Monday, December 3, 2012

Future Consumption: Unboxing


This is what I hope to be the first in a series titled Future Consumption. Basically, I am rethinking our current usage of technology, and how we can change the state of current services to utilize newly available tools.

Chances are that if you live in the United States, you have a cable or satellite dish provider that you have chosen to work with for your television, telephone, and internet services. They offer all kinds of bundles, but their prices are fairly high considering that you can technically live without a house phone and watch your favorite shows without cable. Now that networks actually stream their shows online, you can catch up over the course of a few hours without needing to use your living room (well, actually any) television. That is why I believe it is time to "unbox" cable.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Traffic | 25 October

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting on a stopped Metro train in an underground tunnel. The train is holding momentarily, and you are minding your own business. Suddenly, an African-American man wearing a black-and-white striped polo shirt and jeans walks by. He is mostly clean, bespectacled and has the beginnings of a scruffy beard.

As he stalks up and down the full length of the train, he is yelling, "Can anybody help me, please? Can anybody help me, please? Can anybody help me with anything, please? Please, can anybody help me?"

How would you react? What would you do? The first time this happened to me, I felt sad for this man. I had nothing to give him and I was on a Metro train for about ten minutes with him screaming that over and over again. That was last month sometime. He was back again today.

This time, things were a little different. It was crowded on the train. This is the morning commute on Thursday, after all. When the man started his chant, a little girl was nervous. She looked to be about eight and she wore thin glasses and her hair was neatly braided with clips at the ends. Whenever the man yelled, she would flinch and try to be as far away from him as possible. Everyone hears the man screaming, and everyone sits still.

Then, the man changes up his chant. He approaches a woman and asks, "Can you help me, please?" This was different. It wasn't targeted at just anybody anymore. It was personal. She asks (stuttering, mind you) what he needs, and he says that he is homeless and hungry. His tone is not kind and the woman sounds scared. That little girl I mentioned before? She's nearly standing right on top of me, and she's even more afraid than the woman.

Enter the one person who is willing to confront this man. She is also African-American and she has natural hair and a rather smart mouth. She tells the man (in far softer words) to sit down and shut up before she lays him out on the train. They battle back and forth. He complains about needing food, she tells him that no one on the train is his parent and that he needs to grow up. She is the little girl's mother, and she is no joke. 

Throughout this entire debacle, the other commuters smile. They laugh at the mother's sharp comebacks. I'm actually surprised everyone didn't burst into applause when the train finally reached the next station and the homeless man left. Then, with a sort of reverence, everyone thanked the woman as they got off the train. They wished her a good day. They smiled at her (knowingly).

As one of the silent commuters, I have to say that I understand the reactions of both parties. The homeless man had a certain inflection to his voice that was reminiscent of a child with a learning disability. Given that most of the homeless people in DC came from asylums and such, I wouldn't be surprised if he had some kind of handicap. The mother, on the other hand, was protecting people from what that man could do—particularly her daughter. Yet it makes one wonder just why we react the way we do. Why didn't I stand up to that man? Why didn't the many people around me? What stopped us?

I can't speak for them, but I can speak for me. I think that there is a part of me that knows I had nothing to offer that man. I couldn't look at him and say, "Sir, I have food you can have. I have money. I can help you." I only had my lunch (which is a ham & cheese sandwich, chips, and applesauce). I had no cash, and I couldn't refer him to a shelter. In other words, I couldn't help him. That is a very painful and very humbling thing to realize. Yes, that mother could run him away with her comments, but she couldn't help him either.

Do any of you have any stories about encounters with homeless people? Any suggestions? Let me know with your comments.

Monday, October 15, 2012

By Our Powers Combined

It's funny how we are raised to work and play together, yet when we are older, we drift so far away from those roots. There are all kinds of fun activities that engage children in conversation and cooperation with one another. Yet at some point, we realize that working together is not always fun. Sometimes, our opinions differ. Other times, we have to work with someone we do not like. However, we are forced to come together regardless for a greater purpose. Like the Planeteers from Captain Planet, we must bring our talents together to accomplish something bigger than ourselves.

That is why this idea of the Power of We struck such a deep cord within me when I saw the Blog Action Day post for this year. It's a humbling experience to work with others. It's not that the process is painful, it is that we realize how differently we approach the same problem, and sometimes how small our scope is. We truly is a power. Depending upon your nation, "we" can choose a new leader. "We" can cure diseases. "We" can fund a project.

Today is a big day (for some states) here in the United States. It marks the final day to register to vote. With elections right around the corner, we has never been such a big deal for two strongly positioned candidates. Eventually, the campaigns will die down and our new president will be sworn in next year, but "we" does not fade away. We still have so much to accomplish. 

I know it's a bit early, but I am making a resolution for 2013. With the "end of the world" over on December 31st, my goal is to really get into volunteering again. I used to be more involved in my community, and I have not for a long time. My question to you is will you also sign up for local volunteering opportunities? If you are in the DC-area, I recommend HandsOn Greater DC Cares. You'll probably have an awesome program similar wherever you are. If you do not have one, try starting one yourself. We can do this together (though most likely apart) and make a difference everywhere.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Can this still be called Newton's Cradle?

The oh-so-popular desk toy of executives from the 90's has been recreated by Yasutoki Kariya as a thesis project. The catch is that instead of the usual metal spheres that are indicative of the kinetic toy, lightbulbs are given center stage. There is probably a great rationale behind the creation, but I just thought this made perfect eye candy for a Monday.

(via Colossal)

Studio Ghibli Love

From Oh-Totoro Tumblr

If there is one animation studio that I have to say is consistently successful in telling stories, it would have to be Studio Ghibli. Unlike animation wizards at Pixar, all of Studio Ghibli's films have cel animation. This is a huge feat and it explains why their releases are so staggered (that and translation for those of us in the states). One of the best aspects of Studio Ghibli is the amount of detail that is paid to simple tasks. I am immediately reminded of watching Chihiro/Sen in Spirited Away putting on her shoes, or tying her hair up with a rubber band. Such a simple thing that is given such detail. Also, if you ever look at the scenes, there is so much attention shown to food preparation and nature.

I tumbled across a great Tumblr that gives some very nice scenes from Studio Ghibli films the gif treatment. It's a nice way to see some of the artwork that makes Ghibli films so special. Check it out »

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Unreally delicious #77

Peanut butter and chocolate is a match made in candy heaven (for those of us who appreciate the stunning combination). It is the exact same for the Unreal™ confection, #77. Described on the packaging as a peanut butter cup, the Unreal offering comes with two treats just like its competitor—Reese's. How does it match up? Well, to be absolutely honest, I like the Unreal version better than Reese's. This is a big deal coming from me. I generally love Reese's, but I've tasted something better. I think the chocolate is what does it for me. Also, Reese's I've eaten lately have had a melty center and they don't taste as good as they used to. 

Don't believe me? Give it a try. Get Unreal™ and let me know what you think.

On the package—[Ingredients: milk chocolate (cane sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk powder, organic blue agave inulin, skim milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), peanut butter (dry roasted peanuts, icing sugar, palm fruit oil, salt), cane sugar, organic palm fruit oil, peanut flour, organic blue agave inulin, whey protein isolate, salt, soy lecithin]

Artist Spotlight | Christian Faur

Untitled 6500 by Christian Faur

Part of what makes art so powerful is the very scale of what we consider art to be. If you ever want to get embroiled in a discussion, ask someone what art is. Philosophy aside, I find these crayon portraits by Christian Faur to be very amazing. They are colorful, they are unique, and they are detailed. This certainly makes me want to get a lot of crayons.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Unreally delicious #41

A short while ago, I mentioned the Unreal™ franchise started by Nicky Bronner. Now, I have finally found the products (Michael's FTW!), so I am writing short posts about each one as I try them. The first item I decided to eat is Unreal41™, which is referred to as "candy coated chocolates." You can compare them directly to M&M's, and you will taste a similarity between both kinds. However, the Unreal™ version does not have any artificial flavors or colors, hydrogenated oils, corn syrups, preservatives, or GMOs. At 190 calories per bag (vs 230 for M&M's), there is incentive for anyone to make the switch to an "unjunked™" option. 

Have you seen Unreal™ anywhere? Did you try Unreal41™?

On the package—[Ingredients: milk chocolate (chocolate, skim milk, cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, organic blue agave inulin, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), cane sugar, calcium carbonate, colored with (beetroot juice, turmeric root extract, purple cabbage juice) gum arabic, vanilla extract, carnauba wax & beeswax]

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Can I add this to my wishlist?

My birthday just so conveniently occurs the same month as the release of the new digital Polaroid camera. You can print your images instantly, or download them to an SD card for later. More on the Polaroid website.

(via Uncrate)

The Power of the Crowd

Let me just be upfront. I am not a fan of psychology. It was never as interesting as sociology, and some of the discussions about psychology become so convoluted. However, there are some experiments that show just how powerful the field is. I think that most of us prefer to fit into the crowd—to go with the flow. Why is that? What is so bad about being different? This video below shows a very entertaining result of what a crowd can cause. Why do you think the targets didn't uphold their own view. Doesn't it make you wonder if you would also change your direction? What if this was about a belief instead? Do you still think the target would change their mind?

(via swiss-miss)

Kinetic Eye Candy

Kinetic Sculpture for the BMW Museum, Munich 2008 from ART+COM on Vimeo.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Real Hot Wheels®

Reader, I'm going to be flat out honest with you. I never saw the appeal of Hot Wheels® cars. They were so lame. I mean, you buy one, you buy them all, right? Well, I might have changed my mind forever after seeing this little video.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thrilled that it's for real

Let's start this post off with a few points:

1. Nicky Bronner was 13 when his mission to "unjunk™" candy began.
2. Nicky's dad, Michael Bronner, is a millionaire, entrepreneur, and angel investor. 
3. Nicky has started his own line of candy that is better for you than the other major candy companies.

I know what you're thinking now. Unreal? Exactly! Nicky Bronner's argument over Halloween candy led to the creation of a candy line created without the oils and syrups that are so typical of the candy industry in general. No more colors like Red No. 5 (or 2 or whatever). Nicky's vision led him to join forces with noted gastronomers, nutritionists, celebrities, and more to create confections that are made from real ingredients. No preservatives, no "junk," just good old fashioned sweets. 

For more information about the Unreal mission and brand, visit their website. Get your fix now at CVS, Michaels, and Walgreens. If you can wait for July, Target should carry it then. I can't wait to try it and I will be posting an update once I've tasted this for myself.

(via The Wall Street Journal)

Film Review | Brave

Image via Filmofilia

If you have read any number of my posts before, you'll know that I am a sucker for animation—hand drawn in particular. However, when it comes to computer animation, I am definitely a Pixar fangirl. Ever since Toy Story, I have been smitten by the creativity and execution of the company's films. With the exception of Cars 2, I have not missed a single one of their creations. You can imagine how excited I was that Brave was in the works. I followed the teasers, trailers, and images from blog to blog until this past weekend when it finally premiered.

Needless to say, Brave does not disappoint. It strays from the traditional princess storyline by giving Merida, our fire-haired protagonist, a tough personality. The animation is phenomenal (I watched it in regular vision) and the music was so poignant and appropriate. 

To be honest, I already know that I am biased by this film, so it's unfair for me to give it a grade. Instead, I will blatantly suggest that you and your family and your neighbors' kids go see Brave. Already seen it? Let me know what you thought.

Film Review | Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

There is something undeniably clever about pitting Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter. Is it his honest nature, his tall hat, his impressive beard? Have those qualities always been hiding a secret greater than what Dexter has happening in Miami? Well, that's how it should have been, but this film really dumbed down the storyline of Seth Grahame-Smith's enjoyable novel of the same name. Because this review will be rife with spoilers, I would suggest steering clear of the jump if you wanted to be surprised at the theater. Otherwise, hit the jump and we can continue.

Grade: C-

Image via Screen Crush

Yo Yo A Go Go

Some of the most intriguing things are those that are the most simple. Check this little fun video out for some neat yo yo tricks.

STEADYo from Joey - 123jaera on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cartoon Chatter | Sailor Moon

You can say that my introduction to anime began with Sailor Moon. I was a fan of the Sailor Senshi—or Sailor Scouts for you folks who watched this show in the US—particularly Sailor Mercury. Even though about ten minutes of the show was taken over by transformations, I watched it like a fiend. Oh, I forgot to mention that I watched this in German, not the awful American screeching that passed as a voiceover. 

You can ask me what is good about Sailor Moon. Well, to be honest, I had to do a bit of research to remind myself of what Sailor Moon was actually about, and it's not too pretty. It is a "genius" tale about the reincarnation of the moon princess into the ditzy and annoying high-schooler Usagi Tsukino (Serena in the US, Bunny in German). With the help of the talking cat Luna, Usagi has to reawaken the other Sailor Senshi so they can save the world—and then the universe. Somewhere along the way, Chibiusa (Chibi + Usagi mashup which basically means mini or little Usagi) appears—the child of the Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask from the future (confusing, I know)—and she ends later ends up being a villain during one story arc.

Somehow, you end up with all of the planets (Sailor Pluto, you can no longer exist today) and the gender bending Sailor Starlights—men at first, but women for real. Basically, this show completely messed with my mind. Maybe I subconsciously don't like it even though I really enjoyed watching good prevail over evil in true magical girl fashion (a genre that Sailor Moon revolutionized). They fought evil in killer boots/heels and wore makeup (notice the fingernail polish, the lipstick...they were so fashionable). 

But you owe it to yourself to watch a few episodes of Sailor Moon. This manga and anime seriously did open a gateway to additional magical girl shows—a few of which I will be bringing up in the coming weeks. I'm sure that the internet provides a few ways to watch some episodes free. I would suggest skipping the American dubbed version. They censor parts of the story and the voices are truly terrible.

Did you ever watch Sailor Moon? Favorite Sailor Senshi?

Friday, April 13, 2012


Image via Student Voice India

If you have not noticed yet, today is Friday the Thirteenth. Talk about a number that gives a few people the heebie jeebies (I'm talking about you Triskaidekaphobic folks out there). It hearkens back to the start of teenage years, the absolute insanity of murderers, possessed elevators, and pretty much any number of evil things. However, I like to think that of all numbers, thirteen is one of my favorites. (My reason may or may not be based upon the fact that I am born on the thirteenth of August) 

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Film Review | Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Image via We Live Film
After seeing the first preview for Salmon Fishing on the Yemen, I thought that it sounded interesting. I planned to see it last week, but ended up missing it. Last night, I realized that it would be leaving theaters, so I made a hasty trip to the local AMC and watched it. Needless to say, while a thoughtful and sweet movie, it certainly missed the mark. Read more using the link below due to spoilers.

Grade: D (and that is being generous)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday Traffic | 12 April

Image by Andrew Bossi
It's funny how thinking about thinking can be a difficult act. While riding the Metro, I considered this fact. When you try not to think, all you do is think about not thinking. Other times, thoughts are lost in some expanse of the brain. I sometimes wonder if my thinking really happens in my brain or in some other part of the body that seems to put pressure onto the brain. Science will prove my imaginative mind wrong, but it's worth a thought, right?

Why think about thinking anyway? Well, mankind has consistently had an obsession with thinking and questioning the world around them. It happens on many levels. Thoughts about life and death and the purpose of our existence. There are times when I feel very much like a greater force is moving in my life. I attribute this to God. Others might chalk it up to evolution. A few might say it is destiny, but I do think about my life, and what I'm doing with it, often.

If we never thought about our lives, what would the point be? In that case, we would be just like animals—simply surviving. Instead, we are probing the world around us and solving problems that we encounter (and sometimes create). It's truly magnificent if you think about it. So much depends upon our thought process and how we decipher the words we hear. Misunderstandings are common with spoken and written conversation. Why? Well, you thought it had a different meaning. Other times, things just click—like gears falling properly into place in our minds and spinning diligently as they should.

My musings are those of a person absorbed in thought. It makes me wonder. Have you ever thought about the act of thinking?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Tulips Captured by Newfoundjoye

Dependent upon your beliefs, today is a day of resurrection and rejoicing—or rebirth and renewal of seasons. Either way, I hope that you enjoy your Easter. Do any of you have any traditions that you observe?

Friday, April 6, 2012

DIY | Decoupage Easter Eggs

All Images via Newfoundjoye

If you couldn't tell, I spend a great deal of time making things. Holidays are perhaps the best excuse known to man for me to get some ideas together. My coworkers are the best audience. They appreciate gifts and they get them fairly regularly. For Easter, I didn't want to step on anyone's (religious) toes, so I decided to make Easter eggs. Detailed instructions are after the jump.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Expense: Affordable (maybe about $20) to Moderate ($50)
Supplies: Real or wooden eggs, Blas-Fix egg blower, acrylic paint, image cutouts, Mod Podge (Matte), paintbrush, string (optional), wire (optional), long needle (optional), beads (optional)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Traffic | 5 April

Image via Flickr/Yaniv Golan

Even after my long disappearance from my blog, my Thursday Traffic posts were starting to dwindle. Don't worry though, I have not forgotten them. While I'm not braving the interstate at a steady crawl on an express bus, I am still using my easier commute to think and ponder about the world around me. For a variety of unrelated reasons, I thought a great deal about moving today. It's not that I am planning to move, but it's more the fact that we move all of the time. 

Some of you readers might not know that I've moved to a new place. I'm relatively in the same area, but the difference is that I've moved out on my own. Moving really makes you consider a lot about yourself. During the process, you find several parts of yourself—for example, the part of yourself that wanted to learn the keyboard, and the part of yourself that collected stickers, and the part of yourself that keeps movie ticket stubs.Then, you must decide if you are still that person. In the end, you move without parts of yourself. You give away things that used to define you, and they begin to define someone else.

It's not that things that we own make us into who we are, but it is that things that we own say so much about who we are. Some people own very little, their belongings are essential and minimal. Others hoard things like squirrels before winter, boxes piled up in storage and items tucked into every drawer and corner. During a move though, you must face all of the things in which you have invested. Not just monetary investments like purchases, but time investments (like learning the keyboard) and relationships. Gifts are usually prized, but sometimes you realize that what you have to leave behind even the things that you were given.

Not only is moving a moment to purge bad things and habits from your routine, it also forces you to address everything you call yours. The things that usually remain at the end of a busy move are piles of odds and ends—bits of string, a stray sponge, random little tools that have no home in any set. In many ways, a move is like a partial death. You remove the you of that location to be reborn in the you of the new location. It's the new-location-you that unpacks those memories and treasures and replaces them. Slowly, but certainly, you will begin to redefine who you are. Things that had been left behind during your move might return to the shelves. Things that you were determined to keep with you might be discarded.

Living life and moving are quite the same thing. The only difference is that life has a finite end. At some point, whether you like it or not, your life will be over. Moving can be your decision though. You can choose to end your occupancy of one place at any given time (circumstances permitting). You can redo things that cannot be redone with life. If you decide that you want to be the person that surfs and wakes up early in the morning to do yoga, you can become that person if you make the appropriate moves. Now the only question is, what moves your life? Or should it be, what moves do you want to make with your life?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

DIY | Cupid Cake Pops

This is obviously an older project, but you never know when this might come in handy. Bakerella posted about making these cupcakes right before Valentine's Day. I looked at them for a long while and realized that these could be taken to the next level with some very simple tweaks. Hence, Cupid Cake Pops.

Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 6+ hours
Expense: Moderate (depending upon how many items you already have)
Materials: Cake mix and appropriate baking supplies, construction paper or cardstock, lollipop sticks, cellophane wrappers, ribbons, candy coating, frosting, cookie cutter (1" or less) wax or parchment paper

Film Review | The Hunger Games

Image Via

Although this is delayed, I think that The Hunger Games deserves a film review here on NewfoundJoye. I read the entire trilogy just before the film was announced, so I had plenty of time to imagine what the film would be like. Unlike most book-to-film ventures, this franchise benefits from the big screen. It was written for film in a way. The best way to watch a televised event of children fighting to the death is for you to be able to see it. Either way, I'm going to be spoiling this film, so if you have not yet gotten around to seeing it, stay away from the jump. 

Film Score: B+

BOM: Cupcake Challenge 9/175

All Images Via Yours Truly

At long last, we're nearly reaching double-digits. It's a good thing that I didn't put a time limit on this project. To be honest, I just can't find enough people to eat the cupcakes. My coworkers can only eat but so many cupcakes before they become a bit nervous about their waistlines. Either way, this go round I made Applesauce Spice Cupcakes. They are very moist and taste like fall. The Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese frosting is also a perfect match!

BOM: Cupcake Challenge 8/175

All Images Via Yours Truly
It has been much too long, I know, but I have made some progress with my cupcake challenge. This little batch of deliciousness are Blueberries-and-Cream Cupcakes. They are fresh and tasty and easy to bake, but perhaps taste a bit too much like muffins. Wait, is that a bad thing?

It's Been a Long Time

It's been so long since I last blogged that I am not certain where to begin. I guess that the best way to go about this is to play catch-up. I've made a lot of things, so look forward to a variety of DIY posts to come. 

You've probably already noticed that things have become a bit cleaner in terms of design. I felt the need for a change. There are still edits planned for the design, so check back often.

—R M Joye