One of my favorite things about working in UX design is the fact that the majority of my job is spent thinking about how to take something that already exists and make it exist better. The phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" bothers me to no end because it denotes a negative attitude of complacency. If we as a society didn't exert effort into improving our standard of living and the experiences that come with it, how would we have ever risen out of the cavemen era? I suppose at that point, we wouldn't have cared one way or another. How great does that sound.
I came across a store on Etsy recently that specializes in metalworks for home decor, and their bookends resulted in a happy half hour of my chuckling at the cleverness of it all. Knob Creek Metal Arts is a Kentucky-based shop that takes this ordinary and simple device to the next level by creating a story behind the steel. They can also be organized to match the content it surrounds, so that all of your horror novels or DVDs are held in place by the headless horseman and his victim. This adds a nice touch to your otherwise boring standard fare.
The funny thing about bookends is that they're quite useless alone - you always need two in order to keep stuff upright. Knob Creek Metal Arts hammers that point in (excuse the pun) by making it crucial that one end has the other by its side in order to maintain compatability. I'm not quite sure how aesthetically pleasing it would be to have the butt of a triceratops being poked into by a man with a chainsaw.
But another great thing about the human imagination is that to someone else, that makes perfect sense. You need people like that who are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is real in order to come up with something that is not yet alive but could be one day. It is the most frustrating thing to be stifled of that creativity because what is there now is good enough, and because people are afraid to take risks on improving an idea for the sake of appeasing its current audience. Because of this, great resources remain untapped and the vast unknown never becomes realized.
It is too early in the new year to be pessimistic already. Let's start over again and be glad that we at least grew out of cavemen times. Baby steps.