Wednesday, July 30, 2008

photobooth (& evil librarians)

I have finally discovered what it is about Macs that makes them so coveted and beloved. It's not simply that they are an amazing product (although they are). It's not even because they're pretty (so pretty). The real reason people buy Macs is for Photobooth. I've had mine over a month and haven't posted a single goofy, fun house-inspired shot. Shame on me. So here are the early attempts:

This could be titled "Claire in natural habitat: deep in a book." If you can't find me, odds are this is where I am.

And this one would, of course, be the cover for the debut CD of my indie band. Oh the bourgeois angst!

This one, well it just makes me laugh. When playing with the stretching/ squishing features I noticed that a lot of the results looked like villains from The Incredibles. Especially this one.

I think this character would be an evil librarian who every time you asked for an action adventure novel gave you a book on the history of string. I think she'd sit in a tiny, uncomfortable chair behind a huge wooden desk scowling and snatching books out of people's hands and telling them to SHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! She'd spend the day saying "That book CANNOT be taken out of the library!" and "Well we don't have it, I don't care what the search says" and "if you really want that book you'll just have to look it up IN THE CARD CATALOG" and other evil things. I think she'd have a big mug of cold, stale coffee on her desk that she'd sip from occasionally (eww) but would screech at anyone who dared to open a water bottle in the library.


We got off work early today (long story) so I think it's time to head back into that book.

Monday, July 28, 2008

i've been buzzwhacked

Every now and then when Googling yourself you discover that you’ve been published on the sly*. I am, it turns out, an official contributor to The Buzzword Dictionary (the new book from the blog formerly known as Buzzwhack: The Buzzword Compliant Dictionary.) Check it out, all official like:

I’m sure the check is in the mail.

So here’s my contribution:
hacktivist: Someone who combines hacking skills with activism to attack, shut down or deface target Web sites as a form of political protest. It's a form of "electronic" civil disobedience. They're experts of the "virtual sit-in."
Nominated by Claire Colvin

I can’t help but wish I’d been a little more careful in my addition to this work. Air quotes? Really? So embarrassing. My only defense is that this is from about 7 or 8 years ago, back when I was young and foolish. Silly me, I thought it was just a comment on a blog.

Ah well, gives me something to shoot for. Like maybe one day making into the Stuff White People Like blog-that-just-became-a-book. Dare to dream...

* Note: Googling myself is not merely megalomania for the 21st century, it's part of my job (no really!). Every now and then I have to run a search to see if anyone is stealing my articles. Not this time. . .

Sunday, July 20, 2008

PSA: POÄNG safety

Consider this a public service announcement friends. Learn from my misplaced enthusiasm.

If you ever find yourself in the midst of a major house clean (you know the kind where you dust on top of the kitchen cupboards and inside of vases?) and happen to glance over at the POÄNG chair sitting in your living room and think "I bet that can go in the wash" don't do it.

You may think you have things covered. You may even do a little research like I did and be fooled by the IKEA page that calmly tells you that, yes, your POÄNG chair cover can go in the washing machine, just don't put it in the dryer. Excellent you think. You might even remember how easy it was to take the covers off your matching KLIPPAN coaches and how sparking white they were when you came out. Do not be fooled by the Swedish innocence, the fancy accent or fond memories of lingen berries and meatballs. This one time, IKEA is not your friend.

What they don't tell you is simply this -- that inside your lovely POÄNG seat cover is a piece of foam and that the back of the lining of the cover is made of some nameless fabric who's only purpose in life is to adhere to foam. You can put the cover in the wash, sure, but don't expect IKEA to give you any clue how to get the d@mn foam out. Or back in for that matter, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

If you ever wonder if mankind will ever find something that holds on tighter than industrial-strength Velcro, they will. They have. And it's lurking inside your POÄNG. You, like me, might start out taking the cover off the ottoman. You'll think, "that wasn't so bad. Claire was really overreacting with that whole PSA thing on her blog." And then you'll move on to the main chair cover and when you, like me are half lying, half sitting, on the floor wrestling your chair like an alligator, you'll know I was right.

Technically, eventually, it did go in the wash. And it dried fairly quickly in the afternoon sun. And then I tried to put the cover back on. I spent at least 5 minutes trying to convince myself that leaving just the foam without the cover would still make for a comfortable chair and besides, grey is a neutral right? I fought. POÄNG fought back. Although I can't speak from experience I would imagine that wrestling the foam back inside that cover was somewhat similar to trying to hold down a two year old at their first trip to the dentist. You might also be fooled into thinking that both the ottoman and seat of your POÄNG are square, but they are, it turns out, ever-so-slightly rectangular. But don't worry, this will become painfully obvious when the foam is about three quarters of the way in.

Now, tired and a little breathless I can tell you that it *is* possible. It can be done. But I don't recommend it.

On the upside, my chair does look lovely...

Friday, July 18, 2008

two words: dr. horrible

Two words: sing-along blog. If that doesn't get ya try these: Nathan Fillion. Or Joss Whedon. Did you miss the part about sing-along blog? Here's another two: internet event. And the slightly longer but it's my blog so live with it: I-laughed-so-much-my-coworker-Sheldon-Skyped-me-to-say-I-was-laughing-really-loud-but-he-sent-me-the-link-so-I-say-it's-his fault.

