April 17, 2012
Draw your life

Oh nos! A meme post!

dotsuck recently posted a challenge to draw your life. Here’s mine:

Template can be found here if you’d like to participate.

Read more from the Life category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: Comment. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.

March 6, 2012
pancakes! (never ask me to name anything)

One of the things that we desperately wanted when we got married but never received was money/parts to build a media center. Instead we ended up getting a lot of amazing, and much needed, kitchen equipment and a few crystal chip dishes. Most of the money we received went towards buying and setting up Gordon, helping on the honeymoon, and various other domestic needs. We also ended up borrowing against it and just never getting around to building the media center pc of our dreams.

We finally got around to paying back everything that we had borrowed out of the wedding account and using some of that money to buying parts to build our media center around valentine’s day. Back in January, I also used some of the money, earmarked by a dear friend to use for going out and doing something fun, to purchase tickets to the Zelda Symphony Orchestra performance in May.

Back to computery goodness. I needed this media center for file backup and storage, since my sole computer is a laptop without unlimited storage capacity. The other thought was to have a way to play downloaded video on the tv without the ghetto “tim’s laptop on the floor in front of the tv” solution we previously had. This pretty much always led to Gordon running across the keyboard and restarting videos, which made Tim yell at Gordon. It was just bad news.

Box of Goodies!

Motherboard through the vent

First boot!

Specs (for those interested):
Intel Core i5-2400 Processor (3.1 GHz x 4 cores)
8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 RAM (2×4 GB)
ASUS P8Z68-M Pro Motherboard
Crucial M4 64 GB SATA III Solid State Drive
Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB SATA 6.0 Gb/s Hard Drive
750 W OCZ modular power supply, LG Blu-Ray Burner
nVIDIA GeForce 250 GTS graphics card
Logitech MK320 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
Lian Li Black Aluminum PC-C33B Media Center case (The only thing I had input on :P)

Tim asked me to name the computer, it’s now named pancakes. I also decided that the user account should be Gordon because both Tim and I already have our own computers.

One of the unforseen upsides to this new media center, is that I can download music again! I haven’t been downloading since I last my last job and its unlimited connection to bit torrent. I’m just not home enough to download music on my laptop. But now I can set it up to download and just move it over. I’m currently working through all of the Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlists since November 2010.

Bag End: 1/13/12
Crickhollow: 2/17/12
Tom Bombadil 2/22/12
Prancing Pony 2/26/12

Next milestone: Weathertop (@ 240 miles)

Read more from the Life category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: Comment. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.

February 27, 2012
busy season(s)

When I decided to volunteer to lead a girl scout troop, i did NOT think about the fact that their busy season (cookie sales) coincides with my job’s busy season (taxes) as well as my non-profit’s busy season (advertising for the summer intensives). This has coalesced into February being a month of frantic running around. Last weekend I had some girl scout training, last week I had to work 6 hours of overtime (which left me half a step above a zombie, and this weekend was a cookie booth sale and my council’s thinking day event. At the same time, I’m trying to finalize the overall style of the summer intensives and Salope has also pulled in some work. I’m just trying to keep my head above water right now, until it slows down in a few weeks.

I haven’t talked a whole lot about my girl scout volunteering. I’m an assistant leader to a troop of around 10 Juniors (10-11 years old). The troop leader is the mother of one of the girls and has been leading the troop since they were Daisies (6-7 years old). Most of the girls go to the same elementary school, and some of them have been going since the beginning, but it seems like most of them didn’t start until Brownies or so. They’re all upper-middle class girls that live within the city proper. It’s an interesting group. They’re a lot more worldly than I was as a child, and luckily, most of the parents don’t seem to have a problem with a troop leader with visible tattoos and blue hair.

You have to go through an insane amount of training to lead a girl scout troop. I’ve taken a ton of generic leadership and financial training, as well as more “theory of wrangling people for overnight trips” sort of stuff. Our troop leader hadn’t scheduled any camping with the girls because she doesn’t really like camping and can’t be away for very long due to family reasons. So i’m now taking more practical “how to teach the girls to survive in the woods” sort of camping. Last weekend was how to camp in a cabin or lodge, build a campfire (using the girl scout approved A-frame method), and the proper girl scout way of roasting a marshmallow. Very important stuff. Luckily, my troop has some parents who are first aiders, so it’s not vital I get first aid/cpr training immediately. I am signed up for that, though. Seems like a good thing to know how to do.

Before we can camp in tents, I have to take another camping class. We stay overnight in platform tents and learn how to cook using charcoal and a dutch oven. At that point, I’m fully trained to take the girls on any overnight. There are additional classes if i’d like to become an awesome campfire chef, one on how to build a box oven, and one called “campfire gourmet” where you cook an entire chicken and an apple pie over the campfire. I may end up taking some of those classes. Being able to make pie over a campfire is too amazing of a skill to not have.

We had our first cookie booth sale this weekend. We’ve sold about 1000 boxes during pre-sales, and bought an extra 30 or so cases to sell at booth sales. We sold around 130 boxes at this sale. We have a lot left to move. Our next sale is at Atlantic Station, though! I’m anticipating selling out of the rest of our boxes, because that’s an awesome location full of people who probably don’t have much interaction with kids.

The thinking day event was crazy! It was held in the girls’ elementary school’s gym. It was packed full with a deafening number of children and was completely overwhelming. Thinking day is a cultural awareness sort of event, where the girls learn about other countries that are a part of WAGGGS (world association of girl guides and girl scouts). Our service unit celebrates by having all of the troops set up a booth for their respective countries, and the girls walk around with a “passport” gathering stamps and sampling foods. I walked around the gym very briefly before deciding it was safer to just hang out at our booth and help my girls out. We learned about the Bahamas and had a guava fritter/jelly combo.

In exercise related news, I biked to the cookie sale yesterday and to thinking day today (and then afterward to dialog in the dark, which was really interesting, and back home), equaling a bit over 10 miles this weekend. I have a long way to go before I can make it the 37 miles for tour de cure in may. I managed to go to the gym every day during lunch except tuesday (because of girls’ lunch at work) and after work every day except friday (because of dinner with a friend that was in town) despite the massive amount of overtime I had to work, I feel pretty good about that. I’m a little behind where i was previously after having taken it easy for 5 days the week before last due to sickness, but catching back up to where I’d like to be.

Bag End: 1/13/12
Crickhollow: 2/17/12
Tom Bombadil 2/22/12
Prancing Pony 2/26/12

Next milestone: Weathertop (@ 240 miles)

Read more from the Life category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: Comment. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.

February 25, 2012
“Hey girl, lemme get a ride on that bike!”

One of the things I generally think while biking to work is how much I’ll miss living in the midst of the city whenever we inevitably buy a house. When I first moved to midtown, I was a bit intimidated to move into an area with crack dealers, prostitutes, and the homeless hanging out around my block.

Other than the ill-tempered homeless people, I never had any trouble. There were a couple that hung out on the corner of my building who spat at me once for not giving them a box of pizza I was carrying home. Horrifying. Lately, the police have really cracked down in an effort to clean up midtown. It’s worked quite well, but i sort of miss the random guys pointing at their crotches whenever I drive by. Arresting all the whores and drug dealers has really sucked a lot of the character out of my neighborhood.

For the longest time, due to the spitting incident, i greatly disliked the homeless. However, biking to work has really changed my outlook. I bike right by a pretty large homeless shelter that’s at an intersection I get stopped at pretty frequently. I now have quite regular interaction with hobos (which is a term i use out of endearment).

Usually there’s a group hanging out on the corner in their blanket tents. The shelter only takes people in at night and only takes in a certain number of people. The people who don’t make it in on time, camp out on the sidewalk across the street from the shelter. During the day, a huge group generally hangs out in the parking lot adjacent to the blanket tents. There’s also the resident shelter artist out front on nice days painting, and a group of 3-4 people that sit in the Marta stop shelter all day.

In general, I bike down towards work to a chorus of “that’s a real nice bike!” “hey girl, lemme get a ride on that bike!” “can I get a look of that bike?” “Can I sit on the handle bars?” and the like. To be fair, my cruiser is pretty flashy.

This is an older picture. It now also has a matching chrome fender on the front, chromed pedals with toe clips, an awesome bell, and, more often than not, a wicker basket on front.

I really need to get new pictures of my bikes.

I’m assuming that I’m yelled at most of the time because my bike is eye catching and the hobos are genuinely interested in my awesome, 100lb bike. There is a movement in atlanta to outfit the homeless with bikes to improve their employment chances, so sometimes a hobo will ride up beside me and talk shop about bikes, which I always find heartening. Sometimes, they lecture me on wearing a helmet. It’s really sweet that these men (it’s always older black men who lecture me) seem so worried about my well-being. however, it has not made me wear a helmet more frequently.

every so often, the yells veer more toward cat calls, but never from the homeless. I had some douches yell at me from in front of Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles that they could see up my skirt, which is ridiculous for a few reasons: 1. it was dark, 2. the height/viewing angle renders it highly improbable, 3. even if they could, indeed, see up my skirt, the only thing visible would be my fat thighs rubbing together. I also had a (different) douche (a jogger, this time) yell at me to have sex with a man. I’m believe he thought i was a lesbian because of my short hair? I actually got angry enough to stop and start yelling back at him, but he ran off. Homeless men have much better manners than men in their 20s.

I did have a homeless man yell at me, from the steps of a church, “OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THAT ON YOUR FACE??!!?!” He yelled it loud enough that it echoed off all of the neighboring buildings and everyone started staring at me. I was just wearing sunglasses?

Other than that brief sojourn to crazytown, most of my interactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I’m glad that my biking has taught me more empathy.

Bag End: 1/13/12
Crickhollow: 2/17/12
Tom Bombadil 2/22/12

Next milestone: Prancing Pony (@ 130 miles)

February 19, 2012
Love is inconvenience

My friend Sunny recently posted about blue roses (towards the end of that entry). Reading that reminded me of how I measure love. It’s nothing quite as crazy as sending someone after something that doesn’t exist and basing my love on that, but it’s similarly strange.

I base how much someone loves me based purely on how much he would inconvenience himself for me. I do know how shitty that sounds, but it’s just what I do. It’s not like I demand to be waited on or anything like that. I am pretty self-sufficient and don’t need an indentured servant.

But I know Tim loves me when he passes up going out with friends to spend time with me, or going out to do errands with me when there’s other stuff to do, or pack me lunch every single day (although sometimes that doesn’t count because he complains about it). There are tons of small things that Tim does for me every day, from waking me up in the morning to making dinner every night that make me feel like he loves me, some more than others because some are more inconvenient than others, but all to some degree. I try very hard to not take any of the small things for granted that he does for me, becoming jaded like that just breeds ill content.

I think I quantify love in that way because I think love is a selfless act, where you value someone else enough to put their needs on par with or above your own. When two people love selflessly like that, you have a great team who work well together, because each is making sure the other has what they need to be the best version of who they are.

I’m pretty sure that’s why Tim and I work so well together. We’re married because what we have works in a really great way. We’re not together because we grew up together, or went to school together, or any other relationship of convenience. We sought each other out and made it work, no matter how difficult it was because we’re good for each other. I’m sure part of the reason we work so well now is because we went through all of the difficulty of a crazy long distance thing, because we both knew how committed the other was to the relationship to even be considering making it work.

Our relationship isn’t something I generally talk about, unless I’m airing minor grievances with friends, because it’s so good it’s boring. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If everything else goes wrong, we’re always something strong to fall back on.

Read more from the Life category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: 1 Comment. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.

February 15, 2012
Disregard my whining

The beginning of the year is always rough for me. Around mid-January I start to lose my shit and it doesn’t rectify itself until after my birthday.

I get in this “shit could be so much better!” mood, which kickstarts many projects, or makes me do slightly insane things like quit my job with no safety net. Oh 2011, you tricksy whore. 

This year, the theme of my insanity seems to be lack of resources. Everything I want to do I either have no time or room for nor the money to complete it. I have about a dozen projects in various stages of completion on the go right now. Some pressing, others not so much, but all hanging over my head just the same. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s too much and i’m starting to break.

I realize some of my angst is due to goin to the gym, it eats up time in the evenings and makes me feel guilty. I try to keep reminding myself that it’s for the best, and that I wouldn’t get much accomplished at home anyway. It being dark long before I leave work kills all motivation to be productive when I get home.

This is also the busy season for my largest freelance client. I’ll be less stressed once they’re taken care of. It seems like over the past week, all of my clients need a little piece of me. I’m beginning to think they coordinate it. Work has also been challenging lately. Been doing fun work, but with very frustrating and exhausting clients.

I don’t really have the option of just forgoing sleep, either. My thyroid disorder makes that pretty much impossible. Both through making me exhausted around 11pm, but also with the knowledge that sleep deprivation will severely fuck up my delicate hormonal state.

So after I get home, eat dinner, and bathe it’s 10 or so. Not really enough time to start something up and put it away, let alone also work on it.

My cleaning starts to slip because I just don’t feel like I have enough time. Generally what snaps me out of this funk is the time change coupled with the revulsion of the state of my house.

Just frustrated with spinning my wheels. Need something to breathe some life into me.

P.S. Did I mention i’m also sick? So i’m extra whiny as well.

Bag End: 1/13/12
Crickhollow: 2/17/12

Next milestone: Tom Bombadil (@ 98 miles)

Read more from the Life category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: Comment. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.

February 11, 2012
Slowly becoming less pathetic

I can now make it through kickboxing class on occasion without dropping reps from sets or modifying exercises (unless we’re doing pushups, i can’t do a sans knee pushup yet). I was especially proud when a bunch of pretty skinny bitches came into kickboxing on wednesday all made up cute and had to leave halfway through, completely destroyed, while I was still going strong. Kickboxing is definitely the most challenging and strenuous class I’ve been doing, so it feels good to be less pathetic at it.

At the beginning of January, I was pseudo-running (on the elliptical) a 14 minute mile, that left me in a sweaty lump of exhaustion afterwards. I can now do a 12.5 minute mile on one machine and pick right back up and do a second one right after. It’s not much of an improvement, but it is a bit of one. In the short term, I’d like to run less than a 9 minute mile.

As far as actually running, I started at the beginning of February trying to build up my distance. I could run a quarter mile then. I’m up to a half mile now. I call it running, but it’s more like jogging, I’m at the pace of a 14 minute mile right now. I’d like to be able to really run a full mile by my birthday.

My new bike continues to be awesome, although I am still commuting on my cruiser. I believe I’ve finally nailed down exactly what makes the cruiser such an energy suck to ride. Yes, it’s a ridiculously heavy steel bike, and that’s a large part of it, but i’ve ridden similarly heavy bikes that aren’t that bad. I believe the weight coupled with the semi-recumbent posture a cruiser puts you in is why it’s such a bitch to ride. You sit bolt upright and your feet are far enough out in front of you due to that, that you don’t get the same power on the down stroke as a sportier styled bike.

Today, I reached one of my biking goals, which was to make it from Ivan Allen to Pine St before the light turned. It’s an odd goal, and probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to non-Atlanta people, but Ivan Allen is a road right before an overpass that crosses over i75. I always get stopped by the light there. Pine street is the next light on the other side of the overpass. The lights are timed so most cars can cross 75 (which is…. 8-12 lanes at this point) and pass through, but it was hopeless on a bike. Over the past few months I had been getting closer and closer to the light before it turned red, and today I sailed through a yellow in the nick of time.

Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself concerning fitness. However, I will likely weigh myself tomorrow and despair. It’s hard to keep reminding myself “oh yeah, your body is broken. don’t count on having lost any weight”. I just have to concentrate on not gaining, and hopefully after a while my metabolism will get with the program.

Bag End: 1/13/12
Crickhollow: 2/17/12

Next milestone: Tom Bombadil (@ 98 miles)

Read more from the Life category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: 2 Comments. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.

February 10, 2012
Why I am a designer

So my previous post about where the members of the e/n scene ended up ties in quite closely to my career. When I first got on the internet, I briefly hung out on forums and perused awful late 90s band webpages before deciding that I wanted some of that sweet website action.

I ended up teaching myself html (2?) at the tender age of 13 and put up my first webpage on tripod, i do believe. It was full of rainbow bars and stupid animated gifs, but no use of , because even then I knew that was tacky. CSS was still a long ways off, I’m not even going to pretend my early websites looked like anything other than huge steaming piles of angsty teenage girl diary-esque shit.

However, web design was a fun distraction when I wasn’t pursuing other creative endeavors, or maxing out my 56k trying to download music. Once I hit high school, I even made a fair amount of money coding sites for college students trying to coast through their web design classes. However, by then coding had gotten a lot more complex and through that experience I realized that it wasn’t something I really wanted to do for other people consistently.

One day, a representative from the Art Institute came to my high school art class to talk us in to going there. They didn’t offer fine arts, which is what I was most interested in. Fun fact for those who didn’t know me back then: I’m a painter at heart. They did offer something called graphic design, and from what the recruiter said, it was the broadest applied arts field to go into.

Broad sounded good to me, especially since I wasn’t 100% sure was “graphic design” was. I had a vague idea, I had been collecting magazine ads that I liked since I was in middle school and was pretty interested industrial design/architecture, and obviously web design. I was thinking that it’d be like the best parts of web design without the coding.

And it was! I ended up majoring in graphic design with a focus on web design. I knew that I wasn’t to do primarily print, due to the lack of frustrating coding, but couldn’t quite give web design up completely.

My first real job, I worked exclusively in print on the clock. However, my boss would hire me on as freelance to build flash for him. During this time I worked freelance, mostly for magazines doing print layout.

My second real job, I was hired on as an interactive designer, but spent most of the time doing print work. I also laid out html sites, flash banners, and a new skill: dvd menu production. During this time, I was freelancing pretty much half and half print and web, mostly setting up and administering content management systems. I taught myself the basics of php and javascript, and started learning html 5.

My current real job, I was hired on as a graphic designer, and spend most of my time doing interactive and motion work. I animate in flash, after effects, and premiere; as well as shooting and editing video/audio. Not to say I don’t also do a lot of print work, it seems to be cyclical. Right now, I’m in the middle of a bunch of non-print related work. My freelance now is more maintaining websites and high-level design work, like coming up with campaigns. Also, a fair amount of print making. I bought a press last month and have been busy learning that aspect of the production process. It’s nice to do some production every now and again, which is one of the only things I miss about my last job. It’s good for the soul to xacto away a few hours now and again.

So that is how I started out in web, moved to print, then back to web (along with print), then to other types of interactive, to animation and video production (and print). You couldn’t tell me in that art room back in high school that in 10 years I’d be editing videos, creating training modules, and building brand identities — but here I am! And I can thank my mother for leaving me unattended for hours with an internet connected computer in my bedroom, where I was traumatized by the darkness of the internet and simultaneously inspired to begin my life as a creative professional.

Read more from the Designing category. If you would like to leave a comment, click here: 4 Comments. or stay up to date with this post via RSS, or you can Trackback from your site.