That’s right, boys and girls, we got cookie! Thanks to Stephanie and her superhuman confectionery abilities, she effortlessly whipped up two tins of delicious chocolate chip and frosted Christmas cookies for the agency! We love ’em! (Actually, we loved them!) In fact, we loved them so much, all of the sentences in this blog are going to end with an exclamation point! Happy Holidays!
We’re not a bunch of health nuts at Melamed Riley, but we do flirt with the idea. We have cyclists, vegans, P90Xers, yoga lovers, vegetarians, spin instructors, distance runners … you name it. As a member of this group, I’m always trying new dietary tricks to use in conjunction with working out.
A while back, I saw a video in which a guy made a protein smoothie, but used a chicken breast in lieu of powder. So last night, I looked online for such a recipe. No luck. Where’d the guy go?
So this morning, I decided to wing it. Armed with a Vitamix (a blender powerful enough to liquefy a chicken), I gathered some ingredients, but ended up only using the chicken breast, water and a bowl of frozen mango, peaches and strawberries. I figured the chicken would be pretty bland, especially when mixed with water, so the sweet flavor of the fruit would dominate. I was wrong.
It tasted like liquid chicken. Not good. However, I know there is a way to do this. I’m not giving up. I’m heading out to Vitamix (one of our clients) today for a meeting, and they will have the answer. I won’t leave without a tasty way to drink a chicken. Check my next blog for the answer.
It’s the kind of house you might drive right by if you didn’t know what you were looking for. Like many of the residences along West 11th Street in Cleveland’s historical Tremont neighborhood, it is a quaint, well-kept home built near the end of the 19th century. But this one is special – you can tell by the crowds of people who snap photos from the sidewalk. Oh, and the warm, yellow glow that emanates from the leg lamp in the window.
It’s A Christmas Story House: home to the Parker family who, for many of us, have become just as much a part of the holidays as wrapping paper and tinsel. As a tribute to the 1983 cult classic, the house has been painstakingly renovated both inside and out by California native Brian Jones to transport visitors back to the 1940s. It was a time when the most desired toy wasn’t an Xbox or Tickle-Me-Whatever, but rather a Red Ryder, Carbine Action, Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle, with which one could easily shoot their eye out.
Over the weekend, a group of friends and I descended upon the local monument to get ourselves in the holiday spirit. Along with folks who had traveled much farther than our 15-minute trip, we trudged through the snowy sidewalks and up the same steps that Ralphie climbed after a long day at Warren G. Harding Elementary. It should be noted that it never actually snowed during production (an unbelievable feat in Cleveland), so the white stuff in the movie is all, well, faux snow.
Even though most of the interior shots were filmed on a west coast soundstage, the inside of the home is cozy and eerily accurate. Every prop, from the boxes of Royal tapioca pudding to the infamous Lifebuoy soap, has been meticulously selected and placed, triggering nostalgia for both the movie and an era long gone. My boyfriend, a veritable walking repository of movie quotes, could conjure up a stream of dialogue attributed to each and every item. As dozens of others milled about while reciting lines and chuckling, I could tell he wasn’t alone.
Across the street, two homes have been converted into a gift shop and museum. Vintage toys from Higbee’s storefront window, set design pieces and the boys’ wardrobe (everything looked so itchy back then!) are all lovingly displayed behind glass. Tour guides are equal parts movie buff and historian, lending both the home and the film even more allure. Even Ian Petrella, the actor who played Randy in the film, is on hand throughout the holiday season to share behind-the-scenes stories and sign autographs.
While the Chop Suey Palace where the Parkers eat Chinese turkey was actually filmed in Toronto, we felt compelled to complete the experience with dinner at Bac, a fantastic Asian/American bistro that also happens to be the “Official Chinese Restaurant of A Christmas Story House.” Visitors to the house get a 10% discount, but the wonderful food and drink were incentive enough for a return.
If you’ve never seen the movie, be sure to tune in to TBS on Christmas Day, where it will be playing for 24 hours straight. Then I highly recommend you experience it firsthand with a trip to 3159 West 11th St. In fact, I triple-dog-dare ya.
