What “Wood” You Do For Dads & Grads? Plus How To Wear A Watch At Work & For Job Interviews

When Jord came to me with the offer to review one of their handmade wooden wristwatches, I took one look at them and I knew that the Koa & Black, from the Dover Series, was special. While the idea of a wooden wristwatch is certainly a novel one, it was the gears that moved me… Usually all glorious gears and stuff that makes a watch tick is usually hidden on a watch. But with this Jord watch, you can see it work!

jord wood wristwatch dover Koa & Black

I knew it would be perfect for my dad. He’s not only one who appreciates craftsmanship but is a craftsman himself. Not only does he make new things, mixing the old with the new, but he’s handcrafted furniture for the house. I just knew he would love the juxtaposition of the smooth wood next to the metal gears as much as I do. (Admittedly, my dad often prefers his gears rusty; but then the timepiece wouldn’t work!)

Just as I’d hoped, my dad did love the watch too.

dean at elkhorn antique flea market wearing jord wood watchSince one of the relatively important aspects of a wristwatch is the personal statement it makes, the attention it receives, I asked my dad to wear it when we were selling at the opening weekend of the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market. (Just like hubby and I, my parents are antique dealers.) I just knew the wooden watch would garner the attention of those who appreciate quality timepieces, as well as those who admire craftsmanship — and just plain like cool stuff. In spite of the bad weather, which required us to cover ourselves (and our antiques!) up more, when the watch was visible it received a fair amount of admirers.

But perhaps the most telling compliment came from my nephew, Nicholas, who is the youngest of the grandchildren. Because my dad has made so many things, Nicholas asked if Papa made the watch!

jord wooden wristwatch

For many younger folks, wearing a wristwatch seems unnecessary if not antiquated. But hold on; if you think that our tech gadgets have replaced the “antiquated wrist watch” and clocks in general, I have news for you. It comes via some of my dad’s knowledge too…

You might have noticed in the photos that my dad wears his wristwatch in an usual manner…

how to wear a wristwatch

With the face of the watch not centered on the wrist, but rather sitting along the side of his wrist (on the radius, if you want to be technical about it). For as long as I can remember, my dad has worn his watch this way. And there’s a reason for it.

For decades, my dad worked as a salesman selling tools to big companies in what is now known as the Rust Belt. Often in sales meetings, or any meetings at all, there might be a reason the you might want to make note of the time. But being spotted checking your watch communicates all sorts of negative things. While you might merely be wondering if you’re running on time for your next appointment, the client may see your peek at your watch as an indication that they are being rushed — or worse, that they are boring you. What to do?

One of my dad’s first bosses taught my dad a trick: Wear your wristwatch as shown so that you can take a look at the time without the person across the desk from you ever noticing.

stealthy look at the time without offending anyone

Wearing the watch as my dad does allows for a surreptitious look at the time without offending anyone you are trying to impress — be it a buyer or an interviewer.

Honestly, it works without a desk or conference table too.

how to wear a wooden jord watch

I’m not sure wearing a watch this way would have helped Ben Carson, or even President George H. W. Bush in ’92; but it certainly can help most of us. Take heed, graduates and others going on job interviews!

(I dare suggest that many of the young people rejecting wristwatches are not employed. They don’t yet know the value of being able to reflect your personal style at work — or how important it can be to steal an unnoticed look at the time. Meanwhile, as many younger folks seem to be eschewing watches and clocks, the prices for vintage and collectible timepieces have been soaring. Perhaps it takes a matter of experience to appreciate not just “old” stuff, but the value of timepieces as well.)

But back to the stunning Jord watch…

elegant wood wristwatch goes wtih green bay packer gearIt’s at once rustic and elegant, combining earthy and tech to make a functional timepiece that’s unique. The wood also works nice with less formal attire, including Casual Friday, hanging out with friends — and, as it must do for any Wisconsinite, looks great with Green Bay Packer gear!

It arrived as expected for a pricey luxury wristwatch, in a nice wooden crate of a box, with all the related info inside. The only bad thing I can find to say about this watch was that the information card included in the box was difficult to read: black text on a busy image-laden background — and slick & shiny with lamination yet. Even for the younger among us with better eyesight. I can understand wanting a “sexy” card. And giving it a protective coating so it can last. But, honestly, the company would be better off going with black text on a white or light background so that it is easy to read.

