Friday, May 30, 2008

Kaleidoscope

Remember putting your eyes up to the end of Kaleidoscope and rotating it around to have a magical burst of colors dance in front of you? In case you do (or don't) try playing with this fancy virtual tool by zefrank. It's not quite the same as the real deal, but this way you get to build your own Kaleidoscope with nothing more than a black circle, basic geometric forms, and a rotating blue wedge. My final result was way cool, and I used all the pieces.

Warning: Don't stare at the rapidly moving colors too long. You may start to feel sleepy, very sleepy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Globalization = Americanization, or does it?

According to the folks over at the Freaknomics Blog, globalization does not equal world domination of the English language. Thank you. It's about time people realize this. This is something that I'm super passionate about researching/studying. In today's age, language (and culture by the way) is alive! I honestly believe that America, The West, and even the English language is not steam-rolling the rest of the world.

I especially like Christian Rolling's take on the future of language and globalization:
Rudimentary English might still be the most convenient means of oral or written communication between strangers of different cultures on planet Earth, but globalization is giving a new (virtual) planetary presence to hundreds of languages and cultures through millions of Web sites, mixing text and videos.

The big loser? Grammar
Amen. Right on. The world: thriving & inventive. Internet users: grammar ignoramuses. Take a peek, What Will Globalization Do to Languages? A Freakonomics Quorum

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kid's Drawings Reversed

I love the concept of taking children's drawings and turning them into real life photographs like Yeondoo Jung does in the collection "Wonderland". Not only are the photos surreal and fun, the idea is so rich. We have an artist's interpretation of a child's interpretation of nature.
The layers of reality, imagery, and artistry are thick. The photographs are striking, innocent, and beautiful. With the original kid's drawing side-by-side, I love the idea and final product. They beg the question what is posed? what is natural? what is based on reality? and what is based only on the notion of reality? Yeondoo Jung is my new favorite Korean artist.

Works in the post:
1st: Cinderella
2nd: Fox's Magic Trick

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day


Happy Memorial Day!

Today we celebrate and honor all the service members who have fought and died for our freedom. America is grateful.

***
I have found a new obsession. I am now in love with "vintagizing" my photographs in Photoshop like the flag one above. Ohhhh, somebody better stop me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Verb: to yardsale

I participated in the cultural phenomenon know as 'yard saling' this morning. While I have set out my own junk to make penny before, this was the first time I actually went to other people lawns to peruse their goods. It's unbelievable how many yard sales are in a small concentrated area on a Saturday morning!

I think the most interesting thing was looking through people used book collections. Why do people try to sell their Harlequin Romances? A. I wouldn't want the neighborhood to know I had 30 boxes of that slime. B. Nobody wants them!

Before going, I did my research. The Yard Sale Queen has everything you wanted to know about yard sales, including nightmare stories.

Today I made the weighty purchase of a $.10 roll of blue ribbon and a $.10 copy of the Poisonwood Bible. Less than a quarter for two things. Bah ha. If it weren't for all the junk that you have to sift through, I think could like this yard saling thing...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Internet Advertising

This article in the Washington Post is very interesting. It talks about how website owners can make 10 times more money from advertisers by tracking users for the purpose of displaying tailored advertisements.

The article says:
The growing practice of "behavioral targeting," or sending ads to online users based on their Internet habits, is now under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission, whose review could shape not only Web advertising rules but the character of the Web itself.

For while public interest groups argue that compiling profiles of largely unsuspecting Internet users ought to be illegal, online advertisers and publishers respond that their ad targeting tactics protect privacy and may be essential to support the free content on the Web...

Behavioral targeting promises to bolster sagging online ad revenue with a more profitable approach.
Interestingly, on Facebook within the past few months I've noticed advertisements that are almost creepy--like they know too much information about me. A few ones I noticed were: "Want To Learn Spanish by Teaching English in South America?," "Be a Fan of Empowerment," "Te Gusta Julieta Venegas?" and "Put a Link to Us on Your Blog for Cash." There were more too.

It's like they somehow peeped at my info and said hey, these are ads that this girl is likely to click on. To be honest, it makes me uncomfortable.

***
Oh, and after writing this post I googled "advertising" and the first link that popped up was for Facebook ads: "Reach the exact audience you want with relevant targeted ads."

I'm feeling even more uncomfortable...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

America Picked the Wrong Idol

What? Really? America got it wrong. After over 97 million votes total, how on earth did David Archuleta not win American Idol? He had it in the bag, especially after last night's performance. What was the population thinking? I was SURE he was going to be the clear leader. Looks like my prediction after the first episode this season was unfortunately wrong.

I suppose there is consolation in knowing that David Cook, the winner, is a good singer too. He had his moments.

About American Idol:
It remains both the most popular show on U.S. television and a pop culture phenomenon, having produced a list of successful stars from both its winners and losers.
I'll still buy Archuleta's album when it comes out. He's still going to be a winner in the hearts of the 44% of the 97 million people who voted for him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Million Dollar Homepage

I wish I had this idea first. The Million Dollar Homepage that sold 1 million pixels for $1 dollar each to eager advertisers to have a stable URL link on a basic homepage.

The Million Dollar Homepage is a website conceived by Alex Tew, a then 21-year-old student from England to help raise money for his university education. Launched on August 26, 2005, the website is said to have generated a gross income of $1,037,100 USD.
That's insane. And so simple. Good for the entrepreneur. Funny thing though is that he ended up dropping out of college because he was SO successful and made SO much money. I wonder whether this project was 'good' for him in the end or not? Can a million dollars and the fame of a good idea replace a university education?

That is the question.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pizza Hut Pasta

When Pizza Hut came out with those commercials about Tuscani Pasta, I rolled my eyes, because I thought it would be as bad as their greasy pizza. But after having tried it, I am happy. The chiken alfredo is actually kind of tasty. And, if my family likes Pizza Hut's gross pizza, then I can get pasta, and then we are all happy. As a bonus, you get free bread sticks if you buy the shareable size.

I haven't tried the red sauce kind yet, but goodness, finally something not-gross from the Hut.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

redbox

Red BoxSo they have this machine, called Red Box, from which you can rent DVD's for a dollar a day. You can check out their website to find the closest one near you. Wikipedia says:
Redbox rents DVDs via self-service or interactive kiosks located across the United States in locations such as McDonald's, where it started — as well as and retail, pharmacy and grocery store locations across the United States.
This is so cool! You swipe your credit card and out comes the DVD. If you don't return the DVD in 25 days, well then, you are charged 25 bucks and it is yours. I think this thing is a good idea. No more of that $5+ Blockbuster rental to watch one stinkin' movie for one night. Oh, and check Inside Red Box. These will get you redbox movies for even cheaper with a promo code...these are free!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Email disasters

http://thinkbeforeyousend.com

Send is nothing short of a survival guide for the digital age—wise, brimming with good humor and filled with helpful lessons from the authors' own email experiences (and mistakes). In short: absolutely e-ssential.


By Karen: "He MEANT to say "we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused," but he misspelled "inconvenience." The spell-checker caught it and replaced it with what seemed the best match.

And so his all-staff e-mail ended with the words: "We apologize for any incontinence this may have caused."

I used to think people don't read stuff like that all the way through. I was wrong. They read every word!"

Shopping

Went to Gettysburg today. Not to see the battlefield . To go shopping instead. We frequented the The Outlet: Shoppes at Gettysburg. I think we can conclude that collectively we bought the place out. No more merchandise left for any other customers. Gap and Old Navy especially. Sorry sad other-shoppers; should've beat us there.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rhyme Time

Poetry.com (probably the most annoying poetry website ever) does have one redeeming quality. It has what I like to call a "rhyminator." They like to call it a Rhyming Dictionary and Thesaurus (which isn't nearly as creative by the way).

You type in a word. It pops out the rhymes in varying syllable length.

Mediterranean Fruit FlyI like what it comes up with for my last name. Included among the 372 results are the common: goodbye, cry, die, shy, sky, and why.

But also we have the more strange: awry, bad guy, bone dry, bonsai, french fry, squeak by, m. r. i., northern spy, old school tie, and blink of an eye.

Even stranger are: fluorescent dye, in a pig's eye, Canada wild rye, dominated by, steak and kidney pie, indivisible by, and my favorite, Mediterranean fruit fly.

Who comes up with these? They are so random.
Who knew rhyming could be such fun?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Switchfoot

Switchfoot has done it again. They have come out with an incredibly awesome song. Granted this one is arranged for the Narnia, Prince Caspian movie, I still think it's great. From "Dare You to Move," "This is Your Life," "Meant to Live" and now, "This is Home," how are we supposed to pick a favorite? Kudos to Switchfoot.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Indexed

Indexed is one of my new favorite websites. Every week day, Jessica Hagy posts a new intriguing Venn diagram or line graph to entertain her readers. She's a witty gal. And her math problems (read social commentaries) drawn on simple notecards are usually hilarious or insightful. Always one or the other. I'm a fan.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Everyone's Got a Mom

Happy Mother's Day!

