365 Hats Trailer!

6 02 2010


365 Hats Trailer

Originally uploaded by N-Sai

I’ve just put out the trailer for the 365 Hats project. Going through this process has been lots of fun. As you may gather, this project has been more about being creative than adhering to strict rules. I’ve violated pretty much every principle I started with, but at the same time, I’ve also stuck better to the plan than I expected I would. A few notes/lessons learned through the process:

  • This is nutz, baby. Nutz. But so much fun.
  • My definition of a “hat” is somewhat loose in many cases, but that’s OK. It’s all creativity.
  • I don’t need to OWN the hat. A few of these were “found” in the environment.
  • Some of the hats are handmade or improvised.
  • The vast majority of the hats are actual hats that I own.
  • Headbands, bows and the like count as hats for the sake of simplicity.
  • I got a late start at dailymugshot. I’ll be posting a link to that soon, thanks to a pointer from a coworker.
  • Currently the images are stored in a Picasa Web Album, which allows me a lot of freedom to upload in batches and change photos in and out.
  • In some cases I’ve had to bend or break the time interval rules due to breaking news at my day job (Haiti coverage for example).
  • The only strict rule I’m setting is that I must upload at once per week (multiple images from that week are OK, individual daily posts are ideal) and that I must have 365 different hat or headgear arrangements by the end of 2010.
  • Multiple poses/shots with the same hat are ideal because it allows me to animate the scene. I may do some videos, too, just to mix things up a bit.
  • Don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually a few days ahead in my photo-taking. I’m trying to stash those aside and stay in pace.
  • It’s super-awesomer if the hat has some meaning for the events of that day.

Overally, I’m surprised at how fun and not-tedious this process has been. While I haven’t been able to do updates every single day that I’ve been doing this, I’ve stuck with it through most of the thick and thin moments that have come along, and there’s been quite a bit to distract from my resolve. In many cases my hats or headgear match up with current events so that helps. I can document the day by showing what hat I am wearing.

View high-quality version on YouTube if you like. The video clip here is from Flickr.

So the big question is, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? ARE YOU INSANE? Well I’m doing it mainly because it’s fun and because it will be something I can look back on at the end of the year. It will be something simply awesome and fun. And, it gives me a chance to play around and experiment with new ideas and technology and software. In short, it’s just a lot of awesome. I do wear a lot of hats in this world and sometimes it’s nice to just do something fun.

PRODUCTION NOTES: All the photos shown here were taken with an iPhone or with Photo Booth on my MacBook. Visual arrangement for this piece was done on free video editor HyperEngine-AV v. 1.5. I experimented with iMovie but found it too limiting in some respects and far superior in other ways. Overall, I’m finding that a combined approach of HyperEngine-AV and iMovie may be the way to go unless I spring for Final Cut at home. More to come on that. The music is an exported GarageBand sound clip.





Stuff People Seem To Like #5: H1N1/Swine flu

14 11 2009

Don’t get me wrong. People don’t really “like” swine flu, H1N1, but they sure are obsessed with it. I think I darn well might have it right now. Every respectable health source I’ve looked at seems to be indicating that the standard flu isn’t here yet and most cases of the flu that are surfacing right now are in fact H1N1. (Don’t quote me on that, however.)

I suppose I should go to the doctor, but what’s the point? The most I could hope for is a dose of Tamiflu and at this point, I’m not sure if it would really help. I’m just going to ride out this awful, awful storm. Now, you may be wondering what this flu experience is like. Here’s my personal experience with this mystery respiratory ailment:

On Monday night of this week, I started feeling chilly at the office. My coworkers reassured me that it was cold inside, I wasn’t getting sick, etc. But I felt like something was not quite right. I made it to work on Tuesday and  continued to worsen, but still wasn’t all that bad. It was raining pretty hard that night and I returned to my apartment soaking wet. After drying myself off, I collapsed into bed. By the next morning, Wednesday, I could hardly get out of bed. I was so sore, my chest was heaving and wheezing, and I was having trouble breathing. My tonsils were swollen and were collecting tonsil stones, which added to my sore throat. I hadn’t had this tonsil problem in probably a year. In short, I could barely make it the few feet across my quasi-loft apartment to contact my colleagues, much less go to work.

I’ve read unsubstantiated rumors that H1N1 attacks the lungs first, versus the upper respiratory tract as in most ailments. That seems to jive with my experience, as I’ve never heard my lungs wheeze like that before. It also theoretically  would make it pretty dangerous for people with athsma. The CDC advises people with lung problems to be cautious and seek help immediately if they come down with flu-like symptoms.

Anyway, I rode out Wednesday night and felt hungry, so I went out for a quick dinner and drinks (one alcoholic, two cranberry virgin). I felt fine, and thought the worst was over, but felt like collapsing as I walked across the street to my complex. That night was the worst of the worst, as I shivered nonstop for about eight hours. Thursday settled down a bit but I had no food or good drinks in my fridge, so I summoned the energy to go shopping that night. I made it back without too much trouble, but was pretty much a rock. On Friday, I decided that I would just take the day off and then ride out the weekend.

Unfortunately, my coworkers alerted me to the fact that Friday was also the deadline for health benefits election. This time, it was mandatory, no skirting, no exceptions. So I summoned my last reserve of energy and slowly trudged to work to do my benefits election. It became clear that I was not capable of making it through a full day of work. I had a terrible coughing fit and almost thought I might have a fit of vomiting. I calmed my queasy stomach and downed as much water as I could, and blew my nose and coughed until things settled down. Then I finished the deed on my computer, e-mailed myself some crucial notes and got the Dickens out of there. I thought it ironic that I had to put my health and others’ health at risk in order to get health benefits. Life is funny that way.

I’ve retraced my steps for the past week, trying to ascertain when I was exposed. I was around a lot of crowds the past weekend and could have theoretically picked something up at that time, but none of my compadres who I hung out with last weekend are feeling the way that I do. Thank God for that. So how did I get so sick? Hard to say, but I’ll be happy to have some semblance of immunity if I make it through this unscathed.

My consolation is that symptoms should be improving starting on days 4 and 5, namely this weekend. I doubt that I’ll be able to join friends and colleagues in partying it up, but hopefully things will be a bit more comfortable. Which is good, because I miss drinking beer and not having such a remarkably short fuse.

Did I mention the mood swings? I have felt horrible both physically and mentally. I am the kind of person that likes to live life to the fullest (yes) and to be in this kind of shape is torturous and causes my thoughts to drift in unhappy directions. I’m trying to think about joyous things, like looking over my vacation photos and planning future trips abroad. Anything to get my head in the clouds and out of the dumps. I’m certain that by the time I am better, I will be a new woman and I will be prepared to take the world by storm. Until then, I wait.

And there you have it. I have once again bared my soul, and perhaps shared too much about my innermost feelings, and I will probably apologize for something I wrote here. But hey, at least it’s cathartic. See you on the other side of the dark side of the moon, world.





Stuff People Seem To Like #4: Elmo

13 11 2009

Let’s pause here for a moment to let a little literary Elmo-nalysis seep in.

As we say Happy Anniversary to Sesame Street (well a few days ago), we can’t help but love Elmo. He’s the quintessential Sesame Workshop creation and an archetype of childlike wonder.

I meant to write this post sooner but haven’t been feeling the greatest. As my recovery from the flu presses on, I could use a hug from a shag-carpeted red puppet with a high-pitched voice. For you see, there is more to this falsetto-voiced creature than meets the eye.

Most people would say Elmo is an archetype for the childlike innocent. He is at once charming and non-threatening, with his ambiguous gender identification and nearly asexual being. Elmo may “love you,” but he will never love you. If you catch my drift. He is, in essence, a child stripped of the requisite naughtiness and heartlessness of unbridled youth, sort of an idealized baby that can talk rather than cry. The fact that he produces no waste products (that we know of) adds to Elmo’s charm.

That being said, people are eager to fuddle the innocence of Sesame Street. One of the most popular posts on my blog is the Sesame Street Thanksgiving, featuring a certain feathered friend offered up as a main dish.

Is Elmo really so innocent? His fur is red, bright red, a color symbolizing passion — both for love and war. He really loves people. He is male-gendered.Perhaps the expression should not be “make love not war” but rather, “love Elmo, not war.”

Perhaps Elmo is all of these things at once, symbolizing our innocent hopes and dreams as well as the passion and zeal we feel both for life and other people. I cannot argue with the simultaneous poignancy and surreality of Sesame Street, when all is said and done. Elmo may have ambiguous taxonomy, but his love for humanity is unquestionable.





Stuff People Seem To Like #3: Bacon

10 11 2009

Mmmmm… bacon. This fatty swine-derived product is suddenly America’s little darling.

