It's raining, it's pouring...

So opening day... was not so much. My father in law and I boarded the 10:39 to Manhattan this AM, got off in Harlem, subwayed it back up to the Bronx, and then proceeded to wait for about 2.5-3 hours for the rain to stop.

And it didn't.

So the game was postponed... and we'll try take 2 tomorrow night. In the meantime, here's the view of the new stadium from our seats. I can't believe it's the last opening day in the old stadium!


Spring cleaning

Last night I decided to forego the gym (yeah, THAT was a tough decision), and instead, I was going to update the blog a bit (this has been on my to do list for quite some time, and was one of those things that was just going to sit there until I actually made time for it). I had no idea the path that this blog was going to take when I started it last year, but it seems that it's become my "online personality"--in that people who read it have told me that it is so me (one of my pals has even told me that she can imagine me saying each post).

So I refreshed the sidebar with a little more relevant (I think) info, and finally (finally!) updated the header to match my site. As time goes on, I'll probably refresh things here and there, depending on what's working and what's not (and I'm still trying to make that effort of posting more often); but never fear, the theme is still thoughts, musings, oddities and the like.



There are no heroes in this house

So I might've mentioned that we now have a Wii. This is the first video game console we've ever owned (aside from handheld's, like GameBoy) so it's especially exciting--the novelty has not worn off yet, for any of us.

Specifically, the novelty of Guitar Hero ("Totally worth it," Mattio says, defending the cost to his brother) has not worn off--for Ashlee and Mattio. While they have both mastered the easy level and are on to the more challenging Medium level--Mattio might even be on Hard--I can't get past the first song. Actually, no, I think I played the easiest of the easy songs (Slow Ride, by Foghat--which, by the way, 4 year old Madeline walks around the house singing. Thank you, Guitar Hero) through to completion--on like, the 7th or 8th try. Unlike Ash and Mattio, I have perfected the art of getting booed off the stage.

So when I read about Michelle Slatella's Rock Band woes in yesterday's Times, I could identify all too well. Seriously, I think the only reason Ashlee invites me to play is to have a good laugh.

Ah well, at least I know I'm not alone.


I heart Al Gore

So this morning, I had a meeting with my pal Debbie Fay of Bespeak Presentations; we actually met in her dining room, because she said her office resembled Al Gore's.


Then she told me that last year, the Times ran a photo of Al Gore in his office, and it was a mess. And she said, if Al Gore's office looks like that--and look at what he's accomplished in his life!--then I don't feel so bad about mine.

Nor do I, Deb; nor do I.

PS. View larger pic here. Oh, and hey Al Gore, sweet monitor setup!


Best. Customer. Service. Ever.

I love Starbucks.

I don't even like coffee. But I love Starbucks. In the winter, I am a tall skim chai (yum, yum). And all summer long I am a tall mocha frapp--no whip, thankyouverymuch. Every once in a while I splurge and get a grande (medium, as Mattio would say :), but very, very very rarely do I go whole hog (literally!) and get the venti (large).

So today, I decided, was a tall skim chai kind of day. I had a couple of free drink coupons--thanks to my pal Sara--and I had to drop Madeline off at her friend's, so I offered to pick up coffee for the friend's mom, as well. So I go in and order my drink and a tall coffee for friend's mom; and go to pay with my coupons, and do you know what the cashier said to me?

He said (not snotty, but completely serious), "If you're drinks are going to be free, why not splurge, and make them venti?"

I looked at him, smiled, and said, "Why not?"

That, my friends, is customer service.


Hell effing vetica (emphasis on the "effing")

So Friday was--as I was referring to it--Helvetica Friday. I was dragging the kids to MoMA, to see the Helvetica, the exhibit; and as a bribe to get them there, we finished off the day at the Museum of Natural History. Then I was going to go home and watch Helvetica, the movie.

