29 July 2012

I love the Olympics...

...but I hate NBC's handling of it.

Their website lists the schedule for all the competitions down to the minute which is great, but when you try to see what channel something will be on, it's a different tab and all they do is list 5-10 sports that will occur sometime during an 8 hour block.

Because of the time difference, there's no guarantee a sport will air live. Also note that the default schedule times are in London time. The color scheme of their tabs through me off because when London time was selected, it was grey while "my time" was blue. Nice way to work against web and computer standards of active vs. inactive, NBC.

I really wish they would integrate the competition schedule with the viewing schedule. Heck, it'd be handy to know what sports aren't getting aired on TV. I looked for a medal round of synchronized diving this morning with zero luck. Grr.

Dave2 also made a great point about their schadenfreude coverage of Michael Phelps after his loss. Why not celebrate Ryan Lochte's win instead? I didn't see that one firsthand but they were still commenting on it this morning.

I'm doing my best to avoid Bob Costas, Mary Carillo, and gymnastics because they irritate and infuriate me to various degrees. I have nothing against the athletes who do gymnastics but the scoring inconsistencies and terrible tie-breaking rules engage my inner Hulk.

On the upside, I watched both the women's and men's team archery, women's skeet shooting SPOILER ..... (5 medals across 5 Olympics, how awesome!), END SPOILER.... some basketball, beach volleyball, tennis, soccer, table tennis, swimming, biking, ...

Even when sports I want to see aren't airing, I still get sucked in. The nice thing about the satellite NBC channels is that the commentators tend to be less jerky and more informed.

Here's to more great competitions and the hope NBC will learn some class. Just because you're not competing, NBC, doesn't mean you shouldn't show good sportsmanship. And respect. Respect should be a given, you know?

UPDATE: Looks like the diving and swimming I wanted to watch live this afternoon will be on sometime between 7 PM and 12 AM. Though I'm happy I'll have a chance to see it (though live would have been better!), does it really need to be a 5 hour block? That takes up loads of DVR space. Science forbid if I actually wanted to save something.

In the meantime, I suppose I'll be avoiding twitter and sites with news.

Two years ago on TTaT: Cemetery clouds

27 July 2012

Life of Art SitRep #129 Get it Done!

I didn't get to this Thursday night like I usually do, but it just occurred to me that I better get it done because once the Olympics start, all bets are off.

This past week, I finished making Playing Cards.

I made Red and Grey Rectangles and Red and White Rectangles designs.

Rearranged my store a bit and was taken aback by a change Zazzle implemented. Letting the dust settle before figuring out what's best for my shop.

In better news, Olympics! I'm really looking forward to the diving competitions.

Two years ago on TTaT: Fungi photos

25 July 2012

Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia

Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia34. Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If the cover image of Wonder Woman's boot holding Batman's head to the ground doesn't suck you in, well, this may not be the book for you.

This is a great self-contained Wonder Woman story. There's no secret identity storyline so we get to see what Princess Diana of Themyscira's home and life are like.

The story revolves around the Hiketeia, a vow and a bond that cannot be broken without igniting the vengeance of the Furies. It's a character-driven tale but the stakes are high.

Really enjoyed it!

Two years ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 39

23 July 2012

This Is How

This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.33. This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike. by Augusten Burroughs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It'll probably sound silly, but I wasn't quite expecting this to be a self-help book. I've read (and really enjoyed) some of his previous books which were autobiographical. It's because of those other books and the experiences he related that I believe his insights in this book have a lot of merit.

If you're asking yourself, "What qualifications does Burroughs have to write a self-help book?" go read Running With Scissors and Dry.

Simply put, this is my kind of self-help book. A bit cynical, some tough love, and the optimism that things are actually simple (although not necessarily easy). If you've read his books before, this still contains his sense of humor; it's definitely his voice.

I wish it had a table of contents, but it includes chapters like: How to Find Love, How to Be Fat, How to Be Thin, How to Feel Sorry For Yourself, How to Feel Confident, How to Remain Unhealed, How to Be Sick, and many more.

Many may seem counter-intuitive, but he twists and flips ideas in unexpected ways that actually make sense. He's been through most of this stuff, so he would know.

Burroughs acknowledges that the same approach to a problem won't work for everyone, which is great because this book is definitely an alternative to new age-y, positive affirmation fare.

Two years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #24

20 July 2012

Life of Art SitRep #128 Woo!

Remember when I used to itemize (nearly) everything I did during the week in my life of art posts?

