Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hatch chiles!

Hatch chiles!, originally uploaded by txfiddlechick.

Roasted (thanks to Central Market), then cleaned, peeled, stemmed, seeded and chopped (thanks to me). Ready to vacuum seal and freeze in 2-cup batches, which is how much I use for a pot of green chile pork stew – somewhat of a staple in our house.

I went a little nuts this year and got 4 good sized bags of roasted chiles (a mix of mild and hot), something like 11 pounds. For scale, that's a 6-quart mixing bowl. So probably enough for 8 or more batches of stew. I have my green chile stew recipe so streamlined now that if I have the chiles ready to go, I can throw everything together in about 15 minutes.

Recipe to come.

Ms. Bridges Goes to Washington - Studio 360

Found this Studio 360 piece to be both powerful and fascinating - the civil rights era has been top of mind for me because I'm reading The Help right now:

Last month, President Obama installed Norman Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With" in a hallway just outside the Oval Office.

The iconic painting shows Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African American girl, being escorted by US Marshals to school during the 1960 integration of the New Orleans school system. Bridges wears a crisp white dress with socks and sneakers — she looks unfazed even as a tomato splatters on the graffiti-pocked wall behind her. Now, the first black president of the United States must pass the same racial epithet en route to work each day.

Read more and listen to the radio piece at Studio 360 - Ms. Bridges Goes to Washington

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crowdsourced logo for @1stwebdesigner? I say no. I support the #AntiSpec campaign.


(Some background from the AntiSpec site: "Working on spec is when a single designer or agency design for free in the hope of winning a project." Also covers crowdsourcing/design contests where a small amount of money and/or "lots of exposure" is dangled as a prize. For more thoughts on AntiSpec here, check my blog post about the Huffington Post Twitter logo contest).

The next chapter in the AntiSpec campaign looks like it may be interesting if for no other reason than there are going to be a lot of p/o'd identity designers when they read how easy this guy thinks their job is. I look forward to their creative responses to this:

"I contacted Dainis Graveris yesterday, the founder of 1stWebDesigner, to give him the opportunity to pull the competition in order to avoid a public AntiSpec campaign. Dainis explained that he is against spec work for web design but suggested that it’s ok for logo design because there isn’t as much time involved."

Their "well, it's just a logo. How long can it take?" attitude is not going to endear them to the design community. I somewhat suspect they couldn't care less about what the design community thinks, and will take the free publicity, good or bad. So I'm thinking this might be fun to watch.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


TEDxSanAntonio now accepting attendee applications for 2011, SA's 2nd TEDx event.

What is TEDx? From their site:

“In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxSanAntonio, where x=independently organized TED event. At our TEDxSanAntonio event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.”

D and I are long-time fans of the TED conferences and have watched countless TED Talks over the years. Last year's TEDx event here—the first in SA—didn't hit my radar, but I heard great things about it afterward from a college professor friend who attended. Planning to attend this year, if I get in. You should, too.

TEDx San Antonio Attendee Application

Greek Yogurt Sales Rise In U.S. Dairy Aisles : NPR

Greek Yogurt Sales Rise In U.S. Dairy Aisles : NPR

I switched to greek yogurt a few months ago from nonfat plain "regular" yogurt. I find regular sweetened yogurt to be too sweet, so I long ago gravitated to plain—which I sometimes doctor, or sometimes eat as is—and then made the switch to Greek because if the higher protein content.

I've been noticing more and more "mainstream" brands coming out with their own Greek yogurt lines, and figured this was in response to a trend, but the numbers in this article surprised me—a whole lot of people are switching to Greek yogurt.

For me, a big bowl of yogurt for breakfast every morning—with a dollop of homemade peach butter and a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed—is really tasty. (The flax seeds took a little getting used to, but now when I run out, I miss the texture). Once I switched to Greek (or mostly Greek—I do add a little bit of plain nonfat so it's not quite so thick), I found that this breakfast would keep me full for hours. As a bonus, I've been losing weight without really trying.

I've been carrying a few extra pounds the last handful of years (OK, let's just say it—20 extra pounds). And while I'm not "dieting," I am trying to be aware of what I put in my mouth. And while the weight loss (18 pounds so far) is certainly not only due to switching from regular to Greek yogurt, I'm sure it's helping.

Yogurt is one of the reason I can't get on board with diets like the 4-Hour Body slow-carb movement, which says dairy is a no-no. And no fruit! We've been eating fruit for, what, a gazillion years? I have a number of friends on this diet who are having success. But personally, I'd never be able to stick with something like that long-term, so for me, I don't see the point.

Everybody (and every body) is different, but Greek yogurt has been working for me.

That being said, I had Daniel—who loves yogurt—try a spoonful; he said he'd rather eat sour cream.

Friends? Or cease-fire?

Friends? Or cease-fire?, originally uploaded by txfiddlechick.
Our 8-year old big black cat is I think starting to get used to the 1-year-old kitten who has been making his life a living hell.

For the first 2 months after the little one moved himself in, our old cat stomped around the house muttering under his breath. We were the feline equivalent of dead to him - if we tried to pet him, we'd get a passive aggressive slump and an annoyed sounding growl, then he'd storm off in a huff.

He eventually forgave us, but still growled and swatted annoyedly at the little one and generally tried to avoid him. Which was a challenge since the little one likes to follow him everywhere.

Over the last month or so, we've started to find them hanging out together more, and while they still play-fight a lot, it's more playful and less aggressive. And I haven't seen the old cat growl at the kitten in weeks.

A Window Between Worlds - Art as a Healing Tool

AWBW - Art As A Healing Tool from Audrey Salzburg on Vimeo.

Want to share with you this video from a nonprofit I recently came across. A Window Between Worlds uses hands-on art as a tool to help battered women and children put words to their feelings and work through those feelings toward a better future.

Art therapy is certainly a term I've heard and a concept I thought I understood, but I don't think I've seen it in action the way it's shown in this video, or quite realized how powerful a tool it can be. I found this video to be very moving - seeing how closed down and wary the participants are at the beginning of the workshop, and how they're able to open up by the end. The kids in particular look visibly more relaxed and comfortable in their own skin at the end, when they're assembling their tiles to make the mosaic.

This quote from the workshop sums it up for me: "No matter how bad or ugly our past was, our future doesn't have to be that way." This very simple concept may not be obvious to victims of abuse; perhaps an experience like this workshop will help them realize that what's been done to them does not define them.

I was introduced to this nonprofit by {rhymes with bubbling} clients W. Vito Montone and Kim Castle who are currently running a fundraising campaign. If you'd like to contribute, visit their campaign page here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Play Me a Song When I'm Gone

Finally figured out how to extract the audio from the Ustream video of Miss Maggie's birthday bash (Ustream's site is a little buggy and several people -- including Brad, whose tune I borrowed -- were never able to get it to play).

So here's the song I sang for my friend and sistah on her birthday this year. I think she would have dug it.

Play Me a Song When I'm Gone performed by Kim Mackenzie (words and music ©Brad Svoboda)

Song written by my dear Texas friend Brad. Being backed up by dear Hawaii friends Sean (guitar, backing vocals), Bailey (keyboard) and James (drums) - Sean and I had a chance to rehearse, but Bailey and James's had never heard the tune before. I was just trying to get through it without breaking down. Somehow, it all came together, and I'm proud of how it came out.

The quality is pretty iffy (built-in laptop mic), but I'm glad to have this recording. I'd like to do a studio recording, with these same players and pretty much this same impromptu arrangement.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quirky / creative engagement photo shoot

Amanda Rynda Photography

Someone (lifted the pics, cropped out the watermarks, posted it without attribution and) stitched the whole shoot together vertically. (Despite the lameness of stolen/unattributed content, posting it anyway, because it's fun to see it as a sequence, and the photographer is now aware it happened -- she is now attributed via the comments, with links to her site).

Amanda says: [Ben, the groom] wanted to make sure his manliness wasn't lost in an engagement session. Juliana styled it, I staged, shot & edited it. It was a super fulfilling & creative day for me thanks to Juliana & Ben and their unique view on love. 

Thanks to my good friend Lynne of Lynne Allan Photography for the link.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blogger weirdness...

Two posts not appearing in blog, though they've been published. - Blogger Help

Grrr. A couple of posts, including one I spent a fair amount of time on, are not showing up on the blog (though they're in the sidebar, and you can get to them via direct links). Most annoying.

Tweeted the above link to Blogger hoping someone there will help, because I don't think the issue is on my end. Wonder if that will work. Though I'm now in line with all of these annoyed people with different problems.

Airswimmers. Want. Way more charming than a balloon should be.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Got seranos?

Got seranos?, originally uploaded by txfiddlechick.

Despite the heat, our serano plant is super duper happy. We've already got a freezer full. Who wants some? Come on over.

Pickup for the new violin arrived!

Whiskey Shivers - Gimme All Your Lovin'

Via Reddit, this music video from the Whiskey Shivers out out Austin. Wacky concept. Great music. Deliciously creepy (throughout, but check the last shot especially). I can't stop watching it.

$20 says this goes viral. (Current view count is at 913.) Who wants to bet?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Free design for AOL's @HuffingtonPost? I say no. I support the AntiSpec campaign.

Free design for AOL's @HuffingtonPost? I say no. I support the #AntiSpec campaign. 

This battle cry went up through the Twitterverse in the design community. And it worked.

AntiSpec is a very recent site/campaign (weeks old?), aimed at bringing the design community together to respond to the problem of spec work. I caught wind of it and "added my face" / signed up for their mailing list.

(Some background from their: "Working on spec is when a single designer or agency design for free in the hope of winning a project." Also covers crowdsourcing/design contests where a small amount of money and/or "lots of exposure" is dangled as a prize.)

This Huffington Post thing hit the yesterday - basically a contest to design their Twitter logo. Anti-Spec rallied the troops. And 24-hours later, Huff pulled the contest, and didn't quite apologize but attempted to explain (read the Update at the bottom of this page for the play by play). It unfolded in a similarly dramatic way as the Gap logo fiasco last year, which for the design world, is going to go down in history like New Coke and Classic Coke. But this was an organized and targeted effort from a small army with social media weapons (a preestablished hashtag and message), and hence happened much more quickly.

Because the Gap log mess unfolded more organically, it was a lot more complicated and took "longer" (something like 8 days, instead of something like 1). With the Gap thing, the design community and much of the rest of the social media world instinctively gasped and said "WTF, Gap?" all at the same time -- Gap backpedaled in a bunch of silly ways before yanking the logo. Though this Huff thing had much the same feel in terms of a branding faux pas.

Huff's statement about "engaging the community" with their fun little project may well be what they had in mind. And they may be truly surprised and confused by the negative response to what they did. They may have thought they were doing nothing wrong (though with their reputation with regard to paying or not paying their bloggers...) But you gotta wonder what the heck they thought was going to happen.

A much better way to "engage the community" would be to have your established branding / logo in place, then having a contest to create a fun / special / temp version of the logo to use for a short time for a holiday or some other notable reason (a la what's done internally with the Google Doodle. Or even Reddit, whose primary alien logo changes frequently in response to the news of the day). No one jumps down Google's throat when they occasionally have contests for kids to submit their own Google Doodles. Instead, they get all kinds of warm fuzzy social media love because people are charmed by it. That's because they're saying - "Here's our brand. Have fun with it." Not "Please define our brand for us."

It was interesting, both watching this unfold and being one of the voices.

Monday, August 15, 2011