As it is the time of the year of reflection, and of looking forward, i figured it was time to update this blog with an overview of what 2010 has been about for me. I hope some of you find it interesting. haha.
I listen to music every single day. on the bus ride to work, at work, bus ride home, and then again at home, including up and while i go to sleep. I have music for every possible mood i’m in. But i guess i can’t list them all, so here are the most memorable ones from 2010:
- Plastic Beach - Gorillaz
- Red Album - Baroness
- In Rainbows - Radiohead
- Lateralus - Tool
- Crack the Skye - Mastodon
Red Wine / Caduceus Cellars
I was never really interested in drinking red wine. But this year i started looking at it more closely after finally taking the plunge and ordering a handful of bottles of wine from Caduceus Cellars in Arizona. For those that don’t know, Caduceus Cellars is the winery that Maynard James Keenan from Tool / A Perfect Circle / Puscifer started in and around 2004. Anyway, since my first order, i’ve placed yet more orders, and have been enjoying a number of bottles they produce. I’ve also started looking to other winery’s and trying to understand the types of wines i like. Baby steps though.
Coffee wasn’t as much on the agenda this year as i might have thought. I discovered that the fancy coffee machine i had required too much effort in order to get out decent coffee. And also made a big mess. I’ve recently opted for a simpler, albeit less exciting and awesome Nespresso machine. But i’m enjoying being able to have a quick coffee more now.
- Kick Ass - This was a true underdog story. and it was super awesome fun.
- Toy Story 3 - A great memorable film in the trilogy. really enjoyed it.
- Scott Pilgrim - This movie was just awesome on all levels.
- Social Network - Found it very captivating, some great dialogue.
- Tangled - Disney finally doing some amazing story telling again. Loved it!
- Tron - Visually and Aurally amazing. story was so-so. but SOOO PRETTY!!
- Black Swan - Just saw it and loved it.
- Somewhere - Not out yet but suspect i’ll love it. haha.
3rd Party iPhone Apps
I’ve tried a bunch of 3rd party iPhone/iPad apps this year. Certainly there has been a lot of great ones, a lot of average ones, but certainly it’s been fun to try them all out. I don’t really want to go into too much detail about everything i’ve tried. So i thought i’d just outline the apps that have lasted the longest on my phone without me deleting them, here they are:
- Amazon Windowshop (iPad)
Twitterrific has been with me since the start, and while i had spent a brief stint with Tweetie for a while. When Twitterrific came out with a simplified UI in one of their updates i was back and fully on board. I’ve been using it since, and love it on the iPad and iPhone.
Instagram has been only a recent addition to my springboard, but it seems to be lasting quite a while. I use it, and check my timeline multiple times per day. The only issue i have with it is the visual design. I think it just needs a little more time on it, and it could be perfect.
Yelp, eBay, and Amazon Windowshop.
All three of these apps are pretty utilitarian, but they help me do shopping, or get around the city.
Art & Avatars
This year i rediscovered artist Chet Zar, who i had learnt about through the work he did for the band Tool. Anyway i purchased a print of his called Lilith, which i was really drawn to when i saw it on his website. From there i went on to purchase an old perhaps completely cheesey, (but amazing) print from an artist known as J.H.Lynch, who did a lot of these beautiful portraits of women from the 1970s. The piece i bought was called Autumn Leaves, which was featured in the Stanley Kubrick film Clockwork Orange.
On Twitter, i had been using an avatar i made by combining the the smiley face from the internet meme ‘Awesome’ with a cloud shape, of course based on that of where i work. and while it was perfect for me. I really had wanted a change. So it dawned on me to ask other artists if they’d like to get involved and do there own take on it. It was a great project. and i had lots of amazing and awesome people contribute towards it. I am truly grateful for all those that took part. It was a fun ride for sure!
I also picked up from prints by an artist called Kevin Tong, who did some great designs based on the books Fight Club, and Invisible Monsters. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly at the San Francisco Renegade Art Fair where i purchased the two.
I also commissioned a second painting from Chet Zar to go on the other wall in my lounge. This time an image of a sail boat out on the seas with two people on board. It was an amazing picture that i’m very happy with.
I was also lucky to take part in an auction at Pixar to support the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum. And i managed to take home a drawing by storyboard artist James Robertson of Lotso. Which is now hanging in my dining room.
I still have plenty of wall space left. I wonder what should be next on my walls! :-D
- Breaking Bad
- Twin Peaks
- Boardwalk Empire
- True Blood
I discovered fish this year. I hadn’t eaten fish much ever before. I had food poisoning from a small piece of fish i had when i was very little, and was in hospital because of it. I guess my parents never really had fish in the house since. So i always hated the smell of it, or the texture (if i ate some). If i was presented with a fish based meal at a friends house for dinner, i would of course eat it and be very polite about it, as i didn’t want to cause a fuss. But you know what. This year i started trying it more and more, and i really enjoy it. I believe it was Shrimp that was the gateway fish/seafood for me. Then sushi, then tuna, salmon, and so on. Perhaps 2011 i’ll try a lot more. Bring it on!
I also discovered that i hate cooking in my apartment. I cooked a lot more in Manchester, exponentially more. I suspect it’s something to do with the fact the oven/stove makes the kitchen unbearable to stay in if you’re in there for more than 10mins with it all on. 2011, i need to make some changes here. Probably move apartment.
I also learnt loads about making software, learning from mistakes, and that product design isn’t just about drawing pictures and building prototypes / wireframes, it’s about listening, positioning, planning, presenting, rethinking, redoing, re-itterating again and again. But it’s something i really really love doing. I feel like i’ve learnt so much already. But i know i’m only scratching the surface.
2011 i’m hoping will be a year no longer about settling in, and getting accustomed to living in the US, and working where i work. I hope it will be a year of hard focused and detailed work. A year of meeting a lot of new and amazing people. And also a year of giving back a little bit. 2010 was very much a Me year, and i hope to change this somewhat.
Right, this post has gotten way longer than i expected. roll on 2011! :-D
Mr Prickle Pants looks sad.
A sneak peak at the frame for the Chet Zar painting i recently had commissioned.
I got to meet Neil Finn from Crowded House. Photobomb by Nick Seymour (Crowded House too).
Saw this online a few years ago and found it amusing. So when i saw it last night, i had to pick it up. Will work great with us watching HBO’s ‘Carnivàle’ again.
Fog wrapping around the Transamerica Pyramid.
The only coin in the US of any value. The quarter dollar. I need 14 to do my laundry each week. :-(
Now with new Gallery icon. :-D
Now with matching Table™ and Random Candle™ on top!
Icons. Icons. Icons. :-D
You know, i should make this a furniture blog. I just received three of these gorgeous chairs. Matching table should be here in a month. I can’t wait.
Oh, if you insist! :-D
A stranger from the outside!
So about 6 months ago, i bought a new espresso machine, in the hopes of being able to make some better coffee at home than simply using a small stovetop espresso pot. I also bought a matching bean grinder too at the same time. And so after using it a few times each week, what have i learnt?
Well. That i have lots to learn still. Making a great shot of espresso, is tricky. And steaming the milk correctly, and consistently is also tricky. It’s been fun though.
The things that have coursed me the most problems have been constantly changing the beans that i use, and not really paying attention to the roast date of the bean. I think this fundamentally effects the quality and ease of producing a better shot.
My problems with the milk have been that sometimes i’ll put the steaming wand too low, or too high still, and it’ll either bubble too much producing too much foam, or bubbles too big, or i’ll not have enough foam.
Anyway, i’m glad i bought these machines. Miss Silvia is a picky little machine, but we’ll get there in the end i’m sure.