It’s not clear when the obsession began, but I started noticing my coworkers’ purchases of bacon-scented air fresheners and bacon-infused donuts. Bacon costumes appeared at the Dragon*Con geek fest and on Halloween. I took a tour of a cave near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the tour guide was quick to point out a bacon-shaped rock formation. Bacon-wrapped dates and a BaconFest at Dad’s Garage, a local improv theater, are some other baconizations to chew on.

Could it be a knee-jerk reaction to all this talk about healthy eating and vegetarianism? It’s like there are two factions in contemporary popular culture: complete veg and meat-o-rama. To take a moderate road is to be a fool.

In any case, bacon is pretty good in measured amounts. Scientists are quick to reassure you that your breakfast will not give you the dreaded Swine Flu, also known as H1N1 (I’ve sunk your battleship!).  So, of course it’s good for you. I’ll have some bacon on occasion. The gristly goodness and crispy, smoky deliciousness makes it just about the only kind of pork that I will knowingly eat. Maybe it’s time I was beggin’ for bacon.





Stuff People Seem To Like #2: Twitter

10 11 2009

Twitter is the Hot New Thing right now. Actually, no, it’s not.

There seems to be some confusion over the novelty of Twitter, and some speculation as to why middle-aged folks have flocked to it while in theory younger people are attached to Facebook. (And then there’s the folks in the middle, who dabble in both if they can muster the interest.)

Hold on to your Fail Whale T-shirts, folks, because this site is with us whether we like it or not.

I think most people are ambivalent. Twitter is like a bulletin board for mobile communication, but it has a lot of other users and people don’t really agree on what they use the site for. Different apps and habits are at play, creating a tension in the community that is both vibrant and intimidating.

I get a little bit of anxiety every time I post a tweet because it’s hard to know what’s going to happen and under what circumstances people will be reading it. At times, it can be very tempting to rattle off a random thought or go off on a rant, or to announce one’s state of inebriation. Getting a reply is almost always a relief for me because then I know that the message has been received. The low barrier to entry facilitates this kind of impulsivity. But giving two-way conversation is very difficult, and it always feels as if one is showing off when one replies to another. I admittedly prefer to respond to tweets on Facebook, where it feels  a little more personal. Separation of the Twitter Church from the Facebook State is still in effect at this time, but I may change my mind.

There’s a potential for an awkward situation when tweets cross over from Internet to real-life conversation. It’s fine to tell someone you enjoyed their tweet, but I would say real-life critical discussion of one’s online behavior is a definite no-no unless you are prepared to suffer the awkward consequences.

There are people who take this communication medium much more seriously than I, and sit for hours replying and live-tweeting their lives away. It is a use more comparable to instant messaging. Depending on the app shell you have, this will look and behave differently to you. Me, I think I would be a bit self-conscious about living this way.

I don’t know what else to say. I guess I’ll leave the leadership and official commentary to the social media gurus steering this awkward ship.

Note: I’ve engaged in a little self-editing here, as I feel that I might have come off a bit harsher than I was picturing it in my head. The irony that I posted this post on Twitter was not lost on me.





Stuff People Seem To Like #1: Cougars

10 11 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of snapshots into what makes our culture tick: our strange obsessions with odd or silly things.

Cougars are hot right now. I’m not talking about the furry kind in the feline family; I’m talking about older women who purr like a kitten when a younger suitor comes around.

It’s not really clear what started this phenomenon. The first I heard about them started after a late-night discussion about some men’s preference for older women. I know of a few guys who subscribe to this type of thing. Shortly after that discussion, cougars were everywhere. On the news, on TV, in my Twitter feed, you name it. Somebody call Animal Control! I have to wonder if men now feel some kind of subconscious pressure to go for that aging vixen beckoning them from the bar. They do die sooner, after all, and age less gracefully. (I realize this is a gross generalization.)

Or, is this just one of those fads that won’t last very long?

And is a woman who seeks out a younger man really a predator? Or is she simply a woman who wants a more youthful countenance? So many cultural stereotypes are at play here. We will think nothing of an older man who seeks out a younger woman. That’s the way of things, and men are less mature after all.

Chew on that, cougars, there’s more meat where that comes from.





Holy Smokes!

11 05 2008

Express postsA spider just dropped on me from the ceiling! Eek! A Brown Recluse? I hope not. But this is why I needed to create an “Express Posts” category. And this is the kind of stuff that could go on Twitter, too.





