Serial (from This American Life)

The folks at This American Life have started their first offshoot series. Serial will be an ongoing series, much like TAL, but instead of new stories every week they will focus on one story per season and follow the characters and plot developments throughout. You know, kinda like TV. This provides a huge opportunity to hear a lot more from the people involved in any particular saga and it sounds promising to me. Hopefully they even take a little hint from Love + Radio and just let those involved speak for awhile, uninterrupted.

Whatever it ends up being, I'm happy to see such an institution like TAL finally embracing a bit of technology.

Linda Tirado on Poverty

Over the weekend I poured over this piece from Linda Tirado. The 32-year old wrote a long forum post about Why People In Poverty Make Terrible Decisions - like eating fast food or consistently smoking, despite knowing the dangers. It is a long piece that covers a lot of ground but it never strays into a tone of animosity or chiding - it's merely explanatory as to just how hard it is to be in poverty.

The general assumption of the poor is that they're lazy or intentionally not working too hard to get themselves out of their situation but, truth be told, you can work incredibly hard and make no movement upward. Tirado's piece is fantastic top to bottom. It gives perspective that you probably thought you had but never had the specifics to go along with it.

Terry Gilliam on Hollywood

This great Terry Gilliam interview covers a lot of ground - from his departure from the Hollywood system, to his influence in new filmmakers, his Just Ahead of the Curve "flops", his plans for the failed Don Quixote movie and plenty of insight on his new film The Zero Theorem (the final film in his "Orwellian triptych").

I've always really enjoyed Gilliam's very articulate ability to express his opinion on things, even if they aren't always the most optimistic and this article is full of truths about himself and his view on the movie world.

Friday Videos - Sept 19th, 2014

According to this tweet we're heavily into Fall weather here in NYC. The city seems to have abandoned Summer at the drop of a hat and it's full force Fall now. So that's the weather report here in New York City. Here's some videos. If you need more - check out this doggie or google "The Beautiful Pizza" just for fun.

Have a great weekend.

Vintage Visualizations

Occasionally I hit up Brooklyn Brainery for a class or two on something interesting (Cults 101, Personal Rights vs Police) and am always intrigued by the beautiful, vintage, data visualizations they have adorning their walls. A few years ago they launched a digital repository of the Census Bureau creations but now they've gone one step further and made them available for purchase over at Vintage Visualizations. If you know a data nerd, or a history nerd, or (ideally) both - there is no better gift.

I'm really smitten with configurations like the Most Populous City Ranking and the Occupations by Race and Nationality charts.

iOS 8 Vector UI

Given that the iPhone 6 is officially released today it just seems appropriate to steer your eye towards this iOS8 Vector UI collection - an illustrator file of interface elements to help make mocking up apps feel accurate and natural. I'm sure there are better / more efficient tools out there for this sort of thing than just dragging out of an Illustrator file but it gets the job done and has a low barrier for entry. There's also a nice bit of insight to go along with the vector tools. Times are changing when it comes to screen resolutions but you gotta learn to roll with it.

Semi-related: here's a massive dump of presentation templates. So once you've got that design you can show it off in a fancy way.

615 To Fame Release

If you haven't taken the time to listen to Steelism's full-length 615 to Fame, please stop what you're doing and do so now.
It's nice to hear the diversity that such an undertaking can accomplish. Bonus: if you get the vinyl there's some illustrative work on the back from Rachel Briggs that will surely please the eyes.

Kung Fury

The Kickstarter campaign for Kung Fury featured one of the most absurd trailers I've seen in a long time. It manages to find that perfect balance of kitschy, hilarious, absurd and still approaches itself as a big action movie. They're leveraging the VHX system to post Production Updates as they work on the movie (and to distribute it when it's finished). You can support them to get the updates if you're curious.

I'm happy to have them on the system but I'm even happier to know they're making this crazy thing.

The Multi-Tasking Myth

Over the weekend I read through this Clay Shirky article Why I Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away and can't stop thinking about it. As a teacher of "theory and practice of social media" at NYU it seems pretty sensible that Shirky would allow his students to have their laptops open while they learn about the Internet. The article could easily have turned into a professor complaining about those damn kids and their computer machines but he takes a very rational approach to the problem, even tossing in just the right amount of legitimate science:
People often start multi-tasking because they believe it will help them get more done. Those gains never materialize; instead, efficiency is degraded. However, it provides emotional gratification as a side-effect. (Multi-tasking moves the pleasure of procrastination inside the period of work.) This side-effect is enough to keep people committed to multi-tasking despite worsening the very thing they set out to improve.
That pull quote alone keeps swimming in my head as it seems to be easily abstractable to larger issues we all experience. Multi-tasking isn't the right solution to the problem but it's the one with emotional gratification, so we go that route.

Do I think the general public will stop tackling multiple tasks at once in an effort to do one task with more efficiency? Probably not. However, I think it's worth taking note of in your every day efforts.

yk mix: FIN

As the Summer Mix Series draws to a close it hit me that a mix of ending songs would be an apt compilation for my own submission. I limited myself to choosing closers from full-length albums only and did my best to find a balance of curveballs (Human Milk) and classics (Built to Spill). I think it turned out well. There are some tracks on there that I've certainly included on other mixes but a solid closer is a solid closer, even if you've heard it before.

So, with no further ado, go check out FIN, a compilation of closers. I think it turned out quite well.
[ Download MP3 | Download M4A | Download ZIP | Stream It ]

  1. Lee Fields & The Expressions - Last Ride
  2. Hospitality - All Day Today
  3. Soulwax - Funny
  4. Self - Lost My Senses
  5. Human Milk - Pulled Out to Sea
  6. Sound Team - Handful of Billions
  7. Apollo Up! - Plans
  8. The Big Sleep - New Strings
  9. Benji Hughes - Baby, It's Your Life!
  10. The Silver Seas - The Broadway Lights
  11. Spoon - Black Like Me
  12. Goldcard - Untitled
  13. Frank LoCrasto - Unfashionable Chime
  14. Built to Spill - Untrustable _ Part 2 ( About Someone Else )
  15. Here We Go Magic - Everything's Big (featuring Luke Temple)
  16. Supergrass - Run
  17. Hotpipes - I Don't Wanna Die
  18. Eels - P.S. You Rock My World
  19. Richard Swift - Beautifulheart
  20. Lux Perpetua - Fuck Around
  21. They Might Be Giants - Kiss Me, Son Of God
  22. The Books - PS
  23. Uncle Skeleton - Starstuff
Continue Reading...

Harmontown Growing

I am sure I will talk regularly about this as more develops but I'm happy to see that the Harmontown movie is starting to gain some steam. They've got a new official poster and a bunch of live tour dates are making their way out into the world (movie screenings + podcast).

If you haven't seen the trailer yet, do yourself a favor now.

Sequitur Cinema

Loving the branding and works of Sequitur Cinema - a commercial and film house out of Nashville. They have a documentary called "Mom Jovi" on the decks? Yes please! The Tennessee Tourism spot is beautiful work as well. Very much looking forward to more work from these guys.

Normal

Over the weekend I encountered a huge bit of advertising for these new NORMAL earbuds - a particularly clever new headphone that uses 3D printing to sculpt earpieces specifically for your head. While this may mean that sharing headphones is more difficult, it does mean that the likelihood of them sticking in your earholes is greatly improved.

Their website does a great job of selling the tech and explaining how you get them the dimensions for your ear (download the app, duh!). They also have a particularly weird commercial that continues to lend itself to my enjoyment of the product - without ever having used them. It's great to see 3D tech actually being applied in a real world scenario instead of just theoretically.

Theoretically, these are awesome. The pricetag is a bit steep for my blood but they are truly one of a kind.*

* unless you have an identical sibling with the exact same ear. then it's just a smart investment.

Frank (Lenny Abrahamson)

I had planned on seeing it in the theatre but once I realized that it was available on Amazon, I dove right in to a viewing of Lenny Abrahamson's Frank. At the outset, I was expecting a somewhat dark comedy about a band trying to find their way. While it certainly delivers on that front it also happens to go, surprisingly, deeper and investigates a bit of the world of the world of exploitation towards the mentally unstable. Think Wesley Willis as a good example. Is he being exploited? Is he enjoying it without really realizing what's happening? Are others manipulating him for their own gain? Maybe it's Yes to all of that.

All and all, I enjoyed and recommend. The head is silly but it makes a lot more sense once you have the context. You won't be able to hear this song without feeling a little tear jerked.

Friday Videos - Sept 12th, 2014

Have you seen the redesigned Devour? Or the redesigned Wimp? Both serve as consistent sources for Friday Videos so if you're ever feeling like the playlist is a bit on the weak side, hit them up for further distraction entertainment. That being said, enjoy!
  • Bill Murray in "Fun & Games" - who doesn't love to see Bill Murray doing some Tongue Twisters? The man is always a treat.
  • Apple Campus 2 construction video - with all the hubbub over the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch you may have forgotten that Apple is building an enormous space ship over in Cupertino. Check out this progress.
  • Ten Walls - Walking with Elephants - I'm not overly compelled by the song but the video is the perfect balance of arty, absurd and entertaining. Finally, humans can be dolphins.
  • Longest 'usable' golf club - did you know the Guiness Book of World Records still exists? Did you know it takes on meaningful accomplishments like this?
  • "Neverland" by The dB's - Fascinating story behind this video. It was shot back in 1982 and sat dormant until 2008 when it was finally edited and released through a series of happy circumstances. The video may not be breaking any barriers but it's a damn fine song and a band worth investigating.
  • BOTHER // LES SINS - I'm calling this my new Theme Song.
  • Hair Style for Safety WWII - I love old propaganda videos and this one uses the term "witchlock" in reference to hair. Into it.
  • Mr. Go 3D Official Trailer - this is a Korean movie starring a believable 3D gorilla as a humans companion that is coerced into playing major league baseball. That's what I can glean from the trailer. Whatever it is, we don't have anything like it.
Still need more? Watch this or this - additional solid entertainment.

Have a great weekend!

Dan Harmon + Neil Berkeley Uncut

It's been out there for awhile but this SXSW Chat with director Neil Berkeley (Beauty is Embarrassing and forthcoming Harmontown doc) and writer Dan Harmon is pretty interesting. Harmon is quite eloquent and, often, brutally truthful. I listen to his podcast regularly and never seem to tire of his pontifications. This is no different and I'm excited to see the Harmontown movie out in the wild.

Illustrator Preset Considerations

You wouldn't think a company named "MoneyDesktop" would have much useful insight in the ways of setting up Illustrator but this article is pretty great. Maybe it's all pretty standard stuff but pushing yourself to use AIT templates as a jumping off point and focusing on shared swatches and library symbols seems like a best practice if there ever was one.

Join The Battle For Net Neutrality

If you read this site semi-regularly, I can safely assume you are no stranger to the issue of Net Neutrality. I realize I am preaching to the choir by reminding you that it is really something we need to maintain in order for the Internet to flourish.

That being said, just because you know about it doesn't mean you've done anything about it. Sites like Etsy, Netflix, Vimeo, Kickstarter, Wordpress and tons more are putting the message up in your face to send word to politicians or sign petitions to let your voice be heard. Please take the time to actually do this. A phone call is the best course of action in terms of impact but if all you feel like doing is signing a form - then do that. Just do something.