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Month: September 2009

Could someone please explain to me how “imma” got into our culture’s general vocabulary?  Really, “imma?”  Give me a break…

I don’t even understand what it means.  A ghetto contraction for “I’m a”   or.. “I’m going to”  … ?

and to think, we make fun of the British for calling fries “chips”…

“hand tool stuck photoshop”

“hand tool stuck photoshop”

I don’t know if this is a windows-only Photoshop problem, but every so often the “hand tool” will get stuck.  What I mean by stuck is that even if you select another tool, the cursor you are stuck with is the hand-tool cursor.  When this happens you can’t do anything as the hand tool basically moves around the image if you’ve zoomed into the image and does nothing else.  This is incredibly annoying if you’re right in the middle of something (and how often do you have photoshop open and aren’t in the middle of something?).

So why am I posting about it?  Becuase, the really really strange solution to the problem is this…

open up an internet browser search page and search for “hand tool stuck photoshop.”  Then go back to photoshop.  It works every time. 

No, it doesn’t work if you just open some other kind of software.  It has to be a web browser.  Perhaps you don’t have to search for the term… perhaps it can be a search for anything or maybe just refreshing the browser (haven’t tested that yet).  Either way this is the strangest quirk in any adobe program I’ve ever seen… and it is apparently cross (windows) platform as this buggaboo happens on our XP machines at work too – and also here the only way to fix it (without a reboot, restarting PS doesn’t fix it) is to google the solution (but not actually do whatever they say).

This is the kind of stuff that only happens in movies, right?  Like the computer is just playing a game with you…wants you to know that one some level, it is in control of you and not the other way around.

this is why CBS isn’t doing well

this is why CBS isn’t doing well

I’m watching Andy Rooney complain about how he has too much time off when 60 minutes isn’t filming in the summer.

“I spend too much money…”

“I’ll bet I’d add ten years to my life if I didn’t have to take so much vacation”

Right, that is certainly what all of us in this economy want to hear. What great food for thought, Andy, you’ve done it again. If you really don’t want that vacation you can come do my job…. or let one of those poor new grads that can’t find a job do yours.

But then again, most of my generation doesn’t watch much TV anyway…. However, a lot of those hurt in this recession were senior citizens who saw their retirement money vanish. I doubt those loyal viewers want to hear Andy whine about his “money problems” either.

…time to reach in with that cane and start dragging Andy off stage…

the library?

the library?

This is the library I remember…

When I was in college at Ohio State I worked for the book depository.  Every day we’d go on a few runs to the campus libraries, culminating in the “main library.”   I have many nervous memories of trying to back up that big delivery van blindly into the bowels of the building (the tiny loading dock in the extremely poor designed back end of the building).

I decided to visit OSU’s website today and I saw a section on what I thought was a new building.  It took me five minutes into this film (when I saw Oxley’s back out the front window) to realize that this was the “main library.”  You see, we’d never called it “Thompson Library” as students (and even employees).  Now I’m sad that I wasn’t there for this in addition to the renovations of the “main” recreation facility.  Both of which were in shambles when I was there.  I remember having to go up to the higher floors of the main library and unshelve (at the depository we took rare or unused books and stored them to create space in the regular libraries) book in the broiling heat with a low ceiling and narrow aisles.  No AC becomes a problem when you’re lifting boxes of books all day.  Narrow aisles become a problem when you’re trying to pilot a dolly of book boxes that is taller than you and weighs more than you to the ancient elevator.

(the main rec center also had no AC… imagine playing racquetball in the Ohio Summers with no air conditioning…)

When I was watching this I assumed this building was the one next to the Wexner Center that they were renovating with an all glass facade when I graduated.  Of course then I realized that I graduated six years ago.  (sigh)

I can tell you when I was a student I spent as little time as possible at the “main library” and certainly never studied inside.    I have a feeling the next time I’m on campus (which very well may be never again I realize) I’ll be completely lost.

watch the video here.

Why I don’t look for extra work on craigslist, a refresher course

Why I don’t look for extra work on craigslist, a refresher course

The economy is bad for everybody.  I’m no exception.  My salary is stagnant, 401k matching (it was already a small percentage) stopped completely, and my freelance work dropped off to almost nothing.  And now I’m going to have to figure out how to pay off $60,000 in student loans starting in 2011.

Meanwhile I received an electric bill this month for $382.   Maybe a 1,300+ sq. foot condo in the hottest place in LA wasn’t such a great idea….

