story Archives

September 4, 2005


As I walked past Washington Square Garden, Tariq invited to play a game of chess with me. It was a little stressful because I haven't played in a long time. Anyway, Tariq gave me a chess lesson on covering the king, and the four important squares of chess. He beat me anyway, but it was an informative game.

Tariq also told me that Bobby Fisher used to play chess in that park. It costs only $3.00 to play a game. If you're good, challenge Tariq. He could be contacted at If you're not good, sign up for a lesson.

September 17, 2005

Squirrel Wristband

SQUIRREL POWER!!! I believe it has the same power as Wonderwoman's bullet-proof bracelets, except this bracelet will unite all squirrels against wreckless drivers.

October 22, 2005

Lost Bird in a Jewelry Store

Cute bird...and it's real. No joke.

November 1, 2005

Rock On!

For Halloween. I was a Beatnik musician. That's an E-major chord, and one of my groupies.

November 5, 2005

This is the cutest photo

This is the cutest photo. This is not a stuffed animal, but a real dog.

January 24, 2006

The Most Popular Toy of 2005

Brilliant, tough to master though.

The Wave... We spent about 45 minutes trying to ride this gracefully. I burned a lot of calories in just 5 minutes.

May The Force Be With Me

and it was...

I WON! There should've been a photo of me striking Nick at the ear, but it happened so swiftly, that even the photographer missed it.

January 29, 2006

Kitty Cute Pose

February 1, 2006

My Sister's Kitty's Cute Pose

My sister wanted me to post her cute kitty pose on my blog, so here it is... It's pretty cute. The images are labeled "kitty hug."

March 18, 2006

Japanese Anime

What's up with Japanese Anime? I went shopping for a tween's present, and she really liked Inuyashi. Instead, I bought this box, which is closed, and doesn't tell you what character is inside the box. I ditched the heavier one because it either looked like it was going to be the bad guy, and took my chances with a middle weight box. I found that this character named Bleach sees ghosts, and he's in high school. His friend-girl is a "Soul Reaper." Cool name, but is this some Goth/Cult movement. She's going to tell me which one she gets. It sounds like there are 2 pieces of plastic, so maybe one is a character, and the other one is a sword or cat. We'll see. I think it's tied to a videogame.

I Love this Aphorism

April 3, 2006

I was riding the

I was riding the subway and saw 4 kids, probably ages ranging from 11-17. One of the kids had a poster carrier, and within 5 minutes, he took the sports ad from one of the walls. He then contemplated to take the NYU ad, but after careful deliberation, he said "Nah, it's not worth it, since it would mean that he would have to break the Plexiglas. Then he wanted the whole line of the sports. He wanted this collection, but he seemed to scared to steal those because now the car was crowded. To seem a little "bad ass" he starts picking on his brother, saying how he had a chance to go out with a college girl. It's his younger brother because they were wearing the same exact polo hooded jerseys, that perhaps they received for Christmas. When they got off on 4th Avenue, I took a photo of them, and that dude flipped me off. He probably thought I was a narc or something.

Adicolor: Guerilla Campaign

I went to this Adidas exhibit, which was to give me the "ultimate" experience of making me feel like I'm one with the "in" crowd. When I first arrived to the address 267 Canal Street, I walked into 2 stores, and asked about the Adidas exhibit. This Chinese man, who couldn't speak English told me to follow him, so I did. He walked through the store to the back, and crossed the street and into another entrance to a basement. I started to feel that this wasn't legit, and was wondering if this was a place where they sold fake Adidas. But then, at the end of the hallway, I saw this colorful videotracking projection and a ultra-contemporary sculpture that had Adidas stamped all over it. The experience was pretty effective in making me feel pretty "cool" that I knew about this event, and "special" that I was part of this covert operation. The tennis shoe line emulate printmaking business model, where some shoes are limited edition, and the same went for the athletic jackets. There were some commercial to underground grafitti artists tagging shoes, and popular artists like "Fafi, a French grafitti lady artist. "Fever 1," a dancer, hired for this 2-week event, pitched a great story/sale.

Bernstein and Gershwin Concert

Nick and I went to the Bernstein and Gershwin concert at Town Hall, and at the end of the concert, the conductor proposed to his fiance.

April 4, 2006

Chanel Lady

This woman looks like a Chanel ad. She's in her fifties and she was dressed semi-formally in the middle of the afternoon in the Lower East Village. I thought she was fabulous. I wanted to get a closer photo, but I was too shy to ask her for a photo.

Lucky's Paws


October 29, 2006

What is chair-swimming?

I just discovered this new form of exercise for urbanites. Don't have access to a pool? Then try chair-swimming. All you need is an office chair with wheels and hardwood floors. If you're positioned in the chair as you normally would you just push off with your feet and do the backstroke gesture (there's a demonstration below). It actually feels like you're swimming. It's really fun if you have a couple of people to do this with you, you can have a chair-synchronized swim team. Visual Effects and Sound Effects: Ran Tao. Camera-man: James N. Sears


November 1, 2006

Ceci n'est pas un costume de nuit des sorcières...

This is not a Halloween costume...


He is the "moustache man" that works at the Java Lava Cafe. If you're tired of Starbucks, mosey to Waverly and Mercer Streets (293 Mercer), which is behind the Tisch building. Cheap coffee with NYU discounts.

Important Update for OJ lovers:

A small carton of Tropicana orange juice costs $2.00 at All About Food, but it costs only $1.25...go figure

November 5, 2006

Cranberries at Rockefeller Center

This must be for the Today Show, I'm guessing. Anyway, that person is not a real cranberry farmer, she's just an ad person telling you how great that brand is. Thanksgiving is around the corner. It's funny to see the stores (especially drugstores) get ready and rid holiday products. First Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah/Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, all back-to-back. At least there's a month before Easter/Passover, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Fourth of July. That's at least $10, if you pay $1 for each holiday, and $1000 is you pay $100 for each holiday.

Anyway, I was going to pick out one of those cranberries to try, but my friend stopped me.


Tower Records R.I.P.

This is pretty sad. I remember buying a lot of cd's from the Tower Records on Sunset Strip. Two weeks before taking this photo, I saw Chris Anderson speak, author of The Long Tail, and he played a funny clip about the death of Tower Records. That's how I found out that Tower Records was closing down.

I went to the sale, and the first floor that displays all the popular music was still there, but as you make way to the second and third floors that display jazz, classical, bluegrass music, the selection vastly diminishes.

I haven't bought one song from iTunes and I have an iPod. I still by cd's because I like the cover art, and still read the lyrics to the songs. Btw, there was an obscure record store that sells "other music" right across from Tower Records. I'm curious what "other music" is.

I bought 6 classical music cd's for approximately $18.00, for a total of 6.5 hours of music. That's cheaper than iTunes selling 1 song for 99 cents or $10.00 for 1 hour of music. Now that's a steal.


November 6, 2006

Keith Herried

I met my friend Keith Herried, when I decided to take some life drawing art and acrylic painting classes at a local college. We used to eat at this El Salvadorian restaurant during breaks, pupusas, huevos ranchero and horchata. It became a weekly habit, and then after classes, we went to an exhibition or we used to draw people at a cafe. Our group of two grew to four (Brenda and Eduardo). I think they ended up going to art schools professionally, one on full scholarship.
I've kept in touch with Keith. He just had his first art show. I knew he would make it. I'm so proud of him. He just sold a piece too. One of the things I really appreciate about his work is that he's not afraid of being experimental. He has numerous works using collage, oil and watercolor. This is his self-portrait and the invitation.
Btw, this was in Los Angeles.

November 20, 2006

Lucky Sketches

One day, when I was reading an article about social networking in primates, Lucky, came up to me. I quickly sketched him out. I really like drawing with a pen because it makes me sketch with quick deliberation, whereas with a pencil, I constantly erase and redraw.

World Trade Center

Question: How would I get 5,000 people to meet for dinner and vote for a design for the new World Trade Center?

Answer: I would probably ask the 5,000 people beforehand to bring in an artifact about the issue they want to discuss, and bring it to that event. Then when people discuss their issue at the table, and vote, everyone is on the same page.

Then I would probably collect their artifacts, and display them on a wall or inspiration board, whether part of an exhibition or not. That way, people can assume that their time and thoughts were considered.

I was impressed with this exhibition at the Center For Architecture. These two walls display numerous articles about the design and construction of what the new Freedom Tower.



For the People who are taking Physical Computing Without Computers

These two images are for the people who are taking Physical Computing Without Computers, a course that explores mechanical engineering and other solutions that do not use microcontrollers. Most of them are doing projects with gears. These photos were taken in Ron Sear's studio. It utilizes power, but no "brain." Anyway, its functionality is cleaning metal using sand as an abrasive.


November 27, 2006

A Second Read

This is for my friend Ronald Valenzuela, who I have known since the early part of this decade. He wrote one of my letters of recommendations and is a mentor of mine. Anyway, I sent him a card with a drawing, which is suppose to match this photograph, a cross the street from Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, facing Manhattan. I was eating a "pie" for him. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Ronald! Maybe I'll publish the drawing later.

November 29, 2006

Neat Window Displaying Bed For Bot

This store is next to the Great Jones Cafe. The mannequin looks like one of those seatbelt dummies.

Coffee Ground Recycled

I thought this was an innovative way to recycle coffee grounds. In this image, it is used as soil, and the plant structure is a pineapple top. I heard from the "Moustache Man," Austin (Java Lava) that the reason why it could be used is because of the acidity. Very interesting...

December 2, 2006

Junior's Cheesecake

Now this cheesecake is better than any I have ever had so far. I like it better than the Cheesecake Factory. I had two slices of it, and it was still a little bit frozen, which tasted kind of like ice cream cake. I wonder if the starters for ice cream cake had the same experience.

They've been around for 50 years. I think they have one at Penn Station.


Thanksgiving 2006

This is what we did for Thanksgiving. Rather than bake a turkey, we fried pcb boards. There's one chip there that doesn't have legs, so we experiemented with frying. People must be asking why we didn't bake this is a toaster oven using flux, I think it's because we didn't want that chip fried. Instead, cover your pan with some aluminum foil, place board on the pan, put the chip on the board, turn the fire up, at approximately 300 degrees, turn off the fire down, and add some water, so your board sizzles. We're such nerds. I would only recommend doing this if you have a couple of spare chips.

December 4, 2006

The Irony of BusinessWeek's Award

So in October 2006, BusinessWeek published a story about "Top Design Programs," and NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program was listed as one of the top D-Schools. They gave us this plaque, need I say more? Maybe the design objective is to redesign the award? Actually, we're happy that we were in the mag, and the award is up on the wall between the computer labs.

December 7, 2006

Christmas Ornament Sculpture

These ornaments kind of remind me of Paul Rand's cover of Direction (1940), where red dots are symbolically ambiguous, becoming Christmas decoration and blood drops. I was telling Andrew at work that they looked like festive bombs.

December 9, 2006

NYU Dining Hall & Dining with Tim McNerny

My friend Tim recently invided me to dine at the Palladium, one of the many dining halls at NYU. Next semester we plan on buying meal plans, and reviewing the food at different dining halls. It is pretty inexpensive if you get a meal plan ($8 w/o a meal plan), which comes out to be $5 for all-you-can-eat buffet and drinks are free if they are not bottled. That's how much the cheapest salad costs in New York during lunch. Even Trader Joe has pricey salad.

low cost
balanced meals (vegetable, meat, bread, milk/cheese)
variety (entree, main course, dessert, breakfast for dinner like IHOP)
flexible hours
sustainable practices (no paper plates, plastic cups nor utensils used)
you don't have to worry about doing the dishes

friends that don't eat dorm food are the majority
younger crowd (so if you're a grad student, you might feel uncomfortable)
not open past 11 pm

We had three rounds of food. The first two were good for me. If you dine at the Palladium, eat the grilled meats (which are not over seasoned), and if you have salad, I do NOT recommend the balsamic vinegar (it too is overseasoned). I do recommend the vinegar and oil and firm tofu. Leafy greens are fresh, and they constantly stock the salad bar. Tim (who is below) had what he thought was chocolate mousse, but then after taking a bite, realized it was chocolate cake. HA!

First Round:

Tim had some cereal and salad. What an interesting combo! Well, at least it matches in that they are both marketed as healthy (Frosted Mini Wheats and salad). I believe that was a French Vanilla flavored coffee and blueberry pastery.

Tim had to wait for me to get off work to have dinner, so that's why he looks ecstatic.

Let's see, in my salad, there's lots of broccoli and tofu (Tim and I are going on a broccoli diet for a week next year). I will mention this about the broccoli, it was perfectly cooked, barely blanched, moist and green on the outside and crunchy when you take a bite out of it. Tim agrees. That red gloop looks gross, but it's jello and fruit. I was really excited about the strawberry shortcake and I believe I had the French Vanilla flavored coffee as well.

I, too, was starving, but was craving for salad. I finished everything except for the cake, which I left on the table for the second round.

Second Round:

Tim is such a dessert fiend. Let's see, that looks like a cinnamon roll, a chocolate chip cookie, a slice of carrot cake, and an (I don't know what that is). On the other plate, grilled chicken breast, two slices of cheese and onion rings. We loved the onion rings, lightly battered, while remaining crispy.

At this point, we were still hungry, so Tim sports a cute smile.

I could not get enough of the tofu and beets obviously. I remembered, about five years ago, I just bought a new set of pots and pans. I started boiling some beets, and then fell asleep, until I heard a thump. I ran over to the kitchen and a beet exploded, and hit the lid. There were four scars on my pot. Anyway, that's why I appreciate beets. Also, on the same plate, french fries. I just found the olives, and I will tell you, they are not canned. They were really good.

In this photo, to the right, is the cake I left behind. When you go for the second round, you can't use the same tray or plates. You have to put your tray on a conveyer belt, and take a new tray out. I'm sure that's for hygiene purposes.

Third Round:

Tim felt guilty about eating all those desserts. He decided to go healthy again, so salad for dessert and dessert for dessert. I think this is regular coffee. He wasn't really thrilled about the flavored coffee. I, on the other hand, like it, because it's not too sweet.

At this point, he was getting full, and it was his last plate. We were talking about stashing the cake for later, but we didn't have Ziploc bags.

You might be wondering how I can eat. Well, I was really hungry because I just had orange juice and a Red Eye for the day. I really wanted to try the beef stew and mashed potatoes. They were really good. The beef stew over rice tastes like something you get out of a Chinese restaurant. They used red potatoes and left some skin on (really good). Stay away from the baked chicken. Luckily, I just got one wing. I'm having 2 cherry tomatoes (lycopene and antioxidants). I started eating tomatoes again, when I noticed that the prices for vitamins went up, just because they contain "lycopene." On that smaller plate, I have more tofu and beets.

Okay, this is a pretty inaccurate photo. I'm not really full or bloated, but we thought it would be a funny photo. To the right, was still that cake. I was glad that I had left it on the table still because they didn't have anymore of that cake.

Tim and I are going to start a dining hall group next year, which is just around the corner.

December 13, 2006

The Dollar Story

I went to the Java Lava Cafe to buy some orange juice, and paid with a five. Austin gave me this change back, a dollar that saids "BUSH IS THE BEST" in all caps, coming out of George Washington's mouth. Anyway, I ended up putting it in Cliff's birthday gag gift. It's in Barbie's skirt rolled up to show the balloon dialogue "Bush is the best." Cliff, who is not so Republican, and sarcastically funny as hell, appreciated the humor.

If you're wondering about Barbie, the id of the art department wanted to create "Bondage Barbie" with a Ninja theme (Dum-Dum lolipop nunchucks). Also included in this gag art piece, a blown up whoopie cushion, fake eye balls taped to Barbie's breasts, a package of oatmeal wrapped up with stapled bond paper, Japanese restaurant branded hand wipes and a package of raisin.

As a part of the gift, he got to assign anyone in our department to sit on the whoopie cushion, so he chose the elegant Emily. I hope Emily gives me permission to upload that video.

Cliff is going to deconstruct the art piece and re-gift it. Cliff always jokes that "Truth is stranger than fiction."


December 23, 2006

Cliff as Count Pocula

This is Cliff with two Pocky sticks as fang. He is the funniest guy, and always has the best stories. He should really write a book.
Anyway, I told him about "the squirrel story." He suggested that I email the photos of the albino squirrel, and tell her that the ghost of the squirrel she killed is haunting Prospect Park.

He's got other stories:
The $10 million Spit, a true story
Guppy ice-cubes
and more...

We were thinking about starting a magazine for kids called Cereal, which should just be about cereal, and kids that read this magazine, have to read the squirrel-power oath when they wear the squirrel wristband that is the "surprise" in every "Honey Bunches of Oats" cereal.

December 26, 2006

Look what I found...

As I was taking photos of the Holiday decoration in Rockefeller Plaza, I found this bird nested on one of the angel's arms. So peaceful.

December 27, 2006

Nintendo's Wii Game Avatars

I like that you can design your own avatar, but how come you can't find an Asian person's hair color, black? It's ironic that Nintendo is from Japan, and I'm sure some of the people who work there have black hair. Come to think of it, I bet some people who own Wii's have black hair too.

I had to Photoshop my hair and eyebrow color black.

It's fun to design your own avatar. I was able to design my co-workers quickly, but it took me awhile. A co-worker suggested I take a self-portrait, and work from there.

These are some of my co-workers.




Click here, to make your own avatar.

Click here, to check out celebrity avatars.

I played tennis on the Wii console. It's pretty engaging. There's a slight random delay, but overall, it's pretty satifsying. I played my friend, who is an avid gamer, and I noticed he fumbled with the controller, since he was used to the traditional joystick/game controllers. I also liked the graphics, and how it plays you "the playback," like on television when you watch the games. I was Melo the braided-hair girl, and I had a twin who was on my team too.

I still find this snowboarding game (Nokia sponsored?) a lot more immersive. It debuted at the Come Out And Play Festival. I'm not sure how much the screen size had to do with it's immersiveness, but I was definitely panting and sweating, like I was working out.

Angelos as Count Clementocula

My friend at work was jealous of Count Pocula's debut that he wanted me to take his portrait too.

Those are Clementines (tangerines) I purchased at Trader Joe's, hence, "Clementocula."

He kind of looks like a walrus though.


December 28, 2006

The Difference Between Apple and Microsoft?

The answer is customer service. I called Apple, and was transferred to a rep, name Shawn who helped me right away, sent me information about the problem I was having ("Kernel Panic"), gave me a number, set my appointment at an Apple store.

Then I call Microsoft to request a replacement CD for Office, which got lost in the mail when I shipped my stuff from Los Angeles to New York. I spoke to a gentleman, who was suppose to transfer me to the Replacement Department. There I talked to Brandy, who didn't even work in the Replacement Department. She transferred me to Lisa (Customer ID #63295), who was so rude. She was very abrupt, and cut me off a couple of times. She asked me for a Zerox copy of the box, which I just previously told her that "it was lost in the mail," so she wasn't even listening. Now, I have to go back to Los Angeles, and look for the receipt. What an ordeal?

That's why Apple thrives and Microsoft is on its way out. I was going to purchase Office this spring for my new computer, but I am definitely going to pass. I think I'm going to use Open Office or NeoOffice instead, both are free. Save your money!

December 30, 2006

St. Patrick's Church

Beautiful architecture. These are for the McCoys.

When I was taking a photograph of this church, I kind of tripped, but didn't drop my camera. Thank, God, really.

Anyway, even all the people milling around, it's still peaceful.


January 10, 2007

Harlequin Romances

My ex-co-worker, Riadh, started this trend of bringing us Harlequin and various romance novels. We heard that Ziggy, Cliff's wife likes to read them, so Cliff designed this cover with their faces on it.



Cliff and Ziggy are married.

January 17, 2007

Ceci n'est pas une flight attendant... Ivanka Trump

This is Ivanka Trump at the LAX airport Tuesday, January 16, 2007, waiting in the security line at approximatelt 7:30 am. I am happy to report that she didn't receive any preferential treatment. She's really tall, and took off her 3-inch stilettos, and gracefully tippy-toed through. Very stylish, wearing a camel coat, and violet alligator bag. She noticed us noticing her, and I even joked, "You're FIRED!" A former graduate at Wharton, she helps her dad host The Apprentice in Los Angeles this season. So far, I've watched two episodes, and the tasks were pretty silly. I like that the winning project manager can sit in the board room for the elimination. I also like what Ivanka has to offer to the show. Hopefully, the tasks get more challenging, but so far it makes Los Angeles look like the Diva Drama Queen of Soap Operas.




Donald's probably thankful that Ivanka didn't turn out like Paris Hilton.

The other celebrity I saw when I moved to New York about a year and a half ago was James Cameron, the director of the Titanic.

February 5, 2007

Unpoppable Bubbles Solution

It exists. When you pop these bubbles, they look like a transparent gluey film.The popped bubbles remind of the ones I made as a kid. The solution came in tubes, and you mix the colors and dip your straw into the palette and blow. Do they still make those?

They would be great for a disco doll house.

February 17, 2007

Happy New Year (lunar calendar)

This year is the year of the golden pig, which is associated to prosperity. My mother once told me that if you dream of a pig, you will get lucky.



I found these adorable toys at the MoMA store. They are finger puppets with magnets in the snout, so they look like they're kissing. Really cute, and a blockbuster at the MoMA store. Anyway, I'm giving a couple of these puppets to my friends, who are having a Chinese New Year's Party, and they're going to perform with them. Can't wait to see it!

Also, I found a great deal on a tablet of Pixar stationary. They usually cost $7.95, but they're on sale for fifty cents. What a bargain! Each the back of each page, you write a letter, and then fold where the scores are, and seal up...ready to mail. Even the stamp placement has an image of Pixar's lamp (they were popular when they showed their short animation of the lamp and ball). With email around, maybe people don't need to send letters anymore.

March 14, 2007


How cool is this site? I was just complaining about how printed birthday cards and e-cards are so cheesy. Cliff Hahn, my cool friend (I swear he should start a magazine), recommended this site. This is for the geeks at heart.

GeoGreeting will allow you to send a personal message/e-card, but what is unique about this site is that the font are photos from satellite images of the top of buildings.

Here are some examples:




March 25, 2007

Blow Darts & Marshmallow Peeps

I went to this party in Chelsea, and they had the most innovative party game, which was pretty intimidating and addicting simultaneously. So the hosts made these darts with nails and paper cones that you put into this metal rod, and blow. On the target side, they rounded up several yellow marshmallow peeps, which was later replaced by a lit candle (you have to put out the flame), and finally an M&M, to provide challenges for the more advanced player.

At first it seems pretty intimidating because of the "what if you miss?" factor. But after you blow, you and the dart hits the cardboard/particle board area, you start getting the hang of it. After about 5 times, you start getting addicted.

Here's a tip from Rives :
Hold the rod like a cue stick.

Let Veronica distract you with weird sounds, produced from her native Mexican tongue, and you will hit one of those bunnies.






April 16, 2007

Retainer Necklace

This post is for anyone who wears retainers or ever had to wear retainers. I almost bought this, but I wish it were my own retainers. I remember so many times when I took my retainers out, wrapped them in a napkin, placed them on the tray, forgot to put them in my mouth, and threw them away. I had to replace them at least twice $300 or $400 apiece. It sucks because by the time you make an appointment to see a dentist, make the cast for your retainer, and pick them up, your teeth have moved.

I remembered one time I was at Rubio's and accidentally threw them away. The lady who was straightening the trays helped me dig throught the trash. She found them. I tipped her $20, and she didn't take the cash.

I found this super cool necklace at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum store for $300.00. It's 14k and designed by Kiel Mead. It brought back a lot of memories.



June 16, 2007

Graffiti and Priority Mail Labels

Angelos told me that a lot of graffiti artists use Priority Mail labels as free stickers to promote their craft. Maybe that's why I have to wait in line at the post office twice.

Photo taken close to Plan B bar in East Village.

June 23, 2007

Yay! The first half of my homework in a JAVA class

Since my first taste of code in undergrad and Processing, I didn't want to EVER take a programming class again. But I'm taking a great class that inspires me to sit for hours to learn and analyze code. After compiling in terminal and getting 1 error, then 5 errors, is an emotional roller coaster ride. Finally it worked, and it calculates math.



The second goal is to take (aspiration) and manipulate portraits like Annie Leibovitz. She is one of my favorite photographers. I really love the context of her photos, and she really seems to tell a story in every detail. I missed her exhibiton at the Brooklyn Museum this past January. I just picked up the July issue of Vanity Fair. There are 20 covers, but you can pick 1, kind of like Steven Levy's book The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness, except in this book there were 4 versions of this book with the chapters shuffled around. Anyway, I chose the cover with Warren Buffet, and Bill and Melinda Gates. U2's Bono was the special guest editor, and there is an interesting video on about this cover shoot on the Vanity Fair site. Anyway, if you watch this video, George Clooney is composited on the cover, but you woud've never guessed. Also, I really enjoyed watching this video about this cover.

July 7, 2007

Kwik-E-Mart replaces 7-Eleven for a month...

I'm back in New York.

Anyway, I spotted this brilliant marketing campaign, probably for The Simpson's movie coming out this summer. The 7-Eleven store on 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) has undergone a transformation for this month. Kwik-E-Mart is the fictional convenience store of The Simpsons. The ads in the store are mostly of fictional products in The Simpson's and the characters look like they're shopping. Needless to say, this store was crowded! So many people buying Slurpees.


They're selling collector type bobble heads and t-shirts, so if you're a fan, run to the store. If not, maybe you could sell them on Ebay.











July 11, 2007

Solar Bikini Strikes in L.A.

The solar bikini, which was featured at the Winter 2007 ITP Show, was on KTLA [Channel 5] in Los Angeles. My sister who recognized Preston, did a double-take. She called me right away, and sent me this link. Preston, you're such a ladykiller.

Personally, I think Donald Trump should pay Andrew Schneider to make one for all the contestants of the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants. That would prevent the models from wearing their suits in the water. The theme of both pageants could be "sustainable energy."


July 29, 2007


Just saw this notice on an ex-cellphone business. Apparently they duct taped the summons/complaint on the door, so I read some of it. These people were hosting a game of Mahjong and charged the players a fee. Judging by the store's location and signage, most of the players seemed to be Chinese, except for the undercover officer, who seem to be of Latin descent. Just thought it was strange they would be caught, but then again New York isn't Vegas.


Is Facebook headed for a buyout or initial public offering?

Rumors say Microsoft may consider to bid $6 billion. Interesting articles point to a buyout or ipo.

Former YouTube Chief Financial is now going to be CFO of Facebook (link).

"The company is headed for either a multibillion-dollar buyout or an initial public offering" (link).

Microsoft planning to sell web apps, (link).

Not to mention the rave of third-party apps, (link).

Btw, off the topic, I'm loving Google Reader and hating Google Analytics new interface. The old one was much better. The newer one makes the user click more to get the info that was already there in the older interface. Also, I like LinkedIn's feature that tells you who has viewed your profile in the past two weeks or so.

September 11, 2007

I really would love and iPhone BUT...

because they exclusively sell them with AT&T service, I will opt out. About 4 years ago, I had a nasty experience with AT&T, which they never recovered the cost of just $50 for which was clearly something they promoted in a plan so you could try their service. There were so many charges for roaming by that faulty phone and there was no way to turn it off. After 20 or so calls to customer service, and their adamant attitude not to help, I vowed not to ever use their service again. Even when they merged with Cingular, I would not budge. That was 4 years ago.

I just read this article in the NY Times, which confirms my beliefs about this nasty corporation sticking it to their customers again, "Fun, Tours and a $3,000 Bill for Hardly using an iPhone." What a nightmare! I really feel for these people. AT&T won't change, but as consumers, you have the power to not use their service. I was really disappointed that Apple would be linked to this company. Hopefully, in 6 months, they'll offer the iPhone with other carriers, just like the Blackberry Pearl and T-Mobile. Or there are rumors that Apple will try to bid on some wireless bandwidth. I'm holding out for Google's phone.


I read another horrible story about studies showing that implanted chips causing tumors in dogs or lab animals. Read it here.


Last, I'm LOVING Google Reader. It's not just an app I've used for a week. I've used it for a month now. I really like getting my articles on my mobile phone.

October 7, 2007

Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York Exhibition

The Municipal Art Soviet of New York
457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street
September 25, 2007 - January 5, 2008

October 28, 2007

Creative Time Installation

Only in New York...


My friends, Cliff and Ziggy called me up early this afternoon to tell me to go to this installation. They wouldn't tell me anymore details but that it's on the corner of Delancey and Essex, in Lower East Side... 117 Delancey

So Cliff and Ziggy met me, and decided to go through this installation a second time. First of all, it looked like part of the regular market scene, but there's a line that you have to wait to sign a release before getting a ticket to go in.

Found out from what of the staff members that it took 10 people in three weeks to set it up, and that everything after the Chinese restaurant is fake.

Tomorrow is the last day. Cliff and Ziggy advise to see it early before there are crowds of people.

Mike Nelson
A Psychic Vacuum



November 3, 2007

To consolidate private student loans or not to...

That is the question. This question popped up on several mailing lists with no direct answer. Here is what I'm doing:

Amidst special offers to consolidate, I am not going to.

Here's why?
NYU had a deal with Citibank (private student loans) to offer prime minus 1%, without it ever to exceed 8.25% or 8.5%. I believe if you consolidate your loan, you loose that offer. So anyway, I just called Sallie Mae with one of their special offer coupon codes, waited 15 minutes to talk to a rep, who told me that if I consolidated the loans, the interest rate would be between 7.75% to - 14.25% (yikes!), depending on your credit. ARE THEY KIDDING? I thought consolidation was to bump the interest lower, kind of like taking out a second mortgage. 14.25% is like not taking a loan out, and just using your credit card to pay for school, jeez, at least you could get 100,000 frequent flyer miles if you use a rewards credit card. 7.75% is if you have good credit. So I told that rep, look my interest rates are 7.25%, why would I want to use your service? And continued to tell her that Citibank offers a consolidation deal where it's prime minus .5% if you consolidate with them AND register to pay online, and then after 36 months of paying they know off another .5%. And she said that Sallie Mae doesn't do offer incentives like that. Also, don't go through the process of applying to see what rate you get because they do a credit check (similar to applying for a credit card), which adversely affects your credit score. What ever happened to the story that broke out about all these loan officers of various schools getting incentives from Citibank? I thought Citibank Student Loan Corporation was going to pay $33.7 billion to 2 million students. When is that schedule to happen? I called Sallie Mae (who was involved in that scandal), and of course the reps outsourced to India, didn't really know anything about that story. How convenient...

Reading the FINE PRINT:

-If you want to consolidate your loans to have one payment each month.
-It want to reduce your monthly payment amounts (but you'll end up paying your loan longer and more).

-Sacrificing the NYU deal that was made with Citibank (prime minus 1% capped at 8.5%).
-You might have 2 or 3 payments, but if you're organized, this shouldn't bother you. You have to write out a separate check for each loan. Don't assume that you can add your loan amounts with Citibank, your payment will just go to one loan and not the others, then you'll incur late fees. Just kind of view these annoyances as micro payments.

Sidebar Comment:
Interesting story about Citigroup, CEO, Charles Prince, resigns after emergency meeting, but don't feel sorry for him because he gets to take part of our loan money home, specifically this amount:

$87 million on top of the roughly $53.1 million in pay he took home in the last four years... plus a pension worth $1.74 million and another one million stock options (estimated at $4 million).

Why you should be a Democrat if you're a student and borrowing money?

Why this sloth should be skewered? He spins and wins his yacht. Funny that the New York Times link named this file 02jabba. Does that name coincide with Jabba, the Hutt because he kind of looks like Jabba anyway.

Wouldn't it be neat if Michael Moore did a documentary on privatizing student loans?

November 18, 2007

Student video, taped Downtown NYC


I am guessing that this is a student video production. The scene that they shot was kind of funny... four dudes looking like condoms, and one character without a tip. The character without the tip knocks a dude in condom uniform off a wheelchair. The humor kind of reminds me of Michel Gondry's funny poop video.

December 2, 2007

Pillow Talk and Suspicious Reviews

It's THAT difficult to find pillows, believe it or not...

Just recently, I had to shop for pillows, so I bought four from Macy's that were branded Ralph Lauren. I must say these pillows were awful. Every morning I would wake up, and all four were on the floor. I was going to return them, but couldn't find the receipt because I probably threw it away, intending to keep these pillows.

I visited Macy's web site to search for information on their return policy. Low and behold, they have a fabulous one. All you have to do is go to their store, and they scan your credit card and your item to find the transaction. So you, don't need a receipt. The downside of shopping in-store is that they don't have the variety that you see on the web or customer reviews, although when I was reading the reviews, all the products seem to be positive, even for the styrofoam-like pillows from RL, which seem suspect. They were also having a promotion that if you write a review, you win a $1000 gift card:


First there was spin in the news, and now there is spin in reviews
So I decided to login and write a review. First of all, it seems that ANYONE can login or sign up to write a review. The problem is that people who didn't buy a product can review it anyway, which to me seems like, either the brands can hire people to write positive reviews about their own products, or people who want to win that $1000 gift card are trying to increase their chances of winning it. The difference in Amazon reviews is that you can only review a book after you purchase it. Of course there are some authors out there that promote themselves by buying their own book and writing a positive review about themselves under a different screen name. I tried cross-referencing products from Macy's,, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Linens-N-Things, and Costco to Amazon's reviews, but this was extremely difficult because some of the brands sell the same product under different names and change the product just slightly to appease their retailers (e.g. thread count, fill power, "ecodown," feathers, etc.) Some manufacturers trademark their process or design, so you don't even know what they're really selling (e.g. confusing illustrations) or what the product is named at say Macy's versus Linens N Things (e.g. "The Hotel Collection" or "Hotel Down Pillow"), which look similar except for the label on the bottom right corner and the price. Case in point: Kaboodle (a shopping community where people recommend and discover new things), and although I was able to find some pillows, most recommendations seem to be about self-promotion (e.g. Designer recommends their designed pillows) and targeted at the youth market, where sleep is less important.

