all of my friends think i'm santa clause, and i'm totally okay with that. anything that brings joy and happiness is a good thing in my book, and martha stewarts i'm pretty sure. (and who doesn't love martha?) well, imagine my glee when i stumbled upon this video while researching topics for my company's blog this morning:

Befriend a Geek from White October on Vimeo.

it seems quite funny, and like a great practical joke for the holidays. but, like most publicity stunts, it's got a great message behind it all: millions of elderly (and homeless, and orphans) will be alone on Christmas Day this year. there are so many charities and organizations you can get involved with to brighten the day of just one other person on what can be one of the loneliest days of the year. visit a nursing home, cook a meal for some orphans, donate to a homeless shelter. do something.

merry christmas!


snowday grab-bag.

if you've noticed the lack of the promised theme lately, so have i. somewhere along the way i lost my vision and have gone askew! (i just wanted to say askew.) however, i'm working on getting it back, with half of today's snowday grab-bag being j's (the letter we left off at)!

yeah, it snowed in virginia today. in november. for folks in northern virginia, this isn't a huge deal. but, we never get snow this early in the southeast portions of the state. i woke up to it, had lunch to it, and there's a looming threat of it later this evening. which is pretty exciting. i'm gearing up for a bit of a holiday-tastic weekend. norfolk has their annual grand illumination parade tomorrow evening. my mom and dad are coming into town for it (they live 40 minutes away in newport news). i'm going to attempt to decorate some this weekend, even though my roommate is completely anti-christmas. i am not. obviously. (which explains the garrish cheating in today's picks.)

1. colored lights. oh yes. when i was younger, i really hated colored lights. i approached christmas at a much more traditional angle, opting for white lights on a green tree with the standard hallmark ornaments. as my own style has grown and solidified over the years, i've gained a deep appreciation for vintage tinsel trees. you know - charlie brown gawked at them in "a charlie brown christmas". they made clunking sounds, and were portrayed as solid metal. awesome. you can't (read: shouldn't) put white lights on a tinsel tree. they beg for the rainbow treatment. so, in the event that i have white tinsel tree like i want this year, i'm throwing colored lights on it. 2. another cheat! i just blogged about this in a separate post, but i thought i'd summarize it here. i'm not a huge fan of the bond movies, but the books are top notch. i will be buying this beautifully designed quantum of solace anthology as soon as i find it at barnes and noble. 3. target ornament sets. if your family is anything like mine, their christmas trees aren't just christmas trees - they're investments that take years and years to perfect. my mom's christmas tree has been in the making since my brother and i were born. her mom's tree has taken even longer, consisting of over 50 years of a mix between vintage and modern ornaments. mine unfortunately tends to change ever year. that's why i love these convenient ornament kits you can buy at target. of course, you need to buy free-standing ornaments and accessories to really get your tree right, but these provide cheap and easy fillers while you perfect your own legacy. 4. and finally, another cheat. janelle monae, my new obsession. while you're out listening to britney's new album that you pirated (read: i pirated and burned you a copy), or kanye's new heartbreak, i'm jamming to a record that was released about 4 months ago. janelle's "metropolis" is a brilliant piece of r&b, pop, hip-hop, future love that stands out from every single one of her peers. where beyonce goes for the over-the-top diva, estelle opts for the reggae roots, and rihanna goes for the edgy teen-pop sensation, janelle goes for the weird. the eccentric. the concept album. (who does that anymore in the main stream?) you can read about it in the gushing post i made last week. i really, really love her, though.

before i stop this joke of a 40% post, check the holiday card i designed for this year. i might actually get them printed for once!

quantum of solace.

first, a definition.

if you didn't know, quantum isn't just exclusive to the leaps made by mr. sam beckett. in fact, it means almost exactly what it sounds like - a quantity. in 007's case, a lot of solace. (or ironically, lack thereof.)

quantum of solace is now the umbrella title for a beautifully designed hardback anthology of several short-story versions of the infamous womanizer and international spy. behold:

"Angus Hyland and his assistant Fabian Herrmann have designed the hardback edition of Penguin Books’ Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories. The book collects together all of Ian Fleming’s Bond short stories in a single volume for the first time and includes stories that inspired the Bond film classics From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, The Living Daylights and of course, Quantum of Solace, the latest in the series." via Pentagram.


let the right one in.

if you're secretly anticipating watching the very pretty robert pattinson take a bite out of love in "twilight," but don't want your friends to know, tell them you're going to see this: "let the right one in".

the film hails from sweden by director tomas alfredson, and tells the tale of a girl (eli) who has been 12 years old for a very long time, and her love for the very blond, very swedish, oskar (also 12 years old). oskar becomes friends with eli, and eventually connects the dots of blood to deduce that eli is in fact a vampire. it's a bit of a coming of age story, and ends with oskar tapping "kiss" in morse code to eli, who has taken refuge in her coffin.

at least it's not an allegory for abstinence. fuck that noise.


faces of evil.

"Using digital technology, graphic designer Hans Weishäupl has carefully reconstructed portraits of 13 dictators over the past 100 years. However, the photo montages, which measure 1.8 m x 2.3 m do not contain a single piece of original picture material, but are made of countless tiny, specially shot portraits of the citizens of the country the dictator ruled over. Christian Lechelt and Hans Weishäupl photographed over 350 people between November 2007 and March 2008, in Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, Dresden, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, Moscow, Belgrade, London, Barcelona, Paris and Milan.

