Online Friends: The New Trading Cards.

I'm a member of so many online social networks I've lost count. Networks such as myspace, Hi5, Flickr, YouTube, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo etc. What's common to all of them is that people will request you become their friend and then, after you accept, they'll never communicate with you again. Why?

I have a theory that people on these networks collect friends like kids collect trading cards. The more friends you have the cooler you must be. There are people on these various networks that have over 1000 friends. I bet they only ever talk directly to maybe, at a stretch, twenty of them on a regular basis.

What further reinforces this idea of friends being like trading cards is the buzz you get when someone, who you know is really popular on the network, asks to be your friend or accepts your friend request. Now you can impress people more by saying that person is your friend.

I don't have many friends on any of the networks I'm a member of because I rarely make requests to other people to become my friend. When I do it's usually because it is someone I actually know in some way and not just some random person I found in a profile search.

The majority of friends I do have are randoms. People who sent a request to me. Some day I'm going to take the time to message them to find out who they are but for now they're pretty much trading cards in my friends list.

The Dog in the Dining Room.

The image on the right could easily be an artwork all on its own that perhaps says something about modern art that isn't too flattering. It certainly appeals to my sense of humor on some level. A black dog spraying a wall with black paint.

It could also be a statement about depression taking the idea of 'The Black Dog' literally and as a symbol for a state of being. What it might say about depression I'm not exactly sure but like all art that would be open to interpretation.

Getting back to the bigger picture this photo isn't of a single artwork. It is a detail photo of a much larger artwork by artist Richard Jackson, currently on display at the Galerie GP and N Vallois in Paris. Be sure to click on the links below and take a closer look at what surely is a fascinating artwork to walk around in person.

The artwork is called The Dining Room, and is pictured on the right. Along side it and forming an additional part of the sculpture/installation is The Maid's Room, which is equally gross in its conception and implementation. Both artworks are recreations and adaptations that pay homage to an earlier work by well known French artist, Marcel Duchamp.

Personally I don't really know what to make of this kind of art. It is both fascinating to look at as well as shockingly grotesque but leaves me wondering why?

Not writing, painting.

Regular readers may have noticed that I haven't been posting to this blog daily of late. My plan to post daily kind of got interrupted with my Perth Road Trip in that my flow of being able to post at all was impeded.

Since then I've been inspired to paint a lot more now that I've taken the leap from mixed media (acrylics and chalk pastels) to straight acrylic paintings. I'm finding that the work I'm producing is, in my opinion, of a higher standard than some of my last few mixed media works.

As far as continuing to write for this blog I wanted to assure you that I haven't abandoned or forgotten about it. Being a creative type in so many different areas there is always one area that currently gets the most attention. Right now, for me, it is painting.

I will continue to post to this blog (just a little less frequently) and probably will get back to the daily routine when my enthusiasm for painting needs a rest. Creativity and inspiration tends to go in cycles. My writing cycle will no doubt come around soon.

Gonna Get my Picture on the Cover of Rolling Stone.

Okay, so it's not Rolling Stone Magazine and it's not really Wired Magazine either but one can dream can't they?

Wired Magazine is to the IT industry what Rolling Stone Magazine is to the music industry. i.e. Wired is the 'cool' technology magazine that is as famous for its page design and overall look as it is for its in depth articles. If you make the cover of Wired then there's a good chance some of its coolness may reflect kindly on you.

Xerox is running a promotion where you too can dream about being on the cover of Wired with their Wired Magazine Cover Creator. Thanks to Nalts at Will Video for Food for posting about this little bit of fun.

Ch..ch..ch..ch..changes...

The title of this post is a tenuous reference to a David Bowie song. I can't help myself, I'm a Bowie fan. That said this blog post is to alert you to some major changes on this site.

The video page, which was problematic beyond repair, is no more. However you can still watch all my videos from the home page. Just browse my videos using the Revver Browser near the top of the page in the right hand sidebar.

The video page has been replaced with TET's Cats, the new home of all my Cat artworks. The old Happy Cat Jac web site is no more. The sheer number of cat artworks that I've completed to date meant that the site was no longer able to cope. The new cat web site incorporates a slide show that you can share anywhere that allows you to embed HTML code.

You may also notice that my 'Behind the Art' section is gone too. This was kind of redundant since many of the videos are also available in the Revver browser on the home page. It's link has been replaced with a link to my ebay, myworld profile page where you can see all of my current ebay auction listings, ebay feedback and more.

Next month I'll also be incorporating a new video viewer into the home page that will replace the featured video and, in time, the Revver Browser. The new player will allow you to select any of my videos to watch, right on my home page.

Hopefully all these changes are for the better. I always appreciate feedback so if you have any comments on the changes please use the comment link under this post.

3D Desktop Printers.

