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Challenge 5: Building A Better Web by Alex M.

March 17, 2006 08:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Video: How I Became An Expert Web Designer

You can also view this clip at Vimeo or at YouTube.

It's 1998. I'm attending Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon, and studying journalism. I take a web design class because it sounds mildy interesting. The teacher is like 70 and semi-retired. Dude doesn't really know much about web design, and neither do I. My first website has 4 frames, a black background with white Times New Roman font, and orange graphics with green glow drop shadows. I think it's awesome. Others know better.

It was the land of tables and font tags. The land of terrible splash screens. The land of ridiculous flash intros.

Now it's 2006. We're six years into the new millenium, and websites all over the Internet are still littered with junk like deeply nested layout tables, font tags (I'm looking at you, Google), gratuitous Flash intros, and inaccessible code. While the Internet holds great promise as a decentralized mass communication medium with low barriers to entry (anybody can publish for free!), we're still learning how to build it in a manner that is simple, foward-thinking, and easy to use.

The web is moving toward a place where it can be accessible to everyone regardless of device or browsing style. Are you a blind user "viewing" web pages with a screen reader? A businessman using a Blackberry to browse? A person with limited mobility using speech commands to control your laptop? Or even a graphic designer with 2 30" Apple Cinema displays? These are all questions that should be taken into consideration when building websites. If we construct a more careful and thoughtful web, the benefits will be myriad. We'll find that information will be easier to archive and search, access will become democratized (in the sense that a broader swath of the earth's population may be able to use websites), and gosh, websites might even look a bit nicer as well.

This is why my area of expertise (web design and accessibility) is important. Many web designers are still considered solely with the visual appeal or "look and feel" of the page. While these things are certainly valuable, I believe that they should be secondary to a more immediate function: to communicate clearly and efficiently. Of course, each site will have its own goals, context and audience, so an experimental Flash site may not be as concerned with coherent communication as, for instance, Amnesty International's website. But generally speaking, we use the web as a tool for information retrieval, sharing, and dissemination, a structure for communication between groups and individuals, and to organize. It's a massive chaotic beast, but that's partially the beauty of a place without a center or a hierarchy of control. And within the entropy we can start to arrange little communicative systems and communities (such as URBAN HONKING!) to help ourselves and others deal with life, art, culture, technology, and information in a personal and perhaps more human way.

"I'M BORED! GEEK! A-HOLE!" is what you are saying at this point.

I decided to host the tutorial on my own site because even though it is relatively simple, it is long. Quite long. But if you are interested in learning how to build a simple web site with XHTML and CSS...GET IN, AND GET DEEP.

By: Alex M. | Challenge 05 | March 17, 2006 | Comments (7)

Look Beyond the Eagle by Tim

March 17, 2006 03:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (21)


Here is a professional lecture about my expertise in crafting. Should you desire the .ppt, I can post that too.

View this clip on Vimeo

Link to the bag zine.

By: Tim | Challenge 05 | March 17, 2006 | Comments (21)

A Chinaman of Average Intellect Podcast Extravaganza! by Thom

March 16, 2006 11:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

As I get older I find the list of things of which I consider myself an expert to be dwindling. Gone are the days when I could merrily espouse on dinosaurs over the dinner table, or on Marvel Comic's superhero trees. The internet and Google have made even the least curiousity-inclined among us experts on practically everything. (Did you know that three-toed sloths mate upside down?)

And so it is once again that I turn to post-secondary education to get a leg up on the heaving masses. After my current tryst at university I will be the proud owner of three Bachelor degrees, the lowest designation possible, making me an expert in English, Education, and, of course, the Laws.

So I present to you A Chinaman of Average Intellect Podcast. It's time to get your learn on.

(click on pic to downloady - the extra "y" is for extra "yes")

By: Thom | Challenge 05 | March 16, 2006 | Comments (10)

What You Need To Be A Metrosexual. And Not Just A Pussy. by Zoe

March 16, 2006 03:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)

man care flagship.jpg

Everyone? Meet Real Girl. Real Girl? This is Everyone!

Boys? I bet you've got some grooming questions. Some red bumps you don't know what to do with. Some dry or oily skin you'd like to eradicate. But do you ask for advice? That's a big up to the NO. Whether you're asking a guy or a girl, certain grooming topics you just don't feel comfortable broaching. Why? Because "why don't you just cut them off and hand them to me?" Am I right?

I'm about to answer a lot of your questions. I'll even use convenient subject titles to help guide you through the unfamiliar territory. And if you want to cry in my arms at the end? Well...then you're a pussy.

The Golden Rule
If you take away only one gem from this lengthy treatise, let it be this. The First Commandment of Metrosexuality, passed down through the millennia by the first Israelites who discovered that you could exfoliate your feet with sand: "Thou shalt not use the same products on face as thou use on body." In other words, would you use a baseball bat to hit a golf ball?

