Friday, October 15, 2010

Free music

Hmm...  Been a while.

I'm still here, just crazy busy lately.

Just wanted to stop in and share a link: Clickie here.

That'll take you to a short survey (no, not one of those surveys, this one's legit). If you complete the survey, you'll get a password to download a free 10 song sampler with music from Chasen, MercyMe, Addison Road, Catalyst Music Project, Building 429, Phillips, Craig & Dean, 33Miles, Laura Story, Jeremy Horn and Stellar Kart. I'll readily admit that there are some artists on that list that I'm not terribly excited about, but it's a sampler, so there's a pretty good mix.


Oh, and hat tip goes to Adam of Hey, It's Free!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who Do I Write Like?

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Thanks to Jan for the link!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Say it isn't so!

I actually agree with a feminazi feminist??

Well, the first shirt discussed in the above article doesn't bother me at all. I don't 100% agree with its message, but I don't think it's worth protesting over. But the second? In our culture today, that's a dangerous message. Eating disorders are an epidemic, and there are more kids in American high schools who have body image issues than don't. And let's face it, UO, with it's size 0 (or less) models, is not targeting this message toward people who actually need to diet.

Of course, me boycotting their store would be like me boycotting Mars. Since I don't ever go there anyway, I doubt it will make much difference to them! Still, who's with me?

One of these days I may get back to the design talk, but given that Blogger has just launched totally new design tools, it seems I may be too late...

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Ok, taking a break from the design talk this week -- I have something else on my mind and would rather write about it, and so I shall.  I will get back to the design stuff.  Soon, I hope.

This morning I have been privy to an interesting conversation going on about fan-fic.  As someone who is very interested in writing, in fiction, and in copyright law, I'm intrigued.  I had never actually considered it from the emotional and/or private point of view of the author before, only from the legal standpoint.  Using someone else's copyrighted characters without their express permission is illegal.  Simple.  I try to avoid doing illegal things.  So, I don't write fan-fic, no matter how tempting it may be at times.

This blog post by Diana Gabaldon* is interesting in that it gives us a glimpse into the author's point of view on such matters.  It's a fascinating read, to me anyway.

So really, I know where I stand on fan-fic for the most part.  My opinion of it has not changed in reading the above post, the post has simply made me think about it a bit more.

But here's a question. I'm sure someone somewhere has answered it before, but I'm going to ask it here anyway. I know that taking someone else's characters (including the minor characters that aren't even well-developed in the original story) is fan-fic. I know that taking someone else's specific settings (i.e. writing about something that occurs on the Starship Enterprise) is fan-fic. But what about just writing something that occurred in the same world as those characters and settings without ever mentioning anything specific to that author's world? Or even anything that is specific to that specific author?

Ok, that's vague and hard to follow. Here's an example. Twilight. Whether you love it or hate it, everyone sorta at least knows what it is, right? So things that would be certainly off limits in my mind would be: the characters, the town of Forks (though given that it is a real place the case could be made that Stephanie Meyer doesn't really own that), the idea of vampires that sparkle (as far as I know this is unique to the Twilight series), and of course, lots of other concepts specific to the series.

But what about a story that takes place somewhere else entirely, involving noone from the Twilight saga, but involving vampires and werewolves (concepts that Ms. Meyer uses but certainly doesn't own) that have vaguely the same characteristics as those in the Twilight books, but not so much that anyone could really trace the idea back to Twilight? In this case I'm not asking from a legal standpoint because what I'm trying to describe is something that could never legally be pinpointed as copyright violation. I'm asking from a moral standpoint. Is it wrong to write a story that is very much (in the author's mind, though not obviously so on paper) inspired by someone else's work?  Or is that just normal, to draw inspiration from those who write about things that interest you?

I may be splitting hairs here. I am very much aware that most people would not even consider this a question, but then many people would not consider fan-fic in general to be wrong either. Even flat-out piracy is considered morally acceptable by many in today's culture.

So what do you think?

*BTW, I am not a fan of Ms. Gabaldon. I vaguely recall having seen her name a time or two, but I don't honestly even know what type of fiction she writes. It's irrelevant to this post, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Background image

I promised I'd share how I accomplished my redesign, and I've been thinking about how to go about it. The best way I could come up with is to just go step by step and show you each item and how it was done.

For me, design is so often all about color. More often than not I start with a color palette and work my way from there. I shared ColourLovers with you earlier this month, and that's where I started this project.

Oddly enough, the palette I began with was not intended for use in this, or really any other, project. I just made it because I was messing around with the colors on the site. One of the interesting features of color lovers is that if you're the first to use a specific shade you get to name it. This turns out an amazing variety of color names. While playing around on the site, I decided to make a palette using just the names of the colors, rather than working with the colors themselves. At the time, "In the Valley of the Dying Sun" by House of Heroes was playing in the background, and I figured that was a fun title to play with. So I came up with this palette. Oddly enough, the colors really work well together, so when I was trying to decide on colors for the blog, that's where I started.

So next step was the background. That's the most obvious expression of the color palette, so it seemed a good place to start. There are a plethora of great background making sites and tools out there, and I've even been known to make my own from scratch now and then, but this time I went with PatternCooler. I chose the "Tri Seed Curl" pattern and played around with my colors until I was happy with the results. What you see on the blog now is the result. Of course, the palette changed a little in the process. I dropped the reddish color and added a really pale violet and a darker shade of the color called "house." I also tweaked the colors just a little, so that none of them are actually the exact colors from the ItVotDS palette. My finished palette can be seen here.

So that's how the palette and background came about. Nothing too technical so far, in fact I think almost any blogger would be able to use the two tools I've discussed here with little difficulty. Next up we'll get into the slightly more technical aspects... Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Well the redesign took a little longer to implement than I thought it would, so I'll have to share all the goodies of how it was done soon.  For now, let me know what you think in the comments!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hmm... been awhile.

So, I've been away for a bit. Again. What's new, right?

Well, I'll tell you.

That's what this whole blog thing is supposed to be about, right?

I've been doing a lot of design-type stuff at work. Ok, my version of design stuff is severely elementary, but I really enjoy it and I'm learning as I go. Baby steps. Apparently my boss likes that I enjoy it, because the company is paying for me to take some classes and acquire some mad skillz. Or something.

So anyway, I come across a lot of interesting things as I'm working. Hopefully, assuming I follow through (and let's face it, my track record is not exactly stellar here), I plan to share quite a bit of the best stuff over the coming weeks.

So what's my favorite design-related site of the moment? It's called COLOURlovers, with the British spelling that is really kinda charming. I ADORE playing around with colors, and this site really lets me do that. You can create palettes, patterns, or even discover and name brand new colors. If you'd like to see some of what I've been playing with, you can check out my profile here.

So anyway, look for some more design-related posts soon, and probably a redesign of the blog, cause hey -- it's time.

Verse of the Day