The Portfolio of Michael Anderson

Randomn3ss reader Ashley sent me a link to the very best resume I’ve ever seen, period.  Take a gander (click for larger image)

the-portfolio-of-michael-anderson

I mean, this says it all and then some, and has pretty colors too! Intrigued, I typed into my browser the rather unique domain name listed in the top right corner, theportfolio.ofmichaelanderson.com.  A quirky blog from a designer who clearly likes his job and enjoys amusing others with his design work.  I’m hooked.  If I needed a designer, he’d be one I’d look for.  Only one major design flaw in the whole site, there’s no obvious way to contact Michael Anderson without looking at the full resolution image here and then typing his Yahoo! email address into your mail client.

Meat Cards

Found these little gems last night, not only are they possibly the most unique business cards, they have a great sales pitch to go along with them.

Screw die-cutting. Forget about foil, popups, or UV spot lamination. THESE business cards have two ingredients: MEAT AND LASERS.  MEAT CARDS do not fit in a Rolodex, because their deliciousness CANNOT BE CONTAINED in a Rolodex.

meat-cards

Equally amazing is that the prototype card’s reference to American Psycho!  This also appears to be 100% legit, here’s the meat masters running their 150 watt Co2 laser:

meat-cards-laser

These scrumptious business cards are not ready for sale yet, but more photos, an explanation of the process and general info can be found on the Meat Cards website or by following them on Twitter @meatcards.

How to Save Money This Holiday Season: Top 5

I’m as affected by the state of the economy as anyone, and it’s caused me to really curb my usual spending for the holidays. I have family and friends all over the country, so I have the added financial burden of having the majority of my gifts shipped – which this year means I have to get creative, i.e. cheap, to make it work.

1. Wrapping: I don’t shop at “dollar stores” much as I find the products overall pretty horrible in quality, but the exception is wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon and so on. Never pay regular retail for stuff that’s going right into the trash for the most part. Of course, because I save stuff like that, I already have a good stash to start with, but inevitably some of it will tear and I won’t have enough, so I do make a trip to the local buck shop once a holiday season. Also look around your house for creative ideas to make your wrap job unique. Newspapers, string, colored wire, yarn, paper clips – use your imagination to have an impact when you hand your gift over. Don’t worry about it looking goofy or not ‘elegant’ or whatever. It will make people smile, and remember it – and you.

2. DIY/Make Your Own Gifts: There are countless DIY ideas on the web and in magazines to draw from, but beware: If you have to go out and buy stuff to make it, you are likely defeating your goal of saving money. Be inspired by the DIY items you see, but if you have none of the items needed to make it, see if you can come up with your own version using what you have at home. I like to take pictures and decided this year to give the gift of my photography. It’s easy to get prints done inexpensively either on the web or at home (but be careful with the latter as ink ain’t cheap). It’s also easy to find inexpensive frames, and perfectly legitimate to reuse frames or get used frames at thrift stores. One of my framed photos cost me less than $5.00 but looks like it cost a lot more than that – framed photography has that way about it. Photography is one of the most accessible hobbies, artistic endeavors or casual activities around that has a really high impact on people, so don’t discount it, even if you don’t think you’re “good” at it. People love to have their stories, memories and special moments captured and displayed in photos, and photos are typically treasured for years, often becoming heirlooms, passed on to new generations. Other gifts I have made in other years are crocheted scarves, woven potholders, jewelry, note cards and post cards… If you’re good with a hammer and saw, you might use some scrap wood to make a small shelf, a storage box, a magazine rack, etc. Handmade things are always appreciated, and again, tend to stay in the family for years to come.

3. Cook or Bake: I make a Czechoslovakian pastry my mother used to make that no one else in my family has really mastered, and I love sending it to my family at the holidays – and they are thrilled to receive it. If there are strong sentimental baked-good favorites in your family, I highly recommend giving them as gifts: We all need some comfort in these hard times, everyone loves a special treat, and it’s likely you enjoy making it, so it’s gift to yourself, too. If shipping, choose something that will hold up well and be sure to pack it very carefully so it doesn’t arrive in crumbs; also, don’t send that door stop, um, fruit cake that weighs 15 pounds as it will be expensive to ship. Again, watch your budget, and the amount of time it will take you, along with the amount of energy needed. If your food of choice requires lots of oven and/or stove time, it’s not really economical.

