Drop some food in that barrel

Food Drive Barrel
Photo Credit: Manchester Library

The unfortunate reality is people go hungry all year round, and we should all be doing more to help those less fortunate than ourselves. But, this time of year we simply have no excuse, as it’s especially easy to give food to local food banks and shelters.

During the holidays most major grocery stores usually have food drive barrels located near the checkout lines. I urge everyone to pick up some extra items while you shop to drop in the barrel. If you can only afford a few cans of soup, that’s OK. If you can afford more, set yourself a budget and keep dropping stuff in your cart until you reach that budget.

Not sure what to get? I’ll list a few items from my list below, but generally you want to make sure to get food that is non-parishable (no fresh fruit, meat, or anything that needs refrigeration, etc…) and is not in a glass container. It’s also a good idea to continually ask yourself, would I want to eat this?

Items from my list:

  • Canned Fruit
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Soup
  • Tuna (in water – NOT that crappy oily stuff)
  • Peanut Butter (plastic jar)
  • Rice
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy (can or powder mix)
  • Biscuit / muffin mix
  • Cooking Oil
  • Spaghetti / Sauce (plastic jar)
  • Pancake Mix
  • Cereal / Oatmeal
  • Granola Bars
  • Cookies / Crackers
  • Brownies / Cookie mix
  • Coffee
  • Juice (plastic bottles or those little juice boxes)

Are Trade Shows really dead?

While reading various stories and comments tonight on the news that Apple won’t be participating at Macworld Expo after 2009, I noticed one sentiment that kept popping up on website after website. The idea that trade shows are an archaic, 20th century, form of marketing that are either dead, or dying. I’ve never heard this before, is this really true?

I actually have both a personal and professional interest in this. On a personal level, I enjoy going to trade shows. They’re a great way to get some face-to-face time with the companies that make the products I use, or am interested in using. I think it’s time well spent, by both sides.

On a professional level, I create trade show materials for some of my clients. Everything from Video attract loops, to booth graphics, to handouts. It’s not a huge part of my business, but it definitely contributes to my income.

Other than current problems due to the general state of the economy, I haven’t heard anything specific about trade shows dying as a format. And, I’m curious if this sentiment is directed specifically at computer-related trade shows, or do people think trade shows of all types are on their way out.

Anyone care to comment on this?

Bettie Page dies at 85

Bettie Page

I was so sad to hear this. Celebrated 50’s pin-up model and pop icon, Betty Page, died yesterday as a result of a heart attack she suffered on December 2nd. She was 85 years old.

From LA Times:

A cult figure, Page was most famous for the estimated 20,000 4-by-5-inch black-and-white glossy photographs taken by amateur shutterbugs from 1949 to 1957. The photos showed her in high heels and bikinis or negligees, bondage apparel — or nothing at all.

Decades later, those images inspired biographies, comic books, fan clubs, websites, commercial products — Bettie Page playing cards, dress-up magnet sets, action figures, Zippo lighters, shot glasses — and, in 2005, a film about her life and times, “The Notorious Bettie Page.”

Interesting note on Bloomberg:

The college-educated beauty queen who disappeared from the public eye after 1957 was unaware of her renewed popularity until “Entertainment Tonight” broadcast a television segment about her almost 40 years later. She had disowned her glamour lifestyle after becoming a born-again Christian in 1959, and later battled mental illness in Florida and California.

Links: BettyPage.com | Wikipedia | Time | LA Times | CNN | Bloomberg | Flickr

Woohoo! We all get 1 extra second of 2008

New Years Eve countdown this year will go… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1. That’s because at 23:59:59 (UTC) we will add one second to the official timekeeping clocks of the world.

From The Smithsonian:

Earth’s rotation is the traditional form of timekeeping. It is what defines a day. However, while we call a day 86,400 seconds, it is really 86,400.02 seconds. All those .02 seconds add up over time. In addition, the earth’s rotation is not constant (it has been slightly slowing, and 900 million years ago a day was only 18 of our hours). Time as we know it changes.

via Boing Boing

Yay, “Cookies”!

Mothers Circus Animal Cookies

Back on 12/02 I wrote about Mothers Cookies going out of business, and that I had found an online food distributor that still had some for sale. Today, my precious Circus Animals arrived. I’ll have to ration them to make them last as long as possible.

If you’re jonesin’ for one last fix, you can get Mother’s Cookies here (while supplies last).

On a side-note, the box belongs on the Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks.

UPDATE: It looks like Mothers cookies may be resurrected by Kellogg. If so, I would be bummed that I just spent $35 on $9 worth of cookies, but happy to have the cookies available again. :) Thanks for the link, Richard.

Wow, the price of gas sure dropped quick!

Gas is 1.83 in San Francisco

The gas station on the corner by our house is selling gas for $1.83 per gallon. It seems like just a few months ago that it was pushing $5 per gallon here in San Francisco. It boggles my mind that the price could drop so quickly. Of course, it also boggled my mind listening to the oil companies say they had to raise prices due to supply, at the same time they were posting all-time record profits (scum suckers).

As much as it annoyed me that it took almost $50 to fill up our little Toyota Echo, I actually thought high gas prices were a good thing. I felt bad for those people who legitimately had to drive large vehicles long distances, but I think it made most people re-evaluate their driving habits. People began to realize they could actually drive less, take public transportation, carpool, and possibly even walk occasionally (heaven forbid). They also started to reconsider what kind of car they may buy next time around.

I’m a little worried that people tend to have very short memories. Falling gas prices may mean that many people go back to their same old bad habits. I hope not.

YouTube Down?

It looks like internet-video giant, YouTube, is offline this morning. None of my embedded videos are showing up, and the YouTube site itself is inaccessible.

I’m sure the site will be back up soon, but this did make me think about what would happen if something as big as YouTube actually went under. It would instantly have a dramatic impact on the face of the internet. A tremendous amount of content would suddenly be lost… possibly forever.

I guess this is one of those, don’t put all your eggs in one basket kind of lessons.

UPDATE: As expected, YouTube is back up. It looks like they were implementing a new search bar that gets laid over every embedded video. But, the question remains, what would happen if YouTube disappeared tomorrow?

Oh crap! No more Circus Animals?

Mothers Iced Circus Animal cookies

After 92 years in business, Mothers Cookies abruptly closed their doors and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early October of this year. They just couldn’t keep up with rising costs and the generally crappy state of the economy.

I’ll miss many of Mothers Cookies, but I’ll miss Iced Circus Animals the most. Those delicious little pink and white treats were my all-time favorite cookie. I’ve been eating them as long as I can remember. I didn’t eat them on a day-to-day basis anymore, but there was nothing better on a road-trip, or better yet, a camping trip.

I wish I had just one more bag. :(

via 37 Signals

UPDATE: After some poking around on the internet I did find 2 options for anyone who has a craving for one last fix:

  1. Desert First has a recipe to make your own. The woman who made them says they look right, but admits they don’t quite taste like the store-bought variety.
  2. An online food distributor called, Asian Food Company, still has a variety of Mothers Cookies listed on their site. Circus Animals aren’t cheap. They’ll run you $34.99 for three 14oz bags. I went ahead and bought them, as I’m feeling the need for some cookie closure. Hopefully they’re the genuine item and not part of some underground cookie counterfeit ring.

UPDATE (12/09/2008): My cookies have arrived! :)

UPDATE (12/09/2008): It looks like Mothers cookies may be resurrected by Kellogg. If so, I would be bummed that I just spent $35 on $9 worth of cookies, but happy to have the cookies available again. :) Thanks for the link, Richard.