Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I love the holidays. But, as I'm sure is the case for many people, they are bittersweet. In addition to the joy I feel being around loved ones and eating food and looking at lights and glittery paper and ribbons, I also reflect on those lost. Bittersweet. On my way into work this morning, I heard this poem and it rung so true. Anyway, not much more from me today, just this:


I feel as if we opened a book about great ocean voyages
and found ourselves on a great ocean voyage:
sailing through December, around the horn of Christmas
and into the January Sea, and sailing on and on

in a novel without a moral but one in which
all the characters who died in the middle chapters
make the sunsets near the book's end more beautiful.

—And someone is spreading a map upon a table,
and someone is hanging a lantern from the stern,
and someone else says, "I'm only sorry
that I forgot my blue parka; It's turning cold."

Sunset like a burning wagon train
Sunrise like a dish of cantaloupe
Clouds like two armies clashing in the sky;
Icebergs and tropical storms,
That's the kind of thing that happens on our ocean voyage—

And in one of the chapters I was blinded by love
And in another, anger made us sick like swallowed glass
& I lay in my bunk and slept for so long,

I forgot about the ocean,
Which all the time was going by, right there, outside my cabin window.

And the sides of the ship were green as money,
and the water made a sound like memory when we sailed.

Then it was summer. Under the constellation of the swan,
under the constellation of the horse.

At night we consoled ourselves
By discussing the meaning of homesickness.
But there was no home to go home to.
There was no getting around the ocean.
We had to go on finding out the story
by pushing into it—

The sea was no longer a metaphor.
The book was no longer a book.
That was the plot.
That was our marvelous punishment.

"Voyage" by Tony Hoagland, from Hard Rain. © Hollyridge Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Interestingly enough, my granddad was a ship captain. So was my uncle before he retired. My dad was in the Navy too. In her early twenties, Mom sailed from L.A. to Australia on the beginning of her great adventure that eventually led her to my dad in Spain.

My uncle posted this photo on his Facebook sometime this summer... it's of him on his ship in Vietnam. He met up with my dad there - he's in the reflection.

Granddad had Alzheimer's and many of my more vivid memories of him were in this state since I was old enough to remember. He told this amazing story about when he first left Norway to work on a ship, they still sailed on masted sailing ships. I'm sure it was part of some sort of hazing ritual, but when he was young, they dared him to climb up to the uppermost mast and balance there, entire ship and ocean below, on his belly. Crazy. Crazy what you remember when everything else is gone... Crazy how many life-changing moments in my family, on both sides, began with a ship.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's beer-thirty

Did you know there was such a product?

I had no idea. I saw them at a quickie-mart last Saturday in Nashville.

You learn something new every day.

Hope they're not as nasty as this beer/malt liquor caffeinated concoction. Yikes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spoiled rotten

Marrying a cook has its perks. Sure, the hours are unforgiving and after his slow Monday and Tuesday we pass like ships in the night most weeks, me trying to stay up to see him when he gets home and him waking up earlier to have some coffee as I bolt out to work.

But sometimes, he pulls out all the stops and cooks for me. And a girlfriend. At his restaurant. I'm talking a multi-course fiasco here, complete with sorbet palate cleanser and full wine pairings.

How 'bout a course-by-course review of last Saturday's epic tasting menu to end all tasting menus?

Like an idiot, I forgot to take pictures of the first two courses, so you'll have to use your imagination...But here is a nice sunset one overlooking the putting green and the rest of south Huntsville I got before I was distracted by our first glass of prosecco:

Course one:
Six fresh shucked oysters on the half shel
l - three Island Creek (tiny and fatty and briny - in a GOOD way, these were my favorites) and three Savage Harbor (also delightful, larger) - with a champagne mignonette, which is quite possibly my favorite condiment ever. Can I call it a condiment?

Course two:
Butternut squash soup, drizzled with a lemon agrumato and garnished with fresh parsley. Hey - this was a learning dinner as well... Did you know that agrumato is made when olive oil presses are cleaned with fresh citrus and the cleaning oil? Well it is.

Course the third:
A lovely, palate-cleansing lemon sorbet with mint leaves.

(Hey, guess what? I finally remembered to take photos starting... now!)

Course four:

Warm purple cabbage salad with goat cheese, walnuts and chicken sausage. I had a version of this salad at Mezza Luna last fall and let me tell you, it embodies everything that is the best about fall. Perhaps Mezza will feature it again this fall? You should definitely go check it out if this is the case. Purple cabbage reminds me of this Norwegian side dish my Grandma used to make (and my mom does now... surkal
... better believe I had to look up the spelling on that one. Amazing dish.) The goat cheese/walnut combination added some delightful creaminess to the dish and the chicken sausage tasted homemade. Mmmm.

Course five:
The most amazing fried fish I've ever had in my life. This course reminded me of a fish fry, but the best possible fish fry ever. The flounder itself was everything I love about fried food (crispy, lightly bread-y, crunchy) but underneath the crust was amazingly cooked fish. Like, perfectly cooked. With the amazing fish was a honking hunk of grilled cornbread (the hush puppy), some super tart slaw with julienned granny smith apples and shaved fennel keeping the green cabbage company and some surprise sugar snap peas hidden under the flounder. This may have been my
favorite course. Maybe.

Course six:
Braised short rib with fried gnocchi (which, as it turns out doesn't have to be made of potatoes can in fact be made of any sort of starch... who knew?) and roasted root vegetables, including turnips, parsnips, carrots, rutabaga and some other rooty veg. The whole thing was topped off by an amazing gremolata (another new food term for me) and the best, most concentrated jus you've ever tasted. The jus was everything that made the short rib amazing, combined with red wine and reduced down to its most intense form and drizzled all over the plate.

Remembered to take this photo before I demolished the short rib. Not in the most pristine state, but Kris give it thumbs up nonetheless.

Dessert course (course seven):
Pumpkin cheesecake. I'm not gonna lie. For me, sweets are typically an afterthought. If I get to eat an amazing meal, I'm usually so stuffed by the end that I don't have an intense desire for dessert. But as they were only six courses into a seven-course tasting, the dessert was inevitable. And wonderful. The cheesecake was incredibly light and airy and whipped. Not like the heavy brick-like ones you find sometime smothered in cherry goop. We got tiny little pieces and ate every last bite because we had to be polite. Naturally. The final glass of prosecco made those last bites go down quite nicely.

Hello there, Kris (and pumpkin cheesecake). The bubbles were the best.

I concur.

Since J will graduate in December, we hope that he will transition from cook to some sort of 8-5 food scientist position. I will miss the restaurant ambiance and J in his starched white chef coat (complete with embroidered name... le sigh), but I hope this will bring about a new round of experimentation in his free time that he's never been able to attempt previously due to a rigorous work/school schedule... I'm thinking charcuterie
, bread making, at home canning and pickling. If all goes according to plan, there will still be plenty of ways for me to remain fatter than I would like to be. But happy. Yum.

Here's one of the man in action, making ravioli (not from tonight, but some other time. See what I mean about the starched white coat?) He's on the right.

Thanks J!

And because ALL I have been doing this fall is eating, stay tuned for my Taste of Atlanta recap.

Monday, September 27, 2010

And I thought the treadmills were cool

Found this in my daily design blog reading, oddly enough. Apparently a reader was reminded of this video thanks to a weekly "pets on furniture" feature they have. I love that pets on furniture feature. They all look pretty happy in their situations, and a lot of them look like rescue critters, too. From the slammer to the couch - what an excellent turn of events for them. Perhaps we'll take one of Chuck chilling when we get our new couch!

Anyhow - O.K. Go is the best, I've decided.

Also, some other things to make you happy -

Hyperbole and a Half: ever heard of her? Me neither. So I visited her about pageS and continued to die laughing. How completely, awesomely, unhelpful?

Seriously, the best -
Sneaky hate spiral. (this about sums up my last week.)
The alot is better than you at everything.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Looks like the FDA is about to approve the country's first genetically-modified animal. We've been consuming modified corn and soybeans for years, but never an animal, until now.

Before I get into the fish, let me back up to one of my favorite outreach exercises our education team has created here at work - G-MOD. High schoolers are given a lab in a box that contains everything they need to determine whether their favorite snack foods - Cheetos, Doritos, Oreo cookies and others - have been genetically modified.
  • Students break open popular snack bags, pulverize the contents,
  • Extract the DNA, amplify the DNA using PCR technology (which I like to refer to as a photocopier for DNA, giving you a larger sample of a specific part of the DNA to refer to)
  • And finally, use a flash gel to determine whether the product they are analyzing has been modified.
Why do I like this experiment so much for high-schoolers? News flash! Every. single. processed. snack. food. we. eat. was created using "Roundup Ready" corn, created by a company called Montsanto.

Scary modified.

The concept was great - rather than farmers tilling their land for weeds, they use this special corn, douse their entire crop with Roundup (a Montesanto chemical product), then watch the weeds whither away as the corn crop thrives. Fantastic! Until the weeds cross-bred with the corn, creating super weeds. No joke. Read about it here.

O.K., now back to the fish:
AquaBounty Technologies is in the process of introducing a modified salmon to U.S. grocery store counters. According to their Web site the AquaAdvantage
® fish -
Advanced-hybrid salmon, trout, and tilapia designed to grow faster than traditional fish. AquAdvantage® Salmon (AAS) reach market size twice as fast as traditional salmon. This advancement provides a compelling economic benefit to farmers (reduced growing cycle) as well as enhancing the economic viability of inland operations, thereby diminishing the need for ocean pens. AAS are also reproductively sterile, which eliminates the threat of interbreeding amongst themselves or with native populations, a major recent concern in dealing with fish escaping from salmon farms.
So, theoretically, they have all of the answers to the issues faced with Roundup ready crops. No worries! All problems solved! And apparently the FDA agrees, stating in pre-meeting documents that
the studies conducted by AquaBounty show that the gene is safe for the salmon, safe for humans and safe for the environment.

Oh my - an AquAdvantage salmon behind a non-transgenic Atlantic salmon sibling of the same age. (via)

Critics primary problems with the fish include food safety concerns - primarily to do with allergies - and, like the Roundup Ready crops, cross-breeding with conventionally grown salmon.

AquaBounty has answers to all of these concerns, but many scientists maintain that the data to back up these claims of safety does not yet exist.

So, what to do? This topic is so fascinating to me because I actually don't know where I stand on the issue.

We want to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. We want to be sure all of our population is fed and healthy. We want to keep our farmers solvent... but some become outraged at the idea of modifying our crops to grow faster, more efficiently and in more places. How do we expect to use corn or soy to power our vehicles if we are growing only enough to eat?

Same goes for animals - We have a seafood watch list a mile long of fish we are not to eat because we have over-fished and these populations are dying out. What if we could enhance the growing of these fish. What if this advance in science enhanced the diet of families in countries who eat only rice, because that's what they can afford? Hell, what if this advance offered families here the chance to eat fish instead of fast and processed food that are typically the only offerings they can afford?

I can definitely understand the looming risks of mega corporations pushing their brands of herbicides and perfected DNA strains for world domination in their products, pushing out the little guy and ruining the environment in the process...

But I can also see an opportunity for millions more mouths to be fed with corn that grows in harsher environments, due to genetic modification. I can see a faster-growing fish not only feeding hungry families, but feeding them a product that is not over-fished and endangered.

What do you think? Panic? Celebrate? Wait?

For now, I go with wait. See what FDA says about AquaBounty. And hope they decide to label the GMO salmon at the store so I, and others, can make the decision to consume for ourselves.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

so i guess this is growing up...

Channeling that Dammit this morning... it's an angsty, why won't anything go right, why can't I get a leg up, why don't the grown-ups understand me, Blink-182 kind of a morning.


Car is overheating... just had to take it to the repair shop. Looks like my trusty Camry may be biting the dust. As much as I'd love a new (to me) Mini Cooper, I was truly hoping that I could make the current car last quite a bit longer. You know, save up for something nice. Jonathan suggested holding off till we figure out where we'll be when he graduates in December. If the new locale is urban, we forget cars altogether and get a set of Vespas.

