Saturday, January 30, 2010

And now, for something completely different

I love chopped up video. I love nostalgia. Hope you do too:

It's like video upcycling. Mwha ha ha!
Okay, overdoing it on the upcycling theme? Uh, yeah.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Going out in a green way.

Photo from Green Coffins Ireland

Last night I was finally catching up on my long overdue newspaper reading, and in the Sunday Times I came across a new green trend which has now found its way to Ireland. The Green Graveyard Company is a business started by Colin McAteer where he has leased a 7.5 acre site in Wexford to create Ireland's first natural burial ground. The aim being that the body is returned to the Earth in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. He already runs a sustainable casket & urn business, where the caskets are often a woven wicker made from willow, banana leaf or other organic materials, and there are no permanent headstones at the burial site. Apparently, to make them even better, these funerals are less expensive than a traditional funeral. As you would probably imagine, eco-funerals are already quite trendy in the US & UK.

Personally, as a person without strong religious beliefs and a strong desire to live as environmentally friendly as possible, I love the idea. And knowing how expensive funerals can be... and how the industry fills your head with all the things you need to have a "proper" funeral - for just that little bit extra, well then it's great for getting rid of unnecessary excess.

Check out the beautiful eco pod coffin! Wowsah.

Speaking of excess, I'm starting to understand the concept more than ever. As a person planning a wedding, I'm finding it amazing all the little bits and pieces that the sickenly cute trendy websites start putting in your head. "Save the Dates?" Okay fair enough. Favors? Ehhh... Wedding website? No thank you.

Errr... it's amazing how similar funerals & weddings are. Not to mention that old Irish joke. Erk. Ehm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Upcycling & geekery rolled into one

I'm a complete nerd... I own about a million hard drives (this comes with the territory of being a video editor), I love upcycling, and I love VHS tapes (nostalgia addict). So for other nerds I happened across an ultimate accessory: The VHS external harddrive. That's right, someone hollowed out an old VHS movie, stuck a USB drive in and voila! Nostalgic "memory" geddit? Ha! I kill me (that's courtesy of ALF).

Buy your own VHS drive on CentennialMerchant's Etsy Shop

Monday, January 25, 2010

PI Hearts "The Uniform Project"

Last night I came across Sheena Matheiken's site "The Uniform Project", which she calls "an exercise in sustainable fashion."

The concept is simple, Sheena wears the same dress every day (her friend designed and created seven identical dresses for each day of the week), yet creates a totally unique and fashionable took every day using simple accessories or other items of clothing - most having been upcycled, recycled or created sustainably... the best part it that it is all for a good cause.

I have to admit I'm jealous of her incredible style, and it is really inspiring to see how many looks you can create from a single article of clothing. This is definitely a must-read for Primark addicts (including myself unfortunately).

Sheena has already raised $53,012 for Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in India. Which is also very touching, considering that many of the throwaway fashions we are guilty of wearing are created in India. You can donate money to the cause, or if you're a bit skint or jobless like me, you can also simply donate accessories or items of clothing. When the project ends this coming May, they plan on selling versions of their incredibly versatile dress with all proceeds going to charity.

Here's Sheena herself talking about the project when it was only 3 weeks old:

What an incredible, inspirational, yay idea.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh (Cold) Snap!

Oh Ireland... what on Earth has happened to you? You appear to have become stricken with the most unusual malady. COLD?!?!? Wha? in WINTER?

Ah yes, the cold snap that for a brief while, turned this green isle white, and turned all civic amenities upside-down. (Salt for the roads? You mean we should have the stuff stockpiled? Surely not!) Despite people breaking their wrists on icy pavement and cars sliding into each other in the slush, some of us were able to enjoy this fluffy occurence.

Figure 1: Putty tat is curious about strange white fluff.
(please disregard our embarrassing bin buildup)

Figure 2: Posh snowman in the yard (he's posh cuz his nose is a champagne cork)

It seems Dublin is back to normal, and perhaps that means that warmer weather is soon to follow. In fact, looking closely at my sad brown clematis I found a little green sprig of hope. It also appears that leaving sweet pea seeds out in the dirty snow sometimes brings a lil surprise.

Here's hoping that I can use this as a small metaphor that the rest of the world, although going through horrible shit, will come out and blossom as soon as this long season is over.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

All Wrapped Up in a Big Box Canyon

Telluride, Colorado is a beautiful tiny little Victorian mining town in a box canyon with quaint shops and not one Walmart, McDonalds or, well, Goddamn American Conglomerate in sight. It's where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank... oh and it's freaking expensive! Real estate and groceries are not for the faint walleted here (supposedly Oprah's got a place up here... nuff said). It also happens to offer up some of the loveliest skiing in America.

We spent a lovely Christmas holiday here, where it was cold, yet sunny - so not much snowfall on the slopes... According to the book "1000 Places to See Before You Die" the town's free Gondola up to Mountain Village, is one of the best freebies in The States.

We were spoiled enough to enjoy four days of skiing, stuffing our faces with yum Christmas food and playing Scrabble. One cannot complain at that can they? (Can ya see my mom & dad in the photo???)

In the end, I had to end my SouthWestern adventures by heading to the teeny tiny Telluride Airport (oogling all the tiny private jets while waiting to board) and flying off the cliff and into the sunset. And back to Dublin I went. *sigh*

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mountain Retreating

At the start of week two in the Southwest we left Red Mesa - all covered in a thick layer of fluffy snow, past Teec Nos Pos and their cool Post Office and Trading Post (where I did end up picking up a 5lb sack of Bluebird Flour) and headed North towards Colorado.

I loved driving past the small cowboy towns and bizarre looking mountains jutting through the snow. We ended up in Durango to pick my brother up at the airport. His flight was nearly six hours delayed so we spent a lot of time in the cute mountain town with their "Polar Express" train and river walks and enormous horse ranches and Bald Eagles hovering over the river. We enjoyed an amazing lunch at the Serious Texas BBQ and had tasty coffee in the local cozy shop.

Finally, after hours of delay and panic that he might be removed from the plane (some people were... two days before Christmas... nice one US Airways) my brother arrived at Durango Airport and we were on our way to the even cuter and cozier mining town of Telluride.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Monument Valley & Red Mesa

After another 5.5 hours on the road from Phoenix back to Red Mesa I was starting to think that Southwestern Roadtrips had somewhat lost their lustre. And I wasn't even the one driving!

However the landscape never failed to intrigue: surreal, vast desert moonscapes, mesas occasionally jutting out of the ground, up into mountains and the snow-covered fir trees. Lucky for us, the car-sick-prone doggie didn't barf, and we arrived without encountering too much snow & ice as we headed North past Flagstaff and Tuba City finally making it back into Red Mesa.

We took a weekend drive to that most epic of Southwestern locations, Monument Valley... which really... well... it speaks for itself.

Couldn't resist taking a photo of the Duke as a cardboard cut-out!

I spent the rest of the week doing a bit of work, and just relaxing, running & walking with my mom & Lucky in Red Mesa. And then one morning, it began to snow. Lovely light snow covering all that burnt siena colored ground. And the dog was in heaven.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

December like a Phoenix...

Home again, but still in dreamy holiday mode, and for good reason.

Oh hello, new friend, why... who are you?

Indeed, out of the ashes of a horrible November, December comes up in spades. My Dad is healthy, and I have an awesome new future to look forward to and just get to work on. Can't really complain now, can we?

Now to continue the adventures in the Southwest that I had begun in earlier posts...

I got to know my parents new digs - Red Mesa on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, its Hogans, vast expanses, horses, dogs and goats.

My Dad had a hospital appointment so we took the nearly six hour drive to Phoenix, AZ - A sprawling desert American metropolis. We arrived nervous and left beaming. In between I got work done, bonded with my mom's new doggie, Lucky (the luckiest dog on the Rez) and we ate some of the most delicious food and wine that I can only describe in drool.

To those interested in one of the hottest pizza joints in America, we celebrated my Dad's good health news at Pizzeria Bianco, one of the toughest restaurants to get into. They only take reservations for parties of six to ten, and these are generally booked months in advance. Everyone else gets a table by queuing up outside until seats become available - the wait can be up to THREE HOURS! We were lucky that we turned up about 30 minutes before opening time, enjoying the brisk evening with bottle of wine while queuing outside. We managed to get in at the first seating, happy to be sitting at the bar.

We enjoyed amazing roasted veg antipasti and fresh fennel, orange & pomegranate salads - and then of course the amazing wood-oven pizzas that were fresh and light and just... delicious. Below you can see the Pizza Bianoverde - a white pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta, Arugula (rocket!) YUM...

If you are in Phoenix, it is required dining:

All this talk of pizza, I must feed myself.