The Measure of a Man Woman: Prosumer Success

Success in the prosumer world has somewhat moved beyond what you own. Consumers must have the newest and greatest thing, bigger and shinier than the Jones, as a measure of their success. Or as Iggy Pop sings in his song Success, “Here comes my Chinese rug.”

So what do is success in the prosumer world measured by? Satisfaction, plus a steady income? (Because you can’t be a prosumer without your income keeping up with cost of living and inflation.) Is that satisfaction just in your career or is it in all aspects of life? Is it that mythical job/life balance we all try so hard for?

As a prosumer, what do you measure your success by?

Back in Action

Now that the gray cloud a la Eeyore has passed, I feel rather back in action. Or maybe that’s the comfort of pho and bubble tea. Perhaps they put happiness in every bowl.

Here’s my favorite photograph of Rob and my mom that I took during their wedding extravaganza. (This was the night of the Groom’s Dinner.) We used this photo for the picture frame they had everyone sign, instead of the traditional guest book.

Nancy and Rob Daiker

And because I had to get all dressed and lovely for the thing, here’s a picture of Jason and myself taken by my second cousin Barb.

Erica and Jason

You can also see my other photos from the Groom’s Dinner and the wedding itself. Since my mom and Rob wanted to upload all the photos to my Flickr account, all photography taken by me is marked in the description.

On Being Tired

I’m rather tired. Just a deep bone-tired. I get why bears hibernate.

I have dreams, but they stay vague. I try to tease them out. I had this art professor who used to say that your most frustrating days in the studio, where you don’t get anything, turns into the ideas that flourish.

It’s interesting when I go on vacation. When I come and everything’s still there. I still need to call Comcast about my bill. I still need to go to work for my paycheck everyday. I still have a fridge full of vegetables from my grandfather’s garden to turn into food.

But then everything just kind of means shit.

Maybe it’s just the rain talking.

No Dogs in the Grocery Store

A month ago, I was standing in Safeway, buying my tofu and potato chips, and a woman walked in carrying her lapdog. Freshly bronzened and wearing track shorts, I guessed that she was a high schooler. I glared at her.

She walked passed the deli — all the fresh meats and cheese out on display — and toward the freezer section. I kept glaring.

Clearly, her soul reflected my evil eye. Some fairy must’ve blessed her at birth.

So instead I said, really loudly, “Who the hell brings their dog into the grocery store?”

My words reached her ears and she quickly left with her dog and let her friends pick up her groceries. I could tell that the grocer, who was ringing up my food, was relieved.

Why can’t you bring your lapdog into a grocery store?

Because it’s unsanitary.

Because it’s a health code violation.

Because the store could be shut down because of your dog and then you couldn’t by your energy bars and laxatives anyway.

Why don”t the store employees say anything?

Because the customer is always right. The grocery store clerk knows that one bad complaint equals the end of his/her job and the ability to pay for rent, cell phones, or electricity.

My mom manages a salon with a retail store inside. I asked her what she does when someone brings his/her dog into the store: Nothing, she said, not unless a fellow customer complains. This is despite that fact that my mom’s work would be shut down if a health inspector found a dog in it.

So don’t be a jerk. Leave your dog at home or in the car. Take your dog to a dog park. Your dog will like it more than waiting for you to choose between no fat or low-fat yogurt. Don’t ruin someone’s livelihood because you don’t think Cuddles is a bother in your handbag.

To Boldly Go Where Only Fandorks Will Still Go

Finally, someone has decided that it’s time to capitalize on Star Trek again. (J.J. Abrams is pushing out a new Star Trek movie, which the movie posters look fabulous, and hopefully, Abrams can follow up with a suitable plot ending for it.)

Despite the rampant cult following, Star Trek has failed to gain a new audience in the past years with the infamous what-was-that Enterprise. Some argue that the Utopian ways of the Roddenberry-created franchise doesn’t fit a post-9/11 War on Terror world. I tend to agree that the new Battlestar Galactica fits the energy and mood of this decade much better than Star Trek ever would. Heck, even the Star Trek: Experience in Vegas is closing.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still fandorks out there who wear their red Uhura uniform almost every Halloween. (It looks way naughtier with fishnets and knee-high Doc Martens. Trust me.) They still come in droves to conventions and attend Reading Rainbow readings at local libraries just to see LeVar Burton. (Seriously, Burton is the nicest celebrity ever, even if we did kind of scare him.)

And finally, someone has decided to capitalize on the die-hard fans by combining Star Trek role-playing into a World of Warcraft-like simulator with Star Trek Online. I won’t be joining it as role-playing, either online or live action, has never been my form of geekery, and I still haven’t moved beyond my original Nintendo when it comes to video games. I’m just really surprised that no one has done this before.

Lessons in Design: Redneck Wedding

My mom’s getting remarried in two weeks. I like her fiance Rob, so that’s all good. The only not good part has been that I’m not a fan of weddings and all the heteronormative activities surrounding them, and I’m my mom’s maiden of honor.

Of course, I’m a good daughter, and my mom may have pulled the “I gave birth to you and supported you through your expensive private liberal arts education where you majored in creative writing and then you stayed so far away in Seattle, don’t you love your mother?” But I don’t remember as this was back in January.

Instead of buying them something for their wedding, I agree to build them a wedding website. Now while, they never managed to provide me with a lot of content for it (and the Big Day is fast approaching), I did manage to bring together what I consider a pretty solid design. And I pulled off some Photoshopping that might have gone a little too far since I removed some of Rob’s childhood scars. Who knew?

