April 2010


I'd rather be with an animal

Hey kids, check it out — an educational exhibit brought to you by the Philadelphia Zoo, which starts off by lying to you. Welcome to the education system.

A gazillion? Excuse me, but… that isn’t even a real number.

philadelphia zoo creatures of habitat11 Id rather be with an animal

Photos via myphl17.com

The new show, featuring the work of New York-based LEGO-freakdaddy Sean Kenney, actually required a total of 259,450 LEGO bricks. Which is a fucking lot of LEGOs, don’t get me wrong, but it sounds pretty fucking lame compared to a gazillion. So thanks, for the lesson in disappointment.

philadelphia zoo creatures of habitat Id rather be with an animal

Photo via myphl17.com

“Creatures of Habit: A Gazillion-Piece Animal Adventure” (groan) aims to educate its visitors about the importance of preservation in a clever way — with an exhibit made entirely out of plastic blocks, which take hundreds of years to decompose.

Sometimes, even banana peels don’t decompose once they reach the landfill. For sanitary reasons, modern landfills are lined on the bottom with clay and plastic to keep waste from escaping into the soil and are covered daily with a layer of earth to reduce odor. The landfill, then, acts like a trash tomb—the garbage within receives little air, water, or sunlight. This means that even readily degradable waste objects, including paper and food scraps, are more likely to mummify than decompose.


Anyway, the real point of this post is that I think LEGO sculptures kind of appeal to the nerd in all of us, no matter how shriveled and frail. And Sean Kenney is some kind of LEGO-Saruman.

philadelphia zoo creatures of habitat2 Id rather be with an animal

Photo via myphl17.com

philadelphia zoo creatures of habitat4 Id rather be with an animal

Photo via myphl17.com

One time, long ago, I was in the car with my Dad and he accidentally ran over a large tortoise in the road. Now, that’s not very environmentally friendly — although it really did look like a plastic trash can lid to me, too. Anyway, it’s not such a sad story because the tortoise was completely unscathed! Maybe a little psychologically scarred, but that’ll only add to his mystery.


Just a loner in a world full of kids, egos and ids

Goddamn is it hard to write a recommendation for the new Ted Leo and The Pharmacists album when you keep getting one of his older albums stuck in your head whenever you sit down to write it. That’s not to say The Brutalist Bricks isn’t good — in fact, it’s quite good, and that’s why it reminded me to start listening to more of The Pharmacists in general.

ted leo Just a loner in a world full of kids, egos and ids

Ted Leo - photo by Matias Corral

Ted Leo and his band of merry men never really disappoint, and The Brutalist Bricks is no exception. While I have a particularly weak spot for Shake The Sheets, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of their albums, and for the past couple weeks, their latest release and I have been enjoying quite the spring fling. If anything, TL/Rx is the perfect Spring and Summer band — occasionally light and breezy, other times raw and packed with power, but always passionate and just plain fun.

Although Ted Leo is an ever-zealous leading man, shouting out with no regard for his future as a vocalist, The Pharmacists deserve equal credit for trimming down each song to its breathless core. Bursting with energy and life, The Brutalist Bricks will easily seal its place as the soundtrack to warmer days.

After 2007’s Living with the Living, where the Pharmacists dabbled a bit in funk and reggae (with some success and a few sleepers), the gang seems to be returning to their roots with this latest release full of blistering, thinking man’s punk songs. Nonetheless, the album isn’t without experimentation — there are a handful of tracks featuring Theodore trying out a number of new vocal styles that are surprising and fresh, but not out of place. Likewise, the slower tracks provide a much-needed breather from the record’s mostly furious pace. Bricks is a great mix of tempos and styles, constantly jumping around throughout the course of its short-but-sweet 40 minutes.

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - Bottled in Cork

“Bottled in Cork” is one of the most heart-warming and personable tracks offered, and long-term fans of the band will feel right at home with The Pharmacists’ hopeful sound and signature pared-down hooks. Another solid song in an album full of them — get this album, get a few cases, get a barbecue going, and you’re set for the Summer… once you invite me, of course.


Turning tricks

This is a fun little clip with Joey Pepper, following him on his journey to discover the elusive back smith bigspin out. It may be a light-hearted video, but watching a veteran pro learning a new trick is still some serious shit. If this doesn’t get you psyched to skate, well, I guess you must be really fucking good then, huh, Mr. Cool?


What's a girl gotta do

So I had a pretty cool new drawing I was going to post up today, but it was going to take me well into the small hours of the night to finish it in time for today’s post. And considering none of the spam bots who regularly check my blog really give a shit, I decided I’d put it up some other time. I sure hope this doesn’t change your mind about leaving me 30 comments on how I can get Cialis over the Internet. Because, Lord knows, I need that shit.

Anyway, in light of yesterday’s post… I figured enough time had passed that I could get away with this parody without invoking any kind of ugly Tanya Harding insinuations.

dedleg girl og Whats a girl gotta do

Got a hell of an itch on the inner thigh there, and the whole area’s really starting to stink. Anybody wanna be a friend?

Lighthearted little rip-offs are a veritable staple in the world of skateboard graphics — as far as I’m concerned, this is step one to becoming a successful mega brand. I’m thinking snowboard goggles, I’m thinking reality show on MTV, I’m thinking giant, hazy sweatshop in one of those Asian jungle countries. Oh, and Tek Decks! Duh. All we need now are some actual skateboards! And, I guess, like, the respect of the community. And maybe some legs that aren’t totally fucked.

I’m willing to mix and match. Two out of three? One for the price of two? Anything?


Innovating the styles that made biters look like imposters

Girl has been running these “Meet Innovation” ads for a few months now, and they’re generally a bright spot in the advertising section of any given skateboarding magazine. It’s one of those rare instances where you don’t mind having a brand’s image forcibly crammed down your throat… although these ads in particular are interesting, creative, and most of all, funny. Sometimes a little goofing off sells boards better than a banger down a 16 stair.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my favorites here since,

1) I’m starved for content…

2) Some people don’t read the mags…

3) Some people don’t frequent skateboarding’s designated corner of the Internet…

4) Mostly though, just because I’m starved for content.

girl meet innovation alex olson frank gerwer Innovating the styles that made biters look like imposters

girl meet innovation rick howard Innovating the styles that made biters look like imposters

girl meet innovation cory kennedy Innovating the styles that made biters look like imposters

Of course, since Cory Kennedy is an automaton designed exclusively to be unstoppable at skateboarding, his “goof off” ad is still one hell of a banger. I guess it’s supposed to be a joke because of how high he pops that kickflip out of a backside tailslide? Unfortunately, the only real joke I’m seeing here is how high I pop my kickflips off of flat in comparison.


The light and the glass

Figured it had been about five seconds since I posted up a bunch of boring sunset shots that nobody cares about. What can I say, I like to keep my head in the clouds.

new sunset The light and the glass

blinds down blinds up The light and the glass


windows in the hallway The light and the glass

stratocumulus clouds sunset The light and the glass

I’ve dedicated a pretty serious percentage of my time here on Earth to staring out of windows into the great and wondrous beyond, like a declawed cat pawing at a sliding glass door, tail twitching over the lust for freedom. So yeah, you’ll just have to excuse me, I’m addicted to windows and the views out of them. After all, it’s quite important to, aheh, frame your photos! I know, I know, I’m a real crack up. I’ll be here all week. Next week, too.


The truth hurts

cnn tattooed deviants The truth hurts

icon confused The truth hurts

I knew it was only a matter of time before they figured us out.


Take these broken wings and learn to fly again

winged skull1 Take these broken wings and learn to fly again

I happened upon this article about art school and surviving as an artist today. This quote resonated particularly strongly:

“It’s hard to set aside time for art on a regular basis in this culture if you aren’t immediately getting money to do it,” says Arsem. “But to develop as an artist, you need to trust that it’s going to be worth it eventually.“

What if “eventually” never comes? At what point do you hang up your brushes, as it were? Or does even considering the option make your art less valid? Probably… I don’t know… yeah, probably. But, I do know that blind faith can get you many places — however, not all of them are necessarily places you want to go.

And really, you should create art just because you feel compelled to. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean some monies wouldn’t be nice.


The Purist

With some skaters, it’s hard to pin down exactly why you enjoy watching them so much. Maybe it’s the type of stuff they like to skate, their creativity, their general attitude, or some ambiguous, mystery combination that just works for whatever reason. Other skaters, though… it’s obvious why they’re so great.

dennis busenitz thrasher1 The Purist

Dennis Busenitz in Thrasher, April 2010

Click here for a larger sequence.

Take Dennis Busenitz for example. He’s one of my favorites simply because he’s unfathomably good at everything. I could go into more depth — that he skates extremely fast, treats downhill like flatground, has a huge selection of tricks, can tackle any terrain… but after a while of listing off justifications such as those, one realizes it all just adds up to Dennis Busenitz being good at everything. Plain and simple. It might not be the easiest way to earn a place in the griping skateboarding community’s withered, black heart — but he sure makes it look like it is, anyway.


Fascination Street

the record low concrete Fascination Street

stair well child in window Fascination Street

graffiti on mailbox cow bike bell Fascination Street

dumpster crusty wall Fascination Street

Just a bunch of random photos from my recent mundane travels. I guess one of the perks of being a “photographer”, although using the word self-referentially is one of the most odious things I can think of, is finding some delight in the mundane — spotting that one point of color hiding amongst the gray crumbling concrete, catching a unique moment in the split-second before it passes, immersing yourself in a small world that most people never notice or care to step inside.

In the end, that’s where the real joy of photography is — not in getting a great photo, not in post-processing, and definitely not in getting lots of “likes” on your Facebook album. It’s in the raw act of taking the photos, period. The satisfying click of the shutter. Capturing something worthwhile, even if it’s not the most brilliant composition or it’s slightly out of focus. The important part is holding a moment of time in your hand and reveling in it. At least, that’s how it is for me. Your mileage may vary. You very well may enjoy getting “liked” on Facebook a great deal.

Speaking of… ahem, have you ever heard of fishing for compliments?


No escape

dr jekyll mr hyde1 No escape

dr jekyll mr hyde2 No escape

I’m in no fit state. I’m in no fit shape. — Hot Chip

Hey, at least it’s a Saturday! That means I’ve got two whole days before I remember why I hate the other five days of the week so much!