Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

Top 3 Favorite Albums

3. The National - High Violet
Who would have ever thought that an album about spiders, ghosts and zombies would make for such great make-out music? Standout track: Conversation 16

2. Beach House - Teen Dream
One cup of Nico, a teaspoon of Cowboy Junkies and a dash of The Beach Boys. Tasty. Standout track: Walk In The Park

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Face it, if this had been The Fire's first album, it'd be No. 1 on your list too. Standout track: Rococo

Top 3 Favorite Movies

3. How to Train Your Dragon
Sure, Toy Story 3 and Tangled are fantastic, but do they have Toothless? That is the question. Standout scene: Hiccup and Toothless learning to fly together

2. The Social Network
Apparently the answer to the question, "Can a movie about coding and IP lawsuits be compelling?" is hell yes. Standout scene: The tilt-shift rowing sequence set to In the Hall of the Mountain King

1. Inception
Indie-thriller vibe meets ensemble-cast blockbuster in Christopher Nolan's super cinematic dream-sequence within a dream-sequence (within a dream-sequence). Standout scene: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's flying/falling fight scene

Top 3 Favorite TV Shows

3. Better Off Ted
This award will have to be accepted posthumously. Better Off Ted is already dead, but it went out with a flawless record. Standout episode: The insult algorithm in The Impertence of Communicationizing

2. Friday Night Lights
Who would have guessed you could go from loving the Dillon Panthers to absolutely despising them within a single episode? Standout episode: Henry Saracen's funeral in The Son

Thanks to LOST's final season, the term "flash-sideways" is now and forever part of our collective consciousness. Standout episode: Richard's backstory in Ab Aeterno

Top 3 Favorite Cars

3. Toyota Sienna
This Swagger Wagon is out to make minivans just as cool as MINIs. Standout feature: Hot Hatch-like lines

I mentally cheat on my MINI with this car more than any other. Standout feature: Those gorgeous 18-inch alloys

1. MINI Countryman
Bringing MINI back to the rallying world with 4 doors, 4 full seats and 4 wheel drive. Standout feature: MINI Connected Infotainment System

Top 3 Favorite Designs

3. The Wilderness Downtown
HTML5 meets the mates from Montreal in a Google Chrome Experiment gone gangbusters. Standout feature: Geolocation personalization

2. Naked Bikes
Fixie shmixie. Derailleurs can be cool too. Standout feature: Repurposed inner tube fender

1. TRON: Legacy
It's stylish, digital, classic and progressive all at once. The looks, sounds and motion of TRON: Legacy set the tone for this year's design community/geekdom in general. Standout feature: Flynn's mid-century modern bach pad

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kyality-Style Christmas

Well, we just had ourselves another Kyality-Style Christmas that included everything from reading material to musk. Mrs. Kyality added to my Design Museum set with Fifty Chairs That Changed the World and even though I love the packaging of Kenneth Cole's Vintage Black, the original Black is a far tamer scent. And apparently she's cool with me learning how to mix the perfect Old Fashion thanks to Mad Men: The Illustrated World. I'd just prefer to mix a Root Nog instead. Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for reading.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The New ///M Coupe

As a former Z3-based ///M Coupe driver and former 2002 driver—for me, this is easily the most exciting vehicle for 2011. Click on the pics to enlarge.

Love the re-imagining of the front and rear, especially the wide-body, flared wheel-wells.

Nearly the same proportions of the original E30 ///M3. Niiice.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Geometric Inspiration

I recently saw Sufjan Stevens on his eye-popping Age of Adz tour, an ode to an illustrator named Royal Robertson. In the midst a 15-minute monologue, which I generally can't stand, I thought of some illustrations that I grew up with on the wall of our family room. They were these very geometric pieces of old cars and hippies. And though I was kind of annoyed at the length of The Soof's rambling, I was inspired to learn more about the person behind these illustrations from my childhood. (Feel free to click on any of the images to enlarge.)

Turns out they were drafted by my mom's uncle, Donald E. Anderson. Don was a heavily-decorated officer, serving in both WWII and Korea. He also was a hard-working man at Mountain Fuel, a community activist and interestingly enough, a partner in the war bonds business with actor Jason 'Fatman' McCabe. But more than anything else, Don was a caring uncle who loved to draw.

Don implemented a geometric illustration style, using a ruler and a T-square, as well as architectural stencils and a wide variety of pens and markers. His subjects were characters of the time, folk singers, soldiers, hippies and often himself. But he also created geometric abstract art as well. Nearly everything was drawn with straight lines, other than the perfect circles that pepper his pieces and the occasional unaided, hand-drawn textures.

Don had a unique strength at capturing the personality of each of his characters. He defined those personalities through expressions and details in fun, unexpected ways. He was able to geometrically represent the wrinkles, disheveled clothes and patchwork hair that comes along with characters with character.

Don passed away February 6, 1976 of a sudden heart attack at the age of 49, just 7 months before I was born. Yet I was inspired by him every day growing up through his delightfully quirky illustration-style. I spent much of my youth sketching my own characters, while sitting directly under his. There's no doubt he was one of the many influences that led me to a career in the creative field.

Thanks, Uncle Don.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Against Dumb

Smart Car, with the help of the stellar mograph shop Buck, recently launched this vibrant campaign, simply called: Against Dumb. To put it plainly… it's smart. Using detailed design and dialed dialog, they've perfectly captured the essence of micro-car driving as well as a bit of mid-century modest mentality.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Calvin Klein Countryman

This matte black MINI Countryman was designed for the 2010 Life Ball by Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa. Click on any pic to enlarge.

Very aggressive looking, despite it not being an S.

Loving the simplified grille and blacked-out Xenon headlamps.

Looks like Francisco's stoked on them too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bonus Color Scheming: Light White

I'm dreaming of a light white Christmas.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Is Ted Better Off Dead?

As many of you know, Mrs. Kyality and I have forfeited cable for a sweet combo of Hulu and Netflix and based on some key recommendations, we started watching Better Off Ted on Netflix Instant. After two short seasons, ABC pulled what was easily one of the smartest, funniest sitcoms on TV. But in a massive marketing blunder, barely anyone had ever even heard of Ted prior to it being cancelled.

We just finished both seasons and literally started them over again. Why, you ask? No missteps. Due to being cancelled prematurely—Ted falls into the honorable camp of shows like The (British) Office and Extras. It's short, but tighter than tight. Granted we would have loved some real closure, nevertheless Ted was never subjected to an off-the-rails season. Its cancellation guaranteed it a flawless record.

Think about this season of The (American) Office—sure there are funny little moments—but the story arc feels completed. And you watch new episodes thinking, haven't I seen this one before? The idea of the decade-long sitcom is better off dead. Some argue LOST was too long, and some say not long enough. At least JJ and crew fought for a solid ending and won, or else we'd still be wondering what that black smoke's all about.

So check out Better Off Ted, or even buy the complete series when it comes out on DVD. Watch it. Gift it. It won't disappoint. Ted rightfully deserves a place on your shelf right next to your copies of Arrested.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fast, Fixed, Fun

I'll be the first to admit that the whole fixie movement is bit unbearable at times, but photographers like Brenton Salo still manage to get a casual observer like me pretty pumped.

That's a serious jump for a fixed gear.

Loving the tones here.

Cross-processed 35mm double exposure.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Land Roving

It's a lesser known fact but MINI's weren't my first British vehicle infatuation. I was actually introduced to the flick The Gods Must Be Crazy at a fairly young age and from that moment on, I loved the classic Land Rover. Throughout high school, I couldn't envision myself driving anything else in life.
Rovers are the ultimate combination of safari and sophistication. I was never really into Range Rovers or Discovery's/LR3's. I was into their trucks, not their SUV's. There's a big difference. Rovers are simply the never-say-die torque monsters that still manage to ooze this amazing notion of refinement.
The classic Rover saw a couple Series of incarnations with loads of configurations until it gave up its leaf-sprung suspension for coils and became known as the Defender. The only Defender I ever really dug was the super-crew Defender 130 (as seen above). But my true love was the Series III with the spare tire on the bonnet (as seen below).
Back in the day, I remember Normality and I taking the BMW 2002 across the Hudson River in NY to this Land Rover restoration shop called Roverworks. A couple of guys and their dog imported/smuggled rundown versions from around the world and brought them back to life. I'll give you one guess what the dog's name was.
It was Rover, duh.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hot Box Halloween

From the moment I first saw Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox, I began seeding the idea of my son being the character Ash as "White Cape" for Halloween. The Kyality Kid agreed, but only if he could have the bandit hat "with the stars, not the one made out of a sock." Duh. Click here to enlarge.

I mentioned this to his crafty auntie at Team Boo over the summer and she actually did the dirty work for us and made an amazing bandit hat that was delivered as a sweet b-day present last month. So enjoy the ultimate Fantastic Mr. Fox Halloween costume!

Remember, it's the pull back that matters.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meaner Beamer

Let's just get this straight. A BMW automobile is called a 'Bimmer' (pronounced BEE-mer) for short. However, a BMW motorcycle is called a 'Beamer' (also pronounced BEE-mer) due to the single beam of light from its headlamp. At least that's what my padre Normality taught me. And this is easily one of the meaner Beamers that I've ever come across.

This 1963 BMW R60/2 is a knobby, murdered-out monster machine that feels totally old-school and post-apocalyptic-futuristic all at the same time. Enjoy.

(via TheCoolist)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Window's Vista

I've had a longtime love/hate relationship with Dwell Magazine. I canceled it last year, but someone recently gifted me a subscription. I typically thumb quickly through the unrealistic and unattainable, but in their 10 Year Anniversary Issue I spotted a dwelling that can only be described as Mid-century Modest.

The curbside view on this flat-roofed gem is understated to say the least. Overgrown and weatherworn, the front fa├žade simply says 'simple'. Which I love. While the tan 1970's Bavaria silently screams 'taste'. Which I love even more.

The interior on the other hand, though still simple and tasteful, is an exercise in where and when to indulge. They opted to cover the inside in basic 70's-looking clay tiles—the exact same tan as the Bimmer mind you—which is striking (but it's not like they went with marble). Yet every interior item points toward the place where they actually dropped some dough—the back wall or the lack thereof.

The owners eliminated the back wall of the humble home entirely and opted for an opulent 26-foot-long, 18-foot-high sliding glass door that opens the entire interior to a unique view of LA. There's no TV in the house, the view is their flat screen and a beautiful vintage record-player is their soundtrack. Thanks Dwell, for inspiring us with this one. See a full slideshow here.