Friday, September 30, 2005

Serenity Now, Part III

I'm back.

Totally worth it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Serenity Now, Part II

The little voice inside my head is telling me that I'd be a moron to go to the movie tonight, that I'm tired enough as it is, and that I can just as easily go see it tomorrow night.

I'm going to go drown that little voice in a movie-sized bucket of soda now.

Serenity Now, Part I

I just realized that there is a nearby showing of Serenity tonight at midnight. Am I going to be a responsible adult and skip it, so I can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work in the morning? Or am I going to give in to temptation and go see the movie that I've been looking forward to more than the last two Star Wars films and all the Harry Potter flicks combined?

Haven't decided yet...

Mother Nature doesn't read 'TV Guide'

Last night, I got the kids ready for bed and sat down to watch two of my favorite shows: Lost and Veronica Mars. I have to watch one while taping the other because, starting this season, they air in the same time slot. (Stupid TV execs... always moving shows around... grumblegrumblegrumble...) So I'm watching Lost when, out of nowhere, it starts raining outside. Before long, Mr. Hail and Mr. Lightning joined the party. That's when the electricity went out for several minutes. Twice.

I watched both shows (as best I could), and there were significant gaps in each. These are two shows, mind you, that have intricate ongoing plot lines that I may or may not be able to catch up on in the future.

Don't get me wrong. We needed the rain. Even with the constant running of the sprinkler, my lawn was getting pretty brown and crunchy. I'm just hoping that next time, Mother Nature will kill two birds with one stone and give us a good storm during According to Jim.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try and watch the season premieres of Smallville and Alias. (Stupid TV execs... grumblegrumble…)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Writing is not like riding a bike

A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something.

So, which am I? Wise man or fool? Sadly, I believe it’s the latter. At least I have Mr. T’s pity. Good old T, always there to help when I need him the most. Fortunately, fools don’t have to stay fools forever.

You see, I used to consider myself a writer. In fact, there was a time when I thought I was pretty good at it. So, when I decided to jump on the blogwagon, I thought it would be easy. Blogging is just writing, and I’m a writer, right? Wrong. A writer writes, which is something I haven’t done in a while. Those muscles have atrophied. Somewhere along the line, I went from writer to guy with ideas that he never follows up on.

It wasn’t until after my first post (well, technically, my second post) that I realized I had forgotten how to write. I mean, look at it. It went nowhere. I have no idea what I wanted to say when I sat down to write it, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it. My next post was a little better, but I still needed to figure out what I was doing. After two and a half weeks of soul searching, ruminating and meditating, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know what I was thinking when I started this thing.

I don’t know why I started it, but I know why I’m here now. I need to stretch. It’s time to develop a little discipline and start exercising my writing muscles. And you, my friends, are invited to the workout. In fact, you can even comment on it. That’s the beauty of this medium. It’s collaborative. You can give me all the feedback you want. If you agree with something I say, that’s great. If you think I suck worse than a variety show co-hosted by John Tesh and Dr. Phil, that’s OK, too. At least I’m writing. And that makes me a writer.

Mr. T, you can go pity someone else.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

23 days until ‘Serenity’

And I couldn’t be more excited.

For the uninitiated, Serenity is an upcoming sci-fi film based on the television show Firefly.

What is Firefly? Well, I’m glad you asked. Firefly is, in my opinion, one of the greatest shows ever to grace the airwaves. Created by Joss Whedon, (the mastermind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, which were fantastic shows as well) Firefly takes place 500 years in the future, after the Earth has been “used up” and humankind has migrated to the outer reaches of the galaxy. The show, which aired on Fox from October to December, 2002, can best be described as a “space western”. I’m not really a huge fan of science-fiction or westerns, but Whedon was able to blend the two masterfully, making a show that was action-packed, suspenseful, dramatic and hilarious--often at the same time.

You may be thinking, “Sounds pretty good. Why have I never heard of it?”

Single-word answer: Fox.

Yes, the morons at Fox did everything they could to ensure that the show failed. First, they scheduled it on Friday nights, which is commonly referred to as the timeslot of death. Then, they aired the episodes out of order. It’s pretty hard to get into a story when you are forced to start at chapter three. As you can imagine, this did not help Firefly in the ratings game. Then, in a move that should not surprise any long-time Fox viewers, the network canceled the show after a mere 11 episodes.

Luckily for the fans, Fox released the series on DVD in December of 2003. The collection, which included three previously unaired episodes, sold (and continues to sell) extremely well. As a result, Whedon got a green light to make the feature film Serenity, which takes place after the end of the series. Fans of the show, who refer to themselves as Browncoats, have been using guerrilla marketing tactics to promote the film. Some of these tactics are simple, such as hosting Firefly viewing parties to “convert” new fans, or posting homemade movie ads next to Firefly DVD displays at local retailers. Other fans have taken more drastic measures. One group of Browncoats produces its own weekly podcast called The Signal, during which they promote the film and discuss the Firefly/Serenity universe. They must be doing something right, because The Signal is currently the #4-rated show at Podcast Alley. I think all of the fans (myself included) are hoping that if the film is a success, we will be rewarded with sequels or--dare to dream--a renewal of the show.

Here’s hopin’.

Ah, my first real post (a.k.a “Me Likey CSS”)

Well, I’ve got the page looking the way I want it to. Now, all I need is some content.

Today, boys and girls, we’re going to talk about web design, namely CSS. If you are thoroughly unfamiliar with the concept of Cascading Style Sheets, I suggest you check out this simple article by Christopher Heng that explains it pretty well. If you couldn’t care less about CSS, then I suggest you skip this post entirely.

Until recently, I thought CSS was just another method for marking up text on a web page. Then a buddy of mine showed me the light. He took me to CSS Zen Garden. It was here that I learned what CSS is truly capable of. Yes, CSS is great for changing the way online text looks, but that is just the beginning. We’re talking full-on element positioning, not to mention (gasp!) getting rid of HTML tables entirely. If you’re a geek like me, this is some seriously cool stuff.

If you’ve read this far, I’m going to assume that either:
  • you have some interest in CSS, and have a basic understanding of the concept
  • you’re my mom.

The two main resources that I used to learn CSS were Cascading Style Sheets for Dummies and CSS From the Ground Up, a great online tutorial from Joe Gillespie’s site, Web Page Design for Designers.

Of course, there are tons of great CSS resources on the web. I highly recommend checking out Douglas Bowman’s articles over at Stopdesign and Jeffrey Zeldman’s site, both of which have a lot of great design info, as well as serving as nice examples of CSS design themselves.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Happy designing!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I claim this blog in the name of Spain

Wow. My own blog.

Now I just need something to say.