Let It Out (a.k.a. SwearBot 2007)

#@!%*
Have you ever just had one of those days, or maybe it was just a moment, where you get so frustrated you just want to scream? This is meant to be a hypothetical question because I know we've all been there. Maybe it is because the cat peed on the chair again, you computer isn't doing what you tell it to*, or you've made the same mistake that you always make even though you swear you will never make it again. Well, when it happens to me, I sometimes want to swear. Who knows where the urge comes from? I'm not incredibly proud of it, however I rarely audibly swear in such instances because you never know when there might be tender ears around.

Anyway, I had this thought: what if I created a forum for such an outlet but somehow buffered it, so readers wouldn't get an earful* but it could still fulfill the desire for an outlet. Plus, by expressing your frustration in a non-intrusive way, hopefully it will encourage others to sympathize with you and send out positive energy to help alleviate said frustration.

With that in mind, I've created the SwearBot 2007. Enter your swears (as unPC as you want. No one will see the untranslated version), exclamations, derisions, or complaints. Press "Translate". Presto! Now you have a squeaky clean outlet that you can paste into an e-mail, print out and put on the office refrigerator, or paste into the comments of this very blog.



(P.S. I promise the next post will be a follow up to "The Next Adventure")

Wednesday December 19 2007File under: misc, coding

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The Christmas Crassula Ovata

Among our family's Christmas traditions, I think the Christmas Crassula Ovata (that would be jade tree to you non-Latin speakers) has got to be my favorite. Okay, I better make that second favorite right behind pfeffern�sse*. It is something unique, it save cutting down a live tree, and there are no dropped needles messing up the floor*. Anyway, I mentioned it in an earlier post so I thought I would post a picture.

It turns out that combining my second rate picture taking ability with a camera that always seems to have trouble with light and exposure results in some shoddy pictures. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe a shoddy picture is worth 134 words or so. Yep, just about right for a blog post. (Oh, and here's another attempt at a picture of the tree. Notice how we've gracefully phased out the juice concentrate lid glitter ornaments.)
Monday December 17 2007File under: holidays

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The Next Adventure

I've had some wonderful adventures over the past few years; deserted islands, ridiculous road trips, countries and cultures far far away, etc. I really like the little routine I've sort of fallen into, with not much time passing before I get to embark on one adventure or another. I love where they take me and the feeling of freedom they instill. I also love sharing my experiences, both through this blog, and just in talking to be people when I return. The question I get asked most, though, is "what is the next adventure?"

It is a hard one to answer. For one, I never know what opportunities fate will throw my way. Usually, it seems, the time between learning of those opportunities and taking advantage of them is very short, so when faced with the question, I generally have to honestly answer that I don't know. It is fun to discuss the possibilities. The way the question is usually framed reinforces in my mind that anything is possible. If I wanted, I could decide to ride a camel across the Sahara or maybe deliver solar panels to remote jungle villages*. Having that sense of freedom reinforced is a good thing. On the flip side, however, the question usually feels like it is laced with a bit of expectation. What can I say that won't let people down? Perhaps it is all in my head, but it is something I've noticed more and more.

Anyway, an opportunity for my next adventure has presented itself and I've decided to grab on. Since I don't have all the details yet (and I love adding a sense of suspense), I've created this little teaser to give a clue to my what my next adventure will be. What fun would it be if I just came out and told you?

So stay tuned to BdW for what should prove to be another wacky adventure.
Saturday December 15 2007File under: travel

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FC 11 - Matchless

This week's edition of the Friday Comic series is another cross-continental collaboration. I convinced my friend Sara in Illinois to help me out with this one. (As always, by "help", I mean "do the thing that actually requires artistic talent")*.

Winter really brings the problem of mismatched socks to the forefront. During the summer, you can just match any white sock to any other white sock, or even go sockless*. Wool socks in winter, however, require there very own match. Oh, if I only had the strength to wear mismatched socks in public, life would be so much easier. (Kids, can you say "New Year's Resolution"?)
Thursday December 13 2007File under: comic

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Stuff For the Stocking

Not that troothpicks need any help in the sales department– sales have been through the roof*– but it is worth mentioning that they might be possibly the best stocking stuffer around, esp. if your bare-footed recipient* likes to throw parties, likes to eat little cubes of cheese, likes to clean their teeth, or likes fun things.

Anyway, if you were hoping to surprise that special someone with 48 little pointy cylinders of fun, you had better get your orders in soon. Let's set a "get your order by the holidays" date of Friday, December 15th. Oh, and also worthy of note is that the long awaited "Fortunes" line is now no longer on back order! So place your orders at troothpicks.com or send me an e-mail (or write your order on the deed to a deserted tropical island paradise and send it to...*).

And if you need any further convincing that trootpicks are the perfect holiday gift, have a look at this professionally staged photo. Ooohhh.... Aaaahhhhh.... So festive!
Tuesday December 11 2007File under: holidays, misc

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A New Look

Adopting a new look can be a very empowering experience. It proves to yourself that you are still in control and can change your situation whenever you want*. For me, a new look pretty much only means shaving my beard*. I find myself shaving my beard at times in my life when I need a little empowerment; to prove to myself that I am still in control of something. Or sometimes I just shave because I am starting to look* overly ridiculous. This time was a little of both.

But instead of doing the old clean-cut Wren, I thought I would try something a little new. Mustaches are all the rage these days. Jason Lee in My Name Is Earl wears one. Tom Selleck in Las Vegas wears one. Why shouldn't I wear one? (not that I plan to either be in a trailer park, jail, or Las Vegas anytime soon.) Anyway, I figured this look is better than my previous idea at a new look. (If I only had the nerve...) Plus, nothing says "Hey ladies, check me out" like an awesome mustache.
Monday December 10 2007File under: beard, misc

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www.SponsorMyLoans.com

I sometimes wish I was a lawyer or a doctor, or even a used car salesman. These are the types of jobs where you can really help out a friend. When you do something as specialized as web development, opportunities to help out friends, thereby adding to the continual cycle of people helping people*, are limited. That is why I'm always glad to lend a hand when a friend needs some web work done.

In this case, Luke (of blogaboutbeer.com fame) came up with a crazy plan to sucker — um, I mean encourage others to help repay his college debt. Thus was born www.SponsorMyLoans.com. I lent a hand in turning it from a generic template website into the gloriousness that it is today*. In exchange, not only did I get a karma card in the great favor exchange game of life, I also got free advertising for troothpicks.

From the press release:
Portland, Maine � In an unusually audacious move, Luke Livingston, of Portland, Maine is asking everyone with access to the Internet to help him retire his student loans. Livingston, 23, is a 2007 graduate of Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., and like most of his contemporaries, finished school encumbered by a mountain of debt.

Go have a look at the site, if for nothing else to see some neat troothpick banner ads.
Sunday December 9 2007File under: links, coding

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FC 10 - Roshambo

It turns out that my call for submissions last week piqued a few interests which I couldn't be more pleased about. Being able to collaborate with great artists to bring ya'll these comics is quickly becoming a highlight of my week.

What is especially neat about this week's comic, courtesy of Annie down in Florida, is that, if I'm not mistaken, it was drawn completely in Microsoft Paint, possibly the worst drawing program ever made (besides that turtle one back before mouses were invented). Anyway, it just goes to show you how talented some people are.
Thursday December 6 2007File under: comic

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14 Years of IDs

Okay, so I want to try out this idea that kind of pushes the technical limit of "blogging". I've written a little javascript dealy that allows you to flip through all the IDs I've ever received in my life. The ID part, while maybe a bad idea re:"identify theft" according to some, isn't so limit-pushing. The embedding of the javascript into a blog post, however, is something I haven't seen before*. What does that mean to you? Hopefully nothing. Hopefully you will see a Anacortes Middle School ID with some goofy kid below and some buttons. If you do, check it out. If it isn't working for you, click here to see the non-blog version.






Wednesday December 5 2007File under: pics, misc, coding

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Rah Rah Pickford!

BELLINGHAM, WA — House-sitting really suits me, esp. when it is an out of town place. (Yes, I do travel as a house-sitter. Anywhere you've got a house, I'll prolly sit on it.) It allows me to check out a new town which does worlders for expanding my horizons. While Bellingham doesn't completely fall into the "new" category (I did attend WWU for a whopping 3 months back in '00), it has been nice to spend some time checking it out.

One of my favorite finds* is the Pickford Cinema, Bellingham's only independent cinema. It is a tiny theatre with a tiny screen (upgrades are in their future, I hear), but the movies they play and the people there make it so much different (and dare I say better?) than a regular movie-going experience. Growing up in Anacortes, we didn't get much independent cinema (although to be fair, the Lincoln Theatre does show some good ones, but it is still a car trip away.)

Anyway, enough of my waxing nostalgia. The main point of this post was to tell you about the two great movies I have seen recently, both of which I probably would have never seen had it not been for the Pickford.

Into the Wild: I read this Jon Krakauer book back in high school. All I remember about it, though, is that it really inspired me. When I heard a movie of it was coming out,
I was somewhat skeptical that it might shatter the memories I had formed of the story (as movie remakes of books often tend to do). I couldn't have been more wrong*. The movie inspired me the same way that the book did, perhaps even more now that I am an "adult" with my views of the world a little more solid than back in the days. There were a few parts in the movie, as well as in the book, that brought things back to reality which, although probabaly a good thing, took away from the inspirational side of the experience. Oh well. Anyway, I suggest you see it. Good times.

King Corn: To put it concisely, this documentary is essentially the first chapter in Micheal Pollen's Omnivore's Dilemma embodied in movie form. That isn't a strike against it at all. And, no offense Mr. Pollen, this embodiment was much more fun to sit through. It is essentially the story of two guys from the east coast who decide they want to raise an acre of corn. They document their experiment as well as investigate the curiosities that follow. About half the time you are learning about farm subsidies and the processing of corn post-farm, and about half the time you are seeing them run amok with a tractor or interacting with the Iowan townsfolk. As with any good documentary, IMHO, it educated as well as entertained. If the film happens through your town, I highly recommend checking it out.

(For all you RSSers, this post is specifically formated for the BdW layout, just so you know)


Sunday December 2 2007File under: movies

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