The Reverse Flash Mob. Or: Pradipta’s Rolodex

July 18th, 2008


“It’s like a flash mob, except the surprise is on us, the mob participants. It’s like we were all beamed into the same virtual room by one single person who chose the group of us, and left us to figure out what to make of the situation.”

This situation is especially funny because the guy who “chose” the group was not some cunning mastermind. It was a foolish accident. (Wasn’t it?)

The story.

The Google group.

Perhaps it wasn’t a mistake but a clever publicity gambit. It would have been so easy for him to have staged this. And the bottom line is: If you had asked me yesterday to name a recruiter of Rails programmers, I couldn’t have done it. But from now on I’ll remember Pradipta’s name.

(Thanks to Dav Yaginuma for the tip.)

George Carlin on Death

June 23rd, 2008


RIP George. You shaped the way I think. Sure you were hilarious and socially conscious. But you keenly understood the primal power hidden within words.

I hope that you got your two-minute warning.

The Last Supper in Tahoe

March 4th, 2008

Some of my best friends from New York City and San Francisco came together this weekend to rent a house at Lake Tahoe. We had 13 people at the table and Dav had a clever photo idea:

Click to enlarge

I shot the same moment from the Apostles’ point of view:

Click to enlarge

(Click the photo thumbnails to view originals on Flickr).

Overheard in a Cafe in NYC

November 24th, 2007

“If you take a handful of grapenuts, and don’t add milk, and hurl them as hard as you can at somebody’s face, you can take out both their eyes, and maybe kill them. I can’t believe I spent the whole day at the hospital and they told me to go to the dentist.”

[Editor’s note: You just never hear that sort of thing in a San Francisco cafe.]

Your World is Blu’s Canvas

September 16th, 2007

Blu is brilliant. Blu uses places in the real world as living canvasses for wild animations.

Press the play button, and keep an eye on the windows:

“Fantoche” (Marionette) by Blu, 3:39:

Why note the windows? Because there you see the time scale as sunlight comes and goes. The animation has to move extremely slowly, compared to normal human life.

This is fantastic. If I could draw, I’d create one of these right in the heart of a busy city.

Envision a New York subway stop as a canvas. Traffic would slow the animation down during rush hours, the artist often blocked from the work and the images often crowded out of view by the masses. During offpeak hours the animation could speed up and spread out a bit as the artist has more freedom to move around. You’d have a time-lapse video of the human subway activity, and the animation could interact with the lightning-fast real-world people flashing by.

You’d have fictional characters sharing a real-world place with real people, but living in a completely different frame of time. Living at plant speed.

This opens up a lot of fertile idea space when thinking of digital art and communication tied to urban spaces.

Here’s another. Watch for the real people flashing past through the doorway:

“Walking” by Blu, 2:54:

Bravo Blu. I can’t wait to see the memes you’ve unleashed escape the gallery and invade the cities.

[Thanks Jason Purcell.]

Bathroom Prank

September 8th, 2007


1. Download and open this PDF file.
2. Buy a pack of 3 1/3″ x 4″ white inkjet mailing labels. (About US$10 for 150 at any office supply store).
3. Print the PDF file on the labels.
4. Apply labels in public restrooms.

Doing this early and often will bring you good luck.

Want to alter it? Here’s the original Word template file.

Momentous Trivia

June 22nd, 2007

Within five minutes I learned two astounding things:

  • If you eat a miracle fruit, every sour or bitter food you eat for the next hour will taste sweet.

  • This is a gramatically correct sentence:
    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
  • Meetro Does Microsoft

    January 8th, 2007

    meetro does m$

    I returned from holidays on the East Coast to find this postcard in my mailbox. It’s the guys from Meetro (a startup here in San Francisco) done up like Bill Gates and the first Microsoft team back in the 70s.

    Bravo, Paul & co. Details here.

    Trendspotting: Shakers Gone Wild

    October 30th, 2006

    For several weeks it seemed the Shaker thang going down around here was just another flash-in-the-pan San Francisco quirk:


    But now our correspondents are chiming in about similar happenings from the sidewalks of Milan:


    …to the boutiques of Shibuya:


    Now the pattern is clear. For Spring 2007, woodcut is the new black. You heard it here first.

    Garfield Non Troppo

    August 5th, 2006
    Garfield Non Troppo

    Today David at Boingboing pointed out this series of Garfield comic strips from 1989. It’s remarkable for a Garfield story because it’s dark and depressing, and it’s not trying to be funny.

    Here’s why this strip blew me away: Jim Davis clearly took the idea from one of my favorite cartoons, a magnificent Italian short from 1977 called “Valse Triste.” There are just way too many strong similarities. (It’s just 7 minutes long and I highly recommend viewing it: see the YouTube box at the bottom of this post.)

    In the cartoon a cat awakens to find himself abandoned in his vacant, dilapidated ruin of a house. The starving feline sees visions of the people he loved offering him food, but the hallucinations disappear whenever he approaches them. That’s precisely what happens to Garfield, and Davis uses the same visual past/present layering technique used in the 1977 cartoon. (“Feline Fantasies” appears in Bruno Bozzetto’s film “Allegro Non Troppo“, a decidedly un-Disney homage to Disney’s “Fantasia.”)

    This is not the darkest Garfield story. When I was little I found what are still two of the most disturbing comic strips I’ve ever read. They appear in the 1984 book “Garfield: His 9 Lives” which tells stories of Garfield’s past and future. In “Primal Self,” Garfield appears to viciously murder a doddering old lady. The other is a photorealistic strip entitled “Lab Animal.” (I wish I still had this book! If you know where I can find these strips online please point me to them.)

    “Valse Triste” by Bruno Bozzetto, 7 minutes:

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