I'd heard of the concept of a 3D printer but I never knew they'd become a reality. You may say, "Oh that's old news, they've been around since..." well I don't know when since I've just discovered them.

For the uninitiated a 3D printer works like your average inkjet printer except it sprays microscopic bits of melted plastic in a process that gradually builds a solid, hold in your hand 3D object. That's right not an image on paper of a 3D object but the actual object 'printed' in 3 dimensional form.

The SolidScape T66 3D printer, sits on your desktop and will set you back about US$30,000. Presently it's used for printing designed 3D objects, such as jewelry, from CAD software but the future potential is mind blowing.

Imagine when the price of these things comes right down so that every home could afford one. Imagine shopping in a virtual toy store and then 'printing' out your purchases as physical 3D toys. Cool or what?

Can't wait for the next generation of 3D printers when you'll be able to 'print' out ready to eat, piping hot pizza!

Echoes of your online life.

How long will the echo of your life continue to resonate around virtual space once you are gone?

Performing a Google search on your real name and various user names that you may have adopted for numerous social sites and forums can turn up a lot of your online history. For example, if I perform a search on my real name, one of the results will be the very first web page that introduced me to the online world. This page is more than 10 years old and clearly no longer supported by its author but still it persists.

Other things that will turn up are game levels that I made in my former life as a Dark Forces Game Guru as well as echoes of my more recent stint on my local council. Two things which I have no involvement with in my present life as a wanna be internet celebrity.

Currently my videos are bouncing all around the internet. More than seventy of them and still counting. In these days of social networking and content sharing, who knows how far and wide my videos have spread. I can barely keep track of the places I've uploaded them myself.

How long will my videos continue to bounce around in cyberspace after I'm gone? How long will my echo be? If we physically can't be immortal, what about in cyberspace? Will our echo keep resonating years after we're gone?

I hate to finish with a cliche but...

Only time will tell.

Where is my Mind?

I've had the song 'Where is my Mind?' by the Pixies running around my head for days now. Considering the title of my last post, No body move, I've dropped my brain!, my sense of humor is such that I can't help but title this post as I have. Well? ...laugh.

So maybe it's not that funny but the question is still relevant. Yesterday I thought I might begin work on another video. Perhaps the long awaited Episode 4 in my ebay series. I'd primed myself earlier in the day. Previewing all three episodes so I could reconnect with the content and build upon it in the new video.

I had some ideas but when I got out into my studio, with everything set up, I just wasn't into it. My head had nothing. Despite the usefulness of the series to other people (based on the feedback I've received) filming another one just wasn't something my head wanted to do.

Sitting blankly in front of a camera is time consuming in the worst sense. It achieves nothing. Perhaps if I scripted something? No idea what, since my head had nothing. Needless to say I gave up on filming anything at all.

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind?

Lyrics, The Pixies.

Nobody move, I've dropped my brain!

I'm probably one of the last Pirates of the Caribbean fans to see At World's End which is still playing at a few cinemas as it nears the end of its run. The title of this post, which is a quote from the movie, aptly describes the difficulties of trying to get your head around the plot.

Although it does continue from the previous film in the series (all the characters are there) it doesn't seem critical to know the back story. The main plot is established right at the start. The East India Trading Company is out to wipe out pirates and anyone that so much as glances at a pirate. Our motley crew, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan and Captain Barbossa join forces to bring together the Brethren of Nine pieces of eight (nine pirate lords who can unite all pirates) and stop the massacre of their kind.

Slight problem. Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the nine and he died in the last film. Since Captain Barbossa died in the film before that, we know that coming back from the dead isn't an impossibility in pirate world.

From this point on it's sub plot after sub plot and double cross after double cross. It all gets a bit confusing and most people don't see the end coming (or so I've heard), I certainly didn't.

There are new characters introduced with the nine pirate lords but their roles are little more than token. It is the main characters of the franchise that get all the screen time and drive the story. In fact by the closing battle you may even wonder why the nine lords really needed to gather at all for the amount of participation they actually had defending their existence.

That aside, Johnny Depp delivers yet again as Captain Jack Sparrow. I particularly enjoyed the surreal scenes in Davey Jones Locker (which apparently isn't quite such a bad place as is made out to be). Though I was disappointed some what by the fact that the last time we saw Jack he was leaping head first into a sea monster. I guess I would've rather seen him some how come out victorious rather than dead.

Jeffery Rush is a welcome return to the series as Captain Barbossa though I felt his character was far less menacing than in the first film. In particular, a ridiculous 'marriage' sequence towards the end of the film was just way off for his character.

Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swan are effective but their characters really have very little left to surprise the audience with. Will became 'cool' by the end of the first film and Elizabeth proved just how tough she can be by the second film.

Bill Nighy as Davy Jones, Captain of the Flying Dutchman, is perhaps the only other character with a real screen presence that demands attention. In this film we learn much more about his predicament and how he came to be 'old squid face'.

