there are 20 posts from July 2010

July 15, 2010

champion on inception

Edward's Champion's reviews are always worth reading, and his new review of Inception is no exception, especially since it's studded with gems like "It’s never a wise idea to name a protagonist after a salad" and "as dead as a greedy investment banker’s onyx soul." But I think the premise of his negative take on the movie is fundamentally flawed.

Nolan has been given a $160 million budget to get a mass audience to confront its deepest visceral fantasies, but, with Inception, the collected reveries resemble a pedestrian heist movie.

I somehow doubt that the studio approved a nine figure budget to fund an enormous psychotherapy experiment. Instead, I think they probably wanted a heist movie with a hot star, cool visual effects and a hook that would drive some pre-release mystery and intrigue. You know, a summer blockbuster?

July 14, 2010

just like the snowglobe

I've actively watched maybe an aggregate of 90 minutes of The Hills through it's run on MTV, so admittedly I'm not the best person to weigh in on what they did with the finale. But still...

As Kristin Cavallari pulled away, off to Europe to "find" herself, pal and former flame Brody Jenner stood on an empty LA street to watch her go. It was a bittersweet, emotional moment. But then the backdrop rolled away, the cameras panned out, and we saw that Jenner was now standing on a Hollywood lot, surrounded by crews, and that Cavallari's car was parked just a few feet away. She got out, they hugged, and that was that.

Love it. My friend David Jacobs quipped that The Hills managed to create the reality TV equivalent of St. Elsewhere's snowglobe. The shot of the snowglobe at the end of that series implied that the entire show had been the product of Tommy Westphall's imagination. The Hills ending with a pan to expose the Hollywood lot implies that the entire show had been the product of Adam DiVello's imagination. Which, of course, everyone knew....but willfully ignored.

While it lasts, Here's a YouTube clip of the ending.


PS: Styleite argues that MTV did this same thing seven years ago with the finale of season two of The Osbournes.

PPS: The Awl does a nice recap of the finale. "In that final moment, the producers defied the odds, and succeeded, however briefly, in making The Hills interesting one more time."

July 14, 2010

five bits out of context

  1. Ruth Bourdain: "Happy Bastille Day everyone! I’m going to celebrate by curling up in bed with my 30 lb foie gras pillow and French flag blanket and watch Jacques Tati movies while stoned."

  2. Speaking of foie gras, all it takes is one link from Waxy and I spend the whole day staring at my screen, worrying about my health.

  3. The How to trick people into thinking you're good looking video is excellent, and not quite what the title implies. The closer is a kicker.

  4. This is kind of a big deal, if you're into this sort of thing: Long-hidden Diebenkorns surface at Hirshhorn, complete with photos. They're gorgeous.

  5. I like Battelle's bit on checking into states of mind. Now: mayor of teeth grinding. Later: mayor of scotch-fueled haze?

July 13, 2010


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by brevity, over-connectedness, emotionally starving for attention, dragging themselves through virtual communities at 3 am, surrounded by stale pizza and neglected dreams, looking for angry meaning, any meaning, same hat wearing hipsters burning for shared and skeptical approval from the holographic projected dyna..................



July 13, 2010

the horror. the horror.

Design that works, sells volumes, while design that is beautiful is heralded in the design community. To any designer with a fetish for tattoo-like filigree or a penchant for overlapping color to create a transparent effect, I say, just go to the largest outdoor festival or fair you can find in your area and witness for the day, those who buy the products you design. It’s a humbling experience to see those hoards of people consuming fast-moving consumer goods with apparently no awareness or care for the graphic tension on packaging or the choice of interesting and unexpected typographic compliments. In fact, most of the time, design is overlooked. From the moment all people wake up in the morning to the moment they go to bed, most objects used are without second thought.


A Dieline contributor on the failure of a redesigned package of Kraft Natural Cheese. Worth reading in full, if only to exercise the muscle that keeps you from reaching through your display, grabbing the author by the neck, shaking vigorously and shouting NO DUH! at the top of your lungs.

July 13, 2010

'in real life' was the perfect touch

The team that's doing this must be having a blast.


July 12, 2010

required reading

Adam Rifkin has a fantastic post up about pandas, lobsters, bacn, toast, multi-dimensional apps, Sneetches, blue ball machines, multiple types of whales, mars, venus and why Google cannot build social applications. You should go read it.

July 10, 2010

something to do with an emergency?

something to do with an emergency? posted by Esthr at Flickr

Note: this photo, in addition to being pitch perfect, is a compelling argument for why Flickr should put titles back on top, where they belong.

July 10, 2010

brands as patrons

"It's kind of an example of how brands can become patrons, supporting and introducing artists and vendors who maybe no one has heard of, but most of whom operate within a few blocks of the space."


Curator and project manager Adam Katz on the pop-up Levi's workshop in San Francisco. Worth checking out.

July 09, 2010

this flowchart pretty much defines the local maximum problem


Then again, people who follow flowcharts like this probably deserve to be stuck on a local maximum.

July 09, 2010

the view from six apart this morning

July 09, 2010

it's in my hair, it's on my clothes


Happy Friday.

July 08, 2010

i'm rooting for the kids

Moore and Bening are superb actors here, evoking a marriage of more than 20 years, and all of its shadings and secrets, idealism and compromise. Nic is more of the mind, Jules is more of the heart. The film gives them convincing, intelligent dialogue, mannerisms that fit and children who, having been raised outside homophobic hysteria, are nice and well-adjusted.


Ebert reviews The Kids Are All Right, and I'm kind of shocked that a movie with convincing, intelligent dialog and children that are nice and well-adjusted actually got the green light. Two thumbs up.

July 07, 2010

this is the dumbest picture on the internet today


Dear clever New York Times blogger -- you're doing it wrong. And I know that the just-slightly-out-of-focus woman in the background is thinking the exact same thing.

July 06, 2010

the philosophy of toy story 3

Aaron Swartz goes all sophomore year cultural studies on Toy Story 3, and it's kind of fun, until a parenthetical aside unintentionally ruins his own argument.

(Intentionality is kind of confusing here, since it doesn’t seem like the managerial class wanted to get rid of the revolutionaries while the revolutionaries were planning to leave anyway.)

I thought Michael Keaton was great as Ken.

July 06, 2010

mini-microsoft on the kin

What's the one ThinkWeek paper I want to read this year? Lessons Learned from Microsoft KIN and How Microsoft Must Change Product Development. You can't have a failure like this without examining it and then sharing what went wrong, all with respect to vision, execution, and leadership. How big was the original iPhone team? How big was the KIN team? Why did one result in a lineage of amazingly successful devices in the marketplace, and the other become a textbook extended definition for "dud" ?


Mini has been on fire lately; this post includes comments from someone on the (acquired) Danger team. Read with whatever dose of salt you require...but still read it.

July 06, 2010

jack shedd on pictures

I don’t think we capture the right moments. The camera flashes and we pose. We pose. We create moments as artificial as the memory we want of them. We stare into lenses and lie, if only a little, so that the record shows we were there, enjoying or not enjoying ourselves, in precisely the way we’d prefer it.


I think one of the major technology-enabled trends of the past 10 years has been the massive decrease in elapsed time between when a photo is taken and when it is shared...not to mention the correlative reduction in the marginal cost of sharing an individual photo.

Like Jack, I've never been a fan of the posed photo. But as the posed photo gives way to the stream of captured moments, maybe those images will lie less often.

July 06, 2010

i always thought the 405 was hell

Via Waxy, a Greg Knauss story from 1991, The Damnation of Richard Gillman.

"Saint Peter knew what to expect when people arrived; he'd been at this job for quite a while."

So good.

July 02, 2010

via @coudal, amy king on reading

Watching takes less effort, but using your cabeza to think-into-being concepts, characters, and ideas lying dormant in a book, well, this means working the imagination into a sweat and, by default, developing other difficult-to-discuss human attributes like empathy and conscience. We stretch and test and grow those head-muscles through debate, analysis, and reading. When we neglect such exercises, when we simply let worldly representations enter our heads unquestioned, those muscles atrophy. We go numb, passive and blanketly accept most anything, eventually. Sense of self fades, as does ability to discriminate harmful practices and ideas from better ones


It's a three-day weekend; dive into a good book.

July 02, 2010

i'm sure there's a soccer fan who would love to transect his brain stem

Frog's Design Mind blog points to a piece in the New English review on Soccer and Snobbery, calling out a quote that uses the word "decerebating." As in "The decerebrating effect of football (and no doubt other sports as well) is illustrated by..." blah blah blah.


Oh, decerebrating! Of course.

decerebrate -- to eliminate cerebral function by transecting the brain stem or by ligating the common carotid arteries and basilar artery at the center of the pons; an animal so prepared, or a brain-damaged person with similar neurologic signs.

I can think of better ways to decerebrate than by transecting my brain stem. Not sure where I'm going with this, other than of course the guy who uses the word "decerebrating" thinks that sports make us stupid. Jerk.