Archive for February, 2008

Moonlit Madness

Posted in Art, Books, Inspiration, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2008 by blakejohnson

Well, here’s lovely Chapter 3 in my series in the “Well… What Would You Do?” series. I had to give the overall piece of work a name the other day to submit it to another site, so I decided on that, because I kind of think that’s what the story’s about, in part, just playing with people (characters) and seeing what they’ll do in a situation. It’s a fun journey to throw them on, and fun to explore the parts of my mind I haven’t really let out of the hatch yet ;). Enjoy.

NOTE: I’m also splitting them up now, so you’ll get a brief intro for the story and then just click on the “Read More” link at the bottom of this post and you’ll see the whole thing, just so it doesn’t take up my entire main blog page. Otherwise, keep reading!

Lizzy stood there in the hot dry desert, dumbfounded. Alex was waiting for a sign.

“How did we not notice the sand from the doorway?” Lizzy was walking back to the back door now, curious at how she could have managed to miss the fact that they were in a desert, but still in the same house. “It’s like the whole house just got up and-”
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I'm All Over This!!

Posted in Art, Blog, Books, Life, Music, News, Web, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2008 by blakejohnson

This is just a brief announcement about me, the blog and my writing that I’ve begun recently.  First things first…

1. The blog underwent a few large changes in the last two days.  I changed the theme yesterday and posted.  Then I posted today again, and while rewriting the About page became so dissatisfied with the layout I had at the time, I changed it again within a matter of seconds after the About page was completed.  That being said…

2. The About page is brand new and updated with all kinds of new little goodies of information and links, so go check that out!

3. I’ve become much more active on DeviantArt recently, my profile page being here, mainly with the posting of my short story series, trying to get a bit of attention for it, and talking to a friend I didn’t really know back home before I moved out here (funny how that works, isn’t it?)  So go check that out too, you’re interested.  I’ve also added a bunch of things to my wishlist there as well as my favorites list.

4. Speaking of website I’ve become more active on… I discovered a number of books I would love to read someday… so I listed them not only as Wanted ads on Facebook but on my Goodreads account in my to-read shelf.  Go ahead and check out my profile there as well.  I’ve also begun posting my short story series on there as well, to reach more of an audience and it has a nice format for organizing work as well, so I liked that about it.

5. Lastly, (in case you hadn’t noticed), I also updated this blog about 4-5 times in the last week, which is a big change from normal, as I’m sure you know if you’re a regular reader here at all.  It’s not very regular most of the time.  Well, there’s no big ambitious announcement to try to change that, I’m just pointing out that I posted a bunch recently… so when school starts for me next week and there are no posts for a long time, you’ll know why, and you’ll be nicely tided over until I get back (hint).  Enjoy!

6. I’ve also been working slowly at building up a wishlist on Amazon, so you can check that out too if you’re interested and would like to maybe get me something for my Birthday in August or Christmas… or even for no occasion at all!  (Note: there are 3 different wishlists for me, a “Big” one, a “Movies” one and a “Books” one.  All three are fair game.)  Another good gift-finding location would be my Goodreads profile in the “to-read” section, if they’re not already on the Amazon wishlist.  Hah, and here I am going on and on as if you cared about where to buy me presents from…

Thanks for reading, checking in, and I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.  Oh, last note, I’ve also become more active on iLike… but I’m tired of copying and pasting links for the moment, so go check that new About page you were going to check out anyway, right?  Yea… it’s on there, just read through and you’ll find it ;).  Enjoy the changes and additions.

I’m All Over This!!

Posted in Art, Blog, Books, Life, Music, News, Web, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2008 by blakejohnson

This is just a brief announcement about me, the blog and my writing that I’ve begun recently.  First things first…

1. The blog underwent a few large changes in the last two days.  I changed the theme yesterday and posted.  Then I posted today again, and while rewriting the About page became so dissatisfied with the layout I had at the time, I changed it again within a matter of seconds after the About page was completed.  That being said…

2. The About page is brand new and updated with all kinds of new little goodies of information and links, so go check that out!

