Thursday, June 30, 2005

WTC Rebuild Part 3

They are at it again - announcing a new new design for the Freedom Tower at the WTC site in NYC.

Basically it is a pretty standard obelisk-shaped skyscraper, but built on top a 200 ft high concrete foundation. Makes me think that from street level this will be really ugly, and the lobby will be incredibly dull considering there won't be any windows.

A Daily Dose has an in-depth and passionate reaction to the design. I like his point about how the new tower itself is fine, but it just doesn't fit with the plan for the site at all. The Times also is not a fan.

Thoughts? Anyone? Do people even care about this at this point - considering how bureaucratic and financially motivated this saga has become?

War of the Worlds

Saw it last night - and while I won't post too detailed of a review (as most people have likely not seen it yet), I will say this . . .

Spielberg is the man.

The dude consistently makes the most engaging mainstream movies around. No one else could have pulled off the movie like him, not to mention that he did it in almost half the time it takes to make most films.

It would be easy to talk about the script and some potential plot holes, but that's like criticizing Shakespeare for his punctuation. Nitpick all you want, but the point is - the movie is f---ing fantastic. It's engaging, exciting, and thought provoking. I really enjoyed the scenes where Spielberg explored the fact that humans would also be each others enemies if a situation like this ever occurred. He brilliantly captured the panic and hysteria that would emerge, and demonstrated the Hobbesian type of instincts that man would likely revert to when forced into survival mode. And the best part is, he did it on both a large and intimate scale (for those who have seen it - the van scene and the basement scene).

In typical Spielberg fashion - he manages to entertain the masses while still inserting elements that can challenge the attentive viewer and add the depth and texture that is missing from most movies these days. No one works within the constraints of modern, big budget Hollywood filmmaking better than the 'berg!

And it is astounding how well he executes special effects. He manages to integrate them into his films much more successfully than other filmmakers - even when you know something is CGI, it is blended into the film seamlessly.

To quote a friend of mine - Spielberg handed Shyamalan his ass with War of the Worlds. It is the alien invasion movie to end all alien invasion movies. Independence what? It isn't a perfect movie, but it is definitely up there with Spielberg's other great films. The man who invented the summer blockbuster proves that he is still master.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Vlad the Kleptomaniac


Putin pockets Patriots owner's Super Bowl ring

Apparently Vladimir Putin is a Pats fan too! Good thing Kraft has plenty of others.

Vlad has the ring in his other hand as he shakes
hands with Kraft and then jacks the Championship bling.

Sunshine Surface

Inventions like this make me worry for society.

The Helen Hamlyn Research Center for Inclusive Design has developed a table with embedded fiber optic cables that emit sunlight transmitted from outside of the building. The Sunlight Table seems like a great idea for people who work in windowless dungeons like call centers because it is widely accepted that humans respond considerably better to sunlight than to the artificial lights that are so common in offices. It would help fight fatigue and likely improve the mood of workers.

However, the reason it is so troubling is - why the f$%& don't we just design call centers that give these people windows or skylights? We are so innovative and creative, but then we spend so much time and effort on items like this that follow the status quo rather than rethinking our attitudes and assumptions. This is design that treats the symptoms and not the problem.

While I love the idea - I just can't help but see this in some sci-fi movie in which people never see real daylight anymore. This just seems like another way to build barriers between people and nature - distancing and alienating ourselves from our planet. Let's spend a thousand bucks on a table that emits sunlight rather than do the humane thing and give employees access to windows, balconies, skylights, etc. I much prefer recent design efforts to bring living rooftops and gardens into urban areas. Unmediated access to nature seems much more effective to me than products that merely "simulate" the outdoors.

I don't mean to criticize this table specifically - but next thing you know we'll have fake bird machines, robotic trees, and simulated grass and be drinking fresh air out of a can.


Where in the World is Icaro Doria?

Brazilian artist Icaro Doria decided to use national flags as a way to raise awareness about current global political and social issues. Using these patriotic symbols as ways to convey data about these important issues is an extremely powerful and effective tool.

Check out Doria's flags for yourself
right here.

Via Josh Spear.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Required Reading

NY Times has an extremely in-depth article about Brazilian modernist Oscar Niemeyer. I'll be reading this on the metro ride home, but I already checked out the slideshow on the Times site that features some of Niemeyer's iconic works.

I am not familiar with his work, but several of these structures are compeltely stunning.

If you are inflicted with a short attention span, Land + Living has some highlights from the article.

UPDATE: Read the article last night - this guy sounds fascinating. Also, there is some interesting stuff about Brasilia - the capital of Brasil that was essentially created out of nothing about 50 years ago. I really liked his attitude about how important it is for an architect to dream big - even if some of those dreams might not pan out in reality. He also appears to be very into the female form - and who doesn't love dirty old men?

Bo Sox

I agree with Chris from Lemon Red - I don't nearly say enough about my beloved Bo Sox.

So go check out the newly re-launched lemon red blog - and if you see a Yankee fan, just pity him/her. Come on - no need to kick em when they are down!


The Living Tower that Cool Hunting is featuring has a very similar concept to the EDITT Towers that PRADE featured back in April - only taken to the extreme. Instead of a skyscraper incorporating living flora in its design, this is actually a vertical farm, meant to address the issues cities will have in the future with providing food for themselves.

Very interesting - although we are miles away from a time when this is more cost efficient than just shipping food in from the developing world, and we all know that it is the market that generally fuels the adoption of innovations, not the other way round.

Image from The Vertical Farm.


A local DC furniture store, Good Eye, is hosting an auction for an extremely cool Danish modern bar.

If I had a sleek modern office, this is definitely where I would pour whiskey on the rocks when someone came to see me about something important. Instead I sit at a desk from Ikea in an open room full of 50 other people. *sigh*

If you have the cash, bid away and win this one for the gipper (that being me).

Monday, June 27, 2005

Dwellings on the Waterfront

The new Dwell hit my mailbox a few days ago - just finished reading it over the weekend. I spent most of the time drooling over the various types of waterfront housing featured in this issue - including waterfront properties, pool houses, and houseboats made from converted ships.

As someone who loves being near water (especially the ocean) this issue of Dwell was particularly drool worthy. The more I read Dwell, the more I wish I had decided to be an architect - if for no other reason than to design my own really cool house.

There is an architect in this issue who splits his time between San Fran and his "Lava House" in Hawaii. *twists the knife deeper*

The Future is Now

This past weekend was WIRED's Nextfest 2005 in Chicago, a showcase of the latest innovations and technological developments of the future.

I agree with Josh, the most comprehensive coverage around seems to be at Quente Cafe - where they have photos and write ups about all of this year's highlights.

Some innovations were new, while others had
hit the blogsphere before. It seems the main themes were energy efficient transportation and interactive gaming/display technology.

The coolest of the cool in my opinion are the
3-d Display cube, the moon-buggy looking Segway Centaur, and the extremely practical Smartpaper.

Optical camouflage was just one of the technologies on display.

Friday, June 24, 2005

PRADE Loves the Chiljun

Sometimes it is really refreshing to see the work of architechture students (or any type of students for that matter) before they become jaded, cynical, or materialistic.

The Architect's Newspaper must think so too. They are featuring student work from 13 different Tri-State area architecture schools. It's always encouraging to hear the thoughts and ideas of students who's idealism has not yet been defeated or muted by obstacles that real life presents. I hope this isn't the last we hear from any of these students.

One of my favorites is this take on migrant larborer housing from Syracuse students Elizabeth Kamell and Ivan Rupnik. The design features a pullout bar-b-q and patio to foster community interaction, a rooftop greenhouse to save money by home growing food, and increased privacy for the living quarters (something often missing in trailer parks).

Swamped at work today - so this will be the only post. But take some time and check out the work of these talented students, and maybe check out some of this week's PRADE coverage you might have missed and I'll see you back on Monday.

Via Land + Living.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

50 Coolest Web Sites

Similar to PC World's 50 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do On The Net, Time has released a list of the 50 Coolest Websites.

Miraculously, PRADE is missing from their list of blogs.

And despite spending obscene amounts of time online, there were many sites I had never visited.
I'll try to comb my way through some of them in the coming week, and let you know if any are worth visiting.


Invading LA

The much discussed Space Invader is bringing his brand of viral street art to a gallery in LA called Sixspace until July 9th.

If you don't know who Spaced Invader is, you better ask somebody! And if you are in LA, you should definitely check it out.

Images below are from Wooster's coverage of the show's opening.

Damn this guy is good with a Rubix cube!

You know your foreign policy is suspect when . . .

In a recent international survey, China is viewed as more popular internationally than the US.

Now I rarely buy into these types of sensationalist surveys, but some of the "findings" of this survey should be alarming to Americans. PRADE tries to stay out of politics, but I think it is important for Americans to at least consider how other people in the world are viewing us based on our government's foreign policy.

Some of the findings:
  • In none of the 16 countries surveyed, the US included, does a majority of the public think the war leading to Saddam Hussein's removal made the world safer. (Well, DUH!)
  • In most countries surveyed, Americans are seen as "inventive" and "hardworking", but they are also seen by many in both Western and predominately Muslim countries as "violent" and "greedy" - a judgment with which many Americans agree. (It is hard to argue when we are labeling ourselves)
  • China is well considered in Europe and Asia, although there is considerable wariness about its growing economic and military power.
That's it for the political discussion for today.

Breath of Fresh Air

A new audioblog has launched, offering insight into all genres of Black music. Every week breath of life will feature three songs, a classic, a contemporary and a cover.

The site has a fantastic layout that is clear and easy on the eyes - but what impresses me so far is the ecelctic track selection and the depth of the commentary on each track. These heads know their stuff, but their conversational tone makes their writing informative without being overly didactic.

For example, on Digable Planets' second album, they had this to say:
"Lyrically, Blowout Comb may have offended (or more likely, confused) the Planets’ then-sizable pop audience. Most hipsters who grooved along to Rebirth Of Slick and Nickel Bags have no idea who Geronimo Pratt, George Jackson, Mark Essex or Leonard Peltier are, let alone why the Planets insist on mentioning their names in every other tune. Then again, it’s possible to dig Blowout without understanding a single word of English. In the tradition of Bob Marley’s Kaya, Miles Davis’ Filles De Kilimanjaro or the entire Cesaria Evora catalog, Blowout Comb is as much a single extended mood piece as it is a collection of individual songs"

So check out the site, add it to your RSS feeds, and enjoy the ruminations of Kalamu and Mtume ya Salaam.

Via Soul-Sides.

Houston, We Have A Problem

It seems that the world will have to wait to see if solar-sailing is the space propulsion system of the future.

The Cosmos 1
failed to reach orbit when one of the booster rockets failed during its launch.

Still - "A" for effort fellas!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ransom Notes Made Easy

In no way do I condone kidnapping Paris Hilton for money. However, if you DID decide to do that - you could make a very cool online ransom note using Spell With Flickr!

The application uses Flickr photographs with individual letter tags to spell out any word you enter.

no ParkingA

Via Cool Hunting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Hollow Tower

A Daily Dose informed me that this month's Wallpaper features a story on Ponte City, a staggeringly tall residential and commercial tower in Johannesburg, South Africa. The building is a 54 story, cylindrical behemouth that is completely hollow on the inside.

Ponte City apparently has gone through periods of both prosperity and abject poverty. Initially serving as a self-sufficient, upscale tower of modernity, this (perhaps overly) ambitious project fell on hard times, degenerating into a poor, urban battlefield of drug dealers, prostitutes and suicidal souls (who apparently preferred to jump outwards rather than inwards).

A German author poetically describes the tragic icon, "Ponte sums up all the hope, all the wrong ideas of modernism, all the decay, all the craziness of the city. It is a symbolic building, a sort of white whale, it is concrete fear, the tower of Babel, and yet it is strangely beautiful."

Apparently the building is emerging from its dark past now, but you can't help but wonder if the building wasn't some sort of modern Tower of Babel - doomed to fail because it symbolized an excessive vision that ignored its very surroundings.

Image via Wallpaper

Tape Men Part II: Tape Babies

PRADE covered Mark Jennings and his eye-catching street art works made of tape back in May.

Cool Hunting today has a piece about "Storker," Jennings' effort to populate DC and NYC with pint-size tape babies (41 so far at the last count). In Jennings' own words, "If while passsing by one you feel strange sensations in your nipples or fingertips, adopt the infant, breast feed, and give it plenty of pTLC"

Storker is apparently also planning a campaign for Governor of Virginia, and I think the little tyke has a good shot.

