Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Connect With Your Frenemies

A few months ago I was showing my aunt pictures of my cousin's baby on Facebook on my phone. Being about 70 years old, she was not really in the Facebook loop. She asked me what it was, and I attempted to explain social networks, the internet, and computers in general, starting somewhere around the ENIAC. Not too impressed by the concept of Facebook, she replied, "Hmm, do they have Assbook? Call me when they have Assbook." I have no idea what she meant, or thought she meant by that, but apparently she was on to something.

Arsebook, which I found through one of my favorites, Anyways, appears to be only a fake take on the addictive social network du jour, but I kind of wish it was real. Currently, I have no convenient way to "upload blackmail material" or "join a hate-clan" and I think this could be the answer I've been searching for. God bless technology.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hot Mic

Reading a million design blogs and websites and magazines, you start to see a lot of the same things, same trends, same ideas. Your eyes glaze over, and you start to get a bit jaded, a bit bored, and often totally over it. If I see another "hip" "new" antler-themed design, I'm going to stab someone with said antler. Seriously. The only worse offense in my eyes is the unending praise for the ghost chair. Sadly, the ghost chair is an ineffective weapon.

So when I followed link on someone's google chat status to Blue Microphones, I was totally blown away. These microphones are the kind of "designed thing" that design is all about. They make you think about how certain objects have just evolved into their current common form, and we don't really think much about them anymore. We forget that they can be cool or interesting looking or more than just functional tools. We forget that they can actually rock!

Blue mics are the coolest thing I've seen in a while, and while I have no need for a microphone (I do just fine with the nearest hairbrush/beer bottle/spatula/remote control), if I were a burgeoning rock star, these would be top on my wish list. Specifically, check out the Bluebird, the Woodpecker, and the Cactus. From the quick reviews I can find, these mics apparently sound great too. Now if they only made one that could make me sing like Barbara Streisand, we'd be in business.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Twitter Not

From a personal standpoint, I am amongst the dwindling numbers who are not into Twitter. Unless you are absolutely hysterical and all of your friends think so, why would they want to hear your every thought and action? I know the millions of Twitter users are proving me wrong on this, but I just don't get it.

From an entertainment standpoint, there are definitely some people worth following for an IV drip of amusement throughout the day. Christopher Walken, Russel Brand, and Rainn Wilson are insane and thus hysterical.

While some just post their stream of semi-consciousness, some famous Twitterers have taken it to a whole new level. Shaq has infamously Twittered his current location and plans for the day, encouraging his followers to come up and say hi or touch him. Sometimes he even gives them prizes. He is a priceless gem, and a national treasure.

This interview tells all about the woman who started the Shaq Twitter storm. A media consultant to the sports industry, Kathleen Hessert works with Shaq, Notre Dame, my own alma mater and other teams and athletes so they know how to deal with the media and fans so this doesn't happen. She shows them how to use social networking and other tools to help their image, ticket sales, and life after sports. The interview is worth the quick read, and helps explain why sports teams and other businesses should be Tweeting it up. She even mentions why she wouldn't touch A-Rod with a ten-foot pole, as a client, of course.

I'll confess that as of this week I've started using Twitter for our business, posting new designs, updates to our shops, good PR, etc. I'm hoping to post on a more regular schedule, and to keep it interesting. I wouldn't want to bore you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Six Year Anniversary = Hippo?

Sunday was my 6th wedding anniversary. I know, I know, "Oh my god! Really? Is it that long? Wow, it doesn't feel like that long ago, but it seems like it's been a long time at the same time." That's how I feel too.

Anyway, my point is that my husband, whom I love dearly, hence the six years of marriage, does have one bad yet wonderful habit: When we say, "no big gifts" for any particular holiday, he often breaks the rules, and gets me something amazing. I know I should just anticipate it and get him something big, but he checks the bank account daily, leaving me with no way to hide my purchases! I know he doesn't care because he would rather get me something I love than get something, but I still feel bad.

While on the computer, I constantly show him things I like or cute pictures, expecting that he will buy me the dress I show him just about as much as I expect he will buy me the baby hippo born at the zoo that I show him. But he pays more attention than that, and thus he bought me a dress and a vase that I told him I liked. I'll have to be more careful in the future, but in the meantime I'll just show you my lovely gifts:

Anthropologie "Wights Sago" dress. I already have some weddings and showers lined up for this baby. I thought of wearing it to Foxfield for a fraction of a second, and then realized it would look better without Jim Beam poured all over it.

Wedgwood Tri-Color vase. The three color pieces are not as common as the two. This one is beautiful. Now I just have to get some flowers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've been extremely remiss in my bean blogging lately. Now, some people hate when bloggers apologize for such neglect of their duties. Others, like my husband, hate when the blogs they like to read are neglected. I don't have enough readers to bug a significant number of people with either of these options, but I thought I'd explain myself anyway.

I've been working on a new business endeavor, AnaStella. My sister is a graphic designer who specializes in invitations and stationery. As with most designers, she despises dealing with the sticky business end of things. This is where I come in. I live for Excel spreadsheets, don't mind filing out tax forms, and actually enjoy wading through the endless uploads and downloads to get a website, blog, online shops, social networks, and all other technological junk up and running for public consumption.

Together, we are AnaStella, Invitations with Style and Spark! The name came from our two grandmothers' names, and the slogan came from my head. We design custom invitations and stationery for all kinds of events, especially weddings. You can see us on Etsy, 1000 Markets, Twitter, Facebook, www.AnaStella.com, and our blog. Pick your poison!

Hopefully if I get some things sorted out, I can get back to posting regularly on this site. Either way I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ready For the Closeup

My friend, a biology teacher, and self-proclaimed biology geek, sent me this picture of bugs at a tea party. While it looks like something out of a Pixar movie, it's actually a collage of colorized electron micrographs (click here for all of the crazy detail). She knows I love a good electron micrograph. The picture was a winner in the National Science Foundation's International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge. Some are colorized electron micrographs, some are actual photos, some are illustrations. Science or art? You be the judge. All of the entries are amazing, but this is my favorite.

I really do love electron micrographs. They have the coolest textures, and it's crazy how different ordinary things look if you get close enough. Although it's just straight up photography, the work of Karl Blossfeldt reminds me of electron micrographs, and I think that's why I like it so much. This guy's snowflake photos are in the same vein, and are really beautiful. They're like little mugshots of the culprits that caused all that ruckus yesterday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sleepers' Dreams

While the mortgage meltdown has forced many families to abandon their homes and their dreams, I find this particular story particularly heartbreaking. The Sleepers of Festus, Missouri took the concept of a "dream house" to quite a different level. After buying a cave on ebay, the Sleepers, huh, what's that? Oh, yes, they bought a cave. On ebay. They bought a cave on ebay, and lived in a tent in the cave for five years while they designed and built a house to go in the cave. This photo collection shows just how much blood (beware the surprise picture of a nail gun injury), sweat, and tears they personally put into building the house.

The Sleepers built the house mostly with their own labor, including a lot of help from their kids. I don't think anyone in 21st century America, besides the Amish, is this involved in the design and building of their own home. And I applaud their anti-coddling of their offspring. How many parents today would let their kids within ten feet of a floor sander or a scissor lift?

Sadly, the balloon in their mortgage came at the same time as the bust of the economy, leaving them unable to afford living in their labor of love. Completing the circle of life, they have put the house up on ebay. They are trying to find a buyer, or a financier, or some sort of happy ending. Hopefully someone will come to their rescue and let them keep living the dream.