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  1. Delicious Vegan Oatmeal Cookies (You don’t have to tell anyone they’re Vegan!)

    November 19, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    I started making vegan cookies years ago since my brother was vegan, we started cooking vegan so we all could eat the same goodies.  We used to tease Thomas saying that “vegan deserts are just sad.”  But these vegan cookies (and others I’ll post as I make them, like my famous Snickerdoodles) are so good you can “omit” the fact that they’re Vegan to your friends and family who would otherwise not want them, and no one will be the wiser!

    Many recipes can be adapted to be vegan without losing out on flavor, and this is definitely one of them!  I adapted the classic “Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies” recipe from the Quaker Oats box as follows.  The water mixed with baking powder was my egg replacement, and Earth Balance my butter replacement, it’s the best butter substitute: EVER. I like it better than real butter.

    Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

    Vegan Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies:

    1/2 lb. (2 sticks) Earth Balance (softened, about half a tub.)
    1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup water mixed with 1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
    3 cups Quaker Oats (old-fashioned, quick oats are no good.)
    1 cup raisins (next time I’m doing half dried cranberries!)

    Heat oven to 350°F.

    Beat together Earth Balance and sugars until creamy. Add water & baking powder mix and vanilla; beat well.

    Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir together until no streaks remain.

    Stir this into the butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well.

    Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

    Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

    Makes about 4 dozen (makes a LOT of cookies).

    Best when served right out of the oven :)  You might want to make these with some company!  Also, I got to use some of my favorite old-timey pieces to show off the cookies: my favorite cake tin in Kromex!

    Vegan Oatmeal Cookies in Vintage Kromex

    I have almost the entire Kromex set, one of my 50’s housewife weaknesses.

    I’ve been trying to collect the entire set for years and I think I’m only missing a couple pieces like a bread box and rice canister :)

    Hope these cookies turn out good for you! Do let me know! Especially if you trick non-vegan sympathizers with this one!

    xoxo

    Kaela

    Syndicated from www.LOLKITTY.info


  2. Vestigial organs, moth-erflies, and bad engineering.

    November 6, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    I frequently mull over the internet taking in new information.  With Chris being a Wikipedia junkie, it’s needless to say, we have a lot to talk about.  The other day I was hit hard by the concept of “vestigial.”  Organs, genes, or whatever, I think understanding the concept of vestigial parts of our bodies is in some ways consoling and in other ways infuriating.  It sunk in the other day when I heard it referring to some odd genes and to our appendix.  Since I was in maybe first grade, I remember hearing that “the appendix is just a useless organ, it’s just there, sometimes it ruptures and kills people and that’s just the way it is.”  I was always bothered by the idea of an appendix, sort of like how we just accept that the way cats pur is just a mystery.  Then when I suppose the idea of vestigial organs and the appendix mixed, I thought, “why didn’t they just tell us school kids that it was a vestigial organ and that’s why it’s so useless.”

    But as I said, it’s only half consoling.  I have to think that if that’s the way it is, it’s easy to accept, since that’s how most things are.  That’s why we have such terrible genetic diseases and why we are susceptible in ways that are unfortunate.

    Nature is like that, it’s a beautiful disaster.

    We have a hoard of moths around our house that are crowding the town right now.  They do that every few years, making clouds in front of your headlights at night, and for a very brief season before going the way of the may flies.
    These moths are really charming little things that look just like butterflies but without the colourful patterns.  Their wings stand straight up like little sails, just like a monarch would,  pointing their foreboding mock-eyes to the world.  When I see them, I say to myself, “oh, another moth-er-fly.”  After hearing Richard Dawkins once talk about “sloths” pronouncing it with a long “o” sound, I make myself laugh by calling them “moth-er-flies” with a long “o” like some sarcastic biologist.  They are the sort of things that make me think Nature is lovely, even dull grey moth-er-flies.

    But then I still have nagging frustrations with genetic disorders.  Even just one or two genes that do the wrong thing, and you can suffer all your life.  Even with mild genetic problems, there is nothing we can do but treat the symptoms.  Why is there childhood cancer?  Why is birth so traumatic?  Why do so many things have to die, just for there to be life?  Unfortunately for the natural world, survival is really the framework of the old joke: You don’t have to run faster than the bear, just faster than your friends.   And it’s true.

