Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jedi Ninjas

Not as cool as the idea of ninja cowboys, but I'll take it as I sees it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stop-motion FTW

Stop-motion animation is not only awesome when clay figures are manipulated in feature films. Something as simple as a box can become so much more. Check out Proteigon below.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cartoon Chatter | Total Drama Island

To give Cartoon Network series a bit more of a shout out, this Cartoon Chatter is all about Total Drama Island. The show is from the makers of 6teen, and it is a parody of Survivor. To its credit, Total Drama Island did an excellent job of jabbing fun at survivor-type reality shows while being creative. Like many Cartoon Network shows, some of the humor goes more to adults than children, but it broadens the target audience.

Each episode of the show follows the struggles of each challenge the participants face. The teens are all different with some very unique personalities. The beauty of a show like this is that you can create various characters to which kids can relate. The show has a lot of jokes, and it is linear, which I always enjoy. Some of the material is probably dated now, but the scriptwriters did a good job of keeping with things popular at the time.

Of course, some challenges result in some pretty disgusting things happening, but that's kid humor for you. Despite all maladies and vomit, the show often highlights interesting things without beating you over the head with it. There is something for everyone here—romance, betrayal, trust, acceptance, and more. The actual style of the show makes it easy to follow the characters from episode to episode. Like Pepper Ann and Doug, the characters generally wear the same outfit every episode. I think this could have been updated more often, but that's just me. I always like cartoons that switch things up in a realistic way.

Although it has now delved into more seasons than I have watched, I can definitely vouch for the first season of the show. I have some catching up to do to reach the current Total Drama Action.

Poor bat

I sometimes wonder if cats do things just to show off. Actually, I am kind of convinced that is probably the case.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What I imagined eReaders would do

When eReaders first popped onto the scene, I imagined that they would add depth and value to the written word. This small experimental video shows one possibility of how a book can be taken to the next level (without interactivity even). Some stories can be told differently now that eReaders can process information easily. Hopefully, authors consider this when they write their new books.
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick from Daniel Savage on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jedi Squirrels

Absolutely hilarious! It seems that one should keep an eye on squirrels. Never know when they might encounter a lightsaber.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Traffic | 10 November

It is Thursday and let me tell you what—traffic was moving today. The usual "parking lot" that we have to drive through to get to work was more like an expressway. When things move, everyone is happy. Speaking of moving, I'm taking a big step and moving out on my own. It's a nerve-wracking, yet exciting thing to do. There are some pros and cons to living alone:

  • A space to call your own—some people never get a chance to experience this. This will actually be my first time experiencing it myself. You can choose your "look" for your place and do whatever you want whenever you want.
  • Less energy usage—the more people you live with, the more electricity/water you will use. Trust me. 
  • Controlling the strings—sometimes, it's nice not to worry about upsetting someone else, or dealing with other guests. With your own place, you don't have to ask if it's okay to invite a few friends over, and you don't have to have any awkward moments where you try to find something in common with a roommate's friends.
  • Expensive—sharing a space certainly does lower the cost of renting.
  • Lonely—having someone else to talk to can be nice. It's also good if you can split up chores like cooking and cleaning and such.
  • No extra key—living with someone can guarantee that someone else will have a key to the house. Alone, you have to be more careful. That includes other things too, like did you leave the oven on?
Yeah, so maybe I am exaggerating on a few points, but I'm super pumped to be living on my own. I think it'll be a fun experience. Any of you have your own place? Any tips and pointers for me?

Image procured from the internet

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birds aren't all that bad

I am not a huge fan of birds, but this video has definitely helped me to appreciate one aspect of these feathered travelers—they can look really pretty when they fly.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cartoon Chatter | The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy

Generally, I have talked about cartoons that I love during Cartoon Chatter, but it's about time for me to pick up on some others that I am not particularly fond of. Just over the weekend, I caught an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (also known as Billy & Mandy). It has been a while since I last watched it. If you have never seen this show before, all you need to do is think of Ren & Stimpy. If you can envision it, you will already be partway to understanding Billy & Mandy.

The titular characters, Billy and Mandy, are two children who live in Endsville. Billy is an idiot, and Mandy is a melancholy, unfriendly girl. The two manage to force the Grim Reaper (Grim) to be their "best friend" for ever and ever. The show is basically a non-linear depiction of the adventures the three face. They end up battling denizens of the Underworld and everyday children's issues—like school. 

Unlike many other cartoons, Billy and Mandy never really stood out to me. The animation is nothing particularly special. The grotesque nature of the monsters and such is heavily reminiscent of a mix between Ren & Stimpy and Aaahh! Real Monsters. Perhaps because it aired on Cartoon Network, it never received the bad rap that Spongebob does. With often questionable dialogue and fairly pointless episodes, Billy and Mandy is the kind of show that you might watch in passing only to be completely confused later. I wouldn't recommend this one, but that is due to my own personal opinions.

The show did spawn one video game, so you can look out for it. It might possibly have a DVD as well, but I didn't check. Do you love this cartoon? Sound off in the comments.

Trick or Treat

Let me begin by saying that I am no stranger to random acts of magic. Whilst eating at Ruby Tuesday, I was entertained by a friendly magician. He didn't skip a beat either. It was trick after trick after trick. However, there is another magician on the loose, and this one is targeting drive-thru windows. Enjoy these and Happy Halloween! (ps, I'm partial to the second video myself.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Burning Hot

Another nice video with fun animation. The paper cut outs are very well done. I love the change from an almost human form to a flickering flame. Very cool. From what I read, it is about spreading happiness.
"Ho-Ho" -this message is boiling hot- from SonyDigital001 on Vimeo.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Evelyn Evelyn

Today, I discovered Evelyn Evelyn due to the awesome music video posted below. I think that oftentimes, we don't realize that people who might have a deformity or mutation might also be very talented. I'm happy that this duo can make us celebrate differences, even though their connection is completely fictional. Besides, I'm a happy mutant. I was born with extra fingers on both hands. Makes me different, but also interesting, in my honest opinion. You guys have any physical uniqueness happening?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My issue with Facebook

My friends and family are quite aware that I am not often on Facebook. In fact, they often remark that I am "never" on Facebook. However, I was part of the first wave of users who discovered THE Facebook some years ago. In college, it was a different feeling. You could keep in touch with people that you had just met on campus, schedule meetings for group projects, and rediscover old friends from elementary school. At the time, it was only open to those with a college/university email address, so everyone was in a similar age range with a similar goal. Cue the rest of the world entering Facebook and there arises my issues.

This age of "social media" has really been a big disappointment to me. I think that what is happening with all of these online relationships is that we are losing touch with what is real and really around us. So quickly we take a photo and upload it to a page (or tweet about it) where our friends (and some followers, because I doubt you can be true friends with 8,000 people) can dissect it and spread it along. While this can be enlightening and helpful, it also allows us to become these couch friends. We might shoot someone a small message like, "Hey, how are you?" every now and then, but how insensitive is that? We have so much information around us that we don't even care enough about one subject for more than five minutes. Oh, your friend got married? Great, quick post on their wall and forget about them after that.

Real friendships and real relationships cannot fit within small timelines highlighting your favorite music and foods. Life is not that easily placed within some clever algorithm cooked up by a bunch of programmers. Facebook touts the idea of friendship and that is where my issue arises. I have great friends, but I don't need Facebook to have a relationship with them. It is a sad day when we connect online, but not in person. While it is a great way to get into contact with those who cannot be near us (similar to the telephone), it does not replace a true friendship.

I know that Facebook is a company, and like most companies, the bottom-line is what is most important. However, I don't appreciate them selling "friendship" as if it was created entirely by them. Friendship isn't liking some ridiculous, snarky comment that your friend posted on their wall. It isn't sending your friend some virtual icon of a present on their birthday. It isn't posting what music you listen to. Friendship is so much deeper than Facebook makes it out to be, and I don't like that they belittle it. If I think my friends will like something, I will tell them. I don't need Facebook doing it for me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Twin Serpents

I'm not really knowledgeable about all of the things that happen at Burning Man, but these twin serpent vehicles that were there are still quite eye-catching. They are made with recycled materials. Some parts are crafted completely by hand while others are created using technology. Overall, a very cool project. The best part? They work! I did a little research into the developers, and I discovered that this started as a Kickstarter project. 

All Images © Jillian Northrup

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out of Sight

Tchaikovsky in a different medium

Tchaikovsky looks like it will be an amazing short. For more about its production, check out Joe Clarke's site.

Brown Bag Lunch

I've known quite a few people that wrote sweet messages on their children's brown paper lunch bags. I thought it was really cool, so I did the same thing for my sisters for a while. However, one father—sorry, dad—has a much better idea. He draws nostalgic and popular cartoon and video game characters on his children's lunch bags. For more eye candy, check out tumblr.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

DIY | Crocheted School Spirit Throw

I came across this pattern on Red Heart last month. It was a nice blanket, and I thought it suited my sister. On a whim, I decided to make it for her. Although they specify the type of yarn you should use, I opted not to use a Fiesta style yarn. Instead, I let my sister choose her own colors. I think that grey and white was an excellent combination. If you are new to crochet, this pattern is definitely for you. You will learn how to hold your yarn properly and it is the same stitch over and over again.

Difficulty: Easy/Beginner
Time: Depends upon experience (took me approximately 48 hours total to complete over the course of 3–4 weeks)
Expense: Moderate ($30+)
Materials: Available in craft stores and online (I bought from Michaels and AC Moore)

Hit the jump for some additional images of the blanket (including a nice closeup).

NewfoundEtiquette | Using the Escalator/Moving Walkway

It's a sad day when you have to tell people how to use an escalator/moving walkway. However, there is a right way (and a wrong way), to ascend the moving staircase. How do I know? Well, I commute in DC. Trust me, we have more escalator issues than a public transportation system should. First things first hit the jump, and we'll liken this to driving.

Image via The New York Times

Monday, August 22, 2011

Forget Clementine, I'm all about Madeleine

People can call Clementine darling, but they have not met Madeleine. This petit French cake is delectably simple with such a wonderful flavor. As Proust said, they are best eaten warm from the oven. I had, until this past Saturday, never tried a madeleine in my life. Now, I feel like I want to eat nothing but them. Go buy a madeleine baking pan and give these sweet treats a try. Hit the jump for a simple recipe via Williams-Sonoma.

Calling the "Pink Flamingo"

Maybe flamingos have their own superhero, and this is their call for the "Pink Flamingo"?

(via National Geographic)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nail Biting

Yes, reader, I am one of those people. I don't "bite" my nails so much as run them beneath my front teeth. However, even if I do not bite/chew/strain my nails, they still break. It's an annoying habit, but one that I feel confident in stopping. You see, whenever I become completely engrossed in a project, my fingernails become victims. My latest project? Well, to be honest, they are projects:

NaNoWriMo 2011! I really enjoyed participating in this last year, so I am getting a head start on outlines and development this year.

Etsy! I have technically had a shop for almost one year, but I have yet to sell anything. Reason? I'm slow. I want to sell crocheted goodies. Nothing very expensive, but small things you can wear or use.

Baking! If you read my blog, you see the results of my baking. 

So, not a huge list, but three things that are taking up my time. This is in addition to me playing video games, watching Netflix, reading, and dancing (in private far away from anyone). However, I feel that I need to give my loyal readers a sort of update as to why I haven't been posting a lot. As always, there is more to come.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra

First of all, how did I miss this? I cannot believe that DiMartino is up for another spin with Nickelodeon. This is the most exciting news I have received since I found out that they have whole festivals devoted to bacon. Check out the trailer below. Also, anyone else find it odd that it is still called "The Last Airbender"?

(via Cartoon Brew)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NewfoundEtiquette | Dealing with Creepers

In the days of old, Miss Manners let you know how to handle the world around you. She could tell you everything from what to wear to proper ways to respond to questions. In fact, she still gives eager seekers a touch of help in a weekly column. Yet I don't believe that Miss Manners has to deal with creepers often.

What are creepers? you ask? Well, you know a creeper when you see one. I feel that I must have a creeper magnet or something. There is always some weirdo or another that approaches me for an odd reason that is just downright creepy. Case in point: All I really wanted was Potbelly (continued after the jump)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Artist Spotlight | Tommy Ingberg

There are so many amazing photographers these days. Even in the hands of a child, a camera can be a tool that captures such amazing things about life and emotions. However, every once in a while, there is a photographer that is truly like an artist. Enter Tommy Ingberg, surrealist photographer whose works remind me of amazing paintings. You can view his photographs (and buy prints) from his site. He achieves a very rich range of tones, which is quite a feat. Hit the jump for a few more images, or just check out his website.

All images are copyright of Tommy Ingberg Photography 2007–2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Film Review | Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

 I've been very devoted to watching each Pirates of the Caribbean installation in theaters. This latest (and final) offering from the Disney franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (POTC 4), left me feeling a bit sad and disappointed. Hit the jump for the full review (spoilers follow).

Grade: C-

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I will never be on Oprah, Mom

If you have heard the news, you are aware that Oprah's last show will air next Wednesday. It's odd for me to think of the fact that it will be over. You see, adults watched their favorite shows end as my generation was born. In turn, it is now my time to watch the popularity of shows completely change.

Oprah was one of the only talk shows I have ever watched willingly (though not often). Her show was often life-changing for her guests. She helped people, she gave gifts, she brought secrets to light—she made dreams come true, with Disney finesse. We watched her battle with her weight from season to season, and she became more and more elaborate as the years progressed. Books rose to popularity at her word and Dr. Phil was introduced to the world. As she made her changes, my life changed. I grew older, I learned more, I found a goal for my life (maybe). However, in the back of my mind, I've always wanted to be on her show. I've wanted to accomplish something worthy enough to be aired on one of her shows, or at least sit in the audience once.

It seems that an appearance on her show is simply not in my fate. However, as Oprah ends its twenty-five year run, my mind can come up with nothing to take its place. Not just anyone can replace a woman who has spoken with celebrities, political figures, and the everyday person on the same level she did. As I raise my hat to Ms. Winfrey, I hope that no one tries to touch what she created. Now, I will simply have to wait for the next part of my childhood memories to vanish completely.

Monday, April 25, 2011

BOM: Cupcake Challenge 7/175

I decided upon making carrot cupcakes for Easter because for some reason, carrots are popular. I have a limited taste understanding of carrot cakes/cupcakes, only having one of both fairly recently. So, you can imagine that I was a bit daunted by this recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook.
My ingredients were easy to measure out. Nothing too crazy. I bought pre-shredded carrots and ended up giving them a bit of a chop in the food processor. Not sure if that's a normal thing, but hey, this was my first try with this and I didn't want huge strings of carrots.

It was a bit odd to mix carrots with other ingredients. I suppose it is similar to working with pumpkin, but I still had a hard time with it. However, I was able to combine all of my cupcake ingredients by hand. Power to manual labor. These also were put into lined muffin pans which allows for easy cleanup.

Twenty-five minutes later, I pulled these good looking cupcakes out of the oven. They smelled delightful! I tried a plain cupcake because the cookbook said they make a good snack when eaten this way. It tasted good, but it seemed more like a muffin without frosting.

That realization was my cue to start on my cream cheese frosting. I had no idea that this popular frosting was so easy to make. Those four ingredients are all you need! I never would've guessed. My sister said that it was my best frosting yet. (WIN!) I'm sure that you notice our Kitchen-Aid mixer had to be used for this step.

And there you have the iced cupcakes. This is definitely a great cupcake to make. Not too sweet and very light and moist. Shouldn't be too much to clean either. I suggest giving it a try.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Spring

For perhaps the first day since spring began, it is actually a nice "spring-ish" day. Have you completed your big spring cleaning, Reader? I'm still working on that (slowly), but it's coming along. I think that when the weather is warm, I enjoy eating more than ever. So, I had a nice excuse to bake up some delicious. If you worked with me, you'd be eating some chocolate fudge cake pops right about now. 

Since you do not work with me, I wanted to share this with you so you can surprise your own coworkers. I've made cake pops before (wow, they looked so lumpy), but I think my skills have somewhat improved. Due to the recent "cake pop-ularity," companies are starting to create items for them. Wilton made the carriers (which I decked out using Hallmark's adhesive ribbon available in stores) and they also have a stand for decorating cake pops (but make sure you use styrofoam to dry your pops!). Actually, if you search their site, you'll come across a lot of great supplies.

Woodkid - Iron

(via NewWork)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cartoon Chatter | The Wild Thornberrys

Although it was not as popular as Rugrats, Klasky Csupo's The Wild Thornberrys was a great cartoon that ran for a good six years (and reran until a few years back). It follows the titular Thornberrys as they travel the world filming wild animals. The protagonist of the show, Eliza, is a nerdy yet very brave girl with the ability to speak to animals. Perhaps I liked this because I always wished that I could speak to animals, but it provided some pretty interesting episodes and taught some good lessons.

