Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

This photo was not altered. It really was that yellow. This is the inside of the Courtyard Marriott in Culver City, CA (near LAX). Don’t look too long, or you might go blind.


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Barney Greengrass: New York, NY

We visited the museum of natural history in New York, where we saw this diorama, which raises the question: Did Wes Anderson design this, was he heavily influenced by diorama design, or did the diorama designer just watch the Royal Tenenbaums one too many times? Either way, it was a nice diorama.

After the museum, our trusty friend Yelp let us to Barney Greengrass, aka “The Sturgeon King.”

Once again, there was a wait involved. As you can see, everyone was thrilled to spend some more quality family time together on the frigid streets of New York.

We started with some Potato Latkes.

I went with the Sturgeon on a sesame bagel.

Eliza had smoked trout. Yikes! That thing’s got a head.

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I get it. I’m not breaking any new ground here by telling you about the Holga. You have one. Your friend who’s a graphic designer–the guy who wears denim cutoffs and oversized ironic sunglasses–told you about it and you bought one on Amazon. Maybe Urban Outfitters. But here’s the thing: hipsters aren’t always wrong, and trends can be fun to follow. I was certainly seduced by this particular hipster trend, and I’m not sorry about it.

For the uninformed, the Holga is basically a very cheap, plastic camera that takes poor pictures in an unpredictable way. Meet Holga:


It’s the unpredictability that’s fun. A digital camera, by contrast, is like a meal at a chain restaurant. You know exactly what you’re going to get. And yes, most of the time, that predictability is great. But one of the forgotten pleasures of shooting film is the mystery and sense of anticipation that lies between shooting and developing. The Holga takes that mystery and turns it into pure chaos.

These are the few (barely) salvageable images from my last Holga roll, which goes all the way back to our famous road trip. They all have the Holga’s characteristic vignetting, one of its more charming tendencies. But they also have an odd out-of-focus look, which may be due to some sort of double exposure. Or maybe there’s something wrong with the lens. Could’ve been light leaking into the camera, too. Holga is known for that. I can’t tell exactly. This is the first time she played this particular trick on me.

Also, you can also clearly see the effects of double exposure in the light vertical strips on the sides of the images. I had the camera on the wrong setting and wasn’t advancing the film far enough after each shot. Check out the right side of this photo:


But the more time I spend with these photos, the more I like them. I am a fan of the accidental. This entire blog, after all, is dedicated to my love of aimlessness. And what represents that better than photographs that are accidentally blurry, grainy overlap with each other, and yet for some reason are oddly intriguing?


I snapped this just after seeing Funny People at the Alamo. Great movie, by the way.


I suppose it’s fun to screw up when there are no consequences. It’s fun to stumble. You see the world in a new way when you’re falling down. And for some reason, when the picture is blurry you spend more time looking for the details. Maybe there’s something there worth finding.


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Look What I Did

If you’re like us, you have a lot of little framed pictures that seem inadequate for big walls. Here’s one solution.

wall straight

Some fun stories in a few of these. That National Grain painting is by our old friend Rodney White, painted as a favor before he hit the big time. Top left: chicken shit bingo.

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Ben’s Bow Ties

When Ben and I got married last November, he wanted to wear a Carolina blue bow tie. We hunted high and low for the right shade of blue and the perfect fabric, and ended up placing a custom order with Julian’s in Chapel Hill. The fabric had to be special ordered from Spain and the bow ties for Ben, his groomsmen, and our ring bearers took a few months to arrive in Austin.

He looked smashing, of course. Here he is getting ready to sing Tom Waits’ Little Trip to Heaven (On the Wings of Your Love) at our reception. I cried. It was wonderful.


But I wondered – how hard could it be to make a bow tie? Ben loves to wear them whenever he has the opportunity to dress up, but he can never seem to find bow ties that suit him in the stores.

So I enlisted the help of the multi-talented Becky Joiner at the Stitch Lab, bought some fabric, and whipped up a few bow ties just for Ben.


I love this out of print dandelion fabric.


The automatic buttonhole feature on my snazzy new sewing machine is awesome. Now I need to work on placing them in a straight line.



We found this cool fabric at Britex in San Francisco. I’m still dreaming of that lovely store.




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