Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Two Font Links With An Eye On Design

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

I’ve been looking to overhaul the ol’ black box once again, so I’ve been scouring around the net for some inspiration.  Just for my own sanity, I thought I would record two sites which could provide a bit of inspiration … through fonts …

Blambot – Is a site I’ve used frequently for a number years now.  I just love the art style of these fonts, and a number of them are free!  Score!

Tack-O-Rama – I came across this site by accident, but this is the kind of aesthetic which I think I want to redo the site in.  Again, a ton of free resources which is always a plus.

And yes, I’m thinking that I want to maybe go with a Streamline Moderne kind of feel for the site.  I’m playing with some images and I’ll see how they pan out.

Plans To Make

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

So I’m finding myself thinking about projects which I’d like to start up.  Lord knows I have no current shortage of things to do or projects which I’m already up to my eyeballs in.  At the very least, there is;

  • This web site
  • The football pick site
  • The genealogy site
  • The D&D group and of course the site related to that
  • Cleaning up the garage
  • Convincing Shari that the “hobby” room needs more of a gaming slant …

So despite the fact that I’ve got all of that currently on the go, I still find my mind occupied with yet one more project.  Specifically I’m thinking about trying to learn more about how car engines work.  It sounds so stereotypical but I really would like to be able to work on our vehicles all by myself, and have my kids right there by my side learning how to do it as well.  Yes I know that neither one of them is anywhere near an age where they can comprehend how things really work.  However these are the years where I could learn the basics myself,  and when the kids are of an appropriate age I could be in a much better position to help them learn as well.  Plus if the kids see me doing things right now then perhaps they’ll yearn to be able to help me once they’re older.  Fostering interests now so they can have something to grow into sounds like a pretty good idea.

So.  I basically want to start to tear apart my Cavalier.  Little things at first.  I do however want to try and tackle more involved jobs, something beyond just changing the air filter.  The problem of course is that not only do I need the time to do this but I also need to make sure that I won’t need the car immediately in case I REALLY screw it up.  The car itself has been paid for for a couple of years now and a quick check online let me know that on the used market I’m only going to get at most $5K for the thing.  So I’m not worried about resale value.  Nope, I’m going to want to try and tear into that car and learn just exactly how it ticks.

Or maybe introduce some ticks where there weren’t any before … hmmm …

Apparently One Thing I Missed

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Apparently I missed what would have been the 10 year anniversary of my presence on the net. Nov 14th, 2001 was when I first put up a web page and started talking.

So happy belated anniversary to me and my thoughts. I’ll try and keep ‘em coming.

Damn It’s Cold

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Yessir, it’s the start of a new year. Outside my window right now it’s FREEZING cold but that isn’t going to stop me from thawing out my fingers and doing some typing!

But where to start? There’s so many different things to talk about. First up, one of the many gifts I received this year was a copy of “Just a Geek” by Wil Wheaton. I’m only into the beginning of the book but reading about his struggles as an author as well as an actor got me thinking that I need to be writing out my thoughts more often.

This is going to be a big year for the Carder family. We’ve got a lot of milestones coming up including the fifth wedding anniversary, Shari’s 40th, Brie going into junior kindergarten … uhhh … Logan learning how to pee on the potty? I know there’s other things which I just can’t recall … when it comes to the kids there’s just so much to talk about. I really do try to not be one of those parents who is CONSTANTLY talking about everything his kids is doing. I’m just so overwhelmed with pride in watching what the kids can accomplish I can’t help BUT talk about them constantly.

One of the things that this very blog has changed into over its life span is to become a place for me to collect my thoughts, so as they occur I can share them with my family. The principal recipients of those thoughts is now my kids so that when they get older they can look back on just how life was when they were little. Some of the things I talk about on here can be pretty boring but I do want Brie and Logan to be able to read these things and get a feel for who I am and the things that I did. Maybe when we can’t talk to each other this could be a means for them to understand their father better.

Anyway as it’s the new year and with that comes the annual farce which people call “resolutions”, I’ve decided that one of mine will be that I write more often. As long as I’m putting something down in the permanent record then I’m getting my thoughts out. So what will I talk about? Well there’s the job I’ve been on for three months now. There’s a couple of big upcoming events which I’m sure I’ll have something to say about. Oh yeah, and there’s that wedding anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of source material to draw from. :D

Time To Talk Trailers

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

So this week saw the release of two trailers for some pretty geeky upcoming movies.  Obviously, I have an opinion to share … :D

So the first trailer I caught was the one for the new Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds.  Now I may not be an expert on the original subject matter, but if the trailer is any indication I don’t think they’ve handled it with nearly enough gravitas.  It’s my understanding that the original tale of Hal Jordan is one of redemption, of his journey to become a hero.  Instead the feeling I get watching the trailer is more of some stereotypical frat guy who just found a spandex suit and wants to wear it to the next kegger.