The portrait of Hitler is made up of 37 people. His nose belongs to an estate agent from Berlin, his upper lip is from a locksmiths in Dresden, and so on. Each wrinkle, each mole, each eyebrow was reconstructed to resemble the original."

having tried something similar to this in the past, i can tell you this project was not easy. it's been seamlessly produced, though. gorgeous work.


black cat // broadcast.

broadcast has the worst web site on the internet.

infrequent updates, out of order (sequentially) updates, and just maddening for a rabid fan such as myself. so i was quite pleased with the most recent news (that being septermber 1st 2008) that they're back in the studio working on the album we were supposed to have heard in early 2008. martin, the band's manager, claims they're working with different drummers right now laying down drum tracks.

there's a few disappointing things about this statement. it had been rumored that trish and james were hoping to use the drummer (and the same church) they had used to record Haha Sound. that's been squashed, i assume. and it also means that we've probably got quite a while before we hear any new broadcast material. but, it also means a return to live drums, which i am definitely looking forward to.

in the mean time, i stumbled across this video for "black cat" from 2003's excellent Tender Buttons. apparently, there was some contentious conversation about whether the girl in the video is trish keenan or not. thankfully, that's been cleared up and it is.

it's pretty halloween-y.


Carnival of Souls (1962).

herk harvey directed this box office flop in 1962, inspired by film maker and director ingmar bergman. he wanted to make a film that was "a drive in movie that looked like a movie ingmar bergman would make." he succeeded, and in 1989 it was re-released after garnering a late-night movie cult following. the film's score (which i originally unintentionally spelled "scare") is entirely scored for a church organ, which lends itself nicely to the haunting feeling of the film.

this film was the direct inspiration for romero's "night of the living dead."

a brief synopsis of the plot: Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around with two friends but everything goes wrong when challenged to a drag race and their car gets forced off of a bridge. The car sinks into the murky depths, and all three women are assumed drowned. Some time later Mary emerges unscathed from the river. She tries to start a new life by becoming a church organist but Mary finds herself haunted by a ghostly figure that instills fear and dread into her.

here's part one, courtesy of it's public domain status and youtube. enjoy!


yuki's sentimental journey.

directed by nagi noda.

incredible, incredible, incredible. how did it take me a year to find this beautiful bit of j-pop?

for more nagi noda brilliance, check out these awesomelyweird animal hair "hats". nagi noda is dead, so naturally she will be world renowned shortly.


alice in wonderland.

not one to give up easily on people i really, really like, i'm ridiculously excited for tim burton's adaptation of "alice in wonderland". (please, no comments on how my blog has suddenly taken a turn for children's literature fanboy site lately.) among the cast: johnny depp as the mad hatter, helena bonham-carter (burton's wife) as the Red Queen of Hearts, and anne hathaway as the White Queen. no pictures have popped up yet from production, but i can only imagine how beautiful it could be with burton at the helm.

i'm thinking sleepy hollow meets the cheshire cat? hot.

louis garrel, by bruce weber.

that's all i really need to say about that.

except, i was surprised to find that weber didn't have louis prancing about the french country side naked, with a football, reeking of A&F.


maurice sendak, gay at 80.

there will always be a majority, and there will always be a minority. whether i fall into the former or latter hasn't always been an issue with me. however, it hasn't always been the easiest waking up every day and facing the majority of my peers as a man thrust into the gay minority. i'm lonely often. i'm moody and self-deprecating. but sometimes, i'm really strong. i'd like to take the time to thank one of my heroes, long before i even knew it, maurice sendak, for helping me to feel strong again today.

[via the New York Times]

Maurice Sendak’s 80th year — which ended with his birthday earlier this summer and is being celebrated on Monday night with a benefit at the 92nd Street Y — was a tough one. He has been gripped by grief since the death of his longtime partner; a recent triple-bypass has temporarily left him too weak to work or take long walks with his dog; and he is plagued by Norman Rockwell.

Or, to be more accurate, he is plagued by the question that has repeatedly been asked about Norman Rockwell: was he a great artist or a mere illustrator?

“Mere illustrator,” he said, repeating the phrase with contempt. It’s not that Mr. Sendak, who has illustrated more than 100 books, including many he wrote, is angry that people question Rockwell’s talent; rather, he fears he has not risen above the “mere illustrator” label himself.

Never mind that Mr. Sendak’s originality and emotional honesty have changed the shape of children’s literature; that his work is featured in museums; that he has designed costumes and sets for operas, ballets and theater; that he has won a chest full of awards and prizes including a National Medal of the Arts. As the playwright Tony Kushner, one of his collaborators, said, “He’s one of the most important, if not the most important, writers and artists ever to work in children’s literature. In fact, he’s a significant writer and artist in literature. Period.”

Mr. Sendak protested, “But Tony is my friend.”

Mr. Sendak, a square-shaped gnome, was sitting in the dining room of his Connecticut retreat. His shoulders are a bit stooped, but his fingers are long and delicate. When he hears that the 92nd Street Y event is sold out, his eyebrows rise in surprise.

“They must be coming to see the other people,” he said, referring to guests like Mr. Kushner, Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini, Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers and Catherine Keener.

Even his heart attack doesn’t seem up to snuff. People aren’t impressed with a triple bypass, he lamented; now it has to be a quadruple: “You feel like such a failure.”

