Monday, May 31, 2010

Chum Buddy

What happens when badassery and sleeping equipment procreate:


From the site:
It's a sleeping bag! It's a stuffed toy! IT'S A SHARK! In an effort to make sharks (a very misunderstood animal that also happens to be one of my favorites) more cuddly, I designed and produced a prototype for the ChumBuddy. This 7 foot monster plush was 100% hand sewn (sewing machines hate me) from fleece and felt & contains about 30 lbs of poly-fill.
If I wasn't so poor I would buy one of these in a heartbeat. Seriously, amazing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

DIY Nameplate Necklace

Here is a super easy tutorial for making your own nameplate necklace using shrink plastic.

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DIY Nameplate Necklace

Supplies:

Printable Shrinky Paper (alternatively, you could use #6 plastic)
Ink Jet Printer
Sharp Scissors
Hole Puncher
Oven
Paint/Clear Gloss
Chain
Jump rings
A clasp

Directions:

1. Type out your name/saying in Word or a photo editing software. It's important that each letter is touching. If you use a cursive font (like I did) then Word will be fine. But if you want to use a different font, then some kind of photo editing software will allow you to move each letter until they are overlapping.

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2. Print your name/saying onto your shrink plastic according to the instructions on the package.

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Please pretend I regularly dust. Thanks.

3. Cut out your name/saying. As you can see, I didn't cut out the negative space in the middle. The only reason I didn't is because I didn't want to have to deal with it. I also thought it would help stability to keep the letters intact (since I have broken a few before). It's totally up to you though.

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4. This step is optional, but I find it helpful to use a cheap nail file to sand down some of the sharp edges.

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5. Punch a hole on either side of the words where you'll attach the chain.

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6. Now you're going to want to heat up your shrink plastic according to the directions on the package. (Don't worry if your name/saying curls. It almost always flattens itself out. If not, you can always take it out, flatten it, and place it back in the oven.)

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Once your name/saying is all the way flat, keep it in for 30 more seconds, and then its done. Take it out and place a flat object (I just use parchment paper) on top of it to press it down for 15 seconds while it cools. Sometimes you will need to straighten your name/saying as well.

7. At this point you may be entirely happy with your name/saying. Since my nameplate got a bit scratched up when I sanded the edges, I decided to paint it. The only problem was I didn't cut out the space in the middle so I couldn't just spray paint mine. My solution? Some glittery black nail polish that I love. (I realize this is kind of ghetto but it worked).

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8. I then painted the edges black since they looked sloppy. Then I used some clear spray to seal it up.

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9. Then all you'll want to do is attack jump rings and a chain with a clasp.

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And you're done!

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The thing I like about this project, besides how easy it is, is how versatile it is. You can make your nameplate say anything you like or try different fonts for different looks.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Made a Skirt!

I just want to brag for a moment because I actually made a skirt. It's simple and not too impressive, but I'm terribly proud of myself. It even has pockets!

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Not too bad right? (I know it's kind of hard to see since its black.) I also made that "harder" necklace since no school equals tons more crafts to try and keep sane. Originally I was going to make one that said "slut," but I thought that was too expected. In the end I felt "harder" was both more and less crude in a way that I could get behind.

So that's it. I will post a tutorial for the necklace tomorrow (though it is so easy I almost feel bad) and you can find a great tutorial here for a skirt just like mine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Music Thursday

New music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

I am never coming back again by Quasi:



Fuck You Lucy by Atmosphere:



Sweetest Kill by Broken Social Scene:



Your Man by Down With Webster:



Hannah by Freelance Whales:



Bring On The Comets by VHS Or Beta:



Feeling Good Nina Simone:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

I'm not too big of a peanut butter fan, but these Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are by far the most requested treat I make. This recipe is from Ina Garten and like all of her deserts, this recipe is just amazing. These bars taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with some extra pizazz.

And who doesn't like pizazz?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

As you can see I used pecans instead of peanuts, but that's just because I had a bunch I needed to use up. I also used honey-roasted peanut butter since it was on sale. Surprisingly, there was actually a big difference. The peanut butter taste wasn't as strong as usual and I actually prefer the more subtle taste the honey-roasted peanut butter imparted. So if you're like me and aren't too crazy about peanut butter, I would offer that up as a solution.

Make sure you really let the bars cool before you attempt to cut them if you want to avoid a mess.

Would I make this again? Most definitely.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan. (I usually double line my pan with foil so I can just pull the bars completely out of the pan once they're cooled.)

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

4. Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron


Title: Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Dystopia

Publisher: Viking (US)
Publication Date: December 2009 (US)
Hardcover: 400 pages (US)

Stand Alone or series: Book 1 of a planned trilogy

Summary: (from Goodreads)
Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.

Eddie's world wasn't always like this. There's evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.

Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

Review:

Where does one even start with a book like this? This book is not so easily explained. Full of interesting ideas and strange terminology, Shades of Grey is one of the most bizarre books I've ever read. So I apologize now if I confuse the crap out of you.

As the summary explains, Shades of Grey is about a boy named Eddie who lives in a world, Chromatocia, dominated by color. Referred to as a Colortocracy, the entire social hierarchy of Chromatocia is based on what colors a person can see and how much they can see of it. Called the Chromatic Scale, Purples are at the top followed by Greens, Yellows, Blues, Oranges, Reds, and monochromatic Greys are at the bottom. At the age of twenty each citizen in Chromatocia has their Ishihara, or color test, to determine their Color perception. The test is considered infallible and a person's entire life is determined by the results. From who a person can marry to social standing and career options, color perception is all that matters.

This book trailer is also really helpful with explaining the basic premise of Shades of Grey:



Eddie Russet is the son of son of a Swatchman (basically a doctor) and is able to see a high percentage of Red. While Eddie is almost engaged to Constance Oxblood and has high hopes for his future, his life is thrown into a loop when he is sent to East Carmine, the Outer Fringes of society, to conduct a census of all the chairs in the town and learn some humility. Filled with strange characters and a fiery Grey, Eddie begins to question the rigid society he lives in and finds out that some answers only lead to more questions.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:
We clattered over some points, banked to the right and then rumbled across a wooden trestle bridge to steam up a broad treeless valley. Scattered herds of ground sloth and bouncing goat were grazing quietly to themselves, but paid us little attention. The line shifted direction to the North and plunged into a steep valley of almost indescribable loveliness. The track ran alongside a cascading rock-strewn river while steep hills laced with oak and silver birches rose either side, with buzzards wheeling in the limestone crags high above.

I stared out of the window, my eyes searching for glimpses of Red. It was mid summer and we were past the welcome cascade of early orchid, and it was now the time of the poppies, Sorrel and pink campions. Once they were done the Snapdragons and Maiden Pink would sustain me until the end of the season, and it was in this manner that we Reds leapfrogged through the Spring and Summer on a frugal diet of seasonal blooms. It was the same story for the other colours but in greater or lesser degree. The Yellows had more seasonal bloom, Blues and Oranges had less. Greens, as they constantly reminded us, had only two chromatic seasons - the abundant muted, and the abundant vibrant.

But seeing only one natural colour wasn’t the end of it. The enjoyment of synthetic colour, although lacking in subtlety, limited in range and only a low-chroma imitation of its organic cousin, was universal. I would never see a naturally hued primrose nor revel in the alleged splendor of a Bluebell spring, but I would enjoy the approximations delivered to us by the dedication of National Colour’s skilled workforce.

The Yellow sitting opposite me in the railway carriage looked around for a moment, reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver swatch-case. He snapped open the compact, took a deep gaze of the colour hidden inside, then said:

“Do you want to do some Lime?”

I paused for a moment. I hadn’t Green-peeked for months. Dad was quite strict because he thought Lime could lead onto harder colours, such as Lincoln, but was realistic. ‘As soon as you’ve taken your Ishihara and become an adult,’ he had told me, ‘you can stare at magnolia for all I care.’

“Go on then,” I said.

The Yellow turned the compact toward me, and as my eyes fell upon the calming shade I felt my muscles relax and my anxieties about travelling to East Carmine fade away. Everything about the world suddenly seemed rather jolly - even the crummy bits, of which there were many. But I was unused to peeking and my head was suddenly jammed full of crossfires as the Lime wobbled my cortex. I could see Handel’s Messiah and smell the sensation of water on my skin.

“That’s good Lime,” I said, rubbing my temples as small bursts of pink mixed with the smell of toffee-apples erupted on the periphery of my vision.

“Best there is,” he replied cheerfully, “you know what they say: Yellows do the best
Green.”

They might have done the best Green, or even become Green with a bit of Blue parentage, but that was as far as it went. No amount of Colourgenics would ever make a yellow family Purple, so they could never rise to the exulted position of head Prefect, a post reserved solely for the Purples. We Reds might be at the bottom end of the spectrum and only one notch above Grey, but with a suitable Blue partner our progeny could have the top spot in a generation. It annoyed the Yellows something rotten - no wonder they couldn’t stand us.

The Yellow had another reason to hate me, although he didn’t know it. The thing is, I can see a lot of Red. I was quietly confident that I could make Prefect, but I wasn’t certain. Colour perception was notoriously subjective, and the very human vagaries of deceit, hyperbole and selfdelusion all conspired to make pre-test claims pretty much worthless. But all doubts came to nought the morning of your Ishihara. No-one could cheat the Colourman and the colour test. What you got was what you were, forever. Your life, career and social standing decided right there and then, and all worrisome life-uncertainties eradicated forever. You knew who you were, what you would do, where you would go, and what was expected of you. In return, you simply accepted your position within the Colortocracy, and assiduously followed the Rulebook. Your life
was mapped. And all in the time it takes to bake a tray of scones.

Verdict:

Most of the fun of reading this book comes from figuring it out as you go (which I hope I didn't just ruin). I love that Fforde doesn't explain ever single thing in a lot of detail. Instead, as a reader I felt like I had room to use my imagination. I love that in a book. The only downside is that I felt like some things were quite under explained. Since this is the first book of a trilogy some ambiguity might have been necessary, but there are some things I would have liked to know more about (like Ultraviolets). Then again, Eddie is pretty ignorant of most things so maybe Fforde wanted the reader to experience some of that not-knowing as well.

Overall, I adored this book though. It is by far one of the most interesting books I've ever read. I can't wait to read the second two books and I just know this book will be one of my favorites this year.

Great interview of Fforde:



Rating: 9. Damn near perfection

Friday, May 21, 2010

Corn with Bacon and Scallions

I don't know why I never thought of sauteing frozen corn before, but the flavor cooking the corn on the stove top imparts is just incredible. Even Ryan couldn't believe that corn could have so much flavor. Suateing the corn while still frozen also helped the corn keep its crispness which I always love. Add bacon and scallions and you can't really go wrong.

Corn with Bacon and Scallions

I know it seems kind of silly to rave about a dish of corn, but this side dish is one of the tastiest corn dishes I've ever had. I cannot express enough love for this dish.

Would I make this again? I already have. This dish has already become a staple in our house.

Corn with Bacon and Scallions

Ingredients:

1 shallot, minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 pound frozen corn (do not thaw)
3 scallions, thinly slices
6 slices of bacon,

Directions:

1. Fry 6 slices of chopped bacon in a non-stick skillet until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.

2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the corn; cook, stirring often, until heated through but still crunchy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Sprinkle the corn with the scallions and bacon just before serving.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I don't know if you know this about me, but I have an extreme weakness for glitter and rock music. Anything that successfully combines these two things (David Bowie, Velvet Goldmine, etc.) is like magic to me. So when I realized I had never seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a movie about "a fictional rock and roll band fronted by an East German transsexual singer," I knew I had to see it right away.


Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about a boy named Hansel (John Cameron Mitchell) who is born in Communist Berlin and raised by his single mother. Hansel eventually meets an American GI Sergeant who agrees to marry him and take him to America. The only problem is Hansel has to have a sex change operation and become "Hedwig" for that to happen. Unfortunately, the sex change operation is botched and Hedwig is left with only an "angry inch." Neither man nor woman, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about Hedwig's struggle to find out who she really is.

Trailer:



The most important parts of this movie are the musical numbers (which isn't very surprising in a musical is it?). While I would sometimes get lost in what was exactly happening in the story, the songs always clarified whatever Hedwig was feeling at the time. It is through the music that we also learn about Hedwig's past and her relationship with "Tommy Gnosis" (Michael Pitt).

Inspired by Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium (basically that the reason people feel "whole" when they are in love is because people once had double bodies but where split in half by Zeus), Hedwig is trying to become "whole" throughout the movie. Unfortunately, it's never as easy as one would hope. This movie is unbelievably sad at times and yet it never loses its charm.

It's just great.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No One Belongs Here More Than You

Title: No One Belongs Here More Than You
Author: Miranda July
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories

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Publisher: Scribner
Publishing Date: May 15th 2007
Hardcover: 224 pages

Summary: (from Goodreads)
Award-winning filmmaker and performing artist Miranda July brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a startling, sexy, and tender collection. In these stories, July gives the most seemingly insignificant moments a sly potency. A benign encounter, a misunderstanding, a shy revelation can reconfigure the world. Her characters engage awkwardly -- they are sometimes too remote, sometimes too intimate. With great compassion and generosity, July reveals their idiosyncrasies and the odd logic and longing that govern their lives. No One Belongs Here More Than You is a stunning debut, the work of a writer with a spectacularly original and compelling voice.
Review:

I must admit upfront I am not a big fan of short stories compilations. Short stories are usually very hit-or-miss with me. Even though I would think my batty mind would love the way you can jump from one story to the next, it doesn’t seem to work that way. Instead I find myself getting annoyed with the stories I don’t like, and annoyed when the stories I do like end.

So what it is that made this book stand out to me I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that I loved this book in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time. It’s like the first time I read David Sedaris. Even though I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get into the book, something magical happened and I realized I was reading something extraordinary. This book was like that for me and I found myself wanting to read out loud to anyone who would listen.

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No One Belongs Here More Than You is very much about loneliness and loss and all the different masks they can wear. Some of the characters are quite gross, but that makes their struggle all the more heartbreaking I think. Even though each story follows a different character, there is a similar vibe that runs through the book making each story connected to the whole. I found myself getting lost in the mood of this book more than the actually stories themselves. Obviously, this book isn’t perfect though and not all of the stories were great. Some fell kind of flat for me. But I have a feeling that the stories most loved will vary from person to person and that’s one of the things that makes this book special.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

Here is a video of July reading from her book:



Verdict:

I know people tend to dislike anything too “hipster,” but this book really is great. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you either love or hate this book. No One Belongs Here More Than You is just like that.

Rating: 8. Excellent – some laughing and/or crying involved

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pepperoni Bread

I found this recipe over at the Brown Eyed Baker and knew I had to give it a shot. Not only is the recipe ridiculously easy (have you noticed a trend here?), but I'm also a sucker for any pizza related food.

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Instead of using a frozen bread loaf, I used one of those pizza dough in a tube things. I thought it turned out fine, but I think I'll try the bread next time since I like to indulge my love of bread any chance I can. I used an egg wash with a little get good browning and sprinkled a little parmesan on top so I could feel fancy.

As you can see by my pictures below, you can put pretty much whatever you want in this bread. The second time around I used my favorite lunch meat, mushrooms, and mozzarella. Dipped in mustard, I think I may have liked it even more then the pepperoni.

Will I make this again? Most definitely.

Pepperoni Bread

Ingredients:

1 loaf frozen (or refrigerated) bread dough
Sliced pepperoni
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Allow the frozen bread dough to thaw/raise throughout the day. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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2. Cut the dough in half and roll out two rectangles. Layer the pepperoni on the dough, and then cover with mozzarella cheese. Roll up lengthwise and seal the ends and seam and place seam-side down on the baking sheet.

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3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Easy Flower Headband

I found a cute flower applique at the fabric store that I decided to buy for a project that never happened, so I decided to turn it into a super simple hair decoration.

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The nice thing about this project, besides being ridiculously easy, is how many possibilities there are. Any applique, lace, trimming, or fabric can be used. You could also just sew the ribbon to the applique, but I couldn't find any black thread so I just used hot glue. You can also use elastic if you'd prefer it, but my big round dome hates elastic so ribbon it was for me.

Easy Flower Headband

Supplies:

Flower applique
Ribbon/elastic
Glue (I used hot glue) or a needle and thread

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Directions:

Do I even really need to write out directions? All I did was glue a piece of ribbon to each end of my applique. Easy peasy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Apple Streusel Bars

This recipe has already made the rounds on a lot of food blogs I read, but that's not too surprising considering how tasty this recipe is (I found this particular recipe over at The Cutting Edge of Ordinary). These bars taste ridiculously like apple pie, but with a streusel topping. And I sure do love me some streusel topping. There are also super easy to make.

