Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stranger 059

The One Train Turns 1

Time for a redesign, possibly involving this image? We shall see...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Stranger 057

Rescue My Vocabulary, Please

I just realized the verb "to heart" -- which I have always used only in the most sardonic and cutting manner possible -- has recently become a very existent (and often un-sardonic) part of my vocabulary. Someone slap me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stranger 056


1. I've been seeing Ian Gonsher's work everywhere recently ... I love the idea behind the coffee table pictured above. His site features a number of equally eccentric pieces of furniture.

2. I find these photos disturbing but oddly riveting.

3. Kapitza came out with another architectural font, aptly dubbed Architekt.

4. PlusMinus sells a flash disk that incrementally inflates to indicate how full it is. Though slightly impractical (weren't flash disks created to be small?!), I find the concept fairly elegant.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Mean, That's How I Dress When I'm in the Studio

First Express comes out with the "Editor Pant" line, and now Banana Express is modeling their spring clothing off of architects?! I feel like my entire life is being slowly commercialized.

In response, Gawker went in search of some real architects for their reactions. The resulting--heavily snarky--interview is priceless:

Gawker: So what is it like being surrounded by nubile 23 year olds in khaki coordinates at all times?

Frankie: I am not really sure, to be honest with you. I think I may be involved in some different types of architecture than these people.

Gawker: What do you mean, it's not really like that?

Frankie: Well, firstly, these people look really well-rested and almost obscenely casual. If this were a real meeting, the model on the table would have some stray marks on it. More likely, it would be shattered in a million pieces on the floor.

Also, in my experience no architects dress like that - the Liebeskind eyeglasses and black turtleneck/blazer, German expressionist style is still the bottom line at most nyc offices. Most people are executing variations on this basic Sprockets-y theme.

Gawker: Well, you guys do spend a lot of time in the airy conference room overlooking the Hudson, staring at little wooden dollhouses and making flirty-eyes at each other, right?


Gawker: Do you think these ads will inspire a lot of youngsters to become architects when they grow up?

Frankie: If I were a high schooler with architectural aspirations seeing this, it would probably be too seductive to resist. Five years in a design program, however, at a sufficiently respectable design school will bleed most of the color out of this person's palette and leave them crushed and vulnerable enough to fully engage the profession.

Stranger 054

Meet Ulysses.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stranger 052


Ever lost all of your music to a faulty iPod or a hard drive crash? The soon-to-launch Bandwagon software will provide online backup for your entire iTunes library. And better still, it's free for bloggers if you post their logo and site URL by tomorrow night and send them the trackback. (Sorry, PC users, right now the program only works with OS 10.4+ and iTunes.)

I Wonder How Drunk the Designers Get While They're Making These?

The first round of voting is over, and now Design Within Reach's annual Champagne Chair Contest is looking to narrow entries down to one miniature creation. Go check them out!

The iPhone Shuffle

Just out! And absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stranger 051

Yes, yes, it's Al Gore. He's still a stranger!

(And yes, he's wearing cowboy boots.)


1. The Telegraph has an extensive story on how infamous anti-establishment graffiti artist Banksy might actually be a consumer whore. This is reminding me of how much I loved James de la Vega until I realized that he's a complete sellout. Alas.

2. I consider myself a very competent photographer, but embarrassingly I really don't know nearly enough about the more technical aspects of the art. But! PhotonHead came out with a great tool called the SimCam, which allows anyone to play around with f-stops and ISOs and shutter speeds in order to take simulated photographs which clearly demonstrate the difference between respective settings. Whee!

3. The Society for News Design announced the world's four best-designed papers in the world: Äripäev of Tallinn, Estonia; El Economista of Madrid, Spain; Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung of Frankfurt, Germany; and Politiken of Copenhagen, Denmark. SND's blog also just announce the top ten winners in all categories (I have no idea what those are), led by the NYTimes, the LA Times (what?), and Excelsior (Mexico City).

On Photojournalism

A friend/co-Spectator photog remarked to me once that working in a newsroom inverts your moral compass. I think that may be a slightly extreme assessment -- but after working for (what feels like) so long in the office of a daily, almost-professional paper, I can't help but acknowledge that we newsfolk have a bit of an unhealthy desire for doom and gloom and all things disastrous.

Perhaps it's just part of the job; after all, human nature is such that happy, heart-warming, & cuddly stories are of far less interest than that Harvard grad who cut up his ex-wife into little bits and stored her julienned remains in his closet until the neighbors complained of a strange stench. Or maybe it's because people who go all-out, batshit insane are much more extreme than their benevolent, generous, kind counterparts (though admittedly Wesley Autrey could spearhead a pretty decent counter-argument).

But for whatever reason, journalists never wish for Wesley Autreys on slow news days. We wish for homicides and fires and scandals (on a more reasonable college scale, we wish for epic ideological battles between extreme leftists and nutcase speakers or taser attacks in the campus library). I can't count how many times I've heard an editor or reporter complain that there haven't been enough murders recently, or that someone should consider setting fire to Columbia's iconic administrative building, Low Library, in time to make deadline.

