Went down to the village and unknowingly walked into orientation weekend for NYU undergrads. We had a nice chuckle dodging herds of wide-eyed kids roaming the streets and dragging their beleaguered parents in tow. Even more humorous to me were the 80's babies. Kids (many who weren't even born in the 80's) dressing 80's hiphop - skinny sagging jeans with obnoxious colors. Credit (or blame) the Retro Kidz or Kanye.
Hair has been a humorously thorny issue with my wife. Over the years, she has desperately asked me on numerous occasions to grow my hair. I've teased her with unkept promises and failed attempts and for the most part, I have stubbornly worn it short in a variety of fades, caesars and baldies. Lately, I've shaved my head to a stubble and maintained it weekly. What can I say? Low maintenance is a plus. A fresh cut makes me feel renewed.
My wife has stated that her dying wish would be to see me with longer hair. She shows me pictures of Japanese male celebrities (like this SMAP dude) with teased, dyed and permed out hair. A little too pretty boy for me. But I have tried to grow it out in some other fashion, only to fail in the awkwardly fuzzy growing out stage.
So I've decided to document my latest attempt on this blog (maybe it'll help me stay vigilant) and see how long I can hold out. So far, I'm on Day #25 since my last baldy cut. It doesn't seem like a long time... but for me, its an eternity. My current strategy is to wear lots of hats until I can take it to a professional. Wish me luck!
Bourdain's more entertaining to me, but Zimmern's a good sport if not a little too earnest.
Lightning electrified the sky as we drove back to my parents house. My stomach was full of Bonefish's shrimps n' scallops and my senses were drowsy. Drowsy until we reached the top of the driveway, where we found the front door completely wide open. My wife suggested that we alert the police in case of a possible intruder. But my father and I assumed safety in our isolated residence and walk straight in. No foul play...but where's the cat?!
Our hopelessly domesticated cat wouldn't dare go outside on a stormy night right? We check each room and find nothing. Uh-oh. I reassure my wife that he is skilled at hiding. I grab his dinner plate and tap the sides to bring him out of hiding. No luck.
We begin to turn our attention outside. We grab flashlights and survey the vast real estate surrounding the house. Lightning continues to flash above, dropping steady rain as we expand the parameters of our search area. My wife is in denial as we call out his name. After 20 minutes, we head to the backyard. My wife scans the fenced area behind the bedrooms with her flashlight and catches a split second reflection. We realize the sparkled reflection came from the eyes of our long lost cat. He was sitting as still as a statue. We shine the light back on him and he darts off towards the front yard. I give chase and finally corner him near the fence.
As I got closer, he growled and hissed in clear survival mode. His adventures in the wild (if you want to call maryland suburbia "wild") were so frightening that he even saw us as a threat. We called his name and offered our scent but he retreated in fear. I even asked him incredulously, "Don't you remember us?" No clear response except for more growling. Clearly rehashing our relationship wasn't going to work at that moment. Grabbing him wasn't an option either with his claws ready to swipe at us. So I ran into the house and grab his canned food. He showed cautious interest upon sniffing his usual Sophistacat entree. Encouraged, I use the food to slowly lead him back into the house. Once back in the house, he reverts to his soft ways and purrs for a feeding. I was relieved but more so impressed with how his behavior completely transformed once he walked back indoors.
I wish the lineup was a little more diverse musically (especially for the price of admission). Hopefully it will be organized better than the Japan Day event earlier this summer, which was overcrowded and underwhelming.
Here's breakbeat duo Hifana's performance from last year's festival.
One of this year's performers - Bapemeister Nigo's rap group:
Teriyaki Boyz | Tokyo Drift (Fast & Furious)
Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks just announced that they will support only HD DVD format and dump Blu-ray. Many insiders had thought Blu-ray (with backing from PS3 and Fox) was winning the format war until this announcement. Both will probably be rendered obsolete by online downloading anyway. Remind anyone of that VHS vs Beta war of the 80's?
Betamax was actually technically superior but lost the war because of marketing, licensing issues and tape length. While its quality was inferior, VHS marketed its longer tape lengths (3hrs vs Beta's 1hr) as the premier advantage in recording TV programs and movies. The VHS format was cheaper to manufacture and its backers moved faster to secure licenses and released more movies to capitalize on the rental tape boom. Beta moved too slowly on these fronts and conceded defeat in the late 80's.
So our household was left with piles of useless Beta tapes filled with sporting events, concerts, music videos and movies taped off of SuperTV (remember that bootleg form of cable TV?). Maybe experiences with Beta and SuperTV left my dad gunshy with trying new technology. When I helped him buy a new home computer a couple years ago, I suggested an iMac. But he was fearful that Macs would be obsolete and were only good for artists and teachers. This was in the middle of the iPod boom and Mac resurgence. It was '05 not '95. I relented and got him a serviceable PC ... at least I finally got him to use a digital camera last christmas!
