Yearly Archives: 2012
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
If you’re like me, you probably spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a computer screen. It’s an unfortunate consequence of living in a digital world, and our eyes bear the brunt of the pain. Think of your computer screen as a big light bulb that you stare at for hours on end. It’s not that much different than staring at a regular light bulb, except it’s not as bright and we’ve grown used to it — still bad for your eyes.
The effects of working in front of a computer screen are magnified at night. Many people will lower the brightness of their screen to make it easier on their eyes after sundown, but a dimmer screen only solves part of the problem. In addition to adjusting the brightness of your screen, you should also adjust the color. Let me explain.
Natural daylight registers at around 6,500K, while incandescent and fluorescent bulbs produce light somewhere between 2,700 and 3,300K. A main difference between color temperatures is that higher temperatures appear bluer, while lower temperatures appear more yellow or red.
Computer screens are designed to work best with daylight, and produce a bluer light between 5,500 and 10,500K. However, when you’re working under artificial light at night, the color light produced by your computer screen clashes with the ambient light in the room; it irritates our eyes and our brains.
To help equalize the light temperatures, developers have created programs that gradually lower the temperature of your computer’s backlight according to the time of the day. During normal business hours you won’t notice much of a difference, but if you flip your laptop open at night you’ll notice a red hue to your screen. This change takes some time to get used it, but once you try it, you probably won’t want to switch back. I adjusted to it after only a couple of nights, and can’t stand to look at unadjusted screens anymore.
In addition to reducing strain on your eyes, proponents of these programs also argue that adjusting your screen’s temperature at night helps you sleep better. First, your eyes will feel rested (I hate tired eyes). Second, your body is more used to lower temperature light at night, because our biological clocks (circadian rhythms) are quite sensitive to light. When it’s dark outside, your body produces melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Staring at a bright computer screen disrupts this process, and can actually make you more alert. Try sitting under a full spectrum light at night, you’ll probably never fall asleep.
While the best way to sleep better is to completely avoid the computer at night, we don’t always have this luxury. So, if you find yourself needing to burn some midnight oil, try lowering the temperature of your computer screen. Programs like f.lux are free, and available for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. There are other programs available that do the same thing, but f.lux seems to be the most popular. It also adjusts your computer screen automatically based on your location, which is a nice touch. After a while, you probably won’t even notice the transition anymore.
Have you tried it? Let us know what you think about the comments below.
Post by Alison Hein.
Happy Halloween! Why not feed your little hobgoblins a nutritious, fun breakfast before the trick-or-treat candy overload?
In this recipe, harvest pumpkin is seasoned with chipotle, then oven-roasted to a sweet and smoky blend. Roast the pumpkin in the evening, if you like, and wafts of cinnamon and spice will scent your kitchen with autumn aromas. Consider serving some smoky pumpkin with dinner as a seasonal side.
In the morning, fill your little cast iron cauldrons with roasted pumpkin, then top with a bacon, egg and cheese mix that puffs up to a lovely golden brown when baked. Dig in deep, to fill your spoon with a Halloween flavor-packed combo, and a smoky, holiday breakfast in bed suitable for even the fussiest hobgoblin.
Note: I purchased my amazing little cauldrons from Lodge Manufacturing, a family-owned Tennessee company more than 100 years old. These cast iron gems provide great, even cooking, and an irresistible presentation!
1 small pumpkin, about 3 pounds
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
4 slices bacon
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
To roast pumpkin, preheat oven to 350°. Using large knife, slice pumpkin in half, just to one side of the stem. With a metal spoon, scoop out seeds and pulp, scraping sides of pumpkin until clean and smooth. Slice pumpkin into strips approximately ½ inch thick. Mix olive oil and chipotle pepper. Brush olive oil mixture on pumpkin slices and place on heavy baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, until pumpkin is lightly browned and cooked through. Remove pumpkin from oven and let cool until it can be handled. Remove skin with paring knife, and chop pumpkin slices into small cubes, approximately ½ inch square and set aside.
Place bacon in heavy skillet, and cook on medium low to medium heat until crisped, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning several times. Drain on paper towels, cool, and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
Crack eggs into medium bowl and whisk until thick and smooth. Stir in mozzarella cheese, chopped bacon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly oil cauldrons (½-pint baking dishes), and place ⅓ cup of chopped, roasted pumpkin into each of two cauldrons. Pour egg mixture evenly into each cauldron, on top of pumpkin. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, until eggs are cooked through and puffed up.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Laura Cheng.
Houndstooth is one of my all time favorite graphic patterns. From iconic Chanel to daring Alexander McQueen, it has been a Scottish inspiration on the runaway for centuries. And for all my football fans reading this, houndstooth can be summed up in 2 words: Bear Bryant. Its versatile, graphic pattern can be as daring or as subtle as one would like. Fun fact for the day: a smaller-scale version of the pattern is called “puppytooth”! How cute! If I ever wanted to give my bedroom a dose of good, old-fashioned sophistication and elegance, there is no doubt I would utilize this pattern.
I love the crushed velvet orange bed frame in the bedroom, but what I really noticed was the houndstooth rug. Its crisp black and white pattern is the perfect preppy fall accent. There’s another trend here that also caught my eye. Just as layering clothes keeps you warm, layering rugs have a similar effect. Not only does the technique add visual interest and texture to the floor, but it’s also so practical and easy to mimic. A quiet sisal rug as the base layer happily allows the houndstooth pattern to strut its monochromatic colors and anchor the space in the bedroom. And for the finishing touch that is essential but often overlooked, a vase of roses in a balancing hue keeps the bedroom timeless and romantic.
Usually, houndstooth is black and white, but it can also appear in varying shades. It is just as, if not more, wonderful in shades of red or navy. Or if black and white is too bold and busy, a nice neutral beige can often be the answer. This handsome wool throw by Moon of England is complements any bedroom decor without overwhelming the space.
On the opposite spectrum, if I was looking for a statement piece, this one of a kind Pied-de-Poule armoire by Seletti would be it. Getting dressed on groggy fall mornings will be definitely be more interesting with a jolt of fun and drama. The armoire is made of MDF with a silkscreened houndstooth pattern. I’m not quite sure where I would put it yet, but what I am sure of is I’d have a psychedelic start to any day.
Post by Josh Zinn.
Walking home today I passed by a woman, no more than forty, weeping over the loss of her beloved sock monkey. I knew it was a knitted primate her tears were shed over due to the fact that she kept exclaiming wildly, “My monkey! My sock monkey! It’s gone!” as she buried herself in the bosom of a friend whose grimacing face conveyed the fractured duality of concern and annoyance that frequently accompanies the consoling of friends. It was like a scene from Beckett—had Beckett ever tackled the all-too-common personal catastrophe known as “Sock Monkey Bereavement.”
The loss of innocence, as you well know dear readers, far exceeds just the complicated conundrums of sayonara sock simians. In an age when colony collapse disorder is robbing the world of honey whilst Honey Boo Boo showers the world with sass, it can be difficult to ascertain what truly matters and why, in the end, we’re supposed to care at all.
Thank goodness, then, for “Rosemary’s Baby!”
Really, think about it: Compared to the miseries that befall Rosemary Woodhouse as she unwittingly sets down a path that will lead her to give birth to the son of Satan, is an overdue electric bill or a missing monkey THAT big of a deal? Sure, it can be a bit of a pain to spend your afternoon on hold, listening to Phil Collins plead to be taken home while the winter’s darkness envelopes your frigid studio apartment, but it’s not as if your husband and a coven of witchy senior citizens secretly made you bring forth the antichrist. It’s all about perspective.
A classic of horror cinema, Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” takes the idea of forced demonic birth (typically a bummer) and uses it as a metaphor for the inability of our reality to always match up with our hopes and aspirations. Rosemary may think that she’s got the ideal life she always dreamed of, what with her fancy Vidal Sassoon haircut, actor husband, and enormous apartment on the Upper West Side, but the fact of the matter is that the woman has severely underestimated the tenant requirements in her snazzy new co-op. Needless to say, it pays to read the fine print when Beelzebub is on your building’s board of directors.
As you can imagine, life quickly becomes a nightmare for Rosemary as the forces of darkness conspire to give her morning sickness. What’s worse, while she is suffering—saddled with the upheaval of both her dreams and last night’s dinner—her husband is engaging in nefarious games of paranormal pinochle with the witches and warlocks down in Apt. 6B. Where is the humanity!? Alas, life, it seems, is a losing game for Rosemary, with the cards definitely stacked in Ol’ Scratch’s favor.
While it may seem unfair or unmerciful to compare a stranger’s overwrought reaction to the loss of their sock monkey with the bringing forth of the apocalypse, this contrast serves to highlight how all-too-easily we allow the small things in life to dominate our emotions. While the importance of possessions (demonic, sock monkey, or otherwise) should never be underestimated, it’s hard not to imagine a beleaguered Rosemary, cloven-hoofed child nestled against her breast, telling this maudlin monkey mother to go and, “put a sock in it.”