they never called you

Man, this blog has slowly been gathering dust and spiderwebs. Although I am posting somewhat sporadically, I haven’t touched anything else on this domain. I haven’t really touched any of my sites in quite a while. But I did work on my online portfolio a lot last quarter.

This quarter I’m working on printing out and binding another book, even though I’m not in the book design class. All the fun, none of the stress! I had to rush around to buy the book, cut off the spine, scan all the pages, OCR the text, edit the text and correct errors (of which there are many), and after I’m done with that (I’ve got about 20 pages left) I get to design the pages! Yay! Heh, I’ve spent the past week or so reading through the book—on screen, yes—and correcting anything and everything. (Ironic that my senior project is about print books or electronic books, no?)

So I’ve got that senior project to work on, but I’m not giving that much of my attention. Mreh. This week I have to buckle down and go to the library to write the last two chapters to turn in.

Other than my one class that I have this quarter, which I already finished the big assignment for and only have a midterm and final to look forward to, I am also working on making cards for all the teachers in my department. I’m not really working on that much. grrrs.

I’ve got all the pieces I want (I think; I spent the past couple months realizing I need this or that item and running out to buy it) and now I just need to actually put the cards together! The problem with that is I need to fold 3×the number of faculty amount of paper cranes. Roughly. Some cards might have more, some less. I think I have about three or four teachers covered at this point. *shifts glance*

And on top of that … I feel like working on my websites again. After abandoning them for I don’t know how long. I probably worked on them some last quarter, but not much, and I don’t think I was on the computer that often over summer.

I think I’m finally tired of the jester and monk layout. (Wow, can you imagine that? I still love the black/red/white colors, I just want to look at something new.) Next I might go for a light, spring-inspired design. Or not, you know me. (If you don’t, then know that I like teh dark because I am so emo!)

Bush letter

All right, here it is. The long-awaited (ha ha) entry on the letter I got from Bush/the White House.

letter from Bush I came home from work one day last August and found this manila folder in my place at the dining room table—the usual way my mom sorts and doles out our mail—addressed to me, from the White House. For a split second I thought, Oh no, one of the petitions I signed must have pissed off someone and now I’m on the FBI’s list!

Mum and Hidek came up to me ’cause they were wondering what in the world the White House could be sending to me. I told them it must have been a response to some petition that I’d signed online. Opened it up and yup, the letter was about preserving our oceans.

I guess the White House does keep track of e-mails it gets ’cause I couldn’t recall recently signing a petition to Bush about oceans and figured I must have been on some list. Either that or bureaucracy is really really slow and it took many months to send my letter.

I’m inclined to believe the latter because the letter was about something that Bush had done to Save Our Oceans back in June. What was this action that he took to ensure that our oceans would be around for generations to come? Why he declared June 2008 as National Oceans Month! Yes sir, he took action that was not at all proactive and then decided to spend $1.17 telling me about it months later!

See, that’s the real kicker. If I’d received an e-mail from the White House (even months after the fact) I would not be as annoyed as I am right now. (Which honestly isn’t all that much on the annoyed scale. Maybe a little miffed. But I thought this was … unique … and should be commented on.) I’m used to getting “Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message” auto-responses.

But this time, someone(s?) in D.C. thought it was worth $1.17 to inform me of past acts of “preservation” which I am concerned about? The petitions I sign usually get somewhere around 5,000–20,000 signatures, but let’s assume an absolute average of 10,000. If I got a letter, doesn’t that mean that 9,999 other people also got the same letter? The White House wanted to spend $11,700 sending out information when they could have sent out e-mails?

Or even just send it in a regular business envelope. Why spend a whole $1.17 when postage was about $0.43? Just so I get a flat piece of paper that hasn’t been folded? And I’m sure even the feds can get discounts from the post office if they’re sending out enough pieces of mail—$0.27, right? They spent basically three times more so I get a fancy, special letter about Bush tooting his own horn.

How many meals can $11,700 cover? How many doctor visits? I know the U.S. has a budget in the billions, but come on, every little bit helps!—Oh wait, no, we’re now $10 trillion in debt, so a few measly thousand doesn’t count for much there. Thanks, Bush.

making up an entry about Coraline

I saw Coraline on Saturday, in 3D!! It was amazing! I definitely liked how nothing flew out at me (although there was a needle poking out at the beginning…)

Random comments…

Not sure about the boy character. Maybe he served as a person for Coraline to talk to in the movie.

The 3D aspect was tiring my eyes after a while. It didn’t help that either A) my ears are crooked or B) my eyes are crooked, so I couldn’t quite see the screen clearly without holding up one side of the 3D glasses. (Also, the 3D glasses took an instant dislike to my eyeglasses and kept trying to put distance between them.)

But I still think it was worth the $5 seeing the movie in 3D. :D Mum and I went to see it in the new, fancy, higher-priced theater which charges about $3 more, and then there was a $2 charge for use of the 3D glasses.

I really liked the 3D-ness of the movie. It was definitely subtle, but pulled you into the movie. But because my eyes are funky somehow, it hurt to look at anything too “close” to me. (The closer something is to the audience, the more blurry it is, and the more I have to cross my eyes to focus on it…it’s weird. I was also never any good at those Magic Eye 3D picture books, either.)

Going into the theater I saw these preschool-aged kids, and I sort of worried for them. But I shouldn’t have. Kids these days are so jaded, nothing can faze them. Either that or they were just covering their eyes during the movie, which I couldn’t see.

Dude! That movie was so creepy! I was seriously feeling anxious about Coraline and even myself! And I don’t normally get scared in movies unless it’s in my face—you know, people or things jumping out of the dark, some maniac running toward the viewers with a bloody hacksaw…

The Other Miss Forcible? (Or was it the Other Miss Spink?) Hi-larious. She got a lot of laughs in the theater.

The Other Mother’s real form … creepy. And they didn’t come up with it until near the end of production?! Totally worth it. I would hate to ever meet her face to face.

The Other Father and all the other people in the Other Mother’s world … oh my gosh, I felt for them, really I did.

I loved the movie. :D Even if it didn’t look the way I pictured it in my head (Dave McKean wins with me, hands down). It’s just a different take or interpretation of the story. Definitely buying when it comes out on DVD. Which reminds me, I still have to buy Stardust. O_o

blurred vision

I’ve figured out why it’s hard for me to look at my desktop monitor.

It’s a 20″ widescreen monitor, native 1680×1050, but the text is way too freakin’ small for me at that size. So I’ve got it down to 1440×900, a setting lower.

However, while text is at a good size for me, it is also slightly blurry. Not as bad as when I had it at 1280×768 though. (Because yes, I really am blind and do like my text big…)

The text isn’t as blurry as if I were using Microsoft’s Cleartype though, which I am very grateful for.

The only program this is bugging me in is Firefox/all other cool browsers that don’t have the initials I and E. All my Adobe design programs already antialias or blur the edges of my text, but then they aren’t rendered pixel by pixel, more along the lines of vectors…hahaha, horrible pun.

I could possibly make the screen smaller and pull the monitor closer to my face, but it’s at a comfortable distance at the moment. Maybe a couple inches too far, but not too bad. If I were to get too close, I’d get sick. I don’t know why. Whenever I sit too close to a monitor I get dizzy. Weak, yes!

Yet in computer labs in school I was always leaning as far back as I could possibly go, always sticking out in aisles and hyperextending my arm to reach the mouse and keyboard… Also had to take occasional breaks to rest my weary eyes and head.

I was considering keeping it at native resolution and just zooming in text for browsers, but I realized that the Windows interface text is all tiny and squishy and I probably can’t do anything about that other than using some LARGE PRINT theme that my Grandpa would have.

I guess I’ll just have to learn to live with slightly blurred text and slightly tired eyes at the end of the day.

byebye, FontExplorer X

I installed FontExplorer X (herein referred to as “FEX” ’cause I don’t wanna type it out) almost two years ago.

I did like the program while I was using it. FEX just doesn’t fit into my current computer environment right now.

Pros: I guess programs opened up a microsecond faster than usual. I don’t have many fonts, just a few hundred, nowhere near the thousands that professional designers have.

It sure made looking for fonts in my system much easier. Even though it would slow down when I wanted to view font sizes in 300 pt (don’t ask). I could see the whole alphabet (upper case or lower case) in one go while scrolling through all of them. (Even though my typography teacher would be horrified to hear that sometimes that’s how I choose my typefaces.)

Cons: First and foremost, at the moment I hate having to open up an additional program to get access to typefaces. If I were working in a design environment, which I was last year, I absolutely would not mind. But now I open Adobe design programs only once in a while, and when I do I don’t like having to remember to open another program to use, say, PetitaMedium (something I use in my resume).

Secondly, I’m working on a Windows-based computer. There is currently no version of FEX outside of beta for Windows. That’s not too terrible, but for some reason something in FEX makes Windows snitty about opening system programs like Volume Control or Spider Solitaire or Calculator. In other words, very important programs! *snicker*

Last year I was okay with it and would just do all of that on my laptop, calculations, listen to music, or take a Spider Solitaire break. But right now I’m not settling in for long stretches to design things. I’m just opening a file here or there to edit while I’m on the computer. So I don’t turn my laptop on since I’m planning to not be here long or I plan to watch Youtube vidoes.

(Yes, my laptop, my slow baby, is gradually becoming only a mobile entertainment center. Sad times, let me tell you. But wow, going from 384 MB RAM to 2 gigs … it’s a miracle!!)

A third reason that FEX is not so helpful is the fact that there are no tags in the program. I think I’ve become spoiled by Windows Media Player and online journals. I’m used to finding things through tags.

I know there are groups or sets or whatever in FEX, but I have to manually add fonts to each one. Every time I install a new font, I have to remember to categorize it, or else I’ll probably never remember to use it again. Since I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet (I did it on my laptop but I uninstalled FEX to make it run faster), I am forever scrolling through 400+ fonts trying to find all the serif typefaces and trying to figure out which one I’d like to use.

If I were working on a Mac, I would definitely pay for and install the newest version of FEX. (Mostly because I hate the Mac’s way of scrolling so slowly through the list of typefaces on Adobe programs.)

But since I am running Windows, I’ve decided that FEX has run its course on my computer and really must go. I’m saving the install file though just in case.