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5 Things I Love for Friday #189

Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | 1 Comment »

Heads-up, if you subscribe to the RSS for this site, it’s moving (temporarily? who knows). Direct hits to denyingphoenix.com will automatically forward on, but feeds will now come from here instead.

  1. BMW R60 motorcycle – Such a rugged-yet-refined look. Something evokes a war-era feeling yet embracing the “murdered out” trend in street car culture of today. Very cool
  2. Budweiser, Balsamic Vinegar, and How Expectations Affect Our Views – A short piece from Lifehacker about how having prior expectations entirely colors our perception. As I prepare for a major redesign/relaunch at work, this is very much on my mind
  3. Goonies poster – Nice design. Awesome movie.
  4. The most cinematic wedding videos – Still Motion is doing amazing work with wedding videos. Click on ‘cinema’ at the bottom of their page and watch a few. Beautiful work.
  5. Upside down cafe – Designed to look like a library flipped on it’s site, this cafe in New York can’t help but make you smile at it’s Wonderlandesque silliness.

Chance favors a connected mind

Posted: September 23rd, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: Main | Comments Off

The line between connected and distracted is perilously thin…


5 Things I Love for Friday #188

Posted: September 17th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. Birdy Juice packaging concept – Designer Mats Ottdal has a wonderful idea for fruit juice box design for kids. Liam would flip for one of these, for sure. Cute idea that I’d love to see come to market some day.
  2. Letters of Note – This site is dedicated to gathering letters, faxes, etc–rare gems that offer glimpses into the private lives of some great people. I enjoyed this particular one from James Dean, but be sure to browse the archives. I also love this one from Mark Twain and this one from Ronald Reagan to his wife Nancy.
  3. Back to the Future being released in Blu-Ray – The entire trilogy is. My childhood rejoices.
  4. Amazing green screen CGI from the John Adams series – Part of the curse/benefit of living in modern times is not knowing just how much of what we consume is fabricated. Watch this short demo real that shows how skillfully the colonial world of the John Adam’s miniseries was constructed. And if you haven’t watched the miniseries, put it on your Netflix list.
  5. Time Slice photos – Photographer Adam Magyar uses scanner cameras to create enormous, panoramic photos that defy time and space. (More at Adam’s site in the urban flow series)

Observation Deck

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: Main | Comments Off
“Have you noticed how Liam is always ill-tempered on Tuesday?”
“Huh? No,” said The Wife™ plainly as I got the ‘what the hell are you talking about‘ stare.
“I’m serious. The past few weeks on Tuesdays he’s had a pattern of acting the same exact way when he gets home. Remember? I wonder if it’s a coincidence or if there’s a reason for the pattern. Do they do something in particular at daycare on Tuesdays?”
The conversation ends with a whimper as I am the recipient of another ‘you’re crazy’ hand gesture/shrug. Something I’ve come to accept as a standard over the past 30 years.
I won’t end up being the best dad in the world, as I’m no star athlete, nor successful or wealthy or dripping with talent like so many of my friends. But if there is one thing I hope I can impart to my son, it’s a lifelong commitment to noticing, to silent observation. I want him to study it like an art, so that he can then study people, and things, and feelings that nowadays get plowed over by the insane amount of information flow in this world. I want him to be able to read people and situations just by watching, to empathize and to learn to trust his intuitions. I want him to remember names and the emotional sidecar behind every friend’s hug. I want him to notice when the moon is just shy of being full and when the frame on the wall is a half-degree askew. Not in a life meant to be critical, but in a life aligned with the intent of being more engaged. I want him to surround himself with (the works of) others who are also noticers: the photographers, the novelists, the philosophers and artists, so that he not only feels comforted and validated at the times when observation seems like a spiteful whirlwind destined to take him down, but so he can be reassured that there are others like himself who don’t just let the world flow around them, but rather through them.

“I’m fearful that the familiarity of it all will soon envelop me and that the wonder and awe I have for my son every day will slowly fade”

When we lose perspective, when our humanness gets in the way and we start to see and feel based solely on our own limited square of existence, we stop noticing things. And when we stop noticing, I feel like a part of our self starts to die, because we no longer care enough to notice. Observation, after all, takes work. But the rewards of an observed life are those moments of wonder, of being awestruck, moved beyond words in a state of absolute completeness. Like panning for gold, these shimmering nuggets of absolute truth and honesty are what keep those of us going forward for another few paces. But as a life in excess grows dull and desensitized, one cannot be endlessly bombarded by wonder and awe either. If you say a word repeatedly for too long, does it not lose meaning, and instead become a sequence of mouth and throat exercises? Indeed, the word sounds funny and foreign and entirely unattached to any meaning after awhile because it has become so familiar. And this is what I’m coming to fear as a father, this loss of meaning due to constant amazement.
Since his birth, I’ve tried to be there every cliched step of the way with Liam’s day-to-day growth. I don’t want to be on autopilot, coasting through the years to get past the rougher waters of toddlerhood or adolescence. But as a result, each and every milestone in his development is subtly a big deal to me on a personal level. Watching the evolution of his verbal and motor and cognitive abilities is breathtaking, and probably the most rewarding part of being a parent. I get excited when I hear him correct himself, fine-tuning his subject/verb agreements or remembering to use personal pronouns instead of speaking in third person. And while it may seem trite to those without children, imagine if your cat one day started walking on two legs or decided to don a smoking jacket. You would get the same “holy hell, when did you learn to do that?!” feeling coursing through your body, spinning your mind 180 degrees in comprehension. What frightens me now is that the rapidity of his development is outpacing my own ability to absorb and appreciate each new step. Yesterday alone I heard him upstairs randomly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance (with hand over heart, my wife says), yet before the gravity of that can sink in, I’m distracted by him having learned how to spell his name. I’m fearful that the familiarity of it all will soon envelop me and that the wonder and awe I have for my son every day will slowly fade to a point where it’s just another a tiny pony.
Admittedly, though, I suppose he does a good job of keeping my fatherly incredulity in check, occasionally reminding me that he’s still a fumbling toddler and not letting my mind wander too far to a time when he’s going be smarter than myself or my wife. Driving home last night, I turned around when I heard him muttering under his breath. He was in his seat, brow furrowed in deep concentration with all 10 fingers outstretched before him. He was counting, but working his way higher than we’d heard him go before. “16…17…18…19…”
“That’s great, buddy,” I said as I looked at my amazed wife and wondering when he’d crossed the threshold of 11.
Both of us slightly eager for a confirmation that our kid might have a shot at a college scholarship some day is making progress developmentally, I prodded, “So what come’s after 19?”
“Five,” he said as he beamed proudly.
Thank God he’s still a two year old kid, and thank heavens I still have time to soak it all in. Errors and all.
Those moments of spectacular failure might just end up being what keeps me amazed, connected and observant.


5 Things I Love for Friday #187

Posted: August 27th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. Bubble gin and tonic – I’m usually not down for avant garde culinary stuff as it tends to be pretentious (and navel gazing). But this idea is brilliant, even if I’m not dying to try it. More on spherical encapsulation as used in molecular gastronomy.
  2. Urbane Jacket – What a beautiful jacket. The lines and material used here are fantastic. I could give up eating for two months, right?
  3. Chiddy Bang – Opposite Of Adults [video] – Philadelphia hip hop duo Chiddy Bang (Chidera Anamege and Xaphoon Jones, met at Drexel Univ.) deliver a fun, fresh and amusing video from their new album. I love the bed-jumping scene.
  4. Beer in good spirits – An curious little story about Tom Griffin, the man who logs 50,000 miles a year delivering oak barrels around the country to all the top microbreweries. This is the man single-handedly responsible for helping fuel the cask-aging movement in beer. Thanks, Tom.
  5. Apple’s patent for a “breathing status LED indicator” – What a kick ass example of their attention to detail in design. They patented the slowly ‘breathing’ light for when their computers are in sleep mode. It’s set to the perfect rate of human breathing (12-20 breathes per minute) to achieve a psychologically pleasing effect. This has always been one of my favorite incidental details of their products.

5 Things I Love for Friday #186

Posted: August 20th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off

Another week gone by without a ‘regular’ post.

  1. eInk watch – I’m not sold on the design of the watch, but the technology has me intrigued. The eInk display looks to be a neat application in timepieces.
  2. 35 lessons in 35 years – From the experience design director at Adaptive Path. Worth the read for a few little nuggets.
  3. Jonah Hill and Elmo discuss mustaches – Not much more else to say, really.
  4. Two Eye Wool Boat Shoe – I question what is becoming of me when I find boat shoes to be well-designed. But for some reason these wool Sperry’s caught my eye.
  5. How to Be Alone – Fun little video by Andrea Dorfman. Poetry, music, motion graphics. Stuff like this is what makes the internet so great, and why legislation that threatens net neutrality is horrifically dangerous.

5 Things I Love for Friday #185

Posted: August 13th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. iPad + beer +hacking = awesome – The engineers at Yelp hacked together an iPad and a kegerator for some fun.
  2. Skate Park after dark – Otherworldly photos of a skatepark painted in light.
  3. Serious Eats – Rarely do I feature an entire website on FTILFF, but I’m continually amazed at how good the content coming out of this site is. I monitor a lot of food blogs but Serious Eats consistently has the most number of recipes that I end up flagging to try.
  4. Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 – These photos of America during the depression era are amazing. Or if you like, how about photos of Europe from 1906?
  5. ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl -Said to be among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud, Frankl (a survivor of Nazi camps) puts together a moving narrative that ultimately drives home the ideas of logotherapy. (Unlike Freud, who focuses on sexual impulses as the root of human behavior, logotherapy identifies man’s deepest desire as the search for meaning and purpose). A good read.

5 Things I Love for Friday #184

Posted: July 30th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. Turf Dancin’ in the rain – Kottke found this gem of a video of a few kids turf dancing in the rain on the corner of a street. I will never understand how people are able to move their bodies in such ways…
  2. 2009 World Beard and Mustache Championship photographs – They’re insanely beautiful portraits in their own right. But the beards! I mean if I had a spare $350 this guy would be hanging above my fireplace.
  3. Art deco styling + motorcycle = me drooling – Everything about this bike, from the instrument panel to the seat leather to the low profile is inspiring.
  4. The Creative Personality – I tagged this article from Psychology Today awhile back on Instapaper but finally got around to reading it this week. Well worth it, especially if you have a creative in your life. It might help you understand their oddities in a bit better context.
  5. Smart DIY garage storage – A thoughtful solution. Paint the rails white and I think it’d be even better. Might be a project for my future…

5 Things I Love for Friday #183

Posted: July 23rd, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. This ibex is not to be messed with – Convincing debate skills this horned-one has. I think I work with a few folks who argue the same way.
  2. Runnin’ Rhino – Since we’re on the topic of animals, this shirt is cute. And yes, I just called something cute. My language is slowly being dumbed down by my two year old.
  3. Flipboard iPad app – Everyone is talking about this first look at an application that pulls in all your social media content and renders it like a magazine layout. Very intriguing concept, but not sure if most people give a crap about design to bother.
  4. Artwork by Os Gemeos – Part of a public installation piece for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s show “Viva la Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape”. Love the trompe l’oeil.
  5. Sledgehammer and Whore – Nicely written, humorous and peppered with profanity (you’ve been warned). An account of one hollywood screenwriter’s life for a day when his office was broken in to, and how he would pitch it to a network as if it were a sitcom. Long, but chuckle-worthy.

5 Things I Love for Friday #182

Posted: July 16th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. Clem Snide covers Journey – As part of The Onion’s AV Club’s Undercover, Clem Snide takes a lo-fi stab at “Faithfully” by Journey. Beautifully done. Worth watching (get passed a 15 second commercial and a small intro to the song).
  2. Trailer for It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Think Juno meets Scrubs? Regardless, it’s got Zach Galifianakis, Aasif Mandvi, Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan.
  3. Music video for Bruno Mars’ “The Other Side” – The song features B.o.B and Cee-lo Green. Catchy. And you can’t deny this kid’s charisma and charm. It seems to just radiate from him. Sounds like a song that Mark Ronson would have produced.
  4. Kilian Martin – You’ve never seen skateboarding like this before. I promise. Flip the video to 720p setting, it’s worth it. (there’s another showing how he’s clearly the next generation Rodney Mullen, if you’re so inclined).
  5. EPICWIN – A To Do list application isn’t anything remarkable, they’re a dime-a-dozen out there. But from the visual artist behind the Little Big Planet video game series comes a new type of To Do List app, one that is fused with an RPG game. Basically you get rewards and level-up for doing things in your everyday life. It’s hilarious in theory, but also possibly a genius solution for some people’s lack of motivation. Very creative idea.

5 Things I Love for Friday #181

Posted: July 9th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. Grimm Brothers Beer labels – I think I’ve FTILFF’d the Grimm Bros. identity package before, but these brew labels are worth a mention. Great illustration work. Let’s see Coors Light try something this fresh.
  2. John Cleese rants about football [video] – In honor of this Sunday’s final match. Also, I just high-fived my monitor I liked this so much.
  3. Infinity pool at 55 stories up – I keep waiting for these photos to be revealed as fake. I suppose it’s only fitting for the World’s Most Expensive Hotel.
  4. Build a sunburn alarm – Meet Mr. Burns, a tiny sunburn alarm that measures UV exposure in real time based on your sunscreen and skin type and reminds you when to reapply. Instructions on how to build one. Or, if you’re Irish and fair skinned, just stay indoors.
  5. Yoda records his Tom Tom GPS voice – I’m not even a fan of Star Wars but I found this chuckle-worthy.

5 Things I Love for Friday #180

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: Brian | Filed under: 5 Things I Love for Friday, Main | Comments Off
  1. Digitizing the Library of Congress – If you’re into either history or tech stuff, you might find this article (and videos) interesting. With 150 million items in its collection, there is a staggering amount of work being done.
  2. Are you an Asker or a Guesser? – “In Ask culture, people grow up believing they can ask for anything…In Guess culture, by contrast, you avoid ‘putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes.’” A short, interesting read on personality types.
  3. I Scored A Goal in The World Cup Final – ESPN has a video collection of interviews with over 30 legends of the sport. In honor of the World Cup starting today, say goodbye to productivity and dive into this.
  4. What’s your personal time zone? – “A fascinating 10-minute animated talk by Philip Zimbardo about the different “time zones” or “time perspectives” that people can have and how the different zones affect people’s world views.” — Great video too. I wish all presentations would be so engaging.
  5. Electrical outlet with USB sockets built in – I want to shake the hand of the person who came up with this. No more stupid chargers for my cameras or phones.