Bloggin’ from PHX

28 12 2007

NOTE: Comments aren’t working for me right now. Having some technical difficulties…

So I’m in Phoenix right now. I feel kind of odd about jetting off like that, at this time, with the news going on, but here I am and that’s all there is to it. I’m going to enjoy these 10 days even if it kills me… well let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Here’s what happened today, in a convenient NUMBERED LIST format:

  1. Got a late start as I scrambled to pack and get set up
  2. Discovered that my new debit card still hasn’t arrived. I’m in a bit of trouble as far as paying for things goes… hopefully this won’t last much longer.
  3. I failed to pick up CNN schwag this year, so I settled for other small tokens instead. I feel kind of bad.
  4. Play Doh! I’m giving it out somewhat liberally. Who doesn’t love Play Doh? I got a big bag of it just for laffs and gave some out at work. I have some more left over to hand out to myself or others.
  5. On my way to the train station, I passed by a taxi stand where I saw that a crunched-up taxi was parked. It had one of those “How’s my driving?” thingies on the back I think. It was one of situations where I probably should have stopped to take a picture. (I’m a pretty big shutterbug, you know, although probably not the biggest one out there.) Oh well. There was a passenger in the vehicle, too.
  6. I made it to check-in at 10:27, and the cutoff point was 10:28. If I hadn’t made it in at that point, I wouldn’t have gotten on the flight. (I had no trouble actually getting on the plane itself.) It seems as though they overbooked our flight and had coaxed a couple parents into having their babies sit on their laps.
  7. Flight was pleasant enough, although it required sitting in the plane for a total of five hours. I got one of those older, nicer America West planes with the leather seats and boo-koo leg room (sorry, can’t spell boo-koo). Heck, they gave me TWO bags of pretzels.
  8. One of the flight attendants was wearing a Santa apron. It was so cute — she looked like Ms. Claus. The movie was The Santa Clause, but I didn’t bother hooking up a headset to listen to it.
  9. Back in the Valley — the weather is cooler than expected, and the sunset is beautiful as per usual.
  10. I dressed in Sun Devil attire to get some Sun Devil mojo flowing, but alas, I failed to Austin Powerize the team. The Texans pretty much smashed ASU to bits.
  11. We found “cherry passion” Tic Tacs at the store that look like they are ASU-themed with maroon & gold coloration.
  12. I’m pulling hair out of Bob the cat’s coat. He is shedding an awful lot and it’s kind of freaky how much hair is coming out. He’s had issues with this in the past, but with cooler weather comes a thicker winter coat and worse shedding. Have to be careful though, or he might claw me.
  13. My parents have a Christmas tree set up that threatens to give me an epileptic seizure, and I don’t even have epilepsy. It’s beautiful though.
  14. They bought some lights that look like beer mugs. I got some and some others are going to some of my relatives. *cough* Wisconsin *cough*
  15. Now I am bored. I need entertainment.

That is all. Cheerio!





Pumpkin spice and everything nice

18 10 2007

I like to go to Starbuck’s every now and then, and I’m not even talking about the one roughly 50 feet from my Place of Employment. I would rather go to a locally owned coffee house (that serves quality coffee), but it’s tough to find indie businesses in my corner of the OTP without a bit of travel. Anyways so the last two times I went to the particular ‘Bucks that I always go to, I have been the “every 50th customer.” This means I am eligible for TWO entries in the October drawing to win $1,000. I’m gonna give it a shot, you know? I figure this isn’t going to happen every day.

And by the way, I’m kicking myself for repeatedly ordering the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which cost me more than purchasing an actual pumpkin. It’s not unpleasant, but it bears resemblance to neither pumpkins nor spice. It is a fine and enjoyable latte, however. It’s a different story when tasting pumpkin beer, however. That stuff doesn’t sit well with me. The last time I tried some I thought it tasted vaguely like, um, “upchuck,” and I didn’t make it beyond a few sips. I’m tempted to give it another shot, but of course, that’s what I always say about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. My picks at Starbucks are straight-up cappuccino, the cinnamon dolce latte and the chai latte. Even then I have to be careful to just drink a little at a time and spread it out over a few hours to avoid getting an uncomfortable stomach-irritating caffeine rush, and you know, to make it last. I’ve tried non-dairy and that helps a lot, but the soy milk doesn’t touch real milk. If I want something a little lighter I’ll go for a green tea lemonade, lightly sweetened. Delish.

[/whining]

So… beyond that, I endorse Stephen Colbert for president. To be quite honest, he’s the only candidate I have any sort of affection or affinity for.

