The Toynbee Tiles

50acec6764a2d.preview-620The other day I was walking through the city with some people from out of town and while crossing the street I made them look down at a Toynbee Tile. Of course, they had no idea what it was so I started to tell them the story. But it’s a story that needs details and references and such so I decided to make a post about it here instead.

While you are reading this post I’d like you to click this link and listen to its soundtrack. This is a track called The Toynbee Suite by an artist named Lushlife. lushlife-620x417The story of this track deserves its own post but I’ll give you some info. First of all there is Lushlife. Lushlife is a (mostly) rap musician from Philly named Raj Haldar. He is crazy talented and very well known in the music circles. Here is his soundcloud. There is GOLD there.

So the Toynbee Suite was recorded and mixed over a weekend for a documentary/educational group called Shaking Through. I am always amazed and impressed by the Shaking Through episodes and this one is one of the best since it is so complex and long. I support Weathervane Music who are the producers of Shaking Through and after checking them out I bet you will too!

Ok, so back to Toynbee Tiles. What can I add to the wiki page or the great website about them? I can tell you this about them. I have always noticed them and been fascinated by them and I would often point them out to people (who mostly didn’t care) until I was talking to someone about them and they told me a friend of theirs was making a documentary about them. I was super psyched to hear this and immediately dropped some dollars onto the kickstarter for it. That became the film : Resurrect Dead.

Resurrect-Dead-1Jon Foy, Colin Smith and Steve Weinik did a great job with the film and I was super happy to meet and hang out with them at the Philly premiere. This was after they won an award at Sundance for it. I was super happy to have helped them in my tiny way, make it happen.

So next time you are walking the streets of Philly, keep looking down and you may see something cool!

The Next Big Idea : a data clearinghouse

(note : I touched on this idea a few years ago, nothing has really changed since then)

Idea : A data clearinghouse with public/open APIs. This would be the bridge between people like you and me and our ‘home’ data warehousing needs and the public at large.

Example 1: Billers, Banks, anyone who may send you a statement or bill : Instead of paper bills mailed to your home, they could use the standard API on the ‘outside’ of the clearinghouse to send you data about your bank account transactions, credit card bills, etc. On your side you can choose what to do with that data : feed it into your home version of quicken, file it away as a PDF in dropbox, do nothing, etc.

Example 2: Electronic Media you may buy (books, music, movies) can be delivered in a standard way through the clearinghouse to the storage back end of your choice : dropbox, your home NAS, itunes, etc. No more worrying about where your music is and what device can play it. All media players can support the standard API and they are in. Presto.

Example 3: Sharing data with friends and families : you choose the sharing rules, access, etc with your own API scheme and they do the same on their end but the public side of the clearinghouse uses a standard API to transfer the data and meta data.

The possibilities are endless and anyone could start this project and have it turn into something huge. If someone wants to start a company with me I’m in.

Google Fi. A cell service where you can’t send a text

Ok Google.

I’m pissed off. I have been a fan of yours for a really long time now. I’ve been an early adopter of all your products (even the ones that are gone now). Whenever someone talks about their love for Apple I make fun of them and tell them how the Goog has been doing better tech for way longer. I’m always on your side.

So of course when I saw that Google Fi was available I signed up as fast as I could and I dropped $600 on a new handset as you required. Every time someone asks me about the phone or what service I have, I’ve gone into a 5 minute ad for the service. Because for the most part it’s been pretty awesome. But this morning that’s all changed. I hate Fi and if I could get my money back I would. But I’ve been told that’s not possible. So I’m going to just complain publicly and hopefully dissuade people from switching over to you. Hell, I’m even considering moving to an iPhone!

So what happened?

It wasn’t until about the middle of the day last Sunday that I finally realized that there was something seriously wrong with SMS messaging for me. Up until that point, everything was working perfectly for me. But all of a sudden nobody was receiving SMS messages from me. I could see theirs, and from my perspective I was sending them to them. But they weren’t getting them. That is, unless they were on T-mobile.

I tried from hangouts on my computer. Same thing. I later figured out that MMS worked fine however so the problem was that SMS messages were not being delivered once they made it to Fi. Mind you, it looks on my phone that the text is sent. There is no error message or anything.

So I chatted up your support crew on Sunday.

After a bunch of back and forth I was told that there was an outage on your side of things and that it would be fixed between 24-72 hours. I was initially upset because if you knew there was an outage, I should have been notified. This is pretty common practice for service oriented companies. But I wasn’t. And I still haven’t been notified about what was/is going on.

