A Multi-Genre Fan Outlet by a Multi-Genre Fan Geek

A Grab-Bag of Goodery

Everyone needs a place to spill, to yell, to laugh and to....blog?

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Geek Chic in Music City – PodCamp Nashville

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Geeks. Hundreds of geeks. Little glowing apples littered the landscape, and plaid loafers were all but required. I’m beginning to really enjoy these gatherings of the Greater Nashville Geeks. This is my second “unconference,” each lending something special to take away. Everyone enjoys panels and seminars in a different way, with a variety of deliveries really speaking to them. For me, it’s content-heavy, tutorial lectures that really strikes my fancy. I want to see pages of code, demos of active media editing and any other true “meat and potatoes” that the speaker can bring to the table. Because of that, a couple panels that I was fortunate enough to catch really stood out.

d[-.-]b o O (Technologic by Daft Punk)

The Ultimate WordPress Experience by Mitch Canter. Mitch Canter - Studio NashvegasThis was the first mini-seminar that I caught during PodCamp Nashville 2011, and it kicked the party off with a bang. It was exactly what I wanted. I came to PCN11 looking for ways to improve the look, feel and design of my personal site. I came to PCN11 looking for heavy, beginner-to-expert content. I came to PCN11 looking to find the pulse on designers around to community. Mitch delivered. Mitch was a great speaker with an equally engaging subject, and he really covered all of the bases from how to begin, what’s new and trending now and how to implement all of it. As an added bonus, he openly welcomed all who would come to pick his brain at the event, or later through a plethora of social outlets. To be honest, you would have to truly put effort into avoiding Mr. Canter’s help with all of the ways he made it clear he was available and how to reach out. After being privileged to learn from Mitch during PCN11, I cannot wait to catch every event he hosts going forward!

d[-.-]b o O (We Used to Vacation by Cold War Kids)

Jake Jorgovan - Rabbit Hole CreativeThere’s something to be said for someone who can field every single question thrown at him or her. During his presentation on How to Effectively Utilize YouTube, Jake Jorgovan flaunted this skill. A lot of presenters are good at what they do. A lot are good at public speaking. However, not many are flawless in their subject matter. Jake really seemed impossible to stump when asked everything from YouTube Terms of Use questions to how to substitute in auto-fill music using the new YouTube editor, and even a curve-ball about the pros and cons of Vimeo versus YouTube. I also saw more than one technological guffaw during PCN11, not many of which could really be blamed on the presenter. Jake’s presentation fell victim as well, suffering from trying to siphon bandwidth off of the over-tasked wireless network attempting to host every smartphone, tablet, laptop and portable gaming device in the 37201 ZIP code. But in life, as in panels, it’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce back up. Jake shrugged off the missed opportunity to show a video demonstration he had prepared and took the session to a Q&A segment. Not only is this gutsy with such a knowledgeable crowd, but he had quite a lot of sand left in the top-half of the hourglass. Nonetheless, he finished with one of my favourite panels of the event. Kudos to Jake for great preparation, and great resolve despite the misfortune.

d[-.-]b o O (Rebels of the Sacred Heart by Flogging Molly)

All around, PCN11 was a great experience. You can expect an overhaul on the good ol’ site (read as: you can expect this blog to become a site that also happens to have a blog, along with other content!) If you’d like to expand your knowledge as well, you can find Mitch Canter on Twitter as @studionashvegas or on his business website: Studio Nashvegas. You can also find Jake Jorgovan on Twitter as @JakeJorgovan or on his business website: Rabbit Hole Creative. PodCamp Nashville also has their own spiffy website. Check it out for examples of sessions you may see in the future if you decide to attend, and make sure to check out the sponsors’ pages so they can keep it free in the future! Lastly, a special thanks to my partner-in-crime during the day of solid geekery: Kasey Lawrence. Kasey can be stalked on Twitter through @pumilio and you can get his impressions of PCN11 through his blog: OpenKase. Thanks for the read, everyone! Remember to comment, like, share and subscribe! Cheers!