Does that make us bad people? Almost certainly not, but it certainly doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy about my internal ethics system. It doesn't really matter that we haven't actually torched President Bollinger's office to the ground -- the point is, we've weighed the negatives against the number of website hits we'd get the next day.

When I flipped through this year's World Press Photo winners, part of me was slightly sickened every time I realized that those photographers were actively and continually making a choice to stay uninvolved -- even when their assistance might have saved a life. Maintaining neutrality at the cost of empathy is simultaneously a noble and horrific choice to make.

In two weeks, I'm going to New Orleans along with my professor and classmates from a GSAPP class on rebuilding the city, and I'm not sure what I'm going to find or how I'm going to react. Clearly, New Orleans is not Israel or Afghanistan or the Sudan, but still ... I hope I can find a balance.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Eating Out: Pho Viet Huong

73 Mulberry Street
B/W Bayard and Canal
6, N/R/Q to Canal St.

While New York City's Vietnamese restaurants certainly can't hold a candle to most of their Californian counterparts, Pho Viet Huong is a decent joint if you're looking for a quick fix of bun bo hue or pho tai. The service is fairly friendly (particularly for an Asian restaurant ... is that un-PC?), and it's open from 10 am to 10 pm every day (and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday). Try the pho special and the vegetarian cha gio (spring rolls) for a healthy lunch.

(Hopefully, this will become a running series. We'll see.)


CNN's "Offbeat News" section seems like it's been preoccupied with ducks recently. First there was Plucky, a duck shot, refrigerated, resuscitated, and operated upon ... and now there's Stumpy, a duck recently born with four legs. My real question is, who the hell is naming these ducks, and what's wrong with him? If we've (largely) stopped naming humans after various personal attributes like Prudence and Chastity and Felicity and Faith, then why are we naming ducks after them, in manner of the seven dwarves?!

Stranger 050

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Stranger 049

I Need a Pet

I think I'm going to buy a betta fish. Is there anyone who's staying in NYC over the summer who would take care of (it/him/her?) for me?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stranger 044

"The Listener"

I cannot see you a thousand miles from here,
but I can hear you
whenever you cough in your bedroom
or when you set down
your wine glass on a granite counter.

This afternoon
I even heard scissors moving
at the tips of your hair
and the dark snips falling
onto a marble floor.

I keep the jazz
on the radio turned off.
I walk across the floor softly,
eyes closed,
the windows in the house shut tight.

I hear a motor on the road in front,
a plane humming overhead,
someone hammering,
then there is nothing
but the white stone building of silence.

You must be asleep
for it to be this quiet,
so I will sit and wait
for the rustle of your blanket
or a noise from your dream.

Meanwhile, I will listen to the ant bearing
a dead comrade
across these floorboards -
the noble sounds
of his tread and his low keening.

--Billy Collins


1. This is the dog stealing the show at Westminster?! It looks like a rat with a poodle bouffant. Ech.

2. A former Spectator news deputy just started a blog about her semester abroad in Ghana: Wrapped Up in Dust.

3. Sweet! Actual justification for owning a Vespa!

4. FontShop has a great post up on Helvetica alternatives.

5. NOLA just can't catch a break.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stranger 043


Plug 2007

I spent about 12 hours on Saturday shooting various bands at the Plug Music Awards in Irving Plaza, along with a slew of other iStockers. Good times were had by all. Above: Tokyo Police Club, El-P, Deerhoof, host David Cross, and a 17-foot-tall puppet of David Cross. It was an interesting evening. Still to come: Stephen Malkmus!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stranger 042

The drummer from Silversun Pickups at the 2007 Plug Awards. More to come...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pompous, Arrogant, Declaration:

Is that all you got, Getty photographers? My photos are so much better.

Nicole Miller Show

See if you can spot the amateur at the front of the pit wearing red. That was last Friday -- I wore black to every single show for the rest of the week.

(Photo courtesy Spectator photographer Diana Wong.)

Stranger 040

Still Relevant, I Think

From Harry Kalven, Jr.'s 1969 commencement address at Brown:

"There is much to admire in the students’ anger at the weaknesses of society, there is much to deplore in their excessive self-righteousness and moral simplicities; there is much to applaud in their energy and desire to get reforms moving, there is much to regret in their blind distrust of existing institutions, their wild impatience and their indifference to social costs. They seem like angry children; we seem like angry parents. They have presented us with what is certainly at once the most exhilarating, challenging, promising, infuriating, expensive, frightening phenomenon of our time."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Stranger 033

I know, Fashion Week models don't count as Strangers (though technically, they are), but I spent the entire day down at Bryant Park shooting. Max Azria and Nicole Miller and Akiko Ogawa to come! (Above is one of Marc Bouwer's models.)