Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Experiments with HTML5

With the recent dismissal of Flash, all eyes have been moving to HTML5. Because some people are not sure how it can be used, it is great that there are people experimenting with the code. One of these HTML5 "scientists" is Hakim El Hattab and his experiments might just have you wasting time. You can also play around with the code and learn a thing or two yourself. 

The Killers even released an HTML5 site recently. Check out their site to be surprised.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Salesman Pete

A slow(er) Friday here provided me with the opportunity to don headphones and watch a few shorts. One of them was just so funny that I had to share with you. Enter Salesman Pete. Some French guys created the entire thing. Give it a look see. If you have some extra time, Meet Buck (not by the French guys, just so I'm clear).

Salesman Pete from Salesman Pete on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Don't even pretend that you didn't gush slightly at the sight of this picture. You became strangely jelly-like and felt happy, didn't you? Maybe? Possibly? Well, if not, I hope you enjoyed this eye candy just the same.

Via tumblr/thingsthatinspiree

A few of my favorite things (part quatre)

Making a comeback right at the end of 2010 are my favorite things. This is part four (in case you don't read French) and I am so thrilled to be bringing up things I like. I started this last year in November and I plan to do a few more during the month of December. Go ahead and hit the jump. Let's not waste time.

Thursday Traffic | 9 December

I know there have been many a missed Thursday for the past few weeks (since October!), but life has been busy, readers. I've been working tediously to prepare for Christmas. Although I am more into the Biblical reason behind Christmas, my family does engage in gift-giving. Though we always "say" we are going to give small, I have a hard time choosing that path. Gift-giving is just something that I love from start to finish. 

First, finding the right gift. There is a magical moment about realizing that you have found an item that the recipient will cherish. Deciding upon what to buy or make for a gift is difficult at times, so I often start making my lists early in the year.

From a designer's aspect, packaging the gift is just as much fun as finding it. Choosing wrapping papers, tissue papers, ribbons, bows, tags, strings, stickers, bags, boxes, and more is like a gift to myself. I try to be consistent with my choices so that gifts from me are obvious when viewed beneath the tree. 

Despite everything that leads up to it, the opening of the present is the most exciting. Watching the recipient either tear through or slowly salvage the packaging is a tense moment. Then, seeing their face light up when they realize that you've paid attention to things they prefer and like is enough to give me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. 

Because it is Christmas season, there has been a variable amount of traffic lately. This rush of shopping paired with ordinary work schedules clogs up the interstate like nobody's business. However, because it is the Christmas season, I am much more forgiving of time wasting than I normally am. So as you go about your daily errands, take time out to breathe. It will keep your stress levels down and help you be more alert for mistakes others might make. For some stress relieving tips, check out this hunch:

Ways to De-stress - get personalized recommendations at Hunch.com
Image via flickr/excalipoor

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cartoon Chatter | Monster High

My adorable little sister is a huge fan of Monster High. I had heard of the show, but I never watched it on television. Since she raved about it over and over again, I gave it a look-see. Well, to be honest, Monster High is not a cartoon that I would put on my list as "ridiculously awesome" or anything, but it's okay for kids.

Like most other contemporary cartoons, Monster High is exceptionally cheesy. It's got obvious morals and corny jokes. They highlight pop culture with puns—Justin Biter, Jaundice Brothers?—and that appeals to the kids of today. My little sister is eleven years old, so she finds these things hilarious. Her favorite is Frankie Stein, a hodge-podge female Frankenstein. There's a whole bunch of others—Cleo De Nile (a mummy), Clawdeen (a werewolf), Draculaura (a vampire), Ghoulia (not certain exactly), and Lagoona Blue (a sea monster thing).

The animation is decent for the kind of show that it is. There are animated foregrounds and backgrounds. You'll see some repeat animation (animations that have been flipped and repeated, or looping animations), but it's not as noticeable to kids. There's music as well. It sounds like whatever is on the radio now, so I'm not a huge fan, but I'm not the audience.

Overall, Monster High is a nice show for tweens to watch. They can somehow relate to these characters, I guess. They are at that awkward stage and seeing other awkward kids makes them feel normal, I suppose. If you have time, check out their YouTube channel and look around. 

Monster High image via fanpop.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Game Review | Disney's Epic Mickey

Video game creators are feeling very epic this holiday season. Disney's Epic Mickey is not "epic," in my own opinion, but it is very un-Mickey. This game shows the harsh side of being a forgotten cartoon. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit has been holding a grudge against Mickey Mouse for quite some time. Now that Mickey has been dragged into a world that he ironically ruined, he has to right some wrongs—or not. 

Epic Mickey allows gamers to decide whether they will be naughty or nice. You can paint and fix the places you visit, or you can choose to thin them out and destroy them. Not only does the environment get your special touch, the people do as well. You can gain their favor or you can piss them off entirely. Depending on the actions you choose, your play experience will change. 

Certain tasks will help you in the end while others might cause you more work (a LOT more work). If you choose to be mean, you can miss out on special extras. If you are always nice, you might not notice a hidden path or object. In the end, whether you allow your conscience to be your guide or not, Epic Mickey is a fun, slightly different game with an engaging plot.

Graphically, you get some nice 3D atmosphere as well as some 2D, simplified animated stories. You also get some platform action while you head between projectors (and the opportunity to be part of classic Disney cartoon shorts). There are plenty of things to catch the eye—was that a Mickey Mouse phone? Yes, it was, and you can dial it. The music can be somewhat eerie at times ("It's a Small World" for example), but it matches your particular situation. Expect a somewhat nerve-wracking change in music when enemies are present. 

So, if you decide to follow my somewhat erratic post, you're waiting to know whether I'd tell you to purchase this release. Well, as an avid fan of all things Disney, I recommend this game to all my fellow Disney fans. You might not be as impressed if you dislike the franchise. The play is not terribly difficult—you get unlimited lives, and the game saves automatically and often. However, for true gamers, there will be the collection aspect. I enjoy interacting with the other cartoon characters and running errands for them. This makes the gameplay richer and more entertaining. So, should you buy it? I say yes, but if you don't trust me, rent it and see for yourself.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Because of Martha (BOM): Cupcake Challenge 3/175

I was busy this past weekend. Busy enough to pop out two cupcake challenges. This third challenge is the Snickerdoodle Cupcake. Are you familiar with the snickerdoodle cookie? It is delicious and one of the few cookies that I am really good at making. 
So, I got my ingredients together. There was a good amount of cinnamon making an appearance. However, it was actually a fairly standard bunch of ingredients overall.
Dallas was little help. He wanted me to throw his string. He was a huge distraction during this process.
Yay, paper liners! Cleanup was a snap. I used plain white baking cups from Betty Crocker.
So, this was how my cupcakes were supposed to turn out. I didn't have the knack for piping, but let me continue. You'll see soon enough. (T-T)
Mixing was easy. My ingredients only required measuring and sifting. Talk about a simple Sunday baking project.
With my dough ready, I managed to fill my cupcake liners. Trust me when I say that it was stretching it to get 24 only because I over-filled my first batch. But 28 would have been a weird number anyway.
This is one batch coming out of the oven. They are crinkly on the top and they smelled like cinnamon heaven.
Here is where things took a turn for the worse. My piping skills were atrocious. However, I blame this partly on the fact that I don't think my frosting was stiff enough. I was just afraid of making it dry and it drying out. However, they taste really good, so I will just have to practice piping for the future. Then, I'll revisit these with the appropriate skills.

Film Review | Tangled

Naturally, I have been waiting to see Tangled for some time—since nearly last year actually. Then, it was called Rapunzel, but that is neither here nor there. When it comes to animated movies, Disney holds the crown. Some of my favorites are their cell-animated feature films from the 80s and 90s. However, Tangled really showed off their skill with 3D animation (though I watched it in 2D—do you know how outrageous ticket prices have become?). Hit the jump for the full review.

Grade: B 

Image via BSC Review

Because of Martha (BOM): Cupcake Challenge 2/175

For any unfamiliar readers, I am a fan of Martha Stewart. She (and her genius employees, of course) is very talented at coming up with excellent recipes and crafts. I happened upon her Cupcakes cookbook and BOOM!—lightbulb. I decided since there are 175 cupcakes total, I'd do the crazy thing and make each one. This is not a Julie & Julia thing, but it is proving to be delicious. I have no set deadline or time to make cupcakes, but there are moments when you need a cupcake. In the future, I hope that this will aid me in becoming a better baker with more ideas and several tricks up my sleeve. 

This installment features Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes. They seemed like a perfect Thanksgiving cupcake. They take all that is wonderful about pumpkin bread (or cookies) in cupcake form. 
Like everything else, this began with gathering my ingredients. Most of these are commonly used for pumpkin, so you'll notice the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and light brown sugar as quite traditional. There were great deals on the price since it's baking season.

 This is my hopeful outcome, but let's get started.
The recipe called for the sage to be chiffonade. I had to do a bit of research and watch a video, but I think the sage added some good flavor to the mix.
After browning my butter, I measured and combined all of my ingredients. A Kitchen-Aid mixer will save your life, trust me.
Once my dough was the proper consistency, I spooned the dough into buttered-and-floured muffin cups. No liners for this one. Talk about messy.

About 22 minutes later, these warm cupcakes were ready to come out of the oven. They smelled divine. I wish I could attach the smell of fresh pumpkin-brown butter cupcakes to this post!
Once they were completely cooled, I dipped them in brown-butter icing. Maybe they don't look exactly like the ones above, but they are kind of close and very good. I loved these! They are not ultra-sweet so the glaze gives just the right touch. Talk about a well-balanced recipe.

Images by B. and me

Film Review | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I)

These past few weeks have been extremely busy and packed full of things to do, so I am only now getting my review for Harry Potter 7 up. I have never read any of the books for Harry Potter, so I am only basing my review from the movies and their relation to one another. That being said, I'm going to go ahead and jump right in with the review. 

Grade: C+

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beggar by choice

For those of us that live in cities, we are aware of a population that is lumped into the term "homeless." I think that is an incorrect assumption. Over the course of the past two years, I have discovered that a better term for this population is "beggar." If you read the Bible or follow the idea of noblesse oblige, you will feel that it is your duty to help these people. They are less fortunate, they are in need—that is what we are taught believe.

However, they are not always those things. More often than not, beggars are not in their right mind, and they are addicted to drugs (or a combination of the two). Instead of giving to them, passersby flat out ignore them. When I was first hired in the city, the recession was going full force and many people were out of work. It was a hard time for everyone and I was only an intern making some odd dollars an hour. 

It was during this time that I met Mike, a younger guy that sat outside of a convenience store near my workplace. He would ask for spare change every afternoon as if it were a full-time job. My mother has perhaps jaded me, but I don't believe in giving money to beggars. Instead, I would save carrot sticks or cookies from my lunch to give him. If I didn't have extra food, I would give sticks of gum. What began as, "Do you have spare change, ma'am?" became "Do you have any more gum, ma'am?" in a few short weeks.

I assumed that Mike couldn't find a job, and I pitied him because even though I was an intern, I had an income. However, as weeks turned into months and years, I have found that there is more to Mike than meets the eye. Like many other beggars, Mike does work. He is recovering from a drug problem, so his performance fluctuates, which affects how much work he gets—and that affects how much money he makes. He has a phone, he has a place to live, and he plays chess (he also has a girlfriend, which is a recent development). However, he needs additional money to make "ends" meet, by which I mean that he wants extra money. 

Perhaps that is what causes me to categorize beggars differently than the homeless. It is because homeless people don't always beg for money. They are the ones that sleep between the doors of businesses to feel heat and cool air. They carry their belongings with them at all times and have a block that they call their stomping grounds. Even if offered a job, they would probably decline the opportunity in favor of the place where they feel comfortable. Being homeless is sometimes a lifestyle choice.

Both beggars and homeless people will accost you as you walk down any city street. Some of them make you feel threatened and others annoy you. Whichever extreme the person falls under, I no longer feel obligated to empty my pockets for them. Oftentimes, giving will find the beggar asking for more (or being picky about what you gave them). Instead, I will speak to them if addressed and continue on my way. When I walk down the street, I don't make a point of talking to everyone I encounter, so I just treat them the same as anyone else in the city. At the end of the day, we all have to live our lives—no one else's. So if you find yourself in the presence of a beggar, don't assume that they did not choose their current situation.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Game Review | Kirby's Epic Yarn

I've played enough of the newly released Kirby's Epic Yarn to give a rather cohesive review. For those who are familiar with Kirby and all of his fluffy pinkness, this new video game will change your thoughts about him. Instead of his usual ability to suck up enemies (and spit them out or copy their abilities), you are a yarn version of Kirby. Gone are the days of sucking things up like only Kirby can. Instead, you can become various vehicles and you use your "lasso" of yarn to grab and destroy enemies or other obstacles. 

I'm torn about the graphics. Some of the backgrounds are very competitive, but the imagination put into each scene is definitely worth more than a small personal issue of mine. The way that sand is shown as unraveling yarn reveals how creative and thoughtful the developers were while they made this piece. After you beat each level, you gain a patch that when properly placed allows you to continue to the next level. 

Besides the usual levels, you can also bring the collected items you've found and add them to an apartment complex. If you bring all of the correct items to an apartment, a friend will move in and additional mini-games will open up to you. It's a good way to keep the gameplay fresh and give you something else to do if you are facing a difficult level. 

Another nice extra is your own place. You can decorate it with anything you find in the levels. Thanks to the beads scattered all over Patch Land, you can purchase more objects or wallpaper/flooring from the stores.

So, if you enjoy the standard platform game but want a bit of a twist, Kirby's Epic Yarn will definitely be worth your hard-earned money. It's great for kids because you can't really die. If you have a friend over, they can even join the fun and you can play the day away. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Film Review | Megamind

I am always excited to see cartoon films. If you have read my blog for a while, you'll know that I generally see most animated feature-length films while they are still in theaters. Since Harry Potter and Tangled are coming out later this month, I expected Megamind to be a decent film for a lazy Sunday afternoon to tide me over until these come out. To be honest with you, I am not a huge fan of 3D, so I watched Megamind in good, old-fashioned 2D and I enjoyed the whole thing. Hit the jump for the full review (with spoilers).

Grade: B

Because of Martha (BOM): Cupcake Challenge 1/175

A recent purchase at Barnes & Noble has prompted me to challenge myself in the way that only a nerd like me would. When I noticed that the Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook has 175 recipes, I thought that I may as well make each recipe. Don't start thinking Julie & Julia. I just thought that this challenge would help me improve at baking with extra sweet results. 

To begin, I thought it made sense to start with the very first recipe, which happens to be Chocolate Chip Cupcakes. It gathered my ingredients taking extra special care to follow the directions that were outlined (and even more, the amounts of ingredients). Other than a quick run to get unsalted butter because of my terrible math skills, I was ready to go. 

I began by mixing together my ingredients for the cupcakes. The recipe yields thirty cupcakes (exactly for me) and they were really beautiful on their pans both before and after baking. They took about twenty minutes a tin. 

While I waited for the cupcakes to bake, I worked on the frosting. It was a dark chocolate frosting that tasted really delicious alone (trust me!).

After cooling, I decorated the cupcakes and served them up for my sisters. They are quite sweet, which I was not expecting. Although I love chocolate frosting, I think that perhaps it was too much chocolate to go with the chocolate chip cupcakes. One snag I ran into with the frosting is that it has flecks of chocolate in it instead of being perfectly smooth. I think this was due to me cooling my melted chocolate too much. However, they are great cupcakes and they taste nice plain if you don't like frosting! Look forward to my next installment of my BOM: Cupcake Challenge coming later this month.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Cupcakes. You can purchase online or in any book store.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The digital book

As eReaders become the choice of readers, I become more and more sad. There are several nice things about eReaders, don't get me wrong. I have one too! You can read while being jostled around a crowded Metro. No need to flip pages, so you are able to hold onto a pole. They are slim and fit in most any bag. Most eReaders have great cases and other accessories.

What is the problem, then? You wonder. Well, with this move to the digital book, there are at least three things that bother me:
  • I can't lend my library to someone else. Being able to pass a book on to a friend when you finish it can fuel a later conversation. However, it isn't as easy with eReaders when you use it to read the books that you have saved on it.
  • You lose the conversation. Have you ever spoken with someone simply because they saw the jacket of your book? At times, these small exchanges lead to even more book recommendations or a new friend.
  • It's no longer personal. Having your own book makes it real and it makes it yours. You can write your name inside of it. You can doodle in the margins if you want (though that is not my preferred way to treat my own books). With things being digital, you don't have the same ownership. The book goes from being special to being another file on your computer's hard drive.
So, don't take this the wrong way. EReaders are helpful for many people and they come in handy often. Just don't forget that printed books save trees and start jobs. There is something about a book that I love and enjoy. What about you? Just how digital are you?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Artist Spotlight | Marian Bantjes

 Last night, I had the pleasure of listening to Marian Bantjes promote her newly released book titled I Wonder. In an almost comical statement, she said that she could hardly describe exactly what this work is about in less than two minutes. I agree. 

For a bit of background, Marian Bantjes is an artist/graphic designer/illustrator/writer. She dropped out of art school and began working at a printer where she developed a love of type and typography. After a 10 year career there, she and a friend started a business together. They worked together for quite some time and Ms. Bantjes eventually realized that it was not what she wanted to do. She gave her portion of the company to her friend and after four years, she discovered what it was that she wanted to do.

If you have ever seen her work, it is meticulously detailed with lots of subtle repetition and careful placement. She is inspired by illuminated texts, religious ornamentation, heraldry and more. I discovered her like a child discovers an artist from days past. Without knowing who she is, you might have seen her work. She has graced the covers of several magazines and even designed materials for Nieman Marcus. Surprisingly, she works with many American and international companies despite the fact that she is from—and lives—in Canada.

For more information about Marian, visit her website. She explains more about herself and her influences/inspiration/history/you name it. You can look at all of her beautifully executed pieces and maybe buy I Wonder so you can sit down and read through it (I thoroughly enjoyed it to be honest).

Image of Marian Bantjes via Computer Arts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'll whip my hair back and forth

You know, I recall my mother avidly hating the music that my sisters and I listened to when we were children. In many ways, it is almost like a tradition—parents will dislike your music and you will in turn dislike the music your children enjoy. However, as I grew older, I understood the reasons why my mother did not like the music that I sang and memorized from the radio. The true meanings behind the lyrics weren't appropriate for someone of my age and it was a big change from the music that she liked.

However, while I can appreciate the oldies that my mother likes, I can still like the music I listened to when I grew up. Yet the music of this generation is not really that appealing to me. There are artists that come out with fairly good music, but I feel that the story is now something that I don't relate to any longer. While kids devour these manufactured songs that have little to no purpose, I explore songs that have been out for years and rediscover old favorites—or keep to the artists that aren't as mainstream.

So, when Willow Smith's song came out, it was something that actually made me laugh. She's a nine-year old with a definite style of her own creation. Her confidence in her choice of dress and hair-do—though unusual—should be inspiring. Not many have the bravery to do something that the world might not like or that will cause others to stare. People become slaves of conformity. While I received stares and giggles for wearing harem pants to the grocery store one day, it was my own thing and my own style (they were the rage in Paris, but it hasn't caught on in the US). 

Even though Willow Smith is taking a Lady Gaga route in some people's opinions, I must applaud her. She is not doing anything too grown in her video and her lyrics are playful and amusing. If anything, she makes a great role model for the kids of today. She shows that she can be something great at nine years old, even if the adults of today don't like it. With that in mind, check out her music video, it might just make you whip your hair back and forth.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Now in season

I love candy corn, if for no other reason than the fact that they are candy. Hope you are preparing for a fun Halloween, reader. If not, enjoy this literal eye candy.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 18, 2010

Film Review | Red

To be completely honest with you, reader, I did not know much about Red, but I wanted to see it. Unlike most of my movie picks, I didn't check out the official site or follow it avidly until it opened. Instead, I saw one glimpse of Helen Mirren shooting someone followed by quick shots of Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised after watching this engaging film. Hit the jump for the full review (sans spoilers).

Grade: A-

Friday, October 15, 2010

Be water, my friend

Earlier this year, I remember reading an article about how little we (as humans) know about water. It is an elusive topic and one that is being brought to the forefront as Blog Action Day 2010 kicks off. Water covers nearly three-quarters of the earth's surface, yet it remains a mystery. Space travel is like a thing of the past, yet what lies beneath the ocean continues to daunt scientists. 

Water is so versatile. It can soothe, it can refresh, it can relax, it can clean, it can power. Water is also dangerous. It can flood a village, it can freeze onto roads, it can rush onto beaches and it can sink a ship. Water can also be completely breathtaking and it can provide energy. Yet somehow, despite its faces, water is essential for each of us. Unlike manufactured beverages like soda and wine, water requires no other ingredients—it is the way it is. Every creature requires water to survive and water is part of nearly every aspect of our lives. 

Perhaps that is why it is a shame that we know so little about it. Statistics float to the surface every now and then—did you know that we use less than 1% of the world's available water? —but it seems that nothing ever comes out of them. There are still more than 800 million people worldwide that do not have access to healthy, clean drinking water. The majority of water on Earth is found in the oceans. Although costs of desalination are decreasing, it is still rather expensive to convert salt water to drinking water—and that does not work for the poor countries that need water the most.

How can we know more about water? What will truly raise our awareness of what it is? We gain so much from our oceans, rivers and lakes. We (as humans) are also not the only ones that need and use water. The sea life that inhabits Earth's waters are also affected by our knowledge. This great balance that water provides to the other elements is responsible for our survival and if we are to survive, I believe we should learn more.

Though I continue to talk about learning more about the world's water, I don't want it to seem like we are completely uninformed. However, while many aspects of life are placed on pedestals—oil consumption and energy, technology, and "green" living/sustainability—water is always pushed to the background. Projects to provide drinking water or to advance our knowledge of water generally fail or are underfunded. However, efforts are being made to remedy this fact and providing water to poor countries can be accomplished. By signing the petition to build an International Water Treaty providing everyone in the world with clean water, you can take action.

For more information about water, visit Water.org. If you would like to know more about Blog Action Day 2010 and how you can be involved, visit BlogActionDay.org.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

If only I smelled like a monster...

Game Review | Sonic 4

After much waiting, I finally downloaded Sonic 4: Episode 1 from Nintendo's WiiWare on Monday. I had been looking forward to this moment for quite some time and I honestly was not unimpressed. The game has the same side-scrolling charm. The enemies look quite similar to their classic counterparts, but they have been updated with better rendering. Even the rings are looking shiny and new. For the full review, please hit the jump.

Thursday Traffic | 14 October

I've been a bit busy these past couple weeks working on some things. That explains my lack of blogging and my sudden interest in "busy-ness". See, many people today lead very busy lives. Some are busy in five hour meetings that would have served better as a ten-minute pow-wow around a water cooler. A few others are busy complaining about how busy they are. Others are busy looking busy so that no one suspects that they aren't busy. In fact, being busy is something that is almost expected of us.

Have you heard that saying, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop"? I must disagree. First of all, what most of us are busy doing does not matter in the long run. The things that people nearly kill themselves to accomplish could be completed at a normal pace and still yield the same results. Secondly, while it is excellent to be engaged in projects for the health of your mind, being too busy causes stress and can result in more harm than good. Third, there is no need to be so busy that we are not able to spend time with our friends, family and other people that matter to us.

