thinglets: Graffiti Creator

If you're artistically-minded, but consumately lazy (like me) you might enjoy to generate an image like the one above. It walks you step by step through the entire process online, using Flash, and allows you to print out your creation at the end.

Fun to play with and a neat way to make your a new web banner, my gaudy creation above was made in a total of about 5 minutes... gee, can't you tell?

thinglets: 8 Most Fun Minor League Baseball Logos

The minor league baseball logos may not be the best designed or, in some cases, even appropriate for a baseball team, but they are funny or evoke a smile.

1. Las Vegas 51s - notice the Star Trek font and the alien head with baseball stitching calling an homage to the the mysterious government installation "somewhere" in Nevada.

2. Montgomery Biscuits - C'mon people! It's a smiling biscuit with a butter pad tongue!

3. Modesto Nuts - They need the SlapChop soundbite "How do you like my nuts?" played over the public address at every game.

4. Lansing Lugnuts - Looks more like something out of Mad Magazine than a sports logo. Why the solitary jutting tooth on Mr. Lugnut?

5. Fort Wayne Tin Caps - It's an apple wearing an upside-down pot on its head. Throw in a melting clock and you could sell this at a college poster sale.

6. Savannah Sand Gnats - That's one buff sand gnat with one flaccid looking bat.

7. Jamestown Jammers - Meet the ancestor of the California Raisin or the cousin of the Fruit of the Loom mascot. I guess they couldn't get the rights to put a picture of Phish or Jerry Garcia.

8. Casper Ghosts - Not too friendly looking. The name was an obvious choice. The logo looks like something from a Misfits album... creepy!

lovehate: Tension and Release in Social Media


In exploring the archetypes of any media (and especially entertainment media) I like to think that there are fairly common standards in which my emotions are tugged at for enjoyment's sake. Though the paradigm can be exercised in many ways, depending on the medium, I like to simplify the pattern by commonly calling it "Tension and Release".

In music, tension and release can occur in many ways. Sometimes it's a musician simply playing with volume. Think of the grunge standard of the quiet verse followed by the loud chorus ala Smells Like Teen Spirit or Creep. While these examples are very basic approaches to tension and release (T&R) volume, made effective by immediate contrast, slow builds culminating in auditory climaxes have been around from early drumming to classical to jazz to rock. But music also allows for T&R through harmony and dissonance, varying speeds, rhythmic complexity and simplicity, and varying tonal densities. How many people have had cerebral orgasms upon hearing the cutting single guitar bend that breaks through repetitive vamp of a chord progression?

The basic concepts of T&R extend to novels, films, poetry, visual arts, and basically any other sensory media. It's why the action film often inserts comic relief. 120 minutes of non-stop action eventually becomes wallpaper without contrast in the same way that thrash metal bands have to consider some sense of dynamics if they don't wish to become redundant.

So, I ask myself the question. If most (maybe all) of enjoyable entertainment consumption contains T&R, where does paradigm fit, if at all, with Social Media or Networking. While set pieces like songs, films, and novels have, at their core, a sense of time constraint that contributes to the anticipatory set that one comes to the medium with, what which set do we approach Social Media?

The problems that arise in applying such parameters (and I'll fully admit the marriage of this paradigm may seem forced with SM) lie in the multi-pronged creative approach to the content output. It's kind of like a freeform jazz odyssey with musicians from virtuoso's to drunken karaoke performers. But I think the tools have offered some parallels that help to form the T&R of Social Media.

Twitter is the noisy, fast, guitar solo full of notes that run the gamut of multi-octave scales. Facebook is the dissonant amalgam of everything we want and don't want at the same time. Seesmic is the sample ripped from another artist and dropped in to the pastiche of sound. Youtube is the brief respite leaving the cacophony of sound behind for a time... well, to be replaced by other sound anyway. And blogs are the deep sweeping textures and swaths of sound that allow us to escape for periods of time and consume by... reading. How can all of these content creators possibly orchestrate anything so intentional as an artisitic process like T&R? They don't - you do.

In the ultimate vindication of "reader response" theories, we inherently mix or consumption to achieve appropriate T&R. I could just use Twitter all day or watch Youtube clips or sift through pictures of people's kids in Facebook. I can, however, mix and match, often by instinct to achieve the ebb and flow that best suit my sensibility. Because like anything, there is an "artistic" component if you fly high enough or zoom in enough.

And if you haven't bought any of this, consider the experience of reading it nothing more than the the long sustained notes of a Klaus Schulze composition or the outer movements of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. You may now return to the metal solo.

thinglets: Hyper-Realist Sculptor Ron Mueck

If you click the link under the picture, you'll see some AMAZING true to life sculptures by Ron Mueck. When looking at a photo of some of the these sculptures, you'll find it hard to believe it's not models posing for the shots. Some of the most incredible illusions come from the fact that, without scale you'd swear they were real, but placed in a gallery you can often see the size is nowhere near 1:1.

Some very cool stuff to enjoy.

Podcast Forty One - Oh Bloggers, Wherefore Thou Art?

A brief podcast concerning the following questions:
Are blogs art, and should bloggers be able to receive art's funding?
Is there any simpler way to change the channel on my TV than a casual press of my thumb?
And, as much as we complain about abbreviations and acronyms... have things really changed all that much over the past 60 years?

lovehate: Are Blogs Art?

For years, it has been incumbent on "forward-thinking" governments to sponsor the arts and the artists around their countries through endowments, grants, and special project funding. Many of these artists believe that they have the right to make a living as artists, and further believe that the government should be paying them to do it.

While I agree that the arts are important to a culture, I have always had a hard time believing that anyone had the "right" to make a living from taxpayer funds. I've been a musician since I was five and have, not once, ever thought that anyone owed me the ability to make a living while honing my craft. My pursuit of art (and craft for that matter) comes from passion and willingness to pursue it. 

Part of my criticism of government funding for the arts comes from the bodies that oversee it. I've always held the notion (romantic though it may be) that art should exist unencumbered for its own sake and not beholden to anything. The structures and preconceptions that often come part and parcel with arts funding preclude this freedom. To apply for a Canada Council grant in the arts one must automatically pigeon-hole their idea into limited parameters and variables to satisfy the board making the decision. That board, by its nature becomes a gatekeeper to "art" and, by my view anyway, severely impedes artistic integrity.

I do however appreciate the idea that many great artists use funding to hone their craft where they might otherwise have to spend their days working a non-related occupation. That said, is the chosen artist really chosen on merit by the board, or how well they can fill out a grant application?

And all this to lead to the title question: Are Blogs Art?

I would automatically answer "no" under the definitions I hold true for the term, but when I put some blog writing up side by side against short stories or poetry, I have to reconsider. Aside from the basic tenets of communication and education and information, how different is the blog writer from the poet. I would like to say that the poet hones their craft and the resulting artistic products, while rife with meaning were only true to their own outcomes and not the expectations of readers. But I know poets who write for a purpose. They have an endgame in mind when trying to promote a message. This tends to be what bloggers do all the time: have a message, convey it through words and ideas. Does it make sense that the poet gets funded and blogger does not?

Does one hold a higher moral obligation than the other? Sure, a poet can be cryptic and hide meaning without being blunt and overbearing, but some of the best poetry hits you right over the head like a sledgehammer. I've read blogs both cryptic and blunt, both flowery and caustic. While one would rarely mistake a blog for poetry or the other way around, I would never claim that the intent, talent and skill required to write for one form was any greater or less than the other. I have read crappy blogs and crappy poetry and brilliant examples of both. The level of craft on both is high, and I cannot figure out how any Council or board could figure out the difference.

So in my best McLaughlin Report method of answering the question, are blogs art? YOU'RE ALL WRONG! The real answer is, I don't know. What I do know is that I'm certainly not comfortable saying one should have funding and the other not. For all of the defenses that could attributed to the importance of art can also be attributed to new media. And all of the people who write incoherent poetry are more than matched by those who write inconsequential blogs.

And I should know... I've written both many times.


thinglets: sort 10,044,701 Flickr images by palette

I'm sure some of you may have seen or used this site before, but Multicolr Search Lab (not a misspelling) is such a simple and cool use of the Flickr API, that I had to share it.

By clicking on a color swatch you see 50 matching Flickr pics. Great for building your own photomosaic. Even cooler is the fact that it modifies the link string so that you can bookmark your color combinations and come back to them later. With nine gradient shades of each color, the combinations a numerous.

Hope you dig messing around with this as much as I do.

Here's 40% Cyan, 60% Yellow and 80% Green: