Hello San Francisco!

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted here, sorry to any who follow, I very simply just didn’t have time over the last year. But it’s a new year and I’m in a new city and I’m hoping to regain some regularity of posting once more! I’ve just transplanted to San Francisco, CA through the AIMS San Francisco program of the Interactive Media Studies department at Miami University. I’ll be here till the beginning of May, hopefully interning at an awesome start-up! My hope is that I’ll be able to bring interesting design things to your attention that come to my attention while living on the bay, along with my other ramblings of course! 🙂 Get ready for more notifications! Cheers to 2013!Image

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Allison Wonderland

I feel like an Alice in Wonderland reference is fitting for my life this semester. I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. A project here, a project there, a test to study, a test to complete, a meeting and a schedule, clock in, clock out, send an email, network and find time to eat,  not to mention homework. The good news is that any road is the right road as long as I’m moving 🙂 Enjoy my doodle!

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Amused

“He who can laugh at himself, shall never cease to be amused.” This saying; proverb; phrase; quote; etc., whatever you want to call it, I’ve been hearing it since before I can remember. And I have to say, I believe it. Obviously anyone can interpret this whatever way they choose, but I like to look at it as any or all of the following: A tribute to a positive attitude, don’t take life too seriously, laugher is good for you, and keep yourself entertained or be your own entertainment.

This quote has been in my mind of late because I’ve been cleaning house, and by house, I mean computer; I’ve been cleaning up excess files, organizing folders and bookmarks, organizing my large collection of pins, going through my dreaded email inbox… etc. In the process of this I’ve been coming across files that: I’ve saved in a hurry and therefore named ridiculously, screen shots of things I thought were funny, but not funny enough to save the real file that way, emails to myself that very transparently show my mood at that particular time, and all sorts of other random things. Apparently, I really do amuse myself though because months later, even years, (eek!) I’ve been chuckling when I see some of the things I’ve written, named, or done. Below are just a few examples.

I was working on a rating system showing completion of content or assignment and made myself laugh.

This gem is from my email. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that I don’t think I enjoyed that class..

No picture for this one, that’d just be cruel. But I will tell you that when I discovered the face detection feature in iphoto, I had a little fun. Specifically naming one of my exes, not his name. Childish: yes; Inducer of a fit of giggles: yes; Conclusion: worth it.

This one is actually from an image I uploaded here a while back. I didn’t realize how clever my file naming had been, but of course had to capture it once I realized. Obviously this picture is describing me… 😉

I also named the file that holds all of my movies “Extreme Procrastination.”

I hope that you enjoyed this random post and it made you either laugh or smile, ideally both. If you do this too, feel free to share in the comments, and if not, you’re missing out!

Cheers!

Call me.. maybe?

Not my normal type of post today guys, but for anyone going abroad in the next few months/ year this could hold some useful information for you. I had a friend contact me recently asking about having a phone abroad and how it all worked, and being the talkative person that I am, I pretty much wrote an article on it. Then I sent it on to my other friends who I knew were going abroad soon and then it dawned on me that I could probably help out a fair amount of people by just posting it here, on my blog. If you don’t care about cell phone services in Europe, feel free to skip reading this post, but you may still want to watch the linked video !

 

So when you’re abroad there are several options for having a phone to use.. You know this already, but just to organize my thoughts I’ll go through it. Phone plans in Europe are much more fluid than the US, they don’t really do the 2 year plan. Phone stores work more like a Best Buy for computer accessories; you can choose any one of the 20 computers there, but these 10 can use this mouse, and these 15 can use that one, and these 5 work with this one only. Only difference being computers = phones, and mice= carriers. Bigger carriers are usually better, they offer more phones & plans and they’re easier to edit your plan with.

They have different plans available for each carrier, but I used a prepaid plan, so I can explain that whereas I can’t explain the other options. For a pre-paid plan you don’t pay for minutes necessarily, but you put a set amount of money on your account. So say I purchased a £20 plan (I did) each text message I sent to an EU number was  £.37 and each EU text message I received was free (I think) Each US text message I sent was £.50 and each US text message I received was £.50. Each EU phone call was £.50 a minute, whereas US phone calls were £1.50 per minute, regardless if I dialed or received the call. For the international calls & texts, you should also keep in mind that whoever you’re calling/texting will likely also have an extra charge, depending on their carrier. My pre-paid plan of £20 lasted me about 3 weeks– I did not ever call the US though, so you know & rarely called anyone in the EU either. I mostly used text messages to other students (EU #) or sent some home (US #). I don’t know how much data plans run for, or what they include because I chose to purchase the most basic of cell phones, literally cost me £2. But I know they did offer smart phones, and I believe they ran in the price range of £24-£50 and you could do a prepaid plan as well.

Now I mentioned earlier that larger carriers made it easy to ‘edit’ your plan, by this I meant that if you do a prepaid plan, they give you a card that is ‘attached’ to your phone number. You can bring this ‘credit card’ into various stores- they usually advertise if they are a store that offers this, and put more money on your account without having to go to the phone store again. Makes it a little easier when you check your balance (via text- for free) and realize you’re low and will need your phone in the next couple of hours– to run across the street to the drug store and just put more on it– which does become active immediately. (I used Virgin Mobile in London & the option to add money to my plan was available at any Tesco or Boots– basically CVS & WalMart- and they can be found almost every other block, or maybe 3.)

