Apr 4 2011

mom!! the ice cream truck!! [day 312]

I have really come to hate the taunting music played from the ice cream truck, getting louder as it gets closer to my house.  As soon as I hear the fain sounds of it, I know what’s next.  Mom!!!!!  The ice cream truck!!!!!!  My kids know I’m not a fan of the van filled with overpriced, well advertised sugar products, stopping to fill the air with carbon monoxide and invading my territory.  While I was away and had a sitter, they went to the truck.  My youngest, knowing I would not be happy about this, decided to make something good out of it.  He decide to get something that was in a container we could reuse, and he also talked all his friends into doing the same.

We use these little containers in our lunch bags.  I did not end here.  The next time the ice cream truck came by, I said, “No.”  After much deliberation, I decided to have some fun with this.  I let him go out and get some ice cream from the truck.  I think I freaked out my neighbors, but here’s what happened…

 

 

I haven’t checked at Kroger yet to see if they carry Popsicle Shots, but I’ll be checking today.  I’m all about people making a living in creative ways, and the ice cream truck driver is a good way to make some money.  It’s like fast food that comes to your house with dessert.  I never buy this for my kids, I make them use their own money.  If they feel good about the purchase, then I’ll go with it.  I don’t always say yes to the ice cream truck, but I don’t always say no.  Balance.  It’s all about balance.

 


Jan 14 2011

11 rotary dial phones & 1296 gift cards [day 231]

A few years ago, in my “excessable” art show, I had a gift card rug made out of 1296 gifts cards from different stores.  The show was in July and I left the rug in the car a little too long in the heat, melting a good portion of it.

I recently used some of the gift cards in a video shoot.  I had to take them out and clean them up, as they’ve been sitting in my garage for years.  I’ve added a few to the collection, with thoughts of putting the rug back together.  Problem: no box tape and no retail shopping.  I need to get creative with the pile of cards.  I have a few ideas…

I did get creative with the pile of rotary dial phones that were used in the show.  I really had no intention of keeping them, but they’re just fun to have around.  I’ve used them for many photo shoots, video shoots and props.  Right now, they’re a permanent art fixture in my foyer.

Here’s some of the photos…

I know it’s crazy to keep all this stuff from my art show, but it’s not in a landfill and I do use it occasionally, or some of it, all the time.  I think I’ll hang on to the phones and gift cards for a while.  If I do get rid of them, I’ll make sure they go to a great home.


Dec 27 2010

the story of stuff [day 214]

I have an idea.  I know, no surprise…

I stumbled upon this little video called The Story of Stuff.  It’s a little over 20 minutes long, but I watched the whole thing.  Before I get into the details here, take a look if you haven’t seen it.  If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, skip around and take a quick look.

Although I like the overall message, I was questioning the statistics as I was watching it.  The presentation is awesome, the content easy to follow.  Again, the overall message here is a good one, but I have a few things to discuss and challenge.

The big picture of stuff. The message here is that we, as Americans, are abusing our planet, taking advantage of the disadvantaged and that we have all fallen victim to materialism.  On many levels, this is true, but some of the statistics seemed a little off to me.  After a bit of research on this video, I found they are using it in schools to teach children about materialism and “stuff”.  I’m not opposed to that at all, but this video is not just creating awareness, it’s trying to impose a guilt trip, and as Fox News stated, “Other critics have called it a “firehose of paranoia” meant to scare children into becoming environmental activists. They say the video romanticizes poverty in its attack on industrial nations and corporations.

I hope we’re teaching our kids to watch something like this and process it in a healthy way, as they should do with everything.  My kids question things, think about everything they take in, and sometimes have a viewpoint that even I haven’t thought of.  This video’s overall message is a good one, and unfortunately, it does paint an accurate “big picture” of our wasteful society.  The reason I say that, is because this video could be remade without all the statistics, showing both sides of the message about consumerism.  That’s a hint for my idea…   Continue reading


Dec 11 2010

AWESOME dumpster diving video! [day 199]

This video was created for a school project by a student at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania for a Physics of Energy and the Environment class.  It’s a wonderful video on the how-to’s of dumpster diving with some alarming statistics.  Check it out.  It’s well worth 8 minutes of your time.


Dec 11 2010

lesson learned through a pink bag and Barbie dolls [day 198]

Yet another trip to Target.  This time it was for my son.  Here’s the somewhat funny, yet disturbing story…

I was presented with a ziplock baggie full of Barbie doll parts this past week.  Normally, this would be okay, as someone might be giving me these for an art project or something.  This time, it’s because my son, along with a friend, decapitated and dismembered some dolls that obviously weren’t his.  He said he took the heads off, but didn’t do the rest, however he did choose to make a puppet show out of them.  I don’t have a pic of the dolls right now, but I’m quite sure they’ll be in a future trashogram.

I’m mostly upset by this because he isn’t being respectful of other people’s things.  These dolls belong to the church, and he made a really poor decision in destroying stuff that’s not his.  Now knowing my somewhat quirky parenting style, I came up with a pretty creative punishment.  My style has been compared to Henry Spencer from the show Psych.  It’s odd, but it works.  I’ll stick with it.  So my punishment started at Target…

First, my son had to go into the store with a pink “green” bag.  The friend that helped him also came along, as they’re both to purchase new Barbie dolls for the church.  She offered to carry the pink bag, and at some point, I allowed it.  The punishment, or so he thinks, is that I will video him in the doll aisle, selecting the new Barbie dolls and checking out at the register.  I did do the videos, but I’m not sure if I will actually post them.  As upset as he was, I think he might have learned his lesson.  The money came out of his bank account and he also has to write an apology letter to the kids director at church.  Continue reading


Nov 27 2010

BLACK FRIDAY: the video [day 185]

Any other day of the year, no retailer would allow you to walk around their store with a camera around your neck, they would stop you and make you put it away.  On black friday, that’s not the case.  With the busyness and chaos of the thousands of shoppers, extremely long lines and merchandise everywhere, nobody stopped me.  Here’s the black friday 2010 video to the tune of AC/DC’s Back in Black.

A few black friday observations:

  • It’s controlled chaos. The retailers are creating it and they’re prepared for it.
  • There’s a size relationship. The bigger the person, the bigger the packages.  Oh, how some psycho therapist needs to analyze this.
  • People like to get a deal. I’m not sure if they really want or need this stuff, but there seems to be an accomplishment once they’ve gotten a deal.  If they researched a possible purchase during the year, they could probably find a similar savings.  Is it really a deal if it’s cheap and not needed?
  • Loss leaders. There are some deals that can’t be found throughout the year, but these loss leaders are only available to the first 3-5 people according to the ads.  Not a bad deal, but I would do the cost analysis, time and effort versus cost savings.
  • Warranties. Many of the big ticket loss leaders have very limited warranties.  Before buying, you better make sure it works before you put it under the tree.  Many items have 15 days warranties.  They might as well just skip that altogether.
  • 2 types of men. The ones that like electronics with a willingness to get up early and fight for it and the “my wife made me do this and I better get sex tonight” male drag-a-longs.  I might start a line of t-shirts before next year.
  • Sporting event. I’m pretty sure most women see this as some sort of sporting event.  It’s a race for the best deals and to get all the shopping done at one time.  Most of them are getting lots of practice time during the year, so it should be a good game.

There’s much more, but that’s the big stuff.  Now, what to get my kids for Christmas without going shopping?


Nov 26 2010

black friday chaos [day 184]

I did it.  I got up and went out at 4am to shoot the black friday craziness.  Yes, that might make me crazy, but it was a blast people watching!  I didn’t buy a thing, I just walked around the stores.  I have lots of video, but no time to edit, as I have to work today.  Here’s a few highlights:

Most of the photos are uploaded, although I still have one camera card to download.  Most of the images are screen captures from my video footage.  Check them out on flickr.

To answer the most asked question I’ve had this morning, no, I didn’t see or capture any fights.  I will blog tomorrow, hopefully with some video.  In the mean time, enjoy the photos.  Here’s a few of my favorites.

The Best Buy bouncer…

Is that really a person without a head?

Continue reading


Nov 17 2010

get out of the trees [day 173]

My video is finally done and available!  Click here to watch it. :)

This stop motion video project was created for a contest that AT&T is doing through zooppa.com.  Here’s the concept, as posted on AT&T’s site.

The AT&T Simplify Your Life video contest is a chance for you to make your own video about AT&T’s Online Services, such as Paperless Billing, Account Management, AutoPay, and Online Support. Each of these services can help to make life simpler.

The concept is to stay out of the trees, meaning the phone trees and paper trees, and to use the AT&T online services.  To see a blog post on how it was made, check out digitalfondue.org.

I decided to do this contest because I liked the theme, simplify your life.  In trash society world, that means be green, have less stuff and utilize our resources.  It was easy to make a video about that!  And I’ve always wanted to use my old phones in a stop motion video.  No new paper was harmed in the making of this video.  As for the junk mail…

Rethink possible.  :)


Oct 27 2010

together we can [day 153]

My kids are entering an art contest, the theme is “together we can”.  The photos here aren’t their first photos, but it is their first experience with Photoshop.  Cole’s photos are about the food army, video and pics are on foodarmy.info.  Joe’s photos are about recycling and his info and video can be found at recyclekids.info.

These were fun projects to work with and quality time with my kids.  No money was spent to make these videos or photographs, everything used was stuff we already had in the house.


Jun 30 2010

an eyePEACE for free?

problem: $0

I want to use the video feature on my DSLR, but when it’s bright and I’m outside, I can’t see the screen on the back of the camera in order to change my manual focus.

possible solution: $375

I can buy a Zacuto Z-find attachment for my camera. The low end model is around $285 and the pro model is around $385. My money tree hasn’t started blooming yet, so let’s move on.

brainstorming: $0

On weekends I run tech with, well, and bunch of techie people at work. I told them my problem and how I thought I could make one of these for free. I mean really, all I need is for it to be dark so I can see the screen.  My idea was to get some cardboard and duct tape and make a cute little hood, similar in size to the expensive pro thing.  I was challenged by Aaron who said, “You can’t do that, what will you use for the glass?  You can’t do that without glass.”  He later joked that I would have a paper towel tube taped to the camera.  So he was right, I did need some magnifying glass to pull this off.  The expensive pro thing is just a glorified loupe, and I’m pretty sure I still have at least one of those from my film photography days.  I also have motivation now that someone challenged me that it cannot be done.

the solution: $0

Yes, I said $0.  I decided to do a MacGyver on this.  Even if I wanted to buy the pro thing, I can’t because I’m doing my one year of no retail shopping.  Here’s the step by step process I used to design and create my free… oh, it needs a name, doesn’t it?  Hmmm, how about eyePEACE?  (the penny-wise everlasting adaptable cone-shaped eyepiece)  Eye feel much peace that I did not spend $300.

step 1: find stuff

I dug through my garage to see what raw materials I could find.  Not only did I find my loupe, I found 2 of them and a magnifying glass.  (sometimes if pays to be a pack-rat)  Here’s my list of materials and it’s all stuff I already own, and in some cases, about to recycle:

  • magnifying glass
  • duct tape
  • a cream cheese container
  • a piece of junk mail
  • a black t-shirt
  • an oversized hairband

If you don’t have everything you need, check out a thrift store or freecycle, or better yet, post your need as your Facebook status update.  Other people have junk too, and in most cases, would be happy to part with it.

step 2: start fabricating

Now it’s time to start making your eyePEACE.  I had to test the 3 options I had for the glass, the small loupe did not work, as it was a x8 and too powerful.  The large loupe was x5 and worked, but it’s a little big.  The cheapo magnifying glass that is actually a kids toy works perfect.  During testing, I realized it needed to be a certain distance from the camera to be effective.  That’s where the cream cheese container comes in.  It’s the perfect distance from the camera and provides the structural support needed.

step 3: laugh

The nice thing about paying for the fancy pro thing is that it looks professional.  The eyePEACE is actually going to look quite dorky, for lack of a better word.  So finish fabricating, but you’re going to need a sense of humor here.  Also, I’m using colored duct tape, but you could use black and it really won’t look so bad.  Right now, it looks like a giant eyeball!

I cut a hole in the container and taped the glass onto the top of it.  I took some black t-shirt fabric and taped it onto the large open piece to mold to the camera, keeping extraneous light out.  Then I made the piece of junk mail into a cone and taped around the glass, cut it to fit the contour of my face, then added some tape and t-shirt fabric for comfort.

Now… how to attach it to the camera?  Hairband!

step 4: admire your work

Now I was testing this many times through the process, and everything worked great, but will it work?  I don’t know yet, and it looks completely ridiculous, but if not I’m out no money, only a little time.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the strange looks and people wondering what kind of weird contraption I have.  It’s a work of art!

step 5: test and modify

Well, I tested it and it works perfectly.  (Aaron…  :P)  No modification needed, and wow, that never happens.  I should have some great DSLR videos posted soon.  Maybe before I take it out, I’ll add the eyePEACE name and a logo on the side.  LOL