The Daiker/McGillivray Wedding Web Site

As with any new web site, I made some inquiries to friends to view the site on their computers and their browsers. (There’s only so many times I can open it in Firefox, IE, and Safari on my Windows XP PC at work and at home.) And everyone’s comments were: OMG, the colors! They burns us!

Belatedly, I realized I should’ve put the disclaimer that those are the wedding colors. Those are what my clients wanted. While, they wouldn’t be the colors I would’ve chosen, they were the requirement. I tried to put as much white space as I could to rest one’s eyes.

Compared to other wedding websites, it’s definitely brighter and less somber/classy. But this is my mom’s second wedding (and she’s had three children), so we’re dropping all the virgin-white subtext, and Rob wants to basically have a big party. Heck, the best man and my brothers, who are giving away my mom, are wearing Wranglers. Yeah, did I mention there’s a cowboy-theme underlying all this and how the reception is going to be in my mom’s new barn?

Design isn’t always what the designer thinks is best, even though we push our ideas, outlines, and platforms. Oh, don’t worry, there are always some client ideas we stop before they get out of control. Sometimes, it’s all about the client, the context, and the product. Especially if I’m building a wedding website for my mom as a gift. I’m just going to bite my tongue and ask her if she likes it. Which she does.

Now if I can get out of e-mailing her back over if she should get hot pink and black cowboy boots or hot pink camouflage-print cowboy boots to wear under her wedding dress.

Delicious: New Look, Same Excellent Functions

Social bookmarking tool Delicious got a makeover. It’s a little louder than I expected, considering Delicious had a very stripped down original interface. But they are owned by Yahoo now.

I love the little gray arrows around the tags. This is my favorite feature. I think it looks great

Is that Arial and Helvetica? I’m a little surprised at that choice. They’re classic, but more print oriented generally.

I’m not sure how I feel about the tag sorting, especially if someone has hundreds of tags.

Bundling tags seems a little easier. However, when you add a tag to a bundle, it jumps back up to the top of the page. Probably one of those designer didn’t catch what the programmer did kinks.

I’m not sure I care a bunch about how it’s sorted for dates. However, it might be helpful for my wishlist account that I used last birthday/Christmas. (Now if I could only figure out how to get the relatives to buy me things off said list instead of giant cat books. I’m not five anymore, Cameron. You weren’t even alive then.) Yep, very helpful now that I’ve gone back and deleted all the clothing stores no longer have.

Besides, the basic function of storing my bookmarks on the web so I can access them from any computer and never fear of losing them and how much I love tags to sort, I do think Delicious provides a great search engine based on user popularity. I always find interesting blog posts or tutorials or nifty little shops when I venture out on the Delicious network. Yahoo may find themselves back as a true competitor in the search business with Delicious.

Other interesting articles on Delicious as a soically relavent search engine: The Search Engine That’s Already Better Than Google at and more thoughts on that at Academic Commons.

Web Design: A Little About This Portfolio

I realized today that I never wrote about post about making this web site.

Obviously, every designer worth her/his grain of salt is going to have an online portfolio. My original one was not me. While I consider myself to have to a strong design-oriented eye, I am my hardest client. I am never happy with it, and it will never be perfect enough.

My inspiration for Sliver of Ice Design is actually my oil paintings. When I do oil painting, I tend to use bright colors, colors a lot brighter than I would ever use on the web. Here are three of my favorite oil paintings I did, which hang in my home:

I wanted to show off my art, my eclectics tastes, and have a little fun. A lot of time, when I’m designing professionally, I have to tone it down or take cues from branding because that’s the job, that’s what pleases the client, and makes everyone happy. Having rabbits surfing on carrots is often not appropriate.

The inspiration for the layout of my splash page was my love of comics. Comic artists like David Mack, Pia Guerra, and David Aja are very innovative and one of the many reasons I love comics as an artist. Their art has made me excited to explore new techniques and layouts. I did all the line drawings and took all the photos I used in the art, wanting to use this site to authentically show who I am.

Of course, what everyone really wants to know is: What’s up the bunnies surfing carrots? Well, I’ve always doodled them and in my painting, Universal Library Card, I used it as my signature and they kind of stuck. They’re wacky and memorable.

I do make changes here and there all the time. And I’m sure this site will morph. It’s still not up to this client’s perfect standards.

The Green Pope, not a new superhero movie

Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that mankind’s “insatiable consumption” has scarred the Earth and squandered its resources, telling followers that taking care of the planet is vital to humanity.

You can read the rest of the article here.

I think this is beyond wonderful for the Pope to address environmental destruction. While Catholicism may be losing ground in the United States, it is still huge in other countries, especially say down in South America where rain forests are being bulldozed by the acre. I also think it’s a great move for Catholicism back to the social justice-type movements it started doing in Vatican II and were somewhat halted by the more conservative Pope John Paul II.

The social justice movement was always something I greatly admire about Catholicism and while, despite my disagreements with some of the church’s doctrine, I’m more likely to be okay with helping clean a kitchen at my maternal grandparents’ Catholic church when they were getting ready to house the homeless than say hanging decorations for a church social at my father’s Lutheran one.

I think environmentalism is a great topic for them to take as well in that it’s very PR-friendly and not as controversial for them to take on, since I don’t expect the Catholic church to stand up for gay marriage any time soon.

Plus, churches have such a great power to install morals and ethics into people, making the old learn new tricks and young children gain them, and it’s nice to see a truly worthwhile cause of our planet. Instead of just telling followers that life will be better in heaven, it’s time to start making Earth a little more heavenly.