Thursday, June 30, 2005

A 3-Piece Review of "Land of the Dead"

Last Friday on opening night Heather, my son Justin, my brother Trevor, his girlfriend Sarah* and I went to the opening night showing of the new George Romero kitten filled extravaganza 'Land of the Dead'. It was a wonderful, yet sad movie about a group of kittens trying to make it on their own after mamma cat and daddy cat run off to Las Vegas to seek fame and fortune. One of the hardest hitting moments in the film was when the baby kitten had to be traded to the corner grocer for a box of Meow Mix™. It really tugged at the heart strings... Oh. Wait. That wasn't 'Land of the Dead'. That was something else entirely. That's right! 'Land of the Dead' was that ZOMBIE flick! No kittens. There was a rat though.

After the movie I got the idea that Heather, Justin and I would each write what we thought of the film and I would post it. Am I not a genius? Nononono... Don't shake your head. Nod your head. Yeah. Like that.

Here we go!

Heather's Review:

I'm not as big of a zombie-movie aficionado as dear Collin is so it was with some trepidation that I followed him to the theatre to see Land Of The Dead, the latest installment in George Romero's zombie collection. After all, Bewitched had opened that same day and I'm a HUGE fan of Samantha Stevens. But, I love Collin so I said, "We must go see Land Of The Dead."

I wasn't expecting much - just a lot of blood, gore, guts and brain smorgasbords. I was pleasantly surprised.

I liked the characters for the most part. Simon Baker did a good job being the hero, doing what needed to be done. I loved John Leguizamo as the good bad guy & Dennis Hopper is one the most perfect men to play the villain. And he had a couple of great laugh-out-loud lines.

As for the zombies, I liked the way they started to think a bit more than just rushing around willy-nilly looking for brains to eat. The lead zombie, Big Daddy, was just cool, plain & simple. At a point where someone shot at him, I actually heard myself yelling, "NO!" and feeling relief when the shot missed. I hadn't expected that of me.

There were a couple other characters that I really liked - Baker's sidekick was great... a very sympathetic & likable role... and also the guard Pillsbury. I adored him!

I'm sure by now you've all heard that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the two leads from Shaun Of The Dead, were given roles as zombie extras which I think ROCKS! However, Collin had forgotten about this little tidbit until the middle of the movie so by then, their part had already passed. If you haven't seen it already, look for the two zombies in the "Get Your Picture With A Zombie" booth. That's them!!

Some people are complaining about the ending... I didn't see anything wrong with it. I'm a romantic & I like things to turn out the best for everyone, even zombies.

Justin's Review (after much complaining and "Do I have to?"s):

Land Of The Deaf.. i mean Dead

Well I think mainly what makes this zombie movie different from others is not only that zombies learn (go figure), but that it starts with 0.0 seconds (not counting intro of blank screen) of no zombies. It starts off after the zombie break out. Oh and also this has GOTTA be the mightiest fall of all anti-zombie bases ever in all of zombie movie history... IT WAS A WHOLE CITY!!!!! (all armed and ready, except for homeless :-( ). Now I'd say this was a very decent movie, it was definitely worth the 10-30 bucks it costs, but id rather have it on dvd. It was a funny, serious, scary and cool movie (there were very gory parts and very humorous parts)(or am i thinking of Shaun Of The Dead?). This is my first review on anything (games,movies,w/e).

And finally, my review, the bulk of which is hidden to protect your mind from the horrors... horrors... and spoilers:

I think it was quite well done, especially considering the last zombie movie Romero made was 20 years ago. And to be honest, I didn't really care that much for 'Day of the Dead'. I found it quite frustrating, although I may need to watch it again just to be sure. 'Land' was overall satisfying to the zombie movie lover in me.

There were plenty of scenes where zombies were doing what zombies do best, and it was nice to see that Romero didn't deviate from his original slowly walking dead. I did enjoy the speedy "infected (they weren't really "zombies")" in '28 Days Later' because that fit well with the idea behind the Rage victims. The fear behind that movie was how quickly people could change and attack you and how fast you had to be to stay alive. The fear that fuels Romero's zombies is the fact that unless you are caught off guard, one or two zombies aren't going to be a problem. But the longer you are stuck in one area the more zombies will arrive until no matter how well prepared you think you are, you will be overwhelmed.

I feel the bulk of the actors did a fine job.

So, I really enjoyed the movie and will be happy to add it to my DVD collection when it's finally released. However I'm one of those people who didn't really like the ending and I'll tell you why in stealth text since it contains spoilers. Highlight the area between the two sets of "***"s if you aren't worried about having the ending ruined.

***
One of the main characteristics I feel is vital to a zombie movie, or any horror movie really, is the knowledge that no character, no matter how much you may like him or her, is guaranteed to make it out alive. In Romero's first movie the last person left alive after a night of fighting off the living dead steps out of the house he was holed up in and is shot through the head by one of the redneck groups who were clearing the area of the wobbling dead. It was a very powerful ending in my opinion. Nobody's safe.

In the original Dawn of the Dead, if I'm remembering correctly, two of the original three people to whole up in the mall make it out alive, but they do it in a helicopter with no idea where they are going next. Not a happy ending.

In Day of the Dead nobody makes it out alive, but the bulk of that is due to the few remaining survivors fighting among themselves. The eggheads versus the jocks with the zombies basically sidelined until the end when they get loose, swoop in and destroy the scattered remaining living. Bub was cool though.

