Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Can Tune A Piano, But...

Japanese "sound artist" Daito Manabe tuned his face. Electrodes hooked up to his face deliver shocks associated with the music he's playing — allowing him to play his face.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Truth, Still Stranger Than Fiction.

From HuffPost:
Some videos you just have to see to believe. On Thursday, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared in Wasilla in order to pardon a local turkey in anticipation of Thanksgiving. This proved to be a slightly absurd but ultimately unremarkable event. But what came next was positively surreal. After the pardon Palin proceeded to do an interview with a local TV station while the turkeys were being SLAUGHTERED in the background!! Seemingly oblivious to the gruesomeness going on over her shoulder, she carries on talking for over three minutes. Watch the video below to see for yourself. Be warned, it's kind of gruesome.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You Need One More Reason To Not Vote For McCain/Palin

Listen to this:And, here's the comedic Montreal duo behind the prank on CBS's Early Show discussing the ease with which Palin was pranked (and how, of all the people they've pranked, only Britney Spears matched her in gullibility).

That's Two For Obama

Hol and I got up at 5:30, made some coffee, got dressed, walked the two blocks to our polling place, got in a long but quickly moving line... and voted! We were home by 7:30. And, though I'm no numerologist , it was a pleasant surprise, and oddly comforting, when I inserted my ballot into the thing that looked suspiciously like an industrial paper shredder that its counter identified me as the 271st to cast my ballot at our polling place.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Can You Vote?

Just to be on the safe side, you may want to make sure you haven't been purged from the registration rolls. makes it easy to check. You can also confirm you polling place at the site. So, check and then go vote. For Obama.

And don't wear your Obama gear – it may be considered campaigning which is illegal at the polling place.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sayonara, Tokyo!

Packed and ready to go. We've got one last morning in Tokyo then it's JAL to SFO to LAX to STL. I'll fill in some blanks over the weekend once we're back.

Top: Looking down an alley lined with Pachinko parlors in Ueno.
Bottom: Hol in the wee elevator at Yamashiroya , a seven-story toy/collectibles/models/etc. store. Also in Ueno.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is There A Brown Power Ranger?

There is now. Though I've got to admit, I don't really know my Power Rangers and I don't think the dude I'm standing next to is a Power Ranger at all.

Since I haven't posted the past two days, I offer you the above pic – a picture that was never meant to see the light of day. It's from Saturday at the Hakuhinkan Toy Park in Ginza. Enjoy.

I'll try to catch up tomorrow on yesterday's (Tuesday) trip to Harajuku/Omotesando/Aoyama and today's visit to the Imperial Palace's East Garden and Asakusa – including Senso-Ji.

Tonight at dinner we figured out that we've had a different type of Japanese meal each day – sushi isn't the only option. However, we did have exceptionally fresh sushiTuesday night at Sushizanmai outside the Tsukiji Market – where the world's best sushi is auctioned, fresh off the boat, every day – and lunch today was yakisoba at Sometaro in Asakusa. More about both (memorable) meals later.

And, haters, prepare to get mad 'cause I got me some Bathing Ape. I picked up one of Bape's more restrained hoodies from the stunning Bapexclusive location. And, at the equally stunning Original Fake store I scored a sweet windbreaker. Both interiors were designed by über-hot Japanese firm Wonderwall.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu! To Me.

We spent today in and around Roppongi Hills. An area of Tokyo I first became aware of years ago through it's graphic identity – a brilliant typographic system developed by British designer/typographer, Jonathan Barnbrook .

Like each day before it, today was a long day packed from one end to the other with blog-worthy stuff. Today also shares the problem of the last few in there's been either no time or I'm too tired at the end to craft a post that would do justice to the day. So, here are the three highlights among highlights.

The astounding show, The Messengers, by French artist Annette Messager at the Mori Art Museum on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower. A show we missed at the Pompidou by a couple of weeks on our honeymoon.

The Tokyo City View on the top of Mori Tower. Absolutely spectacular views of the whole of Tokyo. You get one view from my iPhone.

Dinner at Gonpachi in Nishi-Azabu, just West of Roppongi Hills. (Gonpachi served as the inspiration for the set in the Crazy 88s fight scene in Kill Bill: Vol. 1.)

Oh, I almost forgot. At lunch Hol – for the first time ever – surprised me by asking for the smoking section and we ended up sitting in what was basically the coat room with another (smoking) couple. Seriously. It was absurdly hilarious. I can barely stop laughing as I write this. It was truly absurd and slightly surreal. This view just gives you the "hilarity" of Hol getting smoked out in the "hotboxed " coatroom – but behind me is a coatrack and to my right is a closet. Maybe you had to be there.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ain't No Crossing Like Shibuya Crossing

'Cause Shibuya Crossing don't stop. Seriously. The above pic is just one direction (of about five) that are waiting for the light to change at one of the world's most famous scramble crossings. And when the light does change, you're moving – into a mass of people coming the opposite direction. It's amazing it works at all.

So, I'm falling woefully behind on my bloggin on this trip. I think it may be because Tokyo – and by extension one's time spent here – is so densely packed. I may have to circle back and do a big recap (or a few) at the end of the trip.

Off to dinner at Ten-Ichi Deux. Number 7 on this list from the Guardian.

UPDATE: We can now unequivocally tell you that it is hard to find sh*t in Tokyo. Particularly smaller shops, restaurants, etc. Now that we've got the metro down, we were thinking we're cool and we'd ride back to Ginza tonight, hop off the metro and walk right to Ten-Ichi Deux. Well, between getting on the metro and getting off, we somehow realized we weren't really sure of a. which exit (of about 10) to take out of the Ginza metro stop or b. which way to walk once we got out. So, after consulting a couple of maps (we usually have at least two different maps on us), to no avail and I ready to give up and eat somewhere else and Hol ready to just give up walking and take a cab, Hol took charge and flagged us a cab. We got in. The cab driver did the Tokyo cab driver thing. Drove us in what amounted to about a six block semi-circle and dumped us roughly four blocks from where we'd been and told us to ask the cop on the corner (Either that or consult the large map. There was one of each on the corner.) So, we first consulted the large map. Again to no avail – almost every map of Tokyo is different enough from another that you've got to cross-reference at least two. But, still no luck in pin-pointing Ten-Ichi Deux. Okay, Hol asks the cop. He goes into the open-faced mini-station on the corner grabs us a map and basically tells us "good luck" (With a smile, of course. Everyone in Tokyo is unfailingly polite and smiling.) So, assuming we've got to be close, we walk up to the mini-mallish (Stores that are essentially a collection of boutiques are big in Tokyo) building on the corner right behind the police outpost and what do we see on the sign? Ten-Ichi Deux! On the ground floor! We're on the ground floor! This is great! So, we walk in and walk through the whole ground floor... No TI2 anywhere. We walk back to the door we came in, notice the mall map by the elevators and... the restaurant in on the other side of the mall with only an outside entrance. You know it's hard to find sh*t when the cab drivers and the cops (standing right in front of the building!) don't know where sh*t is. Dinner was great.
Police sub-station on left with peaked roof. Mall out of frame at left. Also worth noting, while it's not anything I'd call a trend, a relatively large number of people wear face masks (relative to "none" in the US). We're not sure if it's because they are sick or don't want to get sick.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tokyo, Day 2. (Or Day 3, Depending On How You're Counting)

A quick post about yesterday in Ginza before we head out for Shibuya and Harajuku today.

So, we finally took the subway. Three stops, but a good introduction to the system. (Even in "English" it took two of us to figure out how to buy and use a ticket.) We rode from the stop in the basement of our hotel, Mitsukoshimae, to Ginza on the yellow Ginza line. (PDF of metro system.)

We spent a long day wandering Ginza's main thoroughfares and back streets. We stopped in the newest Muji store. I look forward to the day when Muji brings its well-designed "generics" (clothes, home goods, furnishings, etc.) to the States. While we were tempted by much, I left with only a book of the contemporary design of Kenya Hara published by Japanese design magazine, Idea.

Hol ended up sating her fix to buy something at the Hakuhinkan Toy Park – sort of a Japanese Toys'R'Us. She left with the "Prairie Green" solar-powered bobble head stress-reliever, Nohohon Zoku.

At some point, we stopped for lunch at Negishi , a small restaurant on a side street – that we later realized was part of a chain – where we tried the "grated Yamato (glutinous) yam" dish, Tororo.

Okay, got to go. More later.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tokyo And The Art Of The Taxi Driver

Okay, so we still haven't taken the metro. We took cabs today. And, this account of Tokyo cab drivers now seems very accurate. Navigating Tokyo seems to be a bit of a mystery – even to the people who you'd think would know it best. After telling him our destination and showing him on a map, our cab driver took our map and examined it very intently. Then, he wanted to keep our map and set it on the seat beside him for a while. Finally, after examining his map at a stop light he handed ours back to us. 
After a fairly quick ride, we eventually ended up at our destination, the Museum of Modern Art. We took in the permanent exhibition, Modern Japanese Art from the Museum Collection. A fascinating condensed retrospective of the last one hundred years of Japanese art. With this pic representing the current state of affairs – two HD "canvases" displaying a digital piece, featuring sound and motion, spanning the two. (The photo does not do it, nor the other 4 pieces in the series, justice.)
We had a delicious late lunch with a roomful of Japanese "ladies who lunch " at the museum restaurant, H2 (apparently run by the restaurant Queen Alice) and spent a few hours taking in the exhibit. We're now back (again) at the hotel and I think we may be down for the count today (I think Hol already is). All-in-all, I'd feel good about the first day if we didn't leave the room again tonight.

This last pic is our view looking West – I think. Regardless, it's the direction we'll be heading tomorrow to walk the streets of Ginza which are sealed to auto traffic on the weekends.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tokyo In The Rain

After breakfast we thought it would be a good idea to venture out to get our local bearings by taking a walk. We probably should have saved it for a day other than the only day it's supposed to rain all day. We're now back drying off before lunch and a new plan: learn the subway system.

Pic is from our outdoor table under an awning (despite the rain, it's very warm) at our local Starbucks across the street from the upscale Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi department store (through which we took an extended stroll) connected to our hotel by underground walkway.

Konichiwa Bitches! (From Tokyo)

Just a quick post to say we've arrived and we're awake — after 12+ hours of travel and about 6 hours of sleep. We – like the rest of Tokyo by appearances – are just getting going. Then we'll head out for our first Tokyo breakfast.

The foggy, drizzly view is from our 35th floor window here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race And The Race Redux (And Some Other Stuff)

Please, watch AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka's powerful and moving speech decrying racism and passionately beseeching the audience to vote for Obama at the United Steelworkers convention July 1, 2008.

And, since you're here, watch Colin Powell's compelling endorsement of Obama on Meet The Press this morning.

Also, this may be the last post until Tokyo. If I'm doing my time zone math right, the first Tokyo post will probably show up on the 24th. Regardless, I'm going to treat Tokyo as detox for this nasty habit I've picked up and this is almost certainly the last election post. That is, until I fall off the wagon for a few days on the 1st. In the interim, if you need a fix I highly recommend the following:

In no particular order and by no means comprehensive – just good places to start. Explore.

Electoral Vote/Stat Tracking/News Aggregators

The Daily Beast

Prediction Market

Rational Conservative Writing
The American Conservative

Finally, many thanks to Strom for the Richard Trumka vid.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Anyone Got Change For 100,000?

The view from about 3/4 of the way back at the Obama Rally underneath the Arch on a stunningly beautiful mid-October day. The view from the front .
The change he's effected in St. Louis in just eighteen months is astounding. Let's make sure we elect this man, people. Please.

UPDATE: Barack has a few great pics up on his flickr.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Comedic Stylings Of Barack Steve Obama

If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch Obama do comedy (and do a respectable job of it) at the Al Smith dinner last night. McCain provided the opening act. And, truth be told didn't do a half bad job himself. However, after watching them both, I can't help thinking, "Don Rickles. Chris Rock."

Is Truth Stranger Than (Pulp) Fiction?

If you haven't seen this yet, it represents a case where truth – if not "stranger than" – seems at least equal to campy fiction. In fact this campy fiction could be the inspiration for the McCain campaign's darkly campy reality.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain To Try To Make Up With Letterman/Nation Tonight

Tellingly, "Schedule 'Too Little, Too Late' Appearance on Late Show to Make Up With Dave" isn't on Dave's Top 10 Ways John McCain Can Turn It Around. Get some background on the relationship and check your local listing here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Game On!

Having not been gaming much over the past couple of months I was wondering, just yesterday, if either candidate (Obama, really) was doing anything on any of the console platforms. Well, the Obama camp continues to out-geek the other team in recreating the campaign playbook for the digital age. Barack now has in-game ads being served over Xbox Live into the racing game, Burnout Paradise.
Screenshot: 360 gamer, "Jeffson". Via GigaOM.

Monday, October 13, 2008

And Now For A Little Perspective

"Imagine a draft of air, moving dust balls around you. The draft is invisible, but you can see its effect on the dust balls. Now imagine that the dust balls are galaxy clusters, and the draft is a powerful, gravity-like force that can’t be explained by existing theories. That force, newly discovered by a team of NASA astrophysicists, has been named dark flow, and it’s pulling entire galaxies out of our universe — and into the unknown."

Continue reading the VSL piece. Or, read more about dark flow.

Bradley Effects And Reboot Narratives

We'll have to wait until the votes are counted to see if the Bradley Effect rears it's covertly racist head, but we can begin our watch now for a McCain campaign "Reboot Narrative". If it plays out it'll make me feel like a sucker for giving him some grudging props in the previous post. Well... forewarned is forearmed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race And The Race

Smart, funny Jay Smooth ("the hardest blogging man in Hip-Hop" according to Wired magazine) of Ill Doctrine has some sound advice on dealing with Racism and those who may (or many not) be racists. Very much worth watching as I imagine we're stuck with cretins like this for good.

And, Kite Runner author, Khaled Hosseini weighs in on the subject in the Washington Post .

UPDATE: From the NYTDo Polls Lie About Race? examines the role race may – or may not – play in polling. I'm hoping we're in for a Reverse Bradley (ifyouknowwhutI'msayin).

UPDATE 2: The best thing McCain has done or said in months. However, it may be too little, too late as it seems clear he's now lost control of his party and his supporters.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tokyo, Day One, Dinner. It's On.

I just hope we don't get this waiter.

The Measure Of A President

The NYT asks, "Does candidate height and weight play a role in electoral success?". They offer their findings in a well-crafted infographic giving a side-by-side comparison of candidate match-ups since 1896.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Ok, so technically he's not breaking. But it made for a damn fine headline. In two weeks Hol and I will be trying to track this guy down in Shibuya and trying to forget – briefly – that the most important election of our lives will take place four days after we return.

UPDATE: Evidently, we may not have to look too hard (and we won't have to limit our search to Shibuya) for the Tokyo Dance/Rock Trooper. Not sure exactly how, but it looks like he's a representative of this collectible Japanese figures site. And, check out my current fav vid of the Dance Trooper.

"A Landslide Brought It Down"

Dem Strategists See Landslide In The Making.
Don't get complacent. Make it rain*.
*Figuratively, I'm thinking more this sort of weather. As opposed to this.

And, of course, I'd be remiss not to include this.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Man At His Best"

That's Esquire magazine's strapline. In their 75 years of chronicling the best practices of men at their best the Editors have never endorsed a Presidential candidate. Until now.

It's written in a more familiar tone than the New Yorker's endorsement but is equally persuasive none-the-less.

The issue (pictured) is on newsstands now.

They also apparently endorse Halle Berry in the hotly-contested race for the "Sexiest Woman Alive" seat.


The VP Debate You Didn't See: The Palin vs. Biden Freestyle Battle!

"Here Are Some Facts You Need To Know"

Yesterday I received an email – with the above headline – purporting to detail the impact of Obama's tax plan on the average American. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say it was clearly a piece of malicious junk mail spam. So, I did a quick check on the invaluable rumor-debunking site,, and sure enough, they'd found it to be FALSE.

So, please, if you ever receive an email regarding something you "MUST SEE" or "NEED TO READ" or "WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU" (often accompanied by three or more exclamation marks), please, check it at Snopes before hitting forward and spamming your address book.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Choice

Read the restrained yet powerful endorsement of Barack Obama by the Editors* of The New Yorker.

*Take if from these guys they're smart. And if you doubt that, be on the lookout for the umlaut in their spelling of coöperation. Now, that's intellect you can trust.

Illustration: The New Yorker

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Music To Put You In The Mood

To watch the debate.

Grab the OBAMIX from Bay Area DJ King Most. Trust me, you want this – just check out the sweet tracklist:

Intro/Smoked Sugar: I’m A Winner
Roy Davis Jr.: People Get Ready
Jackson 5: We’re Almost There (DJ Spinna Remix)
Erykah Badu: Solider (Sasaac Remix)
Masta Ace: Beautiful
Black Spade: We Need A Revolution
Skull Snaps: It’s A New Day
Marvin Gaye & The Mizzel Brothers: We Are We Going?
James Brown: Mind Power
Antibalas: Si Se Puede
Grandmaster Flash: The Message (Next Message Blend Version)
Dj Day: A Place To Go
Double Exposure: Everyman For Himself
Donald Byrd: Change Makes Ya Wanna Hustle
Stevie Wonder: Blackman (Kay Sputnik Re-Edit)
L.T.D.: Love To The World
Cymande: Bra
Pitbull: American War
The Dynamics: Move On Up

Almost forgot... Props to Andrew for the hook up.

If You Haven't Registered To Vote And Have A Laptop, You're In For A Treat

Sarah Silverman will clarify. Just watch. And, if you really haven't yet, register. NOW.
Thanks to Sarah for the tip.

To The Candidates: Wake Up And Smell The Country

7-Election. Very clever effort from 7-11.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Wisdom of Deep Throat

This one, of course. Not this one. As the infamous "man in the shadows" famously told Woodward in All the President's Men, "follow the money".

It turns out he may be right. Though not necessarily in the sense he intended. I just read an interesting article on the predictive accuracy of betting markets. Evidently, prediction markets have been all but infallible in forecasting the outcomes of a number of elections both in the US and Europe – often in contradiction to the polls. Intrade seems to be the online prediction market leader and, for what it's worth, currently shows Obama with a very healthy lead.

1. Please, do not let the election market's current state keep you from voting. It ain't over 'til it's over.
2. I briefly toyed with the idea of headlining this post, "Obama? You Bet!". You're welcome.

Don't Be An *sshole.

If you're not already registered, register to vote. Soon.

And, check out

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Like Hope, But Different."

It seems Will.I.Am may have copped the idea for "Yes We Can" from John.He.Is.

Connecting The Pieces Of My Digital Life

New, over there on the left – between "Fresh Tweets" and "Feed Reading" – is a slideshow of pics (many of which have also been included in a tweet) direct from my iPhone. I've only just begun this direct shooting and sharing, so it's a short slideshow at the moment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"You might never look at toothpaste the same way again"

So, just as Hirst's haul was causing me to reflect on choices made, acknowledge the negligence with which I've nurtured my "Art" and lament the lack of any real "new ideas" with which to make one's artistic mark, I saw the above image. New York-based artist Erik Boker has taken scalpel to tube, pinned the "skin" back and exposed the innards – the guts, if you will – of toothpaste brands. Part of his "Product Dissections" series I found the images striking, inspiring and... "new". My faith in the potential of Big-A Art restored for the time being.

At top: Aquafresh Extreme Clean Empowermint – 2008
Headline from: Creativity, Peeling Back The Product; Sept. 16, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

There's Something Happening Here...

What it is ain't exactly clear.

There's a weird ebbing (I wouldn't call it a turning... yet) of the tide by some fairly staunch messengers of the Right. First, O'Reilly acknowledges that Obama had not been suggesting that Palin was the lipsticked pig. Then Rove says McCain "went too far" in his ads. And now, one of Fox's hounds, Megyn Kelly gives McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds the Campbell Brown treatment. There's a distinct possibility that it's just my political naïvete, and lack of first-hand familiarity with the day to day reporting of Fox, – and a couple of instances do not make a trend – but it seem like these two instances are not even remotely in the Fox playbook of the past eight years.

