Projects. (or: Hi, I'm a nerd.)

November is starting out pretty well. I’ve been very fortunate to get a few freelance web design jobs. I haven’t started designing any of them, but have been working out the details and making agreements.

Two of them are wedding websites. One of those is a gift from me to the couple. (Yay! Libby & Zach are getting married!!) I designed my dad’s and stepmom’s wedding website last summer, and got a decent amount of compliments on it. My dad’s been wanting to push me into freelance web design since. I like the idea of doing wedding sites because I like doing websites that are clean and not overly complicated, but with so many of those websites-in-a-box sites popping up the wedding site market isn’t the easiest. Plus, surprisingly, I don’t know all that many people getting married right now.

The other site I’m doing is for a musician, a jazz trumpeter. He’s played with Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra Jr., the Temptations, Tony Bennett, and a list of others. He’s playing at the Paramount tomorrow. I’m very excited about doing this site. I get to incorporate audio and video, create photo galleries… It’s going to be a fair bit of code and well, I’m a huge nerd and I love me some HTML, CSS, and looking forward to working on some different scripts.

I don’t know if web design will ever be a full-time gig for me. I love it, but I also don’t want to burn out either. It happened with film. But I would love to do sites part-time, not only to supplement my income, but because I really enjoy it. Getting lost in writing websites and troubleshooting the linguistics of it — nerdgasm right there.

yes, this is also on Pink Dinosaurs… I realized it was more than I had intended for tumblr, hence the cross-posting.

cupcakes, fishes, and por-shoes (in other words, my weekend)

Weekends are too short.  Especially when you start packing in as much as possible.  Or at least in my case, when you try to pack as much in just one day.

I spent Saturday at home.  I had thought about going out, but really apathy took over for most of the day.  I did manage to get out for a bit when I took Libby out to dinner for some buffalo wings.  But truly, my weekend was spent on Sunday.

My main motivation for getting out was based on a tip from the wonderful Jennifer of Free and Flawed.  I was on the hunt for $2 tank tops.  I searched all over that store.  Even up in the kids area to see if maybe they had sold out of the women’s… Nope.  No luck.  (And just FYI — yes, I can still fit into little boy’s XL, but I was going to get them for my niece rather than myself.)  It wasn’t a total bust.  I got a new bikini.  That’s definitely a win.  Major win.  Now I just need an occasion to wear it/them.  (I got one pair of bottoms, and two tops — so unless I plan on doing a costume change at the beach, maybe a few trips to the beach would be nice…)

Having failed at my search for cheap summer wears, I decided that I wanted to find a cupcake bakery down in the Loop I’d heard about.  The cupcake hunt was a major success.  I found Sugar Bliss.  Fewer selections than Phoebe’s, but still nice.  And it was while treating myself to some mini cupcakes that I decided that I needed to indulge myself even more.  I hopped in a cab and after about 7 minutes of my driver hitting on me and reminding me that he likes European girls and I seem very European, I ended up at my desired destination, Shedd Aquarium.

I honestly couldn’t recall the last time I had visited Shedd.  It was back when my Gram was living in Hyde Park and I thought that you could walk from there to Wrigley Field.  (My childhood version of Chicago is skewed, to say the least.)  I have no qualms about going to such attractions as zoos and museums by myself.  Sometimes I prefer it.  I get the freedom to check out the exhibits I want to see, and the freedom to sit and stare at a particular animal for 20 minutes if I so choose.  Sadly, the animal I wanted to stare at for extended periods of time wasn’t on display.  The shark tank was closed for the day.  They did have two bonnetheads in the caribbean reef tank.  Not to mention that the Beluga exhibit was finally open again.

I know some crazy animal rights groups absolutely loath zoos.  And while I agree that a zoo is not the ideal home for most animals, I do believe that most zoos are doing good and are promoting great causes.  I can definitely say that zoos and aquariums pushed me over the edge with my love for wildlife, something sparked by great programs on networks like Discovery.  The LP Zoo is one of the city’s parks and is free to the public, allowing tons of city kids a chance to see animals such as polar bears, giraffes and lions for the first time (and to hear of animals like red pandas, spectacle bears and takins for the first time as well).  As much as those groups can complain and picket, organizations like Shedd, the LP Zoo, and Brookfield are doing far more good than harm.

So.  Besides staring a fish and marine wildlife for hours, I also got out of my element this weekend.  While I was out, I received a call from Oliver informing me that there were fun times to be had (along with BBQ and pies) over at the Hideout.  So after a quick breather at home (I had done a bit of shopping, even finally picking up the painting I’ve been eyeing for ages, so I needed to drop off bags)… I skirted up and caught a cab.  I arrived to a full on barbecue, a forklift, and aural blast of country.  What I had come into was a day, yes a full day, of country music.  Now, thanks to the my uncle and the Globe, I can tolerate some folk and bluegrass.  But I don’t really listen to country.  At first I wasn’t sure what I should do, so I just tagged along with my bandmates David and Susie for a while.  Despite my own taste in music, I can acknowledge good music.  And there was definitely some great music there.