Also, if you'd like to call and commiserate, or perhaps to offer to meet for drinks to drown my sorrows (and yours, if you're having any) don't bother! My phone doesn't work either! That's right. iPhones malfunctioning are actually quite humorous. Very "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!" short. short. buzz. blink. flash. blank screen. I would be chuckling a bit more about it if I didn't actually need my phone.

So, anyway, here ends the whiny portion of this blog post. I've come up with a solution. I'm going to simplify my life.

If you would like to talk to me, please invest in a fire pit for your back yard and brush up on your smoke signals. I'll also be accepting telegraphs and telepathic messages.

If I need to get in touch with you, I will be using the Pony Express. Or telep
athic messages. Maybe I'll just show up at your house. I'll do my best to judge when you might be home, but if you're not there, I'll hang out in your neighborhood Starbucks. Or make friends with your neighbors. I've been meaning to be more friendly with neighbors, too...

I still plan to go to work, when I can hitch a ride, or when I feel up to biking. I've been meaning to take this getting into shape thing more seriously and biking 10 miles to and from work every day (weather and mood permitting) will really expedite this process, don't you think? The days I really can't stomach the ol' bicycle and nobody is headed my way on I-565, I'll just work from home. You know, with my quill and ink, since my personal computer is also from 2002 and going the way of the dinosaur.

I think that this plan should work out really well for me. Why do we need to constantly upgrade, anyway? What if all of these things breaking at once is actually a sign from above that I should slow down, simplify, be more green?

I'll start growing a garden with seeds that I'll take from my neighbors' plot (we'll be on speaking terms since I'll have taken the time to introduce myself after two years.) I'll cook like a locavore, i.e., I'll cook using what I can buy from Star Market (it's walkable!) and what friends bring to my house. I'll learn an instrument in my free time since I won't be rushing all over town to meet friends places. Hell, I might even save that gas money I'd have been using and take a big air trip every year or so. J can come too.

Well, good. It's decided then. Should my car cost more than, oh, $300 to fix, I'll just put my blinker on and turn out of the fast lane to start living my life as I've detailed above.

You'd all still be friends with me if I looked like this girl, right?

She's kind of cute in a "let's sing folk tunes by the fire" sort of way...

And again, if you need to contact me, please write down my coordinates for future reference:
34.745955,-86.555981. That is all.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Miss now Mrs.

"Are you sure you want to change your name to 'Melanie Sollid-Penton'?" says Facebook.

Guess so... The name change process has begun.

Happy birthday, baby. This is definitely a big step, not a baby step.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Well, this basically sums up my writing mentality...

I saw this via Frank Chimero via someone else on Twitter. I just read a few of his posts today and am already quite enjoying what he enjoys. And how he writes about what we both seem to enjoy.

Anyway, there was a link from a completely unrelated post of his (which contained someone else's description of a meal at el Buli, I don't even know what the post was about, I was completely beside-myself distracted by that description...
But I digress! Whyyyyy is the internet so convoluted? If you already struggle with tendencies that could be alarmingly similar to ADD, it's quite difficult to finish even one article or post (or, ahem, action item) without falling into a rabbit hole of other fascinating information.)

Here's the link that I liked. This is how I write, and I had been feeling sort of like a lazy grammar slouch for not caring more about keeping up on that stuff. But now someone on the internet has vindicated me. Post below:

‘That’s not what I was taught at school’ are words we hear a lot. We’re always using our unrules to undo the things people were taught to do (and not to do) in the classroom. It’s strange, writing at primary school is all about stories, being creative and enjoying what you write. By the time you get to GCSEs you're clinically unpicking why a poem works instead of saying why you like it (and you're living in fear of red pen). Writing at school should get your brain buzzing, not be a chore. So things are changing starting here.

Five Unrules:

5. Write short or ‘fragmented’ sentences. Ignore Microsoft Word’s green squiggly line. A sentence can have seven words. Or two. It’s up to you. Play with the length of your sentences to add pace and rhythm to your words.

4. Split infinitives. They can be clunky but they’re not grammatically incorrect.

3. Use contractions (eg that’s instead of that is). They’re a good way to make your writing sound more personal.

2. Don’t sign off letters with ‘Yours Sincerely if you know the person you’re writing to or ‘Yours Faithfully’ if you don’t. ‘Yours Sincerely?’ It’s 2010. You don’t need to use stuffy formality like this anymore (or start letters with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Sir / Madam’ for that matter).

1. And you can start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. We just did.

And a bonus rule from Kurt Vonnegut:

‘Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.’

I totally agree that you should write how you speak. That is, if people find you funny or interesting in the least. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

But apparently Dancing with the Stars will be putting Baby in a spray tan and a series of increasingly sparkly (and flesh revealing) outfits. Who cares about Bristol Palin?! The original novice-turned-awesome ballroom dancer is going to see if she can recreate the transformation from ugly duckling to glittery swan she played in her one mega-hit...

This will be epic. And if it's not, I will be highly disappointed.

I hope they don't make Baby wear this:

Not even a super-uber hot Pussycat Doll can pull that shiz off...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

this is awesome.

This reminds me of that scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit where the bad guy (Dr. Whats-his-name... can't recall) gets run over by the steamroller. That was traumatic to watch as a kid. This is in no way traumatic; more peaceful and sleepy than anything. Makes me want a nap. But the flat thing is what reminded me (via SF Girl by Bay) She's been posting some ridiculously cool things lately. I love my Google Reader.

Also, I think I relate because that's how I sleep now. The cat is all up in my armpit so I'm forced to throw my arm up above my head to have some personal space. The post has some other pretty cool embroidered... items. I'm not typically one for cute or embroidered anything, but I enjoy this twisted version. I also enjoy the messed up china. I wouldn't buy one for my house or anything, I just appreciate the idea of corrupting of innocent household items.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

a rediscovered classic.

After our own fabulous, relaxing, entertaining honeymoon in Vegas, J and I have been meaning to Netflix Honeymoon in Vegas. We finally got around to watching it together Monday night (I forget how nice it is just to sit down and watch a movie sometimes...)

I adored it - we relived our honeymoon a bit which was awesome as we both are beyond ready for another vacation... In addition to the nice memories, the movie was ridiculously silly and mood-boosting.

Elvis impersonators - black, asian, kid, skydiving and others... SJP in a string of awesomely bad (verging more on just plain awesome, actually) early 90s supertight dresses. Nic Cage in my favorite version of what he does, cringe-inducing and simultaneously endearingly sweet. Vegas, Hawaii. All of these things made for particularly awesome

Pure escapist pleasure. Check it out if you're feeling like a vacation. Or a sweet soundtrack of Elvis covers.

I'm going to try to keep this going with more frequent, but short and sweet posts with whatever happens to grab my attention. We'll see how this goes :)

Another Vegas shot or two, just because:

If you ever do find yourself in Vegas, please visit the Neon Boneyard. It was so incredibly cool; deconstructed Vegas. Vegas that was. Fun contrast to see what used to be (here) compared to what is now (on the strip.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I'm starting one.

Previously, I've collected Beanie Babies (not my choice; have you ever had a collection that people start for you, you receive one or two of, then others see and assume you wanted all along?) and snow globes (these are actually pretty amazing and make a quite the Christmas display).

I have admired these every time I come across them in a book store or an Anthropologie, but I never knew there were so many. Maybe some are only available in the UK? At any rate, this to me seems like the most worthwhile collection. They're classics, so I really should read the ones I haven't already anyway. And they would be so. freaking. beautiful. on a bookshelf in a fabulous living room. The day our living room is big enough for a book shelf.

Behold:Originally spotted here. Books I'd be proud to display! (Unlike the piles of chick lit that stack up on my nightstand...)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

old married lady.

Today marks our one-month anniversary as a married couple! I like being married. And as cliché as this is, our wedding was one of the very happiest days of my life. Had my dad been around, I'm sure it would have been the very best.

I was struck, over and over again, by the sheer awesomeness of our friends and family. I feel eternally grateful to them for all the amazing things they did - flower arranging, reunion organizing, hair styling, honeymoon arranging, accessory creating, and entire-wedding-day-including-shutting-the-place-down organizing. And most of the people who did all of this traveled from all over creation!

