December 31, 2012

My 2013 Resolutions.

Here's my top ten New Years resolutions for 2013; I'm trying to focus on the important stuff, but I also want to be realistic.



The most challenging thing on my list is number 3. I still need to get better at saying "no". If you had to pick one personal goal for 2013, what would it be...?

Happy New Year and all that sparkly rainbow bubbly stuff.

December 25, 2012

Christmas Mojo.

Caption this drawing:


And have yourself a merry Little (insert seasonal-type celebration)!

PS. Hugs are the best.


December 23, 2012

The Last Minute MEANINGFUL Gift Guide.

If you're like me, you resent having to buy a gift just because it's expected. You want to give something that shows you've thought about the person, something meaningful; or at the very least, something useful (that doesn't trash the Planet).

And what about the little kids - how do you teach them to give meaningful gifts without spending a ton of money out there? Perhaps you still have presents to buy but just can't face another day at the mall!

Here's a handy last-minute gift-guide with Coupons:

1.  One of the best things you can give someone is your time, so how about a coupon for spending an afternoon catching up or just sitting awkwardly together?



2.  A foot-rub  is a great gift (if you're on touchy-feely terms). Here, I made you a coupon.



3.  Pedi-paint! Who doesn't like a little colour on their toenails? 



4. Co-chore coupon. Doing chores alone is a bummer - but doing them together gives you quality time and gets it done faster. I made you some co-chore coupons if you want to print them out for your kids to give mom or dad. For girls....


...or boys.



5.  Nothing says "I love you" like "I will sit through a movie with you." Kids can give this coupon to parents or vice-versa. Thanks to co-choring, you'll have more time for watching movies. Or napping.



6.  Yup. I made a porn version for grownups. That was The Huz's suggestion haw haw. #NSFW



7.  This one prolly won't work but it's worth a shot: It's called "The I will be quiet for 5 minutes Coupon". It's worth an eye-roll between parents if nothing else.



8.  Some folks feel that nothing is more meaningful than bacon, but they're trying to cut down. A coupon for bacon is the next best thing to actual bacon. I am so smart.



9.  But then there's Chocolate. Nothing is more meaningful than chocolate.



10.  Oh wait....I forgot WINE. Nothing is more meaningful than wine.



11.  After using your Wine Coupon you'll want to sleep in. Wouldn't it be nice if your spouse took the kids in the morning so you could sleep as late as you want? If you truly love someone, you'll give them this coupon. It's deeply meaningful.




My favorite presents are drawings. Obviously.

I made you a PDF HERE so you can easily print these coupons out, use them as stocking stuffers, or just forward them in an email to someone you love (or like a lot). They are FREE to use as gifts and they make good gifts ALL YEAR ROUND.

I love you and you are welcome.


December 20, 2012

The End of the World! Almost.

The End of the World came early for me...at least that's what it felt like. This afternoon I was happily animating away on my PickleWeasel app promo-demo when Adobe Flash started being buggy. This happens with software right? I saved, closed the file and re-opened it a few minutes later.

I saw this:



Flash can not parse this document? Ack. My file was corrupt. A creeping terror swept through me and the blood drained out of my face. I felt like every minor chord in the Universe was ringing dissonance in the depths of my soul. I couldn't even make a fist. Those Mayans!

I'd been working for a week on this animation, so to have the file corrupted was like losing a piece of my heart. Something I'd created was gone.

I turned to Twitter and asked for help. And Twitter delivered! So many fabulous people made suggestions and offered to help. I also reached out to @Adobe hoping they would respond.

This is kinda technical, but The Huz managed to decompile the .swf of rendered "work-in-progress" animation, which was all I had left. It was a partial success; the decompiled file looked nothing like my original timeline. Working in Flash is so...personal. I would have had to do quite a bit of slogging to work with it in that state.

A few minutes later, @Adobe did come through on Twitter. They put me on to @Adobe_Care who pointed me in the right direction. I fixed my Flash file and now I'm happily animating away.



Relief! It's not the End of the World until tomorrow! Thanks Twitter.


December 15, 2012

Guns.

This old friend of mine loves guns. He plays shoot'em up video games, runs through the forest playing paint-ball, goes to firing ranges, and says he keeps toy replicas of lots of different guns, and one or two real ones.

I myself am wary of guns and their glorification, which I believe leads to a disconnect from the reality of actual killing.
Yesterday someone got hold of some guns and killed so many children and teachers. There's heated convos on Facebook and Twitter about how and why this could happen. People feel helpless, and it's heart breaking.

Some say that mental illness is the cause of such acts and that until we properly care for our sick, such violence will continue. Others argue that countries with stricter gun control experience fewer massacres and lower gun violence. Still others defend their right to keep and bear arms - a right bestowed on them centuries ago.
They want to protect "them and theirs" but from what enemy? Aliens? Zombies? An invading army...? Or simply other people with guns?

I wonder if it makes them feel safer...I wonder if they truly are safer.


I'm trying to put myself in other people's shoes, trying to understand...but all I can see is the astonishingly sad decline of humanity. The "enemy" is in our hearts and it's blowing us all away...
Two years ago my gun-loving friend became a father. Today he's getting rid of his guns and pleading with others to do the same. He still loves guns; but he loves his daughter more.

Where do you stand on this divisive issue?


December 13, 2012

404 Klout not found.

OOPS! You must have mistaken me for someone who actually has influence.


I can assure you that I have none. I couldn't talk my way out of a brown paper bag! But don't take my word for it. And don't feel obliged in any way to share this. Or this.

Thanks for the inspiration Jon...or did you just influence me? Gah.

December 12, 2012

A bunch of twelves.

It's the 12th minute of the 12th hour of the 12th day of the 12th month of the 12th year.



Deeply meaningful numerology or just a bunch of twelves?

PickleWeasel and I would like to wish you all the best for the holidays, the new year and just stuff in general. We love you so mucho. 


The BUST of ELVIS.

DISCLAIMER: ...nah. Forget it.

I love kitsch. So it was like hitting pay dirt when I walked into Glenn Silver’s apartment and saw the ultimate kitsch icon – the Bust of Elvis. Glenn lived in one of those Montreal flats that went on and on. He had very little furniture, so there was room after room of hardwood floors with nothing in them. And Elvis was just sitting there on the floor against the wall.

I couldn’t conceal my delight!


Glenn grinned, “Yeah, my mom gave it to me. You want it?”

“Seriously?” I examined the specimen. It was one of the nicer ones I’d seen; fine kitsch as opposed to cheap and nasty kitsch, if you will. Resplendent in his gold-studded white jacket and adorned with a peach coloured scarf, Elvis’ expression was wonderfully vacant. A benign sneer teased from the edge of his top lip.


“Yes please!” I jumped up and down clapping my hands together. I couldn’t believe my luck – best present ever! Glenn laughed.

My douchebag boyfriend was less than thrilled. He tried to convince me not to take it, saying “you don’t really want that thing,” which didn’t work cuz HELLO I KNOW WHAT I WANT. It was heavy but he flat-out refused to help me carry it home.


I said, no worries, that I could do it. I started down the steps holding tight to my plaster prize. But when we got out onto the street, things just got worse. As I struggled under the weight of the Bust of Elvis, Douchie declared he didn’t even want to be seen walking down the street with me.

“And you’re not going to put it in the living room – you keep that thing in YOUR studio!” (Uh..."that thing"??) He was shouting. There was definitely some rage in his face.


Douchus Baggus stomped off leaving me confused on the sidewalk.



Cradled gently in my arms, Elvis stared blankly up at me.







I flagged a cab and went home to the apartment I shared with the Douche-a-saurus.

I mostly have an understanding and accepting nature so I refrained from judging my boyfriend too harshly. He didn’t share my enthusiasm, and that was ok...I forgave him. But deep in the core of my being something clicked. I became aware that El Doucho wasn’t the right man for me. He was so mean about this thing that was obviously important to me. I loved that Bust of Elvis the way DB loved his (insert vaguely medieval sounding prog-rock band name here) albums, and I never asked him to put those away...

*     *     *     *     *

Eventually I discovered that Douchie-poo was sleeping around on me. So I left him, and I took my Bust of Elvis with me. I tucked Elvis into storage with my other belongings and went gallivanting off to London to work in animation. That’s where I met The Huz. Well, he wasn’t The Huz yet, he was ...The Fiancé.

When The Fiancé and I decided to wed, we shipped my things from Montreal to London. The Fiancé helped me pack everything, including my prized possession, the Bust of Elvis. The box must have got thrown around a lot in the shipping for when we unpacked it...


...poor Elvis had cracked into 3 pieces.



I wailed.


The Fiancé said he’d help me fix him, and jokingly added, “…but only if you promise not to tell anyone.”

As a couple, we pieced the Bust of Elvis together again. It’s not a perfect job, he’s got a few scars – one traveling across the bridge of his nose through his eyes, and another at the base of his throat. But I think the scars make him more valuable, more exciting. What could be cooler than the ultimate kitsch icon? One that had been broken and lovingly glued back together!


Of course, my Bust of Elvis is much more than just the sum of his parts. He’s a symbol of my husband’s love and acceptance of me.

For many years Elvis lived in the kitchen, observing us from his lofty perch on the top of the fridge as we cooked meals, washed dishes and fed our babies. Nowadays I keep him in my studio, at eye level.



His paint is peeling a bit, his gaze is as vacant as ever, and he’s got the patina of a quarter century of basking in my adoration.

Thank-you Glenn Silver.  



December 5, 2012

The Tale of Dale Fotsch.

Have you heard of Dale Fotsch? This woman owes her lawyer $180,000 despite winning the lawsuit and being awarded the costs. Why? Because her ex-(common-law) husband declared bankruptcy. She's in the horrible situation of having her lawyer foreclose on the very home he was hired to help her keep. It's the Jugular of Irony.



There's three things that upset me about this: the first is with a legal system that allows someone with nothing to lose to engage another person in litigation, and then bail from all accountability by declaring bankruptcy. How can this be?

The second thing is that there seems to be no effective regulating body for lawyers. This lawyer was in a position of conflict of interest - how can a lawyer protect a client's assets if they have an interest in them? Amiright?



Thirdly, there's a problem with legal fees. They're beyond reach for most people; $300 per hour may seem insanely expensive but I've seen worse. I know someone who's divorce lawyer was in the $700 range. Yikes.

A lawyer's job is to advocate on behalf of a client, to argue their case for them, and to represent their interests. But people will make bad decisions when they are afraid, as many folks are when put into a situation of litigation....it's intimidating.

Anyhoo, the fabulous Chris Bird started an Indiegogo campaign to try to help Dale Fotsch. Please share it! Here's the campaign and here's an easy click-to-tweet. We may not put a dent in her outrageous debt, but perhaps we can generate enough social media noise to make others beware of the big, big holes in the legal system.

Do you think that she agreed to her lawyer's deal and she owes him the money? Or do you think that Dale Fotsch's lawyer is being an asshole?


November 29, 2012

The JOY of Google.

I don't know if you know this but my Mother in Law has been visiting us here in Montreal for about a month. While this may seem like an unbearable punishment to some folks, I actually get along really well with my MIL. She's very special to me and we're close.

Anyways, the MIL is a self-confessed Luddite.



Although The Huz got her a nice laptop at her home in England Land, it never really clicked with her.



It's kinda hard to learn something so completely new like The Internet all by yourself, right?



And Google can be a confusing to a noob - there's so many shiny things to navigate around!



But since she's been here she's had us to help her along whenever she accidentally clicks on the wrong thing.



I think she's really starting to get the hang of it now.



My MIL has a curious nature; so Google is like a vast library full of answers to her many questions.



Questions like: What was the name of that song by that guitarist? What TV series did that actor play in when he was 17? And (this is my favorite) what ever happened to so-and-so that I used to know?


Google has the answers in there somewhere. I think she enjoyed herself.

When I showed her these drawings my MIL cracked up. She really liked seeing herself depicted as a toon, which was very gratifying for me. But at the end, she said, "You've forgotten the drawing where I'm drooling with satisfaction afterwards."

To which my response was, "Oh no, I didn't...!"


Hilarity ensued.