    This video is a good example of how clunky life is.  Select for one specific task and give the critter some basic building blocks for it’s body and look how absurd these virtual critters can be, but still be technically successful.

    Unfortunately for humans, we can sit there and think about how crazy this is.  Being self-aware is also a mixed blessing.  Just looking at those little creatures, they look like they’re suffering. Look at how much they struggle to be best at the one assigned task.  This makes me want to rant and rave about how cool I think it would be for humans to be cyberized. I’ll probably never see the day.  Though there are some cool things happening in science right now, I would still reserve this for another post.

    My main reason for focusing on this is the burden just women have with respect to bad design from evolution.  I’m the kind of person who’s a bit like a hot house flower when it comes to being fragile and temperamental.  I always seem to be getting sick with something, and it can all be chalked up to bad engineering.

    But Nature doesn’t have it all wrong, I think it went right making a cute peanut powered companion of mine, Artie.  But I do think that the philosophies we have, the way we live life, and our outlook on everything is based on our understanding that we have to struggle to find success.  There is no other way to be successful on this planet, because it’s the foundations of our reality.

    Nobody can win without making others fail, and it’s all we can do to make it so that we aren’t the ones doing the failing.


  3. Vintage Reproduction Faux Bakelite

    November 4, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    I had one of those days where my desire to be creative was overwhelming.

    Chris bought me this darling piece of Bakelite that is a simple but charming tiki head purse clasp.  I really loved it, and when I look at all the great bakelite pieces out there, I think it’s a shame that they are so expensive and hard to find.

    So I did what I always do when authentic vintage pieces aren’t as accessible as I’d like: I made vintage.

    Faux Bakelite Tiki Heads for sale now!

    Faux Bakelite Tiki Heads for sale now!

    I took some polymer clay that I’ve had some fun with recently making cute old-fashioned kind of treat charms, and tried my hand at making these little guys.

    I couldn’t get close enough to the face with my own hands, working with this new medium was a little cumbersome.  I do think it has a great deal of flexibility and I would like to do many, many more pieces like this.  I made a mold from the clay itself and baked it.  I made two faces and spent about an hour on them each getting the details just right.

    After putting on the glaze I was very satisfied with these pieces.  I think there’s a lot of potential for these to be a star piece in vintage inspired wardrobes where real bakelite is just not practical.  For one thing, when you wear real Bakelite, it makes you smell like formaldehyde, and the bangles can stain your skin! Yuck!  I’m not sure if polymer clay is sturdy enough to be a bangle, but this is definitely my next project, among a couple other Bakelite pieces I have saved photos of in the hopes of being able to recreate them one day.

    Hope you enjoyed them!  They’re for sale at Lipstick Vogue or my etsy store.

    xoxo
    -Kaela


  4. How we trick ourselves, mortality, confirmation bias, and being home alone.

    November 3, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    In the spooky Autumnal atmosphere of Wrightwood and this creeky, tiny house, I find myself home alone and up late nights because of my Chris’ new graveyard shift schedule.  To be perfectly clear, I do not believe it ghosts, spirits, or anything supernatural.  However, I am one of the easiest people to scare, and being alone at night brings it out in me.

    Even the thought of ghosts when I’m home alone at night like this makes my hair raise.  Our resident mouse, Mickey, causes some noise that spooks me, but nothing like the concept of ghosts.

    I had a childhood friend, Nicole, that was told not to play with me because I “believed in ghosts.”  Unfortunately for me, I never really did, but I always very much wanted to believe, so I would try to find out for myself.  Nicole and I would walk the halls on sleepovers with flashlights and cameras trying to catch something.  I truly want to discover what there might be out there: but I suppose I never did find anything and my suspicions never went away.

    I think that it’s very easy for people to believe in ghosts.  We’re very social creatures by nature, and when we hear or see something we can’t identify, we are more likely to visualize a face or a person where there isn’t one.  Our brains are just wired to see faces. It’s really been nagging at me that I feel so inclined to be spooked by “ghost” feelings.  Especially being such a skeptic (with exceptions to be pretty gullible in trusting in people). I think by now I have a feeling for how my mind observes things, and it does seek out explanations that are human based.

    Chris’ mom passed away recently, I was living there around that time.  I remember very soon after he lost his mom, his Aunt Judi came to be with them. It was a very sad time, in a way that the feeling just hangs in the air.  I suppose this is where my mind’s susceptibility comes in, because I was so empathetic to this terrible sadness and helplessness of the whole situation.  One night, I fell asleep while Judi and Chris’ dad were talking, and started dreaming about Chris’ mom, Jody.  Probably because of the way American culture views ghosts, my dream reflected the “unfinished business” of a soul stuck in this world (not something I’d think of Jody, but just how my mind was putting the situation together), though there were a lot of complicated elements of the dream that could go into too much detail. (Not believing in supernatural, I don’t usually give much weight to dreams, but the fact that it’s what our brains do with their down time is important enough to note, especially when they have significant effects on us).  I distinctly felt that she was still there with us, and half way between dreaming and waking I heard Judi’s voice, thinking it was Jody’s. By the time I was fully awake, I realized the reality of the situation, that she wasn’t really there, and that my mind was so deceived, I wept.  I can’t even imagine what his family was going through, what terrible processes of the mind and heart a person must surmount when losing someone like Jody.  Our entire town grieved, even I heard about it everywhere I went.  To me, at least to my logical senses, that’s the best we can hope for as far as immortality: being remembered.

    Even months later, we were saying how the unseasonal snows were Jody’s doing. Chris being even more of a skeptic than me, I was surprised that he felt like that, too.  I remember walking the dark halls in Chris’ house thinking, “I hope Jody thinks I’m good for her son” as though she was over my shoulder scrutinizing me. Sometimes I still wonder what my Grandmother, Vivian, would think seeing me do this or that. It’s an impossible habit to break.  It’s so human to have simply the concept of a person as much the reality as them existing in the flesh.  Why is this? Are there studies on this? I feel like I have to know.

    Especially what is nagging at me is the concept of a stranger ghost.  Someone we don’t know that’s there just to go “boo!” And hide in the shadows.  Why am I so frightened of the dark and of bumps in the night?  I am a boyfriend described “militant atheist.”  I guess that means I come off too strong in bashing creationism. But I should be level headed enough to dismiss the concept of a ghost or spirit, right?

    I just saw a really great video on “Confirmation Bias” on YouTube that made me think to post a blog about this, and also that I’m so scared for no reason.  Our culture has a confirmation bias of the supernatural.  There’s not a stitch of doubt that we’re all about anything that’s unproven by science. We love ghosts, chupacabra, homeopathy, feng shui, and anything else not approved by the FDA.  Science is viewed as the spoil-sport, that comes in and tells you how the magic trick is done right as you’re being delighted in the mystery of it.  Perhaps it is simply a fascination with the unknown that is strong enough to let us trick ourselves.  I think this is really an issue of psychology.

    Now that confirmation bias I was talking about, there is a frighteningly powerful technology that’s making it even more widespread:  The Internet.  There are a host of ridiculous misinformation sources like: creationwiki, HIV/AIDS conspiracy, or even these wackjob conspiracy theorists.  Now people who are suspicious of something we all know is legitimate can have their misinformed views reinforced until they are mindless drones of the people who start these messes.  Our minds are very powerful at adapting to the circumstances.  We are inclined to trust authority figures and most importantly, popular belief.  If everyone says there is an afterlife, that there is a grey area to this afterlife, and that they themselves have personal experiences with it, it is a hard thing to completely remove from your own reality.  I myself cannot do it.

    Superstition is another example of this.  I was a very superstitious little girl, always counting things in even numbers and doing things the lucky way, without exception.  I grew out of these tendencies for the most part, but I still have secret lucky items that I’ll put in my purse for a job interview, or such.  I find myself thinking, “this is so silly” and almost breaking the habit, but going back and saying “well, it couldn’t hurt!”  Or even thinking how the concept of having something lucky is like a placebo, and even though I know I’m using a placebo of lucky superstition, I can still benefit from it…… I know, it’s crazy.  But it’s better than giving in to the superstition all the way, right?

