So my mother quilts and is pretty nerdy. There aren’t a ton of gift options in that particular Venn diagram overlap, so I went ahead and made her this custom iPad cover.
She’s pretty partial to the log cabin blocks, and apparently this pattern in particular. Setting up rectangles in Illustrator for the pattern didn’t take all that long (thanks, snap to grid!), but making all of the “fabrics” was a little time-consuming. It’s 13 different patterns, that I set up and then saved as swatches in Illustrator. I’ve always been a lot better at fabric picking than I was at the actual construction part of quilting, anyway.
Last week, I got to go hang out with the outreach crew, and learn to use the GigaPan set up. You’ve probably seen something on this project before – generally people are most familiar with the inauguration photo. I’ve babbled on this blog about my interests in combining art and science before, so you can see where this project is right up my alley.
We didn’t have much time to play with the gear, and this was the most interesting thing I could find within the confines of the building. I give you an extremely detailed photo of somebody’s bicycle.
I love haunted houses. And for as long as we’ve known each other, Lori and I have spent every October hitting up as many as possible. We’re kicking off this season by heading up to ScareHouse which, despite some apparent drama over their Yelp ratings, is one of my favorites. We generally rate how good a scare house is by how many times I fall down (I startle like a baby rabbit, and my apparent defense mechanism is to hit the deck). Last year, I fell down three times, which is a solid rating.
A few years back, I made a mixtape for our outings. I didn’t have quite enough Halloween tunes to fill it out, but Lori’s a pretty big Weezer fan. Hence, I give you my Halloweezer mix.
This is Halloween // Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
Paint it Black // Gob
Buddy Holly // Weezer
Dig Up Her Bones // The Misfits
Astro Zombies // Pennywise
Beverly Hills // Weezer
Halloween (of course) // The Misfits
Fall Children // AFI
Say It Ain’t So // Weezer
Mr. Sandman // Gob
Beheaded // Offspring
The Sweater Song // Weezer
Incorporeal // Tiger Army
What’s This // Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
True Romance // Tiger Army
Pork and Beans // Weezer
So this is happening.
If you’re asking why the band-aids, then you clearly haven’t done any linoleum cutting. Or you’re better at it than I am, because I’m setting my over/under for stab wounds at 8.
Can I tell you guys something? I’m actually kind of shy.
Now that everyone I’ve ever met is done laughing, I’m serious. I love talking to people, I love hearing about their awesome projects and what they’re into outside of work, but that part where I go up and introduce myself to strangers? Gives me hives.
Podcamp is coming up this weekend, and the Meet n’ Greet is tonight. I’ve noticed more than a few people on Twitter express this sort of sentiment: I’ve never been to one of these, I’m going by myself, and I’m terrified.
I’ve been there, folks. A few months ago, I drove out to Cleveland, by myself, to hang out with a bunch of people that mostly already knew each other at WMC Fest. And they didn’t dump pig’s blood on me or anything. Going to these things can feel like finding a lunch table the first day at a new high school, but you have a few more things working in your favor here.
That’s what they’re here for
Unlike the high school lunch crowd, these people are here for the same reason you are. Whether it’s a meet and greet, an industry mixer, a conference, everyone is there to meet people. It’s not like you’re trying to make new friends in line at the movie theater (and if you are, well, I don’t think you really need this blog post). So maybe it feels weird to just go up and introduce yourself, but they’re expecting you to. Really, it’s fine.
They’re just as scared of you as you are of them
I might be thinking of bears here, but we’re gonna go with it. You know how you find yourself standing by the wall, thinking “Somebody come talk to me pleaseohpleaseohplease”? Well, that guy hovering over the cheese tray is thinking the exact same thing. Be a pal, and help him out. And if you don’t believe me, refer to my previous statement about the #pcpgh6 Twitter feed. There are plenty of people at these events just like you.
The more you do it, the easier it gets
The first time I had to go to an event by myself, I wanted to just down a Xanax smoothie and forget the whole thing. Now it’s down to a feeling a mild dread. I’m told that at some point, these outings actually become fun! Really, it does get easier with practice, and most of the worst case scenarios you’ve built up in your head never actually happen. I don’t have any “business tips” to pass along for these, like “comment on their tie” or “have a 30-second speech about what you do”. Mostly because I’m not trying to do business, I’m trying to meet cool people. Also because I don’t think I could do most of them with a straight face.
How else are you supposed to connect with kickass people?
My great motivator tends to be “what’s the alternative?” Maybe I’m not too excited to walk into a room full of strangers and start chatting them up, but what are my options here? I could stay home, or I could go and have a lame time hanging out by the coat check. Uh… okay, then, bring on the strangers. The best advice that I can give you is to just go and do it. I’ve gotten to meet such amazingly talented people, and hear about more great projects, and to me that’s worth being a little uncomfortable for a few minutes.
Gabe Newell (CEO of Valve) says that pirates provide better customer service. How many times have you paid for a DRM license for something and the server goes down, or you travel across the border? I rented some episodes on Amazon of Dr. Who: when I went to Canada – I paid for them in America; I live in America – and they say, “You can’t watch it anymore because you’re not in America anymore.” That made me angry because I was being honest; I was an honest person. If I had stolen it, I would be watching it.
via Sean Bonner.
This, all day. We actually purchased some games for a LAN once, nice and legal. They didn’t work, and we ended up pirating the software from elsewhere. I have movies that I purchased that won’t work on some of my devices.
Wil Wheaton said in an interview that there are two classes of people here – those that will pay for something, and those that won’t pay for anything, no matter what. The problem is that the system they’ve come up with to thwart the latter isn’t working, and it’s actually discouraging the former.
My husband got a Droid recently, and wanted to put his music on it. It’s his music – he paid for it. The DRM settings, however, keep him from being able to move music (which he purchased) from one device (which he owns) to another device (which he also owns). For being an upright citizen and paying for things, he is rewarded with an impenetrable wall of frustration. His options at that point are to use a very roundabout system of re-burning and re-ripping a large chunk of his library, or to just download everything illegally from the internet. Which… DRM protection is supposed to keep you from doing? Well done, guys.
The Replacements may be a punk band, but this is a honky-tonk drinking song if ever I heard one.
It’s not just in my head, it’s in my heart (it’s in my heart!)
This is the best video I’ve seen in a long time. Great concept, beautifully executed. I really can’t wait until these guys start touring for this album.
Starts fast, ends abruptly, sweet harmonies. My kind of tunes.
So this past Saturday, we roasted a pig in our backyard. (Note to concerned parties: contains photos of said pig. So, do what you gotta do. Also contains photos of beer, guns, and shenanigans, so… you know, an average Friday night in West Brownsville.)
Planning for this started months ago, but first shift for set-up showed up around 1:00 in the morning on Saturday. Actually, I got a text around midnight that the boys were out in the pavilion fishing and listening to Anti-Flag, so I headed out a little early.
The roast itself was a blast. There were already people showing up when I got out of bed, and I spent more time running around, greeting folks, and trying to get food than I did taking pictures. Plus, once the rest of the band showed up I was busy playing fiddle. We never did an official count, but John thought we had around 90 people there over the course of a day. The boys got shirts and chefs hats made for the occasion.
I mentioned that John was growing his ‘stache out for Vintage Baseball. I wasn’t able to go, because I was hanging out at 21st Street Coffee with some awesome clients. But my camera did tag along, and our friend Tonia was nice enough to get a few shots of the ‘stache in action.
More photos, as usual, on the Facebook.
My Gram asked me today why we like Cleveland so much. It’s not that we set out to spend so much time there, it’s just that bands we like tend to play there. Although, this is the second anniversary that we’ve sort of accidentally celebrated by going to shows in Cleveland, because we’re terrible at anniversaries.
This is the first time we’d been to the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, as they’re apparently calling it now, and it’s a pretty cool spot. We found it easily enough, but got hung up on parking. There was a bridge closed, and my GPS insisted we jump it Dukes of Hazzard style, as it was not suggesting an alternate route. We had to get around the old fashioned way, by looking with our eyeballs. Like cavemen! We made it just in time for Bad Religion, and this is probably the only shot I got where you can see much of the venue:
A few words, about this camera. As it turns out, free cameras aren’t the most durable, and in the course of carrying it around in a purse, the LCD screen on the back busted. Half of it is just black, and the other half has a sort of rainbow effect going on. Now I can shoot without checking the LCD to see how it turns out, I shot film for a long time. What I have a much harder time with is shooting with no viewfinder. It’s a miracle there are any identifiable humans in any of these shots, is what I’m saying here.
Do I need to mention that Bad Religion was awesome? We drove three hours to watch them open for another band. They mostly stuck to the new album, but managed to fit in a few older tunes (Jay: “We used to be good!”). The Nautica… Jacobs… whatever is right on the river, so during their set, a boat went by with some kids at their prom.
Rise Against also mostly stuck to their new album, which I haven’t gotten around to picking up yet. We’ve seen them a few times now, and they still put on a good live show (although, one of the speakers on our side seemed to be blown, so the sound was a little sketchy). Also, we ended up behind the drunkest bros in all the universe, and spent most of the show dodging them.
Nice venue, great show, some of the crowd I could have done without. Escaping the venue was a whole other story, and we spent awhile in parking lot limbo. On the plus side, I stayed awake for the ride home (I’m the worst at road trips). Apparently, the trick is to blast Metallica as loud as possible. Good to know.
This is from one of my favorite comps, Short Music for Short People. It’s a great idea for a compilation, because even if a song is just terrible, well, it’s only 30 seconds. Some are less. You get to listen to 101 different bands on one CD, and I really wish they’d do another one of these some day.
I keep seeing these around Oakland. I’m not sure who’s running around spray-painting bananas on things, but I dig ‘em.
Let’s go Pens!
On Monday, we got to go see Between the Buried and Me at Altar Bar in Pittsburgh. Last time we saw them, we had to drive to Cleveland in a snowstorm, so this was a nice change. They’re absolutely bonkers live. To play music that is as complicated as theirs is, and still be so entertaining to watch is a feat. Which is likely how we ended up seeing them twice in three months last year (then again, it isn’t exactly hard to get me to go to shows. Seriously, I went to a N.E.R.D. show because it was $10).
