Archive | October, 2008

Life with Sans

31 Oct

Starting up a new project: “Life with Sans”

You heard it here first. Halloween 2008. What a day to start something.


Sans     . 9_9 .
Guy who refuses to be bracketed in. Eyes on the sky.

Ms. P     .(^_^).
Lady who always has something good to say (though rarely says it outright).

Bracket     .[+_6].
Lost his right eye to the silent “p” in swimming… hasn’t been the same since.

Brace     .{-_-}.
Silent and reserved, yet he always has good advice- even though no one really asks for it or pays him any attention.


travel 101 week 1

30 Oct

Before we embark on our adventure through the urban sprawl, we must first make sure that everyone starts off on the right foot, so to speak. This week will be a brief introduction to methods of travel and pre-adventure preparation.


There are a two general methods of travel that this course will cover: on foot and assisted travel.

In this course, on foot travel will always refer to walking. At the present time, running and drunken crawling/stumbling are not covered in this course.

Assisted travel will be categorized under the following: bicycle, scooter, subway and train, bus, or taxi. Unfortunately at the present time this course does not cover rollerblading, skateboarding, pogo-sticks, or uni-cycling.


Before embarking on an exploration of your surroundings, you should mentally and physically prepare yourself. The following should be completed before you begin your journey.

1. Decide upon a time frame and destination for your outing.

2. Check the weather conditions for the day by looking or stepping outside, checking your local newspaper, or looking it up online. Hourly reports provided by sites like wundergound can save you from being caught off-guard by fickle weather.

3. Dress comfortably and assemble your travel accessories listed as course requirements

  • Pocket map: put it in your back pocket or better yet, wear a vest or light jacket with pockets which will give you quick access to it for reference in a bind
  • Money: if you are travelling with the minimum amount of cash ($5) you should have 2 quarters and 2 one dollar bills in each of your front pockets.
    If you are travelling with more money (emergency taxi fare) divide your bills up into your pockets as you like, and fold each set of bills in half with the smaller bills on the outside. You should travel with less cash in the front pocket of your dominant hand.
    If travelling with a debit or credit card, inset the card into the middle of any one of your folds of money. Make sure that your card is NOT in the pocket of your dominant hand.
     The emphasis on a light dominant hand pocket will be addressed in safety.
  • ID: your driver’s license or ID should be inserted alongside your credit/debit card. If your ID has a magnetic strip DO NOT align it with your credit/debit card. Flip your ID upside down to avoid this condition.
  • Keys: Having your keys on a key-chain is preferable. Attach the key-chain to a belt loop or tie it to your shoelace. You don’t want your keys to make a lot of noise or bulk up your pockets.
  • Mobile: carry your phone in a pocket or have it in your hand

4. Check your map. Familiarize yourself with your current location and your destination. Make note of street names, look at the arrows on streets that signify traffic flow. Figure out your cardinal points. Get a mental compass and map sketched out in your mind.

Once you are all geared up… it’s time to step out into the world… Bring up your mental map. Put on your cap. It’s go time.

Up next: Getting there-Walking


Diane Schuur Interview

29 Oct

October 16, 2008 – Looking forward to the American Society of Young Musicians Music Benefit Concert & Award Ceremony, Jazz vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur reflects on her most recent release Some Other Time which marks a return to her jazz roots.

The album is a tribute to the music of her parent’s generation, a solid return to Schuur’s jazz roots. It is also a celebration of her mother’s life; its release made to coincide with the 40th anniversary of her mother’s passing.

The two-time Grammy-award winning singer performs a number of instantly recognizable selections on the album, including tunes by Gershwin, Berlin, and Hammerstein. Through her stunning voice style and compelling interpretation, one is reminded at once of both the timelessness and immediacy of jazz.

Some Other Time features a 1964 recording of the then 10-year-old Schuur singing “September in the Rain” at the Holiday Inn in Tacoma, WA. This is followed by an intimate exchange between Schuur and her mother, who asks her daughter if she knows “Danny Boy.” A young Schuur answers that she will record the song just for her one day. What follows next is one of the most beautiful and emotive arrangements of the Irish classic.

On October 20th, Schuur was awarded the “All That Jazz Award” in recognition of her contributions to the world of jazz and music.

travel with victoria 101 syllabus

26 Oct

course description:
this course is designed as a general survey of travel methods utilized in day to day life. it provides a broad orientation for understanding the various means of transportation available in an urban environment. this course is recommended to people on a budget; those who wish to actively engage in their environment en route from point a to point b; or those who are looking for a few helpful travel tips.

course requirements:
1. pocket map and/or internet
2. destination
3. good walking shoes
4. *weather appropriate clothes
5. *4 quarters, 4 one dollar bills 

*must wear pants/shorts with front pockets. back pockets are a plus. zipped/button pockets are preferred.
*quarters are for public phones, put two quarters and two bills in each front pocket.

course recommendations:
1. cell phone
2. bike
3. camera 
4. *cab fare and/or debit card
5. *mace 
6. *purse/bag

*carry three or four $20 bills, two $10 bills, two $5 bills. 
*i’ve never used mace. although, i’ve been told it works as a nice seasoning if your in a bind while cooking.
*if you must bring a purse/bag make sure it’s small.

not recommended for this course:
1. high heels: see fashion
2. name tag: see name tag
3. wads of cash: see paper meanings
4. big purse/bag: *visit melbourne
5. confused/flustered facial expressions: see president


attendance and participation
explore and have adventures. share your stories and experiences.

students are evaluated in regards to mastery of frequented mass transit routes, knowledge of food stand locations and prices, number of starbucks and golden arches sighted, as well as a number of individualized performance criteria that will be determined over the duration of the course.

participation: 43%
exploration: 24%
required materials: 11%
mass transit route(s): 7% 
walking route: 5%
bike route: 5%
comments: 5%  




21 Oct

i’m officially moved out. turned my keys in and didn’t look back. it’s good to have that all settled and sorted. just like tetris the pieces fall into place one by one; we construct our own victory or demise.

still juggling a few more plates than i can handle, wearing one too many hats per outfit… that sort of deal. if all goes well by this time next week i’ll, at the very least, appear to maintain some sort of semblance of sanity… at least that’s what i’m aiming for. i know, i know… i’m setting the bar really high here.

in the meantime, whilst i gather my thoughts into words, into sentences, into paragraphs, into substantial and meaningful compositions… i’ve some visual intrigue for your eyes. this design exercise highlights the importance of negative space in graphic design. using only negative shapes, my task was to visualize a polar bear and clouds. the idea behind formulating an image by only addressing its background is to reverse the way in which viewers traditionally approach seeing. by focusing on the background and shadowed areas, the positive space becomes the subject. the process of creating the images and viewing them is quite insightful… there’s always a method to the madness, it’s just whether or not we choose to see it.

polar bear

polar bear




each final image ended up being somewhat more vectorized and less detailed. i found that this type of depiction made the most use out of the negative and positive values of each composition. any thoughts?

design work: less is more

20 Oct

movement defines my life. nothing is truly static – which is why i haven’t devoted as much time to blogging as of late… i’ve been on the move.

here’s a little something to satiate your visual senses; the premise of this exercise was to create a piece which invites the viewer to interact with the artwork by mentally completing the image using a reductive approach to graphic design. each image represents a step in the process of creating the final image. the process creates a very dynamic image/series of static images. movement in design reflecting movement in life.

Less is More

Less is More


the first image is my subject, a koi fish depicted in its entirety using black and white only, simplifying its physical characteristics into flat negative and positive shapes.

the second image is a cropped version of the original subject that retains its readability/identity.

the third image is a drastically cropped version of the original koi fish where the abstract shapes are the main concern.

the fouth image inverts the negative/positive space in the third image.

the fifth image executes the third image using black & white plus an additional color

the last image is the third image in full color


if i were to do this again, i’d focus the cropped image on a portion of the koi’s tail or fins.


15 Oct

If you’ve seen the old school South Park episode from season 2: Roger Ebert Should Lay off the Fatty Foods then you might appreciate this crude haiku used in lieu of speaking to another person in complete, well structured and grammatically correct sentences. Or not.


been through a time warp
just trying to stay afloat
don’t piss in your pants

whirlwind week

10 Oct

It was an interesting week full of motion and upheaval- a good reminder that nothing is for certain, nothing is for sure.

Monday- The Katies go to housing in order to discuss the roach wars at 521 E14th Street: Despite heavy losses, the roaches persist, continuing to wreak havoc, disrupting daily life by setting up their HQ in our bathroom. During their visit, there is a consensus between the Katies and housing that the apartment is unlivable; the Katies are relocated to another apartment together. When they return, they let me in on the news and tell me that I should visit housing… In retrospect, it would have been nice to know that they were visiting housing in the first place… 

Tuesday- First thing in the morning I go to housing. No wonder the Katies were relocated so quickly, this lady is driven. Apparently the Katies are picking up their keys in the next day or so and moving this weekend. The lady assigns me to some building on some street somewhere else in Stuyvesant Town. Since I am not going to be in town this weekend, I am to pick up my keys and move in on October 15. Okay. I celebrate the insanity by going to Cielo and dancing until 3:30am.

Wednesday- Woken up by myKatie’s alarm at 9am. 2 hours of sleep. I move my laptop to the common area so that the typing doesn’t disturb her sleep and start working. Around the time I start to feel tired, David calls to let me know he’s coming into Manhattan and if I’d like to meet up. Yes. Anything to get away from type, type, typing on my keyboard. We meander, we talk. I down one of those 5 hour energy shots and it does nothing but keep my eyes open for another 2 hours. Not even. We sat in a park and I had my eyes closed the entire time. Just talking. Listening. Resting my eyes. Letting my ears see the world unhibited by images. Imagination building a strange and wonderful world of footsteps and trucks, keychains and scooters. By 10pm I’m finished. My brain is like jelly and my eyelids have given up their battle with gravity. I miss out on karaoke with Anthony, Judita, and David.

Thursday- I’m out the door at 9:30am for a flight that leaves at 2:30pm… Justification for such a time buffer is that I really hadn’t decided on a way to get to Newark. I walk north and at Grand Central there’s a bus staring straight at me from the corner of 41st and Lexington. The sign next to it tells me its an express bus to Newark. Choice made. By 11:30 I’m all comfortable, sitting at my gate. No trouble at security – although they did have to take out Atlas Shrugged – the guard shuffling through my stuff reassured the woman scanning luggage, “Big book.” I make my connection at Dulles no sweat. My reading light doesn’t work, but my neighbor’s light bleeds onto the pages of Fight Club. I finish the book and make some headway in Atlas Shrugged before finally passing out.

Friday- Today. Wow. California. Awesome. Literally. Working on grants, listening to CDs to review, and coming up with good questions for my interview with Diane Schurr. My clock says it’s 5:55pm… so it’s almost 3pm here. No use in changing time zones- time’s relative anyways.


6 Oct

Simply ridiculous… but this is what happens when I let curiosity get the best of me… silly things transpire:

Let us not be defined or confined by constricting lines
Let us not be defined or confined by constricting lines

link to artwork

sleepy ducks

6 Oct

After running into some ducks, or rather, after watching ducks swim around a pond, I noted a group on shore sleeping all twistered up in an unnatural fashion and standing on one leg. This was definitely not the first time I’ve witnessed this behavior, but it was the first time that I asked myself, “why?” and set my mind on knowing the answer.

There are a few theories that address this interesting sleeping preference.

1. Ducks and other birds who tuck their bills into their feathers do so to keep warm since they have no way to insulate heat. For the same reason these birds will tuck a leg into their feathers.

2. There is also a circulation theory – standing requires extra work from the heart to circulate blood throughout the body. By alternating legs, ducks can rest and promote circulation at the same time. By tucking one leg closer to the body, ducks not only insulate one leg, but may also reduce the load on their hearts.

Now I ask, Why don’t ducks just find a nice bit of grass to settle in so that they can sit while they sleep? But considering the whole circulation theory… I suppose a “sitting duck” might not have the best circulation; the poor creature might have both legs fall asleep! Now I have mental images of ducks falling all over and flailing while pitifully quacking. Wow.

But don’t ducks sit on their eggs? Surely the female ducks would realize that it’s a lot nicer to sit than stand!

Sure there are predators and all that jazz too – so maybe by standing so precariously, the ducks actually have the advantage because they are ready to topple at any moment. Great, now I see ducks falling like dominoes – and the last one does a reverse one and a half somersaults with three and a half twists, as it enters the water. Unfortunately bird buoyancy made the entry a bit messy… not everyone is an olympic diver.

Maybe sitting is a well kept secret… cult of the female ducks. The females have all agreed that they’ll put up with the males and perpetuate the species because they can sit on the eggs and sleep, knowing that the male ducks will never know the luxury. Hah. Wow. Sure.

Okay, here is a Vietnamese legend about ducks from

After Heaven had completed the creation of the world, there were four ducks who found that they only had one leg each. it was difficult for them to walk, and sometimes they were unable to find enough food. They became very morose when they saw how easily other fowls and animals moved about on two legs.

One day the four unfortunate ducks held a meeting and discussed their ignoble condition. They had arrived at a point where life on one leg could no longer be endured, so they decided to lodge a complaint to Heaven. But they were entirely ignorant of Heaven’s location, and they did not even know how to draft a petition.

One of them suggested that they should turn to the rooster for help. The others protested that his penmanship was so bad that no one in Heaven would be able to read the petition. But there was no one else to whom they could turn, so after having quacked and grumbled for some time, the four of them went to find the rooster, who was only too eager to help and readily scratched out the desired petition.

The ducks read the petition and then held another meeting to decide which one of them should carry it. The way to Heaven was long and tedious and beset with many pitfalls, so that none of the one-legged ducks was enthusiastic about undertaking the journey.

The rooster, who was standing some distance away, overheard the lively discussion. He coughed discreetly, and approaching the group, delicately asked whether he might be of further service. They were very pleased and accepted his offer to help.

“Not far from here there is a temple,” he suggested, looking wisely down his beak “and it happens that I am acquainted with the god of the place. He could convey your petition to Heaven, and I can give you a letter of introduction to him.”

The ducks were loudly grateful whereupon the rooster put on his spectacles and wrote out a suitably worded letter for them.

The ducks then proceeded to the temple, and as they entered its precincts, they suddenly heard a loud, imperious voice wanting to know why the temple’s incense burner had eight legs instead of four. The voice continued by demanding that the four extra legs be removed immediately.

As the ducks heard this, their hope rose. They did not know what an incense burner was, but they understood that four of its legs were to be removed immediately. They hurried into the temple. The god was still frowning at the incense burner when they entered, and he looked at them unsmilingly.

“Your lordship,” said one duck, who had become the spokesman for the group, “here is a letter for you from our friend and neighbor, the rooster and also our petition. It’s about our need of four legs; as you see we have only one leg each.”

The god replied that what had been given them at creation was final, and that their petition would serve no purpose. At these words the four duck fell silent. But then one, younger than the others and more desperate, spoke up and said what was on the minds of all four.

“Your lordship,” he stammered, “you spoke just now of removing four legs from the incense burner….”

The god looked at him wide-eyed for an instant and then burst into uncontrollable laughter. In the end he agreed to give the ducks the four extra legs.

“But mind you,” he said, handing them over to the ducks and winking at the incense burner, “these legs are made of pure gold and are very precious; guard them carefully.”

The ducks were ready to promise anything. They took their legs with indescribable joy. They bowed and thanked the god. They attached the extra legs to their bodies and soon they were able to move about like their fellow creatures. But at night when they went to sleep, they would pull up the leg given them by the temple god so that no one could steal it. Other ducks, seeing this, assumed it was the proper way to sleep and in imitation began to lift one leg before retiring for the night. And so the custom has remained to this day.


So there you have it – a little exploration into our extraordinary, ordinary world.