And now we have the fourth in the series. Halfway through the movie when Heather leaned over to me and said that she really liked Charlie (Baker's sidekick) I replied with, "Me too, but don't get too attached. Remember that nobody is safe in a zombie movie."

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING!

With the exception of the likable rookie scavenger that dies at the beginning of the movie, not a single one of the major character "good guys" is killed by the zombies or otherwise. Not one. Oh sure, there are several close shaves to keep the tension high, and a couple of them are very cool, but no fatalities among the good. You might say, "What about that guy that was bit by the flip top zombie?" He wasn't around long enough to determine if he was a good guy or a bad guy. He, along with two other soldiers, was placed with the good guys by the over all head bad guy Dennis Hopper. So, to me, he doesn't count.

So there's that.

But this last bit really gets to me. I wanted to overlook it because the rest of the movie was really good but the more I think about it, the more it bugs me. When it happened Trevor said quite loudly, "That was LAME!" Here's what happens: Everyone is back in the Dead Reckoning (armored assault vehicle they had just rescued from 'The Pest'), they've just blown open the electrified gates and freed some of the trapped living, one of whom we last saw being taken into custody for being a reactionary so no idea how he got loose. Some zombies are seen crossing a foot bridge in the distance and we zoom in to see that one of them is Big Daddy, the smartest zombie in the area. The person manning the miniguns of the vehicle reaches for the triggers to blow them back to the grave and Baker says, "Stop. All they want is somewhere to go. Same as us."

... um...

Okay. Perhaps he's just sick of killing. That's what I thought at first. "Leave them be. Enough is enough. I'm off to Canada anyhow and there's no way he'll get a passport." Except for one teensy problem. Big Daddy isn't some repressed minority sticking it to the man. He's a zombie that is learning new things like how to kill with a gun and flame, and he's trying to teach the other zombies. When he's done trashing that human outpost he's probably going to move on and kill more people, pass along his knowledge to more zombies. He's not going to settle in and raise zombie chickens. He's going to remain a threat to living humans for as long as he's capable of locomotion. The gunner SHOULD have given Baker a "What? Are you crazy?" look and then squeezed the triggers and mowed them all back to hell. But no. She didn't. Instead they start the drive to Canada and decide against all logic that just because the zombies here are no longer mesmerized by the fireworks they no longer need them and fire them all off as they go. Hello?! They may still work on the Canadian zombies you big hearted dummy. And unless that vehicle has a fusion reactor you may have a bit of trouble taking it all the way to Canada.

In spite of this flaw (as I see it) I would still happily watch it again.
***

And there you have it.

---
* I think that's how she spells her name. I know there are several ways to spell "Sarah" and I've never seen her way in writing before. She couldn't have a simple name to spell like "Bob" or something. Oh well. If I'm wrong I'm sure I'll hear about it.

Would you look at that?!

What are those scamps in Nike's marketing department up to now? Ah, to be young and irresponsible again. And worth billions of dollars. And have lawyers on tap.

Silent thanks to Defective Yeti for the heads up.

And an UPDATE even before I've posted: BoingBoing announced that Nike has apologized for plundering part of the skater/punk subculture in an attempt to make lots and lots of money. But not in those words.

"This was a poor judgment call and should not have been executed without consulting Minor Threat and Dischord Records."

Seriously? Ask permission to use someone else's design idea? It's not like you could have possibly thought it wouldn't be noticed. You're Nike for god's sake, not Bill's Pump & Split in Podunk, Nowhere.

It feels to me like the decision by Nike to attempt this campaign is an example of the phrase, "It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission." It may be the cynic in me (get OUT of me you wee bastard and stop stomping on my spleen!), but I am quite sure they knew going in to this that they wouldn't get permission from Dischord to use their cover design to sell Nike's merchandise so some bright young executive figured they would "borrow" it, change it up a bit and if there was any noise from Dichord (heh) about it they would then apologize. End result, even if they are sued by Dischord and have to pay out damages, they've still associated themselves with the image AND gotten a lot of publicity about it as well.

Nike: Just steal it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Stop me if you've heard this before

The problem with telling stories from your past over the course of a year is occasionally you might find yourself repeating one you've already told. Especially if you are as disorganized as I am and didn't keep the original text files from some of your... okay, ANY of your past posts. And it also doesn't help if your mind is a bit on the fuzzy side, like mine is.

But here's a story that I don't think I ever told before. This happened while I was in the Air Force and stationed in England. One night my roommate Mark and our friend Ken decided to drop by the NCO Club to drink and check out the women. That's all I ever did. Check them out. I was way too shy to talk to any of them. Or dance. Good lord I was wound tight. Not that I'm a frantically freewheeling individual these days, but I sure hope I'm not nearly as defective as I was back then. The years, they've mellowed me.

Anyhow, on this particular night both Ken and Mark were off talking to people or getting drinks at the bar or something and I was at the table alone, nursing my bitter and checking out the people around me. The club was kept pretty dark with the strobes and the racked light for the dance floor being pretty much all there was as far as lighting. I wasn't at a wall side table, but I also wasn't right up against the dance floor so it was pretty dark where I was sitting.

