Another base two milestone

I am geek enough to care, I just had my latest base two milestone over twitter. 256 tweets, 8-bits, my favourite. To celebrate I’ve taken a screenshot, and am doing the happy dance at my computer. Feels good to be doing my part to fill the internet with things that only interest me, and will end up causing all sorts of bit-rot for the data miners of the future. To those future intreped explorers of the darkest forgotten datanodes of the internet I salute you! You have found me, at last, the greatest of your treasures!

*cough*

tweet8-bit.png

More web design work

More samples of my web design work over the last few chaotic years, most of this stuff is from 2007 and 2008, and a bunch of it is still live on the Interwebs! Le Gasp!

Chad Hill managed to get me some screencaps of the full beta/dev version of Wompum, the little webapp that died before it’s time. It isn’t online any longer and these screen shots may be the last remnants of the project. I am still searching for the logo and desing files in my archives, and I think somewhere there is a fully archived version of the projects svn repositories… should we ever decide to revive it. Wompum was a web/email/moving towards sms and twitter game of social bragging and one-ups-manship. It had ninjas. It had a big red ‘BETA’ sticker on the site. In our beta testing it was driving an average of 200 page views per user per month. The site was sticky as hell, and strangely addictive according to the feedback we were getting. It died, like most web projects, because we ran out of money and our company ( Verse Studios ) bit the dust. This is the project that worked Chad Hill into the hospital, and he deserves most of the credit for it. All I did was make pretty pictures and do some web layout work. Chad, by the way, is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with.

Wompum website
Wompum website
Wompum website
Wompum website
Wompum website

While I was in Vancouver I did a bit of freelancing, here is one of the projects I worked on. It was for a Burnaby based artist named Robert Petroni who did a lot of work in Pop Art. I did the logo, website layout, html/css and Sean Murphy did the back-end database work for the gallery. You can find the website at 100Triangles.

100 Triangles website
100 Triangles website

Next up is Share My Ticket, a Stormcode production. This is a concert and sports ticket sharing site that lets users pass tickets to friends and strangers alike, trading them for other tickets. I was responsible for the web design, typography, and the markup/css.

Share My Ticket website

And last but not least is my current pet activism and politically motivated project, Petrocant. I have been doing social marketing work on Petrocant, web design, markup/css, logo design, and general pretty picture making. The site is built on WordPress by Stormcode, who did the work pro-bono so if you need some web work done go show them some love.

Petrocant website

As usual you can find all of this stuff over on the design page of the site.

Banners from Knox Presbyterian Church

Continuing my random timeline of artwork uploads I have added the banners that Sarah and I worked on for Knox Presbyterian Church in New Westminster BC. These banners were tag-team collaborations between us, and they were printed in large format to hang in the church sanctuary. They are 24 inches by 108 inches long ( 2 feet by about 10 feet ), not including the hanging straps and devices. I did the design, Club Card did the printing, and Sarah devised and attached the banner hanging methods.

This project was started by Rev. Michael Koslowski to spruce up the banners for the various seasons of the church, and Sarah and I were happy to work on the project. We donated our time and paid for the cost of printing as part of our efforts to give back to the church that kept us sane and filled our spiritual needs during our time in New Westminster ( aka: Vancouver ).

Artwork
Artwork

Constant Sum layout and logo

So I am slowly questing around my hard drives and across the internet looking for all the work I’ve done for friends, clients, movers and shakers over the last 4-5 years. While I was in Vancouver I was horrible about collecting together elements of my portfolio, mainly because I was either so busy or so broke that I didn’t have the time or energy to do it. This has left my work all over the place, but not on my website.

Today I add the work I did for Constant Sum, an independent gaming company down in the US that a friend of mine, Chad Hill, programmer extraordinaire, was working with. They needed a logo and a website that didn’t look like it crawled out of the early 90s, I needed a gig. I did the website wireframes, mockups, and the company logo.

Glorious isn’t it, you can find them on the design page as well.

Design
Design

spring cleaning

So I spent some time today and went through all the pages and templates for the site and made sure everything was validating clean for xhtml 1.1 transitional and CSS 2.0. So far everything looks good! I’ve added snazzy chicklets down at the bottom of the page for the validation bragging rights.

What turned out to be the biggest pain was the YouTube embed code, which isn’t valid. That took a bit of Googling to find a solution. Turns out you just have to make a few minor alterations to the embed code that is provided on YouTube to bring it back in line, down side is that older browsers may not recognize the embed… and by older I mean Netscape old.

Still doing cross browser testing, everything seems to parse clean when I use browsershots.org, but if you catch anything fire me a shout and I’ll whip it back into shape.