Although this is only the second show I’ve seen there, I really like the setup at Altar Bar. We managed to get a fantastic spot on the stairs, which meant I actually got to see the band (I’m 5′ 4″, finding a good spot is imperative).
They had the most active pit I’ve seen in a long time. Generally the kids lose steam a few songs in, but these guys kept it going through the encore. Also, I’d argued that BtBaM’s name is unchantable, and they proved me wrong.
There’s a lot of Pens gear in that crowd. Since it was on the same night as Game 3, someone would kindly yell out the score in between songs. Not bad for a Monday.
As usual, setlist is here.
I don’t have a ton of soundtracks. I have a few tracks from Nightmare Before Christmas, Newsies (which I bought on cassette), and of course Spamalot. And then, there’s this, which is from Live Freaky! Die Freaky!. Much like Ed Wood, this is one of those things that I thought was funny, but can’t in good faith recommend anyone else subject themselves to. So, you know, caveat lector.
On my last day as a 19-year-old, I went and got my eyebrow pierced. Now that I’m freelancing, and never really know where I’ll be working, I can’t go putting holes in my face all willy nilly. So a few weeks before my 28th, I came home from Hot Rod Piercing Co. with this little guy.
Happy birthday to me.
“My life is a testament to the idea that you can achieve whatever the hell you want if you possess a modicum of creativity, and a certain amount of naïveté concerning what is and isn’t possible in this world. I’ve had one-man shows of my paintings in New York, but I’m not a painter. I’ve authored several books, but I’m not a writer. I’ve made a living as a recording artist for the last 30 years, but I can’t read a note of music or play any instrument. I’ve somehow managed to make a career out of doing a great number of things I’m in no way qualified to do”.
- Boyd Rice
I found this via Sean Bonner’s site a few days ago. I’ve been out of graduate school for about four years now, so I’m not sure the work I’ve done so far constitutes a career. But I’ve certainly made a habit of doing things that I’m not really qualified to do. I’m technically an award-winning filmmaker. I’ve taught at a college. Sure, I have degrees in Design and in Film, so maybe I’m at least moderately qualified for those. I also took a job as a webmaster with only very basic HTML and CSS skills, and learned on the job. I’ve been paid to write, and I not only lack a degree in writing, I also never really considered myself a writer. I started a photography business. I’ve run heavy machinery, assisted in surgeries at a veterinary clinic, and taught myself to play a handful of instruments.
It’s my dad’s fault, really. The guy that built our living room, despite having no real carpentry experience. The guy that took a job he had no idea how to do, and learned by reading a manual over the weekend. He’s also taught a college course, without having a degree in anything. Where most people say, “Jeez, I can’t do that,” he says, “How can I get this done?” Whether it’s a nature or nurture thing, I was raised to figure stuff out.
Maybe that makes me qualified.
(Title via Hugh MacLeod.)
Yesterday, I got a phone call. I get a lot of phone calls offering me various outlets for advertising (for the photography business), some more suited to me than others. This one seemed like something I may be interested in, so I heard the guy out.
The initial spiel took a little long, but overall it wasn’t a bad opportunity. It did, however, cost more than I wanted to put into advertising for the year. Most of my business comes from word of mouth referrals, or internet searches that land folks on my blog. I book consistently with next to no advertising, so buying ad space isn’t high priority right now. I told him that it’s something I couldn’t commit to right now, but thanks for calling.
He gave me the “act now, supplies are limited” line. Sorry, not right now. He says maybe he hasn’t showed me the value, but no, I get it. Limited number of competing listings, high search ranking, I hear you. He asks what’s keeping me from signing up right now, and now I’m starting to get just a little bit irritated. I tell him that it’s just not in the budget for this year, and he counters with “See, when people say that, what they usually mean is…”
I tell him it means I’m not signing up. But, thanks. Really.
I know, the guy is doing his job. Hell, I’ve done his job. Tech support for most companies is just an excuse to try to sell you something at every turn, whether you need it or not. I don’t fault people for using certain sales techniques – they’re effective. But nobody appreciates the hard sell. Give me the information, give me your “10% off if you sign up right now”, but don’t badger me. After the fourth “No, thank you,” I’m running out of polite ways to get you off of the phone. If I ever was considering buying your product, chances are slim now that I associate your company with being harangued by your salesperson for 15 minutes. This is why I usually let sales calls go to voicemail.
It’s easy to forget (especially over the phone, or the web) that you’re talking to a person. I mean, would you buy from you?
I don’t even have the vocabulary for how great I think this song is. The fact that they perform this live, and absolutely dead on, just makes it even more impressive. Insert superlatives.
Side note: I have no idea what nonsense the video’s trying to sell you, and am not affiliated with their shenanigans.
I found a live version from Pittsburgh, 2009. This version, from 1999, is infinitely better.
I have no excuse for this. This acoustic version includes a sweet tamborine breakdown so, you know, you’re welcome.