I was looking at the people dancing, wishing that I had the nerve to get out there and act the fool when I felt someone's hand on my shoulder. I thought it was either Mark or Ken back from whatever they had been doing, but when I turned to look I saw that it was a woman. She must have somehow seen the surprised look on my face because she removed her hand, leaned in and said in an English accent, "I'm sorry to bother you! Would you mind if I sit here for a bit?"

I recovered the best I could and told her that I didn't mind at all, she could stay as long as she wanted. She said, "Ta!" and took a seat next to me. Then she surprised me further by scooting her chair in closer and leaning in to continue talking to me.

"I saw you sitting here by yourself and you looked bored. Would you like to dance?" I explained that I wasn't very comfortable dancing and that I generally just came to people watch. She said, "Oh. Okay."

We chatted a bit more. She asked me what I did in the Air Force and I asked her where she was from and what she did. She said her name was Collette and she was a manager of a record shop in Bicester. (For you young'uns, "records" are oversized, black CDs that make music when they are scratched by a needle. I know, "Crazy old people and their crazy ideas.") She had come to the club with a few mates but hadn't seen them in a while. She looked pretty good. Perhaps about five years older than me which would have made her 25-ish. She was a brunette with a somewhat angular face, great eyes, a pleasant voice and she had just placed her hand on my leg and her fingers were lightly stroking my inner thigh.

I locked up like a deer caught in headlights. I should know. I hit a deer at night once and he looked just like me. Same goofy hair and everything. It would be an understatement to say that I didn't date much. Like I said, I was shy. She leaned in real close and said, "You are so tense! I know of something that should relax you a bit." Then she gave me a kiss, looked around to see if anyone was paying us any attention, then slipped down under the table. She quickly positioned herself between my legs and then I felt her hands on my...

What? Oh! You have heard this before? Well, never mind then.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Game or Twosday.

I have some strange friends and they sometimes send me some strange links.

To be fair I sometimes send them strange links as well.

Yesterday Justin sent me a link that caught me totally off guard. It led to a Flash game called "Spank the Booty". Apparently it's from the people who brought "Spank the Monkey" to the net. So, if you have a hankering to thwack a little toon tush or send a simian sailing this fine Tuesday... there you go.

My top speed for the booty was 824 mph with an average for the three rounds of 695 mph.

Not so good on the monkey though. Only 131 mph.

If you don't feel like doing a bit'o spankin' then head on over to this game and try your hand at building a mini rollercoaster. A couple tips: Close the instruction window so you can build the other half of the coaster and when you are done click on the "submit your coaster" to see how scary it was. My best was "Ooooh, that was nasty!!!"

---

And yes, I'm aware that "Spank the Booty" is terribly improper, disgusting and shameful. Simply terrible. Blame Justin.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Monday Morning Update of Love and Stuff

I feel like I'm tightly wrapped in a blanket of unfunny. It's a big, smothering blanket. And a bit itchy, like its previous occupant was a bum or something. Or Chevy Chase perhaps. This feeling has been with me since the middle of last week. I have no idea why really. I never know why. Anyone who's been reading here for awhile knows this isn't the first time I've been in a slump in my 1+ year of writing. I made it through the other ones, I should make it through this as well. Lately it seems when I have an idea for a post I forget it before I'm back at my computer. I do have a post in the works reviewing "Land of the Dead" at some point later this week. But that's not now. No, now you get me complaining about the current state of my noggin. Aren't you lucky? Yes. You are.

Okay, fine, to make it more worth your visit here's something that happened last week. I think it was on Tuesday or Wednesday. We had a mobile camera crew enter the art department. They were trying to get some testimonials for a new product that was going to be hitting the market called "Taste Less™" It's a "dietary supplement." A "naturally-sourced flavor reducer" if you will (I'm reading from the sample package). It's supposed to "block the taste of sugar and artificial sweeteners for an average of 2-4 hours." The crew gave out samples and requested to film reactions and opinions to possibly be used in a nationwide commercial.

The artist who sits next to me agreed to play the guinea pig and went through the whole "before and after" deal. Apparently it does indeed work to block the flavor of sweets. I personally haven't tried my sample for fear of it never wearing off. I'm strange like that. I don't want to live in a world where I can't taste sweet things. Now if they make something that blocks the smell of poop or vomit I'll try it.

After they had finished with my coworker the woman running the interviews then asked if anyone else would be interested in participating. She came over to my desk and said something like "How about you? You would look good on camera."

Suddenly I felt a bit like Michael Jackson must feel. No, I didn't suddenly want to start singing about beating it. My hair didn't catch fire. I didn't want to become good buds with the neighborhood boys or catch a monkey and name him "Bubbles Two." None of that.

The one thing that I, right then and there, shared with the "God of Pop" was the absolute certainty that my nose looked positively hideous and there was no way in Hell that I was going to allow anyone to film it.

You may be thinking, "Your nose isn't that bad." Oh. But it was. It wasn't my normal, every day nose that I really don't like that much anyhow. It was a nose with an addition. I've been fighting a cold for... three? Four weeks now? Anyhow, too damned long. Occasionally when I've had a long cold, due to continuous wiping with tissues I will rub my nose raw and it then scabs over. This had happened on my left nostril. My nose had a second, ugly nose of its own. It was horrible to look at, and when people are talking to me they will unconsciously rub at their own nose which just makes me that much more uncomfortable.

