My least favorite thing about Twitter is the cornucopia of tw- words it spawned. But in Philadelphia, we also have to deal with ph-words. Which is worse?

Continue reading Portmanteau-No

Future of News

But are not bloggers journalists?

Babbling Brook at Philadelphia Jury Duty

sunshine-courtrooms2“Social media is a thorn in the court system’s side,” said the man at the front of the room to the pool of potential jurors nervously awaiting our turn to avoid being picked, but really he wasn’t just a regular court employee, he had some kind of pull, some kind of position of power, enough that he interspersed his inspirational speech about how jury duty is the quintessential building block of a just society with slightly indignant reminiscences of his efforts to streamline the system.

He wants our email addresses, no, we won’t automatically be called again if we give them, because that will save on postage, did you know it can take up to three. whole. stamps. to get one potential juror in the seat we are now in? That’s because we all want to be scofflaws and giving our email address to the City of Philadelphia won’t fix that but it will save on postage and that’s not his money he’s talking about it’s taxpayer money so give up that @ will you please. Continue reading Babbling Brook at Philadelphia Jury Duty

GABF Fort Collins Bus Trip: A Photo Tour

It’s 8 AM, and I’m standing in front of what looks like a mix between a celebrity transport and a secret-ops van — matte black with tinted windows and indistinct silver trim — waiting to go drink beer. More accurately, continue drinking beer, since the day before I’d spent on the event floor of the Great American Beer Festival, hopping from tasting table to tasting table with 40,000 other beer fans.


Glancing around, I see one person I know slightly and several I don’t know at all. By evening, I’ll feel like I’d known them all for years.

Ed Yashinksy, the Troegs manager who appears to be somewhat in charge, herds all dozen of us onto the black bus and gives the driver the okay. We’re off, pulling out of Denver on our way to spend the day in the nearby brewery mecca of Fort Collins. It’s 8:30 AM.

“Ready for liquid refreshments?” someone yells, and coffee is swapped for cans of breakfast beer in hands all down the facing benches. Continue reading GABF Fort Collins Bus Trip: A Photo Tour

Coffee vs Tea

Coffee makes you feel strong and mighty, tea makes you feel puny.

Coffee helps you get work done, tea helps you feel better while you’re procrastinating work.

Sure, sometimes maybe you like feeling subservient because you’re respecting cultural traditions like kneeling on tatami mats or reading dusty novels with a blanket over your lap. Continue reading Coffee vs Tea

What Buying Twitter Followers Looks Like

It’s easy to buy Twitter followers — you can get them for as little as a penny each. We have friends who’ve done it. For brands, it can make a big difference in perceived credibility. But if you’re going to do it, don’t make it obvious.

We came across an account today (set up by someone we have met) that shows what it looks like when you pay to look cool, but end up coming off as a fool.

It’s clearly a new account. And yet it has a whopping 2,333 followers while following only 10 others. Unless you’re a movie star, pop star, sports star or robot rover on another planet, that’s a highly unlikely ratio for a just-started account to have. Continue reading What Buying Twitter Followers Looks Like

The Best Thing I Didn’t Eat Last Week

(Or, Never Let Photography Get in the Way of Tacos)

She flew all the way in from Salt Lake City just to make tacos. Not regular tacos — those can be found in various Tex and Mex styles all over the East Coast — but an entirely new kind. And I missed them.

Taco Continue reading The Best Thing I Didn’t Eat Last Week

Greatest Universe Ever Sold

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (presented by Pom Wonderful) is proof that we have beaten bin Laden. Or at least, provides hope for the future of the American way. Morgan Spurlock (who you might remember from fast-food takedown Super Size Me) faces commercialization and product placement head on, and in exposing it, finds positives. He finds sponsors that understand where he’s going with the film and are fully behind the idea. They’re in on the joke, and that‘s a great selling point. It’s also good for the consumer.

Greatest Movie examines the effects of self-awareness on advertising, and finds the two are not mutually exclusive. This is a good thing. Advertising is not going to disappear any time soon; it has become part of our global culture. And even if it could, would we really want it to? Marketing and advertising are effective methods of disseminating information. What we don’t need is false advertising. The more enlightened companies are – in terms of what goes into making their products and what their customers are looking for – the more progress we can make as a society.

One of the major goals of humanity – of existence, in general – should be to become more self-aware. To explore the boundaries of awareness, as beings in this universe (as part of this universe). How much can we realize about the “now,” the present? How far does our perception extend, and what factors are influencing it, in real time? Continue reading Greatest Universe Ever Sold

Desperately Seeking Designers

If you are not a  TV-watching type, you might be surprised to discover that a) there is a whole channel called Home & Garden Television, and b) it produces a top-rated show in its fifth season on which designers compete for a chance to win.

Win what? Why, their own show on the same channel. It’s a gloriously self-propagating scheme.

HGTV Design Star is currently holding open casting calls for their sixth season, and will be in Philadelphia this coming Monday, Jan 10th. Who do they want? Someone with:

  • Extensive design knowledge
  • Personality that pops
  • Passion for design
  • Lots of energy and enthusiasm
  • A clear and unique design perspective

No biggie! Of course, in addition to a good portfolio, you have to look the part (headshots are a required part of the application — this is a visual medium, after all).

Not sure what kind of design skills they’re seeking? Considering the name of the host channel, we gather it’s interior designers they’re after.

You’ll no doubt get to buy all kinds of kitschy tchotchkes, and maybe even use power tools, while the network finds ways to plug product placements from their sponsors.

You don’t even have to attend the casting event to apply – just send in a home video. For anyone interested, click the image for a PDF or see below:

Monday January 10, 2011
10 AM to 1 PM
Embassy Suites Hotel
1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

A bit of advice for HGTV: looking at your PR/marketing materials, you should find some relatively-skilled graphic designers before anything else.

Jello, Good-Bye

Drinking and environmentally sound items are two of our favorite things.

Summer is a time for cocktails and lemonade on the lawn or deck, not doing dishes.

Happily, the designers at THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD have come up with a solution to the paper vs. plastic debate.

Jelloware cups are made of agar, cast in an assortment of flavors and colors.

Yes, agar-agar is that substance you used in bio lab to grow bacteria on petri dishes. But that’s because it’s completely organic, made from algae.

It’s also been a common ingredient in Asian desserts for quite some time, and is a staple of modern cooking techniques.

Jelloware cups come in lemon-basil, ginger-mint, or rosemary-beet, and are completely edible and biodegradable.

When you’re done with your drink, chomp on your chalice, or just tear it to bits and sprinkle it on the lawn: agar actually nurtures the growth of plants.

High heat or high alcohol content may make for a relatively short lifespan, so be sure to drink up!

Concept photos from the 2nd annual Jell-O Mold Competition have recently made the blog rounds, but there’s no purchase link to be found. Anyone know how to get?

UPDATE (1/17/11): Looks like the Jelloware folks have turned to Kickstarter to fund their product! The $10k goal is almost reached; if you’re a fan, head over and kick in a few bucks.

[via @brainpicker and @treehugger]