azurite: (Default)
2015-10-11 12:47 am

Azureshipping Theme Ideas

I haven't changed the layout of my Azureshipping fanlisting, "Blue Eyes and Apricots" since 2008 (!), and it's long past time I do so.

However, I'm stuck trying to come up with a theme. The previous themes and general color schemes/concepts have been as follows:
  • Version 1: Fond Memories: khaki, brown, photographs
  • Version 2: Dreamscape: Blue monochrome, cloud pattern
  • Version 3: Celebrity Style: Black, purple, turquoise, lavender, silver, lights
  • Version 4: Spring Icing: Pink, other pastel colors, flowers
  • Version 5: Weathered Rainbow: Grunge-style, dark blue, pastel rainbow colors, stars

I hope once I come up with a theme, I can commission a talented artist to make an image I can use exclusively for the next layout!

So what do you think the next theme of BEA should be?

Some random ideas I've had:
  • Anniversary (BEA's been around since 1/10/2004)
  • Cosplay
The hope is to come up with a theme that can be used year-round, or else I'll have to commission multiple pieces of art per season or holiday! (Not that I'd MIND having more layouts, but it might get expensive and difficult to program.) @_@
azurite: dream BIG (dream big)
2015-10-09 09:26 pm

I'm now on RedBubble!

I'm so excited about this that I honestly just want to tell everyone, everywhere.
So I got myself a new phone, and for once, I just couldn't pick a case for it. So I designed my own. Using my fanlisting Blue Eyes and Apricot' layout as inspiration, I designed an image that's usable for my new case, but also stickers, journals, totebags, and more!

Here's the image I ended up using:


Plus, I'd love to do more stuff like this. I don't consider myself much of a digital artist, but I love Azureshipping and would love to see more fan merchandise out there that shares that love. If you've got some ideas for things for me to try or want to collaborate, let me know!

So check me out on RedBubble!
azurite: (cat and mouse)
2013-09-03 03:19 pm

Categories, Tags, Hierarchies and WordPress, Oh My!

I'm finally getting around to working on Indigo Ink, my portfolio website and online resume. I've been tinkering with it in various small ways for a while, but a recent decision to re-watch and actually DO the tutorials in a Lynda.com lesson, "Building an Online Portfolio with WordPress," got me actually working on the project.

The Lynda.com lesson uses an example chef to build the portfolio, making custom post types and taxonomies for recipes, photos, and videos. These post types make sense for a chef, but what about for me? My portfolio has three different types of content: writing (the biggie), graphic design, and website designs.

I made three custom post types to reflect this, but now I'm struggling with the taxonomies. Whereas regular blog posts have categories (hierarchical sorting) and tags (non-hierarchical), what would I use for my three new custom post types?

For the example chef in the Lynda.com lesson, the recipes, photos, and videos all have some common ways of organizing, such as meal type. Then it can be further sub-categorized--hint hint, this would be a hierarchical taxonomy, e.g. a CATEGORY--into things like breakfast, dinner, dessert, and so forth. And even those can be further sub-categorized, into things like meat, vegetable, and so on.

But what about my writing?

Well, I have articles--ones I've written for university publications, and ones I've written for GamingDead.com. I have essays. I have fiction. There might even be further ones. But are these categories? Can I break down the writing custom post type into a category of articles, and then further into specific KINDS of articles? Or would it be better to have something like a "purpose" category, which can span across multiple custom post types? That way, I could say, my reason for writing this article, or designing this website was "school assignment."

I'm trying to find example portfolios that have custom taxonomies that might provide an inspiration as to the architecture or structure of how I should organize my content, but so far, no luck. Any suggestions?
azurite: Annie (Piper Perabo) of Covert Affairs, holding up a half-eaten donut with a huge smile (covert affairs - annie haz donut)
2013-08-21 10:39 am
Entry tags:

Justifying Amazon Fresh

I was so, so excited to hear about Amazon Fresh expanding outside of Seattle, but when it first debuted in Los Angeles, it wasn't in my area. Now it is, and I'm contemplating whether or not it's worth it to even try it for 90 days for free (because I'm an existing Prime member) and then upgrade to their Prime Fresh program, which is a whopping $299/yr (vs. Prime's $79).

Here's my attempt at breaking it down.

Grocery delivery is only available through Vons, a supermarket chain affiliated with Safeway. They're located a few blocks from my home. However, being the oddball Los Angeleno who doesn't drive, if I go grocery shopping, it either has to be with someone who has a car (infrequent) or get only enough to fill up my vertical cart. It's not a huge cart, but it works for laundry, so it should work for groceries, too. Intermittently, I'll run to the grocery store late at night to get one or two things that I can fit in my backpack or carry.

Vons delivers in 1-hour, 2-hour, or 4-hour timeslots. A delivery of $150 or under (which would be my usual, since I'm only buying for myself) costs $12.95. I can sometimes save $3 (for a 2-hour window) or $6 (for a 4-hour window), which means the cheapest that delivery fee would be is $6.95. Sometimes the delivery fee is free--if you buy participating items. Obviously adding these random, probably-don't-need items to my cart would probably add up to at least $6.95, if not more.

However, not every item that's in their stores is on their online site, and sometimes even their stores don't have what I need.

Assuming groceries every two weeks or so, I'd be paying a minimum of $166.80 just in delivery fees from Vons every year. Maximum, I'd be paying $310.80, if I only used the one-hour timeslots (or otherwise picked timeslots that didn't have "save $3/6" on them). If I factored in the occasional grocery run on my own or with someone, that might mean Vons is more cost-effective than Amazon Fresh. This also applies to if I go to Costco, where buying in bulk means I don't go shopping as frequently. That membership is $55/yr.

But what Costco and Amazon have in common is the variety of items; even if Vons has sales for club members, I have to admit, tallying up the coupons, promotional codes, special items, and stuff is a pain in the butt. Costco and Amazon simply have low prices, and that's it.

Considering all the stuff I usually buy on Amazon--I recently renewed my Amazon Prime account because of it--this is where it really determines if Amazon Fresh will be worthwhile TO ME. I'd still get all the benefits of regular Prime, plus free delivery for any order over $35 (for groceries, that's pretty much a given), and the option for early-morning delivery.

The selection includes local fare, which is a huge bonus--supermarket chains like Vons tend to get as much stuff as possible from out-of-country, it seems, so prices get driven up by the cost of gas trucking all this stuff from warehouse to warehouse to store. Plus, organic and fresh items are expensive as heck!

So, aside from all the grocery stuff, Amazon Fresh gets me the usual Prime benefits of:
* Free two-day shipping
* Access to Amazon Instant Video

I ordered 7 things in 2010, 15 things in 2011, 50 things in 2012, and 28 SO FAR in 2013. Considering how much I use Subscribe & Save for "necessities" like bulky items that would be a pain to get at the grocery store OR Costco (or Target, or wherever), I'd wager I'm on track to surpass my total number of orders in 2012. Of course, not all of those orders were for ME, so there's a margin of error to be had.

I'm sure there's a way to look at the CSV reports Amazon can generate about which orders ARE mine, and just how much I spent, but I don't know if that alone would justify the jump from $79 to $299.

I can always try it free for 90 days, but I don't know how long they'll be offering that promotion to existing Prime members.

So, what to do? To Prime Fresh or to not Prime Fresh?
azurite: (back to the future - save the clock towe)
2012-12-31 12:54 pm

Last Straws

Do you remember when LiveJournal used to be cool? You had to get an invite to even get a journal there. It was not only exclusive, it was run well. It just seemed to work. You didn't have this big complicated install, where you had to understand CGI or PHP or any of that stuff. You just went to the website, logged in, and wrote. You could get comments if you wanted, attach different moods and icons to each post to express yourself. You could organize things into Memories, and later, add tags. You could customize the look of your own journal, get friends, join communities.

You can still do all of that, and more (Scrapbook! Games!) but it's bloated now. I think everything went downhill the minute the site got sold to SixApart. They didn't know what the hell they were doing, and when SixApart sold it to whatever Russian company owns it now, it got even worse.

The amount of spam I get on my various posts throughout my LiveJournal history has increased nearly exponentially over the past few years. Communities are the one and only thing that LiveJournal and similar sites (like Dreamwidth, bless its heart) have over better, spam-free, more customizable blogging software--like WordPress, which I am now using for pretty much all of my websites.

I remember trying to deal with some of the spam over the past few days while my computer was "recovering" from an Erase and Install of the OS. I was busy installing updates and such, so I couldn't do it on there. I tried accessing the LiveJournal mobile site on my iPad, and I couldn't even tap on the login boxes, because every time I did, it thought I was tapping on the LiveJournal logo, so it just took me back to the homepage. It's because the mobile site wasn't properly optimized, and the full site must have used some Java that caused the login box to move around on the main banner. The mobile site--if one can even log into it--sucks, and that's becoming an increasingly dangerous thing in this day and age. Something that's BUILT to be accessible and responsive should be a priority for websites of any kind in this day and age. It's definitely something I'm aspiring to for my sites.

It's no longer a case of LiveJournal working; it's a matter of "if" and "when" -- it's also getting hit more and more frequently with DDoS attacks or other various outages that are never fully explained. LiveJournal doesn't have any sort of reliable presence to notify us of such outages AS they happen, so people are left in the dark. Sure, LiveJournal isn't exactly a crucial service, but it's still a pain in the butt when you're trying to access something specific--or perhaps writing something important--and all of a sudden you can't access it. If you've paid for any portion of the service--which a lot of people had, including me, way back in the day when I thought a Permanent Account might be a good idea--then you're essentially losing money for every moment of downtime, which is why LiveJournal is probably bleeding out its coffers trying to pay back users for all their lost time.

I'll miss it, but honestly? Bring back the blogroll. I can import my LiveJournal into WordPress now, maybe even figure out a way to crosspost it here to Dreamwidth (because I like Dreamwidth and at least want to support its continued development via communities I run), then I can just do everything I want from one single place. That'd be nice.
azurite: (fiction - have written)
2012-12-18 03:25 pm

The Future of Dragonfayth and other fanfiction archives running eFiction

Dragonfayth, my site for Azureshipping (Seto Kaiba x Anzu Mazaki/Téa Gardner) fanfiction from the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom, has recently been inundated with spam. I've deleted it all, but as of right now, there's no solution for the problem as a whole.

The people behind the software aren't that numerous, and the package is pretty customized--after all, a fanfiction archive, while something hugely popular, isn't as mainstream as blogs. So it takes a while for updates to go through, patches and mods to be made, etc. And since the software is free, these people all have day jobs that take away more of their time.

I can't blame them, but I've reached the point where I'd rather pay to get a better solution, or use something else.

Since I don't really have the money or budget for hiring someone to make and teach me/maintain such a site for me, I'm stuck trying to find another solution. Finding software ready-made for fanfiction is harder than it sounds. Fanfiction.net and AO3's software is proprietary--not released to the public, not available for free. Same with FicWad, may it rest in peace. And don't even get me started on MediaMiner.org.

Most people who want their fanfiction archives use eFiction. It's been on version 3.5.3 for ages now; the supposed release of 4 hasn't happened yet, and I'm teetering on "lost hope" for it altogether.

Enter: WordPress.

I'm already using it for the new Seventh-Star Network (the main site, seventh-star.net, I'm building a What Doesn't Kill You site for my biggest fanficton project ever, and I've started making subsites for all my other sites for the various fandoms I've been involved in over the years. I've been using WordPress for ages, not just on GamingDead.com, but for sites that I've built for class projects, like Chixflix.

There are plenty of people who post their fics on WordPress.com, but making a fanfiction archive is a bit different.

I've already got a WordPress Multiuser installation setup for all my other sites; it wouldn't be a headache to set up another site with multiple authors (similar to GD) with open registration (still approved based on captcha codes to eliminate spam sign-ups), and utilize everything like making pages for fanfics, using tags for ratings and warnings, categories for...well, categories, and so on and so forth.

It's very, very tempting, but I don't know if I even want to try starting it as an experiment if it's not a good idea.

So, some questions for you:
1 - What does a good fanfiction archive REQUIRE? (For example, the ability to leave reviews)
2 - What separates an okay fanfiction archive from a GREAT one?
3 - If you have experience with WordPress, what do you think its limitations are for posting/sharing fanfiction?
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2011-02-28 12:28 pm
Entry tags:

MediaWiki Hell

Okay, so WikiFic's spam problem is a LOT worse than I initially thought it was. I implemented a captcha requirement for all new accounts (using ReCaptcha, no less, not just some lame funky image captcha, or numeric captcha!), but poseur accounts are still getting created.

The spam blacklist isn't helping with the fake pages (which relate to diet stuff or new jobs), and in trying to delete the fake pages after properly installing Bad Behavior 2 and the Bad Behavior 2 Extended extensions, I myself have gotten blocked!

Fixed??? )

ETA: Fixed... sort of. Turns out the issue was with 2 lines of whitespace after the closing PHP tag, which has since been fixed. Bad Behavior is now working, along with the BB2 Extended Special: page, but I've got a truckload of spam pages in the Recent Changes history, which I'm stuck deleting individually, by hand.

The problem is, there are these lines for including a Database Functions file:

include_once( 'includes/DatabaseFunctions.php' );

that are repeated, and I think that's causing the cleanup.php script to fail with the above error. I don't want to render Bad Behavior (which has that line in it, in LocalSettings.php and in somewhere else...I thought the bad-behavior-mediawiki.php file, but maybe since I updated it to the latest version, not?

ETA: Actually, it's because one version of the line was formatted like so:

include_once( './includes/DatabaseFunctions.php' );

(notice the "./"), but when I changed it to:

include_once( 'includes/DatabaseFunctions.php' );

the script ran just fine.

However, I'm still stuck with a truckload of spam pages that have already been created, as well as pages caught by the cleanup script and blanked out.

Anyone know of another way to delete (not just blank-out, as I've been doing with the Spam Blacklist cleanup.php script) pages en masse? It seems like these are all on a specific date, and it'd be nice to have an extension that allows me to tick boxes of pages created on a specified date and delete all the pages I check off, or something like that. Anyone know of something like that, or similar?
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
2010-05-30 05:30 pm

Which font?

I should have worked on the Cho yo, Hana yo (Butterflies, Flowers) fanlisting layout WEEKS ago, but mojo has been particularly hard to locate. That and my favorite Lipton Pureleaf Green Tea with Honey (not Diet, not Citrus)!

Baww.

Anyway, what font is best for the layout, now that I have a site name? Or should I use both of them (and if so, which font where?)



They're supposed to look like noodles. The site name's a pun--it's a romcom manga that's a little adult, but still thoroughly shojo. The main character's father owns a soba (noodle) shop, and she's trying to "get close" to her former servant-now boss.

So...yeah. Thoughts on noodley fonts?
azurite: (batgirl - spanish inquisition)
2010-04-24 08:52 pm

Feeling uncreative

Anybody on here watch "In Plain Sight" on USA? I just got approved for the show fanlisting, and I've already been approved for the Mary x Marshall pairing fanlisting. Eek! For some reason the hard part this time is coming up with a name.

For the show:
* Welcome to Albuquerque
* ?

For the pairing:
* Shot Through the Heart (too corny?)
* Memorandum of Understanding (or just M.O.U.) - refers to the giant wad of paper witnesses entering into Witness Protection sign. But Mary and Marshall both seem to "understand" each other without needing to talk "through" things, which makes them a very interesting duo, IMO.
* ?

I have layout ideas for WtA and M.O.U. already, but that doesn't mean they're good site title ideas. I'm not fond of changing site titles (I'm very, very tempted to with WikiFic), so I'd like some feedback from anybody that knows a bit about the show. Or heck, you can just head on over to the official site, read up on it, and tell me what you think about these potential site name ideas.

I also need to get myself some IPS icons. :(
azurite: (azureshipping - caught)
2010-02-17 01:23 am

The few, the proud, the awesome

Legend has it that among us, there are those humans gifted with incredible ability. For some, it is the power to make a killer comeback after a lousy period of being slammed with hurricanes, floods, storms, and FEMA excuses. For others, it is the intangible spirit of hope and faith in one's home, that no matter how ravaged it may be, it is still the one place he or she wants to be at the end of the day. And there are those who are all this and more: able to see beauty in words, to craft emotion from mere letters, capable of penning the most incredible fanart on either side of the Mississippi!

[livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra, by now you should know I'm talking about YOU!

I got my fanart donation from the Help Haiti fandom auction today, and HOT SAUCE is it awesome! Kysra has awesomesauce in her veins, among all those other wonderful things above. I'd show it to you, but it's up to her first and foremost, and even then, I'm kind of tired of her awesome stuff getting swiped without credit and plastered all over the 'Net, even though the 'Net IS about collaboration and sharing, especially where all things wonderfully Azureshipping are concerned. I'm a firm believer in "give credit where credit's due," so said fanart will be my personal Reason to Squee #465 for now.

In case you weren't somehow already aware, the fanart is of That Scene in "The Joke's On You," my first-ever multi-chapter Seto x Téa fic, and probably one of my first attempts at something akin to dirty humor. The fic itself is still on the backburner because I never could make up my mind about how to keep it funny or whether people would hate me if it got all dramatic (considering it DOES take place during the Battle City arc of "Yu-Gi-Oh!"), but I'm sure if I stare at this artwork long enough (and you know I will), I might just get inspired to write (it) again, or at least write something.

I am going to frame it, when I have the time and the money.

Speaking of money, later today (because officially it IS Wednesday) I have my live interview about video games from a research group. I managed to clean up the dining room pretty well (many boxes have been relocated to the living room/my room or hidden under the table), though there are still piles of book boxes on one side and empty boxes near the door on the other. I suppose I could break some of them down and put them in the living room or in the recycling.... Anyway, I'm kind of looking forward to this! I don't really know what they'll ask me or what my answers will be used for.

I actually got a lot done: first I went to the DeVry in Daly City, which, despite being very close to the Daly City BART, was annoyingly hard to find once I got there. I went around the building, up some stairs, past the park, around the building again...and then back the way I came, around the building the other way, where the entrance was small and only marked with a white sign. The bad news is, apparently they don't offer the Multimedia Design and Development program like the site (and TV commercials) advertise. Grr. But at least they can help me get set up with other classes, hopefully, even if they're online and I can finish this degree up sooner, maybe get some more units from CSUN transferred over. I have an appointment Friday since they were so slammed today.

Then came the fetching of the fanart at the post office (which smelled like oatmeal). That at least went quickly because about five minutes after I got in line, someone shouted for pickups and three people (including myself) skipped the line and got our stuff pretty quick. Yay!

I went to Japantown and met with [livejournal.com profile] staplerx, [livejournal.com profile] lilddrpinay2003, [livejournal.com profile] vermilionone, and [livejournal.com profile] pockyken. I'd gotten Subway near the DeVry campus so I didn't join them for actual food from Tommy's Joynt, but I did drool longingly at the delicious-looking meat and potato salad and desserts. We headed to the infamous GameStop on Powell, where oddly they were very helpful and even greeted me, but I'm still suspicious of the place and think I should try going on there on my own again, instead of with a group (which is half male) from the get-go. After that, we headed through Chinatown to meet [livejournal.com profile] ohsupervinchan at the very-cool Russian Hill Bookstore (which actually sells The Settler of Catan and other cool board games! DO WANT!) and snack on some rice pudding at the nearby Loving Cup. An actual cafe devoted to RICE PUDDING.

Even when I think about how much I wanted to leave S.F. after high school, it's little things like these that reminds me of how awesome it is to be here, and how privileged I am to call it my hometown.

Vince had to head back to work, so we took the 45 again to Lombard, where we went to this bar/restaurant called La Barca for a trivia night. We sucked (the questions were clearly not geared toward anyone from my generation, at least), but it was mostly fun. I'd like to go again after I've "studied" more of my random facts. Maybe I need to play more Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy?

Final happy thought: I finished the Hi My Sweetheart fanlisting, Extravagant Sky. All I have to do is make some more codes before I'll officially announce its opening to the folks at TheFanlistings.org and the fans over at D-Addicts, but if you have a sec, check it out and tell me what you think! I designed the layout myself. :)
azurite: (blue flower)
2010-01-25 01:52 am

Utada + Going Crazy

Back from the Utada concert! Actually, have been a while, but have been gleefully catching up on LJ entries using NewsFire. I wanted to use NetNewsWire, since it lets me open links in-app, but it displays all the subject lines all mangled and wrong. :(

So: I got there later than I wanted, but I still managed to score my favorite delicious strawberry & banana w/ whip cream crepe and Peach Snapple from Sophie's across the street, and I didn't mind waiting outside--all the way around the corner from the theatre, past the KFC--because it didn't start raining until we just about got inside.

One of the guys working for the Fillmore told me the place was like a giant dance floor, and he wasn't kidding. Thank god for restrooms, but boo to the lack of merchandise being sold! I guess it's because it's been a while since Utada did a tour and she's only going 8 U.S. cities? But I, for one, would totally buy Utada merchandise if it were on sale at a concert. The only things I have of hers otherwise are the physical CDs and a poster I got for Heart Station! (I think Kuma keychains would be awesome.)

Anyway, being short sucks. Even in heels, even standing at the back center of the dance floor, the place quickly got flooded with tall people. Worse, tall people with spiky hair. Sometimes wearing heels themselves! I ended up migrating over to the left of the stage, where many short people congregated. I still had an "iffy" view because of this one couple that kept bobbing their heads in my way, and another guy with ridiculously spiky hair, but I still got to see her! Whee, Utada!

Her (brown) hair's longer than expected, but not as long as she used to have back in the Automatic or Deep River days. She had a kind of punk rocker thing going on with a Susan Sontag black skull & crossbones (with lipstick) tee, a bit of a ruffled/lacy black skirt, and BRIGHT purple tights (yay, purple!), plus a metal-studded bracelet.

I thought the thing was supposed to start at 8, as it said on the ticket. The deejay (lamesauce Mike Rizzo from New York, kept calling the city "Frisco," I wanted to smack him) kept saying "in 30 minutes, in 30 minutes" and 30 minutes later, it was another 30 minutes! The guy either can't tell time or folks can't be honest about a showtime's true start. I don't know if it was really delayed for some reason or not. It ended up starting at 8:40-8:50ish.

Awesome: she had a HUGE variety of songs from all her albums, including the Japanese ones, although she opened with "On and On" from her newest English album, "This Is The One." I got to hear "Automatic," a "Passion/Sanctuary" blend (technically the same song, but she went from Japanese to English), "First Love," and "Kremlin Dusk," some of my favorite songs of hers. It only could have been better if she'd done "Beautiful World" or "Prisoner of Love" instead of "Stay Gold," but it's still a good song. And if she'd done "Take 5," it would have been downright eerie (if you know the lyrics of the song, you'll understand why I think that)!

Out of all of them, there was just ONE song I didn't recognize, but the music was playing so loud, I hardly heard the lyrics, anyway. I know they were in English, but I don't remember it as being off of either of her recent albums (Exodus or This Is The One), and I doubt it was from her Cubic U days. The lyrics sounded something like "See you on the better side?" Anyone? (It didn't sound like the collab she did with Timbaland and Kiley Dean, "By Your Side," though.)

I ended up tweeting throughout the whole concert, when I could find a signal. I couldn't resist! Maybe because I didn't have anyone to squee with, although I did see Theo at the beginning and end. :P

Lastly, but never leastly, I may just be going crazy: I've signed up to do the "Hi My Sweetheart" fanlisting. :P Yes, I'm crazy about this show; it's so awesome. This'll be my...what, fourth fanlisting? (Blue Eyes and Apricots, Ace of Hearts, Firefly Room...yup, fourth) It'll also be my first TV show/drama FL. The others are anime/manga couples and one literature fanlisting.

Keep your eyes peeled.
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
2009-06-29 12:14 pm
Entry tags:

Paranoia pays off?

So, I'm a student at DeVry University on top of everything else now. I was looking into the possibility of getting some kind of certification in web design, since I feel like I've reached a standstill when it comes to learning from books. I wish I could take a class on it at CSUN, but on top of them freaking out about my financial aid because I have too many units (read: I took classes I didn't need because I either wanted to be full-time or because the other classes I needed weren't available), they have pre-requisites for the basic web design courses, and no way to take a competency test to get out of them. Plus, they're ART classes, which means the curricula overlaps with Journalism and I'd get no credit for it under the accreditation rule.

So anyway, I looked into online schools, and lo! DeVry got back to me. They have a campus in Sherman Oaks and a really nice advisor who's been helping me find the right program for me. I started out just looking for a certificate, but then an Associate's in Web Graphic Design. Then I wondered if an Associate's after a Bachelor's would look good on a resume. Would it even have enough classes to teach me something I need? Would enough of my CSUN units transfer over so I wouldn't have to take classes in math or public speaking?

