Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Independence Day from The Modern Renaissance Man

Since this weekend is Independence Day in America, we're celebrating by taking a bit of a break today. Instead of my usual style of article, I want to take a few minutes and recommend a few of my favorite web sites and people. Give them a look, you won't regret it.

Questionable Content is my favorite webcomic of them all. It follows a group of friends who have interesting relationships and excellent tastes in music. Every strip is great and often features an inside music joke. The Daft Punk sex toy? They've got it, "Harder, better, faster, stronger". A porn obsessed anthroPC? They've got one and he's got a good friend too. Jeph's a great artist, and I highly suggest starting at the beginning and watching his style evolve as the characters do.

In the process of planning our wedding, Katie and I have found Etsy to be an invaluable resource. The site has storefronts for more handmade and vintage artisans than you can count. Every style and every item can be found here. I recommend checking out Harold and Jane. Theresa's handmade jewelry is gorgeous. If you're looking for supplies for a project, that's no problem either. Katie and I have found more supplies than we can count for the steampunk theme that we're planning.

I used to be a really socially awkward guy. It's hard to believe, I know. There are really three guys who I can thank more than anybody else for the transformation that I've had over the past several years. I recommend these guys and only these guys to everybody, regardless of their situation. AJ and Jordan Harbinger are the guys behind Pickup Podcast, the number one personal improvement podcast on iTunes and two of the heads behind the Art of Charm, the world's foremost authority on social skills. The other (and certainly not second in any way) person that I need to thank greatly is Scot McKay from X&Y Communications. His free material is some of the best stuff that I've ever seen, and his products are well worth the dollar. He and his wife Emily work with both men and women, so he's got something for everyone.

A few years ago, I came across the website of Bruce Boone. He's an engineer who used to work for GT Bicycles, designing titanium crankshafts, but left when they were bought out by Schwinn. At some point, Bruce started designing titanium rings. About a year and a half ago, I ordered engagement rings for Katie and I through him, and he is wonderfully professional and great to work with. I explained that the material of the rings had a bit of meaning to the two of us, and he sent a sample of the raw titanium stock that I polished, etched, and took a photo micrograph of for Katie. We will be going back to Bruce for our wedding rings, and may even have to request something custom for Katie's ring.

By now, I assume that most of you know I'm a huge hockey fan. I went to college at Michigan Tech, home of the Official Pep Band of the WCHA Final Five for the past several years and what has been dubbed by sports broadcasters and coaches across the country as the best band in all of college hockey. USCHO is the best source of all news and reports of college hockey. Their forum features not only one of the most highly populated and personal forums in sports, but also a score updates area where you can find out how your favorite team is doing if you're unable to make it to the game.

I have to admit that I'm an intellectual elitist. I'm perpetually amused by how stupid people can be. I worked in market research for two years and over that time, I learned that there is no such thing as overestimating how stupid people really are. Not Always Right is a great site featuring stories from the field of the stupidest customers that employees have ever had to deal with.

Another site that I love to visit because when I feel down it reminds me that no matter how bad I am at something, somebody out there sucks more is Cake Wrecks. The site is exactly what the name implies, a collection of the most horribly decorated wedding, birthday, and other cakes that the world can provide. Nobody can be negative all of the time though, so be sure to check them out on Sunday for their Sunday Sweets, a collection of the best cakes around.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, everyone.

Be intelligent, folks.