So are you too busy to take a moment and breathe? If so, don't pat yourself on the back and do a victory dance. Instead, reflect on where your time went and how it was spent. We live in a fast-paced society nowadays. We no longer have to wait two weeks or more for a letter to reach a friend overseas (then, an additional amount of time to receive a response). The convenience of cell phones, modern agriculture and packaging, the internet and transportation have revolutionized our way of life. Because of this, I believe that we shouldn't be as busy—if anything, we should have more time to spend doing things that we like instead of busy work.

What do you think?

Photo via flickr/Techne

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What the Hunch? I've been interviewed!

For the first time ever, I have been interviewed. Read the full scoop on Hunch!

Image of yours truly by yours truly

Monday, September 27, 2010

Words you might enjoy(e): Installment IV

I haven't blogged about a word in quite some time. I was reading a book today that I haven't read in ages and I came across the word widdershins.

Widdershins basically means to take a course opposite the apparent motion of the sun (Northern Hemisphere). Also, it can refer to circling an object counter-clockwise. You can think of widdershins as the opposite direction as usual.

(via Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

International House of...

I read an article this morning about IHOP (that would be the well-known, often 24-hour restaurant, which is the International House of Pancakes) suing IHOP (this is the 24/7 International House of Prayer) for using their name illegally. Now, I understand that IHOP is really unique and you know what it is without even saying the whole name—it's like the USO now in that way—but exactly how is the International House of Prayer using their name illegally? IHOP argues that the organization is using their name to attract visitors.

As an aside, basically, you cannot use the same name when you are competing for the same market. So you can't have two department stores named Target. That's infringement. I am so curious as to how the International House of Prayer is competing with the International House of Pancakes. My thoughts?

  • They are stealing their paying customers because these people have decided to pray instead of munch on pancakes.
  • They have completely ripped off their logo and building style and are wearing the blue uniforms to persuade possible customers to pray.
  • They are making pancakes and giving them to people who come to pray for free.

No, really, all jokes aside, I think this is a case that didn't need to happen. I am giving IHOP some mercy and assuming that they spoke to this International House of Prayer prior to taking them to court. The responsible action would have been for faux-IHOP to change their name. So always be certain to check out any name ideas online before using them so you avoid this kind of situation. What are your thoughts about all this?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I don't want my MTV

You know how when you were younger, you'd always say to yourself, "I'll never be like my parents" or something along those lines? Well, even if you haven't, I usually thought that when I was in trouble or I wanted to do something and was told no. However, one thing I never agreed with my mother on was music.

When you are young, you fall in love with certain bands and it seems that your parents are bound to hate them due to some genetic trait that causes them to dislike everything you find interesting. My mom would always say that what we listened to wasn't music. She would go on an on about "real music" which was just oldies to me at the time. Now, I have an appreciation for the oldies and my childhood favorites after watching the VMAs on MTV.

First of all, as you all know, MTV is no longer "music television." It's just MTV. It has become a haven for reality television and digitally remastered musicians. There are still good artists out there, but they aren't that mainstream. While I switched between the VMAs and the football game last night, all I heard from the stage performances was noise. There wasn't much else. So when did I become my mother? Why did I start disliking this music? Three reasons:

Music isn't about lyrics anymore—Have you listened to some of the things these artists talk about? I hate listening to the radio because the songs are so pointless. That is if I can even make out what they are saying.

Music isn't about music anymore—The digital beats are sometimes catchy and creative, but more often than not, they are sampled parts of other artist's songs. Talk about being unoriginal. Even worse is that people don't have to be good singers anymore because they digitally enhance their voices.

Music isn't about anything anymore—Music used to mean something to artists. They were expressing ideas or supporting causes. Nowadays, they are just talking about any old thing. The meaning has changed and I don't like the direction it's gone in.

I wont judge you if you like today's music. I just don't feel like I hear much that is worth listening to. What are your thoughts?

Image via Multnomah County Library