Loo loo loooo loo loo loo loo loo....

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Working Girl

Lots of you (yeah, like a whole 3 people) have been wondering what exactly it is I do at work. Well, let me tell you:

1. Read...thus far I've finished The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The End of Reason, several classic short stories, and now I'm starting on The Shack. I'm going to be super-literate by the end of this thing.

2. Blog browse...especially my faves in the column to the right. Check them out while you're on the clock, too!

3. Crochet...a cute scarf pattern, only to realize that I have no idea what those annoying short-hand symbols mean, and then I give up.

4. Listen to Online SIRIUS radio...especially the classic vinyl, the all Led Zep channel, and the Underground Garage. Good times.

5. Sit. And sit some more. I do believe my booty is spreading out, flatter and wider, because of all the sitting. Since I avoid the vending machines like the plague (ugh, and that vending machine coffee tastes like the plague), I'm hopefully not getting bigger. These sitting jobs are brutal.

6. Oh yeah, take a few calls here and there. Get my teacher/phone voice on and do my little pitch. Did I tell you about our holiday specials?


Daily Prophet, eat your heart out.

No longer are moving images only the domain of tv screens and bewitched newspapers for witches and wizards.

Esquire is the first magazine to use E Ink on their cover. Sadly, they took this rather impressive bit of technology and turned it into a cheap flashing neon sign. What's that, Mr. Esquire, about the web being a "cacophony of noise"? Although I cringe to think of an entire newsstand looking like downtown Tokyo, you've got to admit there are some pretty incredible possibilities with this stuff. Maybe one day even us muggles will have moving photos in our newspapers...

More thoughts on my new blog interest, Design Assembly.


Happy Election Day!

And congrats to President-elect Lyn Rosten and first dude Jesse!
Oh, wait...they didn't win? What?! Next year, guys...but you get an S for spirit! (more patriotic pics here)

No matter if your red, blue, or purple, I hope you had a great day, full of free coffee and ice cream (thanks to S-bucks and Ben & Jerry's). I know I did!



Bunny Noses made it into a treasury on Etsy! Yeah-ah! Treasuries are user-created collections of items that have a similar theme or aesthetic. This treasury is called Help the Animals, Please: they're effing amazing. Ha. Check it out here.

It's pretty interesting to see the responses this pic has gotten, everything from laughter at its startling silliness to pity for the incarcerated bunnies. It is somewhat sad, I suppose, but I can't help but smile at those big ol' furry noses.


83 Applications Later...

I got a job! And that's just from my Gmail, not including paper and online apps., and all those tedious interviews. Yeah, brutal. Job hunting in Portland is not for the faint of heart. Oh, but if you saw how brilliant the leaves look right now, you'd know it was worth it.

So what is this job, you say? Well, it's at a call center called Stream. Yeah, I know, talking on the phone is somewhere around the equivalent of an un-anesthetized visit to the orthodontist for me (probably if you're reading this, I owe you a call), but I must endure until something more suitable heads my way. And the environment is super chill, there's an X-Box in the lounge, and a bunch of computer nerds with awesome lateral lisps (think nerdy Neil from Family Guy)...well, I can wish.

So, I'll keep plugging away until Oblation Papers & Press asks me to head up their letterpress shop...yep, still wishing...


Two new blogs.

Just discovered these amazing blogs:

1. Lab Partners : Absolutely stunning vintage inspired letterpress and gocco prints. I am in love with this stuff. This duo has the 40's/50's aesthetic down pat. Check out their flickr stream for even more eye candy.

2. Laissezfaire : An all things design blog, in the vein of Design*Sponge. Can one see too much good design? Well...um, no, I don't think so. I mean check out this architecture! Even Howard Roark could stand behind that.



Click on Cara above for pics from a quick trip up to Camp Ghormley in central Washington. Our kind host, Benjamin, (whose parents run the camp and generously let us crash at their place -- a wood two story with forest green carpet that looked suspiciously like our old house in Colorado [run-on?]) sadly didn't make the cut in the pics. He was too busy actually working while Cara and I tramped through the woods. Pics or no, thanks goes out to Benjamin and his fam for taking us in (and feeding us some excellent pumpkin-shaped cookies). And to the state of Washington for their beautiful leaves and awesome state highway signs.


Thought for the day.

The reader 'plays' the text as a musician plays an instrument...Like an interpretation of a musical score, reading is a performance of the written word.

**Thinking with Type
by Ellen Lupton


Phenomenal-illustrator-that-throws-me-back-to-my-childhood of the week

is...S. Britt.

In the style of Ezra Jack Keats, Eric Carle, and Richard Scarry, he revives that fantastic 70's/80's aesthetic. A-mazing.


An Unfortunate Encounter with Pop Music.

Last night: restocking, reorganizing, refolding after hours. As soon as we closed shop, my fellow employees changed the radio station to some Pop Top 50 thing. I avoid music from those charts like the plague, but this time I was locked in with my paycheck riding in the balance.

And I left with one question: WHY??!!

Let me give you the overview:

Lyrics: Damn, girl, you lookin' hot. Damn, boy, I'm lookin' hot.

Beat: Same canned hip-hop beat we've known since the early 90's, looped bass line, annoyingly repetitive sample from old song or movie.

Message: Male = woman user. Female = meat.

Musicality: I don't know words with more than 3 syllables.

Seriously. Depressing. Tell me how this falls under the same artistic category as Bach, Beethoven, Glass, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Sigur Ros...it's blasphemy, I tell you! I know I'm a music snob, but, honestly, this is the popular music of our generation? It's like I'm inside an Ayn Rand novel...


Time for the E.A. Meetings...

That's right. Etsy-holics Anonymous. I'm addicted! You can get on the forums and help answer people's questions and critique their shops...and then you post a comment and people look at your shop...and then they say they like your bunny pic and more people look at your shop...and then you have people favoriting you and wanting to trade...and then you become well-known enough to quit your day job--wait, I don't have one--well, to just use your part-time job for it's stellar discount and make stuff full time...and then...wait, sorry, totally dreaming. But I did get a bunch of favorites and a trade offer. What fun!

Oh, and about my discount...did I mention that I got about $300 worth of stuff today for $90 when they gave employees a %70 percent off sale items sale? Jealous?


Betsy on Etsy.

Yes, the crafty little community that stole my name without the B now has me on as a seller.

My name: Plan B.

I'm just getting started, so there's only a couple things on now, but more is to come soon. You can keep track by this handy-dandy Etsy widget to the right here. And, dear friends, now would be an opportune time to buy so that you can be my guinea pigs, before the real people start buying (hehe...just kidding. You're real!). If you see anything on my website you especially think should be posted, please, do tell.

Oh, slight warning: when you venture onto the Etsy site, better alot a significant slot of time, cause there's some amazing stuff on there (my own included, of course!).

End of self-promotion.


a jar and an unwritten note.

Some pics I took this week. And, I finally got a job! I'm working at J.Crew in support/visuals and raking in a crazy awesome discount. Should be a fun place to work for the time being. And now I can have my heat and electricity turned back on...


Ron Paul = Substance

Ron Paul seems to be the only candidate to bypass all the sycophantic fluff and just tell it like it is.

How do we get this guy on the ballet???


Why *everyone* should read The Fountainhead.

"...why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want."

From Peter Keating, of all people, comes the crux of Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead. What if we disregarded what others thought of us, stopped wearing the clothes that make others turn, buying the toys that make others envy, pursuing the profession we thought others would approve of? What if our actions were determined solely by our own convictions and deepest desires? Maybe the "virtue of selfishness" would make the world a better place, because behind every job done, every thing created, every action made would be the greatest passion and the most ardent aspiration for the best in ourselves.



Some people are made happy by ice cream. Others, by kittens. For me, it's by changing the default font on my browser to Futura. Craig's list is looking a whole lot better these days.


Ah, those summer days...

I forgot I had these...reminders of the fabulous camping trips I took this summer.
This particular one had everything:

family (above)





photo fun

a beached whale (really!)

Obama momma

Eric's butt...er...footprints

waves and sand

strange plant life

and really cool contrails.


which one?

Click on the image to see the fonts in their true glory.
For most of these fabulous, free fonts, go here.
For I Quit's beautiful font, go here.


On Design

Just a snippet from Debbie Milman's The Essential Principles of Graphic Design:

As we progressed into the twenty-first century, Americans were regularly exposed to 1,500-3,000 advertising messages daily from online, print, outdoor, and broadcast media. From 1999 to 2003, we created and stored more information than all the information produced since the beginning of mankind.

It goes on to say how the cram of information and super-fast lifestyle is taking a toll on our bodies: stress and stress related problems, ADD, sleeping disorders...

To survive this fast, constant, and sometimes debilitating information stream, we automatically edit out 85 percent of the information that comes our way. The information that penetrates these filters and is retained tends to be information that is symbolic, relevant to our lives, and meaningful intellectually and emotionally.

Welcome to the world of design. Among the slew of media, images, messages...how do you create something meaningful?


A few things about Portland so far...

  1. I love rain! But...when walking to a job interview, glancing at your reflection, and seeing the frizziest hair ever, one starts to wonder if it might be time for an umbrella. I know, not a true Portlander, you say. But a hood flattens it, and rain frizzes it. Maybe a really cute polka dot one? Or one with owls?

  2. Why the smoking? Portland, with your vegan restaurants, your ubiquitous bikers, your parks and trails and ski slopes...didn't anyone tell you that smoking kills? And seeps into the lungs of everyone near/in the room below/with the windows open in the apartment next to you? And don't act like throwing a cigarette on the ground isn't littering. 'Cause it is. So get with the times, Portland. You're almost perfect, why not go for the gold?

  3. I went to a piano concert yesterday, a duet on one piano. I get there, and they introduce two elderly ladies--complete with white, tightly permed hair and floral sweaters--as the pianists. Great, I think, and wait for some cheese-o medley or something. I nearly jumped when they started banging out this atonal piece, complete with rubber bars used mid-song to play half the keys on the piano all at once. Clearly, these were not your typical old ladies. Turns out the piece was written by some 23 year old kid, and these ladies were playing the premiere. (Hmmm...such opportunities for young composers...) Then they played some Schubert and more goods. All for free! Yep, music to my ears.



No posts for a while. Sorry about that. But, you know why? I've been moving! Yes, packing tiny bits of paper, concert tickets, CDs and DVDs (do I take the cases or not?), sweaters, hats, scarves, frames, photos, scads of books, and all other random paraphernalia found in my room.

Hauling everything up in a trailer covered with a flimsy tarp that looked like a hula skirt by the end of the trip, Mom, Dad and I drove up on Friday. Almost nine hours after leaving 112 degree Redding, we started unpacking in 106 degree Portland (how could you DO this to me!). We got everything settled and the place looks really cute, thanks in large part to cool wood floor and Ikea. So, I've got an apartment. "Job?" you say? Ha! I laugh in the face of jobs! Until tomorrow when I beat the pavement to find one. May the employment gods shine down upon me.

Super cool Ikea kitchen rack system. Neato.


Strobist Jet-Pack?

Check out Jesse's stellar strobist how-to video. Informational, as well as entertaining...and I got to ride a really sweet bike for it. Starring super-friends Kallie and Josh, and, of course, Jesse himself, and shot by muscley-armed-camera-girl Lyn.


Redwood forest how I love thee!

Look at that. Need I say more? And the wonderfully rocky coast, the angry waves, the 60 degree weather, the camping hair (Kallie wins!), the s'mores with burnt marshmallows, Adele's chicken apple sausages, crunchy coffee, banana slugs, snipes, ferns, elk, frisbees...

So, all you who've never been out here...GET MOVING!

See all the fun camping pics by Jesse and his unpaid intern--here.


Make way for Momma.

My incredibly child-savvy mother has posted her first e-how article on how to have fun reading with your kids, using the book Make Way for Ducklings. My mom's a pro at this, so if you have kids, or have friends that have kids, or have friends that have friends that have kids, read the article or point your friends or friends of friends to it. I think the plan is to post on a new book every week, so check back for new articles. And now....story time!!!


Time for Some Campaignin'

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

The latest piece of genius from JibJab. Look for a special guest citizen (i.e. my mom) at the voting booth at the end. I love these guys.

Dot Matrix meets Radiohead

Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.

What happens when you use ancient printers, scanners and such to remix Radiohead? Well...this.

Be patient, the actual tune starts about a minute in, after the TV fuzz prelude.


Remind me: Why do people live here?

Welcome to summer in Redding. Brutal.


The view from here.

So, the smoke's finally starting to clear up, but lest we forget what a matchbox Northern California is, here are some pics from last week, just down the road from our house. Admittedly, smoke does make for some cool photos.

Fireworks have been canceled because of fire danger, so we're fleeing the smoke this weekend and taking haven in the redwood forest. Ah, what a haven! Much thanks to all the firemen who are working their tails off to put out the fires!

Some people watch sunsets. We watch fires.

Yep, those singed bushes are from the LAST fire, about two years ago.


Coolest. Website. Ever.

Marketing and branding gurus One Trick Pony created this website for TCM: 31 Days of the Oscars. It's a visual tv program guide, dividing the Oscar winning flicks by decade and day of airplay. The 31 Days have passed, but this dandy of a website lives on. It's even got a mini video jukebox that plays famous themes and clips from each movie. Oscar movie night anyone?


It's a Lensbaby, baby!...too many babies...

My friend and fellow photog, Betsey Walton, (sometimes known as Big Betsy, not because of her girth, but to differentiate from me, Little Betsy, her junior by a couple years), loaned me her Lensbaby, one of the sweetest lenses around. Fast glass? Wide angle? Super zoom? Nope. Just plain ol' distortion. And who wouldn't love a lens that bends and curves like the trunk of an elephant?

I took it downtown to try it out in the quasi-blazing heat (just wait until August...ugh). Click on the Stardust Motel to check it out.


Wedding Fun

Last weekend, the fam drove the windy roads south to Sonoma County to attend my cousin Rachel's wedding. The wine country was picture perfect -- row upon row of vineyards dotted with tiny cottages and farms, with the occasional quaint town to stop in for some cute shops and good eats. I'd say almost the most beautiful spot in beautiful Cali (of course we all know the redwood coast tops them all...hehe, I'm biased). The rehearsal dinner and wedding were at two different, but equally stunning, wineries. The food was phenomenal, the company jovial, the wine was...well, wine (I'm sure delicious to a more trained palate...I'll get there some day), and an all around good time was had by all. Congrats Dan and Rachel! Check out the pics here.


Don't get any ideas, Dad.

Also happens to be a great blog entry on a great blog...check out this guy's pics of his kids. Best family photo album ever?


The Future Glenn Goulds

I have the coolest nephews EVER!!! Miles and Damion both played perfectly at their recital and looked so dapper in their new suits. I'm sooo proud of you both!

(For those of you who don't know, Glen Gould is the greatest pianist ever....or at least the greatest player of Bach. Check it out. He's the man.)


Kits of Convenience

I was at the store the other day and I saw a S'mores Making Kit, a plastic tube with packaged marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate and roasting sticks that looked sort of like real tree stems, if it weren't for the mass-produced uniformity of them all. Handy, yes. But something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

Kind of like BAF's Fort Kit with ropes and camo blanket. Isn't the fun of a fort in using the random things that are lying around your house and creating your own wonderful sanctuary with them? Are we so paranoid about germs that kids can no longer go hunting for the perfect marshmallow roasting stick around the campsite? Am I freaking out over nothing, or are we squelching our kids' creativity in our efforts to simplify things?


I think the inside of my mind is something like this...

Honestly, if you haven't seen this vid for Sigur Rós "Glósóli" you must watch it. Heck, even if you have seen it, watch it. Actually...go to YouTube and watch it full screen. Yeah.....Absolutely beautiful.


Papyrus? Futura? Baskerville?

Hey, everyone should take "The Rather Difficult Font Game". It's fun for all levels of nerdiness. I got 26 out of 32. Huzzah!

And speaking of great typography (which I'm obsessed with these days) check this site out.



Hanging at Starbucks

No, literally. I've got framed prints hanging at the Eureka Way Starbucks in Redding. So, if you're in town, grab a tall no-water, 2 pump, soy chai (I know, one of those ridiculously long orders, but trust me, it's the best!) and check it out. If you're not in Redding, I hear tickets are cheap...


Courtesy of Andrew the eldest (brother, that is)

This is how I feel sometimes.....stupid clumsy mitten-hands.....

Messing with the space-time continuum

Google does it again! They've come up with another genius way to make life easier. It even involves flux capacitors. Check it out here.


The Ubiquitous Self-Titled Website

After much slaving and several strong desires to throw my computer out the window, I finally created a website. Props to you, all you html, flash, website design gurus out there. I don't know how you do it. Anyways, it's at the absurdly creative address of betsylance.com (it took me DAYS to think of the name). If nothing else, there's a cute picture in the "about me" section of me and my bros when we were just tiny babes hunting for pumpkins in the pumpkin patch.....back when we still had that infantile ability to make a picture that was "cute".

By the way, I think the blog is back. I think I have stuff to write about again. We can hope.....


Carnegie Hall, anyone?

It was incredible. Pierre-Laurent Aimard on piano playing pieces from three different centuries:

Bach: Contrapunctus I-XI from “The Art of the Fugue”
Schoenberg: Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23
Beethoven: Sonata No. 31 in A flat Major, Opus 110

followed by encores of Elliott Carter's Caténaires and another selection from "The Art of the Fugue".

Carnegie Hall itself is vast and simple, not the ornate visual overload of some theaters. Beneath the tall dome sits the piano, alone in the spotlight. We had the nosebleed seats, that left me weak-kneed when looking straight over the edge. But I soon settled cozily into my 10 inches of leg room, reminding myself that I'm trying to improve my posture.

The Bach fugues started simply, with your basic fugue, then progressing with each piece building in complexity until you have a double, and then a triple fugue. It was 45 minutes of fugue heaven.

After the intermission, we moved into the 20th Century, with some of Schoenberg's first atonal pieces. Aside from the encore, this was definitely the highlight for me. I love the sound of atonal piano pieces, absolutely riveting.

Next was the Beethoven, which ended with the final movement going in and out of fugues, bringing us back full circle.

The absolute best, though, was the Carter encore. The audience was completely spellbound by this piece, which was written specifically for Aimard, and the second it was finished everyone was cheering wildly. Carter himself says this of the piece, "When Pierre – Laurent Aimard, who performs so eloquently, asked me to write a piece for him, I became obsessed with the idea of a fast one line piece with no chords. It became a continuous chain of notes using different spacings, accents, and colorings, to produce a wide variety of expression." As soon as this comes out on record, you can bet I'll be there to buy.

Afterwards, my brother, Andrew, his wife, Kristal, my dad, and I discussed the show over Chilean sea bass and braised chicken, and left the city contended and reminded that beauty can still surprise us in new music.


What? I was gone?

Okay, so I'm back in the homeland. And it's great to be back. In fact, it feels like I never even left, which is both weird and somewhat disturbing. There are a few changes in my town, though:

1. Starbucks is the new mafia. We went from about 4 to 10 in a year...and there's more on the way.

2. Chipotle. Phenomenal.

3. GoCarts are hip? Other towns bring in art galleries, coffee shops, breweries, and funky little stores to revitalize their downtowns. We bring in go-carts. Wow.

4. Diversity. Ethnic diversity hits Redding? Impossible! I once thought, but it seems that in as little as a year, there's a noticeable change from the sea of white faces. Good for Redding.

5. New Library! Hooray! Our library has emerged from the 70's! Finally, I can start reading again.

6. Red Robin is super greasy. Actually, this is the same, I just notice it more. I gotta lay off those french fries.