On the Road Again

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Flight to Charlotte. Flight to Detroit. Ride to Toledo, and here we are. I came up here to help my girlfriend make the drive back to Nashville with her new car, so of course Mother Nature decides to go all winter madness on Kentucky and Tennessee. This should be a fun trip…

d[-.-]b o O (Black Sheep by Metric)

I have a few more sketches in the book. Really, my main concern is being able to draw the characters quickly. I know that if it takes me two hours to finish one character completely, a full strip will take all day! I definitely need to get quicker before I get any real traction in this whole hobby. Luckily, the speed has been coming as I get more familiar with the tools. That, and I am getting closer to what I like the sketches to look like. Not perfect by a large margin, but it’s still fun to practice!

d[-.-]b o O (Paranoid Android by Radiohead)

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. New Year’s? Almost killed us all. It was definitely grandiose, and I’m glad the party went like it did! But, for the sheer sake of my stomach, never again, Power Hour. Never again. Although, New Year’s Eve morning and afternoon, before the party craziness, it was all about preparation. Preparation for what, you may ask? Oh, none other than the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! Let’s just say that in the event of an outbreak, we now know that my weapon of choice is a .357 magnum revolver. Cheers, folks!

Sketchy Sketch Sketch and a Third-Person Rig!

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Greetings! It’s been a while but with good reason. With the holidays, I’ve been a bit all over the place. One thing that’s been taking quite a bit of mine time happens to be the Genius MousePen 8×6 that I mentioned before! It’s definitely been a learning experience, but I love it. I’m trying to get used to the software I’m using to draw in, as well as the learning curve for the peripheral itself. That being said, the MousePen has been really easy to get acquainted with. I really couldn’t have ask for a more fun, special gift.

d[-.-]b o O (Kids by MGMT)

CR-48? Sadly, I have not received one. I’m pretty much ready to say this opportunity is in others’ hands. If you’ve been lucky enough to be selected for Google’s dabble in netbook OS with ChromeOS, let me know what you think! Wired gave CR-48 a “5” rating, which means it is “recommended with reservations” according to their quick rubric o’ratings. (Full article from them in the link.)

d[-.-]b o O (Bandages by Hot Hot Heat)

A friend of mine and his co-workers/fellow-grad-students have gotten on a Do-It-Yourself kick lately. Namely, they’ve worked very hard on a few submissions to a website called Instructables, which aims to provide users step-by-step guides on how to make interesting, useful or otherwise weird projects come to life. Two of the projects include making your own steampunk-esque potion bottles as well as making a legitimate, functioning third-person view rig! The latter has actually gotten some fairly heavy steam on the intertubes, hitting Gizmodo, Engadget and several other popular tech blogs and sites! (Not to mention my friend’s YouTube channel blowing up so rapidly that he is now receiving emails from YouTube asking him to setup AdSense and put adverts across the channel for profit!) I’ve included links to fly you all around regarding those projects, but keep in mind that they’ve submitted these for a reason! Instructables has a contest (sponsored by Craftsman) going on. Voting is over, however I’m sure they would love some positive comment love! Registering to comment on Instructables is easy and free, so give those guys some feedback! They worked pretty hard on those how-to guides. Also, if you decide to check out the Gizmodo/Engadget posts, keep in mind that the video featured on those blog posts was chosen by the author of those particular sites. That being said, they picked essentially the most boring videos of the lot. If you want to see how the third-person feed actually looks, check out the YouTube channel link or the Instructables site link. Enjoy!

d[-.-]b o O (All of the Ways by Interpol)

Ready to get a chuckle? Here’s a sketch I worked on earlier while I was truly showing off my nerd-dom. (I was watching a web comic artist that I’m a fan of broadcast a live D&D session he was in while I had Fellowship of the Ring on the TV as ambiance. Yeah. Geek cred.) Mainly, I was trying to get down the concept of sketching on one layer, then moving to a solid outline layer and then moving to a colour layer. Of course, there are more than just those three, but that was the drive behind the project originally. Feedback is always welcome, but I’m mainly just kicking around my new toy and figured I’d post something from it! 😀 Anyway, nice to post again after mini-vacation! Feel free to “Like,” comment and share!

...why is he so off-center low?

Cheers!

CR-48 Status: Shipping…?

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Want to be able to track your CR-48 shipment? I was recently messing around in my WordPress dashboard, and I noticed that statistically “check status cr-48” was getting the most hits for my blog and was leading people to my “CR-48 Status: Pending Approval” post! (To those that don’t know, CR-48 is the project codename for Google’s beta ChromeOS netbook.) It was pretty interesting to search the Mighty Goog and see my little space there, but then I realized something. I’m letting people down! Someone out there is trying to find their CR-48 laptop status, they’re finding my blog and they’re being disappointed when it doesn’t lead them the right way! Well, not anymore! If you want to track CR-48 shipments, you’re in luck! Although Google wants their selections to be a surprise, there was a nifty web-app created by and hosted by Addicted-Gamer. You can find the web-app here. It’s pretty simple to search, only really requiring the ZIP code input. This will not give information such as the recipient’s name, address or anything that would definitely pin-point you as a selected tester. However, it will give you an idea of whether or not Big G has sent any ChromeOS deliciousness to your hometown. It also gives the shipping date and estimated arrival! So, go and seek out answers, fellow Chrome-thusiasts. Good luck to you!

d[-.-]b o O (Forget the Swan by Dinosaur Jr.)

I’m excited. I checked my ZIP code, and where there was previously only one return previously, there are now two! On top of that, one of the shipping dates was when I applied as an individual! AND, I live in a city with a fairly low populous, so I’d hope my chances are fairly favourable! I had the chance to play around with a friend’s CR-48 that he recently received, and it was great! Essentially, it was a netbook with a permanent Chrome browser launched, but I was pretty impressed with the hardware. On and off really quickly. Very responsive trackpad. Decent webcam. I’ll give more details if I get one to tote around for myself!

d[-.-]b o O (Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)

Are you a geek? A gamer? A trendy kid who knows nerdwear is in? Then you’ve probably seen Busted Tees, Teefury, Threadless and other such geek chic clothing web stores. As I was browsing Busted Tees, I was hit with some awesome nostalgia. The “Make It Rain” tee on Busted Tees is a reference to Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (more specifically, the Song of Storms located therein.) Very, very awesome shirt, and I hope you guys like it, too! Those sites can provide some quick, cheap holiday gifts. On top of that, Amazon is giving Prime shipping away to students! Prime shipping is Amazon’s preferred, 2-day shipping method. Not all items are Prime-eligible, but if you have a .edu email address and want to save your pretty pennies, go sign up!

d[-.-]b o O (Africa by Toto)

Today’s a weird, mostly eclectic day for music. It’s also a day of many graduation ceremonies nationwide. I have a few friends who grabbed their diploma today, and I wanted to wish a huge congratulations to them. Good luck in the future, guys! Make it an even better graduation day by going and seeing TRON: Legacy! Later, everyone.

The Weather Outside is Frightful; Also, ZOMGINEED$2000

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We don’t get a lot of snow here in middle Tennessee, but that norm doesn’t seem to apply today. Today has been providing a pretty consistent “holiday feel,” dusting everything with just enough snow to look nice without getting crazy. That being said, roads are fairly hazardous for any area that doesn’t commit a sizable budget to winter-weather solutions. Does that bother me? If I really needed to go out, probably. With work looming in the morning and this possibly foiling that obligation, it’s safe to say I’m glad salt trucks are a scarce commodity in the metropolitan area. In hopes that there is no untimely heatwave overnight, it’s time to relax. Jack and Ginger in the glass. Some winter-themed tunes queued to go. Even a few topics to kick around!

d[-.-]b o O (Carol of the Bells by Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

Today marked the finale of the fifth season of Dexter on Showtime. To be honest, I can’t imagine that anyone that is a fan of Dexter was expecting this season to stack up fully to season four. Without exaggeration, I would consider the fourth season of Dexter to be one of the greatest sets of television programming to ever be crafted. Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow treated everyone with several weeks of maniacal battles of wits and psychoses. This time around we were given the actress Julia Stiles as the guest support role, and overall I believe she did very well! Without spoiling the season for everyone, I really felt like this season contained multiple mini-arcs in lieu of one, strong plot line. Yes, I know there was *one* defining plot, but it just wasn’t as grandiose as past endeavors on the show. That being said, it was definitely something I’d recommend watching! A short stretch (counting only twelve episodes) may have limited what could have been done with this season, coupled with the appearance that  it was separable from others in an “episodic” manner. Then again, that’s just how it felt to me. Looking forward to next season! Showtime, please don’t go firing writers like AMC

d[-.-]b o O (Over the Ice by The Field)

As you may know, my wishlist for this year’s gift-giving stretch has a beginner-level digital tablet on it. A Genius 8″ x 6″ MousePen, to be specific. I’m super looking forward to it, but I also happened to be kicking around the interwebz looking for unobtainable versions of the same thing. I’ve found *it.* The pinnacle of my developing digital drawing desires: the Wacom Cintiq 21UX. Oh. Em. Gee. There is absolutely, without a doubt, no justifiable reason for me to drop $2,000 on this piece of nerdgasmic beauty. But I want it. I’m fairly sure the second I connected it to my laptop, said geek-on-a-budget rig would bow down in shame then swearing to never disgrace Sir Cintiq with its reprehensible rendering ever again. Maybe one day (eon) I’ll be able to find some sort of redeeming investment value in the Cintiq 21UX. Until then, I’ll just look on it in total awe. Don’t you just love technology?

