Posted Friday, December 24, 2010 7:07:07 PM by Jim Babbage
What a great time of year it is! Some time off from work, a chance to enjoy the company of family and friends and - hey - FREE access to the entire CMX database of articles for the rest of 2010! Wow!
Before my head hits the pillow this Christmas Eve, I wanted to give you all another gift.
I do a bit of writing, other than tutorials, from time to time. This story came to me a few years ago. I couldn't get it out of my head. I could actually see it all in my head as I was writing. It's my version of the Christmas Angel.
I'm very fond of it and I hope you will be, too.
A Midnight Clear (pdf file)Happy Holidays!
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Sunday, July 04, 2010 10:13:39 AM by Jim Babbage
I'm very happy to announce that my latest book, Fireworks CS5 Classroom in a Book is now available!
This revised edition builds on my first Classroom in a Book (CiaB), and covers new topics such as wireframing, working with Device Central, and exporting to Flash Catalyst.
Based on user feedback, I've also included more information on the relationship between Fireworks and Photoshop. The CiaB's are not intended to dig deep into other software. The focus needs to remain on the main product, but I did find more information about integration between the two programs. There are even a few improvements to integration since CS4.
I had an excellent Tech Editor; our very own Sheri German made sure this was the best book it could be and was an invaluable resource and friendly ear for me.
And as in the last book, I wrote too much, so there are two bonus chapters included on the disc that comes with the book, along with all the exercise files, so you can work right along with me in each lesson.
If you're new to Fireworks, I don't think you can go wrong by picking up a copy. And what do you know? Here's a handy link: Amazon.com
If you do pick it up, please let me know what you think of the book. I'm always looking for suggestions on how to improve it.
Posted Monday, August 17, 2009 9:32:56 PM by Jim Babbage
My photos are now online from the camping trip with Tom Green and sons.
I shot approximately 600 images, and have edited them down to about 240, using Adobe Bridge as my primary tool.
I experimented with slow shutter speeds on many water shots this year and also made a conscious effort to find scenes which I thought would translate well into black and white. In fact, you'll get a first-hand look at how I created the black and white images on flickr in my latest tutorial, which is running on Tuesday of this week.
I've also included a few panoramics from the trip as well, including the one of the campsite.
I hope you get a chance to check out the photos. Feel free to comment on them; I love to know what people think.
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:59:34 AM by Jim Babbage
Yes it is almost that time again. This coming Saturday, August 1, my good friend Tom Green, I and our sons will be making the 12 hour trek to Obatanga Provincial Park for a week of very low tech relaxation.
Now we don't raise our noses at all technology, you understand; we'll still have our digital cameras so we can capture shots like those seen at mine and Tom's flickr sites. But overall it's a time to chill, read a book, go hiking or canoeing and watch the sun set over a wonderfully peaceful lake. There will be no laptops and our cell phones don't work up there (Tom keeps trying for a signal.)
I have no idea how Mr. Green will survive, as he will be unable to Twitter various profundities at any given time of day. Perhaps he will write them down and later do a massive post-adventure Twitter rampage . . .
This is, of course, assuming:
- We don't strand him on some tiny outcropping of Canadian shield poking out of a lake . . .
- And that we can keep all the sharp and pointy objects from his eager grasp . . .
- And that he doesn't get adopted by a black bear as her long lost albino cub . . .
- Or that he doesn't become the ringleader of the local Red Squirrel brigade, stealing careless campers' cookies by the bagful when they least expect it . . .
I am so dead when he reads this.
It's a time to recharge the spiritual and psychological batteries. That stored up energy is important. Soon after we return, both Tom and I will return to teaching at college - a job as rewarding as it can be exhausting.
In general it will be a time to refresh and renew ourselves before normal daily life washes over us again.
I can't wait. I even have new Christmas songs on my iPod - just for Tom (bwa ha ha . . .)
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:01:06 AM by Jim Babbage
A very exciting day, yesterday; I received my shipment of books and I must say, I'm very happy with the overall production quality of the book. It's pretty cool to see all the illustrations in full color!
