Directions of Product (Dollar Store Engrish)

Here's a dollar I won't get back:

The front.

The back.

The kicker.

For the record - and the search engines - these are "YIN'ER BEST CLEANERS CLEANING SPONGES," and the back of the packaging reads as follows:






...and I quote. The dollar spent? Totally worth it!

Simple Neon Arrow

In the course of graphically designing a web page for a new night club that will be opening in Canton, I required an image of a neon sign in the shape of an arrow. After perusing the Google image gallery and finding nothing quite to task I decided to try modeling it in 3d.

I found a very concise tutorial, exactly suited to my level of experience within Blender and, augmenting it a touch here and there to better meet my mind's eye's beholding, put the effort to bed in under an hour.

The result:

...Simple but photo-realistic and exactly what I needed. Note that I made the curve 3-dimensional so as to twist the glass tube toward the backing piece. I think that little detail is what sells the image.

Mosquito in Profile

Late last night I felt a mosquito alight upon my exposed hand - the only portion of skin not hidden beneath quilt or pillow - and work his muzzle deep down into the dermis for a warm draft. And I'm fine with that. Hey, that's what I'm here for! I'm really just a walking, talking, 44oz, blood-flavored Big Gulp, and I accept that fate. I'm not going to spend my whole life begrudging an entire genus of plasma seekers their daily bread, but for the instant of mildest discomfort necessarily associated with the work. Just keep off the face, alright?

As I say, I could feel the rustle and occasional pinch of a mosquito making hay atop my right hand as I lay waiting for sleep. But as time wore on the sensation of being bit, usually a solitary event followed by acute stillness, repeated and increased in frequency. Eventually I lifted my head from the pillow and turned to address my hapless nurse who couldn't find the vein, readying a stern lecture on the evils of taking advantage of others' kindnesses. But what do I find here? Two mosquitos! Side by side, working their little noses into the fleshy buffet of my skin in unison; bearing all the aspect of a two-man team alternately humping away at a hand-pumped railroad car.

Two o'clock in the morning, or no: this was worth a photograph. Carefully I drew back the quilt and sheets and carefully I lifted my hand from the surface of the bed. And to my drinkers' merits they did not stir as I negotiated my camera.

But shooting photos in the dark - and one-handed nonetheless - takes some dialing-in; in the process of which one of my small companions filled his belly to the brim with blood and flitted off in gourmand satisfaction, leaving me but one prima donna to preen in the impromptu shoot.

See the blood reddening his belly? That's me!


I'm going to sell prints of this.

Rutting Season

I give you the text of my latest personals ad:

I'm a newcomer to Detroit as of the 1st of this July. I moved here from forty miles north, in Clarkston, with the purpose of being closer to the Detroit Zen Center in Hamtramck. I now live so close to the Zen Center that I can bike there; and I do, on occasion.

I prefer biking to driving, so when I've the option you'll find me at the pedals. I've so far mapped a fair strip of the city - mainly that surrounding Woodward - ridden on bicycle. I've chased fireworks down Trumbull; I've sat fountain-side at Campus Martius park; I've turned a mile or three of the river walk; and I've made the grueling trek all the way out to Belle Isle and back (near twenty miles round-trip) twice, pausing of course to swim and sun on the beach; all from behind the handlebars.

I'm definitely digging Detroit.

I like to read. I'm currently thigh deep into Charles Dickens' catalogue and enjoying it profusely. Though I'll say there certainly seems to be no shortage of angelically tempered, misused, orphan children dusting round the streets of Dickens' London. Neither is that city found wanting of monastically chaste, ethereally beautiful, doting and devoted sisters, wives, and daughters, in the full ripeness and bloom of youth. But that we should all be so lucky as to find ourselves parent-less urchins wandering the streets and county roads of a Dickensian England.

I play golf regularly. I play disc golf occasionally. (That was last season's sport.) I play the guitar, the drums, and I sing -- all proficiently but not spectacularly. I record and mix music; I post the occasional Youtube video; I work out; I watch Naruto Shippuden and Kyou Kara Maou; I sit at the Zen Center; and I go to 'Space Band' shows.

Brace yourself. I'm going to field some negatives now:

I don't own a television and I don't want one. I'm pleasantly ignorant of the goings-on within the tube and I prefer to stay that way, thank you. I don't listen to the radio, read the papers, or check the Yahoo headlines. As for current events, politics, and public opinion, I've had my fill. I was rather vocal on politics, government, and economic philosophy once. Having tried it I find that I much prefer turning my head and holding my peace.

I don't have a Facebook account, or Twitter, or even a cell phone, and I closed up the Myspace shop long ago. I don't want in on your social network. I don't care how convenient you think it is to be constantly in touch. I, for one, have no desire to be harangued with mindless, idle chatter.

I want to start baking. I want to put a band together. I want to learn Japanese. I want to find a job outside of IT. I want to feel a woman's skin against my lips, nose, and cheek.

If you can help with one or more of these, send self-addressed stamped envelope...

Bread without a Bread Pan

I refrained from purchasing a loaf of bread when I went grocery shopping today, despite dire need thereof, resolving instead to conjure some up using my many infernal magics. It was to be my first loaf from scratch and all was coming along well enough until I reached for the bread pan - into which I meant to summon my dark-pastry from the netherworlds below - when I realized that I don't actually own a bread pan.

Well, necessity is the inbred cousin of invention... Have at you kitchen cupboards!

Rise from your grave!

Matching a square pan with sides of a tolerable height to a longer pan of similar dimensions I achieved full bread pan velocity. I rubbed those sides of each pan in margarine which would make contact with the dough, and continued reciting incantations from my book of shadows. The flames of Hades soon rose to an even 400 degrees and a mere thirty minutes later I was manging on one tasty voodoo sandwich.

Fresh from Hell's own Oven!

Cerberus gets the scraps.

Firefox is Dead to me

Once upon a time I abandoned Internet Explorer for this really slick, really sleek new browser. It opened up faster, browsed quicker, and had more customizable features than IE. It really was the bee's knees and everybody thought so, I tell you what! And it's name was... Netscape.

Oh how the mighty do fall! A few minutes later Netscape decided that I would doubtless prefer the option of adorning the margins of my browser with custom graphics, to such paltry considerations as speed and performance. About the same time Microsoft wised up (if only momentarily) and tuned it's browser for performance, sending me and a whole generation of hopeless internet addicts running gleefully back to embrace everyone's least favorite browser once more.

Time passed, seasons changed, and sure enough a new contender emerged brandishing a moniker resembling that of a poorly conceived Pokemon character: Mozilla Firefox. And oh how the fanboys did come a'runnin to laud it's many noble virtues. (Not to mention a handful of it's noble faults.)

Internet Explorer was jilted once more - the ignorant slut - as we all collectively shouted, "I choose you, Firefox!" But not for sake of standards compliancy or plug-ins galore. For what did we cross the aisle? Speed, baby. Speed. It popped, it zinged, it whizzed like greased lightning trying to bury a turd on a marble rocking chair... or something. Of course this is not to undervalue the momentary virtue of being significantly less-targeted by malware than IE was. Surely many horny, porn surfers preferred Firefox for it's prophylactic ability to keep their digital doohickeys trojan free.

Aye, Mozilla and her Firefox were the cat's meow, I tell you what. They were...

But through a recent moment of serendipity I found call to step back and take a good look at our favorite son, Firefox, as it exists today; putting aside the hype and foregone conclusions of days passed. And you know what I noticed? Firefox is the absolute slowest browser to open. That's right. The slowest! Slower than IE. You know what else? The Flash plug-in's performance under Firefox is laggy.

Well, these two deficits don't exactly mount a huge case against it, I suppose. But still it was enough to drive me back to the browser dealership to take a look at the new models. You know what I found? The hatchback Ford Fiesta is fucking sexy!

And so is Google Chrome. It's been a while since I took Chrome for a test drive and time has aged her well. Chrome opens faster than any other browser I've tried. The flash performance kicks ass. Why? Probably because it's not a plug-in. The latest Flash player is built directly in.

Chrome gives me more viewable area than any other browser, mainly by ditching the Title bar, going straight to tabs, and placing the information you'd normally get from a Status bar into a hovering, disappearing, reappearing, magical mouse-over event from the land beyond time.

