We went to the American Craft Council Craft Show in the River Centre in St. Paul today. We missed it last year which was a big bummer since Bill Hickman was there, and we have a number of his pieces. This year the show seemed larger than it has been in previous years, and the attendance was really good especially when you consider it was $12 a person just to get in and look at things. Some of the stuff that really caught our eye was…
- Flinn Designs
The artwork from Flinn Designs was very eye catching. The colors were bold, and the texture in the pieces made you just want to touch it and rub your fingers over it. It had a depth and warmth that was really impressive. The story behind the artists was also compelling. They have a large amount of land and take in dogs that need a temporary home, or sometimes a permanent home. They have a lot of dogs as a result, and the dogs have become part of the artwork.
- Raymond Bock
People that do furniture like this are truly amazing. I have to admit that I really don’t know how to appreciate this stuff as much as I probably should. Tammy can tell you about me asking “Where are the nails?” one time when looking at some amazing stuff like this in the past.
- Stoner/Hatton Mobiles
Ok, there are mobiles, and then there are mobiles! These mobiles were just so very, very cool. They had an entire series of mobiles that included these circus and acrobat characters that were just very cool. They were rather large, but I tried to convince Tammy that we should replace our mobile in the living room with one of these but she wasn’t going there. Try, try again.
- Amazing Wind Machines
Okay, so a “whirligig” is maybe not art. Or is it? These were really cool, and made entirely out of plastic so they should last a long time. I desperately wanted to get the one pictured to the right here to use as a Winnipeg Folk Festival “marker”. It would be a stunning marker. But the price tag scared me off.
It was a great show, even with the entrance fee. We’ll definitely go again next year.
I realize that I’m probably on the verge (or well past the point) of being considered a 37 Signals “fanboi“. I’ve written already about how much I like Backpack. I still use it every single day, it’s one of very few things I pay a monthly fee for and never regret it. It is my homepage on all my personal computers. A few weeks ago when I started seeing some of the early information on Highrise I was rather dismissive of it. It seemed like a streamlined, “kiss” version of Salesforce.com. I figure I didn’t have a need for this — unlike the knob. (Note, CRM in the title here is Customer Relationship Management.)
I started using Highrise just to see what it did and explore how the 37 Signals team had built it. It’s a great application, incredibly and simply designed. I’d encourage anyone that builds web applications to check it out just to experience the user interface. I decided to give it a go for my “personal business”. Things like tax preparation with the accountant, projects being done at the house, etc. I warmed slowly to it, and am really liking it now. Highrise has some great features that make it useful even in solo mode, with only me using it. I never would have thought this type of function would be that useful for personal purposes, but it’s pretty nice.
On a side note, I can totally see how a company of 100 or fewer employees would really benefit from Highrise. In fact, the combination of Highrise (customer, vendor management), Basecamp (project management) and Campfire (distributed meetings) fill out most of what a small- to medium-sized company would need for collaboration.
I’ve been a bit enamored with Twitter for a bit now. Mr. Mom Weekend was a great time to do some “tweeting”. For posterity sake, here is the Twitter stream from the Mr. Mom Weekend.
Riding on school bus with Mazie 09:44 AM March 29, 2007 from txt
5 hours as solo parent and all is ok. 12:47 PM March 29, 2007 from txt
Just put Mazie to bed — whew! 07:34 PM March 29, 2007 from web
Gave Izzy a real, honest to goodness smoked bone. She’s completely obsessed. 07:37 PM March 29, 2007 from web
Sitting down to have some fun in Lightroom. 08:45 PM March 29, 2007 from twitterrific
Still playing in Lightroom after a break to blog. 10:22 PM March 29, 2007 from twitterrific
Ran the morning gauntlet and now heading out with Mazie for a bit. 08:57 AM March 30, 2007 from twitterrific
Getting a fly rod. 11:16 AM March 30, 2007 from txt
Mazie in crib, cleaning up dog sh**. Exhausted. 07:25 PM March 30, 2007 from twitterrific
Reminding myself that I like my dog. 07:35 PM March 30, 2007 from txt
Noting that my dog seems to not want to go out in the rain only slightly less than I. 07:49 AM March 31, 2007 from twitterrific
Made it to lunch without Mazie falling asleep! 12:29 PM March 31, 2007 from txt
Very excited about kitty and lion getting a sticker! 12:33 PM March 31, 2007 from txt
At Apple Store. Feeling bad for Jim. 03:39 PM March 31, 2007 from txt
Why does my dog think she should be able to dig through the rug in the living room? 07:59 PM March 31, 2007 from web
Posting on my blog. 08:51 PM March 31, 2007 from web
Struggling with how to manage my digital media assets best. 11:36 PM March 31, 2007 from web
Everyone ate. Kitchen cleaned up. Not so bad. 08:00 AM April 01, 2007 from twitterrific
Mazies been in crib for almost an hour and not asleep yet. Not sure exactly what to do. 07:45 PM April 01, 2007 from web
Decide to go see if she has a dirty diaper. Wish me luck… 07:47 PM April 01, 2007 from web
Per the last line there, her diaper was fine. She just took a really long time to go to sleep.
I’m late writing my wrap-up post from the 5-day Mr. Mom Weekend adventure. Mazie and I spent our final day with Aunt Alona and went to the Minnesota Zoo. It was a lot of fun and Mazie was definitely liking the zoo a lot more than ever before. She just stared at the Dolphins during their entire show mesmerized. It was really cool. We had lunch at the zoo and then went home.
Aunt Alona hung out with us for a little while and then took off. We just stayed around the house the rest of the afternoon and then Tammy surprised us by calling around 6p with news that she was only about an hour away. I was expecting her closer to 10p. It was nice that she got home earlier and we got to catch up before the week began.
The Mr. Mom Weekend was really a great time. The most stressful thing was really taking care of a puppy for the first time ever. Mazie and I had a really good time. Tammy is talking about taking an extended weekend trip like this every year now, and I think that is a cool idea. We all made it through the other end of the time in great shape!
I’ve been digging into Lightroom and continue to be excited about the ability to use my digital photo library in many new ways. Lightroom has a lot of power, and so far I’ve mostly been working in the Library module. The Library module is all about metadata, data about data. Metadata is information about the photos themselves, like where it was taken or who is in the picture. There are four primary tools in Lightroom’s Library module for Folders, Collections, Keywords and Metadata Browser.
Every digital photo you have ever taken (you do take digital photos right? if not, stop reading now) is loaded with metadata known as EXIF data. Your camera puts simple information like the date and time in there, as well as more complicated data about the focusing information of the camera or even the serial number of the camera used. This is all neat but not terribly useful. Mostly what you want to do is find pictures of a person or thing, and that isn’t simple. This is where Keywords come in.
Keywords, or Tags, can be used in Lightroom to attach generic words (tags) to a photo for retrieval. When you first fire up Lightroom there are no real guidelines for how to use Keywords. I thought I would post some of my best practices for others.
- Don’t belabor keywords. If you find yourself thinking too hard about it, just add the keyword. There isn’t a big cost to having more keywords than less. Put the anal retentive OCD in you to the side for a while.
- It’s just the picture. I don’t like to put a keyword on something that isn’t obvious. For example, Vacation is one of the first keywords that people may apply to pictures from a vacation. This is what a Collection is for, not Keywords. Very few pictures have a Vacation as the subject, only then should it have that Keyword. My litmus test is “Is this a keyword a total stranger would identify with this photo?“
- Don’t misuse metadata. Let’s say you go to France and take pictures. Don’t Keyword them as France, that is what the IPTC location fields are for. They are perfectly setup for information like this and then use the Metadata Browser to retrieve. Just reference #2 above and apply the Keywords that are self-evident.
- Hierarchy is cool. At first the idea of Keywords being inside of other Keywords seemed odd to me. Continuing to think of this as Tags, this wouldn’t make any sense and would make some people become violent. Indeed this is immensely cool in Lightroom. If you take pictures of Monarch Butterflys, just apply the keyword “monarch” or “monarch butterfly” (make them synonyms and save yourself the stress) and have that contained in “butterfly”, which is contained in “insect”. Bingo! You get a ton of categorical metadata.
- I use this one for people a lot. For example, I tag all people in every photo and put those people in groupings for their family, and then group the family into groups recognizing our relationship to them. For example, “Friends”, containing “Doe’s”, containing “John Doe”. Identify John Doe and you instantly get the broader groups of “pictures of the Doe’s?” and “pictures of friends?”
Keywords are immensely powerful, and if you disagree with me feel free to apply vacation and France keywords all day long. No harm, no foul. I would note that putting the metadata in the right spot, the place best suited to it, will make life easier in the future. For example, if you put location information in the IPTC location fields, you will likely get geocoding and other mapping software leverage out of the box. If you use keywords, I doubt any other software will be able to leverage it. The basic issue here is Keywords are designed to be lightly structures (heiearchy is all you get), and others can contain much more structured metadata.
Have a different take on Keywords in Lightroom? Let me know what you think!
Mazie and I had a nice Sunday. We ended up skipping swimming class. Mazie wasn’t feeling very well and was pretty congested. I imagined being in the pool and having Mazie sneeze and snot shooting right into the pool. Nah. We’ll skip this one. Grandma Rosalin and Aunt Alona came over in the morning and Mazie had a great time playing with them while I got a shower and took Izzy out. A highlight of the day was that there were no Izzy “accidents” today! Yeah!
We had lunch at the Good Day Cafe (highly recommended by the way) that ended up taking us way too late and Mazie nearly fell asleep waiting. Lunch was challenging with her being so tired, but even with her nap near she was pretty excited to see the chocolate cupcake that she got after her pancakes. She feel asleep promptly on the way home, and unfortunately she didn’t get a very good nap. She woke up really groggy still.
Aunt Angie and her dog Louie came over in the afternoon and pandemonium resulted. Izzy and Louie were insane, chasing each other around with abandon. Izzy was all puppy — just going crazy and jumping, leaping and sprinting everywhere. We had to pull them apart a few times just to keep it civilized, in dog terms.
With all the craziness I missed a critical item and forgot to give Mazie her afternoon snack. This became a problem when she realized she was really hungry about an hour before we went and had dinner with our neighbors. It was real touchy from 4:30pm until an early bedtime at 6:45pm, but we made it.
Tonight was a relaxing evening of discussion with my neighbor on a variety of topics, mostly consumer electronics related. Tomorrow is our final day of the big adventure.