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.