Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

Top 3 Favorite Albums

3. The Black Keys - El Camino
The Who Stripes? The What Stripes? Standout track: Gold On The Ceiling

2. Wilco - The Whole Love
The boys from Chi-town go back to their roots. Standout track: One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)

1. The Dodos - No Color
What could be better than a stellar new Dodos album? One featuring Ms. Neko Case. Standout track: Don't Try and Hide It

Top 3 Favorite Movies

3. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
JJ and BB easily made the best action flick/BMW commercial of the year.
Standout feature: Scene Stealer

2. Super 8
Two parts Goonies, one part E.T. and a pinch of Cloverfield. Standout feature: Coolest kid cast

1. Senna
This fantastic found-footage doc couldn't have been cast any better if you tried. Standout feature: Editing masterpiece

Top 3 Favorite TV Shows

3. Mad Men
Through Clios, crazy pitches and all-night creative sessions, we get a taste of a 60's agency start-up. Standout episode: The Suitcase

2. Parks and Recreation
Tom Hatherford and John Ralphio bring new meaning to the words "entertainment media conglomerate." Standout episode: The Fight

1. Friday Night Lights
The final season of one of TV's best series leaves you with wet eyes rather than clear ones. Standout episode: Always

Top 3 Favorite Cars

3. Hyundai Veloster
The rise of Korean auto body design is well on its way. Here's to hot, little hatches from anywhere. Standout feature: Stealth 3rd Door

2. MINI Coupe
Easily the coolest, least-functional MINI to date. Standout feature: The reverse baseball helmet

1. 1 Series M Coupe
BMW's M Division creates a super sexy semi-sleeper. Standout feature: 335 horsepower 3.0-liter, in-line 6 cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology

Top 3 Favorite Designs

3. Fuzzco
Between their sweet design, inspiring workspace and humble abode, they've been on my radar all year long. Standout feature: Responsive web design

2. Poler Stuff
The world's highest standard of stuff. #campvibes Standout product: The Duffaluffagus

1. Bell & Ross vs. Panerai
A perceptual battle of the aviation timepieces rages within. Standout feature: Helvetica ampersand embossed in leather

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Very Timber! Christmas

Each year I post a selection of my Christmas gifts. This year I've mixed my favorites with some recent acquisitions. Loving my new Poler Cuffed Beanie, Timex Weekender, red boot laces scored at Journey's, Levi's 514 Rigid Denim, Old Navy Flannel and a Green Inspired New York notebook. These lumberjack-ish duds are joined by some seasonal faves, my classic, homemade Chex Mix and Fentiman's Botanically Brewed Ginger Beer.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pursuit Mini

This just in. Pursuit Systems, Inc. has released their "incredibly quick and agile [camera rig] with compact dimensions." With a description like that, you better believe their rig is affixed to a MINI.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011


I've always felt that a cleaned-up single speed bike is like a piece of graphic design and motion and apparently Borja Garcia Studio agrees. They've just released photos of a new bike they hope to produce: the Helvetica Bike. The whip will be created for the 55 year anniversary of the founding of Max Miedinger’s classic typeface.

Their reasoning is simple: "Because we love Helvetica. We love swiss spirit. We like precision, purity and clarity. And Helvetica, the swiss typography, represents this complete design-lifestyle."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Little Trees

Growing up, when there were absolutely no cartoons left on TV, I'd resort to one last option before giving up and finally doing something else. I'd watch a serene, globe-haired hippie named Bob Ross teach folks how to paint happy, little trees. Though this landscape oil painter from The Joy of Painting passed away in 1995, his relaxing painting vibes live on.

I recently snagged a new accessory to the iPad called the Nomad Brush—a paint brush-style stylus. I was stoked on the clean design of both the product and packaging and the construction of the brush totally complements the industrial design of the iPad. Most definitely stocking stuffable.

After finding a couple of painting apps that the Nomad site pointed me toward, I started what was going to be my masterpiece. And sure enough what did I immediately start to paint? Happy. Little. Trees. It was pure, unfiltered instinct on my part. And I'll admit, the process of digitally channeling my inner Bob Ross was completely therapeutic.

I scored the dual-tipped Nomad Compose, and I found myself using the short tip on my iPhone, doing quick little sketches at the airport while waiting for a flight. Very relaxing. There's just something calming about holding a brush in hand and creating with actual brush strokes. It trumps digital finger painting, for sure.

The Kyality Kids love it too. All I needed to do was hold up the brush and the iPad. Thanks to their complimentary design, it instantly registered with them what to do. They just yelled AWESOME and then I didn't see the iPad again for well over an hour. Apparently they made a happy, little kitten.

Some quick tips. I'd recommend paying for a less expensive painting app than opting for a free one. The quality of the app has a lot to do with the overall digital painting experience (though the free ones are fun too). And you'll learn quick not to press too hard with the Nomad's longer brush tip. When spread out, the fibers read as multitouch-points and zoom into your canvas rather than paint on it.

Bottom line, if you're ever feeling a little stressed, perhaps shut down the new Twitter app, grab a brush and light up some zen-like moments by painting some happy little trees.

Monday, December 05, 2011

MINI Coupe In Motion

Satisfy all your MINI-in-motion-madness with this one folks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Cars So Far

I was raised in a family that was quite fond of small, European cars and yeah, that kind of thing rubs off. About 10 years ago I snagged a cherry red 1975 BMW 2002. "The Whispering Bomb" just does something to you. It's able to produce all of those amazing driving sensations at relatively low speeds. It's just fun.

In 2004 I lucked into a lightly-used 1999 ///M Coupe as my daily driver. It's a car that elicits one of only two responses. People either absolutely love it or totally hate it. No matter what anyone thinks, you can't go anywhere in that car without every STI-wielding sweet bro trying to take you off the line.

I owned both the 2002 and the ///M Coupe at the same time. It was actually way validating. When someone asked me about the Coupe, they always initially came off a bit skeptical, like I was just some young punk. But when they found out I also had a 2002, their demeanor would totally change, like... oooh, you're not just some punk kid—you're an enthusiast. (Eh, I was kind of a punk kid actually.)

As much as I dig the ///M Coupe, it was clear that wasn't the ideal fit for my personal style. I traded her in for a brand new 2006 MINI Cooper S and fell in love. Driving a MINI, you find out quick that it's an amazing balance of sport, economy, luxury, style and most importantly personality.

When I switched from the ///M to the MINI—of course there was a power difference. However, and I've discussed this with others who have made a similar switch, the MINI is just such an even and all-around balanced driver. You can have fun in every gear. And on the one set of twists on my way into work, I swear the MINIs go just as quick around them (with a little more control even).

Once I got the MINI another surprising thing happened. I didn't drive the '02 as much any more. It's like the MINI fulfilled both my sporting and retro needs at the same time. We decided to sell the '02 to a kid with some decent mechanic skills. He's taken good care of it. We sold it for exactly $2,002.00.

I thought I'd graduated to the ideal vehicle up until I saw the very first images of the Clubman. With the right accouterments, I feel like my 2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman sports an amazing combo of both approachability and aggressiveness. Mrs. Kyality thinks it's cute, yet I still get approving nods from guys in GTIs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jerry on Porsches

For those of you who don't already follow the amazing
Motoring Con Brio blog, check out this fantastic clip of Jerry Seinfeld pontificating about his favorite cars. No clue how I didn't stumble upon this sooner! Great find.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's in your bag?

So I recently ordered a Large Cafe Bag in Cocoa/Wasabi from the Seattle-based company Tom Bihn and I absolutely love it! I've searched far and wide for a simple, clean-lined messenger bag (in brown) that fits my on-the-go job requirements. I'm constantly doing day trips from SLC to places like LA, SF and PDX.

The streamlined nature of your Cafe Bag is perfect. It fits everything I need to cruise through airport security, do a couple of client presentations and carry the little extras that make flying more enjoyable. I snapped this pic and it was recently featured on the Tom Bihn blog.

Here's what I pack on a regular basis:

• Large Cafe Bag (in Cocoa/Wasabi)
Incase Neoprene Sleeve
MacBook Power Adapter
Apple Remote
Zebra Stainless Steel Pen and Mechanical Pencil
Moleskine Classic Pocket Squared Notebook
VGA Adapter
DVI Adapter
Skullcandy Full Metal Jacket Ear Buds + case
Stack of Business Cards
Keys to MINI Cooper S Clubman
iPhone 3GS + iPod Sock
iPhone Earphones + iPod Sock
Dock Connector to USB Cable
USB Power Adapter

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Mind the Gap

I'll admit it. Growing up, I was a true blue Gap guy. This was prior to the Old Navy years, when the Gap was all about simple, stylish, affordable clothes. Then came along the Gap that ironically was trying so hard to not be Old Navy, while doing everything it could to be Banana Republic. It wasn't long until the Gap became a bland, soulless brand. I even let a couple of years slip by without ever stepping into a Gap store.

Then their logo debacle went down. I decided to see what the Gap had been up to. Stuffed in the middle of a rack, I discovered a denim shirt (technically it's a chambray shirt) that was reminiscent of the clothes the Gap was creating back in its heyday, circa '92.

It was new, but old. It was dressy, yet casual. It was perfect and flawed. I had to have it. I can honestly say it's become my favorite article of clothing. I've worn it to business meetings on Madison Ave. and I've crashed in it for a Sunday afternoon nap. It literally goes with everything—shorts, suits, slacks and selvedge.

If the Gap simply took a look at this particular product and began patterning other articles of clothing after this concept—they'd be able to both simplify and grow simultaneously. Think about it, the perfect khakis, the go-to sweater, the wear-anywhere jacket. The Gap simply needs to focus on clothes with character. And let's face it, if they had just redesigned their logo to match this tag, they'd probably have been good to go.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This sucker's electrical!

I'm pretty sure this one doesn't require 1.21 gigawatts. But thanks to the Texas-based outfit in Humble, if you're in the market for a what basically boils down to a brand new, all-electric DeLorean to build your time machine out of, you're in luck.

Talk about an auto design that just does not go outta style. The DeLorean looks as classic and futuristic today as it did when it rolled off the original assembly line in 1981. And man, crazy how the iPhone looks completely at home within the interior!

But maybe I've just partial due to the site we just finish.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Everyday Carry

I'm a big fan Everyday Carry, a.k.a. EDC. Its a blog showcasing user submitted pocket dumps of exactly what people carry on a daily basis. Here's the breakdown of my very own EDC, click here to enlarge.

• Leather Wallet
• Field Notes Memo Book (Graph Paper)

Parker Jotter Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil
Nixon Rotolog (Walnut)
iPhone 3GS
iPod Sock (Best iPhone protector ever)
Von Zipper Kickstand Sunglasses
Key to 2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman
Wedding Ring

The whole EDC culture is based on emergency preparedness, which is pretty cool. I actually dig my EDC—but I don't carry a blade or pack heat so guaranteed it'll never get featured. And I guess I'm also pretty much screwed come the morning of the zombie apocalypse.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Could Be a Truck Guy

I like to kid around that I'm the only guy on my street who doesn't own a truck, a gun or a dog. Yeah, I'm not so much a fan of trucks in general. But I spotted a VW Rabbit-based pick-up on the way to work the other day and it inspired me to find these cool snaps.

Love that the bike's paint job matches and they've both got blacked out rims. With this set up, I think I actually could be a truck guy.

The Jetta's not half bad either.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Holy Selina Kyle on a Batpod, Batman!

This just in via @jeremywchase. Production photo of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, perhaps escaping with the Batpod? Not so sure how I feel about this yet.

UPDATE: So based on this recently released pic, I did a Google search and discovered that pics of the Tumbler have been snapped paparazzi-style at The Dark Knight Rises film shoot. I have to admit I'm pretty bummed out. I'm mean, I've been a staunch supporter of the Tumbler being Batman's first version of the Batmobile. But let's face it, it was blown up. Based on all the Lamborghini action in The Dark Knight, I was seriously hoping for a Lambo-based Batmobile to make its appearance in the final installment. Something like this concept by industrial designer Slavche Tanevsky:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Great Tumblr Experiment

One year ago today I started an experimental photo blog on Tumblr. I was inspired by a couple of curation-style Tumblrs, and I wanted not only to learn more about that blogging system but how I'd do as a Tumblrer myself. I'd already amassed a decent collection of cool pics, so I determined I'd post one a day. In fact I only missed a couple of days when we were camping (or unfortunately in the hospital). Here are some of the insights, rules and posts I made along the way:

Curation of Cool
My posts started off being random things I like, the Millennium Falcon, MINIs, etc. I was surprised how heavily influenced (for better or worse) I was by the community. My Tumblr evolved specifically into photos only of cars, motorcycles, bikes, architecture, industrial design, fashion and celebrities. No more, no less.

The Parameters
I noticed over time that I started unintentionally and subconsciously creating a set of image guidelines and parameters for all the photos I uploaded. For instance, all the pics are landscape rather than portrait. I never posted a black and white image. I also posted photos with tons of woodgrain, which became almost an ongoing theme.

Color Scheming
Prior to starting my Tumblr, I did a little experiment on the Kyality blog where I paired products with the factory MINI colors, which I called Color Scheming. I found myself connecting one day's photo to the next via color, tone or texture. If you check out my archive, you can actually see some cool evolutions, juxtapositions and color patterns over time.

Celebrity Sundays
I started doing this pretty quickly. Every Sunday evening throughout the year, I've posted a pic of a celeb (typically a music or movie star) in what I considered a Kyality-style pic. My favorites are all less polished, more real shots of famous folks in some cool, architectural environment.

Notes vs. Comments
Systems like Twitter and conventions such as likes and notes are basically killing comments on blogs. For instance, though this post may be read a few times, chances are it won't get a single comment. The notes system in Tumblr is pretty amazing, you can actually see content—for lack of a better term—go viral. The most comments I've ever received on a single post on this blog is around 8 (with at least one of them being me). The image from my Tumblr above has 126 notes (consisting of likes and/or reblogs) and counting.

Proper Citation
After some friendly banter with @upto12 and @wanken, properly citing my sources whenever possible became a substantial effort throughout the year. I'm actually shocked how little this is focused on within the blogosphere. Even more shocking is how social media is more or less set up to celebrate the sharer of content rather than the creator. My experience on Tumblr spawned this post on the StruckAxiom blog.

All in all, the Great Tumblr Experiment was pretty fun. Will I continue to post? Yes. Will I post more than once a day? No. Will I worry about posting everyday? Probably not. Finally, here are some cool Tumblrs to follow if you get a sec: anchordivision, convoy, thefashionator, beeteeth, valeriejar, mwaissmann, everydaycarry and analogdialog. Enjoy!