April 29, 2009
April 28, 2009
I posted a link to this on facebook earlier today, but if you missed it there, this ones worth a look. Just a cute video from the other day about a big squirrel and a little squirrel at UCLA (I assume made by some students there). It'll make you feel good.
April 27, 2009
Thanks to a post on smashingmagazine.com, I learned a new term today. Lomography. The term comes from the Lomo, an old Russian camera brand from the 1980's that often took photos of poor quality, but with unexpectedly beautiful results. Wikipedia says: "Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, "happy accidents," and alternative film processing are often considered part of the "Lomographic Technique."' In some ways a lot of the pics I often post here might qualify, possibly more from the fact that I most often shoot blindly without an intentional result, though the over-saturated color aspect is certainly one that would be missing from mine. Smashing magazine recently posted a collection of 35 Beautiful Oversaturated Pictures with links to the photographers and more of their works. Shown here are slices of shots by gleby, golfpunkgirl, eyetwist, microabi, and photomatic. Check them and many more out at this link:
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:23 PM
April 26, 2009
Today was about as full a day as I could ask for, but I got so wrapped up in enjoying it that I didn't do a very good job of snapping pics along the way. My friends Bill and his wife Danielle joined me for a concert by David Wilcox at Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, which was a surprisingly good concert venue. David Wilcox has always been one of my favorites and he was great, as always. Plus, the sound system was excellent. I've seen him in concert more times that I could count, but I think its the first time I've ever seen him in a church. I have to admit, there was actually something strangely nice about experiencing his music in that environment. We capped the evening with a visit to Katsu for some great sushi, making sure that we had satisfied all of our senses over the course of the day. Unfortunately, all I can share with you are some slivers of the church. Maybe some things are too just good to share anyway.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:25 PM
April 25, 2009
So I have to caveat this post by mentioning that as far as I know, the annual Grilled Cheese Invitational Championship is just an event that some guys started doing for fun - it isn't a professionally planned event to make money for themselves or raise money for charity, its just a fun idea that has grown over seven years to become what it is now. Anyone who knows me knows that this is one (of many) of my favorite events that I look forward to every year. Unfortunately, this years Grilled Cheese Invitational was a big fail. Now, while many are complaining (like me), its only fair that they should be cut some slack given the caveat that I just mentioned. With that said... The good news for this year was that it marked the return of beer to the tourney. Sort of. They had a fenced off beer garden area with some not very good beer, but it was gone before the event even hit the halfway point. At that point, there was still an hour long line to get in. The number of people who showed up this year was massive. And while a lot of the measures to handle that size of a crowd were probably made with the best of intentions, they also ended up killing the fun. This year, you could only sample two sammich pieces in the day. That's it. And thats if you were among those of us lucky enough to get in before the sampling/judging tickets were gone (which was sooner than the beer was gone). I can only assume this must have been some attempt to make the judging more fair. Last year every plate with a portion of a grilled cheese that came out had a ballot attached, and anyone/everyone could get those sammich/ballots. Which means if you were a competitor and cut your sammich in six pieces, you could get 6 votes from that sammich, while if you cut yours in two (dumbass), you could get two votes. So this year every competitor got an equal number of ballots, but you had to have a ticket to get a sammich piece and ballot - and tickets were limited to two. This was the part that killed the day. Many attendees didn't get any tickets, and those of us that did could only sample two, meaning our judging criteria for those two was pretty indifferent. I'd advocate for opening the totals back up - if you as a competitor are smart enough to cut your sandwich in small pieces, more people get to sample and enjoy it (and the event), and you get more votes. Good for you, you deserve to win. This years event also suffered in its staging. While last year all competitors from all categories cooked continuously, resulting in sammiches of all varieties coming out at all times, this year they were separated with gaps of time in between. And physically the cooking stations this year were in one long line instead of in a group. Both of those made it difficult to have the chance to sample much variety, and with only two tickets, you became choosy about what you accepted from competitors. In fairness, Kraft Singles was also giving out free sandwich portions (no tickets needed). Its hard to make a bad grilled cheese sandwich, but bless their hearts, somehow they did. It wasn't the cheese (or cheese product), it was some chemical that I assume they must have sprayed the pans with, because thats really all you could taste.
Still, despite all that griping, this is a really great event. The announcer did a consistent and thankless job of trying to keep the event flowing despite the new setup. The weather could not have been better. And in spite of the endless lines and new systems, though you would hear complaints as you walked around, people were generally in good spirits. I'm still hopeful and looking forward to next year, but next time we're bringing our own sammiches.
