Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween 2010 :D

So I've gone a bit nutty with a costume this year for Halloween. I don't usually dress up or even do much beyond hand out candy (and maybe walk the dogs around town at night to look at all the folks dressed up in the bars), but I was hit with a stroke of inspiration while on a trip to Universal Studios. We went at the beginning of October so we got to enjoy Halloween Horror Nights, and I saw this chick:

(That's my husband in the picture with her.)

So I've pieced together that costume and will (hopefully) be out and about for all to see this weekend. IT'S GONNA BE SO AWESOME!! x3

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day Meal 2010

So I'm putting together my mother's day lunch for this Sunday. I want to do something easy and quick to fix because we'll be eating after church, so here's what I've come up with:
  • Grilled Chicken & Veggie Skewers [x]
  • Cole Slaw (family recipe)
  • Brunch Potato Casserole [x]
  • Brazilian Lemonade [x]
  • Grilled Peaches with Berry Sauce [x]
  • Mini Cheesecakes [x]
The chicken, casserole, and cheesecakes I can prepare and/or cook ahead of time then get everything else finished after church. It should be super yummy - I can't wait!

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    8 Ways to Drive a Graphic Designer Mad

    I recently rediscovered this great article by Ghislain Roy. It was originally published by HOW Magazine, but I've seen it in emails and all over the internet. Enjoy!

    As everyone knows, graphic designers are the reason there are so many wars in this world. They get inside our heads with their subliminal advertising, force us against our will to spend money on the worst pieces of shit, and eventually, drive us to depression and random acts of violence. And of course, most of them are communists. So to do my part to save the world from them, i made a list of things you can do when working with a graphic designer, to assure that they have a burn-out and leave this business FOREVER.
    1. Microsoft Office
      When you have to send a graphic designer a document, make sure it’s made with a program from Microsoft Office. PC version if possible. If you have to send pictures, you’ll have more success in driving them mad if, instead of just sending a jpeg or a raw camera file, you embed the pictures inside a Microsoft Office document like Word or Powerpoint. Don’t forget to lower the resolution to 72 dpi so that they’ll have to contact you again for a higher quality version. When you send them the ‘higher’ version, make sure the size is at least 50% smaller. And if you’re using email to send the pictures, forget the attachment once in a while.
    2. Fonts
      If the graphic designer chooses Helvetica for a font, ask for Arial. If he chooses Arial, ask for Comic Sans. If he chooses Comic Sans, he’s already half-insane, so your job’s half done.
    3. More is better
      Let’s say you want a newsletter designed. Graphic designers will always try to leave white space everywhere. Large margins, the leading and kerning of text, etc. They will tell you that they do this because it’s easier to read, and leads to a more clean, professional look. But do not believe those lies. The reason they do this is to make the document bigger, with more pages, so that it costs you more at the print shop. Why do they do it? Because graphic designers hate you. They also eat babies. Uncooked, raw baby meat. So make sure you ask them to put smaller margins and really, really small text. Many different fonts are also suggested (bonus if you ask for Comic Sans, Arial or Sand). Ask for clipart. Ask for many pictures (if you don’t know how to send them, refer to #1). They will try to argument, and defend their choices but don’t worry, in the end the client is always right and they will bow to your many requests.
    4. Logos
      If you have to send a logo for a particular project, let’s say of a sponsor or partner, be sure to have it really really small and in a low-res gif or jpeg format. Again, bonus points if you insert it in a Word document before sending it. Now you might think that this would be enough but if you really want to be successful in lowering the mental stability of a graphic designer, make sure to send a version of the logo over a hard to cut-out background. Black or white backgrounds should be avoided, as they are easy to cut-out with the darken or lighten layer style in photoshop. Once the graphic designer is done working on that bitmap logo, tell him you need it to be bigger. If you need a custom made logo, make your own sketches on a napkin. Or better yet, make your 9 year old kid draw it. Your sketch shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to make. You don’t want to make something that’s detailed and easy to understand, because the less the designer understands what you want, the more you can have things changed afterwards. Never accept the first logo. Never accept the 9th, ask for different modifications regarding colors, fonts & clip art. Ask to add a picture in the logo. Bevels. Gradients. Comic Sans. And when the designer is at his 10th version, admit that you like the 2nd one the most. I know, it’s mean but remember: graphic designers are the cause of breast cancer among middle aged women.
    5. Choosing your words
      When describing what you want in a design, make sure to use terms that don’t really mean anything. Terms like ‘jazz it up a bit’ or ‘can you make it more webbish?’. ‘I would like the design to be beautiful’ or ‘I prefer nice graphics, graphics that, you know, when you look at them you go: Those are nice graphics.’ are other options. Don’t feel bad about it, you’ve got the right. In fact, it’s your duty because we all know that on full moons, graphic designers shape-shift into werewolves.
    6. Colours
      The best way for you to pick colours (because you don’t want to let the graphic designer choose) is to write random colours on pieces of paper, put them in a hat and choose. The graphic designer will suggest to stay with 2-3 main colours at the most, but no. Choose as many as you like, and make sure to do the hat thing in front of him. While doing it, sing a very annoying song.
    7. Deadlines
      When it’s your turn to approve the design, take your time. There is no rush. Take two days. Take six. Just as long as when the deadline of the project approaches, you get back to the designer with more corrections and changes that he has time to make. After all, graphic designers are responsible for the 911 attacks.
    8. Finish Him
      After you’ve applied this list on your victim, it is part of human nature (although some would argue whether they’re human or not) to get a bit insecure. After realizing that he just can’t satisfy your needs, the graphic designer will most likely abandon all hopes of winning an argument and will just do whatever you tell him to do, without question. You want that in purple? Purple it is. Six different fonts? Sure! You would think that at this point you have won, but don’t forget the goal of this: he has to quit this business. So be ready for the final blow: When making decisions on the final details, tell him that you are disappointed by his lack of initiative. Tell him that after all, he is the designer and that he should be the one to put his expertise and talent at work, not you. That you were expecting more output and advices about design from him. Tell him you’ve had enough with his lack of creativity and that you would rather do your own layouts on Publisher instead of paying for his services. And there you go. You should have graphic designer all tucked into a straight jacket in no time!

