Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holding Pattern

There are lots of upcoming blog posts that are half written.  Well, one is 90% written, but I hit the pause button on him for a few weeks while I move.  I'll give you a preview though.  It's going to be a series of blog posts outlining my ultimate electronic makeover and maybe some tips on what you guys can do as well to make your electronic lives easier.  But for now, we're in a holding pattern.

For the next two weeks I'll be designing, moving into, and decorating my new apartment.  I finally, bit the bullet and moved.  I discovered from a firm shake from my brother that I'm really not living in the safest part of town, but more importantly I don't work in the safest part of town either.  Therefore, I've never really be able to "get away" from work (e.g. I'm always reminded of work, continually as hyper-vigilant as I am at work at home).  So, I'm moving to safer area of town just across the state line.

Here's my four phase plan for my move:

  • Phase 1: Preparing for the paint (this includes deciding on most decorating decisions, deciding on paint colors, then literally prepping for painting)
  • Phase 2: Painting
  • Phase 3: Getting Rid Of/Packing/Moving/Unpacking
  • Phase 4: Cleaning my old apartment
Also, get excited I'm getting ready for my very first blog giveaway.  It's going to be awesome!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stack of Bibles

I recently posted this to flickr with the following caption:
"My own collection.  Photographed to illustrate how excess penetrates even the most sacred parts of our lives."

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Blame Amazon and Hulu

I've been a bit preoccupied recently and have inadvertently neglected my blog.  I apologize.  Hulu Plus rolled out to the rest of the world and Amazon MP3 keeps giving me AMAZING deals.  So I've been clicking away on their websites.  I have been working on a blog post - an update to my home theater one earlier.  Now that Hulu is playing nice with my PS3, an update is in order.  While you wait, enjoy my favorite websites:

By the way, Amazon is running super awesome specials right now - for real.  I'm currently surrendering my entire bank account to them.  My music collection is made up of their $3.99 and $5 album deals.  I've recently gotten the new Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kid Rock, Kanye West, and Dane Cook albums for $3.99.  I'm fully aware this could be a problem.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tweet On

Now that was an interesting week.  The short story is that some where in the week my body's off switch broke.  Which lead to 86 hours (+1 hour of sleep) without any sleep - not by choice.  My body broke sometime after the one hour nap, refusing to shut off.  I don't remember much from the last half of the week...but I read a lot of wikipedia articles on sleep and a few tweets.  Oh, and the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys announcing their tour together.  That made my whole week.

So speaking of Twitter (or not).  If you're not on it, get on it.  It's what the cool kids are doing.  It's like mini-blogging.  As a bonus, you get to watch hilarious conversations like this go down if you're following the right people.

Or you can have a super fun timeline that looks like this when you follow a famous blogger, tell your friend your watching the person that makes her famous, or keep up on the happenings of your friend thousands of miles away - and her sad happenings with the Apple store:

It's especially fun if you live a funny life, but even if you don't, people still like knowing your random thoughts on the world.  So get on the bandwagon, I'm saving you a seat.

Tweet on.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ultimate Home Theater

Since I buying my TV this summer I've been contemplating what my ultimate home theater would look like (and by look like, I mean what it would include).  My definition of "ultimate" might sway a little from most people talking about their home theater.  I define an awesome home theater as sleek, efficient, and does everything I need it to do.  So I've been thinking a lot about streamlining.  And streaming, because I don't have cable so it's my favorite way of watching a variety of television.

Here's my current set up:
The Set Up

Don't get me wrong.  My current set up isn't bad, in fact I really like.  But we're talking ultimate home theater.  So here's how it currently functions.  The black box on the chair to the right is my PS3.  It does pretty much everything (like the ads say) - games, blu-ray, DVDs, hooks up to the internet - but no Hulu (more on that later).  The silver cord and with white thing connected to it on the chair to the left, is how I hook up my MacBook Pro to my TV.  This is how I watch my ultra wonderful, Hulu.  The black cord going across the left chair is going to my antenna, which will hopefully find a home on the wall eventually.  I don't have cable.  I find I can meet most of my needs through my Hulu and PS3, at least while in grad school.

Other than streamlining (and streaming), I've been focusing on how I can decrease clutter.  So continually thinking of how to have as few things (boxes, remotes, cables, etc.).

Here's what I've (mostly) decided on:

1. If Hulu decides to play nice with the world and allow streaming through my PS3 (without paying an arm and two legs - as it currently is set up), then I would use my PS3 (already own) to stream my Hulu Plus and Netflix if I decide to keep it (though unlikely).

  • I would digitize my entire DVD collection, put it on an external hard drive and hook it up to my PS3 via one of the usb ports.  The biggest thing lacking would be the ease of use.  To play my movies and TV shows on my PS3 I would have to do the equivalent of digging through folders on my external hard drive.
  • I could also upload all of my music onto the external hard drive, however, I would have the same problem as above.  Sony really needs to add a media player to the PS3.  Then it really would do everything (besides play Hulu).

2. If Hulu (or Sony, not sure who's doing it) decides to continue to play hard ball, or I decide that the non-user friendly media center on my PS3 takes away from my viewing, then I would begin saving my pennies for the ultimate entertainment hub - the Mac mini.

Here's what I would do if I got a Mac mini:

  • Hook it up to the TV via a HDMI cable (no converter needed!)
  • Store all of my previously mentioned digitized media on it.
  • Turn on home sharing in iTunes on my laptop and on the mini - allowing for my music to stay on my laptop (where it's most convenient) and my movies on the mini (where the hard drive could hold them)...but allowing each device play the media content as if it was it's own.
  • Have Hulu Desktop launch on start-up - immediate access to content.
  • Last, but not least, I would purchase this bad boy:

EyeTV One.  He would turn my mini into a DVR.  I could record the shows I know I'm going to miss, pause the show I'm watching to make dinner, edit the content to make super awesome montages of all of my favorite scenes to share with you guys (if copyright law allowed), AND (see diddy on iTunes sharing above) play my recorded TV shows in my bed on my laptop (sick days???).

AND if the mini becomes a part of my home theater (which would then be dubbed my ultimate home theater), I could control everything with my iPod Touch.

Did the world just stop spinning??  I think I felt it.  Clearly, I'm not leaning toward one option :)  Too bad, the mini has so much upfront cost (though by not paying for cable it pays for itself in time).  I'd better start saving my pennies.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beautiful and Cheap (or Free!)

I would like to thank my friend Jenny for turning me on to these beautiful cards from Shutterfly. I must note, that I do in fact think they really are beautiful and would still think they are beautiful if Shutterfly wasn't giving away 50 free holiday cards to bloggers who blog about them (seriously, we all love Shutterfly, go on and blog about them too!).

Here are my favorite folded cards:

Here's why I love them: The top left is my favorite.  I love the simple elegance.  I love the colors on the second one (top right).  Again, the simplicity of the bottom left, mixing modern (the polka dot border) with traditional (love that script).  Such a good job.  On the last card (bottom right), I love how the picture is the total focus of the card with a simple, but powerful, Merry Christmas.

I also liked this one below.  I think it's great for those who are making the transition from store bought to printed cards.  Or if you're just exceptionally private...or have very few photos...or live by yourself and think putting you and your cat on the front of a card, might be silly.  What's great about this one (and all of them above) is that you can put a photo on the inside.  Love it.

Here are my favorite flat photo cards (these are the cheapest).  I love the colors in these so much.  They're just so pretty.  I also really love the photo strip on the bottom one.  I think it would super cute if you had consecutive shots (like a photo booth) of a couple or family (or cat and yourself).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How to Pee Outdoors

I've recently decided that I'm going to start tapping into that special place in my brain where I have learned various bits of random, but useful knowledge and share them with you.  To start, how to pee in the great outdoors.  :)

Going to the bathroom in the great outdoors is a skill I know way too much about.  However, my unnatural skill has come in handy on many occasions.  Like, when I traveled overseas and one of our "rest stops" while traveling between cities was two slabs of concrete with drains in the middle (one for men and one for women) and a wall to separate them.  Yep, it took the term public restroom to a whole other level.

Here's what you need to know for a successful bathroom break in the great outdoors:

Note: This is for women only, men you have it easy.  Also, I'm assuming you're not peeing on a concrete pad, because if that's the case all you need to do is make sure you squat really close to the ground and keep your pants at your knees (so your pants will be higher than your pee).

1. You're number one goal is to not pee on yourself.  Keep this in mind.  Always.  Otherwise, you will.

2. Location, Location, Location.  This is where paying attention in those science and math classes will pay off.  Remember your friends from physics?  Gravity and Angles?  Once you're away from others and are pretty sure no one else can see you, try to find slanted ground (hill? pile of dirt?).

3. Once you've picked out the spot, you have a decision to make.  Pants on?  Or pants off?  If you chose the latter option, remember gravity when placing your clothes to the side.  You don't want to place them "down stream."  If you decide to go with the quicker pants on option, here's where skill comes in to play.

4. The pre-squat.  This comes down to, what direction...to face, to pull your pants, etc.  There are many combinations, if you're skilled in math and the laws of physics then you can figure out what will be best for your location-of-the-moment.  Remember: your stream naturally goes forward a bit (take this into account when figuring out your pose).  If you're not, here's my recommended combo: Face down hill in your squating position and pull your pants towards your back.

5. The squat.  Leave your pants/shorts at your knees and squat as closely to the ground as possible.

6. Go.

7. The wipe.  Unless you have toilet paper with you, try not to wipe.  Just drip dry.  I know it sounds gross, but you'll thank me later.  If you go number 2, make sure you are 100% certain that the leaf you pick is not poisonous.  Seriously.  I once upon a time chose the wrong leaf to wipe.  It was horrible.  HORRIBLE.  Imagine having to explain how you got that in that area of your body to your doctor.  Just for future reference this leaf IS poisonous:

Alright, back to the main show.  Once you've figured out how to dry yourself, you're done!  Pull up your pants and go on with life!  Freedom.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Most Complicated Directions

This is from my Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake frozen dinner.  Super good.  Super specific directions.

Welcome to the World Wide Web

I finally decided today that I would allow my blog to be searched through search engines.  I've held off because I wasn't sure if I really wanted the whole world able to find and read my blog.  Now that I've started to write more geeky posts, I've decided it's just selfish of me to hoard my knowledge about technology for only my friends to access.

In light of this, I'll be slowly but surely transforming my blog...into what?  I'm not totally sure, yet.  I'll let you know when my ideas are done baking and ready to come out to the world.  As for today, I cleaned up my design a bit...so if you're reading this in Google Reader, hop on over and see how you like it...or just see if you can notice any of the differences.  You may not be able to pick them out.  Here's one to get you going: a super awesome Blog Shelf.  It's where you'll find sites that I love visiting and spending a Saturday afternoon browsing.

In other news, as I was looking back at my old blog posts today to make sure that I didn't post anything crazy that should not be out in the world wide web, I realized I haven't updated much about life since this summer.  So here's my short bit.  Since I wrote this post, life hasn't let up, if anything it got even more crazy.  The best analogy is that it's been like I'm sprinting a marathon. Thankfully, per doctors orders I should be taking some time off very soon and hitting the reset button.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Click. Match. Vote.

As I was poking around the internet today trying to learn about who I'm going to vote for tomorrow, I found this website.  You take a short survey about what political items are important to you and then it tells you which candidate most closely matches your ideology.  It also tells you where you are on the spectrum of liberal/conservative.

Tip: Click on the explanations of the topics.  They do a good job of explaining the topics core issues in a non-partisan way.

(By the way, it's a non-partisan nationwide website.)