Weekly Wrap-up: Clicking Made Simple, DIY Chinoiserie & that Crazy Internet

  • Find of the Week: the Roku & its Little Friend

The Roku is a brilliant little device, just about the size of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that allows you to stream data directly through your TV. We just bought a Roku this week and can now watch what seems like a million shows through Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and more. Having rid ourselves of Cable long ago, the entertainment sweet spot is ours: we are no longer held hostage to the endless mind-numbing chatter of commercial television without being consigned to life in an Amish-esque household, making shadow puppets on Friday nights to amuse ourselves. But even more fascinating is what accompanies the Roku: a remote control so small and streamlined that one would be hard pressed to identify it as a remote control. First of all, it lacks the surplus of buttons that are usually associated with a remote. Secondly, to use it is an intuitive experience, which is unlike using any remote control I’ve ever encountered. Say, for instance, you want to make your way to options on the right side of the screen. Usually, you have to hit a Down button and then a Menu button (but not the Enter button, not just yet), then a Forward button — or is it a Back button? — on an on until you’re thoroughly confused, the screen is a field of fuzzy snow with something like “Channel 278” in the corner, and you’ve resorted to randomly hitting buttons until you call in the troops — usually an 11-year-old — to come rescue you and restore the screen to a recognizable image. Meanwhile you’ve missed half the show you wanted to watch and all the ice has melted in your drink. The remote control is the very thing that is supposed to make using the TV set and all the extras like DVD players easy, but somehow it just manages to make some of us angry. But not the Roku’s remote — if you want to make your way to the right of the screen you just hit the “Right” button.  There is a total of 12 buttons — 12! As opposed to an average of 105 on a typical remote. The only problem with the Roku is that it will make watching stuff way too easy, and the last thing we need to be doing this summer is sitting on the couch appreciating the beauty of our remote control.

One of these things is not like the other: the Roku remote control

More information: The Roku website.

  • In the Store: Chalkboard Chinoiserie

I finished the DIY Chinoiserie wall hanging, and I must say that this item has been a lot of fun, at least for me. It might be a little looney to make something downmarket out of something so refined, but this chinoiserie could potentially provide hours of good clean fun as you have a multitude of options when coloring it with chalk. And when you’re tired of a bright pink and orange color scheme, you can wipe it off and start over. Alternately, you could just leave the hand-painted panel in its black and white state for a more graphic punch.

Chalkboard Chinoiserie in Black & White

Chalkboard Chinoiserie in Color

Detail of the wall hanging: when you're tired of this look, wipe off the chalk and start over.

More Information: Chalkboard Chinoiserie Panel in the store.

  • Google Search Term of the Week

A chronicle of the weird and wonderful phrases people type into the Google search engine window, the results of which lead them to discover my blog through the strange alchemy of the Internet.

This week’s Google Search Term: Basement Lair. Basement Lair? Who knew that people would Google such a phrase? I wonder if they are looking for decorating tips on making a basement lair feel like home. If so, they’ve come to the right place.

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