Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clay Aiken Impregnates Woman

Clay Aiken impregnation.

She's 50. They're friends. It may be artificial.

No further comments.

Wait, I do have a further comment. I realized who the mom is: Jaymes Foster-Levy. She was a judge on one of the early reality shows on the WB called Popstars, which gave birth to the wildly popular girl band, Eden's Crush. Remember them? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Drowned Barbies at Prince & Crosby in Soho, NY

Your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Looking for metaphors

One of the mysteries of being alive is the search for meaning. We have only to look around us to find metaphors everywhere, waiting to reveal messages to us about life. Of course, these messages come from inside us. They are our responses to what we see, and hence are subjective, but that’s beautiful in its own way—we can become our own teachers if we look closely enough at the world around us.

While in Galveston, TX, I was walking down a pier and began to photograph a number of seagulls flocking overhead. I didn’t see the actual moment of capture, but a fisherman cast his line and accidentally snagged a hook through a seagull’s wing. Both the bird and the fisherman quickly realized something was very wrong, and the bird was unable to maintain its flight. The gull began to dive and sputter. The fisherman reeled in the bird as it thrashed violently and became more entangled.

I wondered why the fisherman didn’t immediately cut the line, but then I realized that if he did so, the seagull would still have the hook embedded in its wing. Entangled in a large amount of line, it would probably perish later as a consequence. He had to bring the bird closer to free it.

The gull violently resisted being pulled in, first onto nearby rocks, and then at the feet of the fisherman. The gull screamed out, and tried to bite the man as he touched the bird. The bird continued to fight for an escape. I was conflicted as to whether I should watch this play out, but I wanted to see what would happen next. I was imagining the physical pain and fear the bird must be experiencing.

Then something strange happened: the bird stopped moving. It was almost as though it realized that there was no escape, and nothing that could be done, or perhaps knew it was being helped. It stopped struggling. I wondered if it was able to sense the man’s good intentions, or if it simply gave up. I have no idea. I want to believe it was the former.

The fisherman removed the hook from the wing and untangled the line from the feathers. Immediately, the bird leapt from his feet and into the air, rejoining the flock above.

I read this moment as a strong metaphor, a living representation of how life is a difficult fight, tinged by violence and struggle. But I also saw a means for finding our way out of our maze of anxiety.

The more we resist our negative feelings of grief, anger and fear, and the more we rely upon self-judgment and condemnation, the more entangled we become in our own drama. If we surrender to the things in life that are most difficult, if we allow ourselves to feel the feelings that we most want to run away from, if we acknowledge the truth of our situations and accept our life as it as, and accept and love who we are, we can find peace within the din and a moment of rest amidst the calamity.

Prison ceases to be a prison when we stop trying to escape. At that moment when we accept whatever it is that we are fighting against, when we finally surrender, only then is the door most likely to open and we can regain our freedom.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Philip Johnson's Chapel of St. Basil

I was visiting my friend J for his graduation from Rice University with a Master of Architecture degree. It was only fitting that we toured around Houston looking at the more notable buildings. We stopped by Philip Johnson's Chapel of St. Basil at the University of St. Thomas. We only had a few minutes until his family arrived in town. We resolved to return later that night, which we did.

In the evening, the chapel is lit by three major floodlights, and much to our joy, we discovered we could create two-story high shadow puppetry with an impressive umbra and penumbra. It started out with walking like an Egyptian and acting like a zombie, arms outstretched in front of the lights. But then I decided to turn it up a notch:

I had J take photos both with my actual self in the image for scale, and just the shadow itself:

Within moments, two security guards in a golf cart came hurtling towards us. J and I exchanged a glance. Clearly, the party was about to be over and we were going to be escorted from the campus.

They pulled up next to us and stopped. One of the men said, "Wow. I've been here for years, and that's the first time I've ever seen that pose." So J said, "People never do this?" And the guard said, "Not like that!" They laughed approvingly and sped off.

I sexualized myself on the side of a church and got instantaneous results. I think there's a lesson in there somewhere.

What direction are we going, Jet Blue?

As I was flying down to Houston this weekend, I was happy to be traveling with Jet Blue. TV really does make the flights go faster.

And I like to watch the altimeter on the descent. You can see from the image that the dots originate in New York and move towards Houston. For most of the flight, the plane pointed in the correct direction, but then at the last moment, it flipped around backwards, aiming towards the the red dots from which it came. An amusing user interface error or were we spinning out of control, at least virtually?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Snopes, Twitter, Poke!

Life on the Internet brings us closer together because it’s so easy to reach out to people with quick communication.

But so many of the ways we communicate online have limited intrinsic value. It seems to me that Baby Boomers send around forwarded emails that largely contain false content like new ways for carjackers to get you (thank you,, for helping to clarify) and Gen X and Gen Y like to Twitter and Poke.

But this is a substitute for conversation. Sure, it’s nice to know you’re being thought of, but given the lack of personal meaning inherent in the message, these are nearly valueless and sometimes annoying taps on the virtual shoulder that cause you to turn around and face…nothing.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Isle of Lesbos sues lesbians

What would Sappho say?

"Certain ladies" are being taken to court by three islanders from Lesbos, Greece, with the request that "lesbian" not be included in a gay rights orgaganization's name, and by extension, no longer be used to designate romantic relationships between women:

One of the plaintiffs said Wednesday that the name of the association, Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, "insults the identity" of the people of Lesbos, who are also known as Lesbians.

"My sister can't say she is a Lesbian," said Dimitris Lambrou. "Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos," he said.

Lesbians around the world have agreed to stop using the term so that Mr. Lambrou's sister can take her rightful place as a true Lesbian. The word is expected to be eradicated by 2015.

Friday, May 2, 2008

R2-D2 DVD Projector

It's the end of the world. Anyone who buys this needs to spend more time focusing on getting a girlfriend instead:

R2-D2 DVD Projector

The best part is the guy laying on a couch, excitedly playing video games projected onto the ceiling. He's supine for all the wrong reasons. The only way to make this more realistic would be if he were forty.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How to Survive a Riot

Stumbled across this at first hilarious and then sobering how-to guide: How to: Survive a Riot

Let's hope we never need this information, but let's keep in mind:

If you fall down, pull yourself up into a ball. Protect your face and ears and internal organs. In this position you are a smaller object that can be avoided. You will receive less damage if you are stepped on. If others trip on you they will help create a larger "pile" that rioters will avoid.

Try to avoid looking conspicuously wealthy, as you are likely to draw the unwanted attention of opportunistic thieves.

Now you know!