Picked up a pair of these anthracite Blazers with silver swoosh and red trim. A very clean design with a nice touch of reflective metallic.
...i don't know what to make of this video. Should I give it props for recognizing history or are these important events cheapened by being glossed-over backdrops to Beyonce's sister. Hmm..well the imagery is well done and she's not as annoying as her big sister...yet.
Boxing is a dying sport lacking superstar talents and personalities - especially in the headlining heavyweight division. Only a couple fighters have held my attention over the years and one of them is the pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao. Last night, he destroyed David Diaz with his trademark speed and power and ended the bout in a brutal KO. He claimed a title in his fifth different weight class and is pound for pound the #1 fighter in the world. Props to the thousands of Filipinos who packed the arena in Vegas.
Go see WALL-E! It is by far, the best flick I've seen this year (so far) and I'm not exaggerating one bit. It is simply THAT good.
Honestly I had no interest in watching this movie when I first saw the trailer. Hmm...a geeky robot love story? Seemed corny by all accounts. Wall-E was off my radar until with astonishment I discovered it receiving rare 90+% ratings on Metacritic and Rottentomatoes. So I felt compelled to see if it lived up to the critical acclaim. And it sure did.
I had no doubt that Pixar would create awesome imagery and the contrast of earth as a trash heap with the majestic scenery of outer space was a pure visual treat. In fact there is literally no dialog for the first 1/2 hour of the movie. Earth's abandonment and WALL-E's lonely situation as clean up bot is wonderfully communicated by physical action, expression and gesturing. Once EVE enters the picture, I was struck with how the creators crafted such a touching story about robots - specifically the relationship of WALL-E and EVE really tugs at your emotions. Unlike most "G" rated movies, the humor isn't too slapstick, juvenile or trite. There are few dumb one-liners and this complements a fairly sophisticated opening act chronicling their time on earth which climaxes to the discovery of the key to its revival. I wondered if kids would get bored with the buildup and general lack of goofiness (no panda or animals adopting obvious racial stereotypes here) but they get rewarded with an imaginative and fun journey through space.
Beyond the visuals, there is an underlying comment on how humans have mistreated the earth and how we have devolved into ignoring the environment around us. Thankfully, the writers don't lecture this point but it is incorporated within the framework of the story. Yes, this robot movie is emotionally moving, visually arresting, and socially conscious. A treat on all cinematic levels.
Video tour and history of Chinatown in Philly. My old stomping grounds when I was in college. I shared a townhouse apartment (3 floors and a basement) on 9th & Spring. Played pickup bball right across our place and attended a couple masses at Holy Redeemer on Vine st. Loved all the good cheap restaurants and their late night hours - which was especially convenient because I don't remember sleeping much back then. As a kid, there's nothing like walking around at 2am on the streets and grabbing a bite to eat.
Undrcrwn was recruited by Adidas to create t-shirt/jacket designs of the '08 NBA draft's top talents.
Dubai does it again. This proposed skyscraper can change shape - rotating like a rubix cube. Add this to crazy developments in Dubai including artificial islands shaped like the world and underwater hotels and a proposed space port.
ESPN takes a look back at Len Bias as a precursor to the upcoming NBA draft. Hard to believe its been 22 years since his shocking death. I grew up in Maryland but was much too young to realize the impact of his untimely passing.
Celebrated the first "official" weekend of summer with a trip down to Baltimore to see family. And what says summer in Maryland more than a good old crabfeast? Crab shell shrapnel flew around the table as we cracked and malleted open a couple dozen jumbo crabs at Bo Brooks in the Canton area. Get down and dirty in Old Bay seasoning - the experience is a great family/communal event!
Quick quiz on popular branding. I'm 18/20 on the smart marketing IQ quiz and 17/20 on the automotive branding. I swore the Pillsbury Doughboy was the name of that character!
The Namesake (2007) is a touching film chronicling the Indian immigrant experience of a married couple and their relationship with their American born children. First of all, its a story that speaks to me as a son of immigrant parents and secondly it stars Kal Penn of "Harold and Kumar" fame. He delivers a wonderfully dramatic performance although I had to laugh when his character experiments with weed during high school. Kumar came out for that brief moment. Nonetheless, he plays the complex character of Gogol Ganguli, an Indian-American who has issues with his name but is fairly self assured with his identity - aside from having issues with his own name (named after his father's favorite author - Nikolai Gogol). He rediscovers the importance of family after struggling with his parents' traditional ways and failed relationships with American and Indian women. Meanwhile his parents manage their reality of having their hearts tied to both their homeland and their new country in which their children are growing up in.
The cinematography is visually arresting in framing traditional Bengali culture in Calcutta and fusing it with contemporary New York City. The director Mira Nair comments that her vision is often influenced by photography from other artists and the DVD bonus features showcase some of these inspirational photos followed by the related scene from the film.
My only complaint is that it skips through some character progressions pretty quickly but its almost impossible to cram a complete story which spans 30+ years in one movie. The only solution is to pick up the original book which spawned this film adaptation.
Ways to Maintain A Healthy Level of Insanity
1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and
Point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2.. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.
3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want
Fries with that.
4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It 'In.'
5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks Once Everyone has
Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ' For Sexual Favors'
7.. Finish All Your sentences with 'In Accordance With The Prophecy'
8 Don't use any punctuation
9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.
10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious
11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go.'
12. Sing Along At The Opera.
13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme?
14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical
Sounds All Day.
15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their
Party Because You're Not In The Mood.
16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name,Rock
17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won!, I Won!'
18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot,
Yelling 'Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!'
19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. 'Due To The Economy, We Are
Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.'
20. And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity.. ......
So I bought a new car - a Scion XB. I love the affordable price, the relatively good mileage and the deceptively large interior. Plenty of legroom for all passengers (I could take a comfortable nap in the backseat) and once you push down the rear seats, the cargo space rivals many mid-size SUVs. Love the iPod jack on the dash.
So, with the arrival of the new car, I'm finally parting ways with my Honda Civic coupe. Forgive me for being sentimental over a car, but we've been together for 10 years - enduring some bumps and bruises along the way. My wife declared that this red Civic is a girl and we often refer to it as a "she". Only a year into its existence, she survived nearly being totaled after slamming into a vendor truck on Rt. 130 in Jersey. Years later, she got rear ended senselessly at a red traffic light by a lady on a cellphone on Broad St. in Philly. And her bumper got bent when my mom unsuspectingly backed up into it after exiting her garage.
My tough little Civic survived it all but eventually injuries took its toll. A leaking roof led to molded carpeting. The air conditioner/heater shrieks and the exterior body is rusting at the seams. Despite all this wear and tear, the engine has never failed and my partner in crime toughs it out every day.
The Civic was with me before I got married. In her youth, she enthusiastically responded to my reckless driving - whether it was racing rivals up and down 95 or cutting off people in the streets of Philly. Now it purrs with loyalty - seemingly anticipating my sure-handed moves. Her rounded headlights and smiling air vents presented a cheerful face to me - especially when she flickered her headlights as a greeting upon being unlocked.
In the early years, the Civic chaperoned college buddies to clubs. She took co-workers out to lunches and my wife has teased me that "other" women have sat in the passenger seat before her. The Civic carried us to our first date, my first meeting with her parents and our first wedding. We made countless number of trips up and down 95 from NYC to Washington D.C. - including a memorable summer trip to Ocean City.
Yes, through every major event in my life during the past decade - the Civic has stood by me and soldiered on. In this last week, I found myself patting the steering wheel and thanking the car for her perseverance. As we parted ways, my heart felt heavy but the sentimental farewell was outweighed by good memories.
Congrats to the NBA champion Boston Celtics. Game 6 was an embarrassing blowout to closeout the Hollywood Fakers (props to Steve Somers at WFAN for that nickname) and clinch the Celtics' 17th NBA championship. It was great to see the Celtics Big 3 finally win a 'chip and their grit, passion and veteran leadership - along with Posey, PJ Brown and Sam Cassell - would not be denied. As for the Fakers? Kobe has shown a chink in his armor - he can struggle against long defenders who can stay in front of him and disrupt his shot - it was proven by Posey & Pierce in these Finals and by Tayshaun Prince in the '04 finals. Yet the biggest letdown was the skittish play of Gasol and Odom. The Fakers' 2nd and 3rd options came up small and soft. The rest of the youthful supporting cast were simply not ready. Pierce earned his deserved MVP in every way. He clearly defined himself as the leader of this title team. Now its on to the draft and the Olympics!
The Machine Girl - Kataude Mashin Garu (2008) is an entertaining bloodbath of a movie. The story revolves around a college girl named Ami, who seeks revenge on a gang of bullies who murdered her younger brother. In the process of battling bullies and a yakuza family, Ami has her are pan-fried and chopped off - and replaces her lost arm with a machine-gun prosthetic. Great 70's style title sequence, wacky characters and weaponry (yakuza mom's drill bra was a highlight) and awesome blood-gushers from chopped limbs. Think Tarantino's Grindhouse with more action and less annoying dialogue.
ISO50 has a nice entry on beautiful sports logos. Notice most of these are old school from the 70's and 80's. Bold shapes and unique colors create a visual charm. 90's ushered in an unfortunate era dominated by swooshes, 3-D effects and unecessary clutter. Many of the current sports logos today are unimaginative in comparison - especially in color palette.
After living in Philly for 10 years, I moved to the Jersey side - aka "the other side" aka "the dark side" according to my Philly people. For the last 4 years, I've been completely submerged in white suburbia. It's a state of mind that I deal with at work and in my neighborhood. Now, I grew up in the suburbs of Maryland, but you deal with it differently as an adult.
It can be harmless - like when co-workers express curiosity and inquire beyond their "world". Beyond that, I don't encounter blatant in your face racism that often. But its fairly easy to read racial profiling and stereotypical assumptions. When I first moved to this area, I was followed once by a cop car for 10-15 miles from his checkpoint until I reached my neighborhood. You'll notice some store clerks giving you the silent treatment or being curt after being chatty with regulars. Or they might eye you as you browse the store. I'm not saying I live in Klan-sville, U.S.A. There's plenty of nice people here, but there are occasions when you become acutely aware of your minority status. None of this is new. You learn at an early age that ignorance and fear go hand in hand in race issues. And it can be humorous when you can flip it.
Recently, I was rushing through a slew of errands - speedwalking through a parking lot with shopping bags flailing like unnecessary appendages. I jump in my car and lower the windows all the way down to release the heat. The engine fires up and the music starts right where it left off - at full blast. I think it was on "Yolanda's House" by Ghostface.
Apparently when I yanked my car door open to get in, I unintentionally hit the car next to me. Not hard enough to make any damage but enough to make a decent sound. Apparently that car's owner was on the other side of the car loading bags with his wife/girlfriend. I hear him exclaim "What the Fuck?!" right before "Yolanda's House" starts exploding at high decibels. My peripheral vision catches him - a white man in his 40's sporting dockers and a tucked in short-sleeve button down. He storms from his side and goes around the back of the car towards the narrow space between us. Undoubtedly he wanted to see if there was any dent and confront the perpetrator.
I prepare myself to apologize and point out that there is no damage. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him halt his approach and retreat cowardly back behind the opposite side of his car. I then realized that he got intimidated by me and Yolanda. I don't think I look particularly thuggish but considering the setting, all things are relative. I shrug to myself and begin pulling out of my space. I thought about apologizing while driving away, but he was crouching behind his door - avoiding eye contact and pretending to mess with his bags. I looked at him for a few seconds to see if he would look my way. But no luck. He was scared. His stereotypical assumptions caused him to cower from his initial urge to confront me. So, I just zoomed off with a chuckle. There is a feeling of power when you can control somebody's actions but it's not completely satisfying when you're being misunderstood. If I was an asshole, I would jump on his fear and be up in his face. But I'm the total nice guy type that would have gladly assessed the whole situation with him from the start. Oh well, his loss. I simply moved on with a funny story.
That situation reminded me of my current neighbor at my condo. He's a big white guy. 6ft tall, 250+ lbs (albeit mostly blubber) – and scared of me. I'm probably 5 inches shorter and a 100lbs lighter than him. It all started when we first moved in next door. He's the type of guy that blasts his music and TV at all hours of the night. I patiently gave him a few days. But after a week, we realized it was going to be nightly thing. He wasn't the partying neighbor type but he just sat there alone being loud all by himself every night.
So one loud early morning - around 2 AM - I sleepily stand outside his door in a wifebeater with my eardrums pulsating with his cacophony. I pound on his door. I'm way too sleep-deprived to be cordial. So when he finally opens his door - I give him a curt greeting and immediately lodge my complaint. I tell him that his music is going through our walls and point out what time it is. I try to be somewhat diplomatic and tell him that I don't customarily like to tell people what to do with their business, but I'd appreciate some peace and quiet after 11pm. He doesn't say much, but he sheepishly mumbles "Its nice to meet you" and closes the door.
For the next few weeks, he occasionally plays his music loud but cuts it off around 11pm. Then for a couple nights, he reverts to his old ways and blasts his music past midnight. I look at my watch and give him a few minutes. My wife becomes irritable and suggests that we call the police and complain about the noise. Again, I look at my watch. Finally, I go to his door and pound on it. No response. I pound it with more determination. Nothing. I ring his doorbell continuously and pound on his door furiously. No response. I glare at his window to see if I can catch him peeking out. I normally don't confront people in this manner but when frustrating situations escalate, the philly part of me comes out. Again, I was too sleep deprived and angry to consider that I might be scaring him. Finally I give up. I write a stern note with a red sharpie marker and tape it to his door. I return to my house and slammed the door with all my might. 5 seconds later he turns off his music. I curse him until I fall asleep.
I cross paths with my neighbor a couple days later. He says that his girlfriend was alone in the house that night and was scared. I told him I was sorry about that (even though I knew he was lying - I've never seen a girl around him - and I knew he was just sitting in there scared). More importantly, I reminded him of our previous discussion about the noise level late at night.
Since that day, the guy avoids me at all costs. If we arrive at our condos at the same time, he sits in his car and waits for me to go in my place before getting out of his car. I've tested his tactics a few times. One time, I took my time exiting my car, wandered around the lawn to the mailbox and read some of my mail outside. This dude would not leave his car and go to his house! There's some empowerment in intimidating a guy but again its not completely satisfying when you're being misunderstood. I am not going to shoot you - I just had to make my point! I guess we're never going to be chatty or neighborly, but at least he's quiet now.
As the dreamy throwback finals between the Celtics & Lakers began, I rooted for L.A. out of tradition. As a kid growing up without a real NBA team, I found myself cheering on Magic's Showtime-era Lakers running past Larry Bird's whitebread Celtics in June.
Game 1 was encouraging despite the loss. L.A. held the lead through 3 quarters and let some opportunities slip away in the 4th quarter. The loss was disappointing but I didn't expect another uneven performance from Kobe aka "THE greatest closer in the game" Bryant. Boston did give LeBron fits, but I figured Mamba was going to strike relentlessy in his all consuming goal of winning a 'chip without Shaq. Oh and snicker and sneer all you want at Paul Pierce's knee injury - but he has proven to be an inspirational leader and has a history of playing wonderfully through injury.
Game 2 was an old-fashioned whipping at the hands of the Celtics until a frantic comeback turned it into a heartbreaking loss for the L.A. Up 2-0, Boston definitely deserved both wins as they outmuscled a charmin-soft Laker squad. Yes, there was some generous refereeing but Kobe & co. avoided the paint like it was quicksand and ultimately buried themselves with missed jumpers. NBA refs will reward an aggressive team taking it to the hole rather than a tentatively finesse team hoisting shots from the perimeter.
Speaking of refereeing, its interesting that none of the NBA fans are shocked at the Donaghy controversy. Its almost like everyone is saying. "Tim, tell us something we don't know. We knew that the Lakers/Kings WCF Game 6 in '02 was fishy! We know that stars get preferential calls. They've been saying that since MJ was playing." There's always been some conspiracy theory surrounding the NBA. Did Stern really rig the lottery so that his hometown Knicks could grab Ewing? Did he allow MJ to cloak a gambling suspension with an "attempt" at playing baseball? That being said, if any concrete evidence surfaces, David Stern is gonna have his hands full cleaning this up. Pro sports is on some kind of roll: Steroids in baseball, Spygate in football and now manipulative refs in the NBA. Hockey's up next...only nobody watches hockey.
Game 3: as expected the refs made up for their one-sided calls in Boston by sending a parade of Lakers to the free throw line. The Celtics actually outplayed L.A. but fell apart in the end - thanks to a subpar performances from KG and Pierce. Part of me thought Vujacic and Kobe's stellar turn would spark the Lakers to taking care of business for all 3 games at home. The other part of me had doubts considering that the Celts almost won Game 3 without Pierce or Garnett showing up. It became apparent that Celtics would win any game if two of their Big 3 would play well.
Game 4 was one for the ages - not only because of the incredible Boston comeback but because the Celtics have won me over. Yes, I've gone over to the dark side. The Green side. Its unimaginable, but these Celtics are simply more likeable than the Lakers. They play both sides of the ball with heart, grit and passion. They've locked down the best offense in the NBA and have shut up anyone who was comparing Kobe to MJ. Even with Garnett disappearing, they play an exciting brand of offense with a myriad of shooters. Oh, and in case you don't know, Paul Pierce is The Truth. Not only is he making Kobe work for every point, he's sticking jumpers in Mamba's face (did you see that jumper over Kobe that made Garnett give the "Ooh that's nasty!" face?) And Jesus Shuttleworth has resurrected his silky game after disappearing in the early rounds. That up-and-under layup was nearly Dr J.-like. Didn't know Ray could hang like that.
Furthermore, the Lakers couldn't be more ugly. Mamba bitching and barking at his teammates while being rendered ineffective at times. After being critically acclaimed and MVP rewarded for maturing into an unselfish leader, Kobe has reverted to the egotistical ways which vilified him before this season. Its a simple formula: when his team is losing, Mamba will throw his teammates under the bus and complains. When his team is winning: Kobe becomes affably unselfish and assumes a leadeship role.
Lamar Odom's chest-beating 1st quarter offensive explosion only highlights his usual disappearing act in the crucial moments of the 4th quarter. And for all the hype of the Gasol trade turning this team around, the Spaniard has completely exited these finals with a ghostly offensive game and a fittingly matador defense. He was about 2 days late in helping out Vujacic on that Ray Allen layup which iced Game 4. I couldn't have agreed more with Kobe when he stated that his team "wet the bed".
The Eco Zoo is a cool interactive site created by McCann Erickson Japan It features a 3-D environment with 5 animal characters - each with their own pop up book giving hints on how to live in a more eco-friendly way.
Gassed about those escalating gas prices? Stockholm-based Acne Advertising's clean enough to drink campaign promoting biofuel.
The Shouting Vase is a nifty stress-reliever - specifically when you want to yell and curse your head off without anyone hearing it. The thermoplastic interior swallows up and silences your screams. Made in Japan and available for $48. By the way, doesn't the guy in the photo look like he's drinking some old vinegar rather than screaming out his stress?
Johnny Lee hacks a $40 Nintendo Wii controller into a digital whiteboard, a touchscreen and a head-mounted 3-D viewer. Mostly by adding a $10 piece of hardware to it. Amazing stuff!
The onslaught of heat prompted me to pick up a pair of summer kicks. Stealthily icy white on white nike blazer high tops. Love the old school simplicity of the blazer silhouette. The air holes of the perforated leather are a nice detail and keep it airy.
It was disgustingly hot today. 95° with the humidity pushing the heat index over 100°. The ground cooked with that visible sizzle and the air hung hellishly humid. To make things worse, the AC in my car was busted (more on my car situation later) and driving with my windows down merely fanned the invisible flames. Its probably 120° in the car. My sweat soaked shirt clung to my skin which perpetually perspired a film of sweat. I'm sticky and irritable. As I drive on, I try to make some jokes to lighten the situation but my wife says its too hot to laugh. She crinkles her face and achingly proclaims "Atsui!" (Hot in Japanese) over and over again.
Has our ability to cope with heat diminished that much? Years ago, we nearly withstood a week of 100° heat without air conditioning in a 3rd story apartment in Philly. Oh we had an air conditioning unit, but we chose not to use it until a heat-related death entered the realm of possibility. Our initial motivation was saving money but later on we persisted on bravado. We were inspired by others in the neighborhood who didn't have the luxury of air conditioning and sat on their apartment stoops below. We urged each other to hold off and soon enough we dared each other to see who would succumb first and flip the AC switch. It seems foolish in retrospect, but we felt like defiant survivors of a disaster movie challenging mother nature to bring it on.
Now at our condo, I flip on the AC at first instance of discomfort and the vents pump air until I find myself covered with blankets.
Takashi Murakami was on Time magazine's 2008 list of 1op 100 influential people. He is the lone visual artist on this list. In an earlier post, I mentioned my impressions of his recent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. While he is most known for his manga influenced art, here are some works that show a more abstract direction.
Great posters, characters and icons from design bureau Burodestrukt.
Playful works by Netherlands-based designer, Jan Willem Wennekes aka Stinger - founder of Zeptonn Lab.
I loved Wale's cameo on The Roots "Rising Up" and his appreciation for go-go beats that represent his hometown of Washington D.C. Wale drops a Seinfeld inspired mixtape - The Mixtape About Nothing. Download here . Clips of the show are interspersed throughout the tape inspiring various songs. Highlight clips are Michael Richard's N-word rant and Julia Louis Dryfuss' cameo.
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