So, I decided to start looking through the “gigs” section of craigslist once again.  When I did this years ago I never actually found any work.  Not once.  All my freelance work over the years was from networking through people I already knew.  The few people on craigslist that did write back turned out to be flakes (“oh, sorry, my cousin just got photoshop and he’s gonna do it for me for free…”).

However, getting a little extra money means more now than ever, so I went back to it.

One of the “gigs” I responded to yesterday went something like this: (paraphrasing because it has since been flagged and removed – you’ll see why in a minute)

I need someone to help me create a vector image out of a few photos.

I responded something like:  “this is easy, and I’m near you, let me know if you’re still looking for help with this”

This morning I received this email back from her (I’m bolding the important parts so you don’t necessarily have to read the entire thing):

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for responding so quickly to my craigslist ad posted on 9/22/09. There was an overwhelming response to my post which I am grateful for. However, it is near impossible for me to view everyone’s portfolio and be fair on my selection. Therefore, if you are receiving this email, please consider the following revised proposal and apply if you are still interested. This is now similar to a talent/skills contest, only one winner will get paid. Please be a professional. This project may not be for everyone. Thanks again for all your help.

Best Regards,

(removed)

Project Goal – Edit and convert the following files for all marketing and watermark applications such as print, email, or websites geared toward corporate America. Must be vectorized to preserve quality regardless of future manipulations such as cropping, enlarging, or addition text layers.

Total Project Budget – $50.00 US. No additional moneyfor getting the large file format. Each artist may have different type of iStock Photo account so I am not dealing with the issues. This is an all inclusive freelance project with total $50 to offer. Sorry, hourly rates are not acceptable as professionals with skills can complete the project in less an hour and not interested in paying for someone to learn the art at my expense.

Short Version… Need a vectorized high resolution file for marketing and a simple clean watermark version file for print or background. Must get the pictures first to work on the project, will only accept proof with these pictures only. Only one artist will receive payment. Will post the winning artist’s work and paid-in-full statement upon request. The specific picture files for this project is provided under the Project Picture Files heading.

Project Submission Deadline – 5 days, 9/30/2009. Payday is approx. Tuesday October 6, 2009 via Paypal for completed delivered work only. Payday can be Sooner or later depending on the project progress.

Ok, I need the following to be completed in order to receive payment for services rendered. Please submit your proof with the word proof across the finished picture to protect your work. Once I contact the winning artist, I will release payment when I receive the files without tags. No exceptions. No hidden digital tags allow either. I am a photographer who does not do editing but I can spot all the industry tricks.

1. The picture file must be vectorized so that if I decide to have a billboard ad done I do not need to do this again. In other words, the picture quality must be 100% regardless of how I manipulate the picture files.

2. Two (2) files total for each picture, total 4 files. I need JPEG files at the highest possible resolution vectorized and a simple smaller JPEG file for document watermarks. In other words the clean silhouettes of these pictures are important for watermarks but doesn’t need too much detail to conflict with information layouts.

3. I need the following picture files to be cleaned up, brightened, to “pop” because these pictures need to speak for themselves. A reference website is (removed by request). They use it quite nicely and I am very interested in the yellow bright light lines that runs through the bulb. I want my pictures to outshine this site and really make an impact with these 2 pictures. However, these pictures will also be used as watermarks for documents and marketing ads so it must be versatile. I will have multiple Go green blog so think green, hopeful, and sunny with endless possibilities.

Project Picture Files – MUST BE THE LARGE FORMAT ONLY. Quality is the point. Open to suggestions and options. I don’t want supply every interest party with these pictures because I want an exclusive version of these pictures. Therefore, I will require the winning artist to get these pictures first in order to complete the project. Yes, you do run a risk of not being the winning artist and loose the money for these picture files. Sorry but everyone’s situation is different, my budget is firm and only help if you are willing and can complete the project. Thank you!


Why didn’t I think of this strategy when I was dating?  “Sorry, ladies, I’ve received too many winks on Match.com.  As such I’m going to turn this into a contest.  You all need to take me out (and pay completely for) to a nice expensive dinner and then after I’ve gone on all the dates I’ll pick one winner!”

(oh wait… I guess that’s what women do, isn’t it?)

