The First Annual Eddie Awards!

That’s right, folks, according to our “research”, people like year-ending lists. So we, by which I mean “I”, came up with some things that happened, were purchased, or created by me this year.

Best advice– “Shit happens” – from (former…) Champ Car owner Derrick Walker at the final Champ Car Grand Prix of Long Beach. Mr. Walker stands to lose several million dollars of personal money in a sponsorship dispute.

Album of the year“Pretty. Odd.” by Panic at the Disco. Amazing Beatlesque work from an “emo” band.

Most Disappointing Album:  “Viva La Vida”, by Coldplay. So yeah, looks like their 15 minutes ran out just before X&Y.

Brewery of the year: Founder’s Brewing. Probably the only good thing to come out of Michigan this year. Their beers are heavy and expensive, but worth every damn dime.

Concert of the year: Minus the Bear, Webster Hall, 10/25/08.

Homebrew of the year: Simcorillo IPA. I didn’t brew as much as I would’ve liked, but this was a highlight.

Trip of the year: Washington, DC with the Secaucus High School Marching Band.

Trip of the year excluding chaperoning 40 kids: The final Champ Car race ever at Long Beach, Ca.

Movie of the year: I, uh, didn’t see any movies this year.

Most Addictive Website: Facebook. Twitter comes in a close second here, but the amount of people with whom I’ve reconnected makes Facebook a complete and utter timesuck. Also, my Twitter feed now updates my Facebook status, so it’s win-win!

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Gag gift of 2008 – ShamWow!

Among the few gifts I got S this year, one was supposed to be a joke – ShamWow!, the chamois made in Germany and sold on TV. The guy that appears in the ad is alternatively annoying and engaging, and has been on the TV enough to make it a joke in our house.

So, with Xmas approaching, I went to their crappy website and ordered a batch. Although they say 3-4 weeks for delivery, it came in only a few short days, plenty of time before Xmas. It was honestly hard for me to keep from giving them to S, but I decided waiting (and wrapping!) would be a better payoff.

On Xmas Day she was making her chocolate truffles for both her family and mine. I had a feeling melted chocolate would require cleanup, so I quickly wrapped them and handed her the package. She of course laughed, but then put them to use!

On Sunday, I decided to brew a dark Imperial Stout. Again, plenty of opportunity for messes. Two of the large ShamWow! were employed for cleanup, and a third is underneath the now-fermenting carboy in the closet.

I’m sure there are other, cheaper chamois available, including one S bought at Trader Joe’s, but they absorbed black stout and cleaned the floor pretty well. They sure came in handy at our house!

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Day after Xmas… at werk.

I came in today thinking i’d be feeling creative and write a post. Well, here I am at 12:30 EST with no such creativity, but at least I’m writing. I plan to blog more in 2009, but then again, I think “Write more” was my resolution for 2008, and that went basically nowhere.

there are three other people in my group here today with me. I think there are maybe another 5-10 people here in addition. Makes sense to open the office for alllllll of those people, eh?

i got a new flash for my camera for xmas … Nikon SB-600. i don’t know what i’m doing with it, yet. guess this also locks me into Nikon, not that it’s a bad thing. the grass is always greener over at Canon…

my girlfriend is out shopping for her family’s party tomorrow. i’m sitting in the office freezing with the other people, all of whom are wearing jackets or other heavy attire. it’s current 39 outside in NYC.

i plan to brew on Sunday – an imperial stout. my last porter didn’t come out so great. a bit lacking in body, a bit too much alcohol burn, not enough vanilla. still very drinkable, just not fantastic. 5/10.

my inbox is barren, facebook is dead, no one’s on twitter, and even my rss feeds aren’t entertaining me.

why is it that we’re here today? i guess this is the entitlement society i keep hearing about. even Hale and Hearty doesn’t have a full selection of soups today.

yes, i’m bitter. and cold.

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The Airing of the Grievances

Yea, it is time that we put up the Festivus Pole, engage in feats of strength, and air the year’s grievances. So we call upon Our Lord Frank Costanza, and shout Serenity Now! Here are my grievances for 2008:

  1. To unhelpful RSS feeds that don’t display the content of a post. A headline only is generally not enough information to make me want to click through to your site.
  2. To Adobe, for charging ridiculous upgrade fees. $499 to upgrade, when I just spent that much less than 18 months ago, on products that are mature and stable?
  3. To the GOP, for ignoring our environmental issues, screwing up government oversight, our worldwide status, the Iraq War, and everything else over the past eight years.
  4. To my current employer, for not giving us off the day after Thanksgiving and Xmas. This year both holidays fall on a Thursday, so wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a long weekend? Nope, if you have vacation days left, you have to take them. if you don’t, guess where you’ll be? Here in the office, which leads me to…
  5. The building managment company, as well as my current employer, for turning the heat down enough on weekends that Mondays are freezing. I bought cashmere socks just for Monday mornings. If you walk around the office, you’ll see people wearing hats, scarves, and jackets. Winter jackets.
  6. To Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe, co-owners of the now defunct Champ Car World Series, which merged with the Indy Racing League (IRL) earlier this year. When I say merged, I mean sold the fuck up the river a few weeks before the season was due to start. This is a topic very dear to me, as I followed Indy/Champ Car since I was a wee high schooler, and the Meadowlands Grand Prix came to town in the mid-to-late-80s. I could take up six months’ worth of posts on this topic, so i’ll leave it at that.
  7. To Tony George, who fucked it all up to start with.

There are certainly more, but these are the ones that are nagging at me. Check back in case there are more grievances!

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Happy Little Errors

So I’m working on designing buttons, icons, and interface items for a new release. The buttons I’ve created looked… nice, but still not what I wanted them to look like.

Somehow along the process, I cropped the template file a little too judiciously in Photoshop. Buttons I created a week ago were taller by six pixels. I’m still not sure how I did this, as all the guides were in the same place, and making the button taller changed the alignment of text.

While playing around, trying to figure out WTF I did, I ended up using a clipping mask with an existing layer – and it looks great! The only downside, of course, is now I have to recreate approximately 50 buttons. But, I’m happy now they finally look good!

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