So I waited 72 hours which was last night and guess what? Still no ability for me to text. I’m sure you can imagine how much of an inconvenience this is. I mean, our whole society is based on text messages these days and to not be able to send one from your phone (or your computer) is just debilitating.

I contacted support again and spent a very long time with them. Here is a summary of what occurred (though I’d love for you to find a transcript of the chat so you can see for yourself).

  1. There was no acknowledgement of an outage this time.
  2. The rep was convinced it was an issue with my phone. Even though I was clear that the issue would happen on hangouts on my computer even with the phone off
  3. The rep made me remove all the non primary google accounts I had linked on my phone
  4. The rep made me remove hangouts from my phone
  5. The rep made me sign out of hangouts on my computer .. all of this so that we can get a message to come up on Messenger (the approved google SMS app on my phone)
  6. Once I had followed all of the reps steps I still could not get a text to work and so he then decided I needed a new SIM.

So here I sit, with a google phone on a google service that cannot deliver a simple SMS text message. And now I wait for a SIM card that I know won’t fix the issue. And then what?

I have always had faith that you knew what you were doing but after the experience I had yesterday I’m not so sure. This is clearly an issue on your end of things but your rep wouldn’t acknowledge it. I asked for a refund of the phone and was flat out told that that wasn’t going to happen. I was told that Fi was ‘basically a beta service’ and that the risk was all on me for signing up. Really? Ok, well if that’s the case then don’t bill me for this month since I can’t use your service. Treat me, one of your best advertisers just a little bit better. Make me feel like trusting your company was the right move. Don’t say to me : Well you made the mistake of going all in with us. Sorry.

 

Ugh. I’m super pissed still.

 

When the SIM comes in a few (textless) days from now I’m sure I’ll be writing again. Until then, know that I will never recommend Fi to anyone again.

 

My 3 favorite living artists

I love art. If you asked me who my favorite living artist was I would not be able to accurately answer since there is so much great art and artists. But there that I know of come close. They are Chuck Connely, Tom Sachs, and Mauizio Cattelan. Each of them has a story.

When I first started loving art and really taking notice of it I was in High School. I was totally into the pop art movement. Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and of course Keith Haring (who was my hero in the mid to late 80’s).

One experience from that time that comes to mind is this time that I was watching a movie called New York Stories. It wasn’t well received but I loved it anyway. It was made up of three short films and the one I was most affected by was directed by Martin Scorsese and called Life Lessons. new-york-stories-1989-06-gIt was about a famous artist who is stuck and can’t paint and is also in love with his assistant. She, it turns out, is just using him to work her way up in the art world and she constantly fucks with him by dating other people. But it turns out that his passion and jealousy ends up driving his painting. What was incredible to me was the art in the film and the way it showed these close ups of the process of painting. In addition was the work itself. It was amazing to me! I loved it so much and it always stuck with me. It was one of the moments that convinced me to start collecting art more seriously.

Flash forward about 20 years and I’m watching a film on HBO called “The Art of Failure” about an artist originally from Philadelphia named Chuck Connely.

I had never heard of Chuck but this film made me fall in love with his work instantly. As I was watching it I couldn’t help but remember Life Lessons and the artist in that movie. Connely seemed so similar. I soon learned that Connely was not only the inspiration for the film, but was the artist that did all the paintings and the close up shots!

Connely is probably my favorite living painter. His work is simply gorgeous and there is so much soul in it. Chuck’s work is special because he’s talented beyond belief and he’s clearly putting so much emotion into his work. He is also an outsider and hates the art world. He once created this alter ego named Frank Scaboda and painted totally different work (some of it is simply incredible) and tried to get it into galleries in NYC.

I ended up a few years later in a gallery and I saw what I thought was his work on the wall and I went to the owner of the gallery and asked about it and they said “No, that’s not Chuck, that’s his assistants work though!”. Chuck still lives in Philly and it’s always been a goal of mine to go find him and buy one of his paintings. I’m certain I will own one at one point. Some day soon maybe I will go out on a trek to find the guy.

c057Tom Sachs is this artist that is perhaps one of the coolest people I know. I have a friend who is an insane collector of art and art books. He has a collection that is valued in the tens of thousands and has hundreds of art books lining his walls. But anyway, I was at his house one day and he showed me this book called ‘Space Program’ about this artist who had painstakingly created not a scale model, but a full scale real Lunar Module along with space suits and a mission control and then he re-enacted the moon landing in this gallery in LA. I was instantly hooked.

I went home and researched and found a video of the event. It was incredible! I remember feeling so sad that I missed it when it happened and that I’d never see the Lunar Module again. Like genuinely sad about it. Like I’d missed something that was made for me. But I started following his work anyway and became obsessed.

Tom is a maker. He has a certain aesthetic that is kind of incredible to witness. He is organized. He is about function over form. He is about getting his point across and not getting caught up in beauty. But yet, his work is beautiful to me still. Every single thing he has ever made that I have seen I have loved.

Waffle Bike. By Tom Sachs from Tom Sachs on Vimeo.

I can’t say that about any other artist. But Sachs speaks to me in some weird way. Maybe he speaks to the kid in me that wanted to make spaceships out of cardboard boxes but always gave up before I even tried. I don’t know. And there are details to his work that are just obsessive and insane and perfect.

For example, for Space Program, every single object has a serial number engraved into it and it’s cataloged in a book. This comes from his obsession with NASA and how they do that for all of their objects. It spoke to me because I think before I ever knew he existed I had a chance to spend a night on an aircraft carrier at sea and I was amazed that everything on that glorious machine had a serial number. Everything was labeled. Everything had a part number. It blew me away at how the virtually unlimited budget of the govt. was able to organize things down to the tiniest detail. The control, the design, the forethought was glorious. Tom totally did the same thing in his studio.

A few years ago in 2011 I went up to New York to see a show of his called Work. It was going to be my first chance to actually see some work of his in person. I went up and met up with a friend and on the night before we came up with a plan to see a show at the Guggenheim and also one at the New Museam by Carsten Holler that was getting rave reviews. We started with Holler.

I had incredible optimism about the Holler show. It had a slide, a nude bath, and all kinds of other exciting ideas. The title of the show was Experience.

NM_Benoit_Pailley_Carsten_Holler_03001And I was psyched. We did the whole thing and walked out a couple of hours later and I looked at Sara (my friend) and said “If the point of that show was to make me hate everything and be angry when I left, then it was completely successful”. To this day I think that actually was the point. For example, there was a room filled with stuff that was lit by strobe lights. And when you got out of that one you entered into another room with alternating red and blue lights and noise. It was like torture to walk through this show. I was shaken to the core.

But a few blocks away I was able to finally see Tom Sachs. And it was just so perfect. It was great to finally see the work of someone that I was just loving for a few years up to this point. One of the highlights was a wooden Hassleblad camera 16a8c7498e2c6ab7d86d26976387904f

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course the James Brown stereo system. 2011-12-17_17-18-37_575

 

 

 

 

 

Next 2011-12-17_17-43-00_540 we found our way to the Guggenheim to see a show called ‘All’. It was a retrospective of work by an artist I’d never heard of called Maurtzio Cattalan who I’d never heard of. After the Holler show I wasn’t expecting much and we almost didn’t go but we did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLW-SGM-0003_GUGGENHEIM_MUSEUM__BIRDS_EYE_VIEW_OF_THE_CENTRAL_ATRIUM

The Guggenheim is a cool museum that at its center there is a huge multi floor atrium with an enormous circular ramp that works its way up a hundred or so feet to the top of the museum. This show was built to hang from the roof of the atrium all the way down to the floor. When I arrived, the first thing I saw was a stuffed horse hanging above me.p1000032

 

 

 

 

My initial thought was that I was going to see a bunch of taxidermied animals but as I had worked my way up and around the ramp leading up I came across something I’d seen before. It was the pope after being hit by a meteorite, something that I’d seen a photo of (and loved) a few years back.

Maurizio-Cattelan-All-14

I was shocked that I’d known this artist all along. I’d just never known his name.

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was to work my way up and see more and more insanely incredible physical works in front of me.

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At one point we came to a story about the artist written on the wall that described how he was doing a show in a gallery down the street from a fellow artist and instead of doing anything original, he simply copied (in perfect detail) the entire show of the other artist. Cattalan, it seems, is more of an artistic prankster. In another story that I love he was a featured artist at this great biennial show in Italy and he was given a warehouse space to work with. People came from around the world to see this show and when they got there they found a dark and empty warehouse with a spot light all the way in the back. Once they made their way to the spotlight they could see it was illuminating on the floor a tiny sculpture of an ant – giving them the finger. In another show he had all of these taxidermied pigeons installed in the rafters above all the other artists’ work with, of course, the pigeon shit all down the walls. Much like Connely, it seems that Cattalan isn’t a fan of the art world.

‘All’ was one of the best shows I’d ever seen. It was simply incredible and I spent hours there looking at each piece. I was instantly in love. Sadly, he has retired and is making no more work but what he has made is more than enough.

As a side story I started watching the amazing Netflix series called “Chefs Table” and in the first episode they profiled this incredible Italian chef and as I was watching it I fell in love with his sensibility as well. I felt very much this man was the food world’s equivalent of Cattalan. Sure enough about ½ way into the episode we see that he was inspired directly by Cattalan and his first encounter with him was at the pigeon biennial I mentioned above.

One more thing I’d like to add. I finally got to not only see the Tom Sachs Lunar Module. IMG_20120602_135341 I got to go into it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He ended up doing a show called “Mars” which not only brought back many of the Space Program stuff, but also added more. In all I spent 3 days there practically living at that show.

IMG_20120531_202815 IMG_20120602_133745 IMG_20120531_202543

At the time I was sort of a Tom Sachs groupie stalker. He seemed to be ok with it.

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Some App Ideas

Feel Free to make these.. I am just an idea man.

Thought #1) In my favorite car service app (Uber) one of the best features is that when you order a car, it shows you a map and the car on the map as it weaves its way through the city to your location. There’s even an ETA.

Now, imagine that you had a similar app but for you and whoever else wants to know where you are. Lets call it : AlmostThere. You have a party or a dinner and your friends all link into the location and you get this map of all of them as they are heading to you. No longer do you wonder “where is Dave?”, “should we order? or wait?”, etc.

Thought #2) How many times did you want to show someone a photo from your phone but you are worried they may see something else on your phone or another photo in your gallery that you don’t want them to? There should be an app where you can set up a temporary viewing port on your friends phone and you can choose photos/videos to show them by just checking on them on your phone.

Thought #3) This one is pretty huge and it’s more an idea/vision than an app. So lets go back to Uber and think about how UberX works. UberX allows almost anyone with a car to be a taxi driver but on their own schedule. You sign up with Uber and they verify that your car is acceptable and that you have insurance, etc. and then whenever you want to work (say you have an evening or a free hour) you just sign in and it determines your location and assigns you a nearby fare to take somewhere. You drive the person and drop them off and Uber credits you some amount to your account and you either sign off or take another fare. It’s kind of a new way to think about labor. From your perspective you work when you want to work. From Ubers, they have a pool of people available that they manage. It’s up to them to incentivize drivers to log in and work (by varying fare prices, etc).

Now imagine that model extended out somewhat. Imagine the number of unskilled jobs that could be distributed in this way : delivery services (groceries, packages, pizza), simple clerical tasks, ticket takers at events, messenger jobs, farm laborer jobs, etc. Imagine that there is an app or an ecosystem of somekind where jobs are super temporary and the labor pool is flexible.

Lets take pizza delivery for example. There are 100 or so pizza places in Philadelphia. Maybe even more. All of them have at least one driver on staff and they have to manage that resource : what are their hours? taxes, insurance, etc. What if all the pizza shops were offered an uber like app where they just press a button and a driver shows up to deliver an order for them and they pay some variable fee for that service. The app can up the delivery charge for heavy volume days and lower the charge for slow days, etc. All the labor overhead is managed by the app (who gets to do it in aggregate).

This will happen, and it will happen sooner than we think.

For The Win

ftw-US-cover-largeSo I’m currently reading “For The Win” by Corey Doctorow.

I got it on my kindle and started reading it the other day and one chapter was really awesome.

Because he is amazing and believes in freedom, Corey Doctorow releases all of his books under Creative Commons so you can download them, excerpt them, change them, do whatever with them. You can find his books and stuff at his website.

So, instead of telling you about the chapter I’m able to just let you read it yourself. So click the link below to get the excerpt and see if you agree with me. And if you do, don’t be a cheapskate and buy the book. I just ordered the Hardcopy to put in my library!

forTheWin-excerpt

The Imitation Game

Saw The Imitation Game today as part of my yearly pilgrimage to see all the Oscar Nominees. Here’s some quick thoughts about the movie…

First of all, almost nobody can do wrong by me by brining the story of Alan Turing to the world. He is one of the true hero’s in my book. Here is the man who pretty much single-handedly won WW2 for us and kickstarted the computer sciences. The sad part of his story was that he had to keep his work secret even by the time he died so to him, nobody knew what he did. The sadder part is that he killed himself, most likely because he was shameful over the fact that his homosexuality was exposed.

So, I’m super happy that a story highlighting Alan Turing was told, and also happy that was done very well by Benedict Cumberbatch. But what I’m not happy with was the many historical inaccuracies in the movie. As well as the many strange plot devices. For example, at one point Turing in the movie is being held up from working on things by his commander at the base so he writes a letter to his commander who is Winston Churchill and even though we know nothing of the contents of the letter, in the next scene Turing is now in charge. I mean, what the hell just happened? Why is this plausible? It’s not, it’s a plot device and it’s dumb. And it has no place in a movie up for best picture.

So what other things didn’t I like? For one, there was an incredible obvious use of exposition. In one case we see a scene explaining the Enigma device that is painfully stupid and implausible but then, not 10 seconds later we hear in an overdub voice the entire explanation rehashed. Why?

And for a movie about a technical subject like codebreaking there is little or no technical things happening at all.

I also didn’t like the ‘disney’ moments. There is one cliche scene where Turing is about to be fired and his machine (the bombe, although never mentioned by name in the film) destroyed. In the last second, just as things seem to be about to go to a point of no return, one of his co-workers (who the movie spent so much time showing us that he didn’t like Turing since turing was gruff, but all of a sudden decided out of the blue that Turing was indeed right!) comes out from nowhere and says “If you fire Turing, you will have to deal with me leaving!” and then another says “and I as well!”. It was a scene you’ve seen in a dozen films before. What makes it worse is that this never even came close to happening in real life. The real story is completely different. In short, he was never about to be fired and his team always liked him.

Bleh. This was a shitty movie. I’m sorry. The only reason it got nominated was that the Weinsteins produced it and you know they know how to lobby the academy.

Whiplash Review

Ugh. How was this movie nominated for best picture? I found it entertaining but I also found a lot of faults with it. I don’t know the director well so I don’t know if he/she has directed before but I’m going to guess that they never directed a feature before. There were a few things that a good director wouldn’t have let happen. For example, the usage of extras was really poorly done. I cite for you the pizza shop scene where I got majorly distracted by the extras for two reasons : First was that they were all overacting and being obvious but secondly was the aperture/focal length which really kept much of the background action in focus where it really shouldn’t have. Another directory thing that I found annoying was that even though I was supposed to feel like this school in the movie was in NYC it felt like a completely different city. I would venture a guess it wasn’t even shot in New York. If it was, then he somehow made it look like another city entirely.

Then of course was the fact that the protagonist was not consistent in his tone and personality. At first we are led to believe that he’s a nerdy/shy/introverted kid but then about a third of a way into the movie he’s at dinner with some family friends and he’s all of a sudden bold and outgoing and brave. And then he later changes into someone who is just insanely motivated to succeed. Not even being in a car accident and having his car flipped over will stop him from performing. Believable? Um, no. And at said performance he is covered in blood and cuts and yet nobody, not one person questions it.

And then there is the teacher dude. He actually had a consistent personality but what school would allow someone to go unchallenged and unsupervised to the point where he is slapping students and throwing chairs at them? Not one student in the history of this teachers tenure complained to anyone? And then we are to just accept that he puts 3 students up for 5 hours of abuse with no breaks and nobody complains or steps in?

I guess overall the movie to me felt completely unbelievable and that really bugged me a lot. For a first time director/feature, ok. But to have it nominated for best picture and best screenplay? Uh. No.

My Year 2014

I was trying to remember my past year in food, music, movies, books and adventure so I started trying to compile it from my calendar, Facebook, photos, amazon orders and the like and while I was doing it I figured I would just make a blog post about it. It’s a long one, but I think this covers my year pretty well. Enjoy.

January

My new year started off with a crazy terrible flu like illness. I remember sleeping with a sweatsuit, hat, gloves and super thick socks and still waking up shivering while I was trying to sleep. The best part was that Sam had to dig my car out of the snow to take me to the hospital (I insisted since my fever had gone up to 103 all of a sudden and I had about had it for being sick). Apparently I only had the flu and they sent me home. Also capping off a lackluster month I had officially broken up with Sam and she had moved out. It was very rough getting adjusted to that.

We also had a bunch of snow. I remember one day coming home from work and waiting out in a blizzard for an hour for a bus. Another day Lila and I were snowed in due to a major storm. There were many days my car wouldn’t move an inch due to its summer tires. (flash forward to today and have I gotten new tires yet? Um. No)

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Lastly, Lila got lice. I cut off all of her hair. She then proceeded to look amazing with her super cute buzz cut. But overall that experience was insanely trying!

Achievements : Got a vasectomy, Finished my Underdogs menu (my 10850151_10152508627001658_2615187121954706849_nfist is on the wall there!)

Movies : Blackfish (an awesome documentary about captive whales and animals.. it pretty much killed Seaworld)

TV : The first amazing show of the year? True Detective. Wow. Best line from January however was in Girls : “If you died the world would blur. I wouldn’t know what a tree was.”

Soundtrack : I had discovered and fallen in love with “Songs: Ohia”. Particularly “Blue Factory Flame” and “The Black Crow

February

Now this is the way to start off a month. It turned out that some of my best and oldest friends were having a “girls weekend” in Miami. I really needed to get away so I begged to crash and they said yes so on Feb 1 I landed in Miami and proceeded to have a fantastic weekend. Thank you to Starr, Dara, Sylvana and Brandi!

Then later in the month I headed to Annapolis to help Starr and Jeff rebuild their bathroom2014-02-08 18.30.58. Driving home I almost died 2 times on I95 due to the fact that there is a blizzard happening and my car refuses to drive in snow of any kind.

My friend David came over and took some photos of my beautiful child.

In The News : It’s alleged that Woody Allen molested his daughter.

TV : Legit season 2 (though sadly it was cancelled). Nick Elmi wins Top Chef. The Sochi Olympics happen and they have the most amazing opening ceremony I’ve ever seen (even with the broken ring thing) 2014-02-07 21.56.05. But for the second month in a row Girls kills it : “”Which real housewives locale is most appealing to you? … Um, the one in Prague?”

Achievements : My Lobster Mobsta Card is filled out and put on the wall at Lukes Lobster. Yummy! Lila releases an amazing video on Facebook.

Food : I discovered the Good King. Wow!

Movies : I start to watch all of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees : 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips are first up.

Music : Listening to Midlake a lot. My friend Ben introduced me to them. I love the track “Roscoe

TV : I give Season 2 of House of Cards a shot. This is the post I write on FB just before I start “Little girl is asleep. Time to see how Frank Underwood is doing. If he kills anyone though, I’m done.”. So you know how that went.

Food : I have a terrible meal at Stateside. It’s no longer my favorite rest.

March

March was filled with a bunch of life. Nothing super special happened but I know I watched a lot of movies and played a lot of boardgames.

Movies : I finish up watching my nominees and post about them (8 out of 9 seen) and then watch and see who won and I retweet the now famous Ellen Selfie.

Games : I got my copy of Caverna. This becomes one of the most played games I own.

Adventures : Sam and I start going to hang out with the Penn Board Game club.1977053_10151997702911658_1086002616_n

Food : Studio Kitchen was my winner in March. I also tried Noord and was not impressed. But I did fall in love with Bufad pizza!

Best quote of the month : “His cologne smelled like Novocain”

Music : I discover War on Drugs, and also listen to a bunch of Beck “Morning Phase“. Also I go and see Arcade Fire with a friend. It’s been a while since I saw a super big concert.

TV : Girls still killing it. This was an amazingly awesome season.

Books : First I finish Fooling Houdini which is a cool book about magic. I love magic. But most interesting is this book called The Martian which if you are in any way a nerd you will totally dig. This guy gets stuck on Mars and has to survive there using all the MacGyver he can muster.2023110878

April

This was a cool month. It started out with a 2 week jury duty where I really felt like we the jury did our duty as we spent 3 days deliberating all the fine points of the evidence. It was super rewarding.

Also, my friend Heather got married in April and she thankfully does the wedding up here in Philly instead of her new/original home in Alabama.

My other friend Amanda gets almost kicked off facebook for posting photos of herself.

Theatre : Theatre Exile puts on “Anapurna” and I end up seeing it 3 times. It was quite good. Are you a subscriber?

Music : I meet, hang out with, and end up supporting the Weathervane Project. You should too. These guys produce the Shaking Through series (which is amazing!)

Books : This was the magical month where I started to read the Silo Series which I think was my favorite of 2014. If you want to start, get book one : Wool.

Food : Cook with Sam and we are fed by Jason Cichonski.

Best Quote : “What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.” – Mike Rowe

May

May is Magic Mickey Month as we take Lila to Disney for the first time. She had an amazing time.

Had a great trip to NYC where I got to check out Sushi Nakazawa and also see NPH do Hedwig which was easily my favorite Broadway experience ever.

