Tuesday, May 26, 2009

blind photographers!

Beautiful stuff, sent by my dad.

That Scott Adams is such a card

Did you see this Dilbert strip?


I laughed uproariously, then got seriously depressed. Then laughed again. Then moped again. Thanks, Dad, for sending this to me and ruining my day.

On the plus side: garden car!

Monday, May 25, 2009

the magic of weekends

This has been an excellent weekend:

1 chocolate bread pudding
1 old movie involving glamorous people, jewel thievery, and France
1 new movie involving exploding spaceships and amusing accents
1 cemetery, beautiful at twilight
3 kids
5 dogs
30 new acquaintances (approx.)
an indeterminate amount of phenomenal potato salad

I also just discovered that an old friend of mine will be in town on Friday with his gal! I haven't seen him forever -- certainly not since he moved to Australia -- so this is officially fantastic.

To celebrate all of this cumulative awesomeness, I bring you two works of audiovisual magic:

I never went to the prom, but even I can tell you that this is officially The World's Best Prom Slow Dance/Necking Music of All Time. I mean, seriously -- how can anyone possibly resist all those shebop-shebops?

That John Foxx, back in 1983, was an exquisite man. Trouble is, I think he knew it -- but I'd still totally flirt with him based on cheekbone structure alone.

Side note: I just did some more noodling around online, and discovered that Foxx is an exquisite writer, too. His work reminds me of that of Ray Bradbury: the same sense of decay and dislocation, although with only an echo of Bradbury's longing.

I once met Bradbury a while ago on a film shoot. He'd recently had a stroke, but also had moments of lucidity and seemed perfectly happy to grant an interview. After we shot the segment (I was camera assisting) and packed everything away, I snatched a moment alone with Bradbury to tell him how much I loved his work and how deeply honored I was to have the chance to meet him. He was silent for a moment, slowly refocusing his eyes on me, only to grant me a gummy smile and a cheery "Hello!" I was utterly forlorn for weeks afterward. I'm not sure what I had been hoping for; how can you be Best Friends Forever with your idol when when he's old enough to be your grandfather? It's a bittersweet experience, finally meeting someone you've cherished like a lost love for years, only to realize you've met them too late.

As with Bradbury, I regret that I can't meet Foxx (or should I say Dennis Leigh?) in a parallel reality where we'd be the same age. Reminds me of the phase I went through a few years ago where I had a crush on a statue at the Huntington Library. I'm not goth, I'm gothic -- allow me my tender reveries. Shush.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

military robots, and the folks who love them

Real Soldiers Love Their Robot Brethren

The bit about Scooby-Doo slays me, and the skateboard idea is fascinatingly simple. I also find EATR intriguing, in a Skynet sort of way.

But where did insurgents get the idea that Lipton tea bags are drone magnets? And how does Lipton's marketing department feel about this? I can see the slogan now:

Teacups Versus Terrorism -- LIPTON Saves the Day!

::shakes head::

illegal aliens: an interesting juxtaposition

District 9 - Official Trailer

Guantanamo Detainee Suggests Moving Guantanamo Detainees to Ramada Inn

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Join me at Mindshare, May 21!

So, here's the latest email I've received from the madcap folks behind Mindshare:
We're excited to announce the program for next Thursday at 1018 Gallery!

William Pomerantz / Senior Director of Space Projects, The X PRIZE Foundation
Winning Our Way to the Moon

Heather Knight / Roboticist, MIT Media Lab
Social Robotics - Exploring the Human-Robot Relationships

David de Rothschild / Founder, Adventure Ecology
The Plastiki - Rethinking Plastic as a Resource!

Daniel Yoder / Hacker, Zeraweb Labs
Flash Fundraising for The Abruzzo Earthquake

Unnamed Military Source / US Air Force
Apocalypse Survival (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Breakdown of Society)

Evonne Heyning & Matt Davis / Lightning Temple Artists
INTERACTIVATION: Collaborative Visions of Human Evolution

And of course there will be and open bar, hors d'ouevres, music and a number of installations on display from the great brains from Mindshare Labs!
I'll be there at 7 to help set up, who else is coming?

Monday, May 11, 2009

American Apparel is the new Hot Topic. Discuss.

Someone just told me about The Lab in Irvine. I checked out the site, wrote back to her, then decided to turn the message into an open letter here:
The Lab is interesting; it actually looks very Melrose to me, too, not just an OC thing. Funny how it calls itself an 'anti-mall,' when most malls I visit these days have an Urban Outfitters as well as other boutique-y shops similar to those at The Lab. It's unnerving how well clothing corporations have learned the formula for successfully co-opting pseudo-bohemian culture; American Apparel is the new Hot Topic! Extra smart (or insulting?) to have a gallery space like Artery in the middle of the complex to 'legitimize' the pseudo-bohemia of the whole thing!

On the plus side, at least it's a great venue for artists to show their work -- but who decides what work ends up on the walls?
Have you been to The Lab? If so, do you think I'm being harsh? Or reasonable?

kama sutra + water + judges = tandem surfing?

I had a coworker last year who persistently tried to recruit me as his tandem surfing partner. This is what tandem surfing looks like:

The guy recruiting me is about 6' or so, and I'm...well, I'm pocket-sized. Big surprise then that, in this guy's eyes, we were Destined For Tandem Success. He then showed me a chart of tandem poses, which made me giggle maniacally, since it reminded me of Cosmopolitan's illustrations of sex positions -- both of which feature very flexible silhouettes. I'm not going to link or post anything here, but you could easily Google "Cosmo" and "sex positions" and witness exactly what I mean.

Ultimately, I had to say no to this guy because

a) I have terrible balance and flexibility,
b) this looks like a great excuse for a guy to grope his partner,
c) I'm not an exhibitionist,
d) he was married, but
e) the marriage was failing, and
f) I refuse to spend lots of time with someone who might be using me as an emotional escape route.

If he had been single and less drama-ridden, I might've reconsidered; tandem surfing, when you get past the fact that it's vaguely unseemly, is truly magnificent to behold.

Signs that the MPAA Needs a Vacation

This was sent to me by my friend Chris Armogida:

MPAA suggests teachers videotape TVs instead of ripping DVDs. Seriously.

Anybody else feel like throwing tomatoes at these people?

I still prefer dancing about architecture

I was checking my email, and I saw a list of talks coming up at the Huntington Library. I was skimming through, minding my own business, when I hit this:

Kimberly Orcutt (New York Historical Society): “John Rogers: Interrogating Sculpture in 19th-Century America”

Interrogating sculpture? Really?

© Dr. Michael Phillips

I love when well-meaning, postmodern art historian types go a wee bit too far with their terminology.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

the fine line between creativity and being stark raving mad

Flavia sent me this charming Japanese YouTube video, and I love it to bits:

it's official: I know too many people

Today at noon, I had 1000 emails in my inbox, 84 of them unread. The earliest email dated back to 2002.

I had to do something.

Six hours later, I'm down to 368 emails, 31 unread. The earliest email dates to 2005. I feel better, but only slightly; names I'd forgotten have now regained urgency in my mind, and I'm back to feeling overwhelmed by all the wonderful people I've had to ignore in order to have a work life and a personal life.

More and more, Facebook makes sense to me; it's great for maintaining fabulous people in your life without having to write to each of them individually all day every day.

How do other people stay on top of all their correspondence without sacrificing work and life? I've heard of CEOs taking 'email vacations' in order to play catch up, only to be derided by other CEOs. How do those derisive CEOs do it? Do they hire assistants to answer all their email for them?

This is some handy advice from What's Best Next for zeroing-out your email inbox, but it's easier said than done:
1. Process the items in order
2. Process them one at a time
3. Never put anything back into your inbox
It goes on to explain setting up three email folders: Answer and Read for messages which would require more than two minutes to answer or read, and Hold for messages requiring you to wait on a third party to reply. Also, you're supposed to delete as much as possible (ideally everything, unless it's super-important and has to be saved on your computer for future reference). And you're supposed to never empty your email trash, but instead use it as an archive; GMail users can simply click "Archive" for messages. Once a day, you need to actually Answer and Read your longer emails and zero out those folders, too.

I'm going to try this, wish me luck....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Say hello sometime!

It's been a long time since I last checked who's been visiting my websites. Here are some of my astridica.com visitors since last June:

Artisan Entertainment
Barton Myers Associates (architects)
Environmental Protection Agency
Faction Media (Colorado)
Fox Entertainment Group
Google (Berlin office)
Indiana University
Jan De Nul (Belgian shipping co.)
Kings County DA Office (NY)
Latrobe University
Loyola Marymount University
National Institutes of Health (probably because I've been in email contact with them)
NBC Universal
Smart Design (but that's because we had a conference call around then)
Temple University
University of South Carolina

And here are some of my blog visitors:

Big Huge Games
Carnegie Mellon University
Columbia University
CSU Monterey Bay
East Texas Baptist University
Florida State University
Gensler (design firm)
Michigan State
North American Rescue
Ohio University
Penn State University
St. Olaf College
San Jose State University
SUNY Potsdam
University of Louisville
University of Mississippi
University of Toronto
University of Western Australia
University of Wisconsin
UT Austin

I suspect I'm getting so many university people on my blog because I have several architecture pictures on it from Wikipedia -- by far my two most popular entries are about architecture -- so I suspect I get a lot of architecture students doing Google image searches and accidentally landing on my virtual front lawn.

But I digress....

Attention visitors from these esteemed institutions: I AM SO RIDICULOUSLY PSYCHED TO HAVE YOU VISITING MY SITE, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. Send me an email sometime, I'd love to meet you! I already got the chance to speak with the groovy folks at Smart Design and the NIH, but the rest of you are still on the hook.