I have yet to see one of Jennings' pieces while it is still installed - although I have seen an adopted one on its way home with its new owner. However, seeing as Jennings' work is all over DC, I'm sure it is just a matter of time til I encounter my first tape baby.

Catch updates for Jennings work on his blog here.

Hold on for dear life little guy!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Solar Sailing

The award for the coolest scientific breakthrough that I had never heard about goes to the brainiacs behind the Cosmos 1 - the first solar-sail powered spacecraft. Sponsored by the Planetary Society, a non-profit space advocacy group, the Cosmos 1 is set to launch on a Russian missile as soon as tomorrow.

Using eight specially designed triangular sails, the Cosmos 1 hopes to harness the power generated from light photons from the sun bouncing off the sails to propel the craft out of the Earth's gravitational field without even a drop of fuel. Although the power from the photons will initially be minimal, it is believed that they will accumulate over time, increasing the speed at which the Cosmos 1 travels by 100 mph a day.

Although the Cosmos 1 has sails that are set to disintegrate within a few weeks, the potential to create a long-distance craft is amazing.

"In theory . . . a spacecraft with stronger sails could keep accelerating indefinitely, breaking out of Earth orbit and heading for other planets -- or even the edge of the solar system -- faster than any other spacecraft has gone before. In three years, a solar sail could be traveling faster than 100,000 mph. And it could do it without a drop of onboard fuel."

That's right - 100,000 mph!!

That is why NASA and the Japanese space agency are both hard at work at their own solar-sail crafts.

However, the Planetary Society is proud to be playing a role in prodding the big dogs into moving on solar sail technology. "By committing to a test flight before them, we have put their eyes on the goal," says the executive director of the group, Louis Friedman. And what an exciting goal it is.

Via Wired.

Non-Designer of the Year

Last week the Design Museum in London bestowed Hilary Cottam with their prestigious "Designer of the Year" Award. A huge backlash and backlash to the backlash ensued. Why?

Because Ms. Cottam is not actually a designer. Rather, she is a member of the "design bureaucracy" as some critics have described. Cottam actually heads up the Design Council's red team - a thinktank that explores solutions to social and economic problems through design. The prize was mostly awarded for the Kingsdale building, a re-invented old school building. However, she didn't even design the building (nor does she claim to have) and the team that DID design the building is feeling somewhat overlooked.

Is this a case of the "design bureaucracy" taking credit for designers work? Or is it a sign that the cult-like status that some high-level designers have enjoyed is coming to an end?

Being an outsider, I don't really have the authority to comment. But it certainly doesn't sound like Ms. Cottam is lacking in recognition for her work - considering she is probably the face of most of the projects she works on among big donors and government officials. At the same time, maybe the outcry is more about the particular case, and not the idea of a non-designer winning the Design Award. But who knows. It certainly is an interesting and controversial case that touches on a lot of issues in the design world.

Read more at Archinect.

Tom Cruise Gets Squirted

In no way is PRADE some celebrity gossip rag - but I thought this moment caught on tape was an interesting look into the cult of celebrity. Tom Cruise gets laced with a water squirting microphone and then you see Cruise let his guard down for a moment as he gets embarrassed about the incident.

To be honest - I thought he handled it pretty well. Russell Crowe would have beat this guy senseless but Tommy boy keeps his cool and calmly makes the guy stand there and answer for his actions.

Although, even in this candid moment you can't help but feel like Tom Cruise permanently acts like "Tom Cruise"

Watch the video here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sporty Furniture

Sports Utility Furniture might be on to something - design for the man that wants to make it extremely clear that just because he has a designer table, doesn't mean he doesn't like sports and s#%&!

Below is the best of their collection - a table that features some dope skateboard trucks and wheels. Although the other two pieces on the site aren't as good of a mesh of the two themes, this table makes me think that we might expect some other cool things from this design team in the future.

Maybe an office chair with rollerblade feet or a bar stool with BMX pegs?

Land + Living.

Where's Josh?

The Josh Spear readers out there will know that Josh has taken his cool search global in the past week, with posts about sneaker hunting in Copenhagen and fine dining in London.

He's taking his sharp design eye to Berlin next, although it sounds like the current lack of clout that our currency is experiencing is hampering his purchasing habits.

Although I don't know when I'll be dropping into Denmark in the near future, these posts are a great little travel diary featuring interesting spots to shop, dine, and see great art and design.

Where will we spot Josh next? Keep it glued to his site to find out.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hot Hamburg

A Daily Dose continues to bring fantastic buildings to my attention. Today the focus is on HafenCity, the redevelopment of the Hamburg Harbor, as featured by Speigel Online. The two projects that are detailed are "Living Bridge" by Hamburg star architect Hadi Teherani and the Elbe Philharmonic from the extremely popular Herzog and de Meuron.

The Living Bridge masks itself as a bridge spanning the Elbe harbor, but is designed to house apartments, offices and shops. It is a brilliant idea in my opinion, because you can't get a much better view of a river than from a bridge, and both sides of the structure would have stunning panoramic views and unfettered harbor access.

However, I was truly impressed with the Philharmonic design. Not only is the building completely eye catching from outside - re-defining the harbor cityscape in one fail swoop. But the inside is a completely innovative vision of a performance space - reinventing the Greek amphitheater with an intimate yet expansive performance space.

In both of these cases, I really hope these designs get seen to fruition, because they are fantastic examples of how to renew industrial urban waterfront property with daring but beautiful modern design

Images from Spiegel Online.

Ahead of the Curve

Cool Hunting just now posted something about Swindle.

For those keeping tabs - I hipped cats to Swindle way back in the day, and scooped CH on the new issue too.

But I'm not one to keep score. Really. I swear.

Photoshop Playaz

It is common knowledge that everyone deep down wants to be a rapper. Maybe it is the public acceptance of the excessive, hedonistic lifestyle that rap stars lead. Maybe it is the large sums of cheddar that many seemingly untalented "artists" are allowed to accrue.

But my bet is it jealousy over those sweet album covers. Who wouldn't want to be given the rap CD cover treatment! It makes even the ugliest and dirtiest MCs look like suave, debonair aristocatz.

So recently I gave my boy Drew and I a little Photoshop Playa makeover. But don't sleep - Young Drewzy's album Seersucka-Free Summer is straight heat, and that Icey and Pricey collabo drops July 4 - Five mikes in the Source guaranteed.

Featuring tracks produced by Kayne West, Lil John, and Jazzie Phat.

Most dangerous duo since Jay Z and R. Kells.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Furniture Ain't Cheap

Almost every post-graduate college student will tell you that one thing they never realized was how expensive furniture is. It is quite a shock coming from your home (which your parents likely took care of filling with furniture) and then your college living situation (where you probably had that ubiquitous bent black futon frame) to realize that just to buy a couch can set you back upwards of a grand if you shop anywhere other than Ikea or Walmart.

Apartment Therapy recently posted an explanation of how consumers should think of high priced furniture (especially custom made furniture). Comparing a designer piece to what you see at Crate and Barrel just isn't a fair comparison, due to the quantities that big companies produce that enable them to lower their prices. Lots of times you are paying for the design and the craftmenship when you buy from smaller designers. It's like the difference between buying a Picasso and buying a glossy print of a Picasso.

That being said - don't get swindled, there is such thing as overpriced furniture. But I think Apartment Therapy sums up a good buying strategy:

"We believe in buying a few nice pieces when we feel flush and are really inspired by the design and the craftsmanship."

A few quality pieces surrounded by affordable furniture and accent pieces from larger retailers is a great way to introduce design into your home without breaking the budget. And then again, there is always

Frank Lloyd Wright 101

While I've been swamped at work, there is no excuse for missing Land + Living's amazingly interesting feature on Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center.

Their two part coverage basically lets you sit in for an architecture lecture on what is innovative and important about the structure, while giving you a glimps into the architectural legacy of Wright. If you learn nothing else though, the fact the building was used as a filming location for such movies as Andrew Niccol's Gattaca and George Lucas's THX 1138 should be interesting enough.

I'll shut up now, and let the experts do the talking. It's a fascinating read.

High Line Park on Track

A NY Times update on the High Line shares that Monday's decision by the federal Surface Transportation Board to allow "interim trail use" for the abandoned rail line indicates a major step forward for the project.

Although the project has been in the works since 1999, it seems that only now has the project gained momentum with both city officials and local property owners. We are still a fairly long way away from seeing the future park that is envisioned - with the next step being to secure an agreement with the owner for trail use of the line. However, it appears increasingly likely that the dream of the High Line will one day be a reality (unlike the plans for a Lower East side Olympic stadium)

Confused about what the High Line is? Check Prade's earlier coverage of the plan here.

The High Line as it stands today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mental Flossin'

Like many of you out there (I suspect), I get the distinct impression that I am becoming increasingly dumber since leaving college. As much as I try to continue to pursue my intellectual interests, it seems to be increasingly difficult. After a long day at work, I often just feel like unwinding, not trying to brush up on my Geography from my "Map of the Modern World" class. Yes, I do crack open books and magazines (generally about either monkeys or architecture and design), but it seems like there is just less and less time to become well versed in any subject. Thus, I feel my mental abilities waning, my brain slowly atrophying.

Well I found just the thing to revive my cognitive health. My girlfriend brought home a copy of
Mental Floss magazine last night - a magazine who's tagline is tailor made for the former intellectual. "Feel Smart Again." The magazine claims that "people love to feel smart. But no one has enough time these days to achieve that admirable goal." That's where Mental Floss comes in.

The magazine aims to present information to knowledge thirsty readers in a way that is quick and simple. That doesn't mean they dumb anything down - rather they give you the nitty gritty and let you do the mental digestion.
I really enjoyed the humor that was injected into the very concise prose - allowing you to have fun while you learn. Perfect for subway commutes or bathroom literature - Mental Floss is a create intellectual vitamin for your mental diet - supplementing your daily learning with nuggets about science, geography, philosophy, culture and history. The "10" issue I have includes articles like The 10 Most Famous Monkeys in Science, 10 Latin Phrases You Pretend to Understand and 10 Countries You Can't Spell or Locate on a Map.

I recommend it for anyone who, like me, feels their mental superpowers being slowly sapped by the kryptonite of work. For a sample of the humor and writing, you can check out the websites "Fact of the Day" and test your cranial might with their quiz library.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Home sick today - PRADE will be back tomorrow, hopefully healthier and revived.

Quick note on the Tyson fight - Mike - if your heart wasn't in it, you might have thought about that before you made people drop so much money on the fight. I still had a great time though.

How much does Tyson need his own reality show?! Watching him even go to the grocery store would be riveting television.

Before I go, here is a pic of me and my friend Drew looking sooo icey and dapper before the Tyson fight . . .

Back to bed now. See you tomorrow.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Missy Makes You Lose Control

Continuing a trend that started with her debut hit I Can't Stand The Rain, Missy's new video for Lose Control pushes the boundaries of what viewers expect from a video. The vid is stylistically innovative, agressively unique, and prominently features Missy's trademark Adidas kicks.

It helps that the song is a banger too - borrowing a sample loop from a trippy, electronic 80's dance track called "Clear" by Cybertron. Another example of the retro future craze that appears to be pervading several aspects of our current "cool" culture. The track is off her new album, The Cookbook, and was produced by Missy herself.

Watch the video here.

Via Shake Appeal.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Treehugger loves bamboo and I can't say I blame them. Not only does it look great as a natural wood, but it is a renewable wood source that can be utilized in anything from furniture to floors.

Treehugger is particularly digging a line of bamboo furniture from
Adapt Design that includes a chair, stool, and assortment of tables. The firm also makes custom furniture like this LP storage system.

Although home owning doesn't appear to be in my short-term future - I definitely will look closely at bamboo products for their appealing natural aesthetic and green friendly properties.

MacGyver Design

Graham Henshaw of the Innovation Blog is sharing his Mechanical Engineering thesis - all about "Single-Session Design" - a term he coins to mean design under extreme time constaints. The thesis looks at how compressed design timeframes can lead to innovative and adaptive design breakthroughs - specifically using research from an engineering game show called Robot Rivals.

However, as Graham points out - the leader in Single-Session Design has to be MacGyver - a man who quickly devised functional design in short periods of time, using only available resources. He also rocked a mullet and was capable of flooring a man with one punch.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Iron Mike

Just thought I'd share the good news - just snatched up tickets to go to the Tyson fight on Saturday night.

Ever since this . . .

. . . I've been a Tyson follower. Not a "fan" but a spectator, because you can't really say you are a fan of a convicted rapist, spouse abuser and potential cannibal. But how can you not be mesmerized by the Tyson phenomenon - it transcends boxing and touches on issues of race, class, fame and violence in America. It is the ultimate American personal tragedy, and as good of a story as that of Cinderella Man, Jim Braddock - but for completely opposite reasons.

So I'm pumped that I'll be there Saturday night in my pinstriped suit - whether it is to see the final nail in the Tyson boxing coffin or just an average C-class heavyweight fight. But let's hope that we'll all see at least a flash of the Tyson of old . . . .

PRADE Helps You Navigate the Net

I spend a lot of time on the internet, but I am constantly impressed when I come across new tools and ideas that demonstrate the communal brain power that the internet provides.

As an avid Google user, I dig all the ways that Google is expanding the search engine game. But lots of them are not publicized while they are still in Beta. Well, enter this great page that combines all the Google services in a nifty toolbar (that closely resembles the Mac OS toolbar). One stop shopping for all your Google needs.

Where did I hear about this? Well in PC World's special feature called
30 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do On The Net. The article is filled with great resources, many of which lived up to their billing as things I had never heard of before.

If you are a regular web surfer, consider this your required summer reading.

Via LifeHacker.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Kevin Smith Unfiltered

Not sure how many Kevin Smith fans there are out there. I'm sure some loved Clerks and maybe Chasing Amy but were disappointed by his recent films. Then there are probably a fair number who have never really seen a Kevin Smith movie, and probably just made fun of him for Jersey Girl anyway.

Well, one thing you can always say about the guy is that he never pretends to be a bigshot or a star - he's as down to earth as they come (including detailing his daily meals and sexual schedule with his wife in his production blogs).

Well - director turned actor Kevin Smith has been keeping a blog while he is off filming Catch & Release in Vancouver, and his post from last week about the 2 year anniversary of his father's death is not only honest and touching, but also serves as an example of the type of insightful writing that made many of you love Smith's writing in the first place.

Definitely read the eulogy Smith gave for his father - I'm sure there wasn't even one set of dry eyes when he read it.

That's about as sentimental as PRADE will likely get - we now return to our regularly scheduled cultural critique.

A Wery Special Wooster

Wooster Collective announced that the next Wooster Special Edition book will be Post No Bills from none other than Swindle's own Shepard Fairey.

If you are not familiar with the Wooster Special Editions project, every month we chose one of our favorite art books - most often artist's monographs and limited editions - and then work with the artist to develop a Special Edition of the book that will then be offered exclusively from the Wooster Collective website

Each of the limited edition copies is signed by Shepard and also comes with the 4 signed and numbered limited edition prints you see below.

Also, the new edition of Swindle is about to hit stands, complete with an in-depth feature on the street artist of the moment - Space Invader.

Interactive Gaming

It seems that more and more, video games attempt to immerse the player in a reality outside of their normal existence. Whether it is turning you into a criminal menace in the car jacking games, an intergalactic soldier in the Halo-esque games, or the general manager of a sports team in all the new franchise options of sports games.

Well, a new game takes that craze one step further and combines it with America's current fascination with crime investigation.

Missing: Since January is a new type of puzzle game, that allows you to harness your real net skills to find clues over the internet using both real and fictional websites. How far away are we from a world in which high priced firms offer real life scenarios like these - like in The Game?

Find out more about playing internet sleuth here.

Via Cool Hunting

Monday, June 06, 2005

Apple Does The Unthinkable

And decides to switch to Intel from the IBM PowerPC chip architecture.

It seems this would give away a major competitive advantage that Macs had - but perhaps there is more to this decision than we know just yet.

Learn more here from someone who knows more about computers than me.

Via A.R.R.T.

A.R.R.T. has updated with some more context to the decision.

Apartment Hunting

Sorry for the limited posting in recent days - I've been spending spare time apartment hunting - so far with limited success.

