Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Of course I have been really enjoying spring, because there are SO many babies! They're everywhere and I've found that I have to go and count them every day or two just to see who's left, because it seems like they are preyed upon by the sea gulls and local cats. At first I was sort of gutted at the realization, but really, if you're going to enjoy observing nature, then you have to accept these things.
I think it's really cute though how when the babies first hatch they stay so close to their mother, and within a week they're zipping all over the place, exploring and chasing mosquitoes. occasionally there will be one who is a bit too brave and it goes off exploring and doesn't realize that everyone else has moved on. Once it's realized, the baby will begin chirping loudly and swimming at full speed towards them to catch up. Yes, I realize that I am a complete geek.
Anyway, this is one of the "families" that I've been visiting. They're a lot bigger now.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
There's nothing worse than being in an unfamiliar city wandering the streets with a desperate look in your eye, only to be told "The restroom is for patrons only" or "It's out of order", and if you always rely on Starbucks, you've come to realize that so does everyone else, which is why Starbucks also serves as a homeless person washing up station.
While the primary point is to find a working, available restroom, it is certainly a bonus when the restroom is clean and you can breathe while you're in there. It also helps immensely if the essential items are available, such as toilet paper and hand soap.
Well, the days of pee pee misery may be closing to and end for some. If you live in the US of A, program this number into your mobile's address book: 415-350-2290 under the name "MizPee". The next time you're caught in this predicament, send a text message to the number with your city and state and according to the site, "MizPee finds the closest, cleanest toilet and gives you entertaining reading material once you get there."
You read that right kids! You even get reading material. Even better... it's entitled, "The Toilet Paper"
Alternatively, you can use your mobile browser and go to www.mizpee.com. You input your locale and MizPee gives you a list of options.
For each toilet you are given the following information:
- Business or building name
- Street address
- Distance from your location
- Average cleanliness rating from previous users
(5 = very clean; 1 = yuck)
- Cost and/or purchase requirements, e.g. is this toilet for customers only?
- Handicap access: Yes or No
- Diaper-changing station: Yes or No
- User comments
I don't have an internet browser on my mobile, so I haven't tried this... if you live in Europe, I'd be interested to see if it works so try it out and let me know.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I know the Dutchies are professionals with their bikes, but I am not even close. I barely know how to operate the silly tire valves... and that little doo-hickie electric generator? Well I had the bike for over 2 months before someone showed me how to adjust it and make it work. I've since forgotten, so I don't ride it at night. Anyway, back in NYC I took my oma to the bike shop and it took them 3 hours to get the back tire off when they told me it would take 20 minutes. After watching 3 bike shop employees struggling with the back tire for well over an hour, I am doubtful that I am capable of doing it on my own.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I did also hear from a woman who is a bit of a long distance runner. I think I immediately knew that I could not manage running with her, but she shared her long and short loop routes with me, and both happen to run right past my house. So about 3 weeks ago I decided to give it a shot and ran the short loop, which is 5 miles. I finished it in just over an hour and felt thrilled with myself for doing it, and without really struggling. So I haven't went back to my old route since then, and with tonight's run of just over 5 miles, I'm beginning to feel like this is something that I could really start to enjoy as a hobby.
Where am I going with this? heh. Well I've decided to sign up for a 10k in May. I realize it's not a huge distance but I'm pleased that I'm already to a point where running a 5k would seem like too small a challenge. I have 24 days to run and condition myself and I'm really excited about it.
In news, last weekend I finally rode up to Lisse to check out the tulips. It was a nice trip, although I did it with a large group of people and frankly, at times it was a bit chaotic with people stopping without warning to take photos and blocking the bike paths. It made me think of the situation on the Brooklyn Bridge. There's a pedestrian lane and a biking lane, but with so many tourists who don't know or care about that line running up the middle, the bikers end up being really aggressive and tourists are left running around flailing their arms as if they've been swimming and someone yells "shark!" This scene wasn't nearly AS dramatic, but it had some potential. I just rode more towards the front of the group to avoid such cases and eventually most of those people were left to their maps and photos and a smaller, more laid back group managed to cruise the rest of the trip with relative ease, and no photo stops.
We did stop at one point to wait for people at a small castle and were able to check out some sort of Renaissance themed "battle", a random yet fun find, and on our way back, we stopped at the grocery store for some wine and went out to a pretty island park in Warmond to have a few drinks and chat before heading home.
Overall, out of 10, I give the day a 6.
Photos to follow.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
They come in "twin packs" and there are 3 different styles; lite, gold, and black which range from $2.90 to $7.30. I have no idea what the difference is, but that seems far from cheap. What do you think? Would you buy Toastabags?
It's the season of new album releases, so I tried my luck yesterday and was able to get a few newbies, some not-so-newbies, and some oldies but goodies. The goal for the day is to give all or most of these a good listen to whilst I do my work. I'm not very good at writing album reviews, but if anything seems fantastic I'll make mention of it. I'm taking recommendations too, so please let me know if there's something new out that I should be hearing!
Von Bondies - Love, Hate And Then There's You
Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Vs. Children
Bat for Lashes - Two Suns
Robots In Disguise - We're In the Music Biz
PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By
Fischerspooner - Entertainment
Rupa and the April Fishes - eXtraOrdinary Rendition
Port O' Brien - All We Could Do Was Sing
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
Wavves - Wavves
John Maus - Love is Real
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Bwyd Time
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - The Doldrums
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Tuesday 07 April 2009
Amsterdam city council is refusing to cooperate with government plans to collect plastic waste separately, the Parool reported on Monday afternoon.
Environment minister Jacqueline Cramer wants to introduce separate plastics collection from January 1, 2010. But Amsterdam says it plans to continue incinerating plastic waste because that is better for the environment.
The city council will present a report on the environmental effect of separating plastic waste later this year, the paper says.
In addition, the city council says that experiments in smaller local authority areas show few people are actually prepared to separate their waste.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
There's still some others in the line up, Tim Burton's short, Vincent, The Flying Pig (hopefully), an episode of Ren & Stimpy, an episode of Wallace & Grommit, Akira, and a few other options.which I've forgotten just now.
Tonight, on a fluke last minute decision, we decided to veer from the film itinerary (which happens when you're dealing with torrents, and slow downloads) and watch a film that we had already downloaded... Monsters vs. Aliens. This film was released in theatres in the US just last week I believe, so the copy wasn't 100%, but, regardless, it could have been perfect and it still would have been terrible. No exaggeration, this is one of the most terrible animation films that I have ever seen. Ever. I watched it to the end out of a sense of responsibility and also because I wanted something magical to happen and for the movie to suddenly change into a masterpiece. That never happened. Now it's over and instead of sending a copy to my parents, I'm deleting it.
'Tis a shame.
That's not the only reason that I want to draw more. When I was younger it was all I did and thought about. Somewhere along the line I lost that drive. Like a writer or a musician, art is a form of expression. I'm wondering what I've been doing to relieve myself of the many different emotions and life experiences that I've had over the years since I stopped. Drinking wine is my best guess :)
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The best learning part of this tutorial- adjustment layers and layer masks. Usually if I were making changes to a layer, I would just click on image>adjustment>and choose whatever adjustment I want, but with an adjustment layer, I can create a new layer above the original and make the changes, and because the adjustment layer is also a mask, I can then go in with a black paint brush and remove areas of the new effect that I don't want, showing the layer below though selectively. If I don't want the adjustment layer anymore down the line, I just delete it, and I'm not compromising anything in my work.
I chose to change some of the details based on my own aesthetic preferences and I'm pleased with the final result for sure. There were quite a few images used to create this scene, and below are a few of them, followed by the finished result.
Overall I think this is a fabulous tutorial for people who are comfortable with the basic skills required to use PS because you already understand layers and masks. The repetition involved here really helps to drive home the value of what you're doing so that you will be able to actually go ahead and use them in your own projects. You can find this tutorial along with the required images at psd tuts and the creator of the tutorial is a freelance graphic designer named Constantin Potorac. You can visit his personal site here.