That Mr. Sendak fears that his work is inadequate, that he is racked with insecurity and anxiety, is no surprise. For more than 50 years that has been the hallmark of his art. The extermination of most of his relatives and millions of other Jews by the Nazis; the intrusive, unemployed immigrants who survived and crowded his parents’ small apartment; his sickly childhood; his mother’s dark moods; his own ever-present depression — all lurk below the surface of his work, frequently breaking through in meticulously drawn, fantastical ways.

He is not, as children’s book writers are often supposed, an everyman’s grandpapa. His hatreds are fierce and grand, as if produced by Cecil B. DeMille. He hates his uncle (who made a cruel comment about him when he was a boy); he hates anything to do with God or religion, and Judaism in particular (“We were the ‘chosen people,’ chosen to be killed?”); he hates Salman Rushdie (for writing an excoriating review of one of his books); he hates syrupy animation, which is why he is thrilled with Mr. Jonze’s coming film of his book “Where the Wild Things Are,” despite rumors of studio discontent.

“I hate people,” he said at one point, extolling the superior company of dogs, like his sweet-tempered German shepherd, Herman (after Melville).

He is, at heart, a curmudgeon, but a delightful one, with a vast range of knowledge, a wicked sense of humor and a talent for storytelling and mimicry.

When Mr. Sendak received the 1996 National Medal of Arts, President Bill Clinton told him about one of his own childhood fantasies that involved wearing a long coat with brass buttons when he grew up. “But Mr. President, you’re only going to be president for a year more,” Mr. Sendak said, “you still have time to be a doorman.” Mr. Sendak insisted he was trying to be ingratiating, not funny.

Against all probability, some of the nightmares that have relentlessly pursued him since childhood — like the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping — have been laid to rest. A couple of weeks ago a dealer found one of the tiny reproductions of the kidnapper’s ladder that were sold as souvenirs at the New Jersey trial.

“I was floored,” Mr. Sendak said. He traded one of his drawings for it. “That ends my obsession with the case,” he said.

His fascination with the kidnapping, like many of the other details of his life, has been repeated endlessly over the years in the hundreds of interviews he has given. Was there anything he had never been asked? He paused for a few moments and answered, “Well, that I’m gay.”

“I just didn’t think it was anybody’s business,” Mr. Sendak added. He lived with Eugene Glynn, a psychoanalyst, for 50 years before Dr. Glynn’s death in May 2007. He never told his parents: “All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy. They never, never, never knew.”

Children protect their parents, Mr. Sendak said. It was like the time he had a heart attack at 39. His mother was dying from cancer in the hospital, and he decided to keep the news to himself, something he now regrets.

A gay artist in New York is not exactly uncommon, but Mr. Sendak said that the idea of a gay man writing children books would have hurt his career when he was in his 20s and 30s.

His latest book is one he started about four years ago, right after Dr. Glynn became sick with lung cancer. The illness and setting up of round-the-clock care in their home were just “so unbelievable,” he explained. Mr. Sendak is mostly finished with it, but he admitted that for the first time, “I feel extremely vulnerable.”

He is afraid — not of death, which is as familiar to him as a child’s teddy bear — but of not being able to finish his work: “I feel like I don’t have a lot of time left.” After Dr. Glynn’s death, Mr. Sendak said he was “still trying to figure out what I’m doing here.” “I wanted to take his place,” he said. “His death became a demarcation.” He added that he lost touch with many of his friends, unable to return phone calls and reply to e-mail messages.

Mr. Sendak is pleased with the coming birthday celebration, just as he is about his awards and honors, but in the end, he maintained, they don’t add up to much. They “never penetrated,” he said. “They were like rubber bullets.”

It’s not that he isn’t grateful. “They made me happy, but at a certain point in your life, you see through them,” he said. “You don’t mock them, you don’t hate them, you feel sorry for them” — tiny, inert emblems that just aren’t up to the task of answering pressing questions about meaning, soul-touching greatness and durability.

So he spends his days pondering his heroes: Mozart, Keats, Blake, Melville and Dickinson. He admires and yearns for their “ability to be private, the ability to be alone, the ability to follow some spiritual course not written down by anybody.”

Mr. Sendak is quick to insist that a vast distance stands between his own accomplishments and theirs. “I’m not one of those people,” he said. “I can’t pretend to be.”

Still, he has the feeling that “I will do something yet that is purely for me but will create for someone in the future that passion that Blake and Keats did in me.” What he has failed to consider, though, is that he may already have.

you most definitely have, mr. sendak.


dan hilier's moleskine.

i've been writing more lately, and it's inspired me to look for a really nice notebook i can carry with me everywhere to jot things down in. fourtypercent is great for blogging, but for things that are a little more personal, i like a pen and paper. plus, having all of that written down no matter where i am is great preparation for the fourtypercent zine i'm working on with some of my lady friends.

i stumbled across this moleskine on skulladay.com. the graphic is absolutely gorgeous, and it's a genuine moleskine. i love the combination of olde style illustration, and sea life. who doesn't love an octopus? the artist is dan hilier. a quick visit to his Web site had me developing a bit of an art-crush. i love artists who combine animal traits with humans - and i've yet to see one who does this so artfully as mr. hilier. absolutely beautiful work. check out his whole web site for more examples of his work.


///40% Mixtape Vol. 2: youas22.


