Halloween doesn't mean much to me since I'm neither a child (arguable in some eyes) or a parent. I've attended Halloween parties in recent years but it was merely to watch drunk people stumble around in silly costumes. Its expecially entertaining when you see coworkers acting foolish. Alas, my new department is a bit older and they're all leaving work early to chaperon their kids for trick or treating. I probably won't be seeing any of them vomiting on their slutty witch costume.
As for the kids, they gotta earn their candy. I'm not asking for extravagant costumes - creativity doesn't require a crazy budget - but make an effort. If I had my way, I'd ration out candy depending on the wow factor of the costume. But I guess its hard to be judgmental on the little kids. Maybe I'll save my Simon Cowell-ish comments for older kids. And should there be an age limit? I remember living in philly and seeing kids with 5 0'clock shadows running around without a costume asking people to fill their ratty plastic bags with candy. Are you trick or treating or mugging?
Lisa Rienermann recreates the alphabet by photographing buildings upward against the sky.
My aunt passed away in a car accident last Wednesday. She was a strong woman. A religious woman. Above all, a woman who made sure every member of our large family felt loved. Her charming smile was contagious and her charisma exuded a loving warmth that gathered any family get together into one massive bear hug. It went without saying that my aunt had assumed the title of matriarch of the family after my Lola died. She took charge of the grandchildren and made sure everyone was well fed and in good spirits.
She was the first to call me to inquire about my wife's family upon hearing news of earthquakes in Japan. She never missed a birthday or anniversary. Who could forget her catchphrase, "God Bless America!" God bless my Tita Lita.
Last Sunday, we drove down to the shore and didn't catch a glimpse of the ocean. Nope, we were in Atlantic City to shop, gamble and sample the Borgata buffet. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is the most Vegas-like resort in AC. There's plenty of high-end gourmet food but we walked past all of those establishments to hit the buffet.
In my college days I used to frequent buffets - chinese buffets, old country buffets and all sorts of questionable buffets. It served a purpose when running on an empty stomach and an empty wallet. I used to stack an impressive pile of empty plates in one sitting. However my affinity for buffets evaporated when a number of events alerted my germaphobic sensibilities. I witnessed an unsupervised kid putting his mouth on the ice cream machine nozzle at a shady joint. Then he proceeded to stick his grubby little hands into one of the food trays. I put myself on official hiatus.
But during my last trip to Vegas, I rediscovered buffets. Of course we were more selective and sampled only the best gourmet buffets with an international spread. At Bellagio, my cousin and I went around the world several times until our stomachs quit.
So here we are at the Borgata. I put in a very disappointing performance! I could only put away one entree plate and one dessert plate! Sure, my 2 plates were stacked with steak, bacon, fried chicken, scrambled eggs, eggs benedict and pasta...plus 3 cakes and a gelato...but it was not up to my usual standards. My wife told me that my first plate was too heavy and that I needed to pace myself with a sensible progression of food. That was never a problem in my youth! Maybe its age. I'm a veteran past my buffet eating prime. Or maybe my tummy's been trained by my wife to eat lighter and healthier foods and it can't stomach such a greasy onslaught. Of course she smiled at my disappointment while pecking away at her smoked salmon and salad.
This illustration by Sao Paulo artist Bruno Dicolla caught my eye. The sea looks like a kids' ball pit. Makes me feel like going to Ikea and jumping in their ball pit. Then work up an appetite to eat their Swedish meatballs. I always wonder if people go there just to eat. I always tease my wife that we should do date night at the IKEA cafeteria.
Wu-Tang Clan feat. Erykah Badu | The Heart Gently Weeps
Supposedly the first ever cleared Beatles sample. Featuring guitarwork by Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison).
The internet has made it easier for my wife to reconnect with her homeland. She can watch all kinds of Japanese TV and I dig in the virtual crates for j-pop and j-hiphop to create soundtracks for her daily commute. m-flo is one of my brother-in law's favorite japanese groups. The group is fronted by rapper Verbal (also member of the Teriyaki Boyz) who is actually of Korean descent and has a theology degree from Boston College.
m-flo | Summer Time Love
m-flo feat. Koda Kumi | Simple & Lovely
Utada Hikaru is one of the most successful artists in Japanese music history. The New York born singer is probably the most credible and least manufactured artist in the J-pop scene. She also has a record deal with Island Def Jam and is reportedly working on her 2nd American album.
Utada Hikaru | Flavor of Life (antidote mix)
Utada Hikaru | Beautiful World
Oh and she's great at Tetris:
Interesting story on Nigo in Conde Naste. He's an intriguing character. I saw him DJing the Teriyaki Boyz performance last month in NYC. He's 35 but he looks like a little kid (toss Pharell in the same boat) Small stature, big cartoony clothes and over the top bling. Not the most skilled DJ and not much charisma. But he got the loudest cheers from the crowd just because he is Nigo - General of the Bape movement. This article paints his personality as fitting the image. I always wonder about people who obsessively collect anything. I admire their focus and attention to detail but is there something missing inside that compels them to collect?
According to Nigo, A Bathing Ape is short for a Japanese saying "a bathing ape in lukewarm water." It's a reference to the young generation being spoiled, pampered and too complacent.
The fashion world is fickle and longevity is rare - especially for a street brand. Right now Bape is walking the tight rope - clinging to its exclusivity while watching its popularity blow up worldwide. I've been to his store in NYC and it is crazy. A little too cartoony for me and way overpriced but I have to respect his hustle. I would rather not see Bape overexposed but it might be too late with every cookie-cutter rapper getting Baped out. Loved Hiroshi Fujiwara's (the Godfather of the Japanese streetwear explosion) quote, “I just wonder how he feels when he sees ugly people wearing his clothes. If you go to the countryside in America and people are wearing Bathing Ape, that’s not very cool.”
The Chimpan News Channel (a Japanese animal news show hosted by Chimpanzee Gomez Chamberlain) did a parody on Sasuke (Ninja Warrior on the U.S. channel G4) called "Saruke". Gomez competed and defeated 2 of 3 human competitors.
Cool work from Chuck Anderson for a variety of clients including Nike, Puma, ESPN, Fall Out Boy and Lupe Fiasco. Great colors and energy.
Cool interview of Shepard Fairey by Cool Hunting. He is the man behind the Obey Andre the Giant Campaign as is regarded as one of the "godfathers" of the modern urban art scene. The street artist has now hit the galleries with a show called nineteeneightyfouria.
I haven't watched MTV for years - only because its so aggravatingly juvenile. Yes I'm showing my age - but I have no interest in watching spoiled "sweet" sixteeners or clueless california socialite wannabes. At the same time, I'm not one of those old fogeys that pine for the good old days when MTV showed videos. Yo! MTV Raps, the first Real Worlds and music videos were good for my time. Times have changed. Its a different world. © Denise Huxtable.
Nevertheless, I am embarrassed to say that I tuned in to watch Pageant Place. Its not even a guilty pleasure..its just sillyness. Donald Trump's concept is to capitalize on Tara Connor's (last year's Miss USA) drug fiasco/publicity stunt and capture more attention for his Miss Universe franchise. The show shacks up Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe into one apartment and follows their "adventures". The predictable attempt at a dramatic twist is unveiled in the first episode when Tara is brought on to chaperon the pageant girls around the country. A turf war develops between last year's rehabbed Miss USA and the current Miss USA. Not to mention Miss Teen USA was the one who snitched on Tara's white lined escapades.
Lost in all this drama was the reason why I tuned in. I wanted to see how Miss Universe - Riyo Mori represented herself in the show. They spent 5 seconds on her arrival from Japan. Unfortunately for the rest of the show, she was on the sidelines merely reacting to the orchestrated hot mess involving the white American chicks. Hopefully they throw her a bone and let her star in one of the episodes. She seems to have an interesting background.
Great concept - get a mob of people to rush an individual and see the reaction.
This post continues the theme from my last Bertucci experience - funny ignorant people. Fridays are usually celebrated in my department with a long lunch out on the town. Yesterday, we drove out to Cathy's, (their website is a prime example of obnoxiously gratuitous use of flash) a catering place tucked away in a small South Jersey town called Cinnaminson.
The seating area was filled with elderly white people for some reason. We wait for a table. Old people check us out and a few of their eyes fixate on me - and not in a lovingly way. I scan the room and calculate that I'm the only person of color in the joint...which reminds me that I'm the only person of color in my entourage and the only person of color in my department ... which explains why I'm attracting curious stares in a joint that I would never have picked on my own.
So we finally sit down and conversate. I turn my head and catch this old man in a sweatshirt that says "#1 Grandpa" blatantly staring at me for an eternity with his gourmet sandwich stuck in his hand. I look around to check if there's anything else visually compelling around me...but no, just me. I'm yelling in my head (like Elaine stuck in the subway train in that Seinfeld episode), "F*ck you lookin' at? You never seen my kind before? Bring the sandwich up to your mouth and chew, #1 Grandpa!" I almost laughed looking at him. Pure comedy.
Obviously this isn't blatant case of racism. There were no nooses, confederate flags or racial epithets thrown around. And again these situations are nothing new to me. But its enough to remind me that white people will never understand how it feels to be singled out and stared at in a funny way. They can walk around almost anywhere and be carefree. When I was younger, I would get anxious about these situations. But now the humor of it all is almost empowering. So, I returned to the conversation at my table where my coworkers were blissfully complaining about their comfortably wonderful lives. In case you were wondering, the sandwiches were delcious!
Talib Kweli | Keep It In The Pocket
NaS | Surviving The Times
Jay-Z | Roc Boys
Kanye West feat. Dwele | Flashing Lights
This is a cool right brain/left brain test.
I started seeing her spin clockwise - which makes me more right brain oriented. But then I saw her spin counter-clockwise in my peripheral vision.
This is a cool promotion (for TF heads) for the Transformers movie on DVD.
Send a message to a fellow TF head from Optimus Prime.
Eco-friendly Toyota RiN featuring green tinted glass and "mood training" steering control system that monitors the driver's psychological state.
Honda PUYO fuel-cell vehicle.
Electric powered Nissan Pivo has four wheel units that turn 90 degrees to move the car in any direction.
The Simpsons have been running so long that it reminds me of my youth. This pic takes me back. Remember when the Simpsons were just a short segment on the Tracy Ullman show?
Great work by Matthew Curry at Ninja Cruise.
Last Saturday we decided to have dinner at a Bertucci's and received a friendly reminder of how South Jersey can be so white.
As we drove into the parking lot, the restaurant appeared fairly crowded. I thought about turning away but my stomach was in the mood for some chain restaurant italian food. We parked about 100 meters from the entrance and noticed a large caucasian family (2 parents, 2 grandparents and 4 teenage kids) waiting outside.
This outdoor waiting area features a walkway flanked by two large benches occupied by the family. They are busily chattering away with multiple conversations going on simultaneously. A fairly lively bunch. But as we enter their immediate vicinity, the chattering immediately stops. An uncomfortable stillness freezes the air as we step through the walkway between them. I feel eyes on us and I'm not the overly sensitive type. In fact, I take my eyes off the entrance door and look at each person. Some of the kids drop their eyes to the ground while the adults remained fixed on us. Hmm there's no dirt or leftover food on my face. I'm dressed cooler than they are but my fashion wasn't outlandish or threatening. Ahh shucks must be that minority thing again.
I'm tempted to pull a '94 era Tupac when he defiantly strutted out the courtroom like George Jefferson. But I simply grin in their direction with a bounce in my step. These types of situations are not new to us but its never comforting to feel like an alien in your own town. On the other hand, its empowering to have the ability to silence a group of people.
I ask my wife if we time-traveled back to the 50's or somehow transported ourselves to the deep South. Then we entered the doors and overlooked a sea of caucasians. I never remembered this Bertucci's being so white before. Must be a promotional family night.
Adrian Tomine is a 4th generation Japanese American illustrator, whose work can be found in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and other big time pubs. His latest graphic novel "Shortcomings" explores Asian American identity. More excerpts here.
Is it really October? Its feeling more like June outside. Had to dip back into the summer wardrobe just as I was pushing it to the back of the closet. Gotta love that global warming!
Alice Smith | Dream
Kevin Michael feat. Lupe Fiasco | We All Want The Same Thing
Mutya Buena | Just a Little Bit
Mary J. Blige | Just Fine
Cassie | Turn The Lights Off
Congrats to Hung for winning Top Chef! The judges made the finale closer than it appeared. Casey has a good flavor palate but her culinary skills are average. I give her props in winning challenges in the latter part of the season to overcome her eye-candy status. But she was clearly flustered in the finale. Dale's work was uneven - brilliant and horrible on the same night. I was pulling for Hung all season long and he was clearly technically superior to the other contestants.
Cute and clever ads from the Toronto Humane Society.
I haven't been in a record store or purchased music in years but I always appreciate vinyl/cd packaging. Especially since I used to design a whole bunch of them. Sleevage is a cool blog about music cover art. Archives of classic album design and current work.
Philly has joined a number of other cities in pushing for a ban of plastic bags from grocery stores. S.F. made the move in March and its about time that this country shows some concern about planet earth. Even though the bill hasn't officially passed in Philly, many environmentally conscious stores are already moving in this direction.
As for me, old habits die hard. A couple days ago I waited in the express line at Whole Foods, paid the bill and got my change. The cashier then stood still - staring beyond me - apparently waiting for me to move on as my food items sat in front of her. I stared at her for a 20 seconds until her eyes returned to me. She then asked politely, "Would you like a bag?". I shot back, "Umm...yeah that would be nice."
My wife nudged me and pointed down at the reusable Whole Food cloth bags being sold at the checkout line racks. Finally I saw the light. Oh, damn the cashier's passive-aggressively (in a not-so passive way) pressuring me to bring my own bag next time! My eyes dart around catching people toting their reusable bags past the BYOB sign. Oh they mean bags not beer! I felt like an elderly man trying learn technology - except we're talking biodegradable bags. I knew the plastic bag ban was under consideration but I never felt the push as hard as this. But again its Whole Foods. And its for the better.
Of course my wife, who frequents grocery stores more than me - is ahead of the curve. Her native Japan demands that people separate their garbage by material. They even rip off paper labels off glass containers. Wow that's a lot of work!
- new jersey, USA
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