Tuesday, April 29, 2008

murakami mon ami

Recently I went to see the Takashi Murakami exhibition at the Brooklyn Art Museum.

I had been looking forward to it even before I knew it was coming.. about a year ago I was leafing through my copy of the New Yorker when I happened to see this, as an advert to the US premiere (in LA at the time) retrospective exhibit of his work..

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... I was probably the motionlest rider on that subway car for a good 5-6 stops. It struck me in particular because of the strong anthropomorphic echoes it had in my mind to a (admittedly crude) watercolor I had made a few years ago...

He calls his style "super-flat", which is often belied by by the fact that he excels in the area of sculpture:

So a couple of weeks ago ago I went to see his work (and specifically that one piece, the one I saw in the New Yorker, which is actually about 15 feet wide) live at the Brooklyn Art Museum.

It is some art that makes you move

.. and some art that makes you stand very ,very still

domo arigato

Monday, April 28, 2008

That's My Roger

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[...]The pig, which was led above the crowd from lines held on the ground, displayed the words "Don't be led to the slaughter" and a cartoon of Uncle Sam wielding two bloody cleavers. The other side read "Fear builds walls."

The underside of the pig simply read "Obama" with a checked ballot box alongside.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Snow Job

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So, this asshole who was a speech writer for Bush I and then went on to work as a "commentator" for Fox News (and a sub for Rush Limbaugh) and then (back again) was later Bush II's third press secretary is now hired by CNN
to keep puking out shit for corporate America. Lucky us.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I've Been Ratzed!

Yesterday I was doing some gardening upstairs on my deck when I heard a rather loud helicopter nearby. Now, this being Brooklyn, one often hears a police / news / weather helicopter buzzing about and not a second thought is spent on it. However, this was really LOUD and CLOSE (a few hundred feet). I looked up and was rather surprised to see Marine One (what the giant helicopter the president uses to shuttle from the White House lawn to wherever Air Force One takes off from, Andrews AFB I guess) buzzing my neighborhood, just about 500 feet above my head.

That surprise was only beaten by the sight of a SECOND Marine One right behind it.... then a third, a fourth, and a FIFTH (I didn't know there were that many). Five full-sized Marine One's doing a tour circle fly-by of residential Brooklyn (they actually did a loop around Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and then headed off somewhere southeast).

I think my grandmother would be somewhat disappointed to learn that after a lifetime of her fetishistic catholic idol worship, I managed to get closer to the Pope than she has while engaging in no greater effort than potting dahlias.

(the photos are not great as I only had my cell phone's camera with me; you can't see all five choppers at once in any of these shots and because of the fish-eye quality of the lens they look a lot further than they actually were)

UPDATE: I'm told the Pope doesn't actually get to NYC until today, so the helicopters I saw were 100% Pope-free. Oh well.. it was still a sight. Perhaps they were rehearsing a route on which to take him for a tour of the city and I'll have another chance later today.

I Bet You Are

My favorite part of the final (we can only hope) debate between Clinton & Obama which I watched at a bar in midtown...

[...]In a debate that moved swiftly between politics and policy, Clinton issued a first-ever public apology for having claimed erroneously that she landed in Bosnia under sniper fire in 1996 as first lady.

"I may be a lot of things but I am not dumb," she said, adding that she had written in her book that there had been no gunfire during the episode. She said she was embarrassed by her error. "I'm sorry I said it," she added.[...]

(So, let's analyze this for a second... She's basically saying (in that imperious "what the hell is wrong with you" tone she likes to use) "What I stated is a clear contradiction of what I have previously put down in writing, thus what I said was not true, and you know that, so stop bugging me".)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How I Piss People Off

I don't even try... It just happens.

I was out walking my dog this morning when I noticed an Astrovan or equivalent (do they still make Astrovans in this brave new world of ours?) parked about five feet off the curb in front of a hydrant, something quite commonly seen here in New York, and particularly in Brooklyn. The idea, which comes naturally to us programmers and generally left-brained people, is that since it is illegal to park in front of a hydrant, in the interest of not getting a ticket I will instead park in the middle of the fucking street blocking traffic, as I would if I were, say, double-parked in front of a store while I ran in to get nail polish or condoms or something.

So, I stopped for a moment in front of this van, and I said "Excuse me, could I ask you a question?" and the young woman with the large frizzy blonde hair opens the driver's door and turns to me smiling. "I'm just curious.... do you think you're legally parked right now?" Her response (which reminded me of those long-ago commercials where, to use the vernacular of advertising graybacks, a C in a K would exclaim gleefully at the camera while shopping: "I'm cleaning my oven!") was "I'm double-parked in front of my house for a minute!"