Delaying the real world? )

So, in the meantime, I'm working on revamping my resume site, the NSLS website, hopefully seventh-star.net, the SO3 shrine...I'm also now blogging for Site of the Gaming Dead and maybe even doing tutorials for DayDream Graphics. Biting off more than I can chew for this summer? Just maybe. In-between all this I plan to write WDKY27 and participate in a few challenges. Oh, and go to AX! Go me.

I also need to learn to budget, because I'm quite sick of having to borrow money in order to stay afloat for the 15 days before my next paycheck. Any tips?
azurite: (cupcake sombrero!)
2009-04-20 08:47 am

Time flies

Ah, another Ed Hardy sale! The discounted prices at ideeli are actually quite reasonable, but it's for two things I'd never use/wear: purses and a scarf!

Of course, upon graduating I assume I'm going to have to alter my wardrobe a bit to fit in with the so-called "real world," and maybe then I'll get into things like accessorizing with scarves, but until then I'll just stare at the beautiful art that is the Ed Hardy line and imagine a day when something I'll actually use/wear will come out (without making me look like a total conformist!?).

(That said, I saw a clip of Zac Efron's "17 Again" with him dressed ENTIRELY in Ed Hardy, and telling his friend-playing-father that "Kevin Federline wore this!" as if that was supposed to make it "cool" to wear in a high school. But yeah, it's K-Fed... So now it makes me wince to think of someone showing off "too much" Ed Hardy.)

Keyword Manager for iPhoto (by Bullstorm) has finally been updated to 1.5! This means it's compatible with iPhoto '09. Huzzah! I already downloaded and installed mine; since I'd purchased a previous version, the upgrade was free (I think). Another way of getting organized: labeling all my pictures with metadata tags!

I added a few old entries (some of them Friends Locked, because let's be honest here: I was stupid not having protections on my old blog back in the day) from my old Blue Reflections blog, back when it was powered by Greymatter and on the rosedreams.org domain. I'm working my way through 2002, and it's sadly amusing, the kind of stuff I wrote. I've got a lot more to go before I'm all "caught up," though.

Finally signed up at Ping.fm (thanks to an article on helpful websites on GeekSugar). As I was going through the various websites/networks to add, I was surprised at a) how many I'm on and b) how many I'm not on. I guess there's something to be said for simplicity: I mean, what's the point of being on too many of the same site? (That sounds lame. I'm on every big name social networking site because of the fact that, the more places you are, the easier it is to find you--for better or for worse!)

Let's see, my networks are: Twitter, Facebook, AIM, GTalk, MySpace, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, LJ (duh), Delicious, Friendster, and Yahoo 360. Hey, that's actually not that many! And some of them (e.g. Facebook and LiveJournal; FriendFeed and... well, everything) are already connected, which gives me the mental image of playing cat's cradle with something very sticky.

Finally had my appointment at the Klotz Student Health Center dental clinic-- they kept having to reschedule my appointment! I got worked on by a student intern today, but everything looks/feels fine; I'm just hoping the numbness on the entire lower right-hand side of my face goes away soon.

As I was leaving the Health Center, they were showing "Armageddon" on DVD. I thought it actually looked cool, and, shockingly enough, I've never seen it. So that's to be added to my list of movies to see (both on DVD and in theatres). I also want to see "17 Again" and still "Fast & Furious" as well as "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and probably "The Soloist" (even if Jamie Foxx is a touch-and-go kind of guy; sometimes I think he's a great actor, other times I think he's a bizarre, if downright rude man).

I also decided to shift gears on my as-yet-unwritten submission for [livejournal.com profile] sm_fanswap. I was originally going to do this dark, political piece, but I think I'm going to shift that to the back burner and work on an older idea that still fits the requirements for the swap. Of course, I can't say more.... :X

DeviantART finally has gotten its act together-- or at least part of it. I don't know if there have been any HUGE changes in policy or significant changes in management (such as firing the douches that make dA look like it was being run by a bunch of bigoted idiots), but there is a new category for doll edits, which are one of my primary forms of fanart submissions. It's nice to be recognized! I still disagree with their policy that they should be "Scraps," because they say that they're prepackaged and there's no effort involved. Uh, excuse me, the dolls are a collaborative effort! On top of that, a lot of the ones I post are heavily modified in Photoshop, and I think the hours spent count as EFFORT. That said, I have put most of the dolls into the new category, but some of them won't go in, supposedly because the only filetype allowed is GIF. WTF, dA!? Since when are PNGs a bad file type for dolls? Not every dollmaker uses GIF files, and on top of that, if we DO "tool" the dolls ourselves, we should be able to save the resulting file however we like! GRR!

Do any Mac users have a recommendation for a good time-tracking utility? Specifically, I'd like something that integrates with iCal so I can keep track of how much I should make from the hours I spend at work. If I ever did freelancing or consultation stuff (for web design or just general tech support), it'd be nice if this tool had an invoicing feature, too. I've heard of several, but I want to know if anyone on this FL actually HAS one and used it, and of course, liked it.

Ah, so much to do, so little time.
azurite: (sailormoon - just watch me)
2008-12-16 10:11 pm

Nuckin' futs!

I'M DONE! (with classes and finals, that is. Hip hip hurrah.)

This semester I used Circus Ponies "Notebook" software for the Mac, and I gotta say, I HIGHLY recommend it. Not only did it help me save paper (I'm all about being green when I can), but it helped me organize my notes and refer back to them SO easily.

To top it off, I made a webpage of all my notes and quiz results in just a few clicks! It's also quite stylish. If you've ever wanted to know anything about geology, biology, or outdoor recreation, check out the site. I think I'll do the same thing for next semester.

AND NOW!?
Let's see.
* Fanfiction (esp. for the holidays; I want to be challenged and give lots of ficlets away!)
* Video games (Star Ocean 3, FF8, Super Mario World!)
* Websites (Epiphany, Seventh-Star.Net main site, Star Ocean 3 RPGClassics shrine)
* [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets (takes forever to read and comment on these things, but it's SO addictive!)
* Presents! Handmade! Or something. Still working on that.

WHOO HOO!

...By the way, I discovered I have 1 more unit than necessary to graduate ALREADY. But I still have a year left because if I applied for graduation as I am, I wouldn't get a degree in anything, and that's like, extra-sour lamesauce.
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna will fly)
2008-12-15 08:11 pm

Balance

You know, I was pretty upset earlier, but I have to put things in perspective: always look at things in balance. For everything you think makes your day awful, there are probably 5 or 10 more that should make it okay, if not better or even great. A simple change in perspective can drastically alter your mood. You have to be willing to look.

So I found out earlier that, due to the CSU budget cuts, I won't be getting my job back at the IT Help Desk at CSUN this coming semester. They just don't have the money to rehire, even though people are going to be leaving. That... REALLY sucks. I was counting on the job. Of course, my former boss did say that I'd be the first to know if anything changed, or if anything else in the department opened up. So I hope something does change, because to be honest, I need the money. But I also LIKE the job a lot, like helping people, like most of my co-workers, and don't want to be twiddling my thumbs at home when I could be helping folks out.

There's always the possibility of freelance tutoring though, so if, come January 20, I don't have a job back for sure, then I'll look into that.

Also balancing out the suck of being ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY BROKE AND JOBLESS is the fact that I just accomplished something! Getting the mojo to work on something and actually completing that goal can do wonders for one's self-esteem and mood. A user from Dragonfayth emailed me, saying she's been having problems getting her initial password for the site. I asked her to give me more detail, but I decided to look into it myself by checking the settings of the SMTP host, trying to send an email from the Contact Us form, and checking the Action Log.

Turns out something on 12/10 changed where the existing SMTP settings stopped working, so passwords weren't being sent out, and I wasn't getting Contact Us emails indicating there was a problem. I investigated on the eFiction forums and found a number of possible errors; I tried to check them out, posted a new topic there, and put up a support ticket to get an SPF record for my domain so other email services don't mark the domain as spam/spoof. And then, after all that... I figured it out. Well, maybe. Turns out the port for the SMTP host name wasn't right. My host, Surpass Hosting (♥ ♥ ♥) uses port 26 for SMTP rather than 25 (the default), so I changed it... and it worked! I sent an email to one of my GMail accounts and received it just fine!

I also redid all the passwords for the users who signed up/lost their password between 12/10 and today, so hopefully those users got those and can now log-in, delete any extra accounts, and start reading/reviewing, etc.

I have to put all my other projects on hold until I'm 100% finished with school though-- I have a few more quizzes and a single final exam (also a quiz, just a longer one) today and tomorrow. So, until then... I shouldn't be distracting myself with posting on LJ. :P

But I did want to just vent a bit, and put my hope out there in the open, that the more good we do (big or small) and the more good we feel, the more good comes back to us. At least, I hope it will for me.
azurite: (xmas - hanging pink & green ornaments)
2008-12-10 02:37 am

Good ol' days

Ah, I miss Usenet.
What a crazy thing to say, huh? But in the search for some Sailor Moon images, for some reason, the first thing that popped in my head was NOT to do a Google Image search or go to The Oracle or whatnot, but to see if alt.binaries.sailor-moon was still around (assuming I got that name right).

Alas, the vast majority of ISPs these days have discontinued their NNTP/Usenet access service (probably because they never made much of an effort to advertise that it even existed, meaning new users didn't even KNOW about it), and that includes the ones in use (or formerly used) by my grandparents and Mom/Gary. For many alt.fan or rec. groups, access is still available for free from places like Google Groups, but it's not quite the same... plus, there's still the overwhelming problem of SPAM, and in Google Groups' web-based interface, there's diddly-squat you can do about it.

The only other alternative --for general Usenet access to binary groups AND for NNTP access in news programs (Apple Mail doesn't even support NNTP, which had me temporarily thinking I might switch back to Thunderbird... then I wised up and realized that an extra piece of software isn't ALWAYS a pain in the ass, especially with my lack of an NNTP server in the first place)-- is to buy it. Giganews seems to be the one of choice, but I don't have the dough to shell out for Usenet access when it's something that's more of a whim to me.

But I do miss those good ol' days when I could hop on Usenet and find image floods of fanart, or character-specific art, or art themed around a certain event/holiday. It'd be pretty helpful for me now, in my search for Sailor Moon Christmas images. (I know, I know, The Oracle has a whole gallery devoted to it, but it's only 58 images! I *know* there's more than that out there!)

Speaking of SM, I did sign up to be a Sekkret Stalker on Aria's Ink this year. Participation seems fairly low so far for this point in December, but there are still FOUR MORE DAYS TO SIGN UP! Why not?

Plus, [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra and I want to do a holiday challenge or something this year, so why not throw your hat in and volunteer too? We'll probably do something that covers different fandoms-- maybe a Secret Santa or Fic Exchange where all you do is specify a list of fandoms you'll write for, genres/ratings/pairings/warnings you prefer, and up to 3 "plot prompts." How does that sound?

Also, I got an invite from someone named Loki to join [livejournal.com profile] the_circlet and its sub-communities, [livejournal.com profile] silver_circle and [livejournal.com profile] gold_circle, along with a few related comms. It all sounds/looks fairly interesting, but I think I still need a bit more clarification on exactly what is DONE there. [livejournal.com profile] baine, care to comment? I'm confused!

Also, I haven't written SM fic in AGES and going back to Aria's Ink (Loki also reviewed "24" there, which is probably one of my better SM fics to date) and checking out these comms... it's all made me very nostalgic! Hey, maybe we can revive the [livejournal.com profile] smrff in time for the holidays!? That'd be so awesome.

I'm only up now because (as usual) my sleeping schedule's off. I went downtown tod-- er, yesterday to get a December Fast Pass and eat some delicious Tex-Mex. I got "approached" by a very enthusiastic girl from Greenpeace who kept me from getting to Chevy's that much sooner. I'm all for saving the planet, so:

DO NOT BUY KIMBERLY-CLARK PRODUCTS. These are the makers of Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott tissue, and many other products. Why? Because they're clear-cutting (meaning cutting without care to the re-growth of future trees) thousands of ancient Canadian trees. The CEO has reportedly even said that his consumers "don't care about environmental issues." Show that pig he's wrong! Also, find out if your job/school has a contract with KC. Then get them to CANCEL it. There are more environmentally-friendly companies out there.

Accion Y Reaccion )
azurite: (poor bi grrl gamers)
2008-12-05 01:09 am

Naze ka?

So I remembered hearing about this eatery that specializes in breakfast at the end of one of the metro lines here in San Francisco. I want to check them out online, find out exactly where they are, what their hours are, etc., so I go to their site.

...Which is probably the sparsest website I've seen in a VERY long time. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for simplicity. Not everyone (or every business) requires a Flash-heavy, Java-rich, super-interactive explosion of complicated code and database handlers (that aside, I do want to learn PHP/Flash/Java at some point in the not-so-distant future). But still... to have a SCAN of the menu that doesn't even fit on a 1440 x 900 resolution screen (you need to scroll)? To not list an email for contacting the web designer/maintainer? To not show the restaurants' (there are two locations in S.F.) hours of operation? To not tell MORE about the restaurant's history?

Seriously, folks.

Mom and Dad both say I'm too critical, but Dad says that I can put that to good use being a consultant. This is the second or third example of a business that I think I could help become so much better than it is just by revamping their existing material. Before it was the bookstore that Baba and I went to, and also kind of this Thai place that Mom and Gary like. A few simple (likely inexpensive, in the long run) changes, and BAM! Better exposure, better business. Better business PRACTICES!

So it'd be a bit awkward to contact these people and say "Your site sucks" or "Your menu sucks" or "Your bookstore sucks" and then proceed to say how, if they pay me, I can make it better. It's not like I have any experience in this-- it's just an idea, just a thought. A very optimistic thought. I can't guarantee that me revamping a website or a menu or a bookstore's practices will truly bring in more business or be more "efficient." I wouldn't necessarily know how to measure that last one, anyway.

But I kind of want to try for the "editing" experience at all (and in a way, it's also journalism/interview experience, because I'd have to "consult" with the business owners to find out their needs and wants, limitations and hopes for the future). So, how does one approach this?

I've already considered setting up an e-business of sorts to offer my editing/computer services-- a freelance site, if you will, where the offers come to me instead of me trying to hunt down the offers. Admittedly, without my name previously out there, it might not actually happen, but I'd be looking to edit people who don't look in the "usual" places-- help college students with their papers or projects, tutor people in web design or computer programs, etc. I'd be a lot more inclined to doing THAT than, say, writing a 500-word article for a freelance article site. I signed up for those, but I could never get around to writing the articles because I didn't feel they were original enough compared to what was already there, even if I did have a niche to write in.

I already have a possible domain name, and maybe even a site design picked out, but no business structure, no plan-- so I'm not letting out too many details just yet. But what I have let out, does it sound plausible? Interesting? Useful to you or anyone you may know?

A possible new structure for Seventh-Star.Net )

I've started using Apple Mail to read my Friends' page as an RSS feed. Problem? I don't think it can get protected entries. When I added the "&checkcookies=1" to the URL, it didn't get ANYTHING. I removed it and got 50 entries... which I'm missing more of. I haven't read my FL in a while. I don't even know if Apple Mail uses cookies for RSS. Help?

Also, I'm probably going to nix my ProCare subscription next year. To be honest, I don't think I get much value out of it, even when I do use it to make near-instantaneous reservations for a Genius Bar spot at an Apple Store. It was pretty freakin' awesome that they rushed my keyboard repair to under an hour (when it was supposed to take 48), but I think I'd get more out of the One-to-One, if I did end up replacing the ProCare. I did think it was stupid when they separated the two, and I barely had the chance to use them when they were together (because I was in Japan).

That said, I renewed my MobileMe/.Mac subscription today, because I do feel THAT is worth $99, even with all the stupid problems MobileMe's been having. Actually my subscription was due up in September, but all the issues got me a 90-day extension. I forgot about it until they sent me an email today asking for an updated credit card. -_- I'm still broke. I shouldn't be spending $99 on anything, let alone something intangible and replaceable like an email address with calendar and address book sync capabilities. Sure, I've also got web hosting from them, but I pay MUCH less than $99/year for my usual hosting and I like Surpass plenty (not necessarily MORE than Apple, because their products aren't really comparable, but you get the idea). But the switching thing would be a pain in the ass.

But I'm disliking what I have tried to use on MobileMe's site end-- I tried out iWeb for shits and giggles, but the movie I have embedded on my photo gallery slideshow page NEVER loads, and because I can't inspect the code or the site structure in iWeb, I don't know why. Is it because it's large? Is the file in the wrong place? What? Plus, I deleted the files of my old Japan blog off the .Mac server, but it keeps trying to find that site whenever someone goes to the main index of my MobileMe site. VERY ANNOYING.

Also annoying? Playing my old SNES games with my PS2 controller using the new SNES9x 1.5 or what-have-you (the latest version of SNES for Mac OS X). Suddenly Sailor Moon's Fuwa Fuwa Panic feels like SUPER BALLOON POP MAYHEM ON SPEED! I'm getting my ass whooped in this game (it shames me to admit it), because I swear to DOG, it was never this fast before. On the bright side, I do still kick ass at the Sailor Moon puzzle game (where you flip over hearts, zap daimons, and try to collect the 3 Talismans before your opponent). Also, I've been replaying Super Mario World (I think I mentioned that before, actually). I started out playing it using a Super Mario All-Stars + World ROM, but none of the cheats for SMW worked (but I got all the way through the Forest of Illusion, anyway!)-- so I got a new ROM (hey, I own the cartridge!) and BAM! Crazy-Invincible-Green-Face Mario! That doesn't mean everything's easy, mind you, but it sure is fun to change Mario colors and walk right through Big Boo! (Figuring out just which cheats work and which don't is a pain.)

Meaningless Memes )
azurite: (hp - rule 110: moon prism power!)
2008-12-03 05:16 pm

Photoshopping & Webstuff

So I've got a few projects on my plate at the moment, almost all of them involving Photoshop. I'm trying to come up with a new layout for my domain so that all the subdomains (like Blue Eyes and Apricots, Azurelist, Dragonfayth, etc.) are all accessible. Plus, I need to have things like Resource/Credits pages, a Contact Me page, etc. I need to come up with a reasonable structure for everything.

My ideas were...
* Woodcut-style (like a Fleur de Lis; I've seen this in several places, but I'm not sure how to develop a few custom shapes or brushes and turn it into a whole layout, even if it is just a "portal" page)
* Jeweled stars (tried it; it wasn't successful with the NM Smith tutorial I tried, but a lot of Blending Options seemed to do the trick... now, what to do with it?)
* Tattoo-style-- like Ed Hardy. (I have no idea how to even embark on this. It's obviously got to do with the airbrush tool, but I don't know where to begin.)
* Retro Pop Art (This is inspired by the Lymabean "Spread the Love" contest logo. I have most of the brushes necessary to create something similar, except for the "retro" striped swirls.



I'm talking about the swirl-like shapes behind the letter E (of "Love") and behind the circles on the left (near where it says "Spread The...") Any idea where to find brushes like that?

Also, does anyone know how to make letters/shapes POP out like they do in the header? Is it just a matter of drawing a bunch of lines and having proper perspective?

And in the meantime, I'm going to separate out BEA's new "Media" page, add some embedded fanart via DA (don't know how much longer fanart's even going to *be* on DA, but...), and HOPEFULLY work on some fic.

Yesterday I did some adding to WikiFic for Yu-Gi-Oh! soundtracks/scores, but now I'm not sure if BOTH albums I bought in SD or just one is bootleg. I certainly didn't consider the possibility when I bought the things (usually I'm pretty good at spotting those kind of things, but these looked totally legit!)... yeesh. So, if you own some legit Yu-Gi-Oh! OSTs and have some free time, care to put up the track listing on WikiFic? I'll be able to grab the lyrics and take care of things like the kanji/furigana and the romanization.
azurite: (azureshipping - reflection)
2008-11-23 04:31 am

Dou me vouz?

WHOO-HOO! Even though I'm totally screwing up my sleep schedule by being up this late, it's hard to go to bed at a reasonable hour when you're high from getting stuff done! (Well, and a can of Coke, maybe.) Last night and tonight (or more aptly, yesterday morning and this morning), I:

* Finished the new site design of Blue Eyes and Apricots. It's version 5, and I've nicknamed it "Weathered Rainbow."

* Updated the behind-the-scenes coding on all 3 of my fanlistings (BEA, Ace of Hearts, and The Firefly Room) as well as my Enthusiast 3 control panel and my collective (Azurelist).

* Changed around the content of BEA, with the focus on a brand-new HUGE media library, which includes links to great AMVs, lists of fanmixes/fansoundtracks and links to buy the individual tracks, and much, much more! I'm planning on doing a separate page for linked fanart a'la [livejournal.com profile] obabscribbler's Fanart Recs; that way there's no more concern over theft (at least, someone would knowingly have to go to someone's DeviantART, save the full-size image, and then neglect to save the artist's username or a notation saying "DA" or something, and then use it without permission). However, I won't host art on BEA anymore, with the exception of manipulations for icons, banners, etc. (I might consider it if I could set up a password system, though.)

* Added a blacklist to keep track of the thieves. Did you know someone actually stole banners from BEA and didn't even bother to mention the fanlisting? I mean, HELLO? We're here to bring people together,not be more divisive through theft! -_- I'm not sure what I find more offensive, that or the people that use images that were GIFTS TO ME (like my WDKY icons or ficart).

Because the page takes so long to load, I'll probably be splitting it up in the near future, after I've finished adding all the links for the various musical mixes and whatnot.

If you have anything you'd like to see on BEA, let me know!

So check out the new layout and tell me what you think!

Left to do:
* Find some more AMVs that don't use stolen artwork (recs welcome!)
* Use Angela Sabas' style switcher (hopefully) for the new Firefly Room (Secret Society Girl fanlisting) layout, which needs to be tested and made live
* Add more content to TFR!
* Ask the people at TFL if I can become the fanlisting for the SSG series now, rather than the first book (before I couldn't, because only two books were out at the time, and TFL considers a series three books or more)
* Open some more fanlistings??? (Potentially crazy and NEW idea, bad when I've got so much else on my plate. But lots of possibilities.)
* Add icons to BEA (with the permission of the artists from here on LJ, that is... any volunteers? It's totally up to you!)
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2008-10-23 02:40 pm
Entry tags:

Kill the earthlink, kill the earthlink

For the second or third time in as many weeks as I've been here, Earthlink (because frankly, it can't be anything else) has decided to crap out on loading my domain (and just MY domain). What this means:
* I can't read the majority of my email
* I can't update any of my websites
* My LiveJournal layout looks mangled (to me)

The first time this happened, I talked to Earthlink, because it was their fault our router was somehow improperly configured so that my Mac only got intermittent 'Net access when every other computer in the house was fine. They said if I can access other sites, it's not their fault. I eyerolled, but I figured that was a plausible excuse, and moved on to contacting my hosting company.

They reported back that my server had no issues, and that they (and countless other computers around the world) had no issues tracing back to my domain or the server, so it HAD to be an ISP problem. Everyone else without Earthlink in San Francisco, and various other friends of mine whom I've asked online if they can load my website can, no problems asked.

This isn't an issue for this laptop anywhere else (e.g. back at Baba and Grandpa's house), so it must be a connection (ISP) issue. But given what they told me last time, and the fact that my research has turned up NOTHING as to what could be causing this, I'm at a dead-end as to what to do or what to say if I did call them.

See, the problem (about the problem) is that it's intermittent. For the past several days at least (maybe even a week), I haven't had a single problem. Everything of the above has been working JUST fine, and I haven't done/changed anything special (that I know of) yesterday that would cause it to crap out on me. I'll try changing settings AFTER the fact to see if it helps, but it never does. This is clearly a connection (not a software, not a hardware, not a laptop, not a Mac) problem.

Any ideas? What to say, whom to turn to? This is really frustrating. I'm certainly not going to change hosts, because I don't believe it is (or could be) a hosting problem. They've done an enormous amount on their end investigating it, including restarting the server when I'm just a shared user, not a full server owner. Considering a bunch of other people's pages went down in those few minutes because of me, I don't feel like I should ask them to fiddle with it more. I really don't think it's their fault.

But it took Mom long enough to get DSL, even if it is with shitty Earthlink. They hate AT&T, and so don't want to get them, and I don't know what other companies (if any) are available, if Mom's locked into a contract with Earthlink, or if any other companies (if there ARE any) have reasonable pricing plans, because frankly, that's what it boils down to.

And I don't know what more I can do on my end-- Tracerouting and Pinging only does so much, and it only tells me that I'm either having a problem or not, not why I would be (or not).

*sigh* and *argh!*