Oh, and the people at 1-800-GOT-JUNK swung by this morning and cleared out the giant pile of rubble from the not-a-garage weekend demolision project. Woot!

bread, demo day, and ice trees

So I chose to disappear for the long weekend. I did not go anywhere, I was sort of online, but I was pretty much checked out and away from the social side of my computer for most of the weekend. Instead of doing things online, I did things around the house.

I attempted bread batch number five, this time increasing the moisture content of the dough. Sadly I ran out of white flour, and had to add more whole wheat flour then I expected. Compensated with a bit more yeast. It ended up pretty good, though it is a bit… spongy. Approaching the texture of a panini bun or a foccacia. I also made a dozen cinnamon raisin buns that turned out all right, I don’t have the dough quite right for cinnamon buns, and I think I over-baked them by about 10 minutes. They taste pretty good though.

Sunday was spent in the not-a-garage ripping it apart. The previous owners had converted the single car garage into an office/work area for a PC repair and recycling business. There were all sorts of benches and shelves in various states of death. The floor was covered over in layers of half inch OSB plywood and that plastic stuff you put on the side of houses for moisture protection on a foundation. Thier was a huge shelf built into one wall, and the garage door itself had been covered over with a freestanding ( sort of ) wall. Everything came apart pretty easy, except for a few stripped screws.

Most of it I tore down by hand, which is usually an indication that something wasn’t done right. A few scary moments when I uncovered a hidden junction box where the previous owners had connected some copper cable and run a loose cable over the free standing wall to a light switch by the side door to the garage… and then covered it over with layers of duct tape and plastic sheeting ( not vapour barrier, just some sort of thin plastic… like giant saran wrap ). When I first pulled it out I was freaking, it looked like the duct tape/plastic covering had electrical burn damage. But what looked like burns on closer inspection turned out to be dozens of dead pill bugs that had dried and rotted to the duct tape. Fascinating.

By the end of the afternoon I had ripped everything down and Sarah and I measured our SUV to see how it would fit in the garage. It is going to fit, but barely. It’s pretty tight, the garage is from the mid 70s, so I’m surprised at how tight a fit it is going to be, since the mid 70s was full of boat-like rides. Means less storage in our garage then I would like. There is currently a big pile of plywood, scrap lumber, metal shelving, and drywall in my back yard, if anyone wants some please take it, otherwise the peeps at 1-800-GOT-JUNK are going to get to come over and do a dump run.

Monday I did nothing. Woot. Today I woke up to trees covered in 1-2mm of ice, and they made a noise in the wind like tens of thousands of fairies cracking their knuckles. Very strange…must be due to me waking up at 4:40am and being unable to properly sleep after that.

on religion

Anyone who knows me knows that I love religion. I came inches away from having a religious studies minor in university, and am happy to lug around a hundred kilos of religious studies books where ever my wife and I move. I love learning about religions, I love writing about religions, and above all else I love arguing in the defense of religions. I’m pretty sure I am one of the very few people outside of the Scientology community who goes around defending the right for Scientology to call itself a religion. Most people call them cultists or lunatics, I call them in tune with the Force.

There is a very clear reason why I am a fan of, and supporter of, religion. In my opinion as society has become increasingly consumer and secular we have lost a lot of the cultural, ethical, and moral history that used to guide us. I see this as an incredibly dangerous thing that leads to horrific things like industrial pig farms, science without ethics, and culture without depth. These are all things growing out of an increasingly secular and industrial consumer society, and religions with their traditional values and morals provide important fiber to society.

This is not to say that I condone the horrific acts done by people in the name of religion, far from it. Nor is this to say that religion is a cure or provides a solution to the horrific lows human behaviour can reach. When I defend religion I am defending the power and importance of traditions and culture along with the beneficial impacts that religion has on a society. Human beings do horrific things whether they are religious or not. Human beings do honourable things whether they are religious or not. What religion provides us is a context for understanding and dealing with the highs and lows of the human being, while providing a method of instilling traditional moral and ethical behaviour. And this is important.

Without something firm and solid adding much needed cultural fibre to our world we find ourselves in a moral and ethical wasteland, where semiotic debate and self serving hedonism serve as a focal point for life. This leads to people who act in the most hypocritical ways, screaming about tolerance and justice while at the same time oppressing anything that gets in the way of their pleasure instincts. It leads to huge acts of ignorance that are in many ways worse then the ignorance that is increasingly associated with religion in contemporary society. People, cut adrift from traditions and cultural heritage are left to pursue base desires, all the while acting superior to those who follow more ‘archaic and less scientific’ paths. Yet at the same time these people often hold up science, and the scientist, as the key source for guidance in society, as the new religion, believing in science with a blind faith. Question not the scientific process, for it is the be-all-and-end-all. Empiricism as religion.

But the role of science is not to grapple with matters of ethics, morals, social structures, faith, life, or death. You can not measure ethics. You can not put together an equation to measure what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’. There are no devices sensitive enough to measure honour, or honesty, or tolerance. These are all elements that are normally defined and guided by religion and traditions within a culture. Without guidance on these huge components of the human social being we as a species are in trouble. The purely rational mind can rationalize anything.

Now with all things I believe there is a balance that must be struck. When it comes to fundamentalism, and fundamentalist religions, I am incredibly wary and distrustful of their motives and actions. I do still support their right to exist, I support their right to faith and the traditions they hold true. But fundamentalism easily leads to the sort of closed minded thinking that breeds suicide bombers. What is most interesting about the force of fundamentalism is that it is a force that cuts across society. There are fundamentalist atheists who go around trying to end all religion out of dogmatic desire. There are fundamentalist Christians who go around trying to bring about the end times. There are fundamentalist Buddhists who go around abusing the peasant class to support lavish monastic organizations.

Fundamentalism, not religion, is the real danger. When one closes the mind off to other opinions, excluding all other potential ideas and concepts completely to the point of not even seeing them… that is trouble for the world, society, and the individual. It is a good thing that fundamentalism is so very easily dealt with, all one needs to do is educate.

In the end, without a balance between the social, scientific, secular, and religious components of the human being we as individuals and a species run the risk of falling into dangerous modes of operation that lead to very sad, dark places. Without traditions we become lost in the now, at the whims of others looking to manipulate us. External forces have an easy time buffeting around someone without an anchor in something with legacy, with tradition. It is easy for someone lacking religion to fall into complacency, anger, and cynicism. It is easy to succumb to despair, sorrow, and antipathy.

In terms of what I define as religion, I include theistic and non-theistic religions, as well as animistic and humanistic faith systems. I define religion based on guidelines set down by Irving Hexham, whos lectures and writings have played a key role in how I view and understand religion. And for the record, I am what I like to call a Christian who doubts like Thomas and rants like Job. I typically introduce myself as Presbyterian.

I can haz bad speeling

So I was sort of bumming around online last night when Jessica Citizen over at Games On Net gave me a ping on AIM asking me if it was intentional that I had spelled ‘chaos’ as ‘choas’ on my website. Now this was news to me, and to make things even better it was a typo in the big splashy cool typography header on the site. Yup, I have been telling the world for months now how bad I am at spelling.

It’s not my fault, honestly. Over the last few years I have been getting faster at reading. As part of that I have started seeing words as shapes, not as a series of letters. So to my eye ( and brain ) the word ‘chaos’ and the word ‘choas’ are virtually identical. Especially in snazzy tracked out sans-serif display fonts. It gets even better, for the last few months I have started having problems where entire words and sentences are getting written backwards.

Yes, that is right, whole words are getting typed in backwards. Their shapes are still close enough to the front-ways words that I can still read them with ease, but everyone else is getting total gack. Particularly troubling are words that are slang and/or audible sounds, like ‘errr’ or ‘hrmmm’. ‘mmmmh’ or ‘rrre’ are getting common.

It makes me wonder if part of the problem is the nearly global spell checking features of the Mac OS. Every where I go if I spell things wrong it lets me know with red squiggly underlines. And when I don’t see those lines, or they appear under words that I know are slang, I ignore them. Sadly Photoshop CS2 is not a spell checking friendly application.

Anyhow, my speeling errhors are fixed. For now.

Markies Manhattan Chummer Chowder

All right chummers, here is a recipe that lets you feed your closest chombas on the cheap. It’s as easy as making flash off an immie on Red. You’ll need yourself a big ass pot, a pile of seafood chum, and some veg. Feel free to use krill and soy substitutes if ya strapped for chyen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of Seafood Chum* ( found in frozen foods aisle, contains shrimp, clams, mussels, squid tentacles, squid bits, and maybe some cuttlefish… I call it chum for a reason… )
  • 1 pack shrimp ( or krill )
  • 1 litre Chicken Broth
  • 700ml Motts Clamato*
  • 700ml Tomato Juice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 250ml frozen corn
  • 4-6 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced ( 1-2cm cubes )
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • pepper to taste

* Note – if you do not have Motts Clamato Juice on hand you can use 450ml of Tomato Juice, 150ml water, a dash of worschester sauce, 50ml of clam juice, a pinch of celery salt, and two dashes tobascco sauce.

Directions:

  1. Saute mustard seeds in oil for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add onion, and saute for 3-5 minutes until glossy and partly translucent.
  3. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add chicken broth, Clamato, tomato juice, and diced tomatoes. Add bay leaves, corn, celery, carrots, chili powder, paprika, and thyme. Stir, add pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add Seafood Chum and shrimp and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add diced potatoes, let simmer until potatoes are tender but not mush.

Serves 6-10 hungry joeboys and razorgirls.