Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Every Business’s Website Should be Responsive

Morgan Stanley’s analysts predict that more people will be utilizing the mobile web rather than using the web on their desktops and laptops by the year 2015. The reasoning behind this is that smartphones today have the capability to complete tasks done on a desktop just as well. Mobile internet surfing is far more convenient, especially for someone on the go. If you have a smartphone, you have the internet in your pocket (where ever there is service of course). Social media and networking drastically increases mobile usage when it comes to people checking their Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts. The convenience of it all trumps home computers and is the reason why mobile surfing is the way of the future.

So what is responsive web design and how does it relate? In the past businesses would have two sites: one for the desktop, and one for mobile. Now that there are handfuls of different screen sizes to design for the answer for it all is to utilize responsive web design. Responsive sites are capable of scaling down or up to any screen size if coded correctly, and it only has to be done once. Say goodbye to and welcome for any screen size!

Responsive sites use grid systems to delineate information. Without a grid, the site would not know how to respond to the change in screen size. Keeping it simple will make your job easier in the end and won’t make your information feel cluttered. A few premade grids that most designers use include: Bootstrap, Foundation, Skeleton, and The Golden Grid System.

It’s really important for businesses to upgrade their site to a responsive design because if a possible customer tries to access your site and it’s not mobile or tablet friendly, you might just lose their business. The friendlier the user experience is, the better the outcome. Responsive design is also good for SEO. This is so because there is only one place where the URL lives on the web rather than multiple places. As you can see, responsive web design is crucial for business and should be utilized to increase profits through mobile web traffic.

Post written by: Erica Gallo

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Exact Match Domains In The Legal Sphere

In the office, we have been discussing the effects of exact match domains, and the hypocrisy of Google's stance upon them. Let me explain, three weeks ago, we built a web page to test a theory that we had been seeing running rampantly over Google's supposed crackdown on exact match domains.

Our test revealed, that even though Google may want to discourage exact match domains, they are currently rewarding them. It only took three weeks for our EMD to rank on the first page on the highly competitive keywords of 'car accident lawyer denver.' Don't believe me? Check it out at

If you are interested more in this let us know, and we will post more about it. We think is is interesting. So, it might happen anyway. Driving more business is always exciting...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tips on Reducing Your Nerves While Giving a Speech

It’s perfectly natural to be nervous before and during a speech. But do not fret, for there are ways of getting around these nerves. The five tips listed below have personally helped me get past my fear of public speaking; please don’t be afraid to give them a try!

Deep breathing is essential when it comes to calming nerves. When your body is lacking oxygen, speaking becomes physically difficult. Adults tend to take very short breaths; I think this might have to do with stress. It is best to take deeper breaths before and during your speech. Try these abdominal breathing techniques.

Having notecards to refer to when you lose track of a thought, or need to reference a name is perfectly acceptable as long as you only glance down for a hot second. When you make your notecards, do not write down your speech word for word, instead, only write down key words or phrases. You should never write down your speech word for word because if you do, you will find yourself solely relying on your notecards. Doing this greatly increases your chance of reading your information instead of talking to your audience about what you know. The more you know about your topic, the better.

I’ve found that incorporating humor is key to a successful speech. Of course there might be a few topics in which this may not be appropriate, so I will let you decide if you should include it or not. Everyone has a unique personality and sense of humor so use this to your advantage. I guarantee that your audience probably doesn’t want to be there as much as you do, unless it’s a wedding or joyous occasion of course. Either way, humor breaks the boredom barrier and is usually almost always appreciated. I guarantee getting laughs will boost your ego and will make you feel more comfortable with your audience.

If you involve your audience in your presentation, they pay more attention to those involved around them instead of just you, the speaker. This can lift some of that dead weight off of your shoulders. You also don’t want them to feel like they’re being talked at, especially if it’s for a long period of time. Find some good information about involving your audience here.

I promise that you will live through this. Just think that this is only going to be ‘insert amount of time here’ of your entire life. If you attempt to do all of these things, I guarantee, with time, or if you’re a natural (go you!), you will become a great public speaker!

Post written by: Erica Gallo

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Input Overload

It’s a typical day. You wake up, stretch, roll over to grab your phone, spend a few minutes catching up on Facebook notifications and your Twitter feed. Drag yourself out of bed, slide those wonderful furry slippers on, grab the paper from outside, and pour yourself a bowl of cereal so you can eat and read it. Then your day begins. A few texts from Jenny, logging onto Skype, getting the latest on Facebook, and some time spent browsing, all while you listen to the radio or TV is on in the background. Now, when you think about it, that is A LOT of information being thrown at you all day!  Absorbing all of this information can take a lot of time out of our day. So what can we do about it?