Anyway, I don’t think I have to explain how big of an insult and a scam this is.  Now, I’ve received this kinda thing before – but this was the first one to actually make it incredibly easy to find all her information (and her actual face, seen above)…

UPDATE: personally identifiable information above and below has been removed by request (see, I’m not 100% totally evil…)

(content removed)

Another posting has sprung up on craigslist about her here.  (posts only last for a short time, so here is the text from the posting)

I know Craigslist in general and the Creative Gigs in particular have become a place for bottom feeders but this one takes the cake. I responded to a seemingly simple ad needing an illustrator. I recieved an email back saying it was now a “competition” and the winner would receive 50 bucks
… Oh but there’s so much more she wants you to buy an image from a stock site then illegally plagerize it in illustrator and basically resell it back to her for 50 buck, but only if you “win” of course

Now, this isn’t to say all online freelance sites are bad.  In fact, only craigslist seems to be filled with scammers.  I actually paid a guy from Elance.com to move my blog from the old Pmachine code to WordPress earlier this year and the process went smooth as silk.  The guy’s name was Gene Coetzee.  Obviously some of my best friends are freelance workers and deserve consideration for jobs.  This Mina gives us all a bad name, that is why I’m making her info public as we need to expose and distance ourselves from the bad apples.  I wonder if her photography clients pay her… what do you think?

——UPDATE——

She just sent out a group email to everyone that had tried to originally “get the job” after she received (rightfully so) a lot of negative feedback:

Dear All,

My sincere apologies for offending or mislead any of you. It was never my intention to insult, belittle, or rob any of your talents for $50. Thank you all who have considered to help me.

For the rest of you who decided to insult, belittle, and share your malpractice, I don’t appreciate it no matter how grossly I misunderstood about the exchange of service for payment or how to post a winning post on craigslist.

I am not seeking more nasty response from this email. If anyone who decides to send more hate mail, I have no problem filing police reports on anyone who does. You don’t have to read this, just hit delete! Thanks.

In a nutshell, I have seen what I am asking for help done in less than 15min. per picture. So $50 for someone who can do it for 30 minutes or an hour is not bad in my book. Plus, this was a wanted ad. When you write a nasty email to potential employer does that make you a better person? Value is determined by parties who participate. If you want to do the job, great! If not, no problem. Why spend extra time to write hate mails though? What does that say about you?

When I got all the responses and started to review portfolios, I realized that you all are great artist and professionals. Many of you have years of impressive experience and your work speaks for yourself. However, your responses also spoke for you. I was wrong for not contact each person individually and clearly state that if the work is not accepted, there will be no pay. This is a tough world we live in right now. Competition is harder than ever. I am not looking to pay the #1 artist in the world. Just someone who can complete the project goal that fit my needs and I am willing to pay for that. Many of you share your work freely on different forums, why would you criticize me for offering a paying gig???

I asked for PROOF to be across the sample work before I accept and agree for payment so there was never any loss to anyone who is unwilling to take a chance at getting paid. I tried to be fair, no one can use PROOF work for advertising but if the work is what I need, I am willing to pay the person who accomplished the goal.

This is a project, one-time exchange of work and money. At the end of the day, if the work is not accepted, there is no payment either because this project is specific. Once again, I am sorry that my format was wrong. I am sorry that I had to learn so many talented people have no manners. Thank you all for responding nicely or badly. I am sorry I will not be writing individual response emails but sincere thanks to all the ones who tried to help me see that my way was not perfect or acceptable to some people. Best wishes to all your endeavors and please don’t make employers feel bad for offering cash payment for work. No all position will suite everyone.

Respectfully Yours,

(removed)

When I get married, how about I have you come and do the photography, but I’ll let you know up front that there is only a 1/1000 chance I’ll actually pay you?  Gee, if you’re not interested I’m sure I can find lots of photographers willing to jump on this “one-time exchange of work and money.”

——UPDATE #2——

This morning I received an email from the photographer in question.  She asked very politely if I would take her personal information off of my post.  I think the damage has been done and the point has been made, so I took it off.  However, all the info I found in just a few minutes using google, it is important to note that this is all information she made public at some point on various websites.  In just a few minutes I was able to find:

another email address

a phone number

her college information

the city she lives in

pictures of her including a head shot close-up

and more.

Now, yes, most of this you can find on me right here on this website.  The difference is – I’m aware I’m letting this information up into the cloud.  I think a lot of young people don’t realize just how easy it is to track them down on the web…

You’ve been watching Dateline.

I’m Chris Hanson.

Goodnight.

South Beach Los Angeles

South Beach Los Angeles

There was a thick fog over the coast last night.  So thick the moon wasn’t visible.  The ambient light reflected off the fog lit up the sand brighter than a full moon ever could.

