Flickr allows video posts!

12 04 2008

peeps test video on flickr And this is what I do with it… it’s not easy to embed, though. The code I grabbed showed up as a white space. I had to just grab the thumbnail and link to the video, which is the old way of doing things…

I like this feature though, in terms of my own personal use. It’s helpful for those times when you have good photos and video but the vids don’t stand on their own. YouTube, it’s not, and it’s not trying to be. (Here’s the other mini-peeps-production)

The story behind this video? It’s an outtake from Monty Peeps and the Holy Grail. I started working on it over my “spring break” in the PHX but didn’t do much with it. I filmed the parts up to approaching the cute bunny, but I haven’t finished filming the elements featuring the bloody battle.

The yellow Peep chick is the bunny, and the purple thing is actually a lavender-colored peep. I stuck a straw in its side to serve as a sword, and the paper stuck through the straw is a “shield.” It’s kind of a hack job, but I thought it was kind of amusing.

I tried to put it together with Windows Movie Maker on my old PC that remains at the parents’ house, but the stop-motion segments combined with the video were too much for it and the whole thing kept freezing up. I’m wondering if iMovie will handle this any better. (I’m now a Mac user; hell hath frozen over. I love my speedy, agile little MacBook. It even runs Second Life. I’ve never seen a PC that could do that, other than a Dell XPS upstairs at work.)





Summary of the last few weeks

12 11 2007

1. Went back to Phoenix

2. Went to Rawhide and saw a humourous morgue show right after the haunted train ride.

3. Walked around the desert and took picture of plants.

4. Went back to Atlanta.

5. Went on a high-tech scavenger hunt this weekend that permitted me to see my coworkers doing bizarre and blackmailable things, while simultaneously keeping my reputation intact. One person even came away with a different hairstyle. This, by the way, falls under the umbrella of “alternative reality games,” games that are played in a reality setting but including elements of a game.

6. There is an interesting article in the recent issue of Wired that addresses this and other topics of interest.

7. I did some other crup but I don’t remember what it was. And no, I wasn’t drinking.

7a. I dressed as a pimp for Halloween, oh yeah, and it was a moderately popular outfit. I didn’t go to quite the depths that some people did…

8. I’m going home for Thanksgiving again

9. I am not praying for rain. They weather forecaster has already said it might rain by the middle of this week. Hmph. I know, that’s unsentimental of me.

10. PLEASE RAIN! PLEASE RAIN! I’m torn between my hatred of rain and the fact that my body is 75 percent water. Plus, I can’t tolerate the idea that Phoenix has more water than Atlanta.

11. PLEASE BRING THE CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK FOUNTAIN BACK!

12. That is all.





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.





ROBOTS

6 10 2007

Another thing, I just realized I’m outnumbered 2:1 by robots in my household. When I claim my “robo-roach,” aka Hex Bug, I’ll be outnumbered 3:1, and one of them will be a faux insect. I bet more and more, households will become like mine. One day, the robots will rise up and do something.

P.S. I just bought an animal-print mouse today as well. But this doesn’t count as a robot, just an overindulgence. A fool and her money are easily parted.





Writing challenges and musical insecurity

6 10 2007

As you may or may not know, I want to write and I have ideas in my head, but I’m not sure how to get them on paper/computer, and I don’t know what’s the best way to proceed. As I see it, there are a number of questions you have to ask yourself when constructing a piece, and here is the list of things I’m asking myself:

  • Fact or fiction? In some ways, nonfiction is way more artistic because you can talk about something that really happened and find research sources. You spend more time crafting and perfecting your art. And fiction is way more limited, because in order to add reality to an invented scenario, you have to decide upon a “realistic enough” sort of scenario.
  • “Novel” ideas, anyone? With books having to compete with far more interactive kinds of media, is there a way for the ol’ tome to get in on the business? It’s my feeling that old-fashioned book reading could benefit from a little modernity, just enough to get people in on the game. Perhaps authors can start blogs and discussions and encourage people to share their perspectives and fan art. The fan art and fanfiction (and yes, slash) are seemingly a biproduct of this sort of need we have now to be participants in the media we consume.
  • Why create a standard text story in the first place? Maybe interactive storytelling is the way to go. Stories constructed from the start in an inherently interactive manner. Don’t ask me how that would get done, but I’ve done a little research into interactive narratives and perhaps that’s a good starting point. On the other hand, reading purists know (and I feel) that text has its own value; an intimate connection with the author as the words stream through your head in a sort of musical rhythm designed to dance through the verbal centers in your brain. The resulting imagery is often more powerful than any movie, and most people can attest to disappointment at the seeing a movie after reading an associated book. The trick is you, the reader, have to be of the right mindset to receive text. More and more, it’s getting hard for me to focus on something so old-fashioned as a book.
  • So you’ve decided you want to write a fiction book. How fictional should it be? Should it be set in a real place or a fictional location? How much should this place resemble real life?
  • Do you want to play it deadpan and straight, or do you want to have an element of humor mixed in?
  • How to narrate the story? Third-person narration feels safer because the narrator doesn’t have to have a stake in the story, but first-person narration can have its benefits. It depends on how involved the narrator should be. You can even have an omniscient narrator speaking in the first person about events happening to others. In any case, how reliable is this narrator going to be? The default typically is a “journalist narrator” who uses colorful commentary to describe the situation, but ultimately steps back and lets things unfold. Still, things could be done differently. A more unreliable narrator might choose to withhold information or give their opinions. In any case, it’s something to think about when constructing a story.
  • What’s the point of writing this? To have fun, make social commentary, address inner fears of the psyche or maybe do all of these and more? Maybe there’s something out there I can’t think of. In any case, it’s important to figure this stuff out.
  • Is there a workable storyline going on here? Is this a sustainable plot? Where is this going?
  • Has this same exact story been done BETTER by someone else?

I think that’s enough for now, but I’m working on some ideas. We’ll see.

Oh, and WordPress has added a tags feature (or else I’m blind to the fact that it was there before) so I can now add tags instead of relying only on categories. Now I’m wondering how exactly I’m going to use these in concert now, seeing as I’ve been applying a tag approach to my use of categories. Ah well.

Oh, and whilst at Borders today, I purchased four CDs. One of them was a Richard Marx CD (my first) and the others were from shall I say “cooler” artists. (Remember that “one of these things is not like the other” sketch from Sesame Street?) I was a little awkward about the Richard Marx disc and I put it near the bottom of the stack. I mean, I’m not such a wuss as to not buy the actual CD, but I’m still insecure enough to try to sandwich it between more socially acceptable items and pray to the deity of your choice that nobody says anything about it. So the Kevin Bacon-esque clerk chuckles a little and asks me straight out, “You a big fan of Richard Marx?” and I flatly denied it in the same way that I might flatly deny that I have some horrible disease, which was silly, but I did it. It turns out that *he* actually enjoyed it and I squashed him without really intending to, and I felt a little bad about it.

I’m going into this awful amount of detail about this extremely mundane event because music is such a personal and telling thing, but at the same time it means nothing at all. It’s a singular reflection of one aspect of our inner emotional state, and in some cases represents our fleeting emotional and social desires. Exposing your musical interests via playlist is a bit like opening up your soul to show who you are and maybe even who you wish you were. So, then, it’s not really in vogue to be emotionally vulnerable in this day and age. Sarcasm, stoicism and a stiff upper lip are common sights. For that reason, you (me, whatever) cringe at the thought of enjoying really emotional or cheesy things, until you reach a certain point that it’s so ridiculous that you can only celebrate it. I think that’s where I’m at now. And don’t get me wrong; maudlin, over-emotional and perhaps clingy people drive me up the wall. But sometimes it’s nice to indulge, and yet I feel very defensive at the store counter. So, everyone, the moral of this story is it’s time we embraced the Softer Side of Sears. And Richard Marx.





Don’t Tase me, sis!

21 09 2007

Pardon the bad joke. Look, I don’t have an opinion about *that* and I’m trying to remain impartial.

But anyways… according to my alma mater’s newspaper, for which I used to work, Taser International is coming out with a much more stylish, feminine kind of Taser. This is “shocking” news. Heh. Maybe they’ll offer custom skins and stick-on bling too, and BlueTooth compatibility.

Factoid: Taser International is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s interesting. Say what you will, but with GoDaddy and Cold Stone Creamery alone, the ‘Dale is making some attempt to rock the Kokopelli-adorned free world.

As an aside, what is up with leaving your BlueTooth cell phone earpiece cemented to the ear for hours, even when one is not on the phone? I see this a lot and I think it borders a little on the ridiculous.





Injured list

18 09 2007

I believe I detailed this in other online locales, but I have some kind of annoying pain going on in my left thumb. It’s hard to type even though I’m hardly using that thumb. I blame the iPod click wheel for this. Beware, all, of the dangers inherent in modern devices!





Bleed American

7 09 2007

So where have I been all my life? Or at least this past week or so. That’s a good question. The answer is I’m currently ready to start sleeping off a long week. See, it’s Labor Day week and that means … you know what that means. So recent highlights include:

  • Working some heavy hours due to reduced holiday staffing and a desire to keep things at a reasonably productive level
  • Celebrating the contributions of the Working Man to the United States of America over Labor Day weekend by
    • A. Working (To be honest, everything is either closed or crowded, so I don’t mind working on this kind of holiday.)
    • B. Checking out the Dragon*Con (sci-fi/fantasy/anime/Star Trek/everything convention).
  • Riding the train home from work on Sunday and meeting a guy covered in fake blood holding a sign that says “free hugs”
  • Watching that guy and another guy not only engage in physical contact of the friendly-male sort, but also eat some of the bloodstuff
  • Finding out that the blood has a strawberry-mint essence
  • Getting “evil energy” drinks for free
  • Waiting in line
  • Fighting my way through crowds
  • Eating tasty Willy’s Mexican Grille chow in an eating area full of Storm Troopers
  • Watching a storm trooper trying to buy sundries in the souvenir shop without removing their costume.
  • Watching a storm trooper rip his helmet off in disgust and say to the security guard telling him to go to the other door: “Awwww, man!”
  • Not being able to tell friend from foe from security guard because everybody looks evil and weapons-equipped
  • That guy dressed as a robot with a cardboard codpiece made out of an Apple Macintosh box.

I like codpieces. They’re the best part of Ren Faires, which are otherwise typically hot, dusty, expensive and generally difficult, with often nightmarish traffic.

There’s a certain society in these Cons (at least this one) and it can be a little odd for people like me who feel sort of like outsiders. On the other hand, I saw a good deal of people doing Cosplay that wasn’t really true sci-fi or fantasy. There were Spartan cheerleaders, and I couldn’t count the number of “Clerks 2” work uniforms and Silent Bob wannabes. (Granted, there is a tiny bit of geekery present in these fandoms)

I think a funny storyline for a movie (of the cheesy romantic comedy sort) would be a person who tries to geek themself out to attract someone. I mean think about the humorous possibilities of Joe Cool…

[Pause to kill speedy roach intruder. Seriously.]

…trying to learn about D&D and putting on a fur suit at a convention. I think it would be totally sweet. Hell, I’m going to write it up.

It’s about time I got back to work on the Great American Novel. Until later, I bid you adieu. Anyway why am I dinking around on teh Internets at 3 a.m.? Shame on me.





Let me make a comment for Chrissakes

21 07 2007

I can’t make comments for the current time period. This sucks. It says I’m making them “too quickly.” Hmmm. Well it *is* my blog.

In Iowa news: They’re going to have a Harry Potter carved out of butter at the state fair this year. Unfortunately, I’m planning to be in Arizona rather than illustrious Iowa at that time. Hey, if I were going to Iowa, I could get my dingblasted birth certificate AND stare at fictional characters gloriously represented in butter at the same time. Dang. In Arizona, of course, they do have a cactus carved out of butter most years, so I guess it’s a tradeoff.

The Chinese Takeout Ninja is back again. Yesterday, while in the middle of a really suspenseful Harry Potter passage, as rain beat down pretty hard outside, I heard a sort of faint scratching noise, and then I looked back into the kitchen and was surprised to see one of those folded takeout menus moving in and out of my door crack in a sort of a sawing motion. It was like some wizard (or maybe just a jerk) on the other side was like, “Hahaha, I bet we can really annoy her by doing this!” Finally the person or thing or whatever left it jammed in the door and booked it. I never saw who or what it was. Whoever it is is driving me batty because I can’t use any more of these. I’ve got so many. And it’s not just one restaurant. It’s practically every restaurant on Roswell Road. Sigh.

I had a post office adventure to go pick up that iPod Nano that mom sent me. I like it. I’m using it right now. This is my fourth MP3 player. The ones that came before it died after two months or less due to cheap construction. The iPod Nano feels solid and the click-wheel thing is really nice once you get used to how it works. My only gripe is that Apple has rigged this thing to babysit you to some degree; you can’t just drag and drop music, but you can drag and drop other kinds of files. To gain access to the music, you have to search around the Internet for one of the many workarounds that have been created. For example, I wanted to save the music that was already on it, so used a third-party app to extract it before my first sync. (I’m not stealing music per se; it belongs in the family and we have the original CDs). Otherwise, illustrious iTunes would have wiped the iPod clean before copying a new set of files to the device.

I ate at the World Peace Cafe. I’m not a big vegetarian-vegan type person, but I enjoyed the food. (Unfortunately, I was very tempted to stop at Burger King immediately afterward.) This place rocks. They even have mint juleps. I also went to this noodle place that has great iced tea selections and decent food.

I wanted to shop at Psycho Sisters, but it was closed. This is a consignment store that sells all kinds of retro stuff. It’s cool.

I attended a Harry Potter party thingy at Barnes & Noble. Yeah. Quiet down there in the peanut gallery, please. The one nearest me had costumed people from local radio theater reading parts of the book. At the stroke of midnight, the players received the new book and began reading the first few pages. They did a good job reading the passages in character, given that none of them appeared to have seen this new book before. The guy dressed as Snape was particularly impressive. His cape was long and imposing. People had to step out of his way to avoid tripping him. It was a good look for him.

I have not bought the new book yet. I will do it eventually, but I’m still on the sixth book. I already heard a little bit about how the last book ends and I guess it can wait until I’ve spent the time reading the book before it. The fun isn’t the destination, but the journey.

I think it’s impressive that this book has developed such a following and that people dig it so much. I hope it does a bit of good for our collective psyches. Honestly, watching some parts reminded me of the feeling I got the first time I saw the Star Wars movies. It’s beyond comprehension, really. And for once, it really lives up to the lofty hype.





New York shoot, I mean state, of mind

8 07 2007

I’m on the phone with my mom AS I’M TYPING RIGHT NOW and we’re talking about that shooting at the New York New York Hotel and Casino on early Friday morning, which  is where we stayed during the aforementioned vacation. The shooter just stood on the balcony that comes off the strip overpasses and started firing into the casino. It’s freaky, especially if you’ve been in that hotel and you know how it’s laid out.

Mom says she has an iPod nano that she can’t use, so she might send it to me so I can break another MP3 player. That would be awesome.