Sporting a bright banana-yellow cover (you almost need sunglasses!) the book definitely stands out. Kinda like some of my shirts . . .
In the next few weeks, I hope to release a few excerpts of the book here on CMX, so stay tuned.
It should be in bookstores soon, so if you're interested in learning FW from the ground up, make sure to check it out.
Posted Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:42:14 PM by Jim Babbage
Well, it's finally happened.
I just pressed the checkout button at the Apple store and in a few days I will be the proud owner of my very first Macintosh.
I ordered the 15" Macbook Pro with the faster, bigger hard drive.
My old Toshiba doesn't owe me any favors; it's had a hard three year life span - and will probably end up in the hands of my nephew for at least a year, but with the writing I've been doing, having the ability to work with both Mac and PC apps is becoming pretty important. I'll just install a trusty copy of XP on the system so I can still work on both sides of the Force. ;-)
Can't wait till it gets here.
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 10:45:03 AM by Jim Babbage
Well, MAX San Francisco has come and gone. What an experience; 5000+ geeks attending a single event!
Seriously, it was a great event and I had the opportunity to meet and mingle with many new people. There were also a few networking opportunities as well. Both my Fireworks Mock Up labs were full, and I saw several other very interesting sessions and labs. I for one, was very impressed by the number of Fireworks sessions that were available.
Yep, the secret is out! :-)
On my return, I was informed by a very happy publisher that 28 copies of my book sold in the MAX Store during the event, which made me very happy as well.
I know I promised pics much earlier, but I've just gotten around to getting them online. So if you want to see a few shots from the event and a few from the aquariums at the California Academy of Sciences, head on over to my flickr site.
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 12:25:54 PM by Jim Babbage
I'm very proud to announce that Adobe Fireworks CS4 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques will be available October 20, 2008. It was a heck of an experience and I owe a big thanks to Kim Cavanaugh who was my tech editor.
You can learn more about the book here: http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321562879
I'm very excited about the book. I think it's a great introduction to Fireworks.
Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008 8:29:01 PM by Jim Babbage
TODCon will be here very soon. Yep, I'm counting the days. OK that's not the secret.
It'll be great to hook up with some CMX friends and regular TODCon attendees and speakers. Well, that's no secret either.
I've written the last three CMXtraneous blog posts! That's more of a shock than a surprise, though.
I'm pretty stoked about the Fireworks public beta. The Fireworks engineering team has done a phenominal job. It's to the point now where I don't like going back to CS3. Yeah, not really a secret there either, the way I've been blabbing all week long about it.
The secret is my second TODCon session. It will be a live demo of the new features in the Fireworks Public beta! We'll look at some of the cool features you've read about in my recent articles as well as Kim Cavanaugh's piece on the Path panel. Based on what you've read and heard this week, I hope you pull up a chair for my session.
Alan Musselman from Adobe will also be presenting a session on Fireworks. He'll no doubt have some very awesome and cool stuff to share as well.
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I'll be the guy with the loud shirt and - new this year - a limp (sprained my ankle and pulled a tendon a couple weeks ago YEOUCH). Feel free to have pity on me and buy me a martini or at least help me to the gift shop for a new fashion statement. ;-)
Posted Friday, May 16, 2008 3:00:18 PM by Jim Babbage
In less than one month, geeks will gather in Sunny Florida to catch some rays, share some laughs and learn a whole whack of geek stuff. Yep, TODCon is coming. I can't say enough positive things about this event. It's certainly opened up opportunities for me in my business, and the size of the event means you've got a great chance of hanging with your favorite authors or speakers, or making new connections to help you in your business.
There are some pretty interesting topics on the agenda as well (and I'm sure there will be a few surprises.) I'll be doing two sessions on Fireworks (Ok, that's no surprise).
The Wyndham Resort is a very nice place to spend a few days as well. You walk into the grounds area and forget how close you are to the hustle and bustle of Orlando.
So if you're in the mood for a break, and want to justify it as a business expense, TODCon may be just right for you. You get it all, sun, fun, education and networking in a nice little package.
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 10:36:14 PM by Stephanie
I'm not one to put a lot of personal information on my blog. I don't have problem with people that do it, it's just not my personal style. When I was first on the web, it took about 3 or 4 years before you could find a picture of me anywhere (as a woman, I needed brain respect first). I was one of the last people I know to join Facebook (never have had a Myspace page). Don't get me wrong, I love the web, but I've just never found the need to expose a lot of personal information there.
Enter our new, confusing age
I've posted here about Twitter. And I do love it for a variety of reasons. I post more information there than I do in other places. Oddly, it feels like I'm talking to my friends--in some giant, controlled IM. Of course, I know that since I don't protect my tweets, anyone that follows me, google, and the world can read them. Still...
Facebook however, has turned out to be another animal entirely. After joining for an orchestrated birthday prank on a friend, I stayed and connected with a lot of folks--from real life friends to web friends I've not yet met in real life (IRL). In the past few months in fact, I've connected with several old friends, from grade school to college. It's fun to see what they're doing now.
Facebook is a Tattler!
What I and others seem to forget though, is that when you change anything on Facebook, it is broadcast to all your friends. Relationship status is a perfect example. When Greg and I got engaged via Twitter in March, most of my online friends knew what was going on. But my real life friends, the ones that I see at volleyball or on the weekends (as if I had weekends) are also connected to me on Facebook. Since I was headed out of town, I didn't have time to let most of them know, but intended to when I returned. Unthinkingly, I changed my Facebook relationship status to engaged instead of, in a relationship. Duh. Instantly, I started getting wall posts and emails -- Why didn't you TELL me!!? Ooops.
I'd say, in fact, that I know more about some of my friends from Facebook than I do from real life. Casual acquaintances, that I connect to there, show things like their new tattoo. They probably wouldn't have displayed it to me if we met on the street. Maybe they post pictures of their wild beer pong bachelor party. Who knew? People obviously feel safer in online social networks than they do in personal interaction.
Tonight I was reminded of just how far reaching this phenomenon is. I went to Facebook to join a group I was invited to by email. Somehow I followed a rabbit path ending at my younger son's girlfriend's page. I noticed she is now listed as single. Not surprisingly, so is he. We live in the same house. We talk a lot. I even knew he had told her we were moving at the end of the summer. But he omitted this one small detail about the outcome. Weird world where you learn of things in your own house through Facebook, eh? Maybe that's why my nineteen year old refuses to be my friend there, eh?
So how do you know WHO to friend?
This question has arisen in my own mind several times recently. I used to have much stricter rules for who I'd friend (though admittedly, not as strict as those that will only friend someone they've met IRL). On Twitter, if someone's witty or relevant, or knows lots of my friends, I'll follow for a while. But I try to keep the numbers I follow within reason so that I can actually pay attention. About 250 is the max I can comprehend. On Facebook, I tend to want to actually know the person somehow. I think it's because Facebook "feels more locked." I actually put my real email address there (though I don't list my phone number like some do).
But now there's BrightKite. BrightKite tells people your exact location (or a close proximity if you don't mark them as a trusted friend). So now I'm rather befuddled as to who to accept as a friend or not. When people ask to be friends, I (probably just me) feel bad to decline their friendship. I mean how do you meet new people if you decline anyone you don't know. But again, as a woman, how do you know if there are any "unsafe" people you're connecting with. This new, online community is a new and different place to navigate--that much is certain. What do you think?
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:20:11 AM by Jim Babbage
Just a little update to Ray's article today. After receiving many negative comments on his blog, emails from CMX and a not-so-subtle email from me, my article has finally been removed from the offending blogger's site.
Thank you to the CMX subscribers - and partners - who helped in this matter by posting comments on the blogger's site. You guys are great!
In an email response from the blogger, he stated, "...i had already your name in the end of this article..."
Yet again, this individual completely missed the point. Attribution is not a replacement for permission. Copying is not a form of flattery.
And hey, if you've ever seen my loud shirt collection, you'd know I wasn't that much into flattery, anyway.
Why the score of 2 - 0, you ask? Well, at the same time I found this blog site, I also discovered a commercial software site which had not only republished another of my articles, but had edited the article in such a way that it seemed I was endorsing the product. One email to them and the article came down. Ironically, at THAT point they asked how much it would cost to reproduce the article.
Posted Monday, April 07, 2008 3:03:06 PM by Jim Babbage
As the title indicates, my Fireworks article is now live on Adobe Edge. Feel free to check it out. I'm quite happy with the end result and I hope you gain some insights on the Fireworks work flow as well.
I have covered this topic in both written and video form here on CMX, but in this article, I atcually take someone else's single page design and build it out into a series of interconnected pages.
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:43:57 PM by Jim Babbage
Some months ago, I wrote about my interest in a new audio book category, the podcast novel. These novels are similar to those movie serials of old (Flash Gordon, Lone Ranger), radio serials of not so old (The Shadow, Green Hornet) and TV mini-series of today. Their popularity has grown and many of the authors have earned a certain amount of fame (if not fortune) by writing and narrating their own books in serial form.
Some of these podcast novel authors are now going from cyberspace to the printed page! Yep, they're signing book deals for the novels they used to narrate for free. I think this is pretty cool.
Scott Sigler's sci-fi (and ultra violent) podcast novels can be subscribed to for free on iTunes, but he now has a book deal for the print release of his novel, Infected, coming out in April.
Seth Harwood's film noire private detective podcast novel, Jack Wakes Up is also now in print.
J.C. Hutchins, author of the Seventh Son Trilogy will see the first of the trilogy, Descent, hit the printed page this summer.
What I love about all this is how things got started; online, free, serialized but complete, versions of the books. These authors, and others, I am sure (I'm a sci-fi geek so my interest only extends so far, I admit), gained a following, a fan-base online and their hard work has paid off. It's a geat example of how new media is affecting the way things are done.
Check out iTunes or Podiobooks.com for a long list of podcast novels in a variety of genre's. Give yourself a break from the same old, same old on your iPod.
Personally, I'm hoping to dump a bunch of these onto Tom Green's iPod before our camping trip this August, and delete his Abba collection in the process . . .
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:22:55 PM by Paul Davis
Ok, I'm in Kansas and I thought we're pretty good with online business tech stuff - I have to file, monthly, on my income, etc. I can do this online which is quick, convenient and saved me a stamp and a check (EFT payment). Now, I'm no fan of taxes, but it is the law and not paying is more painful than paying, so I've been faithful to make the payments every month before the due date (errr.... on the due date) and get the yearly required paperwork in too. Each transaction has a confirmation ID and each monthly form is stored, electronically, on their site. I can see that I've paid for the entire 2007 year, have everything filed, etc...
However, today I get a call from the Kansas Department of Revenue - I wasn't there, so I call back when I get in. It is a long distance call and they are only open from 9am to 5pm. I have voip service, so I dial away. I'm put on hold. (insert elevator music here with brief interruptions telling me how important my call is to them...)
Mike answers the phone, I chat a little letting him know why I'm calling, give the case number and wait. He asks some questions to make sure I'm the right guy (you know, that hard to get information, like the address of my business...) - after he's certain I'm not some stranger calling to make good on a government debt for someone else, we proceed to figure out why they called....
"Sir, we don't have your filing for all of last quarter no the payment for the last quarter either"
I'm a little shocked, I know I paid, I saw the money leave my account, all he can tell me is I need to get the right paper work in. They do have my yearly, which has the exact details for my monthly, but we won't go there - having the government actually make the connection between the yearly and monthly reports is asking too much. I mutter something and then get off the phone. By this time, I've loaded up the Kansas on-line payment system and just got to the section about my payments. I call back.
May answers the phone. I give her the details like I did Mike. As we progress, I tell her I've got the electronic confirmation numbers for the payments. I give those to her. She says she sees them, but she can't open them (huh?) and tells me I'm late and fees are assessed , which I suspected, and that, if those were the reports, I'd need to call someone else to get it figured out. Oddly enough, they know I did make a payment and they know that the payment made matches the figure they said I didn't pay in December. Again, this is a leap they cannot grasp. I'm given another long distance number to call.
Kevin answers the phone. I tell him the issue and he's able to figure out that, yes, I did make the payments and yes, the confirmation numbers are for the transactions I said they were for and, yes I filed on time. However, he can't do anything about it. The money was credited to the first quarter 2008, mind you, we're not allowed to file for the first quarter until it is over which is in two weeks. I need to call someone else and, yes, it is a long distance number again. I need to call accounting and tell them that Kevin in the electronics division said it was OK and verified the payments (and since there is only one Kevin, I think they may check on that). See, someone in accounting mis-keyed the information in to the wrong area. Several thoughts went through my mind, but the ones I can print involve:
- Why am I fixing this problem? I did what I was supposed to do.
- Why can't the revenue department open the confirmed electronic transactions?
- Why can't Kevin call accounting himself and fix the issue?
- Why can't Kevin just fix it himself?
- Why couldn't May or Mike have called Kevin and then accounting to fix the issue?
- Why couldn't May or Mike have fixed this themselves?
- By the time this is done, I'll have spent more time resolving their foul up than the entire bill is worth
- When I screw up, as they thought and billed me for, I'm charged, who pays me for their screw ups?
In any case, I had to leave for an appointment before I could call accounting, something I'm "looking forward to" the same was you look forward to a root canal. Luckily, they will find in my favor and reverse the charges and all, but, man what a waste of time...
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008 9:03:35 AM by Jim Babbage
Keep your eyes peeled for the April issue of Adobe Edge because yours truly is making a guest appearance.
Here at CMX as well as in my teaching, I've been focusing recently on using Fireworks to create click-through prototypes, and establishing best practices for one's FW workflow. With the evolution of Fireworks, it's much easier to create these interactive mock ups quickly, allowing more immediate client feedback/approval of a site's design and flow. The beauty of this process is many changes are made early in the design stage, rather than during the coding process.
As designs get more complex, it becomes even more important to set up some best practices for workflow. This helps in case you have to revisit the design weeks or months down the road. It is also very helpful if you have to pass on the design to someone else.
My article on Adobe Edge will focus on the creation of a click-through mock up from a finalized multi-page Fireworks PNG file.
If you've not heard of Adobe Edge before, here's the low-down:
Adobe Edge is a free electronic newsletter that comes out every couple months. It features content for web designers and developers, covering stuff going on at Adobe and the web in general. While the focus is about Adobe and what it's doing to make web-life easier, the magazine also covers things happening outside "the mothership."
For example, February 2008's issues has this list of contents:
- Adobe Media Player: Understanding the structure of the RSS feed
- BlazeDS and what it means for the developer community
- The edge of Flash
- Comparing Adobe Flex and Ajax development models
- Project profile: Virtual life on the International Space Station
- Quick tips for integrating Adobe Creative Suite 3 products
- Open source at Adobe
You can either check out the Edge every couple months, or subscribe to it online. I hope you get a chance to read the article and find it useful.
Posted Thursday, February 07, 2008 1:59:23 PM by Stephanie
So maybe you've never heard of twitter, or maybe it's old news but you thought it seemed silly. That's what happened to me at first as well. A friend told me to check it out (with no instructions), I took a look at the home page, wondered why I cared what all those people I didn't know were doing right now, and closed it. For those that haven't heard of it, twitter is a social networking tool that requires you to answer one simple question - "What are you doing?" - in 140 characters or less. And I agree, it does sound rather silly every time I try to explain it. However, I've found Twitter to be my favorite social tool. I've basically turned off IM (which can be an extreme time sink for me when friends need CSS help!), but I can still keep up with people I care about.
In light of the confusion of new people looking at the app, I thought I'd write a few tips I've found along the way that make it work for me.
A Quick Twitter Primer
- Your initial job is to find people you want to follow. You follow them by viewing their profile page and clicking "Follow" under their main icon. These are your friends. (They're called "Following" in your Stats sidebar and their icon will now appear in your sidebar.) There are a variety of ways to do this. Most obviously, start with the people you know. Then, check their friends and see who you know, or know of. Don't worry about whether they know you, it doesn't matter. They may not follow you back for now. Just find interesting people you'd like to know about, know better, or simply eavesdrop on. Heh. Once you've pillaged and plundered your friend's lists, use the search feature for other people you know. If you're really outgoing, you can search for people in your geographical area and start getting to know people you can actually get to know in real life! Wow. This is where twitter can become a great local networking tool. You can even watch the main twitter page for random people you might want to follow. I don't personally find this to be very useful with all the various languages represented.
- After adding some friends, you'll likely end up with a few that add you as well. Those people will actually "hear" what you tweet (a tweet is slang for your 140 character post--though you'll hear it called many different things). The tweets of the people you follow will be on your home page when you're logged in. Your tweets will be mixed in chronological order among them. If you're on someone else's profile page, you'll see everything they've written. If you'd like to see the interaction with their friends, click on their With Others tab.
- The people that don't follow you will not see what you tweet. But there's a workaround if you'd really like to interact with them (that is, if they're paying attention). Using the @ symbol and their username (for me, that would start with @stefsull), your tweet to them will show up in their Replies tab. But though it once worked in a different way, currently, the @stefsull must be the first thing in your tweet. Putting it somewhere in the message will not make it show up in their Replies pane. I try to check my Replies pane at least once a day to see what I might have missed (since I don't sit and read twitter all day). Even if I don't know someone, intelligent or witty comments may cause me to add them. :)
- Once you're set up in this way, just start twittering. Periodically through the day, leave a tweet. Doesn't matter if you only have a couple followers to start with--having a higher number of updates will likely get more people that find you in some way. And the numbers grow over time.
- When you follow people and they follow you, you have the ability to send Direct Messages (DM). These are messages that no one else sees and can be set to be sent to your email.
- Unless you set your tweets to private, anyone can read them, including googlebots which will kindly add you to the index. If you choose private tweeting, you will have to allow people to follow you. I don't do this, but I know some people, especially those who work at larger companies, enjoy that privacy.
- Be sure to check out your settings. You can customize your profile page, add your icon, set privacy, add twitter to your mobile device or IM client, choose how you're notified of DMs, etc.
- And if you're an organized person, you can click the little star icon at the end of any post and add it to your favorites. So if someone posts a URL you don't want to forget, or simply says something that makes you giggle uncontrollably, click the star so you can find it again.
What's the Point Really?
Well, maybe there's not one for you. But for me, a person who works from a home office, travels all over the world meeting people, works remotely with a variety of people and companies, it's an amazing tool. I began by adding anyone I knew of in the industry. Many of them I'd never met and perhaps hadn't even conversed with by email. But reading my page periodically, I began to feel I knew something of these people. I learned who had wicked wit, who had spouses and kids, when they were sick, when they had great accomplishments, when something traumatic happened. Yes, you can argue I don't really know them. And you're right. We haven't sat over coffee and shared our deepest feelings. But I certainly know them more than I did, or could have. When I do get an opportunity to meet them later, at a conference, there isn't that uncomfortable feeling of meeting a person you've only heard of. For me, feeling like I know them allows me to be immediately comfortable, relax, discuss, hang out. For those I have met, I don't lose track. I can keep up with their life until I see them again in the future.
There are companies and organizations using twitter to send out news and notifications. You can even keep up with politics, weather, news feeds, etc. Twitter is a tool. Use it as you will. But for me, the part that matters is it keeps me nicely connected with the little people inside my computer--my virtual, and sometimes real, internet buds.
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007 8:44:40 AM by Jim Babbage
As I sit in my sun room, looking out a a thin blanket of fresh snow in the back yard on this last day of 2007, I find myself getting a bit reflective.
Like any year, 2007 had its ups and its downs. Attending and speaking at TODCON is always one of the ups for me, but this year I received a special treat; I was invited to speak at Adobe MAX. I am hoping to be invited back to both again in 2008. They are two completely different types of conferences, both a lot of fun and hard worked combined.
2007 also saw me teaching more than I ever thought I would. I held down two courses at Centennial and 2 - 3 courses at Humber. The total number of students ranged between 130 - 150 each week. I was relieved when the winter break set in but also proud of myself for making it through the semester without a nervous breakdown!
In early 2007, we lost my brother-in-law to a terrible brain disease. He was only a year older than me, and it certainly gave me a far too keen sense of my own mortality. But his loss was traumatic on many more levels other than my own selfish ones. My wife lost her "baby brother," my niece and nephew lost their father and my sister-in-law (who exhibited phenomenol strength and determination, taking care of David at home) lost her husband and love of over 20 years. Many, many others lost a dear friend. The neighbourhood lost a kind-hearted man who always had a smile and a positive thing to say.
Family and friends grew closer through this ordeal, however, and those bonds are continually strengthened. We spent many a happy moment with Sharon, Lindsay and Myles over the holidays. It seems to be true that some good can come from bad.
Every year my house gets the royal treatment for Christmas. We have a crawlspace on one side of the house that contains nothing but Christmas decorations. Santas, snowmen, all manner of glittery objects get pulled out, unpacked and set up for the month of December and early January. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a process that occurs over days, not hours.
One of my personal joys is setting up my Christmas village. Miniature houses, people, animals and even a functional trolley get laid out - usually in a different location each year. This year it was the fireplace mantle. This 10 inch deep slab of maple gave me over 8 feet of length to set up the scene this year. And while somewhat limiting, I like the challenge of making the town work.
In the basement/rec room, I commandeer two book shelves and set up a winter wilderness scene with a (not functional) waterfall, river, mountains and a couple cabins, surrounded in a heavy blanket of polyester snow.
I also set up a model train which runs around the tree. Well, it runs if the cats haven't derailed a boxcar at some point in the night.
Both the train and the trolley were gifts from my Dad, from his own collection. Even some of the houses were left to me. He had his very own room at home where it was nothing but trains. I have a bit of the bug, but not so much that I've blockaded a room yet.
So it's kind of bittersweet when I bring the town to life each year; makes me feel closer to him and at the same point, makes me miss him all the more. He was a bigger kid at Christmas than me and that's saying a lot.
2008 brings with it a whole new semester with new students. I won't be teaching as much as in the fall, but I'll be busy nonetheless, including an exciting project with Peach Pit Press, presenting at a local camera club and of course, writing for Community MX.
I hope 2008 brings other things, too. I hope it safely brings back home our friends and family serving overseas.
I hope it brings a calmer climate, both politically and geophysically.
I hope it brings the Canadian dollar down just a bit, so my CMX cheques pack more punch and I can yet again offer web design deals to my American cousins!
I hope you have all had a wonderful, safe and happy holiday so far. If you're out celebrating tonight, make sure to bring change for a cab - or a sleeping bag - so you can enter the new year safe and sound as well.
Thank you to all my friends here on CMX, partners and subscribers alike, for making it once again an honor and a pleasure to be part of this team.
See ya next year!
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 8:34:47 AM by Derrick Ypenburg
If you have read my most recent article, Tools for Designers: del.icio.us and Flickr', I made mention of starting a CMX Blog piece for anyone interested in sharing their design and inspiration tools,resourceful solutions for their business, and for self-organizational purposes.
Please leave a comment on this post to share your thoughts. I look forward to seeing what you're up to and if I can get new ideas and be inspired by your ideas.
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 11:20:13 AM by Paul Davis
For those so inclined who would like to send a card (free) to the US forces in Iraq:
Thank you cards sponsored by Xerox