At first, I admit, I was disgruntled by the lack of configurable options. Well, now I champion this lacking. Less truly is more. Just give me a good, fast horse to ride and keep your bloated, deluxe model with the in-mane HD display and whinnyable ring-tones. I don't want it!

I have five extensions in Chrome right now. One puts a Gmail icon and new message count on the toolbar; another puts the Google Voice icon on the toolbar; another blocks flash content by default unless I click it; another brings in my Google Bookmarks; and the last allows me to save web pages as a single file. That's everything I need and more, right there. And with these features installed and enabled Chrome blasts out of the starting gate and round the track before Firefox can even loose it's obese, cellulite-ridden thighs from the ever tightening fit of the old Poke-ball. Chrome is as CSS3 and HTML5 compliant as any browser should be. It's hip. It's happening. It's the place to be, baby. Get on board the choo-choo train.

Firefox has followed in the footsteps of Netscape, favoring tens of thousands of plug-ins, and user-customizable skins over speed and performance. May she rest in peace... the whore.

Long live Google Chrome! (Until something better comes along.)

'Distance' Tab by Long Shot Party overwhelming Youtube request.
[Watch my cover HERE.]

'Distance' by Long Shot Party

Tabbed by Roy Tousignant
August 10th, 2010

This is the shortened, for-TV version of 'Distance' as
heard in Naruto Shippuden's OP2. The song opens and
closes on the chorus.

E|-3-- |-0-- |-2-- -|
B|-3-- |-2-- |-3-- -|
G|-0-- |-2-- |-2-- -| x2
D|-0-- |-2-- |-0-- -|
A|-2-- |-0-- |-0-- -|
E|-3-- |-0-- |---- -|

G A F#m Bm A
|-3-- |-0-- |-2-- |-2-- |-0--
|-3-- |-2-- |-2-- |-3-- |-2--
|-0-- |-2-- |-2-- |-4-- |-2--
|-0-- |-2-- |-4-- |-4-- |-2--
|-2-- |-0-- |-4-- |-2-- |-0--
|-3-- |-0-- |-2-- |-2-- |-0--

|-3-- |-0-- |-2-- -|
|-3-- |-2-- |-3-- -|
|-0-- |-2-- |-2-- -|
|-0-- |-2-- |-0-- -|
|-2-- |-0-- |-0-- -|
|-3-- |-0-- |---- -|

D5 D5b G5 D5
|---- |---- |---- |----
|---- |---- |---- |----
|---- |-7-- |---- |----
|-7-- |-6-- |---- |-7--
|-5-- |-5-- |-5-- |-5--
|---- |---- |-3-- |----

D5 D5b G A D
|---- |---- |-3-- |-0-- |-2--
|---- |---- |-3-- |-2-- |-3--
|---- |-7-- |-4-- |-2-- |-3--
|-7-- |-6-- |-5-- |-2-- |-0--
|-5-- |-5-- |-5-- |-0-- |-0--
|---- |---- |-3-- |-0-- |----

Em A D Bm
|-0-- |-0-- |-2-- |-2--
|-0-- |-2-- |-3-- |-3--
|-0-- |-2-- |-2-- |-4--
|-2-- |-2-- |-0-- |-4--
|-2-- |-0-- |-0-- |-2--
|-0-- |-0-- |---- |-2--

Em A Bb C D
|-0-- |-0-- |-1-- |-3-- |-2-- -|
|-0-- |-2-- |-3-- |-5-- |-3-- -|
|-0-- |-2-- |-3-- |-5-- |-2-- -|
|-2-- |-2-- |-3-- |-5-- |-0-- -|
|-2-- |-0-- |-1-- |-3-- |-0-- -|
|-0-- |-0-- |-1-- |-3-- |---- -|

-Repeat Chorus- x2



Expanding a DIV to Size of 'background-image'

I struggled with this for a bit yesterday and found naught but forums telling me 'it can't be done,' or 'why are you doing that, it's stupid,' so I thought I'd share the solution I developed.

The Problem

Here's the scenario: You have a DIV that will contain some text. You have different background-images that you want displayed under the text depending on which page is showing. But the background images are of varying sizes.

What you want, therefore, is a way to expand your DIV to the dimensions of whatever background-image you happen to stick inside it, without having to explicitly declare width and height values, either at your style sheet or in-line.

...and now you're off the rails.

One could surely pose a number of "why not" scenarios, such as: 'Why not just declare the width and height in-line?' or 'Why not just make the text part of the images?' Or one could pontificate upon the myriad of client and server-side solutions for querying the image size and declaring the DIV dimensions equal by script. But instead, let's just assume that we are coders and geeks, and that if there is a simpler solution requiring less explicit declaration and more uniform code distribution, then that elegance of design is our tacit desire and reward.


First off we must accept and acknowledge the limitations before us. The 'background-image' declaration does not care for width and height. It will fill a DIV with the image you choose, but it cannot under any circumstances be used to alter the boundaries of the DIV. Give that up right now!

Besides which, a 'background-image' declaration here would have to be placed in-line to meet our need of changing it across different pages, and I think it a best-practice to avoid in-line styles wherever possible, favoring HTML tags for dynamic content.

The solution, therefore, must be implemented from within the DIV. Anything placed inside a DIV of undeclared width and height will expand that DIV to fit. So in place of a 'background-image' declaration, we will set an <img> tag inside the DIV. The IMG's dimensions will be determined upon page load and the DIV will expand to match.

<div id="my_div">
<img src="images/bg1.gif">

Now comes the text we want displayed atop our IMG. Just shoehorn it in there with a <p> tag. We'll make it work in a minute.

<div id="my_div">
<p>Contact Us!</p>
<img src="images/bg1.gif">

So now we have a DIV containing two blocks: P and IMG. What we want is for the P tag to overlay the IMG tag, creating the effect of IMG as a background. We accomplish this by use of negative margins and 'z-index.'

First off, the P tag has its own vertical margins which we'll want to zero so we can have a simple text-block with no extraneous white-space to work with. As for making our IMG into a background, we can force the P tag to overlap IMG's boundaries by giving IMG a negative 'margin-top.'

#my_div p { margin: 0 }
#my_div img { margin-top: -80px }

If you looked now, you would find that the text of the P tag has more or less disappeared behind your IMG. Here the IMG tag has a higher natural z-index than the text, meaning it is being drawn after, or overtop of P. We can change that by giving the IMG a negative z-index, which places it dimensionally beneath P. Note here that when you set a 'z-index' you must also make the 'position' of the element explicit, or it will not take effect.

#my_div p { margin: 0 }
#my_div img {
margin-top: -80px;
position: relative;
z-index: -1;

Finally your P tag should be sitting proudly atop your IMG which has effectively become a background-image. Huzzah! Full code follows...

The Solution

<style type="text/css">
#my_div p { margin: 0 }
#my_div img {
margin-top: -80px;
position: relative;
z-index: -1;

<div id="my_div">
<p>Contact Us!</p>
<img src="images/bg1.gif">

Beautiful isn't it? Just four lines of CSS and you can now switch out one background for another of an entirely different width - and even a different height if the design is right - without so much as a whisper regarding those properties. All you declare explicitly is how far down to drop your text over the image. "Can't be done," my eye!

There are some pitfalls to watch out for when implementing this method. For instance, it might seem just as easy to make the 'margin-bottom' of P a negative instead of the 'margin-top' of IMG, but if you do it this way Internet Explorer, in particular, just might chop off the vertical edges of your IMG if P's block fails to fill the DIV out to the full height of IMG. This can be countered by augmenting line-height, but then you're fighting battles you don't have to. Yeah, I may have learned that one the hard way.

There you go: Dynamically expanding a DIV to the size of a background image. Tada!

Hot Damn and Cool Lemonade


This tune also lifted from the July 31st session with Brandon F. Only after submitting 'Ball that Jack' from the same session did I realize this jam's obvious superiority. Dig that beat, baby.

Ball that Jack


Here's a pretty little number taken from a jam session between Brandon F. and myself. It features clipped electric guitar and sporadicly kicking e-drums. It's the first session of it's kind, equipment-wise, so some dials still need dialing; buttons buttoning; levers levering...

It's certainly not the best jam to come out of the day, but it's the most song-like and self-contained. (Read: Publicly consumable.) Enjoy.

[UPDATE: Also available from this session: 'Hot Damn and Cool Lemonade'... It's much better!]