Hiking Trail Temescal Canyon

Posts filed under 'I found it on Amazon'

Quixo Board Game — I found it on Amazon

Quixo Board GameCool. You can now purchase Quixo, the board game! No, it is not the home version of your favorite quirky online zine. It is a strategy game that comes from France and has been around for a few years. Mensa picked it as a Mensa Select mind game way back in 1995 so you know it is brain-candy-good. It is Tic-Tac-Toe meets Othello and, best of all, it is slick looking and wooden. So you can place it in the middle of your fancy remodeled living room on your Danish modern coffee table to add an inviting, warm, natural touch to the minimalist yet comfortable feel of the room.

You can get Quixo, the board game, through Amazon: Quixo Classic Game.

(Ya know, you think you come up with a funky original name and then you find it everywhere. There’s a CD company in Italy, a cheap airline ticket company that people can’t spell correctly, and now this.)

Quixo Classic Game

33 comments December 4th, 2008

Outdoor Showers — This Year They are Even Better

Last summer I dreamed of ordering an outdoor shower, a long time plan for my backyard. But as always, other priorities come up, like xeriscaping the front yard and renovating our decrepit bathroom. In fact, we are trying to remodel our bathroom so it kinda feels like we are showering outdoors.

I’m glad we’ve waited to buy a shower unit– there are some significant improvements in outdoor showers this year.

There is certainly a greater variety of outdoor showers with Cheap Portable Showers, Minimalist Metal Showers and Lovely Wooden Showers. But my favorite improvement this year is the Solar Heated Outdoor Showers of which there are several nice options. We’re not talking the old fashioned camping showers with a big plastic bag and a tube. These are free-standing shower units that simply plug into the hose. Since they don’t offer both hot and cold inputs, the solar models are sweet — they just hold a reservoir of water in a black compartment to warm it up. The other models offer a brisk eye-opening squirt.

If you are like me and you just don’t care if your neighbors with multistory homes watch you shower naked in the privacy of your own backyard, you are all set. But if you prefer a little modesty, another nice improvement this year are the shower cabanas.

Personally for the long term I’m still dreaming of a more substantial shower unit. You can build an actual wooden shower cabana with real plumbing like those featured in this book of shower designs, The Outdoor Shower: Creative design ideas for backyard living, from the functional to the fantastic.

2 comments July 9th, 2008

More Toy Recalls — Buy Fewer Toys, Buy Natural Toys

Hoo boy. More toy recalls. I really don’t buy into the hysteria and I think there is probably too much emphasis on a few bad toys right now. Generally I’m glad to live in a time where we have monitoring and product recalls.

But the real issue is this — there is a constant market for the newest, cheapest, character branded trinkets. So companies just keep churning out new plastic crap that has an unnecessary environmental impact all the way from production through transportation and finally to its disposal.

The real solution isn’t to more closely monitor China. Really we make better toys that last longer. We don’t need to come up with a new line of toys every few months. Concentrate on making a few simple toys.

And that all comes down to us. Buy the good stuff. By less…

(Here’s our list of the top toys that our kids enjoyed as toddlers and babies. We focus on the best toys that last a long time. Some are plastic and there is a place for plastic. But only when it is not used for some disposable crap that is just going straight to the landfill.)

September 27th, 2007

unearthed, my first solo art show

unearthed, art pottery exhibition, marc grobman at jennifer joyce galleryYou’ve got to come check out my first solo art show! I’ve been doing ceramics for a couple of years now and I guess people have been diggin’ it, so Jennifer Joyce offered me a show at her gallery!

Working in clay has been so satisfying — plunging my fingers into something substantial, away from the computer, in real life. And being able to create things that just ooze out of my brain. No flow charts, no code, no organization, no usability testing.

So, with complete disregard for utility or what anyone else thinks, I’ve somehow been making some nice pieces that people like. I don’t want to whine… I’m not quite satisfied with the work I’m producing. I feel like I’m just now starting to control the clay more than it controls me. But I’m pleased with enough that I’ll be able to fill a small room with some interesting stuff I’ve made.

Anyway, the show is called ‘unearthed’ and you can check out a few pieces of pottery at www.quixo.com/unearthed. You can give each piece a little spin with the fancy interactive-online-art-spinning-widget. And I hope you’ll join me at the opening Saturday, October 13, 5-8pm.

I try not to analyze it too much, but I like to think of it as punk pottery, all spiky and pock-marked. But, you know, not the punk rock of pure oblivion, destruction and fury, but more the throw out the rules, start over from scratch, anti-pop punk. And I’m sure you can see the other influences banging around in my head too. It is abstract but with enough direct connection to the natural world that the forms are sensual, grotesque and maybe a little humorous. The kind of thing you might find in the forest or under a microscope or possibly just after a meteorite has made landfall delivering artifacts from a lost or future civilization. Or whatever. I’m just making this stuff up. Come on out and you can take from it what you like…

Oh, and the art will surely be upstaged by the yummy munchables crafted by Stacy TenHouten who is firing up her new business, Butterlove Bakery.

2 comments September 19th, 2007

Betty Lou’s Spirulina-Ginseng Balls are the Best

Betty Lou's Spirulina Ginseng Balls from AmazonBetty Lou bakes bountiful bundles of satisfying Spirulina-Ginseng Balls, so when you are buying Spirulina-Ginseng Balls, be sure to buy Betty Lou’s Spirulina-Ginseng Balls. They’re the best. I know Betty Lou makes all kinds of healthy organic sugar-free healthy snacks including lots of vegan items. And she has many other treats like Almond Butter Balls, Coconut Macadamia Balls and Fudgie Filbert Balls. And not just balls, she also makes all kinds of bars. I just thought it was kinda funny to find Amazon selling, of all things, Spirulina Ginseng Balls. But then I remembered they just started the new Amazon Grocery Store. And it looks like their store has a much wider health food section than say, Costco. You might not be able to do all of your shopping through Amazon Grocery — they only offer non perishable items. But it can be a good alternative, especially when you are looking for the cheapest prices on items you know and love. Oh, and it is covered under Amazon Prime! (Do you know Amazon Prime yet? It is completely worth it! Quick free shipping on all of your orders. I easily pay for it on a couple of last minute birthday gift orders a year. And you can share your membership with people in your household.) While you are at it you can order some Ka-Me Satay Noodles in a Microwavable Box — man those peanut satay noodles are good. Yea. From Amazon.

August 6th, 2007

Outdoor Shower Design Book

Outdoor Shower design bookOk, I’m a little obsessed with outdoor showers right now. I mentioned a couple of fine showers you can buy from Amazon in a previous post on showering in your backyard. And now this nice little shower design book has come to my attention to help you design and build your own outdoor shower.

I had no idea that outdoor showers are becoming the hot new luxury item. I just know that my significant-other has a soft spot for them because as a kid she would visit their family’s homestead shack out in the Mojave desert and use an outdoor shower. Years later we visited Costanoa, a luxury fake camping resort where you sleep in tent cabins under electric blankets and use shared camp style deluxe bath facilities. The bath house floors are heated with radiant heat and you can shower (in private stalls) under the open sky. And now we are renovating our decrepit bathroom with that style in mind. Most of all I just remember as a kid, some of my favorite times were coming home covered in dirt, mud or sand so that I needed to be hosed off outside. Now I just need the time and energy to build a shower to make it more fun.

Beware– I’ve found that you may need a permit to build an outdoor shower. My plumber warned me that in Santa Monica (where we have a lot of very good strict building requirements) it is technically illegal to build a shower without proper drainage and permits. I need to find more info, but this action by the City Council points out that outdoor showers are really supposed to be used for recreational purposes like if there is a pool or sauna. But it shouldn’t serve as the primary shower for a granny flat. Who knew it was so complicated to hose off in your own yard? You have to admit though, it is important to keep untreated water out of our ocean! It is contaminated enough. So get your permits!

Anyway, this shower design book has received some nice reviews and I’ve got to order mine.

2 comments July 17th, 2007

Best Books for Toddlers, Babies + Young Kids

One of the best parts about being a parent is reading lots of great books with your kids. (Hey, it is all you get when you don’t have time to read adult books any more). We love getting tons of library books, but when kids are really small, they drool, rip and gum everything to death, so that is really not an option. And some books are so great you really should own them.

So here is a list of the very Best Books for Toddlers, Babies + Young Kids that we enjoyed with our kids. We include board books for babies and young kids and move into a few books that we found helpful when we were starting to introduce our girls to reading. There are quite a few pretty mainstream choices here and a few quirky ones to help your child develop an unusual mind.

July 10th, 2007

Top 10 Toys + Gifts for Toddlers + Young Kids

Raising our twins, we had the opportunity to test out a lot of toys, in the field, in real time and under duress. We also really dislike disposable plastic toys and look for durable natural toys that will be well used. So here is the Quixo list of Top 10 Toys and Gifts for Toddlers and Young Kids.

And boy do I hate Top 10 lists. So I just had to make one. So of course I broke all the rules. Yea, there are 11, maybe more if you really get picky. And rather than pick individual items, I include my favorite toy brands instead of individual toys.

Worse yet, you’ll find trucks recommended for girls and dolls for boys. And rabid almost- sacrilegious criticism of Baby Einstein products. Look out!

(Also check the new Best Books for Toddlers, Babies and Young Kids page.)

1 comment July 10th, 2007

Thermal Coffee Maker?! No Duh. — I Found it on Amazon

Well, no duh. Make the coffee into a thermal pot so it doesn’t burn. Man, do I hate burnt coffee. And my got-it-on-sale-because-it-is-bright-yellow coffee maker has to be turned off after the first cup is poured or all is lost. Cold coffee is just a tiny bit better than burnt coffee…. Get Al Gore on it — it will save electricity too. This Braun KF600 Stainless Steel number is pretty tasty. (Yea it would make a good Father’s Day gift. But I’m holding out for a Proo If I Ran the Zoo Dr Seuss novelty tie.)

May 30th, 2007

Outdoor Shower – I Found it on Amazon

Strathwood Teak ShowerIf you’re like me you love cool splashy summer fun and you have a neighbor who has remodeled their house so that you no longer have any privacy in your backyard. Maybe you’re just jealous that your neighbor has beautiful light wells and new modern fixtures or maybe you’re a little bitter that they circumvented local building codes. Or maybe you don’t really care but you like to stir up trouble.

That’s where the Strathwood Teak Outdoor Shower comes in. Yes you could just use it to rinse off after the beach or wash the kids when they get really muddy. And you could even put it in a discreet out of the way place with latticework screens around it to act as a trellis for butterfly-friendly vines and just enjoy washing yourself under the open sky. But I suggest leaving the shower out in the middle of your yard, waiting til your neighbor is home and showering in the nude. If you set it up in the middle of your lawn you can say that you are doing it to save water and help the environment. Oh, and have you ever seen those European made Outdoor Water Stations with optional sink, hose reel and shower attachment? Spiffy.

Outdoor Shower design bookUPDATE: You might want to check out this cool book on designing your own outdoor shower. You can also read the Outdoor Shower Design Book blog entry.

2nd UPDATE: The Strathmore is not currently available. So check out our new listing that includes Solar Heated Outdoor Showers, Cabanas and other models.

1 comment May 11th, 2007

Previous Posts

Orbitz International Sale: Save $200 on internationalhotels and packages