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The only thing I changed was the amount of glaze used. I don't know how other people felt about it, but 2 cups of powdered sugar seemed like way too much so I cut that amount in half. I also used apple cider instead of the milk and extract since I made a sauce for dinner with cider as well and I wanted to tie it all together.

Will I make this again? Of course. These bars a like pie, but take less fuss. I may never make another apple pie again.

Apple Streusel Bars

Ingredients:

Pastry:
2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. real butter, softened
1 egg, beaten

Apple Filling:
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. (about 3 medium) sliced, peeled baking apples (I used gala)

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
About 3 Tbsp. milk (whole milk is best)
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Directions:

1. To prepare crust, mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized crumbles. Gently mix in beaten egg.

2. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Gently pat about 2/3 of the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the dish. Preheat oven to 350 and set aside.

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3. To prepare apple filling, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon and toss with apples.

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4. Spread apples out on prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over apples evenly and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.(Mine took 50 minutes to test done)

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When finished, allow to cool.

5. To prepare glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spoon glaze on top of bars. (I like to glaze them when they’re still a little warm, so the topping isn’t bright white)

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Music Thursday

New music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Where The Lines Overlap by Paramore:



One night stand by Jazmine Sullivan:



Lingering Still by She & Him:



Dont You Evah by Spoon:



New In Town by Little Boots:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tyler Shields Photography

I didn't know who Tyler Shields was until his pictures of Lindsy Lohan blew up my tumblr. Now I just can't get enough. Seriously, he kicks major ass.


I think my favorite pictures (besides the first one) are Shield's "Collisions" (like the second picture). According to Shield, "Collisions are a new type of photography I have created, they are made using NO PHOTOSHOP and no double exposure, What you are looking at is one image taken with one camera… I CAN NOT STRESS TO YOU ENOUGH THIS IS ALL DONE IN CAMERA NO PHOTOSHOP!!!!!!!!" I have no idea how the hell he does it, but it's freggin fantastic.

You can see his portfolio here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What I've Been Reading

I realize it has been quite a while since I've done any book reviews, but I'm a little sad to say that I just haven't been reading very much. With finals and trying out a new experiment called "attempting to have a life," I just haven't had the time to read as much as I normally do (i.e. all the time).

But, there are a few books I read that I wasn't planning on reviewing so I thought I could lump them all together in one post.

1. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher


Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside—she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye, and escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

Because Incarceron is alive.
This book pretty much had me at hello. A dystopian futuristic prison that's alive? I could barely contain myself. This is one of those books that reminded me why it is I like to read so much. I thought the ending fell a bit flat, but since this, and every other book on the planet it seems, is going to be a series it's not so bad. You can read a more in depth review from The Book Smugglers here.

Rating: 8

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness


Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he's going to have to run...
I have no idea why I decided not to review this book. I freggin loved it, but for some reason I decided not to. Weird. Anyways, in the post "My best reads of 2009" I said The Inferior was my favorite book of last year and The Knife of Never Letting Go is a lot like it. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if The Knife of Never Letting Go makes my 2010 list. It's by far the best book I've read so far this year. You can read a more in depth review by Dannie here.

Rating: 10

3. Acacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham


Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, has inherited generations of apparent peace and prosperity, won ages ago by his ancestors. A widower of high intelligence, he presides over an empire called Acacia, after the idyllic island from which he rules. He dotes on his four children and hides from them the dark realities of traffic in drugs and human lives on which their prosperity depends. He hopes that he might change this, but powerful forces stand in his way. And then a deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen north, strikes at Leodan in the heart of Acacia while they unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to their separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father's death and restore the Acacian empire–this time on the basis of universal freedom.
This book appeared to have everything I could possibly want out of a more epic fantasy story. George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice & Fire” series is one of my all time favorite series and since Martin is some sort of sadist who must get off on making his fans wait decades for books, I've been on the lookout for something that has a similar vibe. Acacia definitely fit the bill. Yet, for some reason I can't explain I never finished this story. Even though I liked the characterizations and I don't mind multiple POVs, there were almost too many characters being thrown at me. For that reason, it made it easier to put the book down instead of plowing through.

I'm not saying this is a bad book obviously. For whatever reason I just couldn't get into the story though. From what I read Durham's writing is quite lovely, but I'll just have to give it a go at some other time in the future. You can read a more in depth review here.

Rating: Didn't finish.