17. The Bunny Game

 

:one of the best procrastination tools ever:

:one of the best procrastination tools ever:

 

Its official name is “Winterbells,” created by Orisinal games. But most who know and love it just refer to it as “The Bunny Game.” THE Bunny Game. I was introduced to it my freshman year of college, as it spread through my group of friends like herpes, or maybe AIDS. First Alex got into it, then Eric picked it up, then Ming and I. All of a sudden, plinky music followed us around all the time. And it was so, so addictive. Eric, always a stud at games, got a score so high that it wouldn’t fit on the screen. I’ve managed to settle for 32398161875000. For reals, that’s my highest score.  

Ok, so – the bunny moves upward with your mouse, jumping on little jingly-jangly bells that give you points. Every now and then, a bird flies horizontally  across the screen, and jumping on this bird doubles your score. Miss a bell and Bunny falls to the ground (but never dies – for the animal lovers out there). This seemingly straightforward game offers up a lot of questions, especially regarding strategy. 

Does the player try to hit every bell? As many bells as possible? Or does the player simply use the bells as a ladder to get to the birds, trying to double a score as often as possible? SO MANY QUESTIONS. 

I played it a lot last summer when I had the most boring internship ever, sorting files in a hot, dusty warehouse. I got pretty good. Pretty decent. My concentration was intense. My hands were steady, and my palms didn’t sweat. So this summer, bored again, I turned to my old friend Mr. Bunny. But now I’m out of shape. I have trouble getting past 3749670. I’m working on training, training, training, to get myself back to the Carnegie Hall of the Bunny Game. I’ve decided to focus on “less bells, more birds” – Eric’s winning strategy. So wish me luck.

May 29, 2009. Rectangles, Websites. 1 comment.

16. The Pageboy

Ok. I have a confession. 99% of the time, I love my curls. I love having a mop of crazy, unpredictable hair. But – every now and then – I wish I had stick straight hair so I could have a classic 1920’s flapper pageboy haircut.

 

:about as rectangular as a haircut can be:

:about as rectangular as a haircut can be:

Popularized by Louise Brooks (above) and other 20’s stars and debutantes, the page boy is a fabulous juxtaposition of masculine lines and feminine curves. The straight lines of the cut accentuate the most feminine features of a woman’s face – cheekbones, curves, lips. I wish that I could make my hair do anything like that, but instead I’ll have to settle for a more curly version. Lately I’ve been coveting short hair and bangs – who knows what could happen.

May 28, 2009. Fashion, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

15. A Softer World

My friend Dylan introduced me to StumbleUpon, which is the most addictive game ever. Click, click, click and your mind is exposed to lotsa cool shit on the internet. This is something I Stumbled Upon. 

I usually don’t like webcomics, or comics in general, but I think this one is pretty cool. The artists use photographs and typewritten scraps to create really beautiful little comics. Sometimes they fall flat, some of the ones that try to be funny are not, and sometimes they come off as a bit trite, but I think that the composition and images make up for some of the stuff that  gets lost. After all, I did click through 280 of them…

bicycle

graeme

nothingwrongtheclerk

May 27, 2009. Art, Rectangles, Websites. Leave a comment.

14. Square Poems

 

:a very old square poem:

:a very old square poem:

 

 

Ok, this is actually pretty cool. This is a style of poem in which the words are basically in a grid – in which the words going down make the same like as the words across – kind of like some fucked up poem Sudoku. This one’s by Lewis Carroll (of Alice in Wonderland fame). 

I often wondered when I cursed,
Often feared where I would be – 
Wondered where she’d yield her love
When I yield, so will she.
I would her will be pitied!
Cursed be love! She pitied me…

Check it – reading it vertically, it reads the same way! The first word of every line makes up a line reading “I often wondered when I cursed.” The really cool thing about Carroll’s version is that it not only follows the structure, it also makes sense as a poem in and of itself. And poems with some inherent structure are more pleasant to the human ear, anyway.  

So fuck the villanelle, this shit is way more complex and way sweeter. And it’s a rectangle.

May 26, 2009. Rectangles. 2 comments.

13. Boxed Wine

When most people hear the phrase “boxed wine,” they think of cheap glorified grape juice. Franzia is a classic joke amongst frat-boys. However, boxed wine is in the process of a serious comeback.

 

:only good for chugging:

:only good for chugging:

 

 

First of all, boxed wine stays fresh for much longer than the traditional corked bottle. A box of wine also, usually, holds 3-4 bottles’ worth, and costs significantly less than the bottles would cost alone. 

My friend Angus introduced me to Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s more than decent, and much better than I expected when I saw the spigot. I like a bold, full-bodied red wine, and this did not disappoint. It was dark in color, unlike its pale sister Franzia. And the taste was absolutely worth the $20 price tag (remember that this is for much more than just a bottle). 

 

:real wine! it just happens to be in a box:

:real wine! it just happens to be in a box:

 

This person’s website has more info on boxed wines, along with reviews. Read up! And then drink up.

May 21, 2009. Food, Rectangles, Websites. Leave a comment.

12. Shift Dresses

 

:sew your own shift dress!:

:sew your own shift dress!:

 

 

One of my favorite looks this season (and every season) is the shift dress. Always classy, always timeless. And the structure adds some necessary shape to a tiny little girl’s body. 

Twiggy first popularized the shift dress in the 60s – a dress that had a firmly rectangular tilt, guiding rather than conforming to women’s bodies. In fact, the boxy shift dress was an icon of the 1960s. I am overjoyed that it is coming back today.

 

:could she be more fabulous?:

:could she be more fabulous?:

:more twiggy:

:more twiggy:

I own a few shift dresses that I love, and I think that they are a staple that should be in every woman’s wardrobe. On a thin woman they create curves and form, and on a curvy woman they are a sleek container for all the goods. They are loose without being tenty, they offer forgiveness of “imperfections,” yet also construct a form that is sensual and feminine. 

 

:forever 21, 2008, $20:

:forever 21, 2008, $20:

:thrift town, vintage, $4:

:thrift town, vintage, $4:

The shift dress is an affordable, versatile piece that should be in every woman’s wardrobe (maybe two or three times). You can dress it up for work or down for play, and it always looks great. It can be cotton, polyester, silk or wool – the shift dress has a place in every season and every closet. 

Finally, some current versions that I covet. 

 

:milly's nude, textured version makes me want to cry:

:milly's nude, textured version makes me want to cry:

 

:alberta ferretti goes flapper:

:alberta ferretti goes flapper:

May 21, 2009. Fashion, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

11. The Golden Rectangle

I was speaking to my bitchass friend Joe today, when he had the gall to tell me that my blog was not relevant to his life. 

“I’m a designer-fabricator,” he said. “And I have a lot of other blogs to follow. Mostly about architecture and design.” 

Well, Joe Fucking Wills, this one’s for you. The Golden Rectangle. 

 

:the golden fucking rectangle:

:the golden fucking rectangle:

 

 

A golden rectangle is a rectangle with sides that are in proportion with the golden ratio  – 1:1.618.

 

:pythagoras, the greek philosopher and mathematician often credited for the golden ratio:

:pythagoras, the greek philosopher and mathematician often credited for discovering the golden ratio:

 

 

Interestingly enough, when one removes a square section from the rectangle, one is left with another golden rectangle. This process can be repeated infinitely, with the same results. Sounds like a fun game to me. 

Countless works of art and architecture have relied on the golden rectangle, since the shape proves to be immensely appealing to the human aesthetic. Renaissance artists were especially obsessed with this concept, but it has influenced many others in its day. 

The Parthenon, in fact, owes its facade to the golden rectangle. Check it: 

 

:ancient greeks sure thought rectangles were relevant:

:ancient greeks sure thought rectangles were relevant:

 

 

The Great Mosque of Uqba in Tunisia is said to adhere to the golden ratio: 

 

:bigtime muslims did, too:

:bigtime muslims did, too:

 

Le Corbusier, an artist, architect, urban planner, writer and designer, often credited as the father of Modern Architecture, loved the golden rectangle. 

 

:sweet house, le corbusier:

:sweet house, le corbusier:

 

Salvador Dali’s “Sacrament of the Last Supper” employed the golden rectangle,

 

:dali would've loved my blog:

:dali would've loved my blog:

 

 

and Mondrian, nearly a cult figure of modern art, used the golden rectangle extensively in his artwork. 

 

:this one's pretty obvious:

:this one's pretty obvious:

 

So suck it, Joe.

May 20, 2009. Art, History, Rectangles. 8 comments.

10. Awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Sometimes I feel like it’s necessary to highlight other websites that feature rectangles. This is a mindfuck, folks. How unbelievably meta. This is a blog about rectangles, and a post about a (rectangular) webpage, formatted in a rectangular fashion, featuring rectangular things.

Awkwardfamilyphotos.com was pointed out to me by my friend, Mr. Will Leubsdorf. He is currently stationed in South Africa. This is a treasure that I wish I had created, but I will share. Check it out. Here are some of my favorites.

