Showing posts from January, 2012

Mini-Post Thursday—Play With Your Food

I believe I can commit to doing this!  Click on the link below & have fun making your own delicious masterpiece.

The Sandwich Artist

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home: Water Heaters

When it comes to water heaters, always buy a model with the longest warranty.  

Geez, I hate replacing water heaters!  But, it comes with owning a home, so if you're in the market for a new one, check out today's blog.
The One I Bought Introducing my shiny, new, high-efficiency Premium Plus American water heater!  Yay, it has an expansion tank on top that regulates changes in pressure caused by heating and cooling the water.
Normally, pressure changes happen inside of the main tank, and over time, this causes stress on the unit.  This cool little expansion tank has an expandable bladder inside that relieves pressure from inside of the main tank, which helps the tank last longer.  Pretty cool, eh?  Bottom line, you want to take simple measures like this that will help the unit last longer.  
12-Year Warranty Another simple thing to do is to purchase water heaters with long warranties.  The longest warranty on a gas unit is twelve years.  They start at 6-year warranties for the cheape…

Monday—The Movie Corner: HUGO directed by Martin Scorsese

If you see only one of this year's Academy Award nominated movies, choose this one!

Academy Award Nominated Wow, wow, wow—HUGO is a true work of art, flawlessly executed by master filmmaker and film historian, Martin Scorsese.  Go see it, but only in 3D.  It is beyond beautiful, state-of-the-art 3D, and visually breathtaking.  Nominated for Academy Awards in 11 categories, including Best Director and Best Picture.  It has already won a Golden Globe for Best Director, and it is sure to win Oscars.     
The Book The movie is based on the 526-page children's graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Martin Selznick.  This book won the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 2008.  
The Story It's about a 12-year old boy named Hugo Cabret, the son of a talented watchmaker (played by Jude Law in the movie) who lives in Paris in the 1930's.  His father's fascination with mechanical things leads him to purchase a discarded automato…

Friday's Art Gallery—Photo Texturing

Adding depth, dimension & mood to your photos
Brainier  •  Bolder •  More Beautiful

These are my 2012 New Year's resolutions.  First up…brainier!  That means learning something new, so I decided to start by adding to my online skill set.  I'm taking a year-long, online photo texturing class taught by Kim Klassen, a gifted Canadian graphic artist, folk art painter, and photographer.

I knew about Kim through my talented mother-in-law who has always inspired me creatively and artistically.  Sally had been taking texturing classes from Kim for over a year, and her photos were reaching new levels of awesomeness.  I had a little experience with texturing when I was working in 3D virtual reality, but I had none in 2D.  I took Kim's freebie "Textures in Ten" video tutorial, and after a few tries, I had the basics.

Kim is so generous with both her knowledge and her skills.  For one brief moment in her instructional video, she described textures as simple jpegs, and th…

Mini-Post Thursday—The Bark Side

Pretty sure I won't be able to get my cats  to do this… 

Recognize this song (click for the You Tube)?  Sure you do!

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for the Home: Eva Zeisel

When asked how to make something beautiful:  "You just have to get out of the way."  ~Eva Zeisel  1906  - 2011
Steve Jobs talked about the influence that simple, organic design had on his personal sense of aesthetics when it came to designing Apple products.  Apple II's clean lines and beige housing were inspired by the smooth, plastic casing of a kitchen appliance—the Cuisinart food processor.  Hooray for kitchen appliances!

As it turns out, the inventor of the Cuisinart was an MIT-educated electrical engineer named Carl Sontheimer, a native New Yorker who developed a love of cooking while growing up in France.  Cuisine + art = Cuisinart!  

Mid-Century Modernist Design
When optimal aesthetics and optimal usage are in balance, we have good industrial design.  This is where Hungarian-born designer, Eva Zeisel made her mark.  She, along with other mid-century modernists like Mary & Russel Wright and Charles & Ray Eames, brought relaxed elegance and Bauhaus style to t…

Mini-Post Thursday—What Dogs Want


Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home: Fitbit!

Get moving & get healthy with this cool little activity tracker by fitbit!

I've never been a fan of pedometers because they were cumbersome to wear and usually didn't give me a lot of information.  I'd end up with impresssive numbers, but it was up to me to figure out what it all meant.

Until fitbit!

2.125 inches long
.75 of an inch wide
.5625 of an inch thick
weighs .4 of an ounce (11.34 grams).

This cool little device is diminutive and durable enough to stay attached to your clothing all day long.  I've worn mine during several trips through airports and around Disney World for a week.  I wear mine all day.  It goes on first thing in the morning when I get dressed and stays on until I plug it into its recharger before I go to bed at night.

It is made of hard, black plastic and is worn as a clip on a pants pocket or waistband.  The interior of the clip comes in 2 colors, azure blue or fuscia pink (they call it "plum").  It has a simple, single-but…

Tuesday's Cupboard—Dipping Into A New Year

2 fast & healthy dips to start the year off right!  

Creamy Mexican Dip and Feta & Spinach Dip

I made these dips over the holidays, so they have been kitchen tested by moi.  They are low-fat (from Weight Watchers online), easy to make, and excellent served with burritos, tacos (Creamy Mexican Dip), and homemade baked pita chips (Feta & Spinach Dip).  They are also great for brown bagging it with fresh, cut-up veggies and chicken wraps.  :::nom nom nom nom:::

Creamy Mexican Dip
Adapted from Weight Watchers online - Makes 8 servings - 1/4 c. per serving
Prep time:  15 minutes

1 c. plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt (I use Fage)
1/2 c. fresh mild salsa (in the refrigerated case at the grocery store); chipotle-style, if they have it *
3/4 of a med-size avocado, diced (leave the last 1/4 avo for the garnish)
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

* If you can't fi…

Monday—The Reading Corner: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

"The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life." 
~Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford University Commencement

Describing the effect of this book is a little like trying to tell someone what it feels like to stand on earth that is younger than you are.  It sounds cool, but it does not compare to being there.  Fly to Kona on the Big Island, and drive the choppy and challenging Saddle Road over to Hilo.  Ascend Kilauea and navigate the road around the volcano's caldera.  When you see signs that say that the ground you are on was formed after you were born, you are there.  The journey is what makes it worth it.  

Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Hare Krishna, meditation, the Whole Earth Catalog, Atari, Xerox PARC, Basic, Pascal, microprocessors, Apple Lisa, Next, rainbow apple stickers, beige electronics, desktop computing, boardroom coups, secret…

Holiday—The Best of Don't Steal My Pen 2011

My favorite posts from 2011

The Many and The Few
I wrote 133 blogs in 2011.  Actually, I wrote 134, but I deleted a Thursday mini-blog from last March because the link was disabled by the person who posted it on You Tube after it went viral.

134 blogs over 12 months averages out to 11 posts a month.  A respectable number for me anyway, and I fulfilled my goal of writing on a regular basis.

Some months were more prolific than others.  I wrote 18 blog posts per month in January, March, and April.  I was least productive during the summer and the fall months when vacations and holidays took over.  I posted only once in August when we attended the Star Trek convention in Vegas for the first time.  We were traveling, and we had visitors that month.  Participating in real life trumps recalling it on the computer.

Notably, I did not post on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, or New Year's Day.   I don't write at night because it keeps my brain awake and mess…