So I told her something super smart like, "Noooo. I've got this huge scab on my nose. See?" and then pointed to it, just in case she was blind or something. To her credit she was a professional. She didn't recoil gagging and scratching at her own nose while screaming, "GET THEE BEHIND ME, NOSE OF SATAN!" Instead she said, "That's okay. We'll just film you from the other side."

I passed. I wasn't going to take a chance on winding up on some blooper reel as the "hideous nose freak with no real opinion to offer." So you won't be seeing me in a commercial near you any time soon.

The Mother Scab finally fell off on Thursday. Actually it was a bit of a mixed blessing. If it had held out one more day I could have gone to the movie in costume, of sorts. Not too many people are aware that one of the earliest stages of zombieism is nose crust, but SOMEONE would have noticed it and thought, "Hey! Why didn't I think of that?! It's so understated and awesome!" But no. Now there's a much smaller, sportier scab that just looks like I've got an errant booger rather than I've just snorted up a midget. Believe me, I do see that as an improvement.

Oh yeah, while the crew was leaving the guy who was holding the lights turned to me and whispered, "Invader Zim ROCKS!" which I totally have to agree with.

----------
For the curious I'm including the Supplement Facts and other ingredients here:

Chromium (as Chromium Arginate*) ..... 40 mcg ..... 33% Daily Value

Proprietary Blend ..... 132 mg ..... Daily Value Not Established
Gymnema Extract (leaf), Hoodia Gordonii Extract (Cactus stem), Spearmint (leaf), Jujube Extract (seed), Stevia Extract (leaf)**

Other Ingredients: Magnesium Stearate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Modified Cellulose, Silica***, Sorbitol, Stearic Acid.
---
* I thought "Chromium Arginate" was one of the characters in Lord of the Rings.
** I wonder what would happen if you smoked this blend?
*** Okay, most of this is Greek to me, but isn't silica sand? Why that almost makes me want to gobble it right up!

Friday, June 24, 2005

My Freakin' Friday Post ®

Derek threatened me bodily harm if I didn't post something today. The problem is I really don't have anything to post. So, to avoid being injured I dug up an idea from deep in my noodle that I had awhile back – around the same time as the zombie cucumber and muffins – and finally drew it. This is also fitting since today is the release date of Land of the Dead in theaters. And yes, I'm going to see it tonight if at all possible. I'm odd like that.

So.

Here it is.



One thing I noticed since I started using a sketchbook again instead of drawing on my tablet directly into the computer is that when I put down a line in pencil that I don't happen to like I subconsciously trigger my fingers to hit Command-Z (Undo) rather than get an eraser. That amuses me.

And there you go. Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tattoosday.

I'm so punny. Anyway, here's a sketch/idea I had for a tat to include with my (eventual) first flash set.



Obviously, just in the very rough beginning stage. At least I hope it's obvious. If I complete it, it WILL look better.

Actually, it was Heather's idea to make a barbed wire heart, but I tweaked it a bit from the way she described it and she hasn't seen this yet so I don't know if she would actually like to claim this version as hers. I may do another "barbed heart" closer to what she had in mind.

It's storming like mad around here right now. This is the kind of weather that I really enjoy... from a distance. Oh well. Perhaps the water levels will have dropped before I head home. It's great to drive down our hill and see deep water and stalled cars waiting at the bottom.

Monday, June 20, 2005

It's Monday!

You know what that means! That's right! It's Monday! And that's about it.

I'm having one of those days where I can feel the need to post something, yet I'm totally unable to come up with anything to post. I've left what I consider to be a few witty comments a couple places around the net but I can't think of a thing for my own site. I'm experiencing a creative bottleneck of sorts. I'm betting it's because I haven't put pen to paper yet after having decided that I wanted to put together a set of tattoo flash to sell. I think it is the thought of needing a minimum of 50 good drawings that might have me a bit... on hold. The more time that passes, the more my self doubt returns. So at lunch I'm going to force myself to draw something. Anything. See if that helps.

I had a great 3-day anniversary weekend with Heather, although I was kicking myself for not having extended it to four so I could have slept in this morning. When it came time to open my eyes they just didn't agree at all and attempted to bludgeon my brain back into unconsciousness. I hit the snooze bar so many times I'm amazed it didn't call the cops and report me for domestic abuse. da-dum-dum. Thank you. I'll be here all week.

Random Thought of the Day:
Do you ever find yourself, after having an expensive dinner at a nice restaurant, wishing that you could tip the waitress the same way that you would tip a cow? You know, sneak up on her when she's standing somewhere all glassy eyed and chewing her gum and giving her a sudden shoulder check that would spill her onto the ground, her limbs flailing, a frightened look in her eyes, mooing. Then you could run away laughing, pile into the pickup truck with your buddies, drive off and not be arrested for assault. This should CERTAINLY be allowed at a steak house. Oh well. 15% it is.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

More fun for your eyes.

Your poor, poor eyes. I found this through a comment link at Casdra's site and I simply had to share.

crisscross-movie.swf

There are more Flash movies to make you doubt your eyes here.

It's Friday!

For Me! Heh. I'm taking tomorrow off so that Heather and I can celebrate our one year dating anniversary with a three day weekend.

Since it's VERY unlikely that I'll post anything again until Monday I'll load you up with a few things on this post.

First there's a new CliparToon on the side there. Some of my newer readers may not understand what that's all about. While getting things organized here at work I went through all of our clipart and found oodles of crappy "art" that needed to be shared and made fun of. Thus, "CliparToons" were born. And that's one of them. Some have been good, many have been bad. This one, for me, falls in the so-so category.

