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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tutorials serve many purposes. Some tutorials try to teach concepts, while others just get you through a task. There are parts of this book that do both. I just completed a section that shoved me through some difficult pieces of Flash: loading xml content, binding data to the user interface, and setting ui interactions.

I still have no clue what I just did, but I did by rote following of instructions. As the book advertises “you don’t need to know every feature, you just want to know how to get your project done.” That’s right on the mark about my requirements.

I don’t consider today’s tutorial session a failure. Even if I don’t fully understand its function, I see the different panels and parameters, and how they are used. And at the end, when I hit ctl-enter, and it runs smoothly, there’s a small glow of accomplishment. Smokin’!!

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The rest of the lyric went
“Hair,
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen,
Give me down to there hair,
Shoulder length or longer”

The hair was waist-length. It was straight and shiny when I ironed it.

Hair yesterday, gone today. I got a haircut. I got many hairs cut. I got many centimetres of hairs cut.

I had no idea what I wanted when I walked into the salon. I just needed to get rid of the rapunzel-length stuff that got in the way, got all over my shower drain, carpets, furniture, floors. I got “lots of layers, angled, and long bangs”. The salon floor was covered when we were finished ridding me of my dead protein. It’s a manageable shoulder length. My whole head feels lighter.

Came home looked at the mirror and did not like the result. I have limp hair that has no body, so it hung like a dead cat resting atop of my head. I kept reminding myself that I can wear a hat, since it’s winter, and it’ll grow out. I tried putting it up, but to no avail. It looked like a bad haircut that was pinned up.

Then I remembered a line from a movie. What was it, Little Women? One of the gals said “don’t worry, we’ll just curl it.” Amazing what scissored horrors can be covered up with the magic of a curling iron. It’s decent now. I can leave the house without a bag over my head.

I cut it once every three years, and the rest of the time, I just let it grow out. Now I know why I cut my hair so infrequently.

Yet another impossible thing happened today. I installed a guestbook. Yeah, baby! it’s not pretty yet, but it’s functional, it has anti spam features, with free support. And it’s PHP! No, I didn’t write the code. Phpjunkyard did.

I found out that I could indeed tweak permissions in Godaddy. I didn’t think I could do that since I had a Windows, and not a Linux server. I had to hit a bunch of buttons til I got it right. Hosting control center – Content- File Manager. It’s not obvious that I can change permission on a single file, but I can change the permission on the parent folder and check that the children (one file) inherit permission.

Virtual Life is humming merrily along. Real Life is sucking eggs, major time. But we gotta take the yang with the yin.

Flash-wise, I finished the Making Buttons chapter. As my friend Dave says, I “really hosed” the last section, but I declared it a victory and moved on. In the next chapter I get to actually put content in the practice site. More painful but meaty lessons. At two sections a day, if I stay focused, I could finish this chapter in a week. Looked it over again. The chapter is looking a bit dense, or I’m feeling a lot denser; I’d give it 10 days.

Forward march. Or as Kurt Darren would say, “Voorwaarts Mars!”

It’s like learning to tie a shoelace, isn’t it? I made a button, animated it, and added a clicky sound. wow. (more sarcasm there). Sounds easy? Yeah right. That’s about the easiest chapter I’ve done so far. Maybe I’ve just gotten so used to book’s structure that the confusion is less painful. Or this is just easing me into the challenge pit. Hard chapter, easy chapter, killer chapter.

Yes, I have clicked that button insipidly, at least ten times. As my high school friend used to say “it’s fun, for the feeble-minded.”

Reading ahead: “this can be a difficult series of steps.” Is that an understatement, or the authors’ attempt at humour? Cue Jaws music.

I just finished chapter six of Creating a Web Site with Flash CS3 Professional. The more I learn, the less I know that I know. When I’m done with this book, I’m afraid I’ll have to get the next volume. Lord love a duck, I feel myself falling into the Flash rabbit hole.

Like I always say, it’s fun in a “head banging on concrete” sort of way. Speaking of self-flagellation, the elliptical calls me again. My scale tells me the body must never rest as long as the mouth continues to consume little Hersheys bars. Onward!

And Virtualdub has certainly got to hit the top of the best and free chart. Love this big video editing tool that comes in a small package. It loads super quick, and it’s got gizmos and widgets that I’ll never know how to use, and only a real video editor could appreciate. It suits my needs. I go in, I edit, I leave. Once in a while I’ll use a special filter or two, but mostly I use it to shrink videos down in size for my Youtubes. God bless the writer of this open source program! Vive la Internet!

For more fancy stuff, like transitions, pan and scan, I leave up to the mega monster slow and cumbersome, and sometimes just refuses to move, Windows Movie Maker, with its super friendly user interface.

What other tools are in my toolbox? Let’s pick through the desktop, shall we? Audacity, my audio editor. Media Player Classic, which has a cool ability to separate the audio from flvs — a three step procedure, hidden within the bowels of the Utility function, but it works. I use Media Player to replace the cumbersome Windows Media Player. Seems like everything associated with Windows is “cumbersome” doesn’t it. Pfft, you can tell how I love the load speed of Microsoft products. Yeah, I know, it has to take that long because it has so many features. Sometimes I just want a pen to write, not calculate the trajectory to Andromeda, for goodness sakes!

I’ve always thought having an eidetic memory would be one of the coolest things on earth. But, as Adrian Monk says, it could be a blessing, and a curse.

If it isn’t on a yellow sticky, it just about slides off my brain. I just read a whole bunch of stuff, applied the knowledge to do something on wikipedia, and now I look at the wiki page, and I have a vague recollection of how I accomplished it. That’s a really pathetic memory. This must be some sort of disease.

I was the type who could cram a semester’s worth of facts for a final exam, and it would flush out of my head the next week. If I put my mind to it, I can easily remember some arcane stuff, for as long as I’m interested in it, then once I lose the interest, it all disappears in a poof.

There were times when I could recite useless vacuous stuff, like the episodes of Star Trek, TOS, Star Trek, TNG, and Highlander. Ask me to name the presidents, or the the Articles of the Constitution. Duh.

Yes memory systems work, if I actively use them. I can memorize shopping lists and long unrelated strings of numbers, when I use Jerry Lucas’ number conversion and imagery system. But day to day memory? It’s pretty much teflon. It just don’t stick.

And it will reveal the statue locked within. In my case all I expect to end up with, is a pile of granite dust, and a misshapen monolith. There ain’t no statue in this rock I’m chipping at.

I’ve been hammering away at the Flash tutorial book, one plodding page at a time. If my project wanders from the book’s example, I just declare a victory and move onto the next example. I’ve convinced myself I only need to grasp its capabilities, rather than complete mastery of a particular effect. I’ll aim for mastery when I’m more fluent with the tool.

I’m in training for my personal Flash Olympics. I already set a target and a date. If I can learn enough to successfully modify and install a template, I have achieved gold. Ready, set … run!


This idea had been rattling around in my head for quite some time now. “Broken Vow” wasn’t one of my favourite songs of either singer’s repertoire. It is sung in the singular voice, a story about the loss of love. I tend to like the more upbeat hopeful songs that Josh Groban sings. However, when I thought about the duet, it made a lot more sense. The idea of two people having a conversation about “what happened to us?”, reminds me, conceptually, of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”

I like to dream, big. So here’s my fantasy:

Phone rings. Eve answers. Male voice on the other end identifies himself as Josh Groban. Eve lapses into semi-coma. Josh thanks her for her Youtube contribution and explains that he and Lara are in negotiations to perform the duet. Josh hangs up. Eve faints.

Shortly, after their song tops the charts, phone rings. Female voice with a lilting European accent identifies herself as Lara Fabian. Eve, used to this surreal oddity by now, chats amiably with Lara as if she were a long lost friend. Lara says she is going on tour and is looking for an opening act, someone to accompany her on the duet. Eve whips out her register of “talented and attractive male singers” and offers her a name.

Six months later, Lara Fabian and Dihan Slabbert are engaged in their whirlwind tour of Europe and North America. The tour culminates in a sold-out gig at Madison Square Garden. DIHAN achieves singular name recognition (ala “Celine”, “Prince”, “Bono” and “Shaq”), and becomes South Africa’s musical ambassador.

Back in the U.S., George Clooney proposes to Eve’s friend, Fran. Fran and George live in conjugal bliss. Shush! This is Eve’s fantasy!

Here’s the other scenario:
Phone rings. Eve answers. A male voice on the other end identifies himself as Josh Groban’s attorney. The attorney would like Eve to remove her Youtube video as it is a derivative work, formed in a manner that is unflattering to said client. Eve has a heart attack and lapses into semi-coma. Two minutes later, a stern female voice identifies herself as Lara Fabian’s lawyer, and would like for Eve to remove the Youtube, as it infringes on Lara’s copyright to the song and lyrics. Besides, Lara didn’t have enough lines in the virtual duet. Eve, in her semi-conscious state, manages to delete the Youtube.

Phone rings for a third time. Eve knocks it off the cradle, and punches “speakerphone.” The voice, in what sounds like a clipped Aussie accent, tells Eve that she is not to abuse the name of his client, Dihan, again. Eve tosses the keyboard in the trash, disconnects from the internet, and moves to Micronesia. She lives peacefully with 20 cats, selling hand-woven satchels to tourists.

Back in the U.S., George Clooney proposes to Fran. Fran and George live in conjugal bliss. There are always happy endings in a morality tale.

I’m either going to turn grey or bald from ripping my hair out.

How is it that a teen can memorize all the paths to an online espionage mission but fail to remember that a project is due. Is there such a thing as “shaken teen syndrome” because surely I could rattle some of those memory cells around?

Why did God give us children? Is parenting a form of masochism? If it is, I would not have signed aboard this hell train. This is one of those primal screaming moments. Where can I turn in my Parent card for a “Peaceful calm existence” card? God grant me the patience to slam the punching bag as hard as I can without throwing out my able shoulder. The right side is still stiff. I think I should go for a symmetrical pain. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!