Streamline Your Information: Instead of using several mediums to get information and communicate, shrink that down with a few services that combine all of this information for you, often for free. Below, I've mentioned my two favorites and how I use them.

Trillian: is a service that can combine your chats from Skype, Gmail, Facebook, and many others into one instant messenger that easily takes care of everything for you. This app has actually made me much more productive and freed up time from my day. I found myself primarily using Facebook for the messaging feature to talk to my friends and in turn, getting distracted by logging on Facebook a lot. Now I only get on Facebook once or twice a day and can still easily connect with friends.

Feedly: is a fantastic news-streaming platform that allows you to enter your favorite sites that you visit daily, and then congregates them into a single feed that features all of the day’s articles. It even allows you to split information into categories, in case you just want to catch up on business news or what happened today in technology.

These are just a couple of suggestions for dealing with information overload. It’s incredible how easy it is to get sucked into constantly and consistently reading every little bit of information that is thrown at you. Or even just the obsession with connecting with friends. It is easy to burn a few hours just delving through other’s profiles on Facebook. Consider instead, boosting your own productivity and still maintaining a little of both worlds and streamline the process. It will take some focusing to buckle down and do, but it’s worth it! There’s many other tactics out there. I’d love to hear how you do it in the comments below!

Post written by Nick Rizzi. Check out his Blog or connect on Google Plus with him.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Twitter, or 'The Reason I Might Get Fired'

I am the only person who feels like there is no limit to the amount of time that can be wasted on Twitter? I open up the app on my phone, and the first thing I do is scroll through my timeline. If the time-wasting was contained to this, I could live with it. That is to say, I could remain a highly efficient and engaged member of my class, workplace, social circles etc.

But it doesn't stop there. No. Never.

Next, I hit the discover button (#) and the time suck really begins. Articles about an IP address in Vatican City downloading porn, a bunny with a pancake on it, Miley Cirus "twerking". The distractions are freaking endless, and what's worse? They are insanely freaking entertaining!

What's to be done?

There are a few things I have tried to do to minimize my Twitter time-wastage:

1. Only surf Twitter on the toilet. It may make bathroom breaks at bit longer, but at least it doesn't detract from any actual work or learning.

2. Only follow people who share constructive items. Keep all the dumb sh*t out of your feed and leave it to that horrid (#) button.

3. Pick days to leave the phone at home. Easier said than done, but so necessary.

How do you deal with your Twidiction? Let us know below.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

It is with a mildly heavy heart and a nominal amount of trepidation that I write this post. This is my final post on this blog. It is not, however, the end of this blog - not by any means. (Read on!) Two weeks ago, I was contacted by someone who expressed an interest. After some discussion, I have agreed to turn over the reins (so to speak). My personal involvement with 'A Season of Mists' will cease soon after I publish this.

Why relinquish this bastion of randomness? First and foremost, I haven't been doing much here of late. My personal rule of thumb is not to write if I don't have anything interesting or positive to say. Most of what I would have written these past few years would fail on one or both counts. I could claim a lack of time, but that would be a poor, thinly veiled excuse and I have tried my best not to lie to you. Second, while I have a strong sentimental attachment, I wouldn't mind seeing someone else put this place to good use. It's a little sad to see it languish, particularly given the zeal I had during the first few years (i.e., "the law school years").

I began this blog because I wanted to write. I had a desire to share my thoughts with whoever would listen. (And I had a new laptop and an internet connection in classes.) The direction remained largely amorphous barring two recurring series (Top Ten Lists and movie reviews) and the odd popular post (e.g., these two about Pop Rocks). Some of what's here is personal and some is personal commentary. I think the blog grew to become the kind of sounding board I still use in my head today - part of the running commentary of my mind. And during a particularly stressful time in my life (law school), it functioned very well as stress relief. There's something profoundly cathartic in the simple act of sharing.

I haven't decided if I'm going to attempt another blog or something different like a website. It's still largely the case that I don't have a single topic to focus on and the web has become rife with content. It's no longer necessary for me to publish a blog with my own running commentary - Facebook is the place for that particular narcissism. But we shall see. I try not to rule anything out and I suspect that my love affair with quasi-public speaking has not yet run its course.

Should anyone wish to contact me, the e-mail address still holds - AgtShadow [at] gmail [dot] com - and my name should still be here (somewhere).