1 papaya year // high places
2 renovo // mahogany
3 unknown // tujiko noriko
4 boundary addiction // geodesic
5 night // the field (fourtypercent edit)
6 the companion // the mary onettes
7 canal // atlas sound
8 bruises // chairlift
9 supervitesse // mahogany
10 from stardust to sentience // high places

sorry for the lack of knowing tujiko noriko's tracktitle. it was just really pretty and i couldn't leave it out of the mix. here's the link to download it: download fourtypercent's YOUAS22.


first day of fall soundtrack.

and also by mahogany,

thanks to cfs for no kids & simon bookish's "everything/everything" (out on tomblab october 28, 2008 in north america). much loved.

maybe i'll start djing again.


still alive.

Portal - Still Alive typography from Trickster on Vimeo.

i don't know what this is for. i hope it really is for aperture. but it's so so so good.

joseba elorza.

joseba elorza is a freelance illustrator and sound designer from spain. i came across his work on changethethought, and was impressed mostly with the above image. the color is ridiculously perfect, as is the integration of the old photograph. i love how his style throws together traditional photos of the past with apocalyptic imagery - very cold war paranoia meets modern design theory.

but what i most loved were his soundbits. i play around with sound design a bit myself (link goes to my geodesic myspace). this is mostly because i kind of suck at composing songs that are anything but ambient. i admit it. check out love me que here. it's very broadcast-like, which cannot be ignored.

joseba's blog gives some insight into his methods, and who exactly is using his work. if only i spoke spanish...


El Mundo Unido por Un Balón.

i spent a lot of time with lost-and-found friend, juanita, over the weekend. friday night was really more of the same "let's go pretend we want to dance at the wave!", but saturday was the piece-de-resistance. she picked me up around 4:30ish and we went to her house in norview, where her god parents, god brother and mother were staying with her. her mom had cooked up some fantastic stir fried tofu and vegetables over rice that i couldn't have been more thankful for. during the course of my little visit, her godmother and mother gave me a Thai nickname: Tha. i haven't been able to find a literal translation of the word anywhere on the internet, but i'm told it means something like royalty. if anyone out there speaks Thai and can tell me if that's true, i'd love you forever.

but the really great part of saturday happened when juanita had to drive me back to my car so i could go pick up my room mate from virginia beach, where she was stranded. i don't remember why, but i was looking in her glove compartment and i came across the amazing sunglasses you see above. after a little research, i found out they're sunglasses that were sold at the 1986 World Cup, which was held in Mexico City. besides being the second time Mexico had hosted the World Cup since 1970, the UN had also declared 1986 "international year of peace," which gave way to the unofficial motto: el mundo unido por un balon (the world united by a ball). some other trivia about the games that year: canada, denmark and iraq all qualified for the first time; argentina won the cup; iraq played all matches on neutral ground (meaning away games i guess) due to the iran-iraq war; Mexico City was rocked by a massive earthquake only 8 months before the cup; denmark was dubbed "the group of death" because of their 100 percent record in round 2 of the cup.

juanita said they looked better on me, so she gave them to me. i'm seriously in love with these sunglasses. they're vintage 80's (i know, i know. i totally blasted 80's fashion last week), and they've got a great backstory to boot. i feel good when i wear them. so be jealous that you're not friends with girls who have great sunglasses to give away, kids.


a fourtypercent fall.

i am fighting the first sickdays of fall right now, and as a result can't sleep very well at night. so i figured now was as good as time as any to start mapping out looks for the fall that will make me feel as though i won't get sick anymore this season. (here's hoping!) i'm a huge fan of rainy days, especially between late september and the end of november, so hunter's wellington boots top series one of ///40% fall.

1. hunter wellington rain boots. i've had a love affair with rain boots for the longest time and have been waiting for them to catch on with actual people. not that i think they have, but my friend beth wore some out the other day and it made me so happy that i hunted down a pair for myself. they're a bit expensive, so i'm saving up for them, but they're available from jcrew for less than $100, which is very exciting. having not really taken my cowboy boots off since i bought them, it'll be refreshing to have another knee-high boot to rock when it's wet outside and i'm feeling slightly more whimsical. check 'em out. 2. WeSC Eddie Herringbone Duffle Coat. this is one of those coats where i actually did say out loud, "omigosh, it's amazing." the first time i heard about WeSC was the last time i was in california visiting my good friend bobby from kitsune noir. we stopped into their boutique, and i have to admit i wasn't too impressed. at that time, it was a new brand, and they appear to have come an awfully long way since then. at $258, this coat is an expensive addition to your fall/winter wardrobe, but damn if it's not worth it. if you can't afford something like this, sub it with a great peacoat or even a trench. i'm making this part of my official "bring classy back" movement. all of this 80's ironic hipster fashion is starting to make my head hurt. 3. any large, overstated, patterned or brightly-colored scarf. i have a "desert" scarf like the one pictured above in a green and black houndstooth pattern that i can't wait to start wearing all the time again. contrary to popular belief, scarves are not out of fashion. (as a point of fact, not much is out of fashion these days. it's about how you wear it.) throw a similar scarf in with the mix to spice things up a bit and draw attention to the way your cheeks and noses are turning red in the cool temperatures. 4. cheap monday tight unwashed jean. i know, i know. tight jeans are getting a little old. but as long as i can keep pouring my legs into them, i'm going to keep on wearing them. plus, they make wearing boots so much fun. cheap monday's skinny jeans are an exceptional find, as they're relatively cheap (in this case, only $65) and they fit like a glove, reinforced with a bit of spandex for movement.

obviously this look goes best on a particularly chilly day, flask of hot cocoa mixed with peppermint schnapps in hand. man, that sounds good. i can't wait until my body likes that stuff again.



some of you may remember that i helped a friend record his album, Like Rasputin, back in the day by playing violin on some tracks. i tend to talk about it frequently, because i'm particularly proud of it. i mean, the album was just so good.

i do almost-daily searches for my name on google, to keep up with what's out there about me. mostly i get the same stuff: my embarrassing documentation on wonkette, youtube videos, PETA press releases... but today i stumbled across this "artist's profile" on some site called Discogs. it made me feel kind of important.

i warn you: if you google my name, you'll have to sift through the lawyers, cops, kids kissing minnie mouse (of which none are me), the horribly sad poem to christopher mcdonough, and other ridiculous things if you're not sure exactly who i am. and for the love of god, do not look at wonkette. ever.

also, i have never, ever been a navy boyfriend. just saying.


SmallDeer™'s Nike Campaigns

these ads and images are so striking and beautiful. using vibrant colours, fresh imagery and some of the simplest ideas i've seen executed well in advertising, SmallDeer™ gives runners everywhere something to look forward to. check these web blips out.

(for more clips from the Victory campaign, check out the SmallDeer™ Web site linked to above.)


///40% Mixtape Vol. 1: worldfallingdown.

it's getting colder out. i wanted to share what the fall feels like for me. so, i'd like to present you with the first ///40% mixtape: world falling down.

world falling down.


cartoon skeletons by Hyungkoo Lee.

in an exhibit in switzerland, south korean artist hyungkoo lee has created skeletons of what may lie beneath cartoon character's skin. among the characters were bubs bunny, donald duck, tom & jerry and donald's three nephews, huey, dewey, and louie. they're equally morbid and equally amazing.


///40% loves EQ3.

realizing that once my home was all unpacked and set up i still needed odds and ends, i decided to spend my money at EQ3 immediately after getting paid. (not always the best idea, but very fruitful.) i have a tendency to shop in black and white, so you'll see a lot of that in my decor. but i also am a fan of soft colors in contrast, and occasional splashes of bright colors in unexpected places. i'm also pretty scattered, owing to the fact that it's been quite a while since i've had my own place. (that's another story for another blog or after-school special.)

one thing you won't see is one of those russian doll things... you know, the ones that get smaller and smaller. i thought it would be really cute to have
a set of those above the sink in the kitchen. the kitchen is such a family-friendly place, and since there's just two of us in our home, i figured the more the better! i still have to go to target to grab some necessities, and of course decorating is a process so i'll be going at this for several more months i'm sure, as money is available.

for now, here's my EQ3 finds (mostly from the summer s
ale). [pictured above are the artichoke tea light holders. i got 4 of these. two for the bathroom, and two for elsewhere.]

this tray is pretty awesome. it comes flat, and you fold the pliable wood into this bowl that's actually much larger than it seems in this picture. perfect for holding things like the beautiful red peppers above in a modern kitchen.

this bowl caught my eye from outside of the store. it's vaguely oceanic, in a coral sort of way. it's very deep, and will look beautiful on any surface. and at half-price, who wouldn't splurge?

i love trays. it's true. i'm a big fan of decorative and functional. i haven't quite decided where this will go yet. we'll see. i love the starbursts, though. (and yes, i realize that starbursts are a dying trend... again.)

i got a complete set of these glasses. (except the champagne flutes.) they're deep, and sturdy. but not only that, completely classy. i'm very excited to make these a part of my informal dinner experience. hopefully they'll make up for the fact that i don't have a dining table. think they'll go with floor cushions?


h like HaHa.

i'm going to get around to posting tomorrow, but until then, here's the new harry potter trailer. yes, i'm a nerd.


i found the f.

i slept at my parent's house last night in newport news (as i'm in between homes currently), and was floored by the amount of sound contained in such a small place. norfolk is a fairly large city. true, the bulk of its action-centers are pretty contained within themselves - like ghent, downtown, larchmont, etc... but aside from the constant sirens and incessant chirping of birds, what other noises are there? i pulled up in front of my parent's house at around 10 p.m. getting out of the car, all i could hear were the sounds of locusts and other bugs. it was nearly deafening, but so pretty.

it reminded me of a trip i took to just-a-little-bit beyond gloucester a couple of years ago with my friend c3. we went to eat dinner with her grandparents on the water. we enjoyed a huge vegetarian dinner, made with vegetables they'd grown in the garden by the house, then sat on the porch for some wine. leaving, c3 and i stopped on a dirt path and found ourselves surrounded by lightning bugs. just tiny little points of light in every direction, flashing and sending their message: "here i am. let's get it on."

though i love norfolk, i miss moments like those. getting caught up in things like promotions, music, other people's lives and just trying to establish yourself leaves little time for those very real moments of actual life. i'm most pleased about the fact that i'm moving back to ghent because it will afford me more time to enjoy my surroundings. my social hot-spots are mostly right there around the corner from my house, and having that center will allow me to calm down every now and then and just listen. exciting.

so now that i'm in full on apartment mode, i've been checking out things to fill the space with (even more than last week, pre-apartment-debaucle number 1). i want to start cooking again, especially things like fake cheeses, since i'm adamant about going vegan again. so, i've cheated a little bit and thrown in a food processor up there because the actual product name starts with an "f". i found the f, and it sounded a lot like broadcast piping through my fabulous ghent apartment.

1. fabian unternahrer. yeah, dude. i found this german-born photographer through another photography blog, and was floored by his approach. with the exception of the personified-animals i chose to showcase, he focuses a lot of time and attention to shadows, to light, to every day significance. he works with the generally surreal, but it takes a real artist to be able to capture every day events and portray them as something beautiful. his work is absolutely breathtaking. check him out at www.fu-photo.ch. 2. set of 2 branch hooks. "f"or the apartment. wow, i'm cheating a lot on this letter. i used to have two metal branch hooks in my old apartment, but i've sort of grown tired of them. these are an upgrade, most definitely. i'm not even sure i'd use them for anything, but just having them on the wall would make me feel more thoreaux-like, i think. 3. cuisinart food processor. the last time i was in california, i finally made it to real food daily. if you haven't eaten there, it's incredible. one of the only all-vegan restaurants that i consider mainstream because the food isn't "weird" and doesn't try to be any different than say a panera or baker's crust. it's still high-end, most definitely. but it is what it is - real food, daily. my favorite is the seitan club, stacked high with crispy chicken-style seitan and decked out with cashew cheddar "cheese", lettuce, avocado, tomato and of course, lots of ketchup. i've been aching to make the real food daily cashew cheddar cheese from their incredible cookbook for at least 2 years - but i've been lazy about getting a food processor to do it the right way. i will be asking for one of these for christmas i think. oh, you want the recipe for cashew cheddar cheese? i'm sure you do, because it's just as versatile as real cheese, tastes better and isn't laden with the guilt of the dairy industry. click here for goodness. 4. fuck buttons "street horrrsing". sweet love for mother earth seems to be a bit of theme for this post. and i've also got sweet love for this album. each lengthy track takes elements from ambient, noise, post-punk and prog-rock and wraps it all up in interesting and, most importantly, very well executed compositions. pitchfork and i rarely agree on "best new music", but they got it right with this one. the british duo can be found on ATP Records, and will be on tour with Mogwai this coming september.

you're invited to my housewarming party.


f'ing preview.

i couldn't wait until tomorrow to show you this gem. from german-born photographer, fabian unternahrer. i'm a little bored with the humans-in-animal-masks-personifying-every-day-animal-life schtick, but i will allow it this once.

everybody loves you.

yesterday, my best friend and i went to check out an apartment we had been eyeing for a while in the heart of ghent, one of norfolk's oldest and trendiest neighborhoods. the apartment is in an old building, but i fell in love almost the minute i walked in the door. the two bedrooms, converted from a one, are decently sized and wood floors cover every inch of the apartment except the kitchen and bathroom, which were outfitted with brand new tile. the kitchen itself is a large, rectangular space that i can see myself cooking in quite often, and the bathroom has a cute window above the shower space. what i really loved about the apartment was the balcony off the living room. it made me think about urban gardening, specifically tomatoes and herbs. (ok, two of the easiest things to grow on an apartment balcony.) the closets were just sick - deep and wide for lots of storage.

i've been sitting here all morning waiting for a call from a friend of mine that works for the management company so i know how to proceed from here. i made an appointment yesterday with the girl that showed the apartment to us to come in this afternoon and "interview" for the apartment, and perhaps sign the lease. to keep myself from entirely stressing out, i started looking around the internet for cute things to fill the new space up with. it hasn't yet worked, but i did stumble upon today's letter, "e". fitting for her, designer elizabeth paige smith heads up today's findings. smith hails from california where she specializes in photography, modern design, and dabbles in film and music videos. her work is ultra modern and colorful, with soft corners, bright, engaging shades of pinks, blues and greens, and environmentally friendly. i'm showcasing two of her projects here.

1. elizabeth paige smith kittypod. now that i'm looking forward to my reunion with my ellamonster in our new place, i wanted to get her something special to call her own in the apartment. (aside from everything i own that she's claimed for herself.) at $320, this product is a bit pricey for me, but i absolutely love the idea of it. it's very egyptian in it's approach - almost an alter or throne for your cat-friend to relax in. it's made of maple plywood and corrugated cardboard, so your cat-friend can also keep their claws in check and hopefully out of your other furniture. i can imagine ella lounging around in this, and maybe if she's lucky she'll get it for christmas. 2. elizabeth paige smith bird entertainment center. okay, aside from the fact that she uses part of my adopted name in the description of this piece, how can you not love it? this isn't just an entertainment center, it's a piece of art. sculpted and replicated out of plaster (i think), and created from pieces, you can make an entire wall out of this design and incorporate your television and what have you into your very wall. the idea is attractive, and expensive. smith has made a name for herself designing for personal homes and large, trendy restaurants in the west hollywood area, and this explains why. gorgeous work. 3. el perro del mar. i first discovered el perro del mar from thehoodinternet.com, where they remixed one of her songs, inner island. her vocals are quiet, hushed and ethereal. ranging from the sweet to the somber, this is music best suited for chill days and evenings in the fall. her name means "dog of the sea," but her music is anything but. check out her 2008 release, "from the valley to the stars". 4. comic appetizer plates from cb2. to eat on. eat starts with "e". i know that's kind of cheating, but i wanted to write about these yesterday and i didn't. the whole pop art thing is getting kind of old, i think. i'd like to see cultured people embrace something a little more organic, but these plates are so much fun. they're based on the art of roy lichtenstein, famous for his paintings of comic book storyboards and satire. they'd make either an interesting piece of kitchen art on the wall above a stove, or as actual serving plates. and at about $3 a piece, they're way more affordable than most table settings.

el perro del mar at least looks like she's enjoying them.


cazal's "somebody somewhere"

///not about sunglasses.

kanye's fans are stronger than you.

yeah, dude. those are slotted sunglasses. i'm not jumping on the bandwagon. they're a kitschy trend, at most, that kanye sparked, which is something. he's spot on with fashion all the time. what i love about this, though, is that there's a whole section on his blog dedicated to his fans in these things. urban outfitters is selling really cheap pairs of them if you're so inclined. they're a little too ironic for me. which, in itself, is ironic. oh, the irony.

c sells c-shells by the c-shore.

north carolina has been on fire for several weeks now, filling most of southeastern virginia with toxic fumes and heavy patches of smoke whenever the wind blows just right. these poses more than a few problems: air filters in automobiles are unable to filter out the gross dust particles and smoke from the air, the smoke is being released into the atmosphere which is raising the ozone threat (compounded by the immense amount of summer travelers on the road), and of course normal breathing function is interrupted. the first night the smoke showed up, i started a painter's mask gang. while it didn't last or jump off as a fashion trend, it helped us breathe, which is one of the best fashion trends you can start.

so today i've been thinking about health, and how the summer usually means so-fresh-so-clean to most people. when i envision the perfect summer, i'm reminded of water reflections against walls, twinkling garden lights, bright colors, ironically large sunglasses and dance music. (among other things, of course.) it's disheartening that the current state of my world is keeping me from feeling like summer is all around us freshing things up. it's also disheartening to know that areas of dense forest are continuously burning, destroying habitats and uprooting native wildlife from their homes.

the letter "c" gave me some particular problems, until i hit the ground running with the discovery of cheap monday's '08 fall line. in light of the burning woods some miles to my south, it was refreshing to see these muted colors in some very dense (not burning) forest, with a bunny thrown in. so, cheap monday (with a "c") kicks off the third letter of the alphabet.

1. cheap monday's ///08 fall line. i first discovered cheap monday on a trip to see a friend's band play in richmond, virginia. we went into a boutique called henry to fish around in their shoe sale, and i found a brilliant black pullover covered in white rain drops. it was a rainy day, so i bought it. then i discovered their skinny jeans, which are also brilliant, and cheap, like the name says. but so well done. their new fall line seems to be quite a bit more high-end, and though i'm dubious about the fur hat (that i'm hoping is fake), i am intrigued and can't wait to see more from the fall and winter lines they've got coming. 2. color-changing t-shirt from american apparel. american apparel is pretty standard. after all, they sell en bulk, and their every-day wear clothing isn't the cheapest. not to mention the trendiness level is off the charts. they consistently revive the best of the '80's fashion that is still burgeoning in the scene(s), and i absolutely love this t-shirt. the colors are bright, it reacts to heat and cool, and it's not especially expensive. 3. . cazal vintage collection ///08. not cavali, but still just as expensive. i really can't help but love every new style of aviators or shields that come out, and i love these for their thinner frames, and sturdy looking design. just the right amount of boxiness, and though they're definitely high-end they're still masculine and rock the summer style. they were popular in the '70s and '80s and are set to make a huge comeback. (i'll be taking money on when we'll see kanye in a pair, if he hasn't already rocked them.) 4. "crimewave (crystal castles remix)" by health from HEALTH//DISCO. this remix album isn't so much a remix, as a complete redo of the original self-titled by los angeles-based health. when not disco-treated, their music is very much noise meets dance, infused with LIARS-like tribal drumming, droning, waves of guitar fuzz and soaking wet vocals. crystal castles (i picked three c's there) treats one of their finest tracks, "crimewave", with their particular brand of warped nintendo dance to spectacular results. i can't get HEALTH//DISCO out of my cd player, and many of the tracks end up making the rounds in my sets when i DJ.

that bunny is cute. i hope that mousy-haired model clinging to the woodsman up top isn't wearing it. i keep red spray paint nearby at all times.

a category of their own.

while i'm inclined to believe this is more performance art than celebrities hiding their identity, it is certainly intriguing. "faceless" people have been showing up all over england at high profile events (like this picture, taken at a wimbledon match) wearing what appear to be tightly fitted flesh-masks. they appear in couples almost exclusively.

the masks, when examined up-close, have tiny perforations where the eyes and noses are to allow for sight and breathing. the couples sit silently, or stand silently, at every event they attend. so far they've been spotted at movie releases, at benefits hosted by celebrities, the famous wimbledon tennis matches and out and about.

speculation is that these are celebrities, finally fed up with dealing with the paparazzi. i'd like to think they are activists or artists - wouldn't it be lovely if you could tell what was on the dangling pins they're wearing on their lapels? perhaps this is a statement on the anonymity of big business, or consumerism, or perhaps a creative way to show that one human is no different than the other. i love this. so many possibilities.

update: a quick google search of "faceless people" comes up with this web site, facelesspeople.com. the site is a viral marketing site for Lotus Cars, sports cars that appear to be marketed for the person with an endless disposable income. won't it be sad if this turns out to be a clever viral marketing campaign for another sports car? in any event, we will find out if True Character has anything to do with these faceless people in 18 days according to the count down.


b is for buns.

beirut is the moniker that a certain musician goes by who crafts music recalling eastern european soundscapes. he's released several albums already to critical acclaim, and won my heart with the song "postcards from italy," whose video was a montage of found home movies and 8mm footage of the director and her friend. it chronicles (in a round about sort of way) the path of life, from birth to death.

i'm not sure what that has to do with the letter "b" other than one of the images up there is from beirut. i never know how to begin.

