The Republik of California in San Clemente – unique products for modern rebels

There is a new brand on the street, Republic of Kalifornia, and they are producing some awesome designs. Starting with a re-design of the California flag: the iconic bear, star, and red stripe…with a fuzzy twist.



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Frank Oz – creator of Yoda, Cookie Monster, Miss Piggy, Fozzie – classic 1988 interview

Is there anyone more iconic to our generation than Frank Oz?

Frank Oz is a British-born American film director, actor, voice actor and puppeteer who is known for creating and performing the characters Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show, Cookie Monster, Bert and Grover in Sesame Street, and for directing films, including the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors remake and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

He is also the operator and voice of Yoda in the Star Wars film series.

via Wikipedia

You can listen to a classic interview with him from 1988 on NPR’s Fresh Air.

In the first half he talks about directing and making Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In the second half he discusses his puppeteer career, including how he got started, created his characters, and Jim Henson.

It is available on the NPR article about the latest Muppet movie, which is also a great interview if you’re a Muppet fan (midway down).

If you just want the interview then WBUR has a link that is better and works on mobile devices.


My favorite Muppet - Fozzie

How I spent my summer, by Steven Mandzik

Yesterday was the first day of Fall and Summer is officially over, which means it’s time to write my follow-up to Amy’s back to school letter…How I Spent My Summer.

An act in two parts.

Part I – The Taming of the Bear

[box type=”shadow”]Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,

And be it moon, or sun, or what you please. And if you please to call it a rush candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.

– The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare[/box]

The quote is from the final moments where Petruchio finally tames Katharina. Which is what I spent greatest amount of effort on this summer. Except, instead of taming the Bear I set her free.

Perhaps, I should call it by its modern name, 10 Things I Hate About You. Where Heath Ledger prompts Julia Stiles to let go of her hurt and smile again.

This summer Amy started smiling again. She is surfing and writing and feeling proud. Ready to love me and move our relationship to the next level.

While details of this struggle are personal let’s just say I was nearly killed in the process.

Part II – The Blogger

I’ve never been a good writer. All through my high school and college years I rarely got higher than an B. In fact, those years were a slapstick comedy of errors, with everything from a state-wide English teacher strike to a series of corrupt substitute teachers.

After I left school is when I learned how to write. It turns out that part of the problem is my nonconformist streak. Even when the teachers taught me how to do it the right way, I would do the opposite. I simply refused to write a boring essay.

Then blogging came on the scene and being unique with poor grammar was/is all the rage. Ever since I have been writing and writing, often getting paid to do it by big corporations. You could say that I have been a corporate blogger for 5 years.

During those years I dreamed of leaving everything behind, moving to paradise, and trying my own hand at writing. That is done. Amy and I moved out of DC, into a tranquil Southern California life, and I’m blogging my heart out.

So far I have been able to post something new, and interesting, every day and our growth is good, from 300 to 40,000 views/month.

In many ways this lifestyle is ideal. We get to set our own schedule, avoid the working crowds, and even pick-up long-lost hobbies (surfing). In other ways it is the scariest thing we’ve ever done. I say ‘we’ because Amy is also taking up writing, as a screenwriter.

The thing about being a writer is that you’re nothing until you have a name. It takes forever to build up that audience and, in the meantime, makes you a “struggling writer”. Once you do build up the name you have to be a hit machine. There are no consistent paychecks only your own ability to write something that works and keep doing it.

This summer served as our starting point. The beginning of our path toward our dreams. It was not all peaches and cream, but what they say is true. When you do what you love, it’s not work.

photo by Rajeev Nair

25 things…

*a response to 25 things… by Amy Senger*

You may or may not know about the Bear aka the @sengseng:

  1. If you are lucky enough to see her right when sunlight enters the room, she smiles and giggles like a blissful child
  2. She cannot drive in peace, instead she requires madonna and or loud dance music which she then dances in her seat to
  3. She doesn’t need to but drives a total beater
  4. If she puts her hair up and tight then no one recognizes her
  5. She uses that deception trick to her advantage
  6. When she kisses me I secretly open my eyes and watch her, she sticks her lips out, chin up, and has a perfect smile
  7. She is afraid of commitment
  8. She has an undying need for growth
  9. She achieves the amazing but fears the simple
  10. She believes in energy and gets really, really bothered when people with bad energy are messing up her energy
  11. She obsessively cleans up her workspace (but her car is always a total mess)
  12. She may not know how to “settle down”
  13. If you put her in a room for more than 10 minutes her leg will start thumping and she will start finding anyway to leave the room
  14. When it comes to our relationship, she inspires me and makes calm me
  15. She has a ginormous but
  16. She sends me secret naughty texts
  17. She is crazy about her niece, Sarah
  18. After I professed my love to her, she talks to me in a calm voice I have never heard before
  19. We were friends for 3 years until a road trip and a lot of talk about When Harry Met Sally passed
  20. I can see the center in her and I love it
  21. We have a calendar that tracks her period so I can tell when to prepare for the worst and best
  22. Amy has an amazing vision, eagle eye senger. This is true physically (like spotting things far away) and mentally (she can see and make things happen that others cant)
  23. She says Im the only man to ever reject her
  24. She throws things at me when I am purposely making her mad
  25. She is beautiful inside and out