If I did that this week (and many of late), it'd be so crazy long. It's no longer a question of posting to stay motivated, I just am. Feels good.

Now I just need to figure out how to direct that motivation in the most beneficial directions. It's an ongoing process.

What then are the highlights?

I watched the Work. Life. Balance. workshop with Tamara Lackey on Creative Live. Really pretty great. On sale for $29 until 7/22/12 9PM PT. Think I'm going to have to pick this one up.

Nearly done adding Playing Cards to my store. Love that there are several card face options to choose from.

I made my first clock! I'm still working on number layouts for the circular clocks. Surprisingly difficult to get the numbers perfectly aligned.

Made 2013 versions of some Calendars.

Noticed I was missing some skateboard designs, a casualty of some template sets I made without a skateboard template. Took care of that and added 15 Skateboards to my shop.

How are your projects going?

Dude, I totally hit publish without including any of my new 5 Bisected Red Lines! Here you go:

Two years ago on TTaT: 28. The Book of Codes

19 July 2012

Note to self: vol. XVIII

If you want cranberry juice from Ocean Spray, get "cranberry juice cocktail." The bottle that says "100% Juice" with "Cranberry" below it is not as you might expect 100% cranberry juice. It's actually a mix of juices (much like you might think a cocktail would be comprised of).

The Cranberry Juice Cocktail tastes more like cranberry than the 100% Juice Cranberry which tastes more like grape juice.

It's a conundrum.

Imprint on brain: cocktail, cocktail, cocktail.

Two years ago on TTaT: And the note cards go to...

15 July 2012

Are you ready to Jummmbbbllleee?

"Would you like to play the Jumble with us?" Mom asked. (My parents play the Jumble from the newspaper every day.)

"Mm, I'll stay for 1 word." For me, the Jumble is generally a source of great frustration or great victory. There is not often any middle ground as I try to rearrange groups of letters into "everyday" words. I do it in my head so rearranging letters and remembering them correctly can be a challenge.

Dad read off 6 letters, a bit too fast and all at once as usual.

I repeated the letters in my mind while my eyes tracked from up left to up right as though I were reading them. Without rearranging the letters I just saw the word and exclaimed, "Got it!" while swinging both of my arms up and throwing the goat (throwing goats?).

After a minute, Mom said, "Got it."

"I want to say it."

Dad said, "I haven't gotten it yet."

"That's OK, I just want to say it once you have."

"You got that really fast," said Mom.

"Well, I think I've got it right." I hadn't checked the Jumble letters against the word I came up with, I just trusted my initial reaction was right. (Sometimes I'm a letter off.) At this point I couldn't repeat the original disordered sequence of letters. I just knew there were two C's and an O.

Dad said, "Got it."

I said, "Scorch."

"Very good," Mom added. Victory confirmed, woo!

"I think I was primed for it by the Comic-Con coverage I watched this weekend."

A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #75 ZPro!

13 July 2012

Life of Art SitRep #127 Busy, busy

So... when you don't have family visiting anymore or any workshops to watch it turns out you can get a heck of a lot done.

I added 128 new products to my store including a variety of Skins for Electronics as well as my new design, 5 Bisected Black Lines. Catchy title, right? ;)

Check out the complete collection of 5 Bisected Black Lines products.

I also made a new set of templates. More involved than anticipated with a few missteps but they let me organize them better and alerted me to some designs I hadn't made skins for yet.

To feed the soul, I walked through a sculpture show on the grounds of an historic estate. Also shot quite a few photographs, have more to download yet.

In big picture realm, I did a lot of work on my archive and learned something key. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a new workflow I'm working to adopt. I'm having some difficulty with it because it throws some things I did all at the import stage out of order and makes me more likely to put them off.

However, it makes looking at older work easier. The thing I learned is that if I'm undecided about a couple of images, say which one to keep, just keep both and move on for now. It's more important to keep your momentum than it is to waste time making a choice about images you may not even use.

In momentum is confidence. Breaking the flow with ambivalence yields doubt. Don't need any more of that.

A year ago on TTaT: Bona fide tower

07 July 2012

32. Swallowdale

Swallowdale (Swallows and Amazons, #2)32. Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you not read "Swallows and Amazons" yet? Perhaps in my desire to remain spoiler free, I didn't play it up enough.

"Swallowdale" is book two in the series, but you should really start at the beginning. The young adventurers are all back at the lake for their summer holiday with new discoveries and difficulties to contend with.