3. I’ve become much more active on DeviantArt recently, my profile page being here, mainly with the posting of my short story series, trying to get a bit of attention for it, and talking to a friend I didn’t really know back home before I moved out here (funny how that works, isn’t it?)  So go check that out too, you’re interested.  I’ve also added a bunch of things to my wishlist there as well as my favorites list.

4. Speaking of website I’ve become more active on… I discovered a number of books I would love to read someday… so I listed them not only as Wanted ads on Facebook but on my Goodreads account in my to-read shelf.  Go ahead and check out my profile there as well.  I’ve also begun posting my short story series on there as well, to reach more of an audience and it has a nice format for organizing work as well, so I liked that about it.

5. Lastly, (in case you hadn’t noticed), I also updated this blog about 4-5 times in the last week, which is a big change from normal, as I’m sure you know if you’re a regular reader here at all.  It’s not very regular most of the time.  Well, there’s no big ambitious announcement to try to change that, I’m just pointing out that I posted a bunch recently… so when school starts for me next week and there are no posts for a long time, you’ll know why, and you’ll be nicely tided over until I get back (hint).  Enjoy!

6. I’ve also been working slowly at building up a wishlist on Amazon, so you can check that out too if you’re interested and would like to maybe get me something for my Birthday in August or Christmas… or even for no occasion at all!  (Note: there are 3 different wishlists for me, a “Big” one, a “Movies” one and a “Books” one.  All three are fair game.)  Another good gift-finding location would be my Goodreads profile in the “to-read” section, if they’re not already on the Amazon wishlist.  Hah, and here I am going on and on as if you cared about where to buy me presents from…

Thanks for reading, checking in, and I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.  Oh, last note, I’ve also become more active on iLike… but I’m tired of copying and pasting links for the moment, so go check that new About page you were going to check out anyway, right?  Yea… it’s on there, just read through and you’ll find it ;).  Enjoy the changes and additions.

iTunes Tricksies

Posted in Computers, Inspiration, Music, Productivity, Work with tags , , , , , , , on February 22, 2008 by blakejohnson

Check out this article from Lifehacker. I’ve been taking advantage of this feature and really, it’s very, very nice. The way I’ve got it set up is that I have a folder called “Rules,” which basically is a bunch of smart playlists in iTunes that ask for all music classified by certain genres to be put into that particular playlist (so there’s one for Metal, one for Instrumentals, one for Classical, one for Rock, one for Soundtracks, etc.). Then that folder is collapsed, so I don’t use those unless I want to add another subcategory to one of the lists (like Industrial to Electronic, for example). Then, I have another folder called “Shufflers,” which is basically a list of the same playlists, only these ones only have two simple rules:

1. Playlist .. is … “Metal” (for example), and
2. Last Played … is not in the last … “1” … weeks

closeup iTunes

(Click on the above image to see a fullscreen view of my setup)

So when I click on a playlist (named after the genre it represents) in the “Shufflers” folder, and hit enter (or the “Play” button on my Mac keyboard), it begins playing all songs by the genres specified in the “Rules” playlist that haven’t been played in the last week… one at a time, of course. For especially long lists (like Metal, for example…I like my metal), the number of weeks can be increased, so I can listen to my entire library or metal before repeating any songs over again (mine’s huge). Each playlist is set to shuffle, so I don’t hear the same artist back to back (extremely rare, iTunes is very good at shuffling). And finally, I use this plugin, called DeskTunes, for Quicksilver that puts a little bit of imagery on my desktop (usually just the album art, song and artist name and a rating grid for rating each song as it plays) that I can conveniently see just below the edge of any program window I have open (designer’s genius? I wonder…), and I can take a brief second to rate the song currently playing as I’m listening to it and going about my business on the computer. It’s actually quite a nice setup… heh, and I’m enjoying it pretty well. I’ve been thinking about adding new genre playlists recently, but I suppose I’ll try to listen to everything, then see what hasn’t been played fully yet, and then make a playlist for those songs and see how that one goes. My thought it it’ll be just fine :).

Hope this is helpful and even fun for some of you out there, I know I enjoyed discovering that I didn’t have to listen to straight artists and be disappointed when their music ended and I only had a little of it and then something completely different began… that was a weird feeling to go from As Tall As Lions Amon Amarth sometimes. It’s cool to learn you can shuffle a lot of artists and still enjoy the music listening experience. In a way I almost enjoy it more. I get to discover all this new music I knew I had but had never listened to before… it’s a fun thing to do. So for all you music and iTunes junkies out there, enjoy the trick, and let me know how your setup goes in the comments below!

Stop The Violence film Complete!

Posted in Family, Film, Inspiration, Life, People, School, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2008 by blakejohnson

As some of you may know, I was involved with the cross-country-collaborative effort for the Stop The Violence documentary film.  The film was contributed to not only by AnimiVirtus Productions (me), but also Neighborhood Studios, a group based in Ohio.  The film was basically a series of interviews with students, teachers, parents and other high school staff about the issue of school and teen violence and aggression, and essentially coalesced into a 20-minute film from two different parts of the country with one core message: Stop The Violence.  Take a look at the film below, and please add it to your DIGG, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us collections to help us raise awareness about our cause and the effort we’re fighting for.  Thanks for your support!

DIGG Link | StumbleUpon Link

Short Story Pt 2: Fun in the Sun

Posted in Art, Inspiration, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2008 by blakejohnson

The other day, I posted a short story I’d written the previous night, and the past few nights since I’ve been inspired over and over to continue the story. So now I have. I’m thinking of making it into a series, maybe eventually a graphic novel or something. For now, it’s fun to imagine it as a movie that just keeps getting crazier and crazier, and I’m trying to think of ways to keep it making sense, or at least keep it interesting. It’s already interesting for me, but for you guys, who are going to want some clues or something after a while, that’s going to be the challenge I think. But even now, it doesn’t seem that hard, really. Anyway, here’s part two, it’s a bit shorter (as if that were a problem, heh), so enjoy.

WARNING: There is a bit of cursing and adult themes in here. Only proceed if you’re sure you can handle it. 😉

Fun in the Sun

Lizzy got up, wiping her face of sleep and grime, the residue from the tendrils and their ooze now having dried to a crisp, dry crust, clinging as if glued to her skin. She walked to her own door, saw the room just as they’d left it, broken and full of holes. She looked in Dave’s room, he was gone, and his room looked just like hers. Alex stood behind her, half-crying, holding her hands up by her face, trembling with worry.

Lizzy turned around, seeing Alex, and walked past her into the kitchen. Alex followed.

“What do you want for breakfast?”
“What? Breakfast?” Alex asked, shaking her head slightly.
“Well yea. We can’t chase this thing on empty stomachs. Besides, I’m hungry.”

Alex stared for a moment, then walked slowly to the little table, sitting down and trembling. Lizzy walked to her room, and came out with a jacket. It had a hole or two in it, but was in good shape compared to the rest of the room. She laid it over Alex’s shoulders, then knelt down beside her.

“Look. You get warm and fed, we’ll look for this thing, and Dave. But crying won’t solve anything. I understand, but I’ve been single for over a year now, and it’s grating. I’m just gonna say it straight, so there it is. We’ll look, but you gotta pull together and be strong on the way, alright?”

Alex hardly moved.
“Ever seen Lord of the Rings, the third one?”
Alex nodded.
“Alright, well Sam’s right, but I’m not as strong as him, I probably can’t carry you. Not for long, anyway. We gotta both be like him. Alright?”

Alex nodded again. Lizzy stood, but Alex grabbed her wrist. She turned, and Alex pulled at her arm. Lizzy bent down as Alex embraced her, a stray tear sliding down her grime-dirtied cheek. Lizzy put her arm around Alex’s neck for a moment, then pulled away, flushed white. Alex sighed, and Lizzy walked to the stove, then said quietly, “You’ll be alright.”

Lizzy put a pan of eggs straight on the table, the heat sizzling the plastic covering, curling it around the base of the pan. It glued itself to the pan, and as she ripped it off, the covering came with it. “Shit!” Lizzy held it there for a moment, then flopped it back down on the table. “Well, it’s done now. I guess we can’t really fuck this place over any worse than hose bedrooms.” She sits down and hands Alex a fork. “Dig in.”

Alex takes a bite, then puts down her fork. She gets up and walks to the fridge, opening it up and looking in. The light’s not on, but she doesn’t notice.
“What, the burnt eggs not good enough?”

Alex grabs a bottle of juice from the fridge. And a beer, as a second thought. She opens the cupboard across the way, looks at the glasses, then at Lizzy. She shuts the door and plops the beer down on the counter. Then she grabs the juice bottle, screws off the top and takes a swig from the bottle. She sits down and hands it to Lizzy, who half-grins and swigs too.

“Glasses mean more dishes to wash. Smart thinking.”
“We’re washing dishes?”
“What do you think?”
And for the first time since Dave’s disappearance, Alex manages a small smile. She finishes off the eggs, and Lizzy offers her the first sip of the beer she’d already opened with her teeth. Alex takes the bottle and drinks a few sips, then hands it back.
“You can finish it. I need to get some things packed.”
“Right.” Then, after a pause and Alex’s almost out of earshot, “Thanks.”
Alex pauses in Dave’s doorway in acknowledgement, then continues into the room.

Lizzy downs the rest of the bottle in one breath. She slams the bottle down, cracking the base, giggling at herself and then throwing everything in the sink, filling it with water, but the faucet dies on her. “Aw, fuck it,” and she walks into her own room. She grabs her shoulder bag and some clothes, a sketchbook, reading book and her digital camera. She grabs the chargers without thinking, thinks better of it, but throws them in just the same. She grabs her change too, and wallet, “In case we need to buy supplies or something.”

Alex, just coming out of Dave’s room with her bag packed, looks up, “What?”
“Nothing.” She looks at Alex and her bag of clothes. “Grab some food too, we’re going to want to take as much as we can carry. Judging by seeing you two together, we’re probably not coming back until he’s with us, and even then I don’t know about facing the landlord after this damage to the place.”

Alex walks to the kitchen. Lizzy picks up her bag, throws it over her shoulder and straps it across her waist. She grabs another bag, a duffel from the closet, and slides her belt through the straps. She brings it out and loads some food into it. She zips it up and throws it over her shoulder too, fastening the belt around her shoulders in a half-assed carrying strap. She looks at Alex, also ready with a bag of food and clothes on her back. They look at each other and sigh.

“Alright, let’s go.” Lizzy heads to the door, looking out, it’s too bright to make anything out. Alex follows her. They step out into the grass-laiden yard with the concrete step entrance to the basement suite, but when they round the corner, Alex gasps and drops to her knees.

For as far as the eye can see, and even farther, for that matter, it’s pure desert. No more city, no more people, no more anything. Yellow-orange sand engulfs the house, now somewhat lopsided in the sand, as if it had landed there after a windstorm and the girls had just failed to notice the house was flying through the sky while they slept.

Dunes and caverns, hills and canyons of sand rose and fell for miles and miles (or kilometers, but they’re not technically in Canada anymore, as far as we know). The sun pierced the sky, a pure blue with an orangish haze to it, the sun itself burning the sand on which it shown. It felt like fire, only intangible. It felt like the pot on the plastic table cover, only this time it was pure light on skin, and there was no way to stop it. No way but to layer clothing, and in the heat of the day, that wasn’t an intriguing idea. They stared out at the sand for some time, until finally Lizzy swallowed.

“Well fuck me… no, seriously… go right ahead.”

Furniture in a Box

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Inspiration, Productivity, YouTube with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2008 by blakejohnson

Alright, the title was funny and the image was sweet… but once I watched the video… I was completely blown away.  This is fucking AWESOME!!  I want one of these bad boys!!

I also can’t help but point out that this is just one more step in the ever-increasing sustainability and waste-free craze that’s been going around recently.  It’s wonderful, and I can’t wait for more people to be doing things like this, or running their houses like this.

Via Curbly