Like other Nickelodeon cartoons, it wasn't always what you would expect kids to be watching (feral son, parents that let their children climb mountains unattended, lots of conflicts with poachers), but it was a thoughtful and interesting series. The animation was what you expected from Klasky Csupo and the stylized look was one familiar to kids at the time. Give a few episodes a try and you might become a fan. There is even a movie!

Image via sodahead.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

On games and graphics

Todd McLellan's works are like real life Dismantlement games except there isn't a bomb to worry about. Instead, your eyes can feast on a creative, motion-filled photograph of a disassembled mundane object from a clock to a typewriter. For more on Todd, check out his site. If you are intrigued by my vague mention of Dismantlement, check out the addictive, short point-and-click flash games.

Apart Wind Up Clock by Todd McLellan; via UPPERCASE

Just the right amount of whimsy

Some long-awaited eye candy for you. 

Image via yours truly

Film Review | Rango

It's been a while since I've been to the movies and I was very excited to see Rango—we're talking Johnny Depp and cartoons? Well, my excitement was short-lived, but let's just get right into the skinny, shall we?

Grade: C-

Image via moviedeskback.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Periodic Table of Meat

Notice that bacon is not only a noble meat, but also the "meat of life." Enjoy this illustrative periodic table of meat. 

(via A Girl and Her Fork)

Artist Spotlight | Robert Longo

Though I learned all about classic artists and painters while I was in college, I did not learn much about artists in these days. It is a sad truth, but one that I am glad to change whenever I stumble across a talented artist. Robert Longo is an amazing illustrator with a photographic approach to detail. He makes charcoal, graphite and ink into something that I never could—but now want to. 

His work is presently being exhibited in Spain and Germany. If you have some time, look through all of his works on his site. Otherwise, just enjoy some works that I selected from his site.
Men in the Cities (Untitled)

Untitled (Hector)

Untitled (The Face)

All images are the work of Robert Longo; Image at top: Untitled (Homage to Robert Bresson's au hasard balthazar)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Artist Spotlight | Dana Tanamachi

In my opinion, typography is one of the most important parts of graphic design. You can have as many illustrations and photographs as you'd like, but nothing can quite be as effective as the proper usage of typography. For some, it comes almost naturally while for others it is a constant struggle. Dana Tanamachi has a hands-on approach to typography that I think would make my design professors proud. Her work shows careful thought in terms of stretching, skewing, and readability. I'm not a huge fan of her posters, but the hand-drawn type is great! For more about Dana, visit her site

All images via Dana Tanamachi's site

Thursday, March 17, 2011

BOM: Cupcake Challenge 6/175

Top o' the mornin' to ya, readers. I promise that is the only cliché phrase I will use this St. Patrick's Day. To celebrate, not only did I don a bright, lime green wig to work, I also whipped up another batch of cupcakes from my Martha Stewart Cupcakes cookbook. Unsurprisingly, I opted for the St. Patrick's Day cupcakes. These use the Brown Sugar Pound Cake recipe from earlier in the book (for that recipe, these are topped with Brown-Butter Icing—same as the Pumpking Brown-Butter Cupcakes I've already made) and are liberally covered with Bailey's frosting!

My cupcakes actually were not going to look like the book. I did not want to put an inedible item on the top of the cupcake, so I chose to use green sprinkles instead of a clover. 

Of course, I had to begin by prepping my ingredients (a short one this time).

After combining my materials for my batter, I spooned it into the festive muffin liners. It baked for 25 minutes.

While my cupcakes were in the oven, I started working on measuring and sifting my ingredients for the Bailey's frosting.

Here are the cupcakes coming out of the oven and my work on the creamy Bailey's frosting.

Then came the fun part. Nothing like icing a cupcake and covering it with (a conservative amount of) sprinkles. A paper towel beneath the cupcakes makes cleanup easy.

And here are the some of the finished products getting ready to go to work with me. By far, this has to be my best work on a frosting. It was smooth and creamy and sweet. The cupcake was not overpoweringly sweet, so you can really enjoy it.