Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top 10 Dream Jobs according to

For all you potential career changers in these turbulent times of employment, here's a list of top 10 dream jobs, from There are some cool jobs...

Brew Master. Video Game Designer, Toy Creator, Casino Host, Comic Book Guru, Concert Promoter...

Guess what's the first job on the list?

You got it. Ice Cream Creator.

Nice. Careerbuilders has 265 jobs listed in that category today.

Almost looks like I knew what I was doing.

Despite the dorky picture of me in the even more dorky lab coat. Of course, I was just a ice cream scientology neophite back then. Long before the days of Deer Trax, Lavender, Burnt Sugar, and Festivus.

I can't say that I've ever 'ordered every dessert on the menu in the name of research', but it is nice to know that I could if I would.

Even if I do have to buy all my own office supplies.

(Hat Tip: Daniel Dadusc over at Shannon Road Ice Cream)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fend off Tough Times with Small Comforts.

While rummaging thru the bad news of the day, I came across this little bright spot. It's especially bright if you make ice cream or rent DVD's for a living...

Americans Reach for Small Luxuries amid Sour Economy

"In hard times, chocolate is comforting and affordable," says Fabrizio Parini, senior vice president of marketing at Ghirardelli, where 2009 sales are projected to surpass 2008.

The need to fend off tough times with small comforts — whether laced with sugar or blanketed by fur — runs deep in human beings.

"It's a basic human trait to have indulgences in one's life, things that reinforce your identity and keep you moving forward," says Eric Almquist, head of global consumer insights at Boston-based consulting firm Bain & Company, which recently produced a study called The Consumer of the Future.

And my personal favorite..

"Ice cream, music, DVDs all will persist," he says, noting that the Bain study found that "vice" purchases are still popular.

Of course, I'm still pulling for a rebound. And Spring.

Fire & Ice: The Trailer

In case you missed last week's Fire & Ice ArtWalk extravaganza, a cool little video/promo for an upcoming local Channel 5 show...

(There seems to be some issues with the video. You can go to their blog and check it out..)

Fuzzy Clock Productions

Saturday, February 21, 2009

TED, the opposite of the MSM.

With cable tv, the daily newspaper, wifi in the shop, a desktop an arm's length away from my batch freezer, and a shiny new Ipod Touch in my pocket, it's just way too easy to know exactly what's going on in the world at any given moment. I suppose this wouldn't such a bad thing if all the news was rosey and shiny. But as I'm sure you've noticed, bad news is what sells. And it must be selling well because the bad news seems especially bleak and plentiful these days. The sky over the stock market is truly falling, right along with the housing market, the job market, and the credit market. The farmer's market would probably be falling too, if it were not mercifully spared by the current occupation of winter. With all this negative energy bombarding us every day, I'm surprised we don't all implode into our own pigpen clouds of bleakness.

Too dramatic? It's late, another winter mess approaches, and it seems the deep seated angst over my 401K has taken control of my keyboard.

In any event, I've tried to quit the news, (Dr. Weil calls it a 'news fast' in his book, 8 Weeks to Optimal Health), but with such ready and constant access, it's not so easy. I'm sure you know what I mean, my good FaceBook friends.

So as an alternative, along with taking my vitamins and eating less red meat, I've been hunting around the world wide one in search of more positive information sources. I think I've shared this one already. I've recently discovered another. It's called TED. It's a giant collection of amazing and interesting talks from TED conferences held all over the world. I'm sure few of us have the time (or the $4000) to attend one, but fear not, all the talks are right up there on their site. Free of charge to peruse in your pajamas. You can even get an app for your Iphone and watch 'em while you're in line at the RMV.

I'll let you go find the talks that interest you, should you be inclined, but here are a couple, just to wet your appetite...

Secrets of Success in 8 words, by Richard St. John (this one will only take 3 minutes of your workday)...

Aimee Mullens on running (an amazing & inspiring woman)...

A founding father of the self-help movement, love 'em or hate 'em, Anthony Robbins...

There's plenty more where that came from. Just click on Talks, and you can search by 'most inspiration', 'most jaw-dropping', 'most emailed'...

You've probably been there before, but if not, check it out sometime.

"We're never more beautiful than when we're most ugly." Inspiring stories about everyday people from Chris Abani.

And if you frequent some other sites that are of a positive bent, feel free to drop them into a comment. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Da Bears are in the house.

image by John Polak Photography, sculptures by Amy Davis.

Well, if you haven't caught rumor of it yet, the Easthampton BearFest is shaping up to be the happening of 2009 here in Easthampton. The city will be inhabited by 20 or more big fiberglass bears, and a bunch of smaller ones, in interesting and easy to spot locations, from June thru October. And they won't be bear bears like the two above. They will be custom designed by Valley artists.

