G’Mic pix versions

G’Mic Vector Painting
G’Mic Threshold Etch
G’Mic Sketch

G’Mic Sharp Abstract
G’Mic Pen Drawing
G’Mic Pencil Portrait
G’Mic painting
G’Mic Paint Brush
G’Mic Morphology
G’Mic Lylejks Painting
G’Mic Graphic Novel
G’Mic Graphic Boost
G’Mic Dream Smoothing
G’Mic Deformation Textured Glass
G’Mic Comic Book
G’Mic Colored Pencils
G’Mic Cartoon
G’Mic Brushify

To Shantanu Narayen, Scott Belsky, Anil Chakravarthy, and all the other thieves at Adobe.

I bought one of the first versions of Photoshop back in the 1990s and upgraded to every version through C6. The software was good and the company reliable.

Then they went bad. They changed from selling their software to forcing users to rent it. That’s where I drew the line, refusing to go beyond Photoshop version C6.

Adobe had built into C6 a “validation” thing where, if you wanted to move your copy of Photoshop to another computer, you had to unload it, install it on the new computer, then validate it with Adobe.

I did exactly that a few years ago, but the validation was no longer automated. I had to call Adobe to validate my copy of Photoshop. When I called, I was told Adobe “no longer supported” version C6.

Nice. When I would try to use the software I would be blocked with the message that I had to validate it. Which meant calling Adobe service. Which meant being told they no longer supported that version.

Which means Adobe effectively stole my copy of Photoshop. It is no different than if they had hacked into my computer and dismantled the software.

That’s actually what they did, if you think of it in terms of “pre-hacking.” They built into the software an ability to stop me from eventually using it if I didn’t buy into their rental scam. I’m sure they cynically compounded this scheme in the secure probability that every user would eventually have to change to a newer computer. Exactly the kind of scheme that has caused many of us to lose all respect for American businesses. The only thing you can count on these days from American enterprise is greed and indifference to anything but profit.

As far as Photoshop itself goes I really don’t care all that much. There are a multitude of software programs that do the same thing and that cost a lot less. Some of the best are even free. A few years ago, no longer able to use Photoshop because of Adobe’s corrupt practices, I started using Gimp.

This stupidly named free software, in my experience, does everything Photoshop did. At the same time that I changed to Gimp I switched over to Lenux, an open source free operating system that replaces Microsoft Windows (another corrupt, infuriating piece of American crap that actually does not work in case you haven’t noticed). I’ve been very happy with those changes.

So all in all I’m better off disconnected from all Adobe and Microsoft products. Life is better without them, but I resent the way both of those companies are able to dominate and thrive through thievery and greed. American needs a consumer protection agency with teeth to advocate for us. But don’t hold your breath.

If you are using Photoshop, give yourself a break and move to open source software. You’ll be happier, less stressed, maybe even get rid of your hemorrhoids. And save a lot of money.

Modify the ResMed Airfit P10 CPAP Nasal Pillows face mask for a better fit

ResMed P10 Nasal Pillows face mask modified with cheek cushions and adjustable strap.

The purpose of this article is to show how one user of the ResMed CPAP P10 nose mask made the head straps adjustable, cut down the size of the harness to keep the top and back straps apart through the night, and added padding to prevent morning face lines.

As a long-time user of the ResMed CPAP machine I have tried many face masks. The one I have been using since it came out a couple of years ago is the Airfit P10. Or, as ResMed’s literature refers to it, the Nasal Pillows system.

I will refer to this as a “mask,” or “face mask,” but it is actually a nasal cannula because the business part goes into the nares, or nostrils, and there is no actual mask over the face. So even though I say “mask” you will know what I’m talking about.

ResMed P10 Nasal Pillows system.
Figure 1. The ResMed Airfit P10 face mask.

I like this mask a lot but it does have a few drawbacks. One is the one-size-fits-all approach that has infected so many American products. The strap that attaches to the cannula of the P10 comes in only one size, as far as I know. ResMed does make an adjustable headstrap for the nasal pillows but for me it falls far short in the way it adjusts.