4. Give Yourself a Low Dollar Limit and Stick to it, No Matter What: Depending on your budget and income, I recommend keeping it really low – $4-8, maybe $10 at the most. Related to that, out of necessity, you may then be able only to give one gift per person, which may be a big challenge, if you’re like me and typically like to give 2-3-4 things to each person. This is a great exercise: It makes you really think about the person, what they need, what they like, and about you, what statement you like to make with a gift, what is important to you, and to the relationship. It can be very revealing, very fun, and very satisfying to realize the best thing you can get your friend is a really great _________ for $7. Really, that’s all you need to give, and they will love it, and the pressure is off to ‘have’ to spend a lot more for whatever reason prior to this moment you had for gift giving.

5. Give the Gift of Your Time: One thing everyone wishes for is more time, so give it to someone in the form of a handmade gift certificate offering your time to help them with something they need, which in essence gives them more time for other things. You can be specific, stating “I will…”: Paint your bathroom; take your recyclables to the recycling center every month in 2009; clean out your garage; give you 5 hours of Photoshop training; etc. Doing something for someone that allows them more time to give to things they wish to spend time on is priceless, as is offering to do chores they hate but you don’t mind at all. Doing things for someone else also helps you to create stronger connections, build the relationship, which is a gift to you both.

Bonus tip: Regift! I frequently regift (i.e. give something that someone has given to me) items I have never used or have barely used, and think it’s a perfectly legitimate and morally appropriate thing to do. A couple key points are in order: “Barely used” means the recipient should not really be able to tell the item was ever used. Don’t give something that shows wear or any kind of obvious use – that is tacky, pure and simple. Keep track: Be 1000% sure you’re not giving a gift back to the person who gave it to you, or plan on some really awkward moments and possible negative ramifications. Keep original packaging if possible, if you get a gift that you know you’ll never use, so you can regift it easily. Don’t feel bad: We all have gotten gifts that just didn’t work for us, no matter that we love the person who gave them to us. It’s okay to part with it, really, and what’s the point of keeping something you will never use. Send it off to someone who truly will appreciate it – and thank the original giver (in your mind only!) for helping you in this new way (saving money by regifting it).

Some people will likely decide not to give gifts this year, and I think that’s a fine idea, too – if one was accused of being a tightwad during these times, that’s a compliment, if anything, and should be an inspiration, actually. Take on the title of Scrooge proudly if it feels right.

In uncertain times such as this economic crisis, the bonds with each other and our common values are what people historically turn to (and what was obviously forgotten in these past many years of spend spend spend), for strength and comfort, for efficiency, and for being wise financially. Use that to everyone’s advantage this gift-giving season, and beyond. It will be the greatest gift you can give – to yourself, too.

The killer engagement ring

The thought of a bride-zilla having one of these kind of scares me.

Killer Engagement Ring by Tobias Wong

Tobias Wong makes engagement rings that can kill you. The razor-sharp diamond point is set into the ring so it can’t get knocked out when you smash someone’s face in, and the edges of the ring are really soft so it won’t cut into your skin during the pounding.

Source: Geekologie via Yank Design

Electronica Part 3

Hello again! Hope the electronica suggestions I’ve provided have kept you satisfied between posts. Now we get to dive into the FuN genres! 

PSY-TRANCE: This is electronica on drugs…Isn’t most trance on drugs you ask? Yes, I agree with you, but I am referring to trance on a DIFFERENT sort of drugs.. An example would be the artist Hallucinogen, or my personal favorite, the Israeli “Infected Mushroom”. Also I would include the UK’s “Shpongle” (he also does solo work as “Simon Posford”) as well as “Astral Projection” and “Juno Reactor. Dark Soho is less popular, though their song “The Fusion” provides a wonderful soundtrack for driving 100mph on the freeway. This music is… intense. There is a lot of bass and a lot of sound waves that are manipulated in such a way as to give the sensation of aliens drilling at your brain. A whole new concept of ‘expanding your mind’ perhaps? 

 
IDM: This stands for Intelligent Dance Music, though it is arguable how ‘danceable’ these tunes really are. Purely synthetic and claiming a range between electronic elevator music and someone’s twisted joke of an emergency alarm system, one of the best examples can be found in the artist “Autechre”.  IDM is a strange genre, not really inclusive but for a few exceptions, it mainly names a specific sound, but few artists limit themselves solely to that sound. For example, the popular Death Cab For Cutie is occasionally slotted under IDM. Autechre is quite an experience as the IDM sound is bent to include jazzy riffs and hip hop beats. Anyone who is familiar with the workings of a synthesizer will recognize this genre as the most ‘raw’. That is, the effects a synthesizer can produce, such as the arpeggiator, which turns a single note into a “flurry of sounds” is easily recognizable within the music itself. Honestly, I find IDM the most difficult to describe, I recommend checking out the sound sample on Amazon.com.

DOWNTEMPO: Also accused at times of being elevator music, this genre is also known as CHILLOUT. It is more focused on atmosphere creation than on the music itself, though some downtempo can be quite involved and conducive to heavy introspection. Zero 7 provides a general example. Try Mum for a more complex experience. Boards of Canada is a good choice as well. If you are looking for the soundtrack for sweeping landscapes and powerful aspects of nature, try the Icelandic group Sigur Ros. Sigur Ros is more often slotted as AMBIENT, though, truthfully, they are a genre all their own, somehow combining NEW ROCK, AMBIENT, and massive orchestral arrangements.

 
INDUSTRIAL (DANCE): Grinding, depressing, with often apocalypse style motifs, this is not stuff for the faint of heart… or those with little patience for emo. Apoptygma Berzerk is my personal favorite, though VA nation is generally more popular. If you are familiar with the chain store “Hot Topic”, this is the sort of electronica that you might find playing on their stereo system. For those of you unfamiliar, Hot Topic is a goth/emo/fairy/bondage/gamer store popular here in California.

 
I do not have an official title for this genre, I would refer to it as HOUSEFUNK, specially created for such artists as DAFT PUNK and BASEMENT JAXX. Daft Punk in particular can have a DISCO flavor at times.

All right, thank you all for your interest, that will be all for now. Please feel free to comment and suggest music (I am always fiending for more), or if you find a new artist you like from these articles, please tell me! I would love nothing more.

Electronica Part 1

I have a particular… shall we say, “obsession” with the sounds that emanate from synthesizers. Whether you are a lover or a hater (there seems to be very few individuals in-between) I wish to expand your knowledge of the genres contained within. If you hate electronica, it is quite possible that the extent of your contact with it has been in conjunction with RADIO AIRWAVES. I wish to assure you that those songs are NOT all sweet sweet synthesizers have to offer you. I will be doing a succession of posts on this topic, at the end of each I will list a few less-than-mainstream electronic acts worth checking out. Alrighty! Here we go!

Most of the bubblegum bleeping songs that have hit the radio are classified as EUROPOP. Conveniently, as much of this sound comes from Europe! Examples include BLUE by Eiffel 65 and the ever popular BARBIE GIRL by Aqua. Or if it is not from Europe it tends to go by DANCEPOP, such as Alice Deejay’s BETTER OFF ALONE. Also included in this list would be most of the infinite Madonna ditties and remixes that have proliferated themselves on the airwaves over time. If you hate this genre… believe me, I understand. I can’t say that I haven’t sung along at the top of my lungs to BARBIE GIRL… I have. But that is not to say that I don’t have a deep seated appreciation for the awfulness of what I am singing along with. If you are willing to give the more modern Euro-Electronica a chance, try Royksopp’s “The Understanding” (Norway) or The Notwist’s “Neon Golden” (Germany).
The most popular Electronica of this decade is found in the clubs. Trance, House, Drum and Bass, etc. DJ Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, these are a sampling of the most popular DJ’s on the globe at this moment. It gets more confusing as, different songs by an individual artist may go from Trace, to Progressive Trance, to Progressive House. If you have ever been confused by the differentiation between a genre and a “progressive” version of that same genre… join the club. I personally favor PROGRESSIVE TRANCE out of all of these genres, I find it the most complex and melodically interesting. Though, those that claim that every single song has the same drum and snare sounds… YOU ARE NOT WRONG!!! A classic Trance song any electronica lover must own is DJ Sasha’s “Xpander”.

TECHNO: The broadest term for electronic music available today. If you aren’t sure what it is, heck! Call it techno! Crystal Method, or if you are interested in extremely complex techno or ‘hard’ techno, try Aphex Twin.

 Alright! I am signing off for now. Until next time, cut your aural sensors on these…

BLUETECH: Downtempo electronica reggae?

ULRICH SCHNAUSS: atmospheric. His album “Train’s Passing By” well defines the mood of his music.

SOUNDS FROM THE GROUND: Ethnic chillout  grooves

DIRTY VEGAS: You may know them from their single “Days go By” or “One more Time”. The rest of the album is spectacular