I seriously love these books. Set in 1931 (when it was written), the four siblings who make up one sailing crew and the two who make up the other are all capable, imaginative, helpful kids. Sure, there's the occasional declaration of war between them, but once it's over everyone's a good sport and they are allies once again. And when things go awry, they keep their heads and pitch in to help.

As I said in my review of the first book, these are the kids I wish I'd known growing up.

If you like camping and/or sailing, definitely check out this series. I'm not even into camping but it sounds tempting after reading two of these. It also makes me miss sailing in the little sunfish a friend of mine had in high school.

Though the main characters are children, it doesn't feel like a kid's book. Suitable for kids certainly, but with a depth of story (448 pages and nautical terms I'm still looking up!) that make it a great read for adults too. I look forward to the next one!

3 years ago on TTaT: Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Latest note to self

06 July 2012

Life of Art SitRep #126 Frames & Keychains!

I got quite a bit done this week, but family is visiting so I don't have much time to write.

The highlights:

Shot over 200 photographs.

Went to an art museum and loved the new sections of converted old factory that have been opened.

Finished making Magnetic Frames for all of my existing designs as appropriate, woo!

Made significant headway adding new Acrylic Keychains to my existing designs.

Hope you all had a happy 4th!

A year ago on TTaT: 33. Going in Circles

02 July 2012

The Pursuit of Moonrise

There's nothing quite like watching a full moon rise. Fine, almost full, it's officially full tomorrow. But tomorrow the moon will rise about an hour and ten minutes later and that's no good for the photograph I wanted to make.

I'm not sure I got the photograph I wanted this time, but I believe they are the best I could've gotten with the gear I have and the atmospheric conditions available. (I haven't looked at them yet.)

Next time I'll look for a full moonrise an hour and a half before sunset. With any luck there will be clouds, but not right on top of the hills. Also I think I'll give in and wear bug spray.

Even so, I had a lovely time. While driving to the boat ramp, I saw a fox cross the road and then run alongside it to give me a really good view.

As I pulled into the drive to the boat ramp, there was a rabbit sitting in the road. It hopped out of the way as I approached.

When I scouted where to set up my tripod, I came across a family of ducks that jumped into the water and splashed about the river while I waited for the moon.

There was a pickup with a boat trailer parked further back so I made sure to set up out of the way if they came back while I was shooting.

I took some photographs of spectacular multi-hued clouds over the hills.

The mosquitoes were a bit bothersome, but not as bad as they might have been. I'd changed into long pants which I tucked into long socks. I'd tucked my shirt into my pants (something I rarely ever do), put on a long sleeve t-shirt, and a hoodie which I zipped up and raised the hood on. Hopefully the mosquitoes didn't make it through all my layers; they were certainly trying though. May have a few bites around my neck and head but feel OK for now.

I was a bit early, so I got back in my car to avoid the bugs and took some notes in my moleskine.

The clouds were obscuring the hilltops a bit, so I couldn't tell if I was seeing the first sign's of moonshine through them or if it was just the sun hitting the clouds. I got out to be ready.

An SUV pulled in and an older gentleman got out and asked if I knew where a particular pond was. I felt reasonably sure I knew (turns out I was correct), and I gave him good directions to it.

"What are you going to take a picture of?" he asked.

"I'm waiting for the moon to rise."

"Oh, that'll be good. It should be a golden moon tomorrow." He turned to leave and said, "Thanks for the directions."

"You're welcome."

The moon rose a bit later than I'd calculated (actually I think Weather Underground's moonrise time for today was off a bit), but I was ready. It started rising maybe a minute after he'd driven off.

Unfortunately, the cool clouds had nearly all dropped behind the mountains to the other side of the world. The last one disappeared as the moon rose.

I took a lot of photographs because the moon moves quite quickly from the first moment it's visible to when it clears the horizon. I also shot various settings because I couldn't expose well for both the sky and foreground at the same time.

After a while I heard a boat coming up the river. It looked like a rowboat and it had a small motor. As it approached, the man in it called up, "Hello!"


"I wondered what you were photographing but then I came around the bend and saw." He gestured towards the moon.

I smiled and said, "Yeah."

I expected him to pull in to the ramp, but he just kept going upstream.

The moon was getting further from the hilltops, so I contemplated how it would look if I were to wait and shoot more. The camera I use doesn't have a lot of zoom reach, so I decided it wouldn't achieve what I was going for.

I packed up and saw another rabbit as I drove out.

No matter how my photographs turn out, I know I did my best with what I had and I loved seeing all the critters. And hearing that crazy loud bullfrog.

Two years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #21