31 October 2007

All Hallow's Madness

Last night Satish and I went to Judson Church for a NYxNY event (put on by NY Magazine) called All Hallow's Madness. As they put it:

New York by New York is an experiment in six parts. We're collaborating with some of our favorite bands, D.J.'s, vegan chefs, comedians, and underqualified art auctioneers on an event a month (six in all) through the beginning of the new year. We're not sure how they'll turn out.

There was a photo scavenger hunt that people with tickets had the opportunity to participate in all day. Upon arriving, one could hand in their memory card, and the winner would be announced right before the main performance of the night. Buying a ticket also got you an open bar and year's worth of New York Magazine. People were really creative with costumes; I saw Calvin & Hobbes, Wayne & Garth and a very politically incorrect Sharon Tate, among others.

passed out butterfly

Kudu, Dan Deacon and Chromeo performed; Satish and I mostly went for Chromeo. I saw my friend Tristan there, whom I actually met in the summer right after I put photos of his circuit bending performance on Flickr.

Dave 1






This was one of the best shows I have ever been to. For their encore, they came out with switched clothes (which was hilarious since Dave 1 is itty bitty and P-Thugg is a little larger). At the end, they pulled everybody up on stage to dance with them.

I shot a tiny bit of video and will upload them tomorrow. You can mostly hear Satish screaming along to the songs in all of them, which was great.

[photos by me and Satish]

26 October 2007

AWNY conference

I forgot to talk about this today! Tomorrow my friend Amber and I are running a workshop at the AWNY Advertising Career Conference at FIT. It's called Communications Planning: What the heck is it anyway?, and we're doing three of them in a row. If any of you will be there, come say hi.


If you are here because you came to one of our sessions, thanks so much for coming! We hope it was helpful. Please don't hesitate to contact either Amber or me with questions or comments. Also, click here for that list of other links we talked about (in case you didn't write it down) for learning more and getting involved.

pumpkin carving


10/25/2007
Originally uploaded by tokyohanna.
Sometimes I don't feel like an American at all. Last night I carved a pumpkin for the first time in my life. I don't know how that happened... maybe it wasn't huge in Puerto Rico when I was growing up? We did have Halloween though... no clue. I never did it in college either. There are a lot of American traditions or pop culture thingies that I absolutely didn't participate in, growing up. I haven't seen 90% of the 1980s movies that everybody quotes all the time (although I did fanatically watch Flight of the Navigator over and over for years). I just saw The Breakfast Club in 1999. I just saw High Fidelity this past summer. Name the movie and I probably have not seen it. Same with television shows (that one is even worse).

Anyway, it was definitely about time for this pumpkin thing. I did it at my apartment with my roommate and our mutual friend, Hobart.

10/25/2007

10/25/2007

I made one to match my mood.

Made a pumpkin to match my mood.

I toasted these with salt afterwards. Also something I had never done (or eaten).

We toasted these with salt afterwards

I'll take more photos when they're lit; they'll be on my Flickr photo stream.

25 October 2007

oldish video

Last week, I remembered that this video exists. It was my response to a Creative Thinking assignment at school. Fenske said:

"One of something is boring.
Ten of something is art."

Then he said "Show me this. Show me that multiples of something can add up to having more meaning than the one thing by itself." (I am paraphrasing this part) Pretty much "The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts."

This is what I did:


Most people know this, but tattooing is "the practice of making a design on the skin by pricking and staining." In other words, many many many pricks with a needle. many. get it? okay. So I showed the movie. Most people didn't get it. I didn't care though, I mostly did this for myself and the assignment was a good opportunity for it. My friends helped; Subodh filmed the whole thing and Aaron wrote the music (& helped with FCP).

Here it is today:

for use in a blog entry

A little over a year and a half later, I got the close tag on the back of my left arm.

Anyway, just wanted to share that video. I hadn't seen it in almost two years and realized I had never uploaded it before.

Extremely unrelated: Paul made a pie for us yesterday and I wrote about it here. yum.

This just in.

In response to my entry about him, my father sent this photo just now:

retro pencil holder

The original excerpt: "...pencils for which we had to buy extensions (you put the ever shorter getting pencil into it so that you extended the length of pencil stump) ... we used the pencils until nothing was left of the wood/lead." neat!

EDIT | The new text that came with this: "This is an expensive replica of how it looked ... imagine the silver holder a cheap plastic piece and the pencil without the silver tip but with a completely used up (flat) eraser and bite marks all over it (on the little stump)"

23 October 2007

Mom.


Now, this story is amazing. I still can't believe it. But as always, I need to give back story first.

My mother (also born very shortly after WWII ended) was born in the British quarter of Shanghai, China. Her mother is half Japanese (via Nagasaki) and half Portuguese (via Macao). Her father was Northern Italian (was in the navy & stationed in China):


Three years after she was born, communism caused them to flee; they got on the first ship they could out of there. The ship ended up in Venezuela. My grandfather began working at the oil camps in Judibana (which doesn't even have a Wikipedia page), and the family was there for years. After a couple of years at a high school in Ashtabula, Ohio (her aunt and cousins lived there, I am still not sure how they got there), my mom returned to Venezuela. She moved to Caracas and had a few jobs here and there, at places like Singer and Chrysler. She got a job as a secretary at Citibank, and well, that's how she met my father (they had sent him to Caracas for a job). The nature of my father's work took them all over the world. When he was traveling everywhere for shorter-term projects, he wrote to her a lot.


After Venezuela came Colombia and after Colombia came Brussels (it was either Brussels or Hong Kong but my mother refused to have their dog quarantined for that long in China). Then two years after I was born came Puerto Rico

While we were in Puerto Rico, my mom went to interior design school. I have vivid memories of her crouched over her drafting table (this was before the fancy computer programs - she did everything by hand with stencils and rulers and special paper and it was all fascinating to me) at all hours of the night, working tirelessly to make every single assignment and project perfect. She had to study Art History during school, which is where I got my love for it. I have never physically seen anybody work so hard at something, putting so much of themselves into it (not until I went to graduate school).

Oh dear, this is turning into memoirs. I said I wouldn't do that. I'll get to the point.

Over a year ago, I get this e-mail from my mother:
a few days ago my friend Rhaiza sent me this short film (lasts 25 minutes) about the oil camps in Venezuela, where I grew up. Well the other night when I was watching it you called and I stopped (about 10 minutes into it) when we hung up I was too tired to continue so I sent it to Rocky and Rudy (ed note: 2 of her brothers) with a short note. Rocky calls today all excited and asked me "why didn't you tell me about the surprise?" What surprise I asked? well it turns out that in minute 15 of the film the speaker is talking about this house (our old house in Judibana) and my mom is watering the plants, Rudy, Ron, and Rocky are playing (Rocky is about 1) and I. about 10 at the time am sitting in a chair bent over doing something. I almost fainted, how did this come up 50 years later in Boca Raton, Fl. This must be one of the weirdest things that have ever happened to me in my life. You don't have to watch the whole thing, just tune in around minute 15. I've watched it about 23 times.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? Google has done the strangest things to people. Someone thought this was interesting enough to post on Google Video, about a town that doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. That is a fun coincidence in itself, but for this video to have found my mother, 50 years later, and for her to see herself and her family in it? My head exploded. Here is the video (go to minute 15 to see my wee mom!):


Insane, insane, insane. I don't know which would have been weirder: this, or the same thing happening in Alsfeld and seeing my father and uncle as little kids.

22 October 2007

Dad.

During a string of emails with my father about school desks, I realized that I have never written about my parents. I obviously wouldn't be here if it weren't for them, but really guys: my heroes. The two of them. I don't think I'll ever be able to express my gratitude to them for everything they have done for me.

Anyway, I don't aim to turn this into memoirs (I will write a book some time about it and share it then), but let me give brief background before talking about the school desks. My father was born very shortly after WWII ended, in a tiny village in Germany called Alsfeld. I know the town relatively well since we went to visit that half of my family every year until I went off to college. It won an award in the 1970s for being the most well-preserved medieval city in the world.


Anyway, I was reading blogs on my rare free time last week, and came across this post on Swiss Miss.


It's a children's desk from the 1950s with a built-in ink pot. I instantly thought of my father and asked him if his desk was like that in school. His response:

for me you didn't go back far enough ... this thing is MODERN compared to what we had ... we had long desks, slightly slanted for the writing surface, seating at least 4 in a row with fixed seats that folded back ... a carved out a long groove for pencils and quills (metal) and fixed built-in inkpots ... imagine the mess we made in first and second grade !!

I probed further and then got this:
forgot to say that in the first year we had to practice writing on a stone tablet with a "Griffel" ... not sure how you would translate that but it was a pencil looking thing made of stone, so you basically scratched your letter onto the tablet ... the writing "Griffel" was made of a softer stone, so it did not scratch the surface too badly, you could wipe it clean with a damp cloth ... yes, "those were the times" (and the tablets and "Griffel" were handed down from year to year until they couldn't be used any longer ... compare that to today!

in the second year we got promoted to incredibly rough recycled lined paper, pencils for which we had to buy extensions (you put the ever shorter getting pencil into it so that you extended the length of pencil stump) ... we used the pencils until nothing was left of the wood/lead. (and pencil sharpeners were a rarity ... we used pocket knifes to sharpen the pencils)

Then in the 3rd year we were promoted to the inkpots and quills ... I think I had my first fountain pen in 4th grade ... we were not allowed to use ballpoint pens which were new and "untried" then (and expensive) ...

Isn't that INTERESTING?? Maybe I'm the only that who is fascinated by it, but I love hearing stories about this kind of thing. Sometimes I miss the pre-Internet days. Until 7th grade, it was handwritten homework for me too. Remember those desks where the top lifted up and you had all this room to put your stuff in? My best friend (who was also born in Germany and lived there for ten years) and I reminisce about things like this, talking about wanting to carry our books around tied together with a brown leather belt. I talked a little about this stuff in this entry.

In the tiniest nutshell around (and I might be getting details wrong)... at around age 20 my father left Alsfeld, hitchhiked around Europe for a while and ended up in Frankfurt working for Citibank. They figured out that he was really good at a specific thing, and started sending him all over the world to different branches to do it. I can't even believe the places he's been. I asked him about a t-shirt he was wearing in an old photo once, and he launched into this back story about being on a boat in Bali. I bet I don't even know half of his story and I plan to find it all out. Here's a photo from 1975:

my father in 1975

This originally was just supposed to be about school desks, but I wanted to give the German back story and I expanded. Soon I'll have to talk about my mother. She deserves an entry too for sure. Oh, I know just the thing to write about! To be continued :)

EDIT | In an e-mail from my Dad: "just a little correction about Alsfeld: it was named for the top spot in Europe, not the world ... but then again, where else do they have medieval towns in the world??"

17 October 2007

I was not pleased.

After buying a concert ticket a few nights ago, I was taken to this message:

this seemed promising.

Well, that's nice. The partnership seems to make a bit of sense. And for once - Ticketmaster doing something nice for me? Even though I didn't really like any of the bands in this sampler, it was free. I clicked on the link, typed in my iTunes password and came to "Sorry, wrong password, try again" or something to that effect. I tried again, and it was wrong again (PS no it wasn't). It told me to call Apple if I couldn't remember my password.

I signed onto AOL with the screen name and password, and I was right: I had the correct password all along. I knew that, because I regularly shop at iTunes (but just wanted to double check that I wasn't out of my mind). So I try to get the free album again, and what happens? Oh yeah, this.

nyeh.

How convenient. Who wants to bet that wasn't an accident. Although on the other hand, Andrew told me that it worked for him and he was able to get the free album. In any case, I was less than pleased, but also not surprised (pretty sad to be unsurprised by a terrible annoyance from a brand, right?). As if I - or anybody else - needed any more reasons to hate Ticketmaster, right (or is it iTunes? or both?)?

16 October 2007

Style Wars

On Saturday night I went to Style Wars, put on by House of Diehl.

style wars flyer

Similar to a LVHRD event, Style Wars was a live battle. I think this is a traveling competition that happens in multiple cities globally. There were eight designers (or teams of designers) competing on Saturday night, and each had five minutes to design something on their assigned model, live on stage.
Competitors cut, tear, burn, spray-paint, and otherwise destroy/rebuild clothing, live on models or on people pulled from the audience.

House of Diehl have been all over the world, from supporting Sonic Youth in Europe, to performing to tens of thousands of people alongside Elton John and Versace at the Life Ball in Vienna, to shows at New York's fashion week. [going.com]
stylewars4.jpg

Eight got reduced to four, which got reduced to two, and the final showdown revealed the night's winning fashion designer (who got five hundred wonderful dollars). There was a panel of judges to comment and choose their favorites after each round, and the final winners were determined at the end by audience cheering. It was a cool event and experience, even though it was so crowded that my neck hurt by the end from having to crane to see.

stylewars2.jpg

stylewars3.jpg

stylewars1.jpg

I saw a few friends there, including Satish and Vicky (who were lovely line buddies for the hour that we waited outside), Alex, Merlin and Zachary (whom I spent most of the night with down at coat check).

whee

[photos by Bronques @ LastNightsParty]

11 October 2007

Hadouken!

I am still going nuts over here, so here is some visual and audio stimulation to hold you over. I have been watching this video since mid-May and have no clue why I haven't written about it before. It's a band called Hadouken! from Leeds. I guess they fall under grime (their MySpace page says indie/metal/garage. Get ready for low fi paper cutouts on a neon background.


GBH put it well with "Leave it to the fucking Europeans to finally get the rock and hip hop cross-over to work." I'm going to have to agree. In any case, I've got to love a band that named themselves after a Street Fighter move.

09 October 2007

sense blending


The phrase "sense blending" popped into my head Sunday night, right after I had a mini state schema solely involving the Science of Sleep trailer. When I saw the movie, I was slightly disappointed and didn't think I liked it much, because it was different from how I thought it would be, based on this trailer. It violated my expectations, pretty much. As more time went by, however, I thought about it over and over again and grew to adore the movie for what it actually is. Anyway, I was in the mood to watch the trailer (the video store was closed, it was late at night). I had completely forgotten what happens at 1 min. 37 sec. of this thing. So, up to this point, there are all these visuals and sounds and narration and a bit of a story. It all mixes together perfectly, like the delicious red velvet cakes my roommate makes sometimes. At one minute and thirty seven seconds, a song called Your Heart Is An Empty Room comes on. It's one of those songs that makes you feel like you are completely immersed in a swimming pool, the song being the water. You are in the center of it. It is the absolute perfect song for that precise second in the trailer... in the universe. I am sure of it. So I had a state schema. I thought about why, and then realized that it was sense blending. A tiny bit synaesthetic, since the music sounded like the iridescent waves, the narration feels like the main chracter waking up with his feet in the icebox, etc.

This is not my point though, and I just wanted to share the state schema with everyone because I had been missing them (my last one was in March). Then I saw an interesting-looking link on the side frame of YouTube, and was brought to one of the coolest videos I have ever seen.

Do you guys remember Spin Art? It was a machine that you would put a piece of thick paper into, and it would spin really fast. Then you would squirt different colored paints on it and you would end up with something like this:


I played with this thing a lot as a kid. Anyway, Michel Gondry had the idea to use a turntable for this and attach a camera to the top that spun at the same rate, so you could see what the paint looked like AS it was squirted onto the paper (instead of just seeing a blur). That's not even the best part. The whole machine was powered by little electrodes that were connected to Björk's fingers as she played the piano.



Can you think of a better experiment between those two? Watch the video - maybe you'll have a sense-blended state schema.

03 October 2007

eep


IMG_8278.JPG
Originally uploaded by lauragothacked.
So, this isn't exactly a cultural topic, but I am excited about this and want to share. I adopted a two year-old cat last night. Her name is Kazu Yoshimi (after Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead and the robot-battling Yoshimi of Flaming Lips fame). I got her from KittyKind, a no-kill rescue /adoption group. They told me that they rescued her from another shelter where she was about to be euthanized. I will spare you all the gushing, but she is one of the sweetest cats I have ever been around. She sneezed in my face while I was asleep last night, which was adorable.

EDIT: I offered anybody at Naked free Pinkberry to anybody who got the two name references (without looking on the Internet). Arthur wins.

Arthur claimed his prize.

Also, I'll turn this into a semi-relevant post by saying that KittyKind is awesome. They interviewed me and had me fill out a form /application before telling me if I could adopt Kazu. The adoption fee of $125 covered her shots, testing, litterbox training, spaying, and a bag of dry food. She is getting over a cold, and they gave me free medication too. The fee also covers ten days of medical (if there are any problems I can just bring her in for that). After I signed the papers and paid, they even took me on a shopping trip throughout the store, giving me advice about different options for scratching posts, food, etc. THEN I got an e-mail this morning full of congratulations, further information, care advice and helpful links. Everything Communicates. I definitely recommend these guys.
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