April is National BLT Month

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Thank god I read Bacon Unwrapped because I would have never known that April is National BLT Month. Heather wrote about this on April 1st so I thought it was an April Fools joke. But then I looked into it and it’s true! A whole month to celebrate BLT’s.

If you’re some kind of freak and don’t know what a BLT is, it’s a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. It’s the second-most popular sandwich in the US, with the ham sandwich being first. It became popular after WWII when supermarkets expanded and offered fresh lettuce and tomatoes all year round.

I only enjoy a BLT at home, I don’t think a restaurant would do it right. Since the bacon must be cooked to crispy perfection, I like to do it myself. I also like to finish off a BLT with a heaping spread of mayonnaise. Yummy!

This post is making me hungry, I think I am going to make a BLT for dinner.

Bacon News: the Good the Bad and the Ugly

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While I was reading a few news sites via Google News, I noticed a few bacon related stories. Two of them made me smile and one infuriated me. Here are the stories and my thoughts on them.

Business Week: Bring Home Better Bacon

It must also be the most politically incorrect food in the culinary world. The Talmud prohibits its consumption, as does the Koran. It’s loaded with nitrates, salts, and the worst kinds of animal fat. But still we keep on eating it—$2 billion worth annually in the U.S. according to the National Pork Board…

The story is about the small producers of bacon and how they make better bacon. It also notes that American eat 2 billion dollars worth of bacon. At $3-$6 a package for cheaper bacon that’s a lot of bacon!

Forbes: U.S. Food Prices Pork Out

If your diet consists entirely of bacon, you probably haven’t noticed that food prices in the United States are rising. Practically everything else is going up, and the respite for lovers of pork bellies is temporary.

I like this story because talked about how the price of pork has not gone up yet. Sadly, they say this will probably not be the case in a few months. So you better start stocking up on bacon now.

Daily Mail: Why eating just one sausage a day raises your cancer risk

“Eating 1.8oz (50g) of processed meat a day – the equivalent of one sausage or three rashers (3 slices) of bacon – raises the likelihood of the cancer by a fifth, research shows.

I hate articles that try to talk us out of eating bacon. We all know that bacon is not good for you. It’s a no brainer, it’s pork fat. We don’t eat bacon for our health, we eat bacon for the enjoyment of the food.

Articles like this are a waste of people’s time; they bring nothing new to the table. I don’t eat bacon everyday so I think I will be ok. Also there are so many other things that can cause cancers. I don’t think cutting out bacon is really going to prevent me from getting cancer. I will probably just end up getting some other form of cancer, from something else (cell phones, microwaves, Teflon, just to name a few). So I’d rather enjoy life and my health while I have it, and not worry about what may or may not affect my health 30 years from now.

Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t purposely do anything to negatively affect my long term health. But when you read about studies like this you just have to weigh the risks and benefits yourself to see what comes out on top. For the bacon issue my enjoyment of bacon a few times a month (maybe more) outweighs the “potential” risks involved.

If you agree or think differently about any of these articles let me know via comments or email.

Photoshop Disasters are Always Fun

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Disasters in Photoshop are always a good time if you’re not the one that caused them. That’s why the blog Photoshop Disasters is my new favorite read. It’s full of all kinds of Photoshop mishaps like lazy clone tool usage, over retouching, and awful composition. The best part is that this is stuff that actually made it to print. I hope I never see anything I did on the site.

Check out the site and let me know what some of your favorites are. Two of my favorites are Diane Scarecrow Keaton and the Madonna Cover. This is a new blog, so they are in need of more content. If you find anything interesting be sure to let them know about it.

Zombies Love Bacon

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If there was ever a Zombie attack I would be sure to protect my bacon. (pun intended) To train for that day I play the game Boxhead: The Zombie Wars.The graphics are simple but the game play is intense. You play a Boxhead survivor trying to fend off the Zombie hordes with hand guns, shotguns, and rocket launchers. To master this game you need to be able to rapidly mash your space bar, while you use the arrow keys to run around like a mad man.

Just like the last game I talked about this game is very addictive. I spent several hours playing this game in classic mode, then I found out there was a defense mode. In defense mode you have to construct a base with turrets and barricades. Then you don’t only have to kill Zombies, but you also have to maintain your base. You only have a few seconds in between waves so it gets a little crazy. I ended up enjoying defense mode more then classic. Let me know which one you like and what your highest score was.

A Short List of iPhone and Touch Knockoffs

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Almost every electronic manufacturer in Asia is coming up with an iPod Touch or iPhone knockoff. I thought it would be a fun idea to create a list of the top 5 knock-offs. I like how the knockoffs tried so hard to copy Apple’s products but left out most of the features that make the real things so great.

01 – Portronics 2GB Touch – Wow, a FM tuner and built in speaker! Why didn’t Apple think to install a built in speaker? Oh wait maybe because little speakers sound like crap.

02 – Optimus Touch – This one tries to make up for it’s short comings by adding a big shiny red button on the front. Everyone loves big red buttons, right?

03 – Geeks.com Touch knockoff – This knockoff looks a lot like the Optimus Touch but I can’t tell if it’s the same one or not. If this is a different one it seems knockoff maker’s knockoff other knockoffs. (Say that five times fast.)

04 – Allfine MP4 Player – The images the manufactures use are sometimes hilarious and this one is no exception. Just look at the little hand touching the giant screen.

05 – DaXian X999 – This fake sports two cameras, one in the front and one and the back. That way you can take a picture of yourself while you take picture of your friend. It also runs on a pirated copy of Windows Mobile so if you have no morals and like to steal, this might be the knockoff for you.

I know there are many more knockoffs, but these were the ones that I found most amusing. If you know of any others I should check out let me know via comments.

The Music Industry Will Never Get It

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After reading an article today about Universal Music cozying up to Apple again, I feel the music industry is doomed to fail. What they want to do is sell iPods prefilled with music from Universal Music’s massive library. Then charge a subscription fee for unlimited access to the rest of their music. Also Universal wants a kick back for every iPod sold (Do they really think that their music is the reason I want an iPod?).

This kind of all the music you can listen to thing is not new; Rhapsody and Nabster have been doing it for awhile now. I have tried music services like this and didn’t like them. I found that the limitations (DRM) were too strict and I would rather spend my $14.99 a month on a new DRM free album from Amazon.

The music industry needs to understand, we don’t want to pay for music. That means they need to think of other ways to make revenue. Just look at what Radiohead and NIN are doing. They are giving away their music (or selling it very cheap) and are still making money.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see some big players in the music industry trying new things, but when they are in the wrong direction it makes me remember why they are struggling in the first place. Subscription fees and kick backs are not the answer. They need to learn how to add more value (and/or bacon) to their products, and then we will want to buy them.

Graphic Design Humor on the Listserv

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I have been a member of the Indesign Listserv for a while now. It’s a great tool for asking a lot of fellow designers for help with day to day problems. Well today someone decided to post a little humor on the listserv instead of troubleshooting questions. I usually hate “forwarded” type messages but these were enjoyable.

The first post was about traits that Graphic designers have and the second was about the unspoken rules of design. I thought some of them were extremely funny and wanted to share them with you. These are not the complete lists, they are just the ones that hit home for me.

You are a Graphic Designer if…

1. You’ve almost rear-ended the car in front of you because you were analyzing a font on a billboard. (This happens to me a lot)

2. You’d rather study the paisley pattern on your boyfriend/girlfriend’s shirt than listen to what he/she has to say.

3. You consider meals interruptions. (If a meal contains bacon, I consider it a reward.)

4. You’ve learned your lesson and stopped using the word “final” in any file name when saving.

5. You clean your keyboard more often than you wash your car. (I have not washed my car in two years.)

6. You’ve intentionally given up trying to explain your projects to non-designers.

7. When you heard that Adobe was acquiring Macromedia, you actually shivered. (I was afraid adobe would ruin Flash)

8. You’ve actually paid for a font. (I bought two more this week.)

9. You’ve totally slaughtered a great design concept because the client thinks he/she knows best. (Everyone thinks they are a designer)

10. You can’t go to a restaurant without secretly critiquing the menu design.

Bonus: You have an amazingly huge font collection, and an amazingly short temper.

The Unspoken Rules of Graphic Design

1. Your fonts will default to the worst possible font available on the machine you are showing your work on. (This just happened this week.)

2. If you have two versions of a photo, the wrong one will make its way to the printer.

3. The less time you have the more useless your computer will become.

4. If the text consists of two words, one will be misspelled.

5. Speed. Quality. Affordability. Pick any two.

6. If three designs are shown to a client, your least favorite will be chosen or any combination of worst components of each.

7. If two designs are shown, a third will be requested. If provided, then one of the first two will be chosen.

8. If you ask for more copy it will be sent as a .jpg. If you ask for images they will send powerpoint presentations.

9. Clients don’t have their company logo in a usable print ready format so don’t bother asking.

10. Blue line proofs reveal previously invisible errors.

11. The best designs never survive contact with the client.

12. Doctors, astronauts, and plumbers need training to do their jobs, but anyone with a computer is a graphic designer.

13. Your client will often not like your design but not quite know why.

14. Computer crashes always happen exactly 30 seconds before saving.

15. A client who knows exactly what he wants is worse than one that has no idea.

I know a lot of these are old but they still made me laugh. Some jokes never seem to get old. My favorite is “…anyone with a computer is a graphic designer”. Let me know what your favorite one is and/or if you know any more you would like to share.