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Words with "art" in the middle

"art" is at the core of "earth" so is:


Fun that art would be the core of farts, party, and warty.

Then for 7-letter words, art being exactly at the center:
dearths, hearted, hearten, hearths, pearter, peartly, quartan, quarter, quartes, quartet, quartic, quartos, smarted, smarten, smarter, smartie, smartly, swarths, swarthy,

Do we even dare try 9-letter words?
bipartite, copartner, departees, departing, departure, imparters, impartial, imparting, inearthed, nonartist, unearthed, unearthly, updarting, upstarted.

I didn't think 9-letter words would be possible, so maybe there are some 11-letter words. Indeed there are three!
compartment, nonpartisan, unchartered.

We have truly gone into unchartered territories! However, it bottoms out at 13-letter words. Or at least the Scrabble Word Finder bottoms out. Now, what shall we do with all these words?

0 archived comments | | Wednesday, August 06, 2014
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The truth of Seinfeld can be applied to comic strips

If you say Seinfeld is a show about nothing, then you know nothing about the Seinfeld sitcom.

Seinfield is about everything

It's not a show about nothing. It's a show about everything, says Nico Lang of the Daily Dot's great article, "Debunking the biggest myth about 'Seinfield' that everyone believes"

One could be forgiven for the misapprehension--as Seinfeld's entire fourth season is a meta-commentary on the idea--but it's simply not true. In a Reddit AMA earlier this year, Jerry Seinfeld clarified that he and co-creator Larry David pitched the idea to NBC as a "a show about how a comedian gets his material," and according to Seinfeld, he and David were initially surprised that the "show about nothing" tag took over the discourse the way it did. In fact, it would be more apt to say that it's a show about everything.

Comic strips today are much like Seinfeld's material of the every day. But how comic strips actually use it in a story line could be improved. See next two points.

Interwoven narrative

Prior to Seinfeld, most sitcoms broke down into an A-story and a B-story, and the supporting story could take the form of a so-called 'runner,' jokes that continued throughout the episode and told a very loose story but didn't do much more than that. Particularly in its best episodes, Seinfeld blew all of that up. Even in an episode like the famous 'The Contest' (the one with the competition to see which of the central foursome can go the longest without masturbating), each of the four characters is handed their own storyline, all four of which tie together in the final moments to create a whole larger than its parts.

Comic strips tend to be one-shot gags--partly because of the medium. We only sit down and read three panels in one day. Whereas Seinfeld has the opportunity of capturing a viewer's attention for 30 minutes. Take those 30 minutes in comic strip time, and you end up with 30 days--or about six weeks of comics. It would be wonderful to see comic strips have longer story arcs that bend around and come back together after six weeks. To have the final week of gags tie together gags from earlier in the month. Add some complexity to comic strips.


The show was famous for its "no learning, no hugging" rule, and what was then so unique about the show is how often the aforementioned final moments resist true narrative resolution, the nice bow on the action that Friends or Everybody Loves Raymond might provide. In each of the two, the show's central conflicts will be resolved and amends made; Raymond might fight with his mother, but at the end of the show, they have to come to a mutual understanding in order to keep up the pretense of family.

In many episodes of Seinfeld, the situations don't resolve; they get increasingly worse until they just can't anymore--and the show has to end. During "The Junior Mint," Jerry can't remember his girlfriend's name, except that it rhymes a with a "female body part." In true Seinfeld fashion, he avoids the conflict until she confesses she's falling in love with him, sweetly repeating his name. He can't reciprocate, which causes him to be exposed. Rather than giving up the ruse, Jerry guesses that her name is: "Mulva?" After she storms out, he finally remembers her name, calling after her, "Dolores!"

Today's syndicated comic strips are driven into the ground by stupid resolutions at the end of the strip. Every day there's some sort of "OH WOW, YOU DID THAT? THAT'S STUPID" reaction by one of the characters. It's dumb and not needed. Let the comic strip not resolve itself. Let the creative idea hang in the reader's mind.

Seinfeld let its creativity move around in interwoven narrative that didn't resolve itself. Seinfeld let the viewer think about the show after it ended, comic strips can do the same by eliminating the stupid reactions at the end of a comic strip.

0 archived comments | | Tuesday, August 05, 2014
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12 things I love about Chicago's CTA public transit

We love public transit, we hate public transit. Occasionally there are days that challenge us, as the Chicagoist demonstrates with its post, "9 Unfortunate Thoughts We're All Are Having On The CTA." While releasing angst about commuting can be therapeutic; on a daily basis being negative can wear you down. Instead it's good to be thankful and focus on the positive.

There will always be hiccups and bad incidents that happen on public transit, but there are also many wonderful things that occur while on the bus and train. Here's 12 good thoughts about riding public transit in Chicago.

1) Getting weekly free concerts while waiting for the bus next to the side door of the Green Mill.
Sweet! The Green Mill's side window is open

2) Getting home faster, when a train that goes express.
Long exposure at Damen

3) Buses filled with inflatable toys
The inflatable 81 Lawrence bus

4) Holiday train!
CTA Holiday Train

5) Doing somersaults in the aisles of an empty CTA train
Such an empty, empty train

6) Vinyl ads transforming the entire interior of the train
I totally feel like I'm riding in the Darth Vader train with all this night scenery advertisements

7) Inspiring messages via street art at CTA stations
You are meant for amazing things

8) People watching
Winner of best St. Patrick's Day coat

9) Throwing paper airplanes from the elevated platform (view entire set)
The patient paper airplane: Part 2 of 2

10) Drawing on foggy bus and train windows (view entire set)
Snowman drawing on window

11) Art on Track (view entire set)
The plant car is by far the best car for Art on Track

12) Beautiful views from elevated platforms
Pano sunset at Sheridan red line CTA
(All photos taken by Matt Maldre.)

What are things that you love about the CTA? Please leave your thoughts in the comments or on your favorite social media channel. This question appears on Yahoo Answers, Reddit, ask.com, Quora, Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook.

0 archived comments | | Monday, August 04, 2014
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Goal: Have one of my artworks officially on display in a major art museum

White-out monster in front of Art Institute of Chicago

The opportunity: The Art Institute of Chicago was asking for "surrealist objects" last week as a promotion for the current Magritte exhibit. The objects will be selected by the curator of the Magritte show and will be displayed in the Art Institute's Modern Wing for one day.

I created a surrealist object and submitted it to the Art Institute. The people at the desk seemed to like my object, so I think they'll use it.

Come August 7th, I'll find out if my artwork is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago!

I've published a few blog posts about this:
* Free admission to Art Institute's Magritte show
* How to make a surrealist sculpture with office supplies and a finger monster
* Secrets behind origin of Wrigley Building design revealed by mythical artist
* Developing the voice for the White-out Monster

The name of the show is "Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938." The promo is called "Surrealist Pricing" and they are using the #unthink hashtag. The Art Institute said on their site, "We will curate the objects and unveil them in a grand installation on Thursday, August 7, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. inside the Modern Wing."

0 archived comments | | Friday, August 01, 2014
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Developing the voice for the White-out Monster

The other White-out Monster

One part finger monster. One part white-out. Inspired by Magritte's surrealism exhibit at the Art Institute.

Take all these together and what do you have? The "White-out Monster" who likes to paint things white.

Yesterday I wrote up an interview with this fictional character. If you haven't had a chance to read the interview, please do check it out.

It was fun developing the character and voice. The character still needs loads of work, but I'm liking how he has a historical aspect, having lived for thousands of years. He has been able to influence great artists of the past to work with white materials. In some cases, he's also able to cover items in white.

His voice still needs to be further refined. Is he a high-minded Brit? Or a rough-n-gruff monster?

Director of the WXAV radio station, Peter Kreten (who also happens to be my cousin), wrote a comic book review for Hellboy Vol 2. He praises the author saying, "Hellboy does an excellent job of combining that Universal Monster's feel with Indiana Jones style adventure."

Which made me realize. White-out Monster is a MONSTER. I don't normally think about Hellboy as a MONSTER, but he is one. Perhaps I could inject more of the monster into the White-out Monster's character, but keep the artist balance at the same time. Just as Hellboy is a monster, yet also like Indiana Jones.

0 archived comments | | Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Secrets behind origin of Wrigley Building design revealed by mythical artist

Many of Chicago's iconic buildings are white today, because of an unknown artist working today. This artist has managed to keep his identity relatively unknown for the past hundreds of years. He's also managed to stay alive for the past hundreds of years because... he's monster.

This mythical creature regularly visits the city of Chicago and contributes to public projects and architecture. In the underground art world, he's known by the descriptive moniker "White-out Monster" for he himself is entirely white. Early 21st century records capture him wearing a "White-out" or "Liquid paper" t-shirt.

Recently, White-out Monster returned to Chicago to check up on some of his projects and also to create new projects. We were granted an exclusive interview with the White-out Monster through a proxy agent. Through this interview White-out Monster reveals how certain buildings and public artworks would have looked like if it were not for his influence years ago.

White-out monster talks about why Wrigley Building has white terra cotta detailing

Matt Maldre: What is one of the buildings where we can see your influence today?

White-out Monster: Back in 1920, there were no office buildings north of the Chicago River. Why, there wasn't even a bridge at Michigan Avenue yet. A great new fad was recently invented, chewing gum. People loved it. This chap, William Wrigley Jr, built a chewing gum empire; and he wanted to have his headquarters anchored just north of the Chicago River.

Nobody knows this, but originally his plans for the building had it all in Indiana limestone. What a joke. The plans for the Wrigley Building were so beautiful that I knew it just had to be set in all white. The architects for this building was an eight-year-old firm named GAP&W, which stands for Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. You can guess which of the four architects I decided to have a talk with...

MM: The fellow named "White"?

WOM: You got it! Howard Judson White. Naturally, he loved the idea of the building being set in all white-glazed terra cotta. The original limestone that was purchased was instead used for the Michigan Avenue bridetowers.

Why the Michigan Avenue bridgetowers aren't made of marble

MM: How do you feel about the limestone bridgehouses not being done in all white?

WOM: Yeah, I would have loved for those to be all white. But William Wrigley had all this limestone, so yeah. But hey, watch this, I'll paint these flowers on the Michigan Avenue medians white.

White-out monster turns Michigan Avenue flowers white

MM: Wow, that's amazing! You just turned those flowers white. How did you do that?

WOM: I'm a mythical artist-monster. I got my ways.

White-out monster at the Chicago Bean

MM: Have you used your "ways" with any other public artworks?

WOM: Initially, the Chicago Bean comes to mind, but of course that would make no sense to have the bean be all white, because it would simply be a white bean. However, when I look at the bean, I do see myself, and thus I paint the bean white every time I encounter it. That very concept is one to be celebrated by everyone who looks into the Chicago Bean—walk up to the bean, and you paint it with the colors of yourself.

Jaume Plensa's marble sculpture Looking into my Dreams, Awilda

MM: How about Crown Fountain with the faces that spit out water?

WOM: Heh, funny story about those. The artist is Jaume Plensa erected those towers. I visited him in his hometown of Barcelona about those towers with giant heads. Actually, the visit was via a dream where I suggested to him that he create a giant white marble head. Guess what was just installed a month ago by Plensa in Millennium Park? A giant white marble head. And he named it "Looking into my Dreams, Awilda." I'll let you connect the dots there.

White-out Monster attacks Magritte show at Art Institute of Chicago

MM: Any other public artworks that you'd love to see painted white?

WOM: Naturally the Art Institute lions would be fantastic in white. However, their bronze patina is a great site to behold. Back in 1893, I suggested to sculptor Edward Kemeys that they be done in marble, but he insisted on bronze. Through many years of lobbying the Art Institute for a pure presence of white, they hired Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano. Heh, well… take a look at the Modern Wing now. Beautiful pure white cathedral of art that I'm going to-- +poof+

MM: White-out Monster? White-out Monster? Where did you go? Well, it seems that White-out Monster has disappeared back into his mythos. Thank you, White-out Monster wherever you may be now. We appreciate how you have influenced Chicago's great landmarks. Maybe we'll be able to see more of your work in the future, and uncover more of your influence in the past.

0 archived comments | | Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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The day I crawled into a giant claw machine that was a bus

The inflatable 81 Lawrence bus

Standing silently with other commuters at the bus stop. Only when the bus arrives, it's not a bus, but a giant claw machine! The two dollars you slide into the bus vendor box gains you admittance inside the claw machine.

Do you love the claw machines where you use a joystick to try to pick up a toy and drop it into a dropbox chute? I do. Ever get frustrated with the claw dropping the toy? The hanging claw may look menacing with its curved metal fingers, but often the toy slips from its loose grip. At that point you want to climb into the claw machine box and retrieve the toy yourself.

As this 81 Lawrence bus pulled up, it was like a dream on wheels. A giant claw machine you can walk into! Only this giant claw machine held a mystery. You slide your money into the machine, but you aren't allowed to touch the toys. The social norms of being inside a bus full of toys puts up a glass window making the toys inaccessible.

In fact, it's not even clear whose toys they were. Nobody was sitting by them. Perhaps they were free after all. A public art project on a bus. Free toys for those brave enough to take them.

[Update: Gapers Block selected this photo as the featured Chicago photo in Rearview for July 29, 2014. Thank you, Gapers Block!]
[Update 2: Fun! My inflatable bus photo is currently the 396th best photo on Flickr for July 28, 2014. ]

0 archived comments | | Monday, July 28, 2014
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How to make a surrealist sculpture with office supplies and a finger monster

White-out finger monster

If you had to make a surrealist sculpture only with office supplies and a finger monster, what would you make? Walking around the 14th floor of the Tribune Tower with a finger monster wedged onto my finger, I weighed my options.

Surrealism is all about irrational juxtaposition of images and words. So simply take one object and merge it with another object. Finger monster + office supply = surrealist object.

Picking the supplies

Perhaps the arms of the finger monster could be cut off and reattached to a stapler. But how to attach the arms? A cardboard box of staples could easily hold the arms. Simply cut a hole into a small cardboard box. But that didn't have enough surrealist impact.

Using office supplies is a challenge when making artwork. No matter what office supply you use, the resulting artwork still looks like an office supply.

Naked white-out monster!Rummaging around through tape dispensers, sticky notes, whiteboard markers, the one obvious office supply stood out. White-out. The finger monster would fit perfectly atop the brush/cap. Then I could paint the monster all-white. The fact that this would have PAINT on it helps to make it look more like an artwork, because artwork has paint. Paint = art. Or in this case, Finger monster + office supply + paint = surrealist object.

Painting a finger monster with white-out sounds simple, right? No. Actually it's quite challenging.

Challenge #1

First, you want to paint the finger monster when it's on the white-out bottle. But if the finger monster is already on the white-out bottle's cap and brush, how do you paint the finger monster? You can't. UNLESS you have a second white-out bottle. Thankfully one of my co-workers had an extra white-out bottle squirreled away in his desk. (Curtis, I owe you one white-out bottle tomorrow!)

Challenge #2

Now that you have a second bottle of white-out, let's get to painting. This should be fast, because white-out dries fast, right? No. white-out does not dry on rubbery plastic. It doesn't dry at all. When applied on paper, white-out absorbs into the paper. When applied on rubbery plastic, it sits on the surface, unsure what to do. Even the space heater from my work desk could do no good to make the white-out dry.

You can make a white-out monster surrealist sculpture creation just for the fun of it, but I had an extra reason. The Art Institute of Chicago that night was giving free passes to the Magritte show from 5pm-8pm if you brought a "surrealist object" to the museum. Totally awesome promotion, right? That's right. But I couldn't hand in a sticky, wet artwork. The Art Institute has super strict rules. In fact, I blogged about them earlier this week. They are a crazy long list of restrictions. Things like, no feathers, no sequins.

Using a space heater to quickly dry a White-out finger monsterShowing up with a sticky monster would simply be unacceptable. Wet paint surely is on their list of unacceptable materials. Time was running out. The Tute's deal was to show up between 5-8pm for free access. It was already 6:30.pm I had to get my artwork dry!

Rushing to meet the deadline brought back memories of being an art major trying to finish paintings before critique. The paint has to be dry! He professor doesn't accept wet paintings! Get out the hair dryer and point it at the canvas while you paint!

Now 20 years later I'm doing the corporate equivalent with my desk's space heater drying a white-out sculpture. Thankfully I just so happened to have a tube of white acrylic paint at my desk--a gift from my former manager, part of a yo-yo customization kit. PERFECT!

Of all things, I just so happened to have ACRYLIC paint at my corporate desk inside Tribune Tower. Not oil paint for that would not dry in time. Not watercolor for that wouldn't cover the monster. Not that other crap craft paint that chalks up. But good ole reliable acrylic. On top of that it was WHITE, perfectly imitating white-out.

White-out finger monster at Tribune TowerIf you happen to be making a white-out monster at work, make sure to bring some white acrylic paint to work first. It will make your job a whole lot easier. The space heater speeds drying up too. Now the White-out Monster is ready to attack!

Stay tuned for the next blog post where the White Out Monster attacks Chicago as it gallops down Michigan Avenue towards the Art Institute. Rawr!

Whiteout Monster Attacks Chicago

0 archived comments | | Friday, July 25, 2014
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LEGO bricks or limestone: which is more durable?

LEGO brick replacements

Old skyscrapers falling apart because of their limestone exterior. Over time the limestone becomes weak and crumbles. Restoration projects take quite some time to replace the damaged limestone.

The Crains Communication building in Chicago is going through an extensive limestone removal process. The past couple months I've been watching the process outside my work window at the Tribune Tower. The scaffolding moves up and down the facade of the building installing a brighter limestone.

This whiter limestone looks like LEGO bricks being inserted next to the darker older limestone. This begs a fun question...

What if they installed actual LEGO bricks into the gaps? Does the plastic of LEGO have a longer life than the porous nature of limestone? Public artists across the world have been using LEGO bricks to fill in gaps in architecture.

collection of photos of LEGO brick public art

Imagine an ENTIRE BUILDING with colorful LEGO bricks along the edges.

0 archived comments | | Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Free admission to Art Institute's Magritte show

How to get into the Art Institute for free on July 24, 2014

Bring a "Surrealist-inspired object" to gain free admission to the Art Institute's Magritte show on July 24, 2014.

In the fine print the Art Institute outlines the rules for what cannot be accepted. One of things they do not accept are "objects longer than 8 feet." Makes me want to show up with an object that is 7 feet 11 inches.

What if you show up with a person who is 7 feet tall?

The rest of the rules state:
We are also unable to accept any Objects that AIC deems in its sole discretion to be hazardous, perishable, unlawful, and/or which contains any of the following items: organic matter that may harbor pests (such as potted plants, soil, sand, grasses, feather, moss, branches, bark, rose petals, hay, etc.), animals, confetti, rice, bird seed, balloons, bubbles, glitter, sequins, fireworks, sparklers, smoke/fog machines, dry ice, aerosol products (i.e. spray glue, spray glitter, spray snow, spray string, spray paint), vessels containing water, open flames.

They don't outright ban humans. However, we can interpret the rules and say they might ban a human as surrealist object because humans are:
1) organic matter that may harbor pests
2) vessels containing water.

Make sure you don't have any pests and purge yourself of all water. Simple!

It would be fun if someone came with me and wear all sequins and feathers? (those materials are also banned). Or I should give them an object that combines every single item on their list.

But seriously, I need to think of a good surrealist object to bring. What is your "Surrealist-inspired object"?

0 archived comments | | Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Doorstop public art

This red doorstop in the men's washroom is currently the best artwork on display in the museum

Art museum bathrooms. Clean, sharply designed, austere. Much like the white walls of a museum, most bathrooms within art museums have a modern, contemporary yet neutral feel.

Among the granite tiles and light gray walls of the bathroom in Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art lays an object on the floor next to the door. A doorstop, wooden, worn, and intensely red.

Such a firehouse red, it screams out for attention more so than the artwork officially hanging on the walls. Unlike the artwork worth thousands of dollars which has been declared "art" by a curator, the doorstop sits on the floor, functional. Unlike the artwork which is outside the touch of its viewers, the doorstop can be manipulated by a bathroom visitor.

The doorstop keeps the door open, symbolizing access and openness.

I'd like to make a series of doorstop artworks and leave them in art museum bathrooms. This red doorstop made me stop and consider it for a longer period of time than any of the artworks currently on display in the museum. If this simple wooden triangle can hold my attention for so long, I am inspired to make more of such doorstops for others to enjoy.

0 archived comments | | Thursday, July 17, 2014
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What a public artist learned from cute motivational sticky notes on the train

Nine sticky notes with motivational phrases

Boredpanda.com reports:
October Jones (real name Joe Butcher), the prolific writer and illustrator... is at it again with a fun series of sticky notes featuring a grimly determined cat named Peppy posing next to motivational messages. He draws them and leaves them in the trays of the train he takes for unsuspecting fellow commuters.
If you’re having a case of the Mondays (or of any other day of your work week, for that matter), these images are perfect for getting inspired and pepped up!
The cute
I am also a public artist that uses sticky notes in public spaces, so I'm very excited to see another artist using sticky notes in public. Seeing this series reported in many places online makes me excited to see the success it's having.

Beyond the medium and success of the series, what do I think of this artwork as a fellow public artist?

Bored Panda posted 15 photos of the sticky notes, the majority of the notes are extremely positive, which is great. This series is really effective by using a cute drawing in each sticky note. That gives me ideas for my own public art. I have been leaving just a message in my work, but to have a cute animal spokesman, gives the work greater impact.

The feelings
This series is also very VERY pointed at the reader. The artwork is very successful at playing at the viewer's emotions.

The straight-up compliments about being "awesome" are nice, buuuuut... I feel like the compliments are rather empty. That might be my rational INTJ personality coming out. But I like compliments that are real.

I might be getting too philosophical, but part of what makes me a joyful person is accepting that I'm not always "awesome." Not everything can be awesome. I can be a person who does wrong things. When I start from that foundation, things become simpler and more honest. I then have the courage to break out.

But to not overthink it, these sticky notes would be fun to come across and brighten up someone's day. So for that simple notion, they are wonderful.

They also inspire me to think of how to make my public artwork more emotional. Most times the goal of my work is to make people THINK deeper or to THINK creatively. Rarely do I consider about how my artwork makes people FEEL.

These motivational sticky notes make people FEEL better, even though rational thought says that we don't always have to be awesome.

The artist is expressing love for others by encouraging others, which is a great idea. However the sort of encouragement is artificially bloating up individuals with inauthentic praise. How does this artist really know you are awesome? When I compliment someone, it's a personal direct compliment. It has authenticity.

Man. Am I a big jerk for critiquing these wonderful positive sticky notes? I should let them be nice positive notes.

But what about the "You are beautiful" stickers?
I love the "You are beautiful" project. Isn't that project in the same line as the commuter sticky notes? The artist behind "you are beautiful" doesn't know if you are a beautiful person, or does he?

Perhaps this is an individual belief, but I believe that every human is beautiful. We all may have ugly sides. We all may do ugly things. But we are beautiful creations.

Now, beautiful creations also be awesome? Hmm, perhaps. But I hold the word "awesome" in a more literal sense of awe. Like a, strike-you-down-to-your-knees awesome.

"I am a superfly success machine," declares another sticky note. Well, we aren't always successful. We are workers. We at times succeed and other times fail. I see great growth in failing.

Another sticky note jokes, "Lick the back of your hand. That's what a winner tastes like." Ok, so this one is funny, because of the cat pun. But the underlying philosophy is there, that we must always be winners. I disagree. We don't always have to be winners. I enjoy and thrive on daily live with its ups AND downs. Life isn't all about the ups. Life isn't all about happiness. Life is about growth.

Perhaps the phrase on one of the sticky notes "Kicking Monday in the face" is what turns me off. I don't believe in kicking Monday in the face. I believe in hugging Monday. Embracing it. Giving Monday love. The Monday sticky notes in this series strike me as a "F-- you world. I'm the best there ever is." When you view the rest of the sticky notes with that attitude, you start to see why I have a hard time with these notes. That or I just need to lighten up.

There are many things I learned from this series.
1) To use a cute cartoon animal in my public artwork. I'm not being sarcastic. This is really a good technique.
2) To think about how I would like the viewer of my work to FEEL when seeing my work, not just how they THINK.
3) Love and embrace your imperfect self. We don't have to always be awesome, or always be winners, or kick Monday in the face.
4) Srsly, I should just lighten up.

0 archived comments | | Tuesday, July 15, 2014
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Would you rather get paid with coins or chocolate?

A stack of chocolate and a stack of coins

Laying on my desk this morning were a stack of coins and a collection of chocolate. Why would both of these be on my desk?

I run a the Maldre Post Office at my desk on the 14th floor of the Tribune Tower. Tribune employees flock to my desk to purchase from a wide variety of postage stamps. Often times when people don't come to my desk, they'll pull some stamps and leave the payments in coins on my desk.

This morning a stack of coins was sitting to the left of my laptop. To the right of my laptop was a collection of Hershey's chocolates. The juxtaposition of the shiny coins next to the shiny purple foil wrappers was too much for me to not capture. I slid over the Hershey's chocolates next to the coins for this photo.

It's fun to think that people could use chocolate as a supplemental currency.

0 archived comments | | Thursday, July 10, 2014
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How to count to ten in Estonian and Ewokese

Which is Estonian, which is Ewokese?

Learn how to count to ten in Ewokese, or Estonian. Which is which?

One language is spoken by short furry creatures on the Forest Moon of Endor.
The other language is spoken by Finnic people in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.

One language is based on Chalmuk, a Mongolian, nomadic tribal dialect.
The other language belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family.

In attempt to learn both lists of one through ten, I have them hanging up in my cube at work.
0	null (nool) 
1	üks (ewks) 
2	kaks (kahks) 
3	kolm (kohlm) 
4	neli (NEH-lee) 
5	viis (veess) 
6	kuus (kooss) 
7	seitse (SAYT-seh) 
8	kaheksa (KAH-hek-sah) 
9	üheksa (EW-hek-sah) 
10	kümme (KEWM-meh) 

1	chu (choo)
2	fic (fic)
3	chim (chim)
4	hoji (ho jee)
5	n'la (nah la)
6	n'dla (nah dla)
7	voo (voo)
8	j'voo (ja voo)
9	coki (coke ee)
10	eedeeza (ee dee zah)

How many languages do you know how to say one through ten?

0 archived comments | | Wednesday, July 09, 2014
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Stunningly beautiful Walgreens inside landmark Wrigley Building

Do you love amazing views? Do you love amazing architecture details? The next place you should visit is--surprise! Walgreens.

Walgreens recently moved 40 steps from its cramped quarters above the Billy Goat into the first and second floor of the landmark Wrigley Building next-door.

Despite challenges with the layout, the store is absolutely amazing to walk through.

Entrance of Walgreens on Michigan Avenue in Chicago
Initially the entrance is overly subtle. You might even miss it walking by. No signed is attached to the outside of the building. Instead a Walgreens logo hangs in one front window, and a golden-painted "W" is displayed above the revolving doors on the side.

Lack of products at Walgreens entrance
The lack of merchandise in the front store windows might lead one to believe there is nothing inside. But oh the beauties that are to behold inside on the second floor. You just have to get beyond the sparse entrance.

The layout of the store is really strange—-not just because I'm not used to it, but when you enter, your initial first thought is, "hmm, there's really not that much at this Walgreens." I guarantee you that tourists will walk into there and then walk right out, because they think that it's just a dinky-nothing-there Walgreens. Walgreens works, because when you walk in, you see all the vast array of aisles. This particular Walgreens has nothing when you walk in.

Walgreens sushi in Wrigley Building, Chicago
Walking deeper into the store beyond the front registers you first encounter three or four sushi chefs were busy cranking out sushi creations. All these new Walgreens employees. It's kinda crazy. It makes me concerned for this Walgreens location. I'm not sure that Walgreens will get more traffic to support all the additional employees. One kind Walgreens employee informed me that the old location got two shipments a day. This one is so busy it gets five shipments a day. They really want to make sure all their product is constantly restocked so people can rely on this location for their sun tan lotion and M&M fix.

No dark chocolate M&M's at Walgreens
Walking past the sushi aisle, you'll get to the heart of what everyone wants at any Walgreens, the candy aisle. Unfortunately, one of the most important candies was missing. Dark chocolate peanut M&M's. The regular chocolate peanut M&M's was also out of stock. But they do have frozen yogurt machines with EIGHT flavors:
* French vanilla
* Triple chocolate
* Birthday cake
* Cookies n creme
* White chocolate mousse
* Sea salt caramel pretzel
* Tropical sourbet
* Strawberry sensations

Eight flavors of frozen yogurt in Flagship Walgreens
Grab a frozen yogurt, then sit outside in Pioneer Court or by the river walk by Trump Tower.

The Beer Cave in Walgreens at Wrigley Building, Chicago
Perhaps you want some beer, wine, or hard liquor. Hit up the "Beer Cave" with magical sliding doors. At first walking down the aisles, I didn't realize the "Beer Cave" existed until suddenly doors opened up to a magical room full of beer, beer, and more beer. Did I remind you we are inside a Walgreens?

Detailed wallpaper in deluxe Walgreens
Perhaps you can appreciate the fine details of remodeling. Check out the embossed patterned wallpaper throughout the store. Much better than the white-wash job Target did in the history Carson Pirie Scott building.

Once you are done adoring wallpaper, you'll encounter something more amazing on the second floor. Ride the escalators up and watch the architecture of the beautiful courtyard unfold. Views like this on the second floor of the Wrigley Building have never been seen before by the general public.

This second floor is reason enough itself to become a tourist attraction in Chicago. Have fun comparing the views outside the windows with the products being sold in the store.

LOOK boutique next to Chicago River view
The beauty products section just so happens to be facing the plaza by Trump Tower and the Chicago River. Beauty products next to the beautiful river plaza.

Bright school paper aisle next to country flags
The north side of the second floor holds one of the greatest aisles in American store history. This uninterrupted aisle runs parallel to the Plaza of the Americas with its 45 country flags. Since this aisle is on the second floor, the large windows put 18 of the country flags with direct view. The bright colors of the flags complement the bright colors of the construction paper being sold in the aisle.

Bright gift bags in Walgreens next to country flags in Plaza of the Americas
Walk further down the aisle and you get to the bright fun colors of gift bags next to the waving flags.

American flags in Walgreens, country flags outside
With Independence day coming up, the season aisle has American flags being sold. So fitting to see American flags inside the store with the assortment of country flags outside.

Walking down the seasonal aisle in Walgreens was always fun as an indicator for the time of year. Now the fun factor is ramped up in this greatest store aisle ever in America.

Tourist section in Wrigley Building Walgreens
The aisle ends with the tourist section, extremely fitting that the view is out onto Michigan Avenue with tourists standing around looking at the street performers and beautiful architecture.

Architecture details and lounging tourists
The views out every window are amazing to see the artistry of detail in the Wrigley Building. Ornate flowers rim every window. Every few windows you'll catch phoenixes with fruit. Delight in the sight of infants holding pedestals. Or horses intertwined in flowers. This sort of terra cotta architectural detail just isn't done anymore. All outside the tourist section in Walgreens.

While the location for the tourist section is a fantastic complement to the views outside the windows, I miss all the touristy trinkets right by check-out. The trinkets are buried on the 2nd floor in the corner. I guarantee you that by the end of the year those tourist trinkets will be lining the walls by the checkouts at the front door. GOTTA CAPTURE THOSE TOURISTS!

I rather liked the compact Walgreens in the previous location. I was much more urban in style, very efficient. This store is so immensely spread out, that it almost feels suburban in style. Thankfully the surrounding windows always put you back into context of the city.

Condoms and French Renaissance details
Walk over to the condom aisle, and admire the beautiful view of the Wrigley Building architecture. To your left is an aisle display with colorful packages of condoms, to your right is a window displaying with beautiful French Renaissance details inspired by Seville's Cathedral. Nowhere in the world can you get such a contrast of the world's beauty and pleasures.

The most important thing this new did not have on my first visit was my favorite cashier, Pilar. I asked if she was still there, and she is. She has off today. Phew. That's a relief. A Walgreens without Pilar would not be Walgreens.

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