And then there's this:

Sarah Palin? Ludacris.

I know that earlier this year Ludacris had crafted a cut for Obama – the lyrics of which were denounced by the Obama camp – but, while reading an NYT piece on Sarah Palin I found myself rapping (on my "inside" mic) what may be a more appropriate Ludacris track given the current state of the campaign.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


One of my favorite authors, the brilliant David Foster Wallace, committed suicide on Friday night.

While his fiction could be undeniably challenging, I always found it well-worth the effort. I genuinely felt in the presence of greatness during my first read (and trial by fire introduction to Wallace) of Infinite Jest. It was sort of like running a literary triathlon for which, at times, I wasn't sure I had trained hard enough or well enough. It was often like watching daredevil linguistic acrobatics – amazed and thinking, "I can't believe he just did that!". And I was hooked. I became a DFW junkie and I think I've read just about everything he's published before or since. And I guess that's now all of it. Bummer...

Anyway, just know that it's a great loss to literature.

If you're at all interested in reading some of his work, I can't imagine a better place to start given the imminent election than with his book McCain's Promise, the expanded version of his essay covering McCain's 2000 bid for the presidency for Rolling Stone.

The WSJ had just talked with DFW at the end of May about the McCain essay.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Let There Be Barack!

From Maryland-based designer, El Jefe. Arguably not as "artful" as Shepard Fairey's contributions to the Obama effort, but certainly funnier. The inspiration for the homage. And also here.

Cheap Labor From South Of The Border

Guatemala to be exact. London group, the Wave Pictures hired a Guatemalan commercial director to go out on the street and film locals lip-synching to their mellifluous ditty, Just Like A Drummer. Ironically, there is not a single drummer featured.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Dirty Little (Political) Secret

I've never voted in a presidential election.

I'm not even sure if I've ever registered to vote. But, I did tonight.

After the past eight years I'm thoroughly dismayed at my negligence in the last two elections. In hindsight, it's clear that my complacency (and lack of respect) was inexcusable. Won't happen again.

Anyway, if you aren't registered yet, I encourage you to get registered. I registered online at It's exceptionally user-friendly — you fill out a few simple screens, download a PDF, sign it and mail it.

Photo: Getty Images

A Lighter Shade Of A Darker Shade of Palin

Jon Stewart to the rescue!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tout de Tweet

As one with a recently renewed enthusiasm for the micro-blogging service, Twitter, I found the above video a brilliant explanation of the service*.

Since becoming more engaged with Twitter, I've gained a deeper understanding of its power and value. Its potential is much greater than what is implied by the service's simple premise of answering the question, "What are you doing?". I've been seeking out, and selectively following, a variety of Twitterers. Since signing up, I've used Twitter to get "up to the minute" tweets from NPR during the DNC and from a New Orleans resident tweeting in the middle of Gustav.

And, I've found that a tweet's 140-character limit (in the right hands) is able to convey volumes (or a least paragraphs). I was having an email(!) conversation with someone this weekend and suggested it would be a dialogue better suited to Twitter and was told by the other party – who shall remain unnamed – that the character limit imposed by Twitter might hamper nuance, complexity, cleverness to which I emailed him my favorite – and immensely clever – tweet by a now anonymous Twitterer:

I like that Twitter's 140-character limits encourages eloquence —brevity is the soul of wit, after all— but too often it also prevents me fr

I encourage my readers – particularly the skeptics – to give it a try. Tweet me when you do.

*The video is by Common Craft makers of surprisingly effective "short and simple videos" that "make complex ideas easy to understand".

Monday, August 25, 2008

End of Summer Blowout!

I've been doing a little housekeeping here at WTF that reflects my renewed engagement in all things Web (and in preparation to blog our Tokyo trip!).

Most of the action continues to be over there in the left column.

On Friday, I added my tweet feed.

And, today, I've made a couple of changes:

I removed the Hype Machine widget on the left (though I encourage you to visit yourself for the latest in blog buzz music).

In the vacant real estate over there, I've moved in my "shared items" widget from my Google Reader. It displays the last five items I've selected to share from the dozen or so feeds I read each day with a link at the bottom to all my shared feed items. Check it out, I think you'll find it (like the tweets) a engaging complement to WTF*.

*Or, you may end up agreeing with the dude on the right up there.
Cartoon ©Hugh MacLeod.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Free Samples!

Not exactly free but, as is becoming a trend in online music pricing, you do get to name your price.

If you're a fan of bootleg/mashup/bastard pop, I can't recommend enough Girl Talk's new one – Feed The Animals. It's exquisitely crafted sampladelic anarchy. Give it a spin and see if you can identify the source material as it goes flying by in an almost hour-long non-stop ecstatically schizophrenic collage (though contemporary rap is heavily represented, the samples are pulled from multiple genres and eras, so everyone can play!).

It's available now for download, or you can wait until its analog release in September.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Tweetin' Lowdown

So almost two years ago, I was almost an early adopter of the micro-blogging service, Twitter. But somehow it didn't take. Now, for a variety of reasons – both personal and professional – I've decided to go back and try to get my tweet on. As with WTF, I anticipate setting an early enthusiastic tempo leveling off over time to an irregular murmur. And, I apologize in advance as you'll likely be exposed to the mundane minutia of my life.

As with all things widgety at WTF, my Twitter widget – Fresh Tweets – is over there on the left if you'd like to follow from here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Learning Japanese, I Think We're Learning Japanese...

I really think so.

NOTE/WARNING: Some may find the above video offensive – you may want to put on headphones. Particularly if you're at work. While the WTF does not endorse bad stuff – like hate, or evil, or lime deposits on tile, or transfat – we found the above video f*cking tear-inducingly hilarious in 2000 and though we've matured somewhat over the intervening years, we still find it pretty d*mn f*cking funny in 2008. We apologize in perpetuity for any sensibilities which may be offended or simply put out.

Hol and I are two days into our RosettaStone Japanese 1 course. We're sure not to go thirsty – as I can now say (as opposed to ask for which I'm sure has got be in the lesson plan) water, coffee, juice, and tea. And, I can get us a piece of bread and a newspaper. So, we've got that going for us. Oh, and if we need to swim, cook or run we're covered as well.

[A video FYI for anyone on whom the reference in the headline to this post was lost... or, anyone who'd simply like to briefly revisit 1980.]

Oily And Repulsive (But Also Kind Of Attractive)

"Ferrofluid" art from From Tokyo-based artist and professor, Sachiko Kodama.
"...electromagnets and magnetically-charged microfine particles suspended in oil set in motion through a computer controller..."

And then there's this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Process – or – Clients, Can't Live With 'Em, Can't Call 'Em Morons and Tell 'Em to F*ck Off

This is alarmingly close to the realities of my professional life.

N.B.: The "'em" in the title of this post refers to some – not all – clients. There are exceptions to every rule.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Niki de St. Phalle

A couple of weekends ago, Hol and I went to the Niki show at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I've been meaning to post a gallery of the photos we took. And, finally, here it is.

My previous exposure to Niki de St. Phalle's work had been Stravinsky Fountain at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the pieces at St. Louis' own Laumeier Sculpture Park (one acquired and another two on loan for a number of years that happened to be in the MoBoGa show). I've been thoroughly enamored of that work I'd been familiar with but none of it prepared me for how absolutely astonishing a collection of this magnitude was.

If you're in or near St. Louis before October 31, I highly recommend you go.

Image: La Poète et sa muse

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Persistence of Television

Salvado Dali's very amusing 1952 appearance on What's My Line?.

Via VSL.

[The headline of this post is, of course, a (clumsy) play on the title of what is arguably Dalí's most recognizable work, The Persistence of Memory. – Ed.]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"So good, so far?"

About midway through our CHI weekend our very friendly and attentive ESL waitress at Puck's in the MCA uttered the headline of this post. And indeed the weekend had been so good, so far. The Seed Conference was thought-provoking and inspirational. The Koons show we had just taken in was fantastic and extraordinary.

I'd only ramble if I started a post about Seed (the speakers provided sooo much to think about) , but I will give you this: if you're interested in wine and/or the power of self branding you need to check out Gary Vaynerchuk and his Wine Library TV. He was unexpected, impassioned and hilarious and possibly the high point of the conference.

Also of note, was the truly remarkable dinner we had at Japonais on Thursday night.

There was one clear highlight however. It was when our Puck's waitress asked us at toward the end of our lunch, "Did you make room for lunch dessert?" If you don't think that's hilarious – we did – I can't help you. [Of course, it would help if I told the story right. – Ed.]

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Chicago Two

We're headed to CHI today for a long weekend. Though I don't think we'll be inciting any riots.

I decided a month or two ago to attend the third annual Seed Conference – a "one day conference on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration" – featuring some speakers whose work I've been a fan of for quite some time – particularly Carlos Segura, founder of pioneering digital type foundry T.26 and Jim Coudal, founder of creatively inspiring Coudal Partners. I was sold when I read the following:
You should attend if you’re a designer (print, web or video) or a business-minded soul who is looking to take creative ideas and turn them into something SATISFYING & BANKABLE.

So, that's my Friday. Hol will be having a "spa day" at either exhale or the spa at our hotel, the James. She's been poring over the offerings of each for days.

Saturday, we're heading to the Jeff Koons show at the MCA. [Thx for the heads up dad!]

And, if I know us, we'll probably squeeze in a little shopping around all that. And, I may post updates during the weekend, but I can't say for sure.

Note: The image you may recognize as Bonnie and Clyde – who, as far as I can tell didn't operate much, if at all, in Chicago.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Konichiwa Bitches!

In October it will be, "Sayonara bitches."

Had to post that Hol and I will be heading to Tokyo for 8 days – a lifelong dream of mine.
So get ready for another day-by-day WTF travelogue.

And, of course, I'd be remiss not to link this.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Examined Life

"Yesterday I came across a slightly mysterious website — a collection of Polaroids, one per day, from March 31, 1979 through October 25, 1997. There’s no author listed, no contact info, and no other indication as to where these came from. So, naturally, I started looking through the photos. I was stunned by what I found."

Sound interesting? It is. One Polaroid a day every day for eighteen years.

If you want a synopsis of what the above poster discovered in looking through those eighteen years' worth of photos you can read the rest of the above post from mental_floss.

Or just head straight to the site and discover for yourself. But I highly recommend you go through the whole collection in chronological order – though not necessarily in one sitting.

BTW: Almost forgot. Polaroid announced on February 8, 2008 that they are ceasing production of Polaroid film. So, if you want future generations to know what all the fuss [You'll have to click the preceding link – it won't allow embeding. – Ed.] was about – stock up or join the effort to save the format.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's Not Rocket Surgery

It's brain science.
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

Watch her extraordinary and moving talk at TED, "inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers".

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Story Time

We Tell Stories from the UK division of publisher Penguin consists of six explorations of how to tell a (short) story online with varying degrees of interaction.

One of my favorites – though probably one of the least interactive and the least "story" like – is Hard Times – a sort of "State of the Union" told through facts and figures compiled by Matt Mason and impeccably designed by dataphiliac, Nicholas Feltron. I'm not sure that Feltron needed Mason – his "annual reports" are nothing short of mesmerizing in his quantifying and documenting his past year. Check out the 2007 Feltron Annual Report.

However, for a genuinely innovative use of Web tech to tell a story Charles Cumming's may be the best. The 21 Steps' clever use of Google Maps makes for an engaging read.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Designer" Drugs

Creative direct your own pharma ad for your drug here.
From Philly agency Holton Sentivan + Gury.

Ghost In The Piscine

Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and indie label Ghostly International have teamed up to offer a great 19-track sampler, Ghostly Swim, of downtempo indie electronic stuff. Preview below.

[I removed the embedded player because I hate when I go to a site and music immediately starts blasting. But, do go check it out at their site (where the music does indeed start playing) – I just won't do that to you here. – Ed.]