The first official 'dressed' bear will be introduced on a St. Paddy's Day float in the Holyoke parade, but you can check out the 'bear canvases' (and vote on your favorite artist design!) tomorrow night (thursday) at Easthampton City Arts' Welcome the Bears Mardi Gras Party & Fundraiser. It's all happening at Eastworks from 7-9 pm. Here's the invite:

Thursday February 19th, 7-9 PM
hosted by Eastworks
Live Jazz Music by Carol Abbe Smith Ensemble. Cajun Style
eats by Apollo Grill. Be one of the first to see the “naked” bears
on their arrival to Easthampton and vote on your favorite bear
CASH BAR Tickets are $15 call (413)527-8278
for tickets/available at the Apollo Grill and at the door

A great way to support what will be an exciting event for the city of Easthampton in 2009. And for the kiddos, perfect if you're looking for something to do to round out the school vacation week...

February 20, 2009 (Friday)
Welcome the Bears Kids Party
Friday February 20th, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Eastworks

juice and goodies make your own mask
vote on your favorite bear
FREE and open to the public

Hope you're able to make it.

And if you'd like to support the cause, there's a donate button on their website. Many of your favorite local businesses have contributed generously to make this cool outdoor art event a reality.

If you'd like more information, feel free to give Briana Taylor, Easthampton City Arts Coordinator and head Bear honcho a call at (413)-527-8278.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Live Ice Sculpting in your Hometown.

And it's not even New Year's Eve.

In case you weren't able to get out and 'artwalk' tonight, here are a couple shots from the front steps of the Old Town Hall, home of the Easthampton City Arts Gallery and Elusie Gallery. Local art hero Trace Meek tries his hand, and chainsaw, at ice sculpting. He looked like a pro out there, hard to believe it was his first time in the ice medium. Nice job Trace.

Adding to the ambiance was a cool set of ice votives, created by Easthampton's own, Kristin Angel.
One more of Trace, working his magic with the chainsaw...

There were a bunch of people out for the ArtWalk tonight. Great to see. The ArtWalks should get better and better as we slowly rid ourselves of winter. And it won't be long before we start seeing cool painted bears all about town. Easthampton BearFest (fyi: the bear website was also created by Trace the ice sculpure guy). More on that soon...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Last Minute Valentine's Day Suggestions...

In case you didn't make it in this week, might I suggest a box of gourmet truffles for your Valentine?

How about a crowd favorite homemade solid chocolate heart box. The crew and I see these in our sleep by the end of Valentine's week...

Which is probably better than seeing one 'wiggly' Spongebob Squarepants in your sleep. Don't let that deter you from picking up a box for your kiddo.

And, of course, among the usual candy suspects, there's always a big old bag of conversation hearts...

We may even have a few chocolate-dipped strawberries left when you get here...

In any event, hope your day is whatever you hope it to be. With a cherry on top.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From the Health & Science Desk.

There's an interesting article called Twins and Aging: How Not To Look Old by John Cloud in this week's Time magazine. It discusses the oft-talked about topic of how to turn back, or at least hasten, the effects of father time on your face. It's based on a study just released from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland that compared the faces of 186 sets of identical twins (from the annual Twins Days Festival event in, of course, Twinburg, OH). Doctors who conducted the study compared the effects of aging on each set of twins, then looked at each twin's respective lifestyle, essentially their behavioral choices and the environments in which they lived. Each twin filled out extensive surveys covering questions ranging from sunscreen use to diet to marital status.

Out of all that data, what did they discover? The not-so-surprising...

The paper also makes clear that, weight aside, healthy living is crucial for keeping a youthful face. The siblings who smoked and didn't wear sunscreen looked significantly older than those who avoided cigarettes and tanning. Those twins who had been divorced also looked older (by about 1.7 years) than the twins who didn't divorce. (They also looked older than those who had stayed single, which reinforces a point I made in this article: you are better off staying single than getting into a bad relationship.)

That's all well and good, but here's the good stuff, and of course, the reason I wanted to post about it...

The bottom line is that if you care mostly about a young-looking face, don't smoke, don't go into the sun without protection, and try not to get into a bad relationship that will make you depressed. Instead, this summer at the beach, stay inside and have an ice cream. Make it a double scoop.

Ice cream, your ticket to the fountain of youth.

That's what I'm talking about.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Call for Ducks, er Artists.

Hope you got to get outside this weekend for a little dose of vitamin D. The ducks and geese were out in full force over in Lower Mill Pond today. That wind kept us from enjoying the full effects of the thaw, but wind or no wind, 45 beats oh 5 any winter day.

Since most of my posts this week will probably be bent towards all things Valentine's Day, I thought I'd take this opp to pitch my annual request for ArtWalk Easthampton artists for the walls of Mt. Tom's. I've got a few months booked, but many months are still available. We've got about 17 spots to fill the walls. Your work will hang for a month, starting the 2nd saturday of that month. You're welcome to put labels with pricetags. You can make it whatever you choose. Calm and casual, with just a few invites to friends and an appearance during your ArtWalk. Or you can make up postcards, invite everyone you know, set up apps & beverages. Or something in between.