I am not very good at getting presents. -for holidays. -for birthdays. -for special stuff. I think it is two-thirds bad luck and one-third worrying too much. I decided to go safe for Mother's Day this year and make my mom's present. I made her a ceramic vase with pink glaze, her favorite color. And then I got some faux flowers and arranged them in the vase. At first I got some super-neon-pink flowers, but I realized that they look awful. I took them back to the store and traded them for some more subdued-peachy-pink flowers. They worked much better, and now I think my gift actually works. Hopefully Mom likes it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Graduation!

I am officially a college graduate! Whooo.

Unfortunately, it was raining in the morning so graduation was moved inside Heiges Field House. Booooo. I was kind of disappointed. The gym wasn't nearly as nice as the outdoor stadium would've been. I am pleased however, that it wasn't deadly hot like my high school graduation. I still have visions of the kids with last last names that start with Z going up to get their diplomas with butt sweat marks showing through their robes. That was the hottest/sweatiest I've ever been in my life. Moments like those are when it is good to have a last name at the beginning of the alphabet!


Since graduation was moved indoors, the Colleges were all separated. That was sad too, since I couldn't see some of my friends graduate. On the plus side however, the College of Arts and Sciences got to participate in the later ceremony which translated to about 2 more hours of sleep for me.

Afterwards my family took me out to eat at Ruby Tuesdays. We got free appetizers since they made us wait longer than the time they told us it would take to get a table for 8. The spinach dip was delightful as well as my strawberry lemonade and seafood dinner.

To all my recently graduated-friends:

Congratulations!! ♥

Finding the perfect dress

Look what I found this morning by my car! A dead bird. Gross. I feel so bad for it. It's little feet look so...dead. I must be having some kind of bird saga going on in my front yard. Everyday it's something.

Today I went to an English major gathering at the Black Horse. That was nice.

Then I went shopping to find a graduation dress to wear under my robe tomorrow since everything I own clashes with navy blue. I tried every dress on in Kohl's and did not like a one. They were all too patterned or burlap sack-like. Grrrrr. So, I went to Target in desperation, tried on every dress in the store, and loved almost all of them. Hello? I don't think I've ever bought clothes there before. Have I been missing out? I got a cute summer-y blue shift dress.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Emerson on My iPod

Now that my American Lit final is over I am done! Done. Done with undergrad work forever. I don't really feel much. I thought it'd be pretty excited, but I'm more or less feeling like I always do. Huh.

Emerson's Nature Podcast My favorite American Literature author that I read this semester would have to be Ralph Waldo Emerson. We read his Nature, "Self-Reliance", and The American Scholar. actually found a podcast of Nature on learnoutloud.com for free, so I listened while some guy with a deep voice read my homework to me on my iPod. Let me tell you, that is the way to do class assignments!

I think what Emerson was writing 100+ years ago is still relevant today. He values the thoughts, actions, and judgment of the individual. He disdains the concept of society because he believes it destroys the virtue of its individual members. Photo of EmersonHe calls it a "conspiracy" against man. He says, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist," as well as, "Our housekeeping is mendicant, our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlor soldiers". He is outraged that people are not forging new ideas for themselves.

I would ask, doesn't every generation struggle with the creation of a new identity? In today's age where non-conformity is common, is traditionalism the new individualism? And is it even possible to not let society chose our paths for us? We can't all go live in the woods and develop our own transcendentalism.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ceramics

Some of my Ceramics workToday was my ceramics final. We went through the class and critiqued everyone's work sprawled out over the room.

I basically lived in the ceramics studio this semester. I might as well have set up a tent and slept in there too. At times I questioned my sanity, but now looking over my work, I am pleased. I feel like have a few very strong pieces that I might actually want to set out instead of wrapping up in newspaper, never to see the light of day again.

The thing about ceramics is this: There are so many opportunities to screw up. There are so many stages, steps, considerations, mishaps, unknowns, uncontrollable factors, that when you get something good that makes it through the final glaze firing, you'd better hold onto it for dear life (and not drop it on the way over to your shelf).

Glazed Ceramic ContainerNow I can make tea in my teapot, dinner in my casserole dish, hot chocolate in my mugs, cereal in my bowls, and lemonade in my pitcher. I can stick flowers in my vases, candy in my jars, and paperclips in everything else...except for the sculptures...they can, um, sit on the mantel and look pretty. What fun.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What? Is there a whole flock of birds in there?

