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Friday, January 03, 2003
11:11 AM      

Hey, it's official! I'm a Certified Macromedia Flash MX Designer.

Within weeks, I'll be recieving a certificate "suitable for framing" and a disk with cetified designer artwork that I can add to my resume, portfolio, business cards, paper plates and napkins...

Now, to pass the trainer evaluations for two Flash courses, maybe another for Dreamweaver MX, and oh, yeah — the Flash MX Developer exam... This is going to be a busy month, no doubt.


I was playing around in Photoshop with this latest pic of some of Jo's jewelry - I need to figure out how to really do OS X icons. I think this would make a good one. She took the shot with her new coolpix.


Oil is thicker than blood:

Bush and the Saudi princess
Mark Steyn says that the President’s cosying up to the Saudis is making a mockery of the war on terrorism

I always like the bit in the Bond movie where 007 and the supervillain meet face to face...Bond knows the alleged marine biologist is, in fact, an evil mastermind bent on world domination. The evil mastermind knows Bond is a British agent. But both men go along with the pretence...and the exquisitely polite encounter invariably ends with the mastermind purring his regrets about being unable to be more helpful.

It must have been a bit like that when Prince Bandar and his family dropped by the Bush ranch at Crawford a couple of months ago. Bush must have known for the best part of a year that in the run-up to 11 September Bandar’s wife, Princess Haifa, had been making regular transfers from her Washington bank account to a couple of known associates of the terrorists. Bandar must have known Bush knew....

The reaction of the government-controlled Saudi press is that this is all a lot of hooey put about by ‘circles linked to the Zionist lobby’. According to Saudi interior minister Prince Nayef, ‘these are nothing but lies’; not the facts of the case — the Saudis don’t dispute those — only their meaning....

...The fawning legions of ex-ambassadors to Riyadh have been all over the TV assuring us that, oh, no, al-Qa’eda hate the House of Saud and want to overthrow it. But, interestingly, though Osama’s boys are happy to topple New York landmarks, slaughter Balinese nightclubbers, blow up French oil tankers, kill Philippine missionaries, take out Tunisian synagogues and hijack Moscow musicals, you can’t help noticing they do absolutely zip against the regime they allegedly loathe. There are 6,000 Saudi princes, but none of ’em ever gets assassinated...Statistically speaking, if you’re looking for the spot on the planet where you’re least likely to be blown to shreds by an al-Qa’eda nutcake, it’s hard to beat Riyadh.

...On 20 September, George W. Bush said, ‘You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.’ A couple of weeks later, a small number of us began pointing out the obvious: the Saudis are with the terrorists. But the US–Saudi relationship is now so unmoored from reality that it’s all but impossible to foresee how it could be tethered to anything as humdrum as the facts. Seven of the nine biggest backers of al-Qa’eda are Saudi, and Riyadh has no intention of doing a thing about it; but the White House insists, as it did on Monday, that the Kingdom remains — all together now — ‘a good partner in the war on terrorism’. Fifteen out of the 19 terrorists were Saudi, but the state department’s ‘visa express’ programme for young Saudi males remained in place for almost a year after 11 September and, if it weren’t for public outrage, Colin Powell would reintroduce it tomorrow. The overwhelming majority — by some accounts, 80 per cent — of the detainees at Guantanamo are Saudi, but the new rules requiring fingerprinting of Arab male visitors to the US apply to Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Sudanese, Lebanese, Algerians, Tunisians, Yemenis, Bahrainis, Moroccans, Omanis, Qataris, but not Saudis...Asked by Boris Johnson why so many Saudis were among the 9/11 killers, Ghazi replied with disarming candour. ‘The answer is easy,’ he said. ‘It was much easier to get a visa for a Saudi.’

There's more...

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Thursday, January 02, 2003
7:21 AM      

HAPPY 2k3!

My best to you, dear reader; and may the things that inspire you be at the center of your life this year and every year forward.

Date: Thu Jan 2, 2003 5:23:00 AM US/Eastern

Subject: Live and Loving It!

Dear Narcolepsy Arms contributors, people who don't know what "narcolepsy" means, people who don't care what "narcolepsy" means, those vaguely interested in the matter (i.e. thinking it might have to do with food), and various other(dis)interested parties:

(Pardon while I stop hyper-ventilating a moment).

Okay, there. Better.

Ahem! Let there be dancing in the streets (sorry, a Macarena alert remains in effect until the year 3000):

Narcolepsy Arms, the online journal of words, images, sounds and views has officially gone LIVE! Yes friends, just point your browser - or other sharp instrument, preferably curare-dipped, to:

And once there check out the 18 writers, 10 visual artists, 6 musicians, and 5 opinionated pundits who have generously contributed their staggering talents to our inaugural issue.

Once you're done with that little assignment, feel free to contribute your new creations; we are now accepting submissions for the eagerly awaited vol. 2.

I know I can't wait - Viva Narcolepsy Arms!

Happy New Year,

Steve Caratzas
Narcolepsy Arms

I met Steve in a course called "Photoshop for Artists." Make sure you check out his work. He's got a sharp wit and a great eye. Two of my visual pieces got published in Narcolepsy Arms. I had submitted some of my poems, too. Maybe next issue...

Well, in a few hours, I should be a Certified Macromedia Flash Designer. I take the test at 10:30 this morning.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, December 31, 2002
2:00 PM      


I've spent much of the morning reflecting about the last year. I think that's a natural side-effect of the year turning over. I also have a milder version of that experience at every birthday. Last year, I had the thought to do an actual "year in review" essay. I never did it. I have the thought again this year, but there's actually a lot on my plate at the moment, so it might not come to fruition this year either. Suffice it to say that some wonderful stuff has happened, and some not-very-good-at-all stuff has happened. The nature of life, eh?

One of the great things that happened this year, was taking Photoshop for Artists with James Acevedo. The course was about creating artwork with Photoshop, not simply learning how to use the tools. For several weeks, I collaborated with a diverse group of 4 or 5 other artists, turning out better and better work, as we went. That's made a tremendous difference for me. There's not a week that goes by, and often not a day that goes by, that I don't try some experiment in Photoshop now. When I looked back over some of my work, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of my compositions.

Another great thing that happened this year, was hooking up with my friend JoAnn to work on a website for her emerging business. I'm getting very excited, because we're at the stage of shooting pictures of the stuff she's been designing, and it's very high quality. I've worked out a wireframe model of the site, and that's helped ease her anxiety about how the navigation might work. She's visited a lot of bad jewelry sites lately, and was starting to get really worried...

The Remains of Christmas
Speaking of Jo, she sent me a fun message the other day:

"Santa" was pretty groovy this year. I remember when I was a tiny girl (yes, there was a time when I was actually tiny), and my father rather harshly dispelled the wonderful myth of Santa from my tiny little head. I had asked on xmas eve when Santa would be coming, and if I could stay up and wait. His reply? "I'm Santa! I'm not giving any fat white man any credit for buying the gifts that I go out everyday and work hard to afford to give to you. So Santa came, Santa's here and you'll see the crap tommorow. " And with that - Santa existed for me no more. My Dad was sometimes a harsh realist... Long live the north pole.

My Dad was an absolute trip. Can't say that I blame him for dispelling the myth. He was the first African American hired as an engineer by Westinghouse Corp in the late 1950's. He had to battle everyday...

... And Phil sent this loveley collection:


Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Queens Disoriented Are

Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and trees and Fire Hydrants and......

Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Get me

Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll tell You Why

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ---Jingle Bells, jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

My Santa myth was dispelled early for me, too, and by my younger brother! Truth be told, Santa "exists" for me a lot more in the last couple of years. He's just a spirit, not a tangible being. It doesn't hurt that Denise is really into the Christmas lore. Can't tell you how many Rankin and Bass specials we saw this season... Thank goodness for DirecTV!


Well, the studies in Flash continue. It's getting good. I read up on Flash Remoting last night, and the architecture looks very promising and surprisingly simple from an API perspective. Macromedia did a lot of good work. On the code front, I've been creating my own little test .fla's. I did a thing last night where I attached a dynamic text field as a listener for the mouse, so that it would display the x coordinate of the mouse pointer as it moved. Then I took it a bit further by creating a calculation that changed the color and alpha of a movie clip based on the mouse position. The clip cycles through 5 distinct colors based on the x coordinate of the mouse and the alpha ranges betwween 20% and 100% based on the y coordinate. I'll post some of my "doodles" some other time. Got other fish to fry for now.

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