Wednesday, December 26, 2012

History of Wrapping Paper

There will likely come a day, sometime in the not-too-distant future, when we look back on wrapping paper with the kind of retrospective condescension we reserve for the most naive elements of our history. Wasting precious paper -- killing trees -- for decoration! Spending money on a total frivolity! How ridiculous people were back then!

And it is true: The money we spend on it notwithstanding -- $2.6 billion annually, per one estimate -- there is something quite trivial about wrapping paper. As much as half of the 85 million tons of paper products Americans consume each year, apparently, goes toward packaging, wrapping, and decorating objects -- and wrapping paper and shopping bags on their own account for about 4 million tons of the trash we create annually in the U.S. In Britain, per one estimate, people throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper over the holidays alone -- enough to stretch nine times around the world.

So wrapping paper is expensive. Wrapping paper is wasteful. Wrapping paper is, technically, impractical. That said, however, wrapping paper is also pretty awesome: It's pretty, it's arty, and it's one way, among others, to make even the most impersonal offerings -- gift cards, electronics, even (eeeek) cash -- seem meaningful. For better or for worse, there's just something about a big, red bow.

But where did the wrapping tradition come from? Why do we, each time we give a gift, ritually wrap that offering in decorative tree pulp? The short answer is that wrapping, as a practice, has been around for ages -- literally, ages. The Japanese furoshiki, the reusable wrapping cloth still in use today, is a pretty faithful rendition of the version that's been around since the Edo period. The Korean bojagi dates from the Three Kingdoms Period, possibly as early as the first century A.D. In the west, using paper as a covering for gifts has been a longstanding, if largely luxury-oriented, practice: Upper-class Victorians regularly used elaborately decorated paper -- along with ribbons and lace -- to conceal gifts. In the early 20th century, thick, unwieldy paper gave way to tissue (often colored in red, green, and white) that would similarly work to conceal offerings until they were opened. The practice was echoed in a slightly more practical form by stores, which would wrap customers' purchases in sturdy manila papers. (A note, printed in Hardware Dealers' Magazine in 1911, hints at the core pragmatism of this practice: "Whatever your business," it advises, "leave the freak wrapping papers to the other fellow and you will make friends for your store by this means.")

In 1917, however, in the United States, all that -- the tissue paper, the luxury paper, the "freak" paper -- changed. Decorative paper became democratized. According to Mental Floss, which knows of such things, that happened for the same reason so many innovations come about: by accident. A pair of brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City, Mo., were having an exceptionally good holiday season -- so good, in fact, that they ran out of their standard inventory of tissue paper. Not wanting to be hampered by their success, but needing a replacement for the sold-out paper, they found among their supplies a stack of "fancy French paper" -- paper meant not for display, but for lining envelopes. Figuring, "hey, why not," they put that paper in a showcase, setting its price at $0.10 a sheet.

And the paper sold out -- "instantly," Mental Floss notes. So, during the holiday season of 1918, the brothers tried the same trick, offering lining paper as gift wrap. And, again, the sheets were a sell-out hit. By 1919, having confirmed that the lining sheets' sales weren't a fluke, the pair began producing and selling their own printed paper -- decorative, and designed for the sole purpose of wrapping gifts. And an industry was born. 

The brothers? Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store? Hallmark. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Performance Technology - The Future of Menswear

The Role Of Performance Technology
Having entered the year’s final chapter, this is often considered a time to reflect on the months and perhaps years gone by. However, society’s current obsession with nostalgia is a constant reminder of yesteryear, with the prevalence of retro-inspired designs not only in the world of fashion but pop culture in general.
Although previous decades have gifted menswear numerous timeless wardrobe staples, the dizzying barrage of heritage designs, Polaroid image filters, 1980s synthesizers and festive Fair Isle knitwear can at times be more than a little nauseating.
With a New Year approaching, we can instead choose to look ahead and attempt to predict the future trends and developments that may soon become reality. Technology is often the key to any industry advancement and in its cold and clinical resolve lies the perfect antidote to nostalgia’s warm, fuzzy reassurance.
More so than before, the past twelve months have seen the amalgamation of performance technology and cutting edge design in men’s fashion. The new generation of innovative and technical clothing is not the cumbersome and bulky outdoors wear worn by ramblers and hikers alike but is instead constructed using modern, lightweight fabrics and cutting edge techniques.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Tie a Bow Tie

Why I Am Leaving The Empire

TODAY is my last day at the Empire...
'I no longer have the pride, or the belief'
After almost 12 years, first as a summer intern, then in the Death Star and now in London, I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its massive, genocidal space machines. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
To put the problem in the simplest terms, throttling people with your mind continues to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making people dead.
The Empire is one of the galaxy’s largest and most important oppressive regimes and it is too integral to galactic murder to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of Yoda College that I can no longer in good conscience point menacingly and say that I identify with what it stands for.
For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates, some of whom were my secret children, through our gruelling interview process. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in detecting strange disturbances in the Force for the 80 younglings who made the cut.
I knew it was time to leave when I realised I could no longer speak to these students inside their heads and tell them what a great place this was to work.
How did we get here? The Empire changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and killing your former mentor with a light sabre. Today, if you make enough money you will be promoted into a position of influence, even if you have a disturbing lack of faith.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s ‘axes’, which is Empire-speak for persuading your clients to invest in ‘prime-quality’ residential building plots on Alderaan that don’t exist and have not existed since we blew it up. b) ‘Hunt Elephants’. In English: get your clients – some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t – to tempt their friends to Cloud City and then betray them. c) Hand over rebel smugglers to an incredibly fat gangster.
When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces telepathically. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a protocol droid was and putting my helmet on properly
so people could not see my badly damaged head.
My proudest moments in life – the pod race, being lured over to the Dark Side and winning a bronze medal for mind control ping-pong at the Midi-Chlorian Games – known as the Jedi Olympics – have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts.
The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.
I hope this can be a wake-up call. Make killing people in terrifying and unstoppable ways the focal point of your business again. Without it you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much non-existent Alderaan real estate they sell. And get the culture right again, so people want to make millions of voices cry out in terror before being suddenly silenced.

Tie Magnets

Keep your tie in check without wrapping a gaudy chain around the thing with Tie Mags($20-$30). Made from industrial strength magnets, these stylish accessories can be worn overtop or underneath your tie and serve to hold it in place no matter what you might be doing. Available in pyramid or target-like designs for wear on the outside, or as a straight bar for covertly keeping things in place.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

30 Gifts for Geeks

Everybody has its own description of creativity as creativity is appreciated as per every individual’s understanding of creativity. However, I believe that creativity is anything that is unique and is of value. Also, creativity does not have to be a piece of art; creativity could be in anything. One should learn to appreciate new, unique and creative inventions of ingenious people.
Today, in this article have carefully selected 30 best creative geek products that can actually be a part of your practical life. You can flaunt them and enjoy your friends feeling envious about it. All the items listed below have been selected for the purpose of sharing some of the best creative products with you. They are cool, different and totally worth falling in love with. Scrolling down the page, I can assure you that you will be amazed at the inventor’s creativity and at the same time, enjoy it thoroughly. I want to buy most of the products, if not all. Without any further delay, lets jump to the list of the most creative products.

Time Warp Shelf Clock

The Time Warp Shelf Clock is the perfect addition to an art lover’s home creating a great conversation piece. You can easily place this homage to Salvador Dali’s Persistence Of Memory on a mantle or shelf – no mounting required. With this great Dali clock, time doesn’t fly: it melts away. Size: 6.75″ x 4.75″ x 5.25″. Requires 1 ‘AA’ battery (not included)
1-Time Warp Shelf Clock

The Avengers USB Sticks

Avengers Marvel Sticks: Iron man, Thor, America Captain, Hulk. suported in all windows operating systems
2-The Avengers USB Sticks

Wooden Camera Iphone Case

3-Wooden Camera Iphone Case

Green LED Faucet Valve Night Light

A great attention-getter for guests, and it gives off ample light to use as a night light. This would make a perfect gift for that handyman, contractor, landscaper, or hard-to-buy-for person.
4-Green LED Faucet Valve Night Light

USB Power Strip

The USB Power Strip keeps your electronic devices charged up and ready for action! Take full advantage of the plug and play capabilities of this travel sized, 4-port USB strip geared to juice up your phone, mp3 player, tablet, or any other USB gadget. It charge up to 4 gadgets at once. Both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 compatible.
5-USB Power Strip

Mr P Tape Dispenser

Mr. P does pilate-style sit-ups using a roll of tape.
6-Mr P Tape Dispenser

Tailsman Cherry Chomper

7-Tailsman Cherry Chomper

iPhone and iPod Hoodie Case

iPod and iPhone Covers These neat little iPod Hoodies will protect your MP3 player or phone whilst making them look pretty damn cool at the same time!iPod Hoodies will also fit any other MP3 players and mobile phones, making them fantastic gifts for image conscious teens.
8-iPhone Hoodie Case

Illuminating Charger by Dexim

Dexim’s Visible Green Smart Charge and Sync Cable is the new and innovative way to charge your iOS device quickly and safely. Featuring electroluminescent (EL) technology,it features lights that visibly show the electrical current flowing through the cable. The current runs fast when your device needs a lot of juice, then as you get over 60% charge, the current slows down. When your device is fully charged, the Smart Charger intelligently shuts off power from the source, saving power and money.
9-Illuminating Charger by Dexim

Retro Pointer Finger Cursor Icon Pixel Mouse

10-Retro Pointer Finger Cursor Icon Pixel Mouse

The Murf Watch by Nixon

the Nixon Men’s Murf Watch is designed with an extra large push button screw crown for extra style and convenience. High quality Japanese quartz arm movement ticks around the face which displays hour, minute, and LED light.
11-The Murf Watch by Nixon

Kikkerland Safe Kitchen Timer

12-Kikkerland Safe Kitchen Timer

Deglon Meeting Knife Set

The Deglon Meeting Knife Set is practical, durable and a work of art. This lovely set is made of high quality stainless steel and seemingly appears to be created from a single block of stainless steel. Each knife nests within the set.
13-Deglon Meeting Knife Set

Log Pillow by Kikkerland

Now you can sleep like a log when you relaby your head and neck on this log shaped pillow.Bolster pillow features realistic three dimensional print of a log.Custom contouring microbead fill and spandeby cover.Lightweight and great for travel or home.
14-Log Pillow by Kikkerland

WeWood Jupiter Dual Movement Watch

15-WeWood Jupiter Dual Movement Watch

Old-School Calculator iPhone Case

16-Old-School Calculator iPhone Case

Picnic Table Condiment Set

17-Picnic Table Condiment Set

Money Stacks Backpack

18-Money Stacks Backpack

Android Robot USB Device Charger

Andru is a spectacular phone charger made especially for Android phones, though he’ll gladly charge any phone or USB-powered device. His included cable has a micro-USB plug, but you can use your own if your device requires it. Let him keep you company at your desk, playfully tousle his antennae, tell him your problems.
19-Android Robot USB Device Charger

Zombie Head Cookie Jar

Delicious chocolate chips braiinnnz. Do you think that if zombies had enough presence of mind to cook, that they’d bake things out of brains? We can imagine there being zombie bakeries, where they whip up brain-shaped cupcakes with frosting made from blended parietal lobe. OMG, delish. Are you hungry all of the sudden? We are… Just crack open this zombie head, reach inside, and grab some cookies.

