March 31, 2009

stay tuned

You may have caught the announcement a couple weeks ago that NBC's cable network SciFi is changing its name to Syfy. Similar to many networks, they have found a need to try to broaden their audience in order to gain ratings and in doing so have decided to (somewhat arguably) abandon their core image. It's a story that goes back as far as MTV - remember when it stood for Music Television? This is an interesting case though, because the core science fiction audience is a fairly devoted one and the announcement of the name change has brought no shortage of uproar. Its also a time when interactivity is playing a role in branding decisions, as shown recently by Tropicana's decision to drop its recent rebrand and go back to their old logo and packaging after only weeks in the marketplace. I noticed a blurb on Brand New today that added an interesting wrinkle to the Syfy saga. Landor, a giant in branding known for some great work (think bp) as well as their share of truly awful work (think Pizza Hut), posted a blog entry on their website distancing themselves from the new name, explaining that while they were a part of the rebranding project, they weren't responsible for the new name. Brand New's Armin Vit notes "It’s rare that a large branding firm can go on the record after the fact, so this is an interesting turn of events." Its going to be interesting to see what happens with this one.
  • Landor Blog: What you've been wondering about Landor and Syfy
  • March 30, 2009


    No, I'm not back in Germany. This is the Red Lion, a little German restaurant that is a couple blocks from where I used to live in Silverlake. Oddly enough, when I lived there, I rarely thought of going there. But I went Sunday with my friend Kevin from New Orleans. It was my first trip there since my trips to Germany the last few years, so it was interesting to have that perspective now. Though it calls itself one, it isn't a real beer garden, but its still a fun place. The beer selection is not wide, but not bad - only two weisbiers; and the food is decent as well. But the fun of the Red Lion is the atmosphere, which certainly feels like another world, particularly given that you're in the middle of a hipster neighborhood in LA. The ingredients are all there. Just add some friends and you've got a good time.

    March 27, 2009


    A fairly random gallery of images from today - some from some errands in Venice, and others from dinner in Silverlake. Sorry for so many galleries lately - just not a lot to say I guess!

    March 26, 2009

    downtown color

    These are actually from a few weeks ago taken while downtown - my blind shooting that day seemed to end up grabbing several shots with a lot of color.

    March 24, 2009


    a few more pics from our Sunday wandering...

    March 23, 2009

    boyz in the hood

    More with the boyz from Berlin today. Frank, Norbert and I grabbed lunch in the neighborhood and did some wandering and shooting (more Norbert shooting as his eye caught whatever was sparking the ideas in his head while Frank and I followed with our little digital cameras). Norbert's been working with High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) photography, which creates some pretty cool and unexpected results by combining three exposures into one image, so I'm anxious to see what (if anything) the LA and El Porto shots end up yielding for him. They then headed on to Big Bear and I got back to life as normal, if there is such a thing.

    March 22, 2009


    So I finally have some visitors taking advantage of the offer to visit the beach I seem to always be making to everyone. My friend Frank from Berlin and his mate Norbert are traveling the states and are here for a day or two on their way through California. Today was an absolutely crazy day weatherwise here. The winds were blowing in ways I've never seen before, causing it to be a pretty cold and blustery day - and even knocking out the power a couple times. I took them down to Uncle Bill's for some pancakes to start the day (especially after Frank's face lit up at the mention of pancakes). After braving the winds back (by that time they were too strong to even walk along the beach), we made our way toward downtown and wandered along its Eastern edge under some of LA's bridges and among warehouses. Norbert is a photographer, so we were hunting for good areas for him to shoot and successfully found a few. We also wandered through Union Station and Olvera Street since we were passing by, and then made our way to one of my favorite spots in the city - Clifton's Cafeteria for dinner. Not the greatest food, but the greatest place. It was a fun and filling day many times over.

    March 20, 2009

    wag wag wag

    I got this in the mail the other day from my Mom and thought I'd share it here. One of the coolest things my Mom did was to save tons of drawings and papers from throughout our childhood. This little booklet is obviously one of them. Who would have guessed that as a kid I'd be making books about puppies?! Notice the wagging tail of the puppy on the cover. Puppies tails wag. Wag wag wag.

    March 19, 2009

    fogged in

    I had a feelin this was gonna happen. I actually started feeling it before I left, but luckily it held off til I got back. Sure enough, I've been kinda under the weather today. Its my own fault so I'm not complainin'. Its easy to do push your body too hard when traveling, then add a long flight on top of it and your body will get the last word in. (call that a traveltip). I'm just glad it held out until I got home. There's nothing worse than being sick while traveling. And appropriately enough, we've had a couple of foggy days here at the beach. Again, no complaints - its a change I kind of enjoy. But I'm using the two as an easy topic for todays blog post. Blame it on the fog.

    March 18, 2009

    home again

    So to catch back up on the last day in Munich, my friends Kai and Heinrich had me over to their home for dinner along with my friends Richard and Markus. Heinrich made what was probably the best meal I've ever had in Germany, all Bavarian specialties: roast goose breast, potato pancakes, and - well - petersilienwurzelpürree, which I haven't been able to translate. (update: Kai tells me that is parsley root puree.) It really was amazing. The whole evening was nice and low key, which was perfect since everyone was still in a bit of recovery from Sunday's Starkbierfest festivities. They, of course, all had to work that day. As we were walking to the S-Bahn afterward, I mentioned to Richard how surreal this trip had been and we ended up only talking about how the airfares were so strangely cheap. I was thinking how I was walking down a street in Germany at that moment but knew that in hours I would be back in California. But in addition to that, the feeling came from how spur of the moment the trip had been, how much I've gotten to be familiar with getting around Munich, now even starting to understand some language (very little!), and of course how I've come to know my friends there even better with each visit as well as make new ones each time. Yet at the same time, its half a world away. I have this bad habit every time I'm in Munich - usually in the middle of festivities at Oktoberfest or Starkbierfest - of tearing up at some completely random and inappropriate time (like during a cheesy Schlager song I like called 'Einen Stern'). If a friend is near I'll always have to explain that they're happy tears - and they truly are and thankfully they usually subside pretty quickly. That's not something I really have had happen other times or places, so I have no idea where it comes from, other than somewhere inside. I've been back in my house for a day now, but I've also felt homesick all day.

    March 17, 2009


    back in LA now... a few last pics from Munich and the trip... more of a wrapup tomorrow, but I'm a little sleep deprived at the moment!

    March 16, 2009


    And I wonder why I keep coming back here...! Yesterday was the Starkbierfest celebration in the Augustiner-Kellar here in Munich. We met at what felt like an early 1pm with some apprehension of that first Starkbier so 'early' in the day (at least it looks like coffee!). The fest started low-key as we filled our stomachs with Schweinebraten and cautiously sipped our first Starkbier, but the crowd continued to get larger and more festive with Schuhplatter dancers and the band adding to the atmosphere. Most of us switched to Helles beer after the first Starkbier so as not to overdo it, and the day rolled into high gear as the band moved to more schlager type songs that everyone would sing along and dance to. Eventually it had to end, but I was glad that many of my friends were not done either, so we took a tram to the Edelheiss, which thankfully was playing videos of schlager hits for the enthusiastic crowd to sing with. But that of course couldn't go on forever either, and another Munich celebration was one for the photo books.