My Favorite Movies of 2014

Quick disclaimer: I have not watched every movie released in 2014, obviously. This is a Top 10 list of the movies that I have seen. Also note that throughout the year, I’ve kept a record of every movie that I’ve watched this year (grand total was 100 – yes, a nice round number) and left a short, one to three sentence review of the movie. I’ve included those here as well. All ten are worth seeing, if you haven’t seen them already.

10. Blue Ruin

Dwight, gentle man on a vengeful rampage. The most non-Coen, Coen movie. A wonderful surprise of a film.

BlueRuin

9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Those eyes at the end were haunting. My new favorite of the entire Planet of the Apes series.

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-movie-wallpaper

8. The Babadook

Wow, such a stressful movie. Once you become aware of the Babadook, consider yourself fucked. And by the way, that little boy can act.

THE_BABADOOK

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Threadless: Ten Years of T-Shirts – Book Review + Giveaway

Many T-Shirt enthusiasts think that they know the story of Threadless. We’ve heard the story before and I’ve actually mentioned it on this blog once or twice (at least). Threadless was the brainchild of then art student Jake Nickell, who was part of an online  forum known as Dreamless. He won a T-Shirt contest on the forum and was inspired to start a T-Shirt contest that would be ongoing and would continually take in design submissions. And thus, Threadless was born and the rest is history.

But, is this the whole story? Not even close.

It’s been 10 years since Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart founded Threadless. A lot has gone on during that time. The Threadless book is a celebration of the last 10 years of T-Shirt design and business innovation.  The book discusses the growing pains that the company experienced during its early years and how it managed to invigorate the design community. Most importantly, Nickell (and a few others) describe how the Threadless community became an integral part of the business.

The book is sectioned by years, with the early years (2000-2004) clumped into one section. Each section of the book features an essay by the founder, Nickell, as well as “think pieces” by well-respected people within the social media and business communities. I found the featured designer portion of each section to be quite intriguing. It was interesting to read how Threadless has the power to significantly change the course of ones life. Glenn Jones, a favorite of mine and a popular Threadless designer form the early years discusses how Threadless has inspired him to develop his own line T-Shirts based on his Threadless popularity.

The book is 224 pages long and features a lot of Threadless artwork, 300 full-color illustrations to be exact. The spreads are beautiful and presented in a fun and whimsical way. Many uber Threadless fans will dig the in depth look at the first batch of Threadless T-Shirts. Also included are numerous photos of the Threadless staff (aren’t they a playful group of people) and the Threadless offices.

If you are a fan of art then you will appreciate the innovative T-Shirt designs and artists featured in this book. If you are a fan of business then you will want to read this book to find out how a couple of art school dropouts turned an idea into a multi-million dollar business that would later become a featured case study for Harvard business students. And finally, If you’re a fan of Threadless then this book is a must read. You’ll love it. Seriously, why don’t you own it already?

Featured designers include: Ross Zeitz, Glenn Jones, Olly Moss, Chow Hon Lam, Aled Lewis, Julia Heglund, and Enkel Dika.

Featured “think pieces” by: Seth Godin, Scott Belsky, Karim R. Lakhani, Jeff Howe, John Maeda, Karen Wong, and Blake Mycoskie.

Threadless
By Jake Nickell
Abrams Image
U.S. $22.50 / CAN. $26.95
224 Pages
300 full-color illustrations

GIVEAWAY!

Want to WIN a copy of the Threadless Book? Awesome! All you need to do is leave a comment in this blog post and tell me what your all-time favorite Threadless design is. One random person will win a copy of the massive and epic 200+ page 10-year anniversary Threadless Book! This contest will end on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:59 am Hawaii time. Go. By the way, I’ve already given away two copies of the book to my Facebook fans! If you’d like the inside scoop on exclusive giveaways then be sure to Like Co-Tee TV on Facebook!

iPad: My Initial Reactions

Note: This very long 2400+ word post was written entirely on my iPad. Approximate reading time = 10 minutes.

So I’ve had the iPad for about two weeks now and I thought that I’d give my two cents as to what my experience with it has been like thus far. First off, the iPad is fucking amazing, but it’s not without its faults. Yes, I am a MacHead and probably the least bias person you’ll find to review this product. So when reading this review, just keep in mind that this is coming from an unabashed Apple fanboy.

Coty_iPad

That’s me on April 3rd at the Apple’s Honolulu flagship store. I look pretty happy holding my iPad in my Slide To Unlock tee by Milk & Eggs Co, which by the way you can pick up for $20.

To start, I should say that I did pre-order the 64GB model and I did stand in line at my local Apple Store on April 3, like every other Apple geek in Honolulu and across the nation. Having purchased the device sight unseen (it was an early birthday gift .. do you see me smiling), I was not really sure what expect. What would I use the iPad for was the big question. So for the past two weeks I have been trying to figure out what the killer features and apps on this device would be for me. I think I found more than a few.

Hardware

Let’s start off by talking hardware. The device weighs in at just 1.5 pounds but I have to say that it feels lighter than what I expected a pound and  half to feel like. The weight of the iPad is comfortable to hold and use for a significant amount of time. The black border that surrounds the screen was initially a turn off for me. I didn’t much care for the thick black border but once I started using the device I understood the reason behind such a thick border – my thumbs. When you grip the iPad your fingers need to go somewhere and the black border allows you to rest them on the screen without interfering with the useable real estate.

iPad

As far as buttons go, Apple follows the footsteps of the iPhone. Physical buttons on this device are kept to a minimum and I like that. You will find an on and off button on the top right of the device like you would on the iPhone. On the right border you’ll find a volume button and a screen lock button. The screen lock allows you to keep the orientation of the screen in either landscape or portrait mode. This is especially useful when watching movies or video clips or want to keep your iPad in landscape mode while you type away on the larger keypad.

The iPad screen is fantastic. If you own a newer MacBook and you like the glossy screen on your MacBook then you will love the screen on the iPad. The glare on the device can be annoying if looking directly at the device but tilting it a bit alleviates the problem for me. When reading at night, I find myself reducing the brightness to about 35%. This reduces the strain on my eyes significantly.

Audio on this device is quite nice. The speakers on my original iPhone sucked. The iPad speakers, on the other hand, are surprisingly good.

Battery life on the iPad is fantastic. I have not found a situation yet where I had run out of battery while doing something on the iPad. I’ve even gone a few days without charging and this was after a couple of days of video and game play. The occasional moments in which I need to sync the iPad with my MacBook is really the only times that I have recharged the battery.

Finally, I’d like to say that the device feels very sturdy and solid. One thing you won’t get with the iPad is a generic plastic feel.

Software

When Apple first announced the iPad I initially thought that it would be great device for media consumption (i.e. movies, podcasts, music, games, reading, browsing) but suck at content creation (i.e. writing papers, blogging). For the most part, I was right.

Media Consumption

The iPad was born to consume and feed us rich media. Video on this device is amazing and interacting with photos is inspiring. On the iPhone, video is clumped together with music in the iPod app. On the iPad, video has it’s own dedicated app where your podcasts, movies and music videos live. I’m happy Apple gave video it’s own app. The device has been a godsend when it comes to watching podcasts while I work on the MacBook Pro.

AppStore

The Netflix app is one of my killer apps. Having the Netflix app on your iPad is equivalent to having thousands of movies and tv shows at your finger tips, literally. I was able to watch a 2 hour movie flawlessly. I was able pause, go to the restroom, return to my desk and then carry on right where the movie left off. Even after a few hours away from the movie, upon return, the Netflix app picked up right where I had left off. The Netflix app is awesome and is a definite must have (it’s free) if you own an iPad and have a Netflix subscription. And if you have an iPad but not a Netflix subscription then I highly recommend that you subscribe to Netflix – it’ll enhance your iPad experience significantly, I guarantee it.

Netflix

Another media consumption app that I have been using a lot is the ABC app. I admit that I am not a fan of streaming tv on the Internet. Other than Hulu, streaming TV sites like ABC, CBS and NBC aren’t very good. The interfaces on these sites are typically very clunky and the streaming is often unreliable. And so I was skeptical when it came to streaming shows using the ABC app on the iPad. I was mistaken. The ABC app was made with the iPad in mind. It looks beautiful and works flawlessly. I have been using the ABC app to watch Modern Family and I have fallen in love with the show. I will admit, though, that the app did freeze on me once towards the end of an episode. Unfortuantely, the app does not allow you to fast forward. So if I had wanted to finish the episode I would have needed to watch it from the beginning. Kind of lame, but I can deal. The app does show commercials intermittently. The commercials are short, about 10 seconds a piece, and are actually not that annoying.

So many people considered the iPad to be the Kindle killer. I’ve never used a Kindle before so I can’t compare the two. What I can do is tell you about my experience in using iBooks on the iPad. iBooks is Apple’s book application, built into it is the Apple iBookstore. I found it weird that iBooks was not a default app on the iPad, instead, you need to download it from the AppStore (it’s free). iBooks does come with a free book, Winnie the Pooh and they also offer the entire Gutenberg Project Catalog in the iBookstore. I thought this was great considering that if you’re interested in reading a classic (over 3000+ classics), you can, for free!

I decided to make Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ($9.99) my first iBookstore purchase. My reading experience thus far with reading this book on the iPad has been great. You are able to swipe to turn the page and you can increase and decrease the font size to your hearts desire. One of my favorite features is the dictionary feature within iBooks. Don’t know a word as you’re reading? Click it and select dictionary and boom, instant definition. Want to bookmark a word or paragraph, you can do that too. The iPad will make me read for enjoyment more so than I did pre-iPad and that is a good thing.

iBooks

I’ve had a few people ask me what the iPad is like when reading outside under sunlight. Unfortunately I can’t answer that question because I normally don’t read outside. I have only used this device indoors.

I am not a hardcore gamer. I like simple puzzle games, like Bejeweled. Nonetheless, I had to get a feel of the gaming experience on the iPad and to do that I downloaded a game called Azkend HD, which is Bejeweled type game were you need to match three or more objects in order to clear it from the board. Needless to say, I had a great time playing this game. And for someone that is notorious for not finishing games, I finished Azkend HD in a little less than two weeks. Total gameplay time was just a little over 5 hours. If you like puzzle games then definitely check out Azkend HD. It’s available now in the AppStore for $4.99. Again, I am not a gamer but that did not stop me from buying Sparkle from the AppStore and I also think that I will be buying Plants vs. Zombies in the very near future. The iPad makes for an awesome casual game playing device.

Content Creation

As a blogger, my main test of content creation was publishing an actual blog post from the iPad and straight to the web. As such, I am typing this article using just the WordPress app on my iPad. I started off typing using my thumbs with the iPad in portrait mode. That lasted two paragraphs before I began to get annoyed. I then switched to the peck and hunt method using my pointer finger in portrait mode, and that was even more annoying. Finally, I jumped on my bed and plopped myself on my tummy and began typing away with the iPad on my bed in landscape mode. I started using the slightly smaller then normal keyboard the way that I’d normally use a keyboard and I was surprised by how good the landscape keyboard was. I was able to quadruple my typing time from the very slow thumb and peck and hunt methods. Having said that I still wish that I was typing this on my MacBook Pro.

I can see the iPad being useful for short blog posts, but for longer posts like this one, it can become cumbersome. Trust, you don’t want to type long documents on the iPad. If you need to write more than 1000 words, I would suggest using your desktop or laptop.

Wordpress

The WordPress app was also a bit buggy. I found that it did not save certain pages even after I had hit the save button. The fix for me was to sync my WordPress blog every time I wanted to do a save. Also, the one thing that found very difficult to was add pictures to this post. WordPress allows you to add photos to your post but it does not allow you to specify where you would like the photo to go. All photos are place at the end of the post by default. This sucks. I ended up having to add photos using my MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, with the WordPress app you cannot make formatting changes such as bold and italicize, nor can you change font sizes. And finally, I had a lot of trouble publishing this post from the WordPress App. I finally resorted to copying and pasting the post from the dedicated WordPress app to the browser version of WordPress using Safari on the iPad. Wordpress, please fix this.

The WordPress for iPad app is very bare bones. In order to make significant formatting changes and to add photos you still need to use the browser version of WordPress, which you can access via Safari on the iPad, i just wish you could do it all within the dedicated WordPress app. This SHOULD be a killer app for me, but for now, it’s barely functional. I might have to give BlogPress as an alternative or until WordPress get’s its iPad app into working order.

The Flash Issue

I really don’t care that flash is not supported on the iPad or iPhone for that matter. Flash is buggy and is a resource hog. HTML5 is the future and Apple knows this. Flash is to the iPad as the floppy drive was to the original Bondi Blue iMac. Flash is unnecessary. For a list of iPad compatible video sites that matter, check out this short list composed by Apple.

Some side notes:

Everything is fast and responsive on the iPad. Apps load very quickly and are very responsive to your touch. Browsing on the Internet with Safari is very fast and pages load very quickly. My only gripe is that Safari does not cache pages so every time you go to a page it has to load. Also, I wish there was a private browsing option within Safari.

Emailing on the iPad is a pleasure. The interface is beautiful and very spacious. I am currently using Twitteriffic but I am patiently waiting for Tweetie to make its way to the iPad. Tweetie was actually bought out by Twitter and will be rebranded as the official Twitter app. AIM is another app that I use regularly on the iPad and it just works, in fact, the AIM app for the iPad is much better than the iPhone version.

I did purchase Pages, Apple’s software equivalent of Microsoft Word. However, I have not yet used it to write a paper or take notes. I did, however, use it to import a highly formatted Word file that I had downloaded from email. The Word file opened up in Pages but not without a formatting issues. The main issue was that the running header was partially missing on all pages, an odd error I know. Other than that, paragraphs breaks were there as well as indents and other formatting changes. Images imported fine as well.

As a researcher and academic scholar in training, I print and read a ton of articles from scientific journals. On my MacBook Pro I use Papers to organize all of my scientific journal articles. Needless to say I was surprised to find that at launch, there was a Papers app made specifically for the iPad. The iPad version of Papers and the full version of Papers on my MacBook work together flawlessly. Whenever both applications are open they sync together wirelessly and flawlessly. Papers on the iPad is a definite killer app for me. No more printing out articles. I have every journal article I’ve ever downloaded at my finger tips, much like I do my podcasts, movies and music. I love Papers!

Papers

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am very happy with the iPad. I was skeptical when it was first announced, but having actually used one for a good two weeks I have to say that I am officially sold. The iPad has met and surpassed all expectations that I had for it. Apple has innovated once again. Now, when I head to the coffee shop the only thing that I am left to worry about is whether or not I really need to lug that “big” MacBook Pro along with me.

Tees: The Art of the T-Shirt by Maki – Book Review

I was fortunate to receive a copy of Tees: The Art of the T-Shirt by Maki from the publishers of the book. This is actually the first T-Shirt book I’ve received for review or even owned. Nonetheless, this book reinforces the fact that the T-Shirt is one of the most successful pop culture products ever. There literally is a T-Shirt for everything. But the T-Shirt isn’t all about showing off the latest cultural headline, but it is also wearable art. Every T-Shirt you wear reflects who you are and what you stand for. You can tell a lot about a person just from the T-Shirt that they are wearing.

Tees the book is an exploration of the artistic side of the T-Shirt. The author of the book, Maki Design, is actually a pair of T-Shirt designers, Kim Smits and Matthijs Maat. Their careers took off after they successfully won at the popular design contest site, Threadless. After a year and a half of blogging about T-Shirts I expected to recognize a few of the designs and designers in the book. And of course, I did. But I was even more surprised by the number of designers and brands that I had not heard of. The authors really delve deep into the indie T-Shirt culture.

The book is 333 pages long and features 82 design studios and artists. Each of the featured studios/designers provide short insight blurbs into their designs and inspirations. The book is filled with T-Shirts of different styles. If you’re looking for a T-Shirt bible, this is as close as you’ll get.

If you have any interest in T-Shirts (and I bet you do if you’re reading this blog) or just a general interest in graphic design then I highly recommend this book. You can pick up a copy now from Amazon9 for $19 (retail is $30).

iPhone App Review #2: TeeFury

I had a blast doing the last iPhone App review so I thought I’d do it again! This time, I review the TeeFury application for iPhone. Now, this application was not created by TeeFury but the TeeFury crew seem to be enjoying it! The app was created by Andrew Vilcsak and is available now from the iTunes App Store for sweet nothings.

Alright, so when the app launches, you are presented with the “Home” screen, basically, a description of what TeeFury and the app is all about. I personally wish it jumped straight to the “Today” screen at launch so that I can see the TeeFury shirt of the day immediately instead, I get the unnecessary splash screen at the start.

Both the “Today” and  “Comments” sections are nice because they are optimized for the iPhone screen, which makes everything that much easier to read as compared to viewing the TeeFury site in Safari on the iPhone.

