Archive for the ‘@Fun’ Category

For fans of WireTap…or not – I suggest you take a look at the awesome opportunity below. You don’t need a journalism degree to apply – just a degree.

Who: Wiretap Magazine

What: Arts & Culture Journalism Fellowship

When: The deadline is May 1, 2009

Where: Anywhere you are – but if you are currently residing in San Francisco or New York, consider yourself lucky to have an office to report to


  • You get to have your work published (and paid for it!)
  • Sharpen your journalism chops and get JOURNALIST boot camp
  • Cover emerging arts, artists and art communities. So cool. Period

Good Luck!!!


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Jon Stewart’s response to Rick Santelli’s rant at the CBOE, CNBC and Kramer (from Mad Money).

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BananaBeing second banana enables you to poke fun at the hero at his (or her) expense. You’re a sidekick, but at the same time, you’re an observer. It’s fun, usually, because you can play it safe (for a while). 

Alan Colmes appeared on The Colbert Report and lampooned his own second banana status on the show he previously co-hosted with Sean Hannity. Sometimes, being in the background can be good for you. You can navigate the pitfalls because you’ve already seen them.

After all, you’re only observing. You help when needed and point out the flaws. You can do this because, in most cases, the mistakes have already been made.

As second fiddle, you’re only required to clean up the mess.

But, you don’t get to make the mess either. And, sometimes, making the mess is better. This is because the messes can create something great. It may invent something people will like. You can save the day. It’s the alluring part of being the hero. But, you’re risking a lot more. You can destroy just as much as when you create. Second bananas don’t have to worry about that. 

Second bananas don’t necessarily get to have all the fun, but they learn just as much. They can be careful about stupidity or avoiding ridiculousness. They also can highlight their own intellect against the hero (or the boss). Either way, your strengths are enriched even further against the context of someone else’s weaknesses.

The flaws are what make second bananas cool to have around.

If you aren’t getting the attention you feel you deserve, realize that being second banana is not the end of the world. In this universe, heroes come and go. You get your turn eventually. Once you are the hero, you get all the fun of saving the day (and making the mess).

Yet, mistakes will be made. Ridiculousness will happen. So be careful, second bananas are watching.

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shoppingI decided that it was a great idea to shop for a dress on New Year’s Eve. My boyfriend and I were going out to dinner with another couple and we had to “dress up.” This is funny because my boyfriend and I aren’t the dress up types, but we don’t embarrass anyone if we are told to look nice.

So, anyway, I told myself to find a dress in a color I like that’s in my size. It actually didn’t have to be a color I really like, because I don’t have favorite colors or signatures hues that I wear all the time. I wear what I like. That’s it.

Also, it didn’t matter if it was real pretty (or not) because it’s New Year’s Eve. Everyone’s getting pissy drunk or having too much of a good time to notice if you are wearing an ugly dress. And, if they aren’t having a good time, maybe you are in the wrong place.

So, actually, I just needed to find a dress in my size that I could stand wearing again.

I walked into the Forever 21 – a virtual madhouse, barely short of stampeding women. I don’t feel silly shopping there even though they market to teeny boppers and barely legal twenty somethings. I also know that despite the name, the people shopping there probably haven’t seen 21 in quite a few years, nor do they feel like they will be “forever 21” wearing the clothes.

I go there because I know I can find something cute for under $30 and be able to wear it to death before it turns into a Forever 21 rag.

I spot a dress (or what I think is a dress) with puffed sleeves and heather tan coloring. It’s also got pockets on the front. Cute and functional – I make a beeline.  It’s not “New Year’s Eve Party” festive, but it’s “You can dress me up” festive.

And, that’s all I need.

Alas, it’s few sizes too big. I don’t care. I need a dress. If it looks ridiculous in the changing room, I can scour the floor for some other ideas (provided I don’t suffer a stampede).

It turns out the dress looks great. And, I prefer the larger size because of the way the dress swings when I’m wearing it. Plus, it’s in a color I can wear to work  and not look like I’m ready for Happy Hour at 9:30 in the morning.

I’ve got my dress and few sparkling cheap things to glam it up a little. All this done under 45 minutes (this even includes the time I spent casually browsing after I picked my dress). When I get home, the tag describes the “dress” as a tunic top. Even better, I can wear it with jeans. My boyfriend says I look lovely and we had a wonderful New Year’s Eve.

So, sometimes when you just begin with a fuzzy idea and don’t think too hard or expect too much, wonderful things can happen. And, when wonderful things happen, you sometimes get a whole lot more than you bargained for.

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unemployed-gift-giving1For foodies, health nuts and breakfast enthusiasts

Martha Stewart has a great recipe that’s pretty inexpensive to make and works as a tasty topping for oatmeal, yogurt, toast or ice cream. All you need is dried fruit, nuts and honey.

Don’t worry about getting a fancy jar to dress up your gift (unless you really want to), some pretty ribbon and a clear, disposable container is all you need.

For iTunes addicts

Burning music may seem passe, but there’s nothing like the effort one puts into creating a highly personalized music list for the audiophile in your life. You can theme it around a hobby, job or a memory you both share (like that vacation you took to…wherever). 

Or, if you have more time on your hands, you can download the series of  This American Life –  this is for the NPR enthusiasts (idea courtesy of Lifehacker).

For plant lovers and the ec0-chic

No. Not a chia pet. But, you can help incorporate some fresh, useful greenery for your favorite green thumb. Go to your local nursery or a Home Depot and pick up mini-pots and seeds (along with fresh, bagged dirt) to create your green gift.

Fragrant herbs are really nice to choose because they make pretty scenery on the window sill as well as tasty garnishes for cooking. Plus, they’re fairly easy to grow. If you’re really in the mood, a mini shovel adds that cuteness factor.

Techno geeks

If you really want to cough up the cash, a subscription to Make magazine should please your techie. Your techno-lover, however, may be more impressed with the items you create listed here or here.

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iheartbloggingFor those of you interested in blogging, the venture can be a mysterious, weird process. You may go to a site like Blogger, WordPress or Typepad, go through the motions of setting up – and now what?

And now that you have your blog about [subject to be inserted later], you are at a loss for (written) words.

How can you make your voice heard in the chattering mass of the blogosphere?

What can you do (besides write good posts)? Well, it depends on what you want to talk to about. Everyone talks about niches, personal brands, the essence of what your blog should be about – it gets overwhelming.

So, in any event, you need a niche, but you don’t know how to figure that out. That’s OK, we all had to start somewhere.

Start a blog. Fall in love.

In order to enjoy blogging, you need to fall in love with your subject. And no, not the honeymoon love where there are no flaws and everything is perfect. 

When you do choose a subject, you have to be willing to uncover its secrets, its flaws, its inconsistencies and its hypocrisies. The unappealing, sees-you-first-in-the-morning reality that takes your blog to a new depth is what gives it pop.

Don’t be afraid to uncover its ugliness – it gives your blog credibility (as well as relevancy).

It may be awkward at first, but you’ll get better as time goes on.

And, no, you may not blog about your pet bunny. Unless your bunny does something really interesting. And you’re in love with it.

So, we’ve narrowly covered what your niche should be and eased your fears about what a blog could be about.


Randomness – the godsend of unexpected ideas

It’s fine to be a little random in your blog, but not quite so at the beginning – but keep it intriguing. 

An example of randomness can range from something seemingly off-topic from your niche or discovering an edgy idea and applying it to your blog.

It’s alright if you switch topics or ideas throughout the life of your blog – expect it.

Blogging and your virtual community. 

A blog should reflect you.

Unlike getting a book deal, or publishing in other print media, the way in which you edit and revise your ideas is much more transparent. 

You change your mind, tweak your opinions and engage your audience in a much more interesting way with a blog than you ever could with a book.

However, stick true to your (well-researched) opinions and don’t become wish washy.

Whatever your blog is about, make sure you can have enough content to keep the blog going. Be specific enough to attract your intended audience but make it accessible enough to capture attention of new readers.

Do you want to talk to farmers, lawyers, doctors, Gen-Yers, baby boomers, Stay-at-home moms, Working Mothers, Stay-at-home Dads, college girls who want to become fetish models?

Look at your surroundings.

The initial conversation is in your head

Blogging is just as much about a dialogue with yourself as it is with others.

In other words, the reason why blogs are considered to be about conversation is because they offer a sense of immediacy. If someone (dis)likes what you say, they can engage you (or not read your blog anymore, but let’s stay positive).

Pick one. Any subject. Don’t know where to start with that either? Who do you like talking to? What kind of friends do you have? What kinds of stuff do you like to do? What kind books and magazines do you read?

If you can’t answer any of the above questions or have nothing in which to draw inspiration, you probably have no business trying to create a blog and should spend more time developing a social life instead.

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the-simsDid I ever tell you Will Wright was my personal hero? Perhaps, I’m giving away too much about myself. If you don’t know who Will Wright is, take one word: game design genius. OK, that was actually three words, but I don’t think one word would adequately cover it.

Game Debate

As the creative leader of Maxis (a division of EA games) and creator of all things Sim-related, Wright has developed an empire out of a simple concept: having players tap into their inner divinity to create endless, manipulative possibilities. His games have sparked interesting discussions about the idea of consumer related behavior to the ideas of social Darwinism and evolutionary ecologies.

It’s safe to say that The Sims (and subsequent platforms) have spawned an entire world on its own (including custom content sites, machinima artists and hack specialists).

Additionally, hardcore gamers and occasional players have found a common link when it comes to using The Sims as a showcase to express ideas about some heavily adult issues. The Sims is not just for kids, nor is the subject matter that is broached by its Sim “filmmakers,” artists and storytellers.

Talent Showcase

Decorgal’s site Adventures in Dating trails the lives and loves of two sisters, Ellen and Emma. One struggles with the inner turmoil of an unhappy marriage and the complications of commitment. The other grapples with coming to terms with what true love and marriage definitively mean to her.

It’s powerfully directed, painstakingly organized and displays the enormous talent one must use when not having the “luxury” of working with human actors (or real objects, for that matter). 

Artccgrrl implements a surrealistic setting to introduce viewers to a philosophizing and moody artist (recovering from clinical depression) and his mysterious blue-eyed muse.

There’s even room for an intricately plotted situational comedy in which director, Serenity, details the intersecting lives of 3 “newly” dead souls charged with ensuring love connections for the living on “Cupid’s Arrows.”

All this in a computer game?

Yep. And, there’s only more. Sim directors have taken their talents to be broadcast on YouTube, The Sims 2 web page and a host of other sites dedicated to Sim movie makers. One can find themed promotional contests challenging filmmakers to develop the scariest, funniest, weirdest Sim movie to date or reinterpret japanese folk tales.

Anything goes.

What’s the Connection?

The innovation of these directors and artists is only fueled by their devotion to showcase the merits of machinima storytelling (as well as using “Sim-tech” as an increasingly valid form of animated storytelling). 

As such, Directors have to be opportunistic when it comes to exhibiting these productions while accessing an otherwise inaccessible or unexplored audience (non-sim players, inexperienced computer gamers and film/media enthusiasts).

This only lends itself to “branding” Sim presence through the likes of social media and the web.

Lovers of all things Sim can download special animation hacks, “buy” custom created fashions and furniture, or be entertained with various films of all genres. The ROI on the purchase of a Sim game is beyond tenfold.

Such an extension of virtual worlds and computer/games is not solely limited to The Sims, but by far, Will Wright’s invention has one of the most well rounded reaches (with the exception of virtual world phenom Second Life).

Learning Models

Machinima directors are beyond the individual sociological experiments a casual Sim gamer may implement (what will happen when the introverted, creative genius falls in love with the extroverted, dumb slob? Oh, the drama!).

Enthusiasts can learn how to create their own movies and, through trial and error, learn about hacking and creating custom content. Thus, players increase their own familiarity and effectiveness with Sim gaming and the gaming experience.

This kind of complexity within a complexity creates a multi-tiered web of connections. In other words, new techniques and innovations revolving around this expertise are developed, learned and taught by a virtual community of gamers – all linked by their passion for the Sims.

Apparently, perhaps, this is the natural progression of all learning as more and more people come to depend on the instant access of information (as well as the overwhelming amount that is readily available).

Of course, there are other sorts of virtual communities with similar learning models. The Sims, however, is of particular interest beause gamers are using the medium of “film making” to express ideas about human behavior and connections in the world at large while redefining artistry in every sense of the word.

So, in the end – what?

The Sim community, gamers, artists, story tellers and film makers are paving ways for creatively crafty methods of storytelling. The web and social media is their marketplace for imaginative exchange as well as garnering opportunities for quick (and enthusiastic) feedback.

Hobbyists and professionals alike can easily collaborate on projects while enriching the “brand presence” of Sim movie making and developing its ever growing fan base.

As a (not so casual) observer, I can’t wait to see what else those quirky, funny and immensely talented “Sim Artists” cook up next.

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