Before I go, there is one last task remaining. Thank you, dear reader, for your time and interest. I am very appreciative that you chose to share some of your time with me and my insanity. It is not that I expected or demanded an audience, but that I am truly grateful for everyone who found any of my ramblings of any interest. Completely inadvertently, this blog led me to some interesting places, including a law professor's recommendation and randomly meeting a reader (another law student). My hope is that it also led you to some interesting places of your own.

The world is far bigger and weirder than any of us can hope to appreciate. Here's hoping we meet again!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

'Lo These Days Ahead

Hello from somewhere! Much has changed of late. I was let go from my job. I knew I was being let go as of Monday, July 9, 2012 and my last day was Tuesday, August 7, 2012. Yes, that's a little weird and it was about as strange as it sounds, but there was reason behind it and it was done with some amount of compassion. I think? I'm not very sad to see this happen. Okay, I'm probably not sad at all. I didn't enjoy the work and I wasn't quite performing up to my full potential. There's a euphemism in that statement but I'll be damned if I'm gonna spell it out for you. Let's just say, as cliché as it sounds (and is), that it's all for the best. I've been wanting to leave for quite awhile and this was far from the worst way for it to happen. Looking forward, I'm going to work on becoming a teacher. This came out in discussions a couple months ago and it sounds like a good direction. It feels good. Or I think it does. I know it's something I'd be good at and.. part of me.. wants to do it. I'm hoping it's a job I can maintain and at which I can succeed. Unfortunately, there's really only one way to tell for sure... In the meantime, I am living at home and attempting to be frugal. For some time now, I've know this was coming. The final date was unclear, as well as the ultimate circumstances, but I've felt it coming. So the frugality isn't quite new, more like a further extension of existing thoughts and practices. The first week was easy. I had a half day on Tuesday and I went to visit relatives that Friday (8/10/12). Easy to bridge that gap. Came back on Sunday (8/12/12) for a SL commitment that didn't need me. Spent the time from then to now being very non-productive and learning that I reeeeeeally need to make a schedule and adhere to it. This is not new information per sé, but it's always fun to relearn things. I have things to do yet and a number of goals. I've spent the past 5 years or so "surviving" and it's about time I started "living" instead. The worst thing about this is that I'm probably going to go without health insurance for some time due to the cost of COBRA. This is akin to a 50-50 roll of the dice for me. I'm not exactly the healthiest person out there and with my preexisting condition it's not as though I can just pick it up again on impulse. But I simply can't afford it so not much wiggle room really. What am I doing next? Well, the ultimate goal is to become certified for teaching math/science for grades 7-12 or thereabouts. Short-term? Substitute teaching, piecemeal patent work if I can, unemployment, whatever other work I can find. And to work on changing my lifestyle. I'm due. I'm still involved in SL fairly heavily with some commitments coming due very soon. Playing board games from time to time. Playing computer games - stopped with Diablo 3, stopped with The Old Republic, Path of Exile, waiting for Guild Wars 2. So we'll see what happens. I'm still very hopeful though admittedly it's early yet. I'm hoping to use this time productively, even if that means long overdue housecleaning or watching movies/DVDs or reading (more). It's going to be interesting, but I'm looking forward to it! P.S. Please don't post any comments until I get around to swapping back to Google comments. The Haloscan one is going bye bye very soon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

No Rain (Just Snow)

Because that's the song I just heard and it's as apropos as anything.

My first burlesque performance was on Friday. Went very well! I had to relog *right* before I started to correct a sound issue, but otherwise went smoothly. Had a bunch of friends there to see it. Good stuff. My next one should be a week from Friday.

Later that night I stuck my foot in my mouth but good. I've said to SL friends before that I'm not afraid to be blunt or speak or speak my mind even, though this will occasionally result in a solid foot-in-mouth. Part of the price I pay for being me, and I accept that, just don't ask me to like it. I will annoy and/or piss off people from time to time. Fine. I'd rather do that and be that way than be quiet and unobtrusive. Remember me, for my mistakes if you must, but remember me. Something like that at any rate I think.

A truly amazing snowstorm came through on Saturday! We got something like 5-6" of snow, though other places got as much as 2' (MA) or more. Something like 70% of the state (CT) is *still* without power. Leaves on the trees + heavy snowfall = falling branches all over the place. Broke all records. Broke some power lines. Absolutely insane. Pretty much meant cancellation of Halloween, though I believe it's rescheduled in my town for this upcoming Saturday.

Work is work. I did good work yesterday, hoping to do decent today. Enough days like that and I'll be okay.

I have all sorts of weirdness in my SL stuff. I'd call them "relationships" but that's not quite accurate. The woman I was with for two weeks – hung out with her on Saturday for awhile. We are friends, I suppose, though we're both often busy with (different) things nowadays. I get the sense that she could use a friend from time to time, and that is where things stand. Then there's the woman with whom I am renting the parcel. She's something else entirely. We're mildly guarded around one another, not the least of which is because neither of us is "looking for a relationship right now" though we get on very well together. And we are friends, we hang out a lot, work together at times, etc. Beyond those two, there are all the other miscellaneous friends I've made and see from time to time, as well as new ones I meet and make. Just a fun, fluid environment. I really am enjoying it quite a bit.

I saw the new Three Musketeers movie last night, 3D of course. Absolutely abysmal. The fight sequences and Milla Jovovich in corsets means I got my money's worth, but that's about it.

So I keep busy, even if it is primarily in a virtual environment. I do need to slow down (cease) the spending frenzy there, and regain my composure monetarily. I also need to organize my online inventory and work on sifting through things. I have 29.6k items right now, and that's absurd, particularly as so much remains unpacked.

But then I do want to buy more things for the burlesque acts, and that's probably what I should be focusing on. So we shall see. Perhaps I'll also work on some photos/pics (from SL) and post them on Flickr. So much to do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dead Easy

Lots going on in Second Life. Somewhere along the line, I think I forgot to mention SL burlesque. I shall endeavor to remedy this oversight as briefly as I can.

In SL, there are two types of entertainment in which I like to indulge – live music and burlesque. I could write a whole post on the SL live music scene. Suffice it to say that performers schedule gigs at venues and stream the performance. There's a wide variety of music, and quality. I have my favorites whom I try to catch when I can and I've been very successful at introducing more people to the scene.

The other one, burlesque, requires a tad more explanation. In SL, the burlesque scene involves people (avatars) performing dance numbers on sets (think scenery), often while removing articles of clothing and occasionally while speaking/emoting text (e.g., to describe what they are "doing"). The sets can be simple or complicated, similar with the dances and script. Since SL is a sandbox environment, you can get a wide range of set designs, almost anything you can imagine. Some acts feature more than one dancer. Just a wide variety with different styles and such. And there really is a strong artistic component to these – they're not fluff pieces, not at all.

I've been attending SL burlesque shows since August 6. I usually find them to be entertaining and interesting. Some of the acts are downright amazing! Very creative. So back in August, I applied to become a performer. My audition was 2 weeks ago and I passed! I haven't performed my own act yet, but my first one is scheduled for this Friday. Here's how that came about.

On Tuesday night, the burlesque company asked for Halloween numbers for the Halloween show. (Halloween is *big* in SL.) On Wednesday, I came up with an act I call "Dead Easy." It's about a zombie dancing in a diner/restaurant/eatery of some sort. (Turned out to be a diner.) Last Wednesday night, I ran it by one of the bosses and got approval along with an instruction to have it for this Friday. !!! My first act! I'm rather excited about the whole thing.

On Friday, I finalized my clothing for it. On Saturday, I constructed the set (really just cobbled it together – didn't make it myself). All I have left is to put the dance sequence together. I think it looks pretty good so far. And I love that my first act is a zombie one!

The other thing this weekend was that I went in with a new friend (met her last Tuesday night) on a land rental. I think I did it in part because she wanted a conspirator and in part to see what would happen. I haven't had land in SL since my original stint 7.75 years ago. It'll be fun to mess around with it. Plus, I can now stream live musicians on the parcel, for example, if the venue is too laggy or if I'm busy.

So I've been very busy in SL, despite the breakup thing last week. We're still friends, incidentally, though rather more distant. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anger & Pain

Yeah, so things didn't quite work out as I hoped. Tonight she says she wants to be friends, no expectations, blah blah blah. She has doubts, she doesn't want to get in a relationship for the wrong reasons (rebound), she wants to go slower. Me? They're her doubts & fears not mine, then why'd she start this, and how does one go slower other than to end it.

So she wants to be friends and expects me to jump at that right away.

Really? I don't think so. I'm angry and hurt. Maybe when I get past that, when I'm a little more distant, but tonight? F*ck you.

I don't have friends like her. I don't tell friends what I told her. And she wants to just dial everything back and make it all cool immediately?

I say again: Really?

So thanks for all the fun, but tonight I'm sore. Tomorrow? We'll see. Tomorrow is another day. Can't wait to see where that leads me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Long Weekend In Repose

I always like that phrase "in repose." To me it seems to imply some kind of mildly stately, relaxed consideration of something.

NYCC was fun. Thursday walked the floor; Friday bought art (waaaaaay too much art); and Saturday didn't get up to too much. Lots of walking, probably a cumulative total of +16 hours over the three days, 8+ of them on Friday. Got my exercise at least. The too much art bit annoys me a little, but I like all of it and some of it is flat out amazing, so I can't complain too much. Just have to be more selective next year and watch for it. Said hi to Mr. Templesmith, among other people. Saw Stan Lee in passing. Photo with Brian O'Halloran of Clerks fame (Dante).

Sunday was Mark & Mona's housewarming. A little Sour Apples To Apples. I left early, making some excuse about wanting to catch some live music in SL. I haven't told some of my RL friends about Clem, though I will. Part of my hesitation is that I know they'll make fun of me for it. That's not going to keep me from telling them indefinitely, but I would prefer to cement, or not cement, things with Clem first.

Forgot my headphones for today. No music makes me a little sadder.

Things with the SL woman progress. There's renewed talk of meeting up. Then she turns around, throws something (metaphorically) at me and says she doesn't think she's right for me in a particular respect. Responding to that, I lost my cool a bit on Sunday, and I am sorry for that. I think we are okay, and will be okay, as long as we can both be patient with one another. This is not an easy way to go about meeting someone and there are some pitfalls with it that make it more difficult and trying at times. I'm still ever so hopeful that a RL meeting will address a lot of the issues and let us see if it's worth it to figure out the rest.

What amuses me a little (in a non-amusing way) is that we're both afraid of the same things – rejection and incompatibility. We know that we are emotionally compatible, and we enjoy similar things, and we obviously feel for each other. I'm worried over whether or not there's RL chemistry between us, and she's worried similarly (albeit in some slightly different respects). I'm worried about RL rejection over my looks and she's worried about rejection in general based on her predilections. I'm not worried about the latter, largely because she's a good person and that matters a great deal to me.

It's also difficult, in some ways, for each of us to trust the other. Even if she said (says) she's attracted to me, I wouldn't be able to believe it until we meet in RL. Even if (when) I say I'm fine with everything, I don't think she can believe me until... until I prove it to her? Which would be in RL. Maybe? It's hard to say.

I sent her an e-mail last night apologizing and explaining things. I'm hopeful that we're on the same page. Damn, I'm just full of hope these days, huh?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Long Nights

I keep incurring long nights with this woman. Which is wonderful! And slightly tiring in the cumulative. But wonderful!

Looking back, it's been a busy week with her. A small misstep of mine on Monday night, a short Skype on Tuesday, hanging out in-game every night, some extremely late nights on the weekend (4am, 5am and 3:30am for Fri., Sat. and Sun., respectively), and a 1-hour Skype late last night. It's really a lot of fun! I am just enjoying the Hell out of her, and us, right now. Lamentably, it's going to ease up a bit in the coming weeks due to RL events on both our sides, so it's probably good we did this when we could.

I am infinitely more comfortable with it now than I was last week. As anticipated, time, experience and talk temper my discomfort. In particular, I think the Skype talking is good. It pokes holes in the veil of game interactions. There's all sorts more I could relate about her and/or our interactions, but it's not necessary. All there really is to say is that we're both enjoying each other's company. What more need be said right now?

One concept I pondered this past week, and which is still whirling through my head, is the nature of time dilation and Second Life (or any virtual world, I suppose). As of knowing her for 9 days (I think that means I did this calculation on Wed. morning?), I guesstimated that we had spent about 45 hours together. For just this weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), I guesstimate that we spent 35 hours together. Now be aware that these estimates do not factor in afk time or events where we're there together but, for the most part, not interacting with one another very much or the fact that conversations via IM are usually slower and more stop-start or that some of this time is spent in groups, with her friends. These are merely estimates of how much time we've spent together in-game, approximately co-locationally, for certain periods.

Nonetheless, even if you cut those numbers in half that's a lot of time! I mean, to wrack up 20-22 hours you're talking about 3-5 real-world (or real life, RL) dates. For such short RL timespans, the amount of time spent together is almost mind-boggling (e.g., 3-5 dates in the first 9 days).

It does make more sense in the context of a virtual world, however. It's easy to just sign on, meet up with someone and go. There's no cost or toll except for time. Time is the currency. And if you have the time, which clearly we do, as well as the inclination and interest, then it becomes easy.

This is just an observation I made that helps explain how we've become so close in such a relatively short (RL) timespan. I find it rather interesting. I'm often interested in the passage of time and the notion that perception of time passage is variable. Seems like an interesting concept to me, potentially even one with some sort of RL applicability or relevance at least.

