Blog Flume

I am a multimedia designer and aspiring writer from Central Illinois who dreams of bigger things. You are entering the hub of my online world. Welcome. Make yourself at home, read some stuff, click a few things, maybe check out my online portfolio. And of course, if you enjoy your stay, please subscribe.

*NOTE* This blog occasionally contains coarse language. Please use discretion when viewing.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Draw Something is amazing!

I have a confession. I am balls-deep into a Draw Something addiction right now. I cannot recommend a mobile app any higher than I do this game. It is so incredibly fun, even without purchasing the $1.99 premium upgrade, though I'm bound to do so at any time now.

I play this game whenever I have a chance. I currently have about 15 games going, and at times I find myself thinking that's just not enough. So far there are about half a dozen players I really enjoy volleying back and forth with (and one of those is an opponent that was randomly selected for me). I can still have fun with all the players in my games, but there is that handful whose drawings I truly anticipate receiving, not only to watch them guess my drawing, but to see what they have in store for me.

I try my best to avoid taking the easy way out on a drawing whenever possible. Of course, sometimes I am limited by the size of my iPhone, especially when coupled with the sausagelike fngers that are doing the drawing. But for the most part I have stuck to my plan of creating a challenge out of each round when I can, not only for myself, but for the guesser as well. For instance, last night the word I chose to draw was "red." I could have drawn a splotch of red paint and pointed to it with an arrow.

Instead--and I wish I'd done a screen grab of this now--I went with "red" as more of a theme. I drew (in this order) a wall splattered with blood, a huge puddle on the floor, a bloody, severed stick-man arm lying in the puddle, a kneeling, blood-spattered stickman sans one arm next to it, and the caption, "Oh dear. It appears my arm has fallen off."

One time for "blender" I drew (again, in this order) a nondescript green, red and slightly yellow swirl topped by a green splotch with what appeared to be two bulging eyes, a cup or jar surrounding it, a black base, some buttons, an electrical cord , and more colored splotches radiating out from the carnage; a frog in a blender.

Here are a few I did get screen grabs of. These are some of my greatest examples of not taking the easy way out. Once again, anyone can view my entire ongoing album of favorite original Draw Something screen grabs at this URL. Please stop by for a chuckle or two. Enjoy the preview below!

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Oh my gosh, I'm a copyright pirate

Ahoy there, mateys! Yer friendly neighborhood pirate here, plunderin' the seas of copyrighted classical music and gettin' notices in me YouTube account.Now, I don't do a whole lot of uploading to my YouTube channel, so maybe this kind of thing has been going on for some time and I was just unaware of it. I got an email notice this morning regarding a video I uploaded yesterday. __________________________________________

Dear SPR1N9H33L,
Your video may have content that is owned or licensed by UMG, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, ads may appear next to it.
This claim is not penalizing your account status. Visit your Copyright Notice page for more details on the policy applied to your video.
- The YouTube Team


Apparently I have so sufficiently violated a copyright as to restrict my video from even being viewed in some places.

Vivaldi died two and a half centuries ago. I don't think he's in the Great Beyond, patrolling the Interwebs to find copyright infringers. I say if he has no beef with people recording his music and making their own money off it ad infinitum, those people should have no beef with me posting a three-minute clip of his music (not theirs--I don't care who perfomed it) and gaining no profit. Copyright law is stupid sometimes.

YouTube's answer to the copyright claim makes even less sense. The video has been blocked in Germany, has ads running next to it in some locations, and has been disabled from viewing with mobile devices. I wonder why Germany specifically. Vivaldi was Italian. The Venice Baroque Orchestra is obviously Italian. UMG (Universal Media Group) is owned by Vivendi, a French company... I lose the trail there.

I also wonder why, in response to a copyright claim, YouTube's answer is to place ads with the clip in question. And really, what isn't a mobile device these days? Do desktop computers even exist anymore? (I'm exaggerating, of course. I'm one of the probably 20% of people at work who actually has a desktop PC at my cubicle)

And I like this option of replacing the audio with a song from the YouTube library. You can't change the musical accompaniment to a ballet piece! Though I wonder what I'd have to choose from. It might be worth an experiment to find out. Perhaps I could try replacing Vivaldi with "Chocolate Rain."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finished another project for Peoria Ballet

As the title of the post indicates, I just finished putting together the program for Peoria Ballet's annual showcase. First they contacted me because they had no cover for the program. Got that done in about an hour. Today, they discovered they had major issues with the program content itself so I was tapped to recreate it and fix all the complications. It was a rush job, but I'm proud of how it turned out. Here's the cover image. (Photography by Ching)

By the way, tickets are still available for this show. It's the culmination of the academy's training over the last semester, and if past performances are any indication it will be a wonderful show. I did get a chance to observe a rehearsal last week, and there are some truly beautiful pieces involved.

My son, age 10, has been dancing with the Peoria Ballet for several years now. He's been working hard and is hoping to graduate to level 3 very soon, perhaps after his summer intensives.

It really is an excellent school of ballet, and Peoria is fortunate to have an instructor and art director like Servy Gallardo around to teach here. He takes a great amount of pride in what he does for the academy and its students.

Gallardo, who has also taught in major metropolitan ballet schools, frequently comments about how impressed he is with the eagerness of Peoria students to work hard and learn.

I'm proud that my son is one of those eager students. He's just like any other ten-year-old boy in many respects. He loves NERF guns, video games and Pokemon, but above all he has a genuine love of dance. Some kids like baseball, football or NASCAR, but not my kid. He's found his calling. No matter what he does or where he goes in life, dance is going to have a big part in it, I'm confident and proud to say.

For the joy that Peoria Ballet has brought my son, I am always pleased to help the academy out when I'm needed. Whether it's set-building, backstage crew, cast parties, shooting video, grinding out print work last minute or whatever else they throw at me, they can always count me in.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hail and Kill

June 16 is the date I await. Digital prerelease of the new Manowar CD--with a new official title which was unveiled last week--Lord of Steel. This will reportedly be a departure from the epic metal sound and a return to raw, kick-ass metal, more in line with WOTW and Battle Hymns. That's exactly what I was hoping for. Nothing kicks more ass than Manowar when they are going balls-out. Joey promises this album will blow our heads off. Can't wait!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The return of the coney dog

So I know this isn't media related, but it is related to previous posts, so if you don't like it, suck it.

Oh happy day! My wife and I just stumbled upon the original owner of Emo's Dairymart in Peoria. A year or two ago she sold her business and her coney dog recipe. Being big fans of her coneys, we were sad to see her go--especially once the new owners failed to deliver upon reopening. I have nothing against the Ice Cream Shack (the other place owned by the new Emo's owners) but Peoria really doesn't need two of them.

So here we are a year or so later, and my wife decided to try a new ice cream and coney place that's been open for a while. It's called simply Coneys, and it's located on Willow Knolls Drive in Peoria. Turns out, it was built by Janice, the former proprietor of Emo's. Need I say how good the dogs are? Oh. My. God. And the ice cream! 34 flavors of soft serve just like old Emo's!

So anyone else who misses the old Emo's like we do, make your way out to Coneys on Willow Knolls for a familiar treat or three.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fresh news from the camp of Manowar

Hot off the virtual presses comes the news that Manowar's new song, "El Gringo," is actually the theme song from a movie with the same name. Releasing soon, the movie appears to be a modern "B" western with tons of gunfire, exploding blood squibs and bad dialogue.

Perhaps it's prejudicial of me to give a review of the movie based solely on its trailer, but I'm pretty sure I'll be proven correct.

But I'm overlooking the point here. Manowar have finally made it onto a movie soundtrack! No, it's not the exposure they deserve; they should have been tapped for a song on the Thor soundtrack--that was a no-brainer. But for now, I'll take it.

The best news (for me) of yesterday's press release is the confirmation that the new album's direction will be similar to 2002's Warriors of the World, one of my favorite efforts by the band, and that we're still on track for a, "world premiere and digital pre-release in June 2012."

Hail and Kill. Gods of War, I await thy steel.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

iReview the iPhone 4

Well, I've had my iPhone 4 for two weeks now, and in that time I've finally been able to form an opinion of the device. That's right, I said iPhone 4 - *not* 4S. What do you think, I'm made of money or something? The two iPhone 4s were pricey enough as it is.

So allow me to begin by saying that overall I LOVE my phone. Really though, I might not be a good person to ask. It is, after all, my first smart phone. I've never had a data plan or 3G availability before, so it could be that I'm merely smitten with having the Web at my fingertips whenever I want it.

I'm proud to say, however, that I have not gone apeshit buying apps. As a matter of fact I have spent less that $5 on apps and am quite pleased with the results. I do have my eye on an additional $2.99 app but I've been biding my time in case the urge passes.

So what apps are my faves so far? Glad you asked. First, there's the addictive doodle game Draw Something (see attached screenshot), which has proven to be not only fun but very easy as well. Admittedly, it would be MUCH easier on an iPad instead.

Another game followed me from Facebook--Words with Friends. I find social online gaming in general a lot easier to keep up with now that I'm always "jacked in."

In addition to gaming, there's my newly expanded presence in the world of social media now that I'm constantly plugged in to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and my newest obsession, Foursquare. (I have four mayorships already)

And believe it or not, I purchased my first electronic book in the iTunes store. It was the complete writings of H.P. Lovecraft--EVERYTHING--short stories, novellas, poetry, essays--for $5.99. Hard to pass up and even harder to not enjoy, even on my tiny iPhone screen. I've been reading one short story every night before bed. I even took back a library book without cracking the cover.

Anyway, I can now say that I understand the appeal of ebooks, and I will likely purchase an e-reader at some point in the future.

Drawbacks? The battery life sucks, BIG TIME. I'm accustomed to going three to four days without requiring a charge. Now it's daily. Of course, previously my phone was just a phone and texting tool. Now it's damn near a new appendage. I guess the drain on the battery should be expected when you use your phone as much as I have been.

Another gripe? This one's a legitimate complaint: The vibrate function is barely worthwhile. Most times it might as well be nonexistent because you can't feel it anyway.

So while I don't like not being able to tell if I'm getting notifications on silent mode or being tethered to my charging cable (or not being able to utilize perfectly good generic charging cables that worked just fine with my iPod--Apple bastards), I am certainly impressed overall. This phone has easily changed my life.

For the better? We'll see. By the way, this is the first post which I blogged entirely from my iPhone.

UPDATE!!! See some of my most cherished drawings from my turns at DRAW SOMETHING in my Facebook photo album located here. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll likely scratch your head. But you'll definitely laugh, or at least snicker to yourself quietly.