it let's customers see the finished product with little investment.

The renderings above demonstrates a Dr Pepper "can" used as a sign at a proposed baseball field. Several views were developed to illustrate the effectiveness from different areas of the park.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Taking Care of your Stuff

Scott Bourne and Andy Ihnatko have created a site to help you get your digital life in order. Well worth the read. In fact I recommend subscribing using your favorite RSS Reader.

Congress and AIG: Really? Really!

Watching the Sunday morning news shows this morning I had to laugh - you know, one of those "I can't believe you're this stupid" laugh. All of the politicians, leaders, journalists are so outraged, so angry about the AIG fiasco. I'm angry too - but not at AIG. I'm angry at our "leaders" in Congress who wrote a bailout bill that would allow bonuses like these to be given in the first place. These Congressmen knew what they were doing when they wrote this bailout. They knew bonuses would be given with our hard earned money, our sweat, our lives. They knew that performance bonuses would be given to people to reward them for driving their company into the basement.

I suppose that Congress thinks the American people are too stupid to understand that they are the theives in this situation. Congress was aware that AIG had a contractural agreement to pay bonuses if money was available to do so. If cash was available, then the company had a legal responsibility to pay bonuses (as the agreement would have assumed that AIG had money because it performed well). You see, it didn't matter where that money came from, whether it was from real company performance or the fact that our respected "entreprenuerial" leaders on the Hill handed them several billion dollars to save their asses.

Therein is the problem: Government beaurocrats and elected folk don't have a clue to the implications of bailing out failing companies. This is no different, in many ways, to the failure of welfare to create responsible working citizens. Generally people, when given everything they need, will not strive to change their current situation. Why should they? They're being rewarded for failing. Why succeed?

It would have been disaster to let the banks, etcetera fail, but I have a sinking feeling that all the bailouts have done is to delay the inevitable company failures and to enrage the populace in the process.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Snow in Memphis

A very small creek, actually a tiny meandering drainage channel, bisects the property where our apartment is located. The tributary is usually ignored, but given 8 inches of snow, looks absolutely wonderful.
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Listening to 1776 by McCullough, I'm dumbfounded by my lack of appreciation for what our founders lived through to give us this great and wonderful nation.