Saturday, December 29, 2007

Squiggly cut outs

Man, it's been a while since I got a chance to post real artwork. I'm still busy with VisArts, of course, working on a few secret projects for them. Don't worry, as soon as I can I'll share the work.

For now, I'll have to reach wayyy back into my gallery and find something visually appealing.

Or maybe visually confusing:


This isn't really that old actually, but a doodle from class about a year ago. Yes, this is what I do when I'm bored. Mindlessly draw women with little squiggly shapes.

I'm a tortured and deep artist, I know!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Snap, Flash, Win

As the year winds to a close, our lives are filled with great food, friends, memories of 2007 and competitions stating the best _____ or 2007. While I'm rather tired of seeing "the best Celebrity Couple of 2007" or "Pot roast of the Year", I never tire of art related competitions. I love looking at the year's best in anything visual art, especially the contest presented by PhotographyCorner.

Since coming to VisArts, I've had my world opened up in terms of juried competitions. They really are great ways to get your name out there in the art world. The 2007 Photograph of the Year competition is no exception. With over $20,000 in prizes, some great sponsors that will surely give the winner some much needed publicity and the fabulous title of "2007's Photograph of the Year" how can you pass up this opportunity?

I'm no photographer, the closest I come to artistic photos are if I play around with photos of my cat. What? He could be considered an artistic nude, technically....

I respect those that know how to take a good photograph and I enjoy knowing they're trying to go further with it. Photography isn't hard, but good photography is.

The Photography Corner has a timeline that tells all the important info about dates, but here's what you really need to know:

The contest opened on Dec. 18th and applications are taken up until Jan. 15th. The winner will be announced on Jan. 30th, 2008.

But wait, what's the incentive for even wanting to do this? Besides some great exposure for yourself, there's a whole long list of prizes on their website. There are several hundred dollars worth of gift certificates, software and accounts offered. Including a lifetime Pro account at Smug Mug and PhotographyCorner, which is worth $1,229. Pretty nice I'd say, and there's plenty of prizes for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and honourable mention winners as well.

There's plenty more information about the contest, including how to submit your photo, on the website. You can also keep up with what's going on with the contest or other news by visiting the Photography Corner Blog.

Time to stop thinking about boring family holiday portraits and get out to take the photography of the Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

blllarrgh!

It's another moment where I sit back and marvel at my body's ability to inflict pain on itself and all the little nuances of said pain. Like how only the left side of my body is in great muscle pain, or how I get shortness of breath when I want to do something as joyful as laugh or as needed as sneeze.

I've got a viral infection that's decided to show itself by making some of my muscles swell and hit my bones (at least I believe that's what the doctor said, he had a thick Russian accent and I was trying not to wriggle in pain) and therefore make it hard to take deep breaths. But my lungs sound clear, so there's no need to worry too much. Just a bunch of Tylenol and water, that's it. Great, right before Christmas.

I am feeling a bit better today, so I hope that translates into feeling proper during the usual family Christmas party. Which means that I hope I can just sit there and drink and make my way through the typical onslaught of people bragging about their kids and then asking, again as always, what am I studying and what is Sequential Art and where is Savannah. Hopefully I can act just antisocial enough so as not to arouse suspicion that I may indeed be trying to avoid watching my cousin's stupid football game or prom video. Seriously, I don't think that beyond the grandmother anyone else cares what your kid and his good-looking (of course) blonde date looked like at Prom. I really hope I can bring my DS and just play Raving Rabbids.



Why yes, I am a spoil-sport and know exactly what my parent's got me for Christmas. Probably because I only asked for one thing, and I am ever so excited for it.

I don't own a Wii, and probably won't for a long time, but I got to play the first Raving Rabbids on PC and it was quite fun. Apparently it sucked for the Nintendo DS, but they've changed that in Raving Rabbids II. I'll just have to wait a few days and see though.

Till then, these are the commercials that really made me fall in love with those widdle bunny rabbids *WARNING Could be considered a Spoiler. So don't watch if you love mysteries. Or at least watch with your eyes closed. I don't really think you'll ever figure out the story anyway from these clips*:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Photo Edit

Earlier I mentioned that I was busy this past week. Last week I had a few things going on, which included visiting the Edward Hopper and E.W.Turner exhibits in the National Gallery in D.C. as well as my boss's holiday party. Both days were fun, and both days were cold.

During the week I had a great job. I had about 18 photos taken from a business holiday party that I needed to cut the people out and stick them on a wintery background. I love doing this stuff, but it was a bit of a task and mindlessly editing photos can get quite tiresome.

I don't do too much editing along these lines, but I am happy with the end result:



That photo I probably had the most work to do because I needed to make the little snowman visible. The biggest time consumer was finding an appropriate background photo and a frame. That sucked, I need to start taking indoor photos of window frames so I don't run into a problem like this again. Stupid windows.

I love how I took a ton of time to find a great stock snow image only to have the focus point (a lovely red barn) be completely covered up in all the photos.

Anyhoo, I am kind of pleased with how these turned out, especially since I didn't fiddle with people lighting (as the client deemed it unnecessary) or retouching (which I do like to do but rarely have the willing sources to work on).

I would love to have more business like this, and get back into the world of photo editing on Photoshop. It's been too long and my skills aren't as great as I'd like. Though, to be fair, I couldn't really find a good tutorial on how to cut out hair. I appears to be something you just need to figure out on your own. So really, not a new way to learn for me.

Stunt Monkey

Sorry for the lack in writing, again, however I've been completely busy this past week including doing photo editing, making beaded bracelets and working on the website for VisArts as well as other serious art work. By "serious art work" I mean creating brochures and labels. Exciting!


I'll update later today with a few photos, but for now, amuse yourselves with The Stunt Monkey, a cute little site featuring Max the Monkey. The intro may look familiar to those who know Maxell. My father used to have their famous poster hanging in our basement, maybe I should get him one featuring Max the Monkey to replace it. Everyone likes windy monkies!



More importantly, everyone likes monkies who you can tell to do stuff! Which is exactly what Max is, a stunt monkey willing to take your suggestions and perform them on camera. There's a few popular stunts that other people have suggested and many more have voted for their top 3, which are quite entertaining.

I suggested rock out to some mad Pink Floyd, I hope Max complies, for I do love Dancing Monkies. I love them even more when I know some poor intern is stuck in that silly costume. Go Max the Monkey!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Comfortably Numb

I used to get migraines all the time, then they stopped suddenly and I was okay with that. Migraines are no fun, and my brain likes to push itself to the extremes when I get them. Then today, it happened. I got a terrible migraine.

It's a weird sensation that occurs over the several hours related to the migraine, and I've never fully documented it. It's quite odd really, and when my body reacts I can't help but get sucked in and become fascinated by how it's rebelling against me.

Early in the morning I had a dentist appointment and on the way there (I wasn't driving, thankfully) my vision started going. When my vision goes, I get a strange blindspot effect where it feels like part of one of my eyes has gone blind, it's almost like monovision. It makes it very hard to focus, so I sat in the dentist's office just staring at what I could find. I must have looked quite odd.

After the appointment my eyes went back to normal, so I hurried off to work.

Around 1, my vision started getting flighty again. I happened to be in the middle of a conversation with my website partner (online), so typing was no picnic. When I can barely focus on the screen, I end up typing like I'm blind, just hoping the words I make are spelled correctly and the sentences make sense. It was at this point that the numbing started.

It's common for me, when I get migraines, to go numb in different parts of my body. The worst episode occurred in Middle School, when the entire left side of my body went numb. There are, I imagine, few feelings stranger than having an entire half of your body go numb.

With all episodes, I never know what bit of me will numb. Today my entire right hand went out, which made typing quite odd. Parts of my face went out too, with my cheeks and around my eyes numbing for a bit.

I ended up getting slight lockjaw, the muscles in my mouth felt stiff and I didn't really want to speak at all. Of course, I had to, as it's quite necessary to communicate. That feeling subsided after an hour or so, while other bits of my upper body went through numb stages.

By 3 I was ready to call it quits. My vision had subsided enough so I could see and drive, although bright light still bothered me, and I knew if I stayed around it would not be good.

I got lucky in that today the sky was overcast and rainy, which made driving and being outside far easier than if it were bright and sunny.

I came home and took an Imotrex then tried to sleep off the migraine (my head had been throbbing for the past two hours off and on. Whenever I have a migraine, the headache part is not as noticeable compared to the flighty vision and numbing) for an hour or so.

I took a few Ibuprofen, and so far my head is still in a bit of pain and I have some light issues but nothing big.

This was a completely out of the blue occurrence and I really hope I don't get it again any time soon. I never found out the exact cause of my migraines, it could have been anything really. Nevertheless, the fact that they stopped after a while was a wonderful blessing, but now this random one has me back to paranoid.

Do you ever get migraines? Have you ever had any similar symptoms?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Blah

Things have been quiet for me lately. Because of snow I couldn't go to work, and because of other people, I have no work to do at home. In all honesty, all the work I need to do for VisArts can easily be completed here, so I really wish that the person I need to send me my information could. Oh well, I guess there's always Monday >.<

What I have been up to:

I just got my glasses back, using an old frame and getting new lenses to fit my updated prescription. It's a head trip, everything is very sharp and strange to me. This is the first time in many, many years that I didn't get transition (the ones that turn dark like sunglasses when outside) lenses too. Why? Because I'm looking toward the future. I expect to only use these glasses for another 6 months or so, until I get my new and improved eyes in the Summer.

I'm looking at the disposable nature of things right now. My glasses are disposable, even though they've been a part of me for well over 13 years now. I'm looking to discard them for a good 20 years, or only rely on cheap reading glasses to help with close drawing or night driving. It's an exciting feeling, and certainly something I could never have predicted when I first started wearing these coke-bottle sized beasts. And yet, also completely expected since I've been counting down the years till my 21st birthday, the signal that I'll finally be able to get surgery.

My days have been filled with playing Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the only game I own so far for my little Nintendo DS. It's a great game, really, and I'm completely confused as to how Nintendogs could get a better ranking than Zelda on Gamespot's list of top DS games of all time.


Why?!!


I look forward to my next DS game, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2. Should be plenty of fun and will distract me from the slow days that keep popping up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Search and Prosper

Searching for people online is a common pastime, as is searching for your own name and seeing who else shares your vowels and consonant. I doubt that there isn't a single person reading this post who's searched for themselves online. And if you haven't, I'll patiently wait for you to go to a website like Spock.com and search for yourself.

Go on, I'll play some lovely elevator muzack until you get back.

....doot do doot da bum bum doot dooot dee...

Back? Found yourself? No? Then you aren't popular enough and need to spend more time online, and perhaps a little time getting to know the real you.


There is certainly more of an obsession with a person's online entity now than even 5 years ago. We're a people obsessed culture, as top searches have shown. Celebrities like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton have topped "most searched for" lists for a good 6 years now. While I'm not going to get into why people continue to waste time and internet tubing on those two slags, the point is that they are people and that seems to be the most important factor pushing us to use online searches.

Often the trouble is doing a search for a person and getting a lot of unrelated links. For example, if I do a search for my last name to see who else shares this suffixial bond I end up with several Italian sites using my name in their articles. Because in Italy my name has a totally different meaning, and is not really a last-name per se. However, with a people oriented search engine like Spock, it's much easier to whittle down those links into ones actually related to your search.

Spock also has a tag system, which other search engines seem to lack. These tags are added by Spock members or the people in question as well.

So, let's say for instance that you want to find, well, Spock. A search for him comes up with these results:


Oooo.

See those websites listed under each person? That's where that person can be found on the web, where they're mentioned or if they belong to a social networking site like Myspace or Facebook.

Looking at the more traditional search result page, you can see all the tags that are associated with that person. Those tags come in handy.

I know Leonard Nimoy is the most famous Vulcan of all, but really, he hogs the limelight. Oh Spock, all knowing search engine, who else is a Vulcan?



Huh, really, Horatius Cocles? I had no idea he had pointy ears. Well, you learn something new every day.

Spock.com could entertain me all day. I could keep going with this search for vulcans and bounce off onto another interesting tag when I feel like exploring the non sequitur realm of internet searching.

Go ahead, get lost in the tags of your ancestors and annoying relatives. Let me know if any of them are Vulcans. I'm sure at least one of them must be, right?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

1st night

Hrmm....

So tonight is totally the first night of Hanukkah. I really had no idea.

I'm a terrible Jew XD.

However, in the spirit of the season, I present this fabulous photo:



If you don't find that funny, you're not Jewish or know enough about the religion.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reading Level



Oh man, does this mean I need to start using a few big words and waxing philosophically on meaningless dribble to bring my blog up to college level? Aw poo...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Demon Depp is Delightful

Oh I am excited for this coming December 21st. A certain little film by one of my favourite directors starring a few of my favourite people will finally arrive. That's right, Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's latest endeavour.



I'm a big Johnny Depp fan, and Tim Burton fan, and Helena Bonham Carter fan. Oh I do enjoy Depp films. He's a fantastic actor who can portray both the normal, modern and perhaps boring man and then turn around and be the weirdest, off the wall character you've ever seen. It's hard for me to choose two of his roles that I loved the most, I like almost all of his movies. I suppose, of course, I tend to enjoy his weirder characters better. Hrm...I can name three of my favourite Depp films:

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
2. Ed Wood
3. Edward Scissorhands

Before I get caught up in the "oh, of course you like Edward Scissorhands every mall-goth kid loves that", I will say I'm not a mall goth in the slightest and I refuse to buy the overpriced crappy clothing. I have no connection between dumb Hot Topic cronies and this genuinely original film. Depp is so young and innocent as Edward, it's quite appealing. The whole movie makes me want to go "dawwwwww, lookit his widdle scissorshands! I would totally hire him to cut topiaries and not think for a second he was weird!"

...but maybe that's just me.

His scenes in his master's castle are the most endearing to me. Sad, tragic, but beautiful. This whole concept and Depp's character of course rely strongly on the great connection he has with Tim Burton, and Tim's own fantastic imagination. I can't imagine that castle looking "normal" and I can't imagine anyone else portraying poor Edward.

Ed Wood is another top choice because of the partnership with Burton. In this film, Depp is so energetic and positive, you really want him to make it in the B-movie biz. I absolutely love his smile when he's telling his grand ideas to a group of stone-faced listeners. The ensemble cast works with Burton and Depp perfectly, and I think the scene with Orson Welles (as portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio), is quite clever. A great callback to fans of Welle's classic Citizen Kane. I generally don't like black and white films, but I like Ed Wood, the lack of colour separates it all the more from reality.


OKay, my absolute, favourite Depp portrayal does have to be him as Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Fear and Loathing is one of my top films, and books. The director, the location, the cast, all perfect to bring Thompson's drug-filled journey to screen. Terry Gilliam is the best man for the job as director and his crazy, schizophrenic style was made for Johnny Depp. Even though Depp's character spends the entire film looking like one more hit will make his head explode, you can tell he had a fun time playing Thompson/Raoul Duke.

I love every moment of Fear and Loathing. I don't think the movie would have been as convincing had the director and main actor not spent a ton of time with Hunter S. Thompson himself. Spending any time in that crazy bastards basement, as Johnny did, really screams role commitment.

I love Johnny best when he's completely out of his mind on the screen. He has the best sense of humour about himself, which is nessicary to play such absurd characters as a timid man with scissors for hands, a b-movie director with a penchant for cross-dressing, or a fuckoutofhismind journalist wobbling his way through Las Vegas.

Now comes Sweeney Todd. Aside from his Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, I feel like it's been a while since I last saw a crazy Johnny Depp. I did visit the official Sweeney Todd movie site, watched the trailer, downloaded a lovely wallpaper (featuring one of my top favourite actresses, Helena Bonham Carter...who happens to be the wife of Tim Burton...I have strange taste), I can confidently say that my crazy Depp is back!

Like all movies now, this one has a myspace so visit Sweeney Todd on MySpace and preview some of the great songs featured along with wonderful evil acting.

Y'know, as a personal thing, Sweeney Todd was apparently the dinner theatre production where my parents announced their engagement to my mother's family. It's a bit of an odd musical to announce such an event, but nevertheless I assume I'm not the only member of my household who looks forward to this film.


Spending all day printing is no fun

That's basically what I did today. Spend all day making graphics and sending them out, only to have the not-so-smart printing refuse them for stupid reasons. Such as telling me there is too much data on the disc to properly print and then telling me my image sizes are too large.

Okay, first off, I'm sending PHOTOGRAPHS that need to be at least 24INCHES WIDE and printed at a high enough resolution to look good. As such, I had to downgrade them already to jpgs, and apparently 20 MB for a high resolution, large print jpg is too large. What do they do when professional photograhers come in needing to print a 5 ft tall wedding photograph that is 1200dpi?

Second, each photo was no larger 20 mb and as such I put all of them on a CD. A CD which holds 700mb. My files, in total, took up less than a 1/4 of the entire CD. And that's "too much data"?

Okay fine, I'll put each image on a separate CD, personally I think burning 20 mbs onto one CD is kind of a waste but hey, what do I know? I'm not a professional printmaking company.


I was recently told to lower my image sizes even more, to make them about 6mbs or lower. Frankly, I refuse to do this as I don't want my name to be associated with a crappy print because someone doesn't know what they're doing or their equipment is far too old. I did lower my images, and some are about 8 mbs. One even has to be 150dpi, which I have no doubt will not look good when printed full-size. If they have a problem with this, well, too bad. I suggest going to a different printer who knows how to properly print large digital images.


Bitterness about a lot of wasted time aside, the installation for our next show is almost all done. Here's the evite (which shall fall under Spectacular Spectral Saturday because I did it and because I'm too far behind with that >.<)



It's going to be a pretty fun show. All the pieces look great, and I wish I had more than a week to help with this, as there is a lot to do before this Sunday's opening and not enough time for it all.

Oh well, at least after this I can begin working on preparing for all future planned exhibits and probably what I'll be working on during the summer. I love VisArts, I really do, and I try to do my best for any and all graphic work they need. However, I am very annoyed at this printer issue and can only hope my prints don't turn out horrendous. If they do though, I won't be surprised in the least.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Savannah is the City to See, if you like guided tours

Okay, I'll take a break for a minute from my endless amusement with Wacom's Vista driver updates to talk about a city that is near and dear to my heart. Yes, Savannah, GA, the city where I spend my formidable college years sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. To be honest, I'd hate to live here. There is too much crime and it's too expensive. However, if I have the safety of my dorm and school, it's not too bad, but overall it's a much better tour site.

I think I've only gone on one official tour of the city, and that was when I first got here. It was actually an Old Town Trolley tour, which is very popular here. Frankly I'd rather explore the city by myself, get to know it and then find all the facts. However, all that walking is not for everyone. The tour was pretty informative, but it was quite hot that day and sort of boring to a young person like me. The parents, however, thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which is why I highly suggest a trolley tour for older folk.

I didn't realize a lot of the tours here were related. Trusted Tours does a lot of the ones I see on a daily basis. When walking to and from class it's pretty common to see some sort of tour group or bus. Trusted Tours have a few nice options for Savannah tours, but I'm not really a big tourist so I probably won't enjoy them. They offer one to the Jepson center, which is a lovely building and has several nice pieces. I highly suggest visiting that as well as the Telfair museum, bot have great artwork.

Trusted Tours offers a ghost tour, which my boyfriend's and mine parents really want to go on. However, I'm hoping they pass up the Trusted Tours one and go for the particularly lovely sounding haunted pub tour. Ghosts and hauntings are very popular in Savannah, I believe most of the old buildings in the historical district are haunted. I've seen the trusted one around though and it's great, at night the tour guides dress in Victorian garb and carry lanterns. Pretty cool.

Trusted Tours doesn't just cover Savannah though, they have several cities, such as San Diego, Atlanta, Boston, and New York, to choose from. Each city has a fair option of different tours, so if you're into that type of thing it's worth checking out. There's also a nice giveaway going on where if you sign up for the Trusted Tours and Attractions e-newletter, you're automatically entered into a drawing for 4 free tickets to any tour in any city you want. The contest ends on December 14th, enter soon so you can prepare for a lovely haunted Savannah tour in the Spring. That's when all the good ghosts come out.


Sorry

sorry the updating has been a bit sparce as of late, I'm once again falling behind because of work. However, I'll do a better update this evening, promise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Catching up a bit

Oh I am a happy camper.

My laptop is working wonderfully. I went with an HP Pavilion DV 9500t, their "entertainment laptop PC". 17" screen, Intel Centrino duocore hard drive, great resolution, good ram, upgraded to Windows Vista Ultimate and fully loaded with Adobe CS3 and full Microsoft Office 2007. It's pretty comparable to my boyfriend's new Asus machine, with only a few little differences (like he has a higher resolution and slightly better graphics card), but I'm happy. This little baby is quite lovely looking and I'm rather excited about my tiny, insignificant and probably never-to-be-used remote that fits in the express slot. What? It's the first time I've had anything to go in that slot! It's nice.

On top of that I've got my Mustek Scanner all loaded and ready to go. It's a bit of a beast, but hopefully worth it, as it's one of the very few A3 size affordable scanners out there.

I've been sucked into this machine and am using it nonstop. I've transferred almost everything from the old HP and just need to get a few more files.

Tomorrow I'll be a bit sad as I won't be able to spend all day on this lovely little machine, but that's to be expected as it's Thanksgiving. I expect tomorrow to be a very busy day, filled with too many relatives (and future relatives) and food. I expect to be bloated and sleepy by about 6 p.m.

Hurrah.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Promote Myself

hrm...I'm thinking I should promote this blog better. Perhaps get my name out there and bring more attention to SCAD, comic art, and VisArts. Or maybe I'm just feeling the pangs of not having any sort of business card. Either way, if I can get 100 Free blogger cards, and it will help promote my blog, art and well...me, I might as well, right?

Nothings better than self promotion through small cards! Next stop, Muffin Mumblings bumper stickers and magnets!

ZAPP!

Ah yes, the comic-con I've been talking about has finally happened. In all fairness, it was more of a comic show, but hopefully as the years go on this baby can become a full-fledged convention. Going through, my pictures from the show are pretty crummy (I didn't take them), so I've only got a few.

There were a lot of really nice people there, and a ton of geeks so it was good. Overall it was a success, we didn't have that many people come through, but more than expected for sure. I got a chance to snag an artist table, so the first day of the con I didn't have too much work to show. Admittedly, the second day I only had a little bit more to show, but that was fine. A good portion of the show, and when a lot of artists were there, was Saturday.

Our two guest artists were Jerry Robinson and Lee Marrs. Like I said, these photos are pretty bad (my mother took them, she's not the best at catching people looking good) but here's Lee, in the middle of conversation:



And Jerry, deciding what he and his lovely wife want for lunch from Cosi:


Riviting, no?

They were both really nice and I hope they had a good time. I know everybody else really enjoyed their presence, and they are probably what drew a good portion of the crowd.

The venue itself was pretty small, I guess it's because I hadn't seen it since walls and floor were put in:


But it seemed perfect for the size of the show we put on. Like I said earlier, the artists were all really nice and I think they had a good time, even if it was a bit smaller than what they're used to.

I do enjoy being in Artists Alley because of the people you get to meet. Both the fans and fellow artists. I only wish I had more work to show, it doesn't help that I was told I'd get a table till the day before I left from Savannah. Oh well, next year should be better.

I did meet a lot of people but I think one of the few who stood out was Mark Jackson, a fellow (former) SCADie. It was interesting to find another person who knew who my professors actually are. Even moreso, to know he was about to graduate right when the sequential major got started! Mark has some really nice work, I highly suggest you check him out at Kimota.com.

Sunday was pretty slow, less than half of the attendees from Saturday showed up. Also, a few artists didn't come back so the room felt a bit more empty. It worked out though, as the quietness was quite peaceful. I brought the boyfriend with me too, he took the time to work on a "school project" on 3DSMax, so that was time well spent for him I think.

It was a pretty good show. I hope next years is more successful and perhaps we'll be able to get actual workshops, contests, and viewings so this becomes a real convention.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Orange Scented Holiday

Whoo! I'm back! I'm tired, it was quite a long drive, but I came back to some very nice things:

- A super computer. I'm in love, all over again. Oh this thing is magnificent!
-A gigantic scanner. It's huge, but it should be perfect. Haven't gotten a chance to install it quite yet...
-The promise of a near and dear comic-con (more on that tomorrow)
-Some awesome little gifts from the great folks at Vat19.

I got a set of Colour Flame candles, some Insta fake snow and a gourmet orange scented pencil.

Obviously, I had to try out the pencil. It's great! The scent of orange is really quite strong, and leads to inspiring drawings.



My cat enjoyed it too, or at least made an attempt to be slightly curious about this weird fruity pencil.


He also feared it, as though the orangyness was far too much for him to handle


Psh, weak cat.

This pencils come in 10 flavours: Chocolate, Orange, Cherry, Cotton Candy, Grape, Watermelon, Popcorn, Root beer, Very Berry, and Bubble Gum. I sort of wish I had gotten cotton candy or bubble gum....they are some of my more favourite scents...mmmhm... On second thought, maybe it's a good thing I didn't get those, I might eat the pencil! Not that it would be that bad, these pencils are made from recycled newspapers. Mmhmm....cotton candy and old Washington Post....yummy.

I think I'll use this tasty pencil to make my classmates curious as to where that mysterious orange smell is coming from. I shall laugh quietly and continue to doodle my nice smelling drawing.

I really like these colour flame candles, they are a nice idea to pump up a birthday cake, turn off all the lights and stare when the power goes out, or accessorize a cat with:


Oh ho ho ho, and yo should see when they're lit!

No, don't worry, I didn't light these candles on my cat. I'm not that evil....really. I haven't lit them yet, I'm saving them for our Thanksgiving celebration, I think it'll be a really nice way to accent our bounty of food.

I also haven't had a chance to use the insta snow. I'm considering holding off anyway until I get back down to Savannah. You can view the video here
to see it in action.

My roommate is also from a colder state and we were both lamenting about how we couldn't get snow or Fall in Savannah. She went so far last year to have her friends back home mail her leaves so she could keep the changed colour for a while. Well, now I think I know what we can use so we don't miss snow!

Vat19 has some great and interesting gifts, but they also have a few practical items. Like an Electronics Charging Station, which is very useful if you have several products that need charging (Ipod, cell phone, Nintendo DS). I also love how Vat19's staff has a sense of humour. I highly suggest checking out the "Burning Question" area of each product's page (especially insta snow), there are some weird questions and Vat19 provides some brilliant answers.

I think I'll rather enjoy these products from Vat19, and I hope this pencil lasts all the way through break so I can taunt my classmates with the delicious smell of fresh oranges.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quick Review of Cinderella Man

To be honest, I’ve never been a big boxing movie fan. I love films, most any kind, but I just can’t get into boxing movies. I am fascinated by the sport, especially boxing from the golden age before it became the father of modern, admittedly ridiculous, wrestling. While the latter is less of a sport and more of a form of entertainment, I can’t believe that any of the steroid-pumped badly named professional wrestlers would last very long if put against a real boxer. I hold high respect for the old boxers of the depression era, those who had to put themselves in the ring more than they should just so they could feed their families. It must have been hell to be the wife of a boxer, like Mae Braddock, knowing that at any time her husband could come home permanently disabled or not come back at all. That terrible strain is what made Cinderella Man so interesting and captivating.

It’s obvious that Mae and Jim have a strong relationship, even if it is tested by his chosen profession. Cinderella Man, with it’s great director and fantastic cast, shows the dynamic between the two perfectly. They obviously love each other very much, but Mae goes through a lot of stress because of Jim. That their relationship lasts in the end is a promising sign, it’s always nice to see a woman stand by her husband and honor his decisions. Even when their relationship hit a rocky spot, Jim was always looking out for his children and wife.

Ron Howard really knows how to create a strong movie. He understands how to handle actors like Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger. Zellweger typically annoys me onscreen; she has a permanent angry face. In this film, however, she appeared sincerely concerned for her husband; her angry face was put to good use. Paul Giamatti is a personal favorite of mine, and I thought he was quite convincing as a coach who genuinely believed in his star client and he brought a great energy to the screen. I don’t know who worked harder during the fight scenes, Crowe or Giamatti. Russell Crowe himself was a good choice for Jim Braddock, although I could also see Clive Owen in the role.

Cinderella Man was a story of triumph, and some points seemed reminiscent of Jack London’s “A Piece of Steak”. Every time Jim mentioned how much he would love to have two big steaks, I laughed. Though boxing movies aren’t really my favorite genre, I did enjoy this one quite a bit. The fight scenes were very well choreographed and it was hard to tell when Crowe actually got hurt and when he was acting. The actors brought as much to the screen as the director and real professional boxers.

I haven't been able to write too much, but this is the most recent film I've watched and I rather enjoyed it. I also would like to post something before the next two days fly by, as I'll probably spend my time packing and then too many hours making my way across the east coast. Oh well, could be worse, I could have school right after Thanksgiving.

3 More Days...

Finals week = almost no time to post.

I'm finally done with that huge shot list and we leave for home in 3 days. I've got one more illustration to work on and that's pretty much it.

Not completely looking forward to the drive ahead as my glasses have once again broken on me. This is the third time in less than a year, so needless to say, I'm not too happy. 3 seems to be both a lucky and unlucky number for me >.<

I seriously can't wait for next July...I want my new eyes!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mixing it up a bit

When I'm in the mood for baking, I use a mixer a lot. Ever since I started to tackle my mom's Hershey chocolate recipe book, I've known that you need the proper tools to be able to create those delicious desserts.

There aren't too many "family recipes" that we hold dear here. Most of them are just old recipes found in books that have been staples. These are pretty basic, easy recipes. Nobody in my family really cooks I'd say. I know everyone does, but nobody really goes out there and tries something new. Only my grandmother makes the more exotic dishes. Even then, I don't know her personal recipes. She makes some mean Italian cookies, delicious jam-filled ones. And fantastic soups. I know she has some great old Iraqi recipes, but I've never really been able to ask her about them to any extent.

Really, I'm on my own in the cooking world. I'm finding my way in baking and am working on my own assortment of recipes that I hope to replicate year after year. I love improving and I can't wait till I can have my own personal kitchen and all my own tools.

Most recently I made a chocolate torte for my parent's birthdays. It's not too hard of a recipe, and can be found here. I think it went over pretty well, and it was a pretty mix heavy dessert. Which is to say, I spent a good....2 hours making this thing, and most of that time was spent mixing.

I only had a hand mixer to work with, so it was really tiring to stand there, mixing away late into the night. I really wish to own a good standing mixer one day, and it looks like a Hamilton Beach® Stand Mixer is the way to go.

I'm a big Food Network junkie and every recipe looks far easier when you can use a standing mixer. They're really easy to use, and far nicer than handheld mixers when it comes to making something that requires a bit of perseverance.

For the torte I had to whip up a meringue and chocolate mousse. If I had a stand mixer, both my hands would be free and I could just pour in the ingredients as needed. Hamilton Beach® has a line of nice looking ones called the Eclectrics® Mixer which, aside from looking really nice, have some awesome features. It has twelve different mixing speeds! Oh, and what I always love about stand mixers, different add-ons, like the flat beater, dough book and whisk, annnndd a splatter shield and pouring spout! That's something I can't get with my handheld mixers.

Oh I dream of a day when I can have a good excuse to buy a Hamilton Beach® Mixer . Ah, moving day can't come soon enough!




Thursday, November 8, 2007

Yet Another Reason I love Sequential Art

Where else can I walk into a school building, be greeted by the awesome security guard who never asks for my ID because he recognizes me every time, and have him compare my complaint of stress with his time in Vietnam?

The Sequential building and all the people in it rock.

Trust the Bearded King

Let's get right to the point, shall we?

There are bad Stephen King movies and there are good Stephen King movies. Lawnmower Man, that was a terrible Stephen King movie, The Shining, that was a good Stephen King movie. However the horrible movies always end up being tremendously amusing. I suppose this all has to do with the directors and, to some degree, the actors. Get good actors and a good director and Stephen King will win me over.