    The Amazing Randi is one of my favorite celebrities.  Coming from a completely unscientific background, he comes from the background of tricking people.  Since one of his main missions has been to teach people how they can be tricked, I’ve been following his media appearances closely in the past year or so, trying to learn from what fools people, especially myself.  I really think that being superstitious, being creationists, being gullible, or letting our cognitive functions get hijacked for misuse is a real problem that we have to overcome as a society.  Believing in innocent tricks, like Randi says, is actually dangerous because it leads us to believe in larger “magic tricks” that can get us into much worse trouble (like cults, or Nigerian business men).

    My point is this: I spend a lot of effort and thought in my life to try to be a more rational and inquisitive thinker.  It’s not easy, for certain.  I love the lure of mystery like anyone else, but more than mystery, I love discovery.  I love when scientists find new evidence that challenges current beliefs.  One of the best ways to enjoy that kind of discovery is in myself.  Why is the status quo as it is?  How can it be different? And to what ends?

    The small morsel of reality that we savor with our limited perception is more spectacular than we can imagine.  I think Carl Sagan, my hero, said it best…

    It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.


  5. Fresh Seasonal Dish: Cranberry Oatmeal

    November 1, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    Since my last blog post about food seemed to be more of a hit than my other posts, I decided I’d keep adding new recipes as I tried them or invented them.  This was one of those “what’s around” dishes.

    Ingredients:

    Handful of fresh cranberries
    About 1 serving of Oatmeal
    Dash of sugar
    Enough water to cover the oats in the bowl
    Soymilk

    I took some rolled oats (none of that instant oatmeal, the regular stuff only takes 2 minutes and taste way better), put the oats in a bowl and put a handful of fresh cranberries on top. Sprinkle about a tbsp of sugar on top and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes.

    Most of the cranberries will pop when it’s done.  Pour in a dash of soymilk and stir it up.  It’s very flavorful and good to warm you up!

    Voila!  I could eat this stuff all day!

    Mmm, Cranberries!

    Mmm, Cranberries!

    The best thing is that this dish is not only unbelievably delicious but it’s also really healthy for you!
    The oatmeal is full of fiber, and the cranberries are full of vitamins and antioxidants.  I always try different ways to make oatmeal taste good and so far I think that this by far beats them all.
    Unlike other berries, cranberries stay more firm and true to their flavor in oatmeal.  Plus, they’re very tart, but mixed into just a tiny bit of sugar, they sweeten up to a really rich flavor.
    I’m the kind of girl who grew up never, ever, had canned cranberry sauce.  Cranberries are one of my favorite foods.  So I’ll share with you may cranberry recipe adventures this season.

    Enjoy!

    xoxo

    Kaela


  6. Homemade Marinara- Easier than you think!

    October 30, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    So I decided that being a wooden-spoon shaking Italian chick in the kitchen means nothing if you can’t make a fine marinara sauce from scratch. That means from real, fresh tomatoes, yes.  If I am to be a real woman in the kitchen, I’ve got to get a few impressive recipes perfected.

    Oh, and by the way, my feminist friends: Being a good cook isn’t being a “slave” to my role in society.  In fact, I think being artfully skilled in the ways of being a woman is one of the best things a girl can do for herself.  It keeps the men wondering how we do it so easily, and being smart and strong on top of it is the icing on the cake.  At least don’t let yourself be a poor cook because you think you’re making some kind of statement!  My “vintage disposition” inclines me to love these humble and underrated things you can do for fun.

    So I had mixed feelings about sauce from scratch. I thought it would be easy to do but that I might mess it up just as easily.  After having had some real w.o.p. sauce from an ex’s brother-in-law, I had an idea of how I wanted to make it.  So here’s how it went!

    Ingredients:

    About 16 roma tomatoes (spend your time finding the good ripe ones, without any green).
    About 1 bulb of garlic (I know, a bulb. Or be a sissy and have half a bulb… to taste.)
    About 3 tablespoons of olive oil (I like my sauce a little oily but when I made it I went with about 5 tablespoons and it was too much!)
    Dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme. About 1 tablespoon of basil and a teaspoon each of the others.
    Salt to taste (You might get away with a bit less salt than jarred sauce, especially if you get good tomatoes, and let the sauce simmer longer)
    Fresh Mozzarella (makes this dish better than going out, honestly)

    Yummm, Tomatoes!

