ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
In the category of 'not what I'd planned to do today,' I upgraded the PA site with a rather cool new feature: if you are logged in, overview pages will show you which pieces are already on your wishlist - and allow you to add new ones without having to go into the portrait page and interrupt your browsing. It's pretty awesome. http://portraitadoption.com/

(Also, there are new portraits!)

Someone asked if it was possible, and I didn't know, so I poked, and lo! It was!

(This is how most of my site upgrades happen, to be honest... :))

A bit of a headache today, crossing fingers it fades and I'll have MORE ART to share tomorrow.
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
I have been tackling a few bugs at Portrait Adoption - tricky, specific little things related to the new customization tools, mostly. And... I may have fixed them all? There was also a bug that had been preventing the automatic adoption downloads from working - a bug I was SURE was way, way over my head, and I'd been making sad puppy* eyes at my web guru. He couldn't figure it out... and then I DID. ALL BY MYSELF! Serious moment of power feeling. And because I'm awesome, I even added an extra email alert for lucky clients who have gotten their customization all finished up and have the new version ready to adopt.

That wasn't on my list of things to do today, but I AM still making progress on the list. No words, but some art - and then some unexpected art revisions which necessitated the bug fixes above! And I got coloring books out to TWO shops today, and picked up a paycheck for some sold on consignment, and Guppy got to play bubbles and it's a gorgeous day so I'm putting off the rest of the list until tomorrow.

I'll leave you with a photo from last week, when she could not be removed from her Snow White dress:




*Not related to any current writer drama related to awards or politics.
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
Today I have no particular genius to report, just dogged persistence and dutiful work: I AM DONE UPDATING PORTRAITS. Forever and ever and ever, I hope. That was quite the experience, and a huge pile of tedious, brain-melting work. Though it WAS sort of fun see a bunch of portraits I'd totally forgotten about.

Time to get the heavy gears of this project back in motion. There are a bunch of pieces to approve this weekend, and then we'll start celebrating the PA anniversary month in earnest.

(If my own gallery looks gutted, it has been. Some old files need found, some will be updated and improved, and several I just decided had worn out their welcome.)

...

Guppy and I went into town to go shopping and visit the post office this morning. It is still stupid below zero in town, though a little warmer in the hills where I live. My car thermometer only goes to -22, which is deeply disappointing. Really, Subaru? Really? I mean, c'mon - you START at temperatures colder than that.


...

And two last photos from our vacation. On our way back home, we paused an overnight in Florida, and scheduling was such that we didn't leave until evening. So I found us a hotel that was right next to a public park where we could go kill a few hours. It was really an enchanting little place - nearly deserted, with a duck pond, and some boardwalk, and informational plaques. It also had this funky frisbee-golf setup, which looked like a lot of fun.






...

Now, it's back to taxes, which are almost finished! And paying bills. Because this gal knows how to have a GREAT time. I do, at least, get to go out with a friend for dinner and a show tonight! Horrah!
ellenmillion: (kativa1)
My genius continues! I am on portrait #1760, and chugging through the portraits. Will I finish in January? Hopefully! (But somewhat unlikely... there are still a LOT left to do.) When I can't stand checkboxes any longer, I poke at programming and taxes. I have finished an incomplete bit of the claim code that lets me hold a portrait for a specific client WITHOUT having to through the submitted description section of the site. I'm not sure why it wasn't finished up before - everything was in place to make it work seamlessly. The site will also now SHOW the claimed portraits correctly, which it wasn't before.

And speaking of submitted descriptions, I also have updated the example page. It used to show only currently claimed pieces. That was okay if we had several active descriptions and people were actually producing artwork, but during slow periods, there was absolutely nothing to see. Not the best impression to make to a prospective client. Now, it shows everything adopted, claimed, or available, that WAS created for a submitted description. :) It's pretty impressive, actually, and a fun trip down memory lane if you were a PA member back in the day: http://portraitadoption.com/sd_teasers.php

Only 3 of the 8 portraits I posted yesterday have had color-claims! You can still pick one to dictate: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1496861.html

It continues to be brutally cold in town (-40ish), but a balmy -22 in the hills where I live.

