Monday, June 30, 2008

Hands Free California with Budcozy

The day is arriving (tomorrow) that California drivers need to use their cell phones hands free. In comes my shameless plug, those of us with iPhones and earbud headsets can keep those pesky wires tangle free and ready for hands free action with... Budcozy. Seriously folks, it’s a great little accessory that solves an every day problem. Last thing we need is a bunch of drivers distracted by tangled earbud headsets. Sure there are other options available, but budcozy is stylish and cute. Case in point, overheard at an office: guy #1 “Why are you wearing that in here?” guy #2 “it’s my bluetooth headset, duh” guy#1 “dude, take that ridiculous shit off. please.”

More info on this law here at the SF Examiner: Put your cell phone down and drive — or face the penalties.

And reference back to a previous post that our nations top brain surgeons don’t put their cell phones up to their ears and use wire headsets instead...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Budcozy at Mission Indie-Mart, July 27

I'm very excited for budcozy’s first craft fair, the Mission Indie-Mart.

“The Mission Indie-Mart is a bi-monthly marketplace that has quickly grown from an underground backyard shopping party into a popular monthly event featuring a tantalizing combination of shopping, music, and food. This event showcases truly independent local designers, offering everything from one of a kind fashions and reconstructed vintage to offbeat crafts, handmade jewelry and fun antiques. Enjoy cheap beer, hot plates, local DJs and the cream of the crop of SF’s indie designer scene.”
It’s a big step for me. Lots to figure out in the next few weeks. Success today at Daniel’s Display on Market. Miranda gave me the scoop on Daniel’s when I asked about her hat display. Each step along the way with this new business is such a learning experience. Paula also threw me a great tip on a new local production company. Will definitely be checking them out, if the fair goes well. At the very least it will be a fun day with bbq, drinks and djs.

Will post more deets when it gets closer to July 27.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Effects of Composting

image from

We shifted our garbage-ing habits a few months back, and the effects have been really surprising. D noticed a blurb in some newsletter or newspaper that SF is encouraging folks to take advantage of the green bin for kitchen scraps and some food soiled packaging. We took their cue on a couple tips and combined with recycling, our regular garbage bag has been reduced to barely anything. SF now has an abundance of new dirt and has started a dirt program where everyone can get get a bucket of new dirt for their yards. It makes me feel like I’m back in little San Carlos circa 1975. It’s a nice feeling that a big city like SF can have small a town vibe.

The best tip I have to share is regarding storing your scraps. Use milk cartons, cereal boxes, and take out boxes to store your kitchen scraps. There is no need to buy composting bags. You’ll find you have plenty of containers on hand. And it makes perfect sense, don’t go buy more stuff just to hold your scraps that eventually goes into a bin anyway. That’s backwards. Just use what you have. We’ve got a pile of boxes under the sink waiting for their big moment.

At some point I’d like to take this even further. This personal composting bin handles pet waste. With Lucy and Depot we have plenty of that. For now we’re using biodegradable bags for both dog walks and cat box. I can't believe I used to mummify all that crap, literally, in regular plastic bags. What was I thinking?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

SF Heatwave Strategy: 7 Steps

1) Ride Bikes
Avoid your car, it's evil. Get an early start and get your lazy-ass on your bike and slow the pace down. Buy a cold drink and sit on some steps. Look at the cracks. Talk about how your drink doesn't have high fructose corn syrup and how that's nice. Take a picture.

2) Look At Stuff
Pay 5 bucks to meander along exotic plants and butterflies. Talk to the gardener who is plucking slugs and snails. Bliz: I see you have some friends there. Gardner: Mmm, lunch.

3) Sit On The Edge
Just keep riding until you've reached the edge of the continent. Climb onto the wall and observe Ocean Beach as if it's really a summer beach with people, coolers, kites and dogs. Eat a cookie.

Don't take any more pictures for the rest of the day, leave phone alone.

4) Have A Mission
Need smoothie, must find. Arrive at Fillmore and Lower Haight to complete mission. Be excited that cup is made from biodegradable cornstarch. Remember to visit that Green Cafe Network website, that one we saw on that show. They're cool.

5) Commandeer Best SF Bench With A View
No sunny day should pass without a visit to Dolores Park. Be shocked to find that top-primo bench open. Check out cool haircuts.

6) Suffer The Uphill Ride Home
This basically sucks. Lay on the couch afterwards.

7) Realize Dinner Opportunities
It's early and everyone is still drinking at the beaches and parks. No one is thinking about dinner. Get yourself to that not-so-secret sushi spot that is always too busy, to find it not busy. Sit. Eat. Discuss day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reverse Graffiti

Following Laughing Squid on twitter provides a lot of quick access to cool-stuff-right-now. This one in particular is really neato. An eco-friendly cleaning product company teamed up with a graffiti artist to create public murals by cleaning away dirt, instead of using paint. I love this because it gets me to look at the world in a different way, what else can be flipped around like this?