The best part about the whole bit is this: normally I would feel uncomfortable, obligated and slightly guilty about all of the work that people were doing for J and me. Odd thing was, this time all I felt was "the love." My nearest and dearest wanted to do this. They love J and me so much that they used all of their diverse and impressive talents in concert to start our marriage off with all of the support and good vibes they could possibly produce. It was blissful. The entire day. Weekend. Week. Experience.

I love J, but holy crap, how much to we both love our families and friends. Thanks everyone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Telephone - three ways

I'm not sure who's idea it was to pair Lady GaGa and Beyoncé, but it was inspired. Telephone is the kind of video that makes people stop and watch on the big screen of a gay club instead of dancing while it rolls. Don't ask me how I know that.

Apparently I can't embed it (bah!) but check out the video here. You'll need it for reference before you see my totally awesome spoofs.

First, we have the soldiers of 82nd Airborne, stationed in Afghanistan. Way to find some way to perk up what must be a completely un-fun and most likely downright hellish military assignment. My friend Alex is in Afghanistan. Apparently she's the only expat girl to be found just about anywhere... wonder if any of these guys are single. Alex... the star is pretty much a catch:

Then - I think this awesome, but this might only be amusing to NPR nerds - NPR staffers did a send up inspired by the 82nd. I adore NPR for it's morning news and weekend programming and always secretly thought it'd be awesome to work there. I saw the building every Wednesday on my drive from work down to kickball on the Mall... don't the producers and directors look so young and FUN? I want to be friends with NPR people. The big names (Nina Totenberg - reading like it's a supreme court transcript - ha!) are pretty funny too. Although their dancing skillz leave something to be desired.

Some Thursday enjoyment for you.

And if you do happen to be in a gay bar when this video comes on, you'll know what I mean. It's the new Single Ladies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Outstanding in the field

So, I found out about this program (organization? movement?) via a design*sponge post and now I'm riveted. How do we get these guys to come to Huntsville, anyway? Naturally, Alabama superchef Frank Stitt (of Bottega and Highlands Grill in Birmingham) has already participated... I know this thanks to OITF's handy Google map of everywhere they've ever had a farm dinner:

View Outstanding in the Field Dinner Site Map in a larger map

(I created one of these for our educators visits of all of the Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative hub sites across the state - love them!)

Anyway, thinking of starting a social media campaign to get them to visit Huntsville.

I'm thinking a Ledges/Mezza Luna collaboration. But of course I am biased. Nowhere in their FAQ does OITF break down how to get a meal in your area, so I'm going to go ahead and assume it's all contacts and convincing.

I would definitely save (and save, and save) $200 for an experience like this:

Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure - literally a restaurant without walls. Since 1999 we have set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.

Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table.

The dinners generally begin at 3 or 4 p.m., depending on the time of the year, and wrap up around sunset. As the days get shorter in the fall, the dinners last until candlelight is required. Length of each event is four to five hours, and guests often linger at-table well past sunset, reluctant to have the magical evening come to a close.

So, who's with me?! Let's get this campaign started so we can have a fabulous meal at a table like this one, in the DC area...

Friday, March 12, 2010

When I own a home

The first thing I am going to do is find a room to paint turquoise. I've seen so much of it around lately. And you know how I feel about it. So ready to feel some personal investment in a house and to paint instead of just hanging things on the super plain white walls.

Some inspirations -(via Design*Sponge)


Love the vibrant turquoise with the crisp white.

Perhaps even some wallpaper on a small accent wall (this price...oof.) -

That is all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

another reason to love tar-jhay

though the store has the potential to completely torpedo my new commitment to a dave ramsey budgeting system (where EVERY PENNY is allocated before it's ever spent...blargh), target remains my all time favorite place to spend a lunch break or a sunday afternoon.

i've always thought their ads were cute, and appreciated the weekly specials in my inbox, but until this particular ad campaign, i hadn't noticed their advertising much.

pictured above: the "i just went in for tape" collection - heh.

old, target collections

target gives you a completely bizarre and seemingly random collection of items you can purchase in the store. you name the collection something clever, then tweet your collection name to #targetcollection for the chance to win a $500 gift card. how fun is that?

and check out the ads they've created so far:

i KNOW this one, all too well -

and this one is pretty good too - best. discovery. ever. don't you agree? -

i won't spam you with all of them, but if you're feeling frisky, you should head over to their youtube channel and check 'em out. awkward valentine is a good one too.

i am so appreciative of clever, audience-participatory advertising... just makes everything more fun. and since i already am a target addict, at least they make my experience a fun one.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Video Post.

I came across (or rediscovered) three videos today that are inspiring in one way or another. I try not to limit my online sharing to things that I find inherently awesome and that I am relatively sure you - or some portion of you - will find awesome in some way as well.

So, first - WaPo (whose subsidiary, Slate, is one of my favorite sources for news and commentary) with their Scene In series - this one is Union Station, but I love the Dupont Circle one, too. Makes me really miss the district. I particularly love the dapper guy with the monogrammed cufflinks (he reminds me of my boss while I worked there) and the two little girls with the magic tape.

Unfortunately, this one won't let me embed - but visit the link, it's totally worth it.

WaPo also announces the new Pantone color of the year in the Styles section - Which, as it happens, has been my color of the year every year since, oh, 1999. Delightful!

O.K. Next video. The following two are of a similar, slam poetry ilk. Typography was brought to my attention by my old Auburn prof, Robert, who was linked to it by a current student. It's fun staying in touch with people who, without social networks, would likely be lost in space until some big reunion year, if that. Yay for the internet.

Also, I am totally guilty of what this video is railing against, you know? (heh.)

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Lastly, Canada! I've been completely fixated on Canadia with the start of the Winter Olympics, gobbling up Slate's Five Ring Circus coverage, and generally contemplating what it means to be sort of Canadian. (If you are not aware, my mom is a Canadian citizen. She married my dad in the seventies and after a stint abroad, moved to the U.S. She's been living here for 30+ years; never naturalized. Our little - legal - alien.) It's interesting, because aside from a visit every year or two, I haven't really explored that part of my identity. Probably why I'm so interested in people's takes on the Canadian people and their culture and lifestyle.

Which leads me to Shane Koyczan's take on his mother country in We Are More,
which was commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission and was used in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

So, these are an assembly of things that I have been enjoying lately. Anything good I've been missing out on?

Monday, February 8, 2010


A new low for length between blog posts. This is pathetic. I'm officially the worst. blogger. ever.

Truth is, I spend so much time banging away at the computer for work (we launched a new Drupal Web site in July, and I've been messing with that, oh, forever. Most recently incorporating an intranet for internal users) that I am pretty much over it by the time it comes to anything else.

What's been going on, other than computers? Not much, BUT...
  • I did go to the Salesforce conference in San Francisco in November. Amazing trip, both personally and professionally. I was able to meet up with my aunt and uncle which was a blast - lots of amazing food, a performance of Wicked, and a really appreciated mini family reunion. The Salesforce conference itself signified a looong road ahead of more Web wrangling. This time trying to integrate our relationship management system (Salesforce) with an eCommerce element that has yet to be chosen and the Drupal site. Oof. Equally as disturbing - J and I watched Up in the Air in the theater a month or so ago and the whole sequence where they crash the corporate conference was eerily reminiscent of the San Fran conference. Those conferences are ridiculous.
  • Christmas and New Year were awesome. Lots of amazing food and really nice times with everyone. Added some new ornaments to the collection and about 33 more strings of lights. Our living room was pretty reminiscent of Vegas. Which was delightful. Coming to find out I'm not really strong on restraint when it comes to home decor. Had great visits with long-lost, out-of-town friends. Ahem, Dustin.
  • The weather sucks. No, really. I'm so ready for spring and a bachelorette weekend to the beach for umbrella drinks and excessive sunning that I can't stand it. Damn you, Puxatawney Phil. Which reminds me of a good one I heard recently. "They should re-release Groundhog Day and call it Groundhog Day 2."
  • Wedding planning continues. I'm having way too much fun on ETSY.
There's lots more, but this is a good start for now, no? Zero to... one in three months. I'll work on improving. No promises, but perhaps this will get me kick started again.