February 28, 2008

back to my roots






I'm back in Dallas again for the Fort Worth Rodeo this weekend. In all honesty, I grew up in Vriginia, and I've lived in LA now even longer than I lived in Dallas, yet for some reason, coming back to Dallas always feels like coming back home. I suppose the years I lived here were probably my most formative ones, and probably my happiest ones as well. After the overloaded last couple weeks workwise, its a nice and much needed break (although I'll still be doing work from here as well). Nonetheless, I'm glad to back.

February 26, 2008

disgraced odyssey






2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my favorite movies of all time. On top of the movies quiet boldness that may still be ahead of its time, I always loved how classically understated the poster/advertising for it was, especially the type always set in Futura Extra Bold. Classic and quiet, yet bold - much like the movie. None of the cheesy, expected science fiction cliches - it always stayed above that, and I admired that. So when I saw a link on Design Observer that the new DVD reissue had done a redesign, I steeled myself. And naturally, I found myself in a 'what were they thinking' moment. Seriously, what were they thinking? Did some kid on an assembly line churn this out without knowing anything about the movie? To its credit, at least they didn't add a swoosh and 3D extrusions and gradients - and if I had never seen the original, I wouldn't think this was awful. But I have, and that design is part of the movies (40 year!) history. A little digging made me realize that not only is it just an unnecessary change of a time-tested classic, but also in some respects an affront to the Director, Stanley Kubrick. According to Experimental Jetset: a quote pulled from an article in The Guardian revealed that Kubrick had an obsession with the typeface Futura: "It was Stanley's favourite typeface. It's sans serif. He liked Helvetica and Univers too. Clean and elegant". Sigh. The only silver lining to it all is that the Experimental Jetset site featured a project where they designed their own 2001 poster using only type - with beautiful results, brilliantly basing their poster on the black monolith that is the signature connecting element in the movie. Though this doesn't use the Futura either, it respects and references Kubrick's appreciation for classic sans serif fonts. This solution is even better than the original, yet I fully realize its the kind of solution that would never make it to commercial approval. Nonetheless, it is a great specimen of communication using nothing but typography.
  • 2001: the new packaging
  • Experimental Jetset: Neutral (2001 poster project)
  • February 25, 2008

    buzzin






    You've undoubtedly heard about Improv Everywhere recently. They've been around for years, but they got a lot of attention for their recent stunt in Grand Central Station where they froze in place for five minutes, leaving those around them bewildered as to what was going on. This past Saturday they did a smaller scale but still amusing stunt at a New York Starbucks. They decided to take desktop computers into a Starbucks and use them just like anyone would go in and use their laptop. I love one of the girls putting the monitor on her lap like a laptop. My favorite part is how a couple customers just assumed they were computers for public use like any internet cafe - one girl standing by waiting for one of the guys to finish; another guy sitting down at the computer when one of the participants gets up to get more coffee. I also am pretty impressed with how cool the Starbucks workers are about it all, basically giving it a shrug. You can read more details and check out some photos and video here:
  • Improv Everywhere: "Mobile Desktop"
  • February 24, 2008

    two years






    Needing to find a quick post for today so I can get back to work, I checked out my photo library to see what I was doing on this day in other years. Turns out that it was exactly two years ago that I was finishing my last day of work in Torino with NBC Olympics, and getting ready to start my first adventures around Europe. It seems like ages ago. It's funny how you look back on things like that - the Olympics gig was 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was exhausting, and every day on the way to work we asked each other why we ever agreed to do it, yet somehow you look back on it wistfully once its over. I spent those days living in a pretty barebones room in a former military hospital; a prime diet staple was Coke Light, chilled on the windowsill. But it was a fun time with a great crew of people, and as I say often, the trip following it was life-changing. No regrets.
    This link will take you to my February 2006 archive:
  • jonberrydesign blog: February 2006
  • February 23, 2008

    precarious




    While running an errand the other day, I spotted this guy working on his car in the parking lot of an auto parts store. His feet are in the air waving around the whole time, yet he seemed to always keep his balance. Helluva way to have to fix your engine.

    February 21, 2008

    sammies!





    Mmmmm...I loves me a good sammie. Esquire magazine recently did a feature on the Best Sandwiches in America. There's a lot to love about their listing - but best of all is their description of it as "Unranked, unimpeachable, and incomplete." Smart move, cause anyone who reads it probably has a suggestion that isn't on the list. (Notably missing from Los Angeles is Phillipe's French Dip sandwich.) I love that it includes random places like South Harbor, Maine or Brattleboro, Vermont and ranges from a Maple-Barbecue Pulled Pork to a Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese. The only one I've had on the list is at Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh (the bottom pic above), easily one of the best sandwiches I've had. Two LA Sandwiches made the list: the Monte Cristo at Canters Deli, and the Torta de Milanesa at Las Nueva. yum. Road trip, anyone?
  • Esquire magazine: The Best Sandwiches in America
  • February 20, 2008

    go softly into...






    Some shots by Troy Paiva from his website and accompanying book and exhibits called "Lost America: Night Photography of the Abandoned West." Its some cool stuff - photos of everything from aircraft boneyards to urban exploration where he uses a technique called light-painting for his night photography. Check it out.
  • Troy Paiva's Lost America
  • February 19, 2008

    endless



    Don't worry, this isn't a political post... but I have to vent about these awful backdrops that have become commonplace in politics. I could be wrong, but I believe these started showing up after Bush took office. That was easy enough to dismiss, but its time to make sure the trend stops there! Multiples of the same thing repeated fifty times behind your head and in just as sharp focus as your face don't help communicate the message, they just look cheap. Theres nothing presidential or authoritative about standing in front of cheesy wallpaper. Is that really the image they want to project? And it isn't just in politics - you'll find them at awards shows and red carpets too. Again, it just looks cheap, but I guess in that case it applies. I'll write a post sometime in the future to go into this more and show examples and good alternatives, but right now I had to get it off my chest. I'll repeat: stop stop stop!

    February 18, 2008

    another gallery






    Yeah, another gallery, sorry. I did break yesterday to go to a USC game with my buddy Dave. These are from the drive around and about on the way there.

    February 16, 2008

    cartography





    Just in case you didn't know, February is 'Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket' month. Really, I'm not making this up. I think its meant more for people who walk away from the lot with the cart, but I have to admit that it even made me feel guilty enough that I was sure to walk it back to the official dropoff area last time. Apparently shopping carts cost about $100 a pop. There are even companies that drive around and collect stray carts - I've seen em with a flatbed full of carts - its a sight.
  • wikiHow: How to Observe Return Shopping Carts Month
  • February 15, 2008

    continued





    I had to drop a friend of mine off at the Airport tonight, so I snapped a few more pics of the columns. They were pretty colorful tonight.

    February 14, 2008

    gallery





    Crazy busy lately, and seriously lacking sleep, so have to just post a gallery for now. These pylons are a light sculpture that are part of the LAX Gateway project - they help to theme the entrance of LAX Airport and went up in 2000 as one of the improvements when LA hosted the DNC Convention.