I've got New York ComicCon coming up this week. Aaaaaaand that's it for now. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Of Sailing Ships And Sealing Wax And Whether Anything Is Real In Second Life

That first part (the genesis of the phrase) has been circling my brain for the past whenever. No idea why. I do like its rhyme though. And do pigs have wings? (Apparently, I misquoted it a bit.)

It's been a very busy week since that last post. The immediate next day I met someone in Second Life (SL). She said hi to me at a live music event and away we went! Within our first 1-1.5 hours of conversation, I told her I was a guy (my deep, dark SL secret), but she was cool and there it was. I've met up with her in SL almost every night since (not Friday when I was out of town) and, excepting a small bit last night (whoops!), it's going rather well (I think).

Needless to say, I am sufficiently freaked out by the whole thing. Seeing as my last date was over 2 years ago and my last relationship was over 6 years ago, and everything thus far with her has taken place in a virtual world (as it were), I do not think my attitude unfounded. Nonetheless, it's a good deal of fun and I'm enjoying the whole thing quite a bit. We've traded real life (RL) pics and tonight we will be Skype-ing for the first time. I don't own a webcam so that's not on the table (yet).

Also needless to say, I am fully aware that I gave her a key for discovering this blog. I know not whether or not she has availed herself of said key, but let us assume she has. (Hello!) Do not expect any grand revelations here, dear reader, though I shall wet your palate when possible. Mmmm... wet palates...

Knowing myself and my thoughts and attitudes towards the virtual landscape of SL, I often find it difficult to trust others there. Beyond the fiction with which you are presented, you can never be sure who lies on the other side. And so I approach much of the personal interactions there with trepidation and hesitancy.

She blew through that like a warm breeze. I'm not entirely sure how or why, but that Monday night I decided to be completely honest with her, a random stranger. I can't point to any particular precipitating element, but it seemed like the right thing for the time and, judging from the outcome thus far, I think it was. She, for her turn, has been honest in return. Refreshingly so, even. Given the nature of her and our interactions, that's about all I can hope for and ask right now.

I will observe that in this short span of one week, she's actually changed my interactions with said virtual world. Previously, my time there was rather solitary – shopping on my own, hesitating to IM what few friends I have, attending live music on my own. It's amazing how that can change in the blink of an eye. Also, through her I've become friends with friends of hers and my network has expanded almost overnight. It's not something I ever would have anticipated, nor is it something I require per se (clearly), but it is a pleasant byproduct of, well, her.

A lamentable side to this, as though one were requisite, is that she lives on the order of 10-15 hours away from me (to be sufficiently vague). I chalk that into the "not insurmountable" column, though it is there nonetheless. While I do not have literal columns of which so to speak, if they were present they would be full of much more pleasant--

Stupid flowery language. Sorry. To summarize the summary of the summary: She's great!

There are one or two things with her that I'm still wrapping my head around, but for now I'm letting it go. I don't think they have to be deal-breakers and, to me, this is so fresh that I would like to see what further develops before I overanalyze everything to death. I'm a little anxious to meet her, particularly given our virtual interactions thus far, but tonight's anticipated Skype session should be a good step in that direction.

And so faithful reader (you are faithful, right?), I have stumbled upon an adventure within an enigma! Or a mystery within a journey! Or maybe a puzzle in a quesadilla? It.. is something, to be sure, but what precisely remains to be seen. For all of us.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm not dead!

Well, at least no more than usual.

Hello, hello! It seems like forever (or almost a year) since I actually posted something. Since I don't have unrestricted internet access at work, I can't directly post from there. This means that anything I do write between 9am and 5pm has to be saved and posted at a later time... which hasn't happened. Yet. So, yes, I have a number of posts written up and saved. Perhaps someday I'll post some of them, probably backdating them to their date of writing or some such. *shrug* Details to be worked out when and if I get there.

The short version: I still live at home with my mom and the dog. I still work at the same law firm doing the same work. They haven't fired me yet and I haven't left. I'm still very much unsettled and discontent, though I have yet to do a damn thing about it. Not dating. Not really doing much of anything other than passing the time.

Back in June I quit WoW. Again. Stopped cold turkey amidst some small upheaval in my raiding guild. Four others were leaving as their military service began soon - I piggybacked and took the opportunity to book it. Haven't looked back.

Played a few games afterwards: Dragon Age: Origins, Minecraft, Rift. Gave all those up when I got back into Second Life. I've been back in SL since July 1st and, for the most part, I'm enjoying it. It's changed a lot since my last sojourn 4-5 years ago. In particular, I'm digging the live music scene and the burlesque. I tend to spend most/much of my time at home in SL doing whatever. A good number of the posts I've written up in the past 11 weeks are about SL and/or my goings on therein.

