Nov 6, 2009  •  In Geek, Web

An Awesome Google Reader Find

Are you as obsessed with Google Reader as I am?

One of my favorite G’Reader features is the ability to subscribe to your friends’ “shared” feeds. This is a great resource for discovering new blogs, as well as interesting articles you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Today, my friend Brooke shared a post from photographer Alison Conklin‘s blog. Alison had recently shot a wedding with a ceremony that had left a lasting impression. Check out these beginning lines from the ceremony:

15 years ago Shawshank Redemption was in the movie theater, Keanu Reeves was “speeding” on a bus, Ace Ventura was detecting pets, Forrest Gump was “running” through the academy awards, and Samuel Jackson was eating a Royale with Cheese.

During that time Erkel was teaching us that Family Matters, A.C. Slater and Zack were chilling with Jesse, and everyone wanted to live in 90210.

It was on a beautiful Wednesday night at youth group that Nicole, who was wearing a bright-colored shirt and denim overalls, “Saw the sign. Yeah she opened up her eyes and saw the sign”. It was what every girl was looking for: dreadlocks and a striped purple sweater. “Whatta man, whatta man, what a mighty good man,” she thought as Jon walked through the door with his “mind on his money and his money on his mind.” It was infatuation at first sight. The pursuit was on. A pursuit that would one day shift from infatuation to a story that has been an amazing picture of God’s mercy, grace, and faithfulness.

How ridiculously amazing is that? I love it! I hardly follow wedding-related blogs anymore, so Brooke did me a great favor by sharing this post on her G’Reader! Thanks, Brooke!

Do you use the “share” function on your Google Reader too? If so, what is your public feed URL?

(My public feed URL is located on the sidebar to the left of this page. Just in case you’re too lazy to go searching for it, it is http:. But be warned: I share a lot of stuff!)

Nov 6, 2009  •  In Personal, Relationships, Touching

That Friend

If you’ve never heard of That Wife, shame on you. That Wife — aka Mrs. Avocado — aka Jenna — is a beautiful person inside and out, a great blogger, a fantastic photographer, and one special friend.

When I first announced my pregnancy, Jenna enthusiastically emailed me to let me know that she just recently found out she was pregnant too. Being only a week apart, we kept in touch and dreamed of mommyhood together.

A few weeks later, I was able to meet Jenna in person at Christiana (aka Mrs. D’orsay)’s wedding and again at the NYC Bee Party ’09.

Although we’ve only met a couple of times and are by no means bosom buddies, I think that Jenna took the news of my miscarriage especially hard. It is difficult to have a friend who had committed to the same journey as you suddenly — and unwillingly — be pushed out of the ride. As a pregnant woman who was practically at the same stage in development as me, I think that she was able to sense the pain of the loss without even going through it. In addition, I am certain that both her and her husband worried sick about their own baby, knowing that our due dates were so close together.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Jenna that brought me to tears. One line in particular hit me hard: “I always include you in my nightly prayers said aloud with [my husband].”

It was then that I realized I needed prayer more than anything. And it was then that I realized there are so many people out there, even people we’ve never met but only know through this blog, who were praying for me and J.

I have received so many encouraging words, and even presents, from my internet friends. TissueBlossom sent me a care package as soon as I announced my pregnancy. Girl on the Park sent me the cutest and fluffiest Yoshi doll (complete with a note on a geeky postcard that she knew I’d love) upon reading of all the hardships we had been going through in the past few months.

The emails and comments I receive from strangers never cease to amaze me. And all the prayers said on our behalf! Geez I’m getting weepy just writing this.

Why this sudden “thank you, I love you all” post? Well today I received a present from Jenna: a commissioned painting of my wedding dress by the talented artist Sabrina!

Last month Jenna had held a giveaway on her blog for a custom dress painting by Sabrina. I entered, but did not win. Well obviously Jenna had noticed my entry and decided to surprise me with a painting of my own!

This is the picture I had sent in with my entry. Please darn close, don’t you think?

Jenna, you rock. May your outlook on life always be an inspiration to others, your faith always steadfast, and your family life be blessed!

And to the rest of my friends and readers, another heartfelt THANK YOU!!!

Nov 6, 2009  •  In Art/Design, Blogging, Web

And the Winner Is…

Thank you to all who entered my custom illustration giveaway!

I received a whooping 178 entries total: 76 via comments (I subtracted 2 since I commented twice) and 102 via Twitter.

I numbered the comments 1-76, and the Twitter entries 77-178. Then I used to choose the lucky winner…

Congratulations to Marissa!

I will be emailing you shortly to work out the details.

Again, thank you to all who entered, and stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future!

Nov 6, 2009  •  In Personal

My New Driver’s License

I have lived in New York for the majority of my life. Hence I have been trained and brainwashed to think that New Jersey is an inferior state reserved for wannabe New Yorkers.

The armpit of America. The toxic wastedump of the northeast. A garbage dump for New York. I have heard, and used, them all.

So imagine my embarrassment when New Jersey became our first home after marriage.

I’m still in denial. I really am. When people ask where I live, I say “the New York area” (which is technically true, seeing that my commute into midtown Manhattan is a lot shorter than that of those living in Brooklyn, Queens, or even uptown Manhattan itself). On the rare occasions when I get carded, I proudly produce my New York driver’s license and turn my nose up on those carrying other states’.

Until now.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that my New York license would be expiring on my birthday this year: December 7. And since I had no idea how long it would take for me to get a NJ license, or if I would run into any difficulties, I decided to go in a whole month early to make the change.

Today, I traded in my NY driver’s license for a NJ one.

*hides in shame*

The process itself was pretty painless, and there wasn’t even a line at the DMV (oh, excuse me…NJ calls it the MVC, or the “Motor Vehicle Commission”). I almost felt like the state of New Jersey was mocking me for making such a big deal out of it.

Ladies and gents, I present to you my new license:

I had to take a picture with my camera, because the scanner amplified the holograms and you couldn’t see a damn thing.

Compare that to my old license (I made sure to take a scan of my NY license before leaving the house since I knew that they would be taking it away):

Oh, young Jenny…there’s just so much I need to warn you about. And yet, tragically, I cannot.

Compared to the NY license, the NJ one is definitely inferior in quality. NY licenses are coated in some kind of material that allows it to bend and flex in every way without tearing. This pictured license has even been through the washing machine and survived to tell its tale!

In contrast, my NJ license is laminated by a thick sheet of plastic. The image quality is sub-par (can you see how blurry it is in the picture above?) and if you look at the edges, you can see that it is crooked!

Another reason I had been carrying my NY license with pride is that it was issued before the change in design, so I felt speshurr that no one else I knew carried this design. Actually, my learner’s permit had the classic, no-frills blue and white design which I loved. When I obtained my license, they changed it to the pink design above (eww) and now, NY issues these monstrosities (double eww):

The design keeps getting worse and worse, no?

Another thing I should mention is that when I was filling out my forms, they asked for my weight…but as you can see it isn’t included in the license. If memory serves me right, NY does not ask for your weight at all during the process.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that California licenses include your weight. I wonder how many people fib on that section!

Do you like your state’s driver’s license design? Which state do you think has the best license? The worst?

Nov 6, 2009  •  In Android, Apple, Gadgets, Geek

How Many iPhone Apps Do You Use?

I admit it — I’m a cell phone whore. And as much as I love my HTC G1, I hate, hate, HATE the T-Mobile network. The problem is made worse by the fact that I had switched over to T-Mobile from Verizon (the best network in the U.S.) for the G1.

I refuse to switch over to the iPhone. I hate that it is a closed platform, and that it forces developers to jump through hoops and wait unreasonable lengths of time for an app to get approved.

(Case in point: the Squarespace iPhone App was finally released this week. Apple’s approval process had taken so long that the Squarespace team is already well into the next version of the application. As with all freshly-released applications, there are minor bugs and issues with this app — which have been fixed in the newer version — but Apple’s lengthy approval time forces the users of this app to keep waiting.)

I also have had bad experience with AT&T in the past, and I hear that they are not much better these days.

This is precisely the reason I have been waiting with baited breath the release of the Motorola DROID, which is available on the Verizon network TODAY.

Just in case you do not follow numerous tech blogs like me, you should know that the DROID is being touted as a “killer phone.” Read Mashable’s roundup of reviews here.

Enough with the drawn-out introduction. Let’s get to the crux of the matter here.

Having read numerous reviews of the DROID over the past month, I am always tickled when I read that one of the “cons” of the DROID (or the Android platform in general) is that it “only” has 12,000+ apps when the iPhone boasts 100,000+.

100,000+ apps? You better be sure there’s an app for that.

But when you really think about it, isn’t 12,000+ a significant number too?

I mean, how many apps do you really need? How many apps can you really use on a phone that cannot run background apps? (Which, to me, counts as another “con” for the iPhone.)

I use my G1 extensively. And after having downloaded tons of applications, I end up deleting the majority of them and only use about 5 extensively. Because let’s face it: whether you use the iPhone, an Android phone, a WinMo phone (shudder), a Palm or a Symbian, almost everything you need comes pre-packaged with the phone. While there are great applications out there for download, the great majority of what is on the marketplace is hogwash.

So I would like to pose this question to all my readers who own iPhones:

How many iPhone apps do you regularly use?

As for me, I’ve alread made up my mind. As soon as my T-Mobile contract ends on December 22, I will be switching back to Verizon and purchasing the Motorola DROID.