Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Top 5+3

Velma and I are going on a site visit to beautiful Sequioa National Park for a few days and I thought I’d be generous and post some extra distractions for those of you stuck behind desks while we’re backpacking through the redwoods. So here are three bonus links along with your normal five. Don’t say I never gave you nuthin’.

“Barney Miller” on Hulu
I loved this classic sitcom from the ’70s and ’80s, so I was pleased to see Hulu has added every episode. I’ve watched several so far, reliving my childhood with pre-adolescent glee. Plus the show had one of the all-time raddest theme songs (I can say “rad,” it was the ’80s!), and I found a free MP3 at Now I just need to find all the episodes of “Taxi” somewhere online.
Of course, I then spent half an hour looking up TV theme songs on this site. Best finds were the aforementioned Barney Miller, a semi-good quality version of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” TV theme, and the awesome “Streets of San Francisco” intro, which I’ve been wanting for years.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog’s Mac 101 series
I’ve been a Mac user for almost 25 years now (*whew*) so it’s not surprising that I’ve picked up a lot of power-user tips over the years. But even I learn something new once in a while. For PC-to-Mac switchers, novices, and even old timers, the Mac 101 series on TUAW is a great way to pick up quick and easy tips that will make you more productive and save time and effort. I perused the entire series a few nights ago and there are some great shortcuts and tips that will undoubtedly leave most Mac users thinking, “Aha! That’s how you do that!”

The Evolution of
Snapshots of Apple’s home page, from 1997 to today.

Brute force Hubble fix saves the day — again
Play-by-play description of the second time spacewalking astronauts had to resort to brute force to repair part of Hubble on this latest, and so far very successful, trip. Some other interesting play-by-play descriptions of the recent trip are available in other posts on CNET News’s Space Shot blog.

What Would Penis Do?
The artist of these shorts has a new book.

Aerial Virtual Tour of New York
Dizzyingly cool. Switch it to full-screen and be amazed.

“Space Oddity: Steve Lamacq Live’s guide to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
I recently found this broadcast from BBC Radio 1 about the history of the Hitchhiker’s phenomenon, produced to introduce the 2005 movie. Features interview snippets with Douglas Adams, Simon Jones, Stephen Fry, actors from the original BBC TV series and radio shows, fans, and a bunch of people involved with the movie. Oh, and it’s hosted by the original Marvin, in character of course. It’s actually quite a good show, regardless of the movie being rather a let-down. [31:24 min, RealPlayer stream]

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


We went to Seattle last weekend to attend the wedding of our friends Patty and Rich, who met in Seattle but actually live in the Bay Area now. We stayed with our friends Chris and Jana, who used to live in the Bay Area but have since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood, actually). Are you confused yet?

The wedding was an opportunity for Velma to see some old college friends she doesn’t get to see very often. Rich was one of Velma’s best friends in college, and they were part of the swing dancing scene in St. Louis, and later in the Bay Area.

Velma and I used to work in the same building as Jana, and Chris and Jana asked us to be the photographers for their wedding a few years back, in a park in the South Bay. They’ve since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood), and were kind enough to put us up and show us around a bit too (I haven’t been to Seattle in over a decade). Not to mention picking us up and dropping us off at the airport! Friends can be awesome, can’t they?

We spent most of our time in the Fremont District and Queen Anne, and Jana and Velma spent a solid chunk of time in World Spice downtown, behind Pike Place.

Here are a few of the places/things I enjoyed in/around Seattle:

Eat Local
A cool organic café and grocery on Queen Anne Avenue N. They use local ingredients and make small batches that are perfect for couples or individuals to pick up on their way home. They also brew Stumptown Coffee.

Nikki McClure
Nikki McClure makes extraordinarily beautiful papercut illustrations in a woodcut-like style. You may have seen her calendars or notecards, or recognize her work from books or magazines. We came across a whole bunch of her work (including a few framed originals, which are fascinating to look at up close) in the above-mentioned Eat Local shop, since she illustrated all their product labels.

Update: Nikki has a show, “Vote for Survival,” coming to Needles and Pens on October 10. Needles and Pens is a really cool zine and DIY shop on 16th Street near Delores.

Smart Monkey Recycled Yarn & Knitwear
Leah Andersson recycles/reuses old thrift store sweaters into rehabbed yarn and new knitted items. I saw her booth at the Fremont Sunday Market.

Destee Nation Shirt Company
Chris took us to his favorite T-shirt shop. I really liked several of the designs, but since my travel bags were pretty stuffed and I didn’t want to spend much money on this trip, I decided I’d wait and maybe purchase from their website later.

Revival Ink
I saw this artist’s tees and hoodies at a boutique in Queen Anne and at the Fremont Sunday Market too. I liked two or three of the prints a lot, and would’ve bought one of the hoodies, but while they’re a more earth-friendly 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, they have those terribly cheap zippers that seem to jam within a month of use.

Another of Chris’s faves, this shop features some exquisite artisan chocolates from around the world, and has free samples out all day.

Hollywood Schoolhouse
This is where the wedding was held, a lovely but slightly quirky historical building. The 1912 brick structure hosts lots of weddings and banquets, and has some interesting decorations.

Gas Works Park
This 19-acre park is on the site of a former coal-powered gas and oil plant, acquired by the city in the ’60s and opened to the public in 1975. Right on Lake Union, in the middle of Seattle, the park features stunning vistas of downtown and the lakeside portions of the city (Velma, Jana, and Chris pictured above, enjoying the view).

Since we were only a block away, we simply had to stop and see the 16-foot bronze statue of Lenin in the Fremont. Olya had told me about this (appropriately enough) a couple years ago; I hadn’t seen it when I visited Seattle my first time. If you have a spare quarter-million bucks, you can buy Comrade Lenin for your yard. He’s for sale.

The Fremont Troll
The other thing I hadn’t seen last time was the famous Troll. Somehow Holly and I entirely missed the Fremont neighborhood, although we squeezed in practically everything else in our three-day vacation about a decade ago.

World Spice Merchants
This popular spot behind Pike Place Market occupied Velma and Jana so long I had to walk around outside because the strong smells were becoming too much for my allergies. Most interesting to me was the Mongolian tea brick, actual bricks of tea which in the past were broken up to use as currency.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Restaurant review: The Groves

I posted this to Yelp but they don't allow links, some I'm posting it here too.

The Groves

12990 Avenue of the Giants
Myers Flat, CA 95554
5pm to 9pm

Surrounded on all sides by Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Myers Flat is a minuscule town that one wouldn't ordinarily think rates a restaurant as good as The Groves. Yet here it is, right on the Avenue of Giants, just off Highway 101.

We're very familiar with the local fare, as we take brief jaunts to the redwoods once or twice a year from San Francisco. So it's with plenty of local experience that I can say that The Groves is extraordinary. We were in the area for two and a half days, and we went back our second night for dinner because it was so good the first time (and let's face it — there's very little else that compares, locally).

I gave The Groves 4 stars because it didn't disappoint, on two separate occasions. I was skeptical at first when some bread arrived with the menus that was far too sweet and fluffy for dipping in the olive oil it was served with. I was also puzzled by the slightly schizophrenic decor that's certainly nice and upscale enough, but had a few puzzling touches that made me wonder whether I was seeing a bit of the building's original use show through.

The staff was professional and friendly, our food was prepared quickly and served hot, and the water kept flowing. We were offered wine from the associated Riverbend Cellars next door, and we tried a glass each of their 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2003 Merlot.

The halibut was quite good, I've only had better at restaurants right on the coast, and the braised and roasted duck was excellent — very flavorful and not at all gamey. We finished with splendid deserts (mousse and homemade chocolate mint ice cream) served in portions worthy of chocolate lovers.

The following day we had The Groves' hamburger and one of their single-serving wood-fired pizzas. The pizza's size was just right after a day of hiking around in the redwoods, not too small as they often are in many California cuisine establishments. Even with the thin crust (my preference anyway), the meal was filling on a day that I was certainly hungry, and the wood-fired pizza and its adornments were extremely flavorful and the crust extra-crispy, just as I like it. The burger was fresh and excellent too, and the fries were great, no ketchup necessary, which I can't say often of restaurant fries.

For those unfamiliar with the Redwoods Region, Myers Flat is located just off Highway 101, a short drive (~10 miles) north of Garberville (which is about 200 miles north of San Francisco and about 70 miles south of Eureka).

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Top 5

Warning – NSFW: What's Your Favorite Curse Word?
Britain's Channel 4 asks loads of celebrities to share their favorite swear words.

Garfield Minus Garfield
I used to love Garfield. But I hey, I was in 4th grade. I grew out of it shortly thereafter, though my mom insisted on buying me Garfield stuff for many years thereafter *sigh*. Today, the power of digital imaging allows us to make a giant leap forward! The results is a funnier strip.

"Home From Africa: 13 Symptoms of Peace Corps Withdrawal"
My friend Diane was posted to the African country of Benin [correction: she was in Niger, but met her future husband in Benin] in the Peace Corps after college. When she'd tell me stories about her time there, it struck me as a very difficult lifestyle for two years. Listening to this radio program from Transom reminded me of a lot of her stories.
Photos and MP3:

Left-Handed Toons
(by right-handed people)

Mini site
I have to admit Jason's right about this site: "It's cool and there's little bits of humor in it too." And I really the new van-like model.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Heading to Missouri for a week

Velma and I leave Sunday morning for seven days in Missouri. We'll spend a bunch of time with her family in and near the capitol Jefferson City, including the 4th of July, and we'll also go to St. Louis to visit friends and the awesome City Museum.

Then I'll head to Kansas City for the Heinlein Centennial on 07/07/07. I've been looking forward to this event celebrating the 100th birth year of one of the most influential authors of the 20th Century, and certainly the most influential on me personally. Yes, I'm a dork.

Our friends Carmen and Teg, Olya, and Laura will be looking after our problem child Orson. May the Force be with them.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Heading to Atlanta

I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for the HOW Design Conference in Atlanta, GA. I'll be out of town until Thursday.

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