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Reading Pictures:
Mickey Mouse

One of the reasons that Mickey Mouse is so loved is his geometry. Circles are the friendliest and most inviting shape. Mickey is drawn almost entirely of soft circular forms. Even his “logo” is made up of three circles which have become universally recognized.

Revenge of the Analog

Revenge of the analog. Everyone is slowly, finally recognizing the failings of open office space designs. A red flag when I walk into a shop is the lack of wall space for people to ideate and more importantly put work in progress up. An unfortunate feature of open office design. People sharing work via email or project management software has a horrible effect on the work and the culture. If you didn’t design a creative space with walls usable of the display of work in progress you might as well leave out the toilets. In both instances, the shit just piles up. “The more digital the company, the more analog the space should feel.” Via The New Yorker: The Analog Spaces in Digital Companies Adapted from David Sax’s book: “The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter”

Journal 7.18.16

Walking through a park on my lunch break. A swarm of dragonflies criss cross overhead. It’s fun to think of what it would be like for dragonflies to have air traffic controllers, but I think I prefer the elaborate randomness of a system that I can simply bare witness to without understanding.


I try to meditate almost every morning. I usually wake up before 6am, without an alarm clock, and enjoy taking the time to get my buddha on before I let the world or other people’s shit into or near my head. I like the breakfast nook area in the back of our apt. It’s relatively quiet and dark. The apartment next to ours was renovated and no one has lived there in quite some time. Last week I get up, go to my spot and meditate for about forty minutes. I finish a with a sense of clam serenity and slowly open my eyes to see, directly in front of me, through the well-lit sliver of a New York City bathroom window… some dude’s junk. My meditation spot has lost the private sanctity it once had. I now approach my spot apprehensively, timing my meditation around this guy’s schlong. This morning as I went to the kitchen to feed the cats I could hear music. It was my neighbor. This morning it was just his …

Your Toxic, Junk-Filled Semantic Environment

A fine example of the way information in the social media age is neutralizing and negating. Think of the deluge of contradictory, meaningless and insipid advice that pours through Linkedin’s feed. For years I’ve walked through bookstores increasingly convinced that peak-literacy and the easy with which books are produced is counter productive. In the same way that the easy production of surplus calories (high fructose syrup, junk food) has resulted in obesity and physical detriment, the easy production of content has produced a toxic, junk-filled semantic environment.

Cities, Large and Small

I don’t find the book reviewed here very interesting but the opening raises some interesting points about artistic (and other) innovation in America’s cities. The paradox that rubs is : 1. It’s too expensive to fail (experiment, do basic research or literally fail) in NYC or LA and 2. Smaller cities don’t have the population for the exchange of ideas or economic base necessary to achieve scale. This is one of Detroit’s biggest problems. It’s a tiny city at this point and their are too many people who want to take the stage and not enough audience. But I invested in you!: How to be and asshole. by Sheila Heti London Review of Books But I invested in you!: How to be and asshole. by Sheila Heti “There was a time when artists and writers flocked to inexpensive cities to allow themselves the trials of making art over the trials of making a living. In North America today, the main site of literary activity or literary business – which more and more amount to the …

Of Clouds and Clocks

A great essay I think about often. By karl Popper. The spectrum of systems from the disorderly, irregular, dynamic and non-linear to the mechanistic, orderly and highly predictable and the dysfunction that arises when one approaches either as the other. “…established by the Newtonian revolution was the following staggering proposition: All clouds are clocks-even the most cloudy of clouds.”

What’s on Your Meme?

The Sherman Foundation, after carefully monitoring the success of the ice bucket challenge has high hopes for the serialization and “how many organs can we remove from you and sell on the black market challenge”. We’re anticipating queues like magnolia bakery, circa 2001.

Vanity Fair’s Gorgeous Tableaus and the Contemptuous “Bitch Face” of Advertising

Historically, Vanity Fair has done an amazing job of collaborating with photographers and stylists to create gorgeous photographic spreads with narrative depth and a rich, almost painterly qualities. (The typography has been disappointing of late but perhaps that will be addressed in a future post.) In the issues that arrived today I was dismayed to see these two spreads — Prada and Burberry — presenting large groups of models forming unified confronting human walls of “bitch Face”. Contempt has always been the theater and template for cosmetics and fashion photography. A method to degrade and humiliate consumers into purchasing products in an attempt to win over the approval of all those dismissive glares that come bundled with every issue. These spreads actually combine the contemptuous assuault with the non-verbal narrative you see so often on the covers of rap and rock CDs: “the ambush”. An insidious two prong attack.

Our collective dysmorphia: Barbie’s fake and real and the thigh gap obsession.

Created by artist NICKOLAY LAMM Article on CafeMom: Artist Creates Barbie With Average-Size Body & We Wish Our Daughters Could Get One Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie (TM) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (TM). Model whose excessive plastic surgery made her a living Barbie shows off doll-like proportions in high fashion shoot. A piece in Vice about Thigh Gap

Labor Day’s “Devil’s Night”

Manhattan is so very “28 Days Later” on Labor Day weekend (eerily quite save for a few freaks who haven’t gotten out). I see a perfect opportunity to start a new national holiday, an annual festival, zombie apocalypse theme night of underground partying on the (Sunday) night before Labor Day. A perfect way to lament the increasing loss of jobs at the hands of technological efficiency and globalization. Labor Day’s “Devil’s Night”. Short notice but we start tonight!

Very few people truly have the stomach and the balls to be creative.

The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas (research study) An interesting research study on why people overtly claim to value and champion creativity behave and make choices which are risk-averse. People will unconsciously work to diminish uncertainty and make choices that are least likely to negatively impact them on a personal level. “People often reject creative ideas even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt, and which is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty.” “research documents that teachers dislike students who exhibit curiosity and creative thinking even though teachers acknowledge creativity as an important educational goal (Dawson, D’Andrea, Affinito, & Westby, 1999; Runco, 1989; Westby & Dawson, 1995)”

May 4, 2012

Superhero movie franchises are have become the new durable goods. In the past you could count on an renewing stream of newly married couples purchasing dishwashers, washers and dryers. Not the predictable reliable consumer model it once was. What is proving durable is the recasting and reintroduction of Ironman, Spiderman and even The Avengers to old and new generations alike. Every generation gets the Batman they deserve.

The Photokeratic Age

I’m going to engage in a bit of futurist speculation: Now this may seem counterintuitive (as well as dystopian and pessimistic) but is it possible that what follows the information age is a new kind of dark age, one marked not by a loss of knowledge but a kind of photokeratitis (snow blindness) caused by the explosion of communication and overexposure to media manipulation, spin, junk science, distracting spectacles, contradictory research studies, lies, a crisis of credibility, uncertainty, the collapse of master narratives (see Lyotard), proliferating conspiracy theories (“alternate explanations of what the fuck is really going on”) and the resultant tribalism, subjectivism and regression to infantilistic ego (and sexual) gratification? Is this the “photokeratic age”? participation=destruction

Innovations in Autocorrect

Idea of the day: a virus that infects the iPhone iOS, detects whether someone is speaking on the phone in a public place (geolocate+ambient sound) an has Siri interrupt the conversation, “excuse me, but you’re being an asshole”. Forget spelling, we need auto correct for manners and social graces”.

Tears of a Crocodile Clown.
Early Ambitions: Science vs Art

My father’s parents had a very powerful impact on the shaping of my personality. My grandfather, an aeronautical engineer instilled in me a scientific, intellectual curiosity. My grandmother gave me a love for the arts and taught me to paint. My earliest recollected ambition was to become an inventor, like Thomas Edison. His Menlo Park laboratory is on display at the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village in Michigan. I visited it many times as a child on school field trips. I remember talks with my grandfather in the car during the long drives to our cottage in Northern Michigan about Edison and his many inventions. Sitting in the back seat I would focus my mind on trying to come up with an invention, waiting for something to come to me in one of those fabled “eureka!” moments. And they would, but they were things like “tape recorder”… “camera”… “flashlight”. All things that had already been invented. This was a very frustrating process for a six year old but I did zero in on what what was …

Tears of a Crocodile Clown: Sick Days (Early Bouts with Megalomania)

When I was about 7 years old my grandfather gave me what I believed was a burgundy smoking jacket. In retrospect I have no idea what it really was. It could have been a maroon bathrobe… or maybe even a dog blanket. My imagination at the time had no bounds. During those elementary school years, when I was home sick from school, I had a very specific routine. On the small black and white television set in the bedroom that I shared with my younger brother I would tune into “Bill Kennedy at the Movies”. Bill Kennedy was a former actor that in his later years would host an afternoon show that featured vintage movies. At commercial breaks, Bill would take calls from fans and throw out bits of trivia about the actors and film. I would sit, perched on the top bunk of our bunk bed, wearing my burgundy smoking jacket at watching Bill Kennedy at the movies. I would have my mother prepare and bring up to me tea, with milk and sugar …

The Outsider’s Advantage: Why Blacks and Gays are Funnier and Brits Make Great Rock ‘N Roll

When I first moved to New York (millions of years ago) I worked out at a neighborhood gym and got to know a lot of the guys that worked out there. Two of the guys I got to know quite well were very gay and very funny. They had a way of phrasing things that always cracked me up. One day they were talking about another guy, a very beefy, very straight guy, that used to work out there but switched to another gym in the neighborhood. The gym he switched to was called AMERICAN FITNESS. However, what came out of one of the guys’s mouths was “oh, she switched to Miss America Fitness”. I laughed for all the obvious reasons but something else went through my head at that moment. I’ve had many gay friends through the years so I’m accustomed to the “creative” use of pronouns, coded language and the funny shit that comes out of their mouths (Jose’s superpower: “I know what people are going to wear next”), but it was that …

Culture, Cruelty & Contradiction

A story on NPR today covered a controversial, proposed ban on the slaughter of horses for food. As a creative, I embrace the idea that humans are emotional and irrational decision makers. Many people would like to believe that humans are rational and logical, but this simply isn’t true. It’s just another example of our constantly playing “pretend”. This is true, of course, to varying degrees from individual to individual. I’ve always believed that the most interesting part of being human is all the things we can’t control, the things that control us, the dark recesses, the emotional underbelly. Hunger, pain, the things we desire, lust after, fear and humiliate us, put us on a trajectory in life that we ride atop, pretending all the while that we’re steering. These are the truths I hold to be self-evident. To hear our legislative leaders say things like horses “are cherished companions, they are sporting animals, they are not food”, is wacky entertainment. Despite the support of veterinarians and The American Quarter Horse Association in the method …