Sunday, December 31, 2006

Flickr Set Browsing

Travis Gray's pinhole camera set.

Beautiful mixed media installations by Paula Hayes (also check out her terrariums).

Strange and eerie images from striatic (see above).

Physically (not Photoshop!) manipulated polaroids from sx70manipulator.

On Pizza Delivery & Immigration

"Well, OK, we are losers by definition, because delivering pizzas is a job for losers. But we're not all dumb assholes. In fact, even with the Faulkner and Dickens, I was probably the dumbest out of all the guys at work, or at least the worst educated. We got African doctors, Albanian lawyers, Iraqi chemists . . . I was the only one who didn't have a college degree. (I don't understand how there isn't more pizza-related violence in our society. Just imagine: You're, like, the top whatever in Zimbabwe, brain surgeon or whatever, and then you have to come to England because the fascist regime wants to nail your ass to a tree, and you end up being patronized at three in the morning by some stoned teenaged motherfucker with the munchies . . . I mean, shouldn't you be legally entitled to break his fucking jaw?)

--A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Preteen My Eye

Now I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I've read the first six books and am well-acquainted with plenty of people my age and older who obsessively follow every character's fictitious move. Barnes & Noble, however, seems to think that the appropriate age range is 9 to 12?! What.

The COR Building

I'm completely ripping this from one of my new favorite blogs, Inhabitat -- an architecture + design blog focused on sustainability -- but apparently Chad Oppenheim, Buro Happold, and Ysreal Seinuk teamed up to create a beautiful (and green!) highrise in Miami whose exterior structure includes wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, and solar hot water generation. Plus, it's pretty. What more could you want from a building?

EDIT: And -- to be sung to the tune of "It's A Small World After All" -- Inhabitat's founder Jill Fehrenbacher is actually a grad student at Columbia's GSAPP architecture school.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Year in Movies, Briefly

Particularly next to my film studies major friends & neighbors who know every line of Federico Fellini's work by heart, I don't know much about cinema. Still, blogging is all about contributing your own largely-unnecessary, largely-ignored opinions to the wonderful institution that is the internet, and it would be a shame to ignore tradition. Admittedly, I have not seen The Science of Sleep or Babel or Volver or The Departed or Children of Man, all of which I've heard are really good, but what can you do.

* * * * *

Little Miss Sunshine
Between a Nietzsche-obsessed silent brother and a suicidal Proust professor uncle, the characters of this movie are amazingly bizarre but somehow still strangely lovable. It's black comedy in the extreme -- and at times feels a little too tragicomic (how can so many bad things happen to any family at once, in manner of Meet the Parents?!) -- but all in all unique and enjoyable in its oddity.

* * * *

Casino Royale
My father had a minor heart attack when I told him that Casino Royale might be my favorite Bond movie yet, but there you have it: it's sarcastic, witty, the opening credits are amazing, and best of all the movie constantly pokes fun at the old Bond stereotypes (Bartender: Shaken or stirred? Bond: Does it look like I give a damn?) and is a general modernization of an old classic (Mathis: It's amazing what you can do with Photoshop nowadays). I went in with low expectations -- which always heightens enjoyment if a movie is anything above mediocre -- but still, I thought it was quite wonderful.

The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep plays the Cruella De Vil of New York City and carries off the role fairly efficiently. Though a little too happily-ever-after at its conclusion for my tastes, it's a thoroughly entertaining two hours. For about two days after seeing it I was also plagued by a horrible desire to go shopping, which I think is vaguely antithetical to the movie's raison d'etre, so to speak, but I can't help that.

* * *

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Admittedly, there were many absolutely hilarious moments -- most of which, unfortunately, were effectively ruined since I'd already seen them on YouTube -- but those were far outnumbered by "oh my god please make it stop auuurrrgggh" moments. Even worse, a subsequent string of revelations that proved scenes were either staged or coerced made the entire premise seem even more horrible.

* *

The DaVinci Code
Suffers greatly from "not as good as the book" syndrome -- which is a little sad, considering that the book wasn't that great to begin with. Also, Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou (two of my favorite actors, no less) both look vaguely nauseated throughout the entire film.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
What were you thinking, Disney? Almost as shameless as the second Matrix film -- and anyone who knows how much I hate those movies understands the gravity of that comparison. Honestly, I only bothered for Johnny Depp.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Well, I suppose I can't really judge this obscenely offensive excuse for a movie since I walked out of the theater about 20 minutes in. I'm returning to my "no Will Ferrell, under any circumstances" rule.

Far From a Slow News Week

I chose the worst time ever to leave upper Manhattan.

(Seriously! Both within 9 blocks of my dorm!)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Flying Over the Rockies

No matter how grainy/foggy/scratchy the photos turn out (it's inevitable, with the state of most plane windows), I can never resist taking photos during long flights.

Insert Hamlet Quote Here

I dreamt last night that I was carrying my external hard drive down a flight of stairs and tripped -- sending the box of metal and its assorted cables flying across the room until it smashed into the opposite wall.

I'm not sure what that says about my subconscious and my general mental state, but it's probably nothing complimentary.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Designer Wen-Haur Yen created the Coolight for Design Boom's House Party competition. A cryogen-filled cylinder fits perfectly into the average beer bottle and simultaneously chills and illuminates your drink. The above illustration is a nice rendering of the decorative/atmospheric capabilities of such a simple invention.

Friday, December 22, 2006

JPG Magazine

For anyone looking for last-minute holiday gifts, JPG Magazine is offering a one year subscription for $14.99, which is pretty good for 6 issues of a 100+ page photography publication.

(And for photographers looking to be published, JPG is currently accepting photos that apply to the themes "Elegance," "Street," and "9 to 5." Start uploading!)

Christmakwanzukah, &c.

I'm about to head to L.A. for the remainder of the holiday season, so for anyone else planning on wearing shorts to Christmas dinner, take a look at Fred Flare's compilation of December 2006 window displays in New York City. A jolly reminder of love, joy, and shameless money-spending. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

The MINOX Leica M3

I mean, as much as I crave a real Leica, the minuscule Leica M3 is fairly impressive for its size: 4 megapixels, 32 megabytes of internal memory, and -- best of all -- a $199 price tag. For anyone willing to spare a couple hundred dollars, it's a beautiful little camera.

Mix of the Week

She Has Black Hair and Small Hands

01 Cake - Shadow Stabbing
02 Devendra Banhart - Now That I Know
03 Joan Baez - It Ain't Me, Babe
04 Liz Phair - Listen Here
05 Cat Power - The Greatest
06 Beck - Devil's Haircut
07 Sufjan Stevens - Sister (Live)
08 Regina Spektor - 2.99 Cent Blues
09 Ani DiFranco - As Is
10 The Decemberists - O Valencia!
11 Sweet Honey in the Rock - We Are
12 Debussy - Reflets Dans l'Eau
13 The Flaming Lips - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Song
14 Sigur Rós - Untitled #3
15 Vienna Teng - Whatever You Want
16 O.A.R. - Heard the World
17 Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al
18 Modest Mouse - Karma Payment Plan
19 Damien Rice - Cold Water
20 Elliot Goldenthal - The Departure

It Should Have Gone To Kim Jong Il

Er, so, apparently Time Magazine's Person of the Year is, wait for it ...


Yes, You.
You control the Information Age.
Welcome to your world.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Gadget, Ornament, Utensil and Money Clip"

I am seriously considering buying this knife for myself at some point in the near future; I've been wanting a nice one for a while now, and Van Hoy's Snap Lock is almost too beautiful to pass up. The blade can rotate a full 360 degrees, is ambidextrous, and with a 2.5" blade still only weighs 2.7 ouches.

(Edit: Never mind, e. bought one for me.)

The Best (And Worst) Ideas of 2006

The New York Times Magazine's 6th Annual Year in Ideas documents some wonderful, funny, and downright weird creations of 2006. My personal favorite:

"The popularity of the iPod has given new urgency to an old criticism of the portable music player: namely, that it isolates the listener by tuning out the world around him. As one response to this problem, Noah Vawter, a graduate student at the M.I.T. Media Lab, has created a pair of headphones that tunes the listener back in.

The device, which Vawter calls Ambient Addition, consists of two headphones with transparent earpieces, each equipped with a microphone and a speaker. The microphones sample the background noise in the immediate vicinity — wind blowing through the trees, traffic, a cellphone conversation. Then, with the help of a small digital signal-processing chip, the headphones make music from these sounds. For instance, percussive sounds like footsteps and coughs are sequenced into a stuttering pattern, and all the noises are tuned so that they fuse into a coherent, slowly changing set of harmonies."

Some other favorites from the list: Reverse Grafitti, Phantom Pianists, and Spit Art.


Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain have come up with a new font called Utopia -- a "digital typeface that portrays the mixture between the modernist architecture of Oscar Niemeyer and informal occupation of the urban space that shapes major Brazilian cities."

Splendid! Two of my fetishes combined...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Go Phish

According to the results of a recent phishing attack on MySpace, the top 20 most common passwords are, in order:

password1, abc123, myspace1, password, blink182, qwerty1, fuckyou, 123abc, baseball1, football1, 123456, soccer, monkey1, liverpool1, princess1, jordan23, slipknot1, superman1, iloveyou1, & monkey

...which raises some puzzling questions. Are there that many sports fans on MySpace? Is Blink182 actually still popular? And, most importantly, why monkeys?

Call Your Grandma

From Sufjan Stevens, a slightly bizarre but naturally wonderful animated video to accompany one of the songs from his holiday album, Hark! Songs for Christmas Volume 2.

A Guide to Modern Art

I am, generally speaking, a big fan of so-called "modern art." Occasionally, however, a trip to the MoMA or -- in this case -- studying for my art history exam reminds me just how much I detest some of the exercises in idiocy that have been produced in the past century.

Take Marcel Duchamp, for instance. On the left we have Nude Descending a Staircase, perhaps one of my favorite paintings ever. On the right? A urinal. Flipped upside down, signed, and entitled Fountain. Now, I have no doubt that this is an intellectually stimulating piece, that it has sparked intense discussion about the nature of creation and authorship, blah blah whatever, but it is not art.

Here we have Kazimir Malevich. On the left is Suprematism, a quaint little study of color and form. On the right? Black. Really, it's almost as astonishing as Red, but not quite as insightful as White on White. Okay! We get it! The first time it's brilliant and ingenious and new -- the 28764th time, it's just annoying.

And the list goes on: Mark Rothko's fields of drab color, Dan Flavin's fluorescent lightbulbs (I mean, really), Gene Davis' arbitrary striping. Can someone revive the Renaissance, or at the very least bring back the impressionists? Please?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Final Architecture Model

The bass wood, wire, & mesh monstrosity that took me about 50 hours of the past weekend.


Monday, December 11, 2006


Generally speaking, Francis and I just end up taking ridiculous photos of each other when we go shooting.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Is Your Toupee In An Updraft?

Okay, so I use when writing papers for my Vietnamese class, and happened to click through to their "Emoticon Dictionary," which is absolutely hilarious. My favorites:

}:-(        User's toupee is in an updraft.

`:-)        User shaved one of his eyebrows off this morning.

<|-(        User is Chinese and doesn't like these kind of jokes.

d8=        Your pet beaver is wearing goggles and a hard hat.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

On Assignment

Affirmative Action at Issue
Scores of Student Protesters Gather at Court Before Dawn

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4-As the temperature spiraled into the low 20s and heavy winds whipped through Capitol Hill, a row of sleeping bags lined the Supreme Court's main entrance while students, professors, and activists waited to gain entry to the day's two oral arguments...



Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'd Probably Fail

According to NY1:
The federal government is releasing more than 100 new questions they are considering adding to the citizenship exam to make it more difficult.

The questions will be tested in ten cities early next year, before a redesigned test is launched in 2008.

Officials want to encourage a better understanding of American history and government institutions.

For example, the old test used to ask what the three branches of government were. Now it will also ask why there are three branches.

Another question asks applicants to explain Martin Luther King's dream for America.
As Gothamist so aptly put it, feel free to place your sarcastic answers in the comments below.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Michael Hughes has a quirky little series going on Flickr called "Souvenirs," which involves superimposing cheesy tourist items (magnets, postcards, figurines, etc.) over their actual counterparts.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Adobe Labs just released a fantastic web app called Kuler that allows users to create and share 5-color themes for any number of graphic design projects. When you're in edit mode, adjusting one color will automatically cause the other four to shift so that the set stays appropriately coordinated. Whee!

Doodle #1

DIY Dostoevskij


Penguin has just created a series called "My Penguin: Books by the Great, Covers by You" where readers can design their own book covers for Crime and Punishment, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Emma, and others. As prospective artists send in images of their work, Penguin is creating a gallery of the entries they receive. An entertaining -- if slightly alarming -- marketing strategy to up readership for Jane Austen (and certainly, she needs all the help she can get).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

From the Sketchbook

(Inspired by a recent post over at design director Khoi Vinh's blog, I think I'm going to start posting snippets from my architecture sketchbook now and then. Among the expected orthographic drawings and model sketches are cartoon giraffes and baby jellyfish that pop up from time to time...)

Jazz Sampling

I've been poring over my jazz collection recently and felt like sharing a few old favorites:

Jesse Sharps Quintet - Mike's Tune

Brad Mehldau - River Man (Nick Drake cover)

Modern Jazz Quartet - Vendome

Thelonius Monk - April in Paris

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

A Psych T.A. at Penn added "draw a turkey" on to the end of a recent test, and posted the results on Flickr.