I made Guppy go outside yesterday - we had skipped the day before, but I can't let TWO days go by without going outside. So, we wrestled into snowpants and coats and hats and mittens and boots, and she had a grand time romping while I gathered wood. Norway got to come inside for a little while - mystified by this requirement and not at all bothered by the cold outside (I was worried for my old man dog, but didn't need to be). He bounded back out happily went back to his run to lounge in the snow and dig for frozen hare heads.

I don't THINK he finds them often, but the other night he was playing with something and I asked him to bring it to me. Ptooey! Dead hare head. No sign of the rest of the body. Just a frozen, eyeless, hairy, slobbery hare head. Dogs are gross.
ellenmillion: (thud)
Slogging through taxes and updating Portrait Adoption. I think I'm a little more than halfway through updating aaaaaaallllllll those portraits. I've also started organizing my own portraits (and deleting a whole bunch of them). It's all grinding work, and feels very unrewarding at the moment. I know it will be worth it, but my brain wants to go skipping off in random directions in the meantime. I did pause to update the icons - now a wishlist is a heart, and originals available are stars, to match Sketch Fest. There are a few other teeny upgrades I may pause to do once I can't stand the stupid checkboxes or columns of data again.

Guppy was up once last night, about 3. "I'm sad. I need a hug. I'm done sleeping." This child is a master manipulator already. I got her back down, but am feeling rather zombie today.

It warmed up to 25 below yesterday, and is a balmy 15 below today.

Unfortunately, we've discovered that our outdoor LED lights are no good at about 20 below. They fail into a spectacularly nauseating strobe, totally seizure-inducing. It's awful. The halogens on either side of the house work fine, fortunately, but we'll be replacing two LED fixtures in the spring.

I miss having a working camera phone, and that is the reason you haven't been getting adorable Guppy photos. I need to take that apart today and see if it's salvageable. But that means backing the phone up, and I'm laaaazzzzzy (and hate iTunes).

Back to it...
ellenmillion: (RAGE)
It was an awesome morning! I was very productive, and I blew threw most of my household chores. Guppy was happy, fire was nice, even did a little sketching...

Then, there was a poop incident, and I broke the blender making hummus, and I tried to sit down to work on a coding thing that SHOULDN'T BE THIS HARD, and I just feel stupid. Seriously, Google. I consider myself bright and capable of self-teaching, but your API documentation is crap. What I'm trying to do is VERY basic, and your site just leads me around in circles and dead-ends me in depreciated pages. All I want to do is add a simple calendar event with php. That's all. It shouldn't be rocket science. And yes, I had a perfectly good script that did this until two weeks before my vacation, when you decided to depreciate the Zenlibrary I was using. Thanks for that.

Also, the back-facing camera on my phone isn't working. I need to take it apart and see if I can fix it, but it's VERY INCONVENIENT.

Urgh. URGH.


Here's The Hermit for my Sketch Tarot project, finished yesterday. Not linking to the project page this time, because I haven't updated it with new pricing. (If you find it anyway [not rocket science], I will honor the old prices. They will be going up SIGNIFICANTLY.)

I'm also working on another tarot thing, unrelated, that will be a big piece. A REALLY big piece. It's exciting.

I will do more travel-log when I am in an improved mood. It may take chocolate.
ellenmillion: (happy baby dance)
The monster is far, far less monstery today, there have been no unpleasant surprises in the basement (that I've found...), the cat got to nap contentedly in the sun all day, and the weather was so gorgeous that Guppy and I got in the car and impulsively went to the park:



We were going to get ice cream at Hot Licks, afterwards, but they were closed until noon. So we went to the post office (mailed an order), visited Papa at work, and went shopping briefly. A lady two ahead of me in line was short for her order and trying to figure out what to put back, so I put it on my credit card. It feels stupidly good to do little nice things. Also, we bought a lot of ice cream. (It was on sale!)

I also may have solved that tricky programming issue that I got bad news about yesterday... and what's more, may have fixed a long-time-didn't-think-was-fixable problem for that client. It's even presenting a possible solution to some other problems I had dismissed as 'too complicated/out of my programming league.' It's always rewarding when that happens.

So yes, as a whole, today beats yesterday into the dirt.

I even have another piece of apple pie leftover...

Thursdaily!

Jun. 5th, 2014 02:41 pm
ellenmillion: (juggle)
Has it been since MONDAY that I blogged? Goodness.

I've been busy with monster, gardening, and various administrative art thingies. I'm bumping coloring book submissions into high gear: I want to get these together asap! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/submissions.php

I've also been working on bits of programming projects. My latest moment of clever was figuring out how to make Facebook pick a particular thumbnail when I posted a link. I've got it working at Torn World and Portrait Adoption - Sketch Fest is next on my list.

I got trees for my birthday and have dug giant holes and filled them with topsoil for them. I was going to buy bags of dirt, but they were $60 for 3.8 cubic feet. I calculated I'd need 9 bags, which - no thank you. So I took the tank out of the pick up and got an entire load of topsoil for that same $60 (approximately 35 cubic feet). The holes were big enough to absorb 3/4 of the load of topsoil - now I'm debating a raised bed of some kind, or spreading it over the side-yard slope. It would be an improvement over the crappy rocky silt there now, but it might be pretty useless, too. I am quite sore from all the dirt slinging and root-chopping and rock-wrangling. But I have two teeny maples and two teeny apples! They look like little branches in the ground right now, but I will love them and water them and say sweet things to them, and hopefully they will not be chewed down to nothing by the moose.

I've signed up for two art classes through the Summer Fine Arts festival! One is for graphic noveling, and one is for digital photography. I'm SUPER excited about them.

We went to the library yesterday but were not early enough to get a slot in storytime this month. Here's Gramma and Guppy exploring the grounds:

ellenmillion: (bzzz...)
"I cook!" Guppy tells me.


I think she's practicing to be an accountant.

This is programming, in case you were wondering. (There is appropriately strong language...)

Still crawling back to health. Sound like a smoker, but have more energy. Planning to actually leave the house at some point tomorrow. I feel a little unfocused this morning, but I have finished a load of laundry. (A load I started Monday, but hey. That's still *something*.) Maybe I'll make cranberry upside down cake today. It's gloomy out, so a nice day for turning on the oven. I hear a baby waking up now... I've frittered my shower time away!
ellenmillion: (RAGE)
Nothing is quite as frustrating as finishing a really amazing, complex bit of coding... and having FTP fail to work so you can't upload and implement it. RARGH.

I had a cute baby photo for you, too, but seeing as I can't upload it via ftp... we're trying LJs photo upload:
overalls-needshaircut

She's gotten a haircut since then!

Some more of my older concept artwork has been going up at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/noncanonartgallery.php

and this painting: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=405
ellenmillion: (Sketch Fest)
Sketch Fest in an hour! Get ready to be creative!

http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

I've made a variety of cosmetic improvements throughout the site this month... mostly quite minor, but things that have been bugging me for a while. I also made progress on some big upgrades, but they aren't ready to roll out yet. (Sorry!) I also cleaned up a spam/hack attack - nothing compromised, just looks like a robot tried to 'purchase' a few pieces over and over and over again, presumably looking for a crack. Easily mopped up.

I should do errands today - we need groceries and I need to visit the PO - but I'm feeling supremely unmotivated to leave the house. It's 8 below, and I have a toasty fire, I'm still a little under the weather, and Ms. Minimus Monsterus is more than a touch whiny this morning. Besides, Sketch Fest!

And oh dear, that announcement list would probably be a whole lot more useful if I could remember to actually announce stuff to it in advance. I'm going to schedule the March Sketch Fest RIGHT NOW so that I give people enough advance warning.



Beating back brain lizards, in the meantime. Guppy asking (insistently) for attention now. Need to put laundry in.

Thursdaily

Dec. 5th, 2013 02:03 pm
ellenmillion: (ellen portrait)
I am triumphant! I have taken the coding project I have been poking at, beaten it sideways into shape, cleaned it up, and have turned it into something elegant and clever. All a day ahead of schedule! I feel quite chuffed with myself. I have also leveled up in loops. Significantly.

Tomorrow, locals can see some of my work and buy my coloring books at the First Friday at the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine. I will not be able to attend in person, but the lovely folks at the center will have a table with my work available. (There will be at one other artist featured, as well!)

Tomorrow is also Sketch Fest: http://ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

If I can manage two sketches, I will have made my year's goal for getting two for each Sketch Fest in 2013.  That is admittedly a modest goal, but one I feel pretty good about accomplishing.

On that same list of goals, I have a whole lot of unmet writing goals. One I think I can reasonably still make is the short story count: "25 short stories - at least 15 of which should be Torn World Big Plot stories and 2 of which should NOT be Torn World stories." I currently have 19, all of the Torn World Big Plot stories. I did exactly NO writing in October or November.  I was pretty burnt out on the series and got some legitimate but discouraging feedback that the last bits weren't much of a page-turner.  I have gone back and found a few nice comments that were left throughout the earlier installments, and refreshed myself on the plot, so I hope to get back in and spice them up a little, as well as get the rest done, but I'm not going to tackle that until next year.  That leaves me 6 stories - 2 of which should NOT be Torn World.  I could count the story I wrote for RTH that ended up being set in the wrong time and all backwards-like... if I do, there are still 5 due. I am going to aim for some flash fiction - maybe even drabbles. Maybe Jenny/Bjorn things? I feel writing-rusty. Any requests? I won't do anything formal like a prompt call, but if there's a sequel, prequel, fandom or anything that you'd like to see something short in, just ask!

In Guppy-stories, she's started saying "EW" when she wants her diaper changed, which is silly and funny, but totally appropriate.  We count everything now, but she's sort of stuck on two and five, with the occasional guess of nine. Also, she doesn't like ham. This may be the first meat she doesn't like.

ellenmillion: (working hard)
Trudging along!

No feedback on Archivistrix yet, which is always nail-biting, but I will push forward. Still need to select work for *Asterix and finish the last Fantastrix piece. (Naptime plan! Too risky to do while Guppy is awake.) I got some major programming for client #2 done yesterday and this morning, but no progress for Portrait Adoption. I have broken my plan into two principal sections: customer-end upgrades, and improved categories (which will be AMAZING). The latter is complicated and daunting - it may be deferred to much later. The former is starting to take shape and is pretty critical for security as well as being awesomely useful for buying things with credit, etc. As a bonus, in reacquainting myself with the code, I did a major visual update on the portrait pages themselves. That's already been rolled out with no fanfare at this time.

Today's photo reminds me that phoneshots are all well and good, but a great camera still matters, and I should get it out more:



Mother nature, in a turn for the sulky, has decided that rain is somehow appropriate. I disagree.

Thursdaily

Sep. 12th, 2013 04:04 pm
ellenmillion: (Sketch Fest)
Sketch Fest is tomorrow! There is a fabulous new password retrieval page - you will get a link if you log in incorrectly. (Thanks for the base code, [livejournal.com profile] marrael!) Note the awesome Sketch Fest icon that [livejournal.com profile] djinni made for me!

Up late last night - there was a storm of rain and wind that woke Guppy up just as I was falling asleep. And she woke up again about 3. I was back in bed by 4ish, but 7:30 was still way too early, even if it was an hour later than usual.

Have a photo of a banana and a serious baby:



I'm probably going to take a big creative hiatus from Torn World. I still love the project, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed in general, and it's not being very rewarding right now in particular. I don't have to make money with it (I'm definitely not!), but I do need to feel like I'm getting something back from my creative and administrative efforts, and right now, that's just not happening. I think only two people (literally) are actually READING the serial (I get NO comments, so I'm not sure.) and no one is active in the communities or on the canon board (our last community poll had two respondents other than me), our contests and Muse Fusions have very few entries, from the same two people over and over (and I love these folks, don't get me wrong!), and my last story has been in the story queue for almost a month without being reviewed by anyone, despite reminders.

I'm definitely feeling like I'm wasting my time right now, and my time is in pretty short supply. I do love the project, and I still have stories to tell in the world, but feeling like something is a waste will inevitably show up in the quality of work I do for it, which is just going to be a sinking spiral of negativity and poor material that attracts no one to the project and inspires no one else to get involved and only feeds my own feelings of failure and self-pity. I have no patience for letting myself continuing that trend. Or time!

I have a few ideas for how to keep it moving without me while I take a big creative step back for a few months. And then... we'll see what happens. For now, I have two or three shorts to finish up, a heavy edit on the script for the webcomic, and... I'm done for probably 6 months. That's tremendously freeing to think about!

I will still be writing - I've got some other stories I'd like to tell, and this feels like a chance to finally sit down and tell them. And I've got a lot of artwork on my plates - several commissions and that last Fantastrix piece, as well as a few personal projects that I'm looking forward to. Grow and change and stretch and challenge! I'd even like to try squeezing in some painting here and there, but that seems unlikely in the near future.

And... that was a lot of rambling that was more for me than you*. Now, some food, making cranberry bread pudding, watching half an episode of Dr Who, and some cleaning.



*I do want to emphasize that this is not a guilt-trip, this is a de-tangling of my larger feelings of being overwhelmed and looking at what I can whittle away.
ellenmillion: (sea monster month)
I have posted what is probably my favorite of the sea monster cards so far:



We are just $14 from the second stretch goal, which would be a drawing for an original among all of the sponsors (good odds so far, I might note!). $25 past that, and I add another sea monster to my list. :) http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1373367.html

I got the next South Meets North installment finished up and posted for the canon board, and the next one rough-outlined, AND the one after that started. Go, me! I have 'When Sea Monsters Attack' to write next.

I also have a load of laundry downstairs waiting for me to fold, but am feeling distinctly unmotivated. Given how badly my back and shoulders and wrists felt yesterday, I expected to be in agony today... and am pleasantly surprised to find that isn't the case. Sore, yes. Horribly hurty? Not so much. The gray sky and cool temperatures make me want to cuddle up with a hot drink and watch TV. Or at least cuddle a warm laptop and stare at code, if I must be productive.

Programming has been challenging this week so far - my server has been having a wretched string of bad luck. Support has been responsive, and it's not just a 'me' problem, but stuff that reaches much further. (Lots of screaming and panic in the streets.) While things were up in short bursts, I got the cancel button for buyers at Sketch Fest fixed up, and did a little minor client work. Another discrete task to do now, and I can go draw another sea monster. I've also got the framework for a waitlist mocked up at Sketch Fest. And by 'mocked up', I mean, lines of code that look like this:

#Some magical crap here that ensures claims remain in order.
#Now, double-check the status as we're setting this claim in case it's just been canceled or approved.
#I'll need tools on the management page to keep tabs on this stuff, too.
#Good gravy, what was I thinking with this script?!

Alrighty, how about a Guppy photo to finish things off? She has been Extra Monstery today, with a side of 'let's scream every time Mom picks up the phone.' And yesterday I was JUST mentally composing a post about how we won the baby lottery with an adorable little monster who has a really happy baseline mood. That'll teach me to mentally blog about how lucky I am.

ellenmillion: (orly guppy)
I woke up this morning to the Monitor beeping in hungry outrage - I'm surprised the baby slept through it! We are out of fuel, and the temperature in the house was beginning to fall. It was four below (outside) when I first checked the thermometer, though at this time of year there's a BIG swing, so it's already up above zero. I've got a call in to our delivery company. In other fun news, our Internet was out, too. It's been REALLY buggy the last few weeks, so it's time for a call to the provider. We've been reduced to watching DVDs, and darn it, we don't have season 2 of Fringe, just 1 and 3! (First world problems, I know. And at just 1 episode every night or every other, it will still be a while before we run into trouble.)

If you missed it, I have posted a question about shipping options at Sketch Fest: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1367570.html Feel free to weigh in! I have a few ideas, and it will be a SIMPLE system, whatever I set up, because I don't want to make the process complicated. No customer will be forced (or even encouraged) to shop from a single customer per order, or have to add shipping to their cart, or be required to register their country. No artist will be forced to offer shipping options.

Shower, now, not sure what my day is going to look like once the Guppy is up.



PS: New story installment up! http://torn-world.livejournal.com/147271.html
ellenmillion: (baby kitty)
Up earlier than I'd like - the husband and baby are back in bed, so I'm stealing some programming time.

Fixing a quick item with the new Sketch Fest logins, I am thinking about the perennial sticky issue of international shipping. Prices have recently gone up pretty steeply between most countries; I know I was caught flat-footed when I was expecting to send a card for .85 and was stuck with a several dollar bill. With Sketch Fest, right now there is one price option, and no shipping addition. This caused some squawks at first, but I explained the ridiculous disaster it would try to be to charge shipping when people are from all over the world buying things from all over the world, often together with things from elsewhere in the world. The policy right now is that you include shipping - taking into account the possibility of international shipping. This does make pricing particularly difficult. Is my $3.50 ACEO print going to cost me .45 to ship or $2.55? Will I be shipping this 11 x 14 sketch overseas??

So... I'm thinking about giving each product options. I was actually thinking about this idea a while ago in terms of originals - making the option of buying a sketch as-is, OR buying a to-be-finished version. That functionality would also let an artist give the option of 'shipped within the UK' for a lower price. (Assuming they were shipping from within the UK, in this example.)

Problems with this idea: it might not be clear enough to buyers which option they should choose. Customers can be easy to confuse, and that can decrease the overall number of sales. We don't really want to do that. It also might not be clear to artists who are posting their work for sale how to use the options. The product-adding forms are already pretty complex, and I can EASILY see an artist adding an option but forgetting to mention something critical, like which country this price applies to. The more complex a system is, the more that tends to go wrong, and the more I have to change it manually, which we REALLY don't want. Also, does it trump the prompter's price? Does the prompter's price get options, TOO? That could get dizzying pretty quickly.

What pluses and minuses do YOU see with this idea? Got another clever idea? Please feel free to discuss!
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)

(This, compared to yesterday's photo, is what I feel like when the programming ISN'T going smoothly...)


Real clothes! And a haircut!

Big, big programming progress at Sketch Fest and the Lilypad regarding security updates over the last several days. I just have a little testing to do, and then I think we'll be able to make the Big Switch. (Right now, it's all in place, just optional...) It never goes as smoothly as you hope, so there were some weird puzzling hiccups along the way. Hopefully all ironed out now! It shouldn't really impact users much, but it was a Huge Hairy Deal at the backend and really does help make the site more secure. By a LOT. I should be able to open registration generally now, too.

Want to get some writing done today, and some laundry. We'll see! Little Monster is becoming quite the demanding terror, so nap time is becoming PRECIOUS. I am, at least, getting sleep at night again, so NO COMPLAINTS.

*zooms*
ellenmillion: (Default)
Boo-yeah! Have converted the Sketch Fest prompt-counts to the brilliant (dirt simple) new system, and the prompts page is now loading at an average of .3 seconds. (With some variation, of perhaps 50, I've caught two loads over 1 second, and one of those was 21 seconds... but that was definitely not the norm, and many of them have been under .2 seconds. So, yay!) And that's with tags and counts working. Much of my list has actually been dealt with - much more than I expected by now. Some other key bits would be good to cross off before Friday, but we'll see. I'm pretty satisfied by what I have gotten done.

On the topic of Sketch Fest - are you stuck for a last-minute gift for someone on your list? Consider EMG credits! Your recipient can go shopping at the Sketch Fest site, pick up a coloring book or two, adopt a portrait, choose an EMG-Zine anthology, or subscribe to Torn World! You can even share your own spend-only credits with them, if you've earned them through writing articles at EMG-Zine, and you'll be supporting a small business and a community of artists. Just contact me if you'd like to do this - if I were truly on top of things, I'd have an awesome landing page with automated tools, but... er... not yet.

Another chunk of Rails written - some big reveals on the way and a major confrontation. *grins and rubs hands*

Look! Cute baby!


Getting ready to yodel into the Tang lid...

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