The nasal pillows themselves come in the three standard sizes that we have all been programmed to think of as enough choices to cover the whole world of whatever the product is: small, medium and large. Whether that narrow field of choices adequately covers the universe of different nose shapes and sizes, I have no idea. The “medium” works for me so I don’t dwell on it.

The harness, which as I mentioned comes in only one size, is packaged with a couple of little plastic thingies that are supposed be used to tighten the straps if they are too loose.

I tried a long time to get those thingsResMed plastic clips for P10 mask. to work but never had very good results with them. I have never been able to get them to work the way ResMed says to use them; the straps just pull out of them. I’ve tried numerous other ways to use them, like tying them in knots in various ways. But that created uncomfortable lumps. And after the straps had stretched enough to require readjusting, the knots were hard to untie. Especially in the middle of the night.

So that’s the first problem. We need some way to easily adjust the straps, and to re-adjust when they have stretched too much to hold the nasal pillows snugly in position.

The second problem—these problems are not in any order, by the way—is the length of the strap. When it is not right for a particular head the over-the-crown part of the strap tends to slip down, wanting to join its twin strap at the back of the head. The back strap can also tend to slip upward.

The head strap is divided into two straps in its middle. The two places where the strap splits I refer to as a “Y.” The purpose of these two Ys is to provide a strap over the top part of the head and a strap behind the head down closer to the upper neck.

If the Ys are far back—that is, the sections of the strap between the cannula and the Ys are too long—the upper and lower straps won’t have enough of your head between them to keep them apart. This is for some people a second problem with the P10 headgear. The solution I have found for this is to shorten the strap at the cannula ends.

The third problem is that lines across the cheek can be caused by sleeping on one’s side. In my case these lines, caused by lying on the strap, would be quite prominent and sometimes would be visible all day. They could, I feared, become permanent. I don’t need any more lines on my face than I already have. This problem I have solved with pads, or cushions, the the cheek sections of the head strap.

When the CPAP head straps are too long

To deal with the first problem—some way to adjust the tightness of the straps on the head—I simply cut the bottom strap and added Velcro. Begin by removing the strap from the nose part. Here is the graphic from ResMed’s instructions showing how to do this.

ResMed instructions for removal of head strap.
Figure 2. Instructions from the ResMed P10 mask literature on how to remove the head strap from the nose part of the nasal pillows face mask. Fine these instructions and more here.
end of cpap head strap showing parts.
Figure 3. ResMed P10 strap removed from stabilizer struts. Note that the “Back of head” and “Crown…” parts of the strap applies if this strap is connected to the left side of the mask. These are reversed if the end of the strap as shown is attached the right side.

Figure 3 shows one end of the head strap removed from the mask. Both ends are the same. The end shown in Fig. 3 would be attached to the right side for use (but see caption).

The sides of the strap are different colors. The blue side goes next to your face and head, and the grey side is the outside. The older the strap the harder it is to identify these colors. Just remember that the buttonhole side of the strap is the outer side.

If you are modifying an older strap that has had some use, you will probably find that one of the two head straps is longer than the other. It is generally a good idea to cut that one and, when you are done, make sure it is on the bottom when you reattach the strap to the mask. If you need to shorten both the upper and the lower head straps then left-and-right is not an issue.

The straps are constructed of some sort of elastic material and I have found that cutting them with a knife is not easy. Scissors are.

Measure the strap you are going to cut and make a mark close to the middle if the amount of adjustment you need is not great. If you need you need significant shortening you may have to cut out a section from the middle with two cuts. That is, mark the middle and then make marks one-half the length of the section you will remove on each side of the middle mark.

Figure 4. Mark close to the middle of the strap where you want to cut. If you need to significantly shorten the strap you will want to remove a section, rather than make one simple cut. Cutting the strap in this picture, It would be best to select the upper strap since it appears to be longer.
Figure 5. Cutting the head strap to apply Velcro for an adjustable strap.

Once you have made your cut, or removed sections from both straps, attach the Velcro.

Figure 6. Velcro up close, in case you are not familiar with it. It is called hook-and-loop fastener and made of two parts. The “hooks” are on the left above and are the scratchy part. On the right of the picture is the “loops” part. It is soft. (es:Usuario:Alberto_Salguero, CC BY-SA 3.0)

I recommend you use a longer section of the loop part and shorter section of the hook part. Put the hooks on the side away from you head, the loops on the side facing your head. That way it should not scratch you in use. I suggest you use about a 3/4-inch piece of the hooks and 1½-inch for loops.

The Velcro tape I bought has adhesive on the back for sticking to cloth. It does “fix” after a while and be harder to pull off, but my wife sewed the pieces on to make them permanent. I can’t attest to the self-adhesion of the Velcro’s sticky back.

Be sure to cut the Velcro lengthwise to fit the head strap. If you don’t you may find it uncomfortable and tending to pull your hair out. If you are thick skinned and bald then it may not make any difference.

Figure 7. Strap cut and Velcro applied. The piece on the left is loops (soft), and the piece on the right is hooks (scratchy). Note that the right-hand strap is twisted in this picture. Another way of putting this is: one part of the Velcro is on the gray side, and the other part is on the blue side of the other strip. Do this to keep the strap from being twisted when connected.

When the top CPAP head strap keeps sliding down

Due to the shape and slope of the back of my head, the top head strap was always a problem. Tight or loose, during the night it would repeatedly slip down to the level of the lower strap on the back of my head. When that happens it is impossible to get an air-tight fit of the cannula at the nose.

I would wake up several times during the night, mouth as dry as Denver air in winter, and have to move the strap back up to the top of my head.

I found the solution was to shorten the distance between the ends of the strap and the Ys. In other words, for me the Y was too far back and needed to be moved forward.

Figure 8. One end of the P10 head strap disconnected from the nose piece. Make this modification to both ends of the head strap to stop the top strap from slipping down.

Cut the strap at the end of the buttonhole as depicted in figure 8. If you think the strap needs to be even shorter, adjust where you cut it accordingly. Use the end you just cut off as a guide to the location where you will cut the new buttonhole. HOWEVER–TWO CAUTIONS!

Caution one: Do not put the cut-off section on the absolute end where the cut is. Move it down an additional ⅛-inch or so. This is because your closure of the end is likely to take up more of the strap than did the original. So give yourself a little extra space.

Note: If after you have finished your modification and reattached the straps to the cannula you did not position the buttonhole ideally, you can fix it. If there is a wrinkle between the button and the end of the strap, the hole is too far from the end. Carefully make the hole longer toward the end. If the buttonhole is too close to the end, sew the buttonhole tighter and cut it an equal amount away from the strap end.

Caution two: Do not cut through both layers of the strap when you cut the new buttonhole. Put something like a popsicle stick inside the strap (it is a tube). That way you are cutting against a firm background and you will not cut through to the other side. I doubt that anything very drastically wrong would occur if you did happen to cut through the face side of the strap, but it is better not to.

Use a sharp, pointed knife to cut the buttonhole. The stuff of the P10 strap is tough. Make the buttonhole the same length as the original, or no more than about a quarter of an inch.

Once your buttonhole is made, and not before, sew up the end of the strap where you cut off the end. You can do the sewing by hand or with a sewing machine.

Make sure you have at least about an eighth of an inch from the end of the buttonhole to the closure on the end (that you just made by sewing it up).

Repeat on the other end of the strap.

When the CPAP strap creases your face from sleeping on your side

One of the nice benefits of sleeping with a CPAP machine is that it allows you to sleep on your back. Some people, however, never sleep on their back. And those of us who do, don’t do it all night.

Most of us spend at least a portion of our time sleeping on our side, and that means the P10 strap is going to be between your face and the pillow. And that in turn means you are likely to wake up with a crease on your cheek that looks something like a dueling scar.

Fixing this problem is fairly simple. All you need is a cushion on the cheek section of the P10 strap.

ResMed P10 Nasal Pillows face mask.
Figure 9. ResMed P10 head strap with face cushions (the fluffy white things) to prevent facial disfigurement.

As you can see in figure 9 I have added face cushions to the cheek section of each side of the strap. The cushions pictured here are made of fleece fabric and I have to say they are a bit too much. The fleece fabric is fuzzy and tickles my sensitive skin, so wife Christine made two new ones from a less fuzzy fabric. But the procedure is the same regardless of which material you use.

Begin with your chosen piece of fabric about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. (You will duplicate these instructions for the second cushion.)

diagram for material to make cheek cushion
Figure 10. Material pattern to make cpap cheek cushion.

With the material inside-out and folded in half, sew a seam along the length of the material forming a loop or tube that is about ½ inch on the inside. It can be less (tighter) than this, but not by very much. Trim as much of the excess material as possible without damaging the seam.

Feed the tube through itself to turn it right-side out, putting the seam inside the tube so it will be away from your face when in use.

Now thread the end of the face strap through the tube.

Figure 11. Threading the face strap through the finished cushion. The pencil is dull to keep it from puncturing the closed end of the strap. I probably could have used the eraser end of the pencil for this.

Repeat for the other end of the head strap and your P10 should now look something like the headgear in figure 9.

Your head strap (straps, if you did both the top and back strap) is now adjustable. You have probably discovered that there is range of tightness that is best; not too tight, but tight enough to prevent leakage around your nose. You will find this much easier to achieve with this new, easier method of adjusting the straps.

Gnome Chomsky

gnome in the likeness of noam chomsky
gnome in the likeness of noam chomsky
Gnome Chomsky, semanticist and intellectual from MIT.

This garden gnome in the likeness (more or less) of Noam Chomsky has been with me for about 15 years. The name on the front, which is under the snow in this picture, says “Gnome Chomsky,” I am particularly fond of this gnomic icon of an American intellectual icon.

We don’t have that many of them, I’m sorry to say. Public intellectuals, that is. The larger pantheon of American heroes encompasses primarily people with money.

Gnome began existence in our yard in New York and now adorns our property in Wisconsin. (If you’re thinking, boy, what a contrast, New York to Wisconsin…yes.)

Out of all the years Gnome has been on display no one has ever commented on him or made mention of him. I guess I don’t know the right people.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Grip stick

Dowel with tape wrapped around it for hand strength.
One inch dowel wrapped in foam and tape for strengthening grip.

Injury to my right wrist and hand has weakened my grip so I made this grip-stick to exercise with. I hold it tightly while doing other parts of my workout. We may someday be back to handshake greeting and I want to be in shape when that time comes.

Looking at the picture of my hands reminds me I’m not twenty anymore. (That was loooong ago, I’m afraid.) But that does not bother me. I don’t seem to have that gene that makes a person willing to move heaven and Earth to avoid showing any signs or symptoms of age. Just because we live in a culture that reveres youth does not mean it is worthy of reverence.

So I’ll try to make my hand better but I’m not interested in making it look younger. Or any other part of me, for that matter. I find it interesting that I looked older than my age when I was young and now I look younger. Sometimes people don’t believe me when I tell them my age (not that it comes up all that often). My response to that is something I heard someone say when I was a kid: “You’ll believe it when you hear me get up.”

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Covid-19 hypodermic needle

Covid-19 vaccine ready to jab.

Being essentially essential and all, I just received my second injection of the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

I’m confident that by now everyone is familiar enough with all the terminology it is adequate to just say “covid.”

This as we are turning 500,000 covid deaths in the US. Outrageous!

It surprises me the number of people who still believe the pandemic is a myth conjured up by who-knows-who to do who-knows-what. That there are still people who remain so abysmally ignorant as to believe that mandated mask-wearing is an infringement of their freedom.

Well of course it is. Just as speed limits and taxes and laws against child rape are an infringement. Education has obviously fallen down somewhere along the line for these people who do not get it that laws and regulations are necessary to protect people from idiots.

Speaking of which, Texas has certainly got their comeuppance with this cold snap that has destroyed their basis for believing themselves to be special. Their belief in their exceptionalism has always been laughable. I know this first hand. I was born there. I know Texas. Which is why I will never go back there.

So now that the covid vaccine is being made available in greater numbers and maybe the end of the pandemic is in sight, will there be — as many are speculating — another Roaring ’20s? I’m guessing not. Or if there is, it will be cut short by something else. Living in dangerously warming climate in the grips of predatory, end-stage capitalism, there will be no shortage of potential disasters.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Pandemic Puzzle

“Houseplant Jungle.” One thousand piece jigsaw puzzle. Galison puzzle company.

We have worked several jigsaw puzzles over the past year as we have kept ourselves isolated from social contact.

I’m not that good at puzzles but Chris has excellent figure-ground perception and color vision. If you look at the picture you will notice that the upper right portion is almost completed. I did that part. The lower HALF of the puzzle is nearing completion and that’s Chris’s part. We have both spent about the same amount of time working on the puzzle.

The table under the puzzle board was painted by Chris. I provided the table. It is the table my sister and I grew up eating on. (Well, eating on plates on the table. You know.) We did our homework on it, too. When we did homework. Growing up in the Texas-Oklahoma panhandles you don’t have to do much homework if you’re good at football. (I was, Sis wasn’t.)

Chris might be pulling a Penelope stunt on this puzzle business. I suspect she sometimes gets up in the middle of the night and takes apart some of the puzzle she has completed. I suspect that because otherwise puzzles around our house would be completed much more quickly than they actually are.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Houseplant puzzle solved

completed puzzle of many houseplants

The “Houseplant” puzzle solved. Would that our more pressing problems could be solved as easily.

Who would have thought, a few years ago, that ordinary people in the state of my birth,  Texas, would be freezing and dying because of weather?
I guess it is a good thing global warming is not real, right? Maybe you guys could pray your way out of this. That’s what the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, suggested. Right before ye resigned in the middle of a mess.

The current weather in Texas reminds me of an old James Garner movie. He was a grizzled sheriff who, with two deputies, were out tracking some desperado. The weather was cold and awful and the two deputies kept up a constant litany of woe about their misery. Garner’s response was, “It’s just weather.”

I don’t suppose the folks in the Southwest would care to hear that right now. Twenty years or more of end-stage predatory capitalism has rendered the electrical grid in Texas only marginally functional in the face of “just weather.” It will be interesting to see if they have learned anything from this life-threatening utility debacle. (But hey, ya’ll ain’t regulated by the Feds!)

My guess is this will all slither down that slippery slope into the pit of forgotteness when the temperature goes up.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

The Ashlawn guard rabbit

Ashlawn rabbit

This rabbit lives in a burrow—its entrance is about eight inches from the rabbit’s nose—just a matter of feet from my office window. I joke about it being our guard rabbit but in reality it is a rather meek animal. Rabbits come and go around here with regularity. It occurs to me their well-known fecundity is nature’s way of provide and abundance of fodder for more predatory creatures like raptors, coyotes, foxes, and so on.

I like seeing this rabbit, even though the little rascal’s eating habits are not kind to our shrubbery and bushes. Even though we put out vegetable scraps in the harder winter months, we know that when spring comes we will have landscaping fatalities caused by rabbits’ culinary indiscretions.

Ashlawn rabbit (name and rank unknown) on guard duty outside my office window.

There used to be more wildlife around here. We would occasionally see foxes go trotting by; hear an owl at night; see deer herds moving across Cemetery Ridge just above us; eagles, hawks, vultures, and lots of other birds, during the summer; squirrels and chipmunks of course; and lots of sandhill cranes. But not so much anymore. Residential development has driven most of the wildlife away.

But, for now anyway, we still have our guard rabbit.

Hazardous airports in populated areas

airplane debris sitting in a yard in broomfield colorado where it fell off a plane in the air.
Debris dropped in a populated area from a United Airlines plane February 20, 2021.

Today a United Airlines plane dropped several pieces of debris in the populous are of Broomfield, Colorado. It could easily have killed or injured someone or a pet, or done serious damage.

Airliners and in fact all aircraft, including military craft, should be routed away from populated areas. If airports have to be moved to do that, then move them. It is unreasonable for all of us to be subjected to the threats posed by air traffic, and to the noise and pollution they create.

We have a small private airport in our town and one end of the runway is only about 300 feet from the high school. That makes no sense.

Parents always seen ready to do battle for real or imagined threats to their children. Does it take a genius to see the unnecessary threats posed by aircraft?

C’mon, folks, let’s start trying to shape things up in this country.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.