Archive for February, 2010

Its not the sex and violence … its the T.V.

February 27, 2010

I just finished a really interesting (and appalling) read; The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers and Family Life by Marie Winn details how TV watching is harmful for children in a comprehensive way at the same time it notes just exactly how much American kids are watching today.  Although the book was originally written in the 70’s the testimonials and observations seem as pertinent as if they had been spoken yesterday and for this 25th anniversary edition she has updated to include the similar effects of other electronic media (VCRs, video games, computers in classrooms etc) and here’s the short version … its pretty much all equally bad.

The book focuses on the effects of television on small children and families but I couldn’t help flinching as I read because some of the points seemed as relevant for me as they do for toddlers.  I love TV as much as the next person – I don’t watch a lot of live network television and I don’t have cable but I can go through a season on DVD in a week pretty easily and, as that’s how they are available from my library – a season at a time and checked out for one week, I often do.  I notice on those weeks that I stay up later than I mean to, accomplish less than I plan and spend less time interacting with other people or even reading on my own.  I’m not saying I’ll never do this again – I will probably do it again quite soon.  But I am going to be keeping my eyes open a bit more for a while for just a few of the following reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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Le Tour Eiffel

February 22, 2010

I came across these blue prints today while browsing design is mine and was blown away by their beauty.  It reminded me again of how attracitve I can find industrial age iron work and the supreme irony that in its own time it was regarded as the height of ugly utilitarianism.  They just didn’t know how bad it could be.

For those unaware of the story, Read the rest of this entry »

How to Fail (well).

February 19, 2010

From a very interesting article in WIRED entitled “Accept Defeat: the neuroscience of screwing up.”  Although I initially was just drawing to the fun graphic on “How to Learn From Failure” when I read the article it was fascinating.  I recommend following the link.  But here are a few sneak peaks.  Even scientists are guilty of editing and ignoring abberant data.  We are all to inclined to dismiss the unexpected as a fluke, or our own mistake.  Its a natural human trait:

“The lesson is that not all data is created equal in our mind’s eye: When it comes to interpreting our experiments, we see what we want to see and disregard the rest. The physics students, for instance, didn’t watch the video and wonder whether Galileo might be wrong. Instead, they put their trust in theory, tuning out whatever it couldn’t explain. Belief, in other words, is a kind of blindness. Read the rest of this entry »

Dinosaur Comics

February 17, 2010

Shuck your jive, man!  Shuck ALL your jive!

I recently discovered the awesomeness that is Dinosaur Comics.  They are witty and brilliant and … always formatted against the same illustrations of the same dinosaurs.  Maybe the most amazing thing is the variety that they pack into this formula.

Here are several favorites to get you started but really they are all good.  Click on the bold text just above the comic to be taken to a random strip – the title is always the text from the second frame.

Today is a good day I think to find God!

You believe you’re totally fake!

Its never too late for a career change, TRex!  Great!

That’s right, bitches.  People still say “behooves!”

(Incidentally that would be an awsome way to die.  Seriously, what are the odds that all the oxygen molecules in the room randomly bounced away so that you suffocate in the resultant temporary vacuum?  I want to know.)

And here’s the spoof xkcd which turned me onto Dino Comics in the first place:

Guys: while I was writing this, I accidentally swallowed a table sized slab of drywall.  I know!  Wacky!

What its actually about (other than Halmark)

February 14, 2010

pretend you're kidding

Progress in Plaid (concluded)

February 12, 2010

Its Done!  I sewed up the lining last night and I couldn’t be prouder.  I actually can’t really believe I did it.  I’m trying to remember when I started this whole crazy kick and I can’t be perfectly sure but I think I saw the Heroes episode which inspired it three weeks ago Thursday and I know I bought the chenille on January 22nd.  So that’s less than three weeks start to finish.  I was designing as I went which slowed me down a fair amount but, of course, added to the fun.  Right up till the last night when I decided that it needed a fourth row of buttons and quickly added them just before hand stitching the lining closed.  But its done. I did it.  And today I wore it to work.  I got a complement on it from a total stranger at the internet marketing seminar I attended this morning too.  The woman next to me, Danielle Kaeding of local radio news fame, actually, said she liked it when we stood up at the break.  And she meant it in a thats-a-cool-coat-how-clever-of-you-to-decide-to-buy-it way, not even in an how impressive that you sew your own clothes way.  I think I can call myself a real seamstress now!

Here’s a peek at the lining, which everyone seems to agree, totally makes the coat!

To see the whole process see the older posts here.

Next stop: the moon!  Actually, next stop I think will be a dress and coat with matching lining to wear to Chris and Paul’s wedding.  More on this soon!

Cupcake Heaven

February 11, 2010

I’ve been looking for an excuse to make something out of Sarah Magid’s new book Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies and other Sweets that Taste as Good as the Look.  I got it off the new book shelf at the library a couple months ago and keep renewing it because I just can’t let it go out of my life.  I’ve never been that much of a desert chef but … her cakes are just so beautiful I want to make them!  This weekend my aunt is going to bring my dear little grandma over to my parent’s house in Madison for a Valentine’s Day treat.  She hasn’t been to our house in nearly two years now because its hard for my grandfather to drive the two hours it takes to visit and also because he’s bah humbug homebody who doesn’t like to travel or really leave the house anymore.  That’s not true of her at all but as he’s her only sourse of wheels she’s pretty isolated these days.  This weekend we’re striking back and making her our collective valentines date for the weekend.  All grandma, all the time.  It should be very fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Fabric Frippery

February 8, 2010

I was up in the Twin Cities this weekend, visiting a few friends from school, and I indulged myself with a round of my favorite quirky fabric stores.  I’ve been hitting the fabric pretty hard of late but I don’t really see any reason to be ashamed of that.  In fact I feel like shouting it from the rooftops – its fun.  And should you happen to feel the same – here are the two best shops I know about in that area: Read the rest of this entry »

Progress in Plaid (continued)

February 4, 2010

So my dressmaking adventures have continued fairly continuously since last I posted about my plaid coat project here.

Its been quite the challenge but I’ve really enjoyed it.  I forgot to note when I started in on this but its certainly been a couple of weeks now that my apartment has been littered with little strings of chenille.  I went through an extensive period of basting and pulling apart – trying to get both the fit and the plaid at the seams to a good place.  Since the weekend I’ve been making more concrete progress.  I sewed up all the seams with navy thread and then pressed them all flat and sewed them down on both sides.   (Sidenote: I love, love, love sewing seems flat.  Its just the most satisfying thing in the whole world.)  Then I cut out the lining fabric and assembled it as well.  For some reason it was fitting more snugly than the coat itself (less give in the fabric probably) so I had to slit it up the back and add a 2 inch strip to allow for a little more give in the shoulders. Read the rest of this entry »

There can’t have been a woman in the room.

February 1, 2010

You may not have given much thought to the new mac version of the Kindle – I certainly didn’t, being by no means sold on the idea of electronic reading devices.  But I heard this piece on the radio as I drove home last week and laughed so hard I nearly went off the road.  All Things Considered did a little bit on Apple’s newest product – the iPad.  As the female commentator said: how on earth did they name it that.  There can’t have been a woman in the room.  Its so mockable … that its already been mocked.  MadTV did this sketch on the subject way back in 2005.  Its pretty funny and the best part is the dancing silhouettes montage at the end.  Watch and laugh! Read the rest of this entry »