Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 17: Plantasia Cactus Gardens

I spent two days last week and will spend two days this week working at Plantasia Cactus Gardens in Twin Falls, Idaho. Plantasia is a privately owned garden that has been around for at least a couple of decades, but not too many people know about it. The owners became obsessed with cacti and other associated plants after taking a trip to the deserts of southwest USA, and so they decided to grow a few cacti in their backyard. Eventually, they were able to purchase 5 acres adjacent to their property, and so they expanded their cacti garden. Their current collection includes cacti and other desert plants from around the world. They also have a small nursery in which they propagate many of the plants in their collection and sell them to people locally and by mail order. They will be having an open house and plant sale the last two weekends in May, and they are open to visitors by appointment during any other time of the year. If you ever happen to be in the area, I would encourage you to stop by. Desert plants can be far more beautiful than you might think, and seeing a collection like this will definitely help you gain an appreciation for them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 16: Eggshell Pots

If you're the kind of person who keeps a garden, then now is the time of year when you are probably thinking a lot about what you're going to grow and when and where you're going to grow it. If you're on top of things then you've probably already got a few things growing indoors - and possibly outdoors too, depending on where you live. Additionally, if you're like me and like to find re-uses for things, then eggshell pots can be a great way to combine both your gardening pursuits and your re-use interests. They are also a pretty great conversation starter and a fun idea for kids - mainly just a neat idea all around. If you're not an egg eater, perhaps you can get some eggshells from your egg eating friends. It's probably a good idea to poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of your eggshell pots. This is best done before cracking the egg. Use a hammer and a small nail to make the hole, then crack the egg carefully, leaving as large of an intact "pot" as possible. Fill the empty shells with potting soil and plant your seeds. Place the eggshell pots back in the egg carton for safe keeping. Easy as that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 15: Monkey Squad One

Occasionally I write reviews for Syndicated Zine Reviews, but it has been forever since I have posted anything. This week I finally got around to posting a new review, and it just happened to be for one of my favorite independent comics, Monkey Squad One. Read the review for yourself and tell me it doesn't sound interesting, then get in touch with Doug (MSO creator) and get your mitts on a copy for yourself.

Monkey Squad One #8
digest, 24 pages, $2.50
The zombie apocalypse continues in the 8th issue of Monkey Squad One. The city of St. Louis has become overrun by zombies, and a team of three youngsters, known as Monkey Squad One, has been commissioned to take them out. A zombie killing spree ensues, and amid the carnage the sound of an acoustic guitar is heard. Enter washed-up, crybaby crooner, Cletus Whiteheart, hypnotizing zombies with his diminished chords. This is part two of the zombie apocalypse (check out MSO #7 to find out how it all started), and considering what happens in the last few pages of this issue, it’s clear that the affair is far from over. I have enjoyed reading several issues of this comic. It’s highly entertaining and very well done. It has a great mix of humor, adventure, action, and wit. Totally worth a look.
Etsy: Monkey Shop One
Twitter: MonkeySquadOne

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 14: The Measure [sa]

As a big fan of punk rock and live music, the news that The Measure [sa] had disbanded followed by the realization that I had missed out on the opportunity to see such a standout band live was a profound letdown. I love The Measure [sa]! Why did their time on earth have to be so short?

It is difficult for me to articulate exactly what I love so much about The Measure [sa]. Their guitars were rhythmic but jangly. Their melodies were catchy but original. Their lyrics were memorable but unpredictable. They reminded me of a modern day Hüsker Dü fused with the energy and originality of bands like Crimpshine, Fifteen, American Steel, and Discount. Beyond that, there is really not much else to say except that they were incredible and fantastic. They were a New Jersey punk band that put out a handful of full-lengths and a bevy of 7-inches in their short career, touring all parts of countryside along the way. With their demise, they left behind a great legacy that punk bands of today and tomorrow will be challenged to live up to. Their existence helped renew my faith in punk rock and gave me the motivation to continue to seek out existing punk bands that are as relevant and moving as they were. While I sincerely wish that they were still around and that the possibility of someday seeing them live was still a reality, bands like The Measure [sa] keep me determined to stick with the punk rock genre for years to come. As long as bands of their ilk keep popping up from time to time, I’ll be hooked on punk for the foreseeable future.