d[-.-]b o O (Jingle Bell Metal/Silent Night by Psychostick)

I’ve talked about Fallout: New Vegas quite a bit lately. Let’s keep that up, shall we? I recently found out that there was an introductory graphic novel titled Fallout: All Roads. If you have a chance to pick it up, I suggest it! I’m still in the middle of it thus far, but if you’re a fan of the game world already I’m sure it will be a treat to flip through. Only a short way in, it already has heavy association value with Great Khan characters such as Chance and Jessup along with Chairman Benny! In fact, I think I’ll go read a bit more of it now. Have a good night, everyone! Please feel free to comment, like and share! 😀

Share-a-thon!

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When you’re trying to save money, you stay in. Even on the weekends. When you stay in, you kick around hobbies you enjoy. For me, that means playing on Grooveshark and optimizing my little blog project here. You may now notice a few changes as a result!

  • RSS feed URL links in the top-right menu bar as well as the bottom-right sidebar.
  • A Link cluster for friends’ blogs. I’ve tried to include brief descriptions in the alt-text in case you’re interested!
  • A link cluster for web comics I enjoy. Web comics are how I spend a great deal of my surf time, and I love sharing them. Without a doubt, Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques is my favourite. I had the extreme fortune of getting a personalized book from him while he was at GMX this year, so I may be biased.
  • Email subscription widget! Some people still prefer email…
  • Facebook, Twitter and email share buttons below individual blog posts. Also, remember to use the “Like” functionality! Super helps me out.
  • And, finally, a link to my Grooveshark music collection. I’m always looking to see the collection grow, so please share some stuff in the comments on pretty much any post if you’d like me to hear it!

Mostly just fine tuning, right? Yeah. Really making myself at home here.

d[-.-]b o O (So Happy Together by Flobots)

G’night! Well, maybe. More likely several exhausted hours of Fallout: New Vegas. Yeah. Definitely more likely than sleep.

CR-48 Status: Pending Approval

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**UPDATE** Are you trying to track your CR-48 shipment? I’m trying to help here! In that post, there’s a section on getting more info on your potential ChromeOS netbook! Good luck to you! 😀

Back to con operations. As we fly toward our next event, it’s time to get back into the heavy work of planning a full-fledged, multi-thousand person convention. MTAC Goes to 11 will be the eleventh running of Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, and it will be my first year on legitimate staff for this particular event. I’ve volunteered for a few years now, and I’ve been on staff for Geek Media Expo (MTAC Organization’s other onset) in the past. For those of you who have never given fandom conventions the time of day, you’re really limiting yourself. I’ll write more about conventions and their glory later on, but those will be for other days. For now, just know that conventions are about seventeen thousand times better than you’d expect them to be and meetings to gear up for them are a sign of great things to come!

d[-.-]b o O (Beating Hearts Baby by Head Automatica)

Slightly MTAC-related, I put in my application for a CR-48 beta with Google! For those that aren’t aware, CR-48 is a beta for a ChromeOS netbook that Google is busy accepting applicants for and seeding devices out to. On top of my natural Google-geek fascination with the ChromeOS netbook idea, these would be crazy helpful for the convention! In particular, I can’t imagine the difference a fleet of ChromeOS netbooks would make for con PR trips! So, needless to say, I’m excited to hear back about that program. Here’s hoping MTAC gets a few test devices!

d[-.-]b o O (Supermassive Black Hole by Muse)

Are you using Chrome as your primary browser? Have you discovered the Chrome Web Store for web-applications? If you have the opportunity, give Sketchout a try! Very good demonstration of the potential that full web-app clients have. Let me know what you think! Have a good Saturday, everyone!

Friday: A Baristo’s Half-Day with a Dash of Quantum Physics

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Ah, Friday. Even though I have a little work on Friday, I still think they’re my favourite day of the week. The early call to work makes sure I’m up-and-going at a productive time, but the short ending time keeps the morale up in lieu of the daily drudge. On top of that, cutting out of work at noon gives me the bonus of a nigh full week day to either get important, responsible activities handled or contribute absolutely nothing to legitimate society and focus my time on the quibbles of the post-apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland. Further than that, the cherry on top is the lack of that drag-down “Gaaaaaaah….it’s almost Monday” feeling. Yep, Friday is fantastic. As such, I’m going to sip on my delicious coffee and relax a bit. If you prefer the audio tour, feel free to throw on some headphones and follow the links inside the appropriately emoticon-laden bumps.

d[-.-]b o O (Throwing Fire by Ronald Jenkees)

Have you ever tried frothing almond milk? It’s was more of an experiment spurred by my girlfriend rather than an attempt to appear more bourgeois than I truly am, but it turned out pretty delicious! Lately I’ve taken to drinking quite a bit of coffee, and I know what you’re thinking. “Does your vision insurance cover plastic frame glasses? How far exactly is the nearest H&M from you?” Well, yes. And, I think there’s an H&M in Cincinnati. Honestly, though, it was to cut down on my daily 5-Hour Energy expenses. Trust me. They work, but they are crazy expensive if you’re popping them daily. Instead of crying over my wallet, I discovered that work provides free coffee! A win for working class to be sure! Sadly, the coffee’s pretty drab. I enjoy it, but I’ve decided to do a little brewing with my luxurious half-day Friday. As a result, I sit before you with a great coffee, an ear for unique guitar licks and an interesting news story from 2010.

d[-.-]b o O (L’Via L’Viaquez by The Mars Volta)

Wait, teleportation exits? My spell-checked does not agree, good sir! This all started last night on a chilly walk with a couple of my friends back to our car after the end of a football game we went to together. Being a lazy dolt, I remarked something along the lines of, “Man, if only we could teleport.” (Because, clearly, if we could teleport the limitations of this miraculous super-power would be to get to our primitive, fossil-fuel vehicles which would then take over the bulk of the journey!) It was just a cheap joke, but then my compatriot answered back saying that “it” did exist. “It” being teleportation, and my friend being a fool, or so I thought. He went on to tell how he was reading through Esquire (a frequent hobby of his lately; his goal being to better shape himself as a “modern gentleman”) and he stumbled across a recap of the year issue. He went on to tell me how a university had previously been able to “teleport” information over a short distance and the article was a clip on how a different university had essentially raised the bar by finishing the same task over a much longer distance. Crazy, right? Apparently not.

Esquire’s Best of 2010

On top of that short read, here’s something from the university itself. (Or, the English version of their site, to be more specific.)

University of Science and Technology of China – Long Range Quantum Teleportation

I was wrong, clearly. The hard-working quantum physicists of USTC raised the bar. (They raised it to ten miles, to be accurate.) In this case, it’s pretty cool to be wrong.

d[-.-]b o O (I’m Not Alone (Dead Mau5 Remix) by Dead Mau5)

Okay, so that last one diverted entirely from my guitar-heavy theme. Everyone can use a little electronica dance! Enjoy your Fridays, folks!

Pretty Excited

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I don’t generally have specific gift requests. When holidays, birthdays, anniversaries or other such gift bonanzas come about, I’m a pretty easy recipient. Electronics. Indie-kid t-shirts. Music (for those times I’m feeling nostalgic for physically amalgamated tunes.) Really, you could walk into any corporate-juggernaut house of wares, toss a lawn dart at random and skewer something of interest.

This year’s different, though. I’ve placed one item atop my wish list (or at least the wish list I verbally handed to my girlfriend.) At risk of grand disappointment, all of my eggs are in that basket and the pre-hatched chicken count therein is an even forty. All I want for Christmas is an artist’s mousepen.

After some brief Amazon scouring, a short time dedicated to YouTube reviews and some quick Googling for hardware/software compatibility, I chose a fairly inexpensive option geared for maximum learning and minimal guilt if it falls by the wayside. I’m quite sure I won’t turn it into a grand profession like some of my favourite web comic artists of today, but I know that I’d like to sharpen my skillset with Photoshop and/or Gimp. When I was a kid, my parents got me a mousepen as a gift. I played with it pretty frequently, but I never really felt comfortable using it and want to see if that has changed with time.

So, beginner-level, Genius-branded mousepen from Amazon, we will meet soon. If I happen to produce anything I trick myself into not being embarrassed about, I’ll post it here so that we may all come back years from now and chuckle. 😀

Still Testing the Waters

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This blog is still in an awkward stage. It lacks direction, and that was bothering me for a large while. Up until now.

I’m going to treat this space as a drop box for my mind. Thoughts-o’-the-day, delicious reviews, faux-pro photos (read as: totally amateur pics) or even just what ear worm is wriggling about during the day. I’m going to give this project some legs by focusing on short-burst, frequent posts via WordPress for Android.

So, expect a bit more going forward. For now, though: good night!