Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dubstep Diatribe

Reproducing as best I can, these scathing lyrics delivered by Tippa Irie on "Angry" from The Bug's London Zoo:
Now, New Orleans in America
Why they never helping to Katrina
America is a big super power
They shoulda been there in the hour
But they left people them just to suffer
And to shower in the gutter
Certainly one of the year's most compelling listens so far. Try "Murder We" and "Poison Dart," as well.

Fan-created video for "Angry" on YouTube
Official video for "Poison Dart"
Album on

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Department of Shameless Self Promotion

Me and my friend and co-worker, Rachel Lovinger are quoted in a New York Times story today on the new "esplanade" on Broadway, which streams past AA|RF's office building at 1440. From the tail-end of the article:
Robert Stribley, 39, an information architect at an Internet design firm with an office on Broadway, said that he found the experience of sitting on the esplanade surreal.

“You look around and expect a truck to veer off and plow into you at any moment,” he said. “It’s not Bryant Park. You’ve got exhaust coming at you. But it’s kind of cool.”

A co-worker, Rachel Lovinger, 37, suggested a way to eliminate the risk: turn all of Broadway from Times Square to Herald Square into a pedestrian park, with no cars or trucks at all.

“If the entire thing were a pedestrian walkway it would be great,” she said.
It should be duly noted that I did not say anything of any particular portent or significance.

And in Gothamist, as well.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Cuban Five

Prominently placed at the boarding gate for international flights at the Havana airport, the above poster depicts the Cuban 5. Imprisoned in the United States for the past decade, the Cuban 5 appear on posters, billboards and murals all around Havana. The poster says they were put on trial in heavily conservative-Cuban Miami, Florida and then unjustly imprisoned. It's said they were prosecuted for stopping terrorism. As the Wikipedia article explains below, there's more to the story. Nonetheless, sentences were dropped for three of the men. Additionally, the United States has been criticized by human right advocates for not allowing the wives of two of the men visas to visit their spouses in jail.

Cuba & Jamaica

I've added a plethora of photos from my vacation in Jamaica and Cuba to Flickr.

Cuba - Though I had hoped to spend the better part of 2 weeks in Cuba, I spent just 3 days in Havana after American Airlines mislaid my backpack, thereby significantly delaying the rest of my trip. On returning to the United States, I declared my trip to Cuba on my customs form and passed through without incident.

Jamaica - I hadn't planned on exploring Jamaica much, but ended up staying in Kingston for several days with an additional side-trip to Ocho Rios, which took me through the mountains and across the center off the island.

I rather hurriedly uploaded these photos, but hope to go back and add details and description.

Additionally, here's a post I wrote back in May, 07, which provides background on my decision to travel to Cuba. I could write a more detailed piece and may yet, including advice on how to travel there and back. I'd encourage anyone to do it as an appropriate and peaceful act of civil disobedience. If more American citizens traveled there openly and declared their trip on their customs forms, I think the government would be forced to remove the restrictions.

Here's some helpful, detailed advice on traveling to Cuba

Sign a petition requesting Congress pass legislation allowing travel to Cuba

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cuban Travel Restrictions

Havana, Cuba

A quick roundup of some Cuba-related news:

Last month a U.S. Senate committee actually voted to undo travel restrictions to Cuba the Bush administration had created, restrictions which currently prevent Cuban-Americans from visiting their own homeland more than once every three years.

Elsewhere, however, in Florida, the legislature is attempting to punish travel agencies, which enable travel to Cuba, even by Cubans. Under the new law, travel agents would be required to pay a $250,000 bond and share the names of clients in order to continue their business with Cuba. The legality of the new law is currently under review.

Ironically, as we're banning Americans from traveling to Cuba, we're also still imprisoning people without charge on Cuban soil at Guantanamo Bay - and sending athletes, reporters, camera crews and scads of tourists to China for the Olympic games.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


As this Flickr group demonstrates, tilt-shift photography makes real photos look like fake miniatures of the real thing. Here's a tutorial using a train station as an example. Hard to believe those toy-like trains are real, right? And back on Flickr, this scene from Vinales, Cuba looks like a diorama with a toy car.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Documenting Reality

Still from Wim Wenders Buena Vista Social Club

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has named 25 Best Documentaries, only 13 of which I've seen. So plenty more viewing pleasure to be had. Hoops Dreams is number 1. Is it really that good? Three Michael Moore docs made the list. But only two by Errol Morris. And only one by Werner Herzog? Definitely something wrong there.

Right now, I'm finally watching Wim Wenders' lovely Buena Vista Social Club, which clocks in at number 20 on the IDA list, beating Woodstock, another music-themed entry.

In other documentary news, Gary Hustwit, the director of Helvetica, is working on his next documentary, Objectified, which will be about industrial design. If it's half as good as Helvetica, I'll be in line early for a ticket.