The Metro Types
If you've ever called your hair "tousled," considered contrasting prints, spent more than $8.50 on a skin care product, or learned that your underwear should be changed every day? You might be a Metrosexual. Let's look, for examples, at our three venerable hosts.
The Advanced Metro: He pays attention to the cut of a suit. He has creative little peaks in his hair. He matches alternating pink stripes in his shirt and tie. That, my friends, takes a PhD in Metrosexology.


The Metro-Leaning: You might not notice at first that he's got some Metro in him. But then you realize he has a signature color and some might call it seafoam green.


The Non-Metro: Okay, so maybe he just doesn't scream "I use product." That's okay--because he's still got skin. And often hair. Sometimes quite a lot of it.


As for all three types? Real Girl excludes none. Let the lessons begin.

Exfoliation is perhaps the most important step in male grooming. Have you noticed little red bumps on the backs of your upper arms? That means you've got dead skin cells blocking the pores. Do you have the dreaded backne? Same deal. Your pores need to breathe and dead skin's all backed up in there. Do your elbows feel like sandpaper? What you need is a manual exfoliant. Manual Exfoliant: A product with granules to slough off your dead skin. By exfoliating as often as possible (at least 4 times a week), you'll see a dramatic decrease in unwanted bumps and in rough elbow skin. In the shower, before soaping up, rub a quarter-sized dollop of exfoliant in your palms and then scrub affected areas.

Your best bet for the perfect product? The guy-friendly and inexpensive St. Ives Medicated Apricot Scrub.

st. ives.jpg

But the beauties of exfoliation? Oh, we've just begun! Would you like to know the secret of a closer shave? Anyone? Anyone? Bingo. Exfoliating. By removing those dead skin cells, your razor blade's getting closer to the hair follicle and slicing it nearer to the root.

Now, honey. Tell me you didn't forget the Golden Rule. For your face, we need a more gentle exfoliator.

For the Metro-Leaning: St. Ives Apricot Scrub, Gentle. Scrub and wash off before shaving.

For the Advanced Metro: Ready for the graduate level class? Topical Exfoliant: An Alpha Hydroxy Acid-based product that exfoliates using ingredients such as glycolic acid or lactic acid. Recommended only for the serious Metro, these products are most effective in lotion or gel and should be worn overnight.

Here's my favorite AHA exfoliant brand: Paula's Choice. The packaging is simple and white, and with some creative thinking, you can pretend it says "Paul."

Nail Care
By far one of the areas in which men need most training. First of all. Pedicures? Totally manly. What most guys don't understand is that the actual polish is just the last step. A pedicure involves foot massage, a foot bath, and if you're really lucky, a paraffin treatment. Paraffin? Is a lightweight, warm wax that envelopes your feet in a feeling of sheer bliss. It's nearly orgasmic. So, pedicure? You're basically getting a woman to rub your feet. Does your girfriend even do that?

As for manicures...yeah, that's kind of pussy. But that doesn't mean your nails should be neglected. Keep a nail file (also known as an emery board) handy for breaks and snags. Do not bite your nails. It weakens them. And is it very manly to have weak nails? No, you sissy. Your nails will remain strongest if you file only to one side--no see-sawing, back-to-back action there.

emery board.jpg

For the Advanced Metro : Do your cuticles look a little torn up? Ratty? Rough? Try some Cuticle oil to be brushed across the bottom of each nail before bed.

Shhhh. Real Girl's about to spill a personal care industry secret. If you need to scrimp in one area, let it be cleanser. None of the dazzling ingredients in expensive cleansers will be on your skin long enough to do any difference. All you need to know is this: You want to stay away from harsh detergent. That means no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. However, Sodium Laureth Sulfate? Totally gentle.

Your best bet for cleanser: My beloved Cetaphil


(Real Girl disclaimer: Cetaphil does have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in it, but only at 1% concentration, which is too little to do skin any harm.)

Sun Screen Moisturizer
First, define your skin type. Got flaky or tight skin? It's dry. All over shine? Oily. Shine only in the forehead, cheeks, and chin? Then you're combination. I recommend steering toward products for oily skin in that case.

Second, do you worry about what you'll look like when you're older? The three biggest wrinkle causers are 1) genetics, 2) the sun, and 3) smoking. In that order. So hopefully? Your parents don't look like this. But even if they do, you can fight the effects of the Dark Side with sunscreen. You want to use at least SPF 15, preferably higher in summer. And look on the ingredients list for one or more of these three ingredients, which are the strongest sunscreens: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone. Because some sunscreens can clog pores, I recommend splurging in this area.

For the Metro-Leaning: Neutrogena Healthy Defense

For the Advanced Metro: Here's your area to truly shine (although not on your face!). I'm going to introduce you to antioxidants. Bear with me here, because I'm going Chemistry on your asses. One of the primary causes of wrinkles and skin damage is free radicals. Free radicals occur when an oxygen molecule loses one of its electrons during a chemical reaction. Because it needs a new electron, the little radical takes it from its nearest neighbor, who then needs to poach an electron from another little neighbor, instigating a chain reaction. This reaction damages your skin. Antioxidants can prevent it. They offer up a free electron anywhere those free radicals need one, thereby halting the dastardly chain.