I should also recap my recent journey to Stone Mountain Park for the pumpkin festival (featuring pumpkins that are probably NOT picked directly from a local patch, but I can pretend, right?). It was good times, and it was a lot easier to get there than I expected. Admission to the park itself is free (although attractions are not) so it’s a nice place to go and chill. I’m definitely going to go back and try out ALL the rides if I possibly can. I love the little touristy village inside the park. It reminds me of a Cracker Barrel on a massive scale. (And Stone Mountain Village itself has a charming little Main Street). What kind of weirds me out is the carving on the side, which is of course the main attraction of the whole thing. It’s a monument to the Old South, and you see a lot of, I dunno, characters going to see it. Then there was the kid who asked me if I was “from around here” and the lack of transit in the direct vicinity of the park. For these and other reasons, what I’m getting at here is that I sense that the crowd at this park is more representative of the population outside the city than the people inside it. If you catch my drift. And then there was a bunch of guys who drove by me and yelled “Hey!” to scare me. They laughed when I jumped. I don’t know, it was kind of a strange atmosphere over there peoplewise. Still, an enjoyable time, and I’ll definitely go back.

What I really miss is Young’s Farm in Dewey, Arizona, which used to have the most awesome pumpkin festivals featuring pumpkins grown right on the farm (if I understand correctly). I know I went at least once with my roommate at the time, and I’m glad. That place was totally awesome, but sadly, the owners had to sell it out for some reason or another, and now they can build a subdivision there for heat-weary Phoenician escapees. And by the way…

A CHALLENGE TO THOSE LOOKING AT THIS
Finally, I’m calling on all my readerses (I assume there’s at least a handful of you out there) to search for the term “adult balloon animals.” I’m currently the No. 5 result when you search for those words in Google, and the goal should be to become the No. 1 source of complete non-information on adult balloon animals. Together we can work together to make this happen.





Lengthy List of Observations

15 10 2007

1. I’ve discovered one key issue with social networking sites: they require some form of socialization with a network of some sort, and we’re not necessarily talking about Cartoon Network. This can be a tricky affair, even for someone as super awesome as myself.

2. Stone Mountain Park = Piedmont Park + Mt. Mount Rushmore / Cracker Barrel

3. As mom points out, Stone Mountain is a lot like the Grand Canyon, albeit slightly less grandiose: It’s that one symbolic thing that you have to see, and yet many people have yet to see it. I finally saw it on Saturday, and it was, you know. Interesting.

4. A coworker attempted earlier today to explain the difference between a “block” and a “trap.” I still have no idea what he was talking about.

5. Then again, if we’re talking about any kind of subject matter relating to No. 4, you can bet for absolute sure that I have no idea what we’re talking about.

6. Everything closes so dang early on Sunday, man. It’s such a DRAG! I guess I might as well be working.

7. My phone gets so hot when I talk that I feel like I’m going to melt on one side of my head.

8. I’ve mentioned a few times that I have this issue with bees who slam into the front window, thinking they can pass right through it and then SMACK! Down they go with a little thump on the glass. I like to leave the blinds open and just watch this scene play out over and over again. OK, not really, but that’s what I see when I try to catch a little sunlight. It can be a little weird to hear that when the blinds are closed, but more often than not, they can tell that it’s an impassable surface.

9. I’ve also hinted before at a possible war of pests. The bees and the spiders are rising up now that the cockroaches have subsided and the rats are pretty much superfluous. Who will be next in this battle of bugs?

10. Doing laundry is like the worst thing ever. There’s a term for it: “Mount Wash More.” I prefer … there’s no play on Stone Mountain. Drat!

11. I’m gonna shoot up outta bed at 4 in the morning like “Aha! I must … go … to the … computer!” in my crappy Capt. Kirk At 4 a.m. voice.

12. I LOVE to slowly bite the heads off gummy bears before devouring their bodies whole.

13. ASU is ranked at No. 8 in the BCS poll and No. 12 in the AP poll. Why I care about this is beyond me.

14. I’ve been really getting into the whole standings race, because of all the incredible upsets this season. The drama! The excitement! The exasperated sports writers pulling puns out of their literary arses!

15. What a season it’s been … Stanford vs. USC was up there with the greatest upsets of all time, marking the point at which we could confirm our suspicions that there were Achilles’ heels afoot in Troy. LSU just got unexpectedly pawed… Clemson was stung by Georgia Tech… there’s really too many upsets to list. The one team I think is giving off that “unstoppable” aura this season is USF: University of South Florida. Those young whippersnappers seem like they can do no wrong. Whether that will last is anybody’s guess. They’re awfully new to this.

15. Anyway, go Sun Devils!

16. Seriously, I love reading all the crazy search terms that are bringing people to this site. It’s so awesome.