Once Upon a Time – A New Bedtime Routine

Kat and I have a new bedtime routine, but before I explain, here’s a bit of background.

As new parents, the time between when the little one goes to bed, and we go to bed, is very special. It’s quiet. We don’t have to be keeping track of where he is, what he’s doing, and what he shouldn’t be doing. It’s our time to do whatever we want, and we love it. we used to climb into bed around 10:30, Kat on her iPhone, and me on my iPad. The lights would go off, our gadgets illuminating the room until we were finished whatever we were doing (Kat, playing a game, and me spending time on Twitter, or playing a game). Though we were laying beside each other, we weren’t really spending time together, which is important when you’ve had to share the entire day with a cute baby.

A few weeks ago that routine changed. Now, we climb into bed, Kat gets cosy, and I open a book and start reading to her. It’s fun, and we’re spending time together instead of each staring at our iDevices. The stories I’m reading are all short ones, and I’m changing them up all the time. The book we’ve spent the most time with is Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. I’ve always wanted to read something he’s written (I even own American Gods), I’ve just never gotten around to it. Thankfully he’s written a number of short stories, and we’ve enjoyed most of the ones we’ve read. I have other stories I’ve downloaded onto my Sony Reader (which is awesome – I absolutely love it) from Project Gutenberg. All their books are in the public domain, and you can find tons of fairy tales, and short stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, H.G Wells, and many others. I’m looking forward to reading the Andrew Lang “Colored Fairy Books.” There are 12 of them in all, totalling 418 fairy tales. I’m really looking forward to reading them to Brody when he gets older.

Now I look forward to “Story Time” before bed, instead of playing on my iPad while Kat is on her iPhone. It’s a fun thing to do as a couple before bed; I’d recommend others try it out as well. Hopefully I’ll get some gift certificates from Amazon.com for Christmas so I can order books from Kindle.com and convert them to run on  my Sony Reader.

What will we read tonight? I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to it!

Awesome Stop-Motion Videos

The other day a friend and I were chatting about music and I sent her some names of songs that were cool. It turns out all three of them had music videos that were animated with stop-motion techniques (take a picture, move something, take another picture, and so on). Now I’m sharing them with you.

I love all three songs for different reasons. “Blood” by The Middle East is a bit sad, but I think it builds to an exciting end. I discovered it when it played at the end of Crazy Stupid Love (great movie, BTW).

This second one, “In Your Arms” by Kina Grannis is a fun song, and an absolutely amazing video. They made it using eleventy-kagillion jelly beans! Okay, not THAT many, only 288,000. Watch the video below, then watch the making-of video.

This last one is from an Australian band, Hudson, called “Against the Grain.” I liked the song enough that I bought the CD from the band in Australia. The rest of the album is great as well. They also have a behind-the-scenes video. Oh, the CD is autographed as well! Take THAT, digital download!

I love stop-motion animation because it looks neat, and because it’s extremely time-consuming. Consider this: 1 second of video is 30 frames (or 24 for film). If it takes you 5 minutes to set up a scene, that 1 second of footage takes two and a half hours to shoot. The Kina Grannis video took 1,357 hours, which is over 56 FULL days. That’s insane.

The Customer Service at Threadless is Awesome

I love Threadless, a website that has thousands of cool custom T-shirts, so I was very disappointed when my last order wasn’t up to the quality of my previous orders. The t-shirts were made in India, and they were really poor quality; the fabric was thin, it stretched, the fit was poor, and it just felt cheap. This wasn’t what I was used to.

I sent them a polite email letting them know that I wasn’t happy with the order, and later that day I received a response. I could return the shirts to them for a full refund if I wanted (I chose to keep them, because I got them on sale), but they also let me know that they were working on their own t-shirt which they’d use going forward, and hey, we’ve put your name on a list to get a free one when they’re done so you can see the quality yourself. I was impressed.

The other day my free shirt arrived (it’s a black shirt with the Threadless logo), and they were right, it is their best shirt ever! The fabric feels nice, the fit is good, and it stretches and then pops back into shape immediately; this is a great shirt. So today I went back to the Threadless site and placed an order, the first order I’ve placed since those crappy shirts from India arrived.

Sometimes it’s good to have an issue with a company come up because it allows you to see how they deal with it. Threadless did everything right here; offered to refund my purchase, and sent me a free t-shirt to gain back my trust, and in turn I rewarded them with more of my business. Awesome!

Want to know what else is awesome? Right now they have a sale going on, and most shirts are $9.99! Go to Threadless and order some!

Here are the new shirts I ordered:

The End of the Road

Solitary Dream Pt2

Four Spirits

Electric Jellyfish

Rube

And these are the ones for Kat:

Autumn's Fall

You're a Hoot

Now Panic and Freak Out

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