I'm not quite sure where to go from here. Honestly, this post is the product of two desires: (1) to do something on a Sunday night; and (2) to get something up here. Part of me wants to let it devolve (further) into some small diatribe on my discontent or my loathing of Sundays (seriously) or some other equally hope-laden topic (e.g., why I'm not in SL right now), but that's not good enough for an "I'm alive" post.

Well, in a couple weeks I'll be at New York Comic Con. I'm looking forward to it. Last year I came away with a ton of books and art. I'm not looking for graphic novels so much this time, but I'm definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for art.

I've been reading up a storm since March. Oh yeah, my grandfather passed away then. He was 92. Not wholly unexpected, but.. not fun. I took a week off of work to be there with my family. So now it's just my grandmother. When I came back, I stopped going to lunch with my coworker friend (well, he stopped eating lunch at work) so I started reading instead. Since then, I've read something like 16-20 books. I'm enjoying it a lot. I look forward to the break. I love reading and it's nice being able to dedicate a chunk every day for relaxing with it.

About 4-6 weeks ago, I picked up a nook so I could stop buying paperbacks. I like it. Works well and is exactly what I want. No frills, nothing except a book reader.

I've been listening to music like a fiend - mostly symphonic metal still. It's a small obsession.

Back on August 5th, I wrote up my first burlesque work for SL - a 6-scene story. Since then I've written up a number of further burlesque acts (all single-scene, more conventional-ish). I'm not performing in SL yet, but I want to. Probably something I'll get into.. eventually.

I think that's enough for now. Nothing else comes to mind this instant and this is probably as good a summary as any. Thanks & Cheers!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

NY Comic Con

A friend and I hit up the con yesterday (taking the day off work) and today. We split up seeing as his interests lie primarily in the panels and mine in the purchasing. I had an absolute blast though my legs and feet are aching. I spent 6 hours on Friday walking the floor, seeing what there was to see & buying various things.

Here are a few things of note. I signed up for the Avatar VIP Package which net me a sweet Freakangels bag, 5 Freakangels prints & a dozen graphic novels (only 2 repeats). The bag is awesome. I made a hefty purchase from the illustrious Mr. Ben Templesmith. He's an odd sort, and I see his career growing every year, though he's been unassuming and down to earth the two times I've seen him. He seemed honestly surprised by my purchase, double checking that I heard him correctly when he said the comic books were $5 each. An awesome fellow. I bought some prints from Chrissie Zullo, including this sweet Star Wars one with all these mini shots of characters.

I attended a few panels today: one for The Thing; one on the women of Battlestar Galactica and one on Vertigo's upcoming lineup. All enjoyable. The BSG panel was awesome. You get a real feel that these are excellent actors who are dedicated to their craft. Plus they're amusing. The Vertigo one was nice, and I'm glad I caught it because their floor presence was nonexistent. The one for The Thing I sat in on in order to have a seat for the BSG panel, but it was cool. I guess I really have to see the John Carpenter movie.

All in all, a great time. Lots of fun and lots of booty, primarily in the form of graphic novels. (Basically I don't have to buy any more to read for at least the next few months... unless they're part of any series that I'm following, of course.) Met up with my friend & his wife for dinner on Friday night. Saw Stan Lee in passing. Amazing outfits that people wore. Saw Scott Kurtz, Brad Guigar & a host of other artists and writers. Good stuff. I'll definitely be back there next year.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Embrace Honesty

I don't think the title has much to do with the content of this post, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

(1) Certain songs are associated with certain memories for me. I had my first kiss while "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins was playing. For some reason, I had "Mysterious Ways" by U2 in my head while skiing once and forever after it has become associated with skiing for me. I remember when "Under the Bridge" played during the '92 NOAC in Tennessee and thousands of us sung along. I remember learning of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty and Queen while serving as a lifeguard at a BSA summer camp in Cape Cod.

I suspect I've written on that before, but too bad. It was in my head and it bears repeating.

(2) When do you update your profile for online dating sites? I completely forget to do so when I'm not using them, and then when I am using them to communicate with someone I refuse to update my profile. I know I'd be a little suspicious if the person with whom I were communicating changed their profile mid-conversation.

(3) I am registered on a few online dating sites. These are holdovers and remnants from my past efforts. Occasionally someone will try to contact me on one of these sites. I'm of two minds when this happens. First, assuming I am interested in them, I am a little excited and intrigued. Second, I am hesitant. I still live at home with my mom. I'm still (sort of) trying to figure things out. I don't think I'm ready to meet someone and settle down. And even if I did meet someone cool, she'd have to be pretty understanding and patient. But I'm also not about to let something get past me, so, assuming I am interested, I do respond, which engenders the above-noted dichotomy.

(4) I want to get a tattoo. For a long time, I've wanted one. However, there are two obstacles. First, I'm not sure what it will be. Second, I'm not sure where it will go. As to the first, it would have to be something purposeful, something meaningful (to me), something I want on me. As to the second, I would not want it too visible and my skin isn't the best.

(5) I'm tired. Yes, I don't go to bed early enough during the week. Yes, I stay up too late playing computer games. No, I don't sleep in on the weekends as much as I used to. In any case, I'm tired. I feel it, it slows me down, it affects my work and my attitude.

Easy A is Easily Excellent

"Easy A" stars Emma Stone as a would-be harlot that dons a scarlet A after faking her way into high school notoriety. Oh sure, the initial accusation stems from an enemy overhearing a small lie, but she then encourages the rumors and plays to them.

There are two things that stand out – the writing and Ms. Stone.

(a) The writing is absolutely delightful through and through. The verbal repartee is well done and well delivered. There are plenty of witty one-liners and comebacks, quotable to no end. The writing is also self-aware and pays homage to some of the great romcoms, including Say Anything, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, to name a few. One of the nice things is that while the heroine delivers many of these verbal barbs, plenty of the other characters chime in. It's refreshing.

(b) Ms. Stone. Oh my, Ms. Stone. An excellent job acting. She owns the role as it must be owned to successfully sell it. Plus, her outfits are eye-catchingly pleasing. (A hopefully-nice way of saying "o_O".) I've enjoyed her other movies, but it's nice to see her in a leading role and, more importantly, carrying the movie in a spectacular manner.

(c) The other characters deserve a nod, too. This is more in league with the writing, but there really isn't a weak character in the story. Sure, there are minor characters or underdeveloped characters or unexplored ones, but the actors and actresses are great and they all should be background noise around Ms. Stone, which they are. I liked the little touches of characterization that pervade the film, hints of underlying traits and deeper backgrounds.

Notwithstanding the above, there are a few issues with the movie.

(i) The movie doesn't know what it's trying to say. If there had been some bigger message or direction, that would have been nice. In the end, the most you can pull from it is "my sex life is my business"? Or "beware the rumor mill"? Huh? The writer could have imbued the story with something more, but he didn't. And so it languishes, just a bit.

(ii) The lack of a message is further punctuated by the ties to The Scarlet Letter. While I can see the parallels and appreciate that some of the themes are similar, I'm still not sure how they truly mesh. Ostracized by the community, branded a harlot, wearing a scarlet A – fine. But this isn't colonial times and attitudes towards sex have changed since then. I'm not sure how relevant Hawthorne's work remains in view of modern attitudes. And if that is the case, that The Scarlet A is less relevant or at least its message is, then how does the movie develop any of that while retaining the broad ties to Hawthorne's novel? I don't know.

(iii) The ending, as well as other parts of the move, is too neat. There's a bow on the damned thing, and it didn't need one. The movie could have remained a great comedy and been slightly less happy-go-lucky. I have a sneaky suspicion that if the movie had turned slightly darker or been slightly more depressing or slightly less pretty, it could have become one of those amazing underground/cult movies. The potential was there, it just pushed it aside in favor of a mass market happy ending. This also ties in with the message criticism above.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one. I wouldn't say it's a "must see" for anyone and everyone, but it's a well done, well written comedy that keeps you interested. There aren't a ton of twists or surprises, but there's enough there to flush out the story. I would say that if you like romantic comedies or Ms. Stone, check this one out. Definitely worth watching, in the theater or at home.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Day

What do I write that I haven't written here before? I'm in a downward slump again. I felt it a week or two or three ago. I felt it a month or two ago. You can often tell them here by my absence. I know what to write when things are going well, when I'm on an upswing or riding the swell. When it's down, when the trough embraces me? I don't know.

I don't know why I am the way I am. I wish I did. I wish there was a reason, some rhyme or method to the madness. If there is any, it remains as elusive as ever and I am swallowed by my own fallibility.

I had a dream the other night. I dreamed of a having a girlfriend. I dreamed of finding a place for myself (metaphorically, not physically per se). A friend was there, though I don't recall anything more than his presence. I'm trying not to project onto the half-remembered wisp, but I do recall the impression I formed shortly after waking. I had dreamed of two things I want that I do not have now. And I take it to be my subconscious trying to break through, to show me.. maybe that there is a light somewhere.

So what do I do now? The same things I've been doing. Because I tell myself I must. And tomorrow is another day.