Next up, on the way in to work I passed something that I've been meaning to take a picture of for over a year now and never did. Now I WISH I could add, "Until today!" and wink and grin and share the pictures. I can't. It was this very cool, artistic fence that was made out of boards painted to look like flames against a solid black fence. Very out of place with the surrounding houses. When I passed by it today there were only two boards remaining. All the rest had been pulled off. I have no idea what happened and I'm quite sad about it. The remainder of my drive in to work I was chewing myself out for not taking the pictures when I had the chance. Perhaps the owner is just repainting them. We'll see.

I passed by the other thing that is on my route that I wanted to share with everyone "just because" and it was still there, but it doesn't really matter now because I DID get those photos on Tuesday. All in all though, I would rather have gotten pictures of the fence. So without further gabbing from me, here are my photos of the most ridiculous attempt to secure your motorcycle in a public place:









I took the pictures quickly because anyone that would do this is probably crazy enough to come running from the nearby house and attack me with a frying pan.

And the final thing that I plan to post today involves my daughter, Jordyn. A bit over a year ago I purchased a cheap, closeout digital camera from Office Depot for $60 to use in a planned photo scavenger hunt that I was going to try to run at my forum. That never happened. So, awhile back I decided to teach the girl how to take pictures with that camera and then set her loose, curious to see what she would feel is worthy of a photograph. What follows are some of her photos.


Here we have Justin feeding the frogs


A couple of girls that Jordyn would talk to over the balcony last Fall.




These two photos of Heather really turned out cool. Overexposed, but cool.


The boy relaxing in his natural habitat: in front of my computer.


The girl in the mirror.


Eddy.


A portion of my wonderfully tidy DVD empire.


This is an old one of the boy in front of my old computer. If that same area was photographed today, the only things that would be the in the same place would be the boy and the desk. Everything else has moved or is gone. Did I mention it was old?


And, to be fair and to finish this off, one of me when I wasn't so fuzzy.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Work from home for big money!

I've had Cockeyed.com linked for close to a year now, mainly for his highly entertaining pranks and "How Much Is Inside? Adventures". I hadn't come across this story though. Until now of course.

I don't know how many other people are feeling a money crunch these days, but before you give that "Work from home! Big Money! Cash Prizes! No Whammy!" idea that is blaring from thousands of street corners a shot you should read what he has to say about them. The first part of the story mainly has to deal with tracking down the corporation responsible for the majority of the signs in his city. The second delves into just what it is they are selling and how much this "wonderful opportunity" is going to cost you.

He also has a followup story: Twenty-Seven Unsuccessful Herbalife Stories.

It's amazing to me that this is legal, but prostitution (for the most part) isn't. That's a "work from home" business as well, and both involve people getting screwed, but at least with prostitution it's a product (well, service really) that people might actually want and is much more honest in how it presents itself. Go figure.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Puzzle! You love puzzles!

I've seen this two other places now. I don't recall where I first found it, but I downloaded it at that time to post about at some point. Then I saw it at Mango's blog and it motivated me to go ahead and post it. Why not? Better late than never.

Here's the puzzle:


The two marked squares ARE the same color, in spite of what your eyes are telling you.


Here I've lined all of the main shapes to maintain the feel of the original image and in preparation for removing all other color and tone from the image.


And here it is with the two colored squares isolated. I've done absolutely nothing to the color of the squares to make them the same. They always were the same. All I did is remove the colors that were influencing how your eye was perceiving them. Try it yourself with the original image if you don't believe me.

This is something that I originally learned of around 12 years ago when I was spending way too much money to commute to Denver for Art School. A similar image was used by my Color Theory instructor to demonstrate one of the Seven Types of Color Contrast. In this case, I'm pretty sure it's Simultaneous Contrast.

You can read more about illusions and see this one as well at this Wikipedia page. There is also another example of Simultaneous Contrast there involving a solid gray bar resting on a grey gradient and taking on the appearance of being a gradient itself.

Also a LOT more info and cool stuff can be found here.

This is why I loved Color Theory. I'm such an art geek.

UPDATE: I googled the name on the picture and came up with this site. All the answers are here! I bet! 'Cause I didn't actually read it yet. But he has a page called "Explanation," so unless that's a lie... Um. Yeah.

Another bad logo design.

Once again this is my opinion. Like the mental health logo from awhile back. They are all probably awesomely happy with their... decisions.

Since I was in the area with a camera for Trevor's Tattoo Adventure I went ahead and took a photo of the other bad logo I'd mentioned. Here's the entire sign:



Those of you without a sick and twisted mind like mine might be wondering what's so bad about this? Let's zoom in, shall we?



That HAS to be the most well hung capital "A" that has ever graced an alphabet. He has his choice of the letters when he's feeling frisky. His package extends BELOW his LEGS! Perhaps a little modification will help the imagery a bit more:



If it had been me designing the logo, and it wasn't, I would have probably pushed for the non- John Holmes version where the "o" was turned into the acorn. A little more obvious but a lot less letter dong.

There was one other shot that I really wanted to take of an object nearby but I didn't and I'm afraid if I don't remember to soon it will be gone forever... FOREVER! So we'll see if that thought worries me enough to actually do something about it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

It has been announced:

There was white smoke seen coming from the courthouse chimney. It is official. Michael Jackson is the new pope.

