Saturday, March 31, 2007

Stranger 090

For Anyone Who Misses Dorm Living:

...take a look at Micro Compact Homes, designed by British architects for a German firm. The website describes it as a "lightweight compact dwelling for one or two people. Its compact dimensions of 2.6m cube adapt it to a variety of sites and circumstances, and its functioning spaces of sleeping, working / dining, cooking and hygiene make it suitable for everyday use."

Tempting, but I think I'll stick with a cramped studio downtown...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Photographs for Sale

Okay, I've officially put up 4 prints for sale at My "store" will be updated from time to time with both digital and film prints, all prettily matted for your hanging convenience. Take a look! (I also replaced that Flickr javascript on my sidebar with an Etsy preview -- just in case you forget. Cough.)

New Desktop

Thank goodness for Veer.

New Blog From

The Society for News Design just launched a blog to delve into everything from the art of infographics to Helvetica haiku. (There was a contest, apparently.)

In other news, UCLA researchers spend all their time playing Scrabble with lasers.

Stranger 089

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


1. From ComputerWorld's 20 Must-Have Firefox Extensions, "Measurelt" allows you to take an exact pixel measurement of anything on your screen. My other favorite, ColorZilla, provides you with a handy little dropper when you want an RGB reading of something showing up in your browser.

2. For anyone who desperately misses college (or even for those college students who are interested in what other universities are up to), LectureFox posts an entertainingly eclectic stream of lectures from universities and colleges around the world on a regular basis. Recent selections include "Understanding Computers and the Internet" from Harvard, "Buddhist Psychology" from UC Berkeley, and "Physics of Rock Climbing" from MIT.

3. I've long thought that New York City's fire escapes were one of its more striking architectural features, so I was happy to see Gothamist post about Greg Martin's Fireladders of SoHo project.

4. SO nerdy!

5. And speaking of jewelry, Etsy is a wonderful site where various artisans can sell their work (and it's really reasonable, too). Last week I discovered a small bead story on Fifth Ave. and was inspired to get back into jewelry-making -- maybe I'll try selling a few pieces and see what happens...

Stranger 086

Monday, March 26, 2007

Stranger 085

One of the best writers I know.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stranger 083

This is also (obviously) cheating. A statue at the Yale University Art Gallery -- who, incidentally, has a subscription to the Yale Daily News delivered daily to the floor beneath his left arm and addressed to "The Man in the Chair With the Beer."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stranger 082

This is a complete lie. I've known her since third grade.

Professor Nomenclature

From the combined forces of careful parenting and an unnecessarily formal hometown, I have never felt comfortable calling adults (let's assume that I don't count myself in that demographic, at least for the next seven months) by their first names. Ever. Even the closest of family friends were always "Aunt" Irene or "Uncle" John -- never just a given name. And above all, teachers, professors, and bosses were always addressed with some sort of appended title.

Recently, however, I've found that every single one of my architecture professors insists on being called by his or her first name. I find it terrifying in the extreme. While they're all perfectly approachable and amiable human beings, they're all professors and practicing architects, and -- though clearly this judgment is both unfair and untrue -- the last department I would expect to be so informal with students. All of my other professors (some tenured, some not -- some even not actually professors at all, but rather hopeful grad students) have insisted on the title.

One of the more notable side effects of being an only child is that I've spent most of my life interacting primarily with people anywhere from one to five decades my senior. Now, the only difference is that they all want me to address them as if I'm their equal -- and though flattering, it secretly pains me. My boss is Nick. My studio professor is Madeline. Even Mrs. Amanpour, apparently, is Christiane.

Though I can't say I miss it, childhood was so much simpler.

Literature & Music; Assorted Notes

After showing up for my first day at Wired yesterday only to find that my boss was in San Francisco (I probably should have remembered that), I wandered around Midtown for a while and finally settled down in Borders to get some work done. Predictably, I got only a few pages into my architecture reading before I realized that a copy of Ann Patchett's latest book -- The Magician's Assistant -- was sitting on the table beside me. Though not as glued-to-your-seat-riveting as her earlier Bel Canto, the premise is equally unusual and just as finely executed.

Later in the evening, I met up with some friends and made my first pilgrimage to Jersey on the PATH train for a Decemberists concert in Jersey City. Tragically, I only realized at 8 p.m. that I had forgotten to put a CF card in my camera that morning (the picture to the right is actually from their October 2005 concert in New York City), but my idiocy aside the concert was brilliant. I haven't found a posted set list/mp3 list yet of the performance, but Meloy & co. started with 'Oceanside,' went through almost all of their latest album The Crane Wife, and ended the night with two of my favorite songs -- 'Eli, the Barrow Boy' and 'Sons & Daughters' as their encores. (I did find, however, that someone put up their October 2006 concert at the 9:30 Club in DC ... the set list isn't quite the same, but you get the idea.)

Also, Ani Difranco is coming to Prospect Park this summer. After managing to miss every single one of her shows for the past three years, I will be at that concert.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


1. A life-sized whale for your computer.

2. For any other college students equally immersed in the blogosphere: Eater (& Curbed) are hiring!

3. Wired recently launched a new project called Assignment Zero: the latest experiment in crowdsourcing. Jeff Howe -- the Wired editor who coined the term last June -- has been tracking Assignment Zero's progress on his aptly-named blog.

4. The biggest f2.8 telephoto lens, ever. See that little thing to the right of the lens? That's the camera.

5. As an ongoing project for a class entitled "Mass Media & American Democracy," one of the Spectator's News Editors started up a blog called Editor Josh.

Stranger 079

Monday, March 19, 2007

Because I Am So Involved in Men's Fashion

Every once in a while sends me a cheery self-promotional e-mail with "recommended" items that their computers think I would like. This week's list, however, was a little more eclectic than most. Since I've been ordering mostly design and architecture books lately, the two typography titles make sense, as does the diver's backpack. But GQ Magazine?! What!

Stranger 078

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Everyone Is Redesigning

Including one of the most iconic American magazines ever, thanks to Pentagram. I'm not sure how I feel about those massive Franklin Gothic headers, but the white space and wider columns look beautiful. Can't wait to pick it up!

Motion Theory & Modest Mouse

The Motion Theory music video for Modest Mouse's 'Dashboard' is one of the best I've seen of late: clever narrative, really striking cinematography, and fairly decent music (I guess that part's important). I'll be interested to see if their new album -- We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, which releases on March 20 -- returns to the days of The Moon & Antarctica, before they started producing lyrical disasters like "Float On."

Stranger 077

Mix of the Week: Back Home

If I Could Only Coax You Overboard

01 The Flaming Lips - Vein of Stars
02 Paul Simon - How Can You Live in the Northeast
03 Metheny & Mehldau - Unrequited
04 The Decemberists - Oceanside
05 Emitt Rhodes - Lullabye
06 The Raconteurs - Yellow Sun
07 Liz Phair - Listen Here
08 The Mars Volta - Son Et Lumiere
09 Neutral Milk Hotel - Two-Headed Boy
10 The Polyphonic Spree - La La
11 The Strokes - Barely Legal
12 Vienna Teng - Blue Caravan
13 Sondre Lerche - Nightingale
14 Farm to Market - The Dollar Song
15 Sufjan Stevens - All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands
16 The Velvet Underground - Sunday Morning
17 Devendra Banhart - Dogs They Make Up the Dark
18 Rufus Wainwright - California
19 Fiona Apple - Angel
20 Seu Jorge - Suffragette City

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

GoogleMaps: Stuck in 2006?

Naively, I'd always assumed that GoogleMaps' satellite images were live -- magically projected at frequent intervals from some great spaceship in the sky down to my computer. Or, at the very least, I would guess that Google updated their maps every month. But every 1.5 years?!

I just checked out Google's images of the Lower Ninth Ward to verify the addresses of some of the images I'm uploading to Flickr, and was puzzled to discover a picturesque snapshot of typical suburbia -- not exactly the wasteland I was anticipating. I'm not sure when the above image was taken -- of Tupelo Street near where it intersects with Florida Avenue (and very near where the levees broke) -- but those trees and rooftops certainly haven't been around for a good 19 months. What!

Man Chainsaws House in Two in Divorce Split

Ah, literalism.

Stranger 074

Sunset, Salton Sea

In Honor of the Ides of March, I Give You "Completely Useless Latin Phrases 101"

Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe.
Intendum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum.

May you always misuse the subjunctive!
Utinam modo subiunctivo semper male utaris!

My dog ate it.
Canis meus id comedit.

I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

Oh yeah? Your mother!
Itane? Tua mater!

If you can read this, you are both very well educated and much too close.
Si hoc legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis propinquus ades.


1. A strangely discolored Seurat reproduction? Not quite -- it's actually a photograph representing the 106,000 aluminum cans that Americans consume every 30 seconds. Chris Jordan has an entire series entitled Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait, which "looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics." His images illustrate everything from Vicodin abuse to annual prison incarceration numbers.

2. The Brooklyn-based design group Fwis has a beautiful gallery of book covers displayed on their site. One of my favorites has to be the typographical masterpiece that is the Ecco Book for Christmas Stories.