Observations from the first 3 weeks of the apartment hunt

  1. Some people on Craigslist are not only intentionally misleading, but they are stupid. If you list the same place as being in Dupont, Adams Morgan, and U street, you are basically revealing that it really isn't in any of those places. Also - if you can't be bothered to take a photo of the apartment or give the actual address, it probably means it would dissuade renters and therefore, I don't want to see it.
  2. Private condo owners seem to have no problem turning down qualified applicants for whatever reason they want. Unfortunately, when you are young and an unmarried couple, you pretty much are stuck living in a building run by a company that has to follow equal housing laws.
  3. I am shocked that people pay $1500 a month to live in dark ass basements. Either they are nocturnal, or allergic to sunshine.
  4. Apparently it is borderline impossible to find a bright, above ground apartment with a dishwasher, washer dryer, hardwood floors, and some type of outdoor space (balcony, patio, roofdeck, garden access) within walking distance of a metro stop. Well at least for less than $1800 a month.
  5. Apartment hunting is mainly about three things. Checking the various housing sites religiously, trying to be the first to see a place (most effective within hours of the posting), and above all, discovering which of features you really are willing to compromise on for your new place.

So the hunt continues - I'll keep you posted, I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats.

PS. Go Heat! Detroit is about to be outsourced to the offseason.

Obsolete Spaces

Large scale abandoned buildings manage to be creepy no matter what - whether they are amusement parks, old factories, or dilapidated apartment buildings. But when you photograph them with eerie washed out colors, and random pieces of equipment and furniture that hint at their earlier existence - well then it looks downright sinister. Like this image for example

Well, apparently the Russians dig that vibe, as there is a whole "Lost in Time"
photo gallery that explores photographs of these abandoned spaces. Some of them look like set pieces from Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, while others just hint at the type of economic collapse that leaves huge buildings like these as relics of a past global prominence.

I highly recommend exploring the other albums yourself as there is a plethora of haunting images among the bunch.

A Daily Dose

Friday, June 03, 2005

Numbskulls of the Week

Before everyone heads out for their weekend activities, take a moment to laugh at Richard and Daniel - or as I would call them if I had $3000 bucks to waste - Corporate Whore and Nevergonna Getlaid.

Hopefully - once GoldenPalace.com buys naming rights to these stunning specimens this can spell the end to the useless auction craze - but I'm sure we'll have to suffer through someone pawning their first born child or their grandma first.

Inner Space

Not that I've even seen this movie, but the type of scenario depicted in the movie Inner Space in which someone can explore the inside of your body might not be too far off - figuratively speaking.

Scientists at Carnegie Melon have developed a nanobot small enough to travel through your body and into your small intestines and photograph your insides as it passes through. Measuring less than 800 nanometers, the small "bugbot" can be swallowed and transmit thousands of photographs as it makes its journey through the body. The developers are also working on a six legged version that could be controlled by doctors to investigate problem areas as it scurries through your body.

Innovative? Yes. Creepy? Hell yes. Potential for conspiracy theory movie in which the government uses these to control people? Undoubtedly.

To learn more about medical nanotechnology - check out the links at this site.

Via Innovation Blog

PRADE Book Club

We take a look at two books for this month's installment of the PRADE Book Club. These are not books I've read, but ones that have caught my interest and will likely be added to a list of books I will never get around to reading.

First up is Retro-Electro, a coffee table book from Rizzoli that takes a look at the electronic gizmos and gadgets that time passed by as part of the never ending process of innovation. Billed as a collector's guide to "antique" technology, the book seems more interesting as a nostalgic trip down technology memory lane with stops along the way at the Atari, the Walkman, and the tragic tale of the Betamax.

Via Cool Hunting

Also up is slightly more academic reading material - a book called Science Friction from author Michael Shermer, founder of Skeptic magazine.

The book is an eclectic mix of different Shermer essays, all aimed at touting the benefits of applying scientific thought to our daily thinking as a way to combat ignorance and unmask our personal biases. He takes on "intelligent design theory" as imaginary science and even demonstrates how easy it is too fool people when he plays "Psychic For A Day." The essays range from the personal to the theoretical, but all will help you rethink your own intellectual processes and beliefs.