The Tribune Tower has many locked doors leading to secret closets. Walk down any hallway, and you are sure to encounter a locked door that leads to a mysterious place. One of these such doors is on the 14th floor of the Tribune Tower where I have worked for 15 years. While going home late Friday night, this door that I have NEVER seen open, was actually swung wide open. Why would this door be open?
Since the mystery door was open, I was curious what was inside. Lo and behold there is a sink with standing water, which I'm assuming is a janitor's sink. Hence, this closet is a janitor's closet. Around the corner in the closet is a large water valve.
A water main break in the Tribune Tower on Friday caused Building Services to shut off all the water during the day. The door to this mystery was open, so Building Services could have access to this valve.
But perhaps one of the greatest mysteries revealed was seeing one of my photos hanging up inside the closet. The tape holding the photo has yellowed, and the print itself is pretty wrinkled from water damage--most probably from the janitor's sink.
How does one of my photos get put on display in a Tribune Tower janitor's closet?
Then someone noticed this print in the recycling and appreciated it so much, this person took it out of the recycle bin. Wanting to display this fine photography, this person hung it up in the janitor's closet. Every time the mop water is cleaned out, my image of the Tribune Tower hangs watching onward to the delight of the Tribune Tower cleaning crew.
At least that's how I imagine the reason for why one of my photos is hanging up inside this mystery closet.
Parked and waiting was the infamous Puppet Bike. Strips of the Carina Nebula in my hand, I was looking for poles and other items to wrap the Nebula around. What great felicity to run into one of Chicago's most famous mobile works of street art.
The Puppet Bike has given me great enjoyment on many occasions, but I never walked and touched it, for this is a beloved part of Chicago. The opportunity was to great to pass up as the bunny puppet performers inside the bike would surely love to go on an intergalactic ride. My Star Wraps are completely non-destructive, so I felt ok to give the Puppet Bike the star treatment.
The chrome handlebars were the obvious choice, but which wrap should I use? Each NASA image gets cut into eight slices, resulting in a variety of images to select from. Given the Puppet Bike's intense colors, a wrap with vivid crazy color would be very fitting. Having learned from yesterday's tree wrap, I positioned the wrapping so a hero star would be most prominent in the composition.
The Puppet Bike brings so much out of this world joy to people, I'm glad to have contributed just a little bit to the entertaining piece of street art.
Every artist has their go-to methods when creativity runs dry. Tools like sketchpads. Working in locations like coffee shops. For me one of my methods is to make artwork to place on the front of Tribune Tower.
149 rocks from around the world are embedded on the exterior of Tribune Tower in Chicago. One of those rocks is a tiny ledge from the Royal Castle in Stockholm Sweden. Sitting on a busy tourist-filled sidewalk, this is perfect podium to hold tiny works of art for people to discover. I like to frequently place artwork here. This is one of my creativity buster go-tos.
If you leave artwork in a certain area enough times, that place becomes your gallery.
Originally I envisioned the paper hanging off the ledge like a tongue. But as I stood in front of the ledge with paper in hand, it was clear this strip of stars should be laid along the width of the ledge.
Honestly, the image wasn't THAT compelling. Sure, it's interesting seeing a random piece of paper with stars on it, but... uh, ok, what is really being said here? I guess it's cool how the texture of the stars mimics the texture of the sandstone. As many stars in the sky as there is sand on the beaches. But the paper just sits there. Limp. Not sure of itself.
I left walking away thinking that maybe these strips can be wrapped around the poles inside Chicago's CTA commuter trains. Or around fence poles. Against the foggy sky the Michigan Avenue trees were asking to have some art wrapped around their stark branches. A perfect place to wrap the Galaxy around!
With my bad back, I climbed a top the damp sidewalk planter containing the trees to install a starwrap print around an aesthetically pleasing branch. The backdrop is wonderful at his location with the limestone Michigan Avenue bridgetowers.
My first wrap wasn't so successful as it was a darker section of the Andromeda Galaxy. The foggy sky had a light exposure which made taking photos tricky. Thankfully I can cut about 8 strips from one 11 x 17 print. After doing some climbing around, I finally took this shot:
The placement of the star burst was completely unintentional when I was wrapping the branch. But the star totally stood out as I was photographing it, I decided to make it the hero of the photo. That star helps to identify the photo as being one of many stars.
