I Designed the Grand View Site!

More proof that i am in fact a designer: Grand View University’s new web site went up earlier this week, and the original design was done by none other than yours truly.

On this project i was temporarily filling in for the other designer here at Spindustry, Jeff, and so once i completed a home page design it was handed off to him and he’s the one who built the site and fleshed out the design. So, to be fair, here are both screenshots:

Grand View - Conservative
The original design, as it looked when it left my hands

The New Grand View.edu
The new live site!

Go check it out! 🙂


Proof That I’m a Web Designer

Today marks the first time since i became a professional web designer THREE YEARS AGO that a website i designed and don’t dislike has gone live. I created the design of maybe half a dozen websites that are out there already, but this is the first one i’m proud enough of to actually put a link to on this blog.

I give you IowaCASA:


Check it out! This is one of Spindustry’s less-customized sites, so it isn’t my absolute best work but i think it looks pretty nice.

Des Moines Arts Festival ’10

Yesterday Mom, Nathan and i braved the sweltering heat to visit the The Des Moines Arts Festival. As you may know, it’s an event i like to attend every year and have blogged about before. Last year we were able to walk to the festival from our loft, which was pretty nice. This year we drove, and it was well worth the ride and the heat.

I was drawn to some of the same artists this year that i have enjoyed in years past, which means that if i had, say, and extra $1,300 lying around it would be well worth it to invest in a painting since my taste isn’t changing too rapidly. If only! Anyway, here are some of my faves:

Bruce Holwerda
Bruce Holwerda

I posted about this artist last time, but i was very happy to see him return to the festival this year because i think his paintings are so lovely and interesting.

<a href="http://www.artfairinsiders.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenName=0wbb7034mvc2w&page=2&quot; target="_blank"Rick Preston
Rick Preston

I’m always drawn to the photography, as you can see…

Andrew Sofjani
Andrew Sofjani

David Powers
David Powers

It seems that strong, simple forms are what i enjoy the most. There were a couple of other painters that i enjoyed a lot but they have crap for websites so i couldn’t find good images to post. I also wanted to mention Keith Grace‘s work again but i couldn’t find images of his new object-on-gray pieces.

Check ’em out, and if you missed the festival this year, i highly recommend that you not miss out again next year!

Can’t Stop the Serenity

Yesterday evening Nathan and i attended an event called Can’t Stop the Serenity. (Here’s the page for the Des Moines Chapter.) Basically, it was a showing of the cult movie Serenity down at the Fleur, but it was so much more than that.


The first time i saw this movie was about three years ago and I pretty much hated it. I was told that without the context of the Syfy show Firefly on which it’s based, it probably wasn’t as good. So this spring when Nathan started watching episodes of Firefly on Netflix Instant Play, i wasn’t very interested at first. However, unlike Stargate which failed to interest me even after several chances, the show soon drew me in and Nathan and i finished up the one and only season together in no time. Afterward we watched Serenity, which was SO MUCH BETTER the second time.

So then a couple weeks ago i heard via twitter about this event called Can’t Stop the Serenity. There are a lot of Firefly fans out there (called “browncoats”) whose love for the series has only been fueled by the fact that it was canceled so early on and by their hopes that it might be revived again some day. These fans get together once a year in quite a few different cities around the world to watch Serenity on the big screen. I figured the event would probably be a nerdfest and thus a pretty awesome time. I had no idea.

First there was a costume contest which we missed and which we realized once we got there that we probably could have won if we’d dressed up. There were door prizes which included Anime box sets, chopsticks-and-pocky combinations and Firefly fanclub memorabilia. We won some fake Firefly universe currency – w00t! There was a showing of Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which we discovered is a short musical starring Neil Patrick Harris that was directed by Joss Whedon, the same guy who did Firefly (and a lot of other stuff, it turns out). That was pretty enjoyable. And then, of course, there was Serenity. (Which was STILL BETTER the third time around.)

But besides all of the delightful nerdery, there was a really good cause for all of this. I knew that the proceeds were going to be donated to a charity, but i was excited to learn that Equality Now is an organization that essentially fights against the things i hate the most in this world: rape, domestic violence, reproductive rights violations, trafficking, female genital mutilation, and gender discrimination. Unfortunately, i didn’t learn about this until after the silent auction had ended or i probably would have ponied up at least fifty bucks for a graphic novel to benefit this organization right then and there. (I can still donate, of course, but i won’t get a sweet comic book out of it.)

The main aim of Equality Now is to facilitate awareness about the atrocities being committed against women every day all over the world. It upsets me enough that i find it hard to write about, but this is something i think is really important so please check out their website and be sure to like them on facebook!

So nerdy sci-fi love + proceeds going to a great cause = a really awesome event that i’m already planning to attend again next year. And with that, i’ve just destroyed whatever “cool points” i may have gained with my big bro by drinking IPAs with him over the past couple of weeks. 😉

Transitions & Adventures

Happy Monday, everybody! This weekend was marked by some fun new experiences. At the end of the day on Friday my workplace bid adieu to one of our designers by having a happy hour drink with him on the company’s dime. Gotta love that – especially because it means my job security just increased a fair amount. That’s a feeling i’ve been waiting for for years.*

Saturday we celebrated my friend Calee‘s move back to Ames from Des Moines by hitting the town with her. We got barbecue at Uncle Wendel’s and then went to see the Des Moines Derby Dames‘ roller-derby bout. We lost to the Old Capital City Roller Girls, but it was a fun experience despite the fact that i had to sit on a concrete floor in my short skirt. Hopefully next time they’ll do it in a venue with more seating.


After that we headed to The Lift where i had a grand total of 3.25 drinks and ended up drunk enough to say quite a few silly things, but unfortunately not so wasted that i couldn’t remember them. That Bradie was trying to kill me. I don’t really want to talk about it except to say that i’m sorry if i offended anyone but i had a good time. 🙂

Yesterday evening we went over to my grandpa’s house where my mother had been seeing barred owls in the trees for the past few nights. At first we didn’t see them, but Mom was sure they were around because of the commotion from the smaller birds. Sure enough, we spotted one just as we were about to leave. There are four of them hanging around; two adults and two nearly-full-sized babies. We watched all four fly from branch to branch, saw them get pecked by the smaller birds, made noises at the juveniles who made noises back at us and bobbed their heads, and saw one adult feed her babies a small animal.

As it was getting dark, one of the younger owls perched on a post right in the backyard. I got about five paces away from it to try to take photos. It didn’t really work out because of the darkness, but it was amazing to just watch her calmly examine the ground for mice and occasionally swivel her head around to look at us.

This is how i wish my photos had turned out.

It’s been hot and humid here the past couple of days, and that will probably continue for the rest of the week. I’ve been working out several times a week in preparation for dress shopping, but i’m not sure how i’m going to run outside now. I don’t do hot & muggy.

*EDIT: Oh man, i forgot to write about our awesome waitress on Friday night! We went to a place called Paradise Pizza in WDM that we’d never been to, and we had a waitress who was probably just starting out. And had probably never been to a restaurant before. She brought us our beers with straws in them, and brought the check out to us before asking how the meal was or if we wanted any dessert. She wandered around looking bored when she wasn’t helping us. It was an all-around hilarious thing to see. 😆

I took photos!

How could i resist? Everything is so beautiful right now with spring in full bloom.

Our Daffodils

We had one little bunch of daffodils in the back yard about two weeks ago.

Our Tulip 2

Now we have a single tulip in the front yard.


…And we have a bunch of these little bluebells in the front & back.

Tree Blossoms

The trees down at the park are starting to bloom. It’s really a nice little park, though the waterfowl are few and far between at the pond.

Tree Buds

Happy spring!! 🙂

Decoratively Challenged

I need some help deciding what to do with a couple of spots in the new place. A few things are literally nailed into the walls so i just have to work around them. One was the giant mirror above the fireplace, which i’ve complimented by placing every metallic object i own on the mantle. I’m a little more clueless about these two spots though:


Number one is these shelves. I like them, i just don’t really have anything to put on them since all of our books just fill up the bookcase. I thought of buying some random decorative books to fill up at least one shelf, but i’m not really into useless decorative things, as a rule. Any better ideas?

Number two is this …thing in the bathroom:


This is a pretty poor picture, but there are five wooden pegs protruding from that panel (there should be six; one is missing). I feel like there’s something out there that would look really cute hanging from odd wooden pegs in the bathroom, but i can’t put my finger on it. What do you guys think?