Dec 23, 2008

I Shall Not Want

This is totally how Beth prayed when she was a little girl and she really really wanted something:

Dear Father God, Thank you for being such a nice God, and being so generous to me. Thank you for letting me have plenty to eat, especially rice because I love rice. God, if you let my flight not be canceled on Christmas Eve so I can go home and spend Christmas Day with my family and friends and people who love me I promise to give up Facebook for the whole month of January. Maybe February too. And I promise to stop biting my nails, and to always signal when changing lanes. Thank you again for being so good to me, and I also promise to call home more often.


Dec 18, 2008

Hoping to Find My Feet

It has snowed in Seattle, time to celebrate!

Before I could even dial the emergency number for my work, my boss phoned me to suggest that I stay home. What a dear sweet man! Safety first! As long as I send an email saying I am "working from home" I won't have to take a sick day to cover it.

I have yet to attempt to drive in the snow because I feel that my California upbringing lacked the chapter on "Using Credit Cards to Scrape Windows, Farting as a Defrosting Mechanism, and Other Useful Snow Tips." On Sunday I attempted to drive up a very slight incline on a very slightly slushy road and slid backwards maybe 20 feet and it left me a little shaken.

One thing, I need to start having kitty litter on hand at all times, because if you get stuck apparently:
1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
4. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.

I personally believe this KOMO5 news report was generated specifically so that employees could send the link to their bosses and say "See? I better stay home!"

It says "Traffic was completely stopped at times on parts of State Route 520 on the Eastside as snow covered the highway, and some drivers abandoned their cars and began to walk down the freeway." First of all, that's like the number one thing that WikiHow says NOT to do in inclement weather, since your car provides shelter and is much easier to find than your small frozen body. Secondly, most of 520 is a two lane highway, and a lot of it encompasses a bridge that floats on Lake Washington. You put just two abandoned cars there, and pretty much no one is going anywhere, unless they're driving a Duck. Lastly, between the credit crunch and the possibility of the Big 3 shutting down, I don't know where those people think they're going to get a new car if anything happens to their good old Hybrid Roadblock LX.

Lucky for me, I live 5 blocks from 3 different price levels of groceries, so I'll be fine. The neighborhood record store, used book store and indie theater are also sounding attractive. I am wondering if Pike Place will be a mess today. Or there's always the monorail to the mall.

Nicole sent me this song which she randomly found and thought might be appropriate, maybe as a snow shoveling soundtrack.

Also from Nicole:
Is "working from home" what you kids call it now? Puts a new spin on "business time."

Dec 17, 2008

I eat filet mignon and I'm nice and young

Best believe I'm number one
~ ~ ~

Once every 12-18 months or so, Wieden + Kennedy starts a new school year with twelve talented people from all over the world who are brought to Portland as a sort of artist-in-residency-meets-postdoctoral advertising boot camp. My understanding of the very mysterious and prestigious little “experimental school” is that you function as interns but collaborate on everything as a group, and get to work on actual W+K clients as well as special projects.

I would love to attend the program. I would love to soak in that creative whirlpool for a period of time and let it wash over me.

In order to be considered, I have to apply to the program by sending in something that fits into a 9x12 envelope. The brief specifically is “surprise the shit out of us!” but I know from looking at the last round of submissions that made the cut last year that one thing that tied them all together, aside from creativity, was wit. I can’t just send crazy creative shit. I need to prove I’m clever-ish.

The concept I like so far is:
“I like 40% of my ideas, and follow through o 20% of those. I hope by attending WK12 I can improve those numbers.”

The execution therefore will consist of 100 ideas, 60 of which are creatively and humorously bad, 40 of which are worthwhile, and 8 of which I will need to actually execute.

Bad ideas so far (and this should be easy, but it’s not):
Honey mustard cupcakes
Homeless chow

Ideas I liked but never executed:
Breakfastar Galactica made of waffles with sausage landing bays
Pencil skirt actually made of pencils

Ideas both liked and executed
Sending the mayor of Los Angeles elephant origami to ask him to send Billy the Elephant to a nature sancturary
Watercolor portrait cards of all my friends that hold matching earrings
Gun cookies, which we made for Andre for his birthday in March
My portfolio will maybe function as one “executed idea”

Idea leads
Something to sell ads through non-traditional outlets
Rock opera about the Smurfs
Finger puppets that are regular puppets that hang from your fingers by strings
Crafty stuffs: tea cozies, arigumi and felting and embroidery.

Or maybe it should be 100 ideas for what to send to WK12?


Where are all my ideas?! I have more. Where are they?

The benefit of working in a collaborative environment is that the sum is greater than the parts. Being in class and working with a partner has always made my ideas better. But in this I am completely alone.

I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m scared and excited, but mostly scared. Being timid is part of my personality too. I can’t really be someone I’m not, but I do need to be the best version of myself. Generating ideas for idea’s sake is exhilarating, but with a deadline like this it is only nerve-wracking.

Anyways, I do need to put pen to paper. When Andy flies out on Sunday I guess I’ll have the apartment to myself for the first time ever. I have to finish Twilight book one and make some presents, but mostly I need to actually work on this.

~ ~ ~

Yes, I am aware that this post makes no sense.


This blog makes me sad because it was supposed to be joint, but clearly it’s just mine now. I sort of give up on sharing a blog with someone. It always ends badly.

Another reason why it ends badly:
andy: this is still my favorite youtube video of all time:
me: You love the 70s
andy: sure. why not

Nov 6, 2008


me: It's bad news when the dictionary keeps defining all the words you don't know with other words you don't know.
me: Recondite: Not easily understood; abstruse. Abstruse: Difficult to understand; recondite.
me: I hate you I should just get a paper dictionary.
ben: haha. when dictionaries become relational databases

Oct 23, 2008

Don Quixote was a steel driving man

Beth: It's 1234
Ben: What?
Beth: Andy likes to point out when it's 12:34. You know. 1234. He also likes to point out 1:23. He just pokes his head in and goes "1234!"
Ben: You've found yourself your own little Michael Cera.
Beth: I know, I totally have.

Squinched up your face and did a dance
You shook a little turd out of the bottom of your pants
I don't see what anyone can see,
In anyone else but you

Oct 20, 2008

The Camera Adds

There is nothing more challenging to ones ego than having to do photo searches on a stock photo website. Other than I guess going to a photoshoot with a bunch of hot models. But it's surprising the things that come up on Veer or Getty when you look for something like "plus size" "middle age" "overweight."

Oct 18, 2008

what do i believe, exactly?

I haven't blogged in a million years, and I'm not about to start now. Given how little attention I've been paying this blog, the reader will hardly believe me when I say it is my new goal to write and submit an essay for NPR's "This I believe" series. But it's my new life aspiration, and having just accomplished two major goals: Getting a full time job in Seattle, and getting into CMYK Magazine; I think I can accomplish this one too. Doesn't mean I'll get picked, but at least it gives me sort of an interesting writing prompt. Like college essay writing. I don't think it's ever a bad thing to get clarity on what you believe.

Jul 29, 2008

Swarley's Birthday Recap

I feel like I should blog my birthday weekend in LA, but part of me wonders what for, since everyone who reads this was there. Partially I also feel sort of like I should adopt a Vegas attitude towards it, and let what happened there stay there.

It was definitely one crazy weekend. I think compared to an average weekend for my wild LA friends it was actually pretty normal, but to us converted Pacific Northwesterners it seemed like a lot. The short list of events includes a studio tour of Sony, hamburgers at Father's Office, karaoke and a lot of free alcohol at Rosen, fish tacos at Wahoos, Batman on IMAX at the Bridge, margatinis at Mexicali Cantina, laser tag at Ultrazone, breasts galore at V Lounge, food stealing at Google, sore feet at Glow at the pier, marshmallow ice cream and kittens at Cyndi's place, economic stimulus checks & hugs with my parents, barbecue & edible hedgehogs at the Wilshire Restaurant, victorious Ben & Beth in Imaginiff, tears at the airport, and sleeping all day Monday.

The first time I went back to visit LA in May I felt kind of disillusioned by it. I had missed it so much, and then there it was in real life, and it was not as shiny and magical as I had remembered it in my homesick daydreams. It was dirty, and grey with concrete, which is not the same thing as grey with rain, because rain goes away. It was colorful in a harsh way, warm in a cold way, and vivid in a deadened way. And I felt like a slobbery puppy who is overly thrilled to see her owners at the end of the busy work day. I was moved to tears at the sight of my friends, and they in turn seemed surprised to see me. "Weren't you supposed to move to Seattle? What are you doing here?"

I guess in light of that, it was kind of weird to elect to go back again so soon, but the thought of spending my birthday in Seattle seemed sad. By June I was missing LA again and ready to go back. But by July I finally began to hit my stride in Seattle too. Probably right around the time the sun came out.

I don't think I'm alone in that respect. All of Seattle seems to come to life around June 30. Outdoor cinemas pop up in every corner and project onto every flat surface in the city. I could spend the entire summer watching Hot Fuzz and Juno over and over for free. The baby farmers markets fill in the rest of the urban space not covered by ourdoor cinemas, and in between those weave all manner of parades and street fairs: Pride Parade, Solstice Parade, Seafair Parade. Seafood Festival, Folklife Festival, Beer Festival. Everybody who's ever made anything out of felt or glass or silkscreen is out selling their wares. Quick. Before the rain starts up again. It's not an abnormal amount of culture for a city this size, but it's an abnormal amount of culture for a season this short.

And then there's the mountains. And the rivers. And the oceans white with foam. You can climb, ride, kayak and fish in all of them. Everyone is in good spirits and it seems easier to make friends. The Seattle Thaw you might call it. Endless beauty and sipping wine from a pouch will make you fast friends. Something about being locked up in a tent with yourselves and your hiking socks bonds you together. It's the next best thing to a summer of intensive military-sci-fi geekery for discovering accord in your souls. Almost as good an ambrosia as touching toes in a bed in a free suite that looks out over the Bellagio fountain, giggling after a drunken night making out with strangers.

Not that that ever happened.

For my birthday, I thought it would be a fun social experiment to take my new friends in Seattle, combine them with my old friends in LA, douse them with alcohol, shake them, and then expose to Glow. Actually, I just selfishly thought it would be a nice way to make up for two seasons of loneliness by overloading on wonderful companionship for 72 hours straight. Nothing in moderation when you're two years away from 30-year-old doomed adultdom.

There were some standout moments:
Ben & Dorina performing a knockout duet of Come What May; I sort of stood there watching with a glass of soju and hated them both for being so damn talented and hot. It was wonderful to see Courtney burst onto the scene in her blue dress, all fresh and bright and delicious like blueberry pie. I treasure the few moments of one-on-one that I had with people at dinner and wherever else we could spare them. I loved watching Benji dance DDR, exchanging numerous amused looks with Spaznik, and laughing at Andrea's little witticism during Imaginiff. Although I use to argue that movie-watching is not a good bonding experience, it made me very happy to sit in the IMAX surrounded by my favorite movie buffs close enough to overhear their gasps and quips. And I don't know what it is about Andy and Allen and Jana, but they have the ability to make even the most mundane activities like mini-golf and Battleship seem like epic adventures.

All in all it was a seriously memorable birthday. I loved it, and with the wisdom that can only come from someone embarking on her 29th year of life, I can say that I wouldn't have changed a single thing or person or detail, because all of it was precious.

I am most of all grateful to Jean for hosting us and coming up with the idea to begin with. And for being one of the people I feel the most missed by. I have so many things I need to thank Jean for. I wanna end this sentence with a proposition too to. I'm sure I should be thanking her for concrete things like loaning me her car, driving us to the airport at 5am, lending us her towels, letting us hook up on her sheets (kidding!), inviting people, keeping us fed and inebriated, and planning and coordinating the whole ordeal. And of course Dorina for co-hosting us (and by that token Brennan as well), and Ben for everything and He Knows What. But really, the thing I am most grateful to Jean for is just the simple fact that she wanted me there. That she wanted to see me, and Andy, and that she is someone who will always be glad to see me. We had a great time, and we always have a great time with Jean, and hopefully many more to come, including Thanksgiving Birthday Cake – Now With More Turkey!

Cooking with Beth

Beth: I made the chicken with red wine because you refuse to throw it away. Let that be a lesson. If you don't throw it away, I'll feel compelled to cook with it.
Andy: That's why I always flush.

Jul 23, 2008

The Budos Band - Live at the Nectar Lounge

This is a tad over-due, but back on June 27th, Seattle was treated with a visit from the Budos Band. I was quite excited (pretty sure Beth was too). Over the past year and a half I've become quite a fan of their brand of afro-soul/funk and wasn't going to pass up a great opportunity to finally check them out live. And thanks to the wonders of Beth's Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digi Efph, you can too.

The Budos Band - "Scorpion"

"Black Venom"

"Unbroken, Unshaken"

"Aynotchesh Yererfu"

We were quite lucky to snag the seats we had. Front and center on the balcony with a comfy place to eat too. It was a great night and I felt very lucky to be able to share it with Beth and Andre.

Jul 11, 2008

Senseless Acts of Beauty

So before there were camping and hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, there were beer and circus acts at Artopia. The event was a free street fair and arts exhibit showing emerging talent in dance, theater, art and music. You kind of just showed up in the area and walked around, and art just kind of happened to you. There was life-drawing in the comic book store, interpretive dance in the molding bottling plant, music in the parking lot, interactive cello performance in the warehouse, power-tool racing in the alley, and beer and wine everywhere.

I think that wandering the dusty streets and alleyways of Georgetown in sweltering heat and encountering random displays of theater and art reinforced our appreciation for each other's companionship. Artopia was such a free-form experience, you had to be in the mind-set to enjoy it openly, which I think is something I tend to forget in the daily grind to rush places, meet deadlines, procure parking, pay bills, clean house, and find my place in the grown up world.

Eff 'em Danno!

Fantagraphics Comic Book Store

Flowers in the vending machine graveyard


A serving of "Scumbo" I was handed as a promotion for a play being performed later that evening (actually just lime jello)

Probably my favorite part was the dancing in the old brew house, because the building was so gorgeous with the yellows and greens and all the lovely textures from the rust and mold and peeling paint. We happened to walk in just as the dance was beginning, and the dancers would move about the structure while the crowd kind of angled itself around to watch and maintain the "stage." There were a couple times where I found myself so enthralled by the building that I would be stuck in the middle of the dance space because the whole crowd had left me alone and the dancers were spinning around me. Truly magical.

Peeling ceiling of the old brewery house

Beautiful rusty stairs

Members of BQ Dance

More dancers

Jul 9, 2008

Dream Big

Beth: What are you gonna do when you're older and richer and you have a nicer car?
Andy: I'm not gonna get rid of the El Tribudanté
Beth: Ok, but you'll be able to trade up for a big busty girl.
Andy: But we'll have the money, we'll treat you like the starter kit. Then we'll get some lip injections, hair extensions, rhinoplasty, shave off your eyebrows just to be weird... and then we'll get some rocket launcher boobs.
[A few seconds later]
Andy: No. I don't want you to change. Well maybe the rocket launcher boobs...

Jul 8, 2008

Nothing Comes from Nothing

I always thought this song from the Sound of Music was kind of interesting... maybe because I think of myself as a Maria, twirling on a mountain top and causing mischief, getting kicked out of the convent. I guess it says something about my perception of myself as a child, and maybe I'll come to terms someday with being that bad willful kid who never did what she was supposed to do. In the meantime, I think that this sums up how how I feel about Andyroo sometimes:

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood,
perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past,
there must have been a moment of truth

For here you are standing there loving me,
whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood,
I must have done something good

For 4th of July weekend we went camping on the Olympic Peninsula with Andre and our new BFF Nicole. We literally said "Hey let's go camping!" on Tuesday, bought a map on Wednesday, bought a tent on Thursday, bought beer and wine in a box on Friday, and hopped in the car on Saturday. I love that I live in a place where I can do that, and that I'm friends with people who would think it was a good idea, because I grew up in a family where we always said "We should go to fill-in-the-blank" but never did.

We saw this ridiculous crystal clear lake where you could see the bottom, and huge sequoia and spruce trees, and parts of Mt. Olympus, and deer and grouse and banana slugs, and walked under these crazy moss trees, and had a guided tour of the tide pools. I feel like a little kid telling the story: "And then... and then... and then.." But it was just endless beauty all around. It was my first camping experience ever and I got to sleep on the beach in a tent with my boyfriend in the only rainforest in the continental US while leftover fireworks were going off on the Indian reservation.

Camping is so cool! I wanna camp all the time! Hiking and fishing and taking pictures and smelling bad and eating beef jerky and telling stories and seeing beautiful things.

Anyways, it'll be a bit before I upload all 200 of my photos from the trip and 4th of July, but here's my favorite of Andy and Andre:

Jun 30, 2008

too big? or perhaps too small?

jean: i found the PERFECT bday cake for you
me: YAY! does it have whales or squirrels or penises on it?
jean: umm.. no. those have all been done
me: what about whale penises?
jean: i'm not eating that cake

With Nonfat Vanilla Soy!

me: so true! i do live in coffee!!!

At Trader Joe's the Only Thing in My Salmon is Red Food Coloring

ben: yesterday i went to the new ralphs in downtown la. man it's so nice. so urban.
me: that's what i like in my grocery stores.
ben: shush
me: i like a little cement in my cherry tomatoes. real grit in my grits
ben: inside it was a very nice upscale ralphs. but around it was urban
me: perhaps a dime bag of cocaine in my salmon filet
ben: a dime bag of cocaine?
me: isn't that what they put cocaine in?
ben: i think you need to check your drug prices
me: i'm not urban enough to shop at your ralphs apparently. i guess i better stick with trader joes

Whatever is dreamed on this night...

... will come to pass. - A Midsummer Night's Dream

A couple weekends ago we attended the Fremont Solstice Parade, primarily because of the promise of naked bicyclists. I feel ashamed to admit that, but I suppose it's the truth. It's how people have been telling each other about the parade for as long as it's existed: "They have naked people on bicycles!" That's how they get you.

We met up with our friends Mileni and Alec, who have a lovely condo in Fremont and had been reserving a primo spot downtown since 10am. Around 11, a giant crew of naked cyclists came by in a rainbow array of body paint with themed "costumes." They would wave as they went by, then turn around at the end of the street and come by again. I thought that was it. I was kind of shocked that so many people were around to see a crew of naked bicyclists, but then not so much. That's why I was there, right?

The rest of the parade then came as kind of a bonus. A huge huge cherry on top of an ice cream sundae which had been served on a naked person's butt, on a unicycle. (I'm wondering why that didn't actually appear in the parade. Next year maybe...) I think the thing that most impressed me, aside from the great use of papier maché, was the creativity in the concepts. It inspired me to want to think of a way to participate next year.

My current idea: To go as a "Singing Telegram." Four people could dress as a barbershop quartet, maybe carrying balloons and using a tuner to tune. A few more could just go as mail, with envelopes and hearts stuck to them. One person would be dressed as a postman and chase everyone else. We would all sing "Hey Mr. Postman" and run around.

Who's in?!

The tail end of the naked bicyclists

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Making a Sandwich

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed

Wind Up Toy Doll Girls

The Ridiculously Pink Mob of Bellydancers

Dancing bakers and poodles from Ooo La La

After the parade, we walked down to gasworks park to hang out with the parade participants and hear live music. Most people were kind of just sitting out on the grass, intermingling naked with clothed, painted with papier machéd, drunk with high, and everything in between. The scene was very surreal, as is Gasworks Park itself, but it was a beautiful day and the smells from the food vendors were amazing. We retired to Mileni & Alec's for BBQ burgers and then went home to sleepy-sleep. I dreamed about blogging the event, and here we are.

Less-blogger friendly photos can be found on my flickr.

Approaching Gasworks Park

Graffiti artists

Jun 26, 2008

Time For a New Me

I read about this makeover site Taaz where you can actually get realistic looking haircut demos, so I thought I would give it a shot. There are about 50 different hairstyles to choose from plus each one has a half-dozen color variations and you can maneuver the style to fit your head shape or flip it. You can do makeup stuff too, but I don't really wear makeup. The hair looks astonishingly real. I've been debating a new look to help myself ease into my 30s, and these are my favorites:

My first choice

Second choice

If I decide to try something new

Summer 2006 Beth

Hipster Beth

High Fashion Model Beth

Japanese Pop Star Beth

My mom Beth

How was prom Beth


Five Dollar Steak

A couple days a go I was cramming for my final homework for class, so Andy decided to cook dinner from a recipe. The recipe came from a book called "The Best 1001 Short Easy Recipes" and it was chicken made from a can of lemonade concentrate. You basically marinate the chicken in lemonade concentrate and soy sauce and then bake it for 45 minutes. I was a bit dubious, but grateful to be getting fed.

The recipe is called Lemonade Chicken, and it was indeed Short and Easy. I am not used to all this truthfulness from my cookbooks. I am used to Martha Stewart trying to tell me I can make my own buttercream frosting by churning my own butter, or Rachel Ray trying to tell me that she makes all her food in 30 minutes for $40. But Lemonade Chicken was the most delicious chicken ever, so much that Andy and I are quitting our jobs and opening a Lemonade Chicken stand.

When life gives you lemonade concentrate...

...make chicken

I was mentioning to Ben that I was slightly disappointed that I only had 6 or 7 responses to my birthday dinner email, so he sent me this lovely tidbit, and I thought it needed to be posted for everyone's enjoyment:

Dear Beth,
I am very excited for this event. I will be there absolutely without a doubt 100% confirmed yes for sure. I've created a little advent calendar filled with chocolate sculptures of you to help countdown the days until this occasion.

Also, I hope this place has a gigantic $50 steak to make bets on, cause that tradition needs to continue.
Love always,
Benjamin Scott Ackerman, Esquire

Tonight was the single day between my last batch of Portfolio classwork and my Flash class which starts tomorrow, so to celebrate Andy and I went down to REI and checked out bikes, and had dinner in South Lake Union at the Southlake Grill. We were walking around near REI and I noticed a sign that said "Wednesday is $5 Steak Night!" and it was a done deal. It was only a 6oz steak served with bleu cheese and fries, but that's actually about the size of my fist, and therefore probably a good sized serving for me. No winning $50 steak bets for Beth.

I am not fond of South Lake Union. It reminds me a lot of Bellvue, which in turn reminds me a lot of LA. I love LA, but I'm talking about the bad parts of LA. Maybe more like the OC. I dunno. Every guy in the Southlake Grill was wearing some sort of buttondown polo or striped shirt, and every woman was wearing some generic patterned dress with a leather purse that could have been real leather or could have been from Ross. Everyone was in their 30s and seemed really generic, like they belonged in a real estate ad. I guess South Lake Union basically is a real estate ad. But it's like they saw the ads and were like, "Hmm, I need a Labrador and some slacks, pronto. Now, where did I put my martini?"

At REI (and also at Target actually, and probably most sporting good stores) they have tiny scale models of tents. They also have regular sized tents, which confuses me, but I like to put the tiny tents inside the big ones. The tiny tents make me happy, and so we always have to go see them. Someday I hope that if I get proposed to, my engagement ring will be in a tiny tent. Then when I get married, I hope it's in a tiny tent, and when I conceive my firstborn child it will hopefully also be in a tiny tent. Later, I will put my child in the tiny tent, mainly because they seem like a good way to keep a baby ventilated but confined. And when I die, I want my funeral to be in a tiny tent, and a tiny tent placed over my tombstone. To keep the rain off.

Jun 22, 2008

The Story of Fifi the Loofah

Sometime in May, a little baby loofah named Fifi was left behind in Seattle. We're not sure who the negligent parent is... Beth bets on Nicole, although it seems unlike Nicole to leave something behind. Andy think it was Jean, but I think it's because he likes to imagine Jean showering. I dunno. It could be Emily or Kim or Andrea. Even though Ben stayed at a hotel, he's not completely off the hook.

Poor little Fifi had some abandonment issues in the very beginning, and it was hard for her to get used to life in Seattle. She is such a tiny little loofah, alone in a strange new place with strange new friends. But she has been quite brave... and she's doing better, although she would be happy to travel home to LA if someone wants to claim her.

Here is her story:

Fifi feels sad and abandoned in Seattle.

Fifi attempts to make friends but finds it can sometimes be difficult to connect with strangers. Perhaps it's the Seattle Freeze?

Disheartened, Fifi contemplates ending it all... Don't do it Fifi!

Beth tries to comfort Fifi and help her adjust to her new life in Seattle.

She invites Fifi to join the family for supper... Fifi uses a booster pillow at the dinner table.

Fifi licks her plate clean.

Beth thinks Fifi might be tasty... although, perhaps a little spongy?

Just kidding Fifi! I would never have you for a snack!

Fifi aims to get the triple word score.

Fifi enjoys trashy television. Notice the wagging tail...

After a short adjustment period, Fifi finds acceptance with her new family, Lulu and Louie Loofah

Jun 20, 2008

Ladies: Don't Give Things to Andre. Especially Not Things Involving Your Womb.

me: i have a present for you
andre: really? I get more presents from you than anyone. is it from Wajis?
me: no
me: andy and i made it
me: it's a baby
me: we made you a baby
me: surprise!
andre: wow, exciting
andre: I can hardly wait to sell it

(I think I'm gonna start posting funny quotes again. They make me happy.)

Jun 17, 2008

Call Me Tuts

Yesterday morning I went into work feeling pretty bummed out. You know the feeling, when your job pays you well to sit and do nothing, and you feel sort of useless and listless... you spend a lot of time looking at YouTube videos that people send you or reading blogs about cupcakes or chatting on AIM about Battlestar Galactica. Right?

Thank goodness for AIM chat with Jean. Two days into her new job and she is already full of great wisdom and advice (even moreso than before). She reminded me that the benefit of a freelance gig is in flexibility. My hours are, after all, *my* hours. If there's anything Beth is good at, it's using the internet, and within a few minutes I had discovered a new way to charge value into my day, in the form of Photoshop Tutorials!

I had completely forgotten about online tutorials and the inherent bliss of learning something new. I had forgotten that along with baking blogs, Battlestar Wikis and Movie Spoiler Websites (which have saved me from many an M. Night Shyamalan Crappening) the internet is full of new somethings to learn that actually pertain to my job. Because while it's great to be able to keep up hours long conversation on why there's no 7th Cylon (Yeah, why?!), no one is gonna pay me for that skill.

My new goal for building a better Beth-brain is to complete one PSD tutorial per day from the PSDTUTs site, until I've completed every single one. The site has some pretty amazing tutorials that actually showcase things you would really want to learn, along with links to articles and inspiration. Also good are Computer Arts Magazine, Tutorial 9, and abduzeedo.

Having attended a few Photoshop seminars through Adobe, I find I only learn from doing, regardless of how great my notes are, so it's key to actually follow step by step. The tutorials on this blog are also great because the beautiful end product is taunting you at the top of the page like a carrot on a string. Here's what I've done so far. Not amazing, but I learned a few tricks here and there.

Watercolor Seattle: this is actually a fairly simple layer masking process, which I got from the Viget design blog.

Windows Vista-style light-rings using layering masks & gradients: Fairly simple, just time consuming, but you learn a bit about layer styles

Grassy type: Very very time consuming, but a cool effect to know, and easy to reproduce using any texture you'd like.