Creating Art with S Memo

In the last year or so, I’ve been creating art—mostly portraits—using S Memo on my cellphone. S Memo is like a simplified version of Microsoft Windows Paint: you get some drawing tools (pencil, brush, marker), an eraser, a text tool, a customizable color palette, and an undo function.

The whole thing began when I decided to surprise my friend Steve with a portrait of him. He has a bright smile and wears John Lennon glasses, so I did a quick portrait and texted it to him. He loved it, so I began doing other pictures and sharing them with him, and he encouraged me to keep doing them. He had a visitor from France and showed her some of my pictures, and she even commissioned me to do her portrait!

Left: the first S Memo portrait of my friend Steve. (Sep 2016)
Right: portrait inspired by Japanese entertainer Akiko Wada. (Dec 2017)

Alas, when I finished Steve’s friend’s portrait, I moved my finger to hit the save button. It got too close to the screen without touching it, but close enough to draw a gash of color right across her face just as I hit save. This is because my phone has a capacitive touchscreen, which relies on an electrical charge in my finger, so direct contact isn’t always necessary. This is also why I can’t use a stylus on my screen, thus limiting precision for drawing or creating custom colors. You can only save one custom color at a time and there’s no eyedropper tool to retrieve it if you need to use it again later. Even if I come close to recreating the custom color, the act of merely lifting my finger away from the screen is usually enough to cause the color to shift slightly.

Anyway, I told Steve’s friend I’d fix the mistake in GIMP and send it to her. After that, I began using GIMP to fix minor errors and mistakes, but Steve insisted that was cheating. The whole point of these portraits, he said, was they were done on a cell phone app with all the its limitations. Fixing them in GIMP was akin to fixing vocals in Autotune. I agreed and stopped using GIMP.

Since then, I’ve had to rethink how I do art with S Memo. I have to plan the order in which elements are drawn. I’ve gotten better at recreating custom colors, though they are never exact. I am much more careful about how I hit the save button. But despite these limitations, I can be more spontaneous and thus better enjoy the process, and not worry as much about creating an exact portrait of anyone.


Recently on Radiopanik (Dec 4 edition)

Here’s a selection of music I heard recently on Radio Panik, an online radio station based in Belgium.

“Grues” by Moussu T e lei Jovents

“Green & Gold” by Lianne La Havas

“Points” by Ruth Anderson

“Neon” by Baleine 3000

“En Léger Différé” by Mickey 3D

“Eight Corners” by Gastr del Sol

“Hot Tea To Tepid Tea” by Inaniel Swims & Sorry Sorrow Swims

“Metatron(ic) Rock” by Richard Pinhas

“Aubade” by Miya Masaoka Trio

31 Days, 31 Horror Films

Inspired by my friend @crisismattie, who tweeted his favorite 31 horror films in celebration of October and Halloween, I’ve created my own list.  Because there are more than 31 horror films I like, I’ve excluded some of the most popular and well-known titles (such as The Bride of Frankenstein, Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Exorcist, and The Omen) in favor of more obscure or lesser-known films.  I’ve also thrown in a few Honorable Mentions at the end.

Click image to enlarge!

Click image to enlarge!

The films are, in chronological order:

1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1920
2. Nosferatu 1922
3. Freaks 1932
4. White Zombie 1932
5. Island of Lost Souls 1932
6. The Old Dark House 1932
7. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 1948
8. Them! 1954
9. The Mole People 1956
10. The Giant Claw 1957
11. The Tingler 1959
12. The Manster 1959
13. Village of the Damned 1960
14. Gorgo 1961
15. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die 1962
16. Attack of the Mushroom People 1963
17. Manos: The Hands of Fate 1966
18. Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell 1968
19. Yōkai Monsters: Spook Warfare 1968
20. The Invasion of the Bee Girls 1973
21. Theater of Blood 1973
22. The Incredible Melting Man 1977
23. The Hunger 1983
24. Ravenous 1999
25. Bubba Ho-Tep 2002
26. Ju-On: The Grudge 2002
27. Taxidermia 2006
28. The Host 2006
29. Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl 2009
30. Rubber 2010
31. Dead Sushi 2012
HR The House in Cypress Canyon (radio play: listen) 1946
HR Beasts (television series) 1976
HR You’re Going To Like Rodney (radio play: listen) 1980

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Eurovision Song Contest 1963

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in London, England on March 23. Except for the winning entry from Denmark, I had not heard any of these songs until now.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Sweden “En gång i Stockholm”, Monica Zetterlund 13 (tie)
2 Denmark “Dansevise”, Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann 1
3 Austria “Vielleicht geschieht ein Wunder”, Carmela Corren 7
4 Germany “Marcel”, Heidi Brühl 9
5 Yugoslavia “Brodovi”, Vice Vukov 11

Jogobiz—The Case of the Missing Sales Rep

I used to work for a drug store chain and was in charge of ordering sodas. Once a week, a rep from each of the major companies would show up, check our inventory, ask if we had any sales coming up, place an order, and then a day or so later a truck would appear with our order.

Once, a rep from one company (let’s call it Dyspepsia) had not appeared on his usual day. I wasn’t overly concerned; we had plenty of stock and no sales coming up for Dyspepsia products. But on his regularly scheduled day the following week, he did not show up again. I called his number and spoke to the company operator, who put me through to his voice mail. I left a message.

