Thursday, April 27, 2006

Back to Traveling

I went to the Chicago Botanical Gardens today because all the tulips will be gone by the time I get back into town. Tyler said something very nice and Proustian the other day about tulips. Tulips are great not only because they are very colorful and short-lived, which would make almost anything special, but because living in Chicago it can be barely 40 degrees outside and you're cold and it's already April, but then you see those tulips and you know that the tulips can't be wrong. He said, "it's cold but oh wait, there are tulips. " Warm weather is coming and everything is going to be ok.

There are lots of interesting varieties of freak plants. This one can grow 30 feet tall.

The miniature/arctic plants are especially interesting. A miniature plant garden is now on my list of things to do.

Tomorrow, I fly to San Francisco, so there will be limited posting for a week. In the meantime, watch lots of Japanese tv:

Friday, April 21, 2006

This is pretty funny

Type in any phrase or name and it will spit out a vaguely memorable/forgettable slogan that sounds like a million slogans you've heard before. Keep hitting enter for more!

More Heather stories

Heather's friends are traveling through Brazil and thought it would be fun to take some pictures while pretending to be in a boy band. It looks like they really got into it, even buying matching pants. For some reason though, the pictures have a slightly Middle Eastern feel, like they're really popular in Dubai or Cairo.

A Life of Quiet Desperation

So, you know how I've always loved news anchors- the fake smiles, the forced laughter and small talk they have with the other anchors while on the air. I went on the good old internet, and wrote to all the most robotic and horrible looking ones (Kathy Brock, Tamron Hall, Mark Suppelsa, Margaret Shortridge, Jerry Taft...etc) asking for glossy fan photos. Mark Suppelsa has been the only to send a picture so far, which I have scanned into my computer in order to manipulate it in photoshop. The plan is to have a bunch of different, progressively more severe/crazed looking versions of his photo that I will string together into a slowly changing 20 to 30 second video.

This is the original.

This is my most manipulated version, clearly I'm not finished.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Travel stories- Florida

I just got back from Florida for Tyler's grandparents 65th wedding anniversary. Florence Mildred Globokar, Tyler's grandmother, was a debutante and one half of the most well known social power couple in Cleveland in the 50's. She still really cares about fashion even though she's blind. Her husband of 65 years, Andy, wears an ascot and looks pretty sharp in old photos, like Bing Crosby. They both love to Polka and tell stories about dead Cleveland blue-book friends.

All in all Florida is awful, like a less fashionable humid California.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

One more good Heather story, then that's it.

So Heather has this great story about Los Angeles, about getting invited to a very exclusive party in someone's giant house in the hills. It involves Heather and her friend and a very annoying sort of model who was the one to get them invited to this party in the first place. So they get there and the host answers the door and offers them a drink. Heather asks what he has to drink and the host pauses for dramatic effect then leans in and says slowly and clearly, "everything." And inside there's beautiful women and free drugs and hot tubs with models sitting in them, every cliche. So Heather has a drink and is standing around talking with some people, they haven't been there long, when the annoying model friend says that they have to go. She's had a fight with the host, a wealthy producer who is also her much older boyfriend, and I think in the story there were some tears maybe, but definitely some dramatic exiting. On the way to the car, the annoying model texts the host/boyfriend saying, "maybe we shouldn't see each other anymore." His response to her is simply, "k". Not "ok" not "Oh darling, let's talk about this some other time." Just "k". "K" as in "you're not worth the time it would take to type that extra "o"".

Travel Stories-Heather has Good Friends

Heather was invited to a party in someone's big palatial house that had a person checking names at the door, a coordinator with a walkie-talkie ordering all the waiters around, Brad Pitt...all the trappings. I didn't want to go and try to haggle my way in there, but then Heather called and said that Ariel Pink was playing on stage and was wearing tiny red satin shorts and covered in what was either mud or body chocolate. By the time I got there, everything was nearly over, but I did get to see a man who said his name was "Life" hit on Heather, really making his best effort. For the rest of the night he kept calling and her friends could say marvelous taunting things like, "Heather answer your phone, Life is calling! Life is on the line!"

