28 April 2011

26 April 2011

Let's Dance - New Apps for my iPad2

"The View From Here" - by Steph Cortes on Instagram

As I sit here upside down at the edge of my bed, listening to a weirdly awesome cover of "Electric Feel" by MGMT (which turns out to just be a really well-done remix) on Pandora, I type my very first blog post from my iPad2. And it's kinda awkward... And it's even a little uncomfortable. But most of all, it's REALLY freeing!

This is sort of what I imagined my iPad would be doin' for me: change the way I live my life. I could be off having the most amaze-balls adventures on the planet and I'd be able to tell you about from there!

Though as amaze-balls as these adventures may be, they would be much better if I knew how to share them with you all a bit easier.

After having a lengthy discussion about my severe lack of the knowledge of the modern technological advances in social media with my new friend, Tammy from pUnK rAwK pUrL (who, funny enough, I met via Twitter), we concluded that I need help! So, here goes:

Can you all recommend some awesome new apps for my iPad?

So far, I've found a few new faves after some research, which include:

- Angry Birds
"A bit meta" - by Steph Cortes - shared on Instagram
Although I've stated that it was purely for my Research & Development (as I hope to release a line of Angry Bird amigurumi one day soon), I've gotta admit that more nights than not are ended with an hour of playing this game in the dark.

- Instagram
Hugely due to the fact that I've recently become obsessed with old cameras, this app was an instant recommendation from Tammy. She happens to be a fab photographer, too! Follow her: @punkrawkpurl & follow me, if you're so inclined: @nerdjerk

Screenshot Courtesy of Flipboard.com
- Flipboard
Although I enjoy reading through my social media updates, sometimes they feel liken obligation! Not so in Flipboard! Imagine catching up on all your friends' updates in a rad magazine-style interface. With pictures from posts combined with the blog posts being pulled from the sites onto your Flipboard... It's like walking into a social dream & I kinda never wanna wake up!

- Square
This app has changed the SF craft fair scene forever! And it's quite arguably the best credit card processing system n the market. Although I haven't had the chance to test mine out in public yet, Square is one of the reasons I had to buy an iPad! I'll let you know how it treats me at Maker Faire.

- Pandora
I've loved Pandora for a long time, but playing the Coconut Records channel (pretty much all the time, as I've only had to skip maybe one song an hour on average) and doing whatever I may be doing at the time makes me feel like I've finally arrived in the 21st century.

A definite strike against the iPad, in my humble opinion, was the lack of a word processing application... that is, other then the "Notes" app. I thought it was some kind of joke. But, for what it was, it was helpful. Then Willo from Willotoons recommended iA Writer on Twitter. And when I read Stephen Fry's glowing review, I was SOLD! Simple, super clean & awesome.
Watch the following video for a demo of said awesomeness.

And last, but not least, there's the app that I'm using ask we speak... BlogPress is pretty impressive for what it is so far. Although I can't do all the fancy stuff I normally can do in Blogger (maybe I can, but I just haven't learned how to do it yet), one can appreciate the novelty of being able to produce a blog post from one's iPad. So, just for the novelty, it's worth the $2.99!

So, now that you all know my taste for apps, have you whipper-snappers got any recommendations?

Any input would be greatly appreciated, as I'm the technological equivalent of an 80 year-old woman despite the nearly 28 year-old body.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad [but finally edited with Blogger]

24 April 2011

Cross-Stitch, Customs & Chain Chomp - What I've Been Up To

There's been a whole lot of action around my house lately! Most of it from new items I'm trying to get ready in time for Maker Faire... which happens to fall on my birthday this year... and which I have never been to in my life!

WHOA! I know. Excited, much?

Here's a collections of photos that I've been releasing to my Facebook Fans & Twitter buds labeled "Sneak Peek of the Week"...

Ltd. Ed. Cross-Stitch Pendant Necklace -
Librarian Cat-Eye Glasses - $36 USD
DEBUT at Maker Faire 2011
I've been thinking about cross-stitch for quite some time now (as you all well know, cos of the teasers I've been giving out about my Nerdy Cross Stitch Kits), but it's taken THAT LONG to get all the ingredients I needed to makes these bad boys.

These MINIATURE Cross-Stitched Pendant Necklaces will be a Limited Edition collection that I'm solely releasing at the Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire on May 21st & 22nd, 2011. I'm making 10 necklaces and I'll see how it goes. :) Especially since I'm spending 2-3 hrs on each mini cross-stitch!

Ltd. Ed. Cross-Stitch Pendant Necklace -
HELLO Calculator - $36 USD
DEBUT at Maker Faire 2011

Each one of these pendants' images were designed by me, specifically for the Limited Edition Collection or for the Nerdy Cross-Stitch Kits (that I was planning on releasing yesterday, but just couldn't finish the first round of instructions for cross-stitching in time). And all of them were designed with love.

I've gotta admit, I feel like I'm a lot more than just a girl who can crochet video game characters really well, but not get through most levels of Super Mario Bros. I've got a whole lotta geekiness pent-up in this ol' noggin of mine. And I really wanna let all of those geeky bits shine!

So I started going into designing simple cross-stitch patterns. :) It was like drawing with pixels... and, like with amigurumi, there was a certain amount of math involved in making everything look right.

Hence my new found love for gettin' my nerd on!

UPDATE: I've already had Roger help me create the visuals for the Nerdy Cross-Stitch Kits, so I just need to work on the instructions & packaging. But I'm sure you're all gonna love the way I express my Inner Geek!

Either way, if I don't sell out of the Limited Edition Cross-Stitch Pendant Necklaces at Maker Faire, then they should be available in my Etsy shop by May 25th.

CHAIN CHOMP - Custom Order made for birthday gift
Chain Chomp will be making his official DEBUT at Maker Faire 2011
And lastly, but not least-ly - Here's a photo of a Chain Chomp that I designed as a Custom Order for a birthday gift for a gentleman's best friend, that was paired with a Bob-Omb! Wow! Wish I had a friend like that!!!

Either way, the request for this Custom Order came just when I had been thinking up different ways to finally conquer the Chain Chomp/Pac-Man conundrum I'd been battling for so many years. And I was VERY pleased with the results! I only wish there wasn't so much cutting, as all the teeth are cut TWICE, adhered, cut down again, attached/lined up, cut AGAIN and fit together when he "CHOMPS" down! Sheesh! Reinforced mouth & teeth (so that they're "sharp!") and individually sculpted chains! Reinforced base & initial chain link to base to create stability.... needless to say, LOTS of time & love went into this guy. :)

Chain Chomp will be available Made-To-Order at nerd JERK after May 25th as well. 

So that's why I've been so quiet on the blog front. Combine that with 24/7 care-giving duties, my new collaborative Etsy, Inc. I Heart Art: San Francisco project and the insistent urge for cat naps from 1-6 PM everyday and you've basically got my life!

I'd love to hear what you think! :D What kind of nerdiness inspires you? Can you think of ONE SYMBOL FOR NERDITY that you'd like to see cross-stitched?

11 April 2011

Say It Ain't So!? - No Awesome Artist Post

FAIL Scrabble Gamer Lapel Pin - by pinkflowercube - $6 USD

Awwwww, MAN! It seems like I'll be going another week without an Awesome Artist Feature lined up. Although I've been trying to find the time to scout artists to interview, I've seemed to always come up short... on time, that is.

Rest assured, geektastic viewers: Awesome Artists are coming. They just aren't here just yet. :)

But hey - I wanna know:
What kinds of Awesome Artists do you wanna hear about? If you could interview one artist on Etsy, who would it be?
Looking forward to your responses. :)

10 April 2011

I want to go to there - The Story of How I Touched an iPad2

I don't know how many of you have fallen for the hype that Apple has caused. If you raised your hand in solidarity, I'm with ya!

As there is probably almost nothing hotter than being in the Apple store on a Thursday night, dancing with myself, (so to speak), I took myself down to the Apple Store on Stockton in downtown San Francisco last week.

And proceeded to drool.

A lot....

Turned out that an unamused tween tossed the gadget down on the based connected to the wooden table Apply had their little beauties securely connected to just moments before I reached it. A bit disbelieving, I looked around to see if there was a line to touch the iPad2...

... then I realised I didn't care and skipped over to give it a go anyway. Sorry, would-be-iPad2-holders! Mama's gotta have her test drive!

My grubby little hands all over this glorious beast of a tablet - nerd JERK on an Apple iPad2


Oh man... OH MAN! So many reasons to love the iPad2!
  • It doesn't hurt my dainty-money-maker-wrists! 
  • Using it is really intuitive! 
  • My fingers aren't too chubby to type on the giant on-screen keyboard!
  • Everything on it looks SHINY!!!
  • It's white like my displays at shows!
  • It will finally make my business portable:
    • using at new I Heart Art: SF meetings
    • using at LIDL meetings
    • show people what my business looks like on Etsy
    • catch up on Etsy sales / emails while I'm out & about
  • My new Check-Out with Square for Maker Faire is gonna be baller!
Although I was already completely convinced that I needed this brand-new shiny tool/toy, I had a lot of questions to ask. :)

So I flagged down one of those more-than-mildly-attractive hipster boys in the bright blue shirts that works for Apple and fired away! 

Questions fired ranged anywhere from:

"How many iPads do you usually get?
We're getting them everyday now, except for Sunday morning, so it can range from anywhere from 5 to a couple hundred. Since we're the biggest store in San Francisco, we usually get priority shipping, though we never know how many we're actually getting til we get here and open the boxes.

"Based on that, do you reckon it's worth it to stand in line at 4 AM for an iPad2? Or do you think it's better to order online, since the wait is now down to 2-3 weeks?"
Well, that's all based on what you feel your time is worth and how urgent your need is. Traditionally, waiting in line early morning has kind of been like a lottery - if you're here at 4 AM, chances are you're at the front of the line. If you're at the front of the line, chances are you get a voucher from me to be able to pick from the iPad2s we've just received and are free to come back at 8:30 AM when I open the store. But we can't guarantee that we'll have the iPad2 past opening (some people think that voucher means they can come back after lunch), the exact model & make you want. If you want to guarantee that, you might want to try ordering online. But at lot of people don't want to wait that long, so that's why we're still getting 4 AM lines almost a month after the iPad2 launch date.

Damn - those were very good answers. And he even helped take me for a test drive - using the built-in navigation system to show me where else I could try getting an iPad2 if I felt like it.

So, after approving of all the things the nice hipster-clerk had to show/tell me, my fate was sealed.

Coming Wednesday, 13 April 2011:
What the WHAT?! - The Story of How I Went Cray-Cray & Stood in Line @ the Apple Store at 4 AM

04 April 2011

Awesome Artist Feature: Wooliverse

1-Up Mushroom - by The Wooliverse - $5 USD
Some of the nerdy side of PJ. One of the many things we've connected on.

I've done a lot of craft shows in my short time was a professional crafter (even helped organised a couple), but I know from this very concentrated amount of experience that when someone recommends that you meet "somebody really awesome," you don't really ask questions. If they were so LEGIT that a craft shows organiser remembers them from the 500 + applications they viewed during the jurying process, you probably just go meet the guy!

At the Holiday Bazaar Bizarre, one of the co-organisers asked me to check out this really talented volunteer and crafter named PJ Church. "He does the most epic stuff with wool that I've ever seen! If you're interested in soft sculpture, you should really meet him when you get a chance," he said between check-ins with the various 150+ vendors at the bustling show. Needless to say, I didn't have the chance to leave my booth at a huge holiday craft fair. So PJ came to me... and I blew his mind that I had already heard of him. :)

One of San Francisco's best kept secrets, I present to you my friend, PJ of...

PJ says that his workstation is a "little tables I spend hours and hours hunched
over with felting needles, piles of wool, and bits of inspiring things"
Photo Courtesy of PJ Church

Who are you? And what drives to you create!?

The drive to create is very much a way of exploring who I am, where I'm from, and where I'm going.  I used to write poetry, and self-exploration was more obvious in that medium, but oddly, I feel like I've learned more about myself in the process of making little wool sculptures inspired by pop culture, video games, and religious mythology.

As to my terrestrial journey, I first sank my claws into this planet at a hospital in Redlands, CA.  I sharpened my horns in some interesting communities in Arkansas, Texas, and Northern California.   For the last six years I have been living in San Francisco and trying to grow wings.  I can't fly yet, but my shoulders are often sore in a way that feels like success of sorts.

When & why did you start your Etsy shop?

My wife and one of my daughters are big Etsy fans and told me about it.  The Wooliverse was created November 2010 during a nearly sleepless week I think back on as "The Big Bang." A couple months prior to starting the Etsy Shop, I'd gotten a confidence boost about what I was making when a local shop in SF (Urban Bazaar) started carrying and selling some of my stuff.  Starting an Etsy shop seemed like a logical next step.

Cthulhu - Needlefelted Soft Sculture by The Wooliverse - $333.00 USD
One of PJ's favourite sculptures because of the painstaking detail:
"I'm especially proud of the wings, which are not wet-felted and contain no wire to support them.
The details and structure come from what seems like a million stabs with a felting needle."

Describe your creative process

I wrote a lot about this in early blog posts, but basically I borrowed some ideas from the Oceana exhibit at the deYoung museum related to art and shamanism.  In short, you find  your vision or spirit creature already existing in the material (wood and Mandrake roots in the case of the Oceana exhibit.)   The "spirits" are referred to as Imunu. When you find or "see" your vision, all you are really doing making what you've seen apparent and permanent.   Like taking a pen and filling in the Rorschach test a little.

As applied to wool, it's easiest to explain it in terms of looking at clouds.  When you daydream, staring up at clouds you see shapes.  The Rorschach test in the sky!  For many of my pieces I use this process, and find the "spirit" or "Imunu" in shapes in the uncarded locks of wool I prefer to use.  It's whimsical but still kinda accurate to say that the process feels like "pinning down daydreamed shapes in the sky"

Many creations, though, come from a more conscious process, and range from realistic to cartoonish.  When I'm doing these concept pieces (as opposed to the Imunu pieces) with a definite goal, I like to work from photographs and drawings.

Sea Serpent Triptych
by The Wooliverse - $169 USD
What about your creative process fulfills you the most and why?

The process itself is something that feels "magical" to me.  It's very much like a trance, self-hypnosis, or something.  At least that's how it feels when I'm really rolling with a project, and especially if it's working with archetypal imagery.  It's not so much that that the creative process is fulfilling, but there's something very healing about it for me.  It's very much about focusing 100% of my consciousness in the present moment on what I'm doing, and that kind of meditative focus is something that carries with me in other aspects of my life. The importance of consciousness is also why I consider my yoga practice a huge part of my creative life.

The creative process is literally a journey and an adventure with surprises throughout.   I usually have a sense of where I'm going with something, but pieces usually go where they want.  And that's usually for the best. 

A Sucker for Love - by The Wooliverse - $20 USD
How did you come up with your business name?
Well, it's a conflation of Wool and Universe.  Sorta silly.  But I did come up with it in a fun way. . .an interesting dream where I was in a universe made out of--you guessed it--wool!  In the dream I was fixing broken things with my felting needle.  Anyway, there it is.  The Wooliverse.   I travel to another universe made out of wool, and bring back what I find.

How do you combat "creative blocks" in your life?

Over and over!  And those blocks are so illusory, aren't they?  Often I don't even recognize right away that I'm blocked.  And then I have to really WANT to unblock.  And it seems like I have to "relearn" the same stupid lessons over and over.  It's always about attitude I think.  If I start to see what I'm doing as an obligation, or as work, or about someone's expectations, everything comes to a halt--often including the nicer side of my personality.  It is about the process and what you get out of it.  So, really, whatever the process, it is still just really, PLAYING.

So, the best practical way to get over a block (creative or otherwise) is to stop worrying about it, chuck the blocked project into your garage, or even the trash, and do something else like color in a coloring book, go to the beach and make sand sculptures and then knock them over, finger paint, get some legos.  Zero pressure play time.

Scrubbing Bubble - by The Wooliverse
PJ says "This is a fun examples of the cuter side of what I do.
There's a lot more in the Wooliverse than just gods and monsters.

What other favourite hobbies/activities do you enjoy?

I've tried to really narrow it down these days, to be more productive at fewer hobbies.  Besides felting/soft sculpture, I am serious about yoga and consciousness.  I like to cook, love to travel.  I enjoy photography, very casually.   I used to be serious about guitar and poetry, but am just a dabbler now.  I love reading and video games, but don't manage a lot of time for either.

And I really, really enjoy just walking around looking at the world with some loud music piped into my skull through a good pair of ear buds.

To check out more about PJ Church and the Wooliverse, feel free to click on the links:

03 April 2011

Got Pac-Man Insomnia

Image Credit
Guess what? It's 4:30 in the morning and although it's been an incredibly awesome ( and long!) day, I'm still awake.

What am I doing with all my spare time, you may ask? Well, I'm playing old school Pac-Man on my Nintendo DS, of course!

And I've determined a couple of things while playing this game for the last 4 hours or so:
  1. I am TERRIBLE at Pac-Man
  2. My knee-jerks when I get eaten. I also cuss under my breath.
  3. Pinky ALWAYS gets me! What a douche!
  4. I can't get past the 3rd level (see #1).
  5. I seriously want to sell my Pac-Man items again.
Once upon a time, I used to sell my Pac-Man amigurumi in my Etsy shop, until one day, Namco got poopy cos they didn't want ANYONE on Etsy selling anything to do with Pac-Man. Their 30th anniversary was coming up & I guess art inspired by their iconic imagery was not something they were into.

I was NOT the only one who came home one day with all of my Pac-Man related items pulled from my shop without my consent. However, I'm probably one of the only people that didn't put anything Pac-Man related back up for sale in my shop a few days later.

And over a year later, I still wouldn't want to put my items up for sale, only to get reprimanded again.

Older versions of my Mini Pac-Man Ghosts - image by nerd JERK

So, since I'm up and since it seems that sleep won't be coming anytime soon, I thought I'd ask my rad readers:

Do you think I ought to start selling my Pac-Man related items again?
Would love to hear what you think in the comments! :D

01 April 2011

Memes? For reals? - The Handwriting Game

Although I'm a firm believer in writing pretty when I have to, when I saw Tammy, from PunkRawkPurl, rock her sassy hand-writing full force, it inspired me to whip out the quick writing I've had most of my life.

Not much one for internet memes, I didn't know whether this would be a post that anybody would be into. But really, I guess I wanted to see what people thought of it. I know that I love getting a sneak peek into my fave artists' lives; why not give a little of that back?

So here's how I roll:

I'd really dig seeing the handwriting of some of my fave ladies:
a) Danielle from bunnydee
b) Bettina from icky.the.GREAT
c) Alana from Etta + Billie

There's a whole lot you can tell from a person's hand-writing. I used to check out a book at my elementary school's library in Hayward when I was a kid and try to decipher what people were feeling when they wrote notes in classes, long book reports and even my mom's grocery lists.

I suppose it's only natural that when I saw this, I was curious to see other people's hand-writing, too. If you're into it, feel free to posting a link to what your list looks like:

  1. Your name - Blog Name
  2. Your Blog URL
  3. Write out: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
  4. Favourite Quote
  5. Favourite Song
  6. Favourite Musicians/Bands
  7. Something you say...
  8. Tag people for the game

I know it's kind of nerdy (and somewhat optimistic), but I'm really looking forward to seeing some handwriting. hehe

UPDATE: Here's Bettina from icky the GREAT's hand-writing. It's awesome and way slanted - meaning she's in a hurry to get stuff done - like yesterday! *laughs* She's currently work on her thesis for her Masters in Animation and I'm really stoked she did this for me.

I know there probably isn't a good chance that tons of people will do this, but even getting one was awesome. :D
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