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Happy New Year! December 30, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays, Public art, signs, & graffiti.
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Fireworks, at Chicago's Navy Pier. Photo taken July 2009.

Okay, this isn’t actually from a New Year’s party–it’s part of Chicago’s long-running summer fireworks shows from last year.  But fireworks are fireworks, and this one exploded as a smiley face!  How cool is that?

Here’s hoping your 2010 was happy, your New Year’s Eve celebrations are (responsibly!) fun, and your 2011 starts out with smiles and laughter.

Have a good one, everyone!

BONUS: A book recommendation December 28, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Web smileys.
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Smile! (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

I totally need to buy a copy of this book.  It’s actually about photography, but it sounds pretty good, and with a title like this, how can I resist?

Light-up eraser December 27, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Office.
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Light-up eraser. From my personal collection.

This is a goofy little product–serves no real purpose whatsoever–but I love it.

And yes, it does, in fact, light up:

Light-up eraser in the dark. (That's a clear plastic pen shaft pressing on the light mechanism.)

BONUS: My Christmas present December 26, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays, Movies, Smiley, Video.
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DVD release of Smiley Face (2007). The newest addition to my personal collection.

When I first heard about this film, I knew I had to own it.  No idea if it’s any good, though if the “official selection” designations from various film festivals is any indication it must at least be indie-chic.  But with a title and a cover like this, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it regardless!  (Maybe I’ll post a review here after I’ve watched it.)

Merry Christmas, happy readers.

Merry Christmas! December 23, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Holidays.
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Plush ornament. From my personal collection.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

(When people tell my father this, he sometimes likes to joke with them by shouting back, “Oh yeah?  Same to you, buddy!”  Takes them a minute to realize what he’s really saying, but it gets a smile every time.)

I hope everyone enjoys the warmth of the holiday spirit no matter what your religion is, and I hope you share your own wishes for happiness with others during this joyous season.

Patch December 20, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories.
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Patch. From my personal collection.

Filthy, isn’t it?  That’s just a sign of how loved it was–I used to keep this patch attached to a backpack and later a zipping organizer.  (Those of you who know me are, I know, shocked to learn that I ever owned an organizer.  Don’t worry–I used it only sporadically and am still just as lovably disorganized as ever.  But I did make a valiant effort for a while and carried that thing with me at all times, even if I rarely opened it.  Made a good writing notebook, though.)

When I noticed how dirty the patch was getting, I decided to remove it and add it to the stored collection.  You know, for posterity.

This is posterity, apparently.  So here it is.

A happy PSA December 19, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays.
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Santa Claus with a little girl

Image via Wikipedia

Last year, the kind folks at one of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks, started a holiday charity drive.  The idea:  Instead of giving or receiving gifts, the husband-wife team would donate money to twelve charities, a different charity each day for twelve days, in the run-up to Christmas.  And, as a way to spread the spirit, they posted the charities on their blog and invited readers to contribute at least $1 each day to the charities.

The response was overwhelming.

So, this year, they’re doing it again.  My wife and I plan to join in (we’re several days behind, but there isn’t a time limit on giving), but I wanted to go the extra step and invite you to join as well.

Times are tight.  I get that.  But we’re talking about $1 a day.  We’re talking about, instead of dropping your change in the tip jar at Starbucks, you hang onto it and send it to a charity at the end of the day.

I plan to support all the charities plugged on the Cake Wrecks blog (go to the Cake Wrecks post titled “A [Gasp] GOOD CCC!?!” and start working your way up–I know you’re following that blog anyway, right?).  But for this blog, I want to give a special shout-out to Operation Smile, a children’s charity that helps fund surgery for kids with cleft palettes, cleft lips, and other deformities so kids can smile.

I’ve set up a donations page with Operation Smile which will allow you to donate through this blog.  Please go to http://support.operationsmile.org/goto/unclesmiley to donate.

BONUS: Reader-submitted laptop December 19, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Office, Reader submission, Smiley.
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Smiley face sticker on laptop. Submitted by Jennifer S-B.

My wife used to groan every time we’d even see a smiley face, because she knew I’d want to add it to my collection.  But ever since I started this blog–with her encouragement!–she’s become my biggest supporter, and sometimes I think she finds more smileys than I do!  She’s truly awesome.

This sticker is on the laptop of one of the student workers in the university library where my wife works, in Abu Dhabi.  Laptop stickers are HUGE on that campus–all the students have them in all shapes and sizes and themes.  So when my wife saw this smiley in the library one day, she knew it belonged in the blog, and she grabbed these photos with her camera phone.  Below are two more angles on it.

Thanks, Jennifer!  🙂


Even MORE bonus: computers and laptops have become a kind of theme here!  Check out the reader-submitted video from October 13 and the magazine cover from October 15 (the latter was also from my wife!).

Benno Mélange, Viennese specialty coffee December 16, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Food, Travel.
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Benno Mélange, Viennese specialty coffee from Cafe Benno, Vienna, Austria. Photo taken December 2009.

This is the Benno Mélange, a specialty of the Café Benno in Vienna.  The mélange is a kind of cappuccino particular to Vienna, and the Benno version always comes with this smiley face in cocoa on the foam.  It’d be delicious even without the smiley, but seeing that grin looking up at me made the coffee taste even better!

Here’s an overhead view, and a shot of me with my smiley:

BONUS: Summer Camp smiley December 15, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays, Smiley, Web smileys.
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"Damn guess what I forgot." From the band Summer Camp's blog. (Click photo to visit their blog.)

I love the band Summer Camp.  But somehow, I almost love their blog more–each post is simply a photo, always retro, always nostalgic, and always named with the title of one of Summer Camp’s songs.

There’s a lot of awesomeness in this photo:  the guy’s shirt, his haircut, his house….  But look closely at the little girl’s t-shirt.  Is that a classic Harvey Ball smiley face I see?  Why yes!  Yes it is.

And that makes this photo glorious.  🙂