Colour the New Year

Traditional Christmas colours are red and green. Traditional colours for Halloween are orange and black. Traditional for Valentines day are red and pink. Most holidays have their colour scheme. What would the colours be for New Year’s Eve? Why would you pick those colours and does it depend on the kind of year it has been for you?

Show and Tell with the Face

One of the interesting things about learning how to draw cartoons are the faces. Especially how a small difference in the angle or thickness of a line can make a huge difference in the expression of the face.

Try it. Just draw a circle as the face then add different eyes, nose, mouth and eyebrows. Come up with a few versions and then just change the eyebrows. It is strange how a small change to the tilt of even one eyebrow can give a very different emotion to the same face.

Do you think about facial expression when you write? Do you give your characters a face or just tell people they look annoyed? How do they look annoyed, how does it show in their face. Show, don’t tell.

Keep your Computer Happy and Healthy

1. Start with the very things right at your fingertips, the mouse and keyboard. These are the dirtiest parts of your computer. If you share the computer with anyone consider keeping some hand sanitizer by your desk to wipe down the mouse now and then.

If you have a mouse which has the wheel inside of it and is open at the bottom take the mosue apart. Easy to do by just pushing it as the arrows show. Get the crud off the parts of the mouse that turn and spin. Take out the ball itself and give it a wipe off. I’ve read that you should not vacuum your keyboard but I do and it works. I also turn it upside down and give it a gentle shake or two. You will be surprised how much falls out of it, even if you never eat over it and don’t have pets.

2. While you have a cloth out wipe off the rest of the computer, all the outside case. The back too. Use a cloth which won’t leave lint behind, that should just be common sense. You can find some nice ones in the dollar store so don’t think you need anything special or expensive. If you aren’t intimidated, take the outer case off your computer and give it a cleaning inside too. There is a huge build up of dust inside. If your computer is running poorly this could be the culprit. Take it to a repair service if you don’t want to open it yourself. But you can do it, just be sensible and don’t let it get at all wet. Take off your watch and rings, anything which could cause static or catch on something.

3. Back up all your files. You can burn them onto a CD or DVD if possible and then delete all the extra files you don’t use often. Keep your copy of them on the disc but clean them off your had drive. Get a box or a folder for CD’s, something to keep your discs safe and organized. You might even reinstall Windows if you have the back up disc. This will wipe your hard drive clean and give you a real fresh start. But, back up whatever you want to keep first, of course.

3. If you don’t already have a surge protector get one. If you have a surge protector which is second hand or several years old consider a new one. The purpose of a surge protector is to keep out power surges which can come from bad weather or a power surge from the outlet itself. Each of those surge protector bars are only good for one shot. If that shot is gone you just have a regular standard power bar and that won’t help you when you might need it again.

4. I have a debate with my sister and brother about leaving the computer on all the time. I don’t and they do. My brother turns off his monitor, my sister doesn’t do even that. However, she does have her computer set to hibernate after a set amount of time of not being used. Myself, I shut my whole system down each night when I go to bed. Also, if I plan on being away several hours I do not leave it on.

It isn’t good for a computer to be shut down and booted back and shut down in a small space of time. But, it also isn’t good for the use of electricity for it to always be left on. You should decide what you think best but consider shutting down if you know you will not be using it for a long period such as a weekend away or a week off, etc. If you wouldn’t leave the television on why would you leave the computer on?

5. Defrag your hard drive. This is an old word for letting the computer check it’s hard drive for errors and save space by packing everything in tighter and better organized. I’m sure you can find extra software to do this but Windows does come with it’s own defrag program and that should work just fine. Look it up in your Windows Help to find out just where to get started with it. The defrag will take quite awhile so don’t start it when you have something urgent to do online.

6. Get software for anti virus and spyware. Use them. Let them run their updates each time before you use them and run the checks at the very least monthly. Weekly is better. Daily is probably just going to be too annoying for most people. I don’t like to wait here twiddling my thumbs everyday either.

7.  Clean up the registery files. There are free software programs to do this or use the one available with Windows. A clean registery will help your computer run faster.

8. Look for updates on the software you use often. Some, like Firefox, update without being asked. If you find that annoying (a slow down when you are online) then you may have turned it off. You should be able to find an update link in the software. Check for something like an About or Help button in the toolbar of the software. These should have an update link or a link to the program’s home site where updates are available.

9. Give yourself a new background, something seasonal, flowers, animals or somethng to take your breath away. Use a site like, it’s my favourite and it’s free.

10. Write down important information about your computer. You should know the brand (Acer, IBM, etc) and the model and type, also the serial numbers for everything you can find on there, especially your operating system (Windows most likely). If you ever need tech support this information will be important.

A Member of the Round Church

Peg Bowen from Road to Avonlea (Canadian TV): “I’m a member of the round church, the devil won’t find me lurking in the corners.” I caught this quote yesterday and scribbled it down on a sticky note. So it’s slightly paraphrased cause there just isn’t a lot of room on a sticky note for someone doesn’t tend to write small.

I like the quote for several reasons, one being the idea of it comparing to Arthur’s Round Table. I also like it because it’s about being part of more than the standard Christian religions where there are set rules and expectations. A round church is outside, beyond walls, corners and collection plates. You don’t have to be religious to have a church.

What kind of church do you believe in? You can be an atheist and have a round church. We all believe in something.

Off With Their Heads!

Your kingdom is in revolt. You passed a few little laws and suddenly everyone is up in arms. Do you try to work things out with communication and patience or do you just use your power and have the ringleaders executed for treason?

Would it make a difference if your kingdom was in a game versus something real? I find it’s so much more fun to say, “Off with their heads!” when I know it’s all a game and the people are just pixels. Yet, in reality, it is a quick fix to the problem. Tempting…?

Tumblelog: A Snapshot in Each Post

I’ve come across a new plan in the way of blogging. It’s about using simple, short posts and then keeping your blog simple and to the point. Tumblelogs are like creating a snapshot in each post. The overall blog is a scrapbook versus a newspaper or full fledged novel.

Theme Playground had the post I read which includes template reviews. I picked out three to try after the holidays: Artueel, Elite and Tumblelog. If you want to have a tumblelog outside of your usual blog have a look at Tumblr or Gelato CMS to add it to WordPress. I found two other bloggers writing about tumblelogs: Tumblr, a different way to blog and Tumblelogging: don’t think about it, just write.

From Wikipedia: A tumblelog (also known as a tlog or tumblog) is a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, tumblelogs are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary.

Other links of interest:
The Tumblers on Ning Social Network.
Tumblr users on Facebook.
Tumblr Hacks
Tumblr Day but it was only done once, September 2007, so far.

Macro Photos for Your Site

Take a photo of something up close. If your camera can take macro shots do that. Work on getting the focus exactly right, it makes a huge difference.

It is surprising how much you see when you can really study the detail of something you might see every day. Macro photos also make very unique and interesting background images. Could you take several and offer them on your site? Never a bad idea to offer a few freebies when you can. Especially when the freebies really are free and really are worth having.

Spy On Yourself

We all procrastinate about something. Even those people who always seem so exceptionally organized and on top of everything have something they are putting off. Whatever your reason for procrastinating (time, energy, lack of inspiration or just not wanting to do it) the one thing we all know is that it has to get done and avoidance isn’t going to work. Not really.

So spy on yourself. When you find yourself putting some task off make a sticky note and put it where you know you will see it. It’s like spying on yourself cause you will remember the task again and again rather than letting it slip through the cracks. Give yourself that little guilt trip and when the task is done you can finally get rid of your nosy neighbour, that little nagging sticky note.

Tiny Bright Neon Purple People

There is a mysterious bright neon purple stain on your kitchen floor. It’s not jam or anything else you can think of. Very weird. You try to clean it up but as you wipe the stain just spreads, growing larger and wider over your floor. Getting up with the idea of trying vinegar or something else to clean it up you slip a little and fall into the middle of the stain. Oddly enough you sink through the floor, down through the basement and a ton of rocks, soil and assorted plant and animal life. When you stop you are in an underground cavern. There are thousands of very small bright neon purple creatures all over the place. Each of them are staring at you and none of them look very friendly.

“Trespasser!” They begin chanting. The chant gets louder as they repeat it. Covering your ears isn’t enough to block out the noise as it begins to pound and vibrate inside your head.

You wake up in a tiny bright neon purple room. The colour is so bright it hurts your eyes.

There’s a bright neon purple person at the door, locking it. Keeping you trapped in this tiny bright neon purple world.

How can you escape?