Archive for March, 2009

Spot-A-Ninja

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

I’m always thinking of ways to communicate with readers, and I thought that one way we can facilitate that communication is by playing a game. Let’s play Spot-A-Ninja! Send in photos of ninjas hiding (whether it be you in a ninja costume, a toy or plush ninja out and about, or ninja related items out in the wild), or links to ninja related stuff. Anything you send I’ll post, and will toss you a shout out in the process. Let’s work and see how many ninjas we can find!

I’ll start off with one of the webcomics I’ve been enjoying lately.


I spotted Ninja Bunny, an adorable comic with incredible style. The backgrounds have a very traditional Japanese woodblock print feel to them that reminds me a lot of Hokusai. Amu and I were very lucky to have seen an exhibit on Hokusai’s work in DC a few years back during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which is coming up again in about a month.

Let’s find out what Ninja stuff YOU can find!

Send all Ninja Spottings to: spotaninja at gmail dot com.

And a hearty “PLEASE DON’T KILL ME” to Ross from The System comic, who’s System in the Wild feature was the inspiration behind this endeavor.

Spot-A-Ninja: Fanart Edition

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

More of a Make-A-Ninja than Spot-A-Ninja, Amitowner and DeviantART user Doridachi sent us this:

It’s her very own, handmade amigurumi Ninja Village inspired by Amu’s World! How awesome is that? Ninja parties in the Ninja Village are always roof raisin’ crazy. These guys are having too much fun.

There’s a part of me that wants to call this Fanart, and I’m absolutely giddy that someone would go through the trouble of making amigurumi based on something I’m doing. Thank you so much!

If YOU’VE got ninja stuff to show us, or you find yourself inspired by Doridachi’s ninjas, contact us and we’ll post about it.

Photo Phriday 16

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Ninja doesn’t think about himself very much. There’s just too much going on. If asked to represent how he feels about himself on a regular day, though, he’s pretty on the money.

A realistic self-image has kept Ninja sane in this crazy world he’s found himself in. He pretty much sees things how they are. Pretty Zen, actually.

We Watched Us Some Watchmen

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Somehow I managed to talk Amu into trotting down to the theater to see Watchmen on Friday. I’m very glad she did. I won’t talk too much about specifics because I think this is a movie it’s very important to see for yourself to determine if you like it or not. Seeing as how reviews are literally across the board, you honestly do have to see it for yourself to make a judgement.

If you’re not familiar with the source material, know that you are taking a risk. This isn’t Iron Man, and it isn’t Spiderman. This isn’t even Dark Knight. Do not watch this movie expecting more traditional comic movie fare. You’re setting yourself up for quite the rude awakening.

If you ARE familiar with the source material, know that you are taking a risk. You may be someone who’s personally invested in the original comic’s story. Most of it’s intact, but you may find yourself making unfair comparisons. Just remember that you’re watching a movie and not reading a graphic novel and you should be fine.

I read the graphic novel twice, the most recent time probably close to 10 years ago. I purposely did not read it again prior to seeing the movie because I didn’t want my brain bogged down looking for inconsistencies between the two. I know people who did that, and they admitted they had to see it a second time to enjoy it because their first viewing was spent not watching the movie to enjoy it, but instead analyzing the movie for how it differed from the comic. You’re only sabotaging your own experience if you do this.

I had a great time, and will be seeing again for the hundreds of tiny little details I may have missed the first time around. Amu loved it too, and admitted that there wasn’t a main character she DIDN’T like. She really liked Rorschach, and even The Comedian by the end of it all. It’s no small feat to make someone unfamiliar with these psychologically twisted characters really empathize with them by the end of the movie.

In my opinion this was the absolute BEST Watchmen movie that could be made for this time. Another 20 years or so and we may get a different kind of movie altogether. And truthfully, I’ll be right in front of the line to see THAT version too.

Re: Death Row Bunnies

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Today I’m going to take some time to address this week’s comic. It’s true, I’m a fan of Hip Hop. Now I’d be remiss if I didn’t elaborate on some facets of this, however. Despite the comic above, I’m not a big fan of the Death Row Records brand of music. It’s not my thing even remotely.

