Freshly Pressed – SMACK!

My, my, my.  Would you lookie here.  Seems things just got mighty fresh up in this crazy madhouse.  I’ve just been Freshly Pressed for the first time.  Let’s hope it goes a little better than another first time of mine that ended up with a lot of crying and a swift slap to the face.  SMACK!  You pig!  How was I supposed to know that girls don’t like it when a person makes oinking noises just as the mood starts to turn romantic?  I was only trying to keep things loose and fun.

My, my, my.  Freshly Pressed.  Pretty stinking fresh all right.

I was told to dust off the welcome mat and be prepared for a lot of new readers.   I just started working on a new TV pilot and it’s been kicking my ass.  70 hours of work in the past 5 days.   My apologies, but I didn’t have a whole lot of time to prepare.  I’ve barely had time to eat or to sleep, but of course I did make time for a few tall glasses of whiskey last night.  I got rip roaring drunk with my former room mate, and we had a grand, old time from the parts of the evening that I can remember.  It made for a very fun 14 hours of work today.  And that is why I’m the dimmest of all the dimwits.  A real, genuine, dingaling ding dong to the max.  Better get used to it.

For you newbies, I’d advise you to read the post I just did called “Chris Hinton’s Pathway To Success.”  It’s as good a place to start as any.  If you make it through that one, well, then you’re just the sorta company we like to keep around here.   Crazy and mad and fun, and plenty of oinking noises to go around for everyone.  SMACK!  It’s a real nice crew of diverse folks, and I think you’ll all get along just fine if you choose to stick around.

Welp, you dimwits.  I’m tired and I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.  I was just gonna leave it at thank you, but as is the case with me, a simple thank you is never quite enough to show my appreciation.

Freshly Pressed is recycling an old post, so thought I’d go ahead and do some recycling of my own.  So how’s about an old photo of me wearing a sleeveless fur sweater that I bought from the women’s section of the thrift store, showing off the chest hairs a little bit for a sexy, fresh photo shoot I did for a Brut by Fabergé men’s cologne ad.  It’s autographed for you and everything, so feel free to pin it to your fridge or hang it in your cubicle at work.  For you my fellow dimwits.  A big thank you.

real men wear brut

I’ll be replying to comments, mixing it up a bit with you rowdy, kind folks whenever I get some time.  It might be a while.  But for now, I have to polish off a tall glass of Franzia boxed wine to cap off a very successful day.  Let’s hope I don’t spill it all over my bed like the last time.  Wine is impossible to get out of your sheets, and it looks like a crime scene took place in my bed.  This is probably a bad time to mention to the new readers that I’m single.  Screw it.  I’m going with it and letting ‘er rip.  Gotta run.  Welcome.

Photoshop Lessons – How To Make A Purple Heart Vietnam War Veteran Commemorative Poster

So I met a nice gentlemen when I was out scouting yesterday.  Didn’t quite catch his name, but we got to talking.  It was mostly him talking.  He was going on about war, purple hearts, Charlie this, and Charlie that.  I don’t know.  He keeps rambling, so I told him, “Hey buddy, while you’re flapping your gums a million miles a minute, lean up against the parking meter for me, would ya?  I’m gonna take a nice photo of you for my Photoshop tutorial if that’s cool with you.”

The gentlemen told me that he seen the fork-tongued Devil in his living room back when he lived in Kansas, then he says “Yeah, that’s cool.  What’s this for anyway?”  I had him relax his shoulders a little bit.  Told him to give me a big smile.  Snapped the shot, and says, “Well, you like to talk about purple hearts so much, so I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

Purple Heart 1

Since Memorial Day is coming up, I thought for today’s Photoshop lesson it would be a good opportunity to teach you how to turn a purple heart Vietnam War veteran into commemorative poster.  I’d like to dedicate this one to all of those that risk their lives in war and get shot in the leg like my good war friend here – and I wish I caught his name but he was talking so damn much – so we’ll just call him Bruce for the sake of this demonstration.

Let’s go to war, shall we?  We most certainly shall Photoshoppers.

Step 1:  Watch Tons of War Movies 

Part of being a good Photoshopper is knowing how to get in the zone.  Sometimes it’s music, sometimes it’s a fifth of whiskey, and sometimes it’s a combination of both.  This particular lesson, we will be getting ourselves into the war zone so to speak.

Since I don’t have money to go rent movies or pay for cable, I went over to my Mom’s house to see what I could dig up.  She had a bunch of romantic comedies and at least a dozen Billy Blanks Tae Bo instructional videos for some ungodly reason.  Billy Blanks would do in a pinch, but then I dug around some more and found a copy of the movie Forrest Gump.  Perfect.  If you don’t have a copy of Forrest Gump, feel free to watch some other classic war movies, like Hot Shots! Part Deux starring another Charlie –  Charlie Sheen.

Step 2:  Photo Correcting; Bringing Bruce’s Eyes To The Forefront

Original Photo

Above is the original, untouched photo of Bruce, our ponytailed war veteran, who was kind enough to volunteer not only his services for America, but also for this Photoshop tutorial.

As you can see, the pipe smoking bulldog Marine Corps ballcap has left a dark shadow, and it’s difficult to make out Bruce’s nice eyes.  I will teach you how to do a photo retouch so that we can make those eyes sparkle like sliver bullets.  Here is the before image of the isolated layer that I will be starting with.

Isolated Layer Of Bruce

So I was just thinking of this.  Do you guys remember in the movie where Forrest Gump is sitting on the bench talking to some guy, and he says something like, “Oh, yes sir. The bullet bit me right in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but the Army must keep that money, cause I still haven’t seen a nickel of that million dollars.”  I was just thinking of that line, and man I wish someone would shoot me in the ass and give me a million dollars.  It would get me out of doing these Photoshop tutorials, but I’m broke as a joke, so let’s keep on keepin’ on.

Go to the Layer tab.  Select New Layer Adjustment from the drop down menu.  There’s a bunch of options from the drop down menu that I have no idea what they’re for, so don’t even bother asking.   I played around with the Levels, Exposure, and the Brightness/Contrast.  Go ahead and play around with the levels of those layers until Bruce’s eyes begin to brighten up a little.

Step 3:  Let’s Get Dodgey

The Dodge Tool can be found on the left hand side of your tools menu.  The icon looks like a lollipop. I have no idea why why it looks like a lollipop, so don’t bother asking me that one either.  There’s no time for questions.  Actually, there probably is time, because Forrest Gump is the longest movie in the history of movies.  I took a two hour nap, and he was still sitting on the same bench talking some poor lady’s ears off.

Select the Dodge Tool, set the exposure level to about a 4 or a 6, and start painting around Bruce’s eyes to lighten them up.  Don’t go too nuts painting around with the lollipop.  It should be a very subtle change, but you’ll notice a big difference when I add the final background in the last step.  Here’s a side by side comparison of the two photos just so you have an idea for now.

Dodgy Bruce

Step 4:  The War Is Over

Screw this.  I don’t have the patience anymore.  I don’t think I ever had it in the first place,  so I’m skipping steps 5 through 112.

It’s hard to do these things sober, but when I was eating hotdogs for lunch with Bruce yesterday, he says that the Devil told him during that night back in Kansas that he needs to get his life together, and stop shoving powder up his nose.  Then as the Devil was talking to him, Bruce snorted a few more lines of coke off the coffee table.  He dusted off the remaining powder, looked up, and he seen that it wasn’t the fork-tongued Devil afterall.  It was Jesus H. Christ sitting beside him on his sofa couch having a nice living room chit chat with Bruce.  That was the last time he did cocaine, so if Bruce can pull it together, so can I.

I decided I’m only gonna drink on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from here on out.  Something profound happened to me when I used the Dodge Tool to bring Bruce’s eyes to the forefront.  It was like the legally blind, right eye of the purple hearted Bruce peered out from underneath the bulldog ballcap, and spoke directly to me.  The eye whispered, “You foolish dimwit.  I’m concerned that maybe you’re drinking too much.  I’ve been there before, man.  Not with booze, but with narcotics and mountainous piles of blow.  Time to end the war and wrap this sonofabitch up, soldier.  It’s time you end the war with yourself as well.”

Welp, sounds good to me.  So here’s your commemorative poster of the purple heart Vietnam war veteran.  I added a background with fighter choppers and dramatic clouds cause I thought it looked pretty cool.  I kept Bruce’s parking meter so he could have something to lean on since his leg was all shot up, and gave him a badass purple heart tattoo.  I played around with the brightness and contrast layers some more, watched about 6 more hours of Forrest Gump, and here you go.