The next day, I hadn’t received a response, so I called again. Spoke again to the operator, who put me through to his voice mail again. I left another message.

And the same thing the next day.

And the same thing the day after that, only this time I was unable to leave a message because the voice mailbox was full. I pressed “0” to return to the operator and told her I was unable to leave a message with my rep because his voice mailbox was full. She sent me back to his voice mail.

Again, I pressed “0” to return to the operator and told her again I was unable to leave a message with my rep because his voice mailbox was full, and please not to send me back there—was there someone else to whom I could speak? She said to hold on a minute, then sent me right back to my rep’s voice mail!

We were now running low on Dyspepsia stock—not only were we losing sales, Dyspepsia was also losing sales, though they were probably unaware of this.

I gave it one last try. I called Dyspepsia again, explained again to the operator that my rep’s voice mailbox was full, implored with her again to let me speak to someone else, but she sent me again to my rep’s voice mail, which was still full.

Not knowing what else to do, I called a Dyspepsia office in the nearest major city, which was Los Angeles. I explained what had happened and said I didn’t know whom else to call. The operator took my name and number and said she have someone contact me.

An hour later, I received a call from the secretary for the Dyspepsia VP of Marketing for the West Coast. She apologized profusely for what had happened and said she had gotten hold of my rep, and I should be hearing from him very soon. She gave me her direct number and said if I ever had problems like this again, to give her a call.

An hour after that, a Dyspepsia truck arrived, as did my rep. He looked at me sheepishly and said, “Why didn’t you call me?”

I countered, “Why weren’t you checking your messages? Why haven’t you been coming to check my inventory? Didn’t you think it was odd that you hadn’t heard from me?”  He merely shrugged and walked away to supervise the delivery.

This rep had, until now, always done a pretty good job. I have no idea why he stopped visiting our store and wasn’t checking his voicemail. Even if he’d been in some debilitating accident or had been abducted by aliens, never to be seen again, didn’t anyone at Dyspepsia think someone should be handling his accounts? What if I hadn’t called the Los Angeles office? How much time would’ve passed before I heard from my rep? I bet Dyspepsia’s competitors would’ve been more than happy to fill those empty shelves with their product.

Though an iconic, major company like Dyspepsia is in no danger of going under any time soon, other companies may not be so fortunate. Even in times of optimal demand, a company can lose sales and customer loyalty through a series of easily preventable circumstances: in this case, a combination of an experienced sales rep having a major lapse of attention and a poorly trained operator. But both can be traced to apathetic, incompetent, or even arrogant management.

Official: List of Artists and Songs for next Jogovision Song Contest

The following is the official list of participating countries, performers, and songs for the next Jogovision Song Contest.

Country Artist
Language English Translation
Argentina Nieve y Niebla
Nací Para Boogie
Spanish I Was Born To Boogie
Australia Keylime Meringue
Don’t You Know It’s You I Like?
China (PRC) Jìng Lin
美丽的国家 (Měilì de guójiā)
Chinese Beautiful Country
Egypt Nabil Ramzy
Ma Grand-Mère
French My Grandmother
Finland Saarinen Sisarukset
Finnish The Fairies
Greece Zenon Papadakis
θεά (Theá)
Greek Goddess
Iceland Svanhildur Sigurðardóttir
Happy Happy
India Everett “Everybody” Singh
एक विनम्र पत्थर (Ēka vinamra pat’thara)
Hindi A Humble Stone
Israel* Natbag 3000
Waiting For Sunshine
Jamaica Prudence Moore
Every Time I Turn Around
Japan* Oto Collection
レインボーボーイ (Reinbō Bōi)
Japanese Rainbow Boy
Netherlands Oosten en Westen
Dance All Night
South Africa Jalamba Ladies
Ungathanda Ukudansa?
English, Xhosa Would You Like To Dance With Me?
United Kingdom* Leesa
Time For Jettin’
United States of America Wylmaaa B.
Mama’s Girl

*2011 Contest participant.

Venue and host to be announced.
Website: Jogovision Song Contest
Watch JSC 2011 on YouTube.

Eurovision Song Contest 1994

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Dublin, Ireland on April 30. Except for the winning entry from Ireland, I had not heard any of these songs until now.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 France “Je suis un vrai garçon”, Nina Morato 7
2 Hungary “Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?”, Friderika Bayer 4
3 Cyprus “Íme ánthropos ki egó”, Evridiki 11
4 Germany “Wir geben ‘ne Party”, MeKaDo 3
5 Russia “Vechny strannik”, Youddiph 9
6 Ireland “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids”, Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan 1
7 Estonia “Nagu merelaine”, Silvi Vrait 24
8 Poland “To nie ja!”, Edyta Górniak 2
9 Netherlands “Waar is de zon?”, Willeke Alberti 23
10 Austria “Für den Frieden der Welt”, Petra Frey 17

Greece and Cyprus did give each other 12 points this year. While there were some good songs in the contest, the majority seemed to be rather bland ballads that all sounded alike. Not the strongest year for entries. Cypriot singer Evridiki was my choice for 3rd best in the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest.