Archive for January, 2009

23rd January
2009
written by Steph
41xwagpe7l

As I revealed in my last bookish post, The Morning News’s Tournament of Books books (heh) turned out to be quite difficult to borrow from my campus library.  Consequently, I turned to the local branch of the Nashville Public Library, and decided to raid their collection for whichever ToB contenders they had on hand (while placing holds on the other ones).  Thankfully, when we arrived at the library, the four books they claimed to have were easily located, which made the trip immensely more rewarding than my frigid foray into the campus library.  This is of course barring the little snafu in which we arrived at the library at 1 pm, under the impression that it opened at noon, when in fact it doesn’t open until 2 pm on Sundays.  But with that extra hour we just popped over to the Humane Association to play with puppies to while away the time, which is really just as good a use of our time… so it wasn’t really all that catastrophic.  Anyway, all of this backstory is really just leading up to the part where I even dutifully paid my overdue fines while at the library, which amounted to the exorbitant sum of 10¢.  Why do I share this?  Because the dude at the fines counter actually asked if I wanted a receipt for this transaction.  I hope he is required to ask that of everyone, but felt chagrinned for doing so.  Seriously, people.  I paid my fine with what looks like a Toronto bus token (but was worth far less than that), and he asks if I want documented proof of this.

Aaaaanyway, back to the real topic at hand: books!  I was going to start the one book I had to borrow in large-text (it was the only copy they had available!), but it smelled really strongly of old-lady perfume and was making me feel nauseous just holding it, so I’m gonna hold off (heh) on that one for a while.  [As an aside, I think I’ve heard that you can put smelly books in plastic bags and place them in your freezer for a few days to destinkify them, but I might have just made this up.  Have any of you successfully dealt with this issue in the past?]  So, I wound up picking up A Partisan’s Daughter instead, perhaps in part because it was the shortest looking book in the stack.  And that’s how we got here.

Have you noticed that I’ve kind of been dragging my feet when it comes to talking about the book?

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23rd January
2009
written by Tony
Obama's campaign website

Obama's campaign website

The new White House website

The new White House website

I discovered today that there is a new whitehouse.gov, so I decided to check it out. You can see the screen shots above (click on the right side of the  expanded image to go to the next and the left to go to the previous to make a quick comparison between the two).  I have to say I am very pleasantly surprised by the continued outpouring of good design from Obama. As you recall, I was very impressed by Obama’s first site and certainly like to attribute the use of best practices, design-wise, to some of (actually a lot of) his success. As I browsed through the new White House site several things struck me.

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22nd January
2009
written by Steph
Peanut Chicken Curry

Chicken Peanut Curry

My friend Simona is always asking me to post more recipes and cooking stuff on here, and I always try to come up with excuses and reasons for why I don’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like to cook – I’m one of those strange birds who finds it a stress-reliever and fun – but I also tend to be one of those people who cooks via intuition and “what feels right”, so trying to document the process is somewhat painful and counterintuitive for me.  I am not entirely sure that I could make exactly the same thing twice, because I always end up tweaking things and adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Also?  I pretty much never measure things when I cook, which is why it is generally Tony, and not me, who does the baking around here.  Oh, and generally, by the time I finish cooking, we’re hungry and just want to dig in, so we often forget to snap a picture of our meal, and I don’t know about you, but what is a recipe without a picture?  Not one that I’m going to try out, that’s for sure!

But last night, I made a concerted effort to get Tony to take some nice pictures of our meal before we dug in, and I also tried to mentally keep track of what I was doing as I cooked, so that I could pass along a great weeknight recipe to all of you.  This is really a great recipe for several reasons: 1) it’s quick and easy to make; 2) the ingredients list is not that long; 3) similarly, you likely have all of the crucial ingredients on hand already in your kitchen, and if not, they’re all pretty easy to snag on your next grocery run.  So, without further ado, let’s get onto the recipe for Chicken Peanut Curry.

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22nd January
2009
written by Tony
I know I normally put a picture from the movie up, but this is so much... better.

I know I normally put a picture from the movie up, but this is so much... better.

Ah Netflix, allower of guilt-free movie watching. I know in my heart that there is no way I would ever have seen this movie if it wasn’t for “free.” As it is, this little gem showed up in our mailbox the other night and both Steph and  I knew it was going to be delightful.

