Dead animals in dresses

The Bloggess' Juanita in a dress

I would like to blame The Bloggess for this but in reality it is not her fault entirely….

She keeps posting pictures of taxidermied animals she buys, which is pretty damn funny, but then she put the latest one in a dress  – Juanita the weasel in a frock – distressed about her soufflé skills and I just about snorted soda down my nose……

Suddenly I can think of a million uses for a Juanita of my own – however considering I have four dogs it is bound to be disastrous – Charlie barks at animals on the TV and once almost had a seizure barking at a bobble headed doll of a baseball player….

Gizmo the destroyer was once locked into the guest bath for a short time and by the time I figured it out she had shredded an entire roll of toilet paper along the plastic holder it was in – it looked like a white dove had combusted in there.

Not to mention my family would likely think I had finally gone off the deep end and have me committed….

Mouse Magician

Then I stumbled upon this amazing site Amanda’s Autopsies and discovered her Mouse Magician pulling another tiny mouse out of his hat!!!!! So completely awesome I can’t describe it. (By the way all the critters she uses are roadkill – she is not out there on a mad animal serial killing spree) Unfortunately he is already sold but the Mad Hatter is kinda calling my name….

Must resist or the dogs will shred him – or maybe I could bring him to the office??? That would probably not do much for my professional image ….

Alternatively I can just get one of these awesome twitter necklaces and maintain the illusion of sanity for a little longer. Everyone already knows I am a geeky girl.

Cool necklaces from Blend Creations


Nesting with my nest

my nest

As you are probably aware if you read my blog – I am a bit of a tech geek –  kinda comes with the territory – designers generally can’t help themselves….

I just got my latest gadget installed and I am so happy with it it is sickening. I had been watching Nest with interest waiting for it’s impending release for a while – then a friend got on the list and offered to get one for me – how could I refuse?? (Enabler – you know who you are!)


I was so excited when it arrived I refused to let anybody touch it till I could document the unboxing  (I did mention the tech geek part, right? Don’t judge me!)

the box

However life got busy and it languished for a week – I could claim I was testing my will power but that would be a lie – Finally this past weekend we installed it and my family got to laugh at me for being so excited about a thermostat…

As expected from an ex Apple person the packaging and overall experience was lovely – Simple box with a bright blue interior on the sleeve and a nice recycled box.




tiny screwdriver how I love thee....

The documentation was clean and not intimidating and best of all it came with a tiny cute screwdriver with different types of heads in the handle – Yum!

Installation was not completely without a hitch however, as it turned out I couldn’t identify one of the wires and for one awful moment I thought it was not compatible with our system! One phone call and and a photo I emailed support from my phone cleared that right up and we were able to proceed – kudos to the support team at nest.


Once connected and the power switched back on, the set up was smart and simple – it connects to your home network and monitors local weather, learns your preferences and saves you money by showing you the leaf when you are being smart about your energy consumption.

I can adjust it from my phone or laptop and it knows when I am not home so automatically sets the temp accordingly. Glows blue when cooling and red when heating and although it is a little odd to think that my thermostat is watching me like HAL, smart technology that is easy to use just makes me happy inside 🙂

If it saves me a ton of cash to spend on Grey Goose Slushies that would just be a bonus!

No New York Fairytale this time….

New York in her frigid finery - you can't see the cold but believe me it was arctic.

I have spent the last few days working in NYC which normally I love to do – but this time I have been away from home for a week (two work conferences back to back) and my patience is wearing thin…. Long days, lots of clients, lots of meetings, crowded show floors that you need a machete to cut through the crowds  (believe me I considered it quite seriously) many strangers came exceptionally close to death this past few days –  LOL

To add insult to injury the weather was bitter when I arrived –  16 degrees as the high!!!!! WTF??? After living in sunny Florida for the last year and a half that just about stopped my heart as soon as I walked out of La Guardia….

There have been some high points of this trip however – I was fortunate enough to see former President Bill Clinton speak – which was completely awesome and probably the only reason I choose not to bring a machete to the show – I imagine security may have frowned upon that course of action – Mind you I might have gotten seats a little closer to the front….

I also got to flag down many NYC cabs which makes me feel strong and independent as you know if you have read my earlier post on the subject This time I even got to yell at some scam artists outside the convention who I imagine were doing great business convincing all the out of towers and international attendees that they needed town cars to get where they were going…. They tried multiple forms of chicanery & trickery to get me in a town car charging 3 times the price of the taxi price to my hotel and also claimed that they were the only ones that could get a cab for me – fortunately I am no fool and told them to get lost in no uncertain terms  (BTW that is code for profanity) I promptly walked off two steps hailed my own cab, who took me to my hotel for $6 Yay me!!!!

AproPoko - I love you.....

The high point of the show for me (National Retail Federation’s Big Show) was a crazy little robot called ApriPoko from Toshiba – while there I was completely unsure of what its real use was – I just knew I really wanted to take him home –  he talked to me and waved his little flappy wings – I was deeply in love….

On further investigation –  by that I mean a quick search on google –  I discovered this description

“ApriPoko will detect any remote connections via InfraRed (IR) and ask you, what should he (ApriPoko) do. If you have a robot like this, your hands should not feel sore anymore because most of the punch buttons to change channels on TV when the advertisement”

Now I really want him – who needs to deal with sore hands from your remote???? that is so 2011….. ApriPoko will save me from this daily ordeal >8)

coolest gloves evah!

Another great find were these gloves – completely necessary since I had a walking tour of innovative retail in NYC in 16 degrees – if I had have fallen over I would have shattered like the T1000 in Terminator…. But gloves  normally cramp my techy style right? These ones rock because they have some sort of conductive quality that mean I can use my iPhone, iPad, any touchscreen without removing said gloves and getting frostbite – a complete must in pretty much any place other than Florida – so once I go home they will reside in a special container till the next time I have to travel to a stupidly cold place….

I got mine in fire engine red at Macys – love you Macy’s  – you saved my digits and my tech obsession on this trip >8)

Twitter Anxiety

Twitter or Twit?

I admit I am very late to the Twitter party…which on the one hand is a little weird since I am usually an early adopter – but I made a conscious decision a long time ago to cut down on the number of online outlets – or potential addictions and just focus on one.

I was working at Microsoft at the time and surrounded by tech everyday and frankly was much more interested in unplugging rather than plugging in.  So I ceased using a bunch of random accounts and decided Facebook was it – I could share my photos with family and keep in touch easily – this was manageable.

But over the course of the past year I have ramped up my online presence quite a bit – partly due to an obsession with all sorts of apps  – I am a user interface design director so I can claim it is for my job LOL – and partly due to the cross country relocation we just completed. My husband and I spent a lot of time apart last year and checking in with him online, despite the time difference and conflicting schedules, became really important and also lets be honest I had more time on my hands to fill without him 😦

I started checking into shows I watched more often – posted about random thoughts on Facebook, played a lot of Zynga games…. Little by little I realized I had plenty of things to say or share and that I kinda enjoyed doing it.

Finally the house in Seattle sold and my husband and I are together again and I now have the best of both worlds  – I get to see my honey every day and having a co-parent again means I still have time to mess around with my online addictions 🙂

I started this blog which was something I had been considering off and on for a few years – I have had my own domain and website for probably close to 10 years but it was really just a portfolio – not something I updated with any real regularity.

Then my mom suddenly started using Facebook. She still lives in Ireland and has never had a computer in her life but has a friend who is computer literate and already on Facebook that she wanted me to “friend” so that my Mom could check out the family photos. Great – but it is a little weird to suddenly have my mom sending me messages on Facebook from her friend’s profile.

The fact that after she makes a comment, she feels the need to go in and comment again to let me know the original comment was from her and not her friend, is pretty funny.  After all this is the woman who called emails “faxes” for many years 🙂 But lets face it –  if my Mom is on Facebook then it is clearly not that cutting edge – it may, in fact, have jumped the shark completely!

Recently my good friend Christa and I started Anti Pink T’s and I had to set up another website and a Cafe Press store and suddenly we had a Twitter account and a Facebook page and people were asking if I was on Twitter….I sheepishly had to admit I was not.

Then, on top of that, our 17 year old invited me to follow him on Twitter and I decided I should really get on this train once and for all or be forced to admit I was falling behind the times…. Next thing you know I will be buying a damn Snuggie and handing out Werther’s candy to small children! So not ready for that…

So I took the plunge and got a twitter account a couple days ago and I will confess I am a little intimidated. Do I really have anything that fascinating to say? Will anyone care?

Then there is the odd sensation of being closer to the celebs you can choose to follow – I can read the casual comments they make throughout the day in the same way I can with my actual friends.

It is a little bizarre. I can tweet them but is that being overly familiar with someone I don’t really know? Does it make me a stalker or a fanboy to want to tell an author or comedian how much I enjoy their work? But then isn’t that the reason they are on Twitter in the first place – to communicate with fans? But you really don’t want to send mundane messages to someone who gets a million tweets from strangers every day – so again with the pressure to be different, amusing, interesting… this could be worse than high school!

So I guess I am taking it slowly….I need to figure out the twitter etiquette and then we will see if I can truly be six degrees apart and loving it – or not….

Xbox Memories

Over the past couple days there has been a flood of old friends and colleagues celebrating the 10th birthday of Xbox. Seems hard to believe it has been so long….

Read the article here that started all this nostalgia

As a designer I was never interested in working at Microsoft – Windows, Office none of that flicked my switches – so although Microsoft was one of the biggest employers in the Seattle area, I was much happier making games for companies like EA and Looking Glass.

When my son was around 3 years old I started freelancing so I could spend more time with him. Then one fateful day I got a call from my rep saying she thought she had the perfect job for me…

As it turned out the rumors of Microsoft getting into the game console business were true….I interviewed for a UI design position – they needed someone with both UI and 3D Max experience –  and on the drive home I got the call to say I had gotten the job

On my first day I was so excited I backed out of the garage and knocked my mirror almost clean off the car!! Never done that before or since – I had to duck tape it back on – very smooth…

As it turned out, then next 8 and a half years were filled with highs and lows both professionally and personally. I divorced, then met and married the love of my life –  I made close personal friends that despite the distance are still my favorite people in the world –  I worked on amazing projects and built an internal design studio that at it’s peak was 43 people strong – I collaborated with creative and talented professionals both internally and externally and I am hugely proud of what we accomplished.

I can say, without a doubt, that Xbox 360 was the high point of my time at Microsoft.

So Happy Birthday Xbox and my congrats to my Xbox family (you all know who you are)

I’m on a plane!

I still get a kick out of in flight wifi… I am flying to the west coast on a long and bumpy flight but through the power of technology I can still surf the net, do email, check out Facebook, buy stuff I don’t need on Amazon and instant message with with friends. All at 35,000 feet above Colorado

Gotta love it

Why then can I not get some snacks or drinks with less effort??? Virgin is voted a top airline, but my seat is really cramped and the food & drink ordering system in the headrest just keeps telling me to try later…

Not sure if technology has failed me or if this is just some flight attendant conspiracy – either way the fizzy beverages are not flowing and “I haz a sad.”

This business trip is a full five days so I am hoping not to come home to a scene from Lord of the Flies – last time I was away my guys were reduced to savages by all the unchecked testosterone – with no woman in the house there was much belching and general loss of civilized behavior – and I was only gone two days.

My expectations are not that high – I am just hoping they resist the urge to turn the tikki torches by the pool and some furniture polish into flamethowers and that none of the dogs get shaved while I am gone….

Too much to hope for?

The “interwebs” were clearly made for cat photos

So this weekend, together with friends, we decided to take a quick day trip to St Augustine which is the oldest town in the US and not far from where we live. However instead of regaling you with tales and photos of this historic and beautiful place I am going to tell you about Cat Paint…..

If you know us well, you will know that we are a pretty techy family and all of us should be in 12 step programs to help us with our app addiction. It is probably no surprise to know that most of our friends are complete enablers when it comes to this –  so while enjoying a lovely lunch in historic St Augustine, friends of ours alerted my 14 year old to a “can’t live without it” app for iPhone called “Cat Paint” Thanks Raina – I really owe you for that one LOL

This awesome use of technology allows you to add images of cats on top of photos you have taken, complete with laser beams coming out of their eyes should you be so inclined. Of course this completely consumed the rest of the day…. Instead of marveling at the historic reenactment of Spanish soldiers shooting off cannons form the top of the fort, my 14 year old and I spent the day “bumping” photos back and forth so he could plaster them with cats and entertain us all with his comedic artistry.

Spanish soldier bayonetting cat....

Cat Cannon

Bump is another app that is probably really useful for exchanging important info like business cards and contacts however my teenager and I use if for sharing photos and stupid videos – which is a clearly a subversion of its intended purpose but so much more fun…

Yes we could probably email the photos to one another, but it is much more satisfying to use the good old Hezzbollah fist bump. Besides technology is full of such subversions (not just referring to porn here, so get your mind out of the gutter…) Think about it –  I am sure that when the internet was invented people expected this would change the way the world connects, but I really doubt they expected it’s main focus to be the sharing of funny cat photos.

Kittness Protection Program

We ended the day at a lovely outdoor restaurant where Raina’s husband Matt ordered a seriously girly cocktail that the waitress was kind enough to add a pink umbrella too –  thus magnifying the manly effect. Clearly his identity needed to be protected – so thanks to Cat Paint we entered him into the Kittness Protection Program. Technology to the rescue again!

Matt, Raina – you are most welcome!