Bird There's this little robin that lives in the pine tree beside where I park my car. Everyday she has a chirping fit as I walk by. She acts as if I'm going to steal her eggs away and jump on them or something.

I try to tell her that I'm a human, and her nest doesn't mean anything to me, but she still hasn't gotten the idea.

When I went to my car today, some bird had done a real number on my windshield. There was so much bird doo splattered across it that I could barely see out. I turned on the windshield wiper make it go away, but that only made the white and rainbow goo smear across my entire windshield. Gross. Now I have dried bird doo stains streaked across my car.

Pleasant. Real pleasant.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Purple Flowers

Finals week this week. Sigh. 1 final down, 3 to go. This pre-graduation time isn't as great as I thought it was going to be. Things seem to be falling apart.

purple flowers
Happy Cinco de Mayo! I didn't even realize that it was May 5th until pretty late in the day. Oh well. I live too far north to celebrate anyway.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maplewood

GreenhouseYesterday I went to the grand opening of the new greenhouse and produce store in Shippensburg called Maplewood. The family who runs it is Amish. I always see their children in the fields tending to their plants. I don't know whether to feel bad for the kids or not. They seem to like their lifestyle... but goodness, shouldn't they be it school? or playing? or something other than hunching over the fields all day long?

Pink FlowersBut anyway, the new greenhouse was huge! There were hanging baskets everywhere and tons of gorgeous flowers. There was pink and blue and yellow and orange and red and green everywhere you turned! My family bought some plants and delicious homemade bread. The Amish sure do know how to do organic farming and baked goods. I have to give them that.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bad Saturdays: 3 for 3

The crow on the weeping cherry tree was symbolic I suppose.


I'm starting to dread Saturdays. This has been the third bad one in a row. For some reason life has been slinging mud at me every weekend, and I'm starting to get weary. Last week I broke up with my boyfriend; this week I got a letter--one that I really did not want. I ripped open the envelope only to find that I did not get the Fulbright grant. Man. I wanted it so bad. I thought I had a pretty good chance at getting one since I made it to the last level of competition and was recommended by the IIE. Apparently the ministry of education in Argentina had other plans. I'm sooooo disappointed. I think it would have been better to have been rejected earlier in January when they sent out the first letter. The way it was, I had my hopes up since October, and now I feel crushed. This sucks. I feel like I failed at one of my life dreams.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Conservatives are more happy

Studies have proved that conservatives are almost consistently more happy than liberals.
Non-partisan survey data clearly show a large, persistent “happiness gap” favoring the political right.
Why is this? There are many conjectures. Arthur Brooks seems to think it corresponds with religion. People who are religious just tend to be happier and the religious right happens to make up a big chunk of the republican party. I guess I can see that, but I have my own theories.

I think it has a lot to do with policy. Leftists tend to think EVERYTHING is wrong and needs to changed which says a lot about trust in government and a prevailing fatalist world view, making happiness harder to achieve on even a smaller individual scale. Rightest on the other hand, are more likely to favor tradition with suggests happiness with the current state of affairs. Also, social responsibility starts at the individual instead of from the top down, so that makes happiness easier to attain when you are in control.

Myself personally, I think there a lot of problems in the world but I am confident that life is good, no matter what situation. Regardless of what is imposed upon you, life is what you make it friends. We determine our own levels of happiness.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ian McEwan's Amsterdam

My latest read was Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. It has won considerable recognition in the literary world, most notably as the 1998 Booker Prize winner. Don't let the title fool you though. Most of Ian McEwan's book, Amsterdam, takes place in London.

AmsterdamIt is a story about two men in upper-class London. Clive Linley is an accomplished musician who embarks on a journey to compose a masterpiece that defines the millennium. Vernon Halliday is the editor of a prominent newspaper with waning readership. The conflict is nestled in decisions of morality. Is it better to accelerate one's career or to protect those in need? Should Clive delve into his composition at the risk of others? Should Vernon publish sensitive information that would destroy a popular public figure? The moral dilemmas are believable, raw, and engaging. Clive and Vernon do not struggle with the morality of their own decisions, but find it quite acceptable to reprimand one another for their life choices. They see the flaws of their friend, but never their own. This is the realism that McEwan tugs at.

However, the random unity of realism that colored the pages throughout the book converges into a realism that could never exist. The ending was too obvious, too easy, and an author that can sustain a beautiful narrative for 183 pages ought to be able to carry it on for only ten more. In an attempt to show authorial cleverness, the end lacks the subtlety and finesse that defines the greatness of the rest of the piece.