Two Words: Hammock. Bathtub.


Are you constantly torn between your desire to lounge in a hammock and your desire to take a relaxing bubble bath? Introducing Vessel, a hammock and bathtub hybrid created by Splinter Works that has recently been featured in several European style publications.

A description on the designer’s website says:

Designed for use in a wet room, Vessel is suspended from the walls and does not touch the floor. It is fixed with stainless steel brackets that can be covered over, or left revealed. The bath is filled using a floor standing tap and the waste water released through the base into a floor drain. A downpipe drain can also be installed if a wet room setting is not possible.

And at nearly nine feet long, there’s “plenty of room to share the experience,” the product description adds. Guess you know what you’re doing this holiday vaca.

(h/t Neatorama)

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The Hook Production Notes

The line has been cast.  All I need now is to make sure the hook is diligent enough to pull in an audience.

The hook that was chosen will be about a girl who lost her parents a year ago.  The initial scene will open up with a shot facing a river. The girl, named Lorn, will be silhouetted. The shot will change into a close-up. Lorn will be sitting in sand with her knees pulled to her chest.  The shot will be an upward shot focusing on feet, then using a rack focus to focus on her face.  There may be some motion moving from feet to face.   The voice overs will start.

“My name is Lorn, and I’m an orphan.  My best friend, Eltra, and her mom, Sheydyn, took me in a year ago.  I feel like a charity case, but life’s pretty good.”

The shot will go to Lorn walking up the steps to the parking lot.  Again, this shot will be a low angle that will focus on Lorn walking away.   The shot will switch to show Lorn walking up the steps from above.    The scene will change to a grassy plain.   The shot will focus on a baby bunny nibbling on grass.  The bunny will hop out of frame, and the focus will change to Lorn’s feet walking by.  She will walk into a cemetery, and go to a grave site.   The shot will feature her hand running across one of the grave stones.  She will kneel in front of the graves, pluck some flowers from the ground (or there will be a shot previous to this where she picks flowers for the grave), and place the flowers on only one of the two grave plots.  The scene will fade out.

Footage of a house will fill the screen.  The scene will be dark and the house will have an opacity of about 75-80%.

“A year ago today, my parents died in a fire.”

A match will strike over the house.  The flame will start at the bottom of the screen.  I will use After Effects to engulf the house with the flame as the scene goes on.  I will also use After Effects to damage the house.

“That’s the official story.  The authorities and I know what really happened.  My mom begrudged my dad.  He took away her chance to be a part of the Royal Family on the day they got married.  When the firewomen pulled out my parents’ bodies, my dad had a bullet lodged into each knee cap.  His hands were behind his back as if they’d been tied together.  My mother had a gunshot wound to her head.  The coroner found smoke damage in my dad’s lungs, but not in my mom’s.   She  shot my dad so he couldn’t leave the burning house.  He suffocated to death while my mom took the easy way out.  And I was left behind… with nothing”

The flame will be blown out before Lorn says “with nothing.” Smoke will come up from the match/candle and the screen will fade to black.

The scene will fade into Lorn placing her hands on the ground and standing up.  It will be an even shot of her hands and calves as she stands up.  As Lorn’s feet are turning the shot will change to Lorn’s face and shoulders as she’s walking toward the camera.

“Things haven’t been so bad since they left.  I get to live with my best friend.  She’s more than just my best friend though.  I’ve been in  love with her since we were kids.  Sheydyn, her mom, knows how I feel, but Eltra is oblivious.  She’s too concerned with the stud farms to notice my feelings…”

These final shots will be of Lorn walking along a railroad track.  The shots will change from a wide view of her walking in the middle of the track, to a close up of her balancing on the rail, then to shots of the wooden planks of the train tracks as her shadow passes over.  The last words “notice my feelings” will be said as a train rushes by.  The scene will fade to black as the train whistle blows.   Credits roll.

The end.  Have you been caught?

New Media Gatekeeping: Choose Your Own

In his scholarly paper, CHALLENGING TRADITIONAL GATE-KEEPING POWER & CONTROL:HOW NEW MEDIA TRANSCENDED CONVENTIONAL MASS MEDIA ROLES,  John Girdwood writes about the evolution of media gatekeeping.    Journalists have always had to pick and choose which angle to take; which facts to present and which to cut out in any story.  Editors then have the option to cut down what the journalist has already written.  The journalist and the editor are both forms of gatekeepers.  They decide what information goes out to the public.  Social media has allowed the journalist and the editor to become one.  The journalist has more power to report what he wants on the internet.  The reader can become his own gatekeeper as well.  The reader can decide which stories to read and which sites to read from.  In local newspapers, the reader doesn’t have a plethora of options.

Outta Luck, Outta Print

Eric Altman’s article, The death and life of the American newspaper, chronicles (as the title suggests) the death and life of the newspaper.    The article should be titled the birth, death, and reincarnation of the newspaper.  Altman starts by telling readers about the first almost newspaper and the first actual newspaper. Then comes the internet.   

Many people have feared (and continue to fear) that the internet will be the death of the traditional newspaper.  In fact, the newspaper of old has been dead for a few years.  I can’t remember a time when I opened a newspaper and didn’t see a website or a reference to the internet somewhere in the pages.  Most ads have a Facebook and/or Twitter symbol somewhere.  

Altman talks about how newspapers have created websites to help in the Internet age, but newspapers are not generating the kind of revenue they did even two decades ago (“Since 1990, a quarter of all American newspaper jobs have disappeared”).   

Like in the article Goosing the Gray Lady, Altman says that generally people 55 and older are reading the newspapers.  Newspapers are more for the baby boomers than for Generation Y.  Generation Y (and for the later births, Generation X as well) is accustomed to instant gratification.  We, the members of Generation Y, don’t need to wait until the morning paper to find out what crimes or events happened or will happen.  We have the internet.  

Pop A Rots Ee

Maureen Tkacik chronicles her adventures as a journalist in her article Look at Me!  Throughout her adventures, the media world tossed Tkacik around.  She was fired after investigating a police commissioner’s war on drugs and his daughter.  She became a small-time celebrity for covering Asian markets.  She said she experienced “one meaningful failure and one meaningless success.”  Her first decade of being a journalist followed this format.  She would write meaningless, successful stories; but every time she wanted to write something with significance, she would get canned.  

Tcakik’s article is a great article that every serious journalism student should read to get a taste of what his future will hold.  Like Tcakik, I love journalism.  It’s my passion and my love.  I love everything about it… Except the people who will inevitably be my bosses.  I’ve had bad experiences with editors in print journalism.  They conveniently forget to pay freelancers and even their own employees at times.  I’ve done freelance for three different news organizations and all three have burned me.  I know I’ll have more experiences like this in the journalism field, but like Tcakik, I’m bound to journalism.  And I hope, also similar to Tcakik, I’ll eventually find an organization that will appreciate my work and what I do.  Or I may end up like her friend who does freelance so she can write poetry on the side… I wouldn’t be completely opposed to that. 

Shady Monochrome

Emily Nussbaum, a journalist for New York Magazine, writes about the death of the newspaper in her article The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady.   In the beginning of the article, Nussbaum mentions the problems the New York Times was facing in 2008-2009.  “Advertising dropped off a cliff. The stock sank by 60 percent, and by fall, the paper had been rated a junk investment, announced plans to mortgage its new building, slashed dividends, and… was printing ads on the front page,” she writes.   Mortgage, less stock power, front page ads… none of these things are good for a newspaper and two of the three aren’t good for any business.  It’s no wonder the opposition started making bets on when the entire newspaper industry would dissolve. 

The newspaper business hasn’t died out yet, but newspaper organizations have taken a quick liking to new media.  The New York Times now has a popular web base.  They’ve incorporated what Nussbaum calls a Word Train as well as other interactive functions.  With the internet, news organizations can publish breaking stories instantly; they can get real-time feedback from their audiences; and they can show as many pictures and videos as the bandwidth will allow. 

Nussbaum writes about the Times older audience members as well as the trends in new media.  Older members have attacks of nostalgia. They like the way paper feels; it reminds them of a different time.  Some older people are not tech-savvy.  They don’t know how to surf the internet for the articles they want. Nussbaum quotes Nick Bilton saying, “You know, if we were all reading Kindles, and someone began raving about this new technology, the ‘book’—here’s something you can’t share, can’t search, that only holds 500 pages—no one would be interested.”   

It’s true that in this digital age, the newspaper is becoming more of a novelty and less of a source.  However, when the newspaper does finally croak, there will be many people who will miss it.

Ship’s Log

In Andrew Sullivan’s article, Why I Blog, he talks about the history of web logging and ship logging.   It’s interesting how everyone hears “blogging,” but some people don’t know that the term was derived from web logging which was derived from ship logging.  When someone read either a ship’s log or a web’s log,  the person is reading the newest information first.  It’s almost like reading a book series from the last book to the first book.   In many instances, there is not a definite end to a web log like there would be to a ship log or book series.  When the voyage is over, there is no need for a continuing log for the ship.  Likewise, when the story is finished, there is no need for more books.  Blogs are written by everyday people, and a person’s adventure doesn’t end until death (and some would argue that the fun continues after death; unfortunately, blogging is not allowed in the afterlife).  A person who blogs will always find something in his life to blog about.

Sullivan talks about this in his article.  He kept his blog updated during the attacks on the Twin Towers eleven years ago.   Even though the attacks have ended, that story hasn’t finished.   Even 7 years later (when this particular article was published), Sullivan is still talking about the events.  Eleven years after, people are still blogging about the towers falling.

One Order of Steak Tips; Hold the Wine

I love food.  I love talking about food; I love making food; I love learning about food; but most importantly, I love eating food.   Last year, the ArkaTech published my recipes and pictures on a weekly basis.  I know I have a lot to learn in the art of writing about food.  “Should I be more objective and tell the audience how delicious this meal was? Should I be more sensitive to my vegetarian readers?  How many egg jokes should I make in one article?”  All of these questions boil (ha!) down to preference.  When writing about something as personal as food, a writer should have more leeway with style than a person covering a crime beat.    So, if food writers can have more stylistic freedoms than a crime writer, what other differences are there?

Veteran food writer Amanda Hesser does give advice to novice food writers, or young writers who would love to get a foot in the kitchen door.  Hesser warns that today’s food writers are much different than yesteryear’s.  Food writers do not make a lot of dough.   In her blog, Hesser gives some stark comparisons between food writers of the 90s and today.  She blames the online world for the contrast.  I think the salary numbers can be read across the board. All kinds of journalists are getting paid less because more information is available and easily accessible today than it was even little more than a decade ago.

Besides letting readers know roughly how much money they will be making annually,  Hesser tells her audience the best way to work their way up to a food writer.  Start working in the food industry.  You will not see a crime writer give the same advice, in case you were wondering.   It’s the whole personal thing again.  Everyone loves food; everyone has food preferences.  Very few people enjoy crime, and most people have a singular preference for crime- none.  When people read about food, they want to read about it from someone who knows what their talking about.  They don’t want to read articles that solely say “bobs burgers r best he uses lettuce and special sause.”

Hesser also mentions that a food writer should pick up some extra skills.  In the age of the internet, this applies to every single journalist.  We need to learn basic languages like HTML.  I admit I don’t know the first thing about coding, but I know it would level up anyone’s marketability.

By the way, if anyone is interested in locally raised and grown food, check out   You purchase food online starting Sunday at 10 am through Tuesday at 10 pm.  The farmers receive the order and prepare it specially for you, and you pick it up on Thursday at the All Saint’s Episcopal Church between 4 and 6.  It’s pretty neat!