It's amazing that something so massively huge like a galaxy would wrap something small like a single tree branch. The contrast of scales is wonder-spoking (yes, I made up that word). Plus, with the close-style of photography, the texture of the tree branch is captured. You get a true sense of what that branch feels like, and its size. The photo reveals the truth of the branch. Yet, it's wrapped by a galaxy--one with a texture all its own.
I'm excited to start wrapping more galaxies around other items in public. Perhaps the images I use can even feature different photos from NASA. Train pole wrapped by Orion Nubula. Fence pole wrapped by Pillars of Creation.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looked down at the soil on the western rim of Endeavour crater to capture this raw image from its panoramic camera during the rover's 2,686th Martian day, or sol, of work on Mars (Aug. 14, 2011). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU
An impressive show was put on by this year's batch of BFA students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The expansive seventh floor of the Louis Sullivan Building on the State Street housed more than 300 artists' work by students completing undergraduate degrees this spring.
One artist's work in particular stood out. A series of seven QR codes printed on white paper hung on a black wall. Doesn't sound too exciting at first. Since I have a curious obsession with QR codes, this particular work actually drew me in. Scanning the first code, it translated to, "no one likes you"
When we encounter QR codes, normally you get some promo website. This simple, hurtful message was startling.
Scanning another code, it brought up, "you have pretty eyes but your fat"
These insults were shocking given the simple presentation on the wall. What is the artist intending here? That the viewer's feelings are hurt? That sort of feeling is exactly the point. The artist Josi Yingjiao Pei created this series to highlight the destruction that cyberbulling causes.
These seven QR codes were actual online messages sent to teens who eventually committed suicide. Pei's artist statement:
Josi Yingjiao Pei
The Invisible Scar; 2015
The Invisible Scar is a study that examines the manifestations of cyberbullying and teen depression. Cyberbullying happens when people use electronic technology to harass, threaten or embarrass each other. It is even worse than the traditional schoolyard bullying since it can occur seven days a week at any hour. By using search engines, I found many teens that committed suicide due to endless bullying messages they received via emails and social networking sites. Each QR code corresponds to one single victim, and the texts behind the QR codes are actual messages and comments I found on line that relate to the death of the teens. The installation is a memorial to seven of these young victims. By interacting with The Invisible Scar, the viewer turns into an experimenter, observing and feeling the actual impact that cyberbullying has on individuals.
I encourage people online to scan all QR codes. The messages are very somber, and truly hit the emotions of how awful cyberbullying is. The words are so devastating, I don't want to repeat them on my this blog post. You truly need to experience scanning in the codes and seeing the results.
Doing this act of scanning in the codes with your phone connects the viewer with impact that these messages are digital. Phrases that are tossed around on social media sites that destroy people's lives.
This is one of the best uses of QR codes I have ever seen. The medium works so incredibly with the message. Josi Yingjiao Pei's website, josipei.com shows a few of her other works that carry her themes of memory, loss and displacement (Pei uses those three words to describe her work). From photographs of landslides in the Donghekou Village of China to melting glaciers in Alaska projected onto a human body, Pei's body of work is already looking very mature for an undergrad student. I can't wait to see what future works she will be creating.
The fine art of napkins. Art that you can wipe your mouth with. The Art Institute currently has 11 napkins in their permanent collection. The height of the napkin collecting craze occured from 1983 to 1996. Nine of the eleven napkins were folded into the Art Institute collection during this 13-year span. (the other two napkins coming in at 1947 and 1972).
Why would the Art Institute catch the napkin fever during the 1980s and early 1990s? Perhaps the Art Institute has actually only dipped their toes into the napkin world. 7,858 textiles are in the Art Institute's collection. Just one-tenth of a percent of their textiles are napkins. Out of every 700 pieces of textile art in their collection, there is one napkin. One.
Given the rarity of napkins in the Art Institute's collection, let's take a look at each one. Along with each napkin is my commentary on its significance in the lore of napkin history.
The four bars signify the four course meal served with this napkin. For every course, you wipe your mouth on one of the bars. This particular napkin has been laundered, thus, you cannot see what was served at this particular meal. A shame, really.
Napkin, c. 1800
Produced by David Dewar Son & Sons
I'd like to have the napkin professor from the school of napkinology explain the signficance of the the pattern of this napkin
A napkin for the five senses. We often think of napkins being for taste. But what if we had a napkin for hearing? After going to a loud rock concert (or in this case, in the 1800s a raucous classical concert) you would wipe your ears from the intensity.
Napkin, c. 1904
Designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich (German, 1867–1908)
Germany, Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt
I have a feeling that Joseph Maria Olbrich knew about the Transformers before we did.
Napkin, c. 1900
Designed by Walter Crane
Can we get out the blacklight? I feel like there is a hidden image in here.
This section of Germany was known for their burly industrial workers. They were such big eaters that cloth napkins were not sufficient for their verocious appetites. Instead, they turned to using carpeting to brush the food from their face.
Ever want to get inside the artwork at an art museum? Now you can! Several people on Instagram and Flickr have demonstrate how they interact with artworks in museums. These seven methods are collected under the hashtag, #GetInsideTheArtInstituteofChicago. A clever pun that says both "Get inside the artwork" and "Get inside the Museum" as it demonstrates both how to interact with the artwork, and encourages people to get inside the museum.
Re-envision what an art museum can be and do with these seven methods of #GetInsideTheArtInstituteofChicago (and The Art Instititue, you're welcome. This should be your next social media campaign).
1. Pose behind a sculpture
Charles Ray's "Hinoki" is a great sculpture to get into. Instagram user Wendyyalas snapped this photo of jonbuda standing at the end of the sculpture peeking inside. It would be fun to see a similar trick done with other sculptures at the Art Institute. Stand behind the sculpture and peek your head over the top, giving the illusion that your head is part of the sculpture. (Hinoki in Modern Wing, Gallery 292B)
Every year my company, Tribune Media Services, used to have award ceremonies. One of the awards was Rookie of the Year with the trophy/plaque thing being an actual Louisville Slugger baseball bat customized with the recipient's name and his/her first year at the company.
I won the award in 2000. Today I was going to bring my Rookie of the Year bat into work. But then I realized I was going to my polling place to vote. I thought it would be strange to bring a baseball bat into the voting booth.
But my all-American friend Jed pointed out, "it seems appropriate. Baseball and voting are two of the most American things." Good point! And I could have driven a pickup truck to the polling place too--instead of walking over. Pickup trucks are so much more American than walking. ;-)
The year I won the baseball bat, the awards were at Harry Caray's. The walls in this restaurant are covered in baseball memorabilia. Upong leaving with a baseball bat in my hands, it felt like I was stealing something off the wall. However, the ride home on the subway felt very safe. Actually, not really, because carrying a baseball bat on the subway makes you feel like an instigator.
My cousin Peter Kreten points out, "If I saw someone walking down the street with a bat, I would get nervous." Especially when the person with the bat has a ski mask and scarf on--as I did today.
Now I wish I brought the baseball bat with me to the polling place. Just for the experience.
Honeymoon is such an interesting word. The Japanese have a fun way of translating the word (as covered on my wedding blog). The French literally translates it as "moon of honey," as seen on Etymonline.com:
1540s, hony moone, but probably much older, "indefinite period of tenderness and pleasure experienced by a newly wed couple," from honey (n.) in reference to the new marriage's sweetness, and moon (n.) in reference to how long it would probably last, or from the changing aspect of the moon: no sooner full than it begins to wane.
French has cognate lune de miel, but German version is flitterwochen (plural), from flitter "tinsel" + wochen "week." In figurative use from 1570s.
Specific sense of "post-wedding holiday" attested from c.1800; as a verb in this sense from 1821.
Given German's interesting translation of the word, how do other languages translate honeymoon? Here are 65 translations of the word honeymoon:
* Afrikaans: honeymoon
* Albanian: muaj mjalti
* Azerbaijani: bal ayı
* Basque: eztei
* Belarusian: мядовы месяц
* Bosnian: medeni mjesec
* Bulgarian: меден месец
* Catalan: lluna de mel
* Cebuano: honeymoon
* Chichewa: kokasangalala
* Croatian: medeni mjesec
* Czech: líbánky
* Danish: bryllupsrejse
* Dutch: huwelijksreis
* English: honeymoon
* Esperanto: mielmonato
* Estonian: mesinädalad
* Filipino: pulutgata
* Finnish: häämatka
* French: lune de miel
* Galician: lúa de mel
* German: Flitterwochen
* Greek: μήνας του μέλιτος
* Haitian Creole: myèl
* Hausa: gudun amarci
* Hmong: honeymoon
* Hungarian: mézeshetek
* Icelandic: Brúðkaupsferð
* Igbo: honiimuunu
* Indonesian: bulan madu
* Irish: mhí na meala
* Italian: luna di miele
* Javanese: bulan madu
* Kazakh: бал айы
* Lao: honeymoon
* Latin: honeymoon
* Latvian: medus mēnesis
* Lithuanian: medaus mėnuo
* Macedonian: меден месец
* Malagasy: honeymoon
* Malay: bulan madu
* Maltese: honeymoon
* Maori: taime
* Mongolian: бал сар
* Norwegian: bryllupsreise
* Polish: miesiąc miodowy
* Portuguese: lua de mel
* Romanian: lună de miere
* Russian: медовый месяц
* Serbian: медени месец
* Slovak: medové týždne
* Slovenian: medenih tednih
* Somali: toddobobax
* Spanish: luna de miel
* Sundanese: peuting mimiti
* Swahili: honeymoon
* Swedish: smekmånad
* Tajik: баланкиной
* Turkish: balayı
* Ukrainian: медовий місяць
* Uzbek: asal oyi
* Vietnamese: tun trăng mt
* Welsh: mis mêl
* Yoruba: ijfaaji tktaya ni ibr igbeyawo
* Zulu: kukankosikazi
My favorite translations have to be: Chichewa's kokasangalala, which means "to enjoy" and Haitian Creole's myèl, means "bee." Toddobobax in Somali just sounds fun to say.
