Thursday, June 30, 2011

Political Circus Clowns

Here's some good news- the free market has spoken, & Glenn Beck's theater of the absurd is no longer on Fox News.

Media Matters:
Requiem For A Rodeo Clown

My God.. What a compilation! He's such a dramatic dork.
Some of the concerns he has are actually probably worth considering, but his whole persona is hard to take.

On another note,
The fact that one of Congress's fringe lunatics, Michele Bachmann, has gotten any kind of traction in the GOP nomination race is a testament to the level of degeneration in conservative politics in this country.

I follow politics closely, so I've known about Ol' Crazy Eyes Bachmann for awhile.
The first time I remember seeing her was when she was clinging to Dubya after his State of the Union speech. I thought "geez, that wacky lady is really trying to impress Bush.".


...& she's only gotten crazier.

Her policy ideas are often wrongheaded. She's been proven to be one of the most shameless liars on Capitol Hill, but her Palin-esque insistence on her own righteousness is unwavering.

Politifact Truth-O-Meter:
Michele Bachmann

Speaking of Sarah Palin... the latest money-making scheme involving her is a movie that's probably ridiculous:

Are you kidding me?

As a designer, I can objectively say that is a really crappy movie poster. It's so cheesy & almost annoying to look at... but maybe that's mostly the Palin effect.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Political Primates

As the world continues its chaotic dance, governments around the world are trying to deal with the massive upheavals humanity is experiencing: nuclear disasters, financial collapse, and on a more positive note- social media & democratic revolution.

Here in the United States there's alot of the usual political turmoil.
Although I try to understand issues from a multitude of angles, I have opinions that I think are more right than certain other opinions.

The important thing to keep in perspective, though- is the fact that we are all just monkeys grunting at each other...

seen on deroidify

Star Wars 'Neon Sign' Animations

I saw these animated GIFs on Obvious Winner & they are a fun representation of each Star Wars movie.

This one for "Return of the Jedi" pretty much sums up the story of the entire saga:

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Star Wars Mythos

This weekend I caught the first half of the great documentary, Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed.

There's been plenty of Star Wars geekery on this blog. I've loved those movies since I was a little kid. Now, I'm older but still getting to have epic lightsaber duels with my 2 year old nephew, who insists on being Darth Vader. I don't see the massive popularity of the Star Wars universe going away any time soon.

I've also pointed out the saga's serious flaws, mostly due to what I would consider bad judgment calls by George Lucas. However I'll overlook that dumb stuff in light of the brilliance & creativity of the overall vision.

They are modern masterpieces that incorporate all of the most powerful & effective elements of storytelling, from the entire span of human history.

As I try to study the endless amounts of history & religious mythology from around the world, my appreciation for the themes explored in the Star Wars story only grows. I always enjoy good philosophical discussion, & there is plenty to think about in the Star Wars saga. They can always seem to relate with whatever political/military/cultural narratives are occurring in the real world on any given day.

The Secret Sun featured an awesome look at philosophical & symbolic elements of the movies. I would recommend reading each of these to any Star Wars fan:

• Star Wars Symbol Cycle:
The (Other) Source of the Force

Psychedelic Moon Monkey

I saw this groovy 'moon monkey' picture on FFFFOUND!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Paul's Adventures in History IV

I have alot of photos of my Dad sleeping in many different chairs on many different occasions. He has worked hard in the food retail business all his life, but when he gets a chance to sit down & relax it usually turns into a snoozefest. Family events or holidays inevitably become napping opportunities for the big guy.

My old friend Dan J. gave me the idea to have him sleeping right through important times in history. I thought this idea was hysterical & created this series of "snapshots" showing Big Paul experiencing historic events, in his own special way.

This is the fourth set of of "adventures" as he sleeps his way through history.

To commemorate my Dad's birthday today, I made the 3 new adventures below.
I've completed the series of 12 I originally wanted to make. However, I still have even more photos of the big guy sleeping! So, maybe in the future, Big Paul will have more adventures from the past!

"Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Jesus's Sermon on the Mount
My Dad taking a snooze, while Christ tries to enlighten humanity.

"Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speech in DC
My Dad's having a dream, too...

"Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Woodstock Festival
Even finally making it to Woodstock &
being in front of Jimi Hendrix's amp
can't keep my Dad awake for long.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child Bio

The Masked Monkeys of Indonesia

It's unfortunate when any living thing suffers needlessly, but creatures like monkeys tend to evoke more empathy from humans because of our similarities.

Most of the pics in this series monkeys are sad, but some are just creepy, like the one below:

As I was just doing a random Google search for "masked monkey" I also came across this crazy cover to a Hardy Boys book:

Dammit! Run, Hardy Boys!
Can't you see...?!?!?!

The entire jungle's turning into
a giant screaming monkey head!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

29 Ways to Stay Creative

On Neatorama I saw this excellent video, with suggestions for staying creative:

It emphasizes a very important aspect of being a creative professional- writing ideas down or record them in some way.
At any one time, there are dozens of ideas simultaneously fighting for realization inside my head- so making a note makes it much more likely I'll eventually get to it. I have definitely gotten better at making notes for projects or tasks I want to accomplish.

However, ALL the points made in the video are vital to keep in mind & highlight in your own life. I follow almost all of them, except for drinking coffee (green tea for me) & taking risks.

Here are the 29 ideas, in list form:

click to enlarge:

'2001: A Space Odyssey' Poster Design

I saw this awesome poster by artist Eren Blanquet Unten & had to post it.

It's for one of my favorite movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The circle is used briliantly to define Earth, HAL's electronic eye, and the space station- which are divided by rectangular areas reminiscent of The Monolith in the movie.

Having HAL's bright eye in the middle is the obvious way to go, since it makes an effective bullseye. However, it's placement also suggests the fact that technology & computers are a bridge, between this small terrestrial island and the infinite cosmos around us.

I consider a design like this successful if it engages me for more than a glance, & makes me think about things a little more in depth. Even though this poster is relatively simple, there is alot of food for thought within it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Judging a Game Design Contest

Recently I posted about judging a contest at a local middle school.
I've been sent a couple articles online that I have linked below.

The students' assignment was to create a board game for a social studies class, based on the theme "Solving America's Energy Problems".

It was alot of fun & some of the kids had very good ideas. There were several of versions of Monopoly and Chutes & Ladders, but there were original games as well.
Several teams used faces of world leaders like Obama, King Saud, and Hu Jintao on Monopoly money, which was funny. There was alot of creative ideas for gameplay & the materials used to make the different projects.

Here are some articles about the event:

This is me walking around the tables
checking out the games & talking to the teams

This next article has a pic of some of the winners with the certificates that I made for the top 3 games.

Washington Twp. Sun:
OVMS Students get
Their Board Games Judged
by Award-winning Graphic Designer

Also, here is the video I made for the students to watch beforehand that's a basic intro to graphic design and product development.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Aretha Franklin's Soul Rewind

I get sucked into this program, everytime it airs on PBS.

It's nonstop great music.

One of the legendary soul singers who plays regularly inside my head nowadays is the great Sam Cooke:

Sam Cooke

Here's some classic Aretha:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Weiner & The Hot Dog

The ease with which our news media becomes completely engrossed in the most inconsequential stories is one manifestation of our absurd national discourse.

Anthony Weiner has been one of the most vocal 'liberal' Congressmen. He can come across as obnoxious, but he's been fighting the fight for the middle class that the Democratic Party-at-large should be engaging in more aggressively.

The Republicans in DC consistently fight against the common good and are shamelessly beholden to their corporate masters. I'm under no illusion that the Democrats don't have similar vested interests. Since the last election cycle, though, the GOP House and the newest batch of right-wing governors have declared outright war on anyone making less than $1 million.

Weiner has been one of the best at battling the 'conservative' ideologues. However, he has now completely screwed his reputation, at least in the short term, by lying about a personal pic he mistakenly tweeted.

