Saturday Dec 08, 2007

Customers gone wild: When brand adoption isn't appreciated

You know how Abercrombie has the shirtless male model in the entrance of their stores? It's a brand thing -- but, apparently not the same kind of brand thing like sporting white ear buds in an Apple store.

Improv Everywhere executed an interesting brand experiment where they staged 111 men to attempt to shop at Abercrombie with their shirts off -- unbeknownst to the store staff, security and shirtless model.

Have a look at their summarized documentary:



Post mortem documentary here (contains some adult language):

Sunday Nov 25, 2007

Peace

Every Christmas, I make and send out ~100 greeting cards that usually follow a theme of peace. While searching for peace quotes, I found the following that I really like:

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Mother Theresa (1910-1997)

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
Buddha (560-483 B.C.)

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.)

You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
Malcolm X (1925-1965)

It is possible to live in peace.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Human Beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and freedom.
The XIVth Dalai Lama

Friday Nov 23, 2007

Best Peach Cobbler Recipe Ever

Thanks to the magic of the collective wisdom on Twitter [1] [2], I found then prepared this fantastic (super simple) peach cobbler recipe for Thanksgiving dessert. I made a second batch with cherries instead of peaches -- it was a bit too sweet for my taste, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.

[In a separate bowl] Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Saturday Nov 17, 2007

Can you spot the hidden feline?

This one is a toughie -- only the sharpest eye trained in spotting domesticated felines in their (un)natural habitat will likely be capable of identifying the feline in this photo\*. The way it camouflages itself in the synthetic material, that is only seasonally native to it's environment, is nothing less than remarkable -- only mature female felines are likely capable of pulling off this exquisite maneuver.

hidden-cat

















\* National Geographic inquiries can be left via the comments feature below.

Wednesday Nov 07, 2007

Song dedication to my designer homies out there

This one goes out to the hard-working designers for putting up with all the non-designer subjective "opinions" day in and day out:

"Make The Logo Bigger"

Signed,
The chick who once said she's allergic to baby poop green, but now has an ocean of it on her blog

Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

The Foreigner's Guide to Living in Slovakia

SkovakiaI recently read the book of my favorite wikis.sun.com engineer's wife: The Foreigner's Guide to Living in Slovakia by Margarete Hurn.

Being a visitor to Slovakia for five years was conducive to sharp observances that Margarete comprehensively writes about in the book -- everything you need to know from crossing the border into Slovakia to what to expect if you are staying longer than a short visit. And of course, she covers the basic tourist questions such as things to do, places to see, currency, basic greetings, social and business customs, etc.

A must read if you are are thinking about a visit or move to Slovakia.

Sunday Oct 14, 2007

Skunk Scent Removal

Ellie & Lola had a not so friendly skunk encounter late last night which triggered a midnight test of skunk scent removal remedies.

Most effective: Mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a bowl. Apply to affected (non facial) areas, soak for 5 mins., thoroughly rinse.
Warning: Don't attempt to store the remaining solution -- it's explosive in a closed container. More info here.

Semi effective: Apply tomato juice to affected areas, soak for 5 mins., thoroughly rinse. Repeat if needed.

The only part that still stinks is a small facial area on Lola that received only the tomato juice solution. I didn't feel comfortably applying the peroxide solution on her face knowing that pouring hydrogen peroxide in a dog's mouth is an effective way to get them to puke in cases where they've ingested something that is life threatening.

Friday Oct 12, 2007

Virtual group dance tune: Java EE 5

On my way back from dropping Skrock-ette off at school, Mambo No. 5 came on the radio (admittedly, it was a music-for-mini-van-drivers kind of station, but it inspired me to bust a move). It reminded me of Roumen's Java EE 5 rendition of the song. Have a listen to get some Friday morning endorphins flowing.

As a side note, the wound from him declining my marriage proposal is mostly healed, in case you were wondering. Tho' I'm still waiting for him to release his next tune.

Sunday Oct 07, 2007

Speed-blogging links: Oct 7, 2007

I'm not a big fan of blogging lists of links, but I'm short on time and see value in the following. Pardon the rushed nature, but here you go:

What Would You Do with SunWikis Remote API? Igor, wikis.sun.com, engineer is seeking use cases for a remote API. In addition to hearing specific suggestions, I'm curious to see if this is an effective approach for gathering site input from Sun and non-Sun employees since the site is writable by by both groups.

Why Web 3.0? Henry Story's interesting post on the evolution of the web and the desire of many to discuss, label and define it's incarnations.

Tracking Keywords on Twitter Pat Patterson has an excellent tip for leveraging a new Twitter feature for tracking keywords. Who cares? Well, if you can track when someone is talking about a specific topic, you can join the conversation...real time. Pat's summarized experience:
"A few days ago I tweeted (posted an update on Twitter) that I was looking at OAuth. A few seconds later, Mark Atwood IM'd me: "Any questions about OAuth? I'm one of the spec authors". Wow. How did that happen?"

Top Bloggers Making Critical SEO Marketing Mistakes lead me to a neat Search Engine Optimization (SEO) site that evaluates your site and makes recommendations on where it is search engine friendly & where you can apply tweaks to increase it's findability.

She's Geeky. A Technology (Un)conference For Women October 22nd & 23rd at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA.

Friday Oct 05, 2007

The history behind Jonathan Schwartz's ponytail

ponytail People are simply obsessed with our CEO's ponytail. Truth be told, I'm more interested in what he looks like with his hair down. Anywho, if you're interested in the history behind the ponytail, check out today's BusinessWeek article about him.

As a side note, until moments ago, I never thought I'd create a tag called "ponytail-history". Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Where are the Black Friday deals?

Black Friday, the last Friday in November, is known in the US as the busiest shopping day of year. To some, it symbolizes the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. For me, being the neurotic planner that I am, Black Friday usually marks the end of my Christmas shopping season.

For those interested in braving the Black Friday crowds, blackfriday.info will help you form your shopping plan around deals by retailer.

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Monday Oct 01, 2007

You can't possibly be serious

SOMEONE who lives in the same domicile as myself was kind enough to assist with the loading/running/unloading of the dishwasher. Excellent. Love it.

They did, however, commit a rather noticeable mistake. They actually loaded the following water bottle along with it's lemon garnishes into the dishwasher. OK, an honest mistake, right?

lemons However, upon the successful completion of the wash cycle, the mistake became quite a bit more severe when that same person unloaded said water bottle along with it's now detergent saturated lemons into the kitchen cabinet of said domicile.

This person shall remain nameless. But I will tell you this. I live with one man and one child...

...and it wasn't the child. You do the math. Yip.

Two-a-days

Every year my high school friend hosts a theme-based Halloween party. This year's theme is "High School Prom".

My 1st reaction was "Yes! Finally a legitimate excuse to once again sport giant spiral permed (looking) hair and seven shades of eye shadow at once!"

2nd reaction: "Oooo...I think I still have my Gunny Sack dress (80's thing) from the 1986 prom!"

3rd reaction: "Girl, you'd have to lose 30 pounds in 30 days to squeeze into that dress. What are you thinking!?"

So, I convinced Mr. Skrocki that we should do "Two-a-days" (work out twice a day) until Halloween (Oct 31st). Today was day one. He did his job and set the alarm for 5:30AM, but when I realized how dark it is at that time, I thought it would be dangerous for us to go for a walk/run -- we live in a neighborhood with narrow winding roads and no sidewalk. So, as I began the mental inventory of our reflective clothing, I fell back to sleep, but I dreamt about running in the dark with a reflective vest -- the kind highway workers wear. Does that count?

Thinking we'll start with one work out a day...

Saturday Sep 08, 2007

Japanese names needed for new Skrocki babies

That's right! We're welcoming two new members to the Skrocki household. Neither are show quality, but we're more after family pets. Let me know if you have suggested Japanese names for them. I'll snap happier photos of them once they settle into the pond and are more visible on their terms, but here's what I have for now:

koi

koi

I'm told, the smaller is a Gin-Rin (shiny scales) Butterfly (long flowing fins) Koi and the larger of the two is a Taisho-sanke Koi, but I'm rapidly ramping up on my koi knowledge, so I'm not sure.

koi

I'm looking forward to them getting comfortable enough with us so we can hand feed them like these beauties at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

UPDATE We settled on the following names:
Akira for the little fish. It means "bright".
Kazuki for the big fish. It means "one" or "harmony" combined with "radiance, shine" or "hope".

Sunday Aug 19, 2007

Praying Mantis

praying-mantis For me, this is the time of year where gardening feels more like an inconvenient labor than a labor of love -- mostly because of the lingering heat and the sum of working my you-know-what off all spring/summer. It's also the time when nurseries discount their inventory by 50% or more -- so, it's difficult to not take advantage of the bargains.

The funny thing is whenever we begin feeling like we want to ditch the gardening gloves, Mother Nature always seems to offer a symbol of inspiration. Today, it came in the form of this beautiful praying mantis -- who seemed delighted to offer several poses for a mid-day photo session.
About

Sr. Community Engineering Program Manager/Acting Director for Sun's external social networking sites (blogs, forums, wikis, etc.). Skrocki's personal blog, LinkedIn.

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