The Mist by Stephen King is one of his recent film encarnates and judging by the trailers it looks like it will fall into the latter category of good Stephen King movies. I was an idiot and lost my original post here so I'd like to add this little visual element to help make my post clear:



Why do I need to issue the Bearded Stephen King Stamp-o-Approval? Because there are too many terrible movies out there with his credit as writer. I also think he looks a little more charming with a beard, don't you? Kind of like a cross between George Lucas and a happy monkey.

I just want to list a few of my more favourite films of his that I think deserves this high honour:







I could add more but just remember this simple rule; if Stephen King with a beard would make a good substitute for the main character on a film poster, it will be a good adaptation. If he looks silly and uncomfortable (uhm...more silly and uncomfortable than he does normally), then it will be a bad movie and you should stay far, far away from it.

That being said, I hope that I can add The Mist to that list, at least from the trailers it looks promising. I'd like to believe that this director, Frank Darabont, who has also worked on The Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile, believes in Stephen King and will do his best with this film. The directors of a Stephen King Film are what make or break it really. The movie's website is pretty entertaining and contains a few webisodes that give you a behind the scenes look at the film. I highly recommend checking that out.

Of course, I can't issue an official Bearded Stephen King Stamp-o-Approval until the film is released, but I will reserve one now and judge whether to distinguish that honour later.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Just Another Thing, isn't it?

Well, turns out that my tablet hadn't failed...the USB ports did. That's really comforting.

My new HP laptop is almost home so I'll have a nice one to come home too. I love this little laptop but it's become quite a pain. Now I'm behind on my illustrations too, excellent >.<

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Yar

This week looks to be quite busy, so I'm not quite sure when I'll be able to update.
I've got a few major pieces due as well as finals to begin working on, since we only have two weeks left in the quarter.


At the moment I have a large quantity of illustrations (21 actually) due Friday and it doesn't help that my Wacom tablet is deciding not to communicate with my computer.

Figures.

Keep on Searching for the One

I am currently looking forward to a life of freelance illustration/comic work. I really have no idea how to go about getting a job, or at least browse for one. Sure, there's Monster.com or HotJobs, but those cater to business professionals and people who already have their degree. I want a website that has a wide range of jobs for freelancers and where I can find people looking for graphic designers, illustrators, programmers, writers, web designers and others that don't quite fit in the office norm.

I'm rather happy to find this freelance marketplace, it's actually exactly what I've been looking for. Their categories, visual art related of course, are nicely organized and the site design itself is simple without any distracting elements. And there are real comic/illustration jobs! Whenever I search on Monster or other sites I can either find nothing that's remotely related or I get stuck with entry-level sales positions.

I would really like to try this out...but....there's a membership fee...of course. Well, I'm not too keen on that. The whole reason I'm looking for a job is because of lack of money, but I imagine this is an excellent resource for non-college students. Or people who already are somewhat established in their field but want more work.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If only for a scanner

I'm in a bit of a rut. I need a scanner quite badly, quite badly indeed. But not any type of scanner, oh no, one with a document scan size of up to 11x17". For you see, in my field this happens to be a pretty standard size on which to fit a typical comic book page. And yet, most scanners that will work that large are about $500-$5,000 each. Quite out of price range for a poor little college student like myself.

I do like that my roommate has a scanner, and our school does provide excellent ones (they recently got some Epson Expressions, which are incredible, but like to crop my scans without asking. Rather rude of a scanner.), however I wish to have something that I can use for a good while. And without walking more than 2ft to, and at 3 a.m. or something.

Yeah, I'm lazy, and cheap. But there is hope.
I was able to find one scanner that is about $200 and does larger formats. Yes, the Mustek A3 appears to be the only scanner on the market that fits my criteria. It's not the best, but it'll work. My professor has owned his for many years and he's worked on Spider-man, that's how I know I can trust his opinion.



Bah, it doesn't look all sleek and fun like scanners now.

I'm sure I'll learn to love it, I mean, what choice do I have anyway?

Now I just have to pray that it won't have any problems with Vista.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bad Bathrooms Make for Boring Baths

Ugh, I hate the showers here in the dorms. While I am grateful that we all have private bathrooms (one per room, as opposed to shared bathrooms like other colleges), they leave much to be desired. The shower faucets alone are as bare as possible, and probably haven't been changed since this motel was revamped into a dorm. The bathrooms are tiny, there is only enough room for the toilet and the shower/bath, though I can't imagine anyone actually taking a bath in there XP. The sink is outside the bathroom, much like a typical hotel/motel room. It's a very cramped setup though inside, so we've been smart and added a "door" (i.e. shower curtain hanging on an extendible rod) to separate the bathroom area from the rest of the room.

The real deal is inside the bathroom, the dingy floor and wall tiles are paired perfectly with the permanently stained brown toilet and bathtub. Ugh, everytime I shower I think about my seemingly fantastic setup at home, with the detachable shower head and clean tub. I'm not being dirty when I say I miss that shower, especially since it's the perfect set up for when I need to rinse dye out of my hair or clean a very nervous and unwilling kitty.

Whenever I see a commercial come on t.v. that talks about bathroom fixtures I kind of dream of the day when my boyfriend and I can make that our priority. To get a good and proper shower faucet. I've even taken it so far as to browse sites like Faucet.com that features a wide range of bathroom fixtures. I could easily get lost in that site and design my dream bathroom.

It's almost ridiculous as to how many types of faucets there are out there, but it's nice to have a better selection than just "old rusted faucet that shoots in one direction and one direction only".

I know a lot of women say the kitchen is the best place in the house, but I'm all for making the bathroom look best. It's the simple elegance of a lovely bathroom that can make showers and other typical bathroom activities enjoyable, rather than taken for granted. A lot of that elegance comes from proper fixtures, and to get proper fixtures you have to be willing to browse.

It's all for the Cake

****Warning, robots have found possible spoilers in this post, but you should play the game anyway so what does it matter to you humans?****

As promised, I did finish the awesome and highly entertaining game, Portal. Not being as big a gamer as my boyfriend, who was the one to purchase the Orange Box and has subsequently finished all 3 Half-Life episodes as well as Portal several time, I wasn't quite sure I could make it through the game. It is suspiciously easy once you get the hang of it though, and little details about the game make it quite fun indeed.

Portal starts out with you in what can best be described as a beanie baby-like container, waking up to begin the long series of tests for Aperture Science's newest little toy, the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. You have to complete a series of puzzles using this handy machine that resembles the gravity gun from sister game, Half-Life 2.

This little video probably is the best way to show these fabulous tests in action:


Simple, right? Well kind of. The game really has two sections, the puzzle-solving test mode and the escape mode. Without ruining the ending I'll just say escape mode feels a little longer than the testing, but this may also be because it's the action part of the game.

While I was able to get many of the tests on my own, I also found myself in some very aggravating spots. I imagine if I were a bit smarter and a better gamer I wouldn't have that much difficulty, as the boyfriend easily swept his way through the first time he played. This is an excellent game to play with people, where both of you can decide where and what portals to use.

It isn't a game that is too short, I thought the testing portion gave me just enough experience to understand how to use the portal gun well so I was prepared for the escape section. It's also rather nice how the portal gun resembles the gravity gun, in that you are able to pick up and carry objects (sometimes quite heavy)with it.

What really stood out for me was the humour in the game. It's comforting to know that Valve has a sense of humour about themselves and that is a huge part of making this game enjoyable. With the nonsensical polite chattering the auto-turrets make (they say things like "hello? are you still there? I promise I won't hurt you..." in a sweet high voice, then proceed to shoot you with all their little might) to the hideaway areas where you can view "behind the scenes" parts of the Aperture building, as well as great graffiti, Portal is an entertaining romp for science.

The ending itself is far more action packed then the rest of the game, and it still contains little snippets of humour that make you forget you're going to die in 5 minutes. The ending video is great, and gives the possibility for a sequel (maybe?). Even the end credits are entertaining, as you are serenaded by a familiar mechanic voice to a tune called, "Still Alive". I highly recommend downloading it here, as you can be sure the intoxicating melody and simple verses will get stuck in your head in no time.

In the end, Portal was a great game. Challenging enough to keep you playing and funny enough to keep you entertained. Perhaps the greatest bit of the game is that you are taking part in all of these tests because of the promise of cake and a party.

Just remember, the cake is a lie.

Cartridge Madness!

I'm seriously considering getting a scanner. I need one, and it's somewhat difficult to find an affordable one in the size that I want (at least 11x17" scan size). This comes about because of my major's actual dependence on such a product, as well as being able to print said scan correctly. For that I have a printer, it's not perfect but it's mine.

It's also kind of useless at the moment because I never bought more ink for it >.< Call me lazy or cheap but I just never got around to it. Searching desperately for a good Cartridge Finder online is kind bothersome, but I was able to happen upon a good site that is easy to navigate and price out cartridges.

cartridgefinder.com has one of the most basic interfaces I've seen for a printer website and I love it. You can start by searching directly or browsing the larger brands. What's even better is that each printer has a photo accompanying it, which makes identifying your own printer simple. They utilize Price Grabber to find the cheapest place online that will sell your cartridge.

This really is a useful site, and I kind of wish the creators could make one that tells about different scanner types and where to buy. I'm certainly going to use it to find printer cartridges though, now I don't have an excuse for letting my little printer sit all alone.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Lazy Saturday Night

My urge to post is dampened much by the overall tired feeling I've been having lately. Perhaps it's the weather, it's finally turning cooler in Savannah which is quite nice, or perhaps it's because the quarter is winding down. There's that heavy feeling I always get a few weeks before the end of quarter, where I doubt my abilities and tend to dislike almost all of my work.

Oh well, nothing to do but keep on truckin' through it.

Tonight is the Masquerade apparently. We didn't realize this was going on and it explains the eerie emptiness of the dorm. As much as I enjoy creating costumes, I've grown quite lazy when it comes to wearing them. I don't really enjoy wearing make-up on a day-to-day basis, Halloween is no exception.

I imagine it would help if I had some friends who really wanted to go, or knew anyone who wanted me to go with them.

I do feel a little bad about missing out on a lot of the social activities that go on here, but it seems like there are few that actually interest me. And of those few, even less that my boyfriend will want to attend with me or that we'll remember.

I hope I'm making up for this lack of SCAD activities by actually seeing a few films at the Film Festival that starts this week. I'll miss out on the evening shows (which sold out within the first day tickets were available), which means I won't get to see any of the cool guests. But that doesn't matter, I'm really excited to see the films that we are. There are several good films being shown but I'm specifically seeing Suffering Man's Charity and Netherbeast Incorporated







As a big fan of Dave Foley and Alan Cummings, you can imagine I'm rather looking forward to this coming week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gone for too Long

Dreadfully sorry about being so MIA these last few days. I've had a bit of a busy week, what with teachers deciding to change the due date for projects so it's earlier than expected as well as dealing with my computer being slow as hell.

Nonetheless, I shall try to update more this week. And hopefully post a few photos too.

I recently finished Portal, a lovely game that comes in the amazingly overstuffed Orange Box, so I do believe I'd like to write about that.

I've also got a few new pieces of art to show I suppose, although I must say that this quarter I keep feeling kind of crummy about my work. None of it is really all that impressive and I'm not very happy with it, I don't know. I think it's become trite crap but well, you can see for yourself.

Now, it's a bit too late to fully post and I'm quite tired and my computer is being eerily creaky, it sounds like all its joints are cracking, like some sort of computer arthritis. Oh well, I guess it's another sign that it's time to get a new one >.<

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My brain has run dry of good topics to talk about.

This week has made me quite tired and I'm considering ignoring all homework and just sleeping a good...hour I guess.

Bleck, school is halfway over, I really only have another month left. Can't wait for that 10 hour drive home >.<

Monday, October 15, 2007

Long Weekend indeed

Ooof, sorry for the lack of updates, it's been a bit of a long weekend. Starting with my birthday and ending with doing real homework.

Though I must say, overall the weekend was quite lovely.

I'm rather excited about my storyboarding project, we got into groups and had to come up with an ad featuring a real product. My team went over the required 16 shots and did 20 instead (5 per person), and we used Lifesavors. I'll post pictures of the completed ad (still drawings, of course, this is storyboarding after all)tomorrow once I see everyone's all nice and mounted.

Mmyep, easy weekends go over quite well with me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shortie

Birthday nights are best spent with the one you love.

Twas a good birthday this year, far better than the last <3

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Secret Ingredient is...

I've been watching Iron Chef America all day and it's really making me wish I had a kitchen >.<

The've had some great ingredients too...like garlic, and shrimp. Mmmmm.

Damn, I miss cooking.

Elite?

Well, it may be months away but the boyfriend's birthday is coming up and I need to think of something to get him. It's always hard to find great deals on Xbox 360, PS3, Halo 3, and other game related merchandise, but there are solutions. There are some really great websites out there that cut prices enough to make it worth buying online instead of going to stores like Gamestop or EB Games, which charge full price for every new game or console. We always want new electronics, of all the things to buy used I know that video game consoles are at the bottom of his list. Which is quite understandable, unlike a used car, you can't really ever tell what was wrong with a used console. Or why that person is selling it.

They might have the same problem that my boyfriend (J), has. Having to send in your Xbox 360 3 times because of problems (most recently being the dreaded red-rings)is not comforting. And while he has been able to do it for free, since it's still under warranty, it's still a big hassle and I know how sad he feels during the times when the 360 is in the shop.

Which is why he's thinking about trading in the ol' Xbox 360 normal and getting an Elite, which has better hardware attached to it. And the nice black colour doesn't hurt either.

So, I think I know what I want to get him, but well, Elites are rather expensive you know? Finding one that comes with a bundle online for a discounted price is my goal. Which is where TechlineStore comes in.

It has a bunch of good categories specifically pertaining to Xbox 360s, and primarily focusing on hardware instead of games. Which, in my case, is good. The games they offer are discounted, so I might want to check back later if I feel the urge to browse...especially the DS section of the store.

While discounted prices on bundles are great (the 360 Elite is about $350 cheaper through TechlineStore than in a retail shop), I do wish I could navigate the site a little easier. This is honestly a very big pet peeve of mine and I do feel the need to point it out, as I hope it can help advise shoppers planning on visiting.

The categories on the lefthand side of the screen are very useful in telling me what exactly is featured for sale here, but unfortunately, they are very hard to actually click. I know they're links because of the mouseover highlight effect, but I simply cannot click them. Also, having categories called "Electronics 1-5" is far to general for someone who comes shopping knowing exactly what they want to look for. There is no specific tab labelled "video games" and this left me a bit confused.

I do enjoy discounted items, no matter if the navigation of the site is a little iffy, and I love to browse all things electronic. Like Ipods, cell phones, t.v.s, and other random items. This site seems like an especially good resource for small hardware pieces, like cables and computer guts, that are a pain to buy elsewhere.

I'm keeping this bookmarked for a while...maybe I'll surprise J with a lovely new Elite to replace his poor, battered Xbox 360.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What a night

Last night was probably the most "collegey" night I've had so far. Last year, when my boyfriend had his own room, we were fairly antisocial and liking it. Now, with the addition of a very social roommate, there's rarely any time we get to spend alone together.

So of course last night was no exception.

Apparently, his roommate (who we shall refer to as "M") broke up with his girlfriend. He decided to go out and get wasted with his friend (and my neighbour), so give it a few hours before both come stumbling back in with traffic cones on their heads. Yeah, traffic cones to go with the stop sign and exit sign that they had stolen before when they were drunk. So, my boyfriend and I are just quietly enjoying a night of television and tasty sandwiches while M's friend is rambling on drunk while M himself is outside talking with the ex.

About 1 hour later and M is back with his girlfriend and his friend wanders out completely shitfaced, after playing a bit of Halo 3 online of course.

The rest of the night the now current girlfriend of M sleeps over while my boyfriend and I watch a fantastic movie (Sunshine), and just play the part of a bored college couple.

At least it wasn't too noisy and there wasn't a lot of drama but I'm betting we'll see more of the same over the next year.

Ah, college dorm life, how brilliantly terrible.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Set Your Radar to Games

As I'm typing this the boyfriend is busy playing away a new demo for the game Bladestorm on his Xbox 360. This boy is deep into video game culture, so much so that he's even studying it at school. Yep, SCAD has a video game major, and a real one too, just another reason this school rocks.

As a gamer he spends a good portion of his free time checking out review sites for his current and future Xbox games as well as the PC ones, and (someday) PS3 ones. It's very important to have game review sites around, how else would you know when to expect the next installment of GTA? Or be able to watch super exclusive secret videos of said game. But to have a really successful game website you have to offer competent reviews, interesting content and great FAQs/ Cheat sections.

Now, I'm not nearly as big a game nerd as my boyfriend, I do enjoy playing video games and I am rather excited about my most recent purchase (a lovely Onyx Nintendo DS) but I look like a novice compared to him. Looking at Xbox cheats is a daily thing for him, so I know how much it matters to find a good concise version.

I've been playing Animal Crossing: Wild World as of late and I was quite pleased with Game Radar's cheat/FAQ section. Was was most interesting is that the two featured FAQa were written by the same people who submitted some of the best FAQ/Walkthrough for GameFAQs, but here is also the added cheat, pictures, and review sections. Which are all quite nice.

Last summer I was quite addicted to God of War for the PS2, I am quite happy with the amount of Playstation 2 cheats they offer for the game. This really makes me want to go back and replay it.

GamesRadar is a pretty comprehensive site, and it's very easy to navigate through, which is a big plus. This is one to bookmark, especially since I see they have a little guide for The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass in the works...quite lovely indeed.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

blah blah blah blah

God, this week has been tiring. I guess waking up at 8 a.m. doesn't help my situation.

I'm quite happy the weekend starts now (yep, we get Friday off here), I need those 3 days to catch up and rest.

Some new though, I believe I'm all done with the VisArts layouts. There is, of course, one tiny problem that plagues almost all the sites, which is an image is a fraction of a pixel off. I've been trying to fix it for a while now, but at the moment I want to focus more on adding real content and putting the layout on the backburner. Content is, in some cases, more important than the design. Especially when you're working on breaking down one huge website into 6 smaller ones.

Glurg I say, glurg.

Future Insurance

I pretty much hate dealing will all aspects of driving. The MVA, other people on the road, taking care of your car, auto insurance, and having a nice drive without something terrible happening all suck. Let's face it, without the convenience, driving a car in this day and age sucks. There's all kinds of terrible drivers out there, and perhaps it's my location but I seem to run into a fair number of them.

So far, in my short few years of driving, I've been pretty safe. I've had a few close calls, and at least a couple little bumps but nothing serious. Most recently I got in a bit of a kerfuffle in a parking garage out by my work, but thanks to my auto insurance provider, that all was taken care of in a timely fashion.

At least right now, I'm still on my parent's insurance, but I know that very soon I'll have to switch to my own provider. At least I can look up insurance quotes online, this makes my search far easier.

It's impossible to imagine living my life without some sort of insurance to back me up, even if it's homeowners insurance, which, finances willing, I'll be able to get someday.

My current career choice offers little to no company-issued insurance plan of any sort. So I have no choice but to go through independantly and find my own insurance. Maybe I'll be lucky and my boyfriend/husband/whoever takes care of the cat with me will get a good job that provides its employees and their families with insurance options. I can only hope.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Love for Discovery

The Discovery Channel seems to be a staple on our t.v. It's the first channel myself, my roommate, my boyfriend and his roommate all turn too. I'd like to believe it's because we fancy ourselves intelligent folk with a love for knowledge. In reality, we all just love a few staple shows.

Dirty Jobs

Mythbusters

and the occasional casual viewing of Cash Cab or How it's Made.

Seriously, who doesn't love Mythbusters or Dirty Jobs? How can you not like these hosts?



Who here loves learning?!

Last year, we were one a Dirty Jobs kick, successfully downloading and watching all 5 seasons of it in less than a year. That's a lot of jobs to consider. So far we haven't started that with Mythbusters, but I'll give us a few years before the boyfriend decides we should actually start watching it more.

We're not completely crazy about catching these shows, but it is nice to have some sort of tv schedule. Basically, I have two important tv nights, Sunday and Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday are also welcome to join the schedule, but it seems to be harder to watch shows that night, when his roommate is busy trapped in (well, now) Halo 3.

If you haven't seen the shows, you are missing out on one fabulous hour of television. Discovery Channel has proven to make good choices in their feature shows, and as long as they keep picking up interesting specials (Planet Earth anyone?), they'll continue to be the intelligent college kid's go-to channel.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Invader Grunt

On Friday, my boyfriend's roommate received Halo 3. This is a big deal to him, as this boy has been pining after the game for a good year or so. Within minutes of his arrival, my boyfriend and him had started completing the campaign on Heroic mode. I sat and watched, while occasionally working on stuff to keep me from being too bored.

While I enjoy video games, I'm not much of a gamer. I seem to know more about them than the average girl, and I do like them, I just don't have a ton of experience playing. I'm not terrible, but I'm not great either and I have a huge fear of embarrassment, hence my unwillingness to join in playing when people are around. But watching works, and this entire weekend I've seen so many cut-scenes and been witness to many epic battles.

It wasn't until 2 a.m. yesterday that I finally got a chance to play myself, sucking as expected but at least having fun.

Anyhoo, since yesterday was filled with Halo I didn't have a chance to post something for SSS. Which is funny because yesterday was all about visual arts. Nonetheless, today I come bearing a question that has been in my mind since the long hours of viewing Halo 3:

Are Covenant grunts and Irken Invaders related?



The grunts sound suspiciously like Invader Zim and his cronies. They also have triangle-packs on their backs, and are quite short, which is similar to Irken invaders. Grunts are also headstrong little idiots, following any orders placed by their tall superiors.

Study the above photo, play Halo 1, 2, and 3, then watch Invader Zim and tell me the grunts and invaders aren't related!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Drive Your Data

When you work in a remote location, far away from "the office" you end up having to send files back and forth, many many times. At least this has been my experience.

In general, for me these files are huge. Well over the limit of gmail's attachment allowance. Attachments seem pretty limiting as it is, at least with gmail, which is why I need to look for alternative ways of sending large files.

In general, file sharing websites also have limits. Such as Megaupload, which limits you to one download per several hours. Or Mediafire, which limits uploads to about 100-200mb. There is SendSpace, but it limits you're file size as well and allows only one download at a time. There used to be some really good sites out there that were perfect for downloading multiple files in large sizes. Now, not so much.

But there is some hope for us large-file folk, Driveway.com has no download limit and allows uploads up to 500mb.



Creating a free account gives you 2gbs of storage space. This seems like a really good deal. Also, while uploading files can be a big pain, Driveway has a widget for you to directly access your account via your desktop.

This seems like an excellent site for file sharing, I'm going to have to start using it rather than deal with the annoyance of a small attachment limit.

Changes

Well, I think I'm doing it. I'm changing my minor from Film to Graphic Design.

Why? Because I have more experience in graphic design, and I will not be able to take more than a few courses anyway. I won't be able to finish my major, but I think it's better to be a little behind but still have a good base knowledge of a subject rather than start from zero and get nowhere.

Film is intense, so is Sequential Art. I don't plan on killing myself these last few years at college, I plan on honing skills needed to survive and make some sort of living in the world doing what I love. I'm hoping graphic design (with an emphasis on web work) will in the long run help me more.

Let's hope I make the right choice...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sproose Search

As time goes by I predict we'll be seeing more user-adjusted/created content on the web. There are already several sites that rely on users to determine what is or isn't popular/important. Why not add a search engine as well?

That's exactly where Sproose comes in. This is a really cool idea, a user-determined search engine.


Sort of like Digg, Sproose has users vote on search engine results. The more votes a webpage has, the higher up in the index it gets. Which can lead to more traffic and sometimes, easier searching. For example, if you do a search for "Muffin Mumblings" *insert shameless promo here*, and you really want to find muffinmumblings.blogspot.com, simply click on "I Like It" and you'll vote for the site, effectively moving it up to the top of the index.

What's also really cool is that users can share their voted websites with others, creating even more traffic for the site and linking similar interests.

click here to try sproose!

Eternal Transfer PERSONAL POST

When/if I have kids I'm going to try and convince them to spend their first year of college at a community college. Judging by the cost increase in private colleges and thinking my kids won't be able to get really good scholarships, I'm pretty sure that spending freshman year at a community college is far better financially.

That's what I did, and it had nothing to do with figuring out where I wanted to go, it all had to do with money. The cost for one year of tuition at my local community college was about 1/3 the cost of SCAD. I was able to get a fair number of general classes out of the way too, and this gives me more time to spend on my major courses. I'm really happy I did that, and at the same time I wish I had taken a few more courses before I went to SCAD. Once again, just to get them out of the way. Right now I've got two more classes to take before I can devote myself purely to my major/minor. I'm not looking forward to taking either course, but oh well. I procrastinated and this is what it got me >.<

Today I ended up talking to a girl from one of my classes who also is a transfer student. She had no idea you could still take courses outside of SCAD and get them to transfer so when I explained how to do it, she was pretty happy. I really do think there are some great advantages to taking CC classes before going to your college of choice, and I know it makes more sense when you're at art school.

Nobody at art school wants to take math, and it's really pretty useless when you want to focus on illustration or comic books.

I love not coming here as a freshman. It seems like a big waste of time. First off, you have to do the stupid freshman orientation course where you end up devoting more time than you should to attending useless seminars. My roommate was here as a freshman and she hated the orientation part. She ended up spending time listening to useless lectures on why you should attend classes when she needed to be back in her room finishing homework.

You also get to skip that dreadful year of college where you have no idea what you're doing and what your work ethic is. It's better to spend your first year figuring out how you work in the safety of your own home and without spending $30,000.

Yeah, I'm going to try and press going to community college for my kids first year at school. I don't know how they'd react, but if they're anything like me they'll understand and look back on it as a good decision.

Looking Up Weasels in the Dream Dictionary

Ah dream interpretation. Psychologists love this stuff and I do too. I have a good time relating my dreams to my boyfriend and he does the same. It's really interesting to know what others dream about, and if they are as chaotic and weird as your own.

Of course, most of the time we just listen and comment on each other's dreams. There's no real interpretation or attempt to figure out what that certain part of the dream could mean. Afterwords though, we do notice some common trends that appear. Which leads to actually trying to interpret the dream. Not getting very far in psychology, this doesn't go very well. But after stumbling upon Dream Dictionary I think I'll have an easier time analysing our deepest dreams.

Dream Dictionary is a neat little dream symbol search where you can type in your specific symbol and find out what it means.Or, like any good dictionary, you can browse and happen upon some very interesting symbols.

One of the common themes in my dreams is eating. I tried to type that in but the results were far more specific than I expected. I was hoping to find a generalization of what eating means in a dream, but instead I got all kinds of foods. I had no idea there was such symbolism in specific foods, but now I guess I'll have to try and keep track of what I was actually consuming!

A simple browsing of Dream Dictionary's contents shows me even more specific imagery. I really don't track my dreams nearly as well as I should!

Take a look over there yourself, there's some really interesting explanations. For instance, have you ever wondered what a weasel in your dream may mean? Well, go find out!

Gimme a Reason

Very recently I saw a discussion about art schools and why someone would go to SCAD versus SVA or some other art college. This is a great question I ask almost everyone I meet. Even though I'm in school already and don't plan on applying anywhere else any time soon it's a great way to figure out what other's impressions of other art colleges are.

Coming from the east coast I always ask about schools like Parsons, Pratt, RISD, MICA, etc. A lot of people turned their noses up at those schools because the people are too uptight and snotty. Which I understand, a lot of people have this impression that an art school is filled with dirty hippie painters who will end up living in cardboard boxes when they graduate. This is probably because most schools make the curriculum around letting you just do art. There's no real focus to get a degree, you just paint what you want to and try to improve so you can maybe one day have a gallery exhibition somewhere in your small town.

Whereas SCAD is focused on getting you a job after graduation. Tailoring their curriculum around a career in the art of your choice. This seems to be a pretty common reason a lot of people I asked chose this school.

The other common reason is because they were enamoured with the professors, everyone is really great and very knowledgeable.

Those are probably the most common reasons I've come across. It's a nice experiment and a great way to find out what really makes this school appalling, I highly suggest asking people at your own college what their reason for attending there is. You might be surprised at the diverse answers.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Feeling Comfortable In Your Skin

Being back at school means trying to keep off the weight that inevitably comes with having to eat school meals. Today my boyfriend and I went grocery shopping with the intent of buying healthier foods. We both want to lose weight and working together will make it easier than working alone.

So far we've cut out sodas entirely, and our snacks now consist of celery, hummus and goldfish. We won't know if this will change until November, when we'll both return home to our scales and finally...weigh in.

What's my motivation behind this? Well, it all has to do with my mother. I've kept track of her photos over the years, and I can see that at my age she didn't look bad. But now, she never lost the baby weight, she doesn't stick to diets and well, she's a borderline diabetic. She is my motivation to not end up like that, and also have to spend who knows how much money on all the different pills she has to take and other medical related expenses.

I've talked to her before about obesity surgery, aka gastric banding, and it doesn't look it'll happen anytime soon. Looking at our financial situation at the present time I can't say I blame her for not wanting to seriously look into it. Also, by most accounts she's not obese, but she is quite overweight for her height. It's clearly affecting her health and well being. I don't want her to develop full-blown diabetes, I know it runs in the family but she can avoid it if she works hard.

Also, thanks to America's lovely obesity problem more and more surgery centers cater to that population. A simple search online can lead you to these places, like Journey Lite, which works on making their patients feel comfortable. There's a lot of support there too, including message boards, tips for success and recipes to help ease through the process.

I may mention this to my mom. Gastic bypass surgery is not an end-all solution, but it is a step toward a less expensive and more fulfilling life. My father and I would love to see her back in shape, and I know she would love to have more options in fashion and not spend as much time taking pills.

Who You Gonna Call? Superhero Contest

There's a great contest going on right now at VisArts that anyone can enter and I highly suggest taking a look at it.



Prizes include getting your name in the gallery info for the show as well as having your winning 1 page comic published in the con program guide.

If you know anybody who might be interested in this contest, please do share the info. The printout above as well as more information on the exhibition can be found here

Karma?

I'm a real bitch sometimes, seriously. But I hide it well. My inner bitch only comes out when I'm with the one I love, which is to say, I love him so much I can let myself go. To most people, however, I'm rather nice. I make friends easily, I've never been in any sort of friend fight and I always try to treat any person working for/with me with the utmost respect. I know that this means something too.

When I say "working for" I'm referring to any person who has a job serving other people,whether it be in food, sales, or anything where they have to fill another person's needs. In school I've noticed it really counts. In my mind it's second nature to treat people with respect, and I've noticed that it doesn't go unappreciated.

Where I live we have one convenient dining option for school, a cafeteria that's located literally right underneath the dorm building. I obviously eat there quite often, or at least get food for take out. I haven't eaten one meal there, which is mainly because I've always hated eating in cafeterias and subsequently hate all the noise and people around me, however I've noticed my fair share of terrible student etiquette.

While waiting in line for something to be prepared I've seen kids talking on their cell phones, making these terribly annoying and specific requests of the food (y'know, the vegan skinny guys who want only 7 mushrooms in their dish, no more no less), and generally treating the wait staff like they're poor slime. It's seems so rude to me and I can tell how much the staff doesn't appreciate it just by their tone or the shaking of their head. At times I take pity on them, I mean this isn't a great job and they don't need snotty art school students making it more difficult. Which is why I always treat them with respect. I patiently wait for them to notice me, if a dish is already prepared I don't ask for certain things to be taken out (like if it has onions in it, which I don't really want, I'll still take it instead of having them make an entire new sauce just for me), and I never act like I'm in a hurry and need my food now. Most importantly, I always say, "Thank you".

It does make a difference, I get smiles and cheerful hellos, sometimes I even get more food than other people because I'm always nice to the staff. It's little things like that, random acts of kindness, that I'd like to think help make both our lives easier. I can't imagine being rude to the person preparing your food, I thought that was the cardinal rule of comestible purchase, always be nice. Even if I'm feeling crappy being greeted by the staff in a way that makes it seem like they do want to serve me, is always a lovely experience.

Random acts of kindness are what make living in this world more bearable. Be nice to the people who serve you, no matter how pissed off or tired you are, in the end it makes a difference.