I wonder if he'll be doing a cover of "An Innocent Man" on his next album?

Trevor's First Tattoo Adventure! In Space!

Okay, not in space. As I might have mentioned, my brother Trevor decided to get a tattoo to celebrate the fact that he is now a man. Or something. Whatever his reasons, he wanted his first (and I'm finding that he wants even more, like, NOW) tattoo to be something drawn by me. It worked out that he was going with the afore posted dragon wing design. He went to "Art With A Pulse Tattoo, Inc.", the outside of which is pictured here:





They've been in business for 12 years and for the last ten years they've been voted the "Best Tattoo Shop" in Colorado Springs. They are certainly the best looking and cleanest shop I've ever been in. And, as fate would have it, they happen to be located right on my path to work, so every day that I've gone to work for the past five years I've driven by them. They opened at noon and we were about 12 minutes early so I took the opportunity to take the last two pictures of Trevor before his skin was forever marked with my doodle:


Is it my imagination or does he look a bit worried... A tinch apprehensive... nah. He's just bored.


Here it is. This is the last time a photo will show this spot unmarked.

They opened up a few minutes early and let us in which was nice of them. The first thing I noticed was how bright the studio looked. The second was the massive amount of cool stuff simply everywhere. Here are some inside shots and a few close-ups of things that caught my eye:




Note the mirror*




Cool stool.


Cool skull.


Heather and I both decided that Derek really needs one of these curtains for his kitchen. Not that we'll buy it or anything. He just needs it.

And the Adventure kicks into high gear:


I really wish I had been prepared to take a shot of Trevor's expression when the needle first hit. But I wasn't. Dammit.


The name of the artist doing the tat is Carl. Afterward Trevor said that he was a lot of fun to talk to and did a good job keeping him distracted from the sheer mortal agony that was tearing through his arm and burying itself deep, deep in his soul. I'm paraphrasing, of course. He's also the only staff member who's picture I intentionally took mainly because I already felt like I was being intrusive with my camera as it was. Not through anything that was said by anyone there of course. Everyone was very friendly in fact. I just get that way when I'm carrying a camera and I don't know why. That's the reason I have so few pictures of my time in England. I'm strange. Now back to Trevor and his latest exercise in pain:


Seconds before I took this photo Trevor was crying, but he sucked it up before I could snap the button. Seriously. Okay, not seriously. He never even made a sound other than when he was talking. He didn't even admit that it hurt at all until we were almost done eating lunch at Subway.


Here's a mirror shot I took in an attempt to get a good view of the needling. It wasn't too successful. I did get a good photo of my big belly though. And my camera purse. Damn, I'm sassy.


See that expression or Trevor's face? I get that a lot from him. No idea why.


Here it is part way done. I don't know if I was doing Trevor a favor by having Carl stop for a minute or not.


Almost done now... Any minute... Just hang in there...


And here it is! Look at that smile! I figure it either means, "Man that looks great!" or "Gosh I'm glad the needle has stopped!" I'll post another picture after the tattoo has healed. He's already trying to get me to design the next piece he wants. And there you have it. Trevor's First Tattoo Adventure! Not In Space!

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*The guy walking forward in the mirror is the artist who I talked to at length about what I would need to do in order to start selling my designs as flash. He was very informative, helpful and encouraging. He also checked out the sketchbook that I had brought along and actually seemed to like my work. I know it sounds strange, but very little artwork I do seems "good" to me. I have no idea why. I also didn't catch his name because my mind was still trying to wrap itself around the idea that I might finally be able to do something with my art that I could enjoy, but I'll be back by there with more questions I'm sure.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Zombie fans take note:

Especially zombie fans who are lucky enough to own an iPod (Trevor). I originally found a link to these stories back when there was only one book written in the trilogy. I probably linked to it then, but I wasn't able to read it because I find it very difficult to read a book on a computer. I like to be able to roam with my books and I don't have a laptop. Boing Boing recently posted a review of Monster Island and it has renewed my interest. I will get these read or I will die and rise from the dead trying.

But if you are fortunate enough to own an iPod you can download the first two books to read on it. This sounds to me like it might be a bit tough to do since the screen is so small, so I was hoping at least one of you (Trevor) would give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

CliparToon #60: Some girls shouldn't have dolls.

I'm not sure which is creepier: The head on the doll or the head on the girl. You can tell by the eyes that the doll is in charge.

Well, no more time to change the tat.

Trevor called last night and said that he was going to get the tattoo Saturday at noon. I thought it was a month or more down the road. Youth. At least he's happy with the design and I've shown it to several people at work and they all agree that it's "cool". I printed it out at size and I'm a little concerned that the lines get a bit too thin in spots. We'll see how it turns out.

I hope to go tomorrow morning to watch it done and talk with the tattooist a bit about flash and such. I'll try to remember to charge my batteries and bring my camera as well, if they'll allow it, to immortalize the moment. I'll post what pictures I can get at some point.

I also have to call them after noon and find out if, in addition to the camera, I can bring the kiddos. There may not be a problem with the boy since he's 12, but the girl's 5. There might be "laws" or some such. If they can't go I'll have to figure something out or there may be no picture taking for me. I do hope they can go though because the girl LOVES drawing on herself and used to say she couldn't wait to get a tattoo until she found out it involves pain. With luck Trevor will cry and it'll further reinforce that image in her wee noggin. We'll see.

