Friday, July 29, 2011

Blondes are gullible .. and regrets!

I mentioned regrets in the title, because I was trying to pull out captions from the past to post, letting my newer ones age a bit before discussing them. I figured that I could just snag one and wonder what I'd do differently if I was creating the caption RIGHT NOW, in July 2011.

First off, this was created as an award for a caption challenge back in June of 2009, to raise money for the Haven's bills (wow, that sounds familiar!) and it was won by Cassandra Angel Windancer Jingleheimer-Schimdt (I don't want to shout but, "Hey, that's my name too!") She's into weaponry and things like that, and the model's name is/was "Blond Ninja" so I figured I would have to make some sort of reference to it.

The regret I have is that I didn't go as over the top with this as I should have. Its a one note joke, and should have included some of the most ridiculous plot twists and turns I could think up, possibly while drunk. I know that I could have ended up rambling, and I can't imagine a bimbo following all too closely, unless perhaps I mention a unicorn. All bimbos love unicorns rights? Still though, while I'm not unhappy with the caption, it had so much potential, and I pretty much wasted it.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Are there any "universal" rules when it comes to bimbos? I mean, vampires aren't supposed to be able to go out in daylight, are afraid of crosses and garlic, and have to be killed by various special tasks and tools. What sort of folklore do we have when it comes to bimbos?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keep it Watered .. and other stuff

This is one of the first few captions I had ever made for Courtney. I think I've made over 20 now since she joined a few years ago. I found it while searching through all the captions I've done for her. Tomorrow is her birthday, and I wanted to make sure I made her a caption that didn't repeat any themes I've covered before. I mean, this is the third or fourth BIRTHDAY caption I've made her, and I've done a slew of others. This caption is pretty elegant in its simplicity, and its very good for the "early" period of my work. I'm not sure that my current design scheme would make it any better, as the words directly on the photo make it seem more intimate and "in the moment."


Well, one good thing about this blog is that I continue to have more followers than posts. It was getting close there, but in the last week or so I picked up 7 or 8 people. Glad to see that more people are wandering here and liking what they see. I have my core group of friends / commenters which I cherish, but it is nice to see someone I don't know pop on and enjoy what I've been creating.

I am wondering why some people pick "post less like this" ... sometimes it seems like there are one or two people that RUSH to the current post and dislike it. I post, and within 30 minutes, there is 2 votes for that in the blog. Not sure if its random people trying to be douches, or if they honestly dislike something. If they did, I wish they'd either comment on the post, or at least send me an email. Its a vague choice anyway, but you never know if its a "random drive-by shooting" or if they didn't like the caption, or perhaps what I wrote along with it.

In other news, my jeep is dead and I'm without wheels.  Need to find something quickly. The GF's car went down on the same day, but luckily it was only a thermostat issue. If I had a decent amount of money (or good credit) I'd be able to find something reliable, but its hard to do when you've got limited funds and no method of getting around because you're jeep is dead! Arrgghh!

I felt the need to treat myself after this shitty week, so I bought a half pound of lobster salad for 6 bucks at the local seafood outlet. Its incredible stuff, and I can usually get 2-3 lobster rolls out of it. I just finished eating one with some chips ... Ahhhhh, much better mood.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: What do you do when you want to caption, but you have a sour mood? I know that Caitlyn has covered it in her blog, and Jennifer has mentioned music that gets her going. What other things can you do to get things rolling when its been a horrid day, week, etc .. ?? What do you do when you want to pamper or spoil yourself?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Taco Belle .. and AARRGGHH!

Wanted to post something because I haven't posted since Friday. However, when I was leaving work today, either my fuel pump or fuel line let go, soooooo, I had to wait to have it towed to my mechanic. Will find out tomorrow what is wrong (and miss some work as well) but I really don't want to spend any more money on it as I'm currently driving it into the ground. AARRGGHH! At least the tow-truck guy says his sister is selling a jeep, so I'll have to look at it soon (not sure if I have the cash right now, but I need to have stable wheels.) We will see if its good, and perhaps rob Peter to pay Paul.

Hope everyone survived the heat wave and that all your friends and family are doing well. Perhaps I'll have another post on Wednesday. Something else goes wrong (see my reply to the last post) and I could go all LUDDITE on my shit! No manifesto though. I am too much of a geek to give up everything!

DISCUSSION QUESTION: What technology in your life could you NEVER give up now no matter what? If you had to give up something, what would it be? Did you ever think when you were young, that technology would come along this far in such a short period of time, and does it give you hope that some of your TG dreams could come true in the near future?

Friday, July 22, 2011

If Only CURVES Actually Worked This Way!

This is another caption from that little 90 minute captioning jag I talked about in the "Reschedule That Meeting" blog post. I was having a bit of trouble making a caption for SP2000, since Kelly doesn't really want a permanent change, just temporary. I was trying to think of how I could pull it off when I stopped on this picture, a really hot chubby girl. From there, it just hit me that a body swap would be a great way to make it work AND Kelly would be able to "control" how long she'd be in that body. After that, it took a few minutes to whip up the text. Of course, I needed some sort of hook so I used the curves line at the end. For those not from the USA, there is an exercise place for women called CURVES, which caters to larger women looking for a place where they won't be embarrassed or harassed like in a normal gym.

I got the power supply installed last night I LOVE IT! So many connectors with all the wiring wrapped in this like black mesh-like latex stuff so it is dark in the case. Much better than the one I had it in before (which had a surprising lack of molex connectors and not even ONE PCI-E connector for my video card. Got a really good deal on it through Newegg, where it was a Shell Shocker for 35 bucks, regularly 70 dollars with free shipping. I had it 24 hours after I ordered it. Amazing! Supposedly its green technology, though I could care less. I got it because it was a reliable 520w Antec power supply. Now, I'm itching to build the rest of a new system around this wondrous piece of machinery.

Anyway, its been so hot in that room that I haven't stress tested the system yet to see if anything else was taken out of commission by the failure of the old power supply. I ran it with a normal load in a hot room for 30 minutes last night, so that is a start. Hopefully I can max it out later this weekend. I should be floating about though for those that need of my services.

Please feel free to post comments in any of the previous posts as well. I am not sure that I'll have time to put up another caption blog post, but I will try to keep multiple discussion comments alive if people wish to bring them up.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: When it comes to BBW TG captions, do you prefer punishment captions, or do you like it when its fair and balanced, and not just for ridicule? I guess it could come down to whether the caption is based in more of a real cross-dressing style or more of a "POOF you are now a big boned woman".  Do you dismiss BBW TG captions out of hand as soon as you see them, or will you at least read them to see if it is a good caption?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lose That Spare Tire!

Something I made over two years ago. The photo just called out for a silly and fun caption with some word play thrown in for good measure. I think it speaks pretty well on its own, unless those tires are only in America, then, as usual, I am leaving my friends from other countries stranded high and dry yet again!

Anyway, I wanted to post a nice summer caption, and then realized while looking through the Haven, that I don't really have many summer captions at all. As a plot line, or in photos that have bikinis and beaches and all that . I probably have enough made to count with one hand.

I think I know the reason though, and it never really occurred to me before now. I am NOT a fan of summer, or even spring for that matter. I love October (more than just for Halloween) and I usually function the best between October and March. After that, I get lots of seasonal allergies, hay fever, and I am not a fan of hot weather or sweating.

I don't think I've been a beach during the day in ummmm, 12 years. One reason is that I kinda hate the whole beach experience. Another is the GF is incredibly white skinned to the point of being almost see-through (we have to slather 666 SPF on her to make sure she doesn't blister, peel, and scream.) Throw in the traffic, the lugging around all the supplies, cooler, etc ... and I would much rather just swim in someone's pool if I feel the need to cool off.

What is worse is I now have quite a few vacation days I can spread throughout the year. My work would prefer I take them during the summer when it is supposedly slower. Of course, since everyone else takes time off, it doesn't seem like there is any sort of slowdown to me. I'd much rather sit here in the office and enjoy the wonderful air conditioning that try to vacation somewhere hot. Besides, I can never afford to go anywhere so I'd be sitting at home in front of a computer with the AC there .. so why not get paid for it and take my time off when I actually would like!

Anyway, I ended up taking a day off yesterday since they wanted me to "relax" which I never do because I'm not wired like that. The GF has the week off so we just wandered around some outlet malls and things like that, mostly trying to avoid the sun and intense heat. Now I need to install a new power supply into my desktop computer at home since it keeps rebooting. I'd have LOVED to have done that on my day off, I like sleeping in my bed .. which probably wouldn't have happened if I avoided my loving GF! LOL

So, until I can take care of that, my attendance on the intertubes will be sporadic, especially during the weekend. I will probably have time to do the power supply sometime during the weekend, barring any other social events that my beloved has entwined me into attending. Perhaps I will post something more of note than this.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Yeah, I know this is mostly a filler post, but you could always go back and read the last caption post I made since it only has 2 responses so far. . Do you like to go on vacation or do you prefer to take a day or two off, here and there, scattered throughout the year (which is what I tend to do)? What is your favorite season and why?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Haven Quarterly - Issue I - Now Available!

You've seen it listed on other blog sites, and hey, you'll see it posted here too!

The premiere issue of The Haven Quarterly eZine is now available EXCLUSIVELY from your local Haven newsstand! All those that pre-ordered their copy have already received their download information, but just because you didn't pre-order doesn't mean you won't be able to get a copy of your own!

The Haven Quarterly costs $10, ALL proceeds will be used to keep the site online. The eZine is loaded with EXCLUSIVE captions and stories from some of your favorite contributors on the Haven and is available no where else!

People that comment on this blog have contributed to the eZine, like : Jennifer, Martha, Caitlyn-masked, Smitty, Mistress Simone, and me! Others from the Haven like : Petra, Steffie, Kaitlyn, Nadine, Rhianna Nicole, Sissytif, Terri, and Totalditz have also made this a wonderful eZine worthy of the $10, and everything within the 38 pages is exclusive to the eZine.

It really does look like a magazine, with TG advertisements and everything.

Makes a great gift for your favorite Haven member! Just donate in their name!

As an added bonus, Smitty has offered to give the first 50 people who donate a free single panel caption. So not only do you get an awesome web magazine, you also get an awesome cap from a truly prolific and popular captioner. People have already started donating, so don't wait around too long. You'll get the zine no matter what, but you need to act quickly to get in on Smitty's offer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Might want to reschedule that meeting!

EDIT: OK, the actual real sized caption is now available!

I try to make captions for certain members at least every 6 months, just to let them know I'm thinking of them. Ashley M. is one of those people, AND since she doesn't mind crossdressing / she-males / goths ... when I have some ideas that need to be fleshed out, she gets to be the end result.

I was on a little caption jag last night because I had about 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to whip things up (though I had to squeeze dinner in there as well.) I made four captions of a quickie nature, and this might be my favorite out of the batch. What I did was this: I went to an old photo archive I had that I hadn't seen in at least a year to 2 years. I just looked at each photo, and if I hadn't used it as a caption already, I would just glance at it and see if anything popped into my head. If not, I moved on to the next one. That happened often, because if they weren't used back then, it was probably that I hadn't an idea that worked, either due to a viable plot or no one to make a caption for that would fit the picture.

I thought it'd be a fun exercise to see what I could come up with, AND it almost felt like I was being green and recycling old pictures I had saved, instead of mining for new pictures all the time. It was a complete blast, and I'm going to have to do it again when I get that much time without major interruptions.

The only person who I had in mind for these captions were Jillisa, since it was her birthday. At some point I found something that fit her and made one up right away. Anything else, if I came up with the idea, I tried to immediately work towards a certain person. This caption is in that vein, since I didn't want to do a complete change to a woman. I figured that Ashley wouldn't mind, since she's enjoyed captions like this before.

The main thing I thought of when I first saw the picture was ... what if someone hadn't figured out everything bad that had been done to them? I really like the whole "oblivious to what happened until the least opportune time" scenario (which with "can't control the compulsions implanted" is my current favorite method of TG) and the photo gave me a chance to whip something up. A look like THAT is definitely hard to miss, but having her see the small change (the nails) and fix it would be a great set-up / stinger in the end. Not only that, but kind of lead the reader on to think that Ashley caught the makeover in time, but really only had scratched the surface of the changes.

Yes, I understand that hair like that would be hard to miss, but ... what if there was something else in that scalp rub? Perhaps some discrete programming to not notice what happened until the meeting? Is Dee behind all this, or was it just a case of the stylist having fun, or figuring that is what he wanted? Besides, we all have to suspend our disbelief a little now and then, right?

DISCUSSION QUESTION: I don't see captions (or stories) like this nearly enough. Can you out there in blog land refer me to some captions, stories, artists and writers that fit this sort of theme? I don't mind if its TG or TF (I belong to forever changing as well) and love to see/read about people that either are compelled to behave differently or are are somewhat oblivious to what is happening (like they realize they are changing, but still try to be themselves, even as it spirals out of control.) What do you think happened after the caption ended for Ashley? Did Dee have anything to do with the changes?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I give you these 15 ... *crumble* ... 10 Commandments!

Well, I got this question from Formspring a week or so ago, and wasn't able to tackle it at that time. I had a few minutes to whip something up though it probably wasn't what Luke was looking for:

Hi, Can i ask you a TG caption where you are a Goddess and re-write the 10 Commandments for us? I hope that your commandments regarding the new male clothes and style... bye, Luke

I always liked George Carlin's take on the 10 commandments. You can find them on Youtube or elsewhere (I think he wrote it down in "Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops?" where I originally read it) but he boils them down to 2 commandments.

  1. Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.
  2. Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you.
Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin’ pocket. I wouldn’t mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment: Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.
Well, if Carlin can get it down to two, I can double it, since I'm at least 50 percent more alive than he is at this point.

Somewhere else I vaguely remember people posting the 10 or 50 or 100 biggest cliches of TG stories. It was a great read, but still they will pop up all the time. I mean, if you get pregnant, you'll be a female forever! Someone needs to do an etymology on where that first popped up, since apparently EVERYONE decided, "hey, that is a freakin' awesome plot twist!" Well, it was the first few hundred times it was done. To be honest, I've probably used it as well, but sometimes you have to give the people what they want, right? I don't usually mind typical standard operating procedure, but there are a few cliches that just stick in my craw, and trust me, I don't like anything in my craw unless *I* put it there!

I hope people are even slightly amused at that caption, and if not .. there is some eye candy for you at least! Keep the questions coming though and I'll be back in a day or two.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: If a certain TG cliche happened to disappear from the face of the earth, which one(s) would it be to make you the most gleeful?As a corollary, which one(s) do you never tire of, no matter how many times you see it?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Don't Rain on My Parade!

Please view the first caption above first before reading the blog posting.

I had an idea to make a caption that was vague in which way it the plot actually played out. I tried to write it in that either "he actually WAS exactly the way he was in the photo, and Damien was setting him up to be a hot woman wandering around the party making her future fiance look like a lesbian." OR "what we are seeing in the picture is what Kevin thinks is the way he looks, and is actually still himself dressed up in slutty clothing which will be a huge embarrassment to the entire family later on that day."

I originally planned it to be the first reading, that he actually looked like that and that Damien was just yanking his chain. But as I went along, it was intriguing to have a caption where the reality is that the guy THINKS he has changed, but it still himself, with the bonus that he is wearing womens' clothing and setting himself up for some major humiliation as he goes about his daily routine. I just tweaked it a bit so that both scenarios would work, and it'd be up to the reader to decide. However, by the time I posted, I was leaning more towards the second scenario of Kevin still being a guy, but hypnotized to think he looked like a sexy woman.

Something happened around the time I had created the caption, but not posted it. Gay Marriage passed in the state of New York. I thought that was a big deal, since it seemed that it was going to be defeated by ONE vote. One lousy stinking vote! I wanted to use the law passing in a caption, and as I was looking at this, it seemed to call out for a sequel. This usually doesn't happen for me, especially since I deal mostly with single panels. Luckily for me, I had a set of pictures to use (when I made the above one, I was trying to figure out which picture to use) so it was just a matter of snagging another suitable photo.

So I ended up using both images that I had trouble deciding about, and the second one seems more of a "leaving the house now" shot, don't you think? I would like to think that I made it well enough that people would think it was always meant to be a 2 part caption series. The first one ends well enough on its own, but I think the second one does a great job of wrapping it up into a bow and delivering the goods.

Someone did leave a Formspring question, but wanted the answer in a caption form, and I just haven't had much time to devote to whipping one up at the moment. I do hope to have something for it within the next week. Feel free to leave more questions though!

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Would I have been better to keep it at one caption, or does the followup make it better and more complete? IF you read it to be that Kevin was still a dude, but wearing female clothing, did you mind that ... seeing as you don't get to see a cross-dressed dude in the actual caption? Is that scenario the better one, or is Kevin REALLY changing into a girl the most satisfying to you?

I am looking forward to comments on this one, since I could use some other peoples' perspective on what they think.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We've Got It Maid .. yeah, i used that lame title!

This caption was made a few years ago for Cassandra (Angel Winddancer now apparently.). She had it posted in her "use these pictures to caption me" so I knew it was definitely up her alley.

I had some sort of inside joke going on with the post which I have no idea what it was about now (one of the things I had mentioned in the last post, what the hell was it about anyway?) Perhaps someone can remember what this was in reference to?

Yeah, I know ... it's a typical caption ... but it's for YOU, so it's ATYPICAL, since I've not made one like this ... FOR YOU!

Oh well, I'm hoping you will still like it cuz it's ... FOR YOU!!

I'm a really good salesperson huh? Perhaps by underselling it, you'll love it even more cuz it's ... FOR YOU!!!


Have I stressed enough yet that it's ... FOR YOU!!
Yeah, I'm totally stumped. Perhaps my mind is just on some sort of bimbo vacation or something. I'm relatively sure that what I typed in and what I had created for the caption had nothing to do with each other.

Anyway, on to the actual discussion of the caption.

I like the caption, even though it is quite derivative, used a supplied picture, and is not very original at all. Why do I like it then? Probably the same reason why most people watch the same type of sitcom, or read the same genre of books. Its familiar territory, a path that has been walked down upon many times. Its brain candy, and lets your mind shut down and work on a lower level. There is no hidden agenda, and you probably won't remember it the next day. Honestly, I can't recall a single thing about the creation of this caption.

We all need captions like this ... let me repeat that ... We all need to read AND write captions like this one. A caption that goes from point A to point B with no real variations, distractions, or shocks. You know exactly where its going and how its going to end.

They still have to look good, and have a plot and a resolution. But as a palate cleanser, this does a great job of distracting you from everyday life. Just sit back and picture yourself for a few minutes in her body, running on autopilot, and realizing the predicament you are in, trapped and unable to get things back to normal.

I know the dialog is cheesy, and probably borderline racist .. but damn it hits a humiliation button on me that takes my breath away. Perhaps it is because I am pretty verbose and semi-eloquent (when I'm not dropping F bombs) and being trapped in what everyone KNOWS is a horrible stereotype makes it even more delicious. Having to act in such an over the top manner just touches me in the right spot from time to time, whether it is changing positions with the asian girl at the nail salon, the spicy latina hairdresser, or the boy-crazy, gum-chewing, teenage sales clerk at Claire's or Rue 21.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: This caption might hit some of your buttons, but my question is ... what kind of straight-forward TG caption gives you such a visceral feeling of "OH YEAH!"?? One where it doesn't matter if it is witty, or clever, or creative. Is there something that almost ALWAYS get you thrilled to read? It doesn't have to be a genre or plot-line, but just an element that does it to you.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Don't be Hostile to a Hostel

This snappy little caption was made for Martha. My goal was to make something that was simple in execution, yet still touched a few buttons. Oftentimes Martha asks about things that I put in the captions, that tend to be foreign to someone not from America. Mostly pop culture references, but idioms, old sayings, and the like tend to go over her head. It isn't her fault, it is probably mine that I use so many things as short cuts in my elaboration to stories.

I mean, if my friends and I are playing a fighting game on the Xbox 360, and someone gets completely beaten, they are "Drago'd" aka what happened to Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. We drop a lot of dialog from Kevin Smith movies, and have own own verbal shorthand. The more obscure the better, but when trying to make captions that people will want to read, I have to remember to be as inclusive as I can. If anything, I want them to feel that they are in on the situation and what is going on behind it.

The "No! Not the bore worms!" is a dreadful line reading from the Flash Gordon movie. When I was younger, if any of my friends got an over the top punishment (like grounding for a week or no phone, or whatever) we would cry out, "NO! Not the bore worms!" Another quote we'd use a lot was "KAHN!!! from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn as screamed out loud by William Shatner. We'd convert it into "COOOOOORN!" or what ever fit the mood.

So anyway, that is why I try to be opaque but give some guidance on how to view any caption I make. I noticed this more when I had posted some captions to TF Media, Since they didn't have a clue as to WHY Jennifer liked bondage and blowjobs, or that Bren loved revenge stories, or who the hell Dee was and why was she so mean to everyone else. When I am making captions for Haven people (which is 99 percent of what I make) I can often shortcut what is said because "Hey, its for Caitlyn, and everyone reading it already knows what she likes, blah blah blah". One of my goals is to try to make them a little less "insider knowledge" and make them a bit more universal without losing the familiarity for the person that I am creating it for.

If I can create a good balance between the two, then I will have done what I wanted to, and to the best of my ability. I hope that within the context, they won't miss anything TOO important.

Originally, I had the last line being "and then jilling herself to sleep." but when I had Jennifer proof it for me to make sure it was understood, she said, "what is jilling?" I thought that was a relatively common term for female masturbation, the equivalent to "jacking off" but I guess its a regional thing, sort of like how a a sandwich on a long bun can be called: a sub, a torpedo, a grinder, a poor boy, a hoagie, etc ... I just went with the most common way to say what I meant.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Have you ever had an issue with a regional way of getting your point across, whether in a caption, or even just trying to communicate with someone from another area, state, or country? Not so much that it was a total different language. Everyone was speaking the same native tongue but in a much different fashion.

For instance, I always took Hostels to be more of a European thing, and most people in the U.S. didn't know much about them until the horror movie with the same name came out a few years ago.

Also, how much should a caption for someone be tailored exactly towards the recipient and how much should it be more universal?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Lonely Staircase

The photo totally drove the whole idea of this caption. I love Urban Exploring, and envy those in Europe that have so many more cool old buildings than we do here, though being in New England is one of the best spots in the US for doing Urban Exploring.

For those that don't know, Urban Exploring is known in law enforcement circles as "Breaking and Entering" into a abandoned site/building and looking around and taking pictures. Unlike street gangs and wayward youth, we don't ever destroy or vandalize anything, and it pains me to see that when I am in an old space and there is evidence of that going on. There is so much beauty contained in old buildings, and there is definitely an aura about them that transcends time. It pains me to see such wonderful designs in architecture knocked down so that a lifeless parking garage can be erected.

Property owners and police do not want people wandering around as there is liability issues (and of course there are vandals looking to start fires and such) so everything must be done on the down low and secretive. Some places may even consider it a terrorist act because of where they are located. (For a wonderful story/adventure of the London Post Office Tunnels, go to )

Anyway, every building/site has a certain aura. Many of the places I've explored are former Mental Health Asylums and they can be some of the creepiest places you'll find, but also the internal structures have a wonderful design, often with sweeping staircases, and elegant stages/ballrooms with most having tunnels that connect one building to another as part of something called the Kirkbride Layout, which was made during the Victorian Age.

That feeling inspired this caption, but I wanted to turn it into an old elegant hotel. So many events happen in a hotel, both good and bad. Memories tend to happen daily and I figured I would tap into that. The building knew it was going to be demolished soon, but wanted one more moment of glory before colapsing in a cloud of dust. I did edit the photo a bit to emphasize the red hair and make the picture a tad bit gloomier, but not by much.

The caption ends abruptly, and that is by design. Most good spooky stories do .. like "and there, dangling from the door handle, was a bloody hook" or "the call is coming from inside the house!"

It does leave the ending somewhat open though. Is Shauna about to become a ghost bride? Is she going to be able to leave the building before it is demolished? Does the building have a groom in mind as well as a magical reception?

DISCUSSION QUESTION: What do YOU think happens at the end? Have you even gone Urban Exploring and what was the coolest place you've ever been? Any abandoned buildings you'd like to explore in your area?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dressing Down ... Up the Corporate Ladder

A semi-newbie asked about fonts recently, as I gave them a bit of a review of a caption they had posted to the Haven. I like to do this in private so I don't make anyone look bad. Its one thing to ask for criticism, but another to heap it out in bucket loads in front of the entire viewing world.

The main thing you need to think about with regards to the font and the story in general is to use a readable font. In choosing one, it should be flexible, as in it should be clearly legible no matter how small or large it will appear in the caption. Elaborate and intricate fonts can make it hard to figure out what words are. I mean, have you seen many engagement announcements where you take a minute to figure out WHO is actually getting married, and the other particulars? The fonts should also allow for both capital and lower case letters.

