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Tell a friend index card philosophy


I spotted Indexed, another blog-turned-book success story, in the Chronicle Books store the other day. Indexed represents two great ideas: first, it’s a novel use for index cards (other than, say, Getting Things Done with a Hipster PDA or other office applications), and it’s also an inspired concept for a blog. is one of those brilliant ideas, like the Million Dollar Homepage — simple, clever, and enviably unique (which translates into lucrative).

Every weekday, author Jessica Hagy — copywriter, doodler, and philosophical statistician — publishes a diagram or an equation that succinctly captures an insight into modern life. The index card doodles range from the trivial to the thought-provoking, most often amusing and challenging in terms of how fast you can "get it." Hagy covers topics as diverse as shelter-versus-purebred canines, drifter cuisine, the boggling math of emotion, and undergoing water torture (both voluntary and involuntary). Hagy includes larger, more complex figures in the 5×7 section.

Kindred spirit Hugh MacLeod, author of gapingvoid, also admires Indexed. Chronicle Books published a couple of companion products, the Indexed book of postcards — (because, go figure, index cards are the perfect size for postcards!) — as well as the Indexed notebook.

Posted August 13, 2009 by Mariva in arts, blog-turned-book, books, business, entertainment, fun, gifts, humor, innovations, media

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Tell a friend U2 3D

U2 3D

I accidentally invited bleeding-edge tech journalist Robert Scoble to a private Kyte party. How it unfolded is a little embarrassing, but suffice it to say that the moral of the story is, don’t be Twittering first thing in the morning when you should be busy getting some work done anyway.

After drinks and deep-fried snacks at Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, the Kyte team, along with Scoble and his Fast Company podcast producer Rocky Barbanica (a disarmingly affable fellow, despite looking like someone who drives a Harley and could be menacing in a dark alley), headed over to the Metreon to see U2 3D in the IMAX movie theatre.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and, to be honest, I probably would have been more excited at the outset by a presentation of Aliens of the Deep or Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. With a movie of a U2 concert, I assumed I’d get bored and space out, wishing I could be Twittering from my mobile phone without being rude to my fellow attendees who’d prefer to sit in pitch-darkness. (I was wrong about the movie; read on.)

It’s not that I dislike U2. In fact, in the ’80s I used to listen incessantly to War on vinyl, lifting the needle at the end of "Seconds" and setting it down at the beginning of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" over and over again, sometimes taking a break from this two-set to listen to "Drowning Man" or "40." When I lived in "Oblique House," a small temporary co-op in Oberlin, Ohio during the summer of 1989, a friend who was a studio musician tuned his guitar to The Joshua Tree and played impeccable renditions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," and "In God’s Country." He emulated The Edge’s signature textural style (although neither of us remembers if he’d used delay taps to mimic the "shimmer" effect). Better even than listening to the album on a top-of-the-line sound system, it sounded like a private U2 concert in our house. Later, when I traveled through the southwest, I couldn’t look at any of the ubiquitous Joshua trees without thinking of the eponymous album. Tangentially, Boo owns an original Negativland’s U2 EP (rereleased under another title), purchased just before U2’s former label Island Records sued Negativland, a controversial lawsuit that the U2 members themselves thought was "very heavy."

But I stopped buying albums after Achtung Baby and years later realized that I’d quit listening to U2’s newer stuff altogether — with the possible exception of "Beautiful Day" from All That You Can’t Leave Behind (simply because it was unavoidable in the media and the public sphere). It wasn’t intentional on my part; perhaps it was because the anger and intensity of War (still my favorite U2 album) appealed to me more than the sweeter, feel-good material of later years. (It’s analogous to — though not as extreme as — my erstwhile enthrallment with Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy in the early ’90s before Michael Franti turned into a hippie peacenik; his sound mellowed out and got boring, at least compared to his previous musical incarnations. If I wanted tepid, unchallenging music, I’d listen to smooth jazz.)

Nevertheless, it’s fairly easy to get in the mood for a U2 concert, virtual or live. U2 is like The Beatles, comprising a solid, talented quartet of British Isles musicians with names memorized by millions around the globe, known for their iconic radio hits as much as for their social activism. At this point, U2 is classic — and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like their music.

Posted January 30, 2008 by Mariva in entertainment, innovations, media, movies, music, technology

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Tell a friend best free audio podcasts

best free audio podcasts

Over the years I’ve developed a pathological fear of boredom, and subsequently a fear of mundane activities that lead to boredom, like waiting at the airport (especially at night), exercising (if it’s routine and not, say, a hike in an unfamiliar area), or cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. I like to keep my mind occupied; sometimes my own thoughts are enough, and sometimes they’re just not. For when my thoughts aren’t enough, and there’s nothing good on the radio, I listen to my favorite podcasts.

The irony? Alas, there is simply not enough time — even counting the stretches of boring time during aforementioned mundane activities — to listen to everything I want to, so the podcasts not yet listened to stack up in a sometimes overwhelming queue. I’ve realized that podcasts are like books or recorded TV shows: I probably won’t get to everything, but it comforts me to know they’re there, promising a rich intellectual landscape in which to escape from a wasteland of ennui.

Posted January 5, 2008 by Mariva in education, entertainment, news, resources, technology

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Tell a friend baby safety

Safe Baby Handling Tips, by David and Kelly Sopp

It’s hard to imagine a better — or funnier — gift for the parents-to-be who already have everything than Safe Baby Handling Tips by David and Kelly Sopp.

This novelty picture book is basically a series of contrasting dos and don’ts with regard to taking care of an infant. For example, the correct way to "bond with baby" is to hold and coo at the baby, not attempt to engage him or her in a timed game of chess! And when you’re putting the baby down to play, put him or her in, say, a playpen, not a cage. When taking baby for a walk, put him or her in a baby backpack, not in an old potato sack.

I mean, sheesh, people — take care of the baby! Get this book.

Posted March 23, 2006 by Mariva in books, education, entertaining, entertainment, fun, gifts, home

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Tell a friend feel-good commercials

feel-good commercials

I realize that advertising represents (and sometimes causes) many of the ills of our society, but I can’t help it — as something of a pop culture aesthete, I love me a good commercial. I think this is because I appreciate good design, clever concepts and creativity in any form. For better or worse — whether subsidizing theater companies and museums or hiring the best illustrators, writers and cinematographers — corporations have become the new patrons of the arts. I’m often astonished at how compelling the commercials for Volkswagon, Apple and Coca-Cola are.

Posted March 22, 2006 by Mariva in arts, business, entertainment, health, innovations, movies

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Tell a friend found my thrill

Fats Domino, Alive and Kickin'

Thank goodness Fats Domino was found alive and well after the Katrina disaster in his native New Orleans. He was found in his home in the Ninth Ward, although some say he was actually found on Blueberry Hill. Domino is 78 years old, and despite losing his home, he’s in good spirits and still making music. He’s donating the proceeds from his latest album, Alive and Kickin’, to the Tipitina’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to rebuilding the music culture of New Orleans. On NPR’s All Things Considered, Domino demonstrates the rhythmic and tempo difference between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, a shift that occurred in popular music during the ’50s.

Posted March 14, 2006 by Mariva in arts, community, entertainment, music, news

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Tell a friend Peyton Place: 50th anniversary

Peyton Place

If you’ve ever read the scandalous classic Peyton Place — now in its fiftieth anniversary — or seen the movie, you’ll no doubt be fascinated by the backstory. The death of author Grace Metalious seemed similar to that of Jack Kerouac. As long as they shared that tragic ending, it’s too bad she didn’t meet up with the Beats while she was alive; perhaps their own penchant for producing salacious works may have made her feel a bit less like an outcast, or at least a total outcast.

One thing that struck me about the movie (other than the horrifying stuff, of course, which is still shocking fifty years later) was the abundance of stock footage of nature scenes inserted abruptly — yet not displeasingly, and often accompanied by voiceover narration — throughout the movie. Did the filmmakers not have a budget back then to pay a guy with a camera to romp around the woods, capturing bucolic scenes of ducks on lakes and snow-blanketed towns? Or was it more a matter of color correction?

Posted March 13, 2006 by Mariva in arts, books, entertainment, movies

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Tell a friend geek meets hip hop

Treo    Late Registration, by Kanye West

The Treo mail alert Swoosh sounds a lot like the background piano drops in Kanye West’s song "Heard ‘Em Say," which is Track 2 on Late Registration (also available through iTunes). Every time mail is received, I start singing:

Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today
Nothing lasts forever — but be honest Babe,
it hurts but it may be the only way. . . .

Posted March 8, 2006 by Mariva in entertainment, fun, gadgets, music

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Tell a friend Oscars, Baby!


2005 was a great year in movies. I, for one, am glad that Jon Stewart is hosting the 78th Annual Academy Awards.

Attend an Oscar party, or host one yourself.

Posted March 3, 2006 by Mariva in arts, entertainment, fashion, movies, news

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Tell a friend Miri Ben-Ari: hip-hop violinist

Miri Ben-Ari, the "Hip-Hop Violinist"

I sometimes find myself intrigued with the classical or jazz instrumentalists featured in pop, rock or hip-hop songs. Who are they, and how did the pop artists and producers find them? One such musician is Israeli-born, classically trained violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who arranged nearly all the string arrangements — sometimes haunting, other times uplifting and lovely — on Kanye West’s debut album The College Dropout.

Because of her unique application of violin technique, Ben-Ari has been dubbed "the Hip-Hop Violinist." She has released a CD (explicit, clean) with the selfsame title, which features various hip-hop artists.

Posted February 27, 2006 by Mariva in arts, entertainment, music

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