1. the double hanging bench from raw studios is good for your bottom, and the earth as it turns out. the hanging bench is made in the UK from sustainably sourced birch plywood, and folds flat for storage when it's not swaying in the meadows. beautifully designed, and when you get the reversible black or orange cushion, beautifully restful. very expensive, but visit RawStudio.co.uk for prices. 2. neighborwood DIY blank wood doll. this is a new take on the vinyl figurines that have been the rage among designers and artists for the past few years. the doll is designed by mike burnett, and comes packaged in a beautiful wooden box that can be used for hanging display after you've painted it up, or as a display shelf. versatile and fun for $45. 3. the deerfield faux leather weekender bag. leather production isn't only bad for the dairy cows and cows raised for their hides; it's particularly bad for the people who are exposed to the chemicals it takes to preserve the decomposing animal hydes. so this faux leather weekender bag is the perfect solution for fashion forward dudes wanting to help out the animals, and factory workers. generously sized and an absolutely beautiful, classic design. 4. buns and guns. ali hammoud has opened a new military-themed restaurant in the heart of the hezbollah-stalked beirut. patrons can order a "kalashnikov" sandwich from a bullet-shaped menu, and eat on a patio surrounded by sandbags in true war-fashion. inside, the walls are lined with images of war and guns. the restaurant's slogan: "a sandwich can kill you." for real.

happy fourth of july weekend, all.

today's letter: a.

i am no visionary, but absinthe made me feel like i might just be the moment it slipped past my lips. you start with a 120-proof bottle of a green, mouthwash-like liquid, standard Ikea short drinking glass, and sugar. 3-parts water to 1-part absinthe goes into the glass. swirl a teaspoon of sugar around lazily with your finger, and start the process. it's slow, but it begins to feel warm, and familiar. you suddenly can sing along to any song, recall names and places you've never been to, and you begin to see why edgar allen poe was so furiously insane.

and it's totally artificial - built around the myth that has become absinthe. in fact, very little american absinthe is even close to what was a turn-of-the-century favorite for bohemians and pretentious artists. (ours, in fact, was from prague. we are pretentious artists, after all.) absinthe, by chemistry, is little more than an intolerably strong bitters that you have to dumb-down with water and sugar. it does hit you quickly, though. so there's that. most of my experience with the green fairy was ultimately ended by a carelessly concocted soco+coke and an unfortunate serving of fried mozarella. i did wake up at two a.m. wondering what time my flight left... but i also went to sleep by eleven-thirty p.m., long after my last Ikea-glass of our absinthe from prague.

i am a quintessentially american twenty-something in h&m garb, assuming the role of conscientious objector and bubbling underground pop-culture enthusiast. ironic scarves and animal references to my personality are probably all too prevalent, and my sunglasses are generally overstated and "fierce".

it is my belief that i will only ever experience roughly 40% of everything the world has to offer me, if that. and so this blog is my attempt to categorize and catalog everything in a sometimes-alphabetical fashion. up first: the letter "a".

1. first up in the letter a is absinthe, which i've already touched on. sketchy business if you ask me. tastes a bit like jager mixed with mouthwash. (doesn't mouthwash already smack of fermented licorice most of the time?) 2. nooka's V Zenh camouflage watch. (hey, it's an accessory.) i was shopping around on urban outfitters and saw this in their men's "what's new" section. i was really intrigued by the colors first of all - very vibrant - and the box-shape of the face really caught my attention. what i especially love about this watch is that the camouflage is entirely composed of animal shapes. that's brilliant. it's a bit pricey (over $200), but would definitely make for a fantastic summer-time addition to your wardrobe. 3. antena's "camino del sol". this album is from the '80's. (1980, in fact, on the factory benelux label out of france.) it shares some of it's decades signature sounds - mostly its use of analog synths - but does it much better than most any act from that era could have imagined. it's not particularly danceable. most of the rhythms are minimalist, and the majority of the instrumentalism is hushed. however, the vocals are quite beautiful and if you're a fan of either of the gainsbourgs, or maryland's beach house, you'll appreciate antena. listen to this during late-night summer drives, or ocean-side sun bathing. 4. ryan mcginley. as far as art goes, photography is a particularly hit or miss trade. ryan mcginley captures everything that is beautiful about photography without fail every time. in his most recent show, he showcased a few of his disgustingly beautiful models (all very euro-looking) playing around in the summer sun. somersaults, fireworks, skinny dipping, morning fog. what more could you ask for? check out his web site for more visual appetizers, and if you can, check out one of his shows. RyanMcGinley.com.

i'll try to post a few times every week now that we've gotten past the hard part. i never know where to begin.

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