Early on, I had Googled "nytimes, pillow, review," and wasn't able to find any articles, but when I changed my search from "nytimes, pillow, recommendations," I was lucky enough to find this review by the New York Times (2004). Ms. Joyce Cohen wrote about the same frustrations in shopping for a pillow that I had. I ended up going with because of the owner's knowledge that was stated in the review and that's what Ms. Cohen ended up going with. I will later post if Ms. Cohen's review is current. I checked every link mentioned in her review, and most are current except for this site, (acronym for International Down and Feather Bureau, but is now a parked site).

I was also convinced with DownFactory because their designs were used in a couple of Olympics and because they've been in business since in 1932.

Okay, I just received two pillows, and was kind of worried about them, when I saw it arrive in a small box.

Luckily, they have a warranty that when a pillow is squeezed, it can only be reduced to 20% of their former size.

So far, they are comfy.

January 26, 2008

Slide as a substitute for stairs?

I took this photo of a house that had a slide. If I were 7, I would want to live there. Actually at the top, to the right of the slide was a wet suit, so maybe it's still being used.


March 21, 2008

Group Culture and Large Organizations

Paul Graham boiled it down to an analogy with food and explanation of the economies of scale:

An obstacle downstream propagates upstream. If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them. And vice versa: when you can do whatever you want, you have more ideas about what to do. So working for yourself makes your brain more powerful in the same way a low-restriction exhaust system makes an engine more powerful.
Mediocre hires hurt you twice: they get less done, but they also make you big, because you need more of them to solve a given problem.

In other words, work at a smaller company or your own start up. To read the whole blog post, click here.


His post about "How To Do Philosophy" is funny, as it reminds me of some people who fit the stereotype.

April 19, 2008

Wonder Woman...

merits her own post.


I'm not sure who the artist is of this painting, but it's probably one of my favorite illustrations of her. Found in Comicon at Javitz this year.

She was my favorite character while growing up. I think every girl wanted to be her. They marketed Wonder Woman underoos when I was in grade school, which was the tank and bikini underwear that made you feel like a super hero, or Diana Prince. Anyway, a movie is in production, and slated to be released in 2009, but I wonder, who will play Wonder Woman? Lynda Carter played her in the 70's. Heard through the grapevine that either Catherine Zeta-Jones or Angelina Jolie would play her. I don't think Angelina Jolie should play her, since she's already Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. And Catherine Zeta-Jones should've played Elektra instead of Jennifer Garner. Anyway, we're do for a heroine blockbuster movie soon! Crossing my fingers.

Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 3


So in November, a group of us were playing poker in the lobby of our building. Along came this 16-year old who asked to join us. He was playing very aggressively, and beat out all of us. Later that evening, he claimed that playing Magic was the reason why, since all the "battles" he was involved in forced him to read the state of the opponent with speed. Of course we had no idea what this game was, and what it entailed. It's beyond trading pogs or baseball games. There are a complex set of rules with characters, and you go to these underground places (think Rounders), and play real people with real cards a game similar to the card game "war." So this kid went upstairs to retrieve his duffle bag of card characters, protected in vinyl, organized neatly in a binder. As he gave us a demo and explained the cost of each card, I could make the connection of him playing poker to Magic. Some cards are word $150, and can range into the thousands. When I asked him about the honor system of purchasing some cards online, like Ebay, he said he never bought any counterfeit cards. Some cards, like the older edition which prove to be more valuable, can look Photoshopped, since they don't have a special seal or watermark on it. Interesting... maybe this community believes in integrity, which is what he mentioned several times throughout the night. These cards are made out of paper, but I think the value of the card is determined by the illustrator and character.

Anyway, I saw this game again at Comicon, and other copycats, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are following suit.



June 15, 2008

Casio Gold Calculator Watch


I just recently bought this watch because when I was in 5th grade I remembered I wanted one, but instead got the Mickey Mouse watch (Mickey Mouse's head ticks in sync with the seconds). When I asked my mom for the calculator watch (then it was a black version), she told me to save my allowance, which was at the time $2.00 a week). So I saved and saved, but by the time I saved for 5 months, I wanted and ended up purchasing the Fuji Disc camera (which took about a year and three months to save for).

Anyway, I recently found a redux version of this watch. It seems they added a couple of modes the version in the late 80's (it saves telephone numbers too). So far I've used the calculator mode 3 or 4 times, which is easier than pulling your phone out of your purse, and fiddling with the menu. I wish this watch had a digital-compass function (if digital compasses exist), which I found pretty helpful when I visited Paris (awhile back-- and also most people traveling do not use their mobile phones, which have GPS). I saw a modular compass piece at MoMA, through their Destination Japan promotion, but it looked too bulky, and only seem to fit a certain watch band.

I thought this manual was funny because its thickness makes it look super-geeky, but only an eighth of it showed how to use the watch in English. The other 7/8ths were in other languages.


August 6, 2008

"Be Kanye" Ads


I thought this ad was funny. It's on the 4/5 train. I did do a double-take to read this ad. Anyway it's sponsored by Absolut, which is surprising because usually there ads are very elegant and sleek (e.g. artist reappropriates the Absolut Vodka bottle).

This is pretty risky, and you wouldn't know who sponsored it unless you were reading it up close (i.e. versus a crowded subway).

I'm not sure if I want to be Kanye.

January 10, 2009

Keeping Design Simple...


I found this story about Microsoft's Surface already having an error on Gizmodo [As Seen at CES: Microsoft Surface Fail]. Check out the comments on that article, they're pretty amusing. Aside from the "error," what I really don't understand is why they don't keep their design simple? It's tiresome to see excess visual stimuli whether its using Surface, or opening Internet Explorer on Microsoft Windows PC platform to see a lot of popups (e.g. I spent 2 hours trying to simplify my mom's web browser until finally I was fed up, and downloaded Firefox, and told her to only double-click that icon). In this case, the "Fallout 3" DVD screenshot coupled with "Games for Windows" ad and discretionary warning for inappropriate content in the background (of the photo above). Or maybe their designer was targeting gamers?

And lately in the NY Subway system, Microsoft has posted these "I'm a PC" ads/ad campaign (On the 6 line), which all the models look like artists that use Apple products (except for the pre-adolescent gamer), but it was fun reading them anyway.

p.s. I didn't tag this blog post "design."

January 24, 2009

Always finding treasures on Flickr...

I found out so many and learned how to do so many things on Flickr. It is truly one of the most successful social software. So far, one of my photos have been published in foreign newsletters, domestic music videos, Art Forum magazine (Print edition) and BBC (digital edition). I learned how to take a screenshot of my iPhone app, and meet great photographers and artists, who tell me about new interesting exhibitions or advise me on camera purchases.

Please credit Lia Bulaong.

Just recently, on Lia Bulaong's page, I found the above photo with a lot of people commenting about this newspaper/newsletter on select internet writings from techno-artists-designers, such as "Michael Beirut, Matt Jones, Michal Migurski and the Mars Phoenix probe" (Lia Bulaong). Lia also included a link where you can order this paper, which is pretty cool. It's published by Ben Terrett and Russell Davies of Really Interesting Group. I just ordered one. You can read more about their project here.

Lia is definitely a cool hunter.

April 26, 2009

Joe's Shanghai...


I'm wondering why when I uploaded this photo on Flickr on a Saturday night, it received 174 hits in 3 minutes. I mean, I saw a line out that restaurant, but it must be good if there was a line and it got 174 online hits within minutes. In fact, someone commented on my Flickr asking if this is the place that serves famous soup dumplings!

Anyway Joe's Shanghai is on Hell Street in NYC. Such a cool address, lol.

April 29, 2009


So I've been on Twitter a lot lately. Early morning, there was an unfortunate accident with our plant, "Lucky Paws" (Real name of plant is "Panda plant," more info about species, click here). We tried to salvage all the leaves to clone them. I took a pic with my iPhone and uploaded it to Twitpic, and one of my Twitter friends (@hungry_traveler) wanted links to documentation of our process. I was inspired by @hungry_traveler to start documentation on Flickr, here.