My mind paused for a moment, as it always does while gauging the level of stupidity or insanity in another person.

"But there is no car there" I said, while looking wanly at the empty pavement between her car and the curbside hydrant. I then turned back at her to see that she was no longer smiling. I decided I needed to remedy this faux pas.

"I mean, I'm not trying to piss you off or anything, but I see a lot of people doing this and I'm just trying to figure out what the logic of it is."

"Well, I'm just here for a minute", she responds.

"Yes, but you're blocking the road."

At this she just decides that we're no longer just having a conversation, as was my assumption, and instead closes the door and begins to maneuver her van into the empty space next to the curb. I walked away, with the satisfaction of having made a new friend.

So, whether you live in Brooklyn or not, the next time you see an empty space in front of a hydrant near where you would like to see a LEGAL parking spot, but are too lazy to just go and actually find a legal spot, don't just park in the middle of the road in front of the hydrant. Two wrongs don't make a right, even if you're fucking stupid.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today's Koan: What's Wrong, and What's Right

Some things are both very very right, and very very wrong at the same time. It is the virtue of complexity and uniqueness. For today's lesson we will use Daniel Radcliffe.

For example, this is very very right:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, thus it is very very right.

On the other hand,

... this is very very wrong, even though it is the same thing as the first thing.

This concludes the koan.

(on the other hand, the second thing is very very right as well; so there we are).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

In the Tank

I designed a bumper sticker last week (in reference to this SNL sketch and the resulting media attention), then had it printed up. I'm hoping it becomes this election's "Don't Mess with Texas" in terms of stupid, out-of-context catchphrases that somehow help the guy get elected.

If you would like to have one please send a SASE (must be at least 10.5" wide; a regular #10 letter one won't do, unless you want me to fold the sticker in half) along with $5 (profits will go to campaign) to:

334 grand ave #1
brooklyn, ny 11238

Friday, April 04, 2008

Gee, that's funny...

... I don't seem to be getting as many want ads / phone calls for "fixed-income (*) experience" tech jobs as I was a year ago.

Strange, ya know?

(*) mortgage-backed securities

(not that I miss them, and not that I returned any of those calls / emails; when you're deluged with 3-5 phone calls per day for jobs all requiring the same industry experience you don't have you know it's either the next hot shit or, as this stunk from square one, somebody's fishing on a dead pool, and I've already done the former in years past from both ends. I'd much rather have this as a client.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bias? What bias?

I started a coding gig out in Long Island (ok, eastern Queens, but still well beyond the reach of the NY subway system) so I've had to familiarize myself with the Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Thankfully this is a reverse commute (I live in Brooklyn, safely snuggled against the judgmental, non-eye-contact-making busom of Manhattan) so I get to sprawl contentedly across any number of seats while listening to my bluetooth wireless iPod, reading my New Yorker, saying things like "oh c'mON people...." to no-one in particular etc, etc.

Anyway, on the ride Monday I noticed this wall poster ad inside the train. Unlike the city subway trains, which have their ads locked behind plexiglass and key, the ones on the LIRR trains are just pasted (lightly gummed, more like it) on the train bulkhead in a way so that once their ad-buy time has expired they can be pulled off just as easily as those "WARNING: YOU MUST HAVE YOU EYES OPEN WHILE DRIVING" stickers on new car steering wheels.

The in question ad is for the Amazon Kindle.. oh, sorry the Sony Reader.. I got confused because in an incredible feat of publicity tour-de-force, as a result of the quality of their product, nobody has already/will ever hear of the Sony Reader (it's like, welcome to 1994, dude). But what is interesting about this ad is not the product itself, but rather that it made me think of L. Brent Bozell having an apoplectic fit the likes of which would amuse me for years. It portrays a photograph of a pile of hardcover books, some of which are the sort of tomes enveloped in SEP (Somebody Else's Problem) fields like Dickens, Melville, Twain, pulp bull etc.... and then among them are...

The Audacity Of Hope (Obama, Barack)
The New American Story (Bradley, Bill (*))

... the only political / non-fiction shout-outs in the ad. This is the sort of bias that makes my day.

The offending ad (...to L. Brent Bozell, I can only
imagine while yawning and scratching my balls),
shot against the lovely backdrop of my home office floor

(*) it is further interesting to note that Bill Bradley's Wikipedia article bio section begins with the words "
Bradley is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America." Some Wikipedia contributors are a bit... self-absorbed.

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: