Monday, June 22, 2009

Here's to Hoping I Don't Regret This Decision: Ped Xing, Now Online

One thing I've always been concerned about when it comes to the internet is privacy, and the fact that once something gets posted to the internet, it's basically available for anyone to see and use, forever and ever, amen. Sure, websites allow you to pull or edit things, but who's to say someone hasn't already downloaded what you've said or done and shared it with the other half of the world by now?

This is one of the main reasons why I've always been fearful over sharing what I would consider one of my "creative highlights" of my life, Ped Xing. Ped Xing is a project I did back in 2005 for one of my school district's "senior project" requirements. (That's a long story by itself, so I'm not even going to try explaining it.) Honestly, it was a project I had always wanted to do, but now that I had a legitimate reason for "having" to do it, I figured that now (then) was as good of a time as ever.

Since the final project was submitted, Ped Xing has stayed under my watchful eye for over four years now, residing only in a photo album that I show curious friends, and the occasional CD that I send out to people who I can't directly show the album to. (And maybe a random sample photo for some online friends or two.) I've always been afraid to go into other forms of publication with it, just because who knows who's going to steal it.

Recently, I sat down for lunch with Katie Sekelsky, a good friend and founder of the famed Taco Club. As a professional graphic designer and long-time webcomic writer (I suppose I should give a courtesy link to her newest upcoming project, Magpie Luck), she's had a bit of experience with copyright issues, and planted some seeds in my head. Seeds like, "You really need to put Ped Xing up on Flickr." Evil seeds.

But I'm afraid my work will be stolen or plagarized, he said tepidly, possibly misspelling that last word. "Don't worry, you can put it under a Creative Commons license," she said, or at least that's how we're paraphrasing it.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to do this, but I've finally decided to upload Ped Xing for all to see. For now, I'm being kinda stingy with my license, putting a "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic" Label on it, which, I won't lie, I'm not entirely sure what it means, but it's at least a step in protecting my work. (I might peel back the No Derivative bit later, but for now, my idea = my idea, kthnxbye.) Hopefully in the future, I'll be able to bring this project back for a second go, and we'll have even more fun with cardboard men.

For now, click the picture below to see the album on Flickr. At some point in the future, I'll upload the photo captions/descriptions and other literary bits that went into this project. Enjoy!

Fair warning: I had long hair at the time of this project.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Nice Thing Is, All of My Failures Are Usually Delicious in Some Respect

The Annual 4th'o Taco Party is coming up, and I'm in a bit of a panic at the moment. I usually have a game or two or three up my sleeve to play, but at the moment, I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with new ideas for games. I've got one activity planned, but it'll literally take no more than ten or fifteen minutes to play. I could always resort back to the old classics, like 1000 Blank White Cards or Things, but I want to try something different, so I'm trying to think of Other Things to play.

I did have one idea come to mind, partially out of necessity, partially out of curiosity. In a previous party, I had a game where two teams raced to build a pyramid of cups (11 cups in the base, which was the killer, as one team thought they had won after only ten), but then in subsequent rounds, letting a member of their team fire at the other team's stack using homemade marshmallow guns. I still had the marshmallow guns (washed, of course) in storage, and found them recently when going through some old boxes of junk.

Also pertinent to this story is a gingerbread house kit, which I had bought back around Christmas, with the intention of getting together with some friends and making it, but we never got around to it. The kit sat around my room for some time, taking up space. When I found the marshmallow guns in the box in my room, my gaze shifted, if only for a split second, toward the gingerbread house kit.

The theory for the game was, each team has a gingerbread house (pre-made or made by the teams that day, I don't know), and a supply of marshmallow guns, or other sweet-flinging objects. In a sort of weird capture-the-flag variant, each team would set out to try to destroy the other team's house. Honestly, the entire game is just an excuse to do weird things with food. In reality, it wouldn't work for several reasons. One, cleaning up would be a pain, since I'd likely be peeling half-melted marshmallows off of just about every external surface of my house, two, people would likely have to be peeling it off of each other, three, if even one sweet wasn't picked up, we'd instantly become a haven for all sorts of insect problems. So in all practicality, this idea wouldn't fly.

But... Just... What If...

So summer's here, the weather is good, and a lot of my friends are home from school. I threw an open invite up to a group of them to work on "a project". Very vague on details, but I hinted that it involved food, which eliminated about 2% of all possibilities. On the day I had planned, only one was able to show up, Steve, my SSS brother. We got to work on the gingerbread house, and it was working pretty well for a while. (Gotta love the ominous addition of the words "for a while".)

Getting the house to stay erect while adding the decorations was hard, but we at least had the opportunity to blame it on the fact that hey, it's almost seven months old now. Unfortunately, while adding (ironically) a frowny face to the roof of the house, all four sides instantly decided to collapse inward, and that was basically the end of that house. There was no salvaging it anymore.

On the bright side, the gingerbread man, snowman, and tree were still standing (albeit leaning). With what would probably become the quote of the day, I blurted out (and let's see if this gets me on a terrorism watchlist), "We still have people, let's take them outside and shoot them!"

Not much more to say here, so let's cut to the moral of the story: Gingerbread house icing becomes cement if you give it enough time to dry. Amen.