Archive for January, 2008

The Big Move

Posted in Family, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Life, News, People, Realtionships, School, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2008 by blakejohnson

Well, here it is.  I’m sitting in the airport on my way to LA, then Seattle, then Vancouver for my long-awaited move away from home.  This is the first time I’m going to be living outside of my parent’s house, and it’s really kind of interesting how I feel about it.  I’m not excited.  I’m not dreading it.  I find myself thinking of it as just another day that happens to be taking place in a different state, and eventually, country.  Everybody keeps coming up to me saying things like “Oh, I bet you can’t wait,” or “You must be excited,” and really, honestly, I don’t feel different.

I’ve heard it doesn’t hit you until you’re there, without your parents, and you think “When are they coming to pick me up?” and the inevitable response pops into your head and you think “Oh, right.”  I guess that might be what’ll happen to me.  Maybe it’s a sort of feeling that nothing in insurmountable.  Maybe it’s just that I’m not afraid.  Whatever it is, I feel absolutely normal.  Except I’m in the airport.

It’s going to be a good move though.  New people, new places, I’m glad to finally be getting away from the tiny-town Vermont.  I wrote in an email to a friend a day or two ago:

In my room, I can stand up straight, just normally, and flat-footed I can touch the palms of my hands to my ceiling. I like to think that’s how it is living in Vermont. I can touch the ceiling with no effort, but I can’t push beyond it to do what I want to do. A bigger city might have higher ceilings, but it’s definitely going to have more potential. So that’s what I’m really moving for the most.

Overall, I’m obviously looking forward to the move, and I’m looking forward to being closer to my brother who lives in Seattle.  I’m staying with him for a week or two before getting up to Vancouver, and that should be fun, since I rarely see him more than once a year.  But now, being closer, I should be seeing him more often.  In addition to that, I’ve got the opportunities abounding from the new city, the new people, and the new things I’ll learn and do when I’m out there.  If you can’t tell, I can get myself excited about the move, but I’m not overly zealous about the whole thing.

So I’m going to sit back, relax in the airport and enjoy my nice soygurt (just joshin’, I’m hardcore, I go for the real stuff) and wait for the plane to be ready to bear me on my journey through the heavens… err, the clouds anyway.  It’s gonna be a long day of traveling, but it should be fun in the end.

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PVC Cello

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Music, Video, Web, YouTube with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2008 by blakejohnson

This is awesome!  I found this earlier on Instructables, the internet’s DIY heaven, and it blew me away.  Sweet job, kid, want to teach me?

Time Tracking & Management

Posted in DIY, Health, Inspiration, Life, Productivity, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2008 by blakejohnson

I’ve been working on managing my time recently, a little, trying to be productive and whatnot while maintaining a healthy lifestyle too.  I recently discovered a number of posts at Lifehacker (duh) that were pretty helpful in pointing in the right direction.  Through them I found both Tick and RescueTime, the latter of which being the most interesting.

Tick
Tick is a project-management webapp that basically allows you to list your projects, keep track of individual tasks on each of them and define how many hours each should take, essentially all in an effort to get you to meet your “time budget.”  Tick is unfortunately a trial and only allows you to have one project listed and open (currently being worked on) at a time, with the paid upgrade of somewhere around what I believe was $10.  I currently use Anxiety, though, so I’m probably going to cancel my membership with Tick.

Anxiety
Anxiety is a lightweight, free task management app that is… well… a task manager that integrates beautifully with Apple’s Mail and iCal, giving yo all the benefits of different calendars and events within those calendars, separating your work, personal, bigger ideas.  It hovers over all applications with the option to hide it and each tasks even have handy little check boxes on the side so that once you’re done, you just check it off, and it’s immediately updated as one less to-do in Mail and iCal.  It’s a very useful tool, and its constant visual presence on the screen I find is a reminder of the things I should be doing when I’m doing things like aimless internet surfing or on a YouTube binge.

RescueTime
I really just wanted to post on the blog because of the email verification I got from downloading this app.  There’s a required registration for it, but the email was nice enough of a surprise and the app sounds like it’s going to do a great job, so I’m aiming to keep it.  From the little I found out about it, it tracks what you do while on the computer and send you a weekly report of how you spent your time, as well as offering a range of full-featured graphs and tools to see how distracted you were when you should have been working.  Yup, something I can definitely make use of ;).  Here’s a screenshot of part of the confirmation email:

picture-1.png

I thought that was a great change of pace from the typical “Hello, thank you, go to our site, goodbye” messages.  I was glad to receive something like that from what it essentially makes out to be three guys goofing around with their program for the good of others.

So, three programs that can help you (and me) get things done.  The two I use so far work great, though I’ve only had about an hour’s worth of experience with RescueTime running in the background, so really it’s that I love Anxiety.  That mixed with Quicksilver and the built-in Mail and iCal on Mac are a wonderful workflow.  How do you manage your time and your projects?  Let me know!

Dove Commercial

Posted in Art, DIY, Entertainment, Get Meta!, Graphics, Inspiration, Life, photography, Resources, Video, Web with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2008 by blakejohnson

I was looking through Photoshop tutorial sites tonight, a result from my newfound fascination with Photojojo, and found this.  It’s a pretty interesting video, and though Dove uses these goodwill-spirited pieces as their advertising campaigns, I think they deserve credit for the way they’re put together and the fact that they’re shown so openly and liberally.  That’s really what kind of statement it is, anyway, a liberal one.  Anyway, I saw this and wanted to share it, since we’re bombarded with “beauty” and society’s expectations and standards of that beauty all the time.  So here’s the link.  Enjoy (or something… I don’t know if enjoying is really what you’ll do with this).

Also, as a footnote, I want to say that HDR. is. awesome.period.

Photography Resolutions

Posted in Art, DIY, Humor, Inspiration, photography, Resources, Web with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2008 by blakejohnson

When a cool DIY photography blog publishes a story called “Goodbye 2007, Hello Two Thousand And Awesome,” you know you’ve got to pay attention.  Photojojo I only just found last night, but already I’m extending beyond the screen in Firefox tabs, all with different pages form the site.  This particular post, however, is a great inspirational (and quick) read about what to do with your camera in 2008.  From joining numerous photo groups on Flickr, taking classes and even a few DIY projects (fisheye lens, coloring books, mosaic emails), it’s got me itching to go an snap away.

At the moment, I’ve got some more rotoscoping work to do, and then it’s off to lunch, but I’m thinking of taking a peek at some of their ideas in a bit more depth when I get back.  Check out their lively 2008 resolution post, and figure out what to do with your camera in the new year!

New Years

Posted in Articles, Get Meta!, Life, People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2008 by blakejohnson

I was just watching the New York City celebration of the New Year, and realized that the new year’s sort of become a time where people say “alright, this year I’m really going to revamp things and get better…” or something like that. But I was just wondering, since time goes on anyway, and really nothing changes but numbers, if the New Year’s become a sort of excuse to do good at first and then peter out. It seems like lots of people have the attitude of “well, I really fucked up this last year, but I’m going to start fresh now, move on with these new resolutions,” and I was wondering how fair that is to put ourselves through every single year, when we come up with these goals and then don’t follow through, and we just say at the end of the year that we’ll follow through this time, because it’s the new year, the fresh year, and our new chance…
Alicia Keys was singing about how it was “our chance in the New Year” to live and love like we’ll never be able to again. And I’m just sitting here thinking, “what, like we didn’t have that chance every other year of our lives? Is something special about 2008? What’s going on?” I’m just wondering why people can’t stick to their goals, or maybe just make smaller goals, or something, something that makes sense, and stop making excuses about the New Year to just give up on their goals, lives, and themselves and others. It’s kind of ridiculous, I think.

I’ve become quite critical about the U.S.’s media and it’s brutal, super-capitalistic bombardment of fear, buy, buy, buy mentality… and how disgusting it is that we have to sell plans to stay healthy when it’s a human right, and their own duty to themselves; it’s absurd that the U.S. can just give up on itself because its leader is doing a shit job of being president… it’s our country, the people are supposed to be in charge, so how can he last 8 whole years without significant opposition?! To be honest, I would be perfectly happy if I just left America when I go to Vancouver, and then never came back. However, that in itself is a pretty defeatist attitude – just like how I think most Americans are feeling about the presidency right now.

I’m so sick of this place and the way it works, with no question, with so much ignorance, with so little fighting for the right way of life. I don’t get how the rest of the world (I really mean France, England, even Cuba – oh god, is that unAmerican?!) can be so much better off than the U.S. when we’re the ones who advertise as the best country in the world. (An seriously, WTF is up with that!?) After the New Year’s celebration in New York there started a TV-documentary about… guess what… eBay. Yup, and apparently, if eBay had the people who make part or all of their income on eBay’s own payroll, they’d be the second largest employer in the country…next to Wal-Mart. Yea, the gigantic, small-business-destroying mass-marketing behemoth of the buy, buy, buy mentality that permeates our society.

Honestly, I guess part of what I’m grappling with is essentially this: we began aiming for the utmost, almost a utopia (but not quite, we wanted a democracy) of people-oriented governing, fair and equal treatment and loving home lives. Now, the U.S. is essentially a capitalist dictatorship. What the hell happened, where the hell did we go? And what can be done about it – that is probably the most important question to pose and tackle (I’m not going to say “in the new year”). What can we do about it? Anything?

That said, have a great New Year, the best of luck in your New Year’s Resolutions and in the new year itself.