2nd Annual Roses Are Red Poetry Contest


It's that roses time of year
And I find myself single again
So for a creative outlet
I turn to Blog du Wren*

Yep, folks, it's that time of year again. Put on your rhyming hats and get ready for the 2nd annual BdW Roses Are Red Poetry Contest. The rules are the same as last year: your poem must follow the standard ABCB "Roses are red" rhyme/stress pattern, it must make reference to either "red" or "roses", and it must be completed by 11:59 pm PST, Friday Feb 15. After that, come back and vote on your favorite poem (please e-mail me or use the contact page so voting can stay anonymous*). Check out last year's entries for inspiration (and a good laugh. They were seriously awesome. When I went back and read them, I busted my gut all over again. Esp. Chris's about red and blue states–so great).
Wednesday February 13 2008File under: poetry, contest

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Another Crossword - FAMILY TIES

As often happens with me and creative energies, I find an outlet and stay with it for a while. It happened about this time last year with writing nerdy word games*. This year's borderline obsession is creating crosswords. I've incorporated the feedback I got from the 3 people that attempted the last one("It's too hard!" and "Weak!") and hopefully this one will prove much better. Check it out and let me know what you think: FAMILY TIES.

Since I seem to be taking to writing crossword puzzles so eagerly, I thought it might be fun to look into what it takes to get one published (and how much it pays.) Cruciverb.com seems to be the site to go to for that type of information. In a nut shell, you gotta minimize black spaces, use symmetric grids, use as few dumb clues as possible, and do a good theme. That seems straight forward enough. Each paper/organization has its own guidelines on top of those as well as prices. It looks like the going rate is between $65 and $200*.

Anyway, I've got a new goal for the list: become a published crossword [author/creator/artist/guy]. Any feedback you can give would be great. I'll be sure and thank you in my acceptance speech for "best crossword dude from a personal blog" category at next year's Crossies.
Tuesday February 12 2008File under: games, coding

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Purty Sunset

I was listening to the radio this evening and heard some talk of people complaining about the weather we have in Northwest Washington. "It is rainy, cold, gloomy, and dark", they said. The host made the good point that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and a little bit of rain and darkness is the price we pay. Well, even in this season of grey and gloominess there is extreme beauty every now and again if you keep your eyes open. I caught this sunset last week. Just beautiful! (Here's another shot that I like*.)
Monday February 11 2008File under: pics, Anacortes

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Cross-Blogination

Look at this neat picture I drew* of a mug of frosty root beer. Doesn't it make you thirsty for a nice cold one? Me too. Root beer has been right at the top of my favorite drinks list since as long as I can remember. I've often heard about the origins of said elixir and wondered about how it got the dubious moniker of "beer".

Well, when you're curious and underemployed, the only thing to do is go look it up. And since I have been looking for an opportunity to try a little freelance co-blogging, I thought I would try my hand at writing a little "article" on the subject. Well, Luke over at Blog About Beer* was kind enough to post my little "article" being that it is somewhat on topic. See?

Now I am a semi-published, pseudo-contributer of content on this thing we call the world wide web. It is a concept that I think I like. Stay tuned for more cross-blogination* or if you want me to write an "article"* for your theme specific blog, let me know.
Friday February 8 2008File under: misc, writing

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FC 18 - Soap Box Derby

I haven't been able to shake the creative bug* recently, so I took another stab at comicking. (And again I was reminded of how talented my comic artists are and how grateful I am for their contribution.) In all honesty, I spent WAY too much time dinking around, layering, picking colors, etc. etc. This is one of those cases where doing in on paper would probably have been much more efficient. If I only had the skillz....

While the inspiration for this comic came to me so long ago that I can't remember the particular circumstances, I've been reminded of it often in these past couple weeks with politics in such a flurry. So while last Friday's comic about snow was apropos, I like to think this one is appropriate too, what with this week being all super and everything. Should we try to find some relevant topic for next week making it 3 relevant comics in a row?*
Thursday February 7 2008File under: comic

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Create a Crossword - CHECK

Years ago, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I died. I was reminded of this list recently by a [great!] post over at IHJ. (Another great example of a life list, and actually the one that inspired me to make my own years ago, can be found here*.)

I'm not going to post said list because it is still a work in progress (both in terms of refining goals and attempting to accomplish them). One of my proudest to cross off, however, was trying out for Jeopardy*. I didn't get on, but that's okay because it still felt great to have tried.

But I digress. This post is supposed to be about the latest thing I've been able to cross off my list*. As an avid crossword puzzle doer for years, I've always wanted to create my own – not a ghetto one like we made in high school using all the words from the spelling list, but a newspaper worthy crossword that adheres to strict standards (at least in format if not in content).

So here it is: You're in My Top Level Domain Now. There are a few words that I am not overly proud of and a few others that are obscure pop culture references that only very very few people will get, but it's not bad for a first try. Have a go. Tell me what you think.

(You can either print the puzzle (please make sure it shrinks to just print on one page) or you can do the puzzle as it is on your computer screen. The "software"* isn't as fancy as the commercial ones, but it does the trick.)
Wednesday February 6 2008File under: games, coding

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One Panel Comics

:D
Like I mentioned in my last post, I've kind of got comics on the brain lately. I'm growing esp. fond of the one-panel comic genre. It is hard to explain: maybe it has something to do with the experience being non-linear. Or maybe it is because the subjects often vary so widely. Of course it doesn't hurt that there's usually not much to read*.

Anyway, I thought I might highlight some of my favorite one-panel comics. Many of them you've probably heard of* and some of them are more obscure. Common newspaper ones include Bizzaro (which has a neat co-posting arrangement* with Neatorama), the Lockhorns, Herman, That's Life, Pardon My Planet, and Rhymes With Orange. And then there was the Far Side: the world may never see another comic so great. (For full disclosure, not all of these are always one-panel, but most of them are most of the time.)

There are a whole slough* of web comics out there which I have only barely gone through. Most of them haven't made the "big time" (e.g. newspapers) because of either content or quality of drawings. But I think they are often as good or better than their printed cousins. Anyway, be warned: these may not appeal to everyone's taste. See Mike Draw and The Fretting Zoo. Also, XKCD is worth a mention although it is only occasionally one panel.

Anyway, did I miss any? Do you have any good one-panel web comics that you'd like to share?
Monday February 4 2008File under: misc, links

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R. Crumb at the Frye

Museums = culture*, right? Whenever I am feeling under-cultured, I try to find my way to a museum, preferably art*. On a recent visit to Seattle, in an effort to pass the time and up my lagging culture, I visited the Frye Art Museum. It was my first visit, but the great experience insured that it won't be my last.

The exhibition we went to see was about R. Crumb, a name that I have heard many times but never could quite place. After seeing some of his pieces, I realized that I was quite familiar with his work. The reason that I didn't make the connection is because I didn't think comics would ever make it to the walls of a museum. There were great examples of his work from one panel posters to 4 page comic book stories and much in between. Not only was it great to see a more accessible form of art in a museum, it was great to see some of the process of a famous comic artist (what with me spending an increasing amount of time thinking about my comic series).

Anyway, if you are look for a fun time that can also be cultural, check out the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Oh, and I almost forgot, it's free!
Sunday February 3 2008File under: misc

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FC 17 - On Being Unique

I was feeling particularly creative this week so I had a go at the artistic side of the comic myself. Granted it is nothing in comparison with the usual artist types I sucker* into doing the dirty work, but it gets the jobs done. After dinking around in Paint Shop Pro* for a long time, I was again reminded how talented my other comic artists are and how grateful I am for their contribute.

It is kind of a coincidence that this comic is running this week where we got snow here in Anacortes. I've had the idea for a while, actually probably the last time we had a good snow.
Thursday January 31 2008File under: comic

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GreenPrint

A friend of mine works for a company down in Portland with a really great idea which turned into a really great product. The idea is to minimize the amount of printing we do from our computers not by threats, guilt, or peer pressure*, but simply by eliminating all unwanted/unnecessary printing, like those pesky near-empty pages that always seem to show up after printing a web page. As I understand it (I've never actually used the product because I only print about 4 pages per year and I am extremely cautious to make sure there aren't extra pages), this program intercepts the data sent to the printer and then allows you to pick and choose what you want to print. It also has other options like printing to PDF and tracking paper saved.

The company is called GreenPrint and they've just offered up a version of their software for free called GreenPrint World. The two minor downsides are that it is only available for PC (sorry Maccies) and there is a little bit of "tasteful advertising" involved. Anyway, you should check it out. Besides a listing of their products (they also have corporate versions which could really do some change), they have some interesting facts about office paper consumption.

Go forth and print green. After all, millions of trees can't be wrong.
Wednesday January 30 2008File under: links, environment

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