January 13, 2012

2012 is the year of the renaissance

Posted in Look, Make tagged , at 10:53 pm by onetinyacorn

The New Year always lends itself to both sentimentality and the sense of a fresh start, which I love. Time to take stock, shunt all of the bad stuff, and start anew. A very dear and talented friend of mine and myself have had a trying 2011 wherein neither of us spent much time in our studios. We have declared 2012 the year of the Renaissance—want to join us? Dive in—there’s no better time to start. To a wonderful new year!

Make Art Not War

(Image by Shepard Fairey. Think he’ll sue me? No, I actually love him, litigious hypocrisy aside).

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December 16, 2011

The view from my office

Posted in Look tagged at 1:31 am by onetinyacorn

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It helps on bad days.

December 13, 2011

Another reason why you should visit me

Posted in Go, Look tagged at 4:07 am by onetinyacorn

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I got a membership to the Botanic Gardens yesterday, good for me and one other person. And it’s 3 blocks from my place. AND it’s all gussied up with Christmas lights and ice sculptures right now.

December 6, 2011

All I Want To Do is Look at Pretty Things

Posted in Look tagged , , at 6:00 pm by onetinyacorn

I set up a Tumblr blog here. I like Tumblr because it’s very easy to discover and share beautiful images, and I’m all about beautiful images. Since I’m a succinct writer, I think it suits me well (also, I like the UI a lot). I’ll run both blogs concurrently–Tumblr for sharing found images, and this one for my own content. I think. We’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for keeping up with my randomness! Here, have a weird vintage ad (this and many more at Weirdomatic).

 

December 1, 2011

Consider:

Posted in Go tagged , , , at 10:35 pm by onetinyacorn

One more reason to love my new job: they have a tradition of donating gifts to children in foster care, rather than having a gift exchange for each other. I love this idea so much, and think it would be great if more workplaces adopted it instead of trotting out the tired old White Elephant/gift exchange. Consider: do you need a Twilight-themed board game more than a child in foster care needs a pair of socks? Yeah.

Speaking of charitable causes, have you seen VolunteerMatch? Put in your location and interests, and it will find volunteer opportunities out there for you. I cross-referenced it with Charity Navigator to ensure that any organization that piqued my interest was well-run (though organizations run on a local level may not be indexed there).

November 30, 2011

Even the Corner Bakery bear has fallen on hard times.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 1:04 am by onetinyacorn

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I hear he used to be a pastry chef. Sad.

September 21, 2011

Neat Things: Google Ngrams

Posted in Go, Look, Make tagged , , at 6:08 am by onetinyacorn

Google labs has produced Ngrams, a very awesome, customizable way to chart cultural trends over centuries. I wanted to track the ebb and flow of political ideologies through time, so I input the terms for various political constructs into Ngrams, and it gave me this nifty chart, based on the OCR of its digitized corpus of English-language books (click on image for full-size view):

Politics Ngram

So we see a clear decline in mentions of the term “monarchy” in books since 1800 [I’ve since learned that you can track verbiage back to around 1550!], and a spike in the term “democracy” around World War II. Futher, I can search by decade and term in Google books to locate precise mentions of my specified terms. Think about how interesting it would be to track epidemiological trends this way! You could also run side-by-side comparisons on the same terms in different languages, for a cross-cultural perspective. Dreamy, isn’t it?

August 23, 2011

Fudgy Banana Brownies

Posted in Make tagged , , at 7:18 pm by onetinyacorn

So, I had two very brown bananas hanging out on top of my freezer, but I was sick of banana bread. I did have a hankering for brownies, though. And thus this recipe was born. It resulted in a wonderful fudgy brownie with a distinct banana flavor. I didn’t take photos—they disappeared too quickly—but, well, they look like brownies. Use your imagination.

One word of caution: I created this recipe at high altitude (7,200 feet). I believe that it should work at lower elevations, but I haven’t tested it there yet. Let me know if things go awry.

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. At the last minute, add applesauce in order to heat it. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar and vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the bananas until they’re a mostly smooth, puddinglike consistency. Add to the above mixture.
  4. Stir in the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder into the mixture, being careful not to overmix. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  6. Scarf down, remembering to salvage one square for the person who you originally intended these brownies to be for in the first place.

August 1, 2011

Wherein Our Gentle Hero Unearths a Dinosaur

Posted in Look tagged , , , at 2:52 am by onetinyacorn

Oh, yeah. I got to help dig up a Tyrannosaurus Rex over the July 4th weekend.

I found out about this amazing opportunity from a good friend of a good friend. He’s a paleontologist who just happened upon some vertebrae bones from a T Rex poking above ground while surveying the land (the ranch where this dino met his doom allows the paleontologist to scour the area, looking for such things). A team of scientists and volunteers was assembled, and we made our way out into the middle of nowhere. This ranch was at the end of an hour-long drive down dirt trails with ruts worn into the earth from the passage of vehicles. We arrived at night, after being held up by an owl that stopped in front of our car for a few minutes, stared at us, and took flight again with an impressive wingspan. The dead silence, incredible view of the stars, and scent of sage in the cool breeze that met us were a welcome retreat. I stayed up really late watching the lightening flash off in the distance at regular intervals, too far away to ever reach us.

Turns out this is a Thing that people can do—some of the women at the dig site had met in the Gobi desert on a different dig. They’ve been traveling around for years, going from site to site as volunteers. Most had backgrounds in science, although we were next to another archivist. She interviewed us for an oral history project, so look forward to hearing my caffiene-less ramblings sometime in the future (yep, she’s digitizing everything).

All of that dirt was removed by hand. They estimate that 200 tons were removed by the time the dig was finished.

The site was partitioned into squares approximately 2 feet x 2 feet. I was given an awl with which to dig through my designated square of mudrock (hard stuff, that), and a tutorial on what it sounds like when you hit a bone.

I found…a seed. But it was a prehistoric seed! Still cool. I was in a corner with lots of plants—the aforementioned archivist kept finding great examples of palm fronds and petrified plant stems.

The woman on the other side of me found part of a tendon. Tiny thing—like a slightly flattened drinking straw, with a porous texture inside. We were searching for the skull and tail of the TRex. Where could they possibly have gone, you ask? I was wondering that too. Well, the torso was at the top of a slope, and the geologist explained that there was water flowing nearby. So the skull might have been washed away over time. The scientists on the team were plastering the torso of the TRex, and on one nerve-wracking afternoon, they used heavy machinery to flip it over. They are hoping to find skin impressions, and will find a less weathered side of the skeleton.

Here’s what the plastering process looked like:

While at the site, they found another pile of dinosaur bones. Finding the TRex was a huge deal—only the 7th one found in Wyoming in 125 years. Paleontologists are apparently a little more blasé about triceratops—their bones are found all over here. They pointed out the vascular system which was revealed in the carved-out conduits of the bones. Note the slightly elongated spongy texture of the bone—rocks don’t have those.

After 9 hours or so of digging—with plenty of breaks—it was time to call it quits. Chef Jodie provided some delicious food, and we hung out as daylight receded and fatigue caught up with us.

For more info, check out the Official Blog of the dig: http://www.tatetrex.com/blog/

If you get the chance to do something like this, I heartily recommend it! I met lots of nice people, and learned a ton in just the short time that I participated. I look forward to doing this sort of thing again.

July 27, 2011

I had a bad day.

Posted in Look tagged , , , at 6:51 am by onetinyacorn

This made it better.

File under: baby animals.

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