Do you have a favorite translation of the word honeymoon?
The croquet twitter account @HammerTimeCroqu started following me today on Twitter. That is, they are following my croquet-dedicated Twitter account, @mightymauler.
Yes, I have a Twitter account dedicated to croquet. Not just croquet, but my superhero alter-ego persona on the croquet courts, the Mighty Mauler. My Twitter account bio calls me "the croquet superhero®." This croquet superhero checks out @HammerTimeCroqu and also follow their Facebook page.
Now what do you write on the Facebook page for Hammer Time Croquet? Why lyrics from MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" of course. A Google search for "Hammertime lyrics" results in the AZ Lyrics website with the lyrics for "U Can't Touch This.
The lyrics "Break it down! Stop, Hammer time! It's "Hammer, go Hammer, MC Hammer, yo Hammer" And the rest can go and play" get copied and pasted onto the HammerTime Facebook Page.
Amused by my 90s flashback, I decide to listen to U Can't Touch This on Spotify. Since the lyrics are up in my browser, I sing along.
Part of the lyrics absolutely mystified me. I've probably heard "U Can't Touch This" a thousand times. I always thought he was saying, "Faster than a white boy take to learn" but it's actually "pass them a wipe or tape to learn"
What the freak is a "wipe"? Also, doesn't it make more sense for it to say "faster than a white boy take to learn?" Seriously, I've been singing those lyrics since 1990.
You talking about a hammer, you talking about a show
that's hot and tight, something something. Faster than a white boy take
to learn something something something to burn
The charts. Legit.
If you work hard or you might as well quit.
MC Hammer's lyrics:
You talking about the Hammer you talking about a show
That's hype, and tight
Singers are sweating so pass them a wipe or a tape,
What's it gonna take in the 90's to burn
The charts? Legit
Either work hard or you might as well quit.
It took the Australian "Hammer Time" Facebook page for me to finally learn the true lyrics with MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" -- 25 years later. Truly this white boy needs to learn.
I am looking for a resident that lives on the planet Mercury. How do I search for this?
Do I do a search on Twitter for "Mercury alien"? or perhaps "Mercury resident"? However on Twitter, you cannot search the location field on a person's bio. Facebook didn't give me the results for anyone living on Mercury at all. I really need to find a resident that lives on the planet Mercury. I have some questions about living on this planet.
I was curious if the people of Mercury use a different number base than us. We have the base-10, I wonder what they use. What got me thinking about this is that I'm considered 145 Mercury years old, even though I am 45 Earth years. Certainly the older Mercury age is due to the planet spinning around the sun faster, but we are assuming the people of Mercury use a base-10 system for their numbers. We can't assume that until I get a chance to ask resident of Mercury.
Where can I find a Mercurian? Some funny responses thus far:
* Sorry mate, all communications are down while Mercury is in retrograde. (from Nicola Smith of Google Plus)
* No one lives on Mercury. It is a barren, airless, lifeless ball of iron and rock. There aren't even any robots on it, like there are on Mars and Venus (or the remains thereof, anyway, in the case of Venus). (from Logan R. Kearsley of Quora)
Time is short. People are watching you. Will you have the guts to draw something fun on a foggy window on the bus or train? These questions faced me this morning as with below zero degree temperatures in Chicago.