Indeed watching Ryan Reynolds in the trailer, it feels almost more like his role in Van Wilder with a lot more green tinted CGI.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that playing that type of a character is perfect for Reynolds.  I’ve enjoyed Reynolds in a number of movies even beyond the sarcastic and silly ones, such as the Amityville Horror.  It’s just that I don’t think they’ve approached the material from the right angle.  The character who would almost be better suited for this kind of playfulness … would be Deadpool … which Reynolds was earmarked to play before Green Lantern came along.

So after watching the GL trailer and feeling a bit disappointed I caught the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens.  This one as it turns out is also based on a comic book which unfortunately I’m not familiar with.  Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, this trailer looked AWESOME.  It was the exact opposite of the GL trailer.  It took a campy concept (I mean, just look at the movie’s title!) and the feel from the trailer was just pure seriousness with a lot of creepy thrown over it.  It’s no secret that I love Jon Favreau and what he’s done with the Iron Man franchise.  He GETS how to make a comic book movie, and that puts him into elite company with names like Bryan Singer and Joss Whedon.  There’s a couple of other directors who I’d throw on that list but unfortunately someone just came by and derailed my train of thought.

So bottom line?  I’m currently jazzed for Cowboys and Aliens … and not so much for Green Lantern.

Let Me Tell You A Story

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

So I’ve been in a bit of a cocoon as of late … and not like the kind floating in a swimming pool waiting for Wilford Brimley and Steve Guttenburg to find them … no, I’ve been trapped in a game.

Almost 20 years ago, back in 1993 a little game called Doom was unleashed upon the world.  I was among the many who became enraptured with the then groundbreaking graphics.  With the freedom of movement allowed in this virtual world.  With the visceral thrill of being hunted by unknown enemies.  It’s amazing to think that after all of these years I could be trapped by a game which for all intents and purposes looks and acts just about the same.

Minecraft.

Sure you may not be fighting off hordes of hell spawned creatures, but amazingly this game manages to recreate that same sense of freedom and even terror.  At it’s heart Minecraft is nothing more than an exercise in digging up cubes of various materials.  What makes it special is that each world you generate in this game randomly places these cubes into otherworldly landscapes.  Despite the high end graphics, the engine manages to create sweeping vistas which HAVE made me stop and stare in awe.  It then throws in monsters.  Which only come out in the dark.  Hence the terror.

So what you end up doing is frantically building yourself some means of shelter from these terrors as the sun creeps across the sky.  For once the sun goes down, the bad guys come out.  The addictive hook is that you only spend your first few minutes in true terror.  Once you’ve started to amass a collection of materials, you can build yourself better tools.  And better structures.  And better devices.  And with each new discovery comes the wave of inspiration of “what can I do with THIS?”

I’ve tried to tell everyone I can about this game.  At work.  Friends.  Family.  I’ve been playing it on the train back and forth from work.  It has occupied a LOT of my waking moments.  Quite frankly it’s worth much more than the ten dollars which it’s SINGLE creator is asking for it.  That’s right.  One person created this.  And by selling it at $10, he’s raked in … around $5 million dollars.  Step back and think about that for a second.

Oh, the wife and kids?  Yeah, I guess they’re great.  I’ve only been paying attention to them when I haven’t been playing Minecraft.  I guess the wife got a new job, the boy is walking and babbling and the girl is learning to use the potty.  I’m only guessing because I’m catching glimpses of them as I take a game break.  :D

What Does Change Mean For You?

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Guess what?  Life’s been busy for me … surprise surprise eh?  The big change which has occurred  in the Carder household is the fact that Shari has started a new job.  Yessir after fifteen or so odd years of selling soap at the Body Shop she has now entered into the wilds of the corporate world.  She’s working for a data harvesting company as a receptionist / office coordinator.  It’s a good fit for her, and thus far she’s really enjoying herself.  It’s slightly less than full time hours, so she can boogie home early and pick up the kids from day care.

Oh, there’s change number two.  BOTH of the Carder kids are now in daycare.  For Brie it’s just another day but it’s a pretty big change for the big man.  His first week went well aside from the fact that there was only one day where he didn’t have an incident report.  If you’re not in the know, any time that a child hurts themselves, there’s paperwork.  An incident report.  In a short week of four days, my son had three.  That kid is going to be a bruiser.

And for me?  Well, once again I’m trying to get back to the gym on a regular basis.  It’s a glorified excuse of course to use my iPhone, not only for some tunes but also for some workout tracking apps.  And of course the foursquare checkins.  You can’t forget those.

So what does all of the above mean?  It means that our happy little family is doing quite well adjusting and that makes me happy.  It leads me to hope that if my kids can adjust to change like this, then they’ll be better prepared for what life may have in store for them.  Granted they’re not going through major upheaval, but who knows what will come down the road next?

Not Just High Tech

Monday, July 19th, 2010

No sir … I might be all about the tech stuff … for instance, let me apologize to those following me for the oversharing of late … between TwitPic and FourSquare, I may have been a little too forthcoming … back on track, yes I love the tech stuff … but I also like to enjoy some low tech things to play around with.

My most recent forays into the low tech world have come about because of my renewed interest in D&D.  Running sessions for the boys, I’ve been experimenting for the part year on ways to deliver a better experience at the game table.  This has led to some very amateurish wood working and crafting.  I’m getting more comfortable running with a dremel now, with only that one head injury to speak of.

So my mind has started trying to figure out other little projects that I might be able to do around the house.  A CD holder for Shari in the van, because with her returning to work she’s going to be listening to music a lot more.  A holder of some kind for my new tech toy, the iPhone.  Something that will allow me to set it down and watch movies and such.  I was even trying to figure out a way to make a shade tent using PVC piping.  However that one bit the dust based on costs.  But where one project may die, several more will rise to take it’s place.

I’ve always … ALWAYS … been in awe of people who can create things with their bare hands.  I spend so much of my day mired in things which are virtual and intangible.  Sure you can make a good looking web site, but it’s not the same as carving something out of block of wood.  Of building a motorcycle from scratch.  Even something as simple as drawing a comic strip.  All of these things are born from an artist’s two hands and their mind.  I often wish that I can reach something close to what these people do, and as of late my little projects have scratched that itch.

Another part of this is about my kids.  I want them to see that it is possible for them to grow their creativity.  To see that nothing should ever hold them back and that if they want to create there is nothing in their way.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see if there’s a Dremel Jr. for the kids …

What I Can Now Deal With

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Those who know me are aware that for many a year I’ve had a powerful gag reflex, The mere thought of even something I didn’t like approaching my mouth was enough to set me off gagging.

Which is why I’m so amazed at how things have changed for me. Sure you bring the wrong food within visual distance of me, WHAMO! And yet, this morning …. As he does most mornings … Logan obliterates his diaper … Poop shooting out everywhere … and I don’t even bat an eyelid. Just got my hands in there and started cleaning up.

Man, I must be a parent or something ….

So … I’m An iWhore

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Hello world!  Time for another bunch of random thoughts from yours truly.

First off and most importantly, Logan turned one this past week.  Just when I think our little family has settled into something resembling a routine, along comes another of life’s milestones.  And when they come knocking, they usually involve some kind of awe-inspiring life changing changes.  You’d think having seen Brianna do it already, I would be numb to some of Logan’s achievements.  Happily it’s not the case and as I watch as he takes his first steps, starts climbing stairs, starts mumbling MaMa or DaDa … it just rocks my world.  Happy birthday Budgie-Boy!

Now … in regards to the title of this post … yes, I finally have my Jesus phone.  The right deal finally came around and I’m now rocking an iPhone.  And let me tell you, there’s a reason they call it the Jesus phone.  Man does it do EVERYTHING  I’m Twittering.  I’m Facebooking.  I’m reading my news.  I’m listening to my music.  I’m watching videos.  I’m doing location based social networking gaming!  I may even put in a phone call here and there!

So clearly I’m enjoying it.   Perhaps too much as I’m littering some of your facebook pages with some of my little application test runs. “Mike is now the mayor of Blockbuster,” like you care … :D  I think the biggest thing that I’m enjoying is that as I wonder if there’s an application which could fulfill a need which I randomly think of during the day … BOOM … there IS an app for that.  I know it’s cliche but I’m just amazed at how much is available for this thing.  Perhaps the only thing which I’ve found thus far to be on the weak side is Dungeons and Dragons support.  Even that, I don’t think I’ll be running campaigns from my phone, but my laptop instead.

Yep, I’m an iWhore.  And at this particular moment, I don’t think I really care at all.