Monday, June 30, 2008

I have a small friend on the end of my bed

This is Mickey.
Mickey is a small black and brown terrier who likes to sleep on my bed.
He also enjoys licking toes, chewing things, chasing rabbits, and going for long walks in the park.
And the best thing about Mickey?
He doesn't bite people in the face.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


In order of oldest to newest, here are some of my trials (and errors) of the new DESKWIZARD logo. I was told to make it more "tech-y" (goodbye Arial Rounded MT Bold), but I'm still struggling a little with what makes something more "tech-y." And I'm still searching for the perfect background color. The client wants brown, but I don't think that screams "tech" either...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This day could not have been any more British if we had tried

On Saturday, my aunt, grandma and I went to the West Midlands show (with free tickets, because Starfish does their advertising). The West Mid show is kind of like our state fair, but a bit more animal-based. They have some carnival rides for children, but it's more for showing your creatures in different classes. It rained the whole day, and was so cold you could see your breath, but we still managed to have a nice time. Since we had free tickets, we were able to splash out on food, and I had a delicious curry, a hot chocolate, and an ice cream with a flake afterwards.

We saw:
1. Joe, the 1700kg (3700lb) cow, as well as lots of other nice cows. The farmers were all busy brushing and shampooing them, even blow-drying their tails to make them extra poofy. I really don't like cows -- they're so large and looming and don't really respect your personal space -- but the farmers all did a nice job of keeping them under control. I wish my aunt could've stood by Joe (the cow in the top photo) to give some perspective, but a) she would probably have been eaten and b) she is very small so it would probably distort your cow conceptions even more.

2. Pigs and sheep. The sheep in Wales and the Midlands have been affected by some horrible Blue Tongue disease recently, so it was "very exciting" that they made it to the show.

3. Lots and lots of horses. They had so many horse classes here -- from the big heavy draft horses to the mini Shetlands. All of them were immaculately turned out, clean and braided, despite the awful weather. They didn't have as many jumping classes as we had hoped, but there were still lots of different classes to see. Since it was so wet and windy, a lot of the ponies were spooking and jumping around -- this is always much more entertaining (except when you're on them!).

4. My boss. In one of the food tents we ran into my boss, Alison, her husband Tony (who works the floor below us) and her son James. This was really strange as it was a case of seeing someone in an entirely different context than you're usually used to seeing them in. Obviously the West Mid show is a wonderful place for one and all.

5. So many doggehs. From dachsunds doing dog agility courses to terriers in yellow anoraks (complete with hood) to lurchers in tents, it seemed like EVERYONE brought their soggy doggy to the show.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Do you have Doritos in America, too?"

So I've been pretty slack about updating this summer, mainly because I've been too busy (read: lazy) and my internet connection is never super strong. Anyway, it's weird to think that a few weeks ago I was still in North Carolina, cruising around Raleigh and Durham and going about my daily routine.

NOW I'm in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, and my life is kind of a nice mix of things that are the same as America and things that are very different. And since we all know I can only write in lists, and not cohesive paragraphs, here we go:

1. KFC.
As in, "to get to work, turn left at the KFC." Yes. There is KFC in other lands. But it's EXPENSIVE!! £9.99 for a bucket of chicken and fries? As in, $20? I don't think so. My family was horrified when I told them that in America you can get a little pot of mashed potatoes with gravy for $1. Fast food mashed potatoes really grossed them out -- as it does me, actually.

2. Underage delinquancy. Although it's really (really times infinity) great that the drinking age is 18 here, it means that the age of kids drinking starts even earlier. It's not uncommon for kids of 11, 12, 13 to be sneaking liquor in the Quarry park, and older students are known for selling cigarettes to younger kids for a big profit. However, the penalties are not nearly as strict -- the kid would just have the alcohol/cigarettes taken off him, not written up or arrested or anything -- which is quite different from home!

3. Rihanna. The British love Rihanna. Seriously. "Please don't stop the music" is getting really big here, especially in the clubs. And the "Superman" song is pretty big, too, except no one does the Superman dance (that Jamie and Alison perfected on Facebook video)....they just dance NORMALLY. So. strange.

1. Radio Six
. Radio Six is probably the best radio station of all time -- it's as popular at G105, but plays really good music. Every day they'll play Radiohead, Elbow, Duffy, the Go! team, and MGMT. And today they played WHITESNAKE. I know that sometimes we get Radiohead on 88.1WKNC, but not on anything as mainstream as this.

2. Names of things. I know this is kind of a given British cliche, but I've been having trouble with the different names for things at the restaurant where I waitress. What I would call "beef filet" (filay) is beef fillet (filllit). And knowing the names of beer and wine is throwing me, too...If someone has a strong accent, and they ask for "uhbottleamagners," I have no idea what that means (a. bottle. of. magners = a kind of beer). So that's been an interesting learning curve. And other random words have been throwing me too -- if a guy says a girl is "fit," that means she's hot (even if she's not physically fit, although I guess the two often go together). It's even better if she's "well fit" (REALLY hot). And instead of the "WHATSUP" that I have difficulty responding to at home (I'd rather say "I'm fine thanks" than "not much, brotha!"), everyone here says "You'alright?" or "Y'alrighhh?" You must respond "Yeah,yo'allrighhh?" You cannot just say "I'm fine, thanks" as that is just not cool.

3. Paper sizes. Warning: if you are not design-inclined, this section may bore you. Over here, the paper sizes are generally taller and skinnier than US paper, although I think their system makes more sense:
Start with an A3 piece of paper (that's a bit taller and thinner than a tabloid size).
Fold A3 in half to make A4.
Fold A4 in half to make A5.
Fold A5 in half to make A6.
Fold A6 in half to make A7.
And so on.
To me, this makes much more sense, except that everything's metric over someone'll say, oh, make that 105 by 148, and I think WHAT? picas? inches? PLEASE CLARIFY. (they actually mean millimeters.)

Okay, so that's pretty much all for now. Hopefully more will follow, internet-dependent.