Art : I start seeing pink everywhere.

Movies : a new Wes Anderson movie???

TV : SNL shows us what it’s like to be a real DJ.

Food : I reviewed Sushi Nakazawa on Yelp. But my favorite meal of the year happens at the end of May when Sam and I accompany a couple of friends to eat at Laurel!

Books : I read a cool non-fiction deal in May called Flash Boys about high frequency trading. It was quite good.

June

June is highlighted by an amazing meal cooked by Jason Cichonski at my house! image_9If you were there, you know how awesome it was! We also started an adventure club and kick it off with paintball.10407190_10152151525631658_6354806728784798772_n

TV : The Leftovers premiere.. but yea, no. Billy Bob Thorton kills it in “Fargo”, And Game Of Thrones ends its season. I need more GoT!!

Music : I discovered Damien Marley. The Master has come back. This guy is my summer soundtrack!

Book : The Todd Glass Situation. Not a bad book. Pretty good if you like Todd Glass.

July

Best thing that happened in July was our Adventure Club trip to upstate New York on our camping/canoeing trip : The Seven Carries in Saranac Lake.

July was also a month of huge debate over the Israel/Palestine conflict in Gaza. I actually lost a few friends over this one. On a lighter note, my friend Mickey has her 50th birthday catered by Talula’s Table. Yummy! I move into a new office and decide to hang my Lego Imperial Star Destroyer from the ceiling. I fail miserably. I should have used the Kragle.

Lastly was another Adventure Club trip, this time to Centralia PaP7200024.

Quote : from Reddit : “If all the original members of a band were replaced, most people would argue that it’s not the same band. But a sports team replaces all of its members after a certain number of years, and it’s still the same team.”

Movie : “Side by Side” : a documentary about film production and the usage of digital over film made by Keanu Reeves!, “Sound City” : a doc about a soundboard and an amazing recording studio. Tim's_Vermeer_2013Tim’s Vermeer” yet another documentary. This one about a mad genius non painter who paints a masterpiece using his incredible ingenuity.

August

One great adventure happened. Me, Eammon, Tim and Vincent climb a mountain (a small one called Mt. Tamminy).P8300018

I also get to do some sailing at the Corinthian Yacht Club. This proves to be my only time in a sailboat all year :(

Also, construction (digging) finally begins on the new Comcast Center and I immediately become enthralled. I have always wanted to see a skyscraper built and now I have a front row seat!

Podcast : I discover and love 2 amazing podcasts. First is 99% invisible. Here is a perfect example of the kinds of things they do. The other is “Love and Radio”. Check out this episode about a back man and the KKK.

Food : I find and fall in love with The Rim Cafe!

News : Ferguson. 10402005_10152657145523812_6765801101544552358_n

Quote : “Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.” – Fahrenheit 451

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Obsession : I can’t stop buying Swatch watches!

Movie : “Maindentrip” : how in the hell does a 14 year old girl circumnavigate the earth on a tiny sailboat? Watch this and be amazed. And I re-watched “Buffalo 66“.. still love it.buffalo66
Book : “A Mile Down” Here is my review : “This guy is the biggest moron I’ve ever seen. The number of mistakes he made from minute one are just incalculable. He was too naive a businessman and too trusting of people and just not suited to be running a charter business. However, I do have one positive thing to say : This guy is a dreamer and unlike me and many other people with grand plans and ideas, he actually had the balls (stupidity?) to actually try and follow his dreams no matter what and I have to respect him for that! Read this book and tell me if you agree.”

September

September started quite well with Lilas first day in Kindergarden. Then it took a shaky turn. I had been riding my bike to and from work every day and one morning I had a major crash. Luckily I wasn’t hit by a car but I did get some serious road rash.10498658_10152331109596658_8503952837272077689_o

Then, mid-way through the month, my car gets rammed while minding it’s own business.

I went up to NYC to the People’s Climate March. I didn’t know what to expect but I ended up moved to tears as I marched with 400,000 other people through the streets of New York. It was amazing.10625041_10152353508111658_663319703902372788_n

Adventure : I saw this wonderful exchange at Love Park in September.

News : The Fappening happens. Followed shortly after by David Chase telling the world that Tony Soprano died in the final episode of the Sopranos. I told you so! (one of the most intense explanations ever is right here. Read it. I have 2 times)

Tech : I join ello. Crickets.

TV : Utopia on Fox. What a piece of crap.

