Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paradise Found?

An astounding discovery in East Turkey suggests that the biblical story of the Garden of Eden may have scientific backing, after all. While not a literal interpretation, the evidence is thought-provoking to say the least.

This discovery of standing T-shaped structures, similar to Stone Henge in England, has been dated to as far back as 13,000 BCE. In comparison, Stone Henge dates back to 3,000 BCE, and the pyramids of Giza to 2,500 BCE.

To read more about this astonishing story, as well as the theories about it being the “Temple of the Garden of Eden”, please read the full article here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

When work feels like a playground. In a bad way.

There are times when I feel like I’ve been given the total runaround, back-and-forth by my client, and I just say to myself: “My job would be so great, if it wasn’t for clients.” Of course, no clients = no money, but there are days when that feels like a fair trade-off. Enter Tiny Art Director.

Bill Zeman’s Art Director commissions various art works, and then critiques them. Some of the critiques sounded strangely familiar. Here’s an example:

And here’s the Critique:

The Brief: A Crocodile
The Critique: What’s he going to do to that bird? Is he going to eat him? That’s not what I want. You have to do it with him killing that bird.
Job Status: Rejected
Additional Comments: Killing Daddy killing! Can you do it killing him?

So, yes. The Tiny Art Director is Bill’s daughter, who is now 4 years old. Made me wonder about the state of mind of some of my clients. But, if you enjoyed this particular critique, please check out Bill’s blog for more.

And on a lighter note

I’ve decided to start posting my various shake/smoothie recipes. A while back I was on a diet that consisted primarily of low calorie-high protein shakes that came in only vanilla and chocolate flavors. As soon as I was allowed to incorporate fruit into my shakes, I delved into developing recipes with gusto. What follows is one of my favorites: it’s low-fat, low-calorie, and delicious treat that won’t go straight to your waistline.

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie


  • 1 serving vanilla protein shake powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. sugar free, fat free cheesecake flavored pudding powder
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup ice

  1. Combine protein shake powder, water and pudding powder in a blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add blueberries, and blend until mixed.
  3. Add ice and blend until smooth.


On a serious note.

I’m a big advocate for seeing all sides of an issue. I firmly believe that if you can’t see your opponent’s point of view, you will not resolve your conflict. Having said that, I have long admired Amnesty International for their work. However, recently I have become aware of some practices that greatly disappointed me. I felt I could no longer stay silent on the issue, and so have written AI a letter. Here’s what it said:

To whom it may concern:

I have long admired Amnesty International for all the good work you do. There are so many people in the world who are being horribly mistreated, and no one would be aware of their plight if not for your efforts. However, since my membership - and therefore my periodic receipt of your e-newsletters - I have discovered something that I find very disconcerting.

While your coverage of many conflicts seems quite well-rounded, in the case of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict you seem to have fallen into the trap many of the world’s journalists have fallen into: that of making Israel into the de facto “bad guy.” I’m not saying I agree with everything Israel is doing. Far from it. But there are many elements I am quite surprised you have not mentioned, and as advocates speaking out against humanitarian crimes everywhere I believe you owe your members coverage of these, as well.

For example, I have seen no mention of the fact that the Palestinian government - as instituted by the Oslo Accord - has been corrupt and mismanaged since day one. Yasir Arafat, for example, spent millions of dollars on construction. Not of schools and hospitals, as was promised and as he should, but on casinos. To add insult to injury, he built a casino across the street from a refugee camp.

There is also no freedom of speech in the Palestinian territories today. Journalists feel that in order to truly practice their craft they must rely on the foreign press. Anyone who speaks out against the government is beaten, jailed or shot. Academics with ideas on how to improve the lives of Palestinians are either punished or simply ignored, considered to have no “street cred” if they have not been jailed by the Israelis or killed jews.

Why have you not raised an uproar about Palestinian children being used as human shields, by Palestinians? Why have you not mentioned that UN facilities, schools and hospitals are used as Hamas weapons storage facilities in Gaza? Where is your indignation at Hamas declaring victory when thousands of their people have died? Where is your outrage at the fact that in Lebanon there is a law prohibiting Palestinians from working in 62 occupations? Where is your anger at the fact that in some other countries Palestinians must abide by a 6 p.m. curfew? And no, none of these countries is Israel.

in fact, to this day Israel is the ONLY country that admits Palestinian cancer patients into its hospitals for treatment. And they do so on a daily basis. Israel is the only country that has provided Palestinian with consistent humanitarian aid over the past 3+ decades.

To reiterate, I am not saying I agree with everything Israel is doing. There are many people on both sides of the conflict that should be held to account for wrongs they’ve committed. But I am truly appalled that Amnesty International, as an organization purportedly focused only on fighting crimes against humanity, fails to cover the crimes committed by Arabs against Palestinians, and by the Palestinians themselves against other Palestinians. For more information on this matter, I would suggest you look into Khaled Abu Toameh (Wiki here: If President Obama saw fit to have a two-hour conversation with him to hear his point of view on the conflict, maybe it will be worth your while to hear him out, as well.

I sincerely hope my letter is read and not immediately dismissed. I hope that my faith in Amnesty International as an organization of real integrity and vision will be restored.

Thank you for your time,

The sad truth of the matter - as Mr. Abu Tomeh said in his address to UCLA Anderson students yesterday - is that the Western media just isn’t interested in a more balanced view of the conflict. It’s easiest - and most lucrative - for them to make Israel out to be the big baddie of the situation. He mentioned actually approaching journalists in cities such as Los Angeles and being told that they are simply not interested in covering a more balanced, comprehensive view of where the blame for the current Palestinian situation really lay. It’s a very unfortunate situation, and I hope that I, in some small way, can help remedy it.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hamburger Stroganoff

When it’s for only me, I don’t usually get the urge to cook. However, I had promised the family I would make some of my g-ma’s Liptauer cheese (recipe to come next time I make it. I’ve been eyeballing everything, per g-ma’s instructions, so I need to make it again in order to get correct measurements). Somehow I got the craving for hamburger stroganoff - a childhood fave. Only when I made it along-side the Liptauer did I realize why: they have a lot of the same flavoring elements. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe, along with my first attempt at food photography.

Note: I’m also including vegetarian/vegan alternatives. Have made those, they’re delish.

Hamburger Stroganoff
(Originally from “My Great Recipes”)
Serves 4


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (v. option - substitute Boca or Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (v. option - substitute vegetable broth)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream (v. option - substitute soy cream)
  • 4 sliced green onions for garnish
  • Cooked noodles
  1. In a large heavy frying pan, saute the beef in the butter along with the garlic, onions, mushrooms until beef has lost its pinkness and vegetables are tender. V. option - saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the butter first. When tender, add veggie crumbles (they only need to brought up to temp as they’re fully cooked).
  2. Add the all purpose flour. Mix until blended.
  3. Add the beef or vegetable broth, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper.
  4. Stir and cook until thickened. Blend in sour cream. Keep warm but do not boil.
  5. Turn cooked noodles into shallow casserole. Top with green onions. Serve immediately.

Bon appetite!

More bee art!

Continuing on the theme of bee art, here’s an artist that creates art using a childhood favorite - The crayon. Only Christian Faur doesn’t use them as his medium in the traditional way. Instead of drawing with them, he creates pixel art by stacking them! In his words:

For this body of work I have assembled more than one hundred thousand hand cast crayons of varying colors and shades to produce a body of work that, to the best of my knowledge, is unlike anything done before in art. These individual “pixels” of wax are precisely stacked into specific locations inside of wooden frames to produce a new art form that uniquely balances the qualities of both photography and sculpture. Further, I have developed a mapping system that translates the English alphabet into twenty six discrete colors and I use these crayon “fonts” to add words and language to each of the pieces in the show.

The product is a series of photorealistic landscapes and figurative images that are formed at the surface of the thousands of tightly packed crayon tips. The imagery that makes up this new body tends to focus on isolated elements represented as children, barns, water towers, etc. withinin determinate landscapes, which are intended to reference the individual crayon whose solitary existence, like that of the individual element, is rendered obsolete in the amalgamate. The direct representation of language in each piece further imbues the works with meaning and brings an aspect of color into each composition reminiscent of DNA coding. The alphabetic key at the lower left of each panel allows the viewer to interpret the individual words written throughout the various panels.

Going back to bees, here’s his bee masterpiece:

To see more of his amazing work, please see his website, here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Government Accountability At Last

A friend sent me this link today:

I’d heard a speech in which President Obama said that there will be a new level of accountability in the government, that the citizens of the United States will be able to see where every penny of theirs is going in the economic stimulous plan. Didn’t think it’d happen quite this quickly, but then if there’s something I’m learning about our new President it’s that when he says something will happen, it does. When has that ever actually happened in politics? Reliably? Couple of thoughts on this brave new world of government’s accountability to its people:

1) President Obama (and those working in his administration) are friggin’ brilliant. If there’s one thing that’s been missing in the White House for a very long time it’s some integrity and transparency. Where the Bush administration took the attitude of “trust us, we have your best interests at heart. Really” the Obama administration clearly understands that we’re tired of secrets and that they have to earn our trust. And they’re doing what they can to do just that.

2) As someone said - I think it was on Twitter - yesterday, “It’s been so long since I’ve been proud and not ashamed of my President, I think I’ve forgotten what it feels like.”

Mr. President, YOU GO!

And a little p.s.:
Also brilliant that this administration is using the internet, and in smart, well thought-out ways. You guys are just awesome.

Bee-utiful Artwork

I knew bees made honey (and in that are unique among insects. Thank you, Eddie Izzard). But as beautiful as the form of the honeycomb is, I had no idea bees had artistic inclinations, as well. Enter Hilary Berseth. According to New York Magazine online: “He constructs basic frameworks of wire and wax, then lets teams of tiny yellow-and-black art fabricators finish the job.”

Here’s a pic of the form:

To read the story and see the finished masterpiece, click here.


What is Dandelion Fluff?

Basically, everything that strikes my (Dani, a.k.a. OhDaniB, a.k.a. Dandelion) fancy. I’m someone who gets very (possibly overly?) excited about stuff I think is cool, and have a compulsion to share it with everyone I know. Turns out I’m not alone in this. Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, I discovered the term “Market Maven”, and its accompanying description and definition:

The word Maven comes from the Yiddish, and it means one who accumulates knowledge. In recent years, economists have spent a great deal of time studying Mavens, for the obvious reason that if marketplaces depend on information, the people with the most information must be the most important….

The critical thing about Mavens, though, is that they aren’t passive collectors of information. It isn’t just that they are obsessed with how to get the best deal on a can of coffee. What sets them apart is that once they figure out how to get that deal, they want to tell you about it, too. “A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests… They like to be helpers int he marketplace. They distribute coupons. They take you shopping. They go shopping for you…. They distribute about four times as many coupons as other people. This is the person who connects people to the marketplace and has the inside scoop on the marketplace. They know where the bathroom is in retail stores. That’s the kind of knowledge they have.” They are more than experts. An expert… will “talk about, say, cars because they love cars. But they don’t talk about cars because they love you, and want to help you with your decision. The Market Maven will. They are more socially motivated.”

So there you have it. When I read the passage above I flashed back to the previous week. In that week, I had visited an IKEA store with some friends. I had only been there once or twice before, myself. Yet when my friends J.C. and J.D. asked me where the bathroom was, I didn’t have to think twice. A few days later I went shopping with some girlfriends. Sure enough, within a few minutes of walking into Sephora they were all coming to me for advice on various cosmetics: “I’ve been looking for a mascara. Can you recommend something?” “I’ve been looking for a new brush. Do you have any ideas?” And the thing is, I DID.

When my dear friend A.S. introduced me to Design*Sponge - and consequently the world of blogging - I knew I found my outlet. I mean, yeah, my friends appreciated my input. But there were times (more often than I’d like to admit, I think) when friends didn’t necessarily want my research when they said: “I’ve been thinking of getting a …”.

So I present Dandelion Fluff. Stuff I think is cool, and stuff I think is worth sharing. Just so you know what to expect, here’s a bit more about me. I am a:

Design Geek
Food Geek
Techno-Geek (my friends have decreed I shall be known as “Tech Slut”, but I prefer the former)
Science Geek
Sci-Fi Geek
British Comedy Geek
But I’m creative, so that’s quite cool.

Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope my blog leaves you with a new little spark in your imagination.