I’d always thought this part of the beach was just the southern tip of Santa Monica or the northern tip of Venice, but a sign by a grass park proclaimed that it was South Beach.

times are changing

times are changing

and this website soon will too.  Last week I designed the look and layout for a new website.  Byron has been trying to drag me kicking and screaming into the modern website business.  “Stop using TABLES!” he says.  Rather than try to figure it out by myself and take three years to redesign it (I actually have a lot on my plate right now) I’m going to leave it to the expert and take advantage of having a CSS master for a best friend.

…..even though I shed a tear when I found out on Friday that I’d never shared Godspeed You Black Emporer! with him….  I’m such a bad friend.

Anyway,  as soon as I get the files back from Byron (which may be a few weeks since he is busy too) I’m going to whip this thing into shape.  There will be a LOT of new work going up, and with good photos (I hope).

Surprising results

Surprising results

In 24 hours I was surprised with tickets from two different people.  The first was from Sam and the the second I’m told I’m not at liberty to talk about yet, but you’ll read all about it in three months.

Sam bought us tickets to L’effleur des Sens.  I couldn’t really figure out what it was, and even after watching it I still don’t know.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Before going to the show we ate Thai soup (?) at a Thai restaurant in ThaiTown.  I would tell you what the place is called, but the only English in the name were the words “Thai” and “Restaurant.”  The menu was flush with engrish, which I would normally bitch about, but in this case I think it is due to the fact that none of the clientele read the English part.  To me that said that the food was likely going to be very authentic.  Sam confirmed my suspicions when she said that this was the best Thai (fast) food in Los Angeles and she used to eat there every day… and not once looked at the English on the menu.

My suspicions were also confirmed when the duck broth came out and it was delicious.  Sam got her favorite which was some sort of meatball broth with blood in it.  I ordered mine with mild spices, which worked out well because I got the full sweetness of the duck.  The best thing about this, which is very similar to Pho (although I’m sure a Thai person would cringe at the comparison), is the ultra thin noodles that you can choose.  These noodles are about half the size of angel hair pasta.  One of my pet peeves about Italian restaurants is if they try to serve me spaghetti that looks like it is from a high school cafeteria.  You know what I’m talking about, the giant dread lock sized chewy wheat ropes that they pass off as “pasta.”  I can’t stand that stuff.  This was the complete opposite though, rice noodles so thin they looked more like a clump of fine hair swimming in my bowl.  I’m assuming it was made out of rice and not wheat, but at that size the texture is the thing, not the ingredients.

After that deceptively filling meal we headed to the La Luz De Jesus Gallery since it was only a mile or so down the street.  The main gallery was filled with Brian Cunningham pieces.  Although done with great attention to replicating the original Spanish art style (yeah I know, there is probably an exact word for it, but damned if I know what it is, our honkey art history classes in college didn’t cover latino art movements), none of it excited me in the slightest.  There were still some gems elsewhere in the gallery left over from past shows (click on photos for more information about the artist – when available):

There were also still at least five pieces up by JAW Cooper waiting to be sold as well as the “panda in a bathtub” painting I saw with Byron in March.

The cabaret show wasn’t to start until 9pm so we lingered around the Jesus bookstore for a while (I could spend days in there).

When we finally got to King King for the show the bouncer made us wait at the door for five minutes while more important people strolled right in.  When we went inside though it turned out the place was just a small bar.  Everything was reserved but the bar, so we hunkered down there.  the show was still an hour from beginning so Sam read from our Finance textbook on her kindle and I tore out some paper from a sketchpad she had in her trunk (I didn’t have my sketchbook with me) and got to work.

While I was sketching a guy sat down beside Sam and started talking to her about the Kindle.  Eventually he saw what I was doing and took a look at my sketch.  Now, I’m always reluctant to sketch in public because #1 I don’t think I’m that good and #2 I still feel a (probably entirely imagined) stigma of being an “art fag” when I do anything art-ish in public.  My paranoid brain at first imagined that this guy determined early on that I wasn’t a threat (I was Sam’s gay friend or something) and he could talk to her.  When this scenario started playing out I just chuckled and kept on drawing.  Of course this just shows my unrealistic paranoia still runs higher than a republican’s after Giuliani’s convention speech in 2004.  When the guy saw my sketch he loved it and ended up talking to me more than Sam.