This coming weekend is our next ArtWalk. Since I was unsuccessful in recruiting an artist on short notice, having just reopened, I've volunteered myself to put together a little show.

If life gives you snow, make snowcones.

Ok, so most of us are already tired of shoveling and slushing around covered sidewalks, and it's barely February. Well, since there's not much we can do about it but complain, the best thing we can do, besides ski or eat ice cream, is make art out of it. Since fire & ice seems to be this month's theme, my show will be all about ice. And snow. And all things cold. Here's hoping it'll warm you up.

I hope you'll stop by and check it out... And do email me or pull me aside in the shop if you're interested in showing here at Mt. Tom's this year. Thanks in advance.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Another Development on the Technology Front.

This just out. Right on the heels of Google Earth 5.0, with it's 3-D maps and images of Mars and the bottom of our oceans, comes Google Latitude. Thanks to the latest techology in our cell phones and wifi connections, the simple game of hide and seek has become obsolete, gone the way of the 8-track, landline, and wood paneling. According to the latest incarnation of Google, you can now...

-> See where your friends are and what they are up to
-> Quickly contact them with SMS, IM, or a phone call
-> Maintain complete control over your privacy
Enjoy Google Latitude on your phone, PC, or both.

From your mobile phone - View your friends' locations and status messages and share yours with them. (
Supported phones)

From your computer - View your friends' locations and status

The big question is, assuming you're not a 5 year old kiddo playing in the backyard, why would you want people to know where you were at any moment of the day? Sounds way,way too big brother to me.

At least those little tracking chips are only being put into pets. As far as we know...

Ok, enough technology ranting from me. I'll try to leave that to my favorite tech site, LifeHacker.

Stay warm.

When life brings you icicles, eat ice cream.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

To Mars Alice!

All bad sitcom references aside, I gotta say these are cool times, technologically speaking, we live in. Recessions, economic stimulus debates, & stock market implosions be darned. I was skiing with a buddy last week when he pulled out his I-phone and in about 8 seconds, we were looking at a trail map of the entire ski area. And on that map was a dot showing where exactly we were on the trail. From a satellite. My buddy was telling me his I-phone can tell him how fast he's skiing (although I'm not sure how you could actually pull it out, punch the keys, and look at it without crashing into a tree), point to which trail to take next, and give him the weather for the rest of the afternoon anywhere in the world, all the while playing his new Slightly Stoopid album in his ears. The future, it seems, is indeed here.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to read in today's news that you can now Google Maps of Mars. I'm not sure, aside from sheer curiosity and science trivia, why you'd have a need to look for directions on Mars. The housing market here on Earth is bad enough. And I suspect it's either really, really hot or really, really cold most places on Mars anyway.

In any event, in these times of technology explosion where you can punch in the name of your favorite band into Pandora and hear their songs in an endless mix of songs from bands that sound like them all day long without interruption (or cost!), why shouldn't we now have access to directions on Mars?

If only technology could progress as impressively on pressing matters such as curing cancer & other deadly diseases, developing alternative energy sources to power our cars & charge those I-phones, and even perhaps the discovery of a space age material to fix potholes that's better than that loose hot tar stuff that sticks everywhere but in the pothole...

Alas, such feats still seem elusive, so in the meantime I suppose a good game of Ilitebrite on your Iphone while drinking a cold one after a great day of skiing will just have to suffice.

And perhaps a virtual stroll on Mars... Google Earth 5.0

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Sundae

As New England sports fans, we've gotten pretty spoiled these last few years, with our Patriots, Celtics, Revolution, and Red Sox all making it to the finals in their respective fields/courts, diamonds. Let's face it, it's been a pretty sweet decade for we N.E. sports fanatics. We've become so spoiled, it seems, that when a final game or series arrives without New England representation, we don't quite know what to do with ourselves.

So here we are on superbowl sunday, with our team playing golf with every other footballer who doesn't wear an Arizona or Pittsburg jersey. Alas, it's just another game to watch, although I must admit I think I might prefer it to last year's sheer heartbreak. But it is still the superbowl, and with that comes parties, chilli in bread bowls, chips, dips, adult beverages, and of course, commercials.

What would the superbowl be without those crazy expensive and sometimes entertaining commercials. Wherever you watch the game, I'm sure it'll be one of those rare ocassions when you actually turn the sound up and not hit the mute button when a commercial comes on.

I was planning to include a link from youtube that shows the top 10 commercials, but that might spoil the fun. Instead, here are a couple you likely won't see during the game, just to get you in the mood... (for football or ice cream you wonder? you decide...)

There were many more, but quite a few were a little risque for my generally G-rated blog. Perhaps I can include a few links over at Ice Cream Diaries: Uncensored...

In any event, enjoy the game, the party, the nachos, the pint of cookie dough, and may the best team win. We'll get 'em next year.

In the meantime, go Bruins!