20-Zombie Head Cookie Jar

USB Webcam Rocket Launcher

22-USB Missile Launcher

Super Mario Bros Wall Decals


Yoda Plush Backpack

24-Yoda Plush Backpack

Victorinox Secure Pro USB Drive


IPhone App Magnets


Lego Star Wars Alarm Clock


Sudoku Toilet Paper


Yoda And Darth Vader Lightsaber Chopsticks Set


Halo Helmet


Interactive Drum T-Shirt


Tie Clip Without the Tie

Submitted by Kim Bearry...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Undiscovered One-Stop Shops

Gifting | One-Stop Online Shops

There’s nothing quite like walking into a shop with your holiday gift list and finding something for everyone (or at least several of the giftees on your list) in that one place. That is, if it’s not one of those stores going out of its way to make your buying experience as irritating as possible. This year, try browsing online boutiques that offer one-stop gratification, whether you want to cross each recipient off in a single visit or cover perhaps at least all the tweens or pet-lovers in your life in a few clicks. Here are some of T’s favorites, from the gift-centric to green-thumbed and more.
Perfect for the undecided giver, Wantful lets you choose 12 items all in the same price range from its curated selection of thousands of presents (including charitable donations), then prints your picks in a stylish booklet and sends it to your giftee, who gets to choose his or her favorite. Think of it like a personalized gift certificate. Those in a time crunch can have a list of their dozen options sent by e-mail or Facebook. T’s picks: Bernard Maisner hand-painted note cards, $119; Grand Trunk portable double hammock, $84.
Hostess or host, white elephant, secret Santa … there aren’t many gift scenarios in which a trio of succulents from this site wouldn’t fit the bill (not to mention make a cheery holiday table centerpiece). They’re “adorable and bite-sized,” says the proprietor Eliza Blank, and, she points out, are suitable for a male or female recipient. Free delivery in Manhattan and Brooklyn. T’s pick: the Blue Collection, $48.
The children’s sustainable furniture design firm also sells a number of “goodies” on its Web site, like knit baby alpaca playthings (made by women’s collectives in Bolivia). New to the offering this season are New York-themed stuffed toys in the shape of a yellow taxi, black limo, Brooklyn brownstone ($81) and the Empire State Building ($68). T’s pick: made-in-Limoges porcelain brooches ($22 to $26) with funny sayings like “I’ve been good all year.”
For bigger kids, the new clothing company Frank and Lu makes looks that are “sophisticated enough without being too mini-me,” says the owner and designer, Michael Jarvela. Moms have been squeezing into the unisex washed leather moto jacket ($279). Maybe get one for her, too? Another T pick: ribbed leggings, $49. 
Started by a former museum curator as a way to sell some of her large collection of antique copper cookware, Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds Kitchen Antiques is a must-browse for the cook on any list. Each polished piece, be it a 19th-century French savarin mold or British chocolate-pouring pot, would be the pride of any kitchen. Charming and informative descriptions of every item are included. T’s pick: Swedish teakettles, from $198.
Heritage brands are Brooklyn Dry Goods’ specialty. Look for a tightly edited selection of vintage sweaters from the likes of Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren, as well as Woolrich plaid and Filson olicloth. The company also collaborates with other labels on new items. Shop at its pop-up on West 14th street in Manhattan through Dec. 23. T’s picks: a leather snap wallet ($125; made with Kika NY); and Spent Musket Oil, a men’s fragrance produced by D.S. and Durga with notes of bay rum and campfires ($150).
Mungo and Maud is a London minichain of pet accessory stores carrying beds, blankets, leashes, bowls and more — along with a few things for the humans who care for them (a utility-chic puffer vest perfect for long walks with your best friend, $294; an ingenious pouch that holds those little plastic bags, $76). T’s favorite for the furry ones: a cable cashmere dog pullover ($217 to $227) and a cat basket ($123).

10 Great Products

Yes, the balloon lamp above is a real gadget, and not just some concept that a designer whipped up. It utilizes a high-intensity LED light for illumination, and the bulb can run continuously for 100-hours when the li-ion battery is fully charged. Continue reading to see ten more fun gadgets and accessories that every geek needs.

10. Boombox Watch

9. Keyboard Plate

8. Shark Socks

7. Minecraft Bottle Opener

6. Scooter Cutter

5. USB-Powered Toast Hand Warmers

4. Inflatable Chair

3. Cocoon Tent

2. CTRL+Alt+Del Waffle Maker

1. Magnetic Levitating Cloud