The premise is this: unlikeable guy who has no direction in life and a bitchy girlfriend who has made a cuckold of him with his best friend gets caught up in a ploy run by an association of professional assassins formerly known as “The Weavers” (lame) but who now go by the much more kick-ass “The Fraternity” even though a woman is one of their top guns. So anyway, he has some sort of poorly conceived adrenaline-related time slowing ability and they need him to kill some people. Enough said.

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21st January
2009
written by Steph

If you’re like me, you know about this little underground series called Twilight, written by Stephenie Meyer.  But maybe you haven’t actually bitten the bullet and actually read the books.  Or maybe you have read the books and loved them!  Or hated them (I sure did)!  And the thing is, it’s not just the books that have been hyped to all hell lately, but also the movie.  Because Robert Pattinson is totally dreamy (if you’re 14), and his hair is the perfect length for tangling your fingers in it (at least it was until he was all scampish and went and had it all buzzed off).  Sigh.

But maybe you’re a diehard fan of the books who doesn’t want someone else’s vision tainting your own mind pictures where Edward is all yours.  Or perhaps you just didn’t feel like shelling out money for all the pain and embarrassment the movie might bring you (heaps, on both counts), because wasn’t all of that present in spades in the books?

What I’m trying to say here is that no matter what kind of fan – or non-fan! – of Twilight you are, I have a treat for you.  Click on the image below to watch a 30-second synopsis of the film as enacted by cartoon bunnies!  You get all the story in considerably less time than it would take you to read the book or watch the movie… and in the case of the latter, I’d wager the acting is better in this version anyway!

(There’s no hard link for this video, so hopefully clicking the pretty picture will get you what you want, but if not, it should get you to a flash player whose sidebar you can scroll through in order to find the correct video!  Link opens up in a new window.)

Click me and allow hilarity to ensue!

Click me and allow hilarity to ensue!

21st January
2009
written by Steph
loud-close

Faithful readers of this site might be crying out right now, “What’s this?!? ELIC is not listed as a contender in this year’s Tournament of Books!  It was published in 2005.  You said you were going to try to read through the ToB books next, so… what up?”  I know, I know, I was supposed to start on my ToB reading after giving up on Eve, but here’s the thing:  Last Friday, I bundled up and set off for the central library on campus, which claimed to have 5 of the titles on my list available.  When I got there, I found out that one of the books was now reserved for someone (never mind that I can’t figure out how to reserve books myself), two of the books that were listed as being in the stacks were decidedly not in their designated areas, and one of the books penned by a Spanish-language author was in fact the Spanish-language edition.  Which left me with 1 book… or a 20% success rate.  Not good.  It was so cold out and I had braved it for 1 lousy book?  Well, on my way out, I happened to pass by the “Leisure Reading” shelf and ELIC caught my eye.  I’ve been wanting to read it for several years now, and I figured that since I was there I might as well pick it up.  After all, the check-out period for books from the campus library is a lengthy 3 months… or so I thought.  Turns out, Leisure books only have a TWO WEEK check-out period, which is kind of ironic, since for some, that might require reading at a decidedly unleisurely pace.  Once I realized this, I decided that I had better read ELIC first, given that it was due back so much sooner.
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20th January
2009
written by Tony
I made this. Why does that matter? I'll tell you later.

I made this. Why does that matter? I'll tell you later (yes, I did the illustration myself).

This is a post for anyone who is going to or has worked with a designer. However, this is mostly a post dedicated to new and (to use a fine arts term) “naive” designers out there. And also to you experienced designers who haven’t stopped to think about some of the things we do every day and why we do (or don’t) do them. This is also a post that will touch on how I see the design world changing (briefly – I’m planing another post on where I see design going in the next 10 years) and what I think a good designer needs to know in order to stay relevant. This is going to be a long post.

I have been designing for a little while now (going on 4 years as a “professional”) and it recently hit me that I may finally know some of what I am talking about when it comes to design. I guess I had one of those moments, moments I assume all brilliant  designers have :), when I realized that my eye for good type and aesthetics has finally matured. The moment occurred when I was looking over some old work a former intern did and I started reading my comments for revisions. He was doing things with the type and layout that I know I did when I was a student and as I looked over my suggested changes I realized that I understood why I suggested them, and it wasn’t just rote recitation or arbitrary preference. This lead me to think about design vernacular and realize just how much time and work goes into having a good design vocabulary. It’s one thing to know what you should and shouldn’t do, but entirely another to understand why. I believe that basic understanding of why is what really informs good design.

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20th January
2009
written by Steph
Yes you can (watch history happen)!

Yes you can (watch history happen)!

Remember back on November 4th, when there was that historic election in which Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States?  Well, that decision is finally paying its dividends today, as he gets sworn in at 11:30 am EST on Capitol Hill (where America happens, and which Tony and I saw the inchoate beginnings of the inauguration stage and hoo ha, all the way back in November).  Everyone knows that Tuesday is a slack day, so even if you aren’t out in Washington, D.C., (and who could blame you when a single night in a hotel in the area is setting people back my month’s rent (and that’s just for the cheap seats)!), you can still watch the festivities online; I’ll be tuning in to CNN’s coverage.  I suppose that every day, history happens, it’s just that some parts of history will be better remembered than others, and I promise you this will be one of them.  I mean, come on!  He’s gonna get sworn in using the same bible the Abraham Lincoln used… No one’s ever done that before!  That’s what all this hubub is about, right?

And if you are in D.C., let Obamania reign supreme!  Head over to Asia Nine, won’t you, and have the Lame Duck sushi roll in honor of Dubya.  Apparently George W has never been so sweet… or spicy!  Personally, all the way out here in Nashville, I think I’m gonna celebrate with an Inauguration Partini (recipe below)… has American politics ever tasted so sweet?

Inaugural Partini

1 part Grey Goose Le Citron flavored vodka

Sweet taste of liberty!  Hope it doesn't taste like pennies...

Sweet taste of liberty! Hope it doesn't taste like pennies...

½ part Mandarin Napoleon
½ part honey
¾ part hot water
½ part lemon
½ part orange juice
Pinch of star anise powder
1 star anise

In a cocktail shaker, place the honey and hot water; stir to dissolve. Add Le Citron, Mandarin Napoleon, lemon juice, orange juice and star anise powder. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Garnish with star anise and relish with pride.

19th January
2009
written by Steph and Tony

Devoted readers, Steph & Tony Investigate! has decided to hit the big time! In order to allow this vanity project to spiral completely out of control, and so we can customize our site exactly as we wish (or at least to the best of Tony’s CSS abilities), we’ve gone ahead and set up our own hosting, complete with a shiny new URL. But one that’s easy to remember, if not a handful to type. Please update your bookmarks (contained in little black books, naturally) or links to our new page: www.stephandtonyinvestigate.com

But, of course, if you’re reading this, you already know that because, well, you’re already here!

As a treat, the site has undergone a bit of makeover (see clip below!) as well. New site, new look, but all of the great content you’ve come to adore (“great” being a relative term, that might in fact just refer to the lengths of our posts…)!   Let us know what you think!

P.S.  We bear no responsibility for the strong likelihood that after clicking the YouTube video below you will have the “Makeover” song stuck in your head for a good long while.

16th January
2009
written by Steph and Tony
Na na na na na na na na na na na BATBEAR! (see below)

Na na na na na na na na na na na BATBEAR! (see below)

Steph’s Take

No this isn’t one of those Sci-Fi channel made-for-tv movies in which a hybrid man-bear (pig?) monster terrorizes people.  I don’t know about you, but personally my favorite types of documentaries are slightly kooky and a little quirky.  Which is why I could hardly resist when I stumbled across Grizzly Man in the documentaries section on Netflix.  A movie about a guy who yearly goes to the northern wilderness in order to “protect” the local population of grizzly bears?  Sign me up!

The movie is directed and narrated by Werner Herzog, who edited over 100 hours of footage shot by one Timothy Treadwell, the founder of the nature preservationist group Grizzly People.  The movie showcases a good deal of Treadwell’s footage of the bears that he captured over the summer months that he had spent out in the wild over the course of the past 13 years.  Of course, Treadwell often features prominently in a lot of the footage, so rather than an eye-opening exploration of the ursine community, this is more the examination of the man himself.  Within the first half hour of the doc, you learn that Treadwell and his girlfriend wound up perishing in Alaska, ironically mauled and devoured by an ornery grizzly.

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