The “Order” section is presumably where you would place an order if you liked that days shirt. But basically, it presents you with the TeeFury site as you would see in a browser like Safari so there really is nothing special about this section of the app. I was able to place an order through the TeeFury app and the process was pretty straighforward. Once I logged in all I needed to do was enter my credit card info and fix my shipping info and I was able to place my order.

All in all, TeeFury is a neat little app that any TeeFury fan (with an iPhone) would enjoy!

TeeFury
Apple, Inc.
Category: Entertainment
1.4 MB
Free

TeeFury App

TeeFury App

TeeFury App

TeeFury App

App Review #1: Remote

So I thought I’d try something a bit different for the site. If you’re a regular reader here at cotygonzales.com then you know that I am passionate not only about T-Shirts but also the Apple platform and all that entails. I’d like to start a regular video segment for the site were I, the captain of this intrepid blog, review my favorite iPhone applications.

I start with an app that I’ve had on my iPhone for a while now but never got around to playing with until this past week. It’s the Remote app from Apple. The Remote app is an excellent way to control your iTunes Library or Apple TV from a distance. Here’s what I had to say:

Remote
Apple, Inc.
Category: Entertainment
1.4 MB
Free

Spiritual Symphony by Jeff Battocletti is available at Threadless.

Spiritual Symphony

Flying Out To Seattle – Plaid Nation!

I’m just about ready to leave my house to catch my flight to Seattle! I couldn’t resist doing a quick video of the flyaway shirt I chose to wear. It’s from the guys over at the Plaid Design Agency. They sent me over this tee after I blogged about their Plaid Nation 2009 cross country tour. I love it!

So, as a fair warning, I’ll be gone till next Wednesday but don’t worry I will still be doing posts on the blog. I have some already prepared but I will most likely be doing video blogs of my travels. Hopefully I’ll also be able to meet up with the guys behind Tilteed and Found Item Clothing while I am in Portland! So keep an eye out for those!

Coty Loves Threadless #23 – A Flock of Gulls!

So this is weird. I filmed this episode last week but I forgot to post it! This is Coty Loves Threadless for last weeks crop of tees! I think I’m losing it, LOL! Anyhow, I love my Threadless Pick of the (last)Week because it’s just so damn witty! Flock of Seagulls anyone? How about Flock of Gulls! Episode #25 or this weeks crop of Threadless tees should be up tomorrow morning!

Coty Loves Threadless #23 on YouTube. Also, I’ll give you a hug if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

Flock of Gulls by Andrew John Mohacsy is my Threadless Pick of the Week!

Flock of Gulls by Andrew John Mohacsy

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Coty Loves Threadless #22 – I’m Bewitched!

Last weeks crop of Threadless tees was pretty spectacular. Freakanaut was an amazing shirt. This weeks releases were a little “meh” for me. But hey, this is Coty Loves Threadless and I still love Threadless! Sam Schuna’s Witching Hour had the pimp spot this week on the Threadless site and for good reason! In fact, it deserves to be pimped so much that it’s my Threadless Pick of the Week! And how about the rest, you’ll have to watch! If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out and vote for my TypeTees slogan submissions – I’m submitting one every day until I get printed! Every vote counts so vote for a slogan and help me get printed.

Coty Loves Threadless #22 on YouTube. Also, I’ll give you a hug if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

Witching Hour by Sam Schuna is my Threadless Pick of the Week!

Witching Hour by Sam Schuna [Read more…]

Coty Loves Threadless #20 – Shaving Apples!

I can’t believe it’s Episode 20! Wow, this feels like a momentous occasion. And to celebrate we’ll do what what we do every Monday – review tees with winks! Another batch of 6 tees are up for review in Episode 20 of Coty Loves Threadless so get ready to be entertained! The Apple Shaving Incident by Jun-Bin Chen had me at hello and as such, it’s my Threadless Pick of the Week! And how about the rest, you’ll have to watch! If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out and vote for my TypeTees slogan submissions – I’m submitting one every day until I get printed! Every vote counts so vote for a slogan and help me get printed.

Coty Loves Threadless #20 on YouTube. Also, I’ll give you a hug if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

The Apple Shaving Incident by Jun-Bin Chen is my Threadless Pick of the Week!

The Apple Shaving Accident by Jun-Bin Chen

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