stAllio!'s way
Saturday, March 26, 2005 
second bends
recently i've been going back through my rr8 bent photo gallery so i could create new posters using them at the bad taste cafepress shops. (large posters are now up, though i can't vouch for the quality of the large size yet because i haven't seen one)

getting these images big enough to put on posters required upsampling, so naturally i wanted to use the highest-quality source images possible. i started looking through the source photoshop files (the files i actually bent in an audio editor, rather than the exported jpeg versions available here on the site).

you probably know that recently i built myself a brand new computer, light years ahead of my old one (which served me quite well for about 5 years). these files were all bent on my old machine, but i moved the second hard drive (the data drive) off my old machine, bringing all my documents over to the new machine.

so when i started opening the psd files, i was surprised to find that some of them looked unfamiliar. in fact, they looked totally different than the images i'd previously posted.

i suppose it's possible that i bent the images to this point way back many months ago, and just never exported those particular bends to jpeg format. but a more romantic explanation (in a bending sense, anyway), is that moving the files to my new computer and opening them up here actually bent them further. i suppose there's really no way to know, so i'm going to believe the latter.

here they are: click the pic to goto the full-size version:


Thursday, March 24, 2005 
striking out at the bowling alley
i was way out of practice when bowling yesterday. my first game i bowled a 67. sometimes i could knock down 8 or 9 pins, but then i'd get 2-3 gutterballs in a row. and i would keep getting gutterballs on the first throw in a frame, and then get a bunch of pins when trying to pick up the "spare". i was 2/3 of the way into my second game before i got the hang of sending the ball down the middle of the lane and actually knocking pins down. finally, in my third game i was on a roll (or maybe i need a certain amount of alcohol in me to bowl well), managed to pick up a few spares, and even got a couple strikes. so i got 135 on my third game, literally double the score of my first game.

the academy awards shorts were pretty good, though some were more interesting than others. in a couple of them, not much seemed to happen at all (such as in birthday boy, a 3d-animated short about a little korean boy who puts a bolt on some train tracks so that the passing train will flatten & magnetize the bolt... then proceeds to wander around and play with his toys for another 5 minutes. the animation was lovely, but it came off more like an animation exercise than any sort of actual story). then others were really far out, like ryan:

Ryan, directed by Chris Landreth, is based on the life of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. Thirty years ago, at the National Film Board of Canada, Ryan produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Today, Ryan lives on welfare and panhandles for spare change in downtown Montreal. How could such an artistic genius follow this path?

In Ryan we hear the voice of Ryan Larkin and people who have known him, but these voices speak through strange, twisted, broken and disembodied 3D generated characters... people whose appearances are bizarre, humorous or disturbing. Although incredibly realistic and detailed, Ryan was created and animated without the use of live action footage, rotoscoping or motion capture...but instead from an original, personal, hand animated three-dimensional world which Chris calls 'psychological realism'.

that "psychological realism" is wild: heads and bodies are deformed, warping and collapsing as their moods shift. it's surprisingly surreal and yet very linear at the same time.

and perhaps most oddly of all, two of the shorts involved parents who go out to a bar and leave their kids waiting in the parking lot... when i was watching the first one (two cars, one night) i was thinking "what kind of parent leaves their kids in the car while they go get drunk?" then later, wasp came on and the parental behavior there is much worse... is this some kind of weird coincidence, or do a lot of parents behave that way?

overall i would definitely recommend seeing this if it comes to your town. i'm glad i went.

now we just have to wait until the animation show comes to town next month... that will be awesome. and while i'm thinking of it, i really need to pick up the dvd from last year's animation show as well... i totally loved those don hertzfeldt cartoons.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 
the great graphic switch
is this confusing?

over to the right, you've surely seen the great big turntable, which i originally designed for the bobby vomit blawg. bobby has a new, different graphic on his blawg.

i never would've thought to reclaim the turntable. i designed it for bobby vomit, and i expected it to stay there, though i admit i was jealous that it was on his page and the graphic on mine wasn't as cool. i complained about that a little here, but i simply planned to design a new, better image for myself when inspiration struck.

but he emailed me a picture the other day, a collage he had made of a three-tonearmed turntable. he thought, because of the multiple tonearms, that this new image was more appropriate for bobby vomit than the big numark ttx1 animation i'd already made. he suggested i animate the new image and take back the other turntable for my blog.

so check out the new graphic bobby vomit blawg... the animations are actually out of phase, so they only sync up every 60 seconds.

and the old bobby vomit graphic is now on my blog. it really does reflect my style more than his, and the new vomit graphic is indeed more his style. but it might be a bit disorienting at first for those of you who have been reading both blogs. you'll get used to it.

bowling for oscars
not much time to blog today: in less than an hour it'll be time to leave for our 8th annual bowling tournament. yes, each year a bunch of us publishing types take the afternoon off and go bowling. it's kind of silly, but it's fun, and because the bowling alley (northland bowl) has a bar, it's also an opportunity to drink during office hours.

i'm not a good bowler. most years that i've participated i've won the "worst technique" award; one year i also got "most gutterballs". last year i didn't get to participate because i was on vacation when the bowling trip was scheduled.

after bowling it's home for dinner, then drbmd & i are going to key cinemas to see academy award nominated shorts 2005. it should be cool.

so yeah, no more blogging from me today, although i might incorporate a minor design change, and post about that if i do. (if that happens, it'll be pretty obvious)

terminating fake news
VNRs (video news releases)--basically video press releases dressed up to look like news reporting--have been one of tv's dirty little secrets for years. but ever since the karen ryan scandal broke last spring, people have finally started to look into it (well, people other than prwatch and the center for media and democracy, who've been following the trend for a decade and have an fcc petition to stop fake news).

recently ahnuld, the governator, has also gotten in trouble for producing VNRs. but if these people have anything to say about it, that trend will end.

The California Labor Federation, the California Nurses Association and a division of the Service Employees International Union claim the segments produced by the state labor and health agencies violate the state's law against using government resources to produce propaganda promoting its policy positions.

california actually has a law barring the government from producing propaganda with public money? wow.

The administration has defended the segments, saying they were little more than press releases formatted on video for television news. News media experts have said that production of such segments is common and that responsibility rests with media outlets to use them responsibly with balancing material, but also acknowledge there is a temptation with limited budgets to simply use the material as-is.

of course, this is true to an extent... VNRs are extremely common, and once you know what to look for you can even start spotting them (especially on local news). much of the fault does lie with news producers who air these things uncut and unaltered, without so much as a paid government propaganda crawler at the bottom of the screen. but that hardly excuses those who create the VNRs from responsibility. that would be like selling biological or chemical weapon tech to a foreign nation and then getting pissed when they actually use it. (oh... wait...)

Monday, March 21, 2005 
databent posters! my art on your wall
one part of the bad taste pantheon of sites that we don't mention much is the bad taste shops at cafepress. i initially set them up years ago, simply so that we (bad taste artists and management) would have some merchandise that we could buy for ourselves. i didn't expect that anyone else would ever order anything, and indeed so far i'm the only one who's ever placed an order (though i have bought several items for other people, buying in bulk to cut down on shipping costs).

but now that could change, as i finally realized something very cool that i could create on cafepress: databent posters! cafepress has a line of paper products, including posters, postcards, and stickers. so i uploaded six images from my rr8 databent image gallery and created some small-size posters and postcards that you can buy online.

cafepress has three poster sizes: "mini poster print", "small poster", and "large poster". i had to upsample my images simply to make them big enough to fill the mini and small sizes, so i haven't set up any "large" posters yet ("large" is standard poster size: 23"x35"). i wanted to buy some of the smaller posters and see how good they looked before coughing up the change to buy a possibly ugly larger poster.

i received my order today and everything looks great! i got one "small" poster (this one) and it's hella cool. if you look really closely you can kinda see the grains, but it's not that noticeable, and with art like this it might not even matter that much. i also got some mini posters and stickers and stuff, and they all look really nice. they will look great on your wall, as well as mine.

