Thursday, April 23, 2009

maybe pomegranate is passé by now

But this still caught my eye:

Pretty, eh? (Besides the resolution. Sorry. Cameraphone.)

It's really too bad I didn't decide to splurge on a bottle, because when I got to the checkout line the store's computers were down, and though I thought we were just going to wait a few minutes until they were back up, shortly thereafter the clerks started bagging groceries and sending us off, "whole paycheck" intact.

Of course, this happened on the day I got totally boring stuff like onions and potatoes and cheap generic cereal, the only day I didn't have a single excessive item in my basket. Not that I'm complaining. Just observing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

cello + macbook = awesome

You know how I obsess over podcasts?

Right. Well, lately I've become infatuated with Radiolab. I really don't want to kill its magic with an inferior description, so I will only say that it is acoustically self-conscious (in a good way) and always fascinating.

My purpose here is not so much to tout the wonders of Radiolab, though; rather, I mention it because it's where I heard this stunning music by Zoë Keating. She calls it "layered cello." Listen to the show here (sorry, I tried to embed the Flash player, but Blogger wouldn't have it).

And here's a cool video of the artist doing her thing:

Learn more about Zoë Keating and her music at her website.

Friday, April 17, 2009

when negative space is poetic

Sharpie-wielding cartoonist, writer, designer, and poetry revelator Austin Kleon has been on my radar for several months now. His style is to me one of raw vibrance, at times venturing into tidy chaos. His work conveys a sense of immediacy and of calm nonchalance, which together suggest that making art for this artist is as natural and essential as breathing. It reminds me that we are all artists with the capacity to create; sometimes it just takes a bit of extra effort to discover what one's inner artist wants to create, and what language it will use.

Look past the illusion of empty simplicity in Austin Kleon's drawings, and then among what appears to be clutter—but turns out to be mostly pure energy—you'll see that he's included exactly the right number of details. 

Take, for instance, this sketch of Andrew Bird's stage setup at an Austin City Limits taping last month. 

by Austin Kleon (Licensed under Creative Commons. image source)

Black lines on off-white paper. Stage rim. Speakers, amps, microphones. Drumset. Keyboard. Lighting equipment and a twirly-swirly backdrop. Yet amid the typical items, the merely structural and the exuberantly expressive penstrokes, you'll see two important things: the iconic tape-looping double-phonograph turntable (I don't really know what to call that thing but it screams Andrew Bird) and what's that? yes, the sock monkey tour companion. How can you not love that?

As a side project, the Austin-based artist (yes, that's right. kind of like if I lived in Davis) started carving poems from newspaper articles with a black Sharpie marker. His Newspaper Blackout Poems caught the eye of the press (there's something charmingly meta about that) and took off. I won't rattle off the list of media mentions here, but suffice it to say that they're big. Oh, and HarperCollins is publishing a book of them, slated for release early next year. 

You may know that April is National Poetry Month.

What you may not know is that April is also International Newspaper Blackout Poetry Month.

I finally got around to trying my hand at it. I foresee more experimenting (and maybe posting) in the future; for now, here are a couple of the initial results. They don't really make sense, and my Sharpie gave up the ghost halfway through the second blackout, so it ended up as a mixed media piece. Anyway, I hope that they inspire you, in the way that they make you say, 'Hey, I could do better than that.' And then you do.

If you want to see good Newspaper Blackout Poems, check out Austin Kleon's blog. He's posting a poem every day for the entire month of April. 

And don't be afraid to unleash a black marker on a page from your local paper. If you live near a certain private university at the foot of a certain mountain range in a certain western state that on a map appears to be about to chow down on the unsuspecting state immediately to the northeast, please, get a copy of the school paper and go to it. I don't know how you can pass up that potential on the page of Letters to the Editor. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

some really awesome things also have great parody potential...

...and vice versa.

Case in point:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

all-natural watercolors

in progress:



Cruz de Malta yerba mate
Mighty Leaf organic Spring Jasmine green tea
black bean juice (water used for cooking them)

play me a pretty song

Why can't the cafés around here pipe in some decent music?

Yesterday the soundtrack at the CoHo included a horribly out of tune and otherwise incompetent rendition of "More Than Words," a B-grade techno remix of "Forever Young," and other such bowling-alley-bad numbers.

This evening the selection at the University Café was smooth-jazz-tastic. Monotonous and wimpy-saxophonous.

I don't get it. I mean, If I worked at one of these establishments and were therefore forced to stay inside its walls for several hours at a time, I would most certainly be proactive in selecting the music that would fill that space while I shared it. After all, 'whistle while you work' can only go so far. Beyond that you need good music. As do your customers. Who does the DJ-ing at these places?

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Or have I just been unlucky lately?

And an open question: what music would you play in your café?

(Suddenly I miss Guru's. Provo flashbacks are always so odd and unexpected.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

and neon magenta

I finally got around to filing my taxes last night. Wait, did I say finally? Hey, it was barely even the 14th when I got that e-submission confirmation. This is cause for celebration.

Ah, the internet. Helping me to get away with procrastination. And to feel good about myself when I beat a deadline by one day.

Speaking of celebration, though, it looks like I'm in line for a hefty refund from the United States Treasury and the State of California.

Suddenly the $600 price tag on this hot little number doesn't look too bad:

Monday, April 6, 2009

a, b, c, teeheehee

Preface: it's two in the morning, I'm pretty much swimming in yerba mate, and for the last three and a half hours my ears have been bombarded by the very noisy noise of powerwashing coming from the multi-level parking garage behind my house. 

Now then, onto this video that I found extremely amusing. James Earl Jones, take it away:

(via swissmiss)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

hey singles, tired of the bar scene?

Have you considered the laundromat as an alternative?

I just had to share today's Engrish posting because it reminded me of lanudary. Brings a whole new meaning to that made-up word (which I still occasionally see in apartment listings, by the way).