Food : As part of my trip up to NYC for the march, I spend the evening on a ‘date’ with my friend Dara. She takes me to not one but two amazing places : Oysters at the incredible Maison Premiere, followed by a really splendid meal at Vinegar Hill House. Go to these places!

In Philly I discovered a pretty damn fine burger at Good Stuff.

Music : Tom Yorke drops “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”. I listen to it a bunch but it’s nothing special.

TV : I start to watch and get addicted to “The Chair“.

Quote : “This is not a partisan debate; It is a human one. Clean air and water and a livable climate are inalienable human rights, and solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation” – Leo DiCaprio

October

October was filled with a little bit of insanity. Like really. Part of it was in my dating life and the other part was in a huge work project that I took on. The work project ended up successful, the dating part resolved itself though it took me a while.

One fun thing I did was the Hunt For Red October Lobster pub crawl which was benefiting Nichole Canuso Dance. Me and a couple of other friends competed hard and won many of the trophies. I also met some new dancer type friends. This was a great night!

One of the most awesome things I did all year happened in October. It was Escape the Room. Me and 9 other friends had an hour to escape a room filled with puzzles. It was so intense and really a ton of fun. You should do this. I wish I could do it again (and I’m not the only one).

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Once again to end the month I was happy to be part of what is seemingly becoming a tradition with me, Sam and her friends : The Henri David Ball. This year we were the cast of Twin Peaks.

Theatre : I went up to NYC to see Then She Fell. I’m so glad I did. Immersive theatre at it’s best. It was super.

News : The pope drops a bombshell on Creationism.

Movies : Coherence. This movie kicked it!

Media : I discovered the really cool short series “& Teller

Books : “Command and Control” : an epic journey from the invention of the atomic bomb all the way through today. I learned so much about the American Nuclear program! This book is highly recommended!

TV : Penn and Teller Fool Us. Just gorgeous tv (if you like magic).

November

I am sitting in Rittenhouse square, freezing holding a rose. It’s the coldest day in recent memory and I have just a simple jacket on. And I’m waiting and waiting and waiting when finally a woman walks up and I give her the rose. This is one of many she gets this day as she meets her fiancee at the end of her journey and they kiss and they will be married.

Theatre : Red Speedo opens. We have the best swimming pool anywhere!

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Art : I went to the Barnes. Here is what I had to say about it : “Holy Fucking Hell. I have just had one of the most amazing aesthetic experiences of my life. Renoir and Van Gough now have new meanings to me. But even more is the building and the presentation. Just incredible.”

Quote : “If this were 1600s Salem, that catch would be grounds for stoning” .. from here.

Movies : Hunger Games on Thanksgiving was pretty awesome!, also “Jodorowsky’s Dune” .. this is an amazing Documentary about a genius at work.

Media : I fall in love with, and watch about 1000 times a 6 second vine clip. It’s here (scroll down).

Music : I listen to this Weathervane produced epic track by Lushlife over and over again. I’m listening to it now in fact. Are you? Also A lot more Songs: Ohia. But my favorite thing in Novemeber is the release of the newest Royksopp Album called “The Inevitable End“. It’s catchy as fuck.

TV : No doubt the best thing I saw all year on TV was an episode of Frontline called “United States of Secrets“. It was about the warrantless wiretapping that started after 9/11 during the Bush days and continues pretty much to today. What makes this show incredible is that they interview the people involved. None of this would be possible without Ed Snowden. Watch This! You need to do it. Do it now!

December

December was a good month, but the best thing that happened was the fact that I won my Fantasy Football league. Yes, I know that sounds dumb but for 5 years I’ve been obsessively reading stats and reading blogs about football and trying to get the right combination of luck and skill together to win this and I finally did. Interesting fact of the season? I didn’t watch one full game of football all year!

Space : The Orion launch happens and I am blown away by the tracking video footage of it’s reentry. It’s simply incredible.

Food : 2 times I was able to get to Studio Kitchen!

News : The Senate Torture report came out and it was a bombshell.

Music : Phillip Selway drops a solo album and it’s not too bad. Here’s a cool track.

Movies : Best movie I’ve seen in 2014 and maybe more : Birdman. I loved this film. It was funny, it was thought provoking, it was technically amazing, it was acted so well.. Wow. It was great! I also saw The Interview. It was funny, but nothing amazing.1926691_10152541831421658_7207903560707214603_n

TV : Black Mirror. This show really made me think a hell of a lot. Also Mike Tyson Mysteries.