Animated GIFs, 300x250, 160x160, and 250x160 pixels, color, 2009
Many thanks to Carl W for helping set me up with Photoshop. With this technology upgrade, I can now utilize an array of internet graphics, circa 1998. For my initial Photoshop post, I invite you to celebrate the wonders of the animated GIF.
The Real Charlotte's Web
This first piece was created from a series of photos taken in Northern California in the spring of 2008. Seth L and Will R watched a huge spider wrap a fly in a terrifying cocoon. Look closely and you can see the ghost of Ryan A hanging out in the shadows.
A Day at The Beach
On the same trip, Seth L and Will H ran around in the sand and bludgeoned each other with kelp and driftwood.
Kevin G and The Hair of Angels
At a party in the summer of 2006, Kevin G caused quite a stir when he showed up with a full head of luxurious blonde hair.
By looking at these examples, it's clear that the animated GIF is far superior to film or photography. Animated GIFs are a photograph without the frustrating stillness, and a movie without the boring length and annoying audio. If you can think of another art form that can compete with the animated GIF, I'd love to hear about it. Sound off in the comments.
As always, if you or someone you know would like to share an original animated GIF, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Drawings, exquisite corpse, pencil on paper, 10" x 13", 2009
Last Saturday, Seth L and I put our heads together to honor the best films of 2008 with an exquisite corpse drawing.
Here's the story arc:
The newborn, crotchety Benjamin Button gets sucked into the mechanical claws of Wall*E. Wall*E then melts into Randy the Ram while Eva the sexy robot melts into the Ram's fist as it punches a meat slicer. Randy's legs and blood melt into Anne Hathaway and a priest in Rachel Getting Married. Skip a frame, and a French guy walks a tightrope across the Twin Towers while a cop goes nuts. The tightrope walker's leg fades into the actual Batman bat, which fades into an intense, muscular, and oiled Randy the Ram, which fades into the big ticket, the one and only, Mr. Oscar. And that's a wrap!
Coincidentally, the next night, the theme of this drawing was touched on by the musician from Slumdog Millionaire in his acceptance speech when he said, we have "a choice between hate or love. I choose love." Except this drawing doesn't make any choices between the two and it's very unclear where hate stops and love starts.
Seth L is a wicked good doodler. He was also generous enough to let me crash at his pad in Queens. What a guy!
Carl W made this video for the song "Mama Mia" by his band Togetherness. Mama Mia is a feel-good song about the benefits of cutting loose and having fun with friends. The girls in the video are all in the band! So is the crusty dean who stomps out the girls' cigarettes. Classic!
Togetherness is an underground band from Minneapolis/St. Paul that might not even exist anymore. Some of their songs can be found on MySpace.
Carl and I went to college together in Minnesota. We were super cool, just like the motor bike dudes in the video.
The 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be taking place at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday, February 9-10. My friend Jessie P got me thinking about the competition because she'll be attending as a reporter.
For this year's event, I decided to throw all my chips in with three special dogs: the Komondor, the Pekingese, and the Wirehaired Dachshund. I've drawn a picture of each breed.
Longest Hair: The Komondor
The Komondor is a large livestock guardian whose homeland for centuries has been Hungary. The breed is thought to have descended from the Russian Owtcharka and was introduced in Hungary by the invading Magyars. The dog looks like this in order to fool sheep.
You might expect the Komondor to have a chip on its shoulder about overzealous breeders who subject it to almost total blindness by growing hair over its face. This couldn't be farther from the truth. The Komondor enjoys having its eyes covered because it is very shy.
Fun fact: No one knows what the Komondor looks like under its hair.
Thickest Hair: The Pekingese
The Pekingese is an ancient toy breed originating in China dating back to 800 A.D. In 1982, two Pekingese were discovered in the tomb of a mysterious Emperor where they had been living for a thousand years. Once released from captivity, the dogs began reproducing rapidly. Today the breed is a popular pet throughout the world. Legend attributes their origin to a mythical cross between a lion and a snake. The Pekingese are an ideal dog for rich people.
Fun fact: The Pekingese is bred to be wall-eyed. That's the opposite of cross-eyed!
Oldest Looking: The Dachsund (Wirehaired)
The long, low sturdy body of the Dachshund is a perfect example of form following function. With a prominent forechest and front legs that can dig, the Dachshund tenaciously and efficiently goes underground to hunt worms. While the Dachshund was originally bred in Germany centuries ago, it has absolutely no affiliation with the Nazis.
Fun fact: Why did the cowboy buy a dachshund? Because he wanted to get a long little doggie.
If one of these three dogs doesn't win a medal in the all-around competition I am going to be super mad. I'll be posting updates over the next two days as the official results are tabulated. Stay tuned!
Update: Here are some YouTube movies about these incredible breeds to get you in the mood:
Ghost Rider is the name of the world's greatest Pekingese. This dog is a hero.
This is footage from the 2008 Dachsund National Championships where the Wirehair slayed the competition. Skip ahead to the middle to see the awesome victory lap.
Update 2/9/09 11:32 am PST: According to Jessie P, all the early buzz is swirling around a new dog to the competition, the French Mastiff. Jessie reports that this is the same breed as Hooch in the Tom Hanks movie "Turner and Hooch".
There is another full day of competition and I still have two dogs in this fight, literally. The Komondor and Pekingese will duke it out in the Toy and Working dog heats tomorrow.
Update 2/10/09 12:02 pm PST: Breaking News from the AP - "There was an hour-long protest outside the Garden by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, with two members dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members. PETA claims the American Kennel Club's promotion of purebred dogs is harmful to their health."
Don't PETA members feed their mutts vegan dog chow? Who are the real oppressors?
Update 2/10/09 8:35 pm PST: Not a good day for the Komondors. Slew 'Em bested Szerelem Rabja in the Breed Battle. That was all there was to celebrate today. Slew 'Em was trounced in the hyper-competitive Working Dog finals. Today was all about size and no one could touch the Giant Schnauzer.
Jake C created this map to aid a pair of road weary travelers from the distant North on a New Year's Eve trek from a hotel on the Embarcadero to a restaurant hidden in a valley on Potrero Hill. The voyage was fraught with peril, but Jake's attention to the smallest geographic details ensured their successful arrival at the destination.
A geographer by trade, Jake described his thought process in creating this map:
Typically I have to transcribe navigational
notes onto small pieces of paper that I keep in my pocket. I
had an idle moment at the kitchen table, so I produced this with some embellishments that reference maps in
the age of exploration. The sea serpent, in particular, is meant to represent the temporary insanity that comes over a city on
New Year's, and the ship harkens to the Embarcadero's maritime
As a piece of art, this well crafted map reaffirms the old adages that not all who wander are lost and wherever you go, there you are. And also, life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long.
Jake C lives in Burlingame, California. He played the part of Druid King in the film Astronaut versus Druids.
Editor's Note: My apartment is located at the tip of the serpent's tail.