After the bands were over, some of us were hanging by the forklift (hey, how else are you supposed to arrange large benches?)…  Oliver’s shoes were stolen… And well, an impromptu game of Por-shoes was started.  How do you play por-shoes?  It’s simple.  Take a pair of well-loved Wal-stocks sandals and heave them, under handed of course, towards the Porsche convertible.  Get it in, win your round and the love of everyone.  It may sound sort of… odd, but it’s truly fun.  I got a half point for getting a shoe in the puddle.

So, lessons I’ve learned from my weekend:

  • these new cute fashion sandals are so NOT worth anything more than $5.  Seriously.
  • people are stupid and no matter how many signs or verbal announcements you make, they will not turn off their flash for the well-being of the animals
  • don’t pay with credit card when your cabby is hitting on you, because then he learns your full name.
  • kittens hate when you’re gone all day
  • I’m not too old to sleep with a stuffed shark (yep. I bought a hammerhead — note to future boyfriends: yes, I do take plushie gifts)
  • There are some guys out there who will drive out to see you, even after last call, for just a few minutes… (ha, if you want updates on this, you’re just going to have to wait…)

Now next weekend… yeah, that’ll be a trip. I’m meeting up with a mass of 20-something bloggers for a weekend here in the city.  It’ll be a great time, if everyone is as awesome as the people I’ve met already.  And hopefully there’ll be more cupcakes too.  (Seriously, I think I have an addiction now…)

small musings: a brief weekend and liveblogging

Most of my weekend I spent sleeping, lounging, or eating Indian food.

Seriously.  Two Indian buffets in two days.

However, last night, since our converter box won’t get ABC, the roommates sans Libby and I walked to the Land of Cana (it’s just down the alley a few buildings — oh, and happens to be the home of Mennogirl).  I’ve never really been big into award shows.  They’re entertaining, but I’m still indifferent.  My roommates were a bit more enthused.

Anyway.  Mennogirl decided to do a little live blogging of the Oscars.  Eventually she handed control over to me for a bit, and then later on I basically took over her blog for the night.
You can find our interesting liveblogging over at Mennogirl’s blog.

All I have to say, Wolverine is mine (dibs).  What now Mennogirl?

a lot of silliness and love

Last night my roommates and I had our Christmas dinner.

Libby made some killer, fall-off-the-bones ribs… and Becca made some really good garlic mashed potatoes, and broccoli (seriously one of my favorite veggies — which I hated until I went to China… I don’t understand it either)… Jess made rolls and Abby helped her make the gingerbread pieces.  I supplied the wine.

After dinner… we went upstairs for gifts and gingerbread decorating… and silliness.
I decided for my gingerbread apartment, that well, I’d be a little non-traditional.  Basically… Well…  Here’s the video…

Gingerbread of DOOM

Yeah… Nothing says Merry Christmas like and inferno and dead candy people.  (I’d like to blame my weirdness on the wine, soda, and half-a-tin of cookies that I ate.. but it’s all me.)

This year we put a $10-20 cap on gifts.. and I tried to stay near the lower end… not because I don’t care about my roommates $20-worth… but because I got gifts for about 17-18 people this year.  Five of whom are 13 and under.  I went with books for all of them… A 365-recipe cookbook for Becca, two histories of Britain (by Austin and Dickens) for jrosei, the Secret Spy Handbook for Libby (in which I’ll post a video of the reading soon), and an amazing dating book for Mennogirl (entitled: “Dating Makes You Want to Die, but You Do It Anyway”)….

We had a lot of fun with gifts, and I can say… it’s easy to tell that we live together.  I could see a little of each of my roommates in the gifts they gave me, as well as knowing that they perfectly fit me too.  I’ll have a full list of loot after the holidays (it’s sort of a tradition from older blogs that mostly originated with JenJen!theamazing… one of the only people from my high school I keep in decent contact with.)

Anyway…  It was a great night of giggling, silliness, kitties, short skirts, weird faces, and love.

of shenanigans, cookies, martians and rocking out…

So, I had a decently packed weekend.  I wasn’t booked solid, but it was indeed busy.  — so prepare yourself for a bit of a post…

Friday after work, as was mentioned, was the department party.
It’s always great to see drunk coworkers running amok through a mansion.  Or hyped up, sugar-crazy kids running through a mansion.  However, Tasneem did an amazing job getting this organized, and then getting Dani and I organized to help set up.  The food was great — the catering staff was awesome and entertaining… and well, free booze!
I ended up making friends with a 2 year old chinese girl.  She thought I was just entertaining — I mean, here’s an adult who talks at a lower level than she does!  (I’ve seriously forgotten a lot of my conversational Chinese… )
It was indeed a good time, and well, I also got 3 bottles of wine out of this!

After the department party, Dani and I met up with Angel for what we were hoping would be a night of dancing and booty shaking and general ridiculousness.  However, after first soaking my feet in about 6 inches of slush, walking painfully in the cold, a few cabs, we made it to the bar where their friends were… We were the youngest ones there.  It’s a 70’s & 80’s flashback bar, which would normally be entertain as hell… if we weren’t tired, wet, cold, and wanting to dance.  However, people were dancing at this bar… all the drunk 40-somethings remembering their 20s and trying to relive them… dancing, singing loudly, awkward sexual poses for pictures, making out in public… yep.  These are the city’s business class.  We then switched that bar for another… which was sort of like a basement frat party… beer pong and everything.  I actually didn’t mind it too much, but it really wasn’t the right scene for the night.  So we bounce early.

Dani and Angel. ... ready to call it a night.
Dani and Angel. ... ready to call it a night.

I spent a good part of Saturday sleeping.  I think.  I know I bought and baked more brie.  Also when I first woke up, all cranky, I sent out a not-so-pleasant email to my roommates…  And that The Virginian came over early for our 2nd Annual Cookie Party the roommates and I were hosting.  We did a little wii with Zach before the party started, and then headed up to Libby & jrosei’s for cookies, brie, cider, and games.
We played the name game — which can be explained later.  It was a good laugh, and as it should be, My Team beat Not My Team.  (which does indeed mean that my team won.)  From there we moved to Apples-to-Apples… where I was humored by Johnmark… and I did indeed help him get a win… but it was probably the best ever.  Johnmark had “Vampires” in his hand, and so I told him, regardless when it’s Libby’s turn to judge, throw that down.  And before the card was turned over, JM threw down… and then Libby revealed “Handsome”.  Cash money.  There was nothing else Libby could have picked.
After that, some people left, and the group was getting ready to play Mafia… the Virginian and I ducked out and called it a night.

I definitely know I spent a good part of Sunday sleeping.  I was pretty much curled up on the couch until 3:30p.  I hung out with jrosei & her sisters for a bit, then headed off for some last minute Christmas shopping.  I think I might actually have all that I need for the 17-18 people I’m giving gifts too.  I’m sort of losing count.
Anyway.  After a little confusion and delay we headed out to Zach & Morgan’s for their Christmas party versus the Martians.  It was a grand time of food, conversation, MST3K, general awesomeness, and Guitar Hero.  I brought over World Tour and my guitar — we were able to play in band mode and do some battles.  It was awesome.  My one regret is not filming anything.  (I am indeed going to be poking Morgan & Zach for photos — so stay tuned for a part II photo post)… Good times, good people, great night.  (I did meet some really awesome people who I hope to hang out with again.)

Tonight there will be more.  The girls and I are having our roommates’ Christmas dinner… which, there was confusion about previously, but hopefully we’ve cleared things up.
It’s only a day or so before I’m back in the heartland with my momma.

kitten comfort

Last night I went home, and I don’t know if maybe my anti-anxiety meds wore off or something, but I just wasn’t in the best of moods.

We’re lacking antennae to watch basics in our apartment (they’re upstairs at jrosei & libby’s — though they belong to my roommate)… and we’re currently lacking internet until the 9th (had to switch from Mennogirl to Libby)… so that leaves these options: movies, reading, cleaning, or games.  Or the other option of just sleeping all evening until you finally decide to actually go to bed.

So, I curled up on the couch and had a minor little pity party for myself.  I had gotten it in my head that I had/have absolutely no chance with this really hot guy I like, and on top of that the last string of rejections had more to do with me then the guy or the situation.  So I buried myself under my blankets.

And as to be expected, my kittens have a fascination with many things, one of them being tunnelling under blankets.  So first Kaija joined me, climbed across my legs then over my back and then cuddled in by my belly.  Soon Tuija was in there too, and it was a little kitty spoonfest.  So we all cuddled and the kittens nuzzled me and each other.. purring loudly…   It wasn’t long before I relaxed and decided not to care about my lack of a chance or my singleness.

I don’t know.  I feel like I might be getting mixed signals from said attractive male (whom I may or may not have a chance with)… Maybe he’s flirting, maybe he’s just joking around as a friend… I don’t know.   Maybe I’m just dense, like many people in these situations, and need something a bit more obvious… Like “Hey, you’re cute.  I like you.  Let’s go out some time.”  Or the ever popular slightly random make-out sessions… Or if you still want to be subtle, physical touch isn’t always a bad thing — a quick back rub or pat that maybe lingers, a little squeeze on the arm, holding hands even…. hell, just smiling, making eye contact and maybe a little flirty wink or something… I don’t know.  But at this point I’m confused.

At least I have my kittens to come home to and cuddle with.
and they’re damn cute.  (just like me)

kaija v. the sink - round 1 take 2

I live under a rock.

Seriously.

I feel like I am the only person who hasn’t seen the Dark Knight.
At least in my social group.

And for the past couple of weeks I’ve seen countless pictures of my friends, and others, dressed up like the late Heath Ledger… Pretty much always with the same caption, “Why so serious” … !!! (yes, at this point I can only express my frustration through punctuations.)

It’s not like I didn’t try to see the movie.  The Dark Knight has been one giant epic fail for me.

– Opening day, my roommates go without me.  All three of them (this was before Libby moved in).  I mean, they went to a matinee, and I was at work (and even worked until 7 that day).. but still, I kinda would have liked to have been invited or known about it.. we could have waited ONE day so I could go… but I got over it with the assumptions that one or more of them might be up for seeing it again.

– Actually going to a theater with Libby and Zach, this time, I really think I’m going to get to see it.  We get there, and well, they only have one seat left.  We give up and walk about Navy Pier.  We also discuss making another attempt later — which doesn’t happen.  L & Z see it together later.  I’m not disappointed because dating people do that whole “us” time thing.  And I try to encourage that sometimes too.

– I ask Adam if he’ll go since only two theaters in the area are playing it.  Unfortunately he’s seen it like 3 times or something, twice on IMAX.. so he’s not all that interested.

– Dan invited me up to the far north to see it with another friend of his.  Said friend ends up not wanting to see a movie with me, or maybe just in general.  Movie doesn’t happen, and Dan feels bad… but I assure him that I’m okay because well, it’s not the first time and it’s really okay.

Basically after that I gave up.

So I still haven’t seen it.  Not that it’s a huge thing.  I generally don’t go out to movies.  I like theaters — and well, love theater popcorn (even after working in a theater for just over 2 years in high school) — I’m just kinda cheap.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I’m selectively cheap.  I’ll spend money on clothing, shoes, books, and video games… But for some reason paying for a movie ticket is different.  However, if the right person asked me, I might be willing to change.

you should buy me a wii (part 1)

I’ve been craving a Wii for a while now, but for financial reasons didn’t really think too much about it. I had friends with Wiis, so I played every once in a while, plus for a while I just didn’t have time for video games (I know, blasphemy).

But now… This is the time.  I need a Wii.  In fact, the original plan was for me to buy one tomorrow.  … However, due to some unfortunate events I missed 3 days of work unpaid… so I’m not sure if a Wii is in the budget this time.  And well, I’m freaking impatient — so waiting two more weeks for the next paycheck is going to be torture.  Plus, I also feel odd buying myself some of these really awesome, and pricey, things just before the holidays — when my family can purchase these things for me.  Again, impatient.

Buying my DS Lite has really reminded me how much I miss and enjoy video games.  If I could, I would own all the major platforms — though I’m really just excited about the Wii and an Xbox 360.  (No offense to Sony — the PS3 is awesome, I just haven’t had a push for that over the Xbox.)  If I could, I think I would spend all of my time at Zach’s (Libby’s boyfriend)… He and his roommate Morgan have more than enough video games to keep me occupied until I can buy my own.  And well, it’s from gaming at his place that as pushed me over the edge in my desires to own a Wii….

true rockstar
true rockstar

Why?
Guitar Hero III.

As silly as I think the game is, it’s incredibly addicting and I’m simply hooked.  There was only two ways I could go with this game: either I was going to love it and be mildly decent at it or I was going to have an epic fail.  But following my true awesome nature, I indeed rocked (as the game told me many times).

My biggest issue is that I tend to skip over songs that I either don’t quite care for aurally, or just simply don’t know.  Obviously I realize they can’t tailor the game to my musical fixations… but from what I’ve seen of World Tour… I don’t think I’ll be terribly disappointed.  I even noticed one of my ringtones on there (Modest Mouse – Float On; Psapp and John Lennon also grace my phone — and, only when the MennoJerk calls, the Super Mario Bros Theme).

.. Anyway.  Since I’m familiar with Guitar Hero, I’m starting off with that.  It means I can easily join up with others — aka Zach and Morgan — and not have to worry about buying a lot of extras.  I will, at some point, purchase Rock Band.  I’ve looked over their playlist and am please.  Plus, a bonus, they’ll be adding Beatles songs (or so my mother has informed me).

Well… At this point, I’m just going to conclude with some visuals for you…. there will be video in part 2.

showing how it's done.
showing how it's done
a blurry ball of awesomeness
a blurry ball of awesomeness