All posts by Bill Genereux

Why Computers and Networking?

I’ve spent a fair amount of time revising this Powerpoint slide show that I like to show early in my CMST 250 Hardware and Networking course. Since I’ve redesigned it for a distance learning class and I’m putting lectures in video form, I thought I would update the random bits of art in the slides and hand-make new artwork for this presentation. This video shows the results of that effort. Most, but not all of the artwork in it was recently made by yours truly.

Three Color Sketching Technique

January 17th marked the 29th anniversary of the first day of Operation Desert Storm. I know, I know, it was January 16th in the US, but in the gulf, it was already the morning of the 17th. To celebrate, I made a couple of drawings of an incident that happened on my ship while I was there. After the cease-fire, the ammunition magazine of turret number 2 was flooded. I had to lead a team into the bowels of the ship, all the way down to Deck 7, to dry out some of our fire control system wiring that had been soaked with sea water. Interestingly, the insulation on our wiring was from the 1940s, a time in which plastic had not been invented yet, so each wire was wrapped in cotton fabric braided material. Needless to say, the salt water caused a bunch of short circuits. My team had to blow dry each wire and check it for shorts. It took us many hours to get everything dried out and the hardest part was the fact that we were crouched down in a dark, damp crawl space, not really made for human habitation. It was only about four feet high, if I remember right, not even big enough for a child to stand upright in.

The first drawing is taken from a YouTube video that I posted of us going in and out of the crawl space. The second is simply from memory of what it was like to be in that space.

I made 3 color sketches, starting with yellow, then re-drawing with orange, and finally redrawing the same picture with blue. The final step is to ink it in.

This is a new technique for me to try that I learned about via Lynda Barry’s Instagram.

I think I spent about four hours doing these two drawings. If I follow Lynda B’s example, I am still ten drawings and 20 hours away from making a dozen pictures of the same scene. With school starting next week, it might take me a couple of weeks to get that done. We’ll see…

Drawing is Always a Struggle – An Interview with Art Spiegelman

I am reading an interview with Cartoonist Art Spiegelman. Right away he gets to the essence of comic art:

In my line of work, one is always hunting for that essentialization. Comics do that especially well. They permit you to boil down an image and a thought to its essence, with the two circuits mixing the words and images.

He talks about Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters.

What I admired about her was that she had taken so long to gestate her first book—she was nearly fifty, I think—and that she had to relearn how to draw after West Nile virus left her unable to hold a pencil.

Wow, a first book at fifty? I will need to look into this book and it’s author. And put Spiegleman’s Maus book on my wish list.

Lines of Code That Changed Everything

How often do we think about how computer programs impact our lives? It is actually a form of media literacy to consider the biases of software engineers who write the code that we use. What do they include and exclude? Personally, I think if you’ve never written a line of computer code, you can never fully understand this digital world in which we all now exist.

This article was shared with me by colleague Dr. Ruth Mirtz. Lines of Code That Changed Everything. 

It is a descriptive list of the top computer programs of all time. From the first video game to the first e-mail program. Dive into the article to better understand computer history and the world we are now living in.


Firing the Battleship Guns

I recorded this footage in 1991 aboard the USS Missouri. My job was to communicate between the bridge and the plotting room to ensure we knew the exact location of the ship. You can only hit the intended target if you know exactly where you are firing from. This seems trivial today when GPS is used by everyone, but GPS was pretty new technology back then. We used radars and other navigational techniques along with GPS to verify we knew our position.