Archive for the 'Pre-Nov-2003' Category

Coming soon: another blog post

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yes, you read about it here first, folks. Yummy or Crummy will be adding another blog post here sometime in the very near future. Do hold your breath, and don’t sit back and relax, because before you know it my new blog post will kick you in the teeth and throw you down like your daddy never could, no matter how much he drank.

Haliburton! Why can’t you be more like your brother ExxonMobil?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

US babies get global brand names (BBC Online)

… Mr Evans told BBC News Online one reason for the popularity of brands as names is a growing desire on the part of parents to mark their children out as different…

How sad….

Eatin’ like Aliens

Saturday, November 1, 2003

There is a store called Area 51 in Seattle that sells vintage (and some new) furniture and other kitsch/modern items. When we told one of our friends that we were looking for a dining table/chair set, he suggested that we try the store. I was skeptical at first, since I was sure that the “hip-factor” would unnecessarily mark up the prices beyond what we cared to pay. Well — we were pleasantly surprised by how reasonable some of the prices were. We found a set we liked and could afford (a new set), but we decided to keep looking in the used/antique arena just a bit longer. We were hoping to find something with a little character, though not too much, at a salvation-army price. Turns out that a decent set of dining table and chairs is highly sought after in this town, as we learned from all the “sorry, it just got sold” emails from the sellers on craigslist. We checked out some antique shops, where we found some things we liked but for much higher than we could go. We ended up going back to Area 51 today, and purchased the table mentioned above.

We like the table a lot — it’s simple, but is unique enough that you don’t find it just anywhere. And most importantly, this is the first piece of new furniture in a long time that we did not buy at IKEA!

Gonna get me a big camera

Friday, October 24, 2003

istockphoto.com

I came across this site while I was searching for royalty-free stock photos on the Web. It’s an interesting marriage of micropayments and eMarketplace/eCommunity. I haven’t looked into it seriously — my camera’s resolution is not good enough to take pictures to make them useful for anybody. But when I get a new camera, I’ll be looking up this site to look to cash in!

Speaking of marriage of micropayments and eCommunity… I used to be really into Epinions. I really thought that I could make some money if I wrote a fair amount of good, honest reviews that people would find helpful. Well that never happened, and I lost interest after a while. I stopped paying attention to the site, and my general impression is that most people did, too. I speculate that the following factors had something to do with it: 1) overemphasis on merchandising (users have to get past all the crap about ‘comparison shopping’ before they get to the actual reviews), 2) too many product categories (there are a lot of product categories that don’t have any reviews at all, contributing to the impression that the site is not all that useful — plus it’s impossible to stay competitive with other ‘review’ sites if you’re not focused), 3) and poor IA that potentially buried well-written reviews underneath badly-written ones (they corrected this now, but back then the reviews were sorted by date — even if you wrote a masterpiece, one month later it was buried to the bottom of the page, giving your review practically no exposure). The way they corrected #3 is good (the default sort is based on how the reviewer him/herself is rated, then you have option to sort by date or product rating), but you still have to scroll all the way down, past all the merchandising info, to see the list of reviews.

Hello, Seattle

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Some things I’ve noticed since Lucretia and I arrived in Seattle.

  1. People drive like they’re from the suburbs. This is even more true when it rains — you would think that is one condition under which these people are used to driving.
  2. Fruits and vegetables seem fresher here, even in a regular store like Safeway.
  3. Most people here seem to be from somewhere outside of Washignton. And they all acknowledge this.
  4. Even with the rain and/or heavy cloud, the sky manages to look awesome, especially during early evenings.
  5. Microsoft’s influence is visible EVERYWHERE — even in NPR!

Good Bye, Chicago

Monday, September 29, 2003

Tomorrow, we will pick up the moving truck, and on Wednesday, we will officially be beginning our new journey to the Northwest. We’ve known about this move for so long now — so much so that we feel like we should’ve been there already. Funny that we’re still nervous about it. We had our family farewell party on Saturday, and hung out with our friends to say our good-byes yesterday. I’m sure some people were thinking, “Finally!” — not in a bad way, but because we had been talking about this for so long. We share the feeling — we are anxious to live in a different apartment, meet new people, start new challenges, get a new job, maybe find a new hobby, hike new trails, whatever. But with each hug we gave and received in the last two days, we were reminded of how much we are leaving behind, and how much we’ll miss. Chicago-style pizza! Cubbies in the playoff! Good Mexican food! And yes, all the friends we made in the 5+ years we lived here. We truly feel lucky to have known all of them — I’m aleady looking forward to the ‘reunion’! Thank you, Chicago. Love, M+L

Movies

Friday, September 19, 2003

Fall movies look better than the summer ones so far. Lucretia and I went to see Lost in Translation — I didn’t drool over this one like the critics have been, but I like Billy Murray so naturally I tend to like the movie better. I’d say B+. I want to see Cabin Fever (pancakes!) but Lucretia won’t go near it…. I also want to see Anything Else, and after that the winter releases look good, too. TLR, Matrix, The Last Samurai… Luc and I will definitely be continuing our weekend-matinee tradition in Seattle.

Lose weight, get a design job

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

One of many perks of being unemployed is that you can go do laundry at 10 AM on a weekday morning and take up four dryers and hog as many carts, and nobody will care — in fact, there was only one other person doing the wash. I was particularly relaxed this time, because I knew this would be one of the last few times I would need to go to the local Spin Cycle (which was acquired recently by a company called PWS?? What a shock), because our new apartment in Seattle has a washer and dryer in the unit. (If I mention this more than serveral times, it’s because Lucretia and I are totally ecstatic about it.)

Anyway, I was folding my clothes while watching Texas Justice on TV, and I noticed that almost ALL commercials were about either some kind of a weight loss program/drug/surgery, or getting a design job. (Or more precisely, going to an art school so that you can have a HOT career in visual design and art!)

Now, I’m not about to get all upset that the advertisers are making an assumption about how we, the collective unemployed, are overweight artist-wannabes. But what the ads mean is that there are a lot of people who are unemployed out there (I knew that). And somebody seems to think that being a professional designer is so easy that any schmo can take some correspondence course and be an expert in 6 months (That, I didn’t know).

I know I’m not the best designer — I’m not even all that good at it. It being the part of design where you create really innovative, hip, exciting visuals. But there are other design-related things I’m good at, like paying attention to all the details, creating a layout that is visually balanced and informationally sound. You learn most of these skills in school, but also some of it has to do with your personality. You have to have that anal-retentive mind that nags you about the things most other people would not notice.

I’d hate to be on the design-high-horse, but watching those commercials made me upset, particularly about two things:

  1. These advertisers assume that design (in particular Web design, interior design, and game design were among the “cool” and “hot” careers) is something easy enough that anybody unemployed and foolish enough to be tricked by these awful commercials (actual quote from one of the commercials — an obnoxious white girl exclaiming, “Can you believe it?? I’m getting PAID playing GAMES!!”) can take a few classe to master.
  2. Inevitably some people will be encouraged by these ads, and will choose to pursue a design career by going to one of these (presumably from the quality of the commercials) awful schools. This will result in more people who say, “Hey! I know FrontPage! I can design a Web site!” …Which will result in even more of the unusable, low-quality designs that gave the Web a bad reputation during the boom.

Like I said I don’t like giving any design-is-holy speeches, so it’s difficult for me to admit that I’m offended by these commercials. I’m all for as many people as possible learning the Web and getting more tech-savvy. But my concern is equating learning FrontPage with the word “design,” and these people potentially calling themselves “designers,” when that’s what — well — more qualified people use to call themselves.

Anyhoo…. I don’t want to take myself too seriously so I’ll stop now. And I should be happy that crazy skank landlord got what she deserved and had to pay out $1200 in damages! Yeah! Don’t mess with Judge Larry Joe!

Impeach Bush already

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Moebius Strip Foreign Policy via Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World

I don’t usually LOVE “This Modern World” — but this one I thought was really brilliant. The layout works perfectly with the theme — I would have loved it even more if Tom Tomorrow could have used actual quotes like he often does.

My “No War” pin has been on my backpack for a while, but I must admit — there were times when I felt a little silly displaying it. The Iraq war seemed to be over quickly and with little casualties. I sometimes felt like people would come up and heckle, “What War? It’s over! Get a new cause!” Or something to the effect. I’m over that feeling now — I have been for at least couple months. I’m convinced that things are getting worse everyday, and the current administration needs to stop trying to divert our attention and spinning everything. We need to pay attention to what they are doing and saying so we can criticize. We need to criticize the media as well so that they don’t let the White House off the hook again. The price of gas goes up 20 cents, and we freak out — I hope we think about why that happens. I hope we keep wondering, even after it comes down 10 cents after Labor Day.

Eastlake, the hidden gem

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Lucretia and I found an apartment in Seattle!

We were originally looking to live in the Fremont area — a neighborhood roughly equivalent of Wicker Park in Chicago. It’s not that we are big fans of Wicker Park, but we thought the description of the area (a close-knit, art-loving community) sounded like it would be a good match for us. However, we kept our options open — Seattle is a small city, and there are lot of great areas to live in and still be close to the University. We had heard that the Eastlake neighborhood was somewhat of an unknown treasure, so we checked it out early. Sure enough, the place was impressive. Quiet, mostly residential, close to Lake Union, a great view of the city as well as the Gas Works Park, and 5-minute bus ride away from UW. Rent was reasonable, too. We’re very grateful for whoever gave us the advice. Soon I will be posting pictures of our view out the window — or from the roof if i get access to it!

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