Monday, March 29, 2010

overcast days

Rainy, cold, dreary days like today in Brooklyn feel fairly haunted, especially in empty Prospect Park. Gauzy mist often rolls along the open long meadow making the scene like something out of The Wicker Man. Like you may approach a clearing and face this figure towering overhead:

Speaking of spectral presences towering overhead on overcast days, today it was announced that the Japanese firm SANAA won The Pritzker Architectural Prize. When working at an art book publishing house, I conducted fairly extensive archival research on this firm for books on modern houses, museums, and retail spaces. The entire NPR slide show above reveals the totemic structures are perfect for viewing and photographing on dingier, gray days.

To be fair, there are stunning images of the structures on clear blue days when the buildings look like structural clouds on the ground:

But I prefer them set against hum-drum, drizzly backgrounds.

Whether set against bruised or blue skies, or in urban or provincial settings, their constructs stand as luminescent, pristine, and at times, spooky contrasts to their environs. Everything, even nature, looks like it needs a trip to the laundry mat in comparison.

To me they kind of look like calm, translucent space stations that gently landed in their designated locales overnight where they quietly, harmoniously proceed with their order of the day.

Still deciding whether I am a fan.

I *do* like this quote from a 2005 interview I read with SANAA's two founding architects, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizama:

When you were a child, did you want to become an architect?
N: I would never have imaged myself being architect.
S: Me too.
N: She wanted to be a grandmother! Kind of funny! Grandmothers always look like...
S: They are relaxed.
N: Happy and relaxed.
S: Yes, when I was a child I really wanted to be a grandmother.
N: To sit on the terrace and enjoy the sunlight.

In a way, SANAA's structures reflect this regal grandmotherly, white-haired, beatific, sitting in a flat-backed white wicker terrace chair sensibility: Their constructs sit pacifically situated in outside spots, sagely taking in and reflecting on their surroundings.

In all, I think Prince's Raspberry Beret sums up this scene better than I can: Now overcast days never turned me on, but something about the clouds and her mixed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

everything's gone green

This was a conversation between two AARP ladies at the salad bar the other day at my office cafeteria.

lady 1: [pointing at guacamole] What is that? Is that green hummus?
lady 2: No, it's guacamole.
lady 1: What is that?
lady 2: You know, avocado and garlic.
lady 1: Huh.
lady 2: It's kind of smoky. [pause, pause, pause] Kind of bacony, really.
lady 1: Hmm. [Looks] Hmmph. [Walks away]

Needless to say, lots of things about that conversation gave me pause. No matter. Onto some scatter shot research and storytelling!

Apparently, the US celebrates "National Guacamole Day" on both Sept. 16 and Nov. 14. This took place in March so there was no official celebration afoot. I was pretty happy it appeared in the work salad bar mix, however. That said, two National Guacamole days? Within two month's time? What gives?

Growing up it always spooked me when a friend's family attempted to grow an avocado plant. The initial germination process looks pretty barbaric. A pit with four tooth picks jammed into it bracing it over a glass of water makes it look like a "hero is about to be mince-meat" scene of an action movie. When the sprouts spring it looks really questionable. The whole set up just looked messy and unnatural to my grade school eyes--like the giant avocado seed was captured, held prisoner, and forced to breed for its hippy jail keepers.

Still looks so brutal to me. It reminds me of The Muppet Movie when Doc Hopper catches Kermit and hands him over to Mel Brooks for a lobotomy.


Aaaaaah! Kermit looks so helpless! Cover your face and eyes, Froggy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

set of covers

In my recent research laps I discovered a wonderful Latvian literary publication called Jaunās Gaitas. The publication launched in the 1950s in an attempt to centralize the voices of many Latvian writers who were relocated all over the world after the Second World War.

(Yes, I am wearing my "I'm getting serious here, people" glasses.)

The website has English synopses of each journal's content but not, it appears, translations of the articles themselves.

The cover designs alone—a great many drafted by designer Ilmars Rumpeters—are aces.

I want a giant flag of the cover with the apple.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


A few weeks ago I arrived at my office kitchenette to find a container of amiable, spearheaded snacks and a note of explanation (see above). In case you can't decipher the blurry script, the epistle explains:

Last night's experiment: Candy coated, happy face, cake balls.
Yellow cake crumbled up with chocolate frosting, rolled into balls, dipped into yellow colored white chocolate, and drawn on with food color markers.They turned out...okay.

My co-worker and I quietly stood over this still life for several seconds and ultimately agreed the note should have simply read:

Last night I got stoned and made these. Enjoy!

p.s. I ate one, and, apropos of my previous post, I can honestly say I enjoyed eating the face off.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

it's not easy being green

The other day while looking up dessert recipes online I came across the following review for "Frog Cupcakes":

The Frog Cupcakes were a huge hit at my 2 year old son's birthday...the kids loved eating the face off & really enjoyed the eyes!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaahhhhh... NOOOOooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

school of shamrock

When I was in first grade my 15-year-old sister clued me into the whole "wearing green on St. Patrick's day" tip. On March 17, 1981 she donned a green top and a Kermit the Frog button that said "Green is Keen."

For my own get up, I rifled through the pile of trinkets on the top of my dad's dresser and found the button to the left. He used to write commercials for Schlitz beer. I saw a Shamrock and the name of the beer company my dad worked for, and thought, "Well, okay then."

So I pulled on one of my sister's too-big Izod green shirts, fastened on that Schlitz button, and marched on my merry way to school. As this was 1981, no one flinched. Mrs. Bailey, my blue-haired Texan teacher seemed amused, even. I just remember feeling festive and proud that I was in on the "wear green" secret.

My sister sent me that button to me in the mail last year. Pretty certain I do not have the dash of 6-year-old me to wear it into my 2010 office tomorrow.

Monday, March 15, 2010

day dream believer

Recently, I left work and ran directly into someone dressed in a Clifford the Dog outfit promoting the Scholastic store. I was star struck. Here's something you should know: My dream is to work once, just once, as a mascot of some sort. I just wanna dress in a giant, ridiculous animal costume, and shake hands, dance, wave, pose for photos, pat people on the head.... I know the costume will smell, be hot, be unwieldy on my teeny frame, but it's my dream and I am standing by it.

One of my friends worked as Cookie Monster for a trade show and got to hug the president of Del Monte foods. Another punched the clock as the skating Polar Bear for our college ice hockey team (and he would often drink *generously* before showtime so skating was very, very wobbley). Another moonlighted as the Fighting Cardinal (?!) for her college basketball team.

Recently, I researched the German designer Otl Aicher and found out he was responsible for creating the very first Olympic mascot. Meet Waldi:

Waldi is adorable. But look at that fella! He is puny! Can you imagine that lil' guy bobsledding? Or speed skating? I bet he was very helpful, but not very sporty.

Can you imagine someone trying to dress up and walk around like that?

I can.


When I was six years old I thought this commercial was hilarious. I memorized it and sang it over and over again, cracking myself up (and likely *only* myself) in our family kitchen. Can you blame me?