also new are the "recycle" bumper stickers, based on the popular t-shirt design. i bought two and they're pretty slick. one of them is going on my car. i'm sure someone in the crew will want the other one.

all the old, original cafepress bad taste merchanside is still there if you want some of that... the thongs are even made in the usa, so if you like the thought of having the stAllio! name pressed against your pubis as much as i do, you can buy them knowing they were only touched by american hands (or maybe immigrant hands on american soil).

the cafepress t-shirts aren't really that great. sure, they're full color, but they're pricey, they fade, and worse, some are subject to a weird warping wherein one corner of the image will start to bend and the rest of the image stays still. (at least, that's what they were like a couple years ago, when last i bought any.) if you want a shirt, i would prefer you buy a "recycle" shirt from the awia shop (and you'll get a better deal, too).

but that doesn't mean all the old merch sucks. i've always been a fan of the animals within animals mug, which is really pretty handsome. the mousepads are kind of nice, too, though mine has had so much ash and soda spilled on it that it's just kind of a dark gray now. the please sample coaster also looks great (and reminded me to create stickers with that image).

so yeah, there's lots of stuff worth buying there. there are actually six shops (because you can only have one of each item in a shop when using the free service), and each shop has posters and postcards featuring a different databent image (as well as some other stuff).

the stickers are marked up $0.50. posters, postcards, and bent mousepads are marked up $1. that's how much i will make if you buy one. nothing else there is marked up at all. the cafepress base price is high enough already on most of that stuff. (although if a bunch of people start buying mugs or coasters, i might have to mark them up slightly so that i'll get a taste of that money). ... easy enough to remember?

like a template time machine
while reading the political blogs this morning, i followed a link on atrios to roachblog. looks like there's some good content there. but what immediately caught my eye was that it uses the same blogger template that i originally based this blog on. surely, this is just one of hundreds or thousands of blogs that use that template, but it's the first one i've come across, so that's that.

so i found it interesting simply to look at the design and see at-a-glance just how much i have modified and rewritten it. i haven't actually seen the original unaltered template in many months, so i find this informative. very little of the original css is left; most of what's still there relates to formatting: date at the top of each post, then post-title, then post-body, followed by a paragraph sign (¶), followed by comment-link and permalink.

the only design elements that are the same are the font choices, the fact that it's a two-column design with the secondary column on the right (though i've redone how those columns are implemented: my version is much tighter and looks better), the use of 2px dashed rules (though i've really expanded and improved on that), and i guess the paragraph mark....

anyway, i find it somewhat interesting how fundamentally similar they still are yet how much better mine looks... especially how sloppy the original design looks compared to my revised version.

well, maybe you think i'm full of shit and that my modified design isn't really that different. if so, that's why there's a comment link at the end of each post.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 
feeling low? try the new mp3 of the week!
the new mp3 of the week is up! it's another never-before-heard track that was cut from maura's milk chocolate bath and it's called "feeling low?"

so if you're in need of a pick-me-up, put down the 8-ball and download this mp3 instead.

it should be pretty obvious: i've redesigned the stAllio! site & blog a bit. mostly just a color change.

i was never that crazy about the original color set. that whole design hinged around the animated wrist brace graphic, and the colors were all chosen to match that. it's a great graphic, but its colors demand a pastel design. and the old colors looked good enough, so i dealt with it. but after tweaking out the bobby vomit design and seeing just how cool the design could look with better colors (and then designing the montana and mcdeviltoast blog) i really had to wonder why my site was still all whites and baby blues.

i'm not in love with the new right-column graphic. it's not as cool as the old one, and definitely not as cool as the bobby vomit one. but i had simply had enough of the old color scheme, and i needed something new to put there. i'll come up with something better.

[edit: i made an error on the original right-column graphic so since i had to go in & change it anyway, i added a bit more to it. i like it more now, but i'd still drop it in an instant for something that looks as cool as the graphic on the vomit blawg]

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