Thursday, June 30, 2005

Two Second Movie Review

  • Batman Begins – Like slowly unwrapping a candy bar, the pacing was slow, but thorough. Character development was divine. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne was fabulous; he quickly became my favorite “Batman”. The theme of choosing good vs. evil and good vs. idealistically skewed good was fascinating and has shades of  what is going on in our messed up world today. A dark and moving film!  --  A-

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Still working through creativity block

I submitted this to Illustration Friday for their topic “Heros”. I took longer on it than I had planned due to some memory issues with my computer and duplicating all of the little grains of sand. Apparently computers don’t like sand and remembering thousands of granules. Huh. Ga figure.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My confidence is shaken

I used to make baked beans for my annual 4th of July parties. You know, the kind you make from scratch. The good’ns that are baked for days. Well, at least I thought they were good. Anyway, since I’ve moved to Utah, I haven’t been able to make ‘em right. The beans cook…and cook…and cook and they never get soft enough to be reasonably palatable. I’m, frankly, a little freaked out. They were fool-proof, or so I thought. Earlier this week I even tried to do the boil-the-night-ahead, let-‘em-soak-all-night method which in Minnesota, wasn’t even necessary. Still hard as rocks. The last time I tried ‘em here, I cooked ‘em for three days. Literally. No go. The best I can figure is that it’s the altitude? Maybe? If someone knows what it might be, drop me a line cat~at~catay~dot~com. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Diet Sodas and Weight

I just read an article at Web MD: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/107/108476.htm

It discusses the link between weight gain and diet soda consumption. One study does not prove anything in my mind, but personal experience does.

For me, drinking diet sodas increased my cravings for other sweet things. Since quitting my diet coke habit over a year ago, I don’t crave chocolate as much, nor other snacky foods. That’s not to say that I’ve lost weight, but I find that my eating has become much more “normalized” where in between snacking doesn’t really happen.   Plain old water has become a welcome drink in my life. In the days of my diet coke addiction, I would have plain old water, ~maybe~ once a month. That’s not healthy at all. If’n I ever really want to lose weight, I think much more activity and portion control will be the way to go. Pretty basic, eh? J

Did you know...

The white space between the 'E' and 'x', on the FedEx logo forms an arrow. It’s one of those “duh” things. I have seen the logo a million times and it never appeared to me. Brilliant logo work, eh?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Attempt @ Breaking the Creativity Block

I’ve been photographing items with the intent of putting ‘em on iStockPhoto.com. I don’t have any grand delusions about making money on there, but it’s kind of a fun venture. After two attempts at getting “accepted” into the photo community, I finally made it a couple of weeks ago. Yay! Even though I use a fairly high end camera -- Canon Powershot G6, my photos were still producing excess pixilation. I have to use a program called “Neat Image” to smooth my photos. While I think it makes them less sharp, iStockPhoto finds them to be more acceptable. My guess is that for printing purposes, especially, the smoothed pixel look works much better.  I hope to be adding images on there shortly. Keep an eye out for my pix here.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Very, Very Cool!

I’m spending too much of my early afternoon today browsing through craft sites. Again, just trying to spark my creative flame.

I happened upon this site: http://www.artomat.org/

How cool in so many ways. Vending art to the public. Soo, soooo, soooooooo cool. I wish there was one near me so I could experience it.

I’m all for digital art (obviously?!), but having analog art sold to the “common man” in such a vintage, cool-ass way. Love it.  Oh, and you don’t even have to smoke to enjoy the machine!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Trying to be creative...

I’ve recently started to create submissions for Illustration Friday. Every Friday a new topic is posted. I really don’t want to use previously done works, but rather push through my creative block and try to come up with something QUICKLY each week. I don’t want to devote more than an hour to this. Last week’s entry for “summer”, wasn’t all that great, but again, it’s a time cruncher. This week for “Black and White”, took about just as long, but I’m much more pleased with the results.  I may just be able to push myself through my creative block with this. Hmmm. Well, I’ll keep plugging along.

Too funny!

This pretty much sums up how I feel about useless medications being advertised on television. Good stuff!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Two Two-Second Movie Reviews

  • The Aviator -- The grand story of Howard Hughes. It was a little too long, but still enjoyable. Leonardo Dicaprio carried the Howard Hughes role off pretty well, but not phenomenally. The Katharine Hepburn character was a little over the top, but from what I understand, so was she! A solid... B
  • Danny Deckchair -- Funny, heartwarming and quirky. Love the actor who plays Danny. He was the crazy flatmate in Notting Hill. This one is well worth a look on DVD. A-

Took a shower...

I took a shower with a spider this afternoon. ICKY! There's very little worse than being naked and wet and discovering an icky arachnid swimming along side your toes. Well, there is one worse thing. Showering with a centipede. I did that once. Never again! They hog all of the water! :-)

Ok, I admit it...

I miss Martha Stewart's catalog. She had a ton of fun stuff. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned my collection of silver Xmas ornaments. Well, on thing that I ordered from her catalog was the silver snowflake kit. Absolutely a blast to make and they turned out so pretty. The kit consisted of four basic things --- flat 6-pronged welded "frames", silver wire, an assortment of silver beads and a pliers. You could follow the basic designs or come up with your own. Well, of course I had to come up my own, Silly. I even added some natural crystal beads to some to give 'em that "natural" snowflake look. A couple of other things I bought from there -- the cake decorating kit (all of the cake colors you will ever need and all of the frosting piping bits and bags to make whizbang cakes), the cookie decorating kit (all of coloring to make colored sugars you'll ever need as well as the piping tools to do frosted cookies and much more), -- both of 'em came in their own tin boxes. Again, read my post about accumulation of kitchen stuff. The pre-boxed idea was fabulous! Perfect for kitchen supply hoarders like myself. Oh, and then there was the annual Halloween catalog. I don't believe I ever purchased anything from there, but it had tons of ideas for Halloween parties. Yeah, I'm one of those Halloweenies who *must* throw a party every year. I grew up with it, what can I say? So, yeah, I'm better about my affluenza with accumulating stuff, but I still miss my Martha catalog. :-)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Homes, Accumulation and General "Stuff"

When is the too much home trend going to end? So many of the new homes that are being built around this country are HUGE. Not just 1600 square feet. That's *tiny*. I'm talking 4000, 5000, 10000 square feet. That's for 3.5 people and a dog. When will it end?? I know as a whole our waistlines are expanding. Are the home we are choosing to live in just made to accommodate that girth? Do people feel like they've lost weight when they move into a HUGE house? Maybe the homes are excessively large to accommodate all of the crap we buy? How about that trend? When is the accumulation of "stuff" and lots of "stuff" going to fall out of fashion? Confession time. I personally have two or three (well, at least two major) accumulation vices. Clothing, fabric and kitchen implements. Those are the non-holiday ones. Throw in Halloween stuff and silver Christmas ornaments and you've got FIVE accumulation vices. Luckily all of my accumulation vices can be housed in boxes or at least put away. My Halloween and Christmas things fit into two large boxes. The kitchen implements fit in the kitchen cupboards, and you guessed it, the clothing/fabric stuff fits into my closet. Trying to make a change. I envision ridding myself of "stuff". It's still a fantasy more than reality, but I'm working towards a "stuff-free" existence:
  • I've pretty much nipped my kitchen purchases in the bud. Our kitchen is very large, but small on storage. No room for the fun, worthless crap. I do miss my Williams Sonoma purchases. The funny thing about this is that while I'm purchasing less items, I'm actually using my kitchen more than I ever have. I've become quite the chef. (Insert humility here.)
  • My clothing purchases have seriously tapered off and I recently cut my wardrobe at least in half by selling on EBay, discarding and donations. It felt *really* good to lighten that load. My wee closet appreciated the change tremendously.
  • Fabric has been an ongoing thing, though, again, I recently sold off a bunch that was no longer "necessary". Unfortunately, I go through periods of fabric accumulation. Most recently I've purchased some fun fabric on EBay. I've made several purchases recently of Munki Munki fabric. While it's intended primarily for children, I can't help but appreciate the simplicity and joy found in the designs.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Money and the LDS Church

At times I wonder if the LDS church isn't more of a business than a strictly faith born operation. I read in the newspaper this weekend that they intend on spending 1 billion dollars updating the malls in downtown Salt Lake City. That's right. BbbbBBBBillion!  The details of the plan are quite secret. They did, however, feel the need to say that the money is in no part the result of tithing. *phew* Not tithing. But then, where are they getting the money? Is it the "fast offerings" that are dutifully collected by the deacons on Sunday mornings? Is it the missionary funds? Is it the result of charitable donations from wills? Or, is it, as I suspected all along, the money from their share of Coca Cola stock?! Hmmm...yeah, they said it was all rumor that they were big stock holders in Coca Cola. Now, I'm not so sure. <p> What's really curious is that this church is a church, right? Why are they spending the money on shopping malls?! Shouldn't they be assisting their members? Or even helping out people of other faiths who are in need? I don't mean to say that the LDS church doesn't do these things, they do, but wouldn't this particular loot be better spent on, oh, I don't know, PEOPLE? Feeding hungry people around the world? Assisting those who have no home or health insurance? I wonder, if with a billion dollars, they could afford to offer free health insurance for all of their members? What better way to get more people to join the church than to give them free healthcare?! The missionaries could go house to house preaching the gospel *and* telling individuals that they could get free healthcare if they got baptized and attended church regularly? <p> 1 Bbbbbiiiilllliooon dollars. The possibilities are endless.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I was listening to NPR this morning...

They were talking about inner-city schools in LA and some of the racial struggles that they’re going through right now. One thing that caught my mind was that Los Angeles hasn’t had a new high school built in 35 years! The one school they were specifically mentioning in South LA – Thomas Jefferson, was built to hold 1500 students and currently it has 3800! Talk about overcrowding!  Here’s the curious thing about new high schools that stuck out in my head: In all of the travels my hubby and I have been taking to small towns around the wild West, there are TONS of new schools where the populations of the towns are less than 3,800 . The schools are often HUGE and could possibly hold 400 students. More than likely they have less than 100.  It just seems wrong, wrong. I know that a lot of the funding for schools comes from the counties in which they lie, but c’mon, there’s got to be a way to share some of this funding around. I don’t think that there should be cutbacks in the quality of the education in the smaller communities, but if they have *too much* money where they’re building excessively large schools in shrinking communities, it just seems to be a waste when so many could benefit elsewhere.

Gosh, am I a commie or what?! J

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I'm lost between generations

Ivan’s kids are in their 20s. Ivan’s friends and immediate family are much older and almost all have grown children. I feel as if I’m in a lost generation here in Utah. I’m sure it’s only ‘cuz I really don’t have friends of my own here. (It’s hard to strike up friendships when 1. I work at home 2. I don’t belong to a church or other “standard” organization.)  It’s very alienating, really.  I’m on a first name basis with the people at the Post Office, but dang, I don’t think that counts as ~friendship~.  Just sitting here contemplating my existence.