This I Believe…

July 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

In my High School English class we listened to NPR’s popular show “This I Believe” in which people known and unknown pronounce statements of faith. Whether it be “Be Cool to The Pizza Delivery Dude” or “I Believe There Is No God” the statements of faith demonstrated something that someone believed to their core…something they could always count on and always check back to, something that served as a greater life philosophy.

While many of you who know me wouldn’t be surprised that part of my faith statement includes cooking and feeding those that I love, I recently discovered just how much this practice means to me.

I believe in showing love in the ways you can. I believe in cooking for family and friends. I believe in beautiful flowers. I believe in contributing what you can do best to those in need of a helping hand. Whether that be a compassionate ear, a thoughtful book, a well-picked bottle of wine or a basket of muffins, do what you do best.

This past week I spent most of my time aiding my mother as a helping hand in planning my grandpa Howard’s funeral. As a newcomer to the process of death and grief, let alone funeral planning, I wasn’t sure how I could be of service to my family.

In the face of uncertainty and family members too tired to tell me what they needed me to do I gravitated toward the place I am most comfortable, the kitchen. I arranged a cheese plate with fruit preserves, fresh fruit, crackers and plenty of chardonnay (my grandpa Howard’s favorite) for the visitation. I left the visitation early to prepare my grandpa’s famous “mac cheese” (as he would call it), broiled asparagus, salad and locally made brats for 15 emotionally exhausted family members.

I wasn’t quite sure what to say to my recently widowed (and extraordinarily strong) grandmother, but I knew how to create flower arrangements from her personal garden that my grandpa would be proud to have adorned at his memorial service.

I didn’t know exactly how to help my drained mother and uncle find energy after a long and strenuous encounter with cancer, love and death, but I knew how to cook them a dinner on a 105 degree summer day.

And so, as I I gradually learn more about sharing my love with those around me through the things I know best (most certainly something passed down from grandpa Howard’s love of a hot plate filled with Midwestern comfort and a family to share it with), I urge all of you to find what you can do best to share your love with those around you.

Some pictures of the week’s food and flowers below. And to grandpa Howard…take solace in the fact that your family will always be well fed.

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HuffPo v. NYT (what is journalism?)

June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Well, ladies and gentlemen…the day has come. The Huffington Post officially surpassed The New York Times with unique monthly visitors.

I could go in to the typical journalism mumbo jumbo about the importance of print media and saving the print newspaper or the ethical implications of giving HuffPo all of the clicks for stories written in other newspapers (*cough*reappropriation*cough*). But I won’t. Sometimes you just have to accept what the masses demand, and right now they want simplified, reappropriated, click-stealing news from a blog. That comes out a little harsher than I intend.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a frequent reader of Huffington Post, and their food section is to die for. It definitely has its place in our news consumption patterns. But let’s not forget about the long standing traditional news media that worked hard to uncover and develop the stories that lay as the foundation for most Huffington Post articles.

I can’t lie. I’m consuming half of my news from Twitter, hardly a sophisticated representation of what journalism should be. But as Mr. Bob D says, “The times, they are a-changin’.” How are you consuming your news? What has changed about how you find out about things in the last five years?

Amazing Time-lapse Video

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Incredible time-lapse video from the top of a mountain in Tenerife, Spain. Taken from El Teide.

What I wouldn’t give to be in nature like this.

iPhone as Big Brother?

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

A recent article in the Guardian announced that researchers found a hidden file in the iPhone that keeps track of your exact coordination points at all times without user consent. The data is then saved to your computer when you synch your iPhone with your laptop.

Here is a photograph of an iPhone user’s tracked locations in South England:

iphone-data-map

The article explains:
“Although mobile networks already record phones’ locations, it is only available to the police and other recognised organisations following a court order under the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act. Standard phones do not record location data.MPs in 2009 criticised the search engine giant Google for its “Latitude” system, which allowed people to enable their mobile to give out details of their location to trusted contacts. At the time MPs said that Latitude “could substantially endanger user privacy”, but Google pointed out that users had to specifically choose to make their data available.

The iPhone system, by contrast, appears to record the data whether or not the user agrees. Apple declined to comment on why the file is created or whether it can be disabled.

This discovery has clear implications for the protection of our privacy. In what ways do you think Apple should be held liable? Can they be sued? What is the legality of this issue? What are the ethical implications of this?

Foodspotting

April 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

As a strategic communications student and self-declared food addict/enthusiast/snob I LOVE to hear about new social media that focus on food and restaurants. And when I say I love, I kind of mean I freak out and think of all the ways in which I will use these to my stomach’s advantage.

I’ve been using Urban Spoon on my iPhone for awhile and it’s GREAT when you’re in new cities and don’t want to waste a meal on a sub-par restaurant.

While Urban Spoon won’t be deleted from my apps any time soon, Foodspotting is a foodie’s dream. It’s like Urban Spoon meets food porn with a hip interface. The easy to use app allows you to browse pictures uploaded by users like yourself, find listings of restaurants located near you by GPS and read food guides that detail everything from “Most Popular Chicago Restaurants” to “James Beard Foundation Winners”.

What I love about Foodspotting is the interface and the concept of uploading actual photos of the food. In doing so, I can tell you what to get, not only where to go. I love this concept because it’s often not about the whole package deal when you’re exploring food in a new place. It’s about where to get the best burger and who has the best Pad Thai or margarita.

Foodspotting allows the user to get first-hand input from a local’s perspective and share their experience in a multi-media way as well.

So eat up and don’t forget to snap a photo before you’ve demolished your plate!

Grilled Cheese Please!

February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Amongst the constant drain of political unrest that we have all experienced over the past nine days in Madison, Wis. I thought I’d avoid the expected political blog post and postpone it for when I have some time to edit my footage and photos into something worthwhile.

In the meantime, let’s talk grilled cheese. I ended up writing this off the top of my head whilst applying for an online-foodie writing gig on a whim and I think it’s a valuable read. Mostly just because it has to do with cheese and bread and if those aren’t criteria for a valuable read I don’t know what is.

Courtesy of The Grilled Cheese Academy and Google Images

A grilled cheese is a classic American staple. Plop some margarine in a pan, grab two pieces of white bread, place a slice of American cheese in the middle and voila, you’ve got yourself a grilled cheese. The classic American grilled cheese has had roots in our country for over 90 years but the Wonderbread/Kraft Singles version is no longer holding up to its gourmet counterparts. The Grilled Cheese Academy of Wisconsin dedicates itself to exploring the art of the grilled cheese. The website takes you through a mouthwatering slideshow of featured grilled cheese recipes. From the Bianca, a sweet grilled cheese with cinnamon raisin bread, dulce de leche and Wisconsin mascarpone to the Heartland with Wisconsin Aged Cheddar, Baby Swiss and caramelized onions, the Grilled Cheese Academy is not for amateurs. The self-proclaimed “institution dedicated to deliciousness” inspired local chefs like Tory Miller of Graze to feature a Grilled Cheese Academy grilled cheese on the menu. After all, we are America’s Dairyland. So go ahead and ditch the American cheese and try something a little more creative next time you’ve got that craving for some old-fashioned comfort food.

#Egypt #Jan25

February 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

It would be hard to ignore the amazing news about Egypt today.

We’ve been discussing the role of individuals and social media in the revolution in many of my Journalism classes.

There was the case of the Google programmers who created the “Speak to text” app that translated hundreds of messages from censored Egyptians to the world, there were the amazing number of tweets aggregated with the hashtag #egypt and #jan25, however this story from Adage interested me most.

Ali Ali, an innovator from a small creative boutique created an artistic representation of Mubarak with a quintessential “Hitler stache” and handed them out to protesters. He referred to it as a guerrilla marketing tactic.

I think it is amazing that this is truly a citizen revolution. From creatives to techies to people simply taking to the streets, there is certainly a reason to celebrate tonight.

I’ll be sure to toast to Egypt this evening.