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Monday, May 28th, 2007 - 11:25 PM

"Don't Worry"

Caffeine Happiness

Sometimes my drink speaks to me. This is the second time.

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 - 11:02 PM

"The Early Bird Gets the Crazy Discounts"

C2F Early Bird Special

I had a lot of fun creating this image for a C2F promotion today. Visit EsoShow to see how this image was made.

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 - 8:51 PM

"Jugglisk IX"

I took my new ball out to the patio for the first time this evening. To be perfectly honest, my first impression of the ball is that it is a little lopsided. It may be ever so slightly true, but I think my perception was just an issue of getting used to a different ball. I would say it has a lighter feel, like the materials used to make it are less substantial. The feeling of juggling my new Nike ball was very strange in that I felt somehow suspended between out of control and wildly in control. Normally, after a couple warm-ups, I gain a light touch and close control. I felt like my kicks were crazy, elongated and risky today, adapting to the new ball. At the same time, however, I hardly missed a crazy kick. I didn't achieve any huge numbers today, but I controlled the ball rather well even though it felt out of control. It's a hard paradox to explain. I guess I got a chance to practice some of my longer range "savie" kicks. "Savie" is what Dave and I often say when the ball goes wildly out of control, and extra effort or crazy kicks are required to save the ball. If we succeed in this, we call it "savie".

For the first time in a long time I juggled in the rain. It was strangely overcast and humid for a long time today, but it was also quite warm, and the clouds didn't seem quite willing to let loose with rain. They finally gave off a small shower, nevertheless. It was so warm that the patio instantly absorbed all the drops. The cement didn't exhibit hardly any signs of being wet. The rain was more of a refreshment than a nuisance. The only annoyance brought along was wet grass (3 feet high).

One thing I like and dislike about our backyard patio is its slightly cramped size and distracting obstacles. Usually when I am juggling to achieve numeric records, I do so in a wide, open space. If the ball goes flying out of my circle of direct influence, I still have the chance to leap in order to save it. My patio affords no such dynamics. The patio is only 9-1/2 feet by 7 feet, so I have little room to maneuver. On one side of the patio is the duplex. The opposite side has a bunch of plants that often disrupt play (and are definitely too high to jump over in a wild attempt to save the ball). The other two sides are also a little difficult to traverse, essentially limiting me to the patio's perimeter.

I like the level of focus and control these limitations impose. I must quite intentionally avoid the boundaries if I want to continue without dropping the ball. I dislike them because they have ended a great number of great volleys, some that may have bested personal records.

Todays numbers were nothing special, as I was focusing more on weird techniques (not tricks per se, but more difficult ball contact, kick height and higher speeds). Plus, I was trying to adapt to the new ball, which I think I eventually did so.

Jugglisk IX Chalk Records

Jugglisk IX Chalk Records
39 28 29 5 251 15
366 8 48 11 228 41
30 29 44 90 74 256
31 35 111 166 21 59
50 27 22 56 14 50
22 209 94 22 16 454
99 162 76 151 42 186
Total Hits: 3767 Average Hits Per Volley: 89.7
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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 - 7:49 PM

"Marquis Eden's Domain Begins"

Hocus Pocus Marcus Leviticus Schoolbus

As I announced my friend Dave's site some time ago, I will now announce the maiden flight of another site, I have known Marcus for a number of years, maintaining on-and-off contact since junior high. As is Dave, Marcus is one of the 4 esteemed Jim Guys (except for me, because I'm not esteemed). In fact, he and I coined the title in Denver Colorado - inspired by his friend "Hawaii's" expression. Learn more about Jim Guys here. Marqtholomew fosters an interest in small craft solo piloting and is a very talented computer programmer by trade.

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Sunday, May 20th, 2007 - 11:09 PM

"Duck Duck Deuce"

Duck Couple

This year a duck couple has been roaming our street incessantly. Even though there is a quite nice natural wetlands park and wildlife preserve right behind us, these two choose puddles over ponds. It's unfortunate because their meandering on our residential street puts them in danger. Some weeks ago I saw a dead duck along our street, so I know that sort of thing happens. It really was a sad sight to see. I hope these two stop their parade and go back to the safer refuge of the park. If only I spoke duck.

Duck Couple

The unfortunate reality is that some bleeding heart neighbor is probably feeding them, and that's what is keeping them in the area. They are so tame, I'm assuming they have had past exposure to humans. They don't seem to have fear of us or our car. One time I had to stomp to scare them off our driveway, as I was trying to leave. They really are welcome chums, but for their safety, I wish they'd leave. Just today I took some pictures of them beside our driveway. The missus was admiring one of our puddles.

Duck Couple

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Thursday, May 17th, 2007 - 11:50 PM

"Sidewalk Chalk Legality"

Since I last wrote about the topic, I have been thinking about sidewalk chalk, call me strange (please). I have been wondering about the legality of it. Is it against the law to draw on the sidewalk in front of one's house? I wouldn't be at all surprised to find an obscure law about it somewhere in the city statutes, but who knows them all or enforces them. There are some pretty ridiculous laws from times of old. However, it seems somewhat reasonable to disallow this activity because it so closely resembles vandalism. I think the key is that chalk washes away in the rain - or alternatively, it can be washed quite easily by applying water. Plus, I found a few extreme cases where people were arrested for drawing with chalk, but usually it involved illegal "advertising without a license" or inappropriate content mislabeled as "art".

Binney & Smith 816 Colored Chalk
Interesting contrast: The same product, 816, from who knows how long ago (pre-Crayola?) and of today, side-by-side. Notice any differences? First, the old one had 16 pieces, each color different. The new one has 12 pieces, 2 each of six unique colors. Wow, what happened? Talk about cutting costs! I'm keeping this vintage box now, especially since I can get the new ones at work for 41 cents (employee major discount). Oh, and by the way, the retail price of the old box is 15 cents!

Sidewalk chalk drawing is one of those things every parent and child takes for granted. Think about hopscotch, smiley faces, arrows leading to a "secret treasure", you name it! Probably virtually no one thinks about whether it is legal or not, and what locations are okay and others not. I found some cases on the web that suggest schools and universities are perhaps the most common instigators of policies on the subject. Often students are limited in their drawings, and the content must be approved first. That's all good and fine, but what about your average sidewalk or city park path? I wonder. So far I haven't found any concrete (no pun intended) documentation on the legality of chalk drawing. If anyone knows, I'd be interested to hear, but cite your sources so I can confirm.

My guess is that in general, it is not illegal to draw with chalk on an average sidewalk in a residential area in the U.S. If it was absolutely illegal, I think it would be easier to find information, and more people would know. If it is illegal, then why is there such thing as Sidewalk Chalk? Are the sellers of this chalk like those who put their MP3s in sharing networks, making themselves questionably quasi-guilty, quasi-innocent... along the same line of thought as "guns don't kill people; people do".

The best sidewalk artist I've seen: Kurt Wenner's Masterful Artistry. His images have the common theme of going deeper below the surface, and their subject matter seems deeper as well. The style has a built-in religious tone to it, like classic (neoclassical) images from the Renaissance.

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 - 11:44 PM

"The Queen Made Me Think on Authority"

The Queen

Justin has been speaking about authority the last few weeks at Ethnos. I guess my mind subliminally captured some of the thoughts he provoked, saving them for later (Mary ponders as I do). In the meantime, I watched The Queen, a depiction of recent events in the life of Queen Elizabeth II. I don't know how accurate the portrayal is. There were several events I remember hearing about, though I don't follow that sort of tabloid gossip like so many do. High interest and awareness of "the royal family" is foreign to me. Quite frankly, I found the movie rather boring other than the provocative insight afforded into the potential vanity and apparent surreal pretense of it all. The movie sends a message that I have long held as my own opinion - that the British monarchy is largely a figurehead, rather than a position of absolute authority, demanding not even near the respect as that of kings and queens of old. I find this sort of politics quite odd and seemingly pointless to be perfectly honest. If it's a farce, why continue with it?

At any rate, as is often the case, my mind was all a clutter and boisterous with activation energy that night after watching the movie. I had to play video games late into the morning to distract myself, as is my practice. Here is the gist of what came rushing through my brain: How we view earthly authorities disturbingly may reflect how we view heavenly ones. In our modern (even post-modern) society, figures of authority are often the most frequently criticized, ridiculed, written off and defamed people of all. Just think of our senators, governors, presidents and the like. Leaders that demand and control true old world respect are few and far between. There still exist countries in which the subjects are truly subject to governing authorities (most by violent force). There is virtually nothing left of this practice or sentiment in the U.S. Rather it seems everyone lives for and to themselves. If a "command" as it were came from a "higher power", a U.S. citizen might smirk, shrug, remain inactive, indifferent, or outright rebel against the command. This sort of mentality is largely accepted and encouraged in our society - free thinking and acting for one's best interests and pleasure. Isn't this bizarre - what a huge diversion from old models of authority and subjugation - not that I devalue freedom, but come on, it must be balanced by respect! As the result of what I see in the news and as depicted in "The Queen", I consider the British monarchy (and many world governments and politicians) to be vain and almost ridiculous. However, this point of view or state of mind concerns me.

Obviously I would attempt to show due respect if I met the President of the United States or some Queen face-to-face, but it would not be utter respect and self-deprecation as seen in times of old. It would be on the level of "good manners" as taught growing up. When not in their immediate presence, however, I might simply think of the same authorities with disdain or without care. It is also significant to mention that lack of respect and disobedience shown to these figures are no longer punished significantly - it would just be considered "rude". Perhaps the only authorities that still enforce their own respect are policemen, judges and so on - those who keep the peace and hand out sentences. So the question is: If this is how I treat my earthly authorities, a king - how do I also treat the King of kings? Aren't there startling similarities? I am humbled by my seeming indifference. This can be seen when I sometimes almost flippantly pray to the Lord of Hosts, how I mostly ignore Him in my busy life, or fail to shout His praises, etc. It is oft a shame. Through these thoughts, I have become more aware of what it means to "fear the Lord" and why it is important. I don't want to think about God as I do politicians. He deserves all glory, all power, all praise, all love. I'll stop at that, as it could become a book. Let's try for a moment to let go of a little bit of our individuality and freedom that we so tightly hold on to as Americans... and assess whether or not we hold God Almighty (and even earthly authorities) even near to the place where He belongs. I certainly don't. Food for thought... for me, if for no one else.

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 - 11:06 PM

"Jugglisk VIII"


Jugglisk: noun

The act of one person keeping a soccer ball from touching the ground using feet and other legal soccer hits (ie. no hands). Quite often the number of hits is counted and recorded.

Additional Information

Today was a brilliantly nice day, reaching somewhere around 86 degrees. After work I juggled the ole soccer ball out on the patio to get some exercise. I wasn't in the mindset to break any records, so I took it relatively easy.

Recently I have been wanting to record the number of hits I get each time I drop the ball. Historically I have only made note of my best scores. It occurred to me that writing the scores with chalk would be a fun and easy solution. I didn't think of the idea until after I had been juggling for a while today, so not all my scores are written. My recorded scores for today are: 491, 187, 233, 113, 260, 2, 79, 49, 58, 89, 378, 174, 91, 175, 92, 122, 189, 37 and 170. Together, these scores add up to 2989 hits.

For the first time my juggling records are recorded in chalk.

I was excited to put one of my old art supplies to use. I have a Rubbermaid bin full of art supplies from various past projects (especially from map-making with Dave). I remembered that somewhere in the bin was a box of colored chalk. I didn't realize it was so old. Look at the box - it looks like vintage or something. I looked on eBay, but found nothing similar. I'm sure there's no market for collecting such things, and I certainly don't care - though I do appreciate the simplicity and nostalgia of old packaging.

My vintage Binney & Smith Colored Chalk finally gets put to good use.

Also worth mentioning: last Saturday I bought my first flat-panel LCD computer monitor for home. I have had one at work for a long time and figured it was time to get one for home. My AMW 19 inch LCD monitor was only $129.99 after mail-in rebate, and it is very bright and clear. I actually spent a great deal of time looking at all the models offered, and despite the cheap price tag, I found this one to be among the brightest and clearest. Hopefully it lasts. I'm generally one who ignores brand identity when I think the only difference is price. There are a few products, like pop, where popular brands make a difference for me. I can't stand store brand pop. Just about everything else I'm willing to consider or pursue generic alternatives.

With my new monitor, is like experiencing the computer world anew - like the first time I saw Sonic the Hedgehog on a 16-bit Genesis after being accustomed to 8-bit Nintendo. Wow! What a difference. It makes me want to look through all my old photos in full resolution. I'm noticing intricacies and colors I hadn't appreciated before! It makes me wish I could figure out how to route video from my X-Box through to my monitor. I've looked online for solutions to do this and haven't found much. It's probably not worth the trouble, but I'm sure it would look better than on my old 27 inch TV.

In-between bouts of Jugglisk , I took some photos around the backyard once again. See them on EsoShow.

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Tuesday, May 8th, 2007 - 11:34 PM

"Batman is My Favorite Superhero"

Though technically not a superhero, Batman is hands down my favorite of all time. Even with the new Spiderman 3 movie (which I haven't seen yet), X-Men movies, Fantastic 4, etc, I'm still first a Batman fan. Just to prove his superiority over other heroes, I included this genius video as proof. Please show due respect to the highly skilled role model by watching this clip in its entirety...

P.S. Jim and Dave... just like the little face at the bottom of Unipueness, eh? Hehehe. Purely flawless!

Further proof...

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 - 10:20 PM

"C2F Back to School 2007 Web Theme"

C2F Back to School 2007 Web Theme

A new seasonal promotion is starting again at C2F. With each new promotion comes a new theme for the web site. I'm fairly pleased with this newest theme I've been working on. I decided to do something different with the panel tops and bottoms. Instead of the rounded corners I've been sticking with, I altered it to be torn paper. I scanned a real piece of torn paper and masked it out for realism. The cool thing is that I am still using the same HTML source. Just by altering the CSS and using different images, I am able to achieve a variety of effects.

I'll be making the theme live tomorrow. Yesterday I was working on a graphic for the home page. Perhaps I'll write about how I made it. By the way, does anyone know of other sites that regularly change themes or color schemes? I think it is pretty cool to be involved in a project that changes its appearance this often (about once every 3 months). I don't know of a lot of sites that do this. The way I wrote the CSS makes it quite easy to create new themes. I guess I am kinda living out my dream for Esotropiart. My original hope for Esotropiart was to create a host of different themes that would either be loaded randomly or chosen by the user. I simply don't have the time to devote to creating new features and adding content to my site. Too many other projects receive my attention.

See the theme in action

Previous Posts About C2F Themes:

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