31 December 2007

Google Cats

We started a new game today at work today that I am calling Google Cats.

When you're browsing images there are always a handfull that never apply. I typed in 'apple' why is there a monkey playing a piano? But today Brice proposed that in any given Google Images search a cat will eventually come up. I thought that was funny, but decided to test his theory. I asked Heather for a random word. She gave me 'spoon' so I Google Image searched it. Sure enough, by page twenty there were two pretty brown & black cats staring back at me. We tried it again, this time with 'raquet ball.' Thirty-three pages later, a cat! I figured I would try one more word, since three times pretty much makes it a sure thing. 'Bamboo' Forty-eight pages of bamboo related images gave me a cat. Awesome!

I don't really understand how or why this works. But I like playing Google Cats. I promise to share further Image Search details. I share with you today's Google Cats. From top to bottom: spoon, racket ball, bamboo

Saucy Skillets

I feel domestic.

This weekend I went shopping and bought various kitchen supplies for the big move out. I never knew I could get so excited buying a skillet. I got one, it's red, and I love it. Me, I love a skillet that isn't shaped like a panda. Huh. I also got a cookie sheet, pots, some spoons, a muffin pan, and glasses. I called my mom from the store, she gave me a crash course in cookware quality and I went to town. I think the guy at the checkout thought I was crazy. When he rang me up, I looked at him and told him that everything was for me. Ha.

There are quite a few things I still need, but I am slowly building my arsenal of apartment life. It's just an odd feeling when entire sections of stores that never applied to you before suddenly take on meaning. Granted the move out is still months away, but I like to prepare. I am filling up a corner of the basement with my new things. Slow and steady, my friends.

28 December 2007

Check It: Fashion Forecast

I cannot take credit for this amazing find, but I must share it. My dear Darcy, whom I went to college with, sent me a link to some images from a 1977 JC Penny catalogue. Here are a few of my favorites. They say that fashion trends repeat themselves every so many years. That's not going to happen with these, right?

News Rock

Ahh, double post Friday!

Ludo was on WGN News this morning. Very exciting. I didn't get to see them on TV, but through the magic of the Internet I watched the boys at work. They preformed 'Love Me Dead' acoustic. Nice.

Since I wasn't there, I couldn't take pictures. However, I took a few screen shots. They aren't quality images, but it's all I can do. I'm not sure how long this will be posted for, but if you go to the video section at WGN news you can watch their performance from your very own home, or wherever you have Internet access. Tonight they're playing at the Park west with The Hush Sound. The only downside to the evening may be the weather.

27 December 2007

Green Chair Press

I have a crush on a new design studio. I came across Green Chair Press a few days ago while searching for some letterpressed goods. I love everything this studio does. They keep it simple, use great colors, and let the letterforms do the talking. If I ran my own letterpress studio this is the kind of work I'd be doing. For a small press, their prints are really affordable. Even more impressive to me, from the looks of the site, it's just one woman doing the work. Plus, she edits a publication called Ampersand! I am now living vicariously through Green Chair Press. I even love their name. Please excuse me, I'm geeking out.

I'm thinking of getting a few prints for my future apartment. Put them in some nice frames, and presto! I have art on my walls. Take that available Thomas Kinkade paintings in our basement.

26 December 2007

2007 Music Awards

Hello! Welcome to the 2007 Amanda Music Awards. Over the weekend Natalie gave me a Music Memories '07 CD and it sparked a thought process. There were a lot of great shows and albums this year, and in my own way I now feel the need to recognize them. Without further adieu, I give you the 2007 Amanda Music Awards:

Best Swoon Show: Damien Rice @ The Civic Opera House

Best Over 50 Rock Show: Pat Benatar @ The House of Blues

Best Show Even Though the Power Went Out: The Hush Sound @ DuPage County Fair

Most In Shape During A Show: Gwen Stefani @ The Tweeter Center

Worst Live Show: Bitter Sweet @ Subterranean

Best Show in the Rain: Spoon @ Lollapalooza

Show My Brother Is Mad He Didn't Go To: Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Alstate Arena

Danciest Show: Daft Punk @ Lollapalooza

Happiest Single: She Moves In Her Own Way- The Kooks

Best Comeback Album: Reunion Tour- The Weakerthans

Song My Parents Surprisingly Both Like: "1 2 3 4"- Feist

Favorite Song to Sing Along With Live: "Love Me Dead"- Ludo

Song I Could Do Without Ever Hearing Again: "Hey There Delilah"- Plain White T's

Best Soundtrack: Across the Universe

Best Album Title: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter- Josh Ritter

Worst Bathroom At A Show: The Shins @ The Congress Theater

Band That Needs to Put Out A New Album: The Postal Service

Special Congeniality Award: Ludo

Best Overall Show of 2007: The Flaming Lips @ The Aragon

21 December 2007

Basement Sweets

I am pleased to report that the fire alarm now has a new battery and my sanity is more or less back in order. I am also pumped about the weekend: time off of work, a little downstate Illinois hiking & indoor waterpark action. It's a much needed break. After I get back house sitting season starts. I'm booked through February, nice.

Growing up we had a large ceramic cookie jar that was shaped like a cupcake. That cookie jar holds some of my fondest childhood memories, and it acted as an enabler for my love of all things sweet. Last night, I was talking to my mom and she claimed that the cookie jar was still in the basement somewhere. That, mother, is a very weighty claim. The two of use went in the basement and proceeded to go on a mad search for this mythical cookie jar. I didn't believe it existed anymore, she insisted that it did. After about an hour of going through boxes and coming out covered in spider webs [ew] a few things became clear:

1. Sadly, this cookie jar no longer exists. Somehow, through the years, it died. She still thinks it's there somewhere, but I believe she's just trying to give me hope.
2. We have a lot of spiderwebs [ew] in the basement.
3. When I move, I will have a ridiculous amount of kitchen supplies. Every box from my parents basement has dishes in it. What's in that one? Dishes. Did you try the one over there? Dishes? How about... Dishes. This is good, since that's less money I have to spend on things. But mother, really, why do you have eight boxes of dishes? Did you plan on buying me a husband or house with them? Perhaps she felt the bartering system was going to come back into play in the US. Regardless I'm setting a date: My apartment, six months from now, dinner party for twenty-seven.

I was able to find, through the marvelous Internet, a replica of the cookie jar. Most likely, I'm going to order one online. Thank you, Internet. Thank you for bringing me back what the basement ate.

20 December 2007


Our smoke detector at work has a low battery. Not only is this bad from a safety standpoint, but it's bad for my sanity. Every five minutes I hear BEEP. I compare it to the sound a sneaker would make on a floor, or like a bunch of people squeaking on a basketball court. It's driving me insane, and I'm about to get a ladder and figure this thing out for myself. I'm a little scared though, I'm afraid it's going to be like the scene from FRIENDS when Phoebe has the smoke detector that just won't stop beeping. But if it doesn't stop beeping soon, I'm going to go nuts. This is like a form of Chinese water torture, and I can't believe I'm the only one who is going crazy. I'm off to go investigate, here's to hoping I don't fall off a ladder.

17 December 2007

The Show Of Shows

What happens when an amazing band plays in the worst venue, to the worst crowd, in the worst weather? Well, not a whole lot of rock happens.
On Saturday Ludo played in Tinley Park at a place called Mojoes. Never heard of it? Let's keep it that way. The venue was gross, and it was filled with insecure 15 year-olds who were acting like they owned the joint. Natalie & I thought we were at an 18 & under show. We got to Mojoes earlier than we should have, but I was proud we got there at all considering the blizzard we drove in at top speeds of 20 MPH. We got to say hi to the boys, hugs all around, played a little pinball with Marshall, but we had no idea what we were in store for. The owner of the venue was being unprofessional and not telling the boys how long they could play for, there was unrest backstage, the sound wasn't good, Tim Ferrell didn't even have a cord on his mic- no one was feeling the rock.
I can't really describe the show, the best I can do is reference the scene from The Wedding Singer when Adam Sandler gets mad but still has to sing, it was a little like that. I felt horrible for the boys, but they knew it wasn't a good show. They admitted freely from the stage that it was the worst show they've played. But here's why I love Ludo, they committed themselves to the crazy show. They knew their rock ship was going down, and they proceeded full steam ahead with a blaze of ridiculous entertainment. The boys told stories, played each others instruments, and got us through a 45 minute set. They didn't rock like they normally do, but they entertained like only Ludo can. I had fun. I was happy to be there in the crowd as a supportive fan amid the general chaos. It made you sing along louder and clap harder. Oh, Natalie & I had a snowball fight in the parking lot after the show! I fell in the snow. I also ran over one of her bushes in the front yard.

14 December 2007

Stories later, bunny now.

I've been lacking a bit with new posts, but this weekend looks promising. Tonight I'll be with Ms. Angie & Gnattie for her first legal margarita, and tomorrow night Gnattie & I are off to yet another Ludo show. They're playing in Orland Park- what? Regardless, I promise stories & photos. In the mean time, please enjoy this ridiculously cute baby bunny.

11 December 2007

Check It: J. Mundo Designs

I know, three check its- but when I find something good, I've got to share it.

I recently stumbled across J. Mundo Designs, and let me say- gorgeous! J. Mundo is a jewelry designer specializing in beautiful handmade pieces with a modern edge. Each piece is unique, and combines vintage & new materials. Oooh. I love the attention to detail in each piece. I put up a few images of my favorite pieces. I'm having a slight jewlery swoon...

10 December 2007

Check It: Panda Skillet

Oh my.
I'll admit it, if I had an extra seventy dollars lying around I would buy this. Why? Because I've never thought about cooking my dinner in a panda before, and as strange as I find it, I still want to do it.

Think about it, wouldn't all your food be cuter this way? Yes, it would be. Fred Flare sells this pan, I love it and Fred Flare for selling it. However, I have one complaint. Let's just say I got this pan, suddenly the rest of my cookware seems boring. My cups aren't rabbits, and my spoons aren't whales. While I applaud the panda pan, it only leaves me wanting more. Still, I'm upset for not having thought of it first.

07 December 2007

Brutus, my love.

This is ridiculously exciting for me. To the right, my friendly friends, is the cover of the childrens' book I got to design. Might I say, it turned out rocking!

Nerdy design specs: It's for kids, so the pages are all in primary & secondary colors, awesome type treatments throughout [exaggerated sizes & fun colors], big margins, all set in Esta, and to top it off there's a saucy little ampersand on the cover. It's hard to tell from the photo, my photography skills are lacking. Tomorrow afternoon I may try and take some photos in natural lighting, that should solve a few issues.

A quick FYI: Keep on the lookout for potential interviews in future posts. What? Yep.

05 December 2007

A Comparative Study of the Natalie.

A few nights ago, Natalie and I were driving home and we started looking through photos we had taken earlier in the evening. When I got to certain photo of her [top photo on the left] I realized that I had seen that photo before. I had taken that photo before, but didn't hit me just then.

I went home and rummaged though my pictures, and what I found was pretty interesting, at least to me. I found a total of six pictures with the exact same pose: Natalie smiling + object in her hand + other hand underneath object + face pointing to the left. [Can a face point? I don't know, but you understand what I'm trying to say.]

This fascinates me. It wasn't just a random occurrence, I have the evidence people. I also have a theory: I love my Natalie, and when she has something she loves, she gets really excited. She wants to show it off. It's just how she displays things she loves. I like this. Notice the fruit snacks make her the most excited. In the bottom photo her other hand actually comes up to grip the box, while in the other two it merely hovers.

This also sprouted another theory, does everyone have a signature pose? Oh, yes. Yes, they do. At least if we're talking about my friends- they all do. Perhaps you shall see more in the future.

04 December 2007

Check it: Snow!

It's snowing! I love snow. It might be the memories of playing in it till you can't feel your limbs, or the sledding, or the building of things, regardless it's here and I love it. Note: all my feelings are subject to change upon having to drive in it again.

If you notice each entry thus far, has a different label. I plan to have a 'check it' section for new and exciting things I find and want to share. I realize snow isn't that new, but it makes me happy. Therefore, check it!

03 December 2007

Watch It.

When I was about eight a friend of the family went on vacation and I watched her guinea pig. I didn't like the experience. I thought the guinea pig smelled, and it didn't do anything but sleep. Since then I've lost my dislike for guine pigs and unintentionally turned watching things into a side business. Recently, I made that business "official" by making myself some cards.

This project was more for me than any of my "clients." Ninety percent of the people whose homes & pets I watch have known me since I was in grade school. So I wasn't really looking to impress anyone with the cards. It's just fun to design something for yourself instead of a client for once. [Elegant cup people aside, the Raschke side project is pure fun, not work :)]

I used a great little company called MOO to print the cards. They specialize in small batches, and just so happen to only make small sized cards. I've designed cards this size before for clients, and have always wanted some for myself. Hooray for MOO!

There are six different kinds of animals featured on the back of the cards. Not all of them came out how I envisioned. The zebra card has issues, if I reprint I don't think he'll make the next batch. Regardless, I'm quite please with my little experiment.

02 December 2007

Ice Rock.

The weather was horrible last night. An ice storm they called it. There were warnings on every station that could possibly warn about such things. But I was going to see Ludo, so it didn't matter. I met up with my ladies, and we braved the commute. [It helped that Sherry brought cake. Chocolate chip pound cake, yeah that's right. And I ate it while driving in the ice storm.]

We arrived at Subterranean, met a few friendly faces, and proceeded to have our faces rocked off. There was old music, new music, and a pretty red code that Mr. Volpe pulled off in a manner that made me just a little jealous. When you go and see any band live, you hope it's going to be good. When you've seen a band more than once, you hope it's going to live up to the last time you saw them. When you've seen a band more than ten times, you know what to expect. When I go to see Ludo I expect to rock and laugh through most of the show. I wasn't disappointed. I wish I had more pictures, but I did capture the coat.
That's all for the rock talk, I'm not feeling all too descriptive at the moment. Just know that the boys rocked, and that the storm was a whole bunch of nothing. Take that weather.
Rock: 1 Mother Nature: 0.


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