Reverse Graffiti Project
San Francisco’s Broadway tunnel is a highly traveled thoroughfare in the heart of the city. Over 20,000 cars, trucks, and motorized vehicles pass through it per day. Its walls are caked with dirt and soot, and lined with patches of paint covered graffiti from days gone by. It set the perfect canvas to create a beautiful work of art showcasing the talents of reverse graffiti artist “Moose”, and the power of Green Works plant based cleaner.”

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fort Funston: AKA Lucy’s fave

This photos shows my favorite part of last weekend: laying in the sand watching the hand gliders. Lucy, Bliz and I are perched on top of the cliff, overlooking the beach. The hand gliders make their u-turn here. We had PB&J, too.

eCommerce Widget

This falls under dual research for both budcozy and my day job. Lemonade is a widget that lets you select products to embed in your blog or social network. It's like a navigable ad. There are a variety of brands including Apple and the Gap and a bunch of categories like electronics, kitchen, apparel, books, movies and more. I found a few products that I have, and can recommend. I'm pretty sure the solar panel is the one my sister took to Uganda with her, and will be leaving several behind with the school she's visiting.

It was a good learning experience to see what they do well with the user experience, and what falls short. Food for thought.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Save Mirador Basin: The Cradle of Maya Civilization

Photo by Susana Alvarado from the Facebook group Save Mirador Basin

Josephine writes, “This project is not just about saving a rainforest. It is about saving one of the most important ecosystems in the world. It is protecting a way station for millions of migratory birds that inhabit the eastern United States. It is rescuing the habitat for countless species, including jaguars, tapirs, toucans, and howler monkeys. It is supporting the largest privately funded archeological project in the world. It is assisting and educating the indigenous people, and teaching them to respect their environment. It is creating a sustainable future for the Mirador Basin so that its riches can be enjoyed forever.”

My friend Josephine Thompson works with Dr. Richard Hansen and over 340 archeologists and tradesperson who are dedicated to permanently preserving the Mirador Basin. Dr. Hansen has made it his life's work and has been at it for 30 years.

Josie started a Facebook group to raise awareness and hopefully come to some collective decisions about how to create a truly sustainable model for energy, communications and tourism.

In particular, Josie is seeking advice on the following:
1) How are we going to change this from an archaeology camp of 340 workers, using 5 generators, to a sustainable energy project?

2) Our satellite dish does not use a fast uplink/downlink and everyone who is stuck in the jungle for 5+ months cannot use video conferencing, IM or Skype. How can we get more bandwidth and add a communication network to a region that is completely off the grid now?

3) Please send links to examples of the best ecolodges in the world and express your opinion.

If you are a member of Facebook, please VISIT and JOIN the group to learn more and to offer advice and support. If you are not a member of Facebook but would like to be involved you can contact me directly.

As an aside, Bliz and I visited Josie in Guatemala earlier this year and took a trip to Tikal (we're planning another trip with Josie to visit Mirador) and did the Tikal sunrise tour. We hiked for an hour in near pitch black to the main temple to watch the sun rise over the jungle. During our hike we could hear the howler monkeys. They sounded more like dinosaurs. Here's an example I found:

I came across this article about one person's experience hiking to Mirador. This is definitely a trip I have to psyc myself up for. 3 day hike in the jungle with heat, humidity, spiders, deadly snakes, ticks, jaguars, poisonous plants, oh my. Josie, are you sure I can handle it?

Friday, June 6, 2008

iPhone Earbud Review by Derek

While I don't know Derek personally, we run in similar circles here in SF and I've been enjoying his blog for years. Today he posted a review of iPhone earbuds. He hasn’t found the perfect pair yet, but I may have to try his current recommendation to see if they work well with budcozy. Another friend also sent me a thorough review of his experience trying budcozy with the Sony EX71s. In his opinion it wasn't an ideal match due to the exceptionally long 2-3 feet of wire and a right-angle connector. He got it to work by disconnecting the middle coupler and feeding it through “backwards”. A bit unintuitive, which is good to know and something I will add to product information in the store.

Debate Over Cellphones and Cancer

I'm a bit hesitant to post about this NYT article because there really aren't hard facts yet on this topic. But to be honest this controversy is partly why I use my earbud headset with my phone and why I originally got frustrated with the tangled wires and came up with budcozy in the first place.

Plus, Dr. Keith Black is someone I saw speak once and he blew me away. He presented his research work on brain tumors and how he developed a sort of vaccine using a patients own cancer cells. Or something like that. I tried finding the video of his talk to link to but I think that was before the conference offered the presentations online.

Of note in this article:
“Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. “I think the safe practice,” said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, “is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain.”

“For people who are concerned about any possible risk, a simple solution is to use a headset. Of course, that option isn’t always convenient, and some critics have raised worries about wireless devices like the Bluetooth that essentially place a transmitter in the ear.”

“We cannot say with any certainty that cellphones are either safe or not safe,” Dr. Black said on CNN. “My concern is that with the widespread use of cellphones, the worst scenario would be that we get the definitive study 10 years from now, and we find out there is a correlation.”

Experts Revive Debate Over Cellphone and Cancer

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Eco Friendly Envelopes

Wow, now that's an exciting blog title. I figured that while I patiently wait for the Life Box to be available I could look around for other options available now. Tons of recycled post consumer waste envelopes, which is good and what I'll continue to order. But ideally I'd like find something more than that.

Ideal for mailing things like bills that include the need to send a reply payment. Made from a minimum of 30% post consumer waste (PCW) content and use soy and water-based inks and bio cell window films. Nice blog. And a nice logo, too.

Brown Bag Envelopes
100% recycled using post consumer waste. I started off mailing budcozy with a batch of similar brown bag envelopes, but the glue was horrible and didn't seal properly. But I'd be open to trying another brand like this one.

Paperboard Mailer
These look interesting. Made from 100 percent hand-sorted, recycled fiberboard (containing 95 percent post-consumer paper). This is a more sturdy almost cardboard looking mailer. Especially good for sending more than one budcozy at a time.

I found these envelopes all accounted for on ActionEnvelope. In the short time I searched, they look to be the online resource for eco-friendly envelopes. Plus they practice what they preach.

Paul Stamets's Life Box Packaging

Life Box video stills from TED|Talks.

I've been wanting to package budcozy with eco-friendly materials that go beyond it's first purpose. Paul Stamets's Life Box is exactly it. When will this be available? Anything else on the market like this?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Capsule Design Festival

I'm considering branching out and selling budcozy at the Capsule Design Festival here in SF. It presents a big challenge of how to display budcozy and get a booth together. Luckily I have a couple friends who have been doing this for years, so I'm hoping to get some valuable guidance. On another level, it's a bit scary. What if I'm that booth that no one stops by, that vacant booth that repels everyone, that booth worker staring eagerly at everyone who passes by? DailyCandy was a big boost for the confidence. But I really need to have thick skin to brave the potential less rosey side. I suppose it's good to know sooner rather than later. And there is nothing like face to face feedback to find out. I've been pretty comfortable being a designer behind my computer. This is very different.

Searching online for booth ideas isn't coming up with much. I took some photos at the Union Street Festival last weekend, but that was a bit underwhelming. Devin had a great idea to pin up budcozys on cork boards. I've also seen cute stands made out of tree twigs, sort of like sling shots standing in an upright "Y". Or maybe wooden clothing pins, or contrasting the tangle-free life with budcozys with tangled yarn, or birds nests. If anyone is reading this, feel free to shoot me any vendor booth ideas.

Hello? Oh boy, the nerves are already getting the best of me.


Milan, Galleria Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, 2003

Ari Salomon makes good pictures. This one hangs on my wall.

Please, Understand.

A certain someone needs some Understanding smacked into her, with a capital U. I only know of one person who wields an influence over the over achieving and sometimes self obsessed. I've been working at his conferences for the last 8 or 9 years, and have seen his "work" first hand. Can we please arrange for a little Come-to-Jesus chit chat?

"Many of the people I speak with are really serving other Gods: the God of Beauty, the God of Style... the God of Money, Success, Fame, Fortune, and yet there is only one God that I serve and that is the God of Understanding. If you serve that God, all the others will be taken care of."
- Richard Saul Wurman, InfoDesign Jan '04

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recycling Jeans

The Jesse budcozy, coming soon...

I'm looking forward to finding some time to finish up the next limited edition budcozy. These will be made from a bunch of jeans and some vintage-style red buttons. Thinking her name will be Jesse. The jeans shown here are Miss Sixty's. I've also got some Paper Demin Cloth and Sevens ready to go. Might also do a second button option for a more gender neutral look, something along the lines of a metal rivet.

Recycling tshirts, dresses and jeans has been a good way to keep this project interesting. I've been looking at my wardrobe in a whole new way. MJ has been a loyal scissor ninja, keeping me motivated, and supplying her friends with budcozys. One of them even sent me something from their closet to try. I can see this becoming a really fun aspect. If only I had clones of myself and didn't enjoy sleeping so much. Plus, the new-ish day job has been really interesting and keeps me plenty busy by itself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

On Foot

A really nice thing about not being in a car and being on foot is all the stuff you'll see. Bliz and I started the day off on bus to the Union Street Fair, and over to Cupcake Camp. On our way back from Camp we took a quick detour to the Water Garden with Kinetic Sculpture and Bamboo Grove. Forgot to note the name of this place, anyone know?

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Cupcake Camp 2008

Cupcake mayhem. Bubblegum cupcake showed strong. More photos here.