April 24, 2009
Last night I finally got my own taste of Kogi bbq tacos. If you don't live in LA, you may not have heard of them. Or then again, maybe you have - I got an email from my Dad in Virginia a couple weeks ago asking me if I had had them. Kogi (which means meat) is the invention of Mark Manguera, who one night came up with the idea of combining Korean barbecue with Mexican tacos and burritos traditionally served from roving taco trucks. He brought in chef Roy Choi to make it a reality. But what really made Kogi take off is their use of twitter, blogs, and social networking. By twittering the location of where the truck will be, they have created crowds and a following that will show up wherever they go. But in fairness, the food deserves its following - it's worth every bit of the hype. Would I wait hours in line for it? I dunno. Luckily I didn't have to. BDA, the Broadcast Designers Association, had a mixer 'catered' with the truck outside. What a great idea for an event. I sampled the korean short rib and chicken tacos. If you get only one, get the short rib. Kogi now serves permanently at a club in Culver City, but if you want to find the truck, you can follow their blog on their website or follow them on twitter at @kogibbq.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:54 PM
April 22, 2009
I've been meaning to highlight this work for a while... Fox Broadcasting has been using a really nice graphics package since last fall that the more I see, the more I love. Since there's not much on Fox besides 24 and Idol, you might not have seen it before January. There's a lot to love in this package, but what anchors it are a lot of really well-designed screens of information that clearly and boldly (and beautifully) communicate their information, usually (smartly) giving the most priority to the day and time, but always with simple but very well laid out compositions of typography. But the type has a double life in the package, because a lot of the flavor comes from very complex transitions which themselves are made of type. These transitions become a thematic link among various palettes and elements and help to both provide energy and consistency within the package. Those lines of type are also found within the foreground and background of resolved compositions, again creating a subtle link throughout the elements. And best of all - and testament to how well-designed the compositions are - is what's not used and not missed in this package: no gratuitous 3D, no light effects, no lens flares. By not using them, they've created a look that stands apart from the others. For the sake of tempering my gushing, the package does have some minor flaws - there are some poorly kerned elements that somehow made it in with the otherwise nicely kerned ones, and there is one composition that every time I see it I swear its the NBC peacock; but overall, its a package that is refreshing to see (and see used so well) on a broadcast network. The package was designed by Troika Design Group, one of the kings of broadcast design (I don't know the individual designer or designers to credit). You can see a montage reel of the look here:
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:56 PM
April 21, 2009
infrastructurist.com posted a gallery of amusingly defaced street signs last week. Yesterday, they added a second gallery of more. As they say, sure its kinda juvenile, but its also is worth a chuckle. Not that I would ever encourage or endorse anyone doing such things...that's why we have the internet.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:17 PM
April 20, 2009
The Los Angeles Dodgers have only had one sportscaster. Ever. I'm often lamenting fascinating things of the past that I missed; I'm lucky to say that this isn't one of them. Vin Scully began calling games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 with Connie Desmond and Red Barber. In 1953, at 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series, a record that stands to this day. And when the Dodgers moved west in 1957, Vin moved with them. The Dodgers played in the LA Coliseum the first few years here, and because it was difficult to follow the action in the monstrous stadium, fans often brought transistor radios with them. To this day, fans with radios are a common thing at Dodger Stadium. This is his 60th consecutive year calling Dodger games, a record unparalleled in all of sports. Today, Scully usually calls the first three innings of a game on radio simulcast with the tv broadcast, then the rest just on television. I have no idea why they do it that way, but its a joy to hear. If you've never heard him, catch a part of history this season. Tuesday marks Vin Scully's induction into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Not a moment too soon. Congratulations Vin, and thanks.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:01 PM
April 18, 2009
Making one of those 'my top five' lists on facebook today brought to mind a favorite cartoon when I was a kid that seems to be a pretty obscure one. More often than I expect, when I mention it to friends, I find out they don't remember it. For some reason, I remember loving "Kimba The White Lion" and even have this hazy memory of getting up very early in the morning just so I could watch it before going to kindergarten. Whether that's a real memory or something I've somehow made up in my mind, I'm not sure. (The thought of me getting up early for anything seems like a stretch as it is...) The basic theme of the show is that humans and animals have to understand each other in order to get along. Beyond that, I really didn't remember much about it, except how excited I would get from the theme song. A search on YouTube quickly brought up that theme song, but a bit of googling brought up tons of info about Kimba that I never knew. For one thing, the background story that sets up the series is really complicated (I won't even bother to try to summarize, but click the link below for it). Beyond that, I also discovered all kinds of trivia about how it came about, how NBC sanitized creator Osamu Tezuka's concept, the sequel series of Kimba as an adult that NBC refused and never aired in the US until CBN bought and aired it in 1984, and controversies ranging from the Lion King to modern remakes of Kimba. The links below are to some extremely comprehensive websites about all of that. If I'm not the only one who remembers this show or if you're just curious, check em out.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:19 PM
April 16, 2009
The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were a formative event for me from a design perspective. I had never seen design applied to so uniformly and consistently to anything before and it made a lasting impression. But the Olympics that are said by many to have been the best designed but sometimes overlooked were the 1972 Munich Olympics. Otl Aicher led the design of those games, creating a more extensive and comprehensive visual identity than had ever been done for an Olympics. The pictograms Aicher created for the games were done with such elegance and clarity that they would never be topped, and were later adopted and expanded to become today's universal standard system. The Munich 72 design system drew on a palette developed from the Bavarian heraldic colors of light blue and white, with a range of supporting colors like greens and golds. Anxious to obliterate the image of Hitler's 1936 Olympics in Berlin, "Aicher devised an invigorating, almost Day-glo palette for the Olympics that was utterly free of red and black - banned for their association with the German flag. Athletes depicted in the official posters for each sport had their uniforms stripped of any national identifier, leaving the emphasis firmly on individual effort. Even the logo for the Games, a graphic of a radiant sun, hammered home the message of universality and, above all, optimism," said the Daily Telegraph of the work. What I find amazing about it is how nearly 40 years later, it still looks fresh and current and less dated than even the look for the 2008 Games. London design firm Bibliotheque curated an exhibition of Otl Aicher's design for the Munich games last year in London. That exhibition is now at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art until July 7th. It may be worth the trip.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:58 PM