Tag Archives: humor

Grocery Store Wars

That’s no moon. That’s a melon.

Still tired, still busy, still apparently not feeling inspired to post original content. But here is a YouTube video that follows nicely from yesterday’s food animation pick, specially given the recent release of the trailer for the new Star Wars movie. (And also the Wes Anderson version.) Please enjoy “Grocery Store Wars,” from 2005.

You’re welcome.

emojis spotted in the wild

This is how I felt much of this past winter.

That door is alarmed, you say? Well, this guardrail is downright dismayed.

This campus sculpture is distressed.

And this leaf is appalled.

Yesterday, I posted a set of photos of happy faces. This seemed like a reasonable follow-up, since some days, you just don’t want to put on a happy face. (You see them too, right? This is not the first time I’ve shared found faces. If you’ve been visiting for a while, you may even recognize the little leafy guy in the bottom photo.)

thought police tow zone (friday foto finder: notice)

I confess that when I first read this sign, it made me think about blocking the loading dock. Thank goodness they didn’t catch me and tow me away! Even now, so many months later, when I read this sign, I find myself thinking about ways I could block that loading dock. I try to come up with creative ways to block it. I could set up a lemonade stand in front of it! Or maybe sculpt a statue of a clown in front. Or make giant origami installation. My thoughts are in clear violation of this notice. If you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know why…

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “notice.” To see what other notices have been noticed, haul yourself over to the fff blog. (But whatever you do, don’t think about blocking this loading dock.)

8 simple tips for effective web design

Web design has come a long way in recent years, and the many varied themes and templates can make much of it easier for the casual web designer. But before you get started, it’s still helpful to know a few basics of web design that can lead to a more effective web site.

  1. Clarity: Probably the most important element of web design is clarity. The strands of content should be clearly highlighted, and easy to discern and interpret.
  2. Simplicity: too busy a web design can make it difficult to find the critical content, and visitors may not even know where to land.
  3. Effective use of space: A more effective web design makes better use of space put the content in focus, and make the navigation structure clear.
  4. Integrated designs: Another type of web design is for smaller sites that are integrated into larger sites. This clever design makes use of a small space in a larger layout. Its sparse but elegant lines integrate well into the aesthetic of the larger site.
  5. Background: One simple but important detail of good web design is background color. In this example, the web designer tried to make use of too bright and bold a background, making the important details of the design hard to spot. Designs like this are more likely to draw attention to the web designer herself, rather than the web content, which is a deterrent to most website visitors.
  6. Visual elements: Choosing the right images for your web design is also key. Choosing a unifying theme, repetition of design elements, and subtle use of color can give pleasing harmony to the web design.
  7. Stickiness: One of the main goals of good web design is to get visitors not just to fly through, but to land and stay. This web design may not look like much at first, but its structure has great elements to get visitors to really stick.
  8. Upkeep: One also must not forget to maintain one’s web design. It doesn’t take long for a web site to start to look dated. Even if a web site has compelling visual elements to attract visitors to the site, multiple broken links will guarantee that visitors will take off soon and land on more frequently updated web sites.

When you start out on your own web design, try to keep these points in mind to make your site more effective. Of course, never lose sight of the ultimate goal of web design: to trap visitors and drain them of their bodily fluids.

Welcome Back, Pants

The Pants Institute is pleased as pants to present: The Classic Pants TV Lineup!¹

From the conservative black & white pinstriped pants of the 50s to the colorful polyster prints of the 60s and 70s bellbottoms and on through the high-waisted peg-legs of the 80s, this look back at the golden era of Pants TV will bring a smile to your pants.

  • I Love Pants: This classic show from the 1950s features a young married woman’s antics, which frequently involve trying to sneak around in her husband’s pants.
  • Growing Pants: A family learn that as the kids get older, they must wear larger sizes of pants, or be increasingly uncomfortable.
  • All in the Pants: A 70s show about the life and family of a middle-aged middle-class white man who struggles to adjust to changing societal norms for who wears the pants in the family.
  • I Dream of Pants: An astronaut happens across a pair of magic harem pants that can fulfill his wishes, but only if he wears them in secret.
  • Three’s Pants: In this madcap 70s comedy, 3 single young adults sharing an apartment are always getting their pants mixed up in the laundry.
  • The Pants Boat: Each weak, different styles of pants are paraded on the decks of the Pantsific Princess, a cruise ship that promises to pair up pairs of pants.
  • Pantasy Island: Each week visitors arrive on a tropical island to act out their wildest fantasies of wearing different pants.
  • Diff’rent Pants: 2 young boys from Harlem must trade in their worn-out jeans for new fancy pants when adopted by a man with millions of pants.
  • The Facts of Pants: A group of teenage girls in a boarding school learn about love, life and pants.
  • The Golden Pants: 4 older women live together in the 80s and wear 4 distinct styles of pants.
  • The Pants Bunch: When 2 families merge their wardrobes, how will they ever fit all their 70s polyester pants into one dresser?
  • Welcome Back, Pants: A high school teacher and his students teach each other lessons about changing pants fashions and returning classic pants styles.

This post is for Mary, who requested a pants post when I asked for suggestions on things to post about. This post is also dedicated to my dear friend Elizabeth, who first introduced me to the comedic power of pants, and who should have been wearing her birthday pants today. I still miss her every day.

Can’t get enough pants? Try these on for size:

¹ I had just about finished this post when I had a nagging memory that my blogging buddy Painted Maypole had years ago done a pants-TV-themed post, as part of a challenge to write a post in the style of another blogger. (She chose me!) Happily, there is only a wee bit of overlapping in the pants shows. And these are rerun pants, anyhow…

Check out these 6 grate photos

I don’t often like to toot my own horn, but I must say that I have taken some grate photos in my day. A lot of people take some really good photos, but few people will really take the time to take grate photos. How many grate photos do you have in your own photo libary? Here are just 6 of the grate photos I’ve taken in the past few years.

These first 2 grate photos were taken in Sevilla, Spain, in Alcázar. Who could pass up such photogenic grates?

This is not just a grate photo, but an ornate grate photo.

This is more of a humble grate photo: a bathroom drain grate, somewhere in Massachusetts.

And even though I know I once shared 3 photos of storm drains, here are 3 more storm drain grates.

Quick Home Organization Projects from American Hovel Magazine (with before and after photos!)

It’s been some time since I’ve posted content from American Hovel Magazine, the magazine dedicated to lowering neatness standards in the American home. The publishers have graciously granted me permission to reproduce one of the features from the upcoming June, 2013 edition.¹

Quick Home Organization Projects
Other popular home magazines are full of helpful hints on getting organized and staying clutter-free. The photos from these beautiful homes suggest lives of calm and beauty in which calm and beautiful people live and exude calm and beauty from their very pores.

People who live with Real Families and Real Clutter™, however, often find those home organization projects to be completely out of reach. After first sighing in envy at the neatly partitioned closets and gleaming clutter-free surfaces, real people will choke back sobs of despair when looking up at the disarray of their own home. They will then tear the pages out of the offending Magazine of Impossible Ideals, stomping them into a crumpled mess on the floor, and then drink vodka and/or eat chocolate until they pass out under their kitchen table.

We here at American Hovel know that feeling well. After recovering from our last magazine-shredding-chocolate-eating-vodka-drinking rampage, we solicited photos from our readers on their own home projects. You will agree that the scope of these projects is far more attainable. Share in the joy of being able to see a project from concept to completion in a matter of minutes, leaving you much more time to enjoy your vodka or chocolate with self-satisfaction instead of self-pity.

Project 1: Kitchen Counter
Competent cooks know the importance of clear work space for creating inspired and wholesome meals. This is why you so often have cereal for dinner.

Before: It’s covered with mismatched containers and lids, tools, toys, swag, and a basket full of lord knows what other crap. Problem: you can barely tell what’s what, let alone find room to make lunch.

After: Putting the dinosaur toy front and center focuses your attention on the dinosaur toy. Look at the dinosaur! Dinosaurs are cool. Raawr!

Project 2: End Table:
End tables can be beautiful accents to a living space, giving room for guests to set a drink. Assuming that you ever have guests, or that they could find room to set a drink.

Before: This end table is an elegant antique piece. The lovely wood surface is visible between sketch books and art supplies, various toys and craft projects (is that a paper Tardis?) and whatever the hell else is all over it. (Is that a jar of foot cream?) Problem: there is no real focal point. All you see is pile.

After: The robot Matrushka doll has been turned around and given a prominent place, using the lantern as a pedestal. The owl craft is now on top of the paper box. What once just said “pile” now says “pile with Matrushka robot doll and cheery owl.”

Project 3: Kids’ Toy Corner
You live in a reasonable sized house, without a dedicated play room for the kids. What you have is a living room which has a lot of toys in it. Often all over the entire floor. Sometimes the toys get “put away” into a corner like this one.

Before: The toys are vaguely sorted into bins and stacks. Some might find this level of chaos distracting,though, with all the clashing colors. Problem: There is no unifying theme.

After: Covering the pile with a throw quilt from a nearby couch turns the chaotic pile into a lump of pleasing simplicity. Further, it adds a feeling of warmth and comfort to the room. (Quilts are warm and comfortable, you know.)

Bonus idea: Put a stylish pony on top and it’s now Imperial Fantasy Mountain, a home suitable for the Princess of all the Ponies.

Project 4: Kids’ Craft Corner
Your kids love to do art, and you have amassed an enormous collection of craft supplies, not to mention a never-ending flood of projects and papers coming from their schools. You’ve started tackling this roughly 27 times over the past 3 months, using boxes to sort artwork, schoolwork, and other miscellany, but have been interrupted each time. The pile has seemed to explode and expand daily whenever you look away. (You look away as often as possible).

Before: A massive, heaving, seething pile of headache. Problem: the throw quilt from the couch is already in use in the living room, plus it’s not nearly big enough for this pile. Your king-sized comforter would do, but you’d have to go upstairs to get it, plus you’d be cold tonight.

After: Move a couple of things around and call it a day. Then stop looking at it. You have more important things to do. Go have some good quality chocolate or a strong drink.

Can you spot the difference?

We hope you have enjoyed this American Hovel Magazine feature. Please feel free to contribute your own organizing project ideas and tips.

¹Note: American Hovel Magazine is a completely fictitious magazine that exists only in my head on and on the pages of this blog. I was flattered to hear that a friend of a friend actually once hunted for the magazine at news stands a few years ago, after seeing my cover. Perhaps the magazine will come to life one of these days, but for now I will just have to live the dream of living in that dream world of clutter. For back issues of American Hovel Magazine, please visit the archives: