Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Put Your Game Face On!

16 men are now preparing for a weekend full of nerves, athletic prowess, and brutal competition - for one the taste of victory, for another the agony of defeat! No, I'm not talking about the Super Bowl on Sunday (btw, Cards +3 in a close one that seals Kurt Warner's freakish fate as a hall-of-famer). No, No... I'm talking about the 15th annual Rec Room Romp, an annual Seattle event where 16 men compete in double-elimination ping pong, pool, and bowling. Winners of the RecRoomRomp receive the Moorad Cup, named after Romp founder Joe Moorad, while the 16th finisher gets The Jacket - a hideous sport jacket that is modded every year by its recipients.

I've been meeting with the same set of guys for 15 years for a day of fun. What started out as an excuse to drink beer has turned into an awesome tradition. I would like to tell you that I'm good at these competitions, but I am not. Unlike my highly competitive wife, I don't have that gene. I don't have a game face. When I play hoops with my friends I'm the annoying guy that is laughing and encouraging everyone while running down the court... "Good job!" "Nice shot!" "That's OK, good move..." I sound like Chuck Woolery. I have size and strength, but my feet are flat, and I suffer from double-vision due to a skateboarding accident in 7th grade. (I just read that sentence again. I am Quasimoto!)

So the events of the Rec Room Romp are not kind to me. I'm aloof at ping pong, I have a hard time aiming in pool and although I can throw a killer curve, I'm a spotty bowler . I am one of the lowest scoring members of the Romp and I've personally owned The Jacket many times. As I leave the house every year to travel north Christy yells, "Don't come home with that Jacket!"

Why do I go? Because I enjoy hangin' with a group of guys with a lot of history. My forty-ish pals have been through a lot over the years. Our Saturday of sports and festivities has really become something special. Here's to the Romp, where everyone is a winner.... even if I lose a little this weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wordle is Wonderful

I know it's been around for awhile, but wordle is still really cool. You can point it to a site or paste in a bunch of text and it'll make word clouds based on word frequency (larger = higher frequency). This seems like a good tool for teachers to use with students. You could paste your research paper into it and see what horrors appear. Hmmm... I might have to make wordle part of my digital media class. Oh, and apparently I love to use the word, "web". Here's a wordle based on my blog.

Wordle: 8bit Ghost

Here's another one based on the lyrics of Nirvana's "Bleach". One of my favorite albums of all time. A lot of people think Kurt Cobain is such a downer, but look how big "Fun" is in the wordle!

Wordle: Nirvana - Blieach

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All it needs is a picture of Fabio and a swooning woman...

Messing around with Photoshop tonight... Made this composite image using some layer styles, gaussian blur, opacity, burn tool, drop shadow, blah blah blah. This makes me laugh. Somewhere down deep inside I must like Harlequin Romance novels or cruddy World of Warcraft stills. And of course the quote is from Shakespeare, natch.

I am a level 70 Samurai Mage! Source images are shown below...+2 to dorkiness...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'd like to thank my students...

... for putting up with all of my rants in class.
... for laughing at my (clearly outdated) jokes.
... for allowing me to explore ShamWow marketing during class time (still waiting for delivery).
... for saying "Ho" when I say "Hey" to show understanding during my software demos.
... for allowing me to take over their machines using Crosstec Schoolvue (ahem, spy tools!).
... for deciphering my chicken scratch on their project sheets.
... for making our school web site a more interesting place.
... for their artistic and technical talents which amaze me daily.
... for inspiring me to come back to work every day with a smile on my face.

What hath wrought this sappy prose!?! Today I received a new set of computers for my lab. They were purchased through a federal grant that funds career and technical education (a.k.a. Voc Tech). The people who manage this fund have been very kind to me over the years. To be honest, I would not be able to teach what I teach without their support.

Alas, how do the students fit in? They spent the whole day tearing down my lab and installing the new machines. I'd like to give three particular shout-outs: Period 1 Web Team, thanks for packing up the old machines and cleaning the room. WT4Life, you guys rule! Period 4 Advanced Digital Media, thanks for all the hard labor unloading the truck and unpacking all the boxes. Mount Styrofoam was epic and glorious! You are one of the most creative classes I've ever taught. Period 7 Intro to Digital Media, thanks for recycling, and following my endlessly pendantic instructions on cables. I'm really going to miss laughing with you guys during 7th - a perfect class for the end of the day.

Here's a poorly done animated GIF from today's events:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Huzzah to the Apocalypse!

I know that it's been strangely quiet here at da 8 bit... I've been working on Christy's web site for her new book, "Prophecy of Days. Book One: The Daykeepers Grimoire." Of course I am extremely biased, but I think it's quite good. A jaunty tale of whip-smarty-pants teens in a paranormal Mayan thriller focused on 2012. Flux is going to publish two books in this series, targeted at the Young Adult Fiction market. Prophecy is scheduled to be released in 2010.

The web site is cool, but I must admit to some reservations when my "client" approached me wanting "hot Mexican colors" (ahem, 80's Wham!) and a lot of "eye-searing pink fonts" (ahem, photoshop disaster!). Don't get too excited about my web skillz. I used a template, broke it down and rebuilt it with new graphics. However, I did have to bust out my actionscript/html coding beanie a little bit, but I think it turned out pretty well.

Congrats, Christy! I'm really proud of you! Click the pic to visit the newly minted prophecyofdays.com

P.S. I promise to be a better blogger in the future... really, I promise...