I love seeing old and obsolete electronics and gadgets. Last year while cleaning out the house, I found the first cellphone that I ever used. So ancient and so cool! I would love to see an actual exhibit of old cellphones, VHS/Betamax players (top loading decks were charming), game systems, 8-track players etc. I've wasted way too much time on the internet looking up old technology like this.
Checked out the exhibits at the Chelsea Art Museum. Its a cool little gallery on the West Side that features alternative contemporary artwork. The glass staircased industrial interior and the artsy slacker staff created an appropriate backdrop.
Frederico Uribe's Human Nature (as I advertised in a previous post) was very imaginative in its use of sneaker materials. I enjoyed how some of the animals literally emerged from the canvas. My only complaint is that the space was too large for his work. The jungle theme surrounding his animals wasn't quite as effective with so much empty white wallspace and wooden floorspace. A more condensed exhibit space would have enhanced the overall feeling of entering a different world.
Perpetual Art Machine (PAM) was showcased on the same floor and featured video art from around the world. Lots of intriguing and ambiguous imagery. One installation sets up a massage or acupuncture scene but ends up with a someone's fingers continually rubbing the same spot on another person's back until it gets painfully redder. Another video piece featured a couple laying in bed staring off into space interspersed with brief clips of sexual intercourse. My favorite work was on a small screen and featured a choppy video of a nondescript dude in a suit jumping another guy in a public bathroom. Maybe I have the attention span of a 4 year old, but most of the work was fairly slow moving. Not really sure what to make of the message behind each piece...but it was interesting nonetheless.
2 floors featured the work of Kyoto based photographer Miwa Yanagi. Her work is strikingly vivid and orchestrates a surreal commentary on mainly female subject matter. Elevator Girls (department store guides and greeters) offers a visual critique on the roles of women in contemporary Japanese society.
Grandmothers series was based on her discussions with young women about how they envisioned themselves as elderly women. The young women were then placed in makeup to age their faces (intentionally obvious to the point where their faces looked like masks) and costumes to play out their vision. It was a little too theatrical for my wife, who prefers spontaneous slice of life photography. But I could appreciate the thoughtful generational concept and the detailed nature of each setup.
The Fairytales section featured black and white photos which dramatically re-interpreted female roles in children's fairytales. Overall it was a very thoughtful and well-executed exhibit.
I might have mentioned some curious customer service stories over the years including the restaurant cashier who compared me to the dalai lama and the tollbooth collector who touched my arm for the longest and most bewildering 10 seconds while wishing me well on my travels.
During a recent lunch hour, I ran over to Macy's to buy a gift for a friend. I found a nice shirt and asked a salesman to ring me up. He cordially smiled while escorting me to the register and gave the usual spiel about saving 10% with a Macy's card. I quickly but politely declined and asked for a gift receipt. He paused for a few seconds and blurted out, "You're not an undercover cop for Macy's are you?". (What the hell is a "Macy's undercover cop"?? and what is this dude smoking??) That was about the last thing I expected to hear from a middle-aged white man. I'd been suspected of being a thug in my youth by this type of guy... but now an undercover cop?! I must be stepping up my respectability game! My first instinct was to retort, "Why? Are you slipping dimebags in with the clothing?" But I considered his age and the seriousness of his tone and simply replied "Me? No, I'm not a cop. But what would an undercover look for here?" He mumbled something about procedures and asking the "right" questions. I was afraid to delve deeper so I grabbed my purchase and left him in his paranoia.
On my way to NYC today, I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts. I placed my order of one french cruller, 2 glazed donuts and asked the cheerful cashier of indian descent if they had any bowtie donuts. She replied with a straight face, "No bowties... but 2 glazed bowtie!" I failed to figure out what she meant and blurted out, "Huh?!" She repeated the same phrase in a serious manner, "No bowties...but 2 glazed bowtie!" I must have looked thoroughly confused, because she repeated it a 3rd time with a smile while feverishly making hand gestures to indicate that when 2 glazed donuts are stuck together, it looks like a bowtie. Finally, my slow ass (it was in the morning) realized her joke (albeit poorly executed) and cried, "Oh...I just got that!" She grins from ear to ear. I drop my change in the tip cup and exit. I get in the car and hungrily open up the paper bag. I look down and see the 2 glazed donuts smashed together to look like a bowtie.
Another strange exchange today involved a cab ride through midtown traffic to the ferry port. A kind natured (that's the strange part) NYC cabbie dished out one-liners, sang songs about getting to the hudson river and wondered aloud why cars in front of us in traffic weren't listening to his songs. So we banter back and forth because he's such a genuinely nice and funny guy. But here's the strangest part: he states that the traffic is "robbing us", stops his meter about 5 blocks before reaching our destination and subtracts one dollar off the final meter count. When I tell him to give me a certain amount of change to ensure his tip, he refuses and gives me the total amount back and drives off merrily.
Outkast | Spottieottiedogalicious
Get nike to release the 2015 kicks from back to the future ii.
Miles Davis feat. Nas | Freedom Jazz Dance
Talib Kweli | In The Mood
Talib Kweli feat. Justin Timberlake | The Nature
CRS (Child Rebel Soldiers: Lupe Fiasco. Kanye West, Pharrell) feat. Thom Yorke | Us Placers
Federico Uribe was commisioned by Puma to do an exhibit called Human Nature. All made up from sneakers and shoelaces.
Cool New York Times article (if you're into typography) on the evolution of interstate highway signage. The story details the history of font adjustments to increase legibility up until the eventual creation of the Clearview font.
M.I.A. | Jimmy
This Gondry/JackBlack/MosDef flick looks pretty funny.
Todd James is a NYC based artist & designer. Showcased his grafitti-influenced art in galleries around the world and has designed for nike, def jam, cartoon network and the beastie boys among others. Also created the world of Crank Yankers.
Cee-lo | Basehead Jazz
I gotta push myself to smell the roses during the workweek. I swear my vision is permanently pixelated. And I have to remind myself that "command-z" doesn't exist in real life. I don't have carpal tunnel but my right hand is in permanent "mousing" position. And I get handcramps and brainfarts after writing one sentence on a piece of paper. Technology and its wonders are so demanding that your brain can easily sleep on everything else. Ever feel numb or dumbed down from being plugged in all day and night? Hitting the gym is a great physical release but here's a 5-day brain workout courtesy of uk.askmen
Small change: Brush your teeth with your weaker hand.
On your break at work, step outside and find an object to focus on. Take a tree, for example; how many shades of color do you see? How many of these colors can you put a name to? Consider the kinds of associations or metaphors you can make out of it, such as a “family tree” or the “tree of life” found in many religions.
Small change: Spell long words backwards.
As different people speak to you throughout the day, cue in to the inflections they use to accent certain words or points. Listen to the words they’re stressing and ask yourself why these inflections are being used.
Small change: Ditch the calculator and do any and all computations in your head.
When getting out of bed or coming home from work, shut your eyes and feel your way around, relying only on the communication between your mind and your hands.
Small change: Shower/bathe in the dark.
Pick a recipe composed of mostly foreign ingredients and prepare it. Try choosing something that you’ve never tried but have always been curious about. Maybe you’ve never tried a curry dish, but the aroma has appealed to you.
Small change: Take a different route to work.
Pick any hour of the day and for that hour, keep a running count in your head of how many different odors and aromas you come across. Pay attention to the primary element in each, and your response to it.
Behance is a site that profiles successful creative types and is devoted to productive creativity and making ideas happen. On a recent post, they collaborated with 14 separate blogs and posted an interesting list of 100 Tips To Improve Your Life.
Found this on Silver Mac. As they observantly point out - notice the apple picture on the wall and the basket of apples/oranges on the kitchen counter.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings | 100 Days 100 Nights
Love her voice - soul personified. New album dropping in October.
Stephen Marley | Mind Control
Title track from the album I've been bumping all summer.
Common | Black Maybe
Congrats to Com for debuting at #1 on billboard.
Philly has over 2,700 murals - more than any other city in the world. The Mural Arts Program was started in 1984 in an effort to combat graffiti. Great source of urban pride and they truly make the drive through the city more enjoyable. Time Magazine devoted a photo gallery to the murals.
Outside the record store area. A few years ago, I did some street team work in this area promoting artwork for a painter friend. Ran in and out of all the record shops passing out postcards and mini-flyers. Everyone was real friendly and curious. Maybe because I was promoting an American artist, but generally all the shop owners and staff seemed artistically open-minded. Lots of rare vinyl too.
I became aware of the relatively recent Korean pop culture wave (Hallyu) in Asia when I first visited Japan 6 years ago. Idols from K-pop and the Korean dramas had already been growing in popularity. I found it interesting considering the history between the two countries. But I was more amused when my uncles recently began professing their love for Koreanovellas. They bring portable DVD players on their travels to keep up with the plots. And now there is a wave of excitement in the Philippines for a historical Korean drama "Jumong" that recently premiered on the GMA network. I'm sure I'll hear all about it from my relatives in our next get together. Will Hallyu make an impact with other Americans? That was up for discussion at Harvard last winter.
This looks like fun.
The World.Uniqlock campaign was launched a month ago (give me a late pass) to spread Uniqlo globally through music, dance and fashion. The site features dance movies and allows visitors to register their blog and add their clock. A map shows how many users have connected with the site. Cool stuff.
Also check out the Uniqlo Mixplay series. You can create some music by choosing from a selection of beats characterized by a figure wearing Uniqlo clothes and moving to their beat.
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