Captured: Hazy Shade of Winter

Ice Shards

I was born in the summertime.  My ancestors lived in warm weather nearly year round.  This leads me to believe that I am not built for cold weather.  However, being born and raised in New York City, I've adapted to some cold.  I have learned how to layer up and prepare for most temperature ranges.  That said, the winter always takes me by surprise.  I always find myself saying "This winter MUST be colder than last year!" even though that's probably not at all true.

Instead of spending too much time complaining about the weather, I've decided to celebrate the beauty in the cold.  With my camera in tow, I've been wandering around the snowy city (and surrounding parts) ready to capture what fills some folks with joy, but just makes me wear tights under my jeans and long-sleeve tees under my dresses.

I found I do best when the weather is cold, the winds are still, and the scene is drenched in sunlight.  But I still desperately long for spring.  I'd love to wear a jacket and not a coat.  I would also very much enjoy not wearing double socks and being able to walk out of the house with wet hair without the fear of icicles developing at the ends of my curls.

So with baseball's spring training just around the corner, I've decided to share a set of photos dedicated to celebrating winter.  I'd like to think of this as a indefinite moratorium on winter, at least until this time next year.

Just the Geese and Me
Slush
Thawing in Chunks
No Time for a Picnic
Stormy
Mounds of Snow
Snow Flurries

Mentorship in the Age of Instant-ity

Quite a few years ago, I had a conversation with a colleague about mentorship.  She mentioned that she didn't mind being a mentor but found it exhausting and often not worth her time.  Then, I was younger, looking for guidance and surprised by her thoughts.  Now, I understand her meaning.  Let me explain.

I believe information should be free and that knowledge is power.  Currently, we are in the age of "instant-ity"; you can get most information you need pretty easily from the convenience of your cellphone, laptop or even television.  Thus it appears that information is, for the most part, free and that you can wield power over your own existence through the knowledge you've obtained via this information.  But this is where the problem lies, and ultimately the disconnect between generations lately. Continue reading "Mentorship in the Age of Instant-ity"

Why The Beatles on iTunes is Important

Yesterday, Apple (Apple Computer, the company behind my beloved iPhone) changed their homepage to read that on Tuesday November 16th, a big announcement was coming from iTunes.  Over the years, Apple has made lots of big announcements but usually they are pretty easy to forecast.  For example, around "back to school" season, Apple usually has a music event where they'll release new iPods and refresh iTunes software.  This big announcement, in the middle of November, was not really in keeping with Apple's usual release cycle.  My first thought: The Beatles must be coming to iTunes.

The Beatles on iTunes
Screenshot of Apple.com announcement of Beatles on iTunes

And turns out, I was correct!  The Apple.com homepage changed to reveal that The Beatles have officially come to iTunes.  The new content available for purchase on iTunes now includes the fab four's 13 studio albums as well as video content (concerts, commercials, and etc).  As a big Beatles fan, I'm really happy to see their catalog added to iTunes; but truthfully, it's far more important than just making me happy.  A lot of folks on the internet (well, in my twitter-verse at least) are making noise about being somewhat disappointed by this announcement.  It's actually a really big deal for The Beatles' members and their estates, as well as a big deal for Apple Computer.  However, it's a much bigger deal for music history. Continue reading "Why The Beatles on iTunes is Important"

Captured: Farewell to Summer

I'll preface this post by saying that I'll try to post stuff somewhat more regularly. Well, I could post way more regularly, but then it would be a bunch of stream-of-consciousness-type gibberish that wouldn't really be worth reading anyway. So yeah, that's my excuse for taking FOREVER to post this.

Back on topic — this year, bidding summer adieu was a lot more difficult.  The summer of 2010 was full of beach days, music, movies, good food and great friends.  And while I had a great time, there are still things I didn't get a chance to do this summer (Visit Coney Island or Atlantic City — for outlet shopping, obviously! Drink copious amounts of homemade iced peppermint tea! Take swimming lessons!). However, I'll gladly take what I can get: roadtrip + rock climbing in Kentucky; pig roast + bioluminescent algae in Maryland; baseball, concerts and just truly awesome, terrific people in New York City.

The following is a photographic recap (in no particular order) of many of the things that made my summer pretty memorable this year!

Photoshop v. Illustrator (or: who cares?)

Lately, I've been hearing a lot of chatter about which tools web professionals should use and why. I'd like to begin by saying that I've never been one to drone on about tools. My perspective is you need to choose the right tool for the job. How do you ascertain which tool is the right one? The right tool is the one that does the job.

Let's take an example from the painting world: Bob Ross. I remember being a small kid, watching Bob Ross create beautiful paintings on PBS. Later, I re-watched those programs and found that he was not using a fancy set of expensive brushes. But rather, he was using a standard painter's brush — something most people own or can easily and cheaply find at their local hardware store. In 30 minutes at a time, using a big bushy brush, he created some pretty great work and a following of folks who suddenly realized that painting was accessible to them. Continue reading "Photoshop v. Illustrator (or: who cares?)"

Captured: Farmer's Market

I went to the Farmer's Market this morning (well, actually this afternoon) which happens to be right around the corner from my house.  I'm always captivated by the beautiful color combinations found in nature and today was no exception.  The prunes were particularly inspiring in their dusty indigo coloring mixed with touches of a yellow mustard color, bordering on gold leaf.  The vibrant pink of the flowers in the first photo also caught my eye.

Captured: Lemonade Stand

Lemonade Stand by Jen Gallardo (some rights reserved)

This weekend, I was running a slew of errands (if you call shopping errands…) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As I was walking across town on 86th Street, I spotted this scene. A young girl scout and her mother were selling lemonade and lemon tarts by the stoop of their building. Needless to say, the lemon tarts were delicious.

The State We're In

Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but last night I got sucked into a British gossip website. I think what particularly struck me was that Rod Stewart was expecting his eighth child (at 66 years old, which I think is terribly irresponsible, but that's a story for another day…). Of course, once you are in a gossip site, you can't disengage. I clicked around for the better part of a half an hour, consuming silly articles about celebs behaving (mostly) badly. I got around to one article about Lady Gaga where the author wrote something along the lines of she'll be performing her next show at "New York's Staples Center."

I could let the reporter slide for not being from the United States, but I won't. For the record, the Staples Center is not in fact in New York but actually in Los Angeles (it is where the Lakers play their games). This error really struck a chord with me in part because it is so lazy. The writer of this article should have done some fact checking prior to reporting something so completely false. If one were to google (or even bing, for that matter) "staples center," it is very clear from the ensuing results (like press releases that begin with "LOS ANGELES, CA") that there is definitely no Staples Center in New York. Furthermore, the writer's editor should have noticed and corrected this pretty egregious error.

In general, though, I've noticed a lot of errors in online journalism (not just the lack of fact-checking, but also spelling and grammar mistakes). It's really a shame because bloggers often are overlooked by mainstream media as amateurs yet it is this kind of thing that fuels that notion. My opinion is if you are doing any kind of journalism (not all blogs do this, but some — like technology-focused blogs, for instance — report on news that very few print outlets touch), you really need to maintain a level of professionalism and maintain that everything that prints (even if it is printed onscreen) has been thoroughly reviewed for accuracy.

Several large magazine retailers (that have been hurting very much with ad sales plummeting) began a campaign a few months back called "The Power of Print." While at first it seemed a bit pretentious, I think they do have a point (besides protecting their livelihood). Something about the nature of a magazine, perhaps the fact that it is written word, makes it tangible. There's also a definite craft to it — a page can only be so long, a layout must be aesthetically pleasing. And I have to say that I do enjoy reading magazines because the distractions (like typos and errant facts) are very rare.

In short, you can distill my thoughts down to the fact that quality control is incredibly important. For any brand, whether you are Conde Nast or Gawker, maintaining a consistent product is vital for enduring in any market.