the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

Better Living Through Photoshop

I've been totally stressed out by work lately, which means that, at some point, my head exploded and I found myself with a desperate need to play with Photoshop for a while. Thus: a crapload of new LJ icons!

Art of Noise x3
Mike Oldfield x5
Firefly/Serenity x9
Princess Bride x17

Art of Noise
(because I had no music-related icons)

Mike Oldfield
(because I had no music-related icons)

Firefly/Serenity
(because I just can't get enough)

The Princess Bride
(in honor of Valentine's Day)

Typical LJ netiquette applies--please credit me in your userpic keywords or comments if you snag any. Enjoy!

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Blogorrehea

I've been, in a bloggish sense, a bit backed up of late, due to rampant schedule craziness. It's time I do something about that. So... Here come lots of random and largely unrelated things that I've been meaning to post! (Oh, how lucky you are!)

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After I managed to almost ruin a sweater last week, we finally got fed up with the door closer on the screen door in the garage and its wanton spree of greasy terror. You will be pleased to know, should you ever have the opportunity to avail yourself of this door, that we have purchased and installed a replacement closer, and you shall travel safely across that threshold without fear of horrible black marks on your back. Huzzah!

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It's now officially winter in the Pirnat household--tonight we prepared the first gigantic pot of chili, guaranteed to warm your spirits (as well as various other parts that come into contact with it). The fun part is that it's a bit different every time; this batch has a deep, round, smoky heat that I find reminiscent of barbeque, but without the sweetness. Of course it needs a day or two to really mature correctly, so we'll see how it develops.

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Walk the Line... We intended to see the new Harry Potter but ended up at the Cash biopic instead when Potter was sold out. Walk the Line was perfectly serviceable, and a fine film, just nothing that really blew me away. It seemed to lack some of the cinematic expressiveness of films like Shine or Ray (the latter of which really blew me away). I was quite impressed with the vocal performances (who knew that Phoenix and Witherspoon could convince me that they were just lip-syncing to the originals?), but I was bothered by the story structure, which seemed to imply that Johnny Cash's life was over, done, and of no more interest after June finally relents and agrees to marriage, which seemed like a bit of a cop-out to me. And I would have really liked his cover of "In My Life" over the end credits, but I can't have everything.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire... Entirely too many shows were sold out, so I it took a couple days before I got around to it, and at that point I found myself largely disappointed. Sure, it's pretty, and it's spooky and dark, and there are some really great bits... But it seems to have fallen back into the too-literal feel of the Chris Columbus Potter films. Also, it's about time that Harry got a full three hours (or more) or got serialized into multiple parts ala Kill Bill, because the amount of discarded material is really starting to detract from the filmed stories. In this case, the film might as well have been ...and the Triwizard Tournament, because just about everything else during the school year is just plain gone.

Miscellaneous other gripes... The confrontation with Voldemort was completely and totally devoid of tension or scariness; and Voldy really comes across as a poorly-costumed wuss in bad makeup; he's just silly, and not even remotely terrifying. Cedric Diggory's death? Nowhere as effective as the book, since we didn't spend nearly enough time getting to know him. I never would have expected a girl named Cho Chang to have such a thick Scottish accent; I'm not sure what I had imagined, but it wasn't her. There wasn't nearly enough done to establish the budding sexual tension between Ron and Hermione. I didn't remember the British retro-punk band at the Yule Ball, but it has been a few years since I read the book. Dumbledore's performance seemed to be all loud and shouty, merely a phoned-in cariacture. Oh, and excuse me, but there was nowhere near enough Snape.

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I've been ripping a huge pile of CD's that have been building up on my desk for a couple of months, mostly stuff that I either haven't listened to in forever, or that I never gave enough of a proper listen in the first place. It's really a treat to rediscover a lot of this stuff! Some of the real winners have been:

  • My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult - A Girl Doesn't Get Killed by a Make-Believe Lover... 'Cuz it's Hot
  • Juno Reactor - Bible of Dreams
  • Warren Zevon - Mr. Bad Example
  • Various Alan Parsons albums
  • Vangelis - Oceanic

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CSS geeks might enjoy learning how to create bar graphs with CSS. Now I just need stuff to graph!

...

And remember, kids, if you're giving it up, you're going steady with Hitler!

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Iconage: Nausicaa + Serenity

I have occasionally been bored enough or in need of something completely different from my normal mode of being focused on code and servers and misbehaving software. When it gets really bad, I end up staying up too late playing with Photoshop.

A couple months back, I did a few Nausicaa icons; last night I was overcome with the compulsion to do some Firefly/Serenity icons. For those who haven't seen Serenity yet, do note that some of them may be borderline spoilers.

Nausicaa

Serenity

Typical LJ netiquette applies--please credit me in your userpic keywords or comments if you snag any. Enjoy.

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Class of '46

A couple of days ago, [info]aquamindy posted a bit about how we bumped into some of the people involved with Westlake's new outdoor sculpture. By the time we'd gotten over there, the light was gone and photos from my piddly little camera were out of the question. So, we went back on Saturday for the official dedication ceremony.

Without further ado, for your "gosh, I'm going to have to drive by that intersection some time" pleasure, here's a peek at Westlake's prodigal Harold Balazs' "Class of '46":

Yes, it's huge.

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Yesterday (and This Morning)

So yesterday pretty much rocked for me, and to some extent this morning is continuing to rock. Why the good mood, you ask? Allow me to elaborate; let's kick it, list-style yo:

  • We've had nice weather the past couple of days. The sunshine makes a big difference to me. Too bad it's probably going to snow on Sunday, but I guess I'll find a way to cope.
  • At the company all-hands meeting, it was revealed that at least so far, we are ahead of plan on several significant metrics, so that's good. Even better is that we recently passed 2 million paid subscribers, and to celebrate, The Powers That Be are taking us all out to opening day at Jacobs Field! (Of course, being outside in Cleveland in early April might be a little chilly... But it's still cool!)
  • Almost immediately after the all-hands, Dave and I presented our design document to The Powers That Be in the tech group (so the CIO, VP of website development, head of webops group, tech lead who semi-manages me now, and the senior webops guy). I had done most of the document preparation, I pretty much took the lead and drove the presentation, walking everyone through it, and taking questions along the way. Thankfully, it went really well, and over the course of the afternoon, I received a number of very nice compliments from everyone who was there. Of course, the ones that mean the most were from Bruce, our CIO, who is one tough cookie. Impressing Bruce is not an easy task, so I am feeling pretty giddy about that.
  • At our weekly developer meeting, I broached the subject of starting a code review process, since it is one of my goals for my mid-year review. (I think it's funny that we're half way to the mid-year review, and we just now have established what all we will be evaluated on.) Overall, people seemed open to the idea, and it didn't go over totally badly, so I'm considering that to be a minor victory as well.
  • Liz was down in the dumps last night, but we had framing to go pick up, so I managed to coax her to come with me and go out to dinner. We picked up the framing first; it's a new Chilly Willie cel (a model sheet actually, showing him at various turns) that she had bought on eBay, and the place we went to did a great job.
  • Liz had a craving for Greek, so we went to a new-to-us place (whose name eludes me) over in Lakewood. Had some flaming cheese (yum!). Had some tasty dinners. Split a dessert. But the highlight was the Greek wine (which I can neither spell nor pronounce nor even remember the name of, since Liz ordered it) that Liz picked out. It was a dark, dark, dark red, almost black, but it was deceptively so, since it drank somewhat like a smooth merlot, not anywhere as agressive a flavor as I had expected. It was delightfully wonderful, and I will definitely be back for more!
  • Good West Wing last night. Not very serious, which was a nice break. Very, very funny.
  • This morning, while I was getting water in the break room, Bruce came in and gave me a second helping of praise about yesterday's presentation, the design doc, and all my work on my insane project of doom from last fall. Damn, it feels nice to be recognized every now and then. :-)

This afternoon I get to do a less technical version of yesterday's presentation, basically to try to get the head of our UI group and one of our business types to understand what we're getting at, and to give it the green light. I believe Bruce will be preparing an English translation for them, so hopefully it will all go smoothly.

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