Travel Stories-Heather has Good Friends

At an art gallery party that was serving opium tea, we watched a video from Ryan Trecartin, some young art punk who formed a commune in New Orleans after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. Well, the commune he made was destroyed in the flooding/hurricane, so now the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles is putting him up while he makes colorful, over-stimulating, dress-up videos with his friends.

In conversation with Heather's marvelous friends, I learned about a tribe in Africa, the Wai-Wai warriors. When the young men fight, they dress up as sexy young girls- make-up, mini skirts, wigs, and jewelry. They want to invoke the thing that they are most afraid of. I'm sure you've heard of people dressing up like scary animals, imaginary beasts, painting themselves blue, order to intimidate their opponents.

I tried googling them to find a picture. It might be spelled "Wei-Wei". I hope it's not made up.

Travel Stories-Heather has Good Friends

So Heather and I went out for tea with her friend, Brent. He is the heir to the Top Ramen Noodle fortune and his father, a small well-dressed Japanese man, likes to point at fat Americans and say, "look, they are the ones who are making us rich!" Then he laughs. While we drank tea that was hand-picked by monkeys, he told us about his crazy Columbian mom who drinks a lot and the fact that his parents aren't thrilled that he's gay.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Travel Stories-Heather has Good Friends

So Heather told me that in Los Angeles there is a shockingly greater number of funny, intelligent, good-to-know women out there than there are men. There are more women in LA to begin with, but she says all her female friends are super cool, where as the males are just sort of "eh".

To start, Heather's friend Holly was sitting in a restaurant eating grotesque over-sized pancakes with us. She noticed that the building across the street had a large, white over-hanging roof that was not unlike the top piece of styrofoam that comes in a box when you buy a television. And you know, by golly, she was right. She went on to tell us about an informal study that she did about gender, race and ice cream. Her findings: men perfer the chocolate/mint chip varities, Asians are the only ones who order rum-raisin ice cream, black people like peanut butter and chocolate combinations, and women prefer chocolate or strawberry (the overly sweet flavors).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Travel Stories- Los Angeles

We spent two days visiting the Santa Monica area. Here's a campy hot dog stand mural:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Travel Stories- Los Angeles

Eventually, we made it to Phillipe's, which I believe serves the most delicious French dip in the world. When we got back to Chicago, we compared the French dip sandwich at Mr. Beef, which I found to be less flavorful and a lot more messy. Mr. Beef wins though when it comes to service and decor. Who can beat Mr. Beef's Elegant Dining Room and the southside Irishmen who prepare your food? Phillipe's is staffed by a bunch of middle-aged Mexican women and the inside, though authentic, felt no more special than the faux-old-timey-feel-good-decor of a Potbelly's. Mr. Beef makes a sloppy Chicago sandwich for the mostly constructon workers and carpenters coming in the door. Phillipe's is all tourists (like me) and retired people, so perhaps Mr. Beef wins after all. We finally made it to Chinatown after that protest and bought some red bean cakes.

Travel Stories- Los Angeles

So Tyler and I planned a nice day trip- to visit LA's Chinatown and to eat at Phillipe's, the creator of the French dip sandwich. We borrowed Heather's car and drove right through what turned out to be the biggest protest in Los Angeles history. Half a million or more legal and illegal immigrants gathered in downtown LA to protest the bill that would build a wall between Mexico and the US. Here's some of the protestors:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Travel Stories- Los Angeles

So when I got to LA, I stayed with my pal and former employer, Heather. Her dad's birthday was coming up and so her step-mom thought a good gift would be some nice family portraits. They got this young freelance gal (everybody in LA does something freelance) to come by the house and do some laid-back-family-around-the-fireplace stuff. The step-mom said the photographer was "a world famous scrap-booker", who rarely does portraits anymore now that she has her own family. It was fun watching the whole thing and they even took a few with me in them, but the pictures turned out looking like life insurance ads or perhaps a picture on a billboard reminding you that Citibank has no checking fees.

Still, I'd like some family portraits.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Travel Stories- Seattle

These first two pictures are inside Seattle's new Public Library. It's like a really fancy modern furniture store, all made possible by Bill Gates and his money.

We went to the giant market and had donuts.