Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Steam: Invention of Love

This almost-silent art film is filled with stunning imagery, although I should warn you it has a sad ending:

I was especially impressed with the cityscapes and the mechanical butterfly. You?

I've seen this a few times over the past year, but thanks to Sara P. for reminding me of it!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Let's Give John a Shot

After lulling me into a false sense of bloated security with a rack of ribs at Smokey Bones tonight, John drove us next door to the Walgreen's parking lot.

"I thought maybe now we'd get our flu shots," he said, halo gleaming.

Betrayed by BBQ. Curses.

The good news - and by "good" I mean "pathetic" - is that John and I are equally squeamish about shots. No, that's not quite right; John's actually passed out from a shot before, and I haven't. So he wins that one.

We researched the up-the-nose inhaler flu shot thingy, but it turns out those can have more side effects, and no one in town stocks them anyway, because - and everyone we spoke with took great pleasure in relaying this information - only kids get those.

Here's where I'm supposed to say it really wasn't that bad, I barely felt a thing, etc. etc. And maybe I would be saying that if I hadn't flinched so hard. As it was, ow.

Anyway, the lovely Kavita, our long-suffering and utterly charming needle-wielder, made the process as painless as possible, I'm sure. And I'm not just saying that because I got her to pose like Dracula looming over John for his shot:

John looks beet red in this picture, but that's actually an improvement: usually he goes sickly pale around needles. I like to think the non-stop laughter helped.

And speaking of non-stop laughter, if you haven't seen this already on my Twitter or Facebook feeds, you've GOT to check out Guy on a Buffalo:

(Yeah, it's weird. Keep watching anyway.)

And dare I say episode 2 is even better?

There's an episode 3 out now, too.

John and I are mildly obsessed; I think it gets funnier every time we watch it. Now we're randomly blurting out "Cheaper than adoption!" and "Hey, what's this, a baby? Awesome," in almost every conversation.

Oh, and naturally John decided he HAD to buy the t-shirt:

You can get the shirts (including other colors) at The Possum Posse's website for about $20.

And, [hinthint] there's a possibility John will be wearing this shirt in The Possum Posse's hometown on the tour. I can't announce anything official yet, but due to popular demand we're working on some last minute itinerary changes. But you didn't hear that from me.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Art Attacks to Make You Grin Like a Big Goofy Kid

I like my art to make me happy.

These'll do.


X-Babies by Skottie Young
Submitted by Mary B. via The Curious Brain

Those expressions! Ha!

The playful side of Big Daddy:

By Jonathan Case


How about a little steampunk Portal?

The Gentlemanly Escort Cube by deviantART user *Risachantag
Submitted by Paige A.

"Steam pipe" with a twist. ;)

I cannot NOT giggle every time I see this:

By DeviantArt user kibou87

Don't you just want to squeeze him?

This next one is made from spools of thread, and you have to view it through a special glass to see it right side up:

Superman by Devorah Sperber
Submitted by Lucy M.

Nifty, huh?

Something fitting for Jim Henson's birthday this week:

ID17 Series 2 by Andy Awesome Art
Submitted by Marisa R.

Which is a perfect segue to this amazing trailer for the new film Being Elmo, which I desperately want to see. Just these few minutes made me so happy I actually teared up a bit - and I dare you not to do the same:

I had no idea there was only one main performer for Elmo! Amazing, inspiring, heart-warming - seriously, I have a whole new respect for "Elmo" now.

Is your grin now firmly in place? Good, good. You may now proceed with your work week.

What art makes you smile, guys? Links in the comments, please!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Gettin' Real

Today John and I test drove yet another rental car in our quest for a book tour Mode of Transportation. As you all know I had my heart set on an RV for this trip, but for reasons too boring to list, that proved impossible. So instead we're making the best of it, asking the publisher to set us up in our favorite hotel chain, Hyatt Place (which, interestingly enough, is mega-tons cheaper than most of the hotels they put us in last time) and seeking out the safest, comfiest, and yet not TOO massively huge vehicle to tote all our stuff around for five weeks.

The first car was a big SUV with fancy displays and heated seats:

This channel only plays Rear Window! Bo-ring.

But it just wasn't comfortable. It was so big inside I felt like I was riding in a bouncy high chair.

If you follow me on Twitter you know about my mobile Disco party in the next car we tried; it had neon lights inside that changed color:


That car was too small, though, since we'll be lugging around a whole sound system, prizes, and all our luggage in the thing.

Fortunately the third try was the charm; John found an SUV that rides low like a car, called the Ford Flex. It's big, but it doesn't feel massive; I can reach the armrests and everything!

Bringing our own sound system is a last-minute decision, btw, and while it sounds insane for the author to show up with a trunk full of speakers, it should prove far less stressful in the long run. For our previous tours John had to scramble in each store to make everything work, and we frequently showed up to find there was only a single microphone, or the feedback was horrendous, or the system wouldn't work with our laptop without jumping through a lot of technical hoops. (Or, as those of you in Dallas may recall, sometimes the system didn't work at all.)

This is happening in our living room right now. Only with John doing bad karaoke versions of Michael Bublé songs. It's very distracting.

As an added bonus, with this sound system we can also include audio with our photo slideshow, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities, and we're having a blast putting together some fun new video content for the show. (Let's just say it's getting closer to an actual Rave Party all the time.) I just wish we'd had this option for the first tours!

On a personal note, I'm bouncing between white-knuckled terror and giddy anticipation for this final run. Since I tend towards "control-freak worry-wart," the terror usually trumps the giddiness, but I have John to balance me out. John can't WAIT. He absolutely loves being on tour, which makes me wonder if that stint in the Dallas ICU didn't cause a little brain damage. "It'll be a great adventure," he tells me, "We'll be traveling the country together!" he says, "I probably won't almost-die!" he claims. Blah blah de-blah blah. Not sure I'm buying it.

(Don't get me wrong; I love meeting everyone on tour, as I've mentioned before. Managing two blogs and a book launch from our car while we drive over 5,000 miles cross-country for 5 weeks, however, is more than a little daunting.)

At any rate, just wanted to keep you all apprised, in case you're wondering where all my crafty tutorial stuff has gone. After hand making and packaging 120+ individually boxed and bow-tied carrot jockey necklaces, my crafty streak is taking a little break.

This is the tour pile. The rest will go on sale in November.

In the meantime, guess I'll just have to point you to other great craft projects, huh? Here's one: have you seen the DIY sandwich box from a milk jug? So clever!

Just under three weeks 'til we leave. Yep. It's gettin' real. 0.o

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Marriage, in IM

John and I instant message and video chat a lot, even though we're both in the same house and are never more than 50 feet away from each other at any given time. Because yelling is annoying. And getting up and walking is CLEARLY out of the question.

Anyway, I thought this recent chat really captured the true "essence" of our relationship:

(I answered him out loud the first time, thus the "Can't hear you" remark.)

Of course, the best part was hearing his belly laughs from across the house.

How to Transfer Your Pics from Facebook to Google Plus

For those of you fed up with Facebook and considering taking the plunge to Google Plus, here's a simple method for transferring all your FB photos to G+. (Scroll down on that link; it's the very last tutorial.) When I did this last week I found that the Chrome extension has been renamed from Move2Picasa to Move Your Photos, so you may have to search for it - but it still works the same. The process is as easy as installing a free Chrome extension and opening two browser windows - a real life-saver, if you've been accumulating photos on FB for a long time.

The only part that stumped me was finding my albums after they'd been transferred to Picasa, which is G+'s image host. So if you have the same problem, here's what you do:

Click on the Photos icon in your top bar on G+, and you'll see "Your albums" in the left-hand side bar. Click that, and you'll see a list of all the photo albums you just moved.

When your photos are transferred over they're automatically set to limited visibility, meaning most people can't see them. To make them visible/public, click each album individually and set its visibility level there. You can choose to share each album with just certain circles, everyone, or no one. Easy peasy!

Unfortunately this process does not transfer your picture captions from FB, so you'll have to add those in manually if you want them back. Still, it's better than starting from scratch!

Oh, and just to clarify: all of your images will still be on Facebook. This process just copies them to Picasa, so you won't be losing anything.

Hope this helps some of you out there! (And thanks to Brian M. for the link to that tutorial!)