So Helvetica, the exhibit, basically sucked. It was, by far, one of the bigger disappointments in my life. Tucked into a corner of the third floor--literally, a corner no bigger than my bedroom--were some posters done in helvetica, as well as subway signage (saw plenty of that for free, thankyouverymuch). In a glass display there was the helvetica alphabet in printing plates, and on a flat screen on the wall they were playing bits of Helvetica, the movie.

That's it.

I was completely bummed. Of course, we were already there, so we walked around a bit. Ashlee got to see Starry Night, again (it's one of her favorites). We also saw the "big blue OOF" (as the kids referred to Edward Ruscha's painting), Warhol's Cambell's Soup Cans, and their all time favorite, the "wall of cows."

To add to the disappointment of the day, I couldn't find Helvetica, the movie, anywhere in the gift shop (Hello? There's a terrible excuse for an exhibit--I thought for sure they would have the movie!!). So needless to say, Helvetica Friday didn't quite pan out the way I had expected (although the kids had a great time at the Museum of Natural History--and even more fun in the gift shop).

Let's hope that in my next foray into the city I fare a bit better: next Monday I am (yet again!) going to the Yankees home opener. I got to go last year, and it was so. Much. Fun. It's bound to be even more fun this year, as it's the last home opener in the old stadium.


If I were a brand...

So I came across this interesting article today, in doing some research for a logo/packaging project I'm working on. It was an article on brandchannel, and it asked, "If you were to describe yourself as being a brand, what brand would you be? Why?"

Hmmm.... Incidentally, people answered the usual suspects: Nike, Coke, etc. However, they got a large response of people citing themselves as the brand they'd want to be ("I think everyone creates their own unique personal brand.")

Oh please. I'm all for being unique and different, but answer the question already.

Me, if I had to choose a brand--besides myself (although the end of the piece makes a good argument as too much of a good thing, a la Britney Spears--the term "good thing" being used loosely in that case)--I would want to be Apple.

Why? Apple is adored--no, worshipped--by its fans. People will spend money on Apple products. Like, lots of money. Apple is constantly ahead of the curve, and their products are not only cool-functioning, but cool-looking as well. And the while the majority of computer users are still using PCs (why is that?), once people switch over to Macs, it's like they get it. Plus, all the cool kids use Macs. ipod, itunes, iphone... need I say more?

By the way, I know you are shocked--shocked!--that I didn't choose a shoe brand. And believe me, I thought about it... nothing lays luxury and beauty like say, Manolo Blahnik; however, in the end, I thought that Apple was the better brand (it appeals across the masses--and isn't that the point?). Although kate spade is running a close second...

So... if you could be a brand, what would it be and why?


Hell effing vetica (and the kids!)

Every Monday, (ideally--I do have three kids I have to get out of the house in the morning) I like to do the New York Times crossword (I do it through Wednesday--Thursday's is way too hard, and Friday, well, just forget it. Besides, it usually takes me until the following Monday to get close to completion on Wednesday's puzzle). I usually skim it at breakfast, filling in the extra-easy clues, and then leave it around the house; so say, while I'm making lunch, I can get a few clues in. But today was a promising day: I had finished the puzzle by 9:30 AM. Wow, I thought, I have can actually read the Arts section! And it was there I came across this clever ad, from MoMA, thanking Target. The word Helvetica caught my eye, so of course I read it (It was a quarter page ad):

Thank you.

This is a message from MoMA to thank Target for their generous support of Target Free Friday Nights and to commemorate the arrival of our millionth free visitor this past Friday evening. It is set in 15-point Helvetica Roman, widely considered the official typeface of the twentieth century. Helvetica conveys an undeniably modern aesthetic clarity and is in fact the subject of an exhibition at MoMA. Just thinking about Helvetica totally makes us want to get down and party. Maybe its the triple Chococcino talking here, but suddenly we feel like screaming, ‘Thanks a million Target!” while mingling outside in the Sculpture Garden. Okay folks, here’s what we do: Meet us up on the third floor and check out the finest collection of modern art in the world. We’re going to rock out to Philip Glass all night long and gab to somebody we just met about how much Expressionism inspires us. Then,if the mood is right and all our planets are aligned, we’ll show our new friend what Expressionism really means. It happens every Friday from 4 - 8 p.m.