:what champions!:

:what champions!:

This family not only dressed with a theme, but they also honored their heritage by wearing traditional costumes. 

 

:this is just weird:

:this is just weird:

I don’t even know what makes this so perfect. It’s drab and no one seems happy. Everyone seems so, so uncomfortable and unhappy. 

 

:beautiful love:

:beautiful love:

I like to imagine that they sent this one out with their holiday cards. We love you, Nana and Poppa! 

 

:they love their cats:

:they love their cats:

I love the photo-studio background. I’m just surprised that they let the pets into Kmart. 

I feel the unbelievable urge to one-up these fuckers. Anyone who sends me their own awkward pictures will get their own blog post. And that’s a promise.

May 20, 2009. History, Rectangles, Websites. 1 comment.

9. The Tennessee Valley Authority at P&P, 2007

This is so, so long ago and so, so cute. I know it’s self- centered, but it’s really, really sweet. Props to Daniel Kanter.

May 16, 2009. History, Music, Rectangles. 2 comments.

8. Pop-Pop’s Art

 

:"the dream" - perhaps rousseau's most famous piece:

:"the dream" - perhaps rousseau's most famous piece:

 

 

My grandfather is a painter. He picked it up when he retired, diving headfirst into the world of oils and acrylics and watercolors. Pop-Pop doesn’t paint from life. Instead, he prefers reinterpreting others’ creations – pictures from magazines, photographs of houses, famous paintings by the great masters. 

 I do not use the word “re-interpreting” loosely here. Pop-Pop’s paintings look nothing like the originals. A fountain spurts water in an awkward direction, or a Picasso is not quite disarrayed enough. Although he is proud of his work, Pop-Pop sees these inconsistencies as flaws. I, however, have a slightly different take on the many J. Hecht originals that adorn my bedroom. 

Henri Rousseau was a French Surrealist (1844-1910). His style of painting is referred to as the “naive” or “primitive” manner. Many people, in fact, dismissed (and continue to dismiss) Rousseau’s art. Was he just naïve, self-taught and talentless or was he an innovative surrealist genius? The question is still discussed by art enthusiasts today. His figures are a bit too flat, his canvases too dreamlike, nothing seems quite right.

 

:early rousseau - "a carnival evening" - one of my favorites:

:early rousseau - "a carnival evening" - one of my favorites:

 

I feel the same way about Pop-Pop’s art. Self-taught screw up, or creative genius? Maybe it’s not on purpose – maybe his mistakes are just mistakes – but it sets his work apart. The first piece he ever painted was from a picture from a magazine,m depicting a small cabin in the woods. This cabin is surrounded by trees, grass and small mushrooms. In Pop-Pop’s rendition, the house is there, and it looks pretty good.  A strong gale could probably knock it down, but it’s brown and wooden. Just like the original. The trees and grass surrounding it are true to form. But look at this painting for a moment and the viewer will notice the mushrooms. They are enormous, bloated, as if from a Lewis Carroll opium dream. These mushrooms stand half the size of the house, dominating the picture with their intensity. And here is where I ask – was this intentional, an act of rebellious surrealism? Probably not. But those mushrooms make for a pretty sweet tableau.

I wish I had a photograph of the mushrooms to share with you, but that painting sits in the place of honor above my grandparents’ fireplace. I imagine I won’t have to fight too hard to get it in the will, but I need it. 

One of my favorite things about the Pop-Pop art experience is that the artiste himself knows that I love his art. I don’t think he knows why. I get the rap as the alternative, artsy grandchild – maybe a little bit out there, maybe I see something in the paint that no one else does. But every time I show up in their Active Adult Community I get some fabulous new art to take home. And now, for your viewing pleasure, some J. Hecht originals. 

 

:pop-pop's interpretation of a picasso - one of his favorites:

:pop-pop's interpretation of a picasso - one of his favorites:

 

 

 

:the original is, conveniently, taped to the back:
:the original is, conveniently, taped to the back:

 

:the shed behind their house, verona, nj:

:the shed behind their house, verona, nj:

:an abstract "modern" piece:

:an abstract "modern" piece:

:pop-pop does cezanne:

:pop-pop does cezanne:

 

:and, of course, the inspiration - taped to the back:

:and, of course, the inspiration - taped to the back:

I’ll leave you with the question that has been asked many times of many esteemed artists. Talentless faker or brilliant individualist? Pop-Pop’s surrealist tint may only be respected after his death, but I see it for what it truly is. A masterpiece of independent thought, freedom with the brush and love, poured onto the canvas.

May 16, 2009. Art, Rectangles. 1 comment.

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