Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Radio Paradise 

I've discovered a great new online radio station, Radio Paradise. They play a great mix of good rock music unconstrained by decade or sub-genre. And unlike the ClearChannel name stations on the regular radio (i.e. "Steve" in Columbia, "Dave" in Atlanta, "Jack" in NYC), they've got a real DJ picking music. I find I like hearing his comments on the bands and his announcements of what's playing, even though I can just look at my screen to see the artist and title.

You can listen via several formats as linked from their web site, or do what I did and find them listed in the Alternative section of iTunes radio.
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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Next Big Thing: Waffles 

George and I often seem to stumble across trends right before they become big. Not because we are super-smart and prescient, but because one of us happens to want to buy a particular thing. For example, when we wanted to buy Chuck Taylor All-Star high tops in mid-2000 we had to special-order them because the company said they were going out of business. Six months later, the company had been sold to Nike and Chucks adorned the feet of hipsters everywhere. When we went looking for a folding screen to decorate and semi-partition a room that same year, we couldn't find one anywhere. A year later, folding screens were all over the pages of Pottery Barn.

I've since gotten wise to this phenomenon. When I couldn't find a single pair of granny boots in fall 2003 or navy heels in winter 2004, I knew those were about to be part of big trends in a few months' time. That's why I believe that the next big culinary trend is waffles.

The Cuisinart waffle maker we got five years ago as a wedding gift is starting to break. It still works, but some of the outer plastic parts are not well attached and have cracked or fallen off. George would like to replace it with something sturdier, so every time we go into a store that sells small appliances he looks for waffle irons. So far, all he's found are panini grills, quesadilla makers, Belgian waffle bakers, and the exact same Cuisinart waffle iron we're having so much trouble with. Apparently, there is no love for the traditional thin waffle among the hoi polloi these days.

Searching online, I managed to find this waffle iron on the fifth page of Froogle, after removing Belgians from the equation and skipping over countless heart-shaped and Disney-shaped options and dozens of the same Cuisinart model we're trying to replace. So it looks like we can get our hands on a good, basic, sturdy waffle iron, suitable for making waffles and cheese sandwiches.

A year from now, when Waffle House is the hip place to go, you can say you heard it here first.
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Making Election Research Easier 

As reported by Swamp Fox, the searchable online SC Ethics Commission database will make election-year research into political candidates much simpler for the average person. I wonder if this site grew out of the ethics database that ASG built and maintained back in the '90's?

Now all we need is an easier way to see how our state and local officials voted on particular issues. In 2004, when I tried to find out how my elected officials voted on the governor's budget vetoes, it was impossible to track down any specific information without getting on the phone, calling that person's office, and asking how he or she voted. An online searchable voting database would be a very useful tool. Who wants to build one?
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Thanks for Nothing 

I went into a Hallmark store in the mall this weekend to get some nice stationery to use for thank-you cards. The store had a large selection of note cards, but almost all of them had the words "Thank You" printed on the outside. Call me old-fashioned, but I think it's rather tacky to send a thank-you card that has the words "Thank You" pre-printed on it. An etiquette article I read recently (can't recall where) specifically said this, so I know I'm not alone in my opinion.

I ended up buying note cards from the store's meager selection of blank cards. I will write my own message of thanks on them, personalized for each recipient, as one should.
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