So, Advancey, here are a couple sunscreens that are packed with wonderful, blessed antioxidants to save your skin: Anthony Logistics for Men Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 for dry skin. And Jack Black Oil-Free Sun Guard SPF 20 for the greasy dudes. Also? For those fighting King Kong.


Gentlemen, there's still more to come. If you need to take a break and return later? I totally get it. But my goal here is to provide you with a new bible. The answer to so many of your questions. That takes time, my friend. Time indeed.

Oh, you poor men. Poor men with your advertising that shows bracing pre-shave and aftershave lotion, a brisk, zingy feeling that you're supposed to look for. Um...no. No! Alcohol? Irritates your skin. And if you shave every day, chances are your skin irritates rather easily. You need not tingle when you shave. Believe Real Girl. Avoid alcohol, menthol, mint, and camphor in your shaving products. These products will actually prevent you from having a close shave--if your face swells even the teeniest bit from irritation? Your hair follicle retreats away from the razor. Bad follicle. Bad.

Guys? Treat yourself to some primo shaving products. You deserve it. The Anthony Logistics for Men After Shave Balm is one of the best--soothing, yet also packed with antioxidants. Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel is another soothing, alcohol-free option. And finally, you can't go wrong with Clinique For Men Post-Shave Healer.

clinique shave.jpg

These are my three favorite man-care brands, so feel free to surf around and explore your inner Metro!

Hair Care
Did you know that this week is the 100th Anniversary of the Perm? If your answer was Yes, then dear, you may be beyond my help. Oh, I could write all day about this subject. But I will refrain and concentrate only on the essentials.

Gel? Bad. Gotti bad. You're much less likely to go crunchy wrong by using a pomade or a hair wax.

For the Metro-Leaning: American Crew Pomade.

For the Advanced Metro: Now, who doesn't want to be thought of as a Bedhead Manipulator? How hot! Or there's always my personal favorite, Jonathan Product Dirt, which aims to recreate the way hair looks after a day or two of not washing. It's a bit lighter than a true pomade or wax.


For all pomades/waxes/texturizing pastes: Start with a dime-sized dollop rubbed between your palms then worked through hair, back to front. You can always use more, so start small.

Lip Care
This will be my final lesson today, and I would like to stress its importance. We? The ladies of the world? Are the ones kissing these lips. Please take good care of them. Moisturize them chappies.

For the Metro-Leaning: Good old ChapStick works just fine. But ChapStick's main goal isn't to moisturize--it's to lock in the moisture already on your lips. So lick your lips before you put on your ChapStick, and you'll get better results.

For the Advanced Metro: A product I just love--it's like Metro ChapStick. The Body Shop Hemp Lip Care Stick. First of all--hemp! It's cool! Just like drugs for your lips! The wondrous hemp oils moisturize lips like nothing else I've found. This product is a must for any card-carrying Metro.

body shop lip.jpg

And so, our lengthy time together comes to an end. I could teach you more. I could teach you about acne care. About flossing. About the specific foods that will keep your body young and healthy. About totally natural looking, easy, foolproof self-tanner. But boys have short attention spans, and I think I've already lost yours.

But if you're interested in the above, let me know and I'll post it separately in the Den, apart from the challenge.

For now, I'll leave you with one final thought. One that should be taken to heart and hugged like a mint condition Ty Cobb Detroit Tigers baseball card. Please. Stay. Away. From. Cologne. If you're using decent product? You'll smell like decent product, and boy is that sexy. Nothing turns Real Girl off more than that cologne smell. The only exception? If your cologne, like this one, is shaped like a calculator.

calculator cologne.jpg

But what about you guys? Do the boys out there have any grooming secrets you'd like to share? Any favorite products? Please tell us! You'll only be sexier for it.

And I remain your,
Real Girl

By: Zoe | Challenge 05 | March 16, 2006 | Comments (23)

Challenge 5: Expertise? VIDEO! by Tim and Morgan

March 16, 2006 04:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

We love Waferbaby.
Posts picture

Hollywood, as Eric would know, is filled with magic. Sometimes this magic is enhanced or created by a little drug known as cocaine. Tim and Morgan are certainly no strangers to this "cocaine" nor anything else Hollywood has to offer. In this video you will see Tim and Morgan dive deeper and deeper into the dark world of sex, drugs, fame, money, and more drugs.
Meeting in the year 1983, Tim and Morgan produced their first film, entitled: "Let's Just Get It Off Our Chest and Say What We Mean Honey." Winning a million awards such as "The Anthony", "The Handsome Medal", and of course "Best Of Show", was just another ingredient to add to their ever growing 'Ego Casserole'.
Not long after, Tim and Morgan started getting millions of dollar bills forever. With this money, they threw lavish parties, bought drugs, books, and champaign. Imagine what came next! You'll have to tune in to find out on: E TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY.

waferbaby tribute

By: Tim and Morgan | Challenge 05 | March 16, 2006 | Comments (16)