3. Knowing my ability to muck up electronic equipment? I'm buying Camera Armor immediately.

4. Fake Is the New Real's site is filled with experimental oddities, but perhaps the most entertaining (and tongue-in-cheek) subpage is their Comparative Timeline: Elvis Presley's Life vs. US Involvement in South-East Asia. Don't laugh until you look at it -- the two are disturbingly parallel. Other equally tongue-in-cheek but slightly more research-based projects abound, including the Common Sense Electoral College Reform -- which creates new states like Virgitucky and Land 'O Lakes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stranger 073

This is embarrassingly out of focus, but whatcanyoudo.

Francis & Robin

An abandoned marine bunker near the Salton Sea.


Branding agency LogoOrange has a small catalogue of famous corporate logos and their design histories up on their website. As a for instance -- am I the only person who never noticed that the Yamaha logo is a set of three crossed tuning forks? Apparently, Yamaha was founded (originally under the name Nippon Gakki Seizo Kabushiki Kaisha) as an instrument repair company. I guess the motorcycles are just a hobby.

Also on LogoOrange's site is an efficient write-up of predicted 2007 Logo Design Trends. Don't know what hot dogs, clouds, and transmission beams have to do with branding? Read on.

And lastly -- for any designer who has to switch constantly between RGB and CMYK formats, the site includes an extensive color-matching chart for easy conversion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Salton Sea: A Virtual Tour

The Salton Sea is a saline lake in the southeast corner of California that was created when the Colorado River diverted in 1905.

Up until the 1960s large luxury communities were established around the Sea's perimeter, until the lake's lack of any outlet induced fish die-offs, high levels of bacteria, and general nastiness. The shore is coated in a fine layer of fish skeletons and recently deceased tilapia. It smells really, really bad.

Currently, the Salton Sea supports a few tent cities (more like RV camps, actually) and various other small neighborhoods.

One small community is called "Slab City" because it was founded on the leftover foundations of an old army base.

Bombay Beach, on the eastern shore of the Sea, is surrounded by submerged trailers and trucks.

One fellow, Leonard Knight, built a small monument he named Salvation Mountain at the entrance to Slab City. It's made from hay bales and mud, and is very colorful. Knight is very friendly and welcoming (he sleeps in his truck), if slightly deaf.

Despite the generally overwhelming stench, the lake itself is glassy and beautiful. The occasional submerged telephone pole, tree, or crumbling dock creates wonderful reflections in the water. There are flocks and flocks of birds (gulls, pigeons, egrets, sandpipers, pelicans, etc.), though I'm not sure how they've managed to survive on dead (/dying) fish.

I think I'm going to have to go back soon.

Stranger 072


The New York Times' online subscription to restricted and archived material is now free for all university students and faculty. Sweet!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Stranger 071

Lower 9th Ward

Mix of the Week: Spring Break

He Gave Me Back My Smile, But He Kept My Camera To Sell

01 The Shins - Phantom Limb
02 Regina Spektor - I Want to Sing
03 Phish - Character Zero
04 Laura Veirs - Lonely Angel Dust
05 The Black Angels - The First Vietnamese War
06 Beck - Minus
07 Neko Case - If You Knew
08 Eliott Smith - Southern Belle
09 Nick Drake - Road
10 Paul Simon - Graceland
11 Pavement - Camera
12 Grateful Dead - Feel Like a Stranger
13 Red House Painters - Long Distance Runaround
14 Devendra Banhart - The Body Breaks
15 The Decemberists - Los Angeles, I'm Yours
16 Broken Social Scene - Looks Just Like The Sun
17 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood
18 Cat Power - Love & Communication
19 Joni Mitchell - California
20 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Road Trippin'

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stranger 070

This fellow was a Nepalese sherpa who came to California after saving an American's life while scaling Mount Everest. Grateful, the man's family sponsored his trip to Los Angeles 22 years ago, where he's since worked as a waiter, bartender, hotel concierge, and now taxi driver. He says he prefers Nepal.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

NOLA Photos

I'm slowly going through the 2200+ images I shot while in New Orleans for the past few days -- they're being uploaded slowly but surely to a Flickr set.

Stranger 069

As he drove by, he yelled "Hey! I'm Katrina damage -- photograph me and stick me on the internet!"

And how.

Today's NYTimes

While it is not rare for me to be grossly irritated/distressed/exasperated with the NYTimes' daily photo & design judgments, I would just like to say that I thought today's front page was lovely, with a beautiful, timely, and relevant lead photo (spot news! what a concept!), an engaging feature piece on the Google empire, and a cute little "don't forget to turn your clocks forward" graphic at the bottom of the page.

It's unfortunate that the Times falls behind so frequently on local NYC coverage simply because it tries too hard to be quintessentially international in scope; but today's front page was a nice example of what a team of talented journalists & designers can do on a more regional scale.