I grew up with rap music, and maybe it’s a result of my environment that I didn’t grow in the same directions it did. Right now I’m just an old, dorky white guy who has a fondness for some of the music of my youth. I’m far more moved by the up-beat, fun music put out by Tribe Called Quest, Digital Underground, Young MC, De La Soul, and others like them. I could relate to fun times. I could relate to being moved and being happy.

‘Gangsta’ rap struck a bad chord with me from the beginning. I’ll even admit to not giving some artists, who may have been great creators, the tiniest chance to win me over because of how they presented themselves. A genre of music dominated by fun and good times, even whimsical comedy every once in a while, was replaced by guns, and drugs, and hate, and such an overwhelming degree of grandstanding phoniness that I was driven away for a long time. To this day it takes something really different to catch my attention in the Hip Hop scene. Very little of it resonates with me now.

Truthfully I kind of miss it, which is why I can sometimes be found spending entire evenings nostalgically rummaging around the internet for traces of the rhythm and soul and fun I grew up with such a fondness for. There’s so little of it left, and it’s been a very long time since I’ve been excited to hear a hip hop artist anymore.

Nerdcore is moving along, and it’s a start. It isn’t there yet, though. A lot of it is simply mimicking more traditional, hardcore gangsta rap and dropping in geek related lyrics and themes. It needs to start becoming its own thing. Frontalot‘s a shining example of where it needs to start heading. He’s unique, different, and it shows that his influences are more varied than the Death Row variety stuff. It’s the right direction, but it isn’t there for me completely.

Hip Hop is inundated lately with people trying to make a fortune, not trying to make music and tell a story. The goal of the genre has gone from one of exposure and awareness to merchandising and money clips. My fingers are crossed that sometime, in my lifetime, rap and Hip Hop can pave a new path, and start making music I’m proud to listen to again.

Critical Inspiration

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

As I slowly plod along in my journey to become a better photographer (emphasis very much big time on SLOWLY), I come across some things that are helpful in ways I hadn’t thought of before. Pro photographer Zack Arias has, by request, begun critiquing photo sites of photographers looking to make a career of something they enjoy doing. They’re getting feedback from someone who’s experienced and who doesn’t mind dishing out the advice. His critiques of photo SITES, as opposed to the photos themselves, are perfect reminders that photography is about 80% business/marketing and only about 20% shooting photos.

Zack was asked to do a guest blog post on Scott Kelby’s site and made an insightful, creative video instead. It was as inspirational as it was depressing, however. If someone with Zack’s skills feels his work is crap sometimes, then what chance have I got? You know? It’s all about the journey though, and how we get to where we want to be.

I’ve been reading a lot of Zack’s blog lately, and really enjoy how much of his content he’s putting to video, and like how he’s going about some of his more helpful posts. Eyes will be glued.

Photo Phriday 17

Friday, March 13th, 2009

So today’s Photo Phriday almost didn’t happen. Why? Well not only have I been going through a bit of a photographic lull at the moment, I also happened to, umm, forget sorta. In an attempt to rush and get something done I tried to experiment with some stuff and managed to get this.

Juan’s doing a little thinking. He’s thinking about home, his ninja skills, and trying to figure out why Ninja hates him. Stay tuned next Wednesday for the new comic, as it focuses on Juan’s homeland.

Care For A Picnik?

Monday, March 16th, 2009

When I do post to the blog, which is admittedly infrequent, I tend to do so at work. My PC here is pretty barebones as far as its specs, and I have no photo editing software on here. Since I’m posting from work though, I need some way to edit photos outside of MSPaint. Enter Picnik.

Picnik’s main contribution to the blog here is allowing me to easily import a photo into their web-based engine via a right-click in Firefox and crop/resize as I see fit. It has a range of other options, some of them premium options you’d have to pay for, but for what I need it for when blogging it’s more than adequate and very awesome.

If you’re not browsing with Firefox, GET IT. If you don’t have the Picnik plugin installed, DO THAT. It’s so convenient for on-the-fly editing if you need something easy done very quickly. It’s been my hero on more than a few occasions. Hooray Picnik!