I Like Making ASCII Art

This post was originally posted to Squidoo while I was writing there.
respectasciiartistsMaybe you have seen ASCII art and didn’t know what it was.

I make pictures using my computer keyboard – the characters of the keyboard, the text letters, punctuation marks and the numbers too. I enjoy ASCII art. Working with text to make a picture instead of words is like a puzzle, trying to fit the pieces into the right places and finding which text characters work best in which spaces.

I always thought I couldn’t draw so ASCII art became my outlet to put images from my mind into something I could show in print. (Because no one else can see all the stuff in your head).

My Experience as an ASCII Artist

1996 to Current

For me, ASCII art began in 1996 when I was new online and noticed amazing work done in keyboard text and used as signatures in email and online forums. I had to search to find the actual name, ASCII art. Those were the pre-Google days. I actually found it by asking someone on a website which was a one man project. I wish I still had the link so I could give credit to him. But, I don’t even know if the site is still active, or even still online.

My first ASCII art was a house with a tree and other touches added in. It wasn’t any house in particular so I had the freedom to create it however I liked. It did not turn out as well as I hoped. I was glad to have completed something in ASCII art myself but it wasn’t something I was going to show off.

In 1998 I found a group of ASCII artists on the newsgroups. You can still find those newsgroups, they were eventually taken over (and the archives kept) by Google. Take a look at Google Groups, search for ASCII art and you will find two groups in the alt and rec sections. There are actually even more ASCII art groups if you look for those in German and other European languages. Now and then I use a translator online because there is some really great ASCII art in those groups too.

I met several artists in 1998. My early attempts were given fair critics, some suggestions and only a little snickering behind the computer screens where I couldn’t see it. Joan Stark became famous for her ASCII art in those days. But, there were so many others who had wonderful ASCII art too. Joan was the most prolific and later, the most broken hearted as more and more of her ASCII art was stolen – credit for the work ripped off or claimed by someone else.

For a few years in between the late 1990′s and about 2010 I dropped out of making ASCII art myself. Most of the people from the group were also winding down. Our newsgroup was plagued with spam, our art was being stolen, some was taken to be coloured by people using IRC (Internet Relay Chat) but they also took the credit for our work off and claimed it was their work because they had changed it so much. Another problem was someone who took the art and perverted it into obnoxious jokes and then posted it to the group just to aggravate everyone. Myself, I was disheartened when a set of jack-o-lanterns I created was ripped off – a woman in Australia claimed them as her own. She even posted them to the ASCII art newsgroup and asked everyone what they thought of her great ASCII work.

At the end of 2010 something sparked in me and I once again took up ASCII art, just for myself. I had enjoyed it so much when I was just creating something for myself and then showing and getting feedback, tips and encouragement in the group. Almost no one was left from the group and I have only tracked down a few of them since 2010. But, I found it didn’t matter. My skill had somehow improved over the years, even though I had done almost nothing.

I began making ASCII art for holidays, like Christmas and Halloween and some which had very little (to none) ASCII art – like Groundhog Day. It became fun again and I didn’t mind working alone.

Lately I have been getting requests for ASCII art. I didn’t put my name out there so it was nice to be asked for something special. I have made ASCII art for a print literary magazine. They offered to pay but never did, so I won’t be mentioning their name. The rest has been freebie work and at least it’s honest freebie work. I have created ASCII art for a text based game and have a ‘contract’ to work on larger images for another game which wants ASCII art backgrounds. I’ve also created ASCII art for family events like a friend’s wedding, the birth of my sister’s first baby and my nephew, Zack, who started living on his own while attending his first year of university.

Doing More With ASCII Art

ASCII art in itself is nice but you can do things with the ASCII art you create. I’ve got a list of things you may not have thought of.

ASCII Art in HTML Source Code
Now and then if you look at the source code (the HTML code) of websites you can find ASCII art. Its like a secret surprise for those who dig a little deeper.

ASCII Art as Image Tags
If you know what the alt image tags are (and where they are) you could give this a try.

Passwords in ASCII Art
One line ASCII art can be used as a unique password.

Word Play with ASCII Art
Rebus Puzzles, also known as Wordies can be created with ASCII art.

Places to Find ASCII Art Online

Text art pictures created with basic keyboard characters in fixed width fonts.

Scoop.it: ASCII Art – An ASCII art feed from a variety of online sources and things I find myself and pick for the feed.

ASCII Art Universe – Very large (and still active) collection of ASCII art.

Chris’s ASCII Art Collection – Still actively maintained but a more selective collection of ASCII art.

ASCII Art Dictionary – My favourite ASCII art collection, the easiest to search, but not as actively maintained.

ASCII Art Groups

These are places to find other artists, as well as more ASCII art.

ASCII Art on Google Groups – Sharing and discussing the world of textmode art.

ASCII Art on Flickr – Post all your ASCII art pictures, artwork, or other multimedia illustrating the use of ASCII characters as artwork.

ASCII and Text Art on Facebook  For the expressive artist inside all of us.

ASCII Art on Facebook – Community page for ASCII art.

ASCII Art on Deviant Art – A place to add ASCII art.

ASCII Art Wiki – ASCII art galleries, resources and ideas. Focusing on ASCII text art but will include typewriter art and other typographic text based art.

These were comments from the original post on Squidoo. I couldn’t find a good way to import them but didn’t want to leave them behind. Right now the links to the images and profiles will work. I expect that will change when the entire site is due to be pulled offline in October, 2014.

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To have all Military Cross-shaped headstones removed

Just think if they make them remove all religion from headstones will they turn it retroactive and have all the  crosses removed from all the graves. What will they replace them with? A “thanks for your death” medal?

Below comes from an email forwarded to me:

The first  to the last picture are taken at the beach in  Santa Barbara right next to the  Pier.   There is a veterans group that  started putting a cross and candle for every  death in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The amazing  thing is that they only do it on the  weekends.

They  put up this graveyard and take it down every  weekend. Guys sleep in the sand next to it and  keep watch over it at night so nobody messes  with it.   Every cross has the name,  rank and D.O.B. and D.O.D. on it.Very moving,  very powerful.   So many young  volunteers.   So many 30 to 40 year  olds as well.

Amazing!

The ACLU  (American Civil Liberties Union) has filed a  suit to have all Military Cross-shaped  headstones removed.

cid:A28D4BBA8CC943C08C4505976A2522F3@GilbertPC

And that they filed  another suit to end prayer from the military  completely.   They’re making great  progress.

The Navy Chaplains can no  longer mention Jesus’s name in prayer thanks to  the ACLU and our new administration.

cid:810ECA51ACE145AFAB2CC397F6FC5B75@GilbertPC

Keep forwarding  this e-mail to others.   I’m not  breaking this one.   I’m asking that  you don’t break it either.

cid:2769C148C91A4084BCA486016D95D1A5@GilbertPC

If I get it a 1000  times, I’ll forward it a 1000 times!    Prayer for all allied soldiers… please don’t  break it!   Please send this on after  a short prayer.

Please, let us  pray:  GOD BLESS  YOU FOR PASSING IT ON!

When Wax Attacks

I don’t know where this came from originally. I wish I did. I’d gladly link back. My Mom posted it on Facebook, that’s how I found it.

My night began as any other normal weeknight. Come home, fix dinner, and play with the kids. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours: ‘Maybe I should pull the waxing kit out of the medicine cabinet.’

So I headed to the site of my demise: the bathroom. It was one of those ‘cold wax’ kits. No melting a clump of hot wax, you just rub the strips together in your hand, they get warm and you peel them apart and press them to your leg (or wherever else) and you pull the hair right off.

No mess, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I’m not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out. (YA THINK!?!)

So I pull one of the thin strips out. Its two strips facing each other stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in so I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. (‘Cold wax,’ yeah…right!) I lay the strip across my thigh. Hold the skin around it tight and pull. It works!

OK, so it wasn’t the best feeling, but it wasn’t too bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire.

With my next wax strip I move north after checking on the kids, I sneak back into the bathroom, for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet.

Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, covering the right half of my hoo-ha and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek (it was a long strip) ..

I inhale deeply and brace myself…RRRRIIIPPP!!!!

I’m blind!!! Blinded from pain!!!!….OH MY GAWD!!!!!!!!!

Vision returning, I notice that I’ve only managed to pull off half the strip. CRAP! Another deep breath and RIPP! Everything is spinning and spotted.

I think I may pass out…must stay conscious…must stay conscious. Do I hear crashing drums??? Breathe, breathe…OK, back to normal.

I want to see my trophy – a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold up the strip!

There’s no hair on it.

Where is the hair??? WHERE IS THE WAX???

Slowly I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see the hair. The hair that should be on the strip…it’s not! I touch. .. I am touching wax!!

I run my fingers over the most sensitive part of my body, which is now covered in cold wax and matted hair. Then I make the next BIG mistake…remember my foot is still propped upon the toilet? I know I need to do something. So I put my foot down.

Sealed shut! My butt is sealed shut. Sealed shut!

I penguin walk around the bathroom trying to figure out what to do and think to myself ‘Please don’t let me get the urge to poop. My head may pop off!’
What can I do to melt the wax?

Hot water!! Hot water melts wax!! I’ll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right???

*WRONG!!!!!!!*

I get in the tub – the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment – I sit.

Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of the tub…in scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn’t melt cold wax.

So, now I’m stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cemented myself to the porcelain!! God bless the man who had convinced me a few months ago to have a phone put in the bathroom!!!!!

I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone. It’s a very good conversation starter ‘So, my butt and hoo-ha are glued together to the bottom of the tub!’

There is a slight pause. She doesn’t know any secret tricks for removal but she does try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located, ‘Are we talking cheeks or hole or hoo-ha?’

She’s laughing out loud by now…I can hear her. I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box.

YEAH!!!!! Right!! I should be the joke of someone else’s night. While we go through various solutions. I resort to trying to scrape the wax off with a razor. Nothing feels better than to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued shut, stuck to the tub in super hot water and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off!! By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike and I’m pretty sure I’m going to need Post-Traumatic Stress counseling for this event.

My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace….the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax.

What do I really have to lose at this point? I rub some on and … OH MY GAWD!!!!!!! The scream probably woke the kids and scared the dickens out of my friend. Its sooo painful, but I really don’t care.
‘IT WORKS!!

It works!!’ I get a hearty congratulation from my friend and she hangs up. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair…?

THE HAIR IS STILL HERE…….ALL OF IT!

So I recklessly shave it off. Heck, I’m numb by now. Nothing hurts.
I could have amputated my own leg at this point.

Next week I’m going to try hair color……

Now share this one and give your friends a good laugh!

The Game is Afoot!

I got this in email but it’s kind of fun. You could do it in blog comments. Everyone makes a one word comment and then posts the game to their own blog for everyone to comment there too. If you carry on the game add a note to your one word post so we can follow to your blog. Kind of like visiting all the neighbours.

The Game is on!!! And you’re IT! Describe ME in one word.
Just one single word, be honest if you are going to respond. Send it to me and to me only.
Then send this message to all your friends and see how many strange & interesting things they say about you.
This is really fun. Here’s how to play:
1.) Hit the reply key and send one word. 2.) Then return to this message, and forward it to your friends (including me) and see what people say about you when limited to one word!!!

Words sent to me so far (in email):

talented
curious
creative

Rosie's Survey

Welcome to the Summer 2005 edition of getting to know your friends.
What you are supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste it onto a new e-mail that you’ll send. Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to a whole bunch of friends including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends, if you did not know them already.

1. IF YOU COULD BUILD A SECOND HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE? I don’t have a first home. I’d pick a house in the mountains of BC but for more practical reasons I would be near family, around this area. I wouldn’t really want a second home, too much cleaning, fixing and expense.

2. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? Sexy lingerie. It’s something you wear secretly, just for yourself.

3. THE LAST CD YOU BOUGHT? I bought Dungeon Keeper Gold for a buck from the GoodWill store, a few weeks ago.

4. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? When Zack is visiting I’m at at 7:00 or earlier. Otherwise it depends on how late I was up working the night before.

5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? The fridge I guess, can you imagine being without one? Hauling blocks of ice around, etc.

6. IF YOU COULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I played drums in high school. I’d rather listen than play really.

7. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV? Neither one. Both tend to be owned by people who need their driving skills reassessed.

8. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE AFTERLIFE? I believe in reincarnation, recycling just makes sense.

9. FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK? Anne of Green Gables, the series I guess. Pippi Longstocking too.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON? They’re all good in different ways.

11. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Shapeshifting, I’d have endless options and be able to explore the bottom of the ocean, the tops of the tallest trees and the fullest bank vaults.

12. IF YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT? None.

13. CAN YOU JUGGLE? No, but I love watching juggling.

14. Which person from your past would you like to talk to again? My Grandfather and Grandmother Scherle and her sisters.

15. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Whatever one it is now.

16. WHAT’S IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR? Stuff to be done which will likely become junk to throw out before it ever gets done. Also a sleeping back and other road trip essentials.

17. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? Hamburger

18. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER? Mainly wildflowers like sweet william (carnations), violets (violas), golder marjoram (smells divine), lemon verbena (also smells great), cacti (one kind specifically but I can never find the right name for it) and tulips.

19. FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Something with a lot of chocolate, vanilla and ribbons of caramel.

20. PLAIN, BUTTERED, OR SALTED POPCORN? Plain but I seldom make popcorn up.

21. FAVORITE COLOR? Deep, dark red.

22. FAVORITE SANDWICH? Club house.

23. ON VACATION, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? Russia.

24. FAVORITE BRAND OF CLOTHING? I don’t look at name brands, just the clothes, colours, style, etc.

25. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Toronto, Don Mills area.

26. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH ON TV? I don’t watch sports on TV but I go out to see my nephew play soccer.

27. COKE OR PEPSI? diet Coke

28. FAVORITE SNACK? Ice cream

Celebrating Late-Blooming Women

prillboyle.com tips

A Few Things I Learned From Writing This Book:

1. BEGIN FROM A POINT OF CLARITY. Ask yourself: ‘What am I doing that I want to stop? What am I not doing that I want to begin? At this juncture, you may not know what your passions and gifts are, but undoubtedly you are clear about something. Start there.

2. TAKE ONE STEP AND SEE HOW IT FEELS. If it doesn’t feel right, try something else. Remember, the first step is the hardest. When you’re stuck in your life, it takes a lot of effort to get unstuck. But once you make the effort and start traveling in a new direction, it’s relatively easy to keep moving forward.

3. BE PERSISTENT. Almost everyone experiences setbacks and loses momentum. The trick is not to lose heart or wallow in self-pity. Most people give up too soon.

4. FOCUS ON YOUR GOAL RATHER THAN THE OBSTACLES. Don’t say, ‘I’ll never get hired because of age discrimination,’ or ‘I can’t do this because I don’t have enough money.’ Like a ballerina who looks at a spot in the distance as she pirouettes across the stage, keep your eyes fixed on your dreams.

5. REMEMBER THAT NOTHING YOU LIKE TO DO IS TIRESOME. From the outside looking in, it sounds daunting to go to medical school at 46, join the Peace Corps at 65, or become a flight attendant at 71. But the truth is that it isn’t exhausting; it’s exhilarating. It’s far more tiring to do something you don’t enjoy.

6. CULTIVATE A SENSE OF HUMOR. Laugh often, especially at yourself!

7. YA GOTTA BELIEVE. If you don’t believe in yourself and your dreams, who will? Remember the ’69 Mets (or the ’04 Red Sox, for that matter) and the possibility of glorious, come-from-behind miracles. When one reaches an impasse, emotional or otherwise, that'”