Introducing the most comfortable and secure cell phone stand

Knuckies has launched their full line of cell phone stands, including nine (9) different models, available in nine bright colors.

Where other cell phone stands fall short, Knuckies fill the niche for any application. Whether you need to prop up your iPad to watch Netflix in bed or you want to safely and securely adhere your phone to your dashboard to make sure you don’t miss your next turn while following GPS, these phone stands are the only tool you need to keep your phone on hand, wherever you go.

The Facts

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Knuckies are unlike any other phone stands you see on the market. They’re not some phone case with ugly grooves cutting through them, doubling as a kick stand. They’re not stiff, stuck at an awkward angle to the point where you can’t extend them as far as you like.

“No other stand does that.”

“I can prop my phone at 45 degrees in portrait mode,” said Knuckies inventor and founder Michael Diaz. “No other stand does that. It also has a larger point of contact with your table for wobble-free stability.”

Knuckies are made of a highly durable 3D-molded plastic polymer that allows them to contour to your hand–or any surface you desire–so you can be confident in where you place your phone when you’re busy doing the dishes or even trying to pick up a beer, chips, a napkin, and a coaster all at once, for instance. This phone stand will grip to your hand, making it impossible for you to drop it, no matter what.

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These innovative little guys even spin 360 degrees, so you can practice your mad quick-draw skills and impress your friends.

See something super cool off in the distance that you need to take a photo of? With Knuckies, you don’t have to worry about digging in your purse to find your phone, or wresting it from your pocket in a moment when time is fleeting and you need that phone now.

Just spin your phone and blam! Photo taken. Proof that Sasquatch exists.

Background

Michael Diaz has been all over the place, picking up inspiration, here, and education, there. He was born in New Jersey into a 100% Cuban family who were mostly raised in New York.

Aside from a four-month excursion in San Francisco, he’s been living in Florida for the last 20 years, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Business Marketing from the University of Central Florida (where I graduated, too!)

Now, he’s been bitten by the creativity bug and he can’t stop inventing things, which is why he designed nine different models of Knuckies, right out of the gate.

“I absolutely love inventing and creating things,” Diaz said. “I am sure my future holds many magical gizmos/ projects aimed at making the world a better place.”

The Process

“I had just received an important phone call and my friend was continually interrupting me,” Diaz said. “Afterward, I thought it would be hilarious to see a cartoon of someone with a brass knuckle phone case punching their friend who was interrupting them. I would call it ‘Not Now Knuckles!’ ”
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Then he Photoshopped a sample image and posted it to Facebook. It wasn’t until he woke up one morning in San Francisco that he decided to buy the website notnowknuckles.com. Being consistently exposed to this ambitious culture, he felt inspired to pursue one of his ideas.

“I later went on to change the project name to Knuckies and drastically adapt the model to be a more ergonomic and incapable of being used as a weapon,” he said. “San Francisco exposed me to a community of people who were expressing and embracing themselves for who they were. By embracing myself more fully and learning to follow my intuition (like the people I met in CA) I was able to overcome obstacles and launch this product.”

Diaz chose Shapeways, a 3D printing company in New York, to produce his Knuckies.

“The process is absolutely magical.”

“They are individually 3D printed with a $100,000+ machine (Formiga P110)  through the process of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS),” Diaz said. “Layer after layer of fine plastic sand is shot and fused together with a laser until the entire model is completed. This process allows for super small gaps (.5mm) between moving/spinning/articulating parts with absolutely no assembly required. It is truly fascinating to me and one of the things I find most beautiful about Knuckies.”

There you have it. Knuckies are the future of phone stands. Get this gift for your favorite runner in the family, or someone who is simply very clumsy.

“Over the past few years I have seen Knuckies absolutely transform the way people use their phones for the better. It gives me hope for a breed of products that bring us back into the moment with tactile interaction,” said Knuckies founder, Michael Diaz.

Find Knuckies on Facebook, or visit the official website, for more information.

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Helen Mary Horty, the best surrealist of this century

In offhanded homage to Vincent van Gogh (today is his birthday, they say), I present to you another surrealist artist. Her name is Mary Helen Horty. Though she received a degree in art from the University of Minnesota, she is renowned for her paper collages.

Rifling through the miscellaneous pieces leaning against the back wall of the Bearded Mermaid shop near downtown St. Paul, my fingers came to a full stop upon sight of one of Horty’s collages. It is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I’ve seen some weird stuff in that shop. I actually have a total of three works of art from the Bearded Mermaid, and I catch myself looking at her’s more often than I’d like to admit.

Looking at this piece, depending on your hunger level, you see three identical stacks of spaghetti, leading the eye to the backside of a woman digging vigorously into the depths of her icebox, then maybe you see the egg yolk floating in space in the panel above her. To the left, there are similar iterations of a woman in the stages of getting dressed for a night out, she’s holding her hair up and she’s smiling at the viewer with a look of commercial ambivalence, much like saying, “Mhmm? You like it don’t you? Ech, well, I don’t care how you think I look, I’m frickin’ ravishing, and I don’t particularly like you anyway.” And there’s a jade jaguar walking down a staircase, a layer above the top half of a man’s silhouette, staring out into a pearlescent sunscape.

I couldn’t find this one online, so here are some of her other amazing works:

Though everyone has their own opinions as to what makes a great piece of art, I say the good stuff sticks with you. You may see a cantalope in real life and think about how its likeness is represented alongside a lightbulb in Horty’s “Fruitful” collage. The images are burned into your mind’s eye, and while you’re making a pot of spaghetti or just falling asleep, you think about distinctions in the art you’ve seen. You’re constantly glancing over at it, hanging there on your wall, just to make sure it still exists, that you didn’t simply dream about someone somewhere someday stealing the breath from your chest, making you think, “Gee. I never would have thought to put that there. How did she do that? Where did she get these ideas?”

Background

Mary Helen Horty was born in 1923 and began working in ceramics, then weaving, then painting, until she gravitated toward paper collages, leaving this life in 2005 with a house filled with artwork and a husband, Thomas, who she had been married to for 60 years.

From the St. Kate website:

“Ultimately, since all images are found, they depend on chance or some mysterious affinity between images. A montage cannot be carefully planned in advance because, as new images surface to tempt me, a work is constantly changing through trial and error. This state of flux continues until I somehow declare a work ‘finished.’ “I am often surprised! If asked why I use certain combinations of images, I can only reply, ‘Why not?’ ” – Mary Helen Horty

And here’s her Wild Rice Casserole recipe that my fiancé found online:

Mary Helen Horty’s Wild Rice Casserole

Savory wild rice dish with sausage mushrooms using real wild rice.
Ingredients
1 lb. fresh crimini mushrooms
1 ½ lb. Italian pork sausage (½ hot ½ sweet)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 C. wild rice, uncooked2
¼ C. flour
½ C. heavy cream
2 ½ C. chicken broth
1 t. salt
½ t. ground thyme
Instructions
Clean and slice mushrooms. Chop onions Remove sausage casings, sauté meat, keeping it in chunks3. Sauté in batches, remove and drain on paper towels. Sauté onions and mushrooms in same pan. Return sausage meat to pan and set aside. Cook rice (thoroughly washed) in boiling, lightly salted water for 12 minutes. Drain and add to sausage mixture. Mix flour with cream in saucepan over medium heat and stir until smooth. Add chicken broth and cook until thickened. Add salt and thyme. Combine with rice, sausage mixture. Pour into large casserole (9X13). Bake, covered, 40—50 minutes in pre-heated 375 F. oven. 1 Mary Helen Horty was a talented montage artist, a knowledgeable horticulturist, a great cook, a superb hostess, and my dear friend for many years. 2 Using lake-harvested wild rice makes a difference, if you can find it. The oxymoronically named “cultivated wild rice” now grown in paddies and harvested like a farm crop, does not have the same chew and texture of the real deal. Real wild rice is a grass—the plants growing wildly in the shallow borders of Minnesota lakes and harvested by local native tribes in canoes, beating the rice with sticks to capture only the grains that are sufficiently mature and ready to dislodge and fall into canoe side baskets. Read any online descriptions or store packages very carefully. The commercially farmed version is not bad, mind you, just not as good. 3 I do not recommend buying uncased sausage meat which may seem like a time saver, and is sometimes cheaper. Unfortunately, it breaks up too much while cooking, like ground beef.

 

What an amazing woman, she was, that Mary Helen Horty. Hope you enjoyed this little stint of an exploration into the life and artwork of the Minnesota artist who may not still physically reside in St. Paul, but her spirit lives on in these pieces that are strewn about in the homes of art lovers everywhere.

Oh, and happy Vincent van Gogh day. You won’t be forgotten either, you fascinating individual. We’re still thinking about you guys, so chin up, there. We’ll see you soon.

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‘Weird’ is a hard word to define

It’s about time I wrote an etymology report, and I’m planning on publishing a new one each month. The subject matter should be comprised of either trending words, rarely seen, frequently misused, or words with strangely archaic origins.

The why and how of language is a curious thing.

I’ve always been interested in the origin of words, along with their connotations. On a personal note, as a child, my punishment for stealing or lying would result in copying, by hand, words from the dictionary along with their meanings. I often struggled in such a simple task, when my step dad wouldn’t allow me to use syntactical punctuation marks–I had to write this in full sentences. For instance, I might find a bottleneck like, “The meaning of the word meaning means…” How could you possibly explain anything with that circular way of thinking? I had to dive deeper, discover synonyms, and find other ways of conveying my point to my step dad. Would he become baffled upon reading what I had written? Would he be impressed? Would he even read it at all, I wondered.

This ultimately led me to discover I enjoyed exercising what I’ve learned, kinesthetically, usually by rephrasing explanations in a way that made sense to me. I continued the practice on a 1980 Macintosh word processor that my biological father brought home when I was around the age of 10 (early 2000s) and started typing up passages I liked from our encyclopedia collection (mostly about the habitats of arboreal creatures like frogs and leopards), then I’d stare at them for a spell, mesmerized by the blinking green line glowing amid a black background, and I’d print it out just for added justification.

Then there was Spanish class in middle school. I found a lot of words in English had similar-sounding homonyms, spelling, and associated syntax. This led me toward French, another romance language that I can’t get enough of (though I sound like an ape trying to pronounce a damn thing, no offense to apes). The point is, it’s all interrelated, English steals from other languages to compose a more hardy, marble-mouthed version of some of the most beautiful words in existence, in my opinion.

Now that my backstory is out in plain view, I’d like to take this little habit a step further and dredge up the meanings behind one particular word, monthly if it all goes as planned.

I plan to interview experts in etymology and bring their insights back to this blog, but for now, let’s just jump into the origin of the word “weird” as I think that might be the best word to describe my own blog. I should’ve named it “weird nerd” or some such nonsense, but as a computer lover, the 7331 speak spoke volumes to me. Hence, w3rdn3rd.

Well, it’s about time I get back to my origins for deeming this domain to be centered on nerdy words, then, ey?

Since I have no live witnesses on hand to demonstrate my hypotheses, let’s see what the internet has to say about the word, “weird.”

Definition for “Weird”

merriam
Merriam-Webster
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Use over time for: weird

Can we go back to spelling the word “weird” with a “y”? I don’t know about you, but I kind of want to explore the Old English origins of this word. How did “destiny” turn into “abnormal” in everyday usage?

From Wordorigins.org:

Until its appearance in the Scottish Play, the adjectival use was restricted to the phrase weird sister. Only after Shakespeare used the term, did its use expand to other contexts.

The modern adjectival sense, meaning strange or uncanny, dates only to the early nineteenth century. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary only records it as an adjective, “no longer in use,” meaning skilled in witchcraft. Shelley uses the word several times. From his 1817 The Revolt of Islam, used in the sense of something supernatural:

Some said, I was a fiend from my weird cave, Who had stolen human shape.

Oh, how I love that book…

Next month, let’s look at the word “devolved” because I’ve been hearing it a lot lately.

Are there any weird words you’d like to explore? Let me know and I’ll try to wrangle up a few experts in the field to debunk their origins.

Until next time!

 

Featured image via Alexander Vestin

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