In a bit I'll be posting a new CliparToon. I seem to have to dropped to one a week. That's not good.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Watch Dog

On his blog Justin linked to an interesting Flash tools website that I used to create this:







Now my doggie has scary clown eyes that follow you. Fun, huh? Suit yourself.

For added fun, check this one out:







My apologies to anyone who doesn't have Flash or finds the page is loading very slowly.

A troll and a tat, just like that.

Many years back... 15 in fact, I was stationed in England and my mom wrote me a letter asking me to draw a troll for Trevor for his birthday. He was about to turn four at the time and was really into trolls. The "Billy Goat Gruff" kind, not the "Skanks at the Bar after 2am" kind that we had on base at the NCO club. This was back when I still had dreams of becoming a "real" artist, but before I'd had any actual training beyond two awesome classes in High School. As much as it might surprise you, there is no sarcasm in that statement. It was those classes and particularly the teacher – Mr. Stevens – that placed me on the artistic path.

Trevor came by the apartment last night and dropped off the troll that I drew for him back in ’90 so that I could scan it. Here it is:


(click to make bigger)

He also talked more about the tattoo he wants. On Tuesday he didn't know what he wanted, just that he wanted it to be something I've drawn. The only thing that I've drawn recently that I really liked the look of is the dragon ribbon. I don't think I've ever drawn a better dragon head than that one. Of course he doesn't want a ribbon on his skin no matter how much it might help my sales so I said I would modify it. Yesterday I removed the text, the second wing and the color since it's going to be a black line job and gave him a printout when he dropped by my work. This is what it looks like right now:



The location he's going to put it on is his right deltoid (shoulder, on the side) with the face facing forward.

I still plan on doing some further variations of it, like taking out the wing altogether and putting in a body of some sort, as long as I can get it to flow well.

It seems he really liked it as it is so earlier that day he took the printout to the shop where he's going to be inked – Art With A Pulse – to find out how much it would cost. They told him it would be $160 and apparently they really liked the design. The way he said it, they REALLY liked the design. Now he's trying to talk me into putting together some kind of Flash* book that he could take over to show them when he finally gets the tattoo placed by way of many, many needle jabs under his skin. What do you all think of that idea? I've thought about it before but never really pursued it, since I don't really know much about the "biz."

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* Flash in this case isn't the program. This Flash is a generic, non-custom tattoo that is handy for people who want something tattooed but don't know what they want. Go here for more info about tattoos. Knowledge is power and impresses the chicks far more than a tattoo on your forehead.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fun Things

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Seeing an elderly woman who's mammoth Cadillac was cut off by a lumbering white pickup truck pull up alongside of him, lightly tap her horn and toss him quite an impressive bird. Full extension with a bit of a flick for emphasis. Go granny!
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A guy hitchhiking at a bus stop. Standing there with his thumb out all sad looking. As I drove past I thought, Man. Isn't there something in the hitchhikers handbook about choosing your location? How can I have much sympathy for this guy when I know a ride will be along for him shortly?
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Having lunch with Heather when a homeless guy wanders in from the street and eats food that was left behind at the table next to us. Somehow, I didn't see this. Heather did however and I did see him wobble over to some other tables looking for more noshies before he headed down the stairs to the bathroom. He was down there for at least ten minutes. I wonder what the crew found in there at the end of the day.
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I'm a bit of a freak about germs when it comes to food and eating utensils. I got it from my mom. I've passed some of it along to my son. Got to have some traditions. Monday night after getting back from the grocery store I started to make fish sticks for dinner. When I opened the box it was soggy and all of the little sticks were mostly thawed. Money's tight but my impulse was still to toss them out and call it a loss. I was telling Heather about it on the phone and she talked me into cooking them. Both kids said they were the best fish sticks they had ever eaten. Naturally I didn't tell them the secret. The girl would have been fine with it but the boy would have been ooked.
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I really like Richard Cheese's new CD, but I saw at his site you can get all three of his CDs with an autographed storage box for...um... more than I had to spend but still. It would have been extra cool.
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

This just in:

My brother wants me to design a tattoo for him. Anyone out there know the Chinese characters for "nibble my bum"?

I don't think it's supposed to be a secret from the family. At least, if it is he didn't say anything. Oops.

I designed a tattoo for our mom before I was any sort of designer so she shouldn't have too much of a problem with Trevor getting one as well, especially now that I'm "skilled 'n shit". I don't think our sister has a tattoo, but she does have a lip ring. That would leave me as the only one of our immediate family without something alternative done to my chassis. Sweet.

I'll post whatever I come up with for public critique or ridicule when it's ready.

Sometimes...

I think I'm a conduit for the bizarre.

What?

Monday, June 06, 2005

My links...

Earlier I tried to reorganize my links list. I cleaned it up, moved quite a few to the "Resting" (formerly known as "Retired" or something) section, organized the hell out of it and then posted it before previewing. And something went wrong. I don't know a lot of HTML, but I've been doing my own links since I started this thing so this shouldn't have been a big deal. I went over my changes many, many times and I couldn't see what was wrong. Even if I dropped it to just a few links it still didn't work. WHY?!

Well, I finally figured out why. To keep things easily organized I transfered the entire thing to Quark and then did all sorts of style formatting to make it all pretty and fun to work with. Then when I had things organized I copied and pasted the list back into Blogger. Well, it seems that somewhere during the process the second quote (") that caps off the URL turned into an end quote (”) so the links weren't terminating properly. Let me tell you, it doesn't work right when that happens. Go figure.

It's all better now and more organized. Sort of. It's still a freakin' mess. But it's a tidy mess.

My new category "Blog Friends" are people who link to me or comment here often enough that I know who they are. If I've missed you just let me know. This does not mean that I'm am claiming any actual friendship with you beyond the borders of the internet. I will not drop by and crash at your place for a few months, nor will I ask to borrow large, unsecured sums of money from you. I'll only do that to my non-digital friends (if the need arises).

I know I said "No more" but...

One more. After seeing it I couldn't NOT post it, especially after the big deal I made about their last clown. I feel they really actually outdid themselves with this one as far as the creepiness factor goes:



Note the goggly eyes were kept, but this is a whole other kind of clown. This clown does it's killing in the dark. Just crazy.

Also, I gather from the numerous ads that I've seen for these people lately, "Refi" seems to be slang and not a layout mistake like I had assumed. Those wacky kids with their jive talk, crazy clowns and baggy knee-hugging pants. I just don't get them.

Oh, and a happy Monday to everyone.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Who are you and why are you here?

It would be great if each of you who drop by here would take a few moments to leave a comment letting me know why you've come. I'm feeling a bit directionless at the moment. Do you come by for the CliparToons that I haven't been updating lately? The PoE Project stuff? My fits of random rambling and other insanity? The absolutely fantastic and all around lovely products that I keep trying to hawk that don't really sell since the prices are so high but what can I do, it's cafepress? How was that for a horribly constructed sentence? I believe I shall name it "Collin's Monster!" and send it out to terrorize the villagers! Muuuhahahahah! Or is there something else that brings you here? Is it like watching a train wreck and you just can't look away? Please, tell me.

The content this week has been quite pitiful, I know. I'm sorry about that. It's been one of those weeks what with being sick and uncreative and all. It should be better by Monday. Ish.

Have a great weekend everyone! I may have another post depending on my workload. Magic 8-Ball says: Not likely.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Western Sizzlin' makes Hell look good.

After I die if I'm given a choice of spending an eternity in Hell or Western Sizzlin' I would choose Hell. Of course it would probably be a trick and I would wind up in the Hell branch of the Sizz'. And God would be laughing at my anguished Vaderesque cry of, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and then Rod Serling would have something pithy to say. Just my luck.

I don't know how many of you have ever been to a Western Sizzlin'. I'm sure both Derek and Heather have though. It's a buffet place. I can't really recall what makes it so damned "Western" other than being located in Colorado. I haven't been to one in at least seven years.

The last time I was with my now ex and our son. As I recall the wait staff were exceptionally lazy that day. We were seated less than two tables from their holding pen where three of them were standing around talking about some inane teenage crap. One of them was being explosively angsty to the other two about how the bus boy had been totally ignoring her in despite her thrusting her heaving, glistening bosoms in his face or some such. Which, now that I think about it, is mighty funny because one of our former coworkers used to be a waitress at Western Sizzlin' quite awhile back and she married one of the bus boys. Huh. Must be something in the air there.

Anyway, I had luckily noticed that there was a massive gravy thumbprint on the inside of my glass before I started to drink from it so I attempted to signal the teen trio of disinterested youth. I tried to get their attention by looking directly at them, but they responded by looking at me, sneering and then resuming their whine fest. I then tried holding the glass above my head, waving it back and forth like I was at a concert and whistling. They somehow ignored that too. I finally went over to them – yes, I know it wasn't that far but it also shouldn't have been necessary – held the glass up between them and said, "It's dirty. I need another one," whereupon queen angst acted like they hadn't been totally ignoring me for the past five minutes.

"Oh certainly sir! I'll get you a new one immediately!" but there was a glint of evil in her eyes that made me very reluctant to drink what she brought. After eating some of the food however I would have gladly drunk poison if it would purge the taste from my mouth. The whole time we were eating I was thinking to myself, "I can't believe we are eating this. Why don't we leave? It's not worth it. Leave!" but we didn't leave. We stayed and we ate. It was a meal that we paid for twice but only once with cash.

Afterward we had barely made it outside before Justin started vomiting on some bushes against the side of the building. I wasn't feeling all that good myself and watching the wee boy spew wasn't helping. When he was done rather than tell any of the employees we decided to leave it there as a warning to others. I vowed that day to never again eat at a Western Sizzlin' and I have managed to keep that vow. As nasty as that was then it surprises me that they are still in business today. I know they are still in business because I work up the hill from that same Western Sizzlin' that my son decorated with bile. The reason I'm mentioning them is because they have a marquee that almost always has something ignorant to say and today's stood out to me while I was waiting for the light to change.

It read:

THURS AFTER 4PM
NEWKIDS NIGHT
JUST 199

I was wondering, "Huh? New kids? New Kids on the Block? Wha...? Are they having a concert there? Or is it a special for brand new kids that have actually been birthed in the buffet line?" and that led to a jingle in my noggin that I wanted to share with you because that's the only way to GET IT OUT! MUST... FREE... HEAD... OF EVIL... NOISES!

"If your new kid was born in line, he eats tonight for a dollar ninety-nine!"

Thank you. Thank you. I'll be here all night.
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."