(Note: This is a unedited paste of a post I made on a forum where my photo links were broken. None of the pictures found here at Merly A Whim have been affected. Photob*cket had become so ad-infested that it was rendered damned near unusable, such that when I created this blog, I hosted my pics on another site. Nevertheless, I am pasting my post on the matter here, in the spirit of informing everyone.)

For everyone who enjoyed viewing my work and are disappointed that they can no longer do so, I apologize. The online photo hosting site known as Photobucket no longer supports 3rd party hosting without charging a hefty fee.

I’m not made of money. I cannot pay it.

And neither can I download my pictures from the site, apparently.

Even though the language in their FAQ and Troubleshooting pages assured me I still had access to my photos and could download them, my downloaded pictures opened up blank with the error message stating that the file was broken or corrupted.

Now, I wasn’t so naive as to upload sole originals to the website. I still have the originals off line. HOWEVER, if you state something publicly, if you have it in writing in such a way that one can logically infer and reasonably expect a certain outcome, AND THEN deny that outcome … well, you’ve violated a basic principle of the social contract and quite possibly a point or two of actual law.

I don’t know if Photobucket will face lawsuits due to its decision, but in the light of recent cyberattacks worldwide, “ransomware” is at the forefront of the public mindset and the public would understandably attribute the practice to Photobucket.

Once that happens, litigation will ensue.

I’m not waiting for that particular penny to drop. I’m killing my account now. It was a free account. It cost me nothing to open. It should cost me nothing to delete.

But dammit, it rankles.

It rankles.


TL;DR. Truth? Or Something Else?


You know, I have a love/hate relationship with that damned acronym.


1) For things I’m interested in or love, I have an attention span longer than a gnat’s.
2) For things I’m not interested in or love, I have an attention span shorter than a gnat’s
3) Writing anything trying to attract people who fall into category #2 MAKES ME A #2.

None of the above has anything really to do with word count. It has everything to do with the quality of the words offered.

If it’s too short and it shows, I don’t go back. I write it off. I don’t bookmark the site.


My impression is: The story or the message is incomplete and the writer obviously couldn’t be bothered to finish the thought properly. It’s a literary “Whatever, man”, an “IDK”, a dismissal of my intelligence and time.

In return, I pretty much consider the writing lame and shallow as fuck.

In other words, in writing for the LCD, how many people are we turning away who would otherwise stay to read what we’ve got?

The assertion that people (implication: everyone on the fucking planet other than me) are simply unable or unwilling to read anything longer than 250 words on the internet completely discounts amazing writers who have more than 250 words to say, as well as intelligent readers who want more to read.

My current favorites:
Warren Ellis: Orbital Operations. Here is a sample post.
Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman’s Journal

To be sure, the text portions on both of these blogs might not be hella long, but with the inclusion of pictures, you must scroll through several frames to read the entire post. Both blogs generally have more than 250 words of text.

I’m not a fan of infinite scroll myself, given the sheer inability to zero in on something specific without having to scroll through everything you don’t want a single frame at a time (I’m looking at YOU Facebook!), but scrolling to the end of a 1000 word entry is a piece of cake, even when on my smartphone. 1000 words is about 2.5 pages at 380 words per page, 4 pages if we are limited to 250 words per page.

Just when did 251 words become universally too taxing to read?

When people throw TL;DR at me, is it because there were too many words or they just dislike scrolling past the bottom of the top frame? And are these people using only a tablet or smartphone to read anything on the internet? How hard can it be to tap or scroll to the next frame, even on a device smaller than a laptop?

Well, people don’t have time to read “all that” on their smartphone, I’m told.

Really? How much time can one save by calling someone and having a 90-second voice conversation instead of typing it out on your thumbs and taking 5 minutes to convey the same amount of information? That’s 3.5 minutes you could have otherwise saved to do something else.

What would you do with that extra time?

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe read something longer than 250 words?

What a radical idea.

Jump on it.

Note: Word count, not including the title: 532.

Of Mice and Men, Paper and Pen …

Mice and men are awfully cute, making me something of a marshmallow about them (even though they can be a bit of a pest at times) but when it comes to Paper and Pen, I’m ruthless.

Utterly ruthless.


I’m ruthlessly picky about them.

I have to be, considering I take them to bed with me. This is in case I get an amazing idea while hovering on the edge of sleep. And really, if a pen slides under the covers and pokes me awake, I will forgive it, if it’s my favorite pen.

(Not many men–save one–will receive such forgiveness under those circumstances. As for the man who does, I married him. I may be ruthlessly picky but I know a good catch when I see one!)

And much like an obsessive who spends a lot of time with her … well, obsessions … I am very discriminating in how a pen feels in my hand and how it moves across the paper and how the ink flows from the nib. When you spend as much time as I do writing and drawing, it is crucial to have a pen that can keep up.

Excruciatingly crucial.

Pilot brand’s G2 retractable gel pen is my go-to pen for everyday, rough-and-ready use. Not tactical pen use (for that, go here … ), but it’s the pen that lives in my cargo pockets. I just slap my leg and it’s there.

I posted my love (or lust, take your pick) for Pilot’s micro-tip pen, the High-Tec-C Maica, and while I can’t really bring myself to replace my G2s with it, as they are rather delicate, I do love it for practicing my calligraphy and Russian cursive. With so fine a tip, it is completely unforgiving of your mistakes: every waver and pause shows up in the line. Which makes it wonderfully suited for perfecting one’s penmanship, no matter what language it’s in.

But as with human beings, pens need a partner to get the most out of life. In this case, they need paper. Just as I have my favorite pens, I have my favorite papers and notebooks to go with them.

Here are my current two favorites. (And yes, they go to bed with me. Just because I turned off the lights does not mean I can turn my head off just as easily. It takes a while for those mental squirrels to shut the hell up … )

My first real grown-up affair started with this one: Moleskine Cahier Journal (I must thank my friend, B. N. Harrison, for introducing me to these. See her blog, here … )

I love that the pages are sewn in, not glued, and that the covers are craft paper brown or black. Not too fussy and just crying out to be decorated with washi tape or stickers or gel pens or paint markers or paints or … Well, suffice to say, they invite artistic alteration the way more durable covers tend to discourage.

Add the benefit of being flexible and form fitting in your messenger bag (for the large ones) or your back pocket (for the small ones), you’ve got no excuse not to have a notebook on you to jot down that important reminder from your kid’s teacher or to share a website with that enthusiast you chatted up while waiting in line for coffee.

I’ve used Cahier for years but, alas, they aren’t what you’d call inexpensive. As a result I have plenty of less expensive notebooks littering my bed, my house, and my person, because I’m not made of money and I can’t afford to replace my Cahiers at the rate I go through paper.

How much paper? Acres of it. Starting a blog hasn’t made a dent.


My conscience ocassionally nags me about it. Enough so that I decided that perhaps I should get something really nice for those really important notes and thoughts that I want to keep handy for later. If I had something nice and expenseive, yet non-intimidating and easy to use, my self-serving stationery supplies demon whispered, I would use less paper and save the environment from my vicious predation of trees.

Hmm … see how that goes?


And this is what I found for an excuse—I mean, answer:

The Midori Travelers Notebook, in Passport size. It’s small enough to fit in my cargo pocket and it’s customizable. I decided to splurge and get the kit, here.

Of course, I had to look over the accessories for it. And then I had to choose the color of the leather cover. In addition to the quality of the paper, that leather cover was an important selling point for me. If this is going to live in my cargo pocket, suffer getting thrown into my messenger bag or backpack as I’m rushing out the door, and get taken on trips to the wilderness like my neighborhood WalMart, it’s got to be durable enough to protect the contents and yet feel good in my hands and be pleasing to my eyes.

So, yeah.



And the start of my second love affair with stationery supplies.

I’ve only just received my Traveller’s kit in the mail. I’ll carry it with me and use it and break it in. When that’s done, I’ll come back and write up my review of it.

For now, I’m just enjoying having it.

Stay tuned.

A Confession

Hello, my name is Maer … and I’m an art supplies addict.

That means I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to my pens. I’m insufferably biased. Simply insufferable.

I admit it.

When Pilot released the G2 retractable gel pen several years ago, I thought I’d finally found my forever pen. When they released the .38mm version of the same, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.

Silly me.

I had merely gotten halfway to Heaven. Or perhaps merely scaled Everest.

My current forever obsession?


Yes, feast your eyes and weep, my friends. It is truly an amazing pen.

Of course, having seen it comes in multiple colors (!), I’m now saving my pennies to buy the set.

Who knows? My birthday is coming up.

Perhaps my dear husband will buy me it.

In every single color.

Adventures in Photoshop: CS4 64 bit vs. 32 bit

GRAH! CS4 64-bit! WHY!!!???!!!

Apparently CS4 Extended 64 bit doesn’t play nice with the some of the filters. Rather like an ungrateful date, the floozy flounces off and refuses to acknowledge the filter it came to the party with. The poor filter’s heart breaks and Photoshop crashes on me.

The filters: Filter > Render > Lens Flare and/or Lighting Effects.

And wouldn’t you know it? THOSE TWO are the ones I use to add realism to my space art and my deck plans. Sunrise over a planet? Lens Flare. A beautifully lit room in plan view, with a spotlight on the couch? Lighting Effects.


To be sure, I ran the CS4 Extended as the 32 bit version just fine on my old machine (Vista Home Premium 32 bit) and though my deck plans and my space art made it slow to open and save any files that approached the 100MB mark, it still ran.

I would sometimes have to wait out a long pause, is all.

CS4 Extended automatically installs both in one go–very handy–and this means you can use both on your machine. So when I installed CS4 Extended on my new machine, I thought I’d give the 64 bit version a try. On my old machine, CS4 Extended 32 bit has about a 3.2GB RAM limit it can access and use.

(Why? I dunno. If it’s there and the processor on your machine can handle it, why not use more? But I digress … )

In comparison, CS4 Extended 64 bit will use as much RAM as you can throw at it provided the processor/Windows version you have is 64 bit as well.

(I am and it is.)

So I thought with CS4 64 bit my lag times in opening/saving/some commands were over.

They were.

Until I had to use those filters.

I really didn’t get the clue until I decided to manually open the 32 bit version to see if I had the same problem with it on my new machine. Perhaps I flubbed the install? Maybe there was something incompatible with Windows 7? Will I need to uninstall and reinstall?

Opening the same file in 32 bit + trying to use the filter = total success.

So, 64 bit had to be the culprit.

5 minutes of internet searching later yielded information and more importantly–a fix.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll see if it will work over the ensuing week.

Until then, I’ll just use 32 bit. I didn’t notice any lag on opening one of my 200+ MB files, so I may not need to try that fix but still … there may come a day when I need to use as much of the 16 GB RAM my machine came with as Photoshop can scarf down its greedy gullet.

Even though it’s incredibly gouche of your date to do that at the buffet table.

Winnowing the Mental Squirrels

I may be complicating this blog too much by having a separate page for my posts AND artwork.

I thought perhaps I would make a blog out of the artwork I produce, given I am likely to post my art with tons of notes and trivia no matter what.

Having a separate page for non-art posts? It’s looking redundant now.

Hmm … how to change things around?

I guess I’ll be futzing with the settings. Here’s hoping I don’t screw it up.
Two minutes later…:
Well. That was easy.
Yay me for not screwing it up!
Ten minutes later…:
And I’m now using the Lovecraft theme instead of Big Brother. I like how it’s organized better, to say nothing of Big Brother’s line spacing. My eyes just didn’t like it.

Also? Lovecraft’s header can accommodate a nice big piece of art! Which I expect I’ll spend my free time today making. 😉