Only in our sexually schizophrenic country, could pictures of a man's crotch in underwear cause a national media hysteria.
Of course, I understand that he lied horribly about the whole thing & that has a wife whom he betrayed. He is a fool for engaging in that type of behavior as a Congressperson, especially with right-wing attack dogs always frothing at the mouth to take him down. He should probably step down - if anything, so people can start talking about much more important issues (like preventing further economic collapse) sooner than later. If he was smart, he'd get a job on cable news, like Eliot Spitzer, and get to spout off as much as he wants. He'd also help balance out Fox New's stable of politician/entertainer/pundits.

However the media circus surrounding this story is just crazy, & it's mostly Weiner's fault for trying to cover it up in such a ridiculous way.

The culmination of the Weiner circus was his press conference this week, in which he admitted his involvement. First, he was pre-empted on the podium by his nemesis- the raging, vindictive A-hole Andrew Breitbart who has been unfortunately been vindicated in this. Then, the entire embarrassing scene escalated when reporters were allowed to ask their idiotic, childish questions.
To top it all off, madman Benjy Bronk from the Howard Stern Show got in there to ask an off-color question.

photo from Newsweek

Besides The Weiner, there's also The Hot Dog who's taking up the rest of the news cycle.

I am obviously referring to The Alaskan Banshee herself, Sarah Palin. She is gallivanting around the country, using hard-swindled PAC money to visit historic landmarks.

As she casually acts like she's trying to get some American history into that vacuous skull of hers, her trip is pretty much pissing everyone off: the press, the Republican party, & people who actually understand history.

To be a true Sarah Palin fan requires the most pervasive ignorance that can befall a human being.

Palin is always wrong, refuses to engage in any self-reflection whatsoever, & babbles on so incoherently that many of her interviews are indistinguishable from this:

She produced a doozy this week- with her recounting of Paul Revere's midnight ride. Even after being later called out on her lack of knowledge by her own pals at Fox News, she laughably blames the "gotcha media" in her (now predictable) self-righteous manner.

Last nite, Stephen Colbert rode all over this story, on his toy horse, as he recounted Paul Revere's ride according to Sarah Palin.

I also saw this great cartoon below, about her revisionist accounts of American events. I'm glad there are more people with the sense to mock this unscrupulous & exploitative woman than those people with no sense at all... the people who actually admire her.

seen on BoingBoing

At this point, I welcome all The Madness. It lets me know I'm still a part of this wonderfully insane world. It's not like there's critically important issues facing the nation, right?....

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Summer 2011 Reading List

This Saturday I visited a gallery opening for a show of work by local art teachers.

My friend Dan had some of his pottery pieces there, & all the work was very good.

The High Street Art Gallery
is near my alma mater, Rowan University.

While I was in the area, I also stopped in the new Barnes & Noble by the school.
I was pleasantly surprised to see they had a couple copies of my game 'Da Vinci's Challenge' on their shelves:

I've been holding onto a $25 gift card for B&N, so I decided to get some summer reading material.

Here are the 3 books I picked up on the awesome bargain rack:

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Worst PowerPoint Slides

Although I recently posted a video created to promote "good" design, I'm also endlessly entertained by examples of horrible "Design Disasters."

"20 of the Worst Designed Websites"

"Destroying Aesthetics"

"Fun with Sunday Circular Ads"

I saw this contest for "Worst PowerPoint Slide" & the results are awesomely bad.

Here is the intimidatingly information-dense winner... least it's orderly, I guess:

Alternative Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance is an oath that American schoolchildren mindlessly recite each day.

In high school I had a non-conformist streak, & would usually silently stare at the wall instead of joining the morning ritual.

I've never felt the need to 'pledge my allegiance' to anything. I am patriotic- in the sense that I think American society is an amazing force in the world & am generally glad to be a part of it. However, saying The Pledge or singing the National Anthem have no more of an emotional effect on me than singing "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat." Maybe less so.

Anyway, this video is funny, in a cynical sort of way: