This wonderful, gentle dude lives acros the hall from me and is always smoking cigarettes in front of the building. He’s like the mayor. When I’m locked out, he helps me get in. When old ladies are walking up the hill with groceries, he helps them. Shout out to you dude, you’re awesome!
Electro DJ Wolfgang Gartner teamed up with Harlem rappers Jim Jones and Cam’ron (2nd verse) for this incredible song “Circus Freaks" which I’ve had on repeat all week. Cam’ron’s verse’s references and randomness is always a joy : "girl i’m selfish / shellfish lobster / look at you, relish / got on velvet".
I got it after going to permanent the James Turrell installation at the de Young Museum in SF, above.
There I met this dude who studies how sounds and chanting can cure mental and physical illness. I could hear him chanting in a remote part of the installation for maybe five minutes before I introduced myself. He chanted for a while longer then we got to talking. I think understanding art is about making a strong emotional connection with the art, and since I got the sense this guy spends inordinate amounts of time getting weird in this Turrell installation, I thought I could learn from him.
We were talking about James Turrell and I mentioned how I was impressed/horrified by Turrell’s repeated assertion that he sacrificed two marriages and a long term relationship for the sake of his Roden Crater work in Arizona. The wise man reminded me that Turrell may well have churned through those women with or without the art. Good point, wise older man, I knew you had some good lessons for me.
Entering a James Turrell installation is an incredible moment of reorientation, similar to getting out of a new subway station in a familiar city. Its kind of like walking inside a Richard Serra piece but there is a strong spiritual dimension.
Now, for your moment of Zen: highlights from the @GucciManeDoingThings Twitter account. Concurrent with his sentencing, it was renamed last week to @GucciManeInJail. This is one of the best fake Twitter accounts ever.
I’ve been a Gucci Mane fan for two or three years. He is great rapper. When I say he’s a great rapper, I mean he’s very good at recording rhyming words but world-class at being crazy.
First, you have his jewlery. Other rappers wear diamonds around their neck, whereas Gucci Mane adorns himself with random shit (traffic signs, football helmets, a black version of Kenny from South Park) built partially out of precious stones. Its a totally different approach.
Gucci also takes a different approach to crime and violence. Many rappers talk about practicing violence but there’s rarely anything on the public record that you can verify via Google. Of course, some rappers get shot on the public record (Cam’ron, 50 Cent, J.R Writer, etc.), others get caught with guns on the public record (T.I., Fabolous, etc.). But Gucci Mane is the only person who killed someone on the public record and got away with it. He killed a man in 2005 who tried to steal his jewelry, a man who was supposedly hired by Young Jeezy. It is common for rappers say they are ready to kill and be killed for their jewelry, but usually no one dies when a chain gets stolen. Usually it just goes like when Soulja Boy got robbed.
Gucci’s more recent crimes however make less sense than killing a would-be robber.
driving on the wrong side of the road, not stopping at a stop light, damaging government property, obstruction, and having no license or proof of insurance. Officers reportedly had to use pepper spray to subdue the Warner Brothers artist.
This post took a while to write because it is difficult to reconstruct the exact timing of these crimes in greater detail than the Gucci Mane wikipedia page. Being able to put together one of the most comprehensive Gucci Mane dossiers on the internet is a bittersweet feeling. We need someone who has more time than me to dedicate themselves to documenting all this for posterity!
But maybe I’m up to the task. I carved out a niche in online advertising (if you Google “advertising optimization” I’m the third result right now), maybe I can become an authority preserving this part of the American cultural vernacular. The field seems wide open, it shouldn’t take too much work.
This is from the first album of Yesterday’s New Quintent. This album was released on 9/11/11, the same day that Jay-Z released the Blueprint. The fun thing here is that Yesterday’s New Quintent does not actually exist. There is one hip hop producer, Madlib, who works with MF Doom and Erykah Badu and he is playing every instrument in this jazz quartet. Not only does he make all the music himself, he concocts the officially published but totally invented story of the band, the band members, and the how the band is evolving.
I was really vibing with the owner/operator ladies at the seaside tourist trap where I bought this. This brand Marushka is fire though. Handprinted in Grand Haven, Michigan. I’m gonna be stocking up on $30 sea grass print hoodies, do the Coastal Living street wear thing.
Doesn’t this scream effective business communication? Look at the hand gestures and level of engagement. Although this looks like it was taken straight from the pages of the business section, its actually just my brother telling my mom how difficult it was to paddle while learning to surf today. It photographs real well though. (cc CTO Mark and our forthcoming book of seemingly inane tips for unprecedented business success)
Earlier this week I randomly started following Greg Mishka on Twitter after one of my favorite rap groups Das Racist retweeted him. Pictured above is a Mishka t-shirt I got back in 2005 or 2006 when I was at Columbia. Shortly after purchase, I went to see beloved former NYC Mayor and People’s Court Judge Ed Koch speak on a panel about NYC government. Only after getting to the panel did I realize the opportunity and I biked the ~30 - 40 min round trip back to Columbia to get the shirt. When I asked Koch to sign it after the panel, he was obviously very confused but he didn’t give it much thought and signed the shirt. You’re a good man Koch!
I take a lot of screen grabs and I took this screen grab months ago and have been trying to figure out why it is so captivating. I just realized. She’s the Madonna! Couldn’t find her on Facebook, holla at me Jessica!
This book is so good. I read in when it first came out in 2003 and am rereading it now. Helmet Newton led an incredibly adventurous life. Most of the book focuses on the period before he was an established photograph. He left Nazi Germany alone at 18, landing first in Singapore then in Australia. Recommended.
This is a painting of a photograph my brother took while he was working as a reporter at the Shelter Island Reporter. This photo of his has got so much shine, they put it on the cover of the phone book. Really awesome.
Sighting their first duck in flight, the _applied mathematician_ carefully calculates his angle of fire, correcting for gravity and wind velocity, and pulls the trigger. Forgetting to correct his path for the acceleration of the duck, he misses to the right. The _pure mathematician_ takes aim, calculating his trajectory based on the apparent motion of the duck, velocity of his projectile and the curvature of the earth. Forgetting to correct for air friction, he misses to the left.
The _statistician_ jumps out of his seat, “We got him!”
I was walking home from an errand yesterday and the door to the garage next door was open for the first time in the months since I’ve moved to to my apt. The garage probably fit 40 cars, but there were only 6 inside, 4 of which were the incredible antique cars you see pictured below.
These two were Mercury’s from the early 60’s, I think (I didn’t take notes).
This was some sort of Italian touring car.
Here is Rob, the very unassuming owner, with his most recent acquisition: a 1927 Ford Model A that just “rolled off the trailer” literally the day before. Despite the Henry Ford’s Model T quote “You can have it any color you like, as long as it’s black,” the Ford Model A came in a four colors and a wide variety of body styles. Rob was fiddling with the battery when I came in.
The Ford has an interesting provenance, only 3 people owned it before Rob bought it on eBay. It was hardly ever driven and was garaged for most of its life so there wasn’t much restoration work to be done. All of the cars Rob owns are in almost mint condition and everything from the battery to the upholstery was original. The cars look like they were placed in a time capsule. Rob said that he rarely drove the cars himself. I asked him if he showed the cars and he said that he didn’t because as he said matter-of-fact, “I’m not really that into other people.” He was such an awesome dude and despite not liking spending extended of periods making small talk with strangers, as one might if showing at a car show, he was not all all awkward. He was happy to share his passion with me for 15 - 20 minutes, but he didn’t really care that much whether other people knew that these cars existed or not.
My favorite movies are documentaries and my favorite documentaries are Errol Morris’. I love how his documentaries allow you to immerse yourselves in unique little worlds. I love being able to feel like I’m in an Errol Morris documentary as I walk around SF. Of course, NYC also has passionate folks with fringe interests but NYC has so much more hustle, all those people are interested in publicizing what they are doing. SF offers a density of weirdness but it doesn’t self select, like NYC, for the fringe promoters that can’t exist without social density. Or perhaps things are just slow enough here that I am able to pay attention to people who don’t clamor for attention; the end result is the same.