1. Photoshop Actions. I can't get enough of these. My favorite actions right now are the Pioneer Woman Action Set 1 and 2. With a single click, "so-so" becomes "w-wow!" The puffer fish I saw at yesterday's Sea Life Park field trip agrees:
What's more, these actions are FREE. You can find them here.
2. My Summertime Soundtrack. It follows me everywhere; it's on my desktop, on my iPod, in my head. I'm loving the new Regina Spektor album, so there are a ton of songs from there on my list. It also contains:
"Did You Disappoint Your God?" (Neva Dinova)
"Her Morning Elegance" (Oren Lavie)
"Last Words" (The Real Tuesday Weld)
"Off I Go" (Greg Laswell)
"Come Out of the Shade" (The Perishers)
"Thank You" (MoZella)
"I Will" (Alison Krauss)
"Love Letter to Japan" (The Bird and the Bee)
"Fresh Blood" (Eels)
"Doorway" (Io Echo)
"Life Is Beautiful" (Vega 4)
"Heart on My Sleeve" (Michael Johns)
"Easier to Lie" (Aqualung)
"Smokey Joe's Cafe" (Paolo Nutini)
"Going Fishing" (The Phoenix Foundation)
"Dying Is Fine" (and practically everything else from Ra Ra Riot)
I love the way that a song enters you and somehow both paralyzes you and takes you places. Something about summertime makes some songs resonate even more. I'm not just listening, I'm learning, too -- one of the books on my summer reading list is This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, by Daniel J. Levitin.
3. Captcha. As in:
I know it's a little strange to add something that irritates most people to my list of faves this week, but after watching an episode of Nova ScienceNOW featuring my latest nerd crush, Luis von Ahn, I respond to letter and number combinations like this with a little rush of amusement. If you want to know why, you need to watch the video here.
4. Top Chef Masters. I'm a huge Top Chef junkie, and this new twist on the usual series totally makes my summer. It's not just entertaining, it's also nice to know that the chefs are playing for good causes. I do so miss Padma and Tom, though, even though I know we'll see them next season on Top Chef.
5. Little Big Planet. I don't actually play the game, but I love watching Rob and Z play it. It's hilarious, adorable, brilliant, colorful, and whimsical. The songs are so catchy, and a few have even made it onto my playlist, including "Volver a Comenzar" from Cafe Tacuba and "My Patch" by Jim Noir, because I can't get them out of my head. By far, however, my favorite aspect of the game is watching Rob and Z change costumes. A few days ago I decided to start documenting their many transformations. Here are few highlights: