YK Renovations

Over the weekend I started the first steps toward redesigning yewknee.com. This design has been here for awhile and I'm curious to spruce it up a bit. The first step in that process is to make sure the technology behind the scenes is in a good spot - which, currently, it is not. At the the moment, I'm running a cron job to poll for new posts from Twitter, Soundcloud, Delicious, etc and put them in the sidebar. Occasionally there's a real hiccup in the process and things start to duplicate. It's a real mess.

Enter Zapier, my saving grace from this methodology. Instead of having a script that is constantly looking for new updates, Zapier pushes an update when one exists. The event driven functionality will require less server resources and likely ensure that there's a whole lot less duplication.

The only snafu I've encountered so far is that retrieving "Likes" from YouTube is an enormous pain. Zapier doesn't support such a thing and the Youtube API requires constant authentication to retrieve that insight. It's a huge beast and I can't understand why they make such a high barrier for entry. Whatever happened to RSS feeds?

The Jazz Cup

You've likely seen this making the rounds at some point but News-Leader took it upon themselves to find out who designed the Jazz Cup, originally. The cup itself is a pretty classic design and it seems like more credit is due than just "Solo Cup Company." The article itself is an entertaining read through the chase of information, dead-ends and various inquiries to find out who was ultimately responsible for the design. The end result is enjoyable and feel good, particularly given that designer never had full credit before now.

Blood Bakery

Blood Bakery is part blog, part portfolio, part store. The blog part contains loads of interesting art projects and designs. The portfolio and shop are sparse but enjoyably cute, particularly these two ghost pins. Downright adorable and some very simple, clever, packaging.

Friday Videos - June 26th, 2015

My week was ultra short thanks to a VHX retreat upstate. So, my browsing and finding distracting video hasn't been at an all time how. That being said, I think you'll feel plenty distracted and ready to embrace your Summer Friday. That's it! Have a great weekend.

We Own This Town - Volume 68

Despite living in New York now, I still enjoy keeping an eye on the Nashville scene of music (largely through browsing the latest Bandcamp offerings). This latest edition of the We Own This Town podcast came together rather quickly as there seems to be no shortage of great, diverse, music coming from there.
[ Stream It | Download MP3 ]
It's a quick listen but enjoyable from start to finish and has already made its way into my heavy rotation. The repeat repeat may be my favorite of the bunch but I, honestly, enjoy them all greatly.

  • Wildfront - Love is Not Eternal
  • repeat repeat - mostly
  • R Stevie Moore - Found a Job
  • Charlie Shea - BLOO
  • Also This - Girls Don't Speak Bro Code
  • JAWWS - Livingston
  • BecomingTheDevourer - The Fever Dream of a Dying Go
Continue Reading...

Pursuing Imperfection

The ODEN blog recently posted about the Japanese aesthetic ideal of Wabi-sabi, the pursuit of accepting transience and imperfection. It's a Buddhist teaching but applied to the world of art and creation it can be liberating as it helps to understand that your mark on the world isn't necessarily the most perfect brush stroke, it's the somewhat imperfect one.

The article cites the work of Rachel Briggs - specifically her label work for Wiseacre Brewing in Memphis. The work has a serious elegance to it but also doesn't shy away from being "imperfect" as it gives it a personality otherwise unreachable.

Dan Carlin, Hardcore History

I don't know that I have the attention span for it but multiple people have recommended I checked out Dan Carlin's Hardcore History Podcast, a series of very in-depth looks at various moments in history. You know, like World War I. Episodes usually fall in the 3-4 hour range and each topic is covered for a number of episodes. It's probably appropriate to have the episodes go for so long because the topics require that level of explanation but it is a commitment. Regardless, I've heard great things. Going to give it a try.

Evil Corporation Vinyl

I have previously mentioned my enjoyment of the works of A Large Evil Corporation but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out some of their more recent creations - specifically these Vinyl Toy Designs. Lots of great film and TV characters represented so it's hard to pick a favorite. It's certainly good to see the many permutations of Bill Murray, some secondary IT Crowd folk and that each piece is clearly coming from a place of total fandom. The Evil Corp style means there's some awkward stances and offputting eyeballs but it works, real well.

Catastrophe: Amazon Original

If you have not tuned in to the Rob Delaney / Sharon Horgan BBC comedy, Catastrophe, I would not be surprised as it's not something that's likely to have come across your radar too frequently. Fortunately, Amazon has snatched up the rights to it and now you can watch it instantly through the power of Video On Demand. It's a phenomenal series. it's got all the basic elements of a Rom Com (cute meet, unexpected turn of events) but then throws them all out the window by showing the two deal with the situation realistically, albeit lovingly. I'm not giving anything away but it's a refreshing take on how relationships are portrayed and they're both hilarious. Do watch.

Friday Videos - June 19th, 2015

The days just fly by, huh? Or maybe I'm having a short work week followed by another short work week and I'm just feeling the crunch time a little more intensely. Who can say. Enjoy these distractions: Have a great weekend. If you need more distraction how about reading up on Matilda, the cat with a rare eye disease that makes it look like a 100% alien? It will haunt your dreams, you've been warned.

More? I suggest spending the rest of your afternoon refreshing the Snack Database for new, fun, random Snack Facts.

Google Inceptions, Neural Networks. AKA The Dog-Fish

This Google Research blog post is a remarkable look at the work they been doing in training Artificial Neural Networks to recognize images (aka Google Images). That feat in and of itself is rather stunning but this article goes on to explain some of the mishaps and complexities of how a network can see things that aren't there. It's not unlike how we mistake clouds for particular shapes, except with a computer envisioning those things you actually get to see inside what it's seeing. It's basically the equivalent of visualized imagination.

If you're not into reading, just check out this gallery and marvel at the Acid Trip style creations the networks make when asked to describe an image multiple times.

via Chad

Weekend LongReads and Contraception

The weekend awaits! Hopefully you find some time to unwind and settle down with some longer articles to ponder. Here are some recommendations for such a task:

Jim Darling

I can't stop thinking about these Jim Darling paintings depicting the view through an airplane window. The concept, the textures, the color choices - all perfect aligned to create a compelling, unforgettable series of images. I caught them the other week via Austin and I just keep thinking about them.

Inch X Inch

Buttons and lapel pins are really having a renaissance as of late. One of the finer projects I've seen circling this revival is Inch X Inch - a monthly button club (or badge if you're from across the pond) that nets you three new buttons a month and the good feeling that all the proceeds are going to educational youth art programs. You can learn more about the program in this video but I think you get the gist. Just dive in to their Instagram and take a peek at the goods.

Travis Millard

Ran into some comic work from Travis Millard thanks to the latest issue of Smoke Signal and I'm blown away by his portfolio. The style is humorous and finds just that right balance of simple and textured with details. It's a punk aesthetic but it's also Saturday Morning Cartoons.

He's a Master of Pancakes, contributed work to the likes of Inherent Vice and Dinosaur Jr and has his own Youtube series interviewing other great artists and drawing out stories.

How I have not familiarized myself with his work prior to now is beyond me but better late than never.

Divining The Future Of Television

Really enjoyed this piece from Sarah Ullman on Diving the Future of Television - a reconciliation of Youtube versus Traditional TV. The breakdown under "The True Answer" subsection is a rather eloquent way of describing the two beasts. I'll include the full two paragraphs here for posterity:
Television is a troubadour with two faces, each adorned with a drama mask: one happy (the half-hour comedy) and one sad (the hour-long drama). We invite Television into our homes to tell tales of Khaleesi, cartoon-yellow families from Springfield, and Festivus. On these nights, we recline, flip channels, and enjoy, soothed by the well-worn rhythms of the story. Now happy, now sad, now happy.

YouTube is an algorithmic search oracle: seek and ye shall find. Visit YouTube, and the cursor blinks in an empty search YouTubebar, waiting to answer your question. The YouTube oracle is a hydra with infinite faces as diverse as the infinite varieties of human emotion: happy and sad, yes, but also vlogs, haul videos, ASMR, unboxings, and no-scope kill montages.
It's a bit humbling to think that my generation was the last to have the limited television options and overly structured storytelling because of required commercial breaks. But the article makes a great point that both entities need each other to evolve and change. That can't be a bad thing (can it?).

via KK