28 February 2011

Oscar Night '11

We had a great get together last night to celebrate another year in film and watch the stars on the red carpet.  Everyone brought delectable food & drink and also looked amazing.  Mac & cheese, bacon-wrapped asparagus, chocolate-dipped strawberries, stuffed mushroom caps, layered bean dip, oreo balls, champagne, swag bags, a door prize and the coveted oscar trophy for whoever guesses the most winners correctly.  This year we had a three-way tie for first.  Caboose, nicole and myself all had 10 correct picks.  So Oscar gets to reside here for the next year since there were two of us and only one of her, and also she had it for the previous year.  Check out the photo set here.
A few notes from the broadcast:
Scarlett Johannsen's new short hair - LOVED it.
Loved the color of Natalie's dress.
Loved the top part of Mila's dress but the bottom looked a bit raggedy.
Jennfier Hudson looked great.  That color was captivating on her.
Never heard of Jennifer Lawrence; she was very attractive, but not loving her dress.
Christian Bale's beard, yikes!
Top dresses:  Hailee Steinfeld, Amy Adams, Halle Berry.

25 February 2011

What goes around, comes around

When I parked to head into the skywalk for a lovely Pablo's lunch, I pulled out my quarter to feed the voracious meter only to be delighted by this wonderful sight.  Someone had left me 54 minutes!!!  Which is great because I had left someone else a 32 minute treat earlier this morning when I left one of my appointments at a school downtown.  Karma!

23 February 2011

Statistics Analogies

Listening to NPR while making some visits and they had a professor in talking about statistics and a caller phoned in with a little quote she said she liked about statistics, "Statistics are like a bikini.  What they reveal is provocative, but what they cover up is vital."  She said she thought it was a thought-inducing statement.  But the professor in the studio wasn't to be one-up'ed, he said, "That reminds me of the quote, 'Too often people use statistics like a drunk uses a streetlamp...for support instead of illumination."  ZING!
And those reminded me of one that I first heard in high school and have remembered it ever since.  It was a response to the question that is always the first one asked when you assign a written report, "How long does it need to be."  A good report is like a skirt.  Long enough to cover everything,  but short enough to be interesting.

21 February 2011

Facebook Revolutions

stoppable sent me a NY Times article last week entitled, "Facebook Officials Keep Quiet on Its Role in Revolts." It's very interesting and focuses on the opportunities but more specifically the possible dangers caused by its presence.  But the article got me thinking in another direction.  Maybe it is something that everyone else has already realized and accepted but I really hadn't given much thought to what the presence & availability of communication tools like Facebook & Twitter means in the societies of these repressed countries.  I guess I always saw them serving the same role they fill in my own society...easier communication, sharing of info & photos, connecting with friends, co-workers, family, like-minded folks, letting people know what you ate for breakfast and how happy you are that you were able to sleep in.  ;)  But in some of these countries, these social networks are pushing a freedom of speech & expression onto a population that has not had it before. The government has silenced or at least censored its citizens, its journalists and its news sources.  But as cyberspace has shrunk our planet and brought together people and businesses on different continents, those hushed individuals all of a sudden have the same voice and the same rights as we do here (in most, but not every country).  As Twitter states, "The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. This is both a practical and ethical belief."
As the article states, "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton...will once again emphasize that Internet freedom is an inalienable right. In recent weeks, the State Department has been sending out Twitter updates in Arabic and began sending updates in Persian over the weekend."  It makes one wonder if this Facebook diplomacy is a move effective tool to bring about change & democracy than some of the military strategies we've relied on.  This is an incredible time to be alive.  It reminds me of the break-up of the Soviet Union or the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Every day brings news of brave souls deciding that the time is now and they are not going to take it anymore.  I am thankful for my own freedoms but I am completely thrilled to see these freedoms being streamed into homes in which they have never been known. 

19 February 2011

Adele: Tiny Desk Concert

I haven't listened to many of these Tiny Desk Concerts with good ol' Bob Boilen that NPR puts out, but the few I have heard are pretty great.  The Swell Season (the guy & girl from the movie 'Once') had a fab one that I keep on my iPod.  And this week I listened to this one where Adele drops by.  They are making them video podcasts now too which adds a little bit more to it.  Check it out...

15 February 2011

Dr. Pepper Ten

A new colorway on the Dr. Pepper bottle caught my eye yesterday and I investigated it further to find out it is 'Dr. Pepper Ten' and has 10 calories per serving (20 per bottle).  Since it was 7:15 in the morning I did not buy one but today when I was out over lunch I did stop and pick one up.  Dr. Pepper (Diet, specifically) is my favorite brand of soda so I gotta keep up with what's new!  It was good, not quite as sweet & thick as the full-cal version, but lacking the bite of the Diet.  I'll be sticking with my old stand-by Diet in the white label but I thought it was good.  (Better than that 'Berries & Cream' flavor from '06)  It is only in the testing stage;  Des Moines is one of 6 cities nationwide to get it and even though the article says Wal-Mart and Super Target, I found it at QuikTrip and Casey's. 

14 February 2011

Rooney Goal

Wayne Rooney, receiver of much grief this season, definitely silenced critics over the weekend with this splendid overhead bicycle kick against crosstown rivals Manchester City.  Without a doubt it will be in the discussion for goal of the year.
....
Bonus video!
I came across this video of Messi juggling the new adidas F50+ cleats.  That's right, he's juggling a shoe in his sockfeet and then shoots it at the camera.

13 February 2011

Dinner Failure

You have to imagine me with a very sad face as you read this...
I completed a 7 mile run with Nicole on a totally gorgeous afternoon.  Snow melting everywhere, we were splashing through streams of it constantly.  The sun was shining bright, the sky was blue and it was 50 degrees out.  I can't tell you how good it felt.  After chatting over a beer afterward, I ended up coming home late enough to not want to make anything and I made the decision to just grab some Taco Bell, something I rarely ever do.  Making my way through the drive-through, I ordered a #2, a burrito and a taco.  He asked what side I wanted, which kinda confused me for a second so I just said, "Do you have some potato things?", thinking about something like potato oles at Taco Johns.  He said yeah and that was that.  Not until I got home did I realize that I had been given a #2 from the KFC menu!  That building has both menus and I didn't specify and neither did the worker.  I was VERY sad.  Anyone who knows me is aware I do not care for fried chicken.  And I had to eat it since there is very little in our frig at home.
A sad night indeed.

11 February 2011

Take a Number

A little anecdote from last weekend...
I took a fun little afternoon road trip to Iowa City with Nic for the Iowa vs Indiana wrestling meet and to hit up Oasis for some of the world's best falafel.  Well, we after shopping up the ped mall, we stopped in the Airliner for a quick drink.  As we were enjoying a Stella, Nicole points out the MegaTouch kiosk right in front of us and we decide to play a game or too.  Since it didn't take cash, I swipe my card for $5.  Who knew that $5 lasted so long on those things!?! By the time our credits ran out, we'd used up all our eating time!  Luckily we still had time to stop by Iowa Guru & SNG's for a little chat before making our way to Carver. 
So here's where the anecdote takes place.  By the time we park, walk from Finkbine to the arena, we both are fit to burst and in need of a bathroom.  The meet has started and as I hustle to the bathroom, it is totally empty.  A row of 8 or so urinals awaits.  Since we're in a hurry, it makes sense to just use the first one.  About ten seconds into the job, someone else walks in and I see their small shadow walk over and stand behind me, like there is a line for each urinal or something.  Dude, the other 7 are totally open...help yourself!  After a few moments, the person steps over to the urinal next to me.  The guy is about four feet tall and six years old.  I am using the only short urinal in the place.  He sizes himself up on the higher one and decides, nope, that is not going to work and steps back in line behind me.  Now who is the jerk?  :(  Ugh.  I can't finish my business fast enough.  Sorry buddy!

New Header

Put together a new header yesterday using more of the button theme I started with the lucha libre masks.  I used a different tutorial this time and I like it but it still needs some fixing up.  I still need to fit my little motto on there somewhere but I like the button vs title text look.  Also, I'm trying out using "r:i" instead of the full "Roscommon to Imogene" as part of my rebranding.  Coincidentally, I wondered onto a link on a friend's blog yesterday and found this great blog totally dedicated to rebrandings, new logos, etc.  I love that stuff!
So, feel free to offer your 2 cents worth about the new look!

09 February 2011

Sick Day

Doing battle with this chest cold/cough for almost a week now has not been fun and since I didn't have any appointments yesterday, I took the day off to recharge my batteries and hopefully speed recovery.  I was able to stay abreast of my emails so I wouldn't be too behind we I came back and I spent almost the entire day in one of three positions on the couch.  I did venture out around noon to get some food and make a quick stop at the library.  I had checked online and saw they had two books I was interested in, "Fury" and "Outcasts United."  In the short time I was there though, I found three other books that looked great and had to come home with me (a Rick Bayless cookbook "Fiesta at Rick's", "The ESPN World Cup Companion" coffee table book, and "Boots on the Ground By Dusk" a memoir by Pat Tillman's mom).  After returning home, I started reading "Fury" and pretty much only stopped to watch Glee and enjoy the french dip that had been in the crock-pot all day.  I finished the book just in time for bed and I'm not sure I've ever done that before...cover to cover in one day.  It felt good.

07 February 2011

Lucha Libre!

Here are two little buttons of lucha libre masks I created in Illustrator, using this tutorial.  There really was no other purpose other than to try and learn some more in Illustrator and boy, I can tell you it was frustrating.  There were a few times I just had to shut it down and walk away.  But I did learn, so mission accomplished I guess.  I picked up a pin of Blue Demon one time at Maxwell Street Market and have been intrigued ever since.  Please feel free to submit your suggestions for names for these two wrestlers in the comments.