On the other hand, I would try to stay away from Times New Roman and Arial (don't get me started on Comic Sans!) since it will give you a generic look. Perhaps you can search out a font that is related to them which still gives you a distinctive feel that isn't quite so cookie-cutter.

I barely ever change my font, and when I do, its for a reason of trying to achieve a certain feeling, I've used girl handwriting for fonts, and if I'm making a fake newspaper or prop, I'll make it as close to the original as possible. However, its for a one-off and I'll get my good old stand-by for the next caption I make.

The next thing I'd like to mention is the contrast between the background and the text. If you don't chose the right color text with the right background, it won't matter how good the story is, people aren't going to risk a headache to read it. I am all for "non-white" backgrounds but neon green with a yellow text color just screams "ignore me!" I tend to go with a deep color background and a light shade for the text as seen in the above caption. The background color usually has some sort of association with the picture (in this case, her dress) and that way, it tends to tie everything together. (Think about how much easier it is to see a white lettered STOP sign on a red background as opposed to a red lettered STOP on a white sign.)

When I have a dialog, I'll often try to match their clothing (or hair, shoes, etc ...)  so that, with a quick glance, you can tell who is talking. When that happens, I want to find a neutral color for the background that won't fight either text color. I suggest using multiple colors for dialog unless you are going the standard route of .. Dave said, "I can't believe that you went back to see the wizard!" "But you told me to!" Jenna replied, while rubbing her nipples in a circular motion ... which I also did up above. It shouldn't be too hard to find the multi-color dialog plan somewhere on this blog.

One thing I would NOT recommend is using different fonts for each speaker. An old saw in publishing is to stay with a single font per page (other than perhaps typesetting the headlines in a different font.) Otherwise, it can be jarring to go from one to another, back and forth.

You may have noticed that I have shadows set when displaying the font in a paragraph. Not every photo-editing program allows you to do this, but it can also bring out the text more and make it zing. Try not to have it too deep or too big; otherwise it will distract viewers from what is actually being read. I have a standard ratio of the depth, size, and direction of the shadow that I've honed over time. I especially need the shadow effects more so now that I am using gradient backgrounds on my captions. It could get buried without that little something to draw your attention inward to the text.

So, to sum up the 2 most important pieces of the font ... make sure that you have a highly readable font, and make sure you set up the font for maximum clarity by setting up a good contrast between the font, the color of the font, and the background you place the font upon.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Now that I've given some basics here, was there anything I missed when it comes to the issue of fonts in a caption? Anything that I might have brushed over that needs to be elaborated upon? What makes a caption more legible for you, the choices relating to fonts that I've discussed above, or the formatting and spacing of the paragraphs in the caption? Both?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Hope all those here in the USA are enjoying a day off or at least working less hard than usual.

Making a TG connection here for everyone, I post you this classic intro to a wonderful TV show from the 70's.

I cannot recall how many times I tried spinning around as a kid, trying to turn into her! Never seemed to work though no matter how dizzy I got!

See you all in a day or two!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Working Out Isn't Really Working Out for you, huh?

Tatiana has among her preferences listed, "the more manly I act, the more feminine I become" and I felt like I could run with that. I know a few weightlifters / bodybuilders, and they have to be focused to do what they do, but often it becomes like a mania. The amount of substances they have to take, and at what time of day .. the repetitions of each amount of weight, and a focus on very detailed spots of their body.

Something tells me they would make great women, because you could really turn those traits around into diets, clothing, fashion designers, etc .. without much difficulty. The prize is looking good, depending on a somewhat pre-designed set of rules.

This obsession is definitely annoying for those that are not into it, and to outsiders, it seems more like narcissistic behavior. The self-centered nature of the hobby makes romantic partners take notice, and I would think that if magic existed, THIS situation would be happening daily throughout the world!

I don't think I even scratched the surface of what could be made with this caption. I am pretty sure the picture was from a set (I only had 2 pictures) so if I had more, it could have been a multi-panel caption easily. Perhaps I will revisit the concept of this again soon, provided I find a good photo set of a hot chick working out. I still owe a few people, and there are many I haven't captioned in awhile. I can think of a few that would probably enjoy it.

I have a few things in mind for topics (in ways to make captions look better and more polished) coming after the long weekend is over. I would still like to see some questions from the peanut gallery to flesh things out.

Have a great long weekend if you are in the US, and be safe! If you are out of the country, enjoy yourself!