Okay now that you know how their cell phones work, I offer the pros & cons of configuring your own phone. Pro, you know how to use your phone, it does not confuse you at all and all of your numbers are already in there (though you will have to add a country code to them while you’re abroad). Pro, GPS & internet- you can actually use your iphone to find things while you’re out and about instead of relying on the directions you printed off yesterday. Pro, there is no such thing as running out of money on your plan, never have to worry that you will be without a phone (outside of service towers of course).  Con, price– and it’s all dependent on your carrier in the US. Con, you can ONLY choose to do this while IN THE USA. Europe uses a different configuration for their cell phones, if you chose to go international your carrier would insert a special (‘GSM’ if I’m not mistaken) chip in your phone so it would pick up both the US and EU network. You have to do this in the USA though, because phones in the EU are built differently due to this configuration, their ‘GSM’ chip WILL NOT fit in your phone.

Other options.. If you’re staying somewhere that has free internet available, you can always forego the use of your smartphone while you’re out and about during the day, but use it on the wireless network at night- or any time you’re in a, or your free internet zone. With this, I would recommend purchasing a cheap, albeit usable phone with a prepaid plan. If you really don’t like the idea of being without GPS or Internet, you can get a prepaid smartphone too. The nice part about using your smart phone on a wireless network, specifically an iphone, you can Skype using the face-chat feature & use whatever aps you want. This was the route taken by most of my friends with iphones.

So to conclude this ridiculously long post (sorry, but I didn’t want to leave anything out!) I would talk to your carrier to find out exactly how much it would cost to configure your phone for however long & what other charges are associated. Compare the price vs the convenience.

My crappy little cell worked just fine for me the whole time I was there =) I had internet and a computer at night so it didn’t matter to me that I didn’t have it during the day. Also getting just a little lost, I find, is part of the adventure =) Though I understand if it makes you uncomfortable.

I hope all of that helped! And feel free to comment if you need any clarification!! I know this is long and complicated. Oh and FYI this: £ means GBP (Great British Pound)– since I was based in London, the exchange rate last summer was close to 1.6 sooo for every £1 = $1.60. But as the exchange rate changes every day, I would look into that as well. I also happen to know the Euro (different money system than GBP) is a much closer exchange rate these days €1 = $1.25 so if you’re going abroad mostly in Europe rather than the UK, something to keep in mind.

Cheers!

Take me out to the ballgame

Well hello again! Apologies for the lack of posts the last couple of weeks; for not doing much of anything this summer, (aside from an internship Mon-Fri) I’ve been keeping myself relatively busy. Earlier this week I attended the Reds’ game vs. the Cleveland Indians, the first of the series & a complete game by Johnny Cueto (for you non-sports followers, that means Cueto pitched the whole game without a back up). In case you didn’t hear, brooms were needed as the Reds swept the Indians in the 3 game series for the first time since 2008. So, a great game for me to start my season with. Being the college students that we are, my friends and I purchased the $5 nosebleed tickets and instead spent our money on spiked slushies. [Not illegally, the ballpark actually offers a complementary shot of your choice (tequila or vodka) with the purchase of a $10.50 slushie, as long as you’re over 21 of course. I only include this because if you happen to read this and are either from Cincinnati or ever plan to attend a baseball game in Cincinnati, or even by fluke, ever end up visiting Cincinnati and going to a game: I feel an obligation to ensure that you are blissfully aware of this fantastic option for alcohol consumption at a MLB game.]

Anyways, the best part about going to a baseball game, in my opinion, is not the peanuts, the alcohol (contrary to what might be assumed from the above statement), or even watching the Cheesy Dance Cam (which is pretty darn entertaining– not to mention the Kiss Cam!). But the fact that at least at our ballpark, there is not a single rotten seat in the house. Because of that, it is my strong belief that anyone can have fun at a baseball game, especially if you go in with a positive attitude. Whether you like to actually watch the game, or just hang out and sort of watch, being in the ballpark with all of the other fans makes the energy contagious and no one can ever have a bad time because they ‘can’t see over the ridiculously tall dude with a fro.’ And here was our $5 view:

It’s from my phone, so could be better, but the weather was perfect & not a bad crowd for a Tuesday night!

FYI I don’t actually follow sports that well, I just know how to use the google machine 😉

Selfie

I liked my outfit yesterday and it was nice out when I got home,  so I took some self portraits. It might not be as crisp as I’d like it  because I was using a manual lense and focusing it before I was in the shot, but I think they turned out alright =) I also didn’t look at the screen while I was taking any of them, or after I took them (at least not right away) so sometimes I ended up being in the center of the shot and others, not. I really liked the way this photo turned out though =)

Never realized how cool the brick from my house was before either =)

Royal Puppies

At our house, puppies are royalty. Ours also happen to look very regal in the way they survey the yard. You’re next Huckleberry! (My nephew.. who is a puppy)

Both puppies (sorry, only one could be in focus without photoshop)

Miss Phoenix (who hates cameras, so kudos to me for actually getting a picture of her not barking!)

Mr. Muggles crossing his paws per usual =)

Cruising

Lately, I’ve found when I’m driving somewhere, somehow I’ll end up coming across an awesome photo opportunity, sans camera. In order to try to remedy this, when I’m taking a longer drive (more than 20 minutes) I’ve started to bring a camera with me. Luckily, this practice hasn’t been in vain! The other day while driving to Oxford the sun was setting perfectly on a field and I pulled over to capture it. I ended up climbing a hill on the side of 128 for a better shot, but when I got to the top, I realized there was a better shot to be had in the other direction. It just so happened the hill looked over a lake I never knew existed, and the sun was setting on the lake just then. So here’s my ‘money shot’ of the day =)

Sunsets in Ohio CAN be gorgeous, and on the water =)

B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Just a goofy post for ya! I have this fantastic little plastic contraption that holds a banana in it and keeps it from getting bruised when I throw it in my bag, backpack, etc. It’s great! However… not so good when I leave the case with a banana in it, in the car all day when it’s 80 degrees outside.. This is what happens.

This is also what happens when my roommate leaves for the weekend and I’m home by myself without internet for a couple hours.. lolz