06 February 2011

Web Round-up...

This is a total potpourri of things I've had bookmarked and wanted to look at again & share before deleting.  So skim the list and hopefully there is at least one thing that you find interesting or worthwhile...
  • Nike Better World. - This is an index of a dozen or so things that Nike is doing to better the planet.  They vary from a line of shoes specifically designed for Native American (N7), to environmentally-preferred rubber, a redesign of their shoe box, the Homeless World Cup, and several other very cool topics.  You can click on each topic to get more info on it.
  • "Rebel Yoga" - NY Times article about Tara Stiles, a yoga star who some purists claim is disrespecting the discipline with her heretical practices.  I, for one, am all for it.  There are some great, thought-provoking quotes in there, "I don’t care what Tara Stiles says yoga is; it’s not about making your body beautiful.”- It's not the only thing it is about, but if that wasn't a big part of it, there would be a lot less people at yoga class.  Tara's reply, "People need yoga, not another religious leader."  Hear hear!  Check out her YouTube videos and decide for yourself.
  • "Top 10 Copy Editing tips for Photographers" - homebase passed this on to me and I love it.  I am guilty of breaking probably every single tip she lists, but it is still good to read and be aware of them.  The title states they are for photographers but really they can be applied to anyone writing anything.
  • Bondurant-Farrar, a small rural HS just outside of DSM, recently made #2 on ESPN's Top 10 countdown with this last second half-court game-winner.  Video starts with 17.2 seconds left and Roland-Story trailing by 1 and inbounding the ball.  I'll let you watch it from there.
  • Bangable Dudes in History.  The premise of this site is pretty hilarious.  Taking a look at some dudes (& girls!) throughout history that, in today's society, might be paparazzi targets or on People magazine's hot list.  The pie chart explaining why each person made the list is the best part.
  • HACK.  I came across this Chicago cab driver's blog via Gapers Block and I think it is going on to my reading list.  He's got a nice eye for human experiences and relates them well.  Plus his illustrations are cool.  His most recent post about the blizzard is great.
  • If you are into street art, I came across this list of 40+ good blogs on that topic.  I've only explored a couple of them so far, but I plan on working my way through the list and adding a few to my sidebar.
  • Lastly, here are a few other blogs I've been came across lately that are in the trial period to see if they are good enough to make it onto my sidebar.
    • Skirting the Limits -"An attempt to empower women while traveling & volunteering in Asia."  Recommended by Nicholas Kristof, doesn't post very often though.
    • Why I Am Catholic - "on the joy and inexhaustible meaning we find in the Faith, an on-line gathering of Catholics and those in discernment."
    • Bad Catholic - "Going hard since 2010." Smart, but edgy blog on being a sinner but passionately striving for better by a HS senior.
    • xo-lp - "A love letter to a new year."  Crafty, creative local girl.

04 February 2011

CAFFIENE

The entire spectrum of my winter morning drinks consists of herbal tea, OJ, Naked juice, hot chocolate and on the special occasion chai.  So not a lot of caffiene entering my bloodstream in the morning.  I've been battling a little chest cold or congestion so some hot water in the morning feels very nice.
This morning I tried out a different chai mix that caboose had picked up at Gong Fu a while back.  First I can say that it is much better than their 'Spice Chai' mix, which I felt was not spiced right for my palette and was too sweet.  This one is '500 Mile Chai' and, according to caboose, was derived from the teas that truck drivers would drink as they made long treks across Asia and needed to stay awake.  Well staying awake will not be a problem for me today.  My hands are machine-gunning across this keyboard and I already talked a co-workers ear off; not my usual morning style.  I feel like I've got electricity zinging through me!  Is this what coffee drinkers feel like every morning?  I wouldn't know since I've never had a cup of coffee, but this is quite a change. Just hoping I don't crash later!
[This post is in no way a testimonial for Gong Fu tea.  My last two visits have not been met with sufficient or expected levels of customer service.  Their teas are great (other than the Spice Chai) but the owner needs to warm up and smile.]

03 February 2011

Jorge y Alexa followup

A little article providing some background on Jorge.  A new video that is great.  I love the song, Alexa's shirt is hilarious and cute, and her heart is definitely in this one.  And they were on Ellen

01 February 2011

IT Help Desk Wheel of Responses

This is funny only because of how true it is.
I have used every one of these responses, except the 'scam' one.

Snow, snow, snow

We don't have much yet, but supposedly it is on the way.  The district just issued a 90-minute early out.  Woo hoo.  We get to count it as a day and still get out early.  So, we'll see how much we end up getting and whether we have classes tomorrow.  Until then I leave you with this fun recounting of the blizzard of '67 in Chicago.  Some very neat pictures.  20,000 abandon cars!!