I plan on documenting, and re-potting the leaves as soon as they grow roots. Then we will probably give them away via Twitter or Flickr, and hopefully they document their process and send us links because we certainly won't be able to keep all 23 Panda plants in our tiny New York apartment. I hope this works. I'm crossing my fingers.


Story of Lucky Paws on Flickr is at, the same link above.

October 6, 2009

Flash and Cocoa

Even though I use CS4 with my clients, I still have CS3 on my own laptop because Adobe took away my favorite feature from Photoshop, and put it in Bridge, which makes my computer run very, very slow.


Yesterday, I had the most frustrating experience with Flash, and then I found this link:

In a nutshell, Eric Socolofsky summarizes what is supported and not supported (found on ITP list)


Screen Orientation
Saving images to Photo Library
Cut / Copy / Paste

Not Supported:
Embedded HTML content (via webkit in Adobe AIR).
Dynamically loading SWFs that contain ActionScript
PixelBender Filters
Microphone Access
Video Camera Access

Laverne and Shirley Nostalgia

After seeing my friend and colleague Matt Chmiel at the ITP 30th Anniversary, I couldn't get this song out of my head. Then I found the lyrics on this site Lyrics on Demand. Who knows? I might just by the ringtone there ;)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Sclemeel (Chmiel), schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated. We're gonna do it!

Give us any chance, we'll take it.
Give us any rule, we'll break it.
We're gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin' it our way.

Nothin's gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We're gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin' it our way.

There is nothing we won't try,
Never heard the word impossible.
This time there's no stopping us.
We're gonna do it.

On your mark, get set, and go now,
Got a dream and we just know now,
We're gonna make our dream come true.
And we'll do it our way, yes our way.
Make all our dreams come true,
And do it our way, yes our way,
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you.

November 27, 2009

Chinese Senior Citizens practice hip hop on Current TV

January 2, 2010

Internet Archaeology

This is a seed to an interesting project.

I remembered growing up through junior high and high school, history was so mundane. I felt like I was reading irrelevant content, which sounds so sacrilegious. I do remember some blitzes here and there, and I was interested in McCarthyism, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Thurgood Marshall, and Brown vs. Board of Education, but everything else is a bit of a blur (and I took AP History, lol).

Anyway, later on through travel and practicing design, I grew to love history. Last year, when I visited Ireland, I borrowed a couple of travel books that explained the whole history of Ireland within a chapter or two. And about 10 years ago, I took a class on the history of graphic design (taught by Carl Heinz), and we had to read The History of Graphic Design. I didn't buy the book because it costed $80 at the time. Instead, I borrowed it from a friend. I believe with the exception of a couple of chapters, I read that whole textbook, and was fascinated how history was perceived by creatives. Anyway, I recently checked the price online, and I snatched one for around $3.00. I really can't believe my luck. In retrospect, I think history should have been taught with this book first, or any history relating to the arts. Cultural and art events that relate to the era (e.g. Bauhaus movement in relation to the war), or Paul Rand's controversy (with this magazine cover for Direction) can be of interest because of the artifacts produced in that era.

Anyway, Amazon is offering a Kindle version (sigh), which I highly don't recommend because there are lush visuals to accompany the text. It almost costs the same amount for the hardback version.

For more about Paul Rand, this article was recommended by Nick Sears and Jonathan Cousins (who have stronger "developer" skills) -- a good read for the geeks out there.

December 8, 2012

Landfill Harmonic

Fantastic video of people re-appropriating trash to make recycled instruments in Paraguay. This video says it all:

The recycled orchestra is an orchestra that performs with instruments made out of trash... People realize that we shouldn't throw away trash carelessly... Well, we shouldn't throw away people either.

December 16, 2012

2012 ITP Winter Show, Day 1

ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) at NYU has a show twice a year. It always amazes me how creative and ambitious students are... They complete digital and physical prototypes using sensors, screen/optic/camera -- technology within a span of a semester, often working in groups, and some work individually. Nevertheless, they finish their projects on time. I was only able to attend one of the days, and could not cover all the projects. I highly recommend going. Below is the address and some of the projects I was able to engage with.

721 Broadway, 4th Floor
Tisch Building (Take the N/R to 8th street)
Sunday, December 16th, 2-6pm
Monday, December 17th, 4-8pm

List of projects:


These aren't in any particular order...

Sonified Data (Text is analyzed and assigned notes, which is played by the app that Hannah Davis created -- music is pretty soothing, sounds like Radiohead)

American Rubs []
This project analyzes the ethnic-neighborhood data taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, which is then used to create flavors of dry rubs for meats. I really got a kick out of this, and even tasted a couple of these spices... I particularly liked NYC, which is spicy, and Manhattan. Brooklyn kind of had a patchouli essence, which reminded me of uber hipsters.

Puppet and Performing Objects
Apparently, this was an entire class that explored interactive puppetry. Some puppets were high tech, like robotic, and some were low tech, like shadow puppetry. All in all, very cool.

Voodoo Bear []
This project was really funny. You enter your Twitter information and interact with the voodoo bear by pinching or poking it. The bear reacts with audio output and a tweet.

Bashtray []
It is an ashtray, but you put out your cigarette on the candidate you don't like.

So You Say []
This is a low-tech visualization that displays feedback for projects in the ITP show mapped geographically and demographically (age is represented in color of string).

The Buddhist arcade game []
I came by twice, but both times there were a ton of people playing this game (sigh). Hopefully, it makes it to an arcade so I can test my meditative abilities (been practicing lately with Deepak's 21-day meditation challenge).

The Collective DJ []
Ok, I am going to try to explain this, but it may be better to see it in person or watch the above video url. Your friend places her hand on one of those hand-cutouts. You place your hand on one of those hand-cutouts. Then you and your friend touch each other, and it plays a beat. If you touch your friends hand again, the beat switches off. Basically, humans are conductive switches. I can totally see this in a children's museum or a club/party. Very fun.

Random Story Generator
I came by a couple of times, and once again this spot was crowded so I couldn't get information about it. It intrigued me because it looked like a ouija board. Here are a couple of photos, which look like they play with a narrative story line. If you find out, please contact me with the details. I will give you credit.

Fly Guardian []
This is funny. Every time your fly is down, this device sends you a message-warning to your mobile device.

Water Cooler TV []
You can embed messages within a moment of the television show, so when others watch the same show, those messages will be displayed.

Octojam []
This is an instrument in the form of an octopus. As you pull the limbs of the octopus, a sound or beat is played.

Lego Builder []
Using gestures, you can construct buildings out of legos -- augmented reality.

Hamlet Simulator []
This is a pretty cool project. You select from several filter-ranges, which abridge a version of Hamlet according to the filters the user selects.

FreezeFrames []
This app captures your reaction after you watch a youtube video. I caught the tail end of the video where some kids knock down a shelf... I look surprised.

Bouncy Irises []
Bouncy Irises is sort of an innovative digital version of plinko. When the digital particles triggers a physical gear below (by pressing a button), the gears open up.



Cat Car []
This project makes me want to own a cat and this harness. You put this harness on a cat, and this harness has a wireless sensor talking to the the steering wheel, and lasers. Depending on where you want to drive your cat, it points lasers, so that your cat follows the lasers. The video is so funny because Sam Brenner tested this device on a couple of cats. He is going to document this online, and I will post his url here when he does. If he sold this on Kickstarter, I would consider getting this for my sister and her cat.

Laser Cat []
A robotic arduino car that follows laser beams, similar to that of a cat.

ITP Pcomp Mid-term FINAL from Max Ma on Vimeo.

January 5, 2013

Literally, my new favorite site for now...

Wish they launched this site before cutting NASA funding:

I really think that some of the failures are more profound than the successes (rockets URL). Either way it is a win-win situation. Thanks NASA and more importantly thanks WTFNASA for highlighting relevant technologies, and making NASA cool again.

Btw, when my dad worked for NASA years ago, and I was a kid. I used to go to his fishing tackle box and break all these cells, not knowing what they were but just attracted to the feel and fragile-ness of this material. I never understood what he worked on, but thought space exploration was really boring. Recently my mother told me he researched solar cell technology there. Had I known that, I don't think I would have gone into his tackle box, but then again, I was 5 at the time.

Thank you, Matthew Evanusa for the referral to this blog.

January 6, 2013

I don't know why but I love reading Amazon reviews...

One night, my friends and colleagues and I were talking about several joke-products, which I will not even reference here. But this discussion spurred other products, such as the banana slicer. So my friend, Thomas Deneuville, sends this to me:


Below are some images products that I think are funny. I guess I am a semi-geek because this is what I do for entertainment, read funny reviews, lol.

Okay, this is before a lot of people's time, unless they are bringing Knight Rider and or Baywatch back. I guess this is where all the hours of watching television media really pays off:

Now, what I want to know is why the banana slicer has close to ~1,600 reviews averaged 4.5 star-ratings, yet a used version is listed as $0.01 + $3.99 for shipping:

Now I am assuming that the product managers were probably so happy with their profits and these reviews, that they decided to create a strawberry slicer. Now, I want a version for plantains because the banana flavor is a little too strong for me. Does the strawberry version have a special latch that can remove the stems before slicing?

And there was some discussion that these reviews might be fake, but who cares? I hope those do get paid for providing me free entertainment.

January 8, 2013

Kickstarter stats and best projects of 2012


Ever thought of being a VC or Angel Investor, but couldn't afford to invest or commit? Well, Kickstarter is the platform for you to become an investor on some very cool projects. A group of friends that periodically invest in some interesting projects end up in my feed, which end up becoming a social way to invest. It is empowering and fun!


This comes out to $606.76 per minute.

Just like an annual report (but more interactive and engaging), Kickstarter publishes some stats and some projects for the public, [Just click here to visit]. But I will summarize some of the numbers below. All art belongs to Kickstarter, but I had to modify the screens so they fit in my blog.

Interesting list of categories and how much they made as a group. I believe games win at ~$83 million:

Here is a stat for those in music:

Here are a couple of music projects look pretty interesting (a movement to bring classical or new classical music back):

Now for funny projects that I have to revisit:



Other projects for me to revisit:


Design/Environmental Design/Architecture/Urban Planning

Design/Graphic Design/Urban Planning/Legal (offering "public domain" fonts)

A former colleague of mine, Britta Riley at NYU/ITP grad program founded this project:
Design/Environment/Interior Design/Nutrition/Education


Even Stanford University is teaching Kickstarter for college credit:

And Kickstarter is parodied by major publications like The New Yorker:
The caption reads: "Thanks to Kickstarter, we're buidling a tunnel." Click here to view original.

More funny links: [The Daily Show]

The Onion:,28655/

IFC (Portlandia):


Funny or Die [Rated PG-13]:

January 25, 2013

Funny video to motherhood/parenthood

This week I attended the WE Festival, and among many topics besides business was work/life balance.

This is hilarious. I wonder what the demographic for people who drive, purchase, rent, lease, own a fiat. I thought I have seen mostly men driving fiats (i.e. designers, architects, etc. -- but this is from my own personal observation from 5 years ago, when I lived in "Car Culture City -- LA). by January 7, 2013, this video received 2 million views [].

January 26, 2013

Now this is motivation to exercise... from funny science feed


Now based on this picture from this site/fb group (they make science fun), were rhinos the inspiration for unicorns as these two Wikipedia entries may suggest:

Elasmotherium ("Thin Plate Beast") is an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 Ma to as late as 50,000 years ago, possibly later, in the Late Pleistocene, an approximate span of slightly less than 2.6 million years.
Unicorn Pliny the Elder mentions the oryx and an Indian ox (perhaps a rhinoceros) as one-horned beasts, as well as "a very fierce animal called the monoceros which has the head of the stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length."

Love this commercial, do I dare say it?

By Microsoft, Internet Explorer. But they got the generation wrong... I think they meant GenX, not Y.

February 16, 2013

Belated Valentine's Day: Google Doodle

Happy Belated Valentine's Day everyone!

In honor of technology, I just wanted to highlight Google Doodle's 2013 Valentine's Theme interactive piece honoring George Ferris' Birthday. For more about George Ferris, skip to the bottom of the post for references about his works and his process.


If you click on the heart-shaped button, a couple of lovers appear and the animation of the ferris wheels run, and then a storyboard is displayed of the lovers.


In this case, an octopus courts a duck, but what is funny about this series of images is that it references the movie, Say Anything. John Cusack's character holds a boombox, and plays Peter Gabriel's song In Your Eyes:


Here is the url so you can experience the interactive piece. Google's art team covers the design process:

The 9 additional stories, which reference popular culture:









More about George Ferris here. The second url covers a bit of science education:,_Jr.


This is 2012 Valentine's Day Google Doodle (Tony Bennett):

Here are the list of the Top Ten Google Doodles of 2012:

October 11, 2013

Malala Yousafzai, age 16, to Receive the Nobel Peace Prize

An advocate for education and women's rights, she tells this story on the Jon Stewart show:

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, 'If he comes, what would you do Malala?' then I would reply to myself, 'Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.' But then I said, 'If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.' Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that 'I even want education for your children as well.' And I will tell him, 'That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want.'

Read more:!

November 2, 2013

"Princess of China" by Rihanna and Coldplay

I just found this clip of "Princess of China," which was released in 2012. The video has a very cinematic with martial arts and manga-like style that packs a lot of visual detail in just over 3 minutes:

I found this about the composition (referenced by Wikipedia: []). I removed the footnotes, but if you navigate to the page, there are rollovers and bidirectional links. I had no idea there was a sample of Sigur Rós, which is pretty cool.

"Princess of China" draws influence from the music genres of Chinese music, electropop, and R&B. The song starts with a sample of Sigur Rós' "Takk...", which is also featured throughout the song. As noted by Amy Sciarretto of Popcrush, it features a "moody" and heavy synth throughout the duration of the song. The song also prominently features both Martin's and Rihanna's falsetto register, which was praised by multiple critics. Gil Kaufman of MTV News noted that both of the vocalists falsetto's matched each other perfectly, and that Martin's falsetto complimented Rihanna's higher register. Judah Joseph of The Huffington Post gave an explanation of the song's composition as part of his review, writing "The best way to describe the composition behind 'Princess of China' is to compare it to an old-school Zelda Gameboy game's sound effects – but in the best way. The song is epic, Asia-influenced, and it exemplifies the adventurous vibe that comes from an alternative-hip-hop combination." According to the sheet music published on by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song is written in the time signature of common time, and is composed in the key of A minor with a tempo of 84 beats per minute. The song follows a basic sequence of Am7–C–Dm/F–G6 as its chord progression.

I like how Rihanna describes her look as a "gangsta goth geisha." Other visual references by Wikipedia:

Rihanna wearing two different costumes and golden nail guards as she performs a choreography with her arms in front of a background with colorful effects. It contains visual references to various Chinese wuxia films, including Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Zhang Yimou's Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower.

I would also add the book and movie, Memoirs of a Geisha.

More on the synopsis:

The video portrays Chris Martin and Rihanna as lovers with a complicated story. Rihanna is seen imitating a multi-armed goddess in the clip. In one of the scenes Martin and Rihanna are seen kneeling in a desert, with their foreheads touching each other, as they bemoan the loss of their love. The scene then proceeds to be violent as they engage in a sword-fight. The video closes on scenes of Chris Martin seated on a throne watching Rihanna dance with a red coloured drape surrounded by many female dancers kneeling down and men beating the drums. In the video, Rihanna's hair was pinned up with chopsticks and she described her look in the video as "gangsta goth geisha".

I also found this photo of a carved Buddha statue in Leshan, China (Sichuan Province). If you like spicy food, this is the province to discover it.

Photo by McKay Savage on this site []

November 8, 2013

Some Information Visualization url

Notable urls in italics.

Edward Tufte (Napoleon's march) :: Shows the size of the French Army in the 1812 War against Russia)

ibm: Many Eyes by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg
user generated content where people upload their data and choose what time of visualization they want to see the data in:

Hans Rosling, Gapminder

Casey Reas & Ben Fry, Processing
Java (loads a little slower, but many libraries) Cover of Nature

Amanda Cox (nytimes)

I love this:

November 24, 2013

Ziegfeld Theatre

Credit: Emily's Last Word

One of my favorite theaters in NYC is Ziegfeld Theatre. If you don't want any hassles waiting in line, finding a seat, or have a pleasant lavatory experience (each stall in the bathroom has a sink) -- then this is the theater to watch your movie in. Last night, I watched the new Suzanne Collins' sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire starring Jennifer Lawrence. I was able to walk right to this theater 12 minutes before the show started, purchase tickets in two minutes, and find a seat with plenty of time to get popcorn or go to the restroom. Also Rosa, the attendant, introduced the movie and the duration of the movie and trailers. So if you can't watch this movie, you still have time to leave and get a refund on your movie tickets.

The theater is enormous:

In addition, there are historical plaques describing the detail of the theater. I found this one, which reads:

Story of This Wood

Carbon 14-Isotope dating shows this wood has been buried in a peat bog near Cambridge, England since 2120 BC. Rising sea levels flooded the forest and prevailing winds toppled the trees. The forest was replaced by an open sedge fen. Waterlogging the tree and enveloping it in a thick bed of organic peat.

After 4100 years, the bog waters have hardened the wood and changed its color from a natural oaken tone to the rich charcoal hues you see. Although other trees have been found in the same area, none has proven to be as large or well preserved as this one.

Supplied by David R. Webb Co., A division of Walter Reade Organization



Btw, Jennifer Lawrence is one of my favorite actresses. I was thinking if anyone would be cast as WonderWoman, she could play her. I really like this clip of her at the Academy Awards:

This version of Hunger Games has elements of Blade Runner and The Matrix. Costumes and special effects were amazing, and used appropriately.

A shout out to Jena Malone. I met her when she was 8yo, working on a grad student film for a candidate at the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. I remembered how talented and mature she was at that age. She later starred in Donny Darko.

I thought the elevator banks were shot in NYC, but I was wrong -- in Atlanta Marriott Marquis.


Found this excerpt, describing these series of books:

The book was released on September 1, 2009, and was later released in Kindle and audiobook format. The book had an initial print run of 350,000 copies. Advance reading copies were available at BookExpo America in New York City, and were sent out to some booksellers, and offered as prizes in Scholastic's "How Would You Survive" writing contest in May 2009. Major themes include survival, government control, rebellion and interdependence versus independence.

December 29, 2013

Khan Academy

Just found this great video on Kahn Academy.

Sometimes the founder, Salman Khan, will study up to 5 textbooks before he creates a video:

Here is a segment on Khan Academy's data driven analysis by former Google Executive, Eric Schmidt:

July 26, 2014

More on Standardized Testing...

In May 2007, a couple of colleagues of mine, and I had the opportunity to create a Facebook App for the Bschools channel titled "Best Fit Bschools." I researched how selecting grad schools could be more engaging and better fit for students by using the reference of old SAT/GMAT/LSAT tests. Erica Pelzek wrote the copy for all of the questions. We were trying to develop this app for the 2007 issue of "BusinessWeek Bschools Ranking" []. We mixed her copy with reappropriated science and math graphics.

She wrote with humor:

B-schooler since birth? Or weighing your options? Whether you've taken the GMAT five times already or are still considering academia, our quick quiz will dish out the b-schools that are the best fit for you. And after you take it, your Harvard Law-bound friends or UC-Berkeley-headed significant other can vote on which school they want you to choose.

Next page:

Have you been attending Future MBA meetings with Brooks Brothers-wearing, golf-playing buddies since your freshman year of high school? Or have you been gushing to your eco-friendly comrades about the environmentally sustainable sneaker line you dream of launching? Whether you want to pay $47,000 a year or $25,000, study in an ultra-urban or quaint rural setting, this brief quiz -- no data sufficiency questions, we promise -- will suggest the right b-schools for you.

The great thing about working together is that it becomes fun and more creative. Here are more excerpts of her creative writing. Angelos Dosoulas and I pieced together the graphics:



August 22, 2014

NYPL LIVE: Bryan Stevenson & Sister Helen Prejean

When I was a kid, my parents, as most Asian parents, tried to push me to be a doctor or lawyer. I wanted to be a doctor more than a lawyer, but I was also interested in art. Then I watch Inherit the Wind, and really wanted to be a lawyer. Read more about the film here on Wikipedia []. After I graduated, I went abroad to teach, then decided to apply for law school. You have to take the LSATs, which was fun, but before dropping over $100k, I got my paralegal certificate (3 or 6-month overview of Constitutional Law/Statute Law, etc.), and worked at two law firms, and may I say the experience was far from being "an Erin Brockovich." Julia Roberts played her in the film []. My experience was paper pushing, coding, and politics. I am glad I have the experience because I can create my own provisional patents, and edit contract templates. If I were to go back in time, I think I would have been an Intellectual Property paralegal/attorney. I like to draw and read about technology. Anyway, I am glad that there are people like Bryan Stevenson and Sister Helen Prejean, advocates for the poor and incarcerated.

Yes, I am a fan of the film, Dead Man Walking, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Read more about the movie on Wikipedia []. NYPL Live is hosting a discussion with these two authors.

Does our criminal justice system lack mercy? Could the U.S. legal system exact justice if it abolished capital punishment, or eliminated mandatory minimum sentencing? These questions are at the heart of Bryan Stevenson’s new book, Just Mercy, which explores these issues and chronicles his career as founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Joining him at LIVE is Sister Helen Prejean, from The Ministry Against the Death Penalty and author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.

BRYAN STEVENSON is a public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. He's a professor of law at New York University Law School and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) [], an Alabama-based group that has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on death row, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. EJI won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional (too cool). He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued six times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, and has been awarded 14 honorary doctorate degrees.​ His book is entitled Just Mercy.

SISTER HELEN PREJEAN is the public face of the Ministry Against the Death Penalty. She spends most of her time giving speaking engagements across the USA and internationally, teaching people about the realities of the death penalty and encouraging people to educate themselves on the issue. She is the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty, which was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as a death row inmate, and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and is a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. Presently, she serves as the Honorary Chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.

Cited from NYPL LIVE website:

August 25, 2014

[Jazz Musician]: Duane Holmes

Duane Holmes has been playing jazz and classical improvisations on the platform of Columbus Circle on the A/B/C/D lines. When I used to work for Macmillan Science and Scholarly, formerly Nature Publishing Group, I switched trains from the "1" to the "A" and cut my commute by approximately half, from 35-40 minutes to 15 minutes (i.e. 5 stops at 3 minutes apiece). I would listen to Duane play, and wanted my husband, a music composer to go here him play. Btw, I used to see some high school kids in a Trio play "Careless Whispers" by George Michael -- awesome and talented musicians playing in this station.

Anyway, I have since been taking the "A" in the mornings and able to catch his music again. Sometimes he plays new unique music, or sometimes he plays Carlos Jobim's pieces. I saw the cutest photo... a kid slowly engaged in the keyboard. Duane sort of hinted for him to play, but he didn't bite. Now, you know he's good if a kid is interested.


I'm surprised a music agent hasn't discovered this guy. If you are interested, here's his contact info (he's on sound cloud too):
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington


There is so much talent here, it's intimidating. That's how I met my husband. I saw a photo of him playing on one of the "Piano in the Parks" installations (i.e. now "Sing for Hope"), in Long Island City. I have been teaching myself Pachelbel's Canon, some works from the film The Piano [], and Once. I had been practicing for 6 weeks. I hadn't played for ~20 years, so reading treble and bass clef notes was challenging. I would practice with the right hand, then the left hand, then simultaneously. At the time, I asked my husband what he played, and he said "Baroque." I didn't believe him, but he really did play Baroque. It's like everywhere there is a piano, there are flocks of professional piano players following you. I've seen even kids, ages 10 play Bach.

So if you see those pianos in the future, you better practice, and play in a recital as practice. And whatever you do, do not play the violin in Central Park... I'll save that as another story for another day.

May 17, 2016

Good to see you Duane Holmes!

It was a great but brief reunion at Columbus Circle. Several years back I would take the "A" train to Varick Street, and listen to this talented musician. His music engaged little kids.
These photos were taken in 2014, (view playlist)

And here we are in 2016

Duane is playing in a jazz band that experiments with fashion and supports a mental health organization June 4, 2016, 419 W. 150th Street, on St. Nicholas.

If you're interested in learning more about the event, please contact him:
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington


I was so lucky to have found this event. I was visiting my old hood, and had to make a pit stop for free WIFI at the Atrium. They have free and discounted concert tickets and lecture talks:
61 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023

I was able to attend the first NY PHIL BIENNIAL: A Player's Guide, where Alan Gilbert hosted conversations with Jennifer Koh, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Hilary Purrington, Christopher Theofanidis, Jay Campbell, Dianne Berkun Menaker, Lisa Bielawa, Colin Jacobsen, John Corigliano

Alan Gilbert is a conductor and violinist. He was in season 9 of Mozart in the Jungle
I just wish my nephew was with me because at 18 months, he loves to conduct. And as a novice conductor, he loves to hear me play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on my violin even though it sounds like fingernails scratching a chalkboard. I guess he's a Mozart fan.

Jennifer Koh shared her experience about a community acquiring a violin for her. She was so thankful. I was grateful to take a photo with her:


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