(By the way, I totally did not type this in. I have to give Bloghound the credit for that.)

And then came the big DUH from me... There's a Helvetica exhibit at MoMA! The trouble is, it's only until March 31. Uh, folks, that's 2 weeks from today. How on earth, with my schedule and workload, not to mention three kids--oh yeah, and Easter is this weekend!--am I going to get down to the city to see this exhibit by the 31st?

Easy, peasy: make it a culture day and bring the kids. See, when Ashlee was younger, we decided that our proximity to NYC was not to be wasted. So we started bringing her in a 2-3 times a year and going to places like the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, MoMA, etc. Nothing was planned, the whole day was up for grabs, we just started at a museum and let her lead the way. Unfortunately, with the pregnancy and resulting baby, we haven't made it down in quite some time.

So lucky for me, Mattio has Friday off, so Ashlee, Madeline, and myself are going down to see Helvetica: the exhibit. If I'm lucky we can spend some time at MoMA (Madeline is only 4 and a half, so we'll see how that goes), and then we'll cross the park and hit the "dinosaurs." I'm sure the day will be plenty exhausting for all, but I plan on ending it with a viewing of Helvetica: the Movie (which I told Mattio I'd rent, but seriously, who am I kidding? It's a movie about a font; of course I'm going to buy it!).


Thanks Marcy!

Ugh. It has been a week since my last post; and a stressful, busy week at that. And it's now past 11 on a Friday night, and I just want to do something completely mindless, but then I realize that it's been almost a week since my last post, and I really should write something, if only to keep the few people that do visit coming back.

But as I mentioned above, it's been a crazy week and I have not had a moment to myself, nevermind to find interesting blog topics online (the most online I went this week was testing a website I'm working on. I know, the fun ceases to end). so I figured, I would procrastinate a bit, and see what my blogging pals are up to.

And lo and behold, my pal Marcy tags me with this 5 things list. So special thanks to her, for giving me something to blog about! Here goes...

Here are the rules:
1. List five kind things you do for yourself.
2.List five kind things you do for your closest friend, partner or child.
3.List five kind things you have done for a stranger.
4. Have fun!
5. Tag five people.

1. Five things I do for myself
- Buy shoes (this should be all 5, really. I mean, if you're a regular reader, and you don't know that...)
- Go to the gym
- Get pedicures all summer long
- Go for super long walks when the weather permits
- Every so often, get together with the girls and have a girls night out

2. Five things I do for my closest friend, partner or child.
- Buy them all clothes, and keep them in clean clothes
- Bake all of their favorite cookies (and then some) at Christmas time
- Drive them everywhere, and let them listen to "their" music, even if it is Lo-Ridah (Flo-Ridah?), or whatever that horrible song is, without complaint (If you have a teenager, you'll appreciate this)
- Hug them all the time
- Put their needs above sleep

--I'm also going to add: don't spend all the household money on shoes. This is particularly kind of me.

3. Five things I have done for a stranger.
- Let them cut in front of me at the checkout, when they have fewer items
- Picked up something they dropped
- Let them out of the parking lot, when traffic's terrible and nobody else cares
- Give directions
- Paid for coffee

Tagging: Tiffany, Sara, Mattio, Koleen and Barb


Learning to read... the designer's way

I have written in the past about our 4 year old, Madeline, and how she is an advertiser's dream ("Mom, you should buy OxyClean to clean the bathroom!")

(Sidenote: She said just about the funniest thing ever today. She wanted nothing more than to play--as 4 year olds are wont to do--and so she asked me if I would play with her. Then, sensing that there was a laundry list of things I had to do to come, she quickly turned to Mattio and said, "and dad, you have to do everything around the house today, including clean the bathroom!" Sidenote to my sidenote: Mattio is very helpful around the house, but the one thing he does not do is clean the bathroom. Wishing I had that Oxyclean right about now...)

Anyway, last week we got a notice home from school requesting that we send in logos that our preschoolers recognize (Cheerios, the GAP, Stop and Shop, etc.). In school, they were going to put together a book of logos, for each child, and start them on their path to reading. Wait, what? My kid is going to learn how to read... by reading a GAP logo?

But yes. Reading is about recognizing words, and what better way for someone so young to recognize a word than in a logo that's familiar to them. On her own, Madeline will not recognize that the word target says just that. But put it in red and add that bullseye, and she knows. As a parent, I thought this was pretty cool. As a designer, I thought it was brilliant.

Just goes to show how far branding your business goes... all the way down to a preschool level.


Logo design, 101

This should be required reading for all logo design clientele out there. Summed up, it basically says that your logo doesn't have to literally interpret what your company does. For example, Apple Computers (well, now just Apple): there is nary a computer-related item in this logo. Yet everybody knows they make computers.

The article is best summed up in this sentence: "... what you include in the design of a logo can be just as important as what you leave out."




This morning, I had the unforgettable experience of standing on line to buy a Wii (I seriously had no idea they were still that hard to come by, until I got laughed out of the store the other day). I was going to live blog the experience--what else was I to do for 2 hours?--but I was having problems with my mobile blogger account.

I arrived at Circuit City a little before 8 AM--at the suggestion of the store's employees. There were a couple of cars in the parking lot: mostly employees, but a few other nuts like me. At 8:30 the line outside the store formed. The car said it was 28 degrees outside. Hey, at least it wasn't snowing.

I took my place in line, about 5 from the front, 5 from the back. Everybody was making idle chit chat about how crazy we all were. I silently cursed the guy who decided it was time to get out of the car, thus forcing everyone to line up. This would have been much easier in the summer.

9:00 AM: a flood of cars turned into the parking lot--you could see the drivers counting the line. Rumor was that the store only had 10 systems. No, someone said, the circular says 15 per store. People would drive up and then drive away, not brave enough to face the cold. Others took the risk and waited on line. At this point, there was a little more than 15 people waiting. I silently thanked Eleanor--world's best alarm clock--for waking me up at 6:30. I was so glad I was 5th in line.

We all started to become friendly as time passed. The woman in front of me was discussing college options with her son. We had a Kansas connection, so I joined the conversation, as did the man in front of them. Talking made me momentarily forget just how cold it was outside (my body was suprising comfortable, temperature-wise--between my wool socks and sweater, knit gloves, down coat, and crocheted scarf, my denim-clad legs were really the only cold part of me. Should have worn long johns).

A little before 10, I got nervous with anticipation. Some children--young ones--joined their dad in line. I silently thanked them for being there--nobody stampedes little kids, right?

10:00AM: Doors finally opened. We all moved along, cattle like, into the store, and right up to the counter. There was plenty of consoles to go around (thank goodness). I actually got cheered by the end of the line as I walk out of the store, obvious purchase in hand. I wished them all luck, and prayed that I never had to see Circuit City that early again. Unfortunately, with 2 much younger kids to go, I have a feeling the fates are against me. Ah well, for the look on her face, it was all worth it.

I haven't yet had the pleasure of playing with our newest toy (I'm actually working today!), however, I'm sure what little free time I have left will soon be spent honing my musical talents on Guitar Hero.

Update: The children have beaten Mattio in boxing. It took Ashlee, 13, no time. It took Madeline, 4, three rounds. Oh Wii, thank you for introducing boxing into our little girls' lives.


Happy Birthday

My oldest daughter--who, all you moms out there will get, is still my baby--turned 13 today.


That makes her a teenager. And it makes me feel old.

Happy Birthday, my baby. You're one of my favorite designs.