Site Update!

I’ve been finagling around with fiddly stuff on my art/design website, trying to make it prettier as well as more functional. As it was pretty much the first site I tried building with php, it was chock full of obfuscated logic and gobbly-gook and having to snout around entirely too much to find what I’m looking for in order to make quick edits. So I cleaned it up and made the structure more intuitive and the php more legible. And I added a gallery, yay! Need to explore more possibilities with Joomla, as it is making me like javascript more. The gallery randomly freaks out on me in Google Chrome, which is rather unfortunate, but as Chrome also randomly freaks out on me, I’m not too concerned. I’ve got a small collection of different CSS styles, and I tried to make them look not as tacky as they used to be. It’s a weird line I feel like I’m trying to walk: I want to have this range of different CSS styles that a user can switch back and forth between, to see my design ability. Thing is, I don’t want to make the styles *too* different from each other, as I don’t want insane server requestage to happen. So I’m just keeping many things in neutral or b/w, to keep from having too much clashing occur. I also rescanned in a few things, and scanned in a few new things. New art, yay!

Anyhow, feel free to check out my updates at varoper.com!

Wheels and New Toys

First off, here’s a question for anyone who knows more about cars then I do: I have a 2002 Kia Rio, and my spare tire’s rim is busted (along with the tire itself). I recently got new tires put on my car, and I’ve got the nicest of the old ones in my trunk, as the shop told me that I just need to get a new rim, and they can put the old tire on the rim for my new spare. Thing is, I have no idea how one goes about getting a tire rim: a junkyard maybe? I poked around buying rims online, but what I found seems like they’re either a.) Meant for cars far more blinged out then mine will ever be (and priced as such) or b.) sold in sets of four, and I only need one. I just want to get a basic rim! Any suggestions?

In other news, I’ve been spending money lately. First off, I bought a monitor! See, for awhile, I’ve been using this weighty bastard. I actually found it in the trash about three years ago, and it was an excellent upgrade at the time, especially considering it was free. However, at 50 lbs, I was not looking forward to trying to move with it. So, I got this baby. I’m really enjoying having a widescreen monitor, as I am the sort of person who likes to have a large assortment of small windows open that I flip back and forth between constantly. It is also very pretty, takes up much less space on my desk, has built-in speakers so I can get rid of my clunky separate speakers, and weighs 15 lbs. Even better: I checked retailmenot.com and found a $10 off coupon to use when buying it, yay!

I also ordered a netbook, which has not arrived yet. As I am unsure of what the internet situation will be like when we get to Colorado, I wanted to get something that would give me wifi access so I can keep up on email and necessary job search stuff. It’s pretty basic, and I figure that I can upgrade as needed.

In defense of scrunchies!

So I’m wasting time, as I am want to do when I sit down in front of this computer, and I end up reading some article regarding 90’s fashion making a comeback. It mentions scrunchies, and how they’re totally coming back. And here I am thinking, “They went away at some point?” See, my hair is massive. It officially reaches my waist now, and is thick in an obnoxious way. I cannot wear many hair accessories as much more then accessories, as they’re either too cheap (I’ve broken many a crappy plastic hairstick in my day) or too insufficient (I’ve about given up on most clips to do anything major on my head). The same is true for elastic hair bands – not only do they not hold my hair particularly well, but they tend to pull in rather uncomfortable ways. Scrunchies, on the other hand, are stretchy and soft and supportive and super comfortable on my hair. Their elastic is thick and is up to the task of restraining any size mane, as it were.

In any case, I have scrunchies in all sorts of colors, to match whatever outfit I happen to be wearing, and I look forward to wearing them for the next 50-60 years or so.

And now for something completely different: Turbo Heather!

I wish I had one when I was a kid!

Highly interesting links for your perusal

First off, here is a rather disturbing version of Tetris (click the on red bar that begins with “Jogar”). I cleared a few lines, then could not take it anymore, and let all the blocks pile up to the top.

Now here’s an article for your “being entertained by stupid people” quotient for the day”:
Reasonable Consumer Would Know “Crunchberries” Are Not Real, Judge Rules

Illustrative Art Stuffs and Getting One’s Dance On

So here’s something exciting: Forrest’s card game (Furoticon) is now live, and I have art in it! Yay! So this means that I now have two instances of illustrative artwork that is published, neither of which I can put on a resume, especially together. One is art in an erotic furry card game, and the other is art in a book titled “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”.

In other news, I made a super snazzy dance mix CD. It is strategically designed to be played loudly in your car in order to get your booty a-shakin’. While sitting in a car, but pretending that you are actually in a club with light-up floors and John Travolta. In fact, it will cause you to see all of the other drivers around you as actually being John Travolta. Such are the benefits of such a mix CD. Here are the songs, in order (with my way awesome TI-99/4a Winamp skin), on the mix CD:

Mix CD of CD'd Mixness!

I’d love to make extra copies and swap with people if they feel so inclined. I will also accept baked goods in lieu of mix CDs.

Internets, Writing, Greek Food, Twitter, and Sparks

So some domains of mine got transferred over to a new server, and the stuff didn’t transfer properly, and then my ip got blocked, and so I couldn’t access many of the fine junks that I (and hopefully others) enjoy accessing on a regular basis. So sad. It’s all back and up and running though, which is good. You see, there’s a deal with createspace.com whereupon I can get a free copy of the book I wrote through Nanowrimo.org last November. And I haven’t touched the book at all since November. I did go through it with Drew to find typos and stuff that didn’t work, I just haven’t actually bothered to fix it until now. Which I need to do in the next 36 hours or thereabouts, as the free book deal expires on the beginning of June. Maybe it’s anxiety, being perfectly aware of the mediocrity of said book and the enormous effort of rewriting something mediocre into something good. So now I have only enough time to make it a more legible mediocre book, rather then a good book. However, a mediocre book is better then no book, and it does bode well in terms of the fact that, in theory at least, the next book (and hopefully there shall be one at some point) should be a bit less mediocre. In any case, the book lives on one of my websites, and I can finally access said website to edit said book. And I need to make cover art. D’oh! It will likely be something simple, slapped out in Illustrator if I can muster the gumption. Basic and clean often works better then gaudy and overwrought, anyhow.

Last night, Greek festival! Tonight, Greek festival! Saw Morgan and Dee there last night, and will see them again tonight. Saw Melvin for 2 seconds, and then he disappeared, never to be seen again. Saw random LJ friend, and in the time it took me to try to remember how her name was pronounced so I could say ‘hi’, she’d wandered off. D’oh! Food was good, especially custard whose name I’ve forgotten. I’m normally not too hot on yellow custards, but this was absolutely delightful and I even liked it more then the baklava. Last night I did the “meat on a stick + green beans” thing, tonight I’ll do the “meat + veggies plus tziki in a pita” thing, and it shall be magical. I’ll be getting there at 6 or thereabouts if anyone else wants to hop onto that magic carpet ride as well!

Oh yeah, this is a sweet amount of sea sponges. Oooh yeah!

And speaking of which, I tweet now. Or rather, I got a twitter account about a year ago, and recently got bored and have tried actually using it. I’m still wary of the actual utility of it, as it’s another way to post in AIM away message or a Facebook status update, but as, given my chosen profession, I have a need to stay on top of all these newfangled Internets, I gotta give it a whirl.

Thusly, add me on Twitter and I’ll add you back! I am @ptocheia.

I am currently drinking one of a dying breed. Caffeinated Sparks, how I love you so. We might be down to just a 4-pack now. And when that 4 pack is gone, I shall forever mourn the loss of the delicacy of caffeine +alcohol in one convenient delicious beverage.

Zinc and cramps

So yesterday was supposed to involve going biking around Williamsburg and going to a Greek festival. But then, the ole groin kicked in. I am generally of the idea that I’ll just drug myself when I get cramps and do whatever I was planning on doing, as I hate to just give 1/15 of my life over to pain, but after 6 painkillers was having not nearly as much effect as I’d like, I decided to call it off and lie around achy and dopey all day/evening instead. It was maddening, it felt like Wolverine is attempting to remove my ovaries. Today was better, at least.

I looked around online, and found research that indicates that taking zinc 1-4 days preceding the onset of menstruation will greatly reduce sever cramps. Has anyone else tried this? Zinc has a really bad habit of making me feel nauseous, but it might be worth it to feel nausea for a half an hour for 4 days to avoid severe pain.

Interview Adventures

So Drew and I are back from Florida, it was a wild and wacky ride that I’ll write more about at a time that is not now. What I will briefly write about, however, is the fact that I just had a phone interview for a webmaster position on a US military base in Japan. I really don’t know how I did, I always start off shaky with any sort of interview and suspect that I babble and repeat myself and use less eloquent language then I’d like. I did appreciate, however, that much of the interview was more of the ‘quizzing me on various things I should know in order to perform the tasks the position requires’ rather then ‘what are your 3 greatest strengths and weaknesses’ sorts of questions. We’ll see how it goes. Drew and I are still interested in Denver and such otherwise, but this Japan position seemed a once in a lifetime sort of opportunity, so I had to try for it.

Running off and such

So Drew and I are off for a lovely week in beautiful humid Florida, whereupon we will camp and hike and sprawl out on the beach and hunt for good Cuban food. Hope everyone else has a superb week!

At some point recently, Drew and I began gargling tea like nobody’s business. We’ve got green tea, brown rice green tea, oolong tea, and female treasure tea. I still need to get Drew to drink some female treasure tea. Then, after that, I’ll get a box of the male treasure tea (or whatever the male version is called) and drink it all, and see if I feel nice and manly.

Job hunt is still working it’s dismal business. Or not working, as the case may be. I kinda wish my resume wasn’t all over the board. I also kinda wish I’d gotten my degree in something other then freaking illustration. Or at least double-majored, or something. I am still super-excited about trying to go back to school, but I suspect that it may be easier for me to grab a 2nd bachelor’s before attempting grad school. I want to do computer science, and, while I did take several math and CS courses during my first runaround in school, it’s not nearly enough to be able to get into grad school with. Meaning that even if I got accepted, I’d still need to take many undergrad courses. At grad school pricing. So, taking them as undergrad would be more financially astute. That, and apparently to get into the grad school I’m looking at (University of Colorado), one needs four letters of recommendation. My current job recommendation list of people wouldn’t translate so well into recommendations for grad school, and most of my undergrad teachers barely knew I was there where I was in their class, much less 8 years after the fact. Albeit, when I was actually in college, my dilemma was of the “my adviser is a landscape painter, this helps me not for computer-related grad school programs” sort of issue as well. And, I’d also need to retake the GRE. And study for the GRE. Err, and move to Colorado first, and get a permanent address there so that in a year’s time, when I actually start school, I’ll be considered in-state and quality for the much-lower tuition rate.

And then I’ve got these ingrown ideas about how I’m really just supposed to be doing art. I suspect is has to do with labeling. From when I was young I was the Artist to my parents (no Prince involved, mind you), and continued being the Artist for quite some time, despite having other things I was also good at and also enjoyed. So I tried the ‘art for a living’ thing (though the ‘art’ part is arguable), it’s called ‘painting bunches of identical urns over and over and over again until your brains fall out’. There are other ways to achieve ‘art for a living’ but they tend to involve painting many things that all seem similar, giving yourself a ‘look’, and then continuing to paint with that look so that people feel you’re consistent enough in what you create to trust you to create something for them. The whole ‘look’ think is tedious, to me. I find value in having the flexibility to create a range of art types.

In any case, developing a site/application to me is pretty much like drawing&painting a picture anyhow. You get this idea in your head of how it’s gonna look/work by the end, you map out what you’re gonna do (sketching a framework, or writing out a framework and setting up basic files with empty classes and functions sketching your future intentions with them). Or, if you’re like me, you neglect your framework and jump on in, leaving lots of correction for later (I’ll paint something so the shading ends up completely inconsistent with things I do later, and needs correcting/I’ll write out logic so a little part of my application becomes awesome, but needs complete rewriting later to become consistent with the rest of the larger application and to not have ridiculous redundancy). And in the end, I always have touchups. I’ll go back and darken/lighten things for better contrast, or I’ll go back in and add comments and change whole sets of variable names, just for better readability. In any case, I think doing art and writing code are exceptionally similar tasks.

And on a final note, I need to stop thinking that brownies are the ideal breakfast food, they’re not exactly the Breakfast of Champions here.