Clearly two words can not do justice to the mad genius that is Joss Whedon's musical sci-fi adventure "Dr. Horrible". (Although his title IS two words. And so is his URL.) If you saw "Once More With Feeling" then you already know this is going to be good. And if you didn't, well surely the pairing of Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion is enough. It also stars Neil Patrick Harris, but he's three words all by himself so I couldn't mention him at the beginning of this post. Two more important words: Act now. This puppy is free online until midnight tomorrow only and like that one prof who scheduled your history class at 8am, there are no extensions. Trust me on this, you'd don't want to miss out*

What it comes down to really are these two words: click here

* After tomorrow it will be available on iTunes and later on DVD (with extras natch) but isn't it so much cooler to see it now? Also, there's a long rant on the site about how this came out as a reaction to some of the things that lead to the writer's strike which is also pretty cool but way more than two words, so just head to the site and read Joss' version. (And thanks little brother for taking the time to phone your sis when you found something this awesome and knew she would love it. You were right.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

best threadless ever

Ok so maybe I forgive them for not reprinting the "To err is human, to arrrgh is pirate" t-shirt.

Note: Some Threadless designs are not suitable for all audiences so if you're young (Coli, I'm talking to you) this link is off limits.

Monday, July 07, 2008

we ran away with the circus

Someone around here had a fairly major birthday and as has become our tradition, such birthdays are celebrated in style.
Not so long ago we celebrated my 30th in Disneyland. For Kendra's big day we decided to run away with the circus. And now that we're grown-ups, we did it up big time.

It started with Cirque du Soleil's Corteo which was playing here in Vancouver. Specifically, it started with their Tapis Rouge tickets -- VIP access that gives you great seats, a private entrance, food before and during the show, drinks the works. We decided to splurge. Next up came the limo, a first for me.
But as you can see we adapted to the high life quickly. The champagne helped.

Jim, our chauffeur made excellent time into the city. Since we didn't need to be at the Grande Chapiteaux until 7 he took us on a tour of Gastown and the waterfront. A girl could really get used to riding in the back of a stretch. I can confidently speak for the three of us in saying that the panoramic view out the back of a limo is one heck of a way to see the city. We were having an amazing time and we hadn't even arrived on site yet.

Once we arrived at the venue, the evening just kept on improving. We got in line and before you knew it were ushered into the VIP tent. Next came another first as we were each issued back stage pass type lanyards to let us in out of the VIP area. Nice.
Next it was off to get our complimentary souvenir photo. This is a photo of the original, but you get the idea.

Once inside things got even better. And there was food. We all quickly agreed that this was the coolest party we had ever been to, and as Monica pointed out, there was no pressure to mingle, we could just enjoy ourselves. The food. . .well, hmm, yes, clearly THIS is what we were paying for. Foolishly, I ate a sandwich before we left thinking that we'd be getting crudites and maybe a little cheese and crackers. I was so glad to be wrong. There was crudites, and sushi, and roast beef sandwiches and mini chicken burgers, and onion rings and these shrimp on spoons things that my allergies prevented me from, so Kendra & Monica graciously saw to it that my share did not go to waste.

The tent was beautifully decorated, but lit for partying, not photography. There were red couches everywhere, very attentive staff and a bar that would make you just about anything and hand it over. I switched over to water fairly quickly and was pleasantly surprised that no one in the tent was noticeably drunk.Before we knew it it was time to take our seats. We sat fifth row, right on the aisle and as it turned out, right in the middle of the action. In the opening sequence there were clowns running down the aisle right beside me. Later on the spotlight was aimed directly at the guy behind me. It's a big spotlight so now I can officially say that I've been in the spotlight at the circus :) Within the first 10 minutes I think I said "O WOW" about 15 times. It was incredible. There were jugglers, tightrope walkers, people who spun around in hoops. There was a girl who could juggle with her feet, and my favorites, the rope dancers who look like they're flying. I can only imagine how that must feel. We were so close we could see the smiles on their faces, their stomach muscles tensing for feat after feat and could catch the little winks the clowns sent out into the audience. I gasped a lot.

After what seemed like 10 minutes, it was intermission. Back into the tent for dessert, after a quick stop at the Tapis Rouge-only comfort station. Shortest intermission line ever. (Almost worth the price of admission alone!)The second half of the show went even faster, but still caught us oohing and ahhing over the exploits on the stage. I can only imagine the training it takes to be able to do that. There was a girl who balanced on one foot standing on a man's shoulder while he casually walked across the stage. There were brothers who bounced each other on and off of what looked like a simple teeter-totter (clearly not). They tumbled -- on purpose -- they flew, one girl even walked up a tight rope set at a 45 degree angle. Another clown walked the rope upside down. It was a show, it was entertaining. It was breath taking.

When the night was over we were on our feet cheering wildly and thrilled to be close enough to see the faces of the performers, clearly as pleased with the evening's outcome as we were. We walked into the cool night air, past the displays and with the blue and yellow tent looming large behind us, said our farewells to the circus.

Jim was there at the curb waiting for us. We rode home happy and full of tales of what we had seen. It is a night I will always remember. Just to be sure, I bought myself a souvenir. It's a Christmas tree ornament filled with scrapes from costumes from Corteo. It has photos of one of the performers and the chandeliers that the girls flew through like trapezes at the beginning of the show. I thought it had all the colors of the circus. It will be there to remind me when the time has come to run away again.