Fashion Plate

Since I usually look as if I just walked off a Milan runway, it will come as a shock to some of you that I wasn’t always so stylish.  I found this treasure of a picture in a stack of family photos that my parents sent to me. Picture is circa 1991, and clearly taken at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.

I mean, really, could we possibly be any dorkier? I feel bad for the poor gladiator, who was the only one appropriately dressed for the occasion.

Batteries Not Desired

As Christmas approaches, it is with no small amount of dread that I await presents for the children.  Despite the many, many times that we’ve told well-meaning gift-givers otherwise, we inevitably receive numerous toys that are a) electronic, b) loud, c) have no redemptive value and more often than not d) all of the above.  I still don’t understand why people buy these things.  First of all, the packaging requires a small saw to extricate the item.  The kids go gaga over them for about, oh, 5 minutes and then once they’ve figured out that pushing a button does the exact same thing every single time, the toy is relegated to the bottom of the bin, but not before Eric and I are tearing our hair out in sheer annoyance at listening to a plastic flower shriek, “I love you!” for the 500th time.

Even toy manufacturers have fallen prey to this notion that more bells and whistles is better. Remember the classic “See n’ Say” of your youth? You used to point the arrow to the cow, pull a string, and the machine would say “The cow says ‘moooooo.'” The toy now has 2 flip pages with all sorts of sounds, a “quiz” mode that is too difficult for the intended age group, and a lever that is too hard for little ones to pull.  Same thing goes for the classic corn popper toy–now with lights, music and number counting. (Though can be purchased in its old incarnation, unlike the See n’ Say.)

I’d much prefer toys that encourage some degree of creativity and free play, since those are the ones that seem to have the most lasting value and are well tolerated by parents.  Truth be told, the favorite “toys” at our house are the cardboard boxes, couch cushions, and blankets which can be manipulated into forts, space shuttles, cars, houses and so much more, and also anything that involves dress-up.  I’ve had many house calls by the “doctor,” repair jobs by the “worker,” and trips to space with “Neil Armstrong” than I can count. Puzzles.  Puzzles are also a hit.

Anyway.  As an act of guerrilla parenting this holiday season, I encourage you to cut out the warning labels below and take them with you on your next visit to the toy store.  Slap them onto anything that pertains, which is probably most everything there, and think about the the real caution labels that should be put on today’s playthings. (Taken from Make Digital Magazine, full link pic below large ones)

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Volume 07

Cushy Tushy

Have you all seen the new rebranding of the Target store brand into “Up & Up”?  The products all come with a little tagline that I personally find hilarious.  At first, I thought that this was the work of a rogue product designer at Target, but then I realized that no corporation would allow something like that to “slip by” and it’s all part of a marketing strategy to make the brand seem hip and cheeky.

I went to Target to shop and brought my camera.  I walked around, a bit worried that the clerks would stop me and ask why I was taking pictures.  My cover story was that it was for an art class I was taking, but I really didn’t look the part, dressed as I was in my usual ratty blue hoodie and wide leg cords.  Alas, none of the workers could have cared less about what I was doing, though a middle-aged male shopper did seem to look at me strangely a few times.

I did look for better pics online, but couldn’t find the products I wanted.

Some of my favorites: (you may have to click to see the text)

IMGP3214

that sounds kind of dirty.

IMGP3208just like I like my babies’ butts.

IMGP3220how long did it take them to come up with those? awesome rhymes.

IMGP3219super shine!

IMGP3216hip hip o-shea!

On some of the design blogs that came up when looking for images, there’s a bit of a debate over whether the redesign is successful.  I guess I’d say that I think the designs generally look nicer, if not a lot sparse, but I miss the little bull’s-eye instead of the arrow.  One commenter somewhere even mentioned that it’s like the logo went from female to male.  Take from that what you will.

Regardless, I actually love looking for these little lines and adding a giggle to my trips to Target.