That said, we obviously figured out how to work it. And, yes, this beauty works. In fact, with the visible gears, this wristwatch is really cool to watch. If you aren’t a fan of the gears, there are other styles as well — and, yes, there are women’s watches as well.

Watches Made From Wood

Official review disclaimer: While I did receive the wristwatch from Jord for review purposes, it did not sway my opinion in any way. It never does.

Padding Your Bra With Emotions

Can’t find enough reasons to hate your bra? You will soon: Microsoft is working on a smart bra to measure your mood:

mood sensing brasThe prototype contains removable sensors that monitor heart and skin activity to provide an indication of mood levels.

The aim was to find out if wearable technology could help prevent stress-related over-eating.

Mood data was provided to the wearer via a smartphone app in order to highlight when “emotional eating” was likely to occur.

A team from Microsoft’s visualisation and interaction research group embedded an electrocardiogram and electro-dermal activities sensors as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer in the bra.

In their paper, the researchers say using a bra “was ideal because it allowed us to collect EKG [electrocardiogram] near the heart”.

As if women don’t hear enough messages about our moods, behaviors, and weight; we now must hear directly from our clothing. And not just when they tighten around us.

Once you spend the time necessary for the equipment to learn all about you and your emotional eating habits, find correlations between your heart and skin activity, and you take the time to participate in the food & mood logging, the premise is rather simple. The sensors, custom boards called GRASP for Genitic Remote Access Sensing Platform (That name was by design?!), will then transmit the mood data to a mobile phone application using Bluetooth — then the messages from the “EmoTree” will begin to “suggest interventions” — i.e. nag the crap out of you.

One such intervention is to remind you to relax by taking some deep breaths — instructing you to tap on the little bird on the screen with every slow breath you take. Sounds a lot like it’s going to turn into Angry Birds, right? I can only imagine how stressed me would like to tap the hell out of some bird willing to tweet, however politely and privately, that Fatty-McFat-Face-me had better concentrate on her breathing & stay away from the fridge.

emotional eating bra app

There are also plans for the bra & app combo to offer other “distracting interventions”, whatever those are. What could be more distracting than your cell phone telling you to calm the hell down and not to eat? …Maybe it will play a humorous video clip or something nice. Or maybe it will be something more shaming. Like maybe it will it communicate with your friends and suggest they provide a personal intervention: “Jackie, your fat friend Deanna is stressed and heading for the ice cream again! Wouldn’t it be nice if you called her and listened to her bitch about her mother for awhile?”

What obviously springs to mind with this whole thing is the butt-load, err, bra-load of potential uses and abuses. What about hacks? Will there be bras to assess and monitor our other moods? Like one to tell us about our sexual arousal — with an app to alert our partners, of course. Perhaps it will even be like those hook-up apps, telling any stranger who signs up (or hacks into the program) that a randy dame is nearby. “Your honor, she was asking for it — she was wearing that bra app!” Whatever info is collected, maybe the NSA will need that data dump too.

The researchers don’t want us to think this whole idea is sexist. They noted that “efforts to create a similar piece of underwear for men worked less well, largely because the sensors were located too far away from the heart.” Well, jeeze, scientists, don’t fat men have those man-boobs? They surely could benefit from a bro, no? And don’t men wear something else everyday — something above the waist, like, I don’t know, a shirt?

Naw, that wouldn’t make any sense; we must focus on how women look because that’s what they are here for. And notice, there’s no mention or suggestion regarding anorexia  or other health disorders. Fat — women’s fat — is the health issue to focus on.

The good news here is that this mood-bra isn’t ready for market just yet; users in the study found the device “tedious” as the GRASP boards had to be recharged every 3-4 hours.

Then again, that’s about how long some of us can bear to wear our bras.

As for me, if I’m going to invest in any new tech bras, it might be the bra that can detect cancer. Let’s see if that one actually makes it to market.

Blogging Death Knells Are Premature & Passe

This sort of “blogging is dead, especially for business” thinking as shared in Beyond Blogging: 13 Content Marketing Opportunities for Ecommerce by Linda Bustos drives me nuts:

Remember when business blogging was really big? You know, 2007-ish, before Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram came and stole all that consumer attention span.

The death of Google Reader may just be one more signal that blogging is passe, at least as a marketing tool for commercial products.

Only 25% of the 85 retail blogs we tracked in 2007 are still actively updated today. That’s a 75% abandonment rate.

So if blogging’s dead, what content marketing opportunities remain for ecommerce?

First of all, the majority of the sites listed rely on content produced elsewhere to fill them — not only curation sites, like Pinterest & Scoop.It, but social media sites, like Facebook & Twitter (which are also blogging or micro-blogging), as well. Without blogs and websites creating content, what is there to curate or share? And, in fact, at least half of the 13 “opportunities” Bustos lists are actions (content, curation) performed at blogs; many are actually dependent upon blogs specifically for content, and at least three of them (Infographics, Newsletter/email, QRated content) require blogs or websites to make them work.

Premature_Burial_VaultIf The Future is based on blogging, how can it be dead?

Secondly, there are major issues with the subject of blog abandonment rate claims. Blogs, like the static sites before them, have always had high abandonment rates. Since 2004, Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere has been examining such things as the supposed “death” of blogs — and the more the death rumor waves rolled in, they rolled back out again as more data put the rumors out to sea. Sure, blogs are abandoned. Blogging has made it super easy for the code-ignorant to self-publish — come on in, the water’s fine! And, like so many self-directed activities, such ease has allowed them to self-perish just as easily. Any one of those reasons can just as easily be applied to curating or “Facebooking”.  (But, by the way, did you do any digging to see why that 75% of retail blogs were abandoned? Are the companies still around? Have multiple blogs been combined? Have blogs been rolled into retail sites? Have they simply been “guest blogging” at other sites, or using Facebook Pages?)

Beneath all of this, however, is the fundamental issue of what blogging is.

I’ve long contended that blogging is a method of publishing; it’s the software, the mechanism, the platform. In that case, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are platforms for blogging. Platforms which are far more controlled by others than the single stand-alone sites which Bustos & others call blogs and are trying to declare dead.  But to say “blogging is dead” is a more than premature; it’s just plain not true.

You can split-hairs over what blogging is or isn’t, which platforms, software, distribution methods etc. are trending now and where it might go tomorrow, but whatever you call it, people will be creating and many of them will opt to control their creations as well. (…Well, many of us will do our best to try to control as best we can in this Digital Wild West. And for many of us, that means our own sites and even our own servers. Because as we are learning more every day, sites and platforms come & go every single day. And censorship is a threat. Wise folks who value their creations know that using another party’s service/site/platform has plenty of risks.)

Whether the blogging/self-publishing mechanism changes is not really an issue, for as technology advances it certainly will change. But the creation of content itself will remain. And (hopefully!) we will always have individuals involved who will opt to retain their roles of both creator and publisher, i.e. their own blogs and sites (whatever they’ll be called), for which the curators, sharers, etc. should be most thankful.

Image Credits: Wikipedia

Can You Smell That Smell? A Mystery Is In The Air

A vintage text ad from the Ritz for Michael Todd Jr’s 1960 film, Scent Of Mystery (1960), in “glorious” smell-o-vision! A film which “positively cannot be shown in any other southern California theatre.”

Along with being the first (and only) film in smell-o-vision, the first picture in Belock 8-channel sound (sound which used a control signal to “steer” the single surround channel to three surround tracks: right wall, left wall and rear wall), Scent Of Mystery used the “best 70mm process and “new” Eastman color. The film also had two songs sung by Eddie Fisher — and, because that’s how Liz rolled with her lovers, Elizabeth Taylor appeared in the uncredited role of the American heiress targeted murder victim in the film.

The film stunk-up the theatre. In a bad way. The technology was all-but abandoned, and the film was re-edited, converted, and re-released without the odors as Holiday in Spain in 1961.

Of course, smell-o-vision, as a concept, was not entirely abandoned. In the stink-o-rific world of 1980s scratch ‘n’ sniff cards, , , and scented toys, John Waters released Polyester (1982) in Odorama, which used . A decade later, MTV would re-air Scents Of Mystery using the same scratch and sniff technology. Since then, a number of other films and have used aromas as a gimmick.

It’s a shame the idea of aromas accompanying a film are now such a kitschy gimmick. I’m sure Todd and Waters were trying to tap into something more than that. For smell is a powerful and unique sense, strongly and uniquely linked to memory. Properly used and executed, smell-o-vision and all the rest could do more than entertain; it would evoke and create memories. It could boost the cinema and revive community theaters.

What Kind Of Curation Site Should You Use?

No doubt about it, content curation is growing. If all the news stories about it wasn’t convincing enough, the number of clients asking me about curation would! Here’s a simple little primer on the two major types of curation sites — and a decision tree I made to assist clients.

Pinterest, LoveIt, and the like are image-based eye-candy. At best, this type of curation is like a great store window; it might just lure a lookie-loo inside (to the original site) for a sale. At worst, this type of curation is content theft (allowing curators to garner the traffic and exposure at the expense of the creator of the image, product, etc.), or is just a bunch of spam links sent out in numbers large enough that even a tiny percent is hoped to garner a sale or conversion. (Please don’t do either of those worst-case scenarios!)

Snip.It, Scoop.It, and the like are article-based brain-candy. Images from the sites themselves are generally used, but the focus is the articles. The best of these sites (which most definitely includes those named) aim to not only avoid content theft but to get readers to actually read the content at the original site by not allowing entire articles to just be reposted.

Neither type of content creation site is better than the other; your goals ought to dictate which type of curation site you use. This is where the decision tree will help you. Click the image for a larger view of the content curation site decision tree.

Curation Is The New Black; But Will It Get In The Black?

There’s a lot of talk about content curation; but is anyone making money?

I’m sure some are making a few bucks… But big profits? So far, probably not. Will it? Let’s take a look…

When it comes to potentially profiting from curating online, there are three main groups:

1) Software/site creators — those who have built, hoping the people come. These folks have invested time and money in the venture adventure, and some of them are charging for their services. Much like those charging for blogging software and/or hosting, it remains to be seen whether or not curators will pay for such services — and in enough numbers to pay for the developer investment.

2) Companies and individuals selling the products, services, and content being created. So far, this is the group seeing the greatest rewards. While numbers and margins are murky, it’s clear from the investment and funding dollars that big business believes (or hopes) curation will be the future of brand and product promotion.

3) Curators themselves. This group is last on the list for two reasons. First, they are the base on which this whole business is built; without them, no one is paying for curation sites/software or curating the products, brands, and ideas that corporations are counting on. And second, curators are apparently last on the list in terms of consideration.

Despite the fundamental importance of curators, they currently have relatively no means of making money from curating.

By and large, there are no spots for advertising on content curation sites. Not only are there no means by which the curators themselves may edit pages to place advertising, but the curation sites themselves are without their own advertising, so there’s no option for profit sharing between curation site and individual curators. This doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of curators being bought. Other than, perhaps, the difficulty in contacting a curator, what’s to stop a curator from accepting payolla, putting a dollar value on a “curated” link like many bloggers do with paid posts?

If you think this lack of built-in monetization will keep curators honest in their curation — that they’ll do it for the pure passion and love of it all, you are naive. Curation is a commitment. Without the prospect of money, only a few diehards and crazies (such as myself) will bother to curate and then it will be as time and inclination allows. That is not the steady stream of “superhero” curation that enthusiasts are predicting.

Without advertising options, how are are content curators are going to make money? In order to make money directly from curating (i.e. curators are not merely pushing their own products, services, and/or sites that they have monetized), it will need to be because people are going to pay for curated content, because companies are going to pay for curators to push profits for them (via payolla or paid curator/marketing positions), or some combination of the two.

But will people really pay?

So far the evidence says, “No.”

Curation really isn’t anything new. Curation is, if not exactly the same, a lot like blogging; and we all know blogging isn’t a sure-fired, self-supporting, money-making activity. Not that it necessarily should be. I mean, some guy’s playlist isn’t necessarily equal to that of a radio station DJ — and it’s not just a matter of audience numbers either. Quality and importance — perceived or real — also matter. The low barrier of entry to self-publishing and self-producing comes at a cost to the entire media marketplace. Value perception (heavy on the “values” for the growing confirmation bias tendencies) is ironically at the heart of this supply and demand issue of this new Information Age. For example, how many mixed tapes have you actually purchased?

Image via 123 Stock Photos.



What’s Up With ASCII Art Nudes?

Today, at Collectors Quest, I get to find out the truth behind what shocked my teenaged-self so much: keyboard art nudes.

Seems that what I’d seen then was ASCII art, but more likely done by a computer program operating off of a photograph, not a person. I guess it makes more sense that way… Some computer nerds (or geeks?) at the office goofing off with technology, not doing art for art’s sake by hand. (Though, I suppose, to be fair and sex positive, hands were likely involved at some point.)

The image is from this gallery of ASCII art nudes. This is “Ms Collins” or “Vicki” from created from Oui magazine, February 1973. I selected her because she seems a lot like one of the nudes I’d seen that fateful day.

…A day way back then, when parents could display nude artwork and not cringe or worry when they gave the babysitter a tour of their house.

I Can’t Decide If I’m A Nerd Or A Geek; Maybe It’s The Gender Bias

Click To Read

I don’t suppose it matters, really, if I am a “nerd” or a “geek.” But this “Geeks vs Nerds” infographic got me thinking…

First it was just the statements in the infographic itself. Like, does the “geeky” fact that I collect cancel-out my extreme “nerdy” interest in academics — does the volume of what I all collect tip the scales enough to outweigh the fact that I have a PC, not a Mac?

And what about the way they made each type look? I guess you could say the “nerd” dresses less fashionably. Heaven knows I’ve not only had my own style, but rather eschewed trends, and that’s only increased as I enter crone-dom. I suppose that nerd look could be seen as the look of a less social person… But when they go so far as to depict a “nerd” as having the need for orthodontic treatment — I mean a true need, because that guy looks like he can only roll round food against those teeth to get anything into his mouth — the whole effect is one of slovenly unattractiveness.  An ugliness that affects health even.

But all that self-identification stuff seems to take a backseat to the fact that this infographic (and the sites where they sought the information) talk about Geeks & Nerds in terms of their maleness. Not just depicting them as males, but using traditionally male characteristics as defining points or categories.

[This sort of gender bias is rampant in diagnosing autism too; such as topical obsessions which limit (or dominate) conversations — something far more pronounced in boys than in girls, leading to less girls diagnosed and identified as needing services. (This could also be due to the fact that dads are more involved in the parenting and lives of their sons than their daughters; and that too could partly explain higher divorce rates of parents of children with autism.) But I digress.]

For example, how this geek vs. nerd infographic uses science fiction film as a tell.  Sci-fi is more beloved and iconic for men — to the point where so many men fear the extinction of the true genre due to “liberalism” and feminism. Yes, a lot of women like sci-fi, fantasy genres, gaming, etc. — but it’s rampant with male privilege and sexism. Honestly, do the “strong women” really need to be limited to Fighting Fuck Toys (NWS)? And what’s up with marketing pandering to a male audience all the frickin’ time.


Where are the other options for more traditionally female genres of films? Just look at the (white) male-centered film section on the infographich and note the absence of female stars/characters.

Of course, you can argue that the movie industry is still struggling from the film code which damaged films. Especially those movies for and about strong or even interesting women. But that only makes this girl geek or girl nerd’s point. Include classic film, especially pre-code film (NWS), along with the sci-fi, because that’s a perfectly “specific niche interest” and/or “academic” thing to offer here.

Other examples would be to include cooking gadgets with computers and tech gadgets; knitting and ASCII art with screen printing; researchers, librarians, curators, museum and library sciences with the other careers — in fact, where did all the bookish things, once so nerdish and geeky, go? Nerds and geeks read, dammit. (The truth is, stressing gadgets, technology, omitting books, etc. not only precludes women, who earn less money then men, from making the grade — but is racist in application as well.)

We don’t want a “geekette” or “pink nerd” option; we want y’all to recognize that females are geeks and nerds too.

When I mentioned to hubby how this whole “gender biased infographic for geeks and nerds thing was sticking in my craw”, his response was to mock me and say, “I doubt that was their intention, Dee.”

I love you, hubby, but that was spoken like a true person of privilege, i.e. a man.

Because that’s my whole point about gender bias, sexism, racism, etc.: Privileged people so “naturally” dismiss other people.

In other words, geekdom and nerdiness are the white man’s world; women (and non-whites) need not apply to this boy’s club.

This seems to be exactly the problematic thinking behind the “brogrammers” problem, and why we shouldn’t be asking, “Why aren’t there more women in tech?” or science, but rather “How do we change the culture to be friendly to women?”

Obviously is starts with including women in the Geek Vs. Nerd debate, however silly, geeky, and nerdy that may seem.

Celebrating John Glenn’s Legacy

Speaking of John Glenn orbiting the Earth

NASA’s Glenn Research Center will commemorate the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s orbital flight in Friendship 7 by hosting an event, Celebrating John Glenn’s Legacy: 50 Years of Americans in Orbit, at 1 p.m. EST on March 2, 2012, at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Ave., in Cleveland.

Here’s a rundown of the celebratory event program:

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Glenn Director Ramon “Ray” Lugo will provide remarks during the one-hour program, which will include a welcome from Cleveland State University President Dr. Ronald Berkman. Space shuttle mission STS-95 pilot Steve Lindsey will pay tribute from the astronaut corps to Glenn. The program will culminate with a keynote address by the guest of honor Sen. John H. Glenn Jr.

Musical performances will be provided by the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Singing Angels and a soloist from Cleveland State University’s music program. Doors open at noon and a special pre-program musical performance by the Cleveland Institute of Music will begin at 12:15 p.m., followed by a video tribute to Glenn.

…Others attending the tribute event include agency officials, Ohio astronauts, NASA employees and contractors, elected officials, several hundred high school students throughout northeast Ohio, and 100 Twitter followers selected to participate in a day-long Tweetup event that includes tours of NASA Glenn and its visitor center at the Great Lakes Science Center.

After the official program, Glenn, Bolden and Lugo will participate in a Q&A session with the lucky Tweetup participants.

More than 800 complimentary tickets are being distributed to the general public for this event through a lottery by Cleveland State University in partnership with NASA Glenn. But don’t worry if you don’t win the lottery — the program will also be carried (streamed) live on NASA Television online. You might miss some swag and photo ops, but you can still see the event as it happens!

Sockingly Awesome, Wretched Vintage Beauty Quackery Device: The Relax-A-Cizor

Any of these old beauty gadgets or quack medical items draws my interest — but when an electrical item demands you make the pads which attach to wires wet, well, I’m in love!

I’d love to own this not-so-little gem, but it’s beyond my budget. *pout* Here’s an awesome description from the seller:

The Relax-A-Cizor is an Electrical Muscle Stimulator. They date from the late 1940’s to the early 1970’s, and sold for $200- $400.
It claims to reduce girth by giving electric shocks to the muscles. Wet pads are strapped or placed on the body, attached by cords to a power source.
Pads can be placed on the stomach, thighs, arms, etc., even the face. Then you just lie there and electric shock yourself into a fabulous figure, yay!
Sounds scary, huh?

In 1971 the FDA declared the Relax-A Cizor to be dangerous, causing or aggravating medical conditions.

This is after selling thousands of units for decades!

The FDA ordered the destruction of units, or for them to be made inoperable. They also banned the resale of already purchased units. So, given all that information, this auction is for the purpose of Collecting Medical Quackery Items only. This Relax-A-Cizor is not being sold as an excercise or fitness machine.

This auction contains:
the original hard case
electrical console with dials, toggle, and inputs
The original instructions
6 disks with pads
face pads and strap
chest pads and vest
extra straps
chin pad

The instructions have gorgeous drawings of statue like women, some naked, I love the art, fabulous! There are photographs of pad placement in these instructions, including some nudity.

The funniest thing about the instructions (in my opinion), is the lack of warnings. In fact, the only warning is to NOT store wet pads in the box. The only other warnings are to make sure to lie down, and to get the pads thoroughly wet, nothing about being shocked!

This is a true medical oddity.

This Relax-A-Cizor is in excellent condition. The pads and straps have some discoloration from use, age, and storage. I’m not sure if this unit is complete, there is no item list. The paper instructions are in excellent condition, there is a hand written note taped to the inside. The case is in excellent condition.
I do not know if the unit works or not. There is some broken and burnt looking ends on the wires.

I soooo NEED this!

Images and description via Strange Vintage.