Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Wii Mason Becomes Famous

Some of you may have heard of the recent response to the Wii, the latest console gaming system released by Nintendo.

The controller is giving people what is now affectionately termed "Wii Elbow", and the gaming has been determined to be quite a workout. Some people have even been injured! Nintendo did place proper warnings on games and many activities even include occasional reminders to take a break built into the product.

The Wall Street Journal has interviewed several individuals and published an article on it titled "A Wii Workout: When Video Games Hurt." What some of you may not know is that Ryan Mercer, quoted in their article is a Mason, and a member of Speedway, IN #729 F&AM.

Congratulations to Brother Ryan for becoming famous, and lets all hope his new video game workout program benefits him with good health.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Masonic Logo Clip-art

I have created a smattering of Masonic clip art logos that some of you Brethren may find useful. They are available in Flash 8 format as vectors that can be exported smoothly at whatever size is required, and also in 200 pixel wide PNG format with white backgrounds, and 800 pixel wide transparent GIF format suitable for printing.

Click here to see the entire gallery.

Why did I make these? Well, I'm fed up with all of the ugly Masonic emblems floating around on the Internet. Most of the York Rite emblems, similar to the one seen here, are composed of four different styles of graphic that have been pasted together. Often times, the graphics have been scaled without resampling or anti-aliasing, leaving a choppy and jagged edge, and sometimes a graphic with an extraneous square border has been inserted into the circle, creating a circle within a square within a circle, where only a circle should exist. Also, people tend to skew the Square to an aspect ratio other than 90 degrees to fit it where they please. Masonry in the 19th century was beautifully illustrated with excellent craftsmanship, and I believe our modern Freemasonry should also be illustrated with good craftsmanship - in a clean, appealing manner - as it is presented on the web and through other modern technologies.

There is no longer an excuse for using sloppy, low resolution scanned images on Masonic websites. If you can't find what you need here, just ask me and I'll try to come up with the Masonic emblem that you need.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Virtual Lodge Tour

With the help of my wife, I have started a project to make a Virtual "Lodge Tour" on the web. I know this sort of thing has been done before, but I'm trying to think in more ambitious terms... As a web developer with some skill at doing interactive interfaces, I am planning to make a Lodge room that can be manipulated and explored on the web that will serve to acquaint a person with Freemasonry as well as its various appendant organizations.

Here's a "still" preview picture of the furniture and widgets we've drawn up so far (click to enlarge):

I plan on making the furniture re-arrangeable to make it possible to represent variations between jurisdictions: for example, we are even designing a triangle 3-candle stand since some jurisdictions place all three of the tapers together.

Well, what do y'all think? A worthwhile endeavor?

Update: I've made the piano a smaller model so that the Senior Deacon's chair isn't forced to be out so far because of it, so now the candidates won't have to stub their toes. :-)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Chapter and Council

Tonight I went down to Grants Pass for Chapter (Reames #28) and Council (Rogue #23). It was my first time attending since the York Rite Festival in Cottage Grove on September 29th, and thus my first time attending either body as a regular meeting and not as a candidate for the degrees. Nevertheless, I went to work immediately, serving as the Steward pro-temps for Council (which was held first, following a potluck) and then as the Scribe pro-temps for Chapter.

It was election of officers night for both bodies, and it seems that I timed my entry into York Rite just right. I was elected to the office of Scribe for Reames Chapter #28 for the ensuing capitular year (2007). This is quite unusual, as I understand it, but for good cause as I am trying to head up an effort to resurrect the York Rite bodies in Roseburg. For those unaware, the elected officers in Royal Arch are High Priest (termed Excellent), King, Scribe, Recorder, Treasurer, and Captain of the Host. This should provide me with experience necessary to help bring a Royal Arch Chapter back to Roseburg.

I have also been appointed as Senior Deacon in my Blue Lodge (Laurel #13) for the 2007 Masonic year, and our elections were held on Wednesday evening, following our Past Masters dinner, which went very well.