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Microwave Egg Cooker

    I bought one last night. x3

    I've been trying to come up with some new things to eat for breakfast, but since I eat at work it's been difficult coming up with low-calory things that I can fix in a microwave. So I finally decided to just take the plunge and use some of my birthday money to buy this microwave egg cooker. I also bought some little egg cups and spoons so I can make soft boiled eggs. I haven't had those since I was last in Germany and I miss them so much! I loved soft boiled eggs!

    Can't wait to get my cooker! :D

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Domain Registry Of America: Don’t Be Scammed!

    Because I was almost successfully scammed by this thing yesterday, I'm going to make a post about it. Quoting another blogger who has already written about this business and its misleading tactics (no point reinventing the wheel), the following was taken from SEO blogger Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing.
    - --------------------------------------- -

    I just received an interesting notice in the mail from Domain Registry of America. It was real easy for me to identify these schmucks as scam artists, but the average consumer may not find it so easy.
    In the top right corner of the mailing are the words “Domain Name Expiration Notice.” Then, below that, there is an 800 number and a web address ( It’s an official looking letter and arrives in an official looking envelope and a return envelope, addressed but not postage paid. The letter begins, “As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registrations that are due to expire in the next few months.”
    Some people may not know when their domains expire, but I do. I also know who my domain registrars are and I have no interest in switching. The letter continues:
    When you switch today to the Domain Registry of America, you can take advantage of our best savings.
    Then the letter tells me when my domain names expire – several months away. But they want me to “Act today!”
    First, if I did switch my domain registration to Domain Registry of America, I wouldn’t be saving any money. I’d be losing money; and that’s probably the case with anyone.
    I currently pay $10 per year for domain name registration, the going rate. Some web hosts include this fee in their packages. Others offer registration for less than $10. In any case, I’d never pay more than $10. Domain Registry of America wants to charge me $30.00 for one year or $50.00 for two years. And in bright red letters next to the $50.00 price tag are the words “save $10.” Hmmm … by my calculations I’d be losing $15. Nice scam they have going there.
    There are probably people who would fall for this. But I’d caution my readers to stay away from these people. After doing a little more research (like a Google search), I discovered that I was not the only person to have been solicited by these people.
    Blog.Forret appears in Google as the No. 3 result for the company’s name. The No. 2 listing is the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). On the FTC website, I read:
    The Federal Trade Commission has requested that a federal district court enjoin Domain Registry of America, Inc., an Internet domain name re-seller, from making misrepresentations in the marketing of its domain name registration services and require it to pay redress to consumers.
    That was 2003. Evidently, these guys have been around a long time. There are 58,400 results on the Google SERP for this company’s name inside quotes. Most of them are negative reactions to DROAs aggressive marketing tactics and its penchant for misrepresentation. The company’s response? They threatened to sue a blogger whose blog posts ranked highly for their company name.
    After browsing through five pages of Google’s SERP for the company’s name, I didn’t find one single result that had a positive thing to say about Domain Registry of America. Most of the results are angry bloggers accusing the company of running a scam. Others are other domain registrars upset about DROAs tactics as well. A result from December 2002 shows that filed a lawsuit against DROA and the judged ruled in its favor.
    To add insult to injury, in its letter to me, DROA threatened:
    You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web, and now is the time to transfer and renew your names from your current Registrar to the Domain Registry of America. Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web.
    This is blatantly misleading and incorrect. There are other considerations that affect domain name registrations. These considerations can include trademarks, registrar transfer issues, and other types of dispute resolutions where gray areas in the law are concerned or when there have been clear violations of an existing law, that can not help with your Search Engine Optimization efforts. For more information about domain name dispute resolution, you can visit the ICANN website.
    I strongly encourage anyone who gets a letter from the Domain Registry of America to report the company to your country’s consumer advocacy agency. Most Western and industrialized countries have an arm of the government dedicated to consumer advocacy. Report them and don’t do business with Domain Registry of America.
    - --------------------------------------- -
    So that's Nick story. While I was fooled at first and sent my $50 check, I came to the realization that something was pretty fishy after I received an email from these people saying something about transfering my domain, which wasn't what I thought I had paid for. I therefore looked up the company and found the FTC posting that Nick mentions above and realized my mistake. After moving past being mad at myself for falling for this trick, I got mad and the company and immediately went to work to prevent them from getting my money (the check hadn't been cashed yet at the time). I called the FTC and made a formal complaint; they then advised me to get in touch with my bank and cancel payment of the check as well as change my bank account number since it was written on the check. So I went to the bank where they told me I could simply close that checking account and open a new one. This would bypass the $30 cancel-payment-fee since the check I sent would no longer have money attached to it. So that's what I did. Today I sent DROA an email telling them to cancel any actions they were taking in regards to my account and domain, and for them to remove any and all of my personal information from their records and databases. We'll see how they respond.......