Purple Heart Commemorative Poster

Congratulations on making your purple heart Vietnam War commemorative poster.  Join me next time as I teach you how to Photoshop Jesus H. Christ sitting on the bench next to Forrest Gump and telling him to shut his piehole with all the lying, life if like a box of chocolates, overly exaggerated, drawn out stories.  Honest to God, that movie is at least 4 hours long.  Billy Blanks needs to give Forrest Gump a few Tae Bo’s to the back of the head or something, and tell him to speed it up a little.

Well anyway, a special thanks to all those that have volunteered their services and to those that gave up their lives to make this world a better place.  You are gone but not forgotten.  See you dimwits the next time.

Chris Hinton’s Pathway To Success

Ahhhhh, I’m so pumped right now!  I just got a call an hour ago for work.  This is incredibly exciting news.  I can’t even begin to tell you why, but I’m going to try anyhow.

I don’t know many of the details about the project just yet.  I just know it’s a TV pilot of some sort and I have to read the script and begin preparing for work tonight.  I’ll be working on the project the next three days and possibly the next few weeks and beyond.  That’s how it goes in the film industry.  One minute you’re busy writing and creating a blog, avoiding friends and social obligations to focus all your energies into doing something that you really love, and the next minute you get a call at 6:30 PM on a Friday evening.

“What are you doing this weekend?  How about the next few months?  You busy, or you wanna start scouting tomorrow on a TV pilot?”

Hell yeah, I wanna start scouting tomorrow on a TV pilot!  If you dimwits only knew how challenging the past few months have been for me.  I’ve been out of work for a long time.  Without boring you with all the details, the state of Pennsylvania had a major snafu with our film tax incentive this year, which meant that me and a lot of my friends were without work.  No work means funds dwindle quickly, bills go unpaid, and you eat lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And worse yet, it leaves you with no money to drink booze.  Being broke sucks a fat one.

Boo hoo, you putz.  Get another job.  But it’s not that easy, and I didn’t want to get another job making $7 an hour.  It’s a waste of time.  I realize some people have to do it to support their families, which kudos to them, but I don’t have a family to support, so I’d rather have my bills go unpaid than work at a crummy job taking home $200 a week.  Instead of working at a job for slave wages, I used the opportunity to do some writing and maybe begin establishing my future.

The film industry is a great gig, but it’s too unpredictable.  One year you make great money, and the next year you make jack crap.  I’m terrible at budgeting money, so this year I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, holed myself up in my apartment, and wrote my ass off the past few months trying to establish a future for the next time I’m out of work.

I don’t know where any of it’s headed.  Maybe there isn’t a future in writing for me, but I have to find out.  So that’s why I started this blog.  To practice writing, to put my creative talents to work, and to build up a network of fellow writers, artists, and creative spirits.

It seems to be going well so far.  I’ve gotten nearly 2,000 followers in two months, and the  feedback has been very kind.  It gives me encouragement to keep writing, so I just wanted to say thanks.  The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste extra good after hearing things like, “This is my new favorite blog.”  “You’re really hilarious!”  “OMG, I want to totally marry you and have six of your curly headed babies.”

Well, all right.  This has been a very good day.  It’s maybe premature, but I’m going to use my credit card to go buy some whiskey tonight, and read through a script until 3 in the morning, make some notes, wake up 3 hours later, and go to work.  I might not be available to reply to comments as much in the next few weeks, but I’ll try my best, because your comments are what kept me going these past few months.  It might sound like BS, but it’s true.  So keep commenting if you’d like, but don’t take offense if I don’t respond for a while.  It just means I’m busy with work, or drunk on whiskey, dancing around my apartment naked at 2 AM, which happens more than I’d like to admit.

Anyway, since you guys have been so cool to me, I wanted to leave you with my keys for a pathway to success.  I realize someone who just spent the past few months eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches probably isn’t the best spokesperson for success, but I can feel it just around the bend.  I think I’m a few years away from accomplishing some big things, so I’m going to let you in on my secrets so you can achieve success as well.

It’s time to go buy some whiskey and read a script.  I’ll leave you with Chris Hinton’s Pathway To Success.  Print it out, hang it on your fridge.  Look at it everyday.  Cheers, you dimwits.  Thanks for being awesome.  Chris Hintons Pathway To Success

Before & Happily Ever After – Volume One

I’ve always enjoyed photography.  Over the years, I’ve estimated that I’ve taken more than a hundred thousand photographs.  Some of them turned out nice, but most of them leave a lot to be desired, especially the rolls of film I took when I first started getting into photography.  I was left wondering what to do with the stacks of old photographs.

After a drunken night serenaded by the depressing sounds of Morrissey and leafing through old photo albums containing all whopping two of my ex-girlfriends from 20 years of dating eligibility, I came up with a solution of what to do with all my old, crappy photographs.  I figured I could improve them, make them more exciting by Photoshopping things in the background, like explosions and fireworks and Kate Upton jumping up and down on a trampoline.  Yeah, that’s it.  Spruce them up a little.   And so the idea for the Before & Happily Ever After series was born on that drunken, self-loathing night.

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1.  Romeo + Juliet001 Christmas Function Original

This photo was taken back in college at a Christmas function in December of1998.  The pretty girl sitting on my lap being awkwardly touched on the inner thigh by my left hand was and still is a good friend of mine.  We never dated for one reason or another.  I think it’s because she’s from Ohio.

The pretty girl went on to get married, and has a lovely family made up of her husband and children.  Instead of daydreaming of what could’ve been between her and I, I decided to daydream of what it would be like to go to the Christmas function with Claire Danes.   I used to have the biggest celebrity crush on the blond-haired, beauty after watching the film Romeo + Juliet.   Claire Danes.  Photoshop, do your thang.  Sprout some angel wings and make me a Juliet.

Juliet Before And After

2.  Tornado WatchTornado Watch Original

This is a photo I took of my brother and sister-in-law back in May of 1995.  I have no idea what my brother is pointing at.  He had this whole pointing at the sky phase that lasted like a year.  I have at least a dozen photos of him doing this same exact pose.

The photo has potential.  The random pay phone in the middle of the wood paneled hallway is nice, but the composition overall is poor and the background is boring.  I decided to jazz up the photo and give my brother something to really stare at.  Him and his second hand thrift store T-shirt are gonna need more than a second chance when I get through with him.

Tornado Watch Before And After

3.  General LeeGeneral Lee Original

Just a typical evening back in June of 1995, hanging out with some friends, taking turns kicking back in a wheel chair.  That’s another brother sprawled out on the car roof like he’s Tyra Banks gearing up for a swimsuit photo shoot for Sports Illustrated or something.  All he needs is a pristine beach and a crystal clear ocean in the background, but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction.  Instead, I decided to get rid of my friend’s clunky Oldsmobile parked in the driveway, and replace it with the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.  It adds just the right amount of flair the original photo was lacking.

General Lee Before and After

4.  This Room Is Rated RRated R Original

Like most college kids, I was poor and had to be resourceful.  And by being resourceful, I  mean that I stole sugar and creamer from the cafeteria for my coffee because I couldn’t afford to buy them from Wal-Mart.  But in this case, being resourceful meant that I asked my graphic design professor if I could have a bunch of old posters that were laying around  so that I could liven up my 10 x 10, concrete block prison cell of a dorm room.  He was kind enough to oblige.  However, instead of scoring a Kurt Cobain poster or a scantily clad Jennifer Love Hewitt poster, the posters he gave me were mostly of puppy dogs and kitty cats.

Beggars can’t be choosers, so I decorated the ceiling with the puppy posters, and turned my dorm room into a glorified petting zoo.  It wasn’t nearly the hip and cool look I was going for, especially with the poster pictured front and center that read “This room is rated R.  No adults allowed without kid’s OK!”  Being poor sucks ass, but Photoshop can make you feel like a wealthy king.  Time for a little dormitory makeover, Photoshop CS3 edition.  Goodbye puppy dogs and hello Ashley Jugs.

Rated R Before And After

5.  Severe Tornado WatchSevere Tornado Warning Original

I don’t even know where to begin with this monstrosity of a photo.  I guess I should begin with my brother.  There he is pointing again.  See, I told you.  I’ve got a whole year’s worth of photographs of him pointing upwards towards the sky.  It musta been the happiest year of his life to just go around pointing at nothing all day.  I’d love to live in that world for even one day.

