Friday, February 01, 2008

Mini Design Class update

I had a good conversation with the client about some of the printouts I made the other day. We're going to move ahead with a couple of the ideas I had. I'll walk through the design process once I make some progress. Heading off to grab some pizza with my lovely wife... more later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival - Redesign Edition

Hey everyone, entries are now closed. I'll announce the winner here in the next day or so. Lisa and I have been looking through the entries and there are some really great candidates. Remember, if you didn't win you can still get 25% off any custom work done. For information about hiring me, send an e-mail here.  Thanks to everyone who entered! - Brian

Hey all, just an update. I'll pick the winner sometime on Sunday. If you could, when you leave a comment, make sure that you have a site listed in your blogger profile or mention a specific blog address you want worked on in your comment. That will make it easier for me as I wade through all of the entries.

While you're here, feel free to peruse the rest of the site.

Looking forward to announcing the winner on Sunday! - Brian

My friend Lisa is participating in the Winter '08 Bloggy Giveaway Carnival and I figured that since I just offered a free thing the other day, I should join in as well.

At stake is a free blogger redesign (Nate, you don't qualify. When I get some time you'll get some design time). If you'd like to see some of my work, you can visit my portfolio or view some of these previous entries in my 'Design Class With Brian' series

On average my redesigns take around 5-6 hours, so the value of this prize is in the range of $250-$300. To enter, just leave a comment explaining why your site needs a redesign and what your dream site would look like and I'll pick a winner this weekend. For anyone who doesn't win, I'll give a 25% discount to anyone looking for a blog redesign of their own.

Comment Away!

Wow. Just.... wow.

Defamer called this "The Only Rambo Review You Need to See"... I don't know that I agree with that, but if I ever write a review like this? Shoot me. Don't even ask any questions... just blast me a new one. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A mini design class with Brian

A mini design class with Brian
Originally uploaded by bthemn

All of these printouts are references for the blog redesign i'm working on at the moment. I'm curious to see just how far i can push blogger.

The reference sites my client gave me were a little confusing... Mostly because

a) it doesn't seem like there's a huge common thread,


b) they're not AMAZING designs and i want to create something really memorable that will really work for the client. I know it's a free gig but I care about my friend and I want to give her something kick ass.

I printed out the websites so that I could tack them up. I also printed them out so that I could reference them, but I'd be forced to go in and create my own stuff. No cribbing. I like the palette she picked out and I think I can really design with it. I just need to come up with some thoughts.

Need to call another friend back about a separate website a friend called about today. She apologized knowing that I'm not much of a webwork guy. I guess she hasn't been reading the design class with Brian stuff. I've had at least a little bit of a change of heart.

I think part of the problem is that it's pretty impossible to NOT have the web designer feather in your hat now. As I've been researching jobs the past few months it seems that every design position I've seen has some sort of web component to it. Thank God for CSS.


Gotta love those 4:30 am days. I actually got to bed before 10 last night and spent some time reading. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same thing tonight. 

Thank you, Angela, for getting me to get out of the house and work out this afternoon. I feel much better now that I'm back from my jog than I did on my way TO the jog. 50 minutes on the treadmill, 3.58 miles, 645.2 calories... not really all that exciting. My legs felt kind of weak, I'm guessing that mostly has to do with sleep deprivation. 

Picked up a couple of interesting books at the library yesterday evening. A book I had on hold had come in, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver was a book I'd put on hold during the fast. I figured that as long as I was fasting, I may as well learn something about food. Being fairly popular, it didn't actually arrive until after the fast. Oh well. There's still time to read it. It's the story of a family deciding that they were going to try and limit their food miles over the course of a year growing everything they could and buying as locally as possible for everything else. I don't know that it's something I could do, but I think it will be an interesting read. Hopefully I'll discover something.

I also picked up a little thin book (that's almost a pamphlet) called Running: The Sacred Art - Preparing to Practice. The introduction is by Kristin Armstrong, a Runner's World contributing editor. I liked what she had to say in the forward...

At a dark time in my life when I was lacking peace and clarity, I began to read about meditation. I longed to be one of those people who could achieve peace through meditation – quiet my mind, calm my heart by focusing on my breath or repeating a mantra. But I could never quite make that happen by sitting still, my thoughts buzzing around annoyingly like summer insects by an outside light. Bless the person who wrote something that I read someplace that said it was possible to enter a state of meditation by monotonous movement. This is my sacred space when I run alone, this is my ritual, this is my sanctuary! I find God here, waiting for me, matching my pace. As my breath gets less jagged and my stride settles into my unique pattern of effort, I find inner stillness cradled in outer motion. Through that stillness I have found a great deal of peace. After a lifetime of panting, I finally caught my breath.
 I think I can get back to that. I know that when I was training for the Ironman I was able to get there. I don't think running on the trainer with the iPod will let me get there... that means no more workout room, or at least no more workout room when I'm not just trying to get in a couple of miles. 

I'm in the process of redesigning my friend Lisa's blog. I'm willing to redesign another blog for free. If you're interested, leave a comment explaining why it should be yours and I'll pick a winner. Free design, who can beat that?

More later.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Originally uploaded by bthemn

This was on the street out in front of my office a couple of weeks ago. My friend Dave and I were mesmerized by the conversion and just stood gaping at it for a couple of minutes. Don't lie... you want one of your very own, don't you?


Originally uploaded by bthemn

Shot this at the wal mart a couple of weeks ago. I mean, i'm all into marketing, even a bit of a wonk, but did the world need american idol ice cream? I mean, c'mon... "one split wonder"!?

Augh! My eyes...

Augh! My eyes...
Originally uploaded by bthemn

The return of random meeting photos... Mostly because i wanted to document my coworker's scarred memory of me prepping out for a very short moment. It's too hot in the office for a sweater today so i figured i could at least be humorous with it

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a post before bed

I was putzing around Designers Who Blog and noticed a link to a site by a designer named Brian Hock, aside from having a great first name, the Designers Who Blog link mentioned that he was a triathlete as well. My curiosity piqued, I noticed this video down at the bottom of his page. Man, I kind of get jazzed again thinking about doing another one... and what the narrator says about 'bragging for a lifetime'... truer words were never said. That said, I think there needs to be a shelf life on bragging. I think my bragging rights are just about up. I need to do another one to retain them. (I just keep repeating the mantra "Get out of DEBT first" over and over again.) 

Anyway, links have been updated for the most part, templates have been fixed. It's been a good week. Now to get my running back in shape in the upcoming week. I didn't do as well last week as I'd hoped to. 

More tomorrow.

phew, that was a close one

I finally figured out how to squash the little header bug I ran into this morning that was putting text into the header in IE. I had set the header text size to 0px. That worked in Safari and Firefox but didn't work in IE. Thanks to this page, I was able to figure out a work around that let me delete the actual text instead of just setting it to 0px. Now, everything's fixed. Interested in having me hack a new design for your blogger hosted site? Let me know. (I know, I know... sorry for the shameless plug.)
It's, of course, Murphy's Law that says that the morning after I upgrade my blog, the server the images is on migrates over to a new server. Blah. Hopefully my images will be back today. Otherwise, and this is probably the better solution, I'll move them over to Blogger when I get home.


There are lots of thoughts bouncing through my noggin this morning. Thoughts about other peoples posts, and thoughts about the upcoming goals I've mentioned. I've also been thinking about how awful I've been at getting to bed early on Saturday nights lately. I KNOW that I have to be up at 6:30, but for some reason at Midnight I'm still typing away at the computer, trying to finish my 'design class with Brian' article. 

I spent a good deal of yesterday thinking about ways to build up my freelancing. There's a sheet on the wall next to my computer that has our debt snowball listed on it. I see lots of the numbers going down, there's a personal line of credit that has 1562.07 left on it, a Sally Mae loan that has 1986.39 left on it, but there's still plenty left to chunk away at... 11639.19 things to chunk away at. I guess I'm pretty impatient about the whole thing. I want to be done NOW not in 12 months, not in two years. I guess some of that has to do with the fact that we've been battling this debt monster for the five years we've been married. He's always seemed like an undefeatable beast and it seems like I've finally found the chink in his armor. 

More to write but I need to get out the door. I'll continue to let the thoughts rattle around my brain and write a bit more when I get home for the mid-day break.