Updating and cleaning up

It’s been a while since I really took a good look at this website, and it shows. I’ve been so focused on the current job that a lot of the creative focus I had for this site went by the wayside, along with my creative drive as a whole. I’m right now in the process of giving everything here a clean up, not including ripping out whatever old WordPress plugins and getting the site up to date. I’m trying to get back to thinking about creative projects again, and what I want to have on this blog again. One of the ideas I have is to just do some blog posts about some random things I like, combined with coding projects or other things I can call my own.

More to come sooner than later.

Wasteland Weekend 2018 Photos

Here are the photos I took at Wasteland Weekend 2018.

Wasteland Weekend 2018

It took a while for me to get these published- my main computer died last year, and recovering these photos became the hardest part of the recovery process. On top of all that, these photos were meant to be part of my test run with the newer Lightroom- that didn’t go so well. But I finally got it done, after a few hours of research and exporting of photos.

So go take a look at the complete set on Flickr, but I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites from the event.

Wasteland Weekend 2018: Wasteland Kratos

Wasteland Weekend 2018

Wasteland Weekend 2018: Jugger Warmups

Wasteland Weekend 2018: Juggers

Wasteland Weekend 2018: Juggers Square Off

Thank you to the Juggers for letting me tag along- hope I can do it again soon.

The return of this blog

2019 has been an odd time for me so far. I planned to bring this website back in tandem with projects and content I had been working on, but life has a way to throw such plans sideways (and then some).

My previous employer closed suddenly last February as the owner of the nonprofit passed away. It’s one thing to be laid off, but mix in a pinch of shock and a heaping of grief and anger- you can begin to imagine what it’s been like so far. I’ve been told more than once by others how impressed they were to see me handling it all.

As I searched for a new job, I realized I needed to get this site up sooner than later. So as I’m searching for a new job/career path, I resurrected this dinky WordPress blog with a default theme. I wish I had the time to make some bespoke theme, but I did what I could to stylize it, and will probably keep tweaking it until I have the time to properly make something that’s mine.

I am working on a portfolio for this site, and I do have some content waiting for me to publish publicly. So expect to see more. When? Possibly after a few more interviews this week, maybe next week. Things are still tumultuous and I really don’t know where things are headed anymore, so leaving myself with nebulous goals is a safe bet for me.

To close it out, here’s a copy of my header image I threw onto my Flickr account- one of my favorite photos I’ve taken of Los Angeles about two-ish years ago on my iPhone 6.

Slice of LA

Managed to get that shot while out working my second job and it still manages to be one of my favorite photos I’ve ever done. Delivering alcohol in the greater Los Angeles area resulted in me meeting all sorts of characters and stories I keep thinking about transcribing one day. If I ever get the chance to, at least.

Thermal Selfie

I haven’t written much in a while.

Life gets the best of me, and work has been such a giant part of my life that I neglect to write. Or do anything but work related stuff.

I hate that. I need to change that.

I’m working on some more longform stuff, but before I go, a picture.

Here’s a selfie I took of myself against a metal wall using a thermal camera I got to mess around with. Just my body heat reflecting off of a metal elevator wall at work.

Thermal Selfie

In Praise of Fountain

I’m getting back to screenwriting.

It’s mostly short film or small fun sketches I’ve been meaning to do more of, but I’m no longer writing screenplays in any of the traditional applications.

When one considers the places you would usually see the screenwriter work in, one would probably name Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter or Celtx. For me, it’s a rather new (comparatively) writing language named Fountain.

I started looking into alternatives other than my previous writing app, Celtx. I realized that if Celtx were to stop development, I’d have no way to really take the screenplays out to another app. None of the other apps out there really have very good exporting tools, outside of taking them to PDFs. I was quite interested, however, when hearing about the Fountain writing language as an almost perfect solution to the problem.

So a screenplay that would look like this on my iPhone:

Fountain Before

Would turn out looking something like this:

Fountain After

Once I got the hang of writing with it, I was estatic. I took some time and even converted all my Celtx based projects (mostly old projects, but I still wanted to have them in the new format) over to Fountain using an application named Trelby (Windows/Linux only). There’s even an app that can help me convert it to Final Draft, if need be- Highland (Mac only). Hell, even the phenomenal Scrivener has support for Fountain.

So for now, I will say that I am very, very happy in the new workflow- it’s making writing so much easier. The Fountain files are just plain text files, so any program that can handle text files automatically becomes a screenwriting program for me.