Last Thursday, while the Cavs welcomed LeBron James back to town with the same sense of dread the wizarding world welcomed Lord Voldemort’s return, Melamed Riley was having a jolly, old time at our annual holiday party. Held at East Fourth Street’s amazing Corner Alley, the party’s feature event was a bowl-off between MR staffers. A friendly, yet ultra-competitive competition. There were strikes. There were spares. There were gutter balls. And my score looked pretty respectable – until you realized it was my two-game total.
Before the tearful high-fives, before the ugly shoes and before the exhaustive search for the perfect ball, however, came the invite. Can’t have a party without an invite, right? Well, when I heard we were having our party at a bowling alley, my mind raced. This is what I like to call a “target-rich environment.” If I couldn’t make this work, I might as well pack up my tools and become an insurance salesman.
I don’t know about you, but when I think bowling alley, my mind races back to the 1950s, and the gritty, salt-of-the-earth lanes that, if they’re still standing, have been frozen in amber since their heyday. Think seedy concession stands, greasy fries, the hanging smell of cigarette smoke, ratty ball towels, those weird hand-chalk mounds and lane after lane of silver-haired grifters bowling in leagues and hustling bets on the side. Specifically, the amazing shirts they all wore, clever name on the back with their name embroidered on the front.
As Stephanie, Patrick and I pushed the invitation from concept to final product, we wanted to maintain both that feel and the actual, working appearance of the shirt. And we did, contrasting collar and two-tone front intact. Every Melamed Riley staffer got their own custom shirt, their name on the right chest and our Nothing Artificial motto on the left. On the inside were the gritty particulars, with the MR logo visible as the shirt’s “tag.” On the back our own too-clever-by-half team name, Spare the B.S. A little give-and-take with our in-house color printer, a little time spent in the cutting room with a blade and folder and there you have it.
What I love about jobs like this is that they help reinforce my philosophy that sometimes the best thinking and best solutions come from the most restrictive environments. We had no budget, little time and only the tools at our immediate disposal to get something as awesome as Stephanie’s concept out there. As you remove the spot varnish, foil stamping, custom die-cutting and other high-tech wizardry from your arsenal, you’re left to just you and your creativity. In this case, that crucible produced tangible results – if not the highest bowling scores.
Thanksgiving is over and the pressure is on to buy the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season. To make your job easier, Core77 has done the dirty work for all of us. After sifting through pages of prospective goods, the “77 Design Gifts Under $77: Core77′s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2010” was not-so-immaculately conceived. Guaranteed not to disappoint, you’ll find gift ideas so brilliant you’ll swear they’re straight out of the MoMA catalog. So, if you’re running short on ideas for Uncle Louie, take a gander before going the gift card route. And here’s the icing on the anise cookies. You know there is little chance of Uncle Louie getting two sets of necktie bibs. Boom.
So Joseph asks, “Hey, Darin, do you know whose blog is due today? Is it yours?” Nope, not me. I’m not up until the 23rd. So I pulled out my blogger schedule for December and I was right! I do have a 23rd spot but failed to see I also have the 2nd, too. That’s today. I’m screwed. I didn’t even have time to make up an excuse. If I could have, this is what I may have come up with:
- December? Is it really December already?
- Nobody gave me a job number or a work order! No numbie, no bloggie.
- I was busy driving around with Jim Bird all week buying holiday decorations for the agency. We’re now planning on running away together as long as there’s a shopping plaza and an Arby’s nearby.
- Our Holiday Party is this evening at The Corner Alley and I’ve been spending most of my time visualizing my bowling approach.
- I’m on sooooo many pain killers from my bicycle wipeout last Sunday that I am now suffering short-term memory loss.
- Calendar reading wasn’t offered in 1987 at Tri-C.
- I’ve been running around this place with power tools and a tape measure putting up marker boards and employee nameplates. No time for this blogging thing.
- A Christmas Story, as well as other holiday classics, are playing on our flat screen in the lobby. Bumpussssses!
- We have a ping pong table and a Wii back here. I just can’t concentrate with everyone playing these stupid games all the time.