    Yummm, Tomatoes!

    How to make the marinara:

    You’ll want to peel the tomatoes, certainly.  So get some water boiling.  While the water is heating up, cut the tops off of the tomatoes and cut a little “X” at the bottom to make peeling easier.
    When the water is at a full boil, toss the tomatoes in and start cutting up the garlic.  Keep an eye on them because they won’t need to be in very long.  Once you start seeing the skins get wrinkly or peeling away from the “x” cut on the bottom strain them and let the tomatoes cool.
    You probably still have a lot of garlic to cut, so chop the rest of it while the tomatoes cool enough for you to handle them to peel them.
    Peel the tomatoes.  This is a very hand-oriented process.  Hopefully you enjoy getting your hands in a squishy mess.

    After you get the peels off, now comes the fun part, squishing!  Get a big bowl that can easily hold all the tomatoes and their juices. I squished my tomatoes by hand.  If you don’t like tomato seeds (and why wouldn’t you?) you can squeeze the juice into a separate bowl and strain them out of the tomato juice.  You’ll need all the liquid that’s in there though, so don’t drain it out.  I personally liked the seeds in, it felt more “rustic” and tomato-y.

    Once you’ve got them mostly squished, you can mash them further with a hand masher.  People online say to put it in a food processor and I couldn’t disagree more.  Hand mushing it is much better because you can have it a little chunky, I think it would be a bit boring if the tomatoes were blended. Plus it adds an extra step that is not as fun as hand mushing, and pretty much doubles the clean-up time.

    Also, note that there is no sugar in this recipe.  Adding sugar to tomato sauce has always been a pet-peeve of mine. I never buy canned sauce with sugar, ever.  It’s usually used to hide the flavor of poor quality ingredients. It can bring out the flavor if you use it sparingly, like salt does.  If you have poor quality tomatoes or just are used to sugar-added stuff, I’d say keep it under a teaspoon, that’s all you should need with fresh tomatoes.

    All done with squishing?  Ok, now pour the olive oil into a nice big sauce pot.  Let the oil heat up and throw in your garlic. Once it’s starting to get translucent, throw in the spices.  I like to let them soak up some of the garlic-oil flavor for a bit, but make sure they don’t burn!

    Now toss all the squished tomatoes back in the pot.  Let it simmer, uncovered, a good long time for the best flavor.  While it’s simmering you can mush the tomatoes a little more after they’ve cooked a bit and get it to the consistency you like.  I think having sauce on the stove for a half-hour is the minimum to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes.  If it’s a little bit too watery, just let it simmer longer. So you can start your pasta after you’ve got the sauce ready to simmer for a while and everything will be done together.  I took some of the fresh mozzarella, cutting it as thin as I could it kind of crumbles into little pieces so that it will melt when you put it on your piping hot sauce!

    Homemade Marinara

    Homemade Marinara

    As an afterthought, when the pasta was almost done, I took a sandwich roll, cut it in half, and microwaved some butter with some of the chopped up garlic I set aside.  Then I poured the butter & garlic on the roll and put it in the toaster oven until it browned.  Fancy, considering I used a microwave and a toaster oven :)

    I actually got my toaster oven from my full-blooded Italian Nonna (yeah, that’s grandmother to you non-Italian people, hehe).  In the spirit of the way Italians actually do things, she likes things simple and practical.  Once I asked her about some recipes, but it was almost hard for her to explain because the way her family always cooked was just throwing a bunch of what was around in some kind of meal.  Her version of bruschetta included boiled egg and corn, which surprised me, compared to my Americanized ideal of Italian food.  To me Italian food is all tomatoes, in everything, with a side of a tomato based something else.  But when you think about it, tomatoes were a new-world food, so they didn’t even have tomatoes in Italy before the Americas were discovered. :) Oh well.  I’m also not going to go grab any of the meats that Italy is famous for, so I guess I have a very small slice of Italian cooking that I’ll ever be making for myself.

    Now, this isn’t a low-fat/low-calorie dish, but if you ditch the buttered garlic bread and fresh mozzarella it’s not that bad.  Just trying to eat one serving is!

    Enjoy!

    xoxo
    Kaela


  7. Dependent on my Independence in Technology

    October 27, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    Like Technology was a bad thing.  I do more with a computer than my ancestors, grandparents, and to a certain extent my parents ever could.  I can run a dress shoppe from my home. I can email my customers on my phone, update my blog on my phone, post pointless comments to all my friends that I never connected with until Facebook came around, and I can make money from home, and it’s not a scam.  Technology is great.  And two days ago my laptop charger quit on me.

    I was without a computer for TWO DAYS.

    That’s scary for me.  I had the overwhelming feeling that I’d imagine our world would experience if all our satellites went out and all our electric was gone, like starting over.  It was that dramatic… that is, it would have been, if it wasn’t for my iPhone.  I was still able to handle customers on Etsy, and make arrangements to work on a new website.  If my phone weren’t a mini-computer, I would have been inconsolable.

    Now that I got my precious glowing-white money-maker before me again, I had to show a little love and blog about it.  I just have been doing a speed-run of catching up on the things I was working on: updating lipstickvogue.com, applying to new fancy jobs online, tracking gigs on freelance sites, handling Etsy customers, changing my blog background to the lolkitty logo that I’ve been meaning to do (do you like?), and I even fit in a complaint to godaddy for my site being down for about 60 seconds.  And all with enough time to blog about it.

    I should really get back to reading up on something constructive, so I can become more dependent on the technology that lines my greedy lil’ pockets.

    =^.^=


  8. Artie is the Wikipedia representative of his species

    October 17, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    If you go to the Wikipedia article for California Chipmunk you’ll finally see an actual photo of one of the best lookin examples of their kind, if I am a little biased.

    I didn’t realize this blog was going to be a chipmunk blog, so I promise to write about other interesting things soon.


  9. Artie Glamor Shots

    October 14, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    My bro Thomas took these lovely photos of Artie.

    Oh, hai! U has a peanut?

    Oh, hai! U has a peanut?

    He looks like this when he just wakes up too :)

    He looks like this when he just wakes up too :)

    Everything Artie sees is at such high speed he's blinking with the flash

    Everything Artie sees is at such high speed he's blinking with the flash


  10. Close the Windows & Open your MacHole.

    September 24, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    If you love computers and have most your life, you probably had a PC and ran Windows (and more likely than not Linux at some point). If you’re a total geek about your OS, you probably have criticized Mac all your life. And yes, I have too, but two things have changed this for me the general computer lovin’ public: The iPhone and Vista.

    I promise not to make this a promotional blog or something, I’m an open-source fiend like you wouldn’t believe. But Mac’s really pulled through as far as showing it’s stuff as an American company and especially in being completely ingenious.macaddict

    Basically the iPhone is my companion. To me, it represents the kind of bond that humans will likely have one day with robots, honestly. I am completely dependent on it for my communication, navigation (Google maps is invaluable), keeping me organized (alarm/calender/portfolio pics/documents and all the other usual stuff I keep on my laptop). It’s also been handy for books (has essentially become my web programming teacher, especially with an app to view code), my only device for social networking (twitter, facebook, etc. I only really bother with when I’m on the go with free time), and it’s also, of course, endlessly entertaining.

    I had the iPhone before it had 3rd party apps and even at that point it was a great phone. I’ll tell you what it isn’t though, it’s not a camera. Sorry, it’s just NOT a camera. If you need to snap a quick pic in perfect lighting of a moment you’d never be able to get otherwise, in a pinch, you can use it. I have a really great photo (my first pic with my iPhone, actually) and it’s immaculate, I’ve never taken a picture as great since. It’s a pic of the El Ray in LA billing “The Squirrel Nut Zippers” that was taken at night. Somehow it’s perfect, but that was the only luck I had with it as a camera.

    Being a bit of a spoiled brat & technology connoisseur, I always had the phone with the most bells & whistles. I’ve been a Samsung girl exclusively, LG a distant second and I won’t even get into what I think of other brands. Samsung has great cameras on their phones and they are very user friendly and functional. My favorite phone so far, that was never beat until the iPhone, was a cool Samsung that swiveled like the high tech Japanese exclusive digital video recorders at the time. It only had a 2.0megapixel camera, but the lens and automatic adjustments made the absolute most out of it. samsung swivel camera phone The only catch was Verizon’s gaudy and functionality-slaughtering proprietary interface. Basically they wanted to have “Get it Now” in your face so you’d log on to the internet and download the latest booty-shakin’ song. Bad decision on their part. They have the best service coverage for where I live, but the interface hindered the abilities of my Samsung.

    The switch to an iPhone was slightly apprehensive. After my dad give Mac a more-than-hearty go by getting the latest greatest Mac computer & wider-than-the-desk screen for his business. The OS was probably OS X 10 something, it was about 5 years ago that I think he tried it out. I used a boyfriend’s Mac computer a bit and was outrageously annoyed with the inability to organize files, namely photos. I have thousands and thousands of photos of every kind of thing, and iPhoto is my arch nemesis when it comes to organizing and using photos in any way whatsoever, then and now. Especially remembering working with those funny little one-unit Macs we used in high school, I was hoping that there wouldn’t be any clunkiness that I couldn’t handle. To me, switching OSs is not to be taken lightly.

    After I got that iPhone in my hot little hands, it wasn’t even a few minutes before it got the nickname “new boyfriend” from the old, less feature rich boyfriend, Chris. :) After he was able to benefit from the usefulness of the phone, the joking and criticisms went away.. some. But it is completely true that there is a bond that is made between humans and objects that we rely on so much. There’s a reason that cars and ships have names as though they were lovers or friends. It’s just uncommon these days because digital technology hasn’t sunk in as a potential counterpart just yet.

    After my HP laptop became more of a torture device than a tool, I pleaded for a Christmas laptop. My HP was only 2 years old and couldn’t stop overheating. I’d get a good ten minutes on it before it’d just shut off, it soaked up every virus it came across, and just felt shabby and tired. I have never been so close to throwing a computer out the window.

    When I got my MacBook for Christmas it was a brand new kind of laptop experience. There it was: shiny & white– I love everything white, I’d love to be like Grace Kelly on a white sofa with white high-pile rugs and a neat white linen dress, with a gin & tonic, my MacBook would slip into the scene quite well. I open it up, push the power button, attractive and flush to the case, and instantly the computer is on and ready for my needs. Isn’t this what the future is supposed to be like? When did we decide it was ok for there to be a hundred background processes for nothing and for ads to invade us before we even begin our session at the computer?

    This is an essential feature for me: beauty. Mac is beautiful. It’s truly a well implemented product. I am very in tune to the subtleties of my computers because I spend so much time with them, and Mac provides an experience that lets you focus on design and creativity instead of clutter. The interface of a Mac computer or phone is the standard which other devices should be striving to beat. You see these goofy Mapple & Mypod knock offs all over the place and you can tell in a second that they’re not going to be the same experience. Four buttons?! Sorry, you lost the point. Oh a keypad, nice try, but think again. Oh, now you have your own extension store, how cute. Sorry big boys, Mac wins. You’ll have to try harder to stay on top of the game.

    Everyone has an iPhone these days. And though trends that sweep popular culture are usually a thing that repels me a bit, I can’t help but feel that iPhone’s more than earned the hype. There is no superior phone available, and they nearly eliminate the practical need for a laptop for most personal and business applications. I can’t help but wonder if the streamlined ease of keeping in touch with business contacts has had some kind of positive impact on people’s businesses, even in these hard times. Even today, I was able to train a client on a website, keep up to date with my fashion business while at work, and pull of rescheduling an interview via email, Google maps showed me the way and I was there with time to spare.

    I never thought I’d say it but I’m a Mac girl now. I hope they keep up the innovation like they have been. Take a look at the latest iPod shuffle. Go look at it. It’s ridiculous. You’ll feel like James Bond. It’s smaller than my thumb and holds more music than I even owned in high school (still saying A LOT) back when I was carrying around my 64MB SD player that was so small I had to switch out the small playlist it could hold every other night or so because I’d get tired of it. That cost $400 at the time (not including that teeny tiny chip). And I’m not that old, folks. Graduating in 2003 that was near top of the line technology, so fancy you had to buy it online. My iPhone also has as much storage as my first laptop did, but that’s really showing my age now, isn’t it?

    After casually mentioning my feelings for Mac to a couple other programmers & developers I feel pretty justified in my Mac Lovin. It seems that it really has gotten to be a superior product pretty much all around. If you could install it in your own home-made computer that would be the tops, but until then, I’ll have to give Mac an overall 9.999 rating :)

    My favorite Mac abilities:
    -Beautiful in form and function.
    -Fast
    -Has really cool tricks for making your work faster (spaces, command+Tab, actually useful hot corners that always make strangers to my computer end up on my desktop and frightened, widgets are cool but should be more iPhone app-like, F3, etc)
    -Did I mention Beautiful?
    -Pretty powerful
    -Best OS for a laptop, handsdown.
    -Good if you’re a Unix person (which I’m thinking about learning a lot more about..)
    -For media stuff, presentations, etc, it can’t be beat. All of Windows looks like 90’s clipart in comparison… and Vista looks like an old Vegas cocktail waitress who puts on too much make up to hide the mess! But I digress…
    -Personalized settings are streamlined and useful.
    -Cool included software like: stickies, dictionary/thesaurus/wiki thing, iCalender, Preview (I love Preview for opening things I couldn’t otherwise view without opening the huge default program like Photoshop), TextEdit (it’s cool but I wish it was a bit better)

    Mac No-No’s:

    -A lot of native Mac programs are still awkward. iPhoto has ruined my plans to have organized pics on my Mac. Who has room for original and modified versions of every pic on their computer? And good luck browsing for them easily, you’ll have to view your entire iPhoto library everytime.
    -I hear the latest version of the Mac OS won’t automatically open the files you made with the same program you made them in. Unless that means “preview” that’s bad. Windows does similar funky stuff.
    -Keyboard friendliness of Mac is lacking and initially really bugged me. I like to tab between “yes” or “no” or other options when doing things. Other keyboard stuff is missing too.. “enter” means yes but only sometimes.
    -Toggling between open programs in Mac and Windows are different bad solutions to a big problem. The seconds I waste switching between programs probably have added up to days, I’m sure. Initially with Mac I’d click the program icon, but if you have say, 2 Firefox windows, you have no way to toggle between them. Mac is close with it’s tab+command. It wins vs. Windows but should have something more logical.
    -The X-+ in the window. Why does X not close a program, just *mostly* close it? What is the purpose of this?
    -Can’t be installed on a non-Mac computer. I hate proprietary junk. Fortunately I’m a laptop girl through and through and this doesn’t really affect me, but I would like a really powerful media computer that could also run Mac..

    Remember I said there were two reasons that Mac is the superior OS in the bipartisan world of Mac vs. Windows. Windows Vista is useless. It has made a waste of every computer it has been installed in. I’ve been using Windows since I was very little, and no other version had deviated so far from what it originally was in terms of functionality and expected features. Vista is trying to be Mac and it’s failing horribly. It switched out it’s logical control panel for one that looks pretty and is easy to get lost in. It has features that are clearly poorly tested. It’s no faster at starting up except when you first get it. And that being said, HP has gone the way of Dell by adding goofy branded programs that say, “I’m an HP and here to help! Let me help you! I’ll show you how to do it, ok? Watch!!!” Even if this is your first computer, it’s confusing and must make people actually suffer.

    The computer I use at work is running Vista. HP has an obnoxious popup that tries to remember your passwords. You get the swirly blue ring of death any time that you have more than two programs open (this is a brand new computer, and I’m talking Dreamweaver & Photoshop). The web experience is the only part that hasn’t been touched, as Firefox works well in it’s Window’s optimized ways.

    My little ol’ landlady the other day had to have me come over and help her because she changed the DPI on her computer so she could see better. Vista is so brain dead that it defaults everything to about 900% of your screen with no way to navigate the computer whatsoever to change it back. That’s unacceptable. There shouldn’t be any setting or button you can select on your computer on your own that will cause it to basically become a paperweight without the intervention of a professional. In fact, having to help her out is kind of what brought me to blog about it. It just seemed so unfair.

    Anyway, I still won’t put one of those trendy Apple stickers on my car… as cute as that would be.