And as a nerdy, nerdy screenwriter- I love it.

CMS Hunting

Oh how I love CMS (or for the layman- Content Management Systems) hunting.

Back in the day- you only had a few CMS systems to choose from. Early attempts at making a site a few years ago had me going absolutely crazy for the Mambo CMS engine. Soon after, Joomla was my pick for a few sites I designed for others, for not only being based on the Mambo framework, but it’s flexibility.

At one point, back in the days I used to help with the Cornstalker Webcomics Collective, an entire site based in Joomla was being designed for the group. I had to ditch the website, along with its commerce systems, because some of the artists did not want to learn another login for it.

Augh. Bad memories, whatever. It was a great learning experience doing that group.

Anyways, today, there is a lot more to choose from. And the dynamic nature of some of them has me really tempted to toy around with them for my upcoming site.

Webhook has been the one CMS project that I’ve been wanting to really play around with- especially considering its design to keep data as crazy as I want it to be. I’ll be holding off on it, however, until it’s reached some maturity in it

Now, the main choice nowadays for websites is, of course, WordPress.

It’s one of the most (and prevalent) CMS systems out there. It’s what this blog is on, and what my future project is going to use. Why?

  • Support for it is unparalleled- even if you’re running it on your own server.
  • Themes are easy to come by- I’m actually really impressed by how good some of the pro themes look like. I’m considering buying one and remixing it to my uses rather than spending extra time getting the site to look similar to what I want.
  • Plugins are plentiful, and can add an extra level of functionality you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

The time I would spend researching and trying to develop with the new CMS would take forever for me nowadays. Now, I need something that will work and will work well.

WordPress it is.

Infamous Photos

I seriously love the PS4’s ability to snap photos at any time. It’s a godsend to have it capture footage or just a quick screenshot whenever I need to.

Here are some of my favorites I’ve taken while playing Infamous: Second Son.
In the Rain - inFAMOUS_Second_Son™

Billboard - inFAMOUS Second Son™

Brother - inFAMOUS Second Son™

dj orta dot com.

I’ve been holding off on launching my own personal website for a few years now.

And when I mean launch, actually launch and use the fricking thing. I had installed WordPress on it a millennia ago, importing everything over from my livejournal upon it. I started double posting things on both livejournal and WordPress at the same time, actually, using MarsEdit as an intermediary (I seriously can’t say enough good things about that app- buy it if you do any sort of blogging on more than one site. Hell, when I posted on insulinfunk years and years ago, I would keep all my drafts on MarsEdit before I published them on the site proper) before I gave up on Livejournal a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been posting things to my original URL (danielorta.com) from time to time, when my mind actually remembered to post things to it.

The biggest problem I’ve been facing is my own satisfation. I’ve been trying to get something off the ground, something I can be proud of. And I’ve tried- time and time again. I’ve tried multiple ideas and designs, and honestly, I’m sick and tired of the whole process. I finally have a simple, clean design I’m satisfied with.

So in short- I’m relaunching my website, now here, at DJ Orta dot com. It’ll have a small version of my portfolio work (done so far) along with some other goodies.

Got to see Conan

I went to see Conan today. For those who see the show tonight: Biscuts!

I got to see Conan.

I haven’t been to a live taping a show for a long time now. I wrack my mind right now trying to come up with great examples of where I’ve been at, but the last place I remember is seeing American Gladiator at the tail end of the show’s lifespan (or I think I watched that show. My memory is fuzzy on that part, but for some odd reason, I remember seeing a show with a giant foam ball gun, so I assume it was that show)

You never see the behind the scenes of it all- and it was amazing to watch. Everyone had everything fucking down. The wait to get in line, to get to the studio, to be seated, to watch the show itself took absolutely forever. But once it started- it took basically the show’s length for it to be shot- save for a few camera repositions, it was 30 minutes in and out, musical guests, comedy sketches, everything.

But the remarkable thing was the joy on everyone’s faces. The look on Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band is of joy as members bound through the studio audience, pumping them up with songs. And one cannot forget Conan himself- who prowls around, talking to all the members of the crew as they prepare the next segment easily. He towers over everyone in height, yet he was just one of the guys, being friendly and overall incredibly kind.

It was a blast to watch- I’m definitely considering going again soon.

By the way, I was on episode #412, “The Very Understated Adventures of Captain Beige”. The best you could see of me was you see was a giant orange blob, where I melded with my friend together into the audience.

Me on Conan