This book was a bit of a deviation from my normal fare, in that, it’s fiction. I have a hard time reading just for entertainment’s sake. I like to be able to take away bit of new practical knowledge from every book I read, even if it is just a story about someone’s life. I was able to justify reading We, the Drowned because, while fiction, it is based on the history of Marstal Denmark from the 1840s through the end of World War II. I’m fascinated by that era generally, and because of my Danish heritage, I’m specifically interested in the history of Denmark during that era. There was added entertainment in the fact that several of the characters in the book bore the same names as my ancestors.
Prior to reading this book, I knew nothing about Marstal. Having now read the book, I actually have a pretty strong desire to visit. It is a small town in the southern part of Denmark, on the island of Ærø. The book is written from third person, but not in an omniscient voice. Instead it is written from the collective voice of the town of Marstal. As the title of the book would suggest, Marstal has a history laden with sailing. Carsten Jensen does an amazing job of telling this story, creating very detailed imagery with the text. This is true to the point that I would not suggest this book for readers who shy away from a bit of gore. It spans over two world wars, and graphically depicts the ugliness that occurs at sea during wartime.
The book was a bit slow to draw me in. But once it did, I did not want it to end. Luckily it is 675 pages, so it lasted me a little while. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning about that span of history, merchant sailing, or just reading a really good story.
I came across these pieces on Ekosystem last month and was blown away. The artist’s name is Michael Beerens. Beerens is a France based artist, who I will admit that I had never heard of until I came across the aforementioned post on Eko. I looked at a bunch of his work after discovering, and a lot of it is animal-centric, similar to Roa and Nychos. Anyway, these schools of fish are what really stood out to me. The piece in the first image, especially.
This was another book that I got in my Christmas stocking. Thanks, B. I had actually asked for this one. One of my colleagues mentioned that his wife was reading it and enjoyed. Since I was a massive RHCP fan growing up, I felt like I needed to get in on this action.
By way of background, I was extremely passionate about music in the early 90s. Listening to and playing music were two of my main hobbies. I won’t say that Red Hot Chili Peppers was my favorite band. But they were definitely in heavy rotation on my CD player. And as a bass player, Flea was definitely my favorite (Les Claypool was a close second). Reading this book was almost enough inspiration for me to break the bass out of storage and give it a slap. Alas, my bass guitar is still collecting dust in the closet.
The book reeled me in right away. I had no idea that AK was from Michigan. Anthony’s way of story telling is very matter of fact and easily conjures visuals, occasionally too vivid. His voice in the beginning of the book is very humble and to the point. I wish that he would have been able to sustain that voice through the entirety of the book. Unfortunately that is not the case. Nonetheless, I did find the story fascinating. I especially loved reading about RHCP’s interactions with other personalities from that era that I was really into, i.e. Kurt Cobain.
Some takeaways from the book:
If you read at my pace it will take multiple sittings to finish (~460 pages). If you read at Angela Libby’s pace, you will finish it in 1.5 hours. If you can look past all of the humble (and not so humble) bragging, the blatant retorts to negative media, etc., there is a lot of wacky entertaining stuff in this text. Overall, I’d say it is worth the read.
Lola’s evening walk on MLK day was quite frigid, but the light was really nice. Try not to judge outfits too much.
Book reviews are not something that I usually do on here, but whatever. I got a couple of books for xmas that I really enjoyed and I decided that I may as well pass along my thoughts for any like-minded people who may come across this and are looking for a good read. I had actually not even heard about this book. But B heard some design nerds say some good things about it and naturally thought that I would enjoy. She was right.
The book is a good mix of history, design, opinion, wit, and dry humor. I don’t even hold it against Douglas Thomas (the author) that he has affiliations with Brigham Young University. For those who don’t know me well, it is a pretty big deal for me to be able to overlook that fact, hehe. Futura is a typeface that was originally developed by a guy named Paul Renner and released in the late 1920s by the Bauer type foundry in Germany. In the past couple of decades, it has been popularized by the artist Barbra Kruger, then Shepard Fairey (as a nod to Kruger), and Supreme (as a blatant rip-off of Kruger).
Reading this book was like taking a guided tour through the museum of Futura. The text is pleasantly broken up by visual examples of the subject matter. Whether it is examples from old publications or overlaid examples of modern variations to illustrate distinction, the visual aides are always on point. It is one of those books where I couldn’t help but think the entire time I was reading “I wish that I knew as much about ANYTHING as Thomas does about Futura.”
It is a super easy and fun read, barely 200 pages. I read it in a single sitting, partly because I couldn’t put it down, partly because of its relatively short length. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is into design aesthetic, art and/or history.
2017 is coming to a close and as such, here is a little video that I put together from the photos on my phone taken this calendar year (not all of which were actually taken with my phone). There were only ~6000 and change this year, down about 50% from the past two years (2016) (2015). I suspect that this is because I had such a busy year in my professional life. Each frame plays for about a quarter of a second.
One of the crazy things about upstate New York is that it is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the summer it is so green, lush and vibrant. In the winter it is like a dystopian wasteland. Anyway, we were in the Catskils over the weekend doing some research. It was kind of snowing, kind of raining, generally gross weather. We came across some dilapidated mansion/hotel looking structures that I had to pull over to get a couple of snaps of. I also love these awesome little trestle bridges where the highway goes back and forth over the river. Here are a couple of frames from the drive.
Dear Jake.News readers, and others who accidentally or otherwise had this post somehow show up in your browser:
As a major departure from my usual shtick, I’m reaching out to encourage donations for a good cause; Paws NY. As an active member of the community, my partner B is constantly looking for ways to get involved, whether it be volunteering at local schools (adorable), or cleaning up after someone else’s dog (ew) while walking Lola. As such, it was a natural fit that she teamed up with Paws NY in connection with the 2018 Half. Paws NY is a local Brooklyn resource for the elderly members of our community who have difficulties taking care of their animal companions. So if you are looking for some warm holiday fuzzies and possibly a deduction on your 2017 taxes, sponsor Britt in the 2018 NYC Half Marathon by donating to Paws NY.
[IMG courtesy of Paws NY]
Peep this vid to learn more about the Paws NY organization-