Archive for January, 2010

Please Meet: ‘MeetingBoy’

January 30, 2010

He’s @MeetingBoy on Twitter and if you haven’t yet, take a look at his tweet-stream! You can bet, if there’s a meeting? He’s on Twitter.

Hilarious.

Irreverent.
Entertaining.
Totally cracks me up and I don’t work in an OFFICE!

I’m here to announce…. Meeting Boy has a calendar!
meeting boy calendar

PhotobucketThe funniest tweets from @MeetingBoy illustrated throughout the year. Let his corporate misery be your comedy.

Featuring a whole year’s worth of 140 character mocking amusements and ridicule and feigned joy at yet another meeting to schedule more meetings about meetings…

Are YOU in the same nightmare Meeting Boy finds himself? {Or like me, is your husband?}

Then enjoy these ‘daily MeetingBoy updates’ and 300 others in your very own calendar!

PhotobucketA two-hour meeting? Let me fire up Twitter.
PhotobucketMy cellphone cuts off voicemails after 4 minutes. You call it a bug; I call it a feature.
PhotobucketI’ve been working too much. I just dialed 9 for an outside line…from home.
PhotobucketIvan Denisovich’s life seems so interesting from where I’m sitting.
PhotobucketDo they have meetings in Heaven? Because I’m certain they do in Hell.
PhotobucketA 4:00 meeting about fries should include fries. Call your congressman.
PhotobucketJust witnessed another painful hallway ‘look at you! When are you due?’
People, if it’s after lunch, let’s asume it’s a food baby.
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Cost: $15 (Worth every cent per Tweet!)
Author and Funny Tweet Man: @MeetingBoy
Illustrators: @spencermains @visway @tomfishburne @biblicone @twipcomics

YES. He gave me my very own calendar for free.

Misfortune Cookies?

January 28, 2010
Funniest website I’ve seen in a REALLY long time.

(OR….’What Does Google Think?’)

Someone mentioned a party they attended where the host gave everyone a ‘MisFortune Cookie’.
I thought. What a great idea.
And then I thought. What does Google think about that…?
And….
Google thought… about a Facebook App (of course) and descriptions of The Twilight Zone TV show, and plenty of other sites blogging and selling and talking about misfortune cookies.

By far the best site Google thought about is:

Ahem.. are they talking about me??

They have a whole section of Misfortune Cookie Phrases and I promise I don’t mean to steal from them but they are seriously funny! Right on the page with the first misfortune it says:

“Click again cookie for more dishonor”

Prosperity belongs when no message in box! But to tempt fate, send to us email and we will dissatisfy you.

Oh my gosh, hilarious.

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Here are a few of the best ones. (And then promise me you will click over for your VERY own Misfortune Cookie!)

document.write (wordArray[randNum(wordArray.length)])PhotobucketYou regard free speech not as a right but as a never-ending obligation.
PhotobucketAt the rate you give people headaches, you should buy stock in Excedrin.

Happy New Year Misfortunes:

 document.write (wordArray[randNum(wordArray.lengPhotobucketEnjoy your cellular phone while you can, it has given you a brain tumor.
document.write (wordArray[randNum(wordArray.length)])PhotobucketYour life will be long and happy – – no, wait. Sorry… Do you know a Kendrick Applebaum?

May love and misfortune shine down on you.
—Carissa

Photo credits
background image for question mark: photoxpress.com
fortune cookie: freedigitalphotos.net Carlos Porto

Holiday Party After Thoughts…

January 25, 2010

Follow Me Today?
I wrote a guest post on Out Of The Extraordinary
*Hint*
Why AFTER Holiday—Holiday parties are the BEST!
(And the Best White Elephant Gift Ideas Ever.)

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ASUS Video Phone

January 19, 2010
Gossip With The Grandparents

Hear them, See them, Share your children’s life with them!


The ASUS Touch Video Phone!



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Talk about a great way to keep up with the grandparents?

The ASUS touch video phone is very cool, and looks all Jetsons.
And the bottom line:

  • It’s easy to set up.
  • Easy to get your Skype on!
  • And WIRELESS!
  • (Or connects to standard Ether Net).

My kids were especially keen to try it out.. ‘Hurry! Call grandma, I want to tell her about the Chinese Language program I just got into!’ OR from the 5yrold: ‘Can we call our cousin? I want to see what he got for Christmas!’

I’m talking super simple.
One button to turn it on. And then tap the screen: find your contacts, click to call with or without video and baby… YOU ARE SKYPING!

This is great for the non-computer savvy. You do have to have an internet connection: techy or not. Let’s imagine you have recently moved a few states away from the grandparents. And you are feeling a bit sad that they are missing some high points in your toddler’s life? Or your oldest just got braces… Maybe your middle kid broke his arm and needs some cheering up?

Who do you turn to? Grandma and Grandpa right? And wouldn’t it be awesome to chat with them via Skype where you can SEE them and they can SEE you?? Cool huh? The only thing is… although they have a computer and an internet connection you can barely get them to turn the dang thing on!

Seriously. They can figure this out.

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Photobucket Cost: $200-249.00

Photobucket YGWYPF: {yougetwhatyoupayfor}
That’s a pretty high price- I realize, but it’s also a much better web cam than on any laptop I’ve ever seen. And it’s hard to put a price on sharing moments with family members that you other wise would have to share over the phone or with emailed photos. I think this would make a great mother’s day present? I’d go in on it with my sister in fact!

*This GoodNCrazy Test Drive is brought to you by Kaplow and ASUS.

Background Image For Blogger Post

January 18, 2010

TESTING this new Blogger Trick?
For fun.

The flower-y image in the post background!

Can you read the words? This is 25% opacity.
If you were writing a love letter would this be like the BEST way to do it??

Am I a little bit crazy?

Maybe…
But the HTML to do this is surprisingly easy…

  • Place this code at the top of your blog post HTML:
div style=”background:url(LINK_OF_PICTURE) repeat;”

{Add your own direct link to a photobucket image}
And add brackets at the front and back of that line of code

  • Then place all your copy/photos/etc below that code in your HTML editor.
  • Last be sure you place a ‘close’ div tag at the end: /div
    again add brackets around the div tag:

Tadah.

Photoshope Elements Grungy Textures

January 15, 2010
Pretty in Pink?
Let’s grunge it up.
(…and Ingrid Michealson, scroll down to see what I mean)

Peony In Love

Peony(my image)
+
Free Grungy Texture from SkeletalMess

(And a smidgen of Photoshop Elements erasing…)

=

Peony with normal mode texture
Grunge Pink: Peony in Love.
I call this the ‘Normal Erase Mode’.

I promise this is really simple.

  • Download the largest size Flickr image of the texture you are currently in love with (there are frames, grungy, bricks, wood grains…)
  • Layer it over the top of your favorite image in need of some PSE love.
  • Choose the best blending mode.

When you mouse over the drop down menu in the layers palette it says:

Set the blending mode for the layer

There are 25 different modes! From Hard Light to Color Burn.
Have fun playing with them all!
I don’t totally understand the whys and hows, but it has to do with the light effects and blending them?

  • Last: use the eraser tool set to the soft round airbrush, around size 400, and 30-60% opacity. Begin erasing the middle (or focal point) and maybe the edges and corners. That’s what I did anyway… Email me if you have questions!

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I had such a hard time choosing just one!

I gave up and created these collages below to show you how amazing they all are!
I love the different ‘feeling‘ each one gives.
Antique, Victorian, Eerie, Modern…
Which one do you like the best?

photo effects in PSE 4

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photo effects in PSE 1

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photo effects in PSE 3

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photo effects in PSE 2

Romantic Peonies make me think about this song

Everybody (wants to love)
by Ingrid Michealson


PhotobucketEverybody knows the love
Everybody holds the love
Everybody folds for love
Everybody feels the love
Everybody steals the love
Everybody heals with love

Free Photo Images for Blogging

January 14, 2010
The Best Photo sources for your blog

It’s a great idea to boost your blog with eye candy photo(s) on each of your posts. Often I have my own photo ready before I’ve written anything. But just as often I don’t. And let’s face it, not many mom bloggers out there are interested in paying for an image for a blog post.

So Where Can I Get Great Quality
Free Photos and Images For My Blog??

The 3 places most people check first:

Flickr: A WARNING.
ONLY use the images from the Creative Commons search page and leave at least a comment on the image telling the photographer you used the image. Always check the copyright info. If it has the little ‘Attribution Man’ and says some rights reserved you can use it on your blog WITH A LINK back to the photographer. If it has the man and a dollar sign slashed through, then you cannot use for commercial. And since most blogs have some amount of commercial something going on, either stay away from those images or ASK the photographer. I’ve had luck asking even when a photo was fully copyrighted. They can only say no right??

All that being said, I LOVE Flickr, and often stop there first on my journey to find a fabulous photo for a blog post.

Google Images: STAY AWAY.
You have no real way to verify copyright. And it would sure be lame if you were the first to get really slammed for ‘stealing’ a photo you didn’t realize was copyrighted, eh? Do not blog with Google Images. I sleep with an attorney. Don’t go there.

Photobucket: STAY AWAY.
Also too much worry about copyright. You would need to get permission for each image; not worth your time.

5 Free Stock Image Websites:

Are they really free? Are they worth your time?
I’ve done a little research and here are my findings.
5 STAR ranking: 5 = best site for free blogging images.
Based on selection, resolution, limits and copyright clarification.

PhotobucketFreeDigitalPhotos.net
4 Stars

This is fast becoming my favorite free stock photo website.
The selection is very good. NOTE: you can only download Medium sized images (for free). However, for blogging that’s almost always fine. If you have a scrapbook project or something you want to print out.. this might not be your best option.

I love that they CLEARLY mark what is required of you if you use the free image. Attribution, contact artist, etc. Plus the ads aren’t obtrusive and don’t get in the way. It’s free right? Expect ads.

PhotobucketPhotoXpress.com

3 Stars
I was skeptical at first. I figured the images would be crappy or weird or not enough of a selection. I was wrong on all three accounts. Here’s a couple images I found when searching keywords: Orange, Grandparent, and Serene….

One negative is that you are limited to 10 downloads per day. Which is fine I don’t need a load of images. HOWEVER. In order to register for your download privileges you have to: give away personal information, allow linking to your Facebook account and give your cell phone number. Strange? After you receive a log in code you then ‘verify’ to finish registration…( I swear if they start texting me or calling me up.. I’m calling the police)!

See PhotoExpress.com FAQ for more details. From what I can tell the images are all fine to use on your blog. I love that.

PhotobucketStock.XCHNG

3 Stars
Similar to PhotoExpress without requiring your first born to sign up. The selection is just as good and there are no limits that I can see. Most photos need attribution and are clearly marked as to how they should be used.

One thing that bugs me: when you search for ‘red’ for example; it first comes up with a list of ‘premium’ images from Dreamstime.com. Fine, realize it’s an ad and move on because few images from Dreamstime are free. Scroll down to the Stock.XCHNG images which are free. Also when you click the download button it first opens a giant image and you then use right click to save the image( instead of directly).

Upside: It’s easy to upload and add your own images to the overall collection. I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, hello(!) if someone likes my photo? I’m thrilled. Happy to share in fact.

PhotobucketEveryStockPhoto.com

1 Star
I like the idea of this site. But really it’s the middleman; adding another step to your photo search. It’s a search engine for ‘free’ stock images. Mostly it comes back with images from: Flickr, PhotoExpress and Stock.XCHNG. Technically it should be making your search faster. HOWEVER. Especially on a Flickr photo I feel like I have to click over to be sure I’m cleared to use it on my blog. That’s 3 clicks and I still have to chose a size and then download the image. If it says can’t use for commercial (slashed dollar sign), I stay away. I’d prefer the search limited to only images that are clearly okay to use.


PhotobucketMorguefile.com
2 Stars
The main problem with Morguefile is that the variety is so limited. A search for ‘Grandparent’ nets a whopping 14 images, and then they want you to jump to Dreamstime.com for ‘more’ images..(remember that’s really an ad). ‘Red’ came back with a lot more and the images are good quality, but ‘Kitty’ only gave a hundred or so…. And ‘woman computer’ brought up a ton of images but none with both a woman AND a computer. The search filter system is cumbersome and frankly hard to use. I just want to type in a couple keywords and have the image show up! It is easy to download images though, and I saw no limits.

Upside: This feature on Morguefile is totally cool! A direct crop and post feature, I tried it with this rose image. (The credit part below the image came with the html; simply copy and paste.)

Photo credit: solrac_gi_2nd from morguefile.com

PhotobucketDreamstine.com
PhotobucketiStockphoto.com
0 Stars
For blogging purposes: These get a big thumbs down from me. The selection of truly free images is so small it’s worthless to spend any time on the sites. And the whole credit system is clearly built for bulk users. You save if you purchase a lot of credits up front… They each allow a certain amount of free credits upon signing up.. but it’s too gimicky for a blogger like myself. They both have a fabulous selection of high quality/professional images but you have to pay for them.

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There are likely hundreds if not thousands of other Stock Photo sites out there. But these are the ones I keep coming back to over and over.

And For Fun.

Photobucketffffl*ckr.com
This website is more like an application, running on the Flickr Search API.
Try it. It’s such a fun time-suck! You click an image and ‘favorites’ from that photographer show up.. then click again.. and before you know it.. you’ve lost a good 10-20 minutes of your life!
Plus if you ‘log in and fav‘ it will access YOUR flickr favorites and you can begin jumping around the favorites of the photographers you have faved. Plus you can add to your Flickr fave list by clicking the fave button on new photos… I wish it would limit by copyright, now THAT would be an awesome time-suck.
Let me know if you like ffffl*ckr!?

Photo Credit: Morguefile, PhotoXpress, FreeDigitalPhotos and StockXCHNG
Disclosure: No compensation

Photoshop Elements Trick

January 12, 2010

Goldfish ANDY Best White Elephant Gift

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See the lighted bubbly stuff in the fish bowl? Totally Fake.
If you take a gander at the ‘Textures’ on SkeletalMess’ Flickr Stream, you’ll see this one:

Soft-Faux-n-Grunge-Bokeh -7-18-09-TOTD # 11

Perfect. Since I have a fishy in need of ‘bellished bubbles.

PhotobucketAfter I boosted the levels and color a bit in my original shot, I simply created a new layer, adding in this bad boy ‘texture’ over the top. Then enlarged it to size it right and move it over the bowl.

PhotobucketNext I tested a couple blending styles.
First
: Soft Light, but it blended in too much, went away. I wanted to still SEE the bubbles!
Second: Hard Light.. ahhh perfect..

PhotobucketI brought down the Opacity to 75%. Blending it even more, making it just subtle enough you aren’t sure if they are real or not…

PhotobucketLast I used a soft eraser brush dialed down to 20% Opacity (elements has no ‘flow’ to adjust.. bummer) to erase everywhere the ‘bubbles’ layer was showing outside of the fishbowl or where they were covering the fish and greenery.

Voilá.

I give you Mood Lighting for our new fish: ANDY.
Quite possibly the BEST white elephant gift ever.

Giving Credit:
SkeletalMess allows use of textures for free, when you acknowledge his greatness.

All names have been changed to protect the innocent. AKA the fish.

I Have a Theory…

January 11, 2010

I hate ‘People
There I said it.

got paparazzi?

I think People Magazine is the worst. I may be the only American to feel that way, but oh well.

I have this theory. I think that Americans lack a ‘royalty’. A Royal family and all the paparazzi and reverence for the crown and all that.. ‘God save the Queen’. Course we also don’t blurt out the phrases: ‘Bob’s Your Uncle‘, ‘Off Your Trolly‘ and one of my faves: ‘Nowt‘.

Instead we have an Oedipus Rex about England and the Mother country… Okay I made that part up.. but I needed something that would make sense for the part where I reveal —THE THEORY (da da da DUM).

I think due to this lack of monarchy we simply make it up as we go along in the form of Movie Stars and… (what IS Paris Hilton anyway(?), plus we can’t forget philandering political officials, right? We (I’m speaking collectively for Americans in general— not for ME here) follow the ups and downs of Brangelina and we (not me) addict ourselves to watching the Gosselin marriage disintegrate publicly. Self absorbing into a world of the seemingly glamorous, the glittery dresses, the haute night life. But is it??

Watching sports heroes destroy their lives and fall from their trophy stand, dreaming about how blue Reese Whitherspoon’s eyes are up close on a centerfold, or my favorite… just how stupid can the only-semi-famous ones really screw up their lives and the lives of their children? THAT is considered the glamorous life?

Count me out.

I have a friend who happily buys her ‘trash’ magazines as she calls them every time she flies anywhere. She says it’s the perfect escape. Really? Wow. Give me a well written novel any time, I just finished Audrey Niffeneger’s 2nd novel. Not as good as her first one, but please let me read a not as good as the first one…. WAY before I’m stuck flipping pages and comparing thighs of blond bomb number 1 with newly fake brunette number 2.

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Why am I telling you any of this?

Because this year in my stocking, I found a pristine ‘Best Of The Decade’, Special Edition: People Magazine…. Wow, Santa.. exactly what I asked for. Smut reading…

Yup, it’s a totally hilarious gift from my ‘husband-AKA-Santa’.. and at first I figured it was a pretty good gag gift. (I bought him a way too small teeny bopper T-Shirt with Micheal Jackson on it… Heaaay-Haaaaay).

He pressed me—open to the Taylor Lautner page..! The what?? Oh brother… I can make fun of Twilight with the best of ’em! I humored him, I could tell he was enjoying this. When I opened to that page: A slip of paper fell out..

I opened it and realized I was holding a flight itinerary to Washington, DC!

He had used frequent flier miles to purchase me a ticket to visit one of my closest friends who recently adopted a little girl from China! I get to go meet the newest member of their family THIS MONTH…!

And now? … if you catch me reading the Best of the Decade issue on a flight to Dulles… well…

Don’t Judge Me Earl!

PhotobucketNo sir, People stories aren’t stories about real people, they are tales of a nation choking on its own vomit. –Senior Cranky

photo credit: L S G

Church Chat: The Spiritual Side Of Mom

January 10, 2010

Meditation, Prayer, “Still Small Voice”

May 2010 bring all three.

Embrace...

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I love the book: Eat, Pray, Love by Michelle Gilbert. There is a part in it where she is distraught over the demise of her marriage. At one point she is sitting on her bathroom floor (she feels it’s the only place in her small apartment she can truly be alone). She is crying and in her own way, praying. She writes that she felt like she was ‘talking to herself’ or hearing things. And she begins to write down these thought-self-talks, so she doesn’t feel crazy. She is totally surprised by the wisdom she gains from these writing sessions…

I wasn’t surprised by her discovery. Most of us would call that the ‘Spirit’ talking to you, or through you, or whatevs… However you describe it, the only way I know to receive personal inspiration, or revelation, or wisdom.. is to find a quiet place and sometimes simply listen to the ‘still small voice’.

I often need some sort of preparation however. Being alone often isn’t enough. I need to quiet my mind, I need to remove a little stress at least from my immediate vision and most of all I need to ‘ask’ for it. For me, in the form of prayer. I believe in a Heavenly Father who literally knows me and knows my name. I believe in Jesus Christ who acts as an intermediary, a mailman if you will. Delivering my pleas and desires and gratitudes to that Heavenly Father, (who is also His Heavenly Father). And last I believe that the Holy Spirit is a third resource who then brings my personal guidebook and Godly information via the Self-Talking-Hearing network. A lot like Michelle Gilbert describes. I read her book and thought.. hello that’s the Spirit talking to you.

I wish I could say I’m the type to wake early and spend an hour or so alone before my world wakes up. But I’m not. I can stay up til 2AM (I pay for it the next day) but try as I might: SLEEP is what I want to do at 6AM. So when can I catch a glimmer of that hushed calm that I crave? Instead… in 2010 I resolve to find more me-time. How?
  • MomVan: Waiting for carpool or while youngest is in pre-school and I’m on my way to the grocery store. Simply practice breathing that deep diaphram Yoga kind of breath. Not to crash or anything but kind of tune out the world and do some ‘not-thinking’ for a few minutes.
  • Bathroom: Let’s face it, sometimes at home it’s the only time the kids give you a break. Give yourself permission to spend extra quality time with the John.
  • Naptime: Make the most of the few hours one kid is asleep and before the older ones return with their afterschool marathon needs. Refuel myself so I can better parent the rest of the day. A large portion of the world believes in siestas.. why not me too? They say 20 minutes is the perfect restocking amount of afternoon shut-eye.
  • Right Before Bed: I tend to meditate on the day’s activities just before I nod off to sleep. Why fight it? Intead, plan 15 minutes of reading scripture or other uplifting reading, writing in a journal, or simply meditating quietly about my day, my life, my kids, my husband and yes. Myself.

How will you find your quiet place in 2010?

photo credit: lepiaf.geo