I have no clue what’s going on in this photo really.  All I know is that my brother-in-law on the far left asked us to come take a tour of the factory he worked at.  The factory makes garden hoses or something like that, and so being that I can’t pass up an educational tour of how garden hoses are made, I agreed to attend the tour.  That was before I knew we had to wear safety glasses.  I have a small head, and of course they handed me the biggest pair of safety glasses in the entire place.   Well, whatever.  I rocked those safety glasses and the garden hose tour was everything I had hoped for and more.

The photo isn’t necessarily a bad photo.  The composition is alright, but I don’t know who those Amish looking people are hiding behind the handicapped sign like we wouldn’t notice that they snuck in to be part of our garden hose tour.  Whoever they are, they have to go.  My brother likes pointing to the sky and second chances, well here you go, big bro.  Here’s your second chance at being caught in the eye of a tornado storm.Severe Tornado Warning Before And After

I hope you enjoyed the first volume of the Before & Happily Ever After series.  If you did, you have Steven Patrick Morrissey’s gloomy, depressing music and a fifth of Maker’s Mark whiskey to thank for that.  Join me next time, as I retouch some old photos and add alien abductions, shark infested waters, and Hulk Hogan wrestling a chubby guy at a local wrestling match at the Moose Lodge.  May you all live happily ever after until the next time.

Chris Cares – Advice Column Volume One

Chris cares Logo

Question Logo 3  Me and my Gram was involved in a heated discussion the other day.  She’s about a billion years old, and I’m only 13 going on 14, so she don’t always see it the same way I do.  She swears on the holy Bible, and I say there ain’t no fart knocking way.  Can masturbating really make you go blind?  Thanks.  – Timothy B.

Chris cares Logo Small  My, my, Timmy boy.  I don’t even know how to respond to this one, so I figured I better turn it over to the experts.  I called up a friend of mine, Dr. Nayankumar Dekhaiya, to see what he had to say regarding the matter at hand.  So whad’ya say, doc.  Can rubbing one out really make you go blind?

“No, masturbating won’t make you go blind, you harebrained, half-wit.  Are you kidding me?  That’s an old wives’ tale.  Masturbation is actually considered a very normal, healthy way to relieve sexual tension, and it’s a very safe practice.  Now stop calling me 20 times a day with these idiotic questions.  I have a practice to maintain.”

So there you have it.  Slathering the snake, taming the tiger, bopping the boloney, pulling the pud, spanking the monkey, punishing Peter, bending it like Beckham, tugging on Timothy – whatever you want to call it – is actually considered healthy.  Now that’s some advice that many of us should find pleasurable.

PERIOD.

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Question Logo 3  My boyfriend decided to get one of those lame ass Chinese symbol tattoos even though I was strongly opposed to the idea.  He ended up getting the Chinese symbol for “hope springs eternal” tattooed on his bicep.  Or so he thought.

I knew the tattoo artist really well from our days in high school together.  He’s into practical jokes as much as I am, so I had him tattoo the Chinese symbol for “Kung Pao Chicken” on my boyfriend’s bicep instead.

My boyfriend had no idea.  He went around showing everyone his new tattoo for months.  It was all well and good until the lady handing out free samples of teriyaki chicken at the mall told him she really liked his Kung Pao Chicken tattoo the one day.  He went absolutely berserk.

I admit it was the wrong thing to do.  I have been apologizing to my boyfriend until I’m blue in the face, but he’s still really upset with me.  He’s seriously threatening to break things off with me.  I don’t want to lose him over a freaking Kung Pao Chicken tattoo.   What should I do to make things right?   – Melissa R. 

Chris cares Logo Small  Confucius Say, you very bad girl.  Your boyfriend has every right to be upset.   If you were my girlfriend, I’d have half a notion to Kung Pao your face off, but I would never do that, because if there’s anything that religiously watching the Maury Povich Show has taught me, it’s that domestic violence is never acceptable.

You’ve admitted to being wrong, which is a good first step.  A better second step would be getting the Chinese symbol for “Cheese Wontons” tattooed on your right calf.  I think that in this case, it’s only fair that the punishment should fit the crime.  If you really want to show your boyfriend how sorry you are and how committed you are to him, then getting a Cheese Wonton tattoo is the only way to salvage the relationship.

PERIOD.

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Have a burning question that you’d like to be answered?  Submit them in the comments section.  Chris Cares is here to help.  PERIOD.