This sketch was a lot like the astronaut sketches that I posted earlier, in that it evolved in a purely organic way.  I started off with shapes and then that was refined to a body (surprise surprise) and then that was refined further into some sort of narrative, which is then further refined and refined until eventually I think what I wanted to do here was make some sort of “ancient man looking into the future at the all powerful war mongering godman.  This wasn’t finished before the show started.  I tried to add that owl on his left hand, but I couldn’t remember exactly what an owl looked like.  I also wanted to add a tiger or something behind him but I REALLY couldn’t remember what that looked like.  The modern figure underneath is easier to understand if you flip the drawing around… he has a rambo-like weapon and bullets hanging from his chest with bombs/rockets/missiles coming to an apex above his head as he cries out.  I added arrows to the “native’s” hand which originally just had leaves falling out… as such these arrows don’t quite naturally fit into the hand.  oh well.

Of course this guy complimenting me on the sketch made things even more awkward because having this paranoid fear of getting laughed at for being “artsy” automatically braces me for harsh criticism (real or imagined),  so you can imagine what happens when I actually get a compliment from someone.  I have no idea what to say or do.  Things got even more awkward after the show when he drew something for me on a napkin and handed it to me.

It became apparent that he wanted to trade his drawing for mine, but I didn’t want to give mine up.  It was probably less awkward in real life than it was in my head, but I wasn’t sure what to say or do.  This is a character he’d been developing I guess.  He actually drew it during the show and left it on the table but the bartender threw it away – so he drew an identical one again and put it in his pocket (that is why it is crumpled).  I told him he should try painting it (it actually looks kind of like the cartoon paintings that I see a lot of these days, so not a bad thing) and he said “I don’t really know how to paint.”   “Neither do I” I said.

But anyway, all of that happened in the space before and after the show, a relatively short time period when compared to the entire night.

The show was a mix of a lot of things.  I didn’t know what cabaret was beforehand, and in a lot of ways I still don’t know.  If someone asked me to describe what I saw I’d say there was a lot of dancing with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) sexual overtones, with a gay MC that talked about straight sexual fantasies with female audience members while the cast was backstage changing.   Most of the show was made of costumed dance numbers lip synced to popular music from choice decades.  A few obvious ones were Nancy Sinatra’s original homage to high fashion footwear, and Tina Turner’s riverboat ride.  These dance numbers were often bookended with “talent show” pieces from individual performers.  One girl did an aerial artist performance (this was probably my favorite part).  Sam had actually bought the tickets because she thought the performance would give me ideas for paintings.  It turns out I’m painting a girl surrounded by ribbons/fabric right now, a sort of sequel to my original “ribbon dancer” piece from long ago.  Here is a little preview of what I’m working on:

Another girl showcased her tap dancing skills in the dark.  Gyrating around on stage while making (or lip syncing) sexual moans.  At one point she stopped and tapped out the beat to Wild Thing.  The least successful piece was a spiral staircase dance inspired by Anime.  The piece was introduced by a short montage of static anime images before the three dancers came out in full body tight silver jumpsuits.  There is a reason live action Anime movies fail – because when you dress like that in real life you look ridiculous, but I guess the producer of this show has never been to ComicCon (of course, neither have I, but I’ve seen the photos).

Another confusing (albeit also interesting) segment featured two blindfolded women and a man linked together in lingerie and office chairs scattering about the stage under a strobe light.

Even later a segment started and an audience member to my right who’d seen the show before said “this is the best part.”  In low green light a woman in a white swimsuit gyrated over metal chains hanging from what looked like two clothing racks welded together.  A fan was blowing from the ground so her hair would flutter up like a bad 80s metal video.  In fact, the whole segment could have replaced the Tawni Kitaen Jaguar dance.

I’m not sure whether this was a good show or a bad show, I have no frame of reference.  Everybody seemed pretty professional in all their performances, but I’m not sure the theme of sexual fantasy was entirely clear or even necessary.  If the MC hadn’t talked about the audience’s fantasies (and the website hadn’t described the show that way) it wouldn’t have been overly obvious that the show was about sex.  Except for the one dance that had all the girls in little girl bikinis reenacting a phone call from an old pervert to a young girl.  To introduce this segment the MC (in character… I hope…) said something about how his fantasies were only about underage Asian girls.  (umm…isn’t that a bizarre choice?  Don’t a lot of twenty something Asian girls still look underage anyway?)

Perhaps the gay guy stripping (yes, he did a strip show without getting entirely naked – thank god) was an attempt to put SOMETHING in the show for the women in the audience (that actually outnumbered the men).  However, after the first half hour I think there was some resentment in the male crowd when we realized that this french accented jerk (yes, I know, it’s an act) was going to go out in the audience every ten minutes and put our dates’ hands on his nuts while the female cast in the show was never going to leap off the stage and into our laps.

The show ended promptly at 10:30, which seemed a little short, but I had a long drive home so I suppose it was a good thing.