Archive for December, 2009

Last day of the year and decade. Let’s be nice and not repeat the last ten years? Especially that puberty part. Boy that sucked. Anyway, onto some links.

Polaroid Smartens Up and Will Be Making More Cameras (and Film)

So Polaroid has realized that their instant gratification, low-tech cameras are hip, and the profit dragons are hungry. Ergo, they are releasing their camera again, for a little bit, in 2010. And hopefully making film, too. However, the reasons why polaroid is popular among hipsters today (other than for the way it intersects with our instant-gratification culture) is precisely because Polariod is (a) hard to find, (b) nostalgic, and (c) expensive. If Polaroid becomes available for the masses once again, will it still be as cool?

Oh well, good thing I hopped on the Lomography wagon while Holgas were still cheap.

One Day To the End and We Still Don’t Have a Name for This Decade

This NewYorker article on the linguistic conundrum of the past decade is both refreshingly erudite in its vocabulary choices as well as spot on the money. Check it out if you’ve been missing me and my $25 word choices, and also want to know what to yell as the ball drops us into a whole new decade at midnight.

The Teens Are a Time for Rebelling Against the Man. Use Open-Source Software.

Don’t know what open-source means? Check out the title link. And now, let me indulge in some geeky behavior.

Apparently, 2010 (and beyond) will be the year for open-source technology, in which companies will reveal the source-code (the raw stuff that most people don’t care about but should) of their software. Some people think companies (such as Microsoft, the propietary software behemoth) will only be paying lip-service to the trend. Others, like Google, have openly discussed their commitment to open source in well-written philosophical manifestos. One blogger (Dana Blakenhorn, you beautiful person) has written up why open-source business models trump proprietary ones, mostly because they play the game more than one way.

But if open-information philosophy and business plans don’t jazz you up, here are a list of 9 Open-Source Softwares that are equivalent to (or better) than their propietary cousins. Why buy Adobe Photoshop when you can get GIMP for free?

Related: The Descending List of Socially-Acceptable Geek SubGenres

Which one (or how many) are you? Also, God Bless the Furries, because then the LARPers aren’t at the bottom of the list. Also, where would fanfiction writers fall? Possibly below the Furries (Twilight Fanfic Writers), above the LARPers (Harry Potter fics), and above the programmers (Well-Researched Lord of the Rings fics which quote the Simillarion).

Spinach Artichoke Dip: The New Manna from Heaven?

Ubiquitous in family-style, $12 entree restaurants, my dormitory tea (yes, we are spoiled as all hell), and awkward apartment parties around the country, this wonderful dish exemplifies what I find necessary in a great appetizer. Cheese (multiple kinds if you can swing it) for comfort, artichokes for subtle flavour, and spinach, so you can eat a lot of it and insist it’s still healthy and will make you like Popeye. Make, dip, enjoy.


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Best iphone Apps of 2009

I love year-end wrap-ups. If you have an iphone and don’t know what apps to buy next (you poor Bourgeois bastard), here are some of Gizmodo’s faves.

Food-o-pedia: For All Your New Year’s Resolution Needs

You’re not going to wear that bikini this summer. Sorry, hon. But for the three weeks that you try eating more salads or counting calories, this wikipedia-of-food will help you obsess. Related: Using the Alphabet to Stop Eating So Much and its friend, The Thoughtful Sandwich Munch. Also, Why You Should Stop Dieting You Look Great Now Shut Up About Your Salad

Rural Cartography Nerds: News Flash, You Don’t Live in the Middle of Nowhere

This “thermal” map demonstrates the world in terms of length of journey to the nearest major city. The really really rural (>2 days by ground transportation to the nearest city) places are mostly in the Amazon Basin and the ar(anar)ctic regions. And Greenland, but who lives there?

Be a Hobbit or Other Middle Earth Person (Analog Auditions Only)

Peter Jackson has issued an open call for extras in “The Hobbit,” but will only be viewing audition tapes sent in via snail mail. Where does he think he’s living, Eriador? Pah. But if you missed round one of the Tolkien cinema madness magic, here’s your chance.

Feeling Blue? Here’s Some Great Accent Colors

Apartment Therapy has some great ideas for incorporating blue into your life and home. They mention that blue isn’t actually used too often. I don’t know who they have been talking to, but they’ve obviously never seen my dorm room, which is reminiscent of Picasso at times in both furniture structure and color. The site recommends judicious use of brown leather with blue, as well as crisp whites and pale yellows.

Skeletons Now a Year-Round Decoration: Biology Chic

Continuing with the decoration theme, might I mention the recent interior theme of biology chic? This is where one incorporates biology lab (and classroom) inspired and/or “liberated” items into the decorating scheme. Usually with a 19th century biology bend to them, because who thinks HazMat suits are sexy (well, me, but that’s a whole other issue and my therapist and I are working on it). Perhaps one might call Biology Chic, along with School House and Library Chic, a facet of the larger Steampunk movement, in which the 18th and 19th century scientific achievements and aesthetic are prized. Some posters that this author loves: Creepy and Less Creepy. So if anyone has some old bio textbooks rustling around in their attic, feel free to donate them to..er…me.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve festivities! We’re supposed to get a massive storm up this way, so mine might be a bit lame. Have fun for me, alright?

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Goodies for all types today.

The Cat House

This house is a cat paradise, which is good, as the owners have 16 feline-monsters. This link is for those who like architecture, making fun of people with sad existences, and fuzzy cat pictures. Related: Cat Ladies Who Go Too Far

Brr! 10 Drinks for Cold Days

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s craaaazy cold here on the coast of Maine, with a whopping great storm on its way Thursday night and into Friday. Lucky for me, I have this drink guide to remind me of great drinks. My personal fave these days is a cup of warm milk with a hint of amaretto flavoring. Yum!

Posters for Your Nerdy Decorating Needs

These two artists create visual representations of large reams of data, which you can then hang on your wall. Sounds boring, I know. But not when you can have The History of Political Parties from 1898-2005 on your wall. You know you (or someone you know) wants one.

Avatar: One Big Pile of Anthropological Mess

No, I haven’t seen it yet. I know I know. I’m trying. Anyway, if you have (or just want to sound smart at your next party/coffee date), here are some anthropological and gender and race-based critiques of the film. Or, you can go with what  a friend of mine said of the movie: “Avatar in 3d: that really hot chick that you wish would just shut the hell up.”

Food for Thought: “Girly” Play Microscopes Magnify to Less Power

Yup. Check it out over at Sociological Images. (This, of course, being a continuation of my gendered gift guide griping).

50 Things That Changed in the Aughts

From the Daily Hampshire Gazette, a Western Mass Newspaper. Also, what are you all calling this past decade? I’ve heard “aughts,” “naughts,” “The Uh-Ohs,” and “the Naughties.”

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A lot of links, not a lot of commentary. Enjoy!

More Steampunk Keyboards

As my mother’s copy of “Women’s World,” that grocery-line rag informs me, wearing old keys around your neck is now fashionable. Steampunk aficionados have known this for quite awhile. For the intersection of steampunk and tech (my favorite!), check out what hardcore punkers are doing.

Bling for Your Desktop

I’m experimenting with screenlets (desktop widgets, like on a Mac) right now, and am not sure how I feel about them. But if you just like to change up your background every once in awhile (twice a week), then check out Lifehacker’s list of places to score killer-wallpaper. I’m going to have to support the DeviantArt the best, due to my love of all things organically grown and sprawling. Like my garden.

Speaking of Gardens, Some Cool Plant Ideas

I kill plants. This is both a tragedy and a running joke in my house. But if plants are your thing (or might be, tis the season for promises we don’t intend to keep), then check this out.

Use Cork in New and Interesting Positions

So as I plan on moving to a city all on my own next year, my mother and I are having a ball discussing furniture/decorating possibilities. I am a big cork person, for both its aesthetic appeal and sound-dampening qualities. Check some interesting ideas out here.

Please, End the TSA Madness

So I went to get a passport today. Ended up having forgotten some crucial documentation at college, so nothing really got accomplished. But then I think, you’d have to pay me to get on an airplane these days. Screw crotch-searches and not getting up for the last hour of flight and not being able to listen to music during take-off and and and and. Ugh. Let’s not forget about the security lines, either. If you, like me, are thoroughly sick of airplane/airport conditions, read this manifesto asking President Obama to fire the TSA.

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First: Go. See. Sherlock Holmes. Aside from the witty banter in British accents, the dashing (dastardly?) duo of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and a set like a Steampunk dream, there is also the completely blatant homo-erotic subtext potential between Holmes and Watson. Anyway, just go. Or at the very least, add it to your Netflix queue.

Other things for today:

DIY Projects for Under $50

Spiffy up your home. Or, if you didn’t get a Snuggie as I did for Christmas, try your hand at a home-made fleece blanket.

Gizmodo Explains: Best of 2009

Not sure why anyone would fork over $6k for a TV? (Yeah me neither). Giz explains. My favorites are Everything You Need to Know About Cameras (DSLR? WTF?) and Why Every Country Has A Different Plug.

Complete Guide to Setting Up Your X-mas Smartphone, you lucky lucky person.

I am truly envious if you have a reason to read this article from Gizmodo. Oh well, I’m holding out for the Nexus One, kind of how a middle-school girl waits for their high-school crush: impatiently and I won’t know what to do with it once I get it. But enjoy this guide!

Linda Bean (of the L.L.Bean fortune) is RUINING LOBSTER

My family had lobster tonight. One of the few perks of living in Maine year round. The running joke this evening was to call the lobsters’ claws “cuddlers,” the new name Linda Bean has come up for them, as “claws” are too scary. I really really really hope she fires that marketing director. Anyway, she’s started up some restaurants which make lobster-esque foods. The guy behind Portland Food Coma (a great blog for hipster foodies who reveled in the demise of Gourmet Magazine) went and here is his review. And it is Not. Happy. But it is especially amusing to read.

Did anyone get anything good this holiday? I’m up a Snuggie, two new (hypo-allergenic) pillows, and a bottle of Amaretto flavoring for hot cocoas, among other items. Also, Smithies? Ask me about Wednesdays are for Pudding Cups, coming soon to a dorm near you.

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So it’s Christmas Eve and over 40 degrees on the coast of Maine. I have one church service under my belt (haven’t burnt down the cathedral with the little candles, handbell piece went well) and another coming up at 11.

With the combination of the warm weather, a very short lead-up to the holiday, and getting embittered in my 20s, Christmas has lost some of its magic this year. Sigh. Plans for tomorrow involve our ritualistic opening of presents, some sort of pastry for brunch, a trip to Popham Beach, and playing with the cats. So perhaps a post tomorrow, perhaps not. Anyway, here are some links for you all.

Also, please send this onto your friends. It makes my day when I get a nice readership.

Merry Christmas if that’s your thing!

Best “Why Didn’t I Think of That?”

From Apartment Therapy. Feel alternatively dumb/inspired as you look at home-oriented things to futz with.

A Future Comparison

How has the view of the future changed in the past 20 years? Check out this thought-provoking (to one of my twitter-followees) jpg.

Make Like Le Petit Prince and Get Yourself a Mini-Planet

Or at least a picture of one. Using panoramic images to create mini-planets is relatively easy, but hard to make beautiful. These ones are pretty nice. I particularly like this one.

Cinna-nom Rolls: Why My Christmas Is Awesome

We always have some sort of sweetened pasty for Christmas brunch. I have an odd fondness for the orange-flavored ones that come out of the Pillsbury tubes. Everyone else I’ve met says they taste like medicine, but I love them a lot.

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Going to try a more link-y format with basic explanations. Click the headers for the links.

Got a problem with Apple products? (I do). Here are some superior alternatives for less $$.

Pretty much that. Already have lusted after the ZuneHD and the Droid, as mentioned here. Might I also mention the imminent rise of Songbird, which with every release gets closer to being a stylish itunes killer.

No More Stabbing For Diabetics. Contacts that Change Color with Your Blood Sugar!

This is super super important. The article explains how nano-technology is going to make being a diabetic a bit easier, with contact lenses which tint a certain color depending upon your blood sugar–detected in your tears. Seriously. There are a lot of downsides of being diabetic, but one of the daily problems is the copious amount of testing one needs to do to maintain a proper level of blood sugar. This would mitigate that problem and loss of nerves in the tips of fingers from too much stabbing with a short, sharp needle 4+ times a day.

The Worst Gadgets of the Past Decade

Pandering to everyone’s obsession with re-hashing the last ten years (I agree with TIME: A decade from hell, and ne’er shall I think of it again), Gizmodo discusses the tech-duds of the past decade.

Really, who thought that bluetooth headsets were going to go mainstream? Not only do you look like a tool with one of them, you really are one, with crappy reception and everything. And the Segway? Because yes, Americans really need to stop walking everywhere. Why even bother flipping over in bed, eh?

Sultry or Sophisticated Tonight? Women Know (and are annoyed by this) It’s A Careful Clothing Choice

This is an amusing (but horribly accurate) flowchart portrayal and discussion of the conundrum which faces women when they get up every day. “Do I wear jeans and the black boots? With the silver earrings? Wait, is that too Boho for this occassion?” Okay, perhaps not all women (like myself). But it does accurately pinpoint how much more the subtleties play into dressing for women. Also, new favorite summation of much of advertising/media/enculturation-of-youngsters: “Men are People and Women are Women.” Sums it all up, eh?

Geo-logic Eyecandy for Everyone (Artists, Too!)

I know a few people who think a good topographical map is a thing of beauty, and spend hours holed up in the geology lab looking at sediment deposit graphs, but for the rest of us normal people the earth is…earth. Not anymore! These 60 pictures of various topographical Earth features are like abstract paintings. Background fodder here we come! (via Gizmodo)

Make a Bacon-Cup & Fill It With Joy

File under “awesome.” Perhaps you all don’t understand the greatness of bacon. Its smoky quality. Its incredible versatility. So good. But if you, like me, understand bacon, this might be a great way to turn your friends onto it!

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