Despite the confusing plots and the close to three hours of screen time this film moves along quite rapidly. Watch for the much talked about cameo by Rolling Stone, Keith Richards and, like the two films before it, don't question Captain Jack's almost superhuman aerial antics and balancing acts. It's all good fun.

I'd certainly buy the DVD and there's a good chance another outing for Jack Sparrow may just be in the works.

Animator vs. Animation by Alan Becker.

This animation was brought to the attention of Wasted Spacers (a forum I participate in) and I couldn't let it go by without sharing it with my readers.

Alan Becker has created a very humorous and very slick piece of animation with this battle between a stick man and his creator. Enjoy (click below to view the animation).


Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

Alan's Description:
An animator faces his own animation in deadly combat. The battlefield? The Flash interface itself.

A stick figure is created by an animator with the intent to torture. The stick figure drawn by the animator will be using everything he can find - the brush tool, the eraser tool - to get back at his tormentor. It's resourcefulness versus power. Who will win? You can find out yourself.

-- This took three long months.. i think it's worth it.

All my Cats Slide Show.

Thanks to slide.com I've created this animated slide show of all my cat paintings up to this point.



When I see all my cat artworks together like this it's kind of hard to believe I've painted quite so many. The good news is that there is more to come. The purpose of this show is that I'm testing some free slide show sites to see if I could use them in a revamped version of my Happy Cat Jac web site.

As far as I know you can get the embedding code for this slide show and embed it anywhere you like. In your blog, in a message board forum, on your myspace page etc. I think that's a great way for my work to get seen.

So if you enjoy my cat paintings, see if you can get the embed code for this slide show (by playing around with all the buttons surrounding it) and share it around. Put them on your site or whether you could use a fancy slide show. If people ask where they can see more of my art send them over here or better yet include a nice convenient link to www.extraordinarytourist.com

Contemplating the Apple iPhone.

The recent release of the Apple iPhone in the USA prompted me to contemplate whether I should mention it in this blog or not? It hasn't been released in Australia so I certainly can't review it. However if you're going to talk about a new technology product you want to mention it while it's hot - and the iPhone is hot - right now!

Not that the iPhone needs any more publicity but I certainly do. Mentioning it means that this blog entry may just come up in search engines for anyone looking for information on the iPhone. I'll get maybe a few more people to my site and, so as not to disappoint, I've embeded a video review by technology expert, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal.

Walt gives the phone an overall thumbs up but does point out some very real concerns about network access that those of you in remote regions may want to think very hard about.


Video posted by macflyfilm via YouTube.

Read Walt's comprehensive review at All Things Digital.

If you're not quite so technical minded then all you need to know about the iPhone is provided by MuggleSam in this very cute video posted on YouTube comparing the iPhone to the Blackberry. I think the choice is clear. You need technology that dances!


Video posted by MuggleSam via YouTube.

Carefree feline fun: Art by TET.


Roof Top Cats, Series of 3 artworks.
Acrylic and Chalk Pastel on Canvas Frames, July 2007.

This is my latest series of artworks depicting six of my feline friends having a great time on a roof top in the evening light. Thought I'd just show them off here and let you know that each image is available to buy as a gift card from my Red Bubble Portfolio.

Morning People.

In this world there are generally two types of people, 'morning' or 'night' people. I fall into the former because I've learned that in order to be productive an early start is essential. Which is not to suggest that I get up at the crack of sunrise and get straight into my day.

In fact I get up at the slightly more respectable time of 8:30am because then I avoid my partner and the kids getting ready for work and school. I like to relax into my day with an unhurried breakfast followed by an equally unhurried shower. My actual productive day starts around 10am.

Night people bemoan the very idea of getting up at 8:30am even though this would be considered sleeping in by die hard morning people who wake up with the sun. Night people generally start to stir at around 10:00am - at least the 'early risers' of night people do.

I've noticed that night people are some what less productive than morning people in how they organise their day. Generally they seem to be always a little behind in what they wanted to achieve before the end of their day. Not that I'm trying to imply morning people always keep their schedules either but I think morning people generally try to cram more tasks into their day.

Night people think they can't be morning people because they feel like crap when they have gotten out of bed early. However the reason they feel this way is because they probably went to bed in the wee small hours of the morning. They're night people after all.

To become a morning person you have to think like a morning person and train yourself to go to bed at a suitable time. Most people need about 8 hours sleep so going to bed at around 11pm should give you a good start at 8am (yes I know that's nine hours but getting up at 7am is really not necessary unless you are employed by someone who expects you to be at work at 9am).

It takes a bit of practice to become a morning person. On the other hand to become a night person is some what easier. Morning people can always find something more to do in a day. A bit of a caffine fix will keep a morning person going. Before you know it you can easily be going to bed in the early hours of the following day.
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