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


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


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.


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 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:


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. 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


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.