Drop Shadow Kick

I know The Secret.

No, not that Secret, which I think is more of a con than a real secret. No, I’m talking about The Graphic Designer’s Secret to Fame and Fortune. What is this Secret, you ask? For years and years it’s been shrouded in mystery, kept hidden from the mere mortals who we, the Graphic Artist’s and Designers, call the Useless-If-Not-For-Their-Money “Paying Client”.

But now I set this Secret free.

This is the bestest money making secret a graphic designer has, and once you understand it’s power you too will be enabled and empowered to do the undoable. To please the unpleaseable. To make the mundane into the extraordinary.

How, you ask?

You wish to know this Secret? You want to please your boss and make his next PowerPoint presentation look so amazing that he promotes you right then and there? Well, here’s The Secret to unlocking your inner Graphic Designer. No matter what you’re designing, no matter what other artistic devices you might use and no matter what the artistic direction you’ve been given by those in charge… add a fricking drop shadow to EVERYTHING. Your client/boss/friends/family will go into joyspasms.

Drop Shadows kick ASS.

Kindle Lust

I want one.

I’m a voracious reader. I love reading and when I’m not otherwise busy I can easily read two or three books a week. I also read a lot of magazines, blogs, news sites and the like. All of which is just to explain why I’m so much in lust with the idea of having hundreds or thousands of books avaibale at my fingertips in a single, light and portable device like the Amazon Kindle. It would be so awesome for someone who is constantly traveling to have all the books they want to read for the next few months in such a portable device. And if something came out that you wanted to read you can buy it and start reading it in minutes! Want to read the latest best seller? buy it and in 2 minutes you’re reading it!

Awesome!

But i can’t justify owning it because of the way I would want to use it. You see, I read a lot when I travel. The problem is that I want to be able to read on airplanes during takeoff and landings… which is exactly the times that I’m not allowed to use any electronic devices! Once the plane is airborn I usually take out my Archos 605 and watch a couple of movies so reading during the flight isn’t something I normally do. But the 20 minutes before takeoff and landing when I can’t use the Archos and would love to read something…? That’s exactly when the Kindle would be most welcome, and is precisely the time the airlines refuse to allow me to use it.

But still, I want one!

Cell Phone Phever

I need a new cell phone.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my current phone. It still makes and receives calls fine, but that’s really ALL it does. And since it doesn’t do anything else it’s just not… what’s the word? Oh yeah, cool. Actually, my phone is the antithesis of cool. It’s anti-cool. If I were single, my cell phone would be one of the top three things that would frighten the ladies away and keep me single forever. The other two things being my face and whatever that sixth sense is women have that warns them when a desperate loser is approaching so they can fire up their snide remark generators and cut men down to size before they can even say hello. It’s like some crazy superpower. In fact, I believe most women should be wearing tights under their party dresses and have alter-egos called “Soul Crusher” or “The Crimson Slasher” so, when they unknowingly destroy some poor schmo who idolizes them, that guy could don tights of his own and become her arch-nemesis. That way when she punched his lights out during another one of his failed attempts to take over the world he could pretend she liked him enough to make skin-on-skin contact, which would make his stay in the super villain jail more enjoyable.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Anywaste, back to my phone issues. I’ve been holding out on getting a new phone because I’ve never been impressed with any phone enough to use it as more than a phone. I mean, honestly. In the past, cell phones with extra “features” like web browsing or email or video have sucked. No, I take that back. Saying they sucked is a harsh insult to the term “suck”. The hyped up, media- and web-enabled cell phones of old were some of the worst pieces of consumer junk ever foisted upon the general public by the uncaring wireless cartels. None of them really did what they claimed to be able to do and most of them managed to fail at the most important aspect of being a cell phone; making and receiving calls.

But then the JesusPhone was born.

I don’t think I need to pontificate about the iPhone, enough people out there already do that and better than I would, but the point I’m trying to make is that the iPhone put all the other established players to shame. It did everything people wanted their tiny, portable communications devices to do (except copy and paste) and even made decent phone calls. But, just to prove that even the mighty Apple wasn’t immune to the idiocy of corporate greed, they went and screwed everything up by signing an exclusive distribution deal with AT&T.

Bastards.

If Apple had had the gonads to simply sell the iPhone, unlocked and available for any network to use, then nearly everyone and their mother would have one by now. As it is, they chose to partner with a single wireless provider, albeit the one with the largest customer base in the U.S., which automatically means those without AT&T service can’t use the JesusPhone to make a call. And in case you aren’t getting my little hints, I’m not on AT&T. I don’t want to be on AT&T. In fact, I might even go so far as to say I hate AT&T.

And I suspect the feeling is mutual.

So, for me, the iPhone isn’t an option as a replacement for my aging, crappy JudasPhone which means I need to look elsewhere for a new phone. Being the Geek that I am, I did a ton of research last year and came to the conclusion that the right phone for me would be the then forthcoming Blackberry Bold which according to rumors would be available soon to the dreaded AT&T but then loosed upon the rest of the carriers by the beginning of 2009. When the Bold was released the reviews were fantastic, people declared it to be on par with the iPhone, and my lust for it grew ever more profound. I waited patiently for it’s imminent release on my carrier of choice, checking all the cell phone sites at least once a week for updates and through all this I was assured that the Bold was coming soon. For three months now I’ve been patiently waiting to discover the release date of the Bold for Verizon and now, finally, I have a somewhat reliable date from a mostly reliable source. And that date is, “Sometime in May. Maybe even June.”

Oh cruel fate, how I do loathe you.

Mr. Mom

Today I am the Manny.

I’m taking care of The Mighty Baby and The Awesome Dog while HoBiscuit goes to work and brings home the bacon. Because I love her so very, very much, I’m even going to prepare dinner for her and have it hot and ready to serve as soon as she walks through the front door.

FYI, I’m making pork chops, corn and spicy potatoes.

In other news that won’t get my ass kicked to Timbuktu, HoBiscuit and I finally bought a TV for the living room. It’s the Samsung LN55A950 and it rocks. Great picture, blackest blacks and almost no judder or pixelation. I couldn’t be happier.

But it gets better.

We also got a home theater PC (HTPC) and hooked it up to the Samsung. I’m still setting it up, but so far it is pretty cool and I’m thrilled to be able to surf the web and do “light” work on a supersized 55″ screen. The only real drawback is that The Mighty Baby screams and cries every time I try to use the HTPC because SHE wants to play with the keyboard! She is soooo going to be the little Geekette when she gets a little older.

And I couldn’t be more proud.

Face Time

So, I’m on Facebook now.

And after a few weeks I still don’t comprehend the appeal of any of these social network sites. Why would anyone want to “friend” someone they lost touch with 20 years ago? Seriously, if you lost touch with someone long ago don’t you think there was a reason? Maybe you’ve forgotten how much you hated their egotistical, self-centered view of the world. Perhaps they did something horrible to a friend of yours and you stopped taking their calls. Hell, maybe they just have bad body odor. Whatever the reason was, you stopped keeping in touch and now, after all this time has passed and your lives have been going fine without each other, you’re suddenly interested in them again?

I call bull.

I think I’ve got a valid working hypothesis for why these sites are so popular, and it goes a little something like this… every person is the star of the movie in their own head and believes that all the people they once knew MUST be missing them something fierce. Face it, if you’re on Facebook you probably have 50+ “friends” half of which you don’t really know or care about knowing but still want to be “friends” with because… well, why exactly? Why do people feel the need to “know” all these people online that they would only speak to once in their lives in real life? There are people I know who think it’s awesome that they’ve been able to get back in touch with their first love, who’s now twice divorced and living in a trailer park, even though they haven’t thought about them in 25 years. I also have some friends who are actively searching for people just to compare their lives and make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made since losing touch with that old flame or professor who told them they’d never amount to anything.

What’s the point in that?

Honestly, I can’t understand the draw of reestablishing contact with the very same people you actively, or passively, lost touch with in the past. Are there a few people I’d like to “catch up with” from my past? Of course. But I’m man enough to admit that the ONLY reason I’d want to know what they were doing would be to compare my life to theirs and make sure that I was in a better place than they so I could go to sleep at night with a smile on my face knowing that I made the right choice in leaving them behind. And if they were doing better than I? I’d cut them off and lose touch again in a heartbeat. I mean, who needs a constant reminder that you made a mistake? Shallow? Yep. Sad? Uh-huh.

The deep down honest truth? You betcha.

I’ve been told that even though I don’t “get” it now, I would if I were willing to use my real name on Facebook and started reaching out to my current friends. That way I could finally start using Facebook the way it was meant to be used, to keep in touch with the people I care about and to see what they’re doing every minute of every day via their status updates/news feed/wall. Of course, once you have more than 20 or so friends you begin to get news overload and have to start filtering out some people which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Then there’s all the little “pokes”, “tags”, “polls” and other junk people send you. It just seems to me that after a very short while it would all become more and more like noise rather than anything useful. Maybe I’m just jaded, or perhaps I’m too much of a paranoid individual, but I really don’t understand the appeal of divulging my REAL personal information in the hopes of being virtually popular with people I already know in real life, and/or with people I’ve purposefully forgotten in real life.

But hey, maybe it’s just me.

Maybe I’m just too old, or boring, or stupid to understand the obvious appeal of these social networking websites. These close-walled gardens of friendly stalkers and ego-mirrors. They’ve certainly been around long enough to have died if they were going to die, but here they are still going strong. I blame it on all the lonely people with nothing better to do than constantly check their “walls” and update the world about how their last Starbucks coffee wasn’t nearly as good as the one from yesterday even though the girl behind the counter is still the cutest coffee barrister in a 50-mile radius. Of course, all this might come off a little silly seeing as how I’m a Blogger and all. But the truth is that a blogger can be anonymous to strangers but known to friends which allows a certain kind of freedom to express yourself. The social networking sites however, don’t really work unless you are using your real name which is great if you’re only interested in finding “friends” or if you don’t care about your privacy, but really sucks for those of us who don’t want all the people we no longer care to know to find us. Honestly, do you want your 8th grade Spanish teacher to contact you again and remind you how much you sucked at Spanish? Which reminds me, my Jr. high school Spanish teacher flunked me 5 semesters in a row.

Mr. Brown, you suck!