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Entries from August 1, 2005 - August 31, 2005


BlogDay 2005 Recommendations

BlogDay2005A few weeks ago, I came across the BlogDay 2005 event and thought it would be fun to participate. The idea to have bloggers share 5 different blog recommendations was proposed by Nir Ofir, a blogger and editor for the Israeli portal

Nir wanted to learn about new blogs, and offer blog readers a glimpse at other blogs as recommended by the bloggers they already read.

Here's the idea behind BlogDay in the words of Nir himself:

BlogDay was initiated with the belief that bloggers should have one day which will be dedicated to know other bloggers, from other countries or areas of interests. In that day Bloggers will recommend about them to their Blog visitors.

In one long moment In August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

Here are my 5 recommendations:

Rands in Repose

I enjoy Rands in Repose quite a bit, because of the writing quality and thoughtfulness of each post. Rands doesn't write often, but when he does, it's very good quality stuff, that gets me thinking. I also quite like his blog design.

Selected post: The Bear Story

Daring Fireball

The blog of Jon Gruber, who comments mainly on technology, particularly the Mac, user interface and reading between the lines of news stories. Like Rands, Jon posts less regularly, but when he posts, the writing is excellent and thought provoking.

Selected post: Ronco Spray-On Usability

Tech Ronin

This is the weblog of Janet Tokerud, who often writes about various tidbits that seem to interest me. She also buys all of the gadgets I wish I could buy, but can't justify! As a fellow Mac OS X user, avid reader, Moleskine and pen freak she provides good insight on many of my favorite things.

Selected post: The World is Flat, Now What?

Veerle Pieters

Veerle is a Belgian blogger covering design, music and other related tidbits. I love her excellent tutorials in graphics and web design and have also enjoyed her music suggestions. I appreciate that she shares her knowledge.

Selected post: 5 Steps to achieve a nice aqua effect

Jordon Cooper

Blog of a Canadian pastor and techno-junkie. Jordon provides challenging writing on culture, faith and technology, along with great contextless links. Jordon is currently going through a tough time physically, but manages to keep writing somehow. I like Jordon's honesty and the revelation of his personality through his posts.

Selected post: Summer Reading List

I hope you enjoy checking out my recommendations and look forward to checking out others in the BlogDay collection at Technorati.

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Sailing Sketch

SailingWe have some good friends who happen to own a cabin in central Wisconsin an d a 27 foot sailboat — fortunately for us, they love having us up for weekends to sailing on the lake near their cabin.

I was a good sketch-boy this weekend, having brought along my pocket Moleskine sketchbook. I'd hoped for a chance to do a little sketching on the sailboat. On Saturday I was rewarded with a perfect opportunity, so I hauled out the little M, a gel pen and scribbled out the sketch you see above.

It's actually somewhat confusing not in context, however, if you notice the beam running vertically, that's the mainsail and the portion extending to the right off the page is the boom. In front of the mainsail is the genoa. That's about the extent of my sailing knowledge: I just got used to calling the lines “lines” rather than ropes, so I'm a bit of a sailing newbie — but it's still very fun.

It's been far too long since my last sketch in Little M — the last one was done in Madison, June 13th — far too long ago. I have to get back into the rhythm of sketching again (seems always a challenge to make time for sketching, but so well worth it.

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Design Resources

Lately I've stumbled onto some excellent design-related blogs and podcasts, which have been challenging me professionally, and I like that.

First is The Prepared Mind, a group blog run by Chris Gee. His recent posts cover the LogoWorks story, where professional designers seem to be finding lifted ideas submitted to clients through LogoWorks by the freelance designers who work for them. If you're interested in the story, check out Chris' running coverage of the issue here:

LogoWorks or LogoJERKS?

LogoWorks: set the record straight

More LogoWorks' greatest rips

The LogoWorks controversy rages on


Two LogoWorks designers speak

LogoWorks backs out of Friday podcast

Chris is also rolling with podcasting, providing some excellent long-form discussion about the design industry, with experts in the field. Here are all of The Prepared Mind podcasts, but my favorites so far:

Podcast #1 - Remote Collaboration

Chris speaks with Neil Tortorella about designers using remote collaboration to work with team members around the world, the impact of globalism on design, the challenge for designers to step up as leaders to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and more. Excellent discussion!

Podcast #6: Emily Cohen, the business of GD

Emily Cohen consults creative professionals on the design business. Listen as Chris talks with her about the business of graphic design and as she shares tips with designers for improving themselves business-wise.

Podcast #4: GK VanPatter, NextDesign Institute

Chris talks with GK VanPatter of NextDesign Leadership Institute about NextD, the design world, design leadership and the professional challenges facing designers in the 21st century.

More Design Podcasts

I've also come across two other design-oriented podcasts, but have not had time to listen this week. I hope to dive into these next week:

Typeradio Podcast (focused on typography and graphic design)

Icon-o-Cast Podcast (discussion on design in general)

Belief Design & Life Action Experiments

Also, in the same vein as the Pollinate: Chain Reaction movie I learned of from Jason Santa Maria, here is a followup film by Belief about a creative workspace:

Belief Pollinate: The Common Desk (VERY large Quicktime movie)

This piece is funny, edgy, rough, but very challenging ideas about changing up your work space and process for better creativity.

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Indian Curry Recipes Request

Indian CurryLast weekend we travelled down to Illinois, to attend one of Nathan's friends' 3rd birthday party. While we were there, I had a chance to meet and talk with a friendly Indian couple attending the party with their daughter.

I mentioned how much I love Indian cuisine and curries particularly, asking a few questions about curry (what's good, where to but it, etc.). Before I could say “I love chicken curry” the woman I was chatting with offered me some of her own home-made curry! While our kids played, she zipped across the street to her home, and bagged up a good amount of yellow curry and a big bag raw spices to grind my own garam masala, complete with ingredients and instructions! Wow!

I was so very honored to be given a gift such as this, and boy, she gave me probably half a pound of her mother's own hand-ground curry mix and a raw spices for garam masala curry! I thanked her for the curries, but more importantly, for the honor of being given such a wonderful gift!

Recipe Research

The couple also pointed me to and their food section, which I checked out back home. Unfortunately, I was a little overwhelmed with the choices, terminology and options at the site. I was able to find one good-looking chicken curry recipe after a bit of Googling, but I'd love to have some more personally recommended recipes to try with this precious curry.

Readers to the Rescue

Today I thought, hey, why not throw it out to my readers and the blogosphere? So, here I am, asking anyone out there with good curry recipes to share them with me! I particularly love Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari), but any Indian fare with (or without) curry involved interests me.

If you don't have recipes to offer but can share suggestions for websites with good recipes or which can help me understand terms, history, and other things about Indian food, I would greatly appreciate it.

Once I've gathered good recipes and links and have tried a few out, I'd like to post a follow-up article with everything compiled in a nice posting, with credit to those who have helped out (e.g. names and links).

I better go get my stack of blank 3x5 cards ready... :-)

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Lessons from the Zoo Train

My son Nathan loves riding the Zoo Train. We live very close to the Milwaukee County Zoo, so when Nathan plays outside and hears the Zoo Train whistle, he lights up and yells “ZOOO TRAIN!!”

Nathan on the Zoo Train

Any visit to the Zoo must always begin with a pilgrimage to the Zoo Train. It's just the way it's done. Zoo Train first and then the rest of the zoo afterwards, dad. That's just how civilized 2 and a half year olds do it.

The Zoo train is a scale locomotive, which runs completely around the Milwaukee County Zoo. There are two engines, a steam and a diesel, and the steam engine is highly preferred among discriminating Zoo train aficionados, like Nathan.

Upon entering the park, we head directly for the Zoo train, buy our tickets (Nathan still rides free) and wait for the next one to pull into the station. Excitement builds as the train unloads, then the conductor waves our line forward to board.

Nathan is somewhere between utter buzzing excitement and reverence for the Zoo Train. His eyes widen as he soaks in every microsecond of the experience. Once we've settled on a passenger car, we await the parting whistle.

The engine chugs, the cars jolt forward and the ride begins. In a matter of moments we're rolling at full speed, trees and grass flashing past our open train carriage, Nathan smiling a deep, satisfied smile. He's exactly where he wants to be at that very moment in time.

We wave at the people as we pass railroad crossings, laugh as we see other kids in cars ahead and behind as the train bends around the curve. Nathan lets out a giggle whenever the engine toots its whistle. This is 7 minutes of sheer perfection.

When the ride is complete, Nathan is completely content and satisfied. He never fights to stay onboard and never demands a second ride once we're done. Somehow he's found happiness in a single, perfect ride on the Zoo Train.

What a great lesson for me. How can I learn to be content and satisfied when joyful times come? Learning to accept, absorb and revel in those moments, without any thoughts of reviving the moment later or in vain attempts to recreate the moment by grasping for more.

Like my son, I must learn to live in the moments and embrace them for what they are. I desire to become fully satisfied — just like Nathan on the Zoo Train.

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