Commuters pack the train on their first day back to work after the Christmas holiday. All bundled up, I hobble over to the door where the window is completely fogged over. Even though my stop is coming up next in a matter of seconds, I draw out a fun snowman on the door. The train must had been going slow, because I was even able to take about ten photos of the snow man. My favorite photo of the ten is shown above.
Here are seven tips for drawing cartoons on the window on a bus or train.
1) Just do it
People might be afraid to draw on a foggy window in public for the fear of what people will think. But you know what? Either people won't care. Or they might even say something nice. Only one time did I have a bus driver yell at me. Other than that, everyone loves to see a drawing on a bus window. In fact one time when I drew a Frankenstein on the window, this nice older woman drew a mummy!
2) Have something stock in mind
You can go freestyle on the window, that's completely cool. I prefer to have some stock characters that I know how to draw. I've got a dog, bird, and snowman.
Just one photo won't yield a great image on a bus or train. The background behind your image is constantly changing. Often times the background may obscure your work of art. Jam on the shutter button on your camera/phone and pick out the best pic later. The middle one in the collage above is the one I ended up using, because I rather like how the woman's face in the ad is right over the snowman's shoulder.
Getting close to your drawing, so only your drawing shows is fine. But also consider taking a photo of the entire environment. You are on a bus! Make sure people see that in your photo. Get some of the window frame. Or perhaps some of the people on the bus. You can make your cat drawing wave to people nearby.
7) Post your photo online
Not only is it great for people to see your creation in public, it's really rad for more people to see your work online. If you post to flickr, submit your photo to the "Drawings on Windows group. Or if posting to Instagram, use the #drawingonwindow hashtag.
Have some fun and draw on a foggy window! I look forward to seeing your photos!
A great reason to use the free service last.fm is that it tracks your music listening habits across many platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. With this database of records the site then gives you insightful analysis to your listening habings. For instance, you can sort your music by most-played in the past 12 months.
Using, this data from last.fm, here's a look at the top albums I discovered (or re-discovered) in 2014. They include a range of genres: Mashup, 90s, pop dance, hip-hop jazz, rap, techno soundtrack, Muppets, German pop, and British hip-hop. I'm actually quite surprised by this range, because these ten albums are strictly ordered by how often I listened to them in 2014. I didn't specifically pick them to give a diverse range of music types, it just so happened to fall that way.
1. Bruneaux – Pure Magic
A mashup album tops my 2014 new albums. With 115 plays in 2014 it demolishes the 67 plays from the second place album. Although "Pure Magic" was released January 9, 2012 I didn't discover it until November 2013.
It's an obscure album, according to last.fm, this album has been listened to by only 1,003 people.
Although technically, this is not my most listened-to album of 2014. There are four other albums that had more listens than "Pure Magic.":
* Torpeedoh – Party People
* E-603 – Torn Up
* Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy
* Torpeedoh – Buckwild
But I had been listening to those albums already before 2014. This is a 2014 new album list, so "Pure Magic" gets the top album for 2014.
2. INXS – Welcome To Wherever You Are
Technically I listened to this INXS album when it was released in 1992. But since 2007, this album sat dormant on my playlists--until this year when my cousin Peter Kreten asked about my most influential college albums. This being one of them on that list (I have yet to post that influential college album list).
3. Havana Brown – When the Lights Go Out
Honestly, I didn't even know what this album is when it appeared on my top five list. I had to look it up. Early in 2014, the track "Big Banana" made it onto my "2014 discovered" playlist, helping this album get more plays throughout 2014. The snappy song with goofy lyrics made for a fun 2014. There's a couple other fun pop dance songs on this album, like "We run the night" and "You'll be mine."
4. Us3 – The Third Way (Hand On The Torch Vol II)
Loved this album in college, with the hit single "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)." Twenty years later, Us3 releases the second volume of "Hand on the Torch." A nice review on Exclaim.ca.
5. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Code Red
Another college album, while I would exclude it from my 2014 list, because I regularly listen to "Boom! Shake the Room," there is a song on this album that I discovered in 2014, "I wanna rock." This track is great, because it has that original Fresh Prince vibe when he played in the clubs.
6. Joseph Trapanese – TRON: Uprising
The Tron Legacy soundtrack is one of my top albums of all time. This particular "Uprising" album is for the follow-up animated series, which is also one of my top five favorite animated series of all time.
Favorite track: Lightbike battle (Really any of them are